The Most Important Judgments Of 2020 - Part 4

The year 2020 has been a life changing year for all of us by almost changing our way of living. Although, the Legal System of our country was still at work to provide justice to the citizens of our country with utmost sincerity.

Here are some few interesting Judgments which cover Matrimonial cases to Consumer Protection cases that took place this year. Few were amended and few were replaced or rules out. The judgments might change the legal reasoning and application.


In this case, the Supreme Court pronounced a landmark judgment by holding that landlord-tenant disputes are also arbitrable, unless it is subject to a specific rent control law. By pronouncing this decision, the Supreme Court has brought such disputes under the purview of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act and thereby transferred the burden arising from a plethora of cases from itself to the Alternate Dispute Mechanism. The parties, i.e. the landlords and the tenants will also benefit since they can now avail an expedient resolution of their disputes. Notably, the Court also laid four-fold test for deciding whether a matter is arbitrable or not.


In this landmark case, the Supreme Court of India directed for installation of CCTV cameras in all Police Stations, including the interrogation rooms, throughout the country. This judgment is another step taken by the Supreme Court for protection of Human Rights of persons under Police custody, those who are wrongfully detained, or those being interrogated, by bringing out the cases of brutality used by the Police.


In this case, the Supreme Court held that a there is no need to impose the condition of depositing an amount, while granting a default bail under Section 167(2) of CrPC. The Court also noted that the only condition that must be fulfilled before granting such bail is that the accused should have been in jail for more than 60 or 90 days and the investigation against him is still not complete or the charge sheet against is yet not submitted at the expiry of 60th or 90th day. Moreover, the Court also noted that the conditions for granting such bails are different from that while granting regular bail under section 437 CrPC.


In this case, the Supreme Court held that denial of legitimate expectation can be circumstance leading to arbitrariness and thus a violation of Article 14. The Court also illustrated the “Doctrine of Legitimate Expectation” can be used against arbitrary State action to claim relief. This judgment was pronounced by a Division Bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra.


In this case, the Supreme Court held that the summary eviction procedure under the Senior Citizens Act will not have an overriding effect over the right of a woman to live in a shared household under Section 17 of the Domestic Violence Act. It is notable that both the acts are ‘special enactments’ containing non-obstante clauses that give them overriding effects over any other laws in force. The Supreme Court, while dealing with this issue, observed that courts should consider the non-obstante clauses and make an attempt to harmonize the two special enactments, and ensure that no act is used to violate rights of any other vulnerable section of society.


In this case, the Supreme Court held that a CBI investigation can be ordered even after submission of charge sheet. While dealing with this case, the Court had cancelled the anticipatory bail granted to the in-laws of a deceased woman, whose dowry death was allegedly caused by the in-laws, and also directed the Police to transfer the case to CBI for further investigation, owing to the biased investigation being done by the Police.


The Supreme Court has, in this order stated "reminded the magistrates all over the country" that any stay granted by any court will "automatically expire" within six months unless "extended for good reasons."

An FIR was registered with the Delhi Special Police Establishment under Sections 120-B along with Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 477-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 13(2) along with Section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 ("PC Act"), at the instance of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi against the Appellant and certain officers of MCD.

The FIR alleged that the accused had caused wrongful loss to MCD by using fake invoices of certain oil companies about the purported transportation of bitumen for use in "dense carpeting works" of roads in Delhi during the years 1997 and 1998.A charge sheet was later filed by CBI.


The Supreme Court in the following case has observed that the candidates belonging to reserved category, are eligible to fill general/open category vacancies also. The bench comprising Hon’ble Justices Uday Umesh Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and Hrishikesh Roy held that this principle should also be followed while filling vacancies in horizontal reservations in the open category. Ms Sonam Tomar and Ms Reeta Rani who had participated in the Selection Process had approached the Court aggrieved with non-consideration of their claim of OBC female and SC female candidates against the posts meant for General Category female candidates.

