Supreme Court Monthly Roundup – August 2021

“Much indeed is in a name as in this case if we may take the liberty of disagreeing with one of the most famous lines penned down by the Bard of Avon, ‘What’s in a name’.” [Lala v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 631]


Unmissable Stories


Offending remarks against Advocate

Judges should exercise restraint and avoid unnecessary remarks against conduct of the counsel: SC orders expunging adverse remarks against advocate with 17 yrs of standing at the Bar

A Division Bench of R.F. Nariman and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ. directed that adverse comments recorded against the appellant─advocate in certain judgments of the Uttaranchal High Court be recalled. The Supreme Court found that the offending remarks were unnecessary for deciding the disputes and appeared to be based on personal perception of the Presiding Judge. The requisite degree of restraint and sobriety expected in such situations was also found missing in the offending remarks.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3DR22uF


Unexplained Bank Transactions

Unexplained bank transactions by Judge | Can Full Court order compulsory retirement despite clean chit by Vigilance Committee? SC explains

“… there were multiple transactions showing deposits and withdrawals of substantial amounts of money, it cannot be said that the Full Court was not justified in taking the view that it did.”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3npl31x


Age of Superannuation

No work should go unpaid | Whether having different extended age of superannuation for doctors under AYUSH and CHS is justified? SC answers

The principle of ‘No Work, No Pay’ protects employers from paying their employees if they don’t receive service from them.

‘No work should go unpaid’ should be the appropriate doctrine to be followed in these cases where the service rendered by the respondent doctors have been productive both for the patients and also the employer.

 Read more here: https://bit.ly/3jP9DBK


 Land Acquisition Dispute

Supreme Court directs NOIDA to pay Rs 36 crore compensation in a land acquisition dispute for illegally taking over excess land

 The Division Bench comprising of Rohinton Fali Nariman and B.R. Gavai, JJ., settled a decade-old land-acquisition dispute by directing NOIDA (New Okhla Industrial Development Authority) to pay compensation to the aggrieved land-owners who were dispossessed of their land by the authority without any land acquisition proceeding and without the authority of law.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3zXjQBO


Amendment of Pleadings

No bar to amendment of S. 7 IBC petition until final order; Money decree, recovery certificate in financial creditor’s favour gives fresh cause of action to initiate corporate insolvency resolution process: SC

A Division Bench of Indira Banerjee and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ. held that there is no bar in law to amendment of pleadings in an application under Section 7 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 or to filing of additional documents apart from those initially filed, at any time until a final order either admitting or dismissing the application has been passed.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/38NKO32


Premature release of convicts

Premature release of convicts who have undergone imprisonment of more than 14 yrs, and less than 14 yrs: With whom lies the power? SC discusses

“Such power is in exercise of the power of the sovereign, though the Governor is bound to act on the aid and advice of the State Government.”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/2WX8vnc


Amazon-Future Dispute

Emergency arbitrator’s award is referable to S. 17(1) of Indian Arbitration Act; enforceable under S. 17(2): Scopious analysis of landmark SC ruling in favour of Amazon in dispute with Future Retail

“There is nothing in the Arbitration Act that prohibits contracting parties from agreeing to a provision providing for an award being made by an Emergency Arbitrator.  On the contrary, when properly read, various Sections of the Act which speak of party autonomy in choosing to be governed by institutional rules would make it clear that the said rules would apply to govern the rights between the parties, a position which, far from being prohibited by the Arbitration Act, is specifically endorsed by it.”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3yXJhlC


Preventive Detention

No preventive detention on ground of a possible apprehension of breach of law and order; Supreme Court explains true import of ‘public order’

“When a person is preventively detained, it is Article 21 and 22 that are attracted and not Article 19. Further, preventive detention must fall within the four corners of Article 21 read with Article 22 and the statute in question. To therefore argue that a liberal meaning must be given to the expression ‘public order’ in the context of a preventive detention statute is wholly inapposite and incorrect. On the contrary, considering that preventive detention is a necessary evil only to prevent public disorder, the Court must ensure that the facts brought before it directly and inevitably lead to a harm, danger or alarm or feeling of insecurity among the general public or any section thereof at large.”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3l3NcZ6


