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Supreme Court Weekly Roundup May 10 To May 16, 2021

Nupur Thapliyal
17 May 2021 5:10 AM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Roundup May 10 To May 16, 2021

JUDGMENTS THIS WEEK1. Existence Of Arbitration Clause Does Not Debar Court From Entertaining A Writ Petition In Contractual Matter: Supreme CourtCase: Uttar Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. Vs. CG Power And Industrial Solutions Limited [SLP(C) 8630 OF 2020] Citation: LL 2021 SC 255Supreme Court Bench headed by Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Indira Banerjee observed that the...

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1. Existence Of Arbitration Clause Does Not Debar Court From Entertaining A Writ Petition In Contractual Matter: Supreme Court

Case: Uttar Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. Vs. CG Power And Industrial Solutions Limited [SLP(C) 8630 OF 2020]

Citation: LL 2021 SC 255

Supreme Court Bench headed by Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Indira Banerjee observed that the existence of an arbitration clause does not debar the court from entertaining a writ petition.

"It is well settled that availability of an alternative remedy does not prohibit the High Court from entertaining a writ petition in an appropriate case. The High Court may entertain a writ petition, notwithstanding the availability of an alternative remedy, particularly (1) where the writ petition seeks enforcement of a fundamental right; (ii) where there is failure of principles of natural justice or (iii) where the impugned orders or proceedings are wholly without jurisdiction or (iv) the vires of an Act is under challenge.", the Court held.

The bench reiterated that relief under Article 226 of the Constitution of India may be granted in a case arising out of contract.

2. Will Habeas Corpus Petition Lie Against Remand Order? Supreme Court Answers

Case: Gautam Navlakha vs. National Investigation Agency [CrA 510 OF 2021]

Citation: LL 2021 SC 254

The bench comprising Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph observed that a Habeas Corpus petition challenging a remand order can be entertained only if the remand is absolutely illegal or the remand is afflicted with the vice of lack of jurisdiction, of if it is passed in an absolutely mechanical manner.

These observations were made while considering the appeal filed by Gautam Navlakha seeking default bail in the Bhima Koregaon case. The appeal was against the order passed by the Delhi High Court in the Habeas Corpus petition filed before it.

The court noted that in Manubhai Ratilal Patel v. State of Gujarat (2013) 1 SCC 314, it was held that a writ of habeas corpus is not to be entertained when a person is committed to judicial custody or police custody by the competent court by an order which prima facie does not appear to be without jurisdiction or passed in an absolutely mechanical manner or wholly illegal. It also referred to judgment in Serious Fraud Investigation Office and Ors. vs. Rahul Modi (2019) 5 SCC 266 in which it was observed that the act of directing remand of an accused is thus held to be a judicial function and the challenge to the order of remand is not to be entertained in a habeas corpus petition.

Read Also: Courts Can Order House Arrest U/s 167 CrPC In Appropriate Cases: Supreme Court

3. Mere Language Problem Of A Party Not A Ground To Transfer A Case U/s 406 CrPC: Supreme Court

Case: Rajkumar Sabu Vs. Sabu Trade Private Limited [T.P.(Crl) 17 OF 202]

Citation: LL 2021 SC 253

Bench comprising Justice Aniruddha Bose held that a criminal case cannot be transferred under Section 406 CrPC merely because the party does not understand the language of the Court which has jurisdiction to hear the case.

The court observed thus while dismissing a transfer petition filed by one Rajkumar Sabu, against whom a criminal case is pending in Salem Court, that he is not being able to understand Tamil language, and therefore the case ought to be transferred to a Court in Delhi. He relied on the decision in Sri Jayendra Saraswathy Swamigal (II), T.N. vs. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors. [(2005) 8 SCC 771].

"....But language was not the criteria based on which transfer of the case was directed. The language factor weighed with this Court while deciding the forum to which the case was to be transferred after decision was taken to transfer the case for certain other reasons", the court said.

4. Motor Accident Compensation - Self-Employed Deceased Aged Below 40 Years Entitled To 40% Addition As Future Prospects : Supreme Court

Title : Rahul Sharma and another vs National Insurance Company Ltd and others

Citation : LL 2021 SC 252

Bench comprising CJI NV Ramana, Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose has reiterated that addition of 40% income must be given towards future prospects while computing motor accident compensation if the deceased was self-employed and was aged less than aged 40 years.

"This Court in a Five Judge Bench decision in National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Pranay Sethi, (2017) 16 SCC 680,clearly held that in case the deceased is self­-employed and below the age of 40, 40% addition would be made to their income as future prospects. In the present case, the deceased was self-­employed and was 37 years old, therefore, warranting the addition of 40% towards future prospects", the Supreme Court observed.

The High Court had held that the deceased in the case was ineligible for future prospects as she was self-employed. It had also deduced 50% towards personal expenses of the deceased. The Supreme Court found fault with this approach, as the Pranay Sethi judgment had held that deduction towards personal expenses must be 1/3rd of the income when the deceased was married with two dependents.


1. Held On Sedition Charge, YSR Congress Party's Elected MP K. Raghu Rama Krishna Raju Moves Supreme Court Seeking Bail

Challenging the Andhra Pradesh High Court's May 15 order, refusing to entertain his bail application, Kanumuri Raghurama Krishnam Raju, an elected Member of Parliament (YSR Congress party) from Narasapuram Parliamentary constituency in Andhra Pradesh has moved the Supreme Court.

