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Supreme Court Weekly Round Up, September 6 To September 12, 2021

Nupur Thapliyal
12 Sep 2021 11:49 AM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Round Up, September 6 To September 12, 2021
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JUDGMENTS THIS WEEK1. Income Tax Act - Disallowance Under Section 14A Can't Be Made Just Because Assessee Has Not Maintained Separate Accounts For Expenditures Incurred For Tax-Free Income : Supreme CourtCase: South Indian Bank Ltd. Vs. Commissioner of Income Tax ; CA 9606 OF 2011Citation: LL 2021 SC 435Giving tax relief to a group of scheduled banks, the Supreme Court has observed that...

JUDGMENTS THIS WEEK

1. Income Tax Act - Disallowance Under Section 14A Can't Be Made Just Because Assessee Has Not Maintained Separate Accounts For Expenditures Incurred For Tax-Free Income : Supreme Court

Case: South Indian Bank Ltd. Vs. Commissioner of Income Tax ; CA 9606 OF 2011
Citation: LL 2021 SC 435

Giving tax relief to a group of scheduled banks, the Supreme Court has observed that the assessing officer cannot make disallowance of deduction under Section 14A of the Income Tax Act merely because the assessee has not maintained separate accounts for expenses incurred in earning tax-free income.

In the case South Indian Bank Ltd v. Commissioner of Income Tax, the Court observed that proportionate disallowance of interest under Section 14A of Income Tax Act is not warranted for investments made in tax free bonds/ securities which yield tax free dividend and interest to Assessee Banks in those situations where, interest free own funds available with the Assessee, exceeded their investments.

The bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy was considering the appeals filed by various banks in which the issue raised was whether Section 14A of the Income Tax Act enables the Department to make disallowance on expenditure incurred for earning tax free income in cases where assessees do not maintain separate accounts for the investments and other expenditures incurred for earning the tax-free income.

2. Employee Cannot Insist On Transfer To A Particular Place; It's For Employer To Decide: Supreme Court

Case Title: Namrata Verma v State of UP
Citation : LL 2021 SC 444

The Supreme Court on September 6, 2021 observed that it was not for the employee to insist the transfer or non-transfer to a particular place but it was for the employer to do the same considering the requirement.

The observations were made by the division bench of Justices MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose while dismissing the special leave petition assailing Allahabad High Court's order of refusing to interfere with the petitioner's representation that rejected transfer to another college.

"It is not for the employee to insist on transferring him/her and/or not to transfer him/her at a particular place. It is for the employer to transfer an employee considering the requirement," the bench had observed.

3. Writ Court Cannot Adjudicate Factual Disputes Arising Out Of Pure Contractual Matters Having No Statutory Flavour: Supreme Court

Case: Union of India vs. M/s Puna Hinda ; CA 4981 OF 2021
Citation: LL 2021 SC 443

The Supreme Court observed that writ court cannot adjudicate factual disputes arising out of pure contractual matters in the field of private law having no statutory flavour.

In this case, the bid of the writ petitioner was accepted for construction and improvement of road between Lumla and Tashigong under Special Accelerated Rural Development Programme (SARDP). The bills submitted by the petitioner was rejected by the authorities. He approached the High Court of Gauhati by filing a writ petition. The High Court allowing the writ petition directed the authority to approve the Detailed Project Report and pay the pending bills on the basis of Final Joint Survey/Measurement Report.

4. Compassionate Appointment - Policy Prevailing At The Time When Employee Died/Application Was Made Is Only To Be Considered : Supreme Court

Case Title: Seema Kausar v. The State Of Maharashtra & Ors.
Citation : LL 2021 SC 442

The Supreme Court while upholding Bombay High Court's order of rejecting compassionate appointment, observed that it can be made only as per the Government's policy, and only in case where eligibility criteria under the Scheme has been satisfied.

Dismissing the special leave petition, the bench of Justices MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose also observed that, "It also cannot be disputed that the policy which was prevailing at the time when the deceased employee died/the application was made only is required to be considered."

5. Consumer Complaints Alleging Deficiency In Service Related To Transfer Of Title Of Immovable Property Not Maintainable: Supreme Court

Case: Estate Officer vs. Charanjit Kaur ; CA 4964 OF 2021
Citation: LL 2021 SC 441

The Supreme Court observed that consumer complaints on the ground of deficiency in service related to transfer of title of the immovable property is not maintainable.

The expression 'service' includes housing construction and not allotment of a site or a plot, the bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and A.S.Bopanna observed.

The court, however, added that though it is not a case of the deficiency in service as contemplated by Consumer Act but definitely a case of exercise of jurisdiction in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner. Therefore, invoking powers under Article 142 of the constitution, the court directed the Administration to decide the claim of conversion as on the date when consumer complaints were filed.

6. Trees To Be Valued Separately When Acquired Land Value Is Determined With Reference To Sales Statistics: Supreme Court

Case: Bhupendra Ramdhan Pawar vs. Vidarbha Irrigation Development Corporation ; CA 5611­-5612 OF 2021
Citation: LL 2021 SC 439

The Supreme Court observed that the trees have to be valued separately in a case where the land value for the purpose of its acquisition is determined with reference to the sales statistics.

In this case, the appellant's land was acquired under the proceedings initiated under Land Acquisition Act, 1894. Dissatisfied with the compensation awarded, he approached the High Court in appeal. His claim in respect of 100 mango trees at the rate of Rs. 1000/­ per tree was rejected by the High Court.

7. PC Act Is A Code By Itself- Bank Account Of A Person Accused of Prevention of Corruption Act Cannot Be Attached U/S 102 CrPC: Supreme Court

Case: Ratan Babulal Lath vs. The State Of Karnataka ; CrA 949 OF 2021
Citation: LL 2021 SC 440

The Supreme Court observed that bank account of a person accused under Prevention of Corruption Act cannot be attached invoking Section 102 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

"It is not possible to sustain the freezing of the bank account of the appellant taking recourse to Section 102 Cr.P.C. as the Prevention of Corruption Act is a Code by itself", the bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh observed while allowing an appeal against a Karnataka High Court judgment.

In this case, a charge sheet was filed against 14 accused persons alleging commission of offences punishable under Sections 13(1) (a) read with 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, Sections 420, 465, 468, 471, 120B r/w.34 of Indian Penal Code. They were accused of large scale fraud to the tune of Rs.56.37 crores was alleged to have been committed by the accused in connivance with the officials of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) as well as the private individuals.

8. Writ Petition Can Be Entertained Only In Exceptional Circumstances When Alternate Remedy Is Available: Supreme Court

Case: Assistant Commissioner of State Tax vs. Commercial Steel Limited ; CA 5121/2021
Citation: LL 2021 SC 438

The Supreme Court observed that, when an alternate remedy is available, a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution can be entertained by a High Court only in exceptional circumstances being (i) a breach of fundamental rights; (ii) a violation of the principles of natural justice; (iii) an excess of jurisdiction; or (iv) a challenge to the vires of the statute or delegated legislation.

"The existence of an alternate remedy is not an absolute bar to the maintainability of a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution. But a writ petition can be entertained in exceptional circumstances where there is: (i) a breach of fundamental rights; (ii) a violation of the principles of natural justice; (iii) an excess of jurisdiction; or (iv) a challenge to the vires of the statute or delegated legislation.", the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli said.

9. In A Democratic Setup, The Will Of The Majority Has To Prevail: Supreme Court

Title : Sau. Sangeeta w/o Sunil Shinde v. The State of Maharashtra and others
Citation : LL 2021 SC 437

The Supreme Court has observed in a judgment that "in a democratic set up, the will of the majority has to prevail".

A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai made this observation in the case Sau Sangeeta w/o Sunil Shinde v. The State of Maharashtra & Or related to the approval of the group leader of a party in Panchayat Samiti elections.

