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High Courts Weekly Roundup [Nov 2 – Nov 8]

Akshita Saxena
8 Nov 2020 4:01 PM GMT
High Courts Weekly Roundup [Nov 2 – Nov 8]

Allahabad High Court 1. Hathras case: Allahabad High Court Expresses Concern Over No Action Against District Magistrate Pravin Kumar [Suo-Moto In re: Right To Decent & Dignified Last Rites/Cremation] A bench of Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajan Roy reserved its order in the Hathras case, while expressing concern over the Uttar Pradesh government not taking any action...

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Allahabad High Court

1. Hathras case: Allahabad High Court Expresses Concern Over No Action Against District Magistrate Pravin Kumar [Suo-Moto In re: Right To Decent & Dignified Last Rites/Cremation]

A bench of Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajan Roy reserved its order in the Hathras case, while expressing concern over the Uttar Pradesh government not taking any action against District Magistrate Pravin Kumar for fairness of the probe. The state government, however, assured the court of a decision in this regard by November 25, the next date of hearing in the case. The bench also directed the CBI, which is probing the case, to lay before it the status of investigation in the matter on the next date of hearing.

Also Read: [Hathras] Allahabad HC Calls For Status Report From CBI, Asks State About Possibility Of Transferring DM Elsewhere

2. Allahabad High Court Extends Protection To Same Sex Couple, Acknowledges The Stark Reality of Discrimination Faced By The Community In The Society [Sultana Mirza & Anr. v. State of UP & Ors.]

The High Court granted protection from harassment to a homosexual couple from Uttar Pradesh, while citing the Supreme Court's landmark verdict in Navtej Singh Johar & Ors. v. Union of India, (2018) 10 SCC 1.

"The petition highlights the stark reality of the society where the citizens are facing discrimination at the hands of the society only on account of their sexual orientation despite it being well settled that sexual orientation is innate to human being," the Bench of Justices Shashi Kant Gupta and Pankaj Bhatia said.

3. Post Made Against Amit Shah Prior To Joining Service: Allahabad HC Deprecates Post's Reference In Inquiry Order & Annuls Officer's Transfer [Manoj Kumar Verma v. State of UP & Anr.]

The Bench of Justice Sangeeta Chandra quashed an order of transfer of a Government Officer against whom an inquiry was instituted in which there was a reference of the Facebook page post (related to Mr. Amit Shah, the then Adhyaksh, Bhartiya Janta Party) which the officer made on 15.07.2015 much before the joining as Designated Officer on 15.09.2015.

4. Unfortunate That Clients Suffer When Bar Members Abstain From Judicial Work Creating Backlog Of Cases: Allahabad High Court [Ameerun Nisa v. Commissioner, Devi Patan Mandal]

"It is unfortunate that clients are suffering for cases which can easily be disposed of but for the reasons that the Members of Bar have been abstaining from judicial work creating a backlog of cases", the Bench of Justice Jaspreet Singh said while hearing the plea of an 80-year-old lady, whose case under Section 210 of the U.P. Revenue Code was pending for over a year. It directed the concerned Court to finally decide the matter within a period of four months.

5. Allahabad High Court Seeks UP Govt's Response On State Law Commission's Report For Repealing Anti-Beggary Law [Ashma Izzat v. State of UP & Ors.]

While hearing a petition challenging the Constitutional validity of certain provisions of the UP Prohibition of Beggary Act, 1975, the Bench comprising of Justices Pankaj Mithal and Saurabh Lavania asked the State counsel to seek instructions with respect to the recommendation by the VII State Law Commission for repealing the said Act.

In November 2017, the Seventh State Law Commission of UP, headed by Justice AN Mittal, had submitted a report, proposing to repeal 1166 "dead enactments" in the State of UP. The Commission had also submitted a Draft Bill titled UP Repealing & Amending Bill, 2018, in this regard.

6. Allahabad High Court Pulls Up A Judicial Magistrate For Advising The Party 'To Do Or What Not To Do' [Mukesh v. State of UP & Anr.]

