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first_imgNews UpdatesHigh Courts Weekly Roundup [February 1 – February 7] Akshita Saxena7 Feb 2021 9:06 AMShare This – xSummation of important judgments/orders this weekAllahabad High Court 1. UP Govt. Agrees Before Allahabad High Court To Permit 3 Persons Arrested With Siddique Kappan On Way To Hathras To Meet Lawyers In Jail [Atiq Ur Rehman & Ors.v. State of UP & Anr.] The Uttar Pradesh Government informed the Division Bench comprising of Justices Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Shamim Ahmed that lawyers of the 3 alleged PFI members,…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginAllahabad High Court 1. UP Govt. Agrees Before Allahabad High Court To Permit 3 Persons Arrested With Siddique Kappan On Way To Hathras To Meet Lawyers In Jail [Atiq Ur Rehman & Ors.v. State of UP & Anr.] The Uttar Pradesh Government informed the Division Bench comprising of Justices Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Shamim Ahmed that lawyers of the 3 alleged PFI members, arrested alongside journalist Siddique Kappan on their way to Hathras, are permitted to meet them in Jail. AAG Manish Goyal said that the counsels may meet the Petitioners in accordance with the Jail Rules. The development comes after Petitioners’ counsels alleged that Superintendent of Jail, Mathura, is not permitting them to meet their clients. 2. Allahabad High Court Grants Bail To Murder Accused Incarcerated For 7 Yrs Without Production Of Any Evidence/ Witness Against Him [Rajiv Pratap Singh v. CBI] A Single Bench of Justice Manish Mathur granted bail to a murder accused, imprisoned since more than seven and a half years, without production of any material witness or evidence against him in the Trial Court. “Although the offence with which applicant has been charged is a serious one but it is also a relevant factor to consider that the said charge being based on the testimony of two witnesses, neither of the two have been produced by the CBI in the trial, which is pending since 2013. Even counter affidavit of the CBI is silent with regard to the time frame within which the said two witnesses are to be produced in the trial proceedings,” observed the High Court while allowing third bail application of the accused. 3. Despite Marrying Willingly A Minor Girl Can’t Be Allowed To Stay With Husband Till She Attains Majority: Allahabad High Court [Pradeep Tomar & Anr. v. State of UP & Anr.] A Bench of Justice JJ Munir held that a minor girl cannot be allowed to live in a matrimonial relationship with a man she claims to be her husband, even if she had left her home of her own accord and married the Man out of her own free will. The Court held that the marriage of the minor girl would not be void under Section 12 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, but would be voidable under Section 3 of the said Act. “It would, therefore, be open to the prosecutrix to acknowledge the marriage or claim it to be void, once she attains the age of majority. It would also be open to her, once she attains the age of majority, to go wherever she likes and stay with whomsoever she wants,” the Court held. 4. “BSNL Occupying Land Unlawfully”- Cannot Expect Such A Conduct On Part Of Government Company: Allahabad High Court [Tasirul Nisha v. BSNL & Anr.] Noting that an instrumentality of the State, i.e. BSNL is occupying the land of the petitioner unlawfully, a Division Bench of Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Manish Kumar expressed its displeasure. The Court noted that the Govt Company is utilizing the Petitioner’s land without even paying rent. It has now sought reply from the concerned authorities. 5. “Be Cautious In Passing Orders Of Such A Nature” Allahabad High Court Tells UP Govt. As It Decides To Drop ‘Exorbitant’ Bond Notices To Farmers [Arundhati Dhuru v. State Of UP] In the case against notices issued to farmers with tractors to furnish ‘exorbitant personal bonds’ in the wake of farmers protests in UP’s Sitapur, a division bench of Justices Ramesh Singha and Rajeev Singh asked executive authorities to remain cautious in passing such orders. The development comes after the Govt informed the Court that it has decided to drop such proceedings against. Other developments: How Many Police Stations In The State Aren’t Having Toilets For Women? : Allahabad High Court Asks Uttar Pradesh Govt.Tandav Controversy:Allahabad High Court Grants Interim Protection For Amazon Content Head Aparna Purohit, Reserves Order On Her Plea For Anticipatory bail Bombay High Court 1. Rail Accident- Claim Can’t Be Denied On Account Of Boarding Wrong Train Mistakenly: Bombay High Court Directs Rly To Pay 8 Lakh To A Victim’s Mother [Munnibai v. Union of India] A Bench of Justice Anuja Prabhudessa ruled that one cannot be branded as an unauthorized train passenger merely because one mistakenly boards a wrong train. It observed thus while directing railways to pay ₹8 lakh as compensation to one Munnibai Chaube whose son died due to the injuries sustained in accidental fall from a running train. 