Know thy Judge

“There should be effort to find out cases where there is possibility of settlement of cases…Serious thinking on ADR is required.”

                                                                                       Justice R. Subhash Reddy[1]


As Justice Ramayyagari Subhash Reddy prepares to bid adieu, we endeavor to take you to a trip down the memory lane of his tenure in the Supreme Court.


Travelling Back in Time 


Justice R. Subhash Reddy was born on 5th January, 1957 in an agricultural family in Kamaram Village of Chinna Shankarampet Mandal, Medak District. He did his primary education in Upper Primary School and Higher Education from Zilla Parishad High School, Sankarampet, and graduation from Andhra Vidyalaya College, Hyderabad and obtained his Degree in Law from the University College of Law, Osmania University, Hyderabad.[2]

♦Did You Know? Justice R. Subhash Reddy has deep interest in matters of philosophy, culture, music and education.[3]                                    


Career at a Glance    


              

Advocate- 1980-2002 

Justice Reddy enrolled as an advocate on 30-10-1980 in Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh and joined the Chambers of Sri Justice B. Subhashan Reddy. Post enrolment, Justice Reddy practised at Andhra Pradesh High Court, Civil Court Tribunals and Supreme Court.  

Justice Reddy’s stint as an advocate stretched over a staggering period of 22 years during which he argued on issues related to Civil, Criminal, Constitutional, Revenue, Taxation, Labour, Company and Service matters in both original and appellate side. His specialisation however was in Constitutional Law.[4] Justice Subhash Reddy was also elected unanimously as the President of the AP High Court Advocates Association for the year 2001-2002.[5]

♦Did you Know? He was Standing Counsel for premier institutions like S.V. University and Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University.[6]

The High Courts- Elevation as a Judge- 2002-2018 

On 2nd February, 2002, Justice Reddy was elevated as an Additional Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court and sworn in as Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on 24-06-2004. He was later elevated as Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court on 13th February, 2016.[7]


Notable High Court Decisions  


Andhra Pradesh High Court/ Hyderabad High Court

A.P. Civil Liberties Committee (APCLC) v. Govt. of A.P., 2009 SCC OnLine AP 50 

The 5 Judge Bench of Goda Raghuram, V.V.S. Rao, R. Subhash Reddy, Ramesh Ranghanathan and G. Bhavani Prasad, JJ., held that where a police officer causes death of a person, acting or purporting to act in discharge of official duties or in self-defense as the case may be, the first information relating to such circumstance (even when by a Police/Public Official; whether an alleged perpetrator is named or not) shall be recorded and registered as FIR, enumerating the relevant provisions of Law, (u/Sec. 154(1) Cr.P.C.) and shall be investigated (u/Sec. 156/157 Cr.P.C.).

K. Swarna Kumari v. Government of Andhra Pradesh, 2006 SCC OnLine AP 97

Re. Andhra Pradesh Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1991, Rules 20(4) and 45(1) proviso, Full Bench of the Court comprising of T. Meena Kumari, A. Gopal Reddy, Goda Raghuram, T.CH. Surya Rao and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ., held, violation of principles of natural justice by itself is not sufficient to invalidate punishment unless a clear prejudice suffered thereby is pleaded and demonstrated.  

Gangaraju Sowmini (Dr.) v. Alavala Sudhakar Reddy, 2016 SCC OnLine Hyd 430 

The 3-Judge Bench of Before R. Subhash Reddy, G. Chandraiah and Nooty Ramamohana Rao, JJ., held that as per the language under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 r/w. Rule 2(g) of the A.P. Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, even the legal representatives who are non-dependants can also lay a claim for payment of compensation by making application under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act.

Gujarat High Court 

Bar Council of Gujarat v. Jalpa Pradeepbhai Desai, 2016 SCC OnLine Guj 5080 

While dismissing an appeal filed by a respondent petitioner who applied for a certificate of practice to the Bar Council of Gujarat while simultaneously rendering services at a corporation, the Division Bench of R. Subhash Reddy, CJ and Vipul M. Pancholi, J said that an advocate who works as a full-time salaried employee of any person, government, firm, corporation or concern, is not entitled to grant of certificate of practice under the Advocates Act, 1961 in view of Rule 49 of the Bar Council of India Rules.

Read More


Prati Shailesh Patel v. State of Gujarat, 2016 SCC OnLine Guj 1909 

While dealing with the constitutionality of Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Colleges or Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fees) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016, the bench comprising of R. Subhash Reddy, CJ and Vipul M. Pancholi, J. quashed the Ordinance to the extent of removing genuine NRI/NRI proper i.e. children or wards of the Non-Resident Indian from the quota in medical colleges.

Read More


Dayaram Khemkaran Verma v. State of Gujarat, 2016 SCC OnLine Guj 1821

While dealing with the constitutionality of the Gujarat Unreserved Economically Weaker Sections (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the State and of Appointments and Posts in services under the State) Ordinance, 2016 providing reservation of seats in the educational institutions in the State and of appointments and posts in the services under the State in favour of the Economically Weaker Sections of unreserved categories, the bench comprising of R. Subhash Reddy CJ., and Vipul M. Pancholi, J. held the Ordinance unconstitutional and contrary to fundamental rights.

