Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Supreme Court Weekly Round Up


Important Rulings

Decree Passed On Plaintiff's Evidence Without Defendant's Appearance At Trial Is Ex-Parte Decree

[Ratna Raj by LRs vs Sri Muthukumaraswamy Permanent Fund Ltd]

The Supreme Court held that a decree passed after taking plaintiff's evidence, without the appearance of defendant at the trial stage, is an ex-parte decree, which could be set aside under Order IX Rule 13 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The bench of Justice A M Sapre and Dinesh Maheshwari passed the order in an appeal against a High Court judgment, which set aside a preliminary decree under Order IX Rule 13 CPC.

Casual Act Of Possession Over Property Does Not Confer 'Possessory Title'

[Poona Ram vs. Moti Ram]

Holding that possessory title over property cannot be claimed merely on the basis of 'casual possession', the Supreme Court observed that a casual act of possession does not have the effect of interrupting the possession of the rightful owner.

Secured Creditor Can File Winding Up Petition Despite Obtaining Recovery Certificate From DRT

[Swaraj Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd vs. Kotak Mahindra Bank]

The Supreme Court held that a secured creditor can file a winding up petition even after obtaining a decree from the Debts Recovery Tribunal ["DRT"] and a recovery certificate based thereon. The bench comprising Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Navin Sinha dismissed appeals against Bombay High Court judgment that had rejected the contention that once a secured creditor has obtained an order from the DRT, and a recovery certificate has been issued thereupon, such secured creditor cannot file a winding up petition as the Recovery of Debts Act is a special Act which vests exclusive jurisdiction in the DRT.

Additional District Magistrate Can Order ExternmentUnder MP Rajya Suraksha Adhiniyam

[State of Madhya Pradesh vs. DharmendraRathore]

The Supreme Court held that an Additional District Magistrate can pass an Externment order when there is no provision in the statue prohibiting passing of an order by an officer lower than the rank of District Magistrate.

Mutation Of Land In Revenue Records Do Not Create Title Over Land

[BhimabaiMahadeoKambekar V. Arthur Import and Export Company]

Mutation of a land in the revenue records does not create or extinguish the title over land nor does it have any presumptive value on the title and it only enables the person in whose favour mutation if ordered to pay the land revenue in question, the Supreme Court has reiterated. A bench of Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice R Subhash Reddy said so while deciding an appeal against a Bombay High Court order on a dispute arising out of entries made in the revenue records in relation to the disputed land.

Mere Agreement To Sell The Leased Property To Tenant Would Not Terminate Landlord-Tenant Relationship

[H. K. Sharma V. Sri Ram lal]

The Supreme Court observed that mere agreement to sell the property of the landlord to the tenant would not result in termination of landlord-tenant relationship between the parties unless there is a stipulation in the agreement itself to that effect.

Accused Can't Be Kept In Custody For A Long Time Citing 'Possible Sentence Of Imprisonment'

[Rameshwar Yadav @ Umesh Singh V. State of Bihar]

Observing that 'Possible Sentence Of Imprisonment' is not a ground for deferment of bail after a long time in custody, the Supreme Court granted bail to a man who is in custody since last July.

Legality Of Main Order Cannot Be Challenged In An Appeal Filed Only Against Review Order

[Asharfi Devi V. State of UP]

The Supreme Court observed that legality of a main order passed by the High court cannot be examined in an appeal filed only against the order passed in review petition. The bench comprising of Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari noted that the writ petitioner never challenged the legality and correctness of the main order dated 14.03.2008 passed in the writ petition but confined her challenge only to the order dated 16.12.2008 passed in the review application.

Death Sentence Only When The Alternative Option Is Unquestionably Foreclosed

[RajuJagdishPaswan V. State of Maharashtra]

The Supreme Court commuted death penalty of a man accused of rape and murder of a nine year old girl and sentenced him to 30 years imprisonment without remission. The bench comprising Justice SA Bobde, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice R. Subhash Reddy observed that, even though the murder involves exceptional depravity and the manner of commission of the crime is extremely brutal, a death sentence can be imposed only when the alternative option is unquestionably foreclosed.

General Principle Of Service Law Applicable To Civil Services Does Not Apply To Air Force

[Union Of India V. Subrata Das]

Holding that the right of an Air Force officer to withdraw from an approved 'Premature Separation from Service' application is neither absolute nor unqualified, the Supreme Court observed general principle of service law applicable to the civil services, does not apply in the situation of the Air Force.

Insurer Bound By 'Sum Insured'; Depreciation To Be Applied Only For Post Policy Period

[Sumit Kumar SahaV.Reliance General Insurance Company Ltd.]

