Today’s Legal Updates

Tuesday, 26th April 2022




Article – 300    Suits and proceedings

  1. The Government of India may sue or be sued by the name of the Union of India and the Government of a State may sue or be sued by the name of the State and may, subject to any provisions which may be made by Act of Parliament or of the Legislature of such State enacted by virtue of powers conferred by this Constitution, sue or be sued in relation to their respective affairs in the like cases as the Dominion of India and the corresponding Provinces or the corresponding Indian States might have sued or been sued if this Constitution had not been enacted.
  2. If at the commencement of this Constitution—
    • any legal proceedings are pending to which the Dominion of India is a party, the Union of India shall be deemed to be substituted for the Dominion in those proceedings.
    • any legal proceedings are pending to which a Province or an Indian State is a party, the corresponding State shall be deemed to be substituted for the Province or the Indian State in those proceedings.

Today’s Legal Updates :-

  1. Today Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana was mentioned before the appeal filed against the Hijab verdict of Karnataka High Court, Please wait for 2 days.
  2. On Tuesday the Supreme Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition seeking probe by a judicial commission headed by a retired Chief Justice of India (CJI) into the recent communal violence in various parts of the country during Ram Navami.  (Vishal Tiwari vs Union of India)
    • The PIL filed by Vishal Tiwari sought directions for a probe on the ground that there are serious disturbances all over the country and an enquiry should be conducted through a judicial commission.
    • the Court said before rejecting the plea, “(Judicial Commission) to be headed by former CJI? Is anybody free? Find out. What kind of relief is this, don,t ask for such prayers,” 
  3. On Tuesday A Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Court allowed a Central government employee’s plea seeking the release of his passport after stating that like any other citizen, the applicant too is entitled to the travel document. (CBI v. Anand Joshi)
    • the order stated, The applicant, like any other citizen, is entitled to a passport/renewal of the same/use of the same for travel. Such rights can be regulated in terms of the order from a Court where the accused is facing trial and a necessity is felt for regulating either the possession of the passport or its use for travel.
    • the Court said, It is rather the directions/restrictions with respect to travelling abroad which ensure that an applicant does not leave the country without liberty being granted by the Court.
    •  the order said, It does also weigh with the Court that while the CBI has thus far only filed a closure report, the passports have continued to be retained by the IO for the last six years. The passports must return to the custody of the holder — the applicant. The application is allowed.
  4. A third year student of National Law University, Odisha (NLU Odisha) took to Twitter on Sunday to blow the whistle on a fourth year law student at National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore who has allegedly been harassing her “sexually, physically and mentally”. (source : Bar & Bench)
    • The girl revealed she got to know of the harasser towards the end of 2019 through a mutual friend at NLSIU.
      • “Things were fine initially, then he threatened to hit me and forcefully had sex with me. I tried to break contact with him, but when I was in Delhi for an internship, he kept calling me, and eventually forced me to come back home to Bangalore. In November 2021, I had to undergo an abortion procedure during which time he was completely absent from the situation. In January 2022, I had to return to college and thought of systematically distancing myself from him. He then began contacting my friends and called me constantly to share that he has been feeling anxious. Things only got worse from there – he hit me to the floor when I experienced a panic attack. He constantly engaged in abusing me mentally as well, by saying nasty things. He also tried to criminally intimidate me about my personal information and was cooking up stories that he would reveal publicly.”
      • “At first, he went back on his abusive behaviour due to fear of being exposed, but later went back to his abusive behaviour. I then approached NLSIU’s Sexual Harassment Redressal Committee facilitators, who have been helping me out. They called him out at the college internally.”
    • the boy denied all the allegations that have been tweeted and went on to say.
