Madras High Court: Yearly Digest 2021

Sebin James

1 Jan 2022 4:47 AM GMT

  • Madras High Court: Yearly Digest 2021

    LiveLaw brings you a list of important cases, orders and judgments from the Madras High Court that caught our eyes in 2021. The Yearly Digest is segregated into different topics for the reader's ease.Bail Matters & Quashing FIRs 1. 'Right To Be Funny Can Be Mined In Article 19(1)(a)': Madras High Court Quashes FIR Over Humorous Facebook Post [Mathivanan v. Inspector of Police...

    LiveLaw brings you a list of important cases, orders and judgments from the Madras High Court that caught our eyes in 2021. The Yearly Digest is segregated into different topics for the reader's ease.

    Bail Matters & Quashing FIRs

    1. 'Right To Be Funny Can Be Mined In Article 19(1)(a)': Madras High Court Quashes FIR Over Humorous Facebook Post [Mathivanan v. Inspector of Police & Ors.]

    While quashing an FIR registered against an office-bearer of CPI (ML) who uploaded vacation pictures with the caption 'Trip to Sirumalai for shooting practice', the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court went on to make some interesting observations about the 'duty to laugh' and the 'right to be funny'.

    Justice G.R Swaminathan quashed the FIR against the 62-year-old accused while underscoring that the case registered by Vadipatty Police, booking the latter for 'making preparations to wage war against the State', is 'absurd and an abuse of legal process'.

    The Court went on to observe that the correlative right to be funny can be "mined in Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India".

    2. "Criticism A Democratic Right, Part & Parcel Of Free Society": Madras High Court Quashes Case Against Kamal Haasan For 'Mahabharat' Comment [Kamal Haasan v. Aadinath Sundaram]

    Noting that criticism is not only the human right, but also democratic right upon which the democracy thrives and society evolves to a new desired polity, a Bench of Justice G. Ilangovan quashed a criminal case lodged against actor and politician Kamal Haasan over a comment he made in the year 2017. The Court specifically observed that criticism is part and parcel of the free society.

    The private complainant alleged that he watched a programme in March 2017, on Puthiya Talaimurai TV Channel, wherein, the host of the show, put a specific question on the increasing violence against women in India, more particularly against women in the Cine Field to Kamal Haasan.

    3. Right To Default Bail Not Extinguished With 'Simultaneous' Filing Of Chargesheet: Madras High Court [ K. Muthuirul v. The Inspector Of Police]

    In a pertinent ruling, the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has delved deep into the statutory provisions and precedents that determine the four corners of default bail under Section 167(2) of CrPC and Section 36(A)(4) of NDPS Act.

    Justice K. Murali Shankar has held that subsequent or even simultaneous filing of the charge sheet does not disentitle an accused from claiming default bail under CrPC.

    The Bench observed that there is a misconception that in cases where the bail petition under Section 167(2) Cr.P.C and the charge sheet are being filed on the same day, then the time at which, bail petition or the charge sheet is filed, is the deciding factor and that if the charge sheet is filed earlier to the bail petition, then the accused is not entitled to get the statutory bail or in case, if the bail petition is filed before laying of charge sheet, then the bail application has to be allowed.

    4. 'Tablighi Jamaat Can't Be Equated With Islam': Madras High Court Quashes FIR Against YouTuber Maridhas [Maridhas v. State & Anr.]

    The Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) quashed yet another FIR registered against YouTuber Maridhas over his YouTube Video criticizing the Tablighi Jamaat conference of March 2020 during the COVID first wave.

    A Single Judge Bench of Justice G.R. Swaminathan observed that none of the ingredients of alleged offences in the FIR has been made out by the Prosecution.

    About the video uploaded by Maridhas on his YouTube Channel, the court noted that he was merely expressing his views as a public commentator about an event that was undoubtedly characterized as a 'super spreader'. While making the relevant remarks, the court also added that the petitioner accused was entitled to protection under Article 19(1)(a). He had relied solely on the news sources available in the public domain about the congregation.

    5. Madras High Court Quashes Case Against Electricity Minister Senthil Balaji In Job Recruitment Scam After Victims Enter Into A Settlement [Shanmugam v. The Inspector of Police and Anr]

    The Court has quashed a 2018 cheating case against incumbent State Electricity Minister and DMK MLA Senthil Balaji filed in relation to allegations of a 2014 recruitment scam since all thirteen alleged victims had compromised the issue and wanted the case to be quashed.

    The case pertained to alleged irregularities in recruitment when Mr. Senthilbalaji was the Transport Minister in the AIADMK led government.

    6. "Showing Protest Is Hallmark Of Democracy": Madras HC Quashes Sedition Case Against Two For Distributing Hand Bills In 2018 Anti-Sterlite Protest [M.Vinayagar v. State & Anr.]

    The Court observed that showing protest, being a fundamental right, is a hallmark of democracy. It quashed criminal case against two persons booked under sedition for distributing hand bills against the Centre and State Government in relation to the 2018 Anti-Sterlite Protest. Justice M. Nirmal Kumar was dealing with a petition seeking quashing of the criminal case against one M. Vinayagar who was facing trial under sec. 294(b), 124A, 353 and 505(1)(b) of IPC. It was argued that it is a false case and that the sanction required under Section 196 of Cr.P.C. for the offence of Sedition was not obtained by the lower court.

    7. Madras High Court Grants Bail To DMK MP T.R.V.S Ramesh, Murder Accused In Cashew Factory Worker's Death Case [T.R.V.S Ramesh v. State Represented by the Inspector of Police, CBCID]

    Madras High Court has granted bail to murder accused T.R.V. S Ramesh, DMK MP from Cuddalore, upon satisfaction that a substantial portion of the police investigation has been already completed. Justice M. Nirmal Kumar, while granting bail, noted that the accused MP had voluntarily surrendered after the demise of his cashew nut factory employee, and that only the forensics reports and other reports are yet to be received.

    8. Job Racketeering: Madras High Court Rejects Anticipatory Bail Applications Of Former AIADMK Minister K.T. Rajenthra Bhalaji [K.T Rajendra Bhalaji & Ors v. The State of Tamil Nadu & Ors]

    The Court has rejected the two anticipatory bail applications filed by former AIADMK Minister K.T. Rajenthra Bhalaji accused in a Government job scam.

    A single-judge bench of Justice M. Nirmal Kumar noted that the court is not inclined to entertain either of the anticipatory bail applications filed by Bhalaji. The court observed that it is pertinent for the investigation to be concluded first.

    9. Should Plea Against Sessions Court Order Denying Bail Under UAPA Be Placed Before Division Bench?: Madras HC Refers Question To Larger Bench [Jaffar Sathiq v. State]

    A Single Bench of Justice AD Jagadish Chandra made the reference while hearing a bail application filed by one Jaffar Sathiq, an accused under the UAPA Act (scheduled offence under the NIA Act), aggrieved by denial of bail by the Court of District and Sessions Judge, Coimbatore.

    Justice Chandra observed that since inconsistent views have been taken by two different Single Judges and two different Benches of the High Court, the matter requires consideration by a larger Bench for pronouncement of an Authoritative decision.

    Accordingly, the court referred the following questions:

    i) whether an application against the order passed by the District and Sessions Judge in a matter concerning UAP Act shall be numbered as a bail application or an appeal

    ii) whether it has to be posted before the Single Judge or a two Judges Bench of this Court.

    10. 'Reckless Statements Demeaning Another Religious Faith Will Only Sow Seeds Of Hatred': Madras High Court Warns Evangelist While Quashing FIR [Mohan C Lazarus v. State]

    A single bench of Justice Anand Venkatesh quashed the FIRs against Christian evangelist Mohan C Lazarus, the founder of 'Jesus Redeems Ministry', for hurting religious sentiments, following his unconditional apology. However, the Court strongly rebuking his conduct and emphasizing the need to maintain restraint while exercising the right to propagate religion.

    "If the Petitioner is going to make reckless statements which has the propensity of demeaning another religious faith, it will only sow seeds of hatred among people across religious faiths. Every word uttered by any person holding an influential status in their respective religions has the potential to make or mar the inner development of a person. Therefore, such persons are required to exercise a great amount of responsibility while uttering each word", the judgment said.

    11. 'Voice Of The Oppressed Not Meant To Be Criminalised': Madras HC Quashes FIR Against Director Pa. Ranjith Over Comments On Chola Empire [P.A. Ranjith v. The Inspector of Police, Thirupananthal Police Station]

    The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has quashed criminal proceedings initiated against Film Director Pa. Ranjith for his remarks on the Chola era during a public gathering in 2019.

    The court was of the view that the criticism meted upon the Chola Kingdom by the Director was based on Historical Books. The petitioner has not exceeded the limit to freedom of speech under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution. The court also concluded that his speech lacked the intent to create enmity between two groups/ communities.

    12. 'Attempt To Gain Political Publicity': Madras HC Quashes Criminal Defamation Complaint Against Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan [Dr.Tamilisai Soundararajan v. Dhadi K Karthikeyan]

    The Court quashed a criminal defamation case against Tamilisai Soundararajan, now Governor of Telangana holding additional charge as Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry pending before a Judicial Magistrate court in Kancheepuram.

    The defamation case had been filed against Soundararajan for comments allegedly made by her when she was the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Tamil Nadu. During an interview, she had allegedly stated that the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) Party and its head, Thirumavalavan conducted "kangaroo courts" and seized lands from the public.

    13. Madras High Court Rejects Karnan's Defence Of 'Severe Mental Depression'; Denies Bail In Abusive Videos Case [CS Karnan v. State]

    A Single Bench of Justice V. Bharathidasan refused to grant bail to CS Karnan, former High Court judge, in a case relating to uploading of abusive online videos. It rejected Karnan's defence of mental instability and observed that the former Judge had made scathing remarks against Judicial institutions and the Judges with a predetermined mind, fully knowing the consequences of his actions.

    "A perusal of the transcribed text of all those video contents would clearly show that the petitioner made such abusive utterances consciously and with predetermined mind. Whenever the objectionable act of the petitioner was condemned by the well-reasoned persons, he used to react quickly and start abusing them in vulgar language," the Bench held.

    14. Madras High Court Grants Bail To Ex-Judge CS Karnan In Abusive Videos Case [CS Karnan v. State]

    A single judge of Justice V Bharathidasan granted bail to former HC judge CS Karnan in the criminal cases registered over the abusive videos uploaded by him with threats against judges of higher judiciary and their family members.

    The bench allowed bail to Karnan considering the fact that he has spent more than 110 days in custody, the unconditional apology tendered by him and his undertaking to not repeat the offensive acts. It also took note of his medical complications which developed after he was infected with COVID-19.

    15. Madras High Court Quashes Criminal Defamation Case Against DMK Leader Kanimozhi Karunanidhi [Kanimozhi Karunanidhi v. The Public Prosecutor & Anr.]

    The Court quashed a criminal defamation case filed against DMK leader Kanimozhi Karunanidhi, for allegedly levelling unfounded corruption allegations against former Tamil Nadu CM, Edappadi Palaniswami of AIADMK.

    Justice M Nirmal Kumar quashed the case that pertains to a 2018 DMK led protest in Villupuram on the issue of garbage disposal. Kanimozhi was accused of tarnishing the reputation of then CM, E. Palaniswamy, by alleging corruption in her speech.

    16. UAPA - Sessions Court's Order Denying Bail Can Be Challenged Only By Appeal Under Section 21 NIA Act Before Division Bench: Madras High Court [Jaffar Sathiq @ Babu v. State]

    A 3-judge bench comprising Justices P N Prakash, V Sivagnam, RN Manjula answered the reference made to it as follows: "An order passed by a Court of Session dismissing a bail application in a case involving offence(s) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act,1967 must be challenged only by way of an appeal under Section 21 of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008. Consequently, such an appeal would lie only before a Division Bench vide Section 21(2) of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008."

    Also Read: Treating Ordinary Country Bomb Cases As Terrorist Offences Will Defeat Purpose Of NIA Act: Madras High Court

    17. Sitting During Tamil State Song 'Tamil Thai Vaazhthu' Not Disrespect: Madras High Court On Kanchi Seer's Conduct [Kan. Ilango v. State Represented by Inspector of Police & Another]

    A Single Judge Bench of Justice G.R. Swaminathan observed that the 'Tamil Thaai Vaazthu' is a prayer song and not an anthem. The Madurai Bench also clarified that there is no statutory requirement or executive orders stipulating that attendees must invariably stand up when 'Tamil Thaai Vaazthu' is sung. However, irrespective of the lack of binding orders, the court added that the prayer song must be shown utmost reverence and respect.

    18. 'Raised Legitimate Public Issue; No Adverse Consequence Ensued': Madras HC Quashes FIR Over Protest Gathering During Pandemic [A Muniadhas v. The State represented by The Inspector of Police & Anr.]

    The Madurai Bench has quashed an FIR registered against a member of the political party for organizing a protest in November 2020, the peak days of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    "The petitioner is a member of the political party. They have only raised a legitimate public issue. As a result of the petitioner's conduct, no adverse consequence ensued. The accused has not indulged in any act of violence. I am therefore of the view that continuation of the impugned prosecution is not warranted. FIR stands quashed," Justice G.R Swaminathan observed while pronouncing the order.

    19. Toon Controversy- "Can't Teach Ethics To People; Cartoon Will Lose Life If Taken Without Context": Madras HC Quashes Criminal Defamation Case [Balamurugan v. State]

    While quashing a criminal defamation case filed against a person who had published an alleged humiliating and defamatory cartoon on his Facebook page, a Bench of Justice G. Ilangovan ruled that the Court cannot teach ethics to the people and it is for the Society to evolve and follow the ethical standards.

    Elaborating on the Toon Controversy, the Court said: "In the recent times another problem, which was created by a cartoonist throughout the world is the "Toon Controversy". That cartoon was about the Prophet Mohammed, which created controversy throughout the World. The discussion emanated from this episode is as to the limitations of freedom of speech and expression and as well as the principles of hate speech and expression."

    20. Anti-CAA Protest- "Identification Of Persons Involved In Occurrence Not Probed Properly": Madras HC Quashes Criminal Proceedings [Ananthasamy @ Anandasamy and another v. State]

    The Court recently quashed criminal proceedings initiated pursuant to an FIR filed against two persons for conducting a demonstration against the Amendment of CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) noting that the identification of persons, who were involved in the occurrence, was not properly investigated.

    The Bench of Justice G. Ilangovan observed that it is common knowledge that against the Amendment of CAA, several protests, demonstrations, and agitations took across India and abroad also and that the right to protest is well recognized with the only qualification being that it should not end in any violation.

    21. Maridhas's Tamil Nadu-Kashmir Remark "A Naïve Tweet In 'Pamukian' Sense, Not Intended To Subvert TN Govt" : Madras High Court Quashes FIR [M. Maridoss v. State Represented By The Inspector Of Police & Anr.]

    The Madurai Bench has quashed an FIR registered against YouTuber M. Maridhas for asking on Twitter whether Tamil Nadu is 'turning into another Kashmir under the DMK Rule'. The Tweet was made by the accused alleging certain comments were made celebrating the death of former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Bipin Rawat's demise in Coonoor chopper crash

    Civil Suits, Contract Law, Company Law & IP

    1. 'Restitutionary Damages' Vs. 'Compensatory Damages' For Breach Of Contract: Madras High Court Explains[E-merge Tech Global Services P Ltd. v. Mr M.R.Vindhyasagar & Anr.]

    In a significant judgment pertaining to breach of contract, the Madras High Court ventured into when a party aggrieved is entitled to compensatory damages and under what circumstances the Court may grant restitutionary damages by way of an account of profits.

    Compensatory damages are awarded to redress the loss suffered by an aggrieved party. Whereas, restitutionary damages are more in the nature of directing the Defendants to disgorge the benefit accrued in his favour due to unjust enrichment at the expense of the Plaintiff.

    Justice N. Anand Venkatesh has made it clear that compensatory damages for breach of contract is awarded where the damages were unidentifiable in the normal way.

    2. Tender Inviting Authority Best Judge Of Tender Requirements: Madras High Court [M/s.Brandmidas Hospitality & Aviation Services (P) Ltd. v. Airports Authority of India & Anr.]

    Madras High Court dismissed a petition challenging the rejection of a bid in a tender process for operartion of a few amenities in Chennai Airport and seeking directions for floating a fresh E-tender.

    A single-judge bench of Justice M Dhandapani held that the court cannot interfere in the administrative decision of the award of tender, when the process of inviting tenders and evaluating them has not suffered from the vice of arbitrariness and unreasonableness.

    3. Copyright Act: 'Business Of Issuing Licenses Can Be Routed Only Through Copyright Societies U/S 33'; Madras HC Dismisses Suits Filed For Violation Of Licensing Rights [M/s.Novex Communications Pvt.Ltd v. DXC Technology Pvt. Ltd, M/s.Novex Communications Pvt.Ltd v. Cognizant Technologies Solutions India Pvt. Ltd.]

