Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

“Higher the forum and greater the powers, the greater is the need for restraint”

Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court: While allowing the instant petition wherein the aggrieved party invoked the jurisdiction of the Court under Section 482 CrPC, seeking to expunge the adverse remarks, observations and directions made by the Additional Sessions Judge, Jammu; the bench of Mohan Lal, J., observed that for proper administration of justices, judges must remember the general principle of highest importance that, derogatory remarks are not to be made against persons, unless such censuring of conduct is absolutely necessary for the case. “The Judge’s Bench is a seat of power and has absolute and unchallengeable control of the court domain, but they cannot misuse their authority by intemperate comments, undignified banter or scathing criticism of counsel, parties or witnesses”.

Facts of the case: The petitioner who is the Dy. Superintendent of Police (HQ), Kishtwar, was handling investigation in several cases filed under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Arms Act. Upon completion of investigation in one of the cases [FIR No. 01/2020], the matter was presented before the Trial Court. In the impugned order dated 02-06-2021, the Additional Sessions Judge, after framing the charges, went on to make certain observations regarding the conduct of investigation into the matter with particular focus on the petitioner. The Judge noted that, “during investigation I/O/petitioner has conducted the investigation in a lethargic and sluggish manner (…) much better investigation could be conducted by even a Head Constable in comparison to I/O (…) I am quite surprised that how Mr. Sunny Gupta, Dy. SP has qualified the administrative examination of the state and become Dy. SP in the police department”.

Aggrieved by the afore-stated remarks, the petitioner knocked on the doors of the High Court.

Contentions:

  • The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the disparaging remarks made by the Trial Court against the petitioner have the potential to demoralize the police officers, who by putting their lives to grave risks, are bursting the militants/terrorists’ network and are investigating the cases under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
  • It was argued that though it is right of the courts to make free and fearless comments and observations, but there is corresponding need for maintaining sobriety, moderation and restraint regarding the character, conduct, integrity, credibility etc. of parties or witnesses or others concerned. The Judges and Magistrates must be guided by considerations of justice, fair play and restraint.
  • The petitioner also submitted that, the remarks of the Trial Court regarding the petitioner’s eligibility and professional competency were harsh/disparaging which should not have been made by the Trial Court which was only dealing with a question of charge/discharge of the accused.

Per- contra, the respondents argued that

  • Petitioner had failed to investigate the case in a manner required under law against the accused persons, therefore, the Trial Court correctly recorded that investigation has been conducted in a very perfunctory and unprofessional manner, whereby, IGP Jammu has been directed by the trial court to conduct departmental enquiry against the petitioner,
  • It was contended that the impugned order is in accordance with law and does not suffer from any illegality.

Observations: Perusing the facts, contentions and the disputed remarks, the Court referred to the cases of Niranjan Patnaik v. Sashibhusan Kar, (1986) 2 SCC 569 and Abani Kanta Ray v. State of Orissa, 1995 Supp (4) SCC 169, whereby it was made very clear that, “In expressing their opinions, Judges and Magistrates must be guided by consideration of justice, fair play and restraint, (…) the judges should not normally depart from sobriety, moderation and reserve and harsh or disparaging remarks are not to be made against the parties or authorities unless it is really necessary for the decision of the case as integral part thereof”

  • The Court observed that petitioner as I/O of the case, in his best wisdom, has collected all the material/evidence during the investigation conducted by him and has placed all the relevant evidence before the Trial Court. Therefore, it was the duty of the Trial Court evaluate the presented evidence on the record and to prima-facie come to conclusion whether accused persons can be charged/discharged.
  • The Court pointed out that it was not necessary for the Trial Court to record such harsh/disparaging remarks against the petitioner. “Law is no longer res-integra that the harsh or disparaging remarks are not to be made against the persons and authorities whose conduct comes into consideration before the courts unless heard”.
  • The Court stated that Judicial restraint and discipline are necessary to the orderly administration of justice. “The duty of restraint is humility of function and should be a constant theme of our Judges”.

Decision: Directing that the derogatory remarks made by the Additional Sessions Judge against the petitioner be expunged, the Court held that the Trial Court was supposed to pass/record an order on the charge/discharge of the accused persons, and it was not absolutely necessary for the Sessions Judge to pass any remark regarding the conduct of the petitioner vis-a-vis the conduct of investigation and discharge of the accused.

[Sunny Gupta v. Union Territory of J&K, 2022 SCC OnLine J&K 520, decided on 04-07-2022]


Advocates appearing in the case :

Sunil Sethi, Sr. Advocate with Lawanya Sharma, Advocates, for the Petitioner;

Suneel Malhotra, GA, Advocate, for the Respondents.


*Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has prepared this brief.

Know thy Judge

“Publish at your own peril” appears to be the philosophy adopted by our country in the last few decades after Independence. But it appears that a number of countries, both developed and developing, have repealed Laws making defamation a Criminal Offence.”

– Justice V. Ramasubramanian

M. Nedunchezhian v. Bar Council of T.N., 2015 SCC OnLine Mad 5573


 

♦Did you know?Justice Ramasubramanian has immense contribution to Tamil language. He has authored a book in Tamil on the principles of law and justice in Kamba Ramayana (Kambanil Sattamum Neethiyum). He also wrote a series of articles under the caption “Beyond science” (Ariviyalukku Appaal) in a Tamil newspaper for 27 weeks.[1]

Justice V. Ramasubramanian was born on 30-06-1958 in Mannargudi. He did his schooling in Hindu High School at Triplicane. He passed B.Sc from Vivekananda College in Chennai and completed his LL.B. from Madras Law College.

♦Did you know? Justice Ramasubramanian added new vocabulary to the language of Tamil by running a column in a Tamil newspaper under the caption “Sol Vettai” for 50 weeks on the same lines as Barbara Walraff ran a column for Atlantic Times under the caption “Word Court and Word Fugitives.” Many readers of the newspaper got involved in this exercise and one of them was actually serving a life sentence in Puzhal Prison. As a mark of recognition of the involvement of a life convict in this exercise, the judge got the life convict out on parole for the Book release function and made the life convict sit on the dais with him and receive the first copy of the book.[2]


From an Advocate to a Supreme Court Judge


Justice V. Ramasubramanian enrolled as a Member of the Bar on February 16, 1983. He practised in High Court of Madras, City and Small Causes Court, State Consumer Commission and District Consumer Forum, Central and State Administrative Tribunals, Chennai. His mainly practised in Civil and Constitutional matters and was specialized in service matters.

Justice Ramasubramanian had marked his presence in many remarkable cases as an advocate. Some of the significant cases represented by him are:

He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Madras High Court on 31-07-2006 and became permanent Judge on 9-11-2009. He continued to serve in the Madras High Court until 2016, when he was transferred to the common High Court for Andhra Pradesh & Telangana.

♦Did you know? He was transferred on his own request to the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh with effect from April 27, 2016.[3]

♦Did you know? After the bifurcation and the creation of a separate High Court for the State of Andhra Pradesh, he was retained as a Judge of the High Court of Telangana at Hyderabad w.e.f. January 1, 2019.[4]

Justice Ramasubramanian was elevated as the Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court on 22-06-2019. He relinquished the charge on 23-09-2019 (forenoon) on being elevated as a Judge of Honourable Supreme Court of India.[5]

♦Did you know? At the time of his appointment as a judge of Supreme Court, Justice Ramasubramanian was at 42nd number in the nationwide seniority list. The Supreme Court collegium while recommending Justice Ramasubramanian said it “is conscious of the fact that in the seniority of judges hailing from the Madras High Court” he is in second position and after his appointment, “there will be two judges on the bench of the Supreme Court from the Madras high court.” [6]


Notable Judgments at Supreme Court


♦Did you know?  Justice Ramasubramanian recused himself from hearing a plea of Kerala’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Abdul Nazir Maudany, who is an accused in the 2008 Bengaluru serial blasts case, seeking to allow him to go to Kerala and stay there till the trial is concluded.[7]


Asset Reconstruction Co. (India) Ltd v. Chief Controlling Revenue Authority, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 515

While dealing with a case under the Gujarat Stamp Act, 1958, the bench of Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ has held that once a single instrument has been charged under a correct charging provision of the Statute, namely Article 20(a), the Revenue cannot split the instrument into two, because of the reduction in the stamp duty facilitated by a notification of the Government issued under Section 9(a).

Read More…


Dinesh Chandra Shukla v. State of U.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 353

The Division Bench of Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ., reversed the impugned order of the Allahabad High Court holding that where no particular qualification, particularly Master’s Degree in ‘Karm Kand’ was prescribed for the post of Lecturer in ‘Karm Kand’ either by the University Statute or in the advertisement, candidature of the appellant could not be rejected for not holding a Master’s degree in ‘Karm Kand’.

Opining that the appellant’s rejection was a result of stale relationship of the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor, the Bench commented,

“…perhaps the entire selection process undertaken in 2006 by the University, became victims of the crossfire between the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor.”

Read More…


Sanjay Gupta v. State of U.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 443

In the 2006 Meerut fire case, the bench of Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has held the Organizers responsible for the incident and not the Contractor as the Contractor was only responsible for executing work as assigned to him by the Organizers. It observed,

“The contractor has worked for the Organizers and not for the victims. Hence, the Organizers alone are responsible to protect the life and liberty of the victims.”

The court was dealing with the writ petition preferred by the victims of the fire tragedy which occurred on 10.4.2006, the last day of the India Brand Consumer Show organized at Victoria Park, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh by Mrinal Events and Expositions. The incident claimed the lives of 65 persons and left 161 or more with burn injuries.

Read More…


Fertilizer Corpn. of India Ltd. v. Rajesh Chandra Srivastava, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 417

The bench of Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ has held that an ad hoc payment made to the workers pursuant to the interim orders passed by this Court in a previous round of litigation does not form part of “wages” within the meaning of the expression under Section 2(s) of the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, for the purpose of calculating gratuity.

Read More…


Shripati Lakhu Mane v. Maharashtra Water Supply and Sewerage Board, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 383

Explaining the law on abandonment on contractual obligation, the bench of Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ has held that the refusal of a contractor to continue to execute the work, unless the reciprocal promises are performed by the other party, cannot be termed as abandonment of contract. A refusal by one party to a contract, may entitle the other party either to sue for breach or to rescind the contract and sue on a quantum meruit for the work already done.

Read More…


DEVAS Multimedia (P) Ltd.v. Antrix Corporation Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 46

In the case where the bench of Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ upheld NCLAT’s order of winding up of Devas Multimedia Private Limited, the requirement of advertising the winding up petition was looked into and the Court observed that the failure to publish an advertisement would not lead to the automatic dismissal of the petition for winding up.

Read More…


Brigade Enterprises Ltd. v. Anil Kumar Virmani, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1283

In a case where it was alleged that more than one consumer cannot institute a complaint unless they come within the definition of the word “complainant” of Section 2(5) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and also satisfy the requirements of Section 38(11) read with Order I Rule 8 CPC, the bench of Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ has held that it is wrong to contend that wherever there are more consumers than one, they must only take recourse to Order I Rule 8 CPC, even if the complaint is not on behalf of or for the benefit of, all the consumers interested in the matter.

Read More…


Secretary to Govt. Department of Education (Primary) v. Bheemesh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1264

Clearing the air over the applicability of a new or modified Compassionate Appointment Scheme that comes into force after the death of the employee, the bench of Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ the interpretation as to the applicability of a modified Scheme should depend only upon a determinate and fixed criteria such as the date of death and not an indeterminate and variable factor such as the date of consideration of the application of the dependant.

Read More…


Internet and Mobile Assn. of India v. Reserve Bank of India, (2020) 10 SCC 274

The 3-judge bench comprising of R.F. Nariman, Aniruddha Bose and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ set aside the RBI circular that had prevented financial services from trading in crypto-currencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

According to Justice Ramasubramanian RBI’s circular had failed to demonstrate as how the virtual currency trading was causing harm to banks and other types of financial institutions.

Read more…


Kapico Kerala Resorts (P) Ltd. v. State of Kerala, (2020) 3 SCC 18

The 3-judge bench comprising of R.F. Nariman, Aniruddha Bose and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ upheld a Kerala High Court order that had directed Kapico Kerala Resorts to cease encroaching land on Vaamika Island.

The Court held that the decision in Vaamika Island, (2013) 8 SCC 760 was rendered at the stage of special leave petitions and though the Court refused leave, it went on to affirm the findings of High Court, recording detailed reasons therefore. Further, the appellants cannot escape the findings recorded in the said case and once it is found that the main issues arose in common for both the islands and dealt with in common by High Court, had received a seal of approval from Supreme Court by a reasoned order. Further, there is no scope for revisiting the same on the basis of certain minor ancillary issues not specifically dealt with, in the judgment.


Embassy Property Developments (P) Ltd. v. State of Karnataka, (2020) 13 SCC 308

In an important judgment with regards to the jurisdiction of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) to look into fraud in an Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) proceeding, the 3-judge bench of R.F. Nariman, Aniruddha Bose and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ held that the NCLT and NCLAT enjoyed the jurisdiction to look into fraud under Section 65 of the IBC.

The Court while deciding the second issue i.e. whether a High Court could interfere under Article 226/227 of the Constitution of India with a NCLT order in a IBC proceeding and thereby ignore the statutory remedy of appeal to the NCLAT, held that a High Court could interfere in instances where the NCLT had lacked the jurisdiction to entertain a proceeding in the first place.

“NCLT and NCLAT would have jurisdiction to enquire into questions of fraud, they would not have jurisdiction to adjudicate upon disputes such as those arising under MMDR Act, 1957 and the rules issued there under, especially when he disputes revolve around decisions of statutory or quasi ­judicial authorities, which can be corrected only by way of judicial review of administrative action.”


Arjun Panditrao Khotkar v. Kailash Kushanrao Gorantyal, (2020) 7 SCC 1

While interpreting Section 65B of the Evidence Act, 1872 that deals with admissibility of electronic records, the 3-judge bench of R.F. Nariman*, S. Ravindra Bhat and V. Ramasubramanian**, JJ held that the certificate required under Section 65B(4) is a condition precedent to the admissibility of evidence by way of electronic record. The Court further clarified that the required certificate under Section 65B(4) is unnecessary if the original document itself is produced.

Read more…


Mohammad Salimullah v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 296

“National Courts can draw inspiration from International Conventions/Treaties, so long as they are not in conflict with the municipal law.”

While deciding not to grant the interim relief prayed by the petitioners, the 3-judge bench of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ directed that the Rohingyas in Jammu, on whose behalf the present application is filed, shall not be deported unless the procedure prescribed for such deportation is followed.

“…right not to be deported, is ancillary or concomitant to the right to reside or settle in any part of the territory of India guaranteed under Article 19(1)(e).”

Read more…


Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. v. Cyrus Investments Private Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 272

“The relief of reinstatement granted by the Tribunal, was too big a pill even for the complainant companies, and perhaps Cyrus Mistry, to swallow.”

Concluding the corporate sage in the Tata-Mistry Row, the 3-judge bench comprising of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has answered all questions in favour of Tata Sons and upheld the removal of Cyrus Mistry as Chairman by the Tata Sons.

The Court observed that

“NCLAT appears to have granted the relief of reinstatement gratis without any foundation in pleadings, without any prayer and without any basis in law, thereby forcing upon the appellant an Executive Chairman, who now is unable to support his own reinstatement.”

Read more…

Also Read: Tata v. Mistry: A Case for Greater Protection of Minority Shareholders’ Rights 


Satyama Dubey v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 874

In a case pertaining to the brutal gang-rape and assault of a 19-year old girl, also known as Hathras Gang Rape Case, the 3-judge bench of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ, while observing that the perception and pessimism are not without justification and directed the CRPF to provide security to the victim’s family and witnesses within a week “in order to allay all apprehensions and only as a confidence building measure”.

Read more…


Association for Democratic Reforms v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 266

“All that is required is a little more effort to cull out such information from both sides (purchaser of bond and political party) and do some “match the following”.”

While refusing to interfere with the Scheme of sale of electoral bonds by the Political Parties, the 3-judge bench comprising of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V, Ramasubramanian, JJ has held that the operations under the Electoral Bonds Scheme are not behind iron curtains incapable of being pierced.

The Court also observed that even though the Scheme provides anonymity, it is intended to ensure that everything happens only through banking channels.

Read more…


Attorney General for India v. Satish, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 42

In a Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed against the controversial Bombay High Court judgment, the 3-judge bench comprising of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ stayed the release of accused whose sentence was cut to 1 year by the High Court on the ground that there was no skin to skin contact with victim.

Read more…

Also Read: Bombay HC on Sexual Assault | Would ‘pressing of breast’ and ‘attempt to remove salwar’ of a child fall under S. 7 and punishable under S. 8 of POCSO Act? 


Rakesh Vaishanv v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 18

“Court cannot be said to be completely powerless to grant stay of any executive action under a statutory enactment”

While staying the implementation of all the three farms laws until further orders, the 3-Judge Bench comprising of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ., opined that a stay on implementation of the farm laws may alleviate the hurt feelings of the farmers and invigorate them to come to the negotiating table with confidence and good faith.

“While we may not stifle a peaceful protest, we think that this extraordinary order of stay of implementation of the farm laws will be perceived as an achievement of the purpose of such protest at least for the present and will encourage the farmers bodies to convince their members to get back to their livelihood, both in order to protect their own lives and health and in order to protect the lives and properties of others.”

Read more…


Rakesh Vaishnav v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1032

“Indeed the right to protest is part of a fundamental right and can as a matter of fact, be exercised subject to public order.”

While refusing to interfere with the ongoing Farmers’ protest, the 3-judge bench consisting of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ opined that the farmers’ protest should be allowed to continue without impediment and without any breach of peace either by the protesters or the police.

Read more…


M.K. Ranjitsinh v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 326

In a PIL addressing the issue of protection of two species of birds namely the Great Indian Bustard (‘GIB’) and the Lesser Florican, which is on the verge of extinction, the 3-Judge Bench of S. A. Bobde, CJ., A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ., has emphasized on need to adopt eco-centric approach and issued directions to be followed by the Government as  the State as well as the Central Government have a duty to preserve the endangered species.

Read more…


Pradeep Kumar Sonthalia v. Dhiraj Prasad Sahu, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1039

In an important and far-reaching verdict deciding the question as to “whether the vote cast by a Member of the Legislative Assembly in an election to the Rajya Sabha, in the forenoon on the date of election, would become invalid, consequent upon his disqualification, arising out of a conviction and sentence imposed by a Criminal Court, in the afternoon on the very same day?”, the 3-judge bench of S.A. Bobde*, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has held that such vote would remain valid and if held otherwise, such a situation will create endless confusion and needless chaos.

“…to hold that a Member of the Legislative Assembly stood disqualified even before he was convicted would grossly violate his substantive right to be treated as innocent until proved guilty.”

Read more…


Telecom Regulatory Authority of India v. Bharti Airtel Ltd., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 910

Recognising the need of adherence to the regulatory principles of transparency, non-discrimination and non­-predation sought by TRAI, the 3-judge bench of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has directed telecom giants Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea to disclose information/details regarding segmented offers to TRAI and also asked TRAI to ensure that such information is kept confidential and is not made available to the competitors or to any other person.

Read more…


Sudha Singh v. State of U.P., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 342

Setting aside the order of the Allahabad High Court granting bail to a gangster arrested under Section 3 (1) of the U.P. Gangster and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986, the 3-judge bench of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ., held that there is no doubt that liberty is important, even that of a person charged with crime but it is important for the courts to recognise the potential threat to the life and liberty of victims/witnesses, if such accused is released on bail.

Read More…


R. Poornima v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 714

Dismissing the writ petition, the 3-judge bench of S.A. Bobde*, A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has dismissed the claim of certain District Judges to club their services rendered as advocates with the service rendered by them as Judicial Officers, for determining their eligibility for elevation as High Court judges.

Read more


CCEv.  Cera Boards and Doors, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 657

The 3-judge bench of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ while explaining the scheme of provisions under the Central Excise Act, 1944, laid down elaborate principles that the Adjudicating Authorities has to keep in mind while determining the value of excisable goods.

Read more


Envitech Marine Consultants (P) Ltd. v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 312

The 3-judge bench of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has refused to interfere with the dismantling of INS Viraat, the oldest serving warship in the World.

“…while appreciating the sentiments of the petitioners, we are afraid that we cannot do anything at this stage and in these circumstances.”

Read More…


Amruta Ben Himanshu Kumar Shah v. Himanshu Kumar Parvinchandra Shah, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 46

While rejecting the transfer petition, V. Ramasubramanian*, J held that the dismissal of a petition for transfer, may not operate as res judicata, when a fresh petition is filed on change of circumstances. However, when a case is at its final stage, the Court will be extremely reluctant to order the transfer, as it may derail the entire process.

Read more…


Ankita Meena v. University of Delhi, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 36

Setting aside the judgment of Delhi High Court where the Court refused to interfere with the decision of the University denying permission to the applicant to appear in 4th Semester LL.B Examination, the 3-judge bench of S.A. Bobde, CJ, A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ has directed the University to declare Supplementary exam result & issue provisional degree to woman who fell short of attendance due to birth of her child & subsequent Teacher’s strike.

Read more…


Ashok Kumar v. State of J&K, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 24

Setting aside the judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court, the 3-judge bench of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ held that the seniority will not be decided on the basis of the date of promotion but on the basis of the date of acquiring the qualification while occupying the promoted posts.

“It is apparent from the facts and circumstances of the case that the non graduates have had opportunities to qualify themselves, which they have also done. Therefore, the prescription of graduation as a qualification for promotion to the post of Head Assistant cannot be held as violative of Articles 14 and 16.”

