Today’s Legal Updates

Friday, 20th May 2022




Article – 321  Power to extend functions of Public Service Commissions.

An Act made by Parliament or, as the case may be, the Legislature of a State may provide for the exercise of additional functions by the Union Public Service Commission or the State Public Service Commission as respects the services of the Union or the State and also as respects the services of any local authority or other body corporate constituted by law or of any public institution.

Today’s Legal Updates :-

  1. On Friday the Supreme Court ordered that a District Judge should decide the maintainability of the civil suit in the Gyanvapi-Kashi Vishwanath dispute in which Hindus and Muslims have staked claim to worship at the disputed Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi.
    • A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant and PS Narasimha noted that an application by Muslim party under Order VII Rule 11 (challenging the maintainability of the suit) is pending before the civil court.
    • the Court ordered, Having regard to the sensitivity of this civil suit, this case before the civil judge Varanasi shall stand transferred and be heard by a senior and experienced judicial officer of UP Judicial services. Thus case transferred from Civil Judge (senior division), Varanasi to District Judge, Varanasi. The application filed by plaintiff under O7 R11 CPC shall be decided on priority by the District Judge on transfer of suit.
    • Our interim order dated May 17 shall continue to remain till Order 7 Rule 11 Application is decided and thereafter for 8 weeks so that parties aggrieved by district judge order can challenge the same.
    • Vaidyanathan appearing for the Hindu parties said, Today the SLP is infructuous since all three orders have been complied with. Religious character of the mosque has to be decided. The commission report has to be seen by the court.
    •  the Court suggested, Order 7 Rule 11 application had to be decided first. That has not been done. So to decide whether order of commission was lacking jurisdiction we have to get into Order 7 Rule 11 application outcome. Thats why we thought the application can be decided and our interim order can continue.
    • the bench remarked, In this this sensitive matter, the suit should be heard by a District Judge. A slightly more seasoned and mature hand (should) hear this. No aspersion on trial judge. He is part of our system. This will benefit all the parties.
    • Huzefa Ahmadi appearing for the appellant said,Till that application (Order VII Rule 11 application) is decided what will happen in the ground? You have to see how this case is being used for 4 or 5 mosques across the country. This will create public mischief which the Act wanted to avoid. taste of the pudding is in the eating. If today this is allowed, and tomorrow they say that another mosque was temple.
    • the bench remarked, The moment you say that framing of suit is barred under 1991 act then you are raking Order VII Rule 11 point. You are not arguing that application before the supreme court, but you say that commission was void ab initio. but the issue is to accept this argument, it is for us to comment on maintainability of the suit. Supreme Court cannot say suo motu it will decide maintainability of the suit. We have to follow due process of law.
    • the Court suggested, There is another way. You have challenged the appointment of commission. If you succeed under Order VII Rule 11, all comes to an end. If you fail in the application, we can post this SLP a little later after the vacation, so that in case you fail this appeal will be pending.
    • Justice Chandrachud remarked, Ascertainment of religious character is not barred under Section 3 of the 1991 Act. Suppose there is a Parsi temple and there is a cross in the corner of the area. Does the presence of Agyari make the cross Agyari or Agyari christian. This hybrid character is not unknown.
  2. On Friday Justice L Nageswara Rao said at a farewell event organised in his honour, Judges of the Supreme Court ought to have longer tenures than at present.
    • Judges who come here from High Courts get a time of 4 to 5 years as a judge here. Judges who have not seen how the Supreme Court functions, it takes them 2 years to understand and by that time you retire and then time to contribute to the march of law is a short period…My suggestion is judges who come to the Supreme Court should have minimum 7 to 8 years if not 10 years as a judgeship tenure. By the time I am comfortable with the Court, I am gone!
    • I was in theatre when in college. My cousin was a director and thereby a short role in [a] movie. That’s it. I did not want to become an actor. Lawyers act in court and judges also do. When there is heat we try to bring truce between the lawyers. Acting is a part of the profession.
