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Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand High Courts: 50 Important Decisions Of 2021

Sparsh Upadhyay
2 Jan 2022 6:56 AM GMT
Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand High Courts: 50 Important   Decisions Of 2021
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As the end of the year 2021 is nearing, LiveLaw brings to you a bunch of important Cases from the Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand High Courts. This digest includes 50 important orders and judgments.Himachal Pradesh High Court 1. "Custodial Interrogation Justified": Himachal Pradesh HC Denies Anticipatory Bail To Man Accused Of Flesh Trade Of Adolescent Girls [Md. Nazim v. State...

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As the end of the year 2021 is nearing, LiveLaw brings to you a bunch of important Cases from the Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand High Courts. This digest includes 50 important orders and judgments.

Himachal Pradesh High Court

1. "Custodial Interrogation Justified": Himachal Pradesh HC Denies Anticipatory Bail To Man Accused Of Flesh Trade Of Adolescent Girls [Md. Nazim v. State of Himachal Pradesh]

A single judge bench comprising of Justice Vivek Singh denied anticipatory bail to a man apprehending arrest in a case for allegedly being a part of racket involved in fishing adolescent girls for throwing them in international flesh trade by trafficking them abroad after alluring them for marriage.

It observed that an accused may not be entitled for the grant of anticipatory bail even in the absence of necessity of custodial interrogation in all eventualities. According to the Court, the requirement of custodial interrogation is not the only reason for rejecting bail application.

2. Journalist's Disorderly Conduct Causes Irreparable Damage To Journalism, High Time That Govt. Reviews List Of Accreditations: HP High Court [Vijay Gupta v. State of Himachal Pradesh]

A Bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan opined that because of mushroom growth of journalist and the cut-throat competition amongst the journalists themselves, their standards are declining leading to the decline of the institution of Journalism.

It was hearing the plea of an Editor of the Hindi Weekly namely 'Him Ujala' who submitted before the Court that despite working as a Journalist for more than 13 years and winning many awards, his accreditation had been cancelled only on the ground that there are certain FIRs pending against him.

3. "No Means No, The Word 'No' Does Not Need Any Further Explanation : Himachal Pradesh HC Denies Bail To Man Accused Of Raping Minor [Suresh Kumar v. State of Himachal Pradesh]

"NO MEANS NO- The simplest of sentences have become the most difficult for some men to understand" observed a single judge bench comprising of Justice Anoop Chitkara while rejecting the bail application filed by a man accused of raping a 17 year old minor.

In this case it was alleged that the accused, Suresh Kumar picked up the minor girl, who was also his friend, in his vehicle by offering to drop her to her house. However, he changed the way and started touching her inappropriately. While the girl said NO to him, he threatened the victim that if she started to cry, he will forced himself upon her. Kumar then asked if she would marry him to which the victim responded as a no. Thereafter, he undressed her and had sexual intercourse with her.

4. Police's Job Is To Ensure Social Distancing, Law & Order, They Can't Be Burdened To Bring Files When Accused Has Received Same Under S. 207 CrPC: HP High Court [Amit v. State of Himachal Pradesh]

Observing that once the accused receives documents under Section 207, CrPC free of costs, then the State cannot be burdened again and again to bring the police file along with police officials¸ a Single Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara refused to grant bail to a murder accused.

It noted that the requirement of police is more to maintain social distancing and law and order and that they can't be burdened again and again to bring the police file along with the police officials, that too in COVID phase as it will put an unnecessary burden on the infrastructure.

5. "He Appears To Be Pervert, Would Make Life Of Young Friends Of Opposite Gender Miserable": HP High Court Denies Bail To Man Accused Of Raping Minor [Rohit Kumar v. State of Himachal Pradesh]

Observing that the conduct of the accused was so "deplorable that it would make the life of young friends belonging to the opposite gender as miserable", a Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara denied bail to a man who allegedly allured and raped a minor girl. It further remarked, "The accused appears to be pervert and, as such, there is no question to grant the bail to the Accused."

As per the statement of the minor victim girl, A-2, who knew the victim, slapped her while she was taking a stroll on the road. Thereafter, the six accused they forced her to undress while A-1 filmed the scene. Thereafter, A-1 caught hold of the victim from her arm and took her to the bushes, where he committed rape upon her.

