Today’s Legal Updates

Friday, 24th March 2023

Legal Awareness: – CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

Part – Vl THE STATES

CHAPTER- V THE HIGH COURTS IN THE STATES

Article – 219 Oath or affirmation by Judges of High Courts.

Every person appointed to be a Judge of a High Court shall, before he enters upon his office, make and subscribe before the Governor of the State, or some person appointed in that behalf by him, an oath or affirmation according to the form set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule.

Today’s Legal Updates: 

  1. On Friday the Central government cleared the appointment of new Chief Justices to Allahabad, Chhattisgarh and Patna High Courts.
    • Justice Pritinker Diwaker for Allahabad High Court;
    • Justice Ramesh Sinha for Chhattisgarh High Court;
    • Justice Vinod Chandran for Patna High Court.
  2. On Friday the Delhi High Court suspended the sentence of a man convicted for raping a minor after noting that the prosecutrix had eloped with the accused out of her own free will and misrepresented her age to him.
    • Justice Jasmeet Singh granted bail to one Babloo observing that in the present case, the facts are peculiar since the prosecutrix was 17 years and four months old when she eloped with Babloo and the two then had a child together.
    • Justice Singh said, These are factums which persuade me to suspend the sentence of the appellant even though the appellant has not undergone 50% of the awarded sentence.
    • The appellant will not interfere in the life of the prosecutrix and the minor child until and unless the prosecutrix so desires and permits… The appellant shall try and contribute some amount towards the upbringing of the minor child.
  3. On Friday the Bombay High Court reproached model-celebrity Rakhi Sawant for publishing explicit videos of another model who later filed a defamation and outraging of modesty case against Sawant.
    • Single-judge Justice Anuja Prabhudessai questioned Sawant’s conduct and asked her to maintain some “ethical standards” against another woman. 
    • Sawant stands accused of offences under Sections 354(A) (outraging modesty of a woman), 500 (defamation), 504 (criminal intimidation), 509 (intent of provoking breach) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) along with Section 67(A) of the Information and Technology Act (IT Act).
    • the Court remarked, Why should you indulge in such acts like showing obscene videos in media? That too involving another woman. Some ethical standards, some standards have to be maintained.
    • the judge enquired, She showed the video but will that amount to transmitting or forwarded? How did it cause to be transmitted? Did she forward the video to the media persons? Did she say publish it? Otherwise also the punishment under this section is only of five years and she has already handed over the phone. What more can be done? How will police investigate defamation? The FIR does not say so that the media has circulated all this. The FIR says that the video is already available. It was on YouTube.
    • the Court said, Whatever is the video in the media, where this obscene video is displayed, that video needs to be deleted. Not only the interview, but also the obscene video which was shown in the conference, that needs to be deleted.
  4. On Friday the Rouse Avenue court Delhi ordered the Delhi Police to investigate whether or not Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot actually said that union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat is an accused in the Sanjeevani scam.
    • Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Harjeet Singh Jaspal of Rouse Avenue Court also ordered police to investigate whether Gehlot said that allegations against Shekhawat have been proved.
    • the court ordered, Keeping in mind the sensitivity of the matter, it is directed that the Joint Commissioner concerned shall monitor the investigation… The worthy Joint Commissioner of Police concerned shall investigate the matter either himself or through an officer not below the rank of an Inspector. The investigation report be filed by the next date of hearing.
    • Shekhawat has filed a criminal defamation suit against Gehlot after he allegedly made a statement regarding the former’s alleged involvement in the Sanjeevani scam.
  5. On Friday the Andheri Metropolitan court Mumbai dismissed an application filed by actress Kangana Ranaut requesting the Court to record the witness statement of her sister Rangoli Chandel before the trial begins in the defamation complaint filed by lyricist Javed Akhtar.
    • Metropolitan Magistrate RM Shaikh at Andheri Mumbai passed the verdict.
    • Akhtar filed the criminal defamation complaint against Ranaut in 2020 objecting to the remarks made by Ranaut on Republic TV.
    • Akhtar opposed the plea arguing that the same was not maintainable in a reply filed through Advocate Jay K Bharadwaj seeking dismissal of the application, Akhtar pointed out two factual aspects:
      • that Chandel had not been cited as a witness in the complaint filed by him; and
      • the manner in which the prosecution witnesses were examined, had been upheld by the Bombay High Courtin its order dismissing Ranaut’s revision plea.
  6. On Friday Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was disqualified as a Member of Parliament (MP) of the Lok Sabha following his conviction by a Gujarat court in a defamation case filed against him.
    • Why has Rahul Gandhi been convicted?
      • He had said, Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi, Narendra Modi. How come all the thieves have ‘Modi’ as a common surname?
      • Purnesh Modi, a former BJP Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) took exception to the said speech claiming that Gandhi humiliated and defamed all persons with the Modi surname.
