On 19-05-2023, the Supreme Court of India inducted two new Judges, as Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Sr. Advocate K.V. Viswanathan, took their oath of office administered by Chief Justice of India, Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud.
Among them was Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, whose name for elevation to the Supreme Court was recommended the Collegium on 16-05-2023 and in what can be considered as a record, the recommendation were approved by the President within two days, i.e., on 18-05-2023.
We have thus, attempted to gather the relevant information about the newly elevated Supreme Court Judge for our readers.
Early Life, Education and Advocacy
Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra was born on 29-08-1964 at Raigarh (in erstwhile Madhya Pradesh and now a district in Chhattisgarh). His educational qualifications include B.Sc. and LL. B Degrees from Guru Ghasidas University, Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh).
Justice Mishra enrolled as an Advocate on 04-09-1987 and started his practice in District Court at Raigarh, High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur and High Court of Chhattisgarh at Bilaspur. During his advocacy, Justice Mishra dealt with Civil, Criminal and Writ branches of law.
Justice Mishra was designated as Senior Advocate by High Court of Chhattisgarh in January, 2005. He served as Additional Advocate General for the State of Chhattisgarh from 26-06-2004 to 31-08-2007 and thereafter as Advocate General for the State from 01-09-2007 till elevation as Judge.
Furthermore, Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra had been Chairman of Chhattisgarh State Bar Council and was appointed/co-opted Member of the Rule Making Committee of High Court of Chhattisgarh.
Justice Mishra had also been Chancellor’s Nominee in the Executive Council of Guru Ghasidas University, Bilaspur and was later associated with Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur (Chhattisgarh) as its Ex-Officio Member in the Executive Council1.
After 20 years of advocacy, Justice Mishra was elevated as Judge of High Court of Chhattisgarh on 10-12-20092. Justice Mishra was also appointed as Acting Chief Justice of High Court of Chhattisgarh from 01-6-2021 to 11-10-2021.
*Did you Know? Justice Mishra ranked at serial number 21 in the All-India Seniority List of Judges of the High Courts3.
Thereafter he was transferred to Andhra Pradesh High Court where Justice Mishra was appointed as Chief Justice and assumed charge of the Chief Justice’s office on 13-10-2021.
Considering Justice Mishra’s 13 years’ tenure as a Judge and his significant experience in diverse fields of law, the Supreme Court Collegium found Justice Prashant Mishra to be worthy for elevation to the Supreme Court. Therefore, the Collegium recommended his name, which was expressly approved by the Law Ministry on 18-05-20234. Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra was then sworn in as the Judge of the Supreme Court of India.
Notable Decisions by Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra
[Development of Amravati Capital City] Andhra Pradesh HC issues directions to construct and develop Amaravati capital city and region within 6 months
The Full Bench of the High Court in Rajadhani Rythu Parirakshnana Samithi v. State of A.P., 2022 SCC OnLine AP 490, issued a series of directions for the State authorities vis-à-vis creation of new capital city of Amravati
Direction given to not to alienate/mortgage or create any third- party interest on the land pooled, except for the construction of capital city or development of capital region.
Develop the reconstituted plots belonging to landowners in Amaravati capital region by providing approach roads, drinking water, electricity connection to each plot, drainage etc. to enable the same to be fit for habitation in the Amaravati Capital city.
To deliver/handover the developed reconstituted plots in Amaravati capital region, on ground, to the land holders who surrendered their land as promised by the State.
Judges are required to discharge their duties without fear or favour by virtue of the oath administered to them
The Full Bench of the High Court comprising of Prashant Kumar Mishra, C.J. and M. Satyanarayana Murthy and D.V.S.S. Somayajulu, JJ., in State of A.P. v. Rajadhani Rythu Parirakshana Samithi, 2022 SCC OnLine AP 485, while hearing the application seeking that either Justices Satyanarayana Murthy and D.V.S.S. Somayajulu recuse themselves from hearing certain writ petitions or prove their qualifications, dismissed the application observing that if a Judge is recused to hear the matter, it is nothing but violating the oath of the office administered in terms of constitutional mandate.
Whether Pan Masala and Gutka containing tobacco are “food” within the meaning of the FSSA, 2006? Andhra Pradesh HC answers
The Division Bench of the Court comprising of Prashant Kumar Mishra, C.J. and D.V.S.S. Somayajulu, J., in Dwarapudi Sivarama Reddy v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine AP 444, noted that the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006 being a general Act, provides that it is an Act to consolidate the laws relating to food and to establish the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import, to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Thus, the FSSA, 2006 deals with food as defined under Section 3(j) of the said Act, whereas Tobacco and Tobacco products are covered under the COPTA, 2003.
