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Supreme Court Monthly Digest- November 2019

21 Dec 2019 6:30 AM GMT
Supreme Court Monthly Digest- November 2019

SC Keeps Sabarimala Review Pending Till Larger Bench Decides Issues Of Essential Religious Practices

Kantaru Rajeevaru V. Indian Young Lawyers Association

The Supreme Court by 3 :2 majority, decided to keep the review petitions in Sabarimala matter pending until a larger bench determines questions related to essential religious practices. The majority of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra expressed that the issue whether Court can interfere in essential practises of religion needed examination by larger bench. Justices Chandrachud and Nariman dissented.

[Sabarimala] Remember That The "Holy Book" Is The Constitution Of India; Justices RF Nariman & DY Chandrachud Dissent

Let every person remember that the "holy book" is the Constitution of India, remarked Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, also speaking for Justice Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud, in his dissent against the majority decision to refer the issues to larger bench. The judges opined that most of the arguments raised in the review petitions were already argued during the hearing of the writ petitions and were dealt with in the judgment of 28th September 2018. The judge still dealt with the arguments that was made by various parties during the hearing of review petitions.

SC Dismisses Rafale Review Petitions

Yashwant Sinha & Ors. V. Central Bureau Of Investigation

The Supreme Court dismissed the review petitions filed against the December 14, 2018 judgment which declined to order probe into the corruption allegations regarding the deal to procure 36 Rafale jets by Indian Government form French company Dassault Aviation. The bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph observed that the review petitions filed by Advocate Prashant Bhushan, former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie lacked merits.

Rafale Verdict Will Not Stop CBI From Taking Lawful Action On Petitioners' Complaint : Justice K M Joseph

Justice K M Joseph observed in his separate judgment in the Rafale review that the main verdict will not stand in the way of CBI taking lawful action on the complaint raising corruption allegations on the Rafale deal, subject to getting approval under Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Proceedings U/s 218 IPC Against IO, Witnesses Cannot Be Initiated Merely Because Prosecution Failed To Establish Its Case

Ranbir Singh V. State of Uttarakhand

The Supreme Court observed that merely because the acquittal of the accused was premised on the assessment that the prosecution had failed to establish its case, it does not necessarily mean that the investigator and the concerned witnesses ought to be proceeded against for the offence under Section 218 of the Indian Penal Code.

Govt. Servant Cannot File Complaint About Service Conditions Or Retiral Benefits Before Consumer Forums

Ministry Of Water Resources vs. Shreepat Rao Kamde

The Supreme Court reiterated that a government servant is not a 'consumer' for the purpose of Consumer Protection Act and cannot raise any dispute regarding his service conditions or for payment of gratuity or GPF or any of his retiral benefits before any of the forum under the Act.

SC Upholds Disqualification Of 17 Karnataka MLAs; But Holds That Speaker Cannot Disqualify For Full Term

Shrimanth Balasaheb Patil V.Hon'ble Speaker, Karnataka Legislative Assembly

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the decision of former Karnataka Speaker's decision to disqualify 17 rebel MLAs on the ground of defection. However, in partial relief to the MLAs, the apex court held that the duration of disqualification cannot be till the end of the term of the house. This means that they can re-contest in the upcoming by polls scheduled to take place in December.

Resignation Of Legislator Will Not Efface Impact Of Defection

Shrimanth Balasaheb Patil V.Hon'ble Speaker, Karnataka Legislative Assembly

A significant point in the Supreme Court's judgment in the Karnataka MLAs disqualification case is the discussion on the interplay between resignation and disqualification of a legislator. The apex court held that resignation of a legislator will not efface the effect of disqualification if defection has taken place before the date of resignation.

SC Strikes Down Rules Framed By Centre Under Section 184 Finance Act 2017 For Tribunals

Rojer Mathew V. South Indian Bank Ltd. & Ors.

Upheld the constitutional validity of Section 184 of the Finance Act 2017, which empowers the Central Government to frame rules relating to appointment and service conditions of members of various tribunals. At the same time, the five judges bench struck down the Rules already framed by the Central Government under Section 184, and directed the formulation of new rules.

Essar Insolvency : SC Sets Aside NCLAT Order; Uphlods Resolution Plan Of Arcelor Mittal

Committee of Creditors of Essar Steel India Ltd V. atish Kumar Gupta & Ors.

In a landmark decision having wide impact on the IBC regime, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal by Committee of Creditors in Essar Steel insolvency to set aside the order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal. The judgment pronounced by Justice R F Nariman held that there was no equality between financial creditors and operational creditors. The Adjudicating Authority cannot substitute the commercial wisdom of the CoC.