Wilful Breach of Undertaking

Whether wilful breach of undertaking given to Court would amount to Contempt of Court under S. 2(b) of Contempt of Courts Act? SC elaborates

“an undertaking given by a party should be seen in the context in which it was made and (i) the benefits that accrued to the undertaking party; and (ii) the detriment/injury suffered by the counter party.”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/38NMjhG


Order 7 Rule 11(d) CPC

Conundrum of res judicata and rejection of plaint: SC summarises guiding principles for deciding an application under Or. 7 R. 11(d) CPC

A Division Bench comprising of Dr D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah, JJ. upheld the order of the Karnataka High Court whereby an application under Order 7 Rule 11 CPC (Rejection of plaint) filed by the appellant was dismissed.  While deciding the appeal, the Supreme Court summarised the guiding principles for deciding an application under Order 7 Rule 11(d) of CPC.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3DV7D2Z


Finance Act

Explained: Explanation 3C of Section 43B of Income Tax Act, 1961 clarificatory or adds a new condition?

The division bench of RF Nariman* and BR Gavai, JJ has explained the object and scope of Explanation 3C of the Section 43B of the Income Tax Act, 1961 and has held that Explanation 3C is clarificatory as it explains Section 43B(d) as it originally stood and does not purport to add a new condition retrospectively.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3DTVNWS


Foreign Awards

Foreign arbitral award enforceable against non-signatories to agreement; ‘perversity’ no longer a ground to challenge foreign award; tort claims arising in connection with agreement are arbitrable: SC expounds law on foreign awards

A Division Bench comprising of R.F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai, JJ. held that a foreign arbitral award is enforceable against non-signatories to arbitration agreement. The Supreme Court reiterated that grounds for resisting a foreign arbitral award contained in Section 48(1)(a) to (e) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 are to be narrowly construed, and that a non-signatory’s objection cannot possibly fit into Section 48(1)(a). Furthermore, a foreign arbitral award cannot be challenged on the ground of “perversity”.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3jQ7kOU


Jurisdiction of NCLAT/NCLT

Supreme Court on Jurisdiction of NCLAT & NCLT ||  Does jurisdiction of NCLAT/NCLT extend into entering upon merits of a business decision made by a requisite majority of CoC?

“Jurisdiction of the Adjudicating Authority and the Appellate Authority cannot extend into entering upon merits of a business decision made by a requisite majority of the CoC in its commercial wisdom.”

“Under the Indian Insolvency regime, it appears that a conscious choice has been made by the legislature to not confer any independent equity-based jurisdiction on the Adjudicating Authority other than the statutory requirements laid down under Section 30 (2) of the IBC.”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/38M0VxR


Political Parties | Contempt of Court

SC issues directions to make voter’s right to information more effective; penalises political parties for non-compliance with earlier directions regarding disclosure of criminal antecedents: Read full report

“This Court, time and again, has appealed to the law-makers of the Country to rise to the occasion and take steps for bringing out necessary amendments so that the involvement of persons with criminal antecedents in polity is prohibited. All these appeals have fallen on the deaf ears. The political parties refuse to wake up from deep slumber.”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3tkXWWL


Circumstantial Evidence

‘Natural human conduct is to first save oneself’: SC acquits woman accused of setting husband’s first wife on fire and coming out unscathed from conflagrant house

“It takes a person a lot of courage or be overdriven with compassion to get back into the house to save somebody else and not doing so may be considered morally wrong for not coming to aid of fellow human being in distress, but cannot be a circumstance to hold a person guilty of a crime which is as serious as murder unless the other circumstances in the chain point to the accused so as to lead to an irresistible conclusion of being guilty.”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/2WXd29c


Government Accommodation

Right to Shelter v. Right to Government Accommodation | 15 years after superannuation, a Govt. Employee still accommodated at Govt. accommodation: Does SC finds this legitimized? Explained crisply

“Government accommodation could not have been allotted to a person who had demitted office. No exception was carved out even in respect of the persons who held Constitutional posts at one point of time.”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3C47okz


Safe Environment for Legal Fraternity

[In Re: Safeguarding Courts and Judges] Supreme Court directs CBI to file weekly report indicating progress in investigation before Jharkhand HC

While addressing the issue pertaining to the unfortunate demise of the Judicial Officer Uttam Anand, the 3-Judge Bench comprising of N.V. Ramana, CJ., Vineet Saran and Surya Kant, JJ., emphasized the institutional need to create a safe and secure environment for judicial officers and legal fraternity.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3yS56mj


Payment of Gratuity Act

Whether 2010 amendment in Gratuity Act contemplating Rs 10 lakhs as amount of gratuity would have retrospective effect?

