As 2016 is going to end soon and we are about to see the dawn of 2017, it is apt time to re look at what Supreme Court and High Courts said this year. What new interpretation of law did the Apex Court offer and what Law has been struck down? We at LEXKHOJ, have compiled important Judgments (Monthly Basis) delivered by the Supreme Court and High Courts this year. Judgments pronounced in the month of January & February 2016 can be read here…
Jessica Lal murder case: SC quashes perjury case against forensic expert
The Supreme Court quashed the prosecution of forensic expert Prem Sagar Manocha whose opinion stating a “two weapon theory” in the Jessica Lal murder case was termed as a false statement by the Delhi HC and had led it to ordering lodging of a perjury case against him.
Taking suo motu cognizance of witnesses turning hostile in the controversial case to save the accused, the HC on May 22, 2013 directed its registrar general to file a complaint against Manocha and other witnesses. The HC had held that the forensic expert had changed his stand and there was contradiction between his report and his oral evidence while appearing as a prosecution witness in the 1999 murder case.
Quashing the proceedings against Manocha, a bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Kurian Joseph said the expert did not change his stand as his stand was not “conclusive and definite” but he expressed only his opinion on the question put by the trial court. “It is significant to note that his opinion that the cartridges appeared to have been fired from different firearms was based on the court’s insistence to give the opinion without examining the firearm. In other words, it was not even his voluntary, let alone deliberate deposition, before the court. Therefore, it is unjust, if not unfair, to attribute any motive to the appellant that there was a somersault from his original stand in the written opinion,” the bench said.
No deliberation of marriage before consensual sex, not a rape: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has observed that if no deliberation about marriage between the prosecutrix and the accused took place before the alleged sexual contact which was consensual, it cannot be said that the consent has been given under misconception of marriage, while acquitting the accused from all the charges against him.
In this case, Trial Court had acquitted the accused from all the charges. On appeal, High Court though did not interfere with the findings of Trial court as regards the offence of rape, convicted the accused under Section 420 and 506 of IPC. (Tilak Raj Vs.The State Of Himachal Pradesh)
No quota for SC/STs in public bank promotions: Supreme Court
In a huge setback to SC/ST employees in public sector banks, the Supreme Court has held that they are not entitled to reservation in promotion to officer posts from Scale-1 to Scale-6.
The apex court delivered the verdict on review petitions filed by the Central Bank of India and other public sector banks, seeking a recall of the SC ruling on January 9, 2015.
Allowing the review, the bench held that in the matter of promotions in officer grades, there shall be no reservation for the officers belonging to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe categories working in these banks. The bench rejected the argument of public policy pressed by SC/ST employees associations holding that such an argument is of no avail.
Supreme Court Explained Section 6 Dowry Prohibition Act
Dealing with the dowry laws, the 3-judge bench of TS Thakur, CJI and Dr. AK Sikri and R Banumathi, JJ said that giving of dowry and the traditional presents at or about the time of wedding does not in any way raise a presumption that such a property was thereby entrusted and put under the dominion of the parents-in-law of the bride or other close relations so as to attract ingredients of Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
Interpreting Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, the Court said that the provision lays down that where the dowry is received by any person other than the bride, that person has to transfer the same to the woman in connection with whose marriage it is given and if he fails to do so within three months from the date of the marriage, he shall be punished for violation of Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.
The Court further held that if the dowry amount or articles of married woman was placed in the custody of his husband or in-laws, they would be deemed to be trustees of the same. The person receiving dowry articles or the person who is dominion over the same, as per Section 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, is bound to return the same within three months after the date of marriage to the woman in connection with whose marriage it is given. If he does not do so, he will be guilty of a dowry offence under the said Section. It was further held that even after his conviction he must return the dowry to the woman within the time stipulated in the order. (Bobbili Ramakrishna Raju Yadav vs. State of Andhra Pradesh)
Contract to be interpreted in the way parties wanted and intended it to be: Supreme Court
Supreme Court has observed that the terms of the contract, especially Arbitration agreements will have to be understood in the way the parties wanted and intended them to be. Apex Court Bench comprising of Justices Anil R. Dave, Kurian Joseph and Amitava Roy made this observation in Bharat Aluminium Company vs. Kaiser Aluminium Technical Services Inc.
Observing that the “Court cannot interpret a contract between two parties like interpreting a Statute, it said “particularly in agreements of arbitration, where party autonomy is the grundnorm, how the parties worked out the agreement, is one of the indicators to decipher the intention, apart from the plain or grammatical meaning of the expressions and the use of the expressions at the proper places in the agreement. Contextually, it may be noted that in the present case, the respondent had invoked the provisions of English law for the purpose of the initiation of the unsettled disputes. It has hence, while interpreting an agreement, to be kept in mind that the parties, intended to avoid impracticable and inconvenient processes and procedures in working out the agreement.” (Bharat Aluminium Company vs. Kaiser Aluminium Technical Services Inc)
Tenant cannot be evicted by using SARFAESI Act: Supreme Court
Supreme Court has held that the tenant cannot be evicted by using the provisions of SARFAESI Act, 2002. The Apex Court has held in Vishal N. Kalsaria Vs. Bank of India, that provisions of SARAFESI act, cannot override the provisions of Rent Control Act.
