Legal RoundUpSupreme Court Roundups

In the month of August, as Justice NV Ramana bid adieu to the Chief Justiceship of India, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit took over as the 49th Chief Justice of India. On his last working day as the Chief Justice of India, Justice Ramana, while addressing the bar, said that he was leaving the Supreme Court in very able hands. Justice Lalit, who is due to retire in November, 2022, has highlighted three areas that he would like to work on as the new Chief. Read here.

Read: Justice UU Lalit takes oath as the 49th Chief Justice of India: His Journey, Judgments and Focus Areas as the New Chief


Top Rulings


Sections 3 and 5 of the 1988 Benami Property law “still-born” and “unconstitutional”; 2016 Amendment can only apply prospectively

In a big judgment on the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 [1988 Act], the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJI* and Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, JJ has held that Section 3 (criminal provision) read with Section 2(a) and Section 5 (confiscation proceedings) of the 1988 Act are overly broad, disproportionately harsh, and operate without adequate safeguards in place and were unconstitutional from their inception.

Read more…

“Family” includes domestic, unmarried/queer relationships; Child care/maternity leave benefits cannot be denied if women do not fit into “popular imagination” of a family

“Gendered roles assigned to women and societal expectations mean that women are always pressed upon to take a disproportionate burden of childcare work.”

Read more…

‘Nothing survives after filing of Closure Report’; Supreme Court dismisses plea on sanction to prosecute UP CM Yogi Adityanath in 2007 Hate Speech case

Allegedly, a hate speech by CM Yogi Adityanath, who was then a Member of Parliament, had led to the 2007 Gorakhpur Riots.

Read more…

Supreme Court holds ‘Arbitrators cannot unilaterally issue binding and enforceable orders determining their own fees’; Justice Sanjiv Khanna partially dissents

The 3-judge bench of Dr DY Chandrachud*, Surya Kant and Sanjiv Khanna*, JJ  has held that arbitrators do not have the power to unilaterally issue binding and enforceable orders determining their own fees. While Chandrachud, J wrote the majority opinion for Surya Kant, J and himself, Khanna, J wrote a separate opinion where he agreed with the majority opinion of certain parts but disagreed on some.

Read more…

IBC prevails over Customs Act once moratorium is imposed; CBIC has limited jurisdiction, cannot initiate recovery of dues

The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana*, CJ and JK Maheshwari and Hima Kohli, JJ has held that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) would prevail over the Customs Act, 1962 to the extent that once moratorium is imposed in terms of Sections 14 or 33(5) of the IBC as the case may be, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) only has a limited jurisdiction to assess/determine the quantum of customs duty and other levies as it does not have the power to initiate recovery of dues by means of sale/confiscation, as provided under the Customs Act.

Read more…

Pre-litigation mediation under Section 12A of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 mandatory; any violation would lead to rejection of plaint

“The Amending Act containing certain Section 12A is a toddler. The law necessarily would have teething problems at the nascent stage.”

Read more…

Also read: ‘Mediation can become a potent alternate dispute resolution device’; Supreme Court lists down the ways to make it possible

State cannot declare a GST rate and make it binding on the bidder; Supplier, being liable to pay GST, must quote the relevant HSN Code

In an important ruling of Goods and Service Tax (GST), the bench of  KM Joseph* and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ has directed that, in order to also ensure that the successful tenderer pays the tax due and to further ensure that, by not correctly quoting the GST rate, there is no tax evasion, in all Government contracts, a copy of the document, by which, the contract is awarded containing all material details shall be immediately forwarded to the concerned jurisdictional Officer. Further, for effective compliance of the direction, the tenderers must, in their bids, indicate the details of their Assessing Officers.

Read more…


Unmissable Orders


Bilkis Bano’s rapists walk free: Supreme Court issues notice to Gujarat Government

When on August 15, 2022, her rapists walked out of the prison after serving 15 years’ imprisonment based on Gujarat Government’s remission policy, Bilkis Bano found herself “bereft of words” and “numb”.

Read more…

PM Modi Security Lapse: Justice Indu Malhotra headed Enquiry Committee submits report; Supreme Courts asks Central and Punjab Governments to take further action

After Enquiry Committee headed by Justice Indu Malhotra, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, had submitted the report on the alleged breach of security that left Prime Minister Narendra Modi stuck on a highway in Punjab for 20 minutes on 05.01 2022, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, JJ has sent the report to the Central and State Government for appropriate action against delinquent officers.

Read more…

Bhima Koregaon| Supreme Court grants permanent bail to Dr. Varavara Rao on medical grounds

Adopting a humanitarian approach, the 3-judges Bench comprising Uday Umesh Lalit, Aniruddha Bose, and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ., had granted permanent bail to Bhima Koregaon accused, Dr. P. Varavara Rao solely on medical grounds.

Read more…

Prophet Remark Row| All FIRs against Nupur Sharma clubbed; Read why Supreme Court refused to form SIT

The bench of Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala, JJ has, in a relief to politician and lawyer Nupur Sharma, has transferred all the FIRs filed against her in Prophet Remark case to the IFSO Unit of the Delhi Police for the purpose of investigation.

Read more…

Expert Committee submits report before Supreme Court in Pegasus Spyware case; Matter to be heard after 4 weeks

The Court had, on 27.10.2021, in Manohar Lal Sharma v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 985 appointed an Expert Committee to look into the truth or falsity of the allegations in the Pegasus Spyware case, “taking into account the public importance and the alleged scope and nature of the large-scale violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens of the country.”

