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35 Notable Judgments Delivered By Justice Vineet Saran

Jyoti Prakash Dutta
25 May 2022 4:41 AM GMT
35 Notable Judgments Delivered By Justice Vineet Saran
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Justice Vineet Saran, who retired as a Judge of the Supreme Court on 10th May 2022, had been instrumental in developing jurisprudence of various aspects of law. He has authored and delivered multiple landmark verdicts during the span of almost 4 years of his judgeship at the Apex Court. From being part of Division Benches to penning down orders for the Constitution Benches, he has left indelible mark of his judicial intellect. It is incumbent upon us to discuss some of the most notable judgments rendered by him.

Notable Judgments Authored by Justice Vineet Saran:

1. Statutory Authorities Can Review Orders Only If Concerned Statute Provides Such Power

Case Title: Naresh Kumar & Ors. v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi

Judgment Dated: 17 October 2019

Coram: Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran & S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ.

The court, speaking through Justice Saran, observed that there is no provision under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 for review of the Award once passed under Section 11 of the Act and attains finality and the only provision is for correction of clerical errors in the Award which is provided for under Section 13A of the Act. In the absence of any such provision in the concerned statute, such power of review cannot be exercised by the authority concerned, the Bench said while referring to the following observation made in Kalabharati Advertising v. Hemant Vimalnath Narichania:

"The law on the point can be summarised to the effect that in the absence of any statutory provision providing for review, entertaining an application for review or under the garb of clarification/modification/correction is not permissible."

2. There Is No Stigma With Regard To Any Crime Committed By A Juvenile

Case Title: Union of India & Ors. v. Ramesh Bishnoi

Judgment Dated: 29 November 2019

Coram: Uday Umesh Lalit & Vineet Saran, JJ.

The Court was deciding a petition filed by a person who cleared the recruitment process to the post of Sub-Inspector in CISF, but was found unsuitable for appointment only on the ground that a criminal case was lodged against him in the past. While granting relief to him, the Court held,

"Even if the allegations were found to be true, then too the respondent could not have been deprived of getting a job on the basis of such charges as the same had been committed while the respondent was juvenile. The thrust of the legislation, i.e. the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 as well as The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is that even if a juvenile is convicted, the same should be obliterated, so that there is no stigma with regard to any crime committed by such person as a juvenile. This is with the clear object to reintegrate such juvenile back in the society as a normal person, without any stigma."

3. Consumer Forum Has No Power To Extend Time Beyond 45 Days For Opposite Party's Version

Case Title: New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage Pvt. Ltd.

Judgment Dated: 4 March 2020

Coram: Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah & S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ.

The Supreme Court held that the time period for filing opposite party's version in consumer case cannot be extended beyond the period of 45 days prescribed under the Consumer Protection Act. The Court held that Consumer Protection Act, 1986 did not empower the Consumer Forum to extend the time beyond the period of 45 days. The time period prescribed under Section 13 of the Consumer Protection Act is mandatory, and not directory, held the judgment authored by Justice Vineet Saran for the Constitution Bench.

4. Notice Sent Under Certificate Of Posting Is Sufficient Where Mode Of Giving Notice Is Not Mentioned

Case Title: Mohd. Asif Naseer v. West Watch Company through Its Proprietor

Judgment Dated: 24 April 2020

Coram: R. Banumathi & Vineet Saran, JJ.

The Supreme Court reaffirmed that Notice sent under Certificate of Posting is sufficient, where mode of service is not mentioned. The Bench was considering the issue whether a landlord had served proper notice to the tenant for vacation of premises in accordance with Section 21(1)(a) of the U.P. Urban Building (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972. Speaking for the Bench, Justice Vineet Saran noted:

"It may be so that mere receipt of notice having been sent under certificate of posting, in itself, may not be sufficient proof of service, but if the same is coupled with other facts and circumstances which go to show that the party had notice, the same could be held to be sufficient service on the party."

5. Arbitration Award Fixing Price Of Land Can't Be Executed Like A Decree For Specific Performance Of Sale Agreement

Case Title: Firm Rajasthan Udyog & Ors. v. Hindustan Engineering & Industries Ltd.