The Court has criticized the view taken by some High Courts that, at the stage of accommodating candidates for effecting horizontal reservation, the candidates from reserved categories can be adjusted only against their categories under the concerned vertical reservation and not against the "Open or General Category”. Eventually, the court held that all candidates coming from 'OBC Female Category' who had secured more marks than the marks secured by the last candidate appointed in 'General Category–Female' must be offered employment as Constables in Uttar Pradesh Police.


The three-judge bench of Hon’ble Justice Arun Mishra, Justice Vineet Saran and Justice S Ravindra Bhat, marked its verdict that Judicial Officers cannot be appointed as District Judges through the direct recruitment under the quota reserved for the members of the bar. The quotas which are boarded for the members of the bar requires a continues practice of more than 7 years, and thus subordinate judicial officers are not eligible for applying for direct recruitment.

Seeing the matter involved a substantial question of law into the interpretation of Article 233 of the Constitution of India. The two issues raised by the petitioners were:

In case a candidate has completed 7 years of practice as an advocate, whether he/she shall be an eligible candidate even though on the date of the application/appointment or if he/she is in the service of the Union or the State;

Secondly, the members who are in judicial service as Civil Judge, Junior Division or Senior Division, if they have completed 7 years as Judicial Officers or seven years as Judicial Officer-cum-Advocate, whether they should be treated as eligible candidates.

The Court held that when someone opts for a particular stream, i.e., Judicial Services by his own choice, he cannot sail in two boats. The Court further added that, if one of that source or sources are permitted to compete in the quota embarked for the other without the contrary situation the result would rank as discrimination


A Builder Buyer Agreement, in this case, was executed in November 2013, and the project was registered under the RERA act in November 2017. As per the terms of the agreement the possession of the unit was to be handed over within 42 months from the date of the agreement.

The buyers being upset by the non-completion of the project within the specified period as mentioned in the agreement approached the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission under the Consumer Protection Act. The NCDRC later regarding the complaint ordered the builder to pay compensation. Thereafter, the builder approached the Supreme Court and contended that since the RERA registration was valid till December 2020, the project could not be said to be delayed.

However, the court rejected this argument by stating that the period of allotment expired before the RERA registration. It was later held that the period of allotment starts from the date of the buyer agreement and not from the date of registration of the project under the RERA (Real estate regulation and development act).


A petition was filed for Interim Maintenance by a wife and her Minor son as Respondents under Section 125 Cr.P.C. Wife left the matrimonial home in January 2013, soon after the birth of Son (Respondent no. 2). In 2013, the wife filed an application where Family Court Ordered payment of interim maintenance of Rs.15,000 per month to wife and Rs. 5,000 per month to son. The husband later challenged the order before Bombay HC, where the petition was dismissed. Later, the present appeal was filed in Supreme Court to impugn the High Court order. Few issues were taken into consideration in Supreme Court namely: Issue of Overlapping Jurisdictions, Payment of interim maintenance, Criteria for determining the quantum of maintenance, Date from which Maintenance to be awarded and Enforcement of orders of maintenance.

To conclude, the two-Judge Bench of the Apex Court comprising of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice R Subhash Reddy issued detailed and historic guidelines on payment of maintenance in matrimonial matters. It was later stated that “Maintenance laws have been enacted as a measure of social justice to provide recourse to dependant wives and children for their financial support, to prevent them from falling into destitution and vagrancy.”


The Supreme Court, in this case, stated after taking into account various provisions from Consumer Protection Act and Consumer Protection Regulation that, the District Forum has no power to extend the time for filing the response to the complaint beyond the period of 15 days in addition to 30 days as is mentioned under Section 13 of the Consumer Protection Act.

The questions settled in the judgement were Whether the District Forum has the power to extend the time for filing the response beyond the period of 15 days, in addition to 30 days as mandated by Section 13(2)(a) of the Act? and What would be the commencing point of limitation of 30 days stipulated under Section 13 of the Act?

Author: Prajjwal Gour
Co - Author: Vishesh Kumar


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on 05 January 2021
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