With 1263 judgments delivered; three Chief Justices of India taking turns to lead the judiciary; a number of judges retiring and a few joining the strength, 2022 was a very busy year for the Supreme Court. Before beginning with our year-end tradition of going through the most important judgments/orders of the Supreme Court, let us look at some of the unmissable facts and figures from the year 2022.
Number of Judgments
In 2022, the Supreme Court delivered 1263 judgments, which is a lot more compared to the previous two years that witnessed 696 and 865 judgments, respectively.
Three Chief Justices of India in three months
This year, the Supreme Court was presided over by 3 CJIs. When CJI NV Ramana retired in August, he passed the baton to CJI UU Lalit, who stayed in the office for only 74 days but made a huge impact by marking the beginning of much needed institutional changes in the way the Supreme Court functions. When CJI Dr DY Chandrachud took over, he promised to take forward the legacy and also bring instrumental changes in all levels of judiciary.
- Justice UU Lalit takes oath as the 49th Chief Justice of India: His Journey, Judgments and Focus Areas as the New Chief
- Not here to do miracles but to work on bringing institutional changes: Justice DY Chandrachud shares his to-do list as the 50th CJI
- Three judges were elevated to the Supreme Court, namely, Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice Dipankar Datta, taking the Supreme Court’s judge strength to 28 (The sanctioned strength is 34, including the CJI).
- Unlike 2021, no woman judge was elevated/appointed as a Supreme Court judge in 2022. With Justice Indira Banerjee’s retirement, Supreme Court is left with only 3 women judges, who took oath last year.
- 5 names have been suggested by the Collegium for elevation as judges of the Supreme Court.
In 2022, the Supreme Court bid adieu to 8 judges, including 2 Chief Justices.
- CJI N.V. Ramana – From the Hinterlands of Andhra to being the Head of Indian Judiciary
- A Man of Vision and Action- CJI Uday Umesh Lalit Retires
- Bidding Adieu to Justice Ramayyagari Subhash Reddy
- A Seasoned Legal Luminary – Justice Vineet Saran
- A Man of Many Talents: Justice Lavu Nageswara Rao
- Explorer of the Legal Multiverse – Justice A.M. Khanwilkar retires
- Justice Indira Banerjee – Powering and Empowering Her Way to the Top
- Justice Hemant Gupta Retires: A Look at His Trajectory, Tenure and Decisions
It is noteworthy that 9 judges are due to retire in 2023.
2 New CJIs, 8 Retirements, 3 Appointments- Reflecting upon a hectic 2022 for the Supreme Court Judge Strength
- In a first, the Supreme Court started live streaming the proceedings of the Constitution Bench Matters and the Ceremonial Bench. For the first time ever, the proceedings before the Ceremonial Bench on CJI NV Ramana’s last working day in the Supreme Court, was live-streamed.
- The Supreme Court launched its online Right to Information portal.
69781 cases were pending before the Supreme Court (till 31.10.2022), including 498 Constitution Bench matters (till 13.12.2022).
Just like 2021, only 3 Constitution Bench judgments were delivered in the year 2022. However, with Constitution Benches now sitting more regularly than ever, we can expect a good number of Constitution Bench matters being heard and decided in 2023. Read all about the 2022 Constitution Bench verdict & the matters to look forward to in 2023, here.
The Court also referred some important matters to larger Bench/Constitution Bench:
- Pre-sentence hearing in Capital Punishment Cases: Mandatory or discretionary? CJI lead 3-judges Bench refers question to Constitution Bench
- Interpretation of Schedule X of the Constitution vis-à-vis Disqualification; Speaker/Governor’s powers; Judicial Review: CJI led 3-judge bench refers matter to 5-judge Constitution bench
- “Promise of freebies by political parties may push State towards bankruptcy”, says Supreme Court; Refers matter to larger Bench
- Can accused be tried under NI Act as well as under IPC on similar set of allegations or will it amount to double jeopardy? Larger SC bench to decide
- Inter-se-seniority -Promotees versus Direct Appointees: ‘K. Meghachandra requires reconsideration’; Supreme Court’s 5-judge bench to hear the matter
From keeping the Sedition law in abeyance to suggesting a separate Bail Act, the Supreme Court has passed some important judgments/orders with the intent to bring a change in the existing system:
- Sedition Law under scanner| All pending cases to be kept in abeyance; Centre/States urged not to register fresh cases till Section 124A is reviewed
- ‘India needs a Bail Act’: Supreme Court asks Centre to consider the suggestion; lays down guidelines for disposal of Bail Application
When the Prime Minister of India was left stranded for 20 minutes on a Punjab highway amidst serious security lapse, the Supreme Court appointed a committee headed by Justice Indu Malhotra to look into the matter. After Justice Indu Malhotra headed Enquiry Committee submitted its report, the Supreme Courts asked the Central and Punjab Governments to take further action in the matter.
