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Supreme Court Weekly Roundup [Jan 11 – Jan 17]

Akshita Saxena
17 Jan 2021 1:51 PM GMT
Supreme Court Weekly Roundup [Jan 11 – Jan 17]

Top Stories: 1. "We Are Extremely Disappointed At The Way Govt. Handling The Farmers Protests And Farm Laws",Chief Justice Bobde [Rakesh Vaishnav & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.] The Chief Justice of India expressed that he was extremely disappointed at the way government is handling the matter. The Bench also observed that current negotiations between the two are not...

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Top Stories:

1. "We Are Extremely Disappointed At The Way Govt. Handling The Farmers Protests And Farm Laws",Chief Justice Bobde [Rakesh Vaishnav & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.]

The Chief Justice of India expressed that he was extremely disappointed at the way government is handling the matter. The Bench also observed that current negotiations between the two are not reaping any results and the matter needs to be resolved by a Committee.

"We understand from reports that the talks are breaking down because govt wants clause by clause discussion and farmers want to repeal the whole laws. So, we will stay the implementation till the committee makes discussion," the CJI said.

Also Read: 'You Made A Law Without Enough Consultation' : Supreme Court's Key Observations On Farm Laws, Farmers Protests

Also Read: Supreme Court Suspends Implementation Of Three farm Laws Until Further Orders

2. Farm Laws Implementation Stayed, Committee Formed For Talks, MSP To Continue- Read Summary Of Supreme Court Directions [Rakesh Vaishnav & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.]

A three-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court stayed the operation of Three Farm Laws until further Orders. As per the order:

(i) Implementation of three farm laws stayed; (ii)MSP system as it existed before the enactment of the laws must be continued; (iii)No farmer must be dispossessed or deprived of his title as a result of any action taken under the laws; (iv) Committee comprising Bhupinder Singh Mann, Pramod Kumar Joshi, Ashok Gulati, Anil Ghanwant constituted for the 'purpose of listening to the grievances of farmers relating to the farm laws and views of the government to make recommendations'; (v)The Committee shall be provided a place at Delhi and Govt to bear its expenses and give it secretarial assistance; (vi)The representatives of all the farmers' bodies, whether they are holding a protest or not and whether they support or oppose the laws SHALL participate in the deliberations of the Committee and put forth their view points'; (vii) The Committee should file the report within 2 months before the SupremeCourt. First sitting to be held within 10 days.

Also Read: Supreme Court Forms Committee To Negotiate On Farm Laws With Members Supporting Farm Laws Implementation

3. 'Khalistanis Have Infiltrated Farmers Protests', Says Attorney General; Supreme Court Seeks Affidavit [Rakesh Vaishnav & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.]

The CJI-led Bench hearing the cases against the Farm laws sought an affidavit from the Central Government on the alleged presence of banned organizations among the farmers protesting against the three farm laws, after the Attorney General submitted that "Khalistanis have infiltrated the protests".

In the affidavit filed the next day, the Central Government claimed that farmers are happy with the contentious farm laws which have sparked protests. The Affidavit goes on to state that the protest is limited to only one section of the country, and that the majority of the farmers "are not only happy with the legislations but are finding these legislations to be progressive and in their interest as substantially they are having one more option than the existing option".

Also Read: 'Farmers Happy With Laws; Wrong Perception Created By Non-Farmer Elements': Centre's Affidavit In SC On Farmers Protests

4. "Protect Citizens' Privacy Rights": Plea In Supreme Court Challenges WhatsApp's Updated Privacy Policy

A Writ Petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against the new and updated privacy of WhatsApp, a messaging application owned by Facebook.

The Petition filed by Confederation of All India Traders seeks issuance direction to Union Government to take all necessary steps / actions to safeguard and secure the privacy of citizens and national security by ensuring that mobile application providers such as whatsapp and other internet based messaging services do not compromise, share and/or exploit the information and data including messages, audio, video and other information of users in any manner whatsoever.

5. 'Virtual Hearing As Good As Open Court Hearing' : Supreme Court On Plea To Resume Physical Functioning

A Bench headed by CJI SA Bobde observed that Virtual hearings, though forced by the global pandemic, are "as good as Open Court Hearings". It clarified that the decision to convene Court proceedings via video conferencing is taken after extensive deliberations with medical experts.

