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High Courts Weekly Roundup

Akshita Saxena
18 Oct 2020 1:10 PM GMT
High Courts Weekly Roundup

Week Commencing From October 12, 2020 Till October 18, 2020 Allahabad High Court 1. Hathras Victim Was At Least Entitled To Decent Cremation; State Action Infringed Her Human Rights: Allahabad HC [Suo-Moto Inre: Right To Decent & Dignified Last Rites/Cremation] Dissatisfied with the reasons given by the UP administration for hasty cremation of the body of 19-year old Dalit...

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Week Commencing From October 12, 2020 Till October 18, 2020

Allahabad High Court

1. Hathras Victim Was At Least Entitled To Decent Cremation; State Action Infringed Her Human Rights: Allahabad HC [Suo-Moto Inre: Right To Decent & Dignified Last Rites/Cremation]

Dissatisfied with the reasons given by the UP administration for hasty cremation of the body of 19-year old Dalit woman in the Hathras gangrape and murder case, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court expressed its displeasure on the entire incident and deprecated the local authorities for violating the victim and her family's human and fundamental rights.

"India is a country which follows the religion of humanity, where each one of us are supposed to respect each other in life and in death. However, the above facts and circumstances, as of now, ex facie, reveal that the decision to cremate the victim in the night without handing over the body to the family members or their consent was taken jointly by the administration at the local level and was implemented on the orders of the District Magistrate, Hathras. This action of the State Authorities, though in the name of law and order situation, is prima facie an infringement upon the human rights of the victim and her family," the Bench of Justices Pankaj Mithal and Rajan Roy observed.

The Court directed the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) to come out with a draft policy by the next date of hearing, so that proper guidelines in that regard may be laid to avoid incidents of this kind in future.

Also Read: 'Aware Of 2013 Amendment?' : Allahabad HC Asks UP ADGP Who Denied Rape In Hathras Case

Also Read: 'Not Allowed To See Her Face For Last Time' : Hathras Victim's Family Break Down Before Allahabad HC

Also Read: Would You Have Burnt Body If Victim's Family Was Well-to-Do? Allahabad HC Asks Hathras DM

2. "How It Is Possible For Fair Price Shop Dealer To Change Aadhaar Number In The Database Which Is Accessible Only To NIC , Asks Allahabad HC [Awadhesh Kumar v. State of UP]

The Single Bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta enquired how it is possible for a fair price shop dealer to change the Aadhaar number in the data base which is accessible only to the National Informatics Centre (NIC). The Court asked the Principal Secretary, Food & Civil Supply Department, of the UP Government to file a personal affidavit and explain how a private individual could manipulate the data maintained by a Central authority.

3. Allahabad HC Says Disqualification Of Ex-MLA Azam Khan Not A Judgment Of Public Nature; Grants Bail In Criminal Case For Filing Fake Affidavit In Assembly Elections [Mohd. Abdullah Azam Khan v. State of UP]

held that its verdict disqualifying Mohd. Abdullah Azam Khan from the membership of the State Legislative Assembly for falsifying his age in the affidavit, is not a "judgment of public nature" conclusive for the purpose of consideration of bail application in the criminal case arising out of such falsification.

(Section 41 of the Evidence Act contemplates Judgments in-rem (regarding status of a person are effective against everybody while judgment), whereas Section 42 contemplated Judgments in-personem (binds only parties and not relevant in any case of subsequent proceedings))

4. Non-Function Of JJ Boards Against Mandate Of A. 15(3) & UNCRC: Allahabad HC Directs State Govt. To Fill Vacancies At least 6 Months Prior To Falling Due [Ishwari Prasad Tiwari v. State of UP & Ors.]

Reiterating that non-function of the Juvenile Justice Boards is clearly against the mandate of Article 15(3) and against the solemn promise made in the form of ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children treaty, the Bench of Justices Shashi Kant Gupta and Pankaj Bhatia observed that in the future, the State Government should ensure that the vacancies are expeditiously filled up and steps for filling the vacancies be taken at least six months prior to the date of the vacancy falling due.

