The sight of Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra stepping out of her car was what greeted me yesterday at gate C of the Supreme Court. Malhotra, whose name was recommended for Supreme Court judgeship, had stopped her law practice in deference to her proposed judgeship. However, thanks to the Central Government’s defiance to take a decision one way or the other with respect to the file concerning her elevation, Malhotra’s expected judgeship seems to have hit a roadblock. While it could not be confirmed whether she has withdrawn her consent for judgeship, her presence in Supreme Court is a pointer to […]

Vikas Mahendra and Pradeep Nayak A division bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Board of Control for Cricket in India v Kochi Cricket Pvt. Ltd., has held that the amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 that came into effect on October 23, 2015, are prospective, but will have a significant impact even on court proceedings relating to arbitrations commenced before the coming into force of the amendments. The policy rationale underlying the decision is welcome and signifies a pro-arbitration stance that has been the pillar of most recent decisions coming from the Supreme Court. However, the reasoning […]

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court yesterday ruled in favour of Passive Euthanasia, holding that the Right to Life under Article 21 includes easing the process of dying in case of a terminally ill patient or a person in persistent vegetative state with no hope of recovery. The Court facilitated Passive Euthanasia by allowing enforcement of an ‘Advance Directive’, which has been synonymously used with the term “living will”. In its judgment the Court held,

The Union Cabinet has cleared the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill 2018. It will now have to be put before Parliament. The Bill according to a Government press release, is meant to encourage institutional arbitration and provide for a robust Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism in India. An important feature of the Bill, is that it envisages the establishment of an independent body . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of unrestrcited access to previous interviews, columns and articles One year access to all archival […]

As we celebrate another Women’s Day, it is worth looking back on the general progress made by courts across the country in promoting the Constitutional mandate of gender equality. To that end, here are some cases touching upon women’s rights, that have raised eyebrows in the past year, for better or for worse. For Shame, Your Lordships It is discouraging to note that on more than one occasion, the Court has demonstrated the tendency to shame women, particularly when it comes to sexual offences. In February last year, the Bombay High Court deemed it fit to shame the prosecutrix for […]

In this edition of Recusal Watch, we look at instances of recusals by Supreme Court judges between February 12 and 23. On February 20, Justice RK Agrawal recused from hearing the case of AP Housing Board v. Azamunisa Begum (D) Thru LRS and others, a civil SLP pending since 2010. Categorised as an Ordinary Civil Matter – Others, this case has 35 respondents. Since March 27 last year, the case had been listed before a Bench presided by Justice Agrawal fifteen times. The case history shows that parties have been seeking adjournments either on account of personal difficulty, or because […]

In this new series, Bar & Bench tries to assess the consequences of laws on the people they are intended for. How do laws, framed in Delhi, impact people in the corners of India? Do people understand laws framed for them? What is their impact on the targeted people? Read the fourth story at the intersection of law and society by Raksha Kumar here: Rocky Road Behind and Ahead: How the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARR Act of 2013) has fared (Part I) The grey of the all-weather roads merge seamlessly […]

This edition of Judgment Reserved deals with the cases heard by different Benches of the Supreme Court from February 5 to 23. It is rare for a Bench to permit counsel to make further oral submissions, after arguments have been concluded, and judgment reserved. However, this happened in Court room 5 of the Supreme Court on February 23, when Senior Counsel, Kapil Sibal placed such a request before the Bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, in the case of Bimal Gurung v Union of India. The Bench had concluded its hearing and reserved its judgment in the case only the previous […]

The Supreme Court Bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan today held that retired judicial officers can be appointed as High Court judges as per Article 217 of the Constitution. Towards the end of the 31-page judgment authored by Justice Bhushan, the Bench makes some pertinent remarks regarding the delay in processing judicial appointments. While hearing a petition challenging the appointments of Justices VK Mathur . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of unrestrcited access to previous interviews, columns and articles One year access […]

It was over a month ago that four senior judges of the Supreme Court resorted to an unprecedented step by convening a press conference to highlight their grievances against the functioning of the office of Chief Justice of India. Haphazard listing of cases and departure from recognized conventions when listing matters etc. were some issues raised by the four judges. Judges in India fiercely shield themselves from media attention and rarely engage with scribes. Thus, many in the legal fraternity familiar with the working of the Supreme Court hailed the act of the four judges in coming out in the […]

The new Supreme Court Judges’ Roster effective from February 5 applies only to fresh cases, according to the notification on the Supreme Court website. Although there is nothing to prevent the twelve presiding judges from continuing to hear the pending cases before them, there is a possibility that some judges are recusing from hearing them further, perhaps in deference to the new roster. Take for instance Justice RK Agrawal’s recusal from hearing Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan v. The State of Madhya Pradesh and Others, a civil SLP filed last year. Although the case was listed before his bench ten times […]

