100 Major Supreme Court Judgments Of 2021 [Part 2, Judgments 53-75]


22 Dec 2021 5:23 AM GMT

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  • 100 Major Supreme Court Judgments Of 2021 [Part 2, Judgments 53-75]

    This is the second part of the article. The first part covered 52 judgments delivered from January to June. This part includes judgments(53-75) delivered from July to October. The third part will cover judgments (76-100) from October to December. Read the first part here and the third part here.53. 'Delhi Can Ill-Afford Another Riots; Role Of Facebook Must Be Looked Into': Supreme Court...

    This is the second part of the article. The first part covered 52 judgments delivered from January to June. This part includes judgments(53-75) delivered from July to October. The third part will cover judgments (76-100) from October to December. Read the first part here and the third part here.

    53. 'Delhi Can Ill-Afford Another Riots; Role Of Facebook Must Be Looked Into': Supreme Court Upholds Delhi Assembly Summons

    [Case: Ajit Mohan & Others v. Legislative Assembly, National Capital Territory of Delhi and others; Citation: LL 2021 SC 288]

    The Supreme Court refused to quash the summons issued to Facebook India Managing Director Ajit Mohan by the Peace and Harmony committee of the Delhi Assembly Committee seeking his appearance in an enquiry related to Delhi Riots. A Bench comprising of Justice S.K. Kaul, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Hrishikesh Roy held that the Delhi Assembly's enquiry cannot encroach into "prohibited domains" of law and order and criminal prosecution, as they are subjects under the domain of the Union Government. Therefore, the Court held that any representative of the petitioner can deny answering any question by the committee if it falls within the prohibited domains.

    The judgment has detailed discussions on the responsibility of social media platforms, jurisdictional contours of legislative assemblies and the scope of judicial review over legislative committees.

    54. Tribunals Reforms Ordinance : Supreme Court Strikes Down Provisions Fixing Term Of Members As 4 Years

    [Case: Madras Bar Association v. Union of India; Citation: LL 2021 SC 296]

    The Supreme Court by 2 :1 majority set aside the provisions in the Tribunals Reforms Ordinance 2021 which fixed the term of members of various tribunals as four years. The majority comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat held that this term violated the express direction given in the earlier judgments in Rojer Mathew and Madras Bar Association cases that the term of tribunal members should be 5 years. Accordingly, the bench set aside those provisions. Justice Hemant Gupta dissented saying that a law cannot be struck down merely for the reason of being contrary to judgments.

    The Madras Bar Association had filed the writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalization and Conditions of Service) Ordinance 2021, to the extent it amends Sections 184 and 186 of the Finance Act 2017. Delivering its judgment in the writ petition filed by the Madras Bar Association challenging the Ordinance, the majority stated that its provisions will not apply to appointments made prior to February 4, 2021( the date when the Ordinance was notified).

    Also Read: Excludes Young Successful Advocates; Arbitrary & Discriminatory' : Supreme Court Strikes Down Minimum Age Limit Of 50 Years For Appointment As Tribunal Members

    Also Read: 'Law Can't Be Struck Down Merely For Being Contrary To Court's Guidelines': Justice Hemant Gupta's Dissent In Tribunals Case

    Also Read: Judicial Independence Can Be Sustained Only When Incumbents Are Assured Fair Service Conditions, Security Of Tenure : Supreme Court

    Also Read: Fill Up Vacancies In Tribunals Without Delay: Supreme Court Directs Centre

    55. Religious Sentiments Subservient To Right To Health & Life : Case Against Kanwar Yatra

    [Case: In Re : Alarming Newspaper Report Regarding Kanwar Yatra in State of UP; Citation: LL 2021 SC 300]

    The Supreme Court has observed that religious sentiments are subservient to the fundamental right to life and health while adjudicating in the suo motu case taken against the decision of the Uttar Pradesh government to allow the Kanwar Yatra pilgrimage amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai observed that the State of Uttar Pradesh cannot go ahead with the Kanwar Yatra, especially so when the Union Government has taken a stand against holding the same.

    "We are of the view that this is a matter which concerns everyone of us as citizens of India, and goes to the very heart of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which has a pride of place in the fundamental rights Chapter of our Constitution. The health of the citizenry of India and their right to "life" are paramount .All other sentiments, al beit religious, are subservient to this most basic fundamental right", the Bench observed in the order.