5. Covid-19: Allahabad HC Asks DGP To Prepare A 'Definite Modus Operandi' To Ensure Social Distancing, 100% People Wear Masks [In-Re Inhuman Condition At Quarantine Centres…]

On being informed that despite constant directions people are not taking seriously the wearing of masks, the Bench comprising of Justices Siddhartha Varma and Ajit Kumar asked the Director General of Police to file a personal affidavit, indicating a "definite modus operandi" by which he proposes to ensure compliance.

6. Allahabad HC Orders Govt Not To Demolish Properties Till Expiry Of Period To File An Appeal/ Disposal Of Appeal [Abbas Ansari & Anr. v. State of UP & Ors.]

A Bench comprising of Justices Shashi Kant Gupta and Pankaj Bhatia directed the state authorities, not to undertake demolition activities until expiry of the period for filing an appeal against the demolition order, or in case where an appeal has been filed, until disposal of its interim application.

It also directed the Appellate authority empowered the U.P. (Regulation of Building Operations) Act, 1958 and the U.P. Urban Planning and Development Act, 1973, should endeavour to decide the interim applications filed along with the appeals, if any, expeditiously preferably within a period of two weeks from the date of filing of the interim application.

Andhra Pradesh High Court

1. [Andhra HC Vs Jagan Govt] HC Orders CBI Inquiry Into Cases Registered For Defamatory Remarks Against Judiciary By YSRCP Leaders

The Bench of Justice Rakesh Kumar and Justice J. Uma Devi ordered CBI Inquiry into cases registered for defamatory remarks against Judiciary by YSRCP leaders. The order came days after Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, wrote a complaint to the Chief Justice of India, S A Bobde, alleging that some High Court judges are attempting to protect the interests of the major opposition party, Telugu Desom Party, in politically sensitive matters.

Also Read: "Confidence Of People In Judiciary At Stake": Plea In SC Against Andhra Govt's Press Conference Accusing Justice NV Ramana And HC Judges

Also Read: "Misused Position For Making False, Political And Scandalising Remarks": Plea In SC To Remove Andhra CM For Allegations Against Justice Ramana

Bombay High Court

1. Parle Products' Packaging Copied By Future Group, Observes Bombay HC; Passes Injunction Against Violation [Parle Products Pvt. Ltd & Anr. v. Future Consumer Ltd. & Ors.]

Biscuit manufacturers Parle and Future Consumer Ltd are having a litigation in the Bombay High Court over a dispute related to the infringement of trademarks in packaging A bench of Justice KR Shriram observed that the Future Consumer Ltd has violated the trademarks of Parle products in packaging, and passed an ad-interim injunction against it.

The bench was hearing an interim application in a commercial suit filed by Parle. The court made the aforesaid observation after comparing defendant's products "CrackO", "Kracker King" and "Peek-a-Boo" with the plaintiff's products namely "MONACO", "KRACKJACK" and "HIDE & SEEK".

2. [Covid-19] Doctors Should Regard The Call For Service To Be Rendered As A Call For Joining 'National Duty': Bombay HC [Dr. Sanchit Mohan & Ors. v. State of Maharashtra & Ors.]

Refusing interim relief in a plea against alleged arbitrary placement of doctors at various Government hospitals for one-year mandatory public service, the Bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni observed,

"In these difficult times of the pandemic, people in the rural areas need adequate medical treatment and we are of the prima facie opinion that doctors like the petitioners and the others should regard the call for service to be rendered as a call for joining 'national duty', so as to reach out to the distressed and the needy."

