Wednesday, 21st February 2024

The Constitution is not a mere Lawyers Document, it is a Vehicle of Life, and its Spirit is always the Spirit of Age.

Notes: – UN predicts groundwater level in India will reduce to ‘low’ by 2025.’



Article – 366 Definitions

In this Constitution, unless the context otherwise requires, the following expressions have the meanings hereby respectively assigned to them, that is to say—

  1. Agricultural income” means agricultural income as defined for the purposes of the enactments relating to Indian income-tax.
  2. an Anglo-Indian” means a person whose father or any of whose other male progenitors in the male line is or was of European descent but who is domiciled within the territory of India and is or was born within such territory of parents habitually resident therein and not established there for temporary purposes only.
  3. article” means an article of this Constitution.
  4. borrow” includes the raising of money by the grant of annuities, and “loan” shall be construed accordingly.
  5. clause” means a clause of the article in which the expression occurs.
  6. Corporation tax” means any tax on income, so far as that tax is payable by companies and is a tax in the case of which the following conditions are fulfilled: —
    1. that it is not chargeable in respect of agricultural income.
    2. that no deduction in respect of the tax paid by companies is, by any enactments which may apply to the tax, authorised to be made from dividends payable by the companies to individuals.
    3. that no provision exists for taking the tax so paid into account in computing for the purposes of Indian income-tax the total income of individuals receiving such dividends, or in computing the Indian income-tax payable by, or refundable to, such individuals.
  7. Corresponding Province”, “corresponding Indian State” or “corresponding State” means in cases of doubt such Province, Indian State or State as may be determined by the President to be the corresponding Province, the corresponding Indian State or the corresponding State, as the case may be, for the particular purpose in question.
  8. debt” includes any liability in respect of any obligation to repay capital sums by way of annuities and any liability under any guarantee, and “debt charges” shall be construed accordingly.
  9. Estate duty” means a duty to be assessed on or by reference to the principal value, ascertained in accordance with such rules as may be prescribed by or under laws made by Parliament or the Legislature of a State relating to the duty, of all property passing upon death or deemed, under the provisions of the said laws, so to pass.
  10. Existing law” means any law, Ordinance, order, bye-law, rule or regulation passed or made before the commencement of this Constitution by any Legislature, authority or person having power to make such a law, Ordinance, order, bye-law, rule or regulation.
  11. Federal Court” means the Federal Court constituted under the Government of India Act, 1935.
  12. goods” includes all materials, commodities, and articles.
  13. guarantee” includes any obligation undertaken before the commencement of this Constitution to make payments in the event of the profits of an undertaking falling short of a specified amount.
  14. High Court” means any Court which is deemed for the purposes of this Constitution to be a High Court for any State and includes— (a) any Court in the territory of India constituted or reconstituted under this Constitution as a High Court, and (b) any other Court in the territory of India which may be declared by Parliament by law to be a High Court for all or any of the purposes of this Constitution.
  15. Indian State” means any territory which the Government of the Dominion of India recognised as such a State.
  16. Part” means a Part of this Constitution.
  17. pension” means a pension, whether contributory or not, of any kind whatsoever payable to or in respect of any person, and includes retired pay so payable; a gratuity so payable and any sum or sums so payable by way of the return, with or without interest thereon or any other addition thereto, of subscriptions to a provident fund.
  18. Proclamation of Emergency” means a Proclamation issued under clause (1) of article 352;
  19. Public notification” means a notification in the Gazette of India, or, as the case may be, the Official
  20. Gazette of a State.
  21. railway” does not include—
    1. a tramway wholly within a municipal area, or
    2. any other line of communication wholly situate in one State and declared by Parliament by law not to be a railway.
  22. Ruler” means the Prince, Chief or other person who, at any time before the commencement of the Constitution (Twenty-sixth Amendment) Act, 1971, was recognised by the President as the Ruler of an Indian State or any person who, at any time before such commencement, was recognised by the President as the successor of such Ruler.
  23. Schedule” means a Schedule to this Constitution.
  24. Scheduled Castes” means such castes, races or tribes or parts of or groups within such castes, races or tribes as are deemed under article 341 to be Scheduled Castes for the purposes of this Constitution.
  25. Scheduled Tribes” means such tribes or tribal communities or parts of or groups within such tribes or tribal communities as are deemed under article 342 to be Scheduled Tribes for the purposes of this Constitution.
  26. securities” includes stock.
  27. sub-clause” means a sub-clause of the clause in which the expression occurs.
