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Supreme Court Monthly Digest [January 2020]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
18 Feb 2020 11:33 AM GMT
Supreme Court Monthly Digest [January 2020]
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Significant Judgments Of January 2020
Kashmir Lockdown Judgment: [Anuradha Bhasin v. Union ofIndia]

A significant take away from the Supreme Court's judgement on Kashmir lockdown is its declaration that freedom of speech and expression and also freedom of trade and commerce through the medium of internet are constitutionally protected rights under Articles 19(1)(a) and Articles 19(1)(g), respectively. A bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, Surya Kant and B R Gavai declared : "We declare that the freedom of speech and expression and the freedom to practice any profession or carry on any trade, business or occupation over the medium of internet enjoys constitutional protection under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 19(1)(g). It directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration to review all orders of restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir post the abrogation of the state's special status within a week. The Court observed that indefinite suspension of internet is not permissible and that repeated orders under Section 144 CrPC will amount to abuse of power. The Court also added that the Government should publish all orders of restrictions, and should follow the principles of proportionality to adopt less restrictive measures.

Section 144 CrPC cannot beused as a tool to prevent legitimate expression of opinion.

The bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai in its judgement in Kashmir Lock Down observed that the power under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure cannot be used as a tool to prevent the legitimate expression of opinion or grievance or exercise of any democratic rights. The Court said that provisions of Section 144, Cr.P.C. will only be applicable in a situation of emergency and for the purpose of preventing obstruction and annoyance or injury to any person lawfully employed.

Responsible Governmentsshould respect freedom of press at all times.

Responsible Governments are required to respect the freedom of the press at all times, remarked the bench though it refused to entertain the 'argument of 'Chilling effect' by Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of the newspaper "Kashmir Times". The bench headed by Justice NV Ramana observed that Journalists are to be accommodated in reporting and there is no justification for allowing a sword of Damocles hanging over the press indefinitely. The freedom of the press is a requirement in any democratic society for its effective functioning, the bench, also comprising of Justices R. Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai said.

Nirbhaya Case: Curative, Juvenility Plea

SC Dismisses Curative PleasOf Two Death Row Convicts [Vinay Sharma vs. State of NCT of Delhi]

A 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court dismissed the curative petitions of Vinay Sharma and Mukesh, two of the four convicts awaiting execution of death penalty in the Nirbhaya gang rape-murder case. The bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, Arun Mishra, R F Nariman, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan said they did not find any merits in the curative petitions.

Nirbhaya Case : SC Dismisses Plea Of Juvenility Raised By Death Row Convict Pawan Gupta [Pawan Kumar Gupta v. State of NCT of Delhi]

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the plea of juvenility raised by Pawan Kumar Gupta, one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Delhi gangrape-murder case. A bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bushan and AS Bopanna held that the same claim was earlier rejected by the Court after due consideration. The bench held that Delhi High Court had rightly rejected the plea. Advocate A P Singh, lawyer of Pawan Gupta, claimed that his school records show that he was a juvenile at the time of the crime. He argued that the school leaving certificate showed his date of birth as October 8, 1996.

SC Dismisses Curative Petition Filed By Nirbhaya Convict Akshay [Akshay Kumar Singh v. The State of N.C.T of Delhi]

A 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court dismissed the curative petitions of Akshay, one of the four convicts awaiting execution of the death penalty in the Nirbhaya gang rape-murder case. The bench comprising Justices N V Ramana, Arun Mishra, R F Nariman, R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan did not find any merits in the curative petitions. On January-14 the Supreme Court dismissed the curative petitions of Vinay Sharma and Mukesh, the other two convicts awaiting execution of the death penalty in the Nirbhaya gang rape-murder case.

SC Dismisses Nirbhaya Convict Mukesh's Plea Against Mercy Rejection By President [Mukesh Kumar v. Union of India & Ors.]

