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Delhi High Court: Annual Digest 2021

Nupur Thapliyal & Akshita Saxena
24 Dec 2021 11:26 AM GMT
Delhi High Court: Annual Digest 2021
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As the year 2021 is coming to an end, LiveLaw brings to you an yearly Round-up of important updates of the Delhi High Court. This yearly digest includes 180 orders and judgments, divided into 25 different subject heads.Criminal Law1. Commuting Life Sentence: Consent Of Central Govt. Mandatory U/S 435 CrPC, But Centre Can't Deny It Without Application Of Mind [Kartik Subramaniam...

As the year 2021 is coming to an end, LiveLaw brings to you an yearly Round-up of important updates of the Delhi High Court. This yearly digest includes 180 orders and judgments, divided into 25 different subject heads.

Criminal Law

1. Commuting Life Sentence: Consent Of Central Govt. Mandatory U/S 435 CrPC, But Centre Can't Deny It Without Application Of Mind [Kartik Subramaniam v. Union of India]

The High Court held that "consent" of the Central Government is a pre-requisite for premature release of a prisoner under Section 435 of CrPC.

The provision prohibits the State Government to exercise powers conferred under Sections 432 (Power to suspend or remit sentences) and 433 (Power to commute sentence) of the CrPC in certain cases where the investigation was conducted by the Delhi Special Police Establishment constituted under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, or by any other agency empowered to investigate into an offence under any Central Act other than, except after 'consultation' with the Central Government.

2. Delhi High Court Upholds Conviction U/S 377 IPC; Sets Out Ingredients Of 'Carnal Intercourse Against Order Of Nature' [Kamal v. State]

The High Court observed that any physical act answering to all the ingredients below committed upon a minor is per-se 'carnal intercourse against the order of nature' appearing in section 377 of IPC:

i. it must have to do with flesh and sensuality, namely it must be carnal;

ii. there must be intercourse between individuals, without restricting it only to human-to-human intercourse;

iii. it must involve penetration other than penile-vaginal penetration, since by the very nature, intent and purpose of section 377, it must refer to an unnatural act, such as 'penile-anal penetration', 'digital penetration' or 'object penetration'.

3. Arrest On Mere Allegations Has Potential To Destroy Reputation Of An Individual, Necessary To Apply Great Care At Pre-Conviction Stage: Delhi HC [Radhe Shyam v. State]

The High Court observed that the arrest of a person based on mere allegations has the potential to destroy his reputation and thus it is necessary to apply great care while dealing with arrest at a pre-conviction stage.

The Court observed so while granting anticipatory bail to one Radhe Shyam in an FIR filed by a woman working in the HR department of his company alleging that he induced and pressurize her and other female employees to have physical relations with him.

4. Non Recovery Of Weapon Is No Ground For Not Framing Charges Under Robbery Or Dacoity Under Section 397 Of IPC: Delhi High Court [State v. Hassan Ahmed]

The High Court observed that the fact that a weapon has not been recovered is no ground for not framing charges under Section 397 IPC which provides for the offence of committing robbery, or dacoity with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt to a person.

It added that the effect of non recovery of the weapon would be seen only in the trial and the same cannot be a reason for not framing charges under Section 397 IPC.

5. At The Time Of Framing Of Charges, Accused Can Bring To Court's Notice About Relevancy Of Document Kept Back By Investigating Agency : Delhi HC [CBI v. M/S INX Media Pvt Ltd. & Ors.]

The High Court observed that at the time of framing of charge, an accused can bring to the notice of the Court that an unrelied document recovered during the course of investigation and kept back by the investigating agency is relevant and has a bearing on the prosecution case. Since the accused can exercise such right only if he is aware of the existence of the document, he should have the right to access and inspect the documents collected by the investigating agency.

6. Economic Offences Corrode Fabric Of Democracy, Against National Economy And National Interest: Delhi High Court [Umesh Verma v. State]

The High Court observed that economic offences corrode the fabric of democracy and are against the national economy and national interest of the Country where innocent investors are duped of their hard earned money.

The observation came while the Court denied bail to a man accused in a crypto currency chit fund scam for allegedly inducing people to invest in the crypto currency in his firm on the assurance of high return upto 20-30% per month.

7. Damocles Sword Can't Be Hanged Over Accused's Head Merely On Assumption That Proceeds Of Crime May Be Higher: Delhi High Court [Ankit Agarwal v. ED]

The High Court observed that while considering bail, damocles sword cannot be allowed to hang over the accused's head merely on the assumption that the proceeds of crime may be higher.

The Court observed so while granting anticipatory bail to a man in connection with a money laundering case registered by the Enforcement Directorate, related to the alleged fertilizers scam.

8. Trial Court's Direction Of Obtaining Fresh Blood Sample Of Accused Does Not Amount To Further Investigation: Delhi High Court [Ramu Udagar Mahto v. State]

The High Court observed that a Trial Court's direction of obtaining fresh blood sample of an accused does not amount to further investigation or fresh investigation within the meaning of sec. 173(8) Cr.P.C.

The Court was dealing with a Petition filed by a man, accused of committing unnatural sex with a 4 year old minor child, challenging a Special POCSO Court's order directing that he and child victim be medically examined in order to obtain their fresh blood samples.

9. Expenses Borne By Prosecutrix During Live In Relationship Would Not Constitute Criminal Offence: Delhi High Court [Rahul Kushwaha v. State]

The High Court observed that in a live-in relationship where both partners are living together, it would not be a criminal offence in case expenses are borne by the prosecutrix or by both the partners.

"In a live-in relationship where both the partners are living together, it is not that only one partner has to bear the expenses and in case expenses are born by the prosecutrix or both bear the expenses, the same would not be a criminal offence," the Court observed.

10. Magistrate May Permit Officer Below Rank Of Inspector To Assist IO In Investigation Under Prevention Of Corruption Act: Delhi High Court [CBI v. Bhushan Power and Steel Limited & Ors.]

The High Court held that a special judge under the Prevention of Corruption Act is empowered to permit an officer below the rank of Inspector to assist the Investigating Officer in investigation.

It added that the steps taken by such an officer have to be performed under direct supervision of the Investigation Officer, who remains in control of the investigation. The Court also clarified that the IO shall be responsible for all the steps that are taken by the subordinate officer.

11. Convict Not Entitled To Remission While Undergoing Sentence In Default Of Payment Of Fine Delhi High Court [Virender v. State]

The High Court held that a convict is not entitled to remission of sentence while he is undergoing sentence in default of payment of fine under the scheme of Delhi Prison Rules.

It also observed that the grant of emergency parole for release of prisoners as per the Delhi Government's notification, was in the nature of remission of sentence being undergone and not mere suspension of the sentence as in case of parole.

12. Delhi High Court Issues Guidelines For Declaring Persons As Proclaimed Offenders & Their Early Apprehension [Sunil Tyagi v. GNCTD]

The High Court issued detailed guidelines to be followed while declaring a person as a Proclaimed Offender so as to ensure that the process under sec. 82 and 83 of CrPC is not issued in a routine manner and due process of law is followed.

The directions also state detailed mechanism for early apprehension of such proclaimed offenders including a direction that a Digital Surveillance System shall be placed by the Delhi Police by giving access to specific departments for tracking such proclaimed offenders.

13. 'Proclaimed Offender' Declaration Under Section 82(4) CrPC Cannot Be Made Against Person Accused Of Sections 406, 420 IPC : Delhi High Court [Arun Kumar Parihar v. State]

The High Court held that a person accused of offences under Section 406(criminal breach of trust), 420(cheating) and 120B(criminal conspiracy) under the Indian Penal Code(IPC) cannot be declared as a 'proclaimed offender' under Section 82(4) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Court held that such a declaration can be made only against persons accused of the offences specified under Section 82(4), which are Sections 302, 304, 364, 367, 382, 392, 393, 394, 395, 396, 397, 398, 399, 400, 402, 436, 449, 459 or 460 of IPC.

14. It Is Now Becoming A Trend To Register FIRs Alleging Sexual Harassment Cases To Force a Party To Withdraw Complaint Or To Arm Twist A Party: Delhi HC [Laishram Premila Devi & Ors. v. State]

Ruling that time has come to initiate action against persons who file frivolous complaints under Sections 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D IPC etc. only for an ulterior purpose, the High Court imposed a cost of Rs.30,000 on the petitioners with a warning not to file false and frivolous cases.

The Court sternly remarked that it is now becoming a trend to register FIRs alleging offences under Sections 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D IPC either to force a party from withdrawing a complaint instituted against them or to arm-twist a party.

15. Delhi High Court Issues Directions For Revamping Security Arrangements In City Court Complexes, Appreciates Efforts Of Police And Central Paramilitary Forces [Court on its own motion v. Commissioner of Police & Ors.]

The High Court issued a slew of directions concerning the safety and security of the city courts complexes and also for the purpose of reviewing and revamping its security arrangements.

Dealing with a suo moto case registered following the gun firing incident at Rohini District, the Court directed that the Commissioner of Police, Delhi shall constitute a team of experts to undertake the exercise of security audit of Delhi High Court Complex as well as all the District Court Complexes at Delhi.

It also directed that the team so constituted would take a considered decision on the various security-related aspects such as number of police personnel required to be deployed, number of CCTV cameras to be installed, etc.

16. Mere Recovery Of Stridhan Can't Be Sole Ground For Arresting A Person For Offences U/S 498A, 406 IPC: Delhi High Court [Pooran Singh v. State]

The High Court observed that the mere fact that recovery of Istridhan is to be made from a person cannot be the sole ground for arresting him for offences under Sections 498-A (related to dowry demand) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC. Justice Subramonium Prasad observed that in such cases, police are empowered under CrPC to conduct searches of premises of the accused.

17. Victim Compensation Scheme: Delhi HC Seeks Measures To Address Default In Sharing Data With DSLSA Apropos FIRs Pertaining To Sexual Offences [Umesh v. State (and other connected matters)]

The High Court sought to streamline the process of supplying FIRs pertaining to commission of sexual offences to the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) for the purposes of granting interim compensation to the victims. The development ensued in the Court of Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri, in a case where no interim compensation was granted to a victim of sexual assault.

The Bench was informed that at the time of sharing details with DSLSA, the FIR in the present case was registered under Section 363 (kidnapping) IPC however, subsequently Sections 376 (rape), 506 (criminal intimidation) IPC and Section 6 of the POCSO Act were added, which fact never came to the notice of DSLSA and for that reason steps for considering the prosecutrix's case for interim compensation could not be taken.

Keeping in view that such default in sharing of data apropos is recurring in nature, the Bench had sought measures to ensure that no victim is left without compensation/counseling .

Constitutional Freedoms and Important Rights

1. Right To Access To Drinking Water Is A Fundamental Right And It Is The Duty Of State Under Article 21 To Provide It To Citizens:Delhi High Court [Delhi Sainik Cooperation Housing Building Society Ltd. v. Union of India & Ors.]

The High Court held that right to access to drinking water is fundamental to life and there is a duty of the State under Article 21 of the Constitution to provide clean drinking water to its citizens

The Court while dealing with a petition filed by 53 retired army veterans for regularization of Defence Service Enclave, which is considered by the Delhi Government as an unauthorized colony, directed the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Urban Planning and GNCTD to convene a meeting for taking appropriate decision in dealing with the status of the said colony within 4 months. The bench also held that the petitioners cannot be denied basic facilities including the right to access drinking water merely on the ground that they reside in unauthorized colony.

2. [Disha Ravi Tool Kit Case] Media Cannot Disseminate Information In Sensationalized Manner: Delhi HC To Channel Editors, Directs Disha Not To Malign Police [Disha A. Ravi v. State]

The High Court held that the coverage of the Toolkit case definitely shows there is sensationalized reporting by the media. It directed editors of Times Now, India Today and News18 channel editors to ensure that proper editorial control is exercised while disseminating information to ensure investigation is not hampered.

The observation was made while hearing the plea filed by Activist Disha Ravi seeking action against India Today, Times Now and News 18 for violative reporting in the Toolkit Case by allegedly running "one-sided" reports.

3. "Right Of A Person In Detention To Consult Lawyer Of His Choice Is A Constitutional Right, State Can't Dilute It": Delhi HC Grants Relief To Shifa Ur Rehman [Shifa Ur Rehman v. NCT of Delhi]

Observing that it is the constitutional right of a person in detention to consult with the lawyer of his choice which cannot be diluted by the State, the High Court granted relief to Shifa Ur Rehman, President of the Alumni Association of the Jamia Milia Islamia, arrested charged under UAPA in connection with the Delhi Riots that broke out in the national capital last year.

"This Court is unable to accept that in such cases, it is permissible to not comply with the principles of natural justice on the ground that even if same were complied with, it would serve no useful purpose. The right of a person in detention to consult a legal practitioner of his choice is a right guaranteed by the Constitution of India and it is not open for the State to dilute this constitutional on the ground that no purpose would have been served even if such consultation is permitted," the Court said.

4. Right To Be Forgotten- Delhi High Court Directs Google, Indian Kanoon To Remove/Block Judgment Of American Citizen Acquitted In NDPS Case [Jorawer Singh Mundy v. Union of India]

In a case involving the question of Right to Privacy of a person and Right to Information of public and maintenance of transparency in judicial records, the High Court granted interim protection to an American Citizen of Indian origin by directing Indian Kanoon to block the judgement of his acquittal under NDPS Act from being accessed by using search engines such as Google/Yahoo etc.

"It is the admitted position that the Petitioner was ultimately acquitted of the said charges in the case levelled against him. Owing to the irreparable prejudice which may be caused to the Petitioner, his social life and his career prospects, inspite of the Petitioner having ultimately been acquitted in the said case via the said judgment, prima facie this Court is of the opinion that the Petitioner is entitled to some interim protection, while the legal issues are pending adjudication by this Court," the Court observed.

5. "In Its Anxiety To Suppress Dissent, In The Mind Of State, Line Between Right To Protest And Terrorist Activity Seems To Be Getting Blurred": Delhi HC In Natasha Narwal's Bail Order [Natasha Narwal v. State]

"We are constrained to express, that it seems, that in its anxiety to suppress dissent, in the mind of the State, the line between the constitutionally guaranteed right to protest and terrorist activity seems to be getting somewhat blurred" observed the High Court while granting bail to Natasha Narwal in the Delhi Riots larger conspiracy case involving sections under the UAPA.

The Court also observed that "If this mindset gains traction, it would be a sad day for democracy."

