Judgement Summary, Uncategorized

Indore Development Authority v Manoharlal & Ors



Arun Mishra J., Indira Banerjee J. Vineet Saran J. M.R. Shah J., S. Ravindra Bhatt J.

Subject matter of the present case –

Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (for short, ‘the Act of 2013’) was enacted in 2013 supressing all previous acts on and acquisition and the S. 24 of the act deals with Right to Fair Compensation. Sometimes it so happens that the land is acquired but people don’t accept compensation because they feel they have not received a fair amount. This is very common in mining areas. Now question before the court was if people did not accept compensation, then would the land be considered as acquired?

Continue reading


Committee of Creditors of Essar Steel India Limited Through Authorised Signatory v. Satish Kumar Gupta & Ors

Bench Strength – 3 ( R.F. Nariman, Surya Kant, V. Ramasubramanian JJ )

Date of Judgment – 15.11.2019

Facts of the case-

Standard Chartered Bank [SCB] had provided a loan to Essar’s fully owned foreign subsidiary, Essar Steel Offshore Limited (“ESOL”). Essar was a guarantor to this loan. Accordingly, SCB had issued a demand notice to Essar on ESOL’s failure to pay the amount due to them. Since Essar failed to respond to the demands of SCB, it sought to initiate the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Procedure [CIRP] and proposed a name for an Interim Insolvency Resolution Professional (“IRP”). SBI, unlike SCB, had been a part of the Joint Lenders’ Forum (“JLF”) whereby SBI had been authorized by other Banks of the JLF to file the CIRP Application. Based on JLF recommendations, SBI proposed an IRP. Essar did not raise any objections regarding the existence of the debt. It was admitted that they were in default, but they claimed that they were not wilful defaulters. Essar also contended that the application ought not to be admitted as prejudice would be caused to the company and its employees. In March 2019, National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved global steel-giant ArcelorMittal’s bid for Essar Steel. The Committee of Creditors (CoC) approved the resolution plan offered by the ArcelorMittal. Under the resolution plan, ArcelorMittal offered an advance cash payment of about ₹42,000 crore to the financial creditors and capital infusion of ₹8,000 in the next few years. However, the offer did not have much for operational creditors to Essar Steel. Continue reading


Important Judgement list for CLAT PG2021

The following table shows important judgement delivered by Supreme Court up to 31st August, 2020. These are very important for CLAT PG 2021. New judgement will be added to the table in due course of time.

