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Supreme Court Monthly Digest: December 2021 [Citation: LL 2021 SC 696 To LL 2021 SC 764]

Akshita Saxena
24 Dec 2021 11:32 AM GMT
Supreme Court Monthly Digest: December 2021 [Citation: LL 2021 SC 696 To LL 2021 SC 764]
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1. Rape Conviction Can Be Based On Sole Testimony Of Victim If Credible & Trustworthy, Reiterates Supreme Court [Case: Phool Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh; Citation: LL 2021 SC 696] The Supreme Court reiterated that a rape accused can be convicted on sole testimony of prosecuterix if she is found to be credible and trustworthy. A bench comprising Justices MR Shah...

1. Rape Conviction Can Be Based On Sole Testimony Of Victim If Credible & Trustworthy, Reiterates Supreme Court

[Case: Phool Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh; Citation: LL 2021 SC 696]

The Supreme Court reiterated that a rape accused can be convicted on sole testimony of prosecuterix if she is found to be credible and trustworthy. A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna noted:

There can be a conviction on the sole testimony of the victim/prosecutrix when the deposition of the prosecutrix is found to be trustworthy; If credible, conviction of accused can be based on sole testimony, without corroboration; Testimony of the victim is vital and unless there are compelling reasons which necessitate looking for corroboration of her statement.

2. UAPA- Period Of Deprivation Of Personal Liberty Pending Trial Cannot Be Unduly Long: Supreme Court Grants Bail To Accused

[Case: Ashim v. National Investigation Agency; Citation: LL 2021 SC 697]

The Supreme Court observed that period of deprivation of personal liberty pending trial/appeal cannot be unduly long. Once it is obvious that a timely trial would not be possible and the accused has suffered incarceration for a significant period of time, the Courts would ordinarily be obligated to enlarge him on bail, the bench comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and Abhay S. Oka observed.

The court was considering a case of an under trial accused under Sections 120B, 121, 121A, 122 IPC, Section 25(1A) of the Arms Act 1959, Section 5 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908 and Sections 18,20,40(1)(b)(c) of the Unlawful Activities(Prevention) Act, 1967. It noted that the accused, who is presently 74 year old is in custody since 6th July, 2012 and has completed nine and half years of incarceration as an undertrial prisoner.

3. Resolution Process Has To Be Completed Within The Period Stipulated U/Sec 12 IBC: Supreme Court

[Case: Committee of Creditors of Amtek Auto Ltd v. Dinkar T. Venkatsubramanian; Citation: LL 2021 SC 698]

The Supreme Court observed that the entire resolution process has to be completed within the period stipulated under Section 12 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. Any deviation would defeat the object and purpose of providing such time limit, the bench comprising Justice MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna observed. It was considering an appeal filed by the Committee of Creditors in the matter of corporate insolvency resolution process initiated against Amtek Auto Limited.

4. Supreme Court Allows Registration Of BS-IV Vehicles' Sale Uploaded On E-Vahan Portal Before March 31, 2020

[Case: MC Mehta v. Union of India; Citation: LL 2021 SC 699]

The Supreme Court permitted registration of those BS-IV vehicles whose sales were uploaded on e-Vahan portal before 31.03.2020 provided that the temporary/permanent registration was granted before the cut off date, i.e. 31.03.2020.

The concerned transport authorities have however been directed by a bench comprising Justice L Nageswara Rao, Justice BR Gavai and Justice BV Nagarathna to carefully scrutinize the records to ensure that the sales are genuine and have taken place prior to 31.03.2020.

Also Read: Registration Of CNG Vehicles Can't Be Rejected As Emission Is Within Limits: Supreme Court

5. Father Responsible To Maintain Child Till Adulthood: Supreme Court

[Case: Neha Tyagi v. Lt. Col Deepak Tyagi; Citation: LL 2021 SC 700]

The liability and responsibility of the father to maintain the child continues till the child/son attains the age of majority, the Supreme Court observed in a judgment dissolving marriage of a couple. "It also cannot be disputed that the son has a right to be maintained as per the status of his father", the Court added. Further, the court said that a child should not be made to suffer due to disputes between his parents.

6. Pension Shall Be Determined On Rules Existing At The Time Of Retirement: Supreme Court

[Case: Dr. G. Sadasivan Nair v. Cochin University Of Science & Technology; Citation: LL 2021 SC 701]

The Supreme Court observed that the pension payable to an employee on retirement shall be determined on the rules existing at the time of retirement. The bench of Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna also observed that the law did not allow the employer to apply the rules differently in relation to persons who are similarly situated.

7. Section 149 IPC -Merely Because A Person Disclosed Victim's Hideout, He Can't Be Held To Part Of Unlawful Assembly : Supreme Court

[Case: Taijuddin v. State of Assam; Citation: LL 2021 SC 702]

Setting aside the conviction of a person in a murder case, the Supreme Court recently held that merely because a person revealed the hideout of the victim to the murderous mob, he cannot be presumed to share the common object of the unlawful assembly.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh struck a word of caution by observing that the Courts must guard against the tendency of convicting mere passive onlookers of the crime using the medium of Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code for sharing the common object of the unlawful assembly.

8. Claim Of Juvenility Can Be Raised Before Any Court, At Any Stage, Even After Final Disposal Of The Case: Supreme Court Reiterates

[Case: Ashok v. State of Madhya Pradesh; Citation: LL 2021 SC 703]

The Supreme Court observed that the claim of juvenility can be raised before any Court, at any stage, even after final disposal of the case. The bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Mahseshwari observed that if the Court finds a person to be a juvenile on the date of commission of the offence, it is to forward the juvenile to the Board for passing appropriate orders, and the sentence, if any, passed by a Court, shall be deemed to have no effect.

