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Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Sanya Talwar
30 Aug 2020 11:31 AM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round Up
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Week Commencing August 24 to August 30, 2020
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Top Stories This Week: 

1[Students Vs UGC] Students Cannot Be Promoted Without Exams;States May Approach UGC To Postpone Exams Citing COVID-19: SC [Praneeth K V. UGC/Batch Pleas]

The Supreme Court on Friday disposed of the petitions challenging the guidelines issued by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for conducting final semester exams by September 30 with following orders :
1. The bench has refused the prayer to quash the UGC guidelines to hold the exams.
2.The directions of State Disaster Management Authority for canceling exams in that particular State will prevail over the UGC direction.
3. However, the direction of the State Disaster Management Authority to pass the students on the basis of previous performance is beyond the scope of the Disaster Management Act.
4. States/UTs cannot promote final year students without examination as ordered by UGC. States/Union Territories given liberty to approach the UGC to seek postponement of the exams in the light of COVID19 pandemic situation.

Also Read: State Govt/SDMA Can Override UGC Deadline For Exam Based On Local Pandemic Situation: SC

2. Is Sub-Classification Permissible Within SC-ST Reservation? SC 5 Judge Bench Refers Matter To Larger Bench; Says 'EV Chinnaiah' Decision Needs Reconsideration [State of Punjab V. Davinder Singh & Ors.]

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday held that the decision of a coordinate bench in E V Chinnaiah vs State of Andhra Pradesh requires to be revisited and referred the matter to the Chief Justice for placing it before an appropriate larger bench. The bench expressed the view that once a State Government has the power to make reservation, it also has the power to make sub-classifications and that such sub-classification will not amount to tinkering with the reservation list. "In a federal structure, the State Government cannot be denied the power to make laws to give preferential treatment to sub-categories within the reservation list", Justice Arun Mishra observed, while reading out the operative portion of the judgment.

3. 'Tells Us What Is Wrong In Using The Word "Apology"': Asks Justice Mishra As SC Reserves Judgment In Prashant Bhushan Contempt Case Over Two Tweets [In Re Prashant Bhushan & Anr.]

The Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra on Tuesday reserved judgment on the sentence in the suo moto contempt case against Advocate Prashant Bhushan over his tweets. "Tell us what is wrong in using the word 'apology'? What is wrong in seeking apology? Will that be reflection of the guilty? Apology is a magical word, which can heal many things. I am talking generally and not about Prashant. You will go to the category of Mahatma Gandhi, if you apologise. Gandhiji used to do that. If you have hurt anybody, you must apply balm. One should not feel belittled by that", observed Justice Mishra while reserving Judgment.

Also Read: 'We Expected Something Better', SC On Prashant Bhushan's Statement; AG Urges Court To Take 'Compassionate View'

4. SC Bench Headed by Justice Arun Mishra Refers 11 Year Old Contempt Case Against Prashant Bhushan To CJI To Post Before Appropriate Bench [Amicus Curiae V. Prashant Bhushan]

The Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra on Tuesday directed the listing of the 2009 contempt case against Prashant Bhushan before another bench on September 10 based on the orders of CJI. "I am short of time. I am demiting office", J Mishra observed. Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Bhushan, submitted that he has raised some questions of law and that the matter ought to be referred to Constitution Bench. Dhavan also urged the bench to hear Attorney General as issues of constitutional importance are involved.

5. SC Refuses Pre-Broadcast Order To Stop Sudarshan TV's Alleged Communal Program On Muslims Clearing UPSC [Firoz Iqbal Khan V. UOI & Ors.]

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to pass a pre-broadcast injunction order to stop the telecast of a show in Sudarshan TV which was allegedly communalising the selection of Muslims in UPSC exams. In a petition filed by one Firoz Iqbal Khan, a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud & KM Joseph stated that it has to desist from imposing a pre-broadcast injunction on the basis of an "unverified transcript of a 49 second clip". The court noted that during the hearing it had been highlighted that the expression of views derogatory to a particular community had a "divisive potential" and the petition had thus raised significant issues bearing on the "protection of constitutional rights".

6. "Community May Be Targeted For Spreading Virus" SC Refuses Permission To Hold Muharram Procession [Syed Kalbe Javed V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to grant permission to hold Muharram Procession amid the covid19 pandemic. A bench of CJI SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun observed that granting general directions to take out the procession across the country shall lead to chaos & a particular community may then be targeted for spreading the virus.

