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Supreme Court Weekly Round Up

Sanya Talwar
13 Sep 2020 12:09 PM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round Up
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Top Stories This Week:

1. SC Allows NLSIU To Conduct NLAT Tomorrow, Restrains From Declaring Results And Making Admissions [Rakesh Kumar Agarwalla & Anr. V. NLSIU, Bengaluru & Ors.]

A Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan has allowed the National Law School of India to conduct the Admission Test-NLAT2020 as per the scheduled on September 12. However the Bench has restrained the Administration from declaring the results and making Admissions. The Bench was hearing a petition filed by Former Vice Chancellor of NLSIU, Prof. (Dr.) R. Venkata Rao and an aggrieved parent of a CLAT aspirant challenging the sudden withdrawal of NLSIU Bangalore from CLAT 2020, to hold a separate entrance test namely NLAT 2020.

2. Refund Of Airfare: SC Allows Airlines & Stakeholders To File Reply To Centre's Proposals On Flight Tickets Cancelled Due To Lockdown [Pravasi Legal Cell V. UOI]

The Supreme Court granted 10 days to airlines and other stakeholders to file their reply to the Centre's affidavit stating that tickets booked by passengers in domestic and international carriers for air travel between March 25 to May 3, 2020 will be fully refunded. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy & MR Shah also sought a clarification from the Centre on the issue of refund of flights cancelled after resumption of normal operations after lockdown. The bench also sought to know if the Centre's proposal will cover the tickets which were booked during the pre-lockdown phase.

3. Make Advance Tax Ruling System More Comprehensive As A Tool For Settlement Of Disputes, SC Tells Centre [National Cooperative Development Corporation vs. Commissioner of Income Tax]

Supreme Court has recommended the Central Government to consider the efficacy of the advance tax ruling system and make it more comprehensive as a tool for settlement of disputes. The bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Indu Malhotra observed that one of the largest areas of litigation for the Government is taxation matters and the petition rate of the tax department before the Supreme Court is at 87%. The court said that a vibrant system of Advance Ruling can go a long way in reducing taxation litigation.

4. "State Governments Must Fix Reasonable Charges For Ambulance Services": Supreme Court [Earth V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Friday took note of the affidavit filed by the Union of India regarding the Covid19 Response. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that every State is required to follow these guidelines and in substance the ambulance can be summoned in case of need. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy & MR Shah observed that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has formulated India Covid19 Emergency Response & Health System Preparedness Package on 23rd April 2020 & an SOP has also been issued on March 29, 2020.

5. [Loan Moratorium & Interest Waiver] "Highest Level Expert Committee Convening Meetings & Will Take Holistic Decision In Two Weeks": Centre Tells SC, Interim Order To Continue [Gajendra Sharma V. UOI]

The Centre informed Supreme Court on Thursday that an Expert Committee at the highest level had been constituted in order to take a decision on the issue of moratorium extension, interest during moratorium, interest on interest and other related issues.Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought two weeks time in order to place on record a comprehensive affidavit in this regard before a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy & MR Shah .

6. SC Asks Adani Gas To Deposit Rs 3.20 Crore For Stay Of Recovery Of Penalty Imposed By CCI For Abuse Of Dominant Position [M/S Adani Gas Ltd. V. CCI Of India & Anr.]

The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted a conditional stay of the recovery of the penalty imposed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against Adani Gas Limited for abuse of dominance position. While granting the stay of recovery, a bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and K M Joseph directed Adani Gas Ltd to deposit a sum of Rs 3.20 crores within four weeks out of the total quantum of penalty of Rupees 6.40 crores.

7. Plea Seeks AG's Consent To Initiate Contempt Against Rajdeep Sardesai Over His Tweets About Prashant Bhushan Case 

An application has been placed before Attorney General KK Venugopal seeking consent for the initiation of contempt proceedings against Consulting Editor of the India Today Group, Rajdeep Sardesai.The petition for initiation of contempt proceedings claims that Sardesai has willingly disrespected the Supreme Court and attempted to defame the institution through a series of statements made on Twitter.