      • “I cannot go into the details since the matter is sub-judice. However, I was with the person throughout all medical procedures, physically, emotionally and financially. As for the ticket cancellation, it has been completely misunderstood…I had an agreement with the person that there will be no communication of any sort and there will be no association between us in any form whatsoever. Yesterday, I received an email from MakeMyTrip on my college email ID saying a ticket has been booked from my account. I realised she used my account to book the ticket. We were under an agreement that under no circumstances there can be any communication whatsoever. My family members mentioned the reason to her on why the tickets were cancelled and offered to refund the cancellation charges. There was no instance of any harassment or troubling anyone. We were just trying to go by our side of the agreement which was not to communicate or associate in any way. I had no option but to cancel the ticket.”
      • “I am 100% sure that I was there with the person through and through the procedure in every possible way,” 
  5. On Monday the Delhi High Court directed a school chain operating in Punjab and Haryana not to use the name of a prominent Delhi school, ‘The British School’.  (The British School Society v Sanjay Gandhi Educational Society and Anr)
    • the Court said, “This Court has no doubt in concluding that continued use of the mark ‘The British School’ for schools of Defendants would constitute misrepresentation in the course of rendering educational services to the effect that Defendants’ schools are in some way connected or affiliated with the Plaintiff. Further, such continuous use may cause irreparable prejudice and damage not merely to the Plaintiff’s goodwill alone but to various students who may be enrolled and studying in the said school,”
    • “The word ‘British’ on a stand-alone basis refers to anything related to Britain, but the use of the words ‘The British School’ in the manner as is done by the plaintiff signifies the plaintiff and none else. The plaintiff’s school has been in existence for more than 60 years now and it continues to impart a high level of education to its students. From the material placed on record, the plaintiff has been able to show that it has goodwill in the mark ‘The British School’,”
    • the Court directed, The process shall be undertaken in an expeditious manner so that no inconvenience is caused to the students studying in the schools of the Defendants. Certificates, prizes, medals, etc. to be given to the students presently studying in Defendants’ schools shall be issued in the name of ‘The British School’ only till the end of academic year 2021-2022 and not beyond that.
  6. On Tuesday the Calcutta High Court directed a forensic audit of the CCTV footage from the Contai Municipal Election on allegations that the polling saw incidents of violence and malpractices. (Soumendu Adhikari v State of WB)
    • the order said, Not only to ascertain the compliance of earlier orders of this Court but in the larger public interest and to uphold democratic principles, it is necessary to get forensic audit of CCTV footage of Contai Municipal Election done.
    • the bench observed, This Court fails to understand as to why the State Election Commission does not want to ascertain if free and fair elections were held or if the allegation of large scale booth capturing, forged voting, etc. is correct.
  7. On Tuesday a deceased woman’s mother-in-law, sister-in-law and husband were convicted by the Karnataka High Court for subjecting the woman to cruelty after she gave birth to two girls with mental disabilities.  (State of Karnataka v. Mahadevamma and Ors)
    • The Division Bench of Justices B Veerappa and S Rachaiah found the three accused guilty under Section 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and sentenced them to one year in prison.
    • the judgment stated, It is clear from the evidence…that the accused used to constantly harass and used to give mental and physical torture to the deceased on the ground that she gave birth to two female mentally retarded children. Unfortunately the husband who is duty bound to protect his wife has assaulted her by kicking on her stomach and back.
  8. On Tuesday the Kerala High Court will be in order to reduce the pendency in Criminal Appeals holding special sittings during its on-going summer vacation to hear jail appeals and legal aid matters.
  9. On Tuesday the Bombay High Court said it would be precarious to hold that mere reference to the caste of a person wouldn’t be an offence under the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 (SC/ST Act). (Ramrao Rathod vs State of Maharashtra)
    • the Court held, Undoubtedly, a person who is a member of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe cannot be prosecuted for commission of atrocities on the other members of SC ST. The prosecution is enjoined to establish that the perpetrator of the alleged offence under Section 3 of the SC and ST Act is not a member of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe. However, this burden on the prosecution does not necessarily support a proposition that the fact that the accused does not belong to SC/ST must be mentioned in the FIR and failure to do so entails the consequence of drawing an inference that no prima facie offence is made out, or for that matter, quashing the prosecution. At multiple stages in the course of prosecution for the offence punishable under Section 3 of the SC/ ST Act, the said question can be agitated, addressed and determined.
