It is rare for an Advocate to be directly appointed as a Judge of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. It is even more rare that he shall become the Judge in a day. I am inclined to believe Hon’ble Justice R.F. Nariman is still an Advocate in his heart. The manner in which he quotes precedents is refreshing, remarkable and reminiscent of his days at the Bar. He is certainly using his divine opportunity to lay down several propositions that have otherwise often been unnecessarily deliberated upon.
The judgment in Godrej and Boyce Mfg. Company Ltd. v. The State of Maharashtra, (2014) 3 SCC 430 (“Godrej”), for instance, had 400 words on a “means and includes” definition. The judgment was delivered on 30.01.2014. Senior Advocate R.F. Nariman, as he was then, appeared in the matter. But of course, he could have only assisted in the construction of the judgment and not its dictation.
In the last four months however, Hon’ble Justice R.F. Nariman, has used P. Kasilingam v. P.S.G. College of Technology, 1995 Supp (2) SCC 348 effectively, in two separate matters, to state the proposition that a “means and includes” definition is exhaustive: the first time in State of West Bengal v. Associated Contractors, 2014 (10) SCALE 394 in relation to Section 2(1)(e) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and most recently in Narinder Chadha v. Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, 2014 (13) SCALE 575 in relation to Section 3(m) of the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply & Distribution) Act, 2003. And he has required all of 50 words.
There shall be two at least of a newfound genre of SC judges for the next 8 years. And one of them, the 49th Chief Justice of India.