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Landmark Judgements

Justice J.S. Verma has deliberated on close to 470 cases since 1990. A few of the significant ones:

Manohar Joshi vs Nitin Bhaurao Patil, 1996:

The Mumbai High Court order declaring Manohar Joshi’s election as void was set aside. To the contention that communal speeches by party leaders during Joshi’s campaign constituted corrupt practices under the Representation of People Act, the Supreme Court held that the consent of the returned candidate or his election agent had nowhere been pleaded in the petition.

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind vs Union of India, 1994:

A tribunal order endorsing a government notification which declared the Jamaat-e-Islami as an "unlawful association" was set aside. In accepting the notification, the apex court held, the tribunal should have had access to the confidential material on which it was based.

S.R. Bommai vs Union of India, 1994:

A  nine-judge bench set aside the Presidential proclamation under Section 356(1) relating to Karnataka (April 21, 1989). The court held that the President could dissolve a state assembly only after parliamentary approval. He could suspend the assembly, subject to approval by Parliament, within two months. Even so, the proclamations were subject to judicial review.

Ramakant Khalap vs Speaker of Goa, 1993:

In response to the Mumbai High Court’s dismissal of the appeal made by an MLA (Khalap) against the order of the acting Speaker revoking the disqualification of chief minister Ravi Naik by the Speaker (since removed), the court held the acting Speaker’s orders void and upheld the dis-qualification order of the previous Speaker.

Nilabati Behra vs state of Orissa, 1993:

Awarding Rs 1.5 lakh as compensation to Nilabati Behra, whose letter about the death of her 22-year-old son in custody was turned into a writ petition, Justice Verma observed: "The right of compensation is some palliative for the unlawful acts of instrumentalities which act in the name of public interests and which present for their protection the powers of the state as a shield."

Sarojini Ramaswamy vs Union of India,1992:

In response to the plea made by the wife of Justice V. Ramaswamy, a motion for whose impeachment had been moved in Parliament, the Supreme Court held that even if the President removed a Supreme Court justice under Article 124(4), the concerned judge was entitled to a judicial review.

K. Veeraswami vs Union of India, 1991:

In response to the petition (filed by a former high court chief justice) that he could not be proceeded against under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), 1947, a Supreme Court bench had decided that a superior court judge was a public servant and could be prosecuted under the Act. Justice Verma, however, dissented, saying that the amended PCA, 1964, did not apply to Supreme Court and high court judges.

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OUTLOOK: 18 December, 1996
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