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9 Important Supreme Court of India Judgments Pronounced Today [Wednesday, December 5, 2018]

1. Sanjay Kumar Jha v. Prakash Chandra Chaudhary

Constitution of India - Article 226 - In proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution of India the High Court does not adjudicate, upon affidavits, disputed questions of fact. 

In arriving at the finding that the land offered by respondent Prakash Chandra Chaudhary was located within Giriyama Mauza of Falka Block the learned Single Bench embarked upon adjudication of a hotly disputed factual issue, which the High Court, while exercising its writ jurisdiction, does not do. 

Constitution of India - Article 226 - the High Court cannot sit as a Court of Appeal over the findings recorded by a competent administrative authority, nor reappreciate evidence for itself to correct the error of fact, that does not go to the root of jurisdiction. 

Constitution of India - Article 226 - The High Court does not ordinarily interfere with the findings of fact based on evidence and substitute its own findings. 

Even assuming that there had been any error in the computation of marks in respect of fixed and movable assets, the High Court could, at best, have remitted the case of respondent Prakash Chandra Chaudhary to the concerned authorities for reconsideration.

View Judgment : http://bit.ly/CA11857of2018
Case Number : C.A. No. 11857 - 11859 of 2018 05-12-2018
Petitioner's Advocate : Shekhar Kumar
Bench : Hon'ble Mrs. Justice R. Banumathi, Hon'ble Ms. Justice Indira Banerjee
Judgment By : Hon'ble Ms. Justice Indira Banerjee


2. Vivek Mudgil v. State of U.P.

Intermediate Education Act 1921 - U.P. Secondary Education Services Selection Board Act, 1982 - 10 years of teaching experience is necessary qualification for appointment to the post of Principal.

Whether the authorities are empowered to grant any order of exemption in exercise of powers under proviso to Section 16-E(3) of the 1921 Act, after enforcement of the provisions of the 1982 Act is left open. If any such need arises, it is open for the parties to approach the High Court in which event such issue is to be decided independently uninfluenced by the order of the High Court and this Court.

Petitioner's Advocate : Danish Zubair Khan
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. A. Bobde, Hon'ble Mr. Justice L. Nageswara Rao, Hon'ble Mr. Justice R. Subhash Reddy
Judgment By : Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. A. Bobde

3. Viran Gyanlal Rajput v. State of Maharashtra

Penal Code, 1860 - Ss. 302 & 201 - Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 - Ss. 10 & 4 - dastardly nature and manner of the crime - rarest of rare case - balancing approach of such aggravating and mitigating circumstances.

Undoubtedly, the Courts were correct in giving weight to the dastardly nature and manner of the crime, i.e. kidnapping a girl of the tender age of 13 years, taking her to a secluded area and committing the act of rape and subsequently murdering her by strangulation and burying her body in a field, having disrobed her completely, and also in giving weight to the youth and helplessness of the victim, and to the fact that the appellant proceeded to target her to satisfy his lust.

Though we agree that the crime committed is of an abominable nature, it cannot be said to be of such a brutal, depraved, heinous or diabolical nature so as to fall into the category of the rarest of rare cases and invite punishment with death. We also find ourselves unable to agree with the view of the Courts that the appellant is such a menace to society that he cannot be allowed to stay alive.

The prosecution did not establish that the appellant was beyond reform, especially given his young age. We are also mindful of the appellant’s lack of criminal antecedents prior to the commission of this crime, and of his post incarceration conduct, which in no way suggests the impossibility of his reform. It would be pertinent to observe at this point that although the Trial Court noted his lack of remorse during the hearing, and the High Court noted his lack of remorse after committing the crime, as he was found calmly wandering around the locality, this does not in any way indicate that there is no scope of reform for the appellant. 

Thus, neither the circumstances of the crime nor the circumstances of the criminal, i.e. the appellant, would go to show that the instant matter falls into the category of the rarest of rare cases, or that the sentence of life imprisonment is unquestionably foreclosed and grossly disproportionate. Therefore, in the totality of the facts and circumstances of this case, we find it fit to commute the death sentence of the appellant to life imprisonment. 

A sentence of life imprisonment simpliciter would not be proportionate to the gravity of the offence committed, and would not meet the need to respond to crimes against women and children in the most stringent manner possible. Moreover, the possibility of reform of the accused is not completely precluded, we nevertheless share the concerns of the Trial Court and the High Court regarding the lack of remorse on behalf of the appellant and the possibility of reoffending. In such a situation, we deem it fit to restrict the right of the appellant to claim remission in his sentence of life imprisonment for a period of 20 years.

