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Supreme Court Weekly Round-Up

Arabhi Anandan
9 March 2020 4:58 AM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round-Up
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Section 173(8) CrPC: Courts Not Obliged To Hear Accused While Considering Plea For Further Investigation [Satishkumar Nyalchand Shah v. State of Gujarat] The Supreme Court reiterated that a court is not obliged to hear the accused before any direction for further investigation is made under Section 173(8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In this case, the application filed...

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The Supreme Court reiterated that a court is not obliged to hear the accused before any direction for further investigation is made under Section 173(8) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In this case, the application filed by the appellant seeking to join as a respondent in a Special Criminal Application seeking further investigation against other persons was dismissed by the High Court. Upholding the High Court order, the bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah, referring to earlier decisions on this aspect, observed that there is nothing in Section 173(8) CrPC to suggest that the court is obliged to hear the accused before any direction for further investigation is made.

'Retired People Need Security In The Fall Of Life' : SC Upholds Right To Pension Of SBI Employees Who Took VRS After 15 Or More Years Of Service [Assistant General Manager & Ors. v. Radhey Shyam Pandey]

The Supreme Court held that employees of State Bank of India who have taken voluntary retirement as per the 2000 VRS scheme after 15 or more years of service as on the cut-off date are entitled to proportionate pension as per SBI Pension Fund Rules. A 3-judge bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, M R Shah and BR Gavai held so while answering a reference following conflicting of views between judges regarding admissibility of pension under VRS.

Newly Registered Trust Entitled For Registration Under Section 12AA Income Tax Act On The Basis Of Its Objects [M/s Ananda Social and Educational Trust v. The Commissioner of Income Tax & Anr.]

The Supreme Court held that a newly registered Trust is entitled to registration under section 12AA of the Income Tax Act, 1961, on the basis of its objects, without any activity having been undertaken. A three judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde observed that the term 'activities' in the Section includes 'proposed activities' which means that a Commissioner is bound to consider whether the objects of the Trust are genuinely charitable in nature and whether the activities which the Trust proposed to carry on are genuine in the sense that they are in line with the objects of the Trust.

Second Complaint On Same Facts Not Maintainable [Samita Naidu & Anr. v. State of MP & Anr.]

If the earlier disposal of the complaint had been on merits and in a manner known to law, the second complaint on "almost identical facts" which were raised in the first complaint would not be maintainable. A Supreme Court bench comprising Justices UU Lalit & Vineet Saran held that a second complaint on same facts as the first complaint shall not be maintainable. The bench pointed out that if the core of both complaints was same, the second complaint ought not to be maintained.

Immovable Property Cannot Be Seized By Police Under Section 102 CrPC, Reiterates SC [Downtown Temptations Pvt. Ltd. v. The State of West Bengal]

The Supreme Court reiterated that immovable property cannot be seized by Police under Section 102 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In the appeal, the bench of Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat noted that sealing that has taken place of the premises is admittedly for more than one year and not by the Magistrate as required by Section 18 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956.

DRAT Cannot Entertain An Appeal U/s 18 SARFAESI Act Without Insisting On Pre- Deposit [Union Bank of India v. Rajat Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. & Ors.]

The Supreme Court observed that the Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal cannot entertain an appeal under Section 18 of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, without insisting on pre­-deposit. The bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose set aside the judgment of the Bombay High Court that held that no pre-­deposit was required to entertain an appeal by DRAT.

Statement U/s 161 CrPC Inadmissible In Evidence And Cannot Be Relied Upon For Conviction [Parvat Singh & Ors. v. State of Madhya Pradesh]

The Supreme Court reiterated that a statement recorded under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is inadmissible in evidence and cannot be relied upon or used to convict the accused. While setting aside a concurrent conviction in a murder case, the bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah observed that a statement recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C. can be used only to prove the contradictions and/or omissions.

[Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act] Consent Of Wife, Actual Ceremony Of Adoption Essential For Valid Adoption [M Vanaja v. Sarla Devi]

The Supreme Court observed that the consent of the wife of the adopter and actual ceremony of adoption is essential for a valid adoption as per Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act. In a suit for partition, the plaintiff's contention was that she was adopted by the defendants. The Trial Court dismissed the suit on the ground that the plaintiff could not prove the ceremony of adoption. The High Court also dismissed the appeal. While dismissing her appeal, the Apex court bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta noted that the plaintiff had admitted in her evidence that she does not have the proof of the ceremony of giving and taking of her in adoption and there is no pleading in the plaint regarding the adoption being in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

The Supreme Court observed that mere expression "place of arbitration" cannot be the basis to determine the 'Seat of Arbitration'. The bench of Justices R. Banumathi, AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy observed that the intention of the parties as to the "seat" should be determined from other clauses in the agreement and the conduct of the parties. The court was concerned with a petition seeking appointment of an arbitrator.

Relief Oriented Judicial Approaches Cannot By Themselves Be Grounds To Cast Aspersions On Honesty & Integrity Of A Judge [Sadhna Chaudhary v. State of UP]

Relief oriented judicial approaches cannot by themselves be grounds to cast aspersions on the honesty and integrity of an officer, said the Supreme Court while setting aside dismissal of a Judicial Officer. The bench of CJI SA Bobde, Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant that mere suspicion cannot constitute 'misconduct' and any 'probability' of misconduct needs to be supported with oral or documentary material, even though the standard of proof would obviously not be at par with that in a criminal trial.

