“The world acknowledges that children in conflict with law should be treated differently than adults in conflict with law. The reason is that the mind of the child has not attained maturity and it is still developing. Therefore, the child should be tested on different parameters and should be given an opportunity of being brought into the main stream if, during his juvenility, has acted in conflict with law.”
Barun Chandra Thakur v. Bholu, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 870
To Know About:
Name: Vikram Nath (Sitting Judge of the Supreme Court of India)
Assumed Office: 31-08-2021
Retires On: 24-09-2027
Previously: Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court
Judge of the Allahabad High Court
Born on 24-09-1962, Justice Vikram Nath hails from a family of lawyers with him being the 4th generation in his family to pursue law. He obtained his law degree from the University of Lucknow in 1986. He enrolled as an advocate on 30-03-1987 and practised as an advocate in the Allahabad High Court.
- Did You Know? Justice Nath practised as an advocate for 17 years before he was elevated as an Additional Judge of the Allahabad High Court in 2004.
Justice Vikram Nath was elevated as an Additional Judge of the Allahabad High Court on 24-09-2004 and was made a permanent Judge of the Allahabad High Court on 27-02-2006.
- Did You Know? Justice Vikram Nath was recommended for first Chief Justice of new Andhra Pradesh HC, following the bifurcation of a combined High Court for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, but the Centre disapproved the recommendations.
Justice Nath was appointed as Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court on 10-09-2019.
- Did You Know? Justice Nath is the first Chief Justice of a High Court in India to live stream its proceedings on Youtube during the 2020 Covid Pandemic.
Justice Nath was elevated to the Supreme Court on 31-08-2021.
- Did You Know? Justice Vikram Nath is likely to serve as the Chief Justice of India for seven months from February 10, 2027 to September 24, 2027.
Notable Judgements at Supreme Court
Manipulated laboratory report, broken links of evidence; Supreme Court reverses concurrent findings of Courts below to acquit a murder accused
The Division Bench of Hemant Gupta and Vikram Nath*, JJ., reversed the impugned judgments of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Trial Court of convicting the appellant for murder on the basis of circumstantial evidence.
Noting that there were many broken links in the chain of evidence and the prosecution could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Casting a doubt on the prosecution version, the Court remarked,
“The milk which is said to be adulterated with the poison was taken out from the refrigerator, transferred into a pan for boiling, and thereafter given to the deceased. If it actually had organophosphorus in it the smell would have filled up the room. The deceased being a healthy woman aged 45 years would not have consumed it if the pungent smell was coming from the milk. Even the informant did not sense any foul smell from the milk while boiling it.”
[Rajbir Singh v. State of Punjab, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1090, decided on 24-08-2022]
Mental capacity & ability to understand consequences of acts not same; Guidelines must be in place for preliminary assessment of children above 16 years of age for trial as adults
In an unfortunate incident in 2017, a class II student was found with his throat slit in the bathroom of his school. A class XI student, aged 16 years and 5 months on the date of the incident, was arrested. The Supreme Court was called upon to examine the preliminary assessment made under Section 15 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The bench of Dinesh Maheshwari and Vikram Nath*, JJ has asked the Central Government and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights to consider issuing guidelines or directions in this regard which may assist and facilitate the Board in making the preliminary assessment under section 15 of the Act, 2015.
“A child with average intelligence/IQ will have the intellectual knowledge of the consequences of his actions. But whether or not he is able to control himself or his actions will depend on his level of emotional competence. For example, risky driving may result in an accident. But if emotional competence is not high, the urge for thrill seeking may get the better of his intellectual understanding.”
[Barun Chandra Thakur v. Bholu, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 870, decided on 13.07.2022]
Unless there’s a written instrument declaring land was voluntarily relinquished for no consideration, State cannot deny payment of compensation
The Division Court of Vikram Nath* and Dinesh Masheswari, JJ., held that the State’s act of taking the appellants’ property, all being farmers, without compensation, was arbitrary, irrational, and a clear violation of Article 300A of the Constitution. Since the land in question was agricultural, the Court opined that non-payment of adequate compensation would amount to a violation of the right to livelihood; a fundamental right under Article 21.
[Kalyani v. Sulthan Bathery Municipality, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 516, decided on 26-04-2022]
Mafat Lal v. State of Rajasthan, (2022) 6 SCC 589
The Division Court of Vikram Nath* and S A Nazeer, JJ., held that kidnapping would necessarily involve enticing or taking away any minor under 18 yrs of age, if a female, for offence under S. 363 IPC to be made out.
Why has the legislature left it open for the plaintiff to value his claim for the six categories of the suit falling under Section 7(iv) of the Court Fees Act, 1870?
In case relating to court fees, the bench of Dinesh Maheshwari and Vikram Nath*, JJ had the occasion to explains why the legislature had left it open for the plaintiff to value his claim for the six categories of the suit falling under Section 7(iv) of the Court Fees Act, 1870.
