Andhra Pradesh High Court: Important Judgments Of 2021

Akshita Saxena

22 Dec 2021 2:51 PM GMT

  • Andhra Pradesh High Court: Important Judgments Of 2021

    Amravati Land Scam 1. "Cannot Criminalize Private Sale Transactions": Andhra Pradesh High Court Quashes A Batch Of FIRs In Amaravati 'Insider Trading' Case [Chekka Guru Murali Mohan & Anr. State of Andhra Pradesh] The High Court has quashed few criminal cases filed in connection with the alleged 'insider trading' in land transactions at Amaravati. Justice Cheekati...

    Amravati Land Scam

    1. "Cannot Criminalize Private Sale Transactions": Andhra Pradesh High Court Quashes A Batch Of FIRs In Amaravati 'Insider Trading' Case [Chekka Guru Murali Mohan & Anr. State of Andhra Pradesh]

    The High Court has quashed few criminal cases filed in connection with the alleged 'insider trading' in land transactions at Amaravati. Justice Cheekati Manavendranath Roy observed that private sale transactions cannot be criminalized and that the concept of the offence of "insider trading", which is essentially an offence in the field of stock market relating to selling and buying the securities and bonds, cannot be applied to the offences under Indian Penal Code and cannot be read into Section 420 IPC or into any provisions in the scheme of Indian Penal Code.

    2. Andhra Pradesh High Court Quashes Amaravati Land Scam FIR Against Former Advocate General & Others [Dammalapati Srinivas v. State of Andhra Pradesh]

    The High Court quashed the FIR registered by the Anti-Corruption Bureau against former Advocate General Damallapati Srinivas and others in alleged Amaravati land scam. The FIR was registered alleging that Srinivas and other accused had purchased large tracts of land in and around Amaravati, before it was announced as the new capital of the State of Andhra Pradesh after its bifurcation.

    Justice Cheekati Manavendranath Roy observed that Srinivas, as the AAG, was not privy to any information relating to exact location of capital city. He had no role to play in the process of identifying the location to establish capital city to know the information regarding exact location of capital city.


    3. Social Media Postings Against Judges Can Be Construed As Conspiracy, Attack Against The Institution: AP High Court Denies Bail To 5 [Sudduluri Ajay Amruth @ Gowthami K v. State of Andhra Pradesh]

    The High Court denied bail to five persons booked for allegedly making derogatory posts against High Court and Supreme Court Judges, observed that putting social media against judges could be construed as a "conspiracy" and attack against the whole institution. Justice D. Ramesh also observed that the allegations made against the judges come within the purview of scandalizing the Courts.

    Also Read: Specify Steps To Prevent Circulation Of Defamatory Remarks, Intimidatory Threats Affecting Justice Administration: AP High Court To CBI

    4. Police Can't Deprive A Person Of Right Of Franchise If No Case Registered Against Him/Her On Account Of Unlawful Act: Andhra Pradesh High Court [Gandham Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy & Anr. v. State of Andhra Pradesh]

    The High Court observed that if there is no case registered against the petitioners for any unlawful act, the petitioners cannot be illegally detained by the respondent police officials which may have the effect of depriving them from exercising their right of franchise on the date of election.

    5. Sedition Charge- Andhra Pradesh High Court Grants Bail To Suspended Judicial Officer Who Expressed Dissatisfaction With Govt. Functioning [S. Rama Krishna v. State of Andhra Pradesh]

    The High Court granted Bail to a suspended Judicial Officer who expressed his disaffection in the manner in which the Government was being run and has been booked under Sections 124-A, 153, 153-A of I.P.C. in a television debate, the Petitioner had remarked that he is looking forward to cutting off the head of the CM.

    Justice R. Raghunandan Rao granted bail noting that the petitioner is a suspended Judicial Officer, and it is highly unlikely that he would seek to abscond. The Court further observed that the crime is based on a statement that is said to have been made in a television debate that is recorded and cannot be altered or tampered with and further, a period of 60 days has already elapsed, and as such, the question of any further tampering with or affecting the investigation would not arise.

