Today’s Legal Updates

Monday, 14th November 2022





Article – 174 Sessions of the State Legislature, prorogation and dissolution.

  1. The Governor shall from time to time summon the House or each House of the Legislature of the State to meet at such time and place as he thinks fit, but six months shall not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its first sitting in the next session.
  2. The Governor may from time to time—
    • (a) prorogue the House or either House;
    • (b) dissolve the Legislative Assembly.

Today’s Legal Updates:

  1. On Monday the Chief of Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud said that he is contemplating elevating some Supreme Court lawyers as judges of various High Courts.
    • The CJI said that he will impress upon the Chief Justices of the concerned High Courts regarding the same, while also ensuring that the chance of High Court lawyers for elevation to the concerned High Court is not compromised.
    • he said, I have a list of names in mind who can be good High Court judges and those who practice in Supreme court. I will try to impress upon the High Court Chief justices about the same ..Of course not compromising the chance of High Court lawyers.
    • the CJI said, In listing process, I aim to use technology so the element of human interface is reduced and we are trying to prepare Standard Operating Procedure so that it does not matter who is the CJI and so that there is an institutional change.
    • he said, CJI is first among equals. First he is a judge and he has to fulfill the first purpose of a judge. I have been told to devote more time to administrative work but the devotion to judicial time is more important to me,
    • he stated, This office which I hold is in trust of citizen and people. Judges of the Supreme Court are better than me and their collective wisdom is what we have not traditionally tapped and that is what I have been told and I aim to do that. So the talent has to be tapped. There are judges from the bar who can help us with their experience, like Justice Narasimha. Justice Bela Trivedi has experience at the district judiciary.
    • he said, So many genuine requests from SCBA, I have been in talks. All your demands are very reasonable and question is how to accommodate them. I am sure with cooperation from my senior colleagues we will be able to do it.
  2. On Monday the Delhi High Court denied bail to a Nepalese citizen named Sher Singh accused of being involved in supplying secret and confidential documents regarding India’s national security to Chinese intelligence officers.  (Sher Singh @ Raj Bohara v State (NCT of Delhi))
    • the Court ordered, there is no ground for grant of bail and the bail application is declined.
    • Sher Singh is an accused in the journalist Rajeev Sharma espionage case and was charged with several offences under the Official Secrets Act as well as Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
  3. On Monday the Bombay High Court called for the re-examination of samples of baby powder manufactured by Johnson & Johnson in government or government-approved labs.
    • Here, we made all these submissions and the Minister has only looked at Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) report not any other material. There was a report we submitted (of a private laboratory)
    • the Court assured, Let them be allowed to manufacture, we will not permit them any handover for sale or even distribution.
  4. On Monday the Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud said that he used to drive around a 1966 model Ambassador car during his days as a young lawyer.
    • I used to drive a 1966 Ambassador and while driving my seniors, I used to take longer routes just to absorb more from the senior and their arguments.
    • Mr. Pravin Parekh had given me a land acquisition matter to appear before Justice Thakker. I was asked not to sleep and prepare for it and it went on to become a reported judgment. I was briefed along with Senior Advocate Fali Nariman on a case regarding withdrawal of prosecution against three chief ministers. I wanted to say something to the bench and I was told “be quiet” and observe what the judges were talking. I used to hear Senior Advocate Parasaran explain the bare text of the Constitution.
    • What I am today is what I have learnt from the greats of bench and the bar. Justice Sabyasachi Mukherjee had once remarked “let the wiser heads decide” while referring a matter to the Supreme Court. He then went on to become the Chief Justice of India. Can the stream ever rise above the source. I am just a stream coming out of the great Indian bar.
  5. On Monday the Delhi High Court awarded ₹25 lakh in damages and costs to LT Foods, manufacturer of ‘Daawat’ Basmati Rice, in a trademark infringement suit.  (LT Foods Limited vs Saraswati Trading Company)
