Human Rights

A judgment very much in error — Part 1 (Equality)

NoticeAndStayAdityaVerma_SupremeCourtcolumnConfusion, shock, and anger continue to simmer in light of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Suresh Kumar Koushal and Another v. NAZ Foundation and Others that “Section 377 IPC does not suffer from the vice of unconstitutionality and the declaration made by the Division Bench of the High court is legally unsustainable.

The effect of the judgment is to sustain previous judicial interpretations of the phrase “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”. As a result, any “carnal intercourse” (which by definition involves penetration) other than penile-vaginal intercourse is ‘against the order of nature’, and constitutes an offence under Section 377, Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Section377On the face of it, such criminality attaches equally to both heterosexual and homosexual activity. The latent legal consequence is that male homosexuality is criminalised without exception due to the impossibility of penile-vaginal intercourse.

Apart from compelling philosophical and practical arguments for decriminalising male homosexuality, there has also been an outpouring of a rhetoric of outrage in the immediate aftermath of the judgment — which may not necessarily convince anyone who is not already a sympathiser!

This three-part article aims to provide a reasoned contribution to the debate from a legal perspective, concluding that the judgment is very much in error. Part I compares how the High Court and the Supreme Court addressed the issue of equality under Articles 14 and 15. Part II contrasts the judgments in the context of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21. Part III addresses two ‘red herrings’ which have occupied some of the discussion following the judgment, although not forming the substance of the debate.

So, what happened?

On 2 July 2009, the High Court of Delhi declared “that Section 377 IPC, insofar it criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults in private, is violative of Articles 21, 14 and 15 of the Constitution. The provisions of Section 377 IPC will continue to govern non-consensual penile non-vaginal sex and penile non-vaginal sex involving minors.

This means that carnal intercourse between consenting adults in private would have been outside the scope of the phrase ‘against the order of nature’, and therefore, not punishable under Section 377. The Supreme Court has disagreed.Article14_15_ConstitutionofIndia

Summary of the judgment of the High Court in relation to equality: 

After taking note of previous judgments in relation to Section 377, the High Court reasoned that “It is evident that the tests for attracting the penal provisions have changed from the non-procreative to imitative to sexual perversity.” The issue was whether Section 377 should include sexual acts performed by consenting adults in private (and in particular the legality of male homosexuality). Relying on judgments from India and other jurisdictions, the Constituent Assembly Debates, scholarly works, the 172nd Report of the Law Commission recommending deletion of Section 377, and various international human rights documents, the High Court held such acts to be outside the purview of Section 377, as otherwise Section 377:

– Violates Article 14 resulting in irrational classification having no nexus with the object of the law – it was argued that the object of Section 377 was to protect women and children, prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, and enforce societal morality against homosexuality. These arguments were rejected as consensual private acts between adults have no connection with the protection of women and children, criminalisation increases health risks instead of preventing spread of HIV/AIDS, and moral norms cannot be enforced by the state on individuals if no harm is caused to anyone else or society.

– Violates Article 14 by targeting male homosexuals specifically, although Section 377 is ostensibly worded without reference to sexual orientation. It makes criminals out of all male homosexuals as a class, as the nature of the activities proscribed bears an unavoidable correlation with that class, which is arbitrary and unjust.

– Violates Article 15 as ‘sexual orientation’ is a ground analogous to ‘sex’, within the meaning of Article 15, which prohibits discrimination solely on the basis of such grounds. The High Court adopted the standards of ‘strict scrutiny’ and ‘proportionality review’ of laws, in cases where rights of a particular class were taken away on the basis of a prohibited ground. Using these standards, Section 377, if interpreted to include male homosexuality, would violate the Constitution.

The High Court noted that, given the other conclusions it had reached, it was not necessary to deal with the issue of the violation of Article 19(1)(a) to (d). Employing the doctrine of severability, Section 377 was ‘read down’ to include only non-consensual penile-non-vaginal sex and penile-non-vaginal sex involving minors.

Therefore, there were three distinct grounds (highlighted in bold above) in relation to equality on the basis of which the High Court interpreted Section 377 to exclude carnal intercourse between consenting adults in private. In order to set aside the judgment of the High Court, it was necessary for the Supreme Court to conclude that each of these grounds was fallacious.

