Top
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

Supreme Court Weekly Round Up [April 12 to April 18, 2021]

Nupur Thapliyal
18 April 2021 11:34 AM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round Up [April 12 to April 18, 2021]
x

JUDGMENTS THIS WEEK1. Private Vehicle Is Not A "Public Place" As Explained In Section 43 NDPS Act: Supreme CourtCase: Boota Singh Vs State Of Haryana [CrA 421 OF 2021]Citation : LL 2021 SC 218The bench comprising Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph observed that a private vehicle would not come within the expression "public place" as explained in Section 43 of the Narcotic Drugs and...

Your free access to Live Law has expired
To read the article, get a premium account.
    Your Subscription Supports Independent Journalism
Subscription starts from
599+GST
(For 6 Months)
Premium account gives you:
  • Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.
  • Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.
Already a subscriber?

JUDGMENTS THIS WEEK

1. Private Vehicle Is Not A "Public Place" As Explained In Section 43 NDPS Act: Supreme Court

Case: Boota Singh Vs State Of Haryana [CrA 421 OF 2021]
Citation : LL 2021 SC 218

The bench comprising Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph observed that a private vehicle would not come within the expression "public place" as explained in Section 43 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. The bench also observed that total non-compliance of Section 42 is impermissible though its rigor may get lessened in certain situations.

In this case, recovery was effected from the accused while they were sitting on road in a jeep at a public place. While upholding the conviction of the accused, the High Court held that the case of accused would be covered by Section 43 of NDPS Act and not by Section 42. Section 42 deals with Power of entry, search, seizure and arrest without warrant or authorisation while Section 43 with power of seizure and arrest in public place.

"The evidence in the present case clearly shows that the vehicle was not a public conveyance but was a vehicle belonging to accused Gurdeep Singh. The Registration Certificate of the vehicle, which has been placed on record also does not indicate it to be a Public Transport Vehicle. The explanation to Section 43 shows that a private vehicle would not come within the expression "public place" as explained in Section 43 of the NDPS Act.", the bench observed to hold that it was Section 42 which is applicable in this case.

2. High Courts Shall Not Pass Order Of 'Not To Arrest' Or 'No Coercive Steps' While Dismissing/Disposing Petition U/s 482 CrPC: Supreme Court

Case: M/s Neeharika Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. vs. State of Maharashtra [CrA 330 OF 2021]
Citation: LL 2021 SC 211

The High Court while dismissing/disposing of the quashing petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C and/or under Article 226 of the Constitution of India., shall not pass order of not to arrest and/or "no coercive steps" either during the investigation or till the investigation is completed and/or till the final report/chargesheet is filed under Section 173 Cr.P.C., the Supreme Court held.

The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna observed that when the investigation is in progress and the facts are hazy and the entire evidence/material is not before the High Court, the High Court should restrain itself from passing the interim order of not to arrest or "no coercive steps to be adopted" and the accused should be relegated to apply for anticipatory bail under Section 438 Cr.P.C. before the competent court.

Followed by this observation, the court issued various guidelines explaining when and where the High Court would be justified in passing an interim order either staying the further investigation in the FIR/complaint or interim order in the nature of "no coercive steps" and/or not to arrest the accused either pending investigation by the police/investigating agency or during the pendency of the quashing petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and/or under Article 226 of the Constitution of India pending before the High Court.

3. Breath Analysis Or Blood Test Not Necessary For Insurer To Reject Claim On Ground Of Drunken Driving : Supreme Court

Title : IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company Ltd v Pearl Beverages Ltd
Citation : LL 2021 SC 209

A bench comprising Justices UU Lalit, Indira Banerjee and KM Joseph held that a breath analyzer test or blood test as contemplated under the Motor Vehicles Act is not necessary for an insurer to repudiate an accident policy claim on the ground of drunken driving.

The Court held that if the insurance company is able to establish from the facts that the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, it will not be deprived of its right to exclude the policy benefit merely on the ground that the scientific tests for alcohol presence were not carried out.

"...in cases, where there is no scientific material, in the form of test results available, as in the case before us, it may not disable the insurer from establishing a case for exclusion. The totality of the circumstances obtaining in a case, must be considered", the Court observed in the case IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company Ltd v Pearl Beverages Ltd.

4. 2019 Amendment To Section 31 IBC Has Retrospective Operation: Supreme Court

Case: Ghanashyam Mishra And Sons Private Limited Vs.Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company Limited [ CA 8129 OF 2019]
Citation: LL 2021 SC 212

The bench comprising Justices RF Nariman, BR Gavai and Hrishikesh Roy held that 2019 amendment to Section 31 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has retrospective operation. The Court observed that the amendment is clarificatory and declaratory in nature and therefore will be effective from the date on which I&B Code has come into effect.