    • the Court ruled, “In this view of the matter, it would be difficult, at this stage, to draw an inference that the offences punishable under Section 3(1)(r) and 3(1)(s) of the SC and ST Act are not prima facie made out. The appeal stands dismissed,” 
  10. On Tuesday Law Clerks-cum-Research Assistants at the Calcutta High Court have written to Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava seeking enhanced pay structure.
    • The letter said that as contractual employees, they have to sustain on their salaries that have remained stagnant for 6 years, and there has been no consideration in terms of inflation rebate.
    • The pay structure for Law Clerk-cum-Research Assistants at the Calcutta High Court currently stands at ₹35,000 per month.
    • Your Lordship is well aware that prices of essential commodities are on a steep hike and that we do not receive anything by way of inflation rebate.
  11. On Tuesday the Delhi High Court granted ad-interim relief to search engine Just Dial in a suit alleging data theft, trademark and copyright infringement. (Just Dial Limited v. M/s Local Search Solutions Private Limited)
    • the Court noted, If the relief sought is not granted, irreparable loss would be caused as it would not only jeopardise the plaintiff’s rights but also the rights of its various clients, customers and also the general public who might make payments to avail the services of defendant,.
    • In view of the circumstances of the case and the interest of the general public as well, the plaintiff has made out a prima facie case for grant of an ex-parte ad-interim injunction. The balance of convenience lies in the favour of the plaintiff.
    • Defendants 3 and 4 — Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity), and Department of Telecommunications (DoT) are directed to issue instructions within 48 hours to all the ISps to block the website and to suspend the services of the said website. The said ISps shall take immediate steps to block the website
  12. On Tuesday Retired Bombay High Court Judge Justice Kailas Uttamchand Chandiwal, tasked with conducting enquiry into the allegations against former Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, submitted his report in a sealed cover to Chief Minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray.
  13. On Tuesday the Kerala High Court reserved its verdict in the appeal moved by three state-owned Oil Marketing Companies (OMC) against the interim order of a single-judge directing them to provide bulk diesel to the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) at the retail price.  (Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. v. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation)
  14. On Tuesday the Delhi High Court has directed maintenance of status quo with regard to the occupation or renovation of the space vacated by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in the building where the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) is located.  (NCLT Bar Association thr its Secretary General v. Union of India and Ors)
    • “The authorities do not appear to have given due consideration to our order and no reasons have been placed before us, for not providing the vacated first floor for use by the NCLT in the same building and, instead, allotting the same to other departments,”
    • “It goes without saying, that the entire institution should be housed at one place, if the institution which requires the assistance and coordination of the Bar, has to run efficiently.”
  15. On Monday the Bombay High Court was informed by the State government, A total of 6,852 children died in Maharashtra due to malnutrition in the last three years.
    • We hope and trust that the government would not leave any stone unturned to appropriately implement the provisions of the legislation which have been used for benefits of children, more particularly girl children among tribal communities.
  16. On Tuesday the Delhi High Court appointed Senior Advocate Sandeep Sethi Amicus Curiae to assist it in dealing with the criminal cases against former and sitting Members of Parliament (MPs), and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs).
    • the Court said, The above-referred orders passed by the Supreme Court, and the present order be also brought to the notice of the Bench. The Bench is requested to list the matters for hearing. The Bench may examine the aspect of continuation/modification of stay, and make an endeavour to dispose of the matters as expeditiously as possible in terms of the aforesaid orders of the Supreme Court.
    • We further direct the Commissioner of Police, Delhi, to nominate an officer of the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police, who shall act as a Nodal Officer and shall appear before this Court on each date of hearing so as to furnish requisite information, as and when required, of the cases pending against the sitting and former MPs/MLAs before this Court as also before the learned trial court(s).