A bench comprising Justices R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna reserved orders on the plea filed by Mukesh Singh, one of the four death row convicts against the rejection of his mercy plea. With this, the last legal remedy available for the convict against the death sentence has been extinguished. The court held that there was no merit in the contention that no material was placed before the President for decision. The bench added that alleged ill-treatment and cruelty in jail is no ground to grant mercy. Also, that the President has acted expeditiously is no ground to hold that there was non-application of mind, said the Court. The court also held that the quick consideration of the mercy petition and swift rejection of the same cannot be a ground for judicial review of the order passed under Article 72/161 of the Constitution.


Criminal Law-Anticipatory Bail-Section 438 CrPC [Sushila Aggarwal & Ors. v. State (NCT of Delhi) & Anr.]

Anticipatory Bail Cannot Be Limited To A Fixed Period Except In Special And Peculiar Circumstances

The Supreme Court held that anticipatory bail should not invariably be limited to a fixed period. But if there are any special or peculiar features necessitating the court to limit the tenure of anticipatory bail, it is open for it to do so, the five-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra has held. Justices MR Shah and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat penned separate judgments agreeing with each other. Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee and Vineet Saran concurred with the conclusion reached by both the judges. The Court also held that life or duration of an anticipatory bail order does not end normally at the time and stage when the accused is summoned by the court, or when charges are framed but can continue till the end of the trial except in special and peculiar cases.

Rights Cherished By Citizens Are Fundamental, Not The Restrictions

Rights which the citizens cherish deeply are fundamental- it is not the restrictions that are fundamental, reminded Justice S. Ravindra Bhat while concluding his judgment on the issue whether the Anticipatory Bail Protection should be for a limited period. The Judge reproduced a quote of Joseph Story, the great jurist and US Supreme Court judge: "personal security and private property rest entirely upon the wisdom, the stability, and the integrity of the courts of justice." He said that arbitrary and groundless arrests continue as a pervasive phenomenon and cautioned against the restriction of power to grant anticipatory bail by judicial interpretation.

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

The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court which held that anticipatory bail should not be limited by time under ordinary circumstances has also discussed in the judgment the impact of recovery under Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act on the bail granted. In this regard, the bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M R Shah and Ravindra Bhat in the case Sushila Aggarwal and others v State of NCT of Delhi and others largely reaffirmed the principles laid down in the case Shri Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia and others v. State of Punjab (1980) 2 SCC 565.

Criminal Law- Juvenile Justice Act  [Shilpa Mittal v. State of NCT of Delhi & Anr.]

Offences prescribing max. sentence of more than7 years but not providing minimum sentences are not 'heinous offences', but'serious offences', under JJ Act.

The Supreme Court has observed that an offence prescribing a maximum sentence of more than 7 years imprisonment but not providing any minimum sentence, or providing a minimum sentence of less than 7 years, cannot be considered to be a 'heinous offence' within the meaning of Section 2(33) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. Invoking Article 142 of the Constitution, the bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose held that category of offences viz., offence where the maximum sentence is more than 7 years imprisonment, but no minimum sentence or minimum sentence of less than 7 years is provided, shall be treated as 'serious offences' within the meaning of the Act.

Disqualification of Legislators [Keisham Meghachandra Singh v. The Hon'ble Speaker Manipur Legislative Assembly & Ors.]

Speaker Should Decide On Disqualification Within 3 Months; Impartial Tribunal Needed Under 10th Schedule

In a notable judgment, the Supreme Court has held that Speaker of the Legislative Assembly should decide on a petition seeking disqualification of a member under Tenth Schedule of the Constitution within a period of three months, in the absence of exceptional reasons. Highlighting the importance of taking a decision within a reasonable time, the SC said ,"The Speaker, in acting as a Tribunal under the Tenth Schedule, is bound to decide disqualification petitions within a reasonable period...a period of three months from the date on which the petition is filed is the outer limit within which disqualification petitions filed before the Speaker must be decided if the constitutional objective of disqualifying persons who have infracted the Tenth Schedule is to be adhered to." This was held by a bench comprising Justices R F Nariman, Aniruddha Bose and V Ramasubramanian in a case relating to alleged defection in Manipur assembly.

Criminal Law

Section 148 has retrospective application but143A is prospective, reiterates SC. [Col. S.S.Deswal & Ors. v, VirenderGandhi & Anr.]