Read more…

‘At least two of the issues require reconsideration’; Supreme Court agrees to hear review petition of PMLA verdict

In the judgment dated 27.07.2022 in Vijay Madanlal Choudhary v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 929, the bench of AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar, JJ has, in 545-pages-long judgments, has dealt with various aspects of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 and has upheld the validity of certain impugned provisions by holding that the same have reasonable nexus with the object sought be achieved i.e. combatting the menace of money laundering.

Read more…

Also Read: Your cheat sheet to Supreme Court’s 545 pages long Money Laundering verdict

Supreme Court holds “twin conditions” under Section 45 of PMLA reasonable: Applicability to anticipatory bail, non-cognizable offences discussed; Exception highlighted

Video Explainer: Your cheat sheet to Supreme Court’s 545 pages long Money Laundering verdict 


References


Interpretation of Schedule X of the Constitution vis-à-vis Disqualification; Speaker/Governor’s powers; Judicial Review: CJI led 3-judge bench refers matter to 5-judge Constitution bench

The Court observed that this proposition of law laid down by the Constitution bench in Nebam Rebia case, stands on contradictory reasoning, which requires gap filling to uphold the constitutional morality. Hence, this question must be referred to Constitution bench for the requisite gap filling exercise to be conducted.

Read more…

“Promise of freebies by political parties may push State towards bankruptcy”, says Supreme Court; Refers matter to larger Bench

Supreme Court has referred 4 issues to a larger Bench after observing that the worry of the petitioners that under the guise of electoral promises, fiscal responsibility is being dispensed with, must also be considered.

Read more…

Can accused be tried under NI Act as well as under IPC on similar set of allegations or will it amount to double jeopardy? Larger SC bench to decide

The bench of SA Nazeer and JK Maheshwari*, JJ has called upon a larger bench to decide if on similar set of allegations of fact the accused can be tried for an offence under Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 which is special enactment and also for offences under IPC unaffected by the prior conviction or acquittal or whether the bar of Section 300(1) Cr.P.C. would attract for such trial.

Read more…


Explainers


Can an independent counter claim under Order VIII Rule 6A CPC having nothing to do with the plaintiffs be allowed?

What happens when a candidate, in a competitive exam, uses different language in answer sheet than that filled in application form?


More Stories


Mental capacity & ability to understand consequences of acts not same; Guidelines must be in place for preliminary assessment of children above 16 years of age for trial as adults

“A child with average intelligence/IQ will have the intellectual knowledge of the consequences of his actions. But whether or not he is able to control himself or his actions will depend on his level of emotional competence.”

Read more…

Appropriate High Court for filing an appeal under Section 260A of the Income Tax Act would be the one where the Assessing Officer is situated

“A judicial remedy must be effective, independent and at the same time certain. Certainty of forum would involve unequivocal vesting of jurisdiction to adjudicate and determine the dispute in a named forum.”

Read more…

Employees cannot invoke writ jurisdiction against private educational institution for disputes relating to ordinary contract of service

“Individual wrongs or breach of mutual contracts without having any public element as its integral part cannot be rectified through a writ petition under Article 226.”

Read more…

Assessee cannot claim deduction by merely stating a bad debt as an irrecoverable write off without appropriate treatment in the accounts and non-compliance with Income Tax Act provisions

In the case where the Revenue had challenged Bombay High Court’s judgment affirming Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT)’s order for writing off assessee’s ₹ 10 crores as a bad debt, the 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat* and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ has summarised the law on writing off a bad debt and has held that merely stating a bad and doubtful debt as an irrecoverable write off without the appropriate treatment in the accounts, as well as non-compliance with the conditions in Section 36(1)(vii), 36(2), and Explanation to Section 36(1)(vii) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 would not entitle the assessee to claim a deduction.

Read more…

One cannot seek transfer of execution proceeding under Section 125(3) CrPC to another Court once the order fixing maintenance attains finality

“The question as to whether the petitioner or the first respondent, who is more disabled has itself become a serious matter of challenge. It is not possible for this Court while dealing with a transfer Petition, to undertake a roving inquiry to find out who is more disabled.”

Read more…

Supreme Court sets aside Madhya Pradesh HC’s “utterly incomprehensible” judgment discharging accused in a minor’s rape case for delay in filing FIR

“The facts of this litigation are quite heart-breaking and at the same time, more disturbing is the utterly incomprehensible impugned judgment of the High Court discharging the accused of the offence of rape essentially on the ground of delay in the registration of the FIR.”

Read more…

Judgment Debtor’s right under Rule 60 of Second Schedule of Income Tax Act cannot be taken away on technical ground or bona fide mistake for which he is not at fault

“It is a right available to the judgment debtor after his property is sold in a court auction. Therefore, such a valuable right available to the judgment debtor to save his property should not be affected on the technical ground and/or for the mistake and/or the bona fide mistake for which he was not at all responsible.”

Read more…

Confessions made to Additional SP under Section 12 MCOCA not inadmissible; rank of SP includes SP, Additional SP, DCP

“A difference in the seniority of a particular officer is not the same as a difference in their ranks.”

Read more…

If a High Court converts itself into Executing Court it will be flooded with writ petitions to execute arbitral awards

“We disapprove the entertaining of such writ petitions under Article 226 of the Constitution to execute the award passed by the Arbitral Tribunal/Court, without relegating the judgment creditor in whose favour the award is passed to file an execution proceeding before the competent Executing Court.”

