Know thy Judge

Early Life and Career

  • Born on 11-05-1957 in a Zamindar family of Bijnor (U.P.).
  • Graduated from Allahabad University in the year 1976 and obtained LL.B. Degree in the year 1979/80.
  • Enrolled as an advocate with the U.P. Bar Council on 28-07-1980.
  • Practised in the Allahabad High Court from 28-07-1980 to 13-02-2002 on the original, constitution, civil and criminal sides.
  • Conducted cases for various private and public sector companies and also as special counsel for the Central and State Governments. Served as Additional Advocate General for the State of U.P. in the year 1995.
  • Elevated as permanent Judge of Allahabad High Court on 14-02-2002. Transferred to Karnataka and took oath as Judge of Karnataka High Court on 16-02-2015. Elevated and sworn in as the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court on 26-02-2016.
  • In 2018, the President of India appointed Justice Vineet Saran (Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court) as Judge, Supreme Court of India.

Notable Judgments

Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 383: The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held the Government Office Ms. No.3 dated 10.1.2000 issued by the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh providing 100% reservation to the Scheduled Tribe candidates (out of whom 33.1/3% shall be women) for the post of teachers in the schools in the scheduled areas in Andhra Pradesh, unconstitutional, as there was no rhyme or reason with the State Government to resort to 100% reservation. Read more…

TN Medical Officers Association v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 699: The 5-judge Constitution bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held that the Medical Council of India has no power to make any reservation for in-service candidates in Post Graduate Medical Course in States and that only States are allowed to grant the benefit of reservation of seats to in-service doctors in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) postgraduate degree courses. Read more…

Pandurang Ganpati Chaugule v. Vishwasrao Patil Murgud Sahakari Bank Ltd., (2020) 9 SCC 215: The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ held that “’banking’ relating to co­operatives can be included within the purview of Entry 45 of List I, and it cannot be said to be over inclusion to cover provisions of recovery by co­operative banks in the SARFAESI Act.” Read more

State of Punjab v. Davinder Singh, (2020) 8 SCC 1: 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ upon noticing that SC decision of E.V. Chinnaiah v. State of A.P., (2005) 1 SCC 394, is required to be revisited, referred the matter to a larger bench. While doing so, the Court observed,

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

Read more…

West U.P. Sugar Mills Association v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2020) 9 SCC 548: The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee and Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., held that once the Central Government having exercised the power under Entries 33 and 34 List III of seventh Schedule and fixed the “minimum price”, the State Government cannot fix the “minimum price” of sugarcane. Read more…

Bhima Razu Prasad v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 210: The bench of MM Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran, JJ held that Section 195(1)(b)(i) CrPC will not bar prosecution by the investigating agency for offence punishable under Section 193 IPC, which is committed during the stage of investigation.

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

Read more..

High Court of Judicature at Madras Rep. by its Registrar General v. MC Subramaniam, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 109: The bench of MM Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran, JJ has held that Section 89 of CPC and Section 69-A of Tamil Nadu Court Fees and Suit Valuation Act, 1955 contemplate the refund of court fees in all methods of out-of-court dispute settlement between parties that the Court subsequently finds to have been legally arrived at and not just to those cases where the Court itself refers the parties to any of the alternative dispute settlement mechanisms listed in Section 89 of the CPC. Read more..

Amitabha Dasgupta v. United Bank of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 124: In a case where United Bank of India inadvertently broke the Appellant’s locker, without any just or reasonable cause, even though he had already cleared his pending dues, the bench of MM Shantanagoudar* and Vineet Sarana, JJ Imposed costs of Rs. 5,00,000/­ on the Bank to be paid to the Appellant as compensation. The said is to be deducted from the salary of the erring officers, if they are still in service and if they have already retired, the amount of costs should be paid by the Bank. Additionally, the Appellant shall be paid Rs. 1,00,000/- as litigation expense. Read more…

Rekha Sengar v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 173: In the case where the investigative team has seized the sonography machine and made out a strong prima-facie case against the petitioner, the 3-judge bench of MM Shantanagoudar, Vineet Saran and Ajay Rastogi, JJ held no leniency should be granted at this stage as the same may reinforce the notion that the PC&PNDT Act is only a paper tiger and that clinics and laboratories can carry out sex-determination and feticide with impunity.

