Supreme Court Weekly Round-up

Supreme Court Weekly Round-up

Judgments

In a judgment rendered on Thursday, the Apex Court has held that Stale claims are not to be adjudicated unless non-interference would cause grave injustice. A Bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant, allowed the appeal filed by State of Jammu and Kashmir against the High Court judgment. A writ court while deciding a writ petition is required to remain alive to the nature of the claim and the unexplained delay on the part of the writ petitioner, the Court said. It also added that Stale claims are not to be adjudicated unless non-interference would cause grave injustice.

A two Judge Bench of the Supreme Court in Satya Pal Singh v. State of M.P held that the father of the deceased has locus standi to prefer an appeal before the High Court under proviso to Section 372 of Cr.P.C. as he falls within the definition of victim as defined under Section 2(wa) of Cr.P.C. to question the correctness of the Judgment and order of acquittal of Accused in the Case. The Bench partially overruled judgment rendered by full Bench of the Delhi High Court in Ram Phal v. State & Ors.

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a plea by Neelam Katara, seeking enhancement of sentence to death for Vishal and Vikas Yadav who have been convicted for murdering her son Nitish Katara in February 2002. The Bench comprising Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice R. Banumati reasoned that while it was a murder and could even be pre-meditated, it certainly was not heinous or a matter of honour killing.

The Apex Court set aside the order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court dated August 4, 2015, wherein Bar Association (Constitution and Registration) Rules, 2015 framed by the Bar Council of Punjab & Haryana were upheld by consent between the parties. The Court ruled that the order of the High Court was passed without hearing the parties and in violation of principles of natural justice. It observed that the order of the High Court, passed on the basis of consent, was bad in law, as consent does not bind all the Bar Associations of Haryana & Punjab who were not even a party to the litigation before the High Court.

The Court imposed a cost of Rs. 5 lakh on Kerala State Electricity Board and NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Limited for withdrawing their appeals, without circulating a letter before the Bench notifying it of the withdrawal. Granting the permission to withdraw, the Bench, comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice N.V. Ramana ordered payment of costs by the two Public sector undertakings to the Supreme Court Legal Services within four weeks, in view of the “judicial time expended”.

Other happenings

The Apex Court on Tuesday suspended for two months an order for enforcing ban on the sale of beef in Jammu and Kashmir, while asking the Chief Justice of J-K High Court to set up a three-judge bench to decide on two conflicting orders on the issue. A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu directed that the September 8 order of the Jammu bench of the High Court, by which it had ordered enforcement of ban on sale of beef in the state in pursuance of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) provisions, be kept in abeyance for two months.

The Court on Wednesday refused to modify its August 11 interim order allowing linking Aadhaar cards with only public distribution system for distribution of food grains, cooking fuels and LPG cylinders, stating that the demands to extend it to more schemes shall be dealt with by the larger constitution bench to which the matter is being referred to.

The Court on Thursday issued notices to the Delhi Pollution Control Board, Delhi government and Centre on a petition filed by three infants– Arjun Gopal, Aarav Bhandari and Zoya Rao Bhasin, all aged between 6 months and 14 months urging for urgent measures to bring down the “fatal” pollution level in national capital Delhi. Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal represented the infants.

The Supreme Court on Friday decided to issue directions that would supersede the earlier order issued by the National Green Tribunal imposing environment compensation charge ranging from Rs 500 to 1000 on polluting vehicles entering Delhi. The Bench headed by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, stated that the order would be issued by Monday. A day before, senior lawyer Harish Salve, acting as the amicus curiae and Senior lawyer Dushyant Dave for the Delhi government, questioned the jurisdiction of the National Green Tribunal to issue general directions and entertain PILs. The Apex Court was hearing the petition demanding imposition of pollution compensation tax on nearly 60,000 trucks entering the capital daily. CJI Dattu had on Monday had said as he favored imposition of hefty pollution tax.

The Court on Friday wondered how deaths related to the sensational Vyapam case stopped soon after it took over the matter and handed over the probe to the CBI and  said it meant that something was amiss earlier. The Court also expressed satisfaction over the “substantial progress” made by the CBI in its investigation.

Karnataka Government has appointed Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave as its special prosecutor in the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, being heard by the Supreme Court. Mr. Dave will work alongside Karnataka’s former Advocate-General and Special Public Prosecutor before the special court and the High Court B.V. Acharya.

Former Delhi law minister and AAP MLA Somnath Bharti’s wife Lipika Mitra refused before the Supreme Court, to opt for mediation to settle the attempt to murder and matrimonial violence case filed by her against her husband. The Court then directed the Trial Court to dispose of Mr. Bharti’s bail petition expeditiously. Following this, the Dwarka Court extended Somnath Bharti’s judicial custody till October 19.

The Court has issued notice to the West Bengal government and the prosecution, while admitting a petition filed by the accused challenging the permission given to the victim in the 2013 Kolkata Irish rape case to depose from her country through Skype. Significantly, a bench of Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice R. Banumathi also agreed to delve on an important question raised in the petition by accused Sujoy Mitra as to: Whether a prime witness who is a foreign national can be examined through video conference in a criminal trial, when there is no extradition treaty between India and his/her country?