Read More                                 


THE SUPREME COURT- 2018-2022


On 1st November, 2018, the Ministry of Law and Justice notified the appointment of Justice R. Subhash Reddy to the Supreme Court of India by the President[8] and on 2nd November, 2018, Justice Reddy assumed charge of his office as a Judge of Supreme Court.[9]

♦Did You Know? Justice Reddy is the first Judge from the newly carved State of Telangana to become a Judge of the Supreme Court.[10] 


 Notable Judgments 


Kantaru Rajeevaru (Right to Religion, In re-9 J.) v. Indian Young Lawyers Assn., (2020) 2 SCC 52 

The 9-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, M M Shantanagoudar, S A Nazeer, R Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant, JJ, while framing seven issues in the Sabrimala reference, opined that the same can be refered to a larger bench in its Review jurisdiction.

Read More


Shah Faesal v. Union of India, (2020) 4 SCC 1 

In a writ petition filled under Article 32 of the Constitution of India pertaining to two Constitution Orders issued by the President of India in exercise of his powers under Article 370 of the Constitution of India, a Full judge Constitution bench of NV Ramana, SK Kaul, R. Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai and Surya Kant, JJ, held that no cause was made out to refer the matter to a larger bench as there is no conflict between the judgments in the Prem Nath Kaul v. State of J & K, AIR 1959 SC 749 and the Sampat Prakash v. State of J & K, AIR 1970 SC 1118. The Court observed that-

Judgments cannot be interpreted in a vacuum, separate from their facts and context. Observations made in a judgment cannot be selectively picked in order to give them a particular meaning.”

Read More 


Foundation for Media Professionals v. UT of J&K, (2020) 5 SCC 746

“National security concerns and human rights must be reasonably and defensibly adjusted with one another, in line with the constitutional principles.” 

A 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai JJ., observed that

While it might be desirable and convenient to have better internet in the present circumstances, wherein there is a world wide pandemic and a national lockdown. However, the fact that outside forces are trying to infiltrate the borders and destabilize the integrity of the nation, as well as cause incidents resulting in the death of innocent citizens and security forces every day cannot be ignored.” 

and directed the constitution of a Special Committee comprising Secretaries of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and Department of Communications, Ministry of Communications and the Chief Secretary of Jammu & Kashmir to review 4G connectivity in Jammu & Kashmir as 2G service available in the Union Territory is not sufficient for education and business purposes.

Read More…


Rajnesh v. Neha, (2021) 2 SCC 324, 

The Bench of Indu Malhotra and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ., framed guidelines on the issue of maintenance of wife, covering overlapping jurisdiction under different enactments for payment of maintenance, payment of Interim Maintenance, the criteria for determining the quantum of maintenance, the date from which maintenance is to be awarded, and enforcement of orders of maintenance.

Read More


R. Natarajan v. State of T.N., (2021) 7 SCC 204

In an appeal regarding dowry death case the Division Bench of Navin Sinha and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ., granted acquittal to an old aged couple. Opining that the Courts below had failed to consider the evidences available on the standard of “beyond reasonable doubt” The Bench stated,

“Conviction of the appellants was not maintainable on a probability in absence of direct evidence. The benefit of doubt ought to have been given to the appellants.”

Read More


State of Kerala v. Leesamma Joseph, (2021) 9 SCC 208

Dealing with the issue relating to the right of promotion under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, the bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ., held that a person with disability should be considered for promotion along with other persons working in the feeder cadre. The Court explained that the mandate of Section 32 of the 1995 Act enjoins the government to identify posts that can be filled up with persons with disability. Thus, even posts in promotional cadre have to be identified for PwD and such posts have to be reserved for PwD. The identification of such posts is no doubt a prerequisite for reservation in promotion for PwD.

Read More 


Sk. Ahmed v. State of Telangana, (2021) 9 SCC 59

The bench of Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ., laid down the essential ingredients required to be proved by prosecution to convict an accused under Section 364A IPC, i.e. kidnapping for ransom.

Read More


Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India, (2020) 3 SCC 637

“Liberty and security have always been at loggerheads. The question before us, simply put, is what do we need more, liberty or security?” 

A 3-judge bench comprising of NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai JJ, directed the J&K administration to review all orders imposing curbs on telecom and internet services in the state and put them in public domain.

The Court held that the freedom of speech and expression and freedom to carry on any trade, business or occupation over the medium of internet is embodied under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

The Court also observed that suspension of the internet should only be for a reasonable duration and periodic review should be done on it. The Prohibitory orders  passed under Section 144 CrPC cannot be imposed to suppress legitimate expression of opinion or grievance or exercise of any democratic rights.

As emergency does not shield the actions of Government completely; disagreement does not justify destabilisation; the beacon of rule of law shines always.”

Read More…


Janhit Abhiyan v. Union of India [EWS Reservation], 2020 SCC OnLine SC 624

Without looking into the merit of the case on the validity of impugned amendments i.e. Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019 which provides for grant of 10% quota to Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs) in jobs and admissions in the general category, a 3-judge bench comprising of S.A. Bobde CJ., R. Subhash Reddy and B.R. Gavai JJ., only examined whether the petitions involve a substantial question of law or not.

The Court held that the said amendments run contrary to the judgment in case of Indra Sawhney v. Union of India, 1992 Supp (3) SCC 217 as it exceeds the ceiling cap of 50%, therefore, involves a substantial question of law which is to be examined by a Bench of 5-Judges as per Article 145(3) of the Constitution of India read with Order XXXVIII Rule 1(1) of the Supreme Court of Rules, 2013.

Whether the impugned Amendment Act violates basic structure of the Constitution, by applying the tests of ‘width’ and ‘identity’ with reference to equality provisions of the Constitution, is a matter which constitutes substantial question of law within the meaning of the provisions as referred above. Further, on the plea of ceiling of 50% for affirmative action, it is the case of the respondent-Union of India that though ordinarily 50% is the rule but same will not prevent to amend the Constitution itself in view of the existing special circumstances to uplift the members of the society belonging to economically weaker sections.

