High Courts Weekly Roundup [Feb 8 – Feb 14]

Akshita Saxena

14 Feb 2021 2:28 PM GMT

  • High Courts Weekly Roundup [Feb 8 – Feb 14]

    Summation of important Judgments/Orders this week Allahabad High Court 1. Allahabad High Court Dismisses Plea By Two Sisters Claiming Ownership of Land Offered for Ayodhya Mosque [Rani Kapoor Punjabi v. Union of India & Ors.] A Bench of Justices DK Upadhyay and Manish Kumar dismissed a petition filed against the allotment of land in Ayodhya's Dhannipur village for...

    Summation of important Judgments/Orders this week

    Allahabad High Court

    1. Allahabad High Court Dismisses Plea By Two Sisters Claiming Ownership of Land Offered for Ayodhya Mosque [Rani Kapoor Punjabi v. Union of India & Ors.]

    A Bench of Justices DK Upadhyay and Manish Kumar dismissed a petition filed against the allotment of land in Ayodhya's Dhannipur village for the construction of a mosque, following the Supreme Court verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute.

    Two Delhi-based sisters had moved the High Court claiming ownership of the five-acre land allotted to the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board for the mosque. The petition was withdrawn after their counsel sought permission to withdraw the case with permission to file afresh.

    2. "If Display Of Affection Between LGBT Partners Isn't Indecent, It Can't Be Bogged Down By Majority Perception:" Allahabad High Court Reinstates LGBT Member In Service [Pramod Kumar Sharma v. State Of UP & Ors.]

    A Bench of Justice Sunita Agarwal quashed an order for cancellation of appointment of the Petitioner, after noting that the same was passed on the basis of his sexual orientation. Observing that it is completely in violation of the observations of the Apex Court in Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India reported in (2018) 10 SCC 1, the Court directed the concerned authority take the petitioner back in service with immediate effect.

    "Display of affection amongst the members of the LGBT community towards their partners in the public, so long as it does not amount to indecency or has the potentiality to disturb public order cannot be bogged down by majority perception," the order stated.

    3. Commuting Life Sentence- Revaluate Cases For Remission After 14 Years Of Incarceration Even If Appeals Pending: Allahabad HC Directs UP Govt. [Vishnu v. State of UP]

    Expressing its displeasure over the fact that even after 14 years of incarceration, the State did not think of exercising its power of commuting life sentence of an accused, a Bench of Justice Dr. Kaushal Jayendra Thaker and Justice Gautam Chowdhary directed the UP Government to revaluate cases for remission after 14 years of incarceration (even if appeals are pending before the High Court).

    It also directed the Registrar General to place the matter before the Chief Justice so that it could be ensured that those who are in jail for more than 10 or 14 years get their appeal heard which are mainly jail appeals.

    4. Abetment To Suicide Charge Against Husband- "Providing Medical Assistance To Wife Wouldn't Absolve Him From Guilt": Allahabad High Court [Sameer Ali Khan v. State of UP]

    A Bench of Justice Rahul Chaturvedi dismissed the bail plea of a Husband who has been booked for abetting his wife's suicide while noting that only providing the medical assistance to his wife would not go to absolve the applicant from the allegations. It noted that the continued course of conduct of the Husband where he did not even permit his wife to see her son, had proven acute nostalgia for her and in that stage of severe psychological turmoil, she was left with no other option but to take this extreme step.

    5. Plea Seeking Direction to State of UP To Bring Law To Compensate COVID-19 Vaccinated Individuals Dismissed By Allahabad High Court [Gajendra Singh Yadav v. Union of India & Anr.]

    While noting that a direction cannot be given to legislate a law, a Bench of Justice Sanjay Yadav and Justice Jayant Banerji dismissed a plea seeking direction to the State of Uttar Pradesh to bring a legislation to compensate the COVID-19 Vaccinated individuals in case of loss/ sufferings.

    The Petitioner had contended that that presently mass drive is carried out to vaccinate one and all and with large scale vaccination the life and personal liberty of individuals will be at peril. He further argued that to protect the life and personal liberty of individuals he seeks command to the State of Uttar Pradesh to have statutory provisions in other word legislation to compensate the individuals in case of loss/ sufferings.