Regarding the retrospectivity of Section 31, the bench observed that the word "other stakeholders" would squarely cover the Central Government, any State Government or any local authorities.

"The Central Government, any State Government or any local authority to whom an operational debt is owed would come within the ambit of 'operational creditor' as defined under sub­section (20) of Section 5 of the I&B Code. Consequently, a person to whom a debt is owed would be covered by the definition of 'creditor' as defined under sub­section (10) of Section 3 of the I&B Code. As such, even without the 2019 amendment, the Central Government, any State Government or any local authority to whom a debt is owed, including the statutory dues, would be covered by the term 'creditor' and in any case, by the term 'other stakeholders' as provided in subsection (1) of Section 31 of the I&B Code.", the bench said.

5. Right To Professional Education, Though Not Fundamental Right, Is Not Govt. Largesse; State Has Affirmative Obligation To Facilitate Access At All Levels: SC

Case: Farzana Batool Vs Union of India And Others
Citation: LL 2021 SC 213

The bench of Justices D. Y. Chandrachud and M. R. Shah has observed that the State has an affirmative obligation to facilitate access to education, at all levels.

"While the right to pursue higher (professional) education has not been spelt out as a fundamental right in Part III of the Constitution, it bears emphasis that access to professional education is not a governmental largesse. Instead, the State has an affirmative obligation to facilitate access to education, at all levels", the Court observed.

The bench was considering writ petitions by two students, namely, Farzana Batool and Mohammad Mehdi Waziri for directions to facilitate them to be admitted respectively at the Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi and the Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi in terms of the policy and guidelines issued by the Govt. of India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare through its Office Memorandum dated 9th April 2020 on allocation of Ladakh Central Pool Seats in MBBS/BDS courses for 2020-21.

6. Defence On Merits Is Not To Be Considered At Stage Of Framing Of Charge And/Or At The Stage Of Discharge Application: Supreme Court

Case: State of Rajasthan vs. Ashok Kumar Kashyap [CrA 407 OF 2021]
Citation: LL 2021 SC 210

The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah observed that defence on merits is not to be considered at the stage of framing of the charge and/or at the stage of discharge application. The Court observed that at the stage of framing of the charge and/or considering the discharge application, the mini trial is not permissible.

The Rajasthan High Court, allowing a revision petition, discharged the accused of the alleged offence under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. In appeal before the Supreme Court, the state contended that the High Court has committed a grave error in evaluating the transcript/evidence on merits which at the stage of considering the application for discharge is not permissible.

The bench noted that while discharging the accused, the High Court has gone into the merits of the case and has considered whether on the basis of the material on record, the accused is likely to be convicted or not. The High Court has considered in detail the transcript of the conversation between the complainant and the accused which exercise at this stage to consider the discharge application and/or framing of the charge is not permissible at all, the bench added.

IMPORTANT APEX COURT UPDATES

1. Section 138 NI Act - Magistrates Should Record Reasons Before Converting Summary Trial To Summons Trial: Supreme Court

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court this week has directed that Magistrates have to record reasons before converting trial of complaints under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act from summary trial to summons trial in exercise of power under the second proviso to Section 143 of the Act.

"The High Courts are requested to issue practice directions to the Magistrates to record reasons before converting trial of complaints under Section 138 of the Act from summary trial to summons trial", a Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde stated.

The court noted that such conversion from summary trial to summons trial is being done mechanically without reasons being recorded and the same is contributing to the delay in disposal of the cases.

Read Also: 'Amend Section 138 NI Act To Allow One Trial For Multiple Cases From Single Transaction' : Supreme Court Issues Directions For Expeditious Trial Of Cheque Cases

Read Also: Section 258CrPC Not Applicable To 138 Cases- Supreme Court Suggests Amendment To NI Act Empowering Magistrate To Recall Summons

2. Collegium Recommendations Pending With Centre For Over 6 Months Will Be Decided Within 3 Months, AG Tells Supreme Court

"The Centre will decide within 3 months the recommendations made by the Supreme Court collegium which have been pending with the Ministry for over 6 months", the Attorney General for India told the Supreme Court this week.

The AG said that a decision on these pending names will be taken and communicated to the Supreme Court collegium within a period of three months.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Surya Kant recorded this submission made by the AG in its order.

Read Also: Recommendations Not Received From High Courts For 220 Vacancies : Attorney General Tells Supreme Court

Read Also: 'Law Ministry Should Respond To Collegium Recommendations Within Reasonable Time' : Supreme Court Seeks AG's Statement On 55 Pending Names

3. Supreme Court Directs All States To Provide Number Of Migrant Children In Each States As Well As Their Condition

Supreme Court this week directed all States to provide data pertaining to numbers of migrant children and children of migrant workers in the State as well as the benefits that had been extended to them.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, and Justices AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian heard the plea, filed on behalf of Child Rights Trust, which primarily sought for enforcement of the fundamental rights of migrant children and children of migrant families under Articles 14, 15, 19, 21, 21A, 39 and 47 of the Constitution during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plea, filed by Advocate Rukhsana Choudhary, submitted that the national lockdown which was announced last year led to a mass exodus of millions of migrants from cities. While measures had taken for the protection of the migrant workers, the impact of the lockdown on migrant children had not been addressed by the authorities.