8. SC Refers Maratha Quota Case To Larger Bench As It Involves Interpretation Of Constitution (102nd Amendment) Act, 2018 [Dr. Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil V. The Chief Minister & Anr.]

A three judge Bench of the Supreme Court has stayed the operation of the law enacted by the State of Maharashtra introducing Maratha Quota for admission in Educational Institutions and for appointments in the Public Services and posts, and has referred the issue to a Constitution Bench of 5 Judges as it involves interpretation of of the Constitution (102nd Amendment) Act, 2018.

9. CBSE Compartment Exams : SC Directs Petitioner To Serve Notice On Central Govt To Consider Prayer For Provisional Admissions To Universities; Matter Posted To Sep 14 [Anika Samvedi V. UOI]

The Supreme Court directed the petitioners challenging the CBSE's decision to conduct compartment examination for students of classes X and XII in September to serve the copies of the petition on the Union of India to consider their prayer for provisional admissions to Universities. The bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna then directed that the matter be posted next on September 14.

10. SC Now Grants Interim Bail To 22 Anti CAA Protesters After It Kept Karnataka HC Bail Order Stayed For Six Months [State of Karnataka V. Ashik @ Mohammad Ashik & Ors.]

The Supreme Court has granted bail to 22 Anti-CAA protesters booked by the Mangalore police. On 6th March 2020, the Supreme Court had stayed the 17th February order of Karnataka High Court granting bail to these persons booked by the police on allegations of violence and attack on police during anti-CAA protests in Mangaluru on December 19, 2019. The bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde, AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, after hearing the interim bail applications filed before it, observed: "Having regard to the observation of the High Court that it was not possible to prima facie determine the presence of the accused persons at the spot and without treating the said observation as final finding of the fact, we consider it appropriate to direct that the applicants be released on bail on furnishing bail bonds in the sum of Rs.25,000/- each to the 2 satisfaction of the trial court pending trial on the following conditions : (a) That the applicants shall report to the nearest police station on every alternative Monday; (b) That they shall ensure that they do not participate in any violent activities/meetings."

11. "We Are Well As Of Now, But Don't Know What Tests Will Say, Forced To Sit Separately": CJI SA Bobde

While adjourning a petition seeking stay on the ongoing reclamation work of the Mumbai Coastal Road Project, Chief Justice SA Bobde said that since most judges are sitting apart on account of impending test reports, the bench will not take up the case. Before a bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun, Senior Advocate Harish Salve was about to begin his submissions, when the CJI told him that they were in a "difficulty today" as they had been forced to sit apart.

12. SC Dismisses Fresh Petitions Seeking Postponement Of NEET2020 [ Batch Pleas]

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain three fresh petitions which sought to postpone the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admissions to undergraduate medical courses, scheduled to be held on coming Sunday, September 13. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah was considering three petitions - (Keshav Maheshwari & Others vs National Testing Agency & others, Arijit Sahu & Others vs National Testing Agency and others, Pragya Pranjal and others vs National Testing Agency and others).

Also Read: SC Dismisses Plea Seeking Postponement Or Another Chance For NEET Aspirants Who Are Unable To Attend Exam

13. Palghar Lynching - 18 Policemen Punished After Departmental Enquiry; CBI Probe Not Required: Maharashtra Police Tells SC [Shashank Shekar Jha V. UOI & Ors.]

The Maharashtra police has filed an affidavit in Supreme Court with details of punishment meted out to 18 police personnel for their role in being unable to prevent the lynching of two sadhus in Palghar earlier this year. It is informed that a Departmental enquiry was ordered against the police officers who were prima facie found to be negligent and in dereliction of duty with regard to handling the situation and preventing the commission of the crime.