Category Judgement Amendment
Reservation Jarnail Singh
B.K Pavitra I 103rd Amendment and reservation for EWS
B.K. Pavitra II
Mukesh Kumar v State of Uttarakhand
Siddaraju vs The State of Karnataka
Judgements on criminal law Vinubhai Haribhai Malviya
Sushila Agarwal
Babasaheb Maruti Kamble
Shilpa Mittal
Ritesh Sinha v State of UP
Kashinath Mahajan SC ST (PoA) Act, amendment
Prithvi Raj Chouhan POCSO amendment, 2019
Union of India v State of Maharashtra (Review Judgment)
Arnab Goswami v Narendra Damodar Modi
Nevada Properties v State of Maharashtra
Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan v Union of India
Anokhi Lal vs. State of M.P
Parminder Kaur @ P.P. Kaur @ Soni vs State of Punjab
Freedom of expression Anuradha Bhasin Repeal of Art. 370 vide presidential order
Foundation for Media professionals v Union Territory of J & K Jammu and Kashmir Re-organization Bill
Romila Thapar v UoI
Shyam Narayan Chawksey vs. UOI
Indibility Creative Pvt Ltd v West Bengal
Afzal Ansari & Ors. v. State of UP & Ors.
Right to freedom of religion Sabarimala
Kantaru Rajeevaru
Review of Kantaru Rajeevaru
Right to life Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association Transgender Act, 2019
Navtej Singh Johar
Joseph Shine
Shayara Bano Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019
Hadiya Marriage case
Common cause
Tehseen S poonawalia v Union of India
Kamil Siedczynski v Union of India
Anti-defection cases and Members of legislative assemblies Shrimant Balasaheb Patil
Kiohoto Hollohan 104th Amendment related Anglo Indians
Shivaraj Singh Chahuan
S. Nambi Narayan v siby Mathews
Rambabu Singh Thakur v Sunil Arora
Public Interest Foundation vs. UOI
Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay vs. UOI and Ors.
Shiv Sena v Union of India
Social action forum v Union of India
Federalism Govt. of NCT of Delhi v Union of India
Banking Law/ RBI and Article 246 onwards (legislative power) Pandurang Ganpati Chaugule and others V. Vishwasrao Patil Murgud Sahakari Bank Limited Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2017
West U.P. Sugar Mills Association & Ors. V. The State of Uttar Prades & Ors.
Nirbhaya Case and Kathua rape case Mukesh v State (NCT of Delhi) Criminal Amendment 2013
Pawan Kumar Gupta V State Criminal Amendment 2018
vinay Sharma V State
Md Akhtar v State of Jammu
Art. 145 Swapnil Tripathy
Jurisdiction of Supreme Court Rajendra Diwan / CG rent control act
Rafale Related cases Manohar Lal Sharma
Yeshwant Sinha v CBI and its review
Minority education institution NEET
Md Rafique
Chandana Das
IBC/ Company Law Swiss Ribbon IBC Amendment, 2020
Essar case Company Law Amendment, 2019
M/s Embassy Property Developments Pvt. Ltd. v State of Karnataka
Cyrus Investments Pvt. Ltd. & Anr vs Tata Sons Ltd.
Gaurav Hargovindbhai v Assert Reconstruction Company
Employees State Insurance Corporation vs. Venus Alloy Pvt. Ltd.
Ritu Bhatia vs. Ministry of Civil Supply Consumers affairs and public distribution
J. K Jute Mills Mazdur Morcha vs. Jugilal Kamlapat Jute Mills
Land Acquisition Indore Development Authority v Manoharlal
Tax Law Mohit Mineral GST and Taxation Amendment Act, 2019
UOI vs. Unicorn Industries
Unicorn Industries v UoI
Britannia Industries Ltd. vs. Bombay Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee
Steel Authority of India vs. Commissioner of Excise Tax
The Great Eastern Shipping Corporation Ltd. vs. State of Karnataka
Environmental law Alembic pharmaceuticals ltd vs. Rohit prajapati EIA Draft Notification, 2020
Hanuman Laxman Aroskar v UoI, 2019
Hanuman Laxman Aroskar v UoI, 2020
Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board vs. Sterlite Industries
Keystone Realtors Pvt. Ltd. vs. Shri Anil Tharthare and Ors.
Arjun Gopal v Union of India
RTI DAV college trust and Management v Director of Public Instructions RTI Amendment, 2020
Evidence Act Kalpana Mehta
Arjun panditrao khotkar v kailash kushanrao gorantyal and ors
Privy Purse case and Shebaitship SRI MARTHANDA VARMA (D) THR. LRs. v State of Kerala
M Siddiq v Mahant Suresh Das


Abdul Kadus v UoI Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019
Article 136 Khoday Distillaries vs. Madadeshwar Sahakar
Torts Vidya Devi vs. The State of Himachal Pradesh
Mr. Krishna Murti vs. New India Assurance Co. Ltd
Hemlata Verma vs. ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co. Ltd.
Shalini Lambah vs. M/S Unitech Ltd. and Ors.
Maharaja Agarsen Hospital vs. Master Rishabh Sharma
Dr. Rajesh karan II vs. Unon of India and Ors.