Analysis of the Supreme Court judgment in relation to equality (Paragraphs 38 to 44 and 50 to 51)

The judgment of the Supreme Court discusses previous cases in relation to Section 377 and states (Paragraph 38):

“However, from these cases no uniform test can be culled out to classify acts as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”. In our opinion the acts which fall within the ambit of the section can only be determined with reference to the act itself and the circumstances in which it is executed. All the aforementioned cases refer to non consensual and markedly coercive situations and the keenness of the court in bringing justice to the victims who were either women or children cannot be discounted while analyzing the manner in which the section has been interpreted. We are apprehensive of whether the Court would rule similarly in a case of proved consensual intercourse between adults. Hence it is difficult to prepare a list of acts which would be covered by the section. Nonetheless in light of the plain meaning and legislative history of the section, we hold that Section 377 IPC would apply irrespective of age and consent.” (emphasis supplied)

It is not difficult to see why a uniform test has not evolved – the words in the provision are in the realm of metaphor, or at best, subjective opinion. The first and last sentences of the above paragraph are directly in conflict. If Section 377 has a ‘plain meaning’, a uniform test should be decipherable from the section itself. In any case, it is acknowledged that even judicial interpretation has not provided a uniform test for the applicability of the section. The absence of a uniform test implies arbitrariness. If at all a ‘core’ meaning of the section can be identified, it has to be restricted to cases of “non consensual and markedly coercive situations”, which is precisely what the High Court had done.

Paragraphs 39 to 41 and 51 of the judgment assert that the factual foundation necessary for the challenge to the constitutionality of the law was not established and that discrimination or abuse of a law cannot be presumed. According to the judgment, the facts pleaded by Naz Foundation “are wholly insufficient for recording a finding that homosexuals, gays, etc., are being subjected to discriminatory treatment either by State or its agencies or the society.

Whether the pleadings were insufficient for such a finding to be reached is a question that permits some subjectivity, although it is relatively unusual for the Supreme Court to make a factual assessment anew in an appeal under Article 136. The reasoning in those paragraphs of the judgment is fallacious because the challenge under Article 14 did not require a factual foundation of that nature to be established. The challenge was based on the presence of an irrational classification in the law without a nexus with its object, not particular instances of discrimination by state agencies.

LGBT activists organised a Global Day of Rage against the Supreme Court judgment. Protestors gathered in cities around the world, including New York (above).
LGBT activists organised a Global Day of Rage against the Supreme Court judgment. Protestors gathered in cities around the world, including New York (above). The photo is from The All-Nite Images photostream on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0.

Paragraph 42 states “Those who indulge in carnal intercourse in the ordinary course and those who indulge in carnal intercourse against the order of nature constitute different classes and the people falling in the latter (sic) category cannot claim that Section 377 suffers from the vice of arbitrariness and irrational classification… Therefore, the High Court was not right in declaring Section 377 IPC ultra vires Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution”

Although Article 15 is mentioned, the challenge under Article 15 based on the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not addressed.

As far as Article 14 is concerned, in a case where the challenge is based on the constitutionality of male homosexuality being classified specifically as ‘against the order of nature’, it is no answer that the existence of such classification itself means that it is not arbitrary. According to this logic, there would never be any cases of irrational classification as long as such classification exists.

The conclusion of the argument is that classification under Section 377 is not irrational. The assumption of the argument is that classification under Section 377 is not irrational. This is, by definition, a tautology.

Paragraph 43 states that “a miniscule fraction of the country’s population constitute lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgenders and in last more than 150 years less than 200 persons have been prosecuted (as per the reported orders) for committing offence under Section 377 IPC and this cannot be made sound basis for declaring that section ultra vires the provisions of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution”.

According to the Constitution, fundamental rights do not admit of exceptions solely on the ground that the class of people affected is a minority. Imagine laws that would label people as criminals if they were left-handers, or atheists, and the flaw in such reasoning is apparent (although criminalising this does not sound so unreasonable, eh? What about vegetarians?). Those who support criminalisation of homosexuality under Section 377 must justify how a person’s sexuality — a private facet of that person’s life — enables them to cast a moral judgment about that person as a whole, and render that person liable to imprisonment for life.