    The Court also made similar observations in the case regarding the lockdown relaxations announced by the Kerala Government ahead of the Bakrid festival. If the relaxations announced by the Kerala Government  lead to any "untoward spread of COVID-19 disease", action will be taken against those responsible, warned the Supreme Court.

    56. Supreme Court Strikes Down 97th Constitutional Amendment To The Extent It Relates To Co-operative Societies

    [Case: Union of India v. Rajendra Shah and others; Citation: LL 2021 SC 312]

    The Supreme Court upheld a 2013 judgment of the Gujarat High Court which struck down the provisions of the Constitution(97th Amendment) Act 2011 to the extent it introduced Part IX B in the Constitution to deal with co-operative societies. A 3-judge bench comprising Justices Rohinton Nariman, KM Joseph and BR Gavai dismissed the appeals filed by the Union of India against the judgment of the Gujarat High Court. The bench unanimously held that the 97th Constitutional Amendment required ratification by at least one-half of the state legislatures as per Article 368(2) of the Constitution, since it dealt with a entry which was an exclusive state subject (co-operative societies). Since such ratification was not done in the case of the 97th Constitutional amendment, it was liable to be struck down.

    There was a split in the bench on the point whether Part IX B will survive with respect to multi-state co-operative societies. While the majority comprising Justices Nariman and Gavai upheld those provisions of Part IX B which deal with multi-state co-operative societies by applying the doctrine of severability, Justice Joseph dissented on this count. Justice Joseph held that the doctrine of severability was not applicable and struck down the entire amendment.

    Also Read: States Have Exclusive Legislative Power In Cooperative Societies' Matter

    Also Read: Once Substantive Provisions Of Part IXB Are Held Unconstitutional, Provisions On Multi-State Co-operative Societies Can't Be Saved: Justice Joseph's Dissent

    Also Read: Supreme Court Sheds Light On The Contours Of Ministry Of Cooperation

    Also Read: 'Fundamental Right To Form Cooperative Societies', 'Article 43B': Remnants Of 97th Constitutional Amendment After Supreme Court Judgment

    Also Read: Supreme Court Upholds A Citizen's Right To Challenge A Constitutional Amendment Affecting States' Power

    Legislative Privileges & Immunities Not Gateways To Claim Exemption From Criminal Law : Supreme Court In Kerala Assembly Ruckus Case

    [Case: State of Kerala v. K.Ajith; Citation: LL 2021 SC 328]

    While refusing to allow the withdrawal of criminal prosecution against six LDF members in the Kerala assembly ruckus case of 2015, the Supreme Court made certain significant observations on the scope of legislative privileges and immunities. The State of Kerala and the accused persons had raised an argument that the criminal prosecution was not sustainable against the members for acts committed in the floor of the assembly as they are protected by legislative privileges under Article 194 of the Constitution. Rejecting this argument ,a Division bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah observed that legislative privileges cannot be claimed to seek exemption from the application of criminal law. "Privileges and immunities are not gateways to claim exemptions from the general law of the land, particularly as in this case, the criminal law which governs the action of every citizen. To claim an exemption from the application of criminal law would be to betray the trust which is impressed on the character of elected representatives as the makers and enactors of the law", the order stated.

    "The purpose of bestowing privileges and immunities to elected members of the legislature is to enable them to perform their functions without hindrance, fear or favour. It is to create an environment in which they can perform their functions and discharge their duties freely that the Constitution recognizes privileges and immunities", the Bench further observed.

    Also Read: 'Destruction Of Property Not Freedom Of Speech In House' : Supreme Court Rejects Kerala Govt Plea To Withdraw Prosecution In Assembly Ruckus Case

    Also Read: 'Must Subserve Administration Of Justice': Supreme Court Formulates Principles On Withdrawal Of Prosecution Under Section 321 CrPC

    Also Read: What Is The Larger Public Interest In Withdrawing Prosecution?' Supreme Court Reserves Judgment In Kerala Assembly Ruckus Case

    Governor Can Exercise Pardon Power Even If Prisoner Has Not Undergone 14 Years Imprisonment

    [Case: State of Haryana v. Rajkumar @ Bittu; Citation: LL 2021 SC 345]

    The Supreme Court has observed that the power of Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution to commute sentence or to pardon will override the restrictions imposed under Section 433-A of the Criminal Procedure Code. Even if the prisoner has not undergone 14 years or more of actual imprisonment, the Governor has a power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites and remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person, the bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and AS Bopanna observed.

