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High Courts Weekly Roundup [Dec 28 – Jan 3]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
3 Jan 2021 1:31 PM GMT
High Courts Weekly Roundup [Dec 28 – Jan 3]
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Summation of important High Court orders this week

Allahabad High Court 1. Police Assault On Etah Advocate: Allahabad High Court Orders Inquiry By Chief Judicial Magistrate [In Re Suo Moto Cognizance Of The Police Atrocities Over An Advocate] A Division Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh sought a complete report of the incident, wherein Rajendra Sharma, a practicing Advocate at Etah was beaten...

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Allahabad High Court

1. Police Assault On Etah Advocate: Allahabad High Court Orders Inquiry By Chief Judicial Magistrate [In Re Suo Moto Cognizance Of The Police Atrocities Over An Advocate]

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh sought a complete report of the incident, wherein Rajendra Sharma, a practicing Advocate at Etah was beaten and manhandled by the police and his relatives too were harassed and humiliated. The Court directed the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Etah to enquire into the matter and submit a complete report including audio visual electronic documents on or before the next date of listing.

The High Court had taken suo-motu cognizance of the matter. Significantly, the Bar Council of India had also issued a statement condemning the police assault and had urged the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court and the Chief Justice of India to take suo moto cognizance of the same.

2. Woman Entering Into New Relationship Without Securing Divorce Wouldn't Deprive Her Of Custody Of Minor Child: Allahabad HC [Anmol Shivhare (Minor) v. State Of UP & Ors.]

The Bench of Justice JJ Munir observed that the fact that the mother enters into a new relationship allegedly without obtaining divorce from her husband, may be something that the law and the society frown upon, but, this in itself, wouldn't deprive her of the custody of her minor child.

The Court observed that "depriving the minor of his mother's company, might have an adverse impact on his overall development. This, in-turn would derogate from the minor's welfare."

Andhra Pradesh High Court

1. "Does One Become Christian Just By Attending Church Sermon?" AP HC Dismisses Plea Against CM Jagan Mohan Reddy For His Visit To Tirupati Temple 'Being A Non-Hindu' [Alokam Sudhakar Babu v. State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors.]

A Single Judge bench of Justice Battu Devanand dismissed a writ petition of quo warranto against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, YS Jaganmohan Reddy and other Cabinet Ministers on their visit to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Temple despite being non-Hindus and followers of a different religion.

The petition was filed requiring the respondents to show under what authority are they holding their respective official posts thereby seeking directions on appointment of other competent persons in their place. The primary grievance of the petitioner was that Reddy, who is a Christian by religion, has entered the temple without furnishing the required declaration thereby violating the law of the State and he is not entitled to continue in the present post as he is holding.

"Recently, the respondent has participated in the prayers in Gurudwara at Vijayawada. Can he be treated as professing the "Sikh" religion? Does one become a "Christian" just by having a biblical name or just by attending a Church sermon? Can one be called as a 'Christian' just because they read the Bible or have the Crucifix in their house? Admittedly, the answer will be negative," the Court observed while dismissing the plea. Further, the Court also noted that there is a State tradition from years to invite the serving Chief Ministers for offering prayers to Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams temples to present "Pattu Vastralu" during Brahmotsavam as per the procedure provided under "Kainkarya Patti"

2. Andhra Pradesh High Court Under Attack From Persons In Power: HC Judge Makes Scathing Remarks Against CM Jagan

Justice Rakesh Kumar of the Andhra Pradesh High Court made certain scathing observations against the Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and the State Government led by him. While rejecting an application moved by the State Government seeking his recusal from hearing a case, Justice Kumar went to the extent of saying that the High Court of Andhra Pradesh was under attack from persons in power.

The judge observed that state government, after overreaching and undermining constitutional bodies like the legislative council and the State Election Commission, was attempting to do so with respect to the High Court. "To some extent after getting success in overreaching and undermining two Constitutional Bodies, i.e., Legislative Council and the State Election Commission, it was the turn of highest Court in the State of Andhra Pradesh, i.e., High Court of Andhra Pradesh", he noted in the order.

