Born on 30-11-1961, in the culturally rich city of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, Justice Satish Chandra Sharma’s life has been a journey marked by excellence, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of justice. His illustrious career spans across various legal roles, showcasing his prowess and commitment to the legal fraternity.
Early Life and Education
Justice Sharma’s foundation was laid in a family deeply rooted in education and public service. His father, Dr. B. N. Sharma, was not only a respected agriculturalist but also a renowned professor who later served as the Vice Chancellor of Barkatullah University in Bhopal. His mother, Shanti Sharma, contributed significantly to education as a school principal and later as the District Education Officer in Jabalpur.1
Justice Sharma embarked on his educational journey at Christ Church Boys Higher Secondary School and completed his 10th and 12th standards at Central School, Jabalpur. In 1979, he enrolled in Dr. Hari Singh Gour University, Sagar, to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree. His academic prowess was evident as he graduated with distinction in three subjects in 1981.2
Awarded the National Merit Scholarship for Post Graduate Studies, Justice Sharma chose to further his education in law at Dr. Hari Singh Gour University, Sagar. In 1984, he graduated at the top of his class, earning his LL.B. degree with three university Gold Medals. His legal career began on 01-09-1984, when he was enrolled as an advocate.3
Justice Sharma’s practice focused on Constitutional, Service, Civil, and Criminal matters before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur. His expertise and dedication led to his appointment as Additional Central Government Counsel on 28-05-1993 and subsequently as a senior panel counsel by the Government of India on 28-06-2004.4 In a remarkable achievement, he was designated as a Senior Advocate by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh in 2003.
*Did You Know? Justice Satish Chandra Sharma became one of the youngest Senior Advocates in the state.5
Justice Sharma’s judicial journey began when he was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on 18-01-2008. His exemplary performance led to his permanent appointment as a Judge on 15-01-2010.6
Known for his voracious reading habits and academic contributions, Justice Sharma has been associated with National Law universities and serves on the Advisory Board of institutions like the National Law Institute University, Bhopal, and India International University of Legal Education and Research, Goa. His published research articles and papers attest to his commitment to legal scholarship.7
Transferring to the Karnataka High Court as a Judge on 31-12-2020, Justice Sharma continued to leave an indelible mark.8 His appointment as Acting Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court on 31-08-2021 showcased the trust placed in his capabilities.9
Elevated as Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court on 11-10-2021, Justice Sharma’s journey took another significant turn. His dedication and leadership qualities were further recognized when he was transferred to the Delhi High Court as Chief Justice, taking the oath of office on 28-06-2022.10
The pinnacle of Justice S.C. Sharma’s career came when the Supreme Court collegium recommended his appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 06-11-202311. He was appointed as the Judge of the Supreme Court on 09-11-202312 and this achievement crowns a lifetime dedicated to the pursuit of justice and the service of the legal system.
Notable Judgments by Justice Satish Chandra Sharma
The present petition was filed as a public interest litigation (‘PIL’) seeking directions from this Court to be issued to respondents in relation to inter alia (i) conducting a survey in order to identify unauthorized and illegal construction in the Azad Market, Delhi (‘the Subject Area’); and (ii) to take action against such properties situated in the Subject Area. The Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, C.J.*, and Tushar Rao Gedela, J., opined that the grievance raised by petitioner had been sufficiently addressed by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (‘MCD’) through the considerable efforts it had made in relation to clearing unauthorized and illegal construction in the Subject Area. However, the Court opined that it could not turn a blind eye towards any potential violations of Fire Norms, and accordingly directed the MCD and the Delhi Fire Services to ensure scrupulous and rigorous enforcement of the Fire Norms pertaining to premises specified under Rule 27 of the Delhi Fire Service Rules, 2010 (‘the Delhi Fire Rules’).
[Azad Market Residents Welfare Assn. v. Ministry of Home Affairs, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 7115]
A petition was filed for strict enforcement of the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (“PEMSR Act”) and the Rules framed thereunder. A division bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, CJ.*, and Tushar Rao Gedela, J., directed the Government of NCT of Delhi, the Delhi Jal Board, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to strictly comply with the directions as laid down by the Supreme Court in Balram Singh v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 1386.
