1) 'Every deceitful act is not unlawful': SC quashes FIR against wife accused of forging husband's signature to procure child's passport

The Court quashed an FIR lodged by a husband against his wife accusing her of cheating him by forging his signature to obtain child's passport. It observed that every deceitful act is not unlawful, just as not every unlawful act is deceitful.

The Court was deciding an appeal filed against the judgment of the Karnataka High Court by which a criminal revision petition challenging the order of the VI Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate was dismissed.

Cause Title- Mariam Fasihuddin & Anr. v. State by Adugodi Police Station & Anr. (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 49)

Date of Judgment- January 22, 2024

Coram- Justice Surya Kant and Justice Dipankar Datta

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2) Societies Registration Act | Defaulting members not entitled to notice for meeting of election even if their membership was not terminated or ceased

The Court held that under Section 15 of the Societies Registration Act, 1860 (Registration Act), defaulting members of a society, even if their membership was not terminated or ceased, are not entitled to receive notice for meeting of election.

The Court allowed an Appeal challenging the affirmation by the Bombay High Court of the dismissal of a previous appeal regarding leadership changes in the charitable society Shikshan Prasarak Mandal, Mul. It noted that although the society's bye-laws lack automatic termination for defaulting members, the proviso to Section 15 designates objectors as suspended members, rendering them ineligible for notice without voting rights or member status.

Cause Title- Adv Babasaheb Wasade & Ors v Manohar Gangadhar Muddeshwar & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 52)

Date of Judgment- January 23, 2024

Coram- Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah

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3) Mere change of opinion cannot be a ground for reopening of assessment under Income Tax Act

The Court held that a mere change of opinion cannot be a ground for reopening of assessment. It answered whether the reopening of a concluded assessment i.e., reassessment under Section 147 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 (ITA) following the issuance of notice under Section 148 of ITA is legally sustainable or bad in law.

The Court was deciding a batch of civil appeals relating to the case in which the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), Cochin Bench, had decided in favour of the assessee by setting aside the orders of reassessment. However, the Kerala High Court in appeals filed by the revenue under Section 260A of ITA, reversed the findings of the Tribunal by deciding the appeals preferred by the revenue in its favour.

Cause Title- M/s Mangalam Publications, Kottayam v. Commissioner of Income Tax, Kottayam (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 53)

Date of Judgment- January 23, 2024

Coram- Justice B.V. Nagarathna and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan

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4) Adequate, valid, require no alteration: SC dismisses challenge to Goa's criteria for identifying forests

The Court upheld the criteria set by the State of Goa for identifying 'forests' in the State.

In this case, the appeals focused on the criteria the State of Goa set for identifying 'forests' in the State, tracing back to guidelines issued in 1991 after the Bombay High Court judgment of Shivanand Salgaocar v. Tree Officer & Ors.

Cause Title- TN Godavarman Thirumulpad vs Union of India (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 59)

Date of Judgment- January 24, 2024

Coram- Justice BR Gavai, Justice Aravind Kumar, and Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra

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5) Strong suspicion cannot take the place of proof beyond reasonable doubt: Supreme Court acquits murder accused

The Court held that securing a conviction necessitates more than mere suspicion and the prosecution bears the burden of unequivocally proving that the accused, and only the accused, committed the crime.

The Court observed thus while acquitting a murder accused who was concurrently convicted by the Trial Court and the Chhattisgarh High Court.

Cause Title- Raja Naykar v State Of Chhattisgarh (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 56)

Date of Judgment- January 24, 2024

Coram- Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta

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6) ‘No possibility of couple staying together’: SC dissolves marriage of NRI couple on ground of irretrievable breakdown of marriage

The Court dissolved the marriage of an Indian couple with Canadian citizenship on grounds of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. It considered the question of whether a decree for divorce could be granted if a marriage had irretrievably broken down.

The Court exercised its power under Article 142 (1) of the Constitution and observed that the wife had not appeared in proceedings for restitution of conjugal rights as well as for the divorce, which indicated her wish to not continue the marital chord and suggested an irretrievable breakdown of marriage.

Cause Title- Prakashchandra Joshi v. Kuntal Prakashchandra Joshi @ Kuntal Visanji Shah (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 55)

Date of Judgment- January 24, 2024

Coram- Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra

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7) Accused not entitled to default bail merely because further investigation qua other accused is pending at the time of filing chargesheet

The Court held that the pendency of the further investigation qua the other accused or for production of some documents not available at the time of filing of chargesheet would neither vitiate the chargesheet, nor would it entitle the accused to claim right to get default bail on the ground that the chargesheet was an incomplete chargesheet or that the chargesheet was not filed in terms of Section 173(2) of Cr.P.C. It said that once from the material produced along with the chargesheet, the court is satisfied about the commission of an offence and takes cognizance of the same, it is immaterial whether further investigation under Section 173(8) of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is pending or not.

The Court held thus in an appeal filed by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that had challenged the order of the Delhi High Court upholding the order of the Special Judge by which the accused persons were granted default bail under Section 167(2) of CrPC.

Cause Title- Central Bureau of Investigation v. Kapil Wadhawan & Anr. (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 58)

Date of Judgment- January 24, 2024

Coram- Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mithal

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8) Recovery of weapon at instance of accused cannot be accepted as reliable evidence: SC extends benefit of doubt and acquits man convicted of murder

The Court acquitted a man convicted of murder holding that recovery of a weapon at the instance of an accused cannot be accepted as reliable evidence. The appellant was convicted and ordered to undergo life imprisonment under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The complainant was informed that his brother, the deceased, was shot dead. The body of the deceased was later found by the police.

The prosecution relied on the evidence from alleged eyewitnesses and on the recovery of the weapon at the appellant's instance, as there was no independent witness to the recovery. The prosecution claimed that the ballistic expert's report showed that the bullets recovered from the body of the deceased matched the country-made pistol allegedly recovered from the appellant.

Cause Title- Krishan v. State of Haryana (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 60)

Date of Judgment- January 25, 2024

Coram- Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan

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