Read more…


Saritha S. Nair v. Hibi Eden, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1006

The 3-judge bench comprising of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ has held that the suspension of sentence not enough to save one from disqualification from contesting elections; a person is disqualified to contest polls if conviction not stayed.

On the issue of rejection of the of the election petition by the Kerala High Court, the Court held that though the High Court was right in not taking up the election petition but the ground on which it rejected the petition i.e. incurable defects, was wrong.

“If only the High Court had given an opportunity to the petitioner to cure the defects in the verification and if, despite such an opportunity, the petitioner had failed to come up with a proper verification, the High Court could have then held the petitioner guilty of playing hide and seek. The failure of the High Court to give an opportunity to cure the defects is improper.”

Read more…


Ghanshyam Upadhyay v. State of U.P.2020 SCC OnLine SC 587 and 2020 SCC OnLine SC 658

After Vikas Dubey, a history-sheeter and gangster-turned-politician, was killed in a police encounter on July 10, 2020, the Supreme Court gave a go ahead to Inquiry Committee headed by Former SC judge Justice B S Chauhan.

SC gives a go ahead to Inquiry Committee headed by Former SC judge Justice B S Chauhan | Read more…

Later, a 3-judge bench of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ refused to scrap the Judicial Committee constituted to look into the killing of Vikas Dubey and said that the allegations of bias made against the members of the Commission merely on the basis of newspaper reports and nothing more, are liable to be rejected outright.

Also read: SC refuses to scrap Justice B.S. Chauhan lead Judicial Committee; says allegations based merely on newspaper reports liable to be rejected outright


APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University v. Jai Bharath College of Management and Engineering Technology, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1015

The 3-judge bench of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ has upheld the power of Universities to fix enhanced norms and standards for the grant of affiliation other than those prescribed by AICTE.

“No State run university can afford to have a laid­back attitude today, when their own performance is being measured by international standards. Therefore, the power of the universities to prescribe enhanced norms and standards, cannot be doubted.”

Read more…


Somasundaram v. State, (2020) 7 SCC 722

Agreeing with Justice Mishra’s opinion that under section 109 IPC, the abettor is liable to the same punishment which may be inflicted on the principal offender if the act of the latter is committed in consequence of the abetment., the 3-judge bench of R.F. Nariman, K.M. Joseph* and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ upheld the conviction of the accused .

The Court opined that “Abduction followed by murder in appropriate cases can enable court to presume that abductor is the murderer. Principle in this regard is that after abduction, the abductor would be in a position to explain what happened to his victim and if he failed to do so, it is only natural and logical that an irresistible inference may be drawn that he has done away with the hapless victim.” and held that the said principle would also apply to those persons who illegally confine the person who stands abducted even if there is no evidence that they have themselves carried out the abduction.

Read more…

Also Read: Division Bench verdict | Split decision over conviction of accused for abetment when the charges of conspiracy under Section 120B IPC have failed


Kaushik Chatterjee v. State of Haryana, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 793

In a case seeking to transfer of three criminal cases, all pending on the file of the Court of the Additional Judicial Magistrate, Gurugram, Haryana, to any competent Court in New Delhi, V. Ramasubramanian*, J., held that the transfer of criminal cases cannot be ordered under section 406 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on the ground of lack of territorial jurisdiction even before evidence is marshalled.

Read more…


Skoda Auto Volkswagen India (P) Ltd. v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 958

Rejecting the plea of Skoda Auto Volkswagen India (P) Ltd. to quash an FIR against it alleging the use of “cheat devices” which manipulate emission figures in Audi cars sold by them, the 3-judge bench of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ., reiterated that the Courts should not thwart any investigation unless no cognizable offence or offence of any kind is disclosed in the first information report that the Court will not permit an investigation to go on.

Read more…


Kaledonia Jute and Fibres (P) Ltd. v. Axis Nirman and Industries Ltd., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 943

Deciding the issue as to what are the circumstances under which a winding up proceeding pending on the file of a High court could be transferred to the NCLT and on whose instance such a transfer could be ordered, the 3-judge bench of S.A. Bobde, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ., held that not just the petitioning creditor but ‘any’ creditor aggrieved by any decision of the official liquidator can initiate transfer of winding up proceedings from a Company Court to NCLT.

Read more…


Notable Judgments at High Court


♦Did you know? The computerization of the Madras high court and the Subordinate courts in Tamil Nadu gained momentum under his leadership. The selection of judges to the subordinate judiciary in Tamil Nadu was entrusted to him three times from the year 2012. [8]


Consim Info (P) Ltd. v. Google India (P) Ltd., 2010 SCC OnLine Mad 4967

In a case dealing with the issue as to whether such a use of appellant’s trademark by Google’s Ad program amounted to trademark infringement, Justice Ramasubramanian* denied an interim injunction against Google for its ‘Keywords Suggestion Tool’.


♦Did you know? The decision rendered by Justice Subramanian in Consim Info (P) Ltd. v. Google India (P) Ltd. was hailed as the first decision in India on the question of infringement of trademark by an internet search engine through its adword policy. This decision was hailed by IPR experts as an encyclopedia on the legal issues involved.[9]


Sanjeev Kumar v. State of H.P., 2019 SCC OnLine HP 972

“…all appointments made otherwise than in accordance with the Recruitment and Promotion Rules, strike at the very root of equality guaranteed under Articles 14 & 16 of the Constitution.”

In a civil writ petition were the petitioners engaged on a contractual basis as Trainer in various Industrial training institute challenged the cut-off date fixed under notification of the Department of Technical Education by the Government, the Division Bench of V. Ramasubramanian*, C.J. and Anoop Chitkara, J., held that there was no arbitrariness on the part of the Government in choosing the cut-off date i.e. 31.07.2015 as there was a scientific reason for the same.

“…the appointments on contract basis may not strictly follow the rule of reservation, which is the bedrock of Articles 14 & 16 of the Constitution. Therefore, this Court cannot be a party to the conversion of an ‘One time Measure’ issued by the Government, that too, at the instance of this Court, in to a permanent measure.”

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Jinendra Jewellers v. B. Venkateswara Rao, 2017 SCC OnLine Hyd 442

In a case dealing with the issue a to whether a counter-claim can be rejected in terms of Order VII, Rule 11 of Civil Procedure Code, 1908, Justice Ramasubramanian* has held that while dealing with an application for rejection of counter-claim the court must take precaution and examine whether rejection would have the effect of striking off the defence

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T. Rajkumar v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine Mad 2001

In a writ petition dealing with the constitutionality of Section 94A(1) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, the Division bench comprising of V. Ramasubramanian* and T. Mathivanan, JJ., upheld the constitutionality of Section 94-A(1) of the Income Tax Act stating that in the present times when scams like Panama Leaks are being revealed, the provisions related to tax avoidance are the need of the hour.

The Court held that the provisions of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties and other such rules of International Law did not influence the legislative powers of Parliament.

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B. Dilipkumar v. Secretary to the Govt., 2016 SCC OnLine Mad 2122

Raising concerns over the rising cases of honour killing, V. Ramasubramanian*, J., issued directions to the Tamil Nadu Government to tackle the growing menace of honour killings in the State.

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State v. Rasu, 2016 SCC OnLine Mad 1807

Dismissing and disapproving the order laid down by the Single Judge Bench wherein it was directed that the devotees should follow a ‘dress code’ while visiting temples, the Division Bench of V. Ramasubramanian and K. Ravichandrabaabu, JJ., has held that the directions issued by the Single Judge Bench prescribing the dress code for the devotees is beyond the scope of the lis that was before him and therefore cannot be approved.

“Courts are not expected to adjudicate any matter academically in the absence of any real lis between parties. Courts are not entitled to create a controversy and adjudicate upon the same.”

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A. Santhos Yadav v. Bar Council of T.N.,2015 SCC OnLine Mad 3362

“…the burning of effigies has its roots in history, culture as well as the religion of several countries throughout the world.”

The Division Bench of V. Ramasubramanian* and K. Ravichandrabaabu JJ., held that section 285 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 does not criminalize burning of effigies in a political agitation.

The Court ordered the enrolment of an eligible person as an advocate as he can not be denied enrolment merely because he had a criminal case of burning effigy of a political leader pending against him.

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V. Surendra Mohan v. State of T.N., 2015 SCC OnLine Mad 2100

Dismissing the writ petition seeking appointment to judicial services with 70% blindness, the Division Bench of V. Ramasubramanian* and T. Mathivanan, JJ., held that held that the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission’s decision is lawful as it is in line with the State’s policy.

Read more…

Also Read: Supreme Court | 40-50% disability limit for the post of Civil Judge is logical considering the nature of the job


LYCA Production (P) Ltd v.  Govt. of T.N., 2014 SCC OnLine Mad 8448

“The action of any group or organisation demanding the removal of any dialogue or scene or sub-title or title from a film which is already certified for release by the Central Board of Film Certification, would tantamount to a blackmail.”

While allowing the petition and directing the respondent to provide protection to enable the petitioner to have their name exhibited as the Producer of the film “Kathi” in the prints as well as the publicity material of the film, V. Ramasubramanian* J., opined that once a film is certified for screening by the Central Board of Film Certification, no group, organisation or association can demand further censoring, on the ground that something in the film hurts the religious, communal, racial or linguistic sentiments of someone or the other.

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Dorothy Thomas v. Rex Arul, 2011 SCC OnLine Mad 925

Reffused to be oscillated by the emotional appeal of the Plaintiff-mother against the order of an American Court granting custody of her child to her antagonized husband, Justice V. Ramasubramanian* held that a person who had failed to avail opportunity of hearing provided in the proceedings of the foreign Court cannot contend violation of principles of natural justice and any attack to such foreign judgment under Section 13(d) of the Code of Civil Procedure is not sustainable.

The Court opined that the US court had jurisdiction even though the Plaintiff never personally appeared but appearing through counsel was sufficient to extend personal jurisdiction over the plaintiff for the defendant’s counterclaims.


S. Anand v. Vanitha Vijaya Kumar, 2011 SCC OnLine Mad 435

Emphasized the need for developing the concept of shared parenting, Justice V. Ramasubramanian* held that if both parties are not disqualified from having the custody of the child, then it is their duty, under normal circumstances, to draw up a parenting schedule and share the responsibility of co-parenting to bring up the child in a healthy and happy environment.

The Court casted duty on the Courts to draw up a parenting schedule keeping in mind the interest and welfare of the child, if the parents themselves are not matured enough to reach an understanding and draw up a parenting schedule.

Discussing the Court’s mindset and need for change towards its duty towards the interest and welfare of the child, Justice Ramasubramanian held that

“It is quite unfortunate that the Courts still dabble with the age old concepts of custody and visitation rights. These terms emanate from a rights regime rather than a responsibilities regime. Today the emphasis has shifted from the regime where we were concerned with the rights of the parents over the child, to a regime where we should be concerned about the responsibilities of the parents towards the child.”


Lalgudi G. Jayaraman v. Cleveland Cultural Alliance, 2008 SCC OnLine Mad 148

Justice V. Ramasubramanian* held that where a right over an artistic/musical/literary work is claimed by an entity, apart from the author, such entity is under a very heavy burden to show that the work was commissioned by him, was created in the course of employment by the author and that there was no agreement to the contrary.


Rajshree Sugars & Chemicals Ltd. v. AXIS Bank, 2008 SCC OnLine Mad 746

“Derivatives are time bombs and financial weapons of mass destruction, which can push companies on to a spiral that can lead to a corporate melt down”.

– Warren Buffett

Ruling in favour of AXIS Bank, Justice V. Ramasubramanian* held that derivative contract is not a wager, because the purpose it serves is akin to insurance by hedging the plaintiff’s risk, therefore it is not illegal.

“Every business venture provides a roller-coaster ride at some point of time or the other and the validity of contracts cannot be judged on the basis of the success or failure of the venture.”


Colgate-Palmolive (India) Ltd. v. Anchor Health & Beauty Care (P) Ltd., 2008 SCC OnLine Mad 627

“…on the one hand, advertisements being free commercial speech, enjoy a degree of protection. On the other hand, the right of the consumers to know and to receive information is also protected. Therefore, both rights have to be matched and balanced.”

Recognising the rights of the consumers to be protected against misleading claims made by manufacturers, V. Ramasubramanian*, J., held that the question of the legality of puffing needed to be decided by balancing the right to freedom under Article 19 along with reasonable restrictions on that right in the form of consumer laws.

“…the recognition of this right (to puff) of the producers, would be to de-recognise the rights of the consumers guaranteed under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.”


†Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 

* Judge who has penned the judgment.

** Judge who has penned the concurring judgment.

[1] https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/210919/v-ramasubramanian-to-be-sworn-in-supreme-court-judge-on-monday.html

[2] https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/210919/v-ramasubramanian-to-be-sworn-in-supreme-court-judge-on-monday.html

[3] https://tshc.gov.in/hcapp/fcjjudprofile.action;HCAPP_ID=E419F69C53EF3A2592C3A3A5AC049D86?judcode=2&cjornot=N

[4] https://tshc.gov.in/hcapp/fcjjudprofile.action;HCAPP_ID=E419F69C53EF3A2592C3A3A5AC049D86?judcode=2&cjornot=N

[5] https://tshc.gov.in/hcapp/fcjjudprofile.action;HCAPP_ID=E419F69C53EF3A2592C3A3A5AC049D86?judcode=2&cjornot=N

[6] https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/another-judge-now-objects-to-sc-collegium-overlooking-seniority/articleshow/70983735.cms?from=mdr

[7] https://www.deccanherald.com/national/sc-judge-v-ramasubramanian-recuses-himself-from-hearing-2008-bengaluru-blasts-accuseds-plea-973634.html

[8] https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/210919/v-ramasubramanian-to-be-sworn-in-supreme-court-judge-on-monday.html

[9] https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/210919/v-ramasubramanian-to-be-sworn-in-supreme-court-judge-on-monday.html

Know thy Judge

“Zero tolerance towards corruption should be the top-notch priority for ensuring system based and policy driven, transparent and responsive governance. Corruption cannot be annihilated but strategically be dwindled by reducing monopoly and enabling transparency in decision making. However, fortification of social and moral fabric must be an integral component of long-term policy for nation building to accomplish corruption free society.”

Justice Ajay Rastogi

State of Gujarat v. Mansukhbhai Kanjibhai Shah,

2020 SCC OnLine SC 412


Justice Ajay Rastogi was born on 18th June 1958 in Jaipur to Shri. Harish Chandra Rastogi. He followed the footsteps of his father and joined the bar in 1982. During the years of his practice at Rajasthan High Court, he practised in different spheres of law but was specialized in service and labour laws.

♦Did you know? Justice Ajay Rastogi’s father Late Harish Chandra Rastogi was an eminent civil lawyer in Rajasthan High Court.

Justice Rastogi took oath as a Judge in the Rajasthan High Court on 02-09-2004. He was officiated as the Administrative Judge of the Rajasthan High Court on 19-07-2014 and continued till his elevation as Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court.

After his appointment as a judge of the Rajasthan High Court, Justice Rastogi remained Executive Chairman of the State Legal Services Authority from 14-10*2013 to 18-10-2016.

♦Did you know? Under his stewardship, Rajasthan Legal Services Authority won the National Award from National Legal Services Authority for three consecutive years.[1]

Justice Rastogi was also the Acting Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court w.e.f. 14-04-2016 to 13-05-2016.

Justice Ajay Rastogi was recommended by the Collegium for being appointed as Chief Justice of the High Court of Tripura on February 1, 2018 and took oath on 01-03-2018. He was elevated as Judge of the Supreme Court on 02-11-2018.

♦Did you know? The collegium had superseded Justice Maheshwari in October, 2018 when it recommended the elevation of the then Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court, Justice Ajay Rastogi — originally from the Rajasthan High Court — to the Supreme Court.[2]


 Career as an Advocate


Justice Ajay Rastogi practised in the Rajasthan High Court in Constitutional, Service and Labour Laws etc. His field of specialisation was Service and Labour Law.

Justice Rastogi was nominated as the standing counsel for the Rajasthan High Court in the year 1990 and continued as such till his elevation in the year 2004. He also worked as the standing counsel for Rajasthan Financial Corporation, Jaipur, Board of Secondary Education, Rajasthan, Ajmer, and of various Banking Institutions, Electricity Board & Educational Institutions etc.[3]

Justice Rastogi was also appointed President of the Rajasthan High Court Bar Association at Jaipur in the year 1999-2000.

Justice Ajay Rastogi had marked his presence in many remarkable cases as an advocate. Some of the significant cases represented by him are:


Notable Judgments at Supreme Court


The bench of NV Ramana and Ajay Rastogi, JJ, has agreed to examine the validity of a newly enacted law which makes the practice of instant divorce through triple talaq among Muslims a punishable offence entailing imprisonment of up to three years.[4]

Ajmer Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd. v. Hindustan Zinc Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 208

The Division Bench comprising of Ajay Rastogi* and Abhay S. Oka, JJ., held that a modification changing tariff for inadvertent drawal from temporary supply rate to the regular supply rate cannot be considered to be a mere clarification and is rather a substantial alteration which cannot be made applicable retrospectively.

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Pawan Kumar v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 532

The Division Bench of Ajay Rastogi* and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ., reversed the impugned order of Delhi High Court whereby the High Court had upheld the dismissal order of appellant owing to suppression of information/false declaration in the verification form regarding criminal antecedent.

The Court held that the effect of suppression of material/false information involving in a criminal case is that it is left for the employer to consider all the relevant facts and circumstances available as to antecedents and keep in view the objective criteria and the relevant service rules, while taking appropriate decision regarding continuance/suitability of the employee into service.

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P. Ranjitharaj v. State of T.N., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 508

The Division Bench comprising Ajay Rastogi and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ., reversed the impugned judgment of the Madras High Court and held that when the delay in appointment is attributable to the State, it would not deprive the employees of their right to become the member of the Pension Scheme, 1978 merely on the ground that the Scheme was not applicable to their year of appointment, particularly when other candidates who participated in the common process of selection were availing the same.

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Union of India v. Ex. Constable Ram Karan, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1041

The Division Bench of Ajay Rastogi* and Abhay S. Oka, JJ.,    set aside the judgment of the Delhi High Court wherein it had substituted the penalty of removal from service with confinement of respondent from 1.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. in quarter guard jail without noticing the mandate of the nature of punishments indicated under Section 11(1) of the Central Reserve Police Force Act, 1949 (CRPF). The Bench expressed,

“The scope of judicial review on the quantum of punishment is available but with a limited scope. It is only when the penalty imposed appears to be shockingly disproportionate to the nature of misconduct that the Courts would frown upon.”

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Sudhir Kumar Atrey v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 971

The Division Bench comprising of Ajay Rastogi* and Abhay S. Oka, JJ., expressed dismay over the manner adopted by the Western Command, Military Engineering Service in making appointments from the select panel of 29-06-1983 after a lapse of 4-5 years in the year 1987-1988.

“…the manner in which the appointments were made from the select panel of 1983 after it has outlived its life in the year 1987-1988 and ordinarily it was not open to be operated upon and such appointments are nothing but a clear abuse of the discretion vested with the competent authority.”

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V. N. Patil v. K. Niranjan Kumar, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 172

The bench of Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi*, JJ., held that the aim of every Court is to discover the truth but it should be done judiciously.

The Court opined that though it is not necessary to record elaborate reasons in every case, the Courts should do so in order to facilitate the superior Courts to understand what weighed in with the Court to reverse the finding of the lower court.

“Wider the power, greater is the necessity of caution while exercise of judicious discretion”

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Rachna v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 140

While refusing the plea of last attemptees of the UPSC Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2020 who had sought for an extra attempt to clear the exam in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar, Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi*, JJ held that allowing extra attempt in such a case would set a precedent and also have cascading effect on examinations in other streams.

“… merely because the present petitioners made a complaint to this Court, cannot be taken into isolation for the purpose of seeking additional chance/attempt in the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic, which has been faced by not only the candidates appeared in Examination 2020 but by the candidates appeared in the various examinations/recruitment tests held by the State Commissions or by other recruiting agencies and by and large, every member of the society in one way or the other but that does not in any manner give legitimate right to the petitioners to claim additional benefit/attempt which is otherwise not permissible under the scheme of Rules 2020.”

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While discussing its related to issuing mandamus to frame policy, the Court held that the Judicial review of a policy decision and to issue mandamus to frame policy in a particular manner are absolutely different and Courts cannot issue mandamus to frame policy.

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Gauri Shankar v. State of Punjab, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 96

The Division Bench of Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi*, JJ., confirmed punishment of life imprisonment for remainder of natural life awarded to a man accused of murdering two minor children aged 4 years and 2 years in brutal manner by administering celphos to them.

The Court observed that a trial court while sentencing an accused to life imprisonment cannot order that such imprisonment is for the remainder of his/her natural life. The power only lies in the hand of High Courts and the Supreme Court to direct the same.

 “It is true that the punishment of remainder of natural life could not have been imposed by the learned trial judge but after looking into the entire case, we consider it appropriate to confirm the sentence of imprisonment for life to mean the remainder of natural life while upholding the conviction under Section 302 IPC.”

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Sudipta Chakrobarty v. Ranaghta SD Hospital, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 107

Criticising the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) for its practice of passing ‘reasons to follow’ orders, the bench of Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi, JJ has asked the President of the NCDRC to take necessary steps so that this practice is discontinued, and the reasoned Judgment is passed along with the operative order.

The Court also observed that in all matters where reasons are yet to be delivered, it must be ensured that the same are made available to the litigating parties positively within a period of two months.

