Supreme Court Monthly Digest- March 2019

Ashok Kini

7 April 2019 5:53 AM GMT

  • Supreme Court Monthly Digest- March 2019

    If Contempt Is In The Face Of Court, Judges Can Take Immediate Action Without Issuing Notice National Lawyers Campaign For Judicial Transparency and Reforms V. Union of India To hold Advocate Mathews Nedumpara guilty of contempt, the Supreme Court followed the dictum that when contempt is in the face of court, summary procedure can be followed to inflict punishment "then and...

    If Contempt Is In The Face Of Court, Judges Can Take Immediate Action Without Issuing Notice

    National Lawyers Campaign For Judicial Transparency and Reforms V. Union of India

    To hold Advocate Mathews Nedumpara guilty of contempt, the Supreme Court followed the dictum that when contempt is in the face of court, summary procedure can be followed to inflict punishment "then and there". "When contempt is committed in the face of the Court, judges' hands are not tied behind their backs. The majesty of this Court as well as the administration of justice both demand that contemptuous behavior of this kind be dealt with sternly", observed the judgment by the bench of Justice R F Nariman and Vineet Saran.

    SC Sentences Nedumpara To 3 Months Jail For Contempt; Bars From Practising In SC; Suspends Sentence On Undertaking

    The Supreme Court bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran sentenced Advocate Mathews Nedumpara to 3 months imprisonment, which will remain suspended so long as he abides by his undertaking that he will not attempt to browbeat any judge of High Court or Supreme Court.

    SC Sets Aside Life Ban Imposed On Cricketer Sreesanth; Asks BCCI To Take Fresh Decision On Punishment

    S. Sreesanth V. BCCI

    Partly allowing the appeal of cricketer S Sreesanth, the Supreme Court set aside the life ban imposed by the Board of Control of Cricket in India(BCCI) on him for indulging in spot-fixing during 2013 Indian Premier League. The bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice KM Joseph has directed the disciplinary committee of BCCI to take a decision on the quantum of punishment within 3 months from today.

    State Cannot Prohibit Transportation Of Legally Excavated Sand Beyond Its Borders

    State of Gujarat V. JayeshbhaiKanjibhaiKalathiya

    The Supreme Court held that it is constitutionally impermissible for a state to restrict the movement of the sand legally excavated within the territory of India. The bench comprising Justice AK Sikri, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah upheld the Gujarat High Court judgment that had struck down the Rules brought in by the State of Gujarat prohibiting the movement of sand beyond the border of the State.

    Teachers Are Entitled To Gratuity, Holds SC After Recalling Erroneous Judgment

    Birla Institute of Technology V. State of Jharkhand

    Correcting its earlier erroneous judgment, the Supreme Court held that the teachers are entitled to invoke Payment of Gratuity Act for claiming gratuity from his/her employer. The bench comprising Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Indu Malhotra also slapped a cost of Rupees 25,000, on Birla Institute of Technology, the appellant in the case.

    SC Finally Corrects The Error: Acquits Six Persons Sentenced To Death By A 2009 Judgment

    Ankush MarutiShinde V. State of Maharashtra

    The Supreme Court acquitted three persons who were sentenced to death by it in 2009, and also three others whose death penalty was confirmed by it. The bench comprising Justice AK Sikri, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah, also ordered the State of Maharashtra to pay Rupees 5 Lakh as damages to each of them.

    SC Confirms Death Penalty Awarded To Man Accused Of Killing Six Persons

    Khushwinder Singh V. State of Punjab

    The Supreme Court, after a long gap and a series of commutations, confirmed a death sentence in a judgment. Ironically, this judgment has been delivered on the same day when the same bench, in another case, acquitted six 'death convicts' who were sentenced to death by the Apex Court in 2009. The bench comprising Justice AK Sikri, Justice Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah upheld the death penalty imposed on Khushwinder Singh, convicted of murdering six persons belonging to a family, out of which two were minors – below 10 years of age.

    SC Acquits Two Men Sentenced To Death By Chhattisgarh HC

    Digamber Vaishnav V. State of Chhattisgarh

    In yet another judgment the Supreme Court acquitted two men whose death sentence was confirmed by the Chhattisgarh High Court. The bench comprising Justice AK Sikri, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah, acquitted DigamberVaishnav and GirdhariVaishnav who were accused of robbery and murder of five women.

    Death Sentence Can Be Imposed Only When Life Imprisonment Appears To Be An Altogether Inappropriate Punishment

    Sachin Kumar Singhraha V. State of Madhya Pradesh

    While commuting death sentence awarded to a man convicted for rape and murder of a five year old girl, the Supreme Court observed that death sentence must be imposed only when life imprisonment appears to be an altogether inappropriate punishment. The bench comprising Justice NV Ramana, Justice Mohan M. Shanthanagoudar and Justice Indira Banerjee sentenced Sachin Kumar Singhraha to undergo a sentence of 25 years' imprisonment (without remission).

    Deduction Under Section 80HH Income Tax Act Should Be From 'Gross Profits & Gains' Instead Of 'Net Income'

    M/S Vijay Industries V. Commissioner of IT

    A three judges' bench of the Supreme Court held that deduction under Section 80HH of the Income Tax Act 1961 should be based on gross profits and income instead of the net income from profits and gains computed as per Sections 28 to 44B of the Act.

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

    MTNL V. Tata Telecommunications Ltd.

    The Supreme Court bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran explained that claim of quantum meruit under Section 70 of the Indian Contract Act cannot be raised when parties are otherwise governed by contract. This is because Section 70 occurs in Chapter V of the Contract Act which deals with "certain relations resembling those created by contract". Section 70 deals with obligation of a person enjoying benefit of a non-gratuitous act to compensate the person giving the benefit.

    Inadvertent Mistakes In The Plaint Cannot Be Refused To Be Corrected

    Varun Pahwa vs. Renu Chaudhary

    The Supreme Court observed that inadvertent mistake made in the plaint cannot be refused to be corrected when the mistake is apparent from the reading of the plaint Amendment that was sought in this case was simple. In the plaint, the Plaintiff was described as VarunPahwa through Director of Siddharth Garments Pvt. Ltd. though it should have been Siddharth Garments Pvt. Ltd. through its Director VarunPahwa.

    Subsequent Acquittal Won't Help: SC Dismisses Plea Of 'Lawyer' Whose Enrollment Was Cancelled For Suppressing Facts About Criminal Case

    Anand Kumar Sharma V. BCI

    The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of a man who was not allowed to enroll as a lawyer on the ground that his earlier enrolment was cancelled for suppression of facts and relevant material. Anand Kumar Sharma, who got enrolled as an advocate in the Bar Council of Himachal Pradesh in July, 1988, was removed from the rolls, on the ground that he suppressed the fact that he was in Government service in the State of Himachal Pradesh and also about his involvement in a criminal case.

    HC Can Consider Review petition Though SC Dismissed SLP In Limine

    Khoday Distilleries Ltd vs. Sri MahadeshwaraSahakaraSakkareKarkhane Ltd.

    The Supreme Court held that a review petition is maintainable before the High Court seeking review of its judgment against which the special leave petition was dismissed in limine. The bench comprising Justice AK Sikri, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah observed that it will not make any difference whether the review petition was filed before the filing of special leave petition or was filed after the dismissal of special leave petition.

    Seniority Should Not Be Ignored In Appointment Of Army Commanders

    Lt. Gen Ravi Dastane V. Union of India

    The Supreme Court observed that though the appointment of an Army Commander is made by selection, the criterion of seniority should not be ignored. The bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta observed thus while dismissing an appeal filed by Lieutenant General Ravi Dastane against the order of Armed Forces Tribunal which rejected his challenge to the selection of Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh, GOC-in-C, Eastern Command and Lieutenant General Sanjiv Chachra, GOC-in-C, Northern Command as Army Commanders.

    Teachers Appointed In Self Financing Colleges Under MG University Are Permanent Teachers Of University

    Abdul Hakeem V. MG University

    The Supreme Court held that teachers appointed in self-financing engineering colleges under Mahatma Gandhi University are entitled to same payscale and benefits as permanent teachers of the University.

    No Limitation Period To Seek Declaration Of A Marriage As 'Null And Void'

    Swapnanjali Sandeep Patil V. Sandeep Ananda Patil

    The Supreme Court observed that no period of limitation is prescribed so far as presentation of petition for declaration to declare a marriage being nullity/void marriage, under Section 24 of the Special Marriage Act. The bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice MR Shah observed that once the marriage is void the same is a nullity and at any time the same can be declared as nullity being a void marriage.

    Consumer Forums Have Jurisdiction To Dismiss Complaints In Limine

    M/S AnjaneyaJewellery V. New India Assurance Co Ltd.

    The Supreme Court observed that consumer forums have the jurisdiction to dismiss the complaint in limine and decline its admission without notice to the opposite party. The bench comprising Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, taking note of the amendment brought to Section 13 of the Consumer Protection Act, observed that such jurisdiction to dismiss the complaint in limine has to be exercised by the Commission having regard to facts of each case, i.e., in appropriate case.

    Medical Negligence- Award Of Compensation Cannot Go Restrictive When The Victim Is From Poor And Rural Background

    Shoda Devi V. DDU/Ripon Hospital Shimla

    Responsiveness and diligence of Medical Professionals has to be equi-balanced for all their consumers, said the Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari while enhancing compensation to a woman who suffered due to medical negligence.

    Conversion Of Unaccounted Money Through The Cloak Of Share Capital/Premium Must Be Carefully Scrutinised

    Principal Commissioner of Income tax (central)-1 V. NRA Iron and Steel Pvt. Ltd

    The Supreme Court observed that the Assessee is under a legal obligation to prove the receipt of share capital/premium to the satisfaction of the Assessing Officer, failure of which, would justify addition of the said amount to the income of the Assessee. The bench comprising Justice UdayUmesh Lalit and Justice Indu Malhotra observed that the practice of conversion of un-accounted money through the cloak of Share Capital/Premium must be subjected to careful scrutiny

    SC Acquits Forest Range Officer Who Killed A 'Smuggler' In 'Self Defence'

    Sukumaran V. State

    The Supreme Court acquitted a Forest Range Officer accused of killing a man allegedly belonging to a smuggling party, on the ground that he did it in his self defence.

    Heinous & Serious Offences, Offences By Public Servants Can't Be Quashed On The Ground Of Compromise Between Parties

    State of Madhya Pradesh V. Laxmi Narayan & Ors.

    A three Judge Bench of Supreme Court of India issued guidelines regarding quashing of Criminal Proceedings on the ground of compromise between the parties. The Bench of Justices AK Sikri, Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah was considering a reference made by a two Judge bench in view of the apparent conflict between the two decisions of the Court in the cases of Narinder Singh vs. State of Punjab (2014) 6 SCC 466 and State of Rajasthan vs. ShambhuKewat (2014) 4 SCC 149.

    SC Directs Govt To Consider Setting Up Of Mediation Authority For Speedy Disposal Of Motor Accident Claims

    M. R. Krishna Murthi V. New India Assurance Co. Ltd.

    In an important judgment the Supreme Court issued significant directions to bring in a mechanism which prevents delays and other obstacles in awarding compensation to road accident victims. While considering an appeal filed by a practicing lawyer M.R. Krishna Murthy, who had suffered an accident when he was 18 years of age, the bench noted the submissions made by Senior Advocate Arun Mohan who mooted for establishing a Motor Accident Mediation Authority (MAMA) in every district in the country.

    SC Sets Aside NGT Order Enlarging Buffer Zones Around Bengaluru Water Bodies; Upholds Penalty Against Two Builders

    Mantri Techzone Pvt. Ltd. V. Forward Foundation

    Allowing the appeals filed by State of Karnataka, the Supreme Court set aside the National Green Tribunal's order enlarging the buffer zone limits around lakes and water bodies in Bengaluru. However, the bench of Justice A K Sikri, Abdul Nazeer and M R Shah dismissed the appeals filed by Mantri Tech Zone and Coremind Software Zone against the directions issued by the Tribunal to remove encroachments in water bodies and pay penalties.

    SC Discourages 'Dispose Of The Representation' Orders Passed By HCs/Tribunals

    The Govt. of India V. P.Venkatesh

    The Supreme Court made a critical observation about the usual 'dispose of the representation' orders passed by the High Courts and the Tribunals. This 'dispose of the representation' mantra is increasingly permeating the judicial process in the High Courts and the Tribunals, said the bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta while considering an appeal filed by Central Government.

    NI Act- Once The Presumption Under Sec.139 Is Drawn, Complainant Need Not Prove Source Of Fund Till Accused Discharges His Burden

    RohitbhaiJivanlal Patel V. State of Gujarat

    The Supreme Court held that once the court has drawn presumption of existence of legally enforceable debt as per Section 139 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, factors like source of funds are not relevant if the accused has not been able to rebut the presumption.

    Plaint Can Be Rejected If Suit Is Clearly Barred By Limitation

    Raghwendra Sharan Singh vs. Ram Prasanna Singh

    The Supreme Court observed that a plaint can be rejected under Order 7 Rule 11(d) of the Code of Civil Procedure, if by considering the averments, it is found that the suit is clearly barred by law of limitation.

