High Courts Weekly Round-Up
Allahabad High Court
The Allahabad High Court in Sher Singh @ Sheru vs. State of UP dealt with the issue of claim of juvenility raised by the accused when proceedings were underway. The Bench decided that the right of an accused to raise the issue of juvenility cannot be denied by dismissing the writ petition as infructuous and, in case the writ petition in question has been filed though wrongly, the issue can be raised in a criminal appeal even though the same has been raised before the Juvenile Justice Board.
The High Court (Lucknow Bench) in Shiv Mohan Tiwari vs. State of U.P., decided that an offence under the SC/ST Act will not be attracted merely because the victim belongs to the SC/ST community. When the basic ingredients of the Section 3(1) (x) SC/ST Act, i.e. an offence was committed by a person against a person belonging to the SC/ST community with the sole purpose of humiliating that person in public view such that the person was a victim from the SC/ST community, were missing in this case, the accused (also appellant/applicant in this case) couldn’t have been charged under the said Act, Justice Ranjana Pandya said.
The Court quashed the detention order of Kamlesh Tewari for his alleged derogatory remarks against a prophet under the National Security Act.
Bombay High Court
The Bombay High Court in Central Indian Ayush Drugs Manufacturers Association & Ors. vs. State of Maharashtra through Secy. & Ors., decided the scope of jurisdiction of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The bench decided that the NGT did not have power to adjudicate upon the vires or validity of any enactment in Schedule-I or of subordinate legislation framed under such enactment.
The High Court ruled that minor procedural errors and inadvertent omissions in maintaining records under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) (PCPNDT) Act, 1994, cannot be regarded as a punishable violation on part of the doctor. The Court also slammed the authorities for instituting the case solely on the basis of Vigilance committee report without investigating the matter in detail.
In a recent judgment, the High Court preferred humanitarian ground to reduce the prison punishment for a prisoner who overstayed his furlough. The judgment passed by Justices VK Tahilramani and MridulaBhatkar held that petitioner Takku Singh’s prison punishment ought to be reduced on his explanation of overstay due to his wife’s ill-health.
The Nagpur Bench of the High Court in VibhaGoswami v. Arun Goswami, held that suspecting wife’s character, physically assaulting her and harassing her for coming home late after work amounts to cruelty and is a valid ground for divorce.
A public interest litigation has been filed in the High Court challenging the Bar Council of India resolution and circular to revive Rule 28 of Schedule III of Part IV of the Bar Council of India Rules prescribing age limit for studying three-year and five-year LLB courses.
Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court in Pratham Education vs Department of Consumer Affairs and Ors (WP No. 3890/16), in a writ petition challenging the competence of the Department of Consumer Affairs in delegating and conferring authority on the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), issued notices to the respondents.
The Court decided to dismiss the application for staying the written exam, in Anil Kumar v. Registrar General High Court of Delhi, Hargurvarinder Singh Jaggi v. Registrar General High Court of Delhi and Dharmender Rana And Ors. v. Registrar General High Court of Delhi, combining the three writ petitions whereby the three petitioner challenged the answers provided in the answer key by the Delhi HC for the preliminary stage (objective type questions) in the Judicial Services Exam, 2015 (DJS).
Gujarat High Court
Gujarat High Court on Thursday upheld the decision of the State Government to allow admission to 105 Management Quota seats in 7 GMERS (Gujarat Medical Education and Research Society) Colleges through GUJCET (Gujarat Common Entrance Test).
Kerala High Court
Dismissing a challenge against show cause notice issued by the Competition Commission of India against office bearers of the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) and its affiliated trade unions, the High Court of Kerala held that the scheme of the Competition Act is a composite one and does not contemplate two separate proceedings against the company/association as also against its office bearers who are liable to be proceeded under Section 48 of the Act.
Setting aside an order by censor board banning a film, the High Court in Jayan Cherian vs. Union of India &ors., held that mere reference to homosexuality and masturbation of women may not amount to obscenity or vulgarity.
The High Court in L. Mini And Ors. Vs. GireeshkumarAnd Anr., dealt with a motor vehicle accident claim where the claimants were legal heirs of the deceased and the deceased was a pillion rider. The Division Bench although decided neither the rider of the bike nor the National Insurance Co. Ltd. were liable for compensation, held that the government should be liable to compensate the deceased or injured vehicle owners (compensate victim’s family in case of deceased).
Madras High Court
The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court, in Marimuthu v. The Inspector of Police, dismissed a writ petition of a person who sought for a direction to his minor daughter’s abortion. Apart from addressing several important issues related to the rights of pregnant women and rights of minor children to voluntarily indulge in sexual relations, Justice Vimala has referred the issue of contradictions, controversies and conflict between various legislations, which touch upon the constitutional validity of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act to a Division Bench.
The High Court recently observed that if robbery and murder take place in one and the same occurrence, the presumption is that the same accused must have committed both the offences. The Bench further held that it is a rebuttable presumption.
The Madurai bench of the Court disposed of a public interest litigation calling for directions to the State for effective implementation of guidelines ensuring safety and security in girl’s hostels in Tamil Nadu.
The High Court directed the authorities to ensure in future that no excess fee is collected from students illegally. This observation was made on a writ petition filed by an alumnus student of E.R. Higher Secondary School, complaining that the school authorities were collecting excess fee from the students unauthorisedly.
The Court rejected a public interest litigation challenging the issue of licences to certain fireworks units despite their alleged violation of safety norms stipulated under the Explosive Rules 2008.
Patna High Court
The Patna High Court in Flipkart Services Pvt. Ltd. vs. State of Bihar and WS Retail Services Pvt. Ltd. vs. State of Bihar declared entry tax levied on goods brought in through e-commerce sites as ultra vires to the Constitution.
The High Court on Friday struck down Bihar’s anti-liquor law, holding its provisions to be “clearly draconian and in excess of the balance need to be maintained”.
Punjab & Haryana High Court
The Punjab and Haryana High Court in Narender @ Kala vs. Sunita, held that a maintenance petition couldn’t be denied on the grounds of acquittal of the husband and family members from dowry charges. While allowing the wife to get maintenance, the Bench of Justice Anita Chaudhry, however, held that the son wasn’t entitled to any maintenance, having attained adulthood.
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