Judgment Dated: 24 April 2020

Coram: Uday Umesh Lalit & Vineet Saran, JJ.

Applying the principle that an executing Court cannot travel beyond the relief granted in a decree, the Supreme Court held that an arbitration award fixing the price of the land cannot be executed like a decree for specific performance of sale agreement, when the reference to arbitrator was only for determining the compensation under the sale agreement. While authoring the judgment for the Bench, Justice Vineet Saran observed,

"Going behind the decree for doing complete justice would not mean that the entire nature of the case could be changed, and what was not awarded in favour of the respondent, could be granted by the executing court. It was only after the respondent had exercised its right to purchase the land at the price fixed by the Arbitrator that a right to enforce the Agreement could have arisen in favour of the respondent."

6. No Disciplinary Action Against Judicial Officer For Merely Passing A Wrong Order; Mere Negligence Not Misconduct

Case Title: Abhay Jain v. The High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan & Anr.

Judgment Dated: 15 March 2022

Coram: Uday Umesh Lalit & Vineet Saran, JJ.

The Supreme Court, while reinstating a judicial officer, observed that mere negligence cannot be treated as misconduct to terminate services of a judicial officer. It also observed that disciplinary proceedings against a judicial officer is not warranted merely because a wrong order has been passed by him/her or the action taken by him could have been different. While speaking through Justice Vineet Saran, the Court held,

"Notably, in the present case, there was not a string of continuous illegal orders that have been alleged to be passed for extraneous considerations. The present case revolves only around a single bail order, and that too was passed with competent jurisdiction. As has been rightly held by this Court in Sadhna Chaudhary (supra), mere suspicion cannot constitute "misconduct". Any 'probability' of misconduct needs to be supported with oral or documentary material, and this requirement has not been fulfilled in the present case. These observations assume importance in light of the specific fact that there was no allegation of illegal gratification against the present appellant. As has been rightly held by this Court, such relief-oriented judicial approaches cannot by themselves be grounds to cast aspersions on the honesty and integrity of an officer."

7. Insider Trading Can't Be Presumed Due To Proximity Between Parties; Onus To Prove Is On SEBI

Case Title: Balram Garg v. Securities and Exchange Board of India

Judgment Dated: 19 April 2022

Coram: Vineet Saran & Aniruddha Bose, JJ.

The Supreme Court has held that insider trading cannot be presumed merely on the basis of proximity between the parties. The Court held, 'communication' of Unpublished Price Sensitive Information under Regulation 3(1) of the SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading), 2015 ought to be proved by producing cogent materials, like, letters, emails, witnesses etc. and not be deemed owing to the alleged proximity between the parties. The judgment authored by Justice Saran further held that the onus is on the SEBI to prove such communication.

8. Certificate U/S 65B(4) Evidence Act Mandatory For Production Of Electronic Evidence; Oral Evidence Cannot Possibly Suffice

Case Title: Ravinder Singh @ Kaku v. State of Punjab

Judgment Dated: 04 May 2022

Coram: Uday Umesh Lalit & Vineet Saran, JJ.

The Supreme Court observed that the certificate under Section 65B(4) of Evidence Act is mandatory to produce electronic evidence and that the oral evidence in the place of such certificate cannot possibly suffice. In this case, one of the issues raised before the Apex court was whether the call records produced by the prosecution would be admissible under section 65A and 65B of the Indian Evidence Act. Referring to the judgment in Arjun Panditrao Khotkar v. Kailash Kushanrao Gorantyal, the Division Bench of Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Vineet Saran observed:

"The electronic evidence produced before the High Court should have been in accordance with the statute and should have complied with the certification requirement, for it to be admissible in the court of law. As rightly stated above, Oral evidence in the place of such certificate, as is the case in the present matter, cannot possibly suffice as Section 65B(4) is a mandatory requirement of the law."

Remarkable Judgments/Orders Passed by Justice Saran's Benches:

9. Commercial Suits: 120 Days Deadline To File Written Statement Mandatory

Case Title: M/S SCG Contracts India Pvt. Ltd. v. K.S. Chamankar Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. & Ors.