2. Bombay High Court Directs Kangana Ranaut To Decide Whether She Is Willing To Apply For Regularization of Construction, Extends Interim Protection Actor Kangana Ranaut has approached the Bombay High Court against the BMC’s demolition order regarding the alleged unauthorized amalgamation of her three flats in a plush Mumbai suburb. A Single Bench of Justice Prithviraj Chavan granted Ranaut time till February 5 to clarify if she will be approaching the civic body for regularization of the “illegal portions.” The BMC had issued Ranaut a notice followed by a demolition order under the Mumbai Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act in 2018 for the unauthorized portions. The actor approached the City Civil Court against the order, which refused her interim relief. 3. Cancerous To The Justice Delivery System If Hostile Witnesses Believe They Are Beyond The Rule Of Law: Bombay High Court [Saraswati v. State of Maharashtra] A division bench of Jusitces Ravindra Ghuge and BU Debadwar observed that the courts cannot “turn a blind eye to the menace of hostile witnesses,” while directing the trial court to take action against five witnesses whose evidence resulted in the acquittal of a 75-year-old woman. It said that even though respect for the law cannot be guaranteed by the threat of legal action, it has become necessary to send a “loud and clear” message to society that hostile witnesses shall not be pardoned. 4. “Effective And Honest Governance Of Financial Institutions Critical To Proper Functioning Of The Economy”: Bombay HC Rejects Yes Bank Promoter Rana Kapoor’s Bail Economic damage owing to offences involving huge loss of public fund is required to be viewed seriously, the Bombay High Court observed in its detailed order rejecting the bail application of YES Bank promoter Rana Kapoor, a prime accused in the Rs 5050 crore money laundering scam being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate. Kapoor was arrested in the scam on March 8, 2020 and has since been lodged in prison. According to the ED, during 2018- 2019, Kapoor entered into a criminal conspiracy with Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, promoters of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd for providing the latter’s companies financial assistance in lieu of “substantial undue benefit” to Kapoor and his family, through companies held by them. 5. “Consensual Sex Between Minors A Grey Area Under POCSO Act”: Bombay High Court [Arhant Janardan Sunatkari v. State of Maharashtra] A Bench of Justice Sandeep K. Shinde observed that enactment of POCSO Act has been a “significant and progressive step” in securing children’s rights, however, incidents of consensual sex between minors has been a grey area under the law as minor’s consent is not valid in the eyes of law. The observation was made while granting bail to a 19 year old boy convicted under Sec. 4 and 6 of the POCSO Act and IPC for repeatedly raping her minor cousin. The bench while looking at the unique facts of the case observed that during the course of investigation, the victim under her Section 164 CrPC statement had disclosed that “it was a consensual act, not once but at least 4-5 times.” 6. Authorities Should Avoid Viewing Action Against Religious Trust As Against God; Need To Have Secular Mind, Scientific Approach : Bombay High Court [Namdev Sahebrao Garad v. State of Maharashtra & Ors.] A division bench, comprising Justices TV Nalawade and MG Sewlikar noted that government authorities, including police officers and judicial officers should work with a ‘secular mind’ and avoid the general fear of inviting trouble in matters involving religious feelings. The Court added that authorities need to have a ‘scientific approach’ and should avoid viewing statutory action against a religious trust as action against God. The court accordingly directed the police to register a crime for the offences of conspiracy, cheating, misappropriation, breach of trust and also those under the Black Magic Act, 2013 against the trustees of the Jagadamba Devi Sarvajanik Trust, Mohote Ahmednagar. Calcutta High Court 1. Calcutta High Court Directs Centre To Grant Reservation, Other Benefits To Transgender Persons In Joint CSIR-UGC NET Exam [Mx Sumana Pramanik @ Suman Pramanik v. Union of India & Ors.] Underlining that the transgender communities are required to be accorded equal status as the other prevalent genders of society, a Bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya made a direction for reservation and providing other benefits to transgender persons in Joint CSIR-UGC NET Examinations at all levels be provided immediately. The Court observed that the right to life includes the right to live with dignity. In this backdrop, it remarked, “As such, non-grant of such reservation, age relaxation and fee concession to transgender persons in the Joint CSIR-UGC NET Examinations is unacceptable and patently violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.” 2. Production Of Police Station CCTV Footage Can’t Be Ordered At The Drop Of A Hat Compromising Secrecy Of Other Investigations: Calcutta High Court [Bikash Mondal v. State of West Bengal & Ors.] “CCTV footage of police stations, although undoubtedly necessary in the event there are specific allegations and prima facie material regarding custodial torture, cannot be directed at the drop of a hat, thereby compromising the secrecy of other investigations going on in the concerned police station,” observed a Bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya while hearing a plea levelling serious allegations against the police authorities in his writ petition. The Court, in its order noted that there was no material on record even to prima facie establish that any unnecessary/unlawful force was used on the petitioner’s daughter or that she suffered from any injury, let alone serious. 