    The Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh held that the plaintiff's cause of action will 'crumble like a pack of cards' when it is clear that the plaintiff is subject to the statutory bar on issuing licenses under Section 33. When the answer arrived at on the preliminary question of law indicates that the plaintiff doesn't have the authority in law to issue licenses, there cannot be any consequences for the claim of the plaintiff that the defendants have failed to obtain licenses and pay license fees for on-ground performance rights of the sound recordings concerned.

    4. 'Date Of Repudiation Of Claim The Cordial Knot To Determine Limitation, Mere Requests For Reconsideration Won't Grant A Fresh Lease Of Limitation': Madras High Court [M/s. Bharti AXA General Insurance Co.Ltd v. M/s. Shriram EPC Ltd. & Ors.]

    Once a claim has been expressly rejected by the opposite party, further requests to reconsider the same by the other party will not stop the running of limitation, the Madras High Court has held while passing a summary judgement dismissing the money suit filed by Shriram EPC Ltd.

    While dismissing the suit on Tuesday, a single-judge Bench of Justice G. Jayachandran underlined that, when even after repeated correspondence, the defendant has not reconsidered the stand regarding repudiation of claim, the said correspondence won't grant a fresh lease of limitation for filing the suit.

    5. Court Can't Evaluate Evidence While Deciding Application For Revocation Of Leave Granted Under Clause 12 Of Letters Patent: Madras High Court [R.Mathiazhagan & 2 Ors. v. P.J Ethiraj & 2 Ors.]

    The Court has iterated that while considering an application for revocation of leave granted under Clause 12 of the Letters Patent, the Court cannot consider the evidence on record or decide the issue of jurisdiction.

    Justice R Subramanian ruled that scope of enquiry in an application for revocation of leave is very limited, inasmuch as the Court has to take the allegations in the plaint as true and see whether the plaintiff has demonstrated that any part of the cause of action had arisen within the original jurisdiction of this Court.

    6. Auction Purchaser Not Liable To Registration Fees/ Stamp Duty U/S Section 89(4) Of Registration Act: Madras High Court [Tripower Enterprises (Private) Limited, Represented by its Chief Executive v. The Sub Registrar, Neelangarai & Anr.]

    The Madras High Court has recently held that the auction purchaser of immovable property need not pay registration fees or pay stamp duty when filing a copy of the sale certificate in terms of Section 89(4) of the Registration Act, 1908.

    Justice G.K.Ilanthiraiyan ruled that as long as the sale certificate of property remains as it is, it is not compulsorily registrable

    7. Producer Is Copyright Owner In Film; Giving Credit To Author For Story, Screenplay Not Acknowledgment Of His Copyright: Madras High Court [S.J Suryah (a.k.a. S. Justin Selvaraj) v. S.S Chakravarty & Anr.]

    In a copyright dispute on the assignment of remake rights of a film involving Director S.J Suryah, the Madras High Court has held that merely because the producer gave credit to the author for screenplay or dialogue, it would not amount to an acknowledgement of the author's copyright therein. The Court was hearing a challenge against the refusal of trial court to grant an injunction for copyright infringement against the producer and one Fakrudeen Ali, who has brought the remake rights of the film, 'Vaalee'.

    8. "No Monopoly Over Coronil"; Madras High Court Sets Aside Order Restraining Patanjali Ayurveda from Using The trademark 'Coronil' [M/s. Pathanjali Ayurved Ltd. & Anr. v. Arudra Engineers Pvt. Ltd.]

    A Division Bench of Justices R Subbiah and C Saravanan set aside a Single Bench order restraining Patanjali Ayurveda from using the trademark 'Coronil'- the controversial drug that the company initially claimed to be a cure for the deadly Corona virus. It noted that the Petitioner in the trademark infringement suit registered marks, 'CORONIL-92 B' and 'CORONIL- 213 SPL' as composite marks and could not claim monopoly over the word Coronil simplicitor.

    10. Trademark/ Copyright Infringement: No Jurisdiction Based On Location Of Branch Office Where No Part Of Cause Of Action Has Arisen- Madras High Court [P. Sundaram v. Asia Match Company Private Limited Represented By Its Director]

    In a significant order, the Court has given clarity about the interpretation of the phrase "actually and voluntarily resides or carries on business or personally works for gain" in Section 134(2) of Trade Marks Act and Section 62(2) of the Copyright Act, which determines the territorial jurisdiction of the courts concerned.

    In an application filed by the defendant challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the Commercial Division of the Court to adjudicate on an alleged trademark and copyright infringement, Justice Anand Venkatesh has observed that the discretion of plaintiff to file a suit where the plaintiff carries on business is not unconditional.

    11. Madras High Court Orders Winding Up Of SpiceJet Ltd, Official Liquidator To Take Over The Company Assets [Credit Suisse AG v. SpiceJet Limited]

    The Court ordered that SpiceJet Limited must be wound up and the assets must be taken over by the official liquidator on the grounds of proved inability of the Airlines to repay its debts.

    Justice R. Subramanian was adjudicating a company petition filed by Credit Suisse AG, a Switzerland based Stock Corporation and a creditor, who alleged inability on the part of respondent Airlines to pay the debts owed to the former.

    12. Plaintiff Need Not Undergo 'Second Agnipariksha' In Suit For Malicious Prosecution; Defendant Must Discharge Onus Once Shifted To Him: Madras High Court [M. Abubaker & Ors. v. Abdul Kareem]

    In a significant judgment pertaining 'burden of proof' in proceedings against malicious prosecution, a Single Bench of Justice GR Swaminathan held that the Plaintiff need undergo a 'second agnipariksha' and it is the defendant who must discharge the onus once it is shifted to him. It observed,

    "He (plaintiff) can only depose that the allegation against him was false. A plaintiff in a suit for malicious prosecution need not demonstrate that he was innocent of the charge upon which he was tried."

    The Judge observed that there is no doubt that the initial burden of proof lay only on Plaintiff. Mere acquittal in the alleged false case by itself is not sufficient and he is obliged to prove that the prosecution was without any "reasonable and probable cause" and that it was instituted with malicious intent and that he suffered damage. However, the plaintiff cannot be called upon to prove the negative.

    Taxation, Banking, Debts Recovery & ADR

    1. Arbitration Court Not Empowered To Embark On Fact-Finding Exercise While Deciding Application For Setting Aside Arbitral Award: Madras High Court [Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. v. Banu Constructions & Anr.]

    "While it is not necessary for an arbitral award to justify every paisa or a rupee awarded to the claimant, the broad premise on which the quantum is founded has to be discernible from award itself for the award to be meaningful or even intelligible in legal terms," observed a Division Bench comprising of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy. It slammed an Arbitration Court for upholding an unreasoned arbitral award and exceeding its jurisdiction in supplementing that award with reasons.

    2. GST Applicable Only On Monthly Maintenance Amount Exceeding ₹7500 Collected By RWAs: Madras High Court [Greenwood Owners Association & Ors v. Union of India & Ors]

    Overturning a 2019 circular issued by the Ministry of Finance, Department of Revenue (Tax Unit), the Court held that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) applies not on the full amount but to monthly maintenance amount exceeding ₹7,500 only. It noted that any interpretation to the contrary would disentitle the Resident Welfare Association to exemption, contrary to the express language used in the concerned entry.

    3. 'Prompt Payment of Tax Makes One A Real Hero': Madras High Court Dismisses Tamil Actor Vijay's Plea Against Entry Tax On Rolls Royce Car With 1 Lakh Cost [C.Joseph Vijay v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors]

    The Madras High Court has dismissed a petition filed by Tamil Actor Vijay in 2012, seeking forbearance against the Tamil Nadu Government from demanding entry tax on his imported Rolls Royce Ghost Motor car. Justice SM Subramaniam also imposed costs of Rs. 1,00,000 on the actor, saying that filing a a writ petition for avoiding tax can never be appreciated.

    4. 'Revenue Loss To State Is Loss Of Public At Large': Madras High Court Reprimands Tax Department For Corruption, Delayed Recovery [GE Govindaraj v. The Assistant Commissioner (CT) and Ors]

    The Court issued directions to ensure that strict actions are undertaken against officials in the Commercial Tax Department who have wilfully indulged in corrupt activities, received freebies in lieu of favours or are responsible for dereliction of their duties. Justice S.M Subramaniam observed that State revenue must be protected and appropriate action must be initiated against erring officials.

    5. Madras High Court Comes Down On Actor Dhanush For Seeking Entry Tax Exemption On Rolls Royce; Asks Him To Pay Over Rs 30 Lakhs Within 48 Hours [K Dhanush v. State of Tamil Nadu]

    The Court disposed of a 2015 writ petition filed by actor Dhanush pertaining to the payment of entry tax on a Rolls Royce Ghost car imported from the United Kingdom. The Court directed the actor to pay the remaining entry tax of Rs 30, 30, 757 within 48 hours.

    The actor sought the Court's leave to withdraw the 2015 writ petition and informed the Court that he was willing to pay the remaining tax due either on August 6 or on August 9. He also informed the Court that he had already paid 50 per cent of the Entry Tax as per the interim order passed by the Court in 2015.

    6. Commercial Courts Act- Section 12-A On Pre-Institution Mediation and Settlement Is Not A Mandatory Provision: Madras High Court [Shahi Exports Provate Limited v. Gold Star Line Kimited & Ors.]

    The High Court recently held that Section 12-A of the Commercial Courts Act, is not a mandatory provision.

    The Court delved into a thorough analysis of the provisions under Section 12-A on Pre-Institution Mediation and Settlement. It further analyzed the Rule 3(1) and 3(7) of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 (Pre-Institution Mediation and Settlement) Rules, 2018.

    7. 'Rather Remarkable': Madras High Court Sets Aside DRT Order Virtually Facilitating Flight Of Loan Defaulter [State Bank of India v. Atul Jain & Ors.]

    "The Tribunal appears to have gone out of its way to facilitate the first respondent's departure from this country," the Madras High Court recently set aside a 'rather remarkable' order passed by the Debt Recovery Tribunal paving way for foreign travel of a loan defaulter. The Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D Audikesavalu while dealing with writ petition filed by the State Bank of India against the order of DRT-II at Chennai, further remarked,

    "If two applications were carried by the same applicant, the two should have been clubbed together to be heard or one could have been heard ahead of the other; but, when it was specifically recorded that the other application would not be taken up, it was not open to the Tribunal to virtually allow the other application by a side-wind while dealing with an application pertaining to a lookout notice that remained undated in the affidavit and no copy whereof was produced by the applicant."

    8. University's Education Services, Including Affiliation Or Other Allied Services To Students, Exempt From Service Tax: Madras High Court [Madurai Kamaraj University v. Joint Commissioner]

    The Court has ruled that the services provided by a University, including affiliation of colleges and other allied services are given to students are exempted from levy of Service Tax under the Finance Act 1994.

    A single bench of Justice R Suresh Kumar gave this ruling in a writ petition filed by Madurai Kamaraj University challenging an order passed by the tax authorities demanding service tax for the period from 01.04.2013 to 30.06.2017

    9. 'SBI Can't Misinterpret RBI Circulars'- Madras High Court Holds Collection of Cash Handling Charges From Stamp Vendors Illegal [P.S Shanmuga Sundaram v. The Director, Treasuries And Accounts Department & Ors.]

    The practice of collecting cash handling charges from stamp vendors who deposit money through treasury challans into the Government account must be done away with, the Court has ruled recently, giving strict directions to the State Bank of India.

    Justice S.M Subramaniam made it clear that the two RBI Master Circulars in 2014 and 2021, vehemently relied on by the State Bank of India does not permit the collection of cash handling charges on Government transactions.

    10. Limitation Prescribed U/S 23 Registration Act For Presenting Documents Not Attracted For Orders/ Decrees Passed By Courts: Madras High Court [M. Rajendran v. Inspector General of Registration & Ors.]

    A Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh held that the limitation prescribed under Section 23 of the Registration Act, 1908, for presenting documents will not stand attracted insofar as an order or decree passed by a Court is concerned.

    The provision stipulates that no document other than a will shall be accepted for registration unless presented for that purpose to the proper officer within four months from the date of its execution. has ruled that the Sub Registrar cannot refuse to register any order or decree only because the same has been presented beyond the period of limitation provided under Section 23 of the Act.

    11. 'Once Plea Of Mistake Is Raised, It Is For The Party Pleading Mistake To Prove The Same': Madras High Court [P. Sivakumar v. S. Beula]

    A Single Bench of Justice R. Subramanian held that a person, who raises a plea of mistake in order to controvert any material produced before the Court, bears the burden to establish such mistake. It therefore dismissed the plea of a woman, claiming that she is a Hindu and that she was mistakenly shown as a Christian in her school certificates.

    The Court observed, "the courts below were not right in placing burden of proving misrepresentation on the appellant and concluding that the appellant has not discharged the burden. Once the plea of mistake is raised, it is for the party pleading mistake to prove the same. The documentary evidence that is made available would clearly point out the fact that there was a misrepresentation with reference to the material fact namely, the religion of the respondent at the time of marriage."

    Public Interest Litigations & Miscellaneous Matters

    1. 'Paid News Is One Of The Menaces Afflicting Our Media': Madras HC Directs Constitution Of Press Council Of Tamil Nadu Within 3 Months [S Sekaran v. S.Sekaran and Ors]

    In a bid to clamp down on fake journalists, paid news and journalists who are indulging in illegal, unethical practices, the Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to create a Press Council of Tamil Nadu (PCTN) which would act as a State level media regulatory body.

    A Bench of Justices N Kirubakaran (since retired) and P Velmurugan ordered that the proposed PCTN must be constituted within 3 months and should be headed by a retired judge of either the Supreme Court or the High Court. Furthermore, it was directed that experienced and reputed journalists, retired civil servants and Indian Police Service (IPS) officers must be its members.

    2. 'Release The Caged Parrot': Madras High Court Directs Centre To Consider Making Separate Law For CBI; Ensure Its Autonomy [Ramanathapuram District Pathikkapattor Sangam v. State of Tamil Nadu]

    The Madurai Bench observed that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) should be made more independent like the Election Commission of India and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

    Notably, the Court directed the Central Government to consider bringing a separate Act giving statutory status with more powers and jurisdiction to CBI at the earliest. It may be noted that the CBI is at present constituted as per an executive notification under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act. The Gauhati High Court, in 2013, had quashed the said notification and held the CBI's formation to be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court stayed the High Court order, which is still continuing.

    3 'For Publicity Purpose': Madras HC Imposes Rs 5K Costs, 2 Year Ban On Filing PILs For 'Misconceived' Challenge To Govt Retirement Age Policy [R Balamuralidharan v. Union of India and Ors]

    The High Court imposed costs to the tune of Rs 5000 on a petitioner who had challenged the State government's February 2021 decision to increase the retirement age for government officials to 60 years from the earlier 59 years. Additionally, the petitioner was also barred from filing any Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition for two years without obtaining the previous leave of the Court.

    A Bench comprising Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu remarked, "The petition is utterly misconceived and filed only for publicity purposes"

    4. 'Complete Abuse Of Process': Madras HC Imposes Rs 1 Lakh Costs For 'Worthless' Appeal, Cautions Against Impleading Arbitrators [Kothari Industrial Corporation Ltd. v. M/S Southern Petrochemicals Industries and Anr]

    The High Court imposed Rs 1 lakh costs on an appellant while dismissing a challenge to an arbitral award by terming it to be an abuse of the process of law.

    The appellant was directed to pay Rs 50,000 to the respondent and a further Rs 50,000 to the Tamil Nadu Legal Services Authority (TNSLA) within a month.

    5. Madras High Court Directs Aviation Ministry To Decide Representation Seeking Flight Safety Announcements To Be Made In Local Languages [B. Ramkumar Adityan v. Secretary]

    The Court disposed of a PIL seeking directions to be issued to the Centre to ensure that the cabin crew of Indian airline operators make announcements pertaining to 'In Flight Safety Instructions' in local languages of the departure city and the destination city, apart from English and Hindi.

    A Bench comprising Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu directed the Civil Aviation Ministry to decide the matter on a representation to be made by the Petitioner.

    6. 'Unscrupulous Elements': Madras HC Directs MHA To Frame Laws Within 3 Months To Ensure Immediate Deportation Of Illegal Immigrants On Completion Of Sentence [Suresh Raj v. State]

    The Court directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to frame appropriate laws within 3 months with regards to illegal immigrants who repeatedly commit petty offences in order to continue inhabiting within the territorial limits of the country.

    The Court observed that the Union must ensure that such illegal immigrants are immediately deported back to their country of origin on completion of their sentence.

    7. 'Court Has Been Deceived By False Promises': Madras HC Imposes 25 Lakh Costs For Disobeying Order Directing Payment Of Outstanding Dues [M/s. Gemini Film Circuit and ors v. M/s.Venkateswara Financiers and Anr]

    The Court imposed costs to the tune of Rs 25 lakhs on a film production studio after observing that it had needlessly dragged on an appeal filed before the Court by deceiving the Court through 'false promises' to repay the amount owed by it.

