Know thy Judge

“A litigant has one lifetime yet litigation has several lives to live. If society stands denied of justice, we are not only failing our duty and constitution but are enslaving a generation of litigants. For speedy disposal effective docket management is required and is the need of the hour.”

-Justice Krishna Murari[1]

Born on 09-07- 1958, obtained LL.B degree from Allahabad University, Allahabad. He was enrolled as an Advocate on 23-12-1981. He practiced in the Allahabad High Court for over 22 years in Civil, Constitutional, Company, Service and Revenue matters and has specialized in Civil Revenue and Service cases. He was Standing Counsel of U.P. State, Yarn Company Limited, Kanpur, Northern Railway Primary Co-operative Bank Limited, U.P. State Textile Corporation Limited, Kanpur, U.P. Co-operative Spinning Mills Federation Limited, Kanpur and Bundelkhand University, Jhansi.

He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Allahabad High Court on 07-01- 2004 and appointed as permanent Judge of the Allahabad High Court on 18-08-2005.

He took over as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh on 02-06-2018. Read more

Elevated as Judge of Supreme Court of India on 23-09-2019. Read more


Notable Supreme Court Judgments 


S.P. Velumani v. Arappor Iyakkam, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 663

In the case where the Madras High Court had ordered an enquiry and obtained a report without   furnishing a copy thereof to Tamil Nadu Minister SP Velumani in a corruption case and unceremoniously closed the writ petition, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ* and Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, JJ has held that when the State has not pleaded any specific privilege which bars disclosure of material utilized in the earlier preliminary investigation, there is no good reason for the High Court to have permitted the report to have remained shrouded in a sealed cover.

Read more


Deepak Yadav v. State of U.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 672

In a murder case where the Allahabad High Court had granted bail to the main accused only on the basis of parity, the 3-judge bench of  NV Ramana, Krishna Murari* and Hima Kohli, JJ has cancelled the bail after observing that the High Court should have taken into consideration factors like the criminal history of the accused, nature of crime, material evidences available, involvement of accused in the said crime, recovery of weapon from his possession, etc.

Read more


K.C. Laxmana v. K.C. Chandrappa Gowda, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 471

In a case where a portion of a joint Hindu Family was alienated ‘out of love and affection’ by way of a gift deed, the bench of SA Nazeer* and Krishna Murari, JJ has explained the scope of powers of members of Joint Hindu Family and has held that a Hindu father or any other managing member of a HUF has power to make a gift of ancestral property only for a ‘pious purpose’.

Read more


Vijay Kumar Ghai v. State of W.B., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 344

The Division Bench S. Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari*, JJ., reversed the impugned order of the Calcutta High Court for being affected with the vice of forum shopping. The Bench expressed,

“The timeline of filing complaints clearly indicates the malafide intention of Respondent 2 which was to simply harass the petitioners so as to pressurise them into shelling out the investment made by Respondent 2.”

Read more


Babu Venkatesh v. State of Karnataka, (2022) 5 SCC 639

In a case where the Magistrate had passed an order under Section 156(3) CrPC even in absence of an affidavit duly sworn by the complainant, the bench of BR Gavai* and Krishna Murari, JJ that many a times the applications under Section 156 (3) of the Cr.P.C. are filed in a routine manner without taking any responsibility only to harass certain persons and hence, such applications are to be supported by affidavits.

The Court held that, prior to the filing of a petition under Section 156 (3) of the Cr.P.C., there have to be applications under Section 154 (1) and 154 (3) of the Cr.P.C. Filing of an affidavit is necessary so that the persons making the application would be conscious and not make false affidavit. With such a requirement, the persons would be deterred from causally invoking authority of the Magistrate, under Section 156 (3) of the Cr.P.C. If the affidavit is found to be false, the person would be liable for prosecution in accordance with law.

Read more


Kahkashan Kausar v. State of Bihar, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 162

In a dowry demand and harassment case, where a woman had lodged criminal complaint against her husband and in-laws but  no specific role was attributed to the in-laws, the bench of SA Nazeer and Krishna Murari*, JJ has held that it would be unjust if the in-laws are forced to go through the tribulations of a trial and that general and omnibus allegations cannot manifest in a situation where the relatives of the complainant’s husband are forced to undergo trial. The Court observed that a criminal trial leading to an eventual acquittal also inflicts severe scars upon the accused, and such an exercise must therefore be discouraged.