3. Payal Ghosh Tenders Unconditional Apology To Richa Chadha For Defamatory Remarks; Bombay HC Records Settlement [Richa Chadda v. Payal Ghosh]

Bench of Justice AK Menon accepted the undertaking submitted by actor Payal Ghosh tendering unconditional apology to actor Richa Chadha in the former's defamation suit against Ghosh, Kamal R Khan and news channel ABN Telugu for dragging her name into Ghosh's allegations against filmmaker Anurag Kashyap.

As a result of the same, the suit against Ghosh - which had sought damages to the tune of Rupees 1.1 crore - has ended but it continues against the other two parties.

4. 'Self-Regulation Of Media Has Failed', Says Bombay HC In Plea Against 'Media Trial' In SSR Case

While hearing a batch of Public Interest Litigation(PIL) petitions seeking to regulate "media trial" in the case relating to the death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice G S Kulkarni expressed concerns at the lack of regulation on the electronic and urged the Central Government to think of appropriate measures to control the problem of "trial by media".

It wondered why there was no statutory regulatory body for the electronic media like the Press Council of India, which oversees the print media.

Calcutta High Court

1. 'It Is Obvious That Schools Have Incurred Less Expenditure Over A Prolonged Period Of Time': Calcutta HC Orders Min 20% Reduction In Private School Fees [Vineet Ruia v. Department of School Education & Ors.]

The Bench comprising of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya slashed the fees charged by private schools in the State by 20%. It further said that collection of non-essential charges for use of facilities, such as laboratory, extracurricular activities, etc., shall not be permissible during the months that the schools have not functioned in the physical mode.

It has also directed, "There will no increase in fees during financial year 2020-21…Session fees traditionally charged periodically will be permissible, but again, subject to a maximum of 80 per cent of the quantum charged for the corresponding period in the financial year 2019-20."

2. 'Dignity Of Woman Must Be Protected; Utterance Was Defamatory', Calcutta HC Quashes FIR By Mahua Moitra Against Babul Supriyo; Says Mahua Free To Take Action For Defamation [Babul Supriyo v. State of West Bengal & Anr.]

The Bench of Justice Bibek Chaudhuri quashed the Criminal Proceedings launched against the Union Minister Babul Supriyo, based on a charge sheet filed by the State Police in an FIR lodged by Mahua Moitra (Presently Member of Parliament) alleging that objectionable remark was made against her by Babul Supriyo during a TV Debate.

However, the Court opined that such deliberate utterance made by the petitioner was defamatory statement within the meaning of Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code and that Mahua Moitra was at liberty to take any action, according to law, before the appropriate forum.

Also Read: 'Prima Facie Humiliated Dignity & Honour Of A Woman': Calcutta HC On Babul Supriyo's Remarks Against Mahua Moitra

3. Application U/s 9 Of Arbitration & Conciliation Act Can Be Filed Where A Part Of The Cause Of Action Has Arisen: Calcutta HC [Srei Equipment Finance Ltd v. Seirra Infraventure Pvt Ltd]

A Single Bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya observed that an application under section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act can be filed where a part of the cause of action has arisen.

The Court observed that an application under section 9 for interim relief urged in the background of an arbitration agreement between the parties is time-sensitive where the court has to decide on a prima facie assessment of the materials available before it.

4. Calcutta HC Upholds Govt. Durga Puja Grant: Puja Committees In State Directed To Utilise It For Buying COVID Protection Gear [Sourav Dutta v. State of West Bengal & Ors.]

The Bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee refused to invalidate the State Government's notification which provided for disbursements of Rs. 50,000 each for Committees/Organisers of Durga Puja festivities across the State.

"Since Durga Puja may be the biggest festival in the State, irrespective of such festival being connected with a religious occasion, the festivities can be the springboard for promoting socially relevant programmes and there may not be any religious flavour to such secular programmes being pursued," the Court held.

Chhattisgarh High Court

1. No FIR Can Be Registered For Offence Under Section 188 Of IPC : Chhattisgarh HC [Dr. Apurva Ghiya v. State of Chhattisgarh & Ors.]

