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Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Sanya Talwar
31 May 2020 12:56 PM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Week Commencing May 25 to May 31, 2020

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1) No Travel Fare To Be Charged On Migrants; Notify Places Providing Food For Stranded Migrants : SC Directs [In Re: Problems & Miseries of Migrant Workers]

Taking note of the miseries of stranded migrants across the country, the Supreme Court passed a slew of significant directions to safeguard their rights. These include free travel, free food and expeditious registration among others. The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul and M R Shah also directed the Centre to place on record information regarding number of migrants awaiting , transportation to native places, plan for transportation and mechanism of registration and other requisite details.

Also Read: 'Prophets Of Doom' & 'Arm Chair Intellectuals' Spreading Negativity; 'Local Instigation' Encouraging Migrants To Walk : Solicitor General

Also Read: No National Plan, Minimum Standards As Per Disaster Management Act For Lockdown : Sr Adv Kapil Sibal Tells SC

2) Employee Can Be Dismissed In Disciplinary Inquiry Completed After Retirement If Rules Permit It: SC Holds By 2:1 Majority [Chairman-cum-MD Mahanadi Coalfield Ltd. V. Rabindranath Choubey]

The Supreme Court [2:1] has observed that disciplinary enquiry against an employee can continue even after the retirement of the employee and major punishment like dismissal or removal can be imposed, if the relevant Service Rules permit it. Overruling the decision in Jaswant Singh Gil, the majority of the bench Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah, referring to a three judge bench decision in State Bank of India v. Ram Lal Bhaskar, (2011) 10 SCC 249, while Justice Ajay Rastogi dissented.

3) Retirement Of One Partner Amounts To Dissolution Of Partnership Firm Consisting Of Only Two Partners: SC [Guru Nanak Industries, Faridabad V. Amar Singh (Dead) Thr. LR's]

The Supreme Court held that when there are only two partners and one has agreed to retire, then the retirement amounts to dissolution of the firm. A bench of Justices NV Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari also discussed the distinction between 'retirement of a partner' and 'dissolution of a partnership firm' emphasisin that when there are only two partners and one has agreed to retire, then the retirement amounts to dissolution of the firm [ref. Erach F.D. Mehta v. Minoo F.D. Mehta]

4) [Section 157 CrPC] Mere Delay In Forwarding FIR To Magistrate By Itself Is Not A Ground To Acquit The Accused: SC [Ombir Singh V. State of UP]

The Supreme Court reiterated that the delay in sending the FIR to the Magistrate in compliance of Section 157 of the Code of Criminal Procedure cannot, in itself, be a ground to acquit the accused. A bench of Justices NV Ramana, Mohan M. Shanthanagoudar and Sanjiv Khanna noted the judgment Jafel Biswas v. State of West Bengal wherein the effect of delay in compliance of Section 157 of the Code and its legal impact on the trial was examined. In the said decision, it was held that mere delay in sending the report itself cannot lead to a conclusion that the trial is vitiated or the accused is entitled to be acquitted on this ground.

5) SC Allows Air India To Operate Non-Scheduled Flights With Middle Seat Bookings For 10 Days [Union of India & Anr. V. Deven Yogesh Kanani & Ors. & Air India Ltd. & Anr V Deven Yogesh Kanani & Ors.]

The Supreme Court allowed Air India to operate non-scheduled flights with centre seat bookings for 10 days up to June 6. However, the Court added that for non-scheduled operations after that, Air India should follow the Bombay High Court's direction to keep middle seats vacant. A bench headed by CJI Bobde passed the order in the petitions filed by Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air India against the May 22 order of the Bombay HC which directed Air India to keep middle seats empty even in respect of its non-scheduled international operations.

6) Amrapali : Homebuyers Should Not Be Under The Impression That They Can Enjoy Benefits Without Paying Dues, Observes SC As It Reserves Orders On Various Issues [Bikram Chatterji V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court orally remarked that the homebuyers of the stalled-Amrapali project should not be under the impression that they can enjoy the benefits without paying the dues. After hearing several Intervention Applications in the matter, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and UU Lalit reserved its orders on three specific issues, i.e. the financing of projects by State banks, whether to sell off surplus FARs (Floor Area Ratio) to raise funds or first return them to the Noida/Greater Noida authorities, and whether to grant additional compensation to the Greater Noida authorities.

7) Vizag Gas Leak : SC Agrees To Permit 30 Personnel From LG Polymers To Access The Chemical Plant [LG Polymers V. Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board]

The Supreme Court agreed to grant access to 30 persons from LG Polymers to the chemical plant wherein the Vizag Gas Leak Tragedy took place on May 7, which left multiple people dead and injured. A Bench of Justices UU Lalit, Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran while hearing a plea by LG Polymers against the order of National Green Tribunal directed the Petitioner to provide a list of 30 personnel who may be granted access to the plant. The list of these 30 people is to be submitted to the District Collector by 3pm on the same day (May 26, 2020).