    59. State Cannot Plead Financial Burden To Deny Salary For Legally Serving Doctors

    [Case: North Delhi Municipal Corporation v. Dr. Ram Naresh Sharma and others; Citation: LL 2021 SC 346]

    The Supreme Court has observed that the state cannot be allowed to plead financial burden to deny salary to legally serving doctors. Allowing such an excuse raised by the state would amount to violation of fundamental rights under Articles 14(right to equality) , 21(right to life) and 23 (right against bonded labour) of the Constitution. "

    Money Decree/Certificate Of Recovery In Favour Of Financial Creditor Gives Fresh Cause Of Action To Initiate CIRP U/s 7 IBC

    [Case: Dena Bank v. C. Shivakumar Reddy; Citation: LL 2021 SC 349]

    The Supreme Court has observed that a judgment and/or decree for money in favour of the Financial Creditor, or the issuance of a Certificate of Recovery in its favour, would give rise to a fresh cause of action for the Financial Creditor, to initiate proceedings under Section 7 of the IBC for initiation of the Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process. Such judgment/decree may be passed by the Debt Recovery Tribunal, or any other Tribunal or Court, and in such cases Insolvency Resolution Process can be initiated, within three years from the date of the judgment and/or decree or within three years from the date of issuance of the Certificate of Recovery, if the dues of the Corporate Debtor to the Financial Debtor, or any part thereof remained unpaid, the court held.

    The bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and V. Ramasubramanian also observed that an application under Section 7 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code would not be barred by limitation, on the ground that it had been filed beyond a period of three years from the date of declaration of the loan account of the Corporate Debtor as NPA, if there were an acknowledgement of the debt by the Corporate Debtor before expiry of the period of limitation of three years. In such a case, the period of limitation would get extended by a further period of three years, the court observed.

    Also Read: No Bar In Permitting Amendment Of Pleadings Or Filing Of Additional Documents In CIRP Application U/s 7 IBC

    61. Emergency Arbitration Award Enforceable In Indian Law : Supreme Court Rules In Favour Of Amazon In Case Against Future Retail

    [Case: Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC v. Future Retail Limited; Citation: LL 2021 SC 357]

    The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of e-commerce giant Amazon in its dispute with Future Retail Limited(FRL) over the latter's merger deal with Reliance group. The top court held that that Emergency Award passed by Singapore arbitrator stalling FRL-Reliance deal is enforceable in Indian law. "It is wholly incorrect to say that Section 17(1) of the Act would exclude an Emergency Arbitrator's orders", the Court said in the judgment. A Bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai opined, "We declare that full party autonomy is given by the Arbitration Act to have a dispute decided in accordance with institutional rules which can include Emergency Arbitrators delivering interim orders, described as "awards". Such orders are an important step in aid of decongesting the civil courts and affording expeditious interim relief to the parties. Such orders are referable to and are made under Section 17(1) of the Arbitration Act."

    This means that the Supreme Court has approved the enforcement of the the Singapore Emergency Arbitrator (EA) award, passed at the instance of Amazon, restraining the Rs 24,731 crore amalgamation deal between Future Retail and Reliance Industries Group(Mukesh Dirubhai Ambani Group). Also, the top court has upheld the order of the single bench of the Delhi High Court which had ruled in favour of the enforcement of the Emergency Award and has held that single judge's order was not appealable to the division bench of the High Court under Section 37(2) of the Arbitration Act.

    62. Motor Accident Compensation: Pranay Sethi Judgment Doesn't Limit Operation Of Statute Providing Greater Benefits

    [Case: New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Urmila Shukla; Citation: LL 2021 SC 359]

    The Supreme Court has observed that the judgment in Pranay Sethi does not limit operation of a statutory provision granting greater benefits in the matter of Motor Accident Compensation. "If a statutory instrument has devised a formula which affords better or greater benefit, such statutory instrument must be allowed to operate unless the statutory instrument is otherwise found to be invalid", the bench of Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Ajay Rastogi observed.

