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Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Sanya Talwar
21 Jun 2020 6:50 AM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Week Commencing June 15 to June 21, 2020

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1. SC Stays Puri Rath Yatra & Related Activities Amid COVID-19 Threat: "Lord Jagannath Will No Forgive Us If We Allow It" [Odisha Vikash Parishad V. UOI & Ors.]

The Supreme Court ordered that no Rath Yatra should held in the Lord Jagannath Temple in Odisha this year, on account of the pandemic situation. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde passed the order on a plea filed by Odisha Vikas Parishad seeking to stay the annual Lord Shri Jagannath's Rath Yatra in the state, which is scheduled to take place on 23 June. The Court also ordered that no secular or religious activity associated to the rath yatra will take place this year in Odisha.

2. [Rising Number Of Covid Cases] SC Directs States/UTs To Constitute Expert Team For Inspection And Supervision Of Govt.Hospitals [In Re: Proper Treatment Of COVID-19 Patients & Dignified Handling Of Dead Bodies In Hospitals]

The Supreme Court passed elaborate directions in its suo motu case regarding the lapses and shortcomings in providing medical care to COVID-19 in hospitals in various States, especially in the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The Order passed by Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul & MR Shah emphasises on the importance of supervision and monitoring of infrastructure and facilities being provided in Government hospitals, while also dealing with issues regarding testing and pricing of treatment among others. 

Also Read: 'You Are Shooting The Messengers': SC Pulls Up Delhi Govt Over Maltreatment Of Doctors

3. SC Stays Telangana HC Direction To Conduct Mandatory COVID19 Testing On Dead Bodies [State of Telangana V. Prof. Vishweshwar Rao]

The Supreme Court stayed the Telangana High Court Order passed on June 8 directing the state to conduct Covid19 sampling on dead bodies before they are released from government hospitals. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul & MR Shah observed that the Telangana High Court passed a "premature" order.

4. Suo Moto Extension Of Limitation Or Lockdown Will Not Affect Right Of Accused To Default Bail : SC [S.Kasi V. State Thr. Inspector, PS Madurai]

The Supreme Court held that its suo motu order extending limitation and the lockdown restrictions of the government will not affect the right of an accused to seek default bail under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Holding thus, a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, M R Shah & V Ramasubramanian set aside the judgment of a single bench of the Madras High Court in S Kasi v State through the Inspector of Police, which had held the time to file chargesheet under Section 167(2) CrPC will also get extended on account of the SC order extending limitation and the lockdown restrictions.

Also Read: Judicial Discipline Ordains That Coordinate Bench Cannot Take Contrary View; Can Only Refer To Larger Bench : SC

5. [Sedition Cases] SC Grants Interim Protection From Arrest To Senior Journalist Vinod Dua [ Vinod Dua V. UOI & Anr.]

In a special Sunday sitting, the Supreme Court granted interim Protection from arrest to Senior Journalist Vinod Dua in connection with an FIR registered by Himachal Police alleging Sedition. A bench comprising Justices U U Lalit, Mohan M Shantanagoudar & Vineet Saran issued notice to the Centre, Himachal Pradesh government and police. Journalist Vinod Dua was summoned by the Shimla Police in connection with a sedition charge levelled against him by local Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ajay Shyam.

6. Direction To Transport Back Stranded Migrants In 15 Days Is Mandatory : SC [In re: Problems & Miseries of Migrant Workers]

The Supreme Court on Friday clarified that its June 9 order for transportation of migrant workers to their hometowns within 15 days was mandatory. A Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul & MR Shah made this clarification in the suo motu plea pertaining to the plight of migrant workers who had found themselves in dire straits due to the nation-wide Coronavirus-induced lockdown.

7. Don't Demoralize Registry With Irresponsible Allegations, SC Tells Lawyer Who Complained Of Discrimination In Listing Cases [Reepak Kansal V. Secretary General, Supreme Court & Ors.]

The Supreme Court took serious objections to the allegations raised by an who complained that the SC Registry was showing discrimination and undue preferences in the matter of listing of all cases. When the petitioner stated that the petition filed by him seeking "One Nation One Ration Card" was not given prompt listing, the bench pointed out that the petition had defects. The bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Abdul Nazeer & M R Shah also expressed displeasure at the petitioner for citing Arnab Goswami's case as an example of 'preferential treatment'.

8. AGR : SC Asks Telecos To Submit Financial Documents [In Re Mandar Deshpande & Connected matters]

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed telecom companies to submit their financial documents while considering a plea by the Department of Telecommunications to allow them to settle the AGR-related dues in a staggered fashion over 20 years. The bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, also allowed time to the DoT to consider the proposals of telcos. The case will be next taken during the third week of July.

