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Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Sanya Talwar
23 Aug 2020 11:48 AM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round Up
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Week Commencing August 17 To August 23, 2020
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Top Stories This Week:

1. 'My Statements Are Well Considered And Well Thought Of': Prashant Bhushan Declines SC's Offer For Time To Reconsider Statement [In Re: Prashant Bhushan & Anr.]

Advocate Prashant Bhushan on Thursday declined the Supreme Court's offer for time to reconsider the statement made by him in the Court justifying his tweets and expressing dismay at the contempt verdict. During hearing on sentence today before a bench led by Justice Arun Mishra, Bhushan submitted that his statements were "well-considered and well thought of". He said that he did not wish to reconsider his statements and that giving him more time to think upon it would serve no useful purpose. The remarks were made after Justice Mishra offered to give an opportunity to Mr. Bhushan to think over his statements and come back after 2-3 days. 

Also Read: [Contempt] "I Do Not Ask For Mercy, I Do Not Appeal to Magnanimity, I am Here To Cheerfully Submit to Any Penalty": Prashant Bhushan Tells SC Quoting Gandhiji

Also Read: Attorney General Requests SC To Not Punish Prashant Bhushan In Contempt Case

Also Read: To Punish For Contempt, Court Has To Show Comments 'Substantially Interfered With Administration Of Justice' :Dhavan Tells SC In Bhushan Case

2. Sushant Singh Rajput Case : SC Orders CBI Probe; Holds Bihar FIR Valid; Asks Maharashtra Police To Assist [Rhea Chakraborty V. State of Bihar]

The Supreme Court upheld the Bihar Government's order to transfer the probe in the case related to the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput to CBI. A single bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy held that Bihar police had jurisdiction to register FIR with respect to the suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput at the complaint of the actor's father, and held the transfer to CBI valid. The Court also directed Maharashtra police to hand over the case files to CBI and to render necessary assistance.

Also Read: Investigations Cannot Be Transferred Invoking Powers Under Section 406 CrPC: SC

Also Read: [Sushant Singh Rajput] CBI Probe Appropriate To Ensure 'Public Confidence', Says SC To Invoke Article 142

Also Read: [Sushant Singh Rajput] Nothing To Show Any Wrong Doing By Mumbai Police; Probe By Agency Not Controlled By Both States Appropriate: SC

Also Read: Sushant Singh Rajput Case: Why SC Upheld Jurisdiction Of Bihar Police To Register FIR?

3. Can UGC Direct To Hold Exams Overriding A State Where A Certain Situation Exists?, SC Asks Reserving Judgment In 'Students vs UGC' Case [Praneeth K. V. UGC/ Batch Pleas]

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved judgment on a batch of petitions challenging the July 6 directive of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to the Universities to hold final semester examinations by September 30. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah reserved the judgment after hearing the parties for nearly four hours via video conferencing. On Tuesday, the bench heard Senior Advocate Arvind P Datar (for State of Maharashtra), Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta (for teachers from West Bengal), Senior Advocate K V Vishwanathan (for Government of NCT of Delhi), Advocate Generals for Odisha and West Bengal, Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora for intervenors, Advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava etc.

4. SC Dismisses Plea To Transfer PM CARES Funds To NDRF; Says Fresh National Disaster Plan For COVID-19 Not Needed [Centre For Public Interest Litigation V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition which sought transfer of the funds from PM CARES to National Disaster Relied Fund. The Court also held that there was no need for a fresh national disaster relief plan for COVID-19, and that the minimum standards of relief as issued under the Disaster Management Act prior to COVID-19 were enough. The bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah also clarified that the Centre will be free to transfer the funds to NDRF as it deems appropriate and that individuals are at liberty to donate to NDRF.

Also Read: No Occasion For CAG Audit Of PM CARES Fund As It Is A Public Charitable Trust: SC

Also Read: No Exception Can Be Taken To Constitution Of PM CARES Fund; But Still Open For Anyone To Contribute To NDRF : SC

5. Supreme Court Dismisses Plea Seeking Postponement NEET/JEE 2020 [Sayantan Biswas V. NTA]

The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea seeking the postponement of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), scheduled to be held in September 2020. Justice Arun Mishra, presiding the bench, said that the postponement of the exams will put the 'career of the students in peril'. 'Life should move on even in COVID-19 times. Can we just stop exams? We should move on', Justice Arun Mishra said while dismissing the petitions.