Jaiprakash Associates Ltd. v Tehri Hydro Development Corporation India Ltd. Arbitration Amendment, 2019
Garware Wall Ropes Ltd. v Coastal Marine Construction Engineering Ltd.
Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. vs. United Telecom ltd.
Sterling Industries vs. Jaiprakash Associates
Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd. vs. UOI
National Highway Authority of India v Gammon Engineers and Contractors
KSEB vs. Kurein Kalathil
Labour Law Birla Institute Technology vs. State of Jharkhand
Service Records Factory Manager Kirloskar Brothers vs. Laxman Code on Wages, 2020
Hindustan Sanitaryware and Industries Ltd. vs.State of Haryana
Kerala State Beverages Corporation Ltd. vs. PP Suresh & Ors.
Family Law Perry Kansagara vs. Smitti Madan Kansagara Personal Law Amendment, 2019
Md. Salim vs. samsuddin and Ors.
Ganesh vs. Sudhir Kumar Srivivastava
Kareena Jane Creed vs. UOI
Pharej John Abraham vs. Arul Jyoti Shiva Subramaniam
Ashnoor Singh vs. Harpal Kaur and Ors.
Jose Paulo Cautinho vs. Maria Valentina Perriara
Md. Abrar vs. Meghalaya Board of Wakf
Amardeep Singh vs. Harveen Kaur
Chand Devi Daga v Manju K Humatani
Rana Nahid v Sahidul Haq Chisti
Arunkumar Sreeja v Inspector general of Registration 2019
Representation of People Act Abhiram Singh v. C. D. Commachen
Ordinance Making Power Krishna Kumar Singh v State of Bihar
NI Act Surinder Singh Deswal v. Virender Gandhi – 2 judgments Negotiable Instruments (Amendment) Act, 2018
G.J Raja v. Tejraj Surana
International Law Enrica Lexie
Pakistan v India


Judgement Summary, Uncategorized

Sushila Aggarwal v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 98

Issue before the court

  1. Whether the protection granted to a person under S. 438 CrPC should be limited to a fixed period so as to enable him to surrender before the trial court and seek regular bail
  2. Whether the life of anticipatory bail should end at the time and stage when the accused is summoned to the court

Major case referred in this case.

  1. Gurubaksh Singh Sibbia v State of Punjab (1980) -à Constitution bench decision 
  2. Salaludin Abdulsamad Sheikh v State of Maharashtra (1996) and other cases following its ratio
  3. Sidhram Satlingapa Mehtre V State of Maharashtra (2011) and other cases of the following its ratio

Background of the Review petition-

  1. Anticipatory bail is not defined in the original code. The provision of anticipatory bail was introduced in the 1973 code.
  2. A group of cases starting from Salaludin Abdulsamad Sheikh state that anticipatory bail should contain some conditions either with reference to time or an event such as filing of charge sheet etc. After that condition is satisfied the accused should surrender to court and seek regular bail.
  3. The other group of cases starting from Sidhram Satlingapa Mehtre state that, no condition ought to be imposed by the court while granting the anticipatory bail because it was to inure and protect the individual even if the charge was framed and trial started.
  4. However, Sibbia case does not provide for such inflexible approach of either line. The Court held in Sibbia that, imposing condition was an issue of fact. Court could impose condition as per the circumstances of each case.
  5. The present case settled all these issues.

