Today’s Legal Updates:

Friday, 10th December 2021

  1. Today  ten day of the 2021 Winter Session of Parliament saw responses from the Central government on topics ranging from judge-to-population ration, sedition laws and more.
    • Amendment to POSH Act
      • Q. A question was tabled before the Lok Sabha by two Members of Parliament (MPs) on whether there is an amendment proposed to include educational institutions within the ambit of “workplace“ of the POSH Act by the National Commission for Women (NCW).
      • A. Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani responded that the POSH Act was enacted to extend protection to women regardless of their work status and that the definition of “workplace” in the Act extends to educational institutions as well.
    • Ratio of judges per million population
      • Q. Several questions were raised by three MPs on the ratio of judges per million population and the steps proposed to be taken by the government to increase the number of judges and the funds required for the same. Another ancillary question regarding problems faced by fast track courts in speedy disposal of cases was also put forth.
      • A. Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, responding i). “The judge to population ratio (Judge / per million population) with respect to sanctioned strength of judges is 21.03 as on October 31, 2021.” ii). “As per data provided by the High Courts up to October, 2021, total 914 Fast Track Courts are functional in 23 States/UTs. The Department of Justice is implementing a scheme for setting up of 1023 Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) including 389 Exclusive POCSO Courts for expeditious trial and disposal of cases related to rape and POCSO Act. This Centrally Sponsored Scheme started in October, 2019 for 1 year period. It has now been extended for further two years up to 31.03.2023 at a total cost of Rs. 1572.86 crore with Central share of Rs.971.70 crore. As per information provided by the High Courts for the month of October 2021, a total of 681 FTSCs including 381 exclusive POCSO courts are functional in 27 States/UTs across the country.”
    • Interception of messages under Indian Telegraph Act
      • Q.  a question tabled in the Upper House by Trinamool Congress MP Jawahar Sircar on whether reasons are recorded in writing or orders taken from authorities prior to interception of any message under Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act.
      • A. Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan mentioned “The orders for interception under Section 5 (2) of the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 are issued with the approval of the competent authority as per sub-rule (1) of Rule 419A of Indian Telegraph (1st Amendment of 2014) Rules, 2014. As per sub-rule (2) of these Rules, these orders contain the reasons for such direction.”
    • Sedition laws
      • Answering a question on whether Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (Sedition) will be scrapped, Law Minister Rijiju categorically stated that no such proposal is under the Central government’s consideration.
  2. Today the Bombay High Court is set to decide the validity of at least eight circulars/ office memoranda issued by the Central government which enables issuance of Lookout Circulars (LOC) against Indian citizens and foreigners.  (Rihen Harshad Mehta v. Union of India)
  3. Today the Bombay High Court directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) not to take any coercive action against properties of former Home Minister Anil Deshmukh based on the final order of the adjudicating authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) till January 10, 2022.
  4. Today Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju in Parliament revealed the sharp divergence in views among state governments and High Courts in implementing the All India Judicial Services (AIJS).
  5. Today A Kerala court has stayed the release of Prithviraj-starrer Malayalam movie “Kaduva” based on a suit filed by one Jose Kuruvinakkunnel (plaintiff) alleging that the movie based on his life, has portrayed him wrongfully as a villain and goonda.  (Jose Kuruvinakkunnel @ Kuruvinakkunnel Kuruvachan v. Jinu Varghese Abraham)
  6. Today the Patna High Court started live-streaming proceedings from a Division Bench of the Court, With the increased call for transparency in the justice delivery system.
    • The Patna High Court started live-streaming :-
  7. Today Aryan Khan prime accused in the cruise ship drug case has approached the Bombay High Court seeking relaxation of the bail condition directing him to appear before Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Mumbai office every Friday.
  8. Today the Delhi High Court allowed Abdul Subhan Qureshi, a suspect in the Gujarat serial blasts of 2008 which killed 56 people and several other bombings across the country, to talk to his parents through video-conference twice a week for 30 minutes.  (Abdul Subhan Qureshi v State of Delhi)
  9. Today On the occasion of Human Rights Day, Justice (retd) Arun Mishra said that while the freedom of speech is a fundamental right to be protected, it cannot be an unruly horse that violates sovereignty and integrity of the country, public order, decency or morality.
  10. Today the Kerala High Court observed that the practice of headload work should have been abolished a long time ago. (TP Hardware Centre v The Superintendent of Police & Ors.)