6. "Street Dogs Have Right To Food And Citizens Have Right To Feed Them Without Impinging Upon The Rights Of Others: Delhi High Court [Dr. Maya D. Chablani v. Radha Mittal & Ors.]

Observing that Street dogs have a right to food and citizens have a right to feed them, the High Court issued a set of guidelines for feeding and treatment of community dogs after holding that every dog is a territorial being.

The Court observed, "Community dogs (stray/street dogs) have the right to food and citizens have the right to feed community dogs but in exercising this right, care and caution should be taken to ensure that it does not impinge upon the rights of others or cause any harm, hindrance, harassment and nuisance to other individuals or members of the society."

7. 'Entitled To Right To Be Forgotten & Protection From Invasion Of Privacy': Delhi High Court Grants Interim Relief To Bengali Actress [X v. https://www.youtube.com/watch?V=IQ6K5Z3ZYS0 & Ors.]

Citing the right to be forgotten and entitlement to protection of privacy from invasion by strangers, the High Court granted interim relief to a Bengali actress, seeking restraint on publication and streaming of her naked videos on various online platforms including YouTube.

8. Dissent & Right To Protest Fundamental For Democratic Polity; Sole Act Of Protesting Must Not Be Employed As A Weapon To Justify Incarceration Of Protestors: Delhi High Court [Tabassum v. State]

"…the sole act of protesting should not be employed as a weapon to justify the incarceration of those who are exercising this right," observed the High Court as it granted bail to five accused booked in connection with the murder of Head Constable Ratan Lal and causing head injuries to a DCP during the North-East Delhi riots that rocked the national capital last year.

"It is the Constitutional duty of the Court to ensure that there is no arbitrary deprivation of personal liberty in the face of excess of State power," the Court added.

9. "Right Of Access To Justice Gravely Hampered Due To Pandemic; Take Expeditious Steps For Hybrid Courts Infrastructure": High Court To Delhi Govt [Anil Kumar Hajelay & Ors. v. High Court Of Delhi]

Observing that citizens' right of access to justice has been gravely hampered due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the High Court directed the Delhi Government to take expeditious steps for providing infrastructure and other facilities for hybrid hearings in district courts and quasi-judicial bodies in the national capital.

"This is a bullet that they would have to bite. In our view, it is only the matter of prioritizing the expenditure that government has to incur on several of its activities. We are mindful of the fact that there is a huge ambit of expenditure in not only providing subsidies but also on advertising. The expenditure that the present proposal requires would only be a fraction of the same," observed the bench.

10. "Individual Liberty Cannot Be Misused In A Manner That Threatens Fabric Of Society By Attempting To Destabilise It, Cause Hurt"- Delhi HC In Riots Case []Md. Ibrahim v. State

While denying bail to Mohd. Ibrahim in Head Constable Ratan Lal Murder Case during the North East Delhi riots, the High Court observed that individual liberty cannot be misused in a way that it threatens the fabric of society by attempting to destabilize it or cause hurt to others.

The Court made the observation while passing order in connection with murder of Head Constable Ratan Lal and causing head injuries to a DCP during the North-East Delhi riots that rocked the national capital last year. (FIR 60/2020 PS DayalPur).

11. Freedom Of Movement A Constitutional Guarantee, Should Not Be Hemmed-In By Lack Of Requisite Civil Amenities: Delhi High Court [Bhavreen Kandhari v. Gyanesh Bharti & Ors]

The High Court observed that the constitutional guarantee of citizens' freedom of movement as enshrined in the Constitution should not be hemmed in by the lack of civic amenities.

"While freedom of movement is a constitutional guarantee, it should not be hemmed-in by the lack of requisite civic amenities. Citizens need to be empowered and facilitated in the enjoyment of their constitutional rights, for which provision of basic civic amenities is essential, like a safe and secure neighbourhood, tree-lined avenues and footpaths, where an endeavour of a leisurely stroll is actually a pleasurable exercise and not an obstacle-dodging, harrowing experience," the Court said.

12. Unreasonable Denial Of Employee's Inter Cadre Transfer Request By State Impinges Upon Right To Demand Respect For Family Life: Delhi HC [Lakshmi Bhavya Tanneeru v. Union Of India & Ors.]

The High Court observed that unreasonable denial of an employee's request seeking inter cadre transfer by the State impinges upon such person's right to demand respect for her or his family life.

"We have no doubt that the right to meaningful family life, which allows a person to live a fulfilling life and helps in retaining her/his physical, psychological and emotional integrity would find a place in the four corners of Article 21 of the Constitution of India2. Therefore, when the State unreasonably denies a request of an employee [in this case, the petitioner] seeking inter-cadre transfer, it impinges upon such person's right to demand respect for her/his family life," the Court observed.

13. ''Intellectual Freedom Can't Be Stifled Merely Because View Expressed Is Disagreeable To Some" : Delhi HC While Refusing To Ban Salman Khurshid's Book [Vineet Jindal v. Union of India & Ors.]

"The freedom to freely express ideas and opinions cannot be permitted to be overshadowed by the ominous cloud of being non-conformist," said the High Court while dismissing a plea seeking directions to stop the publication and sale of the book "Sunrise Over Ayodhya" written by Congress Leader and Former Union Minister Salman Khurshid.

The Court observed that the right to dissent or to have and express a contrarian view with respect to current affairs or historical events are the essence of a vibrant democracy.

14. 'Many Food Articles Having Ingredients Sourced From Animals Are Passed Off As Veg': Delhi HC Orders Full Disclosure Of Manufacturing Ingredients [Ram Gaua Raksha Dal v. Union of India]

Observing that many food articles which have ingredients sourced from animals are passed off as vegetarian by affixing the green dot, the High Court directed that there should be full and complete disclosure of all the ingredients which go into the manufacture of any food article.

"Every person has a right to know as to what he/ she is consuming," said the Court. It added, "Even though their usage may constitute a miniscule percentage, the use of non-vegetarian ingredients would render such food articles non-vegetarian, and would offend the religious and cultural sensibilities/ sentiments of strict vegetarians, and would interfere in their right to freely profess, practice and propagate their religion and belief."

15. "Let No One Repeat Tragic Last Words 'I Can't Breathe' Like George Floyd": Delhi High Court On Police Assault [Md. Areeb Umar v. NCT of Delhi]

The High Court significant observations on incidents of police brutality, saying that the same is violative of citizens' rights and may often lead to untoward incidents.

Hearing the case of two men assaulted by the officers of Delhi Police, the Court also made a reference to the unfortunate case of African American man, George Floyd, who was killed last during arrest, as a result of asphyxiation which had been brought on by the act of Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pressing his knee to Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, despite Floyd repeatedly saying, "I can't breathe".

16. 'State Duty Bound To See That Private Colleges Can Survive': Delhi High Court On Vacant Diploma Seats Due To Early Counselling In Govt Colleges [Aditya Institute of Technology v. GNCTD]

The High Court expressed concern over the plight of private colleges offering diploma courses, whose seats are going vacant due to segregation of counselling process in Government Run Institutes and Self Financed Private Institutes. Noting that more than 50% seats of the private litigant in appeal were vacant as the counselling in Government Run Institutes was over in October, 2021 and aspiring students had already taken admission thereof, the Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh orally told the government counsel, "When you are permitting them (private colleges) to open up, then it is your duty to see that these institutions can survive; can generate employment, impart education. If you are taking away most students by holding separate counselling, how will they…This is your creation! They are not foreigners or terrorists. You should have treated them at par with government colleges for giving admissions…"

Constitutional Law

1. IGST Imposition On Import of Oxygen Concentrators As Gift For Personal Use Unconstitutional: Delhi High Court [Gurucharan Singh v. Ministry of Finance]

The High Court held that the imposition of IGST on the import of oxygen concentrators by individuals for personal use is unconstitutional. The Court had reserved order in the a 85 year old's plea challenging the levy of IGST on the import of oxygen generators as gift for personal use to India.

The petitioner challenged a notification dated 01.05.2021 issued by the Ministry of Finance stating that it would force payment of IGST of 12% on the oxygen concentrator, which was accordingly quashed by the High Court.

Also Read: "This Is A George Floyd Moment For Citizens Of This Country": Delhi HC Strikes Down IGST Imposition On Oxygen Concentrators Imported By Individuals

2. World Bank Not A Govt Agency Within Article 12 Of Constitution: Delhi High Court [A2Z Infraservices Ltd & Anr. v. NDMC]

The High Court held that the World Bank is not a 'Government agency' for the purposes of Article 12 of the Constitution, which defines "State" and "other authorities".

It also observed that to be a government agency, a body must be under "pervasive and actual control" of the Government of India. It also observed that the principle of Principal and Agent would be attracted in such a case

3. Rights Of Persons With Disability Act Not An Embargo On Exercise Of Parens Patriae Jurisdiction By HC Under Article 226: Delhi High Court [SD v. GNCTD]

The High Court held that the Rights of Persons With Disability Act, 2016 Act or the Rules framed thereunder do not create any embargo on the exercise of parens patriae jurisdiction by it under Article 226 of the Constitution.

"So long as the "wills and preferences" of the mentally ill person and the other factors set out in the rules are borne in mind by the Court exercising parens patriae jurisdiction, it cannot be held that the High Court exercising power under Article 226 is denuded of power in view of the provisions of the RPWD-2016 Act or the Rules thereunder," observed the Court.

4. State And It's Instrumentalities Obliged To Act As Model Employer, Employees' Welfare In Time When Jobs Are Difficult Form Crucial Ingredient In Decision Making Process: Delhi HC [Air India Ltd. v. Kanwardeep Singh Bamrah]

The High Court observed that the State and its instrumentalities are obliged to act as a model employer and cannot be seen to deprive the pilots of the right to serve the organization at a point in time when finding jobs in the private sector is a difficult proposition.

"The State and its instrumentalities are expected to look at myriad aspects and not just profits. Welfare of employees in times when jobs are difficult to come by should form a crucial ingredient of its decision making process. The State cannot be seen to cast off its social responsibility towards its employees and their families when it expects the private sector to bear that burden," the Court said.

Civil Law, Service Matters and Other Connected Issues

1. 'Defective, Vexatious' : Delhi High Court Dismisses Juhi Chawla's Civil Suit Against 5G Roll Out With Rs 20 Lakhs Cost [Juhi Chawla v. Science & Engineering Research Board & Ors.]

Imposing a heavy cost of Rupees 20 lakhs on actor Juhi Chawla , the High Court dismissed her civil suit against 5G Roll out as "defective and not maintainable"

"Vexatious allegations were made", the Court noted in the order. "It appears suit was filed for publicity. Juhi Chawla circulated link of the hearing on social media", the Court observed.

Also Read: Juhi Chawla Moves Delhi High Court Challenging Order Dismissing Her Suit Against 5G Roll Out With 20 Lakhs Cost

2. "Inordinate Delay Would Frustrate Decree Holders From Reaping Benefits": Delhi High Court Modifies Guidelines For Expediting Execution Of Decrees, Awards [M/S Bhandari Engineers & Builders Pvt Ltd v. M/S Maharia Raj Joint Venture & Ors.]

Observing that an inordinate delay would frustrate the decree holders from reaping benefits, the High Court modified the guidelines issued by it with regards to the execution of decrees and awards by directing the lower courts to expedite the proceedings within one year of their institution.

The Court observed thus: "Delays and difficulties in execution of decrees/awards erode public confidence and trust in the justice delivery system. Execution jurisdiction deserves special attention and expeditious disposal considering that the decree-holders have already succeeded in the litigation and hold a decree/award in their favour."

3. Annual Returns/FC-4 Form – "Can't Penalize Citizen For Discrepancy In Form Prescribed By Government": Delhi High Court [Arbor Charitable Foundation & Ors. v. Union Of India]

The High Court observed that a citizen cannot be penalized for a discrepancy in the form prescribed by the Government authorities resulting in the form being unable to be submitted even in the case of a law-abiding citizen.

The Court was hearing the plea of Arbor Charitable Foundation and others who are the recipients of foreign contributions in accordance with the protocol set out in the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 FCRA.

4. "Indian Society Becoming Homogenous, Traditional Barriers Of Religion Slowly Dissipating": Delhi High Court Bats For Uniform Civil Code [Satprakash Meena v. Alka Meena]

Observing that the hope expressed under Article 44 of the Constitution should not remain a 'mere hope', the High Court expressed the need for having a Uniform Civil Code after noting that the Indian society is gradually becoming homogenous while the traditional barriers are slowly disappearing.

It observed, "In modern Indian society which is gradually becoming homogenous, the traditional barriers of religion, community and caste are slowly dissipating. The youth of India belonging to various communities, tribes, castes or religions who solemnise their marriages ought not to be forced to struggle with issues arising due to conflicts in various personal laws, especially in relation to marriage and divorce."

5. Occurrence Of Cause Of Action Is A Determining Factor For Attracting Jurisdiction Of Courts Under CPC, Trademarks Act: Delhi High Court Reiterates [V Guard Industries Ltd. v. Sukan Raj Jain]

The High Court reiterated that the occurrence of cause of action at a place is a determining factor both under sec. 20 of the Code of Civil Procedure and sec. 134 of the Trade Marks Act to attract the jurisdiction of the Court at such place.

The Court observed thus:

"If under Section 20 CPC, jurisdiction of the Court is attracted by virtue of location of the defendant's place of business or from where the defendant is carrying on its business or working for gain, under Section 134 of the Trade Marks Act, it is the plaintiff's office location or from where he is carrying on business, is a material factor."

6. Banks Can't Force Mandatory Claim Period Of 1 Year For Bank Guarantees : Delhi High Court Interprets Exception 3 To Section 28 Contract Act [Larsen and Toubro Ltd & Anr. v. Punjab National Bank & Anr.]

In an important judgment, the High Court interpreted Exception 3 to Section 28 of the Indian Contract Act 1872 to hold that it does not deal with 'claim period' under Bank Guarantees. The Court held that this provision deal with the curtailment of the period for the creditor to approach the court or tribunal to enforce the rights under the bank guarantee.

"It is clear that Exception 3 to Section 28 of the Contract Act deals with curtailment of the period for the creditor to approach the court/tribunal to enforce his rights. It does not in any manner deal with the claim period within which the beneficiary is entitled to lodge his claim with the bank/guarantor", the Court held.

7. "No Adequate Infrastructure To Conduct VC Hearings": Delhi HC Issues Directions For Efficient Functioning Of Central Government Industrial Tribunal [Abdul Majid & Ors v. Employees State Insurance Corporation & Ors.]