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Soumitra Kumar Nahar v. Parul Nahar, (2020) 7 SCC 599

“In a custody battle, no matter which parent wins but the child is always the loser”

In a case involving prolonged Court battle over child custody rights, the Division bench of AM Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi*, JJ., held that the Courts should decide the issue of custody on a paramount consideration which is in the best interest of the child who is the victim in the custody battle.

“Rights of the child need to be respected as he/she is entitled to the love of both the parents. Even if there is a breakdown of marriage, it does not signify the end of parental responsibility.”

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Pankjeshwar Sharma v. State of J&K, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 984

“Negative equality cannot be claimed to perpetuate further illegality”

A 3-Judge Bench comprising of L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi*, JJ. held that any appointments made deviating from merit in exceptional cases can be justified, like in instant case viz. to give quietus to litigation, however such appointments would be irregular appointments, though not illegal and the candidates left out of merit list has no right to claim the same benefit which was provided to some other candidates on basis of some erroneous concession granted by the State. The Court restated that negative equality cannot be claimed to perpetuate further illegality.

“In a situation where the posts in excess of those advertised had been filled up in extraordinary circumstances, instead of invalidating the excess appointments, the relief could be moulded in such a manner so as to strike a just balance keeping the interest of the State and the interest of the person seeking public employment depends upon the facts of each case for which no set standard can be laid down.”

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Prerit Sharma v. Bilu B.S., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 961

The 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi, JJ., by passing an interim order directed that there will be no reservation for to in-service doctors in Super Specialty Medical Courses for the academic year 2020-2021.

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IN RE: CONTAGION OF COVID 19 VIRUS IN CHILDREN PROTECTION HOMES, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1026

The 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi, JJ., has issued directions to ensure education of children in Child Care Institutions which has suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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State of Odisha v. Dilip Kumar Pratihari, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 603

The 3-judge bench of S.K. Kaul, Ajay Rastogi and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., in an application seeking condonation of delay of 587 days filed by State of Odisha, had imposed a cost of Rs. 50, 000 and directed that an enquiry be conducted and cost be recovered from the delinquent officer.

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Anun Dhawan v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 165

Displeased with the Centre and the States on repeated failures by them to file their replies on a PIL seeking setting up of community kitchens across the country, the 3-judge bench of N V Ramana, Ajay Rastogi and V Ramasubramanian, JJ., came down heavily and imposed cost of Rs. 5 lakh on them for not complying with its directions to file their affidavits on a.

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C. Bright v. District Collector, (2021) 2 SCC 392

The 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta* and Ajay Rastogi, JJ while upholding the Kerala High Court’s decision, held that the time-limit to take action by the District Magistrate has been fixed to impress upon the authority to take possession of the secured assets. However, inability to take possession within time-limit does not render the District Magistrate functus officio. Time-limits stipulated in the section, are directory and not mandatory.

Interpreting Section 14 of the SARFAESI Act, the Court said that

“… the secured creditor has no control over the District Magistrate who is exercising jurisdiction under Section 14 of the Act for public good to facilitate recovery of public dues. Therefore, Section 14 of the Act is not to be interpreted literally without considering the object and purpose of the Act. If any other interpretation is placed upon the language of Section 14, it would be contrary to the purpose of the Act.”

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Rekha Sengar v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 173

“A strict approach has to be adopted if we are to eliminate the scourge of female feticide and iniquity towards girl children from our society.”

While rejecting the bail in the case where the investigative team has seized the sonography machine and made out a strong prima-facie case against the petitioner, the 3-judge bench of MM Shantanagoudar*, Vineet Saran and Ajay Rastogi, JJ held no leniency should be granted at this stage as the same may reinforce the notion that the PC&PNDT Act is only a ‘paper tiger’ and that clinics and laboratories can carry out sex-determination and feticide with impunity.

“The unrelenting continuation of this immoral practice, the globally shared understanding that it constitutes a form of violence against women, and its potential to damage the very fabric of gender equality and dignity that forms the bedrock of our Constitution are all factors that categorically establish pre­natal sex­ determination as a grave offence with serious consequences for the society as a whole.”

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Dakshin Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Ltd. v. Navigant Technologies Pvt. Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 157

While deciding the question as to whether the period of limitation for filing the Petition under Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 would commence from the date on which the draft award is circulated to the parties, or the date on which the signed copy of the award is provided, the bench of Indu Malhotra* and Ajay Rastogi, JJ., held that the period of limitation for challenging arbitral award can only commence from date of receipt of signed copy and not from the receipt of draft

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Priti Saraf v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 206

The bench of Indu Malhotra* and Ajay Rastogi, JJ, while discussing the exercise of the extraordinary powers of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution, or in the exercise of the inherent powers of the High Court under Section 482 CrPC in quashing a criminal proceeding, reiterated that the existence of civil remedies by itself is not a ground to quash criminal proceedings.

The Court held that in the matter of exercise of inherent power by the High Court, the only requirement is to see whether continuance of the proceedings would be a total abuse of the process of the Court.

“…the exercise of inherent power of the High Court is an extraordinary power which has to be exercised with great care and circumspection before embarking to scrutinise the complaint/FIR/charge-sheet in deciding whether the case is the rarest of rare case, to scuttle the prosecution at its inception.”

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BSNL v. Nortel Network India Pvt. Ltd, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 207

A bench comprising of Indu Malhotra* and Ajay Rastogi, JJ., held that the period of limitation for filing an application under Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 would be governed by Article 137 of the First Schedule of the Limitation Act, 1963.

The Court opined that the period of limitation will begin to run from the date when there is failure to appoint the arbitrator. Moreover, the Court may refuse to make the reference in rare and exceptional cases, where the claims are ex facie time-barred and it is manifest that there is no subsisting dispute.

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Vikas Kishanrao Gawali v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 170

Deciding the issue whether reservation for OBCs can exceed upper ceiling of 50% in local elections for entirely scheduled areas, the 3-Judge Bench comprising of A.M. Khanwilkar*, Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi, JJ., held that the total seats reserved in favour of SC/STs and OBCs in local bodies should not exceed 50 percent of the total seats.

The Court read down Section 12(2)(c) of the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961 which mandated that the State should provide 27 percent reservation for OBCs as it ultra vires the provisions of Articles 243D and 243T including Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.

“The challenge to the validity of Section 12(2)(c) of the 1961 Act is negatived. Instead, that provision is being read down to mean that reservation in favor of OBCs in the concerned local bodies can be notified to the extent that it does not exceed aggregate 50 per cent of the total seats reserved in favor of SCs/STs/OBCs taken together.”

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Pravat Chandra Mohanty v. State of Odisha, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 81

“When the protector of people and society himself instead of protecting the people adopts brutality and inhumanly beat the person who comes to the police station, it is a matter of great public concern.”

In a case where two police officers who had mercilessly beaten a man leading to his eventual death back in 1985, the Division Bench comprising of Ashok Bhushan* and Ajay Rastogi, JJ., held that Custodial violence a crime against humanity. The Court considered the fact that both the appellants were more than 75 years of age therefore reduced the sentence awarded for conviction under Section 324 IPC to six months instead of one year and directed to pay a compensation of Rs.3.5 Lakhs each to the legal heir of the deceased in addition to the compensation awarded by the High Court.

 “The custodial violence on the deceased which led to the death is abhorrent and not acceptable in the civilized society. The offence committed by the accused is crime not against the deceased alone but was against humanity and clear violations of rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.”

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Hitesh Verma v. State of Uttarakhand, (2020) 10 SCC 710

A 3-judge bench comprising of L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta* and Ajay Rastogi, JJ, in a case where abuses were hurled by a person of upper caste at a person belonging to Scheduled Caste due to a property dispute between them, held that no offence had been committed under Section 3(1)(r) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 because the insulting or intimidating of a person belonging to a SC/ST community will not be counted as offence under the Act unless such insult or intimidation is on account of them being a member of the SC/ST community.

 “The property disputes between a vulnerable section of the society and a person of upper caste will not disclose any offence under the Act unless, the allegations are on account of the victim being a Scheduled Caste.”

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Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya, (2020) 7 SCC 469

“To cast aspersion on their abilities on the ground of gender is an affront not only to their dignity as women but to the dignity of the members of the Indian Army –men and women – who serve as equal citizens in a common mission.”

In a path-breaking judgement, the Division Bench comprising of Dr. DY Chandrachud* and Ajay Rastogi, JJ has held that blanket non-consideration of women for criteria or command appointments absent an individuated justification by the Army cannot be sustained in law and violates the guarantee of equality under Article 14 of the Constitution.

The Court ordered that the permanent commission will apply to all women officers in the Indian Army in service, irrespective of their years of service.

“Underlying the statement that it is a “greater challenge” for women officers to meet the hazards of service “owing to their prolonged absence during pregnancy, motherhood and domestic obligations towards their children and families” is a strong stereotype which assumes that domestic obligations rest solely on women.”

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Union of India v. Lt. Cdr. Annie Nagaraja, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 326

“A hundred and one excuses are no answer to the constitutional entitlement to dignity, which attaches to every individual irrespective of gender, to fair and equal conditions of work and to a level playing field.”

In yet another major verdict addressing the gender stereotypes and rights of women, the Division Bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud* and Ajay Rastogi, JJ., lifted the statutory bar on the engagement or enrolment of women in the Indian Navy and directed the Centre to grant Permanent Commission to women Navy officers.

“Performance at work and dedication to the cause of the nation are the surest answers to prevailing gender stereotypes. To deprive serving women officers of the opportunity to work as equals with men on PCs in the Indian Navy is plainly discriminatory. Furthermore, to contend that women officers are ill-suited to certain avocations which involve them being aboard ships is contrary to the equal worth of the women officers who dedicate their lives to serving in the cause of the nation.”

Read More…

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Hindustan Unilever Ltd. v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 905

The 3-judge bench comprising of L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta* and Ajay Rastogi, JJ., in a case relating to the adulteration of Dalda Vanaspati Khajoor Brand Ghee dating back to 1989 wherein the company was absolved of all charges but prosecution against it’s nominated office Nirmal Sen was continued, held that in the absence of the Company, the Nominated Person cannot be convicted or vice versa i.e. either both of them are convicted or none of them.

“Since the Company was not convicted by the trial court, we find that the finding of the High Court to revisit the judgment will be unfair to the appellant/Nominated Person who has been facing trial for more than last 30 years. Therefore, the order of remand to the trial court to fill up the lacuna is not a fair option exercised by the High Court as the failure of the trial court to convict the Company renders the entire conviction of the Nominated Person as unsustainable.”

Read More…

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Umedsinh P Chavda v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 500

In a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking ban on sale of Coca cola, Thums Up and Soft Beverages, the 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi, JJ., has imposed a fine of Rs 5,00,000 on the petitioner for abuse of process.

Read More…

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Joint Labour Commissioner and Registering Officer v. Kesar Lal, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 327

The bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud* and Ajay Rastogi, JJ has held that a service rendered at no matter how less consideration would still be a ‘service’ under Consumer Protection Act.

“So long as the service which has been rendered is not rendered free of charge, any deficiency of service is amenable to the fora for redressal constituted under the Consumer Protection Act 1986.”

Read More…


Notable Judgments at High Court


Krishna Sarkar v. Government of Tripura, 2018 SCC OnLine Tri 209

In a writ petition for the claim of compensation in a medical negligence case, Ajay Rastogi*, CJ., refused to quantify compensation on mere allegation of ‘Medical Negligence’.

“…the law will take its own course but merely on an allegation of a medical negligence it cannot be established unless the parties are being permitted to lead evidence in support of their respective claim and certainly, on the disputed question of fact of alleged medical negligence…”

Read More…

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Tapas Chakraborty v. High Court of Tripura, 2018 SCC OnLine Tri 57

The Division Bench of Ajay Rastogi, C.J., and S. Talapatra, J., held that once a FIR is quashed under Section 482 CrPC, no inference should be drawn to impute any adverse antecedents which in any way may deprive an individual from seeking public employment.

Read More…

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Sudhir Debbarma v. State of Tripura, 2018 SCC OnLine Tri 94

“The object of the die-in-harness scheme is to provide solace to the dependent family members of the deceased employee who have lost their breadwinner and left them to destitute and in financial crunch to be mitigated at the earliest”

In a case dealing with providing compassionate appointment and how these matters are being dealt in very insensitive or casual manner by the Government officials, Ajay Rastogi*, CJ., imposed cost of Rs. 50,000/- upon the respondents authorities in taking the matter so casually in deciding the application under the die-in-harness scheme and directed the authority to recover the same from the concerned defaulting officers who are so casual in disposing of the application.

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Abhyutthanam Society. v. State of Rajasthan, 2016 SCC OnLine Raj 1947

In a public interest litigation filed for ensuring effective implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, the Division Bench of Ajay Rastogi*, A.C.J., and S. Talapatra, J., held that the State Government do not holding any authority to re-write the definition of Sec.2 (d) of the Right to Education Act, 2009.

The Court also directed the State government to include children belonging to OBC & SBC categories whose parents’ annual income not exceeding Rs.2.50 lakhs as part of the notification dated 28.3.2016.

Read More…

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Ganga Devi v. State, 2014 SCC OnLine Raj 1906

The Division Bench comprising of Ajay Rastogi and J.K. Ranka, JJ., while taking note of the fact that the appellant had served more than fourteen and a half years of sentence in jail without parole and that she was aged about 79 years, granted her permanent parole.

“a liberal view is to be taken at least in this particular case when admittedly, the convict-petitioner is a woman and is almost touching the age of 80 years and one never knows longevity of life but with her age, at least in this fag end of her life, she needs company of her children and so also grand children if any and spend rest of her life peacefully with them.”

Read More…

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Jayant Sharma v. State of Rajasthan, 2012 SCC OnLine Raj 3000

“The government employees have neither fundamental nor statutory or moral right to resort to strike.”

While deciding the issue whether making respondents eligible for Pre P.G. Medical Examination against seats reserved for in service category by granting extra ordinary leave without pay for 32 days period for which they remained on strike amounts to misconduct, Justice Ajay Rastogi* held that whether it amounts to misconduct or not, can only be established after the disciplinary enquiry contemplated under RCS (CCA) Rules is conducted

The Court while acknowledging that the service of the medical profession is a noble service, opined that the government employees have neither fundamental nor statutory or moral right to go on strike.

“The impact of such strikes either by students and medical community who are directly connected with the hospitals is totally different from the strike in factory or trading establishment, as the ailing patients cannot be left waiting or unattended. Hospital activity is not the same as the lifeless functioning of machines in a factory or movement of trading material or other forms of commerce where workmen are being provided certain protection under the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act. Almost all the activities in relation to hospital are such as require constant and incessant attending and care, unlike financial losses; the loss of life or limb cannot be recouped.”


†Ritu Singh, Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 

* Judge who has penned the judgment.

[1] https://main.sci.gov.in/chief-justice-judges

[2] https://theprint.in/judiciary/scs-newest-judges-had-set-aside-aap-mla-disqualification-ruled-fashion-shows-are-taxable/179680/

[3] https://thc.nic.in/FCJprofile-HAR.html

[4] https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2019/08/23/triple-talaq-sc-issues-notice-to-centre-on-plea-challenging-the-new-law/

Know thy Judge

Born on 17-06-1958, Justice Kuttiyil Mathew Joseph studied Law at the Government Law College, Ernakulam, Kerala and got enrolled as a lawyer in 1982. He started his legal practice from the Delhi High Court in Civil and Writ matters. Later on, he shifted his practice to Kerala High Court in 1983 and became a permanent member of Kerala High Court Advocates Association. After practicing for about two decades Justice K.M. Joseph became Permanent Judge of the High Court of Kerala on 14-10-2004.[[1]]

♦Did you know? Justice K.M. Joseph is the son of K. K. Mathew, former Supreme Court judge and Chairman of the 10th Law Commission.[[2]]

He was sworn in as the Chief Justice of Uttranchal High Court on 31-07-2014. Carrying the legacy of his father Justice K.M. Joseph got elevated as the Judge of Supreme Court on 07-08-2018.

♦Did you know? Justice K.M. Joseph is one of the longest serving High Court Chief Justices to be elevated to the Supreme Court.[[3]]

Justice K.M. Joseph is due to retire on 16-06-2023.


Career as an Advocate


Justice K.M. Joseph had marked his presence in many remarkable cases as an advocate. Some of the significant cases represented by him are:

 Shanti Lal Mehta v. Union of India, 1982 SCC OnLine Del 303 

 Anirudhan v. Government of Kerala, 1999 SCC OnLine Ker 293

 State of Kerala v. T.V Anil, 2001 SCC OnLine Ker 328 

 Thomas v. Mathew N.M, 1995 SCC OnLine Ker 151

 Mathew v. Union of India,  2003 SCC OnLine Ker 12′

♦Did you know? Justice K.M. Joseph had been appointed as Amicus Curiae in Mathew Varghese v. Rosamma Varghese, when the Kerala High Court was addressing the question: Whether a Christian father is under an obligation to maintain his minor child?[[4]] 


Remarkable Judgments as the Judge of Supreme Court


Union of India v. Rajendra N. Shah, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 474

A 3-Judge Bench has held that the Constitution (97th Amendment) Act, 2011 which inter alia inserted Part IX-B is ultra vires the Constitution insofar it is concerned with the subject of Cooperative Societies for want of the requisite ratification under Article 368(2) proviso. At the same time, the Court by a majority of 2:1, followed doctrine of severability in declaring that Part IX-B is operative insofar as it concerns Multi-State Cooperative Societies both within various States and in Union Territories.  R.F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai, JJ. formed the majority. Whereas K.M. Joseph, J. penned a separate opinion dissenting partly with the majority. He expressed inability to concur with the view on the application of doctrine of severability.

Read more…


 P.B. Nayak v. Bhilai Steel Plant,  2021 SCC OnLine SC 970

The Division Bench of K.M Joseph* and Pamidighantam Sri Barasimha, JJ., held that mere fact that food, refreshment and even liquor is being provided in Non-Residential Clubs by catering services, it will not make the club premises ‘wholly or principally’ related to supply of meals and refreshments to make it fall within the purview of M.P. Shops and Establishments Act, 1958.

Read more…


Rathish Babu Unnikrishnan v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2022 SCC OnLine SC 513

While rejecting an appeal to quash proceedings under Section 138 of the N.I. Act, 1881 at pre-trial stage, the Division Bench comprising of K.M. Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy*, JJ., held that when there is legal presumption, it would not be judicious for the quashing Court to carry out a detailed enquiry on the facts alleged, without first permitting the trial Court to evaluate the evidence of the parties.

The Bench upheld the impugned judgment of Delhi High Court wherein the High Court had – while acting as a quashing court under Section 482 of CrPC – refused to quash proceedings at pre-trial stage. The Bench observed,

“The quashing Court should not take upon itself, the burden of separating the wheat from the chaff where facts are contested.”

Read more…


Regional Transport Authority v. Shaju, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 209

The Division Bench comprising of K.M. Joseph and Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha*, JJ., 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…


Amar Nath v. Gian Chand, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 102

The Division Bench of K.M. Joseph* and Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha, JJ., 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…


CBI v. Uttamchand Bohra2021 SCC OnLine SC 1208

While dealing with a case of abetment and conspiracy for commission of criminal misconduct by public servant, the Division Bench of K.M. Joseph and S. Ravindra Bhat*, JJ., held that Section 13 of Prevention of Corruption Act cannot be invoked against a non-public servant. Clarifying the standard of suspicion to make out a prima facie case for conspiracy, the Bench stated,

“The material to implicate someone as a conspirator acting in concert with a public servant, alleged to have committed misconduct, under the PCA, or amassed assets disproportionate to a public servant’s known sources of income, has to be on firm ground.”

Read more…

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Korukonda Chalapathi v. Korukonda Annapurna Sampath Kumar, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 847

The Division Bench of K.M Joseph* and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., held that an unregistered family settlement document is admissible to be placed “in” evidence if it does not by itself affect the transaction though the same cannot be allowed “as” evidence. The Bench expressed,

“Merely admitting the Khararunama containing record of the alleged past transaction, is not to be understood as meaning that if those past transactions require registration, then, the mere admission, in evidence of the Khararunama and the receipt would produce any legal effect on the immovable properties in question.”

Read more…


 Commissioner of Police v. Raj Kumar2021 SCC OnLine SC 637

The Bench of K.M. Joseph and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ. while addressing the matter, observed that,

“Public service – like any other, pre-supposes that the state employer has an element of latitude or choice on who should enter its service. Norms, based on principles, govern essential aspects such as qualification, experience, age, number of attempts permitted to a candidate, etc. These, broadly constitute eligibility conditions required of each candidate or applicant aspiring to enter public service.”

Read more…


 Manohar Lal Sharma v. Narendra Damodardas Modi2018 SCC OnLine SC 2807

A Bench comprising of CJ Ranjan Gogoi and S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph, JJ. dismissed the petitions pertaining to seeking probe in ‘Rafale Deal’ by stating that “we find no reason for any intervention by this Court on the sensitive issue of purchase of 36 defence aircrafts by the Indian Government.”

The present judgment given by the 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court dealt with 4 writ petitions in regard to procurement of 36 Rafale Fighter Jets for the Indian Airforce.

Read more…

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Manish Kumar v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 30

The 3-Judge Bench of Rohinton Fali Nariman, Navin Sinha and K.M. Joseph, JJ., in a 465-pages long judgment, upheld the validity of several provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Act, 2020, albeit with directions given in exercise of powers under Article 142 of the Constitution of India. While so upholding the impugned amendments, the Bench expressed an observation that:

“There is nothing like a perfect law and as with all human institutions, there are bound to be imperfections. What is significant is however for the court ruling on constitutionality, the law must present a clear departure from constitutional limits.”

