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High Courts Weekly Round Up [9 March To 15 March]

Arabhi Anandan
16 March 2020 4:51 AM GMT
High Courts Weekly Round Up [9 March To 15 March]
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Judgment/Order

  • Allahabad High Court

Allahabad HC Orders Removal Of UP Govt Banners Naming Anti-CAA Protesters Accused Of Violence [In-Re Banners Placed On Road Side In the City Of Lucknow]

In a severe jolt to Yogi Adityanath-led government of Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court ordered the removal of all posters and banners put up by UP police in Lucknow publishing the names and photos of persons accused of violence during protests against Citizenship Amendment Act. The division bench comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Ramesh Sinha observed that the State action amounted to "unwarranted interference in the privacy of people" and hence violative of Article 21 of the Constitution. The Court also directed the District Magistrate and Police Commissioner to submit a compliance report with the Registrar General of High Court by March 16.

Special Courts Under SC/ST Act Empowered To Take Direct Cognizance Of IPC Offences [Sumit v. State of UP & Anr.]

The Allahabad High Court has held that Special Courts under the SC/ST Act are empowered to take direct cognizance of offences committed under IPC and committal of the case to it by a magistrate under Section 193 of CrPC is not a mandatory precondition. Section 193 CrPC stipulates that no Court of Session shall take cognizance of any offence as a Court of original jurisdiction unless the case has been committed to it by a Magistrate under CrPC. The bench comprising Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh-I held that if the Special Court was not allowed to conduct a joint trial and a separate trial were conducted for offences committed under IPC the same would lead to a miscarriage of justice.

Bombay High Court

'Personal WhatsApp Account Not A Public Place': Sending Of Abusive Messages On Personal Account Not An Offence U/s 294 IPC [Nivrutti v. The State of Maharashtra]

The Bombay High Court has held that sending of abusive messages on the personal account of WhatsApp will not amount to the utterance of obscene words in public places so as to invoke Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code. The Division Bench of Justice TV Nalawade and Justice MG Sewlikar observed that WhatsApp cannot be a public place if messages are exchanged on personal accounts of two persons.

Calcutta High Court

Hinduism A Democratic Religion, A Way Of Life: Calcutta HC Rejects Plea Against Bengali Movie "Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti" [Subhadep Adhikari v. The State of West Bengal & Ors.]

Hinduism is a democratic religion and a way of life, the Calcutta High Court remarked while dismissing a plea challenging the release of a Bengali movie by the name of "Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti". One Subhadep Adhikari had approached the High Court contending that his sentiment has been hurt due to the usage of the expression 'Brahma', who is an important part of the Hindu pantheon, with the expression 'Gopon Kommoti', which, roughly translated, means 'secret act'. It was contended that the release of the movie shall hurt the Hindu religious sentiment, bringing the said movie within the fold of Sections 295A and 298 of the Indian Penal Code. Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya, refusing to accept this contention said that merely the use of the name of Brahma with an expression in a hilarious manner cannot lead to such a result that the religious sentiment of anybody can be hurt

Delhi High Court

CSE Rule Declaring Persons Who Had Undergone Organ Transplant Unfit For Selection Is Archaic [Udbhav Kumar v. High Court of Delhi & Anr.]

Delhi High Court has held that the candidature of a Delhi Judicial Services aspirant cannot be rejected on the ground that he had undergone a renal transplant. While directing against the rejection of the candidature, the Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sanjeev Narula opined that the provision in Civil Services Examination Rules which declare persons having transplanted organs as unfit for candidature, as an archaic provision.

Death By Rash Driving: Delhi HC Court Holds Debarment From Obtaining Driving Licence For Life As Excessive Sentence [Sunil Kumar Mishra v. State]

In a case pertaining to death caused due to rash and negligent driving, the Delhi High Court has noted that a lifetime ban on the convict from getting a driving license is too harsh a sentence when his entire livelihood is dependent upon driving. While modifying the order of sentence in a revision petition, the Single Bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva noted that: 'The punishment of cancellation of the driving license permanently and debarring him from obtaining any driving license throughout his life literally amounts to his civil death because he would not be in a position to carry out his profession for life.'

Delhi HC Sets Aside Conviction In Murder Case Observing That Testimony Of Sole Eye Witness Wasn't Reliable [Dalip Kumar v. State of Delhi]

The Delhi High Court set aside the conviction order of three convicts in a murder case dating back to 1998 while holding that the testimony of the sole eye-witness based on which the trial court had convicted them was not reliable. The judgment rendered by a division bench comprising of Justice C Hari Shankar and Justice Siddharth Mridul, raises a caution that conviction may be based on the testimony of a sole witness only if it inspires confidence of the court, beyond suspicion, thus, leaving no doubt in the mind of the court.

Delhi HC Upholds Validity Of The Provision Which Prohibits Prisoners From Voting In Elections [Praveen Kumar v. Election Commission of India]

Delhi High Court refused to declare section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act, which prohibits prisoners from voting in elections, as unconstitutional. While upholding the validity of the said provision, the Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Hari Shankar has held that the classification of the persons who are in jail and who are out of jail is a valid classification and it has a reasonable nexus with the objects sought to be achieved by the Act.

