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High Courts Weekly Roundup

Akshita Saxena
26 July 2020 12:07 PM GMT
High Courts Weekly Roundup

Week Commencing From July 20 to July 26, 2020 Allahabad High Court 1) "We Expect Organizers & UP Govt. Would Ensure Social/Physical Distancing Protocol": Allahabad HC Dismisses PIL Against 'Bhoomi Poojan' Of Ram Mandir [Saket Gokhale v. Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirthe Kshetra & Anr.] "We expect the organizers and the Government of Uttar Pradesh would ensure all the...

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Week Commencing From July 20 to July 26, 2020

Allahabad High Court

1) "We Expect Organizers & UP Govt. Would Ensure Social/Physical Distancing Protocol": Allahabad HC Dismisses PIL Against 'Bhoomi Poojan' Of Ram Mandir [Saket Gokhale v. Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Tirthe Kshetra & Anr.]

"We expect the organizers and the Government of Uttar Pradesh would ensure all the protocol applicable for social and physical distancing", said the bench comprising of the Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh while dismissing a plea to restrain "Bhoomi Pujan" for laying down foundation stone of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya.

2) Allahabad HC Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of Plight Of Minor Girls Forced To Trade Bodies During Lockdown In UP's Chitrakoot [Suo Moto v. State of UP]

The bench comprised of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh took suo moto cognizance of plight of minor girls in UP's Chitrakoot, allegedly being forced to "trade off" their bodies to survive the lockdown induced financial crisis, and issued notices to the District Magistrate and Chairman, District Legal Services Authority, Chitrakoot, based on a letter petition sent by Supreme Court Advocate Dr. Abhishek Atrey. The matter is now listed on July 28, 2020.

3) Allahabad HC Takes Suo Moto Cognizance On Probable Spread Of Corona Virus Through Hookah [Suo Moto v. State of UP & Ors.]

A bench comprised of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh took suo moto cognizance on the probable spread of Corona Virus through Hookah/s served at various restaurant, cafes, etc. and asked the State Government to show cause why the Hookah service should not be stopped. The matter is now listed on August 6, 2020.

4) Parity Cannot Be The Sole Ground For Granting Bail: Allahabad HC [Gajendra Singh v. State of UP]

In a significant decision, the single-Judge bench of Justice Ravi Nath Tilhari has held that "parity" with the co-accused cannot be the sole ground for granting bail and that each bail application has to be decided on the basis of its own merits.

Reliance was placed on Rakesh Kumar Pandey v. Munni Singh @ Mata Bux Singh & Anr., where the Supreme Court had denounced the order of the High Court granting bail to the co-accused on the ground of parity in a heinous offence.

Andhra Pradesh High Court

1) In Democracy, If Atrocity Committed By Police Against An Advocate, What Would Be Fate Of General Citizen: Asks AP HC

"In a democratic state, if such an atrocity is committed by a government functionary against an advocate, who is an officer of the court, it is difficult to perceive the fate of the general citizen", observed the bench of Justices Rakesh Kumar and K Suresh Reddy while hearing a habeas corpus plea against the illegal detention of an advocate by the police.

Bombay High Court

1) How Is A Physically Fit Actors Above 65 Yrs Expected To Live A Dignified Life If They Are Not Allowed On Film/TV Sets? ; Bombay HC Seeks Reply From State [Pramod Pandey v. State of Maharashtra]

Division bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice RI Chagla questioned the State Government regarding the guidelines issued dated May 30, 2020 barring cast/crew members above the age of 65 years from entering TV/Film sets and sought a detailed reply from the State.

2) In An Interim Measure, Bombay HC Directs State To Prefer Govt Officials Over Private Individuals As Administrators Of Gram Panchayats [Pradeep Shivaram Hulawale & Anr. v. State of Maharashtra]

As elections in 14,000 gram panchayats across the State of Maharashtra have been deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Division bench of Justice Nitin Jamdar and Justice Abhay Ahuja while hearing a batch of petitions filed on behalf of gram panchayats across the State, in an interim measure, directed the state government on Wednesday to prefer government officials over private individuals while appointing administrators for gram panchayats. The next date of hearing in the matter is July 27.

3) There Cannot Be A Straight Jacket Formula As To How A Woman Will React To An Act Of Outrage: Bombay HC [Jitin Mothukiri v. State of Maharashtra]

"There cannot be a straight jacket formula as to how a woman will react to an act of outrage by a male," remarked the bench of Justice Bharati Dangre in an order granting bail to a 24-yr-old rape accused. The observation was made while negating the insinuation of victim's 'consent' imputed by the applicant's counsel.

