In this fortnightly series, Bar & Bench brings you 15 important judgments and orders passed by the Supreme Court of India.Below are our picks for the first two weeks of August 2023..1. Supreme Court directs High Courts, State DGPs to ensure compliance with Arnesh Kumar guidelines to avoid unnecessary arrestsCase Title: Md. Asfak Alam v. State of Jharkhand and AnotherIn this case, a Bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Aravind Kumar ordered the issuance of circulars, notifications and instructions to ensure that police authorities and criminal courts strictly adhere to the guidelines on arrest laid down in the 2014 Arnesh Kumar case.In the 2014 Arnesh Kumar case, the Supreme Court had taken note of the misuse of Section 498A (cruelty to women) of the Indian Penal Code, especially in connection with dowry demands. In view of how this law is misused, the Court had issued guidelines to ensure that arrests are avoided unless necessary.The Court has now ordered High Courts to frame the directions issued in the Arnesh Kumar case in the form of notifications and guidelines to be followed by sessions courts and other criminal courts..2. NCLAT can recall its judgments: Supreme Court affirms appellate tribunal rulingCase Title: Union Bank of India v. Financial Creditors of Amtek and OthersA Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia refused to interfere with a National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) order that had held that recall applications filed before it are maintainable.The Court upheld a five-member coram ruling of the NCLAT Delhi passed in January 2022.The appellate tribunal held that in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction, it can entertain and allow applications for recall of its judgments, based on sufficient grounds..3. Extra-judicial confessions do not gain credibility if published in newspapers: Supreme Court acquits murder accusedCase Title: Dinesh BS v. State of KarnatakaIn this case, a Bench of Justices Hrishikesh Roy and Pankaj Mithal made it clear that extra-judicial confessions do not gain credibility merely because they are published in a newspaper report for public consumption.The Court observed that the Karnataka High Court decision to uphold the murder conviction of an accused based on newspaper reports was 'surprising'.The Court made the observations while acquitting two men in connection with a 1994 murder case..4. Person summoned under Section 319 CrPC need not be given opportunity of hearing before being added as accused: Supreme CourtCase Title: Yashodhan Singh and Others v. State of Uttar Pradesh and AnotherA Bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan held that it is not mandatory to give an opportunity of hearing to a person summoned under Section 319 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) before such person is added by the trial court as an accused to the trial. The Court clarified that such a right of inquiry or hearing would accrue only to a person who has already been discharged under Section 227 of CrPC in the very same proceeding prior to the commencement of the trial.Section 319 CrPC does not contemplate the inclusion of such natural justice principles since a person is only being summoned so he can face trial, the Court observed..5. Discharge plea in corruption cases not maintainable after trial court has framed charges: Supreme CourtCase Title: State of Karnataka Lokayukta Police v. S SubbegowdaA Bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi emphasized that a discharge application in cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA) cannot be entertained if it is filed in the middle of trial, after the trial court has taken cognisance of the matter and framed charges.The Court noted that for offences involving public servants guilty of criminal misconduct under the POCA, discharge applications can be allowed only if the accused would face injustice and after recording reasons. This is in view of a specific bar contained in Section 19 (3) of the POCA, the Court explained.The top court observed that discharge applications not pressed earlier but filed at an advanced stage of the trial are not maintainable..6. Accusations made in complaint to lawful authority in good faith cannot attract offence of defamation: Supreme CourtCase Title: Kishore Balkrishna Nand v. State of Maharashtra and AnotherA Bench of Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra held that accusations made in a complaint against a person, in good faith, to those who have lawful authority over such person, will not constitute the offence of defamation.In its analysis, the top court referred to Exception 8 to Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and observed that no case is made out to put the appellant to trial for the alleged offence of defamation..7. Stick is not a deadly weapon: Supreme Court reduces jail term of wife accused of beating husband to deathCase Title: Nirmala Devi v. State of Himachal PradeshA Bench of Justices BR Gavai and JB Pardiwala modified a murder conviction to that of culpable homicide not amounting to murder after noting that the weapon of attack was a stick, which the Court opined was not a deadly weapon.The Court was dealing with a case where a woman was accused of beating her husband to death during a quarrel..8. NCDRC cannot selectively accept only parts of expert reports that support its conclusions: Supreme CourtCase Title: SS Cold Storage India Pvt Ltd v. National Insurance Company LimitedA Bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Dipankar Datta set aside a National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) order after noting that it relied only on selective portions of reports by experts in a matter.The Court also made it clear that such bodies cannot sit in appeal over expert reports, and can only draw inferences from the material on record.The Court partially allowed a cold storage company's appeal against an