6. COVID-"Imperative That Front Line Workers Are Made To Work On Rotation Basis Or Else Health System Will Collapse ": Himachal Pradesh HC [Dr. Vishal Koundal v. State of Himachal Pradesh & Ors.]

It is imperative that the front line workers are made to work on rotation basis or else the health system is likely to collapse with the sudden and drastic surge in Covid-19 cases" observed a single judge bench comprising of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan while dismissing a plea of a doctor challenging his deputation to a Covid Make Shift Hospital. Calling it a "rather unfortunate case", the Court observed thus:

"The petitioner has failed to realize that the health workers in over-crowded hospitals, the policemen and other front line workers are already beset with overwhelming load of Covid-19 patients which is likely to worsen in future. These workers are exhausted from almost an year of restless fighting against the pandemic. The State currently is fighting the grimmest battle against Covid-19 which is nothing short of a disaster culminating in mass deaths and, therefore, it is imperative that the front line workers are made to work on rotation basis or else the health system is likely to collapse with the sudden and drastic surge in Covid-19 cases."

7. "Mere Presence At Demonstration Spot Wouldn't Invite Criminal Action": HP High Court Quashes FIR Against Persons Protesting At National Highway [Anjali Soni Verma & Anr. v. State of Himachal Pradesh & Ors.]

Observing that all roads and Expressways are "lifelines", single judge bench comprising of Justice Anoop Chitkara quashed FIR registered against two persons for being members of an unlawful assembly which allegedly blocked National Highway, Shimla thereby causing wrongful restraint.

Opining that it is "one of the exceptional cases where Court should exercise its inherent jurisdiction under sec. 482 of CrPC", the Court quashed the FIR and observed thus: "All roads, be it expressways, village roads, or colony roads, are lifelines. Under any pretext, how so ever justifiable it might be, the blocking of any highway, road, street, or path can neither be condoned nor forgiven or approved. However, mere presence at the spot in the demonstration would not invite criminal acts in the facts and nature of allegations made in the present FIR."

8. Zee Media Journalist Booked For Conducting 'Reality Check' On Inter-State E-Pass Registration: Himachal Pradesh High Court Stays Arrest

Dealing with a matter of a Zee News journalist who has been booked for conducting a 'reality check' on e-pass registration for inter-State movement, a Bench of Justice Ajay Mohan Goel directed the State police not to take any coercive action against him till the next date of hearing.

The Petitioner stated in his bail application that being a responsible journalist and acting in larger public interest carried out a systematic investigation into the veracity of the claims being made by the administration qua the verification of the registration in forms of the people entering Himachal compliance with notification dated 05-05-2021 and broadcast the news on May 7. It was also mentioned that the reality check undertaken by the petitioner brought to light the fact that the registration so made and e-passes so generated were being done in a mechanical manner without any verification by the authorities concerned.

9. Access To Internet Services Has Assumed Great Importance On Account Of COVID Pandemic: Himachal Pradesh High Court

Underlining that access to Internet services has assumed great importance on account of the Covid-19 pandemic, a Bench of Justices Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Chander Bhushan Barowalia observed that "The need of the hour is to provide adequate bandwidth, network attached storage and routers etc. to facilitate the conducting of educational courses, conferences, court proceedings etc. on virtual platform."

The Court was hearing a petition filed highlighting the plight of the residents of the State, more particularly, the residents of the rural and backward areas of the State, in the matters regarding Internet services.

10. "Entire World Has Switched Over To 5G & BSNL Still Trying To Procure Outdated 4G Equipment": Himachal Pradesh High Court Calls it 'Wastage Of Money'

A Bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice CB Barowalia questioned that when the entire world is proceeding or has rather switched over to 5G technology, why the BSNL is still trying to procure outdated equipment of 4G. It was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed indicating the plight of the residents of the rural and backward areas state in the matters regarding Internet services.

When the Counsel of BSNL said that BSNL had already called for tenders for the supply of 4G equipment but the same could not be finalized because of the objections raised by various authorities of the government, the Court said: "We are surprised to note that the entire world is proceeding or has rather switched over to 5G technology, why the BSNL is still trying to procure outdated equipment of 4G. Why public money is sought to be wasted, is a matter of concern both for the public as well as for this Court."