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

Gajanan Babulal Bansode v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 57: The 3-Judge Bench comprising of L. Nageswara Rao, Indu Malhotra and Vineet Saran, JJ heard the petition challenging the decision of Maharashtra government to appoint 636 additional candidates without consulting MPSC (Maharashtra Public Service Commission. The Bench stated,

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

Read More…

Compack Enterprises India (P) Ltd. v. Beant Singh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 97: The bench of MM Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran, JJ has lucidly explained the law governing consent decree and has held that the well settled law that consent decrees are intended to create estoppels by judgment against the parties, thereby putting an end to further litigation between the parties, does not apply as a blanket rule in all cases. Read more…

Imperia Structures v. Anil Patni,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 894 : The bench of UU Lalit and Vineet Saran, JJ held that the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA Act) does not bar the initiation of proceedings by allottees against the builders under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Read more… 

Prathvi Raj Chauhan v. Union of India, (2020) 4 SCC 727:  A 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has upheld the constitutional validity of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018, and said that a court can grant anticipatory bail only in cases where a prima facie case is not made out. In the unanimous verdict, Justice Mishra penned the opinion for himself and Justice Saran whereas Justice Bhat wrote a separate but concurring opinion. Read more… 

Vijay Kurle, In re, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 407 and Rashid Khan Pathan v. Vijay Kurle, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 711:  After finding advocates Vijay Kurle, Nilesh Ojha and Rashid Khan Pathan guilty of levelling scandalous allegations against Justice RF Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran, the bench of Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, JJ has sentenced all 3 to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of 3 months each with a fine of Rs. 2000/-. It further said that in default of payment of fine, each of the defaulting contemnors shall undergo further simple imprisonment for a period of 15 days. Read: 


 

Know thy Judge

 

“ (…)Judgments of Courts are to be based on reason, and discuss fairly, what is argued. Judges, unlike other sections of members of the public cannot meet unjustified personal attacks or tirades carried out against them, or anyone from their fraternity; no clarifications can be issued, no justification is given; propriety and canons of judicial ethics require them to maintain silence.”

  – Justice Ravindra Bhat,

 CPIO, Supreme Court v. Subhash Chandra Agarwal,

2009 SCC OnLine Del 2714.


As a Judge at Supreme Court


  • Prathvi Raj Chauhan v. Union of India, (2020) 4 SCC 727; While clarifying the position of anticipatory bail in cases under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, S.Ravindra Bhat, J., in his concurring yet separate judgment brought into light, the forgotten sayings of greatest reformers of the Indian History reflecting upon the evil of caste distinctions.

“Kabir, the great saint poet, for instance, in his composition, remarked:

If thou thinkest the Maker distinguished castes:

Birth is according to these penalties for deeds.

Born a Sudra, you die a Sudra;

It is only in this world of illusion that you assume the sacred thread.

If birth from a Brahmin makes you a Brahmin,

Why did you not come by another way?

If birth from a Turk makes you a Turk,

Why were you not circumcised in the womb?…

       Saith Kabir, renounce family, caste, religion, and nation, and live as one”

Guru Nanak, for instance, stated [Guru Granth Saheb, p. 83]:
   “Caste and dynastic pride are condemnable notions; the one Master shelters all existence. Anyone arrogating superiority to himself halt be disillusioned. Saith Nanak : superiority shall be determined by God.”