A single bench of Justice Sanjay K Agrawal held that the police cannot register an FIR for the offence under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. Holding thus, the Court quashed an FIR registered against a doctor who was alleged to have violated the directions issued by the Collector in the wake of COVID-19.

Section 188 IPC deals with the offence relating to disobedience of an order promulgated by a public servant. The Court noted that as per Section 195(1)(a)(i) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a court can take cognizance of any offence punishable under Sections 172 to 188(both inclusive) of the IPC only on the complaint in writing of the public servant concerned.

Delhi High Court

1. 'Petitioners Are Like Any Other Couple You Might Meet, Except They Belong To Same Sex': Delhi HC Issues Notice In Plea Seeking Marriage Equality For Same-Sex Couples

Division Bench of Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Justice Asha Menon issued notice in a couple of writ petitions seeking marriage equality for same-sex couples in India.

Also Read: Marriage Equality For Same-Sex Couples: The Delhi HC Says This Is Not an Adversarial Petition

2. Delhi HC Issues Notice In Anil Ambani's Plea Seeking Impleadment of Chinese Banks In His Case Against SBI

The Division Bank of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajneesh Bhatnagar issued notice in an application moved by Anil Ambani seeking the impleadment of Chinese banks in his pending petition challenging the appointment of a Resolution Professional for personal guarantee given by him for loans taken by Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) and Reliance Infratel Ltd (RITL) from the State Bank of India.

3. To Address The Issue of Data Privacy of Students Taking Online Exams, Delhi HC Directs DU To Produce Its Data Retention Policy [Anupam & Ors. v. DU]

In order to address the legal issue concerning the data privacy of students who appeared for the online Open Book Exams (OBE), the Single Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh directed the Delhi University to produce its policy on the retention of answer scripts both in physical and electronic forms.

4. Picture Of Deceased Wife Being Circulated Depicting Her As Victim Of Hathras Case: Delhi HC Directs Centre To Act On Complaint By Husband Expeditiously [X v. MeitY]

In a case, wherein the photograph of a deceased lady is being circulated on various social media platforms wrongly depicting her as the victim of the unfortunate Hath Rape & Murder case, the Bench of Justice Navin Chawla directed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technologies & Ors. (MeitY) to act on the complaint expeditiously.

5. Delhi HC Refuses To Stay FIRs Registered Under Triple Talaq Law, Says Prima Facie, Criminalisation Acts As A Deterrent Against Triple Talaq [Nadeem Khan v. Union of India & Ors.]

The Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rajneesh Bhatnagar noted that as per its prima facie view, merely because triple talaq has been declared to be void and illegal, it does not mean that the legislature could not have made the continuation of such practice, an offence.

The Court further observed that the object of Section 4 of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, is to discourage the age old and traditional practice of pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife by resort to talaq-e-biddat i.e. triple talaq.

6. Full Bench Order On Extension of Parole In Light of COVID19 Applies To Both Parole Granted By Jail And By The Court: Delhi HC [Pradeep v. State of Delhi]

The Single Bench of Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani clarified that no distinction can be created between prisoners who were released on parole by the jail authorities and those who were granted parole by the court, for availing the benefits of the extension order passed by the Full Bench of the court.

It noted that if such a distinction is created then the entire exercise of decongesting prisons, undertaken in compliance with the Supreme Court's directions, would be rendered futile.

7. [Delhi Riots] Delhi HC Directs 'Zee News' To Disclose Source From Where The Alleged Confessional Statement Of An Accused Was Received [Asif Iqbal Tanha v. State of NCT of Delhi & Ors.]

The Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru directed 'Zee News' Channel to file an affidavit clearly disclosing the source from where the alleged confessional statement of the petitioner (Asif Iqbal Tanha) was received, after the DCP Special Cell, New Delhi, informed the Court that none of the police personnel involved in the investigation leaked out any details of the investigation.