As a distinct point, it is disconcerting that the judgment only considers the 200-odd who have been prosecuted under Section 377 as affected, and not the 25 lakh men who have sex with men in India whose sexuality is labelled criminal (2006 Government estimate quoted in the judgment).

In Paragraph 44, by citing two previous decisions, the judgment seeks to argue that the vagaries of language and the scope for interpretation of a penal provision by itself would not render the provision arbitrary. It is implied that the ‘against the order of nature’ cannot be arbitrary merely on the ground that it can be interpreted to mean different things. However, this does not answer any of the challenges to Section 377 under Articles 14 and 15. There is no legal basis to conclude that an interpretation contrary to these fundamental rights can be sustained.

(Students of jurisprudence will probably afford themselves a wry smile at the irony of the argument in Paragraph 44 of the judgment being a strand of the idea of the inevitable ‘open texture of law’, an idea developed by the jurist H.L.A. Hart, who also formed one half of the Hart-Devlin debate.)

The second part of this article will compare the arguments in relation to life and personal liberty (Article 21).

(Aditya Verma practices as an Advocate at the Supreme Court of India. He is an alumnus of NLSIU, Bangalore, and is on the roll of solicitors in England and Wales.)

Human Rights Supreme Court of India

Koushal — An ADM Jabalpur moment for the Supreme Court

Manish_jimanishThe Supreme Court’s decision in Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation is a disappointing and dangerous failure to fulfil its obligation to uphold the Constitution and protect the fundamental rights of citizens. With shallow and unsatisfactory analysis, seemingly grounded in inexplicable and excessive deference to the legislature, the Court set aside the decision of the Delhi High Court. That decision had read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, in its application to consenting adults, as being in violation of Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Constitution of India.

Locus standi of the respondents

The very premise of the appeals was fragile. The respondents at the Delhi High Court (that is, the State) did not choose to appeal the decision. The point of locus standi of the various individuals who filed the appeal was raised in arguments before the Supreme Court, but the Court did not even consider this issue, despite good precedent existing for it to do so.

Baffling deference to legislative superiority

The judgment adopts an unusually — and, it is submitted, wholly incorrect — deference to legislative superiority, beginning with a warped discussion on the presumption of constitutionality. Strangely, the Supreme Court relies on the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 to suggest that Parliament did not intend to amend Section 377 (Para 32).

The fact that the State had chosen not to appeal, and the submissions of the Attorney General (who argued as amicus curiae that the State did not find any error in the decision) (Para 21), seem to have been conveniently ignored. Why a Court that has stepped into the domain of the legislature and the executive, legislating and enforcing policy on several occasions, showed such reluctance to exercise what is undoubtedly its assigned Constitutional function — that of upholding the Constitution and protecting the fundamental rights of citizens — is beyond baffling.

Setback for the Court’s fundamental rights jurisprudence

The worst part of the Court’s reasoning is found in Paragraphs 42 and 43. In Paragraph 42, the Court blandly states, “Those who indulge in carnal intercourse in the ordinary course and those who indulge in carnal intercourse against the order of nature constitute different classes…” As to what constitutes the acts in each category, the court gives us no indication whatsoever. The fact that there has to be an intelligible differentia, clearly does not seem to matter to the Court. According to the Court, there exists some classification and that seals the question of any violation of Article 14. The arbitrariness doctrine is not dealt with. The Court does not even bother with Article 15(1) — notwithstanding that the Delhi High Court had made a significant Constitutional point in treating sexual orientation as an “analogous ground” to sex.

More follows in the next paragraph:  “…the High Court overlooked that a miniscule fraction of the country’s population constitute lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgenders and in last more than 150 years, less than 200 persons have been prosecuted for committing offence under Section 377.” In one fell swoop, the Court demolishes over sixty years of jurisprudence and constitutional values, suggesting that minorities are second-rate citizens, not entitled to any constitutional protection under Part III.


