Supreme Court Monthly Digest (January 2016)
The Supreme Court restated its earlier position in Mantoo Sarkar vs. Oriental Insurance Company Limited (2009) 2 SCC 244 regarding territorial jurisdiction of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal. Apex Court Bench of Justices Anil R. Dave and Adarsh Kumar Goel held that there is no bar to a claim petition being filed at a place where the insurance company, which is the main contesting parties in such cases, has its business.
The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices Madan B. Lokur and S.A. Bobde in Sri Aurobindo Ashram Trust vs. R. Ramanathan held that failure to take steps to ban a book that is critical of the philosophical and spiritual guru of a Trust would not fall within the compass of administration of the Trust.
The Supreme Court has put an end to a 4 decade long litigation by setting aside the High Court judgment which had reversed the concurrent finding of the courts below it by allowing a Second Appeal against the Land Lord.
Supreme Court comes to the rescue of a wannabe lawyer who was about to lose his LLB and other degree as the UP High School Board found his Intermediate results invalid and irregular. Apex Court bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Rohinton Fali Nariman set aside these orders of the UP High School Board and also held that High Court refusal to quash these orders are erroneous.
The Supreme Court quashed perjury proceedings initiated by the Delhi High Court against Forensic Expert in Jessica Lal Murder case. Apex Court Bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Kurian Joseph held that mere rejection of indefinite and inconclusive Expert opinion does not warrant initiation of perjury proceedings under Section 340 CrPC, against the Expert.
6. No deliberation of marriage before consensual sex, not a rape
The Supreme Court observed that if no deliberation about marriage between the prosecutrix and the accused took place before the alleged sexual contact which was consensual, it cannot be said that the consent has been given under misconception of marriage. Apex Court acquitted the ‘rape’ accused from all the charges against him.
Supreme Court held that there is no SC/ST quota for promotion in Public Sector banks, reviewing its earlier judgment which had directed the banks to make provision for reservations while carrying out promotions from Scale-I to Scale VI. Apex Court bench of Justices J. Chelameswar and A.K. Sikri setting aside the Judgment of Madras High Court, said that it is open for the State and the Banks to consider whether demand to provide reservation for promotion for SC/ST is justified and feasible.
Supreme Court warned the Courts about “unscrupulous litigants” indulging themselves in court haunting and said that Trial Court judges are not expected to show unnecessary sensitivity to allegations of accused against them and recuse himself from the case.
Supreme Court sentenced a man accused of raping and burning alive a young girl for life imprisonment. Apex Court bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and Arun Mishra reversed the Gauhati High Court order acquitting the accused from rape charges and restored the conviction and sentence recorded by trial court.
10. 20 year old suit dismissed
The Supreme Court in L. Gowramma (D) vs. Sunanda (D), has dismissed a Suit filed against a widow twenty years ago, by her daughter, by reversing concurrent judgments of the High Court and Trial court which had decreed the suit in favour of the daughter. Apex Court bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and R.F. Nariman held that succession to a Hindu male dying intestate (in this case) will be governed by Section 4(1)(ii) of the Hindu Law Women’s Rights Act, 1933, and not under Section 10(1)(g).
11. Medical college asked to pay 5 crores as costs
Coming down heavily on a medical college for not complying with its orders in Medical Council of India vs. JSS Medical College, the Supreme Court ordered it to deposit five crores Rupees as costs. Apex Court bench comprising of Justices Madan B. Lokur and R.K. Agrawal specifically directed the College not to recover this cost to be deposited, from any student in any manner or to adjust it against the fees or provision of facilities for students of subsequent batches.
12. Proposal forms binds insured
The Supreme Court set aside a National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum order against an Insurance company and held that notes appended to proposal forms which limits insurance coverage to the goods insured, binds the insured. Apex Court bench comprising of Justices J. Chelameswar and Abhay Manohar Sapre made this observation in United India Insurance Co. Ltd. Vs. M/s Orient Treasures Pvt. Ltd.
13. Section 6 Dowry Prohibition Act explained
Supreme Court held that giving of dowry and the traditional presents at or about the time of wedding does not in any way raise a presumption that such a property was thereby entrusted and put under the dominion of the parents-in-law of the bride or other close relations so as to attract ingredients of Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The Three judge bench comprising of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justices A.K. Sikri and R. Banumati made this observation in Bobbili Ramakrishna Raju Yadav vs. State of Andhra Pradesh.
14. Complainant cop involvement in investigation is not fatal
The Supreme Court of India held that an accused is not entitled to acquittal merely because the complainant, apparently a police officer, was involved in the investigation of the complaint against the accused. The Apex Court bench comprising of Justices V. Gopala Gowda and Uday Umesh Lalit made this observation in Surender @ Kala vs. State of Haryana.
15. No need to invite public tender for purchasing important defence equipment
A Division bench of the Supreme Court held that the Centre is not required to invite public tenders for purchase of strategically and critically important apparatus used in defence equipment. The subject matter involved in the case at hand was submarine batteries required for the Indian Navy.
16. SARFAESI cannot be used to evict tenants
In a significant ruling, Supreme Court of India held that the provisions of the SARFAESI Act cannot override the provisions of the Rent Control Act. Apex Court Bench comprising of Justices V. Gopala Gowda and Amitava Roy, in Vishal N. Kalsaria vs. Bank of India, said that non obstante clause as in section 35 of the SARFAESI Act cannot be used to bulldoze the statutory rights vested on the tenants under the Rent Control Act.
