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Supreme Court Weekly Round Up May 24 - May 30, 2021

Nupur Thapliyal
30 May 2021 7:55 AM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round Up May 24 - May 30, 2021
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JUDGMENTS THIS WEEK1. Section 313 CrPC Examination Not A Mere Procedural Formality; Trial Court Has To Question Accused Fairly With Care And Caution: Supreme CourtCase: Satbir Singh Vs. State Of Haryana [CRA 1735­-1736 OF 2010] Citation: LL 2021 SC 260The bench comprising CJI NV Ramana and Justice Aniruddha Bose expressed its concern over recording of statements under Section 313 of Code...

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JUDGMENTS THIS WEEK

1. Section 313 CrPC Examination Not A Mere Procedural Formality; Trial Court Has To Question Accused Fairly With Care And Caution: Supreme Court

Case: Satbir Singh Vs. State Of Haryana [CRA 1735­-1736 OF 2010]
Citation: LL 2021 SC 260

The bench comprising CJI NV Ramana and Justice Aniruddha Bose expressed its concern over recording of statements under Section 313 of Code of Criminal Procedure in a very casual and cursory manner. The bench observed that the examination of an accused under Section 313, CrPC cannot be treated as a mere procedural formality, as it based on the fundamental principle of fairness.

The court observed thus while dismissing the appeal filed by accused who were convicted under Section 304B IPC. The appellants were convicted by the Trial Court for the offences under Sections 304­B and 306, IPC and were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years for the offence punishable under Section 304­B, IPC and to undergo rigorous imprisonment for five years for the offence punishable under Section 306, IPC. The High Court had upheld the Trial Court judgment.

The court also referred to Section 232, CrPC which provides that, "If, after taking the evidence for the prosecution, examining the accused and hearing the prosecution and the defence on the point, the Judge considers that there is no evidence that the accused committed the offence, the Judge shall record an order of acquittal".

2. High Courts Can Grant Protection To Accused While Dismissing Anticipatory Bail Plea In Exceptional Circumstances: Supreme Court

Case: Nathu Singh vs. State of Uttar Pradesh [CRA 522 OF 2021]
Citation: LL 2021 SC 261

The bench comprising of CJI Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Aniruddha Bose observed that a High Court, while dismissing anticipatory bail applications, can issue protective orders only when there are exceptional circumstances.

"Even when the Court is not inclined to grant anticipatory bail to an accused, there may be circumstances where the High Court is of the opinion that it is necessary to protect the person apprehending arrest for some time, due to exceptional circumstances, until they surrender before the Trial Court. For example, the applicant may plead protection for some time as he/she is the primary caregiver or breadwinner of his/her family members, and needs to make arrangements for them. In such extraordinary circumstances, when a strict case for grant of anticipatory bail is not made out, and rather the investigating authority has made out a case for custodial investigation, it cannot be stated that the High Court has no power to ensure justice. It needs no mentioning, but this Court may also exercise its powers under Article 142 of the Constitution to pass such an order.", the bench observed.

3. Phrase "Soon Before" Section 304B IPC Cannot Mean 'Immediately Before': Supreme Court Issues Guidelines For Trial In Dowry Death Cases

Case: Satbir Singh Vs. State Of Haryana [CRA 1735­-1736 OF 2010]
Citation: LL 2021 SC 260

The Supreme Court bench comprising CJI NV Ramana and Aniruddha Bose observed that the phrase "soon before" as appearing in Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code cannot be construed to mean 'immediately before'. The Court observed that prosecution must establish existence of "proximate and live link" between the dowry death and cruelty or harassment for dowry demand by the husband or his relatives.

The court also observed that Section 304­B, IPC does not take a pigeonhole approach in categorizing death as homicidal or suicidal or accidental.

The bench observed thus while dismissing the appeal filed by accused who were convicted under Section 304B IPC. Section 304B (1) provides that 'dowry death' is where death of a woman is caused by burning or bodily injuries or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances, within seven years of marriage, and it is shown that soon before her death, she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband, in connection with demand for dowry.

The court also observed that Section 304­B, IPC does not take a pigeonhole approach in categorizing death as homicidal or suicidal or accidental, as was done earlier.

IMPORTANT APEX COURT UPDATES 

1. Upload Information Of Children Orphaned In Pandemic In National Portal : Supreme Court Directs Authorities

The Supreme Court this week directed the district authorities under the Juvenile Justice Act to immediately upload information of children who have become orphans after March 2020, and immediately take charge of such children and attend to their basic needs without waiting for any further orders of this court.

A division Bench of Justice Nageswara Rao and Justice Aniruddha Bose issued the direction while hearing its suo moto case 'In Re: Contagion of Covid in Children protection Homes'. The Bench was hearing an application filed by the Amicus Curiae Mr Gaurav Agrawal seeking directions in respect of children who are adversely affected due to Covid pandemic by losing either one or both the parents, and the increased incidents of child trafficking specially of the girl child.