He was arrested on Friday on the charges of sedition and was taken to the Crime Investigation Department (CID) office in Guntur district.

Raju, represented by Senior counsel B. Adinarayana Rao has averred before the Supreme Court that High Court's order directing him to approach Lower Court first is contrary to settled principles of law. Further, he has also argued that the case against him is "nothing but a case of personal vendetta" of the Chief Minister and that CM has been using state police machinery against his political opponent.

2. Assam NRC: State Coordinator Moves Supreme Court Seeking Comprehensive, Time Bound Re-verification Of Draft NRC

The State Co-ordinator of the Assam NRC has approached the Supreme Court seeking a comprehensive and time bound reverification of draft NRC and the supplementary list of NRC under Clause 4(3) of Schedule of Citizenship (Registeration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003 highlighting major irregularity in the process of making the same.

The intervention application filed prays for deletion of illegal voters from the voters list of Assam and seeks an updation of the NRC, 1951.

Highlighting that the final NRC is yet to be published by the Registrar General of Citizens Registeration of India, the plea states that some "issues of substantive importance" have cropped up while preparing of rejecting slips on account of which the entire exercise of issuance of the Rejection Slips have got delayed.

Stating that some "glaring anomalies of serious nature" have been noticed in the process which relates to security and integrity of the nation, the plea states that one of the greatest achievements of the NRC updation process was the creation of a "huge digitised database of NRC of 1951 and the Electoral Rolls of Assam up to 1971, as also the digitised details of NRC applicants."

3. Provide Dry Ration, Open Community Kitchens For Migrant Workers Stranded In NCR : Supreme Court Directs Delhi, UP, Haryana Govts

The Supreme Court this week directed the Central Government and Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, States of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to provide dry ration to migrant workers in National Capital Region.

While providing dry ration the authorities of the States shall not insist on an identity card for those migrant labourers who do not possess for the time being and on self-declaration made by the stranded migrant labourers dry ration be given to them.

Further, GNCTD, States of UP and Haryana have also been directed to set up community kithcens at well-advertised places in NCR for stranded migrant workers, as well as their families, and ensure that they are provided two meals a day. The Court has also directed GNCTD, UP and Haryana Governments to ensure that adequate transport is provided to stranded migrant workers in NCR who wish to return to their homes.

4. 'How Migrants Will Survive With No Money Or Work? You Have To Consider Harsh Realities' : Supreme Court Tells Centre

Expressing concerns about the plight of migrant workers during the lockdown announced by various states, the Supreme Court this week said that it will pass orders today itself to ensure food security and cheaper transport options for migrant workers.

"How migrants will survive with no money or work? Some sustenance must be provided for the time being. You have to consider the harsh realities", the bench told the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, who was opposing the court's intervention in the matter.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and MR Shah was considering the suo moto case In Re Problems and Miseries of Migrant Labourers, which was taken last year to deal with the migrants crisis during the 2020 lockdown.

5. Premature Release - UP Govt.'s Policy To Release Prisoners Only On Republic Day Arbitrary:Supreme Asks Govt To Consider All Eligible Persons Regardless Of Application

The Supreme Court on May 4 told the state of UP to not deem as ineligible for consideration for premature release those life convicts who have not specifically applied for the relief, and obligated the state government to conduct periodical assessments to identify those who are so entitled.

It may be noted that clause 3 (a) of the UP government's policy of August 1, 2018 (framed under Article 161) stipulates that where no application/prayer/representation requesting premature release is preferred, the convict would be deemed covered under the restricted category and such non-application would be one of the basis under the policy to denude their claim for remission.

"We cannot approve the policy that those who do not specifically apply for remission would fall in the restricted category and would be ineligible for consideration", the bench of Justices Navin Sinha and Krishna Murari has said.

6. Counter-Productive To Exercise Powers Under Patents Act Over COVID Vaccines, Drugs At This Stage, Centre Tells Supreme Court

The Centre has told the Supreme Court that it is not in favour of exercising powers under the Patents Act, such as compulsory licensing or government authorization, over COVID-19 vaccines and medicines at this stage.

In an affidavit filed before the top court, the Central Government has said that it is engaging in diplomatic level talks with other nations for procurement of vaccines and medicines, and any discussion on exercise of statutory powers under Patents Act will be counter-productive at this stage.

Read Also: Persons Without Digital Access Can Take Help Of Friends, Families, NGOs, Common Service Centres For CoWIN Registration : Centre Tells SC

Read Also: "COVID Vaccination Policy Conforms To Constitutional Mandate, Executive Needs Discretion, Requires No Interference By Court,: Centre Tells Supreme Court

7. Retain States' Power To Identify SEBCs : Centre Seeks Review Of Supreme Court's Interpretation Of 102nd Constitution Amendment

The Central Government has filed a review petition against the 5-judge bench judgment of the Supreme Court which held that the 102nd Constitution Amendment abrogated the power of State Governments to identify and notify Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBCs).

On May 5, a constitution bench of the Supreme Court, while dealing with the constitutionality of Maratha quota, had by 3:2 majority held that after the 102nd Constitution Amendment, only the President has the power to notify SEBCs, and that the power of states was only to make recommendations. While Justices L Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and S Ravindra Bhat were on the majority on this point, the minority comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer held that the effect of the amendment was only related to the power of Centre to identify SEBCs for the central list.

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