9. Persons With Disabilities Should Not Be Asked to Remove Prosthetic Limbs At Airport Security Checks: Supreme Court

[Case: Jeeja Ghosh v. Union of India; Citation: LL 2021 SC 704]

In a petition filed to ensure convenient air travel for persons with disabilities, the Supreme Court observed that differently abled persons with prosthetic limbs/calipers should not be asked to remove the prosthetics at airport security checks so as to maintain human dignity. A Bench comprising Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V Ramasubramanian also observed that lifting a person with disability during air travel or security checkup is inhumane, and held that the same should not be done without the person's consent.

10. Right Against Sexual Harassment Part Of Right To Life & Dignity Under Article 21: Supreme Court

[Case: Union of India & Ors v. Mudrika Singh; Citation: LL 2021 SC 705]

The Supreme Court observed that the right against sexual harassment is vested in all persons as a part of their right to life and right to dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution. The Court stressed that it is important that that the spirit of this right is upheld instead of rejecting sexual harassment complaints on "hyper-technical" grounds.

A Bench comprising Justices D.Y Chandrachud and A.S Bopanna highlighted that the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013 which is a transformative legislation will fail to come to the aid of aggrieved persons if proceedings inquiring into sexual misconduct are invalidated on 'hyper-technical' interpretations of the applicable service rules.

11. Section 138 NI Act Attracted Even In Cases Where Debt Is Incurred After Cheque Is Drawn But Before Presentation: Supreme Court

[Case: Sunil Todi v. State of Gujarat; Citation: LL 2021 SC 706]

The Supreme Court observed that Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act is attracted in cases where debt is incurred after the drawing of the cheque but before its encashment. The true purpose of Section 138 would not be fulfilled, if 'debt or other liability' is interpreted to include only a debt that exists as on the date of drawing of the cheque, the bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna observed. The court added that merely labelling the cheque as a security would not obviate its character as an instrument designed to meet a legally enforceable debt or liability.

12. Ex-Parte Enhancement Of Sentence Illegal; HC Must Appoint Amicus Curiae If Accused Is Not Represented : Supreme Court

[Case: Krishnan & Anr v. State By Deputy Superintendent Of Police & Anr; Citation: LL 2021 SC 707]

The Supreme Court held that ex parte enhancement of sentence by the High Court is against the statutory mandate of the law under CrPC that provides for an opportunity to show case before enhancement of sentence in criminal revision. A Bench compromising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Bela Trivedi set aside Madras High Court's order that enhanced the sentences imposed on the appellants without any legal representation on his behalf and without appointing an Amicus Curiae in the case

13. ITAT Cannot Recall Its Order By Invoking Power U/Sec 254(2) Income Tax Act : Supreme Court

[Case: Commissioner of Income Tax (IT-4), Mumbai v. Reliance Telecom Limited; Citation: LL 2021 SC 708]

The Supreme Court observed that the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal cannot recall orders passed by it invoking power under Section 254(2) of the Income Tax Act. Section 254(2) power is only to correct and/or rectify the mistake apparent from the record and not beyond that, the bench comprising Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna said.

14. Builder Can't Be Asked To Raze Down Validly Constructed Structures Due To Later Changes In Environmental Clearance Law : Supreme Court

[Case: M/s. Sai Baba Sales Pvt. Ltd. v. Union of India And Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 709]

The Supreme Court validated the pre-existing construction made by a Project Proponent, based on the Environmental Clearance (EC) obtained as per the legal framework that existed at the relevant time, invoking the principle of legitimate expectation. However, the Apex court directed further construction to be carried out only after obtaining fresh EC under the existing environmental regime. A Bench comprising Justices R. Subhash Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy endorsed the order of the National Green Tribunal to the extent that the Appellant's EC though invalidated beyond a certain period, its pre-existing constructions made on the said EC were protected.

15. SARFAESI Proceedings Not Invalidated On Mere Failure Of Bank In Giving Reply To Objections If Borrower's Proposals Were Otherwise Considered : Supreme Court

[Case: Arce Polymers Private Limited v. M/s. Alpine Pharmaceuticals Private Limited & Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 710]

The Supreme Court held that failure to furnish reply by the creditor as per the mandate of Section 13(3A) of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act) would not entitle the debtor of discretionary relief, if the Court is satisfied that the creditor has considered the debtor's representation and granted it sufficient opportunity to repay the debt. A Bench comprising Justices L. Nageshwara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna and B.R. Gavai added that a borrower not questioning and objecting to the action of the creditor and accepting the favourable decisions from the creditor, would be later estopped from take inconsistent positions to gain advantage through the aid of judicial proceedings.

16. Supreme Court Upholds RBI Regulations For Export Ban On PPE Kits; Says 'Well Being Of Masses Over Right To Business Of Few'

[Case: Akshay N Patel v. Reserve Bank of India and others; Citation: LL 2021 SC 711]

The Supreme Court upheld the measures adopted by the Reserve Bank of India to implement the ban imposed by the Union Government on the export of PPE Kits in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. A bench comprising Justices Dr DY Chandrachud, Justice Vikram Nath and Justice BV Nagarathna rejected the argument of a business person that the restrictions amounted to violation of his fundamental right to freedom to trade and business guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.

17. CPC - Obstructor's Claims Over Decree Property Must Be Determined In Execution Proceedings And Not In Separate Suit: Supreme Court

[Case: Bangalore Development Authority v. N. Nanjappa and another; Citation: LL 2021 SC 712]

The Supreme Court held that claims raised by an obstructor including questions relating to right, title or interest in the property in execution proceedings filed by the decree holder against the judgment debtor, has to be adjudicated upon by the Executing Court in the execution proceedings itself.

A Bench comprising Justice MR Shah and Justice BV Nagarathna held that in accordance with Order XXI Rule 101 CPC, an application filed under Order XXI Rule 97 with respect to resistance or obstruction to possession of immovable property have to be determined by the Court dealing with the application and for that a separate suit is not required to be filed.

18. Registration Of Document Subject To Adjudication Of Parties' Rights By Civil Court: Supreme Court

[Case: Amudhavali & Ors. v. P. Rukmani and others.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 713]

The Supreme Court reiterated that the registration of a document is always subject to the adjudication of the rights of the parties by the competent civil court. "It is settled legal position that registration of document is always subject to adjudication of rights of the parties by the competent civil court", observed a bench comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy in the case Amudhavali and others versus P. Rukmani and others.

19. NCDRC Can Direct Deposit Of Entire Or More Than 50% Of Amount Determined By SCDRC For Stay : Supreme Court

[Case: Manohar Infrastructure and Constructions Private Ltd v. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma & Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 714]

In a significant judgment on the Consumer Protection Act 2019, the Supreme Court held that the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission can direct the deposit of the entire amount or more than 50% of the amount determined by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission for conditional stay. A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna added that however to pass such an order, the NCDRC has to pass a speaking order assigning cogent reasons.

20. Sec 120B IPC - Not Safe To Convict A Person For Criminal Conspiracy In Absence Of Evidence Showing Meeting Of Minds : Supreme Court

[Case: Parveen @Sonu v. State of Haryana; Citation: LL 2021 SC 715]

The Supreme Court bench of Justices R Subhash Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy observed that in absence of any evidence to show meeting of minds between the conspirators for the intended object of committing an illegal act, it is not safe to hold a person guilty for offences under Section 120-B of IPC.

21. 'Forum Shopping Cannot Be Approved; A Ground To Refuse Relief' : Supreme Court Sets Aside Interim Bail

[Case: State of Maharashtra v. Pankaj Jagshi Gangar; Citation: LL 2021 SC 716]

While setting aside an interim bail granted by the High Court in a MCOCA case, the Supreme Court observed that "forum shopping" can also be a ground to refuse relief. A Bench comprising Justice MR Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said, "The aforesaid can be said to be forum shopping by the accused which is highly deprecated and which cannot be approved. On this ground also, the accused is not entitled to be released on bail and the impugned order passed by the High Court releasing the accused on bail deserves to be quashed and set aside."

22. Supreme Court Recommends Constitution Of Motor Vehicle Appellate Tribunals In View Of Large Pendency In High Courts

[Case: Rasmita Biswal & Ors v. Divisional Manager, National Insurance Company Ltd & Anr; Citation: LL 2021 SC 717]

In view of large pendency of motor accident claims appeals before High Courts, the Supreme Court recommended the constitution of Motor Vehicle Appellate Tribunals in the country by amending Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act for hearing the appeals challenging the award of a Tribunal. A Division Bench comprising Justice Abdul Nazeer and Justice Krishna Murari requested the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice to examine the matter. It recommended speedy disposal of the appeals concerning payment of compensation to the victims of road accident, and to curtail the pendency before the High Courts.

23. Impleadment Of Few Affected Employees Sufficient In Service Matters; Non-Joining Of All Parties Not Fatal: Supreme Court

[Case: Ajay Kumar Shukla & Ors. v. Arvind Rai And Others; Citation: LL 2021 SC 718]

The Supreme Court bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and BV Nagarathna observed that in matters relating to service jurisprudence it is not essential to implead each and everyone who could be affected but if a section of such affected employees is impleaded then the interest of all is represented and protected.

24. Non-Disclosure Of Past & Present Litigations Concerning Dispute Amounts To Suppression Of Material Facts : Supreme Court

[Case: Shri K Jayaram & Ors v. Bangalore Development Authority; Citation: LL 2021 719]

The Supreme Court held that non-disclosure of details of past and pending litigation concerning the subject-matter of the dispute would amount to material suppression of facts, which would disentitle a litigant from discretionary remedy under Article 226 of the Constitution.

A Bench comprising Justice Abdul Nazeer and Justice Krishna Murari also reiterated that while approaching the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution, it is imperative that the petitioner must come with clean hands and put forward all facts before the Court without concealing or suppressing anything.

25. Candidates In Rank List Have No Right To Demand That State Should Report All Vacancies: Supreme Court

[Case: The Director of Indian System of Medicine & Anr. v. Dr.Susmi CT & Anr.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 720]

The Supreme Court held that candidates included in a ranked list do not have a right to claim that all vacancies must be reported by a government agency. While saying that the agency cannot be arbitrary when choosing to not report vacancies to the Public Service Commission, the bench comprising Justice UU Lalit, Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Bela M Trivedi added that if the State offers proper explanations for not reporting the vacancies, judicial interference must be uploaded.

26. Consumer Case Not Maintainable Over Medical Services Given Free Of Charge Just Because Doctor Draws Salary From Hospital : Supreme Court

[Case: Nivedita Singh v. Dr. Asha Bharti And Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 721]

The Supreme Court reiterated that service rendered by medical officers on behalf of a Hospital, free of cost, would not fall within the ambit of Section 2(1)(o) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 only because the medical officers are salaried employees of the Hospital.

A bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian rejected an appeal assailing the order passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, which dismissed the Appellant's complaint on the ground that she was not a consumer within the meaning of Section 2(1)(d)(ii) of the Act.

27. Section 427 CrPC - Concurrent Running Of Sentences Shall Not Be Allowed In Drug Trafficking Cases : Supreme Court

[Case: Mohd Zahid v. State through NCB; Citation: LL 2021 SC 722]

The Supreme Court reiterated that discretion to direct subsequent sentence to run concurrently with the previous sentence has to be exercised judiciously depending upon the nature of offences committed. A Bench comprising Justice MR Shah and Justice BV Nagarathna observed that in NDPS cases, even while applying discretion under Section 427 of Cr.PC, the discretion shall not be in favour of the accused who is found to be indulging in illegal trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

28. Insurer Has Duty To Disclose Changed Policy Conditions During Renewal : Supreme Court Grants Mediclaim Relief To Senior Citizens

[Case: Jacob Punnen & Anr. v. United India Insurance Co Ltd; Citation: LL 2021 SC 723]

The failure of an insurance agent to disclose to the policy-holder the changes in the policy conditions at the time of renewal of the policy will amount to 'deficiency in service' within the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act 1986, held the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and KM Joseph while allowing mediclaim relief to two senior citizens.