Observing that the claims of workmen should not be adversely affected due to lack of infrastructure to hold virtual hearings in Central Government Industrial Tribunal, the High Court issued slew of directions in order to make the virtual hearing system in the Tribunal more efficient till the resumption of physical hearings.

8. Part-Time Vocational Teacher Entitled To Payment Of Gratuity, Act Draws No Distinction Between Categories Of Employees: Delhi High Court [Janardan Sharma v. GNCT of Delhi & Ors.]

The High Court observed that a part time vocational teacher working with the Delhi Government is entitled to gratuity under the Payment of Gratuity Act and that the said legislation draws no distinction between various categories of employees including a full time, ad hoc or a part time employee.

The Court was dealing with a petition filed by a man employed as a part time vocational in the banking course by Directorate of Education, Delhi Government in the year 1991.

9. No Litigant Can Assume As A Matter Of Right Court's Power To Condone Delay, Rights Accruing To Opposite Party Need To Be Kept In Mind: Delhi HC [Bharat Kalra v. Raj Kishan Chabra]

The High Court observed that no litigant can assume, as a matter of right, the Court's power to condone delay and that the rights accruing to opposite party on account of the delayed action also needs to be kept in mind while exercising such a power.

"While it is true that the power to condone delay is intended to advance substantive justice, nevertheless, procedure cannot be given a complete go by. The powers of the court to condone delay is to be used in appropriate cases. No litigant can assume that, as a matter of right, the delay in taking steps would be condoned, because procedure is the handmaiden of substantive justice," the Court observed.

10. CM Advocates' Welfare Scheme Has Laudable Objective But Its Applicability To Only Delhi Residents Is Discriminatory: Delhi High Court [Govind Swaroop Chaturvedi & Ors v. State of NCT of Delhi]

The High Court ruled that the benefits of the Chief Minister's Advocates' Welfare Scheme have to be extended to all advocates registered with the Bar Council of Delhi, and are residing in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Ruling thus, the Court observed that the CM's Advocates' Welfare Scheme has a laudable objective, however its condition that it would apply only to Delhi residents with Voter ID cars is discriminatory and arbitrary.

11. "Widowed Daughter Of Freedom Fighter Entitled To Benefit Of Pension Scheme As Dependent": Delhi High Court [Kolli Indira Kumari v. Union of India]

The High Court observed that a widowed daughter of a freedom fighter is entitled to benefit of the Pension Scheme namely Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, as a dependent while granting relief to a handicapped, mentally challenged and bed ridden woman.

The Court set aside the order dated 12th February 2020 communicated by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the petitioner woman rejecting her request in terms of para 5.2.5 of the revised policy guidelines which states that widowed / divorced daughter is not eligible for Pension.

12. Application For Condonation Of Delay Must Be Submitted With A Written Statement Filed Beyond 30 Days Of Issue Of Summons: Delhi High Court [M/s OK Play India Ltd. v. M/s AP Distributors & Anr.]

The High Court passed an order holding that a written statement filed after 30 days of service of summons but before the expiry of further 90 days must mandatorily be accompanied with a written application setting out the reasons for the delay.

This would allow the court to consider the reasons so given, to condone delay and receive the belated written statement giving reasons for granting such leave and enabling the court to impose appropriate costs, added the Court.

13. Bar U/S 8 Of Commercial Courts Act On Revision Application/ Petition Not Applicable To Petitions Under Article 227: Delhi High Court [Black Diamond Trackparts Pvt. v. Black Diamond Motors Pvt. Ltd.]

The High Court held that the bar provided under Section 8 of the Commercial Courts Act against entertaining revision application or petition against any interlocutory order of a Commercial Court, is not applicable to petitions under Article 227 of the Constitution of India.

It held that the jurisdiction and powers of the High Court in entertaining petition under Art. 227 cannot be affected by a statute framed by a legislature.

14. [CPC] Court May Grant Leave Under Order XI Rule 5 To File New Documents Not Filed With Plaint: Delhi High Court [Valo Automotive Pvt. Ltd. v. Sprint Cars Pvt Ltd.]

The High Court ruled that under Order XI Rule 5 of the Civil Procedure Code, the court can grant leave to the plaintiff to file documents that were not filed with the plaint.

The Court while observing so, allowed a petition that challenged the order of the Trial Court dismissing applications to place additional documents on record which were not initially produced when the plaint was filed.

15. Obligation On Banks, Financial Institutions To Maximize Value Of Borrowers' Securities While They Attempt To Minimize Their Losses: Delhi High Court [Pushpa Builders Ltd. Vaish Cooperative Adarsh Bank Ltd.]

In view of balancing the interests of stakeholders, the High Court held that there is an obligation on banks and financial institutions to maximize value of the securities furnished to them by borrowers while they attempt on minimizing their losses.

It also added that while the banks seek collaterals and securities to prevent their losses, it is reasonable to expect from them that they respect right of borrowers in order to maximize their profits from sale of such securities by banks.

16. "No Legal Right To An Award": Delhi HC Rejects CRPF Officer's Plea Challenging Denial Of Gallantry Award For Operation With Armed Naxals [Manjunath Gouli v. Union of India]

The High Court rejected a plea by a CRPF officer challenging the denial of grant of Police Medal for Gallantry Award for a 2019 operation between the force and armed Naxals. A Bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Navin Chawla dismissed the plea observing that the officer has no legal right to an award or a medal. "Further this Court in writ jurisdiction does not confer a gallantry award but it examines only the decision making process and at the highest can only direct the Respondents to consider the Petitioner's request for an award," it observed.

17. No Requirement For CMM To Fix Time Limit For Taking Possession Of Secured Asset While Exercising Jurisdiction Under Sec. 14 Of SARFAESI Act: Delhi HC [Housing Development Finance Corp Ltd. v. Rakesh Kumar & Ors.]

The High Court held that there is no requirement or justification for a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate to fix a time limit for taking possession of the secured asset while exercising jurisdiction under Section 14 of the SARFAESI Act. Justice Amit Bansal also held that in context of the proceedings initiated under the SARFAESI Act, an order passed in a civil suit instituted by a third party in respect of the mortgaged property or secured asset would not bind the secured creditor, if the said secured creditor was not a party to the Civil Suit.

18. Delhi High Court Calls For Implementation Of Guidelines Issued In Sujata Kohli Case For Promotion Of Judicial Officers [Sujit Saurabh v. High Court of Delhi]

The High Court called for expeditious implementation of guidelines for promotion of Judicial Officers in the city, set out by the High Court in the year 2018 in the case of Sujata Kohli v. Registrar General, High Court of Delhi. In order to inject greater uniformity, objectivity, transparency as well as predictability in the promotions of judicial officers, a Division Bench of the Delhi High Court had set out a 100-marks criterion for preparing their Annual Confidential Remark (ACR grading).

A civil appeal against the said order was dismissed by the Supreme Court last year, stating that the High Court had adopted a "reasonable and balanced" approach in implementing revised criteria for promotion from the Delhi Higher Judicial Services (DHJS).

19. Bank Employees Owe Larger Responsibility To Uphold Customers' Trust, Even Suspicion Of Fraud With Some Credibility Sufficient To Dismiss From Service: Delhi HC [Asst. General Manager SBI v. Ashok Kumar Bhatia]

The High Court has observed that the employees and officials working in banks have a larger responsibility of ensuring the integrity of the banking system and maintaining the trust of the millions of customers, who repose faith in them. "Even a suspicion or doubt, with some credibility or some evidence, would be sufficient to objectively uphold the dismissal from service," it observed.

Further remarking that the banking system is the backbone of any country's economy, Justice Pratibha M Singh said that once there is a loss of confidence, that too by a Bank qua one of its officials, the standard on which such loss of faith or confidence is to be tested cannot be a very high standard.

20. Delhi High Court Dismisses Woman's Plea Claiming To Be Heir Of Bahadur Shah Zafar II, Seeking Possession Of Red Fort [Sultana Begum v. Union of India]

The High Court dismissed a plea filed by one Sultana Begum, seeking possession of Red Fort, claiming herself to be the widow of the great grandson of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II. She alleged that its possession was taken away from her forcibly, by British East India Company in 1857. Justice Rekha Palli dismissed the petition on the ground of there being an inordinate delay in approaching the Court.

Bail Orders and Important Observations

1. 'Courts Must Play Doctor & Save Rights From Demise Before They Are Extinguished': Delhi HC Grants Bail To Man Incarcerated For 12 Yrs In 2008 Serial Blasts Case [Mohd. Hakim v. State]

The High Court granted bail to a man incarcerated as an undertrial for over 12 years in connection with 2008 serial blasts case after observing that Courts must play doctor and save constitutional rights from demise before they are extinguished.

The Court observed thus: "Courts must not play coroner and attend to legal or constitutional rights only after they are "dead‟. Instead we must play doctor, and save such rights from demise before they are extinguished."

"Courts should pro-actively step-in to protect such rights from being stifled and buried. If equity calls upon affected persons to be vigilant to protect their rights, then surely the courts must also be vigilant, and, to quote the Hon‟ble Supreme Court, act as sentinels on the qui vive when it comes to protecting constitutional and legal rights."

Also Read: 9 Years In Custody; Trial Not Complete : Delhi High Court Grants Bail To NDPS Accused; Says Process Becoming Punishment

2. Not Surrendering On Time When Granted Bail Last Year Cannot Be Reason To Deny Interim Bail Under HPC Guidelines: Delhi High Court [Court on its own v. State (GNCTD)]

Full Bench of the High Court observed that an applicant not surrendering on time when bail was granted last year cannot be a reason to deny interim bail under the High Powered Committee guidelines.

A full bench comprising of Justice Vipin Sanghi, Justice Rekha Palli and Justice Talwant Singh was also dealing with applications filed by various applicants seeking interim bail. "In our view, the consideration of the applicant not surrendering on time, when he was granted bail last year, cannot be a reason to deny him interim bail," the bench said while dealing with one of the applications.

3. "A Girl, Lady Of 23 Years Is Good Enough To Decide Right Or Wrong": Delhi HC Grants Bail To Man Accused Of Rape, Making Obscene Video [Mohit Aggarwal v. State]

"Three years prior to the year 2019, prosecutrix might have been 23 years of age and in the opinion of this Court, at the age of 23 years, a girl/lady is good enough to decide what is right or wrong" observed the High Court while granting bail to a man accused of rape and making obscene video and thereafter threatening the girl to make the video public.

4. "Why FIR Was Not Registered Immediately": Delhi High Court Grants Bail To Man Accused Of Raping 2 ½ years Old Child Citing 8 Hours Delay In Filing FIR [Shiv Chander v. NCT of Delhi]

The High Court granted bail to a man accused of raping a minor girl aged two and a half years, citing 8 hours delay in filing of FIR.

"The prosecutrix being 2 ½ years old, due to which her statement was not recorded, however, without commenting on the merits of the prosecution case and keeping in view the fact that there is a delay of 8 hours in registration of FIR, I am of the view that the petitioner deserves bail," the order stated.

5. No Further Extension Of Interim Bails By District Courts, Closes Suo Moto Extension Of Interim Orders Plea: Delhi High Court [Court on its own motion v. State (GNCTD)]

The High Court disposed of its plea concerning the suo moto petition registered on the extension of interim orders in all matters pending before it and subordinate Courts including interim bails.

Modifying it's order dated 20th April, 2021, a full bench directed that the interim bails granted by the district courts shall not be further extended under the orders of the High Court.

6. Delhi High Court Orders Release Of Child In Conflict With Law, Incarcerated In Observation Home Despite Bail [DCPCR v. GNCTD & Ors.]

The High Court directed the release of a child in conflict with law who was incarcerated in an observation home despite an order passed by the Juvenile Justice Board granting him bail. The Court's order is subject to furnishing of bail bond. Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh was dealing with a habeas corpus petition moved by Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) stating that the child in conflict with law aged 16 years was taken into custody in October this year and was in custody for about 7 weeks.

It was the case of the DCPCR that the child in conflict with law was granted bail by the JJ Board under Section 12 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015 vide order dated November 29, 2021. However, it was stated that the child was not released till date for want of fulfilment of bail conditions.

Advocate Vrinda Grover appearing on behalf of DCPCR referred to sec. 12(4) of the Juvenile Justice Act which states that when a child in conflict with law is unable to fulfil the conditions of bail order within seven days, such child shall be produced before the Board for modification of the conditions of bail.

Delhi Riots: Bail Orders and Other Developments

1. Delhi Riots- As Per CDR Details He Was Not Even In The Vicinity Of Violence Affected Area : Delhi HC Grants Bail To Riots Accused [Mohd. Danish v. State (NCT Of Delhi)]

Noting that as per the CDR details of the petitioner, he was not even in the vicinity of the violence-affected area on the date of the incident, the High Court granted regular bail to a Cab Driver named Mohd. Danish. It was alleged that Danish was actively involved in riots and was identified by the witnesses Ct. Sunil and Ct. Gyan of PS Dayalpur. Further, it was argued that It is a case of the murder of one public servant while performing his official duties, Danish actively participated in the riots and as a part of unlawful assembly, he is responsible for the act too.

2. Delhi High Court Relies On Ravish Kumar's NDTV Video While Granting Bail To 3 Riots Accused [Junaid v. State]

A video shown by journalist Ravish Kumar during a prime time show in NDTV news channel came to the rescue of three persons who were jailed in a Delhi riots case.

The High Court relied on the Ravish Kumar's video while observing that "there is no evidence whatsoever, either direct or circumstantial or forensic", against three persons - Junaid, Chand Mohammed and Irshad- who were accused of killing one Shahid during the Delhi riots of February 2020. The petitioners were under custody since April 1, 2020.

3. Delhi Riots: Hard To Believe A Communal Riot Used To Cause Death Of Person Of Their Own Community: Delhi HC Grants Bail To 3 Men Arrested In Shahid Murder Case [Junaid v. State]

The High Court granted bail to three accused persons namely Junaid, Chand Mohd. and Irshad arrested for killing one Shahid who had sustained gunshot injury on 24th February 2020 during the Delhi Riots. Delhi Police had effected the arrest under FIR No. 84/2020 registered at Dayal Pur Police Station.

4. Delhi High Court Rejects Bail Plea Of Delhi Riots Accused Shahrukh Pathan - Accused Of Firing Shots At A Head Constable [Shahrukh Pathan alias Khan v. State of NCT of Delhi]

The High Court rejected the bail application of a Delhi riots-accused, Shahrukh Pathan Khan, who faces charges of firing shots at a Head Constable of the Delhi Police in Jaffarabad in the Delhi Riots 2020 violence.