Payal Chawla and Hina Shaheen The appointment of an arbitrator by one party to an arbitration agreement has been a vexed issue. The pre-amended Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Act”) permitted such appointments, with certain limited exceptions. That these unilateral appointments have been the cause of much angst and litigation is not in dispute. The issue of neutrality of arbitrators, particularly when one party or its employees are arbitrators themselves, has been the cause of much disquiet, leading to some scathing observations by the Law Commission in its 246th Report. The Commission was of the view that “a sensible law […]

The roster for fresh cases notified by the Supreme Court, with effect from February 5, is an exhaustive compilation of categories of cases, distributed among the 12 Benches of the Supreme Court. The roster reveals that there are 42 broad subject categories. Of these, some are listed exclusively before only one Bench. There are 15 such categories.  They are as follows: Letter Petition & PIL: CJI Election Matters: CJI Habeas Corpus: CJI Appointment etc. of Constitutional Functionaries: CJI Statutory Appointments & Appointment of other Law Officers: CJI Commission of Enquiry: CJI Admiralty and Maritime Laws: Justice Jasti Chelameswar State Excise-Trading […]

That the Judiciary and the Executive have been at loggerheads over judicial appointments for a very long time is no secret. And the latest victim of this tussle, if news reports are to be believed, is Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court, Justice KM Joseph. It has been widely reported that the Central government is not keen on giving its assent to the Supreme Court Collegium’s recent recommendation to elevate Justice Joseph to the Supreme Court. No such reservations have been expressed thus far regarding the other name recommended by the Collegium, that of Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra. Ever […]

In this edition of Recusal Watch, we find that five Supreme Court judges recused from hearing six cases. The new Judges Roster in the Supreme Court, effective from February 5, might work differently in practice, owing to recusal by judges. Take, for example, The State of Maharashtra v. Sachin, a civil SLP, which is categorised as 0816 – Letter Petition & PIL matters: SLPs filed against judgments/orders passed by the High Courts in Writ petitions filed as PIL. As per the Roster, this subject category would come under the Bench presided by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. The matter, which […]

Kanu Agrawal The Supreme Court has seen a dramatic increase in the number of ‘intervention’ applications being filed before it. This practice of intervention is further accentuated in cases that have a large impact and are being reported in the print and digital media. From Constitutional matters to group litigation (class actions), intervention applications are commonplace, with most Courts allowing persons/pleaders to address the Court with little to no prior assessment of the locus standi or the authorisation supposed to be provided in the prescribed format. Before adverting to the de-facto problems with this intervention culture, it is necessary to […]

By Puneet Shah With the rising concerns over misuse of black money in financing illegal activities and with an objective to tackle the issue of benami properties, the recently enacted Companies Amendment Act, 2017 (Amendment Act) has introduced a new definition of term ‘beneficial interest’. Beneficial interest in shares of a company has been defined to mean right to exercise any or all rights attached to such shares; or right to receive or participate in any dividend or other distributions in respect of such shares. The idea seems to track the persons who are ultimately exercising rights over such shares […]

Ajit Warrier A Division Bench of the Supreme Court of India has decided to examine the correctness of a judgment of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi (“NCDRC”) in Aftab Singh and others vs. Emaar MGF Land Limited and others[1], which has inter alia held that consumer disputes are not capable of being settled by arbitration. The batch of matters is expected to be taken up for final disposal on February 7, 2018. This article explores whether the line of reasoning preferred by the NCDRC is likely to invite a more critical scrutiny by the Supreme Court. The […]

The Supreme Court bench of justices RK Agrawal and AM Sapre took four and a half months to deliver its judgment in Karnataka Live Band Restaurants Association v State of Karnataka, after reserving it on September 5 last year. This was one of the nine judgments, authored by Justice Sapre, of the total of 18 judgments delivered by different benches during the week from January 22 to January 25. Eight of the nine authored by Justice Sapre were reserved during the previous week. The judgment in Karnataka Live Band Restaurants Association, in which the bench held that the welfare of […]

Sometimes, the end result of a recusal is achieved by means other than recusal. For instance, the Chief Justice of India, as the master of the roster, can achieve the same result by simply transferring a part-heard matter from one bench to another, without any explanation. That this has been happening very often in the Supreme Court was the thrust of the press conference held by the four senior most judges of the Supreme Court on January 12. Another instance of this phenomenon came to light on Tuesday, under the very shadow of this presser, and was missed by the […]

