“If the working environment continues to remain hostile, insensitive and unresponsive to the needs of women employees, then the Act will remain an empty formality. If the authorities/managements/employers cannot assure them a safe and secure work place, they will fear stepping out of their homes to make a dignified living and exploit their talent and skills to the hilt. It is, therefore, time for the Union Government and the State Governments to take affirmative action and make sure that the altruistic object behind enacting the PoSH Act is achieved in real terms.”
Justice Hima Kohli
Aureliano Fernandes v. State of Goa, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 621
BIG BENCHES – BIG JUDGMENTS
Maharashtra Political Crisis
The five Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has upheld the Governor’s decision of inviting Eknath Shinde to form the Government in the State of Maharashtra and has refused to quash Udhav Thackeray’s resignation as it was submitted voluntarily before the floor test. This Explainer not just provides a Bird’s-Eye view of the Supreme Court Judgment for easy reference but also gives a detailed point-wise breakdown of each issue.
Delhi vs Centre
In the spirit of cooperative federalism, the Union must exercise its powers within the boundaries created by the Constitution. NCTD, having a sui generis federal model, must be allowed to function in the domain charted for it by the Constitution. The Union and NCTD share a unique federal relationship. It does not mean that NCTD is subsumed in the unit of the Union merely because it is not a “State”.
Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage
Given the expansive amplitude of power under Article 142(1) of the Constitution, the exercise of power must be legitimate, and clamours for caution, mindful of the danger that arises from adopting an individualistic approach as to the exercise of the Constitutional power, observed the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court said that this decision on the Tamil Nadu Amendment Act would also guide the Maharashtra and the Karnataka Amendment Acts. Thus, it held that all the three Amendment Acts are valid legislations.
HIGH PROFILE CASES
The Court expressed its concerns over the loss of human life and destruction of the homesteads and places of worship.
The status report indicated the steps taken to bring normalcy to the law and order situation in the State, security measures taken for protecting religious places and details of relief camps.
Inauguration of New Parliament Building
Supreme Court said that the petitioner has no locus to file the petition to sought inauguration of new Parliament building by the President and not the Prime Minister of India and that he should be grateful that the Court is not imposing any costs on him.
The Court noted that the convicts have been making attempts to avoid the Bench from hearing the case.
DMK MP Kanimozhi Karunanidhi’s election was challenged on the ground that she had intentionally supressed the information about the payment of income tax of her spouse.
The Kerala Story
The Court said that the prohibition imposed on the film by West Bengal suffered from over breadth.
Cash for Job Scam
What was compromised between the complainant and accused is not just their disputes, but justice, fair play, good conscience and the fundamental principles of criminal jurisprudence. In fact, the case at hand is one where there are two teams, but no one knows who is playing for which team and where the match was fixed.
Prakash Singh Badal
The Supreme Court’s decision shall not affect the pending proceedings before the High Court of Delhi against the order of the ECI as the Court did not express anything on the Constitution of the Shiromani Akali Dal.
Beant Singh Assasination
The Supreme Court also directed the competent authority to deal with the mercy petition later and take further decision as and when deemed necessary.
BJP Leader Kailash Vijayvargiya
BJP Leader Brij Bhushan
The Court said that the purpose of the petition was to register FIR against Brij Bhushan, which has been served.
Cricketer Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami’s wife Hasin Jahan filed plea before the Court to declare certain provisions of Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 as unconstitutional.
M.M. Dhonchak, Presiding Officer – DRT, Chandigarh
The Supreme Court said that it was unfortunate that Mr. Dhonchak had filed the petition against the order of Punjab and Haryana High Court.
AAP Leader Satyendar Jain
As per reports, Jain was admitted to ICU on Thursday after collapsing in the prison due to dizziness.
Gujarat Judges’ Promotion
The Gujarat Government had issued the impugned Notification dated 18.04.2023 during the pendency of the present writ petition and after receiving the notice issued by the Court. The Supreme Court observed that the State Government could have waited till the next date of hearing which was on 28.04.2023.
The ruling came in a batch of cases where new owners of properties, purchased in auction sales, have been denied electricity connections due to the previous owners’ failure to pay their electricity dues.
Judicial Officers’ pension
“To be truly unified both in form and in substance, there must be integration in terms of pay, pension and other service conditions between the District Judiciary, the High Courts and the Supreme Court. Hence, any increase in the salary of the judges of the High Court must reflect in the same proportion to the judges in the District Judiciary.”
