2020 SCC Vol. 9 Part 2

Income Tax — Income — Income arising within or earned in India — Income derived from business operation in India — Taxability of — Exemption under applicable Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA): In this case, Art. 5(3) of the DTAA predicated that notwithstanding the preceding provisions of the Article concerned, which would mean Arts. 5(1) and 5(2), the establishment in question would still not be a PE, if any of the clauses in Art. 5(3) are applicable. It was held by the Supreme Court that the nature of activities carried on by respondent through its liaison office in India, as permitted by RBI, are in the nature of “preparatory or auxiliary character”. Hence, they are covered by Art. 5(3)(e) of the DTAA between India and UAE, and fixed place used by respondent as liaison office in India, would not qualify as PE in terms of Arts. 5(1) and 5(2) of the said DTAA on account of non obstante and deeming clause in Art. 5(3) of the DTAA. Hence, the said activity of the respondent is not amenable to tax liability in terms of Art. 7 of the DTAA. [Union of India v. UAE Exchange Centre, (2020) 9 SCC 329]

Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 (37 of 1966) — S. 88 and Ch. VII (Ss. 126 to 129) — Cohesive and harmonious construal of S. 88: S. 88 cannot be read in isolation and has to be read along with provisions under Ch. VII (Ss. 126 to 129). Thus, held, mere declaration of Town Planning Scheme does not result in vesting of the land in question in the authority concerned, unless the land has been acquired properly in accordance with law. [Hari Krishna Mandir Trust v. State of Maharashtra, (2020) 9 SCC 356]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — S. 11 — Res judicata: Issue only collaterally or incidentally decided in earlier proceedings, held, would not operate as res judicata in proceedings where the issue is directly and substantially involved. Test to be applied to ascertain whether the matter was directly and substantially in issue, explained. The test is whether the issue was necessary to be decided for adjudicating on the principal issue and was decided: if it is clear that the earlier judgment was in fact based upon that decision, then it would be res judicata in a latter case, but not otherwise. Such determination is to be made on the facts of each case. Examination of pleadings, issues framed and judgment of the earlier proceedings is required. [Nand Ram v. Jagdish Prasad, (2020) 9 SCC 393]

Aviation Law — General Principles re Liability/Expected Service Standards for Carriage of Goods and Persons/Deficiency in service: Departure of flight without passenger who had been issued boarding pass does not amount to deficiency of service, when such passenger fails to reach the boarding gate in time. [Indigo Airlines v. Kalpana Rani Debbarma, (2020) 9 SCC 424]

 Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 34: Limitation period for challenging arbitral award: Maximum outer limit of three months plus 30 days is mandatory. Where challenge to award was filed when award was at execution stage, it was well beyond the above maximum limitation period. [BBM Enterprises v. State of W.B., (2020) 9 SCC 448]

Constitution of India — Art. 217 — Appointment of High Court Judges — Inordinate delays in making recommendation to fill vacancies by High Court Collegiums: High Court Collegiums must make endeavour to recommend names against vacancies as early as possible even if they are not made at one go. Some Courts do not recommend fresh names without earlier list being cleared. It was held that there is no such impediment and it should be a continuing process of recommending names without waiting for result of earlier recommendations till all recommendations are made. Otherwise, time period to process names is such that by time appointments take place, another set of vacancies arise which brings problem of vacancies to square one. Detailed report regarding existing and expected vacancies called for from all High Courts, explaining as to what is the time period within which recommendations can be expected to be made. [PLR Projects (P) Ltd. v. Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd., (2020) 9 SCC 452]

Environment Law — Environmental Clearance/NOC/Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) — Grant of/Quashment of/Irregularity in/Judicial review: In this case there were issues whether entire material including report of Joint Committee which was relevant to consider case of parties herein was available before NGT and whether NGT was justified in proceeding with matter in manner as it has presently done. Hence, the matter was remanded to NGT for consideration afresh after taking into account the relevant report which had now become available and additional relevant material if sought to be adduced by the parties. [Wonder Projects Development (P) Ltd. v. Union of India, (2020) 9 SCC 454]