Read More… 


Abhilasha v. Parkash, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 736 

“The maintenance as contemplated under Act, 1956 is a larger concept as compared to concept of maintenance under Section 125 CrPC.” 

A 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R Subash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ., held that an unmarried Hindu daughter can claim maintenance from her father till she is married, relying on Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoptions & Maintenance Act, 1956, provided she pleads and proves that she is unable to maintain herself.

The right of unmarried daughter under Section 20 to claim maintenance from her father when she is unable to maintain herself is absolute and the right given to unmarried daughter under Section 20 is right granted under personal law, which can very well be enforced by her against her father.” 

The Court upheld the order of the Judicial Magistrate First Class as well as learned Additional Magistrate because the application was filed under Section 125 CrPC and while deciding proceedings under Section 125 CrPC, Judicial Magistrate First Class could not have exercised the jurisdiction under Section 20(3) of Act, 1956.

Read More…


Praneeth K v. University Grants Commission, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 688 

While upholding the validity of the revised University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines dated July 6, 2020, a 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ., held that the State/State Disaster Management Authority’s decision to promote the students in the final year/terminal semester on the basis of previous performance and internal assessment is beyond the jurisdiction of Disaster Management Act, 2005 and they cannot promote students without holding final year university examinations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the State Disaster Management Authority and State Government take a decision that for mitigation or prevention of disaster it is not possible to hold physical examination in the State, the said decision was within the four corners of Disaster Management Act, 2005. However, the decision of the Disaster Management Authority or the State Government that students should be promoted without appearing in the final year/terminal semester examination, is not within the domain of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Read More… 


Rakesh Kumar Agarwalla v. National Law School of India University, (2021) 1 SCC 539 

 “Different National Law Universities have been established by different statues and have statutory functions and obligations to achieve a common purpose and to give a boost to legal education in the country.” 

A 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ., quashed the National Law Aptitude Exam (NLAT) conducted by National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru and directed the admission of students in NLSIU has to be necessarily through Common Law Admission Test (CLAT).

CLAT being an All India Examination for different National Law Universities has achieved its own importance and prominence in legal education. The steps taken by National Law Universities to form a Consortium and to cooperate with each other in conduct of CLAT is towards discharge of their public duty entrusted under the different statutes. The duty to uphold its integrity lies on the shoulder of each and every member.”

Read More… 


Pravasi Legal Cell v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 799 

“We cannot lose sight of the present situation prevailing in the country and across the globe” 

A 3-judge bench of Ashik Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy, JJ observed that Strict enforcement of Civil Aviation Requirements at this moment may not yield any meaningful result for any stake holderand directed refund of air-fare during the lockdown period, when domestic and international flights’ operation was suspended.

Read More…


Ashwani Kumar v. Union of India, (2020) 8 SCC 808 

The bench of Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ has directed that all old age people who are eligible for pension should be regularly paid pension and those identified older people should be provided necessary medicines, masks, sanitizers and other essential goods by respective States.

Read More 


XYZ v. State of Gujarat, (2019) 10 SCC 337 

“Whether in a given case power under Section 482 is to be exercised or not, depends on the contents of the complaint, and the material placed on record.” 

A 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, Indu Malhotra and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ, hearing an appeal against the verdict of Gujarat High Court that quashed the criminal proceedings against a man accused for sexually assaulting and blackmailing his employee, held that exercise of inherent powers of High Court under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 to quash FIR, when there are serious triable allegations in complaint is bad in law.

Justice Reddy opined that

where sexual intercourse by the accused is proved and the question is whether it was without the consent of the woman alleged to have been raped, and such woman states in her evidence before the Court that she did not consent, the court shall presume that she did not consent.

Read More…


Skill Lotto Solutions Pvt. Ltd. v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 990 

The 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ has upheld the constitutionality of imposition of GST on lotteries, betting and gambling. The Bench further held that while determining the taxable value of lottery the prize money is not to be excluded for the purpose of levy of GST.

Read More 


Krishna Lal Chawla v. State of U.P., (2021) 5 SCC 435 

The Division Bench of Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ., addressed the instant case dealing with vexatious complaint. The Bench, while expressing concern over such practises emphasised over the need of scrutinising such complaints at its initiation.

Read More 


Khushi Ram v. Nawal Singh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 128 

The bench of Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ., has held that when heirs of father of a female are included as person who can possibly succeed, it cannot be held that they are strangers and not the members of the family qua the female. The Court also held that consent decree recognising pre-existing rights created by oral family settlement does not require registration under Section 17 of Registration Act, 1908.

Read More  


Soorajmull Nagarmull v. Brijesh Mehrotra, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1252

The Division Bench of R. Subhash Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ., held that once the fresh notification is issued by the State for land acquisition, no cause of action survive on previous notification and actions taken therein, when that proceeding is declared lapsed. Quoting the case of R.N. Dey v. Bhagyabati Pramanik, (2000) 4 SCC 400, the Bench stated,

“Discretion given to the court in dealing with the proceedings under Contempt of Courts Act is to be exercised for maintenance of court’s dignity and majesty of law and further an aggrieved party has no right to insist that court should exercise such jurisdiction, inasmuch as contempt is between contemner and the court.”

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Parveen v. State of Haryana, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1184 

The bench of R. Subhash Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ., held that the confessional statements of the co-accused, in absence of other acceptable corroborative evidence, are not enough to convict an accused for conspiracy.

Read More 


State of Bihar v. Arbind Jee, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 821 

The bench of R. Subhash Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ., held that retrospective seniority cannot be claimed from a date when an employee is not even borne in service.