    6. FIR Lodged Against 'Tandav' Makers As Series Contains Scenes Portraying 'God' In A Derogatory Manner: UP Govt Tells Allahabad High Court [Aparna Purohit v. State of UP & Anr.]

    The UP Government has told the Allahabad High Court that the makers of the web series 'Tandav' have been booked for portraying 'God' in a very derogatory manner. Opposing the anticipatory bail application filed by Aparna Purohit, the creative head of Amazon Prime Video India, in the FIR registered over scenes in 'Tandav', the Additional Advocate General Vinod Shahi submitted that "the visual and wordings used by certain actors in the said web series contain certain scene portraying 'God' in a very derogatory manner for which the said F.I.R. has been lodged."

    He further sought time to seek instructions in the matter and file a detailed counter affidavit. The Single Bench comprising Justice Alok Mathur therefore adjourned the matter for ten days while granting interim protection to Purohit till the next date, i.e. February 22.

    Other developments:

    Bombay High Court

    1. Bombay High Court Dismisses Bail Application Of Gautam Navlakha In Bhima Koregaon Case [Gautam P. Navlakha v. NIA]

    A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik rejected the bail application of senior journalist and activist - Gautam Navlakha - an accused in the Elgar Parishad – Maoist links case. It observed that there is no reason to interfere with the order of the trial court rejecting his bail plea.

    Navlakha sought default bail on the grounds that the National Investigating Agency (NIA) had failed to file their chargesheet within the stipulated period of 90 days. The NIA, however, contended that Navlakha was under house arrest for 34 days, between August 29 to October 1, 2018, which was declared illegal by the Delhi High Court. Therefore, it could not be included in his custody period.

    Also Read: Default Bail- Period Of 90/60 Days Will Commence From Date Of Remand Only, Not From Any "Unlawful Custody" Prior To It: Bombay High Court

    2. "Court Can't Decide Fees For Advocates": Bombay HC Dismisses Plea Challenging Fee Paid to Senior Advocate by BMC In Kangana Ranaut's Case

    A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale dismissed a plea challenging the appointment and "hefty fee" paid to Senior Advocate Aspi Chinoy for representing the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in actor Kangana Ranaut's case, in which she challenged the demolition work carried out at her bungalow, last year.

    The bench observed that it wasn't within the court's purview to adjudicate the appointment of advocates and the fees payable to them. "What fee should be charged by senior advocates and advocates on record, cannot be decided by the court," Justice Shinde said.

    3. "No One Including Media Should Be Above Scrutiny": Newslaundry Responds to Times Group's Rs 100 Cr Defamation Suit [Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd v. News Laundry Media Pvt Ltd]

    News Laundry Media Private Limited told the Bombay High Court that no one should be above scrutiny, especially the media, in its reply to a Rs 100 crore defamation suit filed against them by Bennett Coleman and Company Ltd (BCCL), known as the 'Times Group.'

    The Rs 100-crore defamation suit filed by BCCL in December, pertains to two videos published by News Laundry, "Toadies Banega Tu: TV Newsance Episode 107," and "Explained: How to Rig TRPs," published in October, 2020 and December 1, 2020 respectively. The petition questions the "tone and tenor" of the videos, alleging misuse of freedom of speech and expression, terming it as a malicious attempt to malign the reputation of Senior Management of BCCL.

    4. Bombay High Court Allows Kangana Ranaut To Withdraw Her Suit Challenging BMC's Demolition Order, Grants Four Weeks To Apply For Regularization

    The High Court granted liberty to Actor Kangana Ranaut to withdraw her plea challenging BMC's demolition order regarding the alleged unauthorized amalgamation of her three flats in a plush Mumbai suburb from the Civil Court. The actor moved High Court after her plea for interim relief was rejected in December 2020 by a City Civil Court in Dindoshi observing that the alterations were in "grave violation of the sanctioned plan."

    While disposing of her petition, the High Court has granted Ranaut four days to withdraw her suit from the city Civil Court in Dindoshi, and apply for regularization in four weeks. The directions were issued the Actor informed the Court that she would apply to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for the regularization of illegal portions of her flat. The Court has granted her protection for another two weeks in the matter, in case a favourable order is not passed by BMC.

