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Supreme Court Monthly Digest: August 2020

Akshita Saxena
4 Oct 2020 4:30 AM GMT
Supreme Court Monthly Digest: August 2020
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1. SC Directs Centre To Ensure Proper Care For Senior Citizens Living Alone Amidst COVID-19 Order dated August 4, 2020 The Supreme Court directed the Central Government to take appropriate steps to ensure that senior citizens who are living alone amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are given proper care. The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan & R Subhash Reddy recognised...

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1. SC Directs Centre To Ensure Proper Care For Senior Citizens Living Alone Amidst COVID-19

Order dated August 4, 2020

The Supreme Court directed the Central Government to take appropriate steps to ensure that senior citizens who are living alone amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are given proper care. The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan & R Subhash Reddy recognised the obligation of the Government in taking care and protecting the elderly who live alone, by securing the availability of essential goods and services to them.

[Case: Dr. Ashwani Kumar v. Union of India]

2. [Order VII Rule 10 & 10A CPC] Suit In New Court Has To Proceed De Novo On Return of Plaint: SC

Order dated August 5, 2020

The Supreme Court held that, if a plaint is returned under Order VII Rule 10 and 10A of the Code of Civil Procedure for presentation in the court in which it should have been instituted, the suit shall proceed de novo. The bench comprising Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha & Indira Banerjee were answering a reference made to it in this regard.

Last year, the bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, noticing, apparent conflict between the judgment in Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd.v. Modern Construction [(2014) 1 SCC 648] and Joginder Tuli vs. S. L. Bhatia [(1997) 1 SCC 502], had observed that the former needs reconsideration. It was observed that unless a party can prove that it has been actually prejudiced by some proceedings before the Court not having jurisdiction, it would not be in the larger interest to start the proceedings de novo.

[Case: M/S EXL Careers & Anr. v. Frankfinn Aviation Services Pvt. Ltd.]

3. No Advantage To Candidate When The Very Selection Is Illegal: SC Upholds Termination Of 8882 Teachers In Tripura.

Order dated August 5, 2020

The Supreme Court affirmed the termination of 8,882 ad-hoc teachers in Tripura. The bench comprising Justices UU Lalit & Vineet Saran observed that, as their very selection and appointments were found to be illegal and invalid, no other advantage can be conferred upon the concerned candidates. "In our view, considering the fact that the very selection and appointments were found to be illegal and invalid, no other advantage can be conferred upon the concerned candidates", the bench observed.

[Case: Ajoy Debbarma & Ors. v. State of Tripura & Ors.]

4. Interpretation Of Provisions Of Major Port Trusts Act: SC Answers Reference

Order dated August 5, 2020

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court answered the reference made to it regarding the interpretation of various provisions of the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963. Reference was made to the larger bench by Justices RK Agrawal and DY Chandrachud to Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha & Indira Banerjee while considering a batch of appeals against division bench order of the High Court of Kerala.

The issue in this case whether the liability to pay 'ground rent' on containers unloaded at Cochin Port, but not cleared by the consignees/importers and refused to be de-stuffed by the port, on the ground of inadequate storage space, can be imposed on the owners of the 3 vessel/steamer agents beyond the period of 75 days, fixed by the Tariff Authority of Major Ports, a statutory body constituted under Section 47A of the Major Port Trust Act, 1963.

[Case: The Chairman, Board Of Trustees, Cochin Port Trust v. M/S Arebee Star Maritime Agencies Pvt. Ltd. & Ors]

5. Mere Fact That Crime Is Heinous And That Release Of Prisoner Would Send A Negative Message Not Relevant Factors To Deny Probation: SC

Order dated August 5, 2020

The Supreme Court freed a murder convict who served 28 years 08 months and 21 days in prison. The Uttar Pradesh Government had rejected Shor's plea for premature release on the ground that he along with 20 co-accused committed the murder of 11 persons with deadly weapons and injured others. The order passed by the Joint Secretary to the UP Government further stated that "premature release of this kind of prisoner would send a negative message against the justice system in the society".

Taking note of Section 2 of the United Provinces Prisoners Release on Probation Act, 1938, the Court observed that the factors that to be taken into account are (i) antecedents (ii) conduct in the prison and (iii) the person, if released, is likely to abstain from crime and lead a peaceable life. Referring to the reasons stated in the order for refusing remission, the bench comprising Justices RF Nariman & Navin Sinha observed that the order has been passed mechanically and without application of mind to Section 2 of the U.P. Act.

