Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Income Tax — Income — Income arising within or earned in India — Income derived from business operation in India — Taxability of — Exemption under applicable Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA): In this case, Art. 5(3) of the DTAA predicated that notwithstanding the preceding provisions of the Article concerned, which would mean Arts. 5(1) and 5(2), the establishment in question would still not be a PE, if any of the clauses in Art. 5(3) are applicable. It was held by the Supreme Court that the nature of activities carried on by respondent through its liaison office in India, as permitted by RBI, are in the nature of “preparatory or auxiliary character”. Hence, they are covered by Art. 5(3)(e) of the DTAA between India and UAE, and fixed place used by respondent as liaison office in India, would not qualify as PE in terms of Arts. 5(1) and 5(2) of the said DTAA on account of non obstante and deeming clause in Art. 5(3) of the DTAA. Hence, the said activity of the respondent is not amenable to tax liability in terms of Art. 7 of the DTAA. [Union of India v. UAE Exchange Centre, (2020) 9 SCC 329]

Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966 (37 of 1966) — S. 88 and Ch. VII (Ss. 126 to 129) — Cohesive and harmonious construal of S. 88: S. 88 cannot be read in isolation and has to be read along with provisions under Ch. VII (Ss. 126 to 129). Thus, held, mere declaration of Town Planning Scheme does not result in vesting of the land in question in the authority concerned, unless the land has been acquired properly in accordance with law. [Hari Krishna Mandir Trust v. State of Maharashtra, (2020) 9 SCC 356]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — S. 11 — Res judicata: Issue only collaterally or incidentally decided in earlier proceedings, held, would not operate as res judicata in proceedings where the issue is directly and substantially involved. Test to be applied to ascertain whether the matter was directly and substantially in issue, explained. The test is whether the issue was necessary to be decided for adjudicating on the principal issue and was decided: if it is clear that the earlier judgment was in fact based upon that decision, then it would be res judicata in a latter case, but not otherwise. Such determination is to be made on the facts of each case. Examination of pleadings, issues framed and judgment of the earlier proceedings is required. [Nand Ram v. Jagdish Prasad, (2020) 9 SCC 393]

Aviation Law — General Principles re Liability/Expected Service Standards for Carriage of Goods and Persons/Deficiency in service: Departure of flight without passenger who had been issued boarding pass does not amount to deficiency of service, when such passenger fails to reach the boarding gate in time. [Indigo Airlines v. Kalpana Rani Debbarma, (2020) 9 SCC 424]

 Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 34: Limitation period for challenging arbitral award: Maximum outer limit of three months plus 30 days is mandatory. Where challenge to award was filed when award was at execution stage, it was well beyond the above maximum limitation period. [BBM Enterprises v. State of W.B., (2020) 9 SCC 448]

Constitution of India — Art. 217 — Appointment of High Court Judges — Inordinate delays in making recommendation to fill vacancies by High Court Collegiums: High Court Collegiums must make endeavour to recommend names against vacancies as early as possible even if they are not made at one go. Some Courts do not recommend fresh names without earlier list being cleared. It was held that there is no such impediment and it should be a continuing process of recommending names without waiting for result of earlier recommendations till all recommendations are made. Otherwise, time period to process names is such that by time appointments take place, another set of vacancies arise which brings problem of vacancies to square one. Detailed report regarding existing and expected vacancies called for from all High Courts, explaining as to what is the time period within which recommendations can be expected to be made. [PLR Projects (P) Ltd. v. Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd., (2020) 9 SCC 452]

Environment Law — Environmental Clearance/NOC/Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) — Grant of/Quashment of/Irregularity in/Judicial review: In this case there were issues whether entire material including report of Joint Committee which was relevant to consider case of parties herein was available before NGT and whether NGT was justified in proceeding with matter in manner as it has presently done. Hence, the matter was remanded to NGT for consideration afresh after taking into account the relevant report which had now become available and additional relevant material if sought to be adduced by the parties. [Wonder Projects Development (P) Ltd. v. Union of India, (2020) 9 SCC 454]

Ancient and Protected Monuments, Archaeology, Art and Antiquities — Administration, Conservation, Maintenance, Refurbishment, Alteration, etc. of Monuments — Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain: Direction issued regarding steps to be taken to prevent deterioration of Shivalinga and steps to be taken to preserve temple structure, including Chandranageshwar Temple. [Sarika v. Mahakaleshwar Mandir Committee, (2020) 9 SCC 460]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 438 — Anticipatory bail cases — Posting of: It is the duty of the Registry of court to post such cases with due diligence. In this case, order in anticipatory bail case made returnable in four weeks, but not listed for almost a year. Registry directed to furnish an explanation on the administrative side as to why the matter was not listed as directed after four weeks, more so, in the nature of matter being of anticipatory bail. [Mahtab Alam v. State of Bihar, (2020) 9 SCC 466]

Commercial Courts Act, 2015/Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 — S. 12-A — Time prescribed under for completing process of compulsory pre-litigation mediation and settlement: Said time shall stand extended from time when COVID-19 Lockdown is lifted plus 45 days thereafter. However, if period of Lockdown plus 45 days has expired, no further period shall be liable to be excluded. [Cognizance For Extension of Limitation, In re, (2020) 9 SCC 468]

Service Law — Departmental Enquiry — Judicial review/Validity — Scope: Power of judicial review is distinct from appellate power exercised by departmental appellate authority. Further held, judicial review is evaluation of decision-making process and not merits of decision itself which is to ensure fairness in treatment and not fairness of conclusion. Judicial review ought to be used to correct manifest errors of law or procedure which might result in significant injustice or violation of principles of natural justice. Moreover, where appellate or reviewing authority comes to a different conclusion, ordinarily decision under appeal ought not to be disturbed insofar as it is plausible and not perverse. [Pravin Kumar v. Union of India, (2020) 9 SCC 471]

Trusts and Trustees — Religious and Charitable Endowments and Trusts — Nanded Sikh Gurudwara Sachkhand Shri Hazur Apchalnagar Sahib Act, 1956 (37 of 1956) — Ss. 6(1)(viii), 6(2), 6(3), 2(e) & 2(c) and Ch. II r/w R. 6 of the 1958 Rules: Nomination of four members under S. 6(1)(viii) by State Government to the statutory Gurudwara Board, not permissible. S. 6(3) does not apply to the nomination to be made under S. 6(1)(viii) and the exclusive statutory authority for making the nomination of four members under S. 6(1)(viii) is vested in the Diwan. Expression “Diwan” under 1956 Act is an institution and not an individual person. [Bahginder Singh v. Manjieeth Singh, (2020) 9 SCC 484]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Ss. 96, 100 and Or. 1 R. 10 — Appeal from original decree — Maintainability — Locus standi — “Person aggrieved” — Rejection of leave to appeal — Legality: In this case, judgment and decree not being a judgment in rem, holding that certain transactions, in no way concerning the interest of the applicant appellants, were time-barred and granting injunctive relief in respect of only the parties to the suits concerned. Appellants could in no way establish how their interests were affected in any way by decree in question. Thus, held, appellants failed to demonstrate that they were prejudicially or adversely affected by decree in question or that any of their legal rights were jeopardised so as to bring them within ambit of expression “person aggrieved”. [V.N. Krishna Murthy v. Ravikumar, (2020) 9 SCC 501]

Stamp Act, 1899 — S. 40(1)(b) — Imposition of extreme penalty i.e. ten times the amount of the proper duty or deficient portion thereof — Exercise of discretion in respect of: The amount of penalty not exceeding ten times is not an amount to be imposed as a matter of course. Neither is imposition of penalty of ten times under S. 40(1)(b) automatic nor can it be mechanically imposed. Imposition of the extreme penalty i.e. ten times of the duty or deficient portion thereof cannot be based on the mere factum of evasion of duty. Reasons such as fraud or deceit in order to deprive the Revenue or undue enrichment are relevant factors to arrive at a decision as to what should be the extent of penalty under S. 40(1)(b). [H.C. Dhanda Trust v. State of M.P.,(2020) 9 SCC 510]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 or S. 304 Pt. II [S. 300 Exception 4]: In this case, there was assault by accused on head of deceased with lathi, leading to his death in hospital the next day. It was held that circumstances, manner of assault, nature and number of injuries, all have to be considered cumulatively, to decipher intention or knowledge, as the case may be. Assault was not premeditated but took place in heat of passion due to land dispute. The act was done with knowledge that it was likely to cause death, but without any intention to cause death. Hence, conviction altered from S. 302 to S. 304 Pt. II IPC. As accused had already undergone maximum period of sentence prescribed therein, therefore, he was directed to be set at liberty forthwith. [Jugut Ram v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2020) 9 SCC 520]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 or S. 304: Where death was due to single injury caused by accused, legal position summarised whether S. 302 would be attracted or not. [Stalin v. State, (2020) 9 SCC 524]

T.N. Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976 (24 of 1978) — Ss. 20 and 21 — Exemption granted under the Act — Non-compliance with conditions of — Measures that may be taken by competent authority — Scope of: There must be strict compliance with statutory regime. Imposition of sanctions beyond what is expressly permitted by statute is not permissible. Further held, any undertaking given by the party concerned cannot expand the statutory jurisdiction of the authority concerned. Competent authority is only permitted by the 1976 Act to withdraw the order of exemption or to declare such land to be excess land under S. 21, with its attendant consequences as provided under the 1976 Act. [Shridhar C. Shetty v. Collector, (2020) 9 SCC 537]

Constitution of India — Art. 254 — Repugnancy under Art. 254 — Meaning of: Preconditions for question of repugnancy under Art. 254, when can be considered. Principles summarised regarding tests for whether laws are repugnant to each other. Doctrine of repugnancy not attracted if laws partially or incidentally cover the same area in a different context and to achieve a different purpose. In case of repugnancy, Central law prevails over State law. [West U.P. Sugar Mills Assn. v. State of U.P., (2020) 9 SCC 548]

Wealth Tax Act, 1957 — Ss. 3 and 21-AA — Incidence of wealth tax: Law explained regarding persons to be assessed under wealth tax. Social club such as appellant Bangalore Club, held, not covered under S. 3(1) if looked at in isolation without considering S. 21-AA. [Bangalore Club v. CWT, (2020) 9 SCC 599]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — S. 7 — Acknowledgement of debt by corporate debtor in earlier insolvency proceedings — Relevance of: Counter-affidavit of corporate debtor in earlier petition, held, was not a pleading of the insolvency applicant in the earlier insolvency proceedings. Rather, it was an admission of the outstanding debt by the corporate debtor and was admissible qua debt acknowledgement in later insolvency proceedings. [Shri Equipment Finance Ltd. v. Rajeev Anand, (2020) 9 SCC 623]

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 — Ss. 42, 55 and 20(b)(ii)(B): In this case of seizure of ganja there was official witnesses and support from independent witnesses was absent. Testimony of police officials was found reliable and trustworthy. No enmity was found between the police witnesses and the accused. No such defence was taken in the statement under S. 313 CrPC.  It was held that legally, testimony of the official witnesses cannot be rejected on the ground of non-corroboration by independent witness. Resultantly, absence of independent support to the official witnesses, held, not fatal. Compliance with Ss. 42 and 55 was fully proved on the record. Sample seized and sealed was also proved to be sent to the FSL. Hence, conviction was affirmed. [Rizwan Khan v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2020) 9 SCC 627]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 197 — Sanction for prosecution — When not to be accorded: In this case, there was exoneration on merits by CVC, where allegation found to be not sustainable at all and accused held innocent. Criminal prosecution on same set of facts and circumstances, cannot be allowed to continue, on underlying principle of higher standard of proof in criminal cases. No sanction ought to be accorded and no offence under IPC made out. Judgment of courts below, set aside, and accused discharged from offences under IPC. [Ashoo Surendranath Tewari v. CBI, (2020) 9 SCC 636]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — Ss. 166 and 173 — Fatal accident — Compensation — Consortium — What is and when may be awarded: Expression “consortium” includes spousal consortium, parental consortium as well as filial consortium. It is certainly not the law that consortium is only payable as a spousal consortium and consortium is not payable to children and parents. Apart from spousal consortium, parental and filial consortium, held, are payable in fatal accident claim. [New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Somwati, (2020) 9 SCC 644]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Hindu Succession Act, 1956 — S. 6 [as substituted by the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 w.e.f. 9-9-2005] — Daughter’s right in coparcenary property under substituted S. 6 of the HS Act, 1956: Daughter born before date of enforcement of the 2005 Amendment Act, held, has same rights as daughter born on or after the amendment. Non-requirement of coparcener father to be alive on date of coming into force of the said amendment, explained. [Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma, (2020) 9 SCC 1]

Constitution of India — Art. 136 — Maintainability of SLP: SLP against order dismissing review on merits, when original order is not challenged, not maintainable. Law summarized on the matter. [T.K. David v. Kuruppampady Service Cooperative Bank Ltd., (2020) 9 SCC 92]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 167(2) and S. 437 — Default bail/statutory bail under S. 167(2): Indefeasible right to default bail/statutory bail under S. 167(2), once statutory period expires, discussed. Condition(s) if may be imposed as: (A) precondition(s) to release on default bail, and (B) conditions post release on default bail for cooperation in investigation, reporting to police station, etc., explained. This contrasted with position obtaining in regard to regular bail under S. 437. [Saravanan v. State, (2020) 9 SCC 101]

Constitution of India — Arts. 226 and 227 — Judicial Review — Exercise of Power — Limitations thereon: High Court purporting to take over role and function of Expert Committee, not permissible. When Government accepted decision of Expert Committee and no arbitrariness or settled vitiating ground was established thereagainst, held, High Court cannot venture to sit as an expert over and above Expert Committee, in absence of any arbitrariness or any other settled ground of interference in exercise of power of judicial review. [State of Kerala v. RDS Project Ltd., (2020) 9 SCC 108]

Stamp Act, 1899 — Ss. 40(1)(b) and 3 — Deficient stamp duty and penalty — Person who can be compelled to pay: Next purchaser or subsequent transferee of the property is liable to pay pending stamp duty and penalty. Furthermore, the same cannot be deposited through postdated cheque. [MSD Real Estate LLP v. Collector of Stamps, (2020) 9 SCC 113]

Supreme Court Rules, 2013 — Or. XLVII R. 1: Opening expression “Court may review its judgment or order” confers unfettered power on Court to entertain review petitions arising from judgments or orders passed in writ petitions filed under Art. 32 of the Constitution. Comma used after this expression has to be read disjunctively as separating it from remaining contents of R. 1, which provide exceptions in respect of civil or criminal proceedings. [Kantaru Rajeevaru (Right To Religion, In Re-9 J.) (2) v. Indian Young Lawyers Assn., (2020) 9 SCC 121]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 11 and 7: In case of two different arbitration clauses in two related agreements between the same parties, principles explained regarding determination of appropriate clause that will operate in the factual matrix. The same would depend on the nature of the dispute raised between the parties. To determine the same it would be necessary to examine the agreements and other documents on record which reveal the true nature of the dispute raised. [Balasore Alloys Ltd. v. Medima LLC, (2020) 9 SCC 136]

Consumer Protection — Consumer/Consumer Dispute/Locus Standi — Class Action/Representative Complaints/Consumer Association: S. 12(1)(c) of the CP Act applies to a situation where there are numerous consumers having same interest in the matter. In that case, a complaint may be filed in a representative capacity by one or more consumers, with the permission of District Forum, on behalf of or for benefit of all the consumers so interested. The test under S. 12(1)(c) is of the sameness of interest. Procedural requirements under Or. 1 R. 8 CPC are attracted in such case by virtue of provisions of S. 13(6) of the CP Act. [Vikrant Singh Malik v. Supertech Ltd., (2020) 9 SCC 145]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 207(v) & (iii) r/w provisos I and II & Ss. 173(5) and (6) — Supply to the accused of copy of police report and documents appended thereto: Magistrate can withhold only such document referred to in Cl. (v) of S. 207 which in his opinion is “voluminous”, and not for any other reason. In case of such voluminous document, however, accused can be permitted to take inspection of document concerned either personally or through his pleader in court. Thus, even if investigating officer appends his note in respect of any particular document regarding its exclusion from copies to be granted to accused, that will be of no avail as his power is limited to do so only in respect of statements referred to in S. 173(6) CrPC. [P. Gopalkrishnan v. State of Kerala, (2020) 9 SCC 161]

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 — Ss. 35 and 54 and Ss. 8(c)/20(b)(ii)(C) — Search and seizure: In this case there was recovery of contraband (ganja) from a house and conviction of accused under Ss. 8(c)/20(b)(ii)(C), was based on mere presumption of ownership of aforesaid house, without any finding of conscious possession of house with accused, so as to attribute presumption under NDPS Act against him with regard to recovery of contraband. As the guilt of accused was not established beyond reasonable doubt, conviction was reversed. [Gangadhar v. State of M.P., (2020) 9 SCC 202]