Making significant observations on the principle of Fraternity, Justice Bhat observed that,

“When the Framers of the Constitution began their daunting task, they had before them a formidable duty and a stupendous opportunity : of forging a nation, out of several splintered sovereign States and city States, with the blueprint of an idea of India. What they envisioned was a common charter of governance and equally a charter for the people. The placement of the concept of fraternity, in this context was neither an accident, nor an idealised emulation of the western notion of fraternity, which finds vision in the French and American Constitutions and charters of independence. It was a unique and poignant reminder of a society riven with acute inequalities : more specifically, the practice of caste discrimination in its virulent form, where the essential humanity of a large mass of people was denied by society—i.e. untouchability.”  Read More

  • Rambabu Singh Thakur v. Sunil Arora, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 178;  Hearing a contempt petition against a PIL on public disclosure of criminal antecedents of politicians, a Division Bench of RF Nariman and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., observed,

It shall be mandatory for political parties [at the Central and State election level] to upload on their website detailed information regarding individuals with pending criminal cases (including the nature of the offences, and relevant particulars such as whether charges have been framed, the court concerned, the case number, etc.) who have been selected as candidates, along with the reasons for such selection, as also as to why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates.”  Read More

  • Rajendra Diwan v. Pradeep Kumar Ranibala, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1586; While holding Section 13(2) of the Chhattisgarh Rent Control Act as unconstitutional, a full judge bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., observed,

While exercising power under Article 136 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court does not re-appreciate evidence which has been appreciated by the Trial Court and the High Courts, unless extraordinary circumstances exist. It is only where the High Court has completely missed the real point requiring adjudication or has missed or ignored the relevant material, would the Supreme Court be justified in getting into evidence for the purpose of preventing grave injustice to a party.” Read More

  • Mukesh Singh v. State (Narcotic Branch of Delhi), 2020 SCC OnLine SC 700; A full judge Constitution bench of Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has held that the accused under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) is not entitled to an acquittal as a blanket rule merely because the complainant is the investigating officer. The Court said that;   

“… merely because the informant is the investigator, by that itself the investigation would not suffer the vice of unfairness or bias and therefore on the sole ground that informant is the investigator, the accused is not entitled to acquittal. The matter has to be decided on a case to case basis.” Read More

  • Arjun Panditrao Khotkar v. Kailash Kushanrao Gorantyal, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 571; In a reference dealing with the interpretation of Section 65B of the Evidence Act, 1872 that deals with admissibility of electronic records, the three judge bench of RF Nariman, S. Ravindra Bhat and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ., held that the certificate required under Section 65B(4) is a condition precedent to the admissibility of evidence by way of electronic record. Read More

As a Judge at Delhi High Court


  • Sanjeet Singh Kaila v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 8170; A Division bench presided by Justice Bhat, held that though the members of the Armed forces consent to the risk that comes with their enrollment in the forces, one is still entitled to a safe workplace with standard equipment.

In the words of Justice Bhat,

“(…) none can be insensible to the piquancy in the pageant of life; more so, those who enlist in the service of their country in its armed forces. Yet to fling that to their teeth when accused of exposing them to more than the risks they had bargained (as the HAL does, here) is to belittle their spirit of sacrifice, which this court finds insensitive, even offensive. A soldier or an air warrior like the petitioner can be expected to be aware of the “normal” risks that he undertakes to accept in the course of a career that is removed from the ordinary. That assumption of risk at the same time raises the threshold bar on his employer and those assigned by the employer to maintain the standards in respect of the workplace and the technical equipment, which such officers and warriors have to handle and live with.” Read More

  • BGP Products v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 12928; Striking down a government notification made under Section 26A of the Drugs Act, to restrict the manufacture and usage of an essential drug likely to be affecting the health of pregnant woman and youth mothers, Justice Bhat observed,

This court notices that the decision of prohibiting a country wide existing manufacturing base for Oxytocin, a life-saving drug (through the over hundred private licensed units spread across the country), for over three decades or so, on the one hand and reserving it to the public sector through a single manufacturing entity, which has no previous record in its production, is thus fraught with potential adverse consequences. One of the important directive principles of State Policy (Article 47) is the that “The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties..”. Maternal welfare too is considered a directive principle (Article 42).Correspondingly, the right of women, generally and pregnant women and young mothers in particular, to have a safe post-partum recovery and avoid risk of haemorrhaging that can be potentially fatal, is an integral part of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The potential impact may or may not be direct; even if it leads to a few incidents, that would be a grave consequence contrary to public interest.”   