Placing reliance upon the video footages produced by the police as evidence, the court said, "The video clipping and pictures played before this Court have shaken the conscience of this Court how petitioner could take law and order in his hands."

5. "His Identification Before Trial Court And This Court Is At Variance": Delhi High Court Grants Bail To Riots Accused [Mohd. Mansoor v. State of NCT of Delhi]

Observing that the prosecution's assertions prima facie brings its case under cloud, the High Court granted bail to a riots accused namely Mohd. Mansoor after opining that his identification before the Trial Court and the High Court was at variance.

6. Delhi High Court Interim Grants Bail To Pinjra Tod Activist Natasha Narwal To Perform Last Rites Of Her Father [Natasha Narwal v. State of Delhi NCT]

The High Court granted three weeks' interim bail to Pinjra Tod activist Natasha Narwal, to enable her to perform the last rites of her father who passed away in Rohtak last night.

The Court noted that there is nobody else in the family to perform the cremation and last rites and that her father's body is waiting in the hospital to be accepted.

7. Delhi High Court Grants Bail To Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal And Asif Iqbal Tanha in Delhi Riots case [Asif Iqbal Tanha v. State (and other connected matters)]

The High Court allowed bail to Asif Iqbal Tanha and Pinjra Tod activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita in the Delhi riots larger conspiracy case under UAPA.

Bail was subject to personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two local sureties. Conditions for bail include the three surrendering their passports and not indulging in activities that would hamper the case.

8. Vague Evidence & General Allegations Not Sufficient To Invoke 149 R/W 302 IPC: High Court Grants Bail To Five Accused In Head Constable Ratan Lal Murder Case [Md. Arif v. State]

The High Court granted bail to five accused in connection with murder of Head Constable Ratan Lal and causing head injuries to a DCP during the North-East Delhi riots that rocked the national capital last year. (FIR 60/2020 PS DayalPur)

The Court passed the order after reserving it last month. The Court heard at length various counsels appearing on behalf of the accused persons along with ASG SV Raju and Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad appearing for prosecution.

9. "Injury Not By Gun But By Stone": Delhi High Court Grants Bail To Two Men Accused Of Firing Bullets In Riots Case [Shiva, Nitin v. State]

The High Court granted bail to two men namely Shiva and Nitin accused of allegedly firing bullets during the North East Delhi riots.

The Court granted bail to the two, who were also declared as proclaimed offenders, after observing that the injury received to one Azim was not by a gunshot but by a stone.

10. Delhi Riots- High Court Grants Bail To Two Accused In Head Constable Ratan Lal Murder Case, Bail Denied To Other Two [Irshad Ali v. State]

The High Court granted bail to Shahnawaz and Mohd Ayyub in connection with murder of Head Constable Ratan Lal and causing head injuries to a DCP during the North-East Delhi riots that rocked the national capital last year. (FIR 60/2020 PS DayalPur). However the Court has rejected the bail pleas of Sadiq and Irshad Ali in the case.

11. Delhi Riots: High Court Denies Bail To One In Rahul Solanki Murder Case [Sirazuddin v. State]

The High Court denied bail to Sirazuddin in connection with the case concerning murder of one Rahul Solanki, who died after being shot during the North East Delhi riots last year.

The Court rejected Sirazuddin's bail plea after opining that he was seen as a part of the mob carrying a danda, as per the video footages available on record.

12. Delhi Riots- "CCTV Footage In Itself Not Sufficient To Prolong Incarceration": Delhi HC Grants Bail To Man In Jail For 17 Months [Mohd. Saleem Khan v. State of NCT Delhi]

The High Court  granted bail to a man in the Head Constable Ratan Lal Murder Case (during the Delhi Riots) underscoring that he had been in jail for 17 months and that it is against the principles enshrined in the Constitution to allow an accused to remain languishing behind bars during the pendency of the trial.

The Court granted bail to one Mohd. Saleem Khan in connection with the murder of Head Constable Ratan Lal and causing head injuries to a DCP during the North-East Delhi riots that rocked the national capital last year. (FIR 60/2020 PS DayalPur).

13. Delhi Riots- "Police Video Does Not Show His Presence": High Court Grants Bail To One In Jail For Over 15 Months [Md. Bilal v. State]

The High Court granted bail to one Mohd. Bilal, who had been in custody since June 2020, in a riots case after observing that the videography conducted by the Police to keep a watch on the people protesting does not show his presence.

The Court granted bail to Bilal on his furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs. 50,000 with two surety bonds of the like amount.

14. Delhi Riots: High Court Denies Bail To Accused In Suleman Murder Case After Considering Eye Witnesses Statements & CCTV Footage [Ashish v. State]

Considering the statements of eye witnesses and CCTV footage on record, the High Court denied bail to a man accused of being part of a mob that had killed one Suleman during the North East Delhi riots.

The Court denied bail to Ashish in FIR No.58/2020 registered at Karawal Nagar Police Station under Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, etc.), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons), 341 (wrongful restraint), 365 (abducting with intent to confine person), 395 (dacoity), 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code.

15. Delhi Riots: HC Denies Bail To Two Men Accused Of Being Part Of Mob That Killed Muslim Men, Says Possibility Of Them Threatening Sole Public Witness [Ajay @ Monu v. State of NCT of Delhi]

The Delhi High Court denied bail to two men namely Ajay and Shubham accused of killing four Muslim men during the North East Delhi riots which took place in the national capital last year observing that there was a possibility of them threatening the sole public witness in the matter.

Taking note of the fact that the two were in custody since April last year, the Court said: "Bail jurisprudence attempts to bridge the gap between the personal liberty of an accused and ensuring social security remains intact. It is the intricate balance between securing the personal liberty of an individual and ensuring that this liberty does not lead to an eventual disturbance of public order."

Incidents Where Suo Moto Cognizance Was Taken

1. Delhi High Court Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of "Stubborn Reluctance To Wear Masks Properly" On Flight; Issues Guidelines Court on its motionDG of Civil Aviation]

Justice C Hari Shankar of the Delhi High Court, taking suo-motu cognizance of what he described as an "alarming situation" on an Air India flight bound towards Delhi from Kolkata in March this year, issued a slew of directions to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and commercial airlines in the country with respect to in-flight Covid-19 protocol.

He noted that "though all the passengers had worn masks, many passengers had worn the masks below their chin and were exhibiting a stubborn reluctance to wear their masks properly."

2. "Steps Taken By GNCTD, Municipal Corporations Have Taken A Back Seat": Delhi HC Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of Mosquito Infestation, Rise Of Vector Borne Diseases Amid Covid [Re: Mosquito Infestation in NCT of Delhi]

The Delhi High Court in May took suo moto cognizance of the issue of mosquito infestation and the rise of vector borne diseases amid covid 19 pandemic after observing that the steps taken by the Delhi Government and Municipal Corporations of Delhi have taken a "back seat" in tackling the spread of Dengue and Chikungunya viruses.

A division bench comprising of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh took the suo moto cognizance and ordered thus: "We are inclined to take suo moto cognizance of the mosquito infestation which is prevalent in GNCTD. It appears that in account of the prevailing Pandemic situation, steps by GNCTD and municipal corporations have taken a back seat."

3. 'Memory Of Second Wave Hasn't Left Us' : Delhi High Court Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of COVID Protocol Violations [Court on its motion]

Taking suo motu cognizance about concerns regarding mass violations of Covid-19 protocol in overcrowded Delhi markets since the unlocking of the city, the Delhi High Court in June this year issued notice to the Centre and Delhi governments on the issue.

The bench of Justices Navin Chawla and Asha Menon remarked on pictures produced by an AIIMS doctor with the court, "The memory of the second wave has not left us, yet people behave in this manner. This is very unfortunate."

4. Delhi High Court Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of Fire At Nehru Place Market, Directs Authorities To Ensure No Hawking & Vending Policy [Court on its motion v. GNTCD]

Taking suo moto cognizance of an incident of fire reported in a building at Nehru Place in August, the Delhi High Court directed the Delhi Police and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to ensure no hawking and vending policy on a daily basis.

Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh also directed SDMC, Delhi Police and Delhi Development Authority to hold a joint meeting and file status reports with regard to the implementation of the no-hawking no-vending policy.

5. 'Grave Matter, Requires Immediate Attention' : Delhi High Court Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of Rohini Court Firing Incident [Court on its own motion v. Commissioner of Police & Ors.]

The Chief Justice led bench of the Delhi High Court took suo moto cognizance of the recent gun firing incident inside Delhi's Rohini Court hall. "This is a grave matter and requires immediate attention," observed the Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh at the outset.

It had impleaded the Commissioner of Delhi Police, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Union Law Ministry as Respondent parties. The Court has also added all the Bar Associations in Delhi, including the Delhi High Court Bar Association as Respondents.

Latest Update: Delhi High Court Issues Directions For Revamping Security Arrangements In City Court Complexes, Appreciates Efforts Of Police And Central Paramilitary Forces

POCSO and Law Concerning Juveniles

1. POCSO- FIR Cannot Be Quashed On The Ground That Victim Decided To Compromise Matter After Attaining Majority: Delhi High Court [Dinesh Sharma v. State & Anr.]

The Delhi High Court observed that an FIR filed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 cannot be quashed on the ground that the victim after attaining majority decided to compromise the matter with the accused.

A single judge bench comprising of Justice Subramonium Prasad observed thus: "Exercising jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C to quash an offence under POCSO Act would go against the intention of the legislature which has brought out the special enactment to protect the interests of children. The FIR cannot be quashed on the ground that the victim after attaining majority has decided to compromise the matter with the accused."

2. "Delhi Govt Not Opened Up To Reality": Delhi HC Issues Directions For Complying To JJ Act, Protection Of Children Orphaned, On Streets In Covid [Rakesh Malhotra v. GNCTD (and other connected matters)]

Observing that the Delhi Government has not yet opened up to reality for coming up with enough mechanism to safeguard the rights of children, the Delhi High Court issued slew of directions to the GNCTD for ensuring that it complies to the provisions of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 in view of providing protection to children who have lost one or both parents in the wake of Covid-19, thereby being orphaned and also for children left on streets without having necessary Covid-19 facilities.

3. Juvenile Justice Act: Delhi High Court Terminates All Petty Offences Cases Against Children Where Inquiry Is Pending For Over 1 Year [Court on its own motion v. State]

The Delhi High Court directed that all cases alleging petty offences against children or juveniles, where the inquiry has been pending and remains inconclusive for a period longer than one year, regardless of whether such child or juvenile has been produced before the Juvenile Justice Boards in Delhi, shall stand terminated with immediate effect.

The Court noted that the long pendency of cases was due to pandemic, where children were not produced before the JJ Boards. It was understood by the stakeholders that the time of 04 months stipulated in section 14 would begin to run only after the date of first production of the child before the JJB, hundreds of matters relating even to petty offences have been languishing at various stages for much longer than 04 months.

4. Police Filing POCSO Cases At Behest Of Minor Girl's Family Who Oppose Her Romantic Relationship A 'Trite & Unfortunate Practice': Delhi High Court [Praduman v. State]

The Delhi High Court expressed concern of the "unfortunate practice" of police filing POCSO cases at the behest of girl's family who object to her romantic involvement and friendship with young boys.

"Consensual sex has been in legal grey area because the consent given by minor cannot be said to be a valid consent in the eyes of law...The rigor of the law is therefore being misapplied and subsequently misused," observed Justice Subramonium Prasad while granting bail to a 21 year old man accused in the case.

5. Juvenile Justice Act- Delhi High Court Issues TimeLine For Completing 'Age Determination' Of 'Juveniles In Conflict With Law' [Court on its own motion v. State]

The Delhi High Court issued directions for streamlining the process of inquiries relating to juveniles in conflict with law and scrupulous compliance by all authorities. "In all cases pertaining to juveniles in conflict with law, regardless of the nature of offences alleged, upon directions issued by a JJB after production of a juvenile before it, the Investigating Officer of the case shall collect and file before the JJB requisite documents towards proof of age of the juvenile within 15 days from the date of issuance of such directions," the Court directed.

The Court also granted time to the Delhi Government for furnishing information relating to inquiries for petty offences pending before all JJBs in Delhi between six months and one year, including the number of such cases along with the date of institution of the inquiry and date of first production of the juvenile in conflict with law.

6. Purpose Of POCSO Act Is To Treat Minors As A Class By Itself So That An Attempt To Sexual Assault Or Molest Minors Entails Graver Consequences: Delhi HC [Suraj v. State]

The Delhi High Court observed that the purpose of the POCSO Act is to treat minors as a separate class by itself so that an attempt to sexually assault or molest or abuse the minor entails graver and stricter consequences. "The ultimate purpose of this law is the paramount well-being of the child and to protect minors from flagrant violence inflicted on them," the Court observed.

7. "JJBs To Review Progress Of Child In Conflict With Law, Ensure Post Release Plans": Delhi High Court Issues Slew Of Directions [Court on its own motion v. State]

Keeping in view the importance of reformation, rehabilitation and social integration of a delinquent child within the scheme of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, the Delhi High Court issued slew of directions to the Juvenile Justice Boards as well as the Delhi Government for streamlining the functioning of the juvenile justice delivery system under the Act and Juvenile Justice Rules, 2016.

Furthermore, in order to understand the systemic flaws that lead to delinquent children and juveniles ending-up in adult jails in a better way, the Court directed the Delhi Government to furnish the number of children or juveniles who were transferred from adult jails to juvenile justice homes or child care institutions in the last five years, along with the details of the numbers found in Tihar, Rohini and Mandoli jails respectively.

COVID 19 and Important Developments 

1. 'Central Vista Project Of National Importance' : Delhi High Court Dismisses Plea To Suspend Work Amid COVID; Imposes Rs 1 Lakh Cost On Petitioners [Anya Malhota v. Union of India]

A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh dismissed with costs of Rs.1,00,000/- a public interest litigation seeking the temporary suspension of construction work on Central Vista Redevelopment Project, in light of Covid

The court said that the government had already stated that the workers were "staying on site" and all arrangements had been made to ensure Covid-19 appropriate behaviour on site.

2. [Covid-19] Delhi High Court Directs 3499 Undertrial Prisoners To Surrender Before Jail Superintendents On Expiry Of Interim Bails [Court on its own motion v. GNCTD]

The Delhi High Court directed all 3499 undertrial prisoners who were granted interim bails on the recommendations of the High Powered Committee, to surrender before the Jail Superintendents on the expiry of their interim bail commencing from 7th March.

