Allahabad High Court
● Right Of An Indigent Accused To Free Legal Services Will Be "Illusory" Unless The Court Informs Him Of Such Right. [Shadaan Ansari v. State of UP & 2 Ors.]
The Allahabad High Court has reiterated that while prosecuting an indigent person who cannot afford to engage of lawyer, the court must provide him with "real and meaningful" free legal aid. The Single Bench of Justice Rajeev Singh observed that if adequate legal is not provided to an accused during trial, the same will be violative of his rights under Article 21 of the Constitution. The observations were made while allowing a revision petition for quashing the order passed by Special Judge (POCSO) whereby the Revisionist's application under Section 311 CrPC for recall of the witnesses for cross-examination was rejected.
● Allahabad HC Seeks Reply From Centre & State Govt. In Plea For Regulation Of Sale & Distribution Of Acid [Chhanv Foundation v. Union of India & Ors.]
The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has sought replies from the Centre and the UP State governments in a PIL seeking implementation of the Supreme Court's directions, to regulate the sale and distribution of acid in the country. The bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Chandra Dhari Singh has asked the governments to file their counter affidavits latest by January 31. The directions were issued after the Petitioner-NGO, Chhanv Foundation, apprised the bench that despite the guidelines issued by the Apex Court in Laxmi v. Union of India & Ors., obtaining acid in the State was a cakewalk.
● Allahabad HC dismissed pleas on qualifying marks for Asst. Teacher's Exam 2018. [Alok Kumar & Anr. v. State of UP & Ors.]
The Allahabad High Court refused to lower the merit for selection in the Assistant Teacher Recruitment Examination-2018 and stated that merely because certain seats were vacant, the court could not issue a writ of mandamus, asking the government to adjust more candidates. "A feeble argument raised on behalf of the petitioners is that there are approximately 27713 posts still lying vacant and it would be equitable for this Court to direct the respondents to fill in the remaining vacancies with the relaxed qualifying marks. However, it is settled proposition of law that no mandamus can be issued by the Courts of law to the Government to fill in unfilled vacancies and as such, even the said argument is rejected," Justice Abdul Moin held while dismissing about 60 petitions.
Bombay High Court
● "Requiem For a Falling Tree and a Failing Human"; Bombay HC Dismisses Petition u/A. 227 Due To 'Trouble' Caused By Tree.
Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu sitting in the High Court of Bombay penned a thought provoking three-page oral order that he himself summarised as, "Requiem for a Falling Tree and a Falling Human." Justice Naidu was hearing a writ petition filed by representatives of one Vithal Sambri (now deceased) in whose residential compound a tree grew and it happened to lean inside their neighbour's compound, this led to the neighbour's complaint to the statutory authorities regarding 'the trouble these trees are causing.'
● Refuses Urgent Relief To Television Broadcasters Challenging TRAI's Amended New Tariff Order
Bombay High Court refused ad-interim relief in a plea filed by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation, a unified representative body of television broadcasters in India which challenged the amendments made by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to New Tariff Order notified in January. Division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice RI Chagla directed TRAI to submit a reply to the plea within a week and set January 22 as the next date of hearing.
● POCSO : Bombay HC Grants Bail, Observes Minor Girl 'Surrendered' To Physical Desires Of Accused Out Of Love & Affection. [Anirudha Yadav v. The State of Maharashtra]
The Bombay High Court has granted bail to one Anirudha Yadav, a 25-year-old man accused of raping a minor girl, in a case under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The Court observed that the conduct of the victim, a minor girl aged nearly 15 years, indicated the she had left home to go with the accused by her own will and that she had 'surrendered to the physical desires of the accused out of her love and affection for him'.
● Allows Release Of 'Umeed' Movie [Shivani Tiberwala v. Rajat Mukherjee]
The Bombay High Court held that there can be no monopoly of copyright in the idea or subject of a film based on the subject of clinical trial which is a part of public domain and dismissed a notice of motion filed by writer Shivani Tibrewala in a suit alleging copyright infringement on behalf of makers of the movie Umeed, which is based on unethical clinical trials. The plaintiff alleged that script of the movie Umeed was a substantial reproduction and/or an altered copy of the plaintiff's works and violates the copyright in her literary works. Justice SJ Kathawalla concluded that the plaintiff had failed to make out a prima facie case of infringement of copyright by the defendants (makers of Umeed) in the script of the plaintiff's play 'The Laboratory'.