    A Bench comprising former Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu observed, "Defaulting borrowers, like the present Appellants, take advantage of the existing judicial system and prey on its shortcomings. This is because more often than not, courts do not pass appropriate order for costs and do not take matters to their logical conclusion by taking action in perjury in respect of false affidavits."

    8. Madras High Court Disposes of PIL Alleging Infringement Of 'Right To Education' Of 7 Yrs. Old Temple Priest [D. Sivan v. The District Collector & Ors.]

    The Court has disposed of a public interest litigation seeking directions for upholding the right to education of a boy who was appointed as temple priest when he was five years old.

    The bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice PD Audikesavalu noted that the main grievance of the petitioner has been redressed by the respondent authorities since the child has been pursuing his education in the third standard as of now, without any impediments.

    9. Madras High Court Sets Aside Acquisition Proceedings Of Former CM Jayalalithaa's 'Veda Nilayam' Residence; Property To Be Handed Over To Legal Heirs [J.Deepak Vs The Secretary To Government And 3 Others & Connected Matters]

    The Court set aside the land acquisition proceedings of former CM J Jayalalithaa's residence, 'Veda Nilayam', at Poe's Garden, Chennai. The single bench of Justice N Seshasayee has allowed the petitions filed by J. Deepak and J. Deepa, both the children of Late Jayalalithaa's brother, challenging the Tamil Nadu Government order for acquiring 'Veda Nilayam' and converting it to a memorial.

    While reading out the operative part of the order, Justice N. Seshasayee instructed the District Collector, Chennai to hand over the property to the legal heirs, i.e, J. Deepa and J. Deepak within three weeks. In the order, the court has also clarified that the Income Tax Department can proceed as per the law to recover the arrears chargeable on the estate due from Late J Jayalalithaa.

    10. Actor Vijay's Entry Tax Case: Madras High Court Stays Single Bench Judgment Which Had Scathing Remarks [C. Joseph Vijay v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors]

    In a relief to popular Tamil actor Vijay, a division bench of the Court stayed a single bench judgment which had passed adverse observations against him and had imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on him for filing a petition challenging the levy of entry tax on his Rolls Royce car. Vijay had appealed to the bench aggrieved by the "unjust and derogatory" remarks made by the single bench against him and against the acting community in general while dismissing his petition. His counsel Senior Advocate Vijay Narayan made it clear before the division bench that he was not challenging the entry tax demand, and was only challenging the scathing observations in the judgment.

    Motor Vehicles

    1. 'Over Speeding Main Cause For Road Accidents': Madras High Court Quashes Notification Increasing Speed Limits [K. Shyla v. Managing Director, Chennai Metropolitan Transport Corporation & Ors]

    Observing that over-speeding was the main cause for road accidents, the High Court has quashed a notification issued by the Central Government in 2018 which increased the speed limits. The said notification had increased the speed limits in expressways to 120 kilometres per hour and to 100 kmph in 4-lane highways for M1 category of vehicles.

    A division bench of Justice N Kirubakaran (since retired) and V Thamilselvi, in the order passed on August 18(uploaded later), directed the Central Government to revert to the 2014 notification which prescribed lesser speed limits.

    2. 'So-Called Important Persons Must Not Be Exempted': Madras High Court Upholds Ban On Use Of Crash Guards, Bull Bars In Motor Vehicles [LD Lenin Paul v. The Principal Secretary / Transport Commissioner and Ors]

    The Court upheld a notification issued by the Central government dated December 7, 2017 directing all State governments and Union Territories to prohibit the use of crash guards and bull bars in motor vehicles.

    A Bench comprising Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu observed that the Court cannot interfere in such policy matters and accordingly ruled, "At the end of the day, it appears that public interest may have impelled the Central Government to issue the notice and, on a matter of policy where the Central Government perceives that a thing is necessary in public interest, the court would not willy-nilly intervene unless it finds the policy to be absurd or objectionable to the meanest mind."

    3. 'Not Feasible': Madras High Court Withdraws Order Mandating Bumper To Bumper Insurance For New Vehicles [The New India Assurance Co Ltd v. K Parvathi]

    The Court modified its earlier order dated August 4 that had mandated bumper to bumper insurance for all new vehicles for a period of five years in order to safeguard the lives of passengers, drivers and vehicle owners.

    The Court had passed the direction while setting aside the award by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) wherein a sum of Rs 14,65,800 was directed to be paid by the insurance company to the claimants who were relatives of the deceased, as compensation for his death in an accident.

    4. Exempting Automobile Industry From Lockdown A Policy Decision, Can't Interfere: Madras HC

    Hearing a plea challenging the government's decision to allow the automobile industry to function during the lockdown, a Division Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed, "It is a policy decision and unless it is shown that such decision is absurd to the meanest mind, the Court in the exercise of the authority under Article 226 of the Constitution may not seek to interfere in such a case."

    It however asked the State to take immediate appropriate steps if it finds that COVID protocol not being maintained at the exempted manufacturing units.

    5. 'Political Flags, Photos Of Political Leaders Are Displayed On Vehicles To Show Privilege & Flout The Law': Madras High Court [V Ramesh v. The Vice Chancellor, Dr. Ambedkar Law University]

    The Court has directed that portraits and photographs of communal leaders pasted on vehicles must be removed as such a practice is often indulged in to intimidate the police and get away with criminal activities.

    A Bench comprising Justice N Kirubakaran (retired) and Justice B Pugalendhi observed with disdain,

    "The purpose of having party flags or designation boards or portraits of party/communal leaders or advocate/press stickers is only to keep away the police from stopping the vehicle even in case of violation of road rules. It has become an order of the day in Tamil Nadu that almost 50% of the vehicles either have party flags or designation boards or portraits of party/communal leaders or advocate/press stickers. This menace has to be addressed failing which the criminal activities will continue to be committed by the above modus operandi"

    6. Madras HC Grants Injunction Against State Govt. Mandate Restraining Driving School Federation Members From Using Vehicles Over 8 Yrs Old [The Tamil Nadu Driving School Owners Federation v. The Special Commissioner]

    Madras High Court has granted an interim injunction on the Tamil Nadu State Government mandate that vehicles that are beyond eight years old cannot be used by driving schools.

    In a plea filed by Tamil Nadu Driving School Owners Federation, a single judge bench of Justice R. Suresh Kumar has restrained the state authorities from insisting compliance with the 2011 Government Order for a period of four weeks.

    The petitioner submitted that under Section 41(7) of the Motor Vehicles Act, a registration certificate granted to any vehicle except a transport vehicle will be valid up to 15 years. The question that has been left for the court to answer is whether the state government circular specifying the age limit of vehicles that can be used by driving schools would be justifiable or not.

    Criminal Cases

    1. 'This Matter Has To Get Precedence' Madras HC Orders For A Comprehensive Roadmap For Clearing Pending Criminal Cases Against MPs And MLAs [Suo Moto W.P.]

    A division bench of Madras High Court comprising of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed that a comprehensive road map must be made considering the "litigative resourcefulness" of the legislators against whom cases are pending in the trial courts and High Court to ensure that the cases are disposed of at the earliest.

    The bench was hearing a petition wherein the Court had taken suo moto cognizance for monitoring the progress of pending criminal cases against state MPs and MLAs in the trial courts and High Court for ensuring full compliance of the directions of the Apex Court in as provided in Ashiwini Kumar Upadhyay & Ors. v. Union of India (2020).

    2. Cases Against MPs/MLAs: Madras High Court Mulls Constitution Of Committee To Set Up Additional Infrastructure For Expeditious Disposal [Suo Motu WP]

    A Division Bench comprising of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed that in order to expedite the hearing of criminal cases against MPs/ MLAs in Trial Courts, specific times on a daily or weekly basis need to be allotted, irrespective of whatever other business the relevant Court may have.

    The Court further observed that it is necessary to constitute an appropriate Committee at the High Court level to look into the additional infrastructure which may be necessary and how soon such infrastructure can be set up to meaningfully proceed with complaints against legislators and resultant cases.

    3. Woman IPS Officer Allegedly Sexually Harassed & Stopped From Filing Complaint By DGP: Madras High Court Takes Cognizance; Will Monitor Investigation [Suo Moto Writ]

    A Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh took suo moto cognizance of alleged sexual harassment of a IPS cadre woman officer by her senior, a Special DGP, and has decided to monitor investigation into the case itself. It minced no words in criticizing the alleged incident and also expressed displeasure at the manner in which the Special DGP allegedly used his contacts and power to prevent the victim officer from even filing a complaint against him.

    The Judge was concerned that if an officer holding a high rank in Indian Police Services can be harassed and be forced to not file a complaint, what must be the state of ordinary women who are victims of such acts.

    4. Criminal Cases Against MPs/MLAs: Infrastructure In Place, Special Courts To Dispose Of Cases Quickly: Madras High Court Closes Suo Moto Plea [Suo Motu WP]

    The Madras High Court last week directed the Special Courts hearing pending criminal cases against the MLAs and MPs to dispose of the cases as quickly as possible and with this direction, the Suo Moto Plea was closed.

    The bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy was hearing a petition wherein the Court had taken suo moto cognizance for monitoring the progress of pending criminal cases against state MPs and MLAs in the trial courts and High Court for ensuring full compliance with the directions of the Apex Court in as provided in Ashiwini Kumar Upadhyay & Ors. v. Union of India (2020).

    5. Merely Sitting On Hunger Strike Will Not Attract Offence Of Attempt To Suicide U/S 309 IPC: Madras High Court [P. Chandrakumar v. State & Anr.]

    A Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh held that merely going on a hunger strike will not attract the offence of 'attempt to commit suicide', which is punishable under Section 309 of IPC.

    The Supreme Court of India has observed in its ruling in the Ram Lila Maidan Incident case that a hunger strike is "a form of protest which has been accepted, both historically and legally in our constitutional jurisprudence."

    6. Non-Resistance At Time Of Sexual Assault From First Time By Accused Amounts To Victim's Pre-Consent: Madras HC [Chinnapandi v. State]

    The Court has observed that the non-raising the resistance by the Victim at the time of committing the sexual assault as from first time by the accused would amount to pre-consent of the Victim and therefore, the consent so given can't be held as a misconception of fact.

    Justice R. Pongiappan was dealing with an appeal filed to set aside a man/accused conviction under Sections 376 of IPC who allegedly promised to marry the victim, however, didn't fulfill the promise.

    7. Death Of Dalit Youth In Tamil Nadu: 'Prima Facie Indicates Suicide, Investigation So Far Satisfactory': Madras High Court Refuses Case Transfer To CBI [Suman Anand.S v. The State Of Tamil Nadu & Others]

    The Madurai bench has refused to transfer the investigation on the death of Dalit youth in Kanyakumari to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). While pronouncing the order today, the court also noted that the evidence collected prima facie indicates that the deceased committed suicide and the investigation done by Bothapandi Police so far is satisfactory.

    8. Circumstantial Evidence Must Unerringly Infer Guilt For Conviction: Madras High Court Sets Aside Capital Punishment Of Rape & Murder Accused [State v. Vasanthat Kumar]

    In a rape and murder case that dates back to 2008, the Madurai Bench has reiterated the settled law on circumstantial evidence and the nature of inferences drawn therefrom for convicting an accused.

    "In a case of circumstantial evidence, the Court may infer from available evidence, which may lead to prove the guilt of the accused and the Courts have to identify the facts in the first place so as to fit the case within the parameters of a "Chain of Circumstances" and then find out the fact of the case and to see that there is a chain of events, which unerringly proving the guilty of the accused beyond reasonable doubt," a Division Bench of Justices V. Bharathidasan and J. Nisha Banu observed.

    9. Complete Trial In Sexual Harassment Case Of Woman IPS Officer Against DGP By Dec 20: Madras High Court To Trial Court [Suo Moto WP]

    The Court directed a lower court in Villupuram to complete the trial in the sexual assault complaint of a woman IPS officer against the suspended special DGP by December 20, 2021.

    The Court had taken suo moto cognizance of alleged sexual harassment of an IPS cadre woman officer by her senior, a Special DGP, and had decided to monitor the investigation into the case itself.

    Women, Children & LGBTQIA+

    1. Petition U/s 482 CrPC Seeking Quashing Of A Domestic Violence Application Not Maintainable: Madras High Court [Dr. P. Pathmanathan v. V. Monica]

    A Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh held that that a petition under Section 482 of CrPC to quash a complaint under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act is not maintainable. It observed that a petition under Article 227 of the Constitution may be maintainable if it is shown that the proceedings before the Magistrate suffer from a patent lack of jurisdiction.

    "The plenitude of the inherent power under Section 482, Cr.P.C does not extend to annul proceedings which are not before a Criminal Court. As pointed out supra, to constitute a criminal court, it is not sufficient that the Court is one of the Courts enumerated under Section 6 Cr.P.C, it is also necessary that the proceedings before it are criminal in character. If the proceeding before the Court is civil in nature, then it cannot be said that the Court is a Criminal Court exercising criminal jurisdiction for the purposes of Section 482, Cr.P.C.," the Court observed while dismissing a batch of petitions filed under Section 482 CrPC seeking to quash complaints filed under Section 12 of the DV Act.

    2. Shocking That Children In This Country Are Till Date Being Subjected To Sadistic & Inhumane Culture Of Corporal Punishment: Madras High Court [S. Jai Singh & Ors. v. State & Anr.]

    "Despite the legislative framework that by all means seek to eliminate corporal punishment, the practice has been persistently followed by schools and institutions across the country," observed a Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh in a case arising out of the death of a school child whilst he was being subjected to corporal punishment for arriving late.

    At the outset, the Judge referred to a series of research in the field, revealing that the outcomes of corporal punishment can be severely negative inasmuch as it can encourage violence in children and may even cause immense psychological damage to a child. It referred to a judgement of the Delhi High Court in Parents Forum For Meaningful Education & Anr. v. Union of India & Anr., 2001 (57) DRJ 456 (DB), where it struck down Rule 37(1)(a)(in) and (4) of the Delhi School Education Rules, 1973, which gave a legal sanction for corporal punishment, as being violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

    3. 'Tarnished Her Self Esteem': Madras High Court Invokes Suo Motu Revisional Powers, Holds Sexual Assaulter Guilty Of Abetment To Suicide [Nagarajan v. The State Represented By The Inspector Of Police]

    In a pertinent judgment, Madurai Bench has invoked its suo moto revisional powers to set aside the Sessions Court Order acquitting the accused of abetment to suicide.

    Justice B. Pugalendhi addressed the four corners of suo moto revisional jurisdiction of the High Court and held the accused guilty of abetment to suicide under Section 306 IPC along with other charges. In 2015, Fast Track Mahila Court, Dindigul, had already held the accused guilty under Sections 354 (Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 448 IPC (Punishment for house-trespass).

    4. 'Men Are Glorified For Sexual Adventures; Women Are Objectified In Movies': Madras High Court While Upholding Conviction For Rape [Munna v. State of Tamil Nadu, Sivaraj v. State of Tamil Nadu]

    In a harrowing series of incidents where multiple women were subjected to sexual abuse and simultaneously videographed by a moneylender, the Court has upheld the conviction for the offence of Rape, punishable under Section 376 of IPC.

    The Court also upheld the conviction of a mobile phone technician who accessed those video files and sold them to the public.

    5. Dowry Death- Society Has Got The Wrong Message That In-Laws Can Easily Escape Liability If They Live Separately From Victim: Madras HC [Ganesan & Anr. v. State]

    While refusing to suspend the sentence awarded to a couple convicted for the offence under Section 498-A of IPC, a Bench Justice P. Velmurugan observed that the first and foremost responsibility of the parents is to groom their children as responsible citizens.

    It noted that the incidents of women committing suicide are rising day by day (due to dowry harassment), and the in-laws of the victim woman are escaping from their liability saying that they are not living with their son. However, the Court noted that despite living separately, they are inducing their son for getting dowry, by way of, money, jewels, two-wheeler, car etc.

    6. Article 227 Petition Maintainable Against Domestic Violence Act Proceedings : Madras High Court [Muthulakshmi & Anr. v. Vijitha]

    A single bench of Justice GR Swaminathan held that a petition under Article 227 of the Constitution is maintainable to seek the quashing of proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act. It held that regardless of whether DV Act proceeding is civil or criminal in nature, powers under Article 227 of the Constitution are available against it.

    The bench observed that Article 227 is "forum-neutral", which makes no distinction between civil court and criminal court. In other words, the power under Article 227 can be exercised both over civil Courts as well as the criminal Courts. The power under Article 227 of the Constitution cannot be ousted.

    "I, therefore, hold that irrespective of whether the proceedings under Central Act 43 of 2005 are civil or criminal, the power under Article 227 of the Constitution would always lie to quash the proceedings, if a case is really made out", Justice Swaminathan said in the order.