29. Non-Recovery Of Weapon Of Offence Would Not Impeach Prosecution Case Which Relies On Credible Direct Evidence: Supreme Court

[Case: Gulab v. State of Uttar Pradesh; Citation: LL 2021 SC 724]

The Supreme Court held that non-recovery of the weapon of offence would not discredit the case of the prosecution which relies on cogent direct evidence. A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, AS. Bopanna and Vikram Nath added that the failure to produce a report by a ballistic expert, who can testify to the nature and cause of injury, is not sufficient to impeach the credible direct evidence.

30. Insurer Should Indemnify If Insured Suffers Sudden Sickness Or Ailment Which Is Not Expressly Excluded Under The Policy: Supreme Court

[Case: Manmohan Nanda v. United India Assurance Co. Ltd. & Anr.; Citation: LL 2021 725]

The Supreme Court observed that if the insured suffers a sudden sickness or ailment which is not expressly excluded under the policy, a duty is cast on the insurer to indemnify the insured for the expenses incurred thereunder. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna remarked that any fact which has a bearing on the very foundation of the contract of insurance and the risk to be covered under the policy would be a "material fact".

31. Onus Is On Propounder To Remove All Suspicious Circumstances About Execution Of Will: Supreme Court

[Case: Murthy v. C. Saradambal; Citation: LL 2021 SC 726]

The Supreme Court observed that onus is placed on the propounder to remove all suspicious circumstances with regard to the execution of the will. Merely because Will was a registered one, that by itself would not mean that the statutory requirements of proving the Will need not be complied with, the bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and BV Nagarathna observed

32. Whether Service Tax To Be Levied On Card-Issuing Bank For Interchange Fees : Supreme Court Delivers Split Verdict

[Case: Commissioner of GST and Central Excise v. M/s. Citi Bank N.A.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 727]

A Division Bench of the Supreme Court took a divergent view on the issue, whether the card-issuing bank charging an interchange fee for credit card transaction is to be subjected to service tax for the same. Justice K.M. Joseph was of the opinion that the interchange fee is received for the service rendered by the card-issuing banks, hence liable to be subjected to service tax.

Justice S. Ravindra Bhat agreed that the issuing bank was providing service, but unlike J. Joseph felt that the services rendered by the issuing bank and the acquiring bank cannot be segregated and has to be seen as a single unified service. In other words, he opined that not the interchange fee, but the gross consideration [interchange fee of issuing bank + the amount of the acquiring bank] is to be taxed.

Justice KM Joseph allowed the appeals filed by the Revenue Department and remanded the matter back to the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal, South Zonal Bench, Chennai for consideration of certain issues, whereas Justice S. Ravindra Bhat rejected the appeals and found no reason to remand the matter back.

33. Motor Accident Claims - Potential To Earn Can Be Considered To Determine Compensation If There Is No Evidence For Actual Income : Supreme Court

[Case: Basant Devi v. Divisional Manager, The New India Assurance Company Ltd; Citation: LL 2021 SC 728]

The Supreme Court held that even if there is no evidence on record of actual income, deceased person's potential to earn can be considered while considering insurance claims in motor accidents matter.

The deceased was a computer engineer with a B.Tech degree. While there was evidence on record to show that the deceased was earning Rs.10,000/ month, there was no documentary evidence to show an additional 10,000/month which Appellants claimed. The Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Ranchi in its judgement assessed the "future loss of income" of the deceased at Rs.20,000/month and on that basis arrived at a compensation figure of Rs. 30 Lakhs.

34. [Electricity Act, 2003] Captive Consumers/Captive Users Are Not Liable To Pay Additional Surcharge Under Section 42(4): Supreme Court

[Case: Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited v. M/s. JSW Steel Limited & Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 729]

The Supreme Court observed that captive consumers/captive users are not liable to pay the additional surcharge leviable under Section 42(4) of the Electricity Act, 2003. The bench of Justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna also observed that consumers defined u/s 2(15) of the Act, 2003 and the captive consumers are different and distinct and they form a separate class by themselves.

35. Reliability Or Genuineness Of Allegations Made In FIR/Complaint Cannot Be Gone Into While Exercising Jurisdiction U/Sec 482 CrPC: Supreme Court

[Case: State of Odisha v. Pratima Mohanty; Citation: LL 2021 SC 730]

The Supreme Court observed that while exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code, a High court cannot embark upon any enquiry as to the reliability or genuineness of allegations made in the FIR/complaint. The powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C. is very wide, but conferment of wide power requires the court to be more cautious, the bench comprising Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna said.

36. Section 50 NDPS Act Conditions Not Required To Be Complied In Case Of Vehicle Search: Supreme Court

[Case: Kallu Khan v. State of Rajasthan; Citation: LL 2021 SC 731]

The Supreme Court observed that the provisions of Section 50 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act is required to be complied in the case of personal search only with but not in the case of search of vehicle. The court also observed that merely because independent witnesses were not examined, the conclusion could not be drawn that accused was falsely implicated. Non­-production of contraband in the Court by itself is not fatal, the bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari observed while confirming the conviction of an accused in an NDPS case.

37. Alienation Of Joint Hindu Family Property By 'Karta' For Legal Necessity Or Benefit Of Estate Binding On Other Members: Supreme Court

[Case: Beereddy Dasaratharmi Reddy v. V. Manjunath; Citation: LL 2021 SC 732]

Where a Karta has alienated a joint Hindu family property for value either for legal necessity or benefit of the estate it would bind the interest of all undivided members of the family even when they are minors or widows, the Supreme Court observed. The bench comprising Justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna noted that a joint Hindu family is capable of acting through its Karta or adult member of the family in management of the joint Hindu family property.

