Legal RoundUpSupreme Court Roundups

“I am not here to do miracles. The challenges are high. Perhaps expectations are also great. But this is what I tell myself every day that if this were to be the last day of my life, have I left the World a better place?”

CJI Dr DY Chandrachud

Unmissable Stories

Justice Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud Takes the Reins as the 50th Chief Justice of India

Justice Dr. Chandrachud’s time in the Supreme Court has been full of one landmark case after the other. His progressive stance regarding issues of privacy, women’s rights, freedom of speech and other constitutional aspects, have played a major role in generating a discourse around these issues on a larger scale.

Read some of his significant opinions and decisions out of the almost 500 judgments authored by him so far.

Not here to do miracles but to work on bringing institutional changes: Justice DY Chandrachud shares his to-do list as the 50th CJI

Changing the face of the District Judiciary, institutionalising processes like listing of matters and E-filing in the Supreme Court, elevation of members of the Bar to High Courts and filling up of judicial vacancies, would be some of the key focus areas of Dr Justice DY Chandrachud as the 50th Chief Justice of India.  [Read more]

A Man of Vision and Action- CJI Uday Umesh Lalit Retires

After serving 8 years as a Supreme Court Judge and as the Court’s 49th Master of Roster after an action packed 74-day tenure, CJI UU Lalit retired after accomplishing his objective of attempting to fine tune the judicial machinery, thereby injecting a much- needed optimism within the legal community. His vision, the focus towards that vision and the steps taken to realise it, makes his 74 -day tenure not only memorable but also historical. Through his words, which were translated into action, Justice Lalit rejuvenated the judiciary, thereby paving the way for his successor to embark upon further reforms. [Read more]

Most Talked about cases

Constitution Bench upholds constitutionality of 10% Quota for EWS in 3:2 verdict

In a big decision, the 5-judge Constitution bench of UU Lalit, CJ and Dinesh Maheshwari, S. Ravindra Bhat, Bela M Trivedi, JB Pardiwala, JJ has upheld the constitutional validity the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019, which provides for 10 percent reservation in appointments to posts under the State and in admissions to educational institutions to economically weaker sections (‘EWS’) of citizens. While Dinesh Maheshwari, Bela M Trivedi and JB Pardiwala, JJ wrote separate but concurrent opinions forming majority, S. Ravindra Bhat, J wrote the minority opinion for himself and U.U. Lalit, CJ.

Key takeaways from Majority Ruling including suggestion for prescribing time limit for reservation

‘Identifier for 10% Quota for EWS is economic deprivation; Social or educational backwardness irrelevant’: Key takeaways from Dissenting opinion 

‘First committed a ghastly crime then took shelter under the guise of being a minor’; ‘Juvenile’ in Kathua rape-murder case to be tried as an adult: SC

“A casual or cavalier approach while recording as to whether an accused is a juvenile or not cannot be permitted as the courts are enjoined upon to perform their duties with the object of protecting the confidence of a common man in the institution entrusted with the administration of justice.” 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1592]

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Is the reformation goal under JJ Act 2015 making juveniles more emboldened in committing heinous crimes? SC asks Centre to take steps before it’s too late

In the Kathua Rape and murder case where one of the accused was found to be taking the statutory shelter under the guise of being a minor, the bench of Ajay Rastogi and JB Pardiwala*, JJ observed that it was gathering an impression that the leniency with which the juveniles are dealt with in the name of goal of reformation is making them more and more emboldened in indulging in such heinous crimes. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1592]

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All convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination set free

The Court observed that the conduct of all the appellants was satisfactory, as some of them during the period of incarceration, have obtained degrees, did charity work and some were also suffering from various ailments. Further, the Court said that S. Nalini, is a woman and has been incarcerated for a period of more than three decades and her conduct has also been found to be satisfactory.

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“Left with no alternative”, Supreme Court acquits all 3 accused in Chhawla Gang Rape and Murder case

“The prosecution has to bring home the charges levelled against them beyond reasonable doubt, which the prosecution has failed to do in the instant case, resultantly, the Court is left with no alternative but to acquit the accused, though involved in a very heinous crime.”

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Forced religious conversions ultimately affect national security and violate citizens’ right to freedom of religion: Supreme Court seeks government’s reply

If it is found to be correct and true, is a very serious issue which may ultimately affect the security of the nation and violate citizens’ right to freedom of conscience and right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion.” [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1596]

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Explainers

Arbitration

Existence of arbitration agreement does not bar reference to Facilitation Council; MSMED Act has an overriding effect over the provisions of the Arbitration Act, 1996

The division bench of Uday Umesh Lalit, C.J. and Bela M. Trivedi*, J. has held that the provisions of Chapter-V of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 (‘ MSMED Act’) have an overriding effect over the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 [Arbitration Act, 1996] and no party to a dispute covered under Section 17 of the MSMED Act, 2006 would be precluded from making a reference to the Facilitation Council under Section 18(1) thereof, merely because there is an arbitration agreement existing between the parties. Further, the Facilitation Council, which initiated the Conciliation proceedings under Section 18(2) of the MSMED Act, 2006 would be entitled to act as an arbitrator despite the bar contained in Section 80 of the Arbitration Act. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1492]

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Consumer Disputes

Supreme Court sets aside NCDRC’s judgment reducing almost Rs. 14 Lakhs of compensation granted by State Commission to Rs. 10,000

The Court noted that the State Commission had awarded compensation of Rs. 13,79,901/- towards loss suffered by the appellant plus Rs. 50,000/- towards compensation for mental agony and harassment plus Rs. 10,000/- towards cost of litigation. The NCDRC, on the other hand, reduced the compensation to Rs. 10,000/- along with an interest at the rate of 9% per annum from the date of filing the complaint till the date of payment. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1551]

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Contracts

‘Exclusion clause’ destroying the contract entered with knowledge, cannot be permitted to be used by a party who introduced it, to avoid liability

The Court cautioned the Insurance companies that, non-compliance of Clause (3) and (4) of the IRDA Regulation, 2002, would take away their right to plead repudiation of the contract by placing reliance upon any of the terms and conditions included thereunder. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1546]

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Criminal Justice

Supreme Court commutes death sentence of a rape and murder convict, due to ill-effects of 10 years of solitary confinement

In appeal against the judgment passed by the Karnataka High Court three-judge bench of Uday Umesh Lalit*, C.J., S. Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha, JJ. has held that the time taken by the authorities, in the case at hand, for the disposal of mercy petition of a death row convict cannot be termed as “inordinate delay”, however, the incarceration in solitary confinement did show ill effects on the well-being of the appellant, thus, held that the appellant is entitled to have the death sentence to be commuted to imprisonment for life. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1528]

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Election

Election cannot be declared void for non-disclosure of conviction for substantive offences under Kerala Police Act

Once the object behind the provisions of the Kerala Police Act are understood, it would be clear that neither Section 52(1A) read with Rule 6 and Form 2A nor Section 102(1) (ca) of the Act nor the decisions in Union of India v. Assn. for Democratic Reforms(2002) 5 SCC 294 , People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) v. Union of India(2003) 4 SCC 399 or Krishnamoorthy v. Sivakumar(2015) 3 SCC 467 can be stretched to such an extent that the failure of the appellant to disclose his conviction for an offence under the Kerala Police Act for holding a dharna in front of the Panchayat office, is taken as a ground for declaring an election void. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1550]

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Electricity

All State Regulatory Commissions must frame Regulations for determination of Electricity tariff within 3 months: Supreme Court 

The Electricity Act, 2003 does not prescribe one dominant method to determine tariff as it seeks to distance the State Governments from the determination and regulation of tariff, placing such power completely within the ambit of the Appropriate Commissions. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1615]

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Health and Healthcare

‘Bihar Govt, Pharmacy Council cannot be permitted to play with citizens’ life’; Patna HC to hear the Fake Pharmacists matter afresh: SC 

Supreme Court observed that the Patna High Court ought to have called upon the Bihar State Pharmacy Council to file the status report on the allegations of fake pharmacist and/or on how many Governments’ hospitals/hospitals in the State are running without registered pharmacist. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1636]

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Also read: Supreme Court directs Bihar to curb functioning of fake pharmacies ‘playing with the life of the citizens’

Interpretation

Supreme Court provides intrinsic tools for interpreting a contract; says intention of parties to be gathered from words and expressions used in the contract

In an appeal filed by the Food Corporation of India (‘FCI’) against the judgment of Tripura high Court wherein it held that demurrages cannot be recovered as a charge by the corporation, the division bench of Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha and AS Bonappa JJ. after examining the contract, held that the parties did not intend to include liability on account of demurrages as part and parcel of the expression “charges” in the contract between them. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1605]

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Maintenance of wife and children

Income Tax returns not accurate to determine real income; Family Court must determine husband’s real income

While deciding a case filed under Section 125 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), in which the appeal was arising from a Single Judge of High Court of Allahabad (High Court), the Division Bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and Hima Kohli, JJ. thought it appropriate to restore the Criminal Revision to the file of the High Court for fresh consideration, thereby setting aside the impugned order of the High Court. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1539]

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Money laundering

Handing over cash to a public servant would be considered “proceeds of crime” under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002

In a case wherein the appeal challenged the final judgment and order passed by the High Court of Madras (High Court) in writ petition, filed by the respondent seeking quashing of proceedings initiated against him under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PML Act), the Division Bench of UU Lalit, CJ. and Bela M. Trivedi, J. held that the respondent was involved in the activity connected with proceeds of crime and hence, liable under the provisions of the PML Act. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1490]

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Motor Vehicle Accident Compensation

Supreme Court reassessed percentage of disability at 30% in a motor vehicle accident; Enhanced compensation

In an appeal filed against the judgment of Karnataka High Court reducing the total compensation from Rs. 21,08,400/- to Rs. 7,37,604/-, for a motor vehicle accident, the division bench of B.R Gavai and B.V Nagarathna*, JJ. reassessed the compensation and modified the judgment passed by the High Court by enhancing the award of compensation from Rs. 7,37,604/- to Rs. 11,67,405/- which shall carry interest at the rate of 6% per annum from the date of filing of claim petition till realisation. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1604]

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POCSO

Non-reporting of POCSO offence despite knowledge a serious offence; Bombay High Court’s quashment of FIR against accused Medical Practitioner unfortunate

“Non-reporting of sexual assault against a minor child despite knowledge is a serious crime and more often than not, it is an attempt to shield the offenders of the crime of sexual assault.” [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1503]

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Practice and Procedure

Civil Court can try debt recovery suit against bank or financial institution; Scope & effect of parallel proceeding before DRT explained

The 3-judge bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul*, Abhay S. Oka and Vikram Nath, JJ, has settled the issue relating to the legal right of the borrower to initiate proceedings before a Civil Court against the bank or financial institution. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1557]

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Judicial order cannot be passed on application requesting hearing of review by a particular judge; It’s Chief Justice’s administrative call

In the case at hand, one of the parties in a case before the Bombay High Court had sought for the review to be heard by Justice GS Patel who had heard and decided the second appeal in the matter relating to declaration and permanent injunction. Justice Prithviraj K. Chavan, however, rejected this application, which led to the case travelling to the Supreme Court. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1556]

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Benefit of Exceptions of Defamation cannot only be afforded at the stage of trial

In an appeal against the judgment passed by the Delhi High Court regarding a defamation case, the division bench of Uday Umesh Lalit*, CJ. and Bela M. Trivedi, J. held that if the facts so justify, the benefit of an exception to Section 499 of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) has been extended, and it is not taken to be a rigid principle that the benefit of exception can only be afforded at the stage of trial. Further, it was reiterated that even though the presumption under Section 7 of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 (‘the Act’) is available regarding the Editor, even a Chief Editor can be proceeded against if the facts so justify. [ 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1491]

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Delay in adopting the Draft Criminal Practice Rules cannot prejudice already recognized rights of an accused, holds SC in a 2: 1 verdict; Justice Bela M. Trivedi dissents

In a case wherein concern was raised regarding common deficiencies and practices adopted by trial courts during criminal trial and disposal of cases, in the absence of uniform guidelines, the three-judge bench of UU Lalit, CJ., S. Ravindra Bhat and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ. in a 2: 1 majority decision, dismissed the appeal holding that even though some High Courts and governments of States/Union Territories had delayed in adopting the Draft Rules of Criminal Practice, 2020 (Draft Rules), it cannot prejudice the right of an accused which had already been recognized by this Court in its final order dated 20-04-2021. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1543]

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PILs against Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren ‘bald allegations’ & ‘abuse of process of court’; High Court should have dismissed the PILs at the very threshold

The 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, CJ and S. Ravindra Bhat and Sudhanshu Dhulia*, JJ has set aside the order of Jharkhand High Court, wherein the two PILs filed against Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, were held to be maintainable and hence, it had decided to proceed in the case. The Supreme Court, however, was of the opinion that PILs were not filed with clean hands and hence, were not maintainable and were liable to be dismissed at the very threshold itself. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1541]

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SARFAESI Act

Suit for damages concerning balance land cannot be barred by Section 34 of SARFAESI Act

In an appeal against the judgment passed by the Kerala High Court, wherein it has set aside the judgment passed by the Trial Court directing the Bank to pay the plaintiff a sum of Rs.58,10,000 with interest at the rate of 12% per annum from the date of suit till realisation, the division bench of M.R Shah* and Krishna Murari, JJ while setting aside impugned judgment passed by the High Court directed the Bank to pay the decretal amount to the appellant with interest as per the judgment and decree passed by the Trial Court within a period of 8 weeks from the date of this judgment. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1601]

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Service matters

Supreme Court upholds validity of amended Employees’ Pension Scheme but reads down certain provisions; Explains applicability of pre & post amendment Scheme

The requirement of the members to contribute at the rate of 1.16 per cent of their salary to the extent such salary exceeds Rs.15000/- per month as an additional contribution under the amended scheme has, however, been held to be ultra vires the provisions of the 1952 Act. The Court has given 6 months’ breather to the authorities make adjustments in the scheme. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1521]

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Denying similar benefits to similarly situated Government employees working under same employer amounts to discrimination

The Court said that it cannot be disputed that employees working in different divisions/zones in the Railways are under the very same employer – Railway Board which is under the Ministry of Railways. Therefore, the employees working under the same employer in different zones/divisions are required to be treated similarly and equally and are entitled to similar benefits and are entitled to the same treatment. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1493]

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UP Housing and Development Board’s function does not include fixing its employees’ service conditions; SC modifies 2014’s Preetam Singh verdict

On 10.02.2020, a division bench had come to the conclusion that the view taken by this Court in Preetam Singh’s case needs reconsideration after it prima facie found that the functions of the Board contemplated under Section 15 of the Uttar Pradesh Avas Evam Vikas Parishad Adhiniyam, 1965 were wide enough even to cover the act of fixing service conditions of its employees. Hence, the matter was referred to a larger bench. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1628]

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Vice Chancellor’s appointment contrary to Section 10 of State University Act, 2019 and Regulation 7.3.0 of the UGC Regulations illegal

In the case at hand, the appellant was appointed as Professor and worked for the period between 23.5.2009 to 7.10.2017, till he was appointed as member of the Uttarakhand Public Service Commission. Thereafter, he was appointed by the State Government as Vice chancellor (‘VC’) of the University, which was challenged before the High Court on the ground that at the time when he was appointed as VC, he was not having the requisite experience of minimum 10 years as Professor, which was required as per the UGC Regulations, 2018. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1555]

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Appointment based on the recommendation of a search committee, constituted contrary to the provisions of the UGC Regulations, is illegal and void ab initio

In an appeal filed against the judgment passed by the Kerala High Court, wherein the division bench of the High Court has confirmed the judgment passed by the Single Judge refusing to issue writ of quo warranto to declare the appointment of the respondent as Vice Chancellor (‘VC’) of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University as void ab initio, the division bench of *M.R Shah and C.T. Ravikumar held that the UGC Regulations were applicable with respect to the appointment of VC in the State Universities and the appointment shall be always as per the relevant provisions of the UGC Regulations amended from time to time. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1473]

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Taxation

Property Tax under MMC Act: Future prospects of land/building not to be considered for determining capital value; Only present physical attributes relevant

In a case challenging the validity of computation and levy of property tax based on capital value system under the amended Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888 (MMC Act), the bench of UU Lalit, CJ* and Ajay Rastogi, J has held that for the purpose of determining capital value, only the present physical attributes and status of the land and building can be considered and not the future prospects of the land. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1542]

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Section 45(4) of Income Tax Act applies not only in case of dissolution but also when subsisting partners transfer assets to retiring partners

The bench of MR Shah and M.M Sundresh, JJ explained the importance of the words “or otherwise” inserted to Section 45(4) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 by the Finance Act, 1987. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1618]

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Supreme Court interprets Section 194 H of Income tax Act; Overrules Bombay High Court’s 2009 Qatar Airways judgment

The Court interpreted the term “commission” under Section 194-H IT Act and said that Explanation (i) of Section 194-H highlights the nature of the legal relationship that exists between two entities for payments between them to qualify as a “commission”, stating that “commission or brokerage” includes any payment received or receivable, directly or indirectly, by a person acting on behalf of another person for services rendered (not being professional services) or for any services while buying or selling of goods or in relation to any transaction relating to any asset, valuable article or thing, not being securities. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1588]

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Industrial area excluded from municipal limits doesn’t cease to be ‘local area’, State entitled to levy and collect entry tax

The issue in this appeal was, whether the exclusion of industrial areas from the limits of municipal councils or municipalities under the state laws in exercise of statutory power or by virtue of a declaration under proviso to Article 243-Q, would result in that area ceasing to be a ‘local area’ within Entry 52 of List II, and consequently precluding State from levying and collecting entry tax from those areas. [2022 SCC OnLine SC 1518] 

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Never Reported Judgments

In this series, we cover the analysis of the Never reported judgments of the Supreme Court from 1950 onwards.

Property exclusively in the possession of a person whether to be considered joint family property? [Kishta Reddi v. Ananthamma,  1950 SCC 653]

Failure of Director to contradict allegation of contract of purchase from the Company can only fasten liability for the alleged amount but cannot lead to forfeiture of his office of Director

[Dhanrajgir Raja Narsingirji v. Dhanraj Mills Limited, 1950 SCC 69]

Know Thy Judge

Justice Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai

Justice Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai
Know thy Judge

   

As Justice Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai is all set to celebrate his 62nd Birthday, it is only fitting that we take look back to the trajectory of his life and career and to his tenure at the Supreme Court through his various decisions.

Early Life

Justice Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai was born on 24th November, 1960 at Amravati to late R.S. Gavai, who was a noted social activist, Member of Parliament and former Governor of Bihar and Kerala1.

Advocacy2

At the age of 25, he enrolled as an advocate and started practicing at the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court. Justice Gavai practiced independently at Bombay High Court from 1987 to 1990 and after 1990, practised mainly before the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court. His practise was mostly focussed on issues related to Constitutional Law and Administrative Law.

Justice Gavai served both as an Assistant Government Pleader and Additional Public Prosecutor in the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court from August 1992 to July 1993. He was later appointed as Government Pleader and Public Prosecutor for Nagpur Bench on 17th January, 2000.

Judgeship of the Bombay High Court

He was appointed as a judge of the Bombay High Court on 14th November, 2003 and became a permanent Judge of the Bombay High Court on 12th November, 2005. Justice Gavai presided over Benches having all types of assignments at the Principal Seat in Mumbai as well as Benches at Nagpur, Aurangabad and Panaji.3

Journey towards the Supreme Court

After 16 years of Judgeship at the Bombay High Court, Justice B.R. Gavai was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on 24th May, 2019. The Collegium in recommending Justice Gavai's name for the Supreme Court, gave due weight to his seniority, integrity, merit and due representation in the Supreme Court4

*Did You Know? Justice Gavai is the first Supreme Court Judge belonging to a Scheduled Caste, to be appointed in 9 years after Justice K.G. Balakrishnan's retirement in 20105.

Furthermore, if the seniority convention is followed, then Justice Gavai will become the second Chief Justice of India belonging to a Scheduled Caste category after Justice Balakrishnan6.

Notable Judgements

Justice B.R. Gavai has authored almost 100 judgments7 over the course of his tenure. Some important decisions that Justice Gavai has been a part of, are as follows-

Can step- children claim property right in mother's mehar after her death? Does a registered mehar deed become unenforceable for being nominal?

The Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai*, JJ., in Azgar Barid v. Mazambi, (2022) 5 SCC 334, upheld the impugned judgment of the High Court wherein the High Court had granted property rights to the step- children of the deceased in her mehar property by declaring the mehar deed as unenforceable for being nominal.

Right to establish an educational institution is a fundamental right

The Bench of BR Gavai* and PS Narasimha, JJ., in Pharmacy Council of India v. Rajeev College of Pharmacy, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1224, held that the right to establish an educational institution is a fundamental right under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India and reasonable restrictions on such a right can be imposed only by a law and not by an execution instruction.

IBC| Once CIRP is initiated and moratorium is ordered, proceedings under SARFAESI Act cannot continue

The bench of L. Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai*, JJ., in Indian Overseas Bank v. RCM Infrastructure Ltd., (2022) 8 SCC 516, held that the proceedings under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act) cannot continue once the CIRP has been initiated and the moratorium has been ordered as per the Section 14(1)(c) of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC).

Consumer Protection| ‘Business to business' dispute not a consumer dispute

The bench of L. Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai*, JJ., in Shrikant G. Mantri v. Punjab National Bank, (2022) 5 SCC 42, interpreted the true scope of a “consumer” in terms of Section 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and has held that the ‘business to business' disputes cannot be construed as consumer disputes. The entire Act revolves around “business-to-consumer” disputes and not for “business-to-business” disputes.

