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Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
23 Sep 2019 11:29 AM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round Up
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Non Recovery Of Weapon Of Assault Not Always Fatal To Prosecution Case [Prabhash Kumar Singh vs. State of Bihar]

The Supreme Court held that a prosecution case cannot be disbelieved merely because the weapon of assault or the bullet was not recovered. The main contention in the appeal before the Supreme Court against concurrent conviction of the accused in a murder case was that the medical evidence is inconclusive to connect killing of the deceased victim with bullet injury. It was contended that the bullet or any part thereof was also not recovered.

Grant Of Leave Is A Necessary Prerequisite To Entertain A Suit Under Section 92 CPC[Bhupinder Singh vs. Joginder Singh (D)]

The Supreme Court observed that in every suit filed under Section 92 of the Code of Civil Procedure the grant of leave is necessary before the suit can be said to be properly instituted. Though the bench found that the defendant was legally right that the suit could not have been instituted without taking leave, it dismissed the appeal taking note of the fact that the defendant had not raised the issue before the Trial Court.

Consumer Forum Has Jurisdiction To Adjudicate Dispute Concerning Validity Of Statutory Due Arising Out Of Deficiency In Service [Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (Now GLADA) vs Ram Singh]

The Supreme Court held that determination of the dispute concerning the validity of the imposition of a statutory due arising out of a "deficiency in service", can be undertaken by the consumer fora as per the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act. A three judge bench comprising of Justice NV Ramana, Justice Mohan M. Shanthanagoudar and Justice Ajay Rastogi was answering a reference from a two judge bench which had doubted the correctness of the judgment in HUDA vs. Sunita, (2005) 2 SCC 479.

Acquittal By Criminal Court Does Not Preclude Departmental Inquiry Against Delinquent Officer [Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited vs. C. Nagaraju]

The Supreme Court reiterated that acquittal by a Criminal Court does not preclude a Departmental Inquiry against the delinquent officer and the Disciplinary Authority is not bound by the judgment of the Criminal Court if the evidence that is produced in the Departmental Inquiry is different from that produced during the criminal trial. The bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta observed thus while setting aside the High Court that had quashed a dismissal order of an employee on the ground that it could not have been passed since he was honourably acquitted by the Criminal Court.

Burden Of Proof Ordinarily Rests On Those Who Attack The Deed [Ali Hussain(D) vs. Rabiya]

The Supreme Court reiterated that the burden of proof rests ordinarily on those who attack the deed. he bench comprising Justice NV Ramana, Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Ajay Rastogi noted that there are no pleadings in support that the plaintiff was a pardanasheen illiterate lady and was entitled for protection of law and the burden was on the defendant to prove that the alleged power of attorney was the result of fraud.

Appellate Authority Cannot Override Mandatory Statutory Requirements Of Pre-Deposit To Maintain Appeal[TecnimontPvt. Ltd. vs. State of Punjab]

While upholding Section 62(5) of Punjab Value Added Tax Act, the Supreme Court observed that the Appellate Authority cannot override statutory requirement of pre-deposit when the statute mandates that no appeal can be entertained unless such requirement is satisfied.

Shebait/Archak Duty bound To Protect Temple Property; Cannot Usurp It For Their Own Gains [Sri Ganapathi Dev Temple Trust V. Balakrishna Bhat]

The Supreme Court observed that it is the bounden duty of the shebait, archak to protect the temple property, and they cannot usurp such property for their own gains. Allowing the appeal, the bench comprising Justice NV Ramana, Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Ajay Rastogi observed that the appellant temple has the right, through its present managing trustee, to undertake proceedings for the benefit of the idol for having such wrongful entries set aside, and such wrongful entries would not be binding on the temple.

Refund Claim U/s 27 Customs Act Cannot Be Entertained Unless Order Of Assessment Or Self-Assessment Is Modified [ITC Limited vs. Commissioner Of Central Excise]

The Supreme Court has held that the claim for refund under Section 27 of the Customs Act cannot be entertained unless the order of assessment or self-assessment is modified in accordance with law by taking recourse to the appropriate proceedings. The bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Indira Banerjee observed that in case any person is aggrieved by any order which would include self-assessment, he has to get the order modified under Section 128 or under other relevant provisions of the Act and that it would not be within the ken of Section 27 to set aside the order of self assessment and reassess the duty for making refund.

Benefit Of Doubt: SC Acquits 'Wife' Accused Of Murdering Her 'Husband' [Gargi V. State of Haryana]

Setting aside concurrent convictions by the High Court and Trial Court, the Supreme Court acquitted a woman accused of murder of her husband. Gargi was accused of murder of her husband Tirloki Nath by strangulation. The prosecution case was that, with the help of her brothers, she allegedly hanged the dead body in one of the rooms in the house, as if it were a case of suicide. The Trial Court accepted this version and had convicted Gargi and her brothers.

