Tuesday, 21st November 2023

Legal Awareness: – CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

Part – XVI SPECIAL PROVISIONS RELATING TO CERTAIN CLASSES

Article – 331 Representation of the Anglo-Indian Community in the House of the People.

Notwithstanding anything in article 81, the President may, if he is of opinion that the Anglo-Indian community is not adequately represented in the House of the People, nominate not more than two members of that community to the House of the People.

Today’s Legal Updates: 

  1. On Tuesday the Supreme Court pulled up the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government in Delhi for failing to provide funds for the Regional Rapid Transport System (RRTS) projects in the Alwar and Panipat corridors, despite a recent undertaking to do so in July this year.
    • A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia proceeded to order a transfer of funds meant for advertising by the government to these RRTS projects.
    • the Court ordered, The advertising funds for the last three years had been called for. It was ₹1,100 crores for the last 3 years and ₹ 550 crores for this year. We would have been inclined to transfer those funds. However on last date, Dr. Singhvi had assured that the funds would be made available. We are thus constrained to direct that the funds allocated for advertising be allocated for this project. At the request of the Delhi government counsel, however, we keep this order in abeyance for one week. If the funds are not transferred the order will come into effect.
    • the bench further observed, If this is only way that States will co-operate, then we have to do this. You didn’t even seek an extension. You cannot take court for granted.
    • the Court warned the Delhi government before passing its order, We will (have to) stay and attach your advertising budget (if you do not give funds for the RRTS project).
  2. Recently the Madras High Court directed four private medical colleges in Puducherry and the Union Territory (UT)’s Centralised Admission Committee (CENTAC) to pay a compensation of ₹15 lakh each to 16 doctors who were illegally denied post graduate seats during the 2017-18 medical admissions scam.
    • A bench of Justices R Subramanian and R Kalaimathi also upheld the order passed by Justice N Anand Venkatesh in October 2020, holding the admission of 64 PG medical students in the said four colleges during the academic year of 2017-18 was illegal.
    • The Medical Council of India had subsequently cancelled the admissions of several students and directed the private colleges to “discharge such students,” who had been admitted illegally.
    • In October 2020, Justice Venkatesh dismissed the petitions filed by 64 such students, who had challenged their discharge orders and claimed that because of the interim reliefs secured during the pendency of their pleas, they had already completed their post graduate degrees.
    • it directed the four private colleges, Arupadai Veedu Medical College, Vinayaka Mission Medical College, Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Manakula Vinayakar Medical College and Hospital, Venkateswara Medical College and Hospital to pay ₹10 lakh to each of the 16 students and the CENTAC to pay ₹5 lakh to each of such students since, “the CENTAC and the Health Department of Government of Puducherry were in active connivance with the Colleges and have helped them to great extent to implement their scheme to make illegal admissions.”
    • the High Court said, The tabular column drawn out by Hon’ble Mr. Justice N Anand Venkatesh, would show how these admissions are illegal. Once it is found that the admissions are illegal, the fact that the students were allowed either to continue the Course or to appear for examinations does not matter. In the case on hand each and every one of the appellants viz. the students have filed affidavits undertaking that they will not claim equity while securing the interim orders. We are therefore not enamoured by the argument based on sympathy.
  3. On Tuesday the Judicial Magistrate First Class Lenin Das stationed at Tirur as a temporary magistrate, has been transferred to Kannur following allegations that he has a history of using derogatory language against lawyers.
    • The move to transfer judge Das comes close on the heels of a letter sent by the Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association (KHCAA) to the Chief Justice AJ Desai of the Kerala High Court, calling for action against the magistrate.
    • the letter stated, Such conduct is antithetical to the expected standards of a judicial officer and raises serious concerns about the sanctity of the legal system.
    • the letter said, The esteemed duties of a judicial officer should be entrusted only to qualified professionals capable of upholding the dignity and decorum expected within our courtrooms.