    7. 'No Discrimination Must Be Made Between Regularised And Non-Regularised Government Staff While Granting Maternity Leave': Madras High Court [C. Rajaguru v. The Secretary]

    The Court observed that there cannot be any discrimination between regularised and non-regularised married women Government servants with regards to availing the benefits of maternity leave.

    The Court made the observation while issuing notice on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) moved by Advocate C Rajaguru seeking the Court's directions in order to ensure that the Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPHS) and the office of the joint director of Health Services, Government District Headquarters Hospital Campus in Villupuram district take immediate steps to identify and process pending applications of maternity leave moved by regularised and non-regularised married women government staff.

    8. 'Redefine Jurisdiction Of Family Courts Under Guardianship And Wards Act To Protect Interests Of Children Of Transnational Marriages': Madras High Court [J.Beula Sima Saral v. W.Issac Robinson]

    The Court observed that the jurisdiction of Family Courts as stipulated under the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 must be redefined so as to adequately protect the rights and interests of children whose parents have entered into transnational marriages.

    Opining on the need to enact a revised legislation, Justice J. Nisha Banu observed, "Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, was of the year 1890 where inter-country marriages or foreign marriages were not even in contemplation. As on date, those kind of marriages are innumerable happening each and every day. The law should take a lien matching the changes happening in the society. If the law is lacking behind, the rights of the parties will also lack behind. Therefore, it is the time for the Legislature to take note of the above types of marriages and taking into account the interest of the children, may redefine the jurisdiction of the Family Court, so that neither the children nor the person interested in the welfare of the children shall suffer"

    9. 'Relationship Protected And Permitted By Constitution': Madras High Court Reunites Transman And Woman Forcibly Separated By Woman's Father [M.Kavin Thamizh v. The Inspector of Police]

    The Madurai bench reunited a transman and his lover by directing the release of his 23 year old lover, Revathi, from the unlawful custody of her father.

    The Court was adjudicating upon a habeas corpus petition moved by the petitioner transman alleging illegal detention and confinement of his lover Revathi and accordingly sought the Court's leave to set his lover at liberty.

    10. Same-Sex Couple's Protection Plea- "Society Still Grappling To Come To Terms With Same-Sex Orientation": Madras HC Directs In-Camera Hearing

    While hearing a protection plea filed by a same-sex couple, a Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh expressed its desire to hear the parties in-camera in view of the sensitivity involved in the matter and thus posted the matter for hearing on March 29. It observed,

    "The case in hand requires to be dealt with more sensitivity and empathy and it is a sample case of how society even now is grappling to come to terms with same-sex orientation. Considering the sensitiveness of the issue involved, this Court wants to hear the parties in-camera."

    11. 'Intersectional Discrimination': Madras HC Lays Down Guidelines For Fair Treatment Of Disabled Women Athletes, Condemns 'Romantic Paternalism' [ M. Sameeha Barvin v. The Joint Secretary, Ministry of Youth & Sports & Ors.]

    Madras High Court has issued comprehensive directions to the respondent authorities to streamline the policy that pertains to women athletes with disabilities and their fair treatment, invoking the doctrines of 'reasonable accomodation' and 'indirect discrimination', along with the principles of 'romantic paternalism' and 'intersectionality'

    Justice R. Mahadevan observed that the case at hand was a clear instance of 'discrimination based on the gender as well as the disability' and that the state and central governments have failed in their responsibility to ensure support and safety to disabled women athletes.

    12. 'LGBTQIA+ Community Cannot Be Left In A Vulnerable Atmosphere': Madras HC Issues Guidelines Against Police Harassment [S. Sushama & Anr. v. Commissioner of Police & Ors.]

    In a significant judgment upholding the rights of members of LGBTQIA+ community, a single bench of Justice Anand Venkatesh issued a slew of guidelines to ensure that they are not harassed by police in missing complaints lodged by their parents.

    While considering a writ petition filed by two lesbian women against police harassment, the Court noted that a societal change is needed in the approach towards LGBTQIA+ relationships. The hostilities they face are due to the fact that their relationship do not enjoy societal sanction. It issued a total of 8 guidelines, detailing a procedure that may be followed by the community in case of harassment. This includes assistance from Centre approved NGOs, monetary support, legal assistance, skill development, etc.

    Also Read: 'My Upbringing Treated "Homosexual", "Gay", "Lesbian" As Anathema' : Madras HC Judge Explains How He Overcame Prejudice Against LGBTQIA+ Community

    13. Madras High Court Issues Directions To Curb Police Harassment, Insensitive Media Reporting Against LGBTQ + Community, Calls For Change In Queerphobic MBBS Curriculum [S. Sushma and Anr v. Director General Of Police]

    The Court issued a host of directions against police harassment, insensitive media reportage in matters pertaining to the LGBTQIA+ community. The Court was adjudicating upon a writ petition moved by a lesbian couple seeking protection from police harassment.

    In its earlier order dated June 7, 2021 the Court had issued a slew of guidelines to ensure that same sex couples are not harassed by police authorities pursuant to missing complaints lodged by their parents. Justice Anand Venkatesh observed with anguish that despite the Court's earlier orders, the police authorities were continuing to harass same sex couples.

    14. Misunderstandings With Male Superior At Workplace Do Not Constitute Sexual Harassment: Madras High Court [Mary Rajasekaran v. University of Madras]

    Setting aside Tamil Nadu Women's Commission order directing Loyola College Society to pay Rs. 64.3 lakh to a terminated female employee who had levelled sexual harassment charges against a former principal, the High Court ruled that personal feud, misunderstandings and not getting along with a male colleague would not constitute sexual harassment.

    15. Whether Woman In Live-in Relationship Entitled to Pensionary Benefits? Madras High Court Refers Question To Larger Bench [Malarkodi @ Malar v. Chief Internal Audit Officer & Ors.]

    A single-judge bench comprising of Justice S Vaidhyanathan referred to the larger bench a question as to whether a woman, living in a continued live-in relationship during the man's lifetime, attains status of wife after the death of his first wife in order to get the Pensionary Benefits following husband's death.

    The development came in a petition filed by the second wife of a deceased man seeking quashing of the order passed by the Superintendent Engineer, TANGEDCO rejecting her application seeking withdrawal of pension amount on account of husband's death. The petitioner, sister of the deceased's first wife, was added as a nominee in his pension account after his first wife died in 2009 due to cancer.

    16. 'Women Cannot Move Out Without Fear Even During The Day, Efforts Of Freedom Fighters In Vain': Madras HC While Dismissing Bail Plea In Pollachi Sexual Assault Case [K Arulanantham v. State by Central Bureau of Investigation]

    The High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to arrest all the accused persons in the 2019 Pollachi sexual assault case and further ordered the investigating agency to make an 'earnest effort' to commence trial by the first week of September.

    The Sessions Judge, Mahalir Neethi Mandram, Coimbatore, was also directed to conduct the trial on a day-to-day basis and accordingly complete the trial within a period of 6 months from the date of commencement of the trial.

    17. 'Complainant Was Conscious Of The Fact That Marriage May Not Take Place': Madras High Court Dismisses Rape Charges On False Promise To Marry [D. Santhanam & Priya v. State]

    The Court ruled that an offence of rape under Section 376 IPC on the pretext of false promise to marry is not made out when the complainant willingly engages in the sexual act knowing that the intended marriage may not take place at all on account of her own marital status.

    The Court was adjudicating upon a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC seeking the quashing of the FIR instituted against the accused.

    18. 'Appreciate The Seriousness Of State Govt': Madras HC Takes On Record Compliance Reports Regarding Directions Issued To Protect LGBTQIA+ Community [S. Sushma and Anr v. Director General Of Police]

    The Court applauded the State government on Monday for taking prompt measures to build a more inclusive environment for the LGBTQIA+ community pursuant to its earlier directions. The Court was adjudicating upon a writ petition moved by a lesbian couple seeking protection from police harassment. In its earlier order dated August 31, 2021 the Court had issued a host of directions against police harassment, insensitive media reportage and 'conversion therapies' in matters pertaining to the LGBTQIA+ community.

    Justice Anand Venkatesh observed, "This Court appreciates the seriousness with which the State Government has taken up the issue seriously."

    19. Cannot Expect Any Eye Witness Or Independent Witness As Culprits Assault Children When Alone: Madras HC Upholds Conviction Of POCSO Accused [K Ruban v. State]

    The Court has recently reiterated that an accused can be convicted under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act solely based on the testimony of the victim child if such evidence is 'cogent, consistent, trust worthy and inspires the confidence' of the Court.

    Justice P Velmurugan observed, "In a cases of this nature, we cannot expect any eye witness or independent witness. The culprit will take a chance of the loneliness of the child and will commit the offence by trying to exploit the innocence of age of the children. It is settled proposition of law that when the evidence of prosecutrix is cogent, consistent and trust worthy and inspires confidence of the Court, conviction can be recorded solely based on the evidence of the victim, unless there is a reason to discord or disbelieve the evidence of the sole witness."

    20. Long Cohabitation Will Not Confer Any Legal Right To Raise A Matrimonial Dispute: Madras High Court [R. Kalaiselvi v. Joseph Baby]

    The Madras High Court observed that long cohabitation or living together will not confer upon the parties any legal right to raise a matrimonial dispute unless their marriage has been solemnized in accordance with law.

    A Bench comprising Justices S. Vaidyanathan and R. Vijayakumar was adjudicating upon an appeal moved by a woman seeking for the restitution of conjugal rights with a man who she was not legally married to. Accordingly, the Court upheld the order of a Family Court in Coimbatore

    21. Prohibit Attempts To Medically 'Cure' Or Change Sexual Orientation Of LGBTQIA+ People : Madras High Court [S. Sushama & Anr. v. Commissioner of Police & Ors.]

    A single bench of Justice Anand Venkatesh directed the Union and the State Government to take steps to prohibit attempts by physical and health professionals to medically "cure" or change the sexual orientation of people belonging to LGBTQIA+ community. The Court has also directed that action should be initiated against the concerned professional involving themselves in any form or method of conversion "therapy", including withdrawal of license to practice.

    These directions were passed by a while considering a writ petition filed by two lesbian women seeking protection from police harassment at the instance of their parents. While holding that the LGBTQIA+ people cannot be left in a vulnerable atmosphere where there is no guarantee for their protection and safety, the Court issued a slew of guidelines.

    22. TN Govt Considering Amendments In Police Conduct Rules To Prevent Harassment Of LGBTQIA+ Community: State Tells Madras High Court [S. Sushma & Anr. v Commissioner of Police & Ors.]

    Various government authorities yesterday expressed their willingness before the Court to make amends in their approach towards the LGBTQIA+ community, by conducting sensitization programmes and other steps expedient for the purpose.

    The Public Prosecutor informed Justice N. Venkatesh Anand that the State is seriously considering amendments to the Police Conduct Rules to ensure that the Community does not suffer harassment at the hands of any police officer.

    Forests, Waterbodies, Wildlife & Environment

    1. Waterbodies Lifeline For All Animal Species, Ensure Zero Tolerance Towards Their Encroachment: Madras High Court [K. Ramesh Kumar v. District Collector & Ors]

    Underlining that "waterbodies are the lifeline for all animal species", the Madras High Court observed that there has to be a zero tolerance for any kind of encroachment at or endangerment of any waterbody.

    The Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed thus in a matter wherein a plea was filed before it, alleging encroachment by local residents in two parts of a waterbody at Ithalar Village in the Nilgiris District.

    2. Animals Are Best Left In The Wild': Madras HC Orders Injured Elephant 'Rivaldo' To Be Kept In The Wild, Monitors Recovery [ Dr T. Murugavel v. The Principal Secretary to Government of Tamil Nadu and others]

    The Court opined that wild animals are best left in their natural habitat even if they suffer from physical deformities unless it involves a question of their survival.

    The Court was adjudicating upon a plea moved by S Muralidharan, founder-trustee of Indian Centre for Animal Rights and Education (INCARE) who had sought the Court's intervention to prevent the release of an elephant popularly known as 'Rivaldo' back into the wild.

    3. 'No Plan To Kill Or Maim Maneater 'MDT 23' Tiger': TN Forest Officials Inform Madras High Court [People For Cattle In India v. Principal Chief Conservator and Ors]

    The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Tamil Nadu informed the Court that there was no plan to kill or maim the 'MDT 23' tiger which has triggered panic for allegedly killing humans and livestock in Gudalur division of Nilgiris district.

    A Bench comprising Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D Audikesavalu observed, "The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests will use his best discretion to ensure that the least number of persons intrude into any forest, since the natural habitat gets destroyed the moment a large posse of humans enter any forest. However, the respondents are left free to deal with the relevant animal for its treatment and for ascertaining its conduct and behaviour."

    4. 'Persons Who Mistreat Animals Must Be Dealt With As Mercilessly': Madras High Court Asks Govt To Prohibit Future Ownership Of Elephants By Individuals, Temples [Rangarajan Narasimhan v. Chief Secretary & Ors.]

    Expressing concern over the 'mistreatment' meted out to privately owned animals (elephants in this case), a Division Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed that there must be a uniform policy that "future ownership of elephants by individuals and temples be completely prohibited." It sternly added, "Any kind of mistreatment of elephants and other animals must be dealt with promptly and as mercilessly as such persons deal with the animals."

    So far as elephants that are already owned by private individuals/ temples are concerned, the Bench said, "There must be a uniform policy that all elephants, privately owned or temple owned come under the care of the Forest Department."

    5. 'Religious Sentiments Must At Times Yield To Reason And Animal's Point Of View': Madras HC Admonishes Practice Of Mistreatment Of Temple Elephants, Issues Directions [Rangarajan Narasimhan v. Chief Secretary]

    The Court directed the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) to prepare a catalogue of all captive elephants in the State. The Court further directed a video recording to be made of all elephants containing a complete profile of each elephant including its age, sex and also lineage including the manner in which the elephants came to be domesticated.

    A Bench comprising Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu was adjudicating upon a plea filed by activist Rangarajan Narasimhan over the alleged inhumane treatment of captive elephants kept in temples across the State.

    6. Madras High Court Raps Chennai Corporation Over Dog Menace; Invites Suggestions For Solutions [People For Cattle In India v. The Chairman & Another]

    Madras High Court requested all the lawyers to make their suggestions within the framework of the Rules on how stray dogs can be taken care of and evolve a trial for sterilization through the Municipal Corporation. The suggestions shall incorporate all conditions to be taken note of while giving effect to the Rules through the Municipal Corporation. Municipal Corporation has also been directed to take care of the 22 dogs remaining in IIT-M dog enclosures.

    7. Travails Of Stray Animals Understated Amid Pandemic: Madras High Court Sets Up Committee To Plan For Care & Nutrition Of Stray Animals [VE Shiva v. The Director]

    Pointing out that the travails of stray animals was lost amid the legitimate attention given to critical issues surrounding the pandemic, a Division Bench of Justices Dr Anita Sumanth and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy constituted a Committee to ensure that stray animals were cared for. While directing the constitution of the Committee, stressed that it was vital to ensure that the needs of stray animals were addressed in an organised manner.

    "The COVID -19 pandemic has impacted all sections of society and animals are no exception. In fact, the travails of stray animals, particularly today, remains somewhat understated, often lost in the legitimate attention being given to other critical issues. It is however vital that the needs of the stray animals are addressed in an organised manner to ensure that that the least distress and dislocation is caused to them in these trying times," the Bench said.

    Pandemic Related

    1. COVID New Strain: Madras HC Asks Centre To Take Concerns Raised In Plea Seriously & Issue Measures To Contain Its Spread [B. Ramkumar Adityan v. Home Seretary& Ors.]

    While entertaining a plea containing "certain genuine concerns" pertaining to the new COVID Virus Strain originally detected in the United Kingdom, the Madras High Court, on 6th January, said, "It is imperative that the Union takes the concerns indicated in the petition seriously and obtains expert advice to issue immediate measures to ensure that the further spread may be averted."

    The Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy has directed the Union to indicate before the Court what measures may have been put in place by 18th January 2021.

    2. Ensure Prompt Supply Of COVID Vaccines To Prevent A Possible Third Wave: Madras High Court To Centre, Vaccine Companies [ Suo Motu v. Union Government of India & Ors]

    Taking up its own-motion petition relating to monitoring the COVID-19 response in the state of Tamil Nadu & Puducherry, the Madras High Court made an appeal on 6th May to the Centre and vaccine manufacturers to ensure prompt supply of vaccines to the state. The Court noted that State's allocation at present was 10.3 lakh units, out of which 7.65 lakh would be supplied by one of the vendor and 2.65 lakh units by the other and that the payment for all of the 10.3 lakh units had been made to immediately receive the vaccines and start the universal adult inoculation program.

    Noting thus, the Court requested the Centre and the vendors to ensure prompt supply so that preventive measures may be taken at the earliest to stop the proliferation of cases and the possible third wave that is being talked of.

    3. COVID 19- Issue Advisory To Local Bodies To Sanitise, Spray Disinfectant; Prepare ESI Hospitals To Treat COVID Patients: Madras High Court [K. Pushpavanam v. Union of India]

    A Division Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy directed the State Government to issue advisory to local bodies to sanitize, spray disinfectant areas within their jurisdiction to the extent possible and to equip (with necessary facilities) the ESI Hospitals to treat COVID patients.