    5. TRP Scam- Mumbai Police Investigation Against Arnab Goswami & Republic TV Is "Political Vendetta" and "Malicious Witch Hunt":ARG Media Tells Bombay HC

    ARG Outlier Media Pvt Ltd. (company running Republic TV and R Bharat channels) told the Bombay High Court that the investigation carried out by Mumbai Police in the TRP Scam case is guided by unparalleled political vendetta and a malicious witch hunt.

    In a rejoinder affidavit filed before the High Court on Tuesday, it is stated the Mumbai Police has failed to establish any criminality on the part of the company or its Chief Arnab Goswami, and the charge sheet filed in the case does not disclose any incriminating evidence against them.

    Calcutta High Court

    1. Calcutta High Court Dismisses Plea Against BJP's 'Parivartan Rath Yatras' [Ramaprasad Sarkar v. Union of India & Ors.]

    The Bench of Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Aniruddha Roy dismissed a plea moved before it against BJP's 'Rath Yatra' in poll-bound West Bengal. It noted that when the writ petition was filed in the court, the representation filed by the petitioner may not have even been received by the addressees therein, even if sent by the petitioner. The Court further remarked,

    "It is clearly established that the present writ petition has been filed by none else than a practicing advocate in this court, who is a member of the Calcutta High Court Trinamul Law Cell, the political party in power at present in the State of West Bengal."

    Delhi High Court

    1. "Do Not Take Law In To Hands": Delhi HC Directs To Take Disciplinary Action On Safai Karmacharis On Strike Who Are Causing Obstructions In Removal of Garbage [EDMC v. Commissioner of Police, Delhi]

    A Division Bench comprising of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli directed the Safai Karamcharis of the Delhi Municipal Corporation on strike due to non-payment of salaries, to not to take law into their hands by causing obstruction in removal of garbage or by strewing it on the streets of the city, and not to obstruct or block the ingress and egress into the offices of the Municipal Corporations.

    The Court has also directed the Delhi Police to ensure the immediate removal of the piled up garbage as well as the payment of arrears of salaries to the safai karamcharis.

    2. "If There Is No Field In MCA Portal For Lawyers As Professionals To Register Companies/LLPS It Would Be Discriminatory": Delhi High Court [Shikha Sharma Bagga v. Union of India & Anr.]

    A single Bench of Justice Pratibha Singh directed Central Government to file an affidavit in the plea filed challenging the non-providing of a field for Advocates to register companies and LLPs on behalf of their clients in the current Ministry of Corporate Affairs' portal.

    It observed that if its true that MCA's portal has no provision made for Advocates who are members of Bar Councils and Bar Councils are not provided as an option in the list of Councils, it is discriminatory qua Advocates and needs to be rectified.

    3. Notice Under Special Marriage Act Serves Purpose Of Verifying Credibility of Persons: Centre Informs Delhi High Court

    In response to a petition seeking the declaration of Sections 6 and 7 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 as null, void and ultra vires to the Constitution of India, the Central Government informed the High Court that, "the intention behind the Act is to keep adequate safeguards to the interest of various parties involved," and that if a 30-day notice as required under Section 7 is not given, it may not be possible to verify the credibility of the persons seeking to solemnize a marriage.

    4. Delhi High Court Issues Notice On Plea Seeking Court Monitored SIT Probe Into Farmer Navreet Singh's Death On Republic Day's Tractor Rally

    A single judge bench of Justice Yogesh Khanna issued notice on a petition by a 65-year old farmer from Uttar Pradesh seeking Court monitored probe in to the death of 25-year old farmer grandson, Navreet Singh, after an alleged bullet injury during the farmers' tractor rally on Republic Day in Central Delhi.

    Other developments:

    Gauhati High Court

    1. "What Sort Of Peaceful Protest Was Being Carried Out When He Was Photographed Brandishing Sword?": Gauhati HC Denies Bail To 2 Accused Booked Under UAPA Charges [Bhaskarjit Phukan & Bhupen Gogoi v. NIA]

    A Bench of Justice Kalyan Rai Surana and Justice Ajit Borthakur dismissed the bail plea of two accused in connection with a case registered against them for alleged disruption of supplies by economic blockade staged at railway track and national highway at Chabua town on 09th December 2019 and attempt to murder government functionaries on duty by throwing stones.