Read more


Arunachala Gounder v. Ponnusamy, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 72

The bench of SA Nazeer and Krishna Murari*, JJ has held that if a female Hindu dies intestate without leaving any issue, then the property inherited by her from her father or mother would go to the heirs of her father whereas the property inherited from her husband or father-in-law would go to the heirs of the husband. However, if she dies leaving behind her husband or any issue, then Section 15(1)(a) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 comes into operation and the properties left behind including the properties which she inherited from her parents would devolve simultaneously upon her husband and her issues as provided in Section 15(1)(a) of the Act.

Read more


K. Jayaram v. BDA, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1194

In a case where the party, in a subsequent petition seeking same relief, had not disclosed the filing of the suit, its dismissal by the Civil Court and the confirmation of the said judgment by the High Court in the writ petition, the bench of SA Nazeeer* and Krishna Murari, JJ has held that the appellants did not come to the court with clean hands and stressed that the parties have to disclose the details of all legal proceedings and litigations either past or present concerning any part of the subject-matter of dispute which is within their knowledge.

Read more


Rasmita Biswal v. National Insurance Co. Ltd., (2022) 2 SCC 767

With an aim to curtail the pendency before the High Courts and for speedy disposal of the appeals concerning payment of compensation to the victims of road accident, the bench of SA Nazeer* and Krishna Murari, JJ has asked the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice to consider constituting ‘Motor Vehicle Appellate Tribunals’ by amending Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act so that the appeals challenging the award of a Tribunal could be filed before the Appellate Tribunal so constituted.

Read more


Hasmat Ali v. Amina Bibi, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1142

In a case where the Orissa High Court had not assigned any reasons for the dismissal of an appeal, the bench of SA Nazeer* and Krishna Murari, JJ has set aside the said order and has held that the High Court cannot dismiss the second appeal in limine without assigning any reasons for its conclusion.

Read more


N. Jayasree v. Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 967

The Division Bench of S. Abdul Nazeer* and Krishna Murari, JJ., held that neither the percentage of deduction for personal expenses be governed by a rigid rule or formula of universal application nor does it depends upon the basis of relationship of the claimant with the deceased.

Passing a landmark decision, the Bench granted compensation to mother-in-law of the deceased considering her to be of the dependents of the deceased. The Bench remarked,

“It is not uncommon in Indian Society for the mother-in-law to live with her daughter and son-in-law during her old age and be dependent upon her son-in-law for her maintenance.”

Read more


Geo Varghese v. State of Rajasthan, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 873

In a case where a 14-year-old had committed suicide after his PTI Teacher had allegedly “harassed and insulted him in the presence of everyone”, the bench of SA Nazeer and Krishna Murari*, JJ has held that the suicide note suggested that it was a rhetoric document, penned down by an immature mind and that it was the hypersensitive temperament of the deceased which led him to take such an extraordinary step. The Court said that the action of the teacher, otherwise would not ordinarily induce a similarly circumstanced student to commit suicide.

The Court explained that,

“A simple act of reprimand of a student for his behaviour or indiscipline by a teacher, who is under moral obligations to inculcate the good qualities of a human being in a student would definitely not amount to instigation or intentionally aid to the commission of a suicide by a student.”

Read more


Garg Builders v. BHEL, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 855

The bench of SA Nazeer* and Krishna Murari, JJ has held that if the contract contains a specific clause which expressly bars payment of interest, then it is not open for the arbitrator to grant pendente lite interest.

Read more


Gumansinh v. State of Gujarat, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 660

A Division Bench of S. Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari, JJ. refused to interfere in the judgment passed by the Gujarat High Court whereby the appellants (husband and mother-in-law of the deceased) were found guilty of committing cruelty to the deceased and abetting suicide committed by the deceased. Noting that although the prosecution failed to adduce any direct evidence to establish that accused abetted deceased into committing suicide, the Supreme Court observed:

“Admittedly, in the case at hands, the evidence clearly establishes the offence of cruelty or harassment caused to the deceased and thus the foundation for the presumption [under Section 113-A of the Evidence Act] exists. Admittedly the appellants have led no evidence to rebut the presumption.”

Read more


Abdul Ahad v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 627

The 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai* and Krishna Murari, JJ had refused to grant any relief to the students who were admitted to the 1st  year Professional MBBS course for the Academic Session 2016-2017 in Glocal Medical College, in contravention of the Notification that provided that the admissions were to be done only through the centralized admission process and not by way of private counselling.