“Mighty” Union of India vs “Ordinary Soldier” |Members of Ecological Task Force also entitled to Disability Pension

In Pani Ram v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1277, where a soldier, after serving in the Regular Army for 25 years, was re-enrolled in the Infantry Battalion (Territorial Army), Ecological Task Force (ETF) and was denied disability pension in view of the letter of the Government of India, Ministry of Defence, which provides that the members of ETF would not be entitled for disability pension, the bench of L. Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai*, JJ., held that it was wrong to deny the claim as the ETF is established as an additional company for 130 Infantry Battalion of Territorial Army and the other officers or enrolled persons working in the Territorial Army are entitled to disability pension.

Nothing wrong with OBC Reservation for consecutive term for the office of Mayor

The bench of L. Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai*, JJ., in Sanjay Ramdas Patil v. Sanjay, (2021) 10 SCC 306, set aside the judgment of the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court wherein it was held that the reservation of the Office of Mayor for the Dhule Municipal Corporation for Backward Class (OBC) for a second term, coupled with the fact that there has been no reservation for the Scheduled Caste category, amounted to violation of rotation policy.

‘Delays in prosecuting the corrupt breeds a culture of impunity'; Sanction requests under PC Act must be decided within 4 months but proceedings cannot be quashed for delay

The bench of BR Gavai and PS Narasimha*, JJ., in Vijay Rajmohan v. State, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1377, decided two important questions relating to the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and held that:

  1. There is no illegality in the action of the appointing authority, the DoPT, if it calls for, refers, and considers the opinion of the Central Vigilance Commission before it takes its final decision on the request for sanction for prosecuting a public servant.

  2. The period of three months, extended by one more month for legal consultation, is mandatory. The consequence of non-compliance with this mandatory requirement shall not be quashing of the criminal proceeding for that very reason. The competent authority shall be Accountable for the delay and be subject to judicial review and administrative action by the CVC under Section 8(1)(f) of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 (CVC Act).

Mere lack of State Government's prior consent does not vitiate CBI investigation in absence of prejudice caused to accused

The bench of AM Khanwilkar and BR Gavai*, JJ., in Fertico Marketing and Investment Pvt. Ltd. v. Central Bureau of Investigation(2021) 2 SCC 525, held that not obtaining prior consent of the State Government under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (DPSE Act) would not vitiate the investigation unless the illegality in the investigation can be shown to have brought about miscarriage of justice or caused prejudice to the accused.

Wilful disobedience or Wilful breach: Are these necessary requisites for bringing in action for ‘Civil Contempt'?

B.R. Gavai*, J., while addressing the contempt petition in Rama Narang v. Ramesh Narang, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 29, expressed that:

“…contempt proceeding is not like an execution proceeding under the Code of Civil Procedure.”

“…contempt proceedings are quasi-criminal in nature and the standard of proof required is in the same manner as in the other criminal cases.”

“A mere objection to jurisdiction does not instantly disable the Court from passing any interim orders.”

The instant contempt petition arose out of an unfortunate family dispute between a father and his two sons from his first wife.

Article 370| Review all orders imposing curbs in a week and put them in public domain

A 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai, JJ., in Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India, (2020) 3 SCC 637, asked the J&K administration to review all orders imposing curbs on telecom and internet services in the state in a week and put them in public domain. 

“The existing Suspension Rules neither provide for a periodic review nor a time limitation for an order issued under the Suspension Rules. Till this gap is filled, the Review Committee constituted under Rule 2(5) of the Suspension Rules must conduct a periodic review within seven working days of the previous review, in terms of the requirements under Rule 2(6).”

Conviction on basis of circumstantial evidence- Onus on accused

In Sudru v. State of Chattisgarh, (2019) 8 SCC 333, wherein a son murdered his father, the bench of Deepak Gupta and B.R. Gavai*, JJ., confirmed the conviction of the accused on the basis of circumstantial evidence, last seen evidence and non-explanation of incriminating evidence by accused, conviction of accused confirmed. 

State can't be estopped from withdrawing the exemption from payment of Excise Duty if such withdrawal is in larger public interest

The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, MR Shah and BR Gavai*, JJ., in Union of India v. Unicorn Industries(2019) 10 SCC 575, held that by invoking the doctrine of promissory estoppel, the Union of India cannot be estopped from withdrawing the exemption from payment of Excise Duty in respect of certain products, which exemption is granted by an earlier notification; when the Union of India finds that such a withdrawal is necessary in the public interest.

Company Court cannot decide in winding up proceeding which party defaulted with the compromise

In the corporate dispute in Shital Fibers Ltd. v. Indian Acrylics Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 281, the 3-Judge Bench comprising of R.F. Nariman, B.R. Gavai* and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ., held that, “The Company Court while exercising its powers under sections 433 and 434 of the Companies Act would not be in a position to decide, as to who was at fault in not complying with the terms and conditions of the deed of settlement and the compromise deed.

COVID-19| SC suggests Centre to extend directions to protect children in Protection Homes from spread of coronavirus to Nari Niketans

The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, SK Kaul and BR Gavai, JJ., Rishad Murtaza v. Union of India, (2020) 15 SCC 288, has asked the Central Government to extend the order passed in In Re Contagion of COVID-19 Virus in Children Protection Homes, to Nari Niketans also, if feasable.

Tata's Housing project in Chandigarh stalled for being ‘too close' to Sukhna Lake & Widlife Sanctuary

In the matter concerning the housing project, on the ground that the area in question falls within the catchment area of Sukhna Lake and is 123 meters away from the boundary of Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, the 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, MR Shah and BR Gavai, JJ., in Tata Housing Development Co. Ltd. v. Aalok Jagga, (2020) 15 SCC 784, held that such projects cannot be permitted to come up within such a short distance from the wildlife sanctuary. Stating that the entire exercise smacks of arbitrariness on the part of Government including functionaries, the bench said that the Court has to perform its duty in such a scenario when the authorities have failed to protect the wildlife sanctuary ecosensitive zone­. It said,

“The entire exercise of obtaining clearance relating to the project is quashed. We regret that such a scenario has emerged in the matter and that it involved a large number of MLAs of Punjab Legislative Assembly.”

Scope of the Court to enquire in decision of an Executive: Whether Court is concerned with decision-making process or ultimate decision?

While elaborating the scope of judicial review, Bench of L. Nageswara Rao, B.R. Gavai and B.V. Nagarathna, JJ., in Punjab State Power Corpn. Ltd. v. Emta Coal Ltd., (2022) 2 SCC 1, held that,

“It is not for the Court to determine whether a particular policy or a particular decision taken in the fulfilment of that policy is fair.”

Question relating to interpretation of Section 11 of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 which was an outcome of the judgment of this Court's decision in Manohar Lal Sharma v. Principal Secretary, (2014) 9 SCC 516, and ancillary question pertaining to the scope of judicial review of administrative action of the State authority arose for consideration in the instant appeals.

Can 'emotionally dead' marriage be dissolved in exercise of Art. 142 of Constitution?

The Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai, JJ., in Subhransu Sarkar v. Indrani Sarkar (Nee Das), 2021 SCC OnLine SC 720, dissolved a marriage while exercising its jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution of India as the marriage was emotionally dead.

Extension of tenure of the incumbent Director of Enforcement beyond two years

A Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai, JJ., in Common Cause v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 687 , upheld the Central Government's order extending the tenure of the incumbent Director of Enforcement Sanjay Kumar Mishra for a period of one year. The Supreme Court held that there is no fetter on the power of the Central Government in appointing the Director of Enforcement beyond a period of two years. Interpreting Section 25 of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003 which prescribes the minimum tenure of the Director of Enforcement, the Court observed:

“The words ‘not less than two years' cannot be read to mean ‘not more than two years' and there is no fetter on the power of the Central Government in appointing the Director of Enforcement beyond a period of two years.”

Directions issued to make voter's right to information more effective

A Division Bench comprising of R.F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai, JJ., in Brajesh Singh v. Sunil Arora, (2021) 10 SCC 241, found several political parties guilty of contempt of court for non-compliance of directions given by the Supreme Court in Rambabu Singh Thakur v. Sunil Arora(2020) 3 SCC 733, in connection with disclosure of information of candidates with criminal antecedents. Penalties have been imposed on the political parties found guilty. The Court also issued further directions in order to make the right of information of a voter more effective and meaningful.

Emergency arbitrator's award is referable to S. 17(1) of Indian Arbitration Act; enforceable under S. 17(2)

Holding that an award passed by Emergency Arbitrator is enforceable under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, a Division Bench of R.F. Nariman* and B.R. Gavai, JJ., Amazon.Com NV Investment Holdings LLC v. Future Retail Ltd., (2022) 1 SCC 209 ruled in favour of Amazon in the infamous Future-Amazon dispute. It was held that the interim award in favour of Amazon, passed by the Emergency Arbitrator appointed under the Arbitration Rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre is enforceable under the Indian Arbitration Act. The Court declared that full party autonomy is given by the Arbitration Act to have a dispute decided in accordance with institutional rules which can include Emergency Arbitrators delivering interim orders. 

Part IX-B of Constitution relating to cooperative societies unconstitutional for want of ratification by half of the States; Provisions relating to multi-State cooperative societies severable and valid

A 3-Judge Bench of the Court in Union of India v. Rajendra N. Shah,  2021 SCC OnLine SC 474, held that the Constitution (97th Amendment) Act, 2011 which inter alia inserted Part IX-B is ultra vires the Constitution insofar it is concerned with the subject of Cooperative Societies for want of the requisite ratification under Article 368(2) proviso. At the same time, the Court by a majority of 2:1, followed doctrine of severability in declaring that Part IX-B is operative insofar as it concerns Multi-State Cooperative Societies both within various States and in Union Territories.  R.F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai, JJ., formed the majority, whereas K.M. Joseph, J. penned a separate opinion dissenting partly with the majority. He expressed inability to concur with the view on the application of doctrine of severability. 

Whether a residential accommodation for nuns/students would fall under “religious or educational purposes” and be qualified for tax exemption?

The Division Bench comprising of R. F. Nariman* and B.R. Gavai, JJ., in State of Kerala v. Mother Superior Adoration Convent, (2021) 5 SCC 602, addressed the instant case regarding statutory interpretation.  The issue before the Bench was whether a residential accommodation for nuns and hostel for students would fall under “religious or educational purposes” for the purpose of tax exemption. The Bench expressed, “We must first ask ourselves what is the object sought to be achieved by the provision and construe the statute in accord with such object? And on the assumption that any ambiguity arises in such construction, such ambiguity must be in favour of that which is exempted.

Where one party habitually resides in a foreign country, arbitration becomes an international commercial arbitration even when the business is being carried through an office in India

The Division Bench of R.F. Nariman* and B.R. Gavai, JJ., in Amway India Enterprises (P) Ltd. v. Ravindranath Rao Sindhia, (2021) 8 SCC 465 , addressed an important case regarding nature of arbitration under Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. The Bench ruled, “If at least one of the parties was either a foreign national, or habitually resident in any country other than India; or by a body corporate which was incorporated in any country other than India; or by the Government of a foreign country, the arbitration would become an international commercial arbitration notwithstanding the fact that the individual, body corporate, or government of a foreign country carry on business in India through a business office in India.”

“Can't treat all of them as a liar”: SC while partially setting aside the 2018 SC/ST Act verdict

The 3-judge Bench of Arun Mishra*, MR Shah and BR Gavai, JJ., in Union of India v. State of Maharashtra, (2020) 4 SCC 761, partially set aside the 2-judge verdict in Dr Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v. State of Maharashtra, (2018) 6 SCC 454. It was held that some portions of the said verdict were against the concept of protective discrimination in favour of downtrodden classes under Article 15(4) of the Constitution and also impermissible within the parameters laid down by this Court for exercise of powers under Article 142 of Constitution of India

Prashant Bhushan sentenced to a fine of Rupee 1 for his contemptuous tweets

The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ., in Prashant Bhushan, In re (Contempt Matter), (2021) 3 SCC 160, sentenced advocate Prashant Bhushan with a fine or Re.1/ (Rupee one) to be deposited with the Registry by 15.09.2020, failing which he shall undergo a simple imprisonment for a period of three months and further be debarred from practising in this Court for a period of three years. It had found advocate Prashant guilty of criminal contempt on 14.08.2020 in the suo motu contempt petition initiated against him after he criticised the Supreme Court and the sitting and former CJIs in a couple of tweets. 

“If we do not take cognizance of such conduct, it will give a wrong message to the lawyers and litigants throughout the country. However, by showing magnanimity, instead of imposing any severe punishment, we are sentencing the contemnor with a nominal fine of Re.1/ (Rupee one).”

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


1. In Justice Gavai Supreme Court gets its first SC Judge in decade, The Times of India

2. Chief Justice and Judges, Supreme Court of India

3. Justice BR Gavai, Bombay High Court

4.  Judges' archive, Supreme Court Observer

5. Judges’ Archive, SC Observer

6. Justice Gavai to be second Dalit CJI, Indian Express

7. www.scconline.com – Judges Only Feature

Know thy Judge

 

 

We gained our freedom at a great cost. Every Indian, therefore, has to use his liberties to constantly question the actions of those in power because democracy gives no tickets to free meals. It is for us to assert and guard liberty and not be complacent about any encroachment.1.

— Justice S. Ravindra Bhat

Justice S. Ravindra Bhat was born on October 21, 1958 in Mysore, Karnataka. He completed his schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Faridabad. He completed B.A.(Hons.) in English from Hindu College, University of Delhi and graduated in law from Campus Law Centre, Delhi University, in 1982.

Justice Bhat enrolled as an Advocate with the Delhi Bar Council in 1982 and practised before the Supreme Court, where he was enrolled as an Advocate on Record in 1989, the Delhi High Court and various other judicial forums. He had an exposure in different branches of law like Public Law, Banking, Employment, Education, Labour and Service, Constitutional Disputes and Indirect Taxation during his legal career.2.

Justice Bhat was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court on July 16, 2004 and as a Permanent Judge on February 20, 2006.

  • Did You Know? Justice S. Ravindra Bhat headed India’s first High Court level e-court – Delhi HighCourt.

Justice Bhat was appointed as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Rajasthan on May 5, 2019 and was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on September 23, 2019.

  • Did You Know? Justice Bhat was among first few judges who asked not to address him as Your Lordship.3

Notable Judgements at Supreme Court

  • Did You Know? Justice S Ravindra Bhat has recused himself from hearing the Centre’s plea seeking Rs 7,844 crore as additional fund from successor firms of US-based Union Carbide Corporation for giving compensation to the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy victims.4.

Framing Guidelines Regarding Potential Mitigating Circumstances to be Considered while Imposing Death Sentences: In re, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1246

In a suo motu case initiated to address the question as to whether the provision of pre-sentence hearing in capital punishment cases is mandatory or discretionary, the 3-judges Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit, CJ., and S. Ravindra Bhat*, Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ., suggested that the matter be referred to a constitution Bench. Highlighting the apparent flaw of depriving the capital punishment convict of pre-sentence hearing, the Court held,

“In all cases where imposition of capital punishment is a choice of sentence, aggravating circumstances would always be on record, and would be part of the prosecution’s evidence, leading to conviction, whereas the accused can scarcely be expected to place mitigating circumstances on the record, for the reason that the stage for doing so is after conviction. This places the convict at a hopeless disadvantage, tilting the scales heavily against him.”

Read More…

Sidhique Kappan v. State of U.P., Crl.A. No.-001534-001534/2022

The 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, CJ and S. Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha, JJ has granted bail to Journalist Sidhique Kappan after considering the length of custody undergone by him ever since he was taken in custody on 06.10.2020. It is important to note that, last month, the Allahabad High Court had rejected his bail plea.

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CIT v. Khyati Realtors (P) Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1082

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.

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Yogendra Prasad Mandal v. State of Bihar, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 998

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…

Sukash Chandra Shekhar v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 894

In a highly controversial extortion case of about Rs. 200 crores in Delhi’s Tihar jail, the 3-judge Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat, and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ., has directed conman Sukash Chandra to reveal names of the persons involved in the alleged crime syndicate.

“If we go by the assertions made in the affidavit in response, while being in jail, the petitioner was able to garner support from outsiders who paid Rs. 12.5 crores on his behalf to the public servants or other interested persons.”

Read More…

Manoj v. State of M.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 677

In a significant ruling regarding better evaluation of possibility for the accused to be reformed, the 3-judge Bench comprising UU Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat* and Bela. M. Trivedi, JJ., framed practical guidelines for the courts to adopt and implement for conviction of offenses that carry the possibility of the death sentence.

The Court opined that the recent trend to call for a Probation Officer’s Report, is in fact a desperate attempt by the courts at the appellate stage, to obtain information on the accused. However, this too is too little, too late, and only offers a peek into the circumstances of the accused after conviction. Therefore, the Court made it mandatory for trial courts to call for psychiatric and psychological evaluation reports of the accused before awarding capital punishment. The Court observed,

“The unfortunate reality is that in the absence of well-documented mitigating circumstances at the trial level, the aggravating circumstances seem far more compelling, or overwhelming, rendering the sentencing court prone to imposing the death penalty, on the basis of an incomplete, and hence, incorrect application of the Bachan Singhi test.”

Read More…

Karan v. State of M.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 732

Adopting a humanitarian approach, the 3-judge Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat, and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ., allowed Project 39- A of the National Law University, Delhi, to have access to the appellant, a death row convict to interview him and conduct a psychological analysis in order to bring out mitigating circumstances.

Read More…

Haris Marine Products v. Export Credit Guarantee Corpn. Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 509

The 3-judge Bench comprising Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat*, Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha, JJ., reversed NCDRC’s findings where it had relied on third-party DGFT Guidelines to interpret the date of ‘despatch/shipment’ in the Single Buyer Exposure Policy of the respondent, and thereby deny the appellant’s claim.

The respondent had treated the date on which loading commenced as the date of despatch/shipment’ to reject the appellant’s insurance claim. Deciding the case in favour of the appellant, the Court held,

“The term ‘despatch’ contained in the policy implied ‘completion’ of handing over of possession of the goods to the first carrier (the ship), and not the date on which the loading ‘commenced’ such an interpretation would give rise to an absurdity.”

Read More…

Gopisetty Harikrishna v. State of A.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 654

“This case portrays very sorry state of affairs.”

In a significant case, the 4-judges Bench comprising of Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat, P.S. Narasimha and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ., issued directions to all the High Courts of the country to submit reports indicating status of cases where bail has been granted by the Supreme Court i.e. if any of such persons are deprived of the opportunity of being released on bail for some reason or the other.

Read More…

United India Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Levis Strauss (India) (P) Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 537

In a case relating to double insurance, the 3-Judge Bench comprising of Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat* and Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha, JJ., reversed the impugned order of National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) which allowed the insurance claim of Levi Strauss (India) Pvt. Ltd. which was repudiated by the insurer. The Bench opined,

“Levi could not claim more than what it did, and not in any case, more than what it received from Allianz.“

Read More…

Shaikh Ansar Ahmad Md. Husain v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 867

The Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat*, JJ., dismisses the appeal initiated by the accused contractors in Integrated Housing and Slum Development corruption case. The Bench observed,

“The constructions, according to the reports, were sub-standard – in respect of 100 such houses, so severe that the units were unusable. The main objective of providing housing to 1206 eligible and deserving families remains unfulfilled despite expenditure of substantial amounts.“

Read More…

Mohd. Rafiq v. State of M.P., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 731

The bench of KM Joseph and S. Ravindra Bhat*, JJ has reiterated the factors to be considered while deciding the question of whether in a given case, a homicide is murder, punishable under Section 302 IPC, or culpable homicide, of either description, punishable under Section 304 IPC.

The Court explained that the use of the term “likely” in several places in respect of culpable homicide, highlights the element of uncertainty that the act of the accused may or may not have killed the person. Section 300 IPC which defines murder, however refrains from the use of the term likely, which reveals absence of ambiguity left on behalf of the accused. The accused is for sure that his act will definitely cause death.

“It is often difficult to distinguish between culpable homicide and murder as both involve death. Yet, there is a subtle distinction of intention and knowledge involved in both the crimes. This difference lies in the degree of the act. There is a very wide variance of degree of intention and knowledge among both the crimes.“

Read More…

Delhi Airport Metro Express (P) Ltd. v. DMRC, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 695

A Division Bench comprising of L. Nageswara Rao* and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ. upheld the arbitral award of Rs 2782.33 crore plus interest made by the Arbitral Tribunal in favour of Delhi Airport Metro Express (P) Ltd. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court which had interfered with the Tribunal’s award. While so deciding, the Supreme Court also observed that:

“There is a disturbing tendency of courts setting aside arbitral awards, after dissecting and reassessing factual aspects of the cases to come to a conclusion that the award needs intervention …“

Following is a comprehensive report of Supreme Court’s analysis of law on the subject and merits of the appeal.

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Commissioner of Police v. Raj Kumar, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 637

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

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

Appellant (Commissioner of Police, Delhi) on being aggrieved by the Delhi High Court decision by which the respondents were directed to be considered for appointed to the post of Constable of Delhi Police, filed the present appeal.

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…

Rahul S. Shah v. Jinendra Kumar Gandhi, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 341

The 3-judge bench of the former CJI SA Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhatt, JJ had issued detailed directions to all Courts dealing with suits and execution proceedings after the troubles of the decree holder in not being able to enjoy the fruits of litigation on account of inordinate delay caused during the process of execution of decree were brought to the Court’s notice.

Read More…

Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil v. Chief Minister, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 362

The 5-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan*, S.A. Nazeer, L. Nageswara Rao**, Hemant Gupta** and S. Ravindra Bhat**, JJ quashed the much in debate Maratha Reservation and has held that the 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 as amended in 2019 granting 12% and 13% reservation for Maratha community in addition to 50% social reservation is not covered by exceptional circumstances as contemplated by Constitution Bench in Indra Sawhney’s case.

