Today’s Legal Updates :

Friday, 17th December 2021

  1. Today fifteenth Day of the ongoing 2021 Winter Session of Parliament the Lower House saw responses on a plethora of questions ranging from digitization of Court and bail orders, installation of CCTV cameras, impact of COVID on lawyers and crimes against women.
    • Electronic Voting Machines
      • a question by Shiv Sena Member of Parliament (MP) Sadashiv Kisan Lokhande on whether there has been a misuse of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said there hasn’t been any as per the Election Commission of India.
        • The ECI has informed that voting machines used by it are designed to meet the requirements of electoral laws/process, being followed in India. According to ECI, EVMs are fully secure due to its technical and administrative safeguards,
    • Crimes against women
      • a question on crimes against women, Rijiju said that 914 fast track courts are functional for dealing with heinous crimes, crimes against women and children etc.
        • Government has approved a scheme for setting up 1023 Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) across the country for expeditious disposal of pending cases of Rape under IPC and crimes under POCSO Act,” he told Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Member of Parliament Ram Verma.
    • Central Administrative Tribunal Bench in Vishakapatnam
      • a question by 2 MPs on the absence of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) bench in Andhra Pradesh causing great inconvenience to many petitioners, Rijiju said that there is no proposal to establish the same at Vishakapatnam.
    • Impact of COVID-19 on lawyers
      • A question was tabled before the Lok Sabha by 2 MPs on the impact of COVID-19 on lawyers. Rijiju responded by mentioning that there has been no study to assess the impact of the pandemic on lawyers by the Ministry of Law and Justice, nor is there a proposal for financial assistance to them.
    • Digitization of court orders and installation of CCTV cameras in prisons
      • A question was posed by DMK MP Ravikumar D on the steps taken by the Law Ministry to digitize the delivery of court orders including bail orders of High Courts and Supreme Court to the prison authorities.
      • Rijiju responding to the question, stated that “the FASTER (Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records) system has been taken up for implementation for enabling transmission of e-authenticated copies of the interim orders, stay orders, bail orders and record of proceedings to the duty holders for compliance and due execution, through a secured electronic communication channel.”
    • Funds allocated for effective justice delivery infrastructure
      • A question was posed by Congress MP Deepak Baij on whether the cases in courts are taking longer than usual time due to shortage of manpower in the judiciary in proportion to the population.
      • Kiren Rijiju said the different initiatives are being taken by the Central government in this regard and funds have been allocated for the same.
        • As on date, ₹8,709.77 crores have been released since the inception of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary in 1993-94.
        • The number of court halls has increased from 15,818 as on June 30, 2014 to 20,565 as on October 31, 2021 and number of residential units has increased from 10,211 as on June 30, 2014 to 18,142 as on October 31, 2021 under this scheme. In addition, 2,841 court halls and 1,807 residential units are under construction.
        • The Centrally Sponsored Scheme for the Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary has been extended till 2025-26 at a total cost of ₹9000 crores, out of which Central share will be ₹5307 crores.
        • Besides construction of Court Halls and Residential Units, it would also cover construction of Lawyer’s Halls, Toilet Complexes and Digital Computer Rooms.
        • From May 1, 2014 to December 14, 2021, 44 Judges were appointed to the Supreme Court. 690 new Judges were appointed and 583 Additional Judges were made permanent in the High Courts.
    • Collegium recommendations for appointment of judges
      • From December 14, 2018 to December 13, 2021 the Supreme Court collegium has “reiterated 32 proposals, out of which Government has appointed 9 recommendees as High Court Judges and 23 proposals are under various stages of processing with the Government,” the Law Minister said in response to a question on whether the government has withheld any names recommended to the collegium and whether the collegium has reiterated any recommended names in the last 3 years.
    • Pendency of cases in the High Courts and subordinate courts
      • A question was tabled before the Lok Sabha on the appointment and vacancies in the higher judiciary and also on the pendency of cases in the High Courts and Supreme Court.
      • Rijiju said that against the sanctioned strength of 1,098 Judges in High Courts, there are 694 working judges leaving 404 vacancies120 Judges have been appointed in High Courts from the first day of 2021 till date. 167 proposals are pending/under process with the Supreme Court collegium and government. There are 237 vacancies for which recommendations have not been received from High Courts. During the period from January 1, 2021 till date, 12 Judges have been appointed in the Kerala High Court and 3 proposals are at different stages of consideration. There is only 1 vacant seat in the Supreme Court judiciary with the total working strength at 33 judges.
      • The total number of pending civil cases across High Court is 40,81,024 and the total number of pending criminal cases across High Courts is 15,59,617 – taking the total count of pendency to 56,40,641 cases.
  2. Today Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut has moved the Mumbai Sessions Court against a Magistrate court order dismissing her plea for transfer of of lyricist Javed Akhtar’s criminal complaint against her, from the court at Andheri currently hearing the case, to any other Magistrate.
