Supreme Court Monthly Roundup – February 2019

 

TOP STORIES

 SC orders forced eviction of more than 1,000,000 tribals from from forestlands across 16 states

The Court has directed the Chief Secretaries of all the 16 States to ensure that where the rejection orders have been passed, eviction will be carried out on or before the next date of hearing. In case the eviction is not carried out, as aforesaid, the matter would be viewed seriously by this Court.

Delhi vs Centre: Powers demarcated; Split verdict on power to transfer and appoint officers

The Court put an end to ‘almost’ all the issues related to the powers exercisable by and functions of the elected Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) vis-a-vis the Central Government. The 2-judge bench, however, differed on the issue of power to transfer and appoint certain officers.

Anil Ambani and others guilty of contempt of court for willfully not paying dues to Ericsson

The contemnors will have to purge the contempt by paying Rs 453 crore to Ericsson in four weeks and if they fail to make the payments within the specified period, the Chairmen who have given undertakings will undergo a jail term of three months.

 

MORE STORIES

 

CAT Chairman cannot stay the proceedings pending before a larger bench of High Court

The Chairman may constitute Benches, shift members from one Bench to another, constitute Single Benches, Division Benches and even larger Benches, allocate business to the Benches and even transfer cases from one Bench to the other, but having done so he cannot interfere with the functioning of the Benches or tinker with its orders by passing interim orders in a transfer petition.

Is it permissible to draw inference of guilt of illegal gratification in case of death of complainant? Larger bench to decide

A 2-judge bench had some reservation in respect of the observation and findings recorded by a 3-judge bench in P. Satyanarayana Murthy v. District Inspector of Police, State of Andhra Pradesh (2015) 10 SCC 152 wherein it was held that failure of the prosecution to prove the demand for illegal gratification due to the death of complainant would be fatal to the prosecution case and recovery of the amount from the accused would not entail his conviction. The matter will now be decided by a larger bench.

How to know if a temple/mandir is Public or Private? SC enunciates

Participation of the members of the public in the Darshan, entry in Directory containing names of all public temples and no blood-relationship between the successive pujarisare important factors for determining the public/private status of a temple.

Only the leave for salary is payable would be taken into account for determining the pensionable service

The period of leave for which salary is payable would be taken into account for determining the pensionable service, while the period for which leave salary is not payable would be excluded. The Rule is crystal clear and does not brook any two interpretations.

Should Ayodhya dispute be decided by mediation? SC to decide on March 6

The 5-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and SA Bobde, Dr. DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and SA Nazeer, JJ said that it will pass order on March 6, 2019 on whether the case may be sent for court-monitored mediation to utilise the time given to the parties to satisfy themselves with regard to the accuracy, correctness, relevance, etc. of the translation filed in the Registry by the State of Uttar Pradesh.

SC commutes the death sentence of man who killed his wife and 5 children to LI

The Court commuted the death sentence of a man who was convicted for killing his wife and 5 children due to the the un­explained delay of 4 years in forwarding the mercy petition by the State of Madhya Pradesh leading to delay of almost 5 years in deciding the mercy petition.

Section 6 of the Public Premises Act must be read independent of Sections 59/61 of the Major Port Trusts Act

Section 6 of the PP Act applies, inter alia, to the persons who keep their goods in the public premises whether they are tenants/licensees, sub­tenants or any other parties. The Estate Officer, under Section 6 of the PP Act, is entitled to sell the goods even of a stranger, found in/on the premises under unauthorized occupation.

Courts can’t assume fabrication of dying declaration by IO in absence of proof

The courts cannot expect a victim to state in exact words as to what happened during the course of the crime, inasmuch as it would be very difficult   for   such   a   victim, who has suffered multiple grievous injuries, to state all the details of the incident meticulously and that too in a parrot­like manner.

No interference required in M Nageshwar Rao’s appointment as interim CBI Director

The Court disposed of a plea challenging the appointment of M. Nageshwar Rao as the interim CBI Director and said no further interference is required as the relief has already been granted with the appointment of a full time CBI Director.