RTI Applicable To Office Of CJI; SC Upholds Delhi HC Judgment

Central Public Information Officer,Supreme Court Of India V. Subhash Chandra Agarwal

In a historic judgment, the Supreme Court held that the office of Chief Justice of India is a public authority under the Right to Information Act. The Constitution Bench upheld the the 2010 judgment of Delhi HC which had held that RTI Act was applicable to CJI's office.

Judges Are Not Above Law; Judicial Appointment Process Must Be Made Transparent

Central Public Information Officer,Supreme Court Of India V. Subhash Chandra Agarwal

Penning his separate but concurring opinion while dismissing the appeal against Delhi HC judgment that held office of CJI is under purview of RTI Act, Justice DY Chandrachud observed that the basis for the selection and appointment of judges to the higher judiciary must be defined and placed in the public realm.

Hospitals Have Duty To Provide Hostel Facilities To Nurses: SC Summarizes Principles To Determine 'Commercial Purpose'

Lilavati Kirtilal Mehta Medical Trust vs. M/S Unique Shanti Developers

The Supreme Court observed that provision of hostel facilities to nurses so as to facilitate better medical care is a positive duty enjoined upon the hospital. The Court has also laid down some broad principles for determining whether an activity or transaction is 'for a commercial purpose' for the purpose of Section 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Owner's Risk Clause Will Not Exempt Hotel From Liability For Theft Of A Vehicle Given For Valet Parking

Taj Mahal Hotel vs. United India Insurance Company Ltd.

In an important judgment in the realm of Contract laws, the Supreme Court observed that, in a case of theft of a vehicle given for valet parking, the hotel cannot claim exemption from liability by contending that it was due to acts of third parties beyond their control, or that they are protected by an 'owner's risk' clause.

East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act: SC Upholds Right Of NRIs To Claim 'Summary' Eviction Procedure

Ram Krishan Grover vs. Union Of India

The Supreme Court upheld the Constitutional Validity of Section 13-B of the East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949 which grants Non-Resident Indians a right to claim eviction for bona fide need by summary procedure. The three judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi also dismissed the challenge against ts extension and applicability to the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Mere Registration Of An Agreement Of Marriage Is Not Sufficient To Prove Marriage

Rathnamma vs. Sujathamma

The Supreme Court observed that mere registration of an agreement of marriage is not sufficient to prove marriage. Referring to relevant provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act, including Section 7, the bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta observed that, in the instant case, the entire claim of the plaintiff is based upon her marriage with defendant's son, the burden of proof as to any particular fact lies on the person who wishes the Court to believe in its existence.

No Person Or Institution Howsoever Powerful Can Be Permitted To Misuse The Process Of The Court

Vinay Prakash Singh V. Sameer Gehlaut & Ors.

No person or institution howsoever powerful can be permitted to misuse the process of the Court, remarked the Supreme Court while considering a contempt petition against directors of Oscar Investments Limited (OIL) and RHC Holding Private Limited.

Medical Negligence - Trial Court Should Examine Medical Expert Before Framing Charges

Aruna V. Mukund

The Supreme Court reiterated that examination of a report of an independent medical expert is crucial before proceeding against a doctor accused of medical negligence. Earlier, the Apex Court had in Jacob Mathew v. State of Punjab & Anr., (2005) 6 SCC 1, laid down guidelines governing the prosecution of doctors for the offence of criminal negligence, punishable under Section 304A of IPC.

Amendment In Criminal Laws Beneficial To Accused Can Be Applied In Pending/Earlier Cases

Trilok Chand V. State oh Himachal Pradesh

The Supreme Court reiterated that if the amendment in a criminal law is beneficial to the accused persons, it could be applied with respect to earlier cases as well which are pending in the Court. In this case, Trilok Chand was convicted under Section 16(1)(a)(i) read with Section 7 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. He was sentenced to three months' imprisonment along with fine of Rs.500.His revision petition was dismissed by the High Court.

[Ayodhya] : SC Allows Temple Construction In Disputed Land; Alternate Plot Of 5 Acres For Mosque

M. Siddiq V. Mahant Suresh Das

In an unanimous verdict, the Supreme Court held that the entire disputed land of 2.77 acres in Ayodhya must be handed over for the construction of Ram Mandir. At the same time, the Court held that an alternate plot of 5 acres must be allotted to the Sunni Waqf Board for construction of mosque. This direction was passed invoking powers under Article 142 of the Constitution. The Court observed that the destruction of Babri mosque in 1992 was a violation of law. The act of placing idols beneath the central dome of the mosque in 1949 was an act of "desecration", observed the Court.