2. CBI Withdraws Plea In Supreme Court Challenging Calcutta High Court Order Allowing House Arrest Of TMC Leaders In Narada Scam Case

Following adverse comments from the Supreme Court, the Central Bureau of Investigation has withdrawn the appeal filed by it before the Top Court against the Calcutta High Court order allowing house-arrest of four Trinamool leaders in the Narada case

A vacation bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai repeatedly told the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta during the hearing that the "liberty of a person is the first thing to be seen" and that the issue of personal liberty cannot be mixed with other issues such as Chief Minister's dharna and public protests against arrests by CBI.

Read Also: 'We Don't Feel Our District Judiciary Is That Weak To Be Influenced By Mob' : Supreme Court Tells CBI In Narada Case

3. Supreme Court Stays Rajasthan High Court Order Which Restrained Police From Arresting Accused In Cases Where Maximum Sentence Is Up To 3 Years

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Rajasthan High Court Order which restrained the police from making the arrest of the accused persons, who are charged with an offence where the maximum sentence is up to three years, till 17th July, 2021.

The Supreme Court has also stayed the direction of High Court Single Bench which directed The Registrar (Judicial), Jaipur Bench, Jaipur & the Registrar (Judicial), Principal Seat, Jodhpur, not to list bail applications under Section 438 Cr.P.C in offences where maximum sentence extends upto three years and the offence is triable by First Class Magistrate till reopening of Courts after Summer Vacation.

A vacation bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai stayed the order on a special leave petition filed by the High Court of Rajasthan against the single bench order.

4. Supreme Court Stays Allahabad High Court Order Which Held Apprehension Of Death Due To COVID A Ground For Anticipatory Bail

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Allahabad High Court Judgment which held that apprehension of death on account of reasons like the COVID pandemic is a valid ground for grant of anticipatory bail.

The Court ordered that this Allahabad High Court judgment should not be cited as a precedent for grant of anticipatory bail and that the Courts shall not rely on the observations in the High Court judgment while considering pre-arrest bail applications. The bench also appointed Senior Advocate V Giri as an amicus curiae to assist the Court on the larger issue whether COVID can be a ground for granting anticipatory bail.

A vacation bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai stayed the order after hearing the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the State of Uttar Pradesh.

5. Plea To Cancel CBSE, ICSE Class 12 Exams : Supreme Court Adjourns Hearing To May 31

The Supreme Court adjourned to May 31 a plea seeking cancellation of Class XII exams of CBSE and ICSE and to devise an objective methodology to declare the result of class XII within a specific timeframe.

A vacation bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari was considering a Public Interest Litigation filed by Advocate Mamta Sharma.

The bench adjourned the matter after noting that the petitioner has not served advanced copy on the standing counsel for the CBSE. The bench asked the petitioner to serve the advance copy on the CBSE counsel and listed the matter on May 31 at 11 AM.

6. West Bengal Post-Poll Violence : Supreme Court Issues Notice On Plea Seeking Compensation & Rehabilitation Of Victims

The Supreme Court issued notice on a Public Interest Litigation(PIL) seeking compensation and rehabilitation of the victims of the alleged state sponsored violence which took place in West Bengal after the declaration of assembly election results on May 2.

A vacation bench of Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai issued notice returnable in the week commencing from June 7.

Also, based on an oral request made by Senior Advocate Pinky Anand on behalf of the petitioners, the bench impleaded National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Women, National Commission for SC/ST and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights as additional respondents in the plea.

7. Registration Of Unorganized Workers Must Be Completed As Early As Possible : Supreme Court Directs Centre, States

The Supreme Court has directed the Central Government and the State Governments to complete the registration process of unorganized workers so that they can avail the welfare benefits given under various government schemes.

The Court also said that it is necessary to have a Common National Database for all unorganised workers situated in different States in the entire country and that the process initiated by Ministry of Labour and Employment for creating a National Database for Unorganised Workers should be completed with collaboration and coordination of the States.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah passed this order in the suo moto case "In Re Problems and Miseries of Migrants".

8. "Three Judge Bench Or Five Judge Bench?": Supreme Court Agrees To Hear In Open Court The Review Pleas On Judgment Barring Civil Judges From Applying For District Judges Post

The Supreme Court this week agreed to examine in open court review petitions against its 2020 judgement which disallowed civil judges to compete for direct recruitment to the post of district judges.

The bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Vineet Saran and Ravindra Bhat on Monday listed the matters to be taken up for hearing after the vacations.

The issue whether Civil Judges can seek direct recruitment to the post of District Judges against the quota reserved for candidates from Bar was referred to a larger bench in the case Dheeraj Mor v High Court of Delhi.

9. Supreme Court Directs Centre's Reply On Uniform Policy For Issuing Death Certificates To COVID Victims For the Purpose Of Ex-Gratia Assistance For Their Families

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Central Government to bring on record any policy or guidelines pertaining to death certificates issued to COVID-19 patients, including guidelines by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Further directions were given to place before the Court all the schemes stipulated under Section 12(3) of the Disaster Management Act on the aspect of ex gratia compensation to families of those who had succumbed to COVID-19.

A Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah were hearing two pleas seeking ex gratia monetary compensation of Rs. 4 lakhs or notified ex gratia monetary compensation to the families of the deceased who had succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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