• Team Judgments Within

Important Judgments of Supreme Court: March 2021

Updated: Jul 6, 2021

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

While upholding the cancellation of the Tier-I and Tier-II examinations held in 2009 for recruitment to the post of Head Clerk [(Grade II (DASS)] Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board, the court observed that, “Where the recruitment to public employment stands vitiated as a consequence of systemic fraud or irregularities, the entire process becomes illegitimate. On the other hand, where it is possible to segregate persons who have indulged in mal-practices and to penalise them for their wrongdoing, it would be unfair to impose the burden of their wrong-doing on those who are free from taint. To treat the innocent and the wrong-doers equally by subjecting the former to the consequence of the cancellation of the entire process would be contrary to Article 14 because unequals would then be treated equally.”

  • Kapil Agarwal vs. Sanjay Sharma: The High Courts must quash the FIR by exercising the powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and 482 Cr.P.C., to secure the ends of justice.

The bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and MR Shah, JJ has held that merely because on the same set of facts with the same allegations and averments earlier the complaint is filed, there is no bar to lodge the FIR with the police station with the same allegations and averments. However, when the impugned FIR is nothing but an abuse of process of law and to harass the accused, the High Courts must quash the FIR by exercising the powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and 482 Cr.P.C., to secure the ends of justice. The court states that. “Inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C. and/or under Article 226 of the Constitution is designed to achieve salutary purpose that criminal proceedings ought not to be permitted to degenerate into weapon of harassment. When the Court is satisfied that criminal proceedings amount to an abuse of process of law or that it amounts to bringing pressure upon accused, in exercise of inherent powers, such proceedings can be quashed.”

The court has imposed a cost of Rs. 50, 000 on petitioners for filing a “publicity interest litigation” seeking initiation of proceeding against former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah for his “pro-China” comments over the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution. The court observed that, “The expression of a view which is a dissent from a decision taken by the Central Government itself cannot be said to be seditious.”

While entertaining a petition, wherein a declaration had been sought that Section 12(2)(c) of the Maharashtra Zilla Parishads and Panchayat Samitis Act, 1961 (Act, 1961), was ultra vires the provisions of Articles 243D and 243T including Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. The court held that, “In conclusion, we hold that Section 12(2)(c) of the 1961 Act is an enabling provision and needs to be read down to mean that it may be invoked only upon complying with the triple conditions (mentioned in paragraph 12 above) as specified by the Constitution Bench of this Court, before notifying the seats as reserved for OBC category in the concerned local bodies. Further, we quash and set aside the impugned notifications to the extent they provide for reservation of seats for OBCs being void and non est in law including the follow up actions taken on that basis.”

The court observed that. “imposing conditions that implicitly tend to condone or diminish the harm caused by the accused and have the effect of potentially exposing the survivor to secondary trauma, such as mandating mediation processes in non-compoundable offences, mandating as part of bail conditions, community service (in a manner of speaking with the so-called reformative approach towards the perpetrator of sexual offence) or requiring tendering of apology once or repeatedly, or in any manner getting or being in touch with the survivor, is especially forbidden…As far as the training and sensitization of judges and lawyers, including public prosecutors goes, this court hereby mandates that a module on gender sensitization be included, as part of the foundational training of every judge.”

In the judgment running into more than 280 pages, the Supreme Court finally settled the issue in favour of the Tata Group. Notwithstanding the merit of either side’s arguments, the decision has once again exposed the limited protection our corporate law offers to minority shareholders. The court observed that, “But in an appeal under Section 423 of the Companies money by pledging shares and this court passed an order of status they are seeking such an alternative remedy as a means to put an Act, 2013, this Court is concerned with questions of law arising out of the order of NCLAT. Therefore, we will not decide this prayer. It should be pointed out at this stage that Article 75 of the Articles of Association is nothing but a provision for an exit option (though one may think of it as an expulsion option). After attacking Article 75 before NCLT, the S.P. Group cannot ask this Court to go into the question of fixation of fair value compensation for exercising an exit option.”

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