Judgment Dated: 12 February 2019

Coram: Rohinton F. Nariman & Vineet Saran, JJ.

The Supreme Court observed that proviso added to the Code of Civil Procedure by Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015, is mandatory and no written statement can be taken on record in commercial suits, if it is not filed within 120 days from the date of service of summons of the Suit. The Bench was considering Special Leave Petitions against Delhi High Court orders allowing a written statement filed by the defendants even though 120 days had elapsed from the date of service of summons of the suit.

10. Claim Under Section 70, Contract Act Cannot Be Raised When Parties Are Governed By Contract

Case Title: Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. v. Tata Communications Ltd.

Judgment Dated: 27 February 2019

Coram: Rohinton F. Nariman & Vineet Saran, JJ.

The Supreme Court held that claim of quantum meruit under Section 70 of the Indian Contract Act cannot be raised when parties are otherwise governed by contract. This is because Section 70 occurs in Chapter V of the Contract Act which deals with "certain relations resembling those created by contract". Section 70 deals with obligation of a person enjoying benefit of a non-gratuitous act to compensate the person giving the benefit. The judgment referred to the dictum in Mulamchand v. State of M.P., (1968), that:

"The important point to notice is that in a case falling under Section 70 the person doing something for another or delivering something to another cannot sue for the specific performance of the contract, nor ask for damages for the breach of the contract, for the simple reason that there is no contract between him and the other person for whom he does something or to whom he delivers something. So, where a claim for compensation is made by one person against another under Section 70, it is not on the basis of any subsisting contract between the parties but on a different kind of obligation. The juristic basis of the obligation in such a case is not founded upon any contract or tort but upon a third category of law, namely, quasi-contract or restitution."

11. SC Upheld Constitutionality Of Section 23 Of PCPNDT Act, Complete Contents Of Form 'F' Mandatory

Case Title: Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) v. Union of India & Ors.

Judgment Dated: 03 May 2019

Coram: Arun Mishra & Vineet Saran, JJ.

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of Sections 23(1) and 23(2) of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994. Dismissing a writ petition filed by Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), the Bench observed that dilution of the provisions of the Act or the Rules would only defeat the purpose of the Act to prevent female foeticide, and relegate the right to life of the girl child under Article 21 of the Constitution, to a mere formality. The court also held that complete contents of Form 'F' are mandatory.

12. NDPS Act | Non-Production Of Entire Contraband By Itself Not A Ground For Acquittal

Case Title: State of Rajasthan v. Sahi Ram

Judgment Dated: 27 September 2019

Coram: Uday Umesh Lalit & Vineet Saran, JJ.

The Supreme Court held that non-production of contraband material, by itself, is not a ground for acquittal, if its seizure is otherwise proved. On this ground, the bench set aside the acquittal ordered by the High Court in a case under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985. The Bench observed,

"If the seizure of the material is otherwise proved on record and is not even doubted or disputed the entire contraband material need not be placed before this Court. If the seizure is otherwise not in doubt, there is no requirement that the entire material ought to be produced before the Court."

13. Article 137 Limitation Act Applies To Proceedings For Cancellation Of Probate/Letter Of Administration

Case Title: Ramesh Nivrutti Bhagwat v. Dr. Surendra Manohar Parakhe

Judgment Dated: 04 October 2019

Coram: Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran & S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ.

The Supreme Court held that Article 137 of the Limitation Act, which provides for 3 years limitation period, applies to the proceedings under Indian Succession Act for moving an application for cancellation of probate or letters of administration. The Bench observed,

"The Indian Succession Act, 1925 does not prescribe a specific period of limitation for the grant of probate, or for moving an application for cancellation of probate or letters of administration. The residuary entry Article 137 of the Act, which covers proceedings for which no period of limitation is stipulated in the Act, provides for a three-year period of limitation."

14. State Legislature Cannot Enact Law Which Affects Jurisdiction Of Supreme Court

Case Title: Rajendra Diwan v. Pradeep Kumar Ranibala & Anr.

Judgment Dated: 10 December 2019

Coram: Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah & S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ.

