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High Courts Weekly Roundup

Akshita Saxena
6 July 2020 3:46 AM GMT
High Courts Weekly Roundup

Week Commencing From June 30, 2020 To July 5, 2020 Allahabad High Court 1) 'Even If Will Not Enforceable For Being Void, It Is Not Non-Est & Is Admissible Under Evidence Act S. 32(5) To Decide Pedigree': Allahabad HC [Bhrigurasan & Ors. v. DDC & Ors.] Expounding the difference between the concepts of 'void' and 'non-est', the bench of Justice Salil Kumar Rai held, "Even...

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Week Commencing From June 30, 2020 To July 5, 2020

Allahabad High Court

1) 'Even If Will Not Enforceable For Being Void, It Is Not Non-Est & Is Admissible Under Evidence Act S. 32(5) To Decide Pedigree': Allahabad HC [Bhrigurasan & Ors. v. DDC & Ors.]

Expounding the difference between the concepts of 'void' and 'non-est', the bench of Justice Salil Kumar Rai held, "Even if the Will is not enforceable for being void or may not be relevant under Section 32(6) of the Evidence Act, 1872 as a Will, it would still be admissible and relevant under Section 32(5) of the Act because the relevant recital in the Will is a statement in writing of the deceased and relates to the existence of a relationship by blood about which the testator had special means of knowledge."

2) Allahabad HC Allows Release Of Prisoners On Personal Bonds Due To Non-Availability Of Sureties During To Lockdown [Ankit Gupta v. State Of UP]

The single bench of Justice Abdul Moin ordered that all the accused persons, whose bail applications had been allowed subsequent to March 15, 2020 but had not been released due to non-availability of sureties amid the lockdown, may be released on execution of personal bonds.

3) 'Competing Interest Of Health Of Students & Providing Nursing Services To Common Man': Allahabad HC Seeks UP Govt's Reply In Plea Against Reopening Of Nursing Educational Institutions [Narendra Kumar Singh & Ors. v. State of UP & Ors.]

single bench of Justice Ashwani Kumar Mishra asked Additional Advocate General Manish Goel to seek instructions from the UP Government regarding re-opening of nursing educational institutions in the state. "Considering the competing interest of securing life/ health of students vis-a-vis requirement of providing nursing services to the common man, it would be appropriate to permit the learned Additional Advocate General appearing for the State to obtain specific instructions in the matter from the department concerned," the court ordered.

4) Allahabad HC Quashes Non-Bailable Warrant Issued Against Former MP Jaya Prada For Allegedly Making False Statement During Elections [Jaya Prada Nahata v. State of UP & Anr.]

Noting that the offences registered against her were non-cognizable, he single bench of Justice Om Prakash-VII quashed the non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against former MP Jaya Prada by Additional District & Sessions Judge, Rampur in connection to a NCR registered against her for making derogatory remarks against her political opponents during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The court

Bombay High Court

1) PIL Claims Stigma Attached To Transgender Community Worsened Post Lockdown; Bombay HC Directs Social Justice Dept To Address Concerns [Vikram Ramesh Shinde v. State of Maharashtra & Ors.]

Division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik directed the Principal Secretary to the State Social Justice and Special Assistance Department to consider and dispose of within a fortnight, concerns expressed by an activist working for the transgender community, regarding plight of the members specially after the lockdown and seeking directions for formulation of a welfare scheme for the 40,000 members of the community in the State.

2) Bombay HC Stays FIRs Against Arnab Goswami; Says 'No Prima Facie Case Against Him' [AR Goswami v. State of Maharashtra & Ors.]

While granting relief to Republic TV Chief Arnab Goswami against allegations of communalization of the Palghar mob lynching incident, a division bench of Justice Ujjal Bhuyan and Justice Riyaz Chagla observed that "prima facie no case was made out against him". The Court thus suspended proceedings in two FIRs filed against him.

Also Read: Cannot Have The Spectacle Of A Damocles Sword Hanging Over A Journalist's Head While Conducting Public Debate; Bombay HC

3) PIL Claims Stigma Attached To Transgender Community Worsened Post Lockdown; Bombay HC Directs Social Justice Dept To Address Concerns [Vikram Ramesh Shinde v. State of Maharashtra & Ors]

Division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik directed the Principal Secretary to the State Social Justice and Special Assistance Department to consider and dispose of within a fortnight, concerns expressed by an activist working for the transgender community, regarding plight of the members specially after the lockdown and seeking directions for formulation of a welfare scheme for the 40,000 members of the community in the State.