There were some cases that shook the conscience of the entire nation. From Bilkis Bano’s plea challenging the remission of her rapists to the fate of the juvenile accused in the Kathua Gang rape and murder case, here’s how the Supreme Court has dealt with them in 2022:
- When on August 15, 2022, her rapists walked out of the prison after serving 15 years’ imprisonment based on Gujarat Government’s remission policy, not just Bilkis Bano but the entire nation was left “bereft of words” and “numb”. The matter is now before the Supreme Court.
- In the Kathua Gangrape and murder case, one of the accused was found to be taking statutory shelter under the guise of being a minor. The Court not only directed him to be tried as an adult but also observed that it was gathering an impression that the leniency with which the juveniles are dealt with in the name of goal of reformation is making them more and more emboldened in indulging in such heinous crimes.
- First committed a ghastly crime then took shelter under the guise of being a minor’; ‘Juvenile’ in Kathua rape-murder case to be tried as an adult
- Is the reformation goal under JJ Act 2015 making juveniles more emboldened in committing heinous crimes? Supreme Court asks Centre to take steps before it’s too late
- While much criticism was faced by the Supreme Court for acquitting all 3 accused in the Chhawla Gang Rape and Murder case, the judgment would reveal that the Supreme Court was, in reality, left with no alternative as the prosecution was not able to prove the case against them beyond reasonable doubt.
See more under POCSO, below
From plea challenging SIT’s clean chit to PM Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots to Navjot Singh Sidhu’s involvement in road rage case dating back to 1988, some High-Profile cases also came up before the Supreme Court:
- “SIT Officials have come out with flying colours unscathed despite all odds”; SC upholds SIT’s clean chit to PM Modi in 2002 Gujarat riots
- ‘Nothing survives after filing of Closure Report’; Supreme Court dismisses plea on sanction to prosecute UP CM Yogi Adityanath in 2007 Hate Speech case
- PILs against Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren ‘bald allegations’ & ‘abuse of process of court’; High Court should have dismissed the PILs at the very threshold
- Supreme Court upholds pre-arrest bail of actor-producer Vijay Babu in sexual assault case; certain bail conditions modified
- Navjot Singh Sidhu to undergo one-year rigorous imprisonment in 1988 road rage case
- Post Poll Violence| Anticipatory Bail to Mamta’s Banerjee’s Election Agent SK Supiyan in murder case; Must fully cooperate in the probe
- Why BJP MLA Vijender Gupta’s tweet questioning Delhi’s Dy CM Manish Sisodia about his “scam” is not defamation?
The Supreme Court upheld the validity of the amendments to the provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 vide the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020, after observing that the “aspirations of any country cannot be fulfilled on the hope of foreign donation.”
Supreme Court delivered a 545-pages long verdict on the validity of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 but later agreed to hear the review petition after noticing that ‘at-least two issues required reconsideration’.
- Your cheat sheet to Supreme Court’s 545 pages long Money Laundering verdict
- Supreme Court holds “twin conditions” under Section 45 of PMLA reasonable: Applicability to anticipatory bail, non-cognizable offences discussed; Exception highlighted
- ‘At least two of the issues require reconsideration’; Supreme Court agrees to hear review petition of PMLA verdict
In an unrelated case, the Court held that handing over cash to a public servant would be considered “proceeds of crime” under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
When Maharashtra’s political drama travelled to the Supreme Court, here is what the Court ordered:
- Supreme Court refuses to stay Trust Vote; Uddhav Thakrey resigns as CM
- No stay on floor test, disqualification proceedings to be kept in abeyance till July 11; Read SC’s directions on Eknath Shinde’s plea
- Suspension of 12 Maharashtra BJP MLAs for one year “grossly illegal”; worse than expulsion, disqualification or resignation
After Vijay Mallya “neither showed any remorse nor tendered any apology for his conduct” of transferring a huge sum of over Rs. 3 billion to his children instead of repaying his debt of more than Rs. 9000 crores to the banks, the Supreme Court imposed sentence of four months and fine of Rs.2,000/- on him for contempt of Court and directed that Rs. 3 billion be deposited by him and beneficiaries at 8% interest per annum.