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held that Section 13(2) of the Chhattisgarh Rent Control Act, 2011, is unconstitutional as the State Legislature lacked legislative competence to enact a provision providing direct appeal to Supreme Court of India. The bench, after referring to various constitutional provisions, observed:

"There is no provision in the Constitution which saves State laws with extra-territorial operation, similar to Article 245(2) which expressly saves Union laws with extra-territorial operation, enacted by Parliament. The Chhattisgarh State Legislature, thus, patently lacks competence to enact any law which affects the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, outside the State of Chhattisgarh."

15. Accused Released On Anticipatory Bail Need Not Surrender And Seek Regular Bail For Recovery Under Section 27 Evidence Act

Case Title: Sushila Aggarwal & Ors. v. State (NCT of Delhi) & Anr.

Judgment Dated: 29 January 2020

Coram: Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah & S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ.

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held that the "limited custody" or "deemed custody", which the police has over the accused released on anticipatory bail when he appears before the investigating officer as per the bail conditions, would satisfy the requirements of Section 27 of the Evidence Act.

"Therefore, the "limited custody" or "deemed custody" to facilitate the requirements of the investigative authority, would be sufficient for the purpose of fulfilling the provisions of Section 27, in the event of recovery of an article, or discovery of a fact, which is relatable to a statement made during such event (i.e deemed custody). In such event, there is no question (or necessity) of asking the accused to separately surrender and seek regular bail", observed the Court.

16. Supreme Court Upheld Validity Of SC/ST Amendment Act 2018

Case Title: Prathvi Raj Chauhan v. Union of India & Ors.

Judgment Dated: 10 February 2020

Coram: Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran & S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ.

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act of 2018, which was enacted to nullify the effects of the March 20, 2018 judgment of the Court which had diluted the provisions of the Act. By way of the Amendment, a new section 18A had been inserted in the Act of 1989, which did away with the court-imposed requirements (in 2018 judgment) of undertaking preliminary inquiry and of procuring approval prior to making an arrest. It also restored the unconditional ban on the grant of anticipatory bail in the event of an offence under the Act.

17. Judicial Officers Cannot Seek Direct Recruitment To Post Of District Judges Against Quota For Advocates

Case Title: Dheeraj Mor v. Hon'ble High Court of Delhi

Judgment Dated: 19 February 2020

Coram: Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran & S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ.

The Supreme Court held that civil judges are not eligible to seek direct recruitment to post of District Judges in bar quota. Eligibility under Article 233(2) of the Constitution requires 7 years of continuous practice. "Only practising candidates can avail the quota. It is exclusively for them", the order said. "Article 233(2) nowhere provides eligibility of in-­service candidates for consideration as a District Judge concerning a post requiring 7 years' practice as an advocate or a pleader. Requirement of 7 years' experience for advocate or pleader is qualified with a rider that he should not be in the service of the Union or the State", the Court said in the judgment. The Court also said that the practice referred in Article 233(2) is "continuous practice" as not only on the cut-off date for the selection but also on the date of appointment.

18. State & Centre Have Concurrent Power To Fix Sugarcane Prices; No Conflict If State's Price Is Higher Than Centre's 'Minimum Price'

Case Title: West U.P. Sugar Mills Association & Ors. v. The State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors.

Judgment Dated: 22 April 2020

Coram: Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah & Aniruddha Bose, JJ.

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held that both the Centre and the State have concurrent powers to fix the prices of sugarcane. At the same time, the price fixed by the State Government for sugarcane cannot be lower than the 'minimum price' fixed by the centre, the Court added. Also, it held, it is open to the States to fix the price higher than the price fixed by the Centre.

19. [District Judges] Inter-Se Seniority Among Candidates Who Pass 'Limited Competitive Exam' Must Be Based On Merit In LCE & Not Previous Seniority

The Supreme Court on Wednesday held that in the seniority list of District Judges, the inter-se seniority between candidates who passed the 'Limited Competitive Examination (LCE)' must be determined on the basis of their merit in the examination, and not on the basis of their seniority in the erstwhile cadre. The stream of 'LCE' for promotion to District Judges' post was introduced following the dictum of the Supreme Court in the 2002 All India Judges Association case. 25% posts were earmarked for the LCE stream to give an opportunity for the meritorious candidates in Civil Judges cadre to get appointment as District Judges, even before their turn in the usual promotional stream arising.