"We have been following this (VC hearing) over one year due to medical reasons…We are reviewing the situation. The decisions are taken on the basis of medical experts," the CJI said while hearing a petition seeking resumption of physical hearings.

6. Justice UU Lalit Recuses From NLSIU Appeal Against Karnataka HC Order Quashing 25% Domicile Reservation

Justice UU Lalit of the Supreme Court recused himself from a matter pertaining to an appeal filed by the State of Karnataka against aKarnataka High Court order which struck down the 25 percent domicile reservation at the National Law School of India University. Justice Lalit informed the Counsels present that he had represented a member of the governing board previously and would not be able to hear the appeal. Accordingly, the Court directed for the appeal to be listed before another Bench.

7. Supreme Court Takes Suo Moto Action On 'Remediation Of Polluted Rivers'; To Start With Yamuna - Read Order [Delhi Jal Board v. State of Haryana & Ors.]

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian took suo moto cognizance on the issue of "remediation of polluted rivers". It observed that one of the major causes of water pollution was the discharge of non treated/ partially treated municipal waste and effluents of various States and cities. The Court however will start with adjudicating upon the issue of Yamuna River contamination.

The suo moto action came while the Supreme Court was hearing a petition filed by Delhi Jal Board on the requirement of urgent intervention of the Apex Court in form of directions on the Haryana Government for ceasing the discharge of untreated effluents resulting in a rise of ammonia levels in river water. According to the petitioner, the intervention is essential to avert the humanitarian crisis that the citizens of NCT of Delhi are facing.

Judgments This Week:

1. Munsiff Magistrate Selection- Vacancies Attributable To 2020 Cannot Be Filled Up From The List Drawn For Previous Selection Year: SC Sets Aside Kerala HC Judgment [High Court of Kerala v. Reshma A.]

A Division bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee set aside the judgment of the Kerala High Court which directed filling up of additional vacancies of Munsiff-Magistrate posts from the current rank list, over and above the notified vacancies.

"Vacancies for 2020 must be allocated to candidates who are duly selected in pursuance of the recruitment process for 2020. Candidates who have ranked lower in the 2019 selection and were unable to obtain appointments cannot appropriate the vacancies of a subsequent year to themselves," the Court observed. It further observed that, to allow the concept of probable number of vacancies in Rule 7(1) of Kerala Judicial Service Rules to trench upon future vacancies which will arise in a succeeding year would lead to a "serious constitutional infraction".

2. Incorporation Of One-sided And Unreasonable Clauses In Apartment Buyer's Agreement Constitutes An 'Unfair Trade Practice': Supreme Court [Ireo Grace Realtech Pvt. Ltd. v. Abhishek Khanna]

The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee held that the incorporation of one-sided and unreasonable clauses in the Apartment Buyer's Agreement constitutes an unfair trade practice under Section 2(1)(r) of the Consumer Protection Act. It also observed that the Developer cannot compel the apartment buyers to be bound by the one-sided contractual terms contained in the Apartment Buyer's Agreement.

The Court held thus while disposing an appeal filed by a Developer against an order passed by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission directing it to refund of the amounts deposited by the Apartment Buyers on account of the inordinate delay in completing the construction and obtaining the Occupation Certificate.

3. 'Entirely Illegal Construction': Supreme Court Directs Demolition Of A Hotel-cum-Restaurant Built In Forest Land In Himachal Pradesh [Himachal Pradesh Bus Stand Management and Development Authority (HPBSM&DA) v. Central Empowered Committee]

The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee dismissed an appeal filed by Himachal Pradesh Bus Stand Management and Development Authority and the NGT order directing demolition of a Hotel-cum-Restaurant in the Bus Stand Complex at McLeod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh. The bench discussed the concept of Environmental rule of law and also the role of courts in ensuring environmental protection. The court said that the environmental rule of law, at a certain level, is a facet of the concept of the rule of law.

In this case, NGT had found that the Bus Stand Complex seriously disturbs the ecology of the area in which it has been constructed and also violates the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act. It directed the authority to pay a compensation of Rs. 15 lacs in terms of Sections 15 and 17 of the NGT Act; and a compensation of Rs. 10 lacs. The State of Himachal Pradesh and its Department of Tourism was directed to pay a compensation of Rs. 5 lacs each. The Tribunal had also ordered an enquiry to be conducted against the officers of the Authority.

