Today’s Legal Updates

Monday, 29th May 2023

Legal Awareness: – CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

Part – IX THE PANCHAYATS

Article – 243J Audit of accounts of Panchayats.

The Legislature of a State may, by law, make provisions with respect to the maintenance of accounts by the Panchayats and the auditing of such accounts.

Today’s Legal Updates: 

  1. On Monday the Karnataka High Court observed that courts enjoy great discretion when it comes to clubbing or transfer of matters pending before it but such a discretion cannot be exercised like a ‘Mughal Emperor’. (Reet Abraham vs Sunil Abraham)
    • Single-judge Justice Krishna S Dixit said that when parties to the case are same and the court before which suits are pending is the same, the request for clubbing of suits should not ordinarily be denied.
    • the bench observed in the order, It is true that in matter of transfer and clubbing of cases, a greater discretion lies with the Court in which they are pending. However, it is not a discretion of a Mughal Emperor.
    • the bench opined, Such an approach, at the hands of the Court below is not reflected. What prejudice would be caused to the husband should these suits be clubbed for the purpose of trial, is not forthcoming despite the vociferous submission of the husband.
    • the High Court clarified, Of course, it is left to the Judge’s discretion to render a common or separate judgment & decree.
  2. On Monday the Karnataka High Court reprimanded the State government for its failure to adequately provide drinking water and washroom facilities for girls in government schools across the State.
    • While hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition, a division bench of Chief Justice PB Varale and Justice MGS Kamal chastised the government, calling this a sorry state of affairs.
    • the Court asked, What are these school inspectors.. are they supposed to submit their periodical reports? Have you verified that such reports were submitted? Even if they have, what is the use? What is the superior officer doing.
    • the Court demanded, Are the inspectors only sitting in their office? Should they not periodically visit school and the superior office should issue directions.
  3. On Monday Supreme Court judge Justice BV Nagarathna said a nation can only be as independent as its institutions like the judiciary, a central bank, the election commission, public service commissions, etc.
    • The judge was speaking as the chief guest at the launch of book ‘Constitutional Ideals: Development and Realisation through Court-led Justice’ by think tank and legal research organisation, DAKSH.
    • The judge said that the lesser the external influences over such institutions, the higher is the scope for functional autonomy.
    • the judge said, A nation can only be as independent as its institutions- the judiciary, a central bank, the election commission, public service commissions etc. Most of such institutions were established to perform the challenging task of maintaining a judicious balance between conflicting interests and overhauling the governance system by enforcing accountability. Institutional independence has an inverse relationship with external influences over the authorities. The lesser the influence, the higher will be the scope for functional autonomy.
    • she stated, Judicial independence demands that judges need to be impartial and insulated from political pressures and to be so within a broadly defined independent institutional scope of authority for the judicial branch.
    • Justice Nagarathna said, Each organ of the State must acknowledge and respect the autonomy and independence of the other co-equal branches. Elected governments and the political executive must recognise and respect the Constitutionally accorded role of the judiciary in a democracy based on the rule of law. Similarly, the judiciary, must continue to remaining conscious of the constitutional Lakshmanrekha of inter-institutional balance which requires that legislative wisdom or the exercise of executive discretion not be interfered with on a routine basis.
    • She also opined that a nation can assert itself as a democratic one, only if it can demonstrate the following:
      • elections demonstrating how robust democracy is.
      • parliamentary proceedings showing the vibrancy of political debate;
      • the public sphere- from the social media to the everyday tea-shop conversations, showing an enlightened, aware and engaged citizenry;
      • existence of a strong opposition;
      • institutions remaining autonomous; 
      • free speech (subject to reasonable restrictions as stipulated in the Constitution) remaining sacrosanct; and
      • when the government functions within the bounds of law.
  4. On Monday the Rouse Avenue District Court Delhi framed charges against two public officials and discharged the rest of the accused in a case pertaining to allocation of a coal block in Yavatmal district of Maharashtra. (CBI v. Sunil HiTech Engineers Limited)
    • Special judge Arun Bhardwaj framed corruption charges against two public officials – IAS officer DG Philip and former Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Avinash Warjukar. While Philip had held the post of Managing Director of Maharashtra State Mining Corporation Ltd (MSMCL), Warjukar was its Chairman.
    • Those who were discharged from the case included beneficiary company Sunil HiTech Engineers Limited and its Director Sunil Ratnakar Gutte and aXYKno Capital Services and its Director R Ramakrishnan, who were financial consultants to MSMCL.
    • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alleged that the process of selecting the joint venture partner was vitiated by irregularities. A tender had been floated for the selection of a joint venture partner and several entities that were not eligible under various clauses were illegally made eligible. 
  5. On Monday the Former Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Dr CN Ashwath Narayan has moved the Karnataka High Court seeking quashing of a first information report (FIR) registered against him over his allegedly derogatory remarks against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah during a rally before the State Assembly elections.
  6. On Monday the Delhi High Court sentenced two officials of the Public Works Department (PWD) to jail for failing to comply with orders passed by the Court and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) regarding protection of trees.
  7. On Monday Justice BV Nagarathna said that neither the judiciary nor the executive or legislature is supreme, and what is actually supreme is the Constitution of India.
  8. On Monday the Delhi High Court held that ₹2,000 notes have served their purpose and the decision to withdraw the same is a policy matter which should not be interfered with by the courts.
  9. On Monday the Delhi High Court (in a 10th May order) directed the Central government to be mindful of the infrastructural needs of Debts Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) across the national capital and the Debts Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT). (Indu Kapoor v. AU Small Finance Bank & Anr)
  10. On Monday the Madras High Court held that AYUSH doctors are not entitled to perform sonographies and other pre-natal diagnostic tests on pregnant women, unless they are qualified to do so under the Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PNDT) Act and Rules.  (Tamil Nadu Ayush Sonologist Association v. Union of India)
  11. On Monday the Gujarat High Court ordered the Surat Police to initiate a probe against a doctor who allegedