Today’s Legal Updates

Tuesday, 22nd February 2022

Legal Awareness :- CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

PART III FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

Right against Exploitation

Article – 23 Prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour 

(1) Traffic in human beings and begar and other similar forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
(2) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from imposing compulsory service for public purposes, and in imposing such service the State shall not make any discrimination on grounds only of religion, race, caste or class or any of them.

Article – 24 Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.

No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.

Today’s Legal Updates :-

  1. A full-bench of the Karnataka High Court will continue hearing a batch of petitions filed by female Muslim students against the ban on wearing hijab by certain Karnataka colleges.
    • Today the Karnataka High Court was told by the State government that deeming wearing of hijab as an essential religious practice of Islam would compel Muslim women to wear a particular dress.
    • Advocate General (AG) Prabhuling Navadgi argued that if wearing of hijab becomes religious sanction by way of a Court order, Muslim women would become obligated to wear it including those who do not want to wear it, and the element of choice will go away.
    • the Court asked, “You meant to say if Court holds that it is an essential religious practice, then Muslim women who do not wear it, it might amount to lowering their dignity?” 
    • AG replied, “It hits at the liberty of that individual. The choice to wear what we want and choice not to wear what we do not want. Every woman of every faith has that choice. There cannot be religions sanction by way of judicial declaration,” 
    • AG Navadgi said, “If it is not obligatory it is not compulsory. What is not compulsory is not essential. Therefore, it does not fall within the realm of essential religious practice,”
    • “If their argument is accepted, then persons who do not wish to wear it would have fundamental right not to wear it. That means element of option is there…You cannot argue both Article 25 and Article 19(1)(a)…They are mutually destructive.”
    • Chief Justice Awasthi then asked, “Suppose if someone wants to wear it under Article 19(1)(a) and you are restraining it, then are you not restricting their fundamental right?”
    • Navadgi said, Reiterating that there is no hijab ban in the country, “The right to wear hijab under 19(1)(a) is subject to reasonable restrictions under 19(2). In our case, Rule 11 (of the Karnataka Education Rules) places reasonable restriction for institutional discipline.”
    • “It is only in the classroom and during class hours. It is uniformly applicable to all, irrespective of religion.”
    • Navadgi concluding his submissions, asked the Court whether in light of the Sabarimala verdicts and others, hijab can be accepted in schools on point of Constitutional morality.
    • Justice Dixit at this point said, “If in a Hindu marriage, we hold tying of mangalsutra is essential, it does not mean all Hindus in country should compulsorily wear mangalsutra. We declare legal position and leave it there.”
    • the AG said, “On 7 questions, matter has been referred to larger Bench. But the Sabarimala judgment is law as of today,” 
    • CJ Awasthi expressed concerns, saying “That is correct; but before us too, there are issues which would touch upon questions referred to larger bench in Sabarimala.”
    • Senior Advocate R Venkataramani, appearing for one of the teachers of the colleges was next to make arguments. He said, “As a teacher, I would love to have a free mind in the class. Any measure on the part of the State and the part of the school to bring in discipline – as long as there is neutrality – different spaces in the community need public order.”
    • On the arguments made on Article 25 and essential religious practice
    • Venkataramani said, “State should not enter into matters of what constitutes religion whatever is essential and not essential. State will come in when it collides with public order, morality or health.”
    • Senior Advocate SS Naganand appeared for a government pre-university college. He contended that the petitions- girl students did not wear the hijab previously, and that the parents of the girls had asked the teachers to ensure that the girls should not be involved in singing, dancing and such activities.
    • “I don’t know if they mean Muslim girls should not sing? If national anthem is sung, should they not sing? Is it against Islam? If they are taught devotional songs about country, mother India, should they not sing?” 
    • “Under Islam you have to pray. You can pray. But if you put a loudspeaker and play on high volume at 5 am, I can say I don’t want to be woken up in morning. So, if in practicing your religion you are coming in the way of other people’s peace, then where does the line lie?”
