Case BriefsSupreme Court Roundups

2020 has been a year of COVID-19, challenges, and changes. Of many things that this year has taught us, one of the biggest lessons has been our ability to work from home alone – but together! Like most of us, the Courts too took the cue and started functioning via video conferencing when the pandemic hit the World. At first, the Supreme Court restricted it’s functioning to avoid mass gatherings in Courts and directed that only urgent matters will be heard, however, soon all the in-person hearings were completely banned and the Court directed that it would hear “extremely urgent” matters via video conferencing.

Ultimately, faced with the unprecedented and extraordinary outbreak of a pandemic, Supreme Court issued guidelines on functioning of courts through video conferencing. It said that it was necessary that Courts at all levels respond to the call of social distancing and ensure that court premises do not contribute to the spread of virus.

Also read:

When the video conference hearings first began, the Courts and the public at large were skeptical about it’s success, however, the Supreme Court, in October, said that the “the system of Video Conferencing has been extremely successful in providing access to justice.” 

Read: SC says “system of Video Conferencing has been extremely successful”; alters only one guideline from April 6 order

Here are a few unmissable facts and stories from the highest Court of the country:

  • Even though most of the Court functioning took place online and through video conferencing, 696 judgments were delivered in the year 2020 .
  • All the Constitution bench verdicts were unanimous with no dissenting opinion. [Read more]
  • In a first, Single-Judge bench started hearing cases. [Read more]
  • A new dress code was notified for advocates in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. [Read more]
  • 228 advocates registered as Advocates-on-Record of the Supreme Court. [Read more]
  • 2 judges, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Arun Mishra retired

Read:

Read: “Justice Ramana’s proximity with Mr. Chandrababu Naidu is too well-known”; Read what Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy wrote in his letter to CJI

Here’s a quick roundup of all the important Supreme Court judgments:

11 Constitution bench judgments 

  • All the Constitution bench verdicts were unanimous with no dissenting opinion.
  • 9 out of 11 Constitution bench judgments were delivered by benches consisting of Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran and M.R. Shah, followed by Justices Aniruddha Bose and S. Ravindra Bhat who were part of Constitution benches in 5 and 4 cases, respectively.

Read more…


Maintenance in matrimonial disputes| Extensive guidelines framed; Issue of overlapping jurisdiction under different Laws resolved

The bench ofIndu Malhotra and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ framed guidelines on overlapping jurisdiction under different enactments for payment of maintenance, payment of Interim Maintenance, the criteria for determining the quantum of maintenance, the date from which maintenance is to be awarded, and enforcement of orders of maintenance.

Read more…

Also read: Guidelines

[ Rajnesh v. Neha,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 903 ]


Appointments and functioning of Tribunals

A 3-judge bench issued extensive directions in relating to selection, appointment, tenure, conditions of service, etc. relating to various tribunals, 19 in number, thereby calling for certain modifications to the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities [Qualification, Experience and Other Conditions of Service of Members] Rules, 2020.

“Dispensation of justice by the Tribunals can be effective only when they function independent of any executive control: this renders them credible and generates public confidence.”

Read more…

Also read: ‘It’s high time we put an end to the disturbing trend of Govt ignoring our directions.’ Read why Supreme Court directed constitution of National Tribunals Commission

[Madras Bar Association v. Union of India2020 SCC OnLine SC 962 ]


Constitutionality of imposition of GST on lotteries, betting and gambling

Lottery, betting and gambling are well known concepts and have been in practice in this country since before independence and were regulated and taxed by different legislations. When Act, 2017 defined the goods to include actionable claims and included only three categories of actionable claims, i.e., lottery, betting and gambling for purposes of levy of GST, it cannot be said that there was no rationale for including these three actionable claims for tax purposes.

Read more…

[Skill Lotto Solutions v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 990 ]


Homebuyer can choose between seeking remedy under the RERA Act or the Consumer Protection Act

The bench of UU Lalit and Vineet Saran, JJ held that the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA Act) does not bar the initiation of proceedings by allottees against the builders under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.