7. [Tablighi Jamaat] "Preliminary Inquiry By NBA & NBA Imperative" SC In Pleas Against Media For Communalisation Of COVID19 [Jamiat-ulema-i-Hind V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned the petitions seeking action against media for communalization of the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi's Nizamuddin Markaz. A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun asked the Petitioner's Counsel, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave to approach the News Broadcasting Standards Authority as many complaints in this regard were already pending before it when he sought an adjournment.

8. SC Refuses To Stay Proceedings Against DK Shivakumar's On Tax Evasion Charges, IT Dept. To File Reply [DK Shivakumar V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to grant a stay in the plea filed by Karnataka Congress President, DK Shivakumar on the Income Tax Evasion Case against them. A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun allowed the Income Tax department to file their reply in the case and adjourned the case for further consideration after four weeks.

9. SC Refuses To Entertain Plea Against Madras HC DB Stay On Order Restraining Patanjali Ayurved From Using 'Coronil' Trademark [Arudra Engineers Pvt. Ltd. V. Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. & Anr.]

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain the petition filed by Arudra Engineers challenging the order of division bench of Madras HC which stayed the single bench direction restraining Patanjali Ayurved from using the trademark 'Coronil'. A bench of CJI SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun allowed the petitioner(s) to withdraw the plea with the liberty to pursue the case in before Madras High Court. The Court was informed that the case has been listed on September 3 for consideration.

10. "Happened Because You Locked Down The Entire Country" SC Pulls Up Centre For Not Clarifying Stand On Interest During Moratorium [Gajendra Sharma V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rebuked the Central Government for not clarifying its stand on the issue of interests payable on EMI loans during the covid19 induced moratorium period, set to expire on August 31. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy & MR Shah directed the Centre to file an affidavit, clearly stipulating its take on the issue of interest payments within a week and listed the case for further consideration on September 1

11. SC Declines Prayer To Allow NEET Exam Centres Abroad; Allows Petitioners To Approach State Authorities For Relaxation Of Quarantine [Abdul Azeez V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Monday declined a plea to allow online exam centres for students in foreign countries to appear in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) 2020 for admission to medical courses. However, in order to make the travel of students easier, a bench comprising Justices Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta & S. Ravindra Bhat asked the Central Government to arrange the candidates' travel from abroad via Vande Bharat mission flights.

Judgments This Week:

1. The Presumption 'Possession Follows Title' Arises Only Where There Is No Definite Proof Of Possession By Anyone Else: SC  [Nazir Mohamed vs. J. Kamala]

The Supreme Court has observed that the presumption based on the maxim 'possession follows title' that possession must be deemed to follow title, arises only where there is no definite proof of possession by anyone else. A person claiming a decree of possession has to establish his entitlement to get such possession and also establish that his claim is not barred by the laws of limitation, the bench comprising Justices Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee said.

Also Read: Substantial Question Of Law & Second Appeal Jurisdiction: SC Summarizes Principles Relating To Section 100 CPC

2. Police Officer Cannot Arrest/Register FIR/ Investigate In Regard To Cognizable Offences Under Chapter IV Of Drugs & Cosmetics Act: SC [Union of Inida V. Ashok Kumar Sharma]

The Supreme Court, in a judgment delivered on Friday, has held that, the Police Officers cannot register FIR, arrest, prosecute or investigate in regard to Cognizable offence under Chapter IV of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940. The bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph held that an arrest can be made by the Drugs Inspector in regard to cognizable offences falling under Chapter IV of the Act without any warrant and otherwise treating it as a cognizable offence.

3. [Section 372 CrPC] Appeal Filed By Victim Seeking Enhancement Of Sentence Not Maintainable: SC [Parvinder Kansal vs. State of NCT of Delhi]

The Supreme Court has held no appeal can be maintained by victim under Section 372 of the Code of Criminal Procedure on the ground of inadequate sentence. The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy observed thus while upholding the Delhi High Court judgment which dismissed the appeal filed by a victim under Section 372 CrPC seeking enhancement of sentence imposed on the convict by the Trial Court. The accused, in this case, was convicted for offence punishable under Sections 364A, 302 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code. The father of the deceased boy, filed appeal before the High Court challenging the order of sentence seeking enhancement of sentence to death penalty.

