Supreme Court Monthly Digest-January 2024


11 Feb 2024 5:14 AM GMT

  • Supreme Court Monthly Digest-January 2024

    Administration of JusticeIn the instant case, we find initiation of criminal proceedings before a forum which had no territorial jurisdiction by submitting incorrect facts and giving frivolous reasons to entertain such complaints. A closer look at the respondent's actions reveals more than just an inappropriate use of jurisdiction. The core issue of the dispute, which involves...

    Administration of Justice

    In the instant case, we find initiation of criminal proceedings before a forum which had no territorial jurisdiction by submitting incorrect facts and giving frivolous reasons to entertain such complaints. A closer look at the respondent's actions reveals more than just an inappropriate use of jurisdiction. The core issue of the dispute, which involves financial transactions and agreements, clearly places it in the realm of civil and commercial law. Yet, the respondent chose to pursue criminal charges in a quest to abuse the criminal justice system with a motive to seek personal vengeance rather than seeking true justice. This unnecessary turning of a civil matter into a criminal case not only overburdens the criminal justice system but also violates the principles of fairness and right conduct in legal matters. The apparent misuse of criminal proceedings in this case not only damages trust in our legal system but also sets a harmful precedent if not addressed. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 33

    Unscrupulous litigants should not be allowed to go scot-free. They should be put to strict terms and conditions including costs. It is time to check with firmness such litigation initiated and laced with concealment, falsehood, and forum hunting. Even State actions or conduct of government servants being party to such malicious litigation should be seriously reprimanded. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 33

    Vulnerable Witnesses Deposition Centres (VWDCs) - All the High Courts to take necessary steps for setting up of VWDCs in all districts. This exercise must be completed on or before 30 April 2024. (Para 2) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 43

    Adverse Possession

    Declaration of title can be sought based on adverse possession. (Para 5) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 82

    Tenants cannot claim adverse possession against their landlords since their possession is permissive in nature. (Para 9.4) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 17


    The High Court has imposed costs on the ground that the advocate had made an attempt to mislead the court. An advocate who appears before the court is first and foremost an officer of the court and is expected to discharge duties in that capacity. The advocate in this case is a junior at the Bar. Being a junior at the Bar is not an immunity from observing proper code of behaviour, particularly in dealing with the court. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 34

    Ancient Monuments

    Notwithstanding any liberal recommendation on undertaking blasting operations nearer to the Chittorgarh Fort, keeping in perspective the continuous exposure of ancient monuments to peak particle velocity (PPV) arising from blasting, a radius of five kilometres from the compound wall of the Fort shall not be subjected to mining by blasting or use of explosives for mining of any minerals. In other words, the manual/mechanical mining operations permitted within a radius of five kilometres are allowed to be continued, subject to the lessees possessing a valid lease in accordance with law. (Para 24.3) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 38

    The Chittorgarh Fort represents the quintessence of a tribute to nationalism, courage, medieval chivalry, and sacrifice exhibited between the seventh and the sixteenth centuries by several rulers, like the Mewar rulers of Sisodia, their kinsmen, women, and children. The Chittorgarh Fort has weathered and withstood many battles and has been a witness to the power and pride of the kings who occupied the Fort. The history is replete with brave, extraordinary and indomitable courage exhibited by the rulers and occupants of the Fort. The Chittorgarh Fort is a notified monument under the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Declaration of National Importance) Act, 1951 and the Ancient Monuments Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, and also a notified UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Fort attracts tourists from far and near for sightseeing and to look at the tall and strong structures on the hilltop of Chittorgarh, evidencing the grit and ability to withstand all adversities. Despite the passage of centuries, from the time of construction, the Chittorgarh Fort retains some significant, world-class structures, including the Vijay Stambh, Kirti Stambh, Padmini Palace, Kumbha Palace and Meera Mandir. The Fort's history and legacy make it a preferred destination for tourists. The serene hillock, which had less populated surroundings at one point, is subject to contemporaneous development, urbanisation, etc. (Para 1 & 2) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 38

    The Chittorgarh Fort was constructed in the Mauryan period, and from time to time, the rulers of the kingdom rebuilt, expanded and continued the legacy inherited. The Report of CSIR-CBRI, Roorkee, deals with the impact on the Chittorgarh Fort from the explosives used in mining and the peak particle velocity (PPV) on the structures existing in and around the Fort. The Report also deals with the ancillary causes for the present state of affairs, i.e., footfall of tourists, the presence of monkeys and haphazard maintenance by the ASI and local authorities. We are of the view that the approach to preserving the monument must be multidimensional. With the passage of every year, the need to preserve monuments increases. The prohibition and regulation of blasting would address only one front of the problems identified in the Report. Therefore, this Court is of the firm view that the Chittorgarh Fort, a heritage monument, must be maintained and preserved under all the circumstances. (Para 22) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 38

    Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996

    Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 - An award could be said to be against the public policy of India in, inter alia, the following circumstances: 1. When an award is, on its face, in patent violation of a statutory provision 2. When the arbitrator/Arbitral Tribunal has failed to adopt a judicial approach in deciding the dispute. 3. When an award is in violation of the principles of natural justice. 4. When an award is unreasonable or perverse. 5. When an award is patently illegal, which would include an award in patent contravention of any substantive law of India or in patent breach of the 1996 Act. 6. When an award is contrary to the interest of India, or against justice or morality, in the sense that it shocks the conscience of the Court. (Para 27) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 14

    Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996; Sections 34 and 37 - Modification of Arbitral Award not allowed under Section 34. Court could have at best set aside the award and could not modify the same. (Para 32.8) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 14


    Anticipatory bail cannot be granted merely because the accused is willing to pay an interim compensation. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 54

    Bail cannot be cancelled merely due to non-appearance of accused before court. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 65

    Cancellation of Bail - Merely because the accused did not appear personally could not have been a ground for cancellation of bail. The parameters for grant of bail and cancellation of bail are totally different. The bail already granted may be cancelled, if it is found that the person who has been granted the benefit of bail has violated any of the conditions or misused the liberty by influencing the witnesses or tampering with the evidence. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 65

    Delays in the disposal of bail applications - Need for expeditious delivery of judgments - Bail applications should ideally be disposed of within two weeks, and anticipatory bail applications within six weeks. Despite these guidelines, the Court noted persistent delays and directed all courts to strictly adhere to the issued directions. The High Courts were left with the discretion to devise mechanisms for monthly checks on pending cases. (Para 5 – 9) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 50

    Personal Liberty - When the petitioner applied for bail on merits and also on the ground that he had been incarcerated in jail for seven and a half years, the approach of the High Court in only permitting him to file an application for bail before the Trial Court/Sessions Court and not deciding the prayer for bail on merits, would amount to non-exercise of jurisdiction vested in it. The approach of the High Court was not in accordance with the sanctity that has been given to personal liberty in the catena of judgments. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 78

    Caste / Religion

    We see no reason for mentioning the caste/religion of any litigant either before this Court or the courts below. Such a practice is to be shunned and must be ceased forthwith. It is therefore deemed appropriate to pass a general order directing that henceforth the caste or religion of parties shall not be mentioned in the memo of parties of a petition/proceeding filed before this Court, irrespective of whether any such details have been furnished before the courts below. A direction is also issued to all the High Courts to ensure that the caste/religion of a litigant does not appear in the memo of parties in any petition/suit/proceeding filed before the High Court or the Subordinate Courts under their respective jurisdictions. The above directions shall be brought to the notice of the members of the Bar as well as the Registry for immediate compliance. A copy of this order shall be placed before the Registrar concerned for perusal and for circulation to the Registrar Generals of all the High Courts for strict compliance. (Para 11 & 12) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 62