Read More 


Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Private Ltd. v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 418 

The bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ issued directions with respect to motor vehicle accident claims and observed that the Central Government shall develop an online platform accessible to the tribunals, police authorities and insurers throughout India, as each State having an independent online platform for submission of accident reports, claims and responses to claims, will hamper efficient adjudication of claims, especially where the victim of the accident is not a resident of State where accident has occurred.

Read More 


Ishwari Lal Yadav v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2019) 10 SCC 437

A 3-judge bench comprising of R. F. Nariman, Surya Kant and R. Subhash Reddy JJ., placing reliance on the case of Sushil Murmu v. State of Jharkhand: (2004) 2 SCC 338, opined that this case fulfils the test of rarest of rare cases as it involved gruesome murder for human sacrifice of 2 yr old boy.

Justice Reddy observed that Having regard to age of the accused, they were not possessed of the basic humanness, they completely lacked the psyche or mindset which can be amenable for any reformation.”  

The Court also placed emphasised on extra-judicial confession and opined that

It is true that extrajudicial confession, is a weak piece of evidence but at the same time if the same is corroborated by other evidences on record, such confession can be taken into consideration to prove the guilt of the accused.” 


Thingujam Achouba Singh v. H. Nabachandra Singh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 370

“The eligibility criteria will be within the domain of the employer and no candidate can seek as a matter of right, to provide relaxation clause.” 

A Division Bench headed by R. Subhash Reddy J., while quashing the order of the High Court of Manipur by which the advertisement dated 16.08.2016 was quashed, held that to provide relaxation clause in eligibility criteria is within the domain of the employer and High Court has not power to provide a relaxation which is not notified in the advertisement.

While it is open for the employer to notify such criteria for relaxation when sufficient candidates are not available, at the same time nobody can claim such relaxation as a matter of right.” 


Notable Dissents 


Ravi v. State of Maharashtra, (2019) 9 SCC 622

“A civic society has a `fundamental’ and `human’ right to live free from any kind of psycho fear, threat, danger or insecurity at the hands of anti-social elements.”

A 3-judge bench comprising of R. F. Nariman, Surya Kant and R. Subhash Reddy JJ., following the judgment in the case of California v. Ramos, 463 U.S. 992 where it was observed that “qualitative difference of death from all other punishments requires a correspondingly greater degree of scrutiny of the capital sentencing determination” and upheld (2:1) the death penalty awarded to an accused for rape and murder of a two- year old girl. The Court observed that the Sentencing Policy needs to strike a balance between (a) deterrent effect and (b) complete reformation for integration of the offender.  

Justice R. Subhash Reddy dissenting on the question of sentence noted that, I am of the view that, this is not a fit case where the appellant is to be awarded capital punishment, i.e, death penalty. According to him the mitigating circumstances of the Appellant dominated the aggravating circumstances and that there is no proof to show that reform or rehabilitation of the convict is not possible. Moreover, the conviction is solely based on circumstantial evidence, if no special reasons exist, the extreme punishment of death penalty should not be imposed.

Relying on the judgement in the case of Jagmohan Singh v. State of U.P., (1973) 1 SCC 20 and Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1979) 3 SCC 727, Justice Reddy observed that

In the aforesaid judgment, while considering the scope of Section 235(2) read with Section 354(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, this Court has held that, in fixing the degree of punishment or in making the choice of sentence for various offences, including one under Section 302 IPC, the Court should not confine its consideration “principally or merely” to the circumstances connected with the particular crime, but also due consideration to the circumstances of the criminal. However, it is observed that, what is the relative weight to be given to the aggravating and mitigating factors, depends on facts and circumstances of each case.” 


† Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 

[1] Session 9 – ADR Mechanism and Role of Judges, Regional Judicial Conference on Strengthening Justice Delivery System: Tools & Techniques, Organized by Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka, Karnataka Judicial Academy and National Judicial Academy 27th February, 2015 to 1st March, 2015.

[2] Supreme Court, Chief Justice and Judges

[3] Sri Justice R. Subhash Reddy, Telangana High Court

[4] SC Observer, Justice R. Subhash Reddy

[5][ Sri Justice R. Subhash Reddy, Telangana High Court

[6] Hon’ble Mr. Justice R.Subhash Reddy, Gujarat High Court

[7]Supreme Court, Chief Justice and Judges

[8] Ministry of Law and Justice, Order of Appointment

[9] Supreme Court, Chief Justice and Judges

[10]The New Indian Express, Subhash Reddy to join Supreme Court

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of R. Subhash Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy*, JJ has held that retrospective seniority cannot be claimed from a date when an employee is not even borne in service.

Factual Background

  • The father of the respondent was working as a Home guard and after he died in harness, the respondent applied for compassionate appointment.
  • On 20.11.1985, order was issued by the Commandant, Bihar Home Guard forwarding the name of the respondent as one of the persons shortlisted for appointment on compassionate basis.
  • The appointment was conditional upon physical fitness certificate issued by the Civil Surgeon and the respondent was denied appointment as he was found deficient in the physical standards.
  • The recommended persons appeared in the Home Guard Headquarter as directed, but aggrieved, the respondent moved and obtained relief from the Patna High Court for appointment in Class IV post.
  • As the respondent was shortlisted for the post of Adhinayak Lipik, directed that the respondent be appointed to the post of ‘Adhinayak Lipik’ in the Homeguard Department, State of Bihar.
  • Following the above direction of the Supreme Court, the respondent was appointed on 27.2.1996.
  • Six years after joining service, an application was made on 10.9.2002 by the respondent claiming seniority from 1985 but the same was rejected by the authorities on the ground that the respondent was appointed in 1996 and not in 1985.