11. "No Arbitrary Fixing Of Cut-Off Date Within Homogeneous Classes Of Pensioners": HP HC Sets Aside Notifications Denying NPA Benefits To Superannuating Doctors [Dr. Ved Parkash Sharma & Anr. v. State of H.P. & others]

Justice Sureshwar Thakur set aside notifications denying benefits of Non Practicing Allowance (NPA) as a part of basic pay for calculating retiral benefits to superannuated doctors who retired prior to 1st September 1997 and 1st January 2006.

Quashing the notifications, the Court ordered thus: "A reading of the afore extracted relevant paragraphs, does graphically pronounce, that within the homogeneous classes of pensioners, no arbitrary fixing of any cut off date, for any relevant purpose, inasmuch, as, the adding onto or addition of any NPA, in the basic pay, being restricted to retirees, whose superannuation occurred on or within the interregnum commencing from 1.9.1997, and upto 2006, can assume any tinge of constitutional validity, and, nor would stand the constitutional touchstone of Article 14 of the Constitution of India."

12. Registering FIR Sans Evidence Against Advocates Who Are Saviour Of Freedom Of Speech Would Dampen Their Spirits: HP High Court [Vipul Prabhakar v. State of H.P. and Anr.]

The Court quashed an FIR registered against an advocate for allegedly raising slogans against a the Court. It observed that registration of FIR without any legally admissible evidence against advocates, who are the saviour of Freedom of Speech, would only dampen their spirits. The Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara was hearing the plea of an Advocate named Vipul Prabhakar who was accused of raising slogans against an order of the High Court.

13. "People Either Ignore Mental Illness Or Go For Religious Remedies": HP High Court Grants Bail To Mentally Ill Rape Accused [Ajay Kumar v. State of H.P.]

The Court recently granted bail to a Rape accused who is suffering from serious mental illness noting that he can't be left in this stage in the prison. Justice Anoop Chitkara was hearing the plea of a man facing incarceration upon his arrest for alluring and raping a minor girl.

Importantly, the Court also observed thus: "…there is a tendency amongst the people and the society not to treat the mental problems as illness and, thus, either ignore it or go for religious remedies."

14. Victim Of Sexual Offence Can't Have Any Locus To Approach Court For Quashing Of FIR: Himachal Pradesh High Court

The Court recently observed that a victim of a sexual offence cannot have any locus standi to approach the Court for quashing of FIR registered for the sexual assault which she had faced. Justice Anoop Chitkara was hearing a petition of a rape victim, wherein she sought quashing of FIR registered at her instance against the accused, on the grounds that now they (victim and accused) have decided to marry.

15. RTI- Once A Party Dies His/Her Death Certificate Can't Be Termed As 'Third Party Information': Himachal Pradesh High Court

The Court held that once a party has died, his/her death certificate cannot be termed a 'Third Party Information' as per Section 11 of the Right to Information Act, as that information relates/related only to the deceased.

Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan was hearing the plea of an appellant/applicant whose application seeking a copy of the death certificate and the names and addresses of legal representatives of a deceased was denied citing Section 8(1)J and Section 11 of right to Information Act, 2005.

16. S.125 CrPC- 'Granting Interim Maintenance Is Similar To Giving First Aid; Prevents Wives & Children From Vagrancy': Himachal Pradesh High Court

The Court has observed that granting interim maintenance under Chapter IX of CrPC is like giving first aid which prevents wives and children from various modes of vagrancy and it's consequences.

Justice Anoop Chitkara observed thus: "Granting interim maintenance is similar to giving first aid. Chapter IX of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, provides a quick remedy by a summary procedure to protect the applicant against starvation and tide over immediate difficulties by a deserted wife or children to secure some reasonable sum by way of maintenance."

17. 20-Yr-Old Allegedly Found In Conscious Possession of 19 Grams 'Chitta' Granted Bail By HP High Court Noting His 'Tender Age' [Gaurav Thakur v. The State Of Himachal Pradesh]

Taking into account his 'tender age', the Court recently granted bail to a 20-year-old boy who was allegedly found by the state police in the conscious possession of 19.5 grams of 'Chitta' (synthetically produced drugs).