  • CPIO, Supreme Court of India v. Subhash Chandra Agarwal, 2009 SCC OnLine Del 2714; While directing the CPIO to release the information sought by the respondent applicant about the declaration of assets (and not the contents of the declarations, as that was not sought for) and holding the office of the CJI as a‘public authority’, significant remarks were made by Justice Ravindra Bhat, about the office of judges and exemption provided under Section 8(1)(j) RTI Act, 2005.

“In this Court’s opinion Section 8(1)(j) is both a check on the power of requiring information dissemination (having regard to its potential impact on individual privacy rights) as well as a mechanism whereby individuals have limited control over whether personal details can be made public. This safeguard is made in public interest in favour of all public officials and public servants. There can be no manner of doubt that Supreme Court and High Court Judges are public servants (K. Veeraswami established that). They are no doubt given a high status, and afforded considerable degree of protections, under the Constitution; yet that does not make them public servants any less. If that is the true position, the protection afforded by Section 8(1)(j) to Judges is of no lesser quality than that given to other public servants, in this regard. To hold otherwise: would be incongruous, because, members of the higher judiciary are held to self imposed obligatory Constitutional standards, and their asset disclosures are held (by this judgment), to be “information” held by the CJI, a public authority, under the Act; yet, they would be deprived of the protection that the same enactment extends to all those covered by it.”

  • Bayer Corporation v. Union of India, 2009 SCC OnLine Del 2469; Rejecting the claim of Bayer that the drug manufactured and sold by Cipla under the name of ‘Soranib’, was infact a spurious drug under 17-B of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and not a generic drug as contended, Justice Bhat held,

This Court is constrained to observe that the present litigation was what may be characterized as a speculative foray; an attempt to ‘tweak’ public policies through Court mandated regimes.”

The instant case discusses at length about patent linkage in Indian context and how imperative it is to balance monopoly rights of any patent holder and the public at large.

  • Mini Appa Kanda Swami v. M.Indra, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 5312; The Division Bench comprising of S. Ravindra Bhat and Deepa Sharma, JJ., held that demand for privacy by the spouse is not cruelty and also reiterated that High Court lacks the jurisdiction to dissolve a marriage on the doctrine of “irretrievable breakdown” under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act.

“The Court further made observation, as to determination of cruelty for divorce stating, While considering whether a particular conduct constitutes cruelty or not, the social status of parties, cultural background, physical and mental conditions, customs and traditions etc. have to be considered. Mental cruelty can be assessed from the continuous unprovoked conduct of a spouse which causes embarrassment, humiliation, and anguish so as to render the other spouse’s life miserable and unendurable. This conduct should be of such gravity that the wronged party cannot be reasonably asked to put up with such conduct and continue to live with the other party.”  Read More


*Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 

Know thy Judge

 

“The Court should not under the guise of preventing the abuse of power be itself guilty of usurping power.”

– Justice Hemant Gupta,

Nitin Pathak v. State of M.P., 2017 SCC OnLine MP 1824


Excerpts from Judgments authored by Justice Hemant Gupta


Arvind Singh v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 400; While allowing the appeal in part against death sentence awarded by the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court, the Court observed,

“What is required to be examined is whether there is a possibility of rehabilitation and whether it is the rarest of the rare case where the collective conscience of the community is so shocked that it will expect the holders of judicial power to inflict death penalty irrespective of their personal opinion as regards desirability or otherwise of retaining death penalty. The manner of commission of murder when committed in an extremely brutal, grotesque, diabolical, revolting or dastardly manner are aggravating factors.”

