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Justice AK Goel retires from Supreme Court; judge had authored contentious verdict on SC/ST Act

New Delhi: Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, who was the first person from Haryana to become a Supreme Court judge and took up various contentious social and religious issues such as triple talaq, abuse of the SC/ST Act and safeguards for women in matrimonial disputes, retires on Friday.

The judge, who had a four year tenure in the top court, would be remembered for referring the issue of divorce through instant triple talaq among Muslims to a five-judge constitution bench which held it as "illegal and arbitrary".

The judge hit the headlines with his 20 March judgment expressing concern over 'misuse' of the SC/ST Act, and holding that there would be no automatic arrest under the law and a primary inquiry must be conducted by the police before taking any action.

The judgment created a ripple effect and Opposition parties accused the government of not being serious in defending the provisions of the law aimed to protect the marginalised sections of society.

 Justice AK Goel retires from Supreme Court; judge had authored contentious verdict on SC/ST Act

File image of Justice AK Goel. Image courtesy:

The Centre came out with a review petition but Justice Goel, who headed the bench, refused to budge and said that those who were agitating had either not read the judgment or were being misled by vested interests.

Recently, Justice Goel decided to examine whether civil liability can be fastened on a man, who walked out of a promise to marry a woman after long cohabitation and a consensual sexual relationship, by treating such a relation as a 'de-facto' marriage.

In another significant order, he said that there was no need for privacy in courtrooms as nothing private happens there, as he favoured early installation of close circuit televisions in the courts.

On Thursday, he came out with a major order directing the Jagannath temple management to consider allowing every visitor, irrespective of their faith, to offer prayers to the deity.

Justice Goel was also a part of a bench which delivered a landmark judgement on 16 October, 2016 quashing the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act which sought to give the executive a say in the appointment of top judges on the grounds that it would undermine the independence of the judiciary.

In a separate but concurring judgement, he had held that the 99th constitutional amendment to replace the collegium system on appointment of judges to the higher judiciary damages the basic structure of the Constitution.

In April, he said that investigative agencies in India are not fully equipped for the use of videography, but the time was "ripe" for steps to be taken to introduce it in probes, particularly at crime scenes.

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Updated Date: Jul 06, 2018 21:39:52 IST