4. Primary Agricultural Credit Society Entitled To Deduction U/s 80P Income Tax Act Even If They Give Loans To Members For Non-Agricultural Activities: Supreme Court [Mavilayi Service Cooperative Bank Ltd. v. Commissioner Of Income Tax, Calicut & Anr.]

A bench comprising Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph held that Cooperative Societies registered as primary agricultural credit societies are entitled to deductions under section 80P(2)(a)(i) of the Income-Tax Act,even when they may also be giving loans to their members which are not related to agriculture. It thereby set aside a Full Bench judgment of the Kerala High Court which had held that such societies are not entitled to the deduction under Section 80P when loans are given to members for non-agricultural purposes.

"Once it is clear that the co-operative society in question is providing credit facilities to its members, the fact that it is providing credit facilities to non-members does not disentitle the society in question from availing of the deduction", the Court observed.

5. The Ground That Allegations Of Fraud Are Not Arbitrable Is A Wholly Archaic View, Deserves To Be Discarded: Supreme Court [N.N. Global Mercantile Pvt. Ltd v. Indo Unique Flame Ltd.]

The ground that allegations of fraud are not arbitrable is a wholly archaic view, which has become obsolete, and deserves to be discarded, a Bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee observed. It observed thus while holding that the allegations of fraud with respect to the invocation of the Bank Guarantee are arbitrable, since it arises out of disputes between parties inter se, and is not in the realm of public law.

If it is clear that a civil dispute involves questions of fraud, misrepresentation, etc. which can be the subject matter of a proceeding under Section 17 of the Indian Contract, 1872, and/or the tort of deceit, the mere fact that criminal proceedings can or have been instituted in respect of the same subject matter, would not lead to the conclusion that a dispute which is otherwise arbitrable, ceases to be so, the Court noted the legal position as held in many judgments including in the recent judgment in Vidya Drolia & Others v. Durga Trading Corporation.

6. 'Consensual Affair' Is Not A Defence Against A Charge Of Kidnapping A Minor: Supreme Court [Anversinh @ Kiransinh Fatesinh Zala v. State of Gujarat]

A bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, S. Abdul Nazeer and Surya Kant observed that the a 'consensual affair' is not a defence against the charge of kidnapping a minor

A minor girl's infatuation with her alleged kidnapper cannot by itself be allowed as a defence, for the same would amount to surreptitiously undermining the protective essence of the offence of kidnapping, the Court said while disposing an appeal filed by one Anversinh whose conviction under Sections 363 and 366 of the Indian Penal Code was upheld by the Gujarat High Court.

7. SC Directs Reopening Of Anganwadi Centres Outside CZ, Directs To Ensure Nutritional Support To Pregnant Women, Lactating Mothers And Children [Dipika Hagatram Sahant v. Union of India & Ors.]

A three-judge comprising of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice Subhash Reddy and Justice M.R. Shah directed the Union of India, States and Union Territories to reopen the anganwadi centres situated outside the containment zones, which were closed due to pandemic, to provide nutritional support to children, pregnant women and lactating mothers in accordance with the statutory requirements of National Food Security Act, 2013.

The court however directed that the decision of not opening the anganwadi centres can only be taken after proper consultation of with State Disaster Management Authority in any area situated outside the containment zones. The court clarified that no anganwadi centres situated inside the containment zones shall be opened. The Court also directed the respondents to create a complaint redressal mechanism in each district to ensure the compliance of the Act.

8. Writ Jurisdiction Cannot Be Utilised By A Litigant Only To Take Chance: Supreme Court [Vellanki Frame Works v. Commercial Tax Officer]

In our view, the extraordinary writ jurisdiction cannot be utilised by a litigant only to take chance and then to seek recourse to the other remedy after failing in its attempt on the basic merits of the case before the High Court", the Supreme Court remarked while dismissing an appeal filed against the judgment passed by High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the State of Telangana and the State of Andhra Pradesh.

The bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari observed that a litigation cannot be allowed to be unendingly kept alive at the choice of a litigant.

9. Builder's Demand For Extra Money On Account Of Alleged Increase In Sale Area Illegal: SC Affirms NCDRC Order By Dismissing Builder's Appeal

A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud confirmed as illegal the builders' demand of extra money beyond the contractual sale consideration on account of alleged excess sale area. It was hearing the builder's appeal against an August, 2020 decision of the NCDRC by which the builder, citing a contractual clause which permitted them to raise additional demand if sale area increases upto 10 %, the said demand was cancelled / quashed by the NCDRC and the demand on account of excess sale area was held to be illegal and the issue was ruled in favour of the homebuyer.

