2022 SCC Vol. 1 Part 2

In this part, read a very pertinent decision of the Supreme Court, Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC v. Future Retail Ltd., 2021 SCC OnLine SC 557 wherein while holding that an award passed by Emergency Arbitrator is enforceable under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, a Division Bench of R.F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai, JJ. has ruled in favour of Amazon in the infamous Future-Amazon dispute. It has been held that the interim award in favour of Amazon, passed by the Emergency Arbitrator appointed under the Arbitration Rules of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre is enforceable under the Indian Arbitration Act.


Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 17 r/w Ss. 2(a), (b), (c), (d), 2(6), 2(8), 6, 9, 19 and 21 — Emergency arbitration proceedings with juridical seat in India, under governing institutional rules — Validity of: Award/order by Emergency Arbitrator granting interim reliefs is permissible, when institutional rules under which arbitration takes place permit it. Definition of “Arbitral Tribunal” contained in S. 2(1)(d) is not constrictive so as to apply only to an Arbitral Tribunal that can give final reliefs by way of interim or final award. There is nothing in the A&C Act, 1996 that prohibits contracting parties from agreeing to a provision providing for an award being made by an Emergency Arbitrator. Further, sections of the A&C Act, 1996 which speak of party autonomy in choosing to be governed by institutional rules make it clear that the said rules would apply to govern the rights between the parties. Also, an Emergency Arbitrator’s “award” i.e. order, would undoubtedly be an order which furthers the objectives to decongest the court system and to give the parties urgent interim relief in cases which deserve such relief. [Amazon.Com NV Investment Holdings LLC v. Future Retail Ltd., (2022) 1 SCC 209]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 439 — Bail — Grant of, to attend wedding of child — Permitted with strict conditions: Directions issued by Supreme Court to take appellant out of jail he is presently lodged in and transfer him to prison of State where marriage ceremony and post-marriage ceremonies of his daughter has to take place and whereafter he has to be again transferred and lodged back in present jail. Further directed, that on all such days of appellant attending ceremonies, he shall be accompanied by police personnel in plain clothes, however, he will not be handcuffed during said period. [Sami Ullah v. Zulfikar Nasir, (2022) 1 SCC 195]

Government Contracts and Tenders — General Principles Governing Government Contracts/Tenders — Applicability of Arts. 14 and 298 of the Constitution — Generally — Public Law when applicable — Scope of Judicial Review/Interference: The element of transparency is always required in such tenders because of the nature of economic activity carried on by the State. However, the contours under which such tenders/contracts are to be examined, are restricted. The objective is not to make the Court an appellate authority for scrutinising as to whom the tender should be awarded.  Economics must be permitted to play its role for which the tendering authority knows best as to what is suited in terms of technology and price for them. [Uflex Ltd. v. State of T.N., (2022) 1 SCC 165]

Human and Civil Rights — Rights of Differently-Abled/Disabled Persons and Mental Health — Dignified and Easy accessibility in public places and transportation — Rights of differently-abled persons during air travel: Objections/suggestions pertaining to Draft of revised guidelines dt. 2-7-2021 regarding “Carriage by Air of Persons with Disability and/or Persons with Reduced Mobility” put in public domain in the year 2021, directed to be submitted within stipulated time. Further, suggestions that (i) No differently-abled person should be manually lifted without his consent since it is inhumane; and (ii) Differently-abled persons with prosthetic limbs/callipers should be checked for the purpose of security in a manner where no such person is asked to remove prosthetic limbs/callipers to maintain human dignity while ensuring the requirement of security checks, should be considered. DGCA directed to consider suggestions/objections submitted by petitioners. [Jeeja Ghosh v. Union of India, (2022) 1 SCC 202]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — S. 33(2) r/w Explanation, as enforced w.e.f. 16-8-2019: Committee of Creditors (CoC) has power to pass a resolution for liquidation of corporate debtor till such time as the plan has not been approved by adjudicating authority. Decision in regard to liquidation of corporate debtor was not-interfered with and plea of violation of natural justice also rejected, when the suspended management was found to be represented in the CoC meetings. NCLAT whilst finding that the suspended management was represented in the CoC meeting and rejecting the appeal, inter alia, in view of S. 33(2), held that even after approval of the resolution plan by the CoC and laying it before adjudicating authority, the CoC can change its mind and pass a resolution liquidating corporate debtor. However, such course cannot be adopted after its confirmation i.e. after approval of resolution plan by adjudicating authority. Hence, order of NCLAT, held, did not warrant interference. [Gulabchand Jain v. Ramchandra D. Choudhary, (2022) 1 SCC 164]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — Ss. 30 and 31 — Challenge to the resolution plan approved by Committee of Creditors at the stage when the plan is pending approval of adjudicating authority — Tenability: In this case, whilst dismissing the appeal, it was held that no interference was called for at the instance of the appellant, particularly at the juncture when the resolution plan approved by the Committee of Creditors was pending for approval of the adjudicating authority. [Panch Tatva Promoters (P) Ltd. v. GPT Steel Industries Ltd., (2022) 1 SCC 197]