3. Prima Facie Bias Or Mala Fide Exercise Of Power By State Authorities Necessary For Transferring A Case To CBI: Calcutta High Court [Malati Roy v. State of West Bengal & Ors.] A Bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya observed that the court is empowered to transfer an investigation to CBI only where there is specific instance of bias or mala fide exercise of power on the part of State authorities. “Appointing an independent agency rests on the notion that the measures taken to unravel the truth are not enough. The facts must point to blatant omissions and unmistakable lacunae in the fact finding exercise so that the court would have no other alternative but to transfer the investigation to an independent agency. The apprehension of interference in the investigation by the State machineries or by parties who are interested in the outcome of the investigation must be clearly borne out from records,” the Court held. 4. IBC-Writ Jurisdiction Can Be Invoked Despite Availability Of Alternative Remedy If Allegation Pertains To Lack Of Jurisdiction Of NCLT: Calcutta High Court [Kolkata Municipal Corporation & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors.] A Single Bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya held that a writ petition Article 226 of the Constitution, challenging the jurisdiction of NCLT in a matter, is maintainable despite existence of an alternate remedy in form of appeal before NCLAT. The Judge relied on the Supreme Court’s findings in Embassy Property Developments Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Karnataka & Ors., 2019 SCC OnLine SC 1542, as per which, “in so far as the question of exercise of the power conferred by Article 226, despite the availability of a statutory alternative remedy, is concerned, the distinction between lack of jurisdiction and the wrongful exercise of the available jurisdiction, should certainly be taken into account by High Courts, when Article 226 is sought to be invoked bypassing a statutory alternative remedy provided by a special statute.” 5. CBI’s Authority To Investigate Within ‘Railway Areas’ In A State Remains Unfettered By State Govt’s Withdrawal Of Consent: Calcutta High Court [Anup Majee v. Union of India & Ors.] A Single Bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya ruled that the authority of the CBI to investigate into the allegations in a particular case within Railway areas remains unfettered by the withdrawal of consent by the State Government. It further observed that the extension of powers of the CBI in respect of Railway areas falls outside the purview of the State’s authority to grant or withdraw consent. “Since, under Section 6 [of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946], the consent of the State Government operates only in respect of a State and not Railway areas, which are specifically excluded in the section, the grant or withdrawal of consent by the State Government is irrelevant in respect of Railway areas,” the order stated. Delhi High Court 1. Delhi High Court Issues Notice To AajTak, Press Council Of India And The Centre On Plea Alleging Misreporting On Farmers’ Protests On Republic Day The High Court issued notice to and sought replies from AajTak, the Press Council of India and the Centre, on a petition filed by former MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa alleging that video reports by the channel on the protests are in fact a “concoction of phantom imagination” bearing no nexus to the facts of the protests. Alleging misreporting by the channel on the farmers’ protests on Republic Day, 2021, the petitioner prays for the restraining of the fake-news by “setting the accountability, of the concerned. Also Read: Delhi High Court Rejects PIL Seeking Release Of Persons “Illegally” Detained During Farmers’ Tractor Rally 2. Sex On Promise Of Marriage After Concealing Identity: Delhi High Court Refuses To Quash FIR Though Victim Decides to Stay With Accused As His Wife [Akhtar v. Government of NCT Delhi & Anr.] A Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad refused to quash a Rape Case on the basis of compromise entered into between the parties, wherein petitioner/accused and the respondent No.2/complaint decided to stay as husband and wife. Taking into account that the petitioner-accused has been accused of serious offences like rape and forgery having a bearing on vital societal interest, the Court noted, “…these offences cannot be construed to be merely private or civil disputes but rather will have an effect on the society at large. In crimes which seriously endangers the well-being of the society, it is not safe to leave the crime doer only because he and the victim have settled the dispute amicably.” 3. Delhi High Court Issues Notice On Prashant Bhushan’s Plea For Quashing Of Defamation Case By Director, Indiabulls Venture Capital The High Court issued notice on a quashing petition by Sr. Adv. Prashant Bhushan against a defamation case filed against him by the Director of Indiabulls Venture Capital Management Pvt Ltd. Bhushan has also sought quashing of the summons issued to him in the criminal case which alleges that “he has made defamatory statements regarding the functioning of Indiabulls group, its promoters, officials and directors, etc vide social media sites namely, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.” 