Ancient and Protected Monuments, Archaeology, Art and Antiquities — Administration, Conservation, Maintenance, Refurbishment, Alteration, etc. of Monuments — Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain: Direction issued regarding steps to be taken to prevent deterioration of Shivalinga and steps to be taken to preserve temple structure, including Chandranageshwar Temple. [Sarika v. Mahakaleshwar Mandir Committee, (2020) 9 SCC 460]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 438 — Anticipatory bail cases — Posting of: It is the duty of the Registry of court to post such cases with due diligence. In this case, order in anticipatory bail case made returnable in four weeks, but not listed for almost a year. Registry directed to furnish an explanation on the administrative side as to why the matter was not listed as directed after four weeks, more so, in the nature of matter being of anticipatory bail. [Mahtab Alam v. State of Bihar, (2020) 9 SCC 466]

Commercial Courts Act, 2015/Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 — S. 12-A — Time prescribed under for completing process of compulsory pre-litigation mediation and settlement: Said time shall stand extended from time when COVID-19 Lockdown is lifted plus 45 days thereafter. However, if period of Lockdown plus 45 days has expired, no further period shall be liable to be excluded. [Cognizance For Extension of Limitation, In re, (2020) 9 SCC 468]

Service Law — Departmental Enquiry — Judicial review/Validity — Scope: Power of judicial review is distinct from appellate power exercised by departmental appellate authority. Further held, judicial review is evaluation of decision-making process and not merits of decision itself which is to ensure fairness in treatment and not fairness of conclusion. Judicial review ought to be used to correct manifest errors of law or procedure which might result in significant injustice or violation of principles of natural justice. Moreover, where appellate or reviewing authority comes to a different conclusion, ordinarily decision under appeal ought not to be disturbed insofar as it is plausible and not perverse. [Pravin Kumar v. Union of India, (2020) 9 SCC 471]

Trusts and Trustees — Religious and Charitable Endowments and Trusts — Nanded Sikh Gurudwara Sachkhand Shri Hazur Apchalnagar Sahib Act, 1956 (37 of 1956) — Ss. 6(1)(viii), 6(2), 6(3), 2(e) & 2(c) and Ch. II r/w R. 6 of the 1958 Rules: Nomination of four members under S. 6(1)(viii) by State Government to the statutory Gurudwara Board, not permissible. S. 6(3) does not apply to the nomination to be made under S. 6(1)(viii) and the exclusive statutory authority for making the nomination of four members under S. 6(1)(viii) is vested in the Diwan. Expression “Diwan” under 1956 Act is an institution and not an individual person. [Bahginder Singh v. Manjieeth Singh, (2020) 9 SCC 484]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Ss. 96, 100 and Or. 1 R. 10 — Appeal from original decree — Maintainability — Locus standi — “Person aggrieved” — Rejection of leave to appeal — Legality: In this case, judgment and decree not being a judgment in rem, holding that certain transactions, in no way concerning the interest of the applicant appellants, were time-barred and granting injunctive relief in respect of only the parties to the suits concerned. Appellants could in no way establish how their interests were affected in any way by decree in question. Thus, held, appellants failed to demonstrate that they were prejudicially or adversely affected by decree in question or that any of their legal rights were jeopardised so as to bring them within ambit of expression “person aggrieved”. [V.N. Krishna Murthy v. Ravikumar, (2020) 9 SCC 501]

Stamp Act, 1899 — S. 40(1)(b) — Imposition of extreme penalty i.e. ten times the amount of the proper duty or deficient portion thereof — Exercise of discretion in respect of: The amount of penalty not exceeding ten times is not an amount to be imposed as a matter of course. Neither is imposition of penalty of ten times under S. 40(1)(b) automatic nor can it be mechanically imposed. Imposition of the extreme penalty i.e. ten times of the duty or deficient portion thereof cannot be based on the mere factum of evasion of duty. Reasons such as fraud or deceit in order to deprive the Revenue or undue enrichment are relevant factors to arrive at a decision as to what should be the extent of penalty under S. 40(1)(b). [H.C. Dhanda Trust v. State of M.P.,(2020) 9 SCC 510]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 or S. 304 Pt. II [S. 300 Exception 4]: In this case, there was assault by accused on head of deceased with lathi, leading to his death in hospital the next day. It was held that circumstances, manner of assault, nature and number of injuries, all have to be considered cumulatively, to decipher intention or knowledge, as the case may be. Assault was not premeditated but took place in heat of passion due to land dispute. The act was done with knowledge that it was likely to cause death, but without any intention to cause death. Hence, conviction altered from S. 302 to S. 304 Pt. II IPC. As accused had already undergone maximum period of sentence prescribed therein, therefore, he was directed to be set at liberty forthwith. [Jugut Ram v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2020) 9 SCC 520]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 or S. 304: Where death was due to single injury caused by accused, legal position summarised whether S. 302 would be attracted or not. [Stalin v. State, (2020) 9 SCC 524]