The logic in Sibbia

  1. Sibbia referred the 41st law commission report to trace the genesis of the anticipatory bail. As per the recommendation of the 41st Law commission report, the provision of anticipatory bail was introduced in the code. The reasoning given in the report are quoted below.
    1. Sometimes, influential persons try to implicate their rivals in false cases for the purpose of disgracing them and put in jail. Political rivalry has accentuated the problem and hence a provision of pre-arrest bail needs to be introduced.
    1. This is a special power and to be vested only with Court of Sessions or the High Court
    1. The power to be exercise with DISCRETION of the court and the courts should take care that such use of power / discretion does not vitiate the process of fair trial
    1. The final order should be made only after notice to the public prosecutor
    1. The reason for granting such bail must be recorded in writing
  2. Sibbia said the provisions of S. 438 (Anticipatory bail) should not be interpreted in a narrow and restricted manner. Having, said this, the court in Sibbia held the following as quoted below.
    1. The court can impose conditions while granting anticipatory bail, as it is inherently provided in the text of S. 438.
    1. However, the power to impose conditions cannot be restricted or expanded by interpreting statute. It is actually a matter of facts and circumstances of the case
    1. The courts are free to exercise their judicial discretion in granting anticipatory bail imposing such conditions as the facts of the case warrant.
    1. No generalization can be made
  3. The question of anticipatory bail interfering with the investigation process came to be discussed in the Sibbia case. It was held following King Emperor v. Khwaja Nazir Ahmed (1945) that police and court function in complementary manner and not overlapping manner and judiciary should not interfere in the matters of investigation. A question came to fore, if an accused was granted anticipatory bail, then how police could exercise the provisions of S. 27 of Indian Evidence Act. The Court in Sibbia referred State of UP v Deoman Upadhayay (1960) and held that the phrase “taken to custody” was a wider term. That never meant arrest. If a person voluntary came to police and offered to give information leading to discovery of a fact having a bearing of him subjected to a criminal charge, he was said to have surrendered to police. Anticipatory bail was granted as a protection against arrest. Nothing prevented the person to whom bail was granted to appear before the police or surrender before police and give his confessional statement.
  4. On the question of “s. 438 being an extraordinary provision” the court held the power under S. 438 was definitely extraordinary in nature but that never meant it was to be used only in exceptional cases. It was a discretionary power with the higher courts and to be exercised with due care and caution depending on circumstances justifying its exercise.
  5. About conditions to be imposed the court in Sibbia held, S. 438 concerned with the life and liberty of the person and hence, over generous infusion of constraints and conditions which were not found in S. 438 itself was not acceptable. The beneficent provision of S. 438 must be saved.
  6. The Court in Sibbia also provided that certain conditions need to be satisfied before the higher courts use their discretion to use their power to grant Anticipatory bail. The conditions are quoted below.
    1. Applicant must provide that he had a reason to believe that he might be arrested in a non-bailable case. The reason must have backing of facts and must not be a mere fear
    1. Court of Session or High Court must apply their mind to find out whether a prima facie case was made out for use of S. 438
    1. Filing of FIR was not condition precedent to use of S. 438. Application of Anticipatory bail could be entertained and granted even if there was no FIR.
    1. Anticipatory bail could be granted till the time the person was not arrested.
    1. The provision could not be invoked after the arrest
    1. A blanket order of anticipatory bail was not be made because it might interfere with the rights and duties of police officers. It was the discretion of the courts to use the power. Based on the facts of the case, the court might impose conditions including a condition of time. But such conditions were to be imposed as per the facts of the matter and in certain exceptional cases.

The logic of Salaluddin and other similar cases

  1. During the grant of anticipatory bail, the evidence at hand was not decided and hence, the grant of anticipatory bail had to be limited to duration only and ordinarily at the expiry of that duration the court granting anticipatory bail should leave to the regular court to deal with the matter on an appreciation of evidence placed before it after the investigation has made progress or the charge sheet was submitted.
  2. Furthering this logic, in K.L. Verma v State it was held, grant of bail under S. 438 did not bypass the provision of S. 437 and the person to be under protection of S. 438 till the regular bail application was disposed of.
  3. In Sunita Devi, Nirmal Jeet Kaur and Adri Dharan Das used the ratio of Salaludin and held that the protection granted under S. 438 could not be extended beyond the time period indicated in Salaluddin or till the applicant availed remedies from High Court. (Getting remedies from the High Court means the lower courts are legally bypassed). Once Charge Sheet is submitted against a person having the protection of anticipatory bail, he ought to surrender before the court and seek regular bail.

The logic of Mehtre and other similar cases

  1. Mehtre held that the findings of Salaluddin and others were contrary to the findings of the constitutional bench in Sibbia and restriction on grant of anticipatory bail was not necessary. Citing Sibbia, the court held that while decided as per S. 438 there was no justification in reading into the conditions mentioned in S. 437.
  2. The order granting anticipatory bail for a limited duration and thereafter directing the accused to surrender and apply before a regular bail is contrary to the legislative intent and the judgment of the constitution bench at any point of time.
  3. Hence, held that the judgement of Salaluddin was contrary to the spirit of Anticipatory bail and had resulted in artificial and unreasonable restriction on the scope of enactment contrary to the legislative intent.
  4. The Court prescribed certain factors and parameters to be taken into consideration before deciding the question of anticipatory bail
    1. Nature and gravity of accusation and the exact role of the accused
    1. The criminal antecedent of the applicant 
    1. The possibility of the person fleeing from justice
    1. The possibility to commit similar such offences
    1. Whether the accusations have been made only with the object of injuring or humiliating the applicant
    1. Impact of anticipatory bail on society at large
    1. The court should clearly weigh the exact role of the person
    1. Balance to be struck between free and fair investigation and unjustified arrest
    1. The chance of tampering with evidence and threat to witnesses
    1. Element of genuine ness to be considered while deciding the matter