[Case: Shor v. State of UP & Anr.]

6. Stringent Provisions Of NDPS Act Does Not Dispense With The Requirement To Establish A Prima Facie Case Beyond Reasonable Doubt: SC

Order dated August 5, 2020

The stringent provisions of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, Act do not dispense with the requirements of prosecution to establish a prima facie case beyond reasonable doubt, the Supreme Court observed while acquitting an accused. Gangadhar was convicted by the Special Court under Section 8C read with Section 20(b)(ii)(c) of the NDPS Act for recovery of 48 Kgs 200 gms. cannabis (ganja). He was sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment with a default stipulation. The appeal filed by him was dismissed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

While considering his appeal, the bench comprising Justices RF Nariman & Navin Sinha noted that the presumption against the accused of culpability under Section 35, and under Section 54 of the Act to explain possession satisfactorily, are rebuttable.

[Case: Gangadhar Alias Gangaram v. State Of Madhya Pradesh]

7. [EWS Quota] Can Posts Be Reserved Only On The Basis Of Economic Criterion? Is 50% Ceiling Absolute? : SC Refers Substantial Questions Of Law To 5-Judge Bench

Order dated August 5, 2020

The Supreme Court referred a batch of writ petitions, challenging the 10% quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) introduced by 103rd Constitution Amendment passed by the Parliament last year, to a five-Judge bench. A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice Subhash Reddy & Justice BR Gavai said that the matter involves "substantial questions of law" that should be considered by a Bench of five Judges.

[Case: Janhit Abhiyan v. Union of India & Ors.]

8. Considerable Unexplained Delay By Drug Authorities To Test A Sample Can Render Proceedings Under Drugs & Cosmetics Act Void: SC

Order dated August 5, 2020

The Supreme Court observed that considerable unexplained delay on the part of Drug authorities to test a sample can render any penalty under Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, based upon the said analysis of the sample, as void. The bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and Navin Sinha was considering an appeal filed by Medipol Pharmaceutical India Pvt. Ltd. which was blacklisted.

The writ petition filed by the company before the Punjab and Haryana High court was dismissed. The Apex court also observed that, while exercising its power to blacklist a company, the State has to act fairly and rationally without in any way being arbitrary. In this case, the court found that it was arbitrary and therefore set aside the blacklisting order.

[Case: Medipol Pharmaceutical India Pvt. Ltd. v. Post Graduate Institute Of Medical Education & Research]

9. Promotion May Include An Advancement To Higher Pay Scale Without Moving To Different Post: SC

Order dated August 6, 2020

Promotion may include an advancement to a higher pay scale without moving to a different post, the Supreme Court bench of Justices SK Kaul, Ajay Rastogi & Aniruddha Bose reiterated while dismissing the appeals filed by Telephone Operators with the Delhi Fire Service later deployed as Radio Telephone Operators.

[Case: Rama Nand v. Chief Secretary, Govt. of NCT Delhi & Anr.]

10. 'How Can You Use Children For This?': SC Refuses Pre-Arrest Bail To Rehana Fathima In POCSO Case Over Video Showing Her Children Painting On Her Semi-Nude Body

Order dated August 7, 2020

The Supreme Court refused anticipatory bail to controversial Kerala activist, Rehana Fathima, who was booked over a video showing her children painting on her semi-nude body. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra refused to entertain the plea & expressed disinterest in the matter, raising concerns over the use of children in the video, Justice Mishra said "How can you make use of children for this? What kind of a culture will the children perceive?".

[Case: Fathima A.S. v. State of Kerala]

11. Right To Property Is A Constitutional As Well As Human Right, Reiterates SC

Order dated August 7, 2020

The right to property is still a constitutional right and a human right, reiterated the Supreme Court while allowing an appeal filed by Hari Krishna Mandir Trust in the matter of a land dispute with the Pune Municipal Corporation. The bench comprising Justices Indu Malhotra & Indira Banerjee observed that the right to property includes any proprietary/ hereditary interest in the right of management of a religion endowment, as well as anything acquired by inheritance.