    As far as the railway and port hospitals were concerned, the Court noted that since these are meant exclusively for railway and port employees, and both railways and the port authorities continue to function, "these may not be appropriated for general use at the moment".

    4. 'Don't Stick To Technicalities': Madras High Court Directs State To Not Insist On RTPCR Report While Deciding Compensation Claims If CT-Scan Test Confirmed Covid-19 [B. Varalakshmi v. Union of India & Ors.]

    A Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh ordered the Health authorities of Tamil Nadu Government to process the claim for compensation of the Petitioner, widow of a private medical practitioner who contracted Covid-19 infection on duty and succumbed to it, without insisting for his RT-PCR report. It deprecated the practice of "sticking to technicalities" and held that the authorities need not insist on production of RT-PCR report for processing the claim when a more "clinching" evidence, i.e., CT-Scan report is produced.

    5. Theatres' Occupancy Amid COVID- "Pandemic Doesn't Bother About Consequential Economic Factors": Madras HC Orders 50% Occupancy Till January 11 [B. Ramkumar Adityan v. Chief Secretary]

    While hearing the State's response in a batch of public interest litigation petitions challenging the Government Order (allowing the occupancy in movie theatres to be increased from the erstwhile 50% to 100%), the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court on directed that 50% seating occupancy should be maintained in theatres till January 11.

    While noting that pandemic, does not bother about the consequential economic factors nor it respects boundaries, the Court directed,

    "There couldn't be any permission to run the Multiplexes and Cinema Theatres over and above 50 % of the seating capacity, in the State of Tamil Nadu, till 11.01.2021, as the pandemic does not respect time."

    A Division Bench of Justices M.M. Sundresh and S. Ananthi was hearing the petitioners contending that seating capacity in the Multiplexes and Cinema Theatres was raised from 50 % to 100 %, by the State of Tamil Nadu, without even getting adequate consultation from the Medical Experts.

    6. Wife Alleges Husband Died After Getting COVID Vaccination: Madras High Court Orders Expert Autopsy As Per AEFI Guidelines [Ambika v. Union of India & Ors.]

    A Bench of Justice MM Sundresh and Justice S. Ananthi ordered Autopsy on the body of a 40-year-old conservancy worker on a petition moved by his wife. She alleged that her husband was unwilling to get vaccinated but after the panchayat authorities threatened to terminate him from work, he gave his consent for vaccination.

    Thereafter, he got vaccination on January 21st 2021, however, his health started deteriorating and on January 30, when he was travelling to Madurai for a medical checkup, he threw up and collapsed at the Aruppukottai New Bus Stand.

    7. 'Lock Down A Force Majeure Event' : Madras High Court Directs Complete Waiver Of License Fee During Total Lockdown Period [R Narayanan v. Government of Tamil Nadu]

    A single bench of Justice G R Swaminathan directed a Municipal Corporation to waive the license fee for running a shop in a bus stand during the entire period of total lockdown from March 24, 2020 to September 6, 2020. It observed that the benefit of Tamil Nadu Government's which waived license fee for two months (April & May) - should be extended during the period when total lockdown was in force.

    The bench observed that although the license agreement did not have an express 'force majeure' clause, the COVID-19 pandemic has to be treated as a 'force majeure' event. Since the local body itself directed the shutting down of the bus stand and the shops, it cannot demand license fee during the period when the shop remained close.

    8. File Report Indicating Availability Of Remdesivir, Oxygen Cylinders, Vaccines, Ventilators Etc: Madras HC To Puducherry Chief Secretary [G.Sougomarane & Anr. v. Union of India]

    Observing that it was necessary to monitor the steps taken by the Government in Puducherry to deal with the current crisis, a Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy asked the Chief Secretary to the Union Territory to file a report regarding the availability of Remdesivir, Oxygen Cylinders, Doses Of Vaccine, Ventilators etc.

    "The Court has made an appeal to the Union to consider how the less-privileged and, particularly those who have been rendered without basic resources or jobs in the wake of the lockdown of last year, may be able to afford vaccination at such high cost. It is hoped that appropriate steps would be taken to take care of the lowest denominations," the Bench further said.

    9. Court Cannot Issue Mandamus Directing All COVID Victims To Be Compensated: Madras High Court [R. Boomiraj v. Govt of Tamil Nadu]

    Hearing two different pleas seeking compensation to kith and kin of people who have died due to COVID (including the Advocates), a Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed that the Court cannot issue a mandamus directing all COVID victims to be compensated, irrespective of the financial position that the families may be in.

    Regarding the plea seeking compensation for dependents or heirs of deceased advocates, particularly those who were victims of Covid, the Court said: "It is a matter of policy for the State to decide whether to give compensation to a class of persons to and to what extent. There is no doubt divers classes of people will be seeking compensation and it is a matter within the exclusive domain of the State. The Court cannot pick and choose advocates for preferential treatment because most functionaries in this field are advocates."

    Also Read: Police Under Severe Stress During Pandemic, Can't Be Subjected To Abuse/Threat: Madras HC Directs Man Who Abused Police To Pay 10K

    10. COVID19- Issues Related To Unemployment & Lack Of Income Avenues Have To Be Considered By State: Madras High Court [Suo moto v. Union of India & Ors.]

    Noting a fall in the rate of positive cases in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, a Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed that there are citizens facing unemployment and lack of income avenues and that these aspects have to be considered by the State.

    It also noted the suggestions given by the intervenor that the face of the COVID victim's dead body should be covered by some transparent material so that the relatives may have a glimpse of the face for the last time or even identify the person. The Court also noted the other suggestion, that is passes to be made available to NGOs who are providing free food to persons who are quarantined and to others who do not have ready access to food.

    11. Destitute/ Homeless Stand More Exposed To Covid-19; Require Urgent Vaccination: Madras High Court [M. Murgantham v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.]

    A division bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and SenthilKumar Ramamoorthy directed the Tamil Nadu Government to ensure that vulnerable persons such as homeless, pavement dwellers, etc. are vaccinated on an urgent basis, as they stand more exposed to Covid-19.

    It directed that all the Corporations, Municipalities and Town Panchayats should be sensitized to ensure that these vulnerable persons be regarded as candidates for 'immediate urgent vaccination'.

    Also Read: Vaccinate Mentally Ill Patients On Priority Across The State: Madras High Court To Tamil Nadu Govt

    12. Madras High Court Extends Interim Orders Till August 31 Except For Orders Pertaining To Encroachment

    The Court observed that the life of all interim orders shall be extended till August 31 except for orders pertaining to encroachment matters. The order was passed pursuant to the initiation of suo moto proceedings by the Court in Re: Extension of Remand and Interim Orders on May 17. The development comes less than a month after the Bench comprising Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy had earlier specified that the extension of interim orders shall not continue beyond July 15 owing to the improvement in the Covid-19 situation in Tamil Nadu.

    13. Madras High Court Directs State Govt To Vaccinate All Transgender Persons Within 3 Months [Grace Banu v. Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu]

    The Court directed the Tamil Nadu government to ensure that all transgender persons in the State are vaccinated within a period of 3 months. The Court was adjudicating upon a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by transgender rights activist Grace Banu Ganeshan seeking the extension of cash benefits as well as conducting special vaccination drives for transgender persons in the State.

    A Bench comprising Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D Audikesavalu observed,

    "It will be open to the State to provide special windows to transgenders or other classes of persons at any place or places so that such vulnerable sections receive their vaccinations as expeditiously as possible."

    14. 'Employers Exploited This Unprecedented Situation': Madras HC Seeks Report On Workers Laid Off Due To Covid-19 In Violation Of Labour Laws [Labour Liberation Front and Ors v. State of Tamil Nadu]

    The Court observed with concern that many employees or workers who were laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic were not subsequently reinstated despite the relaxation of lockdown regulations and resumption of business and commercial activity. Justice M.S Ramesh remarked that many employers had taken undue advantage of the pandemic by violating express labour laws.

    "Some of the employers seem to have exploited this unprecedented situation and have effectively disengaged the services of some their workers/employees, without following the procedure for such disengagement under the Labour Laws", the Court observed.

    15. 'No Alarm Of Immediate Third Covid Wave': Madras High Court Refuses To Interfere With GO Permitting Theatres To Operate At 100% Capacity [R.Sivamurugan Athithan v. Union Home Secretary And 2 Ors.]

    A writ petition filed for quashing the Government order permitting 100 per cent occupancy in cinema theatres and multiplexes in the backdrop of Covid-19 was dismissed by Court.

    A Division Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D Audikesavalu observed that the pandemic might not have gone away, but the number of cases has surely subsided, and there is 'no alarm of an immediate third surge'

    16. Ex-Gratia For COVID Deaths : Madras High Court Asks TN Govt If It Wants To Pay Over Rs 50K Minimum [R. Vijayagopal v. National Disaster Management Authority & Anr.]

    In a PIL pertaining to ex gratia assistance payable to the heirs of deceased persons due to Covid 19, Court has held that Rs 50,000/- as fixed by the Supreme Court is the minimum amount that must be paid out of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

    The Division Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D Audikesavalu went on to note that nothing bars the respective states from augmenting this amount. While repeating that it's the prerogative of state government to increase the quantum of ex gratia assistance, the court has asked the State of Tamil Nadu to mention as to what extent they are willing to pay over and above Rs 50,000/- as mandated by Supreme Court.

    17. Chennai Metro Rail Lacks Authority To Fine Passengers Not Wearing Face Masks Inside Metro Premises: Madras High Court [R. Muthukrishnan v. Chennai Metro Rail Limited]

    In a public interest litigation filed against Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) challenging their press release that imposes a fine of Rs 200/- for those not wearing face masks inside any metro station premises, the Court has held that the former doesn't have any statutory backing to do the same.

    A Division Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D Audikesavalu has ruled that even though the press release may have been in public interest, those actions done with the best of intentions, cannot stand if not backed by the authority of law.

    Constitutional Principles & Citizens' Rights

    1. Delay In Producing Accused Arrested Through PT Warrant Before Court Is Violative Of His Fundamental Right Under Article 21: Madras High Court [M. Kishore v. Inspector Of Police]

    The court observed that the purpose of a P.T. warrant is only to direct the production of a person confined or detained in a prison through a lawful order and such a warrant cannot be interpreted to mean that the same will authorize the Police to curtail the liberty of a person by keeping the accused person in custody till he is produced before the concerned Court.

    Justice N. Anand Venkatesh observed that the delay in producing the accused person before the Court after a formal arrest through a Prisoner on Transit warrant, would violate the liberty guaranteed to him under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

    "Where the investigating officer decides to arrest the accused person through a formal arrest, the accused person does not come into the physical custody of the police and for the purpose of calculating the period of 60 days or 90 days as contemplated under the proviso to Section 167(2) of Cr.P.C., it can be computed only from the date of detention as per the orders of the Magistrate and not from the date of formal arrest by the Police. A P.T. Warrant cannot be used for the purpose of keeping a person in detention without producing him before the concerned Court and such non-production will certainly curtail the liberty of a person", observed the court.

    2. "Open To Petitioner To Live In The Stone Age, Courts Can't Impose Sanctions On How Media/Social Media Operates": Madras HC [S. Umamaheswaran v. Union of India & Ors.]

    A Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice R. Hemalatha dismissed a plea seeking directions to the respondents (including the Union of India) to take necessary steps to control, monitor, guide, and to form a panel of censor members of the social platforms.

    Observing that it is open to the petitioner to live in the stone age or to protect his family or his children from the advances of technology, the Bench remarked, "Though complaints may be entertained, the Courts are not there to impose sanctions or guidelines on how the media or even social media operates and it is for the other agencies to do so, based on the policy decision taken by the legislature of the day or the executive arm."

    3. Authorities Need To Be Told That Right To Property Has Close Nexus With Right To Life Under Article 21: Madras High Court [Jayalakshmi & Ors. v. State of Tamil Nadu]

    A Bench of Justice N. Seshasayee observed that State Authorities need to be told that the Right to Property has close nexus with Right of Life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. the remarks came in a plea wherein it was alleged that the State failed to take any action regarding the lands of the Petitioners despite Court's direction that the State should "go for fresh acquisition following the due process of law".

    Coming down heavily upon the authorities, the Court said, "By their inaction, they have denied the right of these citizens at least for 10 years, and to that extent, they have transgressed the quality of life of the citizens of this Country within the meaning of Article 21 of the Constitution of India"

    4. Writ Jurisdiction U/A 226 May Be Exercised At Pre-Detention Stage In Case Of Potential Threat To A Person's Fundamental Rights: Madras High Court [D. Aswin Rao v. State & Ors.]

    A Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh held that Article 226 of the Constitution empowers the High Court to exercise its writ jurisdiction even at a pre-detention stage, if it is of the view that there is a potential threat of violation of a person's fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution.

    The finding comes with a rider that before exercising such jurisdiction, the Court concerned must satisfy itself that there is a potential threat of violation of Article 21 of the Constitution. For this, the Bench said, here must be some materials before the Court to determine the existence of a potential threat. "It cannot be based on mere apprehensions and this Court can only act on some overt acts," it held.

    5. 'Take Stringent Action Against Persons Who Follow Such Inhuman Practice': Madras HC Directs State To Ensure Access To Common Burial Grounds By Marginalised Communities [S Amirthavalli v. The District Collector, Coimbatore and ors]

    The Court observed with anguish that the 'loathsome practice' of prohibiting the cremation or burial of persons belonging to marginalized castes in common burial grounds continues in several villages.

    Justice N Anand Venkatesh lamented that it is quite unfortunate that even at the time of death, the caste factor does not leave a person.

    6. 'Can't Restrain Police From Conducting Inspections': Madras High Court Insists On Installation Of CCTV Cameras In Spa, Massage & Therapy Centres [C P Girija v. Superintendent of Police & Ors.]

    The plea sought relief in terms of restraining the law enforcement agencies from repeatedly conducting inspections in the business premises and interfering with the lawful business of the petitioner, thereby causing disturbances.

    The Court was however of the opinion that the petitioner's claim about 'lawful business' can't always be trusted upon and the Police authorities are duty-bound to verify the same. Noting that the Police should conduct such inspections, the court suo motu impleaded Director General of Police while stressing on the need to issue a circular to that effect.

    Justice S.M Subramaniam also observed that installing CCTV Cameras in such public places will go a long way in preventing illegal activities. The court felt that it was necessary to make functional CCTV cameras a norm in all Municipalities and corporations in Tamil Nadu. Accordingly, the court noted in the order as follows:

    7. Publication Of Intended Acquisition In Little Known Newspapers Amounts To Fraud On Statute & On Right To Property Of Citizens: Madras High Court [Murali K. v. Distrcit Collector]

    While underlining that publication of an intended (land) acquisition in little known newspapers may amount to a fraud on the statute, and a fraud on the right to property of the citizens¸ a Bench of Justice N. Seshasayee came down heavily upon the State's bureaucracy.

    The Court further cited 4 ruling wherein the Apex Court as well as Madras High Court has frowned upon the practice of causing paper publication in less known newspaper with least known circulation in a locality.

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

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

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

    9. Right To Practice Religion Is Subservient To Right To Life: Madras High Court Disposes Of Plea Seeking Reopening Of Temples

    A Division Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed that when the right to life is under a threat, the right to practice religion will have to take a backseat. The Court observed that the right of citizens to practice religion is subservient to their right to life and thus, the Court dismissed a plea seeking reopening of temples across Tamil Nadu.

    The Court observed that "citizens to practice religion is subservient to their right to life and when the right to life is under a threat". With this, the Court declined to entertain a plea filed in the nature of Public Interest Litigation (PIL)

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

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

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

    11. Man Fails To Obtain Passport Due To FIR For Not Wearing Face-Mask During COVID: Madras High Court Directs Issuance Of The Same Within 4 Weeks [Nagalingam v. Regional Passport Officer & Anr.]

    A Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh granted relief to a man who failed to obtain a passport due to an FIR, which was registered against him for allegedly not wearing a face mask, when he was driving his two-wheeler during the Pandemic condition.

    It directed passport authorities to process the application submitted by him, if he satisfies all the other requirements. "The very registration of an FIR cannot be construed to be criminal proceedings unless it translates itself into a final report and the same is taken cognizance by a competent Court," it observed.

    12. Religious Conversion Won't Change Person's Caste; Inter-Caste Marriage Certificate Can't Be Issued Merely On Account On Conversion : Madras High Court[S. Paul Raj v. The Tahsildar, Mettur Thaluk &Anr.]

    The Court has recently held that a person is not entitled to claim an 'inter-caste marriage' certificate on the pretext of his community certificate when he originally belonged to a certain caste but received a different community certificate on account of conversion to another religion. Justice S.M. Subramaniam observed that conversion does not alter the caste of a person and the said aspect cannot be suppressed to grant an inter-caste marriage certificate on the basis of his current community certificate.

