Analysis: Here's what the Supreme Court and High Courts of India had to say this week
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This segment highlights the important issues of the Indian Legal System of the week objectively and with a magnified legal lens factually.

What made Headlines from the Supreme Court of India this week?

1. Supreme Court on Friday rejected the interim application, seeking stay on selling of new electoral bonds ahead of Legislative Assembly election in the State of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry. Court noted that interim safeguards had already been provided for by the Court in light of an earlier order
Bench: Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian
Case Title: Association for Democratic Reforms v. Union of India

2. The Supreme Court on Friday set aside the reinstatement of Cyrus Mistry as the Chairperson of Tata Sons Limited. Court answered all questions in favour of Tata Group. "All questions of law are liable to be answered in favour of Tata Group and are liable to be allowed and those by SP are liable to be dismissed," Court said. Tata Sons and Cyrus Mistry had challenged a December 18, 2019 order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal which was stayed by the top court on January 10, 2020.
Bench: Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian
Case Title: Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. Vs. Cyrus Investments Pvt. Ltd. & Ors.

Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh
Former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh


3. The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain an Article 32 petition filed by Ex-Commissioner of Mumbai Police Parambir Singh, seeking CBI probe into his allegations against Maharashtra's Home Minister Anil Deshmukh indulging in an "extortion racket". Singh had also challenged his transfer to Home Guards.
Bench: Justices SK Kaul & Subhash Reddy
Case Title: Parambir Singh Vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors.

Analysis: Here's what the Supreme Court and High Courts of India had to say this week
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4. The Supreme Court on Friday directed for the status quo to be maintained with regards to water supply to Delhi. In the present matter, the Bench was hearing the fresh Intervention application that was filed by Delhi Jal Board praying for direction to be issued to the Haryana government to release the water to avert severe crisis in the State of NCT of Delhi along with the petition that was filed in connection with the increased ammonia levels in Yamuna due to the discharge of pollutants.
What to Expect in the next hearing? Court is expected to take up the case post holi break, which ends on April 4, 2021.
Bench: Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice AS Bopanna & Justice V Subramanian
Case Title: Delhi Jal Board v. State of Haryana| & In Re Remediation Of Polluted Rivers

Activist Gautam Navlakha
Activist Gautam Navlakha
File Photo

5. The Supreme Court reserved orders for April 12, challenging the Bombay High Court judgment which rejected Bhima Koregaon Violence accused Gautam Navlakha's application for Default Bail. Earlier the High Court had rejected the petitioner’s plea on primarily two grounds, namely, 1) Period under house arrest cannot be treated as custody of police, because the police could not interrogate. 2) Since the order of transit remand was set aside itself on the grounds of illegality, everything that happened until October 1 falls out of consideration.
Bench: Justices UU Lalit & KM Joseph
Case Title: Gautam Navlakha Vs. Union of India

6. After a 10-day hearing, the Constitution bench bench reserved the judgment in challenge to constitutionality of Maharashtra SEBC Act which extends reservations in public employment and education for the Maratha Community and on the question of whether Indra Sawhney needs to be reconsidered.
Bench: Justice Hemant Gupta, Justice Nageswara Rao, Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Ravindra Bhat
Case Title: Jaishri Laxman Rao Patil v. The Chief Minister & Ors

7. The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the plea's by various sectors seeking extension of loan moratorium and other reliefs in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.The Court observed that complete waiver of interest cannot be granted during the loan moratorium period and that no sector specific relief(s) can be granted by the Court. On the issue of interest on interest, Court held that no borrower shall be charged compounding interest during moratorium period and that whatever amount of interest of interest has been charged, unless the same is wilful default, shall be adjusted in the next instalment.
Case Title: Small Scale Industrial Manufactures Association Vs. Union of India
Bench: Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy & MR Shah

Justice NV Ramana
Justice NV Ramana

8. Supreme Court released a statement dismissing complaint by Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy against Justice NV Ramana, in the Amravati land scam case. “A complaint dated 6th October, 2020 sent by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh to the Supreme Court was dealt with under the In-House Procedure and the same, on due consideration, stands dismissed. It be noted that all matters dealt with under the In-house procedure being strictly confidential in nature, are not liable to be made public”, the official statement said.

High Court and Other Court Updates

1. Ex-Police Commissioner, Mumbai, Mr. Parambir Singh has moved Bombay High Court seeking fair investigation into the alleged Extortion racket by the State Home Minister, Shri Anil Deshmukh. This development came in right after the Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Kaul refused to entertain his plea seeking CBI probe against allegations of extortion racket made against Home Minister, Mr. Anil Deshmukh and further granted liberty to approach the concerned High Court under Article 226.

2. The Bombay High Court comprising a Single Bench of Justice P.D. Naik granted bail to Businessman Deepak Kochhar, husband of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, an alleged multi-crore money laundering case being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate. He was arrested last year in September by the central probe agency in the case involving ICICI Bank and the Videocon Group under Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

Priya Ramani, MJ Akbar
Priya Ramani, MJ Akbar

3. Former Union Minister MJ Akbar appealed to Delhi HC against the acquittal of journalist Priya Ramani in his criminal defamation case, which was filed by Akbar after Ramani levelled sexual harassment allegations against him during the #MeToo movement of 2018. The Delhi High Court has adjourned the matter to May 5, 2021 for now.

Arnab Goswami
Arnab Goswami
File Photo

4. The Bombay High Court in its decision ruled that the Mumbai Police should give three days' prior notice if they want to arrest journalist Arnab Goswami in the TRP scam case. It was also held that in case the investigating officer desires to summon the Petitioner (Arnab Goswami) for inquiry/investigation, he shall give clear notice of three days (excluding holidays) to him. In case, such notice/summons is received by the Petitioner, as assured by him to this Court and recorded in the order dated Oct 19, 2020, he shall appear and co-operate with the inquiry before the concerned investigating officer.

Stan Swamy
Stan Swamy
PTI Photo

5. A special court on Monday rejected the bail application of alleged CPI(Maoist) member, Stan Swamy, arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Elgar Parishad case. “The collective interest of the community would outweigh the right of personal liberty of the applicant and as such the old age and or alleged sickness of the applicant would not go in his favour, so that the discretion to release the applicant can be exercised in his favour” opined the Special Court. Court has held that there is sufficient material available against the applicant and the co-accused. "There are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation of commission of the offences punishable under Chapters IV and VI of the UAPA against the applicant is prima facie true. Considering the express bar imposed by Section 43D(5) of the UAPA, the applicant cannot be released on bail," it said.

6. The Delhi High Court while recently dismissing the petition filed for appointment of a sole arbitrator has observed that once the provisions of MSME Act (“Act”) are invoked, recourse to an ad hoc arbitration would not be available & the provisions of MSME Act to that extent would also override the provisions of agreement between the parties or the Arbitration & Conciliation Act (“A & C Act”)

- Sanya Talwar is the Editor of Lawbeat

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