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High Courts Weekly Round-Up

Arabhi Anandan
17 Feb 2020 4:59 AM GMT
High Courts Weekly Round-Up
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Allahabad High Court

Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi held that time-bound contractual services on honorarium basis cannot be termed to be an office of profit and hence, an elected pradhan, receiving honorarium in a private contractual service, alone is not a decisive factor to state that he is disqualified from being pradhan. Holding an office of profit by an elected pradhan leads to disqualification for membership of a Gram Panchayat, by virtue of Section 5-A(c) of the U.P. Panchayat Raj Act, 1947.

Allahabad HC Dismisses Plea To Revoke Citizenship Of Akshay Kumar & Alia Bhatt,Asks Petitioner To Move Appropriate Forum [Lalta Prasad Pandey v. Akshay Kumar & Ors.]

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court dismissed a petition seeking seizure of citizenships of film artists Akshay Kumar and Alia Bhatt, for want of jurisdiction. The court has however granted liberty to the Petitioner to approach the appropriate court having territorial jurisdiction, or the competent authority to look into the matter. The order was passed by a two-Judge bench comprising Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice Manish Kumar.

Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court in a significant order held that TDS provisions under section 194H of the Income Tax Act, 1961 are not attracted to discounts given by telecom service providers to the distributors of prepaid SIM cards. Division bench of Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice Milind Jadhav were hearing an appeal filed by the Commissioner of Income Tax, Pune against the order of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal wherein it was held that discounts given by the assessee (Vodafone in this case) to its distributors on prepaid SIM cards do not require deduction of tax u/s. 194H of the Act and subsequent penalty u/s.271C is not applicable.

Abettor In Rape Case Will Face Same Punishment As Rape Accused; Bombay HC Dismisses Convict's Appeal in POCSO Case [Sunil v. State Of Maharashtra]

The Bombay High Court last month dismissed an appeal filed by one Sunil Ramteke, a 28-year-old labourer from Nagpur, who was convicted under 376(2)(i)(j) read with Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code and under provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 for abetting the rape of a 13-year-old girl in Fegad village. Justice VM Deshpande of the Nagpur bench heard Ramteke's appeal and concluded that he was abettor and he abetted co-accused Golu to commit rape on the victim, a minor girl.

Challenge To An Election Cannot Be Based On Conjectures; Bombay HC Dismisses Election Petition Challenging Nitin Gadkari's Election From Nagpur [Manohar v. The Election Commission of India]

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday dismissed an election petition filed by one Manohar Dabrase challenging Union Minister Nitin Gadkari's election from Nagpur constituency in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Justice AS Chandurkar held that the said election petition was liable to be rejected under provisions of Order VII Rule 11 (a) of the Code as there was absence of complete cause of action for declaring the election of the returned candidate to be void under Section 100(1)(d)(iv) of the said Act.

'Persons Can't Be Called Traitors Or Anti-Nationals For Opposing CAA' : Bombay HC Quashes Sec 144 Order [Iftekhar Zakee Sahikh v. State of Maharashtra & Ors.]

The Bombay High Court quashed the order passed under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to prohibit protests and demonstrations in the wake of country wide agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act. A division bench comprising Justice TV Nalawade and Justice MG Sewlikar gave the verdict in a petition filed by one Iftekhar Zakee Shaikh, whose request to hold peaceful demonstrations at old Idgah Maidan at Majalgaon, District Beed was declined citing operation of a Section 144 order passed by Additional District Magistrate Beed.

Bhima Koregaon: Sufficient Material To Enable Court to Record Prima Facie Opinion Regarding Commission Of Offence u/UAPA [The State of Maharashtra v. Gautam Navlakha & The State of Maharashtra v. Anand Teltumbde]

The Bombay High Court rejected anticipatory bail applications filed by journalist Gautam Navlakha and academician/scholar Anand Teltumbde, accused in the case regarding caste based violence that took place at Bhima Koregaon in Pune on January 1, 2018. Justice PD Naik perused through the sealed envelope submitted by the Special Public Prosecutor Aruna Pai which contained "additional material" against both the accused and observed, "Apart from the material produced in sealed envelope, there is sufficient other material to enable the Court to record prima facie opinion regarding commission of offence under UAPA Act by the applicant."

Calcutta High Court

Lawyer's Chamber In Residential Property Is Not A "Commercial" Space, Unlike Law Firms [Arup Sarkar v. CESC Ltd. & Ors.]

The Single Bench of the Calcutta High Court Justice Shekhar B. Saraf held that legal profession is not a commercial activity and hence, the chambers of a lawyer in a residential property cannot be categorized as commercial use of the property. The court was faced with the question, whether a lawyer using a domestic space as his chambers is liable to be charged with tariff on commercial basis.

Apprehension of Radiation: Calcutta HC Stays Construction Of Jio Mobile Tower [Pradipta Kumar Jana v. State of West Bengal & Ors.]

The Single Bench of the Calcutta High Court Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya stayed the construction of Jio mobile tower in the event that the local self-governing authorities did not comply with the clause 4A of the Advisory Guidelines regarding the installation of the tower. Further, the court also found that the authorities did not invite objections from the people in the immediate vicinity of the site of the proposed mobile tower.

Chhattisgarh High Court

HC Can't Direct State To Enforce Ordinance For EWS Reservation In PSC Examination [Irfan Qureashi v. Chattisgarh State PSC & Anr.]

The Chhattisgarh High Court refused to grant relief to the Petitioners, seeking reservation for persons belonging to the Economically Weaker Section in the Public Service Commission examination. The decision was rendered by Justice Goutam Bhaduri who refused to direct the State to enforce an ordinance on that behalf. Denying any relief to the Petitioners, the court held that if the State Government does not intend to enforce the ordinance for economically weaker sections, then the Court cannot issue a mandate to the State to table a particular ordinance, which has already lapsed with the passage of time.