Read more…

Manipulated laboratory report, broken links of evidence; Supreme Court reverses concurrent findings of Courts below to acquit a murder accused

The Court observed that the chain of evidence has many missing and weak links, and none of the essential ingredients to record conviction in a case of circumstantial evidence; especially in the poisoning case were made out.

Read more…

Financial crunch a valid ground to fix cut-off date for granting actual benefit of revision of pension/pay; Rule 3(3) of Tripura State Civil Services (Revised Pension) Rules, 2009 constitutional

Holding that the cut-off date has been fixed as 01.01.2009 on a very valid ground i.e., financial constraint, it was held that the High Court manifestly erred in striking down the Rule 3(3) of the Pension Rules, 2009 being arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution and the decision was liable to be set aside.

Read more…

Supreme Court directs Haryana Discoms to pay compound interest on carrying cost to Adani Power from the date of Change of Law

In a big win for Adani Power Limited, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJI and Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli*, JJ has directed Haryana Discoms to pay interest on carrying cost in favour of Adani Power for the period between the year 2014, when the FGD was installed, till the year 2021.

Read more…

Supreme Court directs Bihar to reconsider stipulated percentage for Homeopathic Medical Professionals posts

In an appeal filed to espouse the cause of Homeopathic Medical Professionals, the Division Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., directed the Bihar government to reconsider the stipulated percentage for filling up the posts of Medical Professionals.

Read more…

Prosecution version helps man accused of murdering brother get benefit of provocation exception; SC holds that accused may rely on prosecution case for discharge of burden

In an interesting case, where a man was convicted for murder of his younger brother, the bench of Sanjiv Khanna* and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ has converted the conviction from Section 302 to Part I of Section 304 of the IPC after holding that to discharge the burden the accused may rely upon the case of the prosecution and the evidence adduced by the prosecution in the court.

Read more…

Clearing of prosecution evidence not an absolute bar from re-examining materials/witnesses under Section 311 CrPC

“The statutory provision goes to emphasise that the court is not a hapless bystander in the derailment of justice. Quite to the contrary, the court has a vital role to discharge in ensuring that the cause of discovering truth as an aid in the realization of justice is manifest.”

Read more…

CPC Order XV Rule 5| Mere denial of landlord-tenant relationship doesn’t grant tenant a holiday from duty to pay rent/damages

“In the context of the proposition of denial of relationship of landlord and tenant between the plaintiff and defendant, such a denial simpliciter does not and cannot absolve the tenant of liability to deposit the due rent/damages for use and occupation, unless he could show having made such payment in a lawful and bonafide manner.”

Read more…

Rejecting counter-claim or set-off may lead to parallel proceedings before various fora and offend the very purpose S. 23 of Arbitration Act

The Division Bench of M.R. Shah* and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ., reversed concurrent findings of the Arbitral Tribunal and the Delhi High Court rejecting the National Highway Authority of India’s (NHAI) application to file a counter-claim in a commercial dispute.

Read more…

Right to cross-examination cannot be denied as a punishment for failure to deposit interim compensation under Section 143A NI Act

In a case where an offender under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (NI Act) was denied the right to cross-examine a witness upon failure to deposit the interim compensation under Section 143A of NI Act, the bench of UU Lalit*, S. Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ has held that any such order foreclosing the right would not be within the powers conferred upon the court and would, as a matter of fact, go well beyond the permissible exercise of power.

Read more…

Ready Reckoner Price cannot be the basis for determining compensation for land acquisition: SC declares Bombay HC’s decision per incuriam

By the instant appeal, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) had assailed the impugned order of the Bombay High Court enhancing amount of compensation for the acquired land by mainly relying upon the prevailing Ready Reckoner rates of the land. 

Read more…


Know Thy Judges


Justice N.V. Ramana, from the Hinterlands of Andhra to being the Head of Indian Judiciary, retires

♦Did You Know? Justice Ramana worked as a journalist from 1979-1980 and reported on political and legal matters for the Telegu daily newspaper Eenadu.

Read more… 

Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia

♦ Did You Know? Justice Dhulia is the brother of national award-winning film director and actor Tigmanshu Dhulia.

Read more…

 Justice J B Pardiwala

♦ Did You Know? Justice Pardiwala is expected to serve a two-year and three months term as Chief Justice of India from May 3rd 2028 to August 11th 2030.

Read more… 


Images Courtesy:

PM Narendra Modi: Press Information Bureau

CM Yogi Adiytanath: Press Information Bureau

Nupur Sharma: Wikibio

Bilkis Bano: Jan Jwar

Know thy Judge

As Justice NV Ramana bid adieu to the Chief Justiceship of India, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit has taken over as the 49th Chief Justice of India. On his last working day as the Chief Justice of India, Justice Ramana, while addressing the bar, said that he was leaving the Supreme Court in very able hands.

Justice Lalit’s father, Justice UR. Lalit, was a former additional judge of the Bombay High Court, Nagpur bench. He joined the bar in 1983 and practiced as an advocate in the Bombay High Court from 1983 to 1985. In 1986, he joined the chambers of Former Attorney General for India, Soli Sorabjee from 1986 to 1992. In 2004, he was designated as a senior advocate and also served as a member of the Supreme Court’s Legal Services Committee for two terms.[1]  As a senior advocate he specialised in criminal cases and was appointed as CBI’s Special Public Prosecutor in all 2G matters, under the Supreme Court’s orders.