NDPS Act- Court Should Be Satisfied That Confession Is Voluntary And Accused Was Apprised Of His Rights [Mohammed Fasrin vs. State]

The Supreme Court has observed that, even if confessions made to investigating officers are held to be admissible under Section 67 of the NDPS Act, the Court has to be satisfied that it is a voluntary statement, free from any pressure and also that the accused was apprised of his rights before recording the confession. In, the conviction of the accused under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, was mainly based on the confessional statement he and his co-accused had made to the investigating officer.

There Is No Concept Of Negative Equality Under Article 14 Of Constitution [State of Odisha vs. Anup Kumar Senapati]

The Supreme Court has observed that there is no concept of negative equality under Article 14 of the Constitution of India.The bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah observed thus while considering an appeal wherein the issue whether the employees are entitled to claim grant-in-aid as admissible under the Orissa (Non-Government Colleges, Junior Colleges and Higher Secondary Schools) Grant-in-aid Order, 1994 after its repeal in the year 2004.

Article 14- Classification Should Never Be Arbitrary, Artificial Or Evasive [Vasant GanpatPadave (D) vs. AnantMahadevSawant (D)]

While reading down Section 32-F of Maharashtra Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, the Supreme Court reiterated that while the law may recognise 'degrees of harm', but the classification should never be arbitrary, artificial or evasive. The bench of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, Justice R. Subhash Reddy and Justice Surya Kant was concerned with the interpretation of Section 32-F of Maharashtra Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948. It held that Section 32-F to be read in conformity with Article 14 of the Constitution of India

Conducting Separate Interviews For General And Reserved Category Candidates Wholly Illegal [Pradeep Singh Dehal vs. State of Himachal Pradesh]

The Supreme Court observed that the process of conducting separate interviews for general and reserved category candidates is wholly illegal. The bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta observed thus while taking note that separate interviews were conducted in respect of appointment to the post of Assistant Professor in the Department of Education in the International Centre for Distance Education and Open Learning, Shimla.

Courts Can Interfere With Administrative Actions Only If It Suffers From Vice Of Illegality, Irrationality Or Procedural Impropriety [Municipal Council Neemuch vs. Mahadeo Real Estate]

The Supreme Court reiterated that while exercising its powers of judicial review of administrative action, Courts could not interfere with the administrative decision unless it suffers from the vice of illegality, irrationality or procedural impropriety. The bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice MR Shah and Justice BR Gavai observed thus while setting aside a Madhya Pradesh High Court judgment that had interfered with an order passed by Revenue Commissioner of Ujjain in a matter of issuing tenders for allotment of land on lease, for a period of 30 years.

Specific Performance: Self-Serving Statements On Income Without Any Proof Of Financial Resources Won't Suffice To Prove Readiness & Willingness [RituSaxena v. J.S. Grover]

The Supreme Court observed that self-serving statements on income without any proof of financial resources is not sufficient to prove that plaintiff in a suit for specific performance was ready and willing to perform her part of the contract.

Larger Public Interest: SC Upholds Withdrawal Of Excise Duty Exemption For Pan Masala [Union of India vs. Unicorn Industries]

The Supreme Court upheld the withdrawal of the exemption from payment of Excise Duty to the pan masala with tobacco and pan masala sans tobacco by the Central Government observing that the same is in the larger public interest. The three judge bench comprising of Justice Arun Mishra, Justice MR Shah and Justice BR Gavai termed the judgment of the Division bench of Sikkim High Court 'totally erroneous' and 'shocking'.

Sec 3J Of National Highways Act, To The Extent It Excludes Solatium& Interest As Per Land Acquisition Act, Unconstitutional [Union of India &ors v. Tarsem Singh and ors.]

The Supreme Court has declared Section 3J of the National Highways Act 1956, to the extent it excludes solatium and interest as per Land Acquisition Act 1894 to acquisitions done under the NH Act to be unconstitutional. "We, therefore, declare that the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act relating to solatium and interest contained in Section 23(1A) and (2) and interest payable in terms of section 28 proviso will apply to acquisitions made under the National Highways Act.

Disability Pension Is Not Admissible When Army Officer Sustained Injuries During Household Acts [The Secretary, Government of India vs Dharambir Singh]

The Supreme Court held that an army official is entitled to disability pension only if the disability is attributable to or aggravated by military service. On this reasoning, the bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta set aside the judgment of Armed Forces Tribunal (Chandigarh bench) which granted disability pension to an official for injuries sustained by him in an accident while going in a scooter to purchase household materials.