    • the Court said, In the opinion of this Court, the Defendant is clearly indulging in blatant violation of the Plaintiff’s statutory and common law rights in the marks ‘DAWAT’ / ‘DAAWAT’. Moreover, considering that the product is rice for human consumption, the misrepresentation by the Defendant that the same is Basmati Rice is also impermissible.
    • These are goods for human consumption. Considering the Plaintiff’s reputation and the fact that ‘DAAWAT’ is a well-known mark in India, the suit is liable to be decreed.
  6. On Monday the Madras High Court called for steps to address the fact that Tamil Nadu had been topping the list of states with the highest number of people detained and imprisoned under preventive detention laws for a decade.  (Sunitha v. Additional Chief Secretary to Government, Home)
    • It is our common experience on Bench handling habeas corpus matters that scores of habeas corpus petitions are filed every day before the Principal seat as well the Madurai Bench, challenging the orders of detention passed under Act 14 of 1982. These petitions are admitted and are taken up after about 4-6 six months, owing to the existing backlog of cases, and are inevitably allowed directing the release of the detenues.
    • Of all the things a system should fear, Complacency heads the list. The case on hand gave us a wake-up call and made us question ourselves as to whether we have become complacent and conditioned while dealing with preventive detention cases. Having got that call from within, we decided to shake up and wriggle out of the complacency and do a reality check.
    • the Court said in its order, The inferences drawn can be twofold: either the State is inching towards lawlessness or that the jurisdiction of suspicion has now become a convenient and potent weapon in the hands of the law enforcing agencies to indiscriminately detain people by a conscious abuse of its statutory powers. It is, therefore, clear to us that the spectre of gross abuse of preventive detention laws hangs over the State and has reached Orwellian proportions.
  7. Last Week the Supreme Court acquitted over 13 persons in a case of rioting and unlawful assembly due to shortcomings in the Test Identification Parade (TIP).  (Gireesan Nair vs State of Kerala)
    • A bench of Justices BR Gavai and PS Narasimha noted that the witnesses had the opportunity of seeing the accused before the TIP was conducted.
    • the bench held in its order pronounced on 11th November, We are of the opinion that there existed no useful purpose behind conducting the TIP. The TIP was a mere formality, and no value could be attached to it. As the only evidence for convicting the appellants is the evidence of the eyewitnesses  in the TIP, and when the TIP is vitiated, the conviction cannot be upheld.
    • the bench observed, Undue delay in conducting a TIP has a serious bearing on the credibility of the identification process. Though there is no fixed timeline within which the TIP must be conducted and the consequence of the delay would depend upon the facts and circumstances of the case, it is imperative to hold the TIP at the earliest. The possibility of the TIP witnesses seeing the accused is sufficient to cast doubt about their credibility.
    • It is rather surprising to note that Investigating Officer thinks that such a measure is not necessary. Thus, we are of the opinion that the conduct of the TIP, coupled with the hovering presence of the police during the conduct of the TIP vitiated the entire process. The Trial Court as well as the High Court have committed a serious error in relying on the evidence of the TIP witnesses for convicting and sentencing the appellants.
  8. On Monday in the Supreme Court a status report submitted ED There are 51 Members of Parliament (MPs), sitting and former who stand accused by the Enforcement Directorate of offence under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). (Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v Union of India)
    • Similarly, 71 MLAs, current and former, are accused in cases arising out of offences under PMLA.
    • A similar report submitted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said that a total of 121 cases are pending trial against sitting and former MPs and MLAs.
    • Similarly, 112 MLAs are involved in the CBI cases out of which 34 are sitting, 78 are former and 9 are deceased.
    • The order by the top court came in a plea Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking speedy trial in cases against MPs and MLAs.
  9. On Monday the Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud stressed that the district judiciary needs exhaustive reforms including on the infrastructure front.
    • I was told that women district judges have no washrooms and they leave home at 8 am and can use one only when they return home at 6 pm. For some the washrooms are away from the courtroom so when the judge has to go to the washroom, she has to pass by the undertrials who are sitting, which is very embarassing for a judge. We have to change the face of the district judiciary first and foremost.
