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High Courts Weekly Round-Up

Arabhi Anandan
9 March 2020 5:00 AM GMT
High Courts Weekly Round-Up
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  • Allahabad High Court

Section 438 CrPC Doesn't Mandate That Sessions Court Must Be Moved First; But Special Circumstances Must Be Shown To Directly Approach HC [Ankit Bharti v. State of UP & Anr.]

In a significant ruling, a 5-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court clarified that under special circumstances, a person apprehending arrest may approach the High Court directly seeking anticipatory bail, without approaching the Sessions court first. The decision has been rendered by a five-Judges bench comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justices Ramesh Sinha, Sunita Agarwal, Yashwant Verma and Rahul Chaturvedi, while answering a reference made by a single-Judge of the high court.

[Anti-CAA Protests] Allahabad HC Dismisses Plea To Quash FIR Against 4 Journalists Booked For Inciting Violent Mob [Afzal Quraishi & Ors. v. State of UP & Ors.]

The Allahabad High Court dismissed a petition seeking to quash an FIR registered against four news journalists allegedly for inciting a violent mob protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. Stating that the correctness of the allegation had to be tested on the basis of a proper trial, a division comprised by Justice Manoj Misra and Justice Deepak Verma observed, "As correctness of the allegation is to be tested on the basis of material collected during the course of investigation and the evidence led in trial, the prayer of the petitioners to quash the first information report cannot be accepted."

  • Delhi High Court

Delhi HC Directs For A Reformation And Rehabilitation Plan Of A POCSO Convict [Manoj Tyagi v. The State]

Delhi High Court has directed the jail authorities to prepare a proper rehabilitation programme for a person convicted under the POCSO Act. The Single Bench of Justice Anu Malhotra has directed the Superintendent of Tihar to prepare an appropriate rehabilitation programme for the convict, by noting that 'the sentence acts as a deterrent and is simultaneously reformative with a prospect of rehabilitation.'

Proceedings U/S 138 Of NI Act Not Maintainable Against Independent Non-Executive Directors Of A Company, Reiterates Delhi HC [Sunita Palta & Ors. v. M/s Kit Marketing Pvt Ltd.]

The Delhi High Court reiterated that criminal proceedings under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, for dishonor of cheque are not maintainable against non-executive independent directors of a company. The order passed by Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri relied on a Supreme Court judgment in Pooja Ravinder Devidasani v. State of Maharashtra & Anr., 2014(14) SCALE to highlight that for arraigning a director as an accused in criminal proceedings for dishonor of cheque, it must be shown that the director concerned was in charge of and was responsible to the Company for the conduct of its business.

  • Gauhati High Court

Citizenship - Proof Beyond All Reasonable Doubt Not Needed In Foreigners Tribunal [Idrish Ali v. The Union of India]

The Gauhati High Court has observed that proof beyond all reasonable doubt is not needed in the Foreigners Tribunal for establishing citizenship. The division bench comprising Justice Manojit Bhuyan and Justice Pathivjyoti Saikia held so while allowing a writ petition filed by 65-year old Idrish Ali to set aside an order passed by Foreigners Tribunal Jorhat which declared him to be a foreigner.

Oral Testimony Alone In The Absence Of Documentary Evidence Is No Proof Of Citizenship [Nurul Amin v. UoI]

The Gauhati High Court has reiterated that in the absence of documentary evidence in a proceeding under the Foreigners Act, 1946, oral testimony alone is no proof of citizenship. The division bench comprising Justice Manojit Bhuyan and Justice Parthivjyoti Saikia thereby upheld the decision of the Foreigners Tribunal Morigaon dated October 25, 2018, declaring one Nurul Amin to be a foreigner in the post-1971 stream as per the Assam Accord.

Kerala High Court

Judicial Officer Aged Above 58.5 Years Not Eligible For Elevation As HC Judge [John K Illikkadan v. UoI]

The Kerala High Court has held that for elevation to the higher judiciary, a Judicial Officer should not be more than 581/2 years of age, as on the date of occurrence of a vacancy. The observation was made by a division bench comprising Justice K. Vinod Chandran and Justice VG Arun in a writ appeal moved by John K. Illikkadan, one of the senior-most District Judges in the Higher Judicial Service of the State.

MP High Court

Courts Cannot Routinely Order Determination of Paternity By Way of DNA Tests [Ajay Singh v. Smt. Rama Bai & Ors.]

The Madhya Pradesh High Court has held that the courts cannot routinely order determination of paternity by way of DNA tests as forcefully subjecting someone to medical examination violates their right to privacy. In the present case, Justice GS Ahluwalia was hearing a petition filed against the order of Additional Collector, District Vidishaby whereby the Petitioner's application seeking a DNA test of the Respondent to determine his paternity had been rejected.

