• Team Law Within

Important Judgments of Supreme Court: April 2021

Important Judgments/Orders by the Supreme Court of India passed in the month of April 2021:

While hearing the a petition, which has been filed before the Supreme Court, challenging the decision to deport Rohingya Muslims who have taken refuge in India to escape persecution in Myanmar. The court observed that, ““It is also true that the rights guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 are available to all persons who may or may not be citizens. But the right not to be deported, is ancillary or concomitant to the right to reside or settle in any part of the territory of India guaranteed under Article 19(1)(e).”

The court states in this case, “…We may note here that the circular dated 28.03.2017 is undoubtedly very wide in its application. It seeks to give the benefit to candidates including those acquitted by the Court by giving benefit of doubt. However, such circular has to be read in the context of the judicial pronouncements and when this Court has repeatedly opined that giving benefit of doubt would not entitle candidate for appointment, despite the circular, the impugned decision of the competent authority dated 23.05.2017 cannot be said to suffer from infirmity as being in violation of the circular when it is in conformity with the law laid down by this Court.”, the Court said while setting aside the High Court judgment.”

Setting aside the High court’s order, the apex Court observed that, “Normally, when the investigation is in progress and the facts are hazy and the entire evidence/material is not before the High Court, the High Court should restrain itself from passing the interim order of not to arrest or “no coercive steps to be adopted” and the accused should be relegated to apply for anticipatory bail under Section 438 Cr.P.C. before the competent court. The High Court shall not and as such is not justified in passing the order of not to arrest and/or “no coercive steps” either during the investigation or till the investigation is completed and/or till the final report/chargesheet is filed under Section 173 Cr.P.C., while dismissing/disposing of the quashing petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and/or under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.”

The court observed that, “Given that the issue raised in this case concerns access to education, albeit at the professional level, we would like to take this opportunity to underscore the importance of creating an enabling environment to make it possible for students such as the petitioners to pursue professional education. While the right to pursue higher (professional) education has not been spelt out as a fundamental right in Part III of the Constitution, it bears emphasis that access to professional education is not a governmental largesse. Instead, the State has an affirmative obligation to facilitate access to education, at all levels.

“The intent of our order today is to activate a dormant provision of the Constitution of India – Article 224A – for the appointment of ad hoc Judges to deal with the unprecedented situation arising from the backlog of cases pending in the High Courts, which has now crossed the figure of 57 lakh coupled with the consistent ratio of vacancies of almost 40 per cent”, Court states. The primary objective in the aforementioned case was to deal with long pending arrears, the said objective will be subserved by assigning more than five year old cases to the ad hoc Judges so appointed.

The court stated that “the most precious fundamental ‘right to life’ unconditionally embraces even an undertrial. The consideration made herein is keeping in view the peculiar facts and circumstances of this case. Merely because the other jail inmates are receiving treatment similar to the arrestee need not deter us.”

The court observed that, “In these trying times, those desperately seeking help for their loved ones on these platforms should not have their misery compounded through the actions of the State and its instrumentalities. Further, there are two more crucial reasons why such a clampdown on information sharing must be absolutely stopped immediately.”

This suo motu proceeding under Article 32 was initiated during the course of hearing of a criminal appeal . The Court noticed common deficiencies which occur in the course of criminal trials and certain practices adopted by trial courts in criminal proceedings as well as in the disposal of criminal cases and causes. The court has directed all High Courts to take expeditious steps to incorporate the Draft Rules of Criminal Practice, 2021 as part of the rules governing criminal trials, and ensure that the existing rules, notifications, orders and practice directions are suitably modified, and promulgated (wherever necessary through the Official Gazette) within 6 months..

The order of the Wakf Tribunal could not be challenged by way of writ petition before the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India as only a revision in terms of proviso to sub-section (9) of Section 83 of the Act could be Preferred. Therefore, when a petition is filed against an order of the Wakf Tribunal before the High Court, the High Court exercises the jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India. Therefore, it is wholly immaterial that the petition was titled as a writ petition.

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