In a significant judgment on insurance law, the Supreme Court held that an insurer cannot deviate from the 'sum insured' in the policy, and can apply depreciation only on the sum insured, that too only for the post-policy period and not for any period prior to it. The judgment was delivered by a bench of Justices U U Lalit and R Subash Reddy, in an appeal challenging the order of National Consumer Redressal Commission.

No Arrest Under Section 91 Finance Act Without Notice And Hearing Under Section 73A(3)(4)

[Union of India V. M/s Make My Trip India Ltd]

The Supreme Court upheld the decision of Delhi High Court which held that following the procedure under Section 73A(3) and (4) of the Finance Act 1994 is compulsory before arresting a person under Section 91.

Revisit Income Limit Criteria For Compassionate Appointments At Periodic Intervals

[State of Himachal Pradesh V. Sashi Kumar]

The Supreme Court called upon the State of Himachal Pradesh to revisit income limit criteria for compassionate appointments, preferably at intervals of three years. The court observed that inflation and the increase in the cost of living have an important bearing on financial exigencies faced by families of serving as well as deceased employees.

Autonomy Of The Bar Cannot Be Taken Over By The Court: SC Quashes Madras HC 'Disciplinary Rules' For Lawyers

[R. Muthukrishnan V. Registrar General of High court of Judicature of Madras]

The Supreme Court quashed Rules 14- A to 14-D of the Rules of High Court of Madras, 1970 holding that they are ultra vires to Section 34 of the Advocates Act and usurps the power of the Bar Council in Disciplinary matters. The bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Vineet Saran observed that the Advocates Act never intended to confer the disciplinary powers upon the High Court or Supreme Court except to the extent dealing with an appeal under Section 38 of the Act.

'Restitution' Under Section 144 Attracts Only When There Is Variation Or Reversal Of Decree/Order

[MurtiBhawani Mata Mandir V. Ramesh & Ors.]

While allowing an appeal against Madhya Pradesh High Court order, the Supreme Court explained the situations in which Section 144 of the Code of Civil Procedure (application for restitution) can be applied.

No Authority Can Claim Privilege Not To Comply With SC Judgment

[Anil Kumar V Union of Inida&Ors.]

The Supreme Court observed that no authority can claim a privilege not to comply with its judgment. The bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta made this observation while allowing an appeal filed by an employee of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

SC Upholds Madras HC's Interpretation Of TN Prison Rules For Premature Release,Quashes General Direction

[State of Tamil Nadu V. P. Veera Bhaarathi]

The Supreme Court recently upheld the Madras High Court ruling that irrespective of the nature of the offence committed, if a prisoner is a life convict, he will be eligible as per the Tamil Nadu Prison Rules, 1983, for consideration for premature release on his completing 14 years of actual imprisonment. However, the bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Sanjiv Khanna set aside the High court's general direction to review claims of premature release of all life convicts who have completed 14 years of custody and whose claims were rejected on the basis of erroneous understanding of the provisions of the Prison Rules.

Insurance Company Cannot Unilaterally Delete Policy Terms To Reduce Coverage

[M/s Twenty First Century India Pvt. Ltd. V. New India Assurance Company Ltd.]

Holding that a state-owned insurance company cannot act arbitrarily, the Supreme Court quashed the action of New India Assurance Company Ltd in unilaterally deleting policy terms to reduce coverage. Setting aside the judgment of the HC, the SC directed the insurer to process the claim of the company in respect to the cancelled Goa match.

There Cannot Be Any Legitimate Expectation Unless A Legal Obligation Exists

[State of Bihar vs. Dr. Sachindra Narayan]

Unless a legal obligation exists, there cannot be any legitimate expectation, theSupreme Court held. The bench comprising Justice Dhananjay Y Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta was considering a contention raise that, since the State Government had provided funds for payment of pension for the last many years, the Institute and the employees of the Institute have legitimate expectations to receive the amount of pension.

Second Appeal: Obligatory For HC To Frame Substantial Question Of Law Even If Lower Courts' Findings Are Perverse Per Se, Rules SC

[Sreedevi V. Sarojam]

The Supreme Court observed that it is obligatory for a High Court, while considering a Second Appeal, to frame substantial question of law in second appeal even if lower courts' findings are perverse per se. The bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Ajay Rastogi set aside a Kerala High Court order, on the ground that it decided the Second Appeal without formulating any substantial question of law.

CAT Chairman Cannot Stay Pending Proceedings Before A Larger Bench

[All India Institute of Medical Sciences vs. Sanjiv Chaturvedi]

The Supreme Court observed that the Chairman of Central Administrative Tribunal, sitting singly, cannot stay proceedings pending before a larger Bench. The bench comprising Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Indira Banerjee observed that, the Chairman acting judicially is equal to any other Member and is 'one amongst equals'.