4) 'Immediately Test Inmates Who Show Signs Of Discomfort' : Bombay HC Disposes Of PILs After State Accepts Suggestions For Improving Prison Facilities [People's Union for Civil Liberties v. State of Maharashtra & Ors]

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik disposed of a batch of PILs raising concerns regarding lack of facilities for proper treatment of prisoners lodged in various correctional homes during the current pandemic of Covid-19 while directing the prison authorities to forthwith implement the measures for random testing.

5) Bombay HC Quashes Order Passed By AAI's Appellate Committee Adopting New Criteria For Maximum Height Clearance For Projects Around Mumbai Airport [Kalpataru Ltd. v. Union of India & Ors.]

In a huge relief to developers of plots around Mumbai International Airport, the Division bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice BP Colabawalla quashed and set aside a decision taken by Appellate Committee of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to adopt the criterion laid out in the Civil Aviation Ministry's Draft Rules, 2018 for clearing projects for maximum permissible height.

6) Bombay HC Dismisses PIL Alleging Negligence In Management Of Dead Bodies Of Covid-19 Victims By MCGM Staff [Ketan Tirodkar v. State of Maharashtra & Anr.]

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice NJ Jamadar dismissed a PIL alleging negligence in management of dead bodies of Covid-19 victims by Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai staff after the Corporation filed an affidavit categorically denying the allegations in the PIL and asserting that guidelines of the Health Ministry are being strictly followed for disposal of dead bodies.

7) Bombay HC Directs IT Department To Refund Over Rs.833 crores To Vodafone Idea Limited Within Two Weeks Without Fail [Vodafone Idea Ltd. v. Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax & Ors.]

In a huge relief to Vodafone Idea Limited, the Division bench of Justice RD Dhanuka and Justice Madhav Jamdar directed the income tax department to refund Rs.833 crores to the telecom operator within two weeks "without fail." The Court observed that there is no power vested in the respondent tax authorities to adjust self-admitted refund amount against the tax dues "which are not even adjudicated upon by the respondents and may arise in future as contemplated/visualized by the respondent."

Calcutta High Court

1) Cruelty To Wife For Dark Complexion Attracts Section 498A IPC : Calcutta HC [Mazidul Miah @ Mia & Ors. v. State of West Bengal]

A Division Bench comprising Justices Sahidullah Munshi and Subhasis Dasgupta held that causing cruelty to a wife for dark complexion by her husband and in-laws will attract the offence of cruelty under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

2) Calcutta HC Upholds State Ban On Chinese 'Manjha', Mandating Same To Be Strictly Adhered To [Samanta v. State of West Bengal & Ors.]

The Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan upheld the state's ban on the use of Chinese 'manjha' (a type of nylon thread coated with powdered glass used for flying kites), directing that the same be strictly adhered to by the administration and given full effect.

3) Extent Of Interference On Arbitral Award By A Court On Factual Score Is Substantially Curtailed By Section 34 Of Arbitration & Conciliation Act: Calcutta HC [Sikha Basu v. BMA Wealth Creators Limited]

Single bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya observed the arbitrator is seen as the final authority on the appraisal of facts and unless such appraisal is found to be perverse or manifestly unreasonable, the Award should remain undisturbed. The court said that the extent of interference by a court on the factual score is substantially curtailed under section 34 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

4) 'Economic Situation Uncertain Owing To COVID-19' : Calcutta HC Restrains Bank From Declaring Borrower As 'Wilful Defaulter' [Suresh Kumar Patni & Ors. v. Punjab National Bank & Anr]

Noting that "the economic situation of the country owing to Covid 19 pandemic is uncertain", ingle Bench of Justice Arindam Mukherjee passed an interim order restraining the Punjab National Bank from declaring a borrower as a "wilful defaulter'.

Delhi High Court

1) Delhi HC Restrains Jet Airways Owned Jet Lite From Alienating Approx Rs. 180 Cr In Terms Of A UK HC Decree [TWC Aviation Capital Ltd v. Jet Lite (India) Ltd]

Single bench of Justice C. Hari Shankar temporarily restrained Jet Lite (India) Ltd. (a subsidiary of the Jet Airways), from dispossessing, alienating its assets, to the tune of an international decree passed against it by a UK court. The High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, London, UK had directed the company to pay Rs. 183,24,01,374 to TWC Aviation Capital Limited, as outstanding aircraft rents.