The Division bench comprising of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh also directed the Director General of Prisons to ensure that the said order is conveyed to all the 3499 UTPs by telephone as well as through other respective mediums.

3. "State Has Failed In Protecting Basic Right To Life Under Art. 21": Delhi High Court Remarks During Oxygen Shortage Hearing [Rakesh Malhotra v. GNCTD]

After an advocate broke down in court during the course of a hearing on oxygen shortage in Delhi in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the court expressed its empathy, stating that, "State has failed in its fundamental obligation in protecting basic fundamental right i.e. right to life contained under Article 21."

4. "We Have To Shun Selfishness": Delhi High Court Appeals To Sellers Not To Resort To Hoarding, Black Marketing Of Oxygen Cylinders, Medicines [Bhavreen Kandhari v. GNCTD]

"We, therefore, appeal to the good sense of the people, including the sellers of necessary medicines and Oxygen, to not to resort to hoarding of, and black marketing of Oxygen cylinders, Oxygen flow metres or medicines, and to make them available to the needy people." Observed a division bench comprising of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli while hearing bunch of petitions concerning oxygen shortage and covid 19 crisis in the national capital.

5. Medical/ Health Insurance Essential Services During COVID, Employees Of Insurance Companies Can't Be Restrained From Free Movement: Delhi HC [Max Bupa Health Insurance Co Ltd v. Government of NCT Delhi & Anr.]

Underlining that medical insurance and health insurance services are essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Delhi High Court observed that the employees of insurance companies cannot be restrained from free movement, as their movement is essential during the situation of a pandemic.

6. COVID- Delhi High Court Issue Directions To Ensure Immediate Availability Of Tocilizumab For Critically Ill Patients [Dharmendra Kumar Aggarwal v. GNCTD]

While observing that the lack of supplies from foreign shores and no local manufacturing of the covid drug Tocilizumab is completely unacceptable in the pandemic situation, the Delhi High Court issued slew of directions for its availability in India.

The Court directed the Centre to inform the Court about the stock available for distribution of the said drug to various Hospitals and Medical Establishments in Delhi. It also directed the Centre to place on record details of entities to whom approvals have been granted of Tocilizumab for manufacturing, marketing, importing or selling in India.

7. Financial Constraints Or Pandemic Not Grounds For State Agencies To Sack Employees : Delhi High Court In Air India Pilots Case [Arjun Ahluwalia v. Air India Ltd.]

"State or its Agencies under Article 12 of the Constitution cannot claim financial constraints or impact of the Pandemic as a ground for dispensing the services of its employees" observed the Delhi High Court in its judgment quashing Air India's decision terminating pilots by directing their reinstatement with back wages.

A single judge bench comprising of Justice Jyoti Singh held thus: "State or its Agencies under Article 12 of the Constitution cannot claim financial constraints or impact of the Pandemic as a ground for dispensing the services of its employees, in the manner adopted in the present case. State has a fiduciary duty to perform towards the citizens under Article 19(1)(g) and Article 21 of the Constitution and thus it becomes the bounden duty of a welfare State to secure the rights of livelihood of the citizens. In view of the above findings and circumstances, it is held that financial crunch cannot be a relevant consideration in deciding the issue of acceptance of resignations."

8. COVID- One Time Relief Measure: Cap of 20 Lakh Beneficiaries for Distribution of Non-PDS Ration Arbitrary and Ad-hoc, Says Delhi High Court [Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan v. GNCTD]

Forming a prima facie observation that the policy appears to be arbitrary and an ad hoc figure, the Delhi High Court said that even on a broad brush basis to say that there are only 20 lacs non PDS Beneficiaries looking for food grain under the Delhi Government's guidelines will be a substantial under-estimation.

The observation came in the plea filed by Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan challenging the non PDS guidelines dated 27 May 2021 issued by NCT of Delhi which provided for good grain to be given to people without ration cards as a one time relief measure in view of economic and other impacts of covid 19 pandemic and consequent lockdowns.

9. 'Can't Prosecute Good Samaritans For Providing Oxygen When State, Centre Failed': Delhi High Court [State v. Gautam Gambhir Foundation]

The Delhi High Court pulled up the Drug Controller of the Delhi Government for initiating prosecution against AAP MLA Praveen Kumar for procuring medical oxygen after observing that such an action cannot be initiated in a situation where both Centre and the Delhi Government failed to provide sufficient oxygen to people.

Calling it an action of targeting a particular political party, the Court also said that the Drug Controller, while following the same reasoning, should also prosecute Gurudwaras, temples and other organizations as well who had procured medical oxygen during the second covid wave.

10. Covid Deaths Due To Oxygen Shortage: High Court Nod To Delhi Govt's High Powered Committee For Compensation [Riti Singh Verma v. State of NCT of Delhi & Ors.]

The Delhi High Court approved the functioning of High Powered Committee formed by the Delhi Government for probing into deaths due to oxygen shortage amid Covid-19 pandemic. While giving it's nod to the Committee, Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said that it finds no difficulty in the functioning of the HPC in discharging the roles assigned to it.

11. "Mask Is Like A Suraksha Kavach": Delhi High Court Holds Wearing Of Mask Compulsory Even While Alone In Vehicle [Saurabh Sharma v. Sub-Divisional Magistrate (East)]

The Delhi High Court dismissed writ petitions challenging the imposition of fines by the Delhi government on persons not wearing masks while travelling alone in personal vehicles. The Court said that the mask is like a "suraksha kavach" protecting both the person wearing it and those around.

"Scientists and international governments advise wearing of a mask. The challenge of the pandemic was enormous and the wearing of face masks is necessary whether a person is vaccinated or not," the Court said.

Family Law and Maintenance Matters

1. Section 125 CrPC- "Obligation Of A Father To Maintain His Son Will Not Come To An End When He Attains Majority": Delhi High Court [Urvashi Aggarwal & Ors. v. Inderpaul Aggarwal]

The Delhi High Court held that the obligation of a father to maintain his son under sec. 125 of CrPC would not come to an end when the son attains the age of majority after reasoning that the entire burden of his education including other expenses would fall entirely upon the mother.

2. SDM Issuing Notices At Residence Of Couple Seeking Registration Of Marriage Under Special Marriage Act Prima Facie Contempt Of Court: Delhi High Court [Parveen Bano v. Chandra Shekhar SDM South West]

The Delhi High Court observed that the act of a Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) to issue notices at the residence of a couple seeking registration of marriage under the Special Marriage Act is prima facie contempt of court as being in clear violation of its earlier directions issued in 2009 directing all Marriage Officers to not despatch notices to the residence of the applicants, seeking solemnization of their marriage under Chapter II of the Act.

3. Domestic Violence Act Cannot Be Used As A Ploy By Son To Claim Father's Property On The Strength Of Wife's Right Of Residence: Delhi HC [Aarti Sharma & Anr. v. Ganga Saran]

The Delhi High Court held that the provisions of Domestic Violence Act, being a social welfare legislation, cannot be used by a son as a ploy to either claim a right in his father's property or to retain possession of the same on the strength of his wife's right of residence.

Justice Pratibha Singh observed thus:

"The provisions of the DV Act cannot be used as a ploy by the son, to either claim a right in his father's property or continue to retain possession of the father's property, on the strength of his wife's right of residence."

4. Personal Appearance For The Purpose Of Seeking Registration Of Marriage Would Include Video Conferencing: Reiterates Delhi High Court [Reena Chadha & Anr. v. GNCTD]

The Delhi High Court observed that personal appearance for the purpose of seeking registration of marriage by a couple would include video conferencing mode.

Relying on the settled judgments on the subject, Justice Rekha Palli said that it will allow the petition filed by a NRI couple, seeking exemption from physical appearance for Marriage Registration. The Couple claimed to have been married as long as back on 06.12.2001 and to be residents of USA.

5. Family Courts Expected To Act With Due Application Of Mind Without Being Hyper- Technical, Should Have Litigant Friendly Approach: Delhi High Court [Ajay Dubey v. Annapurna]

The Delhi High Court observed that the family courts are expected to act with due application of mind without being hyper technical, having a litigant friendly approach.

Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh observed thus: "The Family Court is obliged to function so as to relieve the parties of the suffering that they are going through on account of matrimonial disputes. It is expected to act with due application of mind and without being hypertechnical about matters brought before it. The Family Court should have a litigant friendly approach, and function in the spirit of helping parties resolve their disputes – either mutually, or through the Courts determination."

6. S.125 CrPC- Father Not Absolved From Maintaining Children Merely Because Mother Is Also Earning: Delhi High Court [Urvashi Aggarwal & Ors. v. Inderpaul Aggarwal]

The Delhi High Court observed that in households where women are working and are able to sufficiently maintain themselves, it does not automatically absolve the husband of his responsibility to provide sustenance for his children.

The observation was made in connection to revision of maintenance order passed by the High Court under Section 125 of CrPC.

7. Maintenance Amount Awarded By Family Court Must Be Realistic & Reasonable; Order Should Be Clear & Reasoned: Delhi High Court [Sheetal Joshan Roy v. Soumyajit Roy]

The Delhi High Court observed that maintenance amount awarded by the Family Court must be realistic and reasonable and that the order passer by such Courts must be clear and well reasoned- indicative of the facts, controversy and reasoning of it's conclusion.

Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh also observed that the objective of granting interim or permanent maintenance to a spouse is to ensure that they are not reduced to financial constraints due to the failure of their marriage.

8. Are Orders U/S 12 Of Guardians & Wards Act Appealable U/S 19 Of Family Courts Act? Delhi HC Refers Question To Larger Bench [Dr. Geetanjali Aggarwal v. Dr. Manoj Aggarwal]

The Delhi High Court referred to the larger bench the question as to whether an order passed under Section 12 of the Guardians and Wards Act, or any order dealing with aspects of visitation and custody during the pendency of proceedings, would be appealable under Section 19(1) of the Family Courts Act.

Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh was of the view that the decision of the coordinate bench in Colonel Ramesh Pal Singh v. Sugandhi Aggarwal, holding that an order under Section 12 of GWA is an interlocutory order an hence non-appealable, requires re-consideration.

9. 'Legal Loopholes Allow Offenders To Slip Away Unscathed': Delhi High Court On Maintenance Dispute Between Couple Having Living Spouses [Sunder Lal Saini v. Meena Saini]

Dealing with a peculiar maintenance dispute arising between a married couple having living first spouses, the Delhi High Court expressed it's sympathy with the position of the woman observing that the legal loopholes allow offending parties to slip away unscathed.

The Court observed that ordinarily, even if a woman does not have the legal status of a wife, she is brought within the inclusive definition of "wife" in order to maintain consistency with the object of the statutory provision.

10. Wife Making Serious Unproved Allegations Of Criminal Conduct Against Husband Constitutes 'Cruelty': Delhi High Court Upholds Divorce Decree [Neelam v. Jai Singh]

The Delhi High Court observed that a wife making serious allegations of criminal conduct against her husband and his parents, which she was unable to prove in Trial Court, amounts to an act of "cruelty".

The Division Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh thus upheld the divorce decree granted to the husband by a Family Court and dismissed the wife's appeal under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act.

11. Is 'Denial Of Sex' Sufficient Cause To Condone 1Yr Waiting Period For Filing Divorce Under Hindu Marriage Act? Delhi High Court To Examine [Rishu Aggarwal v. Mohit Goyal]

The Delhi High Court is set to examine whether denial of sex by married parties to each other itself is sufficient to cause 'exceptional hardship' under Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, so as to waive off the one year waiting period for filing a divorce petition.

Observing that the issue needs consideration, Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh appointed Senior Advocate Pritesh Kapur as the Amicus Curiae in the matter.

12. "Will Lead To Anarchy If Permitted": Delhi HC Sentences Man For Three Months For Wilful Disobedience Of Repeated Court Directions In Matrimonial Dispute [Sonali Bhatia v. Abhivansh Narang]

The Delhi High Court sentenced a man to simple imprisonment for a period of three months including imposition of a fine of Rs. 2000 for wilful disobedience of repeated Court directions in a matrimonial dispute requiring him to pay maintenance to his wife.

Observing that the actions or omissions of the husband in choosing to show complete disregard to the orders of the Court cannot be countenanced, Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said that if such action is permitted, it will lead to anarchy and the Rule of Law would become a casualty and that the orders of the Courts would be taken lightly and breached at the own sweet will of the individual concerned.

13. Maintenance Order U/S 125 CrPC May Be Enforced In Any Place Where Person Against Whom It Is Made May Be; Residence Not Material: Delhi HC [Asha Devi & Ors. v. Muneshwar Singh]

The High Court observed that the presence of a person at preferred jurisdiction at the time of application for maintenance against him under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure would be a material fact for execution of the said order of maintenance.

Justice Chandra Dhari Singh added that Section 128 of the Code which contemplates procedure for enforcement of order of maintenance, use the words 'where the person against whom it is made may be' and not where he is residing or where his permanent property is.

14. Wife Being Capable Of Earning No Ground To Deny Her Interim Maintenance, Many Time Wives Sacrifice Their Career Only For Family: Delhi High Court [Col. Ramnesh Pal Singh v. Sugandhi Aggarwal]

The High Court observed that the fact that a wife is capable of earning is no ground to deny interim maintenance to her opining that many time wives sacrifice their career only for the family.

Justice Subramonium Prasad also observed that the object of sec. 125 Cr.P.C is to bring down the agony and financial suffering of a women who leave her matrimonial home so that some arrangements could be made to enable her to sustain herself and her child.

15. Child Visitation Rights For Merely 30 Minutes A Month Insufficient: Delhi High Court Prima Facie Opines [Samrat Singh Rawat v. Poonam Rawat]

The High Court prima facie opined that merely thirty minutes of child visitation rights in a month granted to a parent is insufficient. A Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh observed,

"The grievance of the appellant father is that the Family Court has granted only 30 minutes audio-visual access to the appellant per month in respect of the two twin children who are now aged two and a half years each, which is wholly insufficient. Prima facie, we agree with this grievance of the appellant."

16. Mother In Law Being Owner Not Barred From Claiming Eviction Against Daughter In Law Where Residence Is A Shared Household: Delhi High Court

In the facts of a case for possession of property, the High Court has observed that the mother in law being the owner of the property is not barred from claiming eviction against her daughter in law where the residence is a shared household. "Where a residence is clearly a shared household, it does not bar the owner, the plaintiff herein, from claiming eviction against her daughter-in-law, if the circumstances call for it," Justice Asha Menon observed. The Bench thus granted a decree of possession in favour of a mother in law and against the daughter in law and her mother, while granting them three months time to vacate the premises.