The decision in the present case

  1. There are two different lines of precedents and hence the incongruity needs to be settled.
  2. Various arguments are-
    1. Bail is the general rule and jail is an exception ( Datarams Singh V. State of UP)
    1. Anticipatory bail is the panacea for apprehension of arrest
    1. The discretion to set condition lies with the court as per the circumstances of each case and cannot be interpreted to court short its duration till the filing of charge sheet.
    1.  A logical deduction was made with respect to S. 167 (2) and statutory bail. If final form is not submitted within 60 days or 90 days the accused inside the judicial custody is granted automatic bail. However, if the charge sheet the filed then the same bail is not canceled. Hence, a protection of anticipatory bail should not go in the event of filing a charge sheet.
    1. The power of arrest is not to be exercised mandatorily as per Joginder Kumar v State of UP, Lalita Kumari v State of UP, Arnesh Kumar v State of Bihar. Even M.C. Abraham v State of Maharashtra states, police is not mandatorily required to arrest if the anticipatory bail is rejected.
  • Amicus Curie in the case provided a guideline for the grant of bail application
Stages S.O.P. for court
Before FIR Condition imposed till filing of FIR
After FIR before charge sheet Condition imposed till filing of charge sheet
After filing Charge Sheet Discretion of Court
  • Sibbia did not totally exclude the imposition of conditions. However, Mehtre said conditions could not be imposed. So Salaluldin was more close to the ratio of Sibbia than Mehtre.
    • There was an argument against the order of anticipatory bail because it thwarted custodial interrogation. Reliance was placed on State of A.P. V Bimal Krishna Kundu , Muralidharan V state of Kerala for the above proposition.
    • Jai Prakash Singh v State of Bihar was relied upon wherein it was held that anticipatory bail was not essential elements of Art. 21.
  • Reasoning of the court –

A. Whether the protection granted to a person under S. 438 CrPC should be limited to a fixed period so as to enable a person to surrender before the trial court and seek regular bail

  1. S. 438 was included as. Curative measure to deal with the problem of unwarranted arrest.
    1. It is not hedge with any obligation on the court’s power to impose conditions
    1. The only bar or restriction imposed by parliament upon the exercise of the power (to grant anticipatory bail) is by way of a positive restriction, i.e. in the case where accused are alleged to have committed offences punishable under section 376 (3) or sections 376AB or Section 376 DA or Section 376 DB of the penal code.
    1. Parliament by law has restricted the power of the courts in certain cases such S. 376 AB, S. 376DA, S. 376 DB.  It means that parliament does not want to restrict the power of anticipatory bail of court by a blanket order and exhorts to take up in case to case basis.
    1. The text of the statue does not say, that the parliament has required the court to impose conditions. It was left with the discretion of the court to impose condition on a case to case basis. The court relied on the concept of interpretation of statues is Reserve Bank of India v Peerless General Finance and Investment CO ltd and Chandra Mohan v State of Uttar Pradesh and states that, “interpretation must depend on the text and the context. No part of statute and no word of a statute can be construed in isolation. Statutes have to be construed so that every word has a place an everything in its place.”
    1. Similarly, in Directorate of Enforcement v Deepak Mahajan, State of Haryana v Sampuran Singh the court held that by no stretch of imagination a judge can add to something more than what is there in the text of the statute which shows the intent of the legislature.
    1. Deoman Upadahya case says bail is not a hindrance to custodial examination and S. 27 of Indian Evidence Act. Same logic was imposed in Vallabh das Liladhar v. Asst. Collector of Customs
    1. Hence, there is no logic that if conditions are not imposed, fair investigation will be compromised. And hence court held that
      1. The observation of Sallaluddin that indicate ‘such time related or investigative event related conditions should invariably be imposed at the time of grant of anticipatory bail’ are therefore over ruled.
      1. The observation in Mhetre “ the courts should not impose restrictions on the ambit and scope of S. 438 which are not envisaged by legislature. The court cannot rewrite the provisions in the statute in the garb of interpreting it” is too wide and overruled.  The court held, as per Sibbia conditions can be imposed as per the facts of the case.

