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Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Sanya Talwar
3 May 2020 6:01 AM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

[Week commencing April 27 to May 2, 2020]

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Deemed University Covered Under Prevention Of Corruption Act : SC [State of Gujarat V. Mansukhbhai Kanjibhai Shah]

Supreme Court held that a 'deemed university' will come under the ambit of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Bench of Justices N V Ramana, Mohan M Shantanagoudar and Ajay Rastogi set aside a judgment of the High Court of Gujarat, which had allowed the discharge of trustees of a deemed university, from prosecution in a corruption case. The Apex Court observed that the High Court was in fact incorrect in holding that a "Deemed University" is excluded from the ambit of the term "University" under Section 2(c)(xi) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Article 30 Doesn't Prevent State From Imposing Reasonable Regulations To Make Administration Of Minority Institutions Transparent : SC [Christian Medical College Vellore Association V. Union of India & Ors.]

Supreme Court has upheld the validity of National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admissions to medical and dental courses. Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and M R Shah further re-stated principles governing minority educational institutions under Article 30 of the Constitution, noting that the right conferred on religious and linguistic minorities to administer educational institutions of their choice is not an "absolute right" and is not free of "regulation" from the State.

SC Explains Scope Of Remand Under Order XLI Rule 23A CPC; Appellate Courts Must Not Pass Orders Of Remand In A Routine Manner [Shivakumar & Ors. V. Sharanabasappa & Ors.]

Elucidating powers of "Remand" under the Civil Procedure Code 1908 vis-à-vis Order 41 Rule 23A, Supreme Court held that that re-trial should not be ordered in a routine manner and neither should the Appellate Court pass orders of remand in a routine manner. Bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hemant Gupta observed that the Appellate Court should ordinarily determine the suit finally when the evidence available is sufficient to dispose of the matter.

Tax Authorities Can't Give Their Own Interpretations To Legislative Provisions On Basis of Perception Of Trade Practices : SC [Commercial Taxes Officer V. M/S Bombay Machinery Store]

While observing that Tax Administration Authorities cannot give their own interpretation to legislative provisions basis their perception of "trade practices", Supreme Court answered the question as to when inter-state movement is to be treated as "terminated" under Section 6(2) of the Central Sales Tax Act 1956? Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose held that there exists no concept of 'constructive delivery' of goods under the Act, and that the inter-state movement of goods will terminate only when the actual physical delivery is taken interpreted Section 6(2) of the Central Sales Tax Act.

A Citizen Must Have Some Standing Or Knowledge Before Questioning Capability & Integrity Of A Judge: SC Holds 3 People Guilty of Contempt For Making Scandalous Allegations Against Judges [In Re: Vijay Kurle & Ors]

The Supreme Court has held that a citizen must have some standing or knowledge before questioning the capability of or integrity of a Judge of the Highest Court and cautioned that the right to criticise Judgements delivered by any court, including the Supreme Court, does not encompass the right to question the "bona fides" of a judge or to raise questions with regard to their competence. A bench of  Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose made these observations while holding Vijay Kurle (State President, Maharashtra & Goa, Indian Bar Association), Rashid Khan Pathan (National Secretary, Human Rights Security Council) & Nilesh Ojha (National President, Indian Bar Association) guilty of contempt.

Non-Participation In Arbitral Proceedings Results In Waiver Of Right To Raise Objections On Jurisdiction After Award : SC [Quippo Construction Equipment Ltd. V. Janardan Nirman Pvt. Ltd]

The Supreme Court has held that the non participation of a party in arbitral proceedings shall result in "Waiver of Right" to raise objections on jurisdiction after award has been passed. A bench of Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Vineet Saran noted that technicalities surrounding the "venue" and 'place" may not neccesarily be relevant in domestic arbitrations as they are in international commercial arbitrations, due to uniformity in application of the substantive and curial laws.

Payments To Non-Residents For Income Accrued In India Liable To TDS : SC Upholds Liability Of 96 Cricket WC Governing Body [PILCOM V. C.I.T. West Bengal-VII]

Supreme Court has held that payments made to non-resident Sports Associations in the instant case were liable to Tax Deduction at source in terms of Section 194E of the Income Tax Act, 1961 as the represented income which accrued or arose, was deemed to have accrued or arisen in India. A bench of Justices UU Lalit and Vineet Saran therefore held that Pak-Indo-Lanka joint management Committee (PILCOM), set up for purposes of conducting the 1996 cricket world cup, was liable to have tax deducted at source for payments made to non-resident sports associations for the tournament as the income in question had arisen from a source of income in India, which was, playing of cricket matches in India and as such, the requirement in law as aforementioned was fully satisfied.

Section 4(5) Of Gratuity Act Applies Only When There Are Options For The Employee Under The Act & Under Contract With Employer : SC [BCH Electric Limited V. Pradeep Mehra]

In a notable judgment, the Supreme Court held that Section 4(5) of the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 will apply only when there are "alternative options" for employee under the Act and under the terms of contract with the employee. A bench of Justices U U Lalit and Sanjiv Khanna set aside findings of the Claim Commissioner under the Act, which were approved by the Appellate Authority and also by both, the Single Bench and the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court. Court further stated that an employee cannot choose a combination of the scheme insinuated by the employer as well as the scheme under the Act.