Senior Citizen Act

1. Any Affected Party May Prefer Appeal Against Order Of Tribunal Under Senior Citizen Act 2007: Delhi High Court [Rakhi Sharma v. State & Ors.]

The High Court held that any person, affected by an order passed by a Maintenance Tribunal under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act, 2007, is entitled to file an appeal before the Appellate Tribunal.

Justice Pratibha M. Singh ruled, "....appeals by any affected party who may be aggrieved by an order of the Tribunal, as constituted under the Act and the Rules, would be liable to be entertained before the Appellate Tribunal."

2. Section 3 Of Senior Citizens Act Cannot Be Deployed To Override Or Nullify Women's Right To A Shared Household: Delhi High Court [Sneha Ahuja v. Satish Chander Ahuja]

The High Court held that Section 3 of the Senior Citizens Act, 2007 cannot be deployed to override and nullify other protections in law particularly a women's "right to a shared household" under Section 17 of the DV Act.

Justice Asha Menon added that the factual situation has to be assessed on a prima facie evaluation before directing the eviction of the daughter-in-law from what she describes as her 'shared household'.

3. Advocates Have Right To Practice Before Maintenance Tribunals: Delhi HC Declares S.17 Of Senior Citizens Act Ultra Vires To S.30 Advocate Act [Tarun Saxena v. Union of India & Ors.]

The High Court declared as ultra vires Section 17 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 which bars lawyers from representing parties in matters before the Maintenance Tribunals.

The order is in line with the judgment delivered by a Division bench of the Kerala High Court in April this year, stating that the provision is ultra vires of Section 30 of the Advocates Act, 1961.

Negotiable Instruments Act

1. Negotiable Instruments Act Being Penal Statute Should Receive Strict Construction: Delhi High Court [R. Vijay Kumar v. M/s IFCI Factors Ltd.]

The High Court observed that the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 should receive strict construction for the reason of being a penal statute. Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri also observed that specific averments in a criminal complaint which satisfies the requirements of sec. 141 of the Act are imperative in nature.

Sec. 141 of the Negotiable Instruments Act talks about the offences by companies. It states that "if a person committing an offence under sec. 138 is a company, every person who, at the time the offence was committed, was in charge of, and was responsible to the company for the conduct of the business of the company, as well as the company, shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly."

2. Cognizance Of Section 138 NI Act Offence By Magistrate Will Not Automatically Result In Decree In Civil Suit For Cheque Dishonour : Delhi High Court [Sarvesh Bisaria v. Anand Nirog Dham Hospital Pvt. Ltd. & Ors]

The High Court held that if the Metropolitan Magistrate takes cognizance of an offense under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881, it is not that a decree against the respondent/defendant will follow automatically.

The Court rejected the argument that that mere cognizance of an offence by a MM in Section 138 NI Act proceedings should automatically lead to passing of a decree in a civil suit based on the very cheques.

3. Section 138 NI Act -Accused Can Seek Conversion Of Summary Trial To Summons Trial Only After Disclosing Defence : Delhi High Court [Sumit Bhasin v. State of NCT of Delhi]

In a trial for the offence of cheque dishonour under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, the accused can seek the conversion of summary trial as summons trial only after disclosing his plea of defence, observed the High Court.

"...only after disclosing his plea of defence, he can make an application that the case should not be tried summarily but as a summons trial case", the Court observed.

Also Read: Pre And Post-Summons Online Mediation, Summons Via SMS/WhatsApp, Disclosure Of Defence Before Trial [Read Amici Reports On Fast Disposal Of Cheque Cases]

Guardianship and Adoption

1. Christian Couple Wrongly Adopts Under Hindu Adoption Act; Delhi High Court Declares Them 'Adoptive Parents' As They Took Good Care Of Child [JS & Anr. CARA]

The High Court gave relief to a Christian couple who had looked after a child for six years from her birth, although they had not followed the legal route for adoption.

The couple, who were childless, had adopted the child through an adoption deed executed under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, despite the fact the said Act is not applicable to Christians. They said that they executed the adoption deed under a "wrong legal advice". "Though there is no valid adoption of the child, the petitioners have taken good care of the child", the Court said.

2. Inter-Country Adoptions: Delhi High Court Asks Centre To Submit its Report On A Permanent Mechanism To Deal With Inter-Country Adoptions [Rajwinder Kaur v. CARA]

The High Court directed the Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India to file a report before it regarding the manner and mode of creating a permanent mechanism to deal with inter-country adoptions under Hindu Adoptions & Maintenance Act, both direct and indirect, within a period of two months.

In order to ensure the welfare of the adopted children and to provide a timely mechanism for the biological/adoptive parents as also the child, in view of the experience of Central Adoption Resource Authority(CARA) in dealing with inter country adoptions, the court directed CARA to act as the Authority for the purposes of enabling inter country adoptions under HAMA.

Also Read: Will Consider Permitting Advocates To Appear As 'Authorized Representatives' To Facilitate Formalities In Inter-Country Adoptions: CARA Tells Delhi HC

Arbitration and Mediation

1. Emergency Arbitration Recognized By Current Legal Framework; No Need For Amendment, Says Delhi High Court [Amazon.Com NV Investment Holdings LLC v Future Coupons Pvt Ltd & Ors.]

An Emergency Arbitrator is an 'Arbitrator' for all intents and purposes of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, held the High Court in the high-profile Amazon-Future case.

While allowing Amazon's plea to enforce the emergency award against the Future-Reliance deal, the High Court held that an emergency award is enforceable under Section 17(2) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act.

The Court observed 'The Emergency Arbitrator is an Arbitrator for all intents and purposes;order of the Emergency Arbitrator is an order under Section 17(1) and enforceable as an order of this Court under Section 17(2) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act'.

2. Jurisdictional Objection Under Sec. 16 of Arbitration And Conciliation Act Has To Be Raised At Inception With Sense Of Alacrity: Delhi High Court [Surender Kumar Singhal v. Arun Kumar Bhalotia]

The High Court observed that a jurisdictional objection under sec. 16 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act by its very nature would be one which has to be raised at inception, at the earliest stage. Justice Pratibha M Singh also observed that under the scheme of the Act, such an objection has to be raised with a "sense of alacrity" which must be decided by the Arbitral Tribunal with a "sense of urgency".

3. Foreign State Cannot Claim Sovereign Immunity Against Enforcement Of Arbitral Award Arising Out Of Commercial Transaction: Delhi High Court [KLA Const Technologies Pvt. Ltd. v. Embassy of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan]

The High Court held that a Foreign State cannot claim sovereign immunity under sec. 86 of Code of Civil Procedure against enforcement of an Arbitral Award arising out of a commercial transaction.

Justice JR Midha observed thus: "In a contract arising out of a commercial transaction, such as the transactions which are subject matter of the present petitions, a Foreign State cannot seek Sovereign Immunity for the purpose of stalling execution of an arbitral award rendered against it. Once a Foreign State opts to wear the hat of a commercial entity, it would be bound by the rules of the commercial legal ecosystem and cannot be permitted to seek any immunity, which is otherwise available to it only when it is acting in its sovereign capacity."

4. Practice Of Handwritten Clauses In Mediation Settlement Needs To Be Discontinued Unless Countersigned By Mediator, Parties: Delhi High Court [Mahinder Singh v. Meenakshi Yadav]

The High Court observed that the practice of handwritten clauses in mediation settlements needs to be discontinued forthwith, unless it is countersigned or initialled by the Mediator or Counsellor as well as by the parties in their presence.

"Often when a settlement is recorded, it is after a lot of dialogue between the parties, who have invariably suffered long litigations, harassment and much anguish. They may not know the finer points of recording of the mediated settlement agreements; therefore, it becomes the duty of the Mediator/Counsellor to ensure that the settlement agreement is recorded specifically in terms of the dicta of this court in Rajat Gupta (supra)," Justice Najmi Waziri said.

Prevention of Money Laundering Act

1. Jurisdiction Of Authorities Under PMLA To Proceed Against Properties Of Corporate Debtor Ceases Once Liquidation Approved Under IBC: Delhi High Court [Nitin Jain Liquidator PSL Ltd. ED]

The High Court adjudicated on the question as to whether the authorities under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 would retain the jurisdiction or authority to proceed against properties of a corporate debtor once a liquidation measure has come to be approved in accordance with Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.

Justice Yashwant Varma in a detailed order held that the power to attach as conferred by sec. 5 of the PMLA would cease to be exercisable once any one of the measures specified in Regulation 32 of the Liquidation Regulations 2016 comes to be adopted and approved by the Adjudicating Authority.

2. What Is The Procedure To Be Followed By ED On Receiving Letters Of Request From Contracting State Under PMLA? Delhi HC Answers [JK Tyre & Industries Ltd. ED]

The High Court passed a detailed order concerning the procedure to be followed by the Enforcement Directorate upon receiving letters of requests from a contracting State under Section 60 of the PMLA and other connected issues.

Justice Pratibha M Singh, who was of the opinion that the request for freezing or seizure of assets/property must have a reasonable basis having sufficient grounds for taking action, held thus: "..ED/ Adjudicating Authority, would have to adhere to all the provisions in respect of recording the 'reasons to believe', supplying the 'Relied Upon Documents' etc., as is required to be done in the case of domestic enquiries, investigations, surveys, searches and seizures under the provisions of the PMLA, and the Rules and Regulations."

The Court added that while it is essential to provide legal assistance and extend cooperation in response to requests received from the contracting States, the same must be within the four corners of domestic law and cannot be beyond what is contemplated under the domestic law.

Intellectual Property Right Law

1. Google Cannot Absolve Itself From Liability Of Ensuring That Keyword Is Not An Infringement Of Trademark: Delhi High Court [M/s DRS Logistics (P) Ltd. v. Google India Pvt. Ltd.]

The High Court observed that Google cannot absolve itself from the liability of ensuring that a keyword is not an infringement of trademark.

Justice V Kameswar Rao also observed that allowing individuals who are not owners of a trademark to choose a keyword which is a trademarked term or use parts of the trademark interspersed with generic words in the Ad-title or Ad-text may constitute an infringement of a trademark or it's passing off. The Court also opined that the use of trademarks as keywords amounts to "use" in the course of trade in terms of the Trademarks Act.

2. Agatha Christie's Book "And Then There Were None" A Distinctive Mark : Delhi HC Directs Trademark Registration [Agatha Christie Ltd. v. Registrar of Trademarks]

The High Court quashed an order which has refused the registration of trademark to Agatha Christie Limited, a Company established in 1955 by famous book writer Agatha Christie, for one of her works "And There Were None".

Justice C Hari Shankar set aside the order dated 14 January, 2021 rejecting the company's application seeking registration of trademark and remitted the matter back to the office of the Registrar of Trade Marks.

3. Comparative Advertising Permissible For Establishing Superiority Of One's Goods, Without Defaming Goods Of Others: Delhi High Court [Reckitt Benckiser India Private Limited v. Hindustan Unilever Limited]

While dealing with a suit concerning the issue of comparative advertising and trademark infringement, the High Court observed that an advertiser has to be given enough room to play in the advertisement and that the plaintiff ought not be hypersensitive towards the same.

The Bench however made it clear that, "In comparative advertising, the comparing of one's goods with that of the other and establishing the superiority of one's goods over the other is permissible. However one cannot make a statement that a good is bad, inferior or undesirable as that would lead to denigrating or defaming the goods of the other."

Right to Information

1. Personal Information Having No Relation To Any Public Activity, Public Interest Cannot Be Disclosed Under RTI Act: Delhi High Court [Har Kishan v. President Secretariat & Anr.]

The High Court observed that any personal information having no relation with any public activity or public interest cannot be disclosed under the Right to Information Act. The Court also said that disclosure of such information can cause an unwarranted invasion into one's privacy.

The observation came from a division bench comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh while dismissing an appeal regarding an RTI request seeking information with regards to appointments made for the Multi-tasking Staff of the Presidential Estate, Rashtrapati Bhawan. The applicant had sought residential address and fathers' names of all selected candidates who had been appointed for the said post.

2. RTI- CPIO/PIO Cannot Function As 'Post Offices' And Withhold Information Without Reasonable Cause, Delhi High Court [Rakesh Kumar Gupta (Erstwhile CPIO) Union Bank of India v. CIC]

The High Court held that the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) or PIOs cannot withhold information without reasonable cause and that such officers cannot function merely as "post offices" while dealing with information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The Court while reiterating various principles of the CPIOs and other Public information Officers held that the government departments cannot be permitted to evade disclosure of information. In cases where the department is of an opinion that any information is not available or traceable, a thorough search and enquiry must be conducted.

3. Public Authority To Give Cogent Reasons For Claiming Exemption From Disclosure Of Information Sought Under The RTI Act: Delhi High Court [Amit Kumar Shrivastava v. CIC]

The High Court has observed that when a public authority withholds information under RTI Act, the burden is on the public authority to show in what manner disclosure of such information could impede the investigation. While noting that it is a settled legal position that the public authority needs to give cogent reasons as to how the investigation will be hampered by disclosure of the information sought, the Court remanded the present matter back to the Central Information Commission for reconsideration.

4. 'Tendency Of Not Sharing Info Under RTI Act Has To Be Avoided': Delhi High Court While Issuing Notice On Plea Against Redevelopment Project [Supreme Court Bar Cooperative House Building Society v. Union of India]

The High Court orally observed that the growing trend of not supplying information sought under the Right to Information Act must be avoided by the authorities concerned. A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh on being informed that the RTI applications filed by few citizens seeking information in relation to a Redevelopment Project being undertaken by AIIMS through NBCC India Ltd. in South Delhi and its impact on the surrounding areas reaped no results, remarked, "This tendency should be avoided, that you're not sharing the information. If it's under the Official Secrets Act or if it is exempted under Section 8 of the RTI Act, then it is alright. Otherwise you have to share…"

Education

1. Cannot Act As An Appellate Authority Over A Decision Taken At Highest Level In The Government: Delhi High Court [Dr. Rohit Kumar v. LG]

The High Court has observed that it cannot sit as an Appellate Authority over a decision taken at the highest level in the Government. While observing this, the Court refused to interfere with the Delhi government's decision whereby it refused to grant study leave to the petitioner, to pursue Postgrad in Paediatrics from PGI Chandigarh.