NGOs 'Substantially Financed' By Government Amenable To RTI Act[D.A.V. College Trust And Management Society vs. Director Of Public Instructions]

In an important judgment delivered today, the Supreme Court has held that non-governmental organisations [NGO] substantially financed, whether directly or indirectly, by the appropriate government fall within the ambit of 'public authority' under Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Section 138 NI Act- No Provision For Consolidation Of Multiple Cases Arising Out Of Single Notice [Vani Agro Industries V. State of Gujarat]

While refusing a plea to consolidate multiple cheque bounce cases against the accused which emanated from a single notice, the Supreme Court observed that there is no provision of consolidation of cases in the Code of Criminal Procedure.

SC Allows Woman To Proceed With Complaint Filed U/s 498A IPC At The Place She Was Residing [PritiKumari vs. State of Bihar]

Reiterating its view on the jurisdiction of courts entertaining complaints under Section 498A IPC, the Supreme Court allowed a woman to proceed with her complaint filed in a Court at the place where she was residing. The bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose, while allowing the appeal against the order of the High Court which held that no cause of action has arisen where she was residing, observed that the matter is squarely covered by the judgment in Rupali Devi v. State of U.P.

"A Judge Is Also Judged By the Quality And Purity of His Character", SC Upholds Dismissal Of Magistrate Who Passed Favourable Orders For A Lady Lawyer [ShrirangYadavraoWaghmare V. State of MAharasthra]

Refusing to show any leniency to a Magistrate who was dismissed from service for passing certain judicial orders in favour of clients and relatives of a lady lawyer, with whom he allegedly had proximate relationship, the Supreme Court observed that the Judicial Officers must possess impeccable integrity in their public and personal life.

Other Significant Orders and Proceedings

  • Asked a boy who had converted to Hinduism to marry a 'Hindu' Girl to file an affidavit 'indicating his bonafides' and 'with respect to the future in order to secure the interest of the girl'.
  • Referred the petition seeking reconstruction of Guru Ravidas Temple to the Chief Justice of India for passing appropriate orders regarding placing it before the bench which had ordered the demolition of the temple.
  • Allowed CPI(M) politician Mohammed YousufTarigami, who was brought to AIIMS Delhi for treatment, to go back to his home state Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Allowed Senior Congress leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to visit his home state to enquire about the well being of the people.
  • Asked the Centre to make every effort to ensure that normalcy is restored in Jammu and Kashmir, by keeping in mind the interests of national security.
  • Sought a report from the Registry regarding the feasibility of live streaming the proceedings in the Ayodhya-Babri Masjid case.
  • Stayed the execution of death sentence awarded to Manoharan, a rape and murder accused, which it had confirmed recently.The Supreme Court (2:1) had upheld the death sentence awarded to a man involved in gang rape of a ten year old girl and thereafter murdering her and her brother.
  • While setting aside the Interim order passed by Kerala High Court, observing that the same is in violation of the judgments and orders passed by the Supreme Court, the bench observed that "…As per Article 141 of the Constitution of India, the law declared by this Court is binding on all courts and under Article 144, civil and judicial authorities within the territory of India shall act in aid of Supreme Court. Kerala being Indian Territory all concerned are bound to act accordingly."
  • Is set to frame guidelines on payment of maintenance in matrimonial matters.While hearing an appeal against a judgment of Bombay High Court, the bench comprising of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice R. Subhash Reddy appointed Senior Advocates Gopal Sankarnarayanan and AnithaShenoy as Amicus Curiae to assist it, in this regard.
  • A three judge bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Justices Arun Mishra, M R Shah and B R Gavaireserved orders on the Centre's petition seeking review of its March 20, 2018 judgement which had virtually diluted provisions of arrest under the SC/ST Act.
  • Issued notice on a petition challenging the judgment of Jharkhand High Court which declined to quash an FIR for sedition registered against four Adivasi activists for allegedly inciting violence by making Facebook posts supporting 'Pathalgadi' movement of Munda tribal community.
  • Summoned the home secretary of Uttar Pradesh after taking a serious view of the state government's failure to respond to a plea by a "minor" Muslim girl, who has challenged the Allahabad High Court order by which her marriage was found to be void.
  • Sought a report from the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice Committee on the alleged detention and ill treatment of children in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Issued notice in a PIL filed by the mothers of RohitVemula and Dr.PayalTadvi for seeking measures to end caste discrimination in higher educational institutions.

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