The Bench of Justice Rahul Chaturvedi pulled up a Judicial Magistrate for passing a "strange order" whereby he "advised the client (of the Counsel present before the Court) to do or what not to do". It remarked, "This Court records its strongest exception and impertinence to such type of orders shown by the learned Magistrate and accepts that he would not pass such type of orders in future."

7. Contravention Of Obligations Cast Upon Promoters Under RERA Act: Authority Fully Empowered To Award Interest U/S 38(1), Holds Allahabad HC [Paramount Prop Build Pvt. Ltd. v. State of UP & Ors.]

A Division Bench of Justices Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Dr. Yogendra Kumar Srivastava held that in case of contravention of any obligation cast upon the promoters under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, the Authority while exercising jurisdiction under Section 38(1), is fully empowered to award interest on the amount paid by allottees.

The Court on the other hand observed that a combined reading of Section 18 and 38 of the RERA Act empower the authority to impose interest in case of contravention.

Other orders by Allahabad HC:

Bombay High Court

1. [Arnab Goswami Case] 'It Will Send A Wrong Signal That Though Sec 439 Is There, HC Can Be Approached', Bombay HC On Habeas Against Remand

After a marathon hearing session which lasted over six hours, a division bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik reserved orders on the applications filed by Arnab Goswami, Editor-in-Chief of the Republic TV, and other accused seeking interim release from custody in the 2018 abetment to suicide case. Despite fervent pleas made by Senior Advocate Harish Salve for ad-interim bail to Goswami, who has been under judicial custody since November 4, the Court refused to pass an immediate order for interim relief.

During the course of hearing, the bench oral remarks questioning the maintainability of the writ. It repeatedly asked the lawyers of Goswami and the other accused why the remedy of regular bail was not availed. "The Criminal Procedure Code provides Section 439 for regular bail. First, the sessions court, then the High Court…There are remedies under CrPC under Sections 438/439. We are not understanding why the petitioners are not availing such remedies and seek interim bail in a writ petition", Justice Shinde, the presiding judge orally said.

Read related reports:

2. [Personal Details Of 4474 RTI Applicant On MIB Site] If Such Large Scale Breaches Are Not Taken Seriously, RTI Itself Will be Trivialized; Bombay HC In Saket Gokhale Case [Saket S. Gokhale v. Union of India]

Division bench of Justice Nitin Jamdar and Justice Milind Jadhav instituted an inquiry by the Secretary of Information and Broadcasting Ministry on the issue of personal details of 4474 RTI applicants being uploaded on the official website of the ministry leading to a massive breach. Court observed that if such large scale breaches in the field of Right To Information are not taken seriously, then the right itself will be trivialized.

"Looking at the magnitude of the lapse, it cannot be treated as just a routine internal matter. We therefore intend to place the responsibility of ensuring that necessary enquiry is conducted and that too in a time bound manner upon the highest official in the Ministry, the Secretary. Needless to state that if the enquiry will result in punitive action against the guilty government servants it would follow the applicable Rules and Regulations," the order states.

3. POCSO Convict Not Entitled To Emergency Covid-19 Parole: Full Bench Of Bombay High Court [Pintu v. State of Maharashtra]

A full bench of Justice KK Tated, Justice GS Kulkarni and Justice NR Borkar held that a prisoner convicted under the POCSO Act is not entitled to benefit of emergency (Covid-19) parole as per government notification dated May 8.

"Though specifically TADA is not mentioned in the notification, the Special Acts are mentioned in minutes of a meeting of the High Power Committee, dated 10th May, 2020. In the amendment to the Rule 4 of the Rules, in clause No.12, it is mentioned that prisoners, who are considered dangerous or have been involved in serious prison violence and who are convicted under Special Acts like Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS), rape, etc. are not entitled to get the beneft of Rule 4, which needs to be read with Rule 19 and it can be said that in Rule 4, initially there was no category like pandemic situation created by COVID-19 virus. Only due to Government Notification dated 8 th May, 2020, the prisoners can be considered for giving them emergency parole and such parole is subject to the condition mentioned in the notification itself. In view of this circumstance and aforesaid provisions, it cannot be said that vested right is given to the prisoners to get parole and some definite exceptions are created by the State. The words used in proviso are " like and etc.", the order states.