    Code of Civil Procedure, 1908

    Order 8 Rule 10 - Mere failure or neglect of a defendant to file a written statement controverting the pleaded facts in the plaint, in all cases, may not entitle him to a judgment in his favour unless by adducing evidence he proves his case/claim. (Para 18) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 39

    Order 14 Rule 2 - The question of jurisdiction would assume importance even at the stage a court considers the question of grant of interim relief. Where interim relief is claimed in a suit before a civil court and the party to be affected by grant of such relief, or any other party to  the suit, raises a point of maintainability thereof or that it is barred by law and also contends on that basis that interim relief should not to be granted, grant of relief in whatever form, if at all, ought to be preceded by formation and recording of at least a prima facie satisfaction that the suit is maintainable or that it is not barred by law. Such a satisfaction resting on appreciation of the averments in the plaint, the application for interim relief and the written objection thereto, as well as the relevant law that is cited in support of the objection, would be a part of the court's reasoning of a prima facie case having been set up for interim relief, that the balance of convenience is in favour of the grant and non-grant would cause irreparable harm and prejudice. It would be inappropriate for a court to abstain from recording its prima facie satisfaction on the question of maintainability, yet, proceed to grant protection pro tem on the assumption that the question of maintainability has to be decided as a preliminary issue under Rule 2 of Order XIV, CPC. That could amount to an improper exercise of power. If the court is of the opinion at the stage of hearing the application for interim relief that the suit is barred by law or is otherwise not maintainable, it cannot dismiss it without framing a preliminary issue after the written statement is filed but can most certainly assign such opinion for refusing interim relief. However, if an extraordinary situation arises where it could take time to decide the point of maintainability of the suit and non grant of protection pro tem pending such decision could lead to irreversible consequences, the court may proceed to make an appropriate order in the manner indicated above justifying the course of action it adopts. In other words, such an order may be passed, if at all required, to avoid irreparable harm or injury or undue hardship to the party claiming the relief and/or to ensure that the proceedings are not rendered infructuous by reason of non-interference by the court. (Para 39) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 39

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

    A consideration for remission must be by way of an application under Section 432 of the CrPC which has to be made by the convict or on his behalf. In the first instance whether there is compliance of Section 433A of the CrPC must be noted inasmuch as a person serving a life sentence cannot seek remission unless fourteen years of imprisonment has been completed. (Para 55 (b) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 22

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 167 and 173 - Once from the material produced along with the chargesheet, the court is satisfied about the commission of an offence and takes cognizance of the offence allegedly committed by the accused, it is immaterial whether the further investigation in terms of Section 173(8) is pending or not. The pendency of the further investigation qua the other accused or for production of some documents not available at the time of filing of chargesheet would neither vitiate the chargesheet, nor would it entitle the accused to claim right to get default bail on the ground that the chargesheet was an incomplete chargesheet or that the chargesheet was not filed in terms of Section 173(2) of Cr.P.C. (Para 23) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 58

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 178 (8) - It would be impermissible under the law for a Judicial Magistrate to take cognizance of a supplementary charge-sheet submitted after further investigation if it doesn't contain any fresh oral or documentary evidence, would be impermissible under the law. While submitting the supplementary charge-sheet as a result of an order of further investigation under Section 178 (8) Cr.P.C., the Investigating Officer shall mention new evidence found to substantiate the conclusions drawn by him. Otherwise, such supplementary charge-sheet lacks investigative rigour and fails to satisfy the requisites of Section 173(8) Cr.P.C. The provision for submitting a supplementary report infers that fresh oral or documentary evidence should be obtained rather than reevaluating or reassessing the material already collected and considered by the investigating agency while submitting the initial police report, known as the chargesheet under Section 173(2) CrPC. (Para 26 & 27) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 53

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 197 - Fabrication of records cannot be a part of the official duty of a public servant. (Para 25) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 42

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 197 Cr.P.C. does not extend its protective cover to every act or omission of a public servant while in service. It is restricted to only those acts or omissions which are done by public servants in the discharge of official duties. (Para 23) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 42

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 313 – It is only after the prosecution discharges its duty of proving the case beyond all reasonable doubt that the false explanation or non-explanation of the accused could be taken into consideration. (Para 21) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 60

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 313 - Statement recorded u/s. 313 CrPC cannot form the sole basis of conviction. Mere omission to take a specific plea by accused when examined u/s 313 CrPC, is not enough to denude him of his right if the same can be made out otherwise. (Para 33) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 13

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 357(1) - A victim of a crime cannot be treated merely as a prosecution witness. Section 357(1) of Cr.P.C. empowers the court to order that the fine amount recovered be given to any person as compensation who has suffered any loss or injury caused due to that offence. There may be times when the situation may demand that a substantive amount of compensation be paid to the victim and the convict may not be financially that strong to bear that burden. For such situations, Section 357A was therefore introduced in Criminal Procedure Code for this reason, where compensation to the victims may be paid out of State funds, as the State had the responsibility to protect the victim against the offence that had been committed against the victim of the crime. (Para 19) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 7

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 391 – A party who was not diligent in producing evidence at the trial stage of a criminal case cannot seek to produce the same in appeal. The power to record additional evidence at the appellate stage should not be exercised in a routine and casual manner. Such a power shall only be exercised when non-recording of the evidence may lead to failure to justice. Power to record additional evidence under Section 391 CrPC should only be exercised when the party making such request was prevented from presenting the evidence in the trial despite due diligence being exercised or that the facts giving rise to such prayer came to light at a later stage during pendency of the appeal. (Para 9) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 64

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 432 (2) - The Jail Advisory Committee which has to consider the application for remission may not have the District Judge as a Member inasmuch as the District Judge, being a Judicial Officer may coincidently be the very judge who may have to render an opinion independently in terms of sub-section (2) of Section 432 of the CrPC. (Para 55 (g) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 22

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 435 - State Government to act after consultation with Central Government in certain cases - Held, there has also to be consultation in accordance with Section 435 of the CrPC wherever the same is necessitated. (Para 55 (f) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 22

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 482 - Allegations made by the complainant do not give rise to the offences for which the accused has been summoned for trial. A commercial dispute, which ought to have been resolved through the forum of Civil Court has been given criminal colour by lifting from the penal code certain words or phrases and implanting them in a criminal complaint. No case at all has been made out that would justify invoking the machinery of the Criminal Courts. The dispute, per se, is commercial in nature having no element of criminality. The Magistrate here failed to apply his mind in issuing summons and the High Court also failed to exercise its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the 1973 Code to prevent abuse of the power of the Criminal Court. (Para 18) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 75

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 482 - When the High Court was called upon to invoke power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. to quash a criminal case, it was incumbent upon the High Court to consider the question whether the allegations would constitute the offence(s) alleged against the person-accused. (Para 6) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 40

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Sections 438 and 439 - Bail Applications - Applicants must include : details and copies of previous bail orders. Information on pending bail applications in any court, with a clear statement if none are pending. Bail applications in the same FIR should be heard by the same Judge, unless there are specific circumstances. The application indicates whether it is the first, second, or subsequent one for clarity. The court registry should attach a system-generated report on decided or pending bail applications for the specified crime case. This procedure applies to private complaints as well, with cases assigned specific numbers. The Investigating Officer or State Counsel should inform the court of relevant orders, and counsels must conduct themselves as officers of the Court. These suggestions aim to streamline proceedings and prevent anomalies in bail applications during ongoing trials or sentence suspension. (Para 20 & 21) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 47