17. Lifting of corporate veil in mining lease cases
A two judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Dave & Goel JJ in State of Rajasthan & Ors v Gotan lime stone khanji udyog pvt. Ltd. & anr. On Thursday held that lifting of corporate veil shall also apply to cases where transactions relating to transfer of mining leases are involved. The bench speaking through Goel J held that even where the transactions separately viewed are prima facie legal, the Court shall lift the veil to test their true nature.
18. Sufficiency of injury to cause death crucial
The Supreme Court held that the sufficiency of injury to cause death must be proved to sustain a conviction under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code and that cannot be inferred from the fact that death has taken place. Three Judge Bench comprising of the Chief Justice, T.S. Thakur, Justices A.K. Sikri and R. Banumati, in Nankaunoo vs State of UP, modified conviction of an a person who was convicted for murder as that under Section 304 Part 1 IPC.
19. De novo CBI investigation in Raju Pal murder case
The apex court in Pooja Pal vs. Union of India, directed the CBI, to conduct a de novo investigation in the incident of murder of Raju Pal, the slain BSP MLA, by allowing an appeal filed by his wife Mrs. Pooja Pal. Apex Court Bench comprising of Justices V. Gopala Gowda and Amitava Roy said that pendency of the trial and the examination of the witnesses so far made is not a disarming factor to consider the necessity of entrusting the investigation to the CBI.
20. Second complaint to consumer forum maintainable
Supreme Court, reiterated that second complaint to a Consumer District Forum is maintainable, if relevant Consumer Protection Rules do not expressly prohibit it. Apex Court Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and R.K. Agrawal made this observation in Indian Machinery Company vs. M/s. Ansal Housing & Construction Ltd.
21. Invokes Doctrine of Transferred malice
The Supreme Court, in State of Rajasthan vs. Ram Kailash alias Ram Vilas restored the conviction of a murder accused under Section 302 IPC by setting aside the Judgment of High Court of Rajasthan which had altered it to conviction under Section 304 Part I IPC. The Apex Court Bench comprising of M.Y. Eqbal and Arun Mishra held that the High Court failed to take into consideration the doctrine of transfer of malice as provided in Section 301 of the IPC.
22. On Promissory Notes and cheques
Supreme Court has held that once liability and consideration were proven by the endorsement made on the Promissory Note, it cannot be contended that the cheques were issued merely as security. The Bench, comprising Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Kurian Joseph, hence ruled that the offence under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 was proven and set aside the judgment delivered by the High Court.
23. Power of attorney
The Supreme Court, reiterated the settled principle of law relating to power of attorney, that any document executed or thing done by an agent on the strength of power of attorney is as effective as if executed or done in the name of principal, i.e., by the principal himself.
24. Sale Co terminus with registration
The Supreme Court, has observed that though in practical terms sale precedes the event of registration, in normal circumstances and as the law stands, it is co-terminus with registration of a new motor vehicle. Apex Court bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh dismissed the appeal in Commissioner of Commercial Taxes, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala vs. M/s K.T.C. Automobiles.
25. NDPS disposal guidelines
Supreme Court issued guidelines on the disposal of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic and controlled Substances and Conveyance. Apex Court bench comprising of the Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Kurian Joseph made this observation in Union of India vs Mohanlal in order to ‘avoid any confusion arising out of the continued presence of two notifications on the same subject’
26. De Novo investigation even after Trial commenced
A two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court in Dharam Pal v. State of Haryana held that an Investigation by another agency including CBI can be ordered by the Constitutional Court even after commencement of Trial.
27. No Promissory estoppel in altering concessional Tariff benefit
Supreme Court held that State would not be estopped from altering/modifying the benefit of concessional tariff. Three Judge Bench of Apex Court comprising of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Arun Mishra and Prafulla C. Pant made this observation in M/s. Kothari Industrial Corporation Ltd. vs. Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.
28. Contract to be interpreted in a way parties intended it to be
Supreme Court observed that the terms of the contract, especially Arbitration agreements will have to be understood in the way the parties wanted and intended them to be. Apex Court Bench comprising of Justices Anil R. Dave, Kurian Joseph and Amitava Roy made this observation in Bharat Aluminium Company vs. Kaiser Aluminium Technical Services Inc.
29. SC asks Centre to look into grievance of nurses in private hospital
Supreme Court said that it feels that the nurses who are working in private hospitals and nursing homes are not being treated fairly in the matter of their service conditions and pay. Three Judge Bench comprising of Justices Anil R. Dave, Shiva Kirti Singh and Adarsh Kumar Goel in Trained Nurses Association of India vs. Union of India & ors however refused to issue any guidelines in the matter, but said that grievances highlighted in the petition needs to be looked into by the Committee consisting of experts.
30. COFEPOSA authority not required to pass adjudicatory order
The Supreme Court in Union of India vs. Saleena, has set aside a Kerala High Court order which had granted the writ of habeas corpus directing the detenu who was detained under COFEPOSA Act to be set at liberty. The Apex Court Bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C. Pant, however said that detaining authority should re-examine the matter keeping in view the principle stated in Sunil Fulchand Shah case and Chandrakant Baddi case within two months.