Justice Lalit, was the 6th Senior Advocate to be directly elevated to the Supreme Court as a judge. After becoming a Supreme Court judge in 2014, Justice Lalit has delivered over 270 judgments so far,[2]

In the Farewell Function of Justice NV Ramana organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association, Justice Lalit said,

“It is a tough time for someone like me. Look at the popularity of my predecessor. How am I going to don that mantle now hereafter. I express my complete inability to match and go anywhere near this popularity.”

While he appreciated the contribution of Justice NV Ramana during his tenure as the Chief Justice of India, Justice Lalit especially commended Justice Ramana’s contribution is persuading the State Governments for establishment of the Office of Public Defender/Legal Aid Defence Counsel in each district on the lines of Public Prosecutor’s office. He highlighted that,

“In every State the Government is willing to provide us space for the Offices. We owe this to Justice Ramana’s perseverance.”

Focus Areas as the new Chief Justice of India

Justice Lalit, who is due to retire in November, 2022, has highlighted these three areas that he would like to work on as the new Chief:

Listing of Matters:

“I assure you that we will strive hard to make listing as simple, as clear and as Transparent as possible.”

Mentioning of matters:

“Very shortly we will have a clear-cut regime where any urgent matters can freely be mentioned before the respective Courts.”

Listing of matters before the Constitution Benches and matters referred to 3-judge Benches:

“I have always believed that the role of the Supreme Court is to lay down the law with clarity and consistency and the best possible way to do it is to have larger Benches as early as possible wherever the matters are referred to such benches so that the issues get clarified immediately, the matter has consistency and people are well aware of what exactly are the contours of the peculiar positions of law.”

He added that he will work towards ensuring that the Supreme Court always has at least one Constitution Bench functioning all throughout the year.

Important Judgments as a Supreme Court judge

One of the most important judgments delivered by the benches headed by him, is the POCSO skin to skin verdict, where he, along with Bela Trivedi (who authored the judgment) and S. Ravindra Bhat (who authored the concurring opinion), JJ, set aside the Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench) judgment that had acquitted the accused under Section 8 of the POCSO Act, 2012 on the ground that no direct physical contact i.e. skin to skin with sexual intent without penetration would not amount to ‘sexual assault’. [Read: POCSO| “Touch”, “physical contact” can’t be restricted to “skin to skin contact”; “sexual intent” is the key. SC reverses Bombay HC’s “dangerous precedent”]

Recently, Justice Lalit headed the 3-judge bench that imposed sentence of four months and fine of Rs.2,000/- on Vijay Mallya for contempt of Court after observing that he “never showed any remorse nor tendered any apology for his conduct” of transferring a huge sum of US$40 million to his children instead of repaying his debt of more than Rs. 9000 crores to the banks. [Read: Four months in prison; Rs. 2000 fine for Vijay Mallya for contempt; US$40 million to be deposited by him and beneficiaries at 8% interest per annum]

He was also the part of the 3-judge bench that overruled 1983’s ruling in Y.V. Rangaiah v. J. Sreenivasa Rao (1983) 3 SCC 284  and held that there is no universal rule to fill vacancies on the basis of the law which existed on the date when they arose. [Read: No universal rule to fill vacancies on the basis of the law which existed on the date when they arose; Supreme Court overrules 1983’s YV Rangaiah ruling ]

The bench of Justice Lalit and Justice KM Joseph, JJ has dismissed the bail plea of activist Gautam Navlakha arrested in relation to the Bhima Koregoan riots case. [Read: Here’s why Gautam Navlakha was not able to make a case for default bail before the Supreme Court] The bench had, in the same verdict also held that it is open for Courts to order house arrest under Section 167 CrPC..

You can read more about the judgments delivered by Justice Lalit in our Know Thy Judge Post here.

Know Thy Judge| Justice Uday Umesh Lalit


[1] Supreme Court Observer, Judges’ archive 

[2] SCC Online’s ‘Judge only’ feature.

Hot Off The PressKnow thy JudgeNews

The Chief Justice of India, Justice NV Ramana has named Justice Uday Umesh Lalit as his successor. Set to become the 49th Chief Justice of India, Justice Lalit will retire in November, 2022.
Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, was the 6th Senior Advocate to be directly elevated to the Supreme Court as a judge. As a senior advocate he specialised in criminal cases and was appointed as CBI’s Special Public Prosecutor in all 2G matters, under the Supreme Court’s orders.

Justice Lalit’s father, Justice UR. Lalit, was a former additional judge of the Bombay High Court, Nagpur bench. He joined the bar in 1983 and practiced as an advocate in the Bombay High Court from 1983 to 1985. In 1986, he joined the chambers of Former Attorney General for India, Soli Sorabjee from 1986 to 1992. In 2004, he was designated as a senior advocate and also served as a member of the Supreme Court’s Legal Services Committee for two terms.[1]

A DNA India report[2], described that his “strength as an advocate were his thoroughness with the case, patience in explaining legal questions and the sober demeanour in presenting the case before the bench”.

After become a Supreme Court judge in 2014, Justice Lalit has delivered 276 judgments[3]. Interestingly, Justice UU Lalit recused himself from the Ramjanmbhoomi-Babrui Masjid Land dispute, after it was pointed out that he had represented former UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, in a related matter.

