High Courts Weekly Round Up
Bombay High Court
- The conviction of a 45-year old man accused of raping a woman multiple times set aside.The court was hearing an appeal filed by a Satara-based man, challenging his conviction under Sections 376 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code. The appellant was booked in August, 2008, after a woman, a marketing professional, registered a complaint against him with the local police.
- Directed the Maharashtra government to give copies of the entire report of the Backward Class Commission on Maratha reservation to petitioners challenging the quota decision. A division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice BharatiDangre quelled fears of the state government that certain portions of the report would create communal tension and law and order problems, saying "there is nothing worrisome".
- Aurangabad bench of the High Court held that a mother cannot alienate/sell property of her minor son, when she is not his legal guardian. The court was hearing a petition filed by the boy through his father, challenging as void and illegal the sale of his property in the year 1989, by his mother Kushavartabai Paul. The defendant, Shivaji Paul to whom the property was sold opposed the plea claiming that it was sold for legal necessity and for the benefit of the minor.
- Nagpur bench of the High Court followed the Supreme Court's judgment in Sabarimala case to hold that no presumption regarding the existence of customary practise in tribal communities to exclude daughters from inheritance can be drawn.
- Rejected the apology offered by lawyer Satish Uke, who was punished for contempt of court for filing a petition with "wild and unsubstantiated allegations" against sitting judges and practising lawyers.
- Asserting that people cannot be compulsorily made voters, the Aurangabad Bench of the refused to direct the Election Commission of India (ECI) to use the list of advocates prepared by the Bar Council of Maharashtra for preparing the list of voters for Graduate Constituency of Maharashtra Legislative Council.The order was passed by a bench comprising Justice TV Nalawade and Justice Sunil K Kotwal, on a petition filed by one Shaikh MajitSardar, who had submitted that since the Bar Council is a statutory body, the list of advocates prepared by it can be used to prepare the electoral roll.
- Discharged a man accused under Section 377 IPC observing that extra marital consensual sexual relationship is not a criminal offence, in view of Supreme Court judgment in Navtej Singh Johar vs. Union of India.
- Restrained a UK-based Indian-origin man from continuing divorce proceedings before a Family Court in Manchester and held that if a marriage is registered under the Hindu Marriage Act, then relief cannot be sought under English Personal Law.
- Ordered the sale of intellectual property rights of the classic children's magazine Chandamama after three former directors of M/s Geodesic Ltd gave their consent with regard to the possession and sale of tangible and intangible assets of M/s Geodesic Ltd. including its subsidiary companies (both Indian and overseas companies).
Calcutta High Court
- Partly allowing a writ petition challenging the Senior Designation Guidelines framed by the High Court, observed that the condition stipulating regular practice in the high court for being considered for designation as a senior advocate should be omitted from the guidelines.
- Directed the Additional Solicitor General to explain whether a clause of negotiation between MSOs and LCOs in the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) notification for revenue sharing is illusory or not.
- Rejected a woman's petition to terminate her 26-week-old pregnancy, despite the fact that the baby has a high risk of Down Syndrome, along with problems in the oesophagus, heart and abdomen.
Chhattisgarh High Court
- Observed that the Tribal status will continue even if the tribe converted to Christianity, the said Tribal status shall continue. Justice Goutam Bhaduri observed thus, while dismissing an election petition against Amit Ajit Jogi, filed by SameeraPaikara.
Delhi High Court
- Ruled that when the act of a public servant is ex-facie criminal or constitutes an offence, prior approval of the Government as mandated under Section 17A of Prevention of Corruption Act would not be necessary.
- Held that copyright registration of an art work is irrelevant for the purpose of ascertaining its use as a trademark.The order was passed by Justice Suresh Kumar Kait on a petition challenging an order passed by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB)
- Declared that the fixing of the age of superannuation of members of the ranks of Commandant and below in the ITBP, CRPF, BSF and SSB different from those in the ranks above that of the Commandant is violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. A Division bench comprising Justice S.Muraleedhar and Sanjeev Narula held that there appears to be no justification in discriminating amongst the CAPFs particularly when the retirement age of all members of the CISF and AR is 60 years and whereas the retirement age of those of the rank of Commandant and below in BSF, CRPF, SSB and ITBP is 57 years.
- Summoned scribe Priya Ramani as an accused in a defamation case filed by former Union minister M J Akbar after she levelled allegations of sexual misconduct against him in the #MeToo campaign.The court directed Ramani to appear before it on February 25 after noting that the allegations made against Akbar were "prima facie defamatory" and he had denied all the accusations as "false and imaginary".
- Refused to stay international arbitration proceedings initiated against Union of India out of a Bilateral Investment Treaty(BIT) with Mauritius, on the reasoning that question of jurisdiction has to be decided by the arbitration tribunal itself. The High Court was dealing with a stay application in an anti-arbitration injunction suit filed by the Union of India seeking to restrain Khaitan Holdings(Mauritius) from proceeding with arbitration proceedings under the BIT.
