Legal RoundUpSupreme Court Roundups

Unmissable Stories


Sedition Law under scanner| All pending cases to be kept in abeyance; Centre/States urged not to register fresh cases till Section 124A is reviewed

“…we expect that, till the re-examination of the provision is complete, it will be appropriate not to continue the usage of the aforesaid provision of law by the Governments.”

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COVID-19| No individual can be forced to be vaccinated; holds Supreme Court. Restrictions on unvaccinated persons to be revised for now

“This judgment is not to be construed as impeding, in any manner, the lawful exercise of power by the executive to take suitable measures for prevention of infection and transmission of the virus in public interest, which may also take the form of restrictions on unvaccinated people in the future, if the situation so warrants.”

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Rajiv Gandhi assassination: Supreme Court sets AG Perarivalan free after 32 years of incarceration

Perarivalan’s petition under Article 161 remained pending for two and a half years following the recommendation of the State Cabinet for remission of his sentence and continued to remain pending for over a year since the reference by the Governor.

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Navjot Singh Sidhu to undergo one-year rigorous imprisonment in 1988 road rage case

“A disproportionately light punishment humiliates and frustrates a victim of crime when the offender goes unpunished or is let off with a relatively minor punishment as the system pays no attention to the injured’s feelings.”

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Aadhaar Card for Sex Workers| Supreme Court bats for sex workers’ right to dignity; directs UIDAI to issue Aadhaar Card without insisting on address proof

“…basic protection of human decency and dignity extends to sex workers and their children, who, bearing the brunt of social stigma attached to their work, are removed to the fringes of the society, deprived of their right to live with dignity and opportunities to provide the same to their children.”

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‘Shivling’ in Gyanvapi Mosque a complex

‘Protect ‘Shivling’ but don’t stop Namaz’

Also read: SC transfers the matter to a senior and experienced District Judge

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Hindu widow’s pre-existing right to maintenance automatically ripens into full ownership when she is in settled legal possession of the property

“There remains no shadow of doubt that a Hindu woman’s right to maintenance was not and is not an empty formality or an illusory claim being conceded as a matter of grace and generosity. It is a tangible right against the property, which flows from the spiritual relationship between the husband and the wife.”

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Right to residence under DV Act not restricted to actual residence; Domestic relationship not necessary to be subsisting at the time of filing of application

The expression ‘right to reside in the shared household’ would include not only actual residence but also constructive residence in the shared household.

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No universal rule to fill vacancies on the basis of the law which existed on the date when they arose; Supreme Court overrules 1983’s YV Rangaiah ruling

Noticing that a number of decisions have followed the decision in Rangaiah but far more decisions have distinguished it, the Supreme Court decided to examine the issue afresh and came to the conclusion that the broad proposition formulated in Rangaiah did not reflect the correct constitutional position.

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IGST on Ocean Freight for imports unconstitutional

“If Indian shipping lines continue to be taxed and not their competitors, namely, the foreign shipping lines, the margins arising out of taxation from GST would not create a level playing field and drive the Indian shipping lines out of business.”

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Sheena Bora murder| Indrani Mukerjea gets bail after being in custody for 6.5 years

Indrani is charged of kidnapping her daughter with intention to murder and committing murder after entering into a criminal conspiracy.

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Supreme Court grants interim bail to SP Leader Azam Khan; Directs him to seek regular bail within two weeks

Taking into consideration the delay in implication of Azam Khan and the nature of the allegations made therein, the Court was of the view that it will not be in the interest of justice to deprive him of his personal liberty, particularly when in respect of 87 criminal cases/FIRs, he has already been released on bail.

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Case load on NGT low, No need to set up Benches in every State; High Court’s jurisdiction unaffected: Supreme Court upholds constitutionality of NGT Act

The seat of the NGT benches can be located as per exigencies and it is not necessary to locate them in every State.

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Over 90, 000 Reassessment Notices issued after April 1, 2021 saved as Supreme Court directs them to be treated as notices under Section 148A of Income Tax Act

The bench of MR Shah* and BV Nagarathna, JJ has modified the order passed by the Allahabad High Court wherein it had quashed several reassessment notices issued by the Revenue, issued under section 148 of the Income Tax Act, 1961, on the ground that the same are bad in law in view of the amendment by the Finance Act, 2021 which has amended Income Tax Act by introducing  new provisions i.e. sections 147to151 w.e.f. 1st April, 2021.