One of the most important judgments delivered by the benches headed by him, is the POCSO skin to skin verdict, where he, along with Bela Trivedi (who authored the judgment) and S. Ravindra Bhat (who authored the concurring opinion), JJ, set aside the Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench) judgment that had acquitted the accused under Section 8 of the POCSO Act, 2012 on the ground that no direct physical contact i.e. skin to skin with sexual intent without penetration would not amount to ‘sexual assault’. [Read: POCSO| “Touch”, “physical contact” can’t be restricted to “skin to skin contact”; “sexual intent” is the key. SC reverses Bombay HC’s “dangerous precedent”]

Recently, Justice Lalit headed the 3-judge bench that imposed sentence of four months and fine of Rs.2,000/- on Vijay Mallya for contempt of Court after observing that he “never showed any remorse nor tendered any apology for his conduct” of transferring a huge sum of US$40 million to his children instead of repaying his debt of more than Rs. 9000 crores to the banks. [Read: Four months in prison; Rs. 2000 fine for Vijay Mallya for contempt; US$40 million to be deposited by him and beneficiaries at 8% interest per annum]

He was also the part of the 3-judge bench that overruled 1983’s ruling in Y.V. Rangaiah v. J. Sreenivasa Rao (1983) 3 SCC 284  and held that there is no universal rule to fill vacancies on the basis of the law which existed on the date when they arose. [Read: No universal rule to fill vacancies on the basis of the law which existed on the date when they arose; Supreme Court overrules 1983’s YV Rangaiah ruling ]

The bench of Justice Lalit and Justice KM Joseph, JJ has dismissed the bail plea of activist Gautam Navlakha arrested in relation to the Bhima Koregoan riots case. [Read: Here’s why Gautam Navlakha was not able to make a case for default bail before the Supreme Court] The bench had, in the same verdict also held that it is open for Courts to order house arrest under Section 167 CrPC..

You can read more about the judgments delivered by Justice Lalit in our Know Thy Judge Post here.

Know Thy Judge| Justice Uday Umesh Lalit

 


[1] Supreme Court Observer, Judges’ archive 

[2] Uday Lalit among four new judges to assume charge in Supreme Court, DNA India, Published on August 13, 2014

[3] SCC Online’s ‘Judge only’ feature.

Know thy Judge

Justice Uday U. Lalit, born on 9th November, 1957, is the 6th Senior Advocate to be directly elevated to the Supreme Court. As a senior advocate he specialised in criminal cases and was appointed as CBI’s Special Public Prosecutor in all 2G matters, under the Supreme Court’s orders.


Journey to becoming Supreme Court Judge


Justice Uday U. Lalit  is the son of Retd. Justice UR. Lalit, a former additional judge of the Bombay High Court, Nagpur bench and a senior counsel practising at the Supreme Court. He joined the bar in 1983 and practiced as an advocate in the Bombay High Court from 1983 to 1985. In 1986, he joined the chambers of Former Attorney General for India, Soli Sorabjee from 1986 to 1992. In 2004, he was designated as a senior advocate and also served as a member of the Supreme Court’s Legal Services Committee for two terms.[1]

In 2011, the Supreme Court bench of Justices GS Singhvi and AK Ganguly appointed him as CBI’s Special Public Prosecutor in all 2G matters.[2] Finally, in the year 2014, he was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court. A DNA India report[3], described that his “strength as an advocate were his thoroughness with the case, patience in explaining legal questions and the sober demeanour in presenting the case before the bench”.


Some Recent and Notable Judgments that Justice Uday U. Lalit has been a part of 


Smriti Madan Kansagra v. Perry Kansagra, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 887

The bench of UU Lalit, Indu Malhotra and Hemant Gupta, JJ, explaining the concept of a mirror order, has said,

“The mirror order is passed to ensure that the courts of the country where the child is being shifted are aware of the arrangements which were made in the country where he had ordinarily been residing. Such an order would also safeguard the interest of the parent who is losing custody, so that the rights of visitation and temporary custody are not impaired.”

The said explanation came in a 2:1 verdict, where Indu Malhotra, J, writing the majority judgment for herself and UU Lalit, J, transferred the custody of an 11-year-old child to his father, an Indian-origin business tycoon living in Kenya, from his mother with whom he has been living since birth.

Read more

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

The bench of UU Lalit and Vineet Saran, JJ has 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.

“It is true that some special authorities are created under the RERA Act for the regulation and promotion of the real estate sector and the issues concerning a registered project are specifically entrusted to functionaries under the RERA Act. But for the present purposes, we must go by the purport of Section 18 of the RERA Act. Since it gives a right “without prejudice to any other remedy available’, in effect, such other remedy is acknowledged and saved subject always to the applicability of Section 79.”

Read more

Ravindran v. Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, 2020 2 SCC 485

Interpreting Section 167(2) CrPC, the 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, MM Shantanagoudar and Vineet Sarah, JJ has said that the Courts cannot adopt a rigid or formalistic approach whilst considering any issue that touches upon the rights contained in Article 21. It said,

“The history of the enactment of Section 167(2), CrPC and the safeguard of ‘default bail’ contained in the Proviso thereto is intrinsically linked to Article 21 and is nothing but a legislative exposition of the constitutional safeguard that no person shall be detained except in accordance with rule of law.”

Going into the legislative intent, the Court noticed that Section 167(2) was enacted providing for time limits on the period of remand of the accused, proportionate to the seriousness of the offence committed, failing which the accused acquires the indefeasible right to bail.

“… the intent of the legislature was to balance the need for sufficient time limits to complete the investigation with the need to protect the civil liberties of the accused.”