Gujarat High Court

1. [Online Rummy] Gujarat HC Directs State Govt To Treat PIL For Regulation Of Online Gambling As A Representation [Amit M Nair v. State of Gujarat]

The Bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala observed that the present legal framework in reference to gambling should be regulated to include virtual/ online/ Cyber space gambling. Thus, it directed the State Government to consider a PIL, seeking regulation of online gambling, as a representation, and do the needful in the "larger public interest".

Jammu and Kashmir High Court

1. 'Loot To Own Policy': J&K HC Orders CBI Inquiry Against High Ranking Govt & Police Officials For Alleged Encroachment Of Public Land [Prof. SK Bhalla v. State of J&K & Ors.]

Shocked by the "loot to own policy" implemented by the high-ranking Government and police officials in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir to grab public land, the Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal ordered a CBI inquiry.

The Court also directed the UT administration to upload the details of the land which are in illegal and unauthorized occupation, along with identities of all influential persons (including ministers, legislators, bureaucrats, government officials, police officers, businessmen etc.) holding benami.

2. The Manner In Which Presiding Officer Of Tribunal Is Passing Orders Doesn't Inspire Confidence: J&K HC Calls For Copies Of All the Orders Passed By Him [Inhabitants of Gogji Bagh, Srinagar v. UT of J&K & Ors.]

In an extraordinary order, the Bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar and Justice Rajesh Bindal sought copies of all the orders passed by the Jammu and Kashmir Special Tribunal (JKST) to the Registrar Vigilance of the Court, from the date he joined as Presiding Officer of the Tribunal.

The Court was compelled to observe, "The manner in which the Presiding Officer-Abdul Majid Bhat of the Tribunal is passing orders does not inspire confidence. Many orders passed by the same Officer were challenged before Jammu bench of this Court as well. Compounding has been allowed of major violations ignoring the provisions of Rules and Regulations."

Jharkhand High Court

1. No Room For Any Laches Or Laxity While Investigating Heinous Crime Against Women & Children: Jharkhand HC Reprimands Police For Shoddy Investigation [Chandrika Yadav v. State of Jharkhand & Ors.]

Bench of Justice Ananda Sen reprimanded the state police for its shoddy investigation in a case where a lady along with her three minor children died because of extensive burn injuries and the allegation is against in-laws, of burning her along with her minor children.

"The police, who are investigating a heinous offence, like the one, which is in hand, has to act professionally with utmost sense of responsibility while investigating the offence. There is no room for any laches or laxity while investigating a heinous crime against women and children, nor any laches can be tolerated. The margin of error is zero," the Court said.

Karnataka High Court

1. Karnataka HC Refuses To Quash Corruption Case Against Former CM H D Kumarswamy [HD Kumarswamy v. State of Karnataka]

The Bench of Justice John Michael Cunha refused to quash a criminal case registered against former Chief Minister, H D Kumarswamy, alleging that he denotified two different plots of land acquired by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), during his tenure as Chief Minister between June 2006 and October 2007, for pecuniary gains.

The Court said "There is sufficient material to proceed against the petitioner for the alleged offences. In the absence of any material to show that the action initiated against the petitioner is an abuse of process of court and has resulted in failure of justice, there is no ground to quash the impugned proceedings as sought for in the petition."

2. Shortage Of Attendance Is A Serious Matter: Karnataka HC Dismisses Plea By NLSIU Student [Madhav Miturka v. VC, NLSIU]

Bench of Justice Krishna Dixit dismissed a petition filed by a student of National Law School of India University seeking evaluation of his project work and promotion to third year of the B.A. LLB (Hons) Course, despite low attendance. It observed,

"The attendance of the petitioner in this 'Premier Law School' is too short to be little; this indisputable statistical data militate against his claim for the grant of equitable relief in writ jurisdiction."

