2019 SCC Vol. 7 August 7, 2019 Part 1

Criminal Trial — Sentence — Death sentence — Rarest of rare case — Post-conviction mental illness of accused/death row convict: Mental illness should be of such serious kind that accused rendered unable to understand nature and purpose of sentence. Assessment of mental disability must be conducted by a multi-disciplinary team of qualified professionals. If death sentence is reduced to life imprisonment or imprisonment for remainder of life of accused without remission, court may direct State to consider case of accused under appropriate provisions of Mental Healthcare Act, 2017. [‘X’ v. State of Maharashtra, (2019) 7 SCC 1]

Electricity — Tariff — CERC (Terms and Conditions of Tariff) Regulations, 2001 — Regns. 1.3 and 1.7: In this case there was apportionment of Foreign Exchange Rate Variation (FERV) into debt and equity after FERV has been calculated and added to capital cost. Electricity Appellate Tribunal approved methodology for ascertaining FERV, however, FERV was directed to be apportioned only in respect of debt liability. The Supreme Court held that the question regarding the apportionment of FERV between debt and equity is not a question of law, thus, interference by Supreme Court not warranted. [Power Grid Corpn. of India v. TANGEDCO, (2019) 7 SCC 34]

Education Law — Medical and Dental Colleges — Admission — Postgraduate/Superspeciality courses’ admission: Strict adherence to time schedule for admission, held, is imperative. Extension of time schedule, held, impermissible. [Education Promotion Society For India v. Union of India, (2019) 7 SCC 38]

Education Law — Medical and Dental Colleges: For admission in Postgraduate/Superspeciality courses’, strict adherence to time schedule for admission, held, is imperative. Extension of time schedule, impermissible. [Himank Goyal v. Union of India, (2019) 7 SCC 41]

Constitution of India — Art. 226 — Habeas corpus: Petition for custody of minor child is maintainable where detention by a parent or others is illegal or without any authority of law. Detention of minor by a person who is not entitled to his legal custody amounts to illegal detention for purpose of grant of writ. [Tejaswini Gaud v. Shekhar Jagdish Prasad Tewari, (2019) 7 SCC 42]

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 — S. 7 and Ss. 11(5), 11(6), 11(6-A) 11(9) and 11(12)(a): Arbitration agreement is not binding on a non-signatory who does not assent to arbitration agreement, even when the signatory and the non-signatory parties are constituents of a Group of Companies. [Reckitt Benckiser (India) (P) Ltd. v. Reynders Label Printing (India) (P) Ltd., (2019) 7 SCC 62]

Limitation Act, 1963 — Art. 65 or Art. 58: In a suit for declaration of title and possession based on title i.e. both for relief of declaration and for relief of possession, limitation period applicable would be that under Art. 65 and not Art. 58. [Sopanrao v. Syed Mehmood, (2019) 7 SCC 76]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 239 — Discharge — Exercise of powers under S. 239 CrPC — Scope: While exercising powers under S. 239 CrPC, it is not permissible to look into the merits of disputed facts of the case. [Srilekha Sentilkumar v. CBI, (2019) 7 SCC 82]

Army Act, 1950 — S. 34(c) — Conviction — Judicial Review: when task assigned to a soldier is cut out in definite manner and duties are assigned, scope of judicial review is only limited to finding out whether same has been performed by him on basis of recorded finding of fact. Further held, where cowardice is alleged, reason therefor has to be noted and considered. [Dalbir Singh v. Union of India, (2019) 7 SCC 84]

Bihar Excise Act, 1915 (2 of 1915) — Ss. 53(a), 2(17-A) and 19(4) — [As amended by the Bihar Excise (Amendment) Act, 2016 (3 of 2016)] — Offence under S. 53(a): In this case, appellants were travelling in private vehicle from Jharkhand to Bihar on 25-6-2016. They were intercepted in Bihar and tested positive in breath analyser test for liquor but no liquor was found in vehicle. On charge-sheet filed, cognizance taken by Magistrate on 30-7-2016. Changes in law, clarified and appellants given liberty to approach Magistrate with application for discharge. Matters directed to be considered by Magistrate. [Satvinder Singh v. State of Bihar, (2019) 7 SCC 89]

Debt, Financial and Monetary Laws — Interest — Delayed payments/Withheld amount/Wrongfully detained amount: Demand of interest on an annual basis qua the arrears of rent payable, not permissible when the agreement for lease provided for a fixed percentage to be paid on past dues. [State of Bihar v. TISCO Ltd., (2019) 7 SCC 99]

T.N. Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959 (22 of 1959) — Ss. 69, 70 and 6(7): Commissioner hearing appeal under S. 69, held, not a court. [Ganesan v. T.N. Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Board, (2019) 7 SCC 108]

Sales Tax and VAT — Refund: In case of grant of Refund based on claim of reimbursement of the tax levied by the State Government on declared goods which were subsequently sold in course of inter-State trade, raising of new plea at the appellate stage (by Revenue) that the purchased goods used as raw material and the finished goods sold vide the inter-State sale, were not the same, not permissible. There is no requirement of providing of excess demand notice along with refund application. [State of Jharkhand v. Akash Coke Industries (P) Ltd., (2019) 7 SCC 142]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 227 — Discharge: Judge while considering the question of framing charge under S. 227 CrPC in sessions cases (which is akin to S. 239 CrPC pertaining to warrant cases) has the undoubted power to sift and weigh the evidence for limited purpose of finding out whether or not a prima facie case against accused has been made out. Where the material placed before the court discloses grave suspicion against accused which has not been properly explained, court will be fully justified in framing the charge. If two views are possible and one of them giving rise to suspicion only, as distinguished from grave suspicion against accused, trial Judge will be justified in discharging him. It is expected from trial Judge to exercise his judicial mind to determine as to whether a case for trial has been made out or not. It is true that in such proceedings, court is not supposed to hold a mini trial by marshalling the evidence on record. [Asim Shariff v. NIA, (2019) 7 SCC 148]

Civil Procedure Code, 1908 — Or. 7 R. 11(d), Or. 6 R. 16 and Or. 7 Rr. 11(a) to (f): Rejection of a plaint in part/only against one of the defendants in exercise of power under Or. 7 R. 11(d), not permissible. Such relief can be claimed by invoking other remedies including under Or. 6 R. 16 at the appropriate stage. [Madhav Prasad Aggarwal v. Axis Bank Ltd., (2019) 7 SCC 158]

Education Law — Professional Colleges/Education — Engineering or Technical Colleges or MBA — Affiliation/Recognition/Approval/Permission — MBA College — Increase of seats: When AICTE not responding to application for increase of seats, proper course, held, is to approach Court. [Fore School of Management v. AICTE, (2019) 7 SCC 168]

Education Law — Fees — Fee Structure/Capitation Fee/Fee Regulatory Committee — Determination of fee by Fee Regulatory Committee: Court can neither act as an appellate authority nor can usurp jurisdiction of decision-maker and make the decision itself (in present case with regard to fee structure). Judicial review lies against decision-making process and not merits of decision itself. No doubt in exceptional circumstances it can take over decision-taking power of statutory authority. [Vasavi Engineering College Parents Association v. State Of Telangana, (2019) 7 SCC 172]

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