"All women are borne into diffierent circumstances in life, go through different things and faces, experience and react differently and necessarily each woman would turn out to be different from the other. The concept of consent of the victim or as to at what stage the consent was revoked and the act of physical indulgence was attempted to be restrained is a matter of trial," the bench added.

Calcutta High Court

1) Students Shall Neither Be Barred From Accessing Online Classes Nor Prohibited From Participating In Online Examinations Till August 15: Calcutta HC [Vineet Ruia v. State of West Bengal & Ors.]

A division bench comprising of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya directed: (i) none of the 112 schools involved should discontinue making online courses available to any of its students, unconditionally till August 15, 2020; (ii) none of the schools will prohibit any of the students from participating in the online examinations, if any, till August 15, 2020; (iii) by August 15, 2020, the outstanding dues of each student, as at July 31, 2020, have to be cleared to the extent of 80 per cent; (iv) those already debarred from online courses or online examinations will be restored to their previous status.

Delhi High Court

1) Plea Seeking Protection of Privileged Attorney-Client Communication Taking Place Virtually On Third Party Apps, Delhi HC Asks The Concerned Authority To Consider The Plea As Representation

The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan directed the Petitioner to make a representation before the concerned authority in a plea seeking protection of privileged attorney client communication taking place virtually on third party apps.

2) How Many Prisoners In Last 3 Years Were Not Released Within 24 Hours Of Being Granted Bail, Delhi HC Directs DG (Prisons) To Conduct Inquiry And Submit Report [Sanjay Singh v. GNCT of Delhi & Anr.]

The Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad directed the Director General (Prisons) to conduct an inquiry as to on how many occasions were the prisoner not released within 24 hours of being granted bail by a competent court, for reasons not attributable to that prisoner. The court will next take up this matter on August 06.

3) Administrative Tribunal Not An 'Alternative', But The'Only' Forum For Service Matters : Delhi HC [Prabhat Ranjan Deo v. Union Public Service Commission & Ors.]

The bench of Justice Jyothi Singh held that in service matters the High Court lacks original jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution.

Placing reliance on the landmark apex court decision in L.Chandra Kumar v. Union of India (1997) 3 SCC 261, the Court observed that , "It is clear that after the authoritative pronouncement of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, this Court cannot entertain the present petition and remedy of the Petitioner lies only before the Central Administrative Tribunal.

4) Religare Finvest: Delhi HC Grants Bail To Shivinder Mohan Singh [Dr. Shivinder Mohan Singh v. Directorate of Enforcement]

The Single Bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani granted bail to Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh in a money laundering case on a finding that there was no allegation against him of having either tampered with evidence or influenced any witnesses or destroyed any records.

The Court has directed Shivinder Mohan Singh to furnish a personal bond of ₹1 crore and two sureties of ₹25 lacs each.

Also Read: Accused Cannot Be Kept In Custody Only On A 'Hunch' That He Will Impede Trial Or To Send A Message To Society : Delhi HC

5) Arbitration: 2019 Amendment To Section 29A Timeline Has Retrospective Effect From 23 October 2015, Holds Delhi HC [ONGC Petro Additions Ltd v. Ferns Construction Co. Inc]

Infusing clarity on the applicability of the amended Section 29A of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, the Single Judge bench of Justice V Kameswar Rao has found that the amendments to Section 29A (1) in 2019, fixing the 12 month time frame from the completion of pleadings and excluding international commercial arbitrations in India from its scope are "retrospectively applicable to arbitration proceedings commenced after 23 October 2015."

The Court predicated this conclusion on the following reasons:

  • BCCI (supra) has found Section 29A to be procedural in nature and there is no stipulation akin to Section 26 of 2015 Amendment in the 2019 Amendment;
  • In light of settled judicial precedents, Section 29A prescribing time limit is a procedural law is it does not confer any rights or liabilities on a party. Rather, it establishes a mechanism for the Arbitral Tribunal to render the award, which determines rights and liabilities in 12 months

6) Delhi HC Directs Delhi University To Immediately Draw Up Mechanism For Issuing Digital Degree Certificates, Issues Notice To National Academic Depository

The Single Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh directed the Delhi University to immediately draw up a mechanism or a protocol for issuing digital degree certificates along with digital signature and security features.

The order has come in a writ petition moved by certain MBBS graduates from Lady Hardinge Medical College, who had graduated in 2018, but have not received their degree certificates yet, thereby finding it impossible to apply for their residence programmes in the USA.

7) Delhi HC Stays Anti Profiteering Penalty Proceedings Against Patanjali Ayurved [M/S Patanjali Ayurved Ltd v. Union of India & Ors.]

