Supreme Court Monthly Roundup – January 2021


TOP STORIES


Supreme Court gives a go-ahead to Central Vista Project in a 2:1 verdict

“What purpose will a public interest proceeding serve if the fulfilment of one notion of public interest leads to a clear subjugation of another legitimate action of the State taken in public interest concerning project of national importance touching upon democratic polity.”

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Citizens have the right to know and participate in deliberation and decision making’; Justice Khanna dissents in 2:1 verdict clearing the Central Vista Project

“Deliberative democracy accentuates the right of participation in deliberation, in decision-making, and in contestation of public decision-making.”

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Supreme Court stays implementation of Farm Laws

“Court cannot be said to be completely powerless to grant stay of any executive action under a statutory enactment”

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Upheld, albeit with directions. Why was IBC (Amendment) Act, 2020 challenged? What prompted SC to invoke Art. 142? Read comprehensive point-wise analysis of the 465-pages judgment

“There is nothing like a perfect law and as with all human institutions, there are bound to be imperfections. What is significant is however for the court ruling on constitutionality, the law must present a clear departure from constitutional limits.”

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No sexual assault if no ‘skin to skin’ contact? Supreme Court stays Bombay High Court’s “dangerous precedent” on POCSO Act

Attorney General for India K. K. Venugopal brought to the Court’s notice that the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court has passed a judgment dated 19.01.2021 is likely to set “a dangerous precedent”.

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SC allows video conferencing in matrimonial matter, though not as a matter of course

Bench stated that in the normal course, it would not have directed video conferencing in respect of matrimonial matters as per the above-referred Judgment, but in the present matter, since all the proceedings are being conducted in video conferencing, Court directed the Family Court, District Gautambudh Nagar, U.P. to conduct the trial through video conferencing.

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Succour to rape survivor whose identity was disclosed by media, SC Directs free education for minor children, house under PMAY

“The petitioner being a rape victim deserves treatment as rape victim by all the authorities.”

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“Unless there are any specific reasons for not opening, all Anganwadi Centres beyond the containment zones should be made functional by all the States/Union Territories at an early date”; SC directs

“Children are the future of our country and if there is some stinginess in providing them with adequate nutrition, the country as a whole is deprived in future of taking the benefit of their potential.”

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Does non-payment of stamp duty in a commercial contract invalidate the arbitration clause? Issue referred to the Constitutional bench to decide

The judgment authored by Indu Malhotra, J. framed the following question to be authoritatively settled by a Constitution bench of five judges:

 Whether the statutory bar contained in Section 35 of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 applicable to instruments chargeable to Stamp Duty under Section 3 read with the Schedule to the Act, would also render the arbitration agreement contained in such an instrument, which is not chargeable to payment of stamp duty, as being non-existent, unenforceable, or invalid, pending payment of stamp duty on the substantive contract / instrument? ”

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MORE STORIES


Restitution of conjugal rights| Read how Supreme Court imparted justice to a woman despite rejecting her Transfer Petition

“While the hardship, both social and financial, pleaded by the petitioner deserves favourable consideration, the transfer of the case at this stage of the proceeding may not be appropriate.”

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Conception that housemakers do not add economic value to the household is “a problematic idea”: SC

The principle of awarding of future prospects must apply with equal vigor in case of non-earning victims of motor accidents, particularly with respect to homemakers.

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SC directs Central Pollution Control Board to submit a priority-wise list of Municipalities, along the river Yamuna which have been found to be most polluted

“Open surface water resources including rivers are lifeline of human civilization.”

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Whether the arbitral process could be interfered under Article 226/227 of the Constitution, and under what circumstance? Supreme Court explains

“If the Courts are allowed to interfere with the arbitral process beyond the ambit of the enactment, then the efficiency of the process will be diminished.”

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One-Sided and Unreasonable Clauses in Apartment Buyer’s Agreement & Unfair Trade Practice

“Developer cannot compel the apartment buyers to be bound by the one-sided contractual terms contained in the Apartment Buyer‘s Agreement.”

