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High Courts Weekly Roundup [April 5, 2021 – April 11, 2021]

11 April 2021 1:54 PM GMT
High Courts Weekly Roundup [April 5, 2021 – April 11, 2021]

Allahabad High Court 1. Allahabad High Court Lays Down Procedure & Standard Of Evidence For Enquiry Into Criminal Antecedents Of A Candidate During Selection Process [Sanny Kumar v. State of UP & Ors.] A Single Bench of Justice Ajay Bhanot laid down the procedure to be adopted by the competent authority for inquiring into the criminal antecedents of a candidate for the...

Allahabad High Court

1. Allahabad High Court Lays Down Procedure & Standard Of Evidence For Enquiry Into Criminal Antecedents Of A Candidate During Selection Process [Sanny Kumar v. State of UP & Ors.]

A Single Bench of Justice Ajay Bhanot laid down the procedure to be adopted by the competent authority for inquiring into the criminal antecedents of a candidate for the purpose of selection. It elucidated the type of materials that may be considered by such authority, the standard of proof, and other aggravating/ mitigating factors for the purpose.

The Bench also made it clear that such inquiry is different from a trial/civil proceeding before a Court of law and hence, competent authority is not always bound by the findings of the court, nor is it invariably constrained by the opinion of the investigation officer. The order came on a writ petition filed by one Sanny Kumar, aggrieved by an order passed by the Superintendent of Police, Jalaun, cancelling his selection as Constable in the UP Police, in the backdrop of several criminal cases pending against him.

Access full report to read procedure

2. Cases Where Anticipatory Bail Can Be Granted Even After Submission Of Charge Sheet: Allahabad High Court Issues Guidelines

A single judge bench comprising of Justice Siddharth observed that non grant of anticipatory bail to an accused only on the ground that charge-sheet has been submitted by the Investigating Officer or cognizance has been taken by the Court against him under sec. 204 of Cr.P.C. without considering the prima facie veracity of the same, will "not be in the larger interest of justice."

It propounded various "appropriate cases" where anticipatory bail can or cannot be granted to an accused apprehending arrest even after submission of the chargesheet or cognizance being taken by the Court.

Access full report to read appropriate cases

3. 'Right To Free Speech Not A License To Injure Religious Feelings": Allahabad HC Denies Pre-Arrest Bail To PFI Member Accused Of Spreading Propaganda Against Ayodhya Ram Temple [Md. Nadeem v. State of UP]

A Single Bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh denied the anticipatory bail plea of a man accused of trying to promote enmity between two religious communities by spreading propaganda about the foundation laying ceremony of the Ram Temple at Ayodhya. "The fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression in a secular State is not an absolute license to injure and hurt the religious feelings and faiths and beliefs of fellow citizens," it observed.

On noting that a prima facie case is made out against the accused, Md. Nadeem, the Bench observed, "A person who takes the risk of dissemination of blasphemous messages is not entitled to get the discretion of the Court exercised in his favour."

4. Allahabad High Court Refuses To Postpone UP Panchayat Elections Due To Covid Surge

A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery refused to postpone the Uttar Pradesh Panchayat Election, scheduled to be held from 15th April, 2021, in light of the recent surge in Covid-19 cases. It said that adequate health protocol has been notified to be followed at the election booths. Thus, there is no need to stall the electoral process.

The Bench further referred to the directions passed by the High Court in In-Re Inhuman Condition At Quarantine Centres case, for the State Government to follow during the entire process of elections.

Other developments:

Bombay High Court

1. "Victim's Trauma Doesn't End With Rape" - Bombay High Court Recommends Amendment To Give Victim's 164 Statement The Status Of Examination-In-Chief [Imran Shabbir Gauri v. State of Maharashtra]

A division bench of Justices Prasanna B Varale and Shriram M Modak urged the State and Central Governments, to bring amendments under relevant laws and give statements recorded before a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC, the status of examination-in-chief.