Read more

 Sri Marthanda Varma (D) v. State of Kerala, (2021) 1 SCC 485

The bench of UU Lalit and Indu Malhotra, JJ has upheld the rights of the Travancore royal family in the administration of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, one of the world’s richest temples, in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram. Allowing the appeal filed by members of the Travancore family, the Court observed that the death of the Travancore ruler, who signed the covenant, does not affect the rights of the Shebaitship Travancore family over the temple and it will survive as per the customs.

After referring to a number of decisions, the Court concluded that when the idol is installed and the temple is constructed or an endowment is founded, the shebaitship is vested in the founder and unless the founder himself has disposed of the shebaitship in a particular manner or there is some usage or custom or circumstances showing a different mode of devolution, the shebaitship like any other species of heritable property follows the line of inheritance from the founder; and it is not open to the Court to lay down a new rule of succession or alter the rule of succession.

“… the shebaitship has the elements of office and property, of duties and personal interest blended together and they invest the office of the shebait with the character of proprietary right.”

Read more

Pyare Lal v. State of Haryana, (2020) 8 SCC 680

The 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, MM Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran referred the question can a policy framed under Article 161 for grant of remission override the requirements under Section 433-A CrPC to a larger bench and framed the following issue:

“Whether in exercise of power conferred under Article 161 of the Constitution a policy can be framed, whereunder certain norms or postulates are laid down, on the satisfaction of which the benefit of remission can thereafter be granted by the Executive without placing facts or material with respect to any of the cases before the Governor and whether such exercise can override the requirements under Section 433-A of the Code.”

Read more

Justice (Retd.) Markandey Katju v. The Lok Sabha, (2017) 2 SCC 384

Dismissing the petition filed by former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju against the resolutions passed by Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha condemning the statements made by him in Facebook posts where he termed Mahatma Gandhi a British Agent and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose an agent of Japanese fascism, the 3-judge bench of T.S. Thakur, CJ and R. Banumathi and U.U. Lalit, JJ held that for the free functioning of Houses of Parliament or Legislatures of State, the representatives of people must be free to discuss and debate any issues or questions concerning general public interest.

“Members need to be free of all constraints in the matter of what they say in Parliament if they are to effectively represent their constituencies in its deliberations. Sub-article (2) of Article 105 puts negatively what sub- article (1) states affirmatively. Both sub-articles must be read together to determine their content. By reason of the first part of sub-article (2) no Member is answerable in a court of law or any similar tribunal for what he has said in Parliament. This again is recognition of the fact that a Member needs the freedom to say what he thinks is right in Parliament undeterred by the fear of being proceeded against. A vote, whether cast by voice or gesture or the aid of a machine, is treated as an extension of speech or a substitute for speech and is given the protection that the spoken word has.”

The Court noted that both Houses were conscious of the fact that the remarks about Mahatma Gandhi were made not by an ordinary person but by one who had occupied high public office. Hence, if both Houses thought it fit to pass resolutions in the form of a declaration, it was certainly within their competence to do so as the nature of remarks regarding Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose pertain to general public interest. It was further noticed that the resolutions had no civil consequences in so far as the conduct and character of the petitioner is concerned.

“The first question raised by the petitioner is a time tested question regarding the scope of fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution to hold and express a dissenting opinion. The scope of this article has received judicial consideration on numerous occasions and the issue whether such freedom would include right to express a dissenting opinion is also a non issue; as it is only the maker of an unpopular and dissenting opinion who would need a cover or insulation. A popular or accepted opinion, naturally would not require any protection. In any event, Article 19(1)(a) guarantees free speech and expression and makes no distinction and imposes no caveats, whether such speech is popular or dissenting in nature. What is interesting is that the petitioner, in fact, exercised such freedom of speech and exercised it rather adequately. His comments and views on two famous personalities were available for consumption in public domain. His freedom of speech in publically expressing his views or propagating his ideas was not and is not in any manner curtailed or impaired or placed under any restriction”.

Read more

 Union of India v. V. Sriharan, (2016) 7 SCC 1

In Union of India v. V. Sriharan, (2016) 7 SCC 1, the constitution bench comprising of H.L. Dattu, CJ and FM Ibrahim Kalifulla, Pinaki Chandra Ghose, Abhay Manohar Sapre and Uday U Lalit, JJ held that life imprisonment in terms of Secs 53 and 45 of the Penal Code, 1860 means imprisonment for the rest of life of convict.  The Court held that a special category sentence, in substitution of death sentence, that is, sentence barring remission under CrPC for specified term beyond 14 years, is valid. It is clarified that power under Arts. 72 and 161 is not affected at all. After expiry of said non-remittable term, remission powers under CrPC would be exercisable. Such special sentence, is not a new sentence but within limits of life imprisonment and thus, not violative of separation of powers. Such special sentence when imposed under substantive provisions of IPC does not overlap procedural power under CrPC either. Considering the crime situation in India (particularly nexus between hardened criminals and ill-gotten wealth, and nature of heinous crimes on the rise), delay in disposal of cases, and balancing interests of victims with those of convicts, such a special category of sentence is necessary. Arguments based on ray of hope for the convict were held not tenable. Such hope is rather required for victims, the Court observed. Such special category sentences can only be imposed by the High Court or Supreme Court and not by a trial court. Such special category sentence not prescribed by any statute, barring operation of remission powers under CrPC, is invalid. Such a special category sentence closes doors for reformation and encroaches upon power of legislature by prescribing a new sentence.