The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah reiterated that Section 148 of the Negotiable Instruments Act is retrospective, while Section 143A is not. In this case, the accused was convicted for an offence under Section 138 of the N.I. Act. The Appellate Court required them to deposit 25% of the amount of compensation/fine imposed by the trial Court, pending appeals challenging the order of conviction and sentence. The case reached the Supreme Court in which the question arose whether Section 148 is retrospective or not.

Courts at a place where wife resides afterleaving matrimonial home can entertain complaints u/s 498A IPC. [Ruhi v. AneesAhmed]

The apex court reiterated that even the courts at the place where the wife resides after leaving the matrimonial home will have jurisdiction to entertain her complaint under Section 498 A of the Indian Penal Code. The bench comprising Justice L.Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta, noted that in Rupali Devi v. State of UP, judgement which was delivered last year it was held it is not necessary that a complaint should be filed only at the place of the matrimonial home.

100% burn injuries by itself does not mean victim was incapable of making dying declaration. [Purshottam Chopra & Anr. v. State (Govt. of NCT Delhi)]

The bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar v. Justice Dinesh Maheswari observed that merely because the deceased had suffered 100% burn injuries, it cannot be said that he/she was incapable to make a statement which could be acted upon as dying declaration. The contention taken in this case was that the victim had suffered 100% burns and he was already in critical condition and further to that, his condition was regularly deteriorating. It was contended that in such a critical and deteriorating condition, he could not have made proper, coherent and intelligible statement.

SC Quashes Madras HC's Direction To Form A Committee For Reforms

The Supreme Court has set aside a Madras High Court order that directed the State to constitute a committee to recommend reforms in the Criminal Justice System. The bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta observed that the jurisdiction of the Court under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is limited to grant or not to grant bail pending trial and it has no inherent jurisdiction to pass any order under the guise of improving the criminal justice system in the State.

Conviction Cannot Be Solely Based On The Evidence Of Hand-Writing Expert [Padum Kumar v. State of Uttar Pradesh]

The Supreme Court has reiterated that without independent and reliable corroboration, the opinion of the handwriting experts cannot be relied upon to base the conviction. The bench of Justice R. Banumathi and Justice AS Bopanna before acting upon the opinion of the hand-writing expert, prudence requires that the court must see that such evidence is corroborated by other evidence either direct or circumstantial evidence.

[Section 216 CrPC] Court Can Add Or Alter Charges At Any Time, Even After Reserving Judgment. [Dr. Nallapareddy Sridhar Reddy v. State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors.]

The Supreme Court has observed that a trial court to exercise its powers of altering or adding charges under section 216 of the Code of Criminal Procedure even after the completion of evidence, arguments and reserving of the judgment. In this accused who was under Section 498 A of IPC along with Sections 3 & 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act. Later the Public Prosecutor filed an application under Section 216 IPC for alteration of charge sheet. The trial court after hearing both sides rejected the application for framing additional charges. Though on revision petition filed by the prosecution, the High Court directed the framing of additional under Sections 406 & 420 of the IPC. The Supreme Court upheld this direction of the High Court.

Section 394 CrPC: Appeal Against Composite Sentence Of Imprisonment & Fine Does Not Abate On The Death Of The Accused [Ramesan (dead) through Lr. Girija v. State of Kerala]

The Supreme Court has observed that, if the accused-appellant dies during the pendency of a criminal appeal against a composite sentence of imprisonment as well as fine, the appeal does not abate. The court said, " the appeal in the present case where accused was sentenced for imprisonment as well as for fine has to be treated as an appeal against fine and was not to abate and High Court did not commit any error in deciding the appeal on merits." The bench, however, partly allowed the appeal, observing that the High Court ought to have given an opportunity to legal heirs of the accused to make their submissions against the sentence of fine, which fine could have been very well recovered from the assets of the accused in the hands of the legal heirs.