  28. taxation” includes the imposition of any tax or impost, whether general or local or special, and “tax” shall be construed accordingly.
  29. tax on income” includes a tax in the nature of an excess profits tax.
    • (29A) “tax on the sale or purchase of goods” includes—
      1. a tax on the transfer, otherwise than in pursuance of a contract, of property in any goods for cash, deferred payment or other valuable consideration;
      2. a tax on the transfer of property in goods (whether as goods or in some other form) involved in the execution of a works contract;
      3. a tax on the delivery of goods on hirepurchase or any system of payment by instalments.
      4. a tax on the transfer of the right to use any goods for any purpose (whether or not for a specified period) for cash, deferred payment or other valuable consideration;
      5. a tax on the supply of goods by any unincorporated association or body of persons to a member thereof for cash, deferred payment or other valuable consideration;
      6. a tax on the supply, by way of or as part of any service or in any other manner whatsoever, of goods, being food or any other article for human consumption or any drink (whether or not intoxicating), where such supply or service, is for cash, deferred payment or other valuable consideration, and such transfer, delivery or supply of any goods shall be deemed to be a sale of those goods by the person making the transfer, delivery or supply and a purchase of those goods by the person to whom such transfer, delivery or supply is made;]
  30. Union territory” means any Union territory specified in the First Schedule and includes any other territory comprised within the territory of India but not specified in that Schedule.

Today’s Legal Updates: 

  1. On Wednesday, 21st February the Supreme Court acquitted an accused in the case of the nearly 42 years after the murder of a woman at Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur district. (Ram Singh vs State of Uttar Pradesh)
    • A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan noted that one of the co-accused had been acquitted by the trial court on the basis of same evidence.
    • the Court said, We are of the view that the appellant should be given the benefit of doubt as according to us, the prosecution could not prove his guilt beyond all reasonable doubt. Any lingering doubt about the involvement of an accused in the crime he is accused of committing, must weigh on the mind of the court and in such a situation, the benefit of doubt must be given to the accused.
    • the Court said, t is evident that there are glaring inconsistencies in the prosecution version which have been magnified by the absence of the testimony of the material witnesses and the ballistic report coupled with the non-recovery of the weapon of crime.
  2. Recently the Supreme Court said Police do not have the authority to recover money or act as a civil court for recovery of money after civil proceedings fail.  (Lalit Chaturvedi and ors vs State of Uttar Pradesh and anr)
    • A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta explained that there is a clear distinction between a breach of contract and criminal offences.
    • the Court observed, The police is to investigate the allegations which discloses a criminal act. Police does not have the power and authority to recover money or act as a civil court for recovery of money.
    • it stated, It is one thing to say that a case has been made out for trial and criminal proceedings should not be quashed, but another thing to say that a person must undergo a criminal trial despite the fact that no offence has been made out in the complaint.
    • it added, No details and particulars are mentioned … In this case entrustment is missing, in fact it is not even alleged. It is a case of sale of goods.
  3. On Wednesday, 21st February the Supreme Court stressed that it cannot ignore the concerns of the people who are opposed to reopening of Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper plant in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi. (Vedanta Limited v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors)
    • A bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra made it clear that it cannot be oblivious to the wider concerns of the voiceless people in Thoothukudi.
    • the CJI remarked, We have to protect the health of the people and welfare.. they were voiceless people. They all cannot come here. We cannot be oblivious to the wider concerns of the community … We also do not want to find fault with the High Court entirely because if Vedanta applies for renewal then they can look beyond closure and state of industry today. We cannot take a strict administrative law approach in this.
    • CJI Chandrachud said, If we go into this then we will supplant the jurisdiction of an expert. If we take upon ourselves and reject the High Court order and three year later we see that there is a leak then imagine the moral responsibility will be on us.
    • The CJI then remarked, But our country does not bar copper smelters.
    • Vaidyanathan replied, This court has held that economic interests will pay way for the environmental protection interests.
    • Vaidyanathan submitted, The question is can they be allowed again to do this. They were put to terms in 2013 as well.
  4. On Wednesday, 21st February Justice Subramonium Prasad of Delhi High Court recused from hearing a plea seeking directions to the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) to convene a general body meeting and discuss amending its rules to reserve at least two posts in the SCBA Executive Committee for women lawyers.
    • The matter will be heard by another bench on February 26.
    • the plea said, Given the lack of a reply, seeking the intervention of this Hon’ble Court becomes imperative to address the issue and advocate for the required modifications. The Petitioner seeks the Hon’ble Court’s kind intervention for a directing the Respondent to convene a General body Meeting to transact the agenda as requisitioned vide the Representation/Letter dated 14 th August 2023 signed by 270 members addressed to the President of the SCBA.