    Section 320 CrPC: Courts Have Discretion To Refuse Compounding Of Offences Having Social Impact

    Bhagyan Das V. State of Utarakhand

    The Supreme Court observed that a court has discretion to reject a plea to compound an offence having social impact, even if the offence is compoundable under Section 320 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

    Mere Disclosure Of Names By Some Witnesses During Trial Not Enough To Add Persons Not Named In FIR As Additional Accused

    Periyasami V. S. Nallasamy

    The Supreme Court observed that mere disclosure of the names of some persons by the witnesses during trial cannot be said to be strong and cogent evidence to summon them under Section 319 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

    SC Reiterates Basic Principles Of Judicial Review Of Administrative Decisions

    Sarvepalli Ramaiah vs. The District Collector, Chittoor District

    The Supreme Court reiterated some basic principles of judicial review of administrative decisions. The bench comprising Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Indira Banerjee were considering an appeal against an order of High court of Andhra Pradesh declining to interfere with the order of the District Collector in refusing to grant ryotwari patta in favour of the appellants. The Apex court upheld the High Court finding that, since the land is classified as "Peddacheruvu Tank" vested with the government and thus there could not be issuance of ryotwari patta in view of the bar contained in Section 2-A of the Andhra Pradesh Inams (Abolition & Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1956.

    Dismissal Of Soldier For Unauthorized Absence Not Harsh Punishment

    Union of India V. Kulbeer Singh

    The Supreme Court upheld dismissal of a soldier of Indian Army on the ground of unauthorised absence of 302 days. Kulbeer Singh was tried in a Summary Court Martial on two counts: the first count was his unauthorized absence over a period of 302 days without leave; while the second count related to the loss of certain equipment and clothing. After he pleaded guilty, he was sentenced to dismissal from service.

    Gramin Dak Sewak Is Not An 'Employee' Under Payment Of Gratuity Act

    Sr. Superintendent of Post Offices vs. Gursewak Singh

    The Supreme Court held that a Gramin DakSewak is not an "employee" under the Payment of Gratuity Act. The bench comprising Justice UdayUmesh Lalit and Justice Indu Malhotra observed that Gramin DakSewaks are engaged as Extra Departmental Agents, a post governed by the 2011 Rules, which have a separate provision for payment of Gratuity to the Extra Departmental Agents.

    Married Daughter Also Has A Right Of Succession In The "Lease Premises" Under Goa Succession Law

    Uma Mahesh Bandekar vs. Vivek SadanandMarathe

    The Supreme Court observed that a married daughter would have a right of succession in the "lease premises", as per the provisions of Goa Succession, Special Notaries and Inventory Proceeding Act, 2012. The bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice MR Shah was considering an appeal against the Bombay High Court (at Goa) order that had confirmed an order passed by the Inventory Court holding that a married daughter has no right in the "lease premises" and therefore the same cannot be subjected to the inventory proceedings.

    Preferential Right Of Heirs Under Section 22 Of Hindu Succession Act Applicable Also To Agricultural Lands

    Babu Ram V. Santokh Singh

    The Supreme Court held that the preferential right given to an heir of a Hindu under Section 22 of the Hindu Succession Act is applicable even if the property in question is an agricultural land.

    Pre-Deposit Clauses To Invoke Arbitration Makes Arbitral Process Ineffective And Expensive

    M/S ICOMM Tele Ltd. V. Punjab State Water Supply & Sewerage Board

    The Supreme Court observed that pre-deposit clauses to invoke arbitration would render the arbitral process ineffective and expensive. The bench comprising Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran struck down such a clause in a notice inviting tender by Punjab State Water Supply & Sewerage Board.

    Notice Of NCLAT Appeal Has To Be Served Regardless Of Supply Of Advance Copy of Appeal Paper Book

    Jai Balaji Industries Ltd. V. State Bank of India

    The Supreme Court observed that stipulation of service of notice on the other side, pursuant to issuance of notice by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal in an appeal, has to be complied with, regardless of supply of advance copy of appeal paper book prior to the issuance of notice by NCLAT.

    Employee Should Know Service Rules; Not For Employer To Advise Him About It

    P. Subramaniyam vs. Union of India

    The Supreme Court observed that it is for an employee to know the service rules and an employer is not expected to advise him/her about it. The bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice MR Shah was considering an appeal by an employee against Madras High court order dismissing his challenge against Central Administrative Tribunal that department to place an in the seniority list above him.

    Only Officers With Minimum Service Of 6 Months Left Should Be Considered For DGP Appointment

    Prakash Singh V. Union of India

    Clarifying last year's order on police reforms in the Prakash Singh Badal case, the Supreme Court said that only officers who have a minimum of six months tenure left in service should be considered for the post of Director General of Police (DGP). A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the recommendation for post of DGP by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and preparation of the panel should be purely on the basis of merit.

    SC Again Reminds High Courts About Limitations While Considering Second Appeals

    Gurnam Singh V. Lehna Singh

    The Supreme Cour again reminded the High Courts about their limitations while considering a second appeal under Section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The court said that it is not permissible for the High Court to re-appreciate the evidence on record and interfere with the findings recorded by the Courts below and/or the First Appellate Court and if the First Appellate Court has exercised its discretion in a judicial manner, its decision cannot be recorded as suffering from an error either of law or of procedure requiring interference in Second Appeal.

