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Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Ashok Kini
18 March 2019 6:28 AM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round Up
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NI Act- Once The Presumption Under Sec.139 Is Drawn, Complainant Need Not Prove Source Of Fund Till Accused Discharges His Burden [Rohitbhai Jivanlal Patel V. State of Gujarat] The Supreme Court held that once the court has drawn presumption of existence of legally enforceable debt as per Section 139 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, factors like source of funds are not relevant if...

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NI Act- Once The Presumption Under Sec.139 Is Drawn, Complainant Need Not Prove Source Of Fund Till Accused Discharges His Burden [Rohitbhai Jivanlal Patel V. State of Gujarat]

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

Plaint Can Be Rejected If Suit Is Clearly Barred By Limitation [Raghwendra Sharan Singh vs. Ram Prasanna Singh]

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

Section 320 CrPC: Courts Have Discretion To Refuse Compounding Of Offences Having Social Impact [Bhagyan Das V. State of Utarakhand]

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

Mere Disclosure Of Names By Some Witnesses During Trial Not Enough To Add Persons Not Named In FIR As Additional Accused [Periyasami V. S. Nallasamy]

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

SC Sets Aside Life Ban Imposed On Cricketer Sreesanth; Asks BCCI To Take Fresh Decision On Punishment [S. Sreesanth V. BCCI]

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

If Contempt Is In The Face Of Court, Judges Can Take Immediate Action Without Issuing Notice [National Lawyers Campaign For Judicial Transparency and Reforms V. Union of India]

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

SC Reiterates Basic Principles Of Judicial Review Of Administrative Decisions [Sarvepalli Ramaiah vs. The District Collector, Chittoor District]

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

Dismissal Of Soldier For Unauthorized Absence Not Harsh Punishment [Union of India V. Kulbeer Singh]

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

Gramin DakSewak Is Not An 'Employee' Under Payment Of Gratuity Act [Sr. Superintendent of Post Offices vs. Gursewak Singh]

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

Married Daughter Also Has A Right Of Succession In The "Lease Premises" Under Goa Succession Law [Uma Mahesh Bandekar vs. Vivek SadanandMarathe]

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

Preferential Right Of Heirs Under Section 22 Of Hindu Succession Act Applicable Also To Agricultural Lands [Babu Ram V. Santokh Singh]

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

Rape& Murder Of 3 Month Old Baby: SC Stays Death Penalty [Naveen @ Ajay V. State of Madhya Pradesh]

The Supreme Court stayed death penalty imposed on a man convicted for rape and murder of a 3- month old infant. The bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, granted leave in the Special Leave Petition filed by Naveen @ Ajay against the Judgment of the Indore Bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Death Sentence Can Be Imposed Only When Life Imprisonment Appears To Be An Altogether Inappropriate Punishment [Sachin Kumar Singhraha V. State of Madhya Pradesh]

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

Pre-Deposit Clauses To Invoke Arbitration Makes Arbitral Process Ineffective And Expensive [M/S ICOMM Tele Ltd. V. Punjab State Water Supply & Sewerage Board]

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

Notice Of NCLAT Appeal Has To Be Served Regardless Of Supply Of Advance Copy of Appeal Paper Book [Jai Balaji Industries Ltd. V. State Bank of India]

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

Employee Should Know Service Rules; Not For Employer To Advise Him About It [P. Subramaniyam vs. Union of India]

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

Only Officers With Minimum Service Of 6 Months Left Should Be Considered For DGP Appointment [Prakash Singh V. Union of India]

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

SC Again Reminds High Courts About Limitations While Considering Second Appeals [Gurnam Singh V. Lehna Singh]

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

When Can Transposition Of Defendants As Plaintiffs Be Permitted? SC Answers [R.Dhanasundari vs. A.N. Umakanth]

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

When Can A 'Cheque Bounce' Complaint Against Director Of Company Be Quashed? SC Answers [A. R.Radha Krishna V. DasariDeepthi]

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

Heart Wrenching To See Children Suffering In Custody Battle Between Parents, Says SC [LahariSakhamuri V. SobhanKodali]

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

Change Lawyer If Case Is Not Being Attended Properly: SC's Message To Litigants [Estate Officer, Haryana Urban Development Authority V. Gopi Chand Atreja]

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

Other important orders and proceedings

  • Over three months since 15 poor labourers were trapped in a flooded illegal rat-hole mine in Meghalaya's East Jaintia hills district, the Supreme Court asked the petitioner who had petitioned against calling off of rescue operations to ascertain from the families of the "deceased" (miners) if they wish to have their bodies recovered as they may have already decomposed.
  • Held Advocate Mathews Nedumparaguilty of committing contempt in the face of court for taking the name of Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman while arguing a case for abolition of the system of senior designation of advocates.
  • Took note of "serious lapse" by a lower court judge in not abiding with its 2016 order to conclude trial in a murder case within six months and sought explanation from the judicial officer for frequent adjournments in the matter.
  • Appointed Senior Advocate P S Narasimha as a mediator to resolve disputes pertaining to administration of Board of Control of Cricket in India(BCCI).The bench of Justices S A Bobde and A M Sapre has also directed that no no Court or Tribunal in India shall entertain or proceed with any matter pertaining to BCCI or any State Cricket Association(s) till Narsimha submits his report.
  • Asked the Centre to explain in two weeks why it has not set up a permanent mechanism to monitor the undue accretion of assets by elected representatives as directed by it last year.
  • Directed the Bar Council of India to reconsider, after hearing the various stakeholders, the upper age-limit for taking admission to the five-year and three-year law degree courses.
  • Asked the Bombay High Court to decide on a plea moved by civil liberties activist Gautam Navlakha, seeking to quash the FIR lodged against him in the 2017 Koregaon-Bhima case, within eight weeks.
  • Stayed the contempt show-cause notice issued by Uttarakhand High Court to Justice L. Narasimha Reddy, the Chairman of Central Administrative Tribunal.
  • Dismissed a plea seeking a direction to the Central Government to send Muslims living in India to Pakistan. The plea filed by one Sangat Singh Chauhan which also sought a direction to the government to bring Hindus living in Pakistan to India, came up for hearing before a bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran.
  • Sought the response of centre to a plea challenging the power conferred by the Hindu Marriage Act on courts to direct the restitution of conjugal rights of an estranged couple. The petitioners also challenged the identical provision in section 22 of the Special Marriage Act and Rules 32 and 33 of Order XXI of the CPC on the execution of the decree for restitution of conjugal rights.
  • Directed the West Bengal Government to ensure that the screening of the film "BhobishyoterBhoot" takes place without unlawful obstruction. This interim order was passed by the bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta while issuing notice to WB Government on a petition by the producers of the film complaining that the film was taken off from the theatres following an 'unofficial ban' by the Government.
  • Stayed the judgment passed by Meghalaya High Court which had held ShillongTimes's editor Patricia Mukhim and publisher ShobhaChaudhuri guilty of contempt of court and sentenced them to pay fine of Rs. 2 lakhs.
  • Refused to entertain the plea for inquiry and police protection of a woman who alleged that she was subjected to gang-rape by four persons, including Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister PemaKhandu back in 2008.
  • Issued notice on a petition filed by leaders from 21 political parties seeking a direction to the Election Commission of India(ECI) to randomly verify at least 50 per cent votes using Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) in the polls to 17th Lok Sabha.
  • In the Rafale review, reserved orders on the preliminary objections raised by the Central Government that the documents presented by the petitioners cannot be relied on by the Court as they are "privileged" documents.

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