3. Allegations In Matrimonial Case Can Lead To Criminal Defamation: Karnataka HC [Sushma Rani v. H.N. Nagaraja Rao]

The Bench of Justice Dr. HB Prabhakara Sastry convicted a woman under section 500 of Indian Penal Code on the finding that the statements made by her against her husband before the Family Court in a matrimonial case amounted to 'criminal defamation'.

The Court held that pleadings filed in court and depositions made in the case amount to 'publication' within the meaning of Section 499, and such statements, if defamatory, can lead to conviction.

4. No Bar On Step Parent To Become Adoptive Parent Of Child: Karnataka HC [Balakrishna Gottipati & Anr. v. Nil]

Observing that "by the process of adoption, the child is transplanted into the family of his natural father and step-mother thereby creating a permanent parent-child relationship," the bench of Justice John Michael Cunha declared a stepmother as the legally adoptive mother of the minor child and the couple as parents of a minor child for all legal purposes.

5. Renewal Of Passport Cannot Be Refused Because Of Criminal Case Pending Against Applicant: Karnataka HC [Krishna Chiranjeevi Rao Palukuri Venkata v. Union Of India]

A bench of Justice Hemant Chandanagoudar said that section 6(2)(f) of the Passport Act, by which Passport Authority can refuse issuing a fresh passport to a person against whom criminal case is pending in India, will not apply in cases where the applicant is seeking renewal of his passport.

6. [Transgender Rules 2020] Karnataka HC Directs Educational Institution To Change The Name Of A Transgender, And Her Gender As Female [Christina Lobo v. State of Karnataka & Ors.]

The Bench of Justice John Michael Cunha observed that under the recently notified 'The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020' (Rule 3), the transgender persons who have officially recorded their change in gender, whether as male, female or transgender, prior to the coming into the force of the Act are not required to submit an application for a certificate of identity under these rules.

In view thereof it directed the State Of Karnataka (Department Of Pre-University Education), The Karnataka Secondary Education, CBSE, Rajiv Gandhi University Of Health Sciences (Bengaluru) and Father Muller Medical College (Mangalore) to change the name and gender of the petitioner (a Transgender) in their respective educational records as her chosen name and her gender as "female" and issue revised marks card.

Kerala High Court

1. Strict Action Against Investigating Officers/ Media If Confessions Are Leaked/Discussed During Investigation: Kerala HC [Jollyamma Joseph v. State of Kerala]

"Stringent actions will be taken by this court," warned the Bench of Justice PV Kunhikrishnan against the general trend of divulging the materials collected during pendency of any investigation, to the public/ media.

Deprecating such practice, the Bench reaffirmed, "An investigating officer cannot divulge any materials collected during the investigation to the public or media."

2. Wife Obtaining Husband's Consent For Marriage Without Revealing Her Cardiac Ailments Is Nothing Short Of Fraud: Kerala HC [Ajitha & Ors. v. Harshan]

In a matrimonial dispute, wherein the wife, without revealing her cardiac ailments, had obtained the consent of the husband for marriage, the Bench of Justice A. M. Shaffique and Justice Mary Joseph held that this was the case of suppression of material factum and was undoubtedly a foul play and nothing short of fraud.

3. Slapping Complainant By Police Isn't Due Discharge Of His Official Duty; Not Entitled To Protection Under S. 197 CrPC: Kerala HC [CR Raju v. State of Kerala & Anr.]

The Bench of Justice N. Anil Kumar observed that in order to get the protection under Section 197 of Cr.P.C., the act constituting the offence should be so connected with the official duty or should be an act which is inseparable from such duty.

In this context, the Court opined, "The conduct of summoning the complainant to the police station and torturing him at the police station had no relation to the discharge of the official duties of the police. While the case of the complainant is an assault on him by the accused at the police station, sanction for prosecution was wholly unnecessary. The act complained of was not an act connected with the discharge of official duty."