The Court was considering an appeal filed against a judgment of the Bombay High Court (Aurangabad Bench) which upheld the decision of District Collector, Ahmednagar, to grant approval to the selection of respondent no.3,Dr. Vandana Dnyaneshwar Murkute as Gatneta (Group Leader) of the Indian National Congress, Shrirampur Panchayat Samiti Party ('INCPS Party').

10. Magistrates Cannot Extend Time To Complete Investigation In UAPA Cases: Supreme Court

Case: Sadique vs. State of Madhya Pradesh ; CrA 963 OF 2021
Citation: LL 2021 SC 434

The Supreme Court held that magistrates would not be competent to extend the time to complete investigations in UAPA cases.

The only competent authority to consider such request would be "the Court" as specified in the proviso in Section 43-D (2)(b) of the UAPA, the bench of Justices Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and Belam M Trivedi held

In this case, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bhopal had granted extension sought in an application moved by the Investigating Machinery under Section 43-D(2)(b) of the UAPA. Also, the accused's application seeking bail on the ground that no charge-sheet was filed by the Investigating Agency within 90 days was dismissed. The High Court upheld these orders observing that since the CJM, Bhopal had passed an appropriate order, the period available for the Investigating Machinery to complete the investigation stood extended to 180 days and as such the applications preferred by the appellants under Section 167(2) of the Code were not maintainable.

11. Mutation Entry Does Not Confer Any Right, Title Or Interest In Favour Of Any Person: Supreme Court

Case: Jitendra Singh vs. State of Madhya Pradesh ; SLP(C) 13146/2021
Citation: LL 2021 SC 430

The Supreme Court observed that mutation entry in the revenue record is only for fiscal purposes and does not confer any right, title or interest in favour of a person.

"If there is any dispute with respect to the title and more particularly when the mutation entry is sought to be made on the basis of the will, the party who is claiming title/right on the basis of the will has to approach the appropriate civil court/court and get his rights crystalised and only thereafter on the basis of the decision before the civil court necessary mutation entry can be made*, the bench of Justices MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose observed.

12. Director Of Enforcement Can Be Appointed For A Period Of More Than Two Years: Supreme Court

Case : Common Cause (A Registered Society) v. Union of India ; WP(C) 1374 of 2020
Citation : LL 2021 SC 429

The Supreme Court held that a Director of Enforcement can be appointed for a period of more than two years by following the procedure prescribed Section 25 of the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003.

The bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai also upheld the power of the Union of India to extend the tenure of Director of Enforcement beyond the period of two years. It clarified that extension of tenure granted to officers who have attained the age of superannuation should be done only in rare and exceptional cases. 

The bench observed thus in its judgment refusing to interfere with the extension of tenure given to the Director of Enforcement Directorate Sanjay Kumar Mishra. Though the bench did not interfere with the extension of tenure, it observed that no further extension shall be granted to him.

13. Railways Liable To Pay Compensation For Late Arrival Of Trains If Delay Is Not Explained Or Justifiable: Supreme Court

Cause Title: Northern Western Railway and Another v. Sanjay Shukla
Citation : LL 2021 SC 427

The Supreme Court held that until and unless the railways provide evidence and explain the late arrival of a train to establish and prove that delay occurred because of the reasons beyond their control, they would be liable to pay compensation for such delay.

"Therefore, unless and until the evidence is laid explaining the delay and it is established and proved that delay occurred which was beyond their control and/or even there was some justification for delay, the railway is liable to pay the compensation for delay and late arrival of trains."

With this view the Court, upheld the order passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi whereby it had confirmed the original order passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Alwar allowing the complaint filed by the respondent in the present matter and directing the Northern Western Railway to pay Rs. 15,000/- for taxi expenses, Rs.10,000/- towards booking expenses along with Rs. 5,000/- each towards mental agony and litigation expenses.

14. Medical Professionals Cannot Be Held Negligent Merely Because The Treatment Is Not Successful Or Patient Dies During Surgery: Supreme Court

Case: Dr. Harish Kumar Khurana vs. Joginder Singh ; CA 7380 OF 2009
Citation: LL 2021 SC 425

The Supreme Court observed that a medical professional cannot be held negligent merely because the treatment is not successful or the patient dies during surgery.

