The Constitution Bench Judgments/Orders of the Supreme Court, 2020

The Constitution Bench judgments/orders of the Supreme Court, 2020

The following are the Constitution Bench judgments/orders of the Supreme Court in 2020-

  • Protection under Anticipatory Bail can’t be limited to a fixed period

Reiterating the dictum of Shri Gurbaksh Singh Sibbia & Ors. v. State of Punjab (1980) 2 SCC 565 the Apex Court ruled that pre-arrest bail under Section 438 of Code of Criminal should not be invariably limited to a fixed period. But if there are any special or peculiar features necessitating the Court to limit the tenure of anticipatory bail, it is open for it to do so. Further, the Bench also noted that the life or duration of an anticipatory bail order does not end normally at the time and stage when the accused is summoned by the court, or when charges are framed, but can continue till the end of the trial, except in special or peculiar conditions.  In normal circumstances Section 437 (3) read with Section 438 (2) should be imposed.

Case name- Sushila Aggarwal & others v. State (NCT of Delhi) [2020 5 SCC 1]

Coram: Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and S Ravindra Bhat JJ.

  • Questions of law can be referred to larger bench when exercising review jurisdiction

 The nine-judge Bench dismissed the objections made regarding the maintainability of reference in Sabarimala Review Petitions. It observed that the Apex Court can refer questions of law to a larger bench while exercising its review jurisdiction. The bench had stated that it will give explanations for the conclusion later and framed seven questions which are allied to Article 25 and 26, which will now be decided by the nine-judge bench.

The following are the issues framed by the 9-judge bench for consideration:

1. What is the scope and ambit of right to freedom of religion under Article 25 of the Constitution of India?

2. What is the inter-play between the rights of persons under Article 25 of the Constitution of India and rights of religious denomination under Article 26 of the Constitution of India?

3. Whether the rights of a religious denomination under Article 26 of the Constitution of India are subject to other provisions of Part III of the Constitution of India apart from public order, morality and health?

4. What is the scope and extent of the word ‘morality’ under Articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India and whether it is meant to include Constitutional morality?

5. What is the scope and extent of judicial review with regard to a religious practice as referred to in Article 25 of the Constitution of India?

6. What is the meaning of expression “Sections of Hindus” occurring in Article 25 (2) (b) of the Constitution of India?

7. Whether a person not belonging to a religious denomination or religious group can question a practice of that religious denomination or religious group by filing a PIL?

Case Name: Kantararu Rajeevaru vs. Indian Young Lawyers Association [2020 SCC OnLine SC 692]

Coram:  SA Bobde CJ, R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, Mohan M Shantanagoudar, S Abdul Nazeer, R Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai and Surya Kant JJ

  • No need to refer to larger bench the petitions challenging the Presidential Orders under Article 370 to repeal the special status of Jammu and Kashmir

A five judge bench of the Apex Court held that there was no need to refer to larger bench the petitions challenging the Presidential Orders issued on August 5 and 6 under Article 370 to repeal the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

This issue was heard by the Court in view of the argument that there was a conflict in the judgments between the judgments delivered by 5-judge benches in the cases of Prem Nath Kaul v. The State of Jammu and Kashmir [1959 AIR 749] and Sampat Prakash v. State of Jammu and Kashmir [1970 AIR 1118]. “The Constitution Bench in the Prem Nath Kaul case (supra) did not discuss the continuation or cessation of the operation of Article 370 of the Constitution after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly of the State. This was not an issue in question before the Court, unlike in the Sampat Prakash case (supra) where the contention was specifically made before, and refuted by, the Court. This Court sees no reason to read into the Prem Nath Kaul case (supra) an interpretation which results in it being in conflict with the subsequent judgments of this Court, particularly when an ordinary reading of the judgment does not result in such an interpretation”, the bench held.

Case Name: Dr. Shah Faesal & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. [2020 4 SCC 1]

Coram: NV Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai, and Surya Kant JJ.

  • Land acquisition under Land Acquisition Act of 1894 will not lapse if compensation is tendered has been tendered by deposit in State treasury.

In a noteworthy judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that proceedings under the Land Acquisition Act 1894 will not lapse if the compensation has been tendered by a deposit in treasury. The Court held that landowners cannot insist that the amount should be deposited in Court so as to sustain the land acquisition proceedings under the previous Act on the commencement of the new land acquisition law with effect from January 1, 2014.

The bench confirmed the dictum of 2018 Indore Development Authority case and overruled its 2014 pronouncement in Pune Municipal Corporation case.

Case Name: Indore Development Authority v. Manoharlal & Ors. [2020 SCC OnLine SC 316]

Coram: Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah, S Ravindra Bhat, JJ.

  •  SARFAESI Act is applicable to cooperative banks

The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held that the Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security (SARFAESI) Act, 2002 is applicable to cooperative banks which are ‘banks’ under the Act.