Read more… 

[Imperia Structures v. Anil Patni,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 894 ]


Domestic Violence| Wife’s right to residence in shared household belonging to not just husband but also to his relatives

“The domestic violence in this country is rampant and several women encounter violence in some form or the other or almost every day, however, it is the least reported form of cruel behavior. A woman resigns her fate to the never-ending cycle of enduring violence and discrimination as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a partner or a single woman in her lifetime.” 

Read more…

[Satish Chander Ahuja v. Sneha Ahuja, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 841 ]


Daughters’ coparcenary rights

The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, SA Nazeer and MR Shah, JJheld that daughters have right in coparcenary by birth and that it is not necessary that the father coparcener should be living when the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 came into force.

“The conferral of right is by birth, and the rights are given in the same manner with incidents of coparcenary as that of a son and she is treated as a coparcener in the same manner with the same rights as if she had been a son at the time of birth.”

Read more…

[ Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma, (2020) 9 SCC 1 ]


Permanent commission to all women Army officers

The bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi, JJ has ordered that the permanent commission will apply to all women officers in the Indian Army in service, irrespective of their years of service.

“Underlying the statement that it is a “greater challenge” for women officers to meet the hazards of service “owing to their prolonged absence during pregnancy, motherhood and domestic obligations towards their children and families” is a strong stereotype which assumes that domestic obligations rest solely on women.”

Read more… 

[Ministry of Defence v. Babita Puniya, (2020) 7 SCC 469]


RBI’s ban on Cryptocurrency trading quashed

The 3-judge bench of Rohinton Fali Nariman, S Ravindra Bhat and V Ramasubramania, JJ has struck down the curb on trading in virtual currency, cryptocurrency and bitcoins in India.

In the 180 pages long verdict penned by Justice Ramasubramania, it was held,

“When the consistent stand of RBI is that they have not banned Virtual currencies (VCs) and when the Government of India is unable to take a call despite several committees coming up with several proposals including two draft bills, both of which advocated exactly opposite positions, it is not possible for us to hold that the impugned measure is proportionate.”

Read more…

[Internet & Mobile Assn. of India v. Reserve Bank of India, (2020) 10 SCC 274 ]


Installation of CCTV Cameras in all Police Station

The 3-judge bench of RF Nariman*, KM Joseph and Anirudhha Bose, JJ directed all the States and UTs to install CCTV cameras in all Police Stations and file compliance affidavits within 6 weeks. The Court said that the directions are in furtherance of the fundamental rights of each citizen of India guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, and hence, the Executive/Administrative/police authorities are to implement this Order both in letter and in spirit as soon as possible.

Read more… 

[Paramvir Singh Saini v. Baljit Singh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 983 ]


Automatic expiration of stay 

“Whatever stay has been granted by any court including the High Court automatically expires within a period of six months, and unless extension is granted for good reason, within the next six months, the trial Court is, on the expiry of the first period of six months, to set a date for the trial and go ahead with the same.” 

Read more…

[Also read detailed report on the 2018 verdict in Asian Resurfacing of Road Agency Pvt. Ltd. v. Central Bureau of Investigation, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 310,  here.]


Political parties to publish criminal antecedents of candidates & give reasons for their selection

A bench of RF Nariman and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ directed all political parties to upload on their website details of pending criminal cases against candidates contesting polls, noting that there has been an alarming increase in criminalisation of politics. The Court said political parties will also have to upload reasons for selecting candidates with pending criminal cases on their website.

Read more… 

[Rambabu Singh Thakur v. Sunil Arora, (2020) 3 SCC 733 ]


SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018 constitutionally valid

 A 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, Vineet Saran and S. Ravindra Bhat, JJ has upheld the constitutional validity of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2018, and said that a court can grant anticipatory bail only in cases where a prima facie case is not made out. In the unanimous verdict, Justice Mishra penned the opinion for himself and Justice Saran whereas Justice Bhat wrote a separate but concurring opinion.

Read more… 

[Prathvi Raj Chauhan v. Union of India, (2020) 4 SCC 727 ]


Test for determining non-arbitrability of disputes

The 3-judge bench of NV Ramana*Sanjiv Khanna** and Krishna Murari, JJ overruled the ratio in Himangni Enterprises v. Kamaljeet Singh Ahluwalia, (2017) 10 SCC 706 wherein it was held that landlord-tenant disputes governed by the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, are not arbitrable as this would be contrary to public policy.

