Justice P.S. Narasimha

“Policy for compassionate appointment, which has the force of law, must not discriminate on any of the grounds mentioned in Article 16(2) of the Constitution, including that of ‘descent’”

– Justice P.S. Narasimha1

Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha, whose legal journey began in the 1980s, has the distinction of being one of the few advocates who were elevated directly from the Bar to the position of Supreme Court judgeship. His tenure as a lawyer boasts of several landmark cases like “Ayodhya Ramjanmabhoomi case” for instance.

Early Life and Career

Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha was born on 03-05-1963 to Justice Kodanda Ramayya, who was also a Judge and an eminent legal writer. Brought up in Hyderabad, Justice Narasimha passed his LL. B in 1988 and started practicing in Andhra Pradesh High Court. He specialised in laws related to Telecom, Competition, Electricity, and other Regulatory Jurisdictions2.

Thereafter he moved to New Delhi to practice at the Supreme Court of India and in 2008, he was designated as a Senior Advocate3. In May 2014, Justice Narasimha was appointed as the Additional Solicitor General and held this position till 15-12-20184, having resigned from the post citing personal reasons5. He was also a member of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).6

Prominent Cases as a Counsel, Amicus Curiae and Mediator7

During his tenure as a Senior Advocate, Justice Narasimha played a key role in many crucial cases; most notable among them being the BCCI matters and Ayodhya Land Dispute. In the BCCI matters, Justice Narasimha was not only an amicus curiae (friend of the court), later on, he was also appointed as a mediator in all the matters relating to BCCI pending before the Supreme Court.

In M. Siddiq (Ram Janmabhumi Temple-5 J.) v. Suresh Das, (2020) 1 SCC 1, also known as the Ayodhya Land Dispute; Justice Narasimha was one of the many prominent counsels who appeared in the matter. Narasimha’s arguments in the matter centered around the belief of Hindus that the site in question is the birthplace of Lord Ram – “The test, which has to be applied for marshalling the evidence is the standard of preponderance of probability… proof of fact depends upon the belief or probability of the fact looking to the circumstances of the particular case”.

Justice Narasimha assisted the Supreme Court as a Law Officer in several landmark cases, including Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Assn. v. Union of India, (2016) 5 SCC 1, (NJAC case) before the Constitution Bench.

He was the amicus curiae for the Forest Bench and other cases concerning Judicial Appointments, Fast Track courts, and Tribal laws.

Justice Narasimha also represented the Indian side at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in the Italian Marines Case8.

Justice Narasimha represented India before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), Hague in Investment Treaty Arbitration.

Supreme Court appointed Justice Narasimha as a Mediator in the BCCI case to mediate between the members and the Board for holding elections and the constitution of an elected body.

*Did You Know? As a Law Officer, Justice Narasimha was instrumental in constituting and being part of the High-powered Committee suggesting sweeping changes to the Arbitration Act and proposing a mechanism for Institutional Arbitration. He is closely associated with the making of the law on Mediation.

As Judge of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Collegium issued a Statement whereby the elevation of P.S. Narasimha as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India was recommended. Based on the recommendation, the President of India then appointed him and 8 others as Judges of the Supreme Court in 2021.

*Did You Know? Justice P.S. Narasimha is the 9th lawyer to be directly elevated as Supreme Court Judge9.

Notable decisions by Justice Narasimha

Supreme Court Verdict on Same Sex Marriage

The 5-judge Constitution Bench of Dr DY Chandrachud, CJI and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, S. Ravindra Bhat, Hima Kohli, PS Narasimha, JJ., in Supriyo v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 1348, wrote 4 opinions on the Same Sex Marriage/Marriage Equality matter where they agreed on some points and disagreed on others. In a 366 pages long verdict, heavy on words, all judges said in one voice that there was no fundamental right to marry and that the Supreme Court could not enter judicial legislation to read words into the Special Marriage Act and make it a gender-neutral legislation.

The Court left it to Parliament to undertake this process. There were however some disagreements on certain points where Bhat, Kohli and Narasimha, JJ formed the majority and Chandrachud, CJI and Kaul, J were in dissent.

Narasimha, J., in his judgment highlighted that CJI Chandrachud has classified that status of two persons in relationship: (a) ‘relationships’ which do not have legal consequences, (b) ‘unions’ which have legal consequences and marriages. However, as per him, the Court would violate the doctrine of Separation of Powers if it will positively mandate the State to grant recognition or legal status to ‘unions’ from which benefits will flow, that the doctrine of separation of powers is violated.

