Type: SC Judgements


Environmental Conservation and Mitigation strategy Conservation & Mitigation

SC deadline for polluting industrial units

  1. The Supreme Court gave polluting industrial units three months to install effluent treatment plants to remove contaminants from the wastes before they are released into water bodies
  2. It directed the State Pollution Control Boards across the country to cut power supply to non-compliant companies
  3. The court put the onus on government bodies to establish common effluent treatment plants (CETPs) across the country within three years of acquiring land
  4. The States would then have to submit reports confirming this to the National Green Tribunal concerned under whose jurisdiction they come
  5. The local civic authorities could formulate norms to levy cess from users if required

Note4students:

Important step towards curbing effluent contamination in drinking water sources. Can be quoted in mains.

Issues and Judgments related to SC Indian Polity

There is no concept of a ‘national song’, observes Supreme Court

  1. The court rejected a plea to direct the Central government to frame a national policy under Article 51A (fundamental duties) of the Constitution to promote and propagate the National Anthem, the National Flag and a ‘national song’
  2. SC: Article 51A only mentions the National Flag and the National Anthem
  3. The Article does not refer to a national song
  4. The court also rejected a prayer to make the rendering of the National Anthem compulsory in offices, courts, legislative houses and Parliament
  5. However, the court “kept alive” the plea that schools should play or sing the National Anthem on working days
  6. Barring the singing of the National Anthem on schools on every working day, other prayers stand rejected

Note4students:

One more topic in the issue of national symbols. Keep track. Can be prelims question.

Delhi Full Statehood Issue Governance

Constitution Bench to hear Delhi-Centre spat

  1. News: A two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court referred to a Constitution Bench a series of appeals filed by the Delhi government
  2. Appeals: for laying down the law on whether the Lieutenant Governor (LG) can unilaterally administer the National Capital — without being bound by the “aid and advice” of the elected government
  3. A question that arises now is whether the appeals would have to be heard by an eleven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court
  4. This is because a nine-judge Bench of the court had, in 1996, in the NDMC versus State of Punjab case, recognised Delhi as a Union Territory for taxation purposes
  5. However, in recent arguments before the two-judge Bench, the Delhi government submitted that the petitions did not seek full Statehood for Delhi, but were asking for more freedom for an elected government to administer and govern the National Capital

Note4students:

The issue now is a constitutional one and needs to be followed as it develops. It might be a question in mains as to should Delhi be given full statehood or should the powers of Delhi govt be increased for autonomous functioning etc.

Citizenship and related issues Constitution

Audience need not stand when National Anthem is part of film: Supreme Court

SC: There is no need to be on your feet inside a cinema hall when the National Anthem is featured as a part of a film, documentary or a newsreel

Back2basics:

Tracing the issue in recent past:

#1. October 2016:

  • A writ petition filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey which referred to the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971
  • It claimed that the “National Anthem is sung in various circumstances which are not permissible and can never be countenanced in law”

#2. 30 November, 2016:

  • The Supreme Court had ordered cinema halls to mandatorily play the anthem and had directed all those present there to stand up to show respect
  • SC opinion: The practice would instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism
  • It also ordered cinema halls to display the national flag on the screen when the anthem was played
  • The playing of the anthem in cinema halls is to be conceived as an opportunity for the public to express their “love for the motherland”
  • It is time people feel ‘this is my country’

#3. December 2016:

  • The Supreme Court first modified its November 30 order by exempting physically challenged or handicapped persons from standing up when the National Anthem is played before film screenings

#4. Now (February 2017):

  • The Supreme Court issued this second clarification on its November 30 order, directing all to mandatorily stand up when the National Anthem is sung or played in a cinema theatre
  • The court’s clarification came after several applications were filed on the question, including from the Conference for Human Rights and the Kodungallur Film Society
Judicial Pendency Constitution