  4. On Tuesday C Alagappan, the prime accused in the cheating case registered by the Tamil Nadu police following a complaint by actor and former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Gautami Tadimalla, has approached the Madras High Court seeking anticipatory bail in the case.
    • The plea was taken up for hearing on Monday, November 20 by Justice CV Karthikeyan who directed Alagappan to submit a written statement explaining how original property documents belonging to Gautami came to be in his possession.
    • The Court will hear the plea further on November 27. Advocate Renjith Marar appeared for the accused.
  5. On Monday the Calcutta High Court pulled up the Kolkata Police for denying permission for a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rally at Kolkata twice without any apparent reason and by way of computer-generated responses. (Jagannath Chattopadhyay vs State of West Bengal)
    • Justice Rajasekhar Mantha took critical note that auto-generated emails that were sent to the BJP General Secretary, Jagannath Chattopadhyay (petitioner), to deny permission for the rally’s conduct had stated that he did not apply for permission within time.
    • the judge said, There is clear non-application of mind on the part of the authorities. It also appears that the authorities have a pre-decided computer fed negation to any request from the petitioners. This cannot be accepted in law.
    • the Court observed, This Court is unable to appreciate as to why a mechanical computer generated reply in this form is given by the authorities despite the applications having been made within two weeks before the proposed date of the rally. Such two weeks’ notice as a requirement has been confirmed by the official of the State present in Court.
  6. Recently the Telangana High Court held that the licence granted to run a hotel or restaurant does not confer any right on them to also establish a place for smoking or run hookah centres. [Waheed Uddin Ahmed Ansari V. Prl  Secy  Home Dept And 2 Ors)
    • Justice CV Bhaskar Reddy also noted that the Hookah Centres under law are prohibited from serving any tobacco to minors.
    • The Court also said that pictorial health-warning labels must be displayed at the entrance. The Police would be at liberty to supervise and inspect the Hookah Centres for any violation of rules and regulations.
    • Justice Reddy said, Subject to fulfilling the above conditions and also the provisions of COTP Act, the respondents-police are directed not to interfere with the business activity of the petitioners for running Hookah Centres.
    • it added, The petitioners shall follow rules and regulations issued by the Commissioner of Police from time to time for preservation of the public order.
    • The Court passed the order while rejecting the argument that the licence obtained to run the hotel or restaurant allows such places to run hookah centres also.
    • However, after looking into the provisions of the Hyderabad City Police Act, the Court said permission from the concerned authority would be required to establish the hookah centres.
  7. On Monday the Uttarakhand High Court sought responses from the State government and Central government within 48 hours regarding the current operation and actions taken to rescue 41 workers trapped inside the partially collapsed Silkyara tunnel in Uttarkashi district.
    • A bench of Acting Chief Justice Manoj Kumari Tiwari and Justice Pankaj Purohit passed the order on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by non-governmental organization (NGO) Samadhan.
    • the Court noted, Learned Chief Standing Counsel is directed to apprise the Court about the progress made in the relief and rescue operation on the next date of listing.
    • The Court also issued notice to the secretary of disaster management, the public works department, the central government, and the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation.
  8. Advocate Saiby Jose Kidangoor has been reinstated as the president of the Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association (KHCAA) nine months after he resigned from the post.
    • A unanimous decision in this regard was taken by the executive committee of the KHCAA on Tuesday after the High Court was informed that the State would be dropping the charges against him in an alleged bribery scam.
  9. On Tuesday the Central government has told the Delhi High Court that it has legislative competence to regulate online games and that changes have been made to the Information Technology Rules (IT Rules) to protect the youth across the country.  (Social Organisation for Creating Humanity v. Union of India)
    • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) said that the IT Rules, as amended on April 6, 2023, requires online gaming intermediaries to undertake the same due diligence procedures across India.
    • the affidavit submitted by MEITY stated, Such due diligence and the prescribed verification processes shall serve as necessarу safeguard to protect vulnerable youths and children across the country and at the same time regulate the online gaming industry and offer online games in a responsible manner.