Calcutta HC Directs RBI To Consider Steps Including Cancellation Of License Of Bank Of Baroda [Bank of Baroda v. Indian Oil Corporation]

In a major blow to the Bank of Baroda, the Division bench of the Calcutta High Court Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Kausik Chanda asked the RBI to consider taking appropriate steps against the bank, including revocation of its license, for its disorderly conduct in dealing with payment against an unconditional bank guarantee.

Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court has held that persons appointed as 'instructors' cannot be treated as 'teachers', for the purposes of superannuation, in the Delhi University. The Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sanjeev Narula has noted that since it's the government which has to meet the budget requirements for enhancing the age of superannuation, the court will consider the word 'teacher' as per the meaning prescribed by the government itself, and not the generally understood meaning or the meaning provided in the Delhi University Act.

Question On Admissibility And Proof Of Electronic Evidence Shall Be Decided By Trial Court At The Stage Final Adjudication [ M/S Safeguard Industries v. Rajinder Kumar]

Delhi High Court has held that the affidavit under section 65B of the Evidence Act is not to be treated as a document and can be exhibited along with the examination in chief of a witness. The Single Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh noted that the question as to whether the affidavit under section 65B, which is the electronic evidence, has been proved in accordance with law or not, shall be decided by the trial court at the stage of final adjudication.

Delhi HC Directs Pvt Company To Compensate Woman Terminated From Service After Raising Sexual Harassment Complaint

The Delhi High Court has directed a private company to pay Rs 1.2 lakhs to a woman, whose services were allegedly terminated because she had raised sexual harassment allegations. Justice Prathiba M Singh passed the interim order in a writ petition filed by the woman seeking action against the employer-company for not forming Internal Complaints Committee as per the 2013 POSH Act and Vishakha guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court.

Gauhati High Court

Electoral Photo Identity Card Not A Proof Of Citizenship [Munidra Biswas v. Union of India & Ors.]

The Gauhati High Court has reaffirmed that an electoral photo identity card is not a conclusive proof of citizenship and it cannot be considered while assessing whether a person is a foreigner under the Assam Accord of 1985. The division bench comprising Justice Manojit Bhuyan and Justice Parthivjyoti Saikia has reiterated the law laid down by the high court in Md. Babul Islam v. State of Assam, WP(C) No. 3547/2016. A co-ordinate bench had held therein that merely producing an Elector Photo Identity Card in the absence of supporting evidence would not be a proof of citizenship.

Kerala High Court

Vigilance Officers Are To Be Treated As Police Officers, They Can Register And Investigate Cases Under PC Act [Karunanidhi v. State of Kerala]

The Kerala High Court has held that the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) is a specialized police force constituted in the exercise of the State Government's legislative power and the officers who worked in the erstwhile Vigilance Department derived power and authority from the Kerala Police Act, 1960. The bench of Justice A. Hariprasad and Justice N. Anil Kumar also observed that officers of VACB are to be treated as police officers and are entitled to register cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, carry on investigation and file a final report, to prosecute the offenders.

Madhya Pradesh High Court

Madhya Pradesh HC Directs State To Pay 5L To Man Detained Illegally; Initiates Contempt Proceedings Against Police Authorities [Kamlesh v. State of MP]

The bench comprising Justice SC Sharma and Justice Shailendra Shukla came down heavily upon the state government for detaining an innocent man, in the pretext of detaining a convict, and subsequently trying to defend its illegal actions. The matter was brought to the attention of the court, in a Habeas Corpus petition filed on behalf of the detenu, a 68 years old illiterate tribal man. The court said that it is really "unfortunate" that while filing a return in the case, an attempt was made by the State of Madhya Pradesh to incriminate an innocent man.

Madras High Court

Madras HC Directs Govt To Decide On PIL Seeking Free Streaming Of Sports Channel On DD's OTT Platforms [Adithya Modi v. Union of India & Ors.]

A division bench comprising Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Subramonium Prasad directed the Central government to consider amendments to the Sports Broadcasting Signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharati) Act, 2007, that may allow Doordarshan to live stream 'sporting events of national importance', free of cost, on its Over The Top (OTT) platforms. Under Section 3 of the Act, Prasar Bharati is permitted to re-transmit feed of sporting events of national events, through its 'terrestrial network' and 'Direct-to-Home networks'.

Non-Payment Of Subsistence Allowance To An Employee During Suspension Will Be Antithetical To Article 21 [The Registrar & Ors. v. M.Elango]

While encompassing the payment of subsistence allowance to a suspended employee under Article 21 of the Constitution, the Madras High Court has held that its non-payment shall violae the Fundamental Right. . A Division Bench of the Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi & Justice Subramonium Prasad has emphasized that subsistence allowance cannot be denied to employee(s) during the tenure of their suspension.

Patna High Court

Patna HC Directs Training Of Judicial Officers In Exercising Discretion In The Matters Of Sentencing, Especially Cases Involving Capital Punishment [State of Bihar v. Onkar Nath Singh]

The bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Anil Kumar Upadhyay issued directions for the training of judicial officers in the matter of exercise of discretion in the process of sentencing, particularly in Sessions Trial, where they have to choose in between life and death as an alternative punishment. The court has asked the Director of the Bihar Judicial Academy to formulate a course of training of all the judicial officers vested with the power of the Sessions trial. The training will include a course on balancing of aggravating and mitigating circumstances and balancing of individual life and personal liberty with the security of the society.

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