  11. Today A Delhi Court expressed its displeasure over the non-appearance of Special Public Prosecutors (SPPs) in the Delhi Riots cases. (State v. Salman, etc)
  12. Yesterday the Supreme Court said that while appreciating the stance of the West Bengal government in withdrawing cases against editor and reporters of online web portal OpIndia, State force should not be used to browbeat a political opinion or make journalists suffer the consequences of what is already in public domain.  (Nupur Sharma vs State of West Bengal)
  13. Today in the Lok Sabha Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju was informed there is no proposal under the Central government’s consideration to scrap Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with Sedition.
  14. The proceedings before Kerala High Court judge Justice Devan Ramachandran today witnessed an interesting exchange between the judge and a young lawyer, with the judge assuring the lawyer that she may address him as ‘Sir‘, instead of the usual honorifics ‘My Lord‘ and ‘Your Lordship‘ used during court proceedings in High Courts and the Supreme Court.
  15. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Maharasthra minister Nawab Malik has tendered an unconditional apology to the Bombay High Court for making statements in violation of his oral undertaking before the Court in the case related to NCB Zonal Director, Sameer Wankhede and his father Dhyandev Wankhede.
  16. Yesterday the Delhi High Court called for the complete disclosure of items used in the manufacturing of food products, specifically whether they are plant-based, animal-based or chemical-based.  (Ram Gaua Raksha Dal v UOI and Ors)
  17. Today Abdul Kadar Shaikh, an alleged drug supplier arrested in the cruise ship drug case, has moved a Mumbai court seeking bail in the case in which Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan, is the prime accused.
  18. On Monday the Madras High Court stated that no one can be allowed to arm twist a State-run council after the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) withdrew an LGBTQIA+ sensitisation action plan from its website due to external pressure.
  19. Today BJP leader and member of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Ashish Shelar has approached the Bombay High Court seeking quashing of a first information report (FIR) registered against him by the Mumbai Police based on a complaint by city Mayor and Shiv Sena leder Kishori Pednekar.
  20. Today Attorney General for India KK Venugopal recalled how late Senior Advocate and former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee offered free service to families affected by the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
  21. Today the Supreme Court suspended the sentence of a man convicted under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act) after noting that his appeal was not likely to be heard early.  (Mossa Koya KP v. State)
  22. Today Advocate VR Kamalanathan has been elected president of the Madras Bar Association securing 428 of the 626 votes polled.
  23. Today A special bench of the Supreme Court will continue hearing the petition by 17-year-old Delhi student Aditya Dubey concerning rising levels of air pollution in Delhi.
  24. Today the Allahabad High Court quashed the First Information Report (FIR) registered against Farhan Akhar and Ritesh Sidhwani, producers of web series Mirzapur, in a case registered against them for allegedly hurting religious, social and regional sentiments through their portrayal of the town of Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh in the web series.  (Ritesh Sidhwani And Another v. State of UP)
  25. Today Sameer Wankhede, the Zonal Director of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), and his wife Kranti Redkar (plaintiffs) have moved a Mumbai court seeking permanent injunction against social media companies from putting up false and malicious news/ statements against them.
  26. Today the Supreme Court has held that ex-parte enhancement of sentence without granting reasonable opportunity to the accused is unsustainable in the eyes of the law.  (Krishnan and Another v. State by the Deputy Superintendent of Police and Another)
  27. Today three Crowns in collaboration with the Mumbai Centre for International Arbitration (MCIA) is hosting the inaugural India Climate Change and Environmental Disputes.
  28. Today the Supreme Court has held that an insurer is clearly under a duty to inform policy holders about changes in terms of policy during renewal, and failure to do so would amount to deficiency in service under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986.  (Jacob Punnen vs United India Insurance)
  29. Yesterday the Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana reminded young lawyers that they cannot be strangers to socio-economic and political realities of the country, and urged them to choose a life of service for the future of the nation, over a life of convenience.
  30. Today the Delhi High Court has observed that before pronouncing a person a ‘proclaimed offender’, the concerned court is required to record reasons as to how the person against whom a warrant was issued has absconded or concealed himself such that the it could not be executed.  (Mohd. Haris Usmani v The State)

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