Read more…


Gautam Navlakha v. National Investigation Agency, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 382

In a major verdict, the bench of UU Lalit and KM Joseph, JJ has held that it is open for Courts to order house arrest under Section 167 CrPC in appropriate cases. The order comes as a milestone for curbing the problem of overcrowded prisons and high cost for their maintenance.

Indicating the criteria for house arrest, the Court highlighted factors like like age, health condition and the antecedents of the accused, the nature of the crime, the need for other forms of custody, the ability to enforce the terms of the house arrest, etc.

Read more…

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Kishorechandra Wangkhemcha v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 374

The 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, Indira Banerjee and KM Joseph, JJ has issued notice in a plea seeking declaration of Section 124-A IPC to as unconstitutional and void.

The order came after Senior Advocate Colin Gonalves submitted before the Court that the decision of the Court in Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar, 1962 Supp. (2) SCR 769 requires reconsideration.

The notice is returnable on July 12, 2021.

Read more…

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Iffco Tokio General Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Pearl Beverages2021 SCC OnLine SC 309

In an interesting case, the 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, Indira Banerjee and KM Joseph, JJ has held that while in case where there is a blood test or breath test, which indicates that there is no consumption at all, undoubtedly, it would not be open to the insurer to set up the case of exclusion, however, the absence of test may not disable the insurer from establishing a case for exclusion from liability on ground of drunk driving.

Read more…

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P. Mohanraj v. Shah Brother Ispat Pvt. Ltd.,2021 SCC OnLine SC 152

The 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph, JJ has, analysing various provisions under the Negotiable Instruments Act, the Court concluded that the proceedings under Section 138 are “quasi-criminal” in nature.

The Court held that

“a Section 138/141 proceeding against a corporate debtor is covered by Section 14(1)(a) of the IBC.”

In a 120-pages long verdict, the Supreme Court tackled the following issues to reach at the aforementioned conclusion:

Read more…

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Anglo American Metallurgical Coal Pty Ltd v. MMTC Ltd, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1030

While settling the dispute between Anglo American Metallurgical Coal (AAMC) and MMTC Ltd, the bench of RF Nariman and KM Joseph, JJ had the occasion to explain the concept of “patent” and “latent” ambiguity and held,

“… a “patent ambiguity” provision, as contained in section 94 of the Evidence Act, is only applicable when a document applies accurately to existing facts, which includes how a particular word is used in a particular sense.”

In the said case, the bench has set aside the decision of the division bench of Delhi High Court and has restored the Majority Award dated 12.05.2014 and the Single Judge’s judgment dated 10.07.2015 dismissing the application made under section 34 of the Arbitration Act by MMTC.

Read more…

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Paramvir Singh Saini v. Baljit Singh2020 SCC OnLine SC 983

The 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, KM Joseph and Anirudhha Bose, JJ has directed all the States and UTs to install CCTV cameras in all Police Stations and file compliance affidavits within 6 weeks.

The Court said that the directions are in furtherance of the fundamental rights of each citizen of India guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, and hence, the Executive/Administrative/police authorities are to implement this Order both in letter and in spirit as soon as possible.

Read more…

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Seelan v. Inspector of Police,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 1028

In a 20-year-old case relating to rape of a 6-year-old, the 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph, JJ has dismissed the special leave petition filed by the convict, thereby rejecting the contention that since the petitioner has only one hand, it would be physically impossible to have committed an act of rape. The Court said that there is no such impossibility.

Read more…

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Bikramjit Singh v. State of Punjab, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 824

The 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph, JJ has held that the right to default bail is not a mere statutory right under the first proviso to Section 167(2) CrPC, but is part of the procedure established by law under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which is, therefore, a fundamental right granted to an accused person to be released on bail once the conditions of the first proviso to Section 167(2) are fulfilled.

Read more…

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Firoz Iqbal Khan v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 737

“An insidious attempt has been made to insinuate that the community is involved in a conspiracy to infiltrate the civil services.”

The 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph, JJ has stayed the further telecast in continuation of or similar to the episodes which were telecast on 11, 12, 13 and 14 September, 2020 by Sudarshan news either under the same or any other title or caption. The case deals with telecast of a programme titled ‘Bindaas Bol’ on Sudarshan News which allegedly vilifies the Muslim community by portraying it to be involved in an act of terror or, as it is labeled, “jehad” in infiltrating the civil services of the nation.

Read more…


Notable Judgments at the High Court of Kerala (2004-2014)


Kapico Kerala Resorts (P) Ltd., v. Ratheesh K.R., 2013 SCC OnLine Ker 24580

The Division Bench of K.M. Joseph and K. Harilal, JJ. had ordered to demolish the Kapico Resorts at Panavally in Nediyathuruthu, which was constructed violating Coastal Regulation Zone Rules. The Bench stated, “we cannot ignore the fact that we have also held that the island would fall otherwise in CRZ III and therein the construction would be impermissible. We also notice that in the recommendation of the committee the CRZ on the bank of filtration ponds/pokali fields of Kerala needs to be in CRZ-III. No doubt here the petitioners have a case that constructions could be regularised as it were and also it is important that at any rate property of the island was properly classified for all times”. Admittedly, the company had not sought or got permission for the construction as required under the guidelines.

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Ratheesh. K.R v. State of Kerala, 2013 SCC OnLine Ker 14359

The Division Bench of K.M. Joseph and K. Harilal, JJ., addressed the controversy involving ediyathuruthu and Vettilathuruthu, once two sleepy islands which lay nestled in the Vembanad Lake which is the longest lake in India and a backwater in the State of Kerala. Is there violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notifications issued in the year 1991 and 2011, and is there encroachment on puramboke land and kayal, were the questions which substantially arise for consideration. The Bench held that the Notifications issued were intended to protect the coasts, the environment in general and to achieve the sustainable development, particularly of the fisher folk and other local population. The Notifications were meant to be enforced with full vigour. Circulars had been issued to the local bodies, however, only lip service had been paid if at all to the terms of the Notifications. The Bench remarked that by such callous indifference and consequent blatant violation of the Notifications, a law which was meant to address serious environmental issues which adversely affect the present and future generations, was being completely undermined.

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K.V Balan v. Sivagiri Sree Narayana Dharma Sanghom Trust, 2005 SCC OnLine Ker 504

The 3-judge Bench of J.B Koshy, K.M Joseph and K.R Udayabhanu, JJ., settled the questions of law referred to be decided by the Full Bench:

(i) Whether an appeal will lie against the order of a single Judge passed under Section 24 of the Code of Civil Procedure;

(ii) When such proceedings are under consideration can the learned single Judge pass interim orders; and

(iii) If interim orders are passed by the single Judge, whether appeals to the Division Bench can be filed from such interim orders.

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Rehim v. M.V Jayarajan, 2010 SCC OnLine Ker 3344

The 3-judge Bench of Chelameswar, CJ., A.K Basheer and K.M Joseph, JJ. addressed the questions regarding contempt jurisdiction of the Court and relevant procedures to be followed for the same:

(i) Whether a contempt case such as the one sought to be presented before this Court, which is not either moved by the Advocate General or by a person after duly obtaining consent of the Advocate General can be placed before the High Court on the judicial side or should it be considered by the Chief Justice on the administrative side as opined by a Division Bench of this Court in its order dated 19.2.2007 in an unnumbered Cont. Case (Crl.) of 2007 = 2007 (1) KLT 897 (One Earth One Life v. Sindhu Joy);

(ii) Whether it is competent for the Chief Justice or a Judge nominated by him thereupon to take a decision whether a contempt case should be registered and placed before the appropriate Bench for preliminary hearing…

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Self Financing Para Medical Managements Assn. v. State of Kerala, 2014 SCC OnLine Ker 28526

The Division Bench of K.M Joseph and A.K Jayasankaran Nambiar, JJ., declared that the State Government has no power to fix the fee structure in respect of the para-medical courses conducted by self financing institutions save to the limited extent of ensuring that they were not exploitative in nature and that no capitation fee was charged. It was further declared that any restriction, by the State Government, on the autonomy of the self-financing institutions in the matter of conduct of paramedical courses in the State, would be effected only through enacted law of the State legislature and not through executive orders.

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♦Did you know?  When the Collegium proposed Justice K.M. Joseph’s name  for elevation to the Supreme Court the first time it was rejected by the Union government[5]. It was only after the Collegium reiterated his name a second time that he got elevated to the Supreme Court.[[6]]


As the Chief Justice of High Court of Uttaranchal (2014-2018)


One of the most significant judgment delivered by Justice K.M. Joseph as the CJ of Uttranchal High Court was in Harish Chandra Singh Rawat v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine Utt 502, wherein he had quashed the imposition of President’s Rule in 2016 by the BJP led Union government in the state of Uttarakhand. His decision in this case was of far reaching political implication as it invalidated the President’s rule imposed by the Governor and restored the Harish Rawat led Congress Government in Uttarakhand. It was one of the rare instances where the Court had restored the previous government after striking down the Governor’s rule.[[7]]


†Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/20130628090239/http://www.highcourtofkerala.nic.in/kmjoseph.html

[2]https://www.scobserver.in/judges?id=justice-k-m-joseph

[3] Ibid.

[4] 2003 SCC OnLine Ker 218

[5] https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2018/04/27/heres-why-centre-asked-the-collegium-to-reconsider-justice-km-josephs-elevation/

[6] https://indianexpress.com/article/who-is/who-is-justice-kuttiyil-mathew-joseph-5152643/

[7] https://www.scobserver.in/judges?id=justice-k-m-joseph

Appointments & TransfersNews

President is pleased to appoint Shri Sanjay Kumar Mishra, to be a Judge of the Orissa High Court, with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.


Ministry of Law and Justice

[Notification dt. 3-6-2022]

Know thy Judge

“There is no rule that in every criminal case, the testimony of an injured eye-witness needs corroboration from the so-called independent witnesses. When the statement of injured eye-witness is found trustworthy and reliable, the conviction on that basis could always be recorded, of course, having regard to all the facts and surrounding factors.”

– Justice Dinesh Maheshwari

Manjit Singh v. State of Punjab, (2019) 8 SCC 529


Justice Dinesh Maheshwari was born on 15th May, 1958 in Udaipur (Rajasthan). He had completed his BSc (Hons.) in physics from Maharaja’s College, Rajasthan University, Jaipur and LL.B. from Jodhpur University. He enrolled as an Advocate with Bar Council of Rajasthan in March, 1981.

♦Did you know? Justice Dinesh Maheshwari’s father, Ramesh Chandra Maheshwari is a prominent advocate in Jodhpur.


As an Advocate


Justice Dinesh Maheshwari practised on original and appellate sides before Rajasthan High Court and its subordinate Courts. He mainly dealt with civil and constitutional matters.

Justice Maheshwari served as counsel for Revenue and Excise Departments of Government of Rajasthan as also several local bodies and corporations. He had also been co-opted member on various disciplinary committees of the Bar Council of Rajasthan.


As a Judge


♦Did you know? Justice Maheshwari hails from lawyers’ lineage and is a first generation judge.

Justice Dinesh Maheshwari took oath as Judge of Rajasthan High Court on 2nd September, 2004. He also served as Chairman of Rajasthan State Judicial Academy and as Administrative Judge of Rajasthan High Court.

Justice Maheshwari was then transferred to Allahabad High Court and took oath on 19th July, 2014. He was appointed as Chief Justice of the High Court of Meghalaya on the 24th February 2016 and then, as Chief Justice of High Court of Karnataka on 12th February 2018.

♦Did you know? The collegium had superseded Justice Maheshwari in October, 2018 when it recommended the elevation of the then Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court, Justice Ajay Rastogi — originally from the Rajasthan High Court — to the Supreme Court.[1]

Justice Maheshwari was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 18th January, 2019.

♦Did you know? While Justice Maheshwari was at serial number 21 of all-India seniority list of judges, Justice Khanna was at 33.


Notable Judgments – Supreme Court


Pappu v. State of U.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 176

In a case where a man had brutally raped and murdered a 7-year-old girl, the 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari* and CT Ravikumar, JJ has reversed the concurrent findings of the Courts below and has commuted the death sentence into that of imprisonment for life, with the stipulation that the appellant shall not be entitled to premature release or remission before undergoing actual imprisonment for a period of 30 years.

“The heinous nature of crime like that of present one, in brutal rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl child, definitely discloses aggravating circumstances, particularly when the manner of its commission shows depravity and shocks the conscience. But, at the same time, it is noticeable that the appellant has no criminal antecedents, comes from a very poor socio-economic background, has a family comprising of wife, children and aged father, and has unblemished jail conduct.”

Read More…


B.L. Kashyap & Sons Ltd. v. JMS Steels & Power Corpn., (2022) 3 SCC 294

While clarifying the law on leave to defend, the Division Bench of Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari*, JJ., held that even if there remains a reasonable doubt about the probability of defence, sterner or higher conditions could be imposed while granting leave to defend but, denying the leave would be ordinarily countenanced only in such cases where the defendant fails to show any genuine triable issue and the Court finds the defence to be frivolous or vexatious.

Read More…

Explained| Grant of Leave to Defend: The best approach | Read More…


Ashish Shelar v. Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 105

In a big relief to the 12 BJP MLAs who were suspended by the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, by resolution dated 05.07.2021, for a period of 1 year due to “indisciplined and unbecoming behaviour resulting in maligning the dignity of the House”, the 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar*, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar, JJ has held that the said resolution is unconstitutional, grossly illegal and irrational to the extent of period of suspension beyond the remainder of the concerned (ongoing) Session.

The bench observed,

“Only a graded approach is the essence of a rational and logical approach; and only such action of the Legislature which is necessary for orderly conduct of its scheduled business of the ongoing Session can be regarded as rational approach. Suspension beyond the Session would be bordering on punishing not only the member concerned, but also inevitably impact the legitimate rights of the constituency from where the member had been elected.”

Resultantly, the 12 MLAs are entitled for all consequential benefits of being members of the Legislative Assembly, on and after the expiry of the period of the remainder of the concerned Session in July 2021.

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State of Haryana v. Daronacharya College of Engineering, Special Leave to Appeal (C) No(s). 31730 of 2016

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.”

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Union of India v. Raj Grow Impex LLP,  2021 SCC OnLine SC 429

In the case relating to confiscation of a large quantity of yellow peas imported from China, the 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari* and Krishna Murai, JJ has held that the goods in question are to be held liable to absolute confiscation but with a relaxation of allowing reexport, on payment of the necessary redemption fine and subject to the importer discharging other statutory obligations.

Noticing that the personal interests of the importers who made improper imports are pitted against the interests of national economy and more particularly, the interests of farmers, the Court said,

“When personal business interests of importers clash with public interest, the former has to, obviously, give way to the latter.”

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Bajranga v. State of M.P., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 27

While setting aside the impugned order of High Court of judicature at Madhya Pradesh for upholding the taking over of possession and eviction under MP Land Revenue Code, 1959, a 3-judge Bench comprising of Sanjay Kishan Kaul*, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ., held that when there was no surplus land there could be no question of any proceedings for take over of the surplus land under the said Act.

“Right to property is still a constitutional right under Article 300A of the Constitution of India though not a fundamental right. The deprivation of the right can only be in accordance with the procedure established by law.”

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Indian School, Jodhpur v. State of Rajasthan, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 359

The bench of AM Khanwilkar* and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ has directed the School Managements of Rajasthan private schools to Give 15% deduction in Annual school fees and ordered that no students are to be debarred for non – payment of fees.

“The school Management supposedly engaged in doing charitable activity of imparting education, is expected to be responsive and alive to that situation and take necessary remedial measures to mitigate the hardship suffered by the students and their parents. It is for the school Management to reschedule payment of school fee in such a way that not even a single student is left out or denied opportunity of pursuing his/her education, so as to effectuate the adage “live and let live”.”

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Rajiv Suri v. Delhi Development Authority, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 7

A 3-judge bench comprising of A. M. Khanwilkar*, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna**, JJ, by a 2:1 verdict, held that there is no infirmity in the grant of “no objection” by the Central Vista Committee (CVC) and “approval” by the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) and “prior approval” by the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) to the Central Vista Project and given a go ahead to the Central Vista Project.

“The project does not involve any conversion into private ownership and has no element whatsoever of permitting commercial use of vital public resources. The proposed project is in line with the standards of public trust.”

Read More…


Jaypee Kensington Boulevard Apartments Welfare Association v. NBCC (India) Ltd, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 160

The bench of AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., while deciding the application hearing an application by the IRP Anuj Jain who was arrest n connection with an accident on the Expressway for not taking safety measures suggested by the IIT in its safety audit conducted in 2018 to reduce road accidents, said that it was “appalled to see” extreme step taken by Uttar Pradesh Police in the case.

The Court directed the release of the applicant and further directed the Investigating Officer not to take any coercive action against him in connection with the subject F.I.R. until further orders.

The Court also issued a show cause notice to the Investigating Officer, Bijender Singh, Sub-Inspector, as to why appropriate action is not taken against him for taking such drastic action against the applicant.

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State of Tamil Nadu v. K. Shobhna,  2021 SCC OnLine SC 179

In a petition related to reservation and filling up of backlog vacancies, the 3-judge bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul*, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ., explaining the applicability of Section 27(f) of the Tamil Nadu Government Servants (Conditions of Service) Act, 2016 and held that the reserved category students scoring on their own merit to be adjusted under general category.

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Joydeep Majumdar v. Bharti Jaiswal Majumdar, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 146

The 3-judge bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy*, JJ held malicious allegation against spouse costing him his job and reputation is not an attempt to preserve the relationship but a definite case of mental cruelty and the husband was entitled to dissolution of his marriage.

“The degree of tolerance will vary from one couple to another and the Court will have to bear in mind the background, the level of education and also the status of the parties, in order to determine whether the cruelty alleged is sufficient to justify dissolution of marriage, at the instance of the wronged party.”

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Chandra Deepak Kochhar v. ICICI Bank Ltd., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 969

A 3-judge bench comprising of Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ., refused to interfere with the termination of Chanda Kochhar as the Managing Director and CEO of ICICI Bank.

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Shoda Devi v. DDU/Ripon Hospital Shimla, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 334

“The award of compensation cannot go restrictive when the victim is coming from a poor and rural background.”

While enhancing compensation in a case of medical negligence, a Division bench comprising of Abhay Manohar Sapre and Dinesh Maheshwari*, JJ., held that award of compensation cannot go restrictive when the victim is from poor and rural background and awarded Rs. 10 Lakh compensation to ‘send message’ to medical practitioners.

“Such granting of reasonability higher amount of compensation in the present case appears necessary to serve dual purposes: one, to provide some succour and support to the appellant against the hardship and disadvantage due to amputation of right arm; and second, to send the message to the professionals that their responsiveness and diligence has to be equi-balanced for all their consumers and all the human beings deserve to be treated with equal respect and sensitivity.”

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Kavita Kanwar v. Pamela Mehta, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 464

While dealing with the issue of proving of wills and when a will may be considered to be invalid and executed under suspicious circumstances, a Division bench comprising of Abhay Manohar Sapre and Dinesh Maheshwari*, JJ., held that,

“thick clouds of suspicious circumstances are hovering over the Will in question which have not been cleared; rather every suspicious circumstance is confounded by another and the curious case of the alleged third page of the Will effectively and completely demolishes the case of the appellant.”


Sujata Kohli v. High Court of Delhi, (2020) 14 SCC 58

“The right to be considered for promotion is a fundamental right of equality of opportunity in the matter of employment.”

While dismissing a petition by Additional District and Sessions Judge Sujata Kohli challenging the constitutional validity of certain rules and resolutions of Delhi high Court on criteria for appointment of a judicial officer to the post of District Judge and Sessions Judge, a Division bench comprising A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari*, JJ., held that grading of an individual officer remains a matter between the officer and the establishment and it cannot be said that the high court has caused any prejudice to the appellant in the matter of ACR gradings.

“Having regard to the circumstances of this case, we are impelled to observe that while raising grievances with regard to the impact and effect of ACR gradings, the appellant appears to have missed out the fundamental factor that for the promotions in question, an individual’s minimum merit, by itself, was not going to be decisive, but the relevant factor was going to be comparative merit of the persons in the zone of consideration.”


Rusoday Securities Ltd. v. National Stock Exchange of India Ltd., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 948

“It is the fundamental principle of an equitable examination that “the one who seeks equity must do equity”.

While deciding the issue, whether NSE can realise withheld securities prior to expulsion or declaration of defaulter, the bench of AM Khanwilkar* and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., the Court held that vesting of withheld securities of a defaulting member does not take place in favour of the NSE/NSCCL unless a formal expulsion order is passed and without such legal vesting, the Exchange only sits upon the withheld assets as a custodian.

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Union of India v. Exide Industries Limited and Another,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 399

A 3-judge bench of A.M. Khanwilkar*, Hemant Gupta, Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., deciding on the validity of clause (f) to Section 43-B Income Tax Act, 1961, held,

“To hold a provision as violative of the Constitution on account of failure of the legislature to state the Objects and Reasons would amount to an indirect scrutiny of the motives of the legislature behind the enactment. Such a course of action, in our view, is unwarranted. The raison d’être behind this self-imposed restriction is because of the fundamental reason that different organs of the State do not scrutinise each other’s wisdom in the exercise of their duties. In other words, the time-tested principle of checks and balances does not empower the Court to question the motives or wisdom of the legislature, except in circumstances when the same is demonstrated from the enacted law.”