A single Bench of Justice V. Kameswar Rao made the observations while hearing the plea filed by the petitioner seeking a direction against respondent to issue the relieving order and grant study leave to him to enable him to pursue MD/MS Course in Paediatrics from Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh as he satisfied the criteria laid down for grant of study leave in the office memorandum dated November 02, 2012.

2. Delhi High Court Rejects Challenge To Appointment Of Dr. Najma Akhtar As VC, Jamia Milia Islamia [M. Ehtesham-Ul-Haque v. Union of India]

The High Court thrugh Justice V Kameswar Rao rejected a quo warranto writ petition challenging the appointment of Dr. Najma Akhtar as Vice Chancellor of Jamia Milia Islamia University for allegedly being illegal, arbitrary, void ab initio and non-est in law.

The petition claimed that Akhtar's appointment was in flagrant violation and "total non-compliance of the statutory provisions and regulations of Statute 2(1) of the Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988 read with clause 7.3.0 of the UGC Regulations, 2010" as amended from time-to-time.

3. Promotion Of Candidate Will Take Effect From Date Of Eligibility And Not Date On Interview: Delhi High Court [Dr. Kiran Gupta v. DU]

The High Court held that the promotion of a candidate would take effect from date of eligibility and not from the date of interview as per the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) governed by the UGC Regulations.

The prayer in the three petitions, filed on behalf of Dr. Kiran Gupta, Prof. PB Pankaja and Manju Arora Relan, sought for the promotion to the post of Professor from the post of Associate Professor with effect from the date of eligibility and not from the date of interview at Faculty of Law, Delhi University.

4. Delhi High Court Quashes Govt Orders Preventing Pvt Unaided Schools From Collecting Annual Charges, Development Fees During Lockdown [Action Committee Unaided Recognized Private Schools v. Directorate of Education]

The High Court quashed two orders issued by the Delhi Government dated 18th April and 28th August 2020 restraining private schools from collecting Annual Charges and Development Fees from students amid Covid-19 lockdown.

Justice Jayant Nath held thus: "The impugned acts are prejudicial to the said Schools and would cause an unreasonable restriction in their functioning. In the above facts and circumstances, clearly the impugned orders dated 18.04.2020 and 28.08.2020 issued by the respondent to the extent that they forbid the petitioner/postpone collection of Annual Charges and Development Fees are illegal and ultra vires the powers of the respondent stipulated under the DSE Act and the Rules. The orders to that extent are quashed."

5. Free Education May Be Availed At Govt School; Can't Force State To Pay Private School Fees Of Children Orphaned Due To Covid: Delhi High Court [Yasmin Kataria & Anr v. GNCTD & Ors.]

The High Court expressed reservation over compelling the Government to pay private school fees for children, orphaned during Covid-19 pandemic. It opined that such children may be shifted to a Government school instead, for availing free education under Article 21-A of the Constitution.

"They (Government) also have their limitations...It may be very far-fetched to ask them to pay the fees of a private school..." Justice Rekha Palli remarked.

6. JNU VC Could Not Have Exercised Powers To Appoint Chairpersons Of 9 Centres : Delhi High Court Restrains Them From Taking Major Decisions [Atul Sood v. JNU]

The High Court prima facie observed that the Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University could not have exercised the power to appoint chairpersons to 9 special centres and restrained them from taking major decisions during the pendency of the petitions challenging their appointments.

A division bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice Talwant Singh was hearing an appeal against an interlocutory order dated 28.09.2021 passed by the single judge wherein it had declined to stay the appointment of nine professors who were appointed as Chairpersons of various Special Centres by the VC.

Income Tax Law

1. Failure Of Assessing Officer To Comply With Section 144C Of Income Tax Act Invalidates Assessment Order : Delhi High Court [Pr. Commissioner of Income Tax IV v. Headstring Services India Pvt. Ltd.]

The High Court held that the failure of the assessing officer to adhere to the "mandatory requirement" of Section 144C(1) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, will invalidate the final assessment order. A division bench comprising Justices Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula held that the provision was a "mandatory requirement" and the failure to comply with it will invalidate the final assessment order.

"The failure by the AO to adhere to the mandatory requirement of Section 144C (1) of the Act and first pass a draft assessment order would result in invalidation of the final assessment order and the consequent demand notices and penalty proceedings", the bench said in the judgment passed in the case Principal Commissioner of Income Tax-4 vs Headstrong Services India Pvt Ltd.

2. "Power To Attach Bank Account Can Only Be Exercised In Compliance With Statutory Power": Delhi High Court Quashes GST Authority Order [Proex Fashion Pvt. Ltd. v. Govt of India]

The High Court held that power to attach a Bank Account can only be exercised in strict compliance with statutory power.

The Court clarified that as attachment of a bank account entailed serious consequences to the assessee, this power could only be exercised in strict compliance with statutory power. Therefore, in the absence of any statutory precondition for the exercise of power of attachment, an order under Section 83 would be illegal.

3. GST Authorities' Power Of Arrest Under CGST Act Prima Facie Constitutional : Delhi High Court [Dhruv Kishan Maggu v. Union of India]

The High Court expressed a prima facie view to uphold Sections 69 and 132 of the Central Goods and Service Tax (CGST) Act provision which gives the authorities the power to arrest any person if there exists a "reason to believe" that the person has committed tax evasion.

A Division Bench of Justices Manmohan Singh and Sanjeev Narula was hearing a plea preferred by a man and a firm who had allegedly availed of fraudulent IGST refund as well as Input Tax Credits.

4. Taxation Relaxation Act Does Not Validate Reassessment Notices Issued Under Old Income Tax Act Regime : Delhi High Court Quashes 1.3K Notices [Mon Mohan Kohli v. Asst. Commissioner of Income Tax]

The High Court held that sec. 3(1) of the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Act, 2020 empowers the Government or Executive to extend only the time limits and does not delegate the power to legislate on provisions to be followed for initiation of reassessment proceedings.

Pursuant to the lockdown imposed in March last year amid the covid 19 pandemic, looking at the difficulties faced by citizens in complying with the statutory time limits, the Legislature enacted Relaxation Act, 2020.

The Court was dealing with a bunch of 1346 petitions wherein the question of law that arose for bench's consideration was whether the Government or Executive can make or change law of the land by way of Explanations to Notifications without specific Authority from the Legislature to do so and that whether the Government or Executive can impede the implementation of law made by the Legislature.

Habeas Corpus and Protection Pleas

1. Delhi High Court Grants Protection To Inter Faith Couple Facing Threats From Woman's Family, Makes Police Officials Liable For Lapse In Their Security [Farheen Saini & Anr. v. State of NCT of Delhi]

Granting protection to an inter faith couple facing threats from woman's family, the High Court made the Delhi Police officials including an ACP and SHO of the concerned area liable in case of any lapse in the security and protection of the couple.

Justice Chandra Dhari Singh was dealing with a protection plea filed by the couple seeking directions on the police to protect their life and liberty from the family members of the woman, being respondents no. 3 to 5 in the matter.

2. Newly-Wedded Couple Seperated By Wife's Family: Delhi HC Reunites Couple, Directs Police To Escort Her Back To Delhi [Nitin Sharma v. State]

While dealing with a habeas corpus petition filed on behalf of a husband alleging that his wife was illegally detained in Uttar Pradesh's Etah District after her parents separated them, the High Court directed the Uttar Pradesh Police to depute a lady constable to company his wife along with a constable of Delhi Police to escort her back to Delhi and also to coordinate and reunite her with him.

A division bench comprising of Justice Anup J Bhambhani and Justice Siddharth Mridul interacted with the woman via video conferencing and noted her "clear and unequivocal intention and desire to return to Delhi" to be reunited with her husband in order to reside in her matrimonial home.

3. LGBTQ Couple Facing Threat From Families: Delhi High Court Directs Police To Provide Security, Shift Them To Safe House [Dhanak of Humanity v. GNCTD]

The High Court directed the police to provide adequate security to a LGBTQ couple, facing threat from their families. The Court also directed that the couple be shifted to a safe house, set up by the Delhi Government. Justice Mukta Gupta issued notice on a plea filed by NGO Dhanak of Humanity. The couple is presently residing in the NGO's office.

It was the case of the couple that despite being major persons, their relationship was not approved by their families due to the reason of them belonging to the LGBTQ community.

4. Mob Attack: Muslim-Dalit Couple Granted Police Protection By Delhi High Court

The High Court through Justice Anu Malhotra granted extended police protection and sought for a status report from the police on an incident in Delhi wherein a Muslim-Dalit couple's house was allegedly attacked by a violent mob following their marriage.

The marriage between a Muslim girl and a Hindu Dalit boy took place after the girl voluntarily and willingly "converted" into a Hindu, according to the petition. However, the petitioner states that the couple faced challenges after the wedding with the girl's family being antagonized with the knowledge of her marriage and the boy's family being attacked in their home at Harijan Basti in Sarai Kale Khan, New Delhi.

5. Delhi High Court Grants Protection To Lesbian Woman Married Against Her Wishes, Directs Steps For Dissolution Of Marriage

In a major relief to a lesbian woman married against her wishes to a man of her family's choice, the High Court issued issued notice on the woman's petition and directed the Delhi Police to ensure complete protection to the woman.

Notably, taking a progressive stance on the case, a bench of Justice Mukta Gupta also interacted with the woman and her husband, and directed that steps may be taken at the earliest for dissolution of the marriage. "An adult woman cannot be forced to stay with her marital or parental family against her wishes," the Court said.

6. Delhi High Court Allows Adult Hindu Girl To Return With Parents Who Left Home With Muslim Man [Kewal Gupta v. State of NCT of Delhi]

"Her parents ensured that they will not force her to marry any other person whom she would not like to marry otherwise"

A division judge bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar of the High Court allowed an adult Hindu girl, who had eloped from her home with her Muslim boyfriend, to return home - while granting her protection and on the condition that her parents would take full responsibility of her education.

The girl, who is a BTech student claimed that she is a UPSC aspirant, and she had not received due support from her parents to pursue her ambition. She had eloped from her home due to the lack of such support. In the hearing before the Court, after interacting with the girl privately, she was also made to interact on the Court's platform with her parents.

7. 'Conscious Decision': Delhi HC Quashes FIR Against Man Who Married Girl Aged 17 Yrs 11 Months & 12 Days

Noting that it was a conscious decision, the Delhi High Court has quashed FIR against a man who had married a girl aged 17 years 11 months & 12 days i.e. one month before attaining the age of majority. The girl claimed to have married out of her own wish. ""K" was on the verge of attaining majority and it cannot be said that she was incapable of knowing as to what is good and what is bad for her. She desired to get married to the petitioner and went to the petitioner and expressed her desire and persuaded the petitioner to take her with him and get married. Therefore, in the facts of this case, there was no inducement by the petitioner," Justice Subramonium Prasad said.

SC/ST Act

1. S.18 of SC/ST Act-Unless The 'Offender's Action Is Impelled By The Consideration That The Victim Is A Member Of 'SC or ST', Bar For Anticipatory Bail Won't Apply [Danish Khan v. State (GNCTD)]

The High Court while granting anticipatory bail to an accused charged under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 held that the anticipatory bail application under Sec. 438 of CrPC can only be barred under Sec. 18 of the SC ST Act where the accused commits an offence particularly for the reason that the victim is a member of SC or ST community.

The bench observed therein that for the applicability of Sec. 3(2)(v) of the SC ST Act, it is necessary for an offences under IPC punishable with a sentence of 10 years or more to be committed on a person belonging to SC or ST community only for the reason that such person belongs to such category.

2. SC/ST Reservations Can't Be Taken Away By Invoking Technicalities Forgetting The Hardships faced By Them In Accomplishing Literacy And Awareness: Delhi High Court [Lekhraj Meena v. Union of India & Ors.]

"The very fact that members of the STs have been granted certain reservations/relaxations, not only legislatively but also constitutionally, shows the need therefor. The said need has to be fulfilled, not only by providing reservations/relaxations but also by providing relaxations in implementing the said reservations and benefits conferred on the STs. The reasons and objective of providing such reservations/relaxations should not be lost sight of while implementing the reservations and relaxations," observed the High Court.

The Court emphasized that the authorities should not take technical objections while considering candidatures filed by people belonging to these communities.

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 

1. S. 50 Of NDPS Act- Presence Of Magistrate During Search Of Contraband Articles Not Mandatory If Accused Waives His Right: Delhi High Court [Nabi Alam alias Abbas v. State (Govt Of Nct Of Delhi)]

The High Court held that once a suspect under the NDPS Act is informed about his right to be searched before a Gazetted Officer/ Magistrate but he chooses not to exercise that right, then the empowered officer can conduct the search of such suspect without producing him before a Gazetted Officer/ Magistrate, for the said purpose.

"There is no requirement to conduct the search of the person, suspected to be in possession of a narcotic drug or a psychotropic substance, only in the presence of a Gazetted Officer or Magistrate, if the person proposed to be searched, after being apprised by the empowered officer of his right under Section 50 of the NDPS Act to be searched before a Gazetted Officer or Magistrate categorically waives such right by electing to be searched by the empowered officer," observed the Court while answering a Single Bench reference on the issue.

2. NDPS Act- Whether Weight Of Neutral Substance Be Ignored In Manufactured Drugs With Minuscule Percentage Of Narcotic Substance? Delhi HC Refers Issues To Larger Bench [Md. Ahsan v. Customs]

The High Court referred to larger bench the issue as to whether the weight of neutral substance can be ignored in cases of manufactured drugs with Miniscule percentage of narcotic substance in them?

Justice Subramonium Prasad referred the following issues to a larger bench:

- Whether in cases specifically related to manufactured drug with a miniscule percentage of a narcotic substance, the weight of the neutral substance ought to be ignored while determining the nature of the quantity seized i.e. small, commercial or in between?

- Whether Note 4 of the S.O. 1055 (E) dated 19th October, 2001 published in the Gazette of India, Extra., Pt.II, Sec3 (ii) dated 19th October 2001, as amended on 18.11.2009, should be held inapplicable to manufactured drug which contain a miniscule percentage of a narcotic drug?

- Whether Note 4 of the S.O. 1055 (E) dated 19th October, 2001 published in the Gazette of India, Extra., Pt.II, Sec3 (ii) dated 19th October 2001, as amended on 18.11.2009, should be made applicable to cough syrups containing miniscule percentage of Codeine since it has medicinal value and is also easily available?