The judge referred to the social media abuses hurled by members of the ruling party against judges after the High Court passed adverse orders against the government. The High Court has initiated contempt proceedings with respect to such posts and has ordered CBI enquiry against YSRCP members for such defamatory posts.

3. Andhra Pradesh High Court Judge Calls For Collegium Transparency In The Wake Of Transfer Proposals Of Chief Justices Of AP, Telangana HCs

In a curious development, a judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court passed an order with critical observations against the proposals made by the Supreme Court collegium to transfer the Chief Justices of High Courts of AP and Telangana. In the order, Justice Rakesh Kumar sought to draw a connection between the transfer proposals of the SC collegium and the bombastic letter shot by AP Chief Minster Jagan Mohan Reddy to the Chief Justice of India with allegations against the state judiciary. While adding that he was not raising any questions at the collegium proposals, Justice Kumar observed that transfer of High Court Judges or its Chief Justices "may reflect some transparency".

"After all, they are also holding Constitutional post like member of Hon'ble Supreme Court Collegium", he added. Further, he stated, "People may draw an inference as if after the so called letter of Hon'ble Chief Minister, the two Chief Justices, i.e., Chief Justice of High Court for the State of Telangana and Chief Justice of High Court of AP have been transferred". The judge observed that with the transfer, the prosecution in the criminal cases against Jagan Mohan Reddy will be hampered. The Supreme Court has directed the High Courts to monitor the prosecution of criminal cases against ministers and legislators.

The Order highlighted that the Supreme Court Collegium had recommended the transfer of Justices Raghvendra Singh Chouhan and JK Maheswari, the Chief Justices of Telangana and AP High Courts respectively, on December 14, 2020. While Chief Justice RS Chouhan is proposed to be transferred as the CJ of Uttarakhand High Court, Justice JK Maheshwari is sought to be transferred as the CJ of Sikkim High Court. The order then went on to enumerate the 30 criminal cases pending against Chief Minister Jagan Reddy. It was noted that police has closed many cases citing lack of evidence. This, the judge said, reflected "how head of the Police, i.e., the Director General of Police, Government of Andhra Pradesh, is functioning as per the dictate of the Government, not in upholding rule of law in the State".

Bombay High Court

1. Purpose Of Rehabilitative Sentencing Is To Reform The Offender As A Law Abiding Citizen Again; Bombay HC Grants Bail To 20-yr-old Boy In POCSO Case [Suresh Thorat v. State of Maharashtra and ors.]

The Bombay High Court granted bail to a 20-year-old boy accused under the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) while observing that the purpose of rehabilitative sentencing is to reform the offender as a person so that he may become a normal law abiding member of the community once again.

A Bench of Justice Bharati Dangre was hearing a criminal bail application filed by one Shubham Thorat, accused of offences punishable under Sections 377, 323, 506 of the IPC and for offences under Sections 3(a), 3(c) read with Sections 4, 5(e), 5(m) read with Section 6 of the POCSO Act. Before granting bail, Justice Dangre added an additional stipulation that the accused will continue to undergo counselling at the hands of Clinical Psychologists and this should be catered to by the Sassoon General Hospital, Pune.

2. IDBI Ltd Is Not A Government Undertaking Under Article 12 of Constitution of India: Bombay High Court [Mrinmayee Rohit Umrotkar v. Union of India and Others]

The Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni held that the Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI Ltd.) is not a Government Undertaking under Article 12 of the Constitution of India.

The matter dealt with a medical student, the Petitioner, desirous of availing of the Medical Entrance Information Brochure relating to the National Eligibility Entrance Test 2020. The said brochure provided for 85% seats reserved for Maharashtra candidates, who have a domicile in Maharashtra and have passed their 10th standard S.S.C. and 12th standard H.S.C in Maharashtra Schools.

The court held that the Central Vigilance Commission's vigilance over IDBI Ltd. cannot be a "guiding factor" in determining whether it is a Government undertaking. Furthermore, the court held that just because Life Insurance Corporation of India may fall under "State" under Article 12 of the Constitution of India, the same does not apply for IDBI Ltd.