    13. Sterlite Protests- 'State Must Be Seen To Be With The Families, Not An Adversary': Madras HC Orders State To Provide Compensation, Assistance To Victims and Their Kin [Henri Tiphagne v. NHRC and Ors]

    The Court issued a host of directions to the State government for the rehabilitation of the victims and their families of the 2018 incident of police firing that had followed the Sterlite Protests (May 28, 2021) in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu.

    The Court was adjudicating upon a plea moved by Mr. Henri Tiphagne, Executive Director of People's Watch seeking disclosure of NHRC's 'undisclosed' 2018 investigation report on the incident of police firing on unarmed civilians protesting against Vedanta Sterlite's copper smelting plant at Thoothukudi.

    14. No Doubt Children Are Addicted To Online Games But Court Cannot Impose Personal Sense Of Morality [E. Martin Jayakumar v. Union of India & Ors.]

    The Court declined to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a ban on all online and offline video games that children and young adults are currently addicted to. The petitioner had submitted that since all educational institutions are currently closed, many children and young adults are severely addicted to such online games which could have adverse consequences on their career and health.

    A Bench comprising Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy while disposing of the PIL opined that the petitioner should first approach the government for relief since the matters relates to a question of policy. Further the Court noted that only in the event of a failure by the Executive to address such matters of public interest can the Judiciary step in.

    15. Doubtful If 'Right to Refuse' Covid-19 Vaccine Can Be Exercised When Larger Public Health Interest Is Involved: Madras High Court [M. Karpagam v. Commissionarate for Welfare of Differently-Abled & Anr.]

    A Division Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy expressed its reservation over 'right to refuse' Covid-19 vaccine as its administration involves larger interest of 'public health'. "Indeed, vaccinating oneself may not only be to protect oneself but also in the larger interest of public health," it observed. The observation was made after the State reported that there is reluctance among the general public to take the vaccine.

    The Bench added, "When such larger interest of public health comes into play and it is possible that a person who has not taken the vaccine may not reveal any symptoms but still be a silent carrier, it is doubtful whether the right to refuse to take the vaccine can be exercised in such circumstances."

    16. Right To Be Forgotten- An Acquitted Accused Entitled To Redact His Name From The Judgment, To Protect His Privacy: Madras High Court [Karthik Theodre v. Additional Registrar General]

    The Court observed that an accused person who is eventually acquitted of all charges is entitled to have his name redacted from all Court orders in relation to the offence he was accused of in order to uphold his fundamental right to privacy.

    Justice N Anand Venkatesh made the observation while adjudicating upon a plea wherein a man earlier accused of offences under Sections 417 and 376 of IPC and subsequently acquitted of all charges moved the High Court to redact his name from its judgment.

    17. State Under Obligation To Provide Access To Burial/Cremation Facilities To Members Of All Communities: Madras High Court [Venkateshan v. The Principal Secretary Adi -Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department]

    Stressing that right to life also encompasses the right to a decent burial or cremation, the Court observed that state is under an obligation to ensure that members of all communities are provided access to burial/cremation facilities. The Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy was hearing a plea by one Venkatesan who complained of the failure of the State Administration to provide for a burial ground or area for the cremation of the dead belonging to the petitioner's community at Madhuravalli Village, Thittakudi Taluk, Cuddalore District.

    18. 'Rummy & Poker Are Games Of Skills': Madras High Court While Striking Down Online Gaming Ban [Junglee Games India Private Limited v. State of Tamil Nadu]

    The Court struck down the Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 which imposes a ban on playing of games such as rummy and poker on cyberspace with stakes. Section 11 of the impugned legislation also banned games of 'mere skill' if such games are played for wager, bet, money or other stake.

    A Bench comprising Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthikumar Ramamoorthy was adjudicating upon a batch of petitions filed by gaming companies who offer access to card games like rummy and also poker on virtual platforms.

    Also Read: 'Excessive and Disproportionate': Madras High Court Strikes Down Tamil Nadu's Law Banning Online Games With Stakes-Read Judgment

    19. Guidelines To Repatriate Dead Bodies: Madras High Court Suo Moto Impleads MEA In Pudukkottai Fisherman Case[R. Brundha v. The Principal Secretary, Home Department &Ors.]

    Following allegations of unstitched body being handed over to the family of a Kottaipattinam fisherman who died at the sea in a collision with the Sri Lankan Navy Vessel, the Madurai Bench has suo moto impleaded the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Consulate General of India (Jaffna) to get response on the guidelines followed for repatriation of dead bodies to India.

    The order was passed by Justice GR Swaminathan days after he ordered the respondent authorities to exhume the fisherman's body and conduct a fresh postmortem, as the fisherman's wife alleged that the Sri Lankan navy fired upon her husband and that he died due to gunshot injury, not drowning.

    20. "India A Secular Country" Madras HC Rejects Plea To Bar CM MK Stalin From Heading A Committee Unless He Takes Pledge Before Hindu God

    Emphasizing that India is a secular country and that secularism implies tolerance for other religions, the Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation plea which urged to restrain Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin from heading an advisory committee unless he took a pledge before a Hindu god.

    The Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu further observed thus: "There has to be a time when the prejudice and vendetta have to be shed particularly when it comes to practicing the religion. This is a Secular country and Secularism implies tolerance for the other religion. This country also provides for freedom of expression to its citizens, which, in turn, implies lending an ear to the other point of view."

    21. 'Independence Must Be Given To Individuals To Believe, Imagine And Ponder': Madras HC Dismisses Plea Seeking Public Awareness Against Astrological Superstitions [A.K.Hemaraj v. The Government of Tamil Nadu]

    Opining that some amount of independence must be given to individuals to believe, imagine and ponder over their astrological beliefs, the Madras High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking the Court's leave to direct the concerned authorities to widely spread public awareness against astrological superstitions in a bid to eradicate its consequential evils.

    22. Coercive Application Of IT Rules Against Intermediaries Violates Article 19(1)(a); Oversight Mechanism Robs Media Of Independence: Madras High Court's Prima Facie View [Digital News Publishers Association v. Union of India and other connected matters]

    The Court observed that the Bombay High Court's order dated August 14, 2021 staying the operation of sub-rules (1) and (3) of Rule 9 of the recently notified Information Technology (Guidelines for intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules 2021) ought to have a pan-India effect.

    Sub-rules (1) and (3) of Rule 9 mandate adherence to the Code of Ethics which is annexed to the IT Rules, 2021 and provide for a three-tier structure for addressing the grievances made in relation to publishers.

    Accordingly, the Bench opined,

    "There is a substantial basis to the petitioners' assertion that Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution may be infringed in how the Rules may be coercively applied to intermediaries"

    Also Read: Bombay High Court's Stay On Enforcement Of IT Rules 'Code Of Ethics' Against Digital Media Ought To Have Pan-India Effect: Madras High Court [Read Order]

    24. Every Citizen Has The Right To Comment On Govt. Policies': Madras HC Directs TN Bar Council To Enroll Law Graduate Who Participated In Anti-Sterlite Agitation [K Siva v. The Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry and Ors]

    Coming to the aid of a law graduate who had participated in the protests for the closure of Vedanta's Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi because of which he had been denied enrolment as an advocate, the Madurai Bench recently directed the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to enroll him as an advocate on its roll.

    A Bench comprising Justices M Duraiswamy and Murali Shankar pertinently observed, "The right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to assemble peaceably and without arms are fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 19(1) (a) and (b) of the Constitution of India ... every citizen is having right to comment on the policies of Governments and to have their own views with respect to the such policies."

    25. Strict Action Must Be Taken Against Political Parties For Damaging Public Property During Demonstrations: Madras High Court Directs State Govt [Pattali Makkal Katchi v. The Additional Chief Secretary and ors]

    The Court has recently observed that political parties and communal, linguistic or ethnic groups who indulge in violence and damage public property during agitations must not be allowed to go scot-free.

    The Court made the observations while refusing to quash proceedings initiated against the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) party in relation to the 2013 under the Tamil Nadu Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act, 1992 (1992 Act). The alleged incident is said to have occurred when a clash broke out at a bus stop which involved PMK members leading to the destruction of buses and public property.

    26. Madras High Court Bats For Common Cremation/ Burial Grounds Without Caste Segregation, Suggests Penal Action Against Any Violation [B. Kalaiselvi & Anr.v. The District Collector & Others]

    In a plea filed for assigning a permanent burial ground for the members of Arunthathiyar Community, the Court has recently held that segregation of burial ground for a particular caste/ community cannot be endorsed by the Court.

    Taking note of the discrimination meted out to people on the basis of caste, even in death, Justice R. Mahadevan suggested a slew of measures that may be adopted by the local bodies, state government and other authorities to curb the menace of caste segregation

    27. 'Reservation Based On Caste Alone': Madras High Court Quashes 10.5% Internal Reservation To Vanniyar Community Under Most Backward Class Category [V.V.Saminathan vs Government of Tamil Nadu]

    The Madras High Court quashed the Tamil Nadu law providing internal reservation of 10.5 % to the Vanniyar Community under the category Most Backward Classes.

    The court observed that Tamil Nadu Special Reservation of seats in educational Institutions including Private Educational Institutions and appointments or posts in the services under the State within the Reservation for the Most Backward Classes and Denotified Communities Act, 2021, is ultra vires the constitution.

    28. 'Must Look At India's Remote Corners': Madras HC Satisfied With Stakeholder Consultation Process For Draft Universal Accessibility Guidelines [Vaishnavi Jayakumar v. The Central Public Works Department & Ors.]

    The Court disposed of a PIL seeking wide publicity of the draft 'Harmonized Guidelines and Standards For Universal Accessibility in India, 2021', while simultaneously noting that the respondent authorities have substantially complied with the prescribed procedure.

    The Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu, while pronouncing the order, also made a suggestion regarding the consultative procedure that could be adopted in future.

    29. Madras High Court Quashes Order Impounding Leena Manimekalai's Passport Over Pendency Of Criminal Defamation Case; Orders Release Within One Week [Leena Manimekalai v. Regional Passport Officer]

    In a writ petition challenging the impounding of Leena Manimekalai's passport, the High Court has allowed the petitioner's plea while setting aside the impounding order of Regional Passport Officer, Chennai on the grounds of pendency of criminal defamation proceedings against her.

    Justice M. Dhandapani has directed the Regional Passport Office to release the impounded passport within a period of one week from the receipt of the court's order.

    Notable Court Interventions And Other Important Cases

    1. File Report Indicating As To How Govt. Buildings & Public Places Allow Access To Persons With Disabilities: Madras High Court To Govt.

    A Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy directed the State Government to file a comprehensive report indicating how government buildings and all public places allow access to persons with disabilities.

    has directed that the said report should also indicate the toilet facilities provided for such persons at all government buildings and the easy access to the toilets. Further, the Court has directed that the report should include the Central Government guidelines in such regard for all public buildings and government-owned buildings to follow the relevant guidelines and the extent of adherence to such guidelines.

    2. Hills & Hillocks Cannot Be Given For Mining Unless There Is Supervening Public Interest: Madras High Court [K. Santhanam v. District Collector, Virudhunagar & Ors.]

    A Single Bench of Justice GR Swaminathan criticized the practice of mechanically issuing licenses for mining of hillocks, without assessing the impact it may have on the public and on the environment in the longer run. It held that it is not open to the Government to arbitrarily give away hills and hillocks for exploitation and it is imperative that the executive demonstrates that there is a need to subordinate the right to environment to the right to development.

    "Merely because the process of issuance of mining lease was conducted in consonance with the statutory procedure, that would not confer any immunity against judicial scrutiny. Unless there are supervening public interest considerations, hills and hillocks cannot be given away for mining," the Court observed. The Judge admitted that there is no statutory prohibition against mining/quarrying of mounds rich in minerals. However, he asserted that both the Government as well as the citizens have a constitutional obligation to protect the environment and ecology under Article 48-A and Article 51-A(g).

    3. Madras High Court Stays NGT Office Order Mandating Suo Moto 'Pan India' Matters To Be Heard Only By NGT Principal Bench [Meenava Thanthai KR Selvaraj Kumar v. National Green Tribunal Principal Bench and Anr]

    The Court imposed a stay on an office order issued by the Registrar General of the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which had directed that suo matters having pan-India or inter-state implications will be henceforth listed before the Principal Bench of at least three members.

    Pursuant to Section 4(4)(c) of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT Act), a Bench must have an equal number of judicial members and expert members. Accordingly, the petitioner argued that the officer order mandating the composition of 'three members' was in violation of the NGT Act.

    4. Corporations/Municipalities Heads To Be Held Personally Liable For Any Death To Anyone Engaged In Manual Scavenging Work: Madras High Court [Safai Karmachari Andolan v. Union Of India]

    Noting that the Municipalities and Corporations may have stopped directly engaging manual scavenging work, the Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed that the contractors are engaged for the purpose and Corporation and Municipal officials look the other way, while manual scavengers are still sent down the pits to carry filth on their heads as they come up.

    Further, the Court issued a direction which states that:

    "It must be made clear by the appropriate department of the State to all heads of Municipal Corporations and Municipalities in the State that any manual scavenging death within the jurisdiction of the relevant Municipality or Corporation will result in the Commissioner or Chairperson or the like controlling authority of the relevant body to face criminal charges and be subjected to immediate arrest."

    5. All Correctional Homes Should Permit Interaction Between Inmates & Advocates Representing Them: Madras High Court [Suo moto v. Union of India & Ors.]

    While hearing a matter pertaining to the inmates at the various correctional homes in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, a Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy directed the authorities at all correctional homes to permit interaction between advocates representing the inmates and the relevant inmates upon setting down certain parameters.

    It also directed the relevant Government Departments to publish the decisions taken by the High-Power Committees at the recent meetings setting down parameters for grant of parole or leave of inmates at correctional homes.

    6. Plea Seeking Directions To Officials Not To Disturb Chief Minister On Sundays: Madras High Court Dismisses Plea With 10K Cost [G. Vivekanandan v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.]

    A Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy dismissed a plea with 10,000/- cost which sought directions the Chief Secretary and other officials not to circulate any file or seek any orders or disturb the Chief Minister, except in extraordinary circumstances on Sundays. The Court called it "an utterly ridiculous petition" and said that any reasonable person should have thought many times over it, before disturbing the Court.

    The categorical prayer in the petition was to direct the Chief Secretary and other officials not to circulate any file or seek any orders or disturb the Chief Minister, except in extraordinary circumstances on Sundays. To this, the Court said that it was entirely a matter between the head of a government and the officials as to how files should be placed before the Chief Minister and how the Chief Minister will function.

    7. 'IT Rules Offend My Rights As An Artist & Cultural Commentator' : Musician TM Krishna Moves Madras High Court [TM Krishna v. Union of India & Anr.]

    A division bench comprising Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy issued notice to the Union Government on a writ petition filed by acclaimed Carnatic vocalist and Ramon Magsasay awardee TM Krishna challenging the constitutional validity of the Information Technology (Guidelines For Intermediaries And Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, notified by the Centre on February 25, as imposing "arbitrary, vague, disproportionate and unreasonable" restrictions on digital news media and social media intermediaries.

    During the brief admission hearing, Advocate Suhrith Parthasarathy, representing Krishna, submitted that the rules were violative of the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and privacy and also ultra-vires the parent statute, the Information Technology Act. In the writ petition prepared by Internet Freedom Foundation and Advocate Vrinda Bhandari, Krishna says that the rules affected his rights as an artist and a cultural commentator.

    8. Madras High Court Orders 5 Lac Compensation To Man Who Lost Wife Due To Non-Availability Of Ambulance At Health Centre [T. Rajagopal v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.]

    Revisiting the concept of 'golden hour' in medical parlance, a Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh directed the State Government to pay Rs. 5,00,000/- compensation to the husband of a woman who died due to non-availability of ambulance at a Primary Health Centre (PHC) and the resultant delay in shifting her to the Medical College for proper treatment.

    It observed, "There was a delay in shifting the deceased from the Primary Health Centre to the Medical College, Asaripallam. When it comes to saving a life, every second count and delay by even a few minutes can cause the death of a person. Therefore, when it comes to medical emergencies, delay can never be condoned like how leniently we condone in Courts" the Court observed.

    9. IT Rules 2021: Madras High Court Restrains Coercive Action Against Digital Media Platforms Under IBDF [Indian Broadcasting & Digital Foundation v. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology & Ors]

    The Court has restrained the Central Government from taking any coercive action under the IT Rules 2021, against digital media platforms that are members of the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation, including Sun TV Network.

    The development comes in a writ petition preferred by the Foundation challenging the Code of Ethics in relation to digital media platforms under Part III of the 2021 Rules.

    10. No Person Or Political Bigshot Has Right To Encroach Public Land, Govt. Needs To Ensure A Sense Of Discipline: Madras High Court [V. Vaira Sekar v. Secretary, Home, Prohibition & Excise Department & Ors.]