Read more…

[Vidya Drolia v. Durga Trading Corporation, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1018 ]


Admissibility of electronic evidence without certificate under Section 65B of Evidence Act, 1872

In a reference dealing with the interpretation of Section 65B of the Evidence Act, 1872 that deals with admissibility of electronic records, the 3-judge bench of RF Nariman, S. Ravindra Bhat and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ held that the certificate required under Section 65B(4) is a condition precedent to the admissibility of evidence by way of electronic record, as correctly held in by the 3-judge bench in Anvar P.V. v. P.K. Basheer, (2014) 10 SCC 473, and incorrectly “clarified” by a division bench in Shafhi Mohammad v. State of Himachal Pradesh, (2018) 2 SCC 801. The Court further clarified that the required certificate under Section 65B(4) is unnecessary if the original document itself is produced.

Read more…

[Arjun Panditrao Khotkar v. Kailash Kushanrao Gorantyal, (2020) 7 SCC 1 ]


Advance tax ruling system

The bench of SK Kaul and Indu Malhotra, JJ has recommended the Central Government to consider the efficacy of the advance tax ruling system and make it more comprehensive as a tool for settlement of disputes rather than battling it through different tiers, whether private or public sectors are involved. It suggested that a council for Advance Tax Ruling based on the Swedish model and the New Zealand system may be a possible way forward.

Writing two postscripts, the Court said that it was forced to do so on account of the backbreaking dockets which are ever increasing and as a move towards a trust between the Tax Department and the assessee.

Read more… 

[National Co-operative Development Corporation v. Commissioner of Income Tax, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 733 ]


Telecos get 10 years to pay AGR dues

Asking Telecom Operators to make the payment of 10% of the total AGR dues as by 31.3.2021, the 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, SA Nazeer and MR Shah, JJ gave 10 years to the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) to complete the payment of their AGR dues.

Read more…

[Union of India v. Assn. of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India, (2020) 9 SCC 748 ]


All petitions challenging the IBC provisions relating to personal guarantors transferred to Supreme Court

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code is at a nascent stage and it is better that the interpretation of the provisions of the Code is taken up by the Supreme Court to avoid any confusion.

Read more…

[Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India v. Lalit Kumar Jain,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 884 ]


The final order that sealed the fate for the Nirbhaya convicts

Putting the last nail in the coffin for the Nirbhaya death row convicts, the 3-judge bench of R. Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan and AS Bopanna, JJ dismissed the plea file by Pawan Kumar Gupta challenging the rejection of his mercy petition by the President on the ground that his plea of juvenility had not been finally determined and this aspect was not kept in view by the President of India while rejecting his mercy plea.

The hearing took place late at night at 2:30 AM.

Read more…

Also read:

[Pawan Kumar Gupta v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 340 ]


Shaheen Bagh Protests

“Democracy and dissent go hand in hand, but then the demonstrations expressing dissent have to be in designated places alone. The present case was not even one of protests taking place in an undesignated area, but was a blockage of a public way which caused grave inconvenience to commuters. We cannot accept the plea of the applicants that an indeterminable number of people can assemble whenever they choose to protest.” 

The 3-judge bench of SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari, JJ has, in the Shaheen Bagh protests matter, held that while there exists the right to peaceful protest against a legislation, public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied in such a manner and that too indefinitely.

Read more…

[Amit Sahni v. Commissioner of Police, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 808 ]


Farmers’ protest

“Indeed the right to protest is part of a fundamental right and can as a matter of fact, be exercised subject to public order.”

Refusing to interfere with the ongoing Farmers’ protest, the 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ said that the farmers’ protest should be allowed to continue without impediment and without any breach of peace either by the protesters or the police.

Read more…

[Rakesh Vaishnav v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1032 ]


Sushant Singh Rajput Death Case

When truth meets sunshine, justice will not prevail on the living alone but after Life’s fitful fever, now the departed will also sleep well. Satyameva Jayate.”