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State of Madhya Pradesh v. Bherulal, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 849

“Supreme Court of India cannot be a place for the Governments to walk in when they choose ignoring the period of limitation prescribed”

A Division bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul* and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., dismissing the a Special Leave Petition filed by the State of Madhya Pradesh with a delay of 663 days, held

“We are thus, constrained to send a signal and we propose to do in all matters today, where there are such inordinate delays that the Government or State authorities coming before us must pay for wastage of judicial time which has its own value.”

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L.R. Brothers Indo Flora Ltd v. Commissioner of Central Excise, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 705

A Division bench comprising of AM Khanwilkar* and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., while deciding when can a subsequent legislation be applied retrospectively, held that for an application of a subsequent legislation retrospectively, it is necessary to show that the previous legislation had any omission or ambiguity or it was intended to explain an earlier act.

“It is a settled proposition of law that all laws are deemed to apply prospectively unless either expressly specified to apply retrospectively or intended to have been done so by the legislature. The latter would be a case of necessary implication and it cannot be inferred lightly.”

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Workmen v. Ravuthar Dawood Naseem, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 461

While deciding a contempt petititon, a Division Bbnch comprising constiting of A.M. Khanwilkar* and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., held that to establish civil contempt, disobedience of order should be wilful, deliberate & with full knowledge of consequences

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Anuj Jain v. Axis Bank Ltd., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 237

The Division bench consisting of AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari*, JJ., held that the lending banks of Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL) were not the financial creditors and that the transactions in question were to defraud the lenders of the corporate debtor Jaypee Infratech Limited (JIL).

“the transactions in question are hit by Section 43 of the Code and the Adjudicating Authority, having rightly held so, had been justified in issuing necessary directions in terms of Section 44 of the Code.”

The Court directed the return of mortgaged land to Jaypee Infratech Limited

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Nisha Priya Bhatia v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 394

“A non-hostile working environment is the basic limb of dignified employment.”

While directing the Centre to pay Rs. 1 Lakh compensation for improper handling of sexual harassment allegation by former RAW agent Nisha Priya Bhatia, the bench of AM Khanwilkar* and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., upheld the compulsory retirement for Nisha Priya Bhatia on the ground of “exposure” having regard to the nature of work of the Organisation of which confidentiality and secrecy are inalienable elements.

“…the cases of sexual harassment at workplace is not confined to cases of actual commission of acts of harassment, but also covers situations wherein the woman employee is subjected to prejudice, hostility, discriminatory attitude and humiliation in day to day functioning at the workplace.”

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 Gopalkrishnan v. State of Kerala, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1532

The Division bench of AM Khanwilkar* and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., held that the contents of a memory card or a pen drive in relation to a crime amount to a ‘document’ and not a ‘material object’.

The Court also opined that the accused would be entitled to a copy of the same to prepare his defence under Section 207 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and if the electronic evidence is regard to the cases involving issues such as of privacy of the complainant/witness or his/her identity, then the trial court, keeping in mind the sensitivity of the contents, could deny a copy but may allow the inspection to the accused and his/her lawyer or expert for presenting effective defence during the trial.

“…the accused must be given a cloned copy thereof to enable him/her to present an effective defence during the trial. However, in cases involving issues such as of privacy of the complainant/witness or his/her identity, the Court may be justified in providing only inspection thereof to the accused and his/her lawyer or expert for presenting effective defence during the trial.”

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Notable Judgments – High Court


♦Did you know?When Justice Maheshwari was judge of the Rajasthan High Court, he re-initiated an inquiry against P. Krishna Bhat, a district judge, at the Centre’s behest. Justice Bhat’s promotion was stalled in light of allegations of “atrocities and abuse of power” made by a female judicial officer. Though Justice Bhat was cleared of all charges twice, Justice Maheshwari initiated a third inquiry — purportedly on instructions issued in a letter written directly by the Law Ministry.[2]


Dream Merchants v. State of Karnataka, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 1332

While deciding whether the fashion show organised by the appellant, falls within the expression ‘entertainment’ and there had been ‘payment for admission’ so as to attract the relevant charging provisions of the Act, 1958, the Division bench headed by Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari held that ‘fashion show’ falls within the expression ‘entertainment’ and hence liable to attract state tax.


Anusha N. v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 2358

“Public Interest Litigation cannot be used as a tool to wreck vengeance”

Dismissing the PIL by the petitioner who had filed several criminal charges against her husband, the Division bench of Dinesh Maheshwari, CJ. and S. Sujatha, J., held that the scope of public interest litigation cannot be widened to serve private interest in the pending litigation in order to being reforms in the justice delivery system.

“The fundamental object of public interest litigation is to enforce fundamental rights and genuine infraction of statutory provisions but not to set right the private dispute or to bring the parties to terms.”


Sekhar S. Iyer v. Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 3811

While deciding the issue whether the post of deputy chief minister is unconstitutional, a Division bench of Dinesh Maheshwari*, C.J. and Krishna S. Dixit, J., held that the post of deputy chief minister is not unconstitutional and a mere description of any minister in the council of ministers as a deputy chief minister does not confer any power of chief minister to such person.

“…mere description of any Minister in the Council of Ministers as Deputy Chief Minister does not confer the person concerned with any powers of the Chief Minister and does not result in any unconstitutionality.”

The Court also observed that there was no justification for filing the writ petition as a PIL and the petition filed by the petitioner is an example of “entirely frivolous, meaningless, unnecessary and unwarranted PIL petition in this Court and that too, by none other but a person who is engaged in teaching Business Law and is not oblivious of the legal process.”


Tenzing Choden Sherpa v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Megh 35

“Any decision by any Ministry cannot override the plain provisions of law nor any correspondence or any communication could do so.”

The Division Bench of Dinesh Maheshwari*, C.J., and Ved Prakash Vaish, J., held that all Tibetans born in India after 26 January 1950 and before 1 July 1987, as per the Citizenship Act, 1955 are to be considered as Indians.

The Court opined that the respondents were unjustified in denying the rights to the petitioners as citizens of India and such rights flow directly and unfailingly by the operation of the plain provisions of law i.e. by operation of Section 3 of the Act of 1955.

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A.P. Ranganatha v. Chief Election Commission, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 3837

A Division bench comprising of Dinesh Maheshwari*, CJ. and S. Sujatha, J., held that a decision to hold bye-elections in a vacant constituency on account of it being unrepresented for more than a year cannot be held invalid.

“Looking to the purport and purpose of Clause (a) of proviso to Section 151A of the Act of 1951, it is but clear that the period of one year as referred in Clause (a) is not referring to the term of the newly elected member after occurrence of vacancy, but the same refers to the remaining term from the date of occurrence of vacancy and that ought not be less than one year.”

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SCOPE v Karnataka State Open University, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 1568

Dinesh Maheshwari, J. while hearing a civil writ petition for appointment of arbitrator opined that termination of agreement does not automatically terminate the arbitration clause contained in such agreement.

“…where the parties stand at conflict and disputes do exist and looking to the terms of the agreement, it is just and proper that an independent arbitrator be appointed to adjudicate upon and decide the disputes between the parties, including their claims, counter claims and objections.”

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Vijay Mallya v. State Bank of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 1733

Dismissing the writ petition filed by industrialist Vijay Mallya, a Division bench of Dinesh Maheshwari and Krishna N. Dixit, JJ., held that DRAT’s requirement of pre-deposit for maintaining the appeal was legitimate.

“This requirement cannot be construed as a pre-condition for restoring the appeal but has to be understood as the requirement of Section 21 of the Act for maintaining the appeal.”

The Court while explaining the nature and effect of amendment to Section 21 of Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993 observed that Section 21 of the Act of 1993 does not directly deals with the right of appeal but deals with the conditions, subject to which the said right becomes exercisable.

“the right of appeal is a matter of substantive law; this right may be absolute or conditional, as may be provided by law that creates the said right; it is also well settled that the right of appeal although accrues to a party when the litigation originally commences, the same becomes exercisable after an adverse order is made against him.”

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† Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 

* Judge who has penned the judgment.

** Judge who has penned the dissenting judgment.

[1] https://theprint.in/judiciary/scs-newest-judges-had-set-aside-aap-mla-disqualification-ruled-fashion-shows-are-taxable/179680/

[2] https://theprint.in/judiciary/scs-newest-judges-had-set-aside-aap-mla-disqualification-ruled-fashion-shows-are-taxable/179680/

Know thy Judge

Freedom to express and speak is the most important condition for political democracy. Law and policies are not democratic unless they have been made and subjected to democratic process including questioning and criticism.

– Justice Sanjiv Khanna

Amish Devgan v. Union of India, (2021) 1 SCC 1


Justice Sanjiv Khanna was born on 14th May 1960. He completed his schooling from Delhi’s prestigious Modern School, Barakhamba Road. He graduated from University of Delhi in 1980 and later studied Law from the Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi.

♦Did You Know? Justice Sanjiv Khanna is the nephew of a former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, Justice Hans Raj Khanna, who propounded the Basic Structure Doctrine in 1973 and famously delivered the lone dissenting judgement in the ADM Jabalpur v. Shiv Kant Shukla case, popularly known as the Habeas Corpus case, in 1976. Justice H. R. Khanna was superseded to the office of the Chief Justice of India by M. H. Beg.


 From an Advocate to a Supreme Court Judge


Justice Sanjiv Khanna enrolled as an Advocate with the Bar Council of Delhi in 1983. He began his practice in the District Courts at Tis Hazari in Delhi and soon shifted his practiced to Delhi High Court.

His area of practice was wide and varied from writ petitions in public law matters, direct tax appeals, income tax prosecutions, arbitration cases, commercial suits, environment and pollution laws matters, besides medical negligence cases before consumer forums and company law cases before the Company Law Board.

He had represented the Government of Delhi as an additional Public Prosecutor in various criminal cases. He was a senior standing counsel for the Income Tax Department for about seven years. He was appointed as a standing counsel (Civil) for the Government of Delhi in Delhi High Court in 2004.

♦Did You Know? Justice Sanjiv Khanna never headed any High Court as Chief Justice and was a judge of the Delhi High Court prior to his elevation to SC.

On 24th June, 2005 he was elevated as an additional Judge of the Delhi High Court and became a permanent Judge of the Delhi High Court on 20th February, 2006.[1]

♦Did You Know? Justice Khanna was directly elevated from his parent High Court – the Delhi High Court, which is a rare occurrence. Only six judges have been elevated directly from their parent high court since 1997 – Justices S Abdul Nazeer, Ranjana Prakash Desai, Lokeshwar Singh Panta, G P Mathur, Ruma Pal and S S Quadri.[2]

Justice Khanna was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 18th January, 2019.

♦Did You Know? Going by seniority, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, 61, is in line to become Chief Justice of India (CJI) in November 2024 for a term of seven months.[3]


Notable Judgments at Supreme Court

♦Did You Know? It was a rare coincidence for Justice Sanjiv Khanna to begin his first day as a judge in Supreme Court sitting in the same courtroom from which his uncle, Late Justice H. R. Khanna, last retired.[4]

Pradeep Kumar v. Post Master General, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 154

The 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna* and BR Gavai, JJ has held that the post office/bank can be held liable for the fraud or wrongs committed by its employees.

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Keshav v. Gian Chand, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 81

In an issue relating to the alleged gift deed by an old illiterate woman, the bench of MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ has held that when a person obtains any benefit from another, the court would call upon the person who wishes to maintain the right to gift to discharge the burden of proving that he exerted no influence for the purpose of obtaining the document. While the corollary to this principle finds recognition under sub-section (3) to Section 16 of the Contract Act, 1872 which relates to pardanashin ladies, the courts can apply it to old, illiterate, ailing or infirm persons who may be unable to comprehend the nature of document or contents thereof.

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Chairman, State Bank of India v. MJ James, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1061

Explaining the difference between acquiescence and delay and laches, the bench of L. Nageswara Rao and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ has held that both limitation and laches destroy the remedy but not the right. Acquiescence, on the other hand, virtually destroys the right of the person.

“Inactive acquiescence on the part of the respondent can be inferred till the filing of the appeal, and not for the period post filing of the appeal. Nevertheless, this acquiescence being in the nature of estoppel bars the respondent from claiming violation of the right of fair representation.”

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Irappa Siddappa Murgannavar v. State of Karnataka, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1029

In a case where a death row convict subjected a 5-year-old girl to rape, killed her by strangulation, and then disposed of her body, tied in a gunny bag, into a stream, the 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna* and BR Gavai, JJ has, finding hope for reformation and rehabilitation of the appellant, commuted his death sentence to that of life imprisonment.

The trial court had recorded that the death sentence was awarded on the ground that “the crime was committed in an extremely diabolical manner and that it was cruel, barbaric and revolting.” The High Court has noted that there are no mitigating circumstances at all.

While the Court noted that the appellant has committed an abhorrent crime, it said that, considering the mitigating circumstances like his young age, weak socioeconomic background, absence of any criminal antecedents, etc.; there was hope for reformation, rehabilitation, and thus the option of imprisonment for life was certainly not foreclosed.

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Executive Engineer, Gosikhurd Project Ambadi, Bhandara, Maharashtra Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation v. Mahesh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1034

In an important ruling on Land Acquisition and Requisition law, the bench of AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ has held that Section 25 of the 2013 Act applies to awards made under Section 24(1)(a) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 and the period of limitation of twelve months would commence from 1st January 2014.

“In cases covered by clause (a) to Section 24(1) of the 2013 Act, the limitation period for passing/making of an award under Section 25 of the 2013 Act would commence from 1st January 2014, that is, the date when the 2013 Act came into force. Awards passed under clause (a) to Section 24(1) would be valid if made within twelve months from 1st January 2014.”

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Amish Devgan v. Union of India, (2021) 1 SCC 1

“Article 19(1)(a) cannot be pressed into service for defeating the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 21 as if one claims to right to speech, the others have the right to listen or decline to listen.”

A Division bench comprising of AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna,* JJ has refused to quash the FIRs registered against News18 Journalist Amish Devgan for using the term “Lootera Chisti” in one of his shows but has granted interim protection to him against arrest subject to his joining and cooperating in investigation till completion of the investigation.

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The Court opined that thetrue test of a valid FIR is only whether the information furnished provides reason to suspect the commission of an offence which the police officer concerned is empowered under Section 156(1) of the Criminal Code to investigate.

“…the FIR registered first in point of time, should be treated as the main FIR and others as statements under Section 162 of the Criminal Code. However, in exceptional cases and for good reasons, it will be open to the High Court or this Court, as the case may be, to treat the subsequently registered FIR as the principal FIR. However, this should not cause any prejudice, inconvenience or harassment to either the victims, witnesses or the person who is accused.”

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The Court also made an attempt to define “hate speech” and explain what will invite penal action.

Dissent and criticism of the elected government’s policy, when puissant, deceptive or even false would be ethically wrong, but would not invite penal action.”

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Rajiv Suri v. Delhi Development Authority,  2021 SCC OnLine SC 7

A 3-judge bench comprising of A. M. Khanwilkar*, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna**, JJ, by a 2:1 verdict, held that there is no infirmity in the grant of “no objection” by the Central Vista Committee (CVC) and “approval” by the Delhi Urban Art Commission (DUAC) and “prior approval” by the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) to the Central Vista Project and given a go ahead to the Central Vista Project.

“The project does not involve any conversion into private ownership and has no element whatsoever of permitting commercial use of vital public resources. The proposed project is in line with the standards of public trust.”

Justice Sanjiv Khanna dissented with the opinion expressed by A.M. Khanwilkar, J. on the aspects of public participation on interpretation of the statutory provisions, failure to take prior approval of the Heritage Conservation Committee and the order passed by the Expert Appraisal Committee.

According to Justice Khanna the core issue in the present case is whether or not the authorities have performed their duty to consult the public, followed the prescribed procedure and the authority competent acted to modify or amend in terms of the Development Act and the Development Rules.

Justice Khanna opined that “…mere uploading of the gazette notification giving the present and the proposed land use with plot numbers was not sufficient compliance, but rather an exercise violating the express as well as implied stipulations, that is, necessity and requirement to make adequate and intelligible disclosure.”

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Rapid MetroRail Gurgaon Ltd. v. Haryana Mass Rapid Transport Corporation Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 269

A 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud*, MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ has directed Haryana government to deposit Rs. 1,925 crore within three months into an escrow account while hearing a dispute between the state’s urban development authority, HSVP, and infrastructure company IL&FS on the Metro corridor in Gurugram.

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♦Did You Know? Justice Sanjiv Khanna recused himself from hearing Sajjan Kumar’s appeal in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case and he is the one who had dismissed Sajjan Kumar’s bail in the Delhi High Court in 2015.[5]


Laxmi Singh v. Rekha Singh, (2020) 6 SCC 812

“The principle of secrecy of ballots is an important postulate of constitutional democracy whose aim is the achievement of this goal.”

A 3-judge bench of N V Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna* and Krishna Murari, JJ held that the applicable statutory rules providing for voting on no-confidence motion by secret ballot have binding effect. Hence, re-voting or fresh voting, directed on the no-confidence vote in question, in the facts and circumstances of the case, as the same had not been done by secret ballot. Such re-voting, held, must be by way of secret ballot in accordance with the 1966 Rules.

The Court relied on the judgement in the case of Kuldip Nayar v. Union of India, (2006) 7 SCC 1 and S. Raghbir Singh Gill v. S. Gurcharan Singh Tohra, 1980 Supp SCC 53, observed that “The primary principle and test to be applied by the courts is purity of election, that is, free and fair election. Secrecy of voting is an adjunct to the principle of purity of election.”

“Secrecy is not an absolute principle enshrined in law, but a requirement to subserve the larger public interest of purity of election. Secrecy cannot stand aloof, in isolation or in confrontation to the foundation of free and fair elections.”


Vidya Drolia v. Durga Trading Corporation, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1018

A 3-judge bench of  comprising of N V Ramana***Sanjiv Khanna* and Krishna Murari, JJ overruled the ratio in Himangni Enterprises v. Kamaljeet Singh Ahluwalia, (2017) 10 SCC 706 wherein it was held that landlord-tenant disputes governed by the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, are not arbitrable as this would be contrary to public policy.

“Landlord-tenant disputes are arbitrable as the Transfer of Property Act does not forbid or foreclose arbitration. However, landlord-tenant disputes covered and governed by rent control legislation would not be arbitrable when specific court or forum has been given exclusive jurisdiction to apply and decide special rights and obligations. Such rights and obligations can only be adjudicated and enforced by the specified court/forum, and not through arbitration.”

Read More…


Franklin Templeton Trustee Services Private Limited v. Amruta Garg, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 88

In the case relating to winding up of six schemes of the Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund, a division bench of SA Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ has, rejecting the objections to poll results, upheld the validity of e-voting process for winding up of mutual fund schemes of Franklin Templeton, and opined that the disbursal of funds to unit holders will continue.

The Court held that for the purpose of clause (c) to Regulation 18(15) of the Mutual Fund Regulations, consent of the unit holders would mean consent by majority of the unit holders who have participated in the poll, and not consent of majority of all the unit holders of the scheme.

Read more…


Vikash Kumar v. Union Public Service Commission, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 84

In their blooming and blossoming, we all bloom and blossom.”

In the present case, a citizen suffering from a writer’s cramp knocked on the doors of the Apex Court as he was denied a scribe in the civil services examination and the 3-judge bench comprising of D Y Chandrachud*, Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ held that writer’s cramp can be considered as a disability under Entry IV of the Schedule to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (RPwD Act 2016).

“To confine the facility of a scribe only to those who have benchmark disabilities would be to deprive a class of persons of their statutorily recognized entitlements. To do so would be contrary to the plain terms as well as the object of the statute.”

The Court opined that the heart of the present case lies in the principle of reasonable accommodation. The principle of reasonable accommodation acknowledges that if disability as a social construct has to be remedied, conditions have to be affirmatively created for facilitating the development of the disabled.

“The principle of reasonable accommodation postulates that the conditions which exclude the disabled from full and effective participation as equal members of society have to give way to an accommodative society which accepts difference, respects their needs and facilitates the creation of an environment in which the societal barriers to disability are progressively answered.”

The Court directed the Centre to frame guidelines in three months to protect the rights of disabled students and enable them to write all competitive examinations with help of a scribe in tune with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.

Read More…


Satya Deo v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 809

While upholding conviction of the accused, the Division bench of SA Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ, set aside the sentence of life imprisonment and held that the 2000 Act would be applicable in a pending proceeding instituted under the 1986 Act in any court or authority, if the person had not completed eighteen years of age as on 1st April 2001, when the 2000 Act came into force.

The Court held that “the 2000 Act would have prospective effect and not retrospective effect except in cases where the person had not completed the age of eighteen years on the date of commencement of the 2000 Act. Other pending cases would be governed by the provisions of the 1986 Act.”

Read More


Central Public Information Officer v. Subhash Chandra Agarwal, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1459

“Judicial independence and accountability go hand in hand as accountability ensures, and is a facet of judicial independence.”

The 5-judge constitution Bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and NV Ramana***, Dr. DY Chandrachud***, Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna,* JJ upholding the 2010 landmark judgment of the Delhi high court bringing the Chief Justice of India’s office under Right to Information, held that the office of the Chief Justice of India comes under the definition of ‘public authority’ in the Right to Information Act.

Justice Chandrachud is his separate but concurring opinion opined that “To use judicial independence as a plea to refuse accountability is fallacious. Independence is secured by accountability. Transparency and scrutiny are instruments to secure accountability.”

Read More… 


Roger Mathew v. South India Bank Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1456

A 5-judge Constitution Bench of Ranjan Gogoi*, CJ and NV Ramana, Dr. DY Chandrachud***, Deepak Gupta*** and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ., assessing the constitutional validity of Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017 and held that Section 184 is valid and does not suffer from excessive delegation of legislative functions as there are adequate principles to guide framing of delegated legislation, which would include the binding dictums of this Court.

