Supreme Court Weekly Round-Up

Supreme Court Weekly Round-Up


State Cannot Alienate Water Bodies For Industrial Activities Under The Guise Of Providing Alternatives [Jitendra Singh V. Ministry of Environment]

The Supreme Court held that it is not permissible for the State to alienate common water bodies for industrial activities, under the guise of providing alternatives. The bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Surya Kant was considering an appeal filed by Jitendra Singh against an order of National Green Tribunal which had dismissed summarily his petition raising grievance against allotment of local ponds to private industrialists, on the basis of an affidavit filed by Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority claiming that it was developing bigger alternative water-bodies.

Disputes About Properties Which Are Not Subject Matter Of Litigation Can Be Settled In Mediation [Kaushaliya vs. Jodha Ram]

The Supreme Court observed that Settlement Agreement which has become part of a Court's order is executable irrespective of the fact whether the Agreement is with respect to the properties which was/were the subject matter of the proceedings before the Court or not. The bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice MR Shah observed that, in the Mediation proceedings, it is always open for the parties to explore the possibility of an overall amicable settlement including the disputes which are not the subject matter of the proceedings before the Court.

Maradu Flats : SC Directs Builders To Deposit Rs 61.50 Crores With Kerala Govt To Compensate Owners [The Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority V. Maradu Municipality]

The Supreme Court directed the four builders of apartments in Maradu, Kochi - which have been ordered to be demolished for CRZ violations - to deposit a sum of Rs 61.50 crores with the Government of Kerala for disbursement of compensation to the owners of flats. A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee passed this order on November 22 based on an affidavit of Chief Secretary of Kerala Government, which stated that a direction to the builders to deposit a sum of Rs 61.50 crores was necessary for grant of compensation to flat owners.

Assignment Of Interest Is Not Valid Merely Because It Was Not Expressly Prohibited In Contract [Kapilaben vs. Ashok Kumar Jayantilal Sheth]

The Supreme Court observed that assignment of contractual interest cannot be held to be valid merely because there is no express bar against assignability stipulated in the contract. The bench comprising Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Aniruddha Bose observed that to examine whether an interest is assignable, it has to be seen whether the terms of the contract, and the circumstances in which the contract was entered into, lead to an inference that the parties did not intend to make their interest therein assignable

Person Interested In Outcome Of Decision Of The Dispute Must Not Have Power To Appoint Sole Arbitrator [Perkins Eastman Architects DPC vs. HSCC (India) Ltd.]

A person who has an interest in the outcome or decision of the dispute must not have the power to appoint a sole arbitrator, the Supreme Court has reiterated in a judgment. The bench of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Indu Malhotra noted that in TRF Limited vs.Energo Engineering Projects Limited, the Court had examined a Clause which nominated the Managing Director himself to be the sole arbitrator and also empowered said Managing Director to nominate another person to act.

No Party Should Suffer Due To The Act Of Court [Odisha Forest Development Corporation Ltd. V. M/s Anupam Traders]

The Supreme Court recently reiterated the maxim actus curiae neminem gravabit, namely, no party should suffer due to the act of Court. The bench comprising of Justice R. Banumathi, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy was considering an appeal filed by Odisha Forest Development Corporation Ltd.

Order Convening General Court Martial Can Be Challenged Before AFT [Union of India vs. PS Gill]

The Supreme Court held that an order convening a General Court Martial can be challenged before an Armed Forces Tribunal. Assailing an order of the Tribunal, the Union of India had approached the Apex Court contending that an order by which the General Court Martial was convened cannot be the subject matter of an appeal before the Tribunal. It was urged that the jurisdiction of the Tribunal is only for adjudication of complaints and disputes regarding service matters and appeals arising out of the verdicts of the Court Martial.

No Automatic Conviction U/s 306 IPC For Abetment Of Suicide Merely Because Accused Was Found Guilty U/s 498A IPC [Gurjit Singh vs. State of Punjab]

The Supreme Court observed that, merely because an accused is found guilty of an offence punishable under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code and the death of the wife has occurred within a period of seven years of the marriage, the accused cannot be automatically held guilty for the offence punishable under Section 306 of the IPC by employing the presumption under Section 113-A of the Indian Evidence Act.

SC Strikes Down Section 87 Of Arbitration & Conciliation Act Inserted By 2019 Amendment [Hindustan Construction Company Ltd v Union of India]

In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court struck down Section 87 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996, which was inserted through the 2019 amendment Act passed by the Parliament last monsoon session. The judgment was delivered in the case which was heard by a bench comprising Justices R F Nariman, Surya Kant and V Ramasubramanian.

SC Negates Constitutional Challenge Against Exempting Government Bodies From IBC Proceedings [Hindustan Construction Company Ltd v Union of India]

In its judgment striking down Section 87 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, the Supreme Court also negated the constitutional challenge made to some provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. Government bodies other than Government companies are exempt from the Insolvency Code because they are statutory authorities or government departments. According to the petitioners, whether the person sued as a corporate person is a government company or a body corporate set up under a statute.

Mere Irregularity In Sanction Will Not Vitiate Conviction In Corruption Cases [Vinod Kumar Garg vs. State]

A mere error, omission or irregularity in sanction in corruption cases is not considered to be fatal unless it has resulted in a failure of justice or has been occasioned thereby, the Supreme Court reiterated. The bench of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna observed thus while upholding the conviction of an accused under Sections 7 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Issue Of Limitation Not To Be Examined While Considering Application Seeking Appointment Of Arbitrator [M/s. Uttarakhand Purv Sainik Kalyan Nigam Limited Northern Coal Field Limited]

The Supreme Court observed that, while considering an application under Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act seeking appointment of an arbitrator, scope of examination by the Court is to be confined only to the existence of the arbitration agreement and nothing more.