Section 482 CrPC- Inherent Powers Cannot Be Invoked To Alter Sentence Imposed By The HC Itself

State of MP vs. Man Singh

The inherent power under Section 482 CrPC cannot be used by the High Court to reopen or alter an order disposing of a petition decided on merits, the Supreme Court observed. The bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose observed that the High Court has no power to entertain the petition under Section 482 CrPC and alter the sentence imposed by it.

Section 144 CPC [Restitution] Not Attracted When There Is No Variation Or Reversal Of A Decree Or Order

Bansidhar Sharma(Since Deceased) Vs The State Of Rajasthan

The Supreme Court observed that the provisions of Section 144 of the Code of Civil Procedure will not be attracted when there is no variation or reversal of a decree or order .

[Rape & Murder] Accused Cannot Be Convicted Merely Because Extra Judicial Confession Is Proved

Vinod @ Manoj V. State of Haryana

The Supreme Court acquitted a young man who spent about thirteen years in jail after he was convicted in a rape and murder case. The bench comprising Justice set aside the concurrent conviction by the High Court and the Trial Court and observed that the prosecution has failed to prove other circumstances apart from an extra judicial confession relied upon by it beyond reasonable doubt.

MV Act- Relinquishment Of Shares By A Dependent Doesn't Disentitle Her From Claiming Compensation

Renu Rani Shrivastava Vs. New India Assurance Company Ltd.

The Supreme Court observed that relinquishment of share by a claimant (dependent of the deceased) does not disentitle her from claiming compensation. One of the contentions adopted by the Insurance Company was that the wife of the deceased has relinquished her share in favour of her in-laws and got certain properties in lieu thereof and, therefore, the wife of the deceased is not entitled to any compensation

Complaint U/s 138 NI Act Maintainable Against Dishonour Of Cheque Issued Pursuant To Lok Adalat Award

Arun Kumar vs. Anita Mishra

The Supreme Court observed that a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act for dishonor of a cheque issued pursuant to the Lok Adalat award is maintainable. In this case as regards the first cheque issued by the accused, a criminal case was preferred u/S. 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and it resulted in conviction and a sentence of fine. An appeal was preferred against the judgment of conviction and both the parties in Lok Adalat to withdraw pending litigation. A cheque was also given in the light of the settlement and the same has been dishonoured. The second complaint has been preferred on account of dishonour of the second cheque.

Dissent By One Judge Not A Bar For Upholding Death Penalty: SC Rejects Review Petition Of Death Convict

Manoharan V. State

The Supreme Court dismissed the review petition filed by Manoharan whose death penalty was upheld it a few months ago. The Supreme Court (2:1) had, in August 2019, upheld the death sentence awarded to Manoharan involved in gang rape of a ten year old girl and thereafter murdering her and her brother. Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Surya Kant had upheld the death penalty and Justice Sanjiv Khanna had expressed his dissent against upholding death sentence.

Section 164 CrPC: Presence Of Advocate Not Mandatory When Confession Of Accused Before Magistrate Is Not Recorded By Audio-Video Means

Manoharan V. State

The Supreme Court observed that it is not mandatory that a confession or statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure should necessarily be made in the presence of the advocate(s) except when such confessional statement is recorded with audio-video electronic means.The bench was dealing with the submission of Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra, who appeared for the review petitioner death convict Manoharan. He had contended that the absence of a counsel during proceedings before the Magistrate under section 164, CrPC has caused prejudice to the accused.

Lacuna Left By Legislature Cannot Be Filled By Judicial Interpretation

Union of India vs. VR Nanukuttan Nair

The Supreme Court observed that if the legislature has left a lacuna, it is not open for the Courts to fill it on some presumed intention of the legislature. The bench comprising Justice L Nageswara and Justice Hemant Gupta was considering an appeal against Armed Forces Tribunal's interpretation of a regulation in Navy (Pension) Regulations, 1964. The bench observed that the reading of the Regulations does not lead to an inference that the service element should be limited to an individual who has completed minimum 15 years of engagement.

Discharge Plea Cannot Be Discarded Merely Because HC Had Earlier Refused To Quash Criminal Proceedings

Harish Dahiya @ Harish vs. State Of Punjab

The Supreme Court has observed that a Trial Court cannot decline to consider the application for discharge filed by an accused merely because his earlier application to quash the entire prosecution under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was dismissed by the High Court.

Forests In Alagar Hills Does Not Belong To The Deity

The Government of Tamil Nadu V. Arulmighu Kallalagar Thirukoil Alagar Koil

The Supreme Court set aside the Madras High Court judgment which held that the the entire forest area in Alagar Hills belongs to the deity of Arulmigu Kallalagar Thirukoil Alagar Koil. The bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta held that the presumption of lost grant cannot be applied when there is no evidence of continuous possession under an assertion of title.