  2. Today the Delhi High Court has ordered for the blocking of 34 illegal streaming websites providing access to pirated movies and shows while acting on a plea of six international movie production giants, including Netflix and Disney.  (Universal City Studios LLC & Ors v. 123Movieshub.tc & Ors)
    • The suit was filed by production houses including Universal City Studios, Warner Bros Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, Netflix Studios, Paramount Pictures Corporation and Disney Enterprises.
    • They listed out the piracy of movies like Mulan, Lego Batman, Finding Nemo, Finding Dory, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, San Andreas and Joker and TV series like Mob Psycho, Friends, Stranger Things, Sacred Games, Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures and Arrow, to point out the “immense loss” caused to them.
    • These websites are anonymous in nature. The information provided in the public domain regarding the owners of the websites is inherently incorrect or protected behind the veil of secrecy and hidden behind private domain services offered by various domain name registrars,”
  3. Attorney General KK Venugopal granted sanction to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against YouTuber Ajeet Bharti for his alleged remarks against the Supreme Court of India in his videos posted on various social media platforms. The consent under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act was granted on a letter sent by a lawyer, Pratik Kumar.
    • “These statements are vulgar, vituperative, outrageous and gross and undoubtedly tend to lower the authority of the Supreme Court of India and would seriously undermine the confidence that the people have in the institution. I have already granted consent earlier for contempt to be initiated against him,” 
  4. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear tomorrow petition by school students against holding board exams for classes 10 and 12 via physical/ offline mode.  (Anubha Shrivastava Sahai vs Union of India)
  5. The hearing before the Supreme Court in the case relating to the Pegasus surveillance scandal was postponed to Friday, February 25, after Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta sought accommodation in view of another case slated to be heard tomorrow in which he is appearing.
  6. Today the Bombay High Court refused to urgently hear a plea filed by Indian Revenue Services (IRS) officer Sameer Wankhede challenging the revocation of his bar and restaurant licence.
    • Wankhede has now filed two separate petitions before the High Court seeking the following reliefs:
      • A civil petition filed through Advocate Vishal and Veena Thadani challenging the order of the District Collector revoking his bar license.
      • A criminal petition filed through Rizwan Merchant & Associates to quash the FIR registered by the Thane Police.
  7. Today A Residents of Kamathipura, neighbourhood in South Mumbai, have moved the Bombay High Court seeking to remove the references to the area in the film Gangubai Kathiawadi, starring Alia Bhatt.
    • The plea said that the reputation of the area has been lowered after the film’s trailer was released, since the movie makes wild, derogatory allegations by portraying the entire area as a red-light hub.
    • The petition filed by a lady resident on behalf of 55 other such residents of Kamathipura, has assailed the Censor Board’s decision to certify film.
    • The social impact the movie will cause is that all girl residents will be termed prostitutes, be teased and taunted, and families will have to live with lowered dignity.
  8. Today the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Union Ministries of Education, Law and Justice and Home Affairs in a plea demanding common curriculum for Madrasas and Vedic schools as per the Right to Education (RTE) Act.  (Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of Indian and Ors)
    • The plea has been filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and Supreme Court Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, who argued that Sections 1(4) and 1(5) of the RTE Act should be declared arbitrary and unconstitutional.
    • Both these sections, introduced to the Act in 2012, effectively provide that the provisions of the RTE Act will not apply to Madrasas, Vedic Pathshalas and educational institutions imparting religious instruction.
  9. Today the Delhi High court issued notice to the Delhi government on a petition challenging the decision of the government to install CCTV cameras in government schools.  (Delhi Parents Association and Anr v. Government of NCT Delhi and Ors)
    • The Delhi Parents Association and the Government School Teachers Association have approached the High Court expressing concerns about the privacy of students and preservation of their dignity under Article 21, in light of the Delhi government’s move.