Other orders by Bombay HC:

Calcutta High Court

1. Calcutta High Court Bans Sale & Bursting Of Firecrackers During Diwali, Kali Puja, Chhat Puja In The Entire State [Anasua Bhattacharya v. State of West Bengal & Ors.]

The Bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee banned the use and sale of firecrackers on Kali Puja in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. It ordered, "The State should ensure that there is no use or display or bursting of firecrackers at all during the Kali Puja and Diwali celebrations."

Further, the Court ordered, "For this purpose, only wax or oil-based diyas would have to suffice, for the greater good of the citizens and in the larger public interest. This direction as to firecrackers will be effective all over the State and will cover not only the Kali Puja and Diwali celebrations, but also the Chhat Puja, Jagadhatri Puja and Guru Nanak's birthday celebrations thereafter."

Chhattisgarh High Court

1. [Contempt Of Court] Chhattisgarh HC Dismisses PIL For Direction To Consider Amendment To Chhattisgarh High Court Rules, 2007 [Santosh Kumar Pandey v. Union of India & Ors.]

A single judge bench of Justice P. Sam Koshy dismissed a writ petition by Advocate Santosh Pandey seeking a direction to the Centre, Law Department of the state of Chhattisgarh, and the registrar of the Chhattisgarh HC to consider a representation by the petitioner calling for an amendment of the HC Rules, 2007 by incorporating guidelines under the contempt jurisdiction.

Dismissing the plea, the Court noted that, the HC Rules, 2007 being Rules framed invoking Articles 225 and 227 of the Constitution, the nature of the relief sought was not one which would be brought by way of a mere amendment to the Rules themselves.

Delhi High Court

1. Police Officials Interested In Result Of Case Projected By Them: Delhi High Court Recommends Corroboration Of Their Testimonies With Public Witness [Mustakeem v. GNCTD]

A Bench comprising of Justices Rajnish Bhatnagar and Vipin Sanghi said that Police officials are "interested" in the conclusion of criminal case, so projected by them, and therefore, there testimonies should be corroborated by some independent evidence.

"We are aware that there is no rule of law or evidence, which lays down that unless and until the testimony of the police official is corroborated by some independent evidence, the same cannot be believed. But it is a Rule of Prudence, that a more careful scrutiny of the evidence of the police officials is required, since they can be said to be interested in the result of the case projected by them," the Court said.

2. Delhi Riots: Personal Liberty Of Little Value If Larger Interests Are At Stake Bail, Says Delhi HC In Cancelling The Bail Granted To Faisal Farooq [State v. Faisal Farooq]

A Single judge bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait set aside the bail granted to Faisal Farooq, accused in the Delhi riots case holding that the lower court had allowed his bail plea at a premature stage ignoring relevant material. It was observed that, "...keeping in view the fact that respondent/accused is wealthy and he has reputation and roots in the society, therefore, since investigation in the present FIR is pending and the prosecution is likely to file supplementary chargesheet, therefore, the respondent/ accused may influence the witnesses and hamper the investigation and trial."

3. Delhi High Court Holds "To Have A Name And Express The Same" Is Protected Under Articles 19 & 21, Allows DU Student's Plea [Rayaan Chawla v. DU & Anr.]

In a landmark judgment, the single judge bench of Justice Jayant Nath while hearing a DU student's plea, held that "to have a name and express the same" is protected under Articles 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution and allowed the student petitioner before it to change his name, stating that "normally a person would have a right to have his name changed subject to fulfilment of appropriate formalities/procedures to ensure that there is no misuse or confusion created on account of the change in name."

