Today’s Legal Updates

Tuesday, 14th March 2023

Legal Awareness: – CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

Part – Vl THE STATES

CHAPTER- IITHE STATE LEGISLATURE

Procedure Generally

Article – 210 Language to be used in the Legislature.

  1. Notwithstanding anything in Part XVII, but subject to the provisions of article 348, business in the Legislature of a State shall be transacted in the official language or languages of the State or in Hindi or in English:
    • Provided that the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly or Chairman of the Legislative Council, or person acting as such, as the case may be, may permit any member who cannot adequately express himself in any of the languages aforesaid to address the House in his mother tongue.
  2. Unless the Legislature of the State by law otherwise provides, this article shall, after the expiration of a period of fifteen years from the commencement of this Constitution, have effect as if the words “or in English” were omitted therefrom:
    • Provided that in relation to the Legislatures of the States of Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura this clause shall have effect as if for the words “fifteen years” occurring therein, the words “twenty-five years” were substituted:
    • Provided further that in relation to the Legislatures of the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa and Mizoram, this clause shall have effect as if for the words “fifteen years” occurring therein, the words “forty years” were substituted.

Today’s Legal Updates: 

  1. On Tuesday the Delhi High Court disposed of a petition filed by former Member of Parliament Subramanian Swamy challenging the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance granted to Air Asia (India) Private Limited.  (Dr Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India and Ors)
    • A Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad disposed of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) noting that the shareholding of the company has been revised, and that Air Asia (India) is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India, which was taken over by Tata Sons.
    • the order stated, In view of the fact that there is no foreign investment as of today, the prayers made in the writ petition have become purely academic. The Petitioner, who appears in person, has stated that he is no longer interested in pursuing the writ petition. In view of the statement made by the Petitioner appearing in person, the writ petition stands disposed.
  2. Delhi judge Rachna Tiwari Lakhanpal suffered injuries during an alleged robbery when she was out for a walk in the Gulabi Bagh area.
    • as per police officials, the two accused of snatching her bag containing cash and essential documents have been apprehended.
    • It was alleged that two accused on a bike snatched the judge’s bag, containing approximately ₹8,000 in cash, a few documents and an ATM card.
    • the complaint also stated that the goons pushed her during the incident leading to injuries on her head.
  3. On Tuesday the Bombay High Court asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) not to take any coercive action against Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Anil Parab till March 20 in the money laundering case linked to a resort at Dapoli in Maharashtra.
    • A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Sharmila Deshmukh passed the direction on Parab’s plea seeking quashing of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered by the ED in which Parab has been summoned.
    • Senior Advocate Amit Desai, appearing on behalf of Parab said, I have rushed to the court only because of a tweet. The arrest and the manner in which Kadam was arrested… Parab is a leader from opposition party and he is also strategising the constitution bench matter (before Supreme Court relating to fall of Uddhav Thackeray government).
    • Desai argued, Without following grounds laid down in Lalita Kumari, if ECIRs are being registered then we are finished. Hence I stressed, that after mere filing of complaint, if ECIR is being filed, then we have serious problem. There has to be a predicate offence, but there has to be some determination by the agency on the offence on the preliminary enquiry.
    • Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh, appearing for ED said, He has anticipatory bail remedy. If there is apprehension of arrest, then that remedy is available. The court may decide on merits but then there is no reason to grant interim relief.
    • the High Court said, We are not passing an order of ‘no coercive action’. Mr Singh please inform your officers of not taking any coercive action.
  4. On Tuesday the Delhi High Court said that a woman consenting to being in the company of a man can never be the basis to infer that she had consented to having a sexual relationship with him.  (Sanjay Malik @ Sant Sevak Das v The State & Anr)
    • the court said, A distinction also needs to be articulated between a prosecutrix ‘consenting to a situation’ vs ‘consenting to sexual liaison’. Merely because a prosecutrix consents to being in the company of a man, regardless of for how long, can never be the basis to infer that she had also consented to sexual liaison with the man.
    • The allegation was that the accused molested the woman on October 12, 2019 at a hostel in Delhi and subsequently engaged in physical liaison with her on January 31, 2020 at Prayagraj (Allahabad) and on February 7, 2020 at a hotel in Gaya (Bihar).