It observed that the trauma of a victim does not end with the incident and real life issues may compel a victim to "forgo all the trauma which she had undergone and to take U turn," at the time of trial.

2. POCSO- "Right Of Minor Victims To Participate In The Judicial Process"- Bombay High Court Issues Guidelines

A Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni issued guidelines for the effective implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) and to ensure the right of a child victim to participate in the in the Judicial process is protected.

Among other instructions, the Bench directed the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) to give the court reasons in writing if the victim's family, guardian or legal counsel could not be put to notice regarding the court's proceedings.

3. What About Bed-Ridden People? Bombay High Seeks Response On PIL For Door-To-Door COVID-19 Vaccination Of Senior Citizens

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni urged the Union and Maharashtra Government to consider – if its vaccination mechanisms can be more user friendly for senior citizens and the differently-abled while directing them to respond to a PIL seeking door-to-door vaccination for persons above 75 years.

It further agreed to consider the problems faced by those without Aadhar Cards. An Aadhar card is mandatory to get oneself vaccinated or tested for the novel coronavirus.

Also Read: "This Sends Out A Wrong Message" – Bombay High Court On Home Vaccination Facility Of Political Leader In Maharashtra

4. Bombay High Court Restrains Kamal R Khan from Making Defamatory Statements Against Producer Vashu Bhagnani

A single bench of Justice AK Menon restrained 'film critique' Kamal K Khan from making defamatory statements or videos on social media platforms against Bollywood producer Vashu Bhagnani till a final order was passed on the latter's Rs. 1 crore defamation suit.

The order was passed on a suit filed by Bhagnani, against a series of tweets and a video by Khan, making numerous allegations against the producer and his family. The producer and director stated he has worked on several critically acclaimed films since 1995 and built his reputation "brick-by-brick". He alleged that Khan was running a "well-orchestrated smear campaign" against him, accusing him of hawala transactions and making distasteful comments about his family members.

5. Malegaon Blasts: Purohit Produces Additional Documents To Claim He Was Discharging Official Functions

Thirteen years after Lt. Colonel Prasad Purohit was arrested in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, involving right-wing extremists, the officer relied on fresh documents allegedly from the Army before the Bombay High Court to substantiate a decade old claim that his acts were in discharge of his official duty. Purohit's claim is that he attended conspiracy meetings before the 2008 Malegaon blast while "discharging his duties" as an army intelligence officer and therefore sanction under Section 197 CrPC is needed to prosecute him.

A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale was hearing Purohit's challenging the trial court's decision to take cognisance of the charge sheet filed against him in the absence of a sanction from the central government u/s 197(2) of the CrPC.

Other developments:

Calcutta High Court

1. Victim Is Not A Necessary Party To A Criminal Appeal From Conviction For Offences Against Women Or Child Under POCSO Or Other Statutes: Calcutta HC [Ganesh Das v. State]

A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Aniruddha Roy held that in case of appeal from conviction in an offence committed against a child or a woman, the victim is not a necessary party to the appeal.

It held that victims of sexual offences falling either under IPC or POCSO Act would be entitled to have their cause defended in appeals arising from judgements of conviction. However, it is the duty of the State and the Public Prosecutor to comprehensively deal with all aspects of such a criminal appeal against conviction and protect the interest of the victim, even without the impleadment of the victim in the array of parties. This approach, the Court said, shall synchronize the opportunity to contest the appeal with victim's right to privacy and protection of identity. This approach, the Court said, shall synchronize the opportunity to contest the appeal with victim's right to privacy and protection of identity.

Chhattisgarh High Court

1. Participation In Political Campaign By Members Of Child Welfare Committee Not Misuse Of Power Under JJ Act: Chhattisgarh High Court [Madhu Pandey v. State of Chhattisgarh & Ors.]

