1) Use of ‘Ta Khubzul Badlain’ in a sale deed is not determinative of true nature of transaction

The Court observed that the use of the term ‘Ta Khubzul Badlain’ in a sale deed does not determine the true nature of a transaction and that this term cannot be analysed in isolation but has to be read with the recitals and conditions to decide the true nature of a sale deed.

In this case, the Plaintiff/Appellant, who was the son-in-law of the First Defendant/ Respondent, purchased a property from him through a registered Sale Deed. The Appellant claimed to have paid off the debts owed by the Respondent as part of the consideration. Later, the Respondent executed a Deed of Cancellation and a Gift Deed concerning the property. The Appellant filed a lawsuit seeking a declaration of title and claimed that the Gift Deed was forged.

Cause Title- Yogendra Prasad Singh (Dead) through LRs v Ram Bachan Devi & Ors

Date of Judgment- July 31, 2023

Coram- Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Rajesh Bindal

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2) Theft case: Where there’s some contributory factor, proportionate deduction from assured amount would be all that insurance co. can deduct

The Court in a theft case allowed the appeal against the judgment of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) reiterating that where there is some contributory factor, a proportionate deduction from the assured amount would be all that the Insurance Company can deduct.

The National Commission/ NCDRC in this matter had reversed the concurrent judgments of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum (District Forum) and the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (State Commission). The Fora below, while allowing the original complaint had directed the New India Assurance Company Limited i.e., the respondent herein to indemnify the claimant on a non-standard basis to the extent of 75% of the sum assured, which was Rs. 8,40,000/-.

Cause Title- Ashok Kumar v. New India Assurance Co. Ltd.

Date of Judgment- July 31, 2023

Coram- Justice J.K. Maheshwari and Justice K.V. Viswanathan

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3) Matrimonial dispute| SC directs all courts to strictly follow guidelines laid down in Arnesh Kumar case on arrest

The Court in a matrimonial dispute case reiterated the Arnesh Kumar case [Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar and Another] and directed the Courts to strictly follow the guidelines laid down in the case on arrest.

In this case, the appellant and first respondent were married, with the wife's father interfering and pressurizing the family. A complaint was filed against the wife's family for threatening the husband's family. The Wife then also filed a complaint against the Husband and his family. The husband claimed that the police didn't follow the Supreme Court's guidelines in lodging the FIR.

Cause Title- Md. Asfak Alam v The State of Jharkhand & Anr.

Date of Judgment- July 31, 2023

Coram- Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Aravind Kumar

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4) Death was caused due to sudden provocation for denying Rs. 500 to daughter: SC modifies murder conviction of wife for killing husband

The Court granted bail to the Appellant who was incarcerated under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for 9 years and altered her conviction into Section 304 Part I.

In this case, an appeal was filed challenging the impugned order of the High Court, wherein the Court upheld the decision of the Trial Court. The Trial Court convicted the Accused/Appellant for offences punishable under 302 and 201 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). The Court noted that the main issue to ascertain was whether the conviction under Section 302 of the IPC was required to be maintained, or whether the case could fall under a lesser offence.

Cause Title- Nirmala Devi v. State of Himachal Pradesh

Date of Judgment- August 1, 2023

Coram- Justice B.R. Gavai and also comprising Justice J.B. Pardiwala

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5) Applicant cannot have exclusive right in seeking a grant of license of mineral unless facilitated by statute

The Court observed that, when a decision is taken by a competent authority in the public interest by evolving a better process such as auction, a right, if any, to an applicant seeking lease over a Government land evaporates on its own. It was also held that an applicant cannot have an exclusive right in seeking a grant of license of a mineral unless facilitated accordingly by a statute.

In his case, the appellants approached the Apex Court seeking to overturn a decision of the Division Bench of the High Court, through which the Bench declared Rule 4(10) and Rule 7(3) of the Rajasthan Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1986 as unconstitutional.

Cause Title- The State of Rajasthan & Ors. vs Sharwan Kumar Kumawat Etc. Etc.

Date of Judgment- August 1, 2023

Coram- Justice AS Bopanna and Justice MM Sundresh

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6) Only fundamental determinations of court are hit by res judicata; not incidental or non-essential observations

The Court observed that only fundamental determinations of the Court are hit by res judicata in subsequent proceedings. It was further held that if the Court makes any incidental, supplemental or nonessential observations which are not foundational to the final determination, the same would not tie down the hands of courts in future.

In this case, the appeals were directed against a judgment passed by the Division Bench of the High Court, whereby the intra-court appeal preferred by the State of Telangana and its revenue authorities was allowed. The core of the disputes was a resumption order, which confirmed the assignment of non-occupied land in the 1960s to landless Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe persons (appellants) for the purpose of cultivation.