Setting aside Delhi High Court’s verdict in the issue relating to the Bullet Train Project, the Supreme Court observed that even Republic of India can’t deviate from terms and conditions of a fully foreign funded contract. It is important to note that Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has invested Rs.1 lakh crores in the Bullet Train Project.
From recognising the right to safe abortion of unmarried persons to interpreting the concept of ‘family’ to include in its ambit the domestic, unmarried/queer relationships, the Supreme Court gave some progressive judgments, especially focusing on smashing the patriarchal mindset and uplifting women:
- Hijab Ban Split Verdict: Justice Gupta says no right to wear Hijab to a secular school; Justice Dhulia bats for right to education of Hijab wearing girls
- Unmarried persons cannot be denied rights based on narrow patriarchal principles on “permissible sex”: Woman cannot be denied right to safe abortion only on the ground of her being unmarried
- “Sexual assault” or “rape” under Medical Termination of Pregnancy laws includes “marital rape”: holds Supreme Court, without changing the contours of ‘rape’ defined under Section 375 IPC
- Patriarchal & sexist to assume that a sexually active woman cannot be raped; Anyone conducting ‘two-finger’ test will be guilty of misconduct
- “Family” includes domestic, unmarried/queer relationships; Child care/maternity leave benefits cannot be denied if women do not fit into “popular imagination” of a family
- Mother, being the only natural guardian after biological father’s death, can decide child’s surname; can even give the child in adoption
- Women burdened with an unequal share of family responsibilities yet discriminated at workplace; State must consider family life while framing any policy
- Aadhaar Card for Sex Workers| Supreme Court bats for sex workers’ right to dignity; directs UIDAI to issue Aadhaar Card without insisting on address proof
- Harassed, transferred, left with no choice but to resign: MP District Judge wins half the battle in alleged sexual harassment case as SC orders her reinstatement
- Dowry Death| Woman meting out cruelty to another woman deserves no leniency. Mother-in-law must protect daughter-in-law, not harass her: SC
- Unfair to deny tribal women right to equal share in father’s property when same right is available to non-tribal women; SC suggests Centre to amend Hindu Succession Act
- Hindu widow’s pre-existing right to maintenance automatically ripens into full ownership when she is in settled legal possession of the property
- Right to residence under DV Act not restricted to actual residence; Domestic relationship not necessary to be subsisting at the time of filing of application
When a Right to Information application sought the copies of resolution and decision taken in the Supreme Court Collegium’s meeting dated 12.12.2018 regarding elevation of Chief Justices of Two High Courts, the Supreme Court observed that all collegium discussions can’t be in public domain and that only final decisions to be uploaded on Supreme Court website.
In 2021, the Supreme Court had ordered independent probe in the Pegasus Spyware Case after observing that ‘National security cannot be the bugbear that the judiciary shies away from’. The Expert Committee submitted its report before the Supreme Court in 2022.
Some journalists found themselves entangled in legal trouble for allegedly hurting religious sentiments:
- Prophet Remark Row| All FIRs against Journalist Navika Kumar clubbed. Here’s how Supreme Court’s order in Nupur Sharma case helped her
- Prophet Remark Row| All FIRs against Nupur Sharma clubbed; Read why Supreme Court refused to form SIT
- Criminal justice machinery relentlessly employed against Zubair; process itself has become a punishment
The year began with Supreme Court extending period of limitation for filing of matters as the COVID-19/Omicron cases were at a surge. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is apparently making a comeback just the World was slowly returning to normalcy almost 3 years:
- Supreme Court fixes outer limit for claiming COVID-19 death compensation; Claims to be filed within 90 days from now on
- COVID-19| No individual can be forced to be vaccinated; holds Supreme Court. Restrictions on unvaccinated persons to be revised for now
While, in Kathua Gang Rape and Murder case, the Supreme Court observed that it was gathering an impression that the leniency with which the juveniles are dealt with in the name of goal of reformation is making them more and more emboldened in indulging in such heinous crimes, the Court also directed, in another case, that Guidelines must be in place for preliminary assessment of children above 16 years of age for trial as adults, after observing that mental capacity & ability to understand consequences of acts are not same.