Madras High Court

Section 6 Of MGNREGA Not Unconstitutional [R Gandhi v. Union of India]

The Madras High Court held that Section 6 of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 is not violative of Articles Articles 14 (State shall not deny any person equal protection of laws), 16 (equality of opportunity in matters of public employment) and 23 (prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labor) of the Constitution. The writ petition was filed before the division bench comprising Chief Justice A P Sahi and Justice Subramonium Prasad under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for declaring Section 6 of the MGNREG Act, 2005 as ultra vires Article 23, 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India and therefore void ab initio.

Punjab & Haryana High Court

Punjab & Haryana HC Issues Slew Of Directions For Protection Of Sukhna Lake In Chandigarh [Court on its own motion v. Chandigarh Administration (and other connected matters)]

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a slew of directions for protection and restoration of Sukhna lake in Chandigarh. The court has declared the lake to be a 'juristic person' and has directed the state to pay Rs. 100 crore in its favour as exemplary damages. The division bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu was hearing a batch of petitions filed against various problems being faced by the lake.

Mere 'Apprehension' Of Malpractice Not Sufficient To Investigate University [Deepika v. Kurukshetra University & Anr.]

The High Court of Punjab and Haryana dismissed a petition filed by a LLM student, who is also a Judicial officer, leveling allegations of malpractice in evaluation of examination by the University. The bench comprising Justice Sudhir Mittal said that merely because she was a meritorious student in her graduation did not mean that she could not fail in her LLM examination. It further clarified that mere "apprehension" of malpractice was not sufficient and that cogent material was necessary to seek judicial interference.

Interim Order

Allahabad High Court

Allahabad HC Directs Courts To Allow Appearance Of Advocates Only Upon Furnishing Of Their Enrolment Number [In Re Suo Moto Relating To Security And Protection In All Court Campuses in The State of UP]

In suo moto proceedings relating to the security of UP courts, the Allahabad High Court directed all the courts to allow the appearance of Advocates only upon the furnishing of their enrollment number. The division bench of Justice Sudhir Agarwal and Justice Suneet Kumar has held that the appearance of Advocates will not be allowed through Vakalatnama, etc. from March 20, if they do not furnish their enrollment number.

Allahabad HC Summons Govt Officials Over Deteriorating Civic Conditions In Lucknow [Nagar Nigam, Lucknow & Anr. v. District Consumer Forum I, Lucknow & Anr.]

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court pulled up the local municipal authorities over the deteriorating civic conditions in the city. The court noted that despite repeated orders, the condition in the city of Lucknow concerning sanitation, garbage collection and its disposal, solid waste management, accumulation of garbage on open spaces and the menace created by roaming stray cattles on the streets, was far from satisfactory. In this backdrop, the bench comprising Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Rajan Roy has summoned various government officials, along with the proposal to address the problem.

Allahabad HC Grants Bail To Three Asylum Seekers From Myanmar Booked For Contravention Of Foreigner's Act [Furkaan Hussain @ Win Koko v. State of UP]

Three asylum seekers from Myanmar, languishing in jail for the past four months in connection to violation of the provisions of the Foreigners Act, were enlarged on bail by the Allahabad High Court. Vide three separate orders passed, Justice Jayant Banerji enlarged Furkaan Hussain alias Win Koko; Nauman Ali alias Soe Koko; and Mohammad Rizwan Khan alias Shine Koko on bail. All three of them had submitted applications before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as asylum seekers. However, the applicants' names appearing on their Burma (Myanmar) passport bore different names. In these circumstances, they were implicated for forgery and cheating under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 of IPC and illegal stay under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act, 1946.

Allahabad HC Stays Trial Court's Order Directing Recovery Of Public Loss From Anti-CAA Protesters [Javed Aftab & Ors. v. State of UP & Ors.]

The Allahabad High Court stayed an order passed by the Additional District Magistrate, Bijnor on February 24, directing 4 persons to pay compensation for damaging public properties during anti-CAA protests in Lucknow on December 19, 2019. The division bench comprised by Justice Manoj Misra and Justice Deepak Verma noted that a coordinate bench of the high court had already in Mohd. Faizan v. State Of UP & Ors., Crl. Misc. WP No. 1927/2020, entertained a similar petition and had sought replies from the state government.

COVID 2019: In Sunday Hearing Allahabad HC Passes Directions To Control Spread Of Coronavirus [Shashank Shri Tripathi v. Hon'ble High Court of Judicature at Allahabad & Ors.]