    • Madras Bar Association was an important judgment by him. Not critiquing the government, but the power of High court was taken away and we created Tribunal system and of late we see weakening of the systems, and at that time he decided Madras Bar case. main force to structure tribunal system in this country which is a great contribution to tribunals in this country. He granted bail to Azam Khan in an innovative way to protect the liberty of an individual.
    •  Senior Advocate and Supreme Court Bar Association President Vikas Singh spoke of Justice Rao’s popularity at the Bar, The kind of reception Justice Nageswara Rao got in Ladies Bar room today is not something has been seen ever. They were all ecstatic and this kind of popularity amongst lady members would make other judges very envious.
  3. On Friday the Delhi High Court referred the matter for mediation Even as siblings of late L&L Partners Founding Partner Vijay Sondhi claimed the illegal apportionment of his 18.5% equity stake in the firm by the existing Partners.
  4. On Friday while hearing Umar Khalid’s bail appeal in the Delhi riots conspiracy case Justice  Siddharth Mridul of the Delhi High Court remarked that at its core, a revolution is violent and that is why the prefix ‘bloodless’ is used to refer to a peaceful revolution.
  5. A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court headed by Justice Siddharth Mridul, which has been hearing the bail application filed by Umar Khalid in the Delhi Riots case, will continue hearing the plea as a special bench from May 23, on a daily basis.
  6. On Thursday the Calcutta High Court ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the National Investigation Authority (NIA) to investigate the issue of forced religious conversion in West Bengal’s Malda District. (Smt Kalabati Mondal v. Union of India)
    • Since the NIA and the CBI are the party respondents to the instant proceeding, appropriate inputs may be given from their side as regards the allegations made in the writ petition.
    • A detailed chronology of events before and after receipt of complaints from the petitioners may also be set out by the SP.
    • The aforesaid allegations may not be directly in issue to the claim of the writ petitioners but appear vitally linked to the allegations of abduction and forcible conversion of the petitioners’ husbands.
  7. On Friday the Supreme Court orally remarked that the Places of Worship Act, 1991 does not bar the ascertainment of the religious character of a place of worship in what could be a crucial observation with regard to cases on the nature and character of religious structures in the country.
    • The remark was made by Justice DY Chandrachud during the hearing of the Gyanvapi-Kashi Vishwanath case, Ascertainment of religious character is not barred under Section 3 of the 1991 Act. Suppose there is a Parsi temple and there is a cross in the corner of the area. Does the presence of Agyari make the cross Agyari or Agyari Christian? This hybrid character is not unknown.
    • Senior Counsel Huzefa Ahmadi said, The religious character of the (Gyanvapi) Mosque as on August 15, 1947 is not in dispute.
    • the lawyer for Hindu parties retorted, It is strongly in dispute.
    • Ahmadi countered, You may think so. If this is entertained, then the 1991 Act may be only a dead letter. This is the controversy the Act wanted to avoid.
  8. Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana paid tribute to Justice L Nageswara Rao, It was remarkable that he gave up such a luring practice with VIP clients and took up judgeship. He has no godfather or support and is a first generation lawyer. Coming from a rural background and reaching the top level in the Supreme Court among the lawyers, and then a judge is remarkable.
    • Attorney General KK Venugopal said, This year seems to be a year of attrition. There are 8 judges retiring this year. We are losing an extremely good judge and a cricketer. Whenever the Bar played against judges, Justice Rao headed the opponent team.
    • Solicitor General Tushar Mehta added, When milord accepted the opportunity to be a judge, I lost the favourite senior whom I loved to brief. We all have learnt a lot on administration of justice and humanity from him.
    • Senior Advocates Pradeep Rai said, Justice Rao has been a judge for 2,200 days almost. We have seen you in the corridors and as a judge also. We never felt that you were not one among us. Your son-in-law is also a practicing lawyer. We have to find out something so that you are more with us. I know that you were more happy as a lawyer and you were missing the Bar as a judge.
