Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 7 R. 11(a) — Object — Exercise of power under — Nature of enquiry to be made by court: To exercise power under this rule Court has to determine whether plaint prima facie discloses cause of action. To ascertain this, court has to read averments in conjunction with documents relied upon in plaint as a whole, without addition or subtraction of any words. It is substance and not form which has to be seen. So read, if cause of action prima facie disclosed, court is not required to further enquire about truthfulness of allegations on fact. The pleas taken by defendant in written statement are also not relevant at this stage. If however, court finds suit to be manifestly vexatious, not disclosing any right to sue, it would be justified in exercising power under R. 11(a). [Dahiben v. Arvindbhai Kalyanji Bhanusali, (2020) 7 SCC 366

Constitution of India — Art. 233 — Appointment of District Judges: Members of subordinate judicial service, held, are ineligible for being considered for appointment from direct recruitment quota for advocates and pleaders. Rules of various High Courts precluding members of judicial service from staking their claim as against posts reserved for direct recruitment from the Bar, held, not ultra vires. [Dheeraj Mor v. High Court of Delhi, (2020) 7 SCC 401]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21 and 14: For credible recording of evidence and safeguarding human rights inside police stations, directions issued for iimplementation of action plan prepared by the Committee of Union of India-Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and as directed in Shafhi Mohd., (2018) 5 SCC 311. [Paramvir Singh Saini v. Baljit Singh, (2020) 7 SCC 397]

Human and Civil Rights — Humanitarian and Natural Disasters, Epidemics and Pandemics — COVID-19 Pandemic: While taking suo motu cognizance of miseries of migrant labours, certain deficiencies were noticed in registration and transportation of migrant labours, hence, interim directions issued. [Problems & Miseries of Migrant Labourers, In re., (2020) 7 SCC 226]

Human and Civil Rights — Humanitarian and Natural Disasters, Epidemics and Pandemics — COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown — Academic Year 2019-2020: Due to failure of conducting examinations/incomplete examinations for Classes X and XII of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE), assessment methodology based on past performance suggested by CBSE, accepted. Students of Class XII can also opt for optional examination as per suggestion of CBSE. ICSE also would be notifying similar assessment method with addition of optional examination for Class X also. [Amit Bathla v. CBSE, (2020) 7 SCC 233]

Human and Civil Rights — Humanitarian and Natural Disasters, Epidemics and Pandemics — COVID-19 Pandemic: Stay on Ratha Yatra Puri, vacated and proposal of Gajapati Maharaj of Puri, who is the Chairman of the Puri Jagannath Temple Administration to conduct Rath Yatra, accepted subject to conditions. [Odisha Vikash Parishad v. Union of India, (2020) 7 SCC 264]

Human and Civil Rights — Humanitarian and Natural Disasters, Epidemics and Pandemics — COVID-19 Pandemic — Return of migrant labourers to their own State: In a non-adversarial litigation, State cannot claim that unless the State is informed of the materials, it cannot reply or act. State directed to file information and details regarding migrant workers waiting to return to their home State. Judicial notice taken of IA in suo motu writ petition, where details with regard to the State of Maharashtra, migrants who are still awaiting to return and other difficulties faced in the State of Maharashtra have been narrated. [Problems & Miseries Of Migrant Labourers, In re, (2020) 7 SCC 399]