Some of the important observations by Justice UU Lalit in this case were

    • While construing the term ‘consultation’ it must be seen who is the best equipped and likely to be more correct in his view for achieving the purpose and performing the tasks satisfactorily and greater weight to his opinion may then be attached.
    • The convict undergoing the life imprisonment can always apply to the concerned authority for obtaining remission either under Articles 72 or 161 of the Constitution or under Section 432 Cr.P.C. and the authority would be obliged to consider the same reasonably. The right to apply and invoke the powers under these provisions does not mean that he can claim such benefit as a matter of right based on any arithmetical calculation. All that he can claim is a right that his case be considered. The decision whether remissions be granted or not is entirely left to the discretion of the concerned authorities, which discretion ought to be exercised in a manner known to law. The convict only has right to apply to competent authority and have his case considered in a fair and reasonable manner.
    • By exercise of power of remission, the appropriate Government is enabled to wipe out that part of the sentence which has not been served out and over- ride a judicially pronounced sentence. The decision to grant remission must, therefore, be well informed, reasonable and fair to all concerned.

Miss ‘A’ v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2020 (10) SCC 505

The 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has held that no person is entitled to a copy of statement recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 till the appropriate orders are passed by the court after the charge-sheet is filed.

“The right to receive a copy of such statement will arise only after cognizance is taken and at the stage contemplated by Sections 207 and 208 of the Code and not before.”

Read more

Shayara Bano v. Union of India, (2017) 9 SCC 1

In the landmark Shayara Bano case, the Constitution bench comprises 5 judges namely Khehar, CJ,and  Kurian Joseph, RF Nariman, Uday U Lalit and S. Abdul Nazeer, JJ. Held the triple talaq to be violative of Article 14 and pronounced it to be unconstitutional. Nariman, J, writing down the majority judgment for himself and Lalit, J noted that given the fact that Triple Talaq is instant and irrevocable, it is obvious that any attempt at reconciliation between the husband and wife by two arbiters from their families, which is essential to save the marital tie, cannot ever take place. After going through the Hanafi jurisprudence, the Court noticed that very jurisprudence castigates Triple Talaq as being sinful. The Court said that Triple Talaq is a form of Talaq which is itself considered to be something innovative, namely, that it is not in the Sunna, being an irregular or heretical form of Talaq, it was held that:

“the fundamental nature of the Islamic religion, as seen through an Indian Sunni Muslim’s eyes, will not change without this practice.”

Read more

Vinodchandra Sakarlal Kapadia v. State of Gujarat, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 545

The 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, Indu Malhotra and AS Bopanna, JJ has held that an agriculturist cannot part with his agricultural land to a non-agriculturist though a ‘Will’ as per Sections 43 and 63 of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands, Act, 1948 (the Tenancy Act).

Section 43 lays down the restrictions on transfer of land sold or purchased under the Tenancy Act and Section 63 bars the transfer of agricultural lands to non-agriculturists.

The Court said,

“if it is held that the testamentary disposition would not get covered by the provisions of Section 43, a gullible person can be made to execute a testament in favour of a person who may not fulfil the requirements and be eligible to be a transferee in accordance with law. This may not only render the natural heirs of the tenant without any support or sustenance but may also have serious impact on agricultural operations.”

Read more

Amardeep Singh v. Harveen Kaur, (2017) 8 SCC 746

Holding that the minimum period of six months stipulated under Section 13B(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 for a motion for passing decree of divorce on the basis of mutual consent is not mandatory but directory, the bench of AK Goel and UU Lalit, JJ said that it will be open to the Court to exercise its discretion in the facts and circumstances of each case where there is no possibility of parties resuming cohabitation and there are chances of alternative rehabilitation.

Read more

 Anokhilal v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2019 (20) SCC 196

Noticing that where death sentence could be one of the alternative punishments, the courts must be completely vigilant and see that full opportunity at every stage is afforded to the accused, the 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, Indu Malhotra and Krishna Murari, JJ has laid down the norms to ensure the same.

Read more

Meters and Instruments Pvt Ltd v. Kanchan Mehta (2018) 1 SCC 560.

In the case where the question as to how proceedings for an offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 can be regulated where the accused is willing to deposit the cheque amount, the bench of AK Goel and UU Lalit, JJ held that Section 143 of the Act confers implied power on the Magistrate to discharge the accused if the complainant is compensated to the satisfaction of the Court, where the accused tenders the cheque amount with interest and reasonable cost of litigation as assessed by the Court. The Court said:

“Basic object of the law is to enhance credibility of the cheque transactions by providing speedy remedy to the complainant without intending to punish the drawer of the cheque whose conduct is reasonable or where compensation to the complainant meets the ends of justice.”

Read more

Indsil Hydro Power & Manganese Ltd. v. State of Kerala, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 665

A Division Bench of Uday U. Lalit and Vineet Saran, JJ. held that charges levied by the Kerala State Electricity Board for the use of controlled water by Captive Power Producers (“CPPs”) was perfectly justified. While upholding the Kerala High Court’s judgment which was challenged by the CPPs, the Supreme Court observed:

“Since the private entity or agency would stand to gain from and out of the capital outlay and infrastructure put in place by the State, some reasonable charges for such benefit would naturally be imposed.”  