Other orders by Delhi HC:

Gujarat High Court

1. Gujarat High Court Allows Persons Having Full Time/Part Time Jobs Having Law Degree To Get Enrolled, Enrolment Certificate Shall Be Withheld [Twinkle Rahul Mangaonkar v. Union Of India]

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice JB Pardiwala watered down Rules 1 and 2 of the Bar Council of Gujarat (Enrollment) Rules paving way for other professionals having LLB degree to get enrolled with the Bar. The order has in effect, cleared the path for professionals/Employed persons to be admitted as an Advocate and to have eligibility to appear in the All India Bar's test to qualify to become a lawyer.

The Bench ordered, "We read down Rules 1 and 2 respectively of the Bar Council of Gujarat (Enrollment) Rules so as to read that a person may be either in full or part-time service or employment or is engaged in any trade, business or profession, who otherwise is qualified to be admitted as an Advocate shall be admitted as an Advocate, however, the enrollment certificate of such a person shall be withheld with the Bar Council and shall lie in deposit with the Council until the concerned person makes a declaration that the circumstances mentioned in Rule 2 have ceased to exist and that he or she has started his/her practice."

2. Gujarat High Court Issues Notice To IIM-A In Plea Against Grant Of Unrecognized MMS(eLM) Degree Instead Of MBA Degree [AS Goyal v. IIM-A]

A Single Bench comprising of Justice GR Udhwani issued notice on a petition seeking grant of MBA degree to the students pursuing two years long duration Post Graduate Programme in Management (ePGP) from IIM Ahmedabad.

Notices were issued in a petition filed by 53 students of IIM-Ahmedabad, alleging that the institution had represented to them in writing that ePGP course is equivalent to an MBA degree. However now, they are being awarded "Master of Management Studies (eLearning Mode)" (MMS(eLM)).

Himachal Pradesh High Court

1. Man Accused Of Committing Unnatural Act With Cow Gets Bail: Himachal Pradesh High Court Says 'No Criminal History Depicting Pervert Mind' [Jai Ram v. State of Himachal Pradesh]

A Single Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara granted bail to an accused who has been booked for allegedly committing an unnatural act with a cow. The Court observed that the accused is a married man, with his wife residing with him and that there was no allegation of any criminal history including sexual offence depicting pervert mind.

Also Read: Functioning Of Himachal Pradesh Govt Sordid, Despotic And Nepotic: High Court

Jammu & Kashmir High Court

1. 'Need To Get Up From Slumber Now': Jammu & Kashmir High Court Pulls Up Govt For Failure To Promote Tourism [M/s Hotel Jammu Premier Pvt. Ltd v. State of J&K & Ors.]

The Bench of Justice Rajesh Bindal Monday pulled up the Tourism Department of the Union Territory for its failure to attract tourists due to non-application of its mind. It rapped the authorities for "keep everything close to its chest" and not disclosing information about the tourism and adventure sports facilities available in Jammu & Kashmir.

The Court emphasized that the Union Territory now has cable car/rope way projects, but no information regarding the same is available on the Government's Tourism website. It has issued certain directions to promote tourism in the UT.

Karnataka High Court

1. Sandalwood Drug Case : Karnataka High Court Denies Bail To Sanjjana Galrani, Ragini Dwivedi

A single bench of Justice Sreenivas Harish Kumar dismissed the bail applications filed by Kannada actors Ragini Dwivedi, and Sanjjanaa Galrani and other co-accused who were arrested by the police allegedly for consuming and supplying drugs at parties and events, they organized.

2. Explain Statutory Powers Under Which Online Betting For Horse-Racing Was Allowed : Karnataka High Court To State Govt [C. Gopal v. State of Karnataka & Ors.]

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty directed the State government to respond to a public interest litigation filed challenging the approval given by the State government to the Bangalore Turf Club Limited to conduct on-line betting for horse-racing.

The bench said the state government must file its statement of objections stating the statutory powers under which the state has purported to grant permission for online betting.