4. Suspend/Cancel Registration Certificate Of Vehicles Without Valid PUC Certificate, Penalize Owners: SC [State of Madhya Pradesh V. Centre for Environment Protection Research & Development]

The Supreme Court has directed the State of Madhya Pradesh to suspend/cancel Registration Certificate of vehicles which do not possess a valid Pollution Under Control Certificate and also to initiate penal measures against the owner and/or the person(s) in possession and/or control of the offending vehicle, in accordance with law. The bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee observed that the National Green Tribunal has the the power, authority and/or jurisdiction to direct a State Government to strictly implement the requirement of vehicles to possess and/or display a valid PUC Certificate.

5. Pleas Of Title And Adverse Possession Cannot Be Advanced Simultaneously And From The Same Date: SC [Narasamma V. A. Krishnappa]

The Supreme Court has observed that plea of title and adverse possession cannot be advanced simultaneously and from the same date. A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Ajay Rastogi and Aniruddha Bose observed that the claim of title from 1976 and the plea of adverse possession from 1976 cannot simultaneously hold. On the failure to establish the plea of title, it was necessary to prove as to from which date did the possession of the wife of the defendant amount to a hostile possession in a peaceful, open and continuous manner.

6. Pensionary Provisions Must Be Given Liberal Construction As A Social Welfare Measure: SC [V. Sukumaran V. State of Kerala]

Pension is not a bounty payable at will, but a social welfare measure as a post-retirement entitlement to maintain the dignity of the employee, remarked the Supreme Court. Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul led three judge bench observed that the pensionary provisions must be given a liberal construction as a social welfare measure.

7. State Governments Entitled To Prescribe Fee For Reserving Certain Numbers To Be Assigned As Registration Numbers For Motor Vehicles: SC [State of MP V. Rakesh Sethi]

The Supreme Court has held that the State Governments have the authority to prescribe a fee for reserving certain numbers or distinguishing marks to be assigned as registration number. The bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and S. Ravindra Bhat observed that that the assignment of "distinctive marks" i.e. registration numbers to motor vehicles (which includes the power to reserve and allocate them, for a specific fee) is a distinct service for which states or their authorities (such as the registering authorities, in this case) are entitled to charge a prescribed fee.

8. Central Govt. Has Authority To Impose 'Quantitative Restrictions' On Import U/Sec. 3(2) FTDR Act: SC [Union of India V. Agricas LLP]

The Supreme Court has observed that the Central Government has the authority to impose quantitative restrictions by an order under Section 3(2) of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992. Section 9A of the FTDR Act does not elide or negate the power of the Central Government to impose restrictions on imports under sub-section (2) to Section 3 of the FTDR Act, the bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna observed.

9. Capital Gains In Case Of Compulsory Land Acquisition Accrues On Arrival Of The Relevant Stage Of Taking Possession And Not Before: SC [Raj Pal Singh V. Commissioner of IT, Haryana, Rohtak]

The Supreme Court has observed that capital gains in a case of compulsory acquisition of land [under Land Acquisition Act of 1894] shall be deemed to have accrued: (a) upon making of the award, in the case of ordinary acquisition referable to Section 16; and (b) after expiration of fifteen days from the publication of the notice mentioned in Section 9 (1), in the case of urgency acquisition under Section 17. The bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Hemant Gupta and Dinesh Maheshwari, observed that capital gains shall be deemed to have accrued upon arrival of the relevant stage of taking possession and not before.

10. Flat Buyers Entitled To Just & Reasonable Compensation For Gross Delay By Builders In Handing Over Possession: SC [Wg. Cdr. Arifur Rahman Khan and Aleya Sultana and Ors. vs DLF Southern Homes Pvt Ltd.]

The Supreme court has observed that failure of the developer to comply with the contractual obligation to provide the flat to a flat purchaser within a contractually stipulated period amounts to a 'deficiency'. In cases where there is a gross delay in the handing over of possession beyond the contractually stipulated period, the jurisdiction of the consumer forum to award just and reasonable compensation is not constrained by the terms of a rate in builders agreement, the bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and KM Joseph said.