Service Law — Promotion — Upgradation of Post/Cadre — Promotion or Upgradation: In this case there was deployment of Telephone Operators as Radio Operators with higher pay scale. While determining that whether it was promotion or upgradation and consequent entitlement/non-entitlement to ACP Scheme, it was held that sometimes there is fine distinction between promotion and upgradation requiring holistic view to be taken considering factual matrix of each case. [Rama Nand v. State (NCT of Delhi),(2020) 9 SCC 208]

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 — Ss. 2(1)(c) and (d): “Bank”/“Banking company” under SARFAESI Act, held, includes all cooperative banks, whether registered under State legislation or otherwise. [Pandurang Ganpati Chaugule v. Vishwasrao Patil Murgud Sahakari Bank Ltd., (2020) 9 SCC 215]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Army Act, 1950 — Ss. 69 and 70: In this case there was conviction of appellant under S. 354 IPC for using criminal force on two women with intent to outrage their modesty by inappropriately touching their private parts during checkup. PW 13 Physician stated that touching of private parts and squeezing their nipples during examination was unnecessary. There was no motive for falsely implicating appellant. Hence held, conviction of appellant under S. 354 IPC was justified. [Union of India v. S.S. Bedi, (2020) 8 SCC 700]

Constitution of India — Art. 19(1)(g) and Arts. 29 & 30 r/w Arts. 25, 26 and 14, 47 and 51-A(j) — Admission to medical and dental courses (graduate and postgraduate): Validity of NEET, reaffirmed. Taking over of admission process by Government and statutory amendments prescribing transparent, merit-based common entrance test for eligibility and centralized admission process for all medical and dental colleges in India without any exception i.e. NEET, held, valid. The same are in the national interest, in the welfare of students and teachers, do not put the minority institutions to a disadvantage compared to other institutions and do not violate Arts. 14, 19(1)(g) and Arts. 29 & 30 r/w Arts. 25 and 26. [Christian Medical College Vellore Assn. v. Union of India, (2020) 8 SCC 705]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21, 39 and 41: Directions and observations passed regarding rights of elderly persons/senior citizens and their enforcement during COVID-19 Pandemic. [Ashwani Kumar v. Union of India, (2020) 8 SCC 808]

Constitution of India — Arts. 72 and 161 — Powers of commutation and remission of sentences exercisable by President and Governor under: Difference between such constitutional powers under Arts. 72 and 161 on the one hand, and similar powers under CrPC or other statutes on the other available to the appropriate executive Government, explained. Principles summarised regarding scope of judicial review of order of President or Governor under Art. 72 or Art. 161. Principles under S. 433-A CrPC are not applicable to exercise of constitutional power either under Art. 72 or under Art. 161. [Pyare Lal v. State of Haryana, (2020) 8 SCC 680]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 439 and 389: Principles summarized regarding distinction between Ss. 439 and 389. [Preet Pal Singh v. State of U.P., (2020) 8 SCC 645]

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — S. 12(3) [as amended by S. 4 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Act, 2019], providing inter alia for mandatory completion of corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) within a period of 330 days: The general rule is that of an outer limit of 330 days. However, held, extension of time can be granted in exceptional cases. Exceptional cases would be cases where only a short period is left for completion of the insolvency resolution process beyond 330 days, and it would be in the interest of all stakeholders that the corporate debtor be put back on its feet and where the delay or a large part thereof is attributable to the tardy process of the Adjudicating Authority/Appellate Tribunal itself. Further, where the grace period of 90 days from the date of commencement of the Amending Act of 2019 is exceeded, there again a discretion can be exercised by the Adjudicating Authority and/or Appellate Tribunal to further extend time. The validity of amended S. 12(3), affirmed in its entirety except that the word “mandatorily” struck down, as being an excessive, arbitrary and unreasonable restriction being violative of Arts. 14 and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. [Essar Steel India Ltd. Committee of Creditors v. Satish Kumar Gupta, (2020) 8 SCC 531]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 366-A and 506: In this case of alleged procuration of minor girl and criminal intimidation, conviction of accused under Ss. 366-A and 506 was upheld by High Court. However, guilt of accused, was not proved beyond reasonable doubt. Hence, conviction was reversed. [Parminder Kaur v. State of Punjab, (2020) 8 SCC 811]

Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954 — Ss. 2(i-a)(f), 16(1-A) and 16(1)(a)(ii): In this case, the accused was alleged to be selling adulterated haldi powder without licence. Acquittal of accused was reversed by High Court, convicting him under Ss. 2(i-a)(f), 16(1-A) and 16(1)(a)(ii). As benefit of doubt in favour of accused, was made out. Hence, acquittal of accused was restored. [Prem Chand v. State of Haryana, (2020) 8 SCC 677]

Service Law — CCS (Recognition of Service Association) Rules, 1993 — Rr. 3, 5(c) & (d) and 10 — Service association — Object of: The primary object of forming service association is to promote common service interest of its members and membership is restricted to government servants having common interest. Further held, for according recognition to service association it must represent minimum 35% of total category of employees with a rider that where there is only one association with more than 35% membership, another association with second-highest membership must be recognised if it commands at least 15% membership. Thus, intention is to avoid plurality of associations which may not be in overall interest of government servants in forming service association. [Union of India v. ISRO Drivers Assn., (2020) 8 SCC 657]

Service Law — Promotion — Criteria/Eligibility: In this case, claim for promotion to post of Junior Bailiff undisputed by Office Assistants (19 in no.) and Record Clerks (3 in no.) on basis of High Court order dt. 22-7-2009 and fact that vacancies in respect of which claim was laid arose before issuance of 2016 Act and hence, requirement of passing SSLC could not be insisted upon as eligibility for promotion, not sustainable. [R. Palanisamy v. High Court of Madras, (2020) 8 SCC 670]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 — S. 43 — Preferential nature of transactions — Determination/Identification of: Satisfaction of three fold requirements i.e. (I) Twin requirements of S. 43(2); (II) “Relevant time” requirement of S. 43(4); and (III) Non-satisfaction of/being outside the ambit of exclusions carved out in S. 43(3), is necessary for “preferential transaction” to be considered as offending and thereby subject to consequences provided therefore. Intention to enter into preferential transaction is irrelevant in view of deeming provision. Exclusion from the purview of preferential transaction is not permissible where transferee alone is acting in the ordinary course of its business or financial affairs. Jaypee Infratech Ltd. [Interim Resolution Professional v. Axis Bank Ltd., (2020) 8 SCC 401]

Mines and Minerals — Illegal mining: Directions and conditions for condonation of delay in payment of compensation and interest as per directions in (2017) 9 SCC 499, resumption of mining and sale of undisposed stock, issued. [Common Cause v. Union Of India, (2020) 8 SCC 399]

Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 — S. 24(2) — Deemed lapse of 1894 Act acquisition proceedings under — When occasioned — Law clarified: Deemed lapse of proceedings initiated under 1894 Act is occasioned where award under S. 11 of the 1894 Act has been made five years or more prior to date of commencement of the 2013 Act, and the two conditions specified in S. 24(2) are cumulatively satisfied i.e. (A) possession of the acquired land has not been taken, and (B) compensation has not been paid. Even if one of these two conditions is not satisfied, the 1894 Act acquisition proceedings shall not lapse. Word “or” used in S. 24(2) between the abovesaid two conditions in S. 24(2) has to be read as “nor” or as “and”. This is because where two negative conditions or two prohibitions are coupled by the word “or”, the said “or” has to be read as “and” or “nor”. If possession taken, but compensation not paid then there would be no lapse. If compensation paid, but possession not taken then also there would be no lapse. [Indore Development Authority (Lapse 5J) v. Manoharlal, (2020) 8 SCC 129]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Procedural and Evidentiary liberties under S. 34 of the Arbitration Act: An application under Section 34 is meant only for examining the legality and/or enforceability of an award. But award-debtors, having lost in the arbitration, started treating the Section 34 application like an original suit. However, since the last few years the liberty and laxity with which the applicants had started approaching the matter of challenge under Section 34 has been severely restricted and curtailed by the Supreme Court. Supreme Court tightens screws on procedural and Evidentiary liberties under section 34 of the Arbitration Act by [Sunil Gupta and Manavendra Gupta, (2020) 8 SCC (J-1)]

Role Of The High Courts Post The Constitution: The purpose of this article is to state that the Supreme Court is not alone in its duty as a sentinel on the qui vive but is ably supported and assisted by the High Courts — as constitutional co-equals and how a recent judgment of the Supreme Court has inadvertently restricted the power of the High Courts. High Courts — Co-Sentinels On the Qui Vive by [V. Lakshminarayanan, (2020) 8 SCC (J-8)]

Arbitrability of Fraud: The issue discussed under this article is the arbitrability of fraud: i.e. should serious cases of fraud be referred to arbitration? In this Article, the decisions of Indian courts (various High Courts and the Supreme Court) rendered under three statutes that have governed arbitration in India since the 19th century are being discussed. Then an exercise has been undertaken in comparative international law with English and American jurisprudence on the subject, with the objective of arriving at a sustainable solution for Indian law. The Arbitrability of Fraud in Indian Law by [Aditya Shiralkar, (2020) 8 SCC (J-23)]

Constitution of India — Arts. 341, 342, 342-A, 338, 338-A & 366(24), (25) & (26-C) and Arts. 14, 15, 16 and Pt. XVI — Sub-division/Subclassification of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes: Issue regarding permissibility of preferential treatment to some castes/tribes contained in List of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes under Arts. 341/342, without denying the benefit in question to remaining such castes/tribes, directed to be referred to larger Bench of seven Judges or more. [State of Punjab v. Davinder Singh, (2020) 8 SCC 1]

Service Law — Recruitment Process — Invalid/Wrong/Illegal/Irregular selection: Persons affected by judgment setting aside invalid/wrong/illegal/irregular selection who were not parties either before High Court or Supreme Court, are bound thereby. [Ajoy Debbarma v. State of Tripura, (2020) 8 SCC 67]

Companies Act, 2013 — Ss. 241, 242 and 244 r/w S. 72 — Oppression and mismanagement: Jurisdiction of NCLT in respect of oppression and mismanagement, held, does not extend to determination of disputes as to succession or ownership of shares, proper forum for which is civil court. Jurisdiction under Ss. 241 to 244 must be exercised strictly in terms of provisions of 2013 Act. [Aruna Oswal v. Pankaj Oswal, (2020) 8 SCC 79]

Service Law — Reservation/Concession/Exemption/Relaxation and Affirmative Action — Reservation: In this case, 1% reservation was granted for Hindu Nadar community belonging to OBC provided vide Gazette Noti. dt. 3-8-2010 with retrospective effect from 21-11-2009 and Kerala State and Subordinate Services Rules, 1958. The 1958 Rules were accordingly amended and there was shortfall in reservation. The Supreme Court held that posts falling vacant after amendment of the 1958 Rules are required to be filled up in accordance with amended Rules. Rank list is merit list having validity period of three years and is source of making appointment as and when vacancy arises. Vacancies must be determined in terms of applicable Rules. [Aswathy R.S. Karthika v. Archana M., (2020) 8 SCC 98]

Service Law — Pension — Qualifying period/service: Entitlement to reckoning of service rendered as CLR (casual labour roll) prior to recruitment against regular post, for purposes of computation of pension, to be determined in accordance with applicable Rules. But, benefits should not be unreasonably denied to employees, more so on technicalities since basis of grant of pension is to provide succour to retired government employee. [V. Sukumaran v. State of Kerala, (2020) 8 SCC 106]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 389 and 374 — Suspension of sentence pending appeal and release of convict on bail: In this case, there was conviction of appellant-husband under Ss. 304-B and 498-A IPC with sentence of life imprisonment under S. 304-B and period of 3 yrs under S. 498-A IPC. Considering submissions of accused and other material placed on record, and taking into account, that accused was in jail for more than 3½ yrs, sentence imposed on him stood suspended, and he was enlarged on conditional bail, pending appeal before High Court. [M. Radha Hari Seshu v. State of Telangana, (2020) 8 SCC 114]

Constitution of India — Art. 21: Directions issued regarding criminal cases against foreigners for violating visa norms and COVID-19 Guidelines. [Maulana Ala Hadrami v. Union of India, (2020) 8 SCC 118]

Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules, 1955 — R. 32 — Requirements of label on package of food as prescribed under — Whether complied with: When the bar code on package is having relevant information regarding lot/code/batch identification, which can be decoded by bar code scanner, it is sufficient compliance with R. 32(e). [Raghav Gupta v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 8 SCC 120]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 323/149 and 325/149 and Ss. 147, 323 & 325: In this case considering factors like young age of accused at incident time, incident taking place all of a sudden for plucking a fruit, severity of injuries suffered by injured persons, and period of sentence already undergone by accused, substantive sentence reduced and fine/compensation enhanced. [Karthick v. State, (2020) 8 SCC 122]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 — Ss. 3, 4, 5 and 7 — Claim of maintenance by divorced woman under S. 3 — Proper forum — Family Court or Magistrate’s Court: Though Supreme Court has upheld validity of 1986 Act, there is no authoritative pronouncement as to whether Family Court would have jurisdiction to entertain an application filed by a divorced Muslim woman for maintenance under the provisions of the Muslim Women’s Protection Act. Issue regarding legality of Family Court converting an application under S. 125 CrPC into an application under S. 3 of the 1986 Act, referred to larger Bench in view of disagreement at the Bench. [Rana Nahid v. Sahidul Haq Chisti, (2020) 7 SCC 657]

Constitution of India — Arts. 32, 14, 15, 16, 21-A, 38, 39, 46 and 51-A: Policy matters regarding primary education and matters which fall within the domain of experts, hence, interference by court is not warranted. [Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India, (2020) 7 SCC 693]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 197 — Object of sanction for prosecution under — Circumstances in which sanction is necessary — Test to decide: Principles summarised regarding law relating to requirement of sanction to entertain and/or take cognizance of offence allegedly committed by police officer, under S. 197 CrPC and S. 170 of the Karnataka Police Act, 1963. [D. Devaraja v. Owais Sabeer Hussain, (2020) 7 SCC 695]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302, 364, 365, 387, 347, 201, 109 and 120-B — Abduction and illegal confinement of victim — Followed by his murder — Presumption of murder against those who abducted or illegally confined the victim: Abduction followed by murder in appropriate cases can enable court to presume that abductor is the murderer. Principle in this regard is that after abduction, the abductor would be in a position to explain what happened to his victim and if he failed to do so, it is only natural and logical that an irresistible inference may be drawn that he has done away with the hapless victim. S. 106 of the Evidence Act would come to assistance of prosecution in such matter. Said principle would also apply to those persons who illegally confine the person who stands abducted even if there is no evidence that they have themselves carried out the abduction. However, further held, this is not an inexorable rule, but to be applied based on factual matrix presented before the court. [Somasundaram v. State, (2020) 7 SCC 722]

Constitution of India — Art. 32 — Maintainability — Defective petitions and delay in removing defects by petitioner: In this case, there were baseless and reckless allegations against Registry of Court about delayed listing, charging excess fees, etc., tagging cases with other cases without authorisation of Court and favouritism towards influential lawyers/petitioners. There being no merit in allegations, writ petition was dismissed with costs of Rs 100 on the petitioner advocate as a token to remind him of his responsibility towards the noble profession and that he ought not to have preferred such a petition. [Reepak Kansal v. Supreme Court of India, (2020) 7 SCC 805]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Arbitration Act, 1940 — Ss. 30 and 39 — Grounds for setting aside award: In this case, there was no allegation of misconduct and the District Judge not held justified in setting aside the award, As the dispute was related to partition of family properties, on facts, award was modified to the extent of agreement between parties. [Balwant Singh v. Dungar Singh, (2020) 7 SCC 647]

Armed Forces — Gender Equality/Equality of Opportunities — Claim for Permanent Commissions (PCs) by women officers engaged in Short Service Commissions (SSCs) — Entitlement to: In terms of S. 12 of the Army Act, 1950, eligibility of women for engagement or enrolment in regular Army is subject to provision being made by Central Government. The Policy dt. 25-2-2019 granting SSC women officers entitlement to PCs in eight Arms/Services in addition to existing streams of JAG & AEC, all of which belonged to the two broad categories of services in the Army of (i) Combat Support Arms and (ii) Services (not including the third category of Combat Arms), recognises right of women officers to equality of opportunity and must be construed as a decision which enforces fundamental rights of women to seek access to public appointment and equality of opportunity in matters of engagement in Armed Forces. Further held, fact that it was intended to apply prospectively does not mean that it would apply only to women officers who have been appointed as SSC officers after the date of the policy decision. [Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya, (2020) 7 SCC 469]