4. AP High Court Enquiry Into Justice Eswaraiah's 'Phone Call Conspiracy' Unnecessary : Supreme Court

The Supreme Court this week granted relief to former Andhra Pradesh High Court judge, Justice V. Eswaraiah against an Order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court directing for a judicial inquiry into an alleged phone conversation between him and a District Judge plotting "conspiracy" against the High Court Chief Justice and a sitting Supreme Court Judge.

The Supreme Court noted that the High Court ordered the enquiry against Eswaraiah was ordered while hearing an unconnected PIL related to following of COVID-19 protocols in the High Court.

"We are of the view that the High Court ought not to have embarked on any other enquiry in the matter except to the maintainability of the PIL...", a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy observed.

5. Breaking- 'Absolutely Frivolous' : Supreme Court Dismisses Wazim Rizvi's Plea Seeking Removal Of 26 Verses From Holy Quran With Rs 50,000 Costs

The Supreme Court this week dismissed a Writ Petition filed by Former UP Shia Waqf Board chairman Syed Wasim Rizvi seeking removal of certain verses from the Holy Quran that are allegedly preaching violence against non-believers.

A bench headed by Justice RF Nariman dismissed the writ petition observing, "this is an absolutely frivolous writ petition". The Court has also imposed Rs. 50000/- as costs on the petitioner for filing the petition.

The plea filed by Syed Wasim Rizvi impugns 26 verses from the Quran which he states are used as "justifications" by Islamist Terrorist Groups for attacks on non-believers/ civilians.

6. 'You Want Judiciary To Enhance Its Own Age Of Retirement?' : Supreme Court Refuses To Entertain Plea For Uniform Age Of Retirement For HC & SC Judges

The Supreme Court this week refused to entertain a PIL seeking uniform age of retirement for judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian allowed the petitioner to withdraw the petition. The bench said that the petitioner may approach the Union Government or the Law Commission of India with a representation in this regard.

Ashwini Upadhyay argued that the different age of retirements of HC judges and SC judges - 62 years for the former and 65 years for the latter - was irrational as both the Courts are Constitutional Courts.

7. ISRO Espionage Case Against Nambi Narayanan: Supreme Court Asks CBI To Decide On Further Action On Enquiry Report Regarding Investigating Officers

The Supreme Court this week directed that the report submitted by Justice DK Jain Committee regarding the erring officials who implicated scientist Dr Nambi Narayanan in the ISRO Espionage case be forwarded to the CBI for further action.

The Court said that the CBI will be at liberty to decide on further investigation based on the enquiry report, by treating it is a preliminary enquiry. The Court has directed the CBI to report to the Supreme Court the decision taken on the enquiry report within three months.

A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar was considering the application filed by Centre seeking further action on the Jain Commission report in the infamous ISRO Espionage Case regarding the role of erring police officials relating to ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan who had been acquitted and was eventually awarded Rs 50 lakh compensation by the top court.

8. Supreme Court Appoints Senior Advocate Maninder Singh, Advocate Rajesh Batra As Special Public Prosecutors In ED Cases On Coal Block Scam

The Supreme Court appointed former Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh and advocate Rajesh Batra as special public prosecutors (SPPs) for trial of multi-crore coal scam cases filed by Enforcement Directorate.

The order was passed by the Court after Senior advocate R S Cheema, who was appointed SPP in 2014 by the top court, sought permission to be relieved of the responsibility citing his age and shortage of law officers assisting him. The Central Government proposed the names of former ASG Maninder Singh and Rajesh Batra.

9. 'Article 224A Of Constitution A Salutary Provision' : Supreme Court Reserves Orders On Plea For Ad-Hoc Judges In High Court

The Supreme Court this week reserved orders on a plea seeking appointment of ad-hoc judges in High Courts using Article 224A of the Constitution of India.

A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said that the case will not be finally disposed off and interim orders in the nature of continuing mandamus will be passed.

The bench, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Surya Kant, was considering a PIL filed by filed by an NGO named "Lok Prahari" seeking the invocation of Article 224A to tackle the issue of mounting case arrears at High Courts.

"Article 224A is a salutory provisions", CJI SA Bobde said during the hearing. He said that if ad-hoc judges are used for clearing arrears, the courts will be able to devote time for deciding constitution bench matters. Justice SK Kaul suggested that ad-hoc judges will hear old cases pending for over 10-15 years and the regular judges will hear the current matters.

Next Story
Share it