2017 SCC Vol. 4 May 7, 2017 Part 2

Armed Forces — Service Conditions — Navy — Pension — “Reservist pension” — Entitlement to: In terms of Regn. 92(1) of 1964 Pension Regulations, eligibility for grant of “reservist pension” is upon completion of 10 yrs each of active service and fleet reserve service. In terms of Regn. 92(2) of 1964 Pension Regulations, a reservist whose qualifying service is less than the period of engagement but not less than fifteen years may, on completion of the period of engagement or on earlier discharge from the reserve otherwise than at his own request, be granted a reservist pension. Hence, merely upon completion of 10 yrs of active service or for that matter active service continued beyond that period but falling short of 15 yrs, or of the qualifying reserve service, Sailor cannot claim benefit under Regn. 92 for grant of reservist pension. To qualify for reservist pension under Regn. 92(1), he must be drafted to Fleet Reserve Service for 10 yrs. Besides, express order needs to be issued by competent authority drafting him to Fleet Reserve Service since in terms of Regn. 6 of Indian Fleet Reserve Regulations, there can be no claim to join Fleet Reserve Service as a matter of right. In absence of any formal order issued by competent authority to draft services of applicants concerned in Fleet Reserve Services applicants cannot claim benefit of reservist pension. [T.S. Das v. Union of India, (2017) 4 SCC 218]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21 and 14 — Fair trial: Concept, objectives and principles of fair trial examined and summarized. Manner of application of these principles when question is of transfer of prisoner, to balance rights of accused, and of victim(s)/their dependants to fair trial and due process, also discussed. [Asha Ranjan v. State of Bihar, (2017) 4 SCC 397]

Contempt of Court — Criminal Contempt — Scandalise or lower authority of court — Allegations of bias and corruption made against judiciary: Judges need not be protected since they can take care of themselves but it is the right and interest of public in due administration of justice which must be protected. Vilification of Judges leads to destruction of system of administration of justice. Thus, statements made by appellants accusing Judges of corruption results in denigration of institution which has effect of lowering confidence of public in system of administration of justice, were not only derogatory but had propensity to lower authority of court. Appellants indulged in assault on integrity of Judges of High Court by making baseless and unsubstantiated allegations which cannot be termed as fair criticism on merits of case and hence, not protected under S. 5 of 1971 Act. Hence, impugned judgment finding appellants guilty of committing contempt of court, upheld. [Het Ram Beniwal v. Raghuveer Singh, (2017) 4 SCC 340]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 53-A — Non-holding of DNA test, or, failure to prove DNA test report, or, DNA test result favouring accused: Failure to conduct DNA test of samples taken from accused or to prove the report of DNA profiling, would not necessarily result in failure of prosecution case. Though a positive result of DNA test would constitute clinching evidence against accused, if however, result of test is in the negative i.e. favouring accused or if DNA profiling had not been done or proved in a given case, weight of other materials and evidence on record will still have to be considered. [Sunil v. State of M.P., (2017) 4 SCC 393]

Election — Corrupt Practices/Electoral Offences — Excess Expenditure — Allegation of — Material facts to ground: Material facts relied upon by election petitioner along with full particulars of corrupt practice must be stated as required under S. 83(1)(b), RP Act, 1951. Allegation in election petition that actual amount of expenditure incurred by returned candidate on account of campaign made through various newspapers during election was more than that shown by him and details of actual expenditure incurred given by furnishing particulars of newspapers and dates on which advertisements appeared therein and cost of each type of advertisement in each newspaper. As full particulars as required under S. 83(1)(b), were furnished, photocopies of newspapers need not be furnished along with election petition, hence, averments made with regard to election expenses in election petition, held, warrant a full-fledged trial. [Navjot Singh Sidhu v. Om Parkash Soni, (2017) 4 SCC 348]

Government Contracts and Tenders — Public Auction/Tender — Financial evaluation of bids by expert — Scope of judicial review: Matter involving complex fiscal analysis, having regard to tender conditions, when neither ex facie erroneous nor perverse or absurd, court should apply principle of restraint. Court cannot sit in appeal over financial consultant’s assessment. [T.N. Generation and Distribution Corpn. Ltd. v. CSEPDI-TRISHE Consortium, (2017) 4 SCC 318]

Infrastructure Laws — Telecommunications Laws — Spectrum — Notice Inviting Application, 2015 for allocation of spectrum — Cl. 5.3 — Cap on bidding — Validity of: Cl. 5.3 of NIA provided for a cap on the quantum of spectrum an operator could hold in a licensed service areas (LSA). Some bidders were not allowed to participate in respect of certain areas and Central Government contended that it had been done to curtail the monopoly and to encourage a broad-based competition and further to allow certain entities who did not have the adequate spectrum so that there is augmentation of revenue as well as enhancement of efficiency in providing the service. It was held by Supreme Court that the condition to put a cap and make a classification not allowing certain entities to bid was not arbitrary, as it was based on the acceptable rationale of serving the cause of public interest. [Reliance Telecom Ltd. v. Union of India, (2017) 4 SCC 269]

Penal Code, 1860 — S. 302 or S. 325 — Death of minor girl: In this case of repeated rape and sodomy of minor by her guardian (who wanted to bring up the minor as his own daughter) over a period of time, as liability of appellant for commission of offence under S. 302 IPC comes under serious doubt on the basis of medical evidence, the benefit of it must go in favour of appellant. Therefore, having regard to evidence on record and injuries caused, appellant should be held liable for offence under S. 325 IPC. Accordingly, conviction of appellant under S. 302 IPC is altered to one under S. 325 IPC. Consequently, death penalty under S. 302 is set aside and punishment of 7 years’ RI is imposed, in addition to life imprisonment under Ss. 376(2)(f) and 377 IPC. [Rajesh v. State of M.P., (2017) 4 SCC 386]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 302/304 Pt. II, 324, 336 147, 148 r/w S. 149 or S. 120-B — Ingredients for applicability of S. 149 or S. 120-B — Summarised: In absence of evidence of any conspiracy or common object being established, accused liable for their individual acts only. Moreover, mere presence does not make a person member of unlawful assembly unless he actively participates in rioting or does some overt act with necessary criminal intention or shares common object of unlawful assembly. [Vijay Pandurang Thakre v. State of Maharashtra, (2017) 4 SCC 377]

Service Law — Promotion — Sealed cover procedure: Employee against whom charge-sheet is issued and disciplinary proceedings are pending or in respect of whom prosecution for criminal charge is pending, sealed cover procedure may be resorted to. Further held, only after charge-sheet is filed, criminal proceedings can be said to be pending. [Harsh Kumar Sharma v. State of Punjab, (2017) 4 SCC 366]

Service Law — Recruitment Process — Selection process/procedure — Weightage: A person who consciously takes part in selection process cannot thereafter turn around and challenge method of selection and its outcome. [Ashok Kumar v. State of Bihar, (2017) 4 SCC 357]

Specific Relief Act, 1963 — Ss. 39 and 34 — Suit for declaration regarding illegal rejection of bid and consequential relief of mandatory injunction for issuance of allotment letter: A declaration that rejection of the bid is illegal, itself does not entitle the plaintiff (highest bidder) to consequential mandatory injunction for issuance of formal letter of allotment when bid had not yet been accepted i.e. in absence of concluded contract. [HUDA v. Orchid Infrastructure Developers (P) Ltd., (2017) 4 SCC 243]

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