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Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Sanya Talwar
14 Jun 2020 11:37 AM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Week Commencing June 8 to June 14, 2020

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The Supreme Court bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul & MR Shah passed a slew of directions in the suo motu case taken on the crisis of migrant workers during lockdown. These include all States and UTs to identify stranded migrants and transport them back to native places within 15 days; States to consider withdrawal of all cases filed against migrants under Disaster Management Act for lockdown violations, for attempting to walk to native places, crowding at stations etc.; In event of demand of Shramiktrains, the railways shall provide trains within 24 hours; Provide all schemes to migrant workers and publicise them; Help desks to be established to help migrants to avail employment opportunities among others. The case will be further listed on July 8 to take further stock of progress.

2. SC Gives Option To Establishments And Workers To Negotiate On Full Payment Of Wages, Regardless Of MHA Order  [Ficus Pax Pvt Ltd Vs Union Of India & Connected Cases]

The Supreme Court directed that negotiations between establishments and workers on the full payment of wages be effectuated, regardless of the direction issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on March 29. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, S K Kaul & M R Shah stated that Centre and states have must circulate court order through labour departments to facilitate settlements. The case will be next taken up during the last week of July. The SC direction against coercive action against employers on the MHA Order will continue till then.

Also Read: [Payment Of Wages During Lockdown] Read The Interim Directions Passed by Supreme Court

4. 'Sorry State Of Affairs': SC Issues Notice To Delhi,Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu & West Bengal Over COVID-19 Management [In Re Proper Treatment Of COVID-19 Patients And Dignified Handling Of Dead Bodies In The Hospitals, Etc.]

The Supreme Court issued notice to the Governments of NCT of Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu over management of COVID-19 situation. A bench of Justices Ashok bhushan, SK Kaul & MR Shah directed that the Chief Secretaries of these states should take immediate note of state of patient care in government hospitals and formulate a detailed status report in this regard. The Court has also directed the Central Government to submit its response in the matter. The case will be next taken on June 17.

Also Read: 'Non-Testing Of Patients Is Not A Solution To The Problem': Supreme Court Directs State Governments To Increase Covid Testing

5. SC Refuses To Stay FIR Registered Against Journalist Vinod Dua Alleging Sedition [Vinod Dua V. Union of India]

In a special Sunday sitting, the Supreme Court refused to stay the direction issued by Shimla police to journalist Vinod Dua under Section 160 of Code of Criminal Procedure asking him to appear before them in relation to investigation in an FIR alleging sedition. A bench comprising Justices U U Lalit, Mohan M Shantanagoudar & Vineet Saran issued notice to the Centre, Himachal Pradesh Government and police. The Court has however directed that Dua should not be arrested until July 6, the next hearing date for the case. The police may interrogate Dua at his residence, the bench added. The Court has also asked for a status report on probe by the State Government.

6. [AGR Dues Of Telcos] SC Asks Department Of Telecommunication To Reconsider Claims Raised On PSU's Basis October 2019 Verdict; Says "Misuse Of Verdict" [In Re: Mandar Deshpande & Connected Cases]

The Supreme Court  directed the Department of Telecommunication to reconsider the claims raised on Public Sector Undertakings on the basis of the October 2019 verdict in the case pertaining to AGR dues of telecom companies. The bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S. Abdul Nazeer & MR Shah also directed the telecom companies to file affidavits explaining the time needed by them to clear the dues on account of the AGR verdict. Court passed the order while considering an application filed by DoT to allow telecom firms to pay the mammoth AGR dues worth Rs 1.43 lakh crore in a staggered fashion spread over 20 years.

