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Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Sanya Talwar
16 Aug 2020 6:36 AM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round Up
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1. SC Holds Prashant Bhushan Guilty Of Contempt For Tweets Against Judiciary; Will Hear Him On Sentence [In Re: Prashant Bhushan & Anr.]

The Supreme Court on Friday held Advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court in the suo moto contempt case taken against him over two of his tweets about the Chief Justice of India and the Supreme Court. Justice B R Gavai, reading out the judgment, observed that Bhushan committed "serious contempt of the Court". The bench will hear him on sentence on August 20. A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, B R Gavai and Krishna Murari had reserved judgment in the case on August 5 after elaborately hearing Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave for Bhushan. Court observed that his tweets tend to shake the public confidence in the institution of judiciary.

Also Read: Prashant Bhushan's Tweets Tend to Shake Public Confidence In Institution Of Judiciary: SC

Also Read: There Is No Requirement Of Taking Attorney General's Consent In Suo Motu Contempt Proceedings:SC

2. 'How Can There Be Exams Without Teaching? UGC Directions Arbitrary': Singvhi Seeks Cancellation Of Exams [Praneeth K. V. UGC/ Batch pleas]

On Friday, Senior Advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi opened the arguments for the petitioner, Yash Dubey, in the petition challenging the direction issued by the University Grants Commission(UGC) to hold final term exams by September 30. Stating that the number of COVID-19 cases have been increasing exponentially, Singhvi submitted before bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah that the matter was related to "life and health of students". Bench will now hear the matter on August 18.

Also Read: [STUDENTS VS UGC] SC Adjourns The Hearing To August 18 [Read The Courtroom Exchange]

Also Read: 'When Exams Can't Be Held In April With 1137 COVID-19 Cases, How Can They Be Held Now With Lakhs Of Cases?' Shyam Divan Tells SC In Students v UGC

Also Read: [Students vs UGC] Can State Disaster Management Authority Direct To Cancel Exams Overriding UGC Guidelines? Asks SC

Also Read: Permitted To Conduct Final Year Exams After Taking Into Account The Academic Interest Of Students: Home Ministry Tells SC

3. Sushant Singh Rajput Death: SC Reserves Order On Rhea Chakraborty's Plea To Transfer Bihar FIR To Mumbai [Rhea Chakraborty V. State of Bihar]

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its orders in a plea filed by Bollywood actress Rhea Chakraborty seeking transfer of an FIR filed against her from Patna to Mumbai. The Court also asked all parties to submit a written note by Thursday, August 13. A Single Judge Bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy heard all parties involved, who had complied with the Court's August 5 Order, directing them to file their responses within 3 days to Chakraborty's plea to transfer the case. The State of Maharashtra had also filed its report regarding the status of the investigation.

Also Read: [Sushant Singh Rajput Case] No Embargo On Bihar Police To Investigate, Inaction By Mumbai Police To Register FIR Contrary To Law: Bihar Govt. To SC

Also Read: [Sushant Singh Rajput Death] Illegal Proceedings Of Bihar Police Cannot Be Transferred to CBI By Way of Illegal Executive Orders: Rhea Chakraborty To SC 

Also Read: [Sushant Singh Rajput Case] No 'Case' Pending In Maharashtra As It Is Yet To Register FIR : CBI Tells SC

4. Daughters Have Coparcenery Rights Even If Their Father Was Not Alive When Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 Came Into Force: SC [Vineeta Sharma V. Rakesh Sharma]

In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court has held that, a daughter will have a share after Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, irrespective of whether her father was alive or not at the time of the amendment. Justice Arun Mishra today pronounced the judgment in a batch of appeals that raised an important legal issue whether the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, which gave equal right to daughters in ancestral property, has a retrospective effect? "Daughters must be given equal rights as sons, Daughter remains a loving daughter throughout life. The daughter shall remain a coparcener throughout life, irrespective of whether her father is alive or not", Justice Mishra said while pronouncing the judgment today. The bench also comprising of Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah, overruled the contrary observations made in in Prakash v. Phulavati and Mangammal v. T.B. Raju. 