 “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 noted.

Case Name: Pandurang Ganpati v. Vishwasrao Patil Murgud Sahakari Bank Ltd [2020 SCC OnLine SC 431]

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Coram: Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose JJ.

  • State, not Medical Council of India, has power to make reservation for in-service PG candidates in NEET courses

The Constitution Bench held that the Medical Council of India has no power to make any reservation for in-service candidates in postgraduate medical courses in states and that only state is authorized to grant the advantage of reservation of seats to in-service doctors in the NEET PG courses.

Case Name: Tamil Nadu Medical Officers Association & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. 2020 SCC OnLine SC 699

Coram: Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ.

  • Under NDPS Act, merely because informant was investigation officer accused is not entitled to acquittal

The Constitution Bench held that it cannot be held as a general proposition that an accused under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) is entitled to acquittal merely because the complainant is the investigating officer

 “…merely because the informant is the investigator, by that itself the investigation would not suffer the vice of unfairness or bias and therefore on the sole ground that informant is the investigator, the accused is not entitled to acquittal. The matter has to be decided on a case to case basis,” it observed.

 Case Name:Mukesh Singh v. State (Narcotic Branch of Delhi)[2020 SCC OnLine SC 700]

Coram: Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and S Ravindra Bhat, JJ.

  • Consumer Forum has no power to extend time beyond 45 days for opposite party’s version

The 5-judge bench of Supreme Court ruled that the District Forum has no power to extend the time for filing the response to the complaint beyond the period of 15 days in addition to 30 days as is envisaged under Sec 13 of the Consumer Protection Act. Further, it held that the Consumer Protection Act 1986 did not empower the Consumer Forum to extend the time beyond the period of 30 days. The time period provided under Sec13 of the Act is mandatory, and not a directory.

Case Name: New India Assurance v. Hilli Multipurpose Cold Storage Pvt. Ltd. [2020 SCC OnLine SC 287]

Coram: Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and S Ravindra Bhat JJ.

  • Curative petition and stay on execution of 2012 Delhi gang rape convict dismissed

The Bench dismissed the curative petition of a death row convict in the 2012 Delhi gang rape case and vocally rejected the application for stay on execution. On March 20, in a midnight hearing, the Court dismissed the final plea against rejection of mercy petition of the convicts by the President of India.

Case Name: Pawan Kumar Gupta v. State of NCT of Delhi [2020 SCC OnLine SC 264]

Coram: NV Ramana, Arun Mishra, Rohinton Fali Nariman, R Banumathi, Ashok Bhushan, and AS Bopanna JJ

  • Government order providing 100 per cent reservation to teachers belonging to the Scheduled Tribe in Scheduled Areas unconstitutional

The Constitution Bench of the Apex Court held that 100 per cent reservation to teachers belonging to the Scheduled Tribe category at schools situated in “Scheduled Ares” is constitutionally invalid. Further, the Bench quashed the Government order issued by State of Andhra Pradesh that had confirmed total reservation for ST teachers. The Court imposed costs on both Andhra Pradesh & Telangana Government by concluding that there was no rhyme or reason for the State government to resort to 100% reservation.

Case Name: Chebrolu Leela Prasad Rao & Ors. v. State of A.P. & Ors. [2020 SCC OnLine SC 383]

Coram: Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose JJ.

  • Sub-classification of Scheduled Castes: ‘EV Chinnaiah’ pronouncement requires reconsideration

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court will reconsider the correctness of its 2005 decision of EV Chinnaiah v. State of AP [(2005) 1 SCC 394] which had held that the Scheduled Castes form a homogenous class and there cannot be any sub-division. The Bench referred the matter to a larger bench that will now scrutinize the issue.

“Reservation was not contemplated for all the time by the framers of the Constitution. On the one hand, there is no exclusion of those who have come up, on the other hand, if sub-classification is denied, it would defeat right to equality by treating unequal as equal,” it observed.

Case Name: The State of Punjab & Ors. v.  Davinder Singh & Ors. [2020 SCC OnLine SC 677]

Coram: Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose, JJ.

  • Both the Centre and the State have concurrent powers to fix the prices of sugarcane

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court ruled that both the Centre and the State have concurrent powers to fix the prices of sugarcane. Simultaneously, the price’ fixed by the State Government for sugarcane cannot be lower than the ‘minimum price’ fixed by the centre. Further, the Court added that it is open to the States to fix the price higher than the price fixed by the Centre.

Case Name: West U P Sugar Mills Association & Ors V/S State Of Uttar Pradesh [Civil Appeal No. 7508 of 2005]

Coram: Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, M R Shah, Vineet Saran and Ravindra Bhat.

The Constitution Bench judgments/orders of the Supreme Court, 2020

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