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Written by:
Prachi Sethi
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In the matter of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. & Anr. V. M/s Nortel Networks India Pvt. Ltd   The period for submission of an application was governed by Article 137 of the First Schedule of the Limitation Act, 1963, under Section 11 of the 1996 Arbitration and Conciliation Act, and it was the date when the arbitrator was not appointed that began to last. It was also suggested that Parliament change the time limit for filing the application in accordance with section 11 of the 1996 Act, in line with the objective of rapid settlement of processes in arbitration. This provision was also proposed.It was also decided that in rare and extreme situations, where the claims are ex facie time barred and there is clear that no disagreement exists, the Court might refuse to grant the referral.

(NOTE: The above judgement relates to the appointment of an arbitrator)

In the case of OPTO Circuit India Ltd. V. Axis Bank &Ors The appellant was displeased with the Enforcement Directorate's order blocking its bank accounts. Written pleas of the appellant before the High Court were refused and this appeal was finally lodged. The Court noted that, while the High Court had been right to conclude that the challenged order had been made under the 2002 PMLA, it had to be investigated if the proper procedural requirements of the PMLA were being observed. The Court noted that nothing was recorded indicating that, according to the requirements of Section 17(1) PMLA, the body blocking the bank accounts had documented the reasons in writing or sent a copy thereof to the judgmental authority, as required by Section 17. (2).The Court stated that, while the order mandating the freezing of accounts does not have to include all of the specifics, it must include the belief as required by Section 17. (1). The Court referred back to Chandra Kishor Jha (1999) 8 SCC 266 to repeat the salutary concept that if a statute requires something to be done in a certain way, it must be done in that way and no other. The Court further rejected the respondent's contention that the freezing order was issued under Section 102 of the CrPC, noting that a) the PMLA is a standalone statute with the requisite authorities, and its powers and procedures must be followed;b) When power is available in accordance with a certain act, it is not essential to turn to power according to that general legislation; (c) in respect of the police officer in an investigation the power under Section 102 CrPC is separate from that under PMLA. The Court cited Mohinder Singh Gill & Others (1978) 1 SCC 405 to reaffirm that the legality of a statutory authority's ruling should be assessed by the reasons stated therein and cannot be augmented by new reasons or grounds. Thus, the Court granted the appeal to the extent of the illegality of the bank account being blocked, but reserving the respondents' ability to re-institute action in line with the law.

(NOTE: The above judgement relates to Section 17 (1), Section 17 (2) Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002, blocking or freezing of bank accounts, procedural safeguards against the same)

In the case of State of Gujrat V. Balachandra Lakxmishankar Dave, Without any discussion or re-appreciation of evidence, the bench derided the High Court's decision overturning the Trial Court's judgement of conviction under Section 7 read with Sections 13(1) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. It was highlighted that, as opposed to an appeal against acquittal, the High Court had less constraints in an appeal against conviction since, as the Court of Appeal, it had broad powers of evidence appreciation and had to re-appreciate the whole evidence on record as a First Appellate Court.

(NOTE: The above judgement relates toappeal against conviction, appeal against acquittal, double presumption, presumption of innocence)

In the case of Ram Vijay Singh V. State of Uttar Pradesh ,Appeals were filed against a decision of the Allahabad High Court rejecting an appeal against a conviction under Sections 302/34 of the Indian Penal Code. It was held by the court that the plea of juvenility can be brought during any time, even after the proceedings of the court of law has been concluded. In the absence of evidence to show juvenility, a medical perception from a legally constituted medical board would be requested under Rule 12(3)(b) of the Juvenile Justice Rules. The Juvenile Justice Board's Court may, if deemed essential, offer the kid the benefit of the doubt by assessing their age on the lower side within a one-year margin.The Juvenile Justice Board's Court may, if deemed essential, offer the juvenile the benefit of the doubt by considering their age on the low end within a one-year margin. However, there was no comparable provision addressing a buffer in Section 94 of the Act. The Court ruled that in the absence of a medical report, an interim order of release pending trial in a court was insufficient to determine juvenility. The Court ruled that a portion of a witness's statement may be believed even if the Court does not rely on it.

(NOTE: The above judgement relates to Determination of Juvenility, Abuzar Hossain alias Gulam Hossain v. State of West Bengal (2012) , Section 7-A of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules 2007, Ilangovan v State of TN (2020) )

In the case of Union of India V. A. Alagam Perumal Kone and Ors., The Bench ruled that because there were such substantial factual disagreements, the High Court could not have dismissed the writ petition without really giving the Union notice to submit a counter. The Bench underlined that the pension under the SwatantrataSainik Samman Pension Program of 1980 may only be sanctioned based on the proof needed by the scheme.

(NOTE: The above judgement relates to freedom fighters’ pension, disputed facts in writ petition)

In the case of Rajesh Kumar Singh &Ors. v. State of Uttar Pradesh &Ors.,The Bench held that the Uttar Police Motor Transport Unit Rule 5 and Rule 10 of its Subordinate Officers' Rules of Procedure for 2015 were not discriminatory as long as the appellants alleged, they needed a process of appointment to the post of Chief Advisory Motor Transport Officer to be subject to a highly technical selection process. The Council found that although Constable drivers were elevated to seniority as Chief Constable Drivers, the Constable Drivers wanted to be designated Head of Administrative Motor Transport, then the selection procedure would have to be conducted.

(NOTE: The above judgement relates to constable drivers, lateral seniority)

In the case of Harshit Agarwal and Ors. V. Union of India and Ors. The Court was asked to decide the validity of the discretion exercised by the first Respondent to not decrease the BDS admission cut percentile, in spite of the suggestion of the governing council of the Dental Council of India for academic year 2020-2021 (the second Respondent). Referring to Regulation II(ii) of the India Dental Council Revised BDS Course Rules of 2007, the Court noted that only in the event that a significant number of candidates did not obtain requisite marks may the Central Government exercise its discretion to decrease minimum marks. This criteria was met by the Court in the current case, since the entry into the NEET (UG) 2020 courses was initiated for the first time and led to the total number of seats in the ratio of qualified students being low, for different courses like MBBS, BDS, UG AYUSH, and others. In conjunction with the other responder, the first interviewee had earlier decreased the minimal entry mark to the first year BDS course for 2019-2020, but for the academic year 2020-21 for non-national reasons.

(NOTE: The above judgement relates to Dental Council of India Revised BDS Course Regulations, 2007, NEET (UG) 2020, percentile, minimum marks).