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Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Ashok Kini
29 July 2019 3:13 PM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Delay To File Suit For Specific Performance Not A Ground To Deny Relief If It Was Filed Within Limitation Period [R. Lakshmikantham vs. Devaraji]

The Supreme Court observed that the delay in filing suit for specific performance cannot be a ground to deny relief to the plaintiff, as long as it is filed within the period of limitation.

Failure To Recover Dead Body By Itself Doesn't Entitle Accused To Benefit Of Doubt [Sanjay Rajak vs. State of Bihar]

The Supreme Court observed that the failure of the police to recover the corpus delecti will not by itself render the prosecution case doubtful entitling the accused to acquittal on benefit of doubt. It is only one of the relevant factors to be considered along with all other attendant facts and circumstances to arrive at a finding based on reasonability and probability based on normal human prudence and behavior., the bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Navin Sinha said.

Plea Based On Equity/Hardship Not Legally Sustainable In Tax Matters [Prashanti Medical Services & Research Foundation V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court observed that, in a taxing statute, a plea based on equity or/and hardship is not legally sustainable and the constitutional validity of taxing provisions cannot be struck down on such reasoning.

Offence Of Abetment To Suicide (Sec 306 IPC) May Attract When Accused Played Active Role In Tarnishing Self Respect Of Deceased Victim [Ude Singh V. State of Haryana]

The Supreme Court observed that if the accused is found to have played in an active role in tarnishing the self-esteem and self-respect of the victim, which eventually draws the victim to commit suicide, he can be held guilty of abetment of suicide.

A Person Can Be Held Guilty For Violation Of Injunction Only When Disobedience Was Willful [U.C. Surendranath V. Mambally's Bakery]

The Supreme Court observed that a person can be held guilty of willful disobedience of the Order XXXIX Rule 2A of the Code of Civil Procedure, not for mere "disobedience" but only for "willful disobedience."

EPF: Merely Because Workers Were Permitted To Do Work Off Site, It Would Not Take Away Their Status As 'Employees' [The Officer In Charge, Sub ­ Regional Provident Fund Office, vs. M/s Godavari Garments Limited]

The Supreme Court observed that merely because workers were permitted to do the work off site, it would not take away their status as employees for the purpose of Employees' Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.

A Writ Court Cannot Sit In Appeal Over An Administrative Decision [West Bengal Central School Service Commission vs. Abdul Halim]

In a judgment delivered, the Supreme Court reiterated the principles to be followed by a High Court while exercising the power of judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.The bench comprising ofJustice R. Banumathi and Justice Indira Banerjee, while considering the appeal against the High Court judgment, observed that the High Court has lost sight of the limits of its extraordinary power of judicial review and has in fact sat in appeal over the decision of the authorities.

Specific Performance Decree Not To Be Rescinded Merely Because Plaintiff Deposited Balance Sale Consideration After Appeal [Surinder Pal Soni V. Sohan Lal]

The Supreme Court found fault with the judgment of a Punjab and Haryana High Court which had held that a decree for specific performance to be inexecutable as the balance sale consideration was deposited by the plaintiff after the appeal, beyond the period fixed by the trial court. The SC bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee held that the trial court's decree had merged with the appeal court's decree. Hence, there was no delay on the part of plaintiff in depositing the balance sale consideration.

Standard Of Proof For Summoning A Person As An Accused U/s 319 CrPC Higher Than That For Framing A Charge [Shiv Prakash Mishra vs. State of Uttar Pradesh]

Reiterating that the power under Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Procedure should be exercised sparingly, the Supreme Court observed that the standard of proof employed for summoning a person as an accused person under Section 319 Cr.P.C. is higher than the standard of proof employed for framing a charge against the accused person. The bench comprising ofJustice R. Banumathi and Justice AS Bopanna upheld an order of the High Court refusing to summon a person on the ground that the statements of the witnesses were contradictory.

Special Court Can Take Cognizance Of An Offence Without Committal If The Special Act Empowers It To Do So [A.M.C.S. Swamy, ADE/DPE/Hyd (Central) vs. Mehdi Agah Karbalai]

When there is express provision in the Special Act empowering the Special Court to take cognizance of an offence without the accused being committed, it cannot be said that taking cognizance of offence by Special Court is in violation of Section 193 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the Supreme Court held.