Divyata Shergill is the founder of, a website that curates all the services required to make a wedding come together. Having previously worked in the Capital Markets and Private Equity teams at AZB & Partners, Shergill takes us through her journey from working at a corporate firm to setting up her own venture, and the challenges she faced and overcame while doing the same. Was corporate law always the choice? Not really. I had experimented quite a bit, and then I happened to intern at AZB & Partners. My first internship with the firm was at its Bombay office […]

As is widely known, a number of lawyers gave up their lucrative practices to play key roles in India’s Freedom Struggle. Some of these lawyers were instrumental in framing the laws that would govern our country for the next seven decades and counting. One of the most important bodies responsible for creating the Constitution of India was the Drafting Committee, all of the eight original members (Chairman included) of which had a legal background. As we herald the sixty-ninth Republic Day of India, we take a look at the profiles of the members of the Drafting Committee and their contributions […]

The 2017 survey report by research organisation DAKSH, titled Paths to Justice: Surveying Judicial and Non-judicial Dispute Resolution in India, draws attention to significant trends in accessing court and non-court dispute resolution channels in India. Responses were collected from 50,000 households across India. The respondents were selected on a random sampling approach, based on 2011 census data. The survey was aimed at collecting information pertaining to the kinds of disputes that people have faced, the modes of dispute resolution they choose, reasons why some people prefer to not resolve their disputes, experiences with the police, and costs of resolving their […]

While the Supreme Court has, on more than one occasion, allowed settlement after admission of cases under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC), it has done so with a caveat that the tribunals don’t have inherent powers to do so. The Supreme Court under Article 142 of the Constitution has the power to “pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.” But the NCLT and NCLAT don’t. The first time this question arose before the NCLAT, was in the case of Lokhandwala Kataria Construction, where the […]

The judgment in the case of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd v. M/s Datar Switchgear, an arbitration matter heard by Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, took more than five months to be delivered after getting reserved. It was reserved on August 10 last year, but could be delivered only on January 18. The timeline of the case itself indicates a huge delay. The respondent was awarded a contract for installation of Low Tension Load Management Systems (LTLMS) at various locations by the appellant during the year 1993-1994. Because of complaints that the LTLMS supplied by the respondents were […]

The Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High Court today took the Andhra Pradesh government to task for its lackadaisical approach towards complying with a judicial order asking it to provide details on the number of Execution Applications (EAs) pending in land acquisition matters. The Bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan had by an order dated December 26, 2017, directed the state governments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to file reports furnishing details as to the number of EA’s pending before District Courts, in . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium […]

The absence of a transparent and orderly roster of Supreme Court judges has led to a host of issues before the Court, including the latest crisis triggered by the four senior judges’ presser on January 12. The four judges’ demand for transparency in the roster stems from their concern that the Chief Justice of India, as the master of the roster, should not arbitrarily allocate cases to preferred benches. CJI Dipak Misra apparently conceded the merits of their demand when on January 19, he directed the listing of the petitions filed by Tehseen Poonawalla, and Bandhuraj Lone, seeking an independent probe into […]

Dushyant Dave The sad demise of Judge Loya is the biggest mystery yet to be unravelled even after three years. It is also the biggest tragedy for the Judiciary for more than one reason. On the one hand, a serving Judge handling a sensitive case has died in circumstances which raise serious doubts as to the cause of his death. On the other hand, the apathy shown by the Judiciary collectively towards it speaks clearly that no one in the system to which he belonged really cares. The Higher Judiciary is the guardian of the subordinate Judiciary. Sometimes I wonder, […]

Satvik Varma Democracy may well be in danger, as exclaimed by four senior (based solely on their appointment date) Judges of the Supreme Court of India. Amongst the many questions being asked after the unprecedented press conference are – is the threat to our democracy from within the judiciary? Or are our judicial institutions being threatened from outside by those looking to exert control through extra-judicial means?  Is the independence of our judiciary mutually exclusive to greater transparency in judicial functioning? And, should the executive be entitled to partake in judicial administration given that as elected representatives, they represent the […]

Payal Chawla  Of late, there has been the emergence of a disturbing trend whereby Indian contracting parties are choosing foreign jurisdictions to arbitrate their disputes. Resultantly, India is losing its larger domestic arbitrations, quite antithetical to the reasons for which the amendments to The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (‘the Act’) were brought about. The Act had been amended with a view to make India into the next arbitral destination and to enhance international arbitration. Unfortunately, and quite unintendedly, the interplay of certain amendments and judgements have caused large domestic arbitrations to leave the country. There is, therefore, the urgent […]