    63. Condition Of Pre-deposit Of Fine Amount Cannot Be Imposed To Hear Revision Petition Filed By Convict

    [Case: R. Kalai Selvi v. Bheemappa; Citation: LL 2021 SC 361]

    The Supreme Court has observed that deposit of fine amount cannot be made a condition precedent for hearing revision petition under Section 397 of the Criminal Procedure Code.In this case, the accused was convicted for the offence under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act,

    64. Pendency A Direct Result Of Centre's 'Recalcitrant Attitude' In Not Appointing HC Judges For Years After Collegium Clearances

    [Case: M/s Indian Solar Manufacturers Association v. Solar Power Developers Association; Citation: LL 2021 SC 365]

    The Supreme Court expressed exasperation at the delay on the part of the Union Government in filling up the mounting vacancies of judges in High Courts across the country. In an order passed on August 9, the Top Court had observed that the "recalcitrant attitude" of the Government in not appointing High Court judges even years after the Supreme Court collegium has cleared the recommendations is causing delay in adjudication of cases.

    A division bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy made these serious observations while hearing a special leave petition filed against an interlocutory order passed by the Delhi High Court in a matter related to anti-dumping proceedings. From the proceedings, the Supreme Court bench noted that the High Court is not in a position to give an early hearing for the case, as it is working at half its strength. "We are facing the problem raised in these petitions on account of the recalcitrant attitude of the Government in not appointing High Court Judges for years together even where the recommendations have been cleared by the Collegium", the bench stated at the very beginning of the order. "This is the direct result of there being inadequacies of the number of High Court Judges including in the capital of the Country where the Delhi High Court is located", the Court noted agonizingly.

    65. Political Parties Must Publish Criminal Antecedents Of Candidates Within 48 Hours Of Their Selection: Supreme Court Modifies Earlier Direction

    [Case: Brajesh Singh v. Sunil Arora; Citation: LL 2021 SC 367]

    With the objective of decriminalization of politics, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that the political parties must publish the criminal antecedents, in any, of the candidates within 48 hours of their selection. A bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai modified the direction in its February 13, 2020 judgment in that regard. The court has also directed the Election Commission of India to create a dedicated mobile application containing information published by candidates regarding their criminal antecedents, so that at one stroke, each voter gets such information on his/her mobile phone.

    "Political parties are to publish information regarding criminal antecedents of candidates on the homepage of their websites, thus making it easier for the voter to get to the information that has to be supplied. It will also become necessary now to have on the homepage a caption which states "candidates with criminal antecedents. The ECI is directed to create a dedicated mobile application containing information published by candidates regarding their criminal antecedents, so that at one stroke, each voter gets such information on his/her mobile phone", the Bench further directed.

    Also Read: SC Directs Political Parties To Publish Criminal Antecedents Of Candidates In LS & Assembly Polls

    Also Read: Politicians With Criminal Antecedents Cannot Be Permitted To Be Law-Makers; But Our Hands Are Tied

    Also Read: Supreme Court Imposes Fine On 8 Political Parties For Violating Directions To Publish Criminal Antecedents Of Candidates In Bihar Polls

    NCLT/NCLAT Has No Residual Equity Jurisdiction While Dealing With Resolution Plan Approved By CoC

    [Case: Pratap Technocrats (P) Ltd. v. Monitoring Committee of Reliance Infratel Limited; Citation: LL 2021 SC 368]

    The Supreme Court has observed that there is no residual equity based jurisdiction in the Adjudicating Authority or the Appellate Authority while dealing with the resolution plan approved by the Committee of Creditors. The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah reiterated that these authorities can not enter into the commercial wisdom underlying the approval granted by the CoC to the resolution plan.

    Perversity' Or 'Patent Illegality' Not Grounds To Refuse Enforcement Of Foreign Arbitration Award

    [Case: Gemini Bay Transcription Pvt. Ltd. v. Integrated Sales Service Ltd; Citation: LL 2021 SC 369]

    The Supreme Court has observed that perversity of an award is not a ground to refuse enforcement of a foreign award under Section 48 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, after 2015 amendment. The Court held that the ground of "patent illegality" is only available to set aside domestic arbitration awards made under Part 1 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act and will not apply to international commercial awards. "The ground of "patent illegality appearing on the face of the award" is an independent ground of challenge which applies only to awards made under Part I which do not involve international commercial arbitrations.", the bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai observed


    68. Right To Shelter Does Not Mean Right To Government Accommodation

    [Case: Union of India v. Onkar Nath Dhar; Citation: LL 2021 SC 372]

    The right to shelter does not mean right to government accommodation, the Supreme Court observed while setting aside a Punjab and Haryana High Court order allowing a retired Intelligence Bureau Officer to retain Government accommodation. The court observed that government accommodation is meant for serving officers and officials and not to the retirees as a benevolence and distribution of largesse. The bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and AS Bopanna added that compassion howsoever genuine does not give a right to a retired person from continuing to occupy a government accommodation