The builder had appealed in the Supreme Court on the issue of cancellation by the NCDRC of demand of money in the name of excess sale area and the said appeal was dismissed in limine on 12.1.2021 and thus, the NCDRC finding on excess area stands affirmed.

Important Updates:

1. Whether Reservation In Promotion Can Be Granted To Persons With Disability If Their Entry Point Was Different? Supreme Court To Examine [State Of Kerala v. Leesamma Joseph]

Can persons having physical disability be granted reservation in promotion if their entry point was not of a person with disability under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act?

The Supreme Court will consider the issue in a Special Leave Petition filed by the State of Kerala. It has appointed Advocate Gaurav Agrawal as Amicus Curiae to assist it in determination of the legal issue.

2. Extra Chance For UPSC Candidates Under 'Active Consideration', Centre Tells Supreme Court

A Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari adjourned a plea seeking an extra chance for civil service aspirants in giving the UPSC exams on account of the difficulties that may have arisen due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Court heard the submission of ASG SV Raju who sought for time as previously the Centre had stated that the issue was under "active consideration" of the Central Government and the Union Public Services Commission.

The Court informed the Counsels that under no circumstances should a situation arise when the last date of filling of forms goes. Accordingly, the Bench posted the case to January 22 to await the decision of the Centre and UPSC.

3. "Rules Contradicts Section": Supreme Court On Prevention Of Cruelty To Animal Rules 2017, Allows Impleadment Of Intervenors

"Selling does not mean animal has been subjected to cruelty. Selling helps livelihood. We are talking about a situation where animals are taken away," observed a Supreme Court Bench led by CJI SA Bobde while hearing a petition challenging the validity of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017, which allow authorities to seize vehicles used in cattle transportation and send the animals to gaushalas or cow shelters.

The CJI was making objection to a provision in the impugned Rules that permit authorities to take away animals, said to be subjected to cruelty, even before conviction in the matter. During a hearing, the Chief Justice had warned that the Court will stay the Rules if the Centre does not withdraw them. "Animals, not cats and dogs, are a source of livelihood. You cannot take this away, and it is also against Section 29 of the Act. Your Rules are contradictory. You either change it or stay it", CJI Bobde said.

4. Rtd Judge's Plea Andhra HC Inquiry Against Alleged Conspiracy To Destabilize Judiciary: SC Asks Petitioner To File Affidavit [Justice V. Eswaraiah (Retd) v. Union of India & Ors.]

A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan required Retired Andhra Pradesh High Court Judge, Justice V. Eswaraiah to file an affidavit admitting that he did enter into an alleged private phone conversation with a suspended District Munsif Magistrate of Andhra Pradesh, into which an inquiry has been ordered by the High Court.

After it was alleged that the phone call disclosed a "serious conspiracy" against the High Court Chief Justice and a senior sitting Judge of the Supreme Court, the AndhraPradesh High directed an investigation by retired Supreme Court judge Justice RV Raveendran into it, against which order Justice Eswaraiah has moved the top court.

5. Whether Non-Payment Of Stamp Duty On Commercial Contract Will Invalidate Arbitration Agreement? Supreme Court Refers Issue To Constitution Bench [NN Global Mercantile Pvt. Ltd v. Indo Unique Flame Ltd.]

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee observed that non-payment of stamp duty on the commercial contract will not invalidate the arbitration agreement. Disagreeing with two earlier judgments in this regard, the bench referred the following question to the Constitution Bench.

"Whether the statutory bar contained in Section 35 of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 applicable to instruments chargeable to Stamp Duty under Section 3 read with the Schedule to the Act, would also render the arbitration agreement contained in such an instrument, which is not chargeable to payment of stamp duty, as being non-existent, unenforceable, or invalid, pending payment of stamp duty on the substantive contract / instrument ?"

6. Three Lakhs Rupees Loan For Lawyers Affected By Lockdown - Supreme Court Directs SG To Convene Meeting With BCI And Other Stake Holders [In Re : Financial aid for members of bar affected by pandemic]

A Bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to convene a meeting to discuss the proposal of bar associations for centre to arrange financial aid of 3 lakhs to struggling lawyers with bar councils/ associations standing as guarantors. It also asked the Bar Councils and Bar Associations to consider raising funds from the public, for providing financial aid to junior lawyers, who were adversely affected by the Pandemic induced lockdown.