Constitution of India — Art. 21 — Right to life — Air pollution in NCT of Delhi: Stubble burning by farmers in States of Punjab, Haryana and U.P. is the main reason for air pollution in NCT of Delhi whereas construction and demolition, open dumping of waste/garbage, burning of garbage, unpaved road/pit, road dust, garbage burning and traffic congestion in NCT of Delhi are other reasons of pollution. State Governments and officials are obliged to pay compensation for tortious liability. Directions also issued in regard to other polluting factors. [M.C. Mehta (Stubble Burning & Air Quality) v. Union of India, (2020) 7 SCC 573]

Constitution of India — Art. 21 — Right to life: Regarding the issue of air pollution in Delhi and NCR, one of the major causes being crop stubble burning in the States surrounding NCR, including many other causes, having regard to reports/recommendations of various committees, affidavits filed by Governments concerned, directions issued by Supreme Court. [M.C. Mehta (Stubble Burning & Air Quality) v. Union of India, (2020) 7 SCC 530]

 Constitution of India — Arts. 21, 41, 47, 48, 48-A, 51-A(g) & (h) — Right to life — Air pollution in Delhi — Suo motu notice also taken of water pollution in Delhi and other places: There was no improvement in quality of air and water despite several orders of Supreme Court and tortious liability lies on Governments and their administrative machineries as insufficient steps were taken by Government for stopping stubble burning by farmers, garbage/waste cleaning and/or disposal, smog dispensing as per Supreme Court’s orders. Governments of Punjab, Haryana and U.P. and Government of NCT of Delhi and their administrative machinery from top to bottom must show cause why they should not be asked to compensate citizens of Delhi and adjoining areas for various diseases which are being caused and sufferings faced. [M.C. Mehta (Stubble Burning & Air Quality) v. Union of India, (2020) 7 SCC 592]

Environment Law — Air Pollution — Measures to prevent air pollution — Air pollution in Delhi and NCR: Authorities concerned must discharge their duties by working in tandem in view of doctrine of public trust and take drastic steps to curb pollution in Delhi. [M.C. Mehta (Stubble Burning & Air Quality) v. Union of India, (2020) 7 SCC 589]

Environment Law — Air Pollution — Stubble and Garbage burning — Right to life: Air pollution rose due to stubble burning by farmers in Punjab, Haryana and U.P. and NCT of Delhi. Such activity directed to be stopped. Relief and assistance granted to small and marginal farmers. [M.C. Mehta (Stubble Burning & Air Quality) v. Union of India, (2020) 7 SCC 581]

Family and Personal Laws — Guardians and Wards — Custody of Child/Minor — Visitation Rights: In this case, there was absolutely no resolution between hostile parents, despite repeated efforts by High Court and Supreme Court, including mediation, to bring parties to amicable resolution of the issues of custody and visitation rights. Interim order of Supreme Court deciding visitation rights directed to be continued. Parties granted liberty to approach competent court for adjudication of custody matter. [Soumitra Kumar Nahar v. Parul Nahar, (2020) 7 SCC 599]

Income Tax Act, 1961 — Ss. 260-A and 176 — Appeals — Discontinuation of assessee units or striking off of companies by Registrar of Companies — Effect of, on appeals: Such closure would not render appeals infructuous. The issue raised was still required to be considered as per proviso (a) of S. 560(5) of the Companies Act, 1956 [corresponding to S. 248(7) of the Companies Act, 2013] and under Cl. (L) of Ch. XV of the Income Tax Act. [CIT v. Gopal Shri Scrips (P) Ltd., (2020) 7 SCC 654]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 r/w S. 34 — Murder — Circumstantial evidence — Recovery of dead body and the weapon of offence: In this case, dead body and the gun used in the offence was allegedly recovered at the pointing out by accused S and R. There was allegedly a land dispute between deceased and accused S and the entire prosecution case was based upon telephone call made by S, but no call details have been produced to verify the correctness of telephone call. There were major contradictions between statement of PWs regarding recovery of dead body. The place of recovery of dead body was known to police, before the statements of accused were recorded. It was held that the accused cannot be convicted only on the basis of recovery of gun used in the commission of crime. In absence of any evidence led by prosecution as to who fired the fatal shot, benefit of doubt must go to accused persons. As per the statement of daughter of deceased (PW 1), the motive was land dispute with S.  If such was a motive, then there is no reason for her to contact accused S, to find out whereabouts of her father. The order of acquittal could be interfered with only if there was perversity in the findings recorded by trial court. The mere fact that High Court has a different opinion will not be sufficient to enable High Court to set aside order of acquittal. Hence, acquittal was restored. [Satish Kumar v. State of H.P., (2020) 7 SCC 637]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 304 Pt. I/149 and 148 or Ss. 304 Pt. II/149 and 148 — Culpable homicide not amounting to murder: In this case, accused persons were found harbouring common object to assault, resulting in death of one. Such fact emerged from various factors, including that they assembled with weapons of assault and their participated in acts of assault. Such weapons were capable of causing death. The evidence of prosecution witnesses was found uniform to the effect, that all accused had participated in acts of assault of one and subsequently other members of his family. Therefore, it was held by the Supreme Court that the High Court was right in reversing acquittal of accused persons by trial court, thereby convicting them. However, from manner in which assault took place, no intention is attributable to accused persons to cause death of one. Therefore, in given facts, conviction of accused persons was modified from Ss. 304 Pt. I/149 to Ss. 304 Pt. II/149 IPC. Their sentence, was accordingly, modified. [Dilip Shaw v. State of W.B., (2020) 7 SCC 626]

Precedents — Reference to Larger Bench: Reference to Bench of more than three Judges of High Court by two-Judge Bench (Division Bench) of High Court, held, not permissible. The principle for reference to larger Benches applicable to High Courts is the same as applicable to the Supreme Court. Thus, if two-Judge Bench of High Court considers that a Full Bench judgment by three-Judges requires re-consideration, the same must first be placed before a three-Judge Full Bench of the High Court, which alone may refer the matter to yet a larger Bench if found by it to be so warranted. Two- Judge Bench of High Court cannot refer the matter directly to a Bench of more than three-Judges. [Warad Murti Mishra v. State of M.P., (2020) 7 SCC 509]

Service Law — Appointment — Compassionate appointment — Norms/Rules/ Regulations applicable — Relevant date: Under R. 5 proviso (as amended w.e.f. 1-4-1999) and R. 9(3) (as amended w.e.f. 28-5-2000) of Karnataka Civil Services (Appointment on Compassionate Grounds) Rules, 1996, minor dependant of deceased employee had to apply within one year of date of death of deceased employee and should have attained age of 18 yrs on day of making application, while under unamended provision minor dependant was entitled to apply till one year of attaining majority. The Supreme Court held that norms prevailing on date of consideration of application would be basis for considering claim for compassionate appointment. [N.C. Santhosh v. State of Karnataka, (2020) 7 SCC 617]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Andhra Pradesh Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Prohibition of Capitation Fee) Act, 1983 (5 of 1983) — R. 4 — Unaided institutions — Fee revision — Statutory mandate — Mandatory compliance with: For revising fee, strict compliance with drill under R. 4 to be followed by Government, held, is mandatory. Thus, interim fee fixed by Government in this case, without following drill of R. 4, held, illegal but interim fee fixed by Single Judge of High Court by considering facts, balance of convenience and irreparable loss to petitioner institutions, affirmed. Single Judge’s order will continue to operate insofar as the period of 2019 onwards is concerned until a final fee is fixed in accordance with the requisite Act and Rules. [Rajeev Gandhi Memorial College of Engg. & Technology v. State of A.P., (2020) 7 SCC 157]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 34(2-A) and 37 — Domestic arbitral award — Patent illegality — Ground of — When can be invoked: The ground of patent illegality is a ground available under the statute for setting aside a domestic award, if the decision of the arbitrator is found to be perverse, or, so irrational that no reasonable person would have arrived at the same; or, the construction of the contract is such that no fair or reasonable person would take [test therefor is the one laid down in para 42.3 of Associate Builders, (2015) 3 SCC 49, as affirmed in para 40 of Ssangyong Engg., (2019) 15 SCC 131]; or, that the view of the arbitrator is not even a possible view. [Patel Engg. Ltd. v. North Eastern Electric Power Corpn. Ltd., (2020) 7 SCC 167]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — S. 25: Relevant factors to consider petition for transfer of pending partition suit from Delhi High Court to Bombay High Court where application was filed by petitioners for letters of administration to estate of deceased owner, discussed. [Shamita Singha v. Rashmi Ahluwalia, (2020) 7 SCC 152]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21 and 32 — Cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (the POCSO Act): Detailed directions issued regarding speedy investigation and trial of cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, including for setting up of Special POCSO Courts and their functioning. [Alarming Rise in the number of Reported Child Rape Incidents, In re, (2020) 7 SCC 87]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21 and 32 — Cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (the POCSO Act) — Speedy investigation and trial — Shocking state of affairs: As almost two-thirds of the cases under POCSO pending trial for more than one year due to lack of awareness and dedication to meet deadlines and inadequacy of courts, directions issued regarding the matter. [Alarming Rise in the Number of Reported Child Rape Incidents, In re, (2020) 7 SCC 108]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21 and 32 — Cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (the POCSO Act): Further directions and clarifications issued regarding speedy investigation and trial and setting up of exclusive POCSO Courts. [Alarming Rise in the Number of Reported Child Rape Incidents, In re, (2020) 7 SCC 112]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21 and 32 — Cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (the POCSO Act): Further directions and clarifications issued regarding speedy investigation and trial and setting up of exclusive POCSO Courts. [Alarming Rise in the Number of Reported Child Rape Incidents, In re, (2020) 7 SCC 130]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21 and 32 — Cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (the POCSO Act): Further directions and clarifications issued regarding speedy investigation and trial and setting up of exclusive POCSO Courts. [Alarming Rise in the Number of Reported Child Rape Incidents, In re, (2020) 7 SCC 142]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21 and 32 — Establishment of Human Rights Courts and appointment of Special Public Prosecutors: In this case, as States of Odisha, Telangana, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Rajasthan, U.P. and Uttarakhand had not filed response even after one-and-a-half years, it was directed that said States should file affidavit within four weeks and pay costs of Rs 50,000. Costs of Rs 1 lakh imposed on State of Rajasthan as no one represented it. [Alarming Rise in the Number of Reported Child Rape Incidents, In re, (2020) 7 SCC 95]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21 and 32 — Unnao Child Rape case — Independent, impartial and speedy investigation — Court monitored investigation by CBI: In this case, direction were passed the previous day for transfer of case from Lucknow to Delhi, stayed for a limited period due to ongoing investigations and requirement of passing remand orders for arrested accused from time to time. CBI reminded that in said earlier order, CBI was directed to complete investigation within 15 days preferably within 7 days. [Alarming Rise in the number of Reported Child Rape Incidents, In re, (2020) 7 SCC 91]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21 and 32 — Unnao Child Rape case — Injured witness: In this case, directions issued regarding free treatment and shifting of witness from AIIMS to Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital at Lucknow for further aftercare and treatment. The State of U.P. directed to arrange suitable ambulance for said transfer. It was clarified that injured witness should be provided proper treatment including physiotherapy free of cost. [Alarming Rise in the Number of Reported Child Rape Incidents, In re, (2020) 7 SCC 136]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21 and 32 — Unnao Child Rape case: In this case, due to critical condition of rape victim due to car accident and pneumonia, emergency directions with regard to treatment of rape victim and lawyer of rape victim by airlifting them to Delhi AIIMS, issued. [Alarming Rise in the Number of Reported Child Rape Incidents, In re, (2020) 7 SCC 93]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21 and 32 — Unnao Child Rape case: In this case, accused applied for transfer of case by alleging that observations of trial court reflected on merits of case. While disposing of the application, trial Judge directed to decide matter on merits without being influenced by its said observations. The Supreme Court held that observations of trial court that delay of 2 months and 10 days in reporting incident was reasonably explained by PWs 10, 8 and 9, did not reflect on merits of case. Trial Judge was cognizant about this and clarified that his observations did not reflect on merits of case. [Alarming Rise in the Number of Reported Child Rape Incidents, In re, (2020) 7 SCC 139]

Evidence Act, 1872 — S. 65-B(4) r/w Ss. 65-B(1) & 65-A and S. 22-A: Production of certificate under S. 65-B(4) is mandatory, but only in case of secondary evidence i.e. where primary evidence is not lead/original not produced. Oral admission e.g. by stepping into the witness box qua such document/electronic record cannot be considered as compliance with such mandatory requirement of production of the S. 65-B(4) certificate. [Arjun Panditrao Khotkar v. Kailash Kushanrao Gorantyal, (2020) 7 SCC 1]

Human and Civil Rights — Humanitarian and Natural Disasters, Epidemics and Pandemics — Spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19): In the light of precarious plight of Coronavirus patients and deplorable way of handling dead bodies, multiple sets of directions concerning different aspects of treatment of COVID-19 patients, issued. [Proper Treatment of COVID-19 Patients & Dignified Handling of Dead Bodies in the Hospitals, In re, (2020) 7 SCC 145]

Human and Civil Rights — Humanitarian and Natural Disasters, Epidemics and Pandemics: In this case while taking suo motu cognizance of misery of migrant labourers during COVID-19 Lockdown, directions issued for reducing their misery. [Problems & Miseries of Migrant Labourers, In re, (2020) 7 SCC 181]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — Ss. 166, 163-A and Sch. II — Permanent partial disability — Functional disability and loss of future earning — Estimation of extent of: In this case, victim appellant 45 yrs of age working as a painter suffered physical disability of left lower limb assessed at 75%, about 37.5% of whole body, also left lower limb shortened by 3 cm and could not stand independently or walk without aid of a walker or attendant, cannot sit cross legged, squat or use an Indian toilet, cannot climb up and down a staircase. It was held that the earning capacity of appellant as on date of accident stood completely negated and not reduced. Appellant rendered permanently incapable of working as a painter or do any manual work. Compensation for loss of future earning therefore had to be proper and just to enable him to live a life of dignity and not an elusive compensation. If 75% physical disability had rendered appellant permanently disabled from pursuing his normal vocation or any similar work, it is difficult to comprehend grant of compensation to him in ratio to disability to whole body. Compensation granted towards loss of future earning on account of disability at Rs 2,31,000 was held grossly inadequate. Appellant therefore was held entitled to compensation for loss of future earning based on his 75% permanent physical functional disability recalculated with salary of Rs 5500 with multiplier of 14 at Rs 6,93,000. On the whole, compensation awarded by High Court modified and recalculated for pain and sufferings Rs 1,00,000, medical expenses Rs 7350, attendent charges Rs 21,000, loss of earnings during treatment Rs 66,000, conveyance charges Rs 10,000, loss of future earnings for disability Rs 6,93,000, future medical expenses Rs 2,50,000, loss of amenities Rs 50,000. All coming to a total of Rs 11,97,350 along with interest @ 6% from date of petition till realization. [Anthony v. Karnataka SRTC, (2020) 7 SCC 161]

Sales Tax and VAT — Works Contract — Employer’s (person who had awarded the works contract) obligation to reimburse sales tax in terms of the contract: After the Forty-sixth Amendment to the Constitution, the works contract is divided into two parts by a legal fiction: one for sale of goods/ materials and other for supply of labour/services; and it is possible for the States to levy sales tax on the value of goods/materials involved in such works contract. Further, rejecting the contention that there is no sales tax on the “completed item of work” which is an immovable property and, therefore there could be no reimbursement, held the expression “completed item of work” in Cl. 45.2, signifies the intent that reimbursement would be permissible only after execution of a particular item of work has been completed and accomplished i.e. this expression is intended to contradistinguish the cases where any item of work remains incomplete and yet any claim for reimbursement of the sales tax levied is sought for. The expression “completed item of work” cannot be read to mean as if signifying the levy of sales tax itself on the completed item of work because such reading of this expression would be totally disjunct from the context and would be entirely detached from the real intent. Further, Circular dt. 7-11-2001, issued by the State Government, clarifying and directing nonreimbursement of the sales tax, held, to be an unwarranted attempt to wriggle out of the contractual obligations with perverse construction of the plain terms of the existing contracts and thus disapproved. [State of Orissa v. B. Engineers & Builders Ltd., (2020) 7 SCC 198]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — S. 96(3), Or. 23 Rr. 3 & 3-A and Or. 43 R. 1-A(2) — Compromise decree — Essentialities of: The scheme of Or. 23 R. 3 is to avoid multiplicity of litigation. Compromise between parties to proceedings encourages amicable settlement. It is an agreement between parties. Courts cannot impose compromise on unwilling party. Person questioning lawfulness of compromise must approach the same court which recorded compromise. After repeal of Or. 43 R. 1(m), no appeal lies against compromise decrees. Compromise decree operates as estoppel and binds parties thereto until it is set aside by competent court. Where a party to compromise denies execution of such compromise, right has been given under Or. 43 R. 1-A(2) to raise a challenge thereto. S. 96(3) would not bar such appeals. S. 96(3) is applicable where factum of compromise or appeal is not disputed. Civil suit filed by stranger to that proceeding challenging legality of compromise is not maintainable. Such stranger, who was not party to compromise, would not have cause of action to file separate suit to challenge legality of compromise. [Triloki Nath Singh v. Anirudh Singh, (2020) 6 SCC 629]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Ss. 47, 38 and 42: Execution of an award/decree can be only to the extent of what has been awarded/decreed and not beyond the same. Moreover, what is awarded or decreed must be independently capable of execution. Thus, arbitration award determining only the price of land cannot be directed to be executed as suit for specific performance of agreement to sell the land, with a direction for execution of a sale deed of the land in question. Moreover, such award determining the price of land alone, could not be independently executed. [Rajasthan Udyog v. Hindustan Engineering & Industries Ltd.(2020) 6 SCC 660]