4. Death Of Man In ‘Jana Gana Mana’ Video : Delhi High Court Asks Delhi Police To File Affidavit On Working Of CCTV Cameras [Kismatun v. NCT of Delhi] In a plea seeking court-monitored SIT probe into the death of 23-year old Faizan – who was seen in a viral video of last year in which police officers were forcing five injured men lying on the ground to sing the national anthem during the Delhi riots- single bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna asked the Delhi police to file an affidavit regarding the preservation of documents and working of the CCTV cameras at the police station. It directed the Delhi police to file an affidavit regarding the functioning of CCTV cameras of Police Station Jyoti Nagar, particularly on 24th, February, 2020 and 25th, February, 2020. If the CCTV cameras were not functioning, documents supporting that fact need to be produced, the court added. 5. Delhi High Court Directs Status Quo To Be Maintained On Reliance-FRL Stake Sale Deal On Amazon’s Plea Hearing a plea by Amazon Inc against Future Retail Ltd (FRL) and Reliance Industries’ retail stake sale deal worth Rs. 25,000 cr approved by a Board Resolution of FRL last year, the bench of Justice Midha granted interim relief to Amazon directing all authorities and parties to maintain status quo on the deal until a detailed interim order on the case. The Court also gave a strong prima facie view in Amazon’s favour that as opposed to FRL’s plea that the Award was a nullity, the Emergency Award is infact enforceable under Section 17 (2) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, and therefore directed FRL to bring on record all steps and actions taken by it towards the deal, after the award of the Emergency Arbitrator was passed on the arbitration on Oct 25, 2020. 6. Cannot Act As An Appellate Authority Over A Decision Taken At Highest Level In The Government: Delhi High Court [Dr Rohit Kumar v. Lt. Governor Of Delhi & Ors.] A single Bench of Justice V. Kameswar Rao observed that it cannot sit as an Appellate Authority over a decision taken at the highest level in the Government. While observing this, the Court refused to interfere with the Delhi government’s decision whereby it refused to grant study leave to the petitioner, to pursue Postgrad in Paediatrics from PGI Chandigarh. 7. Delhi High Court Issues Notice On New Plea Against WhatsApp’s Privacy Policy Update A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice to the Centre and WhatsApp on a petition challenging its updated 2021 privacy policy on its data sharing arrangement with Facebook and its mandatory imposition in India. Also Read: Asked WhatsApp To Review 2021 Privacy Policy’: IT Ministry Informs Parliament Also Read: West Bengal Civil Court Issues Notice To WhatsApp On Plea Against New Privacy Policy 8. Delhi High Court Seeks RBI, Centre, DHFL Response On Plea Against Rules Allowing NBFCs Resolution Under IBC The High Court sought responses of inter alia, the Centre, the Reserve Bank of India and Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL) on a writ petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy (Insolvency and Liquidation Proceedings of Financial Service Providers and Application to Adjudicating Authority) Rules, 2019, and a notification by the Union of India which had made non-banking financial corporations (NBFCs) eligible for insolvency resolution under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. 9. Delhi High Court Directs TRAI To Strictly Enforce Curbs Against Unsolicited Commercial Communications A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh disposed of a petition by Paytm’s holding company One97 Communications Ltd against phishing attacks on various mobile networks, directing telecom regulator TRAI to ensure “complete and strict” implementation of the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preferences Regulations (TCCCPR), 2018. The 2018 regulation seeks to curb unsolicited commercial communications (UCC). It also directed the telecom service providers (TSPs), which include state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Reliance Jio, Airtel and Vodafone, to ensure strict compliance with the regulation issued by TRAI in this regard. 10. Commuting Life Sentence: Consent Of Central Govt. Mandatory U/S 435 CrPC, But Centre Can’t Deny It Without Application Of Mind [Kartik Subramaniam v. Union of India] A Single Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru held that “consent” of the Central Government is a pre-requisite for premature release of a prisoner under Section 435 of CrPC. The provision prohibits the State Government to exercise powers conferred under Sections 432 (Power to suspend or remit sentences) and 433 (Power to commute sentence) of the CrPC in certain cases where the investigation was conducted by the Delhi Special Police Establishment constituted under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, or by any other agency empowered to investigate into an offence under any Central Act other than, except after ‘consultation’ with the Central Government. The Court also observed