In the list drawn by the Rajasthan HC, the LCE candidates were placed as per their seniority in the previous cadre, without taking into account their merit in the examination. A bench comprising Justices U U Lalit and Vineet Saran held that the method adopted by the Rajasthan HC in placing the LCE candidates defeated the very objective of LCE. The bench noted that the LCE was introduced as "an incentive amongst relatively junior and other officers to improve and to compete with each other so as to excel and get accelerated promotion". The Court noted that in All India Judges Association case, it was held that promotion through LCE must be "strictly on the basis of merit.

Case Title: Dinesh Kumar Gupta & Ors. v. High Court of Judicature of Rajasthan & Ors.

Judgment Dated: 29 April 2020

Coram: Uday Umesh Lalit & Vineet Saran, JJ.

The Supreme Court held that in the seniority list of District Judges, the inter-se seniority between candidates who passed the 'Limited Competitive Examination (LCE)' must be determined on the basis of their merit in the examination, and not on the basis of their seniority in the erstwhile cadre. The Bench noted that the LCE was introduced as "an incentive amongst relatively junior and other officers to improve and to compete with each other so as to excel and get accelerated promotion". The Court also noted that in All India Judges Association case, it was held that promotion through LCE must be "strictly on the basis of merit".

20. Article 30 Doesn't Prevent State From Imposing Reasonable Regulations To Make Administration Of Minority Institutions Transparent

Case Title: Christian Medical College Vellore Association v. Union of India & Ors.

Judgment Dated: 29 April 2020

Coram: Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran & M.R. Shah, JJ.

In the judgment upholding the validity of National Eligibility cum Entrance Examination for admission to medical and dental courses, the Supreme Court re-stated the principles governing minority educational institutions under Article 30 of the Constitution of India. The Bench noted that the right conferred on the religious and linguistic minorities to administer educational institutions of their choice is not an "absolute right". This right is not free from regulation.

21. Constitution Bench Of Supreme Court Held SARFEASI Act Applicable To Cooperative Banks

Case Title: Pandurang Ganpati Chaugule v. Vishwasrao Patil Murgud Sahakari Bank Limited

Judgment Dated: 05 May 2020

Coram: Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah & Aniruddha Bose, JJ.

The Supreme Court held that the Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Act, 2002 is applicable to cooperative banks. It observed,

"The co­operative banks under the State legislation and multi­ State co­operative banks are 'banks' under section 2(1)(c) of Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002."

The Court rejected the argument that 2013 amendment to the SARFAESI Act adding 'multi-state cooperative bank' in Section 2(1)(c)(iva) was a "colourable exercise of power". The Court also upheld the 2003 notification issued under the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 by which co­operative bank was brought within the class of banks entitled to seek recourse to the provisions of the SARFAESI Act. The Constitution Bench unanimously held that the Parliament had the legislative competence to bring cooperative banks under the ambit of SARFAESI Act.

22. Courts Should Inform Accused About Their Right To 'Default Bail' Once It Accrues

Case Title: M. Ravindran v. The Intelligence Officer, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence

Judgment Dated: 26 October 2020

Coram: Uday Umesh Lalit, Mohan M. Shantanagoudar & Vineet Saran, JJ.

The Supreme Court observed that Courts should inform the accused of the availability of their indefeasible right to avail 'default bail' once it accrues to them. It stressed that the objects of Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure are subsets of the overarching fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21. It also observed that if the Court deliberately does not decide the bail application but adjourns the case by granting time to the prosecution, it would be in violation of the legislative mandate. The Court further said that provision of 'default bail' is for ensuring a fair trial, expeditious investigation and trial, and setting down a rationalized procedure that protects the interests of indigent sections of society.