3. Karnataka High Court Quashes Abetment To Suicide Case Against Former Minister KJ George & Two IPS Officers [Pronab Mohanty v. CBI]

Single Bench of Justice John Michael Cunha quashed the criminal proceedings initiated against former State Minister KJ Geroge and two IPS officers, in a case of abetting the Deputy Superintend of Police (DySP) MK Ganapathy to commit suicide by hanging, on July 7, 2016 in a hotel room. The matter was pending before a Special MP/MLA Court.

While quashing the order of the special court, the High Court observed: "The evidence collected by the investigating agency, even if accepted in its entirety, does not disclose mens rea or instigation or conspiracy by the petitioners making out the ingredients of the offence under section 306 r/w 34 of IPC. In the absence of any material to make out the ingredients of the above offence, there was absolutely no reason or justification for the Special Court to reject the well-founded report filed by CBI and to take cognizance of the alleged offence and issue summons to the petitioners."

Also Read: Karnataka High Court Quashes Special Judge Order Referring Corruption Complaint Against Minister CT Ravi To ACB

Kerala High Court

1. Benefit Of Gratuity Act Cannot Be Denied To An Employee By Designating Him As A Trainee : Kerala HC [IREL (India) Ltd. v. PN Raghava Panicker]

An employee cannot deny the benefit of Gratuity Act to an employee by designating him/her as trainee while extracting regular work from him, the Bench of Justice AM Badar observed. It said that a trainee is not excluded from the definition of the term 'employee' under the Gratuity Act, but only an 'apprentice' is excluded.

2. Court Cannot Take Cognizance Of A Private Complaint Against Notary Public For His/Her Official Acts: Kerala HC [VP Jyolsna v. State of Kerala]

Single Bench of Justice MR Anitha observed that no court shall take cognisance of any offence committed by a notary public in exercise or purported exercise of his functions under the Act except upon a complaint in writing made by an officer authorised by the Central Government or a State Government by a general or special order in that behalf.

The Court observed thus while quashing a charge sheet filed against a Notary Advocate accusing her of aiding a person to make a forged power of attorney as original. The Court said that the bar under Section 13 of Notaries Act is mandatory and if no such protection is granted to a notary it will be difficult for them to perform their acts as contemplated to be done as a notary.

Other orders by Kerala HC:

Madhya Pradesh High Court

1. Will Charge Of Bank On A Leasehold Plot Mortgaged As Loan Security Have Priority Over Third Party Charges? Madhya Pradesh High Court Answers [Bank of Baroda v. State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors.]

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Yadav and Justice Rajeev Kumar Dubey held that a charge of Bank on the leasehold plot mortgaged as security towards loan will have priority over other charges of third party, including the State. The observation has been made in reference to SARFAESI Act 2002 and Recovery of Debts and Bankruptcy Act, 1993.

The order states, "Since Sections 26-E of Act of 2002 and 31-B of 1993 Act override the provisions in any other law as to priority right of the secured creditor, the contention on behalf of respondent that the District Industrial Centre has priority right to recover its dues of M/s Anmol Agro Pvt. Ltd., cannot be upheld. It is, accordingly, held that in respect of the property mortgaged with Bank as secured asset, the Bank shall have the priority right to recover its dues."

2. Producing Victims & Suspects Before Media By Police Violates Article 21 & Encourages Media Trials: Madhya Pradesh High Court [Arun Sharma vs. State of MP]

In a significant ruling, the Bench of Justice GS Ahluwalia held that production of victims and suspects before the media, as well as disclosure of personal information of the suspects to the media or display of their photographs in newspapers or on any digital platform is violative of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It further held that parading of suspects in general public is violative of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The ruling came in a matter wherein the Court was examining as to whether the State Govt. by issuing an executive instruction, can violate the privacy rights of the accused by publishing their uncovered faces in newspaper/ media or by parading them in Society?

Other orders by Madhya Pradesh HC:

Madras High Court

1. Madras High Court Suggests Death Penalty For Corruption Like In China, North Korea, Indonesia Etc [AP Suryakrasam v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.]