2022 was also the year of getting a chance at life for some convicts:
- All convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination set free
- Rajiv Gandhi assassination: Supreme Court sets AG Perarivalan free after 32 years of incarceration
- Abu Salem can’t be kept behind bars for more than 25 years, holds Supreme Court
- Supreme Court commutes death sentence of a rape and murder convict, due to ill-effects of 10 years of solitary confinement
- 7-year-old’s “brutal” rape and murder: SC commutes Death sentence; No premature release/remission during 30 years’ LI as “conscience of the society cannot be ignored”
- Murder convict seeks remission of sentence on the ground of being 100% visually impaired. Can disability be a ground for remission? SC answers
- 3-year old raped and strangulated to death; Read why Supreme Court commuted Death Sentence to life imprisonment
The Supreme Court agreed to hear the matter relating to forced religious conversions after observing that forced religious conversions ultimately affect national security and violate citizens’ right to freedom of religion.
Just like all years, in 2022 too, the Supreme Court gave some important ruling on Arbitration:
- Existence of arbitration agreement does not bar reference to Facilitation Council; MSMED Act has an overriding effect over the provisions of the Arbitration Act, 1996
- Court’s power under Section 9 A&C Act, 1996 wider than CPC; Technicalities of CPC cannot prevent it from securing the ends of justice
- Arbitration clause, even without the words “final and binding”, valid if the intention of the parties, to abide by arbitrator’s decision, is clear: Supreme Court
- Supreme Court holds ‘Arbitrators cannot unilaterally issue binding and enforceable orders determining their own fees’; Justice Sanjiv Khanna partially dissents
- Supreme Court holds ‘Arbitrators cannot unilaterally issue binding and enforceable orders determining their own fees’; Justice Sanjiv Khanna partially dissents
- Non-execution of Arbitration Award even after 30 years-long delay: SC slams Allahabad High Court; U.P. Government to consider constituting four Additional Commercial Courts
- Is unstamped Arbitration Agreement enforceable?
- Three types of issues that can be considered in an application filed under Section 11(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
- Commercial Court’s power while dealing with an application under Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
- Is Arbitration Tribunal empowered to award compound interest?
The Supreme Court also interpreted the true scope of a “consumer” in terms of Section 2(1)(d) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and held that the ‘business to business’ disputes cannot be construed as consumer disputes as the entire Act revolves around “business-to-consumer” disputes and not for “business-to-business” disputes.
The Supreme Court provided some key tools for interpretation of contracts and also decided some interesting law points:
- Supreme Court provides intrinsic tools for interpreting a contract; says intention of parties to be gathered from words and expressions used in the contract
- ‘Exclusion clause’ destroying the contract entered with knowledge, cannot be permitted to be used by a party who introduced it, to avoid liability
- Is there an absolute bar on judicial review of State’s ‘arbitrary’ action in matters arising from non-statutory contracts?
- Difference between Contract of Indemnity and Contract of Guarantee
Observing that delays in prosecuting the corrupt breeds a culture of impunity, the Supreme Court directed that sanction requests under the Prevention Corruption Act must be decided within 4 months but proceedings cannot be quashed for delay.
In a case where a death row convict was allegedly placed under solitary confinement since 29-10-2006 contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration, (1978) 4 SCC 494, the Supreme Court has called for a probe into the ground reality of solitary Confinement of Death Row Convicts.