Read More…

IN RE: TO ISSUE CERTAIN GUIDELINES REGARDING INADEQUACIES AND DEFICIENCIES IN CRIMINAL TRIALS, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 329

After noticing common deficiencies which occur in the course of criminal trials and certain practices adopted by trial courts in criminal proceedings as well as in the disposal of criminal cases and causes, the 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhatt, JJ has directed all High Courts to take expeditious steps to incorporate the Draft Rules of Criminal Practice, 2021 as part of the rules governing criminal trials, and ensure that the existing rules, notifications, orders and practice directions are suitably modified, and promulgated (wherever necessary through the Official Gazette) within 6 months.

Read More…

In Re: EXPEDITIOUS TRIAL OF CASES UNDER SECTION 138 OF N.I. ACT 1881, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 325

Noticing that the summary trials of complaints filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 are being routinely converted to summons trials in a “mechanical manner”, the Constitution bench of SA Bobde, CJ and L. Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai, AS Bopanna and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has directed the High Courts to issue practice directions to the Magistrates for recording cogent and sufficient reasons while doing so.

Read More…

IN RE: DISTRIBUTION OF ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES AND SERVICES DURING PANDEMIC, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 339

A day before Justice Bobde’s retirement, the 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has taken suo motu cognisance of the “grim” situation of the country hit by the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic and has asked the Central Government to report on,

  1. The existence or otherwise and requirement of setting up of a coordinating body that would consider allocation of COVID resources in a consultative manner (with the involvement of concerned States and Union 3 Territories).

  2. Considering declaration of essential medicines and medical equipment including the Drugs, oxygen and vaccination as essential commodities in relation to COVID.

  3. In respect of coordination of logistical support for inter-State and Intra-State transportation and distribution of the above resources.

Read More…

Patricia Mukhim v. State of Meghalaya, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 258

The division bench of L. Nageswara Rao* and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has quashed the criminal case registered against Shillong Times Editor Patricia Mukhim under Sections 153-A, 500 and 505(1)(c) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

“Free speech of the citizens of this country cannot be stifled by implicating them in criminal cases, unless such speech has the tendency to affect public order.“

Read More…

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

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

Read More…

Indore Development Authority v. Manohar Lal Sharma, (2020) 8 SCC 129

The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra*, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah, and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., unanimously held that the land owners who had refused to accept compensation or who sought reference for higher compensation, cannot claim that the acquisition proceedings had lapsed under Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

Last year, Justice Arun Mishra, heading the Bench, had refused to recuse himself from hearing the case and had said,

“I would be committing a grave blunder by recusal in the circumstances, on the grounds prayed for, and posterity will not forgive me down the line for setting a bad precedent. It is only for the interest of the judiciary (which is supreme) and the system (which is nulli secundus) that has compelled me not to recuse.“

Justice Mishra’s recusal was sought on the ground that he was heading a Bench meant to re-examine a judgment that he had himself given in 2018 in Indore Development Authority v. Shailendra, (2018) 3 SCC 412.

Read More…

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

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

The bench was answering the reference relating to the grant of time for filing response to a complaint under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 wherein the answers to the following questions were sought:

  • whether Section 13(2) (a) of the Consumer Protection Act, which provides for the respondent/opposite party filing its response to the complaint within 30 days or such extended period, not exceeding 15 days, should be read as mandatory or directory; i.e., whether the District Forum has power to extend the time for filing the response beyond the period of 15 days, in addition to 30 days.

  • what would be the commencing point of limitation of 30 days stipulated under the aforesaid Section.

Read More…

Mahonar Lal Jat v. State of Rajasthan, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 956

n the case where Direct Recruits to the newly created posts of Tax Assistants in the Finance Department of the Government of Rajasthan claimed seniority over Departmental Promotees, the bench of Indira Banerjee and S. Ravindra Bhat*, JJ held that the seniority of the promotees given on the basis of their dates of appointment was justified by Rule 27 of the Rajasthan Commercial Taxes Subordinate Services (General Branch) Rules, 1975.

Read More…

BK Ravichandra v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 950

“The courts’ role is to act as the guarantor and jealous protector of the people’s liberties: be they assured through the freedoms, and the right to equality and religion or cultural rights under Part III, or the right against deprivation, in any form, through any process other than law.“

In a case where the Union of India was sitting over certain lands since 33 years without any authority, the bench of Indira Banerjee and S. Ravindra Bhat*, JJ directed the Union of India to hand back possession of the suit lands to the appellants, within three months.

“33 years (based upon cessation of the Union’s legal possession) is a long enough time, even in India, to be kept away from one’s property.“

Read More…

Madras Bar Association v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 962

The 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao*, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat has issued extensive directions in relating to selection, appointment, tenure, conditions of service, etc. relating to various tribunals, 19 in number, thereby calling for certain modifications to the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities [Qualification, Experience and Other Conditions of Service of Members] Rules, 2020.

Read More…

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…

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.”

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Arjun Panditrao Khotkar v. Kailash Kushanrao Gorantyal, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 571;

In a reference dealing with the interpretation of Section 65-B 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.

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Rambabu Singh Thakur v. Sunil Arora, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 178

In a major judgment today, a bench of RF Nariman* and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has directed all political parties to upload on their website details of pending criminal cases against candidates contesting polls, noting that there has been an alarming increase in criminalisation of politics.

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Saurav Yadav v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1034

“Open category is open to all”

A 3-judge bench of UU Lalit*, S. Ravindra Bhat* and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ., while deciding the petition challenging the appointment of General category female candidates who had secured lower marks as Constables in Uttar Pradesh Police, ruled against the U.P. government and clarified the relationship between horizontal and vertical reservations.

“The open category is not a ‘quota’, but rather available to all women and men alike.”

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Mrinalini Padhi v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1415

The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra*, MR Shah and S. Ravindra Bhatt, JJ issued a slew of directions to ensure proper darshan of the deity at Shri Jagannath Temple, Puri by all the devotes and has asked the Temple Administration and the Chief Administrator including the State Government to prepare a roadmap with the help of experts for having proper darshan by the devotees/pilgrims and to implement it effectively and to ensure that there is no commotion so that everybody is able to have darshan peacefully without any obstruction by anybody.

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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.”

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Notable Judgements at High Court

  • Did You Know? Justice Ravindra Bhat, when he was a judge in the Delhi High Court upheld a decision by Central Information Commission (CIC) that the office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is public authority under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and therefore judges’ assets should be made public.

BGP Products v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 12928;

“Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall. A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.”

— Oliver Wendell Holmes.

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.”

Pushp Sharma v. D.B. Corpn. Ltd., 2018 SCC OnLine Del 11537

The Division Bench comprising of S. Ravindra Bhat* and A.K. Chawla, JJ. addressed the blazing issue of “Cobrapost” sting operation all over the electronic and print media by addressing two appeals in a suit for permanent injunction.

“Democracy presupposes robustness in debates, which often turns the spotlight on public figures and public institutions-like media houses, journals and editors.”

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Emdigital Ltd. v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 8939

A Bench comprising of S. Ravindra Bhat* and Yogesh Khanna, JJ., upheld the grant of tender to an Israel based system integrator (second respondent herein), for procurement of stabilized Remote Control Guns, the end user being the Indian Navy and Indian Coast guard.

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Sanjeet Singh Kaila v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 8170;

“….There is honor in A Soldier you hear it when he talks.

There is courage in A Soldier you can see it in his eyes,

There is loyalty in A Soldier that he will not compromise.

There is something in A Soldier that makes him stand apart,

There is strength in A Soldier that beats from his heart.

A Soldier isn’t a title any man can be hired to do,

A Soldier is the soul of that man buried deep inside of you.

A Soldier’s job isn’t finished after an 8 hour day or a 40 hour week,

A Soldier is always A Soldier even while he sleeps.

A Soldier serves his country first and his life is left behind, A Soldier has to sacrifice what comes first in a civilian’s mind…”

-Angela Goodwin

The Division Bench of S. Ravindra Bhat*, Deepa Sharma, JJ., 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.”

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Mini Appa Kanda Swami v. M.Indra, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 5312

“Privacy is a fundamental human right. (…)So when a woman enters into matrimony, it is the duty of the family members of her matrimonial home to provide her with some privacy.”

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.

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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.


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

* Judge who has penned the judgment.

** Judge who has penned a concurring opinion.

1. Justice S. Ravindra Bhat was speaking on the ‘Role of Judiciary in Governance’ during the first anniversary celebrations of an organization called “Connecting Governed, Governing and Governance”.

2. https://main.sci.gov.in/chief-justice-judges

3. Eastern Book Company, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKTcPkv0v5o

4. https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2020/01/28/bhopal-gas-tragedy-heres-why-justice-s-ravindra-bhat-recused-from-hearing-centres-plea-for-additional-fund/

Know thy Judge

“The world acknowledges that children in conflict with law should be treated differently than adults in conflict with law. The reason is that the mind of the child has not attained maturity and it is still developing. Therefore, the child should be tested on different parameters and should be given an opportunity of being brought into the main stream if, during his juvenility, has acted in conflict with law.” 

Vikram Nath 

Barun Chandra Thakur v. Bholu,  2022 SCC OnLine SC 870

 

To Know About: 

Name: Vikram Nath (Sitting Judge of the Supreme Court of India) 

Assumed Office: 31-08-2021 

Retires On: 24-09-2027 

Previously: Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court  

                    Judge of the Allahabad High Court 

  

Born on 24-09-1962, Justice Vikram Nath hails from a family of lawyers with him being the 4th generation in his family to pursue law. He obtained his law degree from the University of Lucknow in 1986. He enrolled as an advocate on 30-03-1987 and practised as an advocate in the Allahabad High Court. 

  • Did You Know?  Justice Nath practised as an advocate for 17 years before he was elevated as an Additional Judge of the Allahabad High Court in 2004. 

Justice Vikram Nath was elevated as an Additional Judge of the Allahabad High Court on 24-09-2004 and was made a permanent Judge of the Allahabad High Court on 27-02-2006. 

  • Did You Know?  Justice Vikram Nath was recommended for first Chief Justice of new Andhra Pradesh HC, following the bifurcation of a combined High Court for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, but the Centre disapproved the recommendations. 

Justice Nath was appointed as Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court on 10-09-2019.  

  • Did You Know?  Justice Nath is the first Chief Justice of a High Court in India to live stream its proceedings on Youtube during the 2020 Covid Pandemic. 

Justice Nath was elevated to the Supreme Court on 31-08-2021. 

  • Did You Know?  Justice Vikram Nath is likely to serve as the Chief Justice of India for seven months from February 10, 2027 to September 24, 2027. 

  

Notable Judgements at Supreme Court 

  

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

The Division Bench of Hemant Gupta and Vikram Nath*, JJ., reversed the impugned judgments of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Trial Court of convicting the appellant for murder on the basis of circumstantial evidence. 

Noting that there were many broken links in the chain of evidence and the prosecution could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Casting a doubt on the prosecution version, the Court remarked, 

“The milk which is said to be adulterated with the poison was taken out from the refrigerator, transferred into a pan for boiling, and thereafter given to the deceased. If it actually had organophosphorus in it the smell would have filled up the room. The deceased being a healthy woman aged 45 years would not have consumed it if the pungent smell was coming from the milk. Even the informant did not sense any foul smell from the milk while boiling it.” 

[Rajbir Singh v. State of Punjab, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1090, decided on 24-08-2022] 

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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 

In an unfortunate incident in 2017, a class II student was found with his throat slit in the bathroom of his school. A class XI student, aged 16 years and 5 months on the date of the incident, was arrested. The Supreme Court was called upon to examine the preliminary assessment made under Section 15 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The bench of Dinesh Maheshwari and Vikram Nath*, JJ has asked the Central Government and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights to consider issuing guidelines or directions in this regard which may assist and facilitate the Board in making the preliminary assessment under section 15 of the Act, 2015. 

“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. For example, risky driving may result in an accident. But if emotional competence is not high, the urge for thrill seeking may get the better of his intellectual understanding.”

[Barun Chandra Thakur v. Bholu, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 870, decided on 13.07.2022] 

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Unless there’s a written instrument declaring land was voluntarily relinquished for no consideration, State cannot deny payment of compensation 

The Division Court of Vikram Nath* and Dinesh Masheswari, JJ., held that the State’s act of taking the appellants’ property, all being farmers, without compensation, was arbitrary, irrational, and a clear violation of Article 300A of the Constitution. Since the land in question was agricultural, the Court opined that non-payment of adequate compensation would amount to a violation of the right to livelihood; a fundamental right under Article 21. 

[Kalyani v. Sulthan Bathery Municipality, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 516, decided on 26-04-2022] 

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Mafat Lal v. State of Rajasthan, (2022) 6 SCC 589 

The Division Court of Vikram Nath* and S A Nazeer, JJ., held that kidnapping would necessarily involve enticing or taking away any minor under 18 yrs of age, if a female, for offence under S. 363 IPC to be made out. 

  

Why has the legislature left it open for the plaintiff to value his claim for the six categories of the suit falling under Section 7(iv) of the Court Fees Act, 1870? 

In case relating to court fees, the bench of Dinesh Maheshwari and Vikram Nath*, JJ had the occasion to explains why the legislature had left it open for the plaintiff to value his claim for the six categories of the suit falling under Section 7(iv) of the Court Fees Act, 1870. 

[State of Punjab v. Dev Brat Sharma, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 330, decided on 16.03.2022] 

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Right to promotion is not considered to be a fundamental right but consideration for promotion has now been evolved as a fundamental right: Supreme Court 

The 3-Judges Bench comprising of D.Y. Chandrachud, Vikram Nath* and B.V. Nagarathna, JJ., set aside the seniority list prepared by the Department of Minor Irrigation, U.P. on finding the list to be in contravention of statutory mandate. The Bench stated, 

“The Appointing Authority ought to have prepared a combined merit list based upon the performance or the proficiency on the basis of the marks received in the selection test as prepared by the Commission; otherwise, it would amount to denial of the right of consideration for promotion to a more meritorious candidate as against a candidate having lesser merit.”

[Ajay Kumar Shukla v. Arvind Rai, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1195, decided on 08-12-2021] 

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Same offence but separate trials – Can appellate court pass common judgment based on evidence recorded in only one trial? 

In the case where two different criminal appeals were being heard against two sets of accused, on account of one of them absconding, and decided against two different judgments based upon evidence recorded in separate trials, though for the commission of the same offence, the 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath* and BV Nagarathna, has held that the Madras High Court fell into an error while passing a common judgement, based on evidence recorded in only one trial, against two sets of accused persons having been subjected to separate trials. 

[AT Mydeen v. Customs Department, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1017, decided on 29.10.2021] 

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Entire country under impression that Re-Rolling Steel Plants do not require prior Environmental Clearance; NGT right in giving such plants opportunity to meet the requirement 

In an appeal regarding the jurisdiction of National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) to pass an order to operate a unit without Environmental Clearance and against the decision of closure of the unit, the bench of Hemant Gupta* and Vikram Nath, JJ. has observed that there was no error in the order passed by the Tribunal that opportunity should be provided to re-rolling or cold rolling units to fall within Environmental Clearance (EC) regime by granting a period of at least one year to operate for the purpose. However, the order of closure of the unit cannot be sustained. 

[Gajubha Jadeja Jesar v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 993, decided on 10.08.2022] 

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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”. 

The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath, JJ has issued notice to the Gujarat Government on the release of 11 men convicted for the gangrape of Bilkis Bano during the 2002 Gujarat riots. The Court has also directed that the 11 released men be impleaded as parties in the plea challenging the decision of the Gujarat Government. 

[Subhashini Ali v. State of Gujarat, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1083, order dated 25.08.2022] 

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

In the case where a candidate appearing for examination for recruitment to the post of Constables in Railway Protection Force (RPF) had used a different language in the OMR answer book than that filled in the application form, the bench of Hemant Gupta* and Vikram Nath, JJ has held that his candidature was rightly rejected. 

[Union of India v. Mahendra Singh, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 909, decided on 25.07.2022] 

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Bail applications of co-accused arising from the self-same FIR shall be listed before the same court to avoid disparity 

With a view to bringing reform in practices relating to disposal of bail applications arising from the same case, the Division Bench of Ajay Rastogi and Vikram Nath, JJ., held that where more than one bail application has been filed by co-accused of offences arising from self-same FIR, all such applications shall be listed before the same court to avoid disparity.   

[Abhyanand Sharma v. State of Bihar, W.P. (Cr) No. 420 of 2021, decided on 10-05-2022]   

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FIR for repeated rape cannot be filed just because a long standing relationship is no longer working out; Pre-arrest bail granted 

The Division Bench of Hemant Gupta and Vikram Nath, JJ has granted pre-arrest bail to a man in a case relating to the rape of the woman he had been in a relationship with for four years. 

When the relationship between the bail applicant and the complainant started, the complainant was 21 years of age. Taking these factors together, the Court observed, 

“…the complainant has willingly been staying with the appellant and had the relationship. Therefore, now if the relationship is not working out, the same cannot be a ground for lodging an FIR for the offence under Section 376(2)(n) IPC.”

[Ansaar Mohammad v. State of Rajasthan, CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.962 OF 2022, order dated 14.07.2022] 

  

Long co-habiting couple’s child cannot be disentitled from family property in absence of proof against presumption of marriage 

In a family property dispute wherein the legitimacy of one of the contenders was questioned, the Division Bench of SA Nazeer* and Vikram Nath, JJ has held that if a man and a woman live together for long years as husband and wife, there would be a presumption in favour of wedlock and since in the present case, the defendants had failed to rebut the presumption in favour of a marriage between the plaintiff’s parents on account of their long co-habitation, he cannot be held to be an illegitimate son. 

[Kattukandi Edathil Krishnan v. Kattukandi Edathil Valsan, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 737, decided on 13.06.2022] 

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Whether the term “school children” includes university students while interpreting Government Memo exempting buses carrying school children from Passengers Tax?  

While holding that the term “school children” will include college and university as well while interpreting government memo exempting passengers’ tax in respect of Stage Carriage (buses) owned by educational institution and used for the transportation of children to and from such institutions, the Division Bench of Dinesh Maheshwari and Vikram Nath, JJ., remarked, 

“It gets perforce reiterated that the broad expression “children”, obviously, refers to the students taking instructions in educational institutions, irrespective of their class or standard or level.”

[State of Haryana v. Daronacharya College of Engineering, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 3333, order dated 27-09-2021] 

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IGST on Ocean Freight for imports unconstitutional; Won’t create a level playing field but will drive Indian shipping lines out of business 

In the case where the constitutionality of two Central Government notifications related to levy of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) was under scanner, the 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud*, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath, JJ has held that since the Indian importer is liable to pay IGST on the ‘composite supply’, comprising of supply of goods and supply of services of transportation, insurance, etc. in a CIF contract, a separate levy on the Indian importer for the ‘supply of services’ by the shipping line would be in violation of Section 8 of the CGST Act. 

The Court observed that, 

“If Indian shipping lines continue to be taxed and not their competitors, namely, the foreign shipping lines, the margins arising out of taxation from GST would not create a level playing field and drive the Indian shipping lines out of business.”

[Union of India v. Mohit Minerals (P) Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 657, decided on 19.05.2022] 

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“Democratic interests cannot be judicially aborted to preserve unfettered freedom to conduct business, of the few”; Govt. decision to ban MTTs in PPE products ensures adequate PPE in India 

In a case where an intermediary between the sale of PPE products by a supplier in China to a buyer in the United States, challenged the prohibition of the export of PPE products from India, the bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud*, Vikram Nath and BV Nagarathna, JJ held that as a developing country with a sizeable population, banning MTTs in PPE products was critical in ensuring that Indian foreign exchange reserves are not utilized to facilitate the hoarding of PPE products with wealthier nations. 

The Court held that, 

“Democratic interests that secure the well-being of the masses cannot be judicially aborted to preserve the unfettered freedom to conduct business, of the few.”

[Akshay N. Patel v. RBI, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1180, decided on 06.12.2021] 

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Disciplinary proceedings against person with mental disability is a facet of indirect discrimination; SC sets aside action against CRPF personnel 

In a case where the CRPF had initiated disciplinary proceeding against a person with a medical history of obsessive compulsive disorder  and depression and has been undergoing treatment for the same since 2009, the 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud*, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath, JJ has held that the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against persons with mental disabilities is a facet of indirect discrimination as such persons suffer a disproportionate disadvantage due to the impairment and are more likely to be subjected to disciplinary proceedings. 

“…while the stigma and discrimination against persons with mental health disorders are rampant in society, as the highest constitutional court of the country, it falls upon us to ensure that societal discrimination does not translate into legal discrimination.”

[Ravindra Kumar Dhariwal v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1293, decided on 17.12.2021] 

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Women burdened with an unequal share of family responsibilities yet discriminated at workplace; State must consider family life while framing any policy 

Speaking about the systemic discrimination on account of gender at the workplace which encapsulates the patriarchal construction that permeates all aspects of a woman’s being from the outset, including reproduction, sexuality and private choices, within an unjust structure, the bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud* and Vikram Nath, JJ has observed that it becomes necessary for the Government to adopt policies through which it produces substantive equality of opportunity as distinct from a formal equality for women in the workplace. 

[SK Nausad Rahaman v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 297, decided on 10.03.2022] 

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Notable Judgements at High Court 

  

[Midnight Hearing] | Situation of Ahmedabad on account of COVID-19 cannot be compared with situation in Puri or in the State of Orissa (sic Odisha); No Rath Yatra at Ahmedabad 

A Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ* and J.B. Pardiwala, J., rejected all the civil applications in a midnight hearing, filed with regard to granting permission for Rath Yatra on the ground that Supreme Court allowed the Yatra in restricted manner by modifying its earlier order. 