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“Right to property is still a constitutional right under Article 300A of the Constitution”; SC reminds in a case where State took possession of surplus land in absence of surplus land

“Right to property is still a constitutional right under Article 300A of the Constitution of India though not a fundamental right. The deprivation of the right can only be in accordance with the procedure established by law.”

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Wilful disobedience or Wilful breach: Are these necessary requisites for bringing in action for ‘Civil Contempt’?

“…where an objection is taken to the jurisdiction to entertain a suit and to pass any interim orders therein, the Court should decide the question of jurisdiction in the first instance. However, that does not mean that pending the decision on the question of jurisdiction, the Court has no jurisdiction to pass interim orders as may be called for in the facts and circumstances of the case.”

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SC directs DU to declare Supplementary exam result & issue provisional degree to woman who fell short of attendance due to birth of her child & subsequent Teacher’s strike

The applicant joined 3-year LLB Course at University of Delhi and completed first 3 semesters without any hindrance. During the 4th Semester, she fell short of required attendance due to two difficulties. One was that she gave birth to a baby on 22-02-2018, which had disabled her to attend classes till the end of March, 2018. The second difficulty was that the Delhi University Teachers’ Association had gone on a strike from 16-03-2018 and hence the University could not conduct the minimum number of classes as prescribed by Rule 10 of the Bar Council of India Rules.

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Failure to make an enquiry before dismissal or discharge of a workman can be justified by leading evidence before the Labour Court: SC clarifies

The 3-judge bench of L. Nageswara Rao, Navin Sinha and Indu Malhotra* has set aside the impugned judgment of Uttaranchal High Court, whereby the High Court had set aside the award passed by the Labour Court on the ground that no disciplinary enquiry was held by the School regarding alleged abandonment of service by the respondent.

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Can subsequent death of a dependent be a reason for reduction of motor accident compensation? Supreme Court answers

“Any compensation awarded by a Court ought to be just, reasonable and consequently must undoubtedly be guided by principles of fairness, equity, and good conscience.”

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Penal rent can be levied & adjusted against the dues payable including gratuity if an employee occupies a quarter beyond the specified period: SC

The observation came in a case where a SAIL employee had retained a quarter after his retirement due to non-payment of retiral benefits.

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Is segmentation permissible for National Highway projects beyond a distance of 100 kms? MoEF&CC’s Expert Committee to examine, directs SC

Adoption of segmentation of a project cannot be adopted as a strategy to avoid environmental clearance impact assessment.

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Can a conditional acceptance of an offer be considered a concluded contract? Supreme Court answers

“With the greatest of respect, the High Court has cursorily dealt with the contentions of the Appellant and has not even discussed the cases that had been cited on behalf of the Appellant.”

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Section 6 of Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 is mandatory in nature, which acts as an injunction for Courts to follow; Supreme Court clarifies legal position

“A Court ‘must not’ sentence a person under the age of 21 years to imprisonment unless sufficient reasons for the same are recorded, based on due consideration of the probation officer’s report.”

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Nothing arbitrary with J&K High Court Chief Justice choosing to regulate the manner of exercise of his own power to relax qualifications: Supreme Court

“… the prescription of graduation as a qualification for promotion to the post of Head Assistant cannot be held as violative of Articles 14 and 16.”

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SC allows IIMC, JNU to remove 29 small trees to construct new buildings for academic block

“In lieu of the 29 tender trees to be cut, the applicant institute had planted 300 trees of different species and the 29 trees which were to be cut belonged to shisham, kikar and papri species. The trees planted were of above species as also other species.”

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Punjab Govt to pay pension to all 214 beneficiaries of 1991 Pension Scheme: SC

The Bench said that there was no merit in the argument of the state that only those persons who retired from service between 11-05-1995 and 30-06-1999 should be eligible for the benefit of the pension scheme. The Bench held that, the persons who were included in the list of 214 names given by the Government could not be deprived of the benefit of the scheme on any ground whatsoever.

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“Already dismissed from service on being convicted”; Supreme Court reduced quantum of sentence of 70 years old appellant, convicted under Prevention of Corruption Act

In a case relating to Prevention of Corruption Act, the 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah*, JJ has partly allowed the appeal regarding quantum of sentence, while concurrent order of conviction by the Courts below was confirmed.

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