No year goes by without the Courts passing important orders on cases relating to dishonour of cheques. 2022 was no different:
- Section 138 NI Act would not attract if cheque does not represent a legally enforceable debt at the time of encashment
- Dishonour of Cheque — S. 141 NI Act| Complainant only supposed to have general knowledge of person(s) in charge of company/firm; Burden on Director/Partner to prove their innocence: SC
- Right to cross-examination cannot be denied as a punishment for failure to deposit interim compensation under Section 143A NI Act
- Dishonour of cheque| Partner cannot be held to be vicariously liable when partnership firm is not tried as primary offender
- Cheque issued as a security and not in discharge of legally recoverable debt; Is the contention sufficient to quash proceedings under N.I. Act at pre-trial stage? SC examines
- Section 138 NI Act| Prima-facie indication as to complaint by a company through an authorised employee having knowledge of the case enough for Magistrate to take cognizance
When the Madhya Pradesh High Court Advocates Bar Association and the District Bar Association, challenged the vires of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, the Supreme Court upheld the Constitutionality and held that as the case load on NGT is low, there was no need to set up its branches in every State.
In a case where the Court was dealing with the violation of the provisions of the SEBI (Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices) Regulations 2003 [PFUTP Regulations], the Supreme Court held that as a general rule, SEBI is duty bound to disclose all the relevant material, including the Investigation Report, in order to give reasonable opportunity to be heard to the notice. However, as an exception, it can redact information that impinges on the privacy of third parties.
The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 is one law that keeps on coming up before the Courts for consideration. In 2022, the Supreme Court gave the following important rulings on the subject matter:
- CIRP proceedings can be initiated against two Corporate Debtors but same amount cannot be realised from both
- Supreme Court reaffirms that NCLT under S. 7(5) of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code has discretionary power to admit or reject an application
- IBC’s Section 53 does not over-ride Section 48 of GVAT Act; Adjudicating Authority may reject Resolution Plan if it ignores statutory dues payable to State/Legal authority
- IBC-Limitation| Pendency of proceedings in a parallel forum not sufficient cause for delay in filing Section 9 IBC application: Supreme Court
- IBC – Section 7(5)(a) | NCLT “may” reject Financial Creditor’s CIRP application even in case of Corporate Debtor’s default in payment of debt
- Once CIRP is initiated and moratorium is ordered, proceedings under SARFAESI Act cannot continue
- IBC Amendment, 2018; Supreme Court elaborates conditions for disqualification of Resolution Professional under S. 29A(h) of IBC
75 years into independence, the Supreme Court suggested that it was time to revisit the system of reservation. Here are some important rulings on reservation from 2022:
- Constitutionality of 10% Quota for EWS upheld in 3:2 verdict
- “Reservation is not at odds with merit”; Here’s why SC upheld OBC reservation in NEET PG and UG Admissions in AIQ quota
- NEET 2021-22: Supreme Court allows Counselling with 27% Quota for OBCs and 10% Quota for EWS in All India Quota
- Reservation in promotion: The 6 issues settled by Supreme Court on collection of quantifiable data on inadequacy of representation
- AIIMS to follow roster point-based reservation for preferential candidates
Right to life being the most important right of an individual and right to healthcare being one of the most important aspect of it, the Supreme Court gave the following verdicts:
- ‘Bihar Govt, Pharmacy Council cannot be permitted to play with citizens’ life’; Patna HC to hear the Fake Pharmacists matter afresh: SC
- Two persons died after first dose of Covishield due to severe adverse effects following immunization; Supreme Court issues notice Central Government
Opining that the video-conference procedure need not be restricted only to the period affected by COVID-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court furthered SOP for evidence recording via video-conferencing in cases related to child victims/witnesses of human trafficking.
Like all years, the Supreme Court did not miss on giving some interesting rulings on property and land related matters:
- Sections 3 and 5 of the 1988 Benami Property law “still-born” and “unconstitutional”; 2016 Amendment can only apply prospectively
- Delhi Land Reforms Act 1954 a special law; Succession provided in Hindu Succession Act 1956 will not prevail over it
- Compensation under 2013 Act cannot be claimed if award under 1894 Act couldn’t be passed due to pendency of proceedings or interim stay
- Land Acquisition Act, 1894: Will Section 11A apply if, under Section 17(3A), 80% of estimated compensation is tendered and paid?
- Does alienating ancestral property ‘out of love and affection’ come within the scope of the term ‘pious purpose’?
- Can step-children claim property right in mother’s mehar after her death? Does a registered mehar deed become unenforceable for being nominal?