The Court struck down the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017, made under Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017, for being contrary to the parent enactment and the principles envisaged in the Constitution i.e. being destructive of judicial independence.

The Court also dealt with the difference with money bill and finance bill and held that the Money bill can be introduced only in Lok Sabha and the role of the Rajya Sabha is merely consultative.

Read More 


Harbhajan Singh vs. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1546

A 3-judge bench comprising of NV Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna* and Krishna Murar, JJ upheld the constitutional validity of the Punjab Religious Premises and Land (Eviction and Rent Recovery) Act, 1997.

The Court held that the separate classification of properties of religious institutions for rent legislation will pass the test under Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

Read More…


Manoharan v. State, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 951

“There can be no doubt that today’s judgment is in keeping with the legislature’s realisation that such crimes are on the rise and must be dealt with severely.”

Considering the serious nature of the crime involving rape and murder of 2 children, a 3-judge bench comprising of RF Nariman,* Surya Kant and Sanjiv Khanna,** JJ., with 2:1 verdict upheld the death sentence confirmed by the High Court.

Justice Khanna, while dissenting only on the issue of upholding death sentence confirmed by the High Court, held that the present case does not fall under the category of ‘rarest of rare’ case but would fall within the special category of cases, where the appellant should be directed to suffer sentence for life.

Read More…


Manoharan v. State, (2020) 5 SCC 782

Dismissing the review petition filed by Appellant to review it’s 2:1 verdict awarding death sentence, a 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, Surya Kant* and Sanjiv Khanna,* JJ., held that the dissent by one Judge is not a bar for upholding death penalty.

The Court held that in the present case the appellant misused societal trust and the crime was not a crime a passion but a well crafted crime. The Crime committed by the Appellant were grave and shock the conscience of this Court and society that we cannot commute the sentence and without any doubt it will fall under rarest of the rare category.

 “It was not in the spur of the moment or a crime of passion; but craftily planned, meticulously executed and with multiple opportunities to cease and desist.”

Agreeing with the Justice Surya Kant on the dismissal of review petition and upholding of the conviction of the accused, Justice Khanna held that there is no good ground and reasons to review his observations and findings in the minority judgment.

Read More…


Shrimanth Balasaheb Patil v. Hon’ble Speaker, Karnataka Legislative Assembly, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1454

A 3-judge bench comprising Justices N.V. Ramana*, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari upheld the then Karnataka Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar’s decision disqualifying 17 MLAs, but struck down the period of disqualification.

The Court opined that the Speaker is not empowered to disqualify any member till the end of the term.

The Court also discussed about the growing trend of Speakers acting against constitutional mandate and observed that

“There is a growing trend of the Speaker acting against the constitutional duty of being neutral. Further horse trading and corrupt practices associated with defection and change of loyalty or lure of office or wrong reasons have not abated. Thereby the citizens are denied stable governments. In these circumstances, there is need to consider strengthening certain aspects, so that such undemocratic practices are discouraged and checked.”

Read More…


Pioneer Urban Land and Infrastructure Ltd. v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1005

A 3-judge bench consisting of RF Nariman*, Sanjiv Khanna and Surya Kant, JJ has held the Amendment Act to Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 made pursuant to a report prepared by the Insolvency Law Committee dated 26th March, 2018 does not infringe Articles 14, 19(1)(g) read with Article 19(6), or 300-A of the Constitution of India.

Read More…


Ritesh Sinha v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 956

“The law on the point should emanate from the Legislature and not from the Court”

A 3-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi,* CJ and Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ, has held that until explicit provisions are engrafted in the Code of Criminal Procedure by Parliament, a Judicial Magistrate must be conceded the power to order a person to give a sample of his voice for the purpose of investigation of a crime.

Read More…


♦Did You Know?A five-member collegium headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi recommended the elevation of Justice Maheshwari and Justice Khanna to the top court after reviewing its earlier deliberations held on December 12, 2018, in which Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog were said to have been considered for elevation.[6]


Notable Judgments at High Court


♦Did You Know? 32 judges were being superseded by the elevation of Justice Khanna.[7]

Kailash Gahlot v. Election Commission of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 8125

The Division bench of Sanjiv Khanna* and Chander Shekhar, JJ while deciding the validity of disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for holding offices of profit as ‘parliamentary secretaries’ in the Delhi government by President Ram Nath Kovind, set aside the disqualification on the ground of failing to comply with the principles of natural justice by the Election Commission as the MLAs were not given an oral hearing or an opportunity of being heard.


ATV Projects (India) Ltd. v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 12136

The Division Bench of Sanjiv Khanna and Prathiba M. Singh*, JJ., while upholdimg the validity of Section 4(b) of the Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Repeal Act, 2003, observed that

“…once a law is repealed and a new legislation has been put in its place, it is not open for anyone to contend that it should be continued to be governed by the old enactment, except where actions under the existing laws had concluded. The applicability of the repealed legislation is only to the extent as provided in the Savings clause and nothing more.”

Read More…


Wing Commander Arvind Kumar v. Directorate General, BSF, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 10880

A Division Bench comprising of Sanjiv Khanna* and Navin Chawla, JJ, ruled in favour of an Air Force officer on deputation to the BSF Air Wing, enforcing the rule laid down in Group Captain Joe Emmanuel Stephen v. Directorate General of BSF, 2013 SCC OnLine Del 2472, that there cannot be two different pay scales, one applicable to deputationists and the other to the officer of the parent cadre/department when both are performing identical and same duties.

Read More…


Sterling Agro Industries Ltd. v. Union of India, 2011 SCC OnLine Del 3162

A 5-judge bench of Dipak Misra*, CJ and Vikramajit Sen, A.K. Sikri, Sanjiv Khanna and Manmohan, JJ., while deciding a petition challenging the validity of an order dated 9th July, 2010 passed by the Ministry of Finance dismissing its revision application, dealt with a very important question i.e. whether the High Court of Delhi can issue a writ against a person or authority not located within its territories, simply because the quasi judicial tribunal which passed the impugned order is located within the territorial jurisdiction of the Delhi High Court.

While entertaining a writ petition, the Court held that an order of the appellate authority constitutes a part of cause of action to make the writ petition maintainable in the High Court within whose jurisdiction the appellate authority is situated but, the same may not be the singular factor to compel the High Court to decide the matter on merits. The High Court may refuse to exercise its discretionary jurisdiction by invoking the doctrine of forum conveniens.

“The principle of forum conveniens in its ambit and sweep encapsulates the concept that a cause of action arising within the jurisdiction of the Court would not itself constitute to be the determining factor compelling the Court to entertain the matter. While exercising jurisdiction under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, the Court cannot be totally oblivious of the concept of forum conveniens.”


Nand Kishore Garg v. Govt. (NCT of Delhi), 2011 SCC OnLine Del 2366

The division bench of  Dipak Misra*, CJ and Sanjiv Khanna, J., while disposing of a petition that demanded implementation of the tariff order passed by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), directed the Commission to proceed afresh by following the due procedure and do the needful.

The court observed that, “The commission under the 2003 Act is required to deal with the aspect of tariff determination with intellectual integrity, transparent functionalism and normative objectivity and not act in a manner by which its functioning invite doubt with regard to its credibility.”

The Court reprimanded the Delhi government for “unjustifiably intruding and encroaching on the functions of the commission by interdicting”.


Rajinder Jaina v. Central Information Commission, 2009 SCC OnLine Del 3511

Sanjiv Khanna*, J., while deciding the writ petition challenging the disclosure on grounds of infringement of the right to privacy, held that the information was already existed in the public domain therefore no claims as to privacy could be made.

The court applied the ratio laid down in Raj Gopal v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (1994) 6 SCC 632, whereby the Court held that once a matter becomes an issue of public record, no privacy can be claimed for it.


Union of India v. Central Information Commission, 2009 SCC OnLine Del 3876

While dealing with yet another case related to refusal of the Central Information Commission to divulge information under the Right to Information Act, 2005 and involving an interpretation of S. 8(1)(i), Sanjiv Khanna*, J., held that the purpose of the proviso is only to clarify that while deciding the question of larger public interest i.e., the question of balance between ‘public interest in form of right to privacy’ and ‘public interest in access to information’ is to be balanced.

The proviso is a guiding factor and not a substantive provision which overrides Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act. It does not undo or rewrite Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act and does not itself create any new right.”


†Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 

* Judge who has penned the judgment.

** Judge who has penned the dissenting opinion

*** Judge who has penned a concurring opinion.

[1] https://main.sci.gov.in/chief-justice-judges

[2] https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2019/jan/16/ignoring-elevation-row-centre-appoints-justice-sanjiv-khanna-of-delhi-hc-as-sc-judge-1925928.html

[3] https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/cji-succession-line-key-to-justice-sanjiv-khanna-s-elevation/story-5tOCtBTNu7iWJFVlMMIEmM.html

[4] https://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-justice-sanjiv-khanna-sits-in-his-uncle-s-court-portrait-in-backdrop-2709576

[5] https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2019/02/26/justice-sanjiv-khanna-recuses-himself-from-hearing-sajjan-kumars-appeal-in-1984-anti-sikh-riots-case/

[6] https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/archive/nation/news-detail-715379

[7] https://www.thestatesman.com/india/controversy-elevation-two-hc-judges-supreme-court-1502725097.html

Know thy Judge

“It is true that ‘justice hurried is justice buried’, but in the same breath it is also said that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’”.

Justice Vineet Saran in New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage (P) Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 757


As hon’ble Justice Vineet Saran prepares to call it a day as Supreme Court Judge, we endevour to retrace his trajectory in the field of law


Travelling Back in Time…


Justice Vineet Saran was born in Bijnor (U.P) on 11th May, 1957. He pursued his graduation at Allahabad University in the year 1976 followed by his LL.B. degree which he received in the year 1979/80[1].

Career as a Counsel [1980-2002]

Justice Saran enrolled as an advocate with the U.P. Bar Council on 28-07-1980. Justice Saran displayed immense versatility during his practice in the Allahabad High Court from 28-07-1980 to 13-02-2002 as he dealt with myriad matters related to the original, constitution, civil and criminal sides. Justice Saran also conducted cases for various private and public sector companies and also as special counsel for the Central and State Governments[2].

Justice Saran also served as the Additional Advocate General for the State of U.P. in 1995.

High Court Judgeship [2002-2018]

After a thriving career as counsel for almost 22 years, Justice Saran was elevated as permanent Judge of Allahabad High Court on 14-02-2002 where he served 13 years.[3]

In 2015, he was transferred to Karnataka and took oath as Judge of Karnataka High Court on 16-02-2015. During his judgeship in the Karnataka HC, Justice Saran was also the President of Arbitration Centre – An Initiative of the High Court of Karnataka[4].

He was further promoted as the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court on February 26th 2016[5].


Notable High Court Decisions


Some of the prominent decisions rendered by Justice Saran during his time in the High Courts, are listed as follows-

Allahabad High Court

U.P. Power Corporation 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”.

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Bhupendra Nath Tripathi v. State of U.P., 2009 SCC OnLine All 6

The 3-Judge Bench comprising of Ashok Bhushan, Vineet Saran and Sanjay Misra, JJ., dealt with some important questions related to the eligibility criteria for Special Basic Training Course 2007 as per the statutory requirements stated in National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993.

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Veenu Gangwar v. State of U.P., 2013 SCC OnLine All 14259

The Division Bench of Vineet Saran and B. Amit Sthalekar, JJ., dealt with a matter related to irregularities in Kshetra Panchayat elections. While allowing the petition, the Judges observed that, “For any democracy to be successful, it has to be strengthened at the grass root level. An elected representative, whether it be at the lowest or highest level, should not be denuded of his powers, except for very valid and good reasons and in accordance with law”.

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Karnataka High Court

Sharadabai v. Deputy General Manager, Canara Bank, 2015 SCC OnLine Kar 8160

The Court in the instant matter, discussed the issue that whether employees who have been imposed punishment of compulsory retirement, are entitled the benefit of pension. It was held that, the Regulations of Canara Bank Service Regulations, 1975 merely provides that employee who is compulsorily retired ‘may be’ granted pension. It does not provide for an employee, who is compulsorily retired, to lay a claim, as of right, for grant of pension.

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Nagaraj v. State Bank of Hyderabad, 2015 SCC OnLine Kar 8225

The Court, while dealing with the issue of eligibility for promotion and suitability for grant of promotion, held that, for promotion to a post after a particular level, it is not the seniority but suitability for the post, which is to be taken into consideration.

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Solidus Hi Tech Products Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Karnataka, 2015 SCC OnLine Kar 8575

In the matter related to S. 39(1) of Karnataka Value Added Tax Act, 2003, the Division Bench of Vineet Saran and S. Sujatha, JJ., observed that from the provisions of Section 63A of the KVAT Act, it is clear that once the order of cancellation of the assessment order had been passed by the Revisional Authority, it could not proceed to pass a fresh assessment order but could only direct the Assessing Officer to pass a fresh assessment order.

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Orissa High Court

Mohapatra Binders v. State of Odisha, 2017 SCC OnLine Ori 32

The bench of  Vineet Saran, C.J. and A.K. Rath and B.R. Sarangi, JJ while answering the issue that whether the petitioners herein, who are small book binding units and cover/text printers of the State of Odisha, would be entitled to exclusive right of State Government work of book binding and printing, under the provisions of Industrial Policy Resolutions (issued by the State Government) as well as the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006  and the Odisha MSMED Policy of 2009; or can such work be awarded by way of inviting national tender. It was decided that the petitioners would not be entitled to the protection of the IPRs issued by the State Government, as well as MSMED Act, 2006 and the OMSMED Policy framed there under in 2009.

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Kalipada Mishra v. State of Odisha, 2016 SCC OnLine Ori 224

The Division Bench of Vineet Saran, C.J. and B.R. Sarangi, J., while deliberating upon the PIL seeking issuance of a writ of mandamus against the opposite parties with regard to the action taken for abolition of the prevailing system of toll collection by demolishing the check gates; observed that the matters fall within the realm of policy decision to be taken by the State Government or authority vested with power under any statute, and the Court should not interfere unless the policy is unconstitutional or contrary to the statutory provisions or arbitrary or irrational or in abuse of power.

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Assaf Ali Khan v. State of Odisha, 2016 SCC OnLine Ori 829

The bench of Vineet Saran, C.J. and B.R. Sarangi, J., in this instant writ petition in the nature of public interest litigation to ensure transparency and fairness in the election of Gram Panchayats and Zilla Parishads made certain observations vis-a-vis the High Court’s jurisdiction to issue any direction to the state legislature to enact a particular law in a particular manner.


Supreme Court [2018-2022]


In 2018, the President of India appointed Justice Vineet Saran as Judge, Supreme Court of India.

Notable Judgments

Some of the notable decisions that were either rendered by Justice Saran or he was part of, are as follows-

B.L. Kashyap & Sons Ltd. v. JMS Steels & Power Corpn., (2022) 3 SCC 294

While clarifying the law on leave to defend, the Division Bench of Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., held that even if there remains a reasonable doubt about the probability of defence, sterner or higher conditions could be imposed while granting leave to defend but, denying the leave would be ordinarily countenanced only in such cases where the defendant fails to show any genuine triable issue and the Court finds the defence to be frivolous or vexatious. Read more

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Nahar Singh v. State of U.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 332

The division bench of Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose JJ., deliberated on the issue that whether a Magistrate taking cognizance of an offence on the basis of a police report in terms of Section 190(1)(b) of The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, can issue summons to any person not arraigned as an accused in the police report and whose name also does not feature in column (2) of such report. They held that for summoning persons upon taking cognizance of an offence, the Magistrate has to examine the materials available before him for coming to the conclusion that apart from those sent up by the police some other persons are involved in the offence. These materials need not remain confined to the police report, charge sheet or the F.I.R. A statement made under Section 164 of CrPC could also be considered for such purpose.

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Punjab National Bank v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 227

The Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and Vineet Saran, JJ., quashed the confiscation order of Customs and Central Excise Commission confiscating land, building, plant and machinery of Rathi Ispat Ltd. for lacking statutory backing. The Bench observed that the existing law only permit confiscation of goods and no land, building can be confiscated under the Central Excise Rules, 2017.
Read more

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City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd. v. Shishir Realty (P) Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1141

In a case where process of cancellation of a tender was initiated without affording a chance to be heard to the lessees and the tender was cancelled “because of the possibility of larger profits”, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ., and Vineet Saran and Surya Kant, JJ., held that when a contract is being evaluated, the mere possibility of more money in the public coffers, does not in itself serve public interest.
Read more

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Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao v. State of A.P., (2021) 11 SCC 401

The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held the Government Office Ms. No.3 dated 10.1.2000 issued by the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh providing 100% reservation to the Scheduled Tribe candidates (out of whom 33.1/3% shall be women) for the post of teachers in the schools in the scheduled areas in Andhra Pradesh, unconstitutional, as there was no rhyme or reason with the State Government to resort to 100% reservation.
Read more…

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T.N. Medical Officers Assn. v. Union of India, (2021) 6 SCC 568

The 5-judge Constitution bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held that the Medical Council of India has no power to make any reservation for in-service candidates in Post Graduate Medical Course in States and that only States are allowed to grant the benefit of reservation of seats to in-service doctors in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) postgraduate degree courses.
Read more…

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New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage (P) Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 757

The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., held that the District Forum has no power to extend the time for filing the response to the complaint beyond the period of 15 days in addition to 30 days as is envisaged under Section 13 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. The bench was answering the reference relating to the grant of time for filing response to a complaint under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
Read more

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Sushila Aggarwal v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 5 SCC 1

In a significant ruling, a 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah, and Ravindra Bhat, JJ has unanimously ruled that the protection granted to a person under Section 438 Cr.PC should not invariably be limited to a fixed period; it should inure in favour of the accused without any restriction on time.
Read more

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Mukesh Singh v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 10 SCC 120

The 5-judge Constitution bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., held that the accused under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) is not entitled to an acquittal as a blanket rule merely because the complainant is the investigating officer.
Read more

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Pandurang Ganpati Chaugule v. Vishwasrao Patil Murgud Sahakari Bank Ltd., (2020) 9 SCC 215:

The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ held that “’banking’ relating to co­operatives can be included within the purview of Entry 45 of List I, and it cannot be said to be over inclusion to cover provisions of recovery by co­operative banks in the SARFAESI Act.” Read more

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State of Punjab v. Davinder Singh, (2020) 8 SCC 1:

5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ upon noticing that SC decision of E.V. Chinnaiah v. State of A.P., (2005) 1 SCC 394, is required to be revisited, referred the matter to a larger bench. While doing so, the Court observed,

Reservation was not contemplated for all the time by the framers of the Constitution.  On the one hand, there is no exclusion of those who have come up, on the other hand, if sub- classification is denied, it would defeat right to equality by treating unequal as equal.”

Read more…

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West U.P. Sugar Mills Association v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2020) 9 SCC 548:

The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee and Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held that once the Central Government having exercised the power under Entries 33 and 34 List III of seventh Schedule and fixed the “minimum price”, the State Government cannot fix the “minimum price” of sugarcane.
Read more…

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Bhima Razu Prasad v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 210:

The bench of MM Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran, JJ held that Section 195(1)(b)(i) CrPC will not bar prosecution by the investigating agency for offence punishable under Section 193 IPC, which is committed during the stage of investigation.

This is provided that the investigating agency has lodged complaint or registered the case under Section 193, IPC prior to commencement of proceedings and production of such evidence before the trial court. In such circumstance, the same would not be considered an offence committed in, or in relation to, any proceeding in any Court for the purpose of Section 195(1)(b)(i) CrPC

Read more..

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High Court of Madras v. M.C. Subramaniam, (2021) 3 SCC 560

The bench of MM Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran, JJ has held that Section 89 of CPC and Section 69-A of Tamil Nadu Court Fees and Suit Valuation Act, 1955 contemplate the refund of court fees in all methods of out-of-court dispute settlement between parties that the Court subsequently finds to have been legally arrived at and not just to those cases where the Court itself refers the parties to any of the alternative dispute settlement mechanisms listed in Section 89 of the CPC.
Read more..

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Amitabha Dasgupta v. United Bank of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 124:

In a case where United Bank of India inadvertently broke the Appellant’s locker, without any just or reasonable cause, even though he had already cleared his pending dues, the bench of MM Shantanagoudar* and Vineet Sarana, JJ Imposed costs of Rs. 5,00,000/­ on the Bank to be paid to the Appellant as compensation. The said is to be deducted from the salary of the erring officers, if they are still in service and if they have already retired, the amount of costs should be paid by the Bank. Additionally, the Appellant shall be paid Rs. 1,00,000/- as litigation expense.
Read more…

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Rekha Sengar v. State of M.P., (2021) 3 SCC 729

In the case where the investigative team has seized the sonography machine and made out a strong prima-facie case against the petitioner, the 3-judge bench of MM Shantanagoudar, Vineet Saran and Ajay Rastogi, JJ held no leniency should be granted at this stage as the same may reinforce the notion that the PC&PNDT Act is only a paper tiger and that clinics and laboratories can carry out sex-determination and feticide with impunity.

“A strict approach has to be adopted if we are to eliminate the scourge of female feticide and iniquity towards girl children from our society.”

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Gajanan Babulal Bansode v. State of Maharashtra, (2021) 4 SCC 494

The 3-Judge Bench comprising of L. Nageswara Rao, Indu Malhotra and Vineet Saran, JJ heard the petition challenging the decision of Maharashtra government to appoint 636 additional candidates without consulting MPSC (Maharashtra Public Service Commission. The Bench stated,

“It is well-settled in service jurisprudence that the authority cannot fill up more than the notified number of vacancies advertised, as the recruitment of candidates in excess of the notified vacancies, would be violative of Articles 14 and 16 (1) of the Constitution of India.”