A single judge bench of Hrishikesh Roy, J has held the ongoing investigation by the CBI to be lawful and further directed that if any other case is registered on the death of the actor Sushant Singh Rajput and the surrounding circumstances of his unnatural death, the CBI is directed to investigate the new case as well.

Read more… 

[Rhea Chakraborty v. State of Bihar, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 654 ]


Scandalous allegations against Supreme Court judges

After finding advocates Vijay Kurle, Nilesh Ojha and Rashid Khan Pathan guilty of levelling scandalous allegations against Justice RF Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran, the bench of Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, JJ has sentenced all 3 to undergo simple imprisonment for a period of 3 months each with a fine of Rs. 2000/-. It further said that in default of payment of fine, each of the defaulting contemnors shall undergo further simple imprisonment for a period of 15 days.

Read: 

[Vijay Kurle, In re, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 407  and Rashid Khan Pathan v. Vijay Kurle, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 711]


Vikas Dubey Encounter

After Vikas Dubey, a history-sheeter and gangster-turned-politician, was killed in a police encounter on July 10, 2020, the Supreme Court gave a go ahead to Inquiry Committee headed by Former SC judge Justice B S Chauhan.

Later,  a 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ refused to scrap the Judicial Committee constituted to look into the killing of Vikas Dubey and said that the allegations of bias made against the members of the Commission merely on the basis of newspaper reports and nothing more, are liable to be rejected outright.

“ … the Chairman and a Member of the Commission had held high Constitutional positions and while making allegations the petitioner has based his claim only on the newspaper report and the manner in which the averments are made in the application is unacceptable.”

Read: 

[Ghanshyam Upadhyay v. State of Uttar Pradesh2020 SCC OnLine SC 587 and 2020 SCC OnLine SC 658 ]


Prashant Bhushan Contempt proceedings

Twitter row

The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ has, in a 108-pages long verdict, held advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt in the suo motu contempt petition initiated against him after he criticised the Supreme Court and the sitting and former CJIs in a couple of tweets. It held,

The tweets which are based on the distorted facts, in our considered view, amount to committing of ‘criminal contempt’. 

The Court, however, sentenced Bhushan with a fine of Rupee 1 for his contemptuous tweets and said

“If we do not take cognizance of such conduct it will give a wrong message to the lawyers and litigants throughout the country. However, by showing magnanimity, instead of imposing any severe punishment, we are sentencing the contemnor with a nominal fine of  Re.1/­ (Rupee one).”

Read:

[Prashant Bhushan, In re, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 646 and  2020 SCC OnLine SC 698 ]

Tehelka contempt

In another contempt proceeding against Bhushan, after refusing to accept the explanation of advocate Prashant Bhushan in the 2009 contempt petition against Advocate Prashant Bhushan and former Tehelka Tarun Tejpal, the 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and MR Shah, JJ framed larger questions in the matter that will have far-reaching ramifications.

Read more… 

[Amicus Curiae v. Prashant Bhushan, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 651 ]


Kunal Kamra and Rachita Taneja contempt cases 

The 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and MR Shah, JJ issued notice to cartoonist Rachita Taneja and comedian Kunal Kamra in two separate cases relating contemptuous social media posts.

Read more…

[Shrirang Katneshwarkar v. Kunal Kamra2020 SCC OnLine SC 1041 and Aditya Kashyap v. Rachita Taneja, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1042 ]


Here’s the list of some of the important COVID-19 Orders/Direction issued by the Supreme Court:

“Even if one survives from COVID-19, many times financially and economically he is finished.”

“To a worker who has faced the brunt of the pandemic and is currently laboring in a workplace without the luxury of physical distancing, economic dignity based on the rights available under the statute is the least that this Court can ensure them.” 


Also read:

2020 Roundup: 11 Constitution bench judgments, 17 judges, Zero dissent

 

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and AS Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ refused to scrap the Judicial Committee constituted to look into the killing of Vikas Dubey and said that the allegations of bias made against the members of the Commission merely on the basis of newspaper reports and nothing more, are liable to be rejected outright.

“ … the Chairman and a Member of the Commission had held high Constitutional positions and while making allegations the petitioner has based his claim only on the newspaper report and the manner in which the averments are made in the application is unacceptable.”

