Justice S Abdul Nazeer, who was elevated as a Supreme Court judge on February 17, 2017, demitted office on Wednesday, January 4, 2023..Justice Nazeer is the third judge to be directly elevated to the Supreme Court without serving as Chief Justice of a High Court. Before assuming judgeship, he litigated for 20 years at the Karnataka High Court since the year 1983. He was appointed as an additional judge of the Karnataka High Court in the year 2003. A year later, he became a permanent judge and served for 13 years before being elevated to the Supreme Court..Over the course of five years at the Supreme Court, Justice Nazeer was part of benches that decided some of the most important cases in India's recent history - from the Ayodhya dispute to the Right to Privacy matter and the Triple Talaq case..Here is a look at his most significant judgments during his tenure as an apex court judge..1. Demonestisation not bad in lawCase Title: Vivek Narayan Sharma v. Union of IndiaIn one of the last judgments he was part of, Justice Nazeer headed the five-judge Constitution Bench that dismissed petitions challenging the Central government's 2016 decision to demonetise currency notes of ₹1,000 and ₹500.The Court held that the Central government in consultation with RBI can bring in demonetisation under Section 26(2) of RBI Act, and therefore, the demonetisation notification of 2016 was valid and satisfied the test of proportionality..BREAKING: Supreme Court dismisses pleas challenging 2016 demonetisation.2. Public servant can be held guilty under Prevention of Corruption Act based on circumstantial evidenceCase Title: Neeraj Dutta v. State (NCT of Delhi)As part of another Constitution Bench, Justice Nazeer ruled that a public servant can be held guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act based on circumstantial evidence in the absence of direct evidence.The Court said that the proof of demand and acceptance of illegal gratification can also be proved by circumstantial evidence in the absence of direct oral or documentary evidence. However, the Court clarified that the presumption of fact with regard to demand or acceptance of illegal gratification may be made by a court of law by way of an inference only when foundational facts have been proved..Public servant can be held guilty under Prevention of Corruption Act based on circumstantial evidence: Supreme Court.3. Additional restrictions cannot be imposed on freedom of speech of ministers, MPs/MLAs: Supreme CourtCase Title: Kaushal Kishore vs State of Uttar Pradesh and OthersJustice Nazeer headed a five-judge Constitution Bench which ruled that ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) enjoy freedom of speech in equal measure as other citizens under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. Greater/additional restrictions cannot be imposed on the fundamental right of free speech of such public functionaries, the Court unanimously held.The Court also said that statements made by ministers related to governments or their affairs cannot be vicariously attributed to the government..Additional restrictions cannot be imposed on freedom of speech of ministers, MPs/ MLAs: Supreme Court.4. [Ayodhya Dispute] Supreme Court allows temple construction in disputed land; allows alternative 5-acre land for mosqueCase Title: M Siddiq through LRs v. Mahant Das and OthersIn one of the defining judgments of the Supreme Court in the recent past, Justice Nazeer held as part of the five-judge Constitution Bench that the entire disputed land of 2.77 acres must be handed over to the Hindu parties for construction of the Ram Mandir. In doing so, the apex court put to bed an issue that was hotly contested for decades.Moreover, the Court also held that an alternative plot of land of 5 acres must be allotted to the Sunni Wakf Board for the construction of a mosque.The Court further observed that the destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992 was a violation of law and the act of placing idols beneath the central dome of the Mosque in 1949 was an act of "desecration"..Ayodhya Judgment: Why the Supreme Court gave title of the disputed site to Hindus?.5. Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right under Article 21Case Title: Justice KS Puttaswamy (Retd) v. Union of India and OthersJustice Nazeer was part of a nine-judge Constitution Bench which ruled that the right to privacy is a fundamental right protected under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.Additionally, the Court laid down the need for the implementation of a new law relating to data privacy, expanded the scope of privacy in personal spaces and discussed privacy as an intrinsic right.The Court had held privacy to be an overarching right of Part III of the Constitution which was enforceable and multifaceted. Details regarding the scope of the right were discussed in the multiple opinions..Puttaswamy: Right to Privacy is a Fundamental Right under Article 21, Supreme Court.6. Supreme Court strikes down Maratha Reservation law for exceeding 50 per cent capCase Title: Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil v. Chief MinisterJustice Nazeer was part of a five-judge Constitution Bench which had struck down the Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018, which extended reservation to the Maratha community in public education and employment.The Court unanimously said that there were no extraordinary circumstances to grant reservation to Maratha community over and above the 50 per cent ceiling on reservation prescribed by the Supreme Court in its 1992 judgment in Indra Sawhney v. Union of India. However, the Bench differed on the interpretation of Article 342A of the Constitution which was inserted by 102nd Constitutional Amendment. Justice Nazeer (alongside Justice Ashok Bhushan) took the view that Parliament did not intend to take away the power of states to identify backward classes, and thereby, they upheld the 102nd Constitutional amendment which inserted Article 342A.However, the majority held that under Article 342A, the President alone is empowered to identify SEBC and notify such classes in the list..[BREAKING] Supreme Court strikes down Maratha Reservation law for exceeding 50 percent cap; upholds Indra Sawhney, 102nd Constitutional Amendment.7. Section 319 CrPC power to summon persons can be exercised before acquittal or before sentence in case of convictionCase Title: Sukhpal Singh Khair v. Union of IndiaIn a significant judgment in the field of criminal law, a Constitution Bench of which Justice Nazeer was a part ruled that the power of trial court under Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to summon a person other than the accused can be exercised before acquittal or before sentence in case of conviction.The Court had issued elaborate guidelines regarding the exercise of powers under Section 319 CrPC for summoning additional accused during trial..