      • The court agreed with that and held that Rahul Gandhi had insulted all persons with the surname ‘Modi’.
    • What sentence was imposed?
      • Gandhi was convicted under Sections 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the maximum sentence for which is two years and/or fine.
      • The court, however, granted him bail and suspended the sentence for 30 days to allow him to appeal before a higher court.
    • Why was Rahul Gandhi disqualified from the Lok Sabha?
      • A notification issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat less than 24 hours after the Surat court ruling stated that Gandhi stands disqualified as an MP from the date of his conviction, in terms of the provisions of Article 102(1)(e) of the Constitution of India read with Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
      • Article 102(1)(e) (if he is so disqualified by or under any law made by Parliament) states that a person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member of either House of Parliament.
      • he law made by Parliament in question is Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which disqualifies representatives on conviction.
      • Section 8(3) of the Act states that when a person is convicted of any offence and sentenced to at least two years of imprisonment, she or he attracts disqualification.
      • The period of disqualification under the Act is stipulated to be six years from the release of the convict from prison.
      • However, sub-section (4) states, “Notwithstanding anything [in sub-section (1), sub-section (2) or sub-section (3)] a disqualification under either subsection shall not, in the case of a person who on the date of the conviction is a member of Parliament or the Legislature of a State, take effect until three months have elapsed from that date or, if within that period an appeal or application for revision is brought in respect of the conviction or the sentence, until that appeal or application is disposed of by the court.”
    • What are the Supreme Court judgments holding the field?
      • In Lily Thomas v. Union of India (2013), the Supreme Court strengthened the parameters of qualification by declaring Section 8(4) of Representation of People Act, 1951 as ultra vires the Constitution.
      • Gandhi opposed an ordinance sought to be introduced by the Congress government after the Supreme Court judgment in 2013. The ordinance provided sitting MPs and MLAs an additional layer of protection from disqualification in case they are convicted of certain offences. The ordinance was shelved after Gandhi opposed his own government on the ordinance.
    • Can the disqualification be set aside?
      • In its 2018 judgment in Lok Prahari v. Union of India, the Court had held that upon a stay of a conviction under Section 389 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the disqualification under Section 8 will not operate.
      • the three-judge bench of the then CJI Dipak Misra, Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud had held, The authority vested in the appellate court to stay a conviction ensures that a conviction on untenable or frivolous grounds does not operate to cause serious prejudice.
    • Is there a recent example where such a disqualification has been set aside?
      • In January this year, the Kerala High Court suspended the conviction and sentence of Lakshadweep MP Mohammed Faizal PP in a case alleging attempted murder of a political opponent. This effectively rendered the disqualification of the MP by the Lok Sabha Secretariat inoperative.
      • Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas said in the order that such a step is required to avoid a costly re-election and also considering the fact that the candidate so elected would only have a term of 15 months. Thus, the High Court noted that this case was rare and involves an exceptional situation warranting suspension of conviction.
      • This was further cemented when the Supreme Court bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna refused to stay the High Court order after the Lakshwadeep administration filed an appeal challenging it.
  7. On Thursday Congress leader and Wayanad Member of Parliament (MP) Rahul Gandhi has been disqualified from the Lok Sabha after a Gujarat magistrate court convicted him on Thursday for the offence of criminal defamation.
    • The sole option for Gandhi now is to secure a stay on the magistrate court order from a higher court.
    • The ordinance was passed after the Supreme Court in 2013 struck down Section 8(4) of the Representation of People Act, 1951, which provided sitting MPs and MLAs an additional layer of protection from disqualification in case s/he is convicted of certain offences.
    • The provision provided for a period of 3 months within which the convicted sitting MP/MLA cannot be disqualified. Furthermore, if the sitting MP/MLA were to file an appeal or revision within these three months from the date of conviction, s/he could not be disqualified until the appeal or revision was disposed.
    • The ordinance sought to amend Section 8 as follows:
      • In the Representation of the People Act, 1951, in section 8, for sub-section (4), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely:
      • (4) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), sub-section (2) or sub-section (3), a disqualification under any of the said sub-sections shall not, in the case of a person who on the date of the conviction is a member of Parliament or the Legislature of a State, take effect, if an appeal or application for revision is filed in respect of the conviction and sentence within a period of ninety days from the date of conviction and such conviction or sentence is stayed by the court: Provided that after the date of the conviction and until the date on which the conviction is set aside by the court, the member shall neither be entitled to vote nor draw salary and allowances, but may continue to take part in the proceedings of Parliament or the Legislature of a State, as the case may be.’