    • Senior Advocates Aman Lekhi added, You had all the attributes of a perfect judge.
    • Senior Advocates Mukul Rohtagi said, This Bench looks like a Bench favoured towards Andhra. I wish you a prosperous innings in the future. I know you will not come to the Bar, but in arbitration, you will be in the middle.
    • CJI Ramana chimed in, recounting, We both started at same time, he from Guntur Bar Association and he from Vijayawada Bar Association…I am also going to demit soon, I am very emotional since we both come from the same place. He is going to be active in arbitration field. Justice Rao will be heading the Hyderabad International Arbitration Centre, so he will keep interacting with us.
    • Justice Rao thanked everyone for their appreciation, I am not very sure I deserve all these accolades. I had told then Justice Ranjan Gogoi that I still think as a lawyer, and Justice Gogoi had asked me to think the same way. I hope if I have lived up to the expectations. I hope I have been fair and apologise if I have been harsh. Sometimes pressure of work gets to us, since we are not monks. I have at times raised my voice to drown the voice of the lawyer. But one side has to win.
  9. On Friday A Delhi Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to give three days’ written notice to Member of Parliament Karti Chidambaram in the event that he is to be arrested in relation to the Chinese visa case. (Karti P Chidambaram v. CBI)
    • This court also feels that the above time of 48 hours for giving a written notice prior to arrest of the applicant, in case it is required so, is short and at least 3 working days time may be given to the applicant for having recourse to the legal remedies in case the CBI intends to arrest him in this case after his joining of the investigation (sic).
  10. The report submitted by the court-appointed Commission of Inquiry to probe the alleged encounter killing of four rape accused in Hyderabad in December 2019 has stated that the police deliberately fired at them with intent to cause their death.
    • the report said, All the 10 police officers – V Surender, K Narasimha Reddy, Shaik Lal Madhar, Mohammed Sirajuddin, Kocherla Ravi, K Venkateshwarulu, S Arvind Goud, D Janakiram, R Balu Rathod and D Srikanth, are to be tried for the offences under Section 302 read with 34 IPC, 201 read with 302 IPC and 34 IPC, as the above discussion would show that the different acts committed by each of them were done in furtherance of common intention to kill the deceased suspects.
    • the Commission stated in its report, The police were well aware about the school records of Jollu Shiva and Chennakeshavulu and yet have not recorded the age of the deceased persons according to the admission registers at any given point of time. Therefore, we are of the opinion that at the relevant time, Jollu Shiva, Jollu Naveen and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu were minors.
    • Main findings of Commission
      • Claim that deceased suspects assaulted policemen resulting in injuries was false.
      • The allegation of snatching pistols from policemen is artificial and unbelievable.
      • The evidence relating to snatching of weapons is best illustrated by the flip-flop evidence of CW-44, the leader of the police party.
      •  The deceased suspects were not familiar with firearms, thus would not be able to operate the pistol easily.
      • It would be highly improbable that they would fire towards the police party while running.
      • Cannot be said that the police party fired in self-defence or in a bid to re-arrest the deceased suspects.
      • There was a grave suspicion that the best evidence in respect of CCTV footages, video recording of inquest and crime scene was withheld from the Commission.
      • The suspects, at the time of arrest, were entitled to a number of constitutional and statutory rights that were violated by the police personnel.
      • There were also serious violations of law at the time of granting police custody by the Judicial Magistrate.
      • Three of the four accused were minors.
    • Some of the video footage of the scene of incident are produced before the Commission, which are not in seriatim and are very short clippings that appear to be sourced from a primary footage. There is no explanation by the State as to why the entire footage is not placed before the Commission.
  11. The Delhi Police has said that the tweet by Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair for which two First Information Reports (FIRs) were registered against him, does not constitute any cognisable offence.
  12. On Friday the Rajasthan High Court granted interim protection from arrest to Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in a case registered against him under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for promoting enmity between religious groups.