    • the petition added, Amending the Supreme Court Bar Association Rules are crucial to ensure women representation for fostering inclusivity and diversity within the association. This modification would create a more equitable and representative environment, allowing the perspectives and contributions of women to be better acknowledged and incorporated. It aligns with the constitutional principle of gender equality and promotes a fair and inclusive legal community, thereby enhancing the overall effectiveness and legitimacy of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
    • it was submitted, Moreover, the presence of women in decision-making bodies, such as the Supreme Court Bar Association, is fundamental to creating a workplace culture that actively promotes and prioritizes the prevention of sexual harassment. Adequate representation ensures that concerns specific to women in the legal profession are given due attention, fostering an atmosphere where all members feel secure and supported in their professional pursuits.
  5. On Wednesday, 21st February the Calcutta High Court asked the West Bengal government to submit on record whether it has given the names Sita and Akbar to the two lions brought to Siliguri’s Bengal Safari Park from Tripura.  (Vishwa Hindu Parishad vs State of West Bengal)
    • Single-judge Justice Saugata Bhattacharya said that it will have to consider hearing the petition filed by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) against the naming of the lions, only if the State has given such names.
    • Justice Bhattacharya said, If no names are given, then there is no point in considering this petition. But if names are given like this, we will have to intervene.
    • the Court questioned, How does it matter at all? May be it may be named out of affection. You might think it is slander but for some it would be out of affection. What is the difficulty if a lioness is named Sita?
    • Justice Bhattacharya observed, But don’t you find a lion at the foot of goddess Durga? Isn’t the lion worshipped by all of us during Durga Puja?
    • VHP counsel responded, No, we do not worship a lion. We only worship the goddess. There isn’t any mantra for worshipping a lion.
    • the judge clarified, But the lion is a part of the entire (Durga) Puja ceremony.
    • the counsel explained, To destroy the evil, animal power is needed and so we have lion at her (Durga’s) feet.
    • the court said, But can you imagine an image of Durga without a lion? Answer should be no.
    • the judge made it clear, It therefore, depends on the perception of the individual.
    • the counsel submitted, The zoo authorities in Tripura have told media that they haven’t named the two lions. But media reports clarify that the names were given by the West Bengal government. Now, the State says it hasn’t given any names. But media reports state that a male lion named Akbar is kept with a female lion Sita. This hurts the sentiments.
  6. On Wednesday, 21st February the Punjab and Haryana High Court refused to urgently list for hearing a matter related to the ongoing protest march of farmers to Delhi, a day after it adjourned the case to 29th February.  (Uday Pratap Singh v Union of India)
    • the division bench of Acting Chief Justice GS Sandhawalia and Justice Lapita Banerjee refused to make any urgent intervention to stop the farmers’ movement towards the national capital.
    • Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Satya Pal Jain and Haryana Advocate General Baldev Raj Mahajan on Wednesday morning made a mentioning for urgent listing of the matter as the farmers today resumed their march to Delhi to demand a minimum support price (MSP) for various crops.
    • Haryana government had informed that Court yesterday that sites have been identified in 18 districts for holding of peaceful agitation by the farmers. It said the protestors can apply for permission and the competent authority will decide the same in accordance with the law.
    • the data presented by the Punjab Police to the Court revealed that around 13,000 to 13,500 protestors would gather at Shambhu border, District Patiala during the day time. The same number would decrease to 11,000-11,500 during night time.
    • At Khanauri border in District Sangrur, around 4,500-4,600 would gather during day time and 3,700-3,900 during night time along with tractor-trollies and other vehicles, according to the Punjab Police.
    • Punjab government also submitted that necessary directions were issued to gazetted police officers on February 15 to prevent machines like JCBs from moving towards Patiala and Sangrur districts, and set up round-the-clock checkpoints on roads leading to these two districts.
  7. On Wednesday, 21st February the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs suspended from the Delhi legislative assembly told the Delhi High Court that the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is giving the issue a political colour by comparing it to the suspension of AAP MP Raghav Chadha from parliament.
    • Senior Advocates Jayant Mehta and Kirti Uppal appeared for some of the BJP MLAs before the High Court and said that even though it is being claimed that the suspension of BJP MLAs is not about party politics but about respect to be accorded to LG, AAP leaders were comparing the issue with Raghav Chadha’s suspension and saying why the BJP is disturbed when the same is being done to BJP legislators.
