This is a collection of the latest Supreme Court of India judgements. These judgements have been delivered by the apex court in 2017 and 2018 and are landmark because they decide important principles of law.
The list of important judgements of the Supreme Court will be updated in real time so that citizens can be aware of the law laid down on important issues.
Binding force under Article 141 of the Constitution
The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial forum and final court of appeal under the Constitution of India.
It is the highest constitutional court and has the power of constitutional review. It has wide powers of original, appellate and advisory jurisdictions.
It decides appeals against judgements of the High Courts and other courts and tribunals.
The law declared by the Court is binding on all courts within India and on the union and state governments.
How to access latest judgements
However, the drawback of the official websites is that one cannot access the judgement if one is not aware of the case number, the name of the petitioner or the respondent or the date of the judgement.
Update: 22nd February 2018
In Union Public Service Commission vs Angesh Kumar CIVIL APPEAL NO.(s).6159-6162 OF 2013, the Supreme Court has issued judgement dated 20 February, 2018 in which it has dealt with the the scheme of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
It was held that Furnishing raw marks will cause problems as pleaded by the UPSC as quoted above which will not be in public interest. However, if a case is made out where the Court finds that public interest requires furnishing of information, the Court is certainly entitled to so require in a given fact situation. If rules or practice so require, certainly such rule or practice can be enforced. In the present case, direction has been issued without considering these parameters
Land acquisition controversy referred to Full Bench
A judgment on the land acquisition law has landed the Supreme Court in an unusual situation after it turned out on Wednesday that the verdict contradicted another passed by the court three years ago.
In 2014, three judges of the Supreme Court had ruled that the government’s acquiring land could be considered void if the money had not been deposited into the accounts of the landowners. This ruling helped people who had refused to surrender their land and refused to accept the compensation amount.
But on February 8, 2018, a three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra reversed this verdict. This set of three judges decided that it was enough for the government to offer the compensation and it did not matter if the landowner refused to accept the money.
The Supreme Court has asked all high courts across the country to put off decisions in land acquisition disputes on the basis of these judgments till the matter was sorted out.
Judgements of 2018
The following are the important judgements delivered by the Supreme Court in 2018.
(1) SUNDARAM FINANCE LIMITED vs. ABDUL SAMAD & ANR (CIVIL APPEAL No.1650 of 2018)
The Court resolved the divergence of legal opinion of different High Courts on the
question as to whether an award under the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘said Act’) is required to be first filed in the court having jurisdiction over the arbitration proceedings for execution and then to obtain transfer of the decree or whether the award can be straightway filed and executed in the Court where the assets are located.
It was held that the enforcement of an award through its execution can be filed anywhere in the country where such decree can be executed and there is no requirement for obtaining a transfer of the decree from the Court, which would have jurisdiction over the arbitral proceedings.
(2) Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation(Gwalior) M.P. Ltd. vs. Commissioner of Income Tax, Gwalior CIVIL APPEAL No.6262 OF 2010 (Supreme Court)
The the following main questions were considered, namely,
(a) whether the CIT has express power to cancel/withdraw/recall the registration certificate once granted by him under Section 12A of the Income-tax Act and, if so, under which provision of the Act?
(b) when the CIT grants registration certificate under Section 12A of the Act to the whether grant of certificate is his quasi judicial function and, if so, its effect on exercise of his power of cancellation of such grant of registration certificate?
(c) whether Section 21 of the General Clauses Act can be applied to support the order of cancellation of the registration certificate granted by the CIT under Section 12A of the Act, in case, if it is held that there is no express power of cancellation of registration certificate available to the CIT under Section 12A of the Act? and
(d) what is the effect of the amendment made in Section 12AA introducing sub-clause(3) therein by Finance (No-2) Act 2004 w.e.f. 01.10.2004 conferring express power on the CIT to cancel the registration certificate granted to the assessee under Section 12A of the Act.
(3) CIT vs. Essar Teleholdings Ltd
This judgement was delivered by Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan on January 31, 2018. The Court held that there is no indication in Rule 8D of the Income-tax Rules to the effect that Rule 8D intended to apply retrospectively. Applying the principles of statutory interpretation for interpreting retrospectivity of a fiscal statute and looking into the nature and purpose of subsection (2) and subsection (3) of Section 14A as well as purpose and intent of Rule 8D coupled with the explanatory notes in the Finance Bill, 2006 and the departmental understanding as reflected by Circular dated 28.12.2006, the Court held that Rule 8D was intended to operate prospectively. (Download link)
(4) National Travel Service vs. CIT
This judgement was delivered by Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan on January 18, 2018.
The Court considered Section 2(22)(e) of the Income-tax Act, 1961 which deals with the taxation of “Deemed Dividend”. It held that the term “shareholder”, post amendment, has only to be a person who is the beneficial owner of shares. One cannot be a registered owner and beneficial owner in the sense of a beneficiary of a trust or otherwise at the same time. The moment there is a shareholder, who need not necessarily be a member of the Company on its register, who is the beneficial owner of shares, the Section gets attracted without more.
The Court explained that two conditions have to be satisfied, namely, that the shareholder must first be a registered shareholder and thereafter, also be a beneficial owner is not only mutually contradictory but is plainly incorrect.
It also held that prima facie, the earlier judgements in Ankitech and Madhur Housing is wrongly decided and should be reconsidered by larger bench of the Supreme Court comprising of three or more judges.
(5) Danamma @ Suman Surpur & Anr Versus Amar & Ors
This judgement was delivered by Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan on February 1, 2018.
The Court was concerned with the 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act. It held that every daughter will now be entitled for her share in her father’s property.