2) Delhi HC Stays NLU-Delhi's 50% Horizontal Reservation For Students Who Passed Qualifying Exams From Institutes In NCT [Balvinder Sangwan & Ors v. State (GNCT) of Delhi & Ors]

The bench comprising Justices Subramonium Prasad and Hima Kohli prima facie observed that the decision of the National Law University-Delhi to introduce 50% horizontal reservation from the academic year 2020-2021 for students who have passed qualifying examination from recognized institutes in the National Capital Territory was taken "in haste without acting in accordance with the NLU Act". It therefore stayed the impugned admission notification.

Also Read: NLU-D Succumbed To Delhi Govt Pressure To Introduce 50% Horizontal Reservation : Delhi HC

3) Delhi HC Directs Crime Branch Inquiry Against Doctor Suspected Of Giving Fake Medical Certificates To Prisoners [Abdul Rehman alias Nawali v. GNCTD]

The Single Bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva directed the Crime Branch of Delhi Police to initiate an inquiry against Dr Gajinder Kumar Nayyar who is suspected of issuing fake medical certificates to accused/convicts and/or their family members to facilitate them in obtaining favourable orders of bail, interim bail and suspension of sentence.

4) 'There's A Dire Need For Creating Mechanism For Registration Of Migrant Workers In Delhi': Delhi HC [Shashank Mangal v. GNCTD]

The Single Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh noted that there's a dire need for creating a mechanism for registration of migrant workers in Delhi. Accordingly, the court directed the Central Government to submit a detailed affidavit highlighting the kind of portal it is proposing for the same. The court will next take up the matter on July 22.

5) As A General Rule, Copy of The Jail Superintendent's Report Must Be Given To The Bail Applicant: Delhi HC [Chirag Madan v. Union of India & Ors.]

The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan observed that a general rule, a copy of the report given by the Jail Superintendent as well as by the Investigating Officer should be supplied to the applicant so that accused can properly understand the reasons given therein and defend their case. The court further observed that the copies of the Jail Superintendent and the Investigating Officer shall be provided in advance, both to the court and to the accused.

6) Delhi HC Stays Imposition Of Penalty On Insolvency Professional Who Allegedly Violated The Terms Of Moratorium, Going Against The Provisions Of IBC [Mohan Lal Jain v. Insolvency & Bankruptcy Board of India]

The Single Bench of Justice AK Chawla stayed the penalty imposed on an Insolvency Professional (IP) who allegedly violated the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code by going against the terms of the moratorium. The stay order is subject to the Petitioner depositing within 10 days from today a sum of Rs.25 lacs with the IBBI.

7) [Abduction Case] Serious Allegations Against Police For Misuse of Authority During Investigation, Delhi HC Directs Commissioner To Look Into The Matter [Yogesh Kumar Singh v. State]

In light of certain serious allegations raised against some police officers of Sonia Vihar Police Station for allegedly misusing their authority during the investigation, the Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajneesh Bhatnagar has decided to transfer the case to the Crime Branch. The court also directed the Commissioner of Delhi Police to consider the allegations raised by the Petitioner, and if a case is made out for misuse of authority, take appropriate action against the concerned Investigating Officer.

8) Delhi HC Extends Time For Filing Objections To Draft EIA Notification 2020 Till August 11 [Vikrant Tongad v. Union of India]

Partially allowing a plea against 'woefully inadequate' time provided by the Government to send comments and suggestions, the Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan extended the time period granted by the Central Government for filing objections to the draft Environment Impact Assessment Notification 2020 till August 11, from June 30.

9) Evidence Collected In Breach Of Right To Privacy Alone Doesn't Make It Inadmissible: Delhi HC [Deepti Kapur v. Kunal Julka]

In a significant judgment pertaining to rules for collection and admissibility of evidence, the single bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani held that evidence collected in breach of the fundamental right to privacy alone, would not make it inadmissible in court of law. The court said that while a litigating party certainly has a right to privacy, that right "must yield" to the right of an opposing party to bring evidence it considers relevant to court, to prove its case.