    "The counsel for the appellants did not make any attempt to explain as to what sort of peaceful protest was being carried out by the appellant no.1, when he was photographed brandishing a sword before a large crowd while actively participating in the protest programme," it remarked.

    Gujarat High Court

    1. Inter-Faith Marriage- Gujarat HC Directs Police To Escort Woman To Ahmedabad To Register Marriage, Questions Police For Calling Her To Police Station After Sunset [Samirkhan Faizullahkhan Pathan v. State of Gujarat]

    A Bench of Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice Sangeeta K. Vishen asked the Gujarat Police to ensure that a Lok Rakshak Dal (LRD) woman be provided safe passage from the Junagadh academy to Ahmedabad so that she could solemnise her marriage with a Muslim Man under the Special Marriages Act.

    2. Corruption Like A Termite Or A Poisonous Snake Which Has Penetrated Deeply Into Our Systems: Gujarat High Court [Ramendrasinh Jaysinh Kushvah v. State Of Gujarat]

    While denying pre-arrest bail to an assistant director of Gujarat State Land Development Nigam Ltd, a Bench of Justice RM Sareen made scathing remark against the corrupt practices of the bureaucrats. While hearing the pre-arrest bail filed by the Petitioner in connection with the alleged Khet Talavadi scheme (farm ponds) scam, remarked, "Corruption has become a social menace and is very much rampant nowadays. It is like a termite or a poisonous snake (that) has penetrated deeply into our systems."

    Jammu & Kashmir High Court

    1. Not Possible For Govt. To Have Anti-Doping Agency In Each State/Union Territory Separately: Jammu & Kashmir High Court [Arun Singh Manhas v. Union of India & Anr.]

    A Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey dismissed a plea seeking establishment of a State Anti-Doping Agency on the guidelines of National Anti-Doping Agency. It observed, "It may not be possible for the Government to have the Anti-Doping Agency in each State or Union Territory separately as it all depends on the financial conditions and the priorities before the Government."

    2. "No Vested Right For Students On Mode Of Exam": Jammu & Kashmir High Court Dismisses Plea By Law Students Seeking Online Exams [Syed Ainain Qadri v. UGC & Ors.]

    While declining the prayer of the petitioners to conduct their examination through on-line mode, a Bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar made it clear that "there cannot be any vested right for the students with regard to the mode in which the examination of students is to be conducted."

    3. 'Approach Chief Secretary With A Representation': Jammu & Kashmir High Court Disposes Plea Seeking Law Prohibiting Cow Slaughter [SAVE v. Union of India & Ors.]

    A Bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal disposed of a plea seeking direction to enact a law prohibiting slaughter of cows and its progeny, ox, bull, buffalo etc in the Union Territory of J&K by giving petitioner the liberty to approach Chief Secretary. It specifically observed that it is settled law that no writ of mandamus would lie for issuing direction for enacting a particular law.

    Other developments:

    Jharkhand High Court

    1. Section 357A- Court's Role Is Only Recommendatory, Court Cannot Fix Any Quantum Of Compensation To Victim: Jharkhand High Court [Sumit Kumar Shaw & Ors. v. State of Jharkhand & Anr.]

    A Single Bench of Justice Ananda Sen made significant observations with respect to payment of victim compensation under Section 357A of the Code of Criminal Procedure. It held:

    • The role of the Court is recommendatory in nature and it cannot fix any quantum of victim compensation nor can direct the authority to make payment of the same to the victim while exercising jurisdiction under Section 357A of CrPC.
    • Court can recommend payment of victim compensation by way of interim measure at any stage of the proceeding, including at the stage of considering bail application.
    • When a person is an accused and the Court is not sure as to whether he has committed the offence or not, in that situation, the accused cannot be saddled with the liability to pay compensation.