SC Commutes Death Sentence Of Man Accused Of Kidnap-Murder Of Three Children [Manoj Suryavanshi v. State of Chattisgarh]

The Supreme Court commuted the death sentence awarded to a man accused of kidnapping and later murdering three children. Manoj Suryavanshi was convicted under Sections 302 and 364 by the Trial Court, and sentenced to death. This was later confirmed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Two sons of one Shivlal – Vijay aged about 8 years, Ajay aged about 6 years and a daughter Kumari Sakshi aged about 4 years were allegedly kidnapped and murdered by the accused. Taking note of the evidence on record, the bench of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit confirmed the concurrent conviction recorded by the High Court and the Trial Court.

Land Acquisition: No Lapse Of Proceedings Under Old Act If Compensation Is Deposited In Treasury; SC 5-Judge Bench Upholds Indore Development Authority Decision [Indore Development Authority v. Manoharlal & Ors.]

A 5-judge bench of the Supreme Court held that proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 will not lapse if the compensation has been tendered by a deposit in the treasury. The Court held that landowners cannot insist that the amount should be deposited in Court so as to sustain the land acquisition proceedings under the old Act on the commencement of the new land acquisition law with effect from January 1, 2014.

Provisions Of Any Law Seeking To Divest Any Person From The Rights In Property Have To Be Strictly Followed [DB Basnett (D) Through LRs v. The Collector. Sikkim & Anr]

The Supreme Court observed that the provisions of any law seeking to divest any person from the rights in the property have to be strictly followed. The bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph observed thus while allowing an appeal in a land acquisition matter in which it found that the state has failed to establish that they had acquired the land in accordance with the law and paid due compensation.

Vehicle Owner's Insurance Claim Cannot Be Repudiated Merely Because Driver Was Possessing Fake Licence [Nirmala Kothari v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd.]

The Supreme Court held that the insurance company cannot repudiate the claim of a vehicle owner merely because the driver was possessing a fake licence. The bench of Justices Navin Sinha and Krishna Murari said that onus of proving that the insured did not take adequate care and caution to verify the genuineness of the licence or was guilty of willful breach of the conditions of the insurance policy or the contract of insurance lies on the insurer.

[Consumer Protection Act] Mere Service Of Notice On Opposite Party Without Complaint Copy Cannot Be Commencing Point Of 30 Days Limitation To File Reply [New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage Pvt. Ltd.]

The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held that the commencing point of limitation of 30 days under Section 13 of the Consumer Protection Act would be from the date of receipt of the notice accompanied with the complaint by the opposite party, and not mere receipt of the notice of the complaint. The Court clarified that the objection of not having received a copy of the complaint along with the notice should be raised on the first date itself and not thereafter. The bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra observed thus in the judgment in which it held that the District Forum has no power to extend the time for filing the response to the complaint beyond the period of 15 days in addition to 30 days as is envisaged under Section 13 of the Consumer Protection Act.

Cryptocurrencies Capable Of Performing Most Functions Of Real Money Though Not Legal Tender  [Internet and Mobile Association of India v. RBI]

In the judgment quashing the Reserve Bank of India's ban on providing banking services to cryptocurrency dealers, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that Virtual Currencies(VCs) were just goods/commodities which cannot be regarded as real money. Anything that may pose a threat to or have an impact on the financial system of the country, can be regulated or prohibited by RBI, despite the said activity not forming part of the credit system or payment system, the Court said.

Copies Of Court Documents Can Be Obtained Only By Applying Under Court Rules And Not RTI [Chief Information Commissioner v. High Court of Gujarat & Anr.]

The Supreme Court held that the information to be accessed/certified copies on the judicial side is to be obtained through the mechanism provided under the High Court Rules and the provisions of the RTI Act shall not be resorted to. The bench comprising Justices Banumathi, A S Bopanna & Hrishikesh Roy held in the case Chief Information Commissioner vs High Court of Gujarat and Another that one must apply under court rules to get certified copies of court documents.

RBI Cannot Be Equated To Any Other Statutory Body That Merely Serves Its Master [Internet and Mobile Association of India v. RBI]

RBI cannot be equated to any other statutory body that merely serves its master, remarked the Supreme Court while addressing the contentions raised by the petitioners in CryptoCurrency case. Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, Aniruddha Bose and V Ramasubramanian observed thus while answering the contention raised that the RBI Circular does not have either the status of legislation or the status of executive action, but is only the exercise of a power conferred by statute upon a statutory body corporate. The Court held that the RBI's circular, which prevented regulated entities from providing banking services to those engaged in the trading or facilitating the trading in VCs, was liable to be set aside on the "ground of proportionality".

Consumer Forum Has No Power To Extend Time Beyond 45 Days For Opposite Party's Version  [New India Assurance Co. Ltd v. Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage Pvt. Ltd.]

The Supreme Court held that the time period for filing opposite party's version in Consumer case cannot be extended beyond the period of 45 days prescribed under the Consumer Protection Act. The Court held that Consumer Protection Act 1986 did not empower the Consumer Forum to extend the time beyond the period of 45 days. The time period prescribed under Section 13 of the Consumer Protection Act is mandatory, and not directory held the judgment authored by Justice Vineet Saran for the bench.

Filing of Criminal Case & Acquittal Therein Cannot Be Treated As Ground For Granting Divorce If It Was Not The Basis For Seeking Divorce [Mangayakarasi v. M. Yuvaraj]

The Supreme Court observed that filing of a criminal case by one of the parties to the marriage and the acquittal therein cannot be automatically treated as a ground for granting divorce if such a ground is not raised in the divorce petition. The bench of Justice R. Banumathi, S. Abdul Nazeer and AS Bopanna observed thus while considering an appeal against the High Court judgment which (allowing the second appeal) granted divorce to a man on the ground that the complaint filed by the wife against him resulted in acquittal, even though such a ground was not the basis of the divorce plea.

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