    • There is no specific reference to the word ‘Online Gaming’ in the Constitution. However, it is an indisputable fact that online gaming is virtual, boundaryless and part of the internet ecosystem…therefore, Entry 31 and Entry 97 (residual entries) of the Union List allow the Central Government to legislate on matters pertaining to online gaming.
    • The affidavit was filed in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by a Noida-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) named Social Organisation for Creating Humanity (SOCH) challenging the constitutional validity of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023 (IT Amendment Rules) insofar as they relate to regulation of online gaming.
    • Further, the provisions for appeal on grievance redressal relating to online games are also provided by the Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC).
  10. On Tuesday the Supreme Court threatened to impose costs of ₹1 crore per false claim made in each advertisement for Patanjali Ayurved products that claim to cure diseases.  (Indian Medical Association and anr v. Union of India and ors)
    • A Bench of Justices Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Prashant Kumar Mishra stressed that the issue could not be reduced to a debate between allopathy/modern medicine and Ayurvedic products.
    • Justice Amanullah remarked, All false and misleading advertisements of Patanjali Ayurved have to stop immediately. This Court will take such infractions very seriously, and will consider imposing costs of up to ₹1 crore on every product regarding which a false claim is made that it can cure a particular disease.
    • The Court pulled up the company owned by Baba Ramdev for its continued advertisements that had made false claims against evidence-based medicine.
    • Patanjali Ayurved to not publish such advertisements in the future and also avoid make such claims to the media, as ultimately a solution was needed regarding misleading medical advertisements.
  11. On Tuesday the Delhi High Court remarked that there is a serious space crunch in the capital’s courts, despite which the Delhi government is not providing any funds to address the issue.
    • Acting Chief Justice (ACJ) Manmohan remarked, By next year, 100 magistrates will be ready and we have no space to accommodate them. We do not have any funds or space to get new courtrooms. There is not an inch of space in any district court. Delhi government is not providing any money or space. We are trying very hard, they [Delhi government] are not releasing funds.
    • Projects are stuck, there is no money from the state. They are saying we have no money. No proposal is getting sanctioned. Nothing is in the pipeline. We are trying very hard…There is no space in Patiala House Court, there is no space in Rouse Avenue. It is a very serious situation. If they will give us the funds, we will build a building.
    • ACJ Manmohan also remarked that, Go to Patiala House and tell me if there is any space. Go anywhere. If you find some space, I will depute some magistrate and judges there.
  12. On Tuesday the Supreme Court issued notice in a writ petition challenging the exclusion of adults with specific learning disabilities (SLDs) from receiving certificates of disability for benefits under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act.
    • A Bench of Justices Aravind Kumar and Augustine George Masih sought the response of the Central government.
    • The plea has been filed by a final-year PhD student at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, who also happens to be an adult with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyslexia and dysgraphia.
    • The petitioner emphasized that the Constitution of India assures him a life of dignity and equal opportunity, with the RPwD Act reinforcing these guarantees through tangible rights, protections and privileges such as reasonable accommodation, reservation and inclusive education.
    • The guidelines framed by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment under Section 56 of the RPwD Act outline the assessment for specified disabilities, including SLDs. This assessment is deemed essential for obtaining a certificate of disability, which in turn ensures entitlement to privileges under Chapter VI of the RPwD Act.
    • the petitioner claimed that in response to applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the respondents stated that no tool has been prescribed to screen and diagnose adults with SLDs for the purpose of certification under the RPwD Act.
    • The petitioner asserted that tools for assessing SLDs in adults are, in fact, available.
    • he contended violation of his fundamental rights under Articles 14, 16, 19, and 21 of the Constitution.
  13. On Monday the Supreme Court held in order to prove that a will is genuine and where its attesting witnesses are not found, it is not enough to merely examine a random witness who claims that he saw the attesting witness sign the will. (Moturu Nalini Kanth vs Gainedi Kaliprasad)
    • the bench of Justices CT Ravikumar and Sanjay Kumar underscored that Section 69 of the Indian Evidence Act should be strictly complied with.
