Supreme Selections: Top Supreme Court Judgments of March 2024

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Overview of March Month

In this month, the Supreme Court (SC) of India delivered a total of 85 verdicts including 61 Reportable judgments. Apart from these verdicts and matters, the SC also heard matters related to the PIL seeking a declaration of the right to vote as the fundamental righttransfer of two Delhi High Court judges, a curative petition seeking bail by Manish Sisodia, Electoral Bond Scheme case, reconsideration of judgment in Vijaylal Madanlal Choudhary casePatanjali Ayurved’s misleading advertisementsCauvery river water dispute and many more. In this article, we will explore some of the important judgments of the March month in detail and list the other verdicts delivered by the apex court.

Important Verdicts of March Month

MP’s/MLA’s claim on immunity from prosecution for taking bribes

Judgment NameSita Soren vs. Union of India

Bench: Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice A.S. Bopanna, Justice M.M. Sundresh, Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha, Justice J.B. Pardiwala, Justice Sanjay Kumar, and Justice Manoj Misra

Articles and Acts Involved: {Constitution  of India, 1950- Articles 105 and 194}

Supreme Court Decision: In this case, the question addressed by the Supreme Court bench was “Whether by virtue of Articles 105 and 194 of the Constitution a Member of Parliament (MP) or the Legislative Assembly (MLA), as the case may be, can claim immunity from prosecution on a charge of bribery in a criminal court?” On March 04, 2024, the seven-judge bench of the SC held that the MPs and MLPs cannot claim immunity under Articles 105(2) and 194(2) of the Constitution for receiving bribes in contemplation of a vote or speech in the legislature. To answer the addressed question, the SC bench analyzed the minority and majority views and reasonings in the PV Narasimha Rao case. While disposing of the criminal appeals, the bench observed, “It does not matter whether the vote is cast in the agreed direction or if the vote is cast at all. The offence of bribery is complete at the point in time when the legislator accepts the bribe.” 

‘Welfare of the Child’ is of paramount consideration in the case of Child Custody 

Judgment NameShazia Aman Khan and another vs. The State of Orissa and others (March 04, 2024)

Bench: Justice C.T. Ravikumar and Justice Rajesh Bindal

Articles and Acts Involved: {Indian Penal code, 1860- Sections 363, 346, and 120-B}

Supreme Court Decision: While hearing a case of child’s custody, the Supreme Court granted custody of a minor child to her aunt other than the child’s biological father considering the welfare of a child and not personal law and statute. In this case, the child has been living with her aunt since she was 3 to 4 months after her biological father requested her aunt do the same. While granting custody to the aunt, the SC on March 04, 2024, observed, “the controlling consideration governing the custody of children is the welfare of children and not the right of their parents.” Also, the SC considered the child’s aspect that she was happy with the family where she was brought up. Lastly, the SC set aside the High Court’s order granting custody to the biological father and granted the child’s custody to her aunt.

Guidelines to deal with habeas corpus petitions or petitions seeking police protection involving the LGBTQ+ community

Judgment NameDevu G Nair vs. The State of Kerala & Ors.

Bench: Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra

Articles and Acts Involved: {Constitution of India, 1950}

Supreme Court Decision: In this case, the Supreme Court of India listed guidelines for High Courts to follow while dealing with habeas corpus petitions or petitions seeking police protection filed by couples. After listing the guidelines, the bench said, “The…guidelines must be followed in letter and spirit as a mandatory minimum measure to secure the fundamental rights and dignity of intimate partners, and members of the LGBTQ+ communities in illegal detention. The court must advert to these guidelines and their precise adherence in the judgment dealing with habeas corpus petitions or petitions for police protection by intimate partners.” On March 11, the SC heard a petition filed by a woman against Kerala HC’s order directing her alleged lesbian partner to undergo counseling. Moreover, the SC also said that no stigma or moral judgment should be imposed when dealing with cases involving parties from the LGBTQ+ community.

Adani Power and Jaipur Vidyut Nigam Limited

Judgment NameJaipur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited vs. Adani Power Rajasthan Ltd. (March 18, 2024)

Bench: Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Sanjay Kumar

Articles and Acts Involved: {Constitution of India, 1950- Article 145}, {Electricity Act, 2003}, and {Supreme Court Rules, 2013- Order XII Rule 3, and Rule 6 of Order LV}

Supreme Court Decision: The SC dismissed the miscellaneous application filed by Adani Power seeking over Rs. 1,300 crore as Late Payment Surcharge from the Jaipur Vidyut Nigam Limited and further imposed a cost of Rs. 50,000 on Adani for listing the same application several times before the top court. 

‘Vulgarity and Profanities do not per se amount to Obscenity’

Judgment NameApoorva Arora vs. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi) (March 19, 2024)

Bench: Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha

Articles and Acts Involved: {Constitution of India, 1950- Article 19(1)(a)}, {Indian Penal Code, 1860- Sections 292, 294 and 509}, {Information Technology Act, 2000- Sections 67 and 67A}, {Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973- Section 200, 156(3), and 482}, and {Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986- Sections 2(c) and 3}

Supreme Court Decision: The question addressed by the SC, in this case, was “Whether the use of expletives and profane language in the titles and content of the episodes of the web-series ‘College Romance’ constitutes an offence of publication and transmission of obscene and sexually explicit content under Sections 67 and 67A of the IT Act?” The bench held that “The facts of the present case certainly do not attract Section 67A as the complainant’s grievance is about excessive usage of vulgar expletives, swear words and profanities. There is no allegation of any ‘sexually explicit act or conduct’ in the complaint and as such, Section 67A does not get attracted.” After hearing the contentions, the SC bench on March 19, 2024, quashed the criminal obscenity case against the creators and lead cast of the web series ‘College Romance’ stating that ‘vulgarity and profanities do not per se amount to obscenity’. 

Termination of Army Havaldar on the wrongful diagnosis of HIV+ve

Judgment NameSatyanand Singh vs. Union of India & Ors. (March 20, 2024)

Bench: Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta

Articles and Acts Involved: {Constitution of India, 1950- Article 136}, {Army Rules, 1954- Rule 13, and 13(3), Item III}, {Regulations for the Army, 1987, Para 355(f)2}, and {Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017}

Supreme Court Decision: The SC directed the Indian Army to award ex-army havaldar a compensation of Rs. 50,00,000 towards compensation on account of wrongful termination of service, leave encashment dues, non-reimbursement of medical expenses, and the social stigma faced by him. It further ordered to pay the amount within 8 weeks from March 20, 2024, (date of the judgment) without fail. 

Other Important Judgments

1. How many judgments are delivered in March month by the Supreme Court?
2. How many reportable judgments were delivered in March 2024?