Besides setting a dangerous precedent in terms of taking a majoritarian view in respect of Constitutional protection, the judgment has worrying implications. Another Bench of the Supreme Court has reserved judgment in a writ petition seeking the recognition of transgender rights. It is unclear what impact the decision in Koushal will have on that case. Further, Section 377 is a cognizable offence, and in light of the recent Constitution Bench judgment in Lalita Kumari that made FIR registration mandatory, re-criminalising it opens the door to frightening possibilities of misuse and intimidation (factors that, incidentally, the Court dismissed as irrelevant in Koushal).

The most inexplicable part of the judgment is the reasoning on Article 21. From Paragraphs 45 to 50, the Court devotes considerable space to this, quoting generously from several of its previous judgments. Then, abruptly, it moves on, without any conclusion whatsoever. Whether there was a paragraph that was accidentally deleted, or whether the Court deliberately chose to leave this question hanging, we will probably never know.

The Supreme Court also berates the High Court for its reliance on international and comparative jurisprudence in what it terms “anxiety to protect so-called rights of LGBT persons”. The careless and hurtful wording aside, it is extremely disappointing that the Supreme Court never bothers to substantively engage with the reasoning of the High Court, much of which drew from Indian precedent and the Constituent Assembly Debates while interpreting the Constitution.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, writing in the Indian Express, termed the decision “morally regressive” and “constitutionally dubious”, stating that it would be “remembered in infamy as one of those decisions that, like Dred Scott, show how liberal democracies can sometimes give rein to a regime of oppression and discrimination under the imprimatur of law”. A press release by LGBT organisations suggested that it was the Supreme Court’s ADM Jabalpur moment of the twenty-first century.

At the time of writing this, efforts to file a review petition against the decision were in progress. Meanwhile, the ruling political coalition was reported to have opposed the order, and an ordinance is apparently being considered to amend Section 377. It will be a sad day indeed for the Supreme Court if it is Parliament that shows greater resolve in protecting fundamental rights and upholding the Constitution.

(Manish is a Researcher at the National Law University, Delhi.)

Human Rights Supreme Court of India

Section 377 — Supreme Court has failed in its fundamental duty to protect fundamental rights

Today, one day after World Human Rights Day, India’s most progressive and respected institution has stained its proud record of protecting and advancing citizens’ rights — perhaps indelibly.

In 2009, the Delhi High Court in an inspired verdict, that decriminalised homosexuality, had said:

“If there is one constitutional tenet that can be said to be underlying theme of the Indian Constitution, it is that of ‘inclusiveness’. This Court believes that Indian Constitution reflects this value deeply ingrained in Indian society, nurtured over several generations. The inclusiveness that Indian society traditionally displayed, literally in every aspect of life, is manifest in recognising a role in society for everyone. Those perceived by the majority as ‘deviants’ or ‘different’ are not on that score excluded or ostracised.

Where society can display inclusiveness and understanding, such persons can be assured of a life of dignity and non-discrimination. This was the ‘spirit behind the Resolution’ of which Nehru spoke so passionately. In our view, Indian Constitutional law does not permit the statutory criminal law to be held captive by the popular misconceptions of who the LGBTs are. It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality, which will foster the dignity of every individual.”

Today, after a long, convoluted appeals process that stretched over four years, the Supreme Court of India overturned the Delhi High Court’s 2009 judgment, thereby re-criminalising gay relationships. In doing so, the Supreme Court of India stands apart — in disgraced isolation — from the judiciary in every other democracy in the world — including developing countries like South Africa, Nepal, Mexico, and Brazil.

In throwing the ball back to the executive branch, the judges sought to couch their decision in terms of showing constitutional deference for the role of the executive. The Supreme Court however, has never shown hesitation in striking down central and state laws and has been perfectly willing to create laws (mostly good) out of thin air, such as the recent judgment banning criminals from contesting elections. In this particular case, the Indian government’s final submission supported the repeal of Section 377 (that is, supported decriminalisation of gay relationships). This would indicate that the deference to executive authority was a fig leaf — enabling the justices to render a regressive and prejudiced decision without overtly appearing to do so. The news media rightly greeted the ruling with headlines like “SC: Gay sex illegal” and “Gay Sex is a criminal offense rules Supreme Court”. For once, the media’s inability to handle nuance is working in favour of truth.