Also Read: 20 Years Period To Clear AGR Dues Not Reasonable : SC On Centre's Plea To Allow Time For Telecos

7. [Palghar Lynching] SC Issues Notice On Plea For CBI/NIA Probe [Mahant Shraddhanand Saraswati & Ors V. State Of Maharashtra & Connected Cases]

Th Supreme Court issued notice in a petitions seeking NIA and CBI probe into the Palghar Lynching case. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bushan, M R Shah and V Ramasubramanian issued notice in the petitions filed by filed by Hindu Sadhus of Shri Panch Dashban Juna Akhara and relatives of the two deceased Sadhu's, alleging bias by the State authorities currently investigating the matter. While the petition filed by Juna Akhara Sadhus sought CBI probe, the petition filed by Ghanshyam Upadhyay sought NIA probe. The top court proceeded to issue notice to Maharashtra government, Maharashtra DGP, Central Government, NIA and CBI, returnable within two weeks. The matter will be taken up next in the second week of July.

8. Amrapali : SC Asks Banks To Release Balance Funds To Homebuyers, Despite Accounts Being Declared NPAs [Bikram Chatterji V. Union Of India]

In a relief to thousands of home buyers of the stalled Amrapali project, the Supreme Court directed all financial institutions to disburse their balance funds and restructure the amounts. A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra & U U Lalit ordered that the banks and financial institutions shall release loans to home buyers, whose loans have been sanctioned, notwithstanding the fact that their accounts are declared as NPAs.

9. [COVID19] SC Seeks Replies From States To Questionnaire On Measures Taken In Children Protection Homes [IN RE CONTAGION OF COVID 19 VIRUS IN CHILDREN PROTECTION HOMES]

The Supreme Court  took note of 35 children testing positive for Coronavirus in a government-run shelter home in Royapurum, Chennai and sought a status report from the State Government of Tamil Nadu and Secretary regarding reasons for spread of the contagion and steps taken to control its further spread. A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari & S Ravindra Bhat also sought status report from different state governments on steps taken to protect children in shelter homes from the deadly Novel Coronavirus and also compliance of its April 3 order. In light of this, the Court also noted that it shall circulate a questionnaire which is to be communicated to the State Governments which Juvenile Justices Committees of States shall supply, providing requisite information sought for in the questionnaire before June 30, 2020.

10. Recruitment Of 69000 Teachers In UP: SC Stays Recruitment Of 37339 Posts Till July 14, Open For Govt. To Fill Up Remaining Seats [Subedar Singh & Ors. V. State Of UP & Ors.]

The Supreme Court directed the Uttar Pradesh Government to keep 37,339 posts of Assistant Teachers (Shiksha Mitras) vacant, thereby staying the ongoing selection process of teachers in the state. A bench comprising Justices MM Shantanagoudar & Vineet Saran was hearing a plea filed by the Uttar Pradesh Prathmik Shiksha Mitra Association challenging the Allahabad High Court's order in a case related to the recruitment of 69000 assistant teachers.

11. [Motor Accident] Compensation Should Not Be Elusive : SC Fixes 75% Functional Disability For Man Who Had To Amputate Lower Limb [Sri Anthony alias Anthony Swamy V. The Managing Director, K.S.R.T.C]

Disapproving a High Court judgment which reduced the percentage of functional disability of a man who had to amputate lower limb due to an accident, the Supreme Court observed that compensation for loss of future earning should not be elusive. A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman, Navin Sinha & BR Gavai observed that compensation for loss of future earnings has to be proper and just so as to enable the person to live a life of dignity, with compensation not being elusive.

12. Rent Control Act: HC Cannot Interfere With Finding Of Fact In Revisional Jurisdiction Unless There Is Perversity Or Misappreciation of Evidence: SC [Admissery Raghavan V. Cheruvalath Krishnadasan]

The Supreme Court has reiterated that the High Court, in its revisional jurisdiction conferred by Section 20 of the Kerala Building (Lease and Rent Control) Act, cannot interfere with the finding of fact by Appellate Authority, unless there is perversity or misappreciation of evidence by it. In the instant case, the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha & BR Gavai noted that the High Court had interfered with the findings of fact by the First Appellate Authority. Bench stated that Interfering with this finding of fact, again, without any perversity or misappreciation of evidence by the Appellate Authority would clearly be outside the High Court's ken in its revisional jurisdiction.

