SCC Issue dated March 14th, 2021 (Vol. 2 Part 4)

Read the Supreme Court order in the suo motu matter of proper treatment of COVID-19 patients and dignified handling of dead bodies in hospitals, where the Court took note of the precarious plight of corona patients and occurence of fire in hospitals and nursing homes. Multiple set of directions concerning different aspects of treatment of COVID-19 patients, their safety and prevention of spread of corona virus were issued.[Proper Treatment of COVID-19 Patients & Dignified Handling of Dead Bodies in the Hospitals, In re., (2021) 2 SCC 519]

Constitution of India — Arts. 19(1)(a) & (2), 14, 51-A(c) & (e) and 32 — Pre-broadcast injunction, when necessary and warranted: In this case, prima facie content, tenor and object of telecast in question (to vilify a particular community) violated the Constitution and statutory provisions. High Court had also restrained the broadcast of proposed programme. The Supreme Court held that it is necessary to interdict any further telecast. Pending further orders, television channel in question injuncted from making any further telecast in continuation of or similar to the episodes which were telecast on 11- 9-2020, 12-9-2020, 13-9-2020 and 14-9-2020 either under the same or any other title or caption. [Firoz Iqbal Khan v. Union of India, (2021) 2 SCC 591]

Constitution of India — Arts. 19(1)(a) & (2), 14, 51-A(c) & (e) and 32 — Pre-broadcast injunction on the basis of an unverified transcript: In this case, allegedly, the clip to be aired contained statements derogatory of the entry of a particular community into the civil services. The Supreme Court held that Court has to be circumspect in imposing a prior restraint on publication or the airing of views. Prayer for interlocutory injunction was declined and notice was issued as matter prima facie involved violation of fundamental rights and statutory rights. There should be a balance between fundamental right to free speech and expression and the fundamental right to equality and fair treatment for every segment of citizens. [Firoz Iqbal Khan v. Union of India, (2021) 2 SCC 596] 

Constitution of India — Sch. VII List I Entry 66 and List III Entry 25: Impact of Entry 66 of List I on Entry 25 of List III must be determined by reading of Central Act and State Act conjointly. State Law providing for standards in institutions for higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions, having regard to Entry 66 of List I, would be struck down as unconstitutional only if the same is found to be so heavy or devastating as to wipe out or appreciably abridge Central field and not otherwise. When a State Act is in aid of parliamentary Act, the same would not entrench upon latter. Thus, University/State Government concerned certainly has the power to fix higher eligibility criteria than the minimum prescribed by Central Governing Body/AICTE, to achieve excellence in education. [A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technological University v. Jai Bharath College of Mngt. & Engg. Technology, (2021) 2 SCC 564]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 167(2) — Default bail — Accused’s right to default bail — When becomes indefeasible — Scope of such right: The moment accused files application for bail on default of investigating agency in filing charge-sheet within prescribed period and offers to furnish bail bond as directed by court, he is deemed to have “availed of” his indefeasible right to be released on bail. “Availed of” means actual release from custody by furnishing bail and complying with terms and conditions of bail order within time stipulated by court. [M. Ravindran v. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, (2021) 2 SCC 485]

Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (25 of 1946) — Ss. 5 and 6 — Scope of: Though S. 5 enables Central Government to extend powers and jurisdiction of Members of DSPE beyond Union Territories to a State, same is not permissible unless State grants its consent for such extension within area of State concerned under S. 6. Provisions are in tune with federal character of Constitution, which is part of the basic structure of the Constitution. [Fertico Mktg. & Investment (P) Ltd. v. CBI, (2021) 2 SCC 525]

Disaster Management Act, 2005 — S. 10 — COVID-19: Affixation of posters outside residences of persons who are COVID-19 positive and are required to stay in home isolation, held, not required as per applicable Guidelines as they currently stood. The same would become permissible only if appropriate directions/guidelines to that effect are issued by competent authority under 2005 Act. [Kush Kalra v. Union of India, (2021) 2 SCC 481]

Government Contracts and Tenders — Blacklisting/Downgrading of Contractor/Tenderer from participating in future bids — Requirements of show-cause notice to constitute valid basis of blacklisting order: For a show-cause notice to constitute the valid basis of a blacklisting order, such notice must spell out clearly, or its contents be such that it can be clearly inferred therefrom, that there is intention on the part of the issuer of the notice to blacklist the notice. Such a clear notice is essential for ensuring that the person against whom the penalty of blacklisting is intended to be imposed, has an adequate, informed and meaningful opportunity to show cause against his possible blacklisting. [UMC Technologies (P) Ltd. v. Food Corpn. of India, (2021) 2 SCC 551]

Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 — Ss. 33 and 24 r/w Regn. 6 of the 1982 Regulations: Direction by High Court to authorities to take appropriate action if Homoeopathic practitioners made any advertisement or prescribed any drugs or medicines with a claim that it is a cure for COVID-19 disease, not warranted in light of statutory regulations prohibiting advertisement for solicitation of patients personally or advertisement in the newspaper, by Homoeopathic practitioners. Particularly, when only relief claimed in writ petition was to direct State Authorities concerned to allow Homoeopathic practitioners to perform in accordance with guidelines of Ministry of AYUSH to ameliorate the effects of COVID-19 Pandemic. [Dr AKB Sadbhavana Mission School of Homeo Pharmacy v. Ministry of Ayush, (2021) 2 SCC 539]

Human and Civil Rights — Humanitarian and Natural Disasters, Epidemics and Pandemics — Epidemics and Pandemics — Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) — Precarious plight of Coronavirus Patients and occurrence of fire in hospitals and nursing homes: Multiple sets of directions concerning different aspects of treatment of COVID-19 patients, their safety and prevention of spread of COVID-19, issued. [Proper Treatment of COVID-19 Patients & Dignified Handling of Dead Bodies in the Hospitals, In re., (2021) 2 SCC 519]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/34, 324/34, 325/34 and 323: In this case, there was assault by accused persons using weapons, leading to death of 2 persons and injuries to 3 others. Appellant-accused and 3 others whether shared common intention to murder. Injured witnesses (parents of one deceased victim) were found reliable and truthful. There was no reason why they would falsely implicate another, when deceased was their own minor son. Evidence of injured witnesses stood corroborated by medical evidence. Bloodstained lathi and bloodstained clothes of appellant were recovered on his confession and sharing of common intention to murder on the part of appellant-accused, held, was clearly evident. Hence, conviction of appellant under Ss. 302/34, stood confirmed. [Asharam Tiwari v. State of M.P., (2021) 2 SCC 608]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 363 and 366-A — Quashment of proceedings against co-accused — When warranted: In this case, dismissal of quashment petition filed by co-accused after acquittal of main accused, was held not justified, when evidence of prosecutrix and complainant shows that there is no allegation whatsoever against the appellant co-accused. Hence, proceedings quashed against appellant co-accused. [Vishwas Bhandari v. State of Punjab, (2021) 2 SCC 605]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 376, 376(2)(a), 376(2)(g) & 34 r/w S. 228-A (as inserted by Amendment Act 43 of 1983) — Rape victim: In this case, victim was held entitled to treatment as rape victim by all authorities for grant of compensation and other rehabilitation measures for herself and her children, such as free education for the children, housing, police security and other measures. Hence, further directions for relief and rehabilitation of victim and her children, in the facts and circumstances of the case, issued. [X v. State of Jharkhand, (2021) 2 SCC 598]

Service Law — Departmental Enquiry — Judicial review/Validity — Scope — Limited — Principles summarized: Power of judicial review exercised by constitutional courts under Arts. 32/136/226 of the Constitution is circumscribed by limits of correcting errors of law or procedural errors leading to manifest injustice or violation of principles of natural justice and is not akin to adjudication of case on merits as an appellate authority. Examination by Court is limited to determining whether (i) Enquiry was held by competent authority; (ii) whether there was compliance with principles of natural justice; and (iii) whether findings were based on some evidence and whether authority had jurisdiction to arrive at conclusion. Further held, in exercise of jurisdiction of judicial review, courts would not interfere with findings of facts arrived at in disciplinary proceedings except in case of mala fides or perversity i.e. where there is no evidence to support finding or finding is such that no reasonable man could arrive at. Where there is some evidence to support finding arrived at in departmental proceedings, same must be sustained. [SBI v. Ajai Kumar Srivastava, (2021) 2 SCC 612]

Service Law — Retirement/Superannuation — Voluntary retirement — Regn. 29 of the Indian Bank Employees Pension Regulations, 1995: Rejection of request for voluntary retirement by an unreasoned order on last day of notice period, not proper. [Indian Bank v. Mahaveer Khariwal, (2021) 2 SCC 632]

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