  17. On Tuesday the Bombay High Court earlier this month held that a calculated risk of boarding an overcrowded local train will not amount to a “criminal act” under Section 124A of the Railways Act of 1989.  (Nitin Hundiwala vs Union of India)
    • the Court observed, The local trains in Mumbai, which are often called as ‘Life Line of the City’ with almost huge number of city’s inhabitants relying on them to get to work or other destinations at some point of time. Even, it is not unknown, for the residents of Mumbai who, commute through railways to undertake risk at some point of time, in order to reach their destinations within time and with the limited number of vehicles to travel in overcrowded train … the calculated risk cannot be surely amounting to ‘criminal act’.
    • the Court said, A careful reading of the two provisions would lead to an irresistible conclusion that only the two acts described above which endanger safety of persons travelling by railway or travelling on step or engine of train are covered. If in the daily chores, a passenger attempts to gain an entry, into an overcrowded train and is pushed by other passengers, resulting into his fall, there is no reason why such incident cannot fall within the ambit of ‘untoward incident’.
    • the judge said, The Tribunal has, therefore, erred in making the case of the applicant fall within the scope of ‘Criminal Act’, as it lack any means rea.
    • Here is a person who is undertaking travel everyday for attending his work and merely because no ticket is found in his pocket, will not amount to he being classified as ‘not a bonafide passenger’ The railway has failed to discharge its burden to establish that he was not a bonafide passenger, and therefore the Tribunal has grossly erred in recording that, in absence of the ticket being found, he is not a bonafide passenger.
  18. Following the recent spike in COVID-19 cases at Gujarat National Law University (GNLU), the Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University (RMLNLU) Lucknow saw 15 students test positive within a day of RT-PCR testing close on the heels of the commencement of end semester examinations at the University.
    • the student said, There is a bias against students regarding the situation since we have been requesting for online exams since over a month now. This was also keeping in mind that most of the semester was conducted online. But the administration rejected the demand back then. They rejected the COVID-19 positive reports by making sweeping remarks such as – ‘Your case is false’; ’10 cases don’t mean anything to us’; ‘We have no directions from the Chief Medical Officer to withhold exams’. They are not able to differentiate the earlier demand for online exams and the new situation that has arisen in light of the positive cases.
    • The University did not make testing mandatory, as was done at GNLU and other universities. Out of around 140 students who got tested the day before yesterday, 10 students got positive reports yesterday morning. As of right now, about 350 students out of a total strength of 900 got tested, and most of these results are still awaited.
    • As for the examinations, around 25 out of a batch of approximately 178 students went for the examination. In the third year, only 1 student attempted the exam and from the first and second year around 9-10 students each must have gone for the offline exams. While the VC and other authorities are quarantining themselves and students tested positive at the guest house, all others remain huddled in the hostels.
  19. On Tuesday the Bombay High Court dismissed the plea filed by Bhima Koregaon accused Gautam Navlakha to be transferred from Taloja Prison and placed under house arrest instead.
    • The petitioner would be at liberty to bring to the notice of the Presiding Officer of the Special NIA Court his grievance in respect of any problem or difficulty faced by him. The learned Presiding Officer of the Special NIA Court is directed to ensure that the grievance made by the petitioner is redressed within the parameters of the law.
    • the criteria like age, health condition, antecedents of the accused, the nature of crime, the need for other forms of custody and the ability to enforce the terms of the house arrest, would be some of the indicative factors. In our view, the case of the petitioner does not fit in any of the criteria. In the facts and circumstances, we conclude that this is not a fit case to grant the prayer.
  20. On Last Week the Punjab & Haryana High Court refused to grant custody of a 3-year-old child to her father, on the ground that he was accused of causing the wife’s dowry death. (Somvir v. State of Haryana)
    • The petitioner, who is accused of having driven his wife to commit suicide, cannot be granted any equitable relief, when it comes to handing over him the custody of the minor child.
    • Culpability of the crime, he is accused of, would not only emotionally devastate and destruct the growing years of the minor, but would completely compromise her over all mental growth.
    • This Court is of the considered opinion that the petitioner being the accused of having driven his wife to commit suicide, cannot be handed over the custody of the child, as such course of action is not considered to be of paramount welfare of the child.
