Supreme Court Weekly Round-up

Supreme Court Weekly Round-up

Judgments

A two Judge Bench on Monday held that determining the adequacy of sentence to be awarded in a given case is not an easy task, just as evolving a uniform sentencing policy is a tough call. Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Gopal Gowda by separate but concurring opinions, had ordered the release of an accused, who was convicted by Delhi High Court for offence punishable under Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and reduced sentence awarded by the Trial Court from 2 years to 1 year retaining Rs.5000/- fine imposed, with default sentence of 2 months, with the sentence already undergone.

The Court on Monday dismissed the anticipatory bail plea of former Delhi Law Minister and AAP MLA Somnath Bharti, booked for attempt to murder and matrimonial Cruelty on a complaint by his wife, and asked him to surrender immediately. Just after the court’s oral  order, Gopal Subramaniam, the senior lawyer who represented Bharti took instructions and told the bench headed by chief justice H L Dattu that his client shall surrender in the police station by 6:30 pm the same day.

A two Judge Bench held on Tuesday that criminal antecedents of Accused cannot be totally ignored while granting Bail. The Bench was hearing an appeal against the Allahabad High Court order which granted Bail to one of the key accused in a Murder Case. The High Court extended the Bail to him by applying the ‘Doctrine of parity” since all other Accused were already in Bail.

The Court on Tuesday dismissed a Petition filed by Essar Teleholdings Ltd. and its promoters demanding a De novo Joint trial with the accused in the main charge sheet or a separate trial by Magistrate based on the supplementary Charge sheet. Essar Teleholdings Ltd. had approached the Court challenging a judgment passed in September 2013 by the Special Judge, dismissing an application filed by Essar demanding a joint trial.

The Court on Thursday dismissed a writ petition which sought a direction to the Centre to stop giving permission to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to appear for private parties in cases against government. The bench comprising Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy found nothing wrong in Attorney General representing private parties as long as there was no conflict of interest.

Other happenings

The Court on Monday said it “cannot close its eyes to centuries-old traditions” and refused to entertain a public interest litigation which wanted a ban on the practice of killing of animals in the name of religion. The PIL had said that “animal sacrifice is not an inherently integral or essential part of any religion, and the same is merely a proliferation of superstitious beliefs that were existent in religion as a result of a hampered civilization”.

The Court on Tuesday issued notice to Lipika Mitra, wife of former Delhi law minister and AAP MLA Somnath Bharti who has been arrested in an attempt to murder and matrimonial violence case on a complaint by her, on a plea by the accused seeking mediation. A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy has asked Lipika to be present in the court at 10:30 AM on Monday. The court however rejected Bhatia’s plea for interim bail till Monday, till the time the court takes up his reconciliation plea.

RBI and SEBI, along with the governments of Gujarat and Jharkhand, on Tuesday, sought clarifications and modifications from SC of the interim order to not make aadhaar cards mandatory for availing benefits of various government sponsored welfare schemes. A bench of Justices J. Chelameswar, S.A. Bobde and C. Nagappan agreed to hear the pleas on October 6. But it raised the question whether it can entertain such interim applications after transferring the main petitions to a constitution bench to decide issues like right to privacy.

The accused in the 2013 Irish woman rape case has approached the Supreme Court against the Alipur fast track court and Calcutta High Court permitting the victim to depose from Ireland by video conferencing through Skype  “in violation” of a 2003 Supreme Court order.

The Court today castigated regulatory bodies like the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Dental Council of India (DCI) for making false statements and misleading it using their lawyers in college recognition and student admission matters and threatened to initiate contempt proceedings and CBI probe against them. The Bench slammed Dental Council of India’s lawyer for giving an assurance to the court that it would permit a college in Tamil Nadu to admit students for the ensuing 2015-16 year while the Council, acting in contrast told the college, despite it rectifying all deficiencies, that it will only allow admission of students for 2016-2017 session.

Three infants have filed a PIL through their legal guardians, praying for urgent measures to bring down the “fatal” pollution level in the national capital, Delhi. Filed by Advocate Pooja Dhar and to be argued by lawyer Gopal Sankaranarayanan, the plea demands, among other things, a complete ban on use of firecrackers, sparklers and explosives during festivals. It has also sought an interim stay before the ensuing Diwali celebrations. It has demanded that the temporary fireworks/ fireworks licenses granted by the licensing unit of the Delhi Police be stayed. A stay on sale of firecrackers by any individual has also been demanded, pending the outcome of the petition.