In a special hearing conducted on Sunday (08.03.2020) by a division bench of the Allahabad High Court, directions have been issued to the Registrar General asking him to take necessary steps to prevent the spread of Novel COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in the High Court campuses. While hearing a PIL filed by a practicing Advocate of the high court Shashank Shri Tripathi, Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ramesh Sinha ordered, "So far as the High Court premises at Allahabad as well as at Lucknow are concerned, the Registrar General is directed to take all necessary steps immediately in consonance to the policy of the State Government including installation of Infrared Thermal Scan Device. The High Court administration shall also ensure zero error cleanliness in the entire campus."

Calcutta High Court

Calcutta HC Reserves Judgment On Polish Student's Challenge Against 'Leave India' Notice; Stays Deportation

The Calcutta High Court stayed the "leave India" notice issued against Kamil Siedczynski, a student from Poland, which was issued for allegedly taking part in a protest against Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharya reserved judgment on the writ petition filed by the student and ordered: "The respondents are restrained by an order of injunction from giving any effect to the impugned notice dated February 14, 2020, till the delivery of judgment in this writ petition."

Delhi High Court

Delhi HC Issues Directions For Streamlining The Recording of Victims/Witnesses Testimonies Of Foreign Nationals [Court on its own motion v. State]

Highlighting the importance of efficient recording of witness testimonies in a criminal trial, the Delhi High Court has issued a series of directions for collecting the evidence given by victims/witnesses, who are foreign nationals, in cases of sexual assault. The Division Bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal has issued directions to the Delhi Government, Delhi Police, Delhi High Court, and the trial courts, to make the said process more compliant with the MHA Guidelines of 2019, and a detailed report submitted by Senior Counsel Rebecca John.

Plea Seeking Inspection Of DU Law Faculty: Delhi HC Directs University To Deposit Inspection Fee In 2 Weeks [Vedansh Pandey & Ors. Union of India & Ors.]

The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi University to deposit the inspection fee with the Bar Council of India within a period of 2 weeks. The Single Bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher has also noted that upon the inspection fee being deposited, the BCI will carry out the inspection and take further steps for grant of approval to the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi.

Delhi HC Directs MCD To Plant 500 Trees In Riot Affected Areas Of North East Delhi As A Precondition To Condonation Of Delay [MCD v. Ramesh Chand]

The Delhi High Court allowed MCD's application for condonation of delay, subject to it planting 500 trees in the riot-affected areas of Delhi within 2 weeks. While passing the order, Justice Najmi Waziri observed, "Considering that the petitioner is the Municipal Corporation of East Delhi and is willing to take appropriate measures to ameliorate the oppressive conditions faced by the citizens, who lack basic amenities in unauthorized colonies; which have become all the more sharp in the aftermath of the recent riots in East Delhi. In the circumstance, MCD is directed to plant 500 trees in the riot-affected areas, particularly in Shiv Vihar, Jafrabad, Maujpur, Seelampur, Gokulpuri, Yamuna Vihar, Mustafabad, etc."

J&K High Court

[Coronavirus] J&K HC Directs Evacuation Of Indian Students From Iran [Court on its own motion v. Nemo]

The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir has directed the Central government to take immediate steps for the evacuation of Indian students who stand stranded in Iran, amidst the spread of Coronavirus. Iran is the second epicenter of Coronavirus in the world. Apprehensive of its spread among Indian students, Dr. Zahoor Hussain Mir, guardian of a student stated to be pursuing her higher studies in Iran had written a letter to the Chief Justice of the J&K High Court. The division bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal has issued notices to the Central Ministry of External Affairs, Health Ministry, Ministry of Civil Aviation, and the authorities of the UT of J&K and UT of Ladakh.

Madras High Court

Madras HC To Suo Motu Test Constitutional Validity Of Section 36B Of The Advocates Act [PL Sundar v. Bar Council of India & Ors.]

The Madras High Court has decided to suo moto consider the vires of Section 36B of the Advocates Act, 1961, inasmuch as it stipulates that in case a Disciplinary inquiry against an Advocate is not completed by the State Bar Council within the stipulated time, the same shall stand transferred to the Bar Council of India.

Meghalaya High Court

Meghalaya HC Makes Verification Of Affidavits Mandatory; Holds Advocate Can't File Affidavit Based On Personal Knowledge [Union of India & Ors. v. Shri. Balbir Singh Yadav]

The Meghalaya High Court has directed its Registry to ensure that affidavits filed by the parties during the course of proceedings are duly verified. The high court has also directed that parties' Advocates will not be allowed to file affidavits on the basis of their personal knowledge regarding the case. "The Registry is directed to henceforth insist on the affidavit by the parties themselves and not by their advocates and also on the requirement of a separate verification at the foot of the affidavit, which should specify as regards the statement contained in various paragraphs of the affidavit, with reference to paragraph number," ordered the bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice W. Diengdoh.

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