Laxmibai v. Collector, Nanded and Ors., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 187; Hearing an appeal against the order of the High Court dismissing writ petition against an order of disqualification on account of non-submission of election expenses within the period prescribed, it was held,

“The purity and transparency in election process does not give unbridled and arbitrary power to the Election Commission to pass any whimsical order without examining the nature of default. The extent of period of disqualification has to be in proportion to the default. The Election Commission has to keep in mind that by such process, an election of duly elected candidate representing collective will of the voters of the constituency is being set at naught.”

Ram Sewak Mishra v. State of M.P., 2017 SCC OnLine MP 1546; Deciding on the validity of an executive action wherein no adequate opportunity of hearing was provided to a Government employee charged under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, Justice Gupta noted,

The rule of audi alteram partem is the rule of the law without which law would be lifeless, absurd, stultifying, self-defeating or plainly contrary to the common sense of the situation. The principle holds good irrespective of whether the power conferred on a statutory body or Tribunal is administrative or quasi-judicial. The concept of natural justice can neither be put in a straitjacket nor is it a general rule of universal application. Whether or not the application of the principles of natural justice in a given case has been excluded, wholly or in part, in the exercise of statutory power, depends upon the language and basic scheme of the provision conferring the power, the nature of the power, the purpose for which it is conferred and the effect of the exercise of that power. The procedural precondition of fair hearing, however minimal, even post-decisional, has relevance to administrative and judicial gentlemanliness.

N.K. Janu v. Lakshmi Chandra, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 518; While making significant observation with respect to the power of Court to summon public officers, it was said,

“The summoning of officers to the court to attend proceedings, impinges upon the functioning of the officers and eventually it is the public at large who suffer on account of their absence from the duties assigned to them. The practice of summoning officers to court is not proper and does not serve the purpose of administration of justice in view of the separation of powers of the Executive and the Judiciary. If an order is not legal, the Courts have ample jurisdiction to set aside such order and to issue such directions as may be warranted in the facts of the case.Read More

State of Bihar v. Sachindra Narayan, (2019) 3 SCC 803; In an appeal against the order of a Division Bench at Patna High Court, mandating the State authorities to give financial assistance on the ground of legitimate expectation, the Court observed,

“(…)legitimate expectation is one of the grounds of judicial review but unless a legal obligation exists, there cannot be any legitimate expectation. The legitimate expectation is not a wish or a desire or a hope, therefore, it cannot be claimed or demanded as a right. The payment of pension in the past will not confer an enforceable right in favour of the Institute or its employees.


Significant Judgments that Justice Gupta has been a part of


 Dr. Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil v. Chief Minister, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 727; A full judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and S.Ravindra Bhat, JJ., while referring the Constitution (102nd Amendment) Act, 2018 to a larger bench, held,

The social, educational and economic backwardness of a community, existence of quantifiable data relating to inadequacy of representation of the community in public services and deprivation of the benefits flowing from reservations to the community are not exceptional circumstances for providing reservations in excess of 50 per cent.”

The Bench further directed that the admissions to educational institutions and appointments to public services/posts under the government, shall be made irrespective to the reservations provided under, Maharashtra State Reservation (of seats for admission in Educational Institutions in the State and for appointments in the Public Services and posts under the State) for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018. Read More

Union of India v. Exide Industries Limited and Another, (2020) 5 SCC 274; A full judge bench of A.M. Khanwilkar, Hemant Gupta, Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., deciding on the validity of clause (f) to Section 43-B Income Tax Act, 1961, held,

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

Amit Kumar Roy v. Union of India, (2019) 7 SCC 369; A division bench of D.Y. Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta, JJ., adjudicating upon the interplay of Article 19(1)(g) and the statutory restrictions on members of Indian Airforce, said,

“A person who has been enrolled as a member of the Air Force does not have an unqualified right to depart from service at his or her will during the term of engagement. Such a construction, as urged on behalf of the appellant, will seriously impinge upon manning levels and operational preparedness of the Armed Forces.Read More


*Editorial Assistant, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd. 

