Today’s Legal Updates

Thursday, 25th August 2022




Article – 88 Rights of Ministers and Attorney-General as respects Houses. 

Every Minister and the Attorney-General of India shall have the right to speak in, and otherwise to take part in the proceedings of, either House, any joint sitting of the Houses, and any committee of Parliament of which he may be named a member, but shall not by virtue of this article be entitled to vote.

Today’s Legal Updates :-

  1. On Thursday the Supreme Court issued notice limited to two specific issues in the review petition challenging the top court’s July 27 verdict upholding the validity of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).  (Karti Chidambaram vs ED)
    • The Court had also upheld the validity of Sections 3 (definition of money laundering), 5 (attachment of property), 8(4) [taking possession of attached property), 17 (search and seizure), 18 (search of persons), 19 (powers of arrest), 24 (reverse burden of proof), 44 (offences triable by special court), 45 (offences being cognizable and non-bailable and twin conditions for grant of bail by court) and 50 (statements made to ED officials).
    • the CJI NV Ramana remarked, We are completely in support of prevention of black money or money laundering. Country cannot afford such offence. Object is noble. (But) no providing of ECIR and reversal of presumption of innocence which are two issues which needs reconsideration as per us.
    • Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta said, Error in judgment cannot be a ground of review. This is not a standalone provision and we are part of the larger global structure and Supreme Court held it is in tune with international and constitutional scheme.
    • the CJI NV Ramana said, We are not opposing govt to stop money laundering or bringing back black money and these are serious offences,.
    •  the SG replied, But this will have global repercussions.
    • the CJI NV Ramana said, It is a serious thing, we are not doubting the objective of the government. But there are prima facie issues. We issue notice. Let writ petitions be heard along with review.
  2. On Thursday the Bombay High Court granted employees of Air India and other Unions time till the end of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations on September 24 to vacate their staff quarters at Kalina in Mumbai.
    • A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik refused to quash the eviction notices challenged by three employees’ unions – the Aviation Industry Employees Guild (AIEG), Air Corporation Employees Union (ACEU) and All India Service Engineers Association (AISEA) – directing them to vacate their quarters at Kalina.
    •  the Bench said, Since Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated widely and passionately in Bombay, the employees are given time till September 24. Till then they can continue to reside in the quarters. But not beyond that. Till September 24, there won’t be any coercive action against those who continue to reside in the house.
  3. On Thursday Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana said Almost every name recommended for appointment as a Delhi High Court judge has been cleared, while hoping that the Central government would clear the remaining ones soon.
    •  the CJI NV Ramana said, I must say there was a lot of persuasion by Justice Kaul every day for appointment of Delhi judges. Every day he used to come and ask, ‘Chief what happened to the Delhi judges file? Where it is? Why they are not cleared?’ I think now, almost everything has been cleared except one or two names. I hope the government will clear those names also.
    • the  CJI said, I hope some more judges will join soon.
    • I remember the days of the challenge. An instance had taken place two years back when I was a judge. Every member of the Bar, especially in Delhi, stood in solidarity and passed a resolution supporting me. I am extremely proud and happy to have such support.
    • It helped me a lot in working as Chief Justice of India. This was a launching pad and a learning period for me to be a successful Chief Justice of India.
    • Delhi High Court has peculiar features and speciality. It is located in the capital. The amount of litigation, variety of subjects, we cannot compare with any High Court in the country. The lawyers have to deal with these subjects with thorough knowledge and at the same time they must complete within a given time. The discipline and courtesy shown to the other side is also amazing.
  4. On Thursday the Supreme Court judge Justice DY Chandrachud said that the Court is proposing to provide scanned copies of petitions/ compilations used by the court to lawyers.
    • the Bench said, We’re just rummaging through lists of dates.
    •  Senior Advocate Vikas Singh replied, I’m sorry for your lordships. Having to jump from one compilation to another.
    • Justice Chandrachud then said, You are the Bar Association president. So we will tell you, we are planning to give everyone scanned copies of the compilations the Court will use to save time.