    • the Court explained, For the purposes of Section 69 of the Evidence Act, it is not enough to merely examine a random witness who asserts that he saw the attesting witness affix his signature in the Will. The very purpose and objective of insisting upon examination of at least one attesting witness to the Will would be entirely lost if such requirement is whittled down to just having a stray witness depose that he saw the attesting witness sign the Will.
    • the Court added, The contention that Section 69 of the Evidence Act does not require actual proof of the handwriting of at least one attesting witness and proof of the signature of the executant being in that person’s handwriting cannot be accepted.
    • the Supreme Court said, We find that there is no convincing evidence of that ‘act’ also in the case on hand. Interestingly, there are no pictures of the actual ‘giving and taking’ of the child in adoption.
    • he Court further noted, It is difficult to believe that a woman of such advanced years would willingly take on the responsibility of caring for an infant at that age.
  14. Recently the Delhi High Court directed the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) to take appropriate action against a lawyer who has been accused of creating a fake order of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB). (Court On Its Own Motion v. Vicky Aggarwal and Ors)
    • The direction was passed by a division bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Shalinder Kaur while disposing of the suo motu contempt proceedings initiated by the High Court after a “manufactured” IPAB order was placed before it.
    • he Court’s order said, We hereby direct the Bar Council of Delhi to take appropriate action, as per law against the said Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal, Advocate, if, he is found guilty of manufacturing the order dated 02.03.2016 purported to be by IPAB.
    • The IPAB order had been placed before the High Court by the defendants during the hearing of a trademark suit. A vigilance inquiry had found that the said order did not exist, leading a single judge to refer the matter to the Chief Justice for the initiation of contempt proceedings in the matter.
    • the Court accepted the respondents’ apology and discharged them from the contempt proceedings, while directing the Bar Council of Delhi to take action against the accused lawyer if he is found guilty.
  15. Recently the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh observed that though investigating agencies are entitled to seize passports during a criminal investigation, they have no power to impound or retain the same in their custody.  (Madhu Bakshi V/S Anti-Corruption Bureau Kashmir)
    • Justice Sanjay Dhar pointed out that only the Passport Authority can impound or retain passports under Section 10(3) of the Passport Act, as laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Suresh Nanda vs. Central Bureau of Investigation.
    • Justice Dhar explained, If the police seizes a passport, which it has power to do under Section 102 of Cr. P.C, the same must be sent to the Passport Authority clearly stating that the seized passport deserves to be impounded for one of the reasons mentioned in Section 10(3) of the Passports Act, whereafter the Passport Authority would decide whether or not to impound the passport.
    • The High Court noted that the investigating agency did not forward the passports of the accused to the Passport authority after their seizure for impounding them.
    • The Court was also told that the CBI would abide by any orders issued by the High Court and that they would not object to the petitions by the accused for the release of the passport.
    • the Court allowed the petitions and directed release of the passports of the two accused.
  16. On Monday Justice Bibek Chaudhuri of the Calcutta High Court said during the 1975 emergency, at least 16 judges of different High Courts were transferred in one go and now after 48 years (since the emergency) 24 judges have been transferred in one go by the Collegium.
    • Justice Chaudhuri has been transferred to the Patna High Court and a notification to this effect was issued by the Central government on November 13. This was in pursuance to a recommendation by the Supreme Court Collegium on August 11.
    • Justice Chaudhuri said, Our Chief Justice (TS Sivagnanam) always tells me that I am an outspoken judge. So, when this is the last meeting with you, I must say that during the 1975 emergency, 16 judges of different High Courts were transferred in one go. After almost 48 years, now 24 judges have been transferred by the Collegium in one go. Therefore, I am one of the beginners of the change of shifting of power from the hands of the executive to the hands of the judiciary.
    • Justice Chaudhuri said, The government decision also mandated that one third of the judges of each High Court must be from outside. I think by our transfer this is the beginning of the introduction and implementation of that policy.
    • It (not discharging duties for several days) might not have happened if I and all the transferred judges had the opportunity to work in their parent High Courts.