Service As Additional Judge On Ad-Hoc Promotion Will Not Count For Seniority Of District Judge : SC [Dinesh Kumar Gupta V. High Court of Judicature of Rajasthan & Ors.]

The Supreme Court has held that the period of service as an "ad-hoc" Judge shall not count for purposes of seniority of District Judge. While deciding the issue raised by Rajasthan Judicial Service Officers Association against Seniority list prepared by the High Court, claiming reckoning of their service as Additional District and Sessions Judges in Fast Track Courts, Bench of Justices UU Lalit and Vineet Saran held that the "reckonable date" shall be date of substantive appointement and not from date of initial ad-hoc appointment or promotion while considering seniority.

In Marginal Relief To Vodafone Idea, SC Allows Tax Refund Of Rs 773 Crores Against Claim Of Rs 4760 Crores [Vodafone Idea Ltd. V. Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax Circle 26 (2) & Anr.]

The Supreme Court directed the Income Tax authorities to refund only the amount of Rs.733 Crores for the Assessment Year 2014-15, amidst the telecom giant's claim of the Department not processing income tax refunds of Rs 4,760 crore for the AYs 2014-15 to 2017-18. Bench of Justices UU Lalit and Vineet Saran further noted that the exercise of power under Sub-sections (2) and (3) of Section 143 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 is premised on non-acceptance of what is evident from the return itself and to ensure that there is no avoidance of tax in any manner.

'Common Parlance', 'Popular Meaning', 'Marketability' Tests Applicable Only If Tariff Entry Classifiable In More Than One Heads: SC [Commissioner of Central Excise Delhi - III V. M/S Uni Products India Limited]

The Supreme Court has llaid down that the "common parlance test", "marketability test" and "popular meaning test", which are all "tools for interpretation to arrive at a decision on proper classification of a tariff entry", would be required to be applied only "if a particular tariff entry is capable of being classified in more than one heads". Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose dismissed the Delhi Central Excise Commissioner's appeals against the 2008 decision of the CESTAT which had held that "car matting" would be chargeable to duty at 8% under the heading "Carpets and Other Textile Floor Coverings", and not at 16% under "Vehicles other than Railway or Tramway Rolling-Stock and Parts and Accessories Thereof".

Wife's Right To Reside In Matrimonial Home Can't Be Enforced Against Builder Or Development Authority Under Statutory Scheme : SC [Aishwarya Atul Pulsalkar V. Mahrashtra Housing Development Authority & Ors.]

The Supreme Court has held that when a builder has discharged his obligation by accommodating the original owners in the redeveloped portion, a lady married into that family would not be entitled to invoke writ jurisdiction to enforce her right to matrimonial home citing provisions of the relevant housing and area development statute, if her husband does not permit her to reside in the allocated portion. In the instance case, a bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose was deciding the appeal filed by a woman, seeking right to reside in the homes allotted to her husband under the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Act 1976. Court held that the Wife's right to reside in her matrimonial home does not flow from the MHADA Act 1976 Act.

SC Dismisses Review Petition Against Judgment Refusing 'Pressure Cooker' Symbol To TTV Dinakaran Faction [VK Sasikala V. Election Commission of India]

The Supreme Court dismissed the plea for review of its March, 2019 decision by which the political faction led by former AIADMK leader T. T. V. Dhinakaran was denied the 'pressure cooker' symbol, that it had hoped to employ exclusively for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the assembly bye-elections. The bench of Chief Justice S. A. Bobde, Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna dismissed the review petition filed in the name of AMMK President V. K. Sasikala, a close confidante of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa. Dhinakaran had fought a long and protracted battle for the election symbol of "two leaves", which claim was rejected by the Election Commission of India, two Benches of the High Court and virtually by the Supreme Court as well, by its order of March 15, 2019, by which a limited notice was issued to explore the possibility of allotment of the symbol of "pressure cooker" to the faction.

Supreme Court Allows Parents Having Visitation Rights To Maintain Contact With Children Via Electronic Means [Tanuj Dhawan V. Courts On Its Own Motion]

Keeping in view the inability of parents having visitation rights to meet their children physically due to the nationwide lockdown, the Supreme Court directed that they may resort to electronic means for the same, directing thereby that all the parents having visitation rights can now avail electronic visitations via Video Calls etc. instead of physical visitations during this period. A bench of Justices NV Ramana, SK Kaul and BR Gavai passed the order in a PIL which raised concerns regarding the Mental Health of Children due to impossibility of maintaining contact with their parents having due visitation rights.

SC Grants Interim Protection From Arrest To Prashant Bhushan In FIR Registered By Gujarat Police [Prashant Bhushan V. Jaidev Rajnikanth Joshi]

The Supreme Court bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Sanjiv Khanna granted interim protection from arrest to Advocate Prashant Bhushan in FIR registered against him by Gujarat police alleging hurting of religious sentiments. The FIR was registered over the critical comments made by Bhushan on twitter against Union Minister Prakash Javadekar tweeting a picture of himself watching "Ramayana" serial amidst the national lockdown. In that context, Bhushan tweeted on March 28 : "As crores starve and walk hundreds of miles home due to the lockdown, our heartless ministers celebrate consuming and feeding the opium of Ramayana & Mahabharata to the people!".


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