  13. On Friday the Chhattisgarh High Court granted a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty under Section 13 (1)(i) of the Hindu Marriage Act to a husband who alleged that his wife was leading an adulterous life.  (Pritam Lal Sahu vs Kalpana Sahu)
    • It was noted that after apparently reconciling their differences and deciding to co-habit with each other after a long hiatus, the couple lived together hardly for 24 days, but the wife was found to be pregnant for over 40 days.
    • the Bench held, It is, thus, apparent that after the alleged marriage, she had participated in sexual intercourse with some one else other than her husband, else she could not have carried such a pregnancy. It is true the husband didn’t opt for a DNA test and didn’t raise the contention in the proceedings filed by his wife seeking maintenance. But, merely on this ground, the material fact cannot be overlooked and it cannot be held that she was not leading an adulterous life, as held by the Family Court.
    • the Court ruled, True, it is, that the husband and his family have been acquitted, but it appears that no allegations as such were ever made by the wife prior to lodging of the alleged FIR in 2008, based upon which the husband was put in jail for some time. Levelling allegations after such a long time would have thus caused a mental cruelty upon him.
    • the bench held, Proof beyond reasonable doubt is not postulated where human relationship is involved and eye witnesses are difficult to obtain and thus direct evidence to prove adultery is not possible and has to be inferred from circumstances which exclude any presumption of innocence in favour of the person against whom it is alleged. In view thereof, it is evident that the wife had sexual intercourse with some one else other than her husband and he is, therefore, entitled to a decree for dissolution of marriage on the ground enumerated under Section 13 (1) (i) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
  14. On Friday the Supreme Court took on record the report submitted by the court appointed commission to probe the alleged encounter killing of four rape accused men in Hyderabad in December 2019.
  15. On Thursday the Gauhati High Court appointed fifteen lawyers as Senior Advocates.
    1. Kaushik Goswami
    2. Manabendra Nath
    3. Satyen Sarma
    4.  Pronab Jyoti Saikia
    5. Bhaskar Dutta
    6. Bornali Bhuyan
    7. Pradip Sen Deka
    8.  Jyotirmoy Roy
    9. Biswajyoti Talukdar
    10. Moinul Hoque Choudhury
    11. Prasanta Kumar Roy
    12. Parthiv Kumar Goswami
    13. Randeep Sharma
    14. Surajit Dutta
    15. Pran Bora
  16. On Wednesday the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a bail plea filed former Managing Director (MD) of National Stock Exchange (NSE), Chitra Ramkrishna, accused in the NSE co-location scam case.
  17. On Friday the Supreme Court allowed the resumption of iron ore mining and export in Karnataka, more than a decade after it restricted the same.
    • There needs to be a level playing field for coal mines in Bellary etc. On halting the unchecked excavation in Karnataka’s three mining areas, the situation has worked out well. But situation has now changed.
    • The Court further said, We permit to sell already excavated iron ore stock etc in the three Karnataka districts. Permission also granted to allocate iron ore by entering into direct contracts without resorting to e-auction.
  18. On Friday the Supreme Court granted additional time to the 3-member expert committee to submit its final report with regard to the Pegasus surveillance scandal.
    • the Court said in its order, 29 mobile devices are being examined. They have invited objections and the mobile devices are still being examined. Technical committee has seized 29 devices and examined some. Once the technical committee submits a report to supervisory judge, the judge will also add his comments. So we deem it fit to extend the time. We direct technical committee to expedite examination of devices.
  19. On Friday Congress leader and former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu has approached the Supreme Court seeking additional time to surrender after he was sentenced to one year in jail by the top court in a 1988 road rage case.  (Jaswinder Singh (Dead) through Legal Representative v. Navjot Singh Sidhu and Others)
  20. On Friday the Delhi High Court issued notice to Delhi Police in an appeal filed by Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) youth wing leader and Jamia student Meeran Haider challenging denial of bail in a case under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) related to Delhi Riots of 2020.

Legal Prudent Fraternity