- In a decision affecting hundreds of Delhi Judicial Service aspirants, directed the Registrar General to re-draw the results of DJS-2018 preliminary examinations with two questions in the question booklet series 'B' to be deleted, answer to one question being revised in the answer key and the court ordering that in answer to one particular question, two of the four options be considered the "most appropriate answer".
- Allowed a medical student to undertake her Doctor of Medicine (DM) examination, ruling that she cannot be denied of her right to undertake the examination just because she availed of maternity leave.
- Came down heavily on a litigant and his lawyers for abusing the process of law by filing a second "first appeal" in a case, citing technical differences.
Gauhati High Court
- Aizawl Bench of the Gauhati High Court quashed the order of the Mizoram government declaring dry days from January 15, 2019 to March 15, 2019. The judgment was passed by Justice Michael Zothankhuma on petitions filed by bonded warehouses and retail liquor vendors.
Gujarat High Court
- Quashed rape charges levelled by a woman against her ex-husband who allegedly cohabited with her even after the dissolution of their marriage by keeping her in dark about their divorce.The order was passed by Justice AS Supehia on a petition filed by the husband under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1974. He had demanded quashing of the FIR registered against him with Mahila Police Station, Rajkot for offences punishable under sections 376, 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code.
- Granted bail to a man accused of sexually harassing a 17-year-old girl.In doing so, Justice SH Vora considered it a "mitigating circumstance" that the accused and the minor girl were allegedly involved in a love affair and that the girl went along with the accused of her own volition.
- Held that just like the witnesses, the accused in a case filed under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act can also lead evidence by way of an affidavit in terms of Section 145.
Jammu & Kashmir High Court
- Held that a Magistrate can pass 'Residence order' under Domestic Violence Act even with regard to property situated outside State.
Karnataka High Court
- Dismissed anticipatory bail application of Administrator of a WhatsApp Group in which some group members had shared 'Pakistan Zindabad' slogans.
- Reminded the State government that it is only the Parliament which can make changes in the list of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, scorning over the issuance of circulars and government orders by the State government interfering with the same.
Kerala High Court
- Ruled that Only the minimum amount required for conducting a simple marriage function can be claimed by a daughter as 'marriage expenses' from her parent. The bench comprising Justice AM Shaffique and Justice AM Babu noted that a father has the obligation to maintain his daughters who are not capable of looking after themselves and his obligation continues even after them attaining majority.
- Ruled that alawyer of an opposite party can be summoned as witness, in cases where his examination is justified by the circumstances. The bench comprising of Justice CK Abdul Rahim and Justice TV Anil Kumar upheld a Family court order that had allowed an application seeking to summon and examine former lawyer of opposite party as a witness in the proceeding.
- Held that a compact disc(CD) is admissible in evidence in proceedings in Family Court even without certification under Section 65B(4) of the Indian Evidence Act. The Division Bench of Justices C K Abdul Rehim and N Anilkumar held so based on Section 14 of the Family Courts Act, which relaxes application of Indian Evidence Act to proceedings in Family Court.
- Held that a person holding license to drive light motor vehicle(LMV) can drive transport vehicle which has less than 7500 kilograms as its gross weight, without any special authorisation.
- Emphasizing the need to create a safe electronic banking environment, observed that a bank cannot be exonerated from the liability for the loss caused to its customer on account of the unauthorised withdrawals made from his account merely on the ground that the customer has not responded promptly to the SMS alerts given by the bank.
Madhya Pradesh High Court
- Upheld the death sentence awarded to a teacher for raping a four-and-half-year-old child, while holding that capital punishment was the proper punishment in the case and any other punishment was absolutely inadequate.
Madras High Court
- Closed a writ petition which sought registration of criminal case against Health Minister of Tamil Nadu after he gave an undertaking before the court that, in future, he would not drive a two wheeler without wearing helmet.
- Dismissed a petition challenging the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India's (TRAI) March, 2017 regulations and tariff order relating to fixation of charges for free and pay television channels. A division bench comprising justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad also upheld the January 31 deadline fixed by the TRAI for the implementation of the order.
- Directed the state to declare, the 30 January, 2019, as a 'Dry Day' by closing all the liquor shops across the State, as a mark of respect to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi.
- Issued a notice to producers of the Mammootty starrer 'Yatra', a biopic on late Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, YS Rajasekhar Reddy.
Odisha High Court
- Directed the State government to take immediate steps to curb the practice of social boycott or ostracism prevalent in the State of Odisha.
Patna High Court
- Reiterated that exoneration in departmental proceedings ipso facto would not result into quashing of criminal prosecution against an accused.
Rajasthan High Court
- Dismissed a wife's plea seeking maintenance from her husband whose enrollment as a lawyer was blocked as she reported about pendency of '498A' case against him to the Bar Council of Rajasthan.
Tripura High Court
- Directed a Judicial Officer, who had passed a judgment 'totally ignoring the elementary provisions of law', to undertake a refresher course on all the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure at the Judicial Academy.