  5. On Wednesday the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court directed the Uttar Pradesh government to submit an affidavit detailing the steps it has taken to reform the system of appointment of State law officers. (Rama Shankar Tiwari v State of UP)
    • it noted, More than six and half years have elapsed since then, however, no concrete steps appear to be in sight which the State Government might have taken to reform the system of selection and appointment of the State Law Officers.
    • Appointing a Committee as one time measure for making recommendation for selection and appointment of the State Law Officers does not, in our considered opinion, appear to constitute any meaningful and concrete step to comply with the judgment and order passed by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Brijeshwar Singh Chahal (supra).
    • The petitioners are practicing lawyers of this Court having to their credit considerable length of practice. All the petitioners are members of Oudh Bar Association and are also enrolled as AORs with the High Court. Their concern about the transparency, fairness and objectivity in the matter of engagement of State lawyers cannot be doubted.
    • the Court ordered, We, thus, call upon the State Government to file counter affidavit/affidavit to be sworn in by none other than the Principal Secretary, Law/ Legal Remembrancer himself stating therein as to what steps are being taken/proposed to be taken for ensuring that observations and directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Brijeshwar Singh Chahal (supra) are implemented in their true spirit. The affidavit to be submitted under this order shall give a complete scheme of selection and appointment of Government Advocates which shall ensure the process to be more transparent, fair and objective.
  6. On Thursday the Bombay High Court ordered the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to file an affidavit listing the number of permissions granted by the authority to construct buildings beyond the permissible height of 55 metres within the 20 kilometres radius of the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport.
    • Chief Justice Datta demanded, How is it possible? How can such a permission be given? We want to know from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) and also the CIDCO as to how many buildings have been permitted to construct beyond the permissible height of 55 metres.
    • CJ Datta said, Your collector has no authority to check if notice is issued to the concerned authority or not? We are here to check that. Why is the collector insisting on issuing notice? Your job is to demolish it and not drag the matter like this. Now tell us when will you demolish it?
    • the Chief Justice added, If there is resistance (to demolition drive of Collector) then come to us. As regards the 15 other structures, owners of which aren’t known to you, stop insisting for a notice. That is for us to see and not you. Do your job (of complying with court orders).
  7. On Wednesday the Punjab & Haryana High Court was stayed the orders passed by State authorities directing the closure of meat shops and slaughterhouses in Haryana’s Ambala district for nine days owing to the Jain festival of Paryushana. (Rajpal Poultry Farm v State of Haryana)
    • Meanwhile, operation of communications (Annexures P-3 and P-5) shall remain stayed so far as private slaughter houses/meat shops are concerned.
    • the petition said, The impugned letter ostensibly targets and attacks meat shops and slaughter houses but in essence and substance actually targets individual liberty and right to privacy of end-use customers of meat and meat products.
    • the petition further said, The impugned letter arbitrarily classifies between slaughterhouses and meat shops on the one hand, and various restaurants, meal joints and food hubs on the other so as to prohibit meat only in the former and not in the latter.
      • The Court will hear the case next on August 29, 2022.
  8. On Thursday the Bombay High Court held that touching private parts with sexual intent would be construed as sexual assault under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act).  (Ramchandra Shrimant Bhandare vs The State of Maharashtra)
    • the Court said, The absence of injury mentioned in the medical certificate will not make any difference to her case because the very nature of the offence of sexual assault defined under Section 7 of the POCSO Act mentions that even touching private part with sexual intent is sufficient to attract the provisions of Section 7 read with Section 8 of the POCSO Act.
    • In this case, the ocular evidence of the victim and her mother inspires confidence and there is no reason to doubt their versions.
  9. On Thursday Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana had incumbent a hectic penultimate day in the Supreme Court hearing four high-profile cases.