- Can a Hindu male execute a Will giving a limited estate to a wife if all other aspects including maintenance are taken care of? SC interprets Section 14 of Hindu Succession Act
Two important verdicts were delivered by the Supreme Court on the issue of maintenance:
- Income Tax returns not accurate to determine real income; Family Court must determine husband’s real income
- ‘Able-bodied man obliged to earn by legitimate means and maintain wife, children’: Supreme Court, unhappy with Family Court’s verdict, directs husband to pay maintenance to his wife
In an interesting case, where the husband had disputed paternity of child on suspicion, the Supreme Court allowed the conduct of DNA test, while granting conditional compensation of Rs 30 lakhs to the wife if the suspicion proves to be wrong and the husband turns out to be the father of the child.
Organised Crime/Terrorism is a menace that just doesn’t seem to be coming to an end. The Supreme Court explained the true import of a few provisions to make dealing with such cases smooth:
- Confessions made to Additional SP under Section 12 MCOCA not inadmissible; rank of SP includes SP, Additional SP, DCP
- Even a single crime committed by a ‘Gang’ is sufficient to prosecute an accused under the Gangsters Act
- Person cannot be tried under MCOCA/GUJCOCA once he ceases to indulge in any unlawful act after its coming into force: Supreme Court
It says a lot about us, as a society, when we see the Court flooded with cases relating to crimes against Children. This is how the Supreme Court meted out justice in some of the POCSO cases that came before it:
- Is investigation of disclosure of victim’s identity permissible without Magistrate’s permission? SC gives split verdict
- Man rapes and murders a 7-year-old physically and mentally challenged girl; kills fellow inmate after conviction. SC confirms death sentence
- Non-reporting of POCSO offence despite knowledge a serious offence; Bombay High Court’s quashment of FIR against accused Medical Practitioner unfortunate
- Supreme Court sets aside Madhya Pradesh HC’s “utterly incomprehensible” judgment discharging accused in a minor’s rape case for delay in filing FIR
- Maternal uncle rapes his 14-year-old niece; will subsequent act of him marrying prosecutrix extinguish all criminal liabilities?
Service-related matters are a staple in the Courtrooms and 2022 was no different. Here are some important rulings settling the service law issues:
- The need for a policy providing reasonable accommodation for transgender persons seeking employment in establishments covered by the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019
- Anganwadi Workers/Helpers entitled to payment of gratuity; ‘Time to take serious note of their plight’
- No universal rule to fill vacancies on the basis of the law which existed on the date when they arose; Supreme Court overrules 1983’s YV Rangaiah ruling
- Supreme Court upholds validity of amended Employees’ Pension Scheme but reads down certain provisions; Explains applicability of pre & post amendment Scheme
- Hiding criminal antecedents while applying for Government job? Good enough reason for employer to terminate services. Supreme Court lays down clear principles governing such cases
- Supreme Court holds private school teachers entitled to gratuity; upholds Constitutional validity of Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Act, 2009
- Make way for the outsiders: Compassionate Appointment cannot be extended to heirs of the retiring employees, holds Supreme Court
- Punjab/Haryana Superior Judicial Services| Can candidates seek disclosure of marks through RTI before viva-voce? SC decides
- Pay on a par with last drawn pay on reemployment in Government Service? Not a matter of right, holds Supreme Court
- Can State deny benefits of New Pension Scheme citing delayed appointments when the delay was not attributable to employees?
- Producing false/fake certificate is a grave misconduct; Dismissal of service justified in such cases
- Compassionate Appointment cannot be denied to children born from the second wife of a deceased employee
- Pension is not a bounty; Lack of financial resources no excuse for taking away vested rights by way of retrospective amendments
- What happens when a candidate, in a competitive exam, uses different language in answer sheet than that filled in application form?
A number of tax related matters were settled by the Supreme Court in the year 2022. The year also saw some important tax law provisions being interpreted by the Supreme Court:
- Section 45(4) of Income Tax Act applies not only in case of dissolution but also when subsisting partners transfer assets to retiring partners
- “Known source of income” under Section 13(1)(e) of PC Act, 1988 means the sources known to the prosecution or the accused?
