“Violation of separation of powers would result in infringement of Article 14 of the Constitution. A legislation can be declared as unconstitutional if it is in violation of the principle of separation of powers.“

Madras Bar Assn. v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 463

Unmissable Stories

Kidnapping for Ransom

No conviction under Section 364A IPC if kidnapper treats victim in “a good manner”: Supreme Court

 “The offence of kidnapping having been proved, the appellant deserves to be convicted under Section 363. Section 363 provides for punishment which is imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.”

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Right of Promotion

Govt must reserve posts for promotions for persons with disabilities even under 1995 PwD Act; explore other methods to avoid stagnation: Supreme Court

 “There cannot be methodology used to defeat the reservation in promotion. Once that post is identified, the logical conclusion would be that it would be reserved for PwD who have been promoted. The absence of rules to provide for reservation in promotion would not defeat the rights of PwD to a reservation in promotion as it flows from the legislation.”

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Rash Driving

Sending accused to jail 26 years after the incident of rash driving, harsh: Supreme Court

 In a case dating back to the year 1995 where a bus driver had caused an accident, thereby injuring a driver of a car, the 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, Vineet Saran and MR Shah, JJ has upheld the conviction of the bus driver under Sections 279 and 338 of IPC but has held that sending the accused to jail after 26 years would be harsh.

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Arbitration Proceedings

Explained: Maintainability of counter claims in arbitration proceedings under Section 18(3) of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006

The bench of Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ has held that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006, being a special Statute, will have an overriding effect vis-à-vis Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, which is a general Act.

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Dowry Death

Does merely residing in the same house make in-laws accomplice in a dowry death case? Supreme Court answers

In an appeal regarding the dowry death case the Division Bench of Navin Sinha and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ., granted acquittal to an old aged couple.

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Public Officers

Read SC’s opinion on HC’s developing a practice of calling upon Public Officers at drop of a hat and exerting direct or indirect pressure

 Public officers should not be called to Court unnecessarily. Dignity and majesty of the Court is not enhanced when an officer is called to Court. Respect to the court has to be commanded and not demanded and the same is not enhanced by calling public officers.

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Delhi Riots

SC puts fetter on exercise undertaken by Delhi Legislative Assembly’s Committee enquiring into Facebook’s role in aggravating Delhi Riots last year; Says FB representatives will have to appear

“Facebook has the power of not simply a hand but a fist, gloved as it may be.”

The Court was not convinced by the simplistic approach of Facebook, and was of the view that the business model of intermediaries like Facebook being one across countries, they cannot be permitted to take contradictory stands in different jurisdictions.

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Murder Conspiracy

SC sets aside bail granted to man accused of murder conspiracy; Says mere examination of aggrieved after rejection of earlier bail is no change in circumstances

The Bench of N.V. Ramana, CJ and A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ., reversed the order of the Rajasthan High Court granting bail to the accused alleged to have conspired in the murder of her sister’s husband.

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“Objective of Milk Federations is not to give employment but increase milk production”; SC reverses HC order favouring employees in a revised pay scale dispute

“The objective of the Federation was not to give employment but to increase milk production in the State. The employees are facilitators of the employer to achieve such objective and thus demanding enhanced wages without considering the objective and financial condition of the employer would not be ideal. The employer and the employees have to work together to achieve the objective of the organisation i.e. white revolution…”

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Disposal of Cases

“If this is how proceedings will go on …”: SC accentuates importance of succinctly framed written synopsis;  time-bound oral arguments; crisp, clear and precise judgments

 In a postscript to its 188-pages long judgment in Ajit Mohan v. Delhi Legislative Assembly (wherein it was held that representatives of Facebook will have to appear before the Committee constituted by Delhi Legislative Assembly for looking into Facebook’s role in aggravating Delhi Riots which broke out last year), the 3-Judge Bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari, and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ. stressed upon the need for timely disposal of cases. The way forward, in dealing with the likely post-COVID surge in number of cases pending adjudication, was also discussed.

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Victims Compensation 

Direction to deposit Rs 2 lakh compensation for victims as a condition for grant of bail: SC says not permissible

 “…in cases of offences against body, compensation to the victim should be a methodology for redemption. Similarly, to prevent unnecessary harassment, compensation has been provided where meaningless criminal proceedings had been started. Such a compensation can hardly be determined at the stage of grant of bail.”

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Money Laundering

SC grants bail to Alok Kumar Agrawal, former in-charge of Chhattisgarh’s Water Resources Department in money laundering case

 In a corruption case involving misappropriation of more than Rs 30.00 crores, the Division Bench comprising of Indira Banerjee and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ., granted bail to Alok Kumar Agrawal, former In-charge Executive Engineer of Chhattisgarh’s Water Resources Division, who was booked under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

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Section 184 of Finance Act, 2017

 SC invokes independence of judiciary, separation of powers to invalidate amendments in Finance Act, 2017 prescribing 50 yrs minimum age for appointment to Tribunals, allowances payable to members, term of office

 “The first proviso to Section 184 which prescribes a minimum age of 50 years is an attempt to circumvent the direction issued in Madras Bar Assn. case striking down the experience requirement of 25 years at the bar for advocates to be eligible. Introduction of the first proviso to Section 184(1) is a direct affront to the judgment of this Court in Madras Bar Assn. case.”