Also Read: Liberal Approach Of Law For Collection Of Evidence Should Not To Be Taken As Approval To Adopt Illegal Means, Especially In Matrimonial Disputes: Delhi HC

10) 'New Bride's Conduct In Remaining In Room, Not Showing Initiative In Household Work, Disinclination For Physical Relationship Not Cruelty By Any Stretch Of Imagination': Delhi HC [Vishal Singh v. Priya @ Pihu & Anr]

"Such conduct of the respondent-wife of being interested in remaining in her room or not showing initiative in doing household work can by no stretch of imagination be described as cruel behaviour and that too upon the appellant/husband", observed the bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Asha Menon in a matrimonial dispute.

11) Delhi HC Allows Plea Moved By Tablighi Jamaat Foreign Nationals Seeking Different Accommodation [Mohammad Jamal & Ors v. Union of India]

The Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajneesh Bhatnagar allowed a plea moved by 69 foreign nationals related to the Tablighi Jamaat event seeking different accommodation provided the expenses of the new accommodation are borne by the foreign nationals themselves.

12) After Criticising The Casual Approach, Delhi HC Directs Delhi Govt To Clear Proposals On Digitisation of District Courts Within 2 Weeks [Anand Vaid v. Preeti Vaid & Ors.]

After pulling up the administration for its casual approach, the Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad directed the Delhi Government to clear the pending urgent proposals on the digitisation of district courts in Delhi.

13) 'Is There A Place For Fickle Minded Officers In Paramilitary Forces?': Delhi HC Asks Serviceman Seeking Withdrawal of Resignation [Neeraj Kumar Uttam v. Union of India]

While issuing notice in a plea moved by an officer of the Central Reserve Police Force seeking withdrawal of his resignation, a division bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Justice Asha Menon posed a question as to whether there is a place for fickle minded officers in the paramilitary forces. The court further observed that prima facie appears that the officers of paramilitary forces cannot be permitted a sabbatical in this fashion.

14) Delhi HC Directs Centre To Publish Draft EIA Notification 2020 In 22 Official Languages Within 10 Days [Vikrant Tongad v. Union of India]

Looking to the "far reaching" consequences of the public consultation process, a division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan directed the Central Government to publish the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification, 2020 in all 22 official languages.

Also Read: Delhi HC Extends Time For Filing Objections To Draft EIA Notification 2020 Till August 11

15) Married Against Wishes of Khap Panchayat, JNU's Married Couple Say 'Hostel Our Only Home'; Delhi HC Asks Authorities Not To Prevent Their Re-Entry [Deepak Kumar v. JNU & Ors.]

The Single Bench of Justice Najmi Waziri provided relief to a couple who was denied re-entry into Jawaharlal Nehru University's married couples hostel after they returned from the field work research. The court observed that the University married couples' hostel, is the only home where the Petitioner and his spouse have been staying for the past few years, their access to the same cannot be denied to them except by the due process of law.

16) No Territorial Jurisdiction : Delhi HC Refuses To Entertain Plea Against Domicile Reservation in NLSIU

A Division Bench comprising Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad refused to entertain the plea challenging the imposition of domicile reservation in National Law School of India University, Bangalore. The court noted that since the impugned law is passed by the State of Karnataka, and the Respondent University is also situated in Karnataka, the court at Delhi cannot exercise jurisdiction in the matter.

17) Delhi HC Issues Notice To SCBA In Ashok Arora's Plea Challenging Executive Committee's Decision To Suspend Him As Secretary [Ashok Arora v. SCBA & Anr.]

A bench of Justice Mukta Gupta issued notice in Advocate Ashok Arora's plea seeking quashing of his suspension from the post of Secretary of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) by its Resolution dated May 8, 2020. The matter is now posted for August 6.

Gauhati High Court

1) Refusal To Wear 'Sakha & Sindoor' Signify A Woman's Refusal To Accept Her Marriage: Gauhati HC Allows Divorce Petition [Bhaskar Das v. Renu Das]

While allowing the matrimonial appeal preferred by a husband against the order of a Family Court dismissing his application for divorce, the bench of Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Justice Soumitra Saikia has held inter alia, that refusal to wear 'sakha and sindoor' are indicative of the wife's refusal to accept her marriage, under the custom of Hindu Marriage.

2) Gauhati HC Grants 30 Lakhs As Compensation To Parents Of A Boy Who Died Due To Electrocution While Practicing Guitar In A School [Dr. Debajit Das & Anr v. Williamson Magor Education Trust]

The bench of Justice Prasanta Kumar Deka directed a school to provide Rupees Thirty Lakhs as compensation to the parents of a student who died due to electrocution while practicing guitar in the school. The court observed that it was the responsibility of the school authority to anticipate and identify the source of grave risk surrounding the students while imparting education to them.

