Supreme Court Cases Monthly Digest ‘APRIL’ [Part-I]
Important Judgements Pronounced by Supreme Court in the Month of April, 2020:-
1. Harshad Ali K.S. v. Union of India (Constitution)
The case is related to blocking of National Highway due to national lock down by Karnataka which resulted in denial of access to health services in Mangaluru (Karnataka) for people residing in Kasargod (Kerala). After the Centre allowed passage for Kerala patients seeking emergency medical services in Mangaluru, Supreme Court closed the bunch of petitions. Earlier, Kerala High Court has observed that road blockade has resulted into denial of access to health services and which is in violation of Article 19(1)(d) and 21.
2. State of Andra Pradesh vs M/s Linde India ltd (Tax & Medical)
The Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Ajay Rastogi held that Medical Oxygen IP and Nitrous IP are used for medical purpose and are also used in medicines or in the diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or prevention of any disease or disorder in human being and therefore Medical Oxygen IP and Nitrous IP are ‘drug’ under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and are taxable under Entry 88 of Schedule IV of the Andra Pradesh Vat Added Tax Act,
3. Union of India vs R. Thiyagraj (Constitution: Jurisdiction of High Court)
The bench of Deepak Gupta and Anirudha Bose held that High Court can only exercise jurisdiction over the state of which it is High Court.
4. Bhagat Sharan vs Purushottam (Doctrine of estoppel)
Plaintiff in the prior to this suit filed a suit for eviction of the tenant and claimed that the property had been bequeathed to him by the way of will. Now, in the present suit filed by plaintiff has disputed the will by contending that the subject property was not self acquired, but HUF.
The bench of Justices L.Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta said that the paty can not approbate and reprobate at the same time,i.e., any party which takes advantage of any instrument must accept all that is mentioned in that instrument or reject all. He cannot take benefit of that at one time and reject the claims in another instance.
(Doctrine of estoppel prevent the person who took advantage of any document previously and then disputed the same in other instances, then this doctrine prevents that person from to claim adversely against such advantage taken by him before.)
5. Raja @ Ayyappan vs State of Tamil Nadu (Evidence act & TADA)
Bench: Justices Deepak Gupta and Abdul Nazeer
The Supreme Court agreed with the Judgement of Ananta Dixit v. State 1984 Cri L.J. 1126 and held that when a joint trial is not held, the confession of a co-accused cannot be held to be admissible in evidence against another accused who would face trial at later point of time in the same case. Read this case along with Section 30 of Evidence Act and Section 15 of Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, 1987.
6. Alakh Alok Srivastava vs. Union of India (Direction by SC)
Petition was filed in public interest for redressal of grievances of migrant workers in different parts of the country. Supreme Court has directed the Central Government to ensure the welfare of Migrant workers, spread awareness of fake news and take action against fake news. Also, Court came heavily against the fake news circulation and said labourers working in the cities was triggered by panic created by fake news that lock down would continue for more than three months and therefore it is not possible for us to overlook the menace of fake news either by electronic, print or social media.
WHO said: “We are not just fighting an epidemic; we are fighting an infodemic. Fake news spreads faster and more easily than this virus, and is just as dangerous.”
(7. West UP Sugar mills association & others vs State of UP & others (Constitution)
The Constitution bench of the Supreme Court held that both the State Government and Central Government have concurrent power under schedule VII (entries 33 & 34 of List III) to fix prices of the sugarcane and that the price fixed by the state government for sugarcane cannot be lower than the minimum price fixed by the centre. Also, the Court said that the State Government has power to fix the “advised price” which is always higher than the “minimum price”fixed by the Central Government under Section 16 of the U.P. Sugarcane (Regulation of Supply and Purchase) Act, 1953.
8. Nisha Priya Bhatia vs. Union of India & another (R& AW)
This case is related to compulsory retirement of the employee of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The rule 135 of the Research and Analysis Wing (Recruitment, Cadre and Services) Rules 1975 states the compulsory retirement of the appellant on the ground of expose.
Earlier, Delhi High Court in 2019 upheld the retirement by the organisation as per the rule 135 of the Research and Analysis Wing (Recruitment, Cadre and Services) Rules 1975. Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Delhi High Court and granted time to vacate and hand over peaceful possession of her official quarter for a period of three months from the date of the order. Also, the Court had directed the Union of India to pay compensation of 1 lakh to the appellant violation of her fundamental rights to life and dignity – as a result of improper handling of her complaint of sexual harassment.
9. Firm Rajasthan Udyog and others vs Hindustan Engineering Industries ltd. (Arbitration)
There was the agreement between the appellant and respondent related to the sale of 104 bighas (out off 249 bighas) of land subject to the fixation of price of land etc to be finalised through arbitration. The arbitrator decided the compensation of Rs. 12,18,700 payable by the respondent and to which both parties agreed. During the execution of the award in terms of the sale deed but appellant opposed the execution and denied any such direction of execution of sale deed by final award.
The Supreme Court held that an executing court cannot travel beyond the relief granted in a decree. Also that an arbitration award fixing the price of land cannot be executed like a decree for specific performance of sale deed, when the reference to arbitrator was only for determining the compensation under the sale agreement. Further, The Court said that as per registration act any award or instrument which creates title, right or interest in immovable property had to registered as per registration act. In the present case, both award and agreement were not registered and therefore as a result cannot be executed.
10. Hari Singh and another vs. Union of India and Another (NDPS act)
The Supreme Court overruled its previous decision E.Micheal Raj vs. Intelligence officer in which it said that in mixture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substance with one or more neutral substances, the quantity of the neutral substance is not to be taken into consideration and only the actual content by weight of the offending narcotic drug which is relevant for the purpose of determining whether it would constitute small quantity or commercial (or large) quantity. (It simply means that quantity of neutral substance will not be counted if any offending drug is seized by the police etc).
The Supreme Court in this case held that the quantity of neutral substance is not be excluded and to be taken into consideration along with the actual content by weight of the offending drug, while determining small quantity or commercial (or large) quantity of the Narcotic Drugs or Psychotropic Substances.