      • Notwithstanding anything contained in any judgment, decree or order of any court, tribunal or other authority, the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, as amended by this Act, shall have and shall be deemed always to have effect for all purposes as if the provisions of this Act had been in force at all material times.
  8. The Supreme Court Advocate-On-Record (AOR) examination for the year 2023 will be conducted over four days from June 12 to15.
    • Advocates-on-Record are lawyers who are authorised to file cases before the Supreme Court. Litigants moving the Supreme Court have to file their pleas and pleadings through AoRs.
  9. On Friday the Delhi High Court issued summons to Ashneer Grover, former Managing Director (MD) of fintech firm BharatPe, in a suit filed by the company’s co-founder Shashvat Nakrani related to claims of unpaid shares.
    • Justice Sachin Datta has listed the case for further consideration on Tuesday, March 28 on the issue of interim relief sought by Nakrani.
    • the court ordered, Plaintiff has been heard at some length in the interim relief application. Counsel for the defendant says they don’t want to file a response to the application. List on Tuesday for further arguments.
  10. On Tuesday the Bombay High Court granted license to a Mumbai resident to produce and publish a Marathi translation of the literary work ‘The Spirit’s Pilgrimage,’ authored by Mahatma Gandhi’s disciple Madeleine Slade, also known as Mirabehn.  (Anil G Karkhanis v. Kirloskar Press)
  11. On Friday A Mumbai Court remanded designer Aniksha Jaisinghani to judicial custody for 2 weeks in connection with the first information report (FIR) registered against her by Amruta Fadnavis, wife of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis, for allegedly offering a bribe of ₹1 crore for intervention in a criminal case.
  12. On Friday the Supreme Court has constituted a new bench to hear the petition filed by Gujarat riots gangrape survivor, Bilkis Bano challenging the decision of the Gujarat government to grant remission to 11 convicts who had gangraped her and murdered her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots.
  13. On Wednesday the Allahabad High Court stayed coercive action against All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi for his remarks condemning the 2019 Ayodhya judgment of the Supreme Court. (Asaduddin Owaisi v State)
  14. On Friday the Supreme Court granted interim protection from coercive action to the chairman of Broadwell Christian Hospital Society in Fatehpur District in a case of forceful religious conversion.  (Mathew Samuel Vs State of UP)
  15. The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act, 2022, which seeks to amend the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, will come into force from April 1, 2023.
  16. On Friday the Delhi High Court allowed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Vijender Gupta to attend Delhi assembly from Monday for the remainder of the session.
  17. On Friday the Supreme Court of India expressed anguish over a counsel seeking withdrawal of a petition when the top court was pronouncing its judgment in the matter.
  18. On Friday the Bombay High Court stayed an order passed by the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa (BCMG) initiating disciplinary proceedings against government pleader Geeta Shashtri.
  19. On Friday the Supreme Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a declaration that citizens have a fundamental right to directly petition Parliament and invite deliberation on important issues of public interest. (Karan Garg v. Union of India)
  20. On Thursday A man who was held guilty for accepting a bribe of ₹300 was acquitted by the Supreme Court 18 years after he was convicted by the trial court in 2005.  (Jagtar Singh vs State of Punjab)
  21. On Friday the Supreme Court dismissed an application by a convict seeking consideration of parole granted during the COVID-19 pandemic to be counted as part of his actual sentence since the same was involuntary.  (Anil Kumar vs State of Haryana and ors)
  22. On Thursday the Delhi High Court refused to interfere with an order dismissing a judicial officer from service for accepting hotel bookings by an unknown person for a trip abroad. (Naveen Arora v. High Court of Delhi)
  23. On Friday the Supreme Court held that holding membership of an association declared unlawful by the Central government is sufficient to constitute an offence under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).  (Arup Bhuyan v. State of Assam Home Department and anr)
  24. On Friday Fourteen political parties moved the Supreme Court alleging that the Central government led by Bharatiya Janata Party is misusing central agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED).
  25. On Thursday the Delhi High Court reserved its verdict on the Delhi Police’s appeal against the trial court order discharging Sharjeel Imam, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Safoora Zargar and eight others in the 2019 Jamia violence case.
  26. On Thursday the Bombay High Court observed while upholding conviction of a person under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) for raping the minor who is less than 3.5 years of age, cannot be expected to give exact description of her private parts.

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