Analysis

Noticing that the respondent entered service only on 10.2.1996, the Court made clear that,

“The jurisprudence in the field of service law would advise us that retrospective seniority cannot be claimed from a date when an employee is not even borne in service. It is also necessary to bear in mind that retrospective seniority unless directed by court or expressly provided by the applicable Rules, should not be allowed, as in so doing, others who had earlier entered service, will be impacted.”

Stating that the respondent was claiming seniority benefit for 10 years without working for a single day during that period, the Court held that precedence was being claimed over other regular employees who had entered service between 1985 to 1996.

It was, hence, held,

“In this situation, the seniority balance cannot be tilted against those who entered service much before the respondent. Seniority benefit can accrue only after a person joins service and to say that benefits can be earned retrospectively would be erroneous.”

Important rulings

Shitla Prasad Shukla vs. State of UP, (1986)(Supp.) SCC 185

“The late comers to the regular stream cannot steal a march over the early arrivals in the regular queue. On principle the appellant cannot therefore succeed. What is more in matters of seniority the Court does not exercise jurisdiction akin to appellate jurisdiction against the determination by the competent authority, so long as the competent authority has acted bona fide and acted on principles of fairness and fair play. In a matter where there is no rule or regulation governing the situation or where there is one, but is not violated, the Court will not overturn the determination unless it would be unfair not to do so…”

Ganga Vishan Gujrati And Ors. Vs. State of Rajasthan, (2019) 16 SCC 28

“… retrospective seniority cannot be granted to an employee from a date when the employee was not borne on a cadre. Seniority amongst members of the same grade has to be counted from the date of initial entry into the grade.”

[State of Bihar v. Arbind Jee, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 821, decided on 28.09.2021]

____________________________________________________

Counsels:

For appellant: Advocate Abhinav Mukerji

For respondent: Advocate Satvik Misra


*Judgment by: Justice Hrishikesh Roy

Know Thy Judge | Justice Hrishikesh Roy

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of R. Subhash Reddy* and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ has held that without positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid in committing suicide, no one can be convicted for offence under Section 306, IPC.

“To proceed against any person for the offence under Section 306 IPC it requires an active act or direct act which led the deceased to commit suicide, seeing no option and that act must have been intended to push the deceased into such a position that he committed suicide.”

The ruling came in a case where the deceased had consumed poison in from of the house of the appellant. Except the statement that the deceased was in relation with the appellant, there was no material at all to show that appellant was maintaining any relation with the deceased.

In fact, the statement of the SI disclosed that the deceased was stalking the appellant and was continuously calling her and proposing that she should marry him with a threat that he will die otherwise. The appellant, along with her father, had made a complaint about the same.

Having regard to such material placed on record and in absence of any material within the meaning of Section 107 of IPC, the Court held that there was absolutely no basis to proceed against the appellant for the alleged offence under Section 306 IPC.

“It would be travesty of justice to compel the appellant to face a criminal trial without any credible material whatsoever.”

Some important rulings

Chitresh Kumar Chopra v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), (2009) 16 SCC 605

There should be an intention to provoke, incite or encourage the doing of an act by the accused. Each person’s suicidability pattern is different from the other and each person has his own idea of self-esteem and self-respect. Further, is impossible to lay down any straightjacket formula dealing with the cases of suicide and each case has to be decided on the basis of its own facts and circumstances.

Amalendu Pal @ Jhantu v. State of West Bengal, (2010) 1 SCC 707

In cases of alleged abetment of suicide there must be proof of direct or indirect acts of incitement to the commission of suicide. Merely on the allegation of harassment without there being any positive action proximate to the time of occurrence on the part of the accused which led or compelled the person to commit suicide, conviction in terms of Section 306 IPC is not sustainable.

In order to bring a case within the purview of Section 306 IPC there must be a case of suicide and in the commission of the said offence, the person who is said to have abetted the commission of suicide must have played an active role by an act of instigation or by doing certain act to facilitate the commission of suicide.

[Kanchan Sharma v. State of UP, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 737, decided on 17.09.2021]

__________________________________________________

Counsels:

Advocate Sanchit Garga, for the appellant

Advocate Aviral Saxena, for the State


*Judgment by: Justice R. Subhash Reddy

Know Thy Judge| Justice R. Subhash Reddy

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of R. Subhash Reddy* and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ has held that reinstatement with full back wages is not automatic in every case, where termination/dismissal is found to be not in accordance with procedure prescribed under law.

The ruling came in the matter where,

  • A Clerk-cum-Cashier was dismissed by the Allahabad Bank, alleging his involvement in the incident relating to burning of relevant Bank records.
  • The respondent was appointed in the Bank as Clerk–cum– Cashier on 23.09.1985 and he was placed under suspension on 13.02.1989 and dismissed from service vide Order dated 22.08.1991.
  • The Industrial Tribunal–cum–Labour Court found that though there was a strong suspicion, but there was no sufficient evidence to prove his misconduct to dismiss from service. However, on the ground that a case is made out by the management of loss of confidence, ordered payment of compensation of Rs.30,000/- in lieu of reinstatement.
  • The respondent, aggrieved by the award of the Industrial Tribunal–cum–Labour Court, seeking reinstatement with back wages, carried the matter to the High Court wherein it was held that suspicion, however, high may be, can under no circumstances be held a substitute to legal proof. The High Court, hence, directed reinstatement with all consequential benefits.
  • The directions issued by the High Court of Allahabad for reinstatement were stayed by this Court on 23.08.2019. During the pendency of these proceedings, the respondent – workman had attained age of superannuation.