[Case: [Hare Krishna Mandir Trust v. State of Maharashtra]

12. SC Dismisses Mahua Moitra's Plea Challenging Exclusion Of Donations To CM's Relief Fund From CSR

Order dated August 10, 2020

The Supreme Court dismissed a plea filed by TMC MP Mahua Moitra which challenged the Centre's circular which states that Chief Minister's Funds or State Relief Funds will not come within the purview of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities under Section 135 of the Companies Act. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy ad BR Gavai heard the matter and noted that Moitra had filed a similar plea which had been dismissed on May 5, 2020. Accordingly, he dismissed the instant plea as well.

[Case: Mahua Moitra v. Union of India]

13. Daughters Have Coparcenary Rights Even If Their Father Was Not Alive When Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 Came Into Force: SC

Order dated August 11, 2020

In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court held that a daughter will have a share after Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, irrespective of whether her father was alive or not at the time of the amendment. A Bench comprising of Justices Arun Mishra, S. Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah pronounced the judgment in a batch of appeals that raised an important legal issue whether the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, which gave equal right to daughters in ancestral property, has a retrospective effect?

"Daughters must be given equal rights as sons, Daughter remains a loving daughter throughout life. The daughter shall remain a coparcener throughout life, irrespective of whether her father is alive or not", Justice Mishra said while pronouncing the judgment today. The bench thereby overruled the contrary observations made in Prakash v. Phulavati and Mangammal v. T.B. Raju.

Also Read: Injustice To Daughters In Hindu Shastric Law Done Away With: SC Explains The Impact Of Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005

Also Read: [Section 6(5) HSA] Plea Of Oral Partition Can Be Accepted Only In Exceptional Cases If It Is Supported By Public Documents: SC

[Case: Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma]

14. SC Holds Prashant Bhushan Guilty Of Contempt For Tweets Against Judiciary

Order dated August 14, 2020

The Supreme Court held Advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court in the suo moto contempt case taken against him over two of his tweets about the Chief Justice of India and the Supreme Court. A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari observed that Bhushan committed "serious contempt of the Court".

Later, the Bench sentenced him to deposit Re. 1 with the SC Registry failing which he shall undergo imprisonment for three months and will be debarred from practice in SC for three years. Mr. Bhushan paid the fine on September 14.

[Case: In Re Prashant Bhushan & Anr.]

Also Held:

· Prashant Bhushan's Tweets Tend to Shake Public Confidence In Institution Of Judiciary: SC

· There Is No Requirement Of Taking Attorney General's Consent In Suo Motu Contempt Proceedings: SC

Latest developments in the case:

· 'Defence Of Fair Comment Ignored': Prashant Bhushan Files Review Against Contempt Verdict

· Prashant Bhushan Files Review Petition Against Sentence Order in The Contempt Case

15. SC Orders De-Sealing Of Properties In Delhi; Sets Aside Report Of Court-Appointed Monitoring Committee

Order dated August 14, 2020

The Supreme Court ordered de-sealing of residential units in Delhi which had been sealed by a Court-appointed Monitoring Committee. A 3-Judge Bench comprising of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari arrived at this decision upon finding that the Committee had never been authorized to take action against the residential premises that were not being used for commercial purposes.

The Court categorically held that it had not granted authority to the Committee to seal residential premises on private land, particularly when they were not being used for commercial purposes.

[Case: MC Mehta v. Union of India & Ors.]

16. [IBC] Limitation Period For CIRP Application Is Three Years From The Date Of Default: SC

Order dated August 14, 2020

The Supreme Court reiterated that the limitation period for application under Section 7 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is three years as provided by Article 137 of the Limitation Act, which commences from the date of default and is extendable only by application of Section 5 of Limitation Act if any case for condonation of delay is made out.

The issue considered by the bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari was whether the provisions of Section 18 of the Limitation Act certainly extend the period of limitation under the Code on any acknowledgment of debt by the corporate debtor. The Court allowed an appeal against National Company Law Appellate Tribunal which held that the right to apply under Section 7 of the Code accrued to the financial creditor only on 01.12.2016 when the Code came into force; and that the period of limitation for recovery of possession of the mortgaged property is twelve years.

[Case: Babulal Vardharji Gurjar v. Veer Gurjar Aluminium Industries Pvt. Ltd. & Anr.]

