Justice Augustine George Masih

Born on 12-03-1963 in Ropar, Punjab, Justice Augustine George Masih took oath as Judge of the Supreme Court of India. Dr. Justice DY Chandrachud, the Chief Justice of India, administered oath to Justice Augustine George Masih on 9-11-2023.

Justice Augustine completed most of his education from Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh before kick starting his career in the legal profession by getting enrolled with the Bar Council of Punjab & Haryana Bar Council in 1987. Given below are the details of Justice Augustine’s schooling, career as an advocate and then a Judge, followed by important judgments delivered by him while serving as the Judge of Supreme Court of India as well as High Court of Rajasthan and Punjab and Haryana.

Education Details of Justice Augustine George Masih

Justice Augustine completed his schooling from St. Mary’s Convent School, Kasauli (Himachal Pradesh) and Saifuddin Tahir High School, Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh). He completed his graduation in Science (Hons) followed by LL. B (Hons) from Aligarh Muslim University, Uttar Pradesh.1

Career Trajectory

Justice Augustine got enrolled as an Advocate with the Bar Council of Punjab & Haryana on 06-06-1987. Justice Augustine holds practical experience in Constitutional Law, Service Law, Labour Law, Civil Law, etc. on both Original and Appellate sides. He has appeared as an advocate before the Supreme Court, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Delhi High Court, Himachal Pradesh High Court, and various other Courts and Tribunals.2

Justice Augustine has also held the posts of Assistant Advocate General, Deputy Advocate General, Additional Advocate General in the office of Advocate General, Punjab before being appointed as the Additional Judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court on 10-07-2008, followed by Permanent Judgeship on 14-01-2011.3

Justice Augustine George Masih served as Judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court before being elevated to the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court Collegium while considering Justice Masih’s name for elevation as Supreme Court Judge, took note of his expertise in diverse fields of law, and that his inclusion to the Bench would strengthen the representation of minority communities in the Supreme Court of India. The Collegium thus recommended Justice Augustine George Masih’s name on 6-11-2023, and he took oath as the Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 9-11-2023.4

Notable Decisions by Justice Augustine George Masih

Scheduled Tribe members migrating to another State/UT cannot claim ST status if not notified in ST caste list of that State/UT: Supreme Court

In an appeal against High Court’s dismissal of appeal holding the migrant eligible for benefit of being member of Scheduled Tribe holding a certificate issued from Rajasthan State as per notification under Article 342 of Constitution, the Division Bench of BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih, JJ. set aside the High Court’s stance hinting towards Article 342 of the Constitution empowering the President of India to notify the Scheduled Tribes either for a State or for a Union Territory.

[Chandigarh Housing Board v. Tarsem Lal, 2024 SCC OnLine SC 154]

Tadoba Scam | Supreme Court upholds Bombay HC order rejecting Thakur brothers’ anticipatory bail

In a petition for special leave to appeal filed by Rohit Thakur and Abhishek Thakur (‘Thakur brothers’) who have been charged with over Rs 12.15 crore online ticketing fraud in Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve, against the judgment and order dated by the Bombay High Court, wherein the Court rejected their anticipatory bail applications, the division bench of B.V. Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih, JJ. after considering the nature of the dispute between the parties and after pursuing the impugned order, refused to interfere in the matter. Thereby, refusing to grant them anticipatory bail. However, the Court allowed them to seek regular bail.

[Abhishek v. State of Maharashtra, 2024 SCC OnLine SC 155]

Educational Institute | No exemption for earlier assessment years when registration was unavailable: SC upholds High Court’s view

In an appeal challenging High Court’s dismissal of appeal in regard to exemption to Educational Institution wherein, it was held that exemption cannot be granted by the Court for earlier assessment years for which registration was unavailable, the Division Bench of BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih, JJ. dismissed the said SLP under Sections 12-AA and 260 of Income Tax Act, 1961.

[Academy of Medical Sciences v. CIT, (2024) 460 ITR 592]

Supreme Court dismisses UP Department’s GST demand against Vivo Mobile

In an appeal against High Court’s decision in favour of Vivo Mobile India Pvt. Ltd for benefit of input tax credit late accrued to the transactions completed previously, by treating the entire period to be one, during which transactions were completed, against which all input tax credit stood accumulated as on the date of filing return, the Division Bench of BV Nagarathna and Augustine George Masih, JJ. Upheld the said stance holding that condition of month-to-month reconciliation of eligible input-tax credit was relaxed as per Rule 36(4) of the Central Goods and Services Tax Rules, 2017.