Other Important Updates:

1. SC Directs Bombay HC To Expeditiously Dispose Of Mamta Kulkarni's Plea For Quashing Of FIR Against Her In The Drug Trafficking Case [Mamta Mukund Kulkarni V. State of Maharashtra]

The Supreme Court of India on Thursday requested the Bombay High Court on Thursday to expeditiously take up actress Mamta Kulkarni's petition for quashing of FIR naming her as one of the accused in an 'international drug conspiracy' to transport Ephedrine powder for manufacturing Methamphetamine. Division bench of Justice Rohinton Nariman and Justice Navin Sinha dismissed the special leave petition filed by Senior Advocate Siddartha Dave on behalf of Mamta Kulkarni against the Bombay High Court's judgment dated August 26, 2018 wherein the High Court refused to quash cases filed under various Sections of the Narcotics Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act against her.

2. 'Humane & Appropriate': SC Upholds MP HC Order Relaxing Penalty Imposed On Judicial Employees For Misconduct Of Having More Than 2 Children [The Registrar General M.P. High Court Jabalpur Vs. Basant Kumar Gupta & Ors.]

The Supreme Court upheld a Madhya Pradesh High Court order which relaxed the penalty imposed on several judicial employees in District Court establishments for having more than 2 children. As per Clause (4) of Rule 22 of the Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1965, a Government servant having more than two children shall be deemed to be misconduct, if one of them is born on or after 26.1.2001. The Madhya Pradesh District Court Establishment (Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 2016 provided that the above Rules which were applicable to M.P. State Government employees shall apply subject to such modification, variation and exceptions by the High Court.

3. SC Allows Karnataka Mining Baron Janardhan Reddy To Visit Bellary District To Attend The Last Rites Of A Close Associate's Mother [Gali Janardhan Reddy V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed former Karnataka minister and mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy to visit Bellary for two days in order to attend the last rites ceremony of mother of his close associate. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, BR Gavai & Krishna Murari the mining baron to visit Bellary for two days under police protection, adding that he shall not not try to influence any witness, when he visits District Bellary.

4. SC Issues Notice On Plea Seeking Uniform Education Policy To Avoid Discrimination And Digital Divide Among Students Of Weaker Sections [Good Governance Chambers V. UOI]

Supreme Court has issued notice in a plea seeking for directions to the Union to formulate a uniform education policy in every State in order to curb discriminatory practices adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure participation of children of weaker sections in elementary education. A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde heard the matter as Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan argued for the Petitioner, and issued notice in the same.

5. Ex-Sarpanch Approaches SC Seeking To Retain His 'Julaha' Scheduled Caste Status: SC Issues Notice [Mohan Kumar V. State of Haryana]

An Ex-Sarpanch of a village in Haryana whose scheduled caste certificate was cancelled has approached the Apex Court seeking to retain his 'Julaha' Caste Status. He challenged this order of the Committee and the consequent order of Naib Tehsildar cancelling caste certificate before the Punjab and Haryana High Court which upheld it by observing that he did not explain how his entire family including himself got admission in the Govt. Model Senior Secondary School in the General Category as Arora Khatri and not as a Scheduled Caste. The bench then issued notice limited to the questions whether Mohan Kumar and his family come from the community of "Julaha" and whether the Committee which went into the question was properly constituted or not. The court clarified that pendency of this matter shall not have any impact or effect upon the election as Sarpanch to the Gram Panchayat.

6. SC Issues Notice On PIL Challenging 2004 NCMEI Act For Not Recognising Minorities At State-Level [Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay V. UOI]

The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Centre on a PIL challenging validity of provisions of National Commission for Minority Education Institution Act 2004, for failing to recognise minorities at state level. Petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, Advocate and BJP Leader, has urged that by using unbridled power under S. 2(f) of the Act, the Centre arbitrarily notified 5 communities viz. Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis as minorities at the national level against the spirit of the TMA Pai ruling.

7. SC Accepts Affidavit Of Undertaking Filed By Padmanabha Swamy Temple 'Trustee'; Directs Constitution Of Committees Within 4 Weeks [Sri Marthanda Varma V. State of Kerala]

The Supreme Court has accepted the affidavit of undertaking filed by Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma of the erstwhile Royal Family of Travancore. The Court granted four weeks time to constitute the Administrative Committee and Advisory Committee of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple and to make them functional. The bench of Justices UU Lalit and Indu Malhotra also accepted the submission that the chairperson of the Advisory Committee should be a retired Judge of the Kerala High Court as he would be more familiar with the practices of the Temple and local issues. It also agreed with the view that if the District Judge, Thiruvananthapuram is not a Hindu, the next senior most Additional District Judge of Thiruvananthapuram District who is a Hindu shall be the chairperson of the Administrative committee.