The petitioner, in the present case, sought scrapping of the Judicial Committee and prayed that SIT be constituted by this Court to carry out, alleging conflict of interest and likely bias on the part of the Chairman, Dr. Justice B.S. Chauhan and K.L. Gupta, the Member.

BACKGROUND OF THE CASE

The Court had, on July 22, 2020, cleared the draft notification having Former Supreme court judge Justice B S Chauhan in Inquiry committee in the Vikas Dubey encounter case and has asked the UP Government to notify the same. The Inquiry committee will have to look into incidents of killing of eight policemen and subsequent encounter of gangster.

The Committee comprises of the following persons :

  • Justice B.S. Chauhan, Former Judge, Supreme Court – Chairman
  • Justice Shashi Kant Agarwal, Former Judge, Allahabad High Court – Member
  • L. Gupta, IPS, Former Director General of Police – Member 

Vikas Dubey, a history-sheeter and gangster-turned-politician, was killed in a police encounter on July 10, 2020. Here is the series of events that led to his death:

  • On July 3, 2020, during an attempt to arrest Dubey and his men, eight policemen were killed, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), while seven police personnel were left injured.
  • On July 9, 2020, Dubey surrendered near the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. A petition filed in the Supreme Court later that night had requested security for him and a CBI investigation into a series of killings.
  • On July 10,2020, the vehicle carrying Dubey was involved in a road accident and overturned just an hour short of Kanpur. Dubey allegedly snatched a pistol from a policeman trying to fix a flat tyre and tried to run away, before being killed by Uttar Pradesh police.

DISMISSAL OF EARLIER PLEA BY THE SAME PETITIONER SEEKING REMOVAL OF FORMER DGP KL GUPTA FROM THE COMMITTEE

The Court had, on 28.07.2020, dismissed the petitioner’s plea seeking removal of Former DGP K L Gupta from Inquiry Committee set up to probe gangster Vikas Dubey’s encounter and has said that  it will not allow petitioners to cast aspersions on the Former DGP.

The petitioner had sought the removal of the former DGP on the ground that he had made certain comments in favour of the police in the interview given to the media. This Court having considered the same and on not finding it objectionable, dismissed the application holding it to be devoid of merits.

ORDER IN THE PRESENT CASE

The Court noticed that despite the dismissal of the aforementioned application, the very same contentions are urged in the instant application as well and has also raised an additional contention that the Former DGP K.L. Gupta is related to Mohit Agarwal, the IG of Kanpur Zone. Further, objection is raised to the continuation of Dr. Justice B.S. Chauhan as the Chairman of the Commission since the news report relied on by the petitioner states that his brother and relative are legislators from the Bhartiya Janata Party which runs the Government in Uttar Pradesh.

Noticing that the entire basis for making the allegations as contained in the miscellaneous petition is an Article relied on by the petitioner said to have been published in the newspaper and without any material on record to confirm the truth or otherwise of the statement made in the newspaper, the Court noticed that

“this Court will have to be very circumspect while accepting such contentions based only on certain newspaper reports. This Court in a series of decisions has repeatedly held that the newspaper item without any further proof is of no evidentiary value.”

The Court further said that the allegation that the brother of the chairman of the Commission is a legislator belonging to or supporting the party in power and that the member of the Commission is related to the IG of Police (Kanpur Range) are not sufficient to come to the conclusion that it would lead to bias or conflict of interest since there is no indication whatsoever as to the nature of influence such of those relatives would be able to exert and as to whether they are in a dominant position.

The Bench concluded by saying that petitioner’s plea filed in public interest was accepted and the Commission of Inquiry consisting of persons who had held high position has been constituted even though the petitioner is an advocate who practices law in Mumbai, Maharashtra and is in no way connected to the incident in question which took place in U.P. However,

“… the petitioner has been raising unnecessary apprehensions and repeated applications are being filed which in fact is hampering the process of inquiry.”

The Court said that there would be sufficient safeguard to the manner in which the inquiry would be held as the enquiry held would be in public domain and the petitioner has already been granted the liberty of participating therein. Further, the report of the enquiry is ordered to be filed in the petitions which were filed before this Court.