[Ashok Agarwal v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 7114]
A PIL was filed based upon a letter dated 07-12-2022 of the National Association of Deaf (NAD) through its President Mr. A.S. Narayanan being aggrieved by advertisements issued by Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) inviting applications for various posts of Principal, Vice Principal, Post-Graduate Teacher (PGT), Trained Graduate Teacher (TGT), Librarian, Primary Teacher (Music), Finance Officer, as well as other posts. A division bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, CJ., and Sanjeev Narula, JJ., held that the KVS in respect of the identified posts as per the notification dated 04-01-2021, shall issue an advertisement and shall clear the backlog of vacancies within six months from the date of receipt of certified copy of the judgment. The Court directed the Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment concerned to issue suitable guidelines for the implementation of reservation policy by all departments in a uniform manner.
[Court on its own motion v. KVS, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 6993]
A PIL was filed raising concerns regarding the National Policy on Biofuels, 2018 [“NBP 2018”], promulgated by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India (respondent 2) on 04-06-2018, and subsequently amended on 15-06-2022. A division bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, CJ., and Sanjeev Narula, J., held that given the in-built mechanism of the NBP 2018, aimed at balancing the country’s competing needs, the Petitioner’s anxiety over the possible ramifications on accessibility and availability of food as well as the industry, does not call for this Court’s intervention.
[Neeraj Kumar Dubey v. Union of India, W.P.(C) 12262 of 2023]
Petitioners before this Court were intending couples availing surrogacy services under the Surrogacy (Regulation) Act, 2021 (‘Surrogacy Act’), whose long-anticipated surrogacy procedures had been abruptly halted on account of the Notification No. 179(E) dated 14-03-2023, issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (‘Impugned Notification’), by which the use of donor gametes in surrogacy procedures was disallowed by amending Paragraph 1(d) of Form 2 under Rule 7 of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Rules, 2022 (‘Surrogacy Rules’).
The Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, C.J., and Sanjeev Narula, J., held that prima facie, the Impugned Notification violated the basic rights of a married infertile couple to parenthood by denying them access to legally and medically regulated procedures and services. Further, the Impugned Notification did not disclose any rational justification, basis, or intelligible criteria for discriminating between citizens based on their ability to produce gametes for the purpose of availing Surrogacy services. Further, the Court opined that petitioners possessed a vested and constitutionally protected right to parenthood and the amendment could not be allowed to retroactively render their legally fertilized embryo unviable.
[Ravikant Chauhan v. Union of India, W.P.(C) 6020 of 2023]
In a case wherein a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (‘PIL’) was registered in respect of the well-being of the family members of under trial prisoners as well as convicts, the Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, C.J., and Sanjeev Narula, J., opined that various departments and ministries including Ministry of Skill Development, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, and Ministry of Rural Development, etc. were actively implementing social and developmental schemes and the dependents of prisoners were eligible to benefit from these programs. However, the Court issued directions to increase awareness and publicity of the existing schemes, ensuring that prisoners and their dependents were informed and could readily access the respective benefits.
“By ensuring that convicts, undertrials, and their dependents are aware of and can access benefits designed for their welfare will be crucial in rehabilitation and social reintegration.”
[Court on its Own Motion v. Union of India, W.P.(C) 1481 of 2015]
A PIL was filed for issuance of an appropriate writ, order, or direction, directing the respondents to set up Commercial Courts in Delhi, in furtherance of the decision taken by the Cabinet of the Government of Delhi for creation of 22 Commercial Courts and 42 additional posts of judges in Delhi. The Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, C.J., and Sanjeev Narula, J., directed that the Delhi High Court (‘High Court’) shall ensure that all the Commercial Courts were made fully functional as and when the infrastructure was available and Officers were available to be appointed to the post of District Judge, Commercial Courts.
[Amit Sahni v. High Court of Delhi, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 6718]
The petitioner, National Federation of the Blind (‘federation’) was aggrieved by non-implementation of statutory reservation for Persons with Disabilities (‘PwDs’), particularly for blind persons, in recruitment process by respondent, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (‘Sangathan’). The petitioner seeks implementation of statutory and constitutional mandate regarding reservations for persons with visual disabilities. The Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, C.J.*, and Sanjeev Narula, J., held that respondent has failed to implement minimum 4% reservation criteria as per Section 34 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (‘the Act’) in Advertisement No. 14 (‘impugned advertisement’) published by respondent for recruitment and thus, the same was set aside. The Court further held that the impugned advertisement distinguished persons with disabilities from others and had put a restriction on their potential to participate in the recruitment process to their full ability and as per Section 33 of the Act, the primary function of identification of posts was of appropriate government, thus, there was no power with respondent or its committee to revisit and cut short the list notified by the government.
