Top Judgements in India in 2021

SUPREME COURT

  • Consent of family not needed once two adults decide to marry
    The Court observed that educated younger boys and girls are choosing their life partners which is a departure from traditional norms of society. The consent of the family or the community or the clan is not necessary once two adult individuals agree to enter wedlock and their consent has to be piously given primacy.

 

  • Juvenile offender under 18 years and above 16 years to be remitted to jurisdictional Juvenile Justice Board
    In this case, the Court considered to what extent could the benefit under the Juvenile Justice Act be extended where the offender was above 16 years and less than 18 years of age on the day the offense was committed. The Court held that in such a case, even if the accused were guilty, the matter must be remitted to the jurisdictional Juvenile Justice Board.

 

  • Freedom of press relating to Court proceedings
    The Court held that freedom of speech and expression also extends to reporting the proceedings that happen in courts including oral observations made by judges. “Article 19(1)(a) covers freedom of the press. Freedom of speech and expression covers freedom to cover court proceedings too…Now people are more digital-oriented and hence look to the internet for information hence it would do no good to prevent a new medium to report proceedings. constitutional bodies will do better than complaint about this,” the Court said. 

 

  • Guidelines drafted for Dowry Death Trials Guidelines drafted for Dowry Death Trials
    The Court held that Section 304-B IPC must be interpreted keeping in mind the legislative intent to curb the social evil of bride burning and dowry demand. The Bench, therefore, laid down guidelines for Dowry Death trials in the lower courts.

 

  • If the deceased was self-employed and below the age of 40 years, 40% addition would be made to their income as future prospects.
    This judgment reiterated the ratio of the Supreme Court.

 

  • Admissibility of Dying Declaration
    The Supreme Court held that dying declarations are admissible in evidence on the principle of necessity as there is little hope of the maker surviving. Dying declaration can form the basis of conviction if recorded in accordance with law and if it gives a cogent and plausible explanation of the occurrence, it can be relied on as the solitary piece of evidence to convict the accused.  

 

  • Right not to be deported’ is concomitant to Article 19 and available only to Indian citizens
    The Supreme Court, while hearing a case challenging the decision to deport Rohingya refugees, held while fundamental rights under Articles 14 and 21 are available to all persons whether citizens or not, 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) and is available only to citizens. 

 

  • Right to Professional Education
    The Court held that though the right to pursue higher education has not been spelt out as a fundamental right under Part III of the Constitution, it bears emphasis that access to professional education is not a governmental largesse, and that the State has an affirmative obligation to facilitate access to education at all levels.  

 

  • Reservation for the Maratha community
    A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court struck down the Maratha reservation quota and held there were no exceptional circumstances justifying the grant of reservation to Maratha community in excess of the 50 percent ceiling limit as laid down in the Indra Sawhney judgment. 

 

  • OBC reservation cannot exceed 50 percent
    • The Supreme Court also laid down a triple test to be complied with by the State before reserving seats in local bodies for OBCs.
    • The three conditions prescribed are:
    • (1) to set up a dedicated Commission to conduct rigorous inquiry into the nature and implications of the backwardness of local bodies, within the State;
    • (2) to specify the proportion of reservation required to be provisioned local body wise in light of recommendations of the Commission; and
    • (3) in any case such reservation shall not exceed an aggregate of 50% of the total seats reserved in favor of SCs/STs/OBCs taken together.  

 

  • Non-examination of independent witnesses not fatal to prosecution
    The Supreme Court upheld the Allahabad High Court’s observation that where there is clinching evidence of eyewitnesses, non-examination of some of the witnesses or absence of examination of any independent witnesses would not be fatal to the case of the prosecution.  

 

  • Judgment of Madhya Pradesh High Court which prescribed tying Rakhi as condition for bail set asideThe Court observed that using Rakhi tying as a condition for bail transforms a molester into a brother by judicial mandate and is wholly unacceptable. It has the effect of diluting and eroding the offence of sexual harassment. The Bench also issued guidelines for dealing with bail in sexual harassment cases and insisted that sensitivity must be displayed by judges in such cases. The Court directed training and sensitization of judges by mandating a module on gender sensitization as part of the foundational training of every judge. 

 

  • Fundamental Right To Life unconditionally embraces even an undertrialWhile deciding a petition seeking release of Kerala journalist Sidique Kappan, the Supreme Court held that the fundamental right to life is available to undertrial prisoners as well.  

 

  • Judgment which excluded persons with over 40 percent visual/hearing impairment from judicial service no longer binding precedentThe Court ruled that a person suffering from the neurological condition, writer’s cramp, is entitled to have a scribe to write the Civil Service exam. The Court also held that an earlier judgment which had upheld a ceiling of 40 percent disability for appointment as civil judge, is no longer good law. Importantly, the Court also held that ‘benchmark disability’ as defined in the Act is not a precondition to obtaining a scribe. 