    Code of Criminal Procedure, 19783; Section 161 - If the PWs had failed to mention in their statements about the involvement of an accused, their subsequent statement before court during trial regarding involvement of that particular accused cannot be relied upon. Prosecution cannot seek to prove a fact during trial through a witness which such witness had not stated to police during investigation. The evidence of that witness regarding the said improved fact is of no significance. (Para 26) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 13

    Summons - A Magistrate, while issuing the summoning order, shall not act in a casual manner; rather they should be satisfied that there exists a sufficient ground for proceedings against the accused. The recording of the satisfaction of the Magistrate while issuing the summons should not be in a cryptic manner but only when a prima facie case is made out from the allegations. Detailed reasoning is not required from the Magistrate while issuing summons, but the Magistrate also needs to record satisfaction that there exists a sufficient ground for proceedings. (Para 18) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 75

    The application for remission under Section 432 of the CrPC could be only before the Government of the State within whose territorial jurisdiction the applicant was convicted (appropriate Government) and not before any other Government within whose territorial jurisdiction the applicant may have been transferred on conviction or where the offence has occurred. (Para 55 (a) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 22

    The guidelines under Section 432(2) with regard to the opinion to be sought from the Presiding Judge of the Court which had convicted the applicant must be complied with mandatorily. While doing so it is necessary to follow the requirements of the said Section which are highlighted, namely, (i) the opinion must state as to whether the application for remission should be granted or refused and for either of the said opinions, the reasons must be stated; (ii) the reasons must have a bearing on the facts and circumstances of the case; (iii) the opinion must have a nexus to the record of the trial or of such record thereof as exists; (iv) the Presiding Judge of the Court before or by which the conviction was had or confirmed, must also forward along with the statement of such opinion granting or refusing remission, a certified copy of the record of the trial or of such record thereof as exists. (Para 55 (c) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 22

    Constitution of India

    Constitution of India, 1950; Article 226 - the High Court by way of the interim order could not have passed an order which had the effect of encroaching upon the areas reserved for the Legislature and the Executive. Our Constitution recognizes the independence of the three wings of the State, i.e. the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary. No doubt that if the High Court found that the legislature concerned was not valid on account of any of the grounds available within the limited scope of judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, it could set aside such a legislation. But by way of an interim order it could not have in effect stayed the operation of the said Statute. (Para 8 - 10) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 71

    Constitution of India, 1950; Article 229 - Officers and servants and the expenses of High Courts - Article 229 (2) pertains only to the service conditions of 'officers and servants' of the High Courts and does not include Judges of the High Court (both sitting and retired judges). The Chief Justice does not have the power, under Article 229, to make rules pertaining to the post-retiral benefits payable to former Chief Justices and judges of the High Court. Therefore, the Rules proposed by the Chief Justice, in the present case, do not fall within the competence of the Chief Justice under Article 229. (Para 25) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 3

    Constitution of India, 1950; Article 229 (2) - The High Court did not have the power to direct the State Government to notify Rules proposed by the Chief Justice pertaining to post-retiral benefits for former Judges of the High Court. The Chief Justice did not have the competence to frame the rules under Article 229 of the Constitution. Further, the High Court, acting on the judicial side, does not have the power to direct the Government to frame rules proposed by it on the administrative side. (Para 24 – 30) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 3

    Contempt of Courts Act, 1971

    Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 - An apology must evidence remorse with respect to the contemptuous acts and is not to be used as a weapon to purge the guilty of their offence. Further, an apology lacking in sincerity and not evidencing contriteness, cannot be accepted. (Para 22) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 69

    Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 - 'Civil Contempt' - An act that violates a status quo order constitutes 'civil contempt'. When a party violates a status quo order, contempt proceedings must be initiated instead of merely vacating the interim order. (Para 16 & 17) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 73

    Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 - Conviction of Advocate - The appellant's conduct before the High Court and for that matter, even before this Court, amounts to undermining the system of the law and interfering with the course of justice administration. The High Court observed a pattern in the behaviour of the appellant. He has had a habit of misbehaving with a Bench which is not agreeing with him. The misbehaviour goes to the extent of casting aspersions and threatening the Judges hearing the matters. The High Court correctly rejected the apology. (Para 21 & 22) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 69

    Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 - There is a need to maintain the dignity and reputation of judicial officers and to protect them from motivated, libellous and unfounded allegations. The High Court was correct in not accepting the apology tendered by the appellant since it was not bonafide and lacked sincerity, apart from being belated and a mere 'lip service'. (Para 17) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 69

    Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 - 'Civil Contempt' and 'Criminal Contempt' - The Act makes a clear distinction between two types of contempt. 'Wilful disobedience' of a judgement, decree, direction, order, writ, or process of a court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court amounts to 'civil contempt'. On the other hand, the threshold for 'criminal contempt' is higher and more stringent. It involves 'scandalising' or 'lowering' the authority of any court; prejudicing or interfering with judicial proceedings; or interfering with or obstructing the administration of justice. (Para 32) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 3

    Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 - Criminal Contempt cannot be initiated against a party for availing legal remedies and raising a legal challenge to an order. (Para 31 – 37) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 3

    Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 - The power of the High Courts to initiate contempt proceedings cannot be used to obstruct parties or their counsel from availing legal remedies. (Para 34) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 3

    Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 – The Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on personal appearance of government officials in court proceedings framed by this Court in Para 45 of this Judgement must be followed by all courts across the country. All High Courts shall consider framing rules to regulate the appearance of Government officials in court, after taking into account the SOP. (Para 45) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 3

    Contempt of Courts Act, 1971; Section 14 - Summoning of Government Officials before Courts - The use of the power to summon the presence of government officials must not be used as a tool to pressurize the government, particularly, under the threat of contempt. (Para 38) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 3

    Contempt of Courts Act, 1971; Section 14 - Summoning of Government Officials before Courts - Law officers act as the primary point of contact between the courts and the government. Courts must refrain from summoning officials as the first resort. While the actions and decisions of public officials are subject to judicial review, summoning officials frequently without just cause is not permissible. Exercising restraint, avoiding unwarranted remarks against public officials, and recognizing the functions of law officers contribute to a fair and balanced judicial system. Courts across the country must foster an environment of respect and professionalism, duly considering the constitutional or professional mandate of law officers, who represent the government and its officials before the courts. Constantly summoning officials of the government instead of relying on the law officers representing the government, runs contrary to the scheme envisaged by the Constitution. (Para 41 & 44) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 3


    Contract Law - If there is a repugnancy between the earlier and later clauses of a deed, whereby a later clause destroys altogether the obligation created by the earlier clause, then the later clause is to be rejected as repugnant to the earlier clause and the earlier clause prevails. (Para 30) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 80


    The doctrine of merger is a common law doctrine that is rooted in the idea of maintenance of the decorum of hierarchy of courts and tribunals. The doctrine is based on the simple reasoning that there cannot be, at the same time, more than one operative order governing the same subject matter. (Para 17) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 12

    There is a doctrine of necessity where under given circumstances an action is required to be taken under compelling circumstances. In the present case, had the Working President not convened the meeting, the elections of the executive body would have been in limbo for an unreasonable amount of time. The convening of the meeting by the Working President upon the requests by the 16 surviving members was a “necessity” at the time. (Para 15 & 18) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 59


    The State Electricity Regulatory Commission has the power to reject the adoption of tariff if it is not aligned with market prices. While adopting the tariff, the Commission is bound to take into consideration the protection of consumer interest. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 24


    Environment (Protection) Act, 1986; Section 3 (3) - Central Empowered Committee (CEC) - Effective functioning of environmental bodies is imperative for the protection, restitution, and development of the ecology. The court directed the CEC to adopt measures to promote institutional transparency, efficiency and accountability - Issued Guidelines. (Para 21 & 31) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 74