3. Underworld Organised Activities & Clandestine Smuggling Of Drugs Resulting In Addiction Among Adolescents, Students: Delhi HC [Ram Bharose v. State]

The High Court observed that the underworld-organized activities and clandestine smuggling of drugs are resulting in addiction among the public particularly adolescents and students.

Discussing the effects of drugs on society, Justice Subramonium Prasad observed thus: "It has been observed that organised activities of the underworld and the clandestine smuggling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and illegal trafficking in such drugs and substances is resulting in drug addiction among a sizeable section of the public, particularly the adolescents and students of both sexes and the menace has assumed serious and alarming proportions in the recent years which has a deadly impact on the society as a whole."

Defamation

1. 'Prima Facie Defamatory' : Delhi High Court Asks Saket Gokhale To Take Down Tweets Against Lakshmi Puri [Lakshmi Mundeshwar Puri v. Saket Gokhale]

The High Court found RTI activist Saket Gokhale's tweets against former Indian Assistant Secretary-General to the United Nations, Lakshmi Puri, calling her a "black money hoarder" etc with respect to a disproportionate assets allegation to be prima facie defamatory.

The single judge bench of Justice C Hari Shankar ordered Gokhale to take down the tweets within 24 hours, failing which Twitter Inc has been directed to take down the tweets on the given URLs. Issuing summons in the main suit, the court has also restrained Gokhale from posting any further defamatory material against Puri and directed him to file his written submissions and denial affidavit, if any.

2. "Objectionable And Abusive Language": Delhi High Court Restrains TRACTOR2TWITTER From Making Defamatory Posts Against AajTak On Social Media [TV Today Network Ltd. v. Tractor 2 Twitter & Ors.]

The High Court restrained TRACTOR2TWITTER, claiming itself to be an online community of persons interested in Farmers Protests, from making defamatory posts against news channel AajTak on its social media accounts, after forming a prima facie opinion that the alleged posts uploaded by it were defamatory that used objectionable and abusive language.

AajTak had moved the High Court against TRACTOR2TWITTER for its "malicious and defamatory campaign" run against the news channel and its employees across their social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Telegram and Instagram.

3. "Prima Facie False, Misleading And Defamatory" : Delhi High Court Directs To Block Defamatory Tweet, Social Media Posts Against India Today [TV Today Network Ltd. v. The Cognate]

The High Court directed 'TheCognate' to block the tweet in the form of infographic and other social media posts made against India Today News Channel alleging to show that there has been a contrasting and biased approach in its reporting against Muslim community concerning COVID protocol violations relating to religious gatherings at Kumbh Mela and Mecca Masjid.

Observing that the imputation that India Today News Channel having two different approaches while reporting events pertaining to Hindu and Muslim community can serve as a death knell for a fair news channel, a single judge bench comprising of Justice Sanjeev Narula granted the interim relief in favour of India Today while ordering thus:

"In the 21st century digital world, the electronic records on the Internet proliferate and disseminate swiftly, are never completely erased and are capable of inflicting irreparable harm. Thus, the depiction in the infographic being ex-facie untrue, evidently defamatory, will continue to damage the reputation of the Plaintiff, if not ordered to be taken down."

Prisoners and Prison Facilities

1. Delhi High Court Comes Down Heavily On Tihar Jail Authorities For Alleged Murder Of 23-yo Undertrial In Prison

The High Court came down heavily on the Delhi state government and Tihar jail authorities while hearing a compensation petition on the alleged murder of a 23-yo undertrial, Dilsher Azad in Delhi's Tihar jail, and directed the Delhi Police to file a status report within 3 days. The court also asked the respondents of the petition, the state of Delhi, the Director General and the Superintendent, Tihar Jail to clarify whether any FIR and chargesheet have been filed with respect to the incident.

Noting that the incident was very serious in nature, the court also asked the jail authorities for the relevant CCTV footage of the incident, and observed that in such cases the footage must be seized and confisacted immediately.

The undertrial youngster, Dilsher Azad had been lodged in Delhi's Tihar jail since Sept 19, 2019, and was allegedly murdered by inmates. Azad's father received information about his son's sudden death in the prison on Nov 30, 2020.

2. Encourage Tihar Jail Inmates To Get Vaccinated, Extend Daily Calling Facilities, Allow E-Mulaqats: Delhi High Court Issues Directions [Natasha Narwal & Anr. v. State of NCT of Delhi & Anr.]

Dealing with a petition filed by under-trial prisoners, currently locked in the Central Jail-6 Tihar, seeking certain directions for the provision of certain facilities in the jail, the High Court issued a slew of directions. The Court noted that an issue was raised as to the inmates who can make these calls, and to the kind of numbers which the said calls are allowed to be made to.

Considering that for inmates who are 45+ years of age, vaccines are already available and are with the Jail Superintendent, the Court directed that proper counseling be done for these inmates, and they be encouraged to take the vaccine, at the earliest.

3. Delhi High Court Transfers Probe Into Alleged Murder Of Tihar Inmate Ankit Gujjar To CBI [Geeta & Ors. v. State & Ors.]

The High Court transferred the probe into 29 year old Tihar Jail inmate, Ankit Gujjar's alleged murder inside the jail premises, from Delhi Police to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). "Walls of prison, howsoever high they may be, the foundation of a prison is laid on the Rule of Law ensuring the rights to its inmates enshrined in the Constitution of India," said the Court.

The Court also added that it has issued directions to Director General of Prisons on the issue of laxity in not providing proper treatment on time and also for making necessary rules and regulations so that when CCTV cameras are not working inside jail premises, officers don't take advantage of the same.

4. Delhi High Court Issues Directions To Ensure That Custody Of An Undertrial Prisoner Is Not Extended Mechanically [Abhishek v. State NCT of Delhi]

The High Court issued slew of directions to ensure that the custody of an undertrial is not extended mechanically in view of sec. 167(2) of Cr.P.C. and also to ensure that the rights of undertrial prisoners to seek default bail are not defeated despite legislative mandate and the principles of law.

Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri also observed that the order of remanding an undertrial or its extension is held to be a judicial function requiring due application of mind.

The Court directed that while extending the custody of an undertrial prisoner, the Magistrate/concerned Court shall not mechanically extend the period of custody for the maximum period of 15 days as prescribed under sec. 167(2) of CrPC.

City Centric Important Developments

1. Municipal Corporation Can't Shirk Responsibility By Removing Encroachments Occasionally, Has To Keep Regular Check: Delhi High Court [Rajan v. NDMC]

The High Court observed that it is the responsibility of the municipal corporation, North Delhi Municipal Corporation in the present case, to ensure that side walks in the concerned area are kept clear from illegal encroachments and hawkers on a "continuous basis".

Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh observed: "The respondents cannot shirk of their responsibility by carrying out the exercise of removing encroachment occasionally. It is their responsibility to ensure that Side-Walks are kept clear from illegal encroachments and hawkers on a continuous basis."

2. "Interests Of Deity And Devotees Are Paramount": Delhi HC Issues Directions Regarding Administration, Maintenance Of Kalkaji Temple And Bari Rights [Neeta Bhardwaj & Ors. v. Kamlesh Sharma]

Observing that the interests of deity and devotees are paramount, the High Court issued slew of directions regarding the administration and maintenance of Kalkaji Temple as also for resolution of disputes pertaining to the bari rights between baridaars to ensure smooth functioning of the temple. 

Observing that there is a need to streamline the manner in which offerings and donations are made in the temple by the devotees, Justice Pratibha M Singh said: "The Court cannot turn a blind eye to the situation on ground, which appears to be a result of the multifarious disputes between the baridaars and the litigations filed, in respect thereof, before various Courts."

3. "Non-Availability Of Enabling Infra For Persons With Disability Glaring Throughout City": HC Directs Delhi Govt To Conduct Social Disability Audit [Jyoti Singh v. Nand Kishore]

Observing that the non-availability of enabling infrastructure for persons with disability is glaring and apparent throughout the city, the High Court called for a Social Disability Audit to be conducted by the Delhi Government within six weeks for the purpose of assessing the existing public infrastructure, including roads and other modes of transportation with regards to accessibility for persons with disabilities.

"The non-availability of requisite and enabling infrastructure for persons with disability is glaring and apparent throughout the city. It is also a violation of the Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Freedom of movement has to be honoured and assured in every way possible, it cannot be restrained by lack of civic amenities," Justice Najmi Waziri observed.

Dismissed PILs

1. 'We're Unable To Decide Present Govt Policies & You're Pointing Error In Policies Of Shah Jahan & Aurangzeb?': Delhi HC Refrains From Imposing Cost [Sanjeev Vikal v. Union of India]

The High Court slammed a public interest litigant challenging the content published by NCERT in a class 12th History Book, pertaining to policies of Mughal rulers granting concessions for construction/ repairing of temples. "We are unable to decide present policies of Government and you're pointing out errors with some policy of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb? This the High Court will decide?" the Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh remarked. It however refrained from imposing cost upon the litigant, after he sought permission to withdraw the petition unconditionally.

2. 'Petitioner Fully Aware How To Make Propaganda In Press': Delhi High Court Dismisses PIL Alleging Corruption & Scam In Oil PSUs [Nationalist Power Party v. Union of India & Ors.]

The High Court dismissed a "so called PIL", seeking action against officials of oil PSUs like ONGC and GAIL, for alleged corruption and involvement in purchase of sub-standard goods. The Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, while dismissing the petition, observed, "It ought to be kept in mind that fraud cannot be established by mere assertion by this Petitioner. It requires convincing evidence to be led before the court. Fraud cannot be established by way of annexures in a writ petition."

3. "Blackmailing Type Of Litigation": Delhi High Court Dismisses PIL Against Alleged Unauthorized Construction With 50K Cost [Fight for Right Social Welfare Society v. Vice Chairman Delhi Development Authority Cum Chairperson Special Task Force & Anr]

The High Court rejected with Rs. 50,000 cost, a Public Interest Litigation filed challenging alleged unauthorised construction on properties, without any source of knowledge. The Court dubbed it to be 'a blackmailing type of litigation'. The petitioner claimed to have found out about the alleged illegal construction from persons living in surrounding areas. Unconvinced, the Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Amit Bansal said that the petition was filed "without any homework" and merely on being informed by "some persons who are moving on road".

4. Delhi High Court Dismisses PIL Seeking Bar On Media For Reporting Mass Scale Deaths, Broadcasting Negative News In Wake Of Second Covid Wave [Lalit Valecha v. Union of India]

The High Court dismissed a PIL seeking directions for evolving and enforcing the Code of Ethics/Regulations on the TV News Channels for reporting news articles of "sensitive nature" including reporting of mass scale deaths, sufferings by the people in the wake of second Covid wave and to restrain the broadcasters or TV channels from spreading negativity, sense of insecurity towards life, alarm, injury, harm, suffering, damage, etc. while doing so. A division bench comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh dismissed the PIL after observing that informing public about the number of covid deaths is not negative news.

5. "Chance Taking Petitioner": Delhi High Court Dismisses PIL Against Salman Khurshid's Book 'Sunrise Over Ayodhya' [Rakesh v. Union of India]

The High Court dismissed a petition filed against further publication/ circulation of the book "Sunrise Over Ayodhya" written by Congress Leader and Former Union Minister Salman Khurshid. "These are all chance taking Petitioners," the Bench comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh remarked at the outset, noting that Petitioner had failed to implead Khurshid as a Respondent party. It allowed the petitioner to withdraw the petition and file a fresh one with proper averments and parties. "If you are so shy about making a Senior Advocate a party to your case who is also the author of the book, don't file a PIL. Most PILs are like this, either blackmailing type or publicity interest. Don't the author have to be heard?" said the Bench.

6. Delhi High Court Rejects PIL Seeking Release Of Persons "Illegally" Detained During Farmers' Tractor Rally

The High Court dismissed a PIL filed by a law graduate seeking release of participants of farmers tractor rally of January 26, who were "illegally" detained by the Delhi police. The Bench led by Chief Justice DN Patel asked the petitioner if it was a "publicity interest litigation".

These persons were allegedly illegally detained by police since January 26 in connection with the protests on Republic Day, and the petitioner, a law graduate, claimed that no arrest memos also had been issued in respect of the persons' detention. He claimed that he had come to know through news reports and social activists that people had been detained from the Singhu, Ghaziabad and Tikri borders.

7. 'All Permutations & Combinations In Prayer; General Lumpsum Arguments': Delhi High Court Dismisses PIL For Development Of Gautampuri Area [Shrikant Prasad v. GNCTD & Ors.]

The High Court dismissed a PIL seeking development of the Gautampuri area in the national capital, upon observing that the Petitioner had not made even a single representation before the concerned authorities. A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh also remarked that the Petitioner had made all sorts of "permutations and combinations" in the prayer, and was advancing "general lumpsum arguments" without doing proper research.

8. No Adverse Presumption Against Investigation Agency: Delhi High Court Dismisses Plea To Regulate Search & Seizure Operations On Advocates' Premises [Nikhil Borwankar v. GNCTD]

The High Court dismissed a PIL seeking issuance of guidelines to be followed by police or investigating authorities while conducting search and seizure operations on an Advocate's premises. "There are adequate provisions under the CrPC as to the method by which search and seizure can be carried out at the premises," the Division Bench of chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said. The Bench was referring to Chapter VII of the Criminal Procedure Code wherein procedure has been mentioned in detail for carrying out search at the premises of any person.

9. Delhi High Court Dismisses Plea Seeking Reduction In Dosage Interval Of Covishield Vaccine To 8 Weeks [Dr. Siddhartha Dey v. Union of India]

The High Court dismissed a PIL seeking reduction of the present 12-16 week interval for administration of second dose of Covishield vaccine. The Petitioner, a doctor by profession, had sought reduction of the said period to 8 weeks, for persons over 50 years of age and those having comorbidities. "Health Experts come here every day. We cannot issue new guidelines every day," a Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh remarked orally.

10. "People Can't Be Forced To Donate Plasma": Delhi High Court Dismisses Plea For Law For Compulsory Donation of Plasma With 10K Cost [Think Act Rise Foundation v. GNCTD]

Observing that the Court can't compel the respondents to draft a law or policy for compulsory donation of plasma, the High Court dismissed a 'baseless and frivolous petition' with costs of Rs.10,000/. The Bench of Chief Justice D. N. Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh remarked, "We can neither compel the respondents to draft law or policy for a compulsory donation of plasma nor we can give any direction to persons, who have recovered from Covid-19 after plasma therapy, to donate plasma for the benefit of other patients suffering from Covid-19. This is a baseless and frivolous petition."

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