13. SC Issues Notice On AP Govt Challenge Against HC Order Quashing Ordinance On State Election Commissioner; Refuses Stay 

The Supreme Court issued notice to the State Election Commissioner (SEC) in Andhra Pradesh Government's challenge to a High Court Order by which it reinstated retired IAS officer Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar as SEC. The matter came up before a bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & Hrishikesh Roy, wherein it was indicated that they were not entirely satisfied with the motive behind the Andhra Pradesh Panchayat Raj (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 which was struck down by the High Court. 

14. SC Imposes Cost Of Rs 5 Lac On PIL Seeking Ban On Coca Cola, Thums Up Etc [Umedsinh Chavda V. Union Of India]

The Supreme Court came down heavily on a social worker who had filed a plea seeking ban & prohibition on the sale and use of Coca Cola, Thums up and other soft drinks citing health concerns on their consumption. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Hemant Gupta & Ajay Rastogi imposed a cost of Rs. 5 Lakh on the petitioner, observing that the petitioner, "lacked technical knowledge" on the subject and his assertions stood "unsubstantiated". Further to this, the bench stated that the plea had been filed for "extraneous" reasons, whereby, an invocation of the jurisdiction of Article 32 of the Constitution stood as an "abuse of the process".

15. Can An Anticipatory Bail Order Be Reviewed? SC Issues Notice [Ainul Hoque Molla V. The State of Assam]

Can anticipatory bail once granted can be reviewed? The Supreme Court has issued notice in a Special Leave Petition which poses this legal issue. Staying the proceedings against the accused before the High Court, the bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul & KM Joseph issued notice in the SLP, which contends that though he was granted bail earlier, another judge has proceeded to issue notice to him on the premise that the bail was granted erroneously earlier. It is contended that there is no such power of review in such a matter and thus the bail already granted could not have been reviewed in this manner by another judge on the judicial side.

16. Will There Be Interest On Interest For Payments Deferred Due To Moratorium, SC Asks RBI, Centre [Gajendra Sharma V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court sought to know from the Union Ministry of Finance and the Reserve Bank of India, if deferment of payments on account of the 6-month loan moratorium will entail accrual of interest on interest. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul & MR Shah said that its query was on this limited aspect of interest on interest. The Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, told the bench that Finance Ministry is convening a meeting with the RBI on the issue over the weekend. The hearing was accordingly adjourned till June 17.

17. "We Cannot Have Dissatisfied Soldiers In this COVID War", SC On Plea For Proper Accommodation And Remuneration For Doctors And Nurses Treating Covid-19 Patients [Dr. Arushi Jain V. Union of India & Connected Matters]

The Supreme Court has directed the Petitioners to convey their suggestions/ concerns to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in a plea seeking proper accommodation facilities as well as remuneration to doctors who were at the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul & MR Shah informed the Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta that the intervention of the Court should not have been required in the instant matter and that the Government had to do more as it was a matter of concern regarding the health of the doctors. The matter is now listed for June 17, 2020.

18. "Cannot Have Policies Inconsistent With Central Guidelines": SC Pulls Up Noida (UP) Authorities For Quarantine Policies Contrary To Stipulated National Guidelines [Rohit Bhalla V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from State of Uttar Pradesh as to why there was an inconsistency in Quarantine guidelines (for Covid) issued by the Noida (UP) Authority and those of National guidelines. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul & MR Shah passed this order in a plea pertaining to the regulation of inter-state movement in Delhi NCR prominently in the cities of Noida, Gurgaon and Ghaziabad adjoining to the NCT of Delhi, due to the contradictory policies of these various states and their constant altering thereof. This case is now listed on June 17, 2020.