Mere Irregularity In Sanction Will Not Vitiate Conviction In Corruption Cases [Vinod Kumar Garg vs. State]

A mere error, omission or irregularity in sanction in corruption cases is not considered to be fatal unless it has resulted in a failure of justice or has been occasioned thereby, the Supreme Court reiterated. The bench of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna observed thus while upholding the conviction of an accused under Sections 7 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Body Corporates Like City Municipal Council/Corporation Can Be Prosecuted U/s 47 Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act [Karnataka State Pollution Control Board vs. B. Heera Naik]

The Supreme Court observed that Body Corporate like City Municipal Council and Corporation can be prosecuted under Section 47 of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. In this case, the Karnataka High Court had quashed the complaint filed by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board on the ground that Commissioner of Municipal Council, Chief Officer or Council cannot be termed as Head of the Department and they cannot be prosecuted under Section 48 of the Act, 1974.

SC Rejects Actor Dileep's Plea For Copy Of Memory Card In Kerala Actor Sexual Assault Case [P. Gopalkrishnan @ Dileep V. State of Kerala]

The Supreme Court held that Malayalam actor Dileep was not entitled to receive the copy of the memory card allegedly containing the visuals of the sexual crimes committed on a Kerala actress in February 2017. A bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheswari however has allowed him (or his lawyer) to inspect the video subject to conditions securing the privacy of the actress.

There Is No Stigma With Regard To Any Crime Committed By A Juvenile [Union Of India V.

Ramesh Bishnoi]

The Supreme Court observed that even if a juvenile is convicted, there is no stigma with regard to any crime committed by such person as a juvenile.Ramesh Bishnoi was a minor when the charges were framed against him of offences under Sections 354, 447 and 509 of IPC. As the complainant girl and her parents did not give any evidence against him, he was acquitted.

Right To Get Sample Tested Also Available To Vendor Of Misbranded Food Article When Its Testing Is Integral To Prove The Offence [M/s Alkem Laboratories Ltd. V. State of MP]

The Supreme Court observed that, where examination of the contents/ingredients of the food article is integral to proving the offence 'misbranding', the procedure prescribed under Sections 11-­13 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act has to be complied with, regardless of whether 'adulteration' is alleged or not.

Any Act Of Commission/Omission Of The Investigating Officer Cannot Go To The Advantage Of The Accused [Jai Prakash vs. State of UP]

Any act of commission/omission of the Investigating Officer cannot go to the advantage of the accused, the Supreme Court has observed while dismissing a Criminal Appeal. The bench of Justice R. Banumathi, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice Hrishikesh Roy were considering the appeal filed by complainant and the state against the acquittal of murder accused by the Allahabad High Court.

Section 207 CrPC: Magistrate Cannot Withhold Any Document Submitted Along With Police Report Except When It Is Voluminous [P. Gopalkrishnan @ Dileep vs. State of Kerala.]

The Supreme Court observed that a Magistrate cannot withhold any "document" submitted by the investigating officer along with the police report except when it is voluminous. Further, in case of voluminous documents, the accused can be permitted to take inspection of the concerned document either personally or through his pleader in Court, the bench of Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari.

Other Significant Orders and Proceedings

  • In its order passed in the petition filed by Shiva Sena, the Supreme Court observed that it has ordered urgent floor test tomorrow to curtail unlawful practices such as horse trading and also to avoid uncertainty and to effectuate smooth running of democracy by ensuring a stable Government
  • Allowed the construction of a permanent structure for the Guru Ravidas temple in the Tughlaqabad forest area here instead of a wooden porta cabin as suggested by the Centre. The top court also allowed the plea seeking enclosure of the Guru Ravidas pond within the temple's fence so that it becomes a part of its complex.
  • Asked the Election Commission of India to take a decision on a plea seeking to restrain political parties from fielding candidates with serious criminal antecedents. The bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justice BR Gavai further directed the Commission to pass a reasoned order, within three months.
  • In a temporary relief to 28 Anglo-Indian families who were facing the threat of eviction following a direction of Allahabad High Court, the Supreme Court on November 22 directed to maintain status quo for the time being. A bench comprising Justices R F Nariman and S Ravindra Bhat on Friday issued notice on a plea filed against the order of the Allahabad High Court, whereby the high court upheld the decision of the Uttar Pradesh Government to evict 28 Anglo-Indian families from lease-held land, for creation of a public park.
  • Asked the Governments of NCT of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to explain within six weeks as to why they should not be made liable to pay compensation to persons affected by bad air quality. A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta observed that it was the bounden duty of the States to provide basic civic amenities, clean air and drinking water to citizens.
  • Reserved judgment in a batch of petitions which challenge the restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir such as internet shut down, communication blockade, prohibitory orders etc., in the wake of the abrogation of the special status of the state on August 5.
  • Reserved verdict on the petition filed by former Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram challenging the November 15 judgment of the Delhi High Court which refused him bail in the case registered by Enforcement Directorate in relation to INX Media money laundering allegations.
  • Issued notice to Rajeev Kumar IPS on a petition filed by Central Bureau of Investigation against the anticipatory bail granted to him by the Calcutta High Court on October 1.
  • Dismissed a petition filed to declare the formation of Maharashtra Government by the Maha Vikas Aghadi alliance of Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party- Congress as 'unconstitutional'.
  • Quashed a 'rape case' on the ground of settlement between the accused and the victim for doing complete justice to the parties concerned. The Kerala High Court had refused to quash the case against Saju PR observing that it was not inclined to quash the proceedings for offence punishable under section 376 IPC, on consent.
  • Directed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to constitute a 6-member committee in order to look into the effects of disinfectants sprayed inside airplanes to ward off vector-borne diseases.