17. General Guidelines Issued By The HC Cannot Override Directions Given By Supreme Court On Judicial Side: SC

Order dated August 14, 2020

The Supreme Court rapped a local Court in Madhya Pradesh for its failure to complete trial in a rape case, despite explicit orders to do so within six months. The bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna rejected the explanation rendered by the Trial Court with regard to hearing of only urgent cases amid the Covid crisis and sternly remarked that all concerned are expected to comply with the Top Court's orders in its letter and spirit, without any demur.

[Case: Ankit Maheshwari Alias Chintoo v. State of MP & Ors.]

18. [Transfer Of Property Act] Protection U/s 53A Available To Person Put In Possession And Has Agreement Of Lease In His Favour: SC

Order dated August 14, 2020

The Supreme Court observed that protection under Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 is available to a person who is put in possession pursuant to an agreement of lease in his favour though no lease has been executed and registered. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah observed:

"It is fairly well settled that fraud has to be pleaded and proved. More so, when a judgment and decree passed earlier by the competent court is questioned, it is necessary to plead alleged fraud by necessary particulars and the same has to be proved by cogent evidence. There cannot be any inference contrary to record. As the evidence on record discloses that fraud, as pleaded, was not established, in absence of any necessary pleading giving particulars of fraud, we are of the view that no case is made out to interfere with the well reasoned judgment of the High Court."

[Case: UOI v. KC Sharma]

19. SC Dismisses Plea To Transfer PM CARES Funds To NDRF; Says Fresh National Disaster Plan For COVID-19 Not Needed.

Order dated August 18, 2020

The Supreme Court dismissed a petition which sought transfer of the funds from PM CARES to National Disaster Relied Fund. The Court held that there was no need for a fresh national disaster relief plan for COVID-19, and that the minimum standards of relief as issued under the Disaster Management Act prior to COVID-19 were enough.

The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah also clarified that the Centre will be free to transfer the funds to NDRF as it deems appropriate and that individuals are at liberty to donate to NDRF.

[Case: Centre For Public Interest Litigation v. UOI]

20. Sushant Singh Rajput Case: SC Orders CBI Probe; Holds Bihar FIR Valid; Asks Maharashtra Police To Assist

Order dated August 19, 2020

The Supreme Court upheld the Bihar Government's order to transfer the probe in the case related to the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput to CBI. A single bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy held that Bihar police had jurisdiction to register FIR with respect to the suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput at the complaint of the actor's father, and held the transfer to CBI valid. The Court also directed Maharashtra police to hand over the case files to CBI and to render necessary assistance.

[Case: Rhea Chakraborty v. State of Bihar]

Also Held:

· Investigations Cannot Be Transferred Invoking Powers Under Section 406 CrPC: SC

· [Sushant Singh Rajput] CBI Probe Appropriate To Ensure 'Public Confidence', Says SC To Invoke Article 142

· [Sushant Singh Rajput] Nothing To Show Any Wrong Doing By Mumbai Police; Probe By Agency Not Controlled By Both States Appropriate: SC

· Sushant Singh Rajput Case: Why SC Upheld Jurisdiction Of Bihar Police To Register FIR?

Latest developments in the case:

· If Someone Conceals Drug Consumption By Another,That Amounts To Harbouring Offender: NCB Tells Bombay HC

· Are All NDPS Offences Non-Bailable? Bombay HC Debates During Rhea Bail Hearing

21. SC Dismisses Plea Seeking Scrapping Of Justice B S Chauhan-Led Panel To Probe Vikas Dubey Encounter On Alleged Ground Of Bias

Order dated August 19, 2020

The Supreme Court dismissed an application which sought the disbanding of the Justice (Retd) B S Chauhan inquiry Commission constituted to probe the alleged encounter of UP gangster, Vikas Dubey. A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Subramaniun said, "We have provided some safeguards in the manner in which the probe is to be conducted. The plea has no merit and is accordingly dismissed".

The top court had reserved order in the plea filed by Ghanshyam Upadhyay seeking directions to scrap the inquiry commission constituted by Supreme Court to probe into Vikas Dubey Encounter Case and issue contempt proceedings against state functionaries for allegedly suppressing true facts about the members of the commission.