“An act of discrimination is not only a denial of promise of equal protection before the law. Rather, every act of exclusion is an assault on the dignity of a person. Instead of providing an equal space to grow, we have been compelling the persons with disabilities to prove, time and again, that they are capable of a lot more than we think.”
[National Federation of the Blind v. KVS, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 6545]
In a petition filed by the petitioner highlighting the inaction of the University Grants Commission (‘UGC’) with respect to Universities/ Institution/ Colleges providing unspecified courses, a division bench of Satish Chandra Sharma,* CJ., and Sanjeev Narula, J., did not pass specific order and directed UGC to comply with the provisions of the UGC Act, 1956.
[Rahul Mahajan v. Ministry of Education, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 6117]
In a petition filed by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) (petitioner) alleging inaction on the part of the State (respondent) in filling up the vacancies which are reserved for Blind and Low Vision candidates. It is further challenging the inaction on the part of the State in not providing reservations to Disabled Persons (Blind and Low Vision) keeping in view Section 33 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 read with Right of Persons with Disabilities Rules 2017. A division bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, CJ.*, and Subramonium Prasad, J., directed the Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi (GNCTD) to undertake a special recruitment drive for filling up the backlog of vacancies for the Persons with Disabilities in a time bound manner.
[National Federation of the Blind v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2023 SCC OnLine Del 1403]
In a case which was inherently for the revision of pay scales of Assistant Public Prosecutors, the Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, C.J. and Sanjeev Narula, J., directed Government of Delhi to coordinate with Delhi Judicial Academy to conduct training of the newly recruited public prosecutors, and file a status report regarding the implementation of direction regarding training programmes, and the latest position of vacancies in respect of public prosecutors. A letter dated 13-09-2023 issued by the Government of India to Anil Soni, Central Government Standing Counsel, was brought to the notice of this Court by Chetan Sharma, ASG, informing that the matter in respect of revision of pay scales of Assistant Public Prosecutors was under active consideration of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Further it was stated that the Union of India had requested the Chief Secretary, Government of Delhi to provide ‘total financial implication’ for revision of pay scales of Assistant Public Prosecutors working under the Directorate of Prosecution, Government of Delhi, as per their proposal.
[Delhi Prosecutors Welfare Assn. v. Rajiv Mehrishi, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 5814]
In a petition filed by the petitioner, a society working towards protecting the interests of consumers in the telecom sector, seeking direction to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate a complaint dated 11-03-2016, sent by the petitioner to the CBI alleging a criminal conspiracy between some officials of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) & Chinese vendor M/S ZTE Telecom Ltd. in relation to a tender invited by the BSNL for Planning, Engineering, Supply, Installation, Testing, Commissioning and Annual Maintenance of 14.37 million Lines for Phase-VII Expansion of GSM/UMTS Based Cellular Mobile Network in North, East & South Zones, a division bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, CJ., and Subramonium Prasad, J., directed BSNL to initiate departmental action, as suggested by the CBI, against its officers without giving any opinion on the merits of the case.
[Telecom Watchdog v. CBI, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 759]
In a case wherein a writ petition had been filed as a Public Interest Litigation under Article 226 of the Constitution by the petitioner, who was a practicing advocate in the Delhi High Court, wherein he prayed for directing the respondents to provide safety and security measures at every railway station in India, the Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, C.J.*, and Saurabh Banerjee, J., opined that the measures undertaken by the Indian Railways clearly reflected that the safety and security of passengers was of paramount importance to the Railways, and they had been taking all necessary safeguards to ensure that there was no breach in respect of safety and security of passengers. The Court directed that the respondents should ensure that there was a periodic audit in respect of the safety and security measures in the Indian Railways.
[Kush Kalra v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 4370]
In a PIL filed by an advocate under Article 226 highlighting various issues pertaining to the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country, a division bench of Satish Chandra Sharma and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., dismissed the petition stating that the issues raised by the petitioner in the instant PIL have already been addressed through relevant statutes, rules and notifications.
The Court held that no orders or directions are required to be passed as the relevant provisions of the MV Act and CMV Rules are already applicable to EVs, specifically pertaining to mandatory insurance cover, wearing of headgear on two-wheelers and penal provisions for noncompliance of the provisions. Similarly, as the Union of India has already prescribed standards to be followed by manufacturers for batteries to be used in battery operated vehicles/EVs, there is no need for any orders/directions to be passed by this Court in that regard as well.
