Supreme Selections: Yearly Digest 2023, PART-II

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PART-II: March and April


The Supreme Court gave 141 Judgments including 117 Reportable Judgments, approximately, in March 2023. In this month, the SC heard various important matters, some of which were decided and others were listed for further hearing. The cases heard this month include the Bhima Koregaon case, the Hijab case, the Shiv Sena Rift, the Defamation case on Rahul Gandhi, the Adani-Hindenburg case, Bilkis Bano Case, Marital Rape, and many more. On the occasion of Holi, the Supreme Court experienced holidays from March 06, 2023, to March 11, 2023. Following are some of the important decisions made by different benches of the SC.

Adani-Hindenburg Issue

Judgment NameVishal Tiwari vs. Union of India & Ors. 

Bench: Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice JB Pardiwala

Brief: On March 02, 2023, the SC heard a set of petitions were filed concerning the recent decline in Adani Group share prices, triggered by a Hindenburg Research report. Petitions sought investigations, including one against Hindenburg's founder. The Supreme Court acknowledged SEBI's ongoing probe and directed an expedited investigation into alleged violations. To enhance investor protection and assess regulatory frameworks, an expert committee was constituted, led by retired Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, with a two-month timeframe for a comprehensive report.

Standards for Appointment of President and State Commission Members

Judgment NameThe Secretary Ministry of Consumer Affairs vs. Dr. Mahindra Bhaskar Limaye & Ors. 

Bench: Justice M.R. Shah and Justice M.M. Sundresh

Brief: The matter was heard on March 03, 2023, where the Supreme Court, addressed a challenge to the Consumer Protection Rules, 2020, under Article 14, and directed that future appointments require a bachelor's degree, 10 years of experience, and a two-paper written test with a viva voce, totaling 250 marks for President and Members of State and District Commissions.

Casting Couch Syndrome

Judgment NameMS. X vs. The State of Maharashtra and Another (March 17, 2023) 

Bench: Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice Hima Kohli

Brief: The appellant/prosecutrix, alleging exposure to the casting couch syndrome by respondent No.2/accused, contested High Court orders granting anticipatory bail. The FIR initially included Sections 354, 354-B, and 506 IPC, later adding Section 376 based on the appellant/prosecutrix's supplementary statement. The Supreme Court, noting flaws in due process, highlighted the prosecutrix's right to participate and oppose anticipatory bail. The Court quashed the anticipatory bail orders, canceled respondent No.2's bail bonds, and protected the appellant/prosecutrix's identity as "Ms. X." The appeals were disposed of accordingly.

High Court Jurisdiction Affirmed in Armed Forces Tribunal Cases

Judgment NameUnion of India & Ors. vs. Parashotam Dass (March 21, 2023)

Bench: Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Abhay S. Oka, and Justice B.V. Nagarathna

Brief: The SC stated that HCs can entertain challenges to orders passed by the Armed Forces Tribunal. It also said that the judgment in Major General Shri Kant Sharma & Anr. case does not lay down the correct law, conflicting with earlier and subsequent Constitution Bench judgments. It affirmed that there is no per se restriction on the exercise of power under Article 226 by the High Court. 

Selling of Gas Cylinders in Black

Judgment NameAvtar Singh & Anr. vs. State of Punjab (March 23, 2023)

Bench: Justice Abhay S. Oka and Justice Rajesh Bindal

Brief: The Sub-Inspector of Police, along with other officials, received a secret tip that the appellants were involved in the illegal sale of gas cylinders. The accused were subsequently taken into custody. However, none of the independent witnesses or alleged buyers of the black market cylinders supported the prosecution's case, except for two official witnesses. The only charge that could be proven was the unauthorized possession of gas cylinders. The trial court convicted the appellants based on this charge and the same was upheld by the High Court. However, it is established in law that if a power is granted to perform a certain task in a specific manner, it must be done accordingly. The bench said as the Sub-Inspector lacked the authority and power to take action as per the Order, the proceedings initiated by him were deemed unauthorized and were struck down. Consequently, the appeal was allowed.

Other Important Judgments of March Month

Week 1

Week 2

March 06, 2023 - March 11, 2023 Holi Holidays

Week 3

Week 4


In April, the SC gave a total of 148 Judgments including around 121 Reportable Judgments. The matters heard this month include equal pay to Allopathy and Ayurved doctors, a ban on the telecast of Malayalam news channel, Recognition of same-sex marriage, a Women Wrestler’s Sexual Harassment case, an unconditional apology by Lalit Modi about his post against the Indian Judiciary, Asharam Bapu’s special leave appeal, and many more.  Along with this, the Supreme Court announced the formation of a dedicated webpage to the Kesavanada Bharati vs. State of Kerala case on its 50th anniversary this month. Some of the important judgments of this month are discussed as follows:

Malayalam News Channel Media One

Judgment NameMadhyamam Broadcasting Limited vs. Union of India & Ors. 

Bench: Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli

Brief: On April 05, 2023, the SC heard the matter regarding the ban of Malayalam News Channel MediaOne on security grounds. The Union Ministry revoked Media One's broadcasting permission, leading to legal challenges. Despite initial dismissals, the SC upheld the appellants' arguments, emphasizing procedural guarantees in public interest immunity claims. The Ministry was directed to renew a license within four weeks, maintaining interim orders until completion.

Unlawful Assembly

Judgment NameSurendra Singh vs. State of Rajasthan and Anr. (April 11, 2023)

Bench: Justice M.R. Shah and Justice C.T. Ravikumar

Brief: The Supreme Court overturned the High Court's decision, emphasizing that Section 149 IPC could be applied if an unlawful assembly's common object led to an offense, even if not every member committed it. Overturning the decision of the High Court, the SC held that Section 149 IPC was applicable. Vijendra Singh's conviction under Section 302/149 IPC was reinstated, and he was directed to surrender for life imprisonment within three weeks.

Commercial Enterprise Can Raise Consumer Disputes

Judgment NameNational Insurance Co. Ltd. vs. Harsolia Motors and Others (April 13, 2023)

Bench: Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice C.T. Ravikumar

Brief: The Supreme Court, upholding the National Commission's decision, clarified that there is no exclusion from the definition of "consumer" for commercial enterprises. The court emphasized that the main aim of commercial purpose is profit, but in cases where goods or services are acquired for an activity not directly intended to generate profit, it does not qualify as a commercial purpose. As the insurance claim sought indemnification for losses suffered, not for profit generation, the court affirmed that the respondent is a "consumer" under Section 2(1)(d) of the Act. The appeals were dismissed.

Double Overtime Allowance

Judgment NameSecurity Printing & Minting Corporation of India Ltd. & Ors. etc. vs. Vijay D. Kasbe & Ors. etc. (April 18, 2023)

Bench: Justice V. Ramasubramanian and Justice Pankaj Mithal

Brief: The issue before the SC was the entitlement of supervisors to Double Overtime Allowance, challenged by the Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India. The Supreme Court overturned the decision of the HC, emphasizing the contradictory findings of the Tribunal and HC. It highlighted the failure to consider the distinctions between government and private service conditions, including the effect of statutory rules on work hours. 

Equal Pay for Equal Work

Judgment NameState of Gujarat & Ors. etc. vs. Dr. P.A. Bhatt & Ors. etc. 

Bench: Justice V. Ramasubramanian and Justice Pankaj Mithal

Brief: The core issue revolved around the fixation of different pay scales for officers within the same cadre based on their educational qualifications. The Supreme Court on April 26, 2023, held that the principle of equal pay for equal work is not universally applicable, especially in professional services where compensation is based on specific skills and responsibilities. It highlighted the distinct nature of services provided by Allopathy doctors and those practicing alternative systems of medicine. The bench said, “Allopathy doctors and Ayurved doctors are entitled to equal pay.”

Continuation of Broken Down Marriage

Judgment NameShri Rakesh Raman vs. Smt. Kavita 

Bench: Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice J.B. Pardiwala

Brief: The matter was heard on April 26, 2023. The central issue in the divorce case was the appellant's claim of desertion and cruelty, leading to the dissolution of the marriage. The Delhi HC overturned the initial decision, stating that the actions cited did not meet the criteria for desertion or cruelty. The SC held that the marital bond was irreparably broken, acknowledging the couple's minimal time together and extended period of separation. Notably, there were no children from the marriage. The Court affirmed the HC’s decision that the actions cited did not constitute desertion or cruelty. The bench said, “Continuation of this ‘marriage’ would only mean giving sanction to cruelty which each is inflicting on the other.” Considering the ongoing cruelty due to the prolonged legal battle, the Supreme Court directed the appellant, with a monthly salary exceeding Rs.1,00,000/-, to pay Rs.30,00,000/- as permanent alimony to the respondent.

Other Important Judgments of April Month

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

1. How many total judgments were given by the Supreme Court in March and April 2023?
2. Among 289 judgments, how many were non-reportable judgments?