23. Accused's Right Of Being Represented Through A Lawyer Is Referable To Fundamental Right To Life

Case Title: Subedar v. State of Uttar Pradesh

Judgment Dated: 18 December 2020

Coram: Uday Umesh Lalit, Vineet Saran & S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ.

The Supreme Court observed that the right of being represented through a counsel is part of due process clause and is referable to the right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Before the Apex court, the counsel for the accused submitted that the appeal was disposed of in absence of any representation on behalf of the appellant-accused. In this context, the Bench observed,

"It is well accepted that right of being represented through a counsel is part of due process clause and is referable to the right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. In case the Advocate representing the cause of the accused, for one reason or the other was not available, it was open to the Court to appoint an Amicus Curiae to assist the Court but the cause in any case ought not to be allowed to go unrepresented."

24. Pre­natal Sex ­Determination Is A Grave Offence Which Has Potential To Damage The Very Fabric Of Gender Equality & Dignity

Case Title: Rekha Sengar v. State of Madhya Pradesh

Judgment Dated: 21 January 2021

Coram: Mohan M. Shantanagoudar, Vineet Saran & Ajay Rastogi, JJ.

The Supreme Court observed that pre­natal sex ­determination is a grave offence with serious consequences for the society as a whole. A strict approach has to be adopted if we are to eliminate the scourge of female foeticide and iniquity towards girl children from our society, the Bench held while upholding the Madhya Pradesh High Court order dismissing the anticipatory bail application filed by an accused. It further observed,

"The unrelenting continuation of this immoral practice, the globally shared understanding that it constitutes a form of violence against women, and its potential to damage the very fabric of gender equality and dignity that forms the bedrock of our Constitution are all factors that categorically establish pre­natal sex-­determination as a grave offence with serious consequences for the society as a whole."

25. Parties Who Privately Agree To Settle Disputes Without Court Intervention U/S 89 CPC Also Entitled To Refund Of Court Fee

Case Title: The High Court of Judicature at Madras Represented by its Registrar General v. M.C. Subramaniam & Ors.

Judgment Dated: 17 February 2021

Coram: Mohan M. Shantanagoudar & Vineet Saran, JJ.

The Supreme Court held that the parties who privately agree to settle their dispute outside the modes contemplated under Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure are also entitled to refund of Court fees. In this case, the Madras High Court (administrative side) approached the Apex Court challenging the High Court judgment which held that Section 89 of the CPC, and Section 69­A of the Tamil Nadu Court Fees and Suit Valuation Act, 1955, would cover all methods of out­ of ­court dispute settlement between parties that the Court subsequently finds to have been legally arrived at. Section 69A of the 1955 Act deals with refund on settlement of disputes under section 89 CPC. The Court observed,

"The narrow interpretation of Section 89 of CPC and Section 69­A of the 1955 Act sought to be imposed by the Petitioner would lead to an outcome wherein parties who are referred to a Mediation Centre or other centres by the Court will be entitled to a full refund of their court fee; whilst parties who similarly save the Court's time and resources by privately settling their dispute themselves will be deprived of the same benefit, simply because they did not require the Court's interference to seek a settlement. Such an interpretation, in our opinion, clearly leads to an absurd and unjust outcome, where two classes of parties who are equally facilitating the object and purpose of the aforesaid provisions are treated differentially, with one class being deprived of the benefit of Section 69­A of the 1955 Act."

26. Section 195(1)(b)(i) CrPC Does Not Bar Prosecution By Investigating Agency For Offence U/S 193 IPC Committed During Investigation Stage

Case Title: Bhima Razu Prasad v. State represented by DSP, CBI/SPE/ACU-II

Judgment Dated: 12 March 2021

Coram: Mohan M. Shantanagoudar & Vineet Saran, JJ.

The Supreme Court held that the prosecution by the investigating agency for offence punishable under Section 193, IPC [for fabricating false evidence] committed during the stage of investigation will not be barred under Section 195(1)(b)(i), Cr.P.C. if the investigating agency has lodged complaint or registered the case prior to commencement of proceedings and produced such evidence before the Trial Court. In such circumstance, it held, the said offences would not be considered an offence committed in, or in relation to, any proceeding in any Court for the purpose of Section 195(1)(b)(i), CrPC.

