Supreme Court Monthly Roundup – August 2020


CONSTITUTION BENCH


Accused under NDPS Act not entitled to acquittal as a blanket rule merely because the complainant is the investigating officer

“… merely because the informant is the investigator, by that itself the investigation would not suffer the vice of unfairness or bias and therefore on the sole ground that informant is the investigator, the accused is not entitled to acquittal. The matter has to be decided on a case to case basis.”

States, and not MCI, have power to make reservation for in-service candidates in Post Graduate Medical Course

“The occupied field of Union legislation in exercise of power under Entry 66, List I is related to minimum standards of medical education and the State   is   providing the in-service quota without impinging the prescribed minimum standards. State is within its power and authority to provide such a preferential treatment to provide a better public health in the rural, tribal and hilly areas.”

Sub-classification of Scheduled Castes| 5-judge bench calls for revision of E.V. Chinnaiah decision; Matter referred to larger bench

“The aspiration of equal treatment of the lowest strata, to whom the fruits of the reservation have not effectively reached, remains a dream. At the same time, various castes by and large remain where they were, and they remain unequals, are they destined to carry their backwardness till eternity?”


TOP NEWS


PROPERTY RIGHTS OF WOMEN

Daughters have coparcenary rights by birth even if father died before the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 came into force

“The conferral of right is by birth, and the rights are given in the same manner with incidents of coparcenary as that of a son and she is treated as a coparcener in the same manner with the same rights as if she had been a son at the time of birth.”

SUSHANT SINGH RAJPUT DEATH CASE

SC orders CBI probe into the actor’s death

When truth meets sunshine, justice will not prevail on the living alone but after Life’s fitful fever, now the departed will also sleep well. Satyameva Jayate.”

EXAMS AMIDST COVID-19

Final Year Exams may be postponed but not cancelled

The 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, RS Reddy and MR Shah, JJ has upheld the validity of the Revised UGC Guidelines dated 06.07.2020 and had held that though the State Disaster Management Authorities have the power to take measures for prevention and mitigation of a disaster, They cannot take the decision to not hold final year exams is not valid. The States may, however, approach UGC for postponement of exams.

SC dismisses plea seeking postponement of NEET & JEE; Says “We have to move ahead with all safeguards”

“Life cannot be stopped. We have to move ahead with all safeguards and all… Are you (students) ready to waste one whole year?…Now, the courts are also going to open gradually for physical hearing. We also have these glass panels now,”

COVID-19 RELIEF

SC refuses to direct transfer of money deposited to PM CARES to NDRF

“When the Central Government is providing financial assistance to the States to contain COVID-19 it is not for any PIL petitioner to say that Centre should give amount from this fund or that fund.”

Disburse pension on time; Provide medicines, face masks, etc to elderly people: SC to States/UTs

RELIGION AND COVID-19

Allowing Muharram processions across the country would lead to chaos & targeting of one community: SC

SC allows 3 Jain temples to open in Mumbai for ‘Paryushan’; says the order cannot be used as a precedent

Tablighi Jamaat| SC transfers all cases pending in different Delhi Trial Courts to Saket Court; Directs disposal within 8 weeks

Shravani Mela: SC asks Jharkhand Govt. to work out a possibility of opening religious places for general public

PRASHANT BHUSHAN CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS

Prashant Bhushan Twitter Contempt

Prashant Bhushan’s tweets not “fair criticism” of judiciary; SC finds him guilty of criminal contempt

“The tweets which are based on the distorted facts, in our considered view, amount to committing of ‘criminal contempt’.

SC sentences Prashant Bhushan to a fine of Rupee 1 for his contemptuous tweets

“If we do not take cognizance of such conduct it will give a wrong message to the lawyers and litigants throughout the country. However, by showing magnanimity, instead of imposing any severe punishment, we are sentencing the contemnor with a nominal fine of  Re.1/­ (Rupee one).”

Prashant Bhushan – Tehelka Contempt

Can allegations of corruption against Judges be made publicly? SC frames larger questions

VIKAS DUBEY ENCOUNTER

SC refuses to scrap Justice B.S. Chauhan lead Judicial Committee; says allegations based merely on newspaper reports liable to be rejected outright

“ … the Chairman and a Member of the Commission had held high Constitutional positions and while making allegations the petitioner has based his claim only on the newspaper report and the manner in which the averments are made in the application is unacceptable.”