The Division Bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sanjeev Narula stayed the anti profiteering penalty proceedings against Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved Limited till further orders. It however directed the Company to deposit the principal profiteered amount i.e. Rs. 75,08,64,019/- in six equated monthly instalments commencing 15th August, 2020. The court will next take up the matter on August 24.

The order has come in a writ petition filed by Patanjali challenging the constitutionality and legality of National Anti-Profiteering Authority as well as Section 171 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act and Rules 122, 126, 127 and 133 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Rules.

8) Repeated Adjournments For 'Pronouncement of Judgment' Won't Be Permissible Even During The Lockdown: Delhi HC [Dalbir Singh v. Satish Chand]

The Single Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh reiterated that the lockdown ought not to affect pronouncement of judgments/ orders by the trial courts where arguments have been heard and the orders have been reserved.

The Court further observed that repeated adjournments `FOR ORDERS' or for `Pronouncement of judgment' would not be permissible even during the lockdown.

Gauhati High Court

1) Gauhati HC Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of Rising COVID-19 Cases In Assam Prisons [XXX v. In Re - The State Of Assam & Ors.]

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Justice Manish Choudhury registered a suo motu PIL on the issue of rising cases in Assam prisons. In its order, the Court has acknowledged the fact that in various jails in the state, several Covid-19 positive cases have been detected.

The court ordered the Assam government to provide best treatment to infected prisoners and also asked the Inspector General of Prisons, Assam to file an affidavit clearly indicating: (i) How many Covid-19 positive cases have been detected in each of the jails; (ii) What were the precautions taken before the inmates were detected Covid-19 positive; (iii) What are the steps being taken for disinfecting the jails and giving treatment to the jail inmates; (iv) How many Covid-19 positive cases are asymptomatic; and symptomatic, in each of the jails separately?

Gujarat High Court

1) Gujarat HC Grants Custody Of Infant Twins To Their Mother Dismissing Allegations Of Affairs And Homosexual Relations Against Her As Irrelevant [Chavda Twinkle v. State Of Gujarat]

Responding to allegations of heterosexual and homosexual affairs against the mother of twin infants in a custody matter, two judge bench comprising of Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice NV Anjaria suggested that there must be some limit to the nature of allegations that can be put forth against a mother filing for the custody of her children so that they can be brought up in a decent environment.

Considering the welfare of the children to be the paramount factor of consideration, the bench granted custody to the mother.

Himachal Pradesh High Court

1) Court's Proceedings Are Sacrosanct And Should Not Be Polluted By Unscrupulous Litigants: Himachal Pradesh HC [Salma v. State of HP]

"Court's proceedings are sacrosanct and should not be polluted by unscrupulous litigants," remarked the bench comprising of Justices Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Jyotsna Rewal Dua while dismissing two frivolous writ petitions.

The petitioners in this case had challenged the notices by the Local authorities requiring them to vacate the houses that were allotted to them temporarily. While considering the petitions, the bench noted that the houses were allotted to them temporarily with clear understanding that the same would be vacated by them on 30.5.2019 and the Petitioners were now "unauthorized occupants".

Jammu & Kashmir High Court

1) J&K HC Grants Interim Protection To Woman Allegedly Threatened For Religious Conversion [Fatima v. UT of J&K & Ors.]

The single-judge bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey allowed the protection petition of a woman, allegedly being threatened by her family members and relatives, for having converted her religion/faith to Islam. The court granted interim relief to one Fatima, who claimed that she had converted her religion from Hinduism to Islam, "out of her own free will".

2) J&K HC Takes Suo Moto Cognizance On Pendency Of Criminal Cases In UT Due To Non Presentation Of Challans; Seeks Information On System Of Monitoring Of Investigation In FIRs [Court on its own motion v. UT of J&K & Ors.]

The bench comprised of Justices Rajesh Bindal and Rajnesh Oswal pulled up local investigation agencies in the UT for "sleeping over" criminal cases registered years ago, including cases containing serious allegation under the Prevention of Corruption Act, J&K Ranbir Penal Code, etc.

The Court has issued notices to the Home Secretary, Secretary Department of General Administration, UT of J&K, Director General of Police and Director, State Vigilance Bureau, UT of J&K and asked them to file their counter affidavit on some pointed queries.

Karnataka High Court

1) Karnataka HC Rejects Petition Seeking To Move Covid19 Testing Laboratory Situated In Residential Area

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice M Nagaprasanna refused to entertain a PIL filed by two residents seeking directions to the authorities to shift or close down a covid-19 testing laboratory in their vicinity, on the ground that a writ of mandamus cannot be issued to a private entity as it is not an agency or instrumentality of the state.