3. Non-Compliance Of Section 42 Of NDPS Act Vitiates Trial: Bombay High Court [State Of Maharashtra v. Suabai Narhari Babar]

Aa Single Bench of Justice KR Shriram held that failure to comply with the requirements under Section 42 (Power of entry, search, seizure and arrest without warrant or authorisation) of the NDPS Act would affect the prosecution's case and vitiate the trial.

In this case, the court referred to the deposition of the Investigating Officer, who despite having knowledge of the possession of ganja by one of the accused and the whereabouts of the same, did not reduce the information into writing as required under Section 42. The court made further reference to his deposition, noting that he had written the said information in the station diary and communicated the same via telephone to his immediate officer. The court noted that mere entry of the information does not suffice and reasons for the belief must also be reduced to writing. Accordingly, the court did not consider this to be strict compliance with Section 42 (2) of the NDPS Act.

Other Developments

Calcutta High Court

1. Calcutta High Court Directs Centre To Fill Up CFSL Vacancies, Set Up Exclusive DNA Test Outlets [Rebaka Begum v. State of West Bengal & Ors]

The Calcutta High Court directed the Central government to open more CFSL Centres in the State for expeditious forensic examination during criminal investigations. The Court also expressed the need for setting up of exclusive DNA outlets.

A division bench comprising of Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee said, "Every endeavour should be made by the Union to sanction more posts and, if possible, open branches at other parts of the State to ensure the expeditious examination of, inter alia, narcotic substances and material sent in course of criminal investigation. It may also be necessary to set up exclusive DNA test outlets, now that such tests are regularly used in criminal investigations."

These directions were given by the Court while hearing a writ petition filed by Rebaka Begum, who claimed that her missing husband, was in fact arrested. She claimed that she did not know where her husband was being detained. The concerned Inspector-in-charge had subsequently, on December 22, filed a report in the Court stating that they had found skeletal remains of a man (suggesting that the same could be of the Petitioner's husband), and the same had been sent to CFSL for testing. However, when the test results did not come through in time, the Court made the above remarks.

2. SC Order Extending Limitation Applies Only To First 30 Days For Filing Written Statement In Commercial Court Cases: Calcutta High Court [Siddha Real Estate Development Private Limited vs. Girdhar Fiscal Services Private]

The Calcutta High Court observed that the order of the Supreme Court dated 23rd March, 2020 extending limitation period would apply only to the first 30 days for filing written statement under Order VIII Rule 1 of CPC and not to the additional 90 days which follows the prescribed period for matters covered by the Commercial Courts Act, 2015. The 90 days additional window following the prescribed period is the additional period and not the prescribed period of limitation under Order VIII Rule 1 CPC, Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya held.

In this case, the summons was served on the defendant on 2nd December, 2019. 30 days expired on 2nd January, 2020. The application for extension of time was filed by the defendant on 5th February, 2020 seeking 8 weeks' time for preparing and filing the written statement. The defendant relied on a recent order of the Supreme Court in which it observed that its order of 23rd March 2020 extending limitation for filing in courts and tribunals is still operative.

Other Developments:

  • COVID19-Control Congestion In Public Places During Year-End Festivities: Calcutta High Court Directs State Govt. To Enforce Protocol

Delhi High Court

1. Delhi High Court Allows Allocation Of Medical Seat To National Bravery Award Winner, Order Not To Be Used As Precedent [Union of India and Another v. Samridhi Sushil Sharma]

The Delhi High Court issued direction to the Union of India to allocate a supernumerary medical seat to a Bravery Award winner for the MBBS course, 2019, which under the reservation scheme was reserved for the National Bravery Awardees. Division judge bench of Justice Asha Menon and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw was hearing an appeal by the Union against a Single Judge bench order the same Court directing the allocation of the seat to the awardee. The respondent was denied the seat out of 2 quota seats reserved for National Bravery Awardees in academic year 2019-20 and the single bench directed a special seat to be created for the Bravery Awardee.