    Role of Constitutional Courts - The role of the constitutional courts is to ensure that such environmental bodies function vibrantly, and are assisted by robust infrastructure and human resources. The constitutional courts will monitor the functioning of these institutions so that the environment and ecology is not only protected but also enriched. (Para 32) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 74

    Town and Country Planning Act, 1977 (Himachal Pradesh) - The first order of NGT is liable to be set aside on the short ground that it has transgressed its limitations and attempted to encroach upon the field reserved for the delegatee to enact a piece of delegated legislation. When the TCP Act empowers the State Government and the Director to exercise the powers to enact a piece of delegated legislation, the NGT could not have imposed fetters on such powers and directed it to exercise its powers in a particular manner. (Para 70) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 32

    Town and Country Planning Act, 1977 (Himachal Pradesh) - The exercise of power for the preparation, finalization and approval of development plan is a power exercised by the delegatee for enacting a subordinate piece of legislation. (Para 61) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 32

    The National Green Tribunal (NGT) is not supposed to apply strict rigors of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 when a citizen approaches with a grievance. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 29

    The Union of India should formulate a policy of phasing out heavy-duty diesel vehicles and replacing them with BS VI vehicles. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 31


    Eviction - illegal demolition of premises with the support of the local police - Imposed a cost amounting to Rs. 6 lakhs on six police personnel for conspiring and illegally detaining tenants, coercing them to sign documents against their will, and demolishing the premises in question without any order from a competent court. (Para 9) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 77


    illiterate witness - Appreciation of evidence led by such a witness has to be treated differently from other kinds of witnesses. It cannot be subjected to a hyper-technical inquiry and much emphasis ought not to be given to imprecise details that may have been brought out in the evidence. The evidence of a rustic/illiterate witness must not be disregarded if there were to be certain minor contradictions or inconsistencies in the deposition. (Para 27) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 13

    illiterate witness - However, the testimony of an illiterate witness suffers not merely from technical imperfections, there are glaring omissions and improvements that have been brought out in the cross-examination, which cannot be attributed to the illiteracy of the individual deposition. If there were minor contradictions and inconsistencies, that could have been ignored since the recollection of exact details as to location and time can be attributed to the lack of literacy. (Para 28) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 13

    Injured Witness - The importance of an injured witness in a criminal trial cannot be overstated. Unless there are compelling circumstances or evidence placed by the defence to doubt such a witness, this has to be accepted as extremely valuable evidence in a criminal Trial. (Para 11) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 7

    Evidence Act, 1872 - As soon as an accused or suspected person comes into the hands of a police officer, he is no longer at liberty and is under a check, and is, therefore, in “custody” within the meaning of Sections 25 to 27 of the Evidence Act. (Para 28) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 8

    Evidence Act, 1872; Sections 17 and 18 – Admission is a conscious and deliberate act and not something that could be inferred. An admission could be a positive act of acknowledgement or confession. To constitute an admission, one of the requirements is a voluntary acknowledgement through a statement of the existence of certain facts during the judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings, which conclude as true or valid the allegations made in the proceedings or in the notice. The formal act of acknowledgement during the proceedings waives or dispenses with the production of evidence by the contesting party. The admission concedes, for the purpose of litigation, the proposition of fact claimed by the opponents as true. An admission is also the best evidence the opposite party can rely upon, and though inconclusive, is decisive of the matter unless successfully withdrawn or proved erroneous by the other side. (Para 13.1) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 48

    Evidence Act, 1872; Section 18 – A statement made by a person is not only evidence against the person but is also evidence against those who claim through him. Section 18 of the Act lays down the conditions and the requirements satisfied for applying to a statement as an admission. (Para 14) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 48

    Evidence Act, 1872; Section 18 – Admission by party to proceeding or his agent - Section 18 of the Act deals with: (i) admission by a party to a proceeding, (ii) his agent, (iii) by a suitor in a representative character, (iv) statements made by a party in trusted subject matter, (v) statements made by a person from whom interest is derived. The qualifying circumstances to merit as admission are subject to satisfying the requirements. (Para 13.2 & 13.3) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 48

    Evidence Act, 1872; Section 27 - Four conditions to invoke Section 27 - First condition imposed and necessary for bringing the section into operation is the discovery of a fact which should be a relevant fact in consequence of information received from a person accused of an offence. The second is that the discovery of such a fact must be deposed to. A fact already known to the police will fall foul and not meet this condition. The third is that at the time of receipt of the information, the accused must be in police custody. Lastly, it is only so much of information which relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered resulting in recovery of a physical object which is admissible. Rest of the information is to be excluded. The word 'distinctly' is used to limit and define the scope of the information and means 'directly', 'indubitably', 'strictly' or 'unmistakably'. Only that part of the information which is clear, immediate and a proximate cause of discovery is admissible. (Para 22) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 8

    Evidence Act, 1872; Section 27 - The expression “custody” under Section 27 of the Evidence Act does not mean formal custody. It includes any kind of restriction, restraint or even surveillance by the police. Even if the accused was not formally arrested at the time of giving information, the accused ought to be deemed, for all practical purposes, in the custody of the police. (Para 25) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 8

    Evidence Act, 1872; Section 27 of the Evidence Act is frequently used by the police, and the courts must be vigilant about its application to ensure credibility of evidence, as the provision is vulnerable to abuse. However, this does not mean that in every case invocation of Section 27 of the Evidence Act must be seen with suspicion and is to be discarded as perfunctory and unworthy of credence. (Para 24) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 8

    Evidence Act, 1872; Section 73 - Certified copy of a document issued by a Bank is itself admissible under the Bankers' Books Evidence Act, 1891 without any formal proof thereof. Hence, in an appropriate case, the certified copy of the specimen signature maintained by the Bank can be procured with a request to the Court to compare the same with the signature appearing on the cheque by exercising powers under Section 73 of the Act. (Para 15) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 64


    Forest Conservation Act, 1980 - The existing criteria for identification of private forests in the State of Goa are adequate and valid, hence, they require no alteration. (Para 69) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 61

    Habeas Corpus

    Habeas corpus - 25 year old woman detained by her parents - The matter had been adjourned by the High Court on 14 occasions and thereafter postponed for 2025, exhibiting "a total lack of sensitivity" on the part of the court, that too in a habeas corpus matter. When the question of liberty of a person is involved even a day's delay counts. The detenu was a highly qualified, mature woman with an understanding of what was right and what was wrong for her. In any case, a major girl cannot be compelled to do something against her wishes. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 52

    Hindu Succession Act, 1956

    Hindu Succession Act, 1956 - Admission of the common ancestor to treat the children born out of a void marriage as his legitimate children would be also considered as evidence against his legitimate child, who is claiming through the common ancestor. (Para 16) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 48

    Hindu Succession Act, 1956 - Children born out of a void and voidable marriage shall be considered as legitimate children and be treated as an extended family of the common ancestor for the purpose of deciding a valid share in the property of the common ancestor. (Para 17) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 48

    Hindu Succession Act, 1956 - Once the common ancestor has admittedly considered the children born of void and voidable marriage as his legitimate children, then such children would be entitled to the same share as the successors in the property of the common ancestor as that of children born out of a valid marriage. (Para 16) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 48

    Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016

    Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 - Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Liquidation Process) Regulations, 2016 - Statutory set off or insolvency set off is not applicable to Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) proceedings. Regulation 29 of the Liquidation Regulations which provides for mutual dealing and set off, does not apply to Part II of the IBC which deals with CIRP. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 11

    Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 - Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Liquidation Process) Regulations, 2016 - The principle of Set-off recognizes the right of a debtor to adjust the smaller claim owed to him against the larger claim payable to his creditor. There are two exceptions to the application of statutory or insolvency set off to CIRP proceedings. First being, when a party is entitled to contractual set-off, on the date which is effective before or on the date of commencement of CIRP. Secondly, in cases of 'equitable set-off' when the claim and counter claim in the form of set-off are linked and connected on account of one or more transactions that can be treated as one. (Para 3 – 10) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 11

    Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 - Section 30(2)(b) does not support the plea of insolvency set-off, since the provision deals with the amounts to be paid to creditors and not amount payable by creditors to Corporate Debtor. Further, the specific legislative mandate given in Chapter II Part II of IBC, the provisions of IBC relating to CIRP do not recognize the principle of insolvency set-off. The Court would not extend it by implication, when the legislature has not accepted applicability of mutual set-off at the initial stage, that is, the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process stage. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 11

    Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 - Section 53(1) is referred to in Section 30(2)(b)(ii) with the purpose and objective that the dissenting financial creditor is not denied the amount which is payable to it being equal to the amount of value of the security interest. The entire Section 53 is not made applicable. (Para 43) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 6

    Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 - The IBC is an Act to consolidate and amend the laws relating to reorganisation and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, partnership firms and individuals in a time bound manner for maximisation of value of assets of such persons, to promote entrepreneurship, availability of credit and balance the interest of stakeholders, etc. The IBC codifies the law of insolvency and bankruptcy. The IBC is a complete code in itself, except where it refers and permits application of the provisions of other enactments. (Para 27) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 11

    Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016; Section 14 - The imposition of moratorium under Section 14 of the IBC has no effect on the execution of a decree against the Directors or Officers of the Company (Corporate Debtor), which is undergoing Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) under IBC. The protection of moratorium under Section 14 of IBC is only available to the Company and not to its Directors or Officers, thus the execution of decree can be done against them even during moratorium. (Para 11) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 63

    Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016; Section 30(2)(b)(ii) - Whether a dissenting financial creditor is to be paid the minimum value of its security interest? – The issue referred to a Larger Bench. (Para 49) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 6

    Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016; Section 53 - The dissenting financial creditor cannot object to the resolution plan, but can object to the distribution of the proceeds under the resolution plan, when the proceeds are less than what the dissenting financial creditor would be entitled to in terms of Section 53(1) if the corporate debtor had gone into liquidation. This is the statutory option or choice given by law to the dissenting financial creditor. The option/choice should be respected. (Para 45) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 6

    Insurance Policy

    Date of issuance of the policy would be the relevant date for all the purposes and not the date of proposal or the date of issuance of the receipt. (Para 15) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 19

    The date of proposal cannot be treated to be the date of policy until and unless on the date of proposal, initial deposit as also the issuance of policy happens on the same date where, for example, the premium is paid in cash then, immediately, the policy could be issued. Merely, tendering a cheque may not be enough as till such time the cheque is encashed, the contract would not become effective. The drawer of the cheque may, at any time, after issuing, stop its payment or there may not be enough funds in the account of which the cheque is issued and there could be many other reasons for which the cheque could be returned without being encashed. (Para 11) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 19


    The power to transfer an investigation is exercised in extraordinary situations. (Para 32) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 2


    Judges are not comparable with the administrative executive. They discharge sovereign state functions and just like the Council of Ministers or the political executive and their service is different from the secretarial staff or the administrative executive which carries out the decisions of the political executive, judges are distinct from judicial staff, and are thus comparable with the political executive and legislature. It would be wholly inappropriate to equate judicial service with the service of other officers of the State. The functions, duties, restrictions and restraints operating during and after service are entirely distinct for members of the judicial service. Consequently, the plea of equivalence has been consistently rejected in the judgments of this Court. We affirmatively do so again. (Para 18) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 25

    Judicial service is an integral and significant component of the functions of the State and contributes to the constitutional obligation to sustain the rule of law. Judicial service is distinct in its characteristics and in terms of the responsibilities which are cast upon the officers of the District Judiciary to render objective dispensation of justice to citizens. The State is duty bound to ensure that the conditions of service, both during the tenure of office and after retirement, are commensurate with the need to maintain dignified working conditions for serving judicial officers and in the post-retirement emoluments made available to former members of the judicial service. Members of the district judiciary are the first point of engagement for citizens who are confronted with the need for dispute resolution. The conditions in which judicial officers across the country are required to work are arduous. The work of a judicial officer is not confined merely to the working hours rendered in the course of judicial duties in the court. Every judicial officer is required to work both before and after the court working hours. The judicial work of each day requires preparation before cases are called out. A judicial officer continues to work on cases which may have been dealt with in court, in terms of preparing the judgment and attending to other administrative aspects of the judicial record. That apart, members of the district judiciary have wide ranging administrative functions which take place beyond working hours, especially on week-ends including the discharge of numerous duties in relation to prison establishments, juvenile justice institutions, legal service camps and in general, work associated with the Legal Services Act 1987. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 25

    Registry – The Supreme Court expressed displeasure at members of the Registry staff for violating a judicial order regarding the listing of the matters on Regular list. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 49

    The High Courts shall constitute a committee named 'Committee for Service Conditions of the District Judiciary' to oversee the implementation. The composition of the committee shall be: (i) Two Judges of the High Court to be nominated by the Chief Justice of which one should be a Judge who has previously served as a member of the district judiciary; (ii) The Law Secretary/Legal Remembrancer; (iii) The Registrar General of the High Court who shall serve as an ex officio Secretary of the Committee; and (iv) A retired judicial officer in the cadre of District Judge to be nominated by the Chief Justice who shall act as a nodal officer for the day to day redressal of grievances. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 25

    The state governments pay the arrears to judges in terms of enhanced pay scales as per the recommendations of the Second National Judicial Pay Commission (SNJPC). 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 25

    The work of a Judge cannot be assessed solely in terms of their duties during court working hours. The State is under an affirmative obligation to ensure dignified conditions of work for its judicial officers and it cannot raise the defense of an increase in financial burden or expenditure. Judicial officers spend the largest part of their working life in service of the institution. The nature of the office often renders the incumbent incapacitated in availing of opportunities for legal work which may otherwise be available to a member of the Bar. That furnishes an additional reason why post-retirement, it is necessary for the State to ensure that judicial officers are able to live in conditions of human dignity. It needs to be emphasized that providing for judges, both during their tenure and upon retirement, is correlated with the independence of the judiciary. Judicial independence, which is necessary to preserve the faith and confidence of common citizens in the rule of law, can be ensured and enhanced only so long as judges are able to lead their life with a sense of financial dignity. The conditions of service while a judge is in service must ensure a dignified existence. The post-retirement conditions of service have a crucial bearing on the dignity and independence of the office of a judge and how it is perceived by the society. If the service of the judiciary is to be a viable career option so as to attract talent, conditions of service, both for working and retired officers, must offer security and dignity. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 25

    In the current case, the High Court's judgment from the initial round dated 30.03.1990, noted that the disputed property included 8 cents of land, not just the building structure on it. As per the Doctrine of Merger, the judgments of the Trial Court and the First Appellate Court from the first round of litigation are absorbed into the High Court's judgment dated 30.03.1990. This 1990 judgment should be regarded as the conclusive and binding order from the initial litigation. Following the principles of judicial discipline, lower or subordinate Courts do not have the authority to contradict the decisions of higher Courts. In the current case, the Trial Court and the High Court, in the second round of litigation, violated this judicial discipline by adopting a position contrary to the High Court's final judgment dated 30.03.1990, from the first round of litigation. (Para 20) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 12