In a landmark decision, it was held that the 2005 law that made daughters equal to sons in claiming right in father’s property will apply even to those girls born prior to this date.
This decision is significant since the 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act did not provide for retrospective operation of the law. Although a judgment of the Supreme Court in Prakash vs Phulwati (2016) held the amendment to be retrospective as regards daughters who are living as on the date of amendment (September 9, 2005), the recent decision has made it a general rule that a daughter (living or dead) on the date of amendment will be entitled to share in father’s property, thus making her children too to claim this right.
The Court held as follows in the judgement:
“The amended provision (Section 6 of Hindu Succession Act) now statutorily recognises the rights of coparceners of daughters as well since birth….It is the very factum of birth in a coparcenary that creates the coparcenary, therefore the sons and daughters of a coparcener become coparceners by virtue of birth.”
(6) Kudrat Sandhu vs. UOI (Supreme Court)
A. M. Khanwilkar J, D. Y. Chandrachud J, Dipak Misra CJI laid down the law that all appointments to be made in pursuance to the selection made by the interim Search-cum-Selection Committee shall abide by the conditions of service as per the old Acts and the Rules. A further direction to the effect that all the selections made by the aforementioned interim selection committee and the consequential appointment of all the selectees as Chairman/Judicial/Administrative members shall be for a period as has been provided in the old Acts and the Rules.
In this case, the validity of the ‘Tribunals, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience And Other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017‘ was challenged. The issue is whether the Rules, which seek to appoint the Members of the Tribunal for a limited period, and which make the appointment and removal of the Members the sole prerogative of the Government, is valid in law or not.
2017 Judgements of
In the year 2017, the Supreme Court delivered several important Judgments.
These include the following:
(1) Section 498A of IPC guidelines to prevent abuse
In Rajesh Sharma’s case, the Court expressed serious concern that large number of cases continue to be filed under Section 498A alleging harassment of married women. It laid down important guidelines to prevent the abuse of section 498A to harass husbands in estranged marriages.
The Court said that every dowry harassment complaint made under Section 498A of Indian Penal Code must be referred to the committee, which would look into them. Till such time no arrests can be made
The Supreme Court issued new set of directions to prevent the misuse of Section 498A of Indian Penal Code. A two Judge Bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit observed that Section 498A was inserted in the statute with the laudable object of punishing cruelty at the hands of husband or his relatives against a wife particularly when such cruelty had potential to result in suicide or murder of a woman.
The Court observed as follows in the judgement:
“It is a matter of serious concern that large number of cases continue to be filed under Section 498A alleging harassment of married women. To remedy the situation, we are of the view that involvement of civil society in the aid of administration of justice can be one of the steps, apart from the investigating officers and the concerned trial courts being sensitized. It is also necessary to facilitate closure of proceedings where a genuine settlement has been reached instead of parties being required to move High Court only for that purpose.”
GUIDELINES TO CURB MISUSE OF SECTION 498A IPC
• Form 3-member committee in every district of para-legal volunteers, social workers, working officers’ wives or suitable citizens
• Decide bail applications on same day as far as possible
• Grant exemption from personal appearance or allow it by videoconferencing
• Don’t make passport impounding or red corner notice routine for people residing out of India
(2) Binoy Visam vs. UOI (Aadhaar Card Linkage With PAN) (Supreme Court)
The Court held in the judgement dated June 9, 2017 that Section 139AA of the Income-tax Act, 1961 (inserted by the Finance Act 2017) which mandates quoting of Aadhaar number with the PAN is constitutionally valid under Articles 14 and 19(1)(g). The proviso to s. 139AA(2) (which deems the PAN void ab initio if the Aadhaar number is not quoted) is also valid.
The Court granted partial stay as the challenge under Article 21 is pending before the Constitution Bench.
Those who are already enrolled under the Aadhaar scheme should comply with s. 139AA (2). Those who are not enrolled need not do so for the time being and their PAN will not be treated as invalid. The said proviso to s. 139AA(2) cannot be read retrospectively as it takes away vested rights. It will only have prospective effect, it was ruled by the Supreme Court in the judgement.
(2) Right to privacy is fundamental right judgement
A nine -Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court held that right to privacy is protected under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The Court overruled the judgments in MP Sharma and Kharak Singh .
(3) Constitutional validity of Triple Talaq
It was held that the practice of Triple Talaq is unconstitutional. The judgement was delivered by a 3:2 majority.
Justices R. F. Nariman and Lalit held that instant Triple Talaq is unconstitutional and violative of the Right to Equality protection of Article 14.
Justice Joseph struck down the practice of Triple Talaq on the ground that it goes against the Shariat and the basic tenets of the Quran.
(4) Sex with minor wife is statutory rape
It was held in the judgement that sexual intercourse with a minor who is below the age of 18 years is “rape” even if the minor is the “wife”. The Court held that Section 198(6) of the CrPC will apply to cases of rape of “wives” below 18 years. The Court also interpreted Exception 2 to Section 375 of the IPC (as amended by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013) which allowed such a sexual act in the context of the definition of “rape”.
(5) Sentencing of Justice C.S. Karnan to Jail for Contempt
The Court held in the judgement that Justice C.S. Karnan was guilty of contempt and sentenced him to 6 months jail. Justice Karnan had made reckless allegations against the judges of the Supreme Court and accused them of corruption.
(6) Guidelines laid down on how to confer designation of Senior Advocate
In the case of Indira Jaisingh, the Supreme Court laid down guidelines in its judgement that have to be followed by all High Courts in the matter of conferring the designation of “Senior Advocate” upon practicing advocates.