"There are people with people. We will also ask the govt. But the primary responsibility is of the bar. Govt is having the secondary responsibility. You channelize possible funds," the CJI said while considering the suo moto PIL registered by it for considering the feasibility of providing financial aid to members of the Bar.

7. Sandalwood Drug Case- Supreme Court Adjourns Kannada Actor Ragini Dwivedi's Plea For Bail

A Bench headed by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman adjourned to next week a SLP filed by Kannada actor Ragini Dwivedi, who had been arrested by the police for allegedly consuming and supplying drugs at parties and events organized by her and others, against a Karnataka High Court wherein her bail plea was dismissed.

The Court heard the arguments put forth by Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing on behalf of Dwivedi, and proceeded to adjourn the matter at the request of Counsel appearing for the State. The matter will now be taken up on 19th January, 2021.

8. Supreme Court Refuses To Entertain Jharkhand Speaker's Plea Against HC Stay On Disqualification Notice To Babulal Marandi [Speaker, Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha v. Babulal Marandi & Anr.]

A bench headed by the Chief Justice SA Bobde refused to entertain a special leave petition filed by the Speaker of Jharkhand assembly challenging the the stay ordered by the Jharkhand High Court on the disqualification notice served on Babulal Marandi MLA. The bench was not inclined to entertain the plea as the High Court is set to hear the writ petition filed by Marandi tomorrow.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Speaker, submitted that a writ petition challenging a notice issued by the Speaker to initiate proceedings under the tenth schedule of the Constitution for defection by a legislator is not maintainable. The CJI told Sibal that the point can be raised before the High Court. While disposing of the SLP, the bench requested the High Court to dispose of the matter 'peremptorily'.

9. "Facing Persecution For Speaking Truth":Supreme Court Issues Notice On Shillong Time's Editor Patricia Mukhim's Plea To Quash FIR

A Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Indu Malhotra and Vineet Saran issued notice on a SLP filed by Patricia Mukhim, Editor of Shillong Times, against the judgement of Meghalaya High Court which had refused to quash criminal proceedings under Sections 153A, 500 and 505(c) of IPC against her.

The plea submits that the Meghalaya High Court had passed an erroneous order wherein it had ignored settled precedent and declined to exercise powers vested in in under Section 482 Cr.PC. Further, by dismissing the challenge made by the Petitioner to an FIR against her by the private Respondent, the High Court was allegedly allowed "victimization, persecution, abuse of process of law and also stifling of the fundamental rights of the Petitioner under Articles 19(1)(a) and 21 of the Constitution of India".

10. Whether Service Tax Payable By Parking Facility Operators In Malls- Supreme Court To Examine [Metropolitan Event Management v. Commissioner Of Central Excise Delhi]

A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari,after hearing the submissions issued notice to the Revenue authorities and stayed a judgment of the CESTAT, which had confirmed levy of Service Tax under the head "service of management, maintenance or repair of immovable properties" on operation of parking facility provided by entities to Shopping Malls.

The appellant Metropolitan Event Management (earlier known as MGF Event Management) challenged the Tribunal's order primarily on the ground that while providing parking services to visitors is exempt, the Revenue is indirectly trying to tax an exempt service by bringing it under a head which is not applicable at all.

11. Whether Motor Accident Compensation Under Head "Love And Affection" Can Be Granted? Supreme Court To Examine [New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Kusum & Ors.]

A bench comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Ajay Rastogi issued notice in a batch of special leave petitions which raised the issue whether Motor Accident Compensation under head "Love and Affection" can be granted?

It noted that the Constitution Bench decision in National Insurance Company Ltd v. Pranay Sethi and Ors., 2017 (16) SCC 680, does not provide for such a head. It was further noticed that the issue is seen covered in United India Insurance Co. Ltd. vs. Satinder Kaur @ Satwinder Kaur & Ors. followed in New India Assurance Company Limited versus Somwati 2020 (9) SCC 644, wherein it has been held that compensation can be awarded only for loss of consortium, and not for loss of Love and Affection.

In Somwati, it was observed that 'loss of love and affection' is comprehended in 'loss of consortium', hence, there is no justification to award compensation towards 'loss of love and affection' as a separate head.

