justice kv viswanathan

Justice K.V. Viswanathan, a well-known and respected former Senior Advocate and eminent member of the Bar, started a new journey on 19-05-2023, which now places him on the other side of the equation- the Bench.

Justice Viswanathan was elevated as the Judge of the Supreme Court of India along with Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra earlier in May.

*Did you Know? Justice K.V. Viswanathan is the 10th advocate to be directly elevated as Supreme Court Judge1.

Early Life and Career as an Advocate

Justice K.V. Viswanathan was born on 26-05-19662 to K.V. Venkataraman (a public prosecutor in Coimbatore). Justice KV. Viswanathan did his schooling from Pollachi Arokia Matha Matriculation School and went on to study at Sainik School Amaravathinagar and then at Udhagai Susaiyappar High School3.

Furthermore, Justice Viswanathan did his five-year integrated law course at the Coimbatore Law College, Bharathiyar University and started his professional journey in 1988 by enrolling with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu.4

*Did you Know? During his initial years in Delhi, Justice Viswanathan stayed in a central government housing society in RK Puram Sector 1 with a friend on INR 200 monthly rent. The area had a significant Tamil population, so he had no difficulty finding a place to live. Justice Viswanathan lived near a Murugan temple in the area and used to eat at the nearby Mahalingam mess5.

Justice Viswanathan started working as a junior under eminent Senior Advocates K.K. Venugopal and C.S. Vaidyanathan between 1988 -1995 and after 20 years of practice, Justice Viswanathan himself was designated as a Senior Advocate in 20096.

In 2013, Justice Viswanathan was appointed as the Additional Solicitor General of India. Furthermore, Viswanathan has also been an eminent member of the Editorial Board of Supreme Court Cases (SCC).7

Notable Case appearances as a Counsel/ Amicus Curiae

During his tenure as an advocate, Justice Viswanathan appeared in a varied range of cases on diverse subjects including Constitutional law, criminal law, commercial law, the law of Insolvency, and Arbitration in the Supreme Court and High Courts. His stature as an eminent member of the Bar has been recognised by the Supreme Court in numerous cases where he was appointed to assist the Court as amicus curiae.8

As a Counsel

SEBI v. Sahara India Real Estate Corpn. Ltd., (2017) 15 SCC 523 – Matter concerning recovery of illegal money collected by Sahara India.

Arushi Jain v. Union of India, (2020) 18 SCC 585 – Matter concerning high risk exposure of doctors and medical professionals while treating Covid-19 patients.

Ravindra Shah v. State of Maharashtra, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 434 – Matter regarding a ‘bona fide’ mistake by an Advocate-on-Record’s clerk where one of the advocates of the petitioner was recorded as “Mr. Put Mine, Advocate”.

Aam Aadmi Party v. Union of India, (2014) 16 SCC 396 – Matter regarding power of Lieutenant Governor to keep State Legislative Assembly in suspended animation.

Karmanya Singh Sareen v. Union of India, (2019) 17 SCC 689 – Matter concerning privacy and regulation of data protection in view of a rapid growth in digital economy.

Manohar Lal Sharma v. Union of India, (2018) 14 SCC 115 – Matter regarding CBI investigation in Coal Block Allocation Scam.

Advocates Assn. v. Union of India, (2013) 10 SCC 611 – Matter regarding demand of CBI investigation into police excesses inside court premises when a State Government minister was produced before the Court.

Union of India v. Faculty Assn. of AIIMS, (2014) 14 SCC 151 – Matter regarding reservation in superspeciality posts in AIIMS.

As Amicus Curiae

Pranay Kumar Podder v. State of Tripura, (2017) 13 SCC 351 – Matter regarding admission procedures and eligibility of candidates suffering from Colour Vision Deficiency (CVD) in medical colleges.

Bar Council of India v. Bonnie Foi Law College, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 130 – Matter regarding Bar Council of India’s (BCI) power to conduct pre-enrolment examination i.e. All India Bar Examination (AIBE).

Moser Baer Karamchari Union v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 547 – Matter regarding striking down Section 327(7) of the Companies Act, 2013 as arbitrary and violative of Article 21 of the Constitution.

Sushila Aggarwal v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 5 SCC 1 – Matter concerning important aspects of Anticipatory Bail like- Time limits; Points to be kept in mind by courts, dealing with applications under Section 438, CrPC.

SBI v. V. Ramakrishnan, (2018) 17 SCC 394 – Matter regarding moratorium under Section 14 of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.

Subramanian Swamy v. CBI, (2014) 8 SCC 682 – Matter concerning constitutional validity of Section 6-A of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 and Section 26(c) of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003.

Bar Council of India v. Twinkle Rahul Mangaonkar, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1055 – Matters concerning provisional enrolment with the Bar Council of India; ethics of the legals profession; accountability of law colleges; negative marking in the Bar Exam etc.

Salem Advocate Bar Assn. (II) v. Union of India, (2005) 6 SCC 344 – Matter concerning awarding of realistic costs as general rule so as to avoid frivolous litigation. In this case, Justice Viswanathan appeared as amicus curiae alongside Senior Advocate, C.S. Vaidyanathan.

From the Bar to the Bench9

The Supreme Court Collegium while deliberating over their next recommendations for elevation to the Supreme Court of India, considered the name of Justice Viswanathan. The Collegium took into consideration Justice Viswanathan’s sound understanding of law and his integrity and his wide experience and profound knowledge will provide a significant value addition to the Supreme Court.

The Collegium also took note of the fact that at present there is only one Judge who was directly elevated from the Bar (Justice P.S. Narasimha), therefore, inclusion of Justice Viswanathan in the folds will enhance the representation of the Bar.

Thus, on 16-05-2023, Justice Viswanathan’s name was recommended for elevation, which was expressly approved by the Law ministry on 18-05-202310 and on 19-05-2023, Justice K.V. Viswanathan started a new innings in his professional life.

*Did you Know? Justice Viswanathan is slated to become the 58th Chief Justice of India in 2030, thereby making him only the 4th lawyer who went on to become the Chief Justice after being directly elevated to the Supreme Court11.

1. Senior advocate K V Viswanathan’s name recommended by Collegium, in line to become 58th CJI in Aug 2030 – ThePrint – PTIFeed

2. 16052023_111822.pdf (sci.gov.in)

3. Supreme Court Judge KV Viswanathan’s Journey From A Rented Room In Delhi To The Top Court (ndtv.com)

4. 16052023_111822.pdf (sci.gov.in)

5. Supreme Court Judge KV Viswanathan’s Journey From A Rented Room In Delhi To The Top Court (ndtv.com)

6. K.V. Viswanathan – Supreme Court Observer (scobserver.in)

7. Chambers and Partners- Asia-Pacific (chambers.com)

8. 16052023_111822.pdf (sci.gov.in)

9. 16052023_111822.pdf (sci.gov.in)

10. 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); | Department of Justice | India (doj.gov.in)

11. Senior advocate K V Viswanathan’s name recommended by Collegium, in line to become 58th CJI in Aug 2030 – ThePrint – PTIFeed

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