While India’s brave community of LGBT activists and their heterosexual allies will continue to fight for equality — one that they will doubtless win in the long run; in the short term, this decision does real damage to the lives of gay people who are out or in the closet. It will expose lesbians and gays to even more harassment and persecution from the police; give fresh institutional cover to discriminatory practices in every aspect of life — housing and employment among others, and could shrink the already rather limited spaces that the LGBT community has carved out for themselves in public life.

Today, the Supreme Court of India has abjectly failed in its fundamental duty to protect the fundamental rights of an individual and of minorities. Here’s hoping Justices Singhvi and Mukhopadhyaya will see the repudiation of their reasoning by the same Supreme Court in their lifetimes.

(Abhay Prasad is a graduate of IIT Bombay and IIM Ahmedabad and a former volunteer editor of Trikone Magazine, the oldest South Asian LGBT magazine in the U.S. His blog is here.)

Human Rights Supreme Court of India

Supreme Court’s sexual harassment regulations should not be limited to the Court’s precincts

NoticeAndStayAdityaVerma_SupremeCourtcolumnNo woman shall be subjected to sexual harassment at the Supreme Court of India precincts”, proclaims Regulation 3 of the Gender Sensitisation & Sexual Harassment of Women at the Supreme Court of India (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Regulations, 2013 (“the Regulations”). The Supreme Court of India notified the Regulations in exercise of its administrative jurisdiction. They are now in force and apply independent of other laws that may apply, such as the yet-to-be-notified Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013.

SexualHarassmentAtTheWorkplaceMOOC2The Regulations apply to everyone, not just lawyers (although the definition of aggrieved woman does not include “any female who is already governed by the Supreme Court service regulations”). They are significant because they acknowledge that the sexual harassment of women in the professional environment of litigation is a real problem, especially because litigation has traditionally been a heavily male-dominated profession. But do the Regulations go far enough?


A ten-member Gender Sensitisation and Internal Complaints Committee (“the GSICC”), headed by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, has been constituted under the Regulations. The GSICC (through an Internal Sub-Committee of three members constituted in relation to any particular complaint) inquires into complaints of sexual harassment. Such inquiries must be completed within ninety days.

JusticeAKGanguly_sexualharassmentallegations.jpgUpon completion of the inquiry, if the complaint is found to be genuine, the GSICC has the power to admonish and also publish such admonition. It can also take other necessary steps to prevent or prohibit future harassment by placing appropriate restrictions on contact between the complainant and the respondent.

Crucially, for deterrence, the GSICC can recommend to the Chief Justice of India, that other orders be passed against the respondent, including orders to debar the respondent’s entry into the Supreme Court precincts up to a maximum of one year. It can also recommend the filing of a criminal complaint and a complaint to a disciplinary authority (such as a bar council). A person aggrieved by an order passed (or not passed) by the GSICC can make a representation to the Chief Justice of India to have it set aside or modified.

Simple and flexible procedure

SupremeCourt_SexualHarassment_Regulations_SupremeCourtofIndiaprecincts.jpgThe standard of proof required for the inquiry procedure is not expressly specified. The inquiry however, has the trappings of civil proceedings with purely civil consequences, which indicates that the normal standard of proof in civil cases would be applicable, that is, the preponderance of probabilities.

The Regulations provide for a relatively simple and flexible procedure for the GSICC and the Internal Sub-Committee. It is appropriate that the GSICC will always be headed by a judge of the Supreme Court as that can ensure consistent adherence to the principles of natural justice and fair play. There may often be an imbalance of power between the complainant and the respondent, which makes it doubly important that the procedure is kept uncomplicated.

While a forensic examination of the Regulations will have to be more detailed, a couple of aspects that may scupper the efficacy of the Regulations in the long term are highlighted below.

Applicability of the Regulations is restricted to the ‘Supreme Court of India precincts’

This is narrower than the concept of ‘workplace’ contemplated under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013 (and also under the guidelines laid down in Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan.Workplace” need not be restricted by a brick-and-mortar interpretation, given that sexual harassment has more to do with the relationship and power dynamic between people than the physical space they occupy.