Also Read: Injustice To Daughters In Hindu Shastric Law Done Away With: SC Explains The Impact Of Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005

Also Read: [Section 6(5) HSA] Plea Of Oral Partition Can Be Accepted Only In Exceptional Cases If It Is Supported By Public Documents: SC

5. [Rajasthan Politics] No Stay On BSP-Congress Merger; Any Transaction On Floor Of House Will Be Subject To Court Orders: SC [Madan Dilawar V. Speaker Rajasthan Legislative Assembly, Jaipur]

While declining the plea to stay the Speaker's decision to stay the merger of BSP MLAs of Rajasthan assembly with Congress, the Supreme Court on Thursday said that any transactions on the floor of the house during the assembly session scheduled tomorrow will be subject to the orders of the Court. The Court was hearing the special leave petition filed by BJP MLA Madan Dilawar, challenging Rajasthan High Court's refusal to stay Rajasthan Speaker Dr. CP Joshi's decision approving the merger of six Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLAs with Indian National Congress (INC). A Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra heard the arguments submitted by Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal, Harish Salve and Dr. Rajeev Dhavan, who appeared for the Speaker, Dilavar and one of the six MLAs, respectively, and stated that any transaction that would take place on the floor of the House, would be subject to the Court's orders.

6. SC Orders De-Sealing Of Properties In Delhi; Sets Aside Report Of Court-Appointed Monitoring Committee [MC Mehta V. Union of India & Ors.]

In a significant judgment pronounced on Friday, the Supreme Court ordered de-sealing of residential units in Delhi which had been sealed by a Court-appointed Monitoring Committee.A 3-Judge Bench comprising of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari arrived at this decision upon finding that the Committee had never been authorized to take action against the residential premises that were not being used for commercial purposes. The Court categorically held that it had not granted authority to the Committee to seal residential premises on private land, particularly when they were not being used for commercial purposes.

7. 4G Internet Will Be Restored In One Districts Each In Jammu And Kashmir On Trial Basis: AG Tells SC [Foundation for Media Professionals V. Union of India]

Attorney General KK Venugopal on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court Bench hearing the contempt petition in the restoration of 4G internet in Jammu and Kashmir matter that the Special Committee was of the considered view that the situation in Jammu & Kashmir is still not conducive to restore internet Services of 4G in Jammu & Kashmir. However, a phased restoration on a trial basis would take place 15th August onwards. A bench headed by Justice NV Ramana was hearing a petition seeking contempt action against Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Chief Secretary, U.T. of Jammu & Kashmir alleging non-compliance of the May 11 judgment of the Supreme Court, which had directed that a "Special Committee" be constituted to "immediately" to determine the necessity of continued restriction of mobile internet speeds in Jammu & Kashmir to 2G only.

8. [COVID-19] Quarantine Period Of Doctors & Health Workers Will Be Treated As "On Duty" & Not "On Leave": Centre Tells SC [Dr. Arushi Jain V. Union of India]

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that Quarantine Period of doctors and health workers needs to be treated as "on duty" and not "on leave". This happened after Senior Advocate KV Vishwanathan in an IA filed by United Residents and Doctors Association stated in court that doctors in quarantine were not being paid their dues. On July 31, the Centre had informed Supreme Court that Delhi, Punjab, Tripura, Karnataka & Maharashtra - have not made timely payment of salaries to healthcare workers despite the Centre' Notification under National Disaster Management Act which lays down strict penal action for non-payment. The State of Tripura today also informed the Supreme Court that the salaries of health workers were being paid on time. To this a Justice Bhushan-led bench said, "Good" & adjourned the case to next week. 

9. [NEET 2020]"Vande Bharat Flights Are Being Made Available": SC On Plea Seeking Examination Centres In Gulf Countries [Abdul Azeez V. Union of India & Ors.]

The Supreme Court told petitioner(s) seeking allocation of Test Centres for NEET Examination in foreign countries that Vande Bharat flights for return to India are being made available amid pandemic. A bench of Justices Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta & S. Ravindra Bhat quoted the National Testing Agency's (NTA) counter affidavit before the Supreme Court, intimating that it is not possible to have overseas examination centres for NEET 2020 because the examination is conducted in "paper book format". The bench posted the matter for further hearing on August 24. The examination is scheduled to be held on September 13, 2020.