27. Doctrine Of Impossibility Applicable To Court Orders; Possibility Of Implementation Should Be Considered

Case Title: State of Uttar Pradesh v. In Re: Inhuman Condition at Quarantine Centres and for Providing Better Treatment to Corona Positive

Order Dated: 21 May 2021

Coram: Vineet Saran & B.R. Gavai, JJ.

"Doctrine of impossibility is applicable to Court orders as well", said the Supreme Court while staying the directions issued by Allahabad High Court on May 17, 2021 for upgradation of medical facilities in the State of Uttar Pradesh on a war-scale footing. Stating that High Courts should avoid passing orders that are not capable of being implemented, the Bench noted,

"…we are of the opinion that the High Court should normally consider the possibility of the implementation of the directions given by it, and such directions which are incapable of being implemented should be avoided".

28. 'Every Journalist Entitled To Protection Of Kedar Nath Judgment': Supreme Court Quashed Sedition Case Against Journalist Vinod Dua

Case Title: Vinod Dua v. Union of India & Ors.

Judgment Dated: 03 June 2021

Coram: Uday Umesh Lalit & Vineet Saran, JJ.

The Supreme Court quashed an FIR lodged against senior journalist Vinod Dua for sedition and other offences by a local BJP leader in Himachal Pradesh over his YouTube show with critical remarks against Prime Minister and Union Government. The Bench held,

"Every Journalist will be entitled to protection in terms of Kedar Nath Singh, as every prosecution under Sections 124A and 505 of the IPC must be in strict conformity with the scope and ambit of said Sections as explained in, and completely in tune with the law laid down in Kedar Nath Singh"

29. Name Of Victim In Sexual Offences Shall Not Be Mentioned In Any Proceedings, Subordinate Courts Shall Be Careful

Case Title: Birbal Kumar Nishad v. The State of Chhattisgarh

Judgment Dated: 30 June 2021

Coram: Ashok Bhushan, Vineet Saran & M.R. Shah, JJ.

The Supreme Court took strong objections to a Sessions Court judgment where the name of rape victim was mentioned. The Bench held that all the subordinate courts should be careful not to reveal the identity of a rape victim in any proceedings.

"It is well established that in cases like the present one, the name of the victim is not to be mentioned in any proceeding. We are of the view that all the subordinate courts shall be careful in future while dealing with such cases", the Bench observed.

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

Case Title: R. Kalai Selvi v. Bheemappa

Judgment Dated: 04 August 2021

Coram: Vineet Saran & Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ.

The Supreme Court observed that deposit of fine amount cannot be made a condition precedent for hearing revision petition under Section 397 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The Bench further held,

"We are clearly of the view that the High Court could not have made the deposit of fine amount a condition precedent for the purpose of hearing the revision petition. As to what order is to be passed ultimately in the revision petition is a matter entirely different and that would depend on the examination of the matter in terms of the requirements of revisional jurisdiction but, in any case, depositing of fine amount could not have been made a condition precedent for the purpose of even hearing of the revision petition so filed by the appellant."

31. Supreme Court Bars Withdrawal Of Criminal Prosecution Against MPs/MLAs Without Permission Of High Court

Case Title: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India & Anr.

Judgment Dated: 10 August 2021

Coram: N.V. Ramana, CJ & Vineet Saran, Surya Kant, JJ.

The Apex Court directed that judges hearing criminal cases against MPs/MLAs in Special Courts should continue in their current posts until further orders of the Supreme Court. The Court clarified that the direction will be subject to the retirement or death of the judges holding the trial of cases against legislators. While hearing a plea filed regarding pendency of criminal cases against MPs and MLAs and expeditious disposal of the same by setting up of Special Courts, the Court held that criminal prosecution against MPs/MLAs cannot be withdrawn without permission of the concerned High Court.

"The first issue is about misuse of power under Section 321 of the Code of Criminal Procedure regarding withdrawal of cases. We find it appropriate to direct that no prosecution against MPs, MLAs to be withdrawn without leave of High Court in the respective suo motu cases registered in pursuance to our order", the Bench ordered.