Interim Mandatory Injunctions Can Be Granted After Giving Opportunity Of Hearing To Opposite Side

Dr. Syed Afzal (Dead) vs. Rubina Syed Faizuddin]

The Supreme Court observed that, the Civil Courts, while considering the application seeking interim mandatory injunction in long pending cases, should grant opportunity of hearing to the opposite side.In this case the appellant's contention was that the High Court, without granting an op portunity of hearing, granted an interim mandatory injunction and police aid.

HCs Have Power To Dispense With Disciplinary Proceedings For Dismissing Judicial Officers By Recording Reasons

Hari Niwas Gupta V. State of Bihar

The Supreme Court observed that the High Courts have power to dispense with the disciplinary proceedings by invoking clause (b) of the second proviso to Article 311(2) of the Constitution of India, by recording reasons.

SC Sets Aside NCLAT Order Which Held That Dissenting Financial Creditor Should Not Be Discriminated

Rahul Jain V. Rave Scans Pvt. Ltd

The Supreme Court set aside an order passed by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal which held that a dissenting financial creditor cannot be discriminated. A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Ravindra Bhat allowed the appeal filed by Rahul Jain, the resolution applicant in the insolvency of Rave Scans Private Ltd.

Chit Foreman Entitled To Recover Amount Of Future Subscription From Defaulting Subscriber

Oriental Kuries Ltd. vs. Lissa

The Supreme Court observed that the relationship between a chit subscriber and the chit foreman is a contractual obligation, which creates a debt on the day of subscription. On default taking place, the foreman is entitled to recover the consolidated amount of future subscriptions from the defaulting subscriber in a lump sum, the bench of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said.

State Cannot Alienate Water Bodies For Industrial Activities Under The Guise Of Providing Alternatives

Jitendra Singh V. Ministry of Environment

The Supreme Court held that it is not permissible for the State to alienate common water bodies for industrial activities, under the guise of providing alternatives. The bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Surya Kant was considering an appeal filed by Jitendra Singh against an order of National Green Tribunal which had dismissed summarily his petition raising grievance against allotment of local ponds to private industrialists, on the basis of an affidavit filed by Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority claiming that it was developing bigger alternative water-bodies.

Disputes About Properties Which Are Not Subject Matter Of Litigation Can Be Settled In Mediation

Kaushaliya vs. Jodha Ram

The Supreme Court observed that Settlement Agreement which has become part of a Court's order is executable irrespective of the fact whether the Agreement is with respect to the properties which was/were the subject matter of the proceedings before the Court or not. The bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah observed that, in the Mediation proceedings, it is always open for the parties to explore the possibility of an overall amicable settlement including the disputes which are not the subject matter of the proceedings before the Court.

Maradu Flats : SC Directs Builders To Deposit Rs 61.50 Crores With Kerala Govt To Compensate Owners

The Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority V. Maradu Municipality

The Supreme Court directed the four builders of apartments in Maradu, Kochi - which have been ordered to be demolished for CRZ violations - to deposit a sum of Rs 61.50 crores with the Government of Kerala for disbursement of compensation to the owners of flats. A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee passed this order on November 22 based on an affidavit of Chief Secretary of Kerala Government, which stated that a direction to the builders to deposit a sum of Rs 61.50 crores was necessary for grant of compensation to flat owners.

Assignment Of Interest Is Not Valid Merely Because It Was Not Expressly Prohibited In Contract

Kapilaben vs. Ashok Kumar Jayantilal Sheth

The Supreme Court observed that assignment of contractual interest cannot be held to be valid merely because there is no express bar against assignability stipulated in the contract. The bench comprising Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Aniruddha Bose observed that to examine whether an interest is assignable, it has to be seen whether the terms of the contract, and the circumstances in which the contract was entered into, lead to an inference that the parties did not intend to make their interest therein assignable

Person Interested In Outcome Of Decision Of The Dispute Must Not Have Power To Appoint Sole Arbitrator

Perkins Eastman Architects DPC vs. HSCC (India) Ltd.

A person who has an interest in the outcome or decision of the dispute must not have the power to appoint a sole arbitrator, the Supreme Court has reiterated in a judgment. The bench of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Indu Malhotra noted that in TRF Limited vs.Energo Engineering Projects Limited, the Court had examined a Clause which nominated the Managing Director himself to be the sole arbitrator and also empowered said Managing Director to nominate another person to act.