Read more


Neelima Srivastava v. State of U.P., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 610

A Division Bench of S. Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari, JJ. held that there is a distinction between overruling a principle and reversal of the judgment. The Supreme Court reaffirmed the settled position of law by explaining that:

“Mere overruling of the principles, on which the earlier judgment was passed, by a subsequent judgment of higher forum will not have the effect of uprooting the final adjudication between the parties and set it at naught. “

Read more


Hemraj Ratnakar Salian v. HDFC Bank Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 611

The Division Bench of S. Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari, JJ., addressed a pertinent issue of whether the rent act would come to the aid of a “tenant in sufferance”.

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


Chunthuram v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2020) 10 SCC 733

A 3-judge bench comprising of Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Krishna Murari and Hrishikesh Roy,* JJ., while deciding a criminal appeal challenging the judgement of Chhattisgarh High Court upheld the conviction of the appellant under Sections 302 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and acquittal of the co-accused.

The Court held that the recovery of the alleged weapons of assault on the statement of the accused can be a key evidence to support the prosecution but the recovered articles were not linked to the crime. Moreover, when relevant forensic evidence was withheld by the prosecution, an adverse inference will have to be drawn against the prosecution.


Dumka Medical College v. Board of Governors in Supersession of Medical Council of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 122

The Division Bench comprising of L. Nageswara Rao and Krishna Murari, JJ., dismissed the instant petition for grant of permission for Medical Colleges after observing infrastructural and faculty deficiencies. The Bench remarked,

“It is clear that gross deficiencies still exist in spite of the affidavits and undertakings filed on behalf of the State of Jharkhand. No action has been taken to improve the situation.”

Read more


Harshit Agarwal v. Union of India, (2021) 2 SCC 710

The Division Bench comprising of L. Nageswara Rao* and Krishna Murari, JJ., addressed the plight of NEET students. The Bench stated,

“Decision of government not to reduce minimum marks for admission was propelled by extraneous considerations like sufficient number of Dentists being available in the country and the reasons for which students were not inclined to get admitted to BDS course which remits in the decision being unreasonable. Consideration of factors other than availability of eligible students would be the result of being influenced by irrelevant or extraneous matters.”

Read more


Samir Agrawal v. CCI (Cab Aggregators Case), (2021) 3 SCC 136

In a plea seeking inquiry into the alleged anti-competitive practices of Ola and Uber of entering into price-fixing agreement, the 3-judge bench of RF Nariman*, KM Joseph, Krishna Murari, JJ has refused to interfere with the concurrent finding of CCI and NCLAT that Ola and Uber do not facilitate cartelization or anti-competitive practices between drivers, who are independent individuals, who act independently of each other, so as to attract the application of section 3 of the Competition Act, 2002.

Read more


Project Implementation Unit v. P.V. Krishnamoorthy, (2021) 3 SCC 572

Dealing with the question whether the Parliament was competent to enact the National Highways Act, 1956 and the National Highway Authority of India Act, 1988 for construction of new roads traversing through the open green-fields, the 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar*, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ has held that

“… there is nothing in the Constitution which constricts the power of the Parliament to make a law for declaring any stretch/section within the State not being a road or an existing highway, to be a national highway. Whereas, the provisions in the Constitution unambiguously indicate that the legislative as well as executive power regarding all matters concerning and connected with a highway to be designated as a national highway, vests in the Parliament and the laws to be made by it in that regard.”

Read more


Renuka Dey v. Naresh Chandra Gope, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 895

The 3-judge bench of SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari, JJ has held that under the West Bengal Restoration of Alienated Land Act, 1973, homestead land, when included within the meaning of the term ‘land’ means homestead of the agriculturist and not any or every structure of non­-agricultural land.

Read more


SBI v. Metenere Ltd., (2021) 1 SCC 191

The 3-Judge Bench of Arun Mishra, B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ., set aside the NCLAT’s Order with regard to the appointment of Resolution Professional where the question for consideration was whether an ex-employee of the ‘Financial Creditor’ having rendered services in the past, should not be permitted to act as ‘Interim Resolution Professional’ at the instance of such ‘Financial Creditor’, regard being had to the nature of duties to be performed by the ‘Interim Resolution Professional’ and the ‘Resolution Professional’.