    • the Court noted, Though it is true that the travel to the aforementioned places happened over a period of almost 4 months, and it is nowhere specifically alleged that the petitioner held the prosecutrix ‘hostage’ or that she was made to travel with him by use of physical force or restraint, in the opinion of this court, that alone would not be determinative of the state of the prosecutrix‟s mind, for the court to be able to say at this stage that the alleged sexual liaisons were consensual.
    • In the aforesaid circumstances, in the opinion of this court, the critical aspect of the offence of rape viz. ‘consent’ as opposed to ‘compulsion’ requires a more nuanced consideration.
    • In fact, it appears to be the petitioner’s own stand, that he took the prosecutrix to Prayagraj, Banaras and Gaya for the post-demise ceremonies. At this stage however, this court is not re-assured that the petitioner would not interfere in the course of justice by practicing the same guile and deception. Whether the prosecutrix and her prime-witness are in India or abroad, the petitioner’s attempt to intimidate or influence them, cannot be ruled-out.
  5. On Tuesday the Election Commission of India (ECI) submitted before the Allahabad High Court that it has no jurisdiction to ban caste-based rallies organised by political parties during the non-election period.
    • The Court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Moti Lal Yadav in 2013, which sought a complete ban on all political parties that are involved in organising caste rallies. The plea had further sought delisting of all such political parties.
    • The Commission further informed the Court that it has formulated a set of strict rules which prohibit electioneering along communal lines, or seeking votes on the basis of caste, creed, or religion. However, the violation of the same cannot be dealt with by the ECI outside the election period.
    • The affidavit added that the poll body can take action against delinquent political parties, contesting candidates and their agents who make appeals on caste lines in their election campaigns only during the election period, after the Model Code of Conduct kicks in, and till the completion of polls, but not after this period ends.
  6. On Tuesday the Bombay High Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking a probe into the allegations of disproportionate assets belonging to former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his family members hold.  (Gouri Bhide v. Union of India & Ors.)
    • A division bench of Justices Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Valimiki SA Menezes observed that the petition as well as the complaint was ‘bereft of any evidence’ which would compel the court to intervene and conclude that a prima facie case was made out for an investigation by CBI or any other central agency.
    • order said, There is absolutely no evidence or live link between the alleged malpractices in BMC and private respondents. The Petitioners are attempting to seek a roving probe, monitored by this Court into the suspicions so entertained by the Petitioners based on nothing but bald allegations.
    • the division bench said, On a reading of the complaint and the petition, it appears that the petitioners are only speculating on the sudden rise in the prosperity index of the private respondents (Thackeray family) from their humble beginning and, therefore entertain a suspicion that the life style maintained by the respondents could only be attributed to the corrupt practices in BMC.
    • the court ordered, We hold that the present petition is nothing but an abuse of the process of law which is, accordingly, dismissed, with costs of Rs.25,000/- to be deposited by the petitioners in the Advocates Welfare Fund within a period of two months.
    • Senior Advocates Aspi Chinoy and Ashok Mundargi appearing for Thackeray family argued that there was a hierarchy of officials and proper process has to be followed.
  7. On Tuesday the Delhi High Court issued notice to Delhi Government and the Lieutenant Governor (LG) on a plea seeking guidelines for sending teachers to foreign countries for training programmes.
    • A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad asked the authorities to file their replies within six weeks.
    • the petition said, Even otherwise, the education system in India as compared to Finland is distinct and has many dissimilarities, therefore no purpose would be solved by sending teachers for training programmes. A difference can easily be made out as in Finland as compared to India- there are no mandated standardized tests, apart from one exam at the end of senior year in high school. There are no rankings, no comparison or competition among the students, schools or regions. The training programmes are leisure trips for the teachers- who are “blue eyed candidates” being shortlisted based on- no specific criteria or necessary evaluation of performance.
    • The Respondent rather than organising fancy international training programmes should focus on the welfare of the students by taking efficient steps towards the apparent irregularities which are adversely affecting the basic education system in the capital.
    • the Chief Justice said, Ensure that teachers are there. Teachers should be there.
  8. On Tuesday the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Ministry of Defence, Chief of Air Staff and others on a plea by an Air Force officer challenging his termination in the wake accidental launch of BrahMos missile that had ultimately landed in Pakistan in March 2022.
    • A division bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna directed the Central government and others to respond to the plea within six weeks.
    • the petition stated, The petitioner was not trained against the counts of blame apportioned to him in the court of inquiry and he acted in complete obedience of the SOP. The Ppetitioner had no experience in conducting operations and handling operational emergencies and the respondents acted in a completely malafide manner by issuing the termination order.