Income Tax — Taxation in India — Agreement for avoidance of double taxation of income and the prevention of fiscal evasion with the Republic of Korea (“DTAA”) — Arts. 5(1), 5(4), 7(1) and 7(2) r/w S. 90 of the Income Tax Act, 1961: When it comes to “fixed place” permanent establishments under double taxation avoidance treaties, the condition precedent for applicability of Art. 5(1) of the DTAA and the ascertainment of a “permanent establishment” is that it should be an establishment “through which the business of an enterprise” is wholly or partly carried on. Further, the profits of the foreign enterprise are taxable only where the said enterprise carries on its core business through a permanent establishment and the maintenance of a fixed place of business which is of a preparatory or auxiliary character in the trade or business of the enterprise would not be considered to be a permanent establishment under Art. 5 of the DTAA. [CIT v. Samsung Heavy Industries Co. Ltd., (2020) 7 SCC 347]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — S. 163-A — No-fault liability under — Scope of: As per S. 163-A it is “use of motor vehicle” as cause of accident alone which needs to be established, without any requirement to prove fault on part of driver, whether it be the owner or any other person. [Chandrakanta Tiwari v. New India Assurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 7 SCC 386]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — Ss. 166 and 163-A and Sch. II: In case of death of non-earning housewife/mother in motor accident, while estimating notional income or pecuniary estimate of contribution of housewife, future prospects in respect of such notional income of housewife is to be added. [Rajendra Singh v. National Insurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 7 SCC 256]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 307/114: In this case, there was attempt to murder victim by shooting, causing grievous injury to him. Accused persons aided and abetted each other in crime (A-1 fired bullet in question while riding pillion on motorcycle driven by A-2, appellant herein). The conviction of appellant-accused under Ss. 307/114 along with the co-accused, and enhancement of sentence by High Court under S. 307, confirmed. [Mustak v. State of Gujarat, (2020) 7 SCC 237]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 394 and 84 — Voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery: In this case, victim-complainant was assaulted by accused persons armed with knife and revolver, and money (Rs 30,000) robbed from him. There was involvement of appellant-accused with two others. One co-accused, was acquitted as the version of complainant qua him was found doubtful. Conviction of appellant under S. 394 IPC and S. 25 of the Arms Act, confirmed by High Court, but sentence reduced to two years’ RI. It was held to be sustainable as his involvement was clearly established and he could establish neither his plea of juvenility nor of unsoundness of mind at the time. [Mohd. Anwar v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 7 SCC 391]

Practice and Procedure — State as a Litigant/Party — Delay by State — Condonation of — If warranted — Sufficient cause: In this case, there was delay of 1697 days in filing SLP and only explanation was that there was public interest involved and pendency of certain other matters. It was held, if there is public interest involved then Government was grossly negligent in looking after public interest and condonationof delay was declined. Pecuniary loss, if any, directed to be recovered from persons responsible for causing loss to Government. [State of W.B. v. Soroj Kumar Mondal, (2020) 7 SCC 263]

Rent Control and Eviction — Allotment/Deemed Vacancy/Vacancy/Release of Building — Vacancy order — Challenge to — Maintainability: Preliminary order of Rent Controller and Eviction Officer notifying premises as vacant can independently be challenged by way of writ petition before High Court, or in revision after final order allotment/release, alongwith the final order. [Mohd. Inam v. Sanjay Kumar Singhal, (2020) 7 SCC 327]

Service Law — Police — Recruitment Process — Rank List — Period of operation of: In this case, for the post of SI of Police (Trainee), first Ranked List (RL-I) was dt. 11-9-2013. Advice (appointment) against 93 Non-Joining Duty (“NJD”) vacancies reported on 12-7-2016 from RL-I was held impermissible, as said Ranked List had expired by then. [Aneesh Kumar V.S. v. State of Kerala, (2020) 7 SCC 301]

Specific Relief Act, 1963 — Ss. 34, 35, 38, 39 and 41 — Declaratory relief with suit for injunction simpliciter — When necessary: Where bare injunction suit has been filed to restrain State Authorities from acting in a particular manner without seeking declaratory relief as to illegality of orders/actions of State Authorities based on which State Authorities were seeking to act, said bare injunction suit was not maintainable, as no government order can be ignored altogether unless a finding is recorded that it was illegal, void or not in consonance with law. [Nagar Parishad, Ratnagiri v. Gangaram Narayan Ambekar, (2020) 7 SCC 275]

Telecommunications Laws — Licence fees/AGR dues: As the public sector licensees does not have the same kind of licence agreement as private licensees nor provide identical services, Department of Telecom directed to reconsider the demand of more than Rs 4 lakh crores on public sector licensees assessed on basis of licence agreements of private licensees as per Assn. of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India, (2020) 3 SCC 525. [Mandar Deshpande, In re, (2020) 7 SCC 267]