On noting that people are being compelled to accept corruption as normal, a Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and B. Pugalendhi opined that the Central Government should consider imposing death penalty as a punishment for corrupt practices, as done in foreign jurisdictions like in China, North Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Morocco.

2. If A Bill Is Presented For Assent, A Decision Has To Be Taken By Governor As Soon As Possible: Madras High Court

asserted that when a Bill is presented for assent before the Governor, a decision on it should be taken "as soon as possible". It opined, "No doubt Article 361 of the Constitution of India gives protection to the Constitutional Authority. However, in the given circumstances, a decision has be taken, taking into consideration the future of the Government School students, who are invariably from marginalized and poor sections, as soon as possible as provided under Article 200 of the Constitution of India."

3. Death Due To Electrocution: Madras High Court Applies Strict Liability Principle Against TANGEDCO To Order Compensation [G. Sendhattikalaipandian v. Inspector of Police & Anr.]

The Bench of Justice G R Swaminathan ordered compensation to the parents of a 22 years old boy, who died due to electrocution after stepping on snapped live wire. It also ordered the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited (TANGEDCO) to pay a compensation of Rs.13,86,000/- to the bereaved family and offer a job of Junior Assistant, on compassionate grounds, to the deceased's brother.

The order is significant inasmuch as the Court has adopted a unique method with respect to payment of compensation in case of death by electrocution and has even ordered compassionate employment in terms of a Supreme Court's ruling on restoration of status quo ante.

4. Madras High Court Issues Notices To Virat Kohli, Saurav Ganguly, Tamannah Bhatia, Etc. For Endorsing Fantasy League Apps [I Mohamed Razvi v. TRAI & Ors.]

The Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice B. Pugalendhi issued notices to Indian Cricket Team Captain Virat Kohli and BCCI Chief and former Indian Cricket Team captain Sourav Ganguly, for their involvement in online sports app advertisements. It also issued the notices to actors Prakash Raj, Tammana Bhatia among others.

This order comes in a Petition filed by one Mohammed Rizvi alleging that after losing money in such apps, some youth died by suicide in various parts of India.

5. Temple Lands Shall Not Be Alienated Or Used Against Interests Of Temple: Madras High Court Directs To Retrieve Encroached Temple Properties [S. Sridhar v. State of Tamil Nadu]

A single Bench of Justice R. Mahadevan directed the HR & CE Department to initiate appropriate action to retrieve land belonging to temples by removing all encroachments. It also directed that the the lands belonging to the subject temples shall not be alienated or leased or encumbered illegally and against the interests of such temples and shall only be used for temple related purposes.

The court also criticised the HR&CE Dept., which is the custodians of the temple properties, for having not taken any steps to protect the interest of the temples. "Such callous attitude on their part cannot be countenanced. This Court, time and again observed that Temples in Tamil Nadu are not only a source of identification of the ancient culture, but also a testimony of pride and knowledge of the talent in the field of arts, science and sculpture and a conduit for spiritual activities as well; and that, the properties of the religious institutions, more particularly, the temples have to be maintained properly in order to derive more income to spend for its betterment.", Justice Mahadevan observed.

Other orders by Madras HC:

Manipur High Court

1. [2017 Manipur Assembly Polls] HC Sets Aside Election Of Congress MLA Y Surchandra, Declares BJP Candidate As Winner [Mayanglambam Rameshwar Singh v. Y Surchandra Singh & Anr.]

The High Court set aside the election of Y Surchandra Singh as the MLA of Kakching Assembly Constituency in the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly, for filing false affidavit. While declaring his election as null and void, the single-Judge Bench of Justice MV Muralidharan also declared that the petitioner, BJP candidate M Rameshor, is the "duly elected member" of the said constituency.

The order was passed on an election petition filed by Rameshor in 2017, alleging that Surchandra had not disclose full particulars of his assets and liabilities in the poll affidavit in 2017.