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Most Read Story of the Month


Cheque issued as a security and not in discharge of legally recoverable debt; Is the contention sufficient to quash proceedings under N.I. Act at pre-trial stage? SC examines

“The quashing proceedings must not become an expedition into the merits of factual dispute, so as to conclusively vindicate either the complainant or the defence.”

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Explainers



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Insurance companies refusing claims on flimsy/technical grounds must stop! Don’t ask for documents that insured can’t produce

In a case where an Insurance Company had refused to settle an insurance claim on non-submission of the duplicate certified copy of certificate of registration of the stolen vehicle, the bench of MR Shah* and BV Nagarathna, JJ has held that while settling the claims, the insurance company should not be too technical and ask for the documents, which the insured is not in a position to produce due to circumstances beyond his control.

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Change of venue does not result in change of the seat of arbitration

The Court held that holding otherwise would create a recipe for litigation and (what is worse) confusion which was not intended by the Act.

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Land Acquisition| Compensation under 2013 Act cannot be claimed if award under 1894 Act couldn’t be passed due to pendency of proceedings or interim stay

“The intention of the Parliament while enacting Section 24(1) of the Act, 2013 cannot be to give benefit to a litigant, who has obtained a stay order and because of that the award could not be declared and thereafter the litigant may be awarded the compensation as per Act, 2013.”

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Showing undue favour to a party under the guise of passing judicial orders is the worst kind of judicial dishonesty

“A judge must decide the case on the basis of the facts on record and the law applicable to the case. If he decides a case for extraneous reasons, then he is not performing his duties in accordance with law. As often quoted, a judge, like Caesar’s wife, must be above suspicion.”

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Minority Status of Hindus in some States: SC directs Centre to have detailed deliberation with States and other stakeholders

The Court has directed the Central Government to undertake the necessary exercise and file a status report at least 3 days before the next date of hearing i.e. August 30, 2022.

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Pawnee recording self as “beneficial owner” is a necessary condition to exercise right to sell pledged good; it does not amount to “actual sale”

“Every transfer or sale is not ‘actual sale’ for the purpose of Section 177 of the Contract Act. To equate ‘sale’ with ‘actual sale’ would negate the legislative intent.”

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COVID-19 affecting education| No registration of Doctors without practical training. Foreign Institute MBBS students must first undergo training in India

“No doubt, the pandemic has thrown new challenges to the entire world including the students but granting provisional registration to complete internship to a student who has not undergone clinical training would be compromising with the health of the citizens of any country and the health infrastructure at large.”

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Non-execution of Arbitration Award even after 30 years-long delay: SC slams Allahabad High Court; U.P. Government to consider constituting four Additional Commercial Courts

“If, the commercial disputes are not decided/ disposed of at the earliest, it may ultimately affect the economy of the country and may spoil the business relations between the parties.”

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AIIMS to follow roster point-based reservation for preferential candidates

In a relief to students seeking admission in AIIMS Institutes, the bench of L. Nageswara Rao and AS Bopanna, JJ has directed that a roster point-based reservation for preferential candidates as followed by Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) shall be implemented in all the AIIMS institutes.

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SC to decide if a non-member director barred from approaching NCLT alleging oppression/mismanagement under Section 430 of Companies Act

The question of law before the Court was whether a non-member/non-shareholder director is barred from raising a dispute regarding oppression/mismanagement and the illegal appointments of directors before the Civil Court u/s 430 of the Companies Act, 2013?

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Whether there should be any “Cooling off Period” for civil servants to contest elections post resignation/retirement? Best left to the Legislature concerned, says Supreme Court

“The allegations of bureaucrats deviating from strict norms of political neutrality with a view to obtaining party tickets to contest elections, is vague, devoid of particulars and unsupported by any materials which could justify intervention of this Court.”

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The Election cannot brook any delay! SC directs Maharashtra Election Commission to conduct local elections on the basis of pre-amendment delimitation

The Bench comprising of A.M. Khanwilkar, Abhay S. Oka and C.T. Ravikumar, JJ., directed Maharashtra State Election Commission to expeditiously conduct elections of local bodies (around 2486), which were pending for over 2 years (in some cases) due to disputed constitutional validity of State Amendments seeking to introduce delimitation in the State.