[State of Punjab v. Dev Brat Sharma, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 330, decided on 16.03.2022]
Right to promotion is not considered to be a fundamental right but consideration for promotion has now been evolved as a fundamental right: Supreme Court
The 3-Judges Bench comprising of D.Y. Chandrachud, Vikram Nath* and B.V. Nagarathna, JJ., set aside the seniority list prepared by the Department of Minor Irrigation, U.P. on finding the list to be in contravention of statutory mandate. The Bench stated,
“The Appointing Authority ought to have prepared a combined merit list based upon the performance or the proficiency on the basis of the marks received in the selection test as prepared by the Commission; otherwise, it would amount to denial of the right of consideration for promotion to a more meritorious candidate as against a candidate having lesser merit.”
[Ajay Kumar Shukla v. Arvind Rai, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1195, decided on 08-12-2021]
Same offence but separate trials – Can appellate court pass common judgment based on evidence recorded in only one trial?
In the case where two different criminal appeals were being heard against two sets of accused, on account of one of them absconding, and decided against two different judgments based upon evidence recorded in separate trials, though for the commission of the same offence, the 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath* and BV Nagarathna, has held that the Madras High Court fell into an error while passing a common judgement, based on evidence recorded in only one trial, against two sets of accused persons having been subjected to separate trials.
[AT Mydeen v. Customs Department, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1017, decided on 29.10.2021]
Entire country under impression that Re-Rolling Steel Plants do not require prior Environmental Clearance; NGT right in giving such plants opportunity to meet the requirement
In an appeal regarding the jurisdiction of National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) to pass an order to operate a unit without Environmental Clearance and against the decision of closure of the unit, the bench of Hemant Gupta* and Vikram Nath, JJ. has observed that there was no error in the order passed by the Tribunal that opportunity should be provided to re-rolling or cold rolling units to fall within Environmental Clearance (EC) regime by granting a period of at least one year to operate for the purpose. However, the order of closure of the unit cannot be sustained.
[Gajubha Jadeja Jesar v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 993, decided on 10.08.2022]
Bilkis Bano’s rapists walk free: Supreme Court issues notice to Gujarat Government
When on August 15, 2022, her rapists walked out of the prison after serving 15 years’ imprisonment based on Gujarat Government’s remission policy, Bilkis Bano found herself “bereft of words” and “numb”.
The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath, JJ has issued notice to the Gujarat Government on the release of 11 men convicted for the gangrape of Bilkis Bano during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The Court has also directed that the 11 released men be impleaded as parties in the plea challenging the decision of the Gujarat Government.
[Subhashini Ali v. State of Gujarat, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1083, order dated 25.08.2022]
What happens when a candidate, in a competitive exam, uses different language in answer sheet than that filled in application form?
In the case where a candidate appearing for examination for recruitment to the post of Constables in Railway Protection Force (RPF) had used a different language in the OMR answer book than that filled in the application form, the bench of Hemant Gupta* and Vikram Nath, JJ has held that his candidature was rightly rejected.
[Union of India v. Mahendra Singh, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 909, decided on 25.07.2022]
Bail applications of co-accused arising from the self-same FIR shall be listed before the same court to avoid disparity
With a view to bringing reform in practices relating to disposal of bail applications arising from the same case, the Division Bench of Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath, JJ., held that where more than one bail application has been filed by co-accused of offences arising from self-same FIR, all such applications shall be listed before the same court to avoid disparity.
[Abhyanand Sharma v. State of Bihar, W.P. (Cr) No. 420 of 2021, decided on 10-05-2022]
FIR for repeated rape cannot be filed just because a long standing relationship is no longer working out; Pre-arrest bail granted
The Division Bench of Hemant Gupta and Vikram Nath, JJ has granted pre-arrest bail to a man in a case relating to the rape of the woman he had been in a relationship with for four years.
When the relationship between the bail applicant and the complainant started, the complainant was 21 years of age. Taking these factors together, the Court observed,
“…the complainant has willingly been staying with the appellant and had the relationship. Therefore, now if the relationship is not working out, the same cannot be a ground for lodging an FIR for the offence under Section 376(2)(n) IPC.”
[Ansaar Mohammad v. State of Rajasthan, CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.962 OF 2022, order dated 14.07.2022]
Long co-habiting couple’s child cannot be disentitled from family property in absence of proof against presumption of marriage
In a family property dispute wherein the legitimacy of one of the contenders was questioned, the Division Bench of SA Nazeer* and Vikram Nath, JJ has held that if a man and a woman live together for long years as husband and wife, there would be a presumption in favour of wedlock and since in the present case, the defendants had failed to rebut the presumption in favour of a marriage between the plaintiff’s parents on account of their long co-habitation, he cannot be held to be an illegitimate son.