● Nothing In RTI Act Empowers CIC To Constitute Any Committee Or Conduct Any Enquiry On Its Behalf
The Bombay High Court ruled that nothing in the Right to Information Act, 2005 empowers the State or Central Information Commission to constitute any committee or conduct any enquiry on its behalf and stayed the implementation of an order passed by an Information Commissioner directing the Department of Economic Affairs to conduct an enquiry. Division bench of Justice KK Tated and Justice SV Kotwal was hearing the case of Chief Public Information and Anr vs Chief Information Commissioner and Anr wherein the CPIO had challenged an order passed by the Information Commissioner dated April 28, 2017 directing the CMD and the Joint Secretary (Currency), Department of Economic Affairs to conduct a detailed inquiry into the case at hand and submit its inquiry report to the Commission.
● 'Social Media Influencers Have To Ensure That Their Publications Are Not Harmful Or Offensive': Bombay HC Pasees Take Down Order Against Youtuber
The Bombay High Court has passed an interim order of 'take down' against a social media V-logger on prima facie findings that he had given reckless and offensive reviews of a product and cautioned that persons in such capacity should be careful that their publications do not harm others. Justice SJ Kathawalla passed the order in a commercial suit filed by the company producing Parachute Coconut Oil, seeking interim injunction against Youtuber Abhijeet Bhansali's video which allegedly contained disparaging remarks about their product.
● Issues Notice To Ex-CM Devendra Fadnavis In Plea Challenging His Election
The Single Bench of the Bombay High Court Justice Manish Pitale issued notice to former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis in a plea challenging his election from Nagpur (South West) constituency. The writ petition was filed by Advocate Satish Uke alleging that Fadnavis "indulged in corrupt practices, thereby vitiating the election, as a result of which declaration in favour of the sole respondent as returned candidate deserved to be set aside."
● Cross- Examination Need Not Be Restricted To What The Witness Has Stated In His Examination-In-Chief
The Single Bench of the Bombay High Court, Justice Vibha Kankanwadi said that in certain cases the cross examination cannot be limited to the contents of the examination-in-chief. The court said it may go beyond examination-in-chief as the purpose of the cross-examination is to test the veracity or impeach the credit of the witnesses. In the instant case, the petition was regarding the order passed by the trial court Judge by upholding the objection of the Special Public Prosecutor without considering the relevance of the question by defence advocate during cross-examination of the witness. An application was also filed by the original informant for intervention.
● In Absence Of Karta, Any Member Of The Family May Be Permitted To Prosecute The Suit
In a significant ruling, the Bombay High Court has held that where a Karta has not been appointed, any member of the HUF may represent the family in the capacity of a co-owner, in a suit for eviction of tenants from the demised premises.
Justice NJ Jamadar clarified that for a member of HUF to institute and maintain a suit on behalf of the family, two conditions must be satisfied:
● All the other members (co-owners) should not have any objection to the suit; and
● The representative members must satisfy the absence of Karta
It was stated that in case the HUF had a Karta, he will have to be impleaded, in addition to the co-owner of the property
Calcutta High Court
● Recommends Action Against District Judge For Material Irregularity In Judicial Order
In a notable development, the Calcutta High Court has recommended administrative action against a District Judge for material irregularity and impropriety in a judicial order. The case concerned the order passed by the District Judge to dismiss a first appeal on grounds of delay. The application for condonation of delay was dismissed on the grounds that the appeal lacked merit. While considering the appeal filed against the order of the District Judge, a single bench of Justice Bibek Chaudhary observed that the order was passed with material irregularities.
● Inconvenience Of Wife Should Be Treated As Prime Consideration In Transfer Petitions Arising Out Of A Matrimonial Suit
In a transfer petition filed under Section 24 of CPC, the Calcutta High Court has ruled that if such transfer is sought by a wife during the course of matrimonial proceedings, the court should, while deciding the petition, take into consideration the inconvenience caused to her. The decision rendered by Justice Bibek Chaudhuri has made it clear that if transfer is sought by a wife in a matrimonial suit, (in)convenience of the wife to attend court proceedings will be an important factor in deciding the same.
Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court has issued guidelines that must be followed by the police of one State, when they go to some other State or Union Territory, to effect an arrest while investigating a complaint or a First Information Report (FIR) disclosing a cognisable offence. A Division Bench of Justice Muralidhar and Justice Talwant Singh has asked Delhi Police to implement the recommendations given by a Committee headed by Justice SP Garg which was constituted by the court to look into the issues involved in the present matter.
● 'Why Are you Aggrieved By Global Injunction Order?': Delhi HC Asks Facebook In Baba Ramdev's Case
In a proceedings challenging the global injunction order passed by the Single Bench of the Delhi High Court, the Division Bench of Justice Muralidhar and Justice Talwant Singh asked Facebook about its stand in the present appeal. The appeal was filed against an order passed by the Single Bench of Justice Prathiba Singh imposing a global injunction against Facebook to take down defamatory content against Baba Ramdev.