- Supreme Court interprets Section 194 H of Income tax Act; Overrules Bombay High Court’s 2009 Qatar Airways judgment
- Profit-oriented Educational Institutions not entitled to tax emption under Section 10(23C) of the Income Tax Act, 1961
- Gift Tax: Equity shares under lock-in period remain unquoted; Cannot be valued by ignoring restrictive conditions on transferability
- Appropriate High Court for filing an appeal under Section 260A of the Income Tax Act would be the one where the Assessing Officer is situated
- Twin conditions of furnishing declaration within time limit “mandatory” for exemption relief under Section 10B (8) of IT Act
- Over 90, 000 Reassessment Notices issued after April 1, 2021 saved as Supreme Court directs them to be treated as notices under Section 148A of Income Tax Act
- Is amount spent by pharmaceutical companies in gifting freebies to the doctors “business expenditure” under IT Act when act of accepting freebies by doctors is an offence? SC answers
- Why the Supreme Court directed GST Council to implement digital DIN system for communication between State Tax Officers and taxpayers
- Can GPU Charities involved in trade claim tax exemption? [Section 2(15) of the Income Tax Act, 1961]
Two prominent bail applications by persons accused under the draconian UAPA were also dealt with by the Supreme Court:
- Bhima Koregaon| Supreme Court grants permanent bail to Dr. Varavara Rao on medical grounds
- Journalist Sidhique Kappan gets bail after 23 months in prison; cannot leave Delhi for 6 weeks: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court issued notice to BCI to respond to the suggestions made on the admission of individuals as advocates. The suggestions on conduct of All India Bar exams span from 1/4th negative marking to limiting the validity of Bar exam for three years.
Lastly, while to err is human, it is important to remember that the members of the Bench and the Bar are humans after all, which is why, the Supreme Court gave a number of judgments, serving as a Practice and Procedure guide:
- Section 319 CrPC power to be exercised before pronouncement of order of sentence or acquittal, as the case may be; SC enumerates 12 guidelines
- Supreme Court lays down detailed guidelines for leave to defend in summary suits
- ‘Appoint experienced advocates as legal aid counsels’: SC acquits death row convict for want of evidence, finds defence ‘below-average’
- Can an independent counter claim under Order VIII Rule 6A CPC having nothing to do with the plaintiffs be allowed?
- Supreme Court mandates call for mental health report before pronouncing death sentence
- Allahabad HC grants bail to a history sheeter only on the basis of parity; prompts SC to lay down illustrative circumstances for cancellation of bail
- Judicial order cannot be passed on application requesting hearing of review by a particular judge; It’s Chief Justice’s administrative call
- Delay in adopting the Draft Criminal Practice Rules cannot prejudice already recognized rights of an accused, holds SC in a 2: 1 verdict; Justice Bela M. Trivedi dissents
- Civil Court can try debt recovery suit against bank or financial institution; Scope & effect of parallel proceeding before DRT explained
- Benefit of Exceptions of Defamation cannot only be afforded at the stage of trial
- Failure to produce accused before Special Court while considering extension application under Section 167 CrPC a gross illegality
- Order 6 Rule 17 CPC: Doctrine of dominus litus for amendment of plaint
- Limitation can be a preliminary issue under Or. 14, R. 2(2)(b) CPC if the question can be decided on admitted facts
- “To be ‘substantial’, a question of law must be…”. Supreme Court summarises principles relating to Section 100 CPC
- Providing illegible copies attacks detenu’s fundamental right to make representation; renders detention order illegal
- Imposing penalty before initiating disciplinary action wrong; Can’t put a cart before the horse
- Bar under Order II Rule 2 CPC cannot apply to an amendment sought on an existing suit; Supreme Court lays down Principles for Amendment of Pleadings
- Beyond Reasonable Doubt versus Preponderance of Probabilities: Supreme Court explains why circumstances guide the Courts in deciding Right to Private Defence cases
- Clever drafting cannot result into Plaintiff getting relief indirectly which otherwise cannot be given
- Supreme Court observes documents relied upon for formation of opinion under Rule 3 of the SEBI Adjudication Rules 1995, not required to be disclosed to the noticee unless relied upon in the inquiry
- Preliminary inquiry & opportunity of hearing to would-be accused under Section 340 CrPC: Whether mandatory? Supreme Court answers
- If a High Court converts itself into Executing Court it will be flooded with writ petitions to execute arbitral awards
- Civil Court versus Writ Court: Breaking down the scope of jurisdiction in execution/registration of documents matters
- Showing undue favour to a party under the guise of passing judicial orders is the worst kind of judicial dishonesty