To indicate negligence, the bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and AS Bopanna said, there should be material available on record or else appropriate medical evidence should be tendered. 

The court said that the principle of res ipsa loquitur (mere occurrence of some types of accident is sufficient to imply negligence) can be applied when the negligence alleged is so glaring and not based on perception.

IMPORTANT APEX COURT UPDATES

1. Amazon- Future Dispute : Supreme Court Stays Enforcement Proceedings In Delhi High Court

The Supreme Court this week stayed the proceedings instituted by global e-commerce giant Amazon for the enforcement of the Emergency Award passed in its favour by a Singapore-based arbitrator which halted the merger deal between Future Retail Limited and Reliance group.

The Court also asked all authorities including the NCLAT, CCI and the SEBI to not pass final orders for four weeks in relation to the Future-Reliance deal.

A bench comprising the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice AS Bopanna passed the above order in the special leave petitions filed by Future Coupons Private Ltd and Future Retail Ltd against the against the order passed by the single bench of the Delhi High Court that directed the attachment of assets of Future group companies and its promoters Kishore Biyani and others for breach of the Emergency Award. The single bench had also issued a show-cause notice for civil arrest of Biyani and other directors of Future Group

2. Supreme Court Dismisses Plea Challenging Manipur Speaker's Decision To Accept 3 BJP MLAs' Resignation 

The Supreme Court today dismissed a special leave petition filed challenging Manipur High Court's order of upholding the decision of the Manipur Legislative Assembly Speaker to accept the resignation of 3 BJP MLAs T. Thangzalam Haokip, Samuel Jendai and S. Subhaschandra Singh.

The matter was heard by the bench of Justices UU Lalit, SR Bhat and Bela M Trivedi.

The Manipur High Court on July 13, 2021 upheld the decision of the Manipur Legislative Assembly Speaker to accept the resignation of 3 Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs without holding an enquiry and held that the resignation tendered by the petitioners were genuine and voluntary.

3. Supreme Court Rejects Plea Claiming 'Red Ant Chutney' Can Prevent Covid-19 Infection

The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea that claimed 'red ant chutney' can prevent infection through COVID-19 virus.

"We are not inclined to entertain the Special Leave Petition", the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli said while dismissing SLP filed against the Orissa High court order.

Er. Nayadhar Padhial, who is working as Assistant Engineer (Civil), Takatpur, R & B Section, Baripada, District Mayurbhanj and he belongs to the Bathudi Tribal Adibasi community, had approached the High Court claiming that 'Kaai (Kukuti) Chutney (paste)' which is prepared using red ants, mixed with green chilly (Dhanua Lanka) is a potent medicine that can boost the immunity system and thus, could prevent infection through the COVID-19 virus.

4. NEET- PG 2021 : Supreme Court Dismisses Plea For Option To Change Exam Centre

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a writ petition filed by doctors seeking directions to allow change of exam centre option and to postpone the conduct of NEET PG 2021 till National Board of Examination allows such option.

A bench of Justices UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat and Bela M Trivedi dismissed the petition after observing that the COVID situation is improving in the country and there are few travel restrictions in force.

The petitions sought a relief to permit the candidates who were posted in CoVID duties as in April 18, 2021 to choose their centre on the basis of their current location and not previous posting. Doctors who are currently located in Kerala to contain the spread of virus have also sought relief to be allocated centre in the State of Kerala.

5. CA Exams : Will Consider Opt-Out Students' Plea For Back-Up Exam Within 2 Weeks, ICAI Tells Supreme Court

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) assured the Supreme Court that it will consider within two weeks the request made by the CA students who opted out of the July cycle exams due to COVID related difficulties for holding a back-up exam this year itself.

In view of this assurance made by Senior Advocate Ramji Srinivasan on behalf of the ICAI, a bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar disposed of an application filed by opt-out students seeking back up exam.