38. Sexual Enhancement Drugs Do Not Attract NDPS Act: Supreme Court Grants Bail To Accused

[Case: Bharat Chaudhary v. Union of India; Citation: LL 2021 SC 733]

Sexual enhancement tablets meant to enhance male potency do not attract the provisions of the NDPS Act, the Supreme Court observed while granting bail to NDPS Accused. A bench comprising CJI NV Ramana, Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli observed that the test report stated that the "quantitative analysis of the samples could not be carried out for want of facilities"

"In the absence of any clarity so far on the quantitative analysis of the samples, the prosecution cannot be heard to state at this preliminary stage that the petitioners have been found to be in possession of commercial quantity of psychotropic substances as contemplated under the NDPS Act. Further, a large number of the tablets that have been seized by the DRI admittedly contain herbs/medicines meant to enhance male potency and they do not attract the provisions of the NDPS Act.", the court said.

39. Ingredients Necessary To Prove Charges Under Section 409, 420 & 477A IPC: Supreme Court Explains

[Case: N. Raghavender v. State of Andhra Pradesh, CBI; Citation: LL 2021 SC 734]

The Supreme Court explained the ingredients necessary to prove a charge under Section 409, 420 and 477A of the Indian Penal Code. Referring to the evidence on record, the bench comprising CJI NV Ramana, Surya Kant and Hima Kohli noted the following: First, no financial loss was caused to the Bank. Second, the record does not indicate that any pecuniary loss was caused to B. Satyajit Reddy or to any other customer of the Bank. Third, the material before us does not disclose any conspiracy between the accused persons. Therefore, it held that none of the acts proved against the accused constitute 'criminal misconduct' or fall under the ambit of Sections 409, 420 and 477-A IPC.

40. Trial Court Not Expected To Act In A Particular Way Depending On 'Sensitivity' Of A Case: Supreme Court

[Case: Mohan @Tailor Seena v. State of Karnataka; Citation: LL 2021 SC 735]

The Supreme Court observed that a Trial Court cannot be expected to act in a particular way depending upon the sensitivity of the case. Rather it should be appreciated if a trial court decides a case on its own merit despite its sensitivity, the bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh said while upholding a Trial Court judgment acquitting two young men accused of murdering a police officer.

41. Applications To Condone Delay In Filing Version In Consumer Cases Pending On 04.03.2020 Not Impacted By CB Judgment : SC Clarifies

[Case: Diamond Exports & Anr. v. United India Insurance Co Ltd & Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 736]

Settling a conflict between two division bench judgments, a 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court clarified that the applications to condone the delay of more than 45 days in filing the version of the opposite party in consumer cases, which were pending as of March 4, 2020, will not be impacted by the ruling of the Constitution Bench judgment in the case New India Assurance Company Limited vs. Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage Private Limited, which had held that Consumer Forum cannot condone the delay of more than 45 days in filing the version of the opposite party.

In the instant case Diamond Exports and another versus United India Insurance Co Ltd and others, a three judge bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath settled the divergent views expressed in the judgments in Daddy Builders Private Ltd vs Manisha Bhargava LL 2021 SC 78 and Dr. A Suresh Kumar vs. Amit Agarwal LL 2021 SC 290.

The Constitution Bench judgment had declared that it will operate prospectively. The prospective impact of this judgment was understood differently in Daddy Builders and Dr.A Suresh Kumar cases. In Daddy Builders, a two-judge bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and MR Shah held that the delay condonation applications which were pending as on March 4, 2020, will be impacted by the Constitution Bench judgment.

42. Supreme Court Allows Defence Ministry's Plea To Allow Double Lane Widening Of Char Dham Highway Project

[Case: Citizens for Green Doon & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 737]

The Supreme Court allowed an application filed by the Ministry of Defence for the double-lane widening of roads that are part of the 899-km Char Dham project in Uttarakhand. A bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Vikram Nath pronounced orders in the application filed by the Ministry of Defence seeking modification of the order dated September 8, 2020, which was passed by a three-Judge Bench headed by Justice Rohinton Nariman, in order to permit the Union of India to make roads with 10 Meters tarred surface as opposed to the 5.5 meters as ordered by the Court.

43. NCLT Cannot Direct Parties To Settle A Dispute While Considering A Petition U/Sec 7 IBC: Supreme Court

[Case: E S Krishnamurthy v. Bharath Hi Tech Builders Pvt. Ltd; Citation: LL 2021 SC 738]

The Supreme Court observed that Adjudicating Authority and Appellate Authority under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code cannot compel a party to the proceedings before it to settle a dispute. While they Adjudicating Authority and Appellate Authority can encourage settlements, they cannot direct them by acting as courts of equity, the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna observed.

"The Adjudicating Authority must either admit the application under Clause (a) of sub-Section (5) or it must reject the application under Clause (b) of sub-Section (5). The statute does not provide for the Adjudicating Authority to undertake any other action, but for the two choices available", the bench noted.

44. Supreme Court Commutes Death Sentence Awarded To A Man Accused Of Rape And Murder Of A Three Year Old Girl Child

[Case: Lochan Shrivas v. State of Chhattisgarh; Citation: LL 2021 SC 739]

The Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of a man accused of rape and murder of a three years old girl child, considering his socio-economic background and the possibility of reform and rehabilitated. "It therefore cannot be said that there is no possibility of the appellant being reformed and rehabilitated foreclosing the alternative option of a lesser sentence and making imposition of death sentence imperative," a bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao, B.R. Gavai and B.V. Nagarathna said.