10. Open School Exam: SC Tells NIOS To Consider Representation For Revaluation Of Results Of Freshly Enrolled Students [Ahali Banerjee V. National Institute of Open Schooling]

The Supreme Court allowed students challenging the Assessment Scheme dated July 10, 2020 issued by National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) to make a representation before the NIOS for revaluation of results and seek basis of allotted marks in their theory papers. The assessment scheme came to be notified pursuant to cancellation of Public examination which was rescheduled to commence from July 17, 2020. A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari & Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a plea seeking directions to the NIOS to re-evaluate the results of the petitioners and for awarding of marks in the facts and circumstances of the case on the basis of their TMA/Practical marks as specified in Clause 5 (d) of the Assessment scheme.

11. [AGR Case] 'Why Shouldn't Jio Pay Dues Of Reliance Communications For Using Its Spectrum?' SC Asks Reliance Jio [In Re Mandar Deshpande]

The Supreme Court on Friday stated that Reliance Jio must pay Reliance Communications' AGR dues in light of the fact that it was using the latter's spectrum since 2016. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S. Abdul Nazeer & MR Shah directed the Centre, Reliance Jio and Reliance Communication's to produce necessary documents in order to bring to light who would be liable for AGR dues of Reliance Communications. The bench also sought details of who was using the spectrum of Aircel and Videocon. Similar direction is issued to other companies which are under insolvency, including Aircel Limited, Aircel Cellular Limited and Dishnet Wireless Limited and Videocon Telecommunications Ltd. to specify who is using the spectrum an arrangement along with documents be placed on record.

12. Draft EIA 2020: SC Stays Delhi HC Contempt Proceedings Against Centre For Failure To Publish Notification In Regional Languages [Union of India V. Vikrant Tongad]

The Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the contempt of court proceedings initiated by Delhi High Court against Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) for failing to publish draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification 2020 in multiple regional languages. Accordingly, the top court allowed the SLP to be withdrawn, with liberty to file review petition before the HC. The contempt proceedings in HC will remain stayed till the disposal of the review petition, ordered the SC. "Needless to state that in case the petitioner fails before the High Court, it is permitted to approach this Court once again challenging the main order as well as the order passed in the review petition", clarified the bench comprising CJI S A Bobde, Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.

13. SC Directs Allahabad HC To Dispose Off Dr Khafeel Khan's Plea Against His Detention At Mathura Jail [Nuzhat Perween V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court has directed Allahabad High Court to expeditiously dispose of the habeas corpus plea filed by Dr. Kafeel Ahmad Khan who has been in detention at Mathura Jail since 29th January, 2020. A bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun heard an Application filed by the Petitioner seeking for directions in the habeas corpus plea and directed the High Court to dispose of the matter expeditiously, preferably within a period of 15 days.

14. [IBC] Limitation Period For CIRP Application Is Three Years From The Date Of Default: SC [Babulal Vardharji Gurjar V. Veer Gurjar Aluminium Industries Pvt. Ltd. & Anr.]

The Supreme Court has reiterated that the limitation period for application under Section 7 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is three years as provided by Article 137 of the Limitation Act, which commences from the date of default and is extendable only by application of Section 5 of Limitation Act if any case for condonation of delay is made out. The issue considered by the bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari was whether the provisions of Section 18 of the Limitation Act certainly extend the period of limitation under the Code on any acknowledgment of debt by the corporate debtor. The Court allowed an appeal against National Company Law Appellate Tribunal which held that the right to apply under Section 7 of the Code accrued to the financial creditor only on 01.12.2016 when the Code came into force; and that the period of limitation for recovery of possession of the mortgaged property is twelve years.