 

  • Power of Court to order house arrestThe Court held that under Section 167 of the CrPC, in appropriate cases, it will be open to courts to order house arrest as well. Further, in order to house arrest a person, courts can consider criteria like age, health condition and the antecedents of the accused, the nature of the crime, the need for other forms of custody and the ability to enforce the terms of the house arrest. 

 

  • Vaccine Policy of the Central governmentAmongst other things, the Court noted that paying for vaccination when it is by the State/UT Governments and private hospitals for persons between 18-44 years is arbitrary and irrational. 

 

  • Bail in UAPA cases where undertrial accused has been subjected to prolonged imprisonmentEmphasizing on the right to speedy trial under Article 21 of the    Constitution, the Supreme Court allowed the grant of bail to an accused who had spent over 5 years in jail as undertrial in a case under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The Court accepted that there was a bar under Section 43D(5) of UAPA against grant of bail. However, the Court made it clear that the provision does not oust the jurisdiction of constitutional courts to grant bail on grounds of violation of fundamental rights. 

 

  • NSA charges against Manipuri activist Erendro Leichombam revokedIn response to a petition moved by his father, the Supreme Court ordered the immediate release of Manipuri activist Erendro Leichombam who was booked under the National Security Act (NSA) for a Facebook post criticizing Bharatiya Janata Party leaders for advocating cow-dung and cow-urine as cures for COVID-19.  

 

  • Lok AdalatParties failing to arrive at compromise – Matter to be returned to Court from where matter was referred – Lok Adalat has no jurisdiction at all to decide the matter on merits. (2021(4) Civil Court Cases 615 (S.C.) 

 

  • Dishonor of chequeTransfer of complaint from Court at place A’ to place at S’ –  Delivery challan that all disputes will be subject to jurisdiction of Courts at place S’ –  It is not a bar for Courts in any other jurisdiction to entertain the proceedings – It is always open to accused to raise this point before Court at A’ – Not a ground for seeking transfer. (2020(4) Criminal Court Cases 485 (S.C.) 

    CHHATTISGARH HIGH COURT

     

  • Divorce – Cruelty upon husband
    Interference of the parents of a wife in her marital life is not cruelty towards the husband. (2021(4) Civil Court Cases 654 (Chhattisgarh) 

 

  • Maintenance pendente lite
    Decree of divorce by mutual consent challenged u/s 151 CPC on the ground that it was obtained by fraudulent manner – Application for maintenance pendente lite is maintainable in such proceedings. (2021(4) Civil Court Cases 724 (Chhattisgarh)  

 

  • Investigation u/s 202(1) Cr.P.C
    Magistrate can direct investigation either by a police officer or by any other person for a limited purpose of enabling Magistrate to decide whether or not there is sufficient ground to proceed further. (File No.74944) 

 

  • Issuance of warrant of arrest and proclamation of attachment
    Conjointly and simultaneously is devoid of sanction of law and thus, unsustainable. (File No.74954) 

 

  • Juvenile – Bail
    There is no requirement that a victim should be notified  before hearing bail application of a child in conflict with law. (File No.74979) 

 

  • Direction for registration of FIR
    Prospective accused have no right of hearing before registration of FIR and investigation by police officer. (2020(4) Criminal Court Cases 521 (Chhattisgarh) (DB) 

     

    KERALA HIGH COURT

     

  • Dishonor of cheque 
    Pendency of arbitration proceedings – Not a ground to quash proceedings u/s 138 N.I. Act. (2020(4) Criminal Court Cases 424 (Kerala) 

    ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT

     

  • Dacoity 
    Court must arrive to a finding that there was involvement of five or more persons – In absence of such finding no conviction can be made u/ss 395, 397 IPC. (2020(4) Criminal Court Cases 746 (Allahabad 

    HIMACHAL PRADESH HIGH COURT

     

  • Interim injunction
    Buyer and seller, both filed suits, with respect to agreement to sell – Order of status quo passed in suit filed by buyer – Order of injunction passed in suit filed by seller – Impugned order passed in subsequent suit quashed – Both the parties directed to maintain status quo. (2021(4) Civil Court Cases 574 (H.P.) 

    TELANGANA HIGH COURT

     

  • Dishonor of cheque
    Company – Directors –  Not signatory of cheque – Vaguely stated in complaint that petitioners are directors and responsible for day to day affairs of company – Without any specific role attributed to each of the petitioners in the company –  Proceedings against petitioners, quashed. (2021(4) Civil Court Cases 799 (Telangana) 

    DELHI HIGH COURT

     

  • Amendment of plaint 
    To modify shares of plaintiff sought during pendency of suit for final decree of partition of share of plaintiff – Amendment  allowed. (2021(4) Civil Court Cases 806 (Delhi)

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