Constitution of India — Arts. 30, 29, 45, 21-A, 14 and 19 — Aided Non-Government Madrasahs (aided minority schools) — Permissible regulation of appointment of teachers: The rights of minorities under Art. 30 are not absolute. The validity of selection and nomination of teachers by statutory body by following statutory procedure under the W.B. Madrasah Service Commission Act, 2008, affirmed. State Government, held, can nominate teachers to be appointed in said minority institutions. Such nomination of teachers and composition of body nominating them should comply with constitutional objectives and national interest. Ss. 8 and 10 to 12 of the W.B. Madrasah Service Commission Act, 2008 and the W.B. Madrasah Service Commission Recruitment (Selection and Recommendation of Persons for Appointment and Transfer to the posts of Teaching and Non-Teaching Staff) Rules, 2010 providing for the above, held, comply with constitutional objectives and national interest and are not ultra vires Art. 30(1). However, slight modification and proper interpretation of the provisions of the Commission Act, 2008 clarified and directed accordingly, to bring them in conformity with constitutional objectives and principles established by precedents. [Mohd. Rafique v. Contai Rahamania High Madrasah, (2020) 6 SCC 689]

Constitution of India — Arts. 32 and 21: In this case, there was mala fide PIL against sale and use of soft drinks like Coca Cola, Thums Up, allegedly in the interest of public health but without any expert report. Exemplary costs of Rs 5,00,000 was imposed. [Umedsinh P Chavda v. Union of India, (2020) 6 SCC 684]

Courts, Tribunals and Judiciary — Virtual Court/Videoconferencing — Outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19): As there was necessity of reducing physical presence in court premises for maintenance of social distancing as per guidelines and continued dispensation of justice, holding of courts through videoconferencing from Supreme Court level to District Court level, validated. [Guidelines for court functioning through videoconferencing during Covid-19 Pandemic, In re.,(2020) 6 SCC 686]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 397, 399, 401(2), 173(2), 156(3) and 203 — Revision against dismissal of criminal complaint under S. 203 CrPC: Grant of opportunity of hearing to accused, is essential. [Subhash Sahebrao Deshmukh v. Satish Atmaram Talekar, (2020) 6 SCC 625]

Election — Local Government/Bodies/Municipalities/Panchayats/Autonomous and Other Bodies — Recall/Removal from Office/No-Confidence Motion: The applicable statutory rules providing for voting on no-confidence motion by secret ballot have binding effect. Hence, revoting or fresh voting, directed on the no-confidence vote in question, in the facts and circumstances of the case, as the same had not been done by secret ballot. Such revoting, held, must be by way of secret ballot in accordance with the 1966 Rules. [Laxmi Singh v. Rekha Singh, (2020) 6 SCC 812]

Energy, Power and Electricity — Electricity — Generation and Transmission/Supply/Distribution of electricity — Standby charges: In this case, TPC had an agreement with MSEB for standby supply of electricity and BSES/REL used to purchase electricity from TPC. At the relevant time, TPC was paying an amount of Rs 24.75 crores per month i.e. Rs 297 crores p.a. to MSEB by way of standby charges which was built into the tariff and the said amount was recovered by TPC from its customers who in turn recovered it from their retail consumers. TPC under the Principles of Agreement dt. 31-1-1998 was bound to supply standby power as and when required by BSES/REL and even after providing the standby facility of 275 MVA to BSES/REL, TPC still enjoyed the standby facility of 550 MVA from MSEB. Government of Maharashtra formed a Committee to resolve the issue of quantum of standby charges required to be paid by BSES/REL to TPC and passed an Order dt. 19-1-1998 whereby stipulating a sum of Rs 3.5 crores p.m. should be paid by BSES/REL to TPC by way of standby charges. The standby charges were enhanced from Rs 24.75 crores per month to Rs 30.25 crores per month with effect from 1-12-1998 i.e. from Rs 297 crores to Rs 363 crores annually and TPC instead of requiring a pro rata share of the incremental standby charges from BSES/REL purported to divide the amount of Rs 30.25 crores in the ratio of 50: 50. APTEL passed an order dt. 20-12-2006 and directed that 23% of the standby charges qua MSEB for the period in question should be borne by BSES/REL and balance should be borne by TPC. In this case, order passed by Technical and Judicial Members of APTEL, was upheld. [Tata Power Co. Ltd. v. Adani Electricity Mumbai Ltd., (2020) 6 SCC 641]

Energy, Power and Electricity — Electricity — Tariff — Determination of tariff — S. 38 of the Damodar Valley Corporation Act, 1948: Interest on capital provided by participating Government i.e. double benefit qua computation of tariff is not grantable, when applying the normative debt equity ratio, the appellant (a statutory body constituted under the DVC Act, 1948) is already given the benefit of return on capital on the normative equity portion and also interest on the loan portion. [Damodar Valley Corpn v. CERC, (2020) 6 SCC 795]

Human and Civil Rights — Humanitarian and Natural Disasters, Epidemics and Pandemics — COVID-19 Pandemic: Ratha Yatra, Puri, and any religious or secular activity connected therewith, directed to be not held this year in the interest of public health. The right to freely profess and propagate religion under Art. 25 of the Constitution, is subject to health. Undisputedly, Ratha Yatra gathering would bring together 10-12 lakh people for a period of 10-12 days, which in light of COVID-19 Pandemic, would be a grave health risk. [Odisha Vikash Parishad v. Union of India, (2020) 6 SCC 682]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — S. 9-A [as inserted by CPC (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 1977]: Objection as to jurisdiction to entertain suit, to be decided by the court as a preliminary issue under S. 9-A. The word “jurisdiction” in S. 9-A, does not include issue of bar of limitation. The word “jurisdiction” in S. 9-A is qualified with the expression “to entertain the suit”. Both the said expressions when taken together give the meaning that court should have power or inherent jurisdiction to receive suit for consideration on merits. Meaning to be given to “jurisdiction to entertain” in S. 9-A is a narrow one as to maintainability. It is only the competence of the court to receive a suit for adjudication which is covered under S. 9-A. In a case barred by limitation, court possesses jurisdiction to decide that issue. Where court has no jurisdiction, it cannot decide that issue on merits at all. Thus, question of limitation in no case can be said to be a question of jurisdiction of court in the context of S. 9-A. Issue of limitation, therefore, cannot be decided as a preliminary issue of jurisdiction under S. 9-A. Kamalakar Eknath Salunkhe, (2015) 7 SCC 321, held, is correctly decided and is affirmed. Foreshore Coop. Housing Society Ltd., (2015) 6 SCC 412 which took a contrary view, overruled. [Nusli Neville Wadia v. Ivory Properties, (2020) 6 SCC 557]

Consumer Protection — Services — Medical practitioners/services — Medical negligence — Determination of: The burden of proof is on complainant to establish medical negligence. The cause of action arises after damage has been caused. The injury caused to victim should be sufficiently proximate to breach of duty by medical practitioner. He would be liable only when his conduct falls below the standards of a reasonably competent practitioner in his field. The applicable principles also explained in detail. [Maharaja Agrasen Hospital v. Rishabh Sharma, (2020) 6 SCC 501]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 439 — Rejection of bail — When warranted — Implication in large number of heinous crimes: In this case, petitioner’s husband was accused in murder case and 45 other cases of heinous crime were pending against him. Hence, held, his bail was rightly rejected by High Court. [Sunita Bhati v. State of U.P., (2020) 6 SCC 556]

Election — Delimitation/Reservation of Constituencies — Nature and Scope: In this case, delimitation notification by State Government for creating 9 out of 4 districts without following procedure therefor, that is, without any research or proposal by Delimitation Commission therefor, was held, illegal. [Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam v. State of T.N., (2020) 6 SCC 548]

Human and Civil Rights — Humanitarian and Natural Disasters, Epidemics and Pandemics — Visakhapatnam LG Polymers Gas leak disaster: In this case, there was a criminal case and High Court passed directions for complete seizure or sealing of plant/premises. The Supreme Curt observed that the interim order was issued regarding safety measures and liberty was granted to raise other issues. [LG Polymers (India) (P) Ltd. v. State of A.P.,(2020) 6 SCC 622]

Service Law — Pension — Entitlement to pension: In this case, the Supreme Court considered the issue that whether the employees opting for voluntary retirement under SBI-VRS 2000, are entitled to pension under SBI Employees’ Pension Fund Rules, 1995. The Court held that the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) was not floated by SBI on its own volition but was pursuant to exercise undertaken by IBA, as approved by Government, in view of recent developments in modern technology, need to have new skill, and rationalize manpower, whereunder it was provided that pension would be granted after completion of 15 yrs of service, as special measure. Further held, once it approved the Scheme, SBI being instrumentality of State under Art. 12 of the Constitution was bound by it and could not wriggle out of its obligation by claiming shelter of the SBI Employees’ Pension Fund Rules, 1995 which provided for 20 yrs of qualifying service by not amending the said Rules. [SBI v. Radhey Shyam Pandey, (2020) 6 SCC 438]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Chhattisgarh Cooperative Societies Act, 1960 (17 of 1961) — Ss. 49-E(2), 54(1), (2), (3)(a) & (b), 2(c-i) and 2(a-i) — District Central Cooperative Bank: In this case, there was appointment of Chief Executive Officer (CEO), as per Noti. dt. 12-1-1971 under S. 54(3) when cadre of officers as per notification has been constituted as per S. 54(2). There were conflicting provisions regarding appointment procedure and there was difficulty posed by statutory provisions. While considering the manner of interpretation, it was held that S. 57-B(19), which was intended to have overriding effect, was deleted and S. 54(3)(a) and (b) were inserted. Absolute power was conferred upon cooperative banks to appoint CEO was deleted. Thus S. 49-E(2) and Ss. 54(3)(a) and (b) are to be read harmoniously. [Chhattisgarh State Coop. Bank Maryadit v. Zila Sahkari Kendriya Bank Maryadit, (2020) 6 SCC 411]

Constitution of India — Art. 226 — Maintainability of writ petition — Relegation to alternate remedy — When proper: Disputed questions of fact of complex nature requiring production of documentary evidence should not normally be entertained by High Court in its writ jurisdiction. However, High Court has discretion to entertain even disputed questions of fact on sound judicial principles, considering nature of controversy. [Punjab National Bank v. Atmanand Singh, (2020) 6 SCC 256]

Courts, Tribunals and Judiciary — Judicial Process — Recusal by Judge — On ground of legal predisposition: A Judge, who expressed his opinion on a legal issue in a smaller Bench, held (per curiam), can hear the same matter in a larger Bench upon reference to that Bench. [Indore Development Authority [Recusal Matter-5J] v. Manohar Lal, (2020) 6 SCC 304]

Courts, Tribunals and Judiciary — Tribunals — Appointment and selection: The order dt. 9-2-2018 in Kudrat Sandhu, (2018) 4 SCC 346, paras 1 and 2, clarified. Appointment of the Chairpersons of all Tribunals, directed to be made by Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. Search-cum-Selection Committee for the appointment of Judicial Members of the Central Administrative Tribunal also directed to proceed with the selection of Administrative Members. Committee that has been constituted for selection of the Members of the Central Government Industrial Tribunal directed to proceed as per previous order as it has already proceeded with its work. [Kudrat Sandhu v. Union of India, (2020) 6 SCC 251]

Courts, Tribunals and Judiciary — Tribunals — Appointments in certain tribunals requiring immediate attention: Recommendations of Selection Committee, directed to be made immediately. Where recommendations had already been made, they must be implemented expeditiously within two weeks. [Madras Bar Assn. v. Union of India, (2020) 6 SCC 247]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 439 — Entitlement to bail — Valid grounds for, made out — Contract for supply of radar stations: In this case of alleged fraud and cheating, civil/arbitration proceedings were pending in respect of the disputes. More than one year was spent by accused in custody already and arguments opposing bail on ground of threat to national security were not found tenable. Arbitral Tribunal had not merely protected economic interests of the State but had also permitted State Police to be present at project site and Maritime Board to supervise and monitor functioning of project. Hence, bail granted, subject to such terms and conditions, as trial court deems fit and appropriate in facts and circumstances of case. [Jinofer Kawasji Bhujwala v. State of Gujarat, (2020) 6 SCC 298]

Energy, Power and Electricity — Electricity — Electricity consumption — Past electricity dues payable by debtor/last owner: Electricity dues, where they are statutory in character under the Electricity Act and as per the terms and conditions of supply, cannot be waived and cannot partake the character of dues of purely contractual nature. Further, where the existence of electricity dues, whether quantified or not, have been specifically mentioned as a liability of the purchaser in the auction notice and the sale is on “as is where is, whatever there is and without recourse basis”, the liability to pay electricity dues exists on the purchaser. [Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Co. Ltd. v. Srigdhaa Beverages, (2020) 6 SCC 404]

Family and Personal Laws — Hindu Law — Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) — HUF property — Inference regarding — Requisite proof — Burden of proof: The burden is on person who alleges existence of HUF to prove the same. The proof is required not only with respect to jointness of family but also with respect to fact that property concerned belongs to joint Hindu family, unless there is material on record to show that the property is the nucleus of joint Hindu family or that it was purchased through funds coming out of this nucleus. [Bhagwat Sharan v. Purushottam, (2020) 6 SCC 387]

Kerala Buildings (Lease and Rent Control) Act, 1965 (2 of 1965) — S. 20 r/w S. 11(8) — Scope of revision under — Restriction of, to propriety of the order and not to re-appreciation of evidence: Interference with findings of fact is not permissible, when the same are not perverse. High Court, exercising revisional jurisdiction is entitled to satisfy itself as to the correctness or legality or propriety of any decision or order impugned before it, however, to satisfy itself to the regularity, correctness, legality or propriety of the impugned decision or the order, it cannot exercise its power as an appellate power to reappreciate or reassess the evidence for coming to a different finding on facts. [Addissery Raghavan v. Cheruvalath Krishnadasan, (2020) 6 SCC 275]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — Ss. 166, 168 and 173 — Compensation — Computation of — Conventional heads: The compensation for loss of consortium includes compensation for loss of love and affection. Hence, once compensation is awarded for loss of consortium, there cannot be a further award of compensation under ‘Loss of love and affection’. [M.H. Uma Maheshwari v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 6 SCC 400]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/34 — Murder trial: In this case, there was death of deceased (well-known person and local politician) due to 5 firearm injuries by firing from rifles by appellant, his brother and another at deceased. The cause of death was background of personal and political rivalry between parties. The conviction of appellant-accused under Ss. 302/34 IPC, and S. 27 of the Arms Act, and award of sentence of life imprisonment with fine, for murder of deceased, was confirmed. [Ombir Singh v. State of U.P., (2020) 6 SCC 378]

Service Law — Recruitment Process — Examination — Judicial review/Validity — Interference with evaluation of candidates in examination — Scope — Limited: In this case of selection to Class III posts in various departments of Government of Bihar, it was held that the scope of judicial review under Art. 226 of the Constitution in matters concerning evaluation of candidates, particularly, for purpose of recruitment to public services are narrow. Further held, in absence of any provision for re-evaluation of answer sheets, judicial review should be exercised only under exceptional circumstances. [Bihar Staff Selection Commission v. Arun Kumar, (2020) 6 SCC 362]

