Today’s Legal Updates

Saturday & Sunday, 12th & 13th November 2022





Article – 173   Qualification for membership of the State Legislature.

  1. A person shall not be qualified to be chosen to fill a seat in the Legislature of a State unless he—
    • is a citizen of India, and makes and subscribes before some person authorised in that behalf by the Election Commission an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule;
    • is, in the case of a seat in the Legislative Assembly, not less than twenty-five years of age and, in the case of a seat in the Legislative Council, not less than thirty years of age; and
    • possesses such other qualifications as may be prescribed in that behalf by or under any law made by Parliament.

Today’s Legal Updates:

  1. The Rouse Avenue Courts, Delhi observed Freedom of speech protects actions that the society may find very offensive and society’s outrage alone is not a justification for suppressing free speechwhile dismissing a complaint against Kerala Member MLA KT Jaleel for his allegedly controversial remarks on Kashmir.  (GS Mani v Commissioner of Police Delhi & Ors)
    • the judge said, the statement by itself ought to be condemned in strictest words. Albeit, this court is not here to teach history or nationalism or to correct misplaced beliefs or facts.
    • the judge said, The court is mindful of the fact that the alleged statements of the accused are unpopular, outrageous and are rather offensive views of the author however, it must be kept in mind that the freedom of speech protects actions that the society may find very offensive. The society’s outrage alone is not justification for suppressing free speech.
    • the Court said, Both Hindus and Muslims and all citizens of all religions, idolize the idea of the Kashmir being an inalienable part of the territory of India and the idea of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir being called “Azad Kashmir” will equally anguish and disgust both the communities or rather every Indian of every community.
    • This court places on record its anguish over both, the statement of the accused and even the averments of the applicant in his complaint, which suggests that there can be a law-and-order situation and enmity between two religious communities namely Hindus and Muslims merely on a loose and incorrect statement of an irresponsible politician.
    • the court concluded, Thus, to sum up, in the light of the aforesaid discussion, it can be concluded that the aforesaid sections of IPC, as alleged by the applicant, are not made out, cognizance is thus declined. The application and the complaint are accordingly disposed of as dismissed.
  2. Solicitor General for India (SG) Tushar Mehta said at the United Nations that the activities of human rights defenders in India should be in conformity with the law of the land. Mehta is heading the Indian delegation at the United National Human Rights Council in its 41st Session of Universal Periodic Review (UPR), which is underway at Geneva.
    • He said during his speech, Civil society organisations can operate in India, but only as per law.
    • he said, India has always condemned instances of harassment, insults, smear campaigns and violent attacks against human rights defenders, activists, journalists and their family members.
    • the Solicitor General said, After the constitutional changes and reorganization of the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir, the people of the region and now able to realize the full potential as other parts of the country. The changes have ensured better opportunities for all the people of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. Central laws include affirmative action for the vulnerable sections, the right to free and compulsory education, non-discriminatory inheritance laws, protections against domestic violence, empowerment of women, decriminalisation of same sex relations and grant of rights to transgender persons,
    • India is a multilingual, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society and we not only respect but celebrate our diversity.
    • Various states in India have also enacted the Freedom of Religion Act to ensure freedom of religion guaranteed under the Constitution. Such legislations impose restrictions on and prohibit conversions from one religion to another by the use of force, inducement, allurement or fraudulent means. Thus, referring to such legislation as anti-conversion laws would be a misnomer. The Supreme Court has also upheld the constitutional validity of States’ Freedom of Religion Acts.
  3. On Friday retired Supreme Court judge Justice Rohinton Nariman to the audience at the 13th VM Tarkunde Memorial Lecture would be speaking at the prestigious Parliament of the World’s Religions in 2023 at Chicago, the same forum and city which catapulted Swami Vivekananda and Hindu religion to international fame.