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SC finds Kerala Govt’s failure to compensate 3700 Endosulfan victims for 5 years appalling; says “without health, the faculties of living have little meaning”

“The failure to redress the infringement of their fundamental rights becomes more egregious with each passing day.”

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It isn’t the purpose of grace marks to allow reserved category candidate to switch over to general category

The Division Bench of M.R. Shah* and B.V. Nagarathna, JJ., reversed the impugned order of the Rajasthan High Court whereby the High Court had directed  Income Tax Department to grant grace marks to the applicant and treat him as a person belonging to general category.

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Person languishes in jail for 2 years despite being granted bail by Supreme Court; Supreme Court criticizes Trial Judge for misinterpreting bail order

“… where the custody of a person for 9 years was found to be sufficient to entitle him to be released on bail, is now turned into custody for 11 years. This is nothing but  reincarnation of Hussainara Khatoon[1] & Motil Ram[2].”

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Male Head Constable enters Mahila Barrack at 00:15 hours; is punishment of removal from service too harsh? SC tells what makes the punishment disproportionate

“…merely because one of the employees was inflicted with a lesser punishment cannot be a ground to hold the punishment imposed on another employee as disproportionate, if in case of another employee higher punishment is warranted and inflicted by the disciplinary authority after due application of mind.”

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Maternal uncle rapes his 14-year-old niece; will subsequent act of him marrying prosecutrix extinguish all criminal liabilities?

“This Court cannot shut its eyes to the ground reality and disturb the happy family life of the appellant and the prosecutrix”.

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Mere suppression of criminal antecedent regardless of whether there is a conviction or acquittal should not axiomatically lead to termination of service just by a stroke of pen

The Division Bench of Ajay Rastogi* and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ., reversed the impugned order of Delhi High Court whereby the High Court had upheld the dismissal order of appellant owing to suppression of information/false declaration in the verification form regarding criminal antecedent.

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Double Insurance–Overlapping policies: Grant of actual loss from one insurer will forfeit right to claim from other insurer; SC rejects Levi’s’ insurance claim

“What is in issue in this present case has been characterized as “double insurance”, i.e., where an entity seeks to cover risks for the same or similar incidents through two different – overlapping policies.”

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Kerala Revocation of Arbitration Clauses and Reopening of Awards Act, 1998 encroaches upon the judicial power of the State; held unconstitutional

The bench of L. Nageswara Rao* and BR Gavai, JJ has held that the Kerala Revocation of Arbitration Clauses and Reopening of Awards Act, 1998 encroaches upon the judicial power of the State and hence, is liable to be declared unconstitutional.

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Dilapidated structure on Bhilwara’s Tiranga Hill cannot be conferred a status of a Mosque in absence of any proof; Jindal Saw to go ahead with mining

In the absence of any proof of dedication or user, a dilapidated wall or a platform cannot be conferred a status of a religious place for the purpose of offering prayers/Namaaz.

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“An opinion accompanied by inadequate reasoning would not satisfy the requirements of Section 432 (2), CrPC”, SC directs presiding officer to reconsider remission application

“Section 432 (2) of the CrPC would stand defeated if the opinion of the presiding judge becomes just another factor that may be taken into consideration by the government while deciding the application for remission.”

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Great Indian Bustard and Lesser Florican Conservation: Supreme Court directs installation of bird divertors in  priority areas within three months

The petitioners were environmentalists who had approached the Court to seek directions for protecting the rare birds which are dwindling in number; particularly direction to prohibit use of overhead power lines which have become a hazard as the said species of birds are getting killed on collision with the power lines.

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Cases Reported in SCC


2022 SCC Vol. 3 Part 4

In Part 4 of 2022 SCC Volume 3, read some very pertinent Supreme Court decisions, involving aspects regarding reservation, accountability of social media platforms, service law and more.

2022 SCC Vol. 3 Part 5

Read four articles and nine significant decisions of Supreme Court in Part 5 of 2022 SCC Volume 3.