14. Udumalpet Honour Killing: SC Agrees To Hear Appeal Against Acquittal Of Father Accused Of Murdering Son-In-Law For Being "Lower-Caste" [State of Tamil Nadu V. Chinnaswamy]

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal filed by the State of Tamil Nadu against a Madras High Court decision of acquitting prime accused in the 2016 'Udumalpet' Shankar murder case. A bench of Justices SK Kaul, Anirudhha Bose & Krishna Murari said that this case certainly required consideration. On June 22, the Madras High Court had set aside the order of conviction passed by the Principal District and Sessions Court, Tiruppur, against B. Chinnasamy, the prime accused in the 2016 'Udumalpet' Shankar murder case, and ordered that he be released from custody forthwith. The trial court had awarded him death sentence.

15. SC Directs States & UT's To File Detailed Affidavit Stipulating Measures For Elderly Care Amid Pandemic [Dr. Ashwani Kumar V. UOI]

The Supreme Court directed States & Union Territories to file a detailed affidavit within 4 weeks stipulating measures to ensure that senior citizens who are living alone amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are given proper care. Senior Advocate Dr. Ashwani Kumar apprised the bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy that 7 states had filed their affidavit's in terms of the direction of top court on August 4 but they lacked detailed.

Judgments This Week:

16. Criminal Prosecution On Same Allegations Cannot Continue If Exoneration In Departmental Proceedings Is On Merits: SC [Ashoo Surendranath Tewari V. Deputy Superintendent Of Police, EOW, CBI]

The Supreme Court has reiterated that, in case of exoneration in departmental proceedings on merits and where the allegation is found to be not sustainable at all and the person held innocent, criminal prosecution on the same set of facts and circumstances cannot be allowed to continue. Standard of proof in a departmental proceeding, being based on preponderance of probability is somewhat lower than the standard of proof in a criminal proceeding where the case has to be proved beyond reasonable doubt, observed the bench headed by Justice RF Nariman in a judgment.

17. Punishment Of Dismissal From Service Is Not Disproportionate To 'Corrupt' Employee: SC [Pravin Kumar V. UOI]

The punishment of dismissal is not disproportionate to corrupt employee, observed the Supreme Court while dismissing the appeal of a CISF officer dismissed from service for indulging in corruption. The bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, S. Abdul Nazeer and Surya Kant observed that charges such as corruption, misappropriation and gross indiscipline are grave and ought to be dealt with strictly.

18. Make Advance Tax Ruling System More Comprehensive As A Tool For Settlement Of Disputes, SC Tells Centre [National Cooperative Development Corporation V. Commissioner of Income Tax]

The Supreme Court, has recommended to the Central Government to consider the efficacy of the advance tax ruling system and make it more comprehensive as a tool for settlement of disputes. The bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Indu Malhotra observed that one of the largest areas of litigation for the Government is taxation matters and the petition rate of the tax department before the Supreme Court is at 87%. The court said that a vibrant system of Advance Ruling can go a long way in reducing taxation litigation.

19. [Article 226] Writ Petition Not Maintainable Against Judicial Order Passed By High Court: SC [Neelam Manmohan Attavar vs. Manmohan Attavar (D) Thr LRs]

The Supreme Court has held that a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution would not be maintainable in order to challenge an order which has been passed by the High Court in the exercise of its judicial powers. In this case, the petitioner had filed a domestic violence complaint before Metropolitan Magistrate, Bengaluru, which was dismissed. The appeal against this order was dismissed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Bengaluru. The High Court also dismissed the revision petition filed by the petitioner. The petitioner assailed this order passed by the High Court by filing a writ petition under Article 226 with a prayer to declare the judgment of the Single Judge ' void'. Later, this writ petition was transferred to Apex Court.

20. NDPS Trial Is Not Vitiated Merely Because Ownership Of Vehicle From Which Contraband Was Seized Is Not Established: SC [Rizwan Khan V. State of Chattisgarh]

The Supreme Court has observed that, to prove the case under the NDPS Act, the ownership of the vehicle from which the contraband is seized is not required to be established. What is required to be established and proved is the recovery of the contraband articles and the commission of an offence under the NDPS Act, the bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, MR Shah and R. Subhash Reddy said. The Court also reiterated that examination of independent witnesses is not an indispensable requirement and such non examination is not necessarily fatal to the prosecution case.