J&K High Court

J&K HC Dismisses PIL Against Use Of Pellet Guns [J&K High Court Bar Association v. Union of India]

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation that sought prohibition of the use of pellet guns. Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Srinagar, had filed a PIL in 2016 seeking prohibition of use of 12-Bore Pellet Guns for crowd control in J&K and also to prosecute Security Force officers and personnel, who had used Pellet Guns on protestors and non-protestors and also to compensate the injured persons. The bench comprising Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur made absolute the interim order passed in this case earlier declining to prohibit the use of Pellet Guns in rare and extreme situations

Karnataka High Court

No Direction To Nationalize Mass Media Can Be Passed [Gayathri Ravishankar v. Union of India]

The Karnataka High Court has refused to entertain a petition filed seeking directions to the Union Government to initiate action to nationalize the mass media in the interest of safety, security and integrity of the country. A division bench of Chief Justice Abhya Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar, while disposing the petition filed by one Gayathri Ravishankar said: "If at all the Government wants to consider the issue of nationalization, it will have to be done by means of legislation."

Madhya Pradesh High Court

Govt. Policy Prohibiting Consideration Of Married Women For Compassionate Appointment Is Unconstitutional [Meenakshi Dubey v. MP Poorva Kshetra Vidyut Vitran Co. Ltd. & Ors.]

The Madhya Pradesh High Court has held that the policy of the Government prohibiting consideration of married daughter from the compassionate appointment is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. A full bench of the High Court comprising of Justice Sujoy Paul, Justice J.P. Gupta & Justice Nandita Dubey, observed that such a policy which deprives married women from the right of consideration for compassionate appointment violates equality.

Madras High Court

'Eminent Senior Advocate' Mentioned In SC/ST Rules Does Not Mean Designated Senior Advocate [Mallika v. Union of India]

The Madras High Court has held that the words "eminent senior advocates" are not synonymous with the definition of a Senior Advocate as contained in the Advocates Act, 1961. The division bench comprising Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Subramonium Prasad has emphasized on the word 'eminence' to state that a lawyer, even though not designated senior but having expertise in a particular field, may be considered to be "eminent" for the purposes of legal assistance in Special Courts.

Electropathy/ Electro Homeopathy System of Medicine Cannot Be Allowed To Propel [K Sumathi v. Union of India & Ors.]

The single bench comprising Justice Pushpa Sathyanaryana, Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has held that the Electropathy/ Electro Homeopathy system of medicine cannot be allowed to propel, as the same is not recognized under any law in India. The Petitioners had challenged the action of the Tamil Nadu Homeopathy Medical Council, refusing to register the Petitioners' Diploma certificates in Electropathy in their council while also forbearing them from practice.

Government & Lt. Governor Should Work In Unison, Not In Division: Madras HC Sets Aside Single Judge's Order [The Union of India v. Lakshminarayanan]

The government headed by the Chief Minister and the Administrator/Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry shall work in unison and not in division, observed the division bench comprising Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Subramonium Prasad while it set aside a single bench judgment that had held that the Lieutenant Governor (LG) does not have the right to interfere in the daily affairs of the elected government of Puducherry, the Madras High Court has ruled.

No Maternity Benefit For Second Delivery Of Third Child After Twins In First Delivery [Union of India v. Asiya Begum]

The Madras High Court has held that a woman employee will not be entitled to maternity benefits under the Central Civil Service Rules for the third child in the second delivery after twins in the first delivery. The Rules restricted maternity benefits to those employees with less than two surviving children. The division bench comprising Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Subramonium Prasad said, "We find that a second delivery, which, in the present case, has resulted in a third child, cannot be interpreted so as to add to the mathematical precision that is defined in the Rules."

Madras HC Says Both Sides (Anti CAA protests And Pro CAA Public Meetings) Should Be Allowed To Articulate Their Views [G. Vasudevan v. The Superintendent of Police & Ors.]

The single bench comprising Justice GR Swaminathan while granting permission to conduct Anti-CAA protests and Pro CAA public meetings observed that India being a vibrant and functioning democracy ought to allow both to articulate their respective side.

Revoke License Of Drunken Drivers, Install Alcohol Sensing Ignition Interlocking Devices: Madras HC Issues Slew Of Directions To Curb Drunk Driving [Manikandan v. P. Palani & Ors.]

The Madras High Court has issued a slew of general directions to curb the menace of drunken driving by observing strict compliance of the Motor Vehicles Act and ensuring that the perpetrators are brought to books. The 'remedial directions' have been passed by a division comprising of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice Abdul Quddhose, in a motor vehicle appeal seeking enhancement of compensation. While allowing the appeal preferred by a Chennai resident Manikandan, who had been "crippled as a vegetable" by a drunken driver, the bench decided to delve into the broader arena of preventing such accidents altogether.