Also Read: NEET, JEE Will Not Be Postponed: Union Ministry

Also Read: "NEET Shall Not Be Postponed, Travel Is Permitted Under Vande Bharat Mission": MCI Tells SC In Plea Seeking Centres In Gulf Countries" [Read Affidavit]

Also Read: Elaborate Arrangements Made For Conducting NEET/ JEE Examinations As Per The Schedule: National Testing Agency

6. SC Dismisses Plea Seeking Scrapping Of Justice B S Chauhan-Led Panel To ProbeVikas Dubey Encounter On Alleged Ground Of Bias [Ghanshyam Upadhyay V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed an application which sought the disbanding of the Justice (Retd) B S Chauhan inquiry Commission constituted to probe the alleged encounter of UP gangster, Vikas Dubey. A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Subramaniun said, "We have provided some safeguards in the manner in which the probe is to be conducted. The plea has no merit and is accordingly dismissed". The top court had reserved order in the plea was by Ghanshyam Upadhyay seeking directions to scrap the inquiry commission constituted by Supreme Court to probe into Vikas Dubey Encounter Case and issue contempt proceedings against state functionaries for allegedly suppressing true facts about the members of the commission.

Also Read: [Vikas Dubey Encounter] Allegations Of Bias Based On Unverified Newspaper Reports Liable To Be Rejected : SC Dismisses Plea Against Probe Panel

7. When Can Corruption Allegations Against Judges Be Made Public? SC Frames Questions In 2009 Contempt Case Against Prashant Bhushan [Amicus Curiae V. Prashant Bhushan & Anr.]

The Supreme Court framed larger questions for consideration in the 11-year old the suo-moto contempt case against Advocate Prashant Bhushan for alleging that at least half of the 16 Chief Justices of India were corrupt in an interview given to Tehelka magazine in 2009.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai & Krishna Murari stated that the following questions, having larger ramifications, arose in the case :

(i) In case a public statement as to corruption by a particular Judge(s) is permissible, under what circumstances and on what basis, it can be made, and safeguards, if any, to be observed in that regard ?
(ii) What procedure is to be adopted to make complaint in such cases when the allegation is about the conduct of a sitting Judge ?
(iii) Whether against retired Judge(s), any allegation as to corruption can be made publicly, thereby shaking the confidence of general public in the judiciary; and whether the same would be punishable under the Contempt of Courts Act?

8. Prashant Bhushan Contempt: SC Dismisses Appeal Against Registry Rejecting Intervention Application Filed By Activists [Aruna Roy V. UOI]

The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal against the Registry's order rejecting the intervention application filed by 16 civil society activists in the Prashant Bhushan contempt case. The bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, summarily dismissed the appeal. Citing the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Justice CS Karnan, which held that contempt is a matter strictly between the Court and the contemner, the SC Registry on August 4 rejected the above mentioned impleadment application.

9. [Compartment Exams] SC Dismisses Plea Seeking Cancellation Of Compartment Exam [Anika Samvedi & Ors. V. UOI & Anr.]

The Supreme Court dismissed a plea seeking directions to the C.B.S.E to ensure that Petitioners and other students of class 10th and 12th in the compartment category, are not forced to appear in the compartment examination during the peak of COVID 19 A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari & Sanjiv Khanna disposed of the petition stating that the petitioner may challenge the notification dated August 8, 2020.

Important Judgments This Week:

1. [Section 96 CPC] Strangers Cannot File Appeal Unless They Satisfy The Court That They Are 'Aggrieved Persons': SC [V.N. Krishna Murthy & Anr. V. Sri Ravikumar & Ors.]

The Supreme Court has observed that strangers cannot be permitted to file an appeal under Section 96 of the Code of Civil Procedure unless he satisfies the Court that he falls within the category of 'aggrieved persons'. They have to demonstrate that they are prejudicially or adversely affected by the decree in question or any of their legal rights stands jeopardized, the bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari and S. Ravindra Bhat observed.

2. [Cancellation Of Written Instruments] Action Instituted U/s 31 Specific Relief Act Is Arbitrable As It Is Not An Action In Rem: SC [Deccan Paper Mills Co. Ltd. Vs. Regency Mahavir Properties & Ors.]

The Supreme Court has held that an action instituted under section 31 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 is not an action in rem, but an action in personam, and therefore arbitrable. Referring to Muppudathi Pillai v. Krishnaswami Pillai, AIR 1960 Mad 1, the Apex Court bench comprising of Justices RF Nariman, Indira Banerjee and Navin Sinha observed that the expression "any person" in Section 31 does not include a third party, but is restricted to a party to the written instrument or any person who can bind such party. 