    • he contended, The termination order was not in the nature of a simpliciter withdrawal of pleasure of the petitioner’s appointment/ termination, however, the impugned order approves the counts of blame in the court of inquiry. The Respondents have clearly used Section 18 of the Air Force Act to approve the counts of blame under the Court of Inquiry indirectly, which clearly impermissible under the Air Force Act. As a result, the Respondents have acted beyond the scope of Section 18 of the Air Force Act by issuing the Impugned Termination Order.
    • He added that the incident embarrassed the country before the international community and the fact that the missile landed in Pakistan could have led to a situation of war.
  9. On Tuesday Former National Law School of India University (NLSIU) Bangalore Vice-Chancellor Prof R Venkata Rao has been appointed as the new Vice-Chancellor of India International University of Legal Education and Research (IIULER), Goa.
  10. On Monday the Delhi High Court held that the Right to Information (RTI) is available to citizens of India as well as non-citizens, and that denying the same to the latter would be contrary to the Constitution of India as well as the RTI Act.  (AS Rawat v. Dawa Tashi)
    • Justice Prathiba M Singh said that Section 3 of the RTI Act, which says that “all citizens have the right to information” would have to be read as a positive recognition of the right in favour of citizens, but not as a prohibition against non-citizens.
    • the Court said, Creating an absolute bar [against non-citizens] would be contrary to the purpose and object of the RTI Act itself, and such an absolute bar cannot be read into the RTI Act.
    • the order, Whenever information is sought by non-citizens, considering that the rights conferred under Section 3 [RTI Act] is positively upon citizens, it would be on the discretion of the authorities to disclose such information or not.
    • The Court was hearing a plea by one AS Rawat who was posted as Public Information Officer (PIO) at Central Tibetan Schools Administration (CTSA). Rawat challenged an order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) imposing a penalty of ₹2,500 on him.
    • The view of the Parliamentary Committee which discussed the Bill and favored retention of the right only to citizens appears to have been based on a misconception that Fundamental Rights under the Constitution are only available to citizens, which was a wrong premise. Thus, this Court is of the opinion that the Right to Information ought to be available to citizens and non-citizens depending upon the kind of information which is sought and the recognition of the rights guaranteed to such class of persons under the Constitution of India.
  11. On Tuesday the Madras High Court said every little action that causes annoyance cannot be considered an offence under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (SC/ST Act) unless it was intentional and done because of the caste of the victim. (S Velraj v The State)
    • Justice RN Manjula of the Madras High Court said that the allegations made by a subordinate employee, the defacto complainant in the case, that the petitioner officers made “threatening gestures” and “passed whimsical smiles,” at him, did not disclose any cognisable offence under the Act.
    • the Court said, Every little action or annoyance cannot be understood as an offence committed und SC/ST Act, unless it was proved to be intentional and something done because of the caste of the victim. The petitioners as officers of the second respondent could have sometimes remarked about his lapse or the way he conducted himself in the office or while discharging the duties. That cannot be given with a criminal colour and portrayed as offences of intimidation, harassment or humiliation contemplated under the Special Act.
    • the High Court said, For every occurrence, individual complaints ought to have been made at the relevant point of time as against each accused and such allegations cannot be combined in one complaint and culminate into a single charge sheet.
    • the Court said while allowing the petitions filed by the three officers, In all probabilities, the materials do not disclose any cognizable offence against the petitioners in respect of the charges leveled against them. In view of the holistic consideration of the materials, I feel the proceedings should be quashed in order to meet out the ends of justice and to prevent abuse of process of law.
  12. On Tuesday the Karnataka Lokayukta has moved the Supreme Court challenging an order of the Karnataka High Court granting interim anticipatory bail to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Madal Virupakshappa in a corruption case.
    • The matter was initially mentioned before Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud who asked the Lokayukta’s counsel to mention it before the next senior most judge Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul since the CJI was sitting as part of Constitution bench.
    • The matter was then mentioned before the bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan KaulAravind Kumar and Ahsanuddin Amanullah which asked what was the urgency in a plea seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail.
    • the bench asked, What is the urgency in this? Is an issue to cancel anticipatory bail? List as early as possible….High Court has applied its mind na..Here it is cancellation of bail being sought. What is this (urgency)?
    • The order under challenge was passed by single-judge Justice K Natarajan of the High Court on March 7 granting bail to Virupakshappa while directing the MLA to cooperate with the investigation.