[Ghanshyam Upadhyay v. State of UP, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 658, decided on 19.08.2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The Court has dismissed the plea seeking removal of Former DGP K L Gupta from Inquiry Committee set up to probe gangster Vikas Dubey’s encounter and has said that  it will not allow petitioners to cast aspersions on the Former DGP.

Petition was filed seeking Gupta’s removal from the Inquiry Committee on the ground that he is “likely to be biased”. The petitioner had argued that Gupta had justified the police encounter and supported the police versions in the case of encounter of Vikas Dubey during a TV debate on July 23. After taking note of the said media report, the Court said that inquiry will not be vitiated as the Inquiry Committee on Vikas Dubey encounter as a former Supreme court and High Court judge. 

The Court had, on July 22, 2020, cleared the draft notification having Former Supreme court judge Justice B S Chauhan in Inquiry committee in the Vikas Dubey encounter case and has asked the UP Government to notify the same. The Inquiry committee will have to look into incidents of killing of eight policemen and subsequent encounter of gangster.

The Committee comprises of the following persons :

(1) Dr. Justice B.S. Chauhan, Former Judge, Supreme Court – Chairman
(2)  Justice Shashi Kant Agarwal, Former Judge, Allahabad High Court – Member
(3) K.L. Gupta, IPS, Former Director General of Police – Member 

Vikas Dubey, a history-sheeter and gangster-turned-politician, was killed in a police encounter on July 10, 2020. Here is the series of events that led to his death:

  • On July 3, 2020, during an attempt to arrest Dubey and his men, eight policemen were killed, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), while seven police personnel were left injured.
  • On July 9, 2020, Dubey surrendered near the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. A petition filed in the Supreme Court later that night had requested security for him and a CBI investigation into a series of killings.
  • On July 10,2020, the vehicle carrying Dubey was involved in a road accident and overturned just an hour short of Kanpur. Dubey allegedly snatched a pistol from a policeman trying to fix a flat tyre and tried to run away, before being killed by Uttar Pradesh police.

In 2014, the bench of RM Lodha and RF Nariman, JJ, in PUCL v. State of Maharashtra, (2014) 10 SCC 635, laid down guidelines on the procedure to be followed in police encounter.


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Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Court has cleared the draft notification having Former Supreme court judge Justice B S Chauhan in Inquiry committee in the Vikas Dubey encounter case and has asked the UP Government to notify the same. The Inquiry committee will have to look into incidents of killing of eight policemen and subsequent encounter of gangster.

As per the draft of the revised notification, the Commission is to comprise of the following persons :

(1) Dr. Justice B.S. Chauhan, Former Judge, Supreme Court – Chairman
(2)  Justice Shashi Kant Agarwal, Former Judge, Allahabad High Court – Member
(3) K.L. Gupta, IPS, Former Director General of Police – Member 

The Court directed that the notification constituting the Commission and incorporating the Terms of Reference, be issued immediately.

“The Commission shall sit at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and start functioning within a period of one week from today.”

The Court further directed that the Commission shall submit a report to the Court and the State Government in accordance with the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, within a period of two months from the date on which the Commission starts functioning.

Apart from this, the Court also made clear that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) already constituted by the State Government will be free to inquire into any of the related incidents which are the subject matters of this case.

Vikas Dubey, a history-sheeter and gangster-turned-politician, was killed in a police encounter on July 10, 2020. Here is the series of events that led to his death:

  • On July 3, 2020, during an attempt to arrest Dubey and his men, eight policemen were killed, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), while seven police personnel were left injured.
  • On July 9, 2020, Dubey surrendered near the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. A petition filed in the Supreme Court later that night had requested security for him and a CBI investigation into a series of killings.
  • On July 10,2020, the vehicle carrying Dubey was involved in a road accident and overturned just an hour short of Kanpur. Dubey allegedly snatched a pistol from a policeman trying to fix a flat tyre and tried to run away, before being killed by Uttar Pradesh police.

In 2014, the bench of RM Lodha and RF Nariman, JJ, in PUCL v. State of Maharashtra, (2014) 10 SCC 635, laid down guidelines on the procedure to be followed in police encounter.

[Ghanshyam Upadhyay v. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 587 , order dated 22.07.2020]


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