Supreme Selections: Yearly Digest 2023, PART-III

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PART-III: May and June


In May, the Supreme Court of India gave a total of 111 Judgments which include around 93 Reportable Judgments. In this month, certain important decisions were delivered by the Supreme Court and various matters were discussed including, a ban on the practice of Jallikattu, Shiv Sena Rift, the Irretrievable breakdown of marriage, recognition of same-sex marriage, Women’s protection against sexual harassment in workplace, remarks on Collegium systems and judiciary for appointment of judgescash-for-jobs scam case, and others. Moreover, the SC set up ceremonial benches for the retirement of judges, Justice MR Shah, Justice V Ramasubramanian, Justice Ajay Rastogi, and Justice KM Joseph. On May 15, 2023, a ceremonial bench was organized to bid farewell to Justice Shah whereas another bench was set up on May 19, 2023, to bid farewell to the other three judges who retired during summer vacation. To fill the sanctioned strength of the SC, names of the judges for elevation as the Collegium also recommended Supreme Court judges in May. Below are the important verdicts given by the Supreme Court benches.

Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage

Judgment NameShilpa Shailesh vs. Varun Sreenivasan

Bench: Justice Abhay S. Oka, Justice JK Maheshwari, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and Justice Vikram Nath

Brief: The SC on May 01, 2023, stated that in exercising power under Article 142(1) of the Constitution of India, it holds the discretion to dissolve a marriage based on its irretrievable breakdown. This discretionary power aims to achieve 'complete justice' when the court is convinced that established facts demonstrate the complete failure of the marriage, with no possibility of the parties cohabiting, rendering the continuation of the formal legal relationship unjustified.

NCT of Delhi

Judgment NameGovernment of NCT of Delhi vs. Union of India

Bench: Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice MR Shah, Justice Krishna Murari, Justice Hima Kohli, and Justice PS Narasimha

Brief: On May 11, 2023, the Supreme Court addressed the power struggle between the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) and the Lieutenant Governor (LG), representing the Union Government, regarding control over "services”. The Constitution Bench judgment clarified that NCTD, with its unique status, differs from other Union Territories. The constitutional provisions grant NCTD a Legislative Assembly, Council of Ministers, and a Westminster-style cabinet system, establishing it as a representative form of government. NCTD is not similar to other Union Territories. By virtue of Article 239AA, NCTD is accorded a “sui generis” status, setting it apart from other Union Territories. Another important key point of the judgment is “The executive power of NCTD is co-extensive with its legislative power, that is, it shall extend to all matters with respect to which it has the power to legislate.” 

Shiv Sena Rift

Judgment NameSubhash Desai vs. Principal Secretary, Governor of Maharashtra & Ors.

Bench: Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice MR Shah, Justice Krishna Murari, Justice Hima Kohli, and Justice PS Narasimha

Brief: The Supreme Court addressed issues related to the Maharashtra political crisis between Uddhav Thackeray’s faction and Eknath Shinde’s faction. On May 11, 2023, it clarified the Speaker's role, rejected challenges to summons legality, affirmed the court's limited role in disqualification cases, emphasized the party's authority in appointing the Whip, and referred to the "real" Shiv Sena matter. After hearing the arguments from both sides, the SC said, “Status quo ante cannot be restored because Mr. Thackeray did not face the floor best and tendered his resignation.” Moreover, the bench upheld the Governor's decision to invite Mr. Shinde to form the government, and Nabam Rebia's judgment’s correctness was referred to a larger bench of seven judges.


Judgment NameThe Animal Welfare Board of India & Ors. vs. Union of India & Ors. (May 18, 2023)

Bench: Justice K.M. Joseph, Justice Ajay Rastogi, Justice Aniruddha Bose, Justice Hrishikesh Roy, and Justice C.T. Ravikumar

Brief: On May 18, 2023, the SC upheld the validity of the Tamil Nadu Amendment Act, along with similar amendments in Maharashtra and Karnataka, related to bull-related sports (like Jallikattu and Kambala). The Court rejected claims of colorable legislation, affirmed the Acts' alignment with constitutional provisions, and concluded they did not contradict previous judgments. The bench disagreed with its 2014 judgment that banned Jallikattu and said “It is not a cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu.”  

Arbitration Clause Challenge

Judgment NameGlock Asia-Pacific Ltd. vs. Union of India (May 19, 2023) 

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

Brief: In this case, the applicant Glock Asia invoked arbitration, nominating a retired High Court Judge as the Sole Arbitrator. The respondent, citing a contractual clause, objected to the nomination. The Supreme Court rejected the appointment, emphasizing the conflict with Section 12(5) of the Arbitration Act, as it allowed a serving Union of India employee to nominate another, contrary to prior agreements. The application was allowed based on these grounds.

Other Important Judgments of May Month

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Week 4

The SC experienced summer vacations for the year 2023 from May 22 to July 02. The top Court constituted vacation benches to take fresh matters that were around 300. 


As the SC was experiencing summer vacation this month, the vacation benches constituted to take up the matters delivered 12 Judgments including around 9 Reportable Judgments. Below are the important verdicts delivered this month.

Successors of Ryot Cultivators over the ‘Paigah land’

Judgment NameM/S Trinity Infraventures Ltd. & Ors. etc. vs. M.S. Murthy & Ors. (June 15, 2023)

Bench: Justice V. Ranasubramanian and Justice Pankaj Mithal

Brief: The SC held that while the decree might not be fraudulent, it isn't binding on third parties. The bench emphasized that independent claims must be considered, and the findings in the decree are not conclusive for third parties. Additionally, the Court discussed the limited scope of inquiry under Order XXI Rules 97-101, CPC, stating that the executing court cannot decide title disputes raised by third parties.

BHEL- Tender Process

Judgment NameA. Srinivasulu vs. The State Rep. by the Inspector of Police (June 15, 2023)

Bench: Justice V. Ranasubramanian and Justice Pankaj Mithal

Brief: In a case involving the construction of desalination plants, the then Executive Director of BHEL, allegedly conspired to cheat BHEL by manipulating the tender process. The High Court upheld the convictions of 4 out of 7 accused. The top Court overturned the verdict. It highlighted the lack of proof for admitted signatures and deemed the forgery and cheating charges as unsustainable. Consequently, all appellants were acquitted of charges, and the Special Court and High Court judgments were set aside.

Abuse of the Dominant Position

Judgment NameCoal India Limited and Anr. vs. Competition Commission of India and Anr. (June 15, 2023)

Bench: Justice KM Joseph, Justice BV Nagarathna, and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah

Brief: In this case, the bench hearing the matter stated that a civil appeal challenging the Competition Appellate Tribunal's order affirmed the findings of the Competition Commission of India on the abuse of the dominant position by the appellants. The court rejected the argument that the Nationalisation Act is incompatible with the current Act and held that the Act applies to the appellants. 

Other Important Judgments of June Month

1. How many total judgements were given by the Supreme Court in the month of May And June ?
2. How many were Reportable judgments?