No Party Should Suffer Due To The Act Of Court

Odisha Forest Development Corporation Ltd. V. M/s Anupam Traders

The Supreme Court recently reiterated the maxim actus curiae neminem gravabit, namely, no party should suffer due to the act of Court. The bench comprising of Justice R. Banumathi, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy was considering an appeal filed by Odisha Forest Development Corporation Ltd.

Order Convening General Court Martial Can Be Challenged Before AFT

Union of India vs. PS Gill

The Supreme Court held that an order convening a General Court Martial can be challenged before an Armed Forces Tribunal. Assailing an order of the Tribunal, the Union of India had approached the Apex Court contending that an order by which the General Court Martial was convened cannot be the subject matter of an appeal before the Tribunal. It was urged that the jurisdiction of the Tribunal is only for adjudication of complaints and disputes regarding service matters and appeals arising out of the verdicts of the Court Martial.

No Automatic Conviction U/s 306 IPC For Abetment Of Suicide Merely Because Accused Was Found Guilty U/s 498A IPC

Gurjit Singh vs. State of Punjab

The Supreme Court observed that, merely because an accused is found guilty of an offence punishable under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code and the death of the wife has occurred within a period of seven years of the marriage, the accused cannot be automatically held guilty for the offence punishable under Section 306 of the IPC by employing the presumption under Section 113-A of the Indian Evidence Act.

SC Strikes Down Section 87 Of Arbitration & Conciliation Act Inserted By 2019 Amendment

Hindustan Construction Company Ltd v Union of India

In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court struck down Section 87 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996, which was inserted through the 2019 amendment Act passed by the Parliament last monsoon session. The judgment was delivered in the case which was heard by a bench comprising Justices R F Nariman, Surya Kant and V Ramasubramanian.

SC Negates Constitutional Challenge Against Exempting Government Bodies From IBC Proceedings

Hindustan Construction Company Ltd v Union of India

In its judgment striking down Section 87 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, the Supreme Court also negated the constitutional challenge made to some provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. Government bodies other than Government companies are exempt from the Insolvency Code because they are statutory authorities or government departments. According to the petitioners, whether the person sued as a corporate person is a government company or a body corporate set up under a statute.

Mere Irregularity In Sanction Will Not Vitiate Conviction In Corruption Cases

Vinod Kumar Garg vs. State

A mere error, omission or irregularity in sanction in corruption cases is not considered to be fatal unless it has resulted in a failure of justice or has been occasioned thereby, the Supreme Court reiterated. The bench of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna observed thus while upholding the conviction of an accused under Sections 7 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Issue Of Limitation Not To Be Examined While Considering Application Seeking Appointment Of Arbitrator

M/s. Uttarakhand Purv Sainik Kalyan Nigam Limited Northern Coal Field Limited

The Supreme Court observed that, while considering an application under Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act seeking appointment of an arbitrator, scope of examination by the Court is to be confined only to the existence of the arbitration agreement and nothing more.

Mere Irregularity In Sanction Will Not Vitiate Conviction In Corruption Cases

Vinod Kumar Garg vs. State

A mere error, omission or irregularity in sanction in corruption cases is not considered to be fatal unless it has resulted in a failure of justice or has been occasioned thereby, the Supreme Court reiterated. The bench of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna observed thus while upholding the conviction of an accused under Sections 7 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Body Corporates Like City Municipal Council/Corporation Can Be Prosecuted U/s 47 Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act

Karnataka State Pollution Control Board vs. B. Heera Naik

The Supreme Court observed that Body Corporate like City Municipal Council and Corporation can be prosecuted under Section 47 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. In this case, the Karnataka High Court had quashed the complaint filed by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board on the ground that Commissioner of Municipal Council, Chief Officer or Council cannot be termed as Head of the Department and they cannot be prosecuted under Section 48 of the Act, 1974.

SC Rejects Actor Dileep's Plea For Copy Of Memory Card In Kerala Actor Sexual Assault Case

P. Gopalkrishnan @ Dileep V. State of Kerala

The Supreme Court held that Malayalam actor Dileep was not entitled to receive the copy of the memory card allegedly containing the visuals of the sexual crimes committed on a Kerala actress in February 2017. A bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheswari however has allowed him (or his lawyer) to inspect the video subject to conditions securing the privacy of the actress.

There Is No Stigma With Regard To Any Crime Committed By A Juvenile Union Of India V.Ramesh Bishnoi

The Supreme Court observed that even if a juvenile is convicted, there is no stigma with regard to any crime committed by such person as a juvenile.Ramesh Bishnoi was a minor when the charges were framed against him of offences under Sections 354, 447 and 509 of IPC. As the complainant girl and her parents did not give any evidence against him, he was acquitted.