45. Supreme Court Commutes Death Sentence in a Triple Murder Case

[Case: Bhagchandra v. State Of MP; Citation: LL 2021 SC 740]

Supreme Court commuted the death penalty awarded to a man convicted for triple murder. A bench comprising of Justice B.V. Nagarathna, Justice L. Nageshwar Rao, Justice B.R. Gavai while commuting the sentence of death penalty and converting it to rigorous imprisonment for 30 years, observed that: "Since the appellant comes from a rural and economic background and has no criminal antecedents, he cannot be called a hardened criminal and this was his first offence. In addition to this, the certificate issued by Jail superintendent shows that the conduct of the appellant during incarceration has been satisfactory so there is a possibility of appellant being reformed and rehabilitated and thus, we are inclined to convert the sentence imposed from death to life."

46. Supreme Court Acquits Three Death Row Convicts, Holds Prosecution Utterly Failed To Prove Case Beyond Reasonable Doubt

[Case: Jaikam Khan v. State of Uttar Pradesh; Citation: LL 2021 SC 741]

The Supreme Court acquitted three murder accused who were sentenced to death by the Trial Court and the Allahabad High Court. A bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna observed that the prosecution utterly failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.

47. Bank Can't Be Directed By Writ Of Mandamus To Grant 'One-Time Settlement' Benefit To Borrower : Supreme Court

[Case: Bijnor Urban Cooperative Bank Limited, Bijnor v. Meenal Agarwal; Citation: LL 2021 SC 742]

No writ of mandamus can be issued by the High Court in exercise of powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, directing a financial institution/bank to positively grant the benefit of One Time Settlement Scheme to a borrower, the Supreme Court has held in a judgment. The court observed that merely because the proceedings under the SARFAESI Act have remained pending for seven years, the Bank cannot be held responsible for the same.

48. Election Petition Can't Be Rejected Summarily For Curable Defects: Supreme Court

[Case: A Manju v. Prajwal Revanna; Citation: LL 2021 SC 743]

The Supreme Court held that the verifying affidavit in support of election petition need not be thrown out merely because it is not in Form 25 as prescribed under Rule 94A of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961. A bench of Justice Sanjay Kaul and Justice M.M.Sundresh was presiding on a matter regarding lack of attachment of affidavit in support of claims made in an election petition, where the appellant had later attached the affidavit, and observed, "Once there is an affidavit, albeit not in Form 25, the appropriate course would be to permit an affidavit to be filed in Form 25."

49. Recovery Based On Disclosure Statement Made In Another Crime: Supreme Court Acquits Accused In Murder Case

[Case: Rakesh Rai @ Vishal Rai @ Purna Rai & Anr. v. State of Sikkim; Citation: LL 2021 SC 744]

The Supreme Court opined that recovery under Section 27 of the Evidence Act would not be admissible if the disclosure statement was made in connection to a crime undergoing separate trial, especially when such statement was not made to the jurisdictional police officer. A bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and Bela M. Trivedi upheld the order of the Trial Court acquitting the appellants who were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by the High Court, for committing murder.

50. Right To Dignity A Fundamental Right': Supreme Court Directs Issuance Of Ration Cards, Voter IDs To Sex Workers

[Case: Budhadev Karmaskar v. State of West Bengal; Citation: LL 2021 SC 745]

The Supreme Court directed the State Governments and Union Territories to commence the process of issuance of ration cards/ Voters Identity cards immediately to sex workers from the list that is maintained by NACO. A bench of Justices LN Rao, BR Gavai and BV Nagarathna found that its directions to provide sex workers almost a decade back were not complied with. Accordingly in its order the bench noted,

51. Burden To Prove Full Repayment Of Borrowed Amount Is On The Party Claiming It: Supreme Court

[Case: Anita Rani v. Ashok Kumar & Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 746]

The Supreme Court held that when payment of money and repayment of a portion of it is admitted by a party, then the onus to establish that there was full and final settlement of the dues is also on that party. "A party who admits receipt of certain amount of money on a particular date and pleads discharge by way of a full and final settlement at a latter date, is the one on whom the onus lies", a Bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian observed.

52. Contempt Jurisdiction Is Always Discretionary, Should Be Exercised Sparingly: Supreme Court

[Case: The Bordeuri Samaj Of Sri Sri Maa Kamakhya v. Riju Prasad Sarma & Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 747]

Noting that the contempt jurisdiction is always discretionary which should be exercised sparingly and with circumspection, the Supreme Court has held that the Sri Sri Maa Kamakhya Temple Management case is not a fit case to exercise the said jurisdiction by punishing the members of the Kamakhya Debutter Board or directing the refund of the Temple money allegedly misappropriated by the Board.

The Supreme Court had on July 7, 2015 upheld the 2011 Gauhati High Court decision to restore the administration of the temple to the Bordeuri Samaj, comprising five main families of priests who had run the temple since time immemorial until 1998- when the Kamakhya Debutter Board was formed and taken over control of the shrine. The contempt case, at the instance of the Bordeuri Samaj, arises out of the non-compliance with the Court's July 7, 2015 judgment.

53. Plaintiff Is 'Dominus Litis'; High Court Cannot Direct Impleadment Of Additional Defendant In Suit : Supreme Court

[Case: IL & FS Engineering & Constructions Company v. M/s Bhargavarma Constructions & Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 748]

The Supreme Court disapproved the approach taken by a High Court in setting aside a decree in a suit and remanding the same for fresh trial after directing the plaintiff to implead a party as an additional defendant in the suit. The Top Court reminded that the plaintiff is the "dominis litis"(master of the suit), who is entitled to decide who all should be added as parties in the case.