[Doctrine of Separability] Andhra Pradesh HC discusses the enforceability of arbitration clause embedded in an unstamped charter party/agreement
A Division Bench of Prashant Kumar Mishra, CJ and M Satyanarayan Murthy, J., in VR Commodities Pvt. Ltd. v. Norivic Shipping Asia Pte. Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine AP 1001, discussed the doctrine of separability vis-à-vis an arbitration clause . The Judges pointed out that The doctrine of separability treats an agreement to arbitrate contained within a contract as an independent agreement that is deemed to be separable from the main contract. The doctrine preserves the validity and enforceability of the arbitration clause in a contract, even when the primary contract is found to be invalid and unenforceable, providing autonomy to the arbitration clause. The UNCITRAL Model law on International Commercial Arbitration, 1985, Article 16, integrates the doctrine of separability as an arbitration clause which forms part of a contract shall be treated as an agreement independent of the other terms of the contract.
[COVID Vaccination] │ Redistribution of unused Antyodaya or other category vaccines at the end of the day: Chhattisgarh HC agrees to hear the matter
A Division Bench of Prashant Kumar Mishra and Parth Prateem Sahu JJ., in Suo Moto WP (PIL) v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2021 SCC OnLine Chh 1110, laid down allotment of vaccines in percentage to the ‘Antyodaya Group’, the persons belonging to the ‘Below Poverty Line’ and the persons belonging to the ‘Above Poverty Line’. The present issue has come up before the Court regarding that the vaccine allotted to a particular category like Front Line Worker or Antyodaya or BPL (Below Poverty Line) remained unused in a particular vaccination center at the end of the day and the previous orders under the same PIL no. does not provide as to how the unused vaccines would be redistributed on the following day or any other day. Also the vaccine quantity allocated to Antyodaya category persons remains unused and at the same time persons belonging to other category and willing to be vaccinated returned without being vaccinated at the end of the day.
Judicial separation not to be granted mechanically in applications for divorce by mutual consent; Serious dispute not pre-requisite for seeking divorce by mutual consent: Chhattisgarh HC
A Division Bench of Prashant Kumar Mishra and N.K. Chandravanshi, JJ., in Sandhya Sen v. Sanjay Sen, 2021 SCC OnLine Chh 1888, reversed a decree of judicial separation passed by the trial court, and instead passed a decree of divorce by mutual consent as originally prayed for the parties. The High Court said that the provisions contained in Section 13-B does not provide for existence of a ground like the ones contained in Section 13 for grant of divorce by mutual consent. There need not be a serious dispute between a married couple for seeking a divorce by mutual consent.
Wife attempts suicide; consistently behaves abnormally. Is this mental cruelty and a ground for husband to obtain divorce? Chhattisgarh HC elucidates
The Division Bench of Prashant Kumar Mishra and N.K. Chandravanshi, JJ., in Rajeshwar Prasad Kaushal v. Gayatri Kaushal, 2021 SCC OnLine Chh 799, while finding error in trial court’s decision held that wife attempting to commit suicide and consistently showing abnormality in her behaviour by pressing neck of daughter and husband, jumping to neighbour’s roof will amount to mental cruelty forming ground for dissolution of marriage.
A Division Bench of Prashant Kumar Mishra and Gautam Chourdiya, JJ., in Hare Ram Sharma v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2020 SCC OnLine Chh 639, observed that, Application for anticipatory bail under Section 438 Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 should ordinarily be filed before the Sessions Court at the first instance. Such an application can be filed directly before the High Court when there exist exceptional, rare or unusual reasons.
Prospective accused is neither necessary nor a proper party in a writ petition seeking direction for registration of FIR and investigation into cognizable offence: Chhattisgarh HC
A Full Bench of Prashant Kumar Mishra, Rajendra Chandra Singh Samant and Gautam Chourdiya, JJ., in Dhananjay Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2020 SCC OnLine Chh 4, held that the prospective accused is neither necessary nor a proper party in a writ petition seeking direction for registration of FIR and investigation into a cognizable offence. The Court was answering the question formulated by the Single Judge.
Chhattisgarh HC allows Inter-country adoption of a surrendered child to prospective adoptive parents in Italy in accordance with JJ Act and Adoption Regulations
A Division Bench of Prashant Kumar Mishra and Vimla Singh Kapoor, JJ., in Sarbjanik Vikas Vahini v. Baruffaldi Enrico Baruffaldi Danilo, 2019 SCC OnLine Chh 43, allowed an appeal filed against the order of the Family Court whereby it had rejected the appellant’s application under Section 59(7) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 thereby refusing to allow inter-country adoption of the “surrendered child”, namely, Princy, aged about 1 year and 7 months.
4. Order of appointment of Shri K.V. Viswanathan, Sr. Advocate as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India (18.05.2023) | Department of Justice | India (doj.gov.in); Order of appointment of Shri Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, CJ of Andhra Pradesh High Court as a Judge of Supreme Court of India (18.05.2023) | Department of Justice | India (doj.gov.in)