Right To Get Sample Tested Also Available To Vendor Of Misbranded Food Article When Its Testing Is Integral To Prove The Offence

M/s Alkem Laboratories Ltd. V. State of MP

The Supreme Court observed that, where examination of the contents/ingredients of the food article is integral to proving the offence 'misbranding', the procedure prescribed under Sections 11-­13 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act has to be complied with, regardless of whether 'adulteration' is alleged or not.

Any Act Of Commission/Omission Of The Investigating Officer Cannot Go To The Advantage Of The Accused

Jai Prakash vs. State of UP

Any act of commission/omission of the Investigating Officer cannot go to the advantage of the accused, the Supreme Court has observed while dismissing a Criminal Appeal. The bench of Justice R. Banumathi, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy were considering the appeal filed by complainant and the state against the acquittal of murder accused by the Allahabad High Court.

Section 207 CrPC: Magistrate Cannot Withhold Any Document Submitted Along With Police Report Except When It Is Voluminous

P. Gopalkrishnan @ Dileep vs. State of Kerala.

The Supreme Court observed that a Magistrate cannot withhold any "document" submitted by the investigating officer along with the police report except when it is voluminous. Further, in case of voluminous documents, the accused can be permitted to take inspection of the concerned document either personally or through his pleader in Court, the bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari.

Seniority Cannot Be Claimed From A Date When The Incumbent Was Not Borne In Service

K. Meghachandra Singh vs. Ningam Siro

The Supreme Court observed that, under Service Jurisprudence, seniority cannot be claimed from a date when the incumbent is yet to be borne in the cadre. The bench comprising Justice R. Banumathi, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy was considering appeals against Manipur High Court judgment in cases pertaining to an inter-se seniority dispute in the Manipur Police Service Grade II Officers Cadre.

Order VIII Rule 6A CPC: No Embargo On Filing Counter-Claim After Filing Written Statement

Ashok Kumar Kalra vs. Wing Cdr. Surendra Agnihotri

The Supreme Court held that a Court can exercise its discretion and permit the filing of a counter-claim after the written statement, till the stage of framing of the issues of the trial. The three judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana held that Order VIII Rule 6A of the CPC does not pose an embargo on filing the counter-claim after filing the written statement.

Section 376 R/w 511 IPC: Offence Of Attempt To Rape Can Be Attracted Even If Accused Had Not Undressed Himself

Chaitu Lal vs. State of Uttarakhand

The Supreme Court upheld conviction of a man under Section 376 read with Section 511 of the Indian Penal Code for attempt of rape of a woman.In the appeal, the contention raised on behalf of the accused was that, since he did not committ any overt act such as; any attempt to undress himself in order to commit the alleged act, his actions do not constitute the offence under Section 511 read with Section 376.

MV Act: Compensation Can Be Granted In Excess Of Amount Claimed

Jabbar vs. Maharashtra SRTC

The Supreme Court reiterated that it is permissible to grant motor accident compensation of any amount in excess to that one which has been claimed. In this case, the claimant had claimed that he is entitled for compensation of Rs.9,05,000/-. But since he was suffering from financial crisis and was unable to pay court fees on the said amount and therefore restricted his claim to the tune of Rs.3,00,000/-. The Tribunal allowed the claim and granted compensation of Rs.1.50 Lakhs. The High Court enhanced the compensation to Rs.2.50 Lakhs.

Right To File Regular Appeal Cannot Be Curtailed Merely Because Application To Set Aside Ex-Parte Decree Was Dismissed

N. Mohan vs. R. Madhu

The Supreme Court observed that a defendant cannot be deprived of the statutory right to appeal under Section 96(2) of the Code of Civil Procedure merely on the ground that earlier, the application filed under Order IX Rule 13 CPC was dismissed. The bench of Justice R.Banumathi, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy said that the application under Order IX Rule 13 CPC cannot be filed after dismissal of appeal under Section 96(2) CPC.

Private Counsel Engaged By Victim To Assist Public Prosecutor Cannot Make Oral Argument/Cross Examine Witnesses

Rekha Murarka vs. State of West Bengal

The Supreme Court observed that, though a victim can engage a private counsel to assist the prosecution, such counsel could not be given the right to make oral arguments or examine and cross-examine witnesses. The bench of Justice Mohan M. Shanthanagoudar and Justice Deepak Gupta observed thus while upholding the Calcutta High Court judgment dismissing the application made by a victim in a criminal case seeking permission for her counsel to cross-examine witnesses after the Public Prosecutor.

