There were 11 Constitution Bench judgments/orders of the Supreme Court in 2020. Due to the advent of Covid-19 pandemic, many of the hearings took place through video conferencing mode.
Justices MR Shah and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat penned separate judgments agreeing with each other. Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee and Vineet Saran concurred with the conclusion reached by both the judges. The judges said that the judgment in Shri Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia and others v. State of Punjab 1980 (2) SCC 565 needs reiteration. It overruled the judgment in Salauddin Abdulsamad Shaikh v. State of Maharashtra 1996 (1) SCC 667 which restricted the scope of Section 438 of the Cr.PC. It also overruled Siddharam Satlingappa Mhetre v. State of Maharashtra & Ors. 2011 (1) SCC 694, to the extent it held that no conditions can be imposed while granting an order of anticipatory bail, is incorrect.
The Supreme Court held that proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 will not lapse if the compensation has been tendered by deposit in treasury. The Court held that land owners cannot insist that the amount should be deposited in Court so as to sustain the land acquisition proceedings under the old Act on the commencement of the new land acquisition law with effect from January 1, 2014.
The bench affirmed the view in the 2018 Indore Development Authority case, overruling the 2014 judgment in Pune Municipal Corporation case. A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M R Shah and Ravindra Bhat had heard the matter. The case involved the interpretation of Section 24(2) of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013. As per this provision, compensation proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 will lapse on the commencement of the 2013 Act, if "compensation has not been paid".
The Supreme Court has held that the Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Act 2002 is applicable to cooperative banks. "The cooperative banks under the State legislation and multi State cooperative banks are 'banks' under section 2(1)(c) of Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002", held the Constitution Bench.
Merely Because The Investigation Officer And Complainant Are The Same The Trial In NDPS Cases Will Not Be Vitiated And Accused Cannot Be Acquitted On That Ground
In Mohanlal, it was held by a three judge bench that the trial of cases under NDPS Act will be vitiated if the informant and the investigating officer is the same person. "It is therefore held that a fair investigation, which is but the very foundation of fair trial, necessarily postulates that the informant and the investigator must not be the same person. Justice must not only be done, but must appear to be done also. Any possibility of bias or a predetermined conclusion has to be excluded. This requirement is all the more imperative in laws carrying a reverse burden of proof.", it was held in the said judgment.
Medical Council Of India Has No Power To Make Any Reservation For In-Service Candidates; States Have
A Constitution bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose held that 100 per cent reservation of teachers belonging to the Scheduled Tribe category at schools situated in "Scheduled Ares" is constitutionally invalid. The Bench also quashed the Government order issued under the hand of Governor of State of Andhra Pradesh which had affirmed absolute reservation for ST teachers and imposed costs on both Andhra Pradesh & Telangana Government's, seeking reasons from the Government's for breaching the 50% ceiling in reservations.
A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Thursday held that the decision of a coordinate bench in E V Chinnaiah vs State of Andhra Pradesh requires to be revisited and referred the matter to the Chief Justice for placing it before an appropriate larger bench. The bench expressed the view that once a State Government has the power to make reservation, it also has the power to make sub-classifications and that such sub-classification will not amount to tinkering with the reservation list. A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M R Shah and Aniruddha Bose delivered the verdict in the case State of Punjab vs Davinder Singh and others and connected cases.
A 9 judge bench headed by CJI SA Bobde dismissed the objections regarding the maintainability of reference in Sabarimala Review Petitions. On that occasion, the bench had stated that it will give reasons for the conclusion later. In May, the bench passed an order detailing the reasons for holding that it can refer questions of law to a larger bench in a review petition. The Court held as follows: (1) Limitations in Order XLVII of the Supreme Court Rules are not applicable to Orders/Judgments in Writ Petitions; (2) Reference can be made in a pending Review Petition; (3) No matter is beyond Jurisdiction of Superior Court of Record; (4) Article 142 justifies the Reference; (5) Not necessary to refer to facts to decide pure questions of law; (6) Article 145(3) Proviso that reference to a larger bench can be made only in Appeals and not in any other proceedings is not applicable to references made by a bench of five or more Judges.
Earlier, on November 14, 2019, a 5-judge bench headed by the then CJI Ranjan Gogoi observed by 3:2 majority that certain issues in the Sabarimala review were common to the pending cases concerning women entry in Mosques, validity of the practice of Female Genital Mutilation among Dawoodi Bohra community and the right of Parsi women who had married outside community to enter Fire Temples. On that count, the majority decided to keep the review petitions in Sabarimala matter pending until a larger bench determined questions related to essential religious practices.
In this case, A 5-judge bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah and S. Ravindra Bhat that the time period for filing opposite party's version in Consumer case cannot be extended beyond the period of 45 days prescribed under the Consumer Protection Act. The Court held that Consumer Protection Act 1986 did not empower the Consumer Forum to extend the time beyond the period of 45 days. The time period prescribed under Section 13 of the Consumer Protection Act is mandatory, and not directory, held the judgment.
State & Centre Have Concurrent Power To Fix Sugarcane Prices; No Conflict If State's Price Is Higher Than Centre's 'Minimum Price'
The Supreme Court held that both the Centre and the State have concurrent powers to fix the prices of sugarcane. At the same time, the price' fixed by the State Government for sugarcane cannot be lower than the 'minimum price' fixed by the centre, the Court added. Also, it is open to the States to fix the price higher than the price fixed by the Centre.