Domestic Violence: Court Has To Be Prima Facie Satisfied That There Have Been Instances Of Violence Before Issuing Notice In Complaint [Shyamlal Devda v. Parimala]

The Supreme Court has observed that, before issuing notice in a complaint alleging Domestic Violence, the court has to be prima facie satisfied that there have been instances of domestic violence. In this case, a wife had made allegations of domestic violence against fourteen persons, including her husband and his parents. All other respondents are relatives of parents-in-law of the complainant, who are residing in other states. The bench of Justices R. Banumathi, AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy noted that, insofar as husband and Parents-in-law, there are averments of alleging domestic violence alleging that they have taken away the jewellery of the respondent gifted to her by her father during marriage and the alleged acts of harassment to the respondent.

Writ Of Habeas Corpus Cannot Be Invoked For Granting Premature Release Of Convicted Prisoners [Home Secretary (Prison) v. Nilofer Nisha]

The Supreme Court has observed that a writ of habeas corpus cannot be invoked for granting plea seeking premature release of a convicted prisoner. The bench of Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta observed that it is not for the writ court to decide whether a prisoner is entitled to parole or remission and these matters lie squarely in the domain of the Government. The Court was considering appeals against the Madras High Court orders which had allowed Habeas Corpus writ petitions filed by prisoners convicted and sentenced for life imprisonment in murder cases.

Liberal Approach In Granting Bail In NDPS Uncalled For, Says SC [State of Kerala v. Rajesh]

The Supreme Court has observed that there cannot be liberal approach in the matter of bail in NDPS Cases. The bench of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Ajay Rastogi observed that the Court has to record a finding mandated under Section 37 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and the same is a sine qua non for granting bail to the accused under the NDPS Act. The Court was considering the appeal filed by the State of Kerala against a High Court order granting post-­arrest bail to the accused respondents without noticing the mandate of Section 37(1)(b)(ii) of the NDPS Act.

Factors Like Gravity & Seriousness Of Alleged Offence By Themselves Cannot Be The Basis To Refuse Bail [Prabhakar Tewari v. State of UP]

The Supreme Court has observed that the factors like gravity and seriousness of offences alleged against an accused by themselves cannot be the basis for refusal of prayer for bail. The bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose made this observation while dismissing appeal against an Allahabad High Court order that granted bail to two accused persons allegedly involved in a murder case.

[Criminal Trial] Law Does Not Taboo Adopting Of The Alternate Pleas By Accused [Paul v. State of Kerala]

The law does not taboo adopting of the alternate pleas, remarked the Supreme Court while observing that a murder accused can take a plea that he was not at all involved in the act which resulted in the death of the deceased, but that does not deprive him/her of the right to establish the fact that the case against him would still be embraced within any of the exceptions under Section 300 IPC. Before the Apex Court, the counsel for the accused had confined the submission to the plea of alteration of the conviction under Section 302 of the IPC to under Section 304 Part-II of the IPC. Examining the evidence on record, the bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph observed that there is nothing to establish the giving of any provocation leave alone a grave and sudden provocation.

The bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta granted bail to an accused charged under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 on the ground that there is a reasonable possibility that he may be acquitted. The prosecution case against Sujit Tiwari was that he was aware of what his brother, accused in the NDPS case, was doing and was actively helping his brother. The Court noted that, other than a few WhatsApp messages and his own statement which he has resiled from, there is no other evidence. The Court also has imposed stringent conditions while granting bail.

The Supreme Court has observed that while holding the inquiry under Section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Magistrate is required to consider whether even a prima facie case is made out or not and whether the criminal proceedings initiated are an abuse of process of law or the Court or not and/or whether the dispute is purely of civil nature or not and/or whether the civil dispute is tried to be given a color of criminal dispute or not. The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah was considering an appeal against a High Court order which refused to quash criminal proceedings in a complaint case.

The bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta said the power under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 cannot be exercised where the allegations are required to be proved in a court of law. In this case, the allegation was that the deceased father of the accused in connivance with other employees of a Cooperative Bank committed financial irregularities on the basis of forged documents by misusing his post and by providing fake loans to the relatives. The accused were charged for the offenses under Sections 420, 406, 409, 120B IPC.

The bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Navin Sinha has reiterated that merely because the report contemplated under Section 57 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act was not sent within two days of the arrest of the accused, the entire proceedings will not be vitiated. The bench referred to the judgment in Sajan Abraham vs. State of Kerala, wherein it was held that non-compliance of Section 57 would not vitiate the prosecution case.