19. It's For The Govt Not The Court To Decide How Liquor Can Be Sold" SC Allows TN Govt. To Chart Out Methods To Sell Liquor [TASMAC V. Ramkumar Adityan]

The Supreme Court, while observing that it was the State Government's prerogative to decide as to how liquor is to be sold, allowed the Government of Tamil Nadu to devise methods, i.e., via online or physical sales. A Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul & MR Shah heard the Appeal filed by Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) against the Madras High Court order which had directed for closure of liquor stores in the State of Tamil Nadu during the lockdown imposed in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

20. Money (25 Lakhs) Deposited By Lawyer For Migrants' Travel Can Be Disbursed To Families Of Five Migrants Who Died While Travelling Back Home : SC [Sagheer Ahmed Khan V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court disposed of petition filed by Sagheer Ahmed Khan, with the direction that the Rs. 25 lakhs deposited in the SC Registry by Khan can be disbursed to the families of five migrant workers who had died while travelling back home after requisite verification of their particulars and details is done. Khan, in order to show bonafide intention, had agreed to submit a sum of Rs. 25 lakhs in the Registry of the Supreme Court, toward the cost of travel of the migrants belonging to districts of Basti and Sant Kabir Nagar, irrespective of their caste, creed and religion. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul & MR Shah, noted that the Petitioner had deposited the Rs. 25 lakhs in the SC Registry, as had been duly averred in his plea.

21. SC Allows MCI Plea To Extend Deadlines For PG Medical Admission, College Approvals Etc [Ashish Ranjan V. Union of India & Ors.]

The Supreme Court allowed the Medical Council of India's (MCI) plea to extend the last date to grant a Letter of Permission for the establishment of new medical colleges as well as for the renewal of existing colleges and the increase in intake capacity in MBBS and super-speciality medical courses. A bench of Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha & BR Gavai acceded to the MCI's request to extend the deadline for admission to Postgraduate courses for academic year 2020-21, from May 31 to July 31.

22. SC Issues Notice On PIL for Policy to Curb Child Trafficking [Bachpan Bacha Andolan V. National Disaster Management Authority & Ors.]

The Supreme Court issued notice to the Centre and State Governments in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking guidelines from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to prevent cases of child trafficking, which have suddenly surged amid the COVID-19 induced lockdown. A Bench comprising CJI SA Bobde, and Justices AS Bopanna & Hrishikesh Roy asked Senior Advocate, HS Phoolka, counsel for petitioner, as well as the Solicitor General to do some research on measures to curb the issue of engaging child labour. Attributing this as the reason behind the menace of child trafficking, the CJI asked the counsels to ideate and come up with suggestions before the next hearing.

23. SC Issues Notice On Habeas Plea Challenging Detention Of J&K Congress Leader Saifuddin Soz [Saifuddin Soz V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court  issued notice on a habeas Corpus petition filed against the Government of Jammu and Kashmir's detention order of octogenarian Congress leader and former Union Minister Prof. Saifuddin Soz who has been under house arrest since 5th August, 2019. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra issued the notice, after hearing Senior Advocates P Chidambaram and Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who submitted that Soz has been kept under detention for over 10 months without properly communicating to him the grounds of detention.

24. SC Refuses To Entertain Pleas Against Denial Of OBC Reservation In NEET All India Quota ; Grants Liberty To Move HC [DMK, Vaiko, CPI(M), Tamil Nadu Congress Committee V. Union of India and connected matters]

The Supreme Court refused to entertain a batch of pleas seeking to restrain the Centre from proceeding with all India counselling for UG and PG medical courses, without implementing 50% OBC reservation in Tamil Nadu. A bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari & Ravindra Bhat expressed disinclination to entertain the petitions, following which the petitioner chose to withdraw the same. The court has however granted them liberty to approach the High Court.

25. "Airlines Have Zero Revenue': Harish Salve On Plea Seeking Refund Of Air-tickets Booked During Lockdown, SC Seeks Centre's Stand

The Supreme Court sought the Central Government's stand in a plea seeking full refund for cancellation of air tickets due to the lockdown. A Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul & MR Shah asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to discuss the modalities involved with all concerned airlines and respond to the Court.

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