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Former Supreme Court judge and former Lokayukta of state of Karnataka Justice NG Venkatachala has passed away at the age of 89.

Born in an agriculturist family Mittur, Justice Venkatachala obtained Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Law degrees from Mysore University. He then got enrolled as an Advocate in the then High Court of Mysore on 16 November 1955. He also served as a part-time reader in Mercantile Law from 1958 to 1970 and a legal adviser to the University of Agricultural Sciences, Hebbal from 1963 to 1973 and Bangalore University from 1970 to 1973.

He served as a Government Pleader and was later promoted to high court government advocate which he served till 1977. He was then appointed as additional judge for Karnataka High Court on 28 November 1977 and a permanent judge on 8 September 1978. He functioned as a tribunal for prevention of unlawful activities under the unlawful activities prevention act during the year 1990. He was appointed as the acting Chief Justice for Karnataka High Court in May, 1992. On 1 July 1992 he was sworn in as Judge of the Supreme Court of India which he remained until Jul2 2, 1995.

Sworn in as the Karnataka Lokayukta on 2 July 2001, Justice Venkatachala was best known for rejuvenating the department of Karnataka Lokayukta, the anti corruption agency. He is said to have put the fear of god in the Karnataka administration. Number of complaints the office of Lokayukta was receiving dramatically increased from 20-25 per day to 200-250 per day while Justice Venkatachala was in tenure.He personally led hundreds of raids often lashing out at corruption in political life. In his four and a half years in office, he had looked into more than 50,000 cases of misconduct and complaints from members of the public. He even drew lot of criticism often from politicians who accused him of tarnishing all politicians with the same brush. He was discontinued as Lokayukta for the second term because of legal hurdles although a huge campaign was done in favor of him. 

Know thy Judge

Justice Dr Arjan Kumar Sikri’s remarkable tenure of around 6 years ends as a Supreme Court Judge today i.e. 06-03-2019.

“Education took us from thumb impression to signature; Technology has taken us from signature to thumb impression, again” – Justice Sikri (Aadhaar Judgment)”

Justice Dr Arjan Kumar Sikri commonly known as the “Professor Judge” because of his spectacular academic record was born on 07-03-1954.

“Be patient. There is no limit, and work hard. Don’t think you can achieve name and fame in a day.”*

-Justice Dr A.K. Sikri

With an excellent academic record, he stood third in the merit list in Higher Secondary from CBSE, Delhi, following which he completed his B.Com (Hons.) from Shriram College of Commerce, Delhi University in the year 1974 and LL.B. from Law Faculty, Delhi University in the year 1977.

Strokes of Genius

He was awarded Gold Medal for attaining first position in LL.B. Awarded special prize for getting highest marks in Constitutional Law I & II. During his LL.M. from Delhi University, he was ranked first in 3-Year course. Acquired the position of president of Campus Law Centre, Delhi University during 1976-1977 and was also a member of Academic Council of Delhi University for the same duration along with being a member in various other committees of Delhi University.

Early Life as an Advocate

Justice Sikri had enrolled as an Advocate in July, 1977 with Bar Council of Delhi and started practicing in Delhi. Conducted cases of all types with specialization in Constitutional cases, Labour – Service Matters and Arbitration Matters. He was also a part-time lecturer at Campus Law Centre, Delhi University (1984-89). He was also the Vice-President, Delhi High Court Bar Association during 1994-1995. Following which he was designated as a Senior Advocate by Delhi High Court on 30-09-1997.

Journey of a “Judge” with the belief of – Sensitization of Judges to have speedy justice

The impeccable journey of Justice Sikri started with him being appointed as a Delhi High Court Judge on 7-07-1999. As a Judge, he dealt with all kinds of jurisdictions and gave many landmark judgments.

He was chosen as one of the 50 most influential persons in Intellectual Property in the world in a survey conducted by Managing Intellectual Property Association (MIPA) for the year 2007.

He achieved another milestone by being appointed as an Acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court on  10-10-2011 and was elevated as the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court on 23-09-2012.

Odyssey of the Illustrious Personality of Justice Dr A.K. Sikri

On 12-04-2013, A.K. Sikri was elevated to the Supreme Court of India.

Has been conferred Doctorate of Laws, Honoris Causa, by Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow, in November 2013.

As a Judge of the Supreme Court of India, Justice Sikri has been a part of more than 900 judgments from which several turned out to be landmark ones.

Some of the Judgments of which Dr A.K. Sikri was a part of and would always be used in common parlance are as follows:

Aadhaar Verdict | Aadhaar here to stay; K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India (Aadhaar-5 Judge) (2019) 1 SCC 1

“Better be unique than being best; Aadhaar means unique”

Passive Euthanasia is permissible; Human beings have a fundamental right to die; Common Cause v. Union of India2018 SCC OnLine SC 208

“It is an undisputed that Doctors’ primary duty is to provide treatment and save life but not in the case when a person has already expressed his desire of not being subjected to any kind of treatment. It is a common law right of people, of any civilized country, to refuse unwanted medical treatment and no person can force him/her to take any medical treatment which the person does not desire to continue with”

Only “green” fireworks permitted to be manufactured and sold: SC; Arjun Gopal v. Union of India 2018 SCC OnLine SC 2118

“directions to be followed for burning of crackers while refusing the complete ban on the sale of firecrackers as it may lead to extreme economic hardships”

Karnataka Elections: KG Bopaiah to continue to be pro-tem speaker; SC orders Live broadcast of Floor Test;

“Live broadcast of Floor Test would be the best way to ensure transparency of proceedings.”