Availing Of Civil Remedy Is Not A Ground To Quash Criminal Proceedings, Reiterates SC [K.Jagadish v. Udaya Kumary GS]

The Supreme Court has reiterated that, even if a civil remedy is availed by a party, he is not precluded from setting in motion the proceedings in criminal law. The bench comprising of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Vineet Saran said that, in certain cases the very same set of facts may give rise to remedies in civil as well as criminal proceedings. The bench referred to earlier decisions including R. Kalyani v. Janak C. Mehta, wherein it was held that, If the allegation discloses a civil dispute, the same by itself may not be a ground to hold that the criminal proceedings should not be allowed to continue.


Civil Law- CPC, Property and Rent Control Laws


Plaintiff seeking temporary injunction in specific performancesuit has to show string prima facie case on undisputed facts. [Ambalal SarabhaiEnterprise Ltd. v. KS Infraspace LLP & Anr. & Haryana Containers Ltd.v. KS Infraspace LLP & Anr.]

The Supreme Court has observed that strong prima facie case on undisputed facts is necessary for getting the relief of temporary injunction in a suit for specific performance of contract. This is because of the fact that specific performance by itself is a discretionary remedy, explained a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and Navin Sinha. The bench also said that the conduct of parties is also a relevant consideration for interim injunction, in addition to the factors of prima facie case, balance of convenience and irreparable injury.

Statecannot be permitted to perfect title by adverse possession to grab property ofits own citizens. [Vidya Devi v. The State of Himachal Pradesh & Ors.]

The Supreme Court granted relief to an 80 year old illiterate widow, whose land was forcibly acquired by the Himachal Pradesh government in 1967-68 without following due process of law for construction of road. A bench of Justices Indu Malhotra and Justices Ajay Rastogi held that state cannot invoke the doctrine of adverse possession to perfect title over land grabbed from private citizens. The Court held that that forcible dispossession of a person from his private property is violative of human rights and constitutional right under Article 300A.

Hindu Succession-property of Hindu male undergoes notionalpartition on his death to devolve on heirs; no longer joint family property. [MArumugam v. Ammaniammal & Ors.]

A bench comprising of Justices Deepak Gupta and S Abdul Nazeer discussed the principles of succession as per Hindu Succession Act 1956 in a recent judgment. Referring to Sections 6 and 8 of the Act, the Court said that on death of a Hindu male, notional partition of his property will take place, and it will devolve on the legal heirs based on their respective shares. Therefore, such property will no longer retain the character of a 'Joint Family Property' after such partition. The heirs will take after the property as tenants-in-common and will enjoy joint possession till the property is demarcated on their respective shares as per a settlement deed.

Long Continuous Possession By Itself Cannot Be Termed As AdversePossession [Uttam Chand (D) v. Nathu Ram (D)]

The Apex Court bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta reiterated that long and continuous possession by itself cannot be termed as adverse possession so as to perfect title within the meaning of Article 65 of the Limitation Act. The plaintiff filed a suit for possession on the basis of purchase of suit property. The defendants in the written statement denied that the plaintiff is the owner of the property. They asserted that their house existed on the property in question for more than the last two centuries.

Amendment Of Pleadings After Commencement OfTrial

The bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah has observed that the amendment of pleadings at the stage of evidence can be allowed only if the Court is satisfied that in spite of due diligence, the party could not introduce amendment before commencement of the trial. In a partition suit, the evidence had already begun and at that stage, the plaintiff filed application seeking amendment of plaint. The contention taken by the defendant before the Apex Court was that, in view of Order VI Rule 17 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 the amendment could not have been considered unless the Court return a finding that in spite of due diligence, the party could not have raised the matter before the commencement of the trial.

Section 32 Registration Act Doesn't Require Presence Of Parties During Registration Of Sale Deed [H.P.Puttuswamy v. Thimmamma & Ors.]