The framing of a positive right and the positive entitlements which flow therefrom, essentially require the State to regulate such unions and benefits. In my opinion, the direction in effect, is to amend existing statutory frameworks, if not to legislate afresh.” Read more

Supreme Court strips MPs, MLAs of Immunity for Casting Votes after taking Bribes

The 7-Judge Constitution Bench comprising of Dr. DY Chandrachud, CJI*, AS Bopanna, MM Sundresh, Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha, JB Pardiwala, Sanjay Kumar and Manoj Misra, JJ., in Sita Soren v. Union of India, 2024 SCC OnLine SC 229, overturned the 5-Judge Bench 1998 verdict in P.V. Narasimha Rao v. State (CBI/SPE), (1998) 4 SCC 626, wherein it was established that the Member of Parliaments (‘MP’) and Member of Legislative Assemblies (‘MLA’) enjoyed immunity if they cast vote in the House after taking bribe for it. Read more

‘Special Benches, Suo Motu cases’; SC issues guidelines for HCs for expeditious disposal of criminal cases against MPs and MLAs

In Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India, (2024) 1 SCC 185, related to expeditious disposal of criminal cases against elected members of the Parliament (MPs) and Legislative Assemblies (MLAs), the 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, CJI* and PS Narasimha and Manoj Misra, JJ., issued several directions including a direction to the Chief Justices of the High Courts to register a suo-motu case with the title, “In Re: designated courts for MPs/MLAs” to monitor early disposal of criminal cases pending against the members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies. The suo-motu case may be heard by the Special Bench presided by the Chief Justice or a bench assigned by them. Read more

Promotional trailers not binding offers; Supreme Court sets aside NCDRC order against YRF for not including ‘Jabra Fan’ song in the movie Fan

In Yash Raj Films (P) Ltd. v. Afreen Fatima Zaidi, 2024 SCC OnLine SC 578, concerning a consumer dispute, wherein National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (‘NCDRC’) have allowed the complaint alleging deficiency of service based on a ‘contractual obligation’ and ‘unfair trade practice’, the division bench of PS Narasimha* and Aravind Kumar, JJ. while setting aside the impugned order, held that promotional trailers are unilateral and do not qualify as offers eliciting acceptance, and as such they do not transform into promises, much less agreements enforceable by law. Further, the facts do not indicate adoption of an unfair trade practice under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. (‘Act’). Read more

Supreme Court 5-Judge Bench Ruling on Group of Companies Doctrine

The 5 Judges Bench comprising of Dr. Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud C.J.*, Hrishikesh Roy, Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha*, J B Pardiwala, Manoj Misra, JJ. in Cox & Kings Ltd. v. SAP India (P) Ltd., (2024) 4 SCC 1, were called upon in a reference by the 3-Judges Bench to determine the validity of the ‘Group of Companies’ doctrine (‘Doctrine’) in the Indian arbitration jurisprudence. The Court unanimously upheld the application of the Doctrine in the Indian Arbitration regime.

Justice Narasimha, in his concurring opinion with supplemental reasoning said that the focus on mutual intention reflects a fundamental difference between the Doctrine and the principle of ‘piercing the veil’ or alter ego. He explained that in veil-piercing, the separate legal identities of the parent and subsidiary companies are disregarded or nullified on equity and fairness considerations in order to prevent frauds. Therefore, he opined that the application of the Doctrine does not result in lifting the corporate veil and is rather based on identifying the mutual intention of the parties. On referring and comparison of various jurisdictions for application and rejection of the Doctrine, Justice Narasimha concluded that various jurisdictions use both consensual and non-consensual legal principles to determine whether a non-signatory is a party to an arbitration agreement and that the Doctrine is applied irrespective of the distinct juridical identities of each member of the group when they share a common economic reality by virtue of their role in the formation, performance, and termination of the contract. Read more

Whether contracts entered in name of President are immune from provisions protecting against conflict of interest of a party to contract?

In Glock Asia-Pacific Ltd. v. Union of India, (2023) 8 SCC 226, filed under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 for the appointment of a Sole Arbitrator by Glock Asia-Pacific Ltd, the three-Judge Bench of Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, CJI, PS Narasimha* and J.B. Pardiwala, JJ. allowed the present application and appointed Justice Indu Malhotra, a former judge of Supreme Court as the sole Arbitrator to adjudicate upon the disputes arising under and in connection with the Conditions of Tender entered between the parties, subject to the mandatory disclosures under the amended Section 12 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. Further, it opined that a contract entered in the name of the President, cannot create an immunity against the application of any statutory prescription imposing conditions on parties to an agreement, when the Government chooses to enter a contract. Read more

Supreme Court on Judicial Officers’ pension: Recommendations, Compliance Timeline and Key Observations