Transfer of Property Act, 1882 — Ss. 106 and 107 — Determination of nature of lease, no specific period of tenancy is mentioned in the deed: Where the lease/rent deed does not mention the period of tenancy, other conditions of the deed and intention of the parties must be gathered to find out the true nature of the deed. [Siri Chand v. Surinder Singh, (2020) 6 SCC 288]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Courts, Tribunals and Judiciary — Tribunals — Appointment process — Lack of judicial dominance: Composition of Search-cum-Selection Committees in the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and Other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017, being such as to dilute the control of the judiciary in the appointment of Members of tribunals. Such procedure, held, is against constitutional scheme and independence of judiciary. Lack of judicial dominance in the appointment process of Members and Presiding Officers of tribunals is in direct contravention of doctrine of separation of powers and is an encroachment on the judicial domain. Executive is a litigating party in most of the litigations and hence, cannot be allowed to be a dominant participant in judicial appointments. Principle of exclusion of executive control over judiciary is not limited to traditional courts alone but extends to tribunals because tribunals are formed as an alternative to courts and perform judicial functions. Tribunals constituted in substitution of courts should have similar standards of appointment, qualification and conditions of service to inspire confidence of public at large. The Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and Other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017, as a whole, held, ultra vires. As interim measure, directed that appointments to the Tribunals/Appellate Tribunals concerned and terms and conditions of appointment, service, superannuation, etc. shall be in terms of the respective statutes as they stood before enactment of Finance Act, 2017. However, Central Government given liberty to seek modification of this order after it has framed fresh Rules strictly in conformity and in accordance with the principles delineated in R.K. Jain, (1993) 4 SCC 119, L. Chandra Kumar, (1997) 3 SCC 261, Madras Bar Assn., (2014) 10 SCC 1 and Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd., (2016) 9 SCC 103 conjointly read with this judgment. However, in case any additional benefits concerning the salaries and emoluments have been granted under the Finance Act, they shall not be withdrawn and will be continued. This would equally apply to all new Members. [Rojer Mathew v. South Indian Bank Ltd., (2020) 6 SCC 1]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Constitution of India — Art. 141 — Unanimous decisions versus split decisions — Precedential value: There is no difference in precedential value of unanimous decisions and those rendered by majority in split decisions. Prayer to commute death sentence on ground that death sentence in appeal was not unanimously approved but was approved by a 2:1 split decision, rejected. The contention that death ought not to be awarded in case of a single dissent notwithstanding opinion of majority is not supported by precedents. [Manoharan v. State, (2020) 5 SCC 782]

Constitution of India — Art. 145(3) — Substantial question of law as to interpretation of the Constitution: Questions of law formulated by two-Judge Bench of Supreme Court in para 14 of its order in Subhash Chandra Agrawal, (2011) 1 SCC 496, referred to Constitution Bench of Supreme Court, as earlier directed by the two-Judge Bench on 26-11-2010. [Supreme Court of India v. Subhash Chandra Agarwal, (2020) 5 SCC 674]

Constitution of India — Art. 226 — Maintainability — Delay/Laches: In this case, petitioners were challenging appointments made during years 2001 and 2003 only in the years 2012 and 2013 after they becoming qualified in year 2011. It was held that the petitioners were not entitled to any relief on ground of unexplained laches and inordinate delay of about more than 10 yrs in challenging appointments. Besides, though relief was claimed against State, benefit of regularisation was sought to be denied to appointed Teachers, who were not even impleaded as party respondents (Association impleaded as third respondent without furnishing any material to show that majority of appointees were members of said Association). [Chander Mohan Negi v. State of H.P., (2020) 5 SCC 732]

Constitution of India — Arts. 19(1)(a) & (2), 19(1)(g) & (6) and Art. 21 — Curtailment of fundamental rights (due to restriction on internet services in Jammu and Kashmir herein) — For reasons of national security (due to crossborder terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir): Fundamental rights, reiterated, need to be balanced with national security concerns, in line with the constitutional principles, when situation so demands. [Foundation for Media Professionals v. State (UT of J&K), (2020) 5 SCC 746]

Consumer Protection — Services — Banking/Shares/Securities and other Financial Services: Under-insurance by bank i.e. non-insuring of whole of the hypothecated assets of the borrower by the bank, amounted to deficiency of service, when the bank contractually bound to do so. Obtaining of insurance of only some of such assets by bank is not permissible when the bank exercises the option to itself insure the goods. [Canara Bank v. Leatheroid Plastics (P) Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 722]

Consumer Protection Act, 1986 — Ss. 13(2)(a) and 13(2)(b)(ii) r/w Ss. 13(3), 13(3-A), 13(4), 14 and 24-A: Limitation period for filing reply/response to the complaint by the respondent/opposite party, mandatorily cannot be extended beyond the prescribed period of 45 days (i.e. period of 30 days along with discretionary extension of time up to 15 days). [New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage (P) Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 757]

Education Law — Employment and Service Matters Re Educational Institutions — Officers/Authorities/Staff, Faculty, etc. — Teachers/Part-time Teachers/Lecturers — Assistant Director in Centre for Adult Continuing Education and Extension (CACEE): In this case, appellant was appointed in CACEE w.e.f. 26-12-1989 which received sanction of University vide letter dt. 1-2-1990. CACEE was established on temporary basis for purpose of eradicating illiteracy. Posts in CACEE were not included in schedule to the University First Ordinances, 1978 which indicating that posts in Centre were not posts in University. Further, for a person to be “Teacher” in terms of S. 2(27) of 1974 Rules, he/she should be imparting instruction or supervising research in any of the colleges of recognized institutions.“College” in terms of S. 2(7) means an institution maintained by or affiliated to University while “recognised institution” as envisaged under S. 2(19) means institution for research or special studies other than affiliated college, recognised as such by University. Centre not a “college” since it is neither maintained nor affiliated to University, nor any evidence produced to establish that it was an institution recognised by University within meaning of S. 2(19). The Supreme Court in this case held that when appellant does not fulfil requirement of “Teacher”, he cannot claim applicability of Statute 10 of Kerala University First Statutes, 1977 and claim to retire at 60 yrs of age. Further held, even assuming that appellant was imparting instruction in different courses in the Centre, that cannot make him “Teacher” within meaning of Ss. 2(27) and (28). Furthermore, Government Letter dt. 3-10-2014 merging Centre with Institute of Distance Education also supports conclusion that Centre was not maintained by University but was self-financing centre. [P. Gopinathan Pillai v. University of Kerala, (2020) 5 SCC 711]

GST — Central Goods and Services Act, 2017 — Ss. 67(8) and 67(6) — Search and seizure — Release of seized goods — Procedure to be followed: The directions for release of seized goods by extricating the assessees from paying the applicable tax amount in cash, in exercise of writ jurisdiction by the High Court, not valid, when mechanism already provided for in the Act and the Rules for release. [State of U.P. v. Kay Pan Fragrance (P) Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 811]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — S. 166 — Contributory negligence — If any — Determination of: In this case, deceased victim on two-wheeler at night dashed into truck trailer parked on road without any reflectors. The Supreme Court held that once substantive evidence of eyewitness before MACT established that truck trailer had been parked on road at night without any reflectors, there was no reason or justification for MACT to proceed on basis of conjecture in arriving at a finding of contributory negligence. The High Court had not discussed this at all and simply proceeded to confirm finding of contributory negligence. Consequently, it was held, there was no contributory negligence. [Jumani Begam v. Ram Narayan, (2020) 5 SCC 807]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/34 — Murder in furtherance of common intention: In this case of collective assault resulted in death of one due to stabbing, there was involvement of 4 accused persons (including 3 appellant-accused herein). Prior meeting of minds of all accused, was established and all 3 appellants were found having intention common with that of fourth accused, who inflicted multiple injuries on deceased with knife. There were sufficient materials available, to establish that all appellants returned together to place of occurrence and attacked deceased victim. Eyewitnesses gave uniform account of assault on deceased and no major contradiction or discrepancy in their statements in course of their examination, was made out. Delay in filing FIR, was also properly explained. It was held that although eyewitnesses were known to deceased, and there was no neutral witness, but for that factor alone, appellants cannot be exonerated. Hence, conviction of appellants under Ss. 302/34, and sentence of life imprisonment with fine and default stipulation, was confirmed. [Dhanpal v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 5 SCC 705]

Service Law — Departmental Enquiry — De novo/Fresh enquiry — When envisaged — Violation of principles of natural justice: In this case there were allegations pertaining to appointment of more than 500 Asstt. Teachers in Basic Schools in State of U.P. in violation of 1981 Rules. The High Court by impugned judgment set aside dismissal order and remitted matter to disciplinary authority to hold enquiry afresh from stage of charge-sheet finding that enquiry was held in violation of principles of natural justice. The Supreme Court held that serious allegations of corruption raised against respondent State require determination in full-fledged enquiry by disciplinary authority. [Ramesh Singh v. State of U.P., (2020) 5 SCC 677]

Service Law — Pension — Pension Scheme — General Provident Fundcum- pension-cum-gratuity benefit (Triple Benefit Scheme) — Extension of benefit to employees of deficit colleges vide amendment dt. 15-1-2014 — Prescription of cut-off date of 31-8-2010: In this case, in absence of arbitrariness in applicability of cut-off date as well as rationality behind it based on date of Cabinet decision granting Triple Benefit Scheme to such deficit grant colleges no interference with impugned judgment denying benefit of said Scheme to appellants who retired before 31-8-2010 is called for. [Mohd. Ali Imam v. State of Bihar, (2020) 5 SCC 685]

Service Law — Retirement/Superannuation — Voluntary retirement — Retiral benefits: In this case, the application dt. 28-7-2005 seeking voluntary retirement was not considered and subsequent resignation dt. 3-5-2006 was accepted. While considering the claim to retiral benefits, the Supreme Court held that though respondent’s husband was qualified to appear for voluntary retirement in terms of R. 50(2) of the Pension Rules, 1996, required its acceptance by appointing authority. Besides, when respondent’s husband submitted application for voluntary retirement he was already issued two charge-sheets alleging misconduct and pending disciplinary proceedings he had no absolute right seeking acceptance of his application for voluntary retirement since employer keen on proceeding with inquiry would be entitled not to consider the application. Moreover, proceeding pertaining to charge-sheet culminated in final order dt. 3-9-2005 whereunder punishment of withholding of increment was imposed. Thus, non-consideration of application for voluntary retirement was justified. Furthermore, on acceptance of respondent’s husband application for resignation he was relieved on 31-5-2006 and terminal benefits were paid, which he accepted and no dispute pertaining to same was raised during his lifetime. Impugned judgment directing payment of retiral benefits in writ petition filed belatedly in the year 2012 holding subsequent resignation dt. 3-5-2006 be considered as application for voluntary retirement, was held unsustainable and liable to be set aside. [Rajasthan SRTC v. Mohani Devi, (2020) 5 SCC 741]

Service Law — Seniority — Determination of seniority — Direct recruits vis-à-vis promotees — Inter se seniority — Rota-quota principle: In this case it was held that though N.R. Parmar, (2012) 13 SCC 340, purportedly interpreted Central Government OMs dt. 7-2-1986 and 3-7-1986 yet in effect it misconstrued them, and for this reason, it did not properly consider the purport of subsequent clarificatory OM dt. 3-3-2008. General principle of law, further held, is that a direct recruit cannot get backdated notional seniority earlier than he joined service. N.R. Parmar case, insofar as it confers backdated seniority with reference to initiation of recruitment process, is not sustainable in law. N.R. Parmar case overruled and Jagdish Ch. Patnaik, (1998) 4 SCC 456 affirmed on this point.  However, inter se seniority where already fixed by applying N.R. Parmar case and the Central Government OM dated 4-3-2014 based thereon, protected. [K. Meghachandra Singh v. Ningam Siro, (2020) 5 SCC 689]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 2(2) and proviso thereto (proviso ins. w.e.f. 23-10-2015), 2(1)(f), Pt. I or Pt. II and Ss. 11(6) and 9 — Seat of arbitration — Determination of: Mere expression “place of arbitration” in the arbitration clause, held, cannot by itself be the basis to determine the intention of the parties that they have intended that place as the juridical “seat” of arbitration. Intention of the parties as to the “seat” should be determined from reading all clauses in arbitration agreement as a whole, as to whether there are any clear indicia which indicate the seat of arbitration; and the conduct of the parties. Designation of “place of arbitration” in arbitration clause, plus significant indica determine seat of arbitration. [Mankastu Impex (P) Ltd. v. Airvisual Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 399]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 39 Rr. 1 and 2 — Grant of temporary injunction: Temporary injunction in a suit for specific performance of contract for sale cannot be granted when there are doubts as to existence of a concluded contract and there is delay in instituting the suit. The onus is on plaintiff to demonstrate that the parties were ad idem qua their obligations/concluded contract. The grant of relief in a suit for specific performance is itself a discretionary remedy and a plaintiff seeking temporary injunction will therefore have to establish a strong prima facie case on basis of undisputed facts. Further, the conduct of the plaintiff will also be a very relevant consideration for purposes of injunction and the discretion has to be exercised judiciously and not arbitrarily. [Ambalal Sarabhai Enterprise Ltd. v. KS Infraspace LLP Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 410]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 1 R. 8 — Representative suit: Decree in a representative suit is binding on all persons on whose behalf or for whose benefit suit is filed or defended. [C.J. Baby v. Fr. Jiju Varghese, (2020) 5 SCC 420]

Service Law — Pay — Pay revision — Expert Body — Prescription of pay scales and incentives — Exclusion of judicial review: When Government has taken decision based on recommendations of expert committee, and several other factors including financial implication, Court should not substitute its views ad interfere only when it is satisfied that Government’s decision was arbitrary. [Union of India v. M.V. Mohanan Nair, (2020) 5 SCC 421]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 21 R. 90 — S. 5 of Limitation Act — Inapplicability of, to proceedings under Or. 21 R. 90 CPC: The limitation for filing an application to set aside a sale in execution of decree is 60 days in terms of Art. 127 of the Limitation Act. S. 5 of the Limitation Act which deals with extension of time or condonation of delay is not applicable to proceedings under Or. 21 R. 90 CPC and therefore, the delay, if any in filing of proceedings under Or. 21 R. 90 CPC, cannot be condoned under S. 5 of the Limitation Act. [Aarifaben Yunusbhai Patel v. Mukul Thakorebhai Amin, (2020) 5 SCC 449]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 340/195(1)(b) — Giving false evidence in court: As there was no prima facie case made out against accused for giving false evidence in Court, requiring initiation of criminal proceedings against him, application for prosecution for giving false evidence in court dismissed. [Deepak Chandrakant Jhaveri v. Johnson Dye Works (P). Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 456]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 2(1)(e), 2(2), 11(6) and 20 — Seat of arbitration — Determination of, when only the venue is specified: If the “subject-matter of the suit” is situated within the arbitral jurisdiction of two or more courts, the parties can agree to confine the jurisdiction in one of the competent courts. Seat of arbitration once determined, amounts to exclusive jurisdiction clause. [Brahmani River Pellets Ltd. v. Kamachi Industries Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 462]

Service Law — Departmental Enquiry — Charge/Charge-sheet — Competent authority — “Disciplinary authority”/“competent authority”: Under R. 3(h) of the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Management Staff Conduct, Discipline and Appeal Rules, 1976, “competent authority” means any authority empowered by Board of Directors or Chairman by any general or special rule or order to discharge function or use powers specified in rule or order. Further held, “competent authority” includes “disciplinary authority”. Under Sch. I, Functional General Manager which include DGM was disciplinary authority for punishment lesser than dismissal while Functional Director was disciplinary authority for punishment of dismissal. Hence, DGM was competent to issue charge-sheet since penalty of discharge was imposed. Besides, employee neither in his reply to charges nor in departmental appeal raised any issue pertaining to competency of DGM to issue charge-sheet but raised it for first time in writ petition. Impugned judgment finding punishment of dismissal (discharge actually) to be vitiated since charge-sheet was not issued by competent authority unsustainable and liable to be set aside. Directions for issuance of fresh charge-sheet set aside and order of discharge not interfered with. [Bharat Petroleum Corpn. Ltd. v. Anil Padegaonkar, (2020) 5 SCC 474]

Human and Civil Rights — Right to Information Act, 2005 — Ss. 2(h), (f), (j), 8(1)(d), (e), (j) and 11 — Information relating to assets declared by Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts: Chief Justice of India is a “public authority” under the Right to Information Act, 2005 and the Act covers the office of the CJI. Information relating to assets declared by Judges of Supreme Court is subject to the provisions of RTI Act. [Supreme Court of India v. Subhash Chandra Agarwal, (2020) 5 SCC 481]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Arbitration in electricity matters: It has been explained in this article that the judgment in Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd. v. Essar Power Ltd., (2008) 4 SCC 755 having been passed dehors the settled principles of statutory interpretation, is per incuriam and the same needs to be revisited by the Supreme Court as and when the opportunity presents itself in an appropriate case, so that the right of power sector entities to have recourse to alternative adjudicatory mechanism of “arbitration” is not subjected to the additional (discriminatory) requirement of approval of SERCs. Arbitration in electricity matters: a discordant Note struck by Supreme Court by Rajiv Yadav.[(2020) 5 SCC (J-12)]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — S. 9-A (as applicable in Maharashtra prior to its deletion in 2018) and Or. 14 R. 2 — Objection as to jurisdiction to be decided by the court as a preliminary issue under S. 9-A: As held by the three-Judge Bench in Nusli Neville Wadia, (2020) 6 SCC 557, under the provisions of S. 9-A and Or. 14 R. 2, it is open to decide a preliminary issue only if it is purely a question of law, and not a mixed question of law and fact requiring recording of evidence. Thus, held, “jurisdiction” in S. 9-A does not include issue of limitation as the same involves mixed questions of fact and law. Issue of limitation has to be considered along with other issues that would arise for adjudication in the suit concerned. [Shyam Madan Mohan Ruia v. Messer Holdings Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 252]