The government said to the court that though it had reserved an extra seat apart from the 2 originally reserved, in compliance with the Single Judge bench's order, it was opposing the allocation because while the awardee was the winner of the National Bravery Award but with which the Union had disassociated as far back as in the year 2018. However, noting that inasmuch as there is no possibility of any other candidate being entitled thereto or being admitted therefor; the court directed the Union to allocate the seat to the awardee.

2. Classification of RComm, Reliance Telecom Accounts As Fraudulent: Delhi High Court Directs Union Bank, Indian Overseas Bank To Maintain Status Quo [Punit Garg and Another v. Union Bank of India & Ors.]

On a plea by Anil Ambani's Reliance Communication Ltd (RComm) and Reliance Telecom Ltd (RTL) against the declaration of their accounts in the Union Bank of India (UBI) and the Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) as "fraudulent", the Delhi High Court ordered the banks to maintain status quo until the next date of hearing, i.e. Jan 13, 2021.

However, the court said that the Centre through its investigating agencies, will be free to "take any steps/investigate/file any complaint proceedings against the two companies independent of the order" which declares the account as fraud accounts. The petition, which was being heard by the Vacation Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad, has been filed through the former Executive Director of RComm, Punit Garg.

The court has also said that the Banks are free to issue a show cause notice to the companies, and thereafter give a necessary hearing in the matter.

3. Delhi High Court Issues Notice To Jindal Steel And Power On RBI Appeal Against Order On Transfer Of $300 mln To Mauritius Subsidiary [Reserve Bank of India v. Jindal Steel and Power Limited]

A vacation bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) on an appeal by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) against an earlier order of the Delhi High Court directing it to reconsider JSPL's application to transfer $300 mln to its Mauritius subsidiary. The court has allowed time to JSPL to file its response on the matter and listed the matter for further hearing on Jan 15, 2021. RBI had also pressed for interim stay on the Delhi High Court's previous order, however, no such relief has been granted at this stage

The RBI had moved the court through a Letter Patent Appeal against the previous order by a Single Judge Bench which had remanded JSPL's application to RBI. Directing the central bank to reconsider its decision on JSPL's application, the court had noted that the RBI's order dated 30.12.2019, vide which it had rejected JSPL's application had "serious consequences" inasmuch as the "commitments undertaken abroad with the prior consent" of the RBI would go into default causing huge losses to JSPL.

4. Delhi High Court Directs AIIMS To Constitute A Medical Board For Examining 25 Weeks Foetus Abnormalities [Jyoti v. Govt of NCT of Delhi & Ors.]

In a significant order, a vacation bench of the Delhi High Court comprising of Justice Vibhu Bakhru directed the Medical Superintendent of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to constitute a board for examining the condition of a women, the petitioner in this case, seeking termination of her 25 weeks foetus on the ground that she was suffering from Bilateral Agenesis and Anlyaramni, a condition where both the kidneys are not developed in the foetus.

The direction came in the view of a petition filed by a woman who had approached the High Court for seeking the termination of her 25 weeks old foetus. According to Adv. Sneha Mukherjee, counsel of the petitioner, the child will not be able to survive as the kidneys of the unborn have not been developed. Therefore, the petitioner had asked for a relief in the form of directions from the Court to allow the medical termination of her pregnancy.

5. Opinion Of Doctors Of Armed Forces To Prevail On Question Of Physical Fitness Of Candidates: Delhi High Court [K M Priyanka v. Union of India and Ors.]

The High Court made it clear that the opinion of doctors of the Armed Forces shall prevail over that of private or other government doctors on the question of an applicant's physical fitness. It therefore rejected a plea by an aspirant of the Central Armed Police Forces, alleging that there was no specialist in the Review Medical Board constituted by the Armed Forces and that she had been wrongly declared unfit.

The vacation bench of Justices Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Asha Menon said that, as the standard of physical fitness for the forces is more stringent than for civilian employment, "Once no mala fides are attributed and the doctors of the Forces who are well aware of the demands of duties of the Forces in the terrain in which the recruited personnel are required to work, have formed an opinion that a candidate is not medically fit for recruitment, opinion of private or other government doctors to the contrary cannot be accepted inasmuch as the recruited personnel are required to work for the Forces and not for the private doctors or the government hospitals and which medical professionals are unaware of the demands of the duties in the Forces."

