Supreme Court Weekly Round Up - Judgments [May 16-21, 2022]

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  1. [Section 138 NI Act] The Supreme Court has ordered a pilot study under which retired judicial officers and retired court staff shall be employed in five judicial districts in five States with the highest pendency, to operationalise Special Courts under the NI Act. The pilot study shall be conducted for a duration of one year from September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2023. Court has further passed directions on the aspects of infrastructural requirements, training of said retired judicial officers, timeline for identification of cases, functioning of courts, procedural aspects, etc.
    Bench: Justice L Nageshwar Rao, Justice BR Gavai and Justice S Ravindra Bhat
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  2. [Remission] The Supreme Court while ordering release of AG Perarivalan, a convict in the case pertaining to assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, has held that the advice of the State Cabinet is binding on the Governor in matters relating to commutation / remission of sentences under Article 161. Accordingly, the bench has held that in the instant case, the Governor ought not to have sent the recommendation made by the State Cabinet to the President of India, such action being contrary to the constitutional scheme.
    Bench: Justices L Nageshwar Rao, BR Gavai and AS Bopanna.
    Case Title: A.G. Perarivalan vs. State, Through Superintendent of Police CBI/SIT/MMDA, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Anr.
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  3. [S. 323 IPC] The Supreme Court while imposing a sentence of one-year rigorous imprisonment on Navjot Singh Siddhu in a road rage death case, opined that "the hand can also be a weapon by itself where say a boxer, a wrestler or a cricketer or an extremely physically fit person inflicts the same...”. Court said that material aspects such as the physical fitness of Siddhu as he was an international cricketer, who was tall and well-built and was aware of the force of a blow that even his hand would carry, had to be taken into consideration while awarding sentence.
    Bench: Justices AM Khanwilkar and SK Kaul
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  4. [GST Council] Supreme Court has  held that the recommendations of the GST Council are not binding on the Union and States as the ‘recommendations’ of the GST Council are the product of a "collaborative dialogue" involving the Union and States and which are, in effect, recommendatory in nature. "To regard them as binding edicts would disrupt fiscal federalism, where both the Union and the States are conferred equal power to legislate on GST", remarked a three-judge bench.
    Bench: Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant & Vikram Nath.
    Case Title: Union of India & Anr. vs. Ms Mohit Minerals Pvt. Ltd. Through Director
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  5. [ S.304 IPC] For bringing home the guilt of the accused under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code, the prosecution has to firstly prove negligence and then establish direct nexus between negligence of the accused and the death of the victim, held the Supreme Court.  A CJI-led bench further held that in case of circumstantial evidence, there is a risk of jumping to conclusions in haste and while evaluating such evidence the jury should bear in mind that inference of guilt should be the only reasonable inference from the facts.
    Bench: CJI Ramana along with Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli
    Case Title: Nanjundappa & Anr. vs. The State of Karnataka
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  6. [Specific prayer] Noting that there was no order passed by the Trial Court on a specific prayer made by the parties, the Top Court has held that the same was not the subject matter before the High Court, therefore, any further observations made by the High Court would be said to be beyond the scope and ambit of the petition filed before it.
    Bench: Justice MR Shah and Justice BV Nagarathna
    Case Title: Sudhir Ranjan Patra (Dead) thr. LRs. & Anr. vs. Himansu Sekhar Srichandan & Ors.
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  7. [POCSO] Supreme Court, noting that there is a custom in Tamil Nadu of the marriage of a girl with her maternal uncle, set aside the conviction of one K Dhandapani who was sentenced under the POCSO Act for having physical relations with a 14-year-old girl on the promise of marrying her. "This Court cannot shut its eyes to the ground reality and disturb the happy family life of the appellant and the prosecutrix. We have been informed about the custom in Tamilnadu of the marriage of a girl with the maternal uncle", the Court said.
    Bench: Justices L Nageshwar Rao and BR Gavai
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  8. [Fair Trial] The Supreme Court recently emphasized that prosecution by the State ought to be carried out in a manner consistent with the right to fair trial, as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution. This observation was made by the top court while setting aside an order of Madras High Court rejecting former Tamil Nadu Minister SP Velumani's plea seeking a copy of a preliminary report filed against him in a corruption case.
    Bench: CJI Ramana along with Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli
    Case Title: S.P. Velumani vs. Arappor Iyakkam
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