Nod of judge not needed for transfer

  1. Context: Justice C.S. Karnan was issued contempt notice for allegedly penning scurrilous communications against High Court and Supreme Court judges
  2. Background: In February 2016, as a Madras High Court judge, Justice Karnan stayed his own transfer order by Supreme Court
  3. He questioned the Chief Justice of India’s comment that the transfer was recommended for reasons of “better administration”
  4. He had later expressed regret and was shifted out after the President signed the warrant and set a deadline for him to join the Calcutta High Court
  5. Precedents: A plethora of Supreme Court decisions deals with the procedure and philosophy behind judges’ transfer policy
  6. These Constitution Bench decisions weigh, among other questions, whether prior consent of a High Court judge is necessary before transferring him or her from one High Court to another
  7. Article 222 (1) of the Constitution deals with the transfer of a High Court judge to another High Court
  8. It says that the “President may, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, transfer a judge from one High Court to any other High Court”
  9. The Supreme Court, in the Second Judges Case of 1993, had held in a majority judgment that consent of the judge was not necessary for transferring him out, provided it was done with the full and effective consultation with the Chief Justice of India
  10. The transfer should be done in public interest and not as a punishment
  11. The 1993 judgment referred to the 1977 decision of the Supreme Court in Union of India v/s Sankal Chand Sheth case and S.P. Gupta verdict of 1982, both of which had held that there was no requirement of prior consent of the judge concerned before his transfer under Article 222
  12. 1993: “The power of transfer can be exercised only in public interest, that is, for promoting better administration of justice throughout the country,” the Supreme Court had held in 1993
  13. “Any transfer in accordance with the recommendations of the Chief Justice of India cannot be treated as punitive or an erosion in the independence of the judiciary”
  14. The 1993 judgment had held that there should be no reason for a judge to even think that his transfer was punitive when it is made in accordance with the recommendation of the Chief Justice of India
  15. Ambedkar: In the Sankal Chand Sheth case, the Supreme Court quotes Dr. B.R. Ambedkar on judges’ transfer in the Constituent Assembly
  16. Dr. Ambedkar had said that a judge may be shifted from one High Court to another to strengthen the High Court by importing better talents which may not be locally available

Note4students:

Be aware of constitutional provisions and the present position on the issue as put forward by SC judgments. Keep track of the issue as it develops. SC judgments are very important from mains point of view.

Judicial Pendency Constitution

In a first, SC issues contempt notice against HC Judge Karnan

  1. An unprecedented move: A 7-judge Bench of the seniormost judges of the SC issued contempt of court notice against sitting Calcutta HC judge C.S. Karnan
  2. Why? For impeding justice administration and bringing discredit to the judicial institution of the country by writing scurrilous letters about sitting and retired judges
  3. Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi argued that it was time the apex court stopped tolerating the onslaught on the judicial institution by one of its own judges
  4. He said Justice Karnan, through his letters and conduct dating back to his years as a judge in the Madras HC, was making a “completely calculated” effort to “destroy” his parent institution
  5. If the SC was stern with the litigant, it should be sterner with one of its own who tried to harm the institution from within
  6. The SC as the apex judiciary is empowered under Articles 129 read with its extraordinary powers under Article 142 (2) to punish a member of the HC and subordinate judiciary for contempt
  7. Even a HC judge who had repeatedly made damaging remarks about his superiors and colleagues
  8. According to him the power of the SC to punish for contempt was not confined to the Contempt of Courts Act
  9. Article 129, he said, clothed the SC with the power to punish for contempt of itself. Article 142 (2) provided the court with the power to “make any order” for the “punishment of any contempt of itself”
  10. Court of Record: The A-G quoted the 1991 SC judgment in Delhi Judicial Service Association versus State of Gujarat
  11. It said the Constitution designed the SC as a Court of Record and “Article 129 thereof recognises the existing inherent power of a Court of Record in its full plenitude, including the power to punish for its own contempt and the contempt of its subordinate.”
  12. On Jan 2, 2017, the SC reiterated the point in its judgment in the Mid-Day staffers’ contempt case (Vitusah Oberoi versus Court on its own motion) when it observed that “one of the recognised attributes of a court of record is the power to punish for its contempt.”

Note4students:

Important issue and needs to be followed as it develops. There are many judgments and articles here, if you did not understand them in the first reading then read the news again! Refer to the articles below to refresh your memory.

Back2basics:

Article 129 – Supreme Court to be a court of record

The Supreme Court shall be a court of record and shall have all the powers of such a court including the power to punish for contempt of itself

Article 142(2) – Enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court and unless as to discovery, etc

Subject to the provisions of any law made in this behalf by Parliament, the Supreme Court shall, as respects the whole of the territory of India, have all and every power to make any order for the purpose of securing the attendance of any person, the discovery or production of any documents, or the investigation or punishment of any contempt of itself

SC dismisses TN’s review plea on remission power

  1. The Supreme Court dismissed a review petition filed by the Tamil Nadu government against a 2015 Constitution Bench judgment
  2. 2015 judgement: A State government has no suo motu power to remit sentences of persons convicted under a Central law and cases investigated by a Central agency like the CBI
  3. The verdict was based on a challenge by the Centre to Tamil Nadu’s move to remit the life sentence of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case
  4. The judgment had held that the Centre, and not the State government, would have “primacy” in deciding whether persons convicted in matters of the CBI or a Central agency should be released or not on remission
  5. National interest: When it comes to the question of national interest or any other emergent or unforeseen situations warranting control in the nature of a super-terrestrial order (celestial), the executive power of the Union can be exercised like a bull in the China shop
  6. Prior consent: In Section 435 (2) of the Cr.PC, the word ‘consultation’ meant ‘concurrence’
  7. This meant that the Tamil Nadu government should have got the prior consent of the Centre before issuing its February 19, 2014 order to remit the life sentence of seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi case
  8. A diabolic act: The judgment also made scathing observations, describing the assassination of the former Prime Minister as a “diabolic” act which shattered the great faith of an entire country
  9. Ray of hope: It observed that the convicts did not deserve a ray of hope that they would be released one day

Note4students:

Revise basics on Pardoning powers of President and Governor from polity book. Know the 2015 judgement too as an addition to it.