12. Is Appointment Of Arbitrator By Ineligible Person Valid?Supreme Court Refers Issue To Larger Bench [Union of India v. M/S Tantia Construction Ltd.]

A bench comprising Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph referred to larger bench the issue whether the appointment of an arbitrator by a person, who is disqualified to be an arbitrator as per Section 12(5) of the Arbitration Act, is valid. It doubted the correctness of the decision in Central Organisation for Railway Electrification vs. M/s ECI-SPIC-SMO-MCML (JV) A Joint Venture Company and referred the issue to larger bench.

In the decision delivered on December 17, 2019 in Central Organization of Railway Electrification, a division bench comprising Justices R Banumathi and AS Bopanna had held that such appointments by an authority who is disqualified from being an arbitrator can be valid depending on the facts.

Fresh Pleas

1. "Right To Protest Does Not Include Maligning Nation Globally"; Delhi Police Moves SC For Ban On Tractor March Planned On Republic Day [Rakesh Vaishnav v. Union of India & Ors.]

The Delhi Police moved an Application before the Supreme Court seeking for an injunction against the proposed tractor/trolley/vehicle march seeking to disrupt the Republic Day celebrations. The Application states that it has come to the knowledge of security agencies that "a small group of protesting individuals/organisations have planned to carry out a tractor/trolley/vehicle march on Republic Day" and that the march is "slated to disturb and disrupt" the parade as well as create a law and order situation, thereby causing embarrassment to the nation.

Highlighting that right to protest is subject to the countervailing public order and public interest, the Application submits that the right cannot include "maligning the nation globally". Noting that the Supreme Court is seized of the issues pertaining to the constitutionality of the Farm Acts and the Farmers' protests, the Application seeks for the Top Court to pass an injunction restraining such protest march scheduled on Republic Day.

Also Read: Supreme Court Issues Notice On Delhi Police Plea To Stop Farmers' Tractor Rally On Republic Day

2. New BCI Rules Abolishing 1 Year LL.M Courses In India Challenged In Before The Supreme Court

A petition has been filed before the Supreme Court challenging the recent notification of the Bar Council of India to abolish one year LLM courses in India. the plea challenges the new Bar Council of India Legal Education (Post Graduate, Doctoral, Executive, Vocational, Clinical and other Continuing Education) Rules, 2020 as being in violation of the fundamental right to education.

The petition also states that the said Rules are in violation of the provisions of Advocates Act, 1961. According to the petitioner, the amendments made by the Rules are in violation of the right of Advocates to practice profession under the Constitution of India and that there is no reasonable justification on the part of BCI to abolish the 1 year LLM course. Another argument raised in the petition is regarding the absence of power with the BCI in regulating the rules of higher legal education in India as the same rests within the jurisdiction of UGC, University Grants Commission.

3. 'Decriminalizing Adultery May Cause Instability In Armed Forces As Personnel Stay Away From Family' : Centre Seeks Clarification Of Joseph Shine Judgment [Joseph Shine v. Union of India]

The Central Government filed an application for clarification of Supreme Court's 2018 judgment decriminalising adultery under IPC should not apply to the Armed Forces where a personnel can be cashiered from service on grounds of "unbecoming conduct" for committing adultery with a colleague's wife. In the application, the Centre said that decriminalizing adultery may cause 'instability' within armed forces as defence personnel are expected to stay separated from their families for long durations.

Issuing notice, the bench headed by Justice Rohinton Nariman observed that since clarification is sought of a constitution bench judgment, it is appropriate that the matter be placed before the CJI who may issue orders to post it before a five-judge bench.

4. Lawyers Move Supreme Court Against Resumption Of Physical Hearing In Delhi Courts, Seeks For Hybrid System

Four advocates have moved the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court's decision to resume large-scale physical hearing before itself and subordinate courts in Delhi with effect from January 18, without giving a choice to lawyers to appear through virtual mode.

The Petitioners have challenged the order of the Registrar General of the Delhi High Court which has instructed the Principal District & Sessions Judges and the Principal Judge, Family Court to start physical hearings on alternate days basis from January 18.

"The High Court of Delhi has miserably failed to take into consideration the well-being, life, liberty and health of the lawyers, clerks, court staff, support staff, the judges, and litigants by compelling them to attend the court hearings in person and thereby has wilfully infringed the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 & 21 of the Constitution of India," the plea states.

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