Punjab & Haryana High Court

1. Kathua Rape And Murder Case: Punjab & Haryana High Court Rejects Parole Plea Of Key Conspirator Sanji Ram [Sanji Ram v. State of Jammu & Kashmir & Ors.]

The Bench of Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice Avneesh Jhingan rejected the parole plea of Sanji Ram, the key conspirator in the Kathua rape and murder case. The State had submitted that if he is granted the benefit of parole to attend the marriage of his son, there is every apprehension of there being community clashes and protests in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir.

Consequently, the Court opined, "Given the genuine apprehension expressed as regards the possible law and order consequences if the Petitioner's prayer for parole is granted, the Court is not inclined to accept such prayer at this stage."

Also Read: [Prenatal Sex Determination] Termination Of Female Foeticide Is Destruction Of Woman Of Future: Punjab & Haryana High Court

2. State Needs To Be More Tolerant While Invoking Laws Pertaining To Sedition & Religious Disaffection: Punjab & Haryana High Court [Jasbir v. State Of Punjab]

While hearing a bail plea of an accused languishing in jail for six months in connection to a Sedition case, the Bench of Justice Sudhir Mittal made the observation that "in a democracy, every citizen has a right to voice his/her opinion freely and criticize the functioning of the Government." It further remarked that, "The state needs to be more tolerant and circumspect while invoking laws pertaining to sedition and religious disaffection. Current tendency to the contrary has been frowned upon by the Supreme Court of India."

3. Punjab & Haryana High Court Pulls Up Advocate For Claiming That He 'Made' Many Judges; Doubles Cost [Shiv Kumar Chauhan v. State of Haryana & Ors.]

The High Court pulled up an Advocate for claiming that he 'made' many judges and doubled the cost imposed on him while dismissing his petition. Taking note of Advocate Sushil Gautam's "boisterous claims", the Single Bench of Justice Arun Monga said,

"To say the least, the tone, tenor, manner and conduct of the learned counsel for petitioner leaves a lot to desire. Yet, taking a lenient view thereof, this court rather prefers a self-restraint from taking any further action. However, on the invitation of the learned counsel for the petitioner, the cost imposed is enhanced to Rs.1 lac."

Rajasthan High Court

1. Rajasthan Mines And Minerals Ltd. Challenges Provisions Of IBC Regarding Govt. Companies, HC Stays Proceedings Against Company [Rajasthan State Mines & Minerals Ltd. v. Union of India & Ors.]

While hearing a plea by Rajasthan State Mines and Minerals Ltd (RSMML) challenging Sections 3(8), 2(23), 238, 7, 8 and 9 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 with respect to government companies incorporated under Section 617 of the Companies Act, a bench of Justices Sabina and Prakash Gupta granted an interim stay on insolvency proceedings against the company ongoing before the National Company Law Tribunal, Jaipur.

The court also gave time to RRB Energy Ltd and the Centre through the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and Ministry of Law and Justice, to respond to the matter by 22.01.2021.

Telangana High Court

1. Telangana HC Directs State Not To Insist Aadhaar For Uploading Property Details In Dharani Portal [Saaketh Kasibhatla v. State of Telangana]

The bench comprising the Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy passed an interim order directing the State not to insist on uploading of Aadhaar details vis-i-vis the agricultural land details being placed by the people on Dharani Portal.

The court noted that though the Dharani Portal makes it mandatory that the Aadhaar number must be given, such a requirement is not seen in the Telangana Rights in Land and Pattadar Pass Books Act, 2020.

Tripura High Court

1. Freedom Of Speech & Expression Includes Freedom Of Being Critical Of Public Administration Or Authority: Tripura High Court

The Bench of Chief Justice Akil Kureshi observed that the right of freedom of speech and expression would include the freedom of being critical of the public administration or authority. It further observed that "any inroad into such freedom howsoever stealthily made, constitutional court will step in". In this case, a woman constable had challenged the order of her transfer and had made detailed averments alleging mala fides on part of the administration in passing the said order.

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