High Courts Weekly Round-Up
Allahabad High Court
The Allahabad High Court recently highlighted the importance of a playground in a school and asserted that the existence of such infrastructure "distinguishes an educational institution from an education shop". In doing so, Justice Ajay Bhanot also ruled that the playground and the school building should be a part of a single composite land.
The High Court expressed its anguish at parents who file fake complaints and cases because they could not accept the marriage of choice of their daughter.
Bombay High Court
In a significant judgment, the Bombay High Court rejected the suggestion by the state government to allot land in Goregaon, a suburban area in Mumbai, for a new high court complex. Goregaon is far away from Fort which is where the current building is located in the South Mumbai area.
The High Court upheld an order of Assistant Registrar of Societies denying permission to register a charitable society under the name and style of "Rashtriya Swayansevak Sangh".
The High Court recently granted bail to Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) chief Dhananjay Desai, the main accused in the Mohsin Shaikh lynching case. Justice SS Jadhav set the bail amount at Rs 50,000 and set certain conditions for his bail.
The High Court said the Election Commission had a constitutional obligation to hold fair elections and hence should take steps to prohibit advertisements or paid political content on social media.
The High Court observed that there is no conclusive scientific evidence indicating any identifiable risk of serious harm on account of non-ionized radiation emanating from TCS/BS and equipments for telecommunication network.
Delhi High Court
As a death row convict in the 7/11 Mumbai train serial bombings seeks under the RTI Act a copy of an Intelligence Bureau (IB) report submitted to the Home Ministry in order to prove his wrongful prosecution, the Delhi High Court held that his RTI plea pertains to human rights violation and directed the Central Information Commission (CIC) to reconsider its order by which his appeal was dismissed on the grounds that the IB was out of the purview of the RTI Act and the information sought by did not relate to allegations of human rights violation or corruption.
The High Court refused to lift the stay imposed by it on the process of recruitment of 2,000 nursing officers at four centres of All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) after a victim of acid attack challenged it for being discriminatory to her and others like her and depriving them of equal opportunity in public employment.
The High Court sought JNU's response on a plea challenging the clean chit given by its Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to one of its professors accused of sexually harassing several women students.
The High Court held that it is not necessary for the Magistrate to appoint an advocate of the victim's choice to act as the public prosecutor under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (SC/ST Act).
The High Court ruled that while civic authorities can take assistance from its teachers for non-academic work such as the opening of bank accounts for students, they cannot force them to do so by imposing punitive measures.
Gujarat High Court
The Gujarat High Court struck down a part of a circular issued in March last year by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), which had proposed levy of GST on DISCOMS for various other bundled services connected with the transmission and distribution of electricity. The bench comprising Justice Harsha Devani and Justice AP Thaker opined that since the principal supply of transmission and distribution of electricity is exempt from levy of service tax, the tax liability of the related services shall also be exempt.
Jharkhand High Court
The Jharkhand High Court stayed the summons issued by a lower court against Congress president Rahul Gandhi on a defamation complaint filed by a BJP youth wing member. Justice S Chandrasekhar also issued a notice to the petitioner, Naveen Jha, according to Rajiv Ranjan, counsel for Gandhi.
Kerala High Court
The Kerala High Court refused to allow disqualification of teaching candidates on the ground that they had not submitted their NET qualification certificates on time. The bench comprising Justice CT Ravikumar and Justice VG Arun pointed out that the incomplete applications were due to technical glitches in the Public Service Commission (PSC) website and not for any fault of such candidates.
In a temporary relief to motor vehicle dealers, the High Court of Kerala stayed the levy of Goods and Services Tax(GST) on the amount collected by them as Tax Collected at Source(TCS) from vehicle purchasers.
The High Court of Kerala held that private hospitals are covered under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972. The Division Bench of Justices P R Ramachandra Menon and N Anil Kumar held that whether an establishment made profit or not was immaterial.
Madras High Court
The Madras High Court issued notice to Centre and State Governments in a petition challenging Constitution(103rd) Amendment Act providing for quota up to 10% for persons belonging to economically weaker sections.
Noting that taking a physical examination test during pregnancy is itself a "sign of courage", the Madras High Court ordered the Tamil Nadu Uniformed Recruitment Board (TNURB) to select a woman as a Constable despite her having failed the physical efficiency test.
The High Court held that former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa cannot be termed a convict in a disproportionate assets case and dismissed a petition challenging the construction of a memorial to her on the ground that she was one.
The High Court issued an interim injunction restraining a former magazine editor and six others from making any statement linking Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami to the Kodanad estate break-in case.
The High Court recently endorsed the idea of construction of hospitals, schools, colleges and provision of basic amenities/facilities to benefit the public/citizens, in honour and memory of great leaders, instead of building memorials and statues using public money.
Punjab & Haryana High Court
The Punjab & Haryana High Court issued notice to Haryana Government in a petition seeking immediate stay selection process of Information Commissioners under the Right to Information Act (RTI).
The High Court issued a slew of directions to tackle the menace of drug abuse in the State. The directions were issued by a bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu. These included steps such as awareness drives and were especially directed towards securing school children and prisoners from falling prey to addiction.
Tripura High Court
Taking note of the statistics that 435 out of 660 persons arrested in connection with crime relating to psychotropic substance stand enlarged on bail, the Tripura High Court sought explanation from the state government. Chief Justice Sanjay Karol was considering a bail application of accused Pritam Roy. The Director-General of Police had submitted a statement with regard to the status of the cases under the provision of the NDPS Act and release of the accused only for the year 2018.