Justice Aravind Kumar was born on 14-07-1962 in Karnataka1. Justice Kumar did his schooling at Bengaluru (then Bangalore) and his college from National College. Justice Aravind Kumar obtained his Law degree from Bangalore University2.
Did you Know? During his student days, Justice Aravind Kumar was active as Students Union Leader and was the Vice President of Bangalore University Students Action Committee3.
Justice Aravind Kumar enrolled in 1987 as an Advocate. He appeared in Civil Courts, Magistrate Courts, and Appellate Tribunals for about 4 years before shifting practice to the High Courts. He was later appointed as Additional Central Government Standing Counsel at High Court of Karnataka in 1999 and as Standing Counsel for Income Tax Department for 11 years4.
Justice Kumar was also appointed as Member of Regional Direct Taxes Advisory Committee in the year 2002. Justice Aravind Kumar was also appointed as the Assistant Solicitor General of India in the year 2005.5
Justice Aravind Kumar was one of the founder member and Vice-President of Lahari Advocates Forum, an organization promoted by distinguished Senior Advocates for promoting Legal Education, training young advocates, conducting workshops on various subjects for Advocates, conducting orientation courses to young Advocates seeking appointment as judicial officers. Justice Aravind Kumar acted as a legal advisor to various statutory corporations and companies and had also been appointed as Special Public Prosecutor for the Central Bureau of Investigation till his elevation as Judge of Karnataka High Court.6
Judgeship of the High Courts
Justice Aravind Kumar was elevated as Additional Judge of Karnataka High Court on 26-06-2009 and later as Permanent Judge on 07-12-20127.
After serving Karnataka High Court as a Judge for 9 years, Justice Aravind Kumar was appointed as Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court on 13-10-20218.
Notable Initiatives taken by Justice Aravind Kumar during his time in the High Courts
During his judgeship in Karnataka High Court, Justice Aravind Kumar along with the then Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, Abhay S. Oka took significant steps to tackle Covid-19 pandemic in 2021 . Chief Justice Oka and Justice Kumar issued several directions to ensure that labs provide COVID results within 24 hours; and that those who have died due to Covid-19 are given dignified burial/ cremation. The Judges also issued directions to address Covid vaccine scarcity and issues related to food security. Furthermore, Chief Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar directed the State Government to ensure availability of oxygen cylinders and medicines effective in treatment of mucormycosis.
During his 1.4-year tenure as Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court, Justice Aravind Kumar initiated the creation of ‘Signal Schools’. These schools were launched jointly by the Gujarat State Legal Services Authority (GSLSA) and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to provide basic educational facilities to children engaged in begging jobs, with buses converted into classrooms and stationed near traffic signals9.
As Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court, Justice Aravind Kumar was committed to tackle the issue of pending cases; therefore, he set up “justice clocks” in each courtroom to track case pendency and displayed them on the Gujarat High Court’s website. During his tenure, the quarterly rate of clearance of cases remained above 85%.10
As Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court and patron-in-chief of GSLSA, Justice Aravind Kumar also conducted Lok Adalats to resolve cases pertaining to traffic challans, electricity and water bills, labour disputes and service matters related to pay, allowances and retiral benefits.
As Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court, Justice Aravind Kumar also initiated the live streaming of District Courts on pilot basis11.
Elevation to the Supreme Court
Taking into account Justice Aravind Kumar’s seniority, merit, performance and integrity; the Supreme Court Collegium recommended his elevation as Judge of Supreme Court of India.
The recommendation was accepted by the Law Ministry and Justice Aravind Kumar’s elevation was confirmed via notification dated 10-02-2023 and finally on 13-02-2023, Justice Aravind Kumar took oath of office as Judge of the Supreme Court of India. He is due to retire on 13-07-2027.12
Notable Supreme Court Judgments
Adherence to Article 14 by State must even while acting in Contractual Realm: Supreme Court
In Madras Aluminium Co. Ltd. v. T.N. Electricity Board, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 7839, the three Judge Bench of B.R. Gavai, Sanjay Karol* and Aravind Kumar, JJ., said that the State must abide by Article 14 of the Constitution of India even if its action was in the contractual realm.