    When Can Transposition Of Defendants As Plaintiffs Be Permitted? SC Answers

    R.Dhanasundari vs. A.N. Umakanth

    The Supreme Court examined the scope of Rule 1A of Order XXIII CPC which deals with power of a court to permit transposition of defendants as plaintiff. The bench comprising Justice UdayUmesh Lalit and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari observed that, if the plaintiff is seeking to withdraw or to abandon his claim under Rule 1 of Order XXIII and the defendant seeking transposition is having an interest in the subject-matter of the suit and thereby, a substantial question to be adjudicated against the other defendant, then the defendants can be transposed as plaintiffs.

    When Can A 'Cheque Bounce' Complaint Against Director Of Company Be Quashed? SC Answers

    A. R.Radha Krishna V. Dasari Deepthi

    The Supreme Court reiterated that, a 'cheque bounce' complaint against a Company and its Director, must contain a specific averment that the Director was in charge of, and responsible for, the conduct of the company's business at the time when the offence under Section 138/141 of Negotiable Instruments Act was committed.

    Heart Wrenching To See Children Suffering In Custody Battle Between Parents, Says SC

    Lahari Sakhamuri V. Sobhan Kodali

    The Supreme Court, while delivering a judgment in yet another custody battle between parents, expressed concern about children, the ultimate sufferer in such cases. Divorce and custody battles can become quagmire and it is heart wrenching to see that the innocent child is the ultimate sufferer who gets caught up in the legal and psychological battle between the parents, said the bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Ajay Rastogi.

    Change Lawyer If Case Is Not Being Attended Properly: SC's Message To Litigants

    Estate Officer, Haryana Urban Development Authority V. Gopi Chand Atreja

    The Supreme Court gave a subtle message to litigants who usually blame their lawyers, rightly or wrongly, for getting adverse orders from courts on technical grounds like delay, which could have been avoided, if they were vigilant enough.

    Adding Additional Accused: To Invoke Section 319 CrPC Stronger Evidence Than Mere Probability Of Complicity Of A Person Required

    Sugreev Kumar V. State of Punjab

    The Supreme court reiterated that to add a person as additional accused under Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, stronger evidence is required than mere probability of complicity of that person. The bench comprising Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, while setting aside an order of High Court of Punjab and Haryana, observed that Courts, while invoking Section 319 CrPC, should not proceed as if an infallible case is required to be shown by the prosecution in order to proceed against the proposed accused persons.

    NI Act : Test Of Proportionality Must Guide In Determining If Presumption Under Sec.139 Was Rebutted

    ANSS Rajashekar V. Augustu Jeba Ananth

    Finding that the presumption under Section 139 of the Negotiable Instruments Act regarding the existence of legally enforceable debt was rebutted, the Supreme Court acquitted an accused in a case filed under Section 138 NI Act.

    Principles Of Res Judicata Are Applicable To Writ Petitions

    P. Bandopadhya vs. Union of India

    The Supreme Court reiterated that the principle of Res Judicata is applicable to Writ petitions as well. A judgment of Bombay High Court was challenged before the Apex Court. The impugned judgment was passed in a writ petition filed by former employees in the Overseas Communications Service ["OCS"], a Department of the Government of India. The bench comprising Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Indu Malhotra agreed with the High Court view and observed that the decision in S.V. Vasaikar was not challenged before the Supreme Court, and had thus attained finality.

    Uncivilized And Heartless Crime: SC Enhances Compensation To Acid Attack Victim

    State of Himachal Pradesh V. Vijay Kumar Alias Pappu

    A crime of this nature does not deserve any kind of clemency, said the Supreme Court while directing the two convicts to pay Rupees 1,50,000 each as compensation to acid attack victim. The bench also directed the State to pay the compensation as admissible under the Victim Compensation Scheme as in vogue to the acid victim.

    It Is Not The Function Of A High Court To Frame A Scheme

    Union of India V. All India Trade Union Congress

    While setting aside an Uttarakhand High Court order, the Supreme Court observed that it is not the function of a High Court to frame any Scheme. Union of India had approached the Apex Court against the High Court order which framed a scheme itself to regularize the services of the Casual Paid Labourers and granted them the benefits similar to those of the regular employees under all the Labour Laws, and issued a mandamus to the Government to implement it.