"Grievance of petitioners is that respondent 4 (laboratory) is not taking any precautions which may result in spread of covid19. If that is so, the petitioner can make representation to the district health officer and BBMP. If substance is found in the grievance the respondents can issue necessary instruction to the respondent 4," the bench said.

Also Read: Direct Labs/Hospitals To Inform Persons Who Come For COVID-19 Test To Be In Home Quarantine Till Results : Karnataka HC To Govt

2) 'Victim' Under SC/ST Act Includes Parents & Family Members Of Person Suffering Injuries Of The Crime : Karnataka HC [Marenna @ Mareppa v. State]

The single-Judge bench of Justice Hanchate Sanjeevkumar observed that a victim under the SC/ST Atrocities Act includes not only the person who sustains injuries arising out of the crime but also his parents and family members. In view of this premise, the Court passed the following guidelines:

  • "A right is conferred on the victim or his/her dependents to participate in the proceedings initiated under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 as enumerated in Section 15-A. Therefore, the first informant/ complainant/ victim or dependents shall be made as a party in the proceedings and issue necessary notice to the victim or dependents/ first informant/ complainant/ victim or dependents and to hear them in any proceedings as envisaged under Sub-section (5) of Section 15-A of the SC/ST Act.
  • The Special Courts trying with the offence/s under the SC/ST Act shall direct the District Legal Services Authority to provide an advocate on behalf of the victim or his/her dependents/ first informant/complainant from the Panel Advocates of District Legal Services Authority."

3) Karnataka HC Initiates Suo Moto Case To Quash Private Complaint Against Judicial Magistrate

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice M Nagaprasanna directed the Registrar General of the High Court to register a suo-motu criminal petition under Section 482 of CrPC to quash a private complaint lodged against a Judicial Magistrate First Class.

"If the complaint filed by said complainant is allowed to proceed further, it will completely set at nought the protection granted to judicial officers under the Judges (Protection) Act of 1985," the bench said. The matter will be heard on July 27.

4) Welfare Of Law Students Is Also A Matter Of Public Interest As Far As The Institution Of Judiciary Is Concerned : Karnataka HC

"The welfare of law students is also a matter of public interest as far as the institution of judiciary is concerned," remarked the bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice H P Sandesh while rejecting BCI's contention that the PIL seeking relaxation of moot courts, internships, pre-trial preparation etc, for all final year students for the academic year 2019-20 should not be entertained as it was filed by two law students, for personal benefit.

Kerala High Court

1) [Kerala Gold Smuggling] Kerala HC Dismisses Plea Seeking Investigation Against Kerala CM & His Former Secretary [Michael Varghese v. Pinarayi Vijayan & Ors.]

The division bench comprised of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly dismissed a PIL seeking CBI/ NIA investigation in the Kerala Gold Smuggling scam, Sprinklr Deal, BevQ App. scam and e-Mobility Consultancy scam, allegedly involving Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his former Principal Secretary M. Shivashankaran, for lack of prima facie evidence.

"The petitioner has solely relied on the statement of the Leader of the Opposition and contended that if it is true, the matter requires investigation. As such, he has no evidence or material, and that is why he has prayed for an interim direction, as stated above. Investigation is the function of the police and writ court cannot be converted as an investigation agency," the bench observed.

2) Kerala HC Stays Munsiff-Magistrate Notification On Prima Facie Finding That It Excluded EWS Reservation [Ramya AK & Ors. v. Kerala HC]

The bench of Justice CS Dias stayed a HC notification dated June 20, 2020 inviting applications for appointment to the post of Munsiff Magistrate, on the prima facie finding that the it excluded Economically Weaker Section (EWS) from the category of reservation.

After going through the grounds taken by the writ petitioner and since no instructions were forthcoming from the Respondents, the bench ordered that step one process of the notification shall not be concluded, until the next date of hearing.

3) Kerala HC Comes To Rescue Of Two Students Deprived Of Online Education; Directs Panchayat To Provide Them Laptops [Anakha Babu & Anr v. The Nedumkandam Grama Panchayath & Ors.]

In a relief to two Dalit sisters who were deprived of online education, the bench of Justice Alexander Thomas directed a Panchayat to provide them laptops, in terms of a government scheme for providing computers and laptops to students belonging to SC/ST Community.

"This Court is constrained to hold that there shall not be any further delay in providing laptops to the petitioners herein, who belongs to SC/ST community, and especially in view of the COVID-19 pandemic issues, most of the educational institutions are following the online method and as the petitioners cannot financially afford to purchase such equipments," the order stated.

4) Covid-19 Disease A 'Disaster': Kerala HC Upholds Taking Over Of Residential Apartment By DDMA [Dr. SV Mohammed Haris & Anr. v. District Collector, Kannur]

The bench of Justice N. Nagaresh dismissed a plea challenging take-over of an Apartment building for using it as Covid First Line Treatment Centre.