[Mahant Akhileshwardasji Ramlakhandasji v. State of Gujarat, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 917 , decided on 23-06-2020] 

Read More 

Also Read | SC modifies order; Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra to take place in a restricted manner 

  

 “If State would not have been doing anything, we all would have been dead”: Gujarat High Court berates politicizing of COVID-19 situation while at the same time reminding the State of its Constitutional obligations 

A Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ and J.B. Pardiwala, J.* while addressing certain issues with regard to COVID-19, stated that, 

“Healthcare access is the ability to obtain healthcare services such as prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases, illness, disorders, and other health ­impacting conditions. For healthcare to be accessible it must be affordable and convenient.”  

[Suo Motu v. State of Gujarat, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 836, decided on 29-05-2020] 

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[COVID-19] | No Rath Yatra shall be carried out at Ahmedabad; No activities secular or religious associated with Rath Yatra to be conducted 

A Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ* and J.B. Pardiwala, J., held that in view of present times of outbreak of COVID-19, there shall be no Rath Yatra at Ahmedabad and any of the districts in the State of Gujarat.  

[Hitesh Kumar Vittalbhai Chavda v. Shri Jagannathji Mandir Trust, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 910 , decided on 20-06-2020] 

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U.P. Power Corpn. Ltd. v. Urmila Devi, 2011 SCC OnLine All 152 

The 3- Judge Bench comprising of Ferdino Inacio Rebello, C.J. and Vineet Saran and Vikram Nath, JJ., deliberated upon the question that whether the definition of “family” under the U.P. State Electricity Board Dying in Harness Rules, 1975 would include a daughter-in-law. It was observed that a daughter-in-law on the death of her husband, does not cease to be a part of the family. 

“The concept that such daughter-in-law must go back and stay with her parents is abhorrent to our civilized society. Such daughter-in-law must, therefore, have also right to be considered for compassionate appointment as she is part of the family where she is? married and if staying with her husband’s family. In this context, in our opinion, arbitrariness, as presently existing, can be avoided by including the daughter-in-law in the definition of ‘family’. Otherwise, the definition to that extent, prima facie, would be irrational and arbitrary. The State, therefore, to consider this aspect and take appropriate steps so that a widowed daughter-in-law like a widowed daughter, is also entitled for consideration by way of compassionate appointment, if other criteria is satisfied”. 

 

‘Harrowing Tales, Unfortunate and Unimaginable Difficulties’ HC takes suo moto cognizance due to upsurge in COVID-19 cases and asks what steps Government will take 

The Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ and Bhargav D. Karia, J., had a dialogue with the Senior most State Law Officers, Advocate General and Government Pleader expressing concern regarding the upsurge of COVID-19 cases in the State and requesting the State to take appropriate measures in order to check and control the rise in COVID-19 cases and its management. 

[Suo Motu v. State of Gujarat, R/WP (PIL) No. 53 of 2021, decided on 12-04-2021] 

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Respondent entitled to gratuity under S. 2(e) of Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Act, 2009; Court dismisses appeal while reproducing observations of Single Judge 

The Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ and Ashutosh J. Shastri, J., dismissed a Letters Patent Appeal which was filed aggrieved by the judgment and order passed in Special Civil Application. 

The Court stated that order cannot be said to be perverse in any form, as all possible contentions which had been raised have been dealt with by the Single Judge. The Court further mentioned that after construing the relevant provisions, namely Section 2(e) of the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Act, 2009 and after analyzing the facts in the context of Section 40(c) of the Act, they were in conformity with the view taken by the Single Judge. 

[Godhara Sarvajanik Shikshan Mandal v. Dimpleben Bhrupeshkumar Shah, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 1656, decided on 03-02-2020] 

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Employed woman permitted to appear for All India Bar Examination; Directions issued to the Bar Council of Gujarat  

A Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ and J.B. Padiwala, J., allowed a petition which was filed praying to issue an appropriate writ, order or direction in order to quash and set aside Rule 1 and Rule 2 of the Bar Council of Gujarat (Enrollment) Rules to the extent that they prohibited the admission of a person who was otherwise qualified to be admitted as an advocate, but was either in full or part-time service or employment or was engaged in any trade, business or profession, as an advocate. 

[Twinkle Rahul Mangaonkar v. Union of India, R/Special Civil Application No.  15123 of 2019, decided on 06-10-2020] 

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Virtual Streaming of Court proceedings to be decided after Judge’s report to work out modalities in view of facilitating public at large 

A Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ and P.B. Pardiwala*, J., while addressing an issue with regard to the live streaming of the Court proceedings held that a committee to work out the modalities for the said purpose has been constituted comprising of two Judges of this Court. 

“Right to Know and receive information is one of the facts of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and for which reason the public is entitled to witness the Court proceedings.” 

[Pruthvirajsinh Zala v. Gujarat High Court, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 1055 , decided on 20-07-2020] 

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Tablighi Jamaat Crisis | Union of India to provide complete information to State of Gujarat of persons who were present for Tablighi Jamaat & have entered Gujarat 

A Division Bench of Vikram Nath*, CJ and Ashutosh J. Shastri, J. addressed a suo motu public interest litigation in view of incident of mass congregation in Delhi. 

At least 200 members of the said congregation have been reported to traveled to the State of Gujarat who may be infected with COVID-19. News reports have further confirmed death of one person in Gujarat out of a total of 8 deaths all over the country who had participated in the congregation at Delhi. 

[Suo Motu v. State of Gujarat,  2020 SCC OnLine Guj 385, decided on 01-04-2020] 

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* Judge who has penned the judgment. 


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

Know thy Judge

“When dealing with cases under Section 304-B IPC, a provision legislated to act as a deterrent in the society and curb the heinous crime of dowry demands, the shift in the approach of the courts ought to be from strict to liberal, from constricted to dilated. Any rigid meaning would tend to bring to naught, the real object of the provision. Therefore, a push in the right direction is required to accomplish the task of eradicating this evil which has become deeply entrenched in our society.”

Justice Hima Kohli

State of M.P. v. Jogendra, (2022) 5 SCC 401


Born on 02-09-1959, Justice Hima Kohli brought up in Delhi. She did her schooling from St. Thomas School and graduated from St. Stephens College, University of Delhi in 1979. After getting her postgraduate degree in History from the University of Delhi, she completed her degree in Law in 1984 from the Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi.

As an Advocate

Justice Kohli enrolled as an advocate in the Bar Council of Delhi in 1984 and started practicing at the Courts in Delhi. She joined the chambers of Mrs. Sunanda Bhandare who later was elevated to the position of a Delhi High Court Judge. On the recommendation of Justice Sunanda Bhandare, she joined the chamber of Mr. Y.K. Sabharwal. She then worked at the Chambers of Mr. Vijendra Jain till he himself was elevated as a Delhi High Court judge in 1992 and then continued her practice independently.

  • Did you know? All the three lawyers, i.e. Mrs. Sunanda Bhandare, Mr. Y.K. Sabharwal and Mr. Vijendra Jain, Justice Kohli worked with became High Court judges while she was working with them.[1]

In 1999, she was appointed as Standing Counsel for the New Delhi Municipal Council at the Delhi High Court. She held this position until she was appointed as Additional Standing Counsel Civil for the Government of NCT Delhi in 2004. She was also the Legal Advisor to various government and private corporations including Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the National Agricultural Co-operative Marketing Federation of India, and the National Co-operative Development Corporation. She also provided legal aid services with the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee.

  • Did you know? During her practice, she worked with Dr. Justice M.K Sharma before he became the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court. He guided her through her first few judgements.[2]

Justice Hima Kohli had marked her presence in many cases as an advocate. Some of the significant cases represented by her are:

As a Judge

On 29-05-2006, Justice Kohli was appointed as an additional judge in the Delhi High Court she was made permanent judge on 29-08- 2007. During her tenure as a judge in Delhi High Court, she wrote several remakable orders and judgments, including protecting the identity of juveniles accused of crime, calling for inquiries into the detention of prisoners who had already been granted bail, provision of facilities to enable visually-challenged people to study in government educational institutions, etc

  • Did you know? Justice Hima Kohli was instrumental in passing directions to increase labs to conduct more COVID-19 tests in Delhi and to decrease the wait period for test results from three days to one day.

Justice Kohli was elevated as the Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court. She was elevated as a Judge of Supreme Court of India on 26-08-2021.

  • Did you know? Justice Hima Kohli was the 1st woman Chief Justice of Telangana High Court

Justice Kohli is also involved with legal education and legal aid in India. In 2017, she was on the General Counsel of the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, in Kolkata. She also served on the council for the National Law University, New Delhi. She became the chairperson of the Delhi State Legal Services Authority from 20-04-2020.

Apart from performing her official duties as a Judge, she takes a keen interest in promoting mediation as an alternative dispute resolution forum, in highlighting the role of the judiciary in preservation of the ecology and environment and the role of Family Courts in resolving family disputes. She has participated in and presented papers at several National and International symposiums and conferences on these subjects.[3]

  • Did you know? Justice Hima Kohli wrote 21 judgements till date after been elevated to Supreme Court.1

Notable Judgements at Supreme Court

“Promise Of Freebies By Political Parties May Push State Towards Bankruptcy”, Says Supreme Court: 4 Issues Referred To A Larger Bench

The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Hima Kohli and CT Ravikumar, JJ has referred, the matter relating to promise of freebies by political parties as a part of their election manifesto or during election speeches, to a larger Bench after observing that,

“Freebies may create a situation wherein the State Government cannot provide basic amenities due to lack of funds and the State is pushed towards imminent bankruptcy. In the same breath, we should remember that such freebies are extended utilizing tax payers money only for increasing the popularity of the party and electoral prospects.”

[Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1098,]

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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.

[Sundresh Bhat v. Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, CIVIL APPEAL No. 7667 of 2021, decided on 26.08.2022]

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

The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Hima Kohli and CT Ravikumar*, JJ has dismissed the Special Leave to Appeal in the hate speech case relating to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

[Parvez Parwaz v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1103]

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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.

“War of words between them is no solution. It may rather impair the need of a robust mechanism to respond at such a critical juncture.”

[Lawyers’ Voice v. State of Punjab, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1096]

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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.

[Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Ltd v. Adani Power (Mundra) Ltd, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1068]

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Pegasus| ‘National security cannot be the bugbear that the judiciary shies away from’. The initially reluctant Supreme Court finally decides to interfere

The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, JJ has 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.”

“This Court has always been conscious of not entering the political thicket. However, at the same time, it has never cowered from protecting all from the abuses of fundamental rights.”

[Manohar Lal Sharma v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 985]

Read More…

Also Read | The what, the why, the who and the how: All you need to know about SC’s independent probe order in Pegasus case

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 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJI and Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, JJ has referred the question relating to interpretation of Schedule X of the Constitution pertaining to disqualification, as well as the powers of the Speaker and the Governor and the power of judicial review thereof, to the 5-judge Constitution bench.

[Subhash Desai v. Principal Secretary, Governor of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1062]

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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. The Court observed that both these provisions were still-born law and never utilized in the first place.

“The continued presence of an unconstitutional law on the statute book, or the claim that such law was not challenged before Constitutional Courts, does not prevent this Court from holding that such unconstitutional laws cannot enure to the benefit of or be utilized to retroactively amend laws to cure existing constitutional defects. If such curing is allowed, then Article 20(1) of the Constitution would be rendered nugatory.”

[Union of India v. Ganpati Dealcom (P) Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1064]

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Lack of enthusiasm of ACB, ADGP not relevant for deciding bail application of accused; SC stays Karnataka HC order against ADGP Seemant Kumar Singh

In a bail application, after the single judge Bench of Karnataka High Court criticised the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) for their lack of enthusiasm, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, JJ has observed that the alleged involvement of the ADGP, and the enthusiasm (or lack thereof) of the ACB officers are irrelevant and beyond the ambit of bail proceedings.

[Seemant Kumar Singh v. Mahesh PS, Diary No(s).20525/2022, order dated 18.07.2022]

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Confessional Statements made under Section 67 of NDPS Act inadmissible

In a case relating to a drug racket spread across three States namely, U.P., Punjab and Rajasthan, the 3-Judge Bench of N. V. Ramana, CJ., and Krishna Murari, Hima Kohli*, JJ., reversed the impugned order of Delhi High Court releasing the respondent-accused on post-arrest bail.

“The length of the period of his custody or the fact that the charge-sheet has been filed and the trial has commenced are by themselves not considerations that can be treated as persuasive grounds for granting relief to the respondent under Section 37 of the NDPS Act.”

[Narcotics Control Bureau v. Mohit Aggarwal, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 891]

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Madras High Court’s decision to keep enquiry report in a sealed cover in SP Velumani graft case doesn’t sit well with Supreme Court

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

“It was the High Court which had ordered that a preliminary enquiry be conducted and a report be submitted by the special investigating officer. However, once the enquiry was completed, the High Court failed to even peruse the said report. Rather, the High Court left the decision completely in the hands of the State Government. Such an approach, as adopted by the High Court in the present matter, cannot be countenanced in law.”

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

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Allahabad HC grants bail to a history sheeter only on the basis of parity; prompts SC to lay down illustrative circumstances for cancellation of bail

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

“There is certainly no straight jacket formula which exists for courts to assess an application for grant or rejection of bail but the determination of whether a case is fit for the grant of bail involves balancing of numerous factors, among which the nature of the offence, the severity of the punishment and a prima facie view of the involvement of the accused are important. This Court does not, normally interfere with an order passed by the High Court granting or rejecting bail to the accused. However, it is equally incumbent upon the High Court to exercise its discretion judiciously, cautiously and strictly in compliance with basic principles laid down in a catena of judgments by this Court.”

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

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Beyond Reasonable Doubt versus Preponderance of Probabilities: Supreme Court explains why circumstances guide the Courts in deciding Right to Private Defence cases

The bench of BR Gavai and Hima Kohli*, J has held that while deciding a case relating to right to private defence, the Court’s assessment would be guided by several circumstances including the position on the spot at the relevant point in time, the nature of apprehension in the mind of the accused, the kind of situation that the accused was seeking to ward off, the confusion created by the situation that had suddenly cropped up resulting the in knee jerk reaction of the accused, the nature of the overt acts of the party who had threatened the accused resulting in his resorting to immediate defensive action, etc.

“The underlying factor should be that such an act of private defence should have been done in good faith and without malice.”

[Ex. Ct. Mahadev v. Border Security Force, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 739]

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More than one chargesheet is necessary for invoking provisions of Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Act, 2015

The Division Bench comprising B.R. Gavai and Hima Kohli, JJ., (Vacation Bench) reversed the order of the Gujarat High Court, by which the applicant was denied the benefit of bail under the Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Act, 2015 (GCTOC Act). The Court held that existence of more than one charge sheet against the accused is essential for invoking the provisions of GCTOC Act.

[Mohamad Iliyas Mohamad Bilal Kapadiya v. State of Gujarat, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 713]

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Amazon-Future-Reliance Dispute| SC allows Future Group to approach Delhi HC for continuation of merger deal with Reliance Group

The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli, JJ has granted liberty to Future Retail Limited (FRL) to approach the Delhi High Court by filing an application seeking continuation of the NCLT proceedings beyond the 8th Stage i.e. Meeting of Shareholders and creditors.

[Future Coupons (P) Ltd. v. Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 188]

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Is Arbitration Tribunal empowered to award compound interest?

The 3-judge Bench comprising of N.V. Ramana, CJ., A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli*, JJ., held that Arbitral Tribunal is empowered to award interest on post award interest.

The instant appeal was filed by UHL Power Co. Ltd. against the order of the Himachal Pradesh High Court disallowing it pre-claim interest i.e., interest from the date when expenses were incurred, till the date of lodging the claim.

[UHL Power Co. Ltd. v. State of H.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 19]

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Can Demand of Money for Construction of a House be Treated as a Dowry Demand? SC answers in a 2002 case where a 5-months pregnant woman set herself on fire

In a case where the Madhya Pradesh High Court had held that demand of money for construction of a house cannot be treated as a dowry demand, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli*, JJ has found the said observation erroneous and has held that the word “Dowry” ought to be ascribed an expansive meaning so as to encompass any demand made on a woman, whether in respect of a property or a valuable security of any nature.

“Dowry must first consist of any property or valuable security— the word “any” is a word of width and would, therefore, include within it property and valuable security of any kind whatsoever.”

[State of M.P. v. Jogindra, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 33]

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Sedition Law under scanner| All pending cases to be kept in abeyance; Centre/States urged not to register fresh cases till Section 124A is reviewed

In the petitions challenging the Constitutionality of Section 124-A of the Penal Code 1860 dealing with the offence of Sedition, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, JJ has urged the State and Central Governments to restrain from registering any FIR, continuing any investigation or taking any coercive measures by invoking Section 124A of IPC while the sedition law is under consideration.

[S.G. Vombatkere v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 609]

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From investigation till culmination of appeal/revision, victim has right to be heard at every step post the occurrence of an offence

In the Lakhimpur Kheri violence case, where the Allahabad High Court had granted bail to the accused Ashish Mishra despite the fact that the ‘victims’ had got disconnected from the online proceedings and could not make effective submissions, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, CJ and Surya Kant* and Hima Kohli, JJ had the occasion to decide whether a ‘victim’ as defined under Section 2(wa) CrPC is entitled to be heard at the stage of adjudication of bail application of an accused.

“Victims cannot be expected to be sitting on the fence and watching the proceedings from afar.”

[Jagjeet Singh v. Ashish Mishra, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 453]

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Wife goes missing from matrimonial home; body found a week later: Circumstances unerringly point to husband’s guilt despite slipshod investigation

Despite a slipshod investigation in a case, the 3-judge bench of NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Hima Kohli*, JJ has upheld the conviction of a man guilty of killing his wife within a few months of the marriage on her failing to satisfy the demands of dowry. The deceased Fulwa Devi had gone missing from her matrimonial home and her body was found on the bank of river Barakar after a week.

[Parvati Devi v. State of Bihar, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1285]

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Notable Judgements at High Court

While religious sentiments of society must be respected, right to life & health of public at large can’t be sacrificed at altar of right to celebrate a festival: HC refuses permission to celebrate Chhat Puja at public places

A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., while addressing the instant matter observed that, “while religious sentiments of all sections of the society must be respected, the right to life and health of the public at large cannot be sacrificed at the altar of a right to celebrate a festival, however, significant it may be for a particular community.”

“This is the time to scale down to contain the infection and not to escalate the same.”

[Shri Durga Jan Seva Trust v. GNCTD, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 1456]

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Is the liability of Principal Borrower and Guarantor co-extensive? Court reiterates SC’s position on continuation of SARFAESI proceedings against Guarantor by banks

A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., while considering the question whether a bank/financial institution can institute or continue with proceedings against a guarantor under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act), when proceedings under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 (IB Code) have been initiated against the principal borrower and the same are pending adjudication, found no merit in the petition and dismissed it.

[Kiran Gupta v. State Bank of India, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 1390]

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Husband citizen and domicile of USA, Can he raise objections on divorce proceedings filed by wife in India? Court decrypts the law in light of catena of SC’s decisions

A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., while observing a matrimonial application, observed that divorce petition filed by the respondent/wife read as a whole, does disclose a valid cause of action that can be entertained by the Family Court in India.

“The plaint must be read as a whole to determine as to whether it discloses a cause of action.”

[Karan Goel v. Kanika Goel, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 1319]

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NLU-Delhi succumbed to GNCTD’s pressure | Notification providing 50% horizontal reservation to candidates having passed qualifying exam from NCT of Delhi — Stayed

A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., while addressing the matter with regard to domicile reservation policy for the candidates who have passed qualifying examination from Delhi appearing held that,

“It is well settled that when a statute provides for a thing to be done in a particular manner, it has to be done in that manner only.”

[Balvinder Sangwan v. State (NCT) of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 674]

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Adultery can only be committed after marriage, allegation of having relationship before marriage cannot be a ground of adultery; Divorce petition dismissed

A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Asha Menon, JJ., while addressing a matrimonial appeal filed on behalf of the husband, held that,

“Adultery can only be committed after marriage, allegation of having relationship before marriage cannot be a ground of adultery.”

[Vishal Singh v. Priya, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 638]

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Re-opening of country in a phased manner is not a decision, to have been taken in haste; Costs imposed on finding wastage of judicial time

The Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ. while dismissing a petition that challenged the MHA Notification of phased reopening of the country after nationwide lockdown, imposed a cost of Rs 20,000 due to wasting judicial time.

[Arjun Aggarwal v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 642 ]

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Non-Provision of Ration | “It is most unacceptable that e-coupons have been distributed in such a large number and yet e-coupon holders are left high and dry”

A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad, JJ., while dealing with the issue of non-provision of ration to e-coupon holders directed GNCTD to ensure that ration to be supplied to the said people by evening of 21-05-2020.

“Any non-compliance shall be viewed seriously.”

[Shabnam v. State (NCT) of Delhi, WP(C) No. 3205 of 2020, decided on 10-05-2020]

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Second marriage of a mother is by itself not sufficient to deprive her of custody of her biological child

A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Asha Menon, JJ. dismissed an appeal filed by the appellant-father against the judgment of the Family Court whereby his application under Section 25 of the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 seeking custody of his minor son was rejected.

“The respondent’s remarriage can hardly be a ground for the appellant to claim that being the natural guardian of the child, he has a better right to claim his custody, over the respondent. At the end of the day, the court must examine the facts and circumstances of the case and then come to a conclusion as to whether it would be in the better interest of the minor child to remain in the custody of the father or the mother.”

