2017 SCC Vol. 2 February 14, 2017 Part 1

Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1948 (26 of 1948) — Ss. 11 and 3 — Grant of ryotwari patta to ryot: As appellant’s ancestors and appellant were in continuous possession of agricultural land well before notified date i.e. 17-1-1959, appellant thereby became entitled to ryotwari patta under S. 11. Therefore, appellant cannot be treated as leaseholder of the land belonging to, or given, or endowed for purpose of any institution or endowment, such as R-1, subsisting on date of commencement of 1987 Act i.e. 21-4-1987 and hence, S. 82 of Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions & Endowments Act, 1987 is inapplicable. Accordingly, assertion that landlord-tenant relationship existed between R-1 and appellant on basis of alleged kadapa (rent deed) dt. 29-11-1970 is liable to be rejected. [Dokiseela Ramulu v. Sri Sangameswara Swamy Varu, (2017) 2 SCC 69]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — Ss. 5, 34 and 37 — Applicability of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 to arbitration proceedings under 1996 Act: In light of disagreement with ITI Ltd., (2002) 5 SCC 510 regarding applicability of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 to arbitration proceedings under 1996 Act, matter referred to larger Bench. [MTNL v. Applied Electronics Ltd., (2017) 2 SCC 37]

Armed Forces — Conditions of Service — Air Force — Airman — Personal appearance — Keeping of beard: Permission for keeping of beard on religious grounds after joining service can be granted under Regn. 425(b) of Armed Force Regulations, 1964 only to those personnel whose religion prohibits shaving of face. As no material was produced to indicate that appellant airman, a Muslim, professes a religious belief that would bring him within ambit of Regn. 425(b), permission rightly refused. [Mohd. Zubair v. Union of India, (2017) 2 SCC 115]

Human and Civil Rights — Disabled and Differently-Abled Persons — Mentally ill persons — Homes for mentally ill persons under Disabilities Act, 1995 Act, and psychiatric hospitals and nursing homes under Mental Health Act, 1987: Directions issued for improvement of conditions of inmates, identification of issues relating to non-compliance with statutory guidelines and objectives and taking corrective steps. [Reena Banerjee v. Govt. (NCT of Delhi), (2017) 2 SCC 94]

Income Tax Act, 1961 — Ss. 10-A, 10-B and 2(45) and Chs. III, IV & VI — Amendments introducing S. 10-A(1-A) by Finance Act, 2000: True and correct purport and effect of amended S. 10-A has to be construed from language used but not because of its retention in Ch. III. If expression “total income of the assessee” in S. 10-A is read as “total income of the undertaking”, entire maze would be cleared. By introducing the word “deduction” in S. 10-A by amendment, legislative intendment is to provide deductions under S. 10-A in Ch. IV to eligible undertakings instead of providing exemptions under Ch. VI, which is further established by absence of any reference to deduction under S. 10-A in Ch. VI. Also, were deductions under S. 10-A to be made at the stage of operation of Ch. VI, Ss. 80-HHC and 80-HHE providing for somewhat similar deductions would be wholly irrelevant and redundant. Further, retention of said provisions (i.e. Ss. 80-HHC and 80-HHE) in addition to said amendment of S. 10-A, despite the fact that stages for working out deductions under Ss. 10-A and 80-HHC and 80-HHE are substantially different, clearly establishes that some additional benefits to eligible S. 10-A units, not contemplated by Ss. 80-HHC and 80-HHE, were intended by legislature. Since deductions contemplated under S. 10-A are given to eligible undertaking of an assessee standing on its own without reference to other eligible or non-eligible units or undertakings of assessee, deduction of profits and gains of business of an eligible undertaking has to be made independently and immediately after the stage of determination of its profits and gains. At that stage aggregate of incomes under other heads and provisions for set off and carry forward contained in Ss. 70, 72 and 74 would be premature for application. Deductions under S. 10-A therefore would be prior to commencement of the exercise to be undertaken under Ch. VI for arriving at the total income of assessee from gross total income. [CIT v. Yokogawa India Ltd., (2017) 2 SCC 1]

