Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 11 and 8 — Arbitrability of disputes in question: Excluded/excepted matters i.e. matters excluded from the purview of arbitration agreement and referable to a named person/authority for adjudication, by consent of parties is non-arbitrable. Decision on excluded/excepted matters, as in present case by such named person/authority qua such excluded/excepted matters, in present case being delay in completion of work and levy of liquidated damages, would be binding. [Mitra Guha Builders (India) Co. v. ONGC, (2020) 3 SCC 222]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — S. 149: Power to make up deficiency of court fees should not permitted to be misused to abuse process of court. Plaintiff must file suit in the correct form, seeking proper reliefs, as warrranted by the facts of the case, and value its suit in bona fide manner. [Atma Ram v. Charanjit Singh, (2020) 3 SCC 311]

Colliery Control Order, 1945 — Cls. 3, 3-A, 4, 4-A and 4-B — Price Fixation — Authority of North Eastern Coalfields (NEC), Assam to enhance price for LSS consumers: In this case, Resolution dt. 16-11-1996 passed by the Linking Committee, specifically stipulates that the price to be charged from the appellants was to be decided by NEC, Assam as prevalent at any point of time. In view of this specific treatment of pricing along with reference to Appellant 1 as linked unit, said Resolution has to be construed to mean that treatment of the appellant as a linked unit was for purpose of regular supply of coal. Pricing factor was separated from such deemed linking. It is clear from Agenda Item 23 of the said meeting wherein reference has been made to SSF units and cokery units which had been allocated coal. It was these units to be treated as linked units. Distinction between allocation and linking clearly emerges from the said decision of the Linking Committee. It is a fact that treatment of Appellant 1 as a linked unit was fiction. Such fiction was replaced by reality on basis of specific provision in Resolution (Agenda Item 24) so far as pricing is concerned. As Resolution dealt with “linking” and “pricing” separately, fiction linking could not be extended to actual pricing. [S.K.J. Coke Industries Ltd. v. Coal India Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 270]

Constitution of India — Art. 137 — Review Petition — Rejection of, in Nirbhaya Gang Rape case: Hearing of petitions in open court declined. Order under review did not suffer from any error apparent warranting its reconsideration, hence, review petitions rejected. [Pawan Kumar Gupta v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 3 SCC 239]

Constitution of India — Art. 137 — Review under — Nirbhaya case (Gang rape in bus, December 16, 2012, Delhi) — Brutal, barbaric gang rape, unnatural sex and assault, leading to death of victim: In this case, there was no error apparent on face of record in appreciation of evidence or findings of judgment under review. None of grounds raised in review petition call for review of judgment. Review petition is not for rehearing of appeal on reappreciation of evidence over and over again. A party is not entitled to seek review of judgment merely for purpose of rehearing of appeal and a fresh decision. Hence, review petition stands dismissed. [Akshay Kumar Singh v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 3 SCC 431]

Constitution of India — Art. 21 — Informant acting as investigating officer: Rights of accused are undoubtedly important, but so are rights of victim. Law has to cater wider variety of situations as appear in society. While interpreting law, higher judiciary considers such exceptions as are called for without disturbing pith and substance and original intention of legislature. Principle of fair trial is constant, ongoing, evolutionary process continually adapting itself to changing circumstance and, therefore, higher courts endeavour to strike right balance while interpreting law. Societal interest mandates that law laid down in Mohan Lal, (2018) 17 SCC 627 cannot be allowed to become springboard seeking acquittal irrespective of all other considerations pursuant to investigating and prosecution when law in that regard was unclear. Applying prospective declaration of law, it is deemed that all actions taken contrary to declaration of law, prior to day of declaration are validated. Hence, all pending criminal prosecutions, trials and appeals prior to law laid down in Mohan Lal case shall continue to be governed by individual facts of case. [Varinder Kumar v. State of H.P., (2020) 3 SCC 321]

Constitution of India — Art. 366(29-A)(d) r/w Arts. 246(4), 286 and 297 — Jurisdiction of State to levy sales tax when the vessel/ship/tug involved is used in the territorial waters of India, which are deemed to be Union Territory: For the purposes of Art. 366(29-A)(d), the taxable event is the transfer of the right to use the goods regardless of when or where the goods are delivered for use. Thus, the deemed sale takes place at the site where the right to use the goods is transferred i.e. it is of no relevance where the goods are delivered under the right to transfer to use them. In this case, the agreement was signed in Mangalore, but the vessel was used in the territorial waters of India. It was held that the situs of the deemed sale was in Mangalore. Thus, the transaction was liable to be taxed by the authorities concerned in the State of Karnataka. [Great Eastern Shipping Co. Ltd. v. State of Karnataka, (2020) 3 SCC 354]

Constitution of India — Arts. 19(1)(a) & (2) — Internet, cyberspace and social networking: Freedom of speech and expression through medium of internet enjoys constitutional protection under Art. 19(1)(a). Any restriction on the same must be in accordance with Art. 19(2), inclusive of the test of proportionality. [Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India, (2020) 3 SCC 637]

Constitution of India — Sch. VI Paras 2, 4, 5 & 20 — Exclusive jurisdiction of District Council Court to try suits and cases where both parties belong to Scheduled Tribes category: Noti. dt. 7-2-2017 appointed Additional Judge to District Council Court for trial of offences punishable with death, transportation of life or imprisonment of not less than five years. In expression “suits and cases”, “cases” includes trial of criminal case which had occurred in notified autonomous district, so long as victim and complainant are both from Scheduled Tribes. Fact that State is de jure complainant in all criminal cases, would not affect this position. [State of Meghalaya v. Melvin Sohlangpiaw, (2020) 3 SCC 711]

Consumer Protection — Services — Banking/Shares/Securities and other Financial Services — Delay in submission of insurance claim by lending bank qua cover obtained on behalf of borrower, as per terms of loan agreement — Compensation for, when not grantable: In this case in pursuance of the loan agreement, an insurance cover was obtained by the Bank on behalf of the borrower. A fire took place on the premises of the borrower and the hypothecated assets were destroyed, but the insurer not having accepted the claim, a consumer complaint was filed before SCDRC. SCDRC allowed the complaint and the Bank was directed to forward the claim of the insured to the insurer. In appeal, NCDRC found that the claim was submitted by the Bank nearly six-and-a-half years after the incident of the fire and was time-barred, and went on to foist the liability on the Bank. In this case, considering that the only direction of SCDRC was for the Bank to forward the insurance claim to the insurer, which had not been challenged by the borrower and that there had been a one-time settlement of the borrower with the Bank, the order of NCDRC holding the Bank liable to compensate the borrower in respect of the insurance claim, set aside. [SBI v. New India Assurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 258]

Consumer Protection — Services — Banking/Shares/Securities and other Financial Services: Non-replacement/Encashment of lost/stolen or mutilated or defaced Indira Vikas Patras (IVPs) purchased in cash does not amount to deficiency of services. [Supt. of Post Office v. Jambu Kumar Jain, (2020) 3 SCC 764]

Consumer Protection — Services — Insurance — Cause of incident of fire i.e. whether accidental or caused by insured — Determination of: In this case, it was held that the concurrent findings of the forums below, being findings of facts cannot be interfered. The presence of hydrocarbons at the site is not conclusive to infer that fire is caused by insured/use of kerosene, considering the material used in construction of store/premises. Further, whether the fire took place by a short circuit or any other reason, as long as insured is not the person who caused the fire, the Insurance Company cannot escape its liability in terms of the insurance policy. [Canara Bank v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 455]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 389 — Bail during pendency of appeal — Interim relief: Punitive harshness should be minimised and restorative devices to redeem the man, even through community service, meditative drill, etc. should be innovated. [Prahladbhai Jagabhai Patel v. State of Gujarat, (2020) 3 SCC 341]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 482 — Quashment of proceedings — Criminal liability arising out of contract with a company: To establish dishonest intention at time of entering of contract, it is necessary to implead the company, and to make specific allegations against officer(s) of company against whom proceedings have been filed, to either constitute their direct liability or vicarious liability. In absence of all of the above, held, criminal proceedings are not maintainable. [Sushil Sethi v. State of Arunachal Pradesh, (2020) 3 SCC 240]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 482 — Quashment of proceedings: In this case, while civil suit was pending, complaint came to be filed alleging that the agreement produced by appellant in the suit was a false and fabricated document. In view of conclusive opinion of appellate court that the agreement was not a forged document, very substratum of criminal complaint vanishes. Hence it was held that it will only be a complete abuse of process of law to allow appellants to be prosecuted. [Mukul Agrawal v. State of U.P., (2020) 3 SCC 402]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 482 — Quashment proceedings — Material that may be considered by High Court: The evidence produced by the accused in his defence cannot be looked into by the court, except in very exceptional circumstances, at the initial stage of criminal proceedings. The High Court cannot embark upon the appreciation of evidence while considering the petition filed under S. 482 CrPC for quashing criminal proceedings. If a prima facie case is made out disclosing the ingredients of the offence alleged against the accused, the Court cannot quash a criminal proceeding. [Rajeev Kourav v. Baisahab, (2020) 3 SCC 317]

Criminal Trial — Sentence — Death Sentence — Execution of — Nirbhaya Rape case: In this case, as convicts were not proceeding to avail legal remedies within a week as stipulated by High Court, liberty granted to petitioner to obtain fresh date for execution of death warrant. However, clarified that pendency of present SLP would not be impediment for trial court to consider prayer on its own merits. [Union of India v. Mukesh, (2020) 3 SCC 453]

Customs — Valuation — CBEC clarification dt. 28-11-2001 — Duty of customs, where the unclaimed/uncleared goods are sold by tender/auction: In this case, the importer had imported CTV kits and such goods were permitted by the Customs Department to be kept in warehouse for one year in terms of S. 59. The bond period expired but the importer did not clear the imported goods and also did not pay the rent for the warehouse. The imported goods were put for sale through auction under S. 63(2) with a valuation of imported goods at Rs 1,52,04,176 but could not be sold. Ultimately, the goods were sold by tender sale in which the highest bid received was of Rs 41,44,555. The Supreme Court held that this case was not a case of levy of customs duty on the importer as the importer had not sought the release of goods within the permitted period of warehouse. Thus, in view of the CBEC clarificatory Circular dt. 28-11-2001, held, the customs duty has to be paid on the basis of sale proceeds realized from the sale of the goods kept in a warehouse and not on the basis of the customs duty payable at the time of filing the bill of entry or on the date of expiry of permitted period of warehouse. In this case, directions were given to ascertain the customs duty keeping in mind the dispensation indicated in the enabling provisions of the Customs Act, 1962 and Ch. 21 of Central Board of Excise and Customs Manual read with circular dated 20-11-2011 and to adjust the same as per the priority specified in S. 150(2) of the Customs Act, 1962. [Union of India v. Associated Container Terminals Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 756]

Customs Act, 1962 — S. 130-A r/w S. 129-B: Calling for a statement from the Tribunal by High Court is not mandatory. Considering that S. 130-A(4) opens with the word “if”, held, it is not mandatorily required to call for a statement from the Tribunal in every case, where a reference is made and High Court has a discretion on the facts of each case either to do so or not to do so. [CCE v. Adani Exports Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 754]

Election — Democracy and General Principles — Criminalisation of politics/Electoral Reform: There is increase in incidents of criminals i.e. persons against whom criminal cases were pending at different stages, entering politics. Directions issued in Public Interest Foundation, (2019) 3 SCC 224, not complied with. Political parties failed to explain why candidates with pending criminal cases have been selected as candidates. Directions issued by exercising powers under Arts. 129 and 142 of Constitution, for compliance with the above directions in Public Interest Foundation case. [Rambabu Singh Thakur v. Sunil Arora, (2020) 3 SCC 733]

Evidence Act, 1872 — Ss. 65-A and 65-B — Electronic records — Admissibility of: In view of Anvar P.V., (2014) 10 SCC 473, pronouncement of Supreme Court in Shafhi Mohammad, (2018) 2 SCC 801, needs reconsideration. With the passage of time, reliance on electronic records during investigation is bound to increase. Law therefore needs to be laid down in such regard with certainty. Therefore, it is appropriate to refer instant matter to larger Bench. [Arjun Panditrao Khotkar v. Kailash Kushanrao Gorantyal, (2020) 3 SCC 216]

Government Grants, Largesse, Public Property and Public Premises — Affirmative Action Schemes, Pension and Other Schemes — Pension Schemes — Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, 1980 — Paras 3 and 4 — Fixation of cut-off date for grant of SSS Pension to participants of Goa Liberation Movement, Phase II — Validity: Vide G.O. dt. 17-2-2003, under relaxed criteria, Freedom Fighters Pension was granted to participants of Goa Liberation Movement Phase II (1954-1955) who were in receipt of State pension by 1-8-2002. In this case, R-1 was granted State pension on 11-3-2008 w.e.f. 1-12-2007. The evidence indicated that issue of cut-off date was deliberated by GOI and cut-off date was consciously fixed. The Supreme Court held that when benefit is granted in relaxation of Scheme, it is open for Government to put conditions for eligibility. Further held, object of SSSP Scheme, 1980 was to grant Freedom Fighters Central Pension to those who fulfil eligibility which was clearly fulfilled in including Goa Liberation Movement also under the Scheme. Besides, relaxation granted by Order dt. 17-2-2003 was not the object of Government. Scheme dt. 17-2-2003 had intelligible differentia and also nexus with object. When relaxation is granted to limited category, others not covered by Scheme cannot claim violation of any right. Right of equality can be claimed only by those who fulfil eligibilities under the SSSP Scheme, 1980. [Union of India v. Sitakant S. Dubhashi, (2020) 3 SCC 297]

Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 — Ss. 13 and 9 — Divorce — Facts that may be considered — Facts arising subsequent to filing of divorce petition — Second appeal in divorce proceedings: Framing of substantial question of law on basis of criminal complaint filed by wife alleging harassment for dowry, said complaint having been filed subsequent to filing of divorce petition by husband on ground of mental cruelty, not proper. [Mangayakarasi v. M. Yuvaraj, (2020) 3 SCC 786]

Income Tax Act, 1961 — S. 43-B: The deduction of MODVAT credit of excise duty that remains unutilised at the end of the relevant accounting year, not permissible. The unutilised credit in MODVAT scheme cannot be considered as a sum actually paid by the assessee. [Maruti Suzuki (India) Ltd. v. CIT, (2020) 3 SCC 718]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — S. 12 (as amended w.e.f. 16-8-2019) — Time-limit for completion of insolvency resolution process — Extension of, in the interest of justice: In this case, Homebuyers’ association filed an application before NCLT seeking clarification as to the manner in which the voting percentage of the allottees (homebuyers) will be reckoned in CoC, which remained pending for considerable time. Further, constant experimentation went about at different level due to lack of clarity on matters crucial to the decision-making process of CoC and also in view of the recent legislative changes, the scope of resolution plan stood expanded. Further, there was unanimity between all the stakeholders that liquidation of JIL must be eschewed. In exercise of powers under Art. 142 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court directed that the 90 days’ extended period [as provided under amended S. 12(3) IBC] be reckoned from the date of the present order instead of the date of commencement of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Act, 2019. [Jaiprakash Associates Ltd. v. IDBI Bank Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 328]

Labour Law — Dismissal — Interference by Labour Court/Tribunal/Judicial review/validity — Interference with concurrent findings of fact — Scope: Setting aside of dismissal order by Division Bench of High Court relying upon circular issued subsequently, not proper. [A.P. SRTC v. N. Danaiah, (2020) 3 SCC 267]

Land Acquisition Act, 1894 — Ss. 54, 23, 28 and 34 — Delay in filing appeal: Appellant is not entitled to interest for period of delay in filing appeal. The fact that at time of condoning of delay while admitting delayed appeal, no condition was imposed is irrelevant. [Nimna Dudhna Project v. State of Maharashtra, (2020) 3 SCC 255]

Limitation Act, 1963 — Arts. 54 and 113 — Applicability of Art. 54 or Art. 113 — Agreement to sell with fixed date of performance, entered into prior to acquisition proceedings in respect of suit property: In this case agreement to sell provided for date of performance (and which was later extended), thus attracting first limb of Art. 54 which provides that time from which period begins to run is from “the date fixed for performance”, ruling out applicability of second limb of Art. 54 which provides “…if no [date of performance] is fixed, when the plaintiff has notice that performance is refused”. Plaintiff was all along ready and willing to perform its part of the contract, and even obtained quashment of the acquisition proceedings. Thus, held, Art. 113 of the Limitation Act would apply and the right to sue accrued when subsequent to the quashment of the acquisition proceedings, the respondent-plaintiff served a notice upon the appellant-defendants to execute the sale deed and the defendants refused to execute the sale deed. As suit for specific performance was filed within three years thereof, said suit was correctly held by High Court to be within time. [Vundavalli Ratna Manikyam v. V.P.P.R.N. Prasada Rao, (2020) 3 SCC 289]

Limitation Act, 1963 — S. 27 & Arts. 65 and 64 — Acquisition of ownership by adverse possession — Nature of rights acquired by adverse possessor: Use of adverse possession as a sword by plaintiff is permissible in view of three-Judge Bench decision in Ravinder Kaur Grewal, (2019) 8 SCC 729. Person claiming acquisition of title by adverse possession can now file a suit for declaration of title and possession, based on his adverse possession. [Narendra Kumar Tripathi v. Karuna Auddy, (2020) 3 SCC 220]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 493 — Cohabitation caused by man deceitfully inducing a belief of lawful marriage — Ingredients of offence whether present — Determination of: In this case, on 21-7-2013, ring ceremony was performed and date of marriage between the appellant and victim was scheduled for 19-11-2013. On 16-8-2013 appellant established physical relationship with victim misleading her that, now since the marriage is finalised and only ceremony of “pheras” remains to be performed. The Supreme Court held that to constitute an offence under S. 493 IPC, the allegations in FIR must demonstrate that appellant had practised deception on the victim causing a false belief of existence of lawful marriage and which led her to cohabit with him. Insofar as offence under S. 493 IPC was concerned, since FIR does not disclose the commission of any offence under the said section and thus continuance of criminal prosecution under S. 493 IPC would amount to abuse of process of the court. However, insofar as offence against appellants under Ss. 3/4, Dowry Prohibition Act was concerned, since the allegations disclose the commission of cognizable offence in the FIR, it was not a fit case to exercise power under S. 482 CrPC. Charge-sheet under S. 493 IPC was quashed. However, in respect of charge-sheet under S. 3 r/w S. 4, Dowry Prohibition Act, the appeal stood dismissed. [Arun Singh v. State of U.P., (2020) 3 SCC 736]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 217 and 221: In this case, intentional disobeying of directions of law and intentional allowing accused persons to escape from place of occurrence was not proved by prosecution against appellant-accused police officer. Hence, reversal by High Court of his acquittal by trial court, thereby, convicting him under Ss. 217 and 221, set aside on consideration of evidence adduced by prosecution and acquittal of appellant, restored. [V. Rajaram v. State, (2020) 3 SCC 200]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/34 and 201/34: In this case of death by strangulation body was recovered from well. The circumstances which were relied upon by prosecution to prove guilt of accused, were not complete. The circumstances were not leading to conclusion, that in all human probability, murder must have been committed by accused. Hence, conviction of accused, was reversed. [Mohd. Younus Ali Tarafdar v. State of W.B., (2020) 3 SCC 747]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 376(1) and 450 — Alleged rape of married lady after house trespass — Conviction of accused solely relying upon deposition of prosecutrix — Sustainability: In this case, material contradictions were present in deposition of prosecutrix. Further, neither any independent witness nor even medical evidence supported prosecution case. FSL report also not supported prosecution case. Variation in prosecutrix’s version about giving complaint, present. Prosecutrix failed to pass tests of “sterling witness”. Delay in lodging FIR, also present. Presence of enmity/dispute between both parties with respect to land, evident from records. In absence of any other supporting evidence, it was held that accused was entitled to benefit of doubt, hence, conviction was reversed. [Santosh Prasad v. State of Bihar, (2020) 3 SCC 443]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 406, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 114 — Cheating and forgery — Criminal proceedings for — When not sustainable: When issue as to genuineness of documents, forgery of which was the basis of the criminal proceedings, was pending consideration in civil suit, FIR ought not to have been allowed to continue in this case as it would prejudice the interest of parties and the stand taken by them in the civil suit. Rajeshbhai Muljibhai Patel v. State of Gujarat, (2020) 3 SCC 794]

Rent Control and Eviction — Arrears of Rent/Default/Tender of Rent/Striking off Defence — Arrears of rent: Disconnection of electricity by lessor for default in arrears of rent, maintenance and electricity charges, permissible. [Infinity Infotech Parks Ltd. v. Shiva Jute Mills (P) Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 262]

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 — S. 18: The waiver of pre-deposit condition for filing an appeal before DRAT is not permissible, even when the auction-sale is challenged by the guarantor and not the primary borrower. A guarantor or a mortgagor, who has mortgaged its property to secure the repayment of the loan, held, stand on the same footing as the borrower and if guarantor/mortgagor other than the primary borrower wants to file an appeal, he must comply with the terms of S. 18. Union Bank of India v. Rajat Infrastructure (P) Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 770]

Service Law — Age — Date of birth: Prayer for change in date of birth at fag end of career is not permissible. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. v. Shyam Kishore Singh, (2020) 3 SCC 411]

Service Law — Age — Date of birth: Prayer for change in date of birth at fag end of career is not permissible. Kirloskar Bros. Ltd. v. Laxman, (2020) 3 SCC 419]

Service Law — Age — Date of birth: Prayer for change in date of birth at fag end of career is not permissible. Eastern Coalfields Ltd. v. Ram Samugh Yadav, (2020) 3 SCC 421]

Service Law — Appointment — Eligibility conditions/criteria: Non-appointment as candidates in question (contempt petitioners in this case) did not meet eligibility criteria, or did not take part in selection process, or did not opt for the specific vacancies concerned, held, proper and could not amount to contempt of orders of Court directing State to fill vacancies concerned in accordance with law. [Sanjai Kumar v. Prabhat Kumar, (2020) 3 SCC 184]