32. High Court While Reversing Trial Court's Order Of Rejecting Bail U/S 302 Must Give Some Reasons

Case Title: Sabir v. Bhoora @ Nadeem & Anr.

Judgment Dated: 15 February 2022

Coram: Vineet Saran & Aniruddha Bose, JJ.

The Supreme Court observed that in the case of murder, it is expected for the High Court to at least give some reason for reversing Trial Court's order which had rejected bail application by reasoned order. The Bench held,

"On perusal of the impugned orders, what is noteworthy is that in the impugned orders passed by the High Court no reason has been given for grant of bail. In the case of murder (under Section 302 IPC), it is expected that at least some reason would be given while reversing the order of the Trial Court, which had rejected the bail application by a reasoned order. In the present case, the nature of the offence is very grave i.e. murder under Section 302 IPC and if such reasons are to be accepted for granting bail, then probably in all cases bail would be granted."

33. Counsel/Amicus Curiae Who Appeared For Deceased-Appellant Cannot Be Treated As 'Near Relative' For Continuance Of Appeal Under Section 394 CrPC

Case Title: Yeruva Sayireddy v. The State of Andhra Pradesh & Anr.

Judgment Dated: 07 March 2022

Coram: Vineet Saran & Aniruddha Bose, JJ.

The Supreme Court observed that an amicus curiae who was appearing for deceased appellant cannot be treated as 'near relative' under Section 394 Cr.P.C. for the purpose of continuance of appeal. The Bench noted that a criminal appeal filed by a convict will abate on his death if no application for leave to continue the appeal is made within 30 days by a near relative viz. a parent, spouse, lineal descendant, brother or sister.

The counsel, who was appearing as an Amicus Curiae in the case, for the deceased-appellant, submitted before the court that there is every chance of acquittal and considering the intention of the legislature in providing an appeal not abating even after the death of the appellant/convict, his oral prayer as an Amicus Curiae be considered as an application for continuance of this appeal and appeal be not abated. Rejecting this plea, the court observed:

"The counsel, as an Amicus, cannot be treated as a near relative of the deceased appellant/convict. The application for continuance of the appeal having not been made within 30 days or even thereafter by any near relative, in our opinion, as per the provision of Section 394 of the Cr.P.C., this appeal would abate."

34. Section 190(1)(b) CrPC | Magistrate Can Summon Person Not Named In Police Report Or FIR If Materials Reveal Prima Facie His Involvement

Case Title: Nahar Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Anr.

Judgment Dated: 16 March 2022

Coram: Vineet Saran & Aniruddha Bose, JJ.

The Supreme Court observed that the Magistrate taking cognizance of an offence on the basis of a police report in terms of Section 190(1)(b) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 can issue summons to any person not arraigned as an accused in the police report or in the FIR.

"If there are materials before the Magistrate showing complicity of persons other than those arraigned as accused or named in column 2 of the police report in commission of an offence, the Magistrate at that stage could summon such persons as well upon taking cognizance of the offence"

35. In PMLA Cases, Courts Cannot Proceed On The Basis Of Preponderance Of Probabilities

Case Title: J. Sekar @ Sekar Reddy v. Directorate of Enforcement

Judgment Dated: 05 May 2022

Coram: Vineet Saran & J.K. Maheshwari, JJ.

The Supreme Court observed that in cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), Court cannot proceed on the basis of 'preponderance of probabilities'. It was also observed that it is incumbent upon the Court to look into the allegation and the material collected in support thereto and to find out whether the prima facie offence is made out. The Court held,

"Even in cases of PMLA, the Court cannot proceed on the basis of preponderance of probabilities. On perusal of the statement of Objects and Reasons specified in PMLA, it is the stringent law brought by Parliament to check money laundering. Thus, the allegation must be proved beyond reasonable doubt in the Court. Even otherwise, it is incumbent upon the Court to look into the allegation and the material collected in support thereto and to find out whether the prima facie offence is made out. Unless the allegations are substantiated by the authorities and proved against a person in the court of law, the person is innocent."


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