    Karnataka High Court

    1. Mere Possession Of Higher Educational Qualification Not A Reason To Hold That Wife Can Maintain Herself: Karnataka High Court [RD Rajeev v. Roopa]

    The mere fact that a woman possesses high educational qualifications is not a reason by itself to presume that she can maintain herself, held a Single Bench of Justice Dr. HB Prabhakara Sastry while dismissing the revision petition filed by a husband challenging the family order which directed him to pay Rs 3,000 per month to his wife.

    The Court observed, "Section 125 (1)(a) and (b) of the Cr.P.C. more clearly mentions that, it is not the capacity of the wife or the children which entitles them for claiming maintenance, but, it is their inability to maintain themselves. A reading of the above Section, more particularly sub-section (1)(a) and 1(b) of the said Section would clearly go to show that, what the law requires is, wife's or daughters' inability to maintain themselves."

    2. Karnataka High Court Quashes Decision Of Bar Council, Karnataka Law University To Conduct Offline Intermediate Semester LLB Exam

    A Single judge bench of Justice R Devdas quashed and set aside the decision of the Bar Council of India and subsequent circular issued by the Karnataka State Law University thereby imposing an examination on the intermediate semester law students.

    The bench directed KSLU to announce a fresh timetable with respect for first to fourth year law students of five-year law course, scheduling exams of ODD semester only. In so far as even semester exams are concerned, the same shall be assessed on the basis of internal assessments of the students to an extent of 50 percent and remaining 50 percent marks on the basis of the performance in previous semester only, if available." The marks card shall also be issued in the above terms in respect to 'Even' semesters.

    3. 'Imagine People Dying Because Of Potholes!' : Karnataka High Court Asks BBMP To Submit Action Plan Bengaluru Road

    A division bench of Justice B V Nagarathna and Justice M G Uma directed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), to submit an action plan for removal of potholes on a priority basis in the city of Bengaluru and the time frame within which the said action plan shall be implemented. It observed "First there must be a will on part of BBMP to ensure that roads in Bangalore city will be pothole free. There has to be determination and resolution by the BBMP."

    Referring to a recent accident reported of a medical student dying in an accident caused due to a bad road. The bench said "Imagine people dying because of potholes on roads. Imagine the plight of the family."

    4. High Court Cannot Initiate Contempt For Violation Of Orders Of Karnataka Appellate Tribunal: Karnataka HC [Lalsab v. C. M. Kama]

    A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum held that it cannot initiate contempt proceedings for alleged breach of orders passed by Karnataka Appellate Tribunal (KAT) as it is not subordinate to the High Court, within the meaning of Section 10 of the Contempt of Courts Act.

    The bench on perusal of section 10 of the Contempt of courts act said "The words used are "courts subordinate to it". This power conferred on High Court under the said Act of 1971 to punish a person for contempt of the orders passed by a Court can be exercised provided the concerned Court is subordinate to it."

    5. Karnataka High Court Initiates Suo-Motu Contempt Proceedings Against Bar Associations Which Boycotted Court Work

    A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum directed the Registrar General of the High Court to initiate suo-motu contempt proceedings against the officer bearers of Bar Associations in the state who gave a call to its members for abstaining from court work.

    It said: "It must be noted here that in the wake of Covid-19, all courts were adversely affected which brought about suffering to the litigants as well as to the members of the bar. Now that normalcy has been substantially restored, bar associations cannot take recourse to strike/boycott."

    6. Animals Are Guaranteed Right To Get Protection From Human Beings Inflicting Unnecessary Pain Or Suffering : Karnataka High Court [Compassion Unlimited Plus Action v. State of Karnataka]

    A single bench of Justice HP Sandesh set aside an order of the Magistrate court handing over custody of ten dogs given to their owner who treated them with cruelty. "Right to live in a healthy and clean atmosphere and right to get protection from human beings against inflicting unnecessary pain or suffering is a right guaranteed to the animals under Section 3 and Section 11 of the PCA Act read with Article 51- A(g) and (h) of the Constitution of India", the Court observed.

    Also Read: Guidelines Needed To Ensure Ethical Treatment Of Animals Even If They Are Raised For Human Consumption: Madras High Court

    7. French Civil Code Continues To Apply To Descendants Of 'Renouncants' In Pondicherry In Marriage, Divorce Matters : Karnataka High Court

    A division bench of Justice B V Nagarathna and Justice M G Uma granted divorce to a couple under the French Civil Code as they were descendants of inhabitants of Pondicherry (now called Puducherry) who were governed by the French Civil Code.