Service Law — Departmental Enquiry — Judicial review/Validity — Interference with findings — Scope: Power of judicial review conferred on constitutional court or Tribunal is not that of an appellate authority but is confined only to decision-making process. Only when finding recorded by disciplinary authority is not supported by evidence or is unreasonably arrived at, writ court can interfere with finding of disciplinary authority. Parameters when High Court shall not interfere in disciplinary proceedings stated. [State of Karnataka v. N. Gangaraj, (2020) 3 SCC 423]

Service Law — Promotion — MACP Scheme: In terms of Circular dt. 12-9-2012 issued by Ministry of Railways benefit under MACP scheme granted to employees who had qualified and were appointed under promotion quota after clearing LDCE. Hence it was held that enquiry in respect of appointments of respondents to post of ECRC was required in terms of Circular dt. 12-9-2012 as well as Cl. 129 of Indian Railway Establishment Manual, Vol. 1 dealing with filling up posts of ECRCs. Since Tribunal as well as High Court had failed to consider said issue, matter remanded to Tribunal for consideration afresh. [Union of India v. Rosamma Benny, (2020) 3 SCC 407]

Service Law — Resignation: Resignation cannot be deemed as “voluntary retirement” on completion of qualifying service for purposes of pensionary benefits. Resignation is different from “voluntary retirement” and applicable legal consequences are distinct. “Resignation” cannot be substituted for “voluntary retirement” based on employee’s tenure. [BSES Yamuna Power Ltd. v. Ghanshyam Chand Sharma, (2020) 3 SCC 346]

Service Law — Seniority — Determination of seniority — Deputationist — Absorption in deputee department: In this case, latter part of OM dt. 29-5-1986 envisaged that seniority would not be granted where transfer is “not strictly in public interest”. R-1 absorbed at his own insistence consequent to repeated representations despite departmental communication wanting R-1 to go back to his parent cadre. Hence the Supreme Court held, such transfer by absorption can hardly be stated to be “strictly in public interest”, much less in public interest. Further held, where conditions for absorption categorically stated that absorption would be “deemed to be new recruitment” and previous service would be counted for all purposes “except his/her seniority in cadre” and R-1 having accepted it without demur, seniority list prepared as a sequitur thereto was valid. Besides, this was not a case of transfer but of deputation and thus, principle of person moving to another cadre would squarely apply and such deputee would also be governed by terms and conditions of absorption. The High Court erred in relying on OMs dt. 29-5-1986 and 27-3-2001 in terms of which period of deputation was to be counted for seniority purposes ignoring latter part of OM dt. 29-5-1986. However, considering that R-1 had earned promotion in meantime and demoting him at this stage would be rather harsh, seniority list directed to be maintained by creating ex cadre/supernumerary post. [Govinda Chandra Tiria v. Sibaji Charan Panda, (2020) 3 SCC 803]

Service Law — Termination of Service — Termination order — Consequential termination order — Operation of: In this case, termination order of appellant being consequential to reversion order reverting senior to post of appellant, held, did not operate independently of said reversion order. Said reversion order having been stayed by Court, such stay would automatically result in stay of consequential termination order of appellant. Dismissal of independent writ petition of appellant challenging the termination order, thus held, was inconsequential. Rana Pratap Singh v. Vittiya Evam Lekha Adhikari,(2020) 3 SCC 478]

Service Law — Transfer of Employee/Service — Generally — Transfer: Employee, held, cannot claim a posting as of right to a place of his choice. [Union of India v. Deepak Niranjan Nath Pandit, (2020) 3 SCC 404]

Specific Relief Act, 1963 — S. 16(c) — Decree for specific performance — Readiness and willingness of plaintiff to perform his part of the contract — Essentialities to be considered: Mere plea that plaintiff was ready to pay consideration, without any material to substantiate this plea, cannot be accepted. It is not necessary for plaintiff to produce ready money to establish its readiness and willingness to pay the consideration, but it is mandatory on his part to prove that he had the means to generate consideration amount within the time-frame contemplated in the contract. [C.S. Venkatesh v. A.S.C. Murthy, (2020) 3 SCC 280]

Specific Relief Act, 1963 — S. 38: In this case, there was bare suit for injunction against trespass and for peaceful enjoyment of property by plaintiff whose possession was not disputed. The Supreme Court held that the questions of title and ownership are not precluded from consideration. Each case will have to be examined on its own merits keeping in view the nature of the pleading put forth before the trial court and the understanding of the case with which the parties have gone to trial. [Jose v. Johnson, (2020) 3 SCC 780]

Taxation — Concession/Exemption/Incentive/Rebate/Subsidy — Exemption — Possible scope of: Future levies i.e. levies imposed after the exemption notification comes into existence, not to be presumed to be within the contemplation of Government when issuing exemption notification i.e. Government cannot be presumed to have projected its mind into the future and granted exemption in respect of taxes which may be levied in the future. [Unicorn Industries v. Union of India, (2020) 3 SCC 492]

Telecommunications Laws — Licence Fees — National Telecom Policy, 1999 Regime — Licence agreement between Government of India and telecom service providers — Bindingness of: Gross revenue/Adjusted gross revenue, as defined under Cl. 19 of licence agreement between Government of India and telecom service providers under National Telecom Policy, 1999 Regime, valid. Contra proferentem rule of construction is not applicable, when there is no ambiguity. Doctrine of unconscionable bargaining is not applicable to commercial contracts. The jurisdiction of TDSAT does not extend to adjudication of validity of the terms and conditions incorporated in the licence of a service provider. [Union of India v. Assn. of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India, (2020) 3 SCC 525]

Transfer of Property Act, 1882 — S. 108 — Unauthorised Occupant/Trespasser: In this case there was reduction of damages/compensation for unauthorised occupation by lessee, as awarded by trial court, in the interest of justice, considering that the lessee was a Consumer Cooperative Wholesale Store which had already vacated the leased premises and would be put in a financially precarious position owing to the burden imposed. [Periyar District Consumer Coop. Wholesale Stores Ltd. v. B. Balagopal, (2020) 3 SCC 775]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 11(6) — Petition for appointment of arbitrator under S. 11(6) — Non-maintainability of, for lack of subsisting or existing arbitration agreement: In this case, parties to the agreement containing arbitration clause, signed an agreement for revision of rates, which inter alia provided that no claims will be raised by contractor on any of the pending/settled claims/other claims resulting out of the correspondences made and there will be no arbitration for the settlement of claims. The Supreme Court held that the parties consciously and with full understanding executed Amendment of Agreement (AoA) whereby the contractor gave up all his claims and consented to the new arrangement specified in AoA including that there will be no arbitration for settlement of any claims by contractor in future. Thus, having chosen to adopt that path, it was not open to contractor to now take recourse to arbitration process or to resurrect the claim which has been resolved in terms of amended agreement, after availing of steep revision of rates being condition precedent. [WAPCOS Ltd. v. Salma Dam Joint Venture, (2020) 3 SCC 169]

Constitution of India — Art. 226 — Habeas corpus petition — Custody of child: The welfare of the child is the paramount consideration. Child has human right to have love and affection of both parents. Importance of, visitation rights and contact rights of parent not given child’s custody, explained. Court must clearly define nature, manner and specifics of visitation and contact rights of such parent. [Yashita Sahu v. State of Rajasthan, (2020) 3 SCC 67]

Constitution of India — Art. 226 — Nature of right enforceable — Necessity of accrued right, or unlawful denial of right: Person disentitling themselves due to their own omission, default or failure to comply with eligibility requirements, held, not entitled to any relief. [Karnataka State Seeds Development Corpn. Ltd. v. H.L. Kaveri, (2020) 3 SCC 108]

Constitution of India — Art. 311(2) second proviso cl. (b) — Dispensation with inquiry by invocation of, on ground that it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry: It is necessary to record reason(s) for dispensation with inquiry by invocation of Art. 311(2) second proviso cl. (b), on ground that it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry therefore. In case of failure to record such reason(s) while invoking Art. 311(2) second proviso cl. (b), remand of matter for disposal afresh, with liberty to invoke powers under Art. 311(2) second proviso cl. (b), if required, at appropriate stage and to pass reasoned order after following prescribed procedure, held, permissible. [Hari Niwas Gupta v. State of Bihar, (2020) 3 SCC 153]

Constitution of India — Arts. 137 and 145(3) — Review petition raising question(s) of law requiring determination by a larger Bench: Court can refer question(s) of law to a larger Bench in a review petition. [Kantaru Rajeevaru (Right to Religion, In re-9 J.) v. Indian Young Lawyers Assn., (2020) 3 SCC 52]

Constitution of India — Arts. 16 (4) and 16(4-A) — Nature of: Arts. 16 (4) and 16(4-A) are enabling provisions. Thus, neither is there any duty on the State to provide reservation in appointment nor promotion to public posts, nor is there any fundamental right to claim reservation in matters of appointment or promotion to public posts, for SC and ST candidates or anyone else. Providing reservation in appointment or promotion to public posts is discretionary on part of State, depending upon its subjective satisfaction regarding adequacy of representation of persons in services under State. Satisfaction must be based on some material and is subject to judicial scrutiny but Court cannot issue mandamus directing State to provide reservation in appointment or promotion. The pre-requisite for State’s decision to provide reservation in promotion is collection of quantifiable data relating to inadequacy of representation so as to justify its decision before Court if challenged but there is no such pre-requisite to collect quantifiable data relating to adequacy of representation, if State decides not to provide reservation as it is not bound to provide reservation. [Mukesh Kumar v. State of Uttarakhand, (2020) 3 SCC 1]

Contract and Specific Relief — Remedies/Relief — Remedies for Breach of Contract — Damages — Stipulated Damages, Penalty Clauses and Earnest money/Security deposits: In this case, an agreement was entered into between respondent, Central Warehousing Corporation and appellant for a period of two years for carrying out the work of handling and transportation at Inland Clearance Depot (ICD), Varanasi but respondent Corporation terminated contract due to appellant’s poor performance. Respondent Corporation justified forfeiture of security deposit of appellant on two counts: firstly, in view of the heavy claim raised by an exporter whose containers remained missing for a long time and secondly, on account of bank guarantee in the sum of rupees ten lakhs furnished by respondent Corporation before court for release of container. The Supreme Court held that the appellant was given a contract to assist in smooth running of international business of import and export and to have the time management on top priority, however, failure to transport a container to Port at Navi Mumbai resulted in missing of export schedule. While taking into consideration failure of appellant to deliver container and the time taken in recovery of container and expenditure incurred by respondent Corporation, held, the detention of the equipments could not be said to be arbitrary or beyond the terms of the agreement. Hence, the counterclaims towards refund of security deposit and towards illegal detention of forklift, held, to be rightly decided against the appellant. [Vijay Trading & Transport Co. v. Central Warehousing Corpn., (2020) 3 SCC 147]

Criminal Law — Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 300 — Double jeopardy — Applicability of principle — Subsequent proceedings when barred: If the substratum of the two proceedings/FIRs is common, the mere addition of charge(s) under different/additional sections in the subsequent FIR, held, cannot be considered as different ingredients to justify the latter FIR as being based on different materials, allegations and grounds. [Prem Chand Singh v. State of U.P.,(2020) 3 SCC 54]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 394(2) — Continuance of criminal appeal after death of appellant-accused — Appeal arising from composite sentence of imprisonment as well as fine: Such appeal on death of appellant-accused must be treated as an appeal against sentence of fine and therefore must not abate with regard to that sentence of fine as provided under S. 394(2) CrPC. Resultantly, present appeal before High Court being against sentence of fine was required to be heard against that sentence despite death of appellant-accused. [Ramesan v. State of Kerala, (2020) 3 SCC 45]

Environment Law — Water/River/Coastal Pollution — Coastal Areas/Wetlands/Coastal Regulation Zone Notifications — CRZ Notification of 1991 — Nediyathuruthu and Vettila Thuruthu, backwater islands of Kerala — Inclusion of Nediyathuruthu Island within CRZ, applicability of CRZ Notification of 1991, prohibition of construction and removal of encroachment — Judgment rendered in Vaamika Island, (2013) 8 SCC 760, inter alia qua Vettila Thuruthu Island — Applicability of, to project proponent in respect of Nediyathuruthu Island (i.e. appellant known as “Kapico”): In this case, the High Court, in the impugned judgment, compartmentalised the issues arising for consideration into 2 parts, the first dealing with issues in common for Vettila Thuruthu Island and Nediyathuruthu Island and the next dealing with issues peculiar to each of them. The Supreme Court held that the decision in Vaamika Island, (2013) 8 SCC 760 was rendered at the stage of special leave petitions and though the Court refused leave, it went on to affirm the findings of High Court, recording detailed reasons therefore. Further, the appellants cannot escape the findings recorded in the said case and once it is found that the main issues arose in common for both the islands and dealt with in common by High Court, had received a seal of approval from Supreme Court by a reasoned order. Further, there is no scope for revisiting the same on the basis of certain minor ancillary issues not specifically dealt with, in the judgment. Thus, appeals were dismissed in light of the findings: (i) that the substantial issues that arose in common for both the islands have already been answered in Vaamika Island, (2013) 8 SCC 760, and (ii) that the distinguishing features sought to be projected, were not so material as to take a different view than the one taken therein. [Kapico Kerala Resorts (P) Ltd. v. State of Kerala, (2020) 3 SCC 18]

Labour Law — Termination of Service — Termination order — Validity — Non-receipt of termination order: Once termination order is issued and sent out to employee concerned, it must be held to have been communicated to him, no matter when he actually received it. Hence, appellant not entitled to dispute the termination order as not real or bona fide merely on the ground that he had not received it. [Rajneesh Khajuria v. Wockhardt Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 86]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — Ss. 166, 168 and 128 & 194-C — Compensation — Contributory negligence of victim — Requirements for invocation of principle of — Explained: In this case, deceased pillion rider riding on a motorcycle with two others (“tripling”) when hit by a car from behind, such pillion riding above the permissible limit not having causal connection with injury or accident. The Supreme Court held that the fact that deceased was riding pillion on a motorcycle along with driver and another beyond the permissible limit, may not, by itself, without anything more, make him guilty of contributory negligence, unless it is established that it contributed either to accident or to impact of accident upon victim. [Mohd. Siddique v. National Insurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 3 SCC 57]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 467 and 468 — Forgery for cheating: In this case, signature was forged by accused postman in delivery slip of registry, to steal envelope containing valuable security, which came for delivery at home. Evidence of handwriting experts was corroborated by evidence of person whose signature was forged. There was absence of any explanation by accused postman, raising presumption against him, as he came for delivery of aforesaid envelope and was the only person having knowledge of the same. Hence, conviction of accused under Ss. 467 and 468, confirmed. [Padum Kumar v. State of U.P., (2020) 3 SCC 35]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 86, 302 and 304 — Drunkenness when a defence or mitigating factor — Act(s) committed in state of voluntary drunkenness or intoxication: So far as knowledge is concerned, in cases of voluntary drunkenness, knowledge is to be presumed in the same manner as if there was no drunkenness. So far as intention is concerned, it must be gathered from the attending general circumstances of the case paying due regard to the degree of intoxication. Was the man beside his mind altogether for the time being? If so, it would not be possible to fix him with the requisite intention but if he had not gone so deep in drinking, and from the facts it could be found that he knew what he was about, the rule to be applied is that a man is presumed to intend the natural consequences of his act or acts. [Paul v. State of Kerala, (2020) 3 SCC 115]

Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 — S. 27(1)(a) — Jurisdiction of courts: A plain reading of S. 27 makes it clear that petition under DV Act can be filed in a court where “person aggrieved” permanently or temporarily resides or carries on business or is employed. In this case, respondent was residing with her parents within territorial limits of Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Bengaluru. Thus, in view of S. 27(1)(a), Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Bengaluru has jurisdiction to entertain complaint and take cognizance of offence. [Shyamlal Devda v. Parimala, (2020) 3 SCC 14]

Service Law — Appointment — Non-appointment/Denial of appointment/Right to appointment — Denial of appointment — Relief: In this case, non-grant of salary for period when there was no appointment as respondent had thus not worked, on principle of “no work no pay”was held, proper. Furthermore, held, consequential benefits in the form of post-retirement benefits could also not have been computed based on period for which there was no appointment. [State of U.P. v. Ali Hussain Ansari, (2020) 3 SCC 99]

Service Law — Pay — Pay scale, fixation and revision — Pay fixation: In this case, there was claim to grant of Selection Grade and Special Grade Scales of pay in bracket of Rs 5000- 8000 and Rs 5500-9000 respectively in terms of GOMs No. 162 dt. 13-4-1998 on grounds of parity by appellant drivers of State Government. Appellants were found not entitled to Selection Grade and Special Grade pay scales as claimed, hence held, appellants cannot claim such relief on grounds of parity. It is well settled that person cannot invoke Art. 14 of the Constitution to claim benefit on grounds of parity if he is not entitled to such benefit. [P. Singaravelan v. Collector, Tiruppur, (2020) 3 SCC 133]

Service Law — Suspension — Non-entitlement to salary for period of suspension: In this case, appellant was suspended on 29-7-2003 and reinstated on 10-9-2012. The substitution of punishment of dismissal by lesser punishment does not result in exoneration of appellant of charges framed against him. Further held, it is for disciplinary authority to decide how suspension period is to be treated. [Om Pal Singh v. Sarva U.P. Gramin Bank, (2020) 3 SCC 103]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Constitution of India — Arts. 25 and 26 — Religious practices — Funeral and death ceremonies as per Zoroastrian/Parsi religion: In this case, petitioner permitted, on compassionate grounds, to attend funeral prayers and death ceremonies of parents inside prayer hall of Bungli (Bungalow) of the Towers of Silence Complex at Valsad, as per memorandum of agreement between petitioner and respondents. This met immediate requirement of petitioner and her sisters. Others rights to be adjudicated at a later stage. [Goolrokh M. Gupta v. Burjor Pardiwala, (2020) 2 SCC 705]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 8 R. 1 — Power to condone delay in filing written statements beyond the prescribed period of 90 days qua non-commercial suits — Continuance of: The amendment to Or. 8 R. 1 CPC by the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 i.e. providing for mandatory nature of the timeline prescribed for filing of written statement and lack of discretion with courts to condone any delay, is not applicable to non-commercial suits. Post coming into force of the Commercial Courts Act, there are two regimes of civil procedure: whereas commercial disputes [as defined under S. 2(c) of the Commercial Courts Act] are governed by CPC as amended by S. 16 of the said Act, all other non-commercial disputes fall within the ambit of the unamended (or original) provisions of CPC. Further, as regards the timeline for filing of written statement in a non-commercial dispute, held, the unamended Or. 8 R. 1 CPC continues to be directory and does not do away with the inherent discretion of courts to condone certain delays. [Desh Raj v. Balkishan, (2020) 2 SCC 708]

Army Rules, 1954 — Rr. 180, 179, 182 and 22 — Procedure for enquiry where character of person subject to Act is involved: Proceedings of court of inquiry are in nature of fact-finding conducted at pre-investigation stage and accused is entitled to full opportunity to participate in proceedings. Further held, final order is on basis of trial by court martial and hence, irregularities at earlier stages cannot be basis for setting aside order passed by court martial. Where ground for non-compliance with R. 180 is raised by accused during framing of charge or during recording of summary of evidence, authorities have to rectify defect as compliance with procedure prescribed in R. 180 is obligatory. [Union of India v. Virendra Kumar, (2020) 2 SCC 714]

Service Law — Reinstatement/Back Wages/Arrears — Reinstatement without back wages — Removal for failure to join transferred place of posting: In this case, petitioner approached CAT after three years of order of removal and approached Supreme Court under Art. 32 of the Constitution after almost 9 yrs of accrual of cause of action. The Supreme Court held, considering that petitioner had directly approached Supreme Court under Art. 32 of the Constitution, it would not be appropriate to examine correctness of order of removal. However, considering that order of removal constitutes harsh disciplinary measure, in peculiar circumstances of case, in interest of justice order of Central Government to treat period of absence as “dies non” modified, and though petitioner held not entitled to arrears of salary for period of absence, his salary directed to be fixed by granting him notional increments as and when accrued. Since petitioner had failed to join his place of posting, nor did he approach Court at relevant time or even after his removal contemporarily conceding benefit of arrears of salary, seniority, continuity, etc. would not be fair. [Mangilal Kajodia v. Union of India, (2020) 2 SCC 723]

Service Law — Appointment — Compassionate appointment — Applicability of prevalent scheme vis-à-vis subsequent scheme: Claim for compassionate appointment must be decided only on basis of relevant scheme prevalent on date of demise of employee; subsequent scheme(s) cannot be looked into. [Indian Bank v. Promila, (2020) 2 SCC 729]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302: In this case, there was murder of wife in her own home past midnight when appellant was alone with her. Circumstantial evidence pointed to the guilt of appellant and there was no explanation of incriminating evidence. Defective investigation was held to be not vitiative of prosecution case, in present case, hence, conviction was confirmed. [Nawab v. State of Uttarakhand, (2020) 2 SCC 736]

Citizens, Migrants and Aliens — National Register of Citizens of India in State of Assam (NRC): In this case, Union of India was of view that children would not be separated from their parents who have been given citizenship through NRC. [Assam Public Works v. Union of India, (2020) 2 SCC 741]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 439 and 437 — Bail — Rejection and cancellation of — Distinction between: Rejection of bail stands on one footing but cancellation of bail is a harsh order because it interferes with liberty of individual and hence it must not be lightly resorted to. [Myakala Dharmarajam v. State of Telangana, (2020) 2 SCC 743]

Air Force Act, 1950 — S. 52(c) r/w Para 804(b) of Air Force Regulations, 1964 r/w Ss. 154 and 5 CrPC — Inapplicability of CrPC to matters covered by Air Force Act: In this case registration of FIR for alleged offence of theft and misappropriation of kerosene and diesel, committed by Air Force personnel from Diesel and Petrol Store of Air Force, held, was not mandatory since CrPC is inapplicable to matters covered by Air Force Act which is a special law conferring jurisdiction and powers on court martial. Finding recorded by Tribunal that it was mandatory for authorities to report offences to civil police for registration of FIR, unsustainable. Para 804(b) of Regulations makes it clear that reporting of offence of theft to civil police is optional and only when circumstances warrant, competent authority may do so. [Union of India v. Chandra Bhushan Yadav, (2020) 2 SCC 747]

