Justice S. Abdul Nazeer : Know Your Judges.

Author: Kanak Bansal, Faculty of Law, Banasthali Vidyapith.

Justice S. Abdul Nazeer

Justice S. Abdul Nazeer is currently a judge of Supreme Court who assumed his office on 17 February 2017.  He has been a part of several famous and important judgments.

Early Life

He was born on 5 January 1958 at Beluvai (near Moodbidri) in Karnataka.

He completed his graduation in Bachelor of Commerce (B.com.) at Mahaveer College, Moodbidri. Later on, he obtained a degree in law from SDM Law College, Mangluru.

Legal Career

In 1983 he enrolled as an advocate and then practised in the High Court of Karnataka for twenty years.

Then, in 2003 he was appointed at the post of additional judge in the High Court of Karnataka. Later on, in 2004 he was appointed as the permanent judge in the High Court of Karnataka.

On 17 February 2017, he was elevated as a judge in the Supreme Court by the then President, Pranab Mukherjee on the recommendation of the collegium of Supreme Court. It is a high point as he is one of the only three judges who has ever been elevated to the Supreme Court without being the Chief Justice of the High Court first.

Notable Judgments/Cases

Fundamental Right to privacy- On 24 August 2017 a nine-judge bench including Justice Nazeer in the case of Justice K.S. Puttaswamy and Anr v. Union of India and Ors. held that right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of India under Articles 14, 19 and 21.

Triple Talaq- In the case of Shayara Bano v. Union of India a constitution bench declared the practice of triple talaq as unconstitutional. However, in this case, Justice Nazeer along with Justice Kheher had the dissenting opinion. As per him, the matter is a facet of personal law which cannot be interfered by the court.


Witness Protection Scheme, 2018- On 5 December 2018  a bench comprising of Justice Abdul Nazeer and Justice Sikri held that the witness protection scheme, 2018 shall be enforced by the Centre, State and Union Territories. Emphasizing on the need of witness protection, the bench directed the Centre, States and Union Territories to set up vulnerable witness disposition complexes in every district.

Legality of SC/ST Act Amendment- Justice Abdul Nazeer is a part of the three-judge bench which will determine the constitutional validity of the amendment made to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 in 2018. The Parliament made this amendment to nullify the decision of Supreme Court in Kashinath Mahajan case in which Supreme Court in order to prevent the abuse of the SC/ST Act provides certain safeguards like preliminary enquiry before registering FIR, prior approval to arrest and granting anticipatory bail to the accused. The case is still pending.

Ayodhya Title Dispute- Justice Abdul Nazeer is a sitting judge in the case Maulana Ashhad v. Mahant Suresh Das concerning with the disputed title of Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi land. On the question of whether the matter should be heard by the Constitution Bench, Justice Nazeer gave a dissenting opinion holding that the case should be referred to the constitution bench. However, now the case is before the three-judge bench including Justice Abdul Nazeer awaiting judgment.