Know thy Judge

Hon’ble Mrs. Justice R. Banumathi born on 20-07-1955 was the sixth woman to be a Judge of the Supreme Court of India and on her last working day as the Supreme Court Judge, we remember her contributions to the Judicial system and to the society.

A brief background on Justice Banumathi’s journey to becoming the 6th woman judge of the Highest Court of the Country:

  • Originally from Tamil Nadu, Justice Banumathi enrolled as an advocate in 1981 and practiced on Civil and Criminal sides in Tirupattur and District Court, Krishnagiri, Harur and moffusil courts.
  • entered Tamil Nadu Higher Judicial Service in 1988 as a direct recruit ‘District Judge’ and worked as District and Sessions Judge in Coimbatore, Vellore and Principal District and Sessions Judge, Pudukottai, Madras, Tirunelveli and Salem.
  • also worked as Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Madras and as a District Judge dealt with number of landmark cases and also led One-Man Commission on Police Excess by STF in Chinnampathy village, Coimbatore District in 1995-1996.
  • was elevated as Judge, High Court, Madras on 03-04-2003. She was Executive Chairman of the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services with effect from 15-07-2013; Chairman of Madras High Court Legal Services Committee from 21-02-2011 to 20-01-2012 and was actively involved in Legal Services and organizing Lok Adalats.
  • was appointed as the Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court on 16-11-2013.
  • was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 13-08-2014
  • also became the second woman after Justice Ruma Pal to be a part of the Supreme Court collegiums in the last thirteen years.

Did you know?

Justice R. Banumathi has always been interested in continuing judicial education for Judicial Officers and strengthening Judicial Systems, she has organized various training and induction programmes for different judicial batches from time to time along with authoring “Hand Book of Civil and Criminal Courts Management and use of Computers” for guidance of judicial officers and staff members.

Some of her notable judgments include:

  • Muniasamythevar v. Dy. Superintendent Of Police [2006 SCC OnLine Mad 306] where she held that that all types of Jallikattu, bullock cart races and oxen races causing cruelty to animals must be banned by the Tamil Nadu government. She further directed the state police to ensure prevention of cruelty to animals under the guise of such entertainments.
  • Modern Dental College & Research Centre v. State of M.P. [(2016) 7 SCC 353] where she authored the concurring opinion in the five-judge Bench judgment The judgment ruled in favour of the Madhya Pradesh Government, holding that regulation of private unaided colleges does not necessarily violate the fundamental right to free occupation under Article 19(1)(g). The Act under challenge prescribes for a compulsory State administered common entrance exam, fee fixation and reservations. The petitioners had argued that this amounted to excessive State interference in an autonomous private educational institution. She further observed that as providing education is positive duty of the State, it has an obligation to regulate private institutions to ensure they are providing quality education.
  • Mukesh v. State (NCT of Delhi) [(2017) 6 SCC 1] famously known as the “Nirbhaya Judgment” she had authored a separate concurring opinion which prescribed the death penalty for the accused. She stated that the accused’s actions fell within the ‘rarest of rare’ category.
  • Bir Singh v. Delhi Jal Board [(2018) 10 SCC 312] where the majority had held that candidates from all States and Union lists could apply to the Delhi Jal Board, as it was administered by the Union. Justice Banumathi dissented, distinguishing between posts for which recruitment was carried out by the Union government and those for which it was carried out by the NCT. She observed that for posts where the recruitment was done by a Union Territory (or the NCT), only SC/STs specified the Presidential Order for that territory may apply.
  • Chief Information Commissioner v. High Court of Gujarat [2020 SCC OnLine SC 285] Recently in a significant ruling on the applicability of the Right to Information Act, 2005 to the courts, she held that the Act cannot override the Gujarat High Court rules, in so far as requesting pleadings is concerned she further reasoned that that as the current High Court rules already have a system for obtaining pleadings, citizens cannot rely on the RTI Act to request them. The judgment is likely to set the precedent for all other High Courts and the Supreme Court itself.