● JNU Violence: Delhi HC Directs Whatsapp, Facebook And JNU Authorities To Preserve Data Relating To Jan 5 Incident
The Delhi High Court directed WhatsApp and Google to preserve and provide data relating to the violence that took place in the JNU campus on January 5. The data pertains to two WhatsApp groups, namely: 'Unity Against Left' and 'Friends of RSS'. The Single Bench of Justice Brijesh Sethi has also directed the Chief Security Officer and Registrar of JNU to preserve and provide CCTV footage, sought by Delhi Police by filing an application under section 91 of CrPC, by the earliest.
● Search And Seizure Before Magistrate Under Section 50 Of NDPS Not Mandatory In All Cases
Delhi High Court has held that the requirement to conduct search and seizure before a Gazetted Officer/Magistrate under section 50 of NDPS is mandatory only when the accused requires such procedure to be carried out. The Single Bench of Justice Vibhu Bhakru has noted that if Section 50(1) of NDPS Act is read to mean that it is necessary in all cases that a search be conducted before a Magistrate or a Gazetted Officer, there would be no purpose in informing the suspect of his right to be searched before such officers.
● Unnao Rape: Delhi HC Issues Notice To CBI, Gives More Time To Sengar To Deposit Compensation
Delhi High Court has granted 60 more days to Unnao rape case convict Kuldeep Singh Sengar to deposit the compensation amount as directed by the trial court. The Division Bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal has directed the expelled BJP MLA to deposit 25 lacs before the court's Registry. Out of this, 10 lacs will be released to the victim without any conditions. The rest of the amount will be kept in a fixed deposit.
● Delhi HC Asks ECI To Decide Plea For Inspection Of Printed Paper Slips Of VVPAT Devices For 2019 LS Poll
The Delhi High Court directed the Election Commission to decide representations made to it for inspection of record of the printed paper slips generated from the VVPAT electronic devices during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The Petitioner had approached the high court stating that there were various discrepancies in the counting of votes and thus, a thorough inspection of the record was essential.
● Sets Aside AAP Leader Jitender Tomar's Election For Stating False Educational Qualification In Election Declaration
Delhi High Court has set aside AAP leader Jitender Singh Tomar's election to the Tri Nagar Constituency for stating false educational qualifications in his election declaration. Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, while noting that Tomar fabricated his LL.B degree, has held that the false declaration by him of his educational qualification and vocation has resulted in inducement and thwarted free exercise of electoral right of the voter.
● Curbing Political Advertisements During Model Code of Conduct Doesn't Violate Freedom of Speech
Delhi High Court has held that the restrictions on political advertisements during the Model Code of Conduct does not violate either the freedom of speech or the freedom of carrying out trade. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva has noted that the said restriction on commercial speech passes the test of reasonability as it is imposed for the larger public interest of conducting free and fair elections.
In a significant ruling while discussing the scope of judicial interference with awards of an international commercial arbitration, the Delhi High Court dismissed a German manufacturer's claim for damages against BHEL, India. "the scope of interference for International Commercial Arbitration, in India, subsequent to the amendment of Section 34 of the Act, has been narrowed down and even patent illegality is no longer a ground available to challenge International Commercial Award passed in India," the single-Judge bench of Justice Sanjeev Narula held.
● MTNL No Longer Exempted From The Provident Fund Act
Delhi High Court has denied MTNL's plea challenging an order issued against it, wherein the relaxation granted to it under the Provident Fund Act, was withdrawn. The Division Bench of Justice GS Sistani and Justice Jyoti Singh held that the authorities were right in withdrawing the relaxation granted to MTNL, which had exempted the company from making contributions to the PF Accounts, as it was incurring losses for 3 consecutive financial years.
● Advocates Can Be Appointed As Receivers U/S 14(1A) Of SARFAESI Act
The Delhi High Court held that there is no bar on appointment of an Advocate as a 'Receiver' under the provisions of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, 2002 (SARFAESI Act). Justice Rajiv Shakdher said that the District Magistrates and the CMMs were overburdened and thus, so long the discretion in appointing Advocates as receivers was exercised with due care and caution, the same could not be faulted. The court upheld the impugned order passed by the CMM, who had appointed an advocate to take possession of the secured assets.
Gujarat High Court
● PAN Not To Be Declared Inoperative Due To Non-Linking With Aadhaar Until Aadhaar Act Attains Finality
As the validity of the Aadhaar Act is under consideration by the Supreme Court, the Gujarat High Court has held that until a final verdict in that matter, the authorities will not declare a PAN inoperative due to non-linking of Aadhaar. "in the opinion of this court, with a view to balance the equities, the applicant needs to be protected by directing that his PAN shall not be declared inoperative and the applicant may not be subjected to the proviso to sub-section (2) of section 139AA of the Act till the judgment of the Supreme Court in Rojer Mathew v. South Indian Bank Ltd. is delivered and available. In the opinion of this court, grant of such interim relief in favour of the applicant can in no manner have wide repercussions as is sought to be contended on behalf of the revenue," the bench of Justices Harsha Devani and Sangeeta K. Vishen said.