54. Power To Issue Notification Under S. 48(1) Of Land Acquisition Act Includes Power To Rescind: Supreme Court

[Case: U.P. Avas Evam Vikas Parishad Through Housing Commissioner & Anr. v. Noor Mohammad & Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 749]

The Supreme Court reversed a High Court judgment which had set aside a notification cancelling a previous notification issued under S.48(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 for the release of land of respondents from acquisition, and stated that, "A notification under S.48(1) confers benefit upon an individual and hence it is not supposed to be preceded by any enquiry. An order given under S.48(1) is an administrative Act and the power to issue a notification includes the power to rescind one."

A bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V. Ramasubramanian looked into the question as to whether a notification under S. 48(1) of Land Acquisition Act is a quasi-judicial order and thus, does not give government the power to recall an order previously made, or is it an administrative order. And the bench noted that "a proceeding under S. 48(1) of the Land Acquisition Act is administrative in nature and what is provided in S.48(1) is the power/liberty to withdraw from acquisition."

55. Supreme Court Directs Bar Councils To Decide Complaints Against Advocates Within One Year Of Their Receipt; Suggests Empaneling Retired Judicial Officers As Inquiry Officers

[Case: K. Anjinappa v. K.C. Krishna Reddy; Citation: LL 2021 SC 750]

The Supreme Court had issued directions to the State Bar Councils to dispose of complaints under Section 35 expeditiously and conclude the same within a period of one year from the date of receipt of the complaint as mandated under Section 36 B of the Advocates Act. The Apex Court also passed directions to expedite the disposal of the transferred proceedings before the Bar Council of India.

A bench comprising Justices M.R. Shah and B.V. Nagarathna held that only in exceptional cases and on providing cogent and valid reasons for non-disposal within one year, the proceedings would be transferred to the Bar Council of India. It further observed that BCI ought to dispose of the transferred proceedings/complaints within a period of one year from the receipt of transfer.

56. Initiation Of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Persons With Mental Disabilities Is A Facet Of Indirect Discrimination : Supreme Court

[Case: Ravinder Kumar Dhariwal & Anr v. Union of India; Citation: LL 2021 SC 751]

The Supreme Court observed that the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against persons with mental disabilities is a facet of indirect discrimination. The Apex Court was adjudicating upon a case wherein disciplinary proceedings had been initiated against an officer of the Central Reserve Police Force who had been diagnosed with 40 to 70 percent mental disability.A Bench comprising Justices D.Y Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Vikram Nath observed while setting aside the disciplinary proceedings: "A person with a disability is entitled to protection under the RPwD Act as long as the disability was one of the factors for the discriminatory act."

57. Candidate Has To Comply With Eligibility Criteria As Per Advertisement Before Cut-Off Date Unless Extended By Authority : Supreme Court

[Case: State of Bihar & Ors v. Madhu Kant Ranjan; Citation: LL 2021 SC 752]

In a matter relating to the appointment of a candidate to the post of Constable in Bihar Police Force, the Supreme Court of India has observed that a candidate or applicant has to comply with all the conditions and eligibility criteria as per the advertisement before the cut-off date unless extended by the recruiting authority.

A Bench comprising Justice MR Shah and Justice BV Nagarathna has made the observations in a civil appeal filed by State of Bihar challenging Patna High Court's order whereby it directed DIG Munger to appoint the respondent as Constable.

58. MSMED Act: If Conciliation Not Successful, Arbitration Proceedings Must Be Resorted To: Supreme Court

[Case: Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Limited v. The State of Rajasthan & Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 753]

The Supreme Court bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Subhash Reddy, while dealing with a matter pertaining to delayed payment of dues by Jharkhand electricity board to a Conductors supplier held that Section18 of The Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Development Act 2006 [MSMED Act] and noted that "Under S. 18(3), when conciliation fails and stands terminated, the dispute between the parties can be resolved by arbitration. The council is empowered either to take up arbitration on its own or to refer the arbitration proceedings to any institution as specified in the said section."

59. Right To Equality Would Apply To A Man Who Has No Choice But To Accept A Standard Form Contract However Unfair It May Be: Supreme Court

[Case: Pani Ram v. Union of India & Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 754]

The Supreme Court directed the grant of disability pension to a member of the Territorial Army by rejecting the reliance placed by the Union of India on a document signed by the appellant at the time of enrollment in the Territorial Army, whereby he had apparently waived his right to get enhanced pension. A bench of Justices LN Rao and BR Gavai said that the Army cannot rely on the said document in view of the unequal bargaining power between the parties.

60. Applicability Of An Amended Rule For Compassionate Appointment Shall Be Based On Date Of Death Rather Than Date Of Consideration Of Claim: Supreme Court

[Case: The Secretary of Govt. Department of Education (Primary) And Ors. v. Bheemesh Alias Bheemappa; Citation: LL 2021 SC 755]

The Supreme Court held that the applicability of a modified scheme with respect to an appointment on compassionate grounds would be based on a fixed criteria, like the date of death, rather than an indeterminate factor, like the date of consideration of the claim.

A bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian refused to hold that Karnataka Civil Services (Appointment on Compassionate Grounds) (7th amendment) Rules, 2012 can be applied retrospectively so as to provide, a person seeking compassionate appointment, the enhanced benefits of a new amendment. It further reiterated that compassionate appointments cannot be treated as a vested right in law.

61. Consumers With Same Interest Can File Joint Complaint; Not Necessary To File Complaint In Representative Capacity : Supreme Court

[Case: Brigade Enterprises Limited v. Anil Kumar Virmani & Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 756]

The Supreme Court has held that where there are more consumers than one having similar grievance, it is not necessary that they must file consumer complaint in representative capacity under Section 35(1)(c) of the Consumer Protection Act 2019. Instead, these few consumers can join together and file a joint complaint. "There is nothing in the Consumer Protection Act 2019 to prohibit these few consumers from joining together and filing a joint complaint", a bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian observed. It contrasted a "joint complaint" from a complaint filed under "representative capacity".

