Supreme Court Monthly Roundup – March 2019


Ayodhya Dispute to be settled by a ‘confidential’ Court monitored mediation; No Gag order passed

A 5-judge bench referred the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, famously known as the Ayodhya Dispute, to a Court-monitored Mediation Panel of Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India (Chairman), Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Shri Sriram Panchu, Senior Advocate (Members).

Clauses stipulating ‘deposit-at-call’ before invoking arbitration defeats the purpose of ADR process

Deterring a party to an arbitration from invoking this alternative dispute resolution process by a pre-deposit of 10% would discourage arbitration, contrary to the object of de-clogging the Court system, and would render the arbitral process ineffective and expensive.

IPL spot-fixing: SC sets aside life ban imposed on Sreesanth by BCCI

The disciplinary committee is not obliged to award a life time ban in all cases where such offences are proved. When range of ineligibility which is minimum five years, maximum life time ban is provided for, the discretion to which, either minimum or maximum or in between has to be exercised on relevant facts and circumstances.

Saravana Bhavan owner P Rajagopal guilty of murdering his employee in 2001

The Court upheld the conviction and sentence of life imposed upon Saravana Bhavan Owner P Rajagopal by the Madras High Court for the abduction and murder of his employee Santhakumar.

Mathews Nedumpara barred from practicing in SC for one year

The Court noticed that it was not the first time that Mathews Nedumpara has attempted to browbeat and insult Judges of the Court. In point of fact, the style of this particular advocate is to go on arguing, quoting Latin maxims, and when he finds that the Court is not with him, starts becoming abusive.

No stipulation of period of completion of Serious Fraud Investigations under Companies Act

Section 212 of the Companies Act, 2013 does not prescribe any period within which a report has to be submitted by Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) to the Central Government.


Integrated Nodal Agency for all Tribunals: 5-judge SC bench seeks Centre’s view

A 5-judge bench sought to know from the Centre within two weeks its view on bringing all the quasi-judicial bodies under one central umbrella body. The Court said it would not like to be bogged down with what is right or wrong and all it wants is that “the tribunals work efficiently and independently”.

SC asks Centre to set up Motor Accidents Mediation Authority if feasible

The Government may examine the feasibility of setting up Motor Accidents Mediation Authority by making necessary amendments in the Motor Vehicles Act. The Court also asked the Government to consider the feasibility of enacting Indian Mediation Act to take care of various aspects of mediation in general.

SC ‘fixes’ it’s January 7 verdict; Teachers can now claim gratuity under Payment of Gratuity Act

The law laid down by this Court in the case of Ahmadabad Pvt. Primary Teachers Association was no longer applicable against the teachers, as if not rendered, and the teachers were held entitled to claim the amount of gratuity under the Payment of Gratuity Act from their employer with effect from 03.04.1997.

UPSC can recommend Officers having atleast 6 months tenure left for post of Director General of Police

The recommendation for appointment to the post of Director General of Police by the Union Public Service Commission and preparation of panel should be purely on the basis of merit from officers who have a minimum residual tenure of six months i.e. officers who have at least six months of service prior to the retirement.

Motilal Pesticides overruled as it missed the difference in the terms ‘Income’ and ‘Gross Total Income’

Reading of Section 80HH along with Section 80A would clearly signify that such a deduction has to be of gross profits and gains, i.e., before computing the income as specified in Sections 30 to 43D of  the Income Tax Act, 1961. The scheme itself draws distinction between the concept ‘income’ on the one hand and ‘profits and gains’ on the other hand.

There cannot be a uniform qualification/disqualification for the Board of Directors under the Banking Companies Act

The Board of Directors consists of persons coming from different fields. There cannot, therefore, be a uniform qualification or/and disqualification for such persons. Indeed, the qualifications and disqualifications are bound to vary from category to category and would depend on the post, experience and the stream from where a person is being nominated as a Director.