Section 4(5) of the Gratuity Act protects the rights of an employee to receive better terms of gratuity under any award or contract with the employer. The gratuity paid to the appellants on strength of office memorandum would fall in the said sub-section.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/38K5EAh


Limitation Period

Misbranding of Insecticides: SC enunciates law on limitation period for filing complaints in cases of misbranding punishable under S. 29 of Insecticides Act

A Division Bench comprising of Navin Sinha and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ. held that the period of limitation for filing a complaint in case of ‘misbranding’ punishable under Section 29 of the Insecticides Act, 1968 starts from the date of receiving the report from Insecticide Analyst, and there is no reason to seek computation of limitation only from the date of receipt of report from the Central Insecticide Testing Laboratory.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3BNPphP


Transfer of Property Act

Explained | How to know if a document is a mortgage or a conditional sale?

“A mortgagee spends such money as is necessary for the preservation of the mortgaged property for destruction, forfeiture or sale; for supporting the mortgagor’s title to the property; for making his own title thereto good against the mortgagor; and when the mortgaged property is a renewable lease-hold, for the renewal of the lease, such expenditure incurred by the mortgagee can be added to the cost of improvements in the principal amount due.”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3BMacCw


Rent Act

Rent Act would not come to the aid of a “tenant-­in-­sufferance” vis-­à-­vis SARFAESI Act due to operation of S. 13(2) read with S. 13(13) of SARFAESI Act: SC

“…Rent Act would not come to the aid of a “tenant­-in-­sufferance” vis­à­vis SARFAESI Act due to the operation of Section 13(2) read with Section 13(13) of the SARFAESI Act.”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3BSqE43


Overruling of Principles

Overruling versus Reversal: SC explains mere overruling of principles by subsequent judgment will not dilute binding effect of decision inter partes

“Mere overruling of the principles, on which the earlier judgment was passed, by a subsequent judgment of higher forum will not have the effect of uprooting the final adjudication between the parties and set it at naught.”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3jOw3Di


Will

Can putting thumb impression instead of sign cause adverse presumption on genuineness of deed. What is proper stage to object regarding mode of proof? SC discusses

Key characteristic of thumb impression is that every person has a unique thumb impression. Forgery of thumb impressions is nearly impossible.

Merely because the testator chose to append his thumb impression, adverse presumption on genuineness of the cancellation deed cannot be drawn.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3tkwVmh


Consumer Rights

 SC takes cognizance of Government’s lackadaisical attitude towards consumer empowerment; Issues directions to conduct a Legislative Impact Study on Consumer Protection Act, 2019

Opining that empowerment of the consumers is the legislative intent behind the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and the ground reality is quite different as there is little endeavour to translate this Legislative intent into an administrative infrastructure with requisite facilities, members and staff to facilitate the decision on the consumer complaints, the Division Bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ., stated,

“Statistics can be deceptive but sometimes statistics reveal the truth. The position prevalent in the State Consumer Forums and the District Consumer Forums is best reflected by the statistics of existing vacancies, insofar as the Chairman and the members are concerned.”

 Read more here: https://bit.ly/3lj88LV


 Arrest

 Is officer-in-charge obligated to arrest each and every accused at the time of filing chargesheet? SC answers in negative, holds it is contrary to intent of S. 170 CrPC

A Division Bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ. has held that if the Investigating Officer does not believe that the accused will abscond or disobey summons, he/she is not required to be produced in custody.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/2Vl9QmK


Murder Convicts

SC sets free three murder convicts finding investigation was done under political pressure to allow real culprits escape by burying the truth fathom deep