Gujarat High Court

1) Although POCSO Introduced To Protect Girl Child, Legal Awareness Needed To Simultaneously Protect Young Boys From Label Of 'Offender': Gujarat HC [Vikramsinh Champaksinh Parmar v. State Of Gujarat]

While dealing with a habeas corpus petition by the father of a minor girl who had eloped with a boy who was himself a minor, a bench of Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice N. V. Anjaria expressed concern that "young boys who themselves are not major, many a times without realizing the consequences of their act, or "many a times actuated by frenzy of youth", "eventually label themselves as offenders in the matters of POCSO".

Jharkhand High Court

1) State Cannot Opposes Registering Of FIR When There Is Allegation Of Interpolation In Judicial Records: Jharkhand HC [Mathias Vijay Toppo v. State of Jharkhand & Ors.]

The single bench of Justice Ananda Sen directed the Director General of Police, Ranchi to register an FIR on the allegations of tampering and forging of judicial records, leveled by Scheduled Area Regulation Officer. "State cannot opposes registering of an FIR, when there is an allegation of interpolation in Judicial records and there is allegation of forgery. It is the duty of the State in these circumstances to see that an FIR is lodged," the court observed while expressing surprise that the State Government had chosen to oppose the plea for registration of FIR on such a "serious issue".

2) Chief Minister Public Hearing Cell Does Not Have Jurisdiction To Direct The Police To Register An FIR, Holds Jharkhand HC [Sanjay Kumar Sharda v. State of Jharkhand & Ors.]

The bench of Justice Ananda Sen deprecated the practice of Chief Minister Public Hearing Cell pressurizing the police officials to register an FIR. "There is no provision in law to approach "Mukhya Mantri Jansanbad Kendra", which is absolutely a non-statutory body nor having being vested with any power under Cr.P.C. Further the said "Mukhya Mantri Jansanbad Kendra" has got no jurisdiction to direct the police official to register an FIR and have no power to monitor the same," he said in an application for quashing of FIR on the ground that the same had been registered at the pressure of the Cell.

Karnataka High Court

1) 'Impossible To Find A Perfect Solution Liked By All Stakeholders' : Karnataka HC Dismisses PIL Against SOP For Functioning Of Courts [Rajadithya Sadasivan v. High Court of Karnataka & Ors.]

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy dismissed a petition filed by an advocate challenging the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by the High Court allowing partial functioning of district courts in the state. "As we are dealing with an extraordinary situation, it is impossible to find a perfect solution which will be liked by all stakeholders…We may note here that no one can claim what is devised by SOP is perfect. The reason is the situation is abnormal," the bench said.

2) Karnataka HC Expunges Controversial Remarks About Woman's Conduct From Bail Order In Rape Case [Rakesh B. State of Karnataka]

Justice Krishna S. Dixit expunged the controversial comments made about the conduct of the woman-complainant while granting bail to the accused in a rape case in an order passed on June 22. The expunging order also clarifies that "It hardly needs to be stated that the observations made by this Court in the subject Judgment being confined to consideration & disposal of the bail petition, shall not influence in any way the investigation of the offences alleged and the likely trial thereof."

Kerala High Court

1) 'Salaries For Teaching & Non-Teaching Staff Have To Be Paid' : Kerala HC Dismisses PIL Against Collection Of School Fees During Lockdown [Sreelekshmi S. v. State of Kerala]

Holding that even during the lock down period, monthly salaries for the teaching and non-teaching staff have to be paid, the division bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly dismissed a PIL against collection of school fee during lockdown period.

2) [Order XXXII Rule 15 CPC] Persons With Physical Infirmities Seriously Affecting Cognitive Functions Can File Suit Through 'A Next Friend': Kerala HC [Mary v. Leelamma]

In a suit filed by a deaf and dumb person through her daughter, the bench comprising of Justice SV Bhatti and Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas held that persons having physical infirmities like deafness or dumbness which seriously affect their cognitive functions can file a suit through next friend invoking Order 32 Rule 15 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

3) 'Even In Calamity, Authorities Must Act With Fairness' : Kerala HC Stays Move To Turn Apartment Complex Into COVID-19 Treatment Facility [DR. SV Mohammed Haris v. District Collector, Kannur & Ors.]