Can High Court quash proceedings for offences under Section 307 IPC? Here’s what SC said

Offences under Section 307 IPC and the Arms Act etc. would fall in the category of heinous and serious offences and therefore are to be treated as crime against the society and not against the individual alone, and therefore, the criminal proceedings for the offence under Section 307 IPC and/or the Arms Act etc. which have a serious impact on the society cannot be quashed in exercise of powers under Section 482 of the Code, on the ground that the parties have resolved their entire dispute amongst themselves.

SC acquits 6 falsely implicated death row convicts in a 16 year old crime; orders reinvestigation

The accused were falsely implicated in the matter as they were all nomadic tribes coming from the lower strata of the society and are very poor labourers. The benefit of the lapse in investigation and/or unfair investigation cannot be permitted to go to the persons who are real culprits and in fact who committed the offence.

SC elaborates on the scheme of determining additional purchase price under Clause 5A under Sugarcane Control Order, 1966

The entire amount of difference between the Statutory Minimum Price (SMP) and State Advisory Price (SAP) per se cannot be said to be an appropriation of profit. to the extent of the component of profit which will be a part of the final determination of the SAP and/or the final price/additional purchase price fixed under Clause 5A of the Sugarcane Control Order, 1966 would certainly be and/or said to be an appropriation of profit.

SC awards Rs. 10 Lakh compensation in a medical negligence case to ‘send message’ to medical practitioners

In a case of medical negligence where a minor surgery resulted in amputating a woman’s arm, the Court awarded Rs. 10 Lakhs towards compensation, over and above the amount awarded by the Himachal Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

Revisionary Court shouldn’t act like an Appellate Court

While considering the case of discharge sought immediately after the charge­sheet is filed, the Court cannot become an Appellate Court and start appreciating the evidence by finding out inconsistency in the statements of the witnesses.

SC commutes death sentence of a man who raped and killed a 5-year-old to 25 years’ imprisonment

Life imprisonment is the rule to which the death penalty is the exception. The death sentence must be imposed only when life imprisonment appears to be an altogether inappropriate punishment, having regard to the relevant facts and circumstances of the crime.

SC yet again reminds the High Courts of the limitations under Section 100 CPC

Despite the catena of decisions of this Court and even the mandate under Section 100 of the CPC, the High Courts under Section 100 CPC are disturbing the concurrent findings of facts and/or even the findings recorded by the First Appellate Court, either without formulating the substantial question of law or on framing erroneous substantial question of law.

Can’t summon additional accused under Section 319 CrPC in the absence of strong and cogent evidence

Mere disclosing the names of the appellants cannot be said to be strong and cogent evidence to make them to stand trial for the offence under Section 319 of the Code.

Environmental Clearance for development of Airport at Mopa, Goa to be revisited

The EAC has not applied its mind at all to the environmental concerns raised in relation to the project nor do its reasons indicate an appraisal of those concerns by evaluating the impact of the project. Hence, the appraisal by the EAC in the present case neither the process of decision making nor the decision itself can pass legal muster.

Death due to malaria occasioned by a mosquito bite in a malaria prone area is not an accident

To be bitten by a mosquito and be imbued with a malarial parasite does involve an element of chance. But the disease which is caused as a result of the insect bite in the natural course of events cannot be regarded as an accident. Particularly, when the disease is caused in an area which is malaria prone.

SC acquits man in an 18-year-old rape case

Noticing that there was no evidence adduced by the prosecution to prove the commission of the offence of rape by the appellant on the prosecutrix and the evidence adduced was not sufficient to prove the case of rape against the appellant, Court set the accused free.

SC explains meaning of “total turnover” under the Karnataka Sales Tax Act

The expression “total turnover” and “turnover” which has been used under Section 6­B has the same meaning as defined under Section 2(1)(u­2) and 2(v) of the Act. Under Section 6­B, reference is made on ‘total turnover’ and not the ‘turnover’ as defined under Section 2(v) of the KST Act and taking note of the exemption provided under first proviso clause(iii), exclusion has been made in reference to use of sale or purchase of goods in the course of inter­state trade or commerce.


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