Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Sanya Talwar

26 July 2020 11:32 AM GMT

  • Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

    Week Commencing July 19 to July 26, 2020

    1. Rajasthan Speaker vs Sachin Pilot : SC Refuses To Stay Rajasthan HC Proceedings; HC Judgment To Be Subject To SC Orders [The Hon'ble Speaker, Rajasthan Legislative Assembly V. Prithviraj Meena & Ors.]Supreme Court decided to hear in detail the Speaker's challenge against HC direction to extend the time for filing replies by the rebel Congress MLAs. A bench headed by Justices Arun...

    1Rajasthan Speaker vs  Sachin Pilot : SC Refuses To Stay Rajasthan HC Proceedings; HC Judgment To Be Subject To SC Orders [The Hon'ble Speaker, Rajasthan Legislative Assembly V. Prithviraj Meena & Ors.]

    Supreme Court decided to hear in detail the Speaker's challenge against HC direction to extend the time for filing replies by the rebel Congress MLAs. A bench headed by Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai & Krishna Murari said that the Special Leave Petition filed by the Speaker, C P Joshi, will be heard on Monday, observing that "serious questions related to democracy" are involved in the matter.

    Also Read: Voices Of Dissent Cannot Be Suppressed In A Democracy : Justice Arun Mishra While Hearing Rajasthan MLAs Case

    2. SC Issues Contempt Notice To Advocate Prashant Bhushan Over His Tweets On Judiciary [In Re Prashant Bhushan & Anr.]

    The Supreme Court issued notice to Advocate Prashant Bhushan, asking him to show cause as to why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against him over his tweets on judiciary. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai & Krishna Murari stated that the Court has taken cognizance of two tweets made by Bhushan on June 27 and June 29.

    Also Read: Bhushan's Tweets Brought Disrepute To Justice Administration & Undermined Dignity Of CJI's Office: SC Expresses Prima Facie View

    Also Read: Twitter Withholds Prashant Bhushan's Tweets Over Which SC Issued Contempt Notice

    3. 'We Need To Hear The Matter', SC Says While Adjourning 11-Year Old Contempt Case Against Prashant Bhushan [Amicus Curiae V. Prashant Bhushan]

    The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned till August 4 the hearing on a 11-year old contempt case against Advocate Prashant Bhushan over his remarks against Supreme Court judges in an interview given to Tehelka magazine in 2009. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai & Krishna Murari adjourned the case to August 5 after Counsel sought time. The subject matter of the 2009 case is an interview given by Bhushan to Shoma Chaudhury of Tehelka magazine in 2009, where he allegedly said that for his allegations, half of the last 16 Chief Justices were corrupt. As per the complaint, Bhushan also said in the interview that he had no proof for the allegations.

    Also See: "You Are Too Senior To Implead In this Case": SC Tells Shanti Bhushan In Prashant Bhushan- Tehelka Contempt Case [Courtroom Exchange]

    4. SC Sets Up Commission Headed By Ex-SC Judge Justice B S Chauhan To Probe Vikas Dubey Encounter [Ghanshyam Upadhyay V. State of Uttar Pradesh]

    The Supreme Court approved the constitution of an inquiry commission headed by Justice B S Chauhan, former Supreme Court judge, to probe into the genuineness of the encounter killing of UP gangster Vikas Dubey. The name of Justice Chauhan was suggested by the Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the government of Uttar Pradesh before a bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun. The SG also suggested the name of former judge of Allahabad High Court, Justice Sashi Kant Agarwal and former UP Director General of Police, KL Gupta, to be a part of the probe team. He submitted that all background checks have been conducted for the former DGP.

    5. SC Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of Financial Difficulties Of Advocates Amid COVID-19 ; Issues Notice To BCI, State Bar Councils [Bar Council India V. Union Of India & Ors.]

    The Supreme Court took  Suo motu cognisance of the financial difficulties being faced by lawyers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A Bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde was hearing a plea filed by the Bar Council of India which sought for directions to the Centre/State and UT Governments for financial assistance to lawyers, on account of losses faced due to decreasing litigation work in wake of the pandemic. The Bench issued notice, returnable within 2 weeks, to the Centre, Bar Council of India, State Bar Councils, each High Court's Registrar General, and recognized High Court Bar Associations. The Bar Associations have been directed to show cause why a fund for relief cannot be set up for deserving and eligible advocates.

    Also Read: Lawyers Are Not Permitted To Earn A Livelihood By Any Other Means: Observes SC On Advocates Plight Due To Loss Of Income Amid Pandemic

    6. 69000 Shiksha Mitras' Recruitment: SC Reserves Judgment On UP Assistant Teachers Recruitment Issue [Uttar Pradesh Prathmik Shiksha Mitra Association V. State of Uttar Pradesh]

    The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its judgment in a case related to the recruitment of 69000 assistant teachers in the State of Uttar Pradesh. A bench led by Justice UU Lalit, MM Shantanagoudar & Vineet Saran reserved its judgment after hearing Counsel for Petitioner(s) in a batch of pleas, the lead matter being one 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.