Information Technology Act, 2000 — Ss. 67, 79, 81 and 2(1)(t) — Obscenity, etc. in electronic record/electronic form — Offences in relation to: When the IT Act in various provisions deals with obscenity in electronic form, it covers the offence under S. 292 IPC. Thus, an activity emanating from electronic form which may be obscene is exclusively punishable under S. 67 of the IT Act, and not under S. 292 IPC, nor both under S. 67, IT Act and S. 292 IPC. [Sharat Babu Digumarti v. Govt. (NCT of Delhi), (2017) 2 SCC 18]

Mines and Minerals — Royalty — Realisation of unpaid royalty — Scheme for, introduced by State Government: Those claiming to be not liable to pay royalty required to approach Mining Engineer, Mines and Geology with proof for refund. Disposal of writ petition of appellant contractor by High Court in terms of R.S. Shekhawat, WP (C) No. 369 of 1998, decided on 28-2-2001 (Raj), held amply protected interest of appellant. [Manbhar Devi Agarwal v. State of Rajasthan, (2017) 2 SCC 82]

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 — Ss. 10-A(2)(a), (b) & (c) — Applicants when saved under Ss. 10-A(2)(a), 10-A(2)(b) & 10-A(2)(c) — Explained in detail: In essence, for attracting the said protection in all three cases some kind of right, in law, came to be vested in the applicants concerned as per the unamended provisions. [Bhushan Power & Steel Ltd. v. State of Odisha, (2017) 2 SCC 125]

Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 — S. 4(6)(b)(ii) — Denial of gratuity on ground of dismissal for moral turpitude — Prerequisites as to: In order to deny gratuity to an employee, mere fact that alleged misconduct of employee constitutes an offence involving moral turpitude as per the report of domestic inquiry, held, not sufficient. For denial of gratuity, there must be termination on account of alleged misconduct which constitutes an offence involving moral turpitude. [Jorsingh Govind Vanjari v. Maharashtra SRTC, (2017) 2 SCC 12]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 375 and 376 — Rape/rape of child/rape of minor: By no means, whenever charge of rape is made, where the victim is a child, it has to be treated as a gospel truth and accused person has to be convicted. Testimony of prosecutrix is to be examined and analysed in order to find out the truth therein and to ensure that deposition of victim is trustworthy. At the same time, after taking all due precautions which are necessary, when it is found that prosecution version is worth believing, the case is to be dealt with all sensitivity that is needed in such cases. In such a situation, one has to take stock of the realities of life as well. Various studies show that in more than 80% cases of such abuses, perpetrators have acquaintance with the victims who are not strangers. Danger is more within than outside. Most of the time, acquaintance rapes, when the culprit is a family member, are not even reported for various reasons, not difficult to fathom. The strongest among those is the fear of attracting social stigma. Another deterring factor which many times prevents such victims or their families to lodge a complaint is that they find whole process of criminal justice system extremely intimidating coupled with absence of victim protection mechanism Therefore, time is ripe to bring about significant reforms in the criminal justice system as well. Equally, there is also a dire need to have a survivor-centric approach towards victims of sexual violence, particularly, the children, keeping in view the traumatic longlasting effects on such victims. [State of H.P. v. Sanjay Kumar, (2017) 2 SCC 51]

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 — Ss. 3 and 11 r/w Ss. 21, 22, 28 and 9: Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act, 2009, void as being repugnant to PCA Act as TNRJ Act falls under Sch. VII List III Entry 17 of the Constitution, and not under Sch. VII List II Entries 14 and 15 of the Constitution. Thus review petition challenging judgment declaring TNRJ Act as invalid, dismissed. Jallikattu is not an act essential to religion or any religious practice and therefore, cannot be protected under Art. 25 of the Constitution. Contention that every festival has the root in the religion and when Jallikattu is an event that takes place after harvest, it has the religious flavour and such an ethos cannot be disregarded, rejected. Held, such kind of imaginative conception is totally alien to the fundamental facet of Art. 25. [State of T.N. v. Animal Welfare Board, (2017) 2 SCC 144]

Tenancy and Land Laws — Remand — Limits on number of times matter can be remanded for determination afresh based on further/fresh evidence: Rejection of claim of petitioners as protected tenants in relation to plots in question under the relevant Act by High Court setting aside order of Revenue Tribunal which had remanded matter to Tahsildar yet again to decide the issue afresh by permitting parties to lead evidence, proper. [Lalita Ramesh Lase v. Jairaj Kantilal Sonawala, (2017) 2 SCC 160]

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