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Raghunath v. Radha Mohan, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 828

On the question as to whether the right of pre-emption can be enforced for an indefinite number of transactions or it is exercisable only the first time, the 3-judge bench of SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari, JJ has held that

“… it is only exercisable for the first time when the cause of such a right arises, in a situation where the plaintiff-pre-emptor chooses to waive such right after the 1966 Act becoming operational. Section 9 of the said Act operates as a bar on his exercising such right on a subsequent transaction relating to the same immovable property.”

Read more


Sahir Sohail v. Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technical University, (2020) 9 SCC 696

The 3-judge bench of SA Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari, JJ ‘reluctantly’ dismissed an SLP arising out of a Allahabad High Court order which held that the students with certificates from ‘bogus and fictitious’ organisations cannot be allowed to continue pursuing their courses at Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University (APJAKTU).

The Court said,

“We do have sympathy but this is not a case where we can really translate our sympathy to a relief in the present case, more so, in view of the fact that since this exam system is found to be fraudulent, the petitioners before us will never have a recognized plus two status and to give such students the opportunity to get a degree from the University will create a great anomaly.”

Read more


Jigya Yadav v. CBSE, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 415

The 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ has held that the right to control one’s identity is a fundamental right and the Central Board of Secondary Education cannot deny such right by refusing to allow a person to change their name in the Certificates without giving them reasonable opportunity.

Read more


Kalparaj Dharamshi v. Kotak Investment Advisors Ltd,  2021 SCC OnLine SC 204

The 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari has explained the true test to determine whether a party has waived its rights or not. It has held that for establishing waiver, it will have to be established, that a party expressly or by its conduct acted in a manner, which is inconsistent with the continuance of its rights. There can be no waiver unless the person who is said to have waived, is fully informed as to his rights and with full knowledge about the same, he intentionally abandons them.

“As such, for applying the principle of waiver, it will have to be established, that though a party was aware about the relevant facts and the right to take an objection, he has neglected to take such an objection.”

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 has, 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.

“Democracy and dissent go hand in hand, but then the demonstrations expressing dissent have to be in designated places alone. The present case was not even one of protests taking place in an undesignated area, but was a blockage of a public way which caused grave inconvenience to commuters. We cannot accept the plea of the applicants that an indeterminable number of people can assemble whenever they choose to protest.”

Read more


Kalparaj Dharamshi v. Kotak Investment Advisors Ltd, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 204

The 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari has held that the commercial wisdom of Committee of Creditors (CoC) is not to be interfered with, excepting the limited scope as provided under Sections 30 and 31 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC).

Taking note of various decision of the Supreme Court, the Court held that the legislative scheme is unambiguous. The legislature has consciously not provided any ground to challenge the “commercial wisdom” of the individual financial creditors or their collective decision before the Adjudicating Authority and that the decision of CoC’s ‘commercial wisdom’ is made non-justiciable.

“… the appeal is a creature of statute and that the statute has not invested jurisdiction and authority either with NCLT or NCLAT, to review the commercial decision exercised by CoC of approving the resolution plan or rejecting the same.”

Read more


Amar Nath Chaubey v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1019

The 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and Krishna Murari, JJ had IPS Officer Satyarth Anirudh Pankaj as the senior officer, State of Uttar Pradesh to carry out further investigation in the Ram Bihari Chaubey murder case after it found the investigation and closure report submitted by the UP Police to be “extremely casual and perfunctory in nature”.

Directing that IPS Officer Pankaj will be free to select a team of competent officers of his choice, the Court directed that

“the investigation must be concluded within a period of two months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order, unless extension is required, and the final report be placed before this Court. The Director General of Police (DGP), Uttar Pradesh shall do the needful.”

Read more


Vidya Drolia v. Durga Trading Corporation, (2021) 2 SCC 1

e bench of NV RamanaSanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari, JJ has 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.

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Amar Singh v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2020 SCC OnLine SC 826

Giving benefit of doubt to the accused convicted under Section 302 IPC r/w Section 34 IPC, the 3-judge bench of SK Kaul, Anirudhha Bose and Krishna Muraji, JJ reiterated that Court can and may act on the testimony of single eye-witness provided he is wholly reliable.

“… the prosecution has miserably failed to prove the guilt of the accused beyond doubt the appellants therefore must be given benefit of doubt.”