    Writ Petitions In Contract Matters Maintainable When There Is Arbitrariness By The State

    M/s Surya Constructions V. State of Uttar Pradesh

    The Supreme Court reiterated that even in contract matters, a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India can be entertained by the High Court, when there is arbitrariness on the part of the state. The bench comprising Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran observed thus in an appeal filed against the High court order dismissing a writ petition filed by a contractor.

    Complaint Under Section 138 NI Act Maintainable Against Dishonour Of Cheques Issued In Pursuance Of Agreement For Sale

    Ripudaman Singh vs. Balkrishna

    The Supreme Court observed that a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act is maintainable when there is dishonour of cheques issued under and in pursuance of the agreement to sell.

    Forest Act- Magistrate Can't Invoke Jurisdiction Under S.451 CrPC To Release A Seized Vehicle, Once Authorized Officer Initiates Confiscation Proceedings

    State of Madhya radish V. Uday Singh

    Statutory interpretation must remain eternally vigilant to the daily assaults on the environment, said the Supreme Court while it set aside the Madhya Pradesh High Court order that directed the Magistrate to order interim release of a vehicle seized for being involved in the illegal excavation of sand from the Chambal River. The bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta held that a Magistrate has no jurisdiction under Section 451 of the Criminal Procedure to release a seized vehicle, once the Authorised Officer initiated confiscation proceedings.

    Averment Of Political Rivalry By Itself Does Not Constitute A 'Plea Of Mala Fides'

    V. Krishnamurthy V. State of Tamil Nadu

    The Supreme Court observed that mere averment of political rivalry by itself would not constitute a plea of malafides to interfere with an administrative decision taken by the state. The bench comprising Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari observed that the State has only exercised the right of resumption of the land for a public purpose and it is entitled to do so.

    Prosecuterix Was In The Habit Of Implicating People: SC Sets Aside Concurrent Conviction In A Rape Case

    Ganga Prasad Mahto V. State of Bihar

    The Supreme Court, acquitted a man who faced concurrent conviction in a rape case. To acquit the accused, the bench noted that the prosecutrix was in the habit of making such complaints, and in fact similar complaints she had made against others were later found false.

    Statutory Regulation On Private Bodies By Itself Does Not Make Them Subject To Writ Jurisdiction

    Ramakrishna Mission V. Kago Kunya

    The Supreme Court made it clear that mere regulation by a statute on a private body cannot be conclusive of whether it discharges a public function, to hold it amenable to writ jurisdiction of a High court. The bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta, in a judgment delivered last month, held that Ramakrishna Mission and its Hospital at Itanagar would not constitute an authority within the meaning of Article 226 of the Constitution nor a 'State' under Article 12.

    Disease Caused By Insect Bite In The Natural Course Of Events Not Covered Under 'Accident' Insurance

    Branch Manager, National Insurance Co.Ltd. V. Smt. Mousumi Bhattacharjee

    The Supreme Court observed that where a disease is caused or transmitted by insect bite/virus in the natural course of events, it would not be covered by the definition of an accident. But, in a given case or circumstance, the affliction or bodily condition may be regarded as an accident where its cause or course of transmission is unexpected and unforeseen, the bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta observed while dealing with what it called an 'interesting question of law'.

    Hotel Which Provides Swimming Pool Owes Its Guests A Duty Of Care; SC Directs KTDC To Pay Rs.62,50,000 To Family Of The Victim

    The Managing Director, KTDC Ltd. V. Deepti Singh

    A hotel which provides a swimming pool for its guests owes a duty of care, said the Supreme Court while directing the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. to pay Rs.62, 50,000, to the family of a man who died as he drowned in the swimming pool at Hotel Samudra at Kovalam.

    'Second FIR Not Barred Merely Because Motive In Both Offences Are The Same'; SC Upholds Life Sentence Of Saravana Bhavan Founder For Murder [Pattu Rajan V. State of Tamil Nadu]

    The Supreme Court upheld the life sentence awarded to P Rajagopal - the founder of famous South Indian restaurant chain Saravana Bhavan - and five of his aides for murder of Santhakumar in 2001. The bench of Justices N V Ramana, Mohan M Shantanagoudar and Indira Banerjee dismissed the batch of appeals filed by accused against the 2009 judgment of Madras High Court. 
    Health Of Environment Is The Key To Preserve The Right To Life Under Article 21 [Hanuman Laxman Aroskar V. Union of India]

    The Supreme Court suspended the Environmental Clearance granted for the development of Greenfield international airport at Mopa in Goa. The bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta directed Expert Appraisal Committee to revisit the recommendations made by it for the grant of clearance.