A single bench of Justice Anu Sivaraman stayed an administrative order for taking over an apartment complex in Kannur to turn it into a first-line treatment facility for COVID-19 patients, observing that no reason has been stated why the action had to be taken in "such a hasty manner without any manner of notice being issued to the owners of the apartments".

4) No Reason To Deny Any Basic Human Right To Transgender Community : Kerala HC Directs To Ensure Supply Of Ration Cards, Free Medicines [Kabeer C. v. State of Kerala & Ors.]

On a PIL filed by a transgender person, the bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly directed directed the State of Kerala to ensure the free supply of medicines in consonance with the polices of the state government, whenever any member of the transgender community is approaching the concerned statutory authority with the medical prescription of a doctor.

Also Read: Why Transgenders Excluded From Recruitment To Post of Police Constables?, Karnataka HC Asks State Govt

5) Kerala HC Dismisses PIL Against Bimonthly Billing System Adopted By Electricity Board [Vinay Kumar MC v. State Of Kerala]

Noting that the plea was not a solution to rectify any defects occurred in the bimonthly bills issued, even taking into account the fact that 76 days reading was taken for issuing the bimonthly bill, the bench comprising of the Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly dismissed the PIL challenging bimonthly billing system adopted by the Kerala State Electricity Board Limited (KSEB) with regard to the bills issued to the domestic consumers.

6) Bar Against Grant Of Anticipatory Bail In SC-ST Act Does Not Disentitle Accused From Seeking Regular Bail After He Surrenders/Gets Arrested: Kerala HC [Juli CJ v. State Of Keral]

While considering an appeal against rejection of anticipatory bail plea of an accused under the Sc-ST Act, the bench of Justice Narayana Pisharadi observed that the bar against granting anticipatory bail in the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, does not disentitle the accused from seeking regular bail, when he is arrested and produced before the court or when he surrenders or appears before the court.

7) [Refusal To Solemnize Marriage] Writ Petition Is Not Maintainable Against A Church, Holds Kerala HC [Santhoshkumar S. v. Church Of South India]

The Bench comprising of the Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly dismissed as non- maintainable, a writ petition filed against a church for its refusal to solemnize marriage. The court held that no public duty or public function is being carried out by a Church by solemnization of marriage between two members of the diocese.

Madhya Pradesh High Court

1) Madhya Pradesh HC Directs Installation Of 'Non-Chinese' LED TV At A Local District Hospital As Pre-Condition For Bail [Arvind Patel v. State Of Madhya Pradesh]

directed two accused to install coloured LED TV at a local District Hospital, manufactured anywhere but in China, as a pre-condition for bail. The peculiar bail condition assumes significance vis-à-vis the recent drift to boycott Chinese goods in the backdrop of India-China stand off at Galwan valley, Ladakh.

2) Suspension Of Insolvency Process : MP HC Seeks Centre's Response On Plea Against IBC Ordinance [VN Dubey v. Union of India]

A bench of Justices S C Sharma and S K Awasthi sought the response of the Central Government to a petition challenging the recent Ordinance, which suspended the initiation of Corporate Insolvency Process with respect to defaults which have occurred after March 25, the declaration of country wide lockdown.

3) Render Physical And Financial Assistance To Govt. Primary School As Shiksha Swayamsewak : Madhya Pradesh HC Imposes Bail Condition

In a first, the Gwalior Bench of the High Court passed more than 15 Bail orders directing several accused persons to render physical and financial assistance to Govt. Primary School which is situated nearest to their respective residences.

Madras High Court

1) [Jayaraj-Bennix Custodial Deaths] Prima Facie Material For Murder Case Under 302 IPC Against Sathankulam Police : Madras HC

Taking note of the ante-mortem injuries found on the bodies of Jayaraj and Bennix, coupled with the averments in the report of the Judicial Magistrate No.1, Kovilpatti, especially the statement of Revathy, Head Constable, Sathankulam Police Station, who spilled the beans on the delinquent police personnel, the division bench of Justice PN Prakash and Justice B. Pugalendhi expressed the view that this "would be prima facie enough to alter the case to one under Section 302 IPC against the Sathankulam policemen who were actively involved in the investigation of the case (against the father-son duo)".