The Bench of Justice Ajay Mohan Goel also observed that it was not in dispute that the contraband recovered from the conscious possession of him was of intermediate quantity and that he is a 20 years old boy having no previous criminal history of a case under the NDPS Act.

18. People Who Lose Faith In Judiciary Are Required To Be Condemned & Curbed With Strong Hands: HP High Court [Deepak Raj Sharma v. State of Himachal Pradesh]

"The people, who lose faith in the judiciary, are required to be condemned and curbed with strong hands by one and all, who are interested in the orderly society and have faith in democracy", observed the Himachal Pradesh High Court while refusing to quash a non-consensual transfer order.

The Court made these observations in the context of the case of a petitioner, who had met with a political leader seeking a posting. A bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Satyen Vaidya observing that the conduct of the petitioner clearly goes to indicate that the petitioner has no faith in the judicial system, the Court declined him relief noting that he had resorted to "extra-constitutional means" for quashing of his transfer order.

19. 'Law Secretary Can't Discharge Quasi-Judicial Functions' : HP High Court Directs State To Constitute State Transport Appellate Tribunal Within A Month

The Court has directed the State Government to constitute an independent State Transport Appellate Tribunal within a month as per Section 89(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act within a month. A bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Sabina directed the State Government to notify the constitution of the Tribunal within one month and also provide the paraphernalia including building, necessary staff and other infrastructure, as per the workload available with the Tribunal, within a period of one month thereafter.

20. Teachers Caring For Their Self- Interests Alone & Not The Interest Of Their Pupils A 'Lamentable State Of Affairs': Himachal Pradesh High Court [Milap Chand v. State of HP & Ors.]

Observing that it is the duty of the teacher to take care of pupil(s) as a careful parent would take care of its children, a Bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Chander Bhusan Barowalia rebuked a Petitioner, a School Principal who challenged his transfer on the ground that he had crossed the age of 55 years.

It sternly remarked, "Instead of being a role model, (the petitioner) indulged in an unnecessary and otherwise avoidable litigation, that too, to safeguards his individual interest, over and above that of the students."

21. Even If Judge's Wife Is Distantly Related To One Of The Petitioners, This Nowhere Implies That Such Judge Is Prejudiced: Himachal Pradesh High Court [Rajeev Bhardwaj v. State of H.P. & Ors.]

Holding that even if the wife of a Judge is distantly related to one of the petitioners, this nowhere implies that such Judge is prejudiced, a Single Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara dismissed a plea seeking a declaration of a sitting Judge's dissenting view as Coram non-judice and non est in the eyes of law.

The private respondents alleged before the Court that wife of Justice Sureshwar Thakur (who gave the dissenting pronouncement in a particular Judgment) is related to the wife of one of the Appellants.

22. Surrogate Woman Entitled To Maternity Leave Benefits, To Distinguish Between A Surrogate Mother And Natural Mother Would Result In Insulting Womanhood: Himachal HC [Sushma Devi v. State of Himachal Pradesh & Ors.]

A division bench comprising of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Sandeep Sharma observed that a surrogate woman, getting child through arrangement by surrogate parents, is entitled to avail maternity leave benefits under Rule 43(1) of CCS (Leave) Rules, 1972. The Court opined that it would be "an insult to womanhood" to distinguish between a mother who begets a child through surrogacy and a natural mother who gives birth to a child.

The bench observed, "Motherhood never ends on the birth of the child and a commissioning mother cannot be refused paid maternity leave. A woman cannot be discriminated, as far as maternity benefits are concerned, only on the ground that she has obtained the baby through surrogacy. A newly born child cannot be left at the mercy of others as it needs rearing and that is the most crucial period during which the child requires care and attention of his mother. The tremendous amount of learning that takes place in the first year of the baby's life, the baby learns a lot too. A bond of affection has also to be developed."

23. "He Has Become Drug Addict & Needs To Be Rehabilitated To Bring Him To Mainstream": HP High Court Grants Bail To Man [Gaurav Kumar v. State of Himachal Pradesh]

While noting that the bail petitioner before the Court has become a drug addict and as such, he is required to be taken to some rehabilitation centre, so that efforts are made for bringing the bail petitioner to the main stream, the High Court granted Bail to a man accused under NDPS Act.