Patna High Court

Eligibility For Post Should Be There As On The Last Date Of Application : Patna HC Dismisses CNLU Students' Plea [Piyush Kamal v. The State of Bihar]

The Patna High Court dismissed a writ petition filed by four final year students of Chanakya National Law University seeking consideration of their applications to the post of Assistant Prosecution Officer. The single bench comprising Justice Madhuresh Prasad said that when the Rule is silent regarding when the eligibility should be acquired, the applicant must be possessing the same as on the last date of application.

Sending Minor Girls To Nari Niketan In Cases Of Elopement Cannot Be Treated As Illegal Confinement

The High Court of Patna held that sending minor girls to Protection Home/Nari Niketan in cases of elopement cannot be treated as illegal confinement giving rise to a remedy under the writ of habeas corpus. The three-judge bench comprising Justice Ashwani Kumar Singh, Justice Ashutosh Kumar and Justice Birendra Kumar said, "Being merely confined within the four walls of a Protection Home cannot be termed as detention for the purpose of the writ of habeas corpus."

Interim Order

Allahabad High Court

Allahabad HC Issues Notice On Plea Seeking Supply Of Copy Of Proforma In Which Citizen Data Will Be Collected For NPR [Manvendra Pratap Singh v. UoI & Ors.]

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has issued notice on a plea seeking that a copy of the proforma in which all personal data of citizens will be collected by the authorities for the purpose of updating the National Population Register (NPR), should be made available to them. The bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Chandra Dhari Singh was hearing a PIL filed by a Lucknow resident Manvendra Pratap Singh, raising a concern that the citizens' data collected for updation of the NPR will be used to form the foundation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRC).

Allahabad HC Stays Varanasi Court's Order To Commence Hearing On Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque Land Title Dispute [Anjuman Intezamiya Masjid Varanasi v. Ancient Idol Of Swayambhu Lord Visheshwar & Ors.]

Justice Ajay Bhanot of the Allahabad High Court stayed the decision of a trial court to proceed with the hearing of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Gyanvapi Mosque dispute. A trial court in Varanasi on February 4, while hearing the original suit filed in 1991, relating to the long-standing land title dispute between the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir Trust and the Anjuman Intazamia Masjid, ordered that it will commence hearing forthwith.

Bombay High Court

Bombay HC Grants Injunction Against Clothing Manufacturer From Using The Trade Name ISKCON [International Society For Krishna Consciousness v. IskconApparel Pvt. Ltd. & Anr.]

The Bombay High Court last Friday granted an ad-interim injunction against an apparel company using the trade name ISKCON Apparel Pvt Ltd after hearing a commercial suit filed by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) alleging infringement of their trademark. Justice BP Colabawalla concluded that the adoption of the ISKCON trade name was "deliberate with a view to trade upon the enviable reputation and goodwill acquired by the Plaintiff in the said ISKCON marks."

Kerala High Court

Kerala HC Stays TRAI Regulation On Freezing Of Placement Of Channels [All India Digital Cable Federation v. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India]

The High Court of Kerala stayed the amendment brought by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in 2020 regarding the freezing of placement of channel in perpetuity. The interim order staying the amended provision in Regulation 18(4) of Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable) Services Interconnection (Addressable Systems)(Second Amendment) Regulations 2020 was passed by Justice Anu Sivaraman in a writ petition filed by All India Digital Cable Federation and Kerala Communications Cable Ltd.

Madras High Court

Madras HC Grants Interim Relief To Singer 'Mahanadhi' Shobana In Copyright Infringement Suit

In an interim relief to famous Tamil singer 'Mahanadhi' Shobana, the Madras High Court has restrained Symphony Recording Company Ltd from distributing, manufacturing or selling her songs. Justice M S Ramesh noted in the interim order that the assignment agreements based on which Symphony was claiming rights were executed when Shobana was a minor and were hence unenforceable.

Madras HC Issues Notice On Plea Challenging Special Discounts Offered To Fast-Tag Holders [P Saravanan v. Union of India]

The Madras High Court issued notices to the Union of India and the National Highways Authority of India in a petition challenging special discounts offered to the users of FASTag. A challenge has been made to a circular dated January 15, 2020, whereby the NHAI has restricted the discounts applicable on fee plaza-like return fare discount and local exemption to payments made via FASTag only.

Punjab & Haryana High Court

P&H HC Grants Interim Protection To Raveena Tandon, Farah Khan And Bharti Singh In FIR Alleging Hurting Of Religious Sentiments [Raveena Tandon & Ors. v. State of Punjab and Anr.]

The Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the State of Punjab not to take "coercive steps" against Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon, filmmaker Farah Khan and comedian Bharti Singh on their plea, seeking quashing of two separate FIRs registered against them for allegedly hurting religious sentiments during a web show titled as 'Backbenchers' released by Flipkart. The Punjab and Haryana High Court while issuing notice has directed that no coercive steps shall be taken by the State of Punjab against the petitioners in both the Ferozpur and Rupnagar FIR's. The matter is adjourned for 25th March 2020 for further proceedings.

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