3. Defence Of Insanity & Juvenility Ordinarily Ought To Be Raised During Trial: SC [Mohd. Anwar vs. The State (N.C.T. of Delhi)]

Pleas of unsoundness of mind under Section 84 of Indian Penal Code or mitigating circumstances like juvenility of age, ordinarily ought to be raised during trial itself, the Supreme Court has observed. The bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, S. Abdul Nazeer and Surya Kant observed that, in order to successfully claim defence of mental unsoundness under Section 84 of IPC, the accused must show by preponderance of probabilities that he/she suffered from a serious-enough mental disease or infirmity which would affect the individual's ability to distinguish right from wrong.

4. [Transfer Of Property Act] Protection U/s 53A Available To Person Put In Possession And Has Agreement Of Lease In His Favour: SC [UOI V. KC Sharma]

The Supreme Court has observed that protection under Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 is available to a person who is put in possession pursuant to an agreement of lease in his favour though no lease has been executed and registered. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah observed:"It is fairly well settled that fraud has to be pleaded and proved. More so, when a judgment and decree passed earlier by the competent court is questioned, it is necessary to plead alleged fraud by necessary particulars and same has to be proved by cogent evidence. There cannot be any inference contrary to record. As the evidence on record discloses that fraud, as pleaded, was not established, in absence of any necessary pleading giving particulars of fraud, we are of the view that no case is made out to interfere with the well reasoned judgment of the High Court."

Other Important Updates:

1. "Lord Jagannath Forgave Us, Your Gods Will Forgive You Too": SC Grants Permission To A Jain Temple Trust To Open Temples For Paryushan [Shri Parshwatilak Shwetambar Murtipujak Jain Trust V. State of Maharashtra & Anr.]

The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the Shri Parshwatilak Shwetambar Murtipujak Jain Trust to keep Jain Temples open during the Paryushan festival to perform prayers at temples of Dadar, Bycullar & Chembur, by following the Standard Operating Procedure formulated by the authorities with respect to COVID19. The Paryushan period is expiring today. The bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun also clarified that the order cannot be used as a precedent and will not apply to other temples or festivals.

2. Babri Demolition : SC Extends Deadline To Sep 30 For Judgment In Criminal Conspiracy Case Against Advani, MM Joshi Etc [State thr. CBI V. Shri Kalyan Singh & Ors.]

The Supreme Court has extended the deadline to September 30, 2020 for the CBI Court to deliver its judgment in the Babri Masjid demolition case which sees senior BJP leaders like L K Advani, M M Joshi, Uma Bharati and Kalyan Singh facing criminal charges. The Bench comprising of Justices Rohinton Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee decided to extend the time given to Special Judge, Surendra Kumar Yadav, to arrive at a verdict after he submitted a progress report apprising the Court that the proceedings were near completion.

3. [Vinod Dua Sedition Case] 'Absence Of Press Freedom Threatens Democracy': Sr. Adv. Vikas Singh To SC [Vinod Dua V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Friday heard arguments of Senior Advocate Vikas Singh appearing on behalf of Journalist Vinod Dua in the plea seeking quashing of FIR filed against on allegations of sedition, promotion of communal enmity etc over his YouTube videos. Singh submitted before a bench of Justices UU Lalit & Vineet Sareen that the ingredients required for offences under sections 124A , 153A & 505(2) of the IPC did not fall within the ambit of the instant case. Singh also argued that that accused cannot be held guilty of either the offence under Section 153A or under Section 505(2) of IPC if he has not done anything as against any religious, racial or linguistic or regional group or community.

4. 'He Demitted Office' : SC Dismisses Plea Seeking In-House Probe Against Ex-CJI Gogoi [Arun Ramachandra Hubilkar V. Justice Ranjan Gogoi]

The Supreme Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed almost two years back which sought for an in-house inquiry against former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi for allegedly abusing his authority during his tenure as a Judge. A Bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari dismissed the matter as infructuous on the grounds that the ex-CJI had demitted office and, therefore, nothing could be done.

5. "Judges Not Politicians, Cannot Defend Attacks & Imputations Of Bias": Petitioner In Plea Seeking Declaration Of No Freedom Of Speech On Hearings & Judgments Tells SC [Dr. Subhash Vijayran V. UOI]

The Supreme Court  adjourned by 15 days, a plea seeking a declaration that there is no freedom of speech and expression vis-à-vis pending matters before courts of law, except to the extent of fair and true reporting. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai & Krishna Murari heard the petitioner-Dr. Subhash Vijayran who submitted that "Judges are not Politicians & cannot defend themselves against attacks of imputations against them, alleging bias". The bench, after hearing him, thus asked Vijayran to conduct research on the law on the said issue & posted it for further consideration after 15 days.