Also Read: Jayaraj-Bennix Custodial Deaths : Madras HC Takes Contempt Proceedings Against 3 Police Officers For Obstructing Inquiry By Magistrate

Also Read: 'Can't Lose Any More Bennicks & Jayarajs To Violence': Madras HC Directs State To Continue Police Mental Health Programme

2) 'First Remand Cannot Be Via Video Linkage': Madras HC Directs Production Of Accused Before Magistrate, Albeit Non-Jurisdictional, Where Place Of Arrest Is Outside State [Court Suo Motu]

The bench of Justices of P. N. Prakash and B. Pugalendhi held that that a person involved in an offence in Tamil Nadu/Puducherry, but arrested in a place outside the region, shall be physically produced before a Judicial/Metropolitan Magistrate in the place of his arrest, though the said Magistrate may not have the jurisdiction. The court made it clear that after such accused is remanded to judicial custody, he may be produced before the Jurisdictional Court in Tamil Nadu/Puducherry for the first time via video-conferencing.

3) Madras HC Directs Private Schools Associations To Frame A Scheme For Payment Of Schools Fees In Installments [Federation of Association of Private Schools Government Office of Revenue v. Disaster Management Dept]

In a batch of petitions filed by the Federation of Association of Private Schools, All India Private Educational Institutions Association and the Consortium of Self Financing Professional, single bench of Justice R. Mahadevan directed the associations to formulate a scheme with respect to payment of school fees "in installments".

4) Failure To Make Interim Pay-Outs To Needy Advocates, Clerks In Pandemic: Madras HC Asks BCI, BCTN & P To Disclose Complete Financials, Grants Received From State [Dr. AE Chelliah v. Bar Council of Thamizh Naadu & Ors.]

The Division Bench of Justices M. Sathya Narayanan and Anitha Sumanth directed the BCI and Bar Council of Tamil Nadu & Puducherry to file their audited financial statements for the periods 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, after it failed to make interim pay-outs to needy Advocates.

Orissa High Court

1) Girl Trafficking More Heinous Offence Than Drug Trafficking, But Less Stringent: Orissa HC [Panchanan Padhi v. Panchanan Padhi]

Justice SK Panigrahi observed that trafficking of girls is an offence more heinous than drug trafficking, but ironically less stringent. "The instant case, in essence, demonstrates a conflict between collective morality of the society and markedly skewed legislations which mismatches the culpability of the participants in question (i.e. service provider, facilitator) and the recipient of the services. Though it involves clandestine and unlawful trafficking of girls but the law makers have missed the opportunity to prescribe a stringent punishment regime, even though the present offence is far more heinous than drug trafficking," the court said.

Punjab & Haryana High Court

1) Show Sensitivity In Blatant Detention Matters: P & H HC Tells Sessions Courts [Mandeep Singh @ Lavi v. State of Haryana]

The single bench of Justice GS Sandhawalia asked the lower courts in the two states to be "sensitive" in matters relating freedom of accused involving decision as to bail and/ or remand. The court said that the Sessions Court should be more sensitive to the accused who approach the District Judiciary for their "freedom" and who are "unnecessarily forced" to approach the High Court.

2) All Schools Entitled To Collect Tuition Fee, Regardless Of Whether Online Classes Were Offered During Lockdown : P & H HC [Independent Schools' Association Chandigarh (Regd) & Ors. v. State of Punjab & Ors.]

The single bench of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur held that all schools, irrespective of whether they offered online classes during the lock-down period or not, are entitled to collect the tuition fee. "It is not disputed that even if schools do not provide online education, the schools are still required to meet the expenses, i.e. Full salary of the teachers and non-teaching staff as well as building, electricity expenses etc.. The schools that are not giving online classes are not exempted from paying the salary of its teaching and non-teaching staff", the bench reasoned.

3) Punjab & Haryana HC Stays Circular Issued By RERA, Punjab Extending Validity Of All Registered Real Estate Projects By Six Months [Vinod Kumar v. Union of India & Ors.]

Expressing "surprise" that the RERA had provided blanket extension to all projects, the bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh stayed the operation of a "palpably wrong" circular issued by the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), Punjab, extending validity of all registered real estate projects by six months, due to the Covid crisis.

4) Ryan School Murder: P&H HC Denies Bail To Student Accused Of Slitting Throat Of 8-Yr Old [Master Bholu v. State of Haryana & Anr.]

The single bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan denied the bail plea of a class XII student, a minor and the prime accused in the 2017 Ryan School Murder case. The court observed that the benefit of bail to a juvenile, under Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 could not given to the accused, as the Supreme Court had directed to treat him as an "Adult" for the purposes of trial.