The Court observed that the Corona Virus Disease will fall within the ambit of "disaster" as defined under Section 2(d) of the Disaster Management Act and thus it will be open to the District Authority to procure use of amenities including buildings from any authority or person even without formal requisition.

5) Mother Publishing Video Of Children Painting On Her Nude Body : Kerala HC Prima Facie Says Its Use Of Child For Sexual Gratification [Fathima AS v. State of Kerala & Anr.]

Rejecting the argument of controversial Kerala activist Rehana Fathima that she published the video showing her children draw paintings on her naked body with the aim of imparting sex education, the bench of Justice PV Kunhikrishnan dismissed her application seeking anticipatory bail.

The Court observed that while she was free to give sex education to her children - a boy aged 14 years and a girl aged 8 years - in the manner she wished within the four walls of her house, but by publicising the video showing children doing the painting on her naked body, she has, prima facie, attracted the offences relating to obscene representation of children.

6) Merely Inciting Feelings Of One Community Without Any Reference To Any Other Community Cannot Attract Section 153A IPC: Kerala HC [Pradeep RS @ Hari Palod v. State Of Kerala]

The bench of Justice Ashok Menon observed that merely inciting the feelings of one community or group without any reference to any other community or group cannot attract the provisions of section 153A of Indian Penal Code.

Madras High Court

1) Madras HC Restrains Patanjali From Using 'Coronil' Trademark [M/s. Arudra Engineering Pvt. Ltd. v. M/s. Pathanjali Ayurved Ltd.]

The single-Judge bench of Justice CV Karthikeyan restrained Patanjali Ayurveda from using the trademark 'Coronil'- the controversial drug that the company initially claimed to be a cure for the deadly Corona virus, under Section 29(4)(b) of the Trademarks Act, 1999. The temporary injunction order, in effect till July 30, 2020, was passed in a plea moved by a Chennai based private company Arudra Engineering, claiming rights over the mark.

2) Time Limit For Availing Transitional Input Tax Credit Under GST Mandatory : Madras HC [M/s PR Mani Electronics v. Union of India]

Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy ruled that the time limit for availing Transitional Input Tax Credit (ITC) is mandatory in nature, not directory. The Court also observed that the ITC is a form of concession not a property, in which right can be vested. The time limit prescribed to avail such a concession under Rule 117 must be followed in a mandatory nature.

3) Madras HC Denies Interim Relief To Cooperative Banks Against 2020 Ordinance Subjecting Them To RBI Supervision [Big Kanchipuram Cooperative Town & Anr. v. Union of India & Anr.]

The bench of Chief Justice AP Shah and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy refused immediate interim relief to cooperative banks which have challenged the Centre's ordinance bringing them under the purview of the RBI.

The High Court was of the view that the ultimate answer would depend upon as to how far the impugned Ordinance proceeds to allegedly encroach upon the affairs of the Cooperative Banks and whether the impugned provisions suffer from the vice of incompetence, and thereby ultra vires the Constitution of India.

It proceeded to observe that nonetheless the presumption of the constitutional validity of a law is a well known guiding principle, the barrier whereof has to be measurably calibrated before a certainty can be spelt out from the submissions raised on behalf of the petitioners.

4) 'When A Person Can Be Considered As A History Sheeter': Madras HC Issues Directions [Thirumagan & Anr. v. Superintendent of Police, Madurai & Ors.]

"In all the cases where a person has to be treated as an habitual offender, or one addicted to crime, or a known deprecator of law without a case pending against them when the police propose to history-sheet him, he should have been either notified as a habitual offender under the Tamil Nadu Habitual Offenders Act, 1948, or should have been one against whom an Order has been made under Sec.110 Cr.P.C.," the bench of Justice N. Seshasayee held.

The court has issued 10 directions to be followed by the Police personnel, in the matter of history-sheeting, until statutory alternatives for the same are notified.

5) Madras HC Directs To Invoke Prevention Of Corruption Act Against Police Officials "Fleecing" Convicts Coming Out On Parole [Radhakrishnan v. Home Secretary (Prison) & Ors.]

The bench of Justices R. Kirubakaran and VM Hemalatha pulled up the state prison authorities on being intimated that the police officials accompanying the convicts coming out on parole are taking money in the name of charges from the latter's families.

"If it is happening, then it is illegal and it would amount to bribe", was the strict observation of the Court and it suggested that action against them shall be taken under the Prevention of Corruption Act, in addition to departmental proceedings.