Considering the aforementioned facts and circumstances, the Supreme Court held,

“Though, there was strong suspicion, there was no acceptable evidence on record for dismissal of the workman. However, as the workman has worked only for a period of about six years and he has already attained the age of superannuation, it is a fit case for modification of the relief granted by the High Court.”

Noticing that reinstatement with full back wages is not automatic in every case, where termination / dismissal is found to be not in accordance with procedure prescribed under law, the Court held that in the present case, the ends of justice would be met by awarding lump sum monetary compensation. It, hence, directed payment of lump sum compensation of Rs.15 lakhs to the respondent, within a period of eight weeks, failing which, the respondent will be entitled for interest @ 6% per annum, till payment.

[Allahabad Bank v. Krishan Pal Singh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 751, decided on 20.09.2021]

______________________________________________

Appearances before the Court:

For Bank: Advocate Rajesh Kumar Gautam

For Respondent: Advocate Rakesh Taneja


*Judgment by: Justice R. Subhash Reddy

Know Thy Judge| Justice R. Subhash Reddy

Know thy Judge

“The ADR system has root in panchayat system, we are revitalizing the system by introducing with scientific system. In Industrial Dispute Act, Hindu Marriage Act, Family Courts Act the provision for settling the disputes was there before introduction of Section 89 in civil code. There should be effort to find out cases where there is possibility of settlement of cases.”

-Justice R. Subhash Reddy[1]


Justice Ramayyagari Subhash Reddy was born on January 05, 1957. He graduated from Andhra Vidyalaya College (AV College), Hyderabad and obtained his Law Degree from the University College of Law, Osmania University, Hyderabad.

Justice Reddy enrolled as an Advocate on 30-10-1980 in Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh. As an Advocate he joined the Chambers of Sri Justice B. Subhashan Reddy. He practised for 22 years and was specialised in constitutional law. He was Standing Counsel for premier institutions like S.V.University and Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University.

On 02-12-2002, Justice Reddy was elevated as an Additional Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court and a Permanent Judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on 24-06-2004. He was elevated as Chief Justice of High Court of Gujarat on 13-02-2016 and was elevated as Judge of Supreme Court of India on 2-11-2018.

♦Did you know? Justice Reddy is the first judge from Telangana to become an SC judge after the state was carved out from Andhra Pradesh.


Notable Judgments


Kantaru Rajeevaru (Right to Religion, In re-9 J.) v. Indian Young Lawyers Assn., (2020) 2 SCC 52

The 9-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, M M Shantanagoudar, S A Nazeer, R Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant, JJ, while framing seven issues in the Sabrimala reference, opined that the same can be refered to a larger bench in its Review jurisdiction.

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Shah Faesal v. Union of India, (2020) 4 SCC 1

In a writ petition filled under Article 32 of the Constitution of India pertaining to two Constitution Orders issued by the President of India in exercise of his powers under Article 370 of the Constitution of India, a Full judge Constitution bench of NV Ramana, SK Kaul, R. Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai and Surya Kant, JJ, held that no cause was made out to refer the matter to a larger bench as there is no conflict between the judgments in the Prem Nath Kaul v. State of J & K, AIR 1959 SC 749 and the Sampat Prakash v. State of J & K, AIR 1970 SC 1118. The Court observed that

“… judgments cannot be interpreted in a vacuum, separate from their facts and context. Observations made in a judgment cannot be selectively picked in order to give them a particular meaning.”

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Pravakar Mallick v. State of Orissa, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 375

A Division bench headed by Justice Reddy, determining the validity of a resolution passed by the Government of Orissa in 2002 providing consequential seniority to certain government servants belonging to the SC/ST communities, followed the law laid down in Jarnail Singh v. Lachhmi Narain Gupta: 2018 SCC OnLine SC 635, B.K. Pavitra v.Union of India: (2019) 16 SCC 229 and M. Nagaraj v. Union of India: (2006) 8 SCC 212 and opined that although Article 16(4A) of the Constitution of India enables the states to extend the benefit of promotion with consequential seniority, the same has to be done upon examining the adequacy of representation in the state services as indicated by Article 335 of the Constitution of India.

The Court upheld the Odisha High Court judgement which had quashed the impugned resolution which provided for reservation in promotion.


Nand Kishore v. State of M.P., (2019) 16 SCC 278

A 3-judge bench comprising of SA Bobde, L Nageswara Rao and R. Subhash Reddy JJ., while deciding whether the petitioner’s case fell into the ‘rarest of rare’ category requiring death penalty, commuted the death sentence into life imprisonment of 25 years without remission which was confirmed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court for rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl.

The Court observed that

“We are of the view that the reasons assigned by the trial court as confirmed by the High Court, do not constitute special reasons within the meaning of Section 354(3) of the Cr.PC to impose death penalty on the accused. Taking into account the evidence on record and the totality of the circumstances of the case, and by applying the test on the touchstone of case law discussed above, we are of the view that the case on hand will not fall within the ‘rarest of rare’ cases.”


Ravi v. State of Maharashtra, (2019) 9 SCC 622

“A civic society has a `fundamental’ and `human’ right to live free from any kind of psycho fear, threat, danger or insecurity at the hands of anti-social elements.”

A 3-judge bench comprising of R. F. Nariman, Surya Kant and R. Subhash Reddy JJ., following the judgment in the case of California v. Ramos, 463 U.S. 992 where it was observed that “qualitative difference of death from all other punishments requires a correspondingly greater degree of scrutiny of the capital sentencing determination” and upheld (2:1) the death penalty awarded to an accused for rape and murder of a two- year old girl.