Infrastructure Laws — Telecommunication Laws — Telecom Agreement/Telecom Licence/Spectrum Allocation/Scams/Auction/Licence Fees: In this case, Respondent licensees’ liability towards payment of deferred spectrum charges, in May 2018, was to the tune of Rs 774.25 crores. Since these deferred instalment charges could not be made within the time granted, the Union encashed bank guarantees to the tune of Rs 908.91 crores as against the actual amount of Rs 774.25 crores. In this case, rejecting the contention of the Union that there were subsequent defaults or short payments in respect of liability towards later periods, held, that there was no rationale for the Union to resist the demand for refund of excess amounts. Thus, the order of TDSAT directing Union to return the unadjusted amount of Rs 104.34 crores, upheld. [Union of India v. Reliance Communication Ltd., (2020) 2 SCC 756]

Education Law — Employment and Service Matters re Educational Institutions — Appointment/Recruitment — Right to appointment — Appointment to post of Vice-Principal: In this case there was selection of respondent-petitioner by the Selection Committee for appointment as Vice-Principal approved by governing body but rejected by University vide letter dt. 13-1-2006 since prior approval of University as mandated by Cl. 4(4) of Delhi University Ordinance XVIII was not taken and also manner in which College was appointing Acting Principal. The Supreme Court held that though Cl. 4(4) mandates that prior approval from University before making appointment must be taken but on most occasions it was noticed that approval had been granted post facto. In such circumstances, rejection of respondent’s appointment was not justified, more so, when his candidature was approved by governing body and he was eligible. Further, resolution of expanded governing body of College dt. 29-2-2016 noting that respondent-petitioner was illegally holding post of Acting Principal and hence, recommending appointment of seniormost teacher as Principal was to deny respondent benefit of appointment of Vice-Principal to which he was entitled. Furthermore, apprehension that if respondent becomes Acting Principal by virtue of being Vice-Principal, he would not allow appointment of regular Principal baseless since it is only when appellants fail in their duty to appoint Principal, Cl. 7(3) of Ordinance XVIII would be applicable and respondent entitled to act as Principal in terms thereof — Respondent entitled to be appointed as regular Vice-Principal. [Swami Shraddhanand College v. Amar Nath Jha, (2020) 2 SCC 761]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 227 — Discharge of accused — When warranted — Scope of S. 227 CrPC:Relevant considerations by court at that stage, discussed. Governing principles regarding permissibility of defence of accused or documents produced by him, summarized. [M.E. Shivalingamurthy v. CBI, (2020) 2 SCC 768]

Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007 — Ss. 30, 15 and 3(f) — Appellate jurisdiction of Supreme Court — Scope of interference with order of substituted punishment passed by Tribunal: Supreme Court in exercise of its appellate jurisdiction under S. 30, held, would be slow in interfering with substituted punishment unless order passed by Tribunal is patently illegal, warranting interference. [Union of India v. R. Karthik, (2020) 2 SCC 782]

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 — Ss. 2(33), 2(45), 2(54), 14, 15, 19 and 21 — “Heinous offence” — What is: Only those offences which prescribe minimum sentence of 7 yrs or more can be regarded as heinous offences. Offences not providing minimum sentence of 7 yrs, held, cannot be treated as heinous offences. Offences prescribing maximum sentence of more than 7 yrs but not providing any minimum sentence or providing minimum sentence of less than 7 yrs’ imprisonment, held, are not covered by S. 2(33). In exercise of power under Art. 142 of the Constitution, held, such offences shall be treated as “serious offences” within meaning of S. 2(54) till Parliament steps in to make provisions clearer. When two views are possible, one in favour of children is to be preferred. [Shilpa Mittal v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 2 SCC 787]

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 — S. 7-A — Juvenility — Effect of rejection of plea of: The plea of juvenility cannot be reagitated. S. 7-A of the JJ Act stipulates that an application can be filed before any court at any stage including the stage after the final disposal of the petition. However, once a convict has chosen to take the plea of juvenility before Magistrate, High Court and also before the Supreme Court and the said plea has been rejected up to Supreme Court, the petitioner cannot be allowed to reagitate the plea of juvenility by filing fresh application under S. 7-A of the JJ Act. [Pawan Kumar Gupta v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 2 SCC 803]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Constitution of India — Arts. 32, 136, 137 and 226 — Judicial review — Disputes involving government contracts: Determination of pricing is not the function of courts, particularly in defence contracts.  Such issues cannot be dealt with by courts on mere suspicion of persons approaching it. Judicial review does not permit re-appreciation of materials. Court cannot sit in judgment over wisdom of Government. [Yashwant Sinha v. CBI, (2020) 2 SCC 338]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 8 R. 6-A — Counterclaim: Court has discretionary power to consider belated counterclaim filed after submission of written statement. Balanced approach of court in exercise of discretionary power where counter-claim is filed after submission of written statement, stressed. Factors to be considered for exercise of discretionary power, illustrated. Once issues have been framed, further held (per curiam), court cannot entertain belated counterclaim filed after submission of written statement. [Ashok Kumar Kalra v. Surendra Agnihotri, (2020) 2 SCC 394]

Service Law — Transfer of Employee/Service — Rights/Entitlements on Transfer: In this case there was transfer of 15 regular employees from Kandla Port Trust (KPT) to FCI w.e.f. 1-1-1973. They claimed parity by remaining 306 work-charged employees of KPT who were also transferred to FCI. Tribunal directed FCI (Respondent 1) to give option to 15 employees to elect revised pay scales under S. 12-A(4) of 1964 Act. The Supreme Court held that distinction between regular employee and work-charged employee cannot be ignored. Relief granted by Tribunal was also restricted to 15 workmen who were regular employees. Besides, office order dt. 18-9-1973 transferring employees working in KPT to FCI also shows that regular employees and work-charged employees were treated differently. Even assuming that workcharged employees also had to be appointed in FCI, they cannot claim parity with regular employees, that too in 1996 after having accepted appointment in FCI as per office order dt. 18-9-1973. [Kandla Port Workers Union v. Food Corpn. of India, (2020) 2 SCC 419]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/149, 147 and 148 — Murder — Testimony of interested eyewitnesses — When may be relied on: In this case, clear, cogent and almost identical testimony of interested eyewitnesses (there being previous enmity) was fully corroborated by medical evidence. There was prompt FIR and no reason to doubt prosecution case, hence, reversal of acquittal, confirmed. [Ramji Singh v. State of U.P., (2020) 2 SCC 425]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 456 — Housebreaking by night — Acquittal by Tribunal, reversed: In instant case, it was held that the judgment of Tribunal acquitting respondent-accused cannot be sustained since Tribunal erred in ignoring material evidence on record and blowing out of proportion minor contradictions in testimonies of S (person into whose house accused had broken into at night) since there was ring of truth in her evidence and no reason for her to falsely implicate respondent. Besides, it also failed to consider consistent testimonies of other witnesses who spoke about occurrence. Moreover, it ignored material evidence on record like photograph of bruises on both arms of respondent and opinion of doctor which lent support to prosecution version. Thus, there was sufficient material on record clearly pointing to guilt of respondent. Tribunal erred in interfering with judgment of conviction passed by SCM. Judgment of SCM imposing punishment of dismissal and reduction in rank restored. However, it was directed that sentence of imprisonment imposed would be modified to period already undergone. [Union of India v. Dafadar Kartar Singh, (2020) 2 SCC 437]

Constitution of India — Arts. 226 and 32 — Maintainability of writ petition — Alternative remedy/Exhaustion of remedies: Principle that High Court should not exercise its extraordinary writ jurisdiction when efficacious alternative remedy is available is a rule of prudence and not rule of law. Existence of such remedy does not mean that jurisdiction of High Court is ousted. Rule of alternative remedy is a rule of discretion and not rule of jurisdiction. Merely because court may not exercise its jurisdiction is no ground to hold that it has no jurisdiction. In relation to orders passed by Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), High Court would be justified in exercising its writ jurisdiction because of some glaring illegality committed by AFT. Besides, alternative remedy must also be efficacious. To expect a Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) or Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) to approach Supreme Court in every case may not be justified because it is extremely difficult and beyond monetary reach of ordinary litigant to approach Supreme Court. Thus, exercise of writ jurisdiction against orders of AFT is within discretion of High Court and there cannot be blanket ban on exercise of such jurisdiction. [Balkrishna Ram v. Union of India, (2020) 2 SCC 442]

Constitution of India — Arts. 137, 141 and 142 — Curative petition against death sentence — Maintainability — Nirbhaya Gang Rape Case: As petitions were not within parameters of law laid down in Rupa Ashok Hurra, (2002) 4 SCC 388, curative petitions dismissed. Along with it, applications for oral hearing and stay on execution of death sentence were also rejected. [Akshay Kumar Singh v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 2 SCC 454]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 11(6-A) [as ins. in 2015] and 16 — Appointment of arbitrator and jurisdiction of arbitrator: Law summarised regarding exercise of power under S. 11 before 2015 Amendment and after Amendment. Doctrine of kompetenz-kompetenz and its limitations, explained. Consideration of preliminary objections such as limitation, etc. by Court at pre-reference stage, after insertion of S. 11(6-A) is not permissible. After the insertion of S. 11(6-A), issue of limitation, which is a jurisdictional issue, held, is to be decided by arbitrator. [Uttarakhand Purv Sainik Kalyan Nigam Ltd. v. Northern Coal Field Ltd., (2020) 2 SCC 455]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 11(6) — Appointment of arbitrator by court, in terms of arbitration agreement as opposed to appointment ignoring arbitration agreement — Necessity of: When agreement specifically provides for appointment of named arbitrators, appointment should be in terms of agreement, unless there are exceptional reasons for departing from agreement procedure for appointment of arbitrator, as per settled principles. [Union of India v. Pradeep Vinod Construction Co., (2020) 2 SCC 464]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 301 and 225 r/w S. 24(8) proviso and S. 311 — Extent of right of victim’s counsel to assist the prosecution: The same is not restricted only to assisting Special Public Prosecutors. Rather, assistance given by the victim’s counsel is meant to be given to the prosecution in general, regardless of who exactly is leading it. Further held, extent of assistance by victim’s counsel to Public Prosecutor and manner of giving it would depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. Though all possible scenarios that may arise during a criminal prosecution cannot be detailed and discussed, a victim’s counsel should ordinarily not be given the right to make oral arguments or examine and cross-examine witnesses. The balance inherent in the scheme of CrPC should not be tampered with, and the prime role accorded to the Public Prosecutor should not be diluted. Even if there is a situation where the Public Prosecutor fails to highlight some issue(s) of importance despite the same having been suggested by the victim’s counsel, the victim’s counsel may still not be given the unbridled mantle of making oral arguments or examining witnesses. If the victim’s counsel finds that the Public Prosecutor has not examined a witness properly and not incorporated his suggestions either, he may bring certain questions to the notice of the court. If the Judge finds merit in them, he may take action accordingly by invoking his powers under S. 311 CrPC or S. 165 of the Evidence Act, 1872. [Rekha Murarka v. State of W.B., (2020) 2 SCC 474]

Local Government — Town Planning — Development permission/FSI charges/Change of land use — Rate of prevalent FSI (Floor Space Index) charges — Determination of: Mere pendency of the application for planning permission does not create a vested right in an applicant and right accrues only when the permission/sanction is granted by the Government/authorities concerned. Further, until and unless an application complete in all respects is approved, it remains a mere application and no right can be claimed on the basis of such an application. Thus, the rates prevailing at the time of granting of permission are the rates which an applicant has to pay. [Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority v. D. Rajan Dev, (2020) 2 SCC 483]

Service Law — Pension — Entitlement to pension — Period of interruption of service — Non-consideration of for purposes of pension — Propriety: In this case, appellant was appointed on 8-5-1970 as Proof Reader, seeking voluntary retirement on 1-2-1988, but subsequently reappointed on 3-8-1994 pursuant to recommendations of Education Minister. There was prayer for adding period of interruption of service between 1-2-1988 and 3-8-1994 i.e. more than six years for grant of pension. In terms of R. 4.23, Punjab Civil Service Rules, Vol. II as applicable to State of Haryana, period of interruption of one year service could be condoned for grant of pensionary benefits. Appellant’s request for relaxation from R. 4.23 was not acceded to by Government. Hence, it was held that refusal by respondent for adding period of interruption for pensionary benefit cannot be faulted with. Further held, appellant’s period after fresh appointment from 3-8-1994 being less than qualifying service of 10 years, he was not entitled for pension. [Surinder Nath Kesar v. Board of School Education, (2020) 2 SCC 499]

Service Law — Penalty/Punishment — Competent authority — Regns. 4(h) and 5(3) of Canara Bank Officers and Employees (Discipline and Appeal) Regulations, 1976: In this case, punishment of compulsory retirement was imposed by General Manager while disciplinary proceedings was initiated by DGM as disciplinary authority. In terms of Regn. 5(3), disciplinary authority or any other authority higher than it, may impose penalties specified in Regn. 4. Hence it was held that Division Bench erred in holding that General Manager being an authority higher to disciplinary authority could not exercise power of disciplinary authority and impose punishment. Order of Single Judge remitting matter to authorised appellate authority for reconsideration of appeal was restored. [Canara Bank v. Kameshwar Singh, (2020) 2 SCC 507]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 or S. 304 [S. 300 Thirdly and Exception 4] — Murder or culpable homicide not amounting to murder: In this case, there was sudden fight on the spur of the moment and premeditation or intention to kill deceased or to cause the very injury which ultimately led to death of deceased, was absent. All ingredients of S. 300 Exception 4 were satisfied in this case. Hence, it was held that offence committed in this case was not murder but culpable homicide not amounting to murder. [Ananta Kamilya v. State of W.B., (2020) 2 SCC 511]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 389 — Suspension of sentence — Conditional order of suspension of sentence: When suspension of sentence by trial court is granted on a condition, non-compliance with that condition has adverse effect on continuance of suspension of sentence. Court which has suspended the sentence on a condition, after noticing non-compliance with that condition can very well hold that suspension of sentence stands vacated due to non-compliance. [Surinder Singh Deswal v. Virender Gandhi, (2020) 2 SCC 514]

Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965 (2 of 1965) — S. 11(4)(i) — Tenant sub-letting entire leased premises or any part thereof when lease deed does not confer such powers: Landlord, held, obtains right to seek eviction of tenant from entire premises even if part only of the leased premises is sublet. If one tenancy is created it would not be appropriate to pass eviction order only in respect of part thereof. Hence, in such circumstances, eviction order must be passed in respect of the entire premises. When tenant transfers his rights under lease and sublets entire building or any portion thereof without lease conferring such right on him to do so, then cause arises for eviction. Under such circumstances, landlord should send a registered notice to tenant intimating contravention of said condition of lease. When tenant fails to terminate transfer or sub-lease, as the case may be, within thirty days of receipt of notice, application for eviction can be made by landlord. Sub-letting of any part of tenanted premises gives right to eviction from whole premises. If one tenancy is created it would not be appropriate to pass eviction order only in respect of part thereof but eviction order must be passed in respect of whole premises. [K. Lubna v. Beevi, (2020) 2 SCC 524]

Rent Control and Eviction — Sub-Letting/Sub-Tenant/Sub-Tenancy — Unauthorised sub-letting as a ground for eviction — Subletting by tenant — Proof of: Defence of tenant that he was a partner in the concern in possession of the property let is rejected, when same is to conceal the real transaction of sub-letting. Inducting a partner or partners in business or profession by a tenant by itself does not amount to sub-letting, however, if the purpose of such partnership is ostensible and a deed of partnership is drawn to conceal real transaction of sub-letting, court may tear the veil of partnership to find out real nature of transaction entered into by tenant. [A. Mahalakshmi v. Bala Venkatram, (2020) 2 SCC 531]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 17 r/w Ss. 2(2) & 2(4) and S. 9(3) — Power of Arbitral Tribunal to grant interim relief in cases of statutory arbitrations under other Acts, such as under the Gujarat Act, 1992 — Applicability of Pt. I [Ss. 17 and 9 (3)] of the A&C Act: S. 17 of the 1996 Act is not inconsistent with the Gujarat Public Works Contracts Disputes Arbitration Tribunal Act, 1992, and thus as per S. 2(4) of the A&C Act, the same is applicable for granting interim relief under Gujarat Act. Furthermore, by application of S. 9(3) of the A&C Act, proper forum for grant of interim relief would be Arbitral Tribunal once it is constituted, and not Court. Moreover, grant of interim relief by High Court exercising writ jurisdiction under Art. 226 of the Constitution is impermissible when such relief can be granted by the Arbitral Tribunal. [State of Gujarat v. Amber Builders, (2020) 2 SCC 540]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — Ss. 163-A and 147: Claim petition under S. 163-A, held, not maintainable by borrower/permissive user of vehicle against owner and/or insurer of said vehicle, as such borrower/permissive user steps into shoes of owner, and owner cannot both be claimant and recipient. In a claim under S. 163-A, deceased/victim has to be a third party in relation to vehicle in question. Mere own-use of motor vehicle by owner/borrower/permissive user does not entitle such person(s) to maintain S. 163-A petition against insurer of their own/borrowed vehicle. Owner/borrower/permissive users are not “third parties” in relation to their own/borrowed vehicle and hence are not covered by statutory insurance under S. 147. Thus, claim of owner/borrower/permissive user would be limited to personal accident coverage re own-use of the vehicle, if any, strictly as per contract of insurance covering the borrowed vehicle. [Ramkhiladi v. United India Insurance Co., (2020) 2 SCC 550]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Service Law — Appointment — Criteria for appointment: Requisite educational qualifications of the candidate need not be possessed in one certificate, and certificates obtained by candidate can be considered cumulatively. [Rajesh Kumar Dwivedi v. State of U.P., (2020) 2 SCC 167]

Service Law — Reservation/Concession/Exemption/Relaxation and Affirmative Action: Revised requisition dt. 20-8-2014 and OM dt. 12-10-2014 by State of U.P. notifying revised vacancies in different categories of a particular subordinate service was held valid since it was only intended to rectify wrongful calculation of number of vacancies in different categories and to comply with requisite percentage of quota of reservation in different categories as per 1994 Act. [Anupal Singh v. State of U.P., (2020) 2 SCC 173]

Rent Control and Eviction — Arrears of Rent/Default/Tender of Rent/Striking off Defence — Default in payment of rent — Disputed questions of fact: In this case, there was remand to Rent Controller to decide the disputed questions of fact based on evidence. The Supreme Court fixed provisional rent to be paid pending final disposal of proceedings by Rent Controller. Tenant also directed to furnish tangible security to Rent Controller, so that if case is decided against tenant, landlord does not have to run after him to collect money. [Espire Infolabs (P) Ltd. v. Sadhana Foundation, (2020) 2 SCC 214]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 228 — Framing of charge: At time of framing charges, only prima facie case is to be seen and whether case is beyond reasonable doubt, is not to be seen at such stage. Court has to see if there is sufficient ground for proceeding against accused. While evaluating materials, strict standard of proof is not required; only prima facie case against accused is to be seen. Judge is not required to record detailed reasons as to why such charge is framed. On perusal of record and hearing of parties, if Judge is of opinion that there is sufficient ground for presuming that accused has committed offence triable by Court of Session, he shall frame charge against accused for such offence. [Bhawna Bai v. Ghanshyam, (2020) 2 SCC 217]

Consumer Protection — Consumer/Consumer Dispute/Locus Standi — Subrogation/Assignment of Consumer Claims: Complaint filed by insurer as a subrogee of consumer, held, maintainable. Further held that the hotel-owner cannot contract out of liability for its negligence or that of its servants in respect of a vehicle of its guest in any circumstance and once possession of vehicle is handed to hotel staff or valet, there is an implied contractual obligation to return vehicle in a safe condition upon direction of owner. However, it would not be proper to impose a standard of strict liability upon hotel owners i.e. hotel cannot be made strictly liable for safety of vehicles, in all situations without proof of negligence on its part. Thus, in cases where such a bailment relationship is found to exist between hotel and its guest, prima facie liability rule should be applied in respect of vehicles so bailed to the hotel. [Taj Mahal Hotel v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 2 SCC 224]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 397 — Dacoity — Circumstantial evidence: In this case of dacoity, evidence as to alleged incriminating conduct of accused, was held not reliable and recovery of stolen articles was also found doubtful. The fingerprints report was not reliable and co-accused was granted acquittal. Hence, acquittal of appellant was restored. [Nagaraja v. State of Karnataka, (2020) 2 SCC 257]

Consumer Protection — Consumer/Consumer Dispute/Locus Standi — “Commercial purpose”: Law clarified regarding what is “commercial purpose”. The principles for determination of “commercial purpose, also summarized. Negative test that every transaction which does not fall within ambit of “earning livelihood by means of self-employment” would necessarily be for a commercial purpose, held, not the correct approach. Rather, correct approach is to see whether purchaser of goods and services, be it a commercial entity or not, has purchased the same for their own personal use and consumption or for the personal use and consumption of some other beneficiary, and such purchase does not have a close and direct nexus to ordinary profit-generating activities of the purchaser nor dominant intention or purpose of transaction was profit generation for the purchaser and/or their beneficiary. [Lilavati Kirtilal Mehta Medical Trust v. Unique Shanti Developers, (2020) 2 SCC 265]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 19 r/w S. 34: Non-granting of opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses is not a ground to set aside the award, when parties had agreed to such procedure. There is estoppel against challenging agreed upon procedure and raising contention of misconduct on part of arbitrator for having following agreed upon procedure. [Jagjeet Singh Lyallpuri v. Unitop Apartments & Builders Ltd., (2020) 2 SCC 279]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 228 and 227 — Framing of charge: Principles to be followed by court for framing of charge, summarized. There must be appreciation of material available on record at the stage of framing of charge. Grave suspicion, reiterated, is enough for framing of charges. [State (NCT of Delhi) v. Shiv Charan Bansal, (2020) 2 SCC 290]

Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act, 1971 (1 of 1972) — S. 50 — Employees’ dues recoverable as arrears of land revenue — Non-priority of, over charge of secured creditor: Merely by virtue of being recoverable as arrears of land revenue, the employees’ dues, in respect of which a recovery certificate had been issued by the Industrial Court, cannot be treated as a paramount charge in terms of S. 169(1) of the Land Revenue Code and under S. 169(2) they would take precedence only over unsecured claims. [Maharashtra State Coop. Bank Ltd. v. Babulal Lade, (2020) 2 SCC 310]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 319 and 173 — Summoning a person as additional accused — Effect of protest petition not having been filed at S. 173 stage by complainant/informant: The fact that a protest petition had not been filed by appellant complainant when the report was submitted under S. 173 CrPC did not render court powerless to exercise its powers under S. 319 CrPC on the basis of evidence which had emerged during trial. The exercise of discretion by trial Judge to summon second respondent fulfilled the requirements of S. 319 CrPC and was consistent with the parameters laid down by the Supreme Court. Thus, order passed by trial Judge, allowing application and issuing summons to second respondent under S. 319 CrPC, restored. [Saeeda Khatoon Arshi v. State of U.P., (2020) 2 SCC 323]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

A tribute to Dr Shamnad Basheer: This article is a tribute to Dr Shamnad Basheer, an Indian legal scholar and founder of the blog SpicyIP. He was also the founder of IDIA, a trust which works on making legal education accessible for underprivileged students. Dr Shamnad Basheer was also a Ministry of Human Resource Development Chaired Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the WBNUJS, Kolkata. [In Memory Of Shamnad Basheererby Ruma Pal, (2020) 1 SCC (J-1)]

A tribute to Dr Shamnad Basheer: This article is also a tribute to Dr Shamnad Basheer, an Indian legal scholar and founder of the blog SpicyIP. He was also the founder of IDIA, a trust which works on making legal education accessible for underprivileged students. Dr Shamnad Basheer was also a Ministry of Human Resource Development Chaired Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the WBNUJS, Kolkata. [Shamnad: An Exceptional Scholar And Humanistst by Mahendra Pal Singh, (2020) 1 SCC (J-3)]

Criminal responsibility with and without mens rea: Jerom Hall’s rationalisations of the mens rea doctrine have virtually turned it into a cardinal tenet of criminal liability that continues to dominate the criminal liability thinking to the present day. But in the post industrialised societies the growing spectre of objective criminal liability and increasing incidence of strict liability are posing a tough challenge to the mens rea hegemony. Apart from the challenges that emerge from the traditions and the legislative initiatives, the most powerful critique of mens rea has come from the thoughts and writings of Lady Barbara Wootton, whose anti-mens rea thesis have posed a ground level challenge. As against Lady Barbara Wootton’s preventive, non-punitive and pro-strict liability conceptualisation of criminal responsibility, Professor H.L.A. Hart, as a traditionalist, upholds the punitive criminal law system that is strongly anchored on a guilty mind or mens rea element. In this article, the author has discussed the Hart/Wootton debate about criminal responsibility without mens rea and the implications for the common law offences in the United Kingdom and Penal Code and statutory law offences in India. [The Hart/Wootton debate about criminal responsibility without mens rea: Implications for the common law offences in the United Kingdom and Penal Code and statutory law offences in India by Professor B.B. Pande, (2020) 1 SCC (J-8)]

Cheque proceedings against a company during insolvency proceedings: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal recently in Shah Bros. Ispat (P) Ltd. v. P. Mohanraj, 2018 SCC OnLine NCLAT 415, approved parallel continuation of proceedings under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 against a company subjected to moratorium while undergoing resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. The decision of NCLAT raises multiple issues ranging from an apparent conflict between the NI Act and the IB Code to practical impossibilities in allowing both the proceedings to continue simultaneously. The object of the article is to discuss the legal problems that may arise in light of the decision in Shah Bros. Ispat case, and why the decision needs to be revisited in light of the settled law. [Cheque proceedings against a company during insolvency proceedings – A legal complication by Akaant Kumar Mittal, (2020) 1 SCC (J-23)]

Emergency arbitration: The concept of an emergency arbitrator involves a mechanism by which a party to an arbitration agreement who wishes to seek an urgent pro tem or protective measure may apply for appointment of an arbitrator even before the constitution of the Arbitral Tribunal. This is usually done to secure the disputed amount or property, prevent disclosure of proprietary information, or preserve evidence before it is destroyed. In this article, the author has discussed the history of the practice of emergency arbitration, its status around the world and in India and the issues surrounding enforcement of their awards. The author has also suggested that merely having emergency arbitrator within the ambit of “Arbitral Tribunal” is not sufficient and measures should be taken to make the practice of an emergency arbitrator more effective.[ Emergency arbitrators and the issues surrounding enforcement of their awards: An Indian perspective by Vardaan Bajaj, (2020) 1 SCC (J-30)]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Constitution of India — Arts. 137, 142, 145(3), 25 and 26 — Scope of review jurisdiction: In review petitions and writ petitions questioning judgments of majority Judges in Sabarimala Temple, (2019) 11 SCC 1, having regard to the issues raised, the recurring issues pertaining to rights flowing from Arts. 25 and 26 referred to a larger Bench of appropriate size, of not less than seven Judges, in exercise of Court’s plenary power to do complete and substantial justice, to instill public confidence and to effectuate principle underlying Art. 145(3). Hence, directed review petitions as well as the writ petitions questioning judgments of majority Judges in Sabarimala Temple, (2019) 11 SCC 1, may, accordingly, remain pending until determination of the questions indicated herein by the larger Bench as may be constituted by the Chief Justice of India. Further observed, issues raised in other pending writ petitions, relating to entry of Muslim women into dargah/mosque, Parsi women married to non-Parsis into Agyari and practice of female genital mutilation in Dawoodi Bohra Community, may be overlapping and covered by the judgment under review. Prospect of the issues arising in these latter cases being referred to larger Benches cannot be ruled out. Thus, the common and recurring issues concerning interpretation of Arts. 25 and 26, which the larger Bench may consider, enumerated. [Kantaru Rajeevaru (Sabarimala Temple Review-5 J.) v. Indian Young Lawyers Assn., (2020) 2 SCC 1]

Constitution of India — Art. 32 — Transfer of investigation: Plea for transfer of investigation from State Police to independent Central agency was rejected, as there was no material to doubt propriety or efficacy of investigation conducted by State Police. Moreover, adequate protection had been granted to petitioner and her family by court concerned. [ABCD v. Union of India, (2020) 2 SCC 52]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302 and 323: In appeal against acquittal in respect of charge under S. 302, when accused had been convicted only under S. 323, interference, held, not warranted when accused had already served more than 14 yrs’ imprisonment. [State of M.P. v. Amar Lal, (2020) 2 SCC 64]

Environment Law — Development Projects — Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2006, bearing S.O. 1533 — Paras 2 and 7 — Interpretation of: Objectives of EIA Notification, clarified. The amendment of environmental clearance (EC) which had already been granted, for expansion of projects, is not permissible. Fresh clearance can be obtained from authorities for expansion, held, only by following procedure laid down under Para 7(ii). Mandatory nature thereof, emphasized. [Keystone Realtors (P) Ltd. v. Anil V. Tharthare, (2020) 2 SCC 66]

Criminal Trial — Circumstantial Evidence — Links in the chain of circumstances: In this case, deceased victim was strangulated to death and her face was burnt with acid beyond recognition. Motive behind murder, stood established and testimonies of witnesses, was held trustworthy. Conduct of accused persons after murder was found suspicious. Disclosure statement of one of accused led to recovery of half empty bottle of acid, used for disfigurement of face of deceased, with intention to avoid identification of dead body. Even though witness of last seen could not identify accused persons in court as persons who threw jute bag (containing body of deceased), fact that jute bag was thrown by a man and a woman on TVS motorcycle is relevant in chain of events in support of prosecution case. Extra-judicial confession of one of accused stood supported by medical evidence. Prosecution proved chain of circumstances to prove guilt of accused persons, hence, conviction was confirmed. [Darshan Singh v. State of Punjab, (2020) 2 SCC 78]

Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 — Ss. 17, 7 and 13 — Persons authorized to investigate: Investigation by police officers of Inspector rank is only an irregularity. Unless such irregularity resulted in causing prejudice, conviction will not be vitiated and bad in law. [Vinod Kumar Garg v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 2 SCC 88]

 Infrastructure Laws — Carriage by Air/Aircraft and Airports — Air Safety Measures: For control of vector borne diseases on aircraft, directions issued regarding disinfecting of aircraft. Expert Committee appointed to make enquiry into the various issues involved and report to the Court for further action. [InterGlobe Aviation Ltd. v. Union of India, (2020) 2 SCC 103]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 37 r/w S. 34: Delay beyond the period of 120 days in filing an appeal under S. 37 is non-condonable. Following the ruling in Varindera Constructions Ltd., (2020) 2 SCC 111, held, any delay beyond 120 days in the filing of an appeal under S. 37 from an application being either dismissed or allowed under S. 34 cannot be allowed. Further, clarified that the said period of 120 days, comprises of a grace period of 30 days under S. 5 of the Limitation Act added to the prescribed period of 90 days. [N.V. International v. State of Assam, (2020) 2 SCC 109]

Consumer Protection — Consumer/Consumer Dispute/Locus Standi — Generally: In case of self-contributory scheme for the benefit of employees run by a trust and not the employer, service provider was the trust, and not the employer. Hence, held, the employer cannot be held liable as service provider under Consumer Protection Act. [ONGC v. Consumer Education Research Society, (2020) 2 SCC 113]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 439 — Bail — Proper exercise of discretionary power: It is a sound exercise of judicial discipline for an order granting or rejecting bail to record the reasons which have weighed with the court for the exercise of its discretionary power. Furthermore, where an order refusing or granting bail does not furnish the reasons that inform the decision, there is a presumption of non-application of mind. Where an earlier application for bail has been rejected, there is a higher burden on the appellate court to furnish specific reasons as to why bail should be granted. [Mahipal v. Rajesh Kumar, (2020) 2 SCC 118]

Service Law — Departmental Enquiry — Judicial review/Validity — Judicial review — Scope — Departmental enquiry vis-à-vis criminal proceedings — Standard of proof: Interference with orders passed pursuant to departmental enquiry can only be in case of “no evidence”. Sufficiency of evidence is not within realm of judicial review. [State of Bihar v. Phulpari Kumari, (2020) 2 SCC 130]

Armed Forces — Pension — One Rank One Pension (OROP) — Entitlement to: In this case, respondents working in non-gazetted posts in Department of Posts under GoI, sent on deputation in Army Postal Service (APS) and retiring from APS on attaining age of superannuation, are entitled to OROP, if any. [Union of India v. Om Dutt Sharma, (2020) 2 SCC 133]

Service Law — Seniority — Determination of seniority: In this case, Regn. 20 of the U.P. Jal Nigam Subordinate Engineering Service Regulations, 1978, mandated appointing authority to make appointments from candidates in order in which they stand in list prepared under Regns. 16(2), 17 or 18 while Regn. 23 provided that seniority of employees would be as per date of substantive appointment. The Supreme Court held that appointment in Regn. 23 must be read in terms of Regn. 20 mandating manner of appointment. Hence, irrespective of date of appointment, seniority has to be fixed as per merit of candidate determined by Selection Committee. Further held, Regn. 6 contemplates that reservation of candidates shall be in accordance with government orders and thus, Government Order dt. 31-8-2001 becomes applicable to determine extent of reservation which includes method of fixing seniority as well i.e. seniority was to be determined as per roster fixed under Regn. 6. Further, argument that seniority has to be fixed as per R. 5 of Uttarakhand Government Servant Seniority Service Rules, 2002, liable to be rejected since 2002 Rules were made applicable only in the year 2011. Seniority directed to be recast in order of merit by assigning seniority as per roster points stipulated in Circular dt. 31-8-2001. [Dharmendra Prasad v. Sunil Kumar, (2020) 2 SCC 146]

Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 — S. 19 — Retired public servant — Non-entitlement to protection under S. 19 of PC Act: Protection under S 19 of PC Act is available to a public servant only till he is in employment and no sanction thereunder is necessary after the public servant has demitted office or has retired from service.  As regards sanction under S. 197 CrPC, for an action to come within purview of S. 197 CrPC, it must be integrally connected with official duties or functions of public servant concerned, and if the office was merely used as a cloak to indulge in activities which result in unlawful gain to the beneficiaries, the protection under said S. 197 CrPC would not be available. [CBI v. B.A. Srinivasan, (2020) 2 SCC 153]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923 — S. 4 r/w Sch. IV — Compensation — Quantum — Computation of — Functional disability — Estimation of: In this case, appellant driver of heavy vehicles, aged 33 yrs at time of accident, earning Rs 4000 p.m., was permanently incapacitated consequent to injury on his right leg resulting in complete disability to continue his vocation, besides losing prospect of securing other manual labour job since he required assistance to ensure his mobility and could walk only with help of walking stick. Assessing his functional disability at 100%, considering income of Rs 4000 p.m., and applying relevant factor of 201.66, the Supreme Court held that the appellant was entitled to compensation amounting to Rs 4,83,984 with interest @ 6% p.a. from date of accident till date of payment. [Chanappa Nagappa Muchalagoda v. New India Insurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 1 SCC 796]

Courts, Tribunals and Judiciary — JudiciaryJudicial misconduct/corruption/offences — Error of judgment in decision-making — When punishable/cannot be condoned: Standard or yardstick for judging conduct of judicial officer, held, given the nature of the office, necessarily strict. Dispensation of justice is not only an onerous duty but also a pious one and hence, standards of probity, conduct, integrity that may be relevant for performance of other job is higher for judicial officer who holds office of public trust. Standard or yardstick for judging conduct of judicial officer has therefore to be necessarily strict. However, that does not mean that every inadvertent flow or error would make judicial officer culpable. Bona fide error may need correction or counselling but conduct which creates perception beyond ordinary cannot be countenanced. For a trained legal mind, judicial order speaks for itself. [Ram Murti Yadav v. State of U.P., (2020) 1 SCC 801]

Armed Forces — Promotion — Permanent Secondment in Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA) — Consideration of Technical Assessment Reports (TARs) — Dispensation with in view of OM dt. 12-5-2011 superseding OM dt. 8-4-2004: In terms of OM dt. 8-4-2004, consideration for Permanent Secondment to DGQA was based on TARs. In OM dt. 12-5- 2011, no reference to TARs was made while stipulating large number of criteria for consideration for Permanent Secondment to DGQA. Cl. 4 of OM dt. 12-5-2011 specifically stated that said memorandum superseded all previous instructions/guidelines applicable. Hence, the Supreme Court held that OM dt. 12-5-2011 superseded OM dt. 8-4-2004 and TARs could not be considered for Permanent Secondment in DGQA. Submission that OM dt. 8-4-2004 was in nature of executive instructions approved by Raksha Mantri and continued to apply liable to be rejected since OM dt. 12-5-2011 was also in nature of executive instruction issued with approval of Raksha Mantri and it must be assumed that authorities who issued subsequent OM were aware of earlier one. [Union of India v. Sameer Singh, (2020) 1 SCC 809]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Government Grants, Largesse, Public Property and Public Premises — Transfer of lease/allotted plot: In this case, industrial land was given to the original allottee at a price fixed by Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (BIADA). The Supreme Court held that when the allottee transfers and gets something more for the land and the market value as reflected in the circle rate is much more than the price at which the land was allotted to the allottee, BIADA, which was the original owner of the land should not be deprived of a reasonable portion of the unearned increase from the value of the land. Therefore the policy of BIADA fixing the cost of the land on the basis of the circle rate applicable, legal and valid. [Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority v. Amit Kumar, (2019) 10 SCC 733]

Administrative Law — Judicial Review: Principles summarized regarding scope of judicial review of administrative action. Municipal Council, [Neemuch v. Mahadeo Real Estate, (2019) 10 SCC 738]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — Ss. 238-A and 7 r/w S. 433(e) of the Companies Act, 1956: An application under S. 7 before NCLT, pursuant to transfer of winding-up petition (on ground of company being unable to pay its debts) by High Court, held, would be barred by limitation when the winding-up petition itself was filed beyond the prescribed period of limitation. Filing of a civil suit for recovery would not extend the period of limitation for filing a winding-up petition. If a winding-up petition, on the date that it was filed, is barred by lapse of time then S. 238-A of the Code will not give a new lease of life to such a time-barred petition.  Further held, a suit for recovery based upon a cause of action that is within limitation cannot in any manner impact the separate and independent remedy of a winding-up proceeding. Further, qua winding-up petition on ground of company being unable to pay its debts under S. 433(e) of the Companies Act, 1956, the trigger for limitation is the inability of a company to pay its debts and this trigger occurs when a default takes place, after which the debt remains outstanding and is not paid. It is this date alone that is relevant for the purpose of triggering limitation for the filing of a winding-up petition. [Jignesh Shah v. Union of India, (2019) 10 SCC 750]

Criminal Trial — Medical Jurisprudence/Evidence — Medical evidence of throttling, strangulation and hanging: Medical jurisprudence and case-law extensively surveyed and medical evidence of throttling, strangulation and hanging, meticulously distinguished. [Javed Abdul Rajjaq Shaikh v. State of Maharashtra, (2019) 10 SCC 778]

Constitution of India — Art. 32 — Prayer for bail to be granted directly by Supreme Court in a group of registered cases or cases likely to be registered in connection with same transaction: In this case involving “Grand Venice” Mall and a Commercial Tower Project, the Supreme Court directly granted bail to accused in cases registered or likely to be registered in different States arising out of same transaction. Several conditions also imposed for grant of bail. The prayer of petitioner-accused to transfer all cases to CBI and consolidation of all FIRs and criminal proceedings in State of U.P. and NCT of Delhi, declined. Some relief granted in terms of consolidation of cases before SIT constituted by State of U.P. and stay of proceedings in NCT of Delhi to enable the same. [Satinder Singh Bhasin v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2019) 10 SCC 800]

Constitution of India — Art. 32: In this case, bail was granted by imposing conditions in writ petition with common prayer seeking bail directly from Supreme Court in different criminal cases. [Surinder Singh Alagh v. Union of India, (2019) 10 SCC 807]

Constitution of India — Arts. 164, 188, 189, 178 & 212 and 75, 100 & 122 and Art. 32 — Floor test in legislature to determine which party/grouping of parties has a majority, so as to be invited to form Government — When can be directed: In this case, as no single party was having a majority in newly elected House and different parties were claiming conflicting alliances and support from different parties/groups of MLAs, floor test, held, can be directed to prevent unlawful practices such as horse-trading, to avoid uncertainty and to effectuate smooth running of democracy by ensuring a stable Government. [Shiv Sena v. Union of India, (2019) 10 SCC 809]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Service Law — Pension — Work-Charged Employee: Period of work-charged service can be reckoned for purpose of computation of qualifying service for grant of pension. [Habib Khan v. State of Uttarakhand, (2019) 10 SCC 542]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Laws — Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (Insolvency Resolution Process for Corporate Persons) Regulations, 2016 — Regn. 38 (as existing prior to amendment made on 5-10-2018): Differential treatment of dissenting financial creditor i.e. differential liquidation value that would be paid to dissenting financial creditors is permissible under unamended regulations. [Rahul Jain v. Rave Scans (P) Ltd., (2019) 10 SCC 548]

Criminal Trial — Appreciation of Evidence — Contradictions, inconsistencies, exaggerations or embellishments — Minor discrepancies: Undue importance should not be attached to omissions, contradictions and discrepancies which do not go to the heart of the matter and do not shake the basic version of prosecution witness — This is particularly true when prosecution case is corroborated by medical and forensic evidence. [Rohtas v. State of Haryana, (2019) 10 SCC 554]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — Ss. 238-A and 7: Art. 137 of Limitation Act provides for a limitation period of 3 years, while Art. 62 of Limitation Act providing for limitation period of 12 years for recovery of debts secured with immovable property. Date of enforcement of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is irrelevant for computation of limitation period i.e. no new lease of life to be given to debts which are already time-barred. [Gaurav Hargovindbhai Dave v. Asset Reconstruction Co. (India) Ltd., (2019) 10 SCC 572]

Administrative Law — Promissory Estoppel — Applicability — Nature and Scope — Invocation of the Doctrine — Principles summarized: Fundamental principles of equity must for ever be present to mind of court, while considering applicability of the doctrine. Doctrine must yield when equity so demands if it can be shown having regard to facts and circumstances of the case that it would be inequitable to hold the Government or the public authority to its promise, assurance or representation. Public interest is the superior equity which can override individual equity. Moreover, the doctrine of cannot be invoked for enforcement of a promise made contrary to law. [Union of India v. Unicorn Industries, (2019) 10 SCC 575]

M.P. Land Revenue Code, 1959 (20 of 1959) — S. 158(v)(b) — Bhumiswami rights — Tenability of claim as to: As the grassland under personal cultivation of erstwhile zamindar was not found to be khudkasht land of proprietor within meaning of S. 2(c) of M.B. Zamindari Abolition Act and not fulfilling essential conditions under S. 4(2), hence stood vested in the State under S. 4(1) thereof, claim of bhumiswami right, held untenable. [State of M.P. v. Sabal Singh, (2019) 10 SCC 595]

Constitution of India — Arts. 141 and 144: Judgment and order of the Supreme Court disposing of appeal against decision of High Court arising out of representative suit is final and binding on all concerned. All courts and civil and judicial authorities are required to act in aid thereof. [ISSAC Mattammel Cor-Episcopa v. St. Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church, (2019) 10 SCC 606]