The Bench of Justice Sandeep Sharma was hearing the regular bail plea of one Gaurav Kumar who was charged Sections 21, 29-61-85 of the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

24. HP High Court Issues Several Directions On PIL Over Boosting Internet Connectivity In State Especially Rural Areas

Dealing with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea filed highlighting the plight of the residents of the State, more particularly, the residents of the rural and backward areas of the State in the matters regarding internet connectivity, the Himachal Pradesh High Court issued several directions to the state government.

25. Whether Provisions Of 'Family Courts Act' Have Been Made Applicable In Himachal Pradesh?: High Court Asks Centre

The Himachal Pradesh High Court this week asked the Central Government as to whether the provisions of Family Courts Act 1984 have been made applicable by way of issuance of a statutory notification vis-à-vis the State of Himachal Pradesh or not.

Essentially, the Bench of Justice Ajay Mohan Goel was hearing a criminal revision plea when the counsel for the petitioner drew court's attention to Section 1 of the Family Courts Act, 1984, and on the strength of sub­section (3), he submitted that the Central Government had not issued any Notification so as to bring into force this Act in the State of Himachal Pradesh.

Uttarakhand High Court

1. Uttarakhand Forest Fire: High Court Asks State To Fill All Vacancies In Forest Department Within 6 Months [In Re, In the matter of, "Protection of Forest Area, Forest Wealth and Wild Life due to devastation from the extensive forest fires in the State of Uttarakhand"]

"For, until and unless sufficient manpower and physical infrastructure are not provided to the Forest Department, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the Forest Department, to carry out its functions," a Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma observed.

It has asked the State Government to take steps for filling up vacancies in its Forest Department, preferably within six months. The directions come during the ongoing forest fire raging in the Districts of Nainital, Champawat, and Udham Singh Nagar districts.

2. Police Personnel Cannot Be Appointed As Jail Superintendents: Uttarakhand High Court [Sanjeev Kumar Akash v. State of Uttarakhand & Ors.]

In a significant judgment relating to prisoners' right, a Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma held that Police personnel cannot be appointed as Jail Superintendents.

It held that the purpose of Police is very different from that of Jail Superintendents and as a natural corollary, their trainings and psyche are poles apart. Hence, the former cannot possess the position of the latter.

3. Ramp Up Testing; Set Up Mobile Vans; Release SoP For Upcoming Char Dham: Uttarakhand High Court Issues Directions To Prevent Spread Of Covid-19

A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma issued a slew of directions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the state and to strengthen the existing medical infrastructure to battle the impending cases. This includes a direction to the State to regulate the forthcoming Char Dham Yatra in the pilgrim cities.

Access full report to read directions

Also Read: "Can't Permit Char Dham Yatra To Become Another Hot Bed For COVID Spread": Uttarakhand High Court

4. COVID19-Concrete Steps Need To Be Taken By State To Protect People From Onslaught Of Pandemic: Uttarakhand High Court Issues Directions

A Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma observed that the State is fighting a major war against the pandemic and that despite the substantial steps taken by the State Government, still certain concrete steps needed to be taken by the State Government in order to protect the people from the onslaught of the pandemic.

Access full report to read directions

Also Read: COVID-19 Surge: Uttarakhand High Court Issues Functioning Modalities WEF May 4, Subordinate Courts To Remain Closed From May 3

Also Read: COVID-19: "Constitutional Mandate Of State Is To Protect People": Uttarakhand HC Bats For QR Code On Remdesivir Packets, Plasma Donation

5. Why State Forced To Procure Oxygen From Other States, When It Has 3 Production Units Of Its Own? Uttarakhand High Court Asks Centre

A division bench of Chief Justice RS Chauhan & Justice Alok Kumar Verma heard a PIL filed in connection with the issue of bed availability in the COVID hospitals, among other prayers and observed that the State Government needs to establish more centres for Plasma Donation as the state has only one Centre.