Petitioner's Advocate : Liz Mathew
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice N. V. Ramana, Hon'ble Mr. Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar
Judgment By : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar

4. Sqn. Ldr. (Retd). Navtej Singh v. Union of India

Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007 - Ss. 30 r/w. 31(2) - Whether “marriage of the petitioner with M can be recognized for purposes of grant of post-retirement benefits, medical facilities and family pension etc. -  Court directs the respondents to include the names of the wife and daughter of the appellant in the Service Certificate at least from the date of his release or retirement and direct the respondents to extend to the wife and the daughter of the appellant all such benefits which a spouse and children of a retired officer would be entitled.

The underlying idea behind the policy is that in case a person governed by the provisions of Indian Air Force Act, 1950 intends to contract marriage with a foreign national, requisite intimation in that behalf is required to be made and appropriate permission is also required to be obtained. As a part of the exercise, the foreign national with whom the marriage is to be contracted may be required to give up the original citizenship and acquire citizenship of India. If there be any infraction or violation of the mandate of the requirements, the concerned officer could be visited with penalty including dismissal or removal from service. The policy has well laid and designed procedure including the timelines and the time limit of 120 days within which the authorities are required to apply their mind and consider the application seeking permission. In case nothing is heard within 120 days, the policy incorporates the concept of deemed consent or permission. All these requirements are in respect of those governed by the Indian Air Force Act, 1950 that is to say the serving officials.

Indian Air Force Act, 1950 - Marriage with a foreign national - requisite intimation in that behalf is required to be made and appropriate permission is also required to be obtained - the policy in question is aimed at regulating certain aspects while the officers are in service. 

If an officer after his release or retirement could, therefore, validly contract the marriage with a foreign national and the spouse would therefore be entitled to all the benefits including medical or hospital facilities or club membership or canteen facilities etc., it does not stand to reason why the appellant, at least after his release from the Indian Air Force, should be disentitled in that behalf.


Petitioner's Advocate : Gaichangpou Gangmei
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Hon'ble Dr. Justice D. Y. Chandrachud
Judgment By : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit

5. S.C. Singh v. State of Uttarakhand

Education Law - University Grants Commission - College Development Council (CDC) - Tenure of the Director of the CDC - Tenure Limitation - Revised Guidelines for the Establishment of College Development Council in Universities issued by the UGC for the establishment of the CDC - tenure limitation applies to every person who is appointed to the post.

The clause deals with the appointment of the Coordinator/Director/Dean of the CDC. When the clause is read as a whole, the word “he” is used to indicate the pay scale and the tenure of the Coordinator/Director/Dean of the CDC. The sentence on deputationists is merely to provide that those persons on deputation will be eligible for deputation allowance and other permissible allowances. The clause read as a whole, deals with the conditions for the appointment of the Coordinator/Director/Dean of the CDC. Hence, it cannot be held that merely because the sentence providing for a tenure limitation follows the sentence on deputationists, the tenure limitation applies only to deputationists. The tenure limitation applies to every person who is appointed to the post. The Appellant, who was appointed on 02 November 1992, has admittedly served out the tenure as Director, CDC of two terms of three years each. We are in agreement with the High Court that having served the tenure laid down by the revised guidelines, the Appellant cannot continue as Director, CDC. For these reasons, we see no reason to interfere with the judgment of the High Court. The appeal shall stand dismissed. In view of the appeal being dismissed, the contempt petition does not survive. There shall be no order as to costs.

Petitioner's Advocate : Sanjay Kumar Dubey
Respondent's Advocate : Vinodh Kanna B. 
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Hon'ble Dr. Justice D. Y. Chandrachud
Judgment By : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit

6. M/s. Simplex Infrastructure Ltd. v. Union of India

Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 - Section 34 - Limitation Act, 1963 - Sections 5 and 14 - Extension of prescribed period in certain cases - Exclusion of time of proceeding bona fide in court without jurisdiction - Application for setting aside arbitral award - Application for condoning a delay of 514 days - Whether the benefit of Sections 5 and Section 14 of the Limitation Act can be extended to the respondent, and if so, whether a delay beyond the specific statutory limitation prescribed under Section 34(3) of the 1996 Act could be condoned - Whether the High Court was justified in condoning the delay for filing an application under Section 34 of the 1996 Act ?