Town Planning — Parking Area — Infrastructure need, policy initiatives, pilot project and desired administrative action with regard to parking in Delhi: Directions issued with regard to — (a) Clearance of encroachments in pavements of residential areas and framing of rules for discouraging such encroachers, (b) expeditious notification of the draft rules of Delhi Maintenance and Management of Parking Places Rules, 2019 not later than 30-9-2019 and enforcement of same in letter and spirit by all concerned, (c) proper assessment of parking needs for next 25 yrs while granting building permissions, (d) considerations while evaluating feasibility and effectiveness of pilot project, (e) considering viability and effectiveness of introducing modern technology, that is, RFID tags, parking guidance and information systems and last mile connectivity from parking spaces to commercial areas, institutions, etc. and submit a report in this behalf by 30-9-2019. [M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, (2019) 10 SCC 614]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 120-B and S. 302 — Criminal conspiracy — Existence of — Proof of — Essential elements summarized: Three essential elements must be shown: a criminal object, a plan or scheme embodying means to accomplish that object, and agreement between two or more persons to cooperate for accomplishment of such object. In this case, conspiracy to murder was not established against A-1 and A-5, but they were correctly convicted under Ss. 302/34. [Rajender v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2019) 10 SCC 623]

Constitution of India — Art. 235 — Powers of High Court of supervision of subordinate courts — Exercise of disciplinary powers — Scope:  High Court’s role as guardian and protector of District Judiciary in maintaining its independence, explained. Misconduct distinguished from mere passing of erroneous orders. Erroneous orders to form part of service record to determine career progression of judicial officer concerned, but cannot, held, by themselves be considered as misconduct, unless they are passed for extraneous reasons, illegal gratification, etc. [Krishna Prasad Verma v. State of Bihar, (2019) 10 SCC 640]

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 — Ss. 42 and 8/15 — Search and seizure: When seizure of material is proved on record and is not even doubted or disputed, entire contraband material need not be placed before court. At times the material could be so bulky, that it may not be possible and feasible to produce the entire bulk before the court. Further, if seizure is otherwise proved, what is required to be proved, is fact that samples taken from and out of contraband material were kept intact, that when samples were submitted for forensic examination seals were intact, that report of forensic experts shows potency, nature and quality of contraband material and that based on such material, essential ingredients constituting an offence are made out. [State of Rajasthan v. Sahi Ram, (2019) 10 SCC 649]

W.B. Premises Tenancy Act, 1997 (37 of 1997) — S. 7 — Scope and Nature of: S. 7(2), held, is mandatory in nature. Courts lack power to extend time where tenant defaults in payment of rent. S. 5 of Limitation Act, 1963 is not applicable to proceedings under S. 7(2). [Bijay Kumar Singh v. Amit Kumar Chamariya, (2019) 10 SCC 660]

Service Law — Pay — Pay scale, fixation and revision — Differentiation based on training — Classification based on academic qualifications and experience — Legality of: Nature of work may be more or less the same but scale of pay may vary based on academic qualification or experience which justifies classification. “Principle of equal pay for equal work” cannot be applied in mechanical manner. Classification made by body of experts after full study and analysis of work should not be disturbed except for strong reasons which indicate classification made to be unreasonable. Inequality of men in different groups excludes applicability of principle of equal pay for equal work to them. Hence, validity of lower pay scale for untrained teachers, affirmed. [Director of Elementary Education v. Pramod Kumar Sahoo, (2019) 10 SCC 674]

Education Law — Employment and Service Matters re Educational Institutions — Appointment/Recruitment: As illegal appointment was made by Management of college concerned, denial of financial approval by State, held proper. [Ravindra Singh v. Distt. Inspector of Schools, (2019) 10 SCC 679]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 482 — Quashment power under: Minute consideration of evidence and defence put forth at S. 482 stage is not permissible. [CBI v. Arvind Khanna, (2019) 10 SCC 686]

Constitution of India — Arts. 226 and 136 — Writ of certiorari — Nature and scope — Principles summarized:  Writ of certiorari, held, is intended to correct jurisdictional excesses and the writ court cannot sit as appellate court and reappreciate evidence. [Electrical Rengali Hydro Electric Project v. Giridhari Sahu, (2019) 10 SCC 695]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — S. 238-A (as inserted w.e.f. 6-6-2018) r/w Ss. 7 and 9 — Art. 137 of Limitation Act, 1963 — Applicability: Date of coming into force of IB Code does not and cannot form a trigger point of limitation for applications filed under the Code and since “applications” are petitions which are filed under the Code, it is Art. 137 of the Limitation Act which will apply to such applications. [Sagar Sharma v. Phoenix ARC (P) Ltd., (2019) 10 SCC 353]

Constitution of India — Arts. 226 and 227 — Maintainability of writ petition — Alternative remedy/Exhaustion of remedies: In this case there was sale of immovable property belonging to deity, to appellant K, after following the procedure mandated by law (under Religious Endowments Act concerned). The Supreme Court held that the interference made by Division Bench of High Court in writ appeals considering the so-called lucrative offer made by R-4 and R-5 who were merely interveners, was not proper. [K. Arjun Das v. Commr. of Endowments, (2019) 10 SCC 355]

Service Law — Departmental Enquiry — Criminal proceedings — Acquittal: Law summarized regarding effect of acquittal in criminal proceedings on punishment imposed in departmental enquiry. [Karnataka Power Transmission Corpn. Ltd. v. C. Nagaraju, (2019) 10 SCC 367]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 482 — Quashment of proceedings: Where the allegations made in the FIR or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety do not prima facie constitute a case against the accused, the High Court would be justified in quashing the proceedings. [M. Srikanth v. State of Telangana, (2019) 10 SCC 373]

Education Law — Employment and Service Matters re Educational Institutions — Appointment/Recruitment — Recruitment process — Eligibility criteria: In this case in recruitment of teachers in Zila Parishads, in terms of advertisement, applicants were required to fulfil requisite eligibility before last date of submission of application form while in terms of proviso proof of eligibility could be submitted before declaration of result. While determining the effect of the amendment of the R. 266(3) of the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Rules, 1996, the Supreme Court held that the amendment which substitutes provision essentially does two things viz. firstly, provision which is substituted undergoes repeal and secondly, there is re-enactment through newly inserted provision. Further held, proviso being an integral part of cl. (3) of R. 266 it would not survive after substitution of R. 266(3). Thus candidates were required to possess stipulated educational qualifications on last date of submission of application form. Advertisement was thus, in consonance with statutory rules. Furthermore, Circular dt. 29-2-2012 extending benefit of proviso to candidates after changing conditions of advertisement related to advertisement issued in 2012 and would have no bearing on advertisement issued in this case in year 2013. Hence, High Court erred in extending benefit of proviso to respondent. [State of Rajasthan v. Trilok Ram, (2019) 10 SCC 383]

Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950 (29 of 1950) — Ss. 2(13), 19 and 28: “Public trust” includes constructive public trust. Court’s jurisdiction to declare existence of constructive trust can be derived from S. 88 of Trust Act, 1882 and S. 151 CPC, notwithstanding repeal of S. 94 of Trusts Act, 1882. [Janardan Dagdu Khomane v. Eknath Bhiku Yadav, (2019) 10 SCC 395]

Limitation Act, 1963 — Ss. 5 and 14 — Condonation of delay: Factors to be considered for condonation of delay in application filed by State, delineated. [State of Manipur v. Koting Lamkang, (2019) 10 SCC 408]

U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1950 (1 of 1951) — Ss. 166, 167 and 161 [before and after amendment vide U.P. Act 20 of 1982 w.e.f. 3-6-1981]: Before Amendment, held, transfers illegal by virtue of S. 166 r/w S. 167 including exchange of land in violation of S. 161 i.e. exchange without permission of Assistant Collector, were only voidable as per procedure provided in 1950 Act. After Amendment, they are void and vest in State free of all encumbrances. [Sita Ram v. Bharat Singh, (2019) 10 SCC 412]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/34 and 201 — Death sentence — When justified: In this case, accused (tantric husband and wife) gruesomely murdered 2 yr old boy of their neighbour as human sacrifice to God. Head of boy was severed and tongue and cheeks were also cut out. Having regard to age of the accused, they were not possessed of the basic humanness, they completely lacked the psyche or mindset which can be amenable for any reformation. Furthermore, accused had previously committed similar murder of a six year old girl and were sentenced to life imprisonment till the end of their lives without remission in Ishwari Lal Yadav, (2019) 10 SCC 437. Thus, death sentence was confirmed. [Ishwari Lal Yadav v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2019) 10 SCC 423]

Criminal Trial — Confession — Extra-judicial confession/Hearsay — Evidentiary value of: Extra-judicial confession is a weak piece of evidence but, at the same time, if the same is corroborated by other evidence on record, such confession can be taken into consideration to prove guilt of accused. [Ishwari Lal Yadav v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2019) 10 SCC 437]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 11 and 12 — Appointment of arbitrator: In this case though arbitration clause provided for Tribunal of three members, at the request of parties sole arbitrator was appointed. Clarification was issued on place of arbitration and remuneration. 12 months’ duration was provided for completion of proceedings. [Shaf Broadcast (P) Ltd. v. Doordarshan, (2019) 10 SCC 447]

Armed Forces — Penalty/Punishment — Subjective satisfaction of competent authority — Interference with — Scope — Principles explained: In this case, AFT despite noting that punishment of censure awarded by competent authority was justified interfering on specious ground that punishment of “Severe Displeasure (Recordable)” was not commensurate with misconduct proved. This was held to be not proper. [Union of India v. Kuldeep Yadav, (2019) 10 SCC 449]

Goa, Daman and Diu Land Revenue Code, 1968 (9 of 1969) — Ss. 32(2)(c), (3) & (6): Procedure laid down under, for levy of conversion charges, explained. While determining the effect of amendment to S. 32, it was held that relevant date for fixing conversion charges is date on which decision is taken to grant sanad. [State of Goa v. Alvaro Alberto Mousinho De Noronha Ferreira, (2019) 10 SCC 465]

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 — S. 50 — Object and applicability: Mandate of S. 50 is confined to “personal search” and not to search of vehicle or container or premises. Thus, illicit article seized from person during personal search conducted in violation of safeguards provided in S. 50, cannot by itself be used as admissible evidence of proof of unlawful possession of contraband. However, as held in Baldev Singh, (1999) 6 SCC 172, conviction may not be based “only” on basis of possession of illicit article recovered from personal search in violation of requirements under S. 50 but if there is other evidence on record, such material can certainly be looked into, including material recovered from search of vehicle or container or premises which was not in compliance with S. 50. [State of Punjab v. Baljinder Singh, (2019) 10 SCC 473]

Government Grants, Largesse, Public Property and Public Premises — Allotment without advertisement — Impermissibility of: Public property cannot be disposed of without any advertisement and without giving opportunity to eligible persons to apply and seek consideration of allotment of public property in transparent and non-discriminatory manner. State and its instrumentalities must act in consonance with Art. 14 of the Constitution. [Bihar State Housing Board v. Radha Ballabh Health Care & Research Institute (P) Ltd., (2019) 10 SCC 483]

Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007 — S. 15 — Jurisdiction of Tribunal — Scope: S. 15 confers wide power on Tribunal to allow appeal against conviction by court martial where finding of court martial is legally unsustainable i.e. where finding involves wrong decision on question of law or where there is material irregularity in course of trial resulting in miscarriage of justice. However, mere difference of opinion on appreciation of evidence cannot be a ground for interference. [Union of India v. Sandeep Kumar, (2019) 10 SCC 496]

Service Law — Pension — Work-Charged Employee — Service rendered as work-charged employee — Whether can be reckoned for computation of qualifying service: In terms of Note appended to R. 3(8) of the U.P. Retirement Benefit Rules, if service is rendered by work-charged employee in non-pensionable establishment, work-charged establishment, or, in post paid from contingencies falls between two periods of temporary service in pensionable establishment or period between temporary and permanent service in pensionable establishment, it would be counted as qualifying service for computation of pensionary benefits. Regn. 370 of the U.P. Civil Services Regulations exclude service in non-pensionable establishment, work-charged establishment and in post paid from contingencies from purview of qualifying service. Para 669 of Financial Handbook, Vol. VI relating to engagement of employees in work-charged establishment provide that except in cases mentioned thereunder members of work-charged establishment were not entitled to any pension, leave salary or allowances. Hence, in thid case, it was held that it would be highly discriminatory and irrational because of the rider contained in the Note to R. 3(8) of the 1961 Rules, not to count service rendered as work-charged employee particularly, when it can be counted, in case such service is sandwiched between two temporary or in-between temporary and permanent services. Impermissible classification has been made under R. 3(8). Service of work-charged period remains same for all employees and once it is counted for one class it must be counted for all to prevent discrimination. Reading down R. 3(8) to make it valid and non-discriminatory, service rendered as work-charged employees, contingency paid fund employees or non-pensionable establishment, held, shall also be counted as qualifying service even if such service is not preceded by temporary or regular appointment in pensionable establishment. Consequently, Regn. 370 and Para 669 are liable to be struck down. Service rendered in work-charged establishment directed to be treated as qualifying service for grant of pension. However, clarified that arrears of pension would be limited to three years before date of order.[Prem Singh v. State of U.P., (2019) 10 SCC 516]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Advocates — Strike/Boycott by Lawyers: Strike by Advocates of Odisha High Court over a decision of the Collegium clearing names of some candidate (who practises in Supreme Court) and not clearing name of another candidate, held, unwarranted and cannot be a ground for lawyers to abstain from work. [PLR Projects (P) Ltd. v. Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd., (2019) 10 SCC 306]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 16 — Scope of reference: Dismissal of counterclaims by arbitrator, at threshold on the ground of being beyond the scope and jurisdiction of arbitrator without any enquiry is not proper. Decision by arbitrator only on disputes raised by claimant/applicant under S. 11 and not counterclaims of the other party, not permissible. [Bharat Petroleum Corpn. Ltd. v. Go Airlines (India) Ltd., (2019) 10 SCC 250]

Armed Forces — Discharge/Dismissal — Unsustainability — Violation of principles of natural justice and statutory rules: In this case, respondent was alleged to have caused grievous hurt to one S with talwar (sword) without provocation. There were irreconcilable inconsistencies between medical and oral evidence, and Tribunal took a probable view that evidence was not sufficient to establish guilt of respondent. Hence, held, impugned judgment setting aside punishment of dismissal called for no interference. [Union of India v. Pravat Kumar Behuria, (2019) 10 SCC 220]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 7 R. 11 — Rejection of plaint: Entirety of plaint averments have to be taken into consideration. Rejection of plaint without considering crucial aspects of case is not permissible. [Shaukathussain Mohammed Patel v. Khatunben Mohmmedbhai Polara, (2019) 10 SCC 226]

Constitution of India — Art. 137: In review of Azizia Bee, (2018) 15 SCC 206, in para 12 of judgment dt. 16-8-2017, (2018) 15 SCC 206, words “prima facie” added. It was clarified that the entire judgment of Single Judge stood affirmed and order of Division Bench was set aside. [State of A.P. v. Grace Sathyavathy Shashikant, (2019) 10 SCC 281]

Constitution of India — Art. 246, Sch. VII List I Entry 77, List II Entry 65 and List III Entry 46 & Arts. 138 and 323-B — Competence to deal with jurisdiction and powers of Supreme Court: Jurisdiction and powers of Supreme Court is beyond competence of State Legislature and such power rests only with Parliament. State Legislature cannot provide appeal directly to Supreme Court arising out of orders passed by Tribunals constituted under Art. 323-B. Consequently, S. 13(2) of Chhattisgarh Rent Control Act, 2011 providing appeal directly to Supreme Court against orders of Chhattisgarh Rent Control Tribunal, held, ultra vires and struck down. High Court can exercise supervisory jurisdiction under Art. 227 over such Tribunal. [H.S. Yadav v. Shakuntala Devi Parakh, (2019) 10 SCC 265]

Contract and Specific Relief — Contractual obligations and rights — Privity and Third-Parties’ Obligations and Rights — Partnership agreement: Clauses in agreement, against third parties i.e. legal representatives of partners will not bind the said third parties. Such clauses in partnership deed ran contrary to provisions of Partnership Act, 1932, were void, unenforceable and opposed to public policy. [S.P. Misra v. Mohd. Laiquddin Khan, (2019) 10 SCC 329]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 482 — Inherent powers of High Court under — When can be exercised: Exercise of inherent powers of High Court under this section to quash FIR, when there are serious triable allegations in complaint, not proper. [XYZ v. State of Gujarat, (2019) 10 SCC 337]

Criminal Trial — Sentence — Principles for sentencing — Tests for analysing sentencing: Crime test, criminal test and comparative proportionality test, explained. [State of M.P. v. Udham, (2019) 10 SCC 300]

Entertainment, Amusement, Leisure and Sports — Liquor — Licence/Levy —Cancellation/Suspension/Revocation of Licence: Grant of refund of licence fee and differential amount for the duration for which the premises of the licensee were sealed and its licence suspended, when such sealing/suspension is unlawful. Grant of opportunity/Issuance of show-cause notice to licensee is necessary prior to taking of punitive actions like cancellation/suspension of licence. [State of Bihar v. Riga Sugar Co. Ltd., (2019) 10 SCC 310]

Family and Personal Laws — Hindu Law — Joint Family — Self-acquired Property: Proof of self-acquired Property lies on that member who admits joint family status but contends that some properties are self-acquired properties. Appearance of name in revenue record does not make property as self-acquired property. [Prahlad Pradhan v. Sonu Kumhar, (2019) 10 SCC 259]

Income Tax — Practice and procedure — Notice/Summons/Knowledge of Proceedings — Summons to power-of-attorney holder of Company of court hearing — Validity of — Power-of-attorney holder/agent of Company: The term “agent” [as used in S. 2(35) of the Income Tax Act, 1961] would certainly include a power-of-attorney holder and the CA being the power-of-attorney holder of the Company was the agent of the assessee Company, and hence notice could be served on him. Hence, plea as to the attorney-holder not being aware of the nature of documents (summons) served upon him and not being in the position to inform his principal because of his health, not accepted. [CIT v. NRA Iron & Steel (P) Ltd., (2019) 10 SCC 206]

Maharashtra Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Denotified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes, Other Backward Classes and Special Backward Category (Regulation of Issuance and Verification of) Caste Certificate Act, 2000 (23 of 2001) — S. 6(1): Issuance of caste verification certificate should not be a casual exercise and Scrutiny Committee constituted under the Act, by State Government by issuing Noti. dt. 30-7-2011 to deal with numerous applications of candidates seeking to contest local self-government elections, held, must take assistance of Vigilance Cell to ensure that non-entitled persons do not get benefitted at the cost of entitled persons. [Collector, Satara v. Mangesh Nivrutti Kashid, (2019) 10 SCC 166]

Maharashtra Slum Areas (Improvement, Clearance and Redevelopment) Act, 1971 (28 of 1971) — Ss. 2(ga), 3-C, 3-D, 4, 12 and 36 [as they stood prior to 2018 Amendment] — Declaration of slum rehabilitation area: Notification under S. 4, held, not prerequisite for passing orders under Ss. 3-C and 3-D. Ch. I-A of Act is self-contained code for matters dealing with slum rehabilitation schemes. Prior notice under S. 3-C is not required before declaring any area as slum rehabilitation area. Principles of natural justice, also held, are not applicable where there is compliance with S. 36. [Kantabai Vasant Ahir v. Slum Rehabilitation Authority, (2019) 10 SCC 194]

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 — Ss. 139 and 138 — Dishonour of cheque: In this case, there was sufficient evidence on record to raise presumption under S. 139 and accused failed to rebut the same, hence, conviction was confirmed. [Rahul Sudhakar Anantwar v. Shivkumar Kanhiyalal Shrivastav, (2019) 10 SCC 203]

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 — Ss. 139, 118 and 138 — Dishonour of cheque — Burden of rebuttal of presumption under Ss. 118 and 139 — Matters to be established by accused — Law summarized: The presumption mandated by S. 139 does indeed include the existence of a legally enforceable debt or liability. Bare denial of the passing of the consideration and existence of debt, is not enough to rebut the presumption. To rebut the statutory presumptions an accused is not expected to prove his defence beyond reasonable doubt as is expected of the complainant in a criminal trial. Rather, something which is probable has to be brought on record for getting the burden of proof shifted to the complainant. To disprove the presumptions, the accused should bring on record such facts and circumstances, upon consideration of which, the court may either believe that the consideration and debt did not exist or their non-existence was so probable that a prudent man would under the circumstances of the case, act upon the plea that they did not exist. Apart from adducing direct evidence to prove that the consideration did not exist, or that he had not incurred any debt or liability, the accused may also rely upon circumstantial evidence and if the circumstances so relied upon are compelling, the burden may likewise shift again on to the complainant. Accused may also rely upon presumptions of fact, for instance, those mentioned in S. 114 of the Evidence Act to rebut the presumptions arising under Ss. 118 and 139 of the NI Act. [Uttam Ram v. Devinder Singh Hudan, (2019) 10 SCC 287]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 — Murder of wife — Circumstantial evidence — Death if suicidal by hanging, or, homicidal — Determination of — Medical evidence: In this case, fact that neck of deceased was not found stretched and elongated, considering that body was still fresh, ruled out any possibility of suicide by deceased.  The tongue was not protruding. There was no fracture or dislocation of bones in neck area. Saliva was not running down face or chest of deceased but had flowed out at the left of the mouth. Injuries on the person of deceased, as noticed in inquest report as also in post-mortem report, are clearly indicative of a struggle or resistance put up by deceased in the last hour. Hence, it was held that the deceased was strangulated to death as it would not also be possible for appellant to hang the deceased alone. Thus, in light of all the circumstances established against appellant, conviction under S. 302 IPC was confirmed. [Kalu v. State of M.P., (2019) 10 SCC 211]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 or S. 304 Pt. I [S. 300 Fourthly or Exception 4] — Murder or culpable homicide not amounting to murder — Imminently dangerous act: In this case, incident in question took place half an hour after there was abusive language used by nephew/cousin of A-1. There was no grave and sudden provocation by deceased (mother of complainant). Accused fired from a country-made firearm at deceased from a close range. Accused was supposed to know that it is so imminently dangerous that it must, in all probability, cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death. The Supreme Court held that the High Court erred in applying Exception 4 to S. 300 IPC by holding that it was not a planned crime and there was no prior intention and it took place in the heat of passion on the spur of the moment. It was further held that the case falls under S. 300 Fourthly IPC and conviction under S. 302 IPC was restored. [Awadhesh Kumar v. State of U.P., (2019) 10 SCC 323]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 306 and 107 — Abetment to commit suicide — Ingredients for abetment — Instigation to commit suicide: A word uttered in the fit of anger or emotion without intending the consequences to actually follow cannot be said to be instigation. To draw the inference of instigation it all depends on facts and circumstances of the case. [State of W.B. v. Indrajit Kundu, (2019) 10 SCC 188]

Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 — S. 4 — Grant of probation under: Extension of benefit regarding retention/continuation of service is not permissible. Even in a case where the High Court grants benefit of probation to the accused, held, court has no jurisdiction to pass an order that the employee be retained in service/or grant benefit of continuation in service. [State of M.P. v. Man Singh, (2019) 10 SCC 161]

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 — S. 24(2) — Persons entitled to benefit of: Sale of land involved in acquisition proceedings after issuance of notification under S. 4, LA Act, 1894, is void. Hence, it does not give any right to subsequent purchasers to invoke provisions of S. 24(2) of 2013 Act. Even proviso to S. 24(2) does not recognise such purchasers. [Shiv Kumar v. Union of India, (2019) 10 SCC 229]

Service Law — Recruitment Process — Eligibility criteria/conditions — Cut-off date/point — Shifting of date of eligibility — What amounts to: In this case, for recruitment to State and Subordinate Services in State of Rajasthan, last date for submission of application forms stipulated was 31-7-2013. Press Note dt. 12-11-2014 was issued granting opportunity to candidates to make corrections in their online application form and change of category on payment of stipulated amount. While determining that this whether amounts to shift in date of eligibility, the Supreme Court held that the Press Note issued only allowed corrections or to change category in application forms already submitted online and did not grant opportunity to candidates to apply afresh. High Court erred in shifting eligibility date on basis of Press Note. [Rajasthan Public Service Commission v. Shikun Ram Firuda, (2019) 10 SCC 271]

Specific Relief Act, 1963 — Ss. 9 and 13 — Agreement to sell immovable property: Agreement to sell property inherited after death of female Hindu dying intestate must be restricted only to share inherited by executant. [Sirdar K.B. Ramachandra Raj Urs v. Sarah C. Urs, (2019) 10 SCC 343]

Tenancy and Land Laws — Ceiling on Land — Lands declared surplus — Identification of: In this case, to put an end to litigation, exercising power under Art. 142 of the Constitution, land at Survey No. 19/P marked in second survey report as “PQRS” declared as actually being Survey No. 129/45/D. The Supreme Court set aside the allotment made to Andhra Prabha Publications, and directed that land to be delivered by Andhra Prabha to appellants within eight weeks. All amounts paid by Andhra Prabha Publications to Government to be refunded within twelve weeks with simple interest at 6% p.a. [State of A.P. v. Grace Sathyavathy Shashikant, (2019) 10 SCC 276]

Trusts and Trustees — Religious and Charitable Endowments and Trusts — Temple — Private or public: In this case, suit was filed by deity through pujaris claiming ownership of temple lands on ground of temple being private temple. Name of deity consistently entered in revenue record from 1969 to 1977 but in year 1979-1980 correction in revenue entries made by substituting name of Collector in place of deity in respect of temple lands asserting temple to be public temple. First appellate court and High Court concurrently found that procedure prescribed under S. 115 of Code not complied with while making correction. In view of this concurrent finding, it was held that change in entry in revenue record in name of Collector vitiated by absence of proper enquiry and opportunity to affected person in terms of S. 115. [State of M.P. v. Murti Shri Chaturbhujnath, (2019) 10 SCC 319]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Education Law — Medical and Dental Colleges — Postgraduate/Superspeciality courses — Institutional reservation: Institutional preference in PG admissions after introduction of NEET scheme, held, valid. NEET scheme has nothing to do with institutional reservation. The purpose of NEET is uniform entrance examination so that admissions are made on the basis of merit. Even if there is an institutional preference, admissions are made on basis of marks obtained in NEET. [Yatinkumar Jasubhai Patel v. State of Gujarat(2019) 10 SCC 1]

Income Tax Act, 1961 — Ss. 143(2) and 142(1) r/w proviso to S. 143 — Notice/Notice of Demand: Mere mentioning of new address in return of income without specifically intimating assessing officer with respect to change of address and without getting PAN database changed, is not enough and sufficient. Thus, in absence of any specific intimation to assessing officer with respect to change in address and/or change in name of assessee, assessing officer would be justified in sending notice at available address mentioned in PAN database of assessee, more particularly when return has been filed under E-Module scheme. [CIT v. I-Ven Interactive Ltd.(2019) 10 SCC 13]

Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 — S. 32 — Governmental educational institutions — Requirement of 5% reservation: Judicial review of the expert opinion regarding eligibility criteria of minimum physical fitness for certain courses like MBBS course, not permissible. [Vidhi Himmat Katariya v. State of Gujarat(2019) 10 SCC 20]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 386 and 374: In this case, the conviction and sentence imposed on the appellant-accused was upheld by High Court without record of the trial court, which was lost during pendency of appeal before it. Hence, the order passed by the High Court, was held unsustainable. The order was set aside and matter was remanded back to it for hearing appeals afresh, after reconstruction of record of the trial court. [Savita v. State of Delhi(2019) 10 SCC 29]

Arbitration — Government/PSUs Inter se disputes: The disputes between public sector undertakings (PSUs), must be referred, first to Administrative Mechanism for Resolution of CPSEs Disputes (AMRCD), and only in event of non-settlement, to Arbitral Tribunal. [MTNL v. Canara Bank(2019) 10 SCC 32]

Armed Forces — Promotion — Promotion to rank of Air Vice-Marshal — Promotion Policy dt. 20-2-2008 — Cls. 11, 13, 15, 16, 17 and 22 — Validity: In this case, appellant though ranking first in merit list was not promoted since he was placed at Sl. No. 3 in seniority list; first officer on select list being promoted on 11-5-2015 against first available vacancy whereas next two vacancies arising on 1-8-2015 and 1-9-2015 after appellant attaining age of superannuation on 30-6-2015. The Supreme Court held that in terms of Cls. 17 and 22 select list of officers was to be prepared from merit list and thereafter rearranged in order of seniority to ensure that candidates falling within zone of consideration were shortlisted for promotion but ultimate promotion was on basis of seniority from amongst selected candidates. Such policy providing equal opportunity to officers falling within zone of consideration cannot be said to be illegal, arbitrary or discriminatory violating Arts. 14 and 16 of the Constitution. It was further held that mere fact that appellant could not be promoted due to non availability of vacancies before his superannuation cannot be a ground to strike down Promotion Policy since policy can be struck down only if it has no reasonable nexus with objective sought to be achieved and is discriminatory. Policy dt. 20-2-2008 suffers from no illegality and hence, Tribunal was justified in not interfering therewith. [Naveen Jain v. Union of India(2019) 10 SCC 34]

Service Law — Promotion — Accelerated/Out of turn promotion — Reasonable classification: Higher educational qualification having nexus to job to be performed, held, can be a basis for exclusive or accelerated promotion since higher qualification intrinsically brings in certain skills. The factum to determine such nexus left to wisdom of administrative authorities. Grant of accelerated promotion on small percentage of posts, as in this case, thus, valid which could also act as incentive to others to acquire higher qualifications. [State of Uttarakhand v. S.K. Singh, (2019) 10 SCC 49]

Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 — S. 10 — Prohibition of employment of contract labour: In this case, the Notification dt. 8-9-1994 prohibiting employment of contract labour in different categories of work in ONGC, was quashed without impleading either ONGC Labour Union or any other recognised ONGC Union, hence the petition was restored. Since affected contract labourers were denied opportunity of hearing, writ petition directed to be restored for fresh consideration. [ONGC Labour Union v. ONGC, Dehradun, (2019) 10 SCC 67]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — Ch. XIII (Ss. 177 to 210-D) — Provisions for punishment for road traffic and motor vehicle offences: Compatibility of provisions for punishment for road traffic and motor vehicle offences under Ch. XIII (Ss. 177 to 210-D), with related provisions of IPC (Ss. 279, 304 Pt. II, 304-A, 337 and 338), affirmed. It was held, prosecution is maintainable both under MV Act and IPC, which is not barred under S. 26 of General Clauses Act. Offences under Ch. XIII of MV Act cannot abrogate applicability of Ss. 297, 304, 304-A, 337 and 338 IPC. There is no conflict between two statutes as both operate in their own spheres. [State of Arunachal Pradesh v. Ramchandra Rabidas, (2019) 10 SCC 75]

T.N. Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act, 1992 (59 of 1992) — Ss. 7 and 14 — Civil suit for damages — Maintainability of: The T.N. Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act, 1992, along with Rules, provides for award of compensation in two ways: (i) at the end of trial for any offence punishable under Act, or to be paid out of the fine imposed upon accused which is similar to the power of criminal court to award compensation under S. 357 CrPC, (ii) upon an application as envisaged under S. 10, after a summary inquiry as envisaged under the Rules which is somewhat similar to the summary procedure envisaged under Consumer Protection Act, 1986. Further, S. 7 of the Act recognises the possibility of a civil suit being instituted subsequent to criminal proceedings under the Act, relating to the same matter and even the summary remedy of claiming compensation envisaged under S. 10 of the Act r/w the Rules, does not preclude the filing of a suit for damages — Furthermore, S. 14 provides that the Act is in addition to, and not in derogation of, any other law in force for the time being and permits an aggrieved person to approach civil court for relief if he so desires, instead of availing of the remedy envisaged under S. 10 of the Act. [M. Hariharasudhan v. R. Karmegam,(2019) 10 SCC 94]

Environment Law — Water/River/Coastal Pollution — Effluents, Sewage, River and Lake Pollution: Validity of imposition of “sewerage charges” by National Green Tribunal (NGT), on encroachment and dumping of building debris in riverbed/flood plain and natural water body of River Yamuna in Delhi, affirmed. Directions passed for implementation within two months by NCT of Delhi. [Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd. v. Manoj Misra, (2019) 10 SCC 104]

Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 — Ss. 1(3), 3, 2(9)(d), 56 and 86(1): Black Money Act, held, came into force w.e.f 1-4-2016 [i.e. as provided in S. 1(3)] and not retrospectively on 1-7-2015 as provided in Noti. dt. 1-7-2015. Noti. dt. 1-7-2015 providing that Black Money Act, shall come into force on 1-7-2015 i.e. the date on which the order was issued. There will be restricted application of the Notification i.e. only for the purpose of enabling the assessee(s) to take benefit of S. 59. [Union of India v. Gautam Khaitan(2019) 10 SCC 108]

Armed Forces — Promotion — Entitlement to — Navy Order (Spl.) 02/2009 — Cl. 65 — Retrospective application of the Navy Order (Spl.) 02/2009  — Permissibility: In this case it was held that though Navy Order (Spl.) 02/2009 should not have been made applicable for confidential report initiated prior to 1-1-2010, but no prejudice was caused to appellant by applying said order. The violation of every provision does not furnish ground for interference unless prejudice caused. Besides, no benefit would accrue to appellant even if CRs of 2006 and 2009 were taken into consideration since she could not have been promoted due to her comparative merit i.e. she was ranked 17th on 4-11-2009 (Chance I) and 10th on 4-2-2011 (Chance II). [Surgeon Rear Admiral Manisha Jaiprakash v. Union of India(2019) 10 SCC 115]

Education Law — Employment and Service Matters re Educational Institutions — Appointment/Recruitment — Reservation of Seats/Quota/Exemption/Relaxation/Priority and Affirmative Action: In this case, under recruitment of Special Education Teachers under Government of NCT of Delhi, respondents obtained CTET qualification under relaxed pass norms for OBC category in States other than Delhi and eligibility for appointment was under Government of NCT of Delhi against OBC category. The Supreme Court held that since respondents did not possess OBC (Delhi) certificate they cannot be considered for recruitment against OBC category vacancies in Government of NCT of Delhi. Further held, they cannot be allowed to migrate and compete for open category vacancies since they had secured CTET qualification with relaxation of pass marks meant for OBC category. They can compete against unreserved vacancies provided they pass CTET with minimum qualifying marks stipulated for unreserved category candidates. Besides, OMS dt. 1-7-1998 and 4-4-2018 specifically stated that when relaxed standard was applied in selecting reserved category candidate, such candidates would be considered only against reserved vacancies. Moreover, concession in pass marks in qualifying exam would have direct impact on standards of competence and merit in recruitment of Special Education Teachers. It was emphasised that principles of reservation under the Constitution are intended to be confined to specifically earmarked category and unreserved category must be protected to avoid dilution of competence and merit. [State (NCT of Delhi) v. Pradeep Kumar(2019) 10 SCC 120]

Service Law — Police — Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) — Grant of status of organised Group A Central Services to Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) — Rights of IPS officers for deputation to CAPF — Effect on: In this case clarification of Supreme Court order dt. 5-2-2019, Union of India v. Sri Harananda, (2019) 14 SCC 126, was prayed. The said prayer was rejected and the Supreme Court held that the  rights of IPS officers for deputation in CAPF was not in issue before Supreme Court while rendering said judgment. Besides, in para 26 of the judgment it was specifically stated that by granting status of Organised Group A Central Services to CAPF, rights of IPS officers, if any, for their appointment on deputation to CAPF would remain unaffected. Hence, no further clarification was required. [Union of India v. Harananda(2019) 10 SCC 129]

Education Law — Employment and Service Matters re Educational Institutions: While determining the issue of entitlement to regularisation/confirmation/absorption, there must be primacy of opinion of State Government regarding rendering of qualifying service. [Kisan Inter College v. State of U.P.(2019) 10 SCC 131]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 21 Rr. 35(3) and 25: The use of police force for delivery of possession without specific orders of court is not permissible.  [Om Parkash v. Amar Singh(2019) 10 SCC 136]

Stamp Act, 1899 — S. 35 — Impounding of agreement to sell for non-payment of stamp duty, after sale deed based thereon, on which entire stamp duty had been paid, stood cancelled by order of court — When inequitable: In this case, said sale deed had been cancelled by court as material facts had been concealed from court by vendor in suit for specific performance of said agreement to sell, in which vendee had succeeded, which had led to execution of the sale deed which was subsequently cancelled. Vendee’s bona fides were not in doubt at any time, sale deed stood cancelled due to no fault of vendee, and no attempt was made by vendee to obtain refund of stamp duty at any stage. It was held that in such circumstances, it would be highly inequitable to impound agreement to sell. Suit for specific performance of said agreement to sell which had been restored for trial afresh with a connected suit could proceed further in accordance with law. It was further held that finding has been affirmed that appellant-plaintiff entitled for refund of Rs 1,85,000 paid towards stamp duty. Appellant-plaintiff had always shown his bona fides. Once such finding has been affirmed, it is not open for respondent-defendants to raise plea that agreement to sell should be impounded. [Terai Tea Co. Ltd. v. Kumkum Mittal(2019) 10 SCC 142]

Companies Act, 1956 — S. 535 — Restoration of possession/exclusion of properties from winding up — Locus standi/Standing to challenge: Mortgagee of the leasehold/lessee’s interest does not have the locus standi to challenge restoration of possession of leased property in which lessee had mortgaged its interest (onerous property qua S. 535), to lessor pursuant to forfeiture of lease by lessor, in the absence of challenge by the mortgagor. [Stressed Assests Stabilization Fund v. W.B. Small Ind. Dev. Corpn. Ltd., (2019) 10 SCC 148]

Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 — S. 2 — “Forest” — Determination of whether land in question is forest land — Matters to be considered: For determination of whether land in question is forest land, due weight has to be given to revenue records, especially those pertaining to a period when the dispute regarding the land being forest land did not exist. [Chandra Prakash Budakoti v. Union of India(2019) 10 SCC 154]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 34 and 37 — Award — Non-interference with, when findings of fact arrived at by arbitrators are on basis of evidence on record and not perverse — Concurrent view of courts below in proceedings under Ss. 34 and 37 — Effect of: In this case, Arbitral Tribunal arrived at finding that termination of contract by State was illegal and without following due procedure as required under contract and partly allowed claims of claimants while dismissing counterclaims of State. The Supreme Court held that findings were on appreciation of evidence considering relevant provisions and material on record as well as on interpretation of relevant provisions of the contract, which were neither perverse nor contrary to evidence on record. Further, cogent reasons had been given by Arbitral Tribunal qua respective claims. Thus, held, award was not required to be interfered with, particularly, when in the proceedings under Ss. 34 and 37 of Arbitration Act, petitioners had failed. [State of Jharkhand v. HSS Integrated SDN, (2019) 9 SCC 798]

Criminal Law — Criminal Trial — Medical Jurisprudence/Evidence — Asphyxia/Throttling/Strangulation/Hanging — Cause of death — Whether suicidal or homicide: In this case, medical opinion was that cause of death was asphyxia due to strangulation, and it was the prosecution case that deceased had been strangled and then his body had been hanged from ceiling fan. The surrounding factors were that feet of hanging dead body were touching the floor; knees were bent; slippers were not removed; and room in question was wide open. As alleged by accused, as per medical jurisprudence, scratches, abrasions, bruises, etc. are usually present and hyoid bone would be usually found broken in case of strangulation but, in the present case, there being no such marks nor hyoid bone was broken, hence, it was not a case of strangulation. The Supreme Court held that there was no infirmity in findings of courts below that it was a case of strangulation, as could be seen from post-mortem report that dead body carried “well-defined depressed ligature mark measuring 3 cm wide seen encircling the neck around thyroid cartilage with a knot present on left side of neck and this ligature mark was ante-mortem in nature”. Other ligature mark on the neck was 1.5 cm wide and that was post-mortem in nature. The board had undoubtedly been of the opinion that cause of death was “asphyxia due to strangulation”. With such categorical medical opinion coupled with all relevant features surrounding suspended dead body in the room in question, it is difficult to say that it had been a case of suicide merely because hyoid bone was not broken or because marks of resistance like abrasions/scratches were not reported. Presence of marks of resistance would depend on a variety of factors, including the method and manner of execution of the act of strangulation by culprits; and mere want of such marks cannot be decisive of the matter. Equally, it is not laid down as an absolute rule in medical jurisprudence that in all cases of strangulation, hyoid bone would invariably be fractured. On the contrary, medical jurisprudence suggests that only in a fraction of such cases, a fracture of hyoid bone is found. In other words, absence of fracture of hyoid bone would not lead to conclusion that deceased did not die of strangulation. Hence, deceased was done to death by strangulation and thereafter, his dead body was hanged from ceiling fan in the room. [Gargi v. State of Haryana, (2019) 9 SCC 738]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 319: The principles for exercise of power under the section, summarized. It was also held that the issuance of summons under S. 319 in absence of prima facie case of the standard as laid down in Hardeep Singh, (2014) 3 SCC 92, not permissible. [Mani Pushpak Joshi v. State of Uttarakhand, (2019) 9 SCC 805]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — S. 238 r/w S. 9 — Prior consent of the Central Government as provided under S. 16-G(1)(c) of Tea Act qua winding up/liquidation proceedings — Non-requirement of, for initiation of proceedings under S. 9 IBC: Provisions of IBC, held, have overriding effect over Tea Act, 1953 S. 16-G(1)(c) refers to consent qua proceeding for winding up of company or for appointment of receiver while proceedings under S. 9 IBC are not be limited and/or restricted to winding up and/or appointment of receiver only and the winding up/liquidation of company is to be last resort and only on an eventuality when corporate insolvency resolution process fails. Further, primary focus of legislation while enacting IBC is to ensure revival and continuation of corporate debtor by protecting corporate debtor from its own management and from a corporate debt by liquidation and such corporate insolvency resolution process is to be completed in a time-bound manner. Therefore, entire “corporate insolvency resolution process” as such cannot be equated with “winding-up proceedings”. Further, S. 238 IBC, which is a subsequent Act to Tea Act, 1953, is applicable and the provisions of IBC shall have an overriding effect over Tea Act, 1953. Thus, held, that no prior consent of Central Government before initiation of the proceedings under S. 7 or S. 9 IBC would be required and even without such consent of Central Government, the insolvency proceedings under S. 7 or S. 9 IBC initiated by operational creditor shall be maintainable. [Duncans Industries Ltd. v. AJ Agrochem, (2019) 9 SCC 725]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302, 376, 376-A and 201 — Death sentence — Cases involving rape and murder of minors/children but based on circumstantial evidence: Death sentence, held, can be awarded in appropriate cases. The act that case is based on circumstantial evidence cannot by itself be a ground for not awarding death sentence. Victims owing to their tender age can put up no resistance. Thus, it is likely that there would be no ocular evidence. Not awarding death sentence for lack of ocular evidence even if case proved beyond reasonable doubt, and if case satisfies all requirements for award of death sentence, is not a correct approach. Such reasoning, if applied uniformly and mechanically will have devastating effects on society which is dominant stakeholder in the administration of our criminal justice system. [Ravishankar v. State of M.P., (2019) 9 SCC 689]

Punjab State Agricultural Marketing Board (Sale and Transfer of Plots) Rules, 1999 (as first amended in 2008) — Rr. 3(iii), 3(iii-a) and 3(iv): The imposition of conditions for allotment of shop/plots therein, held, not ultra vires the Constitution. The view that licence is mandatory to carry out business in agricultural market, emphasised. Gap of more than 3 months in expiry of old licence and issuance of new licence cannot be condoned by Market Committee or Market Board unless satisfactory explanation offered by dealer that reasons were beyond his control; then even though he may not be in strict compliance with the Rules, power of relaxation must be read into Rules. [Walaiti Ram Charan Dass v. State of Punjab, (2019) 9 SCC 779]