6. SC Grants 16 Weeks More Time For 'Contemnors' Vijay Kurle, Nilesh Ojha & Rashid Khan Pathan To Surrender [Re: Vijay Kurle]

The Supreme Court extended the time for surrendering for Vijay Kurle, Nilesh Ojha and Rashid Khan Pathan who it convicted for contempt. The extension of sixteen weeks is ordered by the bench comprising Justices UU Lalit and Aniruddha Bose in view of the prevailing conditions due to COVID-19 pandemic.

7. Central Vista Project] SC To Hear Plea Challenging Lutyens' Delhi Development Works On Land Use, Violations Of Municipal & Environmental Law On August 20 [Rajeev Suri V. UOI/ Connected cases]

The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that it shall take up the plea seeking quashing of the approval of the government's proposal to construct a new Parliament by the Central Vista Committee in April on Thursday this week. A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari & Sanjeev Khanna shall hear the challenge on 3 issues, vis-à-vis change of land use, violations of municipal law, violations of environmental law.

8. SC Allows Registration Of BS-IV Vehicles (Except In Delhi-NCR) Which Could Not Be Registered In March Due To Lockdown [MC Mehta V. Union of India]

The Supreme Court has granted a limited relief with respect to the registration of BS-IV vehicles. "There are still stated to be a large number of sales which have been made and uploaded on the E-Vaahan Portal, even temporary registrations were made. Their registration during the lockdown period could not be made. Hence, we allow registration of such vehicles only which could not be registered during lockdown in the month of March, 2020 and for no other reason", ordered a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari.

9. SC Issues Notice In Plea Seeking Restraining Defected Madhya Pradesh Congress MLAs From Officiating As Ministers [Vijay Saxena V. The Speaker Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly & Anr.]

The Supreme Court sought response from the Speaker of Madhya Pradesh Assembly on the reason for not taking a decision on petitions seeking disqualification of 22 defecting MLAs from the Indian National Congress to Bhartiya Janata Party. A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun issued notice on a plea filed by Congress MLA Vinay Saxena which stated that the that the Speaker has violated the deadline of 3 months to decide disqualification which has been set by the Supreme Court in its recent ruling pertaining to the Manipur MLA Defection issue [Keisham Meghachandra Singh V. Manipur State Legislative Assembly].

10. [Mumbai Coastal Road Project] 'Don't Reclaim Stretch Of Sea Not Required For Reclamation Work': SC Seeks Map Earmarking Development Works [Municipal Corporation Of Greater Mumbai V. Worli Koliwada Nakhwa Matsya Vyavasay Sakhari Society Ltd. & Ors.]

The Supreme Court told the the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) not to encroach upon more land than is required on its ongoing reclamation coastal road project work between Worli sea face & the Worli end of the sea-link. In this backdrop, the a bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubraminiun asked the BMC to submit a map along with an affidavit earmarking the area they were going to use within two weeks.

11. SC Issues Notice on Plea Seeking One Time Relief Of Re-Assessment/Promotion Of ICSE Students Who Failed In Classes 9th/11th This Year

Supreme Court has issued notice in a plea seeking for a direction to Indian School Certificate Examinations Board (ICSE), to provide an opportunity of Re assessment/promotion to the students who had flunked in 9th/11th standard, this year. A bench comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna heard the matter and sought for a Reply from Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing on behalf of the Council for ICSE.

12. [Rape Case Against UP Govt Counsel] SC Issues Notice On Plea Seeking CBI Investigation & Transfer Of Case From UP [XXXX V. State of UP]

The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices in a writ petition seeking transfer of investigation and trial in the criminal case filed against a standing counsel of the UP Government, accused of rape by a young practicing lawyer from Delhi. The Bench comprising Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee has issued notices to the UP Government and SP, Lucknow.

13. SC Issues Contempt Notice On Plea Alleging Non-Implementation Of PwD Reservation Quota In Promotions [Naveen Singh Negi & Anr. V. Ajay Bhushan Prasad Pandey & Ors.]

The Supreme Court issued notices on a contempt petition filed against non-implementation of its order providing for reservation in promotions to the Persons with Disabilities in all identified posts in Group A and Group B. A bench comprising Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee has issued notices to the Central Government and its concerned departments on the petition filed by three persons of the PwD category, presently holding the position of Inspector of Central GST & Central Excise, who were denied promotion to the grade of Superintendent, by an order of the Chairman, Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs.


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