that the word ‘consultation’ as construed by the Supreme Court in Union of India v. V. Sriharan @ Murugan & Ors., (2016) 7 SCC 1, would mean consent. Other developments: Delhi High Court Issues Notice On Plea Seeking Disbursement Of Salaries Of Sanitation WorkersPublic Authority To Give Cogent Reasons For Claiming Exemption From Disclosure Of Information Sought Under The RTI Act: Delhi High Court Gauhati High Court 1. ‘Foreigners Tribunal Acted Half Heartedly’: Gauhati HC Quashes Order Declaring Woman As Foreigner Passed Without Examining Relevant Witness [Nashima @ Nasima Begum v. Union of India & Ors.] A division bench comprising Justice Manojit Bhuyan and Justice Parthivjyoti Saikia recently observed that “citizenship of a person is a valuable right” while quashing an order of a Foreigners Tribal which declared a woman a foreigner. The Court observed that the Tribunal appeared to have acted “half-heartedly”, as it did not take serious steps to ensure the attendance of a crucial witness – the Headmaster who issued the school certificate which was relied on by the petitioner to trace back her lineage before March 24, 1971(the cut-off date for Assam NRC). Gujarat High Court 1. Education Should Never Be Compromised”: Gujarat High Court Directs Govt. To Ensure That No Child Drops Out Due To Inability To Pay Fees [Suo Moto v. State Of Gujarat] While noting that Education is something which should never be compromised, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala directed the State Government to ensure that the inability to pay the fees should not compel the parents to stop providing education to their children. The direction was made in a public interest litigation (on its own motion) based on a survey done by the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIM Ahmedabad) and UNICEF Gujarat, which revealed various problems and hardships faced by many households during the period of lock-down, more particularly, the hardship that was caused on account of the sudden stoppage of the mid-day-meals in the Government schools. Karnataka High Court 1. ‘No Person Can Be Permitted To Intimidate Or Terrorize Judges’ : Karnataka High Court Issues Contempt Notice Over Threatening Letter A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum issued a notice under the contempt of courts Act, to a 72-year-old person, who wrote a letter to the High Court registry claiming that he has decided to kill two erring Judges amongst the “highly corrupt 28 Judges of this Court and the Apex Court along with two corrupt Advocates”. The letter sent to the registry on January 29 made scandalous allegations against a Senior Judge, who was part of the Division Bench which passed an order on 6th November 2020, by alleging that the said Judge is acting under the influence of the retired Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court. 2. Karnataka High Court Seeks Details Of Action Taken Against Organisers/Participants Of Farmers Tractor Rally For Violating COVID19 Protocols A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum directed the State Government to place on record details of action taken against participants/organisers for violating norms of social distancing and wearing of face masks during the Farmers protest rally held on January 26, in Bengaluru. The details have to be submitted on February 18. The action for violation of norms is under the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act, 2020. 3. Is ‘Cauvery Calling’ A State Project? Karnataka High Court Grants Last Chance For Govt To Make Statement A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum allowed the request for time made by the state government to comply with the court order directing it to make its stand on the question whether the State Government has any connection with the project of Cauvery Calling and whether the second and third respondents (Isha Foundation/Isha Outreach) are involved in the project of the State Government. The direction was given during the hearing of a petition filed by Advocate A V Amarnathan. In his petition it is claimed that the foundation is planning to plant 253 crores tree saplings across the 639 kilometer stretch of Cauvery river bank from its birthplace Talacauvery to Thiruvarur. The Foundation is said to be collecting Rs. 42 per tree planting from the public. That means it is collecting a whooping sum of Rs 253 X 42 in a total of Rs, 10,626 crores , which according to the petitioner is a major scam. 4. Shivamogga Blast : Karnataka High Court Seeks Govt Reply On Inquiry, Preventive Steps [Dr. KB Vijayakumar v. State of Karnataka & Anr.] A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum directed the state government to file a reply stating the preventive steps it proposes to take in the state in wake of the January 21, blast that occured near the Shivamogga town, when a lorry carrying explosives meant for quarrying had exploded killing 8 people. While issuing notice returnable on March 2, the Court said “State will have to take a stand about the inquiry if any made of the cause of the incident subject matter of this petition. State will have to come out with preventives measures it proposes to take and the action taken against those who are responsible shall be placed on record.” 