The Supreme Court has observed that Section 32 of the Registration Act, 1908, does not require the presence of both parties to a deed of sale when the same is presented for registration. However, it may be noted that Rules framed by States may provide for such presence of both seller and buyer, and in that case, presence of parties may be required. The bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose noted that there is evidence to the effect that the second defendant had not come to the office of the Sub­Registrar at the time of execution of the sale deed.

Section 92 CPC Procedure Not Applicable In Suit By A Trust [Ghat Talab Kaulan Wala Vs. Baba Gopal (dead) by LR Ram Niwas]

The bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta observed that the procedure prescribed under Section 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure would not be applicable in a suit by a Trust. In this case, the Trust known as Ghat Talab Kaulan Wala filed the suit through one Charan Dass. The High Court had held that the suit is not maintainable without complying with the requirements of Section 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

Landlord Not Precluded From Making An Application For Fair Rent Determination During Subsistence Of Contractual Tenancy [N. Motilal Vs. Faisal Bin Ali]

The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah while Interpreting provisions of the Telangana Building (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act, 1960, has held that a landlord is not precluded from making an application for determination of fair rent during the currency of agreed rent between the landlord and the tenant. The contention taken in this appeal was that the landlord is bound by the contractual rent and during the subsistence of contractual tenancy he cannot be allowed to file an application for enhancement of rent. It was contended that permitting the landlord to file an application for enhancement of rent even though he is bound by a contract, will be permitting something which is against Rent Control Legislation, which has to be interpreted in a manner so as to save tenant from exorbitant rent.

Conflicting Claims Of Legal Representatives Can Be Decided In Execution Proceedings [Varadarajan v. Kanakavalli & Ors.]

The Supreme Court has observed that the conflicting claims of legal representatives can be decided in execution proceedings in view of the principles of Rule 5 of Order XXII of the Code of Civil Procedure. Taking note of the fact that the appellant was the sole claimant to the estate of the deceased on the basis of Will, the bench comprising of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta allowing the appeal, held that he, as the legal representative of the deceased, is competent to execute the decree.

Mandatory Time Line For Filing Written Statement Is Not Applicable To Non-Commercial Suits [Desh Raj v. Balkishan]

The Supreme Court has clarified that the mandatory time-line for filing written statement is not applicable to non-commercial suits. As regards non-commercial suits, the time-line for written statement is directory and not mandatory, the Court held. The courts have the discretion to condone delay in filing of written statement in non-commercial suits, held a bench comprising CJI SA Bobde, Justices Surya Kant and BR Gavai. The Court was considering an appeal against a judgment of Delhi High Court, which affirmed the decision of the trial court to strike of the appellant's defence on the ground of delay in filing written statement under Order VIII Rule 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

Kerala Rent Control Act:Sub-Letting A Part Of Tenanted Premises Gives Landlord The Right To EvictionFrom The Whole Premises

The bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph , interpreting the provisions of Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control)Act, 1965, observed that sub-letting of any part of the tenanted premises gives the landlord the right to eviction from the whole premises. The contention taken in this case by the landlord was that even if the sub-tenancy is created in part of the premises, the entitlement of eviction is in respect of the whole of the premises.


Motor Vehicles Act

Motor Accidents Claim: Violation Of LawBy Itself Cannot Lead To A Finding Of Contributory Negligence [MohammedSiddique v. National Insurance Company Ltd.]

The Supreme Court has held that violation of law by itself, without anything more, cannot lead to a finding of contributory negligence while considering claim petitions filed in Motor Accident Cases. The bench of Justice NV Ramana and Justice V. Ramasubramanian observed that there must either be a causal connection between the violation and the accident or a causal connection between the violation and the impact of the accident upon the victim.

Major, Married & Earning Son Of Deceased Can Claim Motor Accident Compensation [National Insurance Company Limited vs Birender and Ors.]

The Supreme Court has observed that major sons of the deceased who are married and earning can claim compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. The bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari observed that the Tribunal has to consider the application filed by such legal representatives irrespective of the fact whether the concerned legal representative was fully dependant on the deceased. The Tribunal cannot limit the claim towards conventional heads only, it held.

