2021 SCC Vol. 1 Part 2 | Installation of CCTV Cameras in Police Stations, Interest waiver on loan during moratorium and more

SCC Issue dated January 14, 2021 (Vol. 1 Part 2)

Read the Supreme Court Judgment expertly analysed by our Editors directing States and UTs to install CCTV Cameras in all Police Station. How the installation of CCTV Cameras will curb Custodial Violence? Detailed directions laid down.[Paramvir Singh Saini v. Baljit Singh, (2021) 1 SCC 184]

Counsels heard:

Amicus Curiae Siddhartha Dave

Attorney General for India K.K. Venugopal,

Addl. Solicitor General of India Madhvi Divan,

Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan for the intervenor

Read the following analytical articles:

  • The Legality of Voice Exemplars: An Opportunity Missed: Ritesh Sinha V. State of U.P.:(2021) 1 SCC J-73
  • Reflections on Existence-Unstamped Agreements After Garware Wall Ropes:(2021) 1 SCC J-81

Admissibility and enforceability of an unstamped document: In this article interpretative opinion in respect of the Supreme Court’s judgment in Garware Wall Ropes Ltd. v. Coastal Marine Constructions & Engg. Ltd., (2019) 9 SCC 209, regarding admissibility and enforceability of an unstamped document, has been discussed in the light of the relevant provisions of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899, Contract Act, Arbitration Act, Court fees Act, 1870, etc. Reflections on Existence—Unstamped Agreements after Garware Wall Ropes by Akash Rebello, (2021) 1 SCC (J-81)]

Constitution of India — Art. 129: In this case, legal proceedings for extradition of contemnor to India, still pending in United Kingdom. As legal proceedings which attract strict confidentiality as a matter of United Kingdom law currently ongoing in United Kingdom, contemnor not able to provide any further information about nature of proceedings or relief sought. Time granted to Union of India for placing status report on record and discharge application of contemnor, rejected. [SBI v. Kingfisher Airlines Ltd., (2021) 1 SCC 223]

Constitution of India — Art. 21 — Installation of CCTV cameras in police stations — Credible recording of evidence and safeguarding human rights inside police stations: In this case regarding implementation of action plan prepared by Committee of Union of India, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and as directed by Supreme Court in Shafhi Mohammad, (2018) 5 SCC 311, States and Union Territories directed to file compliance affidavit disclosing exact position of CCTV cameras qua each police station. Constitution of Oversight Committees in accordance with order in Shafhi Mohd. case to be done at State and district levels. Duty and composition of State Level Oversight Committee (SLOC) and District Level Oversight Committee (DLOC) defined. Duty and responsibility for working, maintenance and recording of CCTVs shall be that of SHO of police station concerned. Whenever there is information of force being used at police stations resulting in serious injury and/or custodial deaths, it is necessary that persons be free to complain for a redressal of the same. Such complaints may not only be made to State Human Rights Commission, which is then to utilise its powers, more particularly under Ss. 17 and 18 of the Human Rights Act, 1993, for redressal of such complaints, but also to Human Rights Courts, which must be set up in each district of every State/Union Territory under S. 30 of the Human Rights Act, 1993. Commission/Court can then immediately summon CCTV camera footage in relation to incident for its safe keeping, which may then be made available to an investigation agency in order to further process complaint made to it. Union of India also directed to file affidavit in which it will update Supreme Court on constitution and workings of Central Oversight Body (COB). Union of India further directed to install CCTV cameras and recording equipment in offices of agencies where such interrogation and holding of accused takes place in the same manner as it would in a police station. COB shall perform same function as SLOC for offices of investigative/enforcement agencies mentioned above both in Delhi and outside Delhi wherever they be located. [Paramvir Singh Saini v. Baljit Singh, (2021) 1 SCC 184]

Disaster Management Act, 2005 — Ss. 6 and 10(2)(1) — COVID-19 Pandemic — Relief to borrowers in specified loan accounts: Circular dt. 23-10-2020/Scheme announced by the Government of India granting reliefs to borrowers, including relief of waiver of “interest on interest” i.e. grant of ex gratia payment of difference between compound interest and simple interest for six months to borrowers in specified loan accounts (1-3-2020 to 31-8-2020), directed to be implemented in letter and spirit. [Gajendra Sharma v. Union of India, (2021) 1 SCC 210]

Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 — Ss. 4, 1(3), 2(e) & (f) r/w Ss. 2(g), 4, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 15 of the Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act, 2005 — GSR No. 805 dt. 17-5-1971 making the 1952 Act applicable to establishments rendering expert services: In this case, in terms of provisions of 2005 Act, appellant is the employer paying wages to security guards. Merely because client pays money under contract to appellant, who in turn pays wages to security guards from such contractual amount do not make client employer of security guards. Further held, fact that appellant never made statutory registers under the 2005 Act available to authorities under the EPF Act shows that he was actually withholding relevant papers, which coupled with letter dt. 3-4-2001 written by appellant to Insurance Company seeking Group Janta Personnel Accident Insurance Policy of rupees one lakh each in respect of 79 security personnel, balance sheets seized for Financial Years 2003-2004, 2004-2005, 2005-2006, 2006-2007 showing payment of wages running into lakhs, only leads to irresistible conclusion that appellant had more than 20 employees on its rolls. Thus, appellant was engaged in specialised and expert services of providing trained and efficient security guards to its clients on payment basis and liable under EPF Act. Contention that appellant merely facilitated providing chowkidars, is rejected. [Panther Security Service (P) Ltd. v. EPFO, (2021) 1 SCC 193]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — Ss. 16 and 22 — Resolution professional (RP) — Who may be appointed as: Based merely upon the fact that the person who remained in service of one of the financial creditors and is getting pension, a person cannot be disentitled from being appointed as RP. [SBI v. Metenere Ltd., (2021) 1 SCC 191]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — S. 166 — Approach to be adopted by Tribunal and Court: In motor accident claims, standard of proof is one of preponderance of probabilities, rather than beyond reasonable doubt. Approach and role of courts while examining evidence in accident claim cases ought not to be to find fault with non-examination of some best eyewitnesses, as may happen in a criminal trial; but, instead should be only to analyse material placed on record by parties to ascertain whether claimant’s version is more likely than not true. [Anita Sharma v. New India Assurance Co. Ltd., (2021) 1 SCC 171]

Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 — S. 19 r/w Ss. 11(1), 11(4)(d), 11(4-A), 11(5), 11-B and Regn. 10 of the SEBI (Prohibition of Insider Trading) Regulations, 2015: Passing of ex parte interim order by Whole-time Member of SEBI, invalid, when there was no urgency to pass such order. [SEBI v. Udayant Malhoutra, (2021) 1 SCC 219]

Service Law — Promotion  — Time-bound promotion scale/increment/scheme — Time-bound promotional scale — Entitlement — Parity — Claim to: In this case, appellant promotee diploma-holders were claiming time-bound promotional scales while working as AEs on a par with direct recruits K & R who were BE (Civil). In terms of First Circular dt. 1-1-1986 an employee on completion of 9 yrs of regular service was entitled to first time-bound promotion while second time-bound promotion was available on completion of 16 yrs; further, where normal promotion was granted before completion of 9 yrs from date of direct recruitment, he was not entitled to first time-bound promotion and was eligible for second time-bound promotion after completion of 16 yrs counted from date of recruitment provided he did not earn second normal promotion before completion of 16 yrs. In terms of Second Circular dt. 24-5-1990, AEs were granted first time-bound promotion on completion of 9 yrs of regular service and second time-bound promotion on completion of 16 yrs of service. The Supreme Court held that the promotee employees are entitled to time-bound promotional scale in terms of First Circular only and cannot claim parity with direct recruits K & R. Further held, benefit granted to some employees by virtue of High Court orders and dismissal of SLPs filed thereagainst would not create binding precedent which runs counter to subsequent Supreme Court judgment rendered in Krishan Kumar Vij, (2010) 8 SCC 701 which relied on Kunhayammed, (2000) 6 SCC 359. Besides, appellants being diploma-holders were promoted under Regn. 7(a)(ii) r/w Regn. 10.4 of the Regulations and had opportunity to compete for direct recruitment after 12 yrs of service which they never availed or remained unsuccessful. Appellants would have been entitled to claim parity with K & R only if they were qualified and promoted against posts reserved for employees by direct recruitment. Furthermore, claim of appellants of discrimination and arbitrariness on basis of time-bound promotion granted to K & R, held, unsustainable since K & R were direct recruits while appellants were promoted as per their seniority in cadre of JE. Appellants were held to be covered by First Circular and not Second Circular which was applicable to direct recruits. No interference with impugned judgment holding that appellants were not entitled to time-bound promotional scale on grounds of parity with other cases called for [Inderjit Singh Sodhi v. Punjab SEB, (2021) 1 SCC 198]

The Legality Of Voice Exemplars: While considering the question of legality of orders passed by criminal courts directing the accused to furnish voice samples for the purposes of investigation, this article presents an analysis of the order of a three- Judge Bench of the Supreme Court in Ritesh Sinha v. State of U.P., (2019) 8 SCC 1. The Legality of Voice Exemplars: An Opportunity Missed: Ritesh Sinha v. State of U.P. by Justice P.N. Prakash, Sanjay S. Jain and Sharath Chandran, (2021) 1 SCC (J-73)]

Trusts and Trustees — Religious and Charitable Endowments and Trusts — Shebait  — Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram — Ruler of Travancore: For centuries drawing back from founder of Travancore, till ruler of Travancore who had signed Covenant in May 1949 with the Government of India, shebaitship in respect of the Temple and its properties devolved on one ruler to succeeding ruler of the royal family in an unbroken line of succession in accordance with applicable law of custom and usage and as such ruler of Travancore was having all rights and interest attached to shebait. Successive rulers held office of shebait not as ruling Head of State but in personal capacity as manager and in-charge of the Temple and properties. Even on entering into the Covenant, Art. VIII thereof recognised pre-existing status of shebaitship held by successive line of rulers of Travancore and ruler of covenanting State of Travancore succeeded as shebait and administrator of the Temple, its properties as well as Pandaravaga properties. Position further remained unchanged before as well as after Constitution (Twenty-sixth Amendment) Act, 1971 and Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions Act, 1950. After death of ruler of Travancore who had signed the Covenant, shebaitship and administration the Temple and its properties and Pandaravaga properties would continue to devolve on his successor following same custom and usage. Shebaitship did not lapse in favour of State by principle of escheat. [Marthanda Varma v. State of Kerala, (2021) 1 SCC 225]

Also Read:

2021 SCC Vol. 1 Part 1

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