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Back Wages and Retiral Benefits

SC | ‘Rakshak’ in Railway Protection Force, out of employment for a failure to prevent alleged theft. Read whether SC allows back wages and retiral benefits to him

 “…respondents to pay 33% of back wages to the appellant with continuity of service and the appellant shall be paid full retiral benefits by treating him to be in continuous employment.”

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Franklin Templeton

Consent by majority of unit holders necessary when trustees decide to wind up Mutual Fund Scheme; SEBI (Mutual Funds) Regulations not arbitrary; Reg. 53 is ‘grey area’: SC in sequel to Franklin Templeton matter

 In a sequel to its earlier order directing winding up of six mutual fund schemes of Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund, a Division Bench of S. Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ. ruled that the trustees are required to seek consent by majority of the unit holders, when they by majority decide to wind up a  mutual fund scheme.

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Study Leave

Relief for doctor who was denied study leave due to COVID-19: SC directs PGI, Chandigarh to reallot post-graduation seat on basis of INICET-2020

 “[In] rare and exceptional cases, a meritorious candidate, who has suffered injustice by reason of his/her inability to secure admission in a medical course, whether under-graduate or postgraduate, due to no fault of his/her own, who has taken recourse to law promptly, without delay, might be granted relief of being accommodated in the same post in the next session.”

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Kanwar Yatra

Supreme Court closes suo motu case as U.P. government expresses its decision to postpone Kanwar Yatra to next year

 While closing the suo motu case regarding “Kanwar Yatra during pandemic”; the Division Bench comprising of Rohinton Fali Nariman and B.R. Gavai, JJ., directed the authorities to be cautious towards public health and safety.

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Multi-State Cooperative Societies

Part IX-B of Constitution relating to cooperative societies unconstitutional for want of ratification by half of the States; Provisions relating to multi-State cooperative societies severable and valid: SC

 “When a citizen of India challenges a constitutional amendment as being procedurally infirm, it is the duty of the court to examine such challenge on merits as the Constitution of India is a national charter of governance affecting persons, citizens and institutions alike.”

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Arbitral Awards

 “If one were to include the power to modify an award in Section 34, one would be crossing the Lakshman Rekha”

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“…rewriting a contract for the parties would be breach of fundamental principles of justice entitling a Court to interfere since such case would be one which shocks the conscience of the Court and as such, would fall in the exceptional category.”

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Defects in Plaint

Are Courts empowered to grant time to rectify defects in plaint where the plaint had been rejected under Or. 7 R. 11(d)? SC clarifies

The Division Bench of Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and M R Shah, JJ., affirmed the judgment of Bombay High Court wherein the Single Judge had held that where the suit appears from the statements in the plaint to be barred by any law, the defects are not curable.

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Rights of Original Allottee

Will a subsequent purchaser who steps into the shoes of an original allottee of a housing project have the same rights as that of the original allottee? SC explains

 The Bench of Uday Umesh Lalit, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ., while giving major relief to homebuyers, held that rights of purchasers are the same as that of original allottees.

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AGR Dues

SC rejects Telecom Service Providers’ application for rectification of errors in calculation of AGR dues as misconceived

 “The dispute relating to AGR dues had remained pending in courts for a very long period of time and bearing this in mind, this Court was at pains to emphasize, at the cost of repetition, that the AGR dues payable by TSPs cannot be the subject matter of any future litigation. The order in Mandar Deshpande, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 758 makes it clear that there is no scope for any recalculation/re-computation of AGR dues.”

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Section 24-A of SEBI Act

Compounding of offence under S. 24-A of SEBI Act: SC declares SEBI’s consent not mandatory but high deference to its view must be shown before ultimate decision

 Noting that the plain language of Section 24-A does not provide for the consent of SEBI, the Court observed that:

“The issue is whether this Court should read the requirement of the consent of SEBI into the provision, on the ground that this is a casus omissus.”

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Letter of Intent

Letter of Intent merely indicates party’s intention to enter into contract; no binding relationship at this stage emerges: SC explains in terms of liability of successful bidder

“It is no doubt possible to construe a letter of intent as a binding contract if such an intention is evident from its terms. But then the intention to do so must be clear and unambiguous as it takes a deviation from how normally a letter of intent has to be understood.”

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Value of Ocular Evidence

Ocular evidence to be disbelieved only when medical evidence rules out all possibilities of ocular evidence being true: Supreme Court reiterates

The Division Bench of Navin Sinha and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ., reiterated the value of ocular evidence while reversing the acquittal of the accused.

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Criminal Proceedings against Clerk

Real test is to check whether the act was directly concerned with official duty: SC quashes criminal proceedings against clerk accused of conspiring with superiors, for want of S. 197 CrPC sanction

 A Division Bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta, JJ. upheld Rajasthan High Court’s order whereby it had directed that criminal proceedings against the accused−Lower Division Clerk be quashed, for want of requisite sanction under Section 197 CrPC.

The Court held that in cases where a question of requirement of sanction under Section 197 arises, the real test is to check whether the act committed by the public servant was directly concerned with the official duty.

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Immunities and Privileges of MLAs

Elected legislators cannot claim privilege or immunity to stand above sanctions of criminal law: SC rules out withdrawal of criminal case against MLAs in 2015 Kerala Assembly ruckus

 “Privileges and immunities are not gateways to claim exemptions from the general law of the land, particularly as in this case, the criminal law which governs the action of every citizen.”

 Read more…

Bank Guarantee 

Is there a scope for interference in case of encashment of bank guarantee? Read on

 Fate of a suit against encashment of bank guarantee still hangs in balance after almost two decades!

Read more…

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