    Taking note of the menace of unauthorized constructions rampantly mushrooming on revenue land, a Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice MM Sundresh directed the Government to ensure a sense of discipline and uniformly demolish any kind of unauthorized construction on revenue land, be it construction of any religious idol or made for political considerations.

    "The message has to be sent loud and clear that no illegal set of persons or political bigshot has the right to put up or encroach any public land by putting up any kind of construction without following appropriate procedure and after obtaining due permission from the local authorities in accordance with law," it added.

    11. Hyper Nationalism Goes Against Prosperity Of Our Nation From All Its Past Glory: Madras High Court [State v. D. Senthilkumar]

    A Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh held that cutting of a cake that is iced like the National Flag will not amount to an 'insult' to attract the offence under Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. It observed that patriotism is not determined by a physical act and that the intention behind the act is the true test in such cases.

    It observed, "There is no doubt that nationalism in a democracy like India is very vital. But, hyper and surfeit adherence to it goes against the prosperity of our nation from all its past glory. A patriot is not one who only raises the Flag, symbolises his national pride and wear it on his sleeve, but also, a person who bats for good governance. The symbolisation of national pride is not synonymous with patriotism, just like how cutting a cake is not unpatriotic."

    12. Recommendations Of State Human Right Commission Are Legally Enforceable, Binding On Govt/Authorities: Madras High Court (FB) [Abdul Sathar v. Principal Secretary to Govt. & Ors.]

    A Full Bench comprising of Justices S. Vaidyanathan, Parthiban and M Sundar held that the recommendation of State Human Rights Commission under Section 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 is binding on the Government or Authority. It further held that it's adjudicatory orders are legally and immediately enforceable.

    The State has no discretion to avoid implementation of the recommendation and in case the State is aggrieved, it can only resort to legal remedy seeking judicial review of the recommendation of the Commission, the court held. The Commission can order recovery of the compensation from the State and payable to the victims of the violation of human rights under Sub Clause (a)(i) of Section 18 of the Act and the State in turn could recover the compensation paid, from the Officers of the State who have been found to be responsible for causing human rights violation.

    In regard to the imposition of penalty as a consequence of a delinquent official being found guilty of the violation, a limited departmental enquiry may be conducted only to ascertain the extent of culpability of the Official concerned in causing violation in order to formulate an opinion of the punishing Authority as to the proportionality of the punishment to be imposed on the official concernedThe High Court also held that since the recommendation of the H.R.Commission is held to be binding, an officer/employee concerned can resort to appropriate legal remedy at any stage qua complaint or inquiry by the Commission but only on substantial legal grounds.

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

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

    14. Govt. Will 'Sympathetically Consider' Giving COVID Cash Relief To Transgender Persons Not Holding Ration Cards: State To Madras High Court [Grace Banu v. Government of Tamil Nadu Secretariat]

    The Tamil Nadu State Government submitted before a Division Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy that it will 'sympathetically consider' an extension of COVID-19 cash relief of Rs.4000/- to transgender persons in Tamil Nadu who do not possess Ration Cards.

    The development comes in a PIL filed by a transgender rights activist, Grace Banu Ganeshan, highlighting that most Transgender persons in Tamil Nadu do not possess ration cards. The plea by Banu sought a direction on the State Government to extend the cash benefits to transgenders that the State Government has extended to ration card-holders.

    15. If Police Officials Are Unable To Comply With Court's Order Then They Are Unfit To Hold Their Post: Madras High Court

    Noting that when the Advocate Commissioner went to inspect the property, dogs were let loose and nobody could enter into the property despite police protection, a Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice PD Audikesavalu came down heavily on the concerned police officials.

    It sternly remarked, "The Court's orders have to be implemented/complied with in letter and spirit. If the officials are unable to do that, they are unfit to hold the post that too, in a disciplined force, like police force."

    16. State Has To Compensate Unforeseen Death Or Injury In Govt Hospital Even If There Is No Medical Negligence : Madras High Court [Tamil Selvi v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.]

    A single bench of Justice GR Swaminathan directed the State of Tamil Nadu to provide a compensation of Rs. 5 lacs to a Dalit Petitioner whose daughter had died as a result of complications that arose after administration of anaesthesia in a government hospital.

    It held that, even though there was no medical negligence on behalf of the anaesthetist, there exists an obligation on the part of the government to disburse ex-gratia to the affected party if the patient was admitted to a government hospital and suffered an injury or death which is not anticipated to occur in the normal course of evemts

    17. Call Of Policy-Makers In The Legislature To Consider Whether State Should Turn Dry, Courts Have No Role To Play: Madras High Court [V. Kaliyamoorthy v. District Collector Thanjavur District]

    Underlining that Courts cannot barge and interfere on the personal predilection of any individual that every form of drinking may be evil, a Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice R. Hemalatha held that it is for the policy-makers in the legislature to consider whether the State should turn dry.

    It thereby dismissed a plea seeking directions to the respondents to close and shift a TASMAC Shop and the bar attached therein, functioning at a particular of Thanjavur District.

    Bar And Bench

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

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

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

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

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

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

    3. The Bar Must Discourage Their Clients From Raising Baseless Allegations Against The Judicial Officers: Madras High Court [A. Lakshmanan v. State]

    A Bench of Justice K. Murali Shankar observed that the bar must discourage their clients and the litigant from raising baseless allegations against the officers and they must desist from incorporating the same in the pleadings. The observation came in a revision petition filed alleging that the petitioner was not afforded sufficient opportunity to argue the case elaborately in physical mode.

    4. Instead Of Independently Formulating Substantial Question Of Law Arising In Appeal, Judges Often Copy Down Grounds From Pleadings: Madras High Court [M. Abubaker & Ors. v. Abdul Kareem]

    A Single Bench of Justice GR Swaminathan criticized the practice of Judges copying the issues/ questions of law involved in a case from the pleadings itself, instead of undertaking the exercise on its own. It observed that this often leads to absurdity because if the counsel's formulation of questions of law is flawed and defective, the Court record also carries the same vice. "It is somewhat embarrassing," the Judge remarked.

    At the same time, the Single Bench also acknowledged that the Courts are overburdened and it may not always be possible for the Judges to proof-read everything. Thus, a 'greater responsibility' lies on the counsels, farming the tentative questions of law, to discharge this duty properly after a wholesome reading and understanding of the legal principles.

    5. Advocates Not Above Law; Bar Council Must Act Suo Moto Against Lawyers' Unruly Conduct : Madras High Court [Tanuja Rajan & Anr. v. State & Anr.]

    A single bench of Justice M Dhandapani observed that the Bar Council should initiate suo moto disciplinary actions against advocates who demean the legal fraternity with unruly conduct in public. If such incidents come to the notice of the Bar Council through visual or print media, then the Bar Council should initiate suo moto action, without waiting for any formal written complaint, the High Court observed.

    The Court made these significant observations while considering the anticipatory bail application of a lawyer, who was accused of publicly intimidating police officials who had stopped her vehicle for travelling in violation of lockdown. The visuals of the lawyer threatening the cops had got public in media.

    Also Read: Madras High Court Initiates Criminal Contempt Against Advocate For Sharing 'Derogatory' WhatsApp Audio Messages Against Judge

    6. 'Hatched A Devious Plot': Madras High Court Holds Two Lawyers Guilty Of Contempt Of Court For Filing False Case Against Registrar [High Court of Madras v. B. Sathish Kumar]

    Two lawyers were found guilty of contempt of court by the High Court for having pursued 'vexatious litigation' to remove a Registrar (Vigilance) by filing a false affidavit accusing her of holding the post in the absence of the required qualifications.

    A Bench comprising Justices PN Prakash and RN Manjula observed, "On a careful examination of the materials on record, we are fully satisfied that the alleged contemnors have acted in tandem and hatched a devious plot to manufacture the vexatious litigation in W.P.No.14434 of 2020, on the strength of patently false affidavit which was calculated to not only dislodge the then Registrar (Vigilance) from her post but also bring down the prestige of the High Court"

    7. 'Matter Pending Consideration Before Committee, Report To Be Furnished Within Next Few Weeks': Madras HC Defers Hearing Of Challenge To Senior Designation Rules [Rangasamy and Ors v. The High Court of Madras]

    A public interest litigation (PIL) petition has been filed before the Court challenging the validity of Rules 4(1)(a) and 4(1)(b) of the Madras High Court Designation of Senior Advocates Rules, 2020, which stipulate a minimum age (45 years) and experience criteria for an advocate to be eligible to be designated as a Senior Advocate.

    A Bench comprising Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu on Thursday stated that a committee had been constituted after a Full Court meeting to look into the grievance and that the Committee's report is likely to be furnished shortly.

    8. Unique QR Codes In Judgments/ Orders, Advocate Information Management System: New Initiatives By Madras High Court

    In a press release by the Registrar General of Madras High Court, several notable initiatives, including those implemented and those that will be brought in place with effect from 15th November have been mentioned. The new reforms include Advocate Information and Management System (AIMS), Document Pagination Module, Braille Printer for Visually Challenged, Unique QR Codes for each judgment and orders, and the Integration of Madras High Court's Case Information System (HC-CIS) with Court Cases Monitoring System( CCMS).

    9. Amendment To Law Officer Appointment Rules Upheld By The Madras High Court [A Kannan v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.]

    A Division Bench of Justices TS Sivagnanam and Justice S. Ananthi disposed of a petition filed assailing the validity of an amendment that was made (in the year 2019) to the rules under the Law Officers of High Court of Madras and its Bench at Madurai (Appointment) Rules, 2017 which govern the appointment of government advocates. It upheld the validity of sub-clause (k) in Rule 4(i), which stipulates the eligibility for being appointed as Government Advocates.

    Taking note of the Judgment of the Madras High Court in the case of V. Vasanthakumar vs. The Chief Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu, the Court observed: "The task of selection of Government Advocates is in the exclusive arena of the Government and/or its instrumentalities, judicial review of such appointments would be limited only to examining as to whether the process of appointment is vitiated by any irregularity, illegality, perversity or irrationality."

    10. "Utterly Meaningless Petition': Madras High Court Dismisses Plea To Resume Physical Functioning, Opening Of Lawyers Chambers [Ukkrapandiyan v. Registrar Administration, Madurai Bench of Madras High Court & Anr.]

    Calling it an utterly meaningless petition filed by an uninformed lawyer, the Court dismissed a plea seeking resumption of physical hearings and opening up of lawyers chambers in Madurai bench.

    A division bench comprising of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice S Ananthi ordered thus: "Some form of physical hearing is possible upon permission being obtained. As far as virtual hearing is concerned, the performance in Madurai appears to be much better than at the Principal Seat."

    11. 'Vulgarity During Court Proceedings': Madras HC Initiates Contempt Action Against Lawyer [Suo Motu Criminal Contempt Petition No.1699/ 2021]

    In the aftermath of video clippings of one of the lawyers logged in the virtual court engaging in eroticism with a woman went viral, Madras High Court has registered a suo motu criminal contempt proceedings.

    About the incident that occurred in the court of Justice G.K Ilanthiraiyan, a Division bench of Justice P.N. Prakash and Justice R. Hemalatha noted:

    "This Court cannot afford to be a mute spectator and turn Nelson's eye when such brazen vulgarity is publicly displayed amidst Court proceedings."

    Therefore, the court took cognisance of the video clipping that was being circulated in social media, and asked CB-CID to register a suo motu FIR on the same.

    12. 'Unfortunate That Bar Leaders Tend To Play God By Rescuing Errant Advocates': Madras High Court While Holding SC Advocate Guilty Of Contempt [High Court of Madras v. R. Krishnamurthy]

    In a suo motu criminal contempt petition against Supreme Court lawyer R. Krishnamurthy, Madras High Court has made some pertinent observations about the symbiotic relationship between the Bar and the Bench that should be sustained at any cost.

    A division bench of Justices R. Hemalatha and P.N Prakash raised concerns about the rising number of cases registered against advocates in the state. According to statistics, there have been 263 cases against advocates from January till April this year.

    While holding the contemnor guilty under Sections 2 (c)(i) [scandalising the Court] and 2(c)(iii) [interfering with the administration of justice] of Contempt Of Courts Act bench noted that Magistrates to Supreme Court judges have come from the Bar.

    Education, Entertainment & Employment

    1. Madras High Court Directs Puducherry Fee Committee To Fix Fees For PG Medical Courses From 2017-18 Onwards Until Guidelines Are Framed By UGC/ NMC [VBR Menon v. Government of Puducherry & Ors.]

    A Division bench of Justices TS Sivagnanam and V. Bhavani Subbaroyan ordered the Puducherry Fee Committee to fix the fee for Post Graduate Medical and Dental courses in Deemed Universities, for the from the academic year 2017-18 onwards till 2020-21. Further, students shall be entitled for refund of excess fees paid by them in terms of a previous order of the High Court.

    The order was passed after taking note of the fact that reasonably high, arbitrary and prohibitive fees is being collected by the respondent Deemed to be Universities from the students.

    2. NEET-UG : Madras HC Permits OCI Candidates To Appear For Counselling In General Category For 2021-22; Says 'Treat At Par With Indian Citizens' [Sadhvi Sreeram v. Govt of India and Ors]

    The Court passed an interim order allowing Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) candidates to participate for the NEET-UG counselling in the general category for the year 2021-22 instead of the category reserved for NRIs or foreign nationals.

    Justice V. Parthiban passed the direction while taking into consideration that the Supreme Court had passed a similar order on September 30. The judge made a reference to the September 30 order issued by a Bench comprising Justices Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari of the Supreme Court

    Also Read: Madras High Court Seeks Response From State Gov, DMK On PIL Seeking Compensation For 'False Promises' Made By State Gov On NEET

    3. "Not Studied English As A Separate Subject": Madras HC Upholds NMC's Decision To Not Issue Eligibility Certificate To OCI Medical Student To Practice In India [Mrs. Ouwshitha Surendran v. National Medical Commission and Ors]

    The Court has refused to interfere with a decision taken by the National Medical Commission (NMC) to not allow a student who had pursued medical education in China to write the screening test, Foreign Medical Graduate Examination required to be cleared before commencing practice in India, because she had not studied English as a separate subject during her higher secondary education.

    Justice N. Anand Venkatesh observed, "Admittedly, the Petitioner has not undergone English as a separate subject in the Higher Secondary Course. The experts in their wisdom have stipulated an eligibility criteria and this court exercising its jurisdiction under Article 226 of Constitution of India, cannot sit over judgment upon this stipulation made by the experts. The individual opinion of a judge cannot come in the way while deciding cases of this nature and this court has to necessarily satisfy itself as to whether a candidate fulfils the qualification prescribed in the regulation. The law on this issue is well settled."

    4. Cinema Halls Must Provide Free Drinking Water If Water Bottles From Outside Are Prohibited For Security Reasons: Madras HC [G Devarajan v. The Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu and ors]

    The Court has recently observed that cinema halls must necessarily provide free, potable and pure drinking water through water coolers if people are prohibited from carrying water bottles into cinema halls for security reasons.

    Justice SM Subramaniam observed, "A Cinema Hall, which seeks to prohibit carrying of drinking water inside the Cinema Hall for security reasons, must necessarily provide free potable and pure drinking water through water coolers installed inside the Cinema Halls, before such a prohibition can be enforced ... Mere availability of the drinking water would not be sufficient to enforce prohibition of carrying drinking water inside the Cinema Halls. Purified drinking water with prescribed standards must be provided, so as to satisfy the requirements ... it is to be ensured that drinking water facilities are provided all the times to the cinema goers in the Hall."

    5. University Agreed To Give 30% Concession: Madras High Court Disposes Plea By Students Of School Of Excellence In Law [Gopinath & Ors. v. State of Tami Nadu & Ors.]

    A Single Bench of Justice B. Pugalendhi disposed of a PIL filed by over 90 students of the School of Excellence in Law, affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, challenging levy of fees for certain unutilized facilities in the academic year 2020-21, when academic learning was restricted to online classrooms, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The development comes after the University informed that it's Finance Committee has decided to grant 30% concession in the fee (other than Admission fee, Tuition fee, & AIR Cafe fee) payable during the academic year 2020-2021.

    6. Students Who Followed 10+3 (Diploma)+3 (Degree) Course Structure Granted Interim Permission To Pursue 3 Yr LL.B Course By Madras High Court

    A Bench of Justice B. Pugalendhi issued an interim direction to the Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University to let those students participate in counseling (3-year LLB Course), who, instead of pursuing +2 (Higher Secondary), pursued polytechnic and thereafter, completed their Engineering degree by a regular course. It further directed the University to admit the students, if they are otherwise eligible, after obtaining the undertaking that the admission would be subject to the result of the writ petitions.

    7. 'Medical Practitioners Must Be Protected From Onslaught Of Frivolous Complaints': Madras High Court Issues Guidelines For National Medical Council [Dr. P. Basumani v. Tamil Nadu Medical Council]

    The Court quashed an order dated May 4, 2021 of the Tamil Nadu Medical Council (TNMC) suspending a gastroenterologist by observing that principles of natural justice were not given credence to. The Court also laid down exhaustive guidelines that are to be included in the new Regulations that are to be framed under the National Medical Council (NMC) Act, 2019 for effective handling of complaints against medical practitioners.