    • Justice Chaudhari said, My association with the High Court started with Chief Justice Jay Narayan Patel. I have worked under 11 Chief Justices. Although I saw that these Chief Justices, in their administrative and transfer committee, inducted senior-most judge elevated from the service as a member. However, when my turn came during the tenure of Chief Justice Prakash Srivastava, the long standing custom was neglected and denied to be followed.
    • Justice Chaudhuri further said, I am not anchored (to) any post and I worked as per the directions of the Chief Justice but it is a matter of recognition of our long service of 32 years for the cause of the justice delivery system.
    • the judge said, So I can say I have tried to deliver justice to the citizens.
  17. On Tuesday the Andhra Pradesh government has moved Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Andhra Pradesh High Court to grant bail to former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu in the skill development program scam case.
    • The government has contended that the High Court delved deep into facts of the case and rendered findings that were not only factually incorrect but which are also likely to prejudice the trial against Naidu.
    • the State government added in its appeal, It is pertinent to note that the practice of detailed elaboration of evidence in bail orders has been repeatedly deprecated by this Hon’ble Court.
    • The appeal further stated that the High Court “while professing not to conduct a mini-trial” ended up conducting “a trial of the allegations, the veracity of the contentions, the reliability of the documents placed by the Prosecution Agency and the evidence-worthiness of the same while seeking to rule on the plausibility of the allegations at the stage of grant of bail.”
  18. On Monday the Supreme Court said that economic offences like money laundering have become a real threat to the country’s financial system with the advancements in technology including Artificial Intelligence.  (Tarun Kumar v. Assistant Director Directorate of Enforcement)
    • A bench of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Bela M Trivedi added that it has become a great challenge for investigating agencies to detect and comprehend the intricate nature of transactions and the role of the persons involved in them.
    • the top court said, Lot of minute exercise is expected to be undertaken by the Investigating Agency to see that no innocent person is wrongly booked and that no culprit escapes from the clutches of the law.
    • the Court remarked, Undoubtedly, economic offences have serious repercussions on the development of the country as a whole.
    • the Court said, Article 14 is not meant to perpetuate the illegality or irregularity. If there has been a benefit or advantage conferred on one or a set of people by any authority or by the court, without legal basis or justification, other persons could not claim as a matter of right the benefit on the basis of such wrong decision.
    • the Court concluded, Of course, such discharge of burden could be on the probabilities, nonetheless in the instant case there being sufficient material on record adduced by the respondent showing the thick involvement of the appellant in the alleged offence of money laundering under Section 3 of the said Act, the Court is not inclined to grant bail to the appellant.
  19. On Tuesday the Delhi High Court told online news portal The Wire that there should be some basis for its report casting aspersions on Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar in relation to the land acquisition by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for the Dwarka Expressway project.
    • Justice Sachin Datta said that there must be some semblance of truth in the allegations made in the article.
    • the Court remarked, Show me the basis. What is the material on which you made these allegations? Today, I need to see what is the balance of convenience. Show me that there is a semblance of truth in your allegation. As a member of the press, there is no law against sensationalism? You can indulge in exaggeration? There must be some semblance of truth.
    • Senior Advocate Maninder Singh argued for Kumar and said You build a connection in your dream and then you concoct everything. The article was published so that social media gets active to target my reputation. I am not a political person… He [Kumar] was instrumental in getting these inquiries in the excise policy done and the Supreme Court has now said that there seems to be at least ₹350 crore bribe which the ED has been able to show in the excise scam. I do not want to say anything but this seems to be one of the foundations for the article.
    • he argued, I was the one who sought investigation in the matter. The award has already been set aside. The concerned District Magistrate (DM) was first transferred to Andaman and then suspended.
    • If such order [injunction order by the Court] is passed, how will I question the civil servants and governments? I am not responsible for retweets on my article. They [Kumar] have not sought any action against them.
    • Justice Datta remarked that there has to be some basis for the allegations made in the article.

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