Copyright Act, 1957 — Ss. 55, 51 and 18: The cause of action to a plaintiff to file a suit accrues when there is a clear and unequivocal threat to infringe a right.  The cause of action for filing suit for declaration and injunction qua infringement of copyright in scheduled films which had been assigned earlier by plaintiff arise, after the lapse of assignment period. [Zee Telefilms Ltd. v. Suresh Productions, (2020) 5 SCC 353]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 200 to 204, 156(3), 173, 300 and 362 — Second complaint — Maintainability or otherwise under different scenarios: Principles regarding scope of inquiry under S. 202 and duty of Magistrate while entertaining private complaints, discussed in detail, and summarised. Second protest petition, held, stands on a similar footing as second complaint. [Samta Naidu v. State of M.P., (2020) 5 SCC 378]

Debt, Financial and Monetary Laws — Debt, Debt Recovery and Relief — Crown Debt/Debt owed to State/Tax arrears: Transfer/Auction-sale of property pursuant to orders of Debts Recovery Tribunal (DRT), inspite of the property being attached by Income Tax Department is valid when there is already a prior charge on the property and the attachment by DRT is prior in time. There is primacy of dues of a secure creditor, over Crown debt, in the absence of a preference given to the Crown debt by statute. [Connectwell Industries (P) Ltd. v. Union of India, (2020) 5 SCC 373]

Decriminalisation of adultery: A critical analysis of the judgment of the Supreme Court in Joseph Shine v. Union of India, (2019) 3 SCC 39, Decriminalisation of adultery, the Indian experience and experiment: how much shine in the Joseph Shine verdict? by Rajesh Kapoor., [(2020) 5 SCC (J-25)]

Education Law — Medical and Dental Colleges — Admission — Allotment of Seats/College/Speciality/Counselling/Wait list — Counselling: In this case, there was common counselling or single online counselling for filling up seats for postgraduate courses leading to MD and MS, Diploma and Diplomate of National Board (DNB). As counselling was in advanced stage, Court declined to issue any directions for present academic session which would disturb entire process. Further, as the authorities were ready for next academic session 2021-2022, permission granted for holding common counselling from academic session 2021-2022. [Alapati Jyotsna v. Union of India, (2020) 5 SCC 320]

Effect of limitation of liability and exclusion of liability clauses: It is sometimes misunderstood that limitation of liability and exclusion of liability clauses simply fall away, under Indian law, in all cases of fundamental breach. This article, therefore, attempts to analyse whether such clauses would fall away in all cases of fundamental breach; and whether the liability of the party in breach would become unlimited, subject to proof of actual damage, in all cases of fundamental breach. Effect of limitation of liability and exclusion of Liability clauses in the event of fundamental Breach of contract by Gaurav Pachnanda.[(2020) 5 SCC (J-1)]

Excise — Concession/Exemption/Incentive/Rebate/Subsidy — Exim Policy of 1997-2002 — Paras 9.9(b) and 9.17(b) — Exemption Noti. No. 8/97 dt. 1-3-1997 as amended by Noti. No. 21/97-CE dt. 11-4-1997 — Circular dt. 22-5-2000: The terms “sale” and “purchase” under the Excise Act, if construed literally, would give a wider scope and also include transfer of possession for valuable consideration under the definition of the term “sale”. Thus, the transfer of manganese ore by TISCO to UFAC (assessee) in this case for the purposes of processing the same and converting it into Silicon Manganese, being for a valuable consideration, held to be “sale” for purposes of Excise Act. Para 9.9(b) of the Exim Policy, the circulars issued by the Board, particularly, the Circular dt. 22-5-2000 and reply to the query of the Customs Authorities by the Development Commissioner, SEEPZ showed that UFAC was entitled to carry out the job-work on behalf of TISCO on payment of duty as provided under exemption notification of 1997. In this case, held, the transaction between UFAC and TISCO satisfied all the three conditions of exemption notification, namely, the goods are produced and manufactured by UFAC, an 100% export oriented unit; they are manufactured wholly from the raw materials produced or manufactured in India; and, thirdly, they have been allowed to be sold in India in accordance with the provisions of Para 9.9(b) of the Exim Policy. Thus, assessee was held to be entitled to avail the benefit. [CCE v. Universal Ferro & Allied Chemicals Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 332]

Family and Personal Laws — Succession Act, 1925 — Ss. 87, 82 and 88 — Will — Interpretation — Principles: The intention of testator has to be gathered from language of will read as a whole, having regard to nature and grammatical meaning of words and surrounding circumstances. The rule of last intention (contained in S. 88 of Succession Act) is only applicable when there are two bequests in the will which are inconsistent with each other. [M.S. Bhavani v. M.S. Raghu Nandan, (2020) 5 SCC 361]

Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 — Ss. 6, 7 and 11: The mandatory requirements of a valid adoption are consent of wife and proof of ceremony of actual giving and taking in adoption. In absence of proof of these requirements, mere fact of child being brought up by another couple and their names being entered in child’s school/college record as parents would not be sufficient to prove child’s adoption by them. [M. Vanaja v. M. Sarla Devi, (2020) 5 SCC 307]

Human and Civil Rights — Epidemics and Pandemics — COVID-19 Pandemic — Effect, prevention and medical facilities in prisons: There are greater chances of proliferation of this virus in overcrowded and closed places like prisons. Imminent need to take immediate measures for checking this contagious virus in prisons and for quarantining and providing medical treatment to affected prisoners, emphasized. [Contagion of Covid-19 Virus in Prisons, In re., (2020) 5 SCC 313]

 Income Tax Act, 1961 — S. 43-B(f) (as inserted vide Finance Act, 2001 w.e.f. 1-4-2002) — Validity: The validity of Cl. (f) providing for tax disincentive in deductions claimed by assessee from income tax in lieu of liability accrued under leave encashment scheme but not actually discharged by employer i.e. it making actual payment of liability condition precedent for extending benefit of deductions, affirmed. [Union of India v. Exide Industries Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 274]

Labour Law — Transfer of Employee/Service — Challenge to transfer order: In this case, letter of appointment categorically stated that services of respondent can be transferred at any location in India. There was grant of interim stay to transfer order by Industrial Court prima facie finding it to be case of victimisation/mala fides without any evidence in support thereof. Hence, impugned order of High Court declining to exercise its writ jurisdiction, held unsustainable. [Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. v. Rameshwar P. Gawade, (2020) 5 SCC 316]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — Ss. 173 and 166 — Enhancement of compensation: In this case, even though claimant appellants did not file appeal against award of Tribunal before High Court, it was held appropriate to enhance compensation by exercising jurisdiction under Art. 142 of the Constitution in order to do complete justice between parties. [Sangita Arya v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 327]

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 — Ss. 50 and 18 — Search and seizure: In this case there was recovery of contraband, weighing 6.3 kg, from bag carried by accused, hence compliance with S. 50 was not required. Hence, conviction of accused under S. 18, confirmed. [Than Kunwar v. State of Haryana, (2020) 5 SCC 260]

Property Tax In New Delhi: Property tax has been one of the main sources of revenue for New Delhi Municipal Council. This article gives you a brief understanding of the levy of property tax in New Delhi. Property Tax In New Delhi — A General Overview by Achal Gupta.[(2020) 5 SCC (J-39)]

Service Law — Judiciary — Seniority — Determination of seniority — Relevant date: The relevant date for determination of seniority is the date from which other candidates in same selection process were appointed. [C. Jayachandran v. State of Kerala, (2020) 5 SCC 230]

Service Law — Public Sector, Statutory Corporations and Local Bodies — Power of State Government to give directions in respect of conditions of service of Statutory Body/Corporation — Scope of — Scheme of applicable statutes: As relevant statutory provisions were not considered in earlier decision of Supreme Court, matter referred to larger Bench. [State of U.P. v. Virendra Kumar, (2020) 5 SCC 209]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 21 R. 89 and S. 151 — Auction-sale of property of guarantor in execution of decree: In this case, no opportunity was given to guarantor to repay entire decretal amount due before putting said property to sale. There was allegation of non-compliance with requirements of Or. 21 R. 89 CPC and application for setting aside the sale was also under S. 151 CPC. It was held that the property auctioned was that of guarantor, and even before auction-sale was held, said guarantor had started repaying the due amount in instalments and had repaid the full sum due, soon after auction-sale was confirmed. In such circumstances, without expressing any view on compliance/non-compliance with requirements of Or. 21 R. 89 CPC, the Supreme Court held, High Court had rightly set aside the auction-sale. [Paul v. T. Mohan, (2020) 5 SCC 138]

Contract and Specific Relief — Termination/Discharge of Contract — Termination by Frustration/Impossibility — Grounds of Frustration — Generally — Force majeure events: In case of occurrence of an event which renders performance of contract impossible, by virtue of S. 56, Contract Act, 1872, contract in such a case, held, becomes void and parties are exempted from further performance thereof. However, in terms of S. 32 of Contract Act, parties may instead choose consequences that would flow on happening of an uncertain future event. Further, under S. 65 of Contract Act, a limited mechanism exists to ameliorate harsh consequences of frustration of contract. Furthermore, in order to mitigate the harsh consequences of frustration and to uphold the sanctity of the contract, the parties may choose to mitigate the risk by inserting force majeure clauses, in which case the matter would be governed by the clause in question. [South East Asia Marine Engg. & constructions Ltd. (SEAMEC Ltd.) v. Oil India Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 164]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 438 — Grant of anticipatory bail: Law clarified regarding (1) When may be granted; (2) Offences in respect of which may be granted [except where there is a statutory bar or restriction]; (3) Duration for which may be granted; (4) Anticipatory bail granted cannot be a blanket protection; (5) Normal conditions; and Restrictive conditions that may be imposed while granting anticipatory bail, depending on facts and circumstances of the case; (6) Requirements of investigating agency under S. 27 of Evidence Act, met by concept of deemed custody when accused is on anticipatory bail; (7) Effect of filing of charge-sheet/issuance of summons in a case where accused is on anticipatory bail; (8) Recourse of investigating agency to have accused on anticipatory bail arrested at any time by order of court under S. 439(2), if circumstances so warrant (it being not always necessary to seek cancellation of the bail therefor); (9) Permissibility of exclusion of right to anticipatory bail by statute. [Sushila Aggarwal v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 5 SCC 1]

Energy, Power and Electricity — Electricity — Tariff — PPA: PPA is a statutory contract and it can be varied by statutory notifications. Notifications dt. 30-3-1992 and 6-11-1995 under S. 43-A of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948, are statutory and binding on the parties. Further, any PPA between a generating company and the purchaser of electricity is subject to such statutory notifications. Parties by agreement cannot override statutory provisions, or such notifications, as far as they relate to matters of tariff. [CLP (India) (P) Ltd. v. Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd., (2020) 5 SCC 185]

Environment Law — Monuments and Environment — ‘Sisodia Rani ka Bagh’ monument located on Jaipur-Agra Highway: Directions were issued for protection of wildlife in reserve forest area and prohibition of laser lights, loud music and fireworks in monument. National Green Tribunal (NGT) completely prohibited all activities in ‘Sisodia Rani ka Bagh’ monument. As restricted use of monument was not going to affect wildlife and forest, and in view of the value of developmental projects of monument and surrounding area, order of NGT was modified. The Supreme Court would itself monitor beautification and other developmental projects relating to monument. However, laser lights, loud music and fireworks, completely prohibited. [Deptt. of Archaeology & Museums v. Ashish Gautam, (2020) 5 SCC 112] 

Evidence Act, 1872 — Ss. 65 and 66 — Secondary evidence — When can be admitted: Factual foundational evidence must be adduced showing reasons for not furnishing evidence. Mere admission in evidence and making exhibit of a document not enough as the same has to be proved in accordance with law. [Jagmail Singh v. Karamjit Singh, (2020) 5 SCC 178]

Human and Civil Rights — Humanitarian and Natural Disasters, Epidemics and Pandemics — COVID-19 Pandemic: In this case, there was challenge to Advisory whereby Rs 4500 was fixed as the price for screening and confirming COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by private labs. While considering overall aspects of matter, directions were issued for free of cost testing facility of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by government or private labs, and tests to be carried out by labs accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL). [Shashank Deo Sudhi v. Union of India, (2020) 5 SCC 132]

Human and Civil Rights — Humanitarian and Natural Disasters, Epidemics and Pandemics — COVID-19 Pandemic: The ambit of directions issued regarding free testing of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) cases by government or private labs in Shashank Deo Sudhi, (2020) 5 SCC 132, clarified. [Shashank Deo Sudhi v. Union of India, (2020) 5 SCC 134]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 or S. 304 or S. 326 [S. 300 Exceptions 1 and 2] and S. 148: In this case, there was assault by accused persons (5 in number), with intention of taking revenge on account of right-of-way dispute, leading to death of one and injuries to others. The blows inflicted by Respondent 1-Accused 5, were with intention to kill deceased. The death of deceased was caused due to blow inflicted by Accused 5, and was homicidal death. The exercise of right of private defence also not made out as accused party were clearly the aggressors. The Supreme Court held that the High Court not correct in converting offence under S. 302 to one under S. 326. However, Accused 5, at relevant time, was deprived of power of self-control by grave and sudden provocation, due to repeated unauthorised entry by complainant party, on fields belonging to accused party. Further, solitary fatal blow on vital part of head, by Accused 5, caused death of deceased. The provocation was not invited by accused party, but was at instance of complainant party. As death of deceased was caused by act of Accused 5, giving one fatal blow on head, which was with intention of causing his death or causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, case would be covered by S. 304 Pt. I IPC. [State of Rajasthan v. Mehram, (2020) 5 SCC 143]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/34 or S. 324: In this case, conviction of accessory accused (appellant A-3 herein) under Ss. 302/34 held, not sustainable given role ascribed to him by prosecution and failure of prosecution to establish that he shared common intention to murder deceased with main assailant A-1. But, his conviction under S. 324 for having injured PW 1, and sentence thereof to undergo RI for 3 yrs and fine of Rs 500, with default stipulation, stood confirmed. [Chellappa v. State, (2020) 5 SCC 160]

Service Law — Deputation — Deputation allowance — Entitlement to — Commencement of deputation — When envisaged: Deputation envisages assignment of employee of one department/cadre/organisation to another department/cadre/organisation in public interest which normally involves consent of employee. In this case, till 11-9-2009, respondent continued to be under control of his parent organisation i.e. CISF and was also getting his pay and allowances from said authority. Hence, though respondent was sent to NDRF on 18-4 2008, he continued to be member of his Battalion and could not be said to be on deputation. [Union of India v. R. Thiyagarajan, (2020) 5 SCC 201]

Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987 — S. 15 — Conviction on basis of confession to police — When permissible: Law summarised regarding when conviction is permissible on basis of confession to police. In this case, there was conviction for conspiracy in respect of offences under TADA Act and Explosive Substances Act on basis of confession of appellant-accused and confession statement of two other co-accused, made before police. Said confession of accused does not met the requirements for reliance upon the same, hence, the same rejected. Furthermore, as per S. 30 of Evidence Act, 1872, if for any reason, a joint trial is not held, confession of co-accused cannot be held to be admissible in evidence against another accused, who would face trial at a later point of time in same case. Since trial of two co-accused was separate, their confession statements are not admissible in evidence and same cannot be taken as evidence against appellant-accused herein. Hence, conviction of appellant was set aside. [Raja v. State of T.N., (2020) 5 SCC 118]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 11(6) — Appointment of arbitrator by Court: Furnishing of discharge voucher (by insured to insurer in present case) is not an absolute bar to invocation of the arbitration agreement, when the same is alleged to have been given under economic duress. An application under S. 11(6) is in the form of a pleading which merely seeks an order of the Court, for the appointment of an arbitrator and it cannot be conclusive of the pleas or contentions that the claimant or the party concerned can take in the arbitral proceedings. Therefore, at this stage, the Court which is required to ensure that an arbitrable dispute exists, has to be prima facie convinced about the genuineness or credibility of the plea of coercion; it cannot be too particular about the nature of the plea, which necessarily has to be made and established in the substantive (read: arbitration) proceeding. [Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v. Dicitex Furnishing Ltd., (2020) 4 SCC 621]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 11(6) and 8 — Arbitration agreement contained in document compulsorily required to be stamped: When an instrument compulsorily required to be stamped, is relied upon as containing the arbitration agreement, the Court is required to consider at the outset, whether the document is properly stamped or not and the Court cannot act upon an arbitration clause in a document if the document is not properly stamped. However, if the deficit stamp duty and penalty is paid the document can be acted upon. [Dharmaratnakara Rai Bahadur Arcot Narainswamy Mudaliar Chattram v. Bhaskar Raju & Bros., (2020) 4 SCC 612]

