Supreme Court Weekly Round-Up
[Ayodhya] : SC Allows Temple Construction In Disputed Land; Alternate Plot Of 5 Acres For Mosque [M. Siddiq V. Mahant Suresh Das]
In an unanimous verdict, the Supreme Court held that the entire disputed land of 2.77 acres in Ayodhya must be handed over for the construction of Ram Mandir. At the same time, the Court held that an alternate plot of 5 acres must be allotted to the Sunni Waqf Board for construction of mosque. This direction was passed invoking powers under Article 142 of the Constitution. The Court observed that the destruction of Babri mosque in 1992 was a violation of law. The act of placing idols beneath the central dome of the mosque in 1949 was an act of "desecration", observed the Court.
Section 482 CrPC- Inherent Powers Cannot Be Invoked To Alter Sentence Imposed By The HC Itself [State of MP vs. Man Singh]
The inherent power under Section 482 CrPC cannot be used by the High Court to reopen or alter an order disposing of a petition decided on merits, the Supreme Court observed. The bench comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose observed that the High Court has no power to entertain the petition under Section 482 CrPC and alter the sentence imposed by it.
Section 144 CPC [Restitution] Not Attracted When There Is No Variation Or Reversal Of A Decree Or Order [Bansidhar Sharma(Since Deceased) Vs The State Of Rajasthan]
The Supreme Court observed that the provisions of Section 144 of the Code of Civil Procedure will not be attracted when there is no variation or reversal of a decree or order .
[Rape & Murder] Accused Cannot Be Convicted Merely Because Extra Judicial Confession Is Proved [Vinod @ Manoj V. State of Haryana]
The Supreme Court acquitted a young man who spent about thirteen years in jail after he was convicted in a rape and murder case. The bench comprising Justice set aside the concurrent conviction by the High Court and the Trial Court and observed that the prosecution has failed to prove other circumstances apart from an extra judicial confession relied upon by it beyond reasonable doubt.
MV Act- Relinquishment Of Shares By A Dependent Doesn't Disentitle Her From Claiming Compensation [Renu Rani Shrivastava Vs. New India Assurance Company Ltd.]
The Supreme Court observed that relinquishment of share by a claimant (dependent of the deceased) does not disentitle her from claiming compensation. One of the contentions adopted by the Insurance Company was that the wife of the deceased has relinquished her share in favour of her in-laws and got certain properties in lieu thereof and, therefore, the wife of the deceased is not entitled to any compensation
Complaint U/s 138 NI Act Maintainable Against Dishonour Of Cheque Issued Pursuant To Lok Adalat Award [Arun Kumar vs. Anita Mishra]
The Supreme Court observed that a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act for dishonor of a cheque issued pursuant to the Lok Adalat award is maintainable. In this case as regards the first cheque issued by the accused, a criminal case was preferred u/S. 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and it resulted in conviction and a sentence of fine. An appeal was preferred against the judgment of conviction and both the parties in Lok Adalat to withdraw pending litigation. A cheque was also given in the light of the settlement and the same has been dishonoured. The second complaint has been preferred on account of dishonour of the second cheque.
Dissent By One Judge Not A Bar For Upholding Death Penalty: SC Rejects Review Petition Of Death Convict [Manoharan V. State]
The Supreme Court dismissed the review petition filed by Manoharan whose death penalty was upheld it a few months ago. The Supreme Court (2:1) had, in August 2019, upheld the death sentence awarded to Manoharan involved in gang rape of a ten year old girl and thereafter murdering her and her brother. Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Surya Kant had upheld the death penalty and Justice Sanjiv Khanna had expressed his dissent against upholding death sentence.
Section 164 CrPC: Presence Of Advocate Not Mandatory When Confession Of Accused Before Magistrate Is Not Recorded By Audio-Video Means [Manoharan V. State]
The Supreme Court observed that it is not mandatory that a confession or statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure should necessarily be made in the presence of the advocate(s) except when such confessional statement is recorded with audio-video electronic means.The bench was dealing with the submission of Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra, who appeared for the review petitioner death convict Manoharan. He had contended that the absence of a counsel during proceedings before the Magistrate under section 164, CrPC has caused prejudice to the accused.
Lacuna Left By Legislature Cannot Be Filled By Judicial Interpretation [Union of India vs. VR Nanukuttan Nair]
The Supreme Court observed that if the legislature has left a lacuna, it is not open for the Courts to fill it on some presumed intention of the legislature. The bench comprising Justice L Nageswara and Justice Hemant Gupta was considering an appeal against Armed Forces Tribunal's interpretation of a regulation in Navy (Pension) Regulations, 1964. The bench observed that the reading of the Regulations does not lead to an inference that the service element should be limited to an individual who has completed minimum 15 years of engagement.
Discharge Plea Cannot Be Discarded Merely Because HC Had Earlier Refused To Quash Criminal Proceedings [Harish Dahiya @ Harish vs. State Of Punjab]
The Supreme Court has observed that a Trial Court cannot decline to consider the application for discharge filed by an accused merely because his earlier application to quash the entire prosecution under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was dismissed by the High Court.
Forests In Alagar Hills Does Not Belong To The Deity [The Government of Tamil Nadu V. Arulmighu Kallalagar Thirukoil Alagar Koil]
The Supreme Court set aside the Madras High Court judgment which held that the the entire forest area in Alagar Hills belongs to the deity of Arulmigu Kallalagar Thirukoil Alagar Koil. The bench comprising Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Hemant Gupta held that the presumption of lost grant cannot be applied when there is no evidence of continuous possession under an assertion of title.