21. Death Occurred Due To Single Stab Injury Can Also Attract Section 302 IPC (Murder): SC [Stalin V. State] 

The Supreme Court has observed that even in cases when death occurs due to single stab injury, Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code [Murder] can be attracted. There is no hard and fast rule that in a case of single injury Section 302 IPC would not be attracted, said the bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah while disposing a Criminal Appeal.

22. "I Apologise From My Heart": Advocate Yatin Oza's Tells SC As SC Decides To Wait For Gujarat HC Order [Yatin H Oza V. High Court of Gujarat]

The Supreme Court on Wednesday deferred hearing in the petition filed by advocate Yatin Oza against Gujarat High Court's decision to strip him off his designation as senior. Given the fact that the High Court is scheduled to pass orders on September 17, the Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justices SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari deemed it fit to wait and see what the High Court decides.

23. Bangalore Club Not Liable To Pay Wealth Tax, Holds Supreme Court [M/S Bangalore Club V. The Commissioner of Wealth Tax & Anr.]

The Supreme Court has held that 'Bangalore Club', one of the oldest club in Bangalore, is not liable to pay Wealth tax under the Wealth Tax Act. The bench comprising Justices RF Nariman, Indira Banerjee and Navin Sinha set aside the Karnataka High Court judgment which had held otherwise. "The Bangalore Club is an association of persons and not the creation, by a person who is otherwise assessable, of one among a large number of associations of persons without defining the shares of the members so as to escape tax liability. For all these reasons, it is clear that Section 21AA of the Wealth Tax Act does not get attracted to the facts of the present case.", the Court held.

24. Motor Accident Claims - Compensation For 'Loss Of Consortium' Can Be Awarded To Children And Parents Also: SC [The New India Assurance Company Ltd. V. Somwati]

The Supreme Court has observed that, in Motor Accident Compensation Claims, consortium can be awarded to children and parents also. The bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy was considering appeals have been filed by three Insurance Companies viz. New India Assurance Company Limited, Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Ltd. and The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. questioning the judgments of the High Courts arising out of the award by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) with regard to the compensation awarded in favour of the claimants under two heads, i.e., "Loss of Consortium" and "loss of love and affection.

Other Important Updates:

25. SC Asks Centre To Justify Validity Of Provision In Mental Health Care Act Decriminalising Attempt To Suicide [Section 309 IPC] [Red Lynx Confederation V. Union of India & Ors.]

The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Attorney General for India in a plea wherein the Petitioner sought for directions to ensure the prevention of attempts to commit suicide by persons who threw themselves in animal enclosures in Zoos. The Bench comprising of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian further sought for an explanation from the Centre on the conflict between Section 115 of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, and Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. 

26. SC Stays Imposition Of NGT's Environmental Compensation On Thermal Plants For 100% Fly Ash Non Utilisation [Association of Power Producers V. Sandplast (India) Ltd. & Ors]

The Supreme Court stayed the recovery of 'Environmental Compensation' imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), for non-achievement of 100 % Fly Ash utilization and disposal by Thermal Power Plants (TPPs). A bench of Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha & Indira Banerjee stayed an order of February 2, 2020 passed by the National Green Tribunal, wherein Environment Compensation on all TPPs which were unable to achieve 100% Fly Ash Utilization viz a Ministry of Environment & Forest & Climate Change notification dated December 25, 2016.

27. SC Orders To Keep Width Of Char Dham Highway At 5.5 Meters As Per 2018 MoRTH Circular [Citizens For Green Doon & Ors. V. UOI & Ors.]

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that the width of hilly and mountainous terrains for the Char Dham Highway project to be constructed in accordance with the 2018circular of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH). A 3-judge bench comprising of Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee took into consideration the current situation with regard to the eco system and fragility of the mountain terrains to order that the width of the road would remain at 5.5 metres.