NCDRC order refusing it a payout from an insurance company. The judgment stated,"We are aghast to find that the members, who heard the Complaint, have made observations as if they were experts sitting in appeal on the reports of the Loss Assessor and the Experts...It was not open to the NCDRC to rely on portions of the reports which supported its conclusions...and discard the rest because the observations came in conflict with such conclusions.".9. Criterion of 75% marks in board exam to avail sports quota struck down by Supreme CourtCase Title: Dev Gupta v. PEC University of Technology and OthersA Bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Aravind Kumar held that prescribing a high minimum percentage of marks in board examinations for availing reservation under the sports quota would defeat the very purpose of such quotas.The Court stressed that the provision of a sports quota in admissions to educational institutions is to promote sports and sportsmanship in the country"The imposition of the minimum 75% eligibility condition...does not subserve the object of introducing the sports quota, but is, rather destructive of it; the criterion, in that sense subverted the object and is discriminatory; it therefore, falls afoul of the equality clause, in Article 14 of the Constitution," the Court said while setting such admission norms for public engineering courses in Chandigarh..10. Firings at Delhi courts appalling; only CCTV not enough for safety: Supreme Court issues slew of directionsCase Title: Prayuman Bisht v. Union of IndiaA Bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Dipankar Datta issued a host of directions to enhance safety and security in courts and towards the digitisation of courtrooms across the country.The Court stressed that the safety and security of stakeholders in the judicial system was non-negotiable.It said that it was appalled that the courts in Delhi, being the national capital itself, has witnessed at lease three major incidents of gunfire over the past year.Read the guidelines here..11. Right to Education includes quality education: Supreme Court says B.Ed holders are not qualified to be primary school teachersCase Title: Devesh Sharma v. Union of India and OthersA Bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia ruled that Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) candidates are ineligible to hold primary school teacher posts. The Court upheld a Rajasthan High Court decision to quash a 2018 National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) notification allowing B.Ed candidates to be primary school teachers. It also made it clear that B.Ed is in no terms a qualification to teach at the primary level (classes I to V).The top court further emphasized that elementary education is a fundamental right under Article 21A of the Constitution..12. Mere long period of possession does not always translate into right of adverse possession: Supreme CourtCase Title: Government of Kerala and Another v. Joseph and OthersA Bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Sanjay Karol observed that a long period of possession of land will not always translate into a right over the land through the principle of adverse possession.The Court added that when the disputed land claimed by way of adverse possession belongs to the State, the nature of inquiry by the Court must be more serious and effective.It also observed that surmises, conjectures and approximations cannot serve as the basis for taking away the government's rights over land and placing such rights in the hands of persons who did not have any such rights. It also reiterated that in order to claim rights over land through adverse possession, the possession must be open, clear, continuous and hostile to other claims by rival claimants..13. V Senthil Balaji verdict: Supreme Court rules Section 41A CrPC does not apply to PMLA; refers issue of 15-day custody period to larger benchCase Title: V Senthil Balaji v. StateA Bench of Justices AS Bopanna and MM Sundresh held that the 15-day custody period can be anytime during the 60 or 90 day period, which is the time given to the investigating agency to conclude the probe.The Court disagreed with a contrary ruling in the 1992 judgment in CBI v. Anupam J Kulkarni and, therefore, referred the issue to a larger bench.The Bench added that the 1992 the decision might have perhaps been passed keeping in mind the 1898 version of the CrPC, which had limited the period of investigation to 15 days alone.However, under the scheme of the current version of CrPC, once the period for investigation is given as 60 days or 90 days in tune with the proviso to Section 167(2), even a normal interpretation facilitates a police custody spanning over the said period, subject to the period of detention not exceeding 15 days.It was, thus, clarified that the maximum period of 15 days of police custody is meant to be applied to the entire period of investigation – 60 or 90 days..14. Persons who secure job in reserved posts based on false caste certificates liable to be dismissed: Supreme CourtCase Title: Bhubaneswar Development Authority v. Madhumita Das and OthersA Bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala held that no protection should be given to persons who secure public employment through false caste certificates. The Court set aside a judgment of the Orissa High Court which directed a public authority to consider reinstating an employee who was found to have obtained employment in reserved post on the basis of a false certificate.The Court held that it is immaterial whether the caste certificate was submitted fraudulently or due to a genuine mistaken belief. It further held that "granting protection to individuals who are ineligible for the post has a deleterious effect on good governance”.It added that the said protection would allow an ineligible person to gain access to a scarce public resource, violate the rights of an eligible person and perpetuate