Cause Title- Yadaiah and Anr. vs State of Telangana and others

Date of Judgment- August 1, 2023

Coram- Justice Surya Kant and Justice JK Maheshwari

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7) Discrepancies in prosecutrix's story & no evidence was brought on record: SC acquits two men in 1996 rape case

The Court acquitted two appellants who were convicted and sentenced under Sections 342 and 376(2) (g) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) more than two decades back.

In 1996, an FIR was registered against the appellants Avtar Singh, Sohan Lal, and acquitted accused Gian Singh under Sections 366, 376, 342, 506, and 34 IPC. The complainant and prosecutrix, XYZ, alleged that on July 22, 1996 at around 08.30 PM, Avtar Singh grabbed her while she was in a maize crop field, made her unconscious by making her sniff something, and then took her to a room where he raped her.

Cause Title- Avtar Singh & Anr. v. State of Punjab

Date of Judgment- August 2, 2023

Coram- Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Rajesh Bindal

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8) Supreme Court upholds inclusion of pathological laboratory as establishment under ESIC Act

The Court dismissed an appeal holding that the provisions of The Employees State Insurance Corporation Act will be applicable to the respondent establishment w.e.f. September 06, 2007, and not from November 24, 2002.

As per the facts available on record, the respondent's establishment was a pathological laboratory. An inspection of the premises was conducted by the Inspector on April 01, 1999, revealing that there were 19 employees working in the establishment. Subsequently, a show cause notice was issued to the respondent.

Cause Title- E.S.I. Corporation v. M/s. Endocrinology and Immunology Lab

Date of Judgment- August 2, 2023

Coram- Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Rajesh Bindal

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9) PCA: Once cognizance is taken by Special Judge & charge is framed, trial cannot stay or scuttle in midst u/s. 19(3)

The Court while dealing with an appeal held that once cognizance has been taken by the Special Judge and the charge is framed, the trial cannot stay or scuttle in the midst under Section 19(3) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PCA).

The Court was deciding a case wherein the State of Karnataka Lokayukta Police challenged the judgment of the High Court whereby it allowed a petition by discharging the respondent/accused from the offences charged under Section 13(1)(e) read with Section 13(2) of the PCA on the ground that the sanction accorded to prosecute the accused by the Government was illegal and without jurisdiction.

Cause Title- State of Karnataka Lokayukta Police v. S. Subbegowda

Date of Judgment- August 3, 2023

Coram- Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Bela M. Trivedi

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10) Continuing proceedings in petty disputes would be persecution & harassment to appellant: SC quashes charges against an engineer

The Court quashed charges against an Assistant Engineer under Sections 323, 504, and 506 IPC while observing that continuing cases of trivial nature would amount to persecution and harassment to the appellant.

The Appeal before the Apex Court had challenged the High Court's judgment of 2015. The appellant, an Assistant Engineer, sought to quash the chargesheet and proceedings in case no. 3354 of 2015 pending before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Fatehpur. The incident involved a dispute with a Peon in the office which included abusing, threatening, and attempting to assault the appellant with a sleeper.

Cause Title- Sunil Kumar v. State of U.P. & Anr.

Date of Judgment- August 3, 2023

Coram- Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Bela M. Trivedi

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11) Period of more than 30 long years & no allegation of any objectionable activity: SC reduces sentence of 62-year-old social worker

The Court reduced the sentence of a Social Worker and Political Party member, who was charged under various sections of IPC for using offensive language towards a public servant during a meeting with the Commissioner of the Directorate (Commissioner) and for pushing a staff member.

The Appellant was convicted under Sections 333, 353 and 451 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) by the Sessions Court, wherein the Court sentenced rigorous imprisonment for one year each and another rigorous imprisonment for two years. The High Court upheld the conviction but reduced the substantive sentence to rigorous imprisonment for six months each for each of the three offences.

Cause Title- Razia Khan v. The State of M.P.

Date of Judgment- August 3, 2023

Coram- Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Sanjay Karol

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12) Accused persons are senior citizens suffering from ailments including high bp, sugar, heart issues: SC allows prayer of staying transfer of case

The Court allowed prayer to stay the transfer of a criminal case on the ground that the accused persons were senior citizens suffering from ailments including high blood pressure, sugar, heart issues, etc. It was dealing with an intervention application and miscellaneous application seeking modification or recall of its order in a Transfer Petition.

The intervenor sought intervention in the transfer petition primarily on the ground that he was an agriculturist and was by and large dependent on the financial aid of Nagpur District Central Co-operative Bank Limited (NDCCB Ltd.), which was one of the banks allegedly defrauded by the accused. A stay granted by the court was modified on the pretext that the proceedings were that the stage of final arguments.

Cause Title- Ketan Kantilal Seth v. The State of Gujarat and Ors.

Date of Judgment- August 4, 2023

Coram- Justice Surya Kant and Justice J.K. Maheshwari

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