 Bombay Entertainments Duty Act, 1923 (1 of 1923) — Ss. 3(2), 3(1) and 3(5) — Interpretation and application of S. 3(2) — Inter-relationship between Ss. 3(2), 3(1) and 3(5): Where activities of amusement park not covered under S. 3(2), such park not entitled for rebate of 50% of duty payable under S. 3(2). [State of Maharashtra v. Pan (India) Paryatan Ltd.,(2020) 4 SCC 687]

 Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 14 R. 1(1), Or. 8 Rr. 1 to 3 and Or. 20 R. 20 — Issues when arise: In this case of suit for partition of family property as per the will of the mother, the ground floor portion of the property was bequeathed to the respondent-plaintiff, the first floor portion was bequeathed to the appellant-defendant and the second floor portion was to be divided equally between the parties. Respondent-plaintiff filed a suit for partition and permanent injunction of the second floor and the terrace rights but appellant-defendant, in the written statement, raised a dispute in respect of common areas on the ground floor also. The Supreme Court held, having invited findings by raising a dispute of the common areas, the appellant-defendant cannot plead that the trial court as well as the appellate court have exceeded scope of the suit, in issuing directions for the common areas. Also, on facts, held, the judgment and final decree for partition, as ordered by the appellate court and directions issued with regard to common areas were in accordance with evidence on record and there was no merit in the appeals so as to interfere with the same. [Sajan Sethi v. Rajan Sethi, (2020) 4 SCC 589]

 Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 9 R. 13 — Ex parte decree — Setting aside of, subject to deposit of part amount, in the interest of justice: In this case, Respondent 1 filed a suit for permanent injunction and compensation of Rs 1 crore for trespass, nuisance and damages allegedly made by appellant- Defendant 1. Vide ex parte decree dated 7-10-2003, High Court decreed the suit and directed appellant and Respondent 2 to pay a sum of Rs 77,02,500 with interest thereon @ 6% p.a. from the date of filing the suit till the date of payment or realization. The appellant contended that summons of the original suit and the proceedings thereof were never served upon it. The Supreme Court held that though various contentions were raised as to whether the appellant was served or not and entered appearance in the suit, but without going into the merits of the same, an opportunity has to be given to appellant for contesting the suit. Further, considering the nature of the claim and other facts and circumstances and in the interest of justice, and also that appellant showed its bona fides by depositing Rs 60,00,000 in compliance of the Court order and also that the Court had directed the appellant to deposit further sum of Rs 35,00,000, appeal was allowed and suit ordered to be restored. [Aviation Travels (P) Ltd. v. Bhavesha Suresh Goradia, (2020) 4 SCC 680]

Consumer Protection — Services — Banking/Shares/Securities and other Financial Services: Non-submission of deceased insured’s insurance form and premium by collecting Bank to insurance company can be considered as deficiency of service. [Hemiben Ladhabhai Bhanderi v. Saurashtra Gramin Bank, (2020) 4 SCC 671]

Consumer Protection — Services — Insurance — Compensation — Fidelity insurance: In this case, Respondent complainant, a collateral management company, which undertook to store the commodities pledged by the farmers, traders and manufacturers, etc. in availing loan from lending banks and other institutions, stored commodities including urad and mentha oil in their warehouse and deployed security guards hired by it from the security agency, besides its own field staff. Respondent collateral management company, took fidelity guarantee insurance policy from the appellant opposite party, in respect of the pledged commodities stored in warehouses/godowns at several places. The Supreme Court held that the survey report itself indicated the involvement of employees of the respondent Company in removing 601 barrels of mentha oil stored by respondent Company. Further, immediately, after confirmation and 100% sampling, whereby it was disclosed that in all the barrels, mentha oil was substituted with water, a complaint was lodged by respondent complainant before Gadarpur Police Station. Also, sampling was completed only on 12-11-2008 and investigation report came to be submitted to respondent Company on 14-11-2008, and thereafter, claim was made before appellant on 18-11-2008. Thus, there was no delay on the part of respondent in lodging the claim. In this case, order of NCDRC, directing appellant opposite party to pay a sum of Rs 3,46,87,113 to respondent complainant as per the insurance policy with interest was upheld. [Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. v. National Bulk Handling Corpn. (P) Ltd., (2020) 4 SCC 674]

 Electricity Act, 2003 — Ss. 56(1) and (2) — Disconnection of supply to consumer on account of non-payment of additional demand of electricity charges: S. 56(1) confers a statutory right to the licensee company to disconnect the supply of electricity, if the consumer neglects to pay the electricity dues and this statutory right is subject to the period of limitation of two years provided by S. 56(2). The liability to pay arises on the consumption of electricity and the obligation to pay would arise when the bill is issued by the licensee company, quantifying the charges to be paid. Thus, electricity charges would become “first due” only after the bill is issued to the consumer, even though the liability to pay may arise on the consumption of electricity. S. 56(2) does not preclude the licensee company from raising an additional or supplementary demand after the expiry of the limitation period under S. 56(2) in the case of a mistake or bona fide error, however, it does not empower the licensee company to take recourse to the coercive measure of disconnection of electricity supply, for recovery of the additional demand. [Ajmer Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd. v. Rahamatullah Khan, (2020) 4 SCC 650]

Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923 — S. 4 Expln. II and S. 4-A — Deletion of the deeming provision in S. 4 Expln. II (by Act 45 of 2009, w.e.f. 18-1-2010), which had capped the monthly wages of an employee at Rs 4000: The benefit of the amending Act enhancing the quantum of compensation would not apply to accidents that took place prior to the coming into force of the amendment. [K. Sivaraman v. P. Sathishkumar, (2020) 4 SCC 594]

Evidence Act, 1872 — Ss. 35, 74 and 76 — Proof of age: School leaving certificate/transfer certificate, on its own is not sufficient for proving date of birth, in the absence of examination of the official in-charge of school who recorded the date of birth in the school register. Proving of the records of School is necessary. [C. Doddanarayana Reddy v. C. Jayarama Reddy, (2020) 4 SCC 659]

Human and Civil Rights — Right to Information, Confidential Information and Data Protection — Information held by courts and tribunals — Information held by court on judicial side: The requirement under R. 151 of the Gujarat High Court Rules, 1993 that third parties can access information held on judicial side of court, inter alia, relating to pending and decided cases, relevant documents and certified copies, only by filing an affidavit and by stating the reason for which the information is required, is in consonance with scheme of RTI Act and there is no inconsistency between these laws. Such information can be accessed only as per the High Court Rules, and not under RTI Act regime. [Chief Information Commr. v. High Court of Gujarat, (2020) 4 SCC 702]

Income Tax Act, 1961 — S. 153-C — Applicability and Invocation of: Principles clarified regarding essentialities to be complied with by assessing officer and modalities to be followed under different scenarios. [Super Malls (P) Ltd. v. CIT, (2020) 4 SCC 581]

 Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 — Ss. 138, 143-A and 144 — Expeditious disposal of cheque dishonour cases: The need for comprehensive mechanism for expeditious disposal of cheque dishonour cases, emphasized. Setting up mechanism for online disposal of cheque dishonour cases, directed.  Steps to be taken for securing presence of accused, enumerated. Duty of banks to provide email ID and other details of accused for speedy disposal of cases, emphasized. Legal Services Authority directed to develop mechanism for pre-litigation stage settlements. [Makwana Mangaldas Tulsidas v. State of Gujarat, (2020) 4 SCC 695]

 Oil, Petroleum and Natural Gas — Dealerships, Networks and Supply Contracts — Contract for setting up of City or Local Natural Gas Distribution Networks (CGD Networks): The validity of criterion formulated for determining reasonability of bid for its acceptance after the last date for the submission of bids, as in this case through a Board Note indicating a 2 to 100% range of projected PNG connections on the basis of total number of households, upheld. [Adani Gas Ltd. v. Petroleum & Natural Gas Regulatory Board, (2020) 4 SCC 529]

Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act, 2006 — Ss. 30 and 37: The appeal before APTEL under 2006 Act directed to be transferred to the Supreme Court in the interest of justice. [AG&P LNG MKTG. PTE. Ltd. v. IMC Ltd., (2020) 4 SCC 569]

Rajasthan Pre-emption Act, 1966 (1 of 1966) — Ss. 4, 5(1)(c) and 6 — Right of pre-emption — When accrues, even in cases where the vendee also has such rights: The right of pre-emption accrues on the transfer of any immovable property to the classes of persons mentioned in S. 6, however, the same is subject to S. 5. Further, as a result of S. 5(1)(c), where the vendee also has a right of pre-emption under S. 6, the right of pre-emption will only accrue to the person with a superior right of pre-emption. Further held, where any of the provisions of S. 5 come into operation, the right of pre-emption would not be available. [Suresh Chand v. Suresh Chander, (2020) 4 SCC 643]

Sikkim Land (Requisition and Acquisition) Act, 1977 (1 of 1978) — S. 5(1) [akin to S. 4(1) of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894] and Ss. 3(1), 4(2) and 7(2) — Acquisition of land by State, without adhering to procedure prescribed by law: There cannot be a presumption of acquisition without following the due process as envisaged under Ss. 3(1), 4(2), 5(1) and 7(2) and the burden is on the State to prove that the process as envisaged under the Act is followed and the compensation paid. Further, following the procedure of S. 4(1) of the 1894 Act [akin to S. 5(1) of the said 1977 Act] is mandatory, and unless that notice is given in accordance with the provisions contained therein, the entire acquisition proceeding would be vitiated. Further, entry into the premises based on such non-compliance would result in the entry being unlawful. The law being expropriatory in character, the same is required to be strictly followed. Even though rights in land are no more a fundamental right, still it remains a constitutional right under Art. 300-A of the Constitution, and the provisions of any Act seeking to divest any person from the rights in property have to be strictly followed. [D.B. Basnett v. LAO, (2020) 4 SCC 572]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

Acquisition, Requisition and Nationalisation — Textile Undertakings (Nationalisation) Act, 1995 — Ss. 4(2) and 4(5): Adjudication by High Court, exercising writ jurisdiction, on the liability of National Textile Corporation Ltd. (NTC) qua debts of textile mill taken over by it, not permissible. [UCO Bank v. National Textile Corpn. Ltd., (2020) 4 SCC 497]

Anomalies in law and justice: This article attempts to explain the anomalies in law and justice—that is, the inconsistencies, contradictions or absurdities in law and justice and identify the solutions for rectification wherever possible. Some Anomalies in Law and Justice by Justice R.V. Raveendran [(2020) 4 SCC (J-49)]

 Constitution of India — Arts. 72 & 161 and 32 — Disposal of mercy petition against death sentence: Principles summarised regarding limited scope of judicial review of disposal of mercy petition against death sentence. Issue of ground of non-supply of documents sought for under RTI Act, held, is beyond the scope of present judicial review. [Vinay Sharma v. Union of India, (2020) 4 SCC 391]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 482 — Quashment re action taken under SARFAESI Act and qua disbursal of sanctioned loan/valuation/auction-sale by creditor bank/auction-purchaser: Sanction of loan, creation of mortgage and the manner in which the sanctioned loan was to be released are all contractual matters between the parties. Further, if any amount was withheld, the complainant in this case was required to take appropriate action at that point in time and avail his remedy but the complainant had proceeded with the transaction, maintained the loan account until the account was classified as NPA. Further, SARFAESI Act is a complete code in itself which provides the procedure to be followed by the secured creditor and also the remedy to the aggrieved parties including the borrower and if there is any discrepancy in the manner of classifying the account of the appellants as NPA or in the manner in which the property was valued or was auctioned, DRT is vested with the power to set aside such auction at the stage after the secured creditor invokes the power under S. 13 of SARFAESI Act. Further, the petitioner after dismissal of the application before the DRT filed the impugned complaint which appeared to be an intimidatory tactic and an afterthought which is an abuse of the process of law. Also, S. 32 of SARFAESI Act provides for the immunity from prosecution since protection is provided thereunder for the action taken in good faith. [K. Virupaksha v. State of Karnataka, (2020) 4 SCC 440]

 Education Law — Employment and Service Matters re Educational Institutions — Appointment/Recruitment — Post of Principal in government polytechnic college — Eligibility criteria: The AICTE [Pay Scales, Service Conditions and Qualifications for the Teachers and Other Academic Staff in Technical Institutions (Diploma)] Regulations, 2010 prescribed “Qualification as above for post of HoD and PhD in Engineering or qualification as above for post of HoD”. The word “or” indicates that PhD in Engineering is optional. [Gelus Ram Sahu v. Surendra Kumar Singh, (2020) 4 SCC 484]

Foreign Trade, Export, Import and Investment — Foreign Trade Policy 2004-2009: In this case, appellant purchaser from 100% export-oriented unit claimed benefit of special Agricultural Produce Scheme in respect of exports made by it. Circular dt. 21-1-2009 was issued to clarify that scheme notified on 7-4-2006 specifically excluded 100% export-oriented units from its applicability. The validity of the said circular was challenged with the contention that Circular dt. 21-1-2009 was contrary to scheme notified on 7-4-2006 which had statutory force and hence, could not be modified or amended by executive instructions. The Supreme Court held that the Circular dt. 21-1-2009 did not modify or amend scheme notified on 7-4-2006 but only clarified that 100% export-oriented units which were not entitled to seek exemption could not avail benefit indirectly through purchasers from them. It was further held, in terms of Cl. 3.8.5 of the Scheme, Government had reserved right in public interest to specify from time to time exports which were not eligible for entitlement, and hence, Circular dt. 21-1-2009 was valid. [Nola Ram Dulichand Dal Mills v. Union of India, (2020) 4 SCC 406]

Income Tax Act, 1961 — Ss. 115-O, 115-Q, 115-QA, 2(22), 2(22)(d) and 2(22)(a) — Buyback of shares — Taxability of: While considering communication by Revenue qua tax liability of assessee Company on purchase of its own shares, as a show-cause notice, as opposed to a final order, directions issued for grant of opportunity to file reply, oral hearing to assessee and for decision of case on merits by authorities. [Cognizant Technology Solutions (India) (P) Ltd. v. CIT, (2020) 4 SCC 430]

Local Government, Municipalities and Panchayats — Town Planning — Layout/Master/Zonal Plan — Modification/Change in the approved layout plan: A modification cannot be struck down when the law permits such change which is in terms of the statute and the plans that have the force of law. Further, as long as the layout plans conform to the development control norms, the court would not substitute its own opinion as to what principle or policy would best serve greater public or private interest. [M.P. Housing & Infrastructure Development Board v. Vijay Bodana, (2020) 4 SCC 521]

Marine Insurance Act, 1963 — Ss. 35 and 36 — Liability of insurer under a marine insurance policy — Discharge of, when there is a breach of warranty by assured: Non-compliance with the Institute Classification Clause (ICC) of the marine insurance policy, dealing with seaworthiness of the vessel in which the cargo is carried, can be considered as a breach of warranty. Further, held, when a warranty is not complied with i.e. there is a breach of warranty, the insurer is discharged from liability from the date of such breach, by virtue of Section 35(3) of the Marine Insurance Act, 1963 and such discharge of liability does not require any express conduct or representation from the insurer. [Rajankumar & Bros. (Impex) v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 4 SCC 364]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — Ss. 166 and 168 — Permanent disability — Just compensation — Principles summarized: Principles for determination of just compensation contemplated under MV Act are well settled. Apart from injury, claimant has to be compensated for consequential losses. [Kajal v. Jagdish Chand, (2020) 4 SCC 413]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302 and 364: In this case of murder of three minor children by accused in disturbed mental state, wife of accused having run away with uncle of victim children, death sentence of accused commuted to life imprisonment for entire life without any remission for 25 yrs. [Manoj Suryavanshi v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2020) 4 SCC 451]

Stamp Act, 1899 — Ss. 35, 36 and Art. 23 Expln. & Art. 48(f) (as amended by Orissa Act 1 of 2003) — Impounding of powers of attorney dt. 21-2-2011 and 4-10-2008 when required to be treated as conveyance for insufficient stamping: Judicial determination of objection regarding necessity of payment of, and sufficiency of stamp duty paid, necessary. In this case, the findings of the Trial court as well as High Court that since power of attorney was a registered document, it was properly stamped without examining as to whether power of attorney was to be stamped as conveyance on account of delivery of possession at time of execution of power of attorney, not proper. The question whether possession was transferred at the time or after execution of power of attorney is question of fact which is required to be decided by court at time of final decision being adjudicated after evidence is led by parties and not merely on basis of recitals in power of attorney. Further held, though such objection is required to be decided at threshold but in case where evidence is required to determine nature of document, it is reasonable to defer that issue to time of final decision in suit. [Z. Engineers Construction (P) Ltd. v. Bipin Bihari Behera, (2020) 4 SCC 358]