[Section 319 CrPC] Power of trial court to proceed against non-accused should be used sparingly: Supreme Court.8. Criminals also entitled to life of dignity; Probability of reformation has to be considered seriously before awarding death sentence Case Title: Rajendra Pralhadrao Wasnik v. State of MaharashtraJustice Nazeer was part of a Division Bench which held that the probability that a convict can be reformed and rehabilitated in society must be seriously and earnestly considered by the trial court before awarding death sentence. It was further said by the Court that the same can be ascertained from material about the prisoner's conduct in jail, his conduct outside jail if he has been on bail for some time, medical evidence about his mental make-up, and contact with his family and so on..9. Supreme Court allows telcos to pay AGR dues within 10 yearsCase Title: Union of India v. Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of IndiaJustice Nazeer was part of a three-Judge Bench which has allowed telecom companies to pay the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) charges within the period of 10 years.The Court had rejected the prayer of the Department of Telecommunication seeking payments by telecom companies in a staggered fashion spanning over 20 years and instead allowed the telcos to make payments in a period spanning 10 years.In 2021, Justice Nazeer was a part of a three-Judge Bench which had rejected the pleas of telecom companies seeking re-calculation of the AGR dues demanded by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT)..[Breaking] Supreme Court allows telcos to pay AGR dues within 10 years, NCLT to decide whether spectrum can be sold.10. Daughter's right to inherit self-acquired property of father dying intestate recognized under customary Hindu LawCase Title: Arunachala Gounder (Dead) by LRs v. PonnusamyJustice Nazeer headed a Division Bench which ruled that a daughter is capable of inheriting the self-acquired property or share received in the partition of a coparcenary property of her Hindu father who dies intestate.The issue for consideration before the Court was whether before the commencement of the Hindu Succession Act, self-acquired property of a Hindu male will devolve to the daughter upon his death intestate by inheritance, or to the father’s brother’s son by survivorship..Self-acquired property of Hindu male deceased before Hindu Succession Act devolves by inheritance; daughter entitled to it: Supreme Court.11. Supreme Court says that Aadhaar linkage with PAN mandatory for IT returnsCase Title: Rasmita Biswal and Others v. Divisional Manager, National Insurance Company Limited and AnotherJustice Nazeer was part of a Bench which had significantly ruled that it was mandatory to link Permanent Account Number (PAN) with Aadhaar for the purpose of Income Tax returns and assessment.The Court had reiterated the present position vis-à-vis the question of Aadhaar linkage with PAN number in light of the judgment of September 2018.In 2021, Justice Nazeer was part of the Constitution Bench which had dismissed the review petitions challenging its 2018 judgment which had upheld the constitutionality of the Aadhaar scheme..Aadhaar linkage with PAN mandatory for IT returns, Supreme Court reiterates.12. Disclosure of sources of income of candidates contesting elections at the time of filing nominationCase Title: Lok Prahari v. Union of India and OthersJustice Nazeer was part of the division bench which had sought disclosure of the sources of income of candidates contesting elections at the time of filing nomination. The Court noted that if the assets of a legislator or his/her associates increase without bearing any relationship to their known sources of income, the only logical inference that can be drawn is that there is some abuse of the legislator’s Constitutional Office, which should be fundamentally unacceptable in any civilized society and antithetical to a constitutional Government. It further noted that it is a phenomenon inconsistent with the principle of the Rule of Law and a universally accepted Code of Conduct expected of the holder of a public office in a Constitutional democracy..13. Teacher reprimanding student for indiscipline not abetment of suicide under Section 306 IPCCase Title: Geo Verghese v. State of RajasthanJustice Nazeer was part of a bench which had held that a simple act of a teacher reprimanding a student on account of indiscipline will not attract the offence of abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).The Court while quashing a first information report (FIR) filed against a physical training (PT) teacher of a school on charges of abetment to suicide, noted that "it was a solemn duty of a teacher to instil discipline in students.".Teacher reprimanding student for indiscipline not abetment of suicide under Section 306 IPC: Supreme Court.During his tenure, Justice Nazeer also penned dissenting opinions against the majority views held by the rest of the benches in important cases..1. Triple Talaq declared unconstitutional; Justice Nazeer dissentsCase Title: Shayara Bano v. Union of India and OthersEven as the Supreme Court declared the practice of triple talaq as unconstitutional, Justice Nazeer (alongside then Chief Justice of India JS Khehar) dissented, holding that the top court cannot interfere in personal laws that enjoy the status of fundamental rights under the Constitution.CJI Khehar and Justice Nazeer were of the view that religion is a matter of faith, and not of logic and it was not open to a court to accept an egalitarian approach when it comes to a practice which constitutes an integral part of a religion..Supreme Court did not specify that Shayara Bano judgment on Triple Talaq will apply prospectively: High Court of J&K and Ladakh.2. Dissent against refusal to refer Ayodhya-Ram Janmbhoomi land dispute case to larger benchCase Title: M Siddiq through LRs v. Mahant Das and OthersWhile the majority held that there was no requirement of referring the 24-year-old judgment which had held that the offering of prayers in a mosque is not an “essential feature” of Islam to a larger bench, Justice Nazeer's was the lone dissenting voice against this view.In declaring that the 1994 Ismail Faruqui judgment need not be revisited, the majority judgment had said that those observations about the place of a mosque in Islam were limited to the context at hand in the case, namely the acquisition of land by the government, and had no bearing on the title suit in Ayodhya matter.In his dissenting opinion, Justice Nazeer said that whether a mosque is integral to Islam requires detailed consideration..Ayodhya Judgment: Why the Supreme Court gave title of the disputed site to Hindus?