[Faisal Khan v. Humera, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 572]

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A typical case that showcases as to what would amount to cruel behaviour on part of one spouse to utter detriment of other

A Division Bench of Hima Kohli and Asha Menon, JJ., while addressing a matrimonial application stated that,

“Marriage is no doubt a sacrament, but it cannot be a one sided affair.”

Present appeal has been preferred against the Judgment of Family Court wherein the marriage between the appellant/respondent and respondent/petitioner was dissolved as the same was sought on grounds of cruelty and desertion within the meaning of Section 13(1)(i—a) and (i—b) of Hindu Marriage Act.

[Venkatesh Narasimhan v. V. Sujatha, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 571]

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Student not to be deprived of fruits of labour because of unavoidable medical concerns; order granting gold medal upheld: Delhi HC

The Division Bench comprising of Hima Kohli and Rekha Palli, JJ., maintained the decision of a Single Judge in which it was decided “to award a Gold Medal to the respondent for his remarkable academic performance”, which was being denied by the appellant, i.e. Guru Gobin Singh Indraprastha University.

[Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University v. Abhinav Pandey, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 11915]

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Cancellation of candidature of an IIT Qualified engineer at the final stage of induction into Civil Services held disproportionate to bonafide omission

The Division Bench comprising of Rekha Palli and Hima Kohli, JJ., allowed an appeal and set aside the order passed by Principal Bench, Central Administrative Tribunal, New Delhi concerning the cancelling of candidature for Civil Services Examination 2017 by UPSC.

“Error on the part of the petitioner could not be treated as a misrepresentation or suppression of facts.”

[Anuj Pratap Singh v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 10982]

Read More…


* Judge who has penned the judgment.

[1] Lexi Insider, https://lexinsider.com/justice-hima-kohli-a-self-made-woman-in-a-mans-world/

[2] Lexi Insider, https://lexinsider.com/justice-hima-kohli-a-self-made-woman-in-a-mans-world/

[3] High Court for the State of Telangana, https://tshc.gov.in/judprofile.action?judcode=1011


1. SCC Online, https://www.scconline.com/Members/SearchResult.aspx

Know thy Judge

Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia was born on 10-08-1960 in in Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand to Shri Keshav Chandra Dhulia, who was also a Judge at Allahabad High Court and Smt Sumitra Dhulia, a Sanskrit Professor. His grandfather was a freedom fighter who sentenced to jail for seven years (severed for three years and later was released) for participating in the Quit India Movement.

Did You Know? Justice Dhulia is a grandson of Pundit Bhairav Dutt Dhulia who was a freedom fighter and editor of Hindi newspaper Karmabhumi newspaper in Garhwal, Uttarakhand.

Justice Dhulia has two brothers – the elder Himanshu Dhulia, a retired naval officer, and the younger Tigmanshu Dhulia is a filmmaker.

Did You Know? Justice Dhulia is the brother of national award-winning film director and actor Tigmanshu Dhulia.[1]

He did his earlier schooling from Dehradun, Allahabad and Lucknow. In his growing up years, he participated in debates, played sports and was a part of number of plays in theatre. He graduated from Allahabad University in 1981 and completed his masters Masters in Modern History in 1983. Justice Dhulia completed his L.L.B. in 1986


As an Advocate


Justice Dhulia is a second-generation legal professional who joined the Bar at Allahabad High Court in 1986 and then shifted his base to High Court of Uttarakhand after formation of the new state in 2000.

Initially, he practiced on the Civil and Constitutional side before the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad and was the legal counsel for IIT, Roorkee, State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand Ltd. (SIDCUL), Bhagirathi River Valley Authority, amongst others. He was designated as Senior Advocate in June, 2004 at High Court of Uttarakhand.

♦ Did You Know? After the creation of the new  State  of Uttarakhand, Justice  Dhulia  became  its  First  Chief  Standing Counsel and was later appointed as State Additional  Advocate  General.

He was also an honorary professor in the Uttarakhand Academy of Administration (ATI) Nainital.


As a Judge


Justice Dhulia was elevated as a permanent Judge of Uttarakhand High Court on 01-11-2008. He was also appointed as the judge in-charge of education at the Uttarakhand Judicial and Legal Academy.

Did You Know? Over 13 years as a Judge of the Uttarakhand High Court, Justice Dhulia authored 1,119 Judgments and was part of 1,415 Benches.[2]

He was elevated as Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court on 07-01-2021 and took the oath on 10-01-2021.

Did You Know? In the one year and four months he spent as Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court, Justice Dhulia authored 81 judgments and sat on 110 Benches.[3]

Justice Dhulia was elevated as Judge of Supreme Court of India on 09-05-2022.


Notable Judgements


Tihar Jail Crime Syndicate| Supreme Court directs conman Sukash Chandra to reveal names of persons involved in Rs. 200 crores extortion case

In a highly controversial extortion case of about Rs. 200 crores in Delhi’s Tihar jail, the 3-judge Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat, and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ., has directed conman Sukash Chandra to reveal names of the persons involved in the alleged crime syndicate. [Sukash Chandra Shekhar v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 894]

Read More…


Supreme Court allows Project 39A of NLU Delhi to conduct psychological evaluation of a death row convict to bring out mitigating factors 

Adopting a humanitarian approach, the 3-judge Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat, and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ., allowed Project 39- A of the National Law University, Delhi, to have access to the appellant, a death row convict to interview him and conduct a psychological analysis in order to bring out mitigating circumstances.  [Karan v. State of M.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 732]

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Person languishes in jail for 2 years despite being granted bail by Supreme Court; Supreme Court criticizes Trial Judge for misinterpreting bail order

In a significant case, the 4-judges Bench comprising of Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat, P.S. Narasimha and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ., issued directions to all the High Courts of the country to submit reports indicating status of cases where bail has been granted by the Supreme Court i.e. if any of such persons are deprived of the opportunity of being released on bail for some reason or the other.

“… where the custody of a person for 9 years was found to be sufficient to entitle him to be released on bail, is now turned into custody for 11 years. This is nothing but  reincarnation of Hussainara Khatoon [(1980) 1 SCC 81] & Motil Ram[(1978) 4 SCC 47].”

[Gopisetty Harikrishna v. State of A.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 654]

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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. [Noor Mohammad v. Khurram Pasha, Crl.A. No.-001123-001123 / 2022, decided 02.08.2022]

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Husband seeking personal information such as salary of wife under Right to Information Act, 2005; Whether acceptable or not?

Dismissing the petition being devoid of merits, Sudhanshu Dhulia J., held that it cannot be any anybody’s case that a Government authority being Government school does not come under the definition of ‘public authority’. The only exception as to the information given under the Act under Section 8 of the RTI Act, is an exemption from disclosure of information. It further observed that the nature of information sought by respondent 8 is not covered under any of the exemption given under Section 8 of the RTI Act. [Jasmeet Kaur v. State of Uttarakhand, 2016 SCC OnLine Utt 2276]

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Mere installation of CCTV cameras in hospitals is not enough; HC directs to connect Hospital cameras to the nearest Police Station

The Division Bench comprising of Sudhanshu Dhulia, CJ, and Manash Ranjan Pathak, J., directed to connect CCTV cameras of Hospitals to the nearest Police Station to put a check on increasing instances of violence against medical practitioners amid Covid-19. [Asif Iqbal v. State of Assam, 2021 SCC OnLine Gau 1529]

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Not in interest of the child; HC stays Sessions Court’s order granting custody of teenage rape victim to relatives of accused 

The Division Bench of Sudhanshu Dhulia, CJ., and  Manash Ranjan Pathak, J., addressed a suo motu PIL concerning the plight of a rape victim, where the victim was a child between 12-15 years of age.

Observing the sensitivity of the matter, the Bench issued strict directions to the State to depute a team of medical officers, including a lady doctor to conduct medical examination on the victim, only for the determination of her age. The Bench emphasised strictly that the examination shall be limited to a bone ossification test and no other test be done as the victim had already been medically examined. [State of Arunachal Pradesh, In Re., PIL (Suo Moto) No. 5 of 2021, decided on 30-06-2021]

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Violence against Doctors; HC directs State to take immediate actions if any medical practitioner is manhandled or abused

The Division Bench of Sudhanshu Dhulia, CJ., and Manash Ranjan Pathak, J., addressed the issue of violence against doctors. The Bench ordered the State to ensure that no medical practitioner is manhandled or abused in any manner. [Suo Motu v. State of Assam, PIL (Suo Moto) No.4 of 2021, Order dated 14-06-2021]

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Court directs ration be provided to struggling sex workers and their families who have been identified; further asks AIDS societies to identify the rest and give relief 

The Division Bench of Sudhanshu Dhulia, CJ. and Manash Ranjan Pathak, J., took up a petition filed in the nature of PIL; concern raised was the present condition of sex workers in Assam who, according to the petitioner in most cases, were on the verge of starvation, considering the strange and difficult times of the present COVID-19 pandemic, which is now in its second wave. [Debajit Gupta v. State of Assam, 2021 SCC OnLine Gau 1169]

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“What kind of test is being done for determination of COVID-19 infection?”; HC directs Assam government to set up Mobile Medical Units in Tea Gardens

The Division Bench of Sudhanshu Dhulia, CJ., and Manash Ranjan Pathak, J., addressed the issues relating to situation under the Covid-19 pandemic in the Tea Gardens of Assam and conditioner of workers in these Tea Gardens.

“We have absolutely no doubt that since the Government already has the resources, these Mobile Medical Units must be put in use for testing and other purposes in the Tea Gardens as well, if not already being done.”

[Anjan Nagg v. Union 0f India, 2021 SCC OnLine Gau 1105]

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Court rejects Plea of bias against the Enquiry officer; Dismisses petition in the matter of departmental proceedings

The Division Bench of Sudhanshu Dhulia and Alok Kumar Verma, JJ., dismissed a writ petition which was filed in the nature of certiorari and mandamus for quashing of certain orders passed by the enquiry officer and with a prayer to change the enquiry officer on grounds of bias. [Kanwar Amninder Singh v. High Court of Uttaranchal, 2020 SCC OnLine Utt 722]

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State contractual employees entitled to claim Child Care Leave

A Full-Bench of Ramesh Ranganathan CJ, Sudhanshu Dhulia and Alok Kumar Verma JJ, held that contractual state employees are also entitled to child care leave, and that its denial would mean the denial of the rights of a child. [Tanuja Tolia v. State of Uttarakhand, 2020 SCC OnLine Utt 337]

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Law provides a remedy at two stages, one before authority concerned and later before appellate authority, both must be fair and in compliance with the norms of natural justice

Sudhanshu Dhulia*, J., contemplated a petition presented before him by the petitioner who was a member of Waqf Board and was subsequently disqualified, aggrieved by which he filed the instant petition.

The Court observed that though the petitioner had a remedy under sub-section (2) of Section 83 of the Waqf Act, 1995 however, in this particular case the existence of an alternative remedy before the Tribunal not operated as a bar inasmuch as the present order had been passed without affording opportunity of hearing to the petitioner. [Haji Rao Sharafat Ali v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 893]

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Voluntarily depriving husband of wife’s company and comfort of matrimonial life amounts to cruelty; Divorce granted 

A Division Bench of Sudhanshu Dhulia and Narayan Singh Dhanik*, JJ., contemplated the special appeals preferred against the judgment of Family Court, where the divorce petition was filed under Section 13 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and was subsequently dismissed but the counterclaim of the wife-respondent for the right of residence was decreed in the favor of the respondent. [Raghuveer Kaintura v. Meera Kaintura, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 718]

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Compensation increased considering raise in annual notional income of a non-earning member pursuant to 1994 amendment in MV Act

Sudhanshu Dhulia*, J., allowed the appeal filed by the appellants against the award passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Rudrapur in MACT Case No. 153 of 2013, whereby compensation of Rs 3,00,000 was awarded to the claimants. [Parwati Devi v. Paramjeet Singh, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 672]

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Reservations in favor of sportsperson is traceable to Article 16(1); atrocities of exhaustiveness of reservation under Art. 16(4) observed by the Court

A Full Bench of Ramesh Ranganathan* CJ and Sudhanshu Dhulia and Alok Singh, JJ., entertained a writ petition calling into question the exhaustiveness of Article 16(4) of the Constitution of India. [Dhananjay Verma v. State of Uttrakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine Utt 373]

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Biological resources are property of Nation; Divya Pharmacy’s challenge to Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing dismissed

A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sudhanshu Dhulia, J. stated that Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS) under the Biodiversity Act, 2002, was welfare legislation that was made to cater the needs of the local and indigenous communities. [Divya Pharmacy v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Utt 1035]

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Judge has to be protected from vexatious charges and malicious litigations; Judge of Court of Record cannot be tried for committing contempt of his own Court

A Division Bench comprising of Sudhanshu Dhulia and Rajiv Sharma, JJ., dismissed a contempt petition against a ‘Judge of a court of record’ purely on the question of law.

“The duty of a Judge, after all, was to dispense justice – without fear or favour, affection or ill will, without passion or prejudice. It is not a part of his duty to please litigants or keep lawyers in good humor. A Judge, ironically, with respect to the office he holds, does not enjoy much liberty and freedom. The principal requirement for all Judges, and particularly for a Judge of Court of Record, is to maintain his independence. A Judge can also be very helpless at times with respect to the position he holds hence for the sake of the independence of judiciary, a Judge has to be protected, from vexatious charges and malicious litigations.”

[Chhitij Kishore Sharma v. Justice Lok Pal Singh, CCP No. 03 of 2018, Order dated 04-09-2018]

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In the matter of appointments to higher echelons, fairness should be the hallmark of selection

A Division Bench comprising of U.C. Dhyani* and  Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ. dismissed a challenge against the appointment of State Chief Information Commissioner. The main challenge in the petition was that the office of the State Chief Information Commissioner has become the ‘dumping ground’ for retired bureaucrats, who are rewarded for their loyalty to the State Government. [Chandra Shekhar Kargeti v. State Of Uttarakhand; 2018 SCC OnLine Utt 29]

Read More…


† Ritu Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 

* Judge who has penned the judgment.


[1] NDTV, https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/gauhati-hc-cj-dhulia-justice-pardiwala-of-guj-hc-take-oath-as-sc-judges-2958197

[2] Supreme Court Observer, https://www.scobserver.in/judges/sudhanshu-dhulia/

[3] Supreme Court Observer, https://www.scobserver.in/judges/sudhanshu-dhulia/

Know thy Judge

“A possibility of abuse cannot be used to deny legitimate rights to citizens”

Justice A.M. Khanwilkar

Jigya Yadav v. CBSE, (2021) 7 SCC 535


A trip down the memory lane is what Retirements and Farewells essentially are in regards to a Supreme Court Judge. It is a chance to reminisce and cherish their tenure and take in the importance and gravity of the imprint that they will leave behind in the form of their numerous decisions. The year 2022 is ‘The Year of Farewells’ for the Supreme Court, because never before has it seen such a flurry of retirements as it has in this year.

This month, Supreme Court’s Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar is all set to retire after a comprehensive term of 6 years. It also means that it is time for us to take our readers on a time travel, to run through the past and present of Justice Khanwilkar’s life in law, with anticipation for an equally stellar future.


Early Life and Career as an Advocate [1982- 2000][1]


Justice A. M. Khanwilkar was born on 30-07-1957 in Pune, Maharashtra. He did his graduation (B. Com) from Mulund College of Commerce, Mumbai and LL.B. from K.C. Law College, Mumbai.

After graduating in law, Justice Khanwilkar enrolled as Advocate on 10-02-1982. During his time as a counsel, Justice Khanwilkar handled Civil, Criminal and Constitutional matters before the Subordinate Courts, Tribunals and High Court of Judicature at Bombay on the Appellate Side as well as the Original Side. During his practicing years, Justice Khanwilkar got a wide range of exposure in Criminal, Civil, Constitutional, Election and Co-operative matters.

From the year 1984, Justice Khanwilkar started his practice in the Supreme Court of India. He also worked as Additional Government Advocate for the State of Maharashtra till December 1989. Justice Khanwilkar was appointed as Panel Counsel for Union of India in January 1990 whereby which, he had the opportunity to represent the Union of India in several matters of national importance.

In August 1994 he was appointed as Amicus Curiae by the Supreme Court to assist on environmental issues in the case of M.C. Mehta (Calcutta Tanneries’ Matter) v. Union of India, (1997) 2 SCC 411. He was also the Standing Counsel for the Election Commission of India for Supreme Court matters from March 1995 till his elevation as a Judge. In October 1995, Justice Khanwilkar was appointed as Standing Counsel for the State of Maharashtra for Supreme Court matters.

♦Did you Know? Even in private practice, Justice Khanwilkar had on occasion handled matters of great significance before the Supreme Court to represent persons in high public offices as also various statutory Authorities, Corporations and institutions.

As Member of Committees/Task Force/ Associations

Justice Khanwilkar was appointed as Member of the Task force (headed by the former Chief Justice of India Justice E. S. Venkataramaiah ) constituted by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India in November 1995 for examining and reporting on the amendments needed in the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act.

He was also the Executive Member of the Supreme Court Bar Association and Joint Secretary and Executive Member of the Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association.

Notable Appearances as a Counsel


Judgeship of the High Court [2000- 2016][2]


A.M. Khanwilkar’s tryst with judgeship began from the year 2000 when he was appointed as the Additional Judge of the Bombay High Court on 29-03-2000. He was later confirmed as permanent Judge of the Bombay High Court on 08-04-2002.

On 04-04-2013, Justice Khanwilkar was elevated the Chief Justice of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh. Thereafter, he was appointed as Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court on 24-11-2013.

Notable High Court Decisions

Bombay High Court

State of Maharashtra v. Murarao Malojirao Ghorpade, 2009 SCC OnLine Bom 1645

Swatanter Kumar, CJ., and S.B. Mhase, A.M. Khanwilkar, A.S. Oka and R.M. Savant, JJ., held that Words “all the land held by a person or as the case may be by a family unit whether in this State or any part of India” in Section 3(2) of Maharashtra Agricultural Lands (Ceilings on Holdings) Act (27 of 1961), cannot be given effect as it has extra-territorial operation beyond State of Maharashtra.

Harish Vithal Kulkarni v. Pradeep Mahadev Sabnis, 2009 SCC OnLine Bom 1996

The 3 Judge Bench of Swatanter Kumar, CJ., and A.M. Khanwilkar and Mridula Bhatkar, JJ., held that expression “or” occurring in Order 18, Rule 4(2), CPC, means “either”. Expression “shall” occurring in Order 18, Rule 4(2) is mandatory only to extent that cross-examination of witness, whose evidence has been taken on Affidavit in lieu of chief-examination, has to be taken. It was held that the Court has discretion to direct cross-examination to be done before the Commissioner appointed by it with such directions as it may think fit and it is not mandatory for Court to record evidence only before Court. Judicial discretion contemplated in Order 18, Rule 4(2) is to be exercised on settled principles of law; evidence can also be recorded by electronic media which may result in expeditious disposal.

Himachal Pradesh High Court

State of H.P. v. Mehboon Khan, 2013 SCC OnLine HP 4080

The 3 Judge Bench of AM Khanwilkar, CJ., and VK Sharma and Dharam Chandra Chaudhry,JJ., held that Section 293 of CrPC postulates that Expert Report cannot be thrown out merely because Expert was not summoned or because details of tests not been given, unless and until Court is satisfied that summoning of Expert for furnishing tests carried out is necessary.

Vikram Chauhan v. Managing Director, 2013 SCC OnLine HP 1715

While deciding the issue that whether Co-operative Banks established in the State of Himachal Pradesh are “State” within the meaning of Art. 12, the Bench of AM Khanwilkar, CJ., R.B. Misra and DD Sud, JJ., referred the issue for consideration of Full Bench.

Madhya Pradesh High Court

Asif Mohd. Khan v. State of M.P., 2015 SCC OnLine MP 6742

The powers of the competent authority regarding suspension of employee are, that they can pass order revoking suspension of employee and can also transfer him at another place. There is no prohibition in M.P. Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1966, R. 9(5)(a) and (b) barring Competent Authority from passing such composite order.

Technofab Engineering Ltd. v. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., 2015 SCC OnLine MP 6744

Sch. I, Art. 1-A [As substituted by M.P. Amendment Act (6 of 2008) w.e.f. 2-4-2008] of Court Fees Act, providing for upper limit of Court Fees instead of ad valorem Court Fees is beneficial legislation. The benefit of upper limit of Court Fees prescribed by Amendment Act, must be applied uniformly to all litigants instituting their claim after 2-4-2008, be it in the form of plaint before subordinate Court or memorandum of appeal before the High Court.


Judgeship of Supreme Court of India [2016- 2022]


Justice Khanwilkar was elevated as Judge of Supreme Court of India and assumed charge on 13-05-2016.

In March 2018, Justice Khanwilkar was appointed as the Chairman of the Water Disputes Tribunal called ‘The Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal’, for the adjudication of the water dispute regarding the inter-State River Mahanadi, and the river valley thereof. The appointment was done in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 4 of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956, and by an order of the President. The Tribunal was constituted by the Central Government with the members nominated by the Chief Justice of India.

Notable Supreme Court Judgments

When it comes to Justice Khanwilkar’s many decisions as a Supreme Court Judge, his tenure has been multi-faceted, as his decisions have not centered around one specific field of law.[3]

♦Did You Know? Justice Khanwilkar has authored approximately 200+ Supreme Court Judgments[4]

Some of the notable decisions on various issues, that have been rendered by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and the decisions that he had been a part of, are as follows-

Prevention of Money Laundering Act

Justice Khanwilkar’s final week before his retirement saw the coming of a significant decision concerning the constitutional validity of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. In Vijay Madanlal Choudhary v. Union of India, SLP (Criminal) No. 4634 OF 2014, the 3-Judge Bench of A.M. Khanwilkar*, Dinesh Maheshwari and C.T. Ravikumar, JJ., upheld the validity of the challenged provisions of the 2002 legislation. The Bench also held that in view of the special mechanism envisaged by the 2002 Act, ECIR cannot be equated with an FIR under CrPC. “Supply of a copy of ECIR in every case to the person concerned is not mandatory, it is enough if Enforcement Directorate at the time of arrest, discloses the grounds of such arrest”.