6) 'Online Gambling Trapping Youth' :Madras HC Asks State Govt To Regulate Virtual Games Of Poker, Rummy, Etc. [D. Siluvai Venance v. State]

The bench comprised of Justice B. Pugalendhi stressed upon the urgent need to address and regulate "online games" such as rummy, bridge, nap, poker, etc. that are luring unemployed youth to bet their money.

"Not only in the State of Tamil Nadu, but also in the entire Country, such online games…are mushrooming and there are so many advertisements appearing in almost all the social media and websites. It appears these advertisements are mostly targeting the unemployed youth, inducing them to play such games, on the pretext of earning money comfortably from their home," the Court observed and expressed hope that the Government will do the needful.

Orissa High Court

1) Orissa HC Mandates Subordinate Judges To Ensure Presence Of Informant/Victim At Bail Hearings In POCSO Cases [Kavuru Harikrishna v. State of Odisha]

Single bench of Justice Sanjeeb Panigrahi directed its Registrar (Judicial) to issue a 'practice direction' or 'notification' to all subordinate courts requiring them to ensure the presence of the informant/victim/complainant during the hearing of bail petitions of persons accused in cases of rape and gang-rape of girls younger than 12 years of age and gang-rape of women less than 16 years.

The direction was in view of Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018, which inserted a proviso after Section 439)1)(a), which provides— High Court or the Court of Session shall, before granting bail to a person who is accused of an offence triable under sub- section(3) of section 376 or section 376-AB or Section 376-DA or section 376-DB of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), give notice of the application for bail to the Public prosecutor within a period of fifteen days from the date of receipt of the notice of such application.

Punjab and Haryana High Court

1) Conception Of Pregnancy Post Tubectomy Not Medical Negligence: P & H HC [Dr. (Mrs.) Sushma Chawla v. Jasbir Kaur]

Single bench of Justice Rekha Mittal the doctor performing tubectomy, at the time of child delivery, cannot be attributed medical negligence merely because she did not explain that the tubes would regress to their normal size after the delivery, and that during the regress, the tubes are likely to slip, thereby exposing chance of further pregnancy.

2) Inclusion Of Biological Mother's Name In The Passport Instead Of Step Mother's Would Not Cause Any 'Prejudice': P&H HC [Divya Nagpal v. Union of India & Anr.]

The bench of Justice BS Walia directed the Regional Passport Office to allow an applicant's request for inclusion of her biological mother's name in her passport, instead of her step-mother's name. The Court allowed the writ petition filed by one Divya Nagpal, on noting that

"no prejudice would be caused to either of the parties in the eventuality the name of the Petitioner's biological mother is mentioned in her passport, besides the same would prevent confusion in the identification of the petitioner in view of different mothers names in birth certificate, educational certificates as well as Aadhar Card on the one hand and in the passport on the other hand."

3) [Covid 19]: P&H HC Stays Karnal Administration's Blanket Order Prohibiting Circulation of News Via Social Media, News On Covid-19 Shall Be From Govt.Sources [Samachar Express Broadcasting News Private Ltd & Anr. v. Union Of India & Ors.]

The single bench of Justice Sudip Ahluwalia stayed a "blanket bar" imposed by the Karnal administration on circulation of news via social media platforms, so far as it pertains to the Petitioner- Samachar Express Broadcasting News Private Ltd,

Further the bench clarified that if any information or reference to any item relating to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is concerned, the same shall "necessarily have to be based on the information available from the Official Portal of the State/Central Government, as the case may be."

4) 'Courts, With Dockets Already Over-Flowing"': P & H HC Restricts Filing Of Multiple Writ Petitions On Similar Cause Of Action [Freudenberg Nok Plant 1 & 2 Workers Union v. State of Punjab & Ors.]

The bench of Justice Anil Kshterpal restricted the practice of filing multiple writ petitions with regard to the same or similar cause of action. Noting that "the dockets of the Courts are already over-flowing", the bench opined that the filing of the multiple petitions is "neither in the interest of justice nor in the interest of the Judicial Institution".

5) "Legitimacy Of Relationships Is Of No Consequence Viz-a-viz Their Right To Life And Liberty": P & H HC Grants Police Protection To Same-Sex Live-in Couple [Paramjit Kaur & Anr. v. State of Punjab & Ors.]

"Even though gay marriage is not yet legitimate as per the applicable marriage laws in the country", and therefore, "live-in relationships" are becoming common, observed the single-Judge bench of Justice Arun Monga while granting police protection to two females, residing as a live-in couple, apprehending threat to their life and liberty from their families.

"Assuming, they were living simply as friends together, even then they are constitutionally entitled to live in peace", the bench proceeded to observe, adding that "legitimacy of their relationship with each other, therefore, is of no consequence viz-a-viz their right to life and liberty".

