Justice Deepak Gupta Farewell Speech

When a Judge sits in court, we have to forget our religious beliefs and decide cases only based on this Constitution which is our Bible, our Gita, our Quran, our Guru Granth Sahib and other texts", Justice Gupta said, waving a copy of the during the farewell ceremony organized by the Supreme Court Bar Association via video conferencing.

This is the first video-conferencing event held in the history of the Supreme Court to give farewell to a judge.

Justice Gupta remembers his father, who had passed away when Justice Gupta was only 13 years old. He conveys that it was his father who inculcated the habit of reading in him and the importance of being well-read for a lawyer as one needs to be aware of every topic under the constitution. -LiveLaw

Justice Gupta also spoke about the need for the bar to be "humane"

"To be a good lawyer, you have to first be a good human being. You have to be sensitive to everyone's problems".

"When you expect a humane judiciary, the Bar needs to be humane as well. You cannot charge sky-rocketing fees from your clients", he said.

"I may have been an activist Judge, but I've never crossed my boundaries. I knew my limitations. When we work under checks and balances, we must be within our limits. We must see that the other organs work within their limits. Some of the writ petitions filed recently are so poorly drafted and it undermines the cause of PILs. Lawyers are requested to exercise restraint"

"I am sorry to say, some of the writ petitions being filed in the last one month are so poorly drafted and seek to change policies. So, my request is for lawyers to not jump the gun and to think over it before approaching the Court", says Justice Gupta on lawyers. – Live Law

"The integrity of the institution cannot be put at stake under any circumstances. I am sure under my brother judges, it will be ensured that people get what they need from the Court", he added.

In his speech, Justice Gupta remembered his father, who had passed away when Justice Gupta was only 13 years old. He conveyed that it was his father who inculcated the habit of reading in him and the importance of being well-read for a lawyer as one needs to be aware of every topic under the Sun.

"Today, as I hang up my robes after 42 years in the profession, I have enjoyed every moment of it. Though I end the relationship with the court, but my relationship with Bar can and will never end.", he said.

Justice Gupta concluded his speech by thanking his wife Poonam.

" She has been a pillar of success for me. I thank her for the haircut she has given me so that I look presentable today", he said.

K.K Venugopal, Attorney General of India, said that Justice Gupta will be remembered for his "social justice judgments".

"You have given good commercial judgments, but what is astounding is your humanity and your social justice judgments. You have looked into child custody, juveniles, condition of widows, but most importantly you have said that marital exceptions would not apply to wife below the age of 18", the AG said.

Referring to the recent speech made by Justice Gupta on the importance of dissent in a democracy, the AG said "It was a bold statement for a sitting judge to make"

"On dissent, you are the first judge to come out so strongly and your thoughts that citizen has a right to protest peacefully will never be forgotten", the AG said.

He spoke about the misuse of Sedition law:-

In a speech as part of Justice PD Desai Memorial Lecture at Ahmadabad in September 2019, Justice Gupta said

"The last few years have given rise to several cases where the law of sedition or creating disharmony has been misused rampantly by the police to arrest and humiliate people who have not committed the crime of sedition as laid down by the Constitution Bench of Supreme Court. How the provisions of Section 124A are being misused, begs the question as to whether we should have a relook at it. Freedom of expression is a constitutional right must get primacy over laws of sedition"

Journey in Judiciary:-

Justice Deepak Gupta assumed the office of SC judge on February 17, 2017.

Justice Deepak Gupta obtained his degree in law from the Delhi University in 1978 and practiced in the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

He was appointed as a Judge there in October 2004 and he remained the Acting Chief Justice of the High Court twice. He headed the Green Bench of the High Court for three years. He also served as the Executive Chairman of the H.P. State Legal Services Authority and the President of the H.P. Judicial Academy, Shimla for more than three years. He also headed the Committee on Computerization of the Courts in Himachal Pradesh.

In March 2013, he took oath as the first Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court. In May 2016, he was transferred and took oath as the Chief Justice of High Court of Chhattisgarh.

He was elevated as a Supreme Court Judge on February 17, 2017.

Notable Judgements:-


The Home Secretary and Ors. v. H Nilofer Nisha:

A Division Bench comprising Justice Gupta and S Abdul Nazeer held that a High Court cannot use its power to issue habeas corpus to order the release of prisoners, unless they are being illegally detained. The decision came in an appeal filed by the Tamil Nadu Prison Home Secretary challenging a decision of the Madras High Court. By its order, the High Court had ordered the release of prisoners who were not given the benefit of a premature release scheme. The Appellant challenged this decision, contending that the High Court exceeded its jurisdiction in granting a habeas corpus to order their release.

The judgment, authored by Justice Deepak Gupta, agreed with the Appellant's contention. In doing so, Justice Gupta traced the contours of habeas corpus and held that "habeas corpus is available as a remedy in all cases where a person is deprived of his/her liberty. It is processual writ to secure the liberty of the citizen from unlawful or unjustified detention whether a person is detained by the State or is in private detention." In light of this, Justice Gupta held that the High Court exceeded its jurisdiction. At best, the Bench held, the High Court could have directed the relevant authorities to consider the representation of the prisoners for an early release.

Despite holding that the High Court exceeded its jurisdiction, the Bench considered the case of each of the prisoners. In some cases, it even exercised its powers under Article 142 and ordered their release.

NDPS bail judgment:

In an unreported judgment, a Division Bench consisting of Justices Gupta and L Nageswara Rao granted bail to the accused on the ground that there is a possibility that he may have been unaware of the illegal activities of the co-accused. The decision assumes significance as the law under which the accused was charged – The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 bars grant of bail unless certain stringent conditions are met. As per these conditions, the Court, on a preliminary examination of facts, has to be satisfied that the appellant is not guilty of the offense and secondly, that he is not likely to commit any offense when on bail.

Despite the prosecution's argument that the accused had made a statement wherein he admitted knowledge of the illegal activities, the Court felt that the statement itself and a few potentially incriminating WhatsApp messages themselves were not sufficient to deny bail.

The Court also took into account the fact that the accused had spent almost 2 years in prison since his arrest. It also accounted for the person’s age and education while granting the bail.


Dissent in Tribunals case

Justice Deepak Gupta authored a part-dissent in the notable Tribunals case. The judgment, which cast a shadow over how the Money Bill question was determined in the Aadhaar judgment, struck down the Appellate Tribunal and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience, and Other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules 2017. Nevertheless, on the question of whether Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017 excessively delegated legislative powers to the executive to frame these, Justice Gupta disagreed with the majority.

On this issue, he held that although non-essential functions may be delegated, even within such delegation, Parliament had to retain a certain amount of control over the executive. Thus, in such cases, he held that the rules had to be eventually tabled in the Parliament. Moreover, he held that given the difference in subject matter and other expertise of the members of different tribunals, allowing the executive to determine the eligibility qualifications without laying down any guidelines amounts to excessive delegation.


Independent Thought v. Union of India

Justices Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta held that a husband may be charged with rape for having sex with a minor wife. They read down exception 2 to section 375 of the Indian Penal Code. A minor wife cannot consent and is shielded by the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

Rakesh Kumar Paul v. State Of Assam

A two-judge majority held that an accused is entitled to statutory bail, if the police fail to file the charge-sheet within 60 days of her arrest for offenses punishable with imprisonment up to 10 years.




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