  13. On Tuesday the Bar Council of India (BCI) told the Delhi High Court that it will look into and decide the representation demanding that Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (RTE Act) be made a compulsory subject for LLB in all law schools across the country.
    • The counsel appearing for the BCI made the statement before a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad.
    • the plea said, it is submitted that perhaps much of the blame for the current inaction regarding violations of the right to education is because law students and lawyers are taught nothing about the right to education. Infact, majority of them are unaware about the fundamental of the rights incorporated in the RTE Act, 2009.
  14. On Tuesday the Supreme Court rejected a curative petition filed by the Central government seeking additional compensation to be paid by American chemical company, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.  (Union of India vs Union Carbide Corporation)
    • A Constitution Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan KaulSanjiv KhannaAbhay S OkaVikram Nath and JK Maheshwari said that imposing greater liability on Union Carbide Corporation is not warranted and reopening the issue will only open a pandora’s box and will be detrimental to the claimants.
    • the Court said, The method to impose greater liability on UCC is not warranted. We are disappointed in the union for not having addressed this. Nearly 6 times compensation has been disbursed to the victims compared to the pro rata. Centre to use ₹50 crores lying with RBI to address the needs of the claimants in the Bhopal gas tragedy case. If it is reopened, then it will only work in favour of UCC by opening a pandora’s box and will be to the detriment of the claimants.
  15. On Monday the Supreme Court reaffirmed only the Chief Justice of India (CJI) can list cases before different benches of the Supreme Court or reassign them. (Orris Infrastrcuture Private Limited vs Manoj Aggarwal and ors)
    • A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Vikram Nath made the remark after it was miffed by a case being listed before it by another bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar.
    • Justice Gavai-led bench said, Puisne judges cannot re-assign matters. It is only possible by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India.
    • The present bench at the outset stated in its order, it is a normal practice of this Court that the matter follows a judge who is part of the Bench which has passed an effective order.
    • a bench of Justices Shah and Ravikumar, it ordered, Let the present application be placed before a Bench presided over by Justice BR Gavai, at the earliest.
    • the bench noted in its order, Ordinarily, the matter(s) pertaining to placing the matter(s) before the Benches are to be passed by Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India. If the particular Bench in particular situation finds that the matter be placed before the another Bench, the Bench is required to direct the matter to be placed before the Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India for obtaining appropriate Orders.
    • the Court said, We find it appropriate to direct the Registry to place the matter before the Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India for obtaining appropriate orders.
  16. The Bombay High Court ruled while directing an insurance company to pay compensation to the deceased victim’s family in an accident case Tyre burst of a vehicle cannot be considered an act of God but is an act of human negligence attributable to the driver of the vehicle.  (New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Mrunal Patwardhan & Ors)
    • Single-judge Justice SG Dige disagreed stating that tyre burst could be due to driving at high speed or due to under or over inflated tyres and it is the duty of the owner or the driver of the vehicle to check the tyre condition before the journey.
    • the judge held, The bursting of tyre cannot be termed as an act of God. It is an act of human negligence. There are various reasons of bursting of tyre, i.e. High speed, under inflated or over inflated tyres, second hand tyres, temperature etc. The driver or owner of the vehicle has to check the condition of tyre before travelling, burst of tyre cannot be termed as natural Act, it is human negligence.
    • the bench held, It is significant to note that the insurance company had not examined the driver of offending car to prove the reason of bursting of tyre. So mere stating that burst of tyre is act of God cannot be a ground to exonerate the insurance company from paying compensation.
    • the Court said, It is settled law that while calculating the salary of deceased, income tax, professional tax has to be deducted and rest of the salary can be considered as salary of deceased. Hence, I do not find merit in the contention of learned counsel for the appellant that salary of deceased is considered on higher side.
  17. On Tuesday the Karnataka High Court held that a consensual sexual relationship for five years cannot be considered rape merely because it did not culminate in marriage due to caste equations.  (Mallikarjun Desai Goudar vs State of Maharashtra)
    • Single-judge Justice M Nagaprasanna noted that the 35-year-old man and the complainant-woman, were in love and had sexual intercourse several times over a period of five years.
    • the bench held, The consent in the case at hand is not once, twice or thrice; not for days or months; but for several years, five year precisely, as is narrated in the complaint as the two were in love. Therefore, for five long years, it cannot be said that the consent of a woman has been taken for having such instances, all along against her will.