B. Whether the life of anticipatory bail should end at the time and stage when the accused is summoned to the court

  1. The logic of Gurhsaran Singh case about statutory bail referred above was followed. Hence filing of charge sheet cannot be a limiting condition for respite of bail.
  2. Taking into custody is still permissible even after grant of bail, because as per Pradeep Ram case, without cancelling of bail on relevant consideration, the court can direct the arrest of the accused.
  3. The court held that unless circumstances to the contrary: in the form of behavior of the accused suggestive of his fleeing from justice or evading the authority of jurisdiction of the court, or his intimidating witness or trying to intimidating them, or violate any condition imposed while granting anticipatory bail, the law does not require the person to surrender to the court on summons of trial being served on him. Subject to compliance with the conditions imposed, the anticipatory bail given to a person can continue till the end of trial.

The guidelines provided to deal with S. 438

  1. There is no limitation of the time of filing anticipatory bail. It can be filed before FIR also. There has to be reasonable apprehension about the arrest.
  2. The court even while granting limited anticipatory bail may issue notice to public prosecutor and obtain facts
  3. S. 438 does not compel to impose conditions. Imposition of conditions has to be decided on the facts and circumstances of the case
  4. Courts ought to be guided by nature and gravity of the crime before deciding on anticipatory bail.
  5. Once granted the anticipatory bail shall remain in force till end of trial depending on the conduct and behavior of the accused. The anticipatory bail is not a blanket protection.
  6. Order of Anticipatory bail does not restrict the rights and duties of the police officer to investigate into the charges.
  7. Limited custody or deemed custody provided in Sibbia is sufficient for the provision of S. 27 of Indian Evidence act
  8. If any terms or conditions are violated the prosecution can move to court to cancel the anticipatory bail
  9. The correctness of grant of anticipatory bail can be decided on appeal to higher court at the behest of investigating agency
  10. Sallaludin is overruled to the extent that no condition or term limiting the grant of anticipatory bail to a period of time can be given. Mehtre is overruled to the extent that no restrictive conditions can be imposed while granting the anticipatory bail.

Road Ahead for CLAT PG 2021

The year 2020 will remain in infamy for students seeking Masters’ degree in Law from NLUs. Apart from the “CLAT/NLAT controversy” and the ” wrong answers” in the answer key, which already have been discussed in this blog, the change of pattern for the examination was THE important factor which caused maximum stress among the students. The press briefing of the consortium announced that questions will be asked from the excerpts of judgments. But the sample papers showed, the questions might not come from the paragraph. So a reading of the judgement was necessary. But as the final answer key showed, the ratio of judgement did not matter; what mattered was the interpretation of the makers of the question. Let’s hope CLAT PG 2021 becomes less controversial.

In this blog , a new initiative is being started. Summaries of important judgements of the Supreme Court delivered in last two years will be published for the benefit of the students. Having said so, it is clarified upfront that mere reading of summaries will not help much. One needs to go through the judgement thoroughly and use the summary for revision purpose. The sections will be updated regularly for adding new summaries.

Another idea is to put up analytical pieces on contemporary development of law as part of weekly despatches. Hope this will help the stake holders!


CLAT PG 2020 Answer Key: Five Objections and Two Others

The CLAT PG 2020 answer key is out. The time period of raising objections is over. Now when CLAT sits over the objections raised by the candidates to check their veracity, here is my take on seven questions. Out of the seven, in five instances, CLAT provisional answer key is clearly wrong and in two instances, though many candidates have raised objections, CLAT answer key is absolutely correct.

Five Objections

Question number 29

Which of the following is not a tenet of the term Life under Article 21 of the Constitution? 

a) Right to Die with Dignity 

b) Right to Live with Dignity 

c) Freedom of Sexual Orientation 

d) Right to Reputation 

The Answer Key says the correct Option is D, which in my view is wrong. Continue reading



“The best response is one that responds proportionately to immediate threats while protecting human rights and rule of law.”