Also Read: [Vikas Dubey Encounter] Allegations Of Bias Based On Unverified Newspaper Reports Liable To Be Rejected : SC Dismisses Plea Against Probe Panel

[Case: Ghanshyam Upadhyay v. UOI]

22. [Cancellation Of Written Instruments] Action Instituted U/s 31 Specific Relief Act Is Arbitrable As It Is Not An Action In Rem: SC

Order dated August 19, 2020

The Supreme Court held that an action instituted under section 31 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 is not an action in rem, but an action in personam, and therefore arbitrable. Referring to Muppudathi Pillai v. Krishnaswami Pillai, AIR 1960 Mad 1, the Apex Court bench comprising of Justices RF Nariman, Indira Banerjee and Navin Sinha observed that the expression "any person" in Section 31 does not include a third party, but is restricted to a party to the written instrument or any person who can bind such party

[Case: Deccan Paper Mills Co. Ltd. v. Regency Mahavir Properties & Ors.]

23. Defence Of Insanity & Juvenility Ordinarily Ought To Be Raised During Trial: SC

Order dated August 19, 2020

Pleas of unsoundness of mind under Section 84 of Indian Penal Code or mitigating circumstances like juvenility of age, ordinarily ought to be raised during trial itself, the Supreme Court observed.

The bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, S. Abdul Nazeer and Surya Kant observed that, in order to successfully claim defence of mental unsoundness under Section 84 of IPC, the accused must show by preponderance of probabilities that he/she suffered from a serious-enough mental disease or infirmity which would affect the individual's ability to distinguish right from wrong.

[Case: Mohd. Anwar v. The State (N.C.T. of Delhi)]

24. [Section 96 CPC] Strangers Cannot File Appeal Unless They Satisfy The Court That They Are 'Aggrieved Persons': SC

Order dated August 21, 2020

The Supreme Court observed that strangers cannot be permitted to file an appeal under Section 96 of the Code of Civil Procedure unless he satisfies the Court that he falls within the category of 'aggrieved persons'.

They have to demonstrate that they are prejudicially or adversely affected by the decree in question or any of their legal rights stands jeopardized, the bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari and S. Ravindra Bhat observed.

[Case: V.N. Krishna Murthy & Anr. v. Sri Ravikumar & Ors.]

25. Flat Buyers Entitled To Just & Reasonable Compensation For Gross Delay By Builders In Handing Over Possession: SC

Order dated August 24, 2020

The Supreme court observed that failure of the developer to comply with the contractual obligation to provide the flat to a flat purchaser within a contractually stipulated period amounts to a 'deficiency'.

In cases where there is a gross delay in the handing over of possession beyond the contractually stipulated period, the jurisdiction of the consumer forum to award just and reasonable compensation is not constrained by the terms of a rate in builders agreement, the bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and KM Joseph said.

[Case: Wg. Cdr. Arifur Rahman Khan and Aleya Sultana and Ors. v. DLF Southern Homes Pvt Ltd.]

26. Capital Gains In Case Of Compulsory Land Acquisition Accrues On Arrival Of The Relevant Stage Of Taking Possession And Not Before: SC

Order dated August 25, 2020

The Supreme Court observed that capital gains in a case of compulsory acquisition of land [under Land Acquisition Act of 1894] shall be deemed to have accrued: (a) upon making of the award, in the case of ordinary acquisition referable to Section 16; and (b) after expiration of fifteen days from the publication of the notice mentioned in Section 9 (1), in the case of urgency acquisition under Section 17.

The bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Hemant Gupta and Dinesh Maheshwari, observed that capital gains shall be deemed to have accrued upon arrival of the relevant stage of taking possession and not before.

[Case: Raj Pal Singh v. Commissioner of IT, Haryana, Rohtak]

27. Pleas Of Title And Adverse Possession Cannot Be Advanced Simultaneously And From The Same Date: SC

Order dated August 26, 2020

The Supreme Court observed that plea of title and adverse possession cannot be advanced simultaneously and from the same date. A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Ajay Rastogi and Aniruddha Bose observed that the claim of title from 1976 and the plea of adverse possession from 1976 cannot simultaneously hold. On the failure to establish the plea of title, it was necessary to prove as to from which date did the possession of the wife of the defendant amount to a hostile possession in a peaceful, open and continuous manner.