8. 'COVID-19 Not A Ground To Postpone Elections' : SC Dismisses Petitions To Defer Bihar Polls [Rajesh K. Jaiswal V. CEC]

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed two pleas seeking for a direction to the Chief Election Commissioner for the postponement of the impending Bihar Assembly Elections on account of the COVID-19 pandemic and the State being ravaged due to floods. A Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah heard the matter and observed that the plea was premature as the Election Commission of India had yet to issue a notification announcing the declaration of the elections in the State.

9. SC Issues Notice On IIT Professor's Plea Against HC Order Quashing FIR For Caste Based Harassment [Subramanyam Saderla V. Chandra Shekhar Upadhyay & Ors.]

A Division Bench of the Supreme Court last week issued notice on a SLP filed against an order of the Allahabad High Court quashing an FIR lodged by a professor of IIT Kanpur against caste based harassment allegedly inflicted upon him by his colleagues. The Bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Surya Kant has asked the Respondents, represented by Senior Advocate Siddhartha Luthra, to file their counter affidavits in the matter.

10. 'Matter Needs Early Decision By HC' : SC Says While Declining To Entertain Plea Against Andhra Pradesh HC's Stay On Three Capital Law [Andhra Pradesh V. Ryty Parir Akshana Samithi & Ors.]

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain the plea for vacation of stay passed by the the Andhra Pradesh High Court on the formation of three capital cities in the State. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy & MR Shah stated that they were not inclined to interfere in the interim order which was first passed on August 4 by a three-judge bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, comprising Justices Rakesh Kumar, AV Seshasai & M Satyanarayana Murthy and was then extended on August 14, till August 27.

11. SC Takes Cognizance Of Newspaper Report About Flattening Of Aravalli Hills; Seeks Report From Haryana Govt 

Having been apprised of the flattening of an entire hillock of the Aravallis, the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Haryana State administration to take immediate action to avoid further damage. Taking note of a report that appeared in the Times of India on August 25, a Bench presided over by Justice Arun Mishra asked the AAG of Haryana to submit a report after appropriate action was taken.

12. Tablighi Jamaat: SC Asks State Of Bihar To File Reply On Consolidation Of Trial [Maulana Hadrami V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the State of Bihar to file its response on the issue of consolidation of ongoing trial against Tablighi Jamaat members from Patna to Delhi. A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari & Sanjiv Khanna asked Advocate Shivam Singh appearing for State of Bihar to file his response on this aspect and listed the matter on August 30.

13. SC Issues Notice On Plea Seeking 8 Hours Shift In Police Force With Weekly Offs [Jagjeet Singh V. UT Of Chandigarh & Ors.]

The Supreme Court of India has issued notice to Union Territory of Chandigarh, State of Punjab and State of Haryana in a special leave petition seeking introduction of eight hours shift in all police stations along with weekly offs.

14. SC Declines To Entertain Plea For Rebuilding Of Religious Structures Allegedly Torn Down During Telangana Secretariat Demolition [Khaija Ajiazuddin V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea seeking re-building of the religious places, situated within the Telangana State Secretariat Building, that were allegedly torn down while demolition of the Secretariat Building. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan & Subhash Reddy observed that the prayer could not have been allowed under Article 32 as it was the Telangana High Court which had permitted the demolition of the secretariat building.

15. "Every State Has A Different Policy": SC Dismisses As Withdrawn Plea Seeking Compensation Plan For Kin Of All Covid19 Related Deaths/Casualties [Hashik Thayikandy V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea seeking inter-alia, directions to the the Union & State Governments to formulate appropriate guidelines to provide adequate ex-gratia monetary compensation to the next of kind of all Indian citizens in covid19 related deaths/casualties. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Subhash Reddy & MR Shah remarked that each state had a different different policy. In this regard, the bench allowed petitioner to withdraw it.

16. Rajasthan Politics : SC Dismisses Plea Challenging BSP-Congress Merger As Infructuous After Rajasthan HC Decision [Madan Dilawar V. Speaker, Rajasthan Legislative Assembly]

The Supreme Court dismissed the case pertaining to the plea 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) as infructuous on the grounds that the Rajasthan HC had given a decision.

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