Supreme Selections: Top Supreme Court Judgments of May 2024

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Overview of May Month

In May 2024, the Supreme Court (SC) of India delivered a total of approximately 93 judgments. Apart from these judgments, the SC also heard matters regarding a plea seeking the constitution of a medical expert committee to examine risk factors of Covidshield vaccineirretrievable breakdown of marriageanticipatory bail to Umar Ansaristray dog menaceHemant Soren’s plea against his arrest by EDvalidity of three New Criminal Laws, and many more. In this article, we will explore the important verdicts of the Supreme Court delivered in May 2024.

Important Verdicts of May Month

Minimum Qualifying Marks in Interview as Selection Criteria 

Judgment NameAbhimeet Sinha & Ors. vs. High Court of Judicature at Patna & Ors. 

Bench: Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra 

Articles and Acts Involved: {Constitution of India, 1950- Articles 32, 14, 16,234, and 320}

Supreme Court Decision: On May 06, 2024, the SC in its important ruling, upheld the minimum qualifying marks requirement in the interviews/ viva voce test as a part of the Selection criteria for appointment to the District Judiciary in the states of Bihar and Gujarat. It also said, “Interviews are to produce better judicial candidates and do not violate Article 14; policies like moderation (of marks) should ideally be part of the rules.” The bench said that the impugned selection process in the State of Bihar and Gujarat is legally valid and upheld. The operative part of the judgments reads, “The prescription of minimum cut-off is also not perceived to be of such a nature that it reeks of irrationality or was capricious and/or without any adequate determining principle. It does not appear to be disproportionate so as to adversely affect “meritorious” candidates, as has been argued. It is certainly not manifestly arbitrary, or irrational or violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India… the validity challenge to Clause 11 of the Bihar Rules, 1951 and Rule 8(3) of the Gujarat Rules, 2005 (as amended in 2011) prescribing minimum marks for interview are repelled.”

Time Limit for Preliminary Assessment: JJ Act

Judgment NameChild in Conflict with Law through his Mother vs. The State of Karnataka and Another 

Bench: Justice CT Ravikumar and Justice Rajesh Bindal 

Articles and Acts Involved: {Indian Penal Code, 1860- Sections 342 and 376(i)}, {Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012- Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8}, and {Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015- Sections 14(1),14 (3), and 19}

Supreme Court Decision: The top court bench on May 07, 2024, ruled that the time limit prescribed for completion of the preliminary assessment in Section 14(3) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (JJ Act), that is of 3 months from the date of the first production of the child before the Board, is not mandatory but merely directory. The bench observed, “Section 15 of the Act enables the Board to make preliminary assessment into heinous offences where such an offence alleged to have been committed by a child between 16 and 18 years of age. The preliminary assessment is to be conducted with regard to his mental and physical capacity to commit such an offence, ability to understand the consequences of the offence and the circumstances in which the offence was allegedly committed.” Further, it stated that the provision of Section 14(3) of the Act, providing 3 months for completion of a preliminary assessment under Section 15 of the Act, is not mandatory. The same is held to be directory. 

Delhi Liquor Policy Case: Interim Bail to Arvind Kejriwal 

Judgment NameArvind Kejriwal vs. Directorate of Enforcement

Bench: Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dipankar Datta

Articles and Acts Involved: {Indian Penal Code, 1860- Sections 120-B and 447A} and {Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988- Section 7}

Supreme Court Decision: In this case, the Supreme Court bench was hearing an appeal filed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal challenging the order and judgment passed by the trial court and the High Court upholding his arrest in a money laundering case by the ED (Enforcement Directorate) related to Delhi Liquor policy scam case. The SC bench granted interim bail to Arvind Kejriwal till June 01, 2024, to campaign for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. While granting interim bail, the bench said, “...legality and validity of the arrest itself is under challenge before this Court and we are yet to finally pronounce on the same. The fact situation cannot be compared with harvesting of crops or plea to look after business affairs.” On May 10, 2024, the top court granted him interim bail till June 01 and directed him to surrender on June 02, 2024. 

Advocates and Consumer Protection Act

Judgment NameBAR of Indian Lawyers through its President vs. D.K. Gandhi PS National Institute of Communicable Diseases and anr. (May 14, 2024)

Bench: Justice Bela M Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mithal 

Articles and Acts Involved: {Advocates Act, 1961} and {Consumer Protection Act, 2019}

Supreme Court Decision: The main question answered by the top Court, in this case, was “Whether a ‘Service’ hired or availed of an Advocate would fall within the definition of ‘Service’ contained in the C.P. Act, 1986/2019, so as to bring him within the purview of the said Act?” On May 14, 2024, the SC bench passed the judgment that “A service hired or availed of an Advocate is a service under ‘a contract of personal service,’ and therefore would fall within the exclusionary part of the definition of ‘Service’ contained in Section 2 (42) of the CP Act 2019.” The bench said that advocates are not liable under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 for deficiency of service stating that the legal profession is sui generis and cannot be compared with any other profession. 

CrPC has no Retrospective Application, Will Apply from the Day of Abrogation of Article 370

Judgment NameNational Investigation Agency New Delhi vs. Owais Amin @ Cherry & Ors. 

Bench: Justice MM Sundresh and Justice SVN Bhatti

Articles and Acts Involved: {Jammu and Kashmir State Ranbir Penal Code, 1989- Sections 306, 307, 4211, 120-B, 121, 121-A and 124-A}, {Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967- Sections 39, 15, 16, 18, and 20}, {Explosive Substances Act, 1908- Sections 4 and 5}, {Jammu & Kashmir Public Property (Prevention of Damage) Act, 1985- Section 4}, and {Code of Criminal Procedure SVT., 1989- Sections 196 and 196-A}

Supreme Court Decision: The Supreme Court bench ruled that “CrPC, 1973 would govern the field only from the appointed day and consequently the CrPC, 1989 stands repealed. To reiterate, it would come into effect only from the appointed day and therefore has got no retrospective application. To make this position clear, the CrPC, 1973 shall be pressed into service from 31.10.2019 onwards (date when the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 came into effect), and thus certainly not before the appointed day.” The judgment was delivered on May 17, 2024.

Chartered Accountants: Specified Number of Tax Audits

Judgment NameShaji Poulose vs. Institute of Chartered Accountants of India & Others (May 17, 2024)

Bench: Justice BV Nagarathna and Justice Augustine George Masih

Articles and Acts Involved: {Constitution of India, 1950- Section 19(1)(g)}, {Chartered Accountants Act, 1949}, and {Income Tax Act, 1961}

Supreme Court Decision: In this case, the SC upheld a rule issued by the ICAA (Institute of Chartered Accountants Of India) barring Chartered Accountants (CAs) from accepting more than the "specified number of tax audit assignments" in a financial year. It said, “Liberty is reserved to the respondent-Institute to enhance the specified number of audits that a Chartered Accountant can undertake under Section 44AB of the IT Act, 1961 if it deems fit.” 

Other Important Judgments

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