Former Judge of the Supreme Court of India
Assumed Office7th Jul, 2014
Retired On12th Aug, 2021
Solicitor General of IndiaJuly 27th 2011- February 4th 2013
Justice Nariman pursued his legal studies at the Faculty of Law and ranked 2nd in the University of Delhi. He pursued his Masters’ in Law from Harvard Law School and his thesis compared affirmative action in India and USA. He is the son of distinguished jurist Fali S. Nariman.
In 1993, then Chief Justice Venkatachalaiah amended the minimum age rules to designate the title of Senior Advocate on Nariman J when he was 37. He was the Solicitor General of India in 2013. In 2014, he became the 5th person to be directly elevated from the Bar to be a Judge of the Supreme Court.
Nariman J is considered an expert in comparative constitutional law and civil law. He set up the Supreme Court Welfare Trust for the welfare of lawyers and to encourage young talent. He was a member of the Supreme Court’s Mediation Committee.
On April 16th, 2022 Justice Rohinton F. Nariman started a YouTube channel called ‘Justice Nariman Official’ where he publishes lectures and discussions on a variety of topics including religion, music and the law.
He has also made public addresses at the DM Harish School of Law and at an event organised by the Viswanath Pasayat Memorial Committee, calling for portions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and the law on sedition to be struck down.
Nariman J led the Division bench that upheld the validity of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in Swiss Ribbons Pvt Ltd v Union of India. It was held that there is an intelligible differentia between financial creditors and operational creditors, as with the former the release of liquidity would infuse capital in the economy to spur further lending. Nariman J also observed that the enactment of the Code significantly reduced defaults and bad debt.
In Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v Union of India, Nariman J was on the nine-judge Supreme Court bench which unanimously declared privacy as a fundamental right. The bench held that privacy is integral to the right to life with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.
A five-judge bench, in Shayara Bano v Union of India, declared triple talaq void, illegal and unconstitutional. Nariman J, along with Justices Kurian Joseph and UU Lalit, struck down the practice through the majority judgment. Nariman J affirmed that manifest arbitrariness can be grounds for striking down a law.
In Shreya Singhal v Union of India, Nariman J declared Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 unconstitutional for being ‘open-ended, undefined and vague. Section 66A empowered the police to arrest anyone accused of posting electronic messages that cause annoyance or inconvenience.
Justice Nariman held in Mohd. Arif v The Registrar, Supreme Court Of India that a review of a convict’s death penalty should be heard in open court by a bench of at least three judges. Previously, all review petitions were decided in chambers without the presence of advocates.