Jallikattu Debate Constitution

SC rejects plea to stay jallikattu law

  1. News: The Supreme Court refused to stay the Tamil Nadu amendments in the Prevention of Cruelty Act of 1960 to allow jallikattu
  2. The President had earlier given his assent to the law
  3. Preservation of breed- argument for Jallikattu: The declared object of the new legislation is the preservation of a particular breed of bulls and it is a culture
  4. Culture- argument for Jallikattu: Article 29 (1) of the Constitution mandates that citizens have the right to take measures to “conserve their culture”
  5. SC on culture issue: Then we have to decide on whether jallikattu comes within the ambit of ‘culture’ meant in Article 29 (1) and whether this kind of a sport or event or activity is safe
  6. Conservation of a culture should not involve inflicting unnecessary pain [on] or suffering to animals
  7. Slaughter- argument for Jallikattu: Section 11 (3) (e) of the 1960 Act permits slaughtering of animals for food for mankind
  8. If jallikattu is cruelty, what about slaughtering of animals? Slaughtering is done not only for food but also in the name of religion… halaal and sacrifices of goats, etc.
  9. The 1960 Act, which is a Special Act, exempts slaughter for food despite the fact that Article 48 prohibits slaughter
  10. Doctrine of Necessity- argument for slaughter: Slaughtering for food comes within the purview of Doctrine of Necessity
  11. Section 11 (3) (e) permits slaughter for food but also mandates that the animal should be killed without inflicting upon it unnecessary pain and suffering

Note4students:

These arguments need to be kept in mind while supporting or rejecting the claim. Our answers are supposed to be objective and based on rational arguments.

The Agrarian Crisis & Farmer Suicides Agro Economy

Farmers’ deaths, a human rights issue: Supreme Court

  1. Supreme Court: Asked the Centre and the States to explain whether there was a lifeline, including a comprehensive insurance plan, for farmers to end the vicious circle plaguing the agriculture sector
  2. It was alarmed that crop failure and natural calamities were driving debt-ridden farmers across the country to take their lives
  3. Termed the death of farmers due to crop losses a human rights issue
  4. Asked why the government had not yet formulated a national policy to protect the lives of the country’s bread-winners
  5. Petition: The court was hearing a petition filed by the NGO, Citizens Resource and Action and Initiative, seeking a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for the families of 692 farmers who committed suicide in Gujarat between January 2003 and October 2012
  6. Why? Their crops had failed and their bank loans began to choke them
  7. The petition also sought financial relief from the government for farmers facing drought
  8. It pleaded for a humane agricultural policy, taking into consideration the probable loss of crops, to help farmers tide over a drought-like situation

Note4students:

The case is worth following for mains as it develops. Keep track of it.

Lodha committee’s recommendations on the BCCI Governance

BCCI reforms: Centre moves SC against Lodha committee recommendations

  1. What? The Govt has moved the Supreme Court against implementation of the Lodha committee recommendations on administrative reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)
  2. Why? The govt maintains that it was not heard when the court decided to implement some recommendations which go against its interests
  3. Attorny General Rohatgi appeared on behalf of Railway Sports Promotion Board, Services Sports Control Board and All India Universities
  4. These three members of BCCI, which held full membership earlier, now stand relegated to associate member status without voting rights as per the Lodha committee’s “one state-one vote” recommendation

Note4students:

The accountability and transparency drive into sports bodies’ domain, started by Lodha committee, has taken a new turn here. The issue is worth following. Note the govt arguments, btw!

Jallikattu Debate Constitution

Legal experts divided on SC holding jallikattu order

  1. Context: The Supreme Court agreed to stay the delivery of its jallikattu judgment for a week on the Centre’s suggestion
  2. Divided opinions: Some legal experts call it an “unprecedented and unofficial stay of the delivery of judgment”, while retired judges term it a mere “practicality” in the light of talks that an ordinance may be issued, taking into consideration the wide public opinion in favour of bringing jallikattu back
  3. Some point out that the new ordinance, apparently to re-introduce jallikattu, would again be an executive measure to circumvent the SC ban on jallikattu
  4. Background: SC had banned Jallikattu & condemned as an “inherent act of cruelty” in a detailed judgment in 2014
  5. A plea for the review of the 2014 judgment was again dismissed by the Supreme Court in 2016, a full two years after the original verdict

Note4students:

This is a new kind of happening- SC delaying its verdict. Keep track of this.