“Voting by secret ballot should not be the rule but clearly an exception”; Supreme Court modifies guidelines for designation of Senior Advocates
In the case titled Indira Jaising v. Supreme Court of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 614, filed by Senior Advocate Indira Jaising against the existing system of designation of Senior Advocates, terming it flawed as it was not objective, fair, and transparent, and thus did not take into account considerations of merit and ability, the 3-Judge Bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul*, Ahsanuddin Amanullah, and Aravind Kumar, JJ. has fine-tuned the guidelines laid down in Supreme Court’s 2017 Judgment13, to bring in greater transparency and objectivity in the designation process. Read more
Courts cannot prescribe qualification or declare equivalency of a course, unless the rule itself prescribes equivalency
In Unnikrishnan CV v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 343, wherein the appellants were claiming promotion to the post of Superintendent BR Grade-I and Assistant Engineer as per Column 11 of the General Reserve Engineer Force Group ‘C’ and Group ‘D’ Recruitment Rules, 1982 (‘GREF Rules, 1982), the Full Bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Manoj Misra and Aravind Kumar*, JJ. while rejecting the appeal, reiterated that Courts cannot prescribe the qualification and/or declare the equivalency of a course, until and unless the rule itself prescribes the equivalency. Read more
Notable High Court Judgments
Gujarat High Court | Delay in appointment of presiding officer of DRT leading to deprivation of legitimate right to speedy justice
The Division Bench of Aravind Kumar, CJ. and Ashutosh J. Shastri, J., in Nipun Praveen Singhvi v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine Guj 828, allowed a writ petition which was filed seeking for a direction to fill up the post of Presiding Officer in Debt Recovery Tribunal-I, Ahmedabad contending inter-alia such vacancy violates the legal rights of the petitioner, bankers/lenders, borrowers, guarantors and other stake holders. Read More
Gujarat High Court | Show cause notice issued to 9 Judicial officers for disobeying the order of the High Court and not disposing of the case pending since 1977
While deciding the application, the division bench of Aravind Kumar, CJ., and Ashutosh J. Shastri, J., in Patel Ambalal Kalidas v. Patel Motibhai Kalidas11, called upon the Judicial Officers to show cause as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them for wilfully disobeying the order and direction issued by this Court. Read More
Gujarat High Court | Notice for appointment of arbitrator cannot be rejected on ground of vague material particulars
While deciding the instant petition, Aravind Kumar, C.J., in Hemlata Jain v. Padmavati Analkumar Mishra, 2022 SCC OnLine Guj 1787, said that the prayer for appointment of an arbitrator under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 2016 cannot be rejected on the ground that it is vague or bereft of the material particulars as Section 21 of the A&C Act does not remotely suggests that the nature of dispute has to be enumerated or explained in the notice invoking the arbitration clause. Read More
Karnataka HC | No bar for claiming maintenance under S. 24 Hindu Marriage Act, even in the event of application under S. 125 CrPC having been filed
While passing the order in a writ petition filed under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution, a Single Judge Bench comprising of Aravind Kumar, J., in Sunita Motwani v. Amitabh Sinha12, held that the contention of the respondent that the present application for maintenance was not maintainable on account of the petitioner having already filed an application under S. 125 CrPC could not be accepted. Read More
Karnataka HC│ Yipee Magic Masala Noodles and Wai Wai Majedaar Masala Noodles copyright infringement battle
A Division Bench of Aravind Kumar and Pradeep Kumar Yerur, JJ., in ITC Ltd. v. CG Foods (India) (P) Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine Kar 14700, dismissed the appeal and affirmed the order dated 22-06-2021 passed in O.S.No.177/2021 by LXXXIV Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge (CCH-85) (Commercial Court), Bengaluru. The Court observed that while deciding the question of copyright infringement it is not necessary that the defendants work must be an exact reproduction of the plaintiff’s work. What is essential is to see whether there is a reproduction of the substantial part of the plaintiff’s work. Read More
A Division Bench of Abhay S Oka, CJ and Aravind Kumar, J., in Mohd. Arif Jameel v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Kar 15714, gave a slew of directions regarding vaccine allocation. The Court took stock of the various aspect related to COVID vaccination in the State. Read More