    The rule of 'Judicial Discipline and Propriety' and the Doctrine of precedents has a merit of promoting certainty and consistency in judicial decisions providing assurance to individuals as to the consequences of their actions. The Constitution benches of this court have time and again reiterated the rules emerging from Judicial Discipline. Accordingly, when a decision of a coordinate Bench of same High court is brought to the notice of the bench, it is to be respected and is binding subject to right of the bench of such co-equal quorum to take a different view and refer the question to a larger bench. It is the only course of action open to a bench of co-equal strength, when faced with the previous decision taken by a bench with same strength. (Para 1) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 12

    Judicial Review

    Courts do not and cannot act as appellate authorities examining the correctness, suitability, and appropriateness of a policy, nor are courts advisors to expert regulatory agencies on matters of policy which they are entitled to formulate. (Para 17 (a)) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 2

    The scope of judicial review, when examining a policy framed by a specialized regulator, is to scrutinize whether it (i) violates the fundamental rights of the citizens; (ii) is contrary to the provisions of the Constitution; (iii) is opposed to a statutory provision; or (iv) is manifestly arbitrary. The legality of the policy, and not the wisdom or soundness of the policy, is the subject of judicial review, (Para 17 (b)) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 2

    When technical questions arise – particularly in the domain of economic or financial matters – and experts in the field have expressed their views and such views are duly considered by the statutory regulator, the resultant policies or subordinate legislative framework ought not to be interfered with. (Para 17 (c)) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 2


    Juvenile Justice Act, 1986; Section 2 (h) and 21 - Penal Code, 1860; Sections 302 and 201 r/w. 34 – Murder - Issue of juvenility was raised in Appeal - On the date on which the incident constituting the offence took place, the age of the appellant was less than 18 years. The 2000 JJ Act was admittedly not in force when the incident occurred. Therefore, the case will be governed by the 1986 JJ Act. Under clause (h) of Section 2 of the 1986 JJ Act, a 'juvenile' has been defined to mean a boy who has not attained the age of sixteen years or a girl who has not attained the age of eighteen years. Thus, on the date of occurrence of the offence, the appellant was a juvenile. As per Section 22(1) of the 1986 JJ Act, there was a prohibition on sentencing a juvenile to undergo imprisonment. As the appellant has undergone incarceration for a period of more than eight years, no purpose will be served by sending the appellant before the Juvenile Justice Board. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 57


    The bar of limitation cannot be obviated or circumvented by taking recourse of proceedings under Article 136 of the Constitution when a statutory appeal is available. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 5


    Medical Admissions - Supreme Court permits three doctors to resign from their NEET super specialty seats to enroll in Institutes of National Importance (INI). The vacant seats resulting from the resignation will be included in the mop-up round. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 72

    Medical Admissions - Restrictions imposed on resignation from NEET seats - the Supreme Court approved a proposal brought forth by Union of India to allow only those candidates to resign who had joined Institutes of National Importance (INIs) post counselling. The proposal given was reasonable and balanced the interests of meritorious students with concern of medical institutions where seats would fall vacant if upgradation is permitted. (Para 4) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 81

    Medical Negligence - The Supreme Court directs the doctor to pay Rs. 2.5 lakh to the patient who lost vision in one eye. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 70

    Mines and Minerals

    The immutable geology of the area has limestone formation of the Vindhyan age, and as per geological study and assessment, the limestone is located in Nimbahera city. The mineral reserve of this stone occurs between Nimbahera shales and Suket shales. The limestone is a valuable mineral resource from the perspective of the State exchequer and is a material or a raw material used in more than one sense. The State Government granted prospective mining leases of small, medium and large areas in and around the hillock and the surrounding areas of the Chittorgarh Fort to individuals/industrial houses. The exploitation of minerals available in the surrounding area by the lessees to the State Government, particularly in an unscientific manner or disproportionate exploitation of minerals in hard and rude mining activities, was seen as a threat to the existential utility of the Chittorgarh Fort and the structures. (Para 3 & 4) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 38

    Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

    Motor Vehicles Act, 1988; Section 161 - Compensation of Victims of Hit and Run Motor Accidents Scheme, 2022 - If the Police conclude that it is a case of hit and run accident, the Police must inform the victim or the legal representatives of the victim, as the case may be, about the availability of the Scheme. (Para 6) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 35

    Murder Trial

    Merely on the basis of suspicion, conviction would not be tenable. (Para 20) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 60

    Only on the sole circumstance of recovery of a blood-stained weapon, it cannot be said that the prosecution has discharged its burden of proving the case beyond reasonable doubt. (Para 19) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 60

    Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881

    Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881; Section 118(e) and 138 - If the accused is disputing the signature on the cheque, then the certified copies of the signatures from the bank could be summoned from the bank to compare the same with the signature appearing on the cheque. The indorsements on a cheque carry a presumption of genuineness as per Section 118(e) of the Act. Hence, it is incumbent upon the accused to lead evidence to rebut the presumption of genuineness of signatures. (Para 16) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 64

    Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881; Section 118(e) and 138 - The accused had not taken any efforts to disprove his signature at the trial stage. No question was put to the witness from the bank regarding the genuineness of the signature. Also, the cheque was returned not on the grounds of any discrepancy in the signatures. If at all, the accused was desirous of proving that the signatures as appearing on the cheque issued from his account were not genuine, then he could have procured a certified copy of his specimen signatures from the Bank and a request could have been made to summon the concerned Bank official in defence for giving evidence regarding the genuineness or otherwise of the signature on the cheque. (Para 16) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 64

    Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881; Section 138 - Accused persons filed an undertaking based on a settlement. Since the amount agreed was not paid, the interim protection, granted via suspension of sentence and bail, was withdrawn. Appeal dismissed with cost of Rs 5 lakhs and directed to surrender within a period of four weeks. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 16

    Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881; Section 138 - Once the settlement has been arrived at and the complainant has signed the deed accepting a particular amount in full and final settlement of the default amount and the fine amount awarded by the Trial Court, the proceedings under Section 138 of the NI Act need to be quashed. (Para 4) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 23

    Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881; Section 138 - Question regarding the time-barred nature of an underlying debt or liability in proceedings under Section 138 of the NI Act is a mixed question of law and fact which ought not to be decided by the High Court exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 of the CrPC. (Para 7) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 76


    Passports Act, 1967; Section 12(b) - As discernible from the language of the provision, what must be established is that the accused knowingly furnished false information or suppressed material information with the intent of obtaining a passport or travel document. In the present case, it is crucial to consider that the alleged forgery of signatures on the passport application was inconclusive. Moreover, the cognizance of such like offence can be taken only at the instance of the Prescribed Authority. No complaint to that effect has been disclosed against the Appellants. This Court, therefore, will exercise caution before invoking such severe offences and penalties solely on the basis of conjectures and surmises. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 53

    Penal Code, 1860

    Penal Code, 1860; Section 302 r/w 34 – Murder - Benefit of Doubt - An appellate court should give the benefit of doubt to the accused persons if the evidence on record indicates the prosecution has failed to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt and that a plausible view, different from the one expressed by the courts below can be taken. (Para 17) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 20

    Penal Code, 1860; Section 302 r/w. 34 – Murder - Circumstantial Evidence - When the prosecution case is solely based on the circumstantial evidence, then the courts must be vigilant while examining the facts proving the circumstantial evidence i.e., it must be consistent with the hypothesis of the guilt of the accused and should be free from doubts, improbabilities and inconsistencies. (Para 29 & 30) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 21

    Penal Code, 1860 - Sections 304A and 338 - Fire Accident - Trekking Expedition - Persons who were part of the trekking expedition died owing to a forest fire which is an instance of vis major. No negligence could have been attributed to the trek organiser who only facilitated the organization of the trekking expedition. The organizers and even the members of the trekking expedition were totally unaware of the forest fire as such. Accidentally they were engulfed in the forest fire and they died by sheer accident and not owing to any negligence or any criminal intent attributable to the trek organiser. The trek organiser had no role whatsoever in causing the death of the trekkers who died due to a forest fire which is a natural cause. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 83