Uniform Civil Code Indian Polity

‘Church courts’ cannot veto divorce law, says Supreme Court

  1. Supreme Court: Canon law and decrees of divorce given by ecclesiastical tribunals or ‘Church Courts’ cannot veto the statutory law of divorce
  2. Thus the court disposed of a writ petition filed in 2013 seeking a judicial declaration that divorce decrees passed by ecclesiastical tribunals are valid and binding
  3. 1996 verdict: The Supreme Court referred to its 1996 judgment in the case of Molly Joseph versus George Sebastian upholding the binding nature of the Indian Divorce Act of 1869, which governs divorce among Christians
  4. In Molly’s case, the court said the implication of the Canon law is confined to either theological or ecclesiastical, but has no legal impact on the divorce or annulment of marriage between two persons professing the Christian religion
  5. After the Divorce Act came into force, a dissolution or annulment under such personal law cannot have any legal impact as statute has provided a different procedure and a different code for divorce or annulment
  6. Triple talaq argument: The petitioner argued that when courts can recognise dissolution by triple talaq under the Mohammedan personal law, they should also recognise the Canon law as the personal law of Indian Catholics
  7. However, the court is presently hearing a row of petitions, including a suo motu one, on the question whether practices of Islamic personal law like triple talaq and polygamy discriminate against Muslim women

Note4students:

This is a development in direction of a Uniform Civil Code and women issues

Parliament – Reforms, Ordinances, Policy Paralysis and more Indian Polity

Supreme Court revives hearing on Andhra Pradesh bifurcation

  1. Context: Bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh into AP and Telangana
  2. Supreme Court: What better “index” to ascertain whether a State is to be divided or not other than public demand
  3. The observation came from a Bench of SC while reviving a bunch of petitions filed by leading Telugu politicians across parties, challenging the bifurcation of the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh in 2014
  4. They had wanted the apex court to declare the bifurcation as an illegal and unconstitutional act
  5. However, SC had, then, refused to stay the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act of 2014, leading to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and the formation of new State Telangana
  6. Arguments of petitioners against bifurcation: There should be a “federal index” for State formation. The Centre cannot be allowed to ride roughshod over the federal structure of democracy and divide States into bits
  7. Proper consultations were not held between the Centre and erstwhile State authorities
  8. Telangana lost 140 of its villages due to the bifurcation, and this was not the first time the people had experienced the sufferings of bifurcation and new State formations. The first time was when Andhra was separated from Madras
  9. The Centre had introduced the Bill when it was rejected by the Andhra Pradesh State Legislature
  10. The bifurcation is a violation of the Basic Structure of the Indian Constitution

Note4students:

There was a question on bifurcation of states in Mains 2016, on linguistic basis though. Keep track of the issue and the arguments as it develops.

Electoral Reforms In India Indian Polity

So what’s the big deal about advancing the Budget, asks SC

  1. Issue: A PIL petition had sought the postponement of the annual Budget till after the elections are over
  2. Why? It could contain sops to influence the voters in the Assembly elections, and was thus a violation of the poll code
  3. The Supreme Court: It found nothing wrong in the government’s move to advance the presentation of the Union Budget in Parliament by almost a month, on February 1, amid the run-up to the elections in five States
  4. ‘So what provision of law is violated by this statement? What provision of the Indian Constitution is violated here?’

Note4students:

Revise basics of budget. Do understand the pros and cons of advancing the budget date. This can be a question in mains or probably interview too. And also go into other budget reforms like doing away with plan and non-plan expenditure, merging of rail budget with Union budget.

Parliament – Reforms, Ordinances, Policy Paralysis and more Indian Polity

SC refuses plea on alleged dilution of whistleblower law

  1. Supreme Court: Refused to examine a petition alleging dilution in the Whistleblower Protection Act
  2. It sought interim measures to protect whisteblowers who expose corruption in public administration and governance
  3. It said that Parliament is already seized with the law and the judiciary would be encroaching on the legislature’s turf by entertaining allegations now
  4. Change of tone: The tone of the court hearing was in complete contrast to the earlier hearing in January 2016, when the apex court had pressed the Centre to put in place a fool-proof interim mechanism to receive complaints and protect the lives of whistleblowers till the law was enacted

Note4students:

The issues around this act are important from mains PoV.

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