No Bar In Dismissing 'Admitted' Writ Petition On Ground Of Alternative Remedy

Genpact India Private Limited vs. Deputy Commissioner Of Income Tax

The Supreme Court has reiterated that after admitting a writ petition, there is no bar on High Court to dismiss it on the ground of alternative remedy. Before the Apex Court the order of the High Court was impugned raising two issues. One, whether the High Court was justified in refusing to entertain the writ petition because of availability of adequate appellate remedy. The second was whether after admission, the Writ Petition could be dismissed on the ground of alternate remedy.

COFEPOSA: Detention Order Can Be Passed Even If A Person Is In Judicial Custody

Union of India vs. Ankit Ashok Jalan

The Supreme Court observed that even if a person is in judicial custody, he can be detained Detention Laws like COFEPOSA. The Court further noted that the detenus were granted bail by the Court on the very date the orders of detention were quashed by the High Court. Therefore, the apprehension in the mind of the Detaining Authority that the detenus are likely to be released on bail was well founded and fortified, said the bench while setting aside the High Court order.

'Not A Murder': 'Short- Tempered' Retd. Army Officer Who Shot A Boy For Plucking Fruits From His Compound Gets Relief From SC

Kandaswamy Ramaraj V. State

The Supreme Court acquitted of murder charges a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Indian Army accused of killing a boy who was plucking fruits from his defence enclave, and modified the conviction to Culpable Homicide not amounting to murder. Kandaswamy Ramaraj was convicted under Section 302 IPC by the Trial Court and the same was upheld by the Madras High Court.

A Male Between The Age of 18 And 21 Yrs Cannot Be Punished For Marrying A Female Adult

The Supreme Court held that a male aged between 18 and 21 years, who contracts into a marriage with a female adult, cannot be punished under Section 9 of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