A Single Bench of Justice Goutam Bhaduri held that merely because a person, who is a member of a Child Welfare Committee, participates in an election campaign in favour of a candidate, does not mean that such person has indulged in "misuse of power" conferred under by the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

Delhi High Court

1. "Cannot Be An Unending Thing": Delhi High Court Directs For Alternate Remedies To Family Of A Man Incorrectly Buried In Saudi Arabia

A Single Bench of Justice Prathiba Singh directed the Ministry of External Affairs to expedite and suggest alternate legal remedies for the process of exhumation and transport of the remains of one Sanjeev Kumar, an Indian migrant who was allegedly incorrectly buried as per Muslim rites in Saudi Arabia upon his death there in January this year.

Noting that despite the directions passed in this regard earlier by the Court to request the Deputy Chief of Mission to obtain timelines for the process, the MEA had failed to procure any, the court said, "It can't be an unending thing."

2. Win For YouTube Channel TVF: Delhi High Court Refuses Interim Relief To MX Player For Exclusive Rights On 3 TVF Shows [MX Media & Entertainment Pte. Ltd v. M/S. Contagious Online Media Networks Pvt. Ltd.]

A single judge bench of Justice C Hari Shankar rejected digital media platform MX Player's (MXP) prayer to restrain TVF from "selling, licensing, exploiting or assigning rights" against the shows developed by TVF titled 'Immature Season 2', 'Aspirants Season 1' (UPSC Season 1) and 'Flames Season 3', to any other market player.

MX Player claimed exclusive rights on the 3 shows allegedly under an agreement signed in March 2020, in pursuance of which it said it had paid TVF's parent company, Contagious Online Media Network Private Ltd, a sum of $ 310,000 as advance consideration.

Referring to a host of e-mails exchanged between the parties, the court said that it was clear that MXP was unwilling to abide by the covenants contained in the original agreement and that despite repeated requests by TVF made in several e-mails, to send back the Agreement, duly signed, MXP had not done so.

3. Delhi High Court Rejects Britannia's Plea Of Trademark Infringement Against ITC'S Sunfeast Digestive Biscuits [Britannia Industries Ltd. v. ITC Ltd. & Ors.]

A single judge bench of Justice C Hari Shankar dismissed a petition by Britannia Industries Ltd against ITC Ltd for alleged trademark infringement and passing off by ITC's Sunfeast Farmlite Digestive Biscuits, of Britannia's NutriChoice Digestive Biscuits.

Holding that Sections 29(1) and 29(2) of the Trademark Act have to be interpreted keeping in mind that the "points of dissimilarity between rival marks cannot be regarded as irrelevant," or be ignored, the court said that ITC Sunfeast's FarmLite Digestive Biscuits were not deceptively similar so as to confuse them with Britannia's NutriChoice Digestive biscuits to a person of average intelligence and imperfect recollection.

The Court also held that, "The perception, whether in the case of infringement or passing off, is to be that of a person of average intelligence and imperfect recollection – not of an idiot, or an amnesiac. The average human mind has not been particularly conditioned to observe only similarities, and overlook dissimilarities."

4. Delhi Riots Conspiracy Case : High Court Calls For Unredacted Statements Of Protected Witnesses In Sealed Cover

Hearing an application by the Delhi Police for the unredacted statements of protected witnesses in the Delhi Riots larger conspiracy case, a Bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup Jairam Bhambhani directed the concerned trial court to send the statements to it in a sealed cover on or before Apr 14. The application was put in the case where Jamia Milia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha faces prosecution for his alleged role in the riots.

While ordering so, the court also expressed surprise on why and how the prosecution did not have copies of the statements of its own witnesses, upon which it was informed by the Special Public Prosecutor Rajat Nair, that as these were protected witnesses, the unredacted copies of the statements were with the trial court only - and that the Investigating Officer was only given the redacted copies from the trial court till now.