WITHDRAWAL OF ADVOCATE YATIN OZA’S SENIOR DESIGNATION

Yatin Oza offers unconditional apology; SC says one can improve system without imputations

“Grievances may exist but can always be conveyed in a better language. Systems can be improved but imputations should not unnecessarily be made.”


MORE NEWS


5-judge bench to hear pleas challenging Centre’s decision to grant 10% quota to EWSs in jobs and admissions

A 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and R. Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai, JJ has referred to a 5-judge Constitution Bench pleas challenging the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019 which provides for grant of 10% quota to Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs) in jobs and admissions in the general category. The bench said that a larger bench will decide the pleas filed by 35 petitioners challenging Centre’s decision.

De Novo trial to be conducted of a plaint returned under Order VII Rule 10 and 10A of CPC

Answering a reference the 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee, JJ has held that if a plaint is returned under Order VII Rule 10 and 10A of CPC, for presentation in the court in which it should have been instituted, the plaint is to be considered as a fresh plaint and the trial is to be conducted de novo.

SC answers reference on liabilities of Owner/Port Trust under MPT Act with respect to storage of goods & payment of charges

“While it does not lie in the mouth of the Port Trust to state that it has no place in which to keep goods after they are destuffed – as in the facts in the present case – yet a court may, in the facts of an individual case, look into practical difficulties faced by the Port Trust.”

NGT can’t pass a blanket direction to debar vehicles without valid PUC Certificate from being supplied fuel

When a Statute or a Statutory Rules prescribed a penalty for any act or omission, no other penalty not contemplated in the Statute or a Statutory Rules can be imposed. When a Statute requires a thing to be done in a particular manner, it is to be done only in that manner.

Judgment deciding second appeal without formulation of substantial question law not valid

“… a second appeal, or for that matter, any appeal is not a matter of right. The right of appeal is conferred by statute. A second appeal only lies on a substantial question of lawIf statute confers a limited right of appeal, the Court cannot expand the scope of the appeal.”

Delayed handing over of possession amounts to ‘deficiency’; flat buyers entitled to compensation

“Flat purchasers suffer agony and harassment as a result of the default of the developer. Flat purchasers make legitimate assessments in regard to the future course of their lives based on the flat which has been purchased being available for use and occupation. These legitimate expectations are belied when the developer as in the present case is guilty of a delay of years in the fulfilment of a contractual obligation.”

Action instituted under section 31 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 not an action in rem

“… the cancellation of the instrument under section 31 is as between the parties to the action and their privies and not against all persons generally, as the instrument that is cancelled is to be delivered to the plaintiff in the cancellation suit. A judgment delivered under section 31 does not bind all persons claiming an interest in the property inconsistent with the judgment, even though pronounced in their absence.”

Monitoring Committee appointed vide 2006 order does not have the power to seal residential premises on the private land

“No doubt about it that matter of encroachment is a matter of concern, but the Monitoring Committee can act within the four corners of powers conferred upon it and purpose for which the court appointed the Monitoring Committee. It cannot exceed its powers and take any action beyond its authorization by the court.”

However laudable be the purpose, the Executive cannot deprive a person of his property without specific legal authority

“In case of dispossession except under the authority of law, the owner might obtain restoration of possession by a proceeding for Mandamus against the Government.”

Courts are duty bound to issue a writ of Mandamus for enforcement of a public duty

SC issues notice in plea seeking regulation of “uncontrolled and unregulated” news against religious and political organisations

Has the amendment to Section 4 of the Central Excise Act, 1944 affected the method of determination of value of excisable goods? SC explains

How to determine if an allegation of fraud falls under “Fraud Exception”to Arbitrability? SC elaborates

Section 9A of FTDR Act does not negate Central Govt’s power to impose restrictions on imports under Section 3(2)

State Governments are entitled to prescribe fee for assignment of “distinctive” registration numbers to motor vehicles

SC refuses to review it’s 2017 verdict holding Vijay Mallya guilty for contempt of court

Mere production of photocopy of an OPD card and statement of mother not enough to prove mental unsoundness


IN OTHER NEWS


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