Fundamental Rights

In Jigya Yadav v. CBSE, (2021) 7 SCC 535, the 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar*, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ., held that the right to control one’s identity is a fundamental right and the Central Board of Secondary Education cannot deny such right by refusing to allow a person to change their name in the Certificates without giving them reasonable opportunity.

A 5 Judge Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A. K. Sikri, A. M. Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan in Common Cause (A Registered Society) v. Union of India, (2018) 5 SCC 1  held that the right to die with dignity is a fundamental right. An individual’s right to execute advanced medical directives is an assertion of the right to bodily integrity and self-determination and does not depend on any recognition or legislation by a State.

Elections

In Shobhabai Narayan Shinde v. Commr., (2022) 3 SCC 35, while deciding that whether an appeal could be filed before the Divisional Commissioner against an order passed by the Collector under Section 14B (1) of the Maharashtra Village Panchayats Act, 1959, declining to disqualify a Sarpanch/Member of the Panchayat for allegedly having failed to lodge an account of election expenses within the time and in the manner prescribed by the State Election Commission, without offering any good reason or justification for such failure? Answering an interesting question of law, the Bench of AM Khanwilkar* and CT Ravikumar, JJ., held that no remedy of appeal is envisaged against an order of the State Election Commission or its delegatee –the Collector, under Section 14B (1) of the Maharashtra Village Panchayats Act, 1959, rejecting the complaint or to drop the proceedings for declaration of a Sarpanch/Member having incurred disqualification.

In the case of Public Interest Foundation v. Union of India, (2019) 3 SCC 224, the 5-judge bench comprising Dipak Misra, CJ., and R.F. Nariman, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, JJ., made the disclosure of criminal antecedents by the contesting candidates mandatory and held that the disclosure of antecedents makes the election a fair one and the exercise of the right of voting by the electorate also gets sanctified. It has to be remembered that such a right is paramount for a democracy. A voter is entitled to have an informed choice.

In Rahul Ramesh Wagh v. State of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 692, the Bench of A.M. Khanwilkar, Abhay S. Oka and C.T. Ravikumar, JJ., directed Maharashtra State Election Commission to expeditiously conduct elections of local bodies (around 2486), which were pending for over 2 years (in some cases) due to disputed constitutional validity of State Amendments seeking to introduce delimitation in the State.

Local Government- OBC Reservation in Elections

The 3-Judge Bench comprising of A.M. Khanwilkar*, Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi, JJ., addressed the instant petition, i.e., Vikas Kishanrao Gawali v. State of Maharashtra, (2021) 6 SCC 73, wherein a declaration had been sought that Section 12(2)(c) of the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961 (Act, 1961), was ultra vires the provisions of Articles 243D and 243T including Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. The Bench remarked-

 “State legislations cannot simply provide uniform and rigid quantum of reservation of seats for OBCs in the local bodies across the State that too without a proper enquiry into the nature and implications of backwardness by an independent Commission”

Schools, Students and Education

The division bench of AM Khanwilkar* and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., in Indian School v. State of Rajasthan, (2021) 10 SCC 517, issued “general uniform direction” of deduction of 15 per cent of the annual school fees for the academic year 2020-2021 in lieu of unutilized facilities/activities and not on the basis of actual data school-wise. The said direction was issued in order to obviate avoidable litigation by over 36,000 schools and to give finality to the issue of determination and collection of school fees for the academic year 2020¬21, as a one-time measure.

The 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar*, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar, JJ., in Rajneesh Kumar Pandey v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1005, directed the Central Government to notify the norms and standards of pupil-teacher ratio for special schools and also separate norms for special teachers who alone can impart education and training to Children/Child with Special Needs (CwSN) in the general schools. While the Petitions before the Court pertained to State of Uttar Pradesh and Punjab only, the extensive direction issued by the Court will apply pan India.

The bench of AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., in Mamta Sharma v. CBSE, (2022) 1 SCC 368, refused to interfere with the assessment Scheme propounded by the C.B.S.E or I.C.S.E for the Class XII students and has held that, “… the stated Schemes are fair and reasonable and take into account concerns of all students and is in larger public interest.”

Legislative Processes/ Legislations

In a big relief to the 12 BJP MLAs who were suspended by the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, by resolution dated 05.07.2021, for a period of 1 year due to “undisciplined and unbecoming behavior resulting in maligning the dignity of the House”, the 3-judge bench of A.M. Khanwilkar*, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar, JJ., in Ashish Shelar v. Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 105, held that the said resolution is unconstitutional, grossly illegal and irrational to the extent of period of suspension beyond the remainder of the concerned (ongoing) Session.

The 2-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ., in L.R. Brothers Indo Flora Ltd v. Commissioner of Central Excise, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 705, held that for application of a subsequent legislation retrospectively, it is necessary to show that the previous legislation had any omission or ambiguity or it was intended to explain an earlier act.

Judiciary, Courts and its Administration, Practice and Procedure etc.

Holding advocates to be officers of the Court, the bench of AM Khanwilkar* and CT Ravikumar, JJ., in NKGSB Cooperative Bank Limited v. Subir Chakravarty, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 239, held that it would be open to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM)/District Magistrate (DM) to appoint an advocate commissioner to assist him/her in execution of the order passed under Section 14(1) of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002.

The high voltage matter in Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms v. Union of India, (2018) 1 SCC 196; highlighting the case registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation against retired Orissa High Court Judge, Justice I.M. Quddusi, containing serious allegations implicating the said Judge under Ss. 8 and 120-B of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the 5-judge bench of Dipak Misra, CJ., along with RK Agrawal, Arun Mishra, Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar, JJ held that- “There can be no doubt that the Chief Justice of India is the first amongst the equals, but definitely, he exercises certain administrative powers”.

A 5-judge bench in State of Jharkhand v. Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd., (2018) 2 SCC 602, held that Supreme Court cannot entertain objections as the Original Court solely because it has appointed the arbitrator.

The bench of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi, JJ., in Rachna v. Union of India, (2021) 5 SCC 638, held that the Courts cannot issue mandamus to frame policy. The Court was hearing the case where the last attemptees of the UPSC Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2020 had sought an extra attempt to clear the exam in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Explaining the importance of the role of Trial Courts, especially, with respect to framing of charges, the bench of A.M. Khanwilkar, Abhay S. Oka and J.B. Pardiwala, JJ., in Ghulam Hassan Beigh v. Mohammad Maqbool Magrey, Crl.A. No.-001041-001041/2022, held that the trial court is enjoined with the duty to apply its mind at the time of framing of charge and should not act as a mere post office. The endorsement on the charge sheet presented by the police as it is without applying its mind and without recording brief reasons in support of its opinion is not countenanced by law.

Central Vista Project

The 3-judge bench of A.M. Khanwilkar*, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ., in Rajiv Suri v. Delhi Development Authority2021 SCC OnLine SC 7, by a 2:1 verdict, gave a go ahead to the Central Vista Project. As per the Government, the Project, which plans to build a New Parliament building, is necessary for the creation of a larger working space for efficient functioning of the Parliament and for integrated administrative block for Ministries/Departments presently spread out at different locations including on rental basis.

Aadhar Card/ Right to Privacy

In K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India, (2018) 3 SCC 797, the Supreme Court quashed the order of Central Board of Secondary Education (C.B.S.E) asking the students to get themselves registered for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) examinations by producing AADHAR numbers. The Court stated that

“The students who intend to register in the said Board for NEET examination and for any other All India examinations, need not necessarily produce the Aadhaar number for the present, but they may be asked to produce any alternative identification number, such as ration card, passport, voter ID, driving licence and bank account.”

Justice Khanwilkar was part of the Constitution Bench which decided one of the most significant decisions related to ‘Right to Privacy’ in K.S. Puttaswamy (Aadhaar-5J.) v. Union of India, (2019) 1 SCC 1 which declared the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 to be valid and not violative of the fundamental right to privacy. However, certain orders and/or circulars making the citing of Aadhaar number mandatory have been held unconstitutional and struck down with a ratio of 4:1. However, despite going through several rounds of litigation and long hours consideration, the Adhaar Controversy had once again popped up before the Supreme Court.

The 5- Judge Constitution Bench of A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, S. Abdul Nazeer and B.R. Gavai, JJ., in Beghar Foundation v. K.S. Puttaswamy (Aadhaar Review-5 J.), (2021) 3 SCC 1 addressed the review petition against the final verdict in K.S.  Puttaswamy (Aadhaar-5 Judges) v Union of India, (2019) 1 SCC 1.

Same –Sex Relationships – Constitutionality of S. 377 IPC

In the landmark judgment of Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, (2018) 10 SCC 1, the 5-Judge Bench of Dipak Misra, CJ., and R.F. Nariman, A.M. Khanwilkar, Dr D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, JJ., partially struck down Section 377 of the Penal Code, decriminalising same-sex relations between consenting adults. LGBT individuals are now legally allowed to engage in consensual intercourse. The Court had upheld provisions in Section 377 that criminalise non-consensual acts or sexual acts performed on animals.

Centre- State Relationship/ Federalism

In State (NCT of Delhi) v. Union of India, (2018) 8 SCC 501 also known as Delhi v. Centre case, the 5-Judge Bench comprising of Dipak Misra, CJ., and A.K. Sikri, A.M Khanwilkar, Dr D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan JJ., held that the words “any matter” employed in the proviso to clause (4) of Art. 239AA of the Constitution cannot be inferred to mean “every matter”. The power of the Lieutenant Governor under the said proviso represents the exception and not the general rule which has to be exercised in exceptional circumstances by the Lieutenant Governor keeping in mind the standards of constitutional trust and morality, the principle of collaborative federalism and constitutional balance, the concept of constitutional governance and objectivity and the nurtured and cultivated idea of respect for a representative government. The Lieutenant Governor should not act in a mechanical manner without due application of mind so as to refer every decision of the Council of Ministers to the President.

Freedom of Speech and Expression and Hate Speeches

The bench of A.M. Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ., in Amish Devgan v. Union of India, (2021) 1 SCC 1, refused to quash the FIRs registered against News18 Journalist Amish Devgan for using the term “Lootera Chisti” in one of his shows but has granted interim protection to him against arrest subject to his joining and cooperating in investigation till completion of the investigation. While holding this, the bench made an attempt to define “hate speech” albeit it was of the opinion that a universal definition of ‘hate speech’ remains difficult, except for one commonality that ‘incitement to violence’ is punishable.

Commutation of Death Sentence

The 3-judge bench of A.M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and C.T. Ravikumar, JJ., in Manoj Pratap Singh v. State of Rajasthan, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 768, refused to commute the death sentence to life imprisonment of a man convicted for brutal rape and murder of a 7-year-old physically and mentally challenged girl. The Court noticed that it is unlikely that the appellant, if given an absolution, would not be capable of and would not be inclined to commit such a crime again.

Evidentiary value of Parliamentary Committee Reports

The 5-Judge Bench comprising of Dipak Misra, CJ., and A.M. Khanwilkar, Dr D.Y. Chandrachud, Dr A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, JJ., in Kalpana Mehta v. Union of India, (2018) 7 SCC 1, held that Parliamentary Standing Committee Report or any Parliamentary Committee Report can be taken judicial notice of and regarded as admissible in evidence, but it can neither be impinged nor challenged nor can its validity be called into question.

Child Custody

The bench of A.M. Khanwilkar and J.B. Pardiwala, JJ., in a matter relating to custody of two minor children, advised the parents to respect each other and resolve the conflict respectfully, to give the children ‘a good foundation for the conflict that may, God forbid, arise in their own lives’. In Rajeswari Chandrasekhar Ganesh v. State of Tamil Nadu, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 885, the Court observed that, “The parties should try to do their best to remain relaxed and focused. It is critical to maintain boundaries between adult problems and children. It is of utmost interest to protect the innocence of children and allow them to remain children”.

Sexual Offences

In a plea concerning imposition of certain conditions in a case involving a sexual offence against a woman, at any stage of judicial proceedings, that trivialize the trauma undergone by survivors and adversely affect their dignity, the bench of A.M. Khanwilkar and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., in Aparna Bhat v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 230, held that the use of reasoning/language which diminishes the offence and tends to trivialize the survivor, is to be avoided under all circumstances.

Reminding the Courts of their duty, the Bench stated that-

“The role of all courts is to make sure that the survivor can rely on their impartiality and neutrality, at every stage in a criminal proceeding, where she is the survivor and an aggrieved party. Even an indirect undermining of this responsibility cast upon the Court, by permitting discursive formations on behalf of the accused, that seek to diminish his agency, or underplay his role as an active participant (or perpetrator) of the crime, could in many cases, shake the confidence of the rape survivor (or accuser of the crime) in the impartiality of the Court.”

Adultery

The 5-Judge Constitution Bench in Joseph Shine v. Union of India, (2019) 3 SCC 39, held Section 497 IPC and Section 198 (2) CrPC to be unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14, 15 (1) and 21 of the Constitution. Dipak Misra, C.J., delivered the leading judgment for himself and A.M. Khanwilkar, J. While R.F. Nariman, Dr D.Y. Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra, JJ., each delivered their separate concurring opinions. Dipak Misra, CJ., (for himself and A.M. Khanwilkar, J.,) stated that on a reading of the provision, it is demonstrable that women are subordinated to men in as much as it lays down that when there is connivance or the consent of the man (husband), there is no offense. This treats the woman as a chattel. It treats her as the property of man and totally subservient to the will of the master. It is the reflection of the social dominance that was prevalent when the penal provision was drafted. It was also noted that the section doesn’t bring within its purview an extramarital relationship with the unmarried woman or a widow. It treats husband of the women to be a person aggrieved for the offense punishable under Section 497. It does not treat the wife of the adulterer as an aggrieved person.

Tribunals

The Bench of A.M. Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy and C.T. Ravikumar, JJ., considered the question, whether the National Green Tribunal has the power to exercise Suo Motu jurisdiction in the discharge of its functions under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 in Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai v. Ankita Sinha, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 897, it was observed that “NGT, with the distinct role envisaged for it, can hardly afford to remain a mute spectator when no-one knocks its door”.

Taxation

Justice A.M. Khanwilkar was part of the majority opinion in the 7:2 majority Entry Tax verdict in Jindal Stainless Ltd. v. State of Haryana, (2017) 12 SCC 1  which upheld the validity of the entry tax imposed by the States on goods imported from other States. It was held that taxes simpliciter are not within the contemplation of Part XIII of the Constitution of India and that the word ‘Free’ used in Article 301 does not mean “free from taxation”.

Sidhu Road Rage

Allowing the review petition in the 34-year-old road-rage case involving cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu that resulted into the death of one 65-yer-old Gurnam Singh, the bench of A.M. Khanwilkar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, JJ., in Jaswinder Singh v. Navjot Singh Sidhu, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 652, imposed a sentence of one-year rigorous imprisonment on Sidhu in addition to the fine of Rs.1,000/- imposed in the order dated 15-05-2018.

Decisions That Initiated a Broader Discourse

In Justice Khanwilkar’s varied trajectory as a SC Judge, there were some decisions which generated quite a buzz, not only in the legal circles but also in the political crowd and the civil society at large. Besides the very recent decision in Madanlal Choudhry v. Union of India (PMLA case), there have been other cases which encouraged a dialogue within the various sections of the society and media. Some of those cases have been listed below-

Foreign funding for NGOs

In a major win for the Union of India, the 3-judge bench of A.M. Khanwilkar*, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar, JJ., in Noel Harper v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 434, upheld the validity of the amendments to the provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 vide the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020. The Court was of the opinion that receiving foreign donations cannot be an absolute or even a vested right. By its very expression, it is a reflection on the constitutional morality of the nation as a whole being incapable of looking after its own needs and problems.

Gauri Lankesh Murder Case

In a major development in the Gauri Lankesh murder case, the bench of AM Khanwilkar*, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar, JJ., in Kavitha Lankesh v. State of Karnataka, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 956, set aside the Karnataka High Court order wherein it had quashed chargesheet filed against one Mohan Nayak. N, regarding offences under Sections 3(1)(i), 3(2), 3(3) and 3(4) of Karnataka Control of Organised Crimes Act, 2000.

Godhra Riots Case

The 3-judge bench of A.M. Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and CT Ravikumar, in Zakia Ahsan Jafri v. State of Gujarat, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 773, dismissed Zakia Jafri’s plea challenging the clean chit given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the Special Investigation Team in 2002 Gujarat riots case. The Court observed that no fault can be found with the approach of the SIT in submitting final report back in 2012, which is backed by firm logic, expositing analytical mind and dealing with all aspects objectively for discarding the allegations regarding larger criminal conspiracy (at the highest level) for causing and precipitating mass violence across the State of Gujarat against the minority community.

Entry of Women in Sabrimala Temple

A 5-Judge Constitution Bench, in Indian Young Lawyers Assn. (Sabarimala Temple-5J.) v. State of Kerala, (2019) 11 SCC 1, by a majority of 4:1, held that not allowing entry to women of the age group of 10 to 50 years in the Sabarimala Temple is unconstitutional. The judgment of the Court was delivered by Dipak Misra, CJ., for himself and A.M. Khanwilkar, J.; while, R.F. Nariman and Dr D.Y. Chandrachud, JJ., each gave separate concurring opinions. The only lady Judge on the Bench, Indu Malhotra, J. rendered a dissenting opinion.

Dipak Misra, CJ., and A.M. Khanwilkar, J., held that the exclusionary practise  followed at the Sabarimala temple violates the right of Hindu women to freely practise their religion and exhibit their devotion towards Lord Ayyappa. The practice of exclusion of women of the age group of 10 to 50 years cannot be regarded as an essential part as claimed by the respondent Board.


 Legacy


♦Did you Know? During his tenure as a Judge, A.M. Khanwilkar, J., has been part of almost 809 Benches![5]   

Every field in Law is a vast universe in itself and it is through the contributions of lawyers and judges alike that people are able to access this ‘multiverse’. It would not be wrong to say that ever since Justice Khanwilkar entered the legal profession, at every step of his career, he has traversed into this infinite realm. At every phase of his career- whether it be Judging or Getting Judged- Justice Khanwilkar has not only proved his mettle, but his contributions have enriched the legal space for the posterity to savour.

Law is like the universe- infinite; thus, there are always chances of expansion. Since 1982, Justice Khanwilkar truly has been exploring the “multiverse of law”. We very much look forward to the next chapter in Justice Khanwilkar’s career with hopes that he keeps on exploring and expanding the legal boundaries.


†Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 

* Judge who has authored the decision

[1] Hon’ble Former Justices, High Court of Bombay

[2] Chief Justice and Judges, Supreme Court of India

[3] Justice AM Khanwilkar, SC Observer

[4] www.scconline.com

[5] Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, SC Observer

Know thy Judge

 “A man is both a creator and destroyer. Therefore, he is his own future. A better future can only be secured through the younger generation, existing and awaiting.”

M. M. Sundresh

Bharaneeswaran v. Govt. of T.N., 

2020 SCC OnLine Mad 2301


Born on 21-07-1962 at Erode, Justice M.M.Sundresh, completed his school and pre university education at Erode. He completed B.A. Degree at Loyola College, Chennai and LLB at Madras Law College.

As an Advocate

Justice Sundresh was enrolled as an Advocate in 1985 in the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The Government of Tamil Nadu had appointed him as the Counsel for the State Government and he worked as Government Advocate from 1991 to 1996. He was also the Counsel for Tamil Nadu Small Scale Industries Development Corporation.

Justice Sundresh had extensive practice in Civil (Appellate), Criminal and Writ Jurisdiction at Madras High Court. He had joined in the Chamber of S. Sivasubramaniam. He also joined in the Chamber of his father V. K. Muthusamy, Senior Advocate. He was selected to the RO System Monitoring Committee to watch the erection of ROS (Reverse Osmosis System) in Thiruppur District, Karur District and Erode District.

As a Judge

Justice Sundresh was elevated to the Madras High Court on 31-03-2009 and became permanent judge on 29-03- 2011. He was elevated as a Judge of Supreme Court of India on 26-08-2021.

  • Did You Know? During his 12-year stint as judge of Madras high court, Justice Sundresh had disposed of 1,03,563 cases.[1]


Notable Judgements at Supreme Court


CCI v. State of Mizoram, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 63

While adjudicating the dispute with regard to jurisdiction of CCI to inquire into allegations of bid rigging, collusive bidding, and cartelisation in the tender process for appointment of selling agents and distributors for lotteries organised in the State of Mizoram the Division Bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul* and M.M. Sundresh, JJ., concluded that,

“Lotteries may be a regulated commodity and may even be res extra commercium; that would not take away the aspect of something which is anti-competition in the context of the business related to lotteries.”

Read More…


State of Uttarakhand v. Sudhir Budakoti, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 420

The bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh*, JJ has held that when there is a reasonable basis for a classification adopted by taking note of the exigencies and diverse situations, the Court is not expected to insist on absolute equality by taking a rigid and pedantic view as against a pragmatic one.

Read More…


Union of India v. Manpreet Singh Poonam, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 272

The bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh*, JJ has observed that a right to promotion and subsequent benefits and seniority would arise only with respect to the rules governing the said promotion, and not a different set of rules which might apply to a promoted post facilitating further promotion which is governed by a different set of rules.