The Court observed that the Sentencing Policy needs to strike a balance between (a) deterrent effect and (b) complete reformation for integration of the offender.

 “The Legislature has impliedly distanced itself from the propounders of “No-Death Sentence” in “No Circumstances” theory and has re-stated the will of the people that in the cases of brutal rape of minor children below the age of 12years without murder of the victim, `death penalty’ can also be imposed.”

The Court shedding the light on duty of the Court and expectation of the people of the country, observed that

“The society legitimately expects the Courts to apply doctrine of proportionality and impose suitable and deterent punishment that commensurate(s) with the gravity of offence.”

Justice R. Subhash Reddy in his dissenting judgment noted that “I am of the view that, this is not a fit case where the appellant is to be awarded capital punishment, i.e, death penalty”. According to him the mitigating circumstances of the Appellant dominated the aggravating circumstances and that there is no proof to show that reform or rehabilitation of the convict is not possible. Moreover, the conviction is solely based on circumstantial evidence, if no special reasons exist, the extreme punishment of death penalty should not be imposed.

Relaying on the judgement in the case of Jagmohan Singh v. State of U.P., (1973) 1 SCC 20 and Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1979) 3 SCC 727, Justice Reddy observed that

“In the aforesaid judgment, while considering the scope of Section 235(2) read with Section 354(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, this Court has held that, in fixing the degree of punishment or in making the choice of sentence for various offences, including one under Section 302 IPC, the Court should not confine its consideration “principally or merely” to the circumstances connected with the particular crime, but also due consideration to the circumstances of the criminal. However, it is observed that, what is the relative weight to be given to the aggravating and mitigating factors, depends on facts and circumstances of each case.”

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Ishwari Lal Yadav v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2019) 10 SCC 437

“There cannot be any hard and fast rule for balancing the aggravating and mitigating circumstances. Each case has to be decided on its own merits.”

A 3-judge bench comprising of R. F. Nariman, Surya Kant and R. Subhash Reddy JJ., placing reliance on the case of Sushil Murmu v. State of Jharkhand: (2004) 2 SCC 338, opined that this case fulfils the test of rarest of rare cases as it involved gruesome murder for human sacrifice of 2 yr old boy.

Justice Reddy observed that

“Having regard to age of the accused, they were not possessed of the basic humanness, they completely lacked the psyche or mindset which can be amenable for any reformation.”

The Court also placed emphasised on extra-judicial confession and opined that

“It is true that extrajudicial confession, is a weak piece of evidence but at the same time if the same is corroborated by other evidences on record, such confession can be taken into consideration to prove the guilt of the accused.”


Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India, (2020) 3 SCC 637

“Liberty and security have always been at loggerheads. The question before us, simply put, is what do we need more, liberty or security?”

A 3-judge bench comprising of NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai JJ, directed the J&K administration to review all orders imposing curbs on telecom and internet services in the state and put them in public domain.

The Court held that the freedom of speech and expression and freedom to carry on any trade, business or occupation over the medium of internet is embodied under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

The Court also observed that suspension of the internet should only be for a reasonable duration and periodic review should be done on it. The Prohibitory orders  passed under Section 144 CrPC cannot be imposed to suppress legitimate expression of opinion or grievance or exercise of any democratic rights.

“As emergency does not shield the actions of Government completely; disagreement does not justify destabilisation; the beacon of rule of law shines always.”

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Janhit Abhiyan v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 624 [EWS Reservation]

“…deciding any case involving a substantial question of law as to interpretation of the Constitution it is to be heard by a Bench of five Judges.”

Without looking into the merit of the case on the validity of impugned amendments i.e. Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019 which provides for grant of 10% quota to Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs) in jobs and admissions in the general category, a 3-judge bench comprising of S.A. Bobde CJ., R. Subhash Reddy and B.R. Gavai JJ., only examined whether the petitions involve a substantial question of law or not.

The Court held that the said amendments run contrary to the judgement in case of  Indra Sawhney v. Union of India, 1992 Supp (3) SCC 217 as it exceeds the ceiling cap of 50%, therefore, involves a substantial question of law which is to be examined by a Bench of 5-Judges as per Article 145(3) of the Constitution of India read with Order XXXVIII Rule 1(1) of the Supreme Court of Rules, 2013.

“Whether the impugned Amendment Act violates basic structure of the Constitution, by applying the tests of ‘width’ and ‘identity’ with reference to equality provisions of the Constitution, is a matter which constitutes substantial question of law within the meaning of the provisions as referred above. Further, on the plea of ceiling of 50% for affirmative action, it is the case of the respondent-Union of India that though ordinarily 50% is the rule but same will not prevent to amend the Constitution itself in view of the existing special circumstances to uplift the members of the society belonging to economically weaker sections.”

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Shankar Sakharam Kenjale v. Narayan Krishna Gade, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 371

“Once A Mortgage, Always A Mortgage”

Dismissing the appeal, a Division bench of Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and R. Subhash Reddy JJ., upheld the judgment of High Court of Judicature at Bombay directing the Trial Court to produce a preliminary decree of redemption of mortgage in favour of the Respondents.

The Court relying on the judgment in the case of Jayasingh Dnyanu Mhoprekar v. Krishna Babaji Patil, (1985) 4 SCC 162 and Namdev Shripati Nale v. Bapu Ganapati Jagtap, (1997) 5 SCC 185, held that

“right of redemption under a mortgage deed can come to an end or be extinguished only by a process known to law, i.e., either by way of a contract between the parties to such effect, by a merger, or by a statutory provision that debars the mortgagor from redeeming the mortgage.”