5. Delhi High Court Refuses To Quash Criminal Defamation Case Against Arun Purie And Others Filed By Former Indian Diplomat [Aroon Purie v. State & Ors.]

A Single Bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna dismissed a petition filed by former India Today Editor-in -Chief Arun Purie and others seeking to quash a defamation complaint lodged against him by a former Indian Diplomat in relation to an article published in India Today Magazine in 2007. The news article 'Mission Misconduct' reported about the allegations against the then Indian deputy consul general in Edinburgh, O.P. Bhola.

The Article reported that "allegations of soliciting sexual favour leading to a probe which revealed financial irregularities and fudging of bills. Consequently, the official is back in India and is facing disciplinary action". Before the High Court, Arun Poorie contended that as per Section 7 of Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, normally an editor, printer can only be prosecuted. As he is the editor-in-chief, he could never be prosecuted.

6. Delhi HC Judge Justice Prathiba Singh, Recuses Herself From Facebook, WhatsApp Pleas Against CCI Order Against Their Privacy Policy

Justice Prathiba Singh recused herself from 2 pleas filed by Facebook Inc and WhatsApp challenging a Competition Commission of India (CCI) order directing investigation into WhatsApp's contentious new privacy policy, the rollout of which was pushed back due to uproars over it for, inter alia, being discriminatory.

In the past as well, Justice Singh has recused herself from hearing another plea related to WhatsApp, which was challenging its new privacy policy.

7. Fines On General Public, No Action On Politicians: Delhi High Court Issues Notice To Centre, EC On Plea For Mask Protocol In Poll Campaigns

A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh issued notice to and sought replies from the Centre and the Election Commission on a plea for all poll-bound states - namely, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam, West Bengal - and the Union Territory of Puducherry to ensure masks are mandatorily worn during all poll campaigns.

The plea which points out that while fines are being collected from the general public, but no action is being taken on politicians, has been filed by the former Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police Vikram Singh, who is also the Chairperson at the think-tank Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change.

Other developments:

Gujarat High Court

1. Rajkot COVID Hospital Fire: Gujarat High Court Sets Aside Single Judge Order Restraining Inquiry Commission From Submitting Report [State of Gujarat v. Kalpit Yogeshbhai Shah]

A Division Bench comprised of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Bhargav D. Karia set aside a Single Bench order restraining a State-appointed Inquiry Commission from pronouncing its report in the unfortunate Rajkot Hospital Fire incident, that consumed the lives of 8 Covid patients last year.

"When an incident, as shocking as this takes place, it is in the interest of the public at large, that the truth is ascertained as early as possible. Timely ascertainment of the truth is a part of the process of delivery of justice and is an important component for granting closure to the family members of the victims. Any delay in this regard and prolonging the entire process would only exacerbate their suffering," it observed.

Himachal Pradesh High Court

1. "Custodial Interrogation Justified": Himachal Pradesh HC Denies Anticipatory Bail To Man Accused Of Flesh Trade Of Adolescent Girls [Md. Nazim v. State of Himachal Pradesh]

A single judge bench comprising of Justice Vivek Singh denied anticipatory bail to a man apprehending arrest in a case for allegedly being a part of racket involved in fishing adolescent girls for throwing them in international flesh trade by trafficking them abroad after alluring them for marriage.

It observed that an accused may not be entitled for the grant of anticipatory bail even in the absence of necessity of custodial interrogation in all eventualities. According to the Court, the requirement of custodial interrogation is not the only reason for rejecting bail application.

Karnataka High Court

1. Compulsory Service Not Applicable To PG Medical Students Admitted Before 2018-19 : Karnataka High Court [Dr. Sadhwini MH & Ors. v. State of Karnataka & Ors.]

A single bench of Justice R. Devdas clarified that provisions of "Karnataka Compulsory Service Training by Candidates Completed Medical Courses Act, 2012" will not be applicable to the PG medical students/petitioners who were admitted to the course during the academic years 2016-17 and 2017-18.