Service Law — Policy/Policy decision/Policy matter — Rehabilitation policy: Assurance to reserve 25% of future daily wage employment vacancies which would arise in respondent State Corporation for displaced abkari workers who were members of the Abkari Workers Welfare Fund Board and whose services were terminated due to the ban of arrack in the State, held, did not create a vested right of re-employment. [Kerala State Beverages (M&M) Corpn. Ltd. v. P.P. Suresh, (2019) 9 SCC 710]

 Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 — S. 20-A(1) — Applicability when offences are under TADA as well as other statutes — Scope of: Whether police may record information and start investigation as to other offences without waiting to record information in respect of TADA offences, held, depends upon facts of each case. If offences under other Acts are serious like murder, rape, smuggling, NDPS Act, POCSO Act offence(s), etc., investigation cannot be delayed only because TADA Act is involved but if offence(s) under other statutes are of the nature of an ancillary offence, then information cannot be recorded without complying with S. 20-A(1) of TADA. [Ebha Arjun Jadeja v. State of Gujarat, (2019) 9 SCC 789]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 or S. 304 Pt. I [S. 300 Thirdly] — Murder or culpable homicide — Injury if sufficient in ordinary course of nature to cause death — Medical evidence: In this case, there were inconsistencies regarding whether head injury (the fatal injury) was inflicted by accused. The deceased died next day of the incident. Giving benefit of doubt to accused, regarding sufficiency of injury to cause death in ordinary course of nature, conviction was altered from S. 302 IPC to S. 304 Pt. I IPC. [Satish Kumar v. State of Haryana, (2019) 9 SCC 529]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 22 R. 10 or Or. 1 R. 10 — Impleadment of transferee/assignee of rights and interest in suit property challenging sale of suit property to another, as plaintiff — Entitlement to: In this case, suit was filed by landowner against his power-of-attorney holder and appellants, challenging sale of land by former in favour of latter on ground that former had not been conferred power to sell. R-1 purchased suit land from plaintiff owner by execution of registered sale deed. After death of original plaintiff, R-1 filed application under Or. 1 R. 10 for impleading himself as plaintiff 2 in suit pending in trial court, alleging that LRs of original plaintiff i.e. R-2 (A to D) were trying to occupy suit land in collusion with appellants. Thereafter, LRs of original plaintiff executed registered declaration deed in favour of appellants confirming sale deed in their favour. Subsequently, pursuant to a settlement between LRs of original plaintiff and appellants, LRs filed memo/application (pursis) for unconditional withdrawal of suit. The Supreme Court held that  R-1 as assignee of rights and interest of original plaintiff and having vital interest in suit, was entitled to be impleaded in suit under Or. 22 R. 10, instead of Or. 1 R. 10. Mentioning of incorrect provision no impediment when court has power to pass appropriate order. [Pruthvirajsinh Nodhubha Jadeja v. Jayeshkumar Chhakaddas Shah, (2019) 9 SCC 533]

Constitution of India — Art. 227 — Maintainability — Alternative remedy/Exhaustion of remedies: Availability of remedy under CPC in cases of suits/proceedings before civil courts is near total bar to exercise of supervisory jurisdiction under Art. 227. [Virudhunagar Hindu Nadargal Dharma Paribalana Sabai v. Tuticorin Educational Society, (2019) 9 SCC 538]

Rent Control and Eviction — Eviction Suit/Trial: In this case repeated adjournments were taken by respondent tenant. The prescribed authority passed ex parte order of eviction against respondent tenant. Time-bound expeditious disposal of the order was directed by the Court. [Krishna Devi Maheshwari v. Surendra Surekha, (2019) 9 SCC 547]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/149, 323/149 and 147 — Murder — Eyewitness: In this case injury report of the related injured witnesses was absent. It was held that the infirmities which were pointed out were at best defects in investigation and did not raise doubts about credibility of related injured witnesses or the prosecution case as a whole, hence, conviction was confirmed. [Fainul Khan v. State Of Jharkhand, (2019) 9 SCC 549]

Service Law — Appointment — Compassionate appointment: In terms of Regn. 4(3) of the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation Compassionate Appointment Regulations, 2010  claim for both compassionate appointment and compensation cannot be made against appellant SRTC in case of death of employee occurring while travelling in vehicle of appellant Corporation. The dependants of employee who claim both compensation under MV Act and compassionate appointment from appellant-Corporation are not on same footing as dependants of deceased employee who claim under MV Act against private owner or insurance company, and compassionate appointment from appellant-Corporation, thus forming a separate class. Art. 14 forbids class legislation but does not forbid reasonable classification for purpose of legislation. Besides, intention of Regn. 4(3) is to obviate liability of Corporation from payment of compensation under Act and to provide compassionate appointment to same person. Thus, there is rational nexus between basis of classification and object sought to be achieved. Hence, Regn. 4(3) is valid. [Rajasthan SRTC v. Danish Khan, (2019) 9 SCC 558]

Customs Act, 1962 — Ss. 130-E and 130 — Appeal before Supreme Court — When maintainable: Appeal qua violation of conditions of exemption notification by assessee is maintainable only before High Court. Upon a conjoint reading of Ss. 130 and 130-E, it can be seen that an appeal shall lie to High Court against every order passed in appeal by the Appellate Tribunal, if the High Court is satisfied that the case involves a substantial question of law. An appeal is maintainable before Supreme Court only if any question having relation to the rate of duty is involved or if it relates to value of goods for the purpose of assessment. [Commr. of Customs v. Motorola (India) Ltd., (2019) 9 SCC 563]

Town Planning — Colonisation/Development Project: In this case, there were hindrances in completion/full implementation of colonisation scheme due to negligence of coloniser in paying licence fee as required under scheme, and various other disputes between allottees and colonizer. Arbitrator designated as Court-Appointed Committee and clarifications and directions issued for full implementation of the scheme. It was clarified that arbitrator appointed by Court shall function as a Court-Appointed Committee and not as an arbitrator appointed under Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. [Okhla Enclave Plot Holders’ Welfare Assn. v. Union of (India), (2019) 9 SCC 572]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 498-A, 114 and 323: In this case, cruelty and physical assault of deceased was alleged against father-in-law, appellant (A-1) and brother-in-law (A-3), and cruelty alone against sister-in-law and mother-in-law (A-4 and A-5). All relatives of husband other than appellant father-in-law were acquitted. It was held that evidence against father-in-law is also not sufficient to uphold his conviction alone, hence, he was acquitted. [Kantilal v. State of Gujarat, (2019) 9 SCC 603]

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 — S. 138 — Dishonour of cheque — Death of convicted accused — Liability of legal heirs in such case, if any: Legal heirs, in such case, are neither liable to pay fine nor to undergo imprisonment. However, they have right to challenge conviction of their predecessor, only for the purpose, that he was not guilty of any offence. [M. Abbas Haji v. T.N. Channakeshava, (2019) 9 SCC 606]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 375 & Expln. 2 thereunder and S. 90 — Meaning of “consent” with respect to S. 375: “Consent” with respect to S. 375 involves an active understanding of circumstances, actions and consequences of proposed act. Individual who makes a reasoned choice to act after evaluating various alternative actions (or inaction) as well as various possible consequences flowing from such action or inaction, consents to such action. Where a woman does not “consent” to sexual acts described in main body of S. 375, offence of rape has occurred. While S. 90 IPC does not define term “consent”, “consent” based on a “misconception of fact” is not consent in the eye of law. Thus, in case of woman engaging in sexual relations on false promise to marriage, her “consent” is based on “misconception of fact”, and such sexual act(s) will amount to rape. [Pramod Suryabhan Pawar v. State Of Maharashtra, (2019) 9 SCC 608]

Criminal Trial — Sentence — Death sentence — Parliament as repository of will of the people: Legislature has distanced itself from propounders of “No-Death Sentence” in “No Circumstances” theory as recently in 2019. Significantly, by 2019 Amendment of S. 6, POCSO Act, 2012, death sentence has been introduced as a penalty for offence of aggravated penetrative sexual assault on a child below 12 yrs. If Parliament, armed with adequate facts and figures, has decided to introduce capital punishment for the offence of sexual abuse of a child, in 2019, the court hitherto will bear in mind the latest Legislative Policy even though it has no applicability in a case where the offence was committed prior thereto. Judicial precedents rendered before this recent amendment of 2019 came into force, therefore, ought to be viewed with a purposive approach so that the legislative and judicial approaches are well harmonised.  [Ravi v. State of Maharashtra, (2019) 9 SCC 622]

Armed Forces — Disability Pension — Requirements for entitlement to — Absence of disability or disease noted at time of enrolment: There can be no mechanical application of principle that any disorder not mentioned at time of enrolment is presumed to be attributed or aggravated by military service. Question is whether because of being posted in harsh and adverse conditions, military personnel suffered disability. Further held, Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensioners Awards, 1982, themselves provide that certain diseases ordinarily escape detection at time of physical examination which have intervals of normalcy unless adequate history is given. Hence, mere fact that schizophrenia was not detected at time of enrolment would not lead to presumption that disease was aggravated or attributable to military service. Each case has to be decided on its own merit on parameters whether duties assigned to individual led to stress and strain leading to psychosis and psychoneurosis. [Narsingh Yadav v. Union of India, (2019) 9 SCC 667]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 403, 406, 420 and 506-B — Cheating — Breach of trust: Where there exists a fraudulent and dishonest intention at time of commission of offence, as appeared to be the case in this case, accused having agreed to sell lands to victim, which had been sold prior to agreement between accused and victim, etc., law permits victim to proceed against wrongdoer for having committed an offence of criminal breach of trust or cheating. [Lakshman v. State Of Karnataka, (2019) 9 SCC 677]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/149 and 148 — Murder: In this case, eyewitness account was belied by medical evidence. There was unnatural conduct of related eyewitnesses and evidence linking recovered firearms and vehicle allegedly used in offence, to accused was also absent. Hence, reversal of conviction, confirmed. [Prem Singh v. Sukhdev Singh, (2019) 9 SCC 683]

National Highways Act, 1956 — Ss. 3-G(5) & (6) — Compensation — Determination of: Madishetti Bala Ramul, (2007) 9 SCC 650 is not applicable to matters governed by NH Act, 1956. If amount determined by competent authority under the 1956 Act is not acceptable to either party, they may apply to Central Government to appoint arbitrator to determine the same. [Union of India v. Balwant Singh, (2019) 9 SCC 687]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 11(6-A) [as inserted by 2015 Amendment Act w.e.f 23-10-2015] and S. 11 [as would come into force upon effectuation of S. 3 of 2019 Amendment Act]: Effect of 2015 Amendment Act as fortified, broadened and deepened by 2019 Amendment Act, held, is to legislatively overrule the position of law as prevailing prior to 2015 Amendment Act, that Court in addition to examination of existence of arbitration agreement, could also go into preliminary questions such as stale claims, accord and satisfaction having been reached, etc. Hence, SBP & Co., (2005) 8 SCC 618 and Boghara Polyfab (P) Ltd., (2009) 1 SCC 267 and other rulings of Supreme Court following these judgments on this point, stand legislatively overruled on this point by the 2015 Amendment Act. Thus, the position of law that prevails after the insertion of S. 11(6-A) is that Supreme Court or, as the case may be, the High Court, while considering any application under Sections 11(4) to 11(6) is to confine itself to examination of existence of arbitration agreement, nothing more, nothing less, and leave all other preliminary issues to be decided by arbitrator. Determining “existence of arbitration agreement”, held, has correctly been explained in paras 48 & 59 of Duro Felguera, SA, (2017) 9 SCC 729, to mean that “all that needs to be done, is to see if the agreement contains a clause which provides for arbitration pertaining to the disputes which have arisen between the parties to the agreement”. [Mayavati Trading (P) Ltd. v. Pradyuat Deb Burman, (2019) 8 SCC 714]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 11 and 8 — Appointment of arbitrator — Allegations of fraud/fabrication — Effect of, on arbitrability of dispute: Where allegations of fraud are leveled against party seeking appointment are “simple allegations” not falling within the realm of public domain, test for distinguishing a “simple allegation” from a “serious allegation” are, namely: (1) does the plea of fraud permeate the entire contract and above all, the agreement of arbitration, rendering it void, or (2) whether allegations of fraud touch upon the internal affairs of the parties inter se having no implication in the public domain. [Rashid Raza v. Sadaf Akhtar, (2019) 8 SCC 710]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 37 and 31(7)(a) — Award of interest by arbitrator as per agreement — Interference by Court when warranted — Public interest and parties leaving matter to discretion of Court: In absence of agreement to contrary between parties, S. 31(7)(a) confers jurisdiction upon Arbitral Tribunal to award interest unless otherwise agreed by parties at such rate as Arbitral Tribunal considers reasonable, on whole or any part of money, for whole or any part of period between date of cause of action and date of award. In this case, parties had agreed to rate of interest at 18% p.a. However, since award is of 1999 and matter related to construction of Paediatrics Centre in a Medical Institute and parties having left matter to discretion of Court, in exercise of power under Art. 142 of the Constitution, interest rate of 18% awarded by Arbitral Tribunal as affirmed by High Court modified and reduced to 10% p.a. simple interest. Award amount along with accrued interest @ 10% p.a. simple interest shall be payable to respondent Company within eight weeks failing which entire award amount will carry interest at 18% as awarded by Tribunal. [Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research v. Kalsi Construction Co., (2019) 8 SCC 726]

Competition Act, 2002 — Ss. 4 and 26(1) — Abuse of dominant position — Predatory pricing: In this case, appellant Uber, was making losses in respect of every trip, it was held that the same does not make any economic sense other than pointing to Uber’s intent to eliminate competition in market. Further, based on the information on record, held, it would be very difficult to say that there is no prima facie case under S. 26(1) as to infringement of S. 4. Further, if in fact, a loss is made for trips made, Expln. (a)(ii) to S. 4 would prima facie be attracted inasmuch as this would certainly affect appellant’s competitors in appellant’s favour or relevant market in its favour. Furthermore, insofar as “abuse” of dominant position is concerned, under S. 4(2)(a), so long as this dominant position, whether directly or indirectly, imposes an unfair price in purchase or sale including predatory price of services, abuse of dominant position also gets attracted. Hence, in this case, the order made by Appellate Tribunal, not interfered with. [Uber (India) Systems (P) Ltd. v. CCI, (2019) 8 SCC 697]

Contract and Specific Relief — Formation Defects Rendering Contracts Voidable — Undue Influence — Clear and specific pleadings setting out details — Cardinal necessity of: General allegations are insufficient even to amount to an averment of fraud, undue influence or coercion however strong may be the language in which such allegations are couched. Furthermore, undue influence and coercion may overlap in part in some cases but they are separate and there must be clear and separate pleading. Onus would shift onto defendant under S. 16 of Contract Act, 1872 r/w S. 111 of Evidence Act, 1872 only after plaintiff establishes a prima facie case. Close relation between parties would not lead to presumption of undue influence, particularly in a case where some only of the siblings are/is providing care to parent(s)/the elderly. [Raja Ram v. Jai Prakash Singh, (2019) 8 SCC 701]

Evidence Act, 1872 — S. 32(1) — Multiple dying declarations which are divergent and cannot be reconciled — Determining which dying declaration is to be believed: When there are multiple dying declarations, and in the earlier dying declaration, accused is not sought to be roped in but in the later dying declaration, a somersault is made by the deceased, the case must be decided on the facts of each case. The court will not be relived of its duty to carefully examine the entirety of materials as also the circumstances surrounding the making of different dying declarations. It is the compatibility with the remaining evidence/circumstantial evidence that will be vital in determining which dying declaration(s) are to be believed, as in present case. If the court finds that the incriminatory dying declaration brings out the truthful position in conjunction with capacity of deceased to make such declaration, and voluntariness with which it was made is established, ruling out tutoring and prompting; and the other evidence support the contents of the incriminatory dying declaration, it can be acted upon. Equally, circumstances which render earlier dying declaration, worthy or unworthy of acceptance, can be considered. However it is equally true that when there are divergent dying declarations it is not the law that the court must invariably prefer the statement which is incriminatory and must reject the statement which does not implicate the accused. The real point is to ascertain which one(s) contain the truth. [Jagbir Singh v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2019) 8 SCC 779]

Evidence Act, 1872 — Ss. 30 and 114 Ill. (b) — Confession recorded in custody (assumed to be admissible in present case under S. 67 of NDPS Act) — Confession of co-accused — Evidentiary value: A confession, recorded when accused is in custody, even when admissible, is a weak piece of evidence and there must be some corroborative evidence. Moreover, evidence of co-accused is also a very weak type of evidence which needs to be corroborated by some other evidence. No such corroborative evidence has been led in this case. Even if confession is admissible, court has to be satisfied that it is a voluntary statement, free from any pressure and also that accused was apprised of his rights before recording the confession. In this case, no such material has been brought on the record, hence, conviction reversed. [Mohd. Fasrin v. State, (2019) 8 SCC 811]

Limitation Act, 1963 — S. 27 and Arts. 65 & 64 — Acquisition of ownership by possession — Effect of elapse of period prescribed for loss of ownership by adverse possession — Nature of rights acquired by adverse possessee thereupon: Remedies available to person who perfects his title to property by adverse possession (Art. 65), and even to person in settled possession who is yet to perfect his title by adverse possession (Art. 64) are: (1) Firstly, held, once 12 years’ period of adverse possession is over, the owner’s right to eject the person in adverse possession (adverse possessee/possessory owner) is lost and the possessory owner acquires the right, title and interest possessed by the outgoing person/owner, as the case may be, against whom he has established the period of prescription. (2) Secondly, held, such adverse possessee/possessory owner can not only seek to protect his title as defendant in a suit but can also file suit for declaration of his title and for permanent injunction restraining defendant from interfering with his possession, where owner whose title stood extinguished, or any other person seeks to dispossess him from property. This would include the case where the property is sold away by the owner after the extinguishment of his title: in which case also a suit can be filed by a person who has perfected his title by adverse possession to question alienation and attempt of dispossession. Rulings of Supreme Court holding that person who had perfected his title by adverse possession could only protect his title as defendant in a suit, but could not file a suit for declaration of his title/protection of his possession, overruled. (3) Thirdly, held, even before ripening of his title by adverse possession, possessory suit under Art. 64 can be maintained by person in settled possession against person seeking to dispossess him by force without recourse to law. Possession confers enforceable right under S. 6 of Specific Relief Act, 1963. [Ravinder Kaur Grewal v. Manjit Kaur, (2019) 8 SCC 729]

T.N. Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959 (22 of 1959) — Ss. 6(16), 6(19), 63 and 70 — Religious endowments and trusts — Public and Private — Distinction between, summarized: “Specific endowment” means any property or money endowed for performance of any specific service or charity in math or temple or for performance of any other religious charity. Specific endowment includes any money that has been endowed for performance of religious charity. “Religious charity” means public charity associated with Hindu festival or observance of religious character. Public charity need not be connected with temple or math. Expression “associated” means being connected with or in relation to. This expression does not import any control by authorities who manage or administer festival. “Endow” and “endowment” have not been defined in Act. However, they relate to idea of giving, bequeathing or dedicating something, whether property or otherwise, for some purpose. In context of Act, purpose is with respect to religion or charity. While explaining meaning of “divest”, held, to create endowment settlor must give it and if he has given it, he has not retained it. He has then divested himself of property endowed. Settlor divested himself of right to receive certain part of income derived from such properties. There is deprivation of right to deal with properties free of charge as absolute owners which he previously was. In public trust, beneficial interest is vested in uncertain and fluctuating body of persons. It could be either public at large or some considerable portion of it answering particular description. In private trust, beneficiaries are definite and ascertained individuals or who within a definite time can be definitely ascertained. Uncertain and fluctuating body of persons is a section of public following particular religious faith or only a sect of persons of certain religious persuasion would not make any difference in matter. It would not make the trust a private trust. [M.J. Thulasiraman v. Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowment Admn., (2019) 8 SCC 689]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 7 and 8 — Arbitration agreement/clause — Applicability of: In this case, Respondent developer filed a petition under S. 23 of the Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001 before the Principal District Judge making an allegation that their purported share in the rentals were not being paid to them and prayed for a direction to A-1 Society to produce the entire accounts for the rental amounts received by it from tenants along with audit reports and minute books from 2011 to 2015. In light of arbitration agreement i.e. Cl. 19 of addendum to supplementary development agreement, appellants filed petitions under S. 8 of 1996 Act seeking appointment of arbitrator. On analysing Cl. 19, it was held that clause was applicable in event of any dispute and difference arising among parties out of, in connection with or relating to the agreement. Further, rejecting the contention that dispute between respondents and appellants did not fall in any of the sub-clauses of Cl. 19, held, developers, owners, societies and original owners and even subsequent societies formed were parties to agreement and addendum. Also, the dispute was with respect to sharing of rent of the leased space and respondents were claiming the share relying upon development agreements, supplementary development agreements and addendum, and therefore, the dispute could be said to be in connection with or relating to agreements. Thus, order passed by District Judge rejecting applications submitted by appellants under S. 8 quashed and set aside and disputes between respondents and appellants directed to be referred to arbitration. [Avinash Hitech City 2 Society v. Boddu Manikya Malini, (2019) 8 SCC 666]

Armed Forces — Discharge/Dismissal — Discharge on ground of medical unfitness: In this case, it was held that in case of discharge on ground of medical unfitness, Cl. (iii) of R. 13(3) Item III of 1954 Rules are applicable and appellant could not have been invalidated without recommendation of Invalidating Board. It was further held, submission of respondent that discharge of appellant was under Cl. (v) of R. 13(3) Item III which is a residual clause liable to be rejected in absence of any reference to it in order of discharge. Besides, it is not recital of provision in charge which is relevant for determining clause of discharge but object, language and purport of discharge, hence, discharge order was held unsustainable. While considering that appellant had joined service on 23-10-1987 and was entitled to be retained for ten years being in rank of personnel of other ranks, he would be deemed to be discharged only on 22-10-1997. Consequently, appellant was also held to be entitled to pension in addition to disability pension. [Ram Khilawan v. Union of India, (2019) 8 SCC 581]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — S. 100 — Second appeal — Concurrent findings of the two courts below: Though concurrent finding of fact is usually binding on High Court while hearing second appeal, this rule of law is subject to certain exceptions. Where concurrent finding of fact is recorded dehors the pleadings, or is based on no evidence or misreading of material documentary evidence, or is recorded against any provision of law, or the decision is one which no Judge acting judicially could reasonably have reached, such grounds will constitute substantial question of law within the meaning of S. 100 CPC. Hence, concurrent finding in such a case can be interfered with in second appeal. [State of Rajasthan v. Shiv Dayal, (2019) 8 SCC 637]