Interim Mandatory Injunctions Can Be Granted After Giving Opportunity Of Hearing To Opposite Side [Dr. Syed Afzal (Dead) vs. Rubina Syed Faizuddin]
The Supreme Court observed that, the Civil Courts, while considering the application seeking interim mandatory injunction in long pending cases, should grant opportunity of hearing to the opposite side.In this case the appellant's contention was that the High Court, without granting an op portunity of hearing, granted an interim mandatory injunction and police aid.
HCs Have Power To Dispense With Disciplinary Proceedings For Dismissing Judicial Officers By Recording Reasons [Hari Niwas Gupta V. State of Bihar]
The Supreme Court observed that the High Courts have power to dispense with the disciplinary proceedings by invoking clause (b) of the second proviso to Article 311(2) of the Constitution of India, by recording reasons.
SC Sets Aside NCLAT Order Which Held That Dissenting Financial Creditor Should Not Be Discriminated [Rahul Jain V. Rave Scans Pvt. Ltd]
The Supreme Court set aside an order passed by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal which held that a dissenting financial creditor cannot be discriminated. A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Ravindra Bhat allowed the appeal filed by Rahul Jain, the resolution applicant in the insolvency of Rave Scans Private Ltd.
Chit Foreman Entitled To Recover Amount Of Future Subscription From Defaulting Subscriber [Oriental Kuries Ltd. vs. Lissa]
The Supreme Court observed that the relationship between a chit subscriber and the chit foreman is a contractual obligation, which creates a debt on the day of subscription. On default taking place, the foreman is entitled to recover the consolidated amount of future subscriptions from the defaulting subscriber in a lump sum, the bench of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said.
Other Significant Orders and Proceedings
- A Nine Judge Bench of the Supreme Court, on 17th October 2019, dismissed a petition seeking a review of the 1993 judgment Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association vs. Union of India [Judges-2 Case], which apparently introduced the Collegium system of appointing judges.
- obtained for a Tata housing project near Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary and observed that such projects cannot be permitted to come up within a short distance from the wildlife sanctuary.The bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice MR Shah and Justice BR Gavai upheld a Delhi High Court judgment that refused to permit the construction of a housing project of Tata Housing Development Company Ltd., on the ground that the area in question falls within the catchment area of Sukhna Lake and is 123 meters away from the boundary of Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Directed the Allahabad High Court to continue with the contempt proceedings against a litigant and lawyer for allegedly resorting to 'bench hunting'.
- Taking serious note of the air pollution which has engulfed the Delhi-NCR area, the Supreme Court passed a slew of directions. The bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta observed that life span was coming down due to pollution. The Court advised people not to enter Delhi or leave their homes in Delhi.
- Directed the governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab to grant financial assistance of Rs 100 per quintal within seven days to small and marginal farmers for handling crop residue of non-basmati rice to ensure that they do not burn stubble to clean their fields.
- Granted interim bail to Noida-based builder Satindar Singh Bhasin in respect of the complaints pertaining to project by name "Grand Venice" in National Capital Region.
- Taking note of the incident of phone tapping of IPS officer Mukesh Gupta, the issued notice to the Chattisgarh government and sought an explanation regarding taking such steps. The bench pulled up the Chattisgarh government and expressed concern over the manner in which a citizen's right to privacy is being violated.
- Noting the inability of High Courts to bring criminal appeals to an early conclusion, the Supreme Court sought the assistance of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in evolving solutions to the problem. The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi was confronted with a case where the accused, who has been convicted under Section 302 IPC and whose appeal is pending before the Allahabad High Court, has been refused bail pending hearing of the appeal. The appellant has been custody for over three years.
- Sought a report from the Government of NCT of Delhi on the efficacy of the odd-even scheme, which is coming into force from today, in reducing air pollution.
- Directed the Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice Committee comprising four High Court judges to submit a fresh report on the allegations of detention of minors in Kashmir, after addressing all issues independently.
- The Supreme Court issued detailed directions for proper administration of Sri Jagannath temple at Puri. The bench of Justices Arun Mishra, M.R. Shah and S. Ravindra Bhat directed the appointment of a full time Chief Administrator for the temple, forthwith.
- Directed the AIIMS to constitute a board for Ex-Congress leader Sajjan Kumar's medical examination, requiring the report to be submitted in 4 weeks. The bench headed by Justice S. A. Bobde was hearing Kumar's (who is sentenced to imprisonment for life for his involvement in the 1984 Sikh riots) plea for bail.
- Required the Centre and the respondent states to file a status report regarding the filling up of the vacancies of Information Commissioners and the compliance with the directions issued by the court vide its judgment of February 15.
- Pass an order which we can understand, the Supreme Court 'requested' the High Court while it dealt with a special leave petition impugning its order. In a brief order, the bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose said that the order of the High Court is unintelligible. We could not decipher what has been decided by the High Court, it said.
- Refused to entertain a plea seeking direction to the Centre for formulting guidelines for daughters' right to perform last rites of her parents.A bench of Justices S A Bobde, S Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari dismissed the plea filed by one Garima Bharti saying that courts cannot interfere in such matters as it is a matter of faith and belief.
- The Supreme Court, during the course of proceedings to curb air pollution in Delhi took stern view of the dilapidated conditions of roads in Delhi which it said, added to the pollution and dust in the city, and directed the Chief Secretaries of Delhi and the NCR region to take appropriate steps in that behalf.
- The Supreme Court allowed to complete CIRP concerning Jaypee Infratech Ltd. within a period of 90 days. The bench comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari allowed the Insolvency Resolution Professional IRP to invite revised resolution plan only from Suraksha Realty and NBCC respectively, who were the final bidders and had submitted resolution plan on the earlier occasion.