Every Month, a number of significant Judgements/decisions are given by the Supreme Court and various High Courts across the country that impact the lives of millions of citizens. In this Article, we have covered some of the important legal developments from March 2023.


Number -1

Bhopal Gas Tragedy

On December 3-4, 1984, at around midnight, MIC gas was released from the factory and mixed with the fresh air in Bhopal. Within a few minutes of breathing in the deadly gas, people began to feel uncomfortable, started vomiting, had breathing difficulties, and began to die. Animals also endured suffering and even died, in addition to humans.

After the tragic incident, the center filed a case against Union Carbide Corporation (UCC). In 1989, UCC agreed to pay 470 million US Dollars to the Union of India to settle all claims relating to the Bhopal Gas disaster.

In 2010, a curative petition was filed by the Union Government contending that the earlier settlement was based on incorrect data on the number of deaths, injuries, and losses, and had not taken into account the subsequent environmental degradation. The matter came before the SC in September 2022.

Case – Union of India and Ors. v. M/s. Union Carbide Corporation And Ors., 2023, SC

Supreme Court Judgement – The SC dismissed the petition. The Court observed that the center’s claim is not based on any known legal principle. A settlement can be set aside in cases where it is vitiated by fraud. However, the Court directed the Center that Rs.50 crore (a part of compensation) which is kept with RBI shall be utilized to satisfy any pending claims in accordance with the Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster (Processing of Claims) Act, 1985 and any Scheme made under the Act

Number – 2

Interpretation of Statutes

When any provision of Parliamentary legislation is read down in the absence of the Union of India it is likely to cause enormous harm to the interest of the State.

Case – Arup Bhuyan vs State of Assam, 2023, SC

The Union Government filed an application in the SC seeking reference against the judgment given in the cases of Arup Bhuyan vs. Union of India, (2011), and State of Kerala vs. Raneef, (2011) on the ground that the Court gave interpretations to central legislation without hearing the side of Union.

In these cases, it was held that mere membership in an illegal association does not constitute an offence under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of 1967 or the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, unless it is accompanied by some overt violent act and read down Section 10(a)(i) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. In 2014 a 2-judge bench of SC then referred the matter to a three-Judge bench.

The Supreme Court Judgement – SC overruled the aforementioned 2011 judgments and upheld the validity of Section 10(a)(i) of the UAPA, 1967, and held the Court should not have read down the said section when neither the constitutional validity of the Section was challenged nor the side of  Union of India was heard.

The Court held- “once an organization is declared unlawful & despite that, a person who is a member of such unlawful association continues to be a member of such unlawful association then he has to face the consequences and is subjected to the penal provisions as provided under Section 10(a)(i) of the UAPA, 1967.”

Number – 3

Banking Law

The Court was hearing an appeal challenging the 2016 Directions (Frauds Classification and Reporting by Commercial Banks and Select FIs) issued by the Reserve Bank of India.  The appellant contended that borrowers were not given the opportunity to present their cases before their accounts were classified as fraudulent.

Case – State Bank of India v. Rajesh Agarwal and ors., 2023, SC

Supreme Court Judgment – borrowers have the right to be heard before their accounts are classified as fraud – the decision to classify the account as fraudulent must be made by a reasoned order – Since the RBI’s Master Directions do not expressly provide for an opportunity of hearing to the borrower, audi alteram partem must be read into the provisions to save them from the vice of arbitrariness. 

Number – 4


Possession of license to do business in shop does not entitle party to allotment of auction platform as matter of right.

Case – Gurjit Singh v. Union Territory

Number – 5

Legal Recognition For Same-Sex Marriage 

Case – Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. v. UOI

The Supreme Court has referred the petitions seeking legal recognition for same-sex marriages to a Constitution Bench. The matter has been listed for hearing on 18th April 2023. The apex Court in 2018, in the case of Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. v. UOI, partially struck down section 377 of IPC and paved the way for LGBT rights in India.

Number – 6

Case – Rahul Gandhi lost his Lok Sabha membership after being convicted in a defamation case.

A Surat District Court convicted Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case for comments he made during a political campaign in Karol in April 2019 about “why all thieves share the Modi surname.” After finding him guilty of Defamation under the IPC, the Court sentenced him to two years imprisonment and issued a fine of Rs. 15,000. Following this, the Lok Sabha Secretariat then issued a notification of disqualification.

The disqualification is based on Article 102 (1) (e) of the Indian Constitution and Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act 1951. According to the 1951 Act, if a person is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more, he will be disqualified for a time of six years after his release. The disqualification can be reversed if a higher court gives a stay on the person’s conviction in an appeal or decides the appeal moved against the conviction in favor of the person involved.

Number -7

Case – Foreign lawyers and law firms are allowed to practice foreign law in India by the Bar Council of India.

The Bar Council of India has now permitted foreign lawyers and law firms to practice foreign law in India on a reciprocity basis. The Bar Council of India, in consultation with the Law Ministry, if required, will lay down guidelines in areas of practice of law by a foreign lawyer or Foreign Law Firm. Interestingly, the Supreme Court in BCI v. AK Balaji, 2018 held that foreign law firms/companies or foreign lawyers cannot practice law profession in India either in the litigation or in the non-litigation side.




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