Also Read: Decided To Withdraw 96% Of AGR-Related Demand Raised On PSUs : Centre Tells SC

Also Read: SC Asks Centre To Pass Orders To States/UTs Ensure Payment Of Salaries To Health workers

9. SC Grants Time To Assam, Manipur & Arunachal Pradesh To File Counters In Sharjeel Imam's Plea Seeking Consolidation Of FIRs [Sharjeel Imam V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court granted further time of two week to States of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Manipur to file their Counters to Sharjeel Imam's plea for consolidation of FIRs registered against him across the country for investigation by a single agency. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan & V. Ramasubramanium took on record, the counters filed by state of UP and NCT Delhi on record and listed the matter after three weeks.

9. Amrapali : SC Directs ED To Transfer JP Morgan's Attached Money For Construction Purposes [Bikram Chatterjee V. Union of India]

In a significant development regarding the completion of pending Amrapali housing projects, the Supreme Court bench of Justices Arun Mishra & UU Lalit directed the transfer of Rs 140 Crore, plus interest, from the account of JP Morgan, which had earlier been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), to UCO Bank. The transfer of the cumulative amount of around Rs. 187 Crore is effectively the first step towards the actual recovery of funds which are to be pumped into completion of pending Amrapali projects. 

10. SC Allows Woman With Twin Pregnancy To Medically Terminate One Foetus With Down Syndrome [Komal Hiwale V. State of Maharashtra]

The Supreme Court on Tuesday permitted a woman, bearing 25 weeks old twin pregnancy, to undergo procedure for foetal reduction, on the grounds of "serious foetal abnormalities". The bench of Justices R. Banumathi, Indu Malhotra & Aniruddha Bose allowed the special leave petition, preferred against the order of the Bombay High Court, whereby the Petitioner was denied relief.

11. [Vizag Gas Leak] SC Asks Andhra Pradesh HC To Expedite Pleas By LG For Access To Plant, Restrains Disbursal Of 50 Crore Deposit For 10 Days [LG Polymers V. APPCB]

The Supreme Court on Monday requested the High Court of Andhra Pradesh to expeditiously decide the pending pleas of LG Polymers challenging sealing of the plant and praying for grant of access to the plant. A bench of Justices UU Lalit, MM Shantanagoudar & Vineet Saran also restrained the disbursal of the deposit amount of 50 Crores by LG Polymers for 10 days.

12. [Motor Vehicles Act] Person In Whose Name Vehicle Stands Registered On The Date Of Accident To Be Treated As 'Owner': SC [Surendra K. Bhilawe V. New India Assurance Co. Ltd.]

The Supreme Court has observed that, it is the person in whose name the motor vehicle stands registered, who would be treated as the owner of the vehicle, for the purposes of the Motor Vehicles Act. While deciding and allowing the appeal, the bench comprising Justices R. Banumathi Indira Banerjee observed that the National Commission overlooked the definition of 'owner' in Section 2(30) of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988. 

13. [Section 25 CPC] 'First Past The Post' Principle Cannot Be Applied While Deciding A Transfer Petition: SC [Shamita Singha V. Rashmi Ahluwalia]

The Supreme Court observed that the "First past the post" principle cannot be applied while considering a petition for transfer under Section 25 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Justice Aniruddha Bose observed that such petitions are to be decided on consideration of the ends of justice. The Court was considering a petition seeking transfer of a suit for partition and certain other ancillary reliefs instituted in the Delhi High Court. The contention was that the suit for partition can be clubbed together with a Testamentary proceeding pending before the Bombay High Court.

14. Can Family Court Entertain Maintenance Petition Under Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act? SC Delivers Split Verdict 

The Supreme Court gave a split verdict on the issue whether a Family Court has the jurisdiction to entertain a petition for maintenance under Section 3 of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986. Justice R. Banumathi opined that the Family Court has no jurisdiction, while Justice Indira Banerjee expressed a view that it has. Therefore, a larger bench will be constituted to decide the issue.

15. Accused Is Entitled To Be Heard In A Revision Petition Against Dismissal Of Protest Petition: Supreme Court [SS Deshmukh V. A. Talekar & Ors.]

The Supreme Court reiterated that an accused person has the right to be heard before a court hearing a revision petition against the order of dismissal of complaint, filed against him. The bench of Justice Navin Sinha & Justice Indira Banerjee set aside the order dated October 8, 2007, passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, whereby the Magistrate's order for dismissal of complaint against the Petitioner-accused was set aside, without giving him an opportunity of hearing.