[Case: Narasamma v. A. Krishnappa]

28. Pensionary Provisions Must Be Given Liberal Construction As A Social Welfare Measure: SC

Order dated August 26, 2020

Pension is not a bounty payable at will, but a social welfare measure as a post-retirement entitlement to maintain the dignity of the employee, remarked the Supreme Court.

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul led three judge-bench observed that the pensionary provisions must be given a liberal construction as a social welfare measure.

[Case: V. Sukumaran v. State of Kerala]

29. State Governments Entitled To Prescribe Fee For Reserving Certain Numbers To Be Assigned As Registration Numbers For Motor Vehicles: SC

Order dated August 26, 2020

The Supreme Court held that the State Governments have the authority to prescribe a fee for reserving certain numbers or distinguishing marks to be assigned as registration number. The bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat observed that that the assignment of "distinctive marks" i.e. registration numbers to motor vehicles (which includes the power to reserve and allocate them, for a specific fee) is a distinct service for which states or their authorities (such as the registering authorities, in this case) are entitled to charge a prescribed fee

[Case: State of MP v. Rakesh Sethi]

30. Central Govt. Has Authority To Impose 'Quantitative Restrictions' On Import U/Sec. 3(2) FTDR Act: SC

Order dated August 26, 2020

The Supreme Court observed that the Central Government has the authority to impose quantitative restrictions by an order under Section 3(2) of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992. Section 9A of the FTDR Act does not elide or negate the power of the Central Government to impose restrictions on imports under sub-section (2) to Section 3 of the FTDR Act, the bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna observed.

[Case: Union of India v. Agricas LLP]

31. 'Humane & Appropriate': SC Upholds MP HC Order Relaxing Penalty Imposed On Judicial Employees For Misconduct Of Having More Than 2 Children

Order dated August 27, 2020

The Supreme Court upheld a Madhya Pradesh High Court order which relaxed the penalty imposed on several judicial employees in District Court establishments for having more than 2 children. As per Clause (4) of Rule 22 of the Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1965, a Government servant having more than two children shall be deemed to be misconduct, if one of them is born on or after 26.1.2001.

The Madhya Pradesh District Court Establishment (Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 2016 provided that the above Rules which were applicable to M.P. State Government employees shall apply subject to such modification, variation and exceptions by the High Court.

[Case: The Registrar General M.P. High Court Jabalpur v. Basant Kumar Gupta & Ors.]

32. Is Sub-Classification Permissible Within SC-ST Reservation? SC 5 Judge Bench Refers Matter To Larger Bench; Says 'EV Chinnaiah' Decision Needs Reconsideration

Order dated August 27, 2020

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court held that the decision of a coordinate bench in EV Chinnaiah v. State of Andhra Pradesh requires to be revisited and referred the matter to the Chief Justice for placing it before an appropriate larger bench. The bench expressed the view that once a State Government has the power to make reservation, it also has the power to make sub-classifications and that such sub-classification will not amount to tinkering with the reservation list.

"In a federal structure, the State Government cannot be denied the power to make laws to give preferential treatment to sub-categories within the reservation list", Justice Arun Mishra observed, while reading out the operative portion of the judgment.

[Case: State of Punjab v. Davinder Singh & Ors.]

33. The Presumption 'Possession Follows Title' Arises Only Where There Is No Definite Proof Of Possession By Anyone Else: SC

Order dated August 27, 2020

The Supreme Court observed that the presumption based on the maxim 'possession follows title' that possession must be deemed to follow title, arises only where there is no definite proof of possession by anyone else. A person claiming a decree of possession has to establish his entitlement to get such possession and also establish that his claim is not barred by the laws of limitation, the bench comprising Justices Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee said.

[Case: Nazir Mohamed v. J. Kamala]

34. [Students Vs UGC] Students Cannot Be Promoted Without Exams; States May Approach UGC To Postpone Exams Citing COVID-19: SC

Order dated August 28, 2020

The Supreme Court disposed of the petitions challenging the guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for conducting final semester exams by September 30 with following order:

1. The bench has refused the prayer to quash the UGC guidelines to hold the exams.

2.The directions of State Disaster Management Authority for cancelling exams in that particular State will prevail over the UGC direction.

3. However, the direction of the State Disaster Management Authority to pass the students on the basis of previous performance is beyond the scope of the Disaster Management Act.