    • the judge noted, The statement clearly records that he had made hectic efforts to get married to the complainant. The family of both the parties were known to each other. Talks of marriage did take place, but failed. The failure was on account of consensus not being arrived due to caste equations.
    • the bench held, The narration would clearly indicate that the relationship between him and the complainant was consensual. If it is consensual, it cannot be alleged that it would become an ingredient of rape under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, for it to become punishable under Section 376.
  18. On Tuesday Social media influencer Sapna Gill has approached the Bombay High Court seeking quashing of the first information report (FIR) registered against her for allegedly assaulting Indian cricketer Prithvi Shaw and his friends outside Hotel Sahara Star in Mumbai’s Santacruz. 
  19. On Monday RRR and The Elephant Whisperers did the whole country proud by winning Oscars at the 95th Academy Awards. And amongst those revelling in the glory is the legal team behind the two movies, headed by Gitika Aggarwal, Partner at NeoJuris.
    • She is known for her legal advisory to the makers of blockbuster films such as Baahubali, Saaho, Kabir Singh, Jersey, Pushpa, 83, Gulmohar, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2Tu Jhoothi Mein Makkaar and many more. 
    • she said, During Elephant Whisperers, we were shooting in the forest reserve, so there were a lot of locals that we had to navigate through since it was shot in Mudumulai National Park amidst indigenous people who don’t speak the language. Since the film was commissioned by Netflix, which is a very compliance-driven entity, to be able to figure all the logistics out seamlessly within a particular timeline is always a challenge. The stakes are always high and you’re constantly working outside your comfort zone to see the entire process through. If anything goes amiss, you won’t be able to licence it to the right platform. The documentary space is anyway very niche, and to find a home like Netflix where the production will get the opportunity to be consumed by a global audience itself is a prestigious challenge. So it was really interesting to get this done in a particular way and getting the mandates.
    • Aggarwal says, RRR of course was one of the biggest productions that has happened in India ever. So all of the visual effects were done by dozens of different entities globally. Just dealing with those people – since you’re giving up footage to so many people, making sure that your footage doesn’t leak is also a big challenge. SS Rajamouli shot at multiple places. During the second wave of the pandemic, he was shooting in Ukraine. You have to make sure that everybody gets coverage health-wise, accident-wise and they actually don’t get stuck there. It was all a big risk as we also couldn’t shoot the scenes in India at that point. Since it was a multilingual film, there are so many rights to syndicate overall. It was difficult just to be able to track all of those rights, because there are many territories where Rajamouli has a fanbase…  A lot of things are uncertain across the world. I pretty much had commercial discussions on every aspect throughout the film production. I was very involved from the inception. Even if there were ten distributors, for example, we had to make sure we discussed it only with a select few. I started that discussion with those people. What rights are we going to give? What type of rights are we not going to give?
    • she said, The process remains the same, but obviously the issues and the way it is structured is very different. In a documentary, especially this one, it is very difficult to pre-plan as there is constant improvisation. It just goes with the flow. It depends on what you’re able to shoot every day and then you structure a film like that. In a big production, everything is well-thought through and planned in advance. In a documentary which is being shot in a forest reserve, there are animals. Any mishap can happen. So to ensure that everybody on the set carries the necessary equipment, ideating on what activities can be conducted and what cannot be. Since the documentary is big, it is very people-oriented.
    • Aggarwal said, It is extremely important. Today everybody is approaching the court at the drop of a hat. I with my experience have many, many examples to cite. For example in RRR, Junior NTR’s character is a dramatization of certain real incidents. His character is Hindu, but it takes on the attire of a Muslim ethnic guy. We had multiple cases addressing that…we had to ward them off at the last minute. These cases are generally taken in the small courts, but it’s just the timing of it. You just don’t know where it could lead.
    • she said, Now the film is multilingual, so we’re selling in so many languages – Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada. These are the big Indian languages, then there are smaller, lesser known languages. Then you do the world syndication of rights, which entails subtitling and dubbing the film in multiple languages such as English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese and then you have to make sure the the languages don’t spill over, because piracy and data protection is a very big issue globally. The film releases at different points of time in different territories. Since we are selling the film we always have to ensure that it doesn’t spill over in the territories where it is sold. No producer pirates their own film. Overall we must have done 500-600 agreements for the film. So it was a very exhaustive and exciting process in that sense.