Other Important Updates

Himachal Pradesh High Court

1. Writ Petition Cannot Be Entertained Ignoring Statutory Dispensation: Himachal Pradesh High Court [M/s Radha Krishan Industries vs State of HP]

A bench comprising Justices Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Jyotsna Rewal Dua observed that a writ petition should not be entertained ignoring the statutory dispensation.

In this case, M/s Radha Krishan Industries had approached the High Court by filing a writ petition challenging an order passed by GST Authorities provisionally attaching the payment receivable by it from a consumer. While conceding that there is alternative remedy available by way of appeal under section 107 of the GST Act, the petitioner contended that contend that the rule of exclusion of jurisdiction due to availability of alternative remedy is a rule of discretion and not one of the compulsions.

Answering this contention, the Court referred to a recent Supreme Court judgment in Assistant Commissioner (CT) LTU, Kakinada and others vs Glaxo Smit Kline Consumer Health Care Limited, AIR 2020 SC 2819 in which it was held that even though the High Court can entertain writ petition against any order or direction passed or action taken by State under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, but it has not to do so as a matter of course when aggrieved person could have availed the effective alternative remedy in the manner prescribed by law.

Jammu & Kashmir High Court

1. Presumption U/S 29 Of POCSO Act Would Come In To Play Even At Pre-Trial Stage: Jammu and Kashmir High Court Differs From Delhi HC's View [Badri Nath v. UT of J&K]

The High Court held that the presumption of guilt against the accused under Section 29 of the POCSO Act would come in to play even during the pre-trial stage. Justice Sanjay Dhar, while rejecting the bail of accused in a POCSO Case, passed a contrary opinion to the Delhi High Court judgment in Dharmander Singh v. State (Government of NCT of Delhi), which maintained that the presumption of guilt against the accused under Section 29 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) can only be adopted by the court on the commencement of the trial.

The Single Judge held that even in the absence of a charge, at a pre-trial stage, the accused can very well contradict the foundational facts that support the presumption led by the investigative agencies. The court, here, would take a prima facie view like in any bail application, before or after the filing of the charge sheet. The presumption could thus be adopted by the courts against the accused before the charges were framed.

2. POCSO-Victims Entitled To Receive Information About Court Proceedings Including Status Of Bail Of Accused: J&K HC [Badri Nath v. Union Territory Of J & K Th. Police Station Bari Brahamana]

The High Court held that (minor rape) victims are entitled to receive most appropriate information of the proceedings which would include the status of the accused including his/her bail, temporary release, parole or pardon, escape, absconding from justice or death. A single bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar observed thus in view of the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development under Section 39 of the POCSO Act.

"In order to give a mandatory colour to the aforesaid guidelines, it is necessary to issue a Circular to all the Special Courts constituted under the POCSO Act within the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, directing them to ensure that the victim/Child Welfare Committee is informed about the proceedings in bail petitions of the persons accused of having committed offences under the aforesaid Act by issuing prior notice to them," the Court thus observed.

3. Jammu And Kashmir High Court Strikes Down Clauses In State Excise Policies, Grants Liberty To Frame New Policy For 2021-22 [Balbir Singh & Ors. v. State of J&K & Ors.]

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Sanjay Dhar struck down certain clauses of the Jammu and Kashmir Excise Policies for the year 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 as being contrary to the key provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Excise Act, svt. 1958 (1901 AD) and Jammu and Kashmir Liquor License and Sales Rules, 1984. The bench however granted liberty to the State Government to frame appropriate new Excise Policy for the year 2021-22 in accordance with the provisions of the Act and Rules and other landmark judgments of the Apex Court.

Various writ petitions were filed in the High Court challenging a common judgment passed by a single judge of the High Court. The case arises out of the trade in liquor business with the grievance of non-transparency in the process of renewal of liquor vend licenses in the State. As a general rule, these allotments can only be made on the recommendation of State Finance Minister but the present licenses granted in the State liquor vends are mostly facilitated without any formal advertisement to benefit the favourites.