It’s not easy being a successful representative and in 69 years of the Supreme Court of India, Justice Banumathi has been one of the 6 women judges giving remarkable judgments and pouring her wisdom for others to follow.

Know thy Judge

Justice Koka Subba Rao was born on 15-07-1902 at Rajahmundry on the banks of Godavari River in a Velama family. He graduated from Government Arts College, Rajamundry and studied law at Madras Law College. He practiced at the Madras high Court from 1926 and became Judge, Madras High Court from March 1948 – July 1954 later on becoming Chief Justice, Andhra High Court, Guntur from 5-07-1954 till 31-10- 1956. He became the 1st Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court on 01-11-1956 and became Judge, Supreme Court on 31-01-1958. He went on to become the 9th Chief Justice of India on 30-06-1966. He was indeed first Judge of the free India to be judicially recognised and openly declared as a fearless defender and upholder of our fundamental rights.

Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy on the centenary celebrations of Chief Justice K. Subba had remembered him as a man of strict discipline and high learning who was a great Judge and has left his deep imprint on the development of constitutional law in India. He further mentioned that he was an original thinker and a staunch proponent of fundamental rights in our Constitution. Fundamental rights were an article of faith with him, he was a man of strong convictions, he came to be known as a dissenting Judge in his early years in the Supreme Court; indeed some of his greatest judgments were his dissenting opinions.[1]

The renowned historian and famous author, V.D. Mahajan had mentioned him as ‘defender of liberties’ in his book titled “Chief Justice K. Subba Rao: Defender of Liberties” and displayed the power of dissent in some of his notable judgments:

  • Basheshar Nath  CIT [AIR 1959 SC 149] where he had opined that  the entire Part III — and not merely Article 14 — has been conceived in public interest and that all of them confer rights upon citizens holding that no citizen can waive any of his fundamental rights — to wit, no citizen can agree to be discriminated.
  • S.M. Sharma v. Sri Krishna Sinha [AIR 1959 SC 395] where he dissented from the majority opinion and stressed upon the fundamental significance of the freedom of speech and expression conferred by Article 19(1)(a).
  • Kharak Singh v. State of U.P. [AIR 1963 SC 1295] pertaining to surveillance by the police and domiciliary visits. In his dissenting judgment, he widened the scope of personal liberty and remarked, writing as he was in 1963 – “It is true our constitution does not expressly declare a right to privacy as a fundamental right, but the said right is an essential ingredient of personal liberty.”

The most famous judgment given by him being Golak Nath v. State of Punjab [AIR 1967 SC 1643] where he equated Fundamental Rights with Natural Rights and reckoned them as “the primordial rights necessary for the development of human personality.” The Supreme Court with the largest bench that had ever sat on an issue till that time had arrived at a 6:5 majority. In order to check the colourable exercise of power that the Parliament was exercising through invoking Article 368 by passing numerous legislation that had in one pretext or another violated populous Fundamental Rights and to save Democracy from autocratic actions of Parliament, the majority held that Parliament could not amend Fundamental Rights. He retired on 11-04-1967 and died 06-05-1976. He was a part of the Supreme Court for about 10 years but not just to follow but mainly to change and shape the development of the Constitutional law of the country.

Did you know?

Judge, Supreme Court J. Chelameswar narrated an episode where once a municipal staffer who had the courage to demand bribe from none other the former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Koka Subba Rao about 40 decades back, had  sought illegal gratification in a property tax assessment matter from then CJI, upon asking how daring he was to demand bribe from the CJI, the employee retorted as to why he should be worried, having taken money from the Police Commissioner.


