2021 SCC Vol. 2 Part 3

SCC Issue dated March 7th, 2021 (Vol. 2 Part 3)

In this part read a very important decision delivered by the Supreme Court and expertly analysed by our editors in over 17 short notes, wherein the Court, exercising powers under Article 142 of the Constitution, issued guidelines and directions laying down uniform and consistent standards for ensuring timely disposal of applications seeking maintenance under all the applicable statutes.[Rajnesh v. Neha, (2021) 2 SCC 324]

Short Notes: 17

Advocates who appeared in the case:

Anitha Shenoy and Gopal Sankaranarayanan, Senior Advocates (Amici Curiae)

Companies Act, 2013 — S. 434 [as substituted and amended up to Act 26 of 2018]: Transfer of winding-up proceedings from High Court to NCLT, even after the winding-up notice has been served on the respondent, permissible, provided it is at the instance of a party to the proceedings i.e. person concerned is covered under the 5th proviso to S. 434(1)(c). [Kaledonia Jute & Fibres (P) Ltd. v. Axis Nirman & Industries Ltd., (2021) 2 SCC 403]

Constitution of India — Art. 21: Duty of courts at all levels: Basic rule of our criminal justice system is “bail, not jail”. High Courts and courts in the district judiciary of India must enforce this principle in practice, and not forego that duty, leaving the Supreme Court to intervene at all times. Role of the district judiciary is of great importance, which provides the first point of interface to the citizen. Use of technology to monitor the pendency and disposal of cases, including criminal cases, emphasized. [Arnab Manoranjan Goswami v. State of Maharashtra, (2021) 2 SCC 427]

Constitution of India — Preamble and Arts. 39, 15(3) and 142 — Maintenance to wife, children and parents — Overlapping statutes — Remedy of maintenance in both secular laws and personal laws: Guidelines under Art. 142 of the Constitution laying down uniform and consistent standards and for ensuring timely disposal of applications seeking maintenance under all the applicable statutes, issued. Simultaneous operation of statutes would lead to multiplicity of proceedings and conflicting orders. This process requires to be streamlined so that the respondent-husband is not obligated to comply with successive orders of maintenance passed under different enactments. There is no inconsistency between CrPC and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA) and both can stand together. Though there are different enactments providing for maintenance, each enactment provides an independent and distinct remedy framed with a specific object and purpose. Provision of maintenance in secular laws like the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (SMA), S. 125 CrPC and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (the DV Act), are irrespective of religious community to which they belong and apart from other remedies provided in personal laws like dissolution of marriage or restitution of conjugal rights, etc. Remedy of maintenance is a measure of social justice as envisaged under the Constitution to prevent wives and children from falling into destitution and vagrancy. Preamble and Arts. 39 and 15(3) of the Constitution envisage social justice and positive State action for the empowerment of women and children. [Rajnesh v. Neha, (2021) 2 SCC 324]

Environment Law — Air Pollution — Air Pollutants/Polluting Industries — Vehicular Pollution — National Auto Fuel Policy, 2003: In this case applications sought registration of three types of vehicles: (a) BS-IV CNG vehicles, (b) BS-IV compliant light and heavy-duty diesel vehicles, and (c) BS-VI compliant vehicles, being used for essential public utility services. Registration was permitted in respect of BS-IV diesel, light and heavy-duty vehicles used for public utility and essential services, where CNG, petrol variants are not available, as per the directions given herein. [M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, (2021) 2 SCC 418]

Environment Law — Air Pollution — Air Pollutants/Polluting Industries — Vehicular Pollution — National Auto Fuel Policy, 2003: In this case, applications for registration of three types of vehicles viz. (a) BS-IV CNG vehicles, (b) BS-IV compliant vehicles, and (c) BS-VI compliant vehicles for being used for essential public utility services, permitted as per the directions given herein. Furthermore, in order to avoid repeated applications before Court, EPCA directed to scrutinise the pending cases and submit a report to Court so that a common order may be passed. [M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, (2021) 2 SCC 423]

Environmental conservation and protection: In this article the author has explained the role and contribution of constitutional courts for protection and preservation of the environment. Environmental conservation and protection: Role and contribution of constitutional courts by Justice Uday U. Lalit [(2021) 2 SCC (J-17)]

Land Acquisition and Requisition — Land Acquisition Act, 1894 — Ss. 54 and 18 — Appeal against enhanced award of compensation by Reference Court: In this case, High Court order permitted claimants to withdraw 50% of 80% of amount as awarded by Reference Court, without furnishing any security. Same was modified to 25% of the entire award amount directed to be deposited by appellant, without any security, as Reference Court had enhanced amount of compensation after a period of approximately 17 yrs (by now 20 yrs), and original claimants were not in a position to furnish any security. Balance 75% of enhanced amount of compensation, together with proportionate cost and interest, as awarded by Reference Court permitted to be invested in a fixed deposit in any nationalised bank with cumulative interest. [Nayara Energy Ltd. v. State of Gujarat, (2021) 2 SCC 477]

Legitimate Interest Test: This article seeks to appreciate the contours of the “legitimate interest” test developed in the United Kingdom, study its application through various rulings handed down by Courts globally, and explores the possibility of the assimilation of the “legitimate interest” test in Indian law and the common law jurisdictions in general. The legitimate interest test (UK) on the Enforceability of liquidated damages clauses and its implications for Indian law by Aditya Shiralkar [(2021) 2 SCC (J-37)]

Non-speaking orders: In this article, the author has explained the nature and power of the Supreme Court under Article 136 of the Constitution of India to pass orders by a non-speaking order and its effect on the justice delivery system and the requirement of recording reasons while passing orders under Article 136 of the Constitution at the first stage by the Supreme Court. Dismissal of SLP under Article 136 at preliminary stage — Whether immune from passing of speaking orders? By Sanjay Bansal [(2021) 2 SCC (J-25)]

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 — S. 14 (as amended vide Act 44 of 2016): Time-limits stipulated in the section, are directory and not mandatory. In view of the objective of the SARFAESI Act, the time-limit to take action by the District Magistrate has been fixed to impress upon the authority to take possession of the secured assets. However, inability to take possession within time-limit does not render the District Magistrate functus officio. The secured creditor has no control over the District Magistrate who is exercising jurisdiction under S. 14 of the 2002 Act for public good to facilitate recovery of public dues. Therefore, S. 14 of the Act is not to be interpreted literally without considering the object and purpose of the Act. [C. Bright v. Distt. Collector, (2021) 2 SCC 392]

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