4. Litigants Facing Difficulties In Absence Of Central Administrative Tribunal Bench At Srinagar: J&K High Court [Abdul Qayoom Chalkoo v. Union Territory of JK & Ors]

Underlining the difficulties faced by the litigants of the Kashmir region in pursuing their cases before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench, the Division Bench comprising Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said, "This Court can only hope and trust that all the difficulties/encumbrances that may be there, on administrative side, in the process of establishment of the Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal at Srinagar are removed as expeditiously as possible keeping in view the difficulties being faced by the litigants belonging to the Kashmir region in pursuing their cases before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench."

The Bench made this observation while dismissing an appeal filed against a Single Bench order, which had transferred a service matter to the Central Administrative Tribunal, Jammu Bench. It was argued in the appeal that the Single Judge, while rendering the impugned judgment, erred in law in not appreciating that access to justice is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

5. Complaint Under Section 498A Is Maintainable Even If Marriage Is Void: Jammu & Kashmir High Court [Karnail Chand & Ors. v. State of J&K & Anr.]

A bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar held that even if the complainant woman's marriage with a man is void, still the man and his relatives could be prosecuted for offence under Section 498A of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) [offence of cruelty].

Relying on the rulings of the Apex Court, the Court further held that when a person enters into a marital arrangement with a woman, he is covered by the definition of 'husband' as contained in Section 498-A RPC "irrespective of the legitimacy of the marriage".

Jharkhand High Court

1. Being Jharkhand's Prime Institution, NUSRL Needs Regular Support Of The State Govt.: Jharkhand High Court [Bar Association, Jharkhand High Court v. State of Jharkhand & Ors]

Underlining that National University of Study and Research in Law (NUSRL) is a prime institution of the State of Jharkhand, the High Court conveyed its sentiments to the State Government that the University needs regular support of the State Government. The Bench of Chief Justice Dr. Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad specifically observed, "It is high time that the State Government should think over it that for every small or big expenditure the Vice Chancellor of the University should not be compelled to move door to door."

The matter before the Court was related to the work of encircling the plot which lies on the other side of the road of the NUSRL building with a boundary wall to avoid its encroachment. This work is to be done with state's assistance.

2. Allegations Against Minister Of Threatening Inter-Caste Couple: Jharkhand HC Sends Order Copy To CM & Grants Protection To Couple [Rajesh Kumar v. The State of Jharkhand]

In view of serious allegation against a Cabinet Minister of the State, who allegedly threatened an Inter-caste couple, the High Court directed that a copy of its protection order along with the copy of the statement of the woman, be communicated to the Chief Minister of the State. The Bench of Justice H. C. Mishra and Justice Rajesh Kumar was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by the husband praying for direction for production of the corpus (his wife) before the Court.

Having perused the Registrar General's report and after interacting with the Couple, the Court was satisfied and convinced that it was a fit case in which both the parties be allowed to live together and the petitioner be asked to take his wife along with him right from the Court itself. the Court also noted that due to illegal interference in her conjugal life by her family members, and may be also from a highly placed political person, who is presently a Cabinet Minister in the State Government, the perception of threat of the Couple may be genuine.

Though, the Court did not state anything against the conduct of the Cabinet Minister, however, the Court said, "Since there was a serious allegation against a Cabinet colleague of the present Chief Minister, it would be appropriate that this fact should be brought to his knowledge. We accordingly, direct that a copy of this order along with the copy of the statement of the respondent No.6 (Wife), be communicated to the Hon'ble the Chief Minister of the State, for the needful."

Kerala High Court

1. A State Running Lottery Has No Right To Interfere With Sale Of Other-State Lotteries: Kerala High Court [Future Gaming Services Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Kerala]

The High Court quashed the rules brought by the Kerala government to regulate sale of other-state lotteries holding that the state government lacked such a power under the Lotteries (Regulation) Act 1998 which is passed by the Parliament.