    Court Can Appoint Independent Arbitrator Only After Resorting To The Procedure In Arbitration Agreement [Union Of India V. Parmar Construction Company]

    The Supreme Court observed that the High Court, while dealing with an application under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, seeking appointment of an 'independent Arbitrator', should first resort to the mechanism in appointment of an arbitrator as per the terms of contract as agreed by the parties. One of the issue in a batch of appeals

    Drunkenness While On Duty A Serious Misconduct: SC Upholds Dismissal Of A Police Constable [State of Uttarakhand v. Prem Ram]

    The Supreme Court upheld dismissal of a police constable for drunkenness and misbehavior with the public. "Having regard to the seriousness of the charge of misconduct and the fact that the respondent was a member of the police service, we find no justification for the High Court to interfere with the order of dismissal" the court held.

    Companies Act Does Not Stipulate Any Period For Completion Of Serious Fraud Investigation [Serious Fraud Investigation Office V. Rahul Modi]

    Holding that there is no stipulation of any fixed period for completion of a Serious Fraud investigation, the Supreme Court observed that the stipulation in sub-section (3) of Section 212 of the Companies Act, 2013, in relation to the submission of the report, is not mandatory, but directory. The bench comprising Justice AM Sapre and Justice UU Lalit were dealing with an appeal filed by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office against Delhi High Court order that termed arrests illegal because the period of investigation was 'over'.
    State Can Include Proceeds From Inter-State Sale In Total Turnover To Classify Dealers For Sales Tax Slab [M/s Achal Industries V. State of Karnataka]

    The bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi of the Supreme Court held that state can include proceeds from inter-state sale in total turnover to classify dealers for sales tax slab

    Buyer Cannot Be Required To Wait Indefinitely For Possession: SC Asks Developer To Refund The Buyer [Kolkata West International City Pvt. Ltd. vs. Devasis Rudra]

    A buyer cannot be required to wait indefinitely for possession, said the Supreme Court while affirming Consumer Commission order directing the developer to refund the amount to the buyer. 
    Other important orders and proceedings