    • Ramachandran, who is the Vice President of VM Tarkunde Memorial Foundation, said A walker in the wild, a great lawyer and a great judge and like Tarkunde, his best is yet to be after his retirement. Next year, in August, a day after his birthday, Justice Nariman will be speaking at the same forum Parliament of Religions and the same city i.e Chicago (where Swami Vivekananda spoke) as a representative of the Zorastrian faith.
    • Venugopal had said, Justice Nariman is a priest who was ordained at the age of 12 and recites the Holy Book by heart. He is himself an authority on religion all across the world.
  4. On Friday Retired Supreme Court Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman said that hate speech disrupts harmony and brotherhood and needs to be addressed legally.
    • he said, We know that criminal law is sometimes put in motion selectively. I am going to suggest a remedy. Civil courts should take up a suit filed by any citizen against hate speech.
    • Justice Nariman said, The moment a citizen petitions against hate speech, the court can issue a declaration and an injunction because of the fundamental duties and it can also award punitive damages.
    • Justice Nariman underscored, So, if courts were actually now to take cognisance of civil suits in which these three things (declaration, injunction and punitive damages) are done, it would go a long way in protecting and preserving fraternity.
    • he said, Fraternity is the only constitutional method of assuring the dignity of every individual citizen of this country and of assuring integrity and unity of this nation.
    • We have a great fundamental duty in respecting our composite culture. This is extremely important According to me, fraternity is very important for this nation particularly at this time…..Hate speech disrupts harmony and brotherhood.
    • he maintained, But I think that a civil step given this fundamental duty is what is also needed.
  5. On Thursday the Supreme Court imposed costs of ₹25,000 on the Central government for not filing a reply to a plea seeking guidelines for the police on seizure and preservation of personal digital devices.  (Ram Ramaswamy and ors v. Union of India)
    • The petition was filed by a group of five academicians and researchers – former JNU professor and researcher Ram Ramaswamy; Professor at Savitribai Phule Pune University, Sujata Patel; Professor of Cultural Studies at the English and Foreign Languages University, Madhava Prasad; Professor of Modern Indian History at Jamia Millia Islamia, Mukul Kesavan, and theoretical ecological economist, Deepak Malghan.
    • the petitioners’ argument that there is no procedure or guideline stipulated in any law or even in most police manuals to deal with recovery of electronic/digital material, which is distinct from the recovery of other kinds of material.
    • They also adverted to Article 15(1)(c) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights ratified by India, contending that the same binds State parties to protect the moral and material interest in any scientific, literary or artistic work.
    • The Supreme Court had in August asked the Central government to file a fresh reply to their plea, after finding that its counter-affidavit was incomplete and not satisfactory.
    • The Court had also remarked that many a time, such devices carry personal content or work which need to be protected, since the livelihood of people in academia depended on it.
  6. On Friday a petitioner-advocate and his Advocate-on-Record (AoR) invited the ire of the Supreme Court, which issued a contempt notice against them for their derogatory remarks against the Karnataka High Court.  (Mohan Chandra P v. State of Karnataka and ors)
    • the order stated, The Constitution Bench of this Court in the case of M.Y. Shareef and Another v. The Hon’ble Judges of the High Court of Nagpur and Ors. (1955) 1 S.C.R. 757, has held that even a lawyer who subscribes his signatures to such derogatory and contemptuous averments is guilty for committing contempt of the Court.
    • the reason assigned by the Division Bench of High Court of Karnataka for extraneous reason and to harass the respondents is unwarranted one and without any basis or foundation.
    • as a revenge imposed exemplary cost of Rs.5 lakh to the petitioner.
    • Only to show favouritism towards the respondents and to harass the Petitioner and only to gain publicity, the Division Bench of High Court of Karnataka has imposed exemplary cost for ulterior purpose.
    • The Bench stated in its order, The aforesaid observations are not only derogatory to the Karnataka High Court but highly contemptuous in nature.