    It said "Neither the Special Marriage Act, 1954 nor the Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1872 would apply to renouncants." It added "French Civil Code would continue to apply to those persons who are known as renouncants, including the descendants of renouncants irrespective of where they presently reside and other Personal Laws are not applicable to them."

    Other developments:

    Kerala High Court

    1. Kerala High Court Grants Interim Protection From Arrest To Sunny Leone In Cheating Case

    A single bench of Justice Ashok Menon granted interim protection from arrest to actor Sunny Leone (officially named Karenjt Kaur Vohra), her husband Daniel Weber and their employee Sunil Rajani who had filed anticipatory bail application apprehending arrest in a cheating case. It also ordered that police should serve notice on them under Section 41A of CrPC if their presence was required for interrogation.

    Sunny Leone, her husband Daniel Weber and her employee Sunil Rajani had approached the High Court after an FIR was registered against them for offences under Sections 406, 420 read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code on an allegation that they failed to perform a stage show as per an agreement after accepting Rs 39 lakhs as consideration.

    2. 'Scale Of Drug Usage In Kerala Unacceptably High' : HC Issues Slew Of Directions To Check Drug Abuse In Schools, Colleges [Suo Moto v. State of Kerala & Ors.]

    Observing that the "scale of drug usage in Kerala is unacceptably high", a division bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice AM Shaffique issued a slew of directions to control drug abuse among youngsters and students in educational institutions.

    Notable among the directions is the one given to the State Government to establish campus police units in all educational institutions to prevent drug abuses in campuses. The Court ordered the formation of the campus units as it found that the law enforcement agencies were not conducting regular checks inside educational institutions. The Court also ordered that State Government should take measures to make it easier for police and excise officials to enforce the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, in educational institutions.

    3. Unilateral Withdrawal Of Consent From Joint Divorce Petition, After Other Party Has Performed Obligations Under Agreement, Cannot Be Permitted : Kerala High Court

    A division bench comprising Justices AM Muhammed Mustaque and CS Dias that unilateral withdrawal of consent by a spouse from a joint petition filed for divorce, after the other party has performed his/her obligations under the agreement, is unsustainable in law. The Court termed it a "sharp practice, which cannot be permitted or tolerated for a moment as it would shatter the faith of the litigants in the justice delivery system and make a mockery of alternative dispute resolution mechanism".

    Madhya Pradesh High Court

    1. Tandav Controversy: Madhya Pradesh High Court Refuses To Entertain Plea Seeking Stay On The Streaming Of Web Series [Aditya Tiwari v. State of Madhya Pradesh & Anr.]

    A Bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Vijay Kumar Shukla disposed of a plea seeking direction to stop streaming of "Tandav" web series from the Amazon's OTT platform Prime Video.

    The plea was withdrawn after Counsel for the petitioner could not dispute the fact that some of the objectionable contents of the web-series have already been removed and the makers of the web-series have tendered unconditional apology. He nevertheless contended that there are still many objectionable parts in the web-series which have not been removed.

    2. Munawar Faruqui Case : Madhya Pradesh High Court Grants Ad-Interim Bail To Co-Accused Prakhar Vyas And Edwin Anthoy

    A single bench of Justice Rohit Arya granted ad-interim bail to Prakhar Vyas and Edwin Anthony, colleagues of Munawar Faruqui who were arrested on January 2 for allegedly hurting religious sentiments during a stand-up comedy show.

    Madras High Court

    1. 2017 Gutkha Display Row- Madras High Court Quashes Fresh Notice On Breach Of Privilege Issued Against MK Stalin And Other DMK MLAs [MK Stalin v. Speaker, Tamilnadu Legislative Assembly]

    A single judge bench comprising of Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana set aside fresh show cause notices issued to 19 DMK MLAs by the Tamil Nadu Assembly's privileges committee on breach of privilege for displaying gutkha sachets and photographs, causing disorder and disrepute to the Assembly proceedings.