    • Allowed the Delhi Police to arrestAmrapali Group Chairman and Managing Director Anil Sharma and two directors, Shiv Priya and Ajay Kumar. The bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice UU Lalit passed the order on anaapplicationfiled by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police
    • The bench comprising Justice SA Bobde, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Vineet Saran observed that it is necessary to find out a secured and foolproof method of distribution of this compensation that may be paid to the victims of hit and run motor accident cases.
    • Asked the Haryana Government not to act under the Amendment made to Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900. The bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Deepak Gupta were apprised of some amendments in the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900 permitting the construction in the forest area and PLPA region.
    • Referred to larger bench the correctness of its judgment in Himangni Enterprises v. Kamaljeet Singh Ahluwalia, in which it was held that where the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 applied between landlord and tenant, disputes between the said parties would not be arbitrable.
    • Noting that there is no legal impediment in doing so, the Supreme Court referred to court-appointed and court-monitored mediation the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute in the hope of a "permanent solution".
    • Issued some directives for rehabilitation of those who are cured of mental illness but still languishing in asylums due to unwillingness of their families to take them back.
    • Granted bail to Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi , who is undergoing the Life sentence in the NarodaPatiya massacre, on medical grounds.
    • Ordered grant of interim police protection to a Kashmiri staff nurse, who approached the court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India seeking police protection from those against whom she had made a complaint of sexual harassment.
    • Found "no grounds" to recall its judgment rejecting the plea seeking reinvestigation into the alleged "larger conspiracy leading to" the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. The apex court refused to take into account the plea in the review petition that claimed that "fresh" documents and evidence would clear the air in the matter.
    • Asked Attorney General K KVenugopal to inform it within 10 days about a possible date for meeting of the selection committee for appointment of Lokpal and its members.
    • The bench of CJI Gogoi, Justice S K Kaul and Justice K M Joseph intensely quizzed Attorney General K KVenugopal on his argument that Court cannot rely upon stolen documents as evidence.
    • In the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid title dispute case, the constitution bench reserved orders on whether to refer the case for mediation.
    • Issued notice to the Centre on a petition demanding implementation of the plans and policies for adoption of electric vehicles to tackle air pollution and climate change.
    • Sought response from the Centre on a fresh plea challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
    • Asked the Election Commission of India secretary to appear before it on March 12 in connection with a PIL alleging that several categories of persons in Assam have been deprived of voting rights ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
    • Pulled up Tamil Nadu Government and asked it to explain the steps taken with regard to the defacement/disfigurement on rocks, hills, hillocks and also on public constructions, particularly slogans/messages of political nature depicting the photographs of politicians.
    • Over three months since 15 poor labourers were trapped in a flooded illegal rat-hole mine in Meghalaya's East Jaintia hills district, the Supreme Court asked the petitioner who had petitioned against calling off of rescue operations to ascertain from the families of the "deceased" (miners) if they wish to have their bodies recovered as they may have already decomposed.
    • Held Advocate Mathews Nedumparaguilty of committing contempt in the face of court for taking the name of Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman while arguing a case for abolition of the system of senior designation of advocates.
    • Took note of "serious lapse" by a lower court judge in not abiding with its 2016 order to conclude trial in a murder case within six months and sought explanation from the judicial officer for frequent adjournments in the matter.
    • Appointed Senior Advocate P S Narasimha as a mediator to resolve disputes pertaining to administration of Board of Control of Cricket in India(BCCI). The bench of Justices S A Bobde and A M Sapre has also directed that no no Court or Tribunal in India shall entertain or proceed with any matter pertaining to BCCI or any State Cricket Association(s) till Narsimha submits his report.
    • Asked the Centre to explain in two weeks why it has not set up a permanent mechanism to monitor the undue accretion of assets by elected representatives as directed by it last year.
    • Directed the Bar Council of India to reconsider, after hearing the various stakeholders, the upper age-limit for taking admission to the five-year and three-year law degree courses.
    • Asked the Bombay High Court to decide on a plea moved by civil liberties activist Gautam Navlakha, seeking to quash the FIR lodged against him in the 2017 Koregaon-Bhima case, within eight weeks.
    • Stayed the contempt show-cause notice issued by Uttarakhand High Court to Justice L. Narasimha Reddy, the Chairman of Central Administrative Tribunal.
    • Dismissed a plea seeking a direction to the Central Government to send Muslims living in India to Pakistan. The plea filed by one Sangat Singh Chauhan which also sought a direction to the government to bring Hindus living in Pakistan to India, came up for hearing before a bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran.
    • Sought the response of centre to a plea challenging the power conferred by the Hindu Marriage Act on courts to direct the restitution of conjugal rights of an estranged couple. The petitioners also challenged the identical provision in section 22 of the Special Marriage Act and Rules 32 and 33 of Order XXI of the CPC on the execution of the decree for restitution of conjugal rights.
    • Directed the West Bengal Government to ensure that the screening of the film "BhobishyoterBhoot" takes place without unlawful obstruction. This interim order was passed by the bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta while issuing notice to WB Government on a petition by the producers of the film complaining that the film was taken off from the theatres following an 'unofficial ban' by the Government.
    • Stayed the judgment passed by Meghalaya High Court which had held ShillongTimes's editor Patricia Mukhim and publisher ShobhaChaudhuri guilty of contempt of court and sentenced them to pay fine of Rs. 2 lakhs.
    • Refused to entertain the plea for inquiry and police protection of a woman who alleged that she was subjected to gang-rape by four persons, including Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister PemaKhandu back in 2008.
    • Issued notice on a petition filed by leaders from 21 political parties seeking a direction to the Election Commission of India(ECI) to randomly verify at least 50 per cent votes using Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) in the polls to 17th Lok Sabha.
    • The Supreme Court stayed death penalty imposed on a man convicted for rape and murder of a 3- month old infant
    • In the Rafale review, reserved orders on the preliminary objections raised by the Central Government that the documents presented by the petitioners cannot be relied on by the Court as they are "privileged" documents.
    • Upheld the objections raised by the Registry against maintainability of a writ petition seeking to recall directions issued in a special leave petition.
    • Requested all the High Courts to register Suo motu Public Interest Litigations regarding the filling up of the large number of vacancies in the different posts in the police forces in the respective states.
    • Hearing an application for the transfer to itself of petitions over the Sabarimala Temple entry controversy pending in the Kerala High Court, the Supreme Court asked the government of Kerala to approach the High Court for the modification of the interim directions.
    • Dismissed a plea challenging the constitutional validity of an ordinance which makes the practice of instant 'triple talaq' a punishable offence. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi dismissed a plea of a Kerala-based outfit and said it will not like to interfere.
    • Directed the Election Commission of India to explain on affidavit by Thursday its decision to cross-check the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPAT) of only one randomly selected booth in each constituency.
    • Refused to entertain a plea challenging the Centre's Ordinance which restored the roster based reservation system for appointment of faculty members in higher educational institutions.
    • Directed the State of Tamil Nadu to take all necessary steps to ensure that there is no defacement/disfigurement of any public places including rocks, hills, hillocks, public constructions by writing slogans, messages of political parties including depiction of photographs of public figures/ politicians until further orders.
    • Pulled up the West Bengal Government after it was brought to its notice that the film "BhobishyoterBhoot" has not been screened within the limits of Kolkata. The bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta also dis
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