SC sets aside NGT order to reopen Vedanta’s Tuticorin Sterlite plant; No order on reopening of the plant

The Court held that since an appeal was pending before the appellate authority when the NGT set aside the original order dated 09.04.2018, the NGT’s order being clearly outside its statutory powers conferred by the Water Act, the Air Act, and the NGT Act, would be an order passed without jurisdiction.

Principle of confidentiality in mediation does not apply to matters of child custody

Complete adherence to confidentiality would absolutely be correct in normal matters where the role of the court is purely of an adjudicator. But such an approach may not essentially be conducive when the court is called upon and expected to discharge its role in the capacity as parens patriae and is concerned with the welfare of a child.

Why are Chief Information Commissioner/Information Commissioner always appointed from Public Service only? Consider other streams too: SC to Centre

The Court gave extensive directions in a PIL seeking direction to the Central Government to fill up the vacancies for the appointment of Commissioners in the Central Information Commission (CIC) and the State Government in respect of State Information Commissions (SICs), in a timely manner in accordance with the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Bhima-Koregaon Case: Bomaby HC order refusing more time to file charge-sheet set aside

The Court has set aside the Bombay High Court decision refusing the Maharashtra Police a ninety-day extension to file the charge-sheet under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 against the human rights activists in Bhima Koregaon violence case.

Haryana’s single L-1BF license rule for imported foreign liquor struck down in a 2:1 majority verdict

Rule 24(i-eeee) of the Haryana Liquor License Rules 1970 that provides for a single L-1BF license for the entire State to deal in imported foreign liquor, bottled outside India and imported into the country in a bottled, was struck down by a 2:1 majority verdict by a 3-judge bench.

Applicability of ‘Mohan Lal’ verdict ordering acquittal in case of informant and IO being the same person, revisited

The Court clarified that  all pending criminal prosecutions, trials and appeals prior to the law laid down in Mohan Lal vs. State of Punjab, (2018) SCC Online SC 974 shall continue to be governed by the individual facts of the case, as the said judgment cannot be allowed to become a spring board by an accused   for   being   catapulted   to   acquittal,   irrespective   of   all   other considerations pursuant to an investigation and prosecution when the law in that regard was nebulous.

Question as to property being a Wakf property or not is to be decided by Wakf Tribunal irrespective of the religious status of parties

When issue in the suit is as to whether suit property is Wakf property or not it is covered by specific provision of Sections 6 and 7 of the Wakf Act, 1995, hence, it is required to be decided by the Tribunal under Section 83 and bar under Section 85 shall come into existence with regard to jurisdiction of Civil Court.

HC cannot sit as an appellate court while hearing revision under S. 397 CrPC

When the prosecution relies upon the materials, strict standard of proof is not to be applied at the stage of issuance of summons nor to examine the probable defence which the accused may take. All that the court is required to do is to satisfy itself as to whether there are sufficient grounds for proceeding.

CAPFs being in Organized Group “A” Services entitled to Non-Functional Financial Upgradation

In a huge relief to CAPFs, the Court upheld the Delhi High Court verdict which had directed the Central Government to grant Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFFU) to CAPFs who are a part of Organized Group “A” Services.

Direction to implement ‘short-term measures’ for funding for infrastructure of subordinate judiciary issued

The 3-judge bench of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and L. Nageswara Rao and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ has directed the short-term measures as suggested by the amicus curiae regarding funding for infrastructure of subordinate judiciary by the Central Government and the State Governments be implemented, while the Central Government responds to the suggestion on long-term measures till next date of hearing.

IN OTHER NEWS

·        Collegium reiterates its recommendation for transfer of Justice T.B. Radhakrishnan, Chief Justice of Telangana HC

·        Collegium reiterates recommendation for transfer of Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari to Allahabad HC

·        Collegium reiterates recommendation for transfer of Justice S. Venkatanarayana Bhatti to Kerala HC

·        Collegium reiterates recommendation for transfer of Justice M.V. Muralidaran to Manipur HC

 

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