  21. On Tuesday the Supreme Court has transferred the investigation into the Unnao custodial death case to Lucknow Police, after it noted that the probe conducted by Unnao (Uttar Pradesh) police prima facie seemed unfair.  (Nasima vs State of UP)
    • the Court said in its order, After going through the records placed before us, we are prima facie of the view that the manner in which the investigation has been conducted by the investigating officer cannot be said to be fair and impartial and the complaint of the petitioner, in our considered view, deserves indulgence of this Court.
    • We have not been able to endorse our satisfaction of a fair and independent investigation and the manner in which the investigation has been conducted by the Circle Officer of the police Station under whose jurisdiction the charge-sheet came to be filed on the basis of the charges later been framed under Section 302 IPC on 2nd December, 2021.
  22. On Tuesday the Mumbai Sessions Court directed the Mumbai Police to respond to pleas filed by Member of Parliament Naveent Rana, and her husband and Member of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Ravi Rana, seeking bail in the sedition case registered against them.
    • the plea said, The announcement of reciting Hanuman Chalisa outside the of the Hon’ble Chief minister was made for the purpose of enlisting popular support and in considering the effect of such announcement no serious notice ought to be taken. The government cannot afford to be hypertensive nor impervious to criticism.
    • The bail plea before Sessions raised the following grounds:-
      • That their arrest is illegal, contrary to law and against constitutional rights.
      • That they should have been issued a notice by police, before arresting, which was not done.
      • That there was no mens rea under Section 153A of IPC or intention to cause ill will or hatred feelings of persons mentioned in the section.
  23. On Tuesday the Supreme Court urged the Central government to look into the inadequacy in the infrastructure, and shortcomings of the Supreme Court building, and come up with a plan to address the issue.
    • We said government should take a call. You can plan for it, not in one month or 3 months or so. It is not for Court to solve the problem. It is for the Court to guide but the issue has to be solved by you.
  24. On Tuesday the Delhi High Court constituted a committee under the supervision of IPS officer Kiran Bedi to look into the affairs of the ashram of absconding godman Virendra Dev Dixit, where women were found to be living in inhumane conditions.
    • Let us leave politics aside for some time. Please give some credit to her (Bedi) for her sense of the cause. Just because she has inclination towards one political party does not take away her service to the society.
    • At the same time, we make it clear that the institution shall be free to pursue its religious and spiritual activities, provided none of them infringe any fundamental or other right of any inmate or any other person,
  25. On Tuesday the Supreme Court took exception to the stand of the Uttarakhand government that it cannot stop Dharam Sansad events and cannot anticipate that hate speech might be delivered at such gatherings.
    • the Court said in its order, We are informed another Dharam Sansad is planned in Roorkee tomorrow and another application has been filed against it. Counsel for Uttarakhand submits that all preventive measures have been taken as per Supreme Court decisions. Uttarakhand says authorities are confident that no such untoward statement will be made during the event and all steps as per decisions of this court will be taken. We direct the Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand to place above position on record and apprise us about the corrective measures.
    • the Court directed, Counsel for Himachal Pradesh informs that preventive steps were taken and the guidelines laid down in the Poonawalla case has also been taken up. Let an affidavit be filed showing the status. List this application on May 9.
  26. On Monday the Allahabad High Court dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to disclose his full name, and refrain him from using ‘Yogi’ as a title in official communication. (Namaha v. State of UP)
    • We find this petition to be totally misconceived, filed with ulterior motive by a political person, without disclosing his complete credentials and concealing material facts from the Court. Hence, the same is dismissed.
    • He being a political person, deliberately chose to conceal his identity while filing the writ petition, apparently with some ulterior motive or cheap publicity.
    • He claimed that he had been certified to be an illiterate person by the Election Commission of India, a fact which was belied on the face of it from the conduct and presentation of the case by the petitioner. He was arguing his case in English. He was carrying copy of the Constitution of India and could read the same very well.

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