Read More…


State of Rajasthan v. Mahesh, Special Leave to Appeal (C) No.12376/2019

In the case where it was argued before the Court that the Industrial Disputes (Rajasthan Amendment) Act, 1958 which received the President’s assent on August 12, 1958 stands eclipsed after the enactment of the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970, the bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh, JJ has dismissed the SLP after observing that the issue must first be raised before the Industrial Tribunal or the High Court.

Read More…


Union of India v. Manpreet Singh Poonam, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 272

The bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh*, JJ has held that a voluntary retiree cannot seek retrospective promotion as a matter of right sans rules governing.

Read More…


Jogi Ram v. Suresh Kumar, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 127

In a half a century old case relating to a Will, the bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul* and MM Sundresh, JJ has held that the objective of Section 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 is to create an absolute interest in case of a limited interest of the wife. The objective cannot be that a Hindu male who owned self-acquired property is unable to execute a Will giving a limited estate to a wife if all other aspects including maintenance are taken care of.

“If we were to hold so it would imply that if the wife is disinherited under the Will it would be sustainable but if a limited estate is given it would mature into an absolute interest irrespective of the intent of the testator.”

Read More…


Jasdeep Singh v. State of Punjab, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 20

Drawing an interesting analogy to explain the scope of Section 34 of IPC, the bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh*, JJ has said that it is a team effort akin to a game of football involving several positions manned by many, such as defender, mid-fielder, striker, and a keeper.

“A striker may hit the target, while a keeper may stop an attack. The consequence of the match, either a win or a loss, is borne by all the players, though they may have their distinct roles. A goal scored or saved may be the final act, but the result is what matters. As against the specific individuals who had impacted more, the result is shared between the players. The same logic is the foundation of Section 34 IPC which creates shared liability on those who shared the common intention to commit the crime.”

Read More…


Dhananjay Rai v. State of Bihar, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 880

In furtherance of Criminal Justice, the bench of Abhay S. Oka* and MM Sundresh, JJ has held that an appeal against conviction filed by an accused under Sub-Section (2) of Section 374 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 cannot be dismissed on the ground that the accused is absconding.

Read More…


Abu Salem Abdul Kayyum Ansari v. State of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 852

In a big development, the bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul* and MM Sundresh, JJ has directed that the infamous gangster/terrorist Abu Salem be released after the completion of 25 years of his sentence in terms of the national commitment as well as the principle based on comity of courts. Salem was convicted on 12.10.2005.

Read More…


Taijuddin v. State of Assam, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1154

In a case where an accused merely pointed to the house where the victim was hiding, thereby helping a fully armed “murderous mob” locate the victim, the bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul* and MM Sundresh, JJ has held that the mere fact that the accused was not brave enough to conceal where the victim was hiding did not make him a part of the unlawful assembly under Section 149 of the IPC.

Read More…


Bhupesh Rathod v. Dayashankar Prasad Chaurasiya, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1031

In a case relating to dishonour of cheques where it was alleged that the complaint was filed by the managing director in his personal capacity and not on behalf of the Company, the bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul* and MM Sundresh, JJ has held that there could be a format where the Company’s name is described first, suing through the Managing Director but there cannot be a fundamental defect merely because the name of the Managing Director is stated first followed by the post held in the Company. It was further held that it would be too technical a view to take to defeat the complaint merely because the body of the complaint does not elaborate upon the authorisation.

Read More…


U.N. Bora v. Assam Roller Flour Mills Assn., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 968

In the case dealing with willful disobedience of the order passed by the Supreme Court in the year 2008 with respect to the levy made while upholding Section 21 of the Assam Agricultural Produce Market Act, 1972, the bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh*, JJ has held that vicarious liability as a principle cannot be applied to a case of contempt and that the appellants cannot be implicated for alleged action of their subordinates.

Read More…


V. Prabhakara v. Basavaraj K., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 896

Holding that a testamentary court is not a court of suspicion but that of conscience, the bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh*, JJ has set aside the High Court’s order in a suit for execution of Will wherein the Court had “unnecessarily created a suspicion when there is none”, merely because it thought that was no logic in the exclusion of the sister of the beneficiary of the Will. Neither the beneficiary nor his siblings had raised any issues regarding the validity of the Will.

Asking the appellate Courts to consider the relevant materials instead of adopting an ethical reasoning, the Court explained,

“A mere exclusion of either brother or sister per se would not create a suspicion unless it is surrounded by other circumstances creating an inference. In a case where a testatrix is accompanied by the sister of the beneficiary of the Will and the said document is attested by the brother, there is no room for any suspicion when both of them have not raised any issue.”

Read More….


Suraz India Trust v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 833

Coming down heavily upon a contemnor, the bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul* and MM Sundresh, JJ has held that the power to punish for contempt is a constitutional power vested in this Court which cannot be abridged or taken away even by legislative enactment.

“Such litigants cannot be permitted to have their way only because they can plead and write anything they feel like and keep on approbating by sometimes apologising and then again bringing forth those allegations.”

Read More…


B. Sailesh Saxena v. Union of India, WP (Civil) No. 555 of 2020

A Division Bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh, JJ. dismissed a writ petition filed by an advocate seeking to stall elevation of a judicial officer as a Judge of the Telangana High Court. The Supreme Court said that the petition was a gross abuse of the process of law and imposed costs of Rs 5 lakh on the petitioner.

Read More…


Notable Judgements at High Court


M. Padmanabhan v. District Collector, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 698

The Division Bench of M.M. Sundresh and S. Ananthi, JJ., held that temple shall not be a place for perpetuating communal separation leading to discrimination, on the other hand, it should facilitate all those persons having common faith to come and worship.

 “The classification among men has got no place in the aboard of God.”

Read More…


Bharaneeswaran v. Government of Tamil Nadu, 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 2301

The Division Bench of M.M. Sundresh* and R. Hemalatha, JJ., disposed of the petitions with regard to concerns arising due to online classes, stating that it hopes the above-laid guidelines are complied with and makes it clear that all the directions are applicable to the Schools functioning in the Tamil Nadu.

“A great nation is built on a character of its own citizens. It transforms into the character of the nation leading to its progress achieved through a value system.”

Read More…


 Bader Sayeed v. Union Of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Mad 74

While examining the validity of certificates issued by the Kazis in the country in general and in Tamil Nadu in particular in respect of Talaq, the Division Bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul, C.J., and M.M. Sundresh, J., held that for purposes of the courts and legal proceedings, the certificate in respect of Talaq issued by Chief Kazi is only an opinion and has no legal sanctity in view Section 4 of the Kazis Act, 1880 according to which the office of Kazi does not confer on the person any judicial or administrative power.

Read More…


 N. Selvathirumalv. Union of India,2016 SCC OnLine Mad 1624

Taking a landmark step, the Division Bench of the Court comprising of S.K. Kaul*, C.J. and M.M. Sundresh, J., directed the schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the private schools in the state of Tamil Nadu to make the singing of the National Anthem as an integral part of their curriculum.

Read More…


 V. Vasanthakumarv. H.C. Bhatia, 2015 SCC OnLine Mad 300

While dismissing a petition with regard to the setting up of National Court of Appeal as suggested by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Bihar Legal Support Society v. Chief Justice of India(1986) 4 SCC 767 , the Division Bench of S.K. Kaul, C.J. and M.M. Sundresh, J., stated that setting up of a National Court of Appeal is a matter of legislation and constitutional amendment, therefore, repeated agitations by the petitioner for reconsideration on the same by filing petitions is needless and thus not maintainable.

Read More…


 C. Udayachandrika v. Secy., T.N. Legislative Assembly, 2015 SCC OnLine Mad 194

In the instant case where the petitioner appearing in person praying to the Court to declare the notification issued by the Tamil Nadu Gazette, Extraordinary No.223 dated 8.11.2014 stating that former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Selvi J. The Court observed that  such frivolous petitions are to be penalized by imposing exemplary costs but, since the petitioner committed this misadventure for the first time therefore she was let off only with a caution so as to dissuade her to pursue any such frivolous petitions under the garb of a Public Interest Litigation.

Read More…


Solaimalai v. Tamil Nadu Forest Plantation Corp. Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine Mad 3883

“Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature, unaware that this Nature he’s destroying is this God he’s worshiping.”

– Hubert Reeves

A Division Bench of Justices M.M. Sundresh* and N. Sathish Kumar had ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into a series of elephant poaching incidents reported in the State. They also observed the network involved was cutting across boundaries.

“Wisdom requires that it should be left in the hands of man of knowledge in that field with the coordination of all the stake holders and this Court as well. Therefore, we are inclined to appoint a Committee consisting of Experts in various fields to address the larger issues such as banning the plastic in the forest zone, prohibiting the polluted vehicles to ply, employing the local population, increasing the strength of the staff, creating a strong seed bank, evolving measures to be adopted in removal and rehabilitation, priority of the area which requires immediate attention, areas requiring specific action, mapping of the entire area, possibility of using any other fund towards achievement of the task, utilising the removed plants and trees towards the object, creating a specific cell to be decided by the Government, disposal of the removed species and strengthening the indigenous species.”


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

* Judge who has penned the judgment.

[1] https://www.scobserver.in/judges/m-m-sundresh/

Know thy Judge

The purpose of the law cannot be to allow the offender to sneak out of the meshes of law”.

Justice Bela M. Trivedi

Attorney General for India v. Satish, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1076


Early life and Legal Career[1]


Justice Bela M. Trivedi was born on 10th June 1960 at Patan, in North Gujarat.  Since her father had a transferable judicial service, she did her schooling at various places. However, Justice Trivedi finished her B. Com – LL.B from the MS University, Vadodara.

As an advocate, Justice Bela Trivedi’s practice in the Gujarat High Court centered around Civil and Constitutional matters for about ten years. Later, on 10th July 1995, she was appointed directly as the Judge, City Civil and Sessions Court at Ahmedabad.

♦Did You Know? It was a happy coincidence that her father was already working as the Judge, City Civil and Sessions Court when she was appointed. The Limca Book of Indian records has recorded the entry in their 1996 edition that ” Father – daughter judges in the same court “.

Serving as a member of the Judicial Services, Justice Bela M. Trivedi also worked in different capacities like Registrar – Vigilance in the Gujarat High Court; CBI Court Judge; Special Judge – Serial Bomb blast matters etc. Justice Trivedi was also deputed as the Law Secretary of the Gujarat State Government between 2004 to 2006.[2]


High Courts


On 17th February, 2011, Justice Trivedi was elevated as the Judge of Gujarat High Court. Later in June 2011 she was transferred to the Rajasthan High Court at the Jaipur Bench. In 2013, Justice Trivedi was confirmed as a Permanent Judge of the Rajasthan HC. Three years later i.e., in February 2016, she was repatriated to the Gujarat High Court.[3]

Some of the important decisions rendered by Justice Bela M. Trivedi during her tenure in the High Courts have been listed below.

Rajasthan High Court

Manohar Lal v. State of Rajasthan, 2012 SCC OnLine Raj 1989

The Division Bench of Narendra Kumar Jain-I and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ., deliberated upon the grievance of the petitioners who were detained on the ground that they were dangerous persons and their activities were prejudicial to the maintenance of public order. The Bench observed that there was no explanation as to what the activities were and what were the reasons for passing the detention order after a delay of more than one year. Since their representations were rejected by a non-speaking order which is a violation of Art. 22(5) of the Constitution and in absence of any germane material for passing the order of detention, the entire order of detention was held as vitiated.

Radhey Shyam v. Radha Mohan Paliwal, 2012 SCC OnLine Raj 2208

While deciding the matter related to C.P.C., Order 22 Rule 5, Sec. 2(11) of CPC regarding determination of Legal Representatives of the deceased, Justice Bela M. Trivedi held that the legatee under the Will, who intends to represent the estate of the deceased testator being on intermeddler with the estate of the deceased, will be a Legal Representative.

Anuj Sharma v. Ram Gopal, 2014 SCC OnLine Raj 140

While deciding the issue concerning appointment of maternal grandfather as guardian of a minor while his natural father is alive, Justice Bela M. Trivedi held that as long as the father of the minor is alive and is not found unfit to be the guardian of the person of the minor, the Court cannot appoint any other person as guardian of the person of such minor.

Jal Mahal Resorts Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Rajasthan, 2015 SCC OnLine Raj 12151

Whether the Collector (Stamps) can review and set aside his own order under the guise of exercising the powers of rectification u/Sec. 52 of the Rajasthan Stamp Act, 1998; Justice Bela M. Trivedi held that, Collector (Stamps) cannot review his own order and such order shall be treated as passed without any authority of law, and therefore illegal. Chief Controlling Revenue Authority has the power to call for the record of any case decided in the proceeding held by the Collector and pass appropriate orders.

G.S. & Company v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine Raj 1357

While dealing with the issue of scope and ambit of judicial review in contractual matters, the Bench of Bela M. Trivedi, J., held that such a scope is very limited and terms of invitation to tender are not open to judicial scrutiny. It was further held that unless the action of tendering authority is found to be malicious and misuse of its statutory powers, the interference of the Court is unwarranted- Exclusion and inclusion of terms and conditions in the tender is a part of evolutionary process.

Gujarat High Court

Surat Parsi Panchayat Board v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Guj 1431

The Division Bench of Bela M. Trivedi and Bhargav D. Karia, JJ., dismissed a petition which was filed with the sole purpose of securing an appropriate order, direction and/or writ directing the authority to permit the petitioners and its members to perform Dokhmenashini/last rites in Dokhmas of its member having died due to Covid 19, in accordance with their religious practices which is duly protected by the Constitution of India. The Court while dismissing the petition went on to hold that impugned Guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare considering the prevailing situation of Covid-19, in the larger public interest for the disposal of dead bodies by cremation or burial, could not be said to be violative of any fundamental rights.

“The safety and the welfare of the State is the supreme law as comprehended in the legal maxim – “salus populi suprema lex”. Even the fundamental rights to profess, practice or propagate religion, and the right to manage religious affairs, as enshrined under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India, are subject to public order, morality and health.”

Read more

Anil Surendrasingh Yadav v. State of Gujarat, 2019 SCC OnLine Guj 2692

A Division Bench of Bela M. Trivedi and A.C. Rao, JJ., dismissed an appeal filed on being aggrieved by the Judgment and order by the Additional Sessions Judge and Special Judge (POCSO), whereby it had convicted the appellant-accused for the offence under Sections 302, 363, 366, 376AB, 377 and 201 of the Penal Code, 1860 and under Sections 3(a), 4, 5(a), 5(r) and 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, and had sentenced him to death penalty for the offence under Sections 302, 376AB of the Penal Code and had convicted him of the offences under the Atrocities Act. The Court while dismissing the appeal and confirming the decision of the Special Court stated that the abhorrent and atrocious nature of crime committed by the appellant-accused in a diabolical manner, on the defenseless unprotected girl of 3½ years, without any remorse, has left the Court with no option but to consider the case as the rarest of rare casefor awarding the punishment of death penalty.

Read more

Suo Motu v. State of Gujarat, 2021 SCC OnLine Guj 850

In the instant matter the Division Bench of Bela M. Trivedi and Bhargav D. Karia, JJ., directed the State of Gujarat to remain alert despite the falling number of Covid-19 cases and take all necessary actions immediately with regard to the improvement of the health infrastructure in the rural areas as also for creating awareness amongst public at large of the Mucormycosis disease [one of the post- covid side effect] and for making the policy of distribution of Liposomal Amphotericin B injections more transparent, specific and effective.

Jignesh Natvarlal Mevani v. Suo Motu, 2021 SCC OnLine Guj 832

The Division Bench of Bela M. Trivedi and Bhargav D. Karia, JJ., in the instant matter, perused the petition seeking to direct the State of Gujarat to publish and come out with data at the end of every day with regard to the total tests done for COVID-19; the number of Covid-19 fatalities and other connected information. The Court however, did not pass any directions in this regard citing the advisories issued by the ICMR.

Suo Motu v. State of Gujarat, 2021 SCC OnLine Guj 834

The Division Bench of Bela M. Trivedi and Bhargav D. Karia, JJ., noting the swift spread of covid19 in rural areas and no clear strategy regarding the distribution of vaccines and medicines, directed the Central Government to place on record for the information of the general public at large, about the vaccination policy adopted by the Central Government. The Bench also directed the Gujarat Government to provide details on oath regarding availability of dedicated covid hospitals, RT-PCR tests etc.


Supreme Court


In August 2021, the Supreme Court Collegium while deliberating upon appointment of new Judges to the Supreme Court, recommended the name of Justice Bela M. Trivedi along with 8 other names. Subsequently, the recommendations were accepted and Justice Trivedi was elevated as Judge of Supreme Court of India on 31st August, 2021.[4]

♦Did you Know? Upon her elevation, Justice Bela M. Trivedi became the First Woman Judge from Gujarat High Court to be elevated to the Supreme Court.[5]

Some of the prominent decisions, that have been rendered by Justice Bela M. Trivedi so far, are as follows-  

Jaina Construction Co. v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., (2022) 4 SCC 527

The bench of Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ., held that an Insurance Company cannot repudiate a claim merely on the ground that there was a delay in intimating it about the occurrence of the theft of vehicle. The Court was deciding a case relating to theft of a Truck that was insured with Oriental Insurance Company Limited.

Read more

Attorney General for India v. Satish, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1076

In an important ruling on POCSO Act, the 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, Bela M. Trivedi and S. Ravindra Bhat, 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’. Justice Bela M. Trivedi also observed that-

“The most important ingredient for constituting the offence of sexual assault under Section 7 of the Act is the “sexual intent” and not the “skin to skin” contact with the child.”

Read more

Muzaffar Husain v. State of U.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 567

In a case where a Judge was accused of misconduct, the bench of Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ., held that showing undue favour to a party under the guise of passing judicial orders is the worst kind of judicial dishonesty and misconduct. The extraneous consideration for showing favour need not always be a monetary consideration.

“It is often said that “the public servants are like fish in the water, none can say when and how a fish drank the water”. A judge must decide the case on the basis of the facts on record and the law applicable to the case. If he decides a case for extraneous reasons, then he is not performing his duties in accordance with law. As often quoted, a judge, like Caesar’s wife, must be above suspicion.”

Read more

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

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

Read more

 Munni Devi v. Rajendra, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 643

The bench of Ajay Rastogi and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ., held that by virtue of Section 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the Hindu widow’s limited interest gets automatically enlarged into an absolute right, when such property is possessed by her whether acquired before or after the commencement of 1956 Act in lieu of her right to maintenance.

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R. Muthukumar v. TANGEDCO, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 151

In a case where some candidates who had applied for the post of Helper/trainee with Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd (TANGEDCO) on the basis of a compromise order directing appointment of 84 persons, arguing that they were similarly situated, the 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ., held that if there has been a benefit or advantage conferred on one or a set of people, without legal basis or justification, that benefit cannot multiply, or be relied upon as a principle of parity or equality.

Read more

Sunil Kumar Maity v. SBI, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 77

In an interesting case where one SBI account holder was left with a balance of Rs. 59/- only in his account due to the existence of another bank account with strikingly similar name in the same branch, the bench of Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ., set aside the “highly erroneous” impugned order passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission solely relying upon the suo-moto report called for from SBI during the pendency of the revision application.

Read more

Chandrapal v. State of M.P., 2022 SCC OnLine SC 705

The Division Bench of Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ., reiterated the settles position of law vis-a-vis extra-judicial confessions and observed that an extra judicial confession attains greater credibility and evidentiary value if it is supported by chain of cogent circumstances and is further corroborated by other prosecution evidence.


†Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 

Justice Bela M. Trivedi’s Image Courtesy: Times Now 

[1] Chief Justice and Judges Supreme Court of India

[2] Justice Bela M. Trivedi SC Observer

[3] Justice Bela M. Trivedi SC Observer

[4] Chief Justice and Judges Supreme Court of India

[5] Know about Justice Bela M. Trivedi, Sparsh Upadhyay, Live Law

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

“We gained our freedom at a great cost. Every Indian, therefore, has to use his liberties to constantly question the actions of those in power because democracy gives no tickets to free meals. It is for us to assert and guard liberty and not be complacent about any encroachment.”[1]

– Justice S. Ravindra Bhat


Justice S. Ravindra Bhat was born on October 21, 1958 in Mysore, Karnataka. He completed his schooling from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Faridabad. He completed B.A.(Hons.) in English from Hindu College, University of Delhi and graduated in law from Campus Law Centre, Delhi University, in 1982.

Justice Bhat enrolled as an Advocate with the Delhi Bar Council in 1982 and practised before the Supreme Court, where he was enrolled as an Advocate on Record in 1989, the Delhi High Court and various other judicial forums. He had an exposure in different branches of law like Public Law, Banking, Employment, Education, Labour and Service, Constitutional Disputes and Indirect Taxation during his legal career.[2]

Justice Bhat was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Delhi High Court on July 16, 2004 and as a Permanent Judge on February 20, 2006.

♦Did You Know? Justice S. Ravindra Bhat headed India’s first High Court level e-court – Delhi HighCourt.

Justice Bhat was appointed as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Rajasthan on May 5, 2019 and was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on September 23, 2019.


Notable Judgements at Supreme Court


♦Did You Know? Justice S Ravindra Bhat has recused himself from hearing the Centre’s plea seeking Rs 7,844 crore as additional fund from successor firms of US-based Union Carbide Corporation for giving compensation to the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy victims.[3]

Shaikh Ansar Ahmad Md. Husain v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 867

The Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat*, JJ., dismisses the appeal initiated by the accused contractors in Integrated Housing and Slum Development corruption case. The Bench observed,

“The constructions, according to the reports, were sub-standard – in respect of 100 such houses, so severe that the units were unusable. The main objective of providing housing to 1206 eligible and deserving families remains unfulfilled despite expenditure of substantial amounts.”