U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1950 (1 of 1951) — S. 157-B — Exchange of agricultural land between a member of a Scheduled Tribe and a person not belonging to a Scheduled Tribe — Impermissibility of: Under S. 157-B, a bhumidhar or asami belonging to the Scheduled Tribe cannot transfer his land to a person not belonging to the Scheduled Tribe. Further, contrasting Ss. 157-B and 157-A, held, the use of the words “or otherwise” emphasises that the land belonging to a Scheduled Tribe cannot be transferred in any manner whatsoever. Thus, the exchange deed, between a member of Scheduled Tribe and a person not belonging to a Scheduled Tribe, held, executed in violation of the provisions of S. 157-B and the transfer was thus void and liable to be set aside. [Commr. (Revenue) v. Akhalaq Hussain, (2020) 4 SCC 507]

Cases ReportedSupreme Court Cases

A tribute to Ashok H. Desai: A tribute to Ashok H. Desai, who was the Attorney General of India from July 1996 to May 1998 and was earlier the Solicitor General of India. Ashok H. Desai — A Man for All Seasons by Pallav Shishodia, [(2020) 4 SCC (J-6)]

A tribute to P.P. Rao: A tribute to P.P. Rao, eminent constitutional law expert and Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India. P.P. Rao — Jurist Par Excellence by Sanjeev Johari [(2020) 4 SCC (J-10)]

A tribute to Professor N.R. Madhava Menon: A tribute to Professor NR Madhava Menon, who was an Indian civil servant, lawyer and legal educator, considered by many as the father of modern legal education in India. N.R. Madhava Menon — A Phenomenal Leader in Education by Dipak Misra [2020) 4 SCC (J-1)]

A tribute to Professor N.R. Madhava Menon: A tribute to Professor NR Madhava Menon, who was an Indian civil servant, lawyer and legal educator, considered by many as the father of modern legal education in India. N.R. Madhava Menon — Law Teacher, Social Engineer and Humanist by Justice A.K. Sikri [(2020) 4 SCC (J-3)]

Administrative Law — Administrative Action — Administrative or Executive Function — High Officials Holding/Exercising Discretionary Powers: The power vested in authority must be discharged in accordance with constitutional principles and statutory rules/regulations governing the field regardless of rank/office held by officer(s) concerned. Furthermore, judicial scrutiny of decision does not depend on rank/position of decision-maker. [Nalin Kumar Bhatia v. Union of India, (2020) 4 SCC 78]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 2(2), 2(1)(e) & (f), 2(4), (5) & (7), 20, 9, 42 and Pt. I or Pt. II: Juridical or legal seat of arbitration once designated or determined, held, explaining and following five-judge Bench decision in BALCO, (2012) 9 SCC 552, exclusively determines which courts will have jurisdiction over the arbitration, as opposed to the place where whole or part of the cause of action arises. A&C Act, 1996 has accepted the territoriality principle in S. 2(2). Thus, once the seat of arbitration is designated or determined, the same operates as an exclusive jurisdiction clause as a result of which only the courts where the seat is located would have jurisdiction over the arbitration, to the exclusion of all other courts, even courts where part of the cause of action may have arisen. However, held, where it is found on the facts of a particular case that either no “seat” is designated by agreement, or has not been so determined by the Arbitral Tribunal, or the so-called “seat” is only a convenient “venue”, then there may be several courts where a part of the cause of action arises, that may have jurisdiction over the arbitration. Hence, an application under S. 9 of the A&C Act may be preferred before a court in which part of the cause of action arises in a case where parties have not agreed on the “seat” of arbitration, and before such “seat” may have been determined, on the facts of a particular case, by the Arbitral Tribunal under S. 20(2) of the A&C Act. [BGS SGS SOMA JV v. NHPC, (2020) 4 SCC 234]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 34, 20 and 42 — Jurisdiction of court to entertain S. 34 application for setting aside an arbitral award: Once the seat of arbitration is designated, the same operates as an exclusive jurisdiction clause as a result of which only the courts where the seat is located would have jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts, even court(s) where part of the cause of action may have arisen. [Hindustan Construction Co. Ltd. v. NHPC, (2020) 4 SCC 310]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 41 R. 31 and Ss. 96 and 100 — Appeal: The meaning and scope of appeal, stated. Proper mode of exercising appellate jurisdiction especially by first appellate court, clarified. The compliance with essentialities under Or. 41 R. 31, held, is mandatory. The distinction between appeal under Ss. 96 and 100, reiterated. The order of the High Court deciding first appeal without complying with Or. 41 R. 31, not permissible. [Malluru Mallappa v. Kuruvathappa, (2020) 4 SCC 313]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — S. 92 — Leave to institute suit under — Grant of, when there were allegations that public charitable trust was being run as a private family trust and the object of the Trust was being ignored — Leave to institute a suit — When may be granted: Three conditions are required to be satisfied in order to invoke S. 92 and to maintain an action under S. 92 namely: (i) the Trust in question is created for public purposes of a charitable or religious nature; (ii) there is a breach of trust or a direction of court is necessary in the administration of such a Trust; and (iii) the relief claimed is one or other of the reliefs as enumerated in S. 92. [Ashok Kumar Gupta v. Sitalaxmi Sahuwala Medical Trust, (2020) 4 SCC 321]

Companies Act, 2013 — Ss. 241(2), 337 and 339 — “Any persons who were knowingly parties to the carrying on of the business in the manner aforesaid” who can be proceeded against in terms of S. 339(1) — Persons covered thereunder: “Business in the manner aforesaid” in the above expression in S. 339(1), held, means the business of the company whose affairs are alleged to be mismanaged and not to the business of some other company. Thus, freezing of assets of a person not belonging to the company whose affairs are alleged as being mismanaged/fraudulently conducted, held, is impermissible. [Usha Ananthasubramanian v. Union of India, (2020) 4 SCC 122]

Constitution of India — Art. 137 — Curative petition — Nirbhaya Gang Rape case: The Supreme Court in this case held that the curative petition were not within parameters of law laid down in Rupa Ashok Hurra, (2002) 4 SCC 388, hence the petitions were dismissed. Prayers for oral hearing and for stay on execution of death sentence were also rejected. [Pawan Kumar Gupta v. State (NCT Of Delhi), (2020) 4 SCC 54]

Constitution of India — Art. 137 — Review — No error apparent on record: In this case, as there was no error apparent on face of the record calling for review of judgment in Natesan Agencies (Plantations), (2019) 15 SCC 70, review petition was dismissed. [Natesan Agencies (Plantations) v. State, (2020) 4 SCC 160]

Constitution of India — Arts. 370, 356 and 14 — Power of modification of Art. 370 — Scope of, and Manner in which may be done: By Presidential Orders dt. 5-8-2019 and 6-8-2019, Constitution of India was made applicable to State of Jammu and Kashmir in its entirety, like the rest of India. To determine the validity of said Presidential Orders, reference to larger Bench, held, not warranted. However, no view was expressed on the merits of the matter. [Shah Faesal v. Union Of India, (2020) 4 SCC 1]

Court’s Interference with Arbitral Awards: The object of this article is to discuss the scope of interference of court in arbitration proceedings with reference to ONGC Ltd. v. Saw Pipes Ltd., (2003) 5 SCC 705 and Ssangyong Engg. & Construction Co. Ltd. v. NHAI, (2019) 15 SCC 131. Ssangyong: The Demise of Court Interference with Arbitral Awards as Per Saw Pipes by Sunil Gupta [(2020) 4 SCC (J-28)]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 173(8): Hearing of accused by court before direction for further investigation is made, held, is not obligatory. The power of court to direct police to conduct further investigation cannot have any inhibition. There is nothing in S. 173(8) to suggest, that court is obliged to hear accused before any such direction is made. The casting of any such obligation on court would only result in encumbering court with burden of searching for all potential accused to be afforded with opportunity of being heard. As law does not require it, Magistrate cannot be burdened with such obligation. [Satishkumar Nyalchand Shah v. State of Gujarat, (2020) 4 SCC 22]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 340 and 195(1)(b): In this case of perjury before Supreme Court, Secretary General was directed to institute proceedings therefor under Ss. 193 and 199 IPC for filing of altered/modified documents before Supreme Court by the petitioner Company. [New Era Fabrics Ltd. v. Bhanumati Keshrichand Jhaveri, (2020) 4 SCC 41]

Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923 — S. 3(1) — Accident arising out of and in course of employment — Principle of notional extension of “course of employment” at both point of entry and exit in time and space — Extent to which may be applied: In this case, deceased aged 21 years driver, having to drive a truck for an approximately 200 km route, on a hot summer day stopped by a canal to fetch water and also to have a bath, unfortunately, slipped into canal and died. The Court held that taking judicial notice of extreme hot weather and manufacturer specification stating non-availability of air conditioning in truck cabin and compulsion for deceased to stay fresh and alert not only to protect truck from damage but also to ensure smooth journey and protect his own life, possible need for a bath or water to cool down engine could be considered as incidental to employment by extension of notional employment theory. Order of High Court were held unsustainable and set aside. Order of Commissioner dt. 12-12-2005 restored and payments in terms of said order directed to be made to appellants within six weeks. [Poonam Devi v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 4 SCC 55]

Enforcement of Arbitral Awards: The author in this article emphasis that the judgment in Pam Developments (P) Ltd. v. State of W.B., (2019) 8 SCC 112 underlines the “rule of law” in the “democratic republic” of India. It brings the Indian arbitral process as well as the Indian court system much closer to the desired international standard of fair and equal treatment to all parties in a dispute. It should serve as a great re-assurance to all spectators of foreign investment who have been seeking a “level playing field” in international and even domestic commercial arbitrations in India. Level Playing Field: No Preference to Government in Enforcement of Awards in Democratic India by Manavendra Gupta [(2020) 4 SCC (J-41)]

Essential Commodities and Services — Fixation of Price — Classification — Permissibility: In this case, there was fixation of price for levy sugar zone-wise for crushing years 1984-85 and 1985-86 and parity was claimed on basis of similarly placed sugar factories in same district. The Supreme Court held that merely because there is difference in price in Central Zone and Eastern Zone, appellant cannot claim as a matter of right that its unit should be placed in Eastern Zone instead of Central Zone during relevant years or claim parity with other units only on ground that all units are situated in same District. Besides, price fixation in respective zones was based on exhaustive study by experts and conclusions reached by Central Government in exercise of statutory power, cannot be said to be either discriminatory or unreasonable. Moreover, fact that appellant’s unit was placed in Eastern Zone subsequently was inconsequential since said policy decision was subject to satisfaction of Government by taking into account expert reports and does not constitute discrimination. [Oudh Sugar Mills Ltd. v. Union of India, (2020) 4 SCC 29]

Family and Personal Laws — Hindu Law — Capacity to give in Adoption: The right of adoptee father to give his son for adoption born prior to his adoption, discussed through case law. [Kalindi Damodar Garde v. Manohar Laxman Kulkarni, (2020) 4 SCC 335]

Information Technology Act, 2000 — S. 79 (as it stood prior to its substitution w.e.f. 27-10-2009) — Intermediary (ISP) — Safe harbour principle — Scope of immunity— Criminal liability under general law: The unamended S. 79 is not a bar to prosecution for commission of the offence of defamation under Ss. 499/500 IPC. Immunity available under S. 79 of the IT Act, 2000, prior to its substitution, was limited to the exemption to the intermediary from any liability under IT Act, 2000 and the Rules or Regulations framed under IT Act, 2000, in regard to third-party information or data made available by the intermediary. However, immunity under unamended S. 79 did not extend to exemption from criminal liability under the general law. Thus, held, unamended S. 79, did not protect an intermediary in regard to the offence under Ss. 499/500 IPC. [Google India (P) Ltd. v. Visaka Industries, (2020) 4 SCC 162]

Law of Sedition in India and Freedom of Expression: In this article the constitutional right of freedom of speech and expression has been discussed along with the laws of sedition and also the interplay between the two. Law of Sedition in India and Freedom of Expression by Justice Deepak Gupta [(2020) 4 SCC (J-14)]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — S. 149(2)(a) — Vehicle involved in accident driven by insured owner’s driver not having a valid/genuine licence — Insurer’s liability to pay under the policy concerned in such a case: While hiring a driver the employer is expected to verify if the driver has a driving licence but if the driver produces a licence which on the face of it looks genuine, the employer is not expected to further investigate into the authenticity of the licence unless there is cause to believe otherwise. Further, if the employer finds the driver to be competent to drive the vehicle and has satisfied himself that the driver has a driving licence there would be no breach of S. 149(2)(a)(ii) of the MV Act and the insurance company would be liable under the policy. It would be unreasonable to place such a high onus on the insured to make enquiries with RTOs all over the country to ascertain the veracity of the driving licence. However, if the insurance company is able to prove that the owner/insured was aware or had notice that the licence was fake or invalid and still permitted the person to drive, the insurance company would no longer continue to be liable. [Nirmala Kothari v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 4 SCC 49]

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 — Ss. 166 and 168 — Compensation — Computation of income — Income from assets — Depletion of net income as a factor: Though a court may be required to account for the depletion in the net income accruing from the assets of the deceased on account of payments for engaging managers, etc. evidence must be adduced to compute the depletion. As no such evidence was adduced in this case, hence, claimants could not claim any benefit thereof. [Malarvizhi v. United India Insurance Co. Ltd., (2020) 4 SCC 228]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 34: Principle of vicarious/joint liability under the section, explained. How to determine the existence of common intention, also explained. Principles also summarised regarding requirements for applicability of S. 34. [Chhota Ahirwar v. State of M.P., (2020) 4 SCC 126]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/149 — Murder in furtherance of common object: In this case, there was conviction of accessory co-accused persons solely relying upon evidence of sole related eyewitness, while conviction of main assailant already stood confirmed. However, evidence/deposition of sole eyewitness was full of material contradictions, omissions and improvements so far as said co-accused (appellants herein) were concerned. The Supreme Court held that the accused were entitled of benefit of doubt. Hence, conviction was reversed. [Parvat Singh v. State of M.P., (2020) 4 SCC 33]

Registration Act, 1908 — Ss. 49 and 17(1)(d): Unregistered lease deeds is not admissible as evidence. Unregistered lease deed, held, did not convey any right to purported lessee. [Food Corpn. of India v. V.K. Traders, (2020) 4 SCC 60]

Service Law — Pension — Entitlement to pension: Right to pension cannot be taken away by mere executive fiat or administrative instruction since pension and gratuity are not mere bounties, or given out of generosity of employer but employee earns these benefits by virtue of his long, continuous faithful and unblemished service. Withholding of 10% pension and full gratuity in terms of Circulars dt. 22-8-1974 and 31-10-1974 and Government Resolution dt. 31-7-1980 on ground of pending criminal proceeding, in absence of any rules or statutory provisions permitting the same, not permissible. [Hira Lal v. State of Bihar, (2020) 4 SCC 346]

Service Law — Recruitment Process — Eligibility criteria/conditions: Change in eligibility conditions after commencement of selection process, permissible. The principles of estoppel and approbation and reprobation are not applicable, in such cases against candidates who had participated in selection process and sought to challenge the same. [Nitesh Kumar Pandey v. State of M.P., (2020) 4 SCC 70]

Service Law — Recruitment Process — Eligibility criteria/conditions — Equivalence of qualifications: In this case, eligibility criteria for recruitment to post of Technician Grade II in U.P. Power Corporation Ltd. stipulated course on Computer Concept (CCC) Certificate or its equivalent computer qualification certificate. In this case, the CCC certificate was issued initially by DOEACC Society and thereafter by NIELIT. Hence it was held, CCC certificate mentioned in OM of Managing Director dt. 5-7-2013 stipulating CCC certificate or equivalent computer qualification, and also in advertisement was a reference only to CCC certificate issued by DOEACC/NIELIT, and none other. “Equivalent computer certificate” thus would mean only certificates which were found equivalent to CCC certificates issued by DOEACC or NIELIT. Besides, candidates who had submitted application in response to advertisement also understood it as such. [Mukul Kumar Tyagi v. State of U.P., (2020) 4 SCC 86]

Transfer of Property Act, 1882 — Ss. 108(j) and 5 — Transfer, sale or assignment of leasehold interest: Neither (1) compulsory acquisition of leasehold by exercise of power under S. 269-UD of Income Tax Act, 1961, nor (2) auction of the property thereafter by Department, held, are a “transfer, sale or assignment” of the leasehold interest, so as to attract said clause in lease deed for payment of unearned increase charges to lessor. [DDA v. Karamdeep Finance & Investment (I) (P) Ltd., (2020) 4 SCC 136]