A Division Bench of Indira Banerjee and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ. reversed concurrent judgments of the trial court and the Madhya Pradesh High Court whereby three persons were convicted in a murder case and sentenced to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court found that the police investigation in the case was done under political pressure for extraneous considerations, designed to turn the informant and her family members as accused, and allow the real culprits named in the FIR to escape.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3jN3IgC


MBBS Students

“Can’t see illegal admission sympathetically”. No relief from SC to students admitted to Medical College through private counselling

“Though we have all the sympathies with the students, we will not be in a position to do anything to protect the admissions, which were done in a patently illegal manner.”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3E5h3Jt


Women in Army

Supreme Court issues interim direction allowing women to participate in NDA exams

“It is stated that it is a 99 years old institution which will complete 100 years next year. The question is whether it completes its 100 years with gender neutrality or not!”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3l3YX1G


Reservation in Medical Seats

Supreme Court directs Madhya Pradesh HC to immediately decide validity of 100% reservation in more than 600 P.G. medical seats.

The Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and B. R. Gavai, JJ., directed the Madhya Pradesh High Court to immediately decided the validity of 100% reservation in more than 600 Post Graduate medical seats in the State of Madhya Pradesh.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/2WUqA5j


Economic Criterion | Creamy Layer

Economic criterion cannot be sole basis of identifying ‘creamy layer’ amongst backward classes: SC strikes down 2016 Notification issued by Haryana Govt.

A Division Bench of L. Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose, JJ., quashed the notification dated 17-8-2016 issued by State Government of Haryana, which specified economic criterion as the sole basis of identification of ‘creamy layer’ (socially advanced sections) among backward classes for excluding them from the purview of benefit of reservation in State services and admission to educational institutions. The Supreme Court reiterated that the basis of exclusion of ‘creamy layer’ cannot be merely economic.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3hcY2ed


Employees’ Pension Scheme

Is there a cut-off date under Para 11(3) of the Employees’ Pension Scheme? Larger bench to decide. Read why RC Gupta verdict needs to be re-visited

The bench of UU Lalit and Ajay Rastogi, JJ has referred the question as to whether there would be a cut-off date under paragraph 11(3) of the Employees’ Pension Scheme to a larger bench. The larger bench will also decide whether the decision in R.C. Gupta v. Regional Provident Fund Commissioner Employees Provident Fund Organization, (2018) 4 SCC 809 would be the governing principle on the basis of which all these matters must be disposed of.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/2YEJHRr


Public Service

Does State Employer has the choice on who should enter its service? Supreme Court decides

Public service – like any other, pre-supposes that the state employer has an element of latitude or choice on who should enter its service. Norms, based on principles, govern essential aspects such as qualification, experience, age, number of attempts permitted to a candidate, etc. These, broadly constitute eligibility conditions required of each candidate or applicant aspiring to enter public service.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3DW8Kzd


Criminal Trials

Idiosyncrasies of colloquial terms, used for naming accused, could well be the difference between his conviction and acquittal: Supreme Court

“The practice of translating any relevant document must not differ so significantly across forums and submissions by parties to cast severe aspersions on evidence, which may otherwise be not warranted. Idiosyncrasies of colloquial terms, used for naming an accused, could well be the difference between conviction and acquittal of an accused. “

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3yPYzIT


COVID-19

Extend benefits of welfare schemes not only to children orphaned by Covid-19 but also to children orphaned during Covid-19: Supreme Court

“It is heart-wrenching to note that the survival of so many children is at stake. We are glad that the UOI and the State Governments / Union Territories have announced schemes to provide succour to the children in need. We have no doubt that the authorities concerned would leave no stone unturned to attend to the immediate basic needs of the crestfallen children.”

Read more here: https://bit.ly/3BK7VHS


Appointments


President appoints 9 Supreme Court Judges, including 3 women and former ASG


President appoints the following Judges as Supreme Court Judges:

  • Justice Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari, Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court
  • Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka, Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court
  • Justice Vikram Nath, Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court
  • Justice Bela Madhurya Trivedi, Judge, Gujarat High Court
  • Justice M.M. Sundresh, Judge, Madras High Court
  • Justice Chudalayil Thevan Ravikumar, Judge, Kerala High Court
  • Justice Bangalore Venkataramiah Nagarathna, Judge, Karnataka High Court,
  • Justice Hima Kohli, Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court
  • Shri Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha

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