Supreme Court Monthly Roundup – February 2020


Sabarimala| Questions of law can be referred to larger bench while hearing a review petition; Issues framed

The 9-judge bench hearing the Sabarimala reference has held that the Supreme Court can refer questions of law to a larger bench while exercising its review jurisdiction after renowned jurist and senior advocate Fali Nariman objected to the manner in which the Supreme Court turned a review of the Sabarimala case into an opportunity to set up a nine-judge Bench and examine whether certain essential religious practices of various faiths, including Islam and Zoroastrianism, should be constitutionally protected.

Grant permanent commission to all women officers in Army who opt for it within 3 months: SC to Centre

Underlying the statement that it is a “greater challenge” for women officers to meet the hazards of service “owing to their prolonged absence during pregnancy, motherhood and domestic obligations towards their children and families” is a strong stereotype which assumes that domestic obligations rest solely on women.

SC directs political parties to publish criminal antecedents of candidates & give reasons for their selection

The Court said political parties will also have to upload reasons for selecting candidates with pending criminal cases on their website.

Supreme Court upholds constitutional validity of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018

 A 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has upheld the constitutional validity of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018, and said that a court can grant anticipatory bail only in cases where a prima facie case is not made out. In the unanimous verdict, Justice Mishra penned the opinion for himself and Justice Saran whereas Justice Bhat wrote a separate but concurring opinion.

Citizenship (Amendment) Act Row|

SC observes that Shaheen Bagh protesters can’t block public roads indefinitely but refuses to pass any interim order

Shaheen Bagh Protest interlocutors submit report

Shaheen Bagh infant death| SC issues notice to Centre & Delhi Govt over participation of infants & children in protests

Article 370|

Notice issued to J&K administration on plea challenging Omar Abdullah’s detention under PSA

SC seeks J&K administration’s response on plea challenging Mehbooba Mufti’s detention

Justice Shantanagoudar recuses from hearing plea challenging Omar Abdullah’s detention under PSA

Nirbhaya Case|

Centre approaches SC after Delhi High Court rejects plea to separately execute the 4 convicts

Supreme Court Issues Notices To 4 Death Row Convicts

SC dismisses Vinay Kumar’s plea against rejection of mercy plea


Lending Banks of Jaypraksah Associates not ‘financial creditors’; SC directs return of mortgaged land to JIL

The bench of AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ has restored the NCLT order wherein it was held that the lenders of Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL) were not the financial creditors of the corporate debtor Jaypee Infratech Limited (JIL) and that the transactions in question were to defraud the lenders of the corporate debtor JIL.

Centre & States to pay Rs. 5 lakh each for failing to file reply on PIL for community kitchen

Irked over repeated failures of the Centre and States to file their replies, the bench of N V Ramana, Ajay Rastogi and V Ramasubramanian, JJ came down heavily and imposed cost of Rs. 5 lakh on them for not complying with its directions to file their affidavits on a PIL seeking setting up of community kitchens across the country.

SC refuses stay CBI investigation into involvement of PMO officials in coal scam case against Jindal Steel

The Court has declined to stay the investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged involvement of some PMO officials in the coal scam case against Jindal Steel. The CBI had on January 5 registered another case in the coal block allocation scam, which took place during 1993 and 2005. The case was registered against JSW Ispat Steel Limited, then Nippon Denro Ispat Limited (NDIL), and some unknown public servants.

“Let’s wind up the Supreme Court”, says a furious SC on non-compliance of it’s AGR order by telecos

“A Desk Officer of the Department of Telecommunications has the temerity to pass the order to the effect of issuing a direction to the Accountant General, another Constitutional Authority.”

Courts should be slow in rejecting enforcement of foreign awards; SC elucidates principles

Nothing in Section 48 of the Arbitration Act would permit an enforcing court to add to or subtract from a foreign award that must either be enforced or rejected by reason of any of the grounds under Section 48 being made out to resist enforcement of such foreign award.

 Members of subordinate judiciary can’t claim direct recruitment to the District judge post under quota meant for practicing advocates

The Court told the petitioners that it was open to them not to join the subordinate services. They could have staked a claim by continuing to be an advocate to the Higher Judicial Service as against the post of District Judge. However, once they chose to be in service, if they had seven years’ experience at Bar before joining the judicial service, they are disentitled to lay a claim to the 25% quota exclusively earmarked for Advocates; having regard to the dichotomy of different streams and separate quota for recruitment.

State not bound to collect quantifiable data relating to adequacy of representation of SCs & STs if it decides to provide no reservation

The State Government is not bound to make reservations. There is no fundamental right which inheres in an individual to claim reservation in promotions. No mandamus can be issued by the Court directing the State Government to provide reservations.

Larger bench to decide if Labour and Industrial Courts have power to order regularisation

The bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi, JJ has called for the reconsideration of the division bench verdict in Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited v Petroleum Coal Labour Union, (2015) 6 SCC 494  [PCLU] and has, hence, referred the matter to a larger bench.

Gargi College molestation| SC asks petitioner to approach Delhi HC first

 A 3-judge bench of S A Bobde, CJ and BR Gavai and Surya Kant, JJ asked lawyer M L Sharma, who mentioned the matter seeking urgent hearing, to move the Delhi High Court with his plea.

Breakdown of marriage is not an end of parental responsibilities

The rights of the child need to be respected as he/she is entitled to the love of both the parents. Even if there is a breakdown of marriage, it does not signify the end of parental responsibility. It is the child who suffers the most in a matrimonial dispute.

SC further grants 4 weeks time to states, UTs to respond on plea alleging denial of ration over Aadhaar linkage

The Court noted that most of the States and Union Territories have not filed their response on the plea and asked them to submit their response. The court was informed that only Jharkhand, Nagaland, and Tamil Nadu have filed the reply in the case.

In an accident that resulted into a 100% disability of a child, SC awards compensation more than the amount claimed

“The courts or the tribunals assessing the compensation in a case of 100% disability, especially where there is mental disability also, should take a liberal view of the matter when awarding compensation.”

Borewell deaths| SC seeks response from Centre and State Governments on petition seeking prevention of such tragedies

A Bench of Arun Mishra and MR Shah, JJ has issued notice to Centre and all the State governments on a petition against the continued deaths of children who fall into borewells and the negligence shown by authorities to prevent such tragedies.

SC appoints retired Kerala HC Judge to conduct inventory of Sabarimala deity’s ornaments

Kota infant deaths| Notice issued to Rajasthan Govt in plea seeking probe into death of over 100 infants at Kota hospital

SC disposes plea seeking independent audit of EVM, VVPAT, ETS sources codes


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