6) Schools Shall Not Strike Out Students' Names For Non-Payment Of Tuition Fees Until They Decide Representations For Concession/ Waiver: P&H HC [Amandeep Singh & Ors. v. State of Punjab & Ors.]

A division bench comprised of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli clarified that even though the schools are permitted to collect tuition fee, they shall not strike out the names of such students who have either sought concession/ waiver of school fee (until disposal of their representations).

The bench expressed confidence that the authorities or the Regulatory Body in seisin of such representations shall make every endeavour to decide the same as expeditiously as possible.

7) Accused Enjoying Interim Bail In Pandemic Not Entitled To 'Dual Benefit' Of Default Bail U/S 167(2) CrPC: P&H HC [Subhash Chander v. State of Haryana]

Single bench of Justice HS Madaan denied default bail to an accused who, after two weeks in custody, was enlarged on interim bail on account of the COVID pandemic, which was extended from time-to-time, and is now finally required to surrender on September 4.

"The petitioner remaining behind bars for a period of less than two weeks till date cannot cry foul and ask for bail in terms of Section 167(2) Cr.P.C", remarked the Single Bench. Commenting that the petitioner "just wants to have dual benefit" enjoying interim bail, and at the same time, asking for concession of bail under Section 167(2) Cr.P.C., Justice Madaan ruled that he is "certainly not entitled to such concession".

8) 'Victim's DNA Report Not Matching: No Ground To Rule Out Involvement In Crime, P & H HC Denies Bail To Gang-Rape Accused [Naveen v. State of Haryana]

"Merely because the DNA report (of the rape victim) does not match with the petitioner cannot be termed to be a circumstance to conclude that the petitioner is not involved in the crime", observed the bench of Justice Vivek Puri.

"Merely because the petitioner was found innocent during the investigation cannot be construed as a mitigating circumstance to extend concession of bail", further held the High Court.

9) Being Member Of Social Media Group Where Objectionable Content Posted Makes One Accomplice To Offence: P & H HC [Paramjeet Kaur v. State of Punjab]

Single bench of Justice Suvir Sehgal opined that the fact that one is a member of the social media group where an objectionable video was circulated makes him/her an accomplice to the offence.

10) 'The Legislature Didn't Intend To Debar A Juvenile From Seeking Relief Of Pre-Arrest Bail', Punjab & Haryana HC [X v. State of Haryana]

The bench of Justice HS Madaan held that a petition for grant of pre-arrest bail by a juvenile "cannot be held to be not maintainable."

"It could certainly not be the intention of the legislature that such juvenile should be first apprehended and then produce before Juvenile Justice Board, in the process denying relief to a juvenile, which is available to the other persons, who are accused of heinous offences," the Court added while rejecting the State counsel's argument that Sections 10 and 12 of the JJ Act deal with grant of regular bail and not with pre-arrest bail.

Rajasthan High Court

1) [EWS Quota] Rajasthan HC Sets Aside Single Judge Order Directing Fresh Counseling For Medical PG Admissions In the State [State of Rajasthan & Ors. v. Dr. Yogesh Kumar Saini & Ors.]

A bench comprised of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta quashed the order of a single-Judge, directing the state Government and NEET, PG Medical Counseling Board, to conduct fresh round of counseling for admissions to PG seats in the State by including additional 89 seats allotted for implementation of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) quota.

"There was no infirmity or illegality in the first round of counselling and also in the action of the State-appellants to provide/allot 55 seats to candidates belonging to the EWS," the Court held.

2) Relief To Sachin Pilot Camp: Rajasthan HC Orders Status Quo On Speaker's Notices; Defers Judgment Till SC Orders

In a relief to Sachin Pilot-led group of Congress rebel MLAs, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Prakash Gupta ordered status quo on the disqualification notices sent by the Speaker. The Court said that it was deferring the judgment on the petition filed by 19 rebel legislators, till the Supreme Court decides on the questions of law.

The status quo order essentially means that the Speaker will not be able to proceed further on the notices under Tenth Schedule of the Constitution to disqualify the dissident MLAs, even if they do not submit their replies to it.

Also Read: Rajasthan Speaker vs Sachin Pilot : SC Refuses To Stay Rajasthan HC Proceedings; HC Judgment To Be Subject To SC Orders

Also Read: 'Whether Para 2(1)(a) Of 10th Schedule Is Violative Of Basic Structure Of Constitution': Rajasthan HC Frames 13 Questions Of Law In Sachin Pilot Case

Telangana High Court

1) [Communal Hashtags] 'Mere Removal Of Content Not Sufficient': Telangana HC Asks Twitter To Enter Appearance; File Counter Affidavit [Khaja Aiiazuddin v. Govt. of India & Ors.]