[Rajat Kapoor Advocate v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 5666]
In a case wherein the petitioners filed the present petition impugning recommendations dated 06-12-2022 issued by the Committee on Stem Cell Use in Autism Spectrum Disorder constituted by Ethics and Medical Registration Board (‘EMRB’) of the National Medical Commission (‘NMC’), the Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, C.J.*, and Sanjeev Narula, J., held that an abrupt cessation of the stem cell treatment might not be in the best interests of the patients involved and while granting permission to the petitioners to continue the stem cell treatment, the Court opined that they must do so with full knowledge and at their own risk.
[Dalip Kaur v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 5491]
A Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma CJ. and Sachin Shankar Magadum J. allowed the petition and quashed the orders passed by the State Govbernment dated 03-03-2017 and the order dated 28-08-2017 of Mysuru Mahanagara Palike.
The Court observed that Supreme Court has categorically directed the State Governments not to grant any permission for installation of any statue or construction of any structure in public roads, pavements, sideways and other public utility places and therefore on account of the order passed by the Supreme Court, the question of permitting the State Government and Mysuru Mahanagar Palike to install the statue does not arise. The Court thus held “neither the petitioners nor any one can install the statue on the island which is on the road (circle which is on the road) keeping in view the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court”
[Akhila Bharata Kshatriya Mahasabha v. State of Karnataka, Writ petition No. 49960 of 2017, decided on 07-09-2021]
While deciding whether an educational institution is covered within the meaning and definition ‘establishment’ under the Telangana Shops and Establishments Act, 1988, the Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, CJ.*, and B. Vijaysen Reddy, J., held that the institution in question was governed by the provisions of the Telangana Education Act, 1982 and the said Act provides for redressal of grievance of the nature involved in the present writ appeal.
[St. Anns College for Women v. State of Telangana, 2021 SCC OnLine TS 1448]
Authorities should adherence to expert reports and ensures equitable treatment in developmental regulations: Telangana High Court
In a writ petition challenging the government order which asserted the petitioner’s land to be outside the catchment area of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar lakes on the grounds of being illegal and arbitrary, a Division bench comprising of Satish Chandra Sharma, C.J.* and Abhinand Kumar Shavili, J., allowed the writ petitions, stating that the petitioners’ land fell outside the catchment area, and thus, the government order was not applicable. The Court directed the State to treat the petitioners’ land under the same developmental regulations as adjoining lands.
[M. Anuradha v. State of Telangana, 2022 SCC OnLine TS 988]
Telangana High Court upholds the legality of the land regularization process
In an appeal challenging the action of the Government of Andhra Pradesh in regularizing the occupation of respondent in relation to a piece of land, as per Government Order dated 17-01-2005, a Division bench comprising of Satish Chandra Sharma, C.J.* and Abhinand Kumar Shavili, J., affirmed the Single Judge’s decision, emphasising that the appellant lacked any right or possession over the land. The Court upheld the legality of the land regularization process and dismissed the appeal.
[Nagarjuna Nagar Welfare Assn. v. State of Telangana, 2022 SCC OnLine TS 775]
A Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, CJ and Sachin Shankar Magadum, J. directed State Government to ensure that no display boards, unauthorized advertisements, hoardings at public places as well as in respect of various Government projects are displayed in future.
The Court directed respondent State “to ensure that in future also, no display boards, unauthorized advertisements, hoardings at public places as well as in respect of various Government projects are displayed in future.” The Court further directed the Government “to take prompt action in the matter keeping in view the Circular and the orders passed by the Supreme Court in the case of Common Cause (supra).”
[H.M. Venkatesh v. State of Karnataka, 2021 SCC OnLine Kar 14703]
A Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma CJ and Sachin Shankar Magadum J allowed the petition, quashed the initial allotment of the site to respondent 3 and sets aside the allotment order made in favour of respondent 3.
The Court observed that “The most shocking aspect of the case is that an instrumentality of the State i.e., KHB has allotted the site in question without following the allotment regulations. There is a detailed procedure provided under the KHB Regulations for allotment of sites and the procedure has not been followed at all especially when the site was reserved as a Civic Amenity Site.”
The Court held that in the present case, the land has been allotted by the KHB without following a transparent procedure. Therefore, “the allotment order, as well as the subsequent sale deed in favour of respondent No.3, deserves to be quashed.”
[Adinarayan Shetty v. Principal Secretary, Writ Petition 9616 of 2020, decided on 30-09-2021]
A Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, CJ. and Sachin Shankar Magadum J. directed the State Government to provide textbooks in Braille for all specially abled children having visual disabilities within a period of 15 days. The Court directed “as next academic year has already been commenced, the State Government is directed to provide text books in Brailee for all special children (visual disabilities) positively within a period of 15 days from today, if the same has not been done”.