16. Contingent Clause In Rent Deed To Increase Rent Each Year Cannot Be Read To Mean That Tenancy Was For More Than One Year Period: SC [Siri Chand (Deceased) Thr. LRS. V. Surinder Singh]

The Supreme Court has observed that, merely because a Rent deed contains a clause which binds the tenant to increase the rent by certain percentage each year, it cannot be read to mean that the tenancy was for a period of more than one year. The bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, MR Shah & V. Ramasubramanian observed: "When the lease deed does not mention the period of tenancy, other conditions of the lease/rent deed and intention of the parties has to be gathered to find out the true nature of the lease deed/rent deed".

17.  Bar On 'Transfer/Assignment' Of Agricultural Land To Non-Agriculturist Applicable To Testamentary Disposition Also: SC [Vinodchandra Sakarlal Kapadia V. State of Gujarat & Ors.]

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that Section 63 of the Bombay Tenancy and Agricultural Lands Act, 1948 debars an agriculturist from parting with his agricultural land to a non-agriculturist through a "Will". The three-judge bench headed by Justice U. U. Lalit, in dismissing the appeals against the impugned Gujarat High Court judgment, also held that Section 43(1) of the Tenancy Act restricts transfer of any land or interest purchased by the tenant under Sections 17B, 32, 32F. 321. 320, 32U, 33(1) or 88E or sold to any person under Section 32P or 64 of the Tenancy Act through the execution of a Will by way of testamentary disposition.

18. SC Asks Explanation From Registry For 3 Years Delay In Listing Vijay Mallya's Review [Dr. Vijay Mallya V. SBI & Ors.]

 The Supreme Court has sought explanation from the SC Registry for not listing the review petition filed by Vijay Mallya for three years. A bench comprising Justices U U Lalit & Ashok Bhushan also sought the names of the officials who had dealt with the file for the last three years. The explanation has to be submitted within two weeks.

19. SC Directs High Courts To Submit 'Plan Of Action' To Address The Issue Of Long Pendency Of Criminal Appeals [Khursheed Ahmad V. State Of UP]

The Supreme Court has directed the High Courts of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Patna, Rajasthan, Bombay and Orissa to file affidavits submitting their 'plan of action' for deciding the criminal appeals that have been pending before the High Courts for a long period of time. The bench of Justice L. Nageswara Rao & S. Ravindra Bhat was considering a criminal appeal against an order of Allahabad High Court rejecting suspension of sentence of a convict in a murder case.

20. SC Issues Notice On Plea Against Conditions Introduced By IBC Amendment Act 2020 For Homebuyers' Insolvency Petitions [Association of Karvy Investors V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court issued notice on petitions which challenge the constitutional validity of the conditions introduced by Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 on the homebuyers' right to file insolvency petition against defaulting builders. A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman, Navin Sinha & B R Gavai also ordered status quo on the petitioner's applications pending in NCLTs.

21. SC Issues Notice On Plea To Transfer PM CARES Funds To National Disaster Response Fund [Centre For Public Interest Litigation V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court issued notice to the Central Government in a PIL seeking for transfer of all funds from PM CARES Fund which was set up to combat the COVID-19 pandemic to National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). A Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, SK Kaul & MR Shah heard the matter and issued notice to the Central Government and directed the Centre to file its reply affidavit within a period of 4 weeks.

22. Death Penalty Cannot Be Imposed By Giving Retrospective Effect To POCSO Amendment To An Offence Committed Prior To Amendment: SC [State of Telangana V. Polepakka Praveen @ Pawan]

The Supreme Court refused to apply retrospectively the imposition of death sentence under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, included with effect from 6th August, 2019. The bench of Justices S. K. Kaul & K. M. Joseph was hearing a special leave petition preferred by the State of Telangana on the limited issue that the death sentence imposed by the Trial Court has been modified by the High Court to a life sentence albeit with a rider that the respondent-convict shall not be released till his last breath. It was the submission of the counsel for the petitioner-state that a signal goes to the society by imposition of the death sentence.

23. SC Issues Notice On Plea To Direct Insurers To Provide Medical Insurance For Mental Illness Treatment [Gaurav Kumar Bansal V. UOI & Anr.]

The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre and the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) in a plea seeking for directions with respect to violation of Section 21(4) of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 whereby insurers are bound to provide medical insurance for treatment of mental illness. A bench comprising of Justices Rohinton F. Nariman, Navin Sinha & BR Gavai heard the matter and issued notice to the Union Health Ministry and the IRDAI.

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