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V.N. Krishna Murthy v. Ravikumar, (2020) 9 SCC 501

The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the appellants held the focus to question the judgment and decree passed by the trial court and whether the High Court was justified in rejecting their leave to appeal. Dismissing the appeal the Full Bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari and S. RavindraBhat, JJ., held,

“Section 96 and 100 CPC do not enumerate the categories of persons who can file an appeal. However, it is a settled legal proposition that a stranger cannot be permitted to file an appeal in any proceedings unless he satisfies the Court that he falls in the category of aggrieved persons. It is only where a judgment and decree prejudicially affects a person who is not party to the proceedings, he can prefer an appeal with the leave of the appellate court.”


Sorathia Bindi v. State of Gujarat, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 419

In a case where the Gujarat High Court had stayed the arrest a person accused for offences under sections 376(2)(F), 376(2)(N), 377, 354(A), 354(D), 503, 506(1) and 509 of IPC and sections 66(E) and 67(A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, the bench of BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ has remitted the matter to the High Court and has asked to record the reasons in support of its order.

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In Re Prashant Bhushan, (2021) 1 SCC 745

The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ had, in a 108-pages long verdict, held advocate Prashant guilty of criminal contempt in the suo motu contempt petition initiated against him after he criticised the Supreme Court and the sitting and former CJIs in a couple of tweets. It held,

“The tweets which are based on the distorted facts, in our considered view, amount to committing of ‘criminal contempt’.

Read more

In re: Prashant Bhushan, (2021) 3 SCC 160

The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ has sentenced advocate Prashant Bhushan with a fine or Re.1/­ (Rupee one) to be deposited with the Registry by 15.09.2020, failing which he shall undergo a simple imprisonment for a period of three months and further be debarred from practising in this Court for a period of three years. It had found advocate Prashant guilty of criminal contempt on 14.08.2020 in the suo motu contempt petition initiated against him after he criticised the Supreme Court and the sitting and former CJIs in a couple of tweets.

Read more


Contagion of Covid-19 Virus in Children Protection Homes, In re, (2020) 15 SCC 289

Taking suo motu cognizance of the issue where 35 out of 57 children in a Protection Home at Royapuram, Chennai have been infected with COVID-19 and were hospitalized, the 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ had asked the Health and Family Welfare Department, State of Tamil Nadu and secretary to Social Welfare Department to submit a report giving details of the reasons for the spread of COVID-19 in the said Protection Home.

Read more


Jagmail Singh v. Karamjit Singh, (2020) 5 SCC 178

Under the Evidence Act, 1872 facts had to be established by primary evidence and secondary evidence is only an exception to the rule for which foundational facts had to be established to account for the existence of primary evidence. Section 65 made it clear that secondary evidence may be given with regard to existence, condition or the contents of a document when the original is shown or appears to be in possession or power against whom the document is sought to be produced, or of any person out of reach of, or not subject to, the process of the court, or of any person legally bound to produce it, and when, after notice mentioned in Section 66 such person does not produce it.

It was held that the appellants would be entitled to lead secondary evidence in respect of the will in question. However, such admission of secondary evidence automatically does not attest to its authenticity, truthfulness or genuineness which will have to be established during the course of trial in accordance with the law.


Nirmala Kothari v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 4 SCC 49

The question before the Court was that “What is the extent of care/diligence expected of the employer/insured while employing a driver?”

The Division Bench of Navin Sinha and Krishna Murari, JJ., answered that while hiring a driver the employer is expected to verify if the driver has a driving licence. If the driver produces a licence which on the face of it looks genuine, the employer is not expected to further investigate into the authenticity of the licence unless there is cause to believe otherwise. If the employer finds the driver to be competent to drive the vehicle and has satisfied himself that the driver has a driving licence there would be no breach of Section 149(2)(a)(ii) and the insurance company would be liable under the policy. It would be unreasonable to place such a high onus on the insured to make enquiries with RTOs all over the country to ascertain the veracity of the driving licence. However, if the insurance company is able to prove that the owner/insured was aware or had notice that the licence was fake or invalid and still permitted the person to drive, the insurance company would no longer continue to be liable.

The respondent insurance company was held liable to indemnify the appellant.


Arun Singh v. State of U.P., (2020) 3 SCC 736

The Division Bench of Navin Sinha and Krishna Murari, JJ., observed that offences relating to the demand of dowry are offences against society and not private in nature. Such offences have serious impact upon society and continuance of trial of such cases is founded on the overriding effect of public interests in punishing persons for such serious offences. It is neither an offence arising out of commercial, financial, mercantile, partnership or such similar transactions or has any element of civil dispute thus it stands on a distinct footing. In such cases, settlement even if arrived at between the complainant and the accused, the same cannot constitute a valid ground to quash the FIR or the charge-sheet.