6. Whether NGT Has Power To Take Suo Motu Cognizance? Supreme Court Reserves Judgment

The Supreme Court this week concluded hearing oral submissions from concerned parties pertaining to a batch of petitions on the issue whether the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has jurisdiction under the provisions of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT Act) to initiate suo motu proceedings based on a letter or a newspaper report. The Apex Court also directed the parties to file their additional written submission if any, within a period of 1 week. 

A Bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy and CT Ravikumar heard extensive arguments from senior counsels Sanjay Parikh and Gopal Sankaranarayanan contending that the NGT can exercise suo moto powers in taking cognisance of environmental cases affecting the public at large even in the absence of a formal application. 

7. General Presumption Of Medical Negligence Can't Be Made About COVID Deaths : Supreme Court

The Supreme Court said orally that it cannot presume that all deaths that happened due to COVID-19 in the second wave were due to medical negligence.

Saying so, it refused to entertain a writ petition filed by Deepak Raj Singh seeking compensation for families of Covid victims who died due to lack of oxygen & essential healthcare facilities saying

A bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Vikram Nath, and Justice Hima Kohli asked the petitioner to withdraw the petition and approach the competent authorities with his suggestions.

8. Decided To Allow Women In National Defence Academy : Centre Tells Supreme Court

The Central Government this week told the Supreme Court that a decision has been taken to allow the induction of women into the armed forces through the National Defence Academy. The Centre however requested the Court to exempt the current year NDA admissions from women entry, citing the need to make infrastructural changes.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati made this submission before a bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul in a case seeking to allow woman to take part in the NDA exams.

"There's a good news. A decision has been taken at highest level of forces and government that girls will be inducted for Permanent Commission through National Defence Academy. Decision was taken late evening yesterday", the ASG submitted.

9. Can't Pass General Directives For Door-To-Door Vaccination : Supreme Court

The Supreme Court said that it cannot pass generalized directions for granting "door-to-door" vaccination to people.

A bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and Bela M Trivedi was hearing a PIL filed by Youth Bar Association of India seeking for the provision of door-to-door COVID-19 vaccination of all the citizens residing in India, particularly the elderly, differently-abled, less privileged, weaker sections, and those who are unable to register online for their vaccination.

The bench disposed of the PIL allowing the petitioner to submit a representation to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with its suggestions. The bench observed that the Ministry may consider the petitioner's suggestions at the appropriate level.

10. Supreme Court Grants 2 Months Protection To 'The Wire' Journalists From 3 UP Police FIRS; Asks Them To Move HC For Quashing

The Supreme Court has granted two months protection to the "The Wire" and three of its reporters from three FIRs registered against them by the Uttar Pradesh Police over some of the reports published by the portal.

However, the Supreme Court said that to entertain the matter directly will open a "Pandora's Box" and asked them to approach the High Court for quashing the FIRs.

"We are aware of fundamental rights and don't want freedom of press to be muzzled", the presiding judge Justice L Nageswara Rao said, while adding that the journalists should have approached the High Court first than coming to the Supreme Court directly.

11. IT Rules 2021 : Supreme Court Lists Centre's Transfer Petitions, Connected Cases After 6 Weeks

The Supreme Court has listed after 6 weeks a group of petitions related to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021).

The cases include the petitions filed by the Union Government seeking to transfer to the Supreme Court the cases filed in the High Courts challenging the IT Rules and also challenging the interim orders passed by High Courts in some cases.

A bench led by the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on September 3 directed the listing of these cases after 6 weeks while hearing a batch of petitions seeking action against media houses which communalzied the Tablighi Jamaat issue.

12. Pegasus Case : Supreme Court Adjourns Hearing Till Sep 13 As Centre Seeks Time For Affidavit

The Supreme Court this week adjourned till September 13 the hearing in batch of cases seeking investigation into the Pegasus snooping row after the Central Government sought time.

A bench comprising the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Bopanna was hearing a batch of petitions seeking a court-monitored probe by a Special Investigation Team or a judicial probe into the reports of snooping of activists, journalists, politicians and constitutional authorities using the Pegasus spyware.

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