Section 5 of the Limitation Act, 1963 has no application to an application challenging an arbitral award under Section 34 of the 1996 Act. A plain reading of sub-section (3) along with the proviso to Section 34 of the 1996 Act, shows that the application for setting aside the award on the grounds mentioned in sub-section (2) of Section 34 could be made within three months and the period can only be extended for a further period of thirty days on showing sufficient cause and not thereafter. The use of the words “but not thereafter” in the proviso makes it clear that the extension cannot be beyond thirty days. Even if the benefit of Section 14 of the Limitation Act is given to the respondent, there will still be a delay of 131 days in filing the application. That is beyond the strict timelines prescribed in sub-section (3) read along with the proviso to Section 34 of the 1996 Act. The delay of 131 days cannot be condoned. To do so, as the High Court did, is to breach a clear statutory mandate. In view of the period of limitation prescribed in Section 34(3), the learned Single Judge of the High Court was not justified in condoning the respondent’s delay of 514 days in filing the application. The judgment rendered by the learned Single Judge of the High Court of Calcutta on 27 April 2016, in GA No. 958 of 2016 is set aside and the appeal is allowed. The petition under Section 34 stands dismissed on the ground that it is barred by limitation. There shall be no order as to costs.

Petitioner's Advocate : Soumya Dutta
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Hon'ble Dr. Justice D. Y. Chandrachud
Judgment By : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit

7. Zahoor Ahmad Rather v. Sheikh Imtiyaz Ahmad

Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services Decentralisation and Recruitment Act, 2010 - Sections 6 & 13 - Appointment to District Cadre post - Procedure for inviting applications by the Board and eligibility for applying to different cadres.

The appellants should be granted an age relaxation to the extent of four years should they apply for any other post that may be advertised by the State of Jammu and Kashmir in the next two years. The age relaxation of four years shall be available to the appellants for any post advertised upto 30 November 2020. Save and except for the above direction in regard to age relaxation, we have not interfered with the judgment and order of the Division Bench of the High Court. The appeals shall, accordingly, stand disposed of. There shall be no order as to costs.

Petitioner's Advocate : Kaveeta Wadia
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Hon'ble Dr. Justice D. Y. Chandrachud
Judgment By : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit

8. Mahender Chawla v. Union of India Ministry of Home Affairs Secretary

Constitution of India - Article 32 - Criminal Trial - Efficacy of the criminal justice system - Adversarial System - importance of the witness - low convictions in India - Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 - Preparation of a “Threat Analysis Report” - Vulnerable witness deposition complexes.

(i) This Court has given its imprimatur to the Scheme prepared by respondent No.1 which is approved hereby. It comes into effect forthwith. (ii) The Union of India as well as States and Union Territories shall enforce the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018 in letter and spirit. (iii) It shall be the ‘law’ under Article 141/142 of the Constitution, till the enactment of suitable Parliamentary and/or State Legislations on the subject. (iv) In line with the aforesaid provisions contained in the Scheme, in all the district courts in India, vulnerable witness deposition complexes shall be set up by the States and Union Territories. This should be achieved within a period of one year, i.e., by the end of the year 2019. The Central Government should also support this endeavour of the States/Union Territories by helping them financially and otherwise. Writ petition stands disposed of in the aforesaid terms.

Petitioner's Advocate : Anand Mishra
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice A. K. Sikri, Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ashok Bhushan, Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. Abdul Nazeer
Judgment By : Hon'ble Mr. Justice A. K. Sikri

9. Competition Commission of India v. Bharti Airtel

Competition Act, 2002 - India Telegraph Act, 1885 - Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 - Jurisdiction of the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

Whether the writ petitions filed before the High Court of Bombay were maintainable ?

even when we do not agree with the approach of the High Court in labeling the impugned order as quasi-judicial order and assuming jurisdiction to entertain the writ petitions on that basis, Civil Appeals arising out of SLP (C) No. 35574 of 2017 & Ors. Page 120 of 122 for our own and different reasons, we find that the High Court was competent to deal with and decide the issues raised in exercise of its power under Article 226 of the Constitution. The writ petitions were, therefore, maintainable.

Whether the High Court could give its findings on merits ?

Once we hold that the order under Section 26(1) of the Competition Act is administrative in nature and further that it was merely a prima facie opinion directing the Director General to carry the investigation, the High Court would not be competent to adjudge the validity of such an order on merits. The observations of the High Court giving findings on merits, therefore, may not be appropriate. At the same time, since we are upholding the order of the High Court on the aspect that the CCI could exercise jurisdiction only after proceedings under the TRAI Act had concluded/attained finality, i.e. only after the TRAI returns its findings on the jurisdictional aspects which are mentioned above by us, the ultimate direction given by the High Court quashing the order passed by the CCI is not liable to be interfered with as such an exercise carried out by the CCI was premature. The result of the discussion would be to dismiss these appeals, subject to our observations on certain aspects. Ordered accordingly.

Petitioner's Advocate : Arjun Krishnan
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice A. K. Sikri, Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ashok Bhushan, Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. Abdul Nazeer
Judgment By : Hon'ble Mr. Justice A. K. Sikri

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