#JudgmentReserved: Of the 18 judgments delivered last week by SC, Justice AM Sapre authored nine

Bar & Bench February 4 2018

The Supreme Court bench of justices RK Agrawal and AM Sapre took four and a half months to deliver its judgment in Karnataka Live Band Restaurants Association v State of Karnataka, after reserving it on September 5 last year.

This was one of the nine judgments, authored by Justice Sapre, of the total of 18 judgments delivered by different benches during the week from January 22 to January 25. Eight of the nine authored by Justice Sapre were reserved during the previous week.

The judgment in Karnataka Live Band Restaurants Association, in which the bench held that the welfare of the individual must yield to that of the community because of the precedence to be accorded to the safety and morality of the people and the State, perhaps took more time because it involved resolution of a complex challenge to alleged discrimination against the appellant, on the ground of morality and public interest.

Of the remaining judgments, Justice R Banumathi authored two, while Justices NV Ramana, Rohinton Fali NarimanUday Umesh Lalit, and Ashok Bhushan authored one each. Justice Kurian Joseph authored three non-reportable judgments.

Among the other highlights, Justice Ramana’s judgment in Lachhman Dass v. Resham Chand Kaler is notable for the proposition that every accused is same, irrespective of their nationality.

Justice Nariaman’s judgment in M/s Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited v. M/s Bhadra Products is equally significant, for its request to Parliament to consider amending Section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. This, the Court ruled, would enable to consolidate all interim awards together with the final award given by a tribunal, so that one challenge under section 34 can be made after the final award. The suggestion if implemented, could achieve the purpose of avoiding piecemeal challenges. However, whether the Centre and Parliament will give priority to the proposal emanating from the Supreme Court is another question.

Justice Banumathi’s order in Issac @ Kishor v. Ronald Cheriyan, a criminal appeal, is noteworthy for the principle that in an appeal against acquittal, in exceptional circumstances, the appellate court may set it aside even at the instance of private parties, though the State may not have thought it fit for appeal.

In this case, however, the private parties which appealed had the locus standi, and therefore, the Court had no difficulty in permitting the appeal. In cases where the private parties have no locus standi, can they be permitted to file appeal, on the ground that those who have the locus standi may feel threatened or intimidated from filing appeal?  Well, the precedents are not in favour of an affirmative answer to this question, though it merits serious consideration by the Court.

Of the eight judgments reserved during last week, the Bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan concluded arguments in Commissioner of Central Excise Service Tax v. Ultra Tech Cement Ltd., and Commissioner of Income Tax 5, Mumbai v. M/s Essar Teleholdings Ltd Through Its Manager, both civil appeals, and delivered judgments in these the following week. The Bench also concluded hearing in one of the civil appeals in Commissioner of Service Tax Bangalore v. M/s Lakshminarayana Mining Company.

The Bench of justices RK Agrawal and R Banumathi reserved judgment in Anil Kumar  Jinabhai Patel (D) Through LRS v. Pravinchandra Jinabhai Patel & Others, a civil SLP.

The Bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta reserved its orders in State of Karnataka v. Karnataka Pawn Brokers Association, a civil appeal, filed in 2008.

Justices SA Bobde and L Nageswara Rao concluded arguments in United India Insurance Co Ltd. v. Indiro Devi, a civil SLP.

Justices Nariman and Navin Sinha concluded hearing in Authorised Officer, State Bank of Travancore v. Mathew K.C., a civil appeal.  The judgment in this case was delivered by Justice Sinha on January 30.

Lastly, Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Uday Umesh Lalit reserved their order in Union of India v. Col. Ran Singh Dudee, a civil appeal.