    • Remission of Bilkis Bano convicts. (Subhashini Ali v. State of Gujarat)
    • Pegasus (Manohar Lal Sharma v. Union of India)
    • Review petition against PMLA Judgment (Karti P Chidambaram v. The Directorate of Enforcement)
    • PM Narendra Modi Security Breach (Lawyers Voice v. State of Punjab)
    • Teesta Setalvad bail (Teesta Atul Setalvad v. State of Gujarat)
  10. On Thursday Students of the Dr BR Ambedkar National Law University (DBRANLU), Sonipat have resorted to protests on account of the administration’s failure to ensure basic infrastructure and alleged misconduct on the part of the Registrar, among other issues.
    • The students claim that the University has repeatedly rejected their demands for basic infrastructure and other facilities that were promised to be put in place from the current academic year.
  11. On Thursday the Supreme Court sought the response of the Gujarat government on a plea challenging the decision of the State to grant remission to 11 convicts who had gangraped Bilkis Bano and murdered her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots.
    • the Court said, Issue notice. File your reply. We direct the 11 convicts to be impleaded in the case.
    • the Court asked, We have to see whether there was application of mind in this case while granting remission. Are you saying remission cannot be granted.
    • Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal replied petitioner counsel, We only want to see if application of mind was there.
    • he added, Please see the petition. Large number of lives were lost in communal riots. Even in Limkheda village of Dahod district, arson, looting and violence took place. Bano and Shamin with others were escaping. Shamim delivered a child..When the group of 25 people saw the prosecutrix and others escape, they said musalmaano ko maaro. 3-year-old child head was smashed to the ground, pregnant was raped.
  12. On Thursday the Supreme Court is hearing a petition challenging the decision of the Gujarat government to grant remission to 11 convicts who had gangraped Bilkis Bano and murdered her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots.
  13. On Thursday the Delhi High Court sought a consolidated reply from the Central government in all petitions challenging the Agnipath Scheme for recruitment into the Armed Forces.
    • The Bench also asked the government to file a separate reply to petitions challenging the recruitment processes before the introduction of the Agnipath Scheme.
    • While one petition is by shortlisted airmen in the Indian Air Force (IAF) demanding that their recruitment should be done as per the 2019 notification, another petition is in the form of a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the Indian Navy’s recruitment process and shortlisting criteria of Person Below Officer Rank (PBORs).
    • The Agnipath Scheme proposes to induct youth into the Army for four years, after which, out of the selected candidates, only 25 percent will be continued in the Indian Army while the rest will be denied jobs in the Armed Forces. The introduction of the Scheme had prompted widespread protests across the country, some of which turned violent. It had also led to a slew of petitions being filed in various courts.
  14. On Thursday the Supreme Court was told by a Committee formed to probe the security breach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Punjab earlier this year that the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) in Ferozepur failed to discharge his duty to maintain law and order.  (Lawyer’s Voice v. State of Punjab and ors)
    • CJI Ramana said, There are remedial measures and safeguards needed for PM security. It is suggested that a oversight committee be constituted, training of police officers as per blue book, security planning for VVIP visits.
    • the Court stated, Ferozepur SSP failed to discharge his duty to maintain law and order. He failed to do this even though sufficient force was available and even though he was informed 2 hours before that PM Modi will enter that route.
    • CJI Ramana said, We will send the report to the government so that steps are taken.
  15. On Thursday the Supreme Court will hear a slew of petitions seeking probe into allegations that Pegasus spyware created by an Israel company was used by the Government of India to snoop several persons including Indian journalists, activists, lawyers, officials, a former Supreme Court judge and others by infecting their electronic devices like mobile phones.
  16. On Thursday the Supreme Court appointed committee tasked to probe into the allegations regarding use of Pegasus spyware by the Government of India has concluded that the spyware was not found in the twenty-nine mobile phones examined by it.
    • the bench remarked, We are concerned about technical committee 29 phones were given… in 5 phones some malware was found but the technical committee says it cannot be said to be Pegasus. They say it cannot be said to be Pegasus.
    • the bench remarked, Technical committee says Government of India has not helped it.
    • Sibal said, We don’t have portions which have national security implications but we need to know what was the malware and if a redacted version can be given to the ones who gave their phones.