The PG students admitted from the academic year 2018-19, onwards who have been informed of the implementation of the Act and Rules, following which they have executed bonds/undertaking. Therefore, the provisions of the Act and Rules will be applicable to them, the Court said.

2. Prior Environmental Clearance Not Needed For Widening Work Of NH 4-A : Karnataka High Court [Suresh Heblikar & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.]

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty held that prior environmental clearance is not needed for the widening work of the 82 kilometer stretch of National Highway 4-A in the State of Karnataka in terms of the EIA Notification dated August 22, 2013.

As per the said notification, prior EC is required for projects having a stretch of more than 100 kilometres. The Court made this declaration based on the materials on record which showed that no work was going on in the NH-4A stretch in Goa.

3. 'No Presumption Under Law That Every Unaccounted Transaction Leads To Imposition Of Tax' : Karnataka HC Gives Relief To DK Shivakumar [Income Tax Department v. DK Shivakumar]

In a relief to Congress leader D K Shivakumar, a Single Bench of Justice John Michael Cunha dismissed an appeal filed by the Income Tax Department against an order of the special court discharging him in an alleged case of tax evasion.

While dismissing three petitions filed by the department, the Judge said "I do not find any justifiable reason to interfere with the impugned orders. As the prosecution initiated against the respondent is bad in law and contrary to the procedure prescribed under the Code of Criminal Procedure and the provisions of the Income Tax Act."

4. Karnataka High Court Green Signals 'Doorstep School' Project Of BBMP For Destitute Children

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj gave a go ahead to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to start Doorstep Schools (inside bus) in Bengaluru city, for destitute children. It said the authorities should ensure that norms regarding maintenance of social distancing and wearing of face masks should be scrupulously followed.

Advocate Sreenidhi V appearing for the corporation submitted a memo to the court giving details of the schools. It is stated that the doorstep school will be started immediately in Doddagollara Hatti and Hosakerehalli (Rajarajeshwari Nagar Zone). Each bus can accommodate with maintaining of physical distance up to 10-15 children. Each bus will have two teachers and one helper.

Other developments:

Kerala High Court

1. JJ Act- Child Born In Live-in Relationship To Be Construed As Child Born To Married Couple: Kerala High Court

A Bench of Justices A Muhamed Mustaque and Dr Kauser Edappagath recognised that a child born in a live-in relationship would have to be treated as a child born to a married couple for the purposes of surrendering a child for adoption.

In this case, the Court was faced with a petition moved by a couple in a live-in relationship to reclaim their child who had been surrendered for adoption by the woman.

Pointing out that the woman had acknowledged her live-in partner as the biological father of their child, the Bench ruled that the procedure employed by the Child Welfare Committee while giving the child up for adoption was legally unsustainable. In its judgment, the Bench found that the procedure applicable to an unwed mother alone was followed.

Also Read: Upholding Woman's Decisional Autonomy To Acknowledge Biological Father, Kerala High Court Restores Surrendered Child To Live-In Couple

Also Read: "If A Woman Feels She Is Nothing Without The Support Of The Man That Is The Failure Of The System": Kerala High Court

2. Disclose Reasons For Deferring Rajya Sabha Elections For Kerala : High Court Asks Election Commission

While considering the writ petitions filed by the Secretary of the Kerala Legislative Assembly and S Sharma, CPI(M) MLA, challenging the ECI's decision to defer the elections proposed on April 12, a Single Bench of Justice PV Asha directed the Election Commission to place on record its reasons for keeping in abeyance elections to fill vacancies of three Rajya Sabha seats. The incumbents of the three seats from Kerala are retiring on April 21.