Cruelty Not Related To Dowry Cannot Be Basis For Conviction Under Section 304B IPC [Girish Singh vs. State of Uttarakhand]

The Supreme Court observed that, conviction under Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code can be made only if the woman was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or his relatives which must be for or in connection with any demand for dowry, soon before her death. It is not any cruelty that becomes the subject matter of the provision but it is the cruelty or harassment for or in connection with, demand for dowry, said the bench comprising ofJustice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph.

Cannot Record Compromise Between Parties In Non-Compoundable Offences; But It's A Factor For Considering Quantum Of Sentence [Manjit Singh V. State of Punjab]
The Supreme Court observed that no permission can be granted to record the compromise between the parties in non-compoundable offences. The bench comprising Justice R. Banumathi and Justice AS Bopanna,however, noted that, while sentencing the accused for a non-compoundable offence, the compromise entered into between the parties is indeed a relevant circumstance which the Court may keep in mind for considering the quantum of sentence.

Juvenile Justice Act, 2015: Matriculation Certificate Has No Precedence Over DoB Certificate From School To Determine Juvenility [Sanjeev Kumar Gupta vs. State of Uttar Pradesh]

The Supreme Court observed that under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, for determining 'juvenility', the matriculation or equivalent certificate from the concerned examination board has no precedence over the date of birth certificate from the school.

Only The HC Which Has Jurisdiction Over 'Venue' Of Arbitration Can Entertain Petition Seeking Appointment Of Arbitrator [Brahmani River Pellets Limited vs. Kamachi Industries Limited]

When the parties agreed to have the "venue" of arbitration at a particular place, only the High Court which has jurisdiction over the said place can entertain the petition seeking appointment of Arbitrator under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, the Supreme Court held. The issue before the bench comprising of Justice R. Banumathi and Justice AS Bopanna, in was whether the Madras High Court could exercise jurisdiction under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 despite the fact that the agreement contains the clause that venue of arbitration shall be Bhubaneswar.

SC Cancels RERA Registration Of Amrapali; Asks NBCC To Take Over Noida Projects [Bikram Chatterjee V. Union of India]

In a major relief to thousands of homebuyers, the Supreme Court cancelled the registration of Amrapali group under Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act 2016, and directed the National Building Construction Corporation take over its pending construction projects in Greater Noida and Noida. The bench of Justices Arun Mishra and U U Lalit found that Amrapali group had siphoned off homebuyers money with the connivance of Greater Noida and Noida authorities.

How To Ascertain The Competency Of A Child Witness?: SC Explains [P. Ramesh vs. State]

The Supreme Court observed that child witnesses in a criminal case cannot be termed incompetent merely because they were unable to identify the person before whom they were deposing, i.e. they did not know the judge and the lawyers.

HC Can't Dispose Appeal Against Conviction On Merits When There Is No Representation For The Convict [Shankar V. State of Maharashtra]
The Supreme Court observed that, the appeal filed by the accused against the conviction can be disposed of on merits only after hearing the appellant or his counsel. When there was no representation for the appellant-convict, the High Court ought not to have disposed of the case on merits, the bench comprising Justice R. Banumathi and Justice AS Bopanna said.

Grant Of Incentives By Government Under EXIM Policy Is Not A 'Service' Within The Meaning Of Consumer Protection Act [Secretary, Ministry of Commerce vs. M/s Vinod and Company]

The Supreme Court observed that, while granting incentives to an exporter in terms of the import and export policy [EXIM], no 'service' is rendered by the Union government within the meaning of Consumer Protection Act so as to make it a 'service provider' amenable to jurisdiction of Consumer Forums.