5) A Condition For Grant of Bail, Incapable of Compliance, Renders The Bail a Complete Fantasy: P&H HC [Anil Jindal v. State of Haryana]

"The condition of bail or the burden imposed on it, ought not to be such so as to defeat the very meaning of bail. Else, might as well decline the bail instead of giving an illusory one," the bench Justice Arun Monga said in a challenge to the bail condition requiring the Appellant to furnish the details and documents of any immovable property/ properties valuing Rs. 100 crores in lieu of personal bond.

6) [Black Lives Matter] 'What Colour Is God's Skin': P & H HC Remarks Against Use Of Racial Slur Against African Nationals [Amarjit Singh v. State of Punjab]

The single bench of Justice Rajiv Narain Raina closed the proceedings in the NDPS case that came into spotlight for use of racial-slur in the charge sheet. "May I ask, what colour is God's skin," the court said rhetorically to underline the significance of "mutual respect" and "universal common brotherhood".

7) Punjab State Police Chief Appointment : P&H HC Asks UPSC To Submit Chart Showing Comparative Merits Of Eligible Officers [State of Punjab v. CAT, Chandigarh & Ors.]

In the plea of the Congress government in Punjab and DGP Dinkar Gupta against a Central Administrative Tribunal verdict of January 17 quashing the latter's appointment as state police chief , the bench of Justices Jaswant Singh and Sant Prakash asked the UPSC to compile a chart showing comparative merit of all officers considered for the post of DGP in Punjab and keep the same ready in a sealed cover for consideration of the court.

8) 'Exceeded Jurisdiction': Division Bench Of P & H HC Sets Aside Single Bench Order On Administrative Side Passed During Judicial Hearing [Punjab and Haryana High Court through its Registrar (Computerization) v. Zahur Haider Zaidi & Ors.]

The division bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli clarified that if any Judge faces technical problem during hearing of cases via video conferencing, the proper course would be to bring the same to the notice of the Registrar General of the High Court. "Running of the High Court on the administrative side cannot be permitted to be taken up by each and every Judge on the judicial side as he thinks fit as that would lead to collapse of the system of the administration of the High Court," the court said while setting aside the order of a Single Judge whereby orders pertaining to administrative side of the High Court were passed during hearing of two criminal matters.

Rajasthan High Court

1) Application For Interim Bail Can't Be Used As A 'Subterfuge' For Regular Bail: Rajasthan HC [ParasRam Vishnoi v. The Director, CBI]

The single bench of Justice Dinesh Mehta rejected the bail application of a 51-year-old murder accused, while observing that there were no compelling reasons requiring his presence to take care of his ailing mother and wife. While rejecting the bail, the court observed, "Application for interim bail cannot be used as a substitute rather a subterfuge for regular bail, particularly when petitioner's six bail applications have been rejected."

2) Remarks On Justice S Murlidhar : Rajasthan HC Dismisses Plea To Initiate Contempt Against BJP Spokesperson Prem Shukla [Poonam Chand Bhandari v. Prem Shukla]

The division bench of Justices Goverdhan Bardhar and Chandra Kumar Songara dismissed a petition to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against BJP's National Spokesperson, Prem Shukla, allegedly for insulting Justice S. Murlidhar, then a Judge of the Delhi High Court. The court observed that the impugned remarks were made by Shukla during the course of a debate and were not "deliberately" intended to interfere in the administration of justice.

Telangana High Court

1) 'While Fighting Pandemic, Ignorance Invites Calamity' : Telangana HC Expresses Dissatisfaction With Govt Publication Of COVID-19 Data [R. Sameer Ahmed v. State of Telangana & Ors.]

"Needless to say, while fighting a battle against a pandemic, ignorance is not bliss. In fact, ignorance is an invitation to a calamity", remarked the bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy on noting that despite the fact that the court had directed the state Government to increase the number of samples being tested on daily basis, the evidence is otherwise.

Uttarakhand High Court

1) Uttarakhand HC Restrains Spending Of 110 Cr. On District Planning At State's Behest, Pending SEC Opinion On Feasibility Of Elections To 13 Competent Authorities [Pradeep Bhatt v. State of Uttarakhand]

Division bench of Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and RC Khulbe restrained the State Government, from spending the budget of District Planning, of about Rs. 110 crores, on the complaint that the State Election Commission is not holding elections for constitution of the District Planning Committees.

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