Giving an important ruling on Judicial Officers’ pension, the 3-judge bench of Dr DY Chandrachud, CJI and V Ramasubramanian and PS Narasimha*, JJ., in All India Judges Assn. v. Union of India, (2024) 1 SCC 546, has observed that for efficient functioning of judicial system, it is necessary that judges of caliber and capacity are provided with the right incentives and promotion opportunities to maintain the high level of functioning of the judiciary. The Court has, hence, directed the High Courts and the competent authorities, to carry out necessary amendments in Service Rules of the Judicial Officers across all jurisdictions, to bring them in conformity with the following accepted recommendations within a period of 3 months. Read more

Supreme Court directs States and UTs to send their Menstrual Hygiene Management Policy to Centre

In Jaya Thakur v. Government of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 433, where a social worker raised important issues of public interest bearing on the need for sanitation and menstrual hygiene for females who are studying in school; the full bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, C.J., PS Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala, JJ., directed all the States and Union Territories to submit their menstrual hygiene management strategies and plans and to ensure that disposal mechanisms are available in school complexes for safe disposal of sanitary pads. Read more

Supreme Court stays Kerala HC order directing a woman in same-sex relationship to undergo counselling

The 3-judge Bench comprising Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud, C.J., and P.S. Narasimha, J.B. Pardiwala, JJ., in Devu G. v. V. State of Kerala, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 112, stayed Kerala High Court’s order directing a woman in same-sex relationship to undergo counselling sessions. The petitioner-appellant had approached the High Court seeking a writ of habeas corpus while alleging that she is in a same-sex relationship with the detenu who is kept in illegal detention by her parents. Read more

Why Supreme Court found no fault in cinema hall owners prohibiting outside food and beverages

The division bench of Dr D.Y. Chandrachud, CJ* and P.S. Narasimha J., in K.C. Cinema v. State of Jammu and Kashmir, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 22, set aside the impugned order of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and stated that the movie goers are bound by the condition of entry determined by the theatre owners i.e., prohibition on carrying food and beverages from outside into the precincts of the movie hall. Read more

[Enrollment fees] | Supreme Court issues notices to Union Government, Bar Council of India and State Bar Councils

In a writ petition titled Gaurav Kumar v. Union of India, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 391, filed against the Union Government, Bar Council of India and State Bar Councils for charging the exorbitant enrolment fees and declaring the amount taken as arbitrary, unreasonable, and illegal, the full bench comprising of Dr. DY Chandrachud, C.J., P.S. Narasimha and J.B Pardiwala, JJ. termed this as a “significant issue” and issued notices to the Union Government, Bar Council of India and State Bar Councils. Read more

SCBA cannot assert right over 1.33 acres of Supreme Court land for constructing lawyers’ chambers; Supreme Court dismisses petition filed by Senior Advocate Vikas Singh

While exercising its civil original jurisdiction, the full bench of Dr. D Y Chandrachud, C.J.*, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha J.J., in Constitution v. Ministry of Urban Development, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 322 held that it cannot consider the plea of the Supreme Court Bar Association (‘SCBA’) on the judicial side, to convert the entire 1.33 acres of the land allotted to the Supreme Court by the Ministry of Urban Development for the space for lawyers’ chambers. Read more

Supreme Court verdict on scope of Pre-referral jurisdiction of High Court under S. 11 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act

In an appeal against the decision of Delhi High Court, wherein the Court allowed the respondent’s application under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 for the constitution of an Arbitral Tribunal, the Division Bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, C.J. and P.S. Narasimha*, J., in NTPC Ltd. v. SPML Infra Ltd., 2023 SCC OnLine SC 389, held that the High Court has committed an error in allowing the application under Section 11(6) of the Act. It ought to have examined the issue of the final settlement of disputes in the context of the principles laid down in Vidya Drolia v. Durga Trading Corpn., (2019) 20 SCC 406. Read more

Mere recommendation of the SP at the initial stage not sufficient to claim a right for promotion

In Sushil Kumar v. State of Haryana, (2022) 3 SCC 203, where a Constable’s name was recommended by the Superintendent of Police but the same was dropped down by the Inspector General of Police for promotion under the 10% quota of outstanding performance for inclusion in the B-I List for promotion to the post of Head Constable in the year 2004, the bench of KM Joseph and PS Narsimha, JJ has held that mere recommendation of the SP at the initial stage is not sufficient to claim a right for promotion. Read more

Compassionate Appointment cannot be denied to children born from the second wife of a deceased employee

Holding that the condition imposed by the Railway Board circular that compassionate appointment cannot be granted to children born from the second wife of a deceased employee is discriminatory, the 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha, JJ., in Mukesh Kumar v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 229, held that an applicant cannot be denied consideration under the scheme of compassionate appointments only because he is the son of the second wife of his father.