    • District judges are not subordinate, they are just district judges. There have been instances when district judges stand up when High Court judges eat food, or even serve. This shows our colonial mindset.
    • We have to change our mindset about how we perceive our district judiciary. We have to ensure that when we interact with district judiciary. The district judges stand in a row and bow and all this has to change to make it a more modern judiciary.
    • he further explained, There are judges from the bar who can help us with their experience is like Justice Narasimha. Justice Bela Trivedi has experience of district judiciary.
    • I have a list of names in mind who can be good High Court judges and those who practice in Supreme Court. I will try to impress upon the High Court Chief Justices about the same .. of course not compromising the chance of High Court lawyers.
    • In listing process I aim to use technology so the element of human interface is reduced and we are trying to prepare Standard Operating Procedures so that it does not matter who is the Chief Justice of India and so that there is an institutional change.
  10. On Monday President of the Kerala wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), K Surendran, has approached the Kerala High Court against the ruling Left Democratic Front Government’s alleging that the State is forcing government employees to participate in an upcoming protest march and demonstration before the Kerala Governor’s residence.  (K Surendran v State of Kerala & Anr.)
    • the plea said, No government servant can be permitted or compelled to take part in a protests against the Hon’ble Governor who is the highest Constitutional functionary and Constitutional Head of the State.
  11. On Monday the Delhi High Court said that it cannot close its eyes to the fact that the air quality in Delhi has been oscillating between ‘very poor’ to ‘severe’ category.  (Court On Its Own Motion (Air Pollution in Delhi) v Union of India & Ors)
    • A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said that it is only because of recent wind conditions that air quality has marginally improved in the national capital in the past few days.
    • Justice Subramonium Prasad said, As of today, we are in the ‘very poor’ category. For the last few weeks, we have been oscillating between ‘severe’ to ‘very poor’ category… We can’t close our eyes to the fact.
    • End of the day we all live in Delhi. Can we close our eyes to the rampant construction? How did those construction come up as they are in violation of rules” Obviously it has not come overnight. Persons responsible for this definitely know about it.
  12. On Monday the Supreme Court frowned upon protests and court boycotts held by lawyers of district bar associations in western Odisha who are demanding a permanent bench of the Orissa High Court at Sambalpur.  (PLR Projects Pvt Ltd v. Mahanadi Coalfields)
    • That is out of the question. We want more suspensions…I am telling you, we will take away your source of income. You are making the public suffer…All licences will be suspended if the boycott is not over by day after.
    • Justice Oka weighed in, Junior Bar members also suffer if they differ on [the call for] boycott.
    • We ask the Orissa High Court to place a report in terms of enhancement of technology in district courts.
  13. On Monday the Madras High Court Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore told that seven of its medical students booked for ragging their juniors will be expelled if found guilty in the police inquiry report. (Suo Motu v. The state of Tamil Nadu and 4 others)
    • A Bench of Acting Chief Justice T Raja and Justice D Krishnakumar, which had taken suo motu cognisance of news reports on the November 6 ragging incident at CMC, asked the college authorities to explain how such a lapse had occurred in the first place.
    • the Bench said, Ragging is absolutely prohibited under the law. Then how did this lapse on your side occur? How is it that this was not prevented? The whole world is looking at CMC. Who is responsible for this on part of this administration? You will have to fix accountability. As per news reports, even the warden is said to have been present there.
    • Srinivasan told the Court, The police is already seized of the matter. If the police final report finds these seven students guilty, strict action in accordance with law will be taken. These students have no chance of reformation and no compassion will be shown to them by us.
    • If it had happened somewhere in the interiors, we would not have taken suo motu cognisance. But CMC is a premier college. If you and I don’t take appropriate action, tomorrow one will say ‘when it happened at CMC nothing happened.’ Will a young student want to come study in your college now? What are you going to do now? How will you ensure that the quality of education is not impacted.

Legal Prudent Fraternity