The Chhattisgarh

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Justice Khanwilkar leaves behind an imprint on key legal guidelines

In his six-year tenure within the prime court docket, Justice Khanwilkar has upheld the constitutionality of amendments to 3 essential laws introduced in through the Modi authorities — the Prevention of Cash Laundering Act (PMLA), the Illegal Actions Prevention Act (UAPA), and the International Contribution (Regulation) Modification Act (FCRA).

On July 27, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Khanwilkar upheld the constitutionality of the PMLA, a regulation that offers large powers to the Enforcement Directorate to arrest a person and has stringent provisions for granting bail. The Courtroom authorised a number of provisions that upend the primary ideas in legal regulation that defend the rights of an accused — the presumption of innocence till confirmed responsible. The Courtroom prolonged the exceptionalism — stringent provisions on bail which are reserved for anti-terror legal guidelines to the offence of cash laundering.

In a 2019 judgment in ‘NIA vs Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali’, a two-judge bench led by Justice Khanwilkar raised the bar for granting bail to these accused below the UAPA. The ruling stated {that a} trial court docket might deny bail if it “is of the opinion that there are cheap grounds for believing that the accusation in opposition to such individual is prima facie true”. The ruling additionally added that the police model within the case diary have to be thought-about because the “prima facie” view. The ruling had been cited to disclaim bail in a number of circumstances — comparable to in opposition to these accused within the Delhi riots and the Bhima Koregaon circumstances.

In April, one other three-judge bench headed by Justice Khanwilkar in ‘Noel Harper vs Union of India’ case upheld amendments to the FCRA that introduced in stricter necessities and laws for NGOs to obtain overseas donations. The decision, authored by Justice Khanwilkar said that “the potential of nationwide polity being influenced by overseas contribution is globally recognised” and that accepting overseas donations itself “is a mirrored image on the constitutional morality of the nation as an entire being incapable of taking care of its personal wants and issues”.

In January final 12 months, Justice Khanwilkar additionally delivered the bulk 2:1 verdict, giving its nod to the Modi authorities’s formidable Central Vista redevelopment undertaking and held that there have been no infirmities within the approvals granted.

In March 2020, practically seven months earlier than the decision, Justice Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari (who shaped the bulk within the closing verdict; Justice Sanjiv Khanna penned a dissent) had suo-motu transferred the problem to the Central Vista undertaking earlier than the Delhi Excessive Courtroom to itself, fast-tracking the ultimate judicial approval for the undertaking.

In September 2018, Justice Khanwilkar was a part of the five-judge structure benches within the landmark Aadhaar and the Sabarimala orders. Within the Sabarimala case, the SC in a 4:1 majority — comprising then CJI Dipak Misra, Justices AM Khanwilkar, Rohinton Nariman and DY Chandrachud (Justice Indu Malhotra penned a dissent) — expanded the correct to equality, permitting women and girls of all ages to go to the Sabarimala temple.

A 12 months later, regardless of being a part of the bulk verdict, Justice Khanwilkar, elevating questions on judicial propriety, agreed to evaluate his personal ruling. A bench was constituted in November 2019 for evaluate of the decision the place Justice Misra, who had since retired, was changed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

Whereas Justice Gogoi, who heard the problem for the primary time and Justice Malhotra, who had dissented earlier, questioned the correctness of the decision, Justices Chandrachud and Nariman had dominated in favour of dismissing the evaluate. Solely, Justice Khanwilkar doubted the correctness of his earlier verdict.

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