"No state can exercise its authority by making Rules in such a way to impact upon authority of other States to organise, conduct and promotion of lottery. That power is exclusively given to the Central Government under Section 6(of Lotteries Regulation Act). The Central Government alone has the power to regulate, control and interfere with lotteries, if it is run in violation of law", observed the judgment delivered by a single bench of Justice A Muhamed Mustaque.

The verdict came in a writ petition filed by an agent selling lotteries of the State of Nagaland in Kerala (Future Gaming and Hotel Services Pvt Ltd vs State of Kerala and others). The petitioner challenged the amendments brought by the Kerala Government in 2018 to the Kerala Paper Lotteries (Regulation) Rules, 2005, which gave power to Kerala government authorities to regulate and control lotteries run by other states

2. International Arrest Warrant By Itself Not Sufficient To Extradite A Person To UAE Unless There Is A Written Request: Kerala High Court [Rakhul Krishnan v. Union Of India]

The High Court held that International Arrest Warrant issued by itself will not suffice to arrest an accused and extradite him to UAE. Nationals of Contracting States shall not be extradited unless there is a request made by the State concerned, Justice N. Nagaresh observed. The court further noted, "In view of the specific provisions contained in the Extradition Treaty between the Government of Republic of India and the United Arab Emirates, an International Arrest Warrant by itself will not suffice to arrest an accused and extradite him to UAE. For extradition, definitely there should be a request for extradition in writing which should be dispatched through diplomatic channels. In the absence of such a request in terms of Article 5 of the Extradition Treaty, Ext.P2 International Arrest Warrant issued by the Government of Dubai would not be sufficient to apprehend the 8th respondent and extradite him to UAE."

One Sreejith Vijayan is accused in a criminal case in Dubai which resulted in issuance of International Arrest Warrant against him. The complainant in the criminal case then approached the High Court alleging that Indian authorities are not acting upon this warrant.

3. Section 357A(4) Cr.P.C Is A Substantive Provision; Victims Entitled To Compensation Even For Crimes That Occurred Prior To Its Enactment: Kerala High Court [District Collector Alappuzha v. District Legal Service Authority, Alappuzha & Ors.]

In a landmark judgment, the Kerala High Court held that the provisions in Section 357A(1)(4)&(5) Cr.P.C are substantive in character and the victims under Section 357A(4) of CrPC are entitled to claim compensation for incidents that occurred "even prior to the coming into force of the said provision." Importantly, the Bench of Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas ruled, "By giving the benefit to victims under Section 357A(4) CrPC., for crimes that occurred prior to 31.12.2009, the statutory provision is not given retrospective effect, and instead a prospective benefit is given based on an antecedent fact."

The Court held that under Section 357A(4) CrPC, a 'victim' is one who suffers any loss or injury by reason of the act or omission of another in which the offender has not been traced or identified and against whom a trial has not taken place as such an interpretation alone would make Section 357A(4) CrPC., workable, and have meaning. Further, the Court stated that the provisions in Section 357A(1)(4)&(5) CrPC are substantive in character. Furthermore, the victims under Section 357A(4) of the CrPC. are entitled to claim compensation for incidents that occurred even prior to the coming into force of the said provision. The Bench also noted that by giving the benefit to victims under Section 357A(4) CrPC., for crimes that occurred prior to 31.12.2009, the statutory provision is not given retrospective effect, and instead a prospective benefit is given based on an antecedent fact.

Madras High Court

1. Chief Minister's Gesture To Borne Fees of Meritorious Students Who Couldn't Pay Private College Fee Appreciable: Madras HC

The High Court appreciated the gesture shown by the Chief Minister of the State who made a commitment that the fees of the meritorious students would be borne by the Government, who could not pay the fees in private colleges.

The Bench of Justice S. Vaidyanathan was hearing the case of a student (petitioner) who studied in a Government Higher Secondary School and even after scoring more marks in NEET, she couldn't get a seat in Government Medical College. Further, she got a seat in a private college, however, since she had to pay more fees, she did not accept the seat allotted to her in a Private College

Thereafter, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu made a commitment that the fees would be borne by the Government for the meritorious students, who could not pay the fees in private colleges.