T.N. Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976 (24 of 1978) — Ss. 20 and 21 — Exemption granted under the Act — Non-compliance with conditions of — Measures that may be taken by competent authority — Scope of: There must be strict compliance with statutory regime. Imposition of sanctions beyond what is expressly permitted by statute is not permissible. Further held, any undertaking given by the party concerned cannot expand the statutory jurisdiction of the authority concerned. Competent authority is only permitted by the 1976 Act to withdraw the order of exemption or to declare such land to be excess land under S. 21, with its attendant consequences as provided under the 1976 Act. [Shridhar C. Shetty v. Collector, (2020) 9 SCC 537]

Constitution of India — Art. 254 — Repugnancy under Art. 254 — Meaning of: Preconditions for question of repugnancy under Art. 254, when can be considered. Principles summarised regarding tests for whether laws are repugnant to each other. Doctrine of repugnancy not attracted if laws partially or incidentally cover the same area in a different context and to achieve a different purpose. In case of repugnancy, Central law prevails over State law. [West U.P. Sugar Mills Assn. v. State of U.P., (2020) 9 SCC 548]

Wealth Tax Act, 1957 — Ss. 3 and 21-AA — Incidence of wealth tax: Law explained regarding persons to be assessed under wealth tax. Social club such as appellant Bangalore Club, held, not covered under S. 3(1) if looked at in isolation without considering S. 21-AA. [Bangalore Club v. CWT, (2020) 9 SCC 599]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — S. 7 — Acknowledgement of debt by corporate debtor in earlier insolvency proceedings — Relevance of: Counter-affidavit of corporate debtor in earlier petition, held, was not a pleading of the insolvency applicant in the earlier insolvency proceedings. Rather, it was an admission of the outstanding debt by the corporate debtor and was admissible qua debt acknowledgement in later insolvency proceedings. [Shri Equipment Finance Ltd. v. Rajeev Anand, (2020) 9 SCC 623]

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 — Ss. 42, 55 and 20(b)(ii)(B): In this case of seizure of ganja there was official witnesses and support from independent witnesses was absent. Testimony of police officials was found reliable and trustworthy. No enmity was found between the police witnesses and the accused. No such defence was taken in the statement under S. 313 CrPC.  It was held that legally, testimony of the official witnesses cannot be rejected on the ground of non-corroboration by independent witness. Resultantly, absence of independent support to the official witnesses, held, not fatal. Compliance with Ss. 42 and 55 was fully proved on the record. Sample seized and sealed was also proved to be sent to the FSL. Hence, conviction was affirmed. [Rizwan Khan v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2020) 9 SCC 627]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 197 — Sanction for prosecution — When not to be accorded: In this case, there was exoneration on merits by CVC, where allegation found to be not sustainable at all and accused held innocent. Criminal prosecution on same set of facts and circumstances, cannot be allowed to continue, on underlying principle of higher standard of proof in criminal cases. No sanction ought to be accorded and no offence under IPC made out. Judgment of courts below, set aside, and accused discharged from offences under IPC. [Ashoo Surendranath Tewari v. CBI, (2020) 9 SCC 636]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — Ss. 166 and 173 — Fatal accident — Compensation — Consortium — What is and when may be awarded: Expression “consortium” includes spousal consortium, parental consortium as well as filial consortium. It is certainly not the law that consortium is only payable as a spousal consortium and consortium is not payable to children and parents. Apart from spousal consortium, parental and filial consortium, held, are payable in fatal accident claim. [New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Somwati, (2020) 9 SCC 644]

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