15. Considerable Unexplained Delay By Drug Authorities To Test A Sample Can Render Proceedings Under Drugs & Cosmetics Act Void: SC [Medipol Pharmaceutical India Pvt. Ltd. Vs. Post Graduate Institute Of Medical Education & Research]

The Supreme Court has observed that considerable unexplained delay on the part of Drug authorities to test a sample can render any penalty under Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, based upon the said analysis of the sample, as void. The bench comprising Justices RF Nariman and Navin Sinha was considering an appeal filed by Medipol Pharmaceutical India Pvt. Ltd. which was blacklisted. The writ petition filed by the company before the Punjab and Haryana High court was dismissed. The Apex court also observed that, while exercising its power to blacklist a company, the State has to act fairly and rationally without in any way being arbitrary. In this case, the court found that it was arbitrary and therefore set aside the blacklisting order.

16. General Guidelines Issued By The HC Cannot Override Directions Given By Supreme Court On Judicial Side: SC [Ankit Maheshwari Alias Chintoo v. State of MP & Ors.]

The Supreme Court on Friday rapped a local Court in Madhya Pradesh for its failure to complete trial in a rape case, despite explicit orders to do so within six months. The bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna rejected the explanation rendered by the Trial Court with regard to hearing of only urgent cases amid the Covid crisis and sternly remarked that all concerned are expected to comply with the Top Court's orders in its letter and spirit, without any demur.

17. 'Will Create Confusion': SC Dismisses Plea Seeking Filling Up Of Vacated Seats Of AIQ Medical NEET-PG In Order Of Merit [Raghuvir Saini V. Union of India & Ors.]

The Supreme Court dismissed a plea seeking directions to the Union to come forth and declare 3309 seats of All India Quota (AIQ) under Medical NEET-PG 2020 which have been vacated by candidates, as being lapsed on account of non-joining of selected/shortlisted candidates after the publication of final list and fill them up in order of merit as per the NEET-PG examination. A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari & Sanjiv Khanna observed that after the counselling was concluded, seats cannot be transferred to any candidate and dismissed it.

18. Plea Challenging Contempt Law Withdrawn From SC; Liberty Granted To Approach HC [N. Ram & Ors. V. Union of India & Ors.]

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the petitioners to withdraw a writ petition challenging the constitutionality of the offence of 'scandalising the court' under Section 2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. The Court allowed the petitioners to approach an appropriate forum sans liberty to move the Top Court again. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai & Krishna Murari took up the matter for hearing. Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan appeared for the petitioners and pointed out that he would like to withdraw the plea.

19. SC Reserves Order In Plea to Scrap Judicial Commission Set Up To Probe Vikas Dubey's Alleged Encounter [Ghanshyam Upadhyay V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its Orders in a plea seeking disbanding of the Justice (Retd) B S Chauhan inquiry Commission constituted to probe the alleged encounter of UP gangster, Vikas Dubey. The plea, filed by Maharashtra lawyer Ghanshyam Upadhyay, cast aspersions on the independence of members of the judicial commission, which was set up on July 22 by the Top Court, in a petition filed by Upadhyay himself. As the matter came up for hearing, the Bench headed by CJI SA Bobde pulled up the petitioner for filing such a plea casting aspersions on members of a Court appointed Commission, including a Judge, especially on the basis of a media report.

20. SC Issues Notice On Plea Seeking Absolute Ban On Use Of Sanitization Tunnels [Gursimran Singh Narula V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court has issued notice on a PIL seeking complete ban on sanitization tunnels being used across the country to disinfect entrants of a public place/ premises. A three-Judges bench comprised of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice R. Subhash Reddy and Justice MR Shah has issued notice the Union of India on the petition filed and argued by Gursimran Singh Narula, a final year law student.

21. SC Dismisses Mahua Moitra's Plea Challenging Exclusion Of Donations To CM's Relief Fund From CSR

The Supreme Court dismissed plea filed by TMC MP Mahua Moitra which challenged the Centre's circular which states that Chief Minister's Funds or State Relief Funds will not come within the purview of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities under Section 135 of the Companies Act. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy ad BR Gavai heard the matter and noted that Moitra had filed a similar plea which had been dismissed on May 5, 2020. Accordingly, he dismissed the instant plea as well.

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