Foundation for Media Professionals v. UT of J&K, (2020) 5 SCC 746

“National security concerns and human rights must be reasonably and defensibly adjusted with one another, in line with the constitutional principles.”

A 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai JJ., observed that

“While it might be desirable and convenient to have better internet in the present circumstances, wherein there is a world wide pandemic and a national lockdown. However, the fact that outside forces are trying to infiltrate the borders and destabilize the integrity of the nation, as well as cause incidents resulting in the death of innocent citizens and security forces every day cannot be ignored.”

and directed the constitution of a Special Committee comprising Secretaries of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and Department of Communications, Ministry of Communications and the Chief Secretary of Jammu & Kashmir to review 4G connectivity in Jammu & Kashmir as 2G service available in the Union Territory is not sufficient for education and business purposes.

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Abhilasha v. Parkash, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 736

“The maintenance as contemplated under Act, 1956 is a larger concept as compared to concept of maintenance under Section 125 CrPC.”

A 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R Subash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ., held that an unmarried Hindu daughter can claim maintenance from her father till she is married, relying on Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoptions & Maintenance Act, 1956, provided she pleads and proves that she is unable to maintain herself.

“The right of unmarried daughter under Section 20 to claim maintenance from her father when she is unable to maintain herself is absolute and the right given to unmarried daughter under Section 20 is right granted under personal law, which can very well be enforced by her against her father.”

The Court upheld the order of the Judicial Magistrate First Class as well as learned Additional Magistrate because the application was filed under Section 125 CrPC and while deciding proceedings under Section 125 CrPC, Judicial Magistrate First Class could not have exercised the jurisdiction under Section 20(3) of Act, 1956.

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Praneeth K  v. University Grants Commission, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 688

While upholding the validity of the revised University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines dated July 6, 2020, a 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ., held that the State/State Disaster Management Authority’s decision to promote the students in the final year/terminal semester on the basis of previous performance and internal assessment is beyond the jurisdiction of Disaster Management Act, 2005 and they cannot promote students without holding final year university examinations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When the State Disaster Management Authority and State Government take a decision that for mitigation or prevention of disaster it is not possible to hold physical examination in the State, the said decision was within the four corners of Disaster Management Act, 2005. However, the decision of the Disaster Management Authority or the State Government that students should be promoted without appearing in the final year/terminal semester examination, is not within the domain of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.”

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Rakesh Kumar Agarwalla v. National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 761

“Different National Law Universities have been established by different statues and have statutory functions and obligations to achieve a common purpose and to give a boost to legal education in the country.”

A 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ., quashed the National Law Aptitude Exam (NLAT) conducted by National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru and directed the admission of students in NLSIU has to be necessarily through Common Law Admission Test (CLAT).

“CLAT being an All India Examination for different National Law Universities has achieved its own importance and prominence in legal education. The steps taken by National Law Universities to form a Consortium and to cooperate with each other in conduct of CLAT is towards discharge of their public duty entrusted under the different statutes. The duty to uphold its integrity lies on the shoulder of each and every member.”

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Pravasi Legal Cell v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 799

“We cannot lose sight of the present situation prevailing in the country and across the globe”

A 3-judge bench of Ashik Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy, JJ observed that “Strict enforcement of Civil Aviation Requirements at this moment may not yield any meaningful result for any stake holder” and directed refund of air-fare during the lockdown period, when domestic and international flights’ operation was suspended.

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Thingujam Achouba Singh v. H. Nabachandra Singh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 370

“The eligibility criteria will be within the domain of the employer and no candidate can seek as a matter of right, to provide relaxation clause.”

A Division Bench headed by R. Subhash Reddy J., while quashing the order of the High Court of Manipur by which the advertisement dated 16.08.2016 was quashed, held that to provide relaxation clause in eligibility criteria is within the domain of the employer and High Court has not power to provide a relaxation which is not notified in the advertisement.

“While it is open for the employer to notify such criteria for relaxation when sufficient candidates are not available, at the same time nobody can claim such relaxation as a matter of right.”


A.M.C.S. Swamy v. Mehdi Agah Karbalai, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 899

A Division Bench presided by R. Subhash Reddy J., held that Special Court under the Electricity Act, 2003 can take cognizance of the offence under Section 151 of the Act which is otherwise prohibited under Section 193 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

“When there is express provision in the Special Act empowering the Special Court to take cognizance of an offence without the accused being committed, it cannot be said that taking cognizance of offence by Special Court is in violation of Section 193 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.”


XYZ v. State of Gujarat, (2019) 10 SCC 337

“Whether in a given case power under Section 482 is to be exercised or not, depends on the contents of the complaint, and the material placed on record.”

A 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, Indu Malhotra and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ, hearing an appeal against the verdict of Gujarat High Court that quashed the criminal proceedings against a man accused for sexually assaulting and blackmailing his employee, held that exercise of inherent powers of High Court under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 to quash FIR, when there are serious triable allegations in complaint is bad in law.

Justice Reddy opined that

“where sexual intercourse by the accused is proved and the question is whether it was without the consent of the woman alleged to have been raped, and such woman states in her evidence before the Court that she did not consent, the court shall presume that she did not consent.”

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*Editorial Assistant – Trainee, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 

[1] SESSION 9 – ADR Mechanism and Role of Judges, Regional Judicial Conference on Strengthening Justice Delivery System: Tools & Techniques, Organized by Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka, Karnataka Judicial Academy and National Judicial Academy 27th February, 2015 to 1st March, 2015,