    • It is claimed that the installation of CCTV cameras and consequent live-streaming of footage to unauthorised persons would infringe upon the students’ right to privacy.
    • The petition states that the Cabinet decision to install cameras and use the footage from any class is violative of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21.
  10. Today the Delhi High Court pulled up the Delhi Police for the slow progress of investigation into the death of 23-year-old Faizan, who was forced to sing the national anthem allegedly by some policemen during the Delhi riots of February 2020.  (Kismatun v State of NCT of Delhi Through Home Department and Ors)
  11. Today the Punjab and Haryana High Court expressed its displeasure at the Central government’s failure to enter appearance in the case pertaining to Haryana’s move to introduce 75 per cent reservation in private sector jobs to persons domiciled in the State. (Faridabad Industries Association vs State of Haryana and anr)
  12. Today A lawyer refused to apologise to the Gujarat High Court in a contempt of court case against him, arguing that he did not do anything wrong. (Suo Motu v. Brijesh Jasvantray Trivedi)
    •  the Court had said in its order, “Mr. BJ Trivedi, learned counsel for the applicant continued to make submissions seeking time to verify computation by raising his voice and when the court indicated that the matter is already disposed of, he started browbeating the Court, indulged into heated verbal spats, and the whole conduct was intemperate and unbecoming of a lawyer,”
    • No, Sir I am not going to apologise with utmost respect to the Hon’ble Bench. I will not say sorry, because I have not done (anything),
    • We do hope and trust by that time, further wisdom would have dawned upon the contemnor and he may retrace his steps and give a quietus to the present proceedings which would requires not be carried in the best interest of the institution and the lawyers fraternity,
  13. Today the Karnataka High Court directed the State government to fill all the vacant posts of Public Prosecutors within a period of 3 months.  (High Court of Karnataka v. The State of Karnataka)
  14. Today the Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra Police not to take any coercive steps against IRS officer Sameer Wankhede till February 28 in the case registered against him for fraudulently obtaining a bar licence.
    • “Since the other Bench is not available for hearing this matter which pertains to that Court, it was mentioned before this Court. Heard the parties without entering into merits of the case submitted by both parties. Registry may place the matter before regular Bench on February 28, 2022. In light of the peculiar facts and circumstances for the limited period, after appearance before the police, the officer can proceed under Section 41A (1) and (2) of the CrPC. However till the next date, the officer shall not invoke subsection (3) and (4) of 41A. This limited relief is till the next date. In the event of urgency, both parties are at liberty to move the Court.”
  15. Today the Kerala lawyers organised protest meets near the Kerala High Court and the Ernakulam District Courts after the Kerala Police issued notice to Senior Advocate B Raman Pillai, who represents Malayalam actor Dileep, in a case of alleged witness tampering.
    • On February 14, the Crime Branch issued a notice under Section 160 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to the Senior Advocate notifying him to be prepared to give a statement in a crime related to witness tampering in the 2017 actress sexual assault case.
    • Pillai has replied to the State Police and stated that since he is the lawyer defending an accused in a case, any request to share any information that may have any bearing on the case is illegal. This particularly applies to communications with his client which is protected by Section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act.
  16. Today A Delhi court agreed to hear a plea challenging the decision of a civil court dismissing a suit seeking restoration of Hindu and Jain temples at the Qutub Minar complex in the capital.  (Jitender Singh v. Union of India & Ors)
  17. The Supreme Court has held that pharmaceutical companies gifting freebies to doctors is clearly prohibited by law and it cannot, therefore, be claimed as a deduction under Section 37(1) of the Income Tax Act.  (Apex Laboratories Pvt Ltd vs Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax)
  18. Today the Special Court under National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act rejected bail applications of four accused in the Bhima Koregaon case of 2018 relying upon a letter written by the accused which mentioned about ending the Modi-raj in the country.