    • Aggarwal introspected, I think we have deep understanding of business. It’s a very business-oriented advisory system. You just can’t just walk in and say that I understand intellectual property rights. Integrating your knowledge of law and the knowledge of business and to be able to actually craft and tailor solutions which then works for people, that is really important. I would say that we have expertise in both these areas. Most times despite being a lawyer, I was involved in pitching ideas to sell the film. For example, once, we did a series and then I suggested there be a film also. It had two versions but different formats. This has never been done, so it was very unique and new to the industry.
  20. CJI DY Chandrachud, Justices Sanjay kishan Kaul and PS Narasimha a special bench of the Supreme Court will hear on Friday the plea by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) seeking conversion of land allotted to the apex court as a chamber block for lawyers.  (Supreme Court Bar Association vs Ministry of Urban Development and ors)
  21. On Tuesday Former Attorney General for India (AG) and Senior Advocate KK Venugopal wrote to Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Vikas Singh on Tuesday urging him to withdraw the two resolutions proposed to be passed against Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Neeraj Kishan Kaul at a general body meeting of the bar body scheduled to be held on 16th March.
    • the veteran lawyer said in his letter, I would therefore sincerely request you not to allow these two resolutions so that this event may not explode into a situation where there may be two camps with enmity between the members inter se, which may not be conducive to the peace and well-being of Supreme Court Bar Association.
    • Venugopal stated, I believe that I should write to you pointing out that the passing of these resolutions may result in creating two factions in the Bar, which may permanently sour the peaceful relationship which exists today amongst members of the Bar.
    • the President of SCBA said, We have no agenda against anyone. We only want that nobody should dilute the stand of the SCBA. Moreover we have only called for a GBM which as per rules we are bound to call when a requisition signed by more than 150 members is given to us. There is no question of any number of members asking to recall the requisition. They have only a right to vote against the resolution.
  22. On Tuesday the Supreme Court held that conviction of accused purely based on the oral testimony of interested witnesses, without sufficient corroboration, would not be sustainable. (Nand Lal v State of Chhattisgarh)
    • A bench of Justices BR GavaiVikram Nath and Sanjay Karol made the observation while setting aside a judgment of the Chhattisgarh High Court which upheld the conviction and sentence of life imprisonment handed down to three appellants along with other accused for the offence of murder.
    • the bench reasoned, Taking into consideration the delay in lodging the FIR, with the circumstance of their names not being mentioned in the contemporaneous documents, the possibility of the said accused being falsely implicated cannot be ruled out.
  23. On Tuesday the Calcutta High Court held that the State has no power to appoint, re-appoint or extend the tenures of the vice chancellors (VCs) of universities in West Bengal.  (Anupam Bera vs State of West Bengal)
    • A division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Rajarshi Bharadwaj, therefore, ordered removal of VCs of nearly 29 universities in the State, who were appointed or re-appointed by the West Bengal government based on the amendments to the West Bengal Universities Act carried out in 2012 and 2014.
    • the bench said, This Court has taken note of the importance of the post of vice-chancellor in the university, therefore, it is essential that the appointment of the vice chancellor should be strictly in accordance with the law. It would not be in the interest of the students and administration of the universities to continue the concerned respondents as vice chancellor of the university once it is found that they have been appointed without following the due procedure and contrary to the provisions of the Act and that too by an authority not competent to appoint.
    • the bench held, Facts on record indicate that some of the VCs have been appointed by the State Government taking recourse to the provisions of the removal of difficulty clause which in substance is the same as Section 60 of the Calcutta University Act, 1979, therefore, in view of the judgment of the top court in the case of Anindya Sundar Das, their appointment cannot be sustained.
    • the bench noted, Once the power to reappoint or extend the tenure is vested with the chancellor and the same cannot be usurped by the State under removal of difficulty clause, then the State is required to show as to how or under which provision, the State had passed the order reappointing or extending the tenure of some of the VCs.
    • the bench held, Hence, the orders extending their tenure as vice chancellor passed by the State government cannot be sustained. When the State has no power to appoint or reappoint the vice chancellor, the State cannot appoint vice chancellor by giving additional charge, therefore orders passed by the State government giving additional charge of vice chancellor are also bad in law.
    • the bench opined, Therefore, their appointment is contrary to the provisions of the UGC Regulations, 2018. It is also undisputed that the search committee formed for the appointment of all the VCs did not have one member nominated by the chairman, UGC, therefore, their appointments are contrary to the UGC Regulations, 2018.

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