[National Federation of Blind v. State of Karnataka, WP No. 52201 of 2019, decided on 17-09-2021]
In a case where the petitioner is an advocate and a trade unionist as well as a social activist who filed this present public interest litigation stating that the Karnataka Police is assaulting persons as and when they are going out from houses during the lockdown period, the Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma and M. Nagaprasanna, JJ., dismissed the petition being devoid of merits.
The Court observed that the petitioner has not been brought on record any instance or documentary proof to demonstrate that persons have been assaulted by the police for violating the lockdown orders. It was also observed that the petitioner being a party in person, who is also an Advocate is fully aware of the process of filing an FIR and in case, the police is not registering a case, he has a remedy of filing a complaint under Section 200 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
The Court further observed “This Court does not rule out the possibility of one or two cases of such alleged atrocities, but there is a remedy available in law of filing a compliant under the Code of Criminal Procedure. Roving enquiry cannot be done as prayed for by the learned counsel for petitioner.”
[S. Balakrishnan v. State of Karnataka, 2021 SCC OnLine Kar 12782]
In ad petition file against a judgment passed in appeal by the Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal, Allahabad, a Division bench comprising of Satish Chandra Sharma and Virender Singh, JJ., while going through the process of auction, Court found no illegality on part of the Bank while recovering the dues from the mortgaged property. The Court found no reason to interfere with the auction process conducted by the Bank, therefore, this writ petition was dismissed.
[Mayunk Industries v. Union Bank of India, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 9]
In a PIL seeking directions to the State for necessary action to control and prevent rabies to the resident by the expanded population of stray dogs in the locality, a Division Bench of Satish Chandra Sharma and Virendra Singh, JJ., held Municipal Corporation has taken all possible steps to control the population of stray dogs and its ongoing process. Resultantly, no further orders are required to be passed in the present writ petition. It further directed the Corporation to continue with the sterilization until all strays are sterilized and to start with a campaign for public awareness related to birth and control of strays, it directed State to provide a free supply of rabies vaccines for all aggrieved.
[Sanjay v. District Collector, 2019 SCC OnLine MP 855]
While allowing a criminal appeal, filed against the order of conviction under Ss. 304, 323 and 149 of IPC, 1860 passed by Trial Court, a single-judge bench comprising of Satish Chandra Sharma, J., held that the trial court has not committed any error in convicting the appellant for the offence punishable under Section 304 (II) IPC for causing culpable homicide. It was established based upon the evidence that he inflicted grievous injuries to the wife of deceased also, and therefore, his conviction under relevant sections does not warrant any interference by Court. The participation of the other co-accused persons has not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt; hence, offence under Sections 147 and 148 automatically goes.
[Anokhilal v. State of M.P., 2019 SCC OnLine MP 842]
In a petition filed against the initiation of the Departmental enquiry against the petitioner where it was alleged a case where a young tribal girl was harassed for almost five years, a single-judge bench comprising of Satish Chandra Sharma, J., held that the departmental inquiry was not related to the incident that provoked the petitioner to resign, but regarding her absence from duty. The resignation was treated as withdrawn. The Court carefully went through the charge sheet and it was not a case where the petitioner was involved in committing a crime in respect of some act relating to moral turpitude, embezzlement or any other heinous offence. A mere case where the petitioner was not provided a posting order, in spite of her repeated request and charge sheet has been issued for not joining the duty. However, the Court did not grant back wages to the petitioner.
[Amrita Solanki v. State of M.P., 2019 SCC OnLine MP 869]
In a review petition seeks to reconsider the order dated 24-06-2015 where a plea bargaining arrangement was reached, and the trial court disposed of the matter, with the complainant receiving the entire amount per the order, a single-judge bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, J., dismissed the petition as the same does not exhibit any error apparent on the face of the record.
[Omprakash Agrawal v. Hemendra, 2015 SCC OnLine MP 7542]
While deciding whether the Assessing Authority had sufficient reason to believe that the petitioner’s income had escaped assessment, a division bench comprising of Shantanu Kemkar and Satish Chandra Sharma,* JJ., held that there was a valid reason to believe that income had escaped assessment because though the petitioner had furnished information about parties from whom it received cash, but the identity of these parties was doubtful. The Court declined admission, noting that the petitioner had an alternate remedy under the Income-tax Act, and there was no ground for interference.
[Dewas Soya Ltd. v. CIT, 2011 SCC OnLine MP 2315]
*Judge who has penned the judgment.