    6. Girlfriend Or Concubine Not Liable For Prosecution U/S 498A IPC: Andhra Pradesh High Court [Anumala Aruna Deepika v. State of Andhra Pradesh]

    The High Court held that only a relative of a husband by blood or marriage is liable for prosecution under Section 498-A of IPC (cruelty to woman). Justice Cheekati Manavendranath while quashing the FIR against the petitioner, observed that a girlfriend or concubine, not being connected by blood or marriage, is not a relative of the husband for the purpose of Section 498-A IPC.

    7. Andhra Pradesh High Court Issues Guidelines For Prompt Transmission Of Bail Orders [Korra Bhaskara Rao v. State of Andhra Pradesh]

    While granting bail to an accused under the NDPS Act, the High Court took serious note of the significant delay in issuing the certified copies of the orders. It observed that despite the conscious recognition of several pending cases, it is difficult to issue the order copies within a short period due to staff shortage.

    Justice Lalitha Kanneganti suggested evolving an alternative mechanism to address the plight of these undertrial prisoners/accused, referring to a decision of the Supreme Court, where it approved the use of an electronic system named FASTER (Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records) for transmission of e-authenticated copies of orders.

    8. AP High Court Stays Arrest Of Man Booked For Posting Facebook Comment Against CM Jagan Reddy & Tribal Woman-MLA [G. Veera Venkanna, v. State Of Andhra Pradesh]

    The High Court stayed the arrest of a man booked for allegedly posting a comment on WhatsApp group and Facebook against Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy by resorting to morphing and thereby causing loss of reputation of a tribal woman MLA. It was alleged that the petitioner, G. Veera Venkanna, made the comment in question to create a dispute between various groups, and therefore, a report was registered as a case for the offences punishable under Sections 153A, 505(2) r/w 34 IPC.

    Staying probe in the matter and arrest of the petitioner in the case, Justice Cheekati Manavendranath Roy observed, "...the petitioner could make out a strong prima facie case warranting interference of this Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C to examine in the main Criminal Petition whether launching of criminal prosecution against the petitioner for the aforesaid two offences is legally sustainable or not and whether the said F.I.R is liable to be set aside or not."

    9. "Can't Register FIR For Proceedings U/S 107 & 145 CrPC": Andhra Pradesh High Court Directs State DGP To Instruct SHOs [Bandi Parasuramudu v. State of Andhra Pradesh]

    The High Court directed the Director-General of Police of the state to instruct the Station House Officers of all Police Stations that a First Information Report cannot be registered for the proceedings under Sections 107 (Security for keeping the peace) and 145 (Procedure where dispute concerning land or water is likely to cause breach of peace) of CrPC. Justice Cheekati Manavendranath Roy noted that the Court was coming across several cases where police in the State are registering F.I.Rs. for the proceedings relating to Sections 107 and 145 Cr.P.C and therefore, the Court opined that it was necessary to take steps to curb such practice.


    10. Bar Against Hearing Of Election Disputes By Courts U/A 329 Prevails Over High Court's Powers U/A 226 Of Constitution: Andhra Pradesh High Court [K. Ratna Prabha v. Election Commission of India]

    The High Court held that the bar against hearing of election disputes by Courts under Article 329 of the Constitution shall prevail over the High Court's powers to issue writs under Article 226 of the Constitution. The observation was made by a Bench of Justices Joymalya Bagchi and M. Ganga Rao in a plea seeking to countermand the polling conducted in the Tirupati District on April 17, on the ground of fraudulent polling and booth capturing.

    11. Andhra Pradesh High Court Quashes Local Body Elections As SEC Did Not Give 4 Weeks Model Code of Conduct [Janasena Party v. State Election Commissioner]

    The High Court set aside the elections held to Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituencies (MPTC) and Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituencies (ZPTC) on April 8, on the ground that there was no mandatory gap of four weeks of Model Code of Conduct between the election notifications and the date of elections.

    Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy ordered the SEC to issue notification afresh resuming the election process for MPTCs and ZPTCs from where it was stopped, giving 4 weeks' time gap for MCC.

    Suo Moto Action

    12. Andhra MP Krishnam Raju's Arrest: AP High Court Initiates Suo Moto Contempt Over Non-Compliance Of Orders On Medical Examination [In Re Letter addressed by B. Adinarayana Raov. State of Andhra Pradesh]

    In the case relating to the arrest of YSRCP MP K Raghu Rama Krishnam Raju, the High Court has initiated suo moto contempt proceedings against officials for not implementing the orders passed by it for the medical examination of the arrested legislator.

    Bench of Justices Lalitha Kannengati and C Praveen Kumar also went to the extent of observing that the conduct of the Additional Advocate General was prima facie contemptuous for the "brazenness and arrogance" shown by him while advancing arguments.

    13. Andhra Pradesh High Court Takes Suo Moto Revision Over Withdrawal Of Cases Against Chief Minister; State Objects

    The High Court took suo moto cognizance against the withdrawal of eleven criminal complaints against the Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. The State however objected to the cases, stating that the same could not have been initiated by the High Court on its administrative side.

    Also Read: Andhra Pradesh High Court Defers Issuance Of Notice In Suo Moto Revision Over Withdrawal Of Cases Against Chief Minister

    14. 'Judge Bashing Has Become A Favourite Pastime For Some' : AP High Court Directs Take Down Of Abusive Social Media Content [Suo moto contempt case no. 501/2020]

    Observing that 'judge bashing has become a favourite pastime for some people', the division bench of Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice Lalitha Kanneganti directed Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to take down abusive contents against judges, in not later than a period of 36 hours. The order was passed in the suo motu contempt case registered last year against the abusive and threatening social media posts made by certain members of the ruling party of the Andhra Pradesh against High Court judges.

    Constitution & Fundamental Rights

    15. Non-Payment Of Dues Affects Right To Dignity: Andhra Pradesh High Court Seeks Report On Financial Status Of State [CK Yarram Reddy v. State of Andhra Pradesh]

    The High Court sought a report on seemingly 'pathetic' financial status of the State Government along with reasons for non-payment of dues to two private contractors in relation to works carried out by them for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Department. It observed that such non-payment violates the right to life and dignity of the Petitioners and is thus violative of Article 21 of the Constitution.

    16. Constitutional Duty Of State Is To Protect Devotees' Faith, Prevent Ill-Feelings Among Them For Non-Performing Of Daily Pujas: AP High Court

    The High Court observed that it is the constitutional duty of the State to protect the faith of the devotees, to prevent ill-feelings among them for non-performing daily pujas and Nitya nivedyam. Justice M. Ganga Rao further said that it is the bounden duty of the State Government to see that the temple premises should not be inundated due to leakage and seepage of water. The case was related to Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swami Temple in the Mattapalli Village of Suryapet District.

    17. Unfortunate That Even After 75 Yrs Of Independence, People Face Difficulties For Funerals: Andhra Pradesh High Court [Gottumukkala Rattaiah v. State of Andhra Pradesh]

    "It is very unfortunate to notice that even after 75 years of independent India some sections of people of the society are facing difficulties even for funerals also for lack of burial grounds and crematoriums in some villages and Towns," the High Court observed while holding that right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution is not only available to a living man but also to his dead body. Justice Battu Devanand observed thus while disposing of a writ petition which challenged the proposal of the Local Government to allot part of Hindu burial ground for the purpose of Christian Cemetery.