    • Mehta said, More disturbing is the fact that your lordship was told that it is not a political matter but politics is being done.
    • Justice Subramonium Prasad heard the matter and asked the MLAs to meet the speaker today.
    • the Court remarked, I am not interested in the nature of the meeting. I am not interested in what transpires in the meeting. I am only saying go and meet the speaker.
    • the plea filed by MLAs Om Prakash Sharma, Jitender Mahajan and Mohan Singh Bisht said, The suspension of the members is one of the punishments prescribed for the misconduct and contempt of the House. The Speaker on one hand had referred to the Privileges Committee for consideration however on the other hand by suspending the seven MLA awarded the sentence/punishment as prescribed for the misconduct.
  8. On Wednesday, 21st February the Central government has told the Karnataka High Court that X Corp (formerly Twitter) has no right to access review committee orders which confirmed the government’s decision to block content on the micro-blogging platform between 2021-22.
    • the government stated that A party aggrieved by the blocking orders has the option of seeking judicial review, and has no right to insist on access to the proceedings of the Review Committee. The appellant (X Corp), being an intermediary, certainly has no locus standi to seek access to the proceedings of the Review Committee.
    • the government added When there is a judgement that fully binds the appellant, it cannot seek indirectly challenge it by demanding access to Review Committee documents.
  9. On Wednesday, 21st February the Delhi High Court dismissed a defamation case against Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa for alleged statement made by him while arguing a case.  (Pankaj Oswal through his Constituted Attorney Sanjay Wali v Vikas Pahwa)
    • A division bench of Justices Rajiv Shakdher and Amit Bansal rejected the appeal filed against a single-judge ruling in favour of Pahwa.
    • the Court held, Therefore, in the given facts and circumstances, one would have to conclude that, since the alleged defamatory statement was made by the respondent, albeit orally, in the course of judicial proceedings held before the Sessions Court, it would be protected by the doctrine of absolute privilege, unless one were to hold that it had no reference to the subject proceedings.
    • The statement made by Pahwa (as claimed by Oswal) was, Plaintiff has used unparliamentary language and abused his mother during mediation proceedings.
    • the Court held, Therefore, in our view, the learned Single Judge was right in invoking the provisions of Order VII Rule 11 of the C.P.C. It is well-established, contrary to the submission made by Mr Gupta, that the Court can, sou motu, exercise this power without waiting for a formal application being filed by the defendant.
  10. Recently the Delhi High Court dismissed a plea to appoint an arbitrator to settle a 2006 dispute against Maruti Udyog Limited (now Maruti Suzuki Limited). (Arunima Automobiles v. Maruti Udyog Limited)
    • Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma termed the plea a sheer abuse of the court process and also found merit in Maruti’s contention that the plea was filed in the name of a partnership firm that had “already been dissolved” and “ceased to exist.”
    • the Court added before dismissing the petition, Apparently, the present petition is nothing but an abuse of the process of the court and a sheer attempt to prosecute the ex-facia deadwood or the time-barred claim.
    • the High Court said, before dismissing the petition, The bare perusal of the aforesaid findings made by the learned arbitrator makes it clear that the learned arbitrator has gone into all the material questions and has passed the detailed award dated 19.03.2022 … I consider that there is no substance in the contentions being taken by the petitioner. The partnership firm was earlier converted into a private limited company and the conversion itself is in violation of the terms of the MASS agreement dated 1st April 2004 and even thereafter, Arunima Automobiles Private Limited company filed a petition under Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 and followed the same for 15 years before the learned arbitrator and the present petition has been filed only after the learned arbitrator rejected all the claims of the petitioner.
  11. On Tuesday, 20th February the Calcutta High Court cautioned against making any unnecessary imputations in court against pregnant women prisoners in correctional homes or jails in West Bengal, which could affect their reputation and dignity.
    • Such women should not be subjected to any “secondary victimisation” through a court process, observed Justices Joymalya Bagchi and Gaurang Kanth.
    • the Court said, We would request all parties concerned, particularly counsel, not to divulge identity (of pregnant women prisoners) or other particular which may lead to lowering of dignity and respect of women. Whatever it may be, they are already victims. They may be in correctional homes for some crime but they are to be treated in a way they can be rehabilitated back in society.
    • the Court said, The extent of intrusion into her privacy will be commensurate with the necessities of her detention. If she wishes, there must be a voluntary agreement to a pregnancy test. We don’t propose unnecessary intrusions into privacy just because someone is a suspect and has been brought as an undertrial.