2022 SCC Vol. 4 Part 1

In 2022 SCC Volume 4 Part 1, read a very interesting case, wherein the grievance of the builder was that out of total of 1134 apartments constructed and sold by them, the owners of merely 51 apartments have joined together and invoked the jurisdiction of the National Consumer Commission and that such a miniscule percentage of consumers cannot seek to file the complaint in a representative capacity. To know what happened in this case, read the Supreme Court decision in Brigade Enterprises Ltd. v. Anil Kumar Virmani(2022) 4 SCC 138

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Considering the complexity of the issue related to a ‘Shivling’ found in the complex of the Gyanvali Mosque in Varanasi, the 3-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and PS Narsimha, JJ has directed that the suit pending before the Civil Judge, Senior Division, Varanasi should be tried before a senior and experienced judicial officer of the Uttar Pradesh Higher Judicial Service.

Hence, the District Judge will now decide the matter “on priority”.

The Court has further directed:

  • Since parties are appearing on notice, all orders in the suit shall be passed upon hearing the parties;
  • The interim order dated 17 May 2022 shall continue to remain in operation pending the disposal of the application under Order VII Rule 11 CPC and thereafter for a period of eight weeks so as to enable any party which is aggrieved by the order of the District Judge to pursue its rights and remedies in accordance with law;
  • Unless adequate arrangements for ensuring the due observance of Waju have already been made by the District Magistrate, we direct the District Magistrate, in consultation with the parties, to ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for the religious observance;
  • The order passed by the Civil Judge, Senior Division, Varanasi on 16 May 2022 shall stand subsumed by the terms of the order dated 17 May 2022, pending further orders.

The Court will now hear the matter on July 21, 2022.

[Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Varanasi v. Rakhi Singh, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 696, order dated 20.05.2022]

Also read:

‘Protect ‘Shivling’ but don’t stop Namaz’: Supreme Court on claim of Shivling found in Varanasi’s Gyanvapi Mosque

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: After it was claimed that a ‘Shivalinga’ was found at the complex of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, the bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and PA Narsimha, JJ has directed that while the ‘Shivalinga’ must be protected, it shall not affect the right to offer Namaz and other religious observances.

The three prayers before the Trail Court were:

“1. Direct the C.R.P.F. Commandant to seal the Waju Khana with proper force.

2. Kindly direct the District Magistrate to restrict entire of Muslims for offering Namaz. Not more than 20 Muslims be allowed to offer Namaz.

3. Kindly stop the usage of Weju Khana with immediate effect.”

The Trail Court gave the following order:

“The DM, Varanasi is directed that the place where Shivalinga has been found should be sealed with immediate effect and entry of any person should be prohibited in the sealed area. The DM, Varanasi, Police Commissioner, Police Commissionerate, Varanasi and the C.R.P.F. Commandant, Varanasi, are directed that the individual responsibility for the protection and preservation of the place which is being sealed shall be individually upon the aforesaid officers. With regards to the place being sealed the responsibility of supervision of what is being done by the administration shall be upon the Director General of Police, Police Headquarters, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow and Principal Secretary, U.P. Government, Lucknow.”

It was, hence, argued, before the Supreme Court that the aforementioned order was susceptible of the interpretation that the entirety of the reliefs which were sought has been allowed.

Hence, in order to obviate any dispute on the meaning and content of the order of the Trial Judge, the Court clarified,

“… the operation and ambit of the order dated 16 May 2022 shall stand restricted to the extent that the District Magistrate, Varanasi shall ensure that the area where the Shivalinga is stated to have been found, as indicated in the order, shall be duly protected.”

It was, however, made clear that the direction shall not in any manner restrain or impede the access of Muslims to the mosque or the use of the Mosque for the purpose of performing Namaz and religious observances.

[Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Varanasi v. Rakhi Singh, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 694, order dated 17.05.2022]


Counsels:

For Petitioner: Sr. Adv. Huzefa A. Ahmadi and Advocates Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi, Nizamuddin Pasha, Ibad Mushtaq, Kanishka Prasad

For Respondent(s): SG Tushar Mehta, SG, Adv Gen Ajay Mishra, AAG Ardhendumauli Kumar Prasad, Sr. Adv. Garima Prashad, AAG Sharan Dev Singh Thakur, and Advocates Ruchira Goel, Barun Kumar Shinha, Pratibha Shihha, Baby Devi Bonia and Abhishek.