While hearing the matter, it raised an issue as to why the State of Uttarakhand was being forced by the Central Government to procure its oxygen quota from other States, despite the fact that there are three oxygen production units within the State. The Bench also raised the concern that the Central Government had issued 25 injections to a state which has a population of 2 crores.

6. 'First We Allowed Kumbh Mela, Now Char Dham': Uttarakhad High Court Says Govt Careless About COVID Protocols

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Verma made critical observations against the State Government for allowing the 'Kumbh Mela', in which over 10 million devotees congregated over several weeks, during the COVID-19 pandemic. also slammed the state government for not informing about the steps to implement the SOP for Char Dham.

"First we allowed Kumbh Mela 2021 and now this is being done (Chardham). Please get a chopper and visit Char Dham, go to Kedarnath and Badrinath and see for yourself, what is happening," it orally observed.

7. Centre Maintaining 'Studied Silence' On Oxygen Related Reasonable Requests Of State 'Surprising': Uttarakhand High Court Seeks Explanation

Stressing that in a quasi-federal country like ours, it is the constitutional duty of the Central Government to rush to the rescue of the State Government, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Verma recently called it 'surprising' that the Centre was maintaining 'studied silence' on State Govt's oxygen-related 'reasonable' demands. It observed that the least that is expected from the Central Government is to respond to the repeated letters being sent by the State Government.

Also Read: Oxygen Concentrators Not Classified As 'Essential Commodity': Uttarakhand High Court Seeks Centre, State Govt. Response

8. "Nepali Citizens In Uttarakhand Not Being Vaccinated For Not Possessing Aadhar Card": Uttarakhand HC Treats Letter As 'Letter Petition'

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma treated a letter as a 'Letter petition' which a Law Student pointed out that while the vaccination process had commenced for battling the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the Nepali citizens couldn't be vaccinated as they have not been issued the Aadhar Card.

The Court received a letter from one Medha Pandey, Student of Faculty of Law, University of Delhi, pointing out that many of the Nepali citizens, who continue to stay in India, couldn't be vaccinated as they have not been issued the Aadhar Card, which is required for registration for the purpose of inoculation which is required for registration for the purpose of inoculation.

9. Kumbh Mela 2021- Maintain Strict Vigilance So That Haridwar Doesn't Emerge As A Hotbed For Spread Of COVID-19: Uttarakhand HC

The Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma, while hearing a PIL concerning Covid-management during upcoming Kumbh Mela celebrations, directed the state administration to maintain strict vigilance during the Kumbh Mela and even prior thereto, so as to reduce the possibility of Haridwar emerging as a hot bed for the spread of Corona Virus infection.

10. "Prisons In India Continue To Be Rather Medieval In Their Functioning": Uttarakhand High Court Seeks Report On Jail Conditions In The State

Stressing that the prisons in India continue to be rather medieval in their functioning, a Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma observed that it is high time that Jails are transported from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age. The Bench was hearing a plea, wherein the petitioners submitted that the State of Uttarakhand has failed to enact any policy or rules with regard to premature release of convicted prisoners, after they have completed 14 years of the sentence.

However, the Court further noted, "The conditions of the jails in the State is a cause of concern as the entire jail population, whether under trial or convicted prisoners, are under judicial custody." Therefore, it expressed its desire to know not only about the physical condition of the jails throughout the State, but also about the reformative techniques being used to reform the prisoners.

11. 'Van Gujjars' Forced To Survive In Conditions Below Animal Existence: Uttarakhand HC Directs Govt To Provide Them Food, House, Medicines Etc [Think Act Rise Foundation v. State of Uttarakhand]

Observing that Van Gujjars families are forced to live in open tents, in an open field, under the open sky, a Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma prima facie ruled that the fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India of Van Gujjars families was being violated by the respondents.

"Van Gujjars" are the largest forest-dwelling community in Uttarakhand. "Van Gujjars" have been residing in the forest areas for last more than hundred years. Noting their condition, the Court remarked, "It is, indeed, trite to state that Article 21 of the Constitution of India forbids the State from reducing the lives of its people below the animal existence. Every citizen not only has a right to live, but also has a right to live with dignity."