Other Developments:

Orissa High Court

1. Industrialization Necessary For Economy But Shouldn't Be At The Cost Of Human Lives By Destroying Eco-System: Orissa High Court

The High Court observed that industrialization is required for enhancement of revenue, but that does not mean that it should be done at the cost of the lives of human being by destroying eco-system. The Bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Dr. BR Sarangi further observed that there should be equilibrium between the industrialization and eco-system.

The Division Bench was hearing the plea of New Light Yubak Sangha (a club) seeking a direction to initiate an inquiry on the basis of the grievance made by the villagers of Sodamal, and the Club further sought cancellation of the notification through which 8 acres of forest land in Sodamal village was allotted to a Waste Management Firm by the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO). Allegedly, the District Level Single Window Clearance Committee, without giving an opportunity of hearing to the local villagers, approved the application of opposite party no.8 for allotment of forest land in which newly planted valuable trees were growing. The Club further stated that if an industry would be set up on the land in question, there would be destruction of eco-system by felling down the trees at the cost of livelihood of the local people and it would be in gross violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Punjab and Haryana High Court

1. Merely Because The Boy Is Not Of Marriageable Age, The Right Of A Major Couple To Live-Together Can't Be Denied: Punjab And Haryana HC [Priyapreet Kaur & Anr. v. State Of Punjab & Ors.]

A Bench of Justice Alka Sarin held that merely because the boy is not of marriageable age (though major) the right of petitioners to live-together cannot be denied. Noting that "Parents cannot compel a child to live a life on their terms and that every adult individual has a right to live his or her life as he or she deems fit", the High Court upheld a couple's right to be in a live in relationship.

The Court, in its order remarked, "She is well within her right to decide for herself what is good for her and what is not. She has decided to take a step to be in a live-in-relationship with petitioner No.2 who is also major, though may not be of a marriageable age. Be that as it may, the fact remains that both the petitioners in the present case are major and have a right to live their life on their own terms."

Telangana High Court

1. Borrower Must Be Heard Before Account Is Classified As Fraud: Telangana High Court Reads Principles Of Natural Justice Into RBI Master Circular On Fraud Accounts [Rajesh Agarwal v. Reserve Bank of India and Ors.]

The High Court held that the principles of natural justice have to be read into the Master Circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India on the classification of bank accounts as fraud accounts. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chouhan and B Vijaysen Reddy held that the account holder must be heard before declaring her as a "fraudulent borrower" or as a "holder of fraudulent account" as per the RBI circular.

"...principles of audi alteram partem, howsoever short, have to be applied before declaring a party as 'a fraudulent borrower', or as 'a holder of fraudulent account'", the Bench observed. Further, the Court noted, "The principles of natural justice, especially the principles of audi alteram partem would have to be read into Clauses 8.9.4 and 8.9.5 of the Master Circular," the order stated.

In this case, the petitioner, Rajesh Agarwal, Managing Director of a company named BS Limited, had challenged the decision to classify the account of his company as "fraud" in 2019 by the State Bank of India's Fraud Identification Committee (FIC) and the Joint Lender's Forum (JLF).

Uttarakhand High Court

1. Prior Notice To District Magistrate Mandatory For Marriages Under Uttarakhand Freedom Of Religion Act: High Court Directs Strict Compliance [Khusboo v. State of Uttarakhand]

In a case of conversion of two consenting adults under the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018, the division bench comprising of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Narayan Singh Dhanik issued directions to the Superintendent of Police and District Magistrate, Haridwar to provide protection from the petitioner's family and also conduct a detailed enquiry in the matter.

The Bench ordered that "Our intention is to inform the concerned persons about the illegalities and the legal implications in the matter, so that a prior information is given to the concerned District Magistrate, which is the mandate of law. In all similar cases, which are coming before us, we find that such intimation is not given under sub-section (2) of Section 8 of the Uttarakhand Freedom of Religion Act, 2018 by the concerned Priest. We would like the District Magistrate, Haridwar to conduct an inquiry in all these aspects."

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