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Mohd. Rafiq v. State of M.P., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 731

The bench of KM Joseph and S. Ravindra Bhat*, JJ has reiterated the factors to be considered while deciding the question of whether in a given case, a homicide is murder, punishable under Section 302 IPC, or culpable homicide, of either description, punishable under Section 304 IPC.

The Court explained that the use of the term “likely” in several places in respect of culpable homicide, highlights the element of uncertainty that the act of the accused may or may not have killed the person. Section 300 IPC which defines murder, however refrains from the use of the term likely, which reveals absence of ambiguity left on behalf of the accused. The accused is for sure that his act will definitely cause death.

“It is often difficult to distinguish between culpable homicide and murder as both involve death. Yet, there is a subtle distinction of intention and knowledge involved in both the crimes. This difference lies in the degree of the act. There is a very wide variance of degree of intention and knowledge among both the crimes.”

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Delhi Airport Metro Express (P) Ltd. v. DMRC, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 695

A Division Bench comprising of L. Nageswara Rao* and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ. upheld the arbitral award of Rs 2782.33 crore plus interest made by the Arbitral Tribunal in favour of  Delhi Airport Metro Express (P) Ltd. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court which had interfered with the Tribunal’s award. While so deciding, the Supreme Court also observed that:

“There is a disturbing tendency of courts setting aside arbitral awards, after dissecting and reassessing factual aspects of the cases to come to a conclusion that the award needs intervention …”

Following is a comprehensive report of Supreme Court’s analysis of law on the subject and merits of the appeal.

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Commissioner of Police v. Raj Kumar, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 637

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

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

Appellant (Commissioner of Police, Delhi) on being aggrieved by the Delhi High Court decision by which the respondents were directed to be considered for appointed to the post of Constable of Delhi Police, filed the present appeal.

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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.

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Rahul S. Shah v. Jinendra Kumar Gandhi, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 341

The 3-judge bench of the former CJI SA Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhatt, JJ had issued detailed directions to all Courts dealing with suits and execution proceedings after the troubles of the decree holder in not being able to enjoy the fruits of litigation on account of inordinate delay caused during the process of execution of decree were brought to the Court’s notice.

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Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil v. Chief Minister, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 362

The 5-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan*, S.A. Nazeer, L. Nageswara Rao**, Hemant Gupta** and S. Ravindra Bhat**, JJ quashed the much in debate Maratha Reservation and has held that the 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 as amended in 2019 granting 12% and 13% reservation for Maratha community in addition to 50% social reservation is not covered by exceptional circumstances as contemplated by Constitution Bench in Indra Sawhney’s case.

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IN RE: TO ISSUE CERTAIN GUIDELINES REGARDING INADEQUACIES AND DEFICIENCIES IN CRIMINAL TRIALS, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 329

After noticing common deficiencies which occur in the course of criminal trials and certain practices adopted by trial courts in criminal proceedings as well as in the disposal of criminal cases and causes, the 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhatt, JJ has directed all High Courts to take expeditious steps to incorporate the Draft Rules of Criminal Practice, 2021 as part of the rules governing criminal trials, and ensure that the existing rules, notifications, orders and practice directions are suitably modified, and promulgated (wherever necessary through the Official Gazette) within 6 months.

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In Re: EXPEDITIOUS TRIAL OF CASES UNDER SECTION 138 OF N.I. ACT 1881, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 325

Noticing that the summary trials of complaints filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 are being routinely converted to summons trials in a “mechanical manner”, the Constitution bench of SA Bobde, CJ and L. Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai, AS Bopanna and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has directed the High Courts to issue practice directions to the Magistrates for recording cogent and sufficient reasons while doing so.

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IN RE: DISTRIBUTION OF ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES AND SERVICES DURING PANDEMIC, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 339

A day before Justice Bobde’s retirement, the 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has taken suo motu cognisance of the “grim” situation of the country hit by the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic and has asked the Central Government to report on,

  1. The existence or otherwise and requirement of setting up of a coordinating body that would consider allocation of COVID resources in a consultative manner (with the involvement of concerned States and Union 3 Territories).
  2. Considering declaration of essential medicines and medical equipment including the Drugs, oxygen and vaccination as essential commodities in relation to COVID.
  3. In respect of coordination of logistical support for inter-State and Intra-State transportation and distribution of the above resources.

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Patricia Mukhim v. State of Meghalaya, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 258

The division bench of L. Nageswara Rao* and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has quashed the criminal case registered against Shillong Times Editor Patricia Mukhim under Sections 153 A, 500 and 505 (1) (c) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

“Free speech of the citizens of this country cannot be stifled by implicating them in criminal cases, unless such speech has the tendency to affect public order.”

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

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

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Indore Development Authority v. Manohar Lal Sharma, (2020) 8 SCC 129

The 5-judge bench of Arun Mishra*, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah, and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., unanimously held that the land owners who had refused to accept compensation or who sought reference for higher compensation, cannot claim that the acquisition proceedings had lapsed under Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

Last year, Justice Arun Mishra, heading the Bench, had refused to recuse himself from hearing the case and had said,

“I would be committing a grave blunder by recusal in the circumstances, on the grounds prayed for, and posterity will not forgive me down the line for setting a bad precedent. It is only for the interest of the judiciary (which is supreme) and the system (which is nulli secundus) that has compelled me not to recuse.”

Justice Mishra’s recusal was sought on the ground that he was heading a Bench meant to re-examine a judgment that he had himself given in 2018 in Indore Development Authority v. Shailendra, (2018) 3 SCC 412. 

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

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

The bench was answering the reference relating to the grant of time for filing response to a complaint under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 wherein the answers to the following questions were sought:

  • whether Section 13(2) (a) of the Consumer Protection Act, which provides for the respondent/opposite party filing its response to the complaint within 30 days or such extended period, not exceeding 15 days, should be read as mandatory or directory; i.e., whether the District Forum has power to extend the time for filing the response beyond the period of 15 days, in addition to 30 days.
  • what would be the commencing point of limitation of 30 days stipulated under the aforesaid Section.

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Mahonar Lal Jat v. State of Rajasthan, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 956

n the case where Direct Recruits to the newly created posts of Tax Assistants in the Finance Department of the Government of Rajasthan claimed seniority over Departmental Promotees, the bench of Indira Banerjee and S. Ravindra Bhat*, JJ held that the seniority of the promotees given on the basis of their dates of appointment was justified by Rule 27 of the Rajasthan Commercial Taxes Subordinate Services (General Branch) Rules, 1975.

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BK Ravichandra v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 950

“The courts’ role is to act as the guarantor and jealous protector of the people’s liberties: be they assured through the freedoms, and the right to equality and religion or cultural rights under Part III, or the right against deprivation, in any form, through any process other than law.”

In a case where the Union of India was sitting over certain lands since 33 years without any authority, the bench of Indira Banerjee and S. Ravindra Bhat*, JJ directed the Union of India to hand back possession of the suit lands to the appellants, within three months.

“33 years (based upon cessation of the Union’s legal possession) is a long enough time, even in India, to be kept away from one’s property.”

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Madras Bar Association v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 962

The 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao*, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat has issued extensive directions in relating to selection, appointment, tenure, conditions of service, etc. relating to various tribunals, 19 in number, thereby calling for certain modifications to the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities [Qualification, Experience and Other Conditions of Service of Members] Rules, 2020.

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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.” 

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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.”

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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.

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Rambabu Singh Thakur v. Sunil Arora, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 178

In a major judgment today, a bench of RF Nariman* and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has directed all political parties to upload on their website details of pending criminal cases against candidates contesting polls, noting that there has been an alarming increase in criminalisation of politics.

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Saurav Yadav v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1034

“Open category is open to all”

A 3-judge bench of UU Lalit*, S. Ravindra Bhat* and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ., while deciding the petition challenging the appointment of General category female candidates who had secured lower marks as Constables in Uttar Pradesh Police, ruled against the U.P. government and clarified the relationship between horizontal and vertical reservations.

“The open category is not a ‘quota’, but rather available to all women and men alike.”

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Mrinalini Padhi v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1415

The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra*, MR Shah and S. Ravindra Bhatt, JJ issued a slew of directions to ensure proper darshan of the deity at Shri Jagannath Temple, Puri by all the devotes and has asked the Temple Administration and the Chief Administrator including the State Government to prepare a roadmap with the help of experts for having proper darshan by the devotees/pilgrims and to implement it effectively and to ensure that there is no commotion so that everybody is able to have darshan peacefully without any obstruction by anybody.

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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.” 

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Notable Judgements at High Court


♦Did You Know? Justice Ravindra Bhat, when he was a judge in the Delhi High Court upheld a decision by Central Information Commission (CIC) that the office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) is public authority under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and therefore judges’ assets should be made public.

BGP Products v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 12928;

“Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall. A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.”

— Oliver Wendell Holmes.

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.”

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Pushp Sharma v. D.B. Corpn. Ltd., 2018 SCC OnLine Del 11537

The Division Bench comprising of S. Ravindra Bhat* and A.K. Chawla, JJ. addressed the blazing issue of  “Cobrapost” sting operation all over the electronic and print media by addressing two appeals in a suit for permanent injunction.

“Democracy presupposes robustness in debates, which often turns the spotlight on public figures and public institutions-like media houses, journals and editors.”

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Emdigital Ltd. v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 8939

A Bench comprising of S. Ravindra Bhat* and Yogesh Khanna, JJ., upheld the grant of tender to an Israel based system integrator (second respondent herein), for procurement of stabilized Remote Control Guns, the end user being the Indian Navy and Indian Coast guard.

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Sanjeet Singh Kaila v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 8170;

“….There is honor in A Soldier you hear it when he talks.

There is courage in A Soldier you can see it in his eyes,

There is loyalty in A Soldier that he will not compromise.

There is something in A Soldier that makes him stand apart,

There is strength in A Soldier that beats from his heart.

A Soldier isn’t a title any man can be hired to do,

A Soldier is the soul of that man buried deep inside of you.

A Soldier’s job isn’t finished after an 8 hour day or a 40 hour week,

A Soldier is always A Soldier even while he sleeps.

A Soldier serves his country first and his life is left behind, A Soldier has to sacrifice what comes first in a civilian’s mind…”

-Angela Goodwin

The Division Bench of S. Ravindra Bhat*, Deepa Sharma, JJ., 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.”

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Mini Appa Kanda Swami v. M.Indra, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 5312

“Privacy is a fundamental human right. (…)So when a woman enters into matrimony, it is the duty of the family members of her matrimonial home to provide her with some privacy.”

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.

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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.”

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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.

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

††Cases up to October, 2020 curated by Sakshi Shukla. 

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[1] Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, speaking on the ‘Role of Judiciary in Governance’ during the first anniversary celebrations of an organization called “Connecting Governed, Governing and Governance”.

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

[3] https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2020/01/28/bhopal-gas-tragedy-heres-why-justice-s-ravindra-bhat-recused-from-hearing-centres-plea-for-additional-fund/


* Judge who has penned the judgment.

** Judge who has penned a concurring opinion.

Know thy Judge

“Independence and adherence to constitutional accountability and limits while exercising the power of judicial review gives constitutional legitimacy to the court decisions.”

 – Justice Hemant Gupta

Madras Bar Association v. Union of India

2021 SCC OnLine SC 463


Justice Hemant Gupta was born on October 17, 1957. He was enrolled as an Advocate in July 1980 and practiced at High Court of Punjab and Haryana after spending initial few years practicing in the District Courts, Chandigarh. As an advocate justice Gupta mainly dealt with the civil cases including Labour, Company, Constitutional and Service Law.

♦Did you Know? Justice Hemant Gupta’s grandfather was a prominent civil lawyer and his father retired as Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court in the year 1991.

Justice Gupta was appointed as Judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court on July 2, 2002. He was Executive Chairman of the State Legal Services Authority, U.T. Chandigarh from July 2012 to January, 2016.

♦Did you Know? Justice Hemant Gupta was the member of the Computer Committee, Punjab and Haryana High Court, for more than 10 years.

Justice Gupta sworn in as a judge of Patna High Court on February 8, 2016 and was appointed as Acting Chief Justice of that High Court on October 29, 2016. In March 2017, he was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. He was elevated to Supreme Court of India on November 2, 2018.[1]

♦Did you Know? Justice Hemant Gupta served as Additional Advocate General of Punjab from 1997 to1999.


Notable Judgments at Supreme Court


Union of India v. Onkar Nath Dhar, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 574

“The right to shelter does not mean right to government accommodation.”

The Division Bench of Hemant Gupta* and A.S. Bopanna, JJ., expressed that Government accommodation is only meant for in-service officers and not for the retirees or those who have demitted office.

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Salim D. Agboatwala v. Shamalji Oddhavji Thakkar, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 735

The bench of Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian*, JJ has explained the scope of a “very strange provision” under Section 85A of the Maharashtra Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948 and has held that

“Though Section 85(2) mandates that no order of the  Mamlatdar, the Tribunal, the Collector or the State Government passed under the Act shall be questioned in any Civil or Criminal Court, the bar contained therein stands diluted to some extent under Section 85-A.”

The Court said that such a provision is not found in many other statutes which contain provisions barring the jurisdiction of Civil Courts.

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Harish Kumar Khurana v. Joginder Singh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 673

A Division Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta and A.S. Bopanna*, JJ. absolved a doctor and a hospital of liability for medical negligence. The Supreme Court said that failure of treatment cannot automatically make the medical professional liable for medical negligence. It was observed:

“Every death of a patient cannot on the face of it be considered as death due to medical negligence unless there is material on record to suggest to that effect.”

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State of M.P. v. Pujari Utthan Avam Kalyan Samiti, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 667

Bench of Hemant Gupta* and A.S. Bopanna, JJ., while addressing the matter pertaining to rights of the priest, observed that:

“Pujari is only to perform puja and to maintain the properties of the deity.”

“…name of the Collector as manager cannot be recorded in respect of property vested in the deity as the Collector cannot be a manager of all temples unless it is a temple vested with the State.”

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Bhimrao Ramchandra Khalate v. Nana Dinkar Yadav, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 582

A Division bench of Hemant Gupta* and AS Bopanna, JJ has held that in order to determine whether a document is that of a mortgage or a conditional sale, the intention of the parties has to be seen when the document is executed.

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Krishna Gopal Tiwary v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 581

The Division Bench of Hemant Gupta* and A.S. Bopanna, JJ., addressed whether 2010 amendment in Gratuity Act contemplating Rs 10 lakhs as amount of gratuity would have retrospective effect, held that the date of commencement fixed by the Executive in exercise of power delegated by the Amending Act cannot be treated to be retrospective as the benefit of higher gratuity was one-time available to the employees only after the commencement of the Amending Act.

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Parubai v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 566

“Natural human conduct is to first save oneself.”

A Division Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta and A.S. Bopanna*, JJ. reversed the conviction of the accussed−appellant who was convicted for the murder of her husband’s first wife and their children. The Supreme Court held that the chain of circumstantial evidence was not complete, and gave her benefit of doubt.

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State of Haryana v. Raj Kumar, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 539

A Division Bench of Hemant Gupta* and A.S. Bopanna, JJ. disposed of a criminal appeal holding, inter alia, that if a prisoner has undergone more than 14 years of actual imprisonment, the State Government, as an appropriate Government, is competent to pass an order of premature release; but in case of the prisoner who has not undergone 14 years or more of actual imprisonment, the Governor has a power to grant pardon, reprieve, respite and remission of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person.

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Union of India v. Dalbir Singh, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 768

Explaining the difference between the degree of proof in a criminal proceedings and departmental proceedings, the bench of Hemant Gupta* and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has held that the burden of proof in the departmental proceedings is not of beyond reasonable doubt as is the principle in the criminal trial but probabilities of the misconduct.

“The two proceedings, criminal and departmental, are entirely different. They operate in different fields and have different objectives.”

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

A 3-judge bench of UU Lalit, Indu Malhotra* and Hemant Gupta**, JJ has, in a 2:1 verdict, has 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.

“Since the child is still in his formative years of growth, it would be much easier for him to imbibe and get acclimatized to the new environment.”

Disagreeing with Justice Malhotra’s opinion, Justice Gupta held that the child should be given liberty to choose his destination after he comes out of age.

“From the controlled and supervised household of the mother, if the custody is given to the father, the sudden exposure to the materialistic things have the potency to derail the studies and wellbeing of the growing child.”

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

“Negative equality cannot be claimed to perpetuate further illegality

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

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

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

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

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

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Hindustan Unilever Ltd. v. State of M.P., 2020 SCC OnLine SC 905

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rajat Sharma v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 162

The bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta, JJ has imposed a cost of Rs. 50, 000 on petitioners for filing a “publicity interest litigation” seeking initiation of proceeding against former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah for his “pro-China” comments over the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.

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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.”

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Laxmibai v. Collector, 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.”

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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.

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Union of India v. Exide Industries Ltd., (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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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Mani Pushpak Joshi v. State of Uttarakhand, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1362

The bench of L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta*, JJ said while quashing the trial against a member of the School management in a case relating to sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl in her school in Haldwani.

“The heinous crime committed should not be led into prosecuting a person only because he was part of the Management of the School.”

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Channu Lal Verma v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 2570

“Society’s perspective is generally formed by the emotionally charged narratives, which need not necessarily be legally correct, properly informed or procedurally proper.”

The Bench comprising of Kurian Joseph, Deepak Gupta and Hemant Gupta, JJ. partly allowed the appeals while modifying the death sentence to life imprisonment.

Deepak Gupta and Hemant Gupta, JJ. gave a supplementing opinion in which they agreed with Justice Kurian Joseph on all points except the observation in regard to the death penalty quoted above.

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Notable Judgments at High Court


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.”

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

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

While examining the question as to whether in exercise of power of judicial review the Court can refer the matter to a Court chosen expert or whether the Court itself can act as Court of appeal and make a different view than what has been finalised as the model answer key by the Examining Body, a Full Bench consisting of Hemant Gupta*, C.J. and C.V. Sirpurkar and Vijay Kumar Shukla, JJ held that

“…this Court does not and should not act as Court of Appeal in the matter of opinion of experts in academic matters as the power of judicial review is concerned, not with the decision, but with the decision-making process. The Court should not under the guise of preventing the abuse of power be itself guilty of usurping power.”

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Saurabh Singh Baghel v. State of M.P., 2018 SCC OnLine MP 730

A Division Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta*, CJ. and Vijay Kumar Shukla, J. while hearing a batch of writ petitions against government’s shifting policy pertaining to appointment of guest teachers in government schools, held that the aim of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act) is to impart education to students and not to protect teachers.

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Popular Plastic v. State of M.P., 2018 SCC OnLine MP 635

A 2-Judge Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta*, CJ., and Vijay Kumar Shukla, J., addressed four writ petitions having similar issues. These petitions challenged notification issued by the State Government prohibiting the manufacturing, storage, transportation, sale and use of the plastic carry bags in the entire State.

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Vajid Ali v. State of M.P., 2018 SCC OnLine MP 418

A 2-Judge Bench of Hemant Gupta, CJ., and Jijay Kumar Shukla, J., dismissed a writ appeal, and affirmed the order passed by a Single Judge Bench, rejecting the claim of appellant for appointment on compassionate ground for acquittal in a criminal case, wherein, the appellant was facing 2 criminal trials, and was acquitted in both. The Court referred Ashutosh Pawar v. High Court of M.P, 2018 (2) MPLJ 419 in which it was held that acquittal, by itself, from a criminal case cannot be a proof of a good character. In light of the above observations the Court found the writ petition been rightly dismissed by the Single Judge Bench and therefore dismissed the present appeal.

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Authorized Officer v.  Prafulla Kumar Maheshwari, 2018 SCC OnLine MP 325

In a matter arising under Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002, a Division Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta, CJ and Atul Sreedharan, J. allowed a writ appeal and set aside the Orders of the learned Single Judge as well as the Debts Recovery Tribunal.

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TBCL Shiv Shakti Construction Co. v. State of M.P., 2018 SCC OnLine MP 351

The petitioner, who challenged the eligibility of Respondent 5 to participate in the Tender process, was left high and dry when the Division Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta, CJ and Vijay Kumar Shukla, J. held that the Court in exercise of judicial review, will not sit as a Court of appeal over the decision taken by a committee of experts.

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Ambika Kaul v. Central Board of Secondary Education,  2015 SCC OnLine P&H 1669

Denouncing the tendency of the people to give older date of birth in the matriculation examination to qualify in the matriculation examination but then to rely upon the birth certificate that he is younger in age at the time of employment, cannot be countenanced,  the division bench comprising of Hemant Gupta* and Lisa Gill, JJ., held that though the Birth Certificate carries with it a presumption of correction being maintained by a public office in discharge of his official duties, even then, in the case of there being variation in the date of birth in the Birth Certificate and the Matriculation Certificate a person would be estopped as per the law of estoppel laid down in Section 115 of the Evidence Act, 1872, from disputing the same in the guise of correcting the mistake in the Matriculation Certificate.

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Aditi Sharma v. State of Punjab, 2015 SCC OnLine P&H 2653

In an appeal filed by the appellants for regularization of their admission to BDS course, the Division Bench comprising of Hemant Gupta* and Lisa Gill, JJ., held that the admissions cannot be regularized as they had taken place in violation of the regulations provided by the Punjab Private Health Sciences Educational Institutes (Regulation of Admission, Fixation of Fee and Making of Reservation) Act, 2006, the Dental Council of India and by the State Government.

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

††Cases up to October, 2020 curated by Sakshi Shukla. 


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


* Judge who has penned the judgment.

** Judge who has penned the dissenting opinion

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