    Penal Code, 1860; Sections 341, 323 and 302 - Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Sections 200, 203 and 227 – Discharge - The version of PW-1 is that the accused repeatedly kicked on chest with a stick. In the post-mortem, no injury was found on the chest or any other part of the body of the deceased. The expert testimony of the doctor who performed the autopsy of the deceased cannot be completely ignored while deciding the guilt of an accused. Therefore, taking the evidence of the witnesses as it is, there was no material to proceed against the accused in the private complaint. (Para 11 & 12) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 45

    Penal Code, 1860; Section 364A - Kidnapping for Ransom - The necessary ingredients which the prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, before the Court are not only an act of kidnapping or abduction but thereafter the demand of ransom, coupled with the threat to life of a person who has been kidnapped or abducted, must be there. (Para 14) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 7

    Penal Code, 1860; Section 375 - If it is established that from the inception, the consent by the victim is a result of a false promise to marry, there will be no consent, and in such a case, the offence of rape will be made out. (Para 7) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 68

    Penal Code, 1860; Sections 376 / 506 - Criminal Procedure Code, 1973; Section 482 - Quashing of Criminal Proceedings - Rape - Lodging a case after 34 years and that too on the basis of a bald statement that the prosecutrix was a minor at the time of commission of offence, could itself be a ground to quash the proceedings. No explanation whatsoever is given in the FIR as to why the prosecutrix was keeping silent for a long period of 34 years. The material on record shows that the relationship was consensual, in as much as the son who is born out of the said relationship has been treated by the accused as his son and all the facilities, including cash money, have been provided to him. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 40

    Penal Code, 1860; Sections 376 and 506 – Rape - False promise of marriage - The relationship between the accused and the victim was a consensual relationship which culminated in the marriage. In the legal notice issued on behalf of the victim, the factum of marriage was admitted and the victim has been described as the wife of the accused. Therefore, on the face of it, the allegation that the physical relationship was maintained due to false promise of marriage is without basis, as their relationship led to the solemnization of marriage. Therefore, this is a case where the allegations made in the FIR were such that on the basis of the statements, no prudent person can ever reach a conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. Hence, a case was made out for quashing the FIR. (Para 9) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 18

    Penal Code, 1860; Section 405 - Criminal Breach of Trust - Commercial disputes over variation of rate cannot per se give rise to an offence under Section 405 of the 1860 Code without presence of any aggravating factor leading to the substantiation of its ingredients. (Para 14) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 75

    Penal Code, 1860; Ss. 406, 409, 420, 457, 380 - Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; S. 13(1)(d) r/w. 13(2) - Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; S. 319 - Demand of money for extending benefits during custody - Application filed under Section 319 Cr.P.C. against the police officials - All the witnesses have equivocally narrated the incidents that took place at different places regarding threats, demand of huge sum of money, torture etc. - According to them, the amount was being demanded for the following benefits to be extended: (i) firstly, not to physically torture; (ii) not to ask for further police remand; (iii) to help get bail; and (iv) to give good treatment during custody. Held, there appears to be prima facie evidence on record to make it a triable case as against the police officials. (Para 8 - 14) Gurdev Singh Bhalla v. State of Punjab, 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 28

    Penal Code, 1860; Section 420 - It must also be understood that a statement of fact is deemed 'deceitful' when it is false and is knowingly or recklessly made with the intent that it shall be acted upon by another person, resulting in damage or loss. 'Cheating' therefore, generally involves a preceding deceitful act that dishonestly induces a person to deliver any property or any part of a valuable security, prompting the induced person to undertake the said act, which they would not have done but for the inducement. (Para 12) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 53

    Penal Code, 1860; Section 420 - The act of the wife to forge the sign of husband to seek the passport for minor child to travel abroad doesn't amount to cheating punishable under Section 420 IPC, due to the absence of a deceitful act that resulted in a loss or damage of property to a husband. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 53

    Penal Code, 1860; Section 420 - The term 'property' employed in Section 420 IPC has a well defined connotation. Every species of valuable right or interest that is subject to ownership and has an exchangeable value – is ordinarily understood as 'property'. It also describes one's exclusive right to possess, use and dispose of a thing. The IPC itself defines the term 'moveable property' as, “intended to include corporeal property of every description, except land and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything which is attached to the earth.” Whereas immoveable property is generally understood to mean land, benefits arising out of land and things attached or permanently fastened to the earth. (Para 13) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 53

    Penal Code, 1860; Section 420 - While prosecuting a person for the offence of cheating punishable under Section 420 IPC, it is to be seen whether the deceitful act of cheating was coupled with an inducement leading to the parting of any property by the complainant. To constitute an offence of cheating, merely committing a deceitful act is not sufficient unless the deceitful act dishonestly induced a person to deliver any property or any part of a valuable security, thereby resulting in loss or damage to the person. (Para 10 - 20) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 53

    Penal Code, 1860; Sections 468 and 471 - Forgery - There are two primary components that need to be fulfilled in order to establish the offence of 'forgery', namely: (i) that the accused has fabricated an instrument; and (ii) it was done with the intention that the forged document would be used for the purpose of cheating. Simply put, the offence of forgery requires the preparation of a false document with the dishonest intention of causing damage or injury. (Para 22) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 53

    Penal Code, 1860; Section 500 - A criminal defamation case was filed against the owner of a newspaper for an article published against an advocate. The Magistrate rejected the complaint, stating that the news article in question was published in good faith and in the exercise of the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. The Magistrate's view cannot be termed as "illegal or unjustified," and therefore, there is no justification for interference by the Sessions Court or the High Court. (Para 8 & 9) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 67

    Penal Code, 1860; Section 506 - Criminal Intimidation - The allegation of criminal intimidation against the accused is made in the complaint statements, no particulars thereof have been given. Both in the complaint petition and the initial deposition of one of the witnesses, there is only reproduction of part of the statutory provision giving rise to the offence of criminal intimidation. This would constitute a mere bald allegation, short of any particulars as regards to the manner in which threat was conveyed. (Para 17) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 75

    Setting a person on fire is an act of extreme cruelty and would fall under Section 302 IPC. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 37

    The fact remains that both the star witnesses of the prosecution are disbelieved in the trial by clearly stating that their statements are contradictory, the facts are twisted and improvements are made. For trial under Section 302 IPC, if a witness is branded as untrustworthy having allegedly twisted the facts and made contrary statements, it is not safe to impose conviction on the basis of a statement made by such witness. When there is an effort to falsely implicate one accused person, statements made by such an eyewitness cannot be relied upon without strong corroboration. Moreover, there is material on record proving previous enmity between the parties. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 36

    Police Manual

    Pertinently, there is no discernible conflict or contradiction between the definitions of 'Reporting Authority' and 'Reviewing Authority' in the 1970 Rules, post 1987, and in the 2007 Rules. The clear import of these definitions is that such authorities must be from within the same service or department. Invocation of the doctrine of harmonious construction vis-à-vis these definitions, therefore, does not arise. Given the clear intent of the 1970 Rules/2007 Rules that the reporting, reviewing and accepting authorities should be from within the same service or department, the question is whether breach of such requirement can be permitted in the State of Assam under Rule 63(iii) of the Manual. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 46

    Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988

    Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; Section 19 - Sanction - The Sessions Court could not have acquitted the accused only on the ground of alleged invalid sanction, without recording its findings on all the issues involved. (Para 8) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 56

    Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; Section 17A - Interpretation of - Split Verdict - Referred to Larger Bench. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 41

    Preventive Detention

    In a case where a detenue receives the ground of detention in the language known to him which contains a clear statement over his right to make a representation, there is no need for informing verbally once again. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 15

    Public Service

    Selection Process - Whether the error committed in the application form, which was uploaded is a material error or a trivial error and was the State justified in declaring the candidate as having failed on account of the same? Held, the candidate has participated in the selection process and cleared all the stages successfully. The error in the application is trivial which did not play any part in the selection process. The State was not justified in making a mountain out of this molehill. (Para 19) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 1

    Registration Act, 1908

    Registration Act, 1908; Section 47 - A registered sale deed operates from the date of execution when the entire consideration is paid. Changes made in a sale deed by one party unilaterally, after the registration of the deed and without the knowledge of the other party, have to be ignored. (Para 11) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 4


    A woman deserves respect howsoever high or low she may be otherwise considered in society or to whatever faith she may follow or any creed she may belong to. Can heinous crimes, inter alia, against women permit remission of the convicts by a reduction in their sentence and by granting them liberty? These are the issues which arise in these writ petitions. (Para 1) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 22

    If a criminal is curable, he ought to be improved by education and other suitable arts, and then set free again as a better citizen and less of a burden to the state. This postulate lies at the heart of the policy of remission. In addition, there are also competing interests involved– the rights of the victim and the victim's family to justice vis-a-vis a convict's claim to a second chance by way of remission or reduction of his sentence for reformation. (Para 1) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 22

    Reasons for grant or refusal of remission should be clearly delineated in the order by passing a speaking order. (Para 55 (h) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 22

    Remission: Scope & Ambit - Discussed. (Para 22 - 39) Bilkis Yakub Rasool v. Union of India, 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 22

    The factors that govern the grant of remission namely: i. Whether the offence is an individual act of crime without affecting the society at large? ii. Whether there is any chance of future recurrence of committing crime? iii. Whether the convict has lost his potentiality in committing crime? iv. Whether there is any fruitful purpose of confining this convict any more? v. Socio-economic condition of the convict's family. (Para 48) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 22

    The question regarding maintainability of a PIL challenging orders of remission is kept open to be considered in any other appropriate case. (Para 27) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 22

    The policy of remission applicable would therefore be the Policy of the State which is the appropriate Government and which has the jurisdiction to consider that application. The policy of remission applicable at the time of the conviction could apply and only if for any reason, the said policy cannot be made applicable a more benevolent policy, if in vogue, could apply. (Para 55 (d) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 22

    When an application for remission is granted under the provisions of the Constitution, the following among other tests may apply to consider its legality by way of judicial review of the same. (i) that the order has been passed without application of mind; (ii) that the order is mala fide; (iii) that the order has been passed on extraneous or wholly irrelevant considerations; (iv) that relevant materials have been kept out of consideration; (v) that the order suffers from arbitrariness. (Para 55 (i) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 22

    While considering an application for remission, there cannot be any abuse of discretion. In this regard, it is necessary to bear in mind the following aspects as mentioned in Laxman Naskar v. State of West Bengal, (2000) 2 SCC 595, namely, - (i) Whether the offence is an individual act of crime without affecting the society at large? (ii) Whether there is any chance of future recurrence of committing crime? (iii) Whether the convict has lost his potentiality in committing crime? (iv) Whether there is any fruitful purpose of confining this convict any more? (v) Socio-economic condition of the convict's family. (Para 55 (e) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 22

    Rent Control

    Rent Control Act, 1999 (Maharashtra); Section 16(1)(k) - Eviction of a tenant cannot be ordered merely based on a demolition notice issued by the Municipal body. The Court has to examine the "immediate urgency" of the need for demolition. (Para 13) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 79


    SEBI's wide powers, coupled with its expertise and robust information gathering mechanism, lend a high level of credibility to its decisions as a regulatory, adjudicatory and prosecuting agency. (Para 17 (d)) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 2

    The Court must be mindful of the public interest that guides the functioning of SEBI and refrain from substituting its own wisdom in place of the actions of SEBI. (Para 17 (e)) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 2

    The power of the Court to enter the regulatory domain of SEBI in framing delegated legislation is limited. The court must refrain from substituting its own wisdom over the regulatory policies of SEBI. The scope of judicial review when examining a policy framed by a specialized regulator is to scrutinise whether it violates fundamental rights, any provision of the Constitution, any statutory provision or is manifestly arbitrary. (Para 67 (a)) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 2

    Scheduled Castes / Scheduled Tribes

    Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989; Section 3(1)(xi) - Conviction for the offence punishable under Section 3(1)(xi) of the Act 1989 cannot be sustained if the act of outraging the modesty of a woman was not committed on the ground of caste. (Para 8 & 11) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 66

    Service Law

    The state government is entitled to do the recovery of entitlements received by the officer as the entitlement so received were granted pursuant to the order dated 4th August 2011 issued by the Principal Secretary that was not consistent with the orders issued by the Government orders of the Finance Department. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 30

    Stoppage of Salary - While the State sanctioned two vacancies, the school went ahead and recruited three. The State has no proof of commission of any malpractice by the teachers. The State approved their appointments, and the approval order till date has not been cancelled. The appointments have not been terminated. No action has been taken against the school and the school continues to receive the aid. Held, the teachers were not at fault and the State could not have abruptly stopped their salaries. (Para 22 & 34) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 9


    Societies Registration Act, 1860; Section 15 - Such members in default of membership fee would not be entitled to vote and would not be counted as members of the Society. If they were not entitled to vote and they were not to be counted as members, there would be no illegality or for that matter any prejudice being caused by not issuing any notice as the same would be an exercise in futility. (Para 22) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 59

    Specific Relief Act, 1963

    When a contract stipulates a specific time frame within which the consideration needs to be paid by the 'buyer' to execute the 'agreement to sale' by the 'seller', then the buyer must strictly adhere to such condition, otherwise, the 'buyer' can not avail a remedy of specific performance of the sale deed. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 27

    Suit for Possession

    Identification of Property - Suit for possession has to describe the property in question with accuracy and all details of measurement and boundaries. This was completely lacking. A suit for possession with respect to such a property would be liable to be dismissed on the ground of its identifiability. (Para 23) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 12


    Condonation of Delay - Taxpayer is entitled to hearing on the merits, if appeals were dismissed by the High Court due to a delay in filing the paper-book. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 44

    Income Tax Act, 1961; Sections 147 & 148 - For the purposes of tax assessment, an assessee's obligation is limited to making a "full and true" disclosure of all "material" or primary facts, and thereafter, the burden shifts on the assessing officer. If a return is defective, it is upto the officer that he intimate the assessee in order that defects may be cured. But if the officer fails to do so, the return cannot be called defective. (Para 43) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 55

    The hiring of motor vehicles/cranes from a contractor is a service and would not attract Sales Tax or Value Added Tax (VAT) assuming the transaction to be sale of goods. The transfer of right to use the goods not only includes possession but also control over goods by the user. If the control over the goods remains with the contractor during the hire period, then it cannot be termed as sale of goods and only service tax can be levied. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 26

    Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967

    Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967; Section 43D(2)(b) - Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 167(2) - Default Bail - Terrorism cases should not to be taken lightly. (Para 13) 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 10


    Revaluation - The appellant filed a suit against the University seeking compensation of Rs. 10 Lakhs for reevaluating copies of subjects not applied for, resulting in a reduction of total marks. The trial court granted damages of Rs. 4 Lakhs, but the High Court set aside the judgment. The Supreme Court, upon examination, found the High Court's observations untenable and restored the damages awarded by the trial court. 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 51

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