    • advocate Vrinda Grover said, Here my device was also examined and we need to know what was the malware as it was forensically examined. My client is also facing criminal charges.
    • In a nutshell
      • No Pegasus found in 29 devices examined by committee.
      • Malware found in 5 devices but not Pegasus.
      • Government of India did not assist the committee.
      • Justice Raveendran recommends enactment of law on surveillance, improving privacy of citizens.
      • Supreme Court might upload copy of the committee report on website.
      • No order passed by Court yet; matter will be heard after 4 weeks.
  17. On Thursday the Delhi High Court refused to stay the probe ordered by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) into WhatsApp’s privacy policy introduced last year.
    • A Division Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad dismissed the pleas by WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook.
    • Senior Advocate Harish Salve had appeared for WhatsApp and argued that it was not challenging the investigation, but rather the CCI’s jurisdiction to probe the matter.
    • he said, If they allow our privacy policy, we will have it. If they don’t, we wont.
    • the Senior Counsel argued, The fact that WhatsApp can share items with certain people does not mean they could all be the necessary parties. These policies are not my policies. Whether it breaches the right to privacy is to be seen but merely because they share it with X, Y or Z is not a ground to investigate me.
    •  he submitted, They are asking me to show my revenue and balance sheet. It is not an accounting issue. If the highest court in the land is seized of the matter, I dare say, it is a matter of judicial discipline that they not act in this manner.
    • the ASG said, We succeeded in April 2021. We have a judgment against them. There is no stay. We issued two probe notices. There are reasons strong enough to proceed. Still, 15 months later, we have not been able to proceed.
  18. A study by Vahura has warned, If Indian law firms do not focus on building and strengthening cultures that are fair and equitable to their professionals, they will continue to face high attrition rates and lose them to other jurisdictions and segments.
    • the study reports, Despite professionals reporting that their workplaces are largely positive, over 50% of professionals have also reported that they are looking to move on from their current firms on account of inequitable pay, working unsustainable hours and the impact that the consequent stress has upon their physical and mental health.
    • What law firms are doing right, and what they’re getting wrong.
      • 89% of the professionals surveyed rated their firms as positive workplaces.
      • Over 70% of professionals reported that their partners trust them to do a good job without being micromanaged.
      • Over 70% professionals feel they can have straightforward conversations with colleagues, count on their colleagues to work jointly to meet impending deadlines.
      • 78% of professionals reported that they are given a lot of responsibility at their firms. Of this, over 75% of professionals reported that they were very satisfied with the quality of work assigned to them.
    • the downsides reported are:
      • Around 50% of law firm professionals who participated in the survey do not see themselves continuing to work with their current firms in the long-term.
      • Around 45% of professionals who reported working between 10-12 hours a day, reported that they routinely felt stressed and tensed during a workday.
      • Only 18% of such professionals reported that their firms encouraged professionals to maintain work-life balance and only 44% of such professionals reported that their firm allows them to take time off work.
  19. Last Week the  Bombay High Court granted interim anticipatory bail to a lawyer who had entered appearance on behalf of a person who was impersonating a lady impleaded as a party to a suit before a Mumbai court.  (Rakesh Shrinath Dubey v. State of Maharashtra)
    • the Bench noted before concluding that the lawyer’s custodial interrogation was not necessary, There is no reason to disbelieve the applicant, as a lawyer was satisfied that the vakalatnama given to him and chose to represent the defendant in the Suit and even signed the consent terms.
  20. The Supreme Court of India is slated to hear many high profile cases today, a day which will also be the penultimate working day of incumbent Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana.
  21. On Thursday the Delhi High Court quashed a First Information Report (FIR) registered against a man who was charged with offences under the Arms Act for carrying three live ammunition to Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport.  (Rajat Gupta v State)
    • the court ordered, the petition is allowed. Consequently, the FIR No.255/2017 under Section 25 Arms Act registered at PS IGI Airport, Delhi and the proceedings emanating therefrom stands quashed.

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