    18. 100% Women Reservation In Govt House Allotment Scheme Unconstitutional; Discriminates Against Men & Transgenders: Andhra Pradesh High Court [Podili Siva Murali & Ors. v. State of Andhra Pradesh]

    The High Court has held that the Government housing scheme which allot house sites exclusively to women is unconstitutional. "100% reservation in allotment of house site to women household is against the total concept of equality. Failure to allot house site to transsexuals ignoring them totally would amount to depriving their right of equality," Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy observed.


    19. Minimum Wages Act Does Not Apply To Temples & Mutts: Andhra Pradesh High Court [Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt v. State of Andhra Pradesh]

    The High Court observed that Minimum Wages Act does not apply to temples or mutts. In the context of A.P. Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions & Endowments Act, 1987, the court observed that there is a distinction between a temple and a mutt.

    "A Math is an institution headed by a person whose primary job is to engage himself in teaching, propagation of religious philosophy etc., and impart religious training etc. On the other hand, a temple is a place, which is dedicated to and keep used as a place of public religious worship," Justice DVSS Somayajulu observed while allowing a writ petition filed by Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt challenging the memos issued to it directing payment of minimum wages.

    20. Disputed Signature Cannot Be Compared With Photostat Copy To Ascertain Veracity: Andhra Pradesh High Court [T. Lakshmi Theresamma v. State Of Andhra Pradesh]

    The High Court held that there is no sanction of law to compare a disputed signature in the photostat copy with the original signature as there is the scope of mechanical error or defective photocopying. Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy noted,

    "Therefore, such comparison is impermissible under law, as there is every possibility of change of signatures due to passage of time and there is every possibility to sign on the documents in disguise, so as to obtain a favorable opinion from the handwriting expert. But, what is required as per law is that any authentic contemporaneous document containing signatures of the parties has to be referred along with the disputed signatures for comparison and opinion."

    Covid-19 Management

    [Case Title: Manda Kondaiah v. State of Andhra Pradesh; Bench: Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami & Justice C. Praveen Kumar]

    21. There Shouldn't Be A Situation Where Administration Is Caught Unawares Of Deterioration Of Situation & COVID Patients Are Deprived Of Medical Attention: AP HC

    In April, the High Court directed the State Government to ensure that a situation does not arise where the administration is caught unawares in the event of deterioration of the situation and patients are deprived of getting medical attention and treatment. The Court also asked the Government to continuously monitor the situation and prepare a road map for the future so that the authorities can effectively deal with the situation even if the number of infected cases continue to rise.

    Also Read: COVID19-Inform About Steps Taken, Testing Facilities, Availability Of Oxygen Cylinders, Remdesivir Injection Etc: AP High Court To State

    22. Andhra Pradesh High Court Expresses Dissatisfaction Over Covid-19 Management In State

    In May, the High Court expressed deep dissatisfaction at the manner in which the authorities were handling the Covid-19 situation in the State. "There should be every attempt by the State to make sure that these pivotal aspects, which go a long way in management of Covid-19, are seriously addressed and deficiencies are immediately rectified for the effective functioning of the system," it observed.

    23. Excessive Fees Charged By Private Hospitals From COVID19 Patients: Andhra Pradesh High Court Orders Payment Be Made Through Nodal Officers To Keep A Check

    In May, the High Court directed the State Government to work out modalities for payment of private hospital bills of Covid-19 patients through a Nodal Officer, in order to avoid exorbitant charges being levied by them. It agreed with a suggestion that instead of paying the money directly at the counter of the Hospital, the same can be routed through the Nodal Officer/Help Desk Manager, so that in case of excess billings, the same can be checked at that stage itself.

    24. Centre's Allocation Not Sufficient To Treat Black Fungus Patients: Andhra Pradesh High Court Seeks Centre's Response

    In June, the High Court observed that Liposomal Amphotericin B allocated by the Centre to the State is not sufficient to treat the patients of black fungus. It thus sought Central Government's response with regards to its allocation to different States based on the patient load. It also requested the State Government to start awareness campaigns highlighting the cause, effect and preventive measures to be taken to tackle Mucormycosis or black fungus disease.