Yasmeen Zuber Ahmad Peerzade v. Union of India, (2020) 2 SCC 50 (1)

The Nation is looking forward to a historic judgment which is pending. It was placed before 3-judge bench of SA Bobde (retired), SA Nazeer and Krishna Murari, JJ. involving the Muslim Women right to pray in Durgah/Mosque. The Supreme Court will decide whether practices prohibiting the entry of women into mosques violates the right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution and whether such a right can be enforced against non-state actors in view of the judgement of the Constitution Bench in the Sabarimala Temple Entry case.


†Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2rNXRU5Aqw

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of SA Nazeer* and Krishna Murari, JJ has held that if the contract contains a specific clause which expressly bars payment of interest, then it is not open for the arbitrator to grant pendente lite interest.

Facts

Parties entered into a contract for construction of boundary wall at 2×750 MW Pragati III Combined Cycle Power at Bawana, Delhi, which, inter alia, contained the interest barring the following clause:

“Clause 17: No interest shall be payable by BHEL on Earnest Money Deposit, Security Deposit or on any moneys due to the contractor.”

When the dispute arose between the parties, the appellant, apart from claiming various amounts under different heads, inter alia claimed pre-reference, pendente lite and future interest at the rate of 24% on the value of the award.

The Arbitrator concluded that there is no prohibition in the contract about payment of interest for the pre-suit, pendente lite and future period.  Therefore, he awarded pendente lite and future interest at the rate of 10% p.a. to the appellant on the award amount from the date of filing of the claim petition i.e. 02.12.2011 till the date of realization of the award amount.

Analysis

Interest payments are governed in general by the Interest Act, 1978 in addition to the specific statutes that govern an impugned matter.

  • Section 2 (a) of the Interest Act defines a “Court” which includes both a Tribunal and an Arbitrator.
  • Section 3 allows a “Court” to grant interest at prevailing interest rates in various cases. The provisions of Section 3 (3) of the Interest Act, 1978 explicitly allows the parties to waive their claim to an interest by virtue of an agreement. Section 3(3)(a)(ii) states that the Interest Act will not apply to situations where the payment of interest is “barred by virtue of an express agreement”.

Further, the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 give paramount importance to the contract entered into between the parties and categorically restricts the power of an arbitrator to award pre-reference and pendente  lite  interest when the parties themselves have agreed to the contrary.

Section 31(7)(a) of the 1996 Act which deals with the payment of interest is as under :

“31(7)(a) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, where and insofar as an arbitral award is for the payment of money, the arbitral tribunal may include in the sum for which the award is made interest, at such rate as it deems reasonable, on the whole or any part of the money, for the whole or any part of the period between the date on which the cause of action arose and the date on which the award is made.”

The provision makes it clear that if the contract prohibits pre-reference and pendente lite interest, the arbitrator cannot award interest for the said period.

In the present case, clause barring interest is very clear and categorical. It uses the expression “any moneys due to the contractor” by the employer which includes the amount awarded by the arbitrator.

Hence, it was held that when there is an express statutory permission for the parties to contract out of receiving interest and they have done so without any vitiation of free consent, it is not open for the Arbitrator to grant pendent lite interest.

Important rulings

Sayeed Ahmed and Company v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2009) 12 SCC 26

A provision has been made under Section 31(7)(a) of the 1996 Act in relation to the power of the arbitrator to award interest.  As per this section, if the contract bars payment of interest, the arbitrator cannot award interest from the date of cause of action till the date of award.

Sree Kamatchi Amman Constructions v. Divisional Railway Manager (Works), (2010) 8 SCC 767

here the parties had agreed that the interest shall not be payable, the Arbitral Tribunal cannot award interest between the date on which the cause of action arose to the date of the award.

Sri Chittaranjan Maity v. Union of India, (2017) 9 SCC 611

If a contract prohibits award of interest for pre-award period, the arbitrator cannot award interest for the said period.

[Garg Builders v. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 855, decided on 04.10.2021]

_______________________________________________

Counsels:

For appellant: Advocate Sanjay Bansal

For respondent: Advocate Pallav Kumar


*Judgment by: Justice SA Nazeer

Know Thy Judge | Justice S. Abdul Nazeer