    The High Court, while referring to the earlier decision of the High Court quashing first notice, observed that: "The alleged breach of privilege of not obtaining permission from the first respondent precedes the act of displaying or exhibiting the banned products inside the House. When the second act of displaying is already held to be an act not prohibited under the notification, the required permission, when not codified or mentioned anywhere does not arise. Thus, the Privilege Committee cannot now under the scope of reference on its own to include the alleged permission, disturbance, etc., caused in the Assembly."

    2. Writ Petition At Pre-Detention Stage: Madras HC Doubts Correctness Of SC Decision In 'Subash Popatlal Dave' Case [Sabeer Ahamed Sayeed v. State of Tamil Nadu & Anr.]

    A Single Judge Bench of Justice GR Swaminathan expressed its reservation over the correctness of a three-Judge Bench decision of the Supreme Court in Subhash Popatlal Dave v. Union of India, (2012) 7 SCC 533, which overruled another three-Judge Bench judgment in Sayed Taher Bawamiya v. Joint Secretary, (2000) 8 SCC 630). Both the decisions pertain to the scope of power of a High Court to exercise its writ jurisdiction under Article 21 of the Constitution at a pre-detention stage, as permitted in the case of Alka Subhash Gadia.

    The Judge, inter alia, was of the opinion that a Bench of same size, i.e. three Judges in Subhash Popatlal Dave (supra) could not have overruled the judgment in Sayed Taher Bawamiya (supra).

    3. Will Adopt Zero Tolerance Policy Towards Advocates Who Spoil Image Of Entire Profession By Their Conduct: Madras High Court [PS Kirubakaran v. Commissioner of Police & Ors.]

    A Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh came down heavily upon a group of Advocates allegedly involved in certain unlawful activities with respect to a land grabbing case. It observed that when it comes to the conduct of advocates, there will be zero tolerance shown by the Court and it will ensure that the activities of some advocates do not spoil the image of the entire profession.

    The remarks were made after the Bench was informed that some Advocates had made an attempt to break open the lock in a disputed property and tried to take forcible possession of the same. The Court was further apprised that everyday a group of persons, purportedly advocates, come to the subject property and create law and order problem.

    4. "This Can Happen Only In This Country & With These Govt. Officials": Madras High Court On 54-Year Delay In Disbursing LA Compensation [District Collector, Dindigul District & Anr. v. Saraswathi & Ors.]

    A Bench of Justice R. Subramanian down heavily on the Government Officials of the State of Tamil Nadu for delaying the disbursement of compensation, by 54 years, for a piece of land acquired to set up a bus depot. "It is almost 54 years now since the land was acquired. This can happen only in this country and with these Government officials," it observed. The Court however granted time till 25th March 2021 to comply with the award.

    5. Administrative Delays Unacceptable; Concerned Govt. Officials Must Be Prosecuted For Dereliction Of Duty: Madras High Court [Union of India v. Kommu Sumathi & Ors.]

    A Single Bench of Justice SM Subramaniam pulled up the Central Government for filing a civil appeal with a delay of 264 days. "There is a general trend that the public authorities are having lack of sincerity and committing dereliction on duty. These negligence and dereliction of duty are serious misconducts and therefore, the higher authorities are bound to ensure that the officials are performing their duties and responsibilities with utmost care and with devotion to duty," it observed.

    6. Elected Bar Association Office Bearers Cannot Contest Consecutively : Madras High Court Issues Directions To End Monopoly In Bar Elections [V. Madhesh v. Bar Council of Tamil Nadu & Puducherry]

    With the aim of ending monopoly in Bar Association elections, division bench comprising Justices N Kirubakaran and R Pongiappan ruled that elected office bearers should not be allowed to contest for the second time consecutively. The Court however permitted such elected members to contest alternatively.

    "The provision to contest in the alternate election will be a healthy norm, which will enable all the members to contest the election and get elected without providing any room for monopoly", it observed.

    7. Seeking To Declare Lord Muruga As 'Tamil God' Would Damage Federal And Secular Fabric Of This Great Nation: Madras High Court [Thirumurugan v. State of Tamilnadu]

    A division bench comprising Justices MM Sundresh and S Ananthi dismissed a petition seeking to the direct the State Government to issue an order declaring Lord Muruga a Tamil God, saying it "would cause damage to the very fibre of the federal and secular nature of this great Nation".