3. Kerala High Court Refuses Stay On Kerala Government Notification Banning Online Rummy For Stakes

A Single Bench of Justice N Nagaresh refused to interfere with a Kerala Government Notification 'banning online playing of rummy when played for stakes'. It expressed his disinclination to interfere with the notification at this juncture and instead listed the petition after the vacation. However, upon a submission made by Advocate Santosh Mathew appearing for one of the petitioners that any coercive action taken by police would cause irreparable damage to the company, the court allowed the petitioner to approach the court even during vacation if coercive steps including criminal action was resorted against them when the cases were pending disposal.

Three companies, Play Games 24x7, Junglee Games, Head Digital Works and Gameskraft, moved the Court challenging the Kerala Government's decision to ban 'online rummy when played for stakes' in exercise of its powers under Section 14A of the Kerala Gaming Act, 1960. It is contended that the Notification is ultra vires the Kerala Gaming Act, 1960 as it seeks to regulate the online space despite the legislation's regulation of physical premises only. The petitioners also contend, among other grounds, that the Notification effectively seeks to ban businesses offering the game of Online Rummy, which is a business protected under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

4. Issue Directions On Procedure For Building Permits When Mechanical Jacks Used To Move Building: Kerala High Court To State Government [Biju Kuriakose & Ors. v. State of Kerala]

A Single Bench of Justice PB Suresh Kumar directed the State government to issue directives to local self-government institutions on the procedure to be followed when faced with applications seeking permission to raise buildings by the use of mechanical jacks.

Pointing out that there was a gap in the law in relation to the use of mechanical jacks, the Court directed the State Government to make specific provision for this issue as per the Kerala Municipality Building Rules 2019 (the Rules). This was all the more necessary since mechanical jack lifting technology is widely employed in the State for the movement of buildings vertically as well as horizontally, the Court stated.

5. Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Can Form A Partnership Firm With An Individual Or Other Persons: Kerala High Court [Jayamma Xavier v. Registrar of Firms]

A Single Bench of Justice PV Asha held that a Limited Liability Partnership can form a partnership with an individual or other persons.

In this case, a partnership deed was executed between an individual and an LLP. Registrar of Firms refused registration of the partnership firm on the ground that a LLP cannot be a partner of a firm. This was challenged before the High Court contending that the LLP is liable to be treated as a person and there cannot be any objection for registering a partnership with an LLP which is a person.

6. Kerala High Court Issues Notice On Plea Alleging Lack Of Transparency in Recruitment Of Personal Staff of Ministers, Leader of Opposition, Chief Whip [Anti Corruption People's Movement & Ors. v. State of Kerala]

A Bench of Justices CT Ravikumar and Murali Purshothaman issued notice to T. Velayudhan and CM Raveendran, personal staff in the office of the Chief Minister, on a PIL filed by an NGO against the lack of transparency in the recruitment/selection of appointment of persons be appointed to personal staff of Ministers, Leader of Opposition and Government Chief Whip forming part of Kerala Secretariat Service, Kerala Secretariat Subordinate Service and Kerala Last Grade Service without following any transparent or legal recruitment/ selection process.

Other developments:

Madhya Pradesh High Court

1. Preventive Detention -MP High Court Directs Govt. To Issue Guidelines To Strictly Adhere To The Provisions Of National Security Act

Highlighting that in many cases, on account of procedural lapses in following due process of law under the NSA, the orders of preventive detention (passed on justified grounds) suffer annulment, a Bench of Justice Sheel Nagu and Justice Anand Pathak issued a slew of directions for the State Government.

The Court directed the State Government to issue guidelines to all District Magistrates so that timeline provided in following due process of law u/S. 3 and other provisions of NSA are strictly adhered to by all District Magistrates/State Govt. It also stressed that the satisfaction of competent authority is to reflect from the order of preventive detention or else it may not stand the test of law laid down by Apex Court in Shashi Aggarwal v. State of UP & Ors. [AIR 1988 SC 596].

Access full report to read further directions

Madras High Court

1. "There Can't Be Any Authoritarian Regime Possible In The Country": Madras High Court Disapproves Sec.144 CrPC Prohibitory Order In Puducherry [R. Rajangam v. Union Territory of Puducherry & Ors.]