[Kattukandi Edathil Krishnan v. Kattukandi Edathil Valsan, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 737, decided on 13.06.2022]
Whether the term “school children” includes university students while interpreting Government Memo exempting buses carrying school children from Passengers Tax?
While holding that the term “school children” will include college and university as well while interpreting government memo exempting passengers’ tax in respect of Stage Carriage (buses) owned by educational institution and used for the transportation of children to and from such institutions, the Division Bench of Dinesh Maheshwari and Vikram Nath, JJ., remarked,
“It gets perforce reiterated that the broad expression “children”, obviously, refers to the students taking instructions in educational institutions, irrespective of their class or standard or level.”
[State of Haryana v. Daronacharya College of Engineering, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 3333, order dated 27-09-2021]
IGST on Ocean Freight for imports unconstitutional; Won’t create a level playing field but will drive Indian shipping lines out of business
In the case where the constitutionality of two Central Government notifications related to levy of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) was under scanner, the 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud*, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath, JJ has held that since the Indian importer is liable to pay IGST on the ‘composite supply’, comprising of supply of goods and supply of services of transportation, insurance, etc. in a CIF contract, a separate levy on the Indian importer for the ‘supply of services’ by the shipping line would be in violation of Section 8 of the CGST Act.
The Court observed that,
“If Indian shipping lines continue to be taxed and not their competitors, namely, the foreign shipping lines, the margins arising out of taxation from GST would not create a level playing field and drive the Indian shipping lines out of business.”
[Union of India v. Mohit Minerals (P) Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 657, decided on 19.05.2022]
“Democratic interests cannot be judicially aborted to preserve unfettered freedom to conduct business, of the few”; Govt. decision to ban MTTs in PPE products ensures adequate PPE in India
In a case where an intermediary between the sale of PPE products by a supplier in China to a buyer in the United States, challenged the prohibition of the export of PPE products from India, the bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud*, Vikram Nath and BV Nagarathna, JJ held that as a developing country with a sizeable population, banning MTTs in PPE products was critical in ensuring that Indian foreign exchange reserves are not utilized to facilitate the hoarding of PPE products with wealthier nations.
The Court held that,
“Democratic interests that secure the well-being of the masses cannot be judicially aborted to preserve the unfettered freedom to conduct business, of the few.”
[Akshay N. Patel v. RBI, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1180, decided on 06.12.2021]
Disciplinary proceedings against person with mental disability is a facet of indirect discrimination; SC sets aside action against CRPF personnel
In a case where the CRPF had initiated disciplinary proceeding against a person with a medical history of obsessive compulsive disorder and depression and has been undergoing treatment for the same since 2009, the 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud*, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath, JJ has held that the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against persons with mental disabilities is a facet of indirect discrimination as such persons suffer a disproportionate disadvantage due to the impairment and are more likely to be subjected to disciplinary proceedings.
“…while the stigma and discrimination against persons with mental health disorders are rampant in society, as the highest constitutional court of the country, it falls upon us to ensure that societal discrimination does not translate into legal discrimination.”
[Ravindra Kumar Dhariwal v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1293, decided on 17.12.2021]
Women burdened with an unequal share of family responsibilities yet discriminated at workplace; State must consider family life while framing any policy
Speaking about the systemic discrimination on account of gender at the workplace which encapsulates the patriarchal construction that permeates all aspects of a woman’s being from the outset, including reproduction, sexuality and private choices, within an unjust structure, the bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud* and Vikram Nath, JJ has observed that it becomes necessary for the Government to adopt policies through which it produces substantive equality of opportunity as distinct from a formal equality for women in the workplace.
[SK Nausad Rahaman v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 297, decided on 10.03.2022]
Notable Judgements at High Court
[Midnight Hearing] | Situation of Ahmedabad on account of COVID-19 cannot be compared with situation in Puri or in the State of Orissa (sic Odisha); No Rath Yatra at Ahmedabad
A Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ* and J.B. Pardiwala, J., rejected all the civil applications in a midnight hearing, filed with regard to granting permission for Rath Yatra on the ground that Supreme Court allowed the Yatra in restricted manner by modifying its earlier order.
[Mahant Akhileshwardasji Ramlakhandasji v. State of Gujarat, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 917 , decided on 23-06-2020]
Also Read | SC modifies order; Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra to take place in a restricted manner
“If State would not have been doing anything, we all would have been dead”: Gujarat High Court berates politicizing of COVID-19 situation while at the same time reminding the State of its Constitutional obligations
A Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ and J.B. Pardiwala, J.* while addressing certain issues with regard to COVID-19, stated that,
“Healthcare access is the ability to obtain healthcare services such as prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases, illness, disorders, and other health impacting conditions. For healthcare to be accessible it must be affordable and convenient.”