Nurses Can Practice Their Profession Throughout The Territory Of India

[Private Nursing Schools and colleges Management Association V. Indian Nursing Council]

The Supreme Court observed that the Nursing Council Act of 1947 does not restrict the practice of nursing once a Degree or Diploma is granted by the State Authority to that State only. The bench comprising Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Navin Sinha declared thus while allowing special leave petition filed by Private Nursing Schools And Colleges Management Association against the Bombay High Court order.

High Court Cannot Rewrite Terms Of State's Compassionate Appointment Policy

[State of Himachal Pradesh V. Prakash Chand]

The Supreme Court observed that a High Court, in the exercise of judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution, cannot re-write the terms of the compassionate appointment policy formulated by the state.

Wife Entitled To 'Residence Order' Only If She Establishes Domestic Violence

[Sangitasha V. AbhijitSaha]

The Supreme Court upheld a Calcutta High Court judgment which held that entitlement of a wife to claim residence in the shared household is only when she could establish domestic violence. The Apex court bench comprising Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice MR Shah dismissed a special leave petition filed by the 'wife' against Calcutta High Court order.

Insolvency Proceedings Can Be Withdrawn Even After Invitation Of Resolution Plans Under Regulation 36A

[Brilliant Alloys Pvt. Ltd. V. S. Rajagopal]

In a notable order passed recently, the Supreme Court permitted the withdrawal of Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process(CIRP) even after the Resolution Professional issued invitation for expression of interest from resolution applicants to submit resolution plans under Regulation 36A of CIRP Regulations 2016.

Other Developments

Bhopal Gas Tragedy : SC Agrees To Hear In April Centre's Petition For Additional Compensation From Union Carbide

The Supreme Court agreed to hear in April the curative petition filed by the Centre in 2011 for additional compensation for Bhopal gas tragedy victims from US-based Union Carbide Company( which is now owned by Dow Chemicals).

SC Asks Centre To Provide Info On Detention Centres And Foreigners Detained In Assam

Hearing a PIL for the humane treatment of the immigrants held in detention centres in Assam, the Supreme Court required the state to furnish details of the number of such centres and the number of inmates they house. The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also wishes to be informed as to how many of the inmates are declared foreigners and how many have been duly deported

Appointment Of Information Commissioners: Why Only 'Babus' Shortlisted, SC Asks Govt

The Supreme Court asked the Centre as to why only retired or sitting bureaucrats were being shortlisted by the search committee for appointment as information commissioners.

'Don't Play Around With Law', SC Tells Karti Chidambaram To Deposit Rs.10 Crores For Going Abroad

The Supreme Court directed Kari Chidambaram, son of Senior Advocate and former Union Minister P Chidambaram, to deposit Rs.10 crores with registry as one of the conditions for permitting him to go abroad.

SC Again Refuses To Stay SC/ST Amendment Act, Posts Petitions For Final Hearing On Feb 19

The Supreme Court bench of Justices U. U. Lalit and Indu Malhotra posted to February 19 for final hearing a string of petitions challenging the 2018 amendment to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

"Some Discipline Has To Be Maintained As To The Prayers In PILs": Plea Against RakeshAsthana Dismissed

The Supreme Court dismissed Advocate M. L. Sharma's PIL by which he sought, inter alia, the suspension of erstwhile CBI Special Director RakeshAsthana.

Candidate with Minimum Marks in NEET UG-2018 Eligible for Admission To BHMS Course 2018-19

In a relief for many students, the Supreme Court said that, a candidate who has secured minimum marks in the NEET UG-2018 shall be eligible for admission to the 1st year BHMS course for the academic year 2018-19.

Plea Against Appointment Of Nageshwar Rao As Interim CBI Director Adjourned To Feb 6

The Supreme Court bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta adjourned to February 6 the petition filed by NGO Common Cause and RTI Activist Anjali Bhardwaj questioning the appointment of Nageshwar Rao as CBI interim director.

Notice To BCI On Plea For Weeding Out 'Sale Of Law Degrees From Letter Pad Colleges'

The Supreme Court issued notice to the Bar Council of India on a petition calling for an inquiry into the sale of law degrees by letter pad colleges and action against colleges found indulging in such practice undermining the dignity of the noble legal profession. A bench of Justice A K Sikri and Justice S Abdul Nazeer issued notice to BCI on a petition moved by M Vasantha Raja who was represented by advocate Gopal Sankaranarayana.

Do Not Stop Rescue Operations For Trapped Meghalaya Miners: SC

Even as it was informed that two bodies have been detected by the Navy in the past week, the Supreme Court urged the Centre and the government of Meghalaya to persist with the rescue operations in respect of the 15 miners trapped in the 370-foot-deep flooded coal mine in the state since December 13 last year.