Court At The Place Where 'Wife' Takes Shelter After Leaving Matrimonial Home On Account Of Cruelty Can Entertain Complaints U/s 498A IPC [Nitika vs. Yadwinder Singh]

The Supreme Court reiterated that the Courts at the place where the wife takes shelter after leaving or driven away from the matrimonial home on account of acts of cruelty committed by the husband or his relatives, would, dependent on the factual situation, also have jurisdiction to entertain a complaint alleging commission of offences under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code. The bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Navin Sinha set aside a Himachal Pradesh High Court judgment that had quashed a First Information Report on the ground that police at Nalagarh had no jurisdiction to enquire into the contents of first information report as the allegations contained in FIR, admittedly took place at another place.

Delaying Tactics Adopted By Litigants Cannot Be Rewarded On The Pretext Of Justice [State Bank of India vs. Atindra Nath Bhattacharyya]

The Supreme Court observed that delaying tactics adopted by litigants cannot be rewarded on the pretext of Justice. A petition was filed by a delinquent employee challenging the disciplinary proceedings against him. The Single Bench of the High Court set aside the order of punishment as well as the penalty order directing the employer to serve a notice before imposing penalty.

Other important orders and proceedings

  • Reiterated that it can transfer the petition from the State of Jammu & Kashmir to any other State and vice versa under Article 32 and/or Article 136 and 142 of the Constitution of India. The bench comprising Justice NV Ramana and Justice Ajay Rastogi was considering a petition was filed under Section 25 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 for transfer of Divorce Petition pending in a District Court in Srinagar, to the Court of competent jurisdiction at Amritsar, Punjab.
  • The CJI-led bench of the Supreme Court refused to accept the request made for urgent hearing today for a writ petition filed by two MLAs for holding trust vote in Karnataka assembly.
  • The CJI-led bench listed on August 2 the petition filed by Gujarat High Court Advocates Association which seeks to direct the Centre to notify the appointment of Justice A Kureshi as CJ of Madhya Pradesh High Court as recommended by the SC Collegium.
  • Dismissed a PIL which sought that the Vishakha guidelines on sexual harassment at workplaces be extended to religious institutions as well.
  • The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was of the view that judicial orders cannot be passed to grant the prayers in the petition and that sexual harassment committees cannot be constituted for religious places.
  • Ordered status quo as of today with respect to the order of National Company Law Appellate Tribunal in the Essar insolvency case. The bench of Justices R F Nariman and Surya Kant was hearing a bunch of appeals filed by the Committee of Creditors and several banks challenging the July 4 order of the NCLAT which had approved ArcelorMittal's Rs 42,000 crore bid for the acquisition of Essar Steel.
  • Extended the deadline for publication of final National Register of Citizens(NRC) for Assam from July 31 to August 31.
  • Reserved verdict on a plea seeking annulment of election of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to the state Assembly over the alleged concealment of criminal cases against him in the election papers.
  • Issued notice to Centre in a Public Interest Litigation which seeks a direction that Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Environmental Management Plan (EMP) and public consultation before grant of Environmental Clearance (EC) should be made mandatory for all sand mining projects across the nation.
  • In view of the collapse of the Congress-JD(S) government in Karnataka after it failed to pass the trust vote, the CJI-led bench of the Supreme Court permitted the withdrawal of the writ petition filed by two MLAs for holding trust vote in Karnataka assembly.
  • Issued directions for setting up of a centrally-funded exclusive court in all districts where 100 or more cases have been set up under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
  • The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi refused to entertain the plea levelling claims of corruption against Allahabad High Court judge Justice Ram Krishna Gautam."We are not inclined to interfere", said the bench.
  • The Supreme Court sought the Centre's response on the allegation that it has not implemented a slew of directions issued last year to curb lynching and mob violence.A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta issued notices to the Ministry of Home Affairs and state governments on a petition filed by an organisation, Anti-Corruption Council of India Trust
  • Issued noticein a petition which sought that Governors be directed to function as per the advice of Tribes Advisory Council for Schedule Areas and Tribal Areas, as per the provisions of the Fifth Schedule and not on the advice of the Council of Ministers as per Art. 163 (1) of the Constitution.
  • A Supreme Court bench has opined that its earlier judgment which had held that the requirement of certificate under Section 65B(4) of the Evidence Act for production of Electronic Evidence is not always mandatory, needs reconsideration.

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