  7. On Thursday the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Uttarakhand government not to grant recognition to new colleges offering Bachelor’s of Education (B.Ed) courses on the ground that it would lead to large-scale unemployment in the State.  (State of Uttarakhand v. Nalanda College of Education)
    • the Bench held, The High Court has committed a serious error in holding that the decision not to recommend for the new B.Ed. colleges can be said to be arbitrary. It should be noted that under the provisions of the National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE) Regulations, the State is well within its right to make suitable recommendations.
    • the judgment stated, Therefore, the State was well within its right to recommend and/or opine that it is not in favour of granting further recognition to the new B.Ed colleges, as against the need of annually 2,500 teachers approximately 13,000 students would be passing out every year, therefore, for the remaining students, there will be unemployment.
    • The decision (of the State) cannot be said to be arbitrary as observed and held by the High Court. The need of the new colleges looking to the requirement can be said to be a relevant consideration and a decision not to recommend further recognition to the new B.Ed. colleges on the need basis cannot be said to be arbitrary. Under the circumstances, the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court is unsustainable.
  8. The Delhi High Court observed that a police personnel is considered to be the custodian of law whose duty is to ensure that law of the land is followed by people and, therefore, if such a person himself breaks the law, he has to be dealt with iron hands.  (Suresh Kumar v CP & Ors)
    • A Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad made the observations while rejecting a former Delhi Police Head Constable’s plea against his dismissal from service. 
    • the Court said, this Court is dealing with Police personnel who is supposed to be the custodian of law and whose duty is to ensure that people are following the law of the land. If such a person himself breaks the law, he has to be dealt with iron hands, and, therefore, in the considered opinion of this Court no other punishment except dismissal could have been inflicted upon him in the facts and circumstances of the case. Therefore, this Court does not find any reason to interfere with the order passed by the Central Administrative Tribunal CAT.
    • the bench said, It is an open and shut case, wherein, a Head Constable was found with 75 Dirhams. He was posted on a very sensitive duty, to check the passports of passengers. Possession of foreign currency in his pocket at the time of a surprise check read with statements of other witnesses clearly establishes the misconduct committed by him.
  9. The Delhi High Court granted interim bail for a period of 10 days to an accused person, to enable him to make arrangements towards the payment of his daughter’s admission fees for an LLB course.  (Nihal Ahmed vs. State)
    • the Court directed, Keeping in view the fact that the petitioner has to make arrangements for making payment of admission fees of his daughter and that the family should not suffer for his acts, I am inclined to grant him interim bail for a period of ten days from the date of his release, on execution of personal bond of ₹25,000 with one surety of the like amount to the satisfaction of the concerned court.
    • directed that the accused be released on interim bail for ten days subject to the following conditions.
      • The petitioner shall share his mobile number with the investigating officer within one day of his release and keep the mobile location app on at all times;
      • He shall not try to contact, coerce or threaten the witnesses in the present case; 
      • He shall appear before the Court when his case is listed during this period; 
      • He shall surrender on the expiry of the period.
    • A copy of the order be sent to learned Trial Court as well as Jail Superintendent for information and compliance.
    • The petitioner who is accused of offences under Sections 25 (Punishment for offenses under the Arms Act), 27 (Punishment for using arms),54 (Renewal of Arm’s License), and 59 of the Arms Act, moved the Court for bail pointing out that he has been in judicial custody for the past nine months.
  10. On Sunday Supreme Court judge Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul emphasised the importance of philanthropy in legal education, stating that endowments and scholarships for students will go a long way in encouraging young students.
    • Justice Kaul said, The Singhvi Endowment represents the best of Dr. Abhishek M Singhvi’s views and his contribution to society. This generous and visionary act of philanthropy is motivated by a spirit of equality. It will be extremely heartening for a young student to receive such an affirmation from a leading legal luminary of India. It will foster a spirit of rational enquiry into our public spaces. It will prove to be an invaluable forum for learning.