[State of U.P. v. Vivo Mobile India (P) Ltd., (2024) 122 GSTR 236]

Rajasthan HC appoints arbitrator for dispute between Magenta Power and REIL

In an application under Section 11 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 seeking reference of dispute to the sole arbitrator, Augustine George Masih, CJ raised the fact that the three applications were all made for three identical agreements and accordingly appointed a High Court Retired Judge as the arbitrator.

[Magenta Power (P) Ltd. v. Rajasthan Electronics & Instrument Ltd., 2023 SCC OnLine Raj 3391]

‘If no day-to-day explanation, there should be reasonable explanation on justifiable grounds’: Rajasthan HC while denying condonation of 1500 days’ delay

In an application seeking condonation of delay of 1500 days in filing the appeal against a writ petition, with the reason of applicant’s family being extremely poor agriculturist, the Division Bench of Augustine George Masih, CJ and Vinit Kumar Mathur, J. clarified that “If there is no explanation for day-to-day delay, there has to be a reasonable explanation for the delay occurred with justifiable grounds for not approaching the Court within the time stipulated.”

[Kanta v. State of Rajasthan, 2023 SCC OnLine Raj 2034]

P&H HC approves the refund amount given to the petitioner upon surrendering the plot allotted to him

In a petition seeking writ of mandamus directing the respondents to refund the entire amount of Rs. 19,19,700/- with interest at the rate of 12% per annum from the date of payment till realization as there has been forfeiture of Rs. 11,38,163/- out of the total amount and a refund of Rs. 7,81,537/- has been made to the petitioner on surrender of the plot which was allotted to him, the division Bench of Augustine George Masih and Vikram Aggarwal, JJ. held that the refund having been made as per the terms and conditions of the allotment letter cannot be faulted with.

[Bhim Singh v. State of Haryana, 2023 SCC OnLine P&H 84]

P&H HC directs Chandigarh Housing Board to consider the petitioner’s representation vis-à-vis issuing an acceptance-cum-demand letter qua the allotment of 3BHK flat

In a petition seeking issuance of a writ of mandamus directing the Chandigarh Housing Board to issue an acceptance-cum-demand letter qua the allotment of 3BHK flat in the oustees category as per the Scheme dated 30-01-2017 and Rules under the Chandigarh Allotment of Dwelling Units to the Oustees of Chandigarh Scheme, 1996, the division Bench of Augustine George Masih and Harpreet Singh Brar, JJ. Directed the authorities to consider the petitioner’s representation regarding the instant matter rather than deciding the matter on merits.

[Paramjit Singh v. State (UT, Chandigarh), 2023 SCC OnLine P&H 416]

P&H HC | Date of eligibility is synonymous to the date of appointment for a particular post

In a petition challenging the order upholding appointment of the respondent as the Lambardar of Village Basma, Augustine George Masih, J. disposed of the present petition on grounds of it being infructuous but clarified that in the light of the eligibility to be seen being the date of appointment on the post of Lambardar, the appointment of Jagtar Singh could not be said to be illegal as, on the said date, he was eligible for appointment to the post of Lambardar.

[Satnam Singh v. Financial Commissioner, Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 2260]

P&H HC | Presumption attached with registered Will with regard to its genuineness cannot be questioned before revenue authorities

Petitioner had approached the Court before a Bench of Augustine George Masih, J., challenging order passed by the Financial Commissioner, Haryana, whereby the Commissioner had proceeded to set aside the mutation sanctioned in favour of petitioner and Respondent 7 as per their natural succession. Further ordered that the mutation be executed as per the registered Will in favour of Respondents 5 and 6 as the registered Wills were in favour of them.

[Bhagwan Dass v. State of Haryana, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 62]

P&H HC | Money decree set aside in absence of evidence to be established actual loss occurred to the plaintiff

An appeal was made against the judgment and decree passed by the Additional District Judge whereby the suit filed by the appellant-plaintiff for recovery of the amount from the respondent-defendant had been set aside by allowing the appeal and dismissing the suit of the appellant-plaintiff. Augustine George Masih, J. upheld the decision of the lower court as there was no evidence on record to prove the contentions made by the appellant.

[Punjab State Warehousing Corporation Limited v. Paramjit Singh, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 1229]

Reinstatement of a workman in service with 50% back wages: P&H HC remands matter back to the single Judge

In a civil writ petition challenging an award passed by Labour Court, Amritsar, by which reinstating the respondent-workman in service with 50% back wages, the division bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and Augustine George Masih, J. remanded the matter back to the single judge to determine whether it is an “industry” and the respondent “workman” falls within the meaning of the said expression as defined in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

[Diocese of Amritsar of Church of North India v. Rashid Masih, 2011 SCC OnLine P&H 2731]

1. https://mediationcentrephhc.gov.in/jjmc/.

2. Supra

3. Supra

4. https://main.sci.gov.in/pdf/Collegium/06112023_142822.pdf.

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