- Parties in Ayodhya case submit written submission in Supreme Court on ‘moulding of relief’ – On 16 October 2019, the five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court reserved its judgment in the Ayodhya land dispute case and asked all parties to submit their “moulding of relief” applications within 3 days. On 19 October 2019, the Hindu parties individually submitted notes on the alternate relief they sought while all Muslim parties jointly submitted their note in a sealed cover to which the Hindu parties objected. The Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha and the Akhil Bharatiya Sriram Janam Bhoomi Punaruddhar Samity have stated the need to provide for the governing and administration of the decreed property, and have prayed for the establishment of a trust to determine who would be entitled to and liable to raise construction over such land. The Akhil Bharatiya Sriram Janam Bhoomi Punaruddhar Samity has also requested for a decree a in favour of Ram Lalla and the janambhoomi in the interest of public order and communal harmony, and for doing complete justice between parties after considering Mediation Committee Reports.
- Non-compliance of Section 50 during ‘personal search’ cannot invalidate recovery from vehicle – While restoring a trial court judgment, the Supreme Court has observed that merely because there was non-compliance of Section 50 of the Narcotic and Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, as far as “personal search” of the accused is concerned, no benefit can be extended so as to invalidate the effect of recovery from the search of the vehicle. It further clarified that the mandate of the section is confined to “personal search” and not to search of a vehicle or a container of premises. The bench also observed that an illicit article seized from a person during search conducted in violation of safe-guards provided in Section 50 of the Act cannot by itself be used as admissible evidence of proof of lawful possession of contra-band. (State of Punjab v. Baljinder Singh and anr. [Criminal Appeal Nos. 1565-66 of 2019 @ out of SLP (Crl.) Nos. 5659-5660/2019], date of judgment: 15 October 2019)
- Arbitral award can be interfered with only if finding is perverse or contrary to evidence or is against public policy – The Supreme Court has reiterated that the award passed by an Arbitration Tribunal can be interfered with in the proceedings under Section 34 and 37 of Arbitration and Conciliation Act only in a case where the finding is perverse and/or contrary to the evidence and/or against public policy. While adjudicating on the dispute, the Arbitral Tribunal found the termination of contract between the parties to be illegal and without following the procedure as provided under the contract. The bench also observed that in the Arbitral Tribunal findings of fact are arrived at by the arbitrators on the basis of evidence on record, which are not to be scrutinised as if the Court was sitting in appeal, and that a particular view taken by the Arbitral Tribunal which is also reasonable should not be interfered with in a proceeding under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act. (The State of Jharkhand and ors. v. M/s HSS Integrated SDN and anr. [Special Leave to Appeal (C) No. 13117 of 2019], date of judgment: 18 October 2019)
- Supreme Court refuses to admit PIL against withdrawal limits – The Supreme Court refused to admit a PIL on the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) bank issue. The petitioner, a Delhi-based consumer activist, sought for a court order quashing the Reserve Bank of India’s notification imposing restrictions on withdrawal by depositors. The Supreme Court bench has asked the petitioner to move his plea before the concerned High Court. The bench was informed of a similar petition field by a depositor, which is pending before the Delhi High Court, and other petitions before the Bombay High Court filed by PMC bank account holders. The plea called the circular issued by the Reserve Bank, which leads to limit the withdrawal of depositors’ own money, arbitrary and discriminatory.
- High Court cannot modify any order affirmed by the Supreme Court: The Apex Court held that the High Court does not have power to modify or amend any order, which has been affirmed by the Supreme Court in the exercise of its inherent powers of jurisdiction under Section 482, CrPC. The Supreme Court was hearing an appeal against an order of the High Court of Punjab & Haryana, where it held that sentences under 69 challans would run concurrently, though the Appellant had raised no such contention in her appeal, and the same was not recorded in the SLP order. [State of Punjab v. Ranjit Kaur, Criminal Appeal No. 1576 of 2019, date of order: 14.10.2019]
- Bombay High Court holds that an Indian court has jurisdiction over domestic violence committed against Indian abroad – The Bombay High Court has held that an Indian court has jurisdiction over a complaint under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code for domestic violence committed abroad. The writ petition was filed praying for quashing of an order of maintenance passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate in favour of the wife. The Court concluded that the wife had prima facie made out a case of domestic violence against the petitioner. In its judgment, the Court held inter alia that courts at the place where the wife takes shelter after leaving or driven away from the matrimonial home on accounts of facts of cruelty committed by the husband or his relatives, would, dependent on the factual situation, also have jurisdiction to entertain a complaint alleging commission of offences under Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code. (Mohammad Zuber Farooqi v. State of Maharashtra and anr. [Criminal Writ Petition No. 3398/2017, with Criminal Application No. 226/2019 in Criminal Writ Petition No. 3398/2017], date of judgment: 25September 2019)
- Madras High Court reiterates that caste of a person cannot be changed by virtue of marriage – The Madras High Court has reiterated that the caste of a person is determined on the basis of birth and cannot be changed by virtue of marriage. It observed, “deprivations, indignities and humiliates faced by the member of the community is the real test and mere marriage or conversion can never be put against a person, who was actually born in the Scheduled Caste Community”. The order was passed while adjudicating on a petition seeking directions to the District Collector to pay the relief amount as per the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Rules, 2016. The petitioner had alleged to be a victim of offences punishable under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 2014. The Public Prosecutor had submitted that she belonged to the Scheduled Community by birth while her husband belonged to the Backward Class community. (K. Shanthi v. The District Collector and ors. [Crl. O.P. (MD) No. 9209/2017], judgment dated 27 September 2019)