High Courts Weekly Round-Up
Allahabad High Court
The Allahabad High Court last week refused to quash the FIR filed against one Satish, who is an accused in the Bulandshahr violence case in which police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh and a local youth was killed on December 3.
Bombay High Court
The Bombay High Court recently held that a 'child', as is defined under Section 2(12) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, who has not committed a heinous offence, cannot be tried at a Children's Court.
In a significant judgment, the High Court held that even when a wife enters into an agreement with her husband waiving off her right to maintenance, her statutory right to maintenance cannot be bartered, done away with or negatived by the husband by setting up an agreement to the contrary.
The High Court overturned a 21-year-old trial court verdict and convicted a 41-year-old man in a rape case of a girl in 1996. In doing so, the bench comprising Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice VK Jadhav commented on the issue of absence of injury and inference of consent, observing, "Absence of any injury on the body of the victim cannot lead to a conclusion that she had given her consent and all that it indicates is that she did not put up resistance. Lack of any resistance or absence of injury on the body of the victim are of no consequence vis-a-vis the issue of consent."
The High Court registered a suo motu criminal contempt case against an Assistant Public Prosecutor who allegedly slapped a judicial officer. Justice RK Deshpande issued a notice to Dipesh Parate to explain why an action for contempt of court should not be initiated against him.
The High Court recently granted relief to Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF)-run Amul and allowed it to run two TV advertisements after it removes portions disparaging rivals like Kwality Wall's for using Vanaspati in their ice-creams.
Calcutta High Court
The Calcutta High Court held that despite the recent amendment providing against the applicability of Section 438 CrPC (anticipatory bail) to cases under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Act (atrocities against members of SC/ST), a court is not denuded of its power to look into the anticipatory bail petition of a person accused of having committed an offence under Section 3 of the Act without indicating the nature of the offence.
Chhattisgarh High Court
Aboriginal tribes have right to development, remarked Chhattisgarh High Court while holding that their right in the property is inalienable and their land cannot be auctioned for recovery of loan amount without permission from the Collector.
Delhi High Court
In a welcome development, the Delhi High Court affirmed the application of Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 to transgender victims of sexual harassment. The determination came by a bench comprising Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, on a petition filed by a transgender person who identifies as a woman, though she was assigned "male" sex at birth.
The High Court held that real estate tycoon and 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy case convict Sushil Ansal had "on oath misled the Government of India and the Court that he has not been convicted in any criminal proceedings by any Court" when he availed of the benefit of a passport under the tatkaal scheme in the year 2013 and travelled on it outside the country few times.
Gauhati High Court
The Gauhati High Court observed that students from backward communities are required to be given some special care and attention in higher education institutes, especially in IITs, so that they are able to overcome their inherent deficiencies and are able to compete at par with others.
Gujarat High Court
The Gujarat High Court quashed the list of disqualified directors published by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) on September 12, 2017. The Court held that Section 164(2) of the Companies Act is prospective in nature and will take effect only from its date of notification, viz, April 1, 2014.
The High Court recently lamented the effect of corruption on our society and lives, asserting that it is responsible for governance being considered a "matter of joke". Justice JB Pardiwala observed, "If governance is a matter of joke today, making it a laughing stock and leaving it in a pitiable situation, and if cynicism towards the system is the order of the day, the full blame therefor should perhaps go to corruption. Development is perhaps the biggest victim of corruption, having suffered adversely due to its ill effects.
Terming ragging a 'barbarous practice', the High Court observed that if anybody is found guilty of ragging, he shall be immediately expelled from the institution and debarred from entering any other educational institution thereafter.
Punjab & Haryana High Court
The administration of Union Territory of Chandigarh came in for severe criticism from the Punjab and Haryana High Court for being vindictive towards one of its employee of the Department of Food & Supplies and Consumer Affairs who had sought information from under the RTI Act as it said that the staffer "has absolute right to get the information under the Right to Information Act" and "Seeking information under the RTI Act cannot put question mark on his integrity". A bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Harinder Singh Sandhu said so while allowing the petition of the employee of the Department of Food & Supplies and Consumer Affairs.
Rajasthan High Court
The Rajasthan High Court approved the relocation of a tiger to the Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve (MHTR) and has also paved way for the shifting of two tigresses from the Ranthambore National Park to MHTR. The decision was rendered by a bench comprising Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Goverdhan Bardhar.
Uttarakhand High Court
The Uttarakhand High Court directed Divya Pharmacy, owned by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balkrishna, to share its profits with local and indigenous communities, as part of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS) objectives of the Biodiversity Act, 2002.