Read More…

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Compack Enterprises India (P) Ltd. v. Beant Singh, (2021) 3 SCC 702

The bench of MM Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran, JJ has lucidly explained the law governing consent decree and has held that the well settled law that consent decrees are intended to create estoppels by judgment against the parties, thereby putting an end to further litigation between the parties, does not apply as a blanket rule in all cases.
Read more…

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CIT v. Reliance Energy Ltd., (2021) 4 SCC 237

Interpreting the true scope of Section 80-IA(5) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, the bench of L. Nageswara Rao and Vineet Saran, JJ., held that the scope of sub-section (5) of Section 80- IA of the Act is limited to determination of quantum of deduction under sub-section (1) of Section 80-IA of the Act by treating ‘eligible business’ as the ‘only source of income’.
Read more

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Bangalore Electricity Supply Co. Ltd. v. E.S. Solar Power (P) Ltd., (2021) 6 SCC 718

The bench of L. Nageswara Rao and Vineet Saran, JJ shed light on how Courts should proceed while interpreting contracts. Referring to various authorities, here is what the Court concluded that the duty of the Court is not to delve deep into the intricacies of human mind to explore the undisclosed intention, but only to take the meaning of words used i.e. to say expressed intentions.
Read more

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Vinod Dua v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 414

Upholding the citizens’ right to criticise the government, the bench of UU Lalit* and Vineet Saran, JJ, has quashed the FIR lodged against Journalist Vinod Dua over his YouTube show on communal riots in Delhi earlier this year. The Court held,

“… a citizen has a right to criticize or comment upon the measures undertaken by the Government and its functionaries, so long as he does not incite people to violence against the Government established by law or with the intention of creating public disorder.”

Read more

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Imperia Structures Ltd. v. Anil Patni, (2020) 10 SCC 783

The bench of UU Lalit and Vineet Saran, JJ held that the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA Act) does not bar the initiation of proceedings by allottees against the builders under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.
Read more…

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CBI v. Mohd. Parvez Abdul Kayuum, (2019) 12 SCC 1

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra allowed the appeals of CBI and the Gujarat government challenging the High Court order by which the convicts were absolved of murder charges in the case. The Court, however, dismissed a PIL filed by NGO “Centre for Public Interest Litigation” (CPIL) seeking a court-monitored fresh probe in the Haren Pandya murder case.

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Siddaling v. State, (2018) 9 SCC 621

The Bench comprising of R. Banumathi and Vineet Saran, JJ., ordered for refusal of modification in quantum of sentence as sought for by the appellant; on the reasoning that the conviction of the appellant under Section 498-A and 306 IPC as given by the High Court is to be maintained and any leniency in the same would be a misplaced one. Read more.

Decisions that initiated broader discourse

Safeguarding Courts and Protecting Judges (Death of Additional Sessions Judge, Dhanbad): In Re.

While addressing the issue pertaining to the unfortunate demise of the Judicial Officer Uttam Anand, the 3-Judge Bench comprising of N.V. Ramana, CJ., Vineet Saran and Surya Kant, JJ., emphasized the institutional need to create a safe and secure environment for judicial officers and legal fraternity. A suo motu case was registered by the Supreme Court for addressing the issue of safeguarding courts and protecting judges.
Read more

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Prathvi Raj Chauhan v. Union of India, (2020) 4 SCC 727:

A 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has upheld the constitutional validity of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018, and said that a court can grant anticipatory bail only in cases where a prima facie case is not made out. In the unanimous verdict, Justice Mishra penned the opinion for himself and Justice Saran whereas Justice Bhat wrote a separate but concurring opinion.
Read more…

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Christian Medical College Vellore Association v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 423:

The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and MR Shah, JJ has held that prescribing uniform examination of NEET for admissions in the graduate and postgraduate professional courses of medical as well as dental science is not in violation of the rights of the unaided/aided minority to administer institutions under Articles 19(1) (g) and 30 read with Articles 25, 26 and 29(1) of the Constitution.
Read more

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Vijay Kurle, In re, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 407 and Rashid Khan Pathan v. Vijay Kurle, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 711: 

After finding advocates Vijay Kurle, Nilesh Ojha and Rashid Khan Pathan guilty of levelling scandalous allegations against Justice RF Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran, the bench of Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, JJ sentenced all 3 to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of 3 months each with a fine of Rs. 2000/-. It further said that in default of payment of fine, each of the defaulting contemnors shall undergo further simple imprisonment for a period of 15 days. Also Read:


†Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 

[1] Justice Vineet Saran, Orissa High Court.

[2] Justice Vineet Saran, Allahabad HC

[3] Refer fn. 2

[4] Hon’ble Mr. Justice Vineet Saran, Karanatka High Court

[5] Justice Vineet Saran, Orissa High Court

Bombay High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: Anuja Prabhudessai, J., expressed that an advocate as an Officer of the Court is under an obligation to maintain the dignity and decorum of the Court. There is no room for arrogance and there is no license to intimidate the Court, make reckless accusations and allegations against a Judge and pollute the very fountain of justice.

The applicant had circulated the matter for urgent listing and when the Court raised a query about whether there was any urgency as to take the matter out of turn, the applicant’s counsel, Anjali Patil went totally off the tangent and made allegations that this Court was giving priority to certain matters and to certain advocates and this insinuated that the Court was not fair and biased.

Further, it was also complained by the counsel that the litigants do not get justice from the Court.

She threatened that she would lodge a complaint before the Chief Justice about conduct of this Court and further sought time to place the facts on record on an affidavit.

“Advocate has every right to protect interest of his/her clients. An advocate is answerable to his/her clients and the frustration of an advocate when the matter gets adjourned for whatsoever reason or does not reach the board is understandable.”

High Court remarked that, Anjali Patil, Advocate for the applicant grossly overstepped the limits of propriety when she made imputations of partiality and unfairness in the open Court. Her conduct was highly unprofessional and unbecoming of an advocate.

Lastly, the Bench stated that,

“It has to be borne in mind that casting scurrilous aspersions not only has the inevitable effect of undermining the confidence of the public in the judiciary but also has the tendency to interfere with the administration of justice.”

[Dipak Kalicharan Kanojiya v. State of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 872, decided on 19-4-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

Ms. Anjali Patil i/b. Nouman Shaikh for the Applicant.

Mr. S.H. Yadav, APP for the State.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Asha Menon, J., held that, when a Judge recuses, no litigant or third party has any right to intervene, comment or enquire. The recusal has to be respected, whether a reason has been spelt out in detail or not.

Instant petition under Section 482 CrPC had been filed for setting aside the order passed by the Special Judge and directions for the resignation of FIR have also been sought.

Petitioner’s Counsel submitted that the petitioner was the Director and authorized representative of the Indian Fitness Connect Private Limited. Ozone Spa Private Limited filed an application under Section 156(3) CrPC against the petitioner and other Directors of India Fitness Connect which was pending before the Metropolitan Magistrate.

Petitioner alleged that the said complainant had sought to influence the Court of Metropolitan Magistrate.

High Court found that there was absolutely no merit in the present petition.

Further, the Bench added that Special Judge was justified in disallowing the application under Section 156(3) CrPC and directing the registration of an FIR, as no police investigation was required in the matter. However, it was the view of this Court that the Special Judge erred in allowing the petitioner to lead evidence in the complaint filed by her.

Additionally, the order of the Metropolitan Magistrate before whom the complaint case against the petitioner was pending, was clearly a recusal order. Supreme Court’s decision in Assn. v. Union of India, (2016) 5 SCC 1 while dealing with the issue of recusal observed that:

“A Judge may recuse at his own, from a case entrusted to him by the Chief Justice. That would be a matter of his own choosing. But recusal at the asking of a litigating party, unless justified, must never to be acceded to. For that would give the impression that the Judge had been scared out of the case, just by the force of the objection…..”

The Bench observed that,

“…an investigation into the cause/reason for recusal by a Judge, particularly, by a litigant, would itself be an interference with the course of justice.”

 Court also added that, had a Judge refrained from giving a reason for recusal, no one can insist on the Judge making such disclosures. The discretion of the Judge concerned in the matter of disclosure is absolute.

It was noted that the petitioner sought full disclosures by forcing the police to make inquiries from the Metropolitan Magistrate, who in order to ensure fairness in the trial, chose to recuse.

It was for the concerned Metropolitan Magistrate to decide whether to initiate any contempt or other criminal proceedings against the petitioner and the “known person”. The learned Metropolitan Magistrate did not find any need to do so and it is not for the petitioner to question that decision, which is what she is seeking to achieve by insisting on the registration of an FIR and filing a complaint case under Section 200 Cr.P.C. To that extent the refusal of the police to register the FIR and the refusal of the learned Special Judge to advise the registration of the FIR are both proper.

Hence, the petition filed by the petitioner seeking registration of the FIR and quashing of the order of the Special Judge dated 16th July, 2020 was dismissed. [Sherry George v. GNCTD, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 1031, decided on 13-4-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For Petitioner: Mr. Ankur Mittal and Mr. Abhay Gupta, Advocates.

For Respondent: Manjeet Arya, APP

Know thy Judge

What is non-existent in the eye of the law cannot be revived retrospectively. Life cannot be breathed into the stillborn charge memorandum.

       Justice Aniruddha Bose

Sunny Abraham v. Union of India

2021 SCC OnLine SC 1284


Early Life and Career[1]


Hon’ble Mr. Justice Aniruddha Bose was born on 11th April, 1959 in Kolkata (then Calcutta). In 1976, he passed his Higher Secondary Examination from St. Lawrence High School, Kolkata. He did his B.Com from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata and Law from Surendranath College of Law in Kolkata as well.

Having obtained his degree in Law, Justice Bose enrolled with the Bar Council of West Bengal as an advocate in October, 1985. He practiced in the Original and the Appellate Side of the Calcutta High Court in Constitutional and Civil matters, with special emphasis on Intellectual Property Law cases.


In the High Courts[2]


After a tenure of roughly 19 years as an advocate in the Calcutta HC, Justice Aniruddha Bose was elevated to the HC Bench as a permanent Judge in 2004. He continued to serve the Calcutta HC till early 2018. He was also in the running for the post of Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, however, on 4th August 2018, upon recommendation by the SC Collegium, Justice Bose was appointed as the Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court by the President of India, Shri Ramnath Kovind.


Journey to becoming Supreme Court Judge


In a Resolution, the Supreme Court Collegium comprising of Ranjan Gogoi, C.J., and S.A. Bobde, N.V. Ramana, Arun Mishra and R.F. Nariman, JJ., reiterated their recommendation (dt. 12-04-2019) to elevate Justice Aniruddha Bose as a Judge of the Supreme Court. Consequently, Justice Bose was appointed as a SC Judge on 24-05-2019 by President Shri Ramnath Kovind.


Notable Judgments that Justice Aniruddha Bose has been a part of


Calcutta High Court [2004 – 2018]

Madan Das v. Lt. Governor, 2011 SCC OnLine Cal 2374

The 7 Judge Bench of the High Court comprising of Jainarayan Patel, C.J. and Bhaskar Bhattacharya, Pinaki Chandra Ghose, Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta, Indira Banerjee, Aniruddha Bose and Sambuddha Chakrabarti, JJ., held that unless special circumstances mentioned in Rule 5 of Order 47, CPC subsist, a Judge who delivered the original judgment or order sought to be reviewed, alone can take up the Application for review as well.

Sony Kabushiki Kaisha v. Mahaluxmi Textile Mills, 2009 SCC OnLine Cal 531

The Bench of S.S. Nijjar, C.J. and Indira Banerjee and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., in this trademark infringement suit, made significant observations as to the necessity and importance of trademark. It was noted that the key function of a trade mark is to indicate the source or origin of goods and services. The tort of passing off is committed if the offending trader applies an established trade mark in such manner so as to cause confusion or deception in the mind of the consumers as regards the source or origin of the goods and the mind of purchasers are directed to the firm whose identity is already linked with the trade mark in the market place.

Union of India v. Pam Development Pvt. Ltd,  2005 SCC OnLine Cal 299

The Division bench of Aloke Chakrabarti and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held, the Chief Justice, under S. 11(6) of Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, is not strictly bound to appoint an arbitrator who must have a qualification as agreed upon between the parties, thus, even if the arbitrator does not have the qualification, his appointment would not be rendered invalid.

Jharkhand High Court [2018- 2019]

Hit Narayan Jha v. The State of Jharkhand, 2018 SCC OnLine Jhar 1371

The bench of Aniruddha Bose, C.J. and Chandrashekhar, J., set aside the dismissal from service on the charge of taking illegal gratification. It was observed that the writ Court would not interfere with the orders passed by the departmental authority unless it has been passed in breach of the Discipline and Service Rules or in avoidance of the rules of natural justice.

State of Jharkhand v. HSS Integrated SDN, 2019 SCC OnLine Jhar 172

This was a contractual dispute between the State and the opposite parties in relation to a consultancy agreement over construction of six-lane Divided Carriage-way of certain parts of Ranchi Ring Road. An Arbitral Tribunal was constituted which found that termination of the contract was illegal and invalid. The bench of Aniruddha Bose, C.J. and Ratnaker Bhengra, J., while hearing the challenge to the Tribunal’s Award, held that there was no involvement of any grave violation of public policy by the Arbitral Tribunal in passing the award. The facts narrated in the award do not project any gross misuse of jurisdiction which could shock the conscience of the Court.

Supreme Court

Nahar Singh v. State of U.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 332

The division bench of Vineet Saran and Aniruddha Bose JJ., deliberated on the issue that whether a Magistrate taking cognizance of an offence on the basis of a police report in terms of Section 190(1)(b) of The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, can issue summons to any person not arraigned as an accused in the police report and whose name also does not feature in column (2) of such report. They held that for summoning persons upon taking cognizance of an offence, the Magistrate has to examine the materials available before him for coming to the conclusion that apart from those sent up by the police some other persons are involved in the offence. These materials need not remain confined to the police report, charge sheet or the F.I.R. A statement made under Section 164 of CrPC could also be considered for such purpose.

State of Haryana v. Harnam Singh, (2022) 2 SCC 238

While considering the issues surrounding the determination of genuineness of a will as per S. 63 of Succession Act, 1925 and the evidence of meeting the requirements of S. 63 r/w S. 68 of the Evidence Act; the Division Bench of L. Nageshwar Rao and Aniruddha Bose JJ., held that the aforementioned evidence must inspire confidence and be credible. Requirements of S. 63 of 1925 Act, cannot be fulfilled merely upon showing of mechanical or technical compliance with the stipulations specified therein.

Gurmeet Singh v. State of Punjab, (2021) 6 SCC 108

In a case relating to dowry death, where it was argued by the accused that without any charges under Section 498A, IPC a conviction under Section 304-B, IPC cannot be sustained, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ., and Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., rejected the contention and has explained,

“Although cruelty is a common thread existing in both the offences, however the ingredients of each offence are distinct and must be proved separately by the prosecution. If a case is made out, there can be a conviction under both the sections.”

Read more

Satbir Singh v. State of Haryana, (2021) 6 SCC 1

In a case relating to dowry death, the bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Aniruddha Bose, J., held that judges need to be extra careful while conducting criminal trials relating to Section 304-B, IPC. The Court went on to summarise the law under Section 304­B, IPC read with Section 113­B, Evidence Act and the guidelines to be followed by the Courts while conducting trials in such cases.

The Court noticed that, often, Trial Courts record the statement of an accused under Section 313, CrPC in a very casual and cursory manner, without specifically questioning the accused as to his defense.

Read more

Sunny Abraham v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1284

 The Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose, JJ held that not  having approval of the Finance Minister at the time of issue of charge memorandum for carrying departmental enquiry would render it defective, not capable of being validated retrospectively by post-facto approval.  

      “Life cannot be breathed into the stillborn charge memorandum.

Read more

Jitendra Singh v. State of M.P., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 802

Observing the well-settled position of law that, Mutation Entry does not confer any right, title or interest in favour of the person and it is only recorded for the fiscal purpose, Division Bench of M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., upheld the decision of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Aggrieved and dissatisfied with the impugned decision passed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court by which the High Court allowed the petition and quashed the decision by Additional Commissioner, Rewa Division directing to mutate the name of the petitioner in the revenue records, which was sought to be mutated on the basis of the will, the original respondent 6 preferred the present special leave petition.

Read more

Jaipur Zila Dugdh Utpadak Sahkari Sangh Limited v. Ajay Sales & Suppliers, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 730

Expressing on the aspect of independence and impartiality of the arbitrators, Division Bench of M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held that, though the word ‘Chairman’ is not mentioned explicitly in Seventh Schedule, at the same time, it would fall under clause 1, clause 2, clause 5, and clause 12 of the Seventh Schedule, hence will be ineligible for the purpose of the arbitration.

The above schedule is to be read with Section 12(5) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

Read more

National Spot Exchange Limited v. Anil Kohli, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 716

 The Bench of M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., observed that,

“Appellate Tribunal has jurisdiction or power to condone the delay not exceeding 15 days from the completion of 30 days, the statutory period of limitation.”

Aggrieved and dissatisfied with impugned order passed by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal by which NCLAT refused to condone delay of 44 days in preferring the appeal against the order passed by the National Company Law Tribunal rejecting the claim of the appellant. Appellant has preferred the present appeal.

Read more

Velladurai v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 715

 The Division Bench of M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., while addressing a matter noted that, abetment by a person is when a person instigates another to do something. Instigation can be inferred where the accused had, by his acts or omission created such circumstances that the deceased was left with no other option except to commit suicide.

Read more

 Northern Western Railway v. Sanjay Shukla, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1036

 While addressing the matter wherein a passenger suffered loss and agony due to delay in the arrival of train, M.R Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., observed that,

“These are the days of competition and accountability. If public transportation has to survive and compete with private players, they have to improve the system and their working culture”.

Read more

J. Chitra v. State Level Vigilance Committee, (2021) 9 SCC 811

 A Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose, JJ. reversed a judgment of the Madras High Court delivered over a decade ago and held that the State Level Scrutiny Committee had no power to reopen the matter relating to the caste certificate that had been approved by the District Vigilance Committee, without an appeal being filed against such order. The Supreme Court declared that:

“Reopening of inquiry into caste certificates can be only in case they are vitiated by fraud or when they were issued without proper inquiry.”

Read more

Pichra Warg Kalyan Mahasabha Haryana v. State of Haryana, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 635

 A Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., quashed the notification dated 17-8-2016 issued by State Government of Haryana, which specified economic criterion as the sole basis of identification of ‘creamy layer’ (socially advanced sections) among backward classes for excluding them from the purview of benefit of reservation in State services and admission to educational institutions. The Supreme Court reiterated that the basis of exclusion of ‘creamy layer’ cannot be merely economic.

Read more

Mangala Waman Karandikar v. Prakash Damodar Ranade, (2021) 6 SCC 139

 Explaining the scope of Section 92 Proviso (6) of the Evidence Act, 1872, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ., and Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., has held that the said proviso can be resorted to only in cases where the terms of the document leave the question in doubt.

“But when a document is a straightforward one and presents no difficulty in construing it, the proviso does not apply. In this regard, we may state that Section 95 only builds on the proviso 6 of Section 92.”

The Court was of the opinion that if the contrary view is adopted as correct it would render Section 92 of the Evidence Act, otiose and also enlarge the ambit of proviso 6 beyond the main Section itself.

Read more

Namrata Verma v. State of U.P.

In a landmark case, the Division Bench of M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held that an employee has no right to insist/deny his transfer at a particular place. The Bench was addressing the case of a Lecturer (Psychology) at Rajkiya Mahavidyalaya, Gajraula, District Amroha; who had made representation for her transfer to Rajkiya Post Graduate College, Noida, Gautam Buddha Nagar. The said representation had been rejected by the Additional Chief Secretary Higher Education, Uttar Pradesh. The petitioner contended before the Court that she had been working at Amroha for the last 4 years and therefore, under the Government policy she was entitled to a transfer.

Read more

Amit Sahni v. Commissioner of Police, (2020) 10 SCC 439

The 3-judge bench of SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari, JJ., in the Shaheen Bagh protests matter, held that while there exists the right to peaceful protest against a legislation, public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied in such a manner and that too indefinitely. The Court noticed that the Constitutional scheme comes with the right to protest and express dissent, but with an obligation towards certain duties. These rights, in cohesion, enable every citizen to assemble peacefully and protest against the actions or inactions of the State. The same must be respected and encouraged by the State, for the strength of a democracy such as India’s lies in the same.

Read More…

State of Punjab v. Davinder Singh, (2020) 8 SCC 1

5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ upon noticing that SC decision of E.V. Chinnaiah v. State of A.P., (2005) 1 SCC 394, is required to be revisited, referred the matter to a larger bench. While doing so, the Court observed,

Reservation was not contemplated for all the time by the framers of the Constitution.  On the one hand, there is no exclusion of those who have come up, on the other hand, if sub- classification is denied, it would defeat right to equality by treating unequal as equal.”

Read more…

West U.P. Sugar Mills Association v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2020) 9 SCC 548

The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee and Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held that once the Central Government having exercised the power under Entries 33 and 34 List III of seventh Schedule and fixed the “minimum price”, the State Government cannot fix the “minimum price” of sugarcane.

Read more…

Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 383

The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held the Government Office Ms. No.3 dated 10.1.2000 issued by the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh providing 100% reservation to the Scheduled Tribe candidates (out of whom 33.1/3% shall be women) for the post of teachers in the schools in the scheduled areas in Andhra Pradesh, unconstitutional, as there was no rhyme or reason with the State Government to resort to 100% reservation.