    • Justice Bagchi remarked, It is like saying ‘there are catcalls on the street, lock up the women’. We don’t propose such a  procedure. Don’t go for too excessive intrusive measures.
    • he said, Let all these not go up on social media at the instance of amicus. It cuts a very sorry figure. The judiciary is brought to ridicule.
    • the Court added, Having said that, constructive criticism of the State and judiciary is always welcome.
    • the Court said, We know the extent of what [work] you have done in prisons and we definitely intend to weigh in your experience and research. What we intend to say is let there be some degree of sobriety in the process of how we approach the problem.
    • the Court said, You have expressed a concern and we will look into the issue.
    • the Court said, In the course of the meeting, broad issues to be addressed may be enumerated and placed before us for independent consideration.
  12. Recently A public interest litigation (PIL) petition has been filed before the Bombay High Court challenging the appointments made to the Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC), which had favoured the introduction of Maratha reservations.  (Mrunal Dholepatil v. State of Maharashtra & Ors)
  13. Recently the Delhi High Court observed Educational instititions cannot be converted into political platforms for propagating party politics. (Swati Singh v JNU)
    • Justice C Hari Shankar observed that discipline among students in educational institutions is essential and there can be no compromise in that regard.
    • the Court said, While there can be no proscription against students engaging in political activities, they cannot be allowed to do so in a manner which would disrupt normal campus life, or the orderly conduct of affairs in the educational institution of which they are a part. Educational campuses cannot, particularly, be allowed to be converted into political platforms, to propagate party politics.
    • the judge added, There is no room, whatsoever, for sympathy in such cases.
    • the Court explained, If the student concerned is innocent, that, of course, would be just and fair; on the other hand, if the student is actually complicit in the allegations against her, or him, victory in a judicial battle harbours the pernicious possibility of her, or him, being emboldened to continue such activities.
    • the Court noted, This is the third case, in two weeks, in which I have had to interfere with the punishment awarded to students suspected of seriously disruptive activities only because the University, or institution, concerned has been casual about following the statutory protocol in proceeding against the allegedly erring student.
    • the Court said, In the present case, there have been several breaches of this procedure, not all of which can be explained away by asserting that the petitioner had not attended the enquiry despite three requests … The petitioner is, therefore, directed to be reinstated in the JNU and allotted a hostel for her accommodation.
    • The Court, however, clarified that JNU may proceed against the student, if it wished to, “strictly in accordance with law and in complete compliance with the provisions of Statues governing the JNU.”
  14. Recently the Delhi High Court lamented the sorry state of affairs in the constitutional courts of India, where poor labourers are forced to fight tooth and nail for justice.  (Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute v. Nishikesh Tyagi & Anr)
    • Justice Chandra Dhari Singh observed that a case involving a poor worker took more than two decades to decide, and that the delay left him in a state of profound uncertainty.
    • the Court noted, The timeless adage “justice delayed is justice denied” resonates strongly in the present case, where such a delay can only be interpreted as a failure of this Court to meet the rightful expectations of the economically disadvantaged. Even though various stakeholders in the country strive for instant justice, the same is yet to be achieved.
    • the Court observed while rejecting the contention that the hospital cannot be construed as an industry under the ID Act, The petitioner Hospital is a Government run entity and fully funded by the Ministry of Health and family welfare. Apart from the doctors rendering their services, there are other employees working in various capacities to ensure smooth functioning of the Hospital.
    • the Court noted, This inordinate delay underscores a reality which is disheartening and the judiciary’s efficacy in catering to the needs of the less privileged seems to have faltered and this Court firmly believes that it is high time that the Constitutional Courts of this Country should step up in giving speedy justice to the citizens. A swift and efficient justice is not only the fundamental right of the citizens of this country but also one of the cornerstones of a thriving democracy.
  15. Trinamool Congress leader Mahua Moitra has moved the Delhi High Court seeking directions to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to refrain from leaking sensitive and unverified information to media in relation to agency’s investigation against her for alleged violation of Foreign Exchange Maintenance Act, 1999 (FEMA).
    • Moitra’s writ petition is likely to be heard by Justice Subramonium Prasad on Thursday.
    • the plea alleged, Such leakage of information has hampered the process of the investigation and also violated the rights of the Petitioner such as privacy, dignity of the individual concerned as well as her right to fair investigation.
    • ED has acted against the procedure prescribed under the law by leaking “confidential, half- baked, speculative/unconfirmed information to the media in relation to the ongoing proceedings /investigation” compromising the investigation.

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