    • The accused – three alleged Kabir Kala Manch members Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap, and Associate Professor Hany Babu – had been arrested for offences of sedition, criminal conspiracy, amongst other sections under the Indian Penal Code and offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
    • “Modi led Hindu fascist regime is bulldozing its way into the lives of indigenous Adivasis. In spite of big defeats like Bihar and West Bengal, Modi has successfully established BJP Govt in more than 15 states. If this pace continues, then it would mean immense trouble for the party on all fronts. Greater suppression of dissent and more brutal form of Mission 2016. Com. Kisan and few other senior comrades have proposed concrete steps to end Modi­raj. We are thinking along the lines of another Rajiv Gandhi type incident. It sounds suicidal and there is a good chance that we might fall but we feel that the party PB/CC must deliberate over our proposal. Targeting his road shows could be an effective strategy. We collectively believe that survival of the party is supreme to all sacrifices.”
  19. Actor Chetan Kumar has been detained by the Bengaluru Police for tweeting about Justice Krishna Dixit, one of the Karnataka High Court judges hearing the hijab ban matter, Sources say that the police had advised the public not to make provocative statements about the hijab hearing. The police took notice of Kumar’s tweet dated February 16 where he questioned Justice Dixit of the High Court.
    • In that case, the judge had granted bail to a rape accused after noting that the victim’s explanation that she was tired and had fallen asleep after the sexual assault is “unbecoming of an Indian woman; that is not the way our women react when they are ravished.”
    • In a statement issued to the public, Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said that Chetan has been booked under Section 505(2) [intent to incite a class or community to commit offence against another class or community] and Section 504 [intentionally insulting, thereby giving provocation to any person to break public peace] of the Indian Penal Code. The Commissioner also revealed that a decision on arresting Kumar will be taken after questioning.
  20. Today the Bombay High Court remarked that certain orders issued by the former Chief Secretary of Maharashtra restricting persons not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 from travelling in public transport abrogated their fundamental rights.  (Feroze Mithiborwala v. State of Maharashtra & Ors)
  21. Today the Supreme Court granted a final opportunity to the Nagaland government to report on how it proposes to implement the proposed 33 per cent reservation for women in local bodies.  (Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) v. State of Nagaland and Others)
  22. Yesterday the Supreme Court set aside an order of the Jharkhand High Court granting bail in a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act case citing a “love affair” between the accused and the prosecutrix. (X (Minor) v. State of Jharkhand)
  23. A 16-year-old girl who was kidnapped and trafficked to Bangladesh was rescued after timely intervention by the Calcutta High Court. (Iti Pandit v. Union of India)
    • The girl who was taken to Rangpur in Bangladesh, was recovered and brought to India and reunited with her parents, prompting the High Court to stress the importance of the powers of Constitutional courts under Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution.
    • the Court said, “The writ jurisdiction of the Constitutional Courts, under Article 32 and Article 226 forms the lifeblood of the Constitution as it effectuates and enforces the Fundamental Rights of citizens, in the absence of which, the existence of those rights would be in vain. The acknowledgement of this power and responsibility was further solidified by the inclusion of these provisions under the Basic Structure of the Constitution as per L Chandra Kumar vs. Union of India,” 
    • “This Court would also like to record its appreciation and gratitude towards the efforts put in by the High Commission of India at Dhaka and High Commission of Bangladesh at Kolkata in helping with the recovery of the victim girl,”
    • “More importantly, the writ jurisdiction of the High Courts being wider than that of the Supreme Court places on its shoulders added responsibilities under the constitutional scheme. This Court under Article 226 is thus bound by an indispensable duty to exercise all the powers vested on itto ensure the exercise of all possible efforts to protect the Fundamental Rights of citizens,” 
    •  the judge said, “This Court hopes that this will set a precedent for future cases where Courts or other authorities feel helpless and tied down by such similar difficulties. In the words of two famous people, ‘It always seems impossible until its done,’, and ‘Perseverance is not a long race: it is many short races one after the other’,”

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