                                                                                    Antonio Guterres, Secretary General, UN

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the conventional administrative setups in an unprecedented manner across the globe. Though in certain discourses this COVID-19 pandemic is likened to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1920s, no modern democratic set up has any tailor-made situation to deal with it, primarily due to lack of experience. Hence, countries across the globe have resorted to empirical methods of lockdown and quarantining the population. This has resulted in forced closure of workplaces and businesses, as well as suspension of movement, religious rituals, educational system and even liberty. But as constitution cannot be suspended, any measures enforced under statutory framework must conform to the constitution.[1] This nation has travelled a long way since the ignominy of the emergency of 1970s wherein the constitution was ‘cribbed, confined and cabined’ to the executive whim. It was left to the Supreme Court to restore the constitutionalism and the Apex court responded with giving an ever-expansive interpretation to the Art. 21 of the constitution to celebrate the rights of man. Since then, constitutionalism and rule of law has been the backbone of Indian Nationhood. So, when this country is faced with a near emergency situation with severe clamping down of life and liberty through the executive machinations of “lockdown”, “shutdown”, “containment zone” or “quarantine centre”, can the constitutional courts remain a mute spectator? At the same time, what is the extent to which judicial overreach in this situation be accepted without compromising the overall policy decision? When faced with such a question early into this pandemic the Chief Justice of India has gone on records: “This is really a situation when the Executive gets into action. The usual three ‘Ms’ – men, material and money are in the hands of the government. It is very difficult for the court to assume charge and say this is what the priority should be’ and ‘this is what it should be like. The Executive is better suited to decide on the whats, hows and whens of deploying money, material and men.”[2]  Judicial restraint echoed in the aforementioned quote is being expected to be hallmark of role of judiciary throughout the pandemic. The constitutional courts of this country have displayed utmost restraint and stood solidly with the State, even if the later has resorted to certain draconian measures by evoking the much-criticised Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897. Very succinctly, the Chief Justice of India delineates the role of the judiciary during the crisis, when he says during the time of crisis “the three organs of the state (legislature, executive and judiciary) should act in harmony”[3]. To put it straight, the Courts have started with a fine balancing act. The problem with any epidemic is it lasts for a considerable period of time, and when it is COVID-19 it ought to spring surprises every now and then. The situation is very volatile; it can change within a day. This causes the policy directives to change faster than it can be understood and imbibed by the society. On the other hand, the rule of law is very static to the extent of antithetical to the dynamic executive regulations, on many, if not all, occasions. How are the courts supposed to deal with it? Are they equipped enough to keep pace with the changing circumstances? In the present article, it will be an endeavour to examine the role the courts are playing presently (in respect of COVID-19 situation) and how they should reinvent themselves to deal the situation in a more efficient manner. Continue reading

Law and Society, Uncategorized


“No life that breathes with human breath has ever truly longed for death”

— Alfred Tennyson

The humanist undercurrent of Indian Constitution is best realized in its supreme emphasis on the fundamental right to life and liberty. The Constituent assembly sub-committee on fundamental rights had spent hours on preparing the framework on safeguarding life and liberty of people. The idea of inviolability of right to life was so sanctimonious that most of the debate was aimed at developing a modality on how not to infringe upon individual’s life and liberty. The committee had not ventured to define the term “life” as perhaps it started with the basic premise that “life” is so fundamental a concept that a definition of life and its constituents was not required. Such a theoretical understanding is subtly put forth by H.M. Seervai as “Neither the constitution nor any law confers the right to life. The right arises from the existence of a living human body.”[1] However, a lack of definition of life and its constituents has compelled the Courts, in subsequent discourses on the question of right to life, to fall back upon a grossly inadequate premise given by Munn[2] that defined “life as something more than animal existence.” Such a simplistic definition that keeps the interpretation of the term “life” open ended, has resulted in a plethora of legal literature over a period of time. Continue reading


About Me

Cessante Rationale Legis Cessat Ipsa Lex‘- The well known legal maxim by Broom, roughly translates to English as ‘Reason is the soul of law,  and when the reason of any particular law ceases, so does the law itself’. This blog is a quest for reason behind the interpretative understanding of law as applied in contemporary society.