    69. 'Clarificatory' Provision In Tax Laws Cannot Impose A New Condition Retrospectively

    [Case: M.M. Aqua Technologies Ltd v. Commissioner of Income Tax; Citation: LL 2021 SC 373]

    A retrospective provision in a tax act which is "for the removal of doubts" cannot be presumed to be retrospective, even where such language is used, if it alters or changes the law as it earlier stood, the Supreme Court has observed while holding that Explanation 3C to Section 43B(d) of the Income Tax Act is 'clarificatory' and does not add a new condition retrospectively. The bench of Justices RF Nariman and BR Gavai observed that Explanation 3C was introduced to curb the misuse of the provisions of Section 43B by not actually paying interest, but converting such interest into a fresh loan.

    70. There Cannot Be Repeated Test Identification Parades Till Accused Is Identified

    [Case: Umesh Chandra v. State of Uttarakhand; Citation: LL 2021 SC 374]

    The Supreme Court observed that there cannot be repeated Test Identification Parades till such time that the prosecution is successful in obtaining identification of the accused. The bench of Justices Navin Sinha and R. Subhash Reddy observed that mere identification in the test identification parade cannot form the substantive basis for conviction unless there are other facts and circumstances corroborating the identification. It reiterated that a test identification parade under Section 9 of the Evidence Act is not substantive evidence in a criminal prosecution but is only corroborative evidence.


    71 .Repeated Inquiries For Verification Of Caste Certificate Detrimental To SC-ST Members

    [Case: J. Chitra v. District Collector and Chairman State Level Vigilance Committee; Citation: LL 2021 SC 413]

    Repeated inquiries for verification of caste certificates would be detrimental to the members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the Supreme Court has observed. The bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose said that the purpose of verification of caste certificates by Scrutiny Committees is to avoid false and bogus claims and reopening of inquiry can be only in case they are vitiated by fraud or when they were issued without proper inquiry.

    72. Magistrate While Accepting Chargesheet Has To Invariably Issue Summons And Not Arrest Warrant

    [Case: Aman Preet Singh v. CBI; Citation: LL 2021 SC 416]

    The Supreme Court has observed that, while accepting charge-sheet, the Magistrate or the Court is required to invariably issue a process of summons and not warrant of arrest. The bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh also observed that, if an accused in a non-bailable offence has been enlarged and free for many years and has not even been arrested during investigation, it would be contrary to the governing principles for grant of bail to suddenly direct his arrest merely because charge sheet has been filed.

    73. Investigating Officer Is Not Required To Arrest Each And Every Accused At The Time Of Filing Charge-sheet

    [Case : Siddharth vs. State of Uttar Pradesh; Citation: LL 2021 SC 391]

    The Supreme Court on Wednesday held that Section 170 of the Cr.P.C. that it does not impose an obligation on the Officer-in-charge to arrest each and every accused at the time of filing of the charge sheet.

    A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kual and Hrishikesh Roy observed that the practice of some Trial Courts of insisting on the arrest of an accused as a pre-requisite formality to take the charge-sheet on record is misplaced and contrary to the very intent of Section 170 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

    74. Adjudicatory Function Of National Green Tribunal Cannot Be Assigned To Expert Committees

    [Case: Sanghar Zuber Ismail v. Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change; Citation: LL 2021 SC 420]

    The Supreme Court has observed that adjudicatory function of the National Green Tribunal cannot be assigned to committees. "The discharge of its functions cannot be obviated by tasking committees to carry out a function which vests in the tribunal", the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, MR Shah and Hima Kohli observed

    75 .Railways Liable To Pay Compensation For Late Arrival Of Trains If Delay Is Not Explained Or Justifiable

    [Case: Northern Western Railway and Another v. Sanjay Shukla; Citation: LL 2021 SC 427]

    The Supreme Court has held that until and unless the railways provide evidence and explain the late arrival of a train to establish and prove that delay occurred because of the reasons beyond their control, they would be liable to pay compensation for such delay. "Therefore, unless and until the evidence is laid explaining the delay and it is established and proved that delay occurred which was beyond their control and/or even there was some justification for delay, the railway is liable to pay the compensation for delay and late arrival of trains", a bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice Aniruddha Bose observed.

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