8) [MHA Notification On Full Wages] SC Says 'Interim Order Restraining Coercive Action Against Employers In Jute Mills Case To Continue'; Adjourns other connected matters [Batch Petitions]

The Supreme Court adjourned a batch of petitions challenging the direction passed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on March 29 directing employers to pay full wages to workers without deduction during lockdown. Court also directed the Centre to file reply and listed the matters after two weeks. Furthermore, in the Jute Mills Association case the same bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul & MR Shah directed that the interim order passed on May 15 restraining coercive action against the employer for non-payment of wages as per MHA direction shall continue.

9. 'Don't Let People Instigate Law And Order Issues' , SC Observes While Seeking Centre's Response On Plea Against Communalization Of Nizamuddin Markaz Issue [Jamiat-Ulema-i-Hind V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the response of the Centre in a plea seeking strict action against the media for communalization of the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi's Nizamuddin. A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & Hrishikesh Roy directed the Petitioners to implead the the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) as well as the Additional Solicitor General KM Natraj to file a reply explaining as to why no action was taken by the Government under Sections 19 & 20 of the Cable Televisions Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995.

10. SC Allows TN Govt To Use For COVID-19 Treatment Floors Of Hospital Facing Demolition Action [M/S Billroth Hospitals V. State of Tamil Nadu]

The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed Tamil Nadu Government to use for COVID-19 treatment the floors of a hospital facing a demolition action on the ground of unauthorized construction. The Court passed the order in an application filed by Billroth Hospital, against which an order of demolition has been passed with respect to its 4th to 8th floors. In June last year, the SC had stayed the demolition. A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy was hearing an application moved by the hospital, seeking permission to use the 4th to 7th floor for COVID19 patients. Bench observed that the hospital cannot be permitted to use the floors, however, since the State Government has made the request, it can be permitted to use the floors.

11. SC To Examine Whether It's Order On Extension Of Limitation Affect An Accused' Right To Default Bail Under Section 167(2) CrPC [S. Kasi V. State Thr. Inspector of Police Tamil Nadu]

The Supreme Court issued notice on the SLP preferred against the May 11 order of the Madras High Court holding that the accused cannot claim 'default' bail taking advantage of the March 23 suo moto order the Supreme Court to extend limitation periods in view of the COVID-19 lockdown. The SLP urges that the High Court did not consider that section 167(2) does not bar the filing of the chargesheet even after the period specified therein, that the implication of the provision is that if the chargesheet is not filed within the stipulated period, the magistrate is divested of the jurisdiction to authors the detention of the accused.

12. SC Refuses Congress Leader's Plea For Quashing of FIRs In Different States Based On His Tweet Allegedly Hurting Religious Sentiments [Pankaj Punia V. State of Haryana]

The Supreme Court refused a plea of Haryana Congress leader Pankaj Punia, arrested by Haryana police on May 20 on a FIR for allegedly "hurting religious feelings" through a Twitter post, for quashing other similar ones lodged in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Abdul Nazeer and Indira Banerjee, however, granted liberty to the petitioner "to approach the concerned High Court/appropriate Forum".

13. SC Agrees To Hear Cyrus Mistry's Cross-Action Against NCLAT's Judgement, Tags With Appeals By Tata [Cyrus Investments & Anr. V. Tata Sons]

The Supreme Court agreed to hear Cyrus Mistry's appeal against the National Company Appellate Tribunal's (NCLAT) judgement which had reinstated him as the Executive Chairman of Tata Group. By way of this cross-action appeal, Mistry has sought expansive relief against the Judgement. A bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy tagged the appeal with Ratan Tata and Tata Group's appeal challenging the same judgement passed by the NCLAT in December 2019.

14. SC Issues Notice On Challenge To February 28 Presidential Order To Resume Delimitation Of Assam's Assembly, Parliamentary Constituencies [Brelithmarak V. Bhanu Jay Rabha]

The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde issued notice on a plea challenging the promulgation of the Presidential Order of February 28 through which the earlier February 8, 2008 Notification, deferring the process of delimitation for the State of Assam, has been rescinded and the process of delimitation of the Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies of the state has been decided to be resumed.

15. Identify Private Hospitals Where Cost-Effective/Free Treatment For COVID-19 Can Be Done : SC Tells Centre [Sachin Jain V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & Hrishikesh Roy directed the Centre to identify a list of those hospitals where minimum or free of cost treatment can be done for treatment of Coronavirus and listed the matter after a week. The bench was hearing a plea seeking nationwide cost related regulations for treatment of Coronavirus patients at private and corporate hospitals.

16. SC Issues Notices To Assam, UP, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh In Sharjeel Imam's plea For Consolidation of FIRs [Sharjeel Imam V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court issued notice to four states in Sharjeel Imam's plea for consolidation of FIRs filed against him across the country for investigation by a single agency. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MR Shah issued notices to states of Assam, UP, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, wherein the FIRs had been filed against him.

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