  3. Today the Supreme Court has held that persons with mental disabilities are at a disadvantage when it comes to complying with workplace standards and initiating disciplinary proceedings against such persons is a facet of indirect discrimination.  (Ravinder Kumar Dhariwal vs Union of India)
  4. Today the Supreme Court has refused to quash the domestic violence proceedings initiated by the divorced wife of Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale.  (Hemant Nagrale vs Pratima Nagrale)
  5. Today the Kerala High Court took exception to the Facebook post of a former judicial officer and asked the court registry to enforce personal appearance of the concerned officer if the post is found authentic. (Ajith EV v. Commissioner of Police and Ors.)
  6. Today the Gujarat High Court has upheld a notification issued by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation which made it mandatory to be fully vaccinated with two doses of either of the Covid vaccines, to enter a host of public spaces and facilities under its jurisdiction.
  7. Today Delhi Government has decided to de-register all diesel vehicles which will be completing ten years on January 1, 2022.
  8. Today the Delhi High Court remarked that since getting bail in cases related to Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) is a difficult task and many of the people charged are foreigners, it is paramount that these cases are investigated and tried expeditiously.  (Manzer Imam v UOI Through Jt. Secretary, Internal Security Division)
  9. Today the Competition Commission of India (CCI/ Commission) imposed a total penalty of ₹202 crore on NV Investment Holdings LLC (Amazon) for its failure to notify CCI about certain crucial details of its acquisition of 49 percent stake in Future Coupons Private Limited (FCPL), as required under Section 6(2) of the Competition Act, 2002 (Act) and for suppressing the actual scope and purpose of the deal.
  10. Twitter has sought dismissal of the civil proceedings initiated by the zonal director of NCB, Sameer Wankhede and his wife Kranti Redkar (plaintiffs) seeking permanent injunction against social media companies from putting up false and malicious news/ statements against them.
  11. Today the National Investigation Agency submitted to the Bombay High Court a summary report of the medical examination of Bhima Koregaon-accused Varavara Rao, in his plea seeking extension of medical bail granted to him by the High Court on April 2021.
  12. Today the Supreme Court has asked the Delhi High Court to decide expeditiously, preferably within three months, a plea seeking registration of case against BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma and Abhay Verma for their alleged hate speech which the petitioners claimed, incited the northeast Delhi riots of 2020.
  13. Today the Delhi High Court is set to examine the threshold required for extension of pre-charge detention under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) on the ground that the investigation could not be completed within the stipulated time of 90 days.  (Zeeshan Qamar v State of NCT of Delhi)
  14. Today the Supreme Court dismissed a contempt petition filed by the Bordeuri Samaj, responsible for the management of the Kamakhya Temple in Assam, alleging misappropriation of funds by the Kamakhya Debutter Board. (The Bordeuri Samaaj of Sri Maa Kamkhya v. Riju Prasad Sarma & ors)
  15. Former Director of Haji Public School, Sabbah Haji was released on bail pursuant to bonds executed under Sections 107 and 108 of the Code of Criminal Procedure after she referred to Chief of Defence Staff late General Bipin Rawat as a ‘war criminal’ on social media soon after his death in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu.
  16. Yesterday the Bombay High Court reserved its verdict in an appeal filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) challenging bail granted by special NIA court to Naresh Gaur, accused in the Antilia bomb-scare case and the subsequent murder of businessman Mansukhlal Hiren.
  17. Sri Krishna Janmabhumi Mukti Aandolan Samiti has moved an application before a Mathura court in the Krishna Janmabhoomi dispute, seeking a direction to stop namaz inside the Shahi Idgah Mosque and on the adjacent road.
  18. Today the Supreme Court stayed the functioning of the two-member Commission of Inquiry headed by retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice Madan B Lokur which was constituted by the West Bengal government to probe the Pegasus surveillance scandal.  (Manohar Lal Sharma v. Union of India)
  19. On Wednesday the Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government to explain the rationale behind discriminating between persons who are vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who are not when it comes to access to public spaces.  (Feroze Mithiborwala v. State of Maharashtra & Ors)
  20. Today the Supreme Court held that proceedings for conciliation and arbitration under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006 (MSMED Act) cannot be clubbed. (Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd v The State of Rajasthan and Ors)
  21. Today the Gauhati High Court held that the principle of res judicata will apply even in proceedings before the Foreigners Tribunal, and consequently such tribunals cannot hear proceedings against a person for the second time.  (Hasina Bhanu @ Hasna Bhanu vs. Union of India and ors.)
  22. Today the Supreme Court has refused to quash the domestic violence proceedings initiated by the divorced wife of Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale.  (Hemant Nagrale vs Pratima Nagrale)
  23. Today the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court stayed the summons issued by the Washim Sessions Court in Maharashtra against State minister Nawab Malik in a complaint filed by paternal brother of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) zonal director Sameer Wankhede.

Legal Prudent Fraternity