“Familial origins include the validity of the marriage of the parents of a claimant of compassionate appointment and the claimant’s legitimacy as their child. The policy cannot discriminate against a person only on the ground of descent by classifying children of the deceased employee as legitimate and illegitimate and recognizing only the right of legitimate descendant.” Read more

“A bus by bus, a mini-bus by mini-bus and not bus by a mini-bus” isn’t a correct way to interpret the expression “same nature”

The Division Bench comprising of K.M. Joseph and Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha, JJ., in RTA v. Shaju, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 209, held that Rule 174(2)(c) of the Kerala Motor Vehicle Rules,1989 is valid and salutary and does not go beyond the scope of Section 83 of the MV Act, 1988. While interpreting the expression “same nature” the Bench observed that such expressions are better kept open ended to enable courts to subserve the needs of changing circumstances. The Bench expressed,

“…the assumption in the impugned judgment that the expression “same nature” is confined only to, mean “a bus by bus, a mini-bus by mini-bus and not bus by a minibus….” is not a correct way to read the provision. There is no need to restrict the meaning of an expression ‘same nature’.” Read more

Merely writing “cancelled” on registered power of attorney wouldn’t make it null and void

The Division Bench of K.M. Joseph and Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha, JJ., in Amar Nath v. Gian Chand, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 102, held that mere writing the word “cancelled” or drawing a line would not render Power of Attorney null and void as there must be cancellation and it must further be brought to the notice of the third party at any rate. Read more

“State cannot hide behind delay & laches to evade its responsibility after acquiring land. There cannot be a “limitation” to doing justice”

In Sukh Dutt Ratra v. State of H.P., (2022) 7 SCC 508, where the bench of S. Ravindra Bhat and P.S. Narasimha, JJ., were posed with the question as to whether the State can, merely on the ground of delay and laches, evade its legal responsibility towards those from whom private property has been expropriated, answering in negative, the bench held that the State cannot shield itself behind the ground of delay and laches as there cannot be a ‘limitation’ to doing justice. Read more

OLX Frauds| Supreme Court sets aside P&H HC order directing deletion and re-listing of OLX advertisements with proofs

The 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and PS Narsimha, JJ., in Olx India B.V. v. State of Haryana, (2022) 4 SCC 390, set aside the Punjab and Haryana High Court order directing that the advertisements on OLX platform be deleted and be re-listed only after attaching an open PDF file along with each advertisement containing proofs and certificates. Read more

Lok Adalat Award cannot be a basis for redetermination of the compensation under Section 28-A of the LA Act

The bench of KM Joseph and PS Narasimha, JJ., in NOIDA v. Yunus, (2022) 9 SCC 516, were called upon to decide whether the Award passed by a Lok Adalat can form the basis for redetermination of compensation as contemplated under Section 28-A of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The Court held that an application under Section 28A of the LA Act cannot be maintained on the basis of an award passed by the Lok Adalat under Section 20 of LSA Act. Read more

Supreme Court’s test for invoking power under Section 319 CrPC

The bench of KM Joseph and PS Narasimha, JJ., in Ramesh Chandra Srivastava v. State of U.P., (2021) 12 SCC 608, reiterated the test laid down for invoking the power under Section 319 CrPC and has held that only when strong and cogent evidence occurs against a person from the evidence the power under Section 319, CrPC should be exercised. This power cannot be exercised in a casual and cavalier manner. Read more

Is there a policy rewarding public prosecutors for securing death sentence? Supreme Court asks M.P. government in a Suo Motu case

The 3-Bench comprising of Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and P.S. Narasimha, JJ., in Irfan v. State of M.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1053, issued notice to Madhya Pradesh government on being appraised that there is a policy of incentivising public prosecutors for obtaining capital punishments in matters prosecuted by them. Read more

Solitary Confinement of Death Row Convicts: Judicial officer to probe to apprise Supreme Court of ground reality

While addressing an appeal alleging solitary confinement of a death row convict, the 3-Judge Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and P.S. Narasimha, JJ., in B.A. Umesh v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1052, directed local inspection by a District Judge to throw light on the ground situation. Read more

1. Mukesh Kumar v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 229

2. Chief Justice & Judges | SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (sci.gov.in)

3. Soon To- be Judge P.S. Narasimha, Times of India

4. P.S. Narasimha, SC Observer

5. PS Narasimha resigns a ASG, Economic Times

6. Legal Aid, Supreme Court of India

7. Chief Justice & Judges | SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (sci.gov.in)

8. Italian Marines Case, NDTV

9. PS Narsimha elevation, Live Law

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