12. "Major Persons Have The Fundamental Right To Choose Their Own Life Partners Inspite Opposition Voiced By Family Members": Uttarakhand High Court

A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma granted protection to an inter faith couple by directing the Police to provide them immediate protection after observing that individuals who are major have a fundamental right to choose their life partners despite the opposition voiced by their family members.

"Undoubtedly, persons, who are major, have a fundamental right to choose their own life-partners, even inspite of the opposition voiced by the family members. Therefore, respondent Nos. 3 & 4 should not be permitted to threaten or to hurt the petitioners," the Court observed.

13. Chardham Yatra: "If Permitted We Would Again Be Inviting A Catastrophe": Uttarakhand High Court Stays Govt Decision To Hold Yatra

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma stayed the decision of the Uttarakhand State Cabinet to hold Chardham Yatra by taking a prima facie view that the decision is arbitrary and unreasonable and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. It directed the Government to ensure that the ceremonies, the pujas and archanas, carried out within the sanctum sanctorum of the Char Dham temples, are live-streamed for the benefit of the people at large.

"It is common knowledge that as people began to die, there were insufficient spaces in our crematorium and burial grounds. People could not perform a decent cremation, or decent burial to our lost brethren. The satellite images of May, 2020, and the International Media continued to show the endless number of pyres which were burning, and the pitiable condition of our people," the Court observed.

Also Read: "Govt. Playing Cat & Mouse Game, Want It To Be Honest With Court": Uttarakhand High Court Raps State Over Conducting Char Dham Yatra

14. Uttarakhand HC Directs Immediate Transfer Of 23 Crores To Transport Corporation For Payment Of Employees' Salaries As CM Declines To Convene Urgent Cabinet Meeting

A division bench comprising of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma directed that an amount of Rs. 23 Crores be immediately transferred to the State Transport Corporation for the purpose of payment of its Employees' salary for the month of February and March this year.

The development came after the Court was informed by the State Chief Secretary that despite a request made to the Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat for convening a Cabinet Meeting on an urgent basis, he had declined to do so. The Court had on the previous date of hearing, requested the Chief Minister to convene an urgent meeting for ensuring that arrears of salaries are paid to the employees of State Transport Corporation which is unpaid from the last five months.

15. Anand Marriage Act: Uttarakhand High Court Issues Notice To State On Plea Seeking Direction To Notify Rules For Sikh Marriages

A bench of Chief Justice R. S. Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma issued a notice to the state government on a plea urging that State Government should notify the rules under the Anand Marriage Act, 1909.it has given the state four weeks to respond to the petition.

The petition, filed by the party in person, Amanjot Singh Chadha, avers that the Act casts a duty upon the State Government under Section 6 to make rules for registration of Anand Marriages as no current framework in the State of Uttarakhand for registering Anand Marriages has caused an impediment in their right to register marriages.

16. No One Can Be Permitted To Violate Covid Appropriate Behaviour To Jeopardize Lives Of Local Population: Uttarakhand HC Extends Stay On Char Dham Yatra

The High Court continued to review the Covid-19 situation in the State and issued a host of directions to the State government in this regard. A Bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Verma also extended its order staying State Government's decision to hold Char Dham Yatra.

17. "Definitely A Mob-Lynching Case": Uttarakhand HC Denies Bail To 5, Directs Probe Against Cop For Not Providing Medical Aid To Deceased

Calling it an unfortunate case of 'mob lynching', the Court recently denied bail to 5 people accused of brutally beating and killing a 'young boy' after he was allegedly spotted with his female friend by the accused. The Bench of Justice Ravindra Maithani also directed probe against the in-charge of the Police Station who instead of further pursuing the medical advice of a doctor of C.H.C., confined the deceased in Police Thana.

18. Forcing Prisoner's Family To Travel From Mountains To Plains To Meet Prisoners Violates Article 21: U'khand High Court

The Uttarakhand High Court observed that forcing the family of a prisoner to travel through the mountainous terrain and to come down to the plains to meet and interact with a relative-prisoner, prima facie, violates fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India of prisoners and their family members. This assertion came from the Bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma while noting that the Uttarakhand government, on account of overcrowding of jails, has been transferring many inmates from jails situated in mountainous districts to the plain districts.