A more considered approach may have to be taken to identify those categories of persons whose relationship with each other has a relevant nexus with the Supreme Court as a workplace, in order that it is appropriate for the administrative jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to extend to their conduct beyond its precincts. An allegation by an intern against a judge of sexual harassment in a hotel room, as a case in point, may well fall outside the purview of the Regulations altogether (See for reference, the amicus petition submitted by Lawyers’ Collective).

Definition of sexual harassment and the scope of the inquiry

In what may be an inadvertent oversight, if a literal interpretation is given to Regulations 2(k)(x) – 2(k)(xiii), the following acts may amount to sexual harassment under the Regulations even if they are noJusticeRanjanaDesai_SupremeCourt_SexualHarrassmentComplaintsCommitteet sexually motivated in any manner:

– ‘implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her legal career’

– ‘implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her legal career’

– ‘implied or explicit threat about her present or future legal career’

– ‘interference [sic] with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her’

Of course, such acts, if sexually motivated, should fall within the definition of sexual harassment. However, the definition as it currently stands does not require them to be so motivated.

Further, the interpretation of the Regulations vis-à-vis the definition of sexual harassment and the scope of enquiry by the GSICC may also pose problems. For example, sexual harassment can occur via text and electronic messages (Regulation 2(k)(v)). It is difficult to reconcile this with an inquiry whose scope is restricted to sexual harassment ‘at the Supreme Court of India precincts’. It would be impractical to seek proof that such text or electronic messages were either sent from or seen within a particular physical space. Regulation 2(k)(vi) includes ‘stalking or consistently following aggrieved woman in the Supreme Court precincts and outside’, which appears to be incongruous with the geographical limitation otherwise placed on the scope of the complaint or inquiry.

Finally, there may be a day when laws and regulations against sexual harassment will be gender-neutral in all respects.

(Aditya Verma practices as an Advocate at the Supreme Court of India. He is an alumnus of NLSIU, Bangalore, and is on the roll of solicitors in England and Wales.)

Supreme Court of India

Medical negligence: Supreme Court rejects rigid formulae, demands nuance in calculating compensation

PrateekAndheriaThe Supreme Court’s judgment in Dr. Balram Prasad and Others v. Dr. KunalSahaand Others, on appeal from a decision of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, addressed key issues related to the payment of compensation in medical negligence cases.

The brief facts are in this report. Liability per se had already been decided by the Supreme Court in a previous round of litigation in 2009.The Court had then directed the Commission to arrive at a just figure of compensation. This time round, in a 210-page judgment, the Court increased the compensation awarded — from the Rs. 1.55 crore awarded by the Commission to Rs. 6.08 crore, perhaps the largest ever in such a case.

Doctor_HospitalThe Court’s observations on the ‘multiplier method’ are a key takeaway from the judgment. The multiplier method calculates compensation based on the estimated future income of the deceased. It depends on the age of the deceased at the time of death, since it multiplies the estimated figure of annual income by the estimated number of years the deceased would have been earning for. Tracing the history of this method to the concept of no-fault liability under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, the Court relied on precedent (para 65) to note first, the need for flexibility in its application generally and the inappropriateness of its strict application in the context of medical negligence where fault has been established (since the method was specifically designed for redressal of no-fault liability claims). After that, the Court re-evaluated the compensation for loss of future income of the deceased. Here, the judgment once again extolled the need for a case-by-case approach, and added a thirty per cent to the projected future earnings to account for possibilities of future advancement and the ‘future potential’ of the deceased.

While substantively, the Court has decided the case based on existing law, three points stand out. Firstly, there is a constant emphasis on flexibility, context, and regard to the overall circumstances and an eschewal of calculation methods based on rigid formulae. Secondly, rather than relying on doctrine alone, the Court adopted a consequentialist approach. It was comfortable ‘getting its hands dirty’ and addressed issues of inflation adjustment, interest from the date of filing the claim, and even adjusting projected income with currency fluctuations. The emphasis appeared to be on an effective decision rather than on precedent and legal rules alone, an attitude that I would think is laudatory, and particularly appropriate for consumer law.

Despite the private law context of the judgment, I believe it serves the policy objective of demanding due care and attention from the medical community. The nuance and attention in the judgment to context and consequence are also notable.

(Prateek Andharia is a final year law student at NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad.)