Motilal Pesticides overruled as it missed the difference in the terms ‘Income’ and ‘Gross Total Income’; Vijay Industries v. CIT, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 299

“Reading of Section 80HH along with Section 80A would clearly signify that such a deduction has to be of gross profits and gains, i.e., before computing the income as specified in Sections 30 to 43D of the Act.”

Delhi v. Centre: Powers demarcated; Split verdict on power to transfer and appoint officers; State (NCT of Delhi) v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 193

Maharashtra Dance Bar law; Indian Hotel and Restaurant Assn. v. State of Maharashtra2019 SCC OnLine SC 41

Amend S. 80DD of IT Act to give benefit to disabled persons even during the lifetime of guardian: SC to Centre; Ravi Agrawal v. Union of India2019 SCC OnLine SC 5

“Where guardian has become very old but is still alive, though he is not able to earn any longer or he may be a person who was in service and has retired from the said service and is not having any source of income. In such cases, it may be difficult for such a parent/guardian to take care of the medical needs of his/her disabled child. Even when he/she has paid full premium, the handicapped person is not able to receive any annuity only because the parent/guardian of such handicapped person is still alive.”

In a recent judgment of the Supreme Court [Dnyaneshwar Suresh Borkar v. State of Maharashtra; 2019 SCC OnLine SC 304]in the case of a murder convict, of which Justice Sikri was a part; the Court took note of a very rare thing that “that, from the poems, written by him in the jail, it appears that he has realised his mistake which was committed by him at the time when he was of young age and that he is reformative; therefore the appellant can be reformed and rehabilitated.” and refused to place this case in “rarest of rare category”.

Ideology | Keyword to success: Hard Work

On analysing few of Justice Sikri’s interviews his only mantra to the student’s pursuing law was summed up in three stages as mentioned:

Three stages in a lawyer’s career – First: Work, work and no money; Second: money commensurate to the work; and finally, little work and a lot of money.

“While the human in law is important, humane in law is indispensable.”

-Justice Dr A.K. Sikri

How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world”, this quote by William Shakespeare is apt, to sum up, the momentous journey of Justice Dr Arjan Kumar Sikri.


Hot Off The PressNews

Making Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra the first woman lawyer to be directly elevated to the Bench, Centre has cleared her name for appointment as the Supreme Court Judge. She is likely to take oath on 27.04.2018.

On 10.01.2018, the Supreme Court collegium, comprising of the five senior-most judges, had recommended the names of Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph and Indu Malhotra for elevation to the Supreme Court. While the Centre has cleared Indu Malhotra’s name, it is still silent on Justice KM Joseph’s elevation.

In the last 70 years of independence, Indian Supreme Court has seen only 6 women judges, namely, Justice M Fathima Beevi, Justice Sujata V Manohar, Justice Ruma Pal, Justice Gyan Sudha Misra, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice R. Banumathi. Currently, Justice Banumathi is the only woman judge in the Supreme Court. Indu Malhotra, who joined the bar in the year 1983, will be the 7th woman judge. She qualified as an Advocate-on-Record (AoR) in the Supreme Court in 1988 and was designated as a senior advocate in 2007, only the second woman to be designated a senior advocate by the Supreme Court, after Justice Leila Seth.

While the appointment of Indu Malhotra has been applauded, many Senior members of the Bar have urged CJI Dipak Misra to block her appointment till Justice KM Joseph’s name is cleared. Senior Advocate Indira Jaising took to twitter to show her dismay over non-clearance of Justice Jospeh’s name. She tweeted:

“I appeal to the Chief Justice of India not to swear in Indu Malhotra until Justice Joseph is cleared for appointment , independence of the Judiciary must be saved at all cost.”

In another tweet, she said that if Indu Malhotra is sweared in as the Supreme Court judge, it will be illegal:

“As of now there is no collegium decision to appoint Indu Malhotra alone , hence a judge is about to be sworn in illegally , another collegium decision needed to swear her in alone to legalise her appointment , will the Chief Justice stand for independence of the judiciary please.”

Advocate Vikas Singh, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, welcomed Indu Malhotra’s appointment, calling her a fine lawyer & a promising judge. However, on Centre’s silence on Justice KM Joseph, he said:

“I have huge reservation at the attitude of the government, there is no way by which they should not have cleared Justice KM Joseph’s name. By making one appointment and not making another, the government has interfered in functioning of the judiciary. This is a very serious matter and should be taken up with the government very strongly.”

(With inputs from DNA and ANI)