    Justice R Mahadevan observed, "It is the responsibility of the Medical Council to proceed against the medical practitioners.. At the same time, the Medical Council also owes a duty to protect the medical practitioners, who are rendering yeomen service for the betterment of the general public, from the onslaught of frivolous complaints or to proceed against them in a hasty manner."

    8. 'Service-Related Disputes Not Maintainable In PILs': Madras High Court Dismisses Former National Women's Kabaddi Captain's Plea For Govt Job[Tamil Nadu Sportsmen Association v. The Government of Tamil Nadu]

    The Court has dismissed a PIL seeking employment for S. Kavitha, former captain of State and national Kabbadi teams and Asian Games Gold Medalist.

    The bench of Acting Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice P.D Audikesavalu observed that public interest litigation cannot be deployed for service matters for the assertion of individual rights.

    "…a petition of the nature of public interest is not maintainable to espouse the cause of an individual and in service matters, i.e., even to seek appointment or any dispute relating to service, as has been held by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the cases of Duryodhan Sahu (Dr) v. Jitendra Kumar Mishra, (1998) 7 SCC 273 and Ashok Kumar Pandey v. State of West Bengal, (2004) 3 SCC 349", the court noted.

    9. 'No Student Can Be Expelled For Non-Payment': Madras High Court Permits Pvt Schools To Collect 85% Fees In Instalments [Federation of Association of Private Schools in Tamil Nadu v. The Chief Secretary to Government and Ors]

    The Court permitted private unaided educational institutions to collect 85% of the annual school fee payable for the current academic year, i.e. 2021-22 in six instalments from parents who have not suffered any form of financial loss during the pandemic period. However, the Court made it clear that no student shall be restrained from attending online classes or taking exams or expelled from the institution on account of non-payment of fees.

    10. Centre's Proposal To Reserve 27 Percent Seats For OBC Candidates In AIQ Seats In Medical Colleges Not Acceptable: DMK Tells Madras High Court [DMK v. Rajesh Bhushan]

    The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) submitted before the Court that the Centre's proposal of implementing 27 percent reservation for Other backward Classes (OBC) candidates in All India Quota (AIQ) seats of medical colleges in Tamil Nadu for the current academic year was not acceptable.

    Instead, the DMK argued that the OBC candidates must be eligible for 50 percent reservation as envisaged under the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and of Appointments or Posts in the Services under the State) Act, 1993 (1993 Act) and as previously affirmed by the Court vide its earlier decision dated July 27, 2020.

    11. Masters In Law, Enrolment As Advocate Not Required For Teaching 'Pre-Law Courses' At Govt Law Colleges: Madras High Court [V Lekha v. The Chairman, UGC]

    The Court held that the notification issued by the Teachers Recruitment Board mandating candidates to be enrolled as an advocate and to possess a master's degree in law (ML degree) in order to be qualified for appointment as Assistant Professors for pre-Law courses in Government law colleges is irrational and illegal.

    The Court was adjudicating upon a batch of petitions wherein the petitioners contended that such 'non-essential qualifications' have absolutely no value addition to their appointments as they are to be recruited only for teaching pre-law courses in the subject concerned

    12. 'Promote Entrepreneurs, Self-Employment Schemes To Tackle Fake Job Rackets': Madras HC Disposes Of PIL Registered After Sitting Judge Received Fake Job Offers [Suo Motu PIL]

    The Court disposed of a 2017 suo moto public interest litigation (PIL) that it had initiated after a sitting judge of the High Court, Justice S. Vaidyanathan had been contacted by fake placement agencies with dubious job offers.

    A Bench comprising Justices N Kirubakaran and S. Vaidyanathan also emphasised on the need to create more job opportunities and promote entrepreneurship in order to tackle such a menace of fake job rackets.

    13. Madras HC Upholds 27% OBC Reservation In AIQ Seats In Medical Colleges; Doubts Validity Of EWS Quota Without SC Approval [DMK v. Rajesh Bhushan]

    The Court held that Centre's notification dated July 29, 2021 implementing 27 percent reservation for Other backward Classes (OBC) candidates in All India Quota (AIQ) seats of medical colleges in Tamil Nadu may be permissible subject to the Supreme Court's formal approval of the same. The Court passed the judgment in a contempt plea filed by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) over the delay in implementing OBC reservations for AIQ seats of medical colleges in the State for the academic year 2021-2022 despitethe High Court's earlier decision directing such an implementation.

    14. Rather Than Caste System Being Wiped Away, Reservation System Perpetuates It Endlessly: Madras High Court [DMK v. Rajesh Bhushan and Ors]

    The Court opined that the Constituent Assembly had envisioned the reservation system to be in force only during the infancy period of Independent India, however it is now being endlessly extended through repeated amendments thereby perpetuating the caste system in the process.

    The Court made the observation as a footnote while dismissing the contempt of court plea filed by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party against the Central government on the issue of implementing reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBC) in All India Quota (AIQ) medical college seats..

    15. Madras High Court Issues Notice On Plea Challenging Constitutional Amendment Transferring 'Education' From State List To Concurrent List [Aram Seyya Virumbu v. Union of India]

    The Court issued notice to the Central government on a petition that challenged Section 57 of the Constitution (42nd Constitutional amendment) vide which the subject 'Education' was transferred from the State list to the Concurrent list.

    The constitutional amendment has been challenged on the ground that deletion of 'Education' from the State List and its subsequent transfer to the Concurrent List violates the principle of 'federalism' which is a part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

    16. Prepare Exigency Plan To Ensure Midday Meal Scheme Is Not Stalled During Future Calamities, Pandemic: Madras High Court Directs State Govt [Citizen Consumer And Civic Action Group v. Union of India]

    The Court urged the State government to prepare a plan of action to ensure that the Midday Meal Scheme at schools is not disrupted in the event of future natural calamities or disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

    A Bench comprising Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu observed, "While it is hoped that the worst is behind us, what the pandemic may have taught humanity is to not take anything for granted and be prepared for the worst. It would do well for the State to prepare a plan of action where, whether there is any natural calamity or disaster or the pandemic or anything which is beyond the everyday difficulty, there is a Plan-B or a Plan-C ready, so that the vulnerable children and young adults do not go without nutritious meals."

    17. 'Reinstatement' Of Workman Can Be Done Only To Original Place Of Employment, Transfer Not Legally Sustainable: Madras High Court [The Management, Micro Labs Limited v. Patil Veershetty & Anr.]

    The Madras High Court has reiterated the principle that a reinstatement order won't be valid if the employee is not reinstated back to his original place of employment.

    "Reinstating the workman by transferring him to some other place, other than his original place of employment, is an illegal action," said Justice M.S. Ramesh.

    18. Air India Disinvestment: Madras High Court Grants Interim Relief To Employees' Union For Retention Of Accommodation, Medical Facilities [Air India Corporation Employees Union v. Union of India & Ors.]

    An employee's Union has moved the Court seeking to restrain the Central Government from proceeding further with the process of disinvestment of Air India, until steps are taken to protect the rights of the national carrier's staff.

    Justice V Parthiban granted interim relief and restrained the Civil Aviation Ministry from evicting the members of the Petitioner Union from their current accommodation provided by Air India.

    Politics & Elections

    1. Madras High Court Dismisses DMK's Plea Challenging Postal Ballots Provision In RP Act [Dravida Munnetara Kazhagam v. Union of India & Ors.]

    A Division Bench comprising of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy dismissed a writ petition filed by political party Dravida Munnetara Kazhagam (DMK) against Section 60(c) of the Representation of Peoples Act which permits issue of postal ballot to electors above the age of 80 years, electors with physical disability, electors in quarantine due to COVID-19 and electors rendering essential services.

    It held, "all that the Election Commission has done here is to be inclusive and allow certain classes of persons who would have been excluded from exercising their franchise the right to use the postal ballot and participate in the celebration of the festival of democracy" It added, "if the process is made inclusive without compromising on either the secrecy of the ballot or the fairness in the conduct of elections, it would be a greater cause to celebrate and compliment the conducting body"

    2. Documents Relating To Elections Contain Paper Trail To Voting In EVMs; Can't Be Given To Any Person In Absence Of Election Petition [B. Ramkumar Adityan v. Chief Election Commissioner]

    A division bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy refused to issue directions to the Election Commission for uploading on its website, the documents relating to State Assembly elections of 2021.

    The Court observed that Election Commission may be in possession of diverse documents, including the paper trail relating to voting in the electronic voting machines. However, these documents are not required to be uploaded or even made available to any person, unless there is a challenge to the election in accordance with the procedure established therefor.

    3. Tamil Nadu Should Be Compensated With Rs 5,600 Crores For Reduction Of Parliamentary Seats Owing To Successful Population Control: Madras High Court [M. Chandramohan v. The Secretary & Ors.]

    The Court has termed as "unfair and unreasonable" the reduction in the parliamentary seats assigned to Tamil Nadu in the Lok Sabha after the State had managed to reduce its population in 1967 owing to the implementation of successful birth control measures.

    It remarked that such a practice amounted to punishing States which implemented family planning measures successfully.

    The Court made the observations while rejecting a plea to de-reserve Tenkasi parliamentary constituency which is presently reserved only for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates. Tenkasi is stated to have the highest SC population (21.5%), the Court noted.

    4. No-Fault With Decision To Retain Only Mahatma Gandhi's Image On Currency Notes : Madras HC Dismisses Plea To Print Notes With Netaji's Image [K.K. Ramesh v. Union of India and Ors.]

    Finding no fault in Central Government and RBI's decision to retain only the image of Mahatma Gandhi and of no other personality in the currency notes, the Court dismissed a plea challenging Centre's rejection of a representation for printing the image of Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose on currency notes

    The Division Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice M. Duraiswamy observed thus, "This Court is not underestimating the fight and the sacrifice made by Nethaji Subash Chandra Bose and other great leaders for freedom moment of this Country. There are many known heroes and unsung heroes. If everybody starts making such a claim there will not be an end."


    1. 'Many Things Claimed To Be Discovered & Equated With Scientific Objective Were Said Here Centuries Ago In Spiritual Sphere': Madras HC Stresses Need To Conserve Cultural Heritage [Suo Moto v. Archaeological Survey of India & Ors.]

    While issuing a set of directions for the preservation of ancient temples and monuments in Tamil Nadu, a division bench comprising Justices R Mahadevan and PD Audikesavalu waxed eloquent about the richness of the cultural heritage of Tamil Nadu and the need to pass it on to the future generation with all its grandeur preserved. "The younger generation hyping upon science and technological development needs to understand that many things claimed to be discovered and equated with scientific objective were said and laid down here before centuries in spiritual sphere", it observed in the prelude of the 224-page order.

    "The intelligence, knowledge and skill of the people of this land have been far superior and precocious even in fields that science is yet to find answer.In proof, not only have the primogenitors of this land left behind theories beyond human comprehension, but also astonishing and illuminating monuments and scriptures. The object of such creation was not just a personal achievement, but a conscious effort to leave a historical imprint for future generations", the bench added.

    The Court directed that the Central Government shall implement the Ancient Monuments Act in letter and spirit, by declaring all religious structures more than 100 years old including temples, temples' tanks, mutts, temple chariots, jewels, art, artefacts, and sacred groves etc., including private denomination temples, as 'national monuments' with immediate effect.

    Also Read: 'Temple Lands Shall Always Remain With Temples; Public Purpose Theory Shall Not Be Invoked Over Temple Lands': Madras High Court

    2. "State Can't Monitor Any Religion's Place Of Worship": Plea In Madras HC Challenges 'TN Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Act'

    A plea has been moved before the Court challenging the vires of the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, 1959.

    The Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P. D. Audikesavalu admitted the plea and issued a notice to the State of Tamil Nadu, asking it to file a rejoinder in the matter.

    3. 'Choice Vests With Devotees': Madras High Court Dismisses Plea Seeking A Ban On Chanting Of Mantras In Tamil In Temples [Rangarajan Narasimhan v. The Principal Secretary and Anr]

    The Court rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions to be issued to the Tamil Nadu government to withdraw the 'Annai Tamil Archanai' scheme that allows devotees to opt for the chanting of hymns by priests in Tamil instead of in Sanskrit while performing pujas inside the temples.

    The petitioner contended that most of the temples have been set up according to the agama principles and it has been the age-old tradition for mantras to be chanted in the Sanskrit language. Thus, the very sanctity of the mantras is destroyed if not chanted in Sanskrit, it was argued.

    4. 'Crime Against Society At Large': Madras HC Directs State To Detain Temple Land Encroachers Under Goondas Act [NC Sridhar v. The Secretary to Government, Tourism, Culture, Religious Endowments Department]

    The Court directed the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department (HR&CE) to issue a public notification stipulating that all encroachers of temple properties across the State must voluntarily surrender the lands within which failing which criminal proceedings would be initiated against them.

    The Court also ordered the State authorities to constitute a special cell to retrieve the encroached temple properties.

    5. Deity In A Temple Is A 'Minor', Must Be Protected Against Illegal Encroachment: Madras High Court [K Senthilkumar v. The Principal Secretary to Government of Tamil Nadu, Tourism, Culture and Religious Department and Ors]

    The Court has recently reiterated that fraudulent or illegal encroachment of temple properties is a crime against society at large. The Court was adjudicating upon eviction proceedings against a man who had claimed to be the leaseholder of certain temple property belonging to the Arulmigu Agatheeswara Swamy Thirukkoil, Chennai.

    Justice SM Subramaniam observed, "Fraudulent and illegal encroachments of temple properties is a crime against the society at large. Temple properties are allowed to be looted by few greedy men and by few professional criminals and land grabbers. These lapses, negligence, dereliction of duty on the part of such public officials are also to be viewed seriously and all appropriate actions in this regard are highly warranted."

    6. Ensure No Further Elephant Is Taken Into Custody Except For The Purpose Of Treatment': Madras High Court Directs State [Rangarajan Narasimhan v. The Chief Secretary and Ors]

    The Court reiterated that the State must ensure that no further elephant is taken into captivity except for the purpose of treatment of such elephants if found unable to support itself in the wild.

    A Bench comprising Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu issued the directions on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed by activist Rangarajan Narasimhan over the alleged inhumane treatment of captive elephants kept in temples across the State.

    7. 'Every Endeavour Should Be Made By HR & CE Department To Ensure That Land Belonging To Temples Are Preserved': Madras High Court [Eternal Word Trust v. State of Tamil Nadu]

    The Court took on record the affidavit filed by the Joint Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department in connection with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed against the encroachment of almost 400 acres of land belonging to the Bhaktavatsala Perumal temple at Tirukannamangai in Tiruvarur district.

    On the previous date of hearing, a Bench comprising Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and PD Audikesavalu had expressed strong reservations against the 'cavalier manner' in which the counter affidavit by the Joint Commissioner had been filed.

    Also Read: Madras High Court Seeks State's Response In Plea Challenging Recruitment Of Only Hindus In HR&CE Educational Institutions

    8. Don't Melt Temple Jewellery Unless Trustees Appointed: Madras High Court Tells State On Gold Monetisation Scheme [Indic Collective Trust and Anr v. State of Tamil Nadu and Anr]

    The Madras High Court on Thursday ordered the Tamil Nadu government to refrain from taking any decision on melting temple jewellery into gold bars, as part of the recently announced Gold Monetisation Scheme, until Trustees are appointed to Hindu temples in the State.

    A Bench of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu was adjudicating upon a batch of public interest litigation (PIL) petitions moved by the Indic Collective Trust through its President, TR Ramesh.

    9. 'Not Secular Money': Madras High Court Restrains HR&CE Dept From Establishing New Colleges [T. R. Ramesh v. The State Of Tamil Nadu And 2 Others]

    The Madras High Court has put an interim stay on setting up of new educational institutions by the Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department, using surplus Temple funds, other than the four colleges that are already set up. A bench comprising of Former Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D Audikesavalu noted that even though imparting education must be appreciated, the money belonging to a religious denomination cannot be treated as "secular money" that can be applied for a secular purpose. For the time being, the bench has asked the State to ensure introduction of a subject on Hindu religion, in accordance with Section 66 of Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious & Charitable Endowments Act, 1959, on a regular basis, within one month, in the colleges already established.

    10. 'High Court Custodian Of Minor Deity, Can't Be Mute Spectator': Madras HC Raps HR&CE Department For Inaction Against Illegal Temple Occupant[K.A. Sreedharan v. The Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments]

    The Court recently censured the trustees of a temple and the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of state for purported corrupt practices while dealing with temple properties.

    "This Court is witnessing day in and day out that the said illegal occupants are many and numerous. In respect of Temple properties and in many such cases, the Lessees are in possession without any authority and actions taken by the Authorities are absolutely not satisfactory. Thus, the Courts are bound to draw factual inference that some Authorities are colluding with such Private Parties on various reasons and on extraneous considerations,", Justice S.M Subramaniam observed.

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