MV Act -Claimant's Cross Objection For Enhanced Compensation Maintainable In Insurer's Appeal Against Award [Urmila Devi & Ors. v. Branch Manager, National Insurance Company Ltd. & Anr.]

An SC bench comprising CJI SA Bobde, Justices Surya Kant and BR Gavai has held that claimant in a motor accident compensation case can file cross-objections in an appeal filed by the insurer against the award. The Court set aside a judgment of the Patna High Court which had held such a cross-objection by the claimant to be not maintainable. The insurer's appeal in the instant case was only with respect to not absolving it from liability to pay compensation. Unless the insurer challenges the quantum, the claimants cannot file cross-appeal for enhanced compensation, the HC ruled. This view was held to be unsustainable by the apex court.

Environmental Laws

Lifts Suspension Of Environmental Clearance Of Mopa Airport In Goa [Hanuman Laxman Aroskar v. Union of India & Ors.]

The Supreme Court cleared the decks for the construction of international airport at Mopa in Goa, by lifting the suspension of the project's Environmental Clearance. The Court has allowed the construction of the airport in compliance of the additional conditions suggested by the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC). The Court has directed the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute to oversee compliance with the EAC conditions and directions. The project proponent has to bear the costs, expenses and fees of NEERI.

SC directs centre to impose mandatory conditions for re-grassing mining are after operations. [Common Cause v. Union of India & Ors.]

The Supreme Court has directed the Central Government to impose a mandatory condition in the mining lease, mining plan and environmental clearance that re-grassing of the mining area should be undertaken by mining lease holders after mining operations. A bench comprising CJI SA Bobde, Justices Surya Kant and B R Gavai ordered so after noting that mining operations in an area results in complete elimination of grass.

SC Allows Goa Mining Companies To Transport Minerals Already Extracted Before March 15, 2018 [Chowgule and Company Private Ltd v Goa Foundation & Ors.]

The Supreme Court allowed the mining companies in Goa to transport all iron ores which were extracted before March 15, 2018, and for which royalty has been paid. A bench comprising CJI SA Bobde, Justices Surya Kant and B R Gavai passed the order in a bunch of petitions filed by mining companies. In February 2018, the SC had quashed all iron ore mining leases in Goa in Goa Foundation case and had given time till March 15, 2018, to complete their "affairs".

SC upholds Kerala HC judgment directing removal of buildings which violated CRZ norms in Nediyanthuruthu island. [Kapico Kerala Resorts Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Kerala & Ors.]

The bench comprising Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, Aniruddha Bose and V. Ramasubramanian upheld a Kerala High Court order which had directed removal of constructions violating 1991 CRZ norms in Nediyanthuruthu , an island in Vembanad region of Alappuzha District in Kerala. Kapico Kerala Resorts Pvt. Ltd. had approached the Apex Court challenging the Kerala High Court judgment which held that the constructions made by it in the Island violates the terms of the 1991 CRZ Notification.

SC Issues Slew Of Directions To Curb Air Pollution In Delhi [MC Mehta v. Union of India]

The Supreme Court passed a slew of directions to address the protracted problem of air pollution in Delhi. The bench of Justice Arun Misha and Justice Deepak Gupta has passed several directions, dealing right from the problem of stubble burning to vehicular emissions and construction dust. In this regard, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Governments of Haryana, Rajasthan and UP have been asked to file an action taken report within three weeks, along with compliance report of previous directions.

Insurance and Consumer Protection Laws

Mere Delay In Intimating Insurance Company About The Theft Cannot Be A Ground To Deny Insurance Claim [Gurshinder Singh v. Shriram General Insurance Co. Ltd & Anr]

The Supreme Court has held that mere delay in intimating the insurance company about the occurrence of the theft cannot be a ground to deny the claim of the insured. The Three judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana was answering a reference that raised an issue whether delay in informing the occurrence of the theft of the vehicle to the insurance company, though the FIR was registered immediately, would disentitle the claimant of the insurance claim.

Coverage Of 'Flood & Inundation' Insurance Includes Damage Caused By Heavy Rains And Not Just Overflowing Of River [Oriental Insurance Company Ltd v M/s J K Cement Works Ltd]

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