In a Special Sunday Sitting, a Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorth disapproved of the prohibitory order passed by Puducherry Administration/Collector exercising her powers under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.).

Without setting aside the Section 144 order in its entirety, it was made clear that the prohibition of unlawful assembly and movement in terms of the relevant order wouldn't affect the usual life of citizens. However, the Court directed that COVID protocol must be maintained at all times, including social distancing and wearing of a mask.

2. Political Parties Should Be Prohibited From Giving Election Promises Which Are Capable Of Adding Burden On The Public Exchequer: Madras High Court [M. Chandramohan v. Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs & Ors.]

Political parties should be prohibited or prevented from giving election promises, which are capable of adding burden on the public exchequer, a bench comprising Justices N. Kirubakaran and B. Pugalendhi observed.

Access full report to read a list of queries that the Bench has put forth the Election Commission of India.

Other developments:

Orissa High Court

1. Lawyers Are Exempted From Paying GST/Service Tax, Do Not Harass Them By Issuing Demand Notices: Orissa High Court [Devi Prasad Tripathy v. Principal Commissioner, CGST & Ors.]

A bench comprising the Chief Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice B.P. Routray directed the Commissioner GST to issue clear instructions to all the officers in the GST Commission rates in the state not to issue any notice demanding payment of service tax/GST to practising lawyers.

"It appears that despite knowing fully well that advocates are not liable to pay service tax or GST, notices continue to be issued to them by the GST Commissionerate. The Court expresses its concern that practising advocates should not have to face harassment on account of the Department issuing notices calling upon them to pay service tax/GST when they are exempted from doing so, and in the process also having to prove they are practising advocates," it observed.

Patna High Court

1. Determination Of Culprit Not Relevant For Granting Compensation; State Bound To Protect Lives Of Citizens: Patna High Court [Amar Nath Poddar v. State of Bihar & Ors.]

Holding that the State has a duty to protect the life of its citizens, a Single Bench of Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad granted Rs. 10 lakh as compensation to the father of a 18 years old boy who died in October last year in the Munger Maa Durga Pooja firing incident. The order is significant as compensation has been granted pending investigation into the firing incident.

It observed that it is irrelevant, for the purpose of granting compensation, as to who was behind the firing that led to the unfortunate demise of the boy, as it is the duty of the State to protect the lives of its citizens.

2. Rapist Degrades Very Soul Of Helpless Female: Patna High Court Affirms Conviction Of Man For Raping Minor [Ahtesham Khan v. State of Bihar]

"Rape is not merely a physical assault, it is often destructive of the whole personality of the victim. A murderer destroys the physical body of his victim, a rapist degrades the very soul of the helpless female" observed a single judge bench comprising of Justice Birendra Kumar while affirming conviction of a man found guilty of raping a 14 year old minor girl.

The Bench further went ahead to observe that if the record of the case in its totality discloses that the prosecutrix does not have strong motive to falsely implicate the person charged, the Court should ordinarily have no hesitation in accepting her evidence as "no self-respecting women would come forward to make a self-humiliating statement in casual manner."

Telangana High Court

1. 'Successive Commission Of Economic Offences Prejudicial To Maintenance Of Public Order': Telangana HC Upholds Preventive Detention For White Collar Crimes [Banka Sneha Sheela v. State of Telangana & Ors.]

A Division Bench of Justices A. Rajasheker Reddy and Dr. Justice Shameem Akther made significant remarks with respect to the menace of increasing white collar crimes in the country, the consequent fear among the general public and the calling need to deal with such offences with 'iron hand'.

It held that economic offences, when committed in quick succession, are prejudicial to the maintenance of 'public order'. This position is different from merely disturbing 'law and order' and therefore, an order of preventive detention may be passed against the alleged offender.

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