• Team Law Within

Important Judgments of Supreme Court: February 2021

Important Judgments/Orders of the Supreme Court pronounced in February 2021:

The court observed that, “The presence of statutory restrictions like Section 43­D (5) of UAPA per­se does not oust the ability of Constitutional Courts to grant bail on grounds of violation of Part III of the Constitution. Indeed, both the restrictions under a Statue as well as the powers exercisable under Constitutional Jurisdiction can be well harmonised. Whereas at commencement of proceedings, Courts are expected to appreciate the legislative policy against grant of bail but the rigours of such provisions will melt down where there is no likelihood of trial being completed within a reasonable time and the period of incarceration already undergone has exceeded a substantial part of the prescribed sentence. Such an approach would safeguard against the possibility of provisions like Section 43­D (5) of UAPA being used as the sole metric for denial of bail or for wholesale breach of constitutional right to speedy trial.”

While hearing the petition challenging the decision of Maharashtra government to appoint 636 additional candidates without consulting MPSC (Maharashtra Public Service Commission. The Bench stated, “It is well-settled in service jurisprudence that the authority cannot fill up more than the notified number of vacancies advertised, as the recruitment of candidates in excess of the notified vacancies, would be violative of Articles 14 and 16 (1) of the Constitution of India.”

  • Vikash Kumar v. UPSC: SC Judgment Which Excluded Persons With Over 40% Visual/Hearing Impairment From Judicial Service No Longer Binding Precedent.

The court while overruling the previous benchmark of 40% disability, held that “Benchmark disability is limited to certain provisions of the legislation, which referred to reservation in public employment and a few other provisions of the law. So what the court held importantly is that by limiting the access of a scribe to only a person who falls under 2 (r), which is a person with benchmark disability, it would violate the overall framework of the law. Because there are only a few limited sections of the legislation, which refer to section 2 (r) there was no requirement that even the provision of a scribe, uh, which would facilitate access to writing and examination should be limited only to persons with benchmark disabilities. And the court therefore held that this person should be given the provision of a scribe. But more importantly though the real impact of the judgment is on the issue of equality for persons with disabilities at a larger level.”

The bench of Sanjay Kishan Kaul* and Hrishikesh Roy, JJ held that “… the consent of the family or the community or the clan is not necessary once the two adult individuals agree to enter into a wedlock and that their consent has to be piously given primacy.” The court observed that. ““Educated younger boys and girls are choosing their life partners which, in turn is a departure from the earlier norms of society where caste and community play a major role. Possibly, this is the way forward where caste and community tensions will reduce by such inter marriage but in the meantime these youngsters face threats from the elders and the Courts have been coming to the aid of these youngsters.”

The court highlighted the enquiry report of Hon’ble Mr.Justice A.K.Patnaik, wherein the judge mentioned that the existence of a conspiracy cannot be completely ruled out and this has been so opined as Justice A.K. Patnaik has not been able to obtain various records including electronic records of Whatsapp, Telegram etc.

The Court was hearing the case where the last attemptees of the UPSC Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination, 2020 had sought an extra attempt to clear the exam in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The court held that, ““Merely because as a matter of policy, if the 1st respondent has granted relaxation in the past for the reason that there was a change in the examination pattern/syllabus and in the given situation, had considered to be an impediment for the participant in the Civil Service Examination, no assistance can be claimed by the petitioners in seeking mandamus to the 1st respondent to come out with a policy granting relaxation to the participants who had availed a final and last attempt or have crossed the upper age by appearing in the Examination 2020 as a matter of right.”

The court observed that, “when the ossification test cannot yield trustworthy and reliable results, such test cannot be made a basis to determine the age of the person concerned on the date of incident...At that stage, when a person is around 18 years of age, the ossification test can be said to be relevant for determining the approximate age of a person in conflict with law. However, when the person is around 40-55 years of age, the structure of bones cannot be helpful in determining the age.”

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