    7. SC Grants AP SEC A Week To File Affidavit; State Assures Compliance Of HC Order In Reinstating Ramesh Kumar as SEC [State of Andhra Pradesh V. N. Ramesh Kumar]

    The Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun granted the Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner (SEC) a week's time to file an affidavit after being informed of the abuse being faced by High Court judges on social media, for having reinstated retired IAS officer Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar to the office. 

    8. SC Grants 6 Months Extension To Complete Probe In Hyderabad Encounter [GS Mani V. Union of India]

    The Supreme Court allowed an application filed by the Inquiry Commission, in the plea seeking investigation into the alleged encounter of four accused persons on 6th December, 2019 in Hyderabad, praying for an extension of 6 months for submission of final report. A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun granted an extension of 6 months.

    9. "What Is The Guarantee That You Will Not Escape? SC Reserves Order On Plea Seeking Time For Staggered Payment Of AGR Dues By Telecom Companies [Vodafone Idea Limited V. Department of Telecommunications Thr. Secretary]

    The Supreme Court reserved orders in the plea by Department of Telecommunications (DoT) seeking to allow telecom companies to make payments of the AGR dues in a staggered fashion over 20 years. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, MR Shah & S. Abdul Nazeer also made it clear that it shall not entertain any objections for re-assessment/ re-calculation of AGR in light of the decision passed by Top Court in October 2019 and directed Reliance Communications, Sistema, Shyam Teleservices & Videocon to submit their insolvency details within 7 days.

    10. SC Imposes Cost Of Rs. 1 Lakh on Each Petitioner Seeking Protection Of Artefacts Recovered At The Ram Janmabhoomi Temple Site [Satish V. Union of India & Ors.]

    The Supreme Court imposed a fine of Rs. 1 lakh each on all petitioners while dismissing two PILs seeking protection and conservation of ancient remains and artefacts which are found while digging the land around the birthplace of Lord Ram in Ayodhya during the construction of the temple. Miffed with the plea, the 3-judge Bench, comprising of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai & Krishna Murari, viewed it as an attempt to stall the implementation of the Ayodhya land dispute verdict and consequently deemed it frivolous.

    11. [Suo Motu Matter On Conditions In Children Homes] SC Directs Centre To Submit Note On Funding And Audits [In Re: Contagion of COVID-19 Virus in Children Protection Homes]

    Supreme Court directed the Amicus Curiae to file an Affidavit compiling all the "good practices" from States, so that a uniform order may be passed in the suo motu case pertaining to the condition of children in protection, juvenile and foster or kinship homes across the country amid the Coronavirus outbreak. A bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta & S. Ravindra Bhat heard the matter and directed the Amicus Advocate Gaurav Agarwal to prepare the note and circulate it amongst all the States. The Centre was also directed to submit a note regarding how funds were being spent and the subsequent audit of the same.

    12. SC Issues Notice To IT Dept On DK Shivakumar's Plea For Discharge From Tax Evasion Charges [D.K. Sivakumar V. IT Department]

    The Supreme Court issued notice in a plea filed by Karnataka Congress President, DK Shivakumar, urging the removal of charges filed against him by the Income Tax (IT) Department. A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramanian, however, refused to stay criminal proceedings which had been initiated against the former Karnataka Minister subsequent to a raid of his premises in August 2017.

    13. HC Cannot Allow Second Appeal Without Formulating Substantial Question Of Law, Reiterates SC [Kunjunmuhammed V. Mariyumma]

    The Supreme Court reiterated that a High Court cannot allow Second Appeal without having formulated a substantial question of law. "A mere mention about the question having been formulated in the memorandum of appeal is not enough", said the bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari & Sanjiv Khanna while setting aside a Kerala High Court judgment.

    14. Supreme Court Directs Compassionate Appointment In 21 Yrs Old Case, Directs Rs. 2 Lakh Cost To The Widow Of Deceased [Bharat Coking Coal Limited & Ors. v. Ruda Devi & Ors.]

    The Supreme Court upheld a decision of the Calcutta High Court, directing Bharat Coking Coal Limited to grant "compassionate appointment" to the wife of its former employee, who was unheard of ever since his abduction in the year 1999, in the course of defending a theft at the company premises. A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra KM Joseph held that the High Court had rightly applied the presumption that arises under the provisions of Section 108 of the Evidence Act 1872, which stipulates that when the question is whether a man is alive or dead, and it is proved that he has not been heard of for seven years by those who would naturally have heard of him if he had been alive, the burden of proving that he is alive is shifted to the person who affirms it.