[1] (2003) 8 SCC (Jour) 41

Know thy Judge

The day marks as the death anniversary of former Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Y.V. Chandrachud who was born in Poona on 12-07-1920. He graduated with History and Economics in 1940 from the Elphinstone College, Bombay and had obtained his law degree in 1942 from ILS Law College, Pune. He enrolled as an advocate in High Court of Bombay in 1943. He was a part time professor of law in Government Law College, Bombay, from 1949 to 1952. He was appointed Judge, High Court Bombay, on 19-03-1961 and Judge, Supreme Court, on 28-08-1972. He was appointed the Chief Justice of India on 22-02-1978 and he was the longest serving CJI in India’s history at 7 years and 4 months and retired on 11-07-1985.

His son, Hon’ble Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud who is currently acting as Judge, Supreme Court recalls that he was alert till his last breath and even after retirement in 1985, he was actively involved in mediation and arbitration. He has several times mentioned as to how his father had a special place for criminal law in his heart and how the former CJI’s verdicts served a reformative role rather than only serve the “penological purpose.”

A true jurist, he was known to be a liberal judge and for his path breaking judgments.

His landmark judgments include:

  • Minerva Mills Ltd. v. Union of India [(1980) 3 SCC 625] where he had laid down how a balance between fundamental rights and directive principles had to be achieved.
  • Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia v. State of Punjab [(1980) 2 SCC 565] clearly showed his empathy for criminal law where he had laid down the law of anticipatory bail. He had held that anticipatory bail must be left to judges who have the experience to take a wise decision.
  • Mohd. Ahmed Khan v. Shah Bano Begum [(1985) 2 SCC 556] where he had ruled that  divorced Muslim women were entitled to claim maintenance from husbands under the Civil Procedure Code, which overrides the Muslim Personal Law.
  • Olga Tellis v. Bombay Municipal Corpn.  [(1985) 3 SCC 545] where he had extended Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution to slum dwellers, ruling that they had the right to a roof over their heads.
  • While looking at the famous judgments no one can turn a blind eye towards the case of A.D.M. Jalbalpur v. Shivakant Shukla [(1976) 2 SCC 521] famously known as the ‘Habeas Corpus case’ which had famous for the wrong reasons, where he along with Justice P.N. Bhagwati, had decided that the right to life itself could be suspended during an emergency. He went on to bec­ome chief justice and later apologized for the decision. Justice Bhagwati also publicly repented for the same.

Did you know? In the recent privacy judgment, K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India, [(2017) 10 SCC 1] his son, Hon’ble Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud found occasion to correct a historical wrong and held that the ADM Jabalpur decision was seriously flawed and ruled against it.


Suchita Shukla, Legal Editor has put this story together

Know thy Judge

Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde will be taking oath as the 47th Chief Justice of India today, succeeding Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who served as the Chief Justice of India for over an year i.e. from October, 3, 2018 till November 17, 2019.

In a recent interview to Indian Express, Justice Bobde was seen reflecting on why he chose to become a judge after being a successful lawyer. He said,

“I made this conscious decision to be a judge because I am a fourth generation lawyer and I have only seen lawyers in my life. I was the only black sheep who moved towards the judiciary in that sense, and I took a conscious decision as I found being at the Bar repetitive in its rewards. I felt I should answer the call.”

Here’s all you need to know about the incoming CJI

  • He was born in Nagpur on April 24, 1956.
  • He completed his law from Dr. Ambekar Law College, Nagpur University in 1978 after which he practiced at the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court with appearances before the principal seat at Bombay and before the Supreme Court of India. He became senior Advocate in 1998.
  • He was appointed as an additional judge of Bombay High Court in 2000. He became the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court in October, 2012 and was elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court of India on 12 April 2013.
  • His father Arvind Bobde was advocate-general of Maharashtra in 1980 and 1985.
  • His elder brother late Vinod Arvind Bobde was a senior Supreme Court lawyer who passed away on 11th June, 2016.

Interestingly, though Justice Bobde has been a part of many important judgments, he has never been a part of the minority opinions. He also has authored very few judgments compared to his predecessors. This fact, however, cannot be indicative of Justice Bobde’s contribution to the judicial system as he has been a part some of path-breaking judgments.

Here’s a list of some of the notable judgments by Justice SA Bobde