The division bench comprised by Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy asked Twitter to respond to the notices to it on June 20202, asking it to show cause why it had not taken prompt action to remove "communal hashtags" from its website.

The bench clarified that removal of impugned content was not sufficient and the Company had to enter appearance and file its counter affidavit in the matter by August 20, 2020.

2) Telangana HC Directs Urgent Judicial Training Of Officers Discharging Adjudicatory/Quasi-Judicial Functions Under Revenue, Labour, Tax, Cooperatives, Agency, Land Transfer Laws

The bench of Justice K. Lakshman directed the Government to urgently take necessary concrete proactive steps for imparting training to the Officers of various departments, like the Cooperative Department, Revenue Department, Labour Department and Commercial Tax Department etc., who discharge quasi judicial functions to avoid procedural irregularities and for proper dispensation of justice while the disputes are resolved in a manner established by law.

The direction was made after the Court noted a number of lapses on the part of the Cooperative Tribunal in terms of maintainability of the dispute under the Act; exercise of discretion of review, principles of natural justice; adjudication of issues relating to jurisdiction; correction of date of order on the docket, even when the Member was not on the bench on the date, amounting to falsification of court records.

Tripura High Court

1) [Acid Attack] Wife's Repeated Refusal To Return With Her Husband Is A Mitigating Factor At The Time Of Sentencing: Tripura HC [Alamin Miah v. State of Tripura]

The bench comprised of Justice S. Talapatra and Justice SG Chattopadhyay reduced the sentence of a man, convicted for throwing acid on his wife, while holding that his frustration, caused due to the wife's refusal to return with him to their matrimonial house, was a mitigating factor.

"…After their separation, the appellant met his victim wife several times at her parental home to take her back to his home but she refused to go back to her matrimonial home…This circumstance indicates that the appellant desired to restore his matrimonial relationship with his wife but his reluctant wife was not willing to reunite with him which might have caused a sense of frustration in the appellant. We cannot overlook this mitigating circumstance while deciding about the proportionality of the sentence to be awarded to the appellant for the crime committed by him," the Court observed.

Uttarakhand High Court

1) Uttarakhand HC Upholds Constitutional Validity Of Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act [Dr. Subramanian Swamy v. State of Uttarakhand & Ors.]

The bench comprising of the Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice R.C. Khulbe dismissed a PIL filed by BJP leader Dr. Subramanian Swamy challenging the constitutional validity of Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act, 2019.

"The object of the 2019 Act is to provide for rejuvenation of the Char Dham and various other temples located in Uttarakhand, and to manage the Devasthanam Management Board. "Rejuvenation" is the act or process of making an organization or system more effective by introducing new methods, ideas, or people. The object of the 2019 Act is to make the management of the Char Dhams, and other temples covered by the said Act, more effective by constituting the Devasthanam Management Board under whose overall supervision various amenities are to be provided, and the secular activities of these temples regulated," the bench held.

Also Read: Hindus Professing 'Sanatana Dharma' Not A Religious Denomination As Such For The Purposes Of Article 26 : Uttarakhand HC

2) Uttarakhand HC Modifies Its Earlier Judgment Setting Maximum Noise Limit For Loudspeakers [Mahendra Singh v. State of Uttarakhand & Ors.]

The High Court modified a directive issued in its 2018 judgment setting maximum noise level for loudspeakers.

In the said judgment, the state was directed to to ensure that no loudspeaker or public address system shall be used by any person including religious bodies in Temples, Mosques and Gurudwaras without written permission of the authority even during day time, that too, by getting an undertaking that the noise level shall not exceed more than 5dB(A) peripheral noise level. The bench comprising the Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Lok Pal Singh has now modified the order to the extent that noise shall not exceed 5dB(a) "above the ambient noise standards specified for the area in which it is used at the boundaries of the private place."

3) Denial Of Child Care Leave To A Govt Contractual Employee In Effect A Denial Of Rights Of Child : Uttarakhand HC (FB) [Tanuja Tolia v. State of Uttarakhand & Ors.]

The Full Bench of the Uttarakhand High Court has held that even a person employed on contractual basis is entitled for Child Care Leave (CCL). Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan, Justice Alok Kr. Verma and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia has clarified that CCL is not a recognition of the rights of a woman but, "it is more a recognition of the rights of a child."

However, the bench has added a rider that such an employee can be granted paid CCL for 31 days, on the same terms and principles as "earned leave", as is given to other employees in terms of Government Order dated May 30, 2011 issued by the Uttarakhand Government, stipulating 'Child Care Leave for Women Government Servants in State Government Service.'

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