Read more…

TN Medical Officers Association v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 699

The 5-judge Constitution bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held that the Medical Council of India has no power to make any reservation for in-service candidates in Post Graduate Medical Course in States and that only States are allowed to grant the benefit of reservation of seats to in-service doctors in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) postgraduate degree courses.

Read more…

Pandurang Ganpati Chaugule v. Vishwasrao Patil Murgud Sahakari Bank Ltd., (2020) 9 SCC 215

The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ held that “’banking’ relating to co­operatives can be included within the purview of Entry 45 of List I, and it cannot be said to be over inclusion to cover provisions of recovery by co­operative banks in the SARFAESI Act.”

Read more

Kalamani Tex v. P. Balasubramanian, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 75

The 3-Judge Bench comprising of N.V. Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held that upheld the judgement of High Court of Judicature at Madras, whereby the order of acquittal of the Judicial Magistrate was reversed and the appellants had been convicted under Section 138 of the NIA, 1881. The Bench observed-

“Once the appellant 2 had admitted his signatures on the cheque and the Deed, the trial Court ought to have presumed that the cheque was issued as consideration for a legally enforceable debt.”

Read more…

Rohtas v. State of Haryana, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1014

Explaining the difference between Sections 34 and 149 of the IPC, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held that

“Although both Section 34 and 149 of the IPC are modes for apportioning vicarious liability on the individual members of a group, there exist a few important differences between these two provisions. Whereas Section 34 requires active participation and a prior meeting of minds, Section 149 IPC assigns liability merely by membership of the unlawful assembly. In reality, such ‘common intention’ is usually indirectly inferred from conduct of the individuals and only seldom it is done through direct evidence.”

Read More…

Anita Sharma v. New India Assurance Co. Ltd., (2021) 1 SCC 171

The bench of Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, JJ held that the strict principles of evidence and standards of proof like in a criminal trial are inapplicable in Motor Accident Claims cases.

Read More…

Union of India v. KA Najeeb, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 50

The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Anirudhha Bose, JJ., refused to interfere with the bail granted by Kerala High Court to KA Najeeb arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 but has imposed the conditions. He shall also refrain from participating in any activity which might enrage communal sentiments.

Read More…

Government of India v. Vedanta Limited, (2020) 10 SCC 1

The 3-judge bench of SA Nazeer, Indu Malhotra and Aniruddha Bose, JJ has dismissed Central Government’s plea against enforcement of a 2011 foreign award passed in favour of Vedanta Limited in a dispute arising out of a contract for exploring and developing the petroleum resources in the Ravva Gas and Oil Fields. The Court held,

“the enforcement of the foreign award does not contravene the public policy of India, or that it is contrary to the basic notions of justice.”

Read More…

Yatin Narendra Oza v. High Court of Gujarat, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 724

The 3-judge bench of SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari, JJ., observed that the Court would wait for the order of the Gujarat High Court before passing any orders in the issue relating to withdrawal of senior Designation of advocate Narendra Oza. Oza, who is also the President of the Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association, was stripped off his Senior Advocate designation. This has been done after Advocate Oza had levelled charges of corruption against the registry of the Gujarat High Court.

Read More…

United India Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Satinder Kaur, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 410

Taking note of the fact that several Tribunals and High Courts have been awarding compensation for loss of consortium and loss of love and affection, the bench directed the Tribunals and High Courts to award compensation for loss of consortium, which is a legitimate conventional head.

“There is no justification to award compensation towards loss of love and affection as a separate head.”

The 3-judge bench of SA Nazeer, Indu Malhotra and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., were hearing an issue relating to determination of compensation in a motor vehicle accident case.

Read More…

Murali v. State, (2021) 1 SCC 726

The bench of N.V. Ramana, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held that unequivocal language of S. 320(9) of CrPC, explicitly prohibits any compounding except as permitted under S. 320 of CrPC. Notwithstanding thereto, fact of amicable settlement/compromise between parties can be a relevant factor for purpose of reduction in quantum of sentence of convicts even in serious non-compoundable offences.


† Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 

[1] Calcutta High Court, Former Judges

[2] Hon’ble Judges of Jharkhand HC appointed as Judges of the Supreme Court

Appointments & TransfersNews

President appoints Shri Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari, Judge of the Madras High Court, to be the Chief Justice of Madras High Court with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.


Ministry of Law and Justice

[Notification dt. 10-2-2022]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Transfer Notification


Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari of Allahabad High Court transferred as Judge of Madras High Court.


Ministry of Law and Justice

[Notification dt. 16-11-2021]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Transfer Notification


President transfers Justice Satish Kumar Sharma, Judge of Rajasthan High Court, as a Judge of Madhya Pradesh High Court.


Ministry of Law and Justice

[Notification Dt. 16-112021]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Supreme Court Collegium has, on reconsideration, resolved to reiterate its earlier recommendation for the elevation of  Sachin Singh Rajput, Advocate, as Judge in Chhattisgarh High Court.


Supreme Court of India

[Collegoum Statement]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Supreme Court Collegium has approved the proposal for the elevation of Shri Saurabh Kirpal, Advocate, as Judge in the Delhi High Court.


Supreme Court of India

[Collegium Statement]

 

Appointments & TransfersNews

Appointment of a Judge


President appoints Shri Aditya Kumar Mohapatra as a Judge of the Orissa High Court.


Ministry of Law and Justice

[Notification dt. 3-11-2021]

Appointments & TransfersNews

President of India, in exercise of the power conferred by clause (l) of Article 217, Article 224 and Article 222 of the Constitution of India, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, has made the following appointments/transfers:

No. Name (S/Shri) Name of High Court
1. Uma Shanker Vyas, Judicial Officer As Judge of the Rajasthan High Court.
2. Vikram D Chauhan, Advocate As an Additional Judge of the Allahabad High Court.
3. Shri Justice Joymalya Bagchi, Judge Transferred from Andhra Pradesh HC to Calcutta HC.

Ministry of Law and Justice

Notification dt. 25-10-2021]

Op EdsOP. ED.

“Democracy is a ceaseless endeavour. Democracy is a work in progress.”

— Nani Palkhivala

Introduction

Lawyers are frontline defenders of the Constitution of India and, more than anyone else, require the protection as whistleblowers in court. A contempt is to protect the institution and to prevent interference in the course of justice. Undermining the majesty of the institution or undermining the authority that is vested in Judges is a very important take away. I think that crosses a line from legitimate criticism of a ruling and goes into whole different area. Legitimate criticism of ruling is permissible but on the other hand we must draw the line where it becomes abusive, irrational, personal attacks on Judges that undermines the entire integrity of the institution.

Lord Denning, in 1968, Britain’s former master of rolls, had this to say to the law of contempt: “Let me say at once that we will never use this jurisdiction as a means to uphold our own dignity nor we will use it to suppress those who speak against us. We do not fear criticism, nor do we resent it.  For there is something far more important at stake. It is no less than freedom of speech itself.” It is the right of every man, in Parliament or out of it, in press or over the broadcast, to make fair comment, even outspoken comment, on matters of public interest. We must rely on our own conduct itself to be its own vindication[1].

Brief history

The origin of the law of contempt of courts in India can be traced back from the period of Ramayana and Mahabharata, where the courts were called as sabha and the king was called as sabhapati. Here the judicial function was administered by the sabhapati and justice has to be delivered as per the dharma. And at that time whosoever vilify the decision of sabhapati, would be liable for punishment. In ancient times the said law of contempt was used to maintain the dignity and integrity of the sabha and sabhapati and is not in codified form. It varies from empire to empire and king to king. As it is not codified, the meaning of contempt carries different meanings and interpretations as per religion and dharma.

As today, we call it that the origin of contempt of courts in India can be traced from England law but India has developed this concept and can be traced back from history. In England the Supreme Courts of Record from early times exercising the power to punish the contemnors who scandalises the Courts or Judges. This right was first recognised by the judicial committee of the Privy Council which observed that the offence of the contempt of court and the powers of the Indian High Courts to punish it are same as in the Supreme Court in England. The first Indian statute on the law of contempt i.e. the Contempt of Courts Act was passed in 1926.

Contempt and its objective

The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 comes into existence on 24-12-1971 with an objective to define and limit the powers of certain courts in punishing contempt of court and to regulate their procedure in relation thereto. Which means contempt jurisdiction enjoyed by the courts is only for the purpose of upholding the majesty of the judicial system that exists. While exercising this power, the court must not be hypersensitive or swung by emotions, but must act judiciously[2].

Contempt is defined under Section 2(a)[3] of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 which says “contempt of court” means civil contempt or criminal contempt. Whereas “civil contempt” is defined under Section 2(b) which means wilful disobedience to any judgment decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to court. And on the other hand, “criminal contempt” is defined under Section 2(c) which means the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which:

  1. Scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court; or
  2. Prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding; or
  3. Interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner[4].

Any wilful disobedience of court order to do or abstain from doing any act is a civil contempt. Civil contempt arises when the power of the court is invoked or exercised to enforce obedience to court orders.[5] On the other hand, criminal contempt is criminal in nature. It includes defiant disobedience to the Judges in the court, outrages of Judges in open court, libels on Judges or courts or interfering with the course of justice or an act which tends to prejudice the course of justice.

A person is guilty of a criminal contempt when his conduct tends to bring the authority and administration of law into disrespect or tends to interfere with or prejudice litigants during litigation[6].

Let’s take an example for better understanding the concept of contempt of court. Let’s assume a situation where the impact of contempt is of that nature, where a common man lost his faith in the judiciary. Let’s say, otherwise for a common man, if the local MLA came and getup and abuse the court, what respect the common man will have for the institution because the said MLA effectively taken away one important pillar of democracy.

As per the observations of Justice Wilmot in R. v. Almon[7] made as early as in 1765:

“… And whenever men’s allegiance to the law is so fundamentally shaken, it is the most fatal and most dangerous obstruction of justice, and, in my opinion, calls out for a more rapid and immediate redress than any other obstruction whatsoever; not for the sake of Judges, as apricate individuals, but because they are the channels by which the King’s justice is conveyed to the people.”

Constitution of India and contempt of court

It is very conflicting in nature and difficult to understand that whether the law relating to the contempt of court is somewhere touches two important fundamental rights of the citizen, namely, the right to personal liberty and the right to freedom of speech and expression or not?

There is a very thin line between criticism and vilification. One of the basic principles of independence is that you are free to do anything which does not intervene in my independence. The same goes to determine whether it is a contempt or not? If you are criticising, it is valid but if you are vilifying or tried to degrade the integrity of the institution then it is a contempt.

  1. Article 129[8] – Grants Supreme Court of India, the power to punish for contempt of itself.
  2. Article 142(2)[9] – Enables the Supreme Court of India, to investigate and punish any person for its contempt.
  3. Article 215[10] – Grants every High Court the power to punish for contempt of itself.

Note: That the source of power of Supreme Court of India, to punish for its contempt is not from Section 15[11] of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 but it flows from Articles 129 and 142(2) of the Constitution of India.

The Supreme Court has emphasised upon the need for the contempt of court in the following words:

Availability of an independent judiciary and an atmosphere wherein Judges may act independently and fearless is the source of existence of civilisation in society. The writ issued by the court must be obeyed. It is the binding efficacy attaching with the commands of the court and the respect for the orders of the court which deter the aggrieved persons from taking the law into their own hands because they are assured of an efficacious civilised method of settlement of disputes being available to them wherein, they shall be heard and their legitimate grievances redeemed. Any act or omission which undermines the dignity of the court is therefore viewed with the concern of the society and the court treats it as an obligation to zealously guard against any onslaught on its dignity.[12]

The Supreme Court exercises this power to punish an act which tends to interfere with the course of administration of justice. The following inter alia have been held to constitute contempt of court: [13]

  1. Insinuations derogatory to the dignity of the court which are calculated to undermine the confidence of the people in the integrity of the Judges.
  2. An attempt by one party to prejudice the court against the other party to the action.
  3. To stir up public feelings on the question pending for decision before court and to try to influence the Judge in favour of himself.
  4. An attempt to affect the minds of the Judges and to deflect them from performing their duty by flattery or veiled threat.
  5. An act or publication which scandalises the court attributing dishonesty to a Judge in the discharge of his functions.
  6. Wilful disobedience or non-compliance of the court’s order.[14]

In several cases, private parties violating or flouting the Supreme Court orders have been held guilty of contempt of court:

  1. Gomti River water was being polluted due to discharge of effluents from the distillery of a company. The Supreme Court ordered the company to remove deficiencies in the effluent treatment plant by a certain due date. The company failed to do so and yet kept on running its plant. The Court ruled that violation of the court order by the company was deliberate and pre-planned indicating a defiant attitude on its part. The Court imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakhs on the company which amount was to be utilised for cleaning of the Gomti River.[15]
  2. An article in a newspaper, criticising a Supreme Court decision, attributing improper motives to the Judges and seeking to create an impression in the public mind that the Supreme Court Judges act on extraneous considerations in dealing cases has been held to constitute court’s contempt. The Court has stated that if an impression were created in public mind that the Judges in the highest court act on extraneous considerations in deciding cases, public confidence in the administration of justice would be undermined and no greater mischief than that could possibly be imagined.[16]

Note: Contempt of court is a matter between the court and contemnor and hence, held, third parties cannot intervene. Intervention applications are thus not maintainable.[17]

Supreme Court and the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971

As per the Rule 3 of the Rules to Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of the Supreme Court, 1975[18]. In case of contempt other than the contempt referred to in Rule 2, the Court may take action:

  1. Suo motu; or
  2. On a petition made by Attorney General, or Solicitor General; or
  3. On a petition made by a person, and in the case of a criminal contempt with the consent in writing of the Attorney General or the Solicitor General.

A bare reading of Rule 3 helps us understand that there are 3 ways for initiating contempt proceedings. The first is suo motu, the second is the petition made by the Attorney General or the Solicitor General, and the third is on the basis of a petition made by any person and where criminal contempt is involved then the consent of the Attorney General or the Solicitor General is necessary.

As in necessary to understand that the Supreme Court of India is the supreme authority and the powers for the contempt of itself is a constitutional power vested to this Court, such power cannot be abridged or taken away even by legislative enactment. Whereas on the other side the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 is a legislative enactment.

Although the law of contempt is largely governed by the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. It is now settled law in India that the Supreme Court and the High Courts derive their jurisdiction and power from Articles 129 and 215 of the Constitution of India. This situation results in giving scope to “judicial self-dealing”.

It is the saying of the Supreme Court of India that a scurrilous attack on a Judge, in respect of a judgment or past conduct has in our country the inevitable effect on undermining the confidence of the public in the judiciary; and if confidence in judiciary goes administration of justice will definitely suffers[19].

Permissible limit in the eyes of law

 Scandalising a Judge as a Judge is different from scandalising a Judge as an individual. The abovementioned assertions bring both freedom of speech and expression and contempt of court, in conflict, on one side of the coin, freedom of fairly and reasonably criticising judiciary increases its accountability but on the other side of the coin, the power of punishing contempt of court ensures free and non-obstructed administration of justice. When the proceedings are taken for vilification of the Judge, the question which the Court has to determine is whether the vilification is of the Judge as a Judge or it is a vilification of a Judge as an individual. That if the vilification of the Judge is as an individual, then he is left to his private remedies and the Court has no power to punish for contempt. In the former case, the Court will proceed to exercise the jurisdiction with scrupulous care and in cases which are clear and beyond reasonable doubt.[20]

A distinction is drawn between a mere libel or defamation of a Judge personally and what amounts to a contempt of court. A mere defamatory attack on a Judge is not actionable but it becomes punishable when it is calculated to interfere with the due course of justice, or the proper administration of law by the Court. Alternatively, the test is whether the wrong is done to the Judge personally, or it is done to the public.[21]

A fair, reasonable, temperate and legitimate criticism of the judiciary, or of the conduct of a Judge in his judicial capacity is permissible. A contempt is to protect the institution and to prevent interference in the course of justice. Undermining the majesty of the institution or undermining the authority vested in Judges is a very important take away. I think that crosses a line from legitimate criticism of a ruling and goes into a whole different area. Legitimate criticism of a ruling is permissible and on the other hand we must draw the line where it becomes abusive, irrational, personal attacks on Judges that undermines the entire integrity of the institution. That has to be where we stop, that is where the freedom of speech ends. Anything that/which undermines the institution rather than criticises the institution that is where you cross the bounds of legitimacy.

In Andre Paul Terence Ambard v. Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago[22], the court said “… no wrong is committed by any member of the public who exercises the ordinary right of criticising in good faith in private or public the public act done in the seat of justice. The path of criticism is a public way: the wrongheaded are permitted to err therein: provided that members of the public abstain from imputing improper motives to those taking part in the administration of justice, and are genuinely exercising a right of criticism and not acting in malice or attempting to impair the administration of justice, they are immune. Justice is not a cloistered virtue: she must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful even though outspoken comments of ordinary men.

Although Section 5 of the said Act states that fair and reasonable criticism is not to be termed as a contempt of court. A person shall not be guilty of contempt of court for publishing any fair comment on the merits of any case which has been heard and finally decided[23]. Judgments are open to criticism that must be done without casting aspersions on the Judges and the courts and without adverse comments amounting to scandalising the courts[24]. Actual interference with the course of administration of justice is not necessary, it is enough if the offending publication is likely on if it tends in any way to interfere with the proper administration of law[25].

Note: That a contempt petition cannot be withdrawn by the petitioner as a matter of right. The matter is primarily between the court and the contemnor. It is, therefore, for the court to allow or to refuse withdrawal in the light of the broad facts of the case and more particularly whether respect for judicial process would be enhanced or reduced by the grant or refusal of withdrawal. It is for the court to determine whether the act complained of tending to scandalise the court if viewed with certain severity with a view to punishing the person would in the larger interest of the society enhance respect for the judicial process, or too sensitive attitude in such matter may even become counterproductive. The power to commit for contempt of court has to be exercised with greatest caution.

Conclusion

At last, I would like to conclude from the golden words of Lord Atkin in Andre Paul Terence Ambard v. Attoney General of Trinidad and Tobago[26] “Justice is not a cloistered virtue; she must be allowed to suffer the scrutiny and respectful, even though outspoken, comments of ordinary men.”

In the free market place of ideas criticisms about the judicial system or the Judges should be welcomed, so long as criticisms do not impair or hamper the administration of justice. As one should know where to stop and when to stop, as there is a very thin line difference between criticism and vilification. If one has the right to freedom of speech and expression as their fundamental right on one side then he has the duty/obligation to maintain dignity and integrity of the institution on the other side, as the freedom of speech and expression is not an absolute right it can be taken away in case someone tries to cross the justifiable limit permitted by the law of land.

For instance, if I fight a case and I loose, I should have the confidence to accept that I tried my case but it went wrong. I should not go home thinking the Judge was worried about what newspaper would say and that is why he decided against me. The day I get that feeling you have eroded my faith in judiciary.


Advocate, e-mail: adv.nihitsinghal@gmail.com.

[1] Lord Denning in Reg. v. Commr. of Police of the Metropolis, ex p, Blackburn, (1968) 2 QB 150.

[2] W.B. Administrative Tribunal  v. S.K. Monobbor Hossain, (2012) 11 SCC 761.

[3] <http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/IB5rg5rZ>.

[4] The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

[5] DDA v. Skipper Construction, (1995) 3 SCC 507.

[6] DDA v. Skipper Construction, (1995) 3 SCC 507.

[7] 1765 Wilm 243 : 97 ER 94.

[8] <http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/aMeb67Y3>.

[9] <http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/z3Hfxsu4>.

[10] <http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/z3Hfxsu4>.

[11] <http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/Pu75QPE4>.

[12] Om Prakash Jaiswal v. D.K. Mittal, (2000) 3 SCC 171.

[13] Pritam Pal v. High Court of M.P., 1993 Supp (1) SCC 529.

[14] Rajiv Choudhary v. Jagdish Narain Khanna, (1996) 1 SCC 508.

[15] Vineet Kumar Mathur v. Union of India, (1996) 7 SCC 714.

[16] Aswini Kumar Ghose, In re v. Arabinda Bose, 1953 SCR 215.

[17] Bhushan Power and Steel Ltd. v. Rajesh Verma, (2014) 5 SCC 551.

[18] Vide G.S.R. 368(E), dated 27-5-2014, published in the Gazette of India, Extra., Pt. II, S. 3(i), No. 287, dated 29-5-2014 <http://www.scconline.com/DocumentLink/zMvdG5rb>.

[19] C.K. Daphtary v. O.P. Gupta, (1971) 1 SCC 626.

[20] Baradakanta Mishra v. Registrar of the Orissa High Court, (1974) 1 SCC 374.

[21] Rustom Cowasjee Cooper v. Union of India, (1970) 2 SCC 298.

[22] 1936 SCC OnLine PC 15 : (1936) All ER 704.

[23] S. 5, The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

[24] Advocate General v. Abraham George, 1975 SCC OnLine Ker 83 : 1976 Cri LJ 158, 161.

[25] Hira Lal Dixit v. State of U.P., (1955) 1 SCR 677.

[26] 1936 SCC OnLine PC 15 : (1936) All ER 704.

Punjab and Haryana High Court
Appointments & TransfersNews

Elevation of an Advocate as Judge in Punjab and Haryana High Court


Supreme Court Collegium has approved the proposal for the elevation of Shri Sandeep Moudgil, Advocate, as Judge in the Punjab & Haryana High Court.


Supreme Court of India

[Collegium Statement dt. 29-9-2021]