Supreme Court said that the process of improvement is a continuous one and that it learns from every experience. This ruling is one more step in the fine-tuning system of designation of Senior Advocates, and it hopes it achieves the purpose.
Supreme Court said that the distinction between obiter dicta and ratio decidendi in a judgment, as a proposition of law, has been examined by its several judgments.
Sexual Harassment at workplace
The Supreme Court attributed the reluctance on the part of victims of Sexual Harassment at workplace to report the misconduct to, (i) uncertainty about who to approach under the Act for redressal of their grievance; and (ii) lack of confidence in the process and its outcome.
Rights of Persons with Disabilities
The Court noted that the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences had issued a certificate to the petitioner indicating that he is suffering with writers’ cramp.
TOPIC-WISE BREAKUP OF MORE STORIES
Upholding the Telangana High Court judgment, the Supreme Court held that the law prevailing prior to the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 shall be applicable in a case where the notice invoking arbitration is issued prior to the Amendment Act, 2015.
Supreme Court said that whether any particular facts constitute a cause of action has to be determined with reference to the facts of each case and with reference to the substance, rather than the form of the action. If an infringement of a right happens at a particular time, the whole cause of action will be said to have arisen then and there.
Supreme Court observed that if the interpretation that once an auditor resigns, the proceedings under Section 140(5) stand terminated and are no longer further required to be proceeded, an auditor may resign to avoid Tribunal’s final order and its consequence as provided under the second proviso to Section 140(5).
Insolvency and Bankruptcy
The Court said that Vistra ITCL (India) Ltd. would be treated as a secured creditor in terms of Section 52 and 53 of the IBC, and would be entitled to retain the security interest in the pledged shares.
Comity of Courts
The contempt petition against the US resident was outcome of matrimonial dispute as he had committed breach of settlement orders and showed scant respect for the Court by defying the orders of the Court.
Criminal Investigation, Trial and Justice
The Court said that the prosecution failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt and the case did not pass the standard required in a case of circumstantial evidence.
“It is well-settled law that awarding of life sentence is a rule and death is an exception. The application of the rarest of rare case principle is dependent upon and differs from case to case.”
“There is no valid reason ground for the state not accepting the recommendation of the State level Committee for premature release of the Appellant. Supreme Court is not oblivious to the crime but they are equally not oblivious to the fact that the Appellant has already suffered at the cruel hands of fate.”
The Supreme Court observed that the petitioner was on a ventilator earlier but was discharged due to non-availability of proper medical treatment in the prison.
Supreme Court considered the fact of inordinate delay of 3 years in filing the FIR.
The Supreme Court made clear that further investigation cannot be put at par with prosecution and punishment and hence, the principle of double jeopardy would not apply.
Supreme Court stayed the operation of the Allahabad High Court’s judgment to the extent it directs refund of the fee paid to ex-students, till the next date of hearing.
The Supreme Court did not find any place for a ‘deemed appointment’ and held that the selection process concludes only after the mandatory approval of the DIOS is granted.
The Supreme Court observed that just as bad coins drive out good coins from circulation, bad cases drive out good cases from being heard on time.
The Supreme Court observed that if the State Government is so conscious or interested in taking action against land grabbers, it is the discretion of the State Government to bring or better the appropriate legislation with the definition of ‘land grabber’, ‘land grabbing’ and ‘land grabbing cases.
The Court said that the grievances raised by the State of Meghalaya in the context of its right to do business in lotteries under Article 298(b), would constitute disputes, which fall squarely within the four corners of Article 131 of the Constitution.
“Stamp Act in its application to Uttar Pradesh has been amended by the UP (Stamp Amendment Act 1952) and Article 23 of Schedule IB as applicable to UP.”
“Expression Whoever alienates or purchases or takes possession of, which is the opening phrase of Section 52A of the Wakf Act, 1955, cannot be read or construed to include possession taken in the past, which resulted in continued possession, when the provision was enacted.”
Supreme Court observed that allowing the instant appeal would tantamount regularizing the appellants’ services as work charged from the initial appointment.
Supreme Court said that there was no fault on the part of the appellants. It was because of the wrong marking at the relevant time that they were deprived of the appointments, and they were not placed in the merit list, and such was required to be corrected on the revision of the marks on re-evaluation.