Constitution of India — Art. 162 and Sch. VII List III Entry 25 and List I Entries 63, 64, 65 and 66 — Subject of education, including technical education, medical education and Universities: In case of absence of legislation regarding education, including technical education, medical education and Universities, State Government, held, competent to issue executive instructions imposing condition of service bonds at time of admission to postgraduate courses and superspeciality courses in medical science. [Assn. of Medical Superspeciality Aspirants & Residents v. Union of India, (2019) 8 SCC 607]

Contempt of Court — Nature and Scope — Broadly — Aiding and abetting contempt: In this case, scandalous allegations were made in alleged communication but there was no direct material to connect R-4 with said communication, hence, R-4 was discharged but it was clarified that if during hearing of contempt petition against R-1 to R-3, if it is found that R-4 is behind communication, or that he has connived with R-1 and R-2, he might be summoned again. [Vijay Kurle, In re, (2019) 8 SCC 658]

Criminal Law — Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302 & 364 r/w S. 34 and S. 420 — Cheating and abduction followed by murder — Circumstantial evidence: In this case, none of the circumstances relied upon by the prosecution were proved beyond reasonable doubt. Complete chain of circumstances was also not formed that would point towards guilt of accused persons, thus, accused was entitled to benefit of doubt, hence, conviction of accused was reversed. [Umesh Tukaram Padwal v. State of Maharashtra, (2019) 8 SCC 567]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 319 — Summoning of additional accused: In this case, as exercise required to be undertaken by trial court before exercising power under S. 319 CrPC, as laid down by Supreme Court, not having been undertaken, matter remanded to trial court to decide the issue in accordance with law. [Shishupal Singh v. State of U.P., (2019) 8 SCC 682]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 482 — Matrimonial proceedings — Abuse of process of law — Quashment of proceedings against near relatives of husband, who resided at different address than matrimonial home of complaint: In this case, A-5, sister of mother of husband and wife of husband’s paternal uncle; A-6, her son (appellant herein), and A-7, wife of A-6, as proceedings had been quashed against A-7, held, appellant stood on no different a footing, hence, proceedings quashed against him also. [Seenivasan v. State, (2019) 8 SCC 642]

Education Law — Medical and Dental Colleges — Admission — Postgraduate/Superspeciality courses’ admission: Regarding eligibility for admission against 15% all-India quota as fixed by CBSE in consultation with MCI under modified scheme approved by Supreme Court, it was clarified that satisfaction of “State requirements” cannot be insisted upon i.e. fixation of additional eligibility criteria impermissible in view of three-Judge Bench decision in Harsh Pratap Sisodia, (1999) 2 SCC 575. It was further clarified that allotment of seats can obviously only be in respect of seats approved by MCI. [Anand S. Biji v. State of Kerala, (2019) 8 SCC 630]

Land Acquisition Act, 1894 — Ss. 11-A and 16 — Passing of award within two years and taking possession — Stay granted in respect of one pocket of land — Effect of: Stay granted in respect of one pocket of land operates concerning entire notification and, consequently, authorities were justified in not proceeding ahead in given facts and circumstances of case. Such period of stay is excluded in computation of two years. Even stay regarding possession also saves acquisition. Expression “stay of the action or proceedings under S. 11-A of the Act” means any interim effective order passed by court which may come in the way of the authorities to proceed further. [State of Maharashtra v. Moti Ratan Estate, (2019) 8 SCC 552]

Local Government — Town Planning — Slum redevelopment/rehabilitation scheme (SR Scheme): Withdrawal of consent by Slum Dwellers’ Society for slum development, being based on fabricated document, held, cannot be taken into account. Thus, considering interest of slum dwellers, societies involved in litigation permitted to independently develop respective slums. [Adarsh Estate Sahakari Griha Nirman Sanstha Maryadit v. State of Maharashtra, (2019) 8 SCC 632]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — Ss. 166 and 168 — Compensation — Computation of — Income: In this case, deceased bachelor was on consolidated fellowship as Fellow A (Hydro Power) having an MTech degree working in IIT Roorkee. It was held that there was no justification and ground to interfere with findings recorded by High Court in adding fellowship of Rs 12,000 p.m. to salary of Rs 3000 p.m. for computing loss of dependency. Tribunal clearly erred in excluding fellowship component notwithstanding annual income certificate issued by IIT. Salary of Rs 3000 p.m. was ridiculously low and entire compensation package has to be taken into account. It was held that the High Court was right in computing annual income at Rs 3,00,000 p.a. with benefit of future prospects. [National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Satish Kumar Verma, (2019) 8 SCC 660]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 — Murder — Circumstantial evidence: In this case, last seen evidence, recovery of murder weapon and other circumstances in the chain established by prosecution squarely led to one inference alone, that of guilt of appellant and there were only minor contradictions, hence, conviction of accused was confirmed. [Laxminath v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2019) 8 SCC 685]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 — Murder of wife — Circumstantial evidence: In this case of murder of wife, death was caused by suffocation with hands/smothering. Medical evidence established violent asphyxial death in the form of suffocation by use of the hands, causing smothering, hence, conviction of accused was confirmed. [Vijay Nathalal Gohil v. State of Maharashtra, (2019) 8 SCC 663]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 — Murder: In this case, conviction was based solely on dying declarations as all material witnesses turning hostile. First dying declaration being in the nature of FIR and second dying declaration being statement of deceased was recorded under S. 161 CrPC. Infirmities and omissions therein, held, raised reasonable doubt as to identity of accused persons and accused have not been linked clearly with the offence. Thus, it was held that benefit of doubt has to be given to them, hence, appellants were acquitted. [Hari Singh v. State of M.P., (2019) 8 SCC 677]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 r/w S. 34 or S. 149, or S. 302 simpliciter or S. 324 — Invocation of S. 34 or S. 149 — When permissible: In this case, all other accused were acquitted of offence of murder, except A-1 (appellant herein). A-2 was convicted only for inflicting simple injuries. Hence, it was held that A-1 could not be convicted for murder with aid of either S. 34 nor S. 149. Fatal injuries on deceased were not matching injuries alleged to be inflicted by A-1, hence, held, he could not be convicted for murder under S. 302 simpliciter. Hence, benefit of doubt given to A-1 acquitting him of offence of murder, but was convicted under S. 324. [Karuppanna Gounder v. State, (2019) 8 SCC 673]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 141 and 149 — Ingredients of unlawful assembly: The important ingredients of an unlawful assembly are the number of persons forming it i.e. five; and their common object. Common object of the persons composing that assembly could be formed on the spur of the moment and does not require prior deliberations. The course of conduct adopted by the members of such assembly; their behaviour before, during, and after the incident; and the arms carried by them are a few basic and relevant factors to determine the common object. [Manjit Singh v. State of Punjab, (2019) 8 SCC 529]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 141 to 149 — Unlawful assembly and punishment for offence(s) committed in furtherance of common object of unlawful assembly: Non-inclusion of S. 141 while framing charges, would not render complete trial illegal, nor would it result in finding that there would be no occasion to invoke S. 149, held, as long as necessary ingredients of unlawful assembly are set out and proved, as enunciated in S. 141. Actions of unlawful assembly and punishment thereafter, are set out in subsequent provisions, after S. 141, and as long as such ingredients are met, S. 149 can be invoked. S. 141 IPC only defines what is an unlawful assembly and in what manner the unlawful assembly conducts itself, and in what cases the common object would make the assembly unlawful is specified in the sections thereafter, inviting the consequences of the appropriate punishment in the context of S. 149 IPC. [Dev Karan v. State of Haryana, (2019) 8 SCC 596]

Service Law — Appointment — Eligibility conditions/criteria: Eligibility conditions/criteria cannot be changed midstream during selection process nor can qualifications other than notified ones be accepted. Jurisdiction of Court to determine equivalence of qualifications, held, is limited. Moreover, once having participated in selection process, candidates are bound by decision of appointing authority as to equivalence/non-equivalence of prescribed requirements with qualifications possessed by them. [Bank of India v. Aarya K. Babu, (2019) 8 SCC 587]

Service Law — Practice and Procedure — Evidence/Additional Evidence: Records maintained by employer can be considered when brought on record in appropriate manner unless authenticity of said documents in doubt. [Supt. of Post Offices v. Hanuman Giri, (2019) 8 SCC 645]

 Specific Relief Act, 1963 — Ss. 16(c) and 20 — Grant of discretionary relief of specific performance — Principles summarized: Specific performance cannot be enforced in favour of a person who fails to prove that he has performed or was always ready and willing to perform essential terms of contract which were to be performed by him. Jurisdiction to decree a suit for specific performance is discretionary jurisdiction. Court is not bound to grant such relief merely because it is lawful. A party cannot claim that though he may not perform his part of contract he is entitled for specific performance of same. It is incumbent on party, who wants to enforce specific performance of contract, to aver and prove that he has performed or has always been ready and willing to perform essential terms of contract. Merely because plaintiff is legally right, court is not bound to grant him relief. Court while exercising discretionary power is bound to exercise the same on established judicial principles and in reasonable manner. Discretion cannot be exercised in arbitrary or whimsical manner. Even if contract is otherwise not voidable but circumstances make it inequitable to enforce specific performance, courts can refuse to grant such discretionary relief. [Surinder Kaur v. Bahadur Singh, (2019) 8 SCC 575]

Transfer of Property Act, 1882 — S. 58(c) — Conditional sale mortgage (CSM) or absolute sale — Determination of: Question regarding determination of conditional sale mortgage (CSM) or absolute sale has to be considered in facts of each case. Where document appearing to be sale deed contains clause for reconveyance as per S. 58(c), it will be agreement of mortgage by conditional sale. However, execution of separate agreement for reconveyance either contemporaneously or subsequently, acts against that agreement being mortgage by conditional sale. There must exist debtor and creditor relationship. The valuation of property, transaction value, along with duration of time for reconveyance, are important considerations to decide then nature of agreement. There will have to be cumulative consideration of these factors, along with recitals in agreement, intention of parties, coupled with other attendant circumstances, considered in holistic manner. [Ganpati Babji Alamwar v. Digambarrao Venkatrao Bhadke, (2019) 8 SCC 651]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 11(6) r/w S. 11(6-A) — Appointment of arbitrator: Appointment of arbitrator is not permissible in the absence of an arbitral dispute. Appointment of arbitrator is a judicial power and is not a mere administrative function, thus leaving room for some degree of judicial intervention. When it comes to the question to examine existence of prima facie arbitration agreement, it is always necessary to ensure that the dispute resolution process does not become unnecessarily protracted. [United India Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Antique Art Exports (P) Ltd., (2019) 5 SCC 362]

Banking Regulation Act, 1949 — Ss. 21, 35-A, 35-AA, 35-AB and Ss. 36-ACA(1), 36-AE and 36-AF, 45-Y, 52(1) & 55-A and S. 45-L(3) of RBI Act — RBI Circular dt. 12-2-2018 for Resolution of Stressed Assets — Validity of: Without the authorisation of Central Government to RBI to issue directions to a banking company/companies for initiating the insolvency resolution process, RBI would have no such power i.e. after enactment of S. 35-AA, it may do so only within the four corners of S. 35-AA of 1949 Act. Held, when it comes to issuing directions to initiate the insolvency resolution process under the Insolvency Code, S. 35-AA power of RBI to issue directions for initiation of insolvency proceedings is the only source of power. When it comes to issuing directions in respect of stressed assets, which directions are directions other than resolving this problem under the Insolvency Code, such power falls within S. 35-A r/w S. 35-AB. Further, the power to be exercised under the authorisation of the Central Government requires “due deliberation and care” to refer specific defaults. Thus, the impugned circular, held, is ultra vires S. 35-AA of the Banking Regulation Act. [Dharani Sugars & Chemicals Ltd. v. Union of India, (2019) 5 SCC 480]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 6 R. 17 proviso — Amendment of plaint — When not permissible: In this case, R-1 filed an application for amendment of plaint in partition suit rejected by trial court and High Court allowed it by impugned order The Supreme Court held that trial court was right in rejecting application, firstly, because it was wholly belated; secondly, it was filed when trial in suit was almost over and case was fixed for final arguments; and thirdly, suit could still be decided even without there being any necessity to seek any amendment in plaint. Amendment in plaint was not really required for determination of issues in suit. For these reasons, impugned order was held legally unsustainable and set aside and order of trial court was restored. [Vijay Hathising Shah v. Gitaben Parshottamdas Mukhi, (2019) 5 SCC 360]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — S. 100 — Second appeal — Proper mode of disposal — Substantial question of law: Disposal of second appeal without answering substantial questions of law which were framed, but answering other questions not framed as substantial questions of law, not permissible. [Ranjit Kumar Karmakar v. Hari Shankar Das, (2019) 5 SCC 477]

Constitution of India — Arts. 139-A and 32 — Remand/Transfer — Transfer of case from Supreme Court to High Court: In these writ petitions constitutional validity of Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010 was challenged. Similar reliefs were prayed in transferred case as well. The Supreme Court held, transferring of these matters would enable Supreme Court to have benefit of findings of High Court, if required. Further, no prejudice would be caused to parties if matter transferred to High Court for decision as court of first instance instead of Supreme Court acting as court of first instance. Hence, all matters transferred to Bombay High Court for expeditious disposal on merits. [Lunawat Construction Co. v. Union of India, (2019) 5 SCC 467]

Consumer Protection — Services — Supply of goods/Service-supply contracts: Supply of instruments without there being commitment in brochure about particular specifications, and insistence by supplier to comply with pre-installation conditions, held, do not amount to deficiency in service or restrictive trade practice. Further held, communication of foreign manufacturer of the instruments cannot override locally prescribed pre-installation requirements. [D.J. De Souza v. CPC Diagnostics (P) Ltd., (2019) 5 SCC 414]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 357-A — Acid attack victims — Rehabilitation — Compensation to victim: In this case in addition to 5 yrs’ RI, both accused directed to pay Rs 1.50 lakhs each as additional compensation to the victim in addition to Rs 25,000 already paid by each of them. Default sentence of six months’ RI to be served in case of non-payment of said additional compensation. State to further pay compensation as admissible under Victim Compensation Scheme. [State of H.P. v. Vijay Kumar, (2019) 5 SCC 373]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 482: In this case, High Court partly allowed application for quashing and setting aside FIR, insofar it related to offences punishable under Ss. 392, 395 and 397 IPC and upheld it insofar as it relates to offences punishable under Ss. 143, 147, 148 and 323 IPC r/w S. 135(1) of the GP Act. Pursuant to directions issued by High Court, charge-sheet has been filed in relation to minor offences, which survived after quashing of FIR. The Supreme Court held, FIR did disclose prima facie allegations of commission of offences concerned. High Court erred in entertaining petition filed under S. 482 CrPC and further erred in allowing it in part. No proper investigation could be made by investigating officer. High Court should have directed the IO to make proper investigation on basis of FIR. IO shall now make full and proper investigation into allegations made in original FIR and after conclusion of investigation will file additional charge-sheet in relation to any other offences, if found made out. [Rafiq Ahmedbhai Paliwala v. State of Gujarat, (2019) 5 SCC 464]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 178, 179 and 177 — Exceptions under Ss. 178 and 179, to the “ordinary rule” contained in S. 177 — Scheme explained: S. 178 creates an exception to the “ordinary rule” engrafted in S. 177 by permitting the courts in another local area where the offence is partly committed to take cognizance. Also if the offence committed in one local area continues in another local area, the courts in the latter place would be competent to take cognizance of the matter. Under S. 179, if by reason of the consequences emanating from a criminal act an offence is occasioned in another jurisdiction, the court in that jurisdiction would also be competent to take cognizance. Thus, if an offence is committed partly in one place and partly in another; or if the offence is a continuing offence or where the consequences of a criminal act result in an offence being committed at another place, the exception to the “ordinary rule” would be attracted and the courts within whose jurisdiction the criminal act is committed will cease to have exclusive jurisdiction to try the offence. [Rupali Devi v. State of U.P., (2019) 5 SCC 384]

Education Law — Professional Colleges/Education — Nursing Colleges/Institutions — Affiliation/Recognition: As there was non-compliance with requirements for recognition under M.P Nursing Shikshan Sanstha Manyata Niyam, 2018, High Court judgment affirming denial of recognition for academic year 2018-2019, affirmed. [Pt. Bateswari Dayal Mishr Shiksha Samiti v.  M.P. Nurses Registration Council, (2019) 5 SCC 379]

Government Grants, Largesse, Public Property and Public Premises — Arbitrary/Improper Allocation and Cancellation/Mala fide/Biased Action/Irregularities — Land reserved for primary school: In exercise of power under Art. 142 of the Constitution and on basis of submissions and facts, and in public interest land reserved for primary school, directed to be allotted to R-3, Municipal Corporation for starting a primary school to cater to needs of growing population of area. Arbitrary and illegal allotment to R-4, cancelled. Appellant’s prayer for allotment rejected as it had never made a proper application specifically asking for land for primary school. [Jawed Urdu Primary School v. Collector, Mumbai, (2019) 5 SCC 451]

Insurance — Personal Accident Insurance — Insurer’s liability — “Accident” — What is — Death or injury caused by disease, if included: Death due to mosquito bite i.e. as a result of encephalitis malaria, in a malaria prone area cannot be considered as an “accident” and thereby not covered under insurance policy covering accidental death. [National Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Mousumi Bhattacharjee, (2019) 5 SCC 391]

National Company Law Appellate Tribunal Rules, 2016 — R. 48 r/w R. 52 — Service of notice of appeal to respondent — Necessity of: An advance copy of the appeal cannot be treated as service of notice as stipulated under R. 48 of the NCLAT Rules. Further, R. 52 of the NCLAT Rules categorically states that Judicial Section of Registry of NCLAT shall record, in “Notes of the Registry” column in order-sheet, details regarding completion of service of notice on respondents. In this case, held, no notice was served upon appellant before NCLAT as stipulated under the Rules, and right of appellant to be heard, audi alteram partem, had been violated. Thus, matter remanded to NCLAT for fresh consideration. [Jai Balaji Industries Ltd. v. SBI, (2019) 5 SCC 410]

Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 — Ss. 118, 138 and 139: Principles summarized regarding drawing of presumption under, and how said presumption can be rebutted. While prosecution must establish its case beyond reasonable doubt, accused to prove a defence must only meet standard of preponderance of probabilities. [Basalingappa v. Mudibasappa, (2019) 5 SCC 418]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 304-B — Dowry death — Appeal against acquittal: No perversity was found in judgment of trial court finding that prosecution was unable to prove cruelty on the part of appellant and other accused, nor demand nor payment of dowry. Possibility of another view cannot be a ground for reversing acquittal by appellate court. Hence, acquittal restored. [Sham Lal v. State of Haryana, (2019) 5 SCC 460]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302 and 498-A: In this case of dowry murder, victim wife burnt to death by A-1 husband for not bringing additional dowry. Dying declaration, held, was reliable and thus, reversal of acquittal confirmed. [Vijay Mohan Singh v. State of Karnataka, (2019) 5 SCC 436]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302, 302/149, 307/34, 436/149, 323/34 and 148 — Murder trial: In this case, deceased was shot dead and others injured due to firing by accused persons. Main assailant alone, held, could be convicted under S. 302 simpliciter. It could not be established that other accused shared common object to murder. Rather, it could only be established that they shared common object of rioting and setting fire to house of deceased, etc. Hence, accused other than main assailant, acquitted under Ss. 302/149, but their conviction under lesser offences i.e. Ss. 436/149, 323/34 and 148 IPC, confirmed. [Bal Mukund Sharma v. State of Bihar, (2019) 5 SCC 469]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 365 and 352: In this case of kidnapping in order to compel marriage, A-1, proprietor of a chain of hotels allegedly had illegal intention of taking PW 1 J, as his third wife, even though his second wife was still alive, conviction of A-1 to A-9, all implicated for the above offences, confirmed. [P. Rajagopal v. State of T.N., (2019) 5 SCC 403]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Constitution of India — Arts. 16(4), 341, 342, 14, 15(1) and 15(4) — State/UT benefits or concessions allowed to SCs/STs in matter of employment or education in a particular State/UT: Person belonging to SC/ST in one State cannot be deemed to be SC/ST person in State of his migration for purpose of employment or education. Expressions “in relation to State or Union Territory” and “for the purpose of this Constitution” used in Arts. 341 and 342 mean that benefits of reservation stand confined to geographical territories of State/UT in respect of which lists of SCs/STs have been notified by Presidential Orders under Arts. 341 and 342. Further held, any expansion/deletion of list of SCs/STs notified by President by any authority except Parliament would be against constitutional mandate. Furthermore, unquestionable principle of interpretation is that interrelated statutory as well as constitutional provisions must be harmoniously construed to avoid making any provisions nugatory or redundant. Enabling provision under Art. 16(4) is available only to provide reservation to classes or categories of SCs/STs enumerated in Presidential Orders for a particular State/UT within its geographical area and cannot be extended beyond those categories within that State/UT. [Bir Singh v. Delhi Jal Board, (2018) 10 SCC 312]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Penal Code,1860 — S. 377 — Constitutional validity: Section 377, insofar as it criminalizes/penalizes any consensual sexual conduct/relationship between two adults, be it homosexuals (man and a man), heterosexuals (man and a woman) or lesbians (woman and a woman), cannot be regarded as constitutional. However, if anyone, i.e. both a man and a woman, engages in any kind of sexual activity with an animal, the said aspect of Section 377 is constitutional and it shall remain a penal offence under the said section. Any act of the description covered under Section 377 IPC done between two individuals without the consent of any one of them would invite penal liability under the said section, Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation, (2014) 1 SCC 1, is overruled. [Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, (2018) 10 SCC 1]