4. States/UTs cannot promote final year students without examination as ordered by UGC. States/Union Territories given liberty to approach the UGC to seek postponement of the exams in the light of COVID19 pandemic situation

[Case: Praneeth K v. UGC/Batch Pleas]

35. Police Officer Cannot Arrest/Register FIR/ Investigate In Regard To Cognizable Offences Under Chapter IV Of Drugs & Cosmetics Act: SC

Order dated August 28, 2020

The Supreme Court held that the Police Officers cannot register FIR, arrest, prosecute or investigate in regard to Cognizable offence under Chapter IV of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. The bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph held that an arrest can be made by the Drugs Inspector in regard to cognizable offences falling under Chapter IV of the Act without any warrant and otherwise treating it as a cognizable offence

[Case: Union of Inida v. Ashok Kumar Sharma]

36. [Section 372 CrPC] Appeal Filed By Victim Seeking Enhancement Of Sentence Not Maintainable: SC

Order dated August 28, 2020

The Supreme Court held that no appeal can be maintained by victim under Section 372 of the Code of Criminal Procedure on the ground of inadequate sentence. The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy observed thus while upholding the Delhi High Court judgment which dismissed the appeal filed by a victim under Section 372 CrPC seeking enhancement of sentence imposed on the convict by the Trial Court.

The accused, in this case, was convicted for offence punishable under Sections 364A, 302 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code. The father of the deceased boy, filed appeal before the High Court challenging the order of sentence seeking enhancement of sentence to death penalty.

[Case: Parvinder Kansal v. State of NCT of Delhi]

37. Suspend/Cancel Registration Certificate Of Vehicles Without Valid PUC Certificate, Penalize Owners: SC

Order dated August 28, 2020

The Supreme Court directed the State of Madhya Pradesh to suspend/cancel Registration Certificate of vehicles which do not possess a valid Pollution Under Control Certificate and also to initiate penal measures against the owner and/or the person(s) in possession and/or control of the offending vehicle, in accordance with law.

The bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee observed that the National Green Tribunal has the power, authority and/or jurisdiction to direct a State Government to strictly implement the requirement of vehicles to possess and/or display a valid PUC Certificate.

[Case: State of Madhya Pradesh v. Centre for Environment Protection Research & Development]

38. Appeal Against NCDRC Order Passed In Execution Proceedings Not Maintainable U/Sec 23 Consumer Protection Act: SC

Order dated August 28, 2020

The Supreme Court observed that an appeal before it against an order which has been passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in the course of execution proceedings is not maintainable. M/s Ambience Infrastructure Private Limited was directed by the NCDRC to pay to the complainants 70% of the maintenance charges from November 2002 with interest at 9 % per annum within 90 days or else pay at an enhanced rate of 12 % per annum.

This order was passed in the Execution Petition. The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and KM Joseph noted the judgment in Karnataka Housing Board vs K.A. Nagamani (2019) 6 SCC 424, which had made a distinction between execution proceedings and original proceedings and held that the former are separate and independent.

[Case: M/s Ambience Infrastructure Private Limited v. Ambience Island Apartment Owners]

39. SC Orders Removal Of 48,000 Slum Dwellings Around Delhi Rail Tracks In 3 Months; Stops Courts From Granting Stay

Order dated August 31, 2020

The Supreme Court ordered the removal of nearly 48,000 slum dwellings around the 140-kilometer length of railway tracks in New Delhi within three months, and has further directed that no court should grant any stay on the removal of the slums. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, in an order passed on August 31, further stated,

"In case any interim order is granted with respect to encroachments, which have been made along with railway tracks, that shall not be effective". The order was passed in the M C Mehta case, in which the apex court had been passing a slew of directions from time to time since 1985 in issues related to pollution in and around Delhi.

[Case: MC Mehta v. UOI]

Latest developments in the case:

· No Immediate Demolition Of Slums Near Delhi Tracks Till Urban Affairs Ministry Takes A Decision: Centre Tells SC

· Removal Of 48,000 Slum Dwellings Around Delhi Rail Tracks: 16 Slum Dwellers Move Supreme Court

Inputs by Ayushi Mishra

Supreme Court Monthly Digest: July 2020

Supreme Court Monthly Digest: June 2020


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