19. Register FIR, Take Strict Action Against Those Who Threaten Couples Marrying Against Wishes Of Family: Ut'khand HC Directs DGP [Swaleha Hussain v. State of Uttarakhand & Another]

Stressing that the adults have a right to marry a person of their choice, the Court observed that no pressure tactic should be permitted either by the family members or by friends of the family. The Bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Verma directed the State DGP to ensure that a circular issued in the regard be followed in letter and spirit asked him to take action against the delinquent officer.

20. Dadri MLA Murder- 'Absconding' Can't Be Treated As Incriminating Evidence: Ut'khand HC Acquits Man Serving Life Sentence [Karan Yadav v. CBI]

Holding that conviction cannot be based only on the ground that the alleged accused has absconded, the High Court acquitted a man convicted of murdering then Dadri (Uttar Pradesh) MLA, Mahendra Singh Bhati around 29 years back.

The Bench of Chief Justice R. S. Chauhan and Justice Alok Kumar Verma set aside a 2015 judgment of the Special CBI court which had convicted Karan Yadav under Sections 302 (murder) r/w 120-B IPC.

21. Uttarakhand High Court Dismisses PIL Filed Against Use Of Siren By An MLA, His Family Members With ₹50K Cost [Umesh Kumar v. State of Uttarakhand and others]

The Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed against the use of siren by a Member of Legislative Assembly of the State and his family members with 50,000/- cost.

Essentially, the petitioner, one Umesh Kumar had filed the instant PIL aggrieved by the use of siren by a Member of Legislative Assembly of the State (a sitting MLA, who was elected in the year 2017) and his family members.

22. Uttarakhand High Court Issues Slew Of Directions For Prison Reforms In View Of 'Horrifying Conditions Of Jails In State'

Perusing the affidavit filed by the state government on the conditions of jail in the state, the Court issued a slew of directions for the state government regarding prison reforms.

The directions have come from the Bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Narayan Singh Dhanik while perusing the affidavits filed by Secretary (Home), and the Inspector General of Prisons, Uttarakhand pursuant to the order of Court.

23. Uttarakhand High Court Takes Suo Motu Cognizance Of De-notification Of Shivalik Elephant Reserve

The High Court took suo motu cognizance of denotification of the Shivalik Elephant Reserve, the only elephant reserve in the State, for the purpose of developmental activities. A Division Bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Alok Kumar Verma issued notices to the Central and the State Government, and fixed the matter for hearing on 22nd February, 2021.

The development comes after several Delhi-based lawyers wrote to the Chief Justice, urging him to take appropriate action in the interest of natural environment and conservation of wildlife. The next date of hearing is 22nd February, 2021.

24. Place Of Worship Act: Uttarakhand High Court Dismisses Appeal Against Refusal To Stay Construction Of Crematoria Over Ancient Pilgrimage [Rajmata Jiya Katyuri Samaj v. State of Uttarakhand & others]

The Division Bench in appeal comprising of Acting Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Alok Kumar Verma recently dismissed an appeal challenging an order denying interim relief against construction of a crematoria over alleged land of ancient temple pilgrimage.

The Appellant in this case had stated that construction of a Crematoria on an ancient pilgrimage, which is a site of worship for the appellant, is being done without any authority of law and is "in blatant disregard of the Constitutional Rights as also in ignorance of bar of Section 3 of The Place of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991." The matter was earlier placed before a Single Judge of the Court who had dismissed the plea for interim relief. Aggrieved by this decision, an appeal was filed before this Division Bench.

The Division Bench, however did not find substance in any of the contentions and it held that the Single Judge was justified in rejecting the plea for interim relief.

25. State Information Commission Has No Power To Direct Removal Of Encroachment Under RTI ACT: Uttarakhand High Court [Manju Agarwal v. State of Uttarakhand & Ors.]

Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari, observed that the State Information Commission has got no power to direct for the removal of encroachment under the Right To Information Act, 2005. The Bench, in its order, observed that giving a direction for removal of encroachment is beyond the scope of the State Information Commission's powers under Right to Information Act.

The Bench was hearing the plea of one Manju Agarwal, who challenged the order dated 08th August 2016 passed by State Information Commission directing Nagar Palika Parishad, Kotdwar to take necessary action with the help of local administration to remove an encroachment.


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