SC says Courts must pass reasoned orders to enable parties understand why they lost or won cases

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has said that courts need to pass a reasoned order in every case which would enable the parties involved in the litigation to understand as to “why one party has won and other has lost”.

The top court remanded back to the Madhya Pradesh High Court at Indore, a matter related to provident fund contribution for deciding it afresh.
A bench of justices A M Sapre and Navin Sinha said that the order of the court should highlight the legal principles applicable to the issues involved.

“Time and again, this court has emphasised on the courts the need to pass reasoned order in every case which must contain the narration of the bare facts of the case of the parties to the lis, the issues arising in the case, the submissions urged by the parties, the legal principles applicable to the issues involved and the reasons in support of the findings on all the issues arising in the case and urged by the learned counsel for the parties in support of its conclusion,” the bench said.
The court said it is really unfortunate that the division bench (of high court) failed to keep in mind these principles while disposing of the writ petition.

“Such order, in our view, has undoubtedly caused prejudice to the parties because it deprived them to know the reasons as to why one party has won and other has lost,” the bench said

Seeking bank employees’ personal info exempted under RTI: SC

The Supreme Court has held that seeking information about individual bank employees which were personal in nature and devoid of any public interest, was exempted under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The court made the observation while allowing an appeal filed by Canara Bank challenging an order of the Kerala High Court directing it to provide information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act about transfers and postings of its entire clerical staff from January 2002 to July 2006.

Relying on an 2013 apex court verdict, a bench comprising Justices R K Agrawal and A M Sapre said the information sought by a man, who was working as a clerical staff in the bank, was “personal in nature” and exempted from being disclosed under section 8(j) of the RTI Act.

It said neither the man had “disclosed any public interest much less larger public interest involved in seeking such information of the individual employee” nor any finding was recorded by Central Information Commission (CIC) and the high court regarding any public interest in supplying such information to him.

He had in August 2006 made an application to the public information officer (PIO) of the bank under the RTI Act and sought information regarding transfers and postings of the entire clerical staff from January 2002 to July 2006 in all the branches.

He had also asked for information regarding personal details of individual employees like date of joining, designation and promotion earned.

The bank’s PIO had expressed his inability to furnish details sought by him on the ground that it was protected from being disclosed under the provisions of the Act and had no nexus with any public interest.

The man had thereafter filed an appeal before the chief public information officer who also dismissed it.

Later, he moved the CIC which in February 2007 asked the bank to furnish the information sought by him.

Aggrieved by the order, the bank approached the high court which dismissed its plea while affirming the order of the CIC.

The top court allowed the appeal filed by the bank while setting aside the orders of the high court and the CIC.

Eviction cases be given priority by courts: SC

Eviction matters should be given priority by courts at all stages of litigation, especially in cases where the landlord has sought eviction for his bonafide needs, the Supreme Court has said.

The apex court observed that the object of the rent law was to ensure speedy disposal of eviction cases between the landlord and the tenant and expressed hope that due attention would be paid by all courts in deciding such matters.

A bench of Justices A M Sapre and R Banumathi made these observations while dealing with an eviction-related case of Kerala which went on in different courts for over a decade.

“We sincerely feel that eviction matters should be given priority in their disposal at all stages of litigation and especially where the eviction is claimed on the ground of bonafide need of the landlord,” the bench said.

“We hope and trust that due attention would be paid by all courts to ensure speedy disposal of eviction cases,” it said while allowing the appeal filed by a landlord against an order of the Kerala High Court.

The high court, in its January 2016 verdict, had allowed the petition filed by one of the eight tenants who was evicted from a rented shop on the basis of an order passed by the trial court. The other seven tenants had not challenged the lower court’s order.

The high court, while allowing the plea of the tenant, had quashed four separate orders passed by the lower court and remanded the case for fresh trial. The landlord had approached the apex court against the high court’s order.

In its judgement, the apex court

held that the high court had not only erred in entertaining the writ petition filed by the tenant, but also erred in exercising its supervisory jurisdiction by interfering in the trial court’s orders.

