Supreme court of India

Evidentiary value of Parliamentary Committee Reports 

In Kalpana Mehta v Union of India (‘Kalpana Mehta judgment’)[1], a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court (‘SC’) pronounced a detailed judgment on whether Courts can place reliance on the Report of a Parliamentary Standing Committee (‘PSC’). The SC also examined whether the factual observations made in a PSC Report can be contested or challenged by the parties, during a judicial proceeding.

This decision arose from a referral order issued by a two-judge bench of the SC. The two-judge bench took the view that this was a ‘substantial question of law’ – that should be adjudicated by a Constitution Bench in accordance with Article 145(3) of the Constitution. While the Constitution Bench took a unanimous view, three separate concurring opinions were issued by Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Dr. D Y Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan.
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WRITS AGAINST ORDERS PASSED BY ARBITRAL TRIBUNALS – THE SUPREME COURT REITERATES THE LAW SMM

 Introduction

Recently, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court in Bhaven Construction v. Executive Engineer Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd. and Anr[1] has observed that the High Courts’ power of interference under Articles 226[2] and 227[3] of the Constitution of India (“Constitution”), in the context of arbitral proceedings, may be exercised in ‘exceptional rarity’. Clarifying the term ‘exceptional rarity’, the Court pointed out that such interference would be warranted only in cases wherein a party is left remediless under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 (“Arbitration Act”) or clear bad faith is shown by one of the parties.
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Supreme Court on the admissibility of electronic evidence under Section 65B of the Evidence Act.

The recent instances of leakage of Whatsapp chats obtained during the course of investigation and their admissibility as evidence in a criminal trial has brought the issue of electronic evidence to the forefront. These Whatsapp chats have been leaked in the public domain at the investigation stage itself, even before the commencement of the trial. Considering these recent developments, the legal framework for electronic evidence merits further scrutiny.

Under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, Section 65B prescribes a distinct framework that governs the admissibility of electronic evidence. There have been multiple litigations over the scope and ambit of Section 65B, with divergent views taken by the Apex Court.
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Automatic Vacation of Stay Orders in Six Months - A Positive Affirmation

Cases in India can take years to be disposed of. Stay of proceedings on account of interim orders has been greatly responsible for causing inordinate delay in disposal of cases. These orders typically stay effective unless expressly vacated, or until a final order is passed, which then subsumes the interim order. Interim orders that stay proceedings before a subordinate court are often misused by litigants as a dilatory tactic to maintain status quo in their favor. The subordinate courts account for 87% of India’s pending cases.[1] A greater challenge faced by the judiciary and litigants alike is the delay in determination of cases at the appellate level, which in turn leads to endless wait for determination of matters even at the trial stage. The Law Ministry estimates that on an average, a trial is delayed by about 6.5 years due to stay of proceedings by higher courts.[2]
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 Supreme Court sets out object and purpose of Order VII Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure,1908

Introduction

Judicial time is precious and ought to be employed in the most efficient manner possible. Sham litigations are one such menace that not only waste the time of the courts, but also cause unwarranted prejudice and harm to parties arrayed as defendants in such litigations, thereby defeating justice. In order to deal with such a menace, the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (“CPC”), under Order VII Rule 11[1] (“O7 R 11”) provides litigants the option to pursue an independent and special remedy, empowering courts to summarily dismiss a suit at the threshold, without proceeding to record evidence, and conducting trial, on the basis of the evidence adduced, if it is satisfied that the action should be terminated on any grounds contained in this provision.

Recently, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (“SC”) in the case of Dahiben v. Arvindbhai Kalyanji Bhanusali[2] (“Case”), while dealing with an appeal against an order allowing rejection of a suit at the threshold, had occasion to consider various precedents, discussing the intent and purpose of O7 R11, while setting out the principles in relation to the same.
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Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872: Requirements for admissibility of electronic evidence revisited by the Supreme Court

Background

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court recently held that the requirement of a certificate under Section 65B(4) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (“Evidence Act”), is a condition  precedent to the admissibility of electronic record in evidence.[1] This judgment arose from a reference by a Division Bench of the Supreme Court, which found that the Division Bench judgment in Shafhi Mohammad v. State of Himachal Pradesh[2] required reconsideration in view of the three-judge bench judgment in Anvar P.V. v. P.K. Basheer.[3]
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How did a virus extend limitation?

 Introduction

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced unprecedented measures on the movement of people across the country, thereby also bringing the functioning of courts and tribunals to a grinding halt. Considering the present scenario, where courts have become physically inaccessible, the Supreme Court of India (“Supreme Court”) on March 23, 2020 took suo-moto cognizance of a petition for extension of limitation and passed an order (“Order”)[1] extending the limitation prescribed either under general law or special laws, whether condonable or not, for filing any petitions, applications, suits, appeals and all other proceedings in all courts and tribunals from March 15, 2020, until passing of further orders.

The Supreme Court reasoned that the Order was being passed to “obviate such difficulties and to ensure that lawyers/litigants do not have to come physically to file such proceedings in respective Courts/Tribunals across the country”.
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Indian Industrial Law - Wages

In its judgment dated September 20, 2018, the Supreme Court of India (SC), in the matter of Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation, Jaipur vs. Shri Phool Chand[1] (Phool Chand) has ruled on a worker’s (workmen as per Industrial Disputes Act, 1947) entitlement to back-wages, if he/she his reinstated.

Under Indian labour and industrial laws, the provisions pertaining to a worker’s entitlement to back-wages is covered under the legal regime of Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (ID Act).

In this regard, the ID Act stipulates that a worker[2] will be entitled to back-wages during pendency of proceedings.
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