    15. [Double Tax Avoidance Treaty] Mumbai Project Office Of Samsung Heavy Industries Not A 'Permanent Establishment': SC [Director of Income Tax-II V. M/S Samsung Heavy Industries]

    In a major relief for Samsung Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., the Supreme Court held that its Project Office in Mumbai cannot be termed as a "permanent establishment"(PE) for the purpose of taxation under Double Tax Avoidance Treaty. The bench comprising Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and BR Gavai, while holding thus, observed that the burden of proving the fact that a foreign assessee has a a "permanent establishment" in India is initially on the Revenue and not on the Assessee. 

    16. SC Takes Note Of "Appalling Situation" And Directs Centre To Fill Up Vacancies At NGT At The Earliest [NGT Bar Association (Western Zone) V. Union of India & Ors.]

    Taking note of the "appalling situation" regarding vacancies in the National Green Tribunal (Western Zone) [NGT], the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre to expedite steps to ensure that all vacancies are filled at the earliest. A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari & Sanjiv Khanna, had been apprised of the fact that the Tribunal was functioning at a mere strength of 7 judges, as opposed to the minimum statutory requirement of 10 judges.

    17. SC Seeks Action Plan On Disposal Of Bio-Medical Waste By Delhi Pvt Hospitals; Compliance Of Installation Of Smog Towers In Delhi 

    The Supreme Court expressed concerns over indiscriminate dumping of bio-medical waste by some private hospitals, near open forests areas in Delhi, especially amid the Covid crisis. While hearing an application moved by DU law student, Harshita Singhal, the bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran & MR Shah observed,
    "The tracking of biomedical waste generated; collected; processed and recycled needs to be improved urgently by adopting the bar-code system, as specified in the [Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling)] 2016 Rules which has not yet been implemented completely."

    18. [Violation of Article 164 (1A)] SC Issues Notice to MP CM Shivraj Chouhan on Plea of Ex-Speaker Challenging Appointment of 28 Ministers [N Prajapati V. Governor of Madhya Pradesh]

    The appointment of 28 ministers by the Shivraj Singh Chouhan led BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has come under the scanner of the Supreme Court, which on Wednesday took note of the objections of former assembly speaker and Congress leader that this violated the ceiling on the maximum number of ministers fixed under the Constitution. A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde, Justices A S Bopanna & V Ramasubramanian issued notices to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his government and sought their response on the plea of former assembly speaker N P Prajapati.

    19. [Section 498A IPC] SC Quashes Matrimonial Cruelty Charges Against Husband Based On Compromise [Jairaj V. State of Maharashtra]

    The Supreme Court recently quashed charges of Cruelty by a wife against her husband basis an amicable settlement between them. A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde & Justice R Banumathi held that considering that the complainant wife and accused husband have already compromised the matter, the FIR registered in the Criminal case viz. Sections 498A, 506, 323 & 406 stood quashed.
    Imp: In an earlier decision of the Top Court in 2009 (B.S. Joshi V. State of Haryana), the Court examined the inherent powers of the High Court under Section 482 of the CrPc read with Article 226 of the Constitution.

    20. SC Issues Notice In Plea Seeking For Declaration Of Country Of Origin Of Goods On E-Commerce Sites [Divya Jyoti V. Union of India]

    The Supreme Court has issued notice in a plea seeking for directions to the Centre to formulate a law in order to ensure that e-commerce sites and business houses declare the "country of origin" of goods so as to facilitate boycotting of Chinese products. A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramanian heard the matter and proceeded to issue notice in the same. This plea, came at the heels of a standoff between India and China at Galwan Valley which took place on June 15 and left multiple Indian soldiers dead. 

    21. 'Matter Is Under Consideration Of Concerned Authority": SG Tells SC On J&K HC Bar Association President Mian Abdul Qayoom's Habeas Plea Against Detention Order [Mian Abdul Qayoom V. Union of India]

    The Supreme Court adjourned the plea filed by Senior Advocate and J&K Bar Association President Mian Abdul Qayoom, which challenged the 28th May, 2020 Order of the J&K High Court which had dismissed his habeas corpus petition and upheld his detention under the J&K Public Safety Act, 1978. A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul heard the matter and took note of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta's submission viz. the instant issue is under consideration and the concerned Authority shall soon have a reply. Accordingly, the plea was adjourned to July 27.

    22. J&K 4G Ban: Special Committee Has Decided Against Relaxing Internet Restrictions, MHA Tells SC [Foundation For Media Professionals V. Union of India & Ors.]

    In response to the contempt petition filed by Foundation for Media Professionals(FM) in Supreme Court, the Ministry of Home Affairs filed a counter-affidavit stating that the Special Committee to review the internet restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir has decided against restoring 4G internet in the region for now. The affidavit states that the Special Committee, in its meeting held on June 10, decided that "based on consideration and wide-ranging assessment of the prevalent situation in this sensitive region ... no further relaxation on internet services including 4G services could be carried out at the present."

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