Dealing with the challenge to the high court’s order, the top court said that in the absence of “any prima facie case having been made out on any jurisdictional issue affecting the very jurisdiction of the court in passing the eviction decree, the high court should have declined to examine the legality of four orders impugned therein”.

“On the other hand, we have no hesitation in forming an opinion that the respondent (tenant) was contesting the eviction proceedings as a ‘professional litigant’ and was successful to a large extent in keeping the proceedings pending for 10 years which enabled him to enjoy possession of the suit shop to the detriment of appellant’s (landlord) interest,” it said.

While setting aside the high court’s order, the bench also imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the tenant and directed him to pay the amount to the landlord.

Source : PTI

‘Star campaigner’s air travel expense outside constituency not

air travel reportExpenses incurred by a “star campaigner” on travelling by air outside his constituency cannot be computed as his personal election expenditure as a candidate, the Supreme Court has said.

A bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar ordered deletion of a paragraph, regarding expenses, in an election plea filed against an MLA in Madhya Pradesh on the ground that being a star campaigner, he was required to campaign for the political party outside his constituency also.

The names of stars campaigners are communicated to the Election Commission by the party.

As per section 77 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 the expenditure incurred by a star campaigner on account of travel for propagating the programme of the political party is excluded for the purpose of computing the expenditure incurred by him.

The verdict came on the petition filed by Congress MLA from Madhya Pradesh and son of late Union minister Arjun Singh, Ajay Arjun Singh.

The petitioner, MLA from Churahat Assembly constituency, moved the apex court against the Madhya Pradesh High Court order refusing to dismiss the election petition filed by defeated BJP candidate Sharadendu Tiwari in the 2013 Assembly elections. Singh had won the election by a margin of 19,356 votes.

Tiwari had contended that Singh has not disclosed his actual expenditure which he incurred in connection with a public meeting of Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi at the district headquarters, Sidhi on November 20, 2013.

“The specific pleading in the election petition is that the appellant herein used the helicopter on many occasions during the relevant period only between Bhopal and Sidhi, both of which are outside the constituency of the appellant. The admitted fact is that the appellant was one of the star campaigners for the said election for the State of Madhya Pradesh.

“Therefore, he was required to campaign for his political party, not only in his constituency but also in other constituencies of the State. In the absence of any allegation that the appellant used the helicopter for travelling within 76-Churahat constituency for the purpose of campaigning, the expenditure incurred on that account, in our opinion, cannot be included in the election expenditure of the appellant,” the bench also comprising Justice A M Sapre said.

Competent lawyers should be appointed to represent govt: SC

The State should appoint only competent lawyers possessing integrity to represent it or else there is a strong possibility of “miscarriage of justice”, the Supreme Court has said.

The apex court though acknowledged the right of states to choose counsel of its choice like any other litigants.

A bench of justices Vikramjit Sen and A M Sapre, while hearing a case on appointment of government lawyers in district courts in Uttar Pradesh, said, “In choosing them (lawyers), the State will not only have to be satisfied of their forensic competence, but also that they are bereft of any criminal antecedents.”

“We think that the correct approach is to ensure the competency of advocates being considered for appointment of additional district government counsel, assistant district government counsel, panel lawyers and sub district government counsel. It seems to us that it would be an incorrect approach to start this process by considering the re-appointment or renewal of existing government counsels since that would dilute, nay, dissolve the discretion of the government to appoint advocates whom they find trustworthy,” the court said.

“The only expectation is that the choice made by the State should not be such as could defeat the sacred and onerous responsibility of ensuring that the justice is meted out to all citizens,” it said.

The apex court was hearing appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court verdict quashing the orders of the state government terminating the appointment of district government counsel. The high court had directed the state government to reconsider their renewal.

The high court, in the impugned order, had quashed the orders of the state government terminating the appointment of district government counsel and had further directed the state to reconsider their renewal.

The apex court agreed with the earlier judgment in which it had said that district counsel did not have a statutory right for renewal of tenure and the state government enjoyed discretionary power in this regard.

SC to hear CBSE plea for more time to re-conduct AIPMT-2015

SC to hear CBSE plea for more time to re-conduct AIPMT-2015
SC to hear CBSE plea for more time to re-conduct AIPMT-2015

CBSE today told the Supreme Court it will be “impossible” for it to re-conduct in four weeks the scrapped All India Pre Medical Test-2015 exam as directed by the apex court.

A bench of justices R K Agrawal and A M Sapre decided to take up a petition of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) seeking reconsideration of the apex court’s June 15 order to hold afresh the AIPMT-2915 in four weeks after Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar mentioned the matter before it.

Kumar told the apex court that it is impossible to re-conduct the exam within the time frame decided by the Supreme Court.

He said that the board (CBSE) was overburdened with work of conducting seven exams simultaneously and it needed at least three months time to conduct the exam afresh.

The Supreme Court had on June 15 scrapped the AIPMT-2015 and had ordered re-conduct of the examination within four weeks.

The apex court had directed the re-examination in view of large-scale cheating in the test with students getting answers in the examination hall at many places.

Earlier, while reserving its order on June 12, the court had said the examination stands vitiated even if one student is being benefited illegally.

It had said that CBSE could not be held guilty as such but taking into consideration the past incidents, “CBSE ought to have been cognisant of these things”.

CBSE, however, had opposed the contentions seeking cancellation of the test, saying, “6.3 lakh students cannot be made to take the exam afresh when only 44 students have been found involved in taking benefits through unfair means.”

Earlier, the vacation bench had asked Haryana Police to file a fresh report indicating the number of beneficiaries of the alleged irregularities in the pre-medical examination.

It had also asked police to identify as many candidates as possible who had been benefited from the alleged leak.

CBSE was to declare the results of AIPMT, taken by over six lakh students, on June 5 but it was stayed by the Supreme Court.

The court had said, “The bigger issue is that the sanctity of the examination is under suspicion. We want to be doubly sure that there is no alternative but to order re-conduct of the exam,” adding that it did not want to take a decision “in haste”.

CBI Director dragged into another controversy in SC on 2G scam

CBI Director Ranjit Sinha was today at the centre of a controversy with an NGO telling the Supreme Court that entry register of his residence portrays a “very disturbing” and “explosive material” coming in the way of administration of justice in 2G spectrum allocation scam.

The issue was raised by the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), one of the PIL petitioners on whose plea 122 licences for 2G spectrum were cancelled by the apex court.

The apex court stopped the NGO’s counsel from reading out his note on the issue after CBI counsel raised objections to making the content of the register public in open court and agreed to hear it on Thursday.

“If you can give the copy of the material to us, CBI and Director’s counsel, we can take up the matter day after tomorrow,” a bench comprising Justices H L Dattu, S A Bobde and A M Sapre said.

CPIL’s counsel Prashant Bhushan started the submission by stating that after disturbing development of keeping the DIG Santosh Rastogi out of the invvestigation of 2G spectrum which was rectified on apex court’s intervention and during the pendency of an application seeking recusal of Sinha from the spectrum matter, another “very disturbing” thing has happened.

“Last night I came across very disturbing and explosive material. The entry register of Director’s residence,” Bhushan said and referred to a news report which claimed that top executives of a company indicted in 2G scam met CBI Director at his residence in the last 15 months.

While CPIL counsel was reading his note, senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the CBI intervened and asked the bench to pass an order that all materials be placed before the court in a sealed envelope.CBI Director Ranjit Sinha

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, who was appearing in a 2G related matter for DMK MP Kanimozhi, one of the accused in the scam, came to the defence of CBI Director by saying that “he is performing his duty well but all kinds of allegations are being levelled.”

Sinha deputed senior advocate Vikas Singh, who said allegations are being made and it appears that attempts are being made to destroy CBI as an institution.

Jethmalani said everytime Bhushan comes out with notes the CPIL should be asked to make its submission through affidavit.

The bench asked CPIL to make its submission by way of affidavit and posted the hearing on Thursday when it will also hear the NGO’s application seeking recusal of Sinha from all 2G matters allegedly for trying to protect some influential accused in the scam.

The NGO alleged that the “Director has made serious attempts to derail the investigation and prosecution being carried out by the CBI”.