[Suo Motu v. State of Gujarat, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 836, decided on 29-05-2020]
[COVID-19] | No Rath Yatra shall be carried out at Ahmedabad; No activities secular or religious associated with Rath Yatra to be conducted
A Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ* and J.B. Pardiwala, J., held that in view of present times of outbreak of COVID-19, there shall be no Rath Yatra at Ahmedabad and any of the districts in the State of Gujarat.
[Hitesh Kumar Vittalbhai Chavda v. Shri Jagannathji Mandir Trust, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 910 , decided on 20-06-2020]
U.P. Power Corpn. Ltd. v. Urmila Devi, 2011 SCC OnLine All 152
The 3- Judge Bench comprising of Ferdino Inacio Rebello, C.J. and Vineet Saran and Vikram Nath, JJ., deliberated upon the question that whether the definition of “family” under the U.P. State Electricity Board Dying in Harness Rules, 1975 would include a daughter-in-law. It was observed that a daughter-in-law on the death of her husband, does not cease to be a part of the family.
“The concept that such daughter-in-law must go back and stay with her parents is abhorrent to our civilized society. Such daughter-in-law must, therefore, have also right to be considered for compassionate appointment as she is part of the family where she is? married and if staying with her husband’s family. In this context, in our opinion, arbitrariness, as presently existing, can be avoided by including the daughter-in-law in the definition of ‘family’. Otherwise, the definition to that extent, prima facie, would be irrational and arbitrary. The State, therefore, to consider this aspect and take appropriate steps so that a widowed daughter-in-law like a widowed daughter, is also entitled for consideration by way of compassionate appointment, if other criteria is satisfied”.
‘Harrowing Tales, Unfortunate and Unimaginable Difficulties’ HC takes suo moto cognizance due to upsurge in COVID-19 cases and asks what steps Government will take
The Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ and Bhargav D. Karia, J., had a dialogue with the Senior most State Law Officers, Advocate General and Government Pleader expressing concern regarding the upsurge of COVID-19 cases in the State and requesting the State to take appropriate measures in order to check and control the rise in COVID-19 cases and its management.
[Suo Motu v. State of Gujarat, R/WP (PIL) No. 53 of 2021, decided on 12-04-2021]
Respondent entitled to gratuity under S. 2(e) of Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Act, 2009; Court dismisses appeal while reproducing observations of Single Judge
The Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ and Ashutosh J. Shastri, J., dismissed a Letters Patent Appeal which was filed aggrieved by the judgment and order passed in Special Civil Application.
The Court stated that order cannot be said to be perverse in any form, as all possible contentions which had been raised have been dealt with by the Single Judge. The Court further mentioned that after construing the relevant provisions, namely Section 2(e) of the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Act, 2009 and after analyzing the facts in the context of Section 40(c) of the Act, they were in conformity with the view taken by the Single Judge.
[Godhara Sarvajanik Shikshan Mandal v. Dimpleben Bhrupeshkumar Shah, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 1656, decided on 03-02-2020]
Employed woman permitted to appear for All India Bar Examination; Directions issued to the Bar Council of Gujarat
A Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ and J.B. Padiwala, J., allowed a petition which was filed praying to issue an appropriate writ, order or direction in order to quash and set aside Rule 1 and Rule 2 of the Bar Council of Gujarat (Enrollment) Rules to the extent that they prohibited the admission of a person who was otherwise qualified to be admitted as an advocate, but was either in full or part-time service or employment or was engaged in any trade, business or profession, as an advocate.
[Twinkle Rahul Mangaonkar v. Union of India, R/Special Civil Application No. 15123 of 2019, decided on 06-10-2020]
Virtual Streaming of Court proceedings to be decided after Judge’s report to work out modalities in view of facilitating public at large
A Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ and P.B. Pardiwala*, J., while addressing an issue with regard to the live streaming of the Court proceedings held that a committee to work out the modalities for the said purpose has been constituted comprising of two Judges of this Court.
“Right to Know and receive information is one of the facts of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and for which reason the public is entitled to witness the Court proceedings.”
[Pruthvirajsinh Zala v. Gujarat High Court, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 1055 , decided on 20-07-2020]
Tablighi Jamaat Crisis | Union of India to provide complete information to State of Gujarat of persons who were present for Tablighi Jamaat & have entered Gujarat
A Division Bench of Vikram Nath*, CJ and Ashutosh J. Shastri, J. addressed a suo motu public interest litigation in view of incident of mass congregation in Delhi.
At least 200 members of the said congregation have been reported to traveled to the State of Gujarat who may be infected with COVID-19. News reports have further confirmed death of one person in Gujarat out of a total of 8 deaths all over the country who had participated in the congregation at Delhi.
[Suo Motu v. State of Gujarat, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 385, decided on 01-04-2020]
* Judge who has penned the judgment.
†Ritu Singh, Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd.