There have been a number of significant court rulings in 2021. Let’s take a look at the Important Judgments of 2021 - Legal Bites Year Update

Keeping abreast with new developments in the law and significant court rulings is critical for law students. Courts in India are considering and determining cases almost immediately following the second wave of lawsuits that occurred in India in 2020. There have been a number of significant court rulings in 2021. Let’s take a look at the Important Judgments of 2021.

Important Judgments of 2021 – Legal Bites Year Update

I. National Investigation Agency v. Gautam Navlakha, 2021[1]

Courts have the authority to warrant house arrest under Section 167 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).


In the Bhima Koregaon case, one of the defendants was Gautam Navalakha. First arrested on August 28th, 2018, he was released on bail and given house arrest. These are the dates for the duration of his custody:

House Arrest lasted from August 28 to October 1, 2018 — 34 days.

As of October 2, 2018, the Delhi High Court granted bail to Navlakha.

15.04.2020 – 25.04.2020 = 11 days of police detention with the NIA.

The period from April 25th, 2020 to June 12th, 2020 is equal to 48 calendar days.

Hence, 93 days of total custodial time.

The appellant considered 34 days of house arrest from August 28 to October 1, 2018, in addition to 11 days of police custody and 48 days of court custody when determining the length of time spent in custody for the purpose of submitting a default bail application.

Application for default bail was rejected by NIA Special Court, before which it was brought up for consideration. Dissatisfied with the NIA Special Court’s decision, the appellant took his case to the High Court of Bombay. In a ruling dated February 8, 2021, the High Court of Justice rejected the appeal. As a result, the Supreme Court was called upon to hear the case.


The case was dismissed by the Supreme Court. It noted that because the Magistrate did not specifically impose house arrest, it cannot be stated that the necessary 90-day period would include 34 days of house arrest. As part of its decision on default bail, the Supreme Court also examined whether or not home arrest under Section 167 Cr.P.C. should be included in the definition of “custody.”

The Supreme Court answered “yes” in the affirmative to the aforementioned question, stating that courts can warrant house arrest under Section 167 in proper instances. However, in order to enforce the order of house arrest, factors such as the accused’s age, health, and criminal history must be taken into consideration.

II. PASL Wind SolutionsPvt. Ltd. v. GE Power Conversion India, 2021[2]

Two Indian parties may choose to arbitrate in a foreign country.


With regard to purchases by GE Powers from PASL and warranty conditions, the parties involved in this case disagreed. When GE Power Conversion prevailed over PASL Wind Solutions in a previous case before the Gujarat High Court,


Two Indian corporations can resolve their differences in a foreign country, according to the Supreme Court. Power autonomy in arbitration matters was affirmed and strengthened by this ruling.

Despite the fact that the subject matter of their contracts and counterparties are all located in India, foreign firms with Indian subsidiaries can now choose overseas arbitration locations like Dubai, London, and Singapore even if their contracts and parties are fully located in India.

III. Paramvir Singh v. Baljit Singh, 2021[3]

The Supreme Court of India ordered the installation of closed-circuit television cameras at all Indian police stations.


When it came to police station CCTV cameras and audio and video recording of admissions, one Paramvir Singh filed an SLP in this matter. To this end, the Supreme Court compelled all states and union territories to file reports on the matter at hand. Crime scene videography was ordered by the Supreme Court in the early case of Shafhi Mohammad v. State of Himachal Pradesh (2018).

All police stations and prisons were required to have CCTV cameras installed, but no significant progress had been made by the concerned authorities in this regard. As a result, the Court issued a number of orders.


Aniruddha Bose was one of three justices on the bench who issued the following instructions:

  • All entry and exit points, the main gate, the lock-ups, and the corridors will be outfitted with CCTV cameras.
  • CCTV systems that must be installed must be equipped with night vision and must include audio and video footage as well.
  • As soon as possible, the States and UTs are responsible for providing energy and/or the internet to those areas.
  • CCTV cameras must be equipped with long-term recording devices to ensure that the information they capture is maintained for at least 18 months. Furthermore, the storage of recordings must not go below one year.
  • The SHO of the respective police station is in charge of the operation, maintenance, and recording of CCTVs.

In addition, the Central Government was ordered by the Court to install CCTV cameras in the offices of all Central Agencies.

IV. Union of India v. K.A. Najeeb, 2021[4]

If the fundamental right to a speedy trial is infringed in a UAPA case, the Constitutional Courts can issue bail.


There was an allegation that the accused had hacked off the Professor’s palm after the accused reportedly insulted Mohammed in an exam question paper prepared by the Professor. Multiple times, the Special Court rejected bail to the primary defendant, who was prosecuted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA).

However, the Kerala High Court granted release to the defendant subsequently. Supreme Court appealed against the High Court’s decision to grant bail, arguing that the High Court had erred in failing to comply with the UAPA’s Section 43D (5) statutory requirements.


It was noted by the Supreme Court that the High Court of Kerala had used its discretion to grant bail because the trial was unlikely to be finished in the near future. They ruled that Article 21 appears to be a guiding principle in the High Court’s reasoning, therefore there was no need to examine UAPA Section 43D (5)’s prohibition on remand.

Additional restrictions on bail, like Section 43D(5) of UAPA, do not preclude Constitutional Courts from making bail decisions on the basis of the Constitution’s Part III, the Court said.

The Court further noted that since two-thirds of the sentence had been served by the defendants, they should be released on bail because of this fact. Supreme Court confirmed the decision of the Kerala High Court and granted bail to the alleged perpetrators

V. Satish Ragde v. State of Maharashtra, 2021[5]

There is no “Sexual Assault” if the victim does not touch the victim’s skin even if the victim intends to engage in sexual activity.


A 12-year-old girl was kidnapped and carried to the home of the accused on a fictitious pretext. Allegedly, he tried to remove the girl’s clothes by pressing on her breasts. The girl’s mother arrived on the scene at the exact moment and saved her daughter. The mother then went to the police station and filed a complaint.

Under Section 354, 363 and 342 of the IPC and Section 8 of the POCSO Act, the accused was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison for sexually assaulting a minor. Because of their displeasure, the defendants filed an appeal before the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court for acquittal from Section 8 of the POCSO Act.


As a result of this, the defendant was acquitted of sexual assault under Section 8 (POCSO Act) and convicted under Section 354 (IPC) of IPC. There was no physical contact, i.e. skin-to-skin with sexual intent without penetration, because the prosecution failed to prove that the accused had removed the girl’s dress before abusing her, according to the Court’s findings.

Three years under Section 7 of the POCSO Act, and one year under Section 354, IPC, is the minimum sentence. Rather of three years in jail, the defendant was sentenced to one year in prison as a result of the modification of the verdict.

Judgment was widely criticised as a “dangerous precedent” by several communities. Eventually, the Supreme Court issued a restraining order.

VI. Saurabh Sharma v. Sub-Divisional Magistrate, East & Ors., 2021

A private automobile to be considered a public space.


To challenge the fine of Rs. 500/- for failing to wear a face mask while driving alone, four different applications were filed before the Supreme Court of India. The Supreme Court consolidated all four writs into a single decision. Writ petitioners wanted to know if face masks are required for people who drive alone in their own cars.


The Delhi High Court, dismissing all four writ petitions contesting the imposition of a fine for not wearing masks when travelling alone in a private vehicle, held that the mask is like a’suraksha kavach’ protecting both, i.e. the person wearing it and those who are around him.

Regardless of whether only one person is inside, a car travelling through the city is considered to be a public space because of the potential for exposure to other people in a variety of situations. It would therefore be necessary for all passengers to wear masks, including those who are just sitting in the backseat of a car. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is considered mandatory for all passengers to wear a mask or face cover while travelling in a motor vehicle.

Supreme Court held, however, in the matter of Boota Singh v. State of Haryana that private vehicles are not public places as defined by Section 43 of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychedelic Substances Act (NDPS). So we can observe how a term has been interpreted differently in different contexts.

VII. Dr. Jaishree Laxmanrao Patil v. Chief Minister of Maharashtra and Others, 2021[7]

Supreme Court held the Maharashtra State Reservation (SEBC) Act, 2018 (Maratha Reservation) as unconstitutional.


Reserving 12 per cent of educational institutions and 13 per cent of government jobs for members of the Marathas was proposed by Maharashtra’s M.G. Gaikwad Committee, created by Maharashtra in 2017. According to the Maharashtra Government’s recommendations, the Maharashtra State SEBC (Admission in Educational Institutions in the State and for posts for appointments to Public Service and Posts) Reservation Act, 2018 (hereinafter referred to as the SEBC Act, 2018) was enacted but the quota for the reservation was increased to 16 per cent.

According to Indra Sawhney v. Indian Union of India, this Act was challenged by the Bombay High Court because it exceeded a 50% ceiling set by the Indian Supreme Court. A majority of the Bombay High Court agreed that the State Government can raise reservation levels over the constitutionally mandated 50% level if the extraordinary circumstances persist. The Supreme Court ruled on this matter.


By striking down Maharashtra SEBC Act, 2018, Supreme Court also ruled that if Marathas are classified socially and economically backward class, it violates principles of equality. Because of this, the court overturned the Marathas’ historically-protected status in the workforce and in public services.

In addition, the Court found that the SEBC Act of 2018 violates Article 16’s principle of equality. It is ultra vires to enact a law that violates Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution by raising the ceiling limit without a good reason.

VIII. The Election Commission of India v. MR Vijaya Bhaskar, Inc., 2021[8]

The Supreme Court maintained the right of the media to report on court proceedings.


In this case, the Election Commission of India filed a plea to prevent the media from reporting on judges’ remarks in court. This happened after the Madras High Court stated that ECI is accountable for the second wave of Covid and should be charged with murder.


This decision stated that the media can now report all of the remarks made by lawyers and judges during a hearing. This petition by ECI concerns two key Constitutional foundations, according to Bench.

  • Freedom to speech and expression
  • Open Court proceedings

Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution forbids the government from restricting freedom of the press. The bench also emphasised that transparency in public institutions plays a crucial role in fostering public trust, accountability, and scrutiny.

IX. Rachana v. Union of India, 2021[9]

No additional opportunity for UPSC Exam


When the Covid 19 Pandemic and the nationwide lockdown hampered applicants’ chances of passing the Civil Services Exam, they asked for another chance.


The court rejected the appeal and said that applicants who have exhausted their final attempt in October 2020 owing to the Covid-19 Pandemic will not be accorded any special consideration.

X. Imperia Structures v. Anil Patni, 2021[10]

RERA and the Consumer Protection Act both are the two options available to homebuyers.


Whether or whether homebuyers are considered consumers for the purposes of the Consumer Protection Act was at the question in this case. Homebuyers/allottees see this decision as a turning point.


When a developer refuses or delays delivering a property after a buyer has paid, the Apex Court ruled that the buyer can take their case to the consumer forum for compensation. Once the developer-agreed upon date for transfer of possession has passed, homebuyers are free to contact the consumer forum.

[1] SCC Online SC 382.

[2] (2021) SCC Online SC 331.

[3] (2021) 1 SCC 184.

[4] (2021) 3 SCC 713.

[5] Cr. Appeal 161/2021.

[6] (2021) SCC Online Del 1530.

[7] Civil Appeal 3123/2021.

[8] SCC Online Mad 1750.

[9] (2021) SCC Online SC 140.

[10] Civil Appeal 3581-3590/2020.

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Updated On 12 March 2023 6:17 AM GMT
Simran Kang

Simran Kang

Symbiosis Law School, Pune

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