5. Airport Employees Union Challenges Lease Of Mangaluru Airport To Adani Group; Karnataka High Court Issues Notice [Airports Authority Employees Union v. Union of India & Ors.] A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum issued notice on a writ petition filed by Airports Authority Employees Union which challenges the decision of the Central Government and the Airports Authority of India to hand over the contract for operation and management of Mangaluru International Airport to Adani Enterprises Limited. The petition challenges the Centre’s decision to privatize six airports in the country as “illegal, arbitrary and beyond the scope of the Airport Authority Act, 1994”. Other developments: As Costs, Donate To Environmental Organization : Karnataka High Court To NHAI Over Objectionable AffidavitCustody Cannot Be Extended Merely Because FSL Has Not Furnished Report; Delay In FSL Examination Affecting Right To Speedy Trial : Karnataka High CourtKarnataka High Court Refuses To Quash Kidnapping Case Against Private Secretary Of Chief Minister’Pandemic Should Not Result In Discontinuation Of Education’ : Karnataka HC Asks State To Ensure Attendance In Schools Kerala High Court 1. ‘Regularized An Illegal Act’: Kerala HC Quashes GO That Granted ‘Eligible Leave’ To Employees During Nationwide General Strike [G. Balagopalan v. State Of Kerala] A Division bench comprising the Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly quashed the State Government order that granted eligible leave/casual leave to the Government employees and teachers who had not attended their offices during the nationwide general strike held on 8th and 9th January 2019. “There is clear prohibition under law to call for and participate in strikes and therefore the action of Government regularising an illegal act, cannot be sustained in law,” the Court observed. 2. Single Judge Bench Can Take Cognizance And Decide Civil Contempt Petitions: Kerala High Court [MP Varghese v. VP Devassia] A Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly held that a Single Judge Bench can take cognizance and decide civil contempt petition. It struck down Rule 6 of the Contempt of Courts (High Court of Kerala) Rules as ultra vires to the Constitution of India and Section 19(1) of the Contempt of Courts Act. Rule 6 provided that a Division Bench alone can take cognizance of the contempt proceedings and that if and when, a prima facie case is found out, the contempt petition has to be referred to a Bench of two Judges. The court said that the Rule indirectly takes away the statutory right of an appeal available to an aggrieved person against an order or decision, which requires to be passed by a learned Single Judge and thereby, deprives the statutory right of an appeal under Section 19(1) of the Contempt of Courts Act. 3. Kerala High Court Issues Notice In Plea Challenging Kerala Right to Burial of Corpse In Christian Cemeteries Act, 2020 A Single Bench of Justice PV Asha issued notice in a plea challenging Kerala Right to Burial of Corpse in Christian (Malankara Orthodox-Jacobite) Cemeteries Act, 2020. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church has approached the High Court challenging the provisions of the Act which permits burial of Jacobites in their family cemetery which are now under the control of the Orthodox faction. Madras High Court 1. Recommendations Of State Human Right Commission Are Legally Enforceable, Binding On Govt/Authorities: Madras High Court (FB) [Abdul Sathar v. Principal Secretary to Govt. & Ors.] A Full Bench comprising of Justices S. Vaidyanathan, Parthiban and M Sundar held that the recommendation of State Human Rights Commission under Section 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 is binding on the Government or Authority. It further held that it’s adjudicatory orders are legally and immediately enforceable. Access full report to read all references answered by the Bench Also Read: Amend Protection Of Human Rights Act To Provide Internal Mechanism Qua Commission For Enforcing Its Own Recommendation: Madras High Court 2. Wife Alleges Husband Died After Getting COVID Vaccination: Madras High Court Orders Expert Autopsy As Per AEFI Guidelines [Ambika v. Union of India & Ors.] A Bench of Justice MM Sundresh and Justice S. Ananthi ordered Autopsy on the body of a 40-year-old conservancy worker on a petition moved by his wife. She alleged that her husband was unwilling to get vaccinated but after the panchayat authorities threatened to terminate him from work, he gave his consent for vaccination. Thereafter, he got vaccination on January 21st 2021, however, his health started deteriorating and on January 30, when he was travelling to Madurai for a medical checkup, he threw up and collapsed at the Aruppukottai New Bus Stand. 