Madhya Pradesh High Court

1. 'Purely Policy Matter', MP HC Rules That Export Ban On N95 Masks/PPE Kits Doesn't Amount To Violation Of Fundamental Right Of Trade/Business [Akshay N. Patel v. RBI & Anr.]

The Bench of Justice S. C. Sharma and Justice Shailendra Shukla ruled that ban of export in respect of KN95 Masks, Personal Protective Equipment Kits and other products does not amount to violation of fundamental right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.

It further ruled that the same is purely a policy matter and the Government of India does have the power to frame Trade Policy in exercise of powers conferred under the Foreign Trade (Development & Regulation) Act, 1992.

2. Can't Issue Blanket Order To Restrict Circulation Of News On Whatsapp, Facebook Etc. On Wild Allegations: MP HC [Madhav Singh Yadav v. State of MP & Ors.]

The Bench of Justice S. C. Sharma and Justice Shailendra Shukla refused to put a blanket order to restrict the circulation of news on WhatsApp, Facebook etc. while holding that such a direction cannot be passed based on "wide allegations" levelled by the petitioner and grievances if any, should be raised as per statue.

Madras High Court

1. Madras HC Initiates Contempt Proceedings Against Advocate For Falsely Accusing Its Registrar Of Being Ineligible To Hold Office; Imposes Cost Of Rs. 5L [B. Sathishkumar v. Secretary to Government & Ors.]

Noting that the Advocate in this case had "transcended all barriers of ethical behaviour by filing a false affidavit" that too against an important functionary of the High Court (Registrar (Vigilance)), the Bench of Chief Justice AP Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy suspended his license to practice, until further orders.

The Court also imposed an exemplary cost of Rs. 5,00,000 on the Petitioner for committing perjury and directed the Registrar General to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against him.

2. Credit Rating Agencies Not Discharging 'Public Functions'; Writ Not Maintainable Against It : Madras HC [Mahasemam Trust v. Union of India & Anr.]

The Bench of Justice G. R. Swaminathan held that a Credit Rating Agency cannot be characterized as "State" within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India and cannot be considered as discharging any public function.

Significantly, the Court observed, "Rating is an exercise that is carried out by financial analysts and professionals. Writ Court should not assume jurisdiction in matters which are better handled by experts."

3. Advocates Permitted To Participate In Proceedings Before Banking Ombudsman Under 2006 RBI Scheme?: Madras HC To Consider

The bench of Chief Justice A. P. Shah and Justice Senthil Kumar Ramamoorthy agreed to consider the issue of permissibility of participation of advocates in proceedings before Ombudsman under the Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006 promulgated by Reserve Bank of India.

The bench had called upon counsel for the respondents to come forward explaining the nature of the functions of the Ombudsman and the powers exercised by him in order to ascertain as to whether the nature of the proceedings do require any such legal assistance and can be barred or not.

4. 'Transition Of Unitilized Input Tax Credit Only For Taxes And Duties Subsumed By GST' : Madras HC Disallows Credit For 3 Cesses [Assistant Commissioner of CGST and Central Excise & Ors. v. Sutherland Global Services & Ors.]

In an important judgment that can have pan-India implications, the bench comprising Justices Dr.Vineet Kothari and Justice Krishnan Ramaswamy held that the cesses that have not been subsumed by the Goods and Service Tax laws cannot be carried forward to claim set off against output tax credit.

"Only the seven specified duties as "Eligible Duties" in respect of inputs held in stock and inputs contained in semi finished or finished goods held in stock on the appointed date i.e. 01.07.2017 will be eligible to be carried forward and adjusted against GST Output Tax Liability with reference to Explanation 1. Apparently, Education Cess and Secondary and Higher Education Cess or Krishi Kalyan Cess are absent from the seven categories in Explanation 1. Therefore, on a plain meaning, such three Cesses in question cannot be inserted in Explanation 1 to cover them for being carried forward with reference to Explanation 1 which applies for specified four Sub-sections of Section 140 of the Act," it held.