illegality by unduly bestowing benefits on an ineligible person..15. Special Court under Prevention of Corruption Act can proceed against accused for IPC offences though sanction under Section 19 is not granted: Supreme CourtCase Title: A. Sreenivasa Reddy v. Rakesh Sharma and AnotherA Bench of Justices BR Gavai and JB Pardiwala held that a Special Court under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 (PC Act) can proceed against an accused for offences under the Indian Penal Code 1860 even if sanction for prosecution has not been granted in respect of PC Act offences as per Section 19 of the said Act.In this case, the appellant, a bank manager, was facing trial for offences punishable under Sections 120-B read with Sections 420, 468 and 471 of the IPC and Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1) of the PC Act, 1988 in respect of allegations of a loan scam. The Special Court discharged the appellant for the offences under the PC Act for want of sanction under Section 19 PC Act.Before the Supreme Court, the appellant contended that it is not permissible for the Special Court to proceed against him for the offences punishable under the IPC as the sanction under Section 19 of the PC Act was declined. However, the Court rejected this argument on the ground that the sanction under Section 197 CrPC for IPC offences and sanction under Section 19 of the PC Act operate on different levels..1. Hindi is national language; witnesses from West Bengal expected to communicate before UP Court in Hindi: Supreme CourtCase Title: Pramod Sinha v. Suresh Singh Chauhan and OthersJustice Dipankar Datta had observed that Hindi is India's national language and witnesses who are produced before tribunals in Uttar Pradesh are expected to communicate/depose in Hindi though they may be from a different state.The Court, therefore, dismissed a plea seeking transfer of a motor accident case pending before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT), Farukkabad, Uttar Pradesh to MACT Darjeeling, West Bengal..2. Supreme Court stays conviction of Rahul Gandhi in defamation case for remark on Modi surnameCase Title: Rahul Gandhi v. Purnesh Ishwarbhai Modi and AnotherA Bench of Justices BR Gavai, PS Narasimha and PV Sanjay Kumar stayed the conviction and two-year jail term imposed on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi by a Gujarat court in a criminal defamation case for his "All thieves have Modi surname" remark.The Court said that the trial court did not give any specific reasons for imposing the maximum punishment of two years' imprisonment prescribed under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for the offence of defamation, though the offence is a non-cognizable one.It also noted that that the ramifications of the conviction are wide and affect the rights of the electorate of Wayanad, the constituency Gandhi was representing as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the Lok Sabha..3. Supreme Court permits ASI survey of Gyanvapi Mosque premises; tells Muslim party "what is frivolous to one is faith to another"Case Title: Anjuman Intezamia Mosque Committee and Another v. Rakhi Singh and OthersA Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra refused to interfere with a Allahabad High Court order allowing the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to conduct a scientific survey of the Gyanvapi Mosque premises.The Court rejected a plea by the Muslim party challenging the survey and said that the High Court order for survey does not warrant interference by the apex court at this stage..4. Supreme Court quashes Madras High Court directive to Central government to codify tort law in 6 monthsCase Title: Union of India and ors vs K Pushpavanam and OthersA Bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Sanjay Karol set aside a Madras High Court directive to the Central government to enact a law on tort liability within six months and to consider conferring statutory or constitutional status to the Law Commission of India.The Court emphasised that no constitutional court can issue such directions to a legislature to enact a law on a particular subject in a particular manner..5. "He rocked entire financial system": Supreme Court refuses interim bail to Rana Kapoor in ₹600 crore money laundering caseCase Title: Rana Kapoor v. Enforcement DirectorateA Bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti refused to grant interim bail to Yes Bank Founder Rana Kapoor in connection with a ₹600 crore money laundering case against him.The Court asked Kapoor, who eventually withdrew the petition, to file a fresh bail plea once he spends half his normal sentence as an undertrial..6. Supreme Court seeks Central government response to plea challenging reservation for men in Judge Advocate General vacanciesCase Title: Arshnoor Kaur and Another v. Union of India and AnotherA Bench of Justices Hrishikesh Roy and Pankaj Mithal issued notice to the Central government on a plea challenging the reservation for male candidates in the recently-notified vacancies for Judge Advocate General (JAG) posts in the Indian Army.The Court also said the two of the notified vacancies shall not be filled in the interim..Read the Supreme Court fortnightly - July 16 to 31, 2023 here.Read the Supreme Court fortnightly - July 1 to 15, 2023 here.Read the Supreme Court during summer vacation - June 1 to 30, 2023 here.Read the Supreme Court fortnightly - May 1 to 15, 2023 here.Read the Supreme Court fortnightly - April 16 to 30, 2023 here.Read the Supreme Court fortnightly - April 1 to 15, 2023 here.Read the Supreme Court fortnightly - March 15 to 31, 2023 here.Read the Supreme Court fortnightly - March 1 to 15, 2023 here.Read the Supreme Court fortnightly - February 15 to 28, 2023 here.Read the Supreme Court fortnightly - February 1 to 15, 2023 here.Read the Supreme Court fortnightly - January 15 to 31, 2023 here.Read the Supreme Court fortnightly - January 1 to 15, 2023 here.