Other Significant Orders and Proceedings

  • A Nine Judge Bench of the Supreme Court, on 17th October 2019, dismissed a petition seeking a review of the 1993 judgment Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association vs. Union of India [Judges-2 Case], which apparently introduced the Collegium system of appointing judges.
  • obtained for a Tata housing project near Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary and observed that such projects cannot be permitted to come up within a short distance from the wildlife sanctuary.The bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice MR Shah and Justice BR Gavai upheld a Delhi High Court judgment that refused to permit the construction of a housing project of Tata Housing Development Company Ltd., on the ground that the area in question falls within the catchment area of Sukhna Lake and is 123 meters away from the boundary of Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Directed the Allahabad High Court to continue with the contempt proceedings against a litigant and lawyer for allegedly resorting to 'bench hunting'.
  • Taking serious note of the air pollution which has engulfed the Delhi-NCR area, the Supreme Court passed a slew of directions. The bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta observed that life span was coming down due to pollution. The Court advised people not to enter Delhi or leave their homes in Delhi.
  • Directed the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab to grant financial assistance of Rs 100 per quintal within seven days to small and marginal farmers for handling crop residue of non-basmati rice to ensure that they do not burn stubble to clean their fields.
  • Granted interim bail to Noida-based builder Satindar Singh Bhasin in respect of the complaints pertaining to project by name "Grand Venice" in National Capital Region.
  • Taking note of the incident of phone tapping of IPS officer Mukesh Gupta, the issued notice to the Chattisgarh government and sought an explanation regarding taking such steps. The bench pulled up the Chattisgarh government and expressed concern over the manner in which a citizen's right to privacy is being violated.
  • Noting the inability of High Courts to bring criminal appeals to an early conclusion, the Supreme Court sought the assistance of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in evolving solutions to the problem. The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was confronted with a case where the accused, who has been convicted under Section 302 IPC and whose appeal is pending before the Allahabad High Court, has been refused bail pending hearing of the appeal. The appellant has been custody for over three years.
  • Sought a report from the Government of NCT of Delhi on the efficacy of the odd-even scheme, which is coming into force from today, in reducing air pollution.
  • Directed the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice Committee comprising four High Court judges to submit a fresh report on the allegations of detention of minors in Kashmir, after addressing all issues independently.
  • The Supreme Court issued detailed directions for proper administration of Sri Jagannath temple at Puri. The bench of Justices Arun Mishra, M.R. Shah and S. Ravindra Bhat directed the appointment of a full time Chief Administrator for the temple, forthwith.
  • Directed the AIIMS to constitute a board for Ex-Congress leader Sajjan Kumar's medical examination, requiring the report to be submitted in 4 weeks. The bench headed by Justice S. A. Bobde was hearing Kumar's (who is sentenced to imprisonment for life for his involvement in the 1984 Sikh riots) plea for bail.
  • Required the Centre and the respondent states to file a status report regarding the filling up of the vacancies of Information Commissioners and the compliance with the directions issued by the court vide its judgment of February 15.
  • Pass an order which we can understand, the Supreme Court 'requested' the High Court while it dealt with a special leave petition impugning its order. In a brief order, the bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose said that the order of the High Court is unintelligible. We could not decipher what has been decided by the High Court, it said.
  • Refused to entertain a plea seeking direction to the Centre for formulting guidelines for daughters' right to perform last rites of her parents.A bench of Justices S A Bobde, S Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari dismissed the plea filed by one Garima Bharti saying that courts cannot interfere in such matters as it is a matter of faith and belief.
  • The Supreme Court, during the course of proceedings to curb air pollution in Delhi took stern view of the dilapidated conditions of roads in Delhi which it said, added to the pollution and dust in the city, and directed the Chief Secretaries of Delhi and the NCR region to take appropriate steps in that behalf.
  • The Supreme Court allowed to complete CIRP concerning Jaypee Infratech Ltd. within a period of 90 days. The bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari allowed the Insolvency Resolution Professional IRP to invite revised resolution plan only from Suraksha Realty and NBCC respectively, who were the final bidders and had submitted resolution plan on the earlier occasion.
  • The five judges bench of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya land title dispute case held that the disputed land belongs to the Hindu deity Ram Lalla and that Nirmohi Akhara is not a shebait of the deity.
  • Took note of the Central government notification elevating Gujarat High Court Justice Akil Kureshi as the Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court. Disposing off a petition by the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association in the same behalf, the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, however, left alive the question of whether there should be a definite time schedule to be followed by the government in effecting collegium recommendations.
  • While referring the Sabarimala case to larger bench, the majority judges observed that the matters involving the interpretation of the provisions of the Constitution touching upon the right to profess, practise and propagate its own religion,should be heard by a larger bench, for an authoritative pronouncement in these matters.
  • The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, in its judgment examining the validity of provisions of Finance Act 2017 affecting tribunals, has doubted the correctness of the interpretation of the majority judgment which held that Aadhaar Bill is a Money Bill within the meaning of Article 110(1) of the Constitution.The effect of the word 'only' in the interpretation of Article 110(1) was referred for examination by a larger bench of seven judges.
  • While refusing to refer Karnataka MLAs Disqualification case to larger bench, the Supreme Court cautioned itself against making 'casual and cavilier' references to Constitutional Bench.
  • Held former Ranbaxy promoters Malvinder Singh and Shivinder Singh guilty of contempt of court for violating its order asking them not to divest their shares in Fortis Healthcare Limited.
  • Issued notice to the NGO Lawyers Collective and its founders Senior Advocates Indira Jaising and Anand Grover in the petition filed by CBI against the interim protection granted to them by the Bombay High Court in the criminal case registered for alleged FCRA violations.
  • Closed the contempt proceedings against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with 'a word of caution for the contemnor to be more careful in future.' The Bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph said that the persons holding such important positions in the political spectrum must be more careful and that a Court should not be dragged into this political discourse.
  • Issued notice to the NGO Lawyers Collective and its founders Senior Advocates Indira Jaising and Anand Grover in the petition filed by CBI against the interim protection granted to them by the Bombay High Court in the criminal case registered for alleged FCRA violations.
  • Five-judge bench headed by Justice N. V. Ramana deferred to December 10 the hearing in a string of petitions challenging the restructuring of Article 370.
  • Came down heavily on the governments of Haryana, Punjab, UP and Delhi noting that they have failed to take effective steps to control pollution in accordance with the earlier orders passed by it. The bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta has summoned the Chief Secretaries of these governments on November 25
  • A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph took note of the alarming increase in vacancies of High Court judges - nearly 40%. The bench observed that the convention of sending the names six months in advance of the vacancy will be meaningless if the Centre is not processing the names within time.
  • Issued notices on a Special Leave Petition filed by the Shahjahanpur law student, who had leveled allegations of sexual harassment and rape against former Union Minister and BJP leader Chinmayanand.
  • A fortnight ahead of the state to go on polls for 81 Assembly seats, the Supreme Court refused to allow former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda to contest the upcoming Assembly elections. The court, however, issued notice to Election commission of India (ECI) on Koda's plea challenging his disqualification by the poll panel in 2017.
  • In its order passed in the petition filed by Shiva Sena, the Supreme Court observed that it has ordered urgent floor test tomorrow to curtail unlawful practices such as horse trading and also to avoid uncertainty and to effectuate smooth running of democracy by ensuring a stable Government.
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