3. ‘Reckless Statements Demeaning Another Religious Faith Will Only Sow Seeds Of Hatred’: Madras High Court Warns Evangelist While Quashing FIR [Mohan C Lazarus v. State] A single bench of Justice Anand Venkatesh quashed the FIRs against Christian evangelist Mohan C Lazarus, the founder of ‘Jesus Redeems Ministry’, for hurting religious sentiments, following his unconditional apology. However, the Court strongly rebuking his conduct and emphasizing the need to maintain restraint while exercising the right to propagate religion. “If the Petitioner is going to make reckless statements which has the propensity of demeaning another religious faith, it will only sow seeds of hatred among people across religious faiths. Every word uttered by any person holding an influential status in their respective religions has the potential to make or mar the inner development of a person. Therefore, such persons are required to exercise a great amount of responsibility while uttering each word”, the judgment said. 4. “No Monopoly Over Coronil”; Madras High Court Sets Aside Order Restraining Patanjali Ayurveda from Using The trademark ‘Coronil’ [M/s. Pathanjali Ayurved Ltd. & Anr. v. Arudra Engineers Pvt. Ltd.] A Division Bench of Justices R Subbiah and C Saravanan set aside a Single Bench order restraining Patanjali Ayurveda from using the trademark ‘Coronil’- the controversial drug that the company initially claimed to be a cure for the deadly Corona virus. It noted that the Petitioner in the trademark infringement suit registered marks, ‘CORONIL-92 B’ and ‘CORONIL- 213 SPL’ as composite marks and could not claim monopoly over the word Coronil simplicitor. 5. Publication Of Intended Acquisition In Little Known Newspapers Amounts To Fraud On Statute & On Right To Property Of Citizens: Madras High Court While underlining that publication of an intended (land) acquisition in little known newspapers may amount to a fraud on the statute, and a fraud on the right to property of the citizens¸ a Bench of Justice N. Seshasayee came down heavily upon the State’s bureaucracy. The Court further cited 4 ruling wherein the Apex Court as well as Madras High Court has frowned upon the practice of causing paper publication in less known newspaper with least known circulation in a locality. 6. ‘Lock Down A Force Majeure Event’ : Madras High Court Directs Complete Waiver Of License Fee During Total Lockdown Period [R Narayanan v. Government of Tamil Nadu] A single bench of Justice G R Swaminathan directed a Municipal Corporation to waive the license fee for running a shop in a bus stand during the entire period of total lockdown from March 24, 2020 to September 6, 2020. It observed that the benefit of Tamil Nadu Government’s which waived license fee for two months (April & May) – should be extended during the period when total lockdwon was in force. The bench observed that although the license agreement did not have an express ‘force majeure’ clause, the COVID-19 pandemic has to be treated as a ‘force majeure’ event. Since the local body itself directed the shutting down of the bus stand and the shops, it cannot demand license fee during the period when the shop remained close. 7. Writ Jurisdiction U/A 226 May Be Exercised At Pre-Detention Stage In Case Of Potential Threat To A Person’s Fundamental Rights: Madras High Court [D. Aswin Rao v. State & Ors.] A Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh held that Article 226 of the Constitution empowers the High Court to exercise its writ jurisdiction even at a pre-detention stage, if it is of the view that there is a potential threat of violation of a person’s fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. The finding comes with a rider that before exercising such jurisdiction, the Court concerned must satisfy itself that there is a potential threat of violation of Article 21 of the Constitution. For this, the Bench said, here must be some materials before the Court to determine the existence of a potential threat. “It cannot be based on mere apprehensions and this Court can only act on some overt acts,” it held. Other developments: Representing Case Sitting In Stationed Car In ‘A Casual Manner’ Amounts To Disrespecting Court Proceedings: Madras High Court Meghalaya High Court 1. Court Cannot Break Open The Seal Of “Sealed Cover CBI Reports” In Front Of Parties Without Returning Final Or Prima Facie Contentious Issues: Meghalaya HC [Meghalaya Public Service Commission & Ors v. Millon Ch. Momin & Ors.] A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Biswanath Somadder and Justice H.S. Thangkhiew observed that the Court cannot break open the seal of sealed cover CBI reports in the presence of parties to the lis without returning “final or at least prima facie finding on the contentious issues”. The single judge had directed for breaking open the seal of a CBI enquiry report in the presence of the parties. However, when the appeal came before the High Court, the division bench observed that the direction issued by the single judge to break open the CBI report could only have been done after “returning final or at least prima facie finding on the contentious issues” which was not done in the instant matter. 2. Data Privacy Safeguards Are Sine Qua Non For Protecting Privacy Of Citizens Particularly When An App Is Required To Be installed At The Instance Of State: Meghalaya HC [Jade Jeremiah Lyngdoh v. Union of India & Ors.] A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Biswanath Somadder and Justice HS Thangkhiew held that data privacy safeguards are sine qua non for the purpose of protecting the privacy of citizens, particularly when an app is required to be installed by a citizen at the instance of the State. it observed so while presiding over a PIL challenging the mandatory imposition of “Corontine App” and “Stay Safe Meghalaya App”— contact tracing apps of the state government. The two apps were introduced by the Meghalaya Government and all persons who were recommended for home quarantine/ isolation were mandated to download them. A law student, Jade J. Lyngdoh, had challenged the Government order stating that the Apps may compromise privacy of the citizens due to lack of protection of personal sensitive data. Patna High Court 1. ASJ Grants Pre-Arrest Bail To An Accused While Denying Same To Another In Same Matter: Patna High Court Calls For Probe In The Administrative Side [State Of Bihar v. Brind Paswan] A Bench of Justice Birendra Kumar called for an administrative probe against ASJ-I of Patna City sub-division for passing conflicting orders in the same case, wherein while granting anticipatory bail to one accused, he denied the same to another who was facing similar charges in the same murder case. The Court opined that the impugned order suffers from non-application of judicial mind, lacks reason, is result of error of record and suffers from non-consideration of material on the records. It further added, “Since the same judicial officer has passed conflicting orders in the same case against the material on the record, the conduct and fairness in judicial approach of the judicial officer concern may require probe in the administrative side.” Punjab & Haryana High Court 1. Farmers’ Protest- Punjab & Haryana High Court Issues Notice To Centre, Haryana Govt. On Plea Challenging Suspension Of Internet [Sandeep Singh & Ors. v. Union Of India & Ors.] A Bench of Justice Fatehdeep Singh issued notice to the Centre and the Haryana government on a plea seeking immediate restoration of Internet services in the State of Haryana. The Petitioners have assailed the “arbitrary act of the state of Haryana and Union of India”, on imposing suspension and shutdown of mobile Internet services across the 17 District of Haryana, without any prior notice. It was also alleged that the act of the respondent is against the Fundamental rights safeguarded by Article 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. 2. Widow Convicted In A Murder Case Eligible For Family Pension Since The Case Doesn’t Relate To Husband’s Death: Punjab & Haryana High Court [Baljinder Kaur v. State of Haryana & Ors.] A Bench of Justice GS Sandhawalia ruled that family pension to a Widow cannot be denied on account of her conviction (for the offence of murder), which is unrelated to the death of her husband. It said, “It is not disputed that the petitioner-widow has committed the offence of murder and is on bail and her sentence has been suspended and, therefore, she requires to maintain herself and cannot be denied the financial assistance and it is not a bounty, as such, and is her right on account of the services rendered by her husband to the Government.” The Authorities in this case cited her conduct to deny pensionary benefits to her. It was stated that she had been convicted by the Court and, therefore, pecuniary benefits could not be extended to her on both accounts monthly financial assistance and the liability of family pension. 3. ‘Panchayati Divorce’ Has No Legal Sanctity, Such Customs Ceased To Exist After Formulation Of Hindu Marriage Act: P&H High Court [Nishan Singh and another v. State of Punjab & Ors.] While noting that the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is a complete Code and provides for the conditions of marriage as well as the procedure for divorce, a Bench of Justice Alka Sarin clarified that a ‘Panchayati’ divorce has no recognition in the eyes of law. It observed that in view of Section 4 of the Hindu Marriage Act,1955 all customs like ‘Panchayati’ divorce and related usages ceased to have effect. Rajasthan High Court 1. Install Smart Television Screens & Make Available Recorded Education Courses In Shelter Homes For Ladies/Children: Rajasthan High Court To State [Sangeeta v. State of Rajasthan & Ors.] The Bench of Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Devendra Kachhawaha directed the State Government to ensure that smart television screens are installed in all Balika Gruhs, Children Observation Homes & Nari Niketans and pre-recorded courses of education department can be provided so as to impart education to the ladies/children housed in these institutions. The direction was made taking into account the suggestions made by Amicus Curiae Dr. Nupur Bhati. She suggested the Court that smart television screens may be provided in each institution on which Pre-recorded courses of the Education Department can be played according to the age group of the ladies housed in the Institutions. 2. Gold Smuggling With Intent To Threaten Economic Security Of Country A ‘Terrorist Act’ Under UAPA : Rajasthan High Court [Mohammed Aslam v. Union Of India & Anr.] A single bench of Justice Satish Kumar Sharma observed that the offence of gold smuggling with the intent to threaten or likely to threaten the economic security of the country covered under the definition of ‘terrorist act’ under Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967(UAPA). The Court said that such an activity will come under Section 15(I)(iiia) of the Act. Section 15(I)(iiia) of UAPA mentions activities with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the economic security of the country causing “damage to, the monetary stability of India by way of production or smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit Indian paper currency, coin or of any other material”.Next Storylast_img read more