    Also Read: Andhra Pradesh HC Seeks Centre's Response On Supply Of Amphotericin B Injections, Establishment Of PSA Units

    25. 'Is There Any Definite Pattern Of Spread?': Andhra Pradesh High Court Asks State To List Reasons For Rise In Covid-19 Cases In 3 Districts

    In July, the Court took note of the rise in Covid-19 cases in three particular districts of the State, namely- East Godavari, West Godavari and Chittoor and sought State Government's response on the same. A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice Ninala Jayasurya ordered the authorities to present district wise positivity rate in the State to indicate if there is any definite pattern causing the spread.

    25. Decongestion Of Prisons- Release All Convicts, Undertrial Prisoners Re-admitted In Prions On Interim Bail: Andhra Pradesh HC

    In view of the recommendations made by the High Powered Committee amid Covid-19 pandemic, the High Court directed that all convicts and Undertrial prisoners to be released on interim bail of 90 days who were readmitted to prisons after their release on interim bails last year, unless disqualified.

    A division bench comprising of Justice C Praveen Kumar and Justice Lalitha Kanneganti also directed the release of other convicts and Undertrial prisoners who are in custody for offences punishable with imprisonment of 7 years or less and are duly qualified for the release in terms of the HPC's resolution of last year. However, the exception in such cases shall be those are either second offender or the ones facing trial for sec. 376 of IPC and POCSO Act.


    26. Are Tobacco Products 'Food' Under Food Safety Act? Andhra Pradesh High Court Refers Issue To Division Bench [Dasa Shekar v. State of Andhra Pradesh]

    The High Court referred to division bench the issue whether tobacco products can be considered as 'food' under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. Justice R. Raghunandan Rao, while considering a batch of writ petitions disagreed with earlier single bench view that Chewing Tobacco, Pan Masala and khaini cannot be treated, under the Food Safety Act, as food, and as such, the provisions of the Food Safety Act would not apply to these tobacco products.

    The tobacco products, viz., Chewing Tobacco, Pan Masala or any chewing material having tobacco as one of its ingredients (by whatever name called), Gutka and Tooth Powder containing tobacco would have to be construed as food, the judge opined referring to two Supreme Court judgments in Pyarali K. Tejani v. Mahadeo Ramchandra Dange and Godawat Pan Masala Products I.P. Limited, v. Union of India. However, taking note of the opposite view taken in an earlier single bench judgment, the judge referred these cases to division bench.

    Pending Cases

    27. AP High Court Adjourns Cases Against 'Three Capitals' Laws, Takes Note Of Bill To Repeal Contentious Laws

    The High Court adjourned the hearing in a clutch of writ petitions challenging the AP Decentralisation & Inclusive Development of All Regions Act 2020 and Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development (Repeal) Act 2020.

    The Bench of Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra, Justices M. Satyanarayana Murthy and D. VSS Somayajulu adjourned the hearing after taking note of a Bill, passed by the state legislature which aims to repeal the earlier laws made by the state legislature paving way for the 'three capitals' plan for the state.

    Importantly, the counsels appearing for the parties addressed the Court as to whether the writ petitions have become infructuous or only some of the reliefs claimed therein have been rendered infructuous by virtue of passing of the Bill. Having heard them, the Court was of the considered view that until the Bill receives the assent of the Governor, the issue concerning the survival of the writ petitions as a whole or in part, cannot be adjudged.

    28. PIL Seeking Optical Fiber Network, IT Infra. For District Courts: Andhra Pradesh High Court Seeks Centre, State Govt. Response

    The Bench of Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice Ninala Jayasurya sought Central and State Governments' response on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) Petition which seeks dedicated optical fiber network with supporting IT infrastructure for the District and Mofussil courts. As per the High Court website, the case was last listed on October 29 and was adjourned at the Petitioner's request.

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