62. Section 482 CrPC - High Court Can't Pass Adverse Orders Or Observations Against Third Party Who Is Not Before It: Supreme Court

[Case: Anu Kumar v. State (UT Administration) & Anr; Citation: LL 2021 SC 757]

The Supreme Court observed that the High Court in a petition for quashing filed by the accused u/s 482 CrPC cannot issue directions for proceeding against a third party who was neither before the Court and nor was given any opportunity before passing the order. A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar examine whether the High Court in a petition for quashing filed by the accused u/s 482 CrPC could issue directions to proceed against a third party who was neither before the Court and nor was given any opportunity before passing the order and also make observations.

63. "Reversal Of Acquittal Is Permissible Only If Trial Court's View Is Not Only Erroneous But Also Unreliable & Perverse"

[Case: Suman Chandra v. CBI; Citation: LL 2021 SC 758]

In a matter of reversal of Trial Court's acquittal order by the High Court, the Supreme Court of India has reiterated that the reversal of acquittal is permissible only if the view of the Trial Court is not only erroneous but also unreasonable and perverse. A Bench comprising Justice Vineet Saran and Justice Aniruddha Bose opined that the view taken by the Trial Court was a possible view, which was neither perverse nor unreasonable, and in the facts and circumstances of the present case, ought not to have been reversed or interfered with by the High Court.

64. Article 14 Does Not Envisage Negative Equality; State Can't Be Forced To Perpetuate Same Mistake Committed With Respect To Others

[Case: Rajesh Pravinchandra Rajyaguru v. Gujarat Water Supply & Sewerage Board and Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 759]

The Supreme Court observed that daily rated employees cannot as a matter of right claim the parity of pay scales with the Government employees. The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah further added that the petitioners could not invoke Article 14 of the Constitution to claim benefit on the ground of parity if they otherwise were not entitled to such benefit.

65. Negative Discrimination Can't Be Claimed Under Articles 14 & 16 Referring To Persons Erroneously Regularized

[Case: Rajendra Badaik v. State of Jharkhand and Ors; Citation: LL 2021 SC 760]

While considering a special leave petition assailing Jharkhand High Court's order with regards to claim for regularisation, the Supreme Court has observed that one cannot claim negative discrimination qua the persons who have been erroneously granted the benefit of regularisation under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.

The bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and AS Oka remarked that, "We do find that there are few employees in reference to which a complaint has been made, but one cannot claim negative discrimination qua the persons who have been erroneously granted the benefit of regularization under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution."

Also Read: Article 14 Does Not Envisage Negative Equality; State Can't Be Forced To Perpetuate Same Mistake Committed With Respect To Others : Supreme Court

66. Candidate Cannot Alter Declaration Given About Correctness Of Details During Selection Process: Supreme Court

[Case: Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission v. Manish Bakawale & Ors; Citation: LL 2021 SC 761]

During a selection process, a candidate cannot attempt to deviate from a declaration made regarding the correctness of the detail furnished by him, so as to affect the position of others, held the Supreme Court in a recent decision. A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna observed so while allowing an appeal filed by the Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission. The MP High Court had allowed a candidate to opt for his next preferred post, accepting his claim that he had given wrong particulars about his height.

67. Document's Author Need Not Be Examined If Signature Is Not Denied : Supreme Court

[Case: M/s. Star Paper Mills Limited v. M/s. Beharilal Madanlal Jaipuria Ltd. And Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 762]

The Supreme Court has observed in its judgment delivered on December 16 that the examination of the author of a document is not required, if they had not denied their signature on the document, but only pleaded duress in execution of the same.

"The High Court,in the impugned judgment, erred in holding that the appellant had not examined the author of the documents. Such reasoning is absolutely erroneous as in the written statement, the respondents had not denied their signatures on the documents referred to by the appellant but pleaded duress in executing of these large number of documents", a bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian stated. It also reiterated that the onus to prove that a transaction is sham, bogus and fictitious is on the person who makes such a claim.

68. NCDRC Can't Direct To Amend Pleadings As Complainant Is The 'Dominus Litis' : Supreme Court

[Case: M/s Acme Cleantech Solutions Private Limited v. M/s United India Insurance Company Limited & Anr; Citation: LL 2021 SC 763]

Setting aside the NCDRC order for amendment of a complaint (seeking a direction to the insurer to settle the claim and make payment) to challenge the subsequent repudiation of the claim, the Supreme Court has affirmed that "the party which moves the forum is dominus litis and is entitled to decide whether or not to amend the pleading or to pursue the complaint, as it stands."

The bench of Justices D. Y. Chandrachud and A. S. Bopanna clarified that the appellant could be at liberty to follow either of the three courses of action, namely:- (i) to pursue the complaint as it stands without any amendment; or (ii) to seek an amendment to the complaint; or (iii) to withdraw the complaint with liberty to file a fresh complaint to challenge the alleged act of repudiation.

69. Dowry Death Shall Be Presumed If It Is Shown That Wife Was Harassed For Dowry Soon Before Death : Supreme Court

[Case: Parvati Devi v. State Of Bihar Now State Of Jharkhand & Ors.; Citation: LL 2021 SC 764]

The Supreme Court has observed that once the prosecution is able to establish that a woman was subjected to cruelty or harassment for or in connection with any demand for dowry soon before her death, the Court shall proceed on a presumption that the persons who have subjected her to cruelty with demand for dowry have caused dowry death u/s 304B of the Indian Penal Code.

The bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli laid down the following prerequisites to be followed for convicting the accused for offence punishable u/s 304B IPC: (i) that the death of a woman must have been caused by burns or bodily injury or occurred otherwise than under normal circumstance; (ii) that such a death must have occurred within a period of seven years of her marriage; (iii) that the woman must have been subjected to cruelty or harassment at the hands of her husband, soon before her death; and (iv) that such cruelty or harassment must have been for or related to any demand for dowry.

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