28. SC Seeks Centre's Response On Plea Seeking Re-Opening Of Religious Places [Gitrath Ganga Trust V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice in a plea seeking permission to open all religious places PAN India that have remained closed or have had restricted access due to the ongoing pandemic. A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun souht response from the Centre and issued notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs on the plea by plea of Ahmedabad-based "Gitarth Ganga Trust' seeking opening of the places of worship in the country.

29. SC Issues Notice In Plea Seeking For Declaration of Entire Animal Kingdom As "Legal Entities" Having the Same Rights As A Human Being [People's Charioteer Organisation V. UOI]

Supreme Court has issued notice in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking for declaration of the entire animal kingdom, including avian and aquatic species, as "legal entities" having a distinct persona with corresponding rights of a living person. A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde heard the matter and informed the Petitioner (Party in person) that the Court was unlikely to allow the prayer on the aspect of legal entities. However, the Petitioner was directed to place on record the Special Leave Petition from Uttarakhand High Court as the Petitioner had submitted that by deleting the prayer, it would cause prejudice to him in terms of the PIL filed before the HC.

30. UP Tops List In Sitting Legislators Accused Of Heinous Crimes; Ex-MPs, MLAs Face Trial in 4442 Cases PAN India: SC Told 

The Supreme Court has been informed that criminal cases pending against sitting & former MLA's and MPs are 4442 in number. There are 2556 accused persons amongst the sitting legislators. The amicus curiae has acted on a direction by the top court in the PIL filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking speedy disposal of criminal cases against both former MPs & MLAs, whereby the High Courts across the country were directed to compile a list of criminal cases against former and present legislators.

31. Amish Devgan Case: Supreme Court Extends Interim Order Staying Investigation And Coercive Action Till NDOH [Amish Devgan V. UOI]

The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that the interim orders staying investigation and coercive action against journalist Amish Devgan for multiple FIRs filed against him in connection with his remarks against Sufi Saint Moinnuddin Chishti will continue. A Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna acceded to the request of Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing on behalf of Devgan, and informed the Counsels that the interim orders would continue till the next date of hearing.

32. SC Reserves Order In Plea Seeking Transfer Of Investigation From State Police To CBI In The Case Of The Death Of NLUJ Student [Vikrant Nagaich V. NLUJ]

The Supreme Court has reserved its order in a plea seeking for a transfer of investigation from the State police to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the mysterious death of Vikrant Nagaich, a 3rd-year student at National Law University, Jodhpur, in August 2017. A Bench comprising of Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee heard the matter and proceeded to reserve orders in the same. The Bench also pulled up the State of Rajasthan for attempting to close the case by filing a final report.

33. SC Stays Summons Issued By Lok Sabha Secretariat's Committee Of Privileges To Jharkhand SP [M. Vishnu Vardhan Rao V. Lok Sabha Secretariat, Privileges & Ethics Branch) & Ors.]

The Supreme Court has stayed the summons issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat's Committee of Privileges to the Superintendent of Police, Deoghar, to appear before it tomorrow in connection with a complaint filed by a BJP MP from Jharkhand. Nishikant Dubey, a BJP Lok Sabha MP from Godda constituency, has lodged a complaint with the Committee of Privileges claiming that some officials of the JMM-led Jharkhand government allegedly conspired to defame him by implicating him and his family members in false criminal cases with an aim to cause hinderance to his working as a lawmaker.

34. 'Usage Of Disinfectant Tunnels Harmful, Not Recommended': Centre Tells SC [Gursimran Singh Narula V. UOI]

Centre informed the Supreme Court on Monday that usage of disinfectant tunnels is not recommended and is harmful & that appropriate directions & Circular stipulating the desistance from their usage to all concerned will be issued. A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy & MR Shah asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that why the ban was not already enforced if their usage was harmful.

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