    • he said, Law courses are places where social hierarchies are interrogated. Do we need to increase access to legal education in the first place? Is a surfeit of lawyers a good thing? If we are to succeed in opening more pathways to the study of law, what would effective access actually entail? Can we harness the skills of such young lawyers into a broader national project? We are an extremely large, diverse country and an unequal country. There have been groups that have been subjugated for centuries and continue to be marginalised today. The study of law is deeply intertwined with our social context. To limit access to this hugely important space is to deny rights to a large section of the population. If our aim is to enhancing access to legal education, simply ensuring greater entry into the hallowed halls of elite institutions cannot be the end of the goal.
    • Dr Singhvi said, Today as we unveil the Singhvi endowment, it is an affirmation and a reiteration of the solemn duty that we owe to society. The vision of the endowment is to provide access to world-class education for young people who cannot afford it and to empower India’s leading universities to promote excellence. This initiative, inter alia, pays homage to the memory of Dr. L.M. Singhvi, the eminent diplomat, parliamentarian, jurist and author.  The endowment also recognises the contribution of leaders in the legal profession and other professions with a view to celebrate their achievements for perpetuity through annual conferences and memorial lecture series. This will also serve as a legacy for the future by inspiring generations of students to follow the path laid down by eminent persons.
    • The reaction of the legal community to the climate crisis is quite extraordinary, something that has never been seen! We are in a state of climate emergency. There is a limit to the time we have to deal with this before a collapse. We are now at the final stand. We barely have 30-40 years left before an existential crisis driven by climate change takes place.
    • he underscored, But what can the judicial community do? Strict judicial enforcement, resource deployment, regional awareness is important. The most important tool for civilization currently, I submit, is the rule of the law! People follow decisions made by a court. It helps in maintaining peace. Imagine the declaration of a climate emergency by a court! We have come together as a community to deal with the Covid 19 pandemic but the climate crisis is even more severe.
    • It is a momentous occasion today as we recognize the contribution of Dr Abhishek M. Singhvi for his generous endowment to JGU. His munificence will support higher education ambitions of our deserving students and it will also enhance the study, research and discourse of law and legal studies in our country through the annual lecture and conference series. It is important to note that growth and progression of higher education institutions are supported by such acts of philanthropy which enable us to reach our goals, aims and vision as the leading educational institution in India.
    • Professor (Dr.) Jayanth K. Krishnan, Milt & Judi Stewart Professor of Law, Indiana University, USA spoke about philanthropy in India and the US, JGU began as a commemoration of his father, renowned industrialist Shri O.P. Jindal by Mr Naveen Jindal. In the US there have been comparable commemorations. For example, Leland Stanford in the late 19th Century, after tragically losing his child Leland Jr., dedicated his life to building Stanford University and creating a legacy. Bill Gates gave a multi-million-dollar donation to Washington University as a means of honouring his father whom he credits for his own success. Today is an important milestone in the history of JGU at the unveiling of the Singhvi endowment which will greatly benefit students in developing a global perspective.
  11. Last Week the Supreme Court came down upon the States of Punjab and Haryana for failing to take any corrective measures to tackle the issue of overflooding of the Ghaggar basin, which ruins the farms of over 25 villages around it.  (Nagar Panchayat Moonak vs State of Punjab)
    • the bench recorded in its order passed on 9th November, This Court had in 2018 observed and directed that there shall be periodical meetings every four weeks of the concerned stakeholders to discuss the progress on implementation of the recommendations. It is very unfortunate that despite the specific directions, the respective States have not responded in true spirit.
    • the bench said, Though, of course, the State of Haryana has submitted one report, which is not satisfactory at all. The State of Punjab has not even bothered to file the status report. This is how the concerned States are serious in tackling the problem of overflooding of Ghaggar basin. There is no respect of the Supreme Court’s order so far as the States of Punjab and Haryana are concerned.
    • the bench ordered, We have no other alternative but to secure the presence of the Chief Secretaries of both the States and to file a status report taking in terms of our earlier order dated August 17, 2022. The Chief Secretaries are directed to remain present on November 15, when the matter would be heard next.

Legal Prudent Fraternity