Himachal Pradesh High Court
● Denial Of Salary A 'Continuing Wrong' ; Not Barred By Limitation : HP HC [Jagdish Chand v. State of Himachal Pradesh & Ors.]
Observing that issues pertaining to payment of salary, allowance, etc. are not barred by limitation due to their recurring nature, the Himachal Pradesh High Court directed the State to count the services rendered by Junior Basic Teachers on contract basis w.e.f. 7.8.1997, for the purposes of pension under CCS(Pension) Rules, 1972, annual increments, seniority, promotion and other consequential benefits.
Kerala High Court
The Kerala High Court reiterated that if a party to a judicial proceeding is prosecuted for the criminal offence of defamation in respect of a statement made in such judicial proceeding either on oath or otherwise, his criminal liability must be determined by reference to the provisions of Section 499 IPC alone. The Court has made it clear that there is no merit in the contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner that the statements made by the petitioner in the writ petition filed before a Court enjoy absolute privilege.
Karnataka High Court
● Mangalore Firing : Karnataka HC Issues Notice On PIL For Judicial Inquiry
The Karnataka High Court issued notice to the state government on a PIL seeking a judicial inquiry by a sitting/retired judge of the High Court into the incident of violence and excessive use of force by the police, leading to the killing of two civilians and injuring seven others, at Mangalore during an Anti Citizenship Amendment Act. A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar issued the notice while hearing a petition filed byI K Mohammed Iqbal Elimale and B Ummer.
The Karnataka High Court has quashed criminal case registered against, Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Airtel Limited, Gopal Vital, Managing Director, Rohit Malhothra, Chief Executive Officer and Stanley Agnelo, nodal officer of the company, under charges sections, 406, 504, 506(B) of Indian Penal Code, and under section 72, 72A AND 66A of Information Technology Act. An estranged husband involved in divorce proceedings with his wife had moved a private complaint before the magistrate, seeking registration of offence against them, alleging the petitioner's being service provider, had given his call details, without his consent to his wife and therefore the accused persons are liable for punishment.
● Karnataka HC Imposes Cost On Police Officers For Registering FIR Under Section 66A Of IT Act
The Karnataka High Court has directed two police officers to pay a cost of RS 10,000 each for registering a First Information Report (FIR) under section 66 (A) of the Information Technology Act, which has been struck down by the Supreme Court. Justice P S Dinesh Kumar, directed Assistant Sub Inspector, M Somanna and Police Inspector, Ravi Patil, to pay the cost with the Registrar General of High Court, within four weeks.
Madras High Court
● Cartel Of Doctors, Pharma Companies And Diagnostic Labs Fleecing The Patients : Madras HC Takes Suo Moto Case
The Madras High Court has observed that the cartel of doctors, pharma companies and diagnostic labs is fleecing the patients by over pricing the drugs over and above the maximum scale price fixed by the Government. Thus, the patients are compelled to pay more unnecessarily, the bench remarked. The bench comprising Justices Kirubakaran and Velmurugan noted that in spite of the medical facilities in India being equal compared to foreign countries and being a contributor to the second largest share of pharmaceutical and biotech workforce in the world, unnecessary drugs are being prescribed by a section of medical practitioners apart from prescribing unnecessary tests, scans, x-rays etc.
Madhya Pradesh High Court
● MP HC Issues Notice On Plea Against Witch Hunting
The Madhya Pradesh High Court issued notice on a plea filed against the infamous practice of witch hunting, prevalent in the state. The bench of Justice SC Sharma and Justice Shailendra Shukla has listed the matter for hearing next month. Witch hunting, which is prevalent in several states leads to dispossession, torture and murder, on an allegation that a person is a witch. The seriousness of this crime may be inferred from the fact that there have been several instances where the victims of Witch Identification, Branding and Accusation have gone through serious psychological problem and even committed suicide. Reportedly between 2005 and 2016, the number of deaths caused by the motive of witchcraft has increased to two-hundred.
Patna High Court
● Taking Note Of Casual Remand Orders, Patna HC Directs Judicial Academy To Give Training To Magistrates
The Patna High Court has asked the Director of the Judicial Academy at Patna, to train Judicial Officers in matters of custody and remand applications. The order has been passed by the bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Anil Kumar Upadhyay in a writ petition, after noticing the casual remand orders passed by a Magistrate in violation of SC guidelines.