Read more

Commissioner of Income Tax (Exemptions) v. Batanagar Education and Research Trust, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 529 

Noting the donations being made to the Trust to be ‘bogus donations’ Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit and Ajay Rastogi, JJ., cancelled the registration of the Trust under Section 12AA and 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1963. Present appeal challenged the decision of Calcutta High Court setting aside the order passed by Commissioner of Income Tax (Exemption) cancelling the registration of respondent Trust under Section 12AA of the Income Tax Act, 1961 and another order passed by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal dismissing appeals therefrom.

Read more

Laureate Buildwell (P) Ltd. v. Charanjeet Singh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 479

The Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., while giving major relief to homebuyers, held that rights of purchasers are the same as that of original allottees.Appellant (builder) was aggrieved by the order of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC).Respondent (Purchaser) sought a direction against the builder, for a refund of the consideration amount of Rs 1,93,70, 883 received by the latter as consideration for the sale of a flat along with interest from the date different instalments were paid as well as compensation and costs.

 Read more

Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation v. Sunil Kumar B., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 630

The bench of UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi, JJ has referred the question as to whether there would be a cut-off date under paragraph 11(3) of the Employees’ Pension Scheme to a larger bench. The larger bench will also decide whether the decision in R.C. Gupta v. Regional Provident Fund Commissioner Employees Provident Fund Organization, (2018) 4 SCC 809 would be the governing principle on the basis of which all these matters must be disposed of.

Read more

Uttar Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Ltd v. CG Power and Industrial Solutions Limited, (2021) 6 SCC 15

In the case where Uttar Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Ltd had levied cess on CG Power and Industrial Solutions Limited based on CAG report only and had withheld dues in respect of other contracts, the bench of UU Lalit and Indira Banerjee*, JJ has termed such levy a forcible extraction of cess and has held,

“… the Cess Act and/or statutory rules framed thereunder prescribe the mode and manner of recovery of outstanding cess under the Cess Act. It is well settled that when statute requires a thing to be done in a particular manner, it is to be done in that manner alone. UPPTCL could not have taken recourse to the methods adopted by it.”

Read more

Rajinder Goel v. High Court of Punjab and Haryana, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 528

In the case where the Governor of Haryana had directed compulsory retirement of an Additional District and Sessions Judge after the Full court of Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the same after finding him guilty of unexplained bank transactions, the bench of UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi, JJ upheld the decision of the Full Court and said,

“… there were multiple transactions showing deposits and withdrawals of substantial amounts of money, it cannot be said that the Full Court was not justified in taking the view that it did.”

Read more

Pankaj Kumar v. State of Jharkhand, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 616

The bench of UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi, JJ has held that such persons whose place of origin/domicile on or before the appointed day i.e. 15th November, 2000 was of the State of Bihar now falling within the districts/regions which form a successor State, i.e., State of Jharkhand under Section 3 of the Bihar Reorganisation Act, 2000 can claim the benefit of reservation for participation in public employment in either of the successor State of Bihar or State of Jharkhand. Reservation can, however, not be claimed in both the States simultaneously.

Read more

Shatrughna Baban Meshram v. State of Maharashtra, (2021) 1 SCC 596

 In a chilling case where a 21-year-old man was sentenced to death under Sections 302 and to life imprisonment under 376A of IPC for raping and killing his 2.5 years-old niece, the 3-judge bench of Justice UU Lalit*, Indu Malhotra and Krishna Murari, JJ has commuted the punishment to life imprisonment for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC and to that of rigorous imprisonment for 25 years for the offence punishable under Section 376A IPC. The Court also affirmed the conviction and sentence recorded by the Courts below for the offences punishable under Section 376(1), (2)(f), (i) and (m) of IPC, and under Section 6 of the POCSO Act.

Read more

IFFCO TOKIO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY LTD. v. Pearl Beverages, (2021) 7 SCC 704

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

Milk Union & Dairy Federation Centralized Services v. Jagpal Singh, (2021) 5 SCC 259

The 3-Judge Bench comprising of Uday Umesh Lalit, Hemant Gupta* and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., addressed the instant appeal filed against the order of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, whereby the High Court had declared the order of punishment passed by Milk Commissioner/Registrar as incorrect. The Supreme Court stated,

“In terms of the specific statutory regime referable to Section 122-A of the 1965 Act, Rule 15, would be the governing principle rather than Regulation 87 framed in exercise of regulation making power referable to the general dispensation under Sections 121 and 122 of the 1965 Act. Rule 15 does not contemplate that the Chairman of the Committee is required to have any prior concurrence of any authority.”

Read more

Saurav Yadav v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2021) 4 SCC 542

In the case where OBC female category candidates had challenged the appointment of General category female candidates, who had secured lower marks, as Constables in Uttar Pradesh Police, the 3-judge bench of UU Lalit*, S. Ravindra Bhat** and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ has directed that all candidates coming from ‘OBC Female Category’ who had secured more marks than 274.8928, i.e. the marks secured by the last candidate appointed in ‘General Category–Female’ must be offered employment as Constables in Uttar Pradesh Police.

Read more


Article


  1.  Uday U. Lalit, Environmental Conservation and Protection: Role and Contribution of Constitutional Courts, Eighth Lala Amar Chand Sood Memorial Lecture:

[1] Supreme Court Observer, Judges’ archive 

[2]2G scam: SC orders Lalit be made prosecutor by Sanjay K. Singh, The Economic Times, last updated on April 12, 2011

[3] Uday Lalit among four new judges to assume charge in Supreme Court, DNA India, Published on August 13, 2014