Supreme Court said that the State Government may examine the data of last few years, to come to a realistic finding as to what should be the extent of these reservations. A wholesale reservation is not serving any purpose, rather it frustrates the very purpose of the reservation
Justice Ajay Rastogi and Bela M. Trivedi delivered their split verdicts while examining the challenge raised against the Judgment of Rajasthan High Court, dismissing the appeals of the qualified candidates of OBC, EWS category.
The Court said that for any fault on the part of the employer, the employees cannot be made to suffer.
The Court observed that not the unauthorised absence but the unauthorised association with foreign institution was a matter of concern for the security of the State.
“The principle of equal pay for equal work cannot be invoked or applied invariably in every kind of service and certainly it cannot be invoked in the area of professional services when these are to be compensated”
Scheduled Castes and Tribes
Supreme Court held that the power of the Governor under Clause 5 of the Fifth Schedule does not supersede the Fundamental Rights under Part III of the Constitution of India.
The Supreme Court observed that it is desirable that before an accused is subjected to a trial for alleged commission of offence under section 3(1)(x), the utterances made by him in any place within public view are outlined, if not in the F.I.R., but at least in the charge-sheet so as to enable the court to ascertain whether the charge sheet makes out a case of an offence.
The Court said that to avail exemption benefits, two conditions were to be fulfilled, one, – that the exports made under the Advance Authorizations, were physical exports in nature, and the other, that there must be fulfillment of ‘pre-import condition’.
Supreme Court was called upon to decide whether a settlement remedy under Section 127-B of the Customs Act, 1962, would be available for the seized goods, which are specified under Section 123 of the said Act, the bench of Krishna Murari and Sanjay Karol, JJ gave a spilt verdict and referred the matter to a larger bench.
“When a legitimate expectation of a specific outcome is created by a public authority, the said public authority is required to take into account such expectation created by it when making a decision that affects the interests of the individual or group”- Justice Krishna Murari
“The Courts should not use a magnifying glass while scanning the tenders and make every small mistake appear like a big blunder. In fact, the courts must give ‘fair play in the joints’ to the government and public sector undertakings in matters of contract”.
Town Planning, Housing and Development
The Supreme Court said that the State can permit the Development Authorities to levy only those development charges which are mentioned in the Section 15(2-A) of the Uttar Pradesh Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973.
The Court said that if Committee of Creditors would be constituted for all projects of Supertech, it will cause immense hardships to the home buyers and will throw ever project into uncertainty.
Supreme Court said that any person aggrieved by an order passed under WBHIRA will be at liberty to pursue the corresponding remedy which is available under the RERA.
The Court granted interim relief to the homebuyers viewing the interim protection granted by the Delhi High Court vide order dated 25-05-2022.
The Supreme discussed the very foundation of Article 254(2) of the Constitution and commented that comparing two legislations of State and Centre would be akin to comparing chalk and cheese, i.e., two essentially unequal entities.
KNOW THY JUDGES
Going by the seniority rule of the Supreme Court Judges, Justice Sanjiv Khanna is in line to become the next Chief Justice of India in November 2024.
Justice A.S. Bopanna, who started his legal career in the year 1984, is the first person from Coorg district in Karnataka to be elevated to the Supreme Court.
Looking into Justice Abhay S. Oka’s life, career and important judgments which have been instrumental in protecting the rights of marginalized communities and promoting freedom of expression, thereby making him a harbinger of social change and preserver of administrative accountability.
Justice P.S. Narasimha whose tenure as an advocate is full of landmark cases, became the 9th advocate to be directly elevated from the Bar to the Supreme Court judgeship.
Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah is the sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India. He was elevated to the Supreme Court in February 2023. He has formerly served as a Judge in Patna High Court and Andhra Pradesh High Court.
Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, started his legal career from the District Courts and High Courts of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and was later appointed as the Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court.
On 19-05-2023, Justice K.V. Viswanathan became one of the few lawyers, who were elevated directly from the Bar to the Judgeship of the Supreme Court of India. With Justice Viswanathan’s elevation, the Collegium hopes to enhance the representation of the Bar in the Supreme Court.
THE MONTH OF RETIREMENTS
IN OTHER NEWS
The bids have been invited from experienced firms for Design, Development and implementation of AI solutions, tools.
The two-Part Law Clerk-cum-Research Associates Examination, that was earlier scheduled to be conducted on 27-05-2023, will now be conducted in pen and paper mode on Sunday, 04-06-2023 in two shifts.