Land Acquisition Act, 1894 — S. 23 — Increase in market value — Escalation in market rates — Old exemplar — Manner in which may be relied on — Principles explained: Escalation in market value should be reckoned at a cumulative rate and not at a flat rate. Moreover, when market value is sought to be ascertained with reference to transactions which took place before the acquisition, the law adopted is to grant the year-to-year increase. However, held, when the time-gap between the exemplar transaction and the acquisition is of many years (9 years in present case), courts have to be extremely cautious in the extent of yearly escalation that is to be granted based on such exemplar transaction. Furthermore, even if the transaction is 2 to 3 yrs prior to the acquisition, the court should, before adopting a standard escalation satisfy itself that there were no adverse circumstances affecting the market value in the period in question. [Ramesh Kumar v. Bhatinda Integrated Coop. Cotton Spg. Mill, (2022) 1 SCC 284]

Land Acquisition Act, 1894 — S. 30 — Apportionment of compensation: In this case, there was dispute relating to date of death of predecessor-in-interest of appellant and R-3. Jurisdictional District Judge directed to hold inquiry on the issue and, on facts, findings of the same accepted. Appellant was held entitled for 50% of compensation as claimed by her. [Manjari Tanty v. Ultra Mega Power Project, (2022) 1 SCC 204]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — S. 163-A(3) and Sch. II — Fatal accident: Fixation of notional income of Rs 15,000 p.a. under Sch. II for computing compensation in this case of fatal accident of non-earning family member (minor aged 7 yrs), held, unjust and unreasonable due to of higher cost of living since 1994 when Rs 15,000 was fixed as the notional income under Sch. II for non-earning members. Judicial enhancement of said notional income upon failure of Government to notify reasonable amount in line with inflation and higher cost of living, despite Supreme Court directions for such notification. [Kurvan Ansari v. Shyam Kishore Murmu, (2022) 1 SCC 317]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — S. 166 — Fatal accident — Compensation — Income of deceased — Reckoning of — Failure to produce documentary evidence regarding monthly income of deceased — Effect of: In absence of documentary evidence on record, some amount of guesswork is required to be done. But at the same time, held, the guesswork for assessing the income of the deceased should not be totally detached from reality. Merely because claimants were unable to produce documentary evidence to show the monthly income of deceased, same does not justify adoption of lowest tier of minimum wage while computing the income. [Chandra v. Mukesh Kumar Yadav, (2022) 1 SCC 198]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 304-A and 279 — Rash and negligent driving resulting in death of one person — Lenient view and reduction of sentence — When warranted: In this case, there was no allegation against appellant-accused that at the time of accident, he was under influence of liquor or any other substance impairing his driving skills. It was a rash and negligent act simpliciter and not a case of driving in inebriated condition which is undoubtedly despicable aggravated offence warranting stricter and harsher punishment. Hence, conviction of appellant under Ss. 279 and 304-A IPC maintained and imposition of fine also affirmed. However, substantive sentence of imprisonment reduced to period already undergone of more than 7 months of substantive sentence. Also, compensation of Rs 3 lakhs deposited by appellant, besides fine, in Registry of Supreme Court, directed to be transferred to Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, which shall be released by Tribunal to widow of deceased victim. [Sagar Lolienkar v. State of Goa, (2022) 1 SCC 161]

Service Law — Appointment — Judicial review/Validity of appointment: Grounds for judicial review: illegality, irrationality and procedural impropriety, held, not attracted in this case. Courts in exercise of power under judicial review, held, cannot interfere with selections made by expert bodies, as in this case, by reassessing comparative merits of candidates, unless vitiated by bias, mala fides or contrary to statutory provisions. None of these vitiating factors were found present in this case. Hence, validity of appointment of R-4 as DGP (HoPF), thus affirmed. [Mohd. Mustafa v. Union of India, (2022) 1 SCC 294]

Service Law — Reservation/Concession/Exemption/Relaxation and Affirmative Action — Caste/Tribe Certificate: In this case, invalidation by Scrutiny Committee of caste certificate issued to appellant. Reliance was placed by appellant on caste validity certificate issued to his father and cousins. However, validity certificate issued to appellant’s father and his cousins reopened and issue at large before Scrutiny Committee. Appellant’s case also directed to be placed before Scrutiny Committee to be considered with their cases to avoid conflicting orders. [Rushikesh Bharat Garud v. State of Maharashtra, (2022) 1 SCC 207]

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