    The preamble of the Constitution emphasizes on the secular nature of the Country, the Court said in the order passed on February 4. "The petitioner may have a justifiable reason to treat Lord Muruga as the Lord of the Tamil Language. It is for him to do so. However, as a State such a request is not feasible for consideration", the Court observed.

    8. Madras High Court Directs CIC To Expeditiously Decide Appeal Seeking Information On Personal Data Protection Bill [Saurav Das v. CIC & Ors.]

    A Single Bench of Justice M. Govindaraj directed the Central Information Commission to expeditiously dispose of an appeal filed against non-supply of some information pertaining to the Central Government's Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019. It directed the CIC to dispose of the appeal within one month, if the Bill is going to be placed before the Parliament in the ongoing Budget Session or within two months it will be presented in the next session.

    The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 aims to safeguard the privacy of Indian citizens, and proposes to establish a Data Protection Authority for the same. It was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 11, 2019, and is presently under consideration of the Joint Parliamentary Committee. Recently, the Lok Sabha extended the time for submission of the Committee's report till the first week of the second part of the ongoing Budget session, i.e. till March 14. Thus, there is no clarity as to whether the Bill (along with Committee's recommendations) will be presented before the Parliament in this session.

    Other developments:

    Orissa High Court

    1. Husband, Family Members Can't Treat Woman Like Slave Just Because She Is A Psychiatric Patient: Orissa High Court [Dipak Bhutia v. State of Odisha]

    While denying Regular Bail to a Husband booked for allegedly subjecting his wife to cruelty, a Bench of Justice SK Panigrahi observed that a woman can't be treated like "slave bereft of any mercy and human compassion" just because she is allegedly a Psychiatric patient. It added, "Even the allegation of psychological illness of the complainant-victim does not give the petitioner and his family members the handle to treat her like slave bereft of any mercy and human compassion."

    Punjab & Haryana High Court

    1. Muslim Man Can Marry More Than Once Without Divorcing Earlier Wife But Same Doesn't Apply To A Muslim Woman: P&H High Court [Nahida & Anr. v. State of Haryana & Ors.]

    While hearing a protection plea filed by a Muslim couple, a Bench of Justice Alka Sarin observed that "a Muslim man may get married more than once without divorcing his earlier wife but the same does not apply to a Muslim lady". It noted that the Petitioner in this case, a Muslim lady (who admittedly was married earlier) did not obtain a legally valid divorce from her first husband before marrying another man.

    "The alleged marriage itself between petitioner No.1 and petitioner No.2 would be illegal inasmuch as this marriage has been contracted without the petitioner No.1 being legally divorced," it said.

    Also Read: 17-Yr-Old Muslim Girl Marries 36-Yr-Old Muslim Man- "Both Are Of Marriageable Age Under Muslim Personal Law": P&H High Court Grants Them Protection

    2. "Can Authorities Visit Jail Premises At Regular Intervals To Dispose Of Parole Applications?" Punjab And Haryana High Court Asks Punjab Govt. [Rajvir Singh alias Raja v. State of Punjab & Anr.]

    While dealing with a case wherein there was an inordinate delay in deciding the parole application of the petitioner, a Bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh asked the Punjab Government if a Mechanism could be worked out so that such applications are decided at the earliest.

    Tripura High Court

    1. Denial Of Maintenance Allowance To Wife Causes "Economic Abuse" To Her Within The Meaning Of Domestic Violence Under DV Act: Tripura High Court [Ramendra Kishore Bhattacharjee v. Madhurima Bhattacharjee]

    A Single Bench of Justice SG Chattopadhyay held that denial of maintenance allowance by a husband to his wife causes economic abuse to her within the meaning of sec. 3 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. While interpreting Section 20 (Monetary reliefs) read with Section 3 (Definition of Domestic Violence) of the Act, the Court observed as follows:

    "Under Section 3 of the DV Act which defines domestic violence, 'economic abuse' is a form of domestic violence. Clause (iv) of explanation I of Section 3 relates to 'economic abuse' which includes deprivation of all or any economic financial resources to which the aggrieved person is entitled under any law or custom whether payable under an order of a court or otherwise."

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