Patna High Court

1. Foreign National Doesn't Automatically Become Indian Citizen On Marriage; Voter ID, Aadhaar, PAN Etc. Not Proof Of Citizenship: Patna HC [Kiran Gupta v. State Election Commission]

The bench comprising the Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S. Kumar held that a foreign national does not automatically become an Indian citizen on marriage with a citizen. It further observed that mere possession of a Pan Card; a Voter ID Card; or an Aadhar Card cannot be said to be proof of Indian Citizenship. The court also added that relinquishment of Citizenship of Nepal does not confer any right of Indian Citizenship.

2. [Tablighi Jamaat] Patna HC Consolidates Cases From All Over Bihar; Transfers To Patna District [Emdadul Hoque v. State of Bihar]

The Bench of Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad directed the transfer of all the Tablighi Jamaat related cases pending in different district courts in the State of Bihar to one particular trial court at Patna. It , however, left it to the discretion of the Chief Justice, Patna HC to allot the cases to a particular Trial Court at Patna.

Punjab & Haryana High Court

1. 'District Judge Has Shown Undue Favour To Plaintiffs' : Punjab & Haryana HC Seeks Explanation From Judge; Transfers Case [SBI v. Neeraj Saluja & Ors.]

In an extraordinary order, the bench of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan sought an explanation from a District Judge, after noting that the judge has shown "undue favors" to plaintiffs in a suit.

The High Court made this observation in a petition filed by the State Bank of India challenging an order of interim injunction passed by District Judge, Nawanshahar (Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar), restraining the bank from taking coercive steps against the company with respect to default of around Rs 1100 crores. After the District Court passed the injunction order, the plaintiff did not appear before the trial court in the suit, resulting in the suit getting dismissed for non-prosecution.

2. P&H HC Repels Challenge Against Pre-Deposit Condition For Appeal Under Section 43(5) Of RERA [Experion Developers Pvt. Ltd v. State of Haryana & Ors.]

A division bench of Justice Dr. S Muralidhar and Justice Avneesh Jhingan repelled the challenge against the constitutionality of the condition for pre-deposit prescribed under Section 43(5) of the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act, 2016 for filing of an appeal by a promoter before the Appellate Authority against any direction of the adjudicating officer.

It applied the settled principle that the right to appeal was not a vested right and was a creature of the statute and that conditions can be imposed for filing appeal. It also rejected the argument that imposing the condition only on "promoters" was discriminatory.

3. Homebuyer Can Pursue Remedies Under RERA & Consumer Protection Act Simultaneously: P&H HC [Experion Developers Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Haryana & Ors.]

A division bench of Justices Dr S Mularidhar and Avneesh Jhangan observed that a homebuyer can pursue the remedies under the Real Estate(Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 and the Consumer Protection Act simultaneously. It held that it is not mandatory that a person, whose complaint is pending before the Consumer Forum, should have it transferred to the Adjudicating Officer under the RERA.

The Court noted that the proviso to Section 71(1) is an enabling proviso, which enables a person whose complaint is pending in the consumer fora under the CPA to opt to withdraw such complaints to go before the AO. This has to be read along with Section 88 of the RERA, which states that the provisions of the Act are "in addition to, and not in derogation of, the provisions of any other law for the time being in force."

Tripura High Court

1. [COVID-19] Duty Of Press Is To Play Positive Role In Bringing Awareness Amongst People About Their Social Responsibilities: Tripura HC [Court on own motion]

In the context of Coronavirus, the Bench of Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice S. Talapatra observed that it expects the press to play a positive role and be a catalyst to spread the message of taking all necessary precautions, follow the Government guidelines in general and for holding Durga Puja ceremonies at public places in particular.

The Bench further observed, "The press has undoubtedly a very important and at times onerous duty to publish news which may also be sometimes critical of the administration. The press also has a public duty to carry a correct message and play a positive role in bringing awareness amongst the people about their social responsibilities."

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