Justice V. Gopala Gowda & Justice Amitava Roy said that Section 35 of the SARFAESI Act which is non-obs ante clause cannot be used to bulldoze the statutory rights vested on the tenants under the Rent Control Act. (Vishal N. Kalsaria Vs. Bank of India)
Higher Secondary School Leaving Certificate can be accepted as proof of age: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court, in Hina vs. Union of India, has held that Higher Secondary School Leaving Certificate can be accepted as proof of age. The Court said that rejecting an application on the ground that the applicant’s age proof submitted was not of the Secondary School as per the norms, but of a Higher Secondary School, is not justified.
Division Bench comprising of Justices Kurian Joseph and R.F. Nariman observed even an Affidavit was sufficient as proof of age as per the norms. In case, the copy of the Secondary School Leaving Certificate meets the requirement of the Eligibility Criteria, we fail to understand as to how it makes a difference in case the School Leaving Certificate is of the Higher Secondary School, the Bench said.
Supreme Court holds a gift executed four decades ago valid
Supreme Court has held a gift which was executed 4 decades ago valid setting aside the concurrent findings of High Court and the Trial Court. Apex Court bench comprising of Justices Anil R. Dave and Adarsh Kumar Goel in Khursida Begum (D) by LRS vs. Komammad Farooq (D) by LRS also observed that Requirement of possession is met when right to collect rent is assigned under the Gift deed.
Earlier suit for possession does not act as Res Judicata to a later suit for partition: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court, in Nagabhushanammal (D) by LRS. Vs. C. Chandikeswaralingam, has put an end to five decade long property dispute between members of a family who, upon the direction of the court, finally agreed for a reasonable settlement.
Bench comprising of Justices Kurian Joseph and R.F. Nariman held that an earlier suit for possession does not bar institution of a later suit for partition and it is not hit by Principle of Res Judicata.
Non-payment of pension constitutes a continuing wrong: Allahabad HC
The Allahabad High Court has held that non-payment of pension constitutes a continuing wrong, and delay and laches or limitation will not thwart the claim.
Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud and Justice Yashwant Varma set aside the order of Single Bench which had dismissed the Writ petition on the ground of latches.
In this case, the petitioner had sought the release of family pension in favour of his mother (who is no more) between 7 May 1980 and 8 May 2015 together with Interest. Single Judge dismissed the writ petition on the ground that it was barred by laches since, during her lifetime, the petitioner’s mother had not made any claim nor had she approached the Court for relief. The Single Judge held that after her death, the petitioner is claiming pension after 35 years of the death of his father
When husband is untraceable, wife can apply for renewal of mining lease: Karnataka HC
The Karnataka High Court has allowed a wife, whose husband is not traceable, to apply for renewal of Mining Lease. Division Bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice Ravi Malimath held that when husband is not traceable, it is within the right of the wife to apply for renewal, inasmuch as the wife could not wait for seven years, as required under Section 108 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872
Bombay HC awards Life imprisonment to Acid Attack convict
Upholding the conviction of the accused in an Acid attack case, the Bombay High Court has enhanced the sentence to life imprisonment. Division Bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice V.K. Tahilramani, and Justice Dr. Shalini Phansalkar Joshi, imposed a fine of Rupees Two lakhs which is to be paid to the victim as compensation.
Upholding the conviction of the accused, the High Court said that the accused did the crime with specific intention of spoiling her prospects of marriage with other persons and to cause a life time injury to her, he had thrown Sulphuric Acid on her, which is in itself very dangerous one. He wanted to have her and with that sheer madness, he has endangered her life and left her incapable to marry any other person also, the Bench said.
Prosecution of an Innocent Man for Rape and Murder violates his Human Rights; Punjab & Haryana HC
Punjab and Haryana High Court came down heavily on Haryana’s Director General of Police (Human Rights) Anant Kumar Dhull while dismissing his review petition against a Judgment rendered by the High Court awarding compensation to victims of false prosecution for rape and murder.
The Court held that the false imputation of rape and murder and consequential incarceration constitute humiliation to whole family and violation of human rights Justice
Kannan had ordered compensation of 5 Lakhs to a person who was falsely charged of rape of his own daughter who died subsequently. Thereafter the State and the Police Chief filed the review on the ground that a compensation for personal injury and humiliation is in the nature of personal damages which cannot survive to the legal representatives in terms of Section 306 of the Indian Succession Act.
Anti-corruption law for private banks too: SC
Supreme Court delivered a landmark Judgment holding that Chairman, Directors and Officers of Global Trust Bank Ltd. (a private bank before its amalgamation with the Oriental Bank of Commerce), can be said to be public servants for the purposes of their prosecution in respect of offences punishable under Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
A bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice PC Pant held all officials of a private bank operating under the license issued by the Reserve Bank of India would be defined as public servants under the Prevention of Corruption Act, a law meant to prosecute government employees caught indulging in a corrupt practice.
SC asks Centre to ban child pornography
Concerned about the liberty people take to watch child pornography, citing freedom of speech and living, the SC urged the Centre to stop access to websites featuring child pornography.
Classifying them as obscene and a threat to social morality, a bench of justices Dipak Misra and S.K. Singh reacted to a plea by the Women Lawyer Association, which gave instances of school bus drivers and conductors forcing children under their care to watch child porn and sexually assaulted them.
The SC said,”Innocent children cannot be made prey to this kind of painful situations and a nation cannot afford to carry on any kind of experiment with its children in the name of liberty.”
*Compiled by Mr. Vishnu Tandi