Supreme Court Constitutional Bench Judgments of 2019 which impacted History and Politics

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA JUDGMENTS

Rojer Mathew VS South Indian Bank Ltd. & Ors

Case Number Civil Appeal No. 8588 of 2019
Petitioner Name ROJER MATHEW
Respondent Name SOUTH INDIAN BANK LTD AND ORS CHIEF MANAGER
Bench HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE RANJAN GOGOI, HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE N.V. RAMANA, HON’BLE DR. JUSTICE D.Y. CHANDRACHUD, HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE DEEPAK GUPTA, HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJIV KHANNA

Judgment By HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE RANJAN GOGOI: 13-11-2019

Held :

The issue and question of Money Bill, as defined under Article 110(1) of the Constitution, and certification accorded by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha in respect of Part-XIV of the Finance Act, 2017 is referred to a larger Bench.

Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017 does not suffer from excessive delegation of legislative functions as there are adequate principles to guide framing of delegated legislation, which would include the binding dictums of this Court.

The Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017 suffer from various infirmities as observed earlier. These Rules formulated by the Central Government under Section 184 of the Finance Act, 2017 being contrary to the parent enactment and the principles envisaged in the Constitution as interpreted by this Court, are hereby struck down in entirety.

The Central Government is accordingly directed to re-formulate the Rules strictly in conformity and in accordance with the principles delineated by this Court in R.K. Jain (supra), L. Chandra Kumar (supra), Madras Bar Association (supra) and Gujarat Urja Vikas Ltd. (supra) conjointly read with the observations made in the earlier part of this decision.

The new set of Rules to be formulated by the Central Government shall ensure non-discriminatory and uniform conditions of service, including assured tenure, keeping in mind the fact that the Chairperson and Members appointed after retirement and those who are appointed from the Bar or from other specialised professions/services, constitute two separate and distinct homogeneous classes.

It would be open to the Central Government to provide in the new set of Rules that the Presiding Officers or Members of the Statutory Tribunals shall not hold ‘rank’ and ‘status’ equivalent to that of the Judges of the

Supreme Court or High Courts, as the case may be, only on the basis of drawing equal salary or other perquisites.

There is a need-based requirement to conduct ‘Judicial Impact Assessment’ of all the Tribunals referable to the Finance Act, 2017 so as to analyse the ramifications of the changes in the framework of Tribunals as provided under the Finance Act, 2017. Thus, we find it appropriate to issue a writ of mandamus to the Ministry of Law and Justice to carry out such ‘Judicial Impact Assessment’ and submit the result of the findings before the competent legislative authority.

The Central Government in consultation with the Law Commission of India or any other expert body shall re-visit the provisions of the statutes referable to the Finance Act, 2017 or other Acts as listed in para 174 of this order and place appropriate proposals before the Parliament for consideration of the need to remove direct appeals to the Supreme Court from orders of Tribunals. A decision in this regard by the Union of India shall be taken within six months.

The Union Government shall carry out an appropriate exercise for amalgamation of existing Tribunals adopting the test of homogeneity of the subject matters to be dealt with and thereafter constitute adequate number of Benches commensurate with the existing and anticipated volume of work.


M Siddiq (D) Thr Lrs  Vs Mahant Suresh Das & Ors 

Case Number: Civil Appeal Nos 10866-10867 of 2010
Petitioner Name M.SIDDIQ (D) THR. LRS.
Respondent Name MAHANT SURESH DAS
Bench HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE RANJAN GOGOI, HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE, HON’BLE DR. JUSTICE D.Y. CHANDRACHUD, HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE ASHOK BHUSHAN, HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE S. ABDUL NAZEER

Judgment By HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE RANJAN GOGOI: 09-11-2019

Held:

1 (i) Suit 3 instituted by Nirmohi Akhara is held to be barred by limitation and shall accordingly stand dismissed;

(ii) Suit 4 instituted by the Sunni Central Waqf Board and other plaintiffs is held to be within limitation. The judgment of the High Court holding Suit 4 to be barred by limitation is reversed; and

(iii) Suit 5 is held to be within limitation.

2 Suit 5 is held to be maintainable at the behest of the first plaintiff who is represented by the third plaintiff. There shall be a decree in terms of prayer clauses (A) and (B) of the suit, subject to the following directions:

(i) The Central Government shall, within a period of three months from the date of this judgment, formulate a scheme pursuant to the powers vested in it under Sections 6 and 7 of the Acquisition of Certain Area at Ayodhya Act 1993. The scheme shall envisage the setting up of a trust with a Board of Trustees or any other appropriate body under Section 6. The scheme to be framed by the Central Government shall make necessary provisions in regard to the functioning of the trust or body including on matters relating
to the management of the trust, the powers of the trustees including the construction of a temple and all necessary, incidental and supplemental matters;

(ii) Possession of the inner and outer courtyards shall be handed over to the Board of Trustees of the Trust or to the body so constituted. The Central Government will be at liberty to make suitable provisions in respect of the rest of the acquired land by handing it over to the Trust or body for management and development in terms of the scheme framed in accordance with the above directions; and

(iii) Possession of the disputed property shall continue to vest in the statutory receiver under the Central Government, untill in exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 6 of the Ayodhya Act of 1993, a notification is issued vesting the property in the trust or other body.

3 (i) Simultaneously, with the handing over of the disputed property to the Trust or body under clause 2 above, a suitable plot of land admeasuring 5 acres shall be handed over to the Sunni Central Waqf Board, the plaintiff in Suit 4.

(ii) The land shall be allotted either by:

(a) The Central Government out of the land acquired under the Ayodhya Act 1993; or

(b) The State Government at a suitable prominent place in Ayodhya;
The Central Government and the State Government shall act in consultation with each other to effectuate the above allotment in the period stipulated.

(iii) The Sunni Central Waqf Board would be at liberty, on the allotment of the land to take all necessary steps for the construction of a mosque on the land so allotted together with other associated facilities;

(iv) Suit 4 shall stand decreed to this extent in terms of the above directions; and

(v) The directions for the allotment of land to the Sunni Central Waqf Board in Suit 4 are issued in pursuance of the powers vested in this Court under Article 142 of the Constitution.

4 In exercise of the powers vested in this Court under Article 142 of the Constitution, we direct that in the scheme to be framed by the Central Government, appropriate representation may be given in the Trust or body, to the Nirmohi Akhara in such manner as the Central Government deems fit.

5 The right of the plaintiff in Suit 1 to worship at the disputed property is affirmed subject to any restrictions imposed by the relevant authorities with respect to the maintenance of peace and order and the performance of orderly worship.


SUPREME COURT OF INDIA VS SUBHASH CHANDRA AGARWAL

Case Number: CIVIL APPEAL NO. 10044 OF 2010
Petitioner Name CEN.PUB.INFORMATION OFFICER,SCI .
Respondent Name SUBHASH CHANDRA AGARWAL
Bench HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE RANJAN GOGOI, HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE N.V. RAMANA, HON’BLE DR. JUSTICE D.Y. CHANDRACHUD, HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE DEEPAK GUPTA, HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJIV KHANNA

Judgment By HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE RANJAN GOGOI: 13-11-2019

Held  :

Thus, when the public interest demands the disclosure of information, judicial independence has to be kept in mind while deciding the question of exercise of discretion. However, we should not be understood to mean that the independence of the judiciary can be achieved only by denial of access to information. Independence in a given case may well demand openness and transparency by furnishing the information. Reference to the principle of judicial independence is not to undermine and avoid accountability which is an aspect we perceive and believe has to be taken into account while examining the public interest in favour of disclosure of information. Judicial independence and accountability go hand in hand as accountability ensures, and is a facet of judicial independence. Further, while applying the proportionality test, the type and nature of the information is a relevant factor. Distinction must be drawn between the final opinion or resolutions passed by the collegium with regard to appointment/elevation and transfer of judges with observations and indicative reasons and the inputs/data or details which the collegium had examined. The rigour of public interest in divulging the input details, data and particulars of the candidate would be different from that of divulging and furnishing details of the output, that is the decision. In the former, public interest test would have to be applied keeping in mind the fiduciary relationship (if it arises), and also the invasion of the right to privacy and breach of the duty of confidentiality owed to the candidate or the information provider, resulting from the furnishing of such details and particulars. The position represents a principled conflict between various factors in favour of disclosure and those in favour of withholding of information. Transparency and openness in judicial appointments juxtaposed with confidentiality of deliberations remain one of the most delicate and complex areas. Clearly, the position is progressive as well as evolving as steps have been taken to make the selection and appointment process more transparent and open. Notably, there has been a change after concerns were expressed on disclosure of the names and the reasons for those who had not been approved. The position will keep forging new paths by taking into consideration the experiences of the past and the aspirations of the future.

 Further observed that it is not possible to answer these questions in absolute terms, and that in each case, the public interest test would be applied to weigh the scales and on balance determine whether information should be furnished or would be exempt. Therefore, a universal affirmative or negative answer is not possible. However, independence of judiciary is a matter of public interest.

Supreme Court of India to furnish information on the judges of the Supreme Court who had declared their assets. Such disclosure would not, in any way, impinge upon the personal information and right to privacy of the judges. The fiduciary relationship rule in terms of clause (e) to Section 8(1) of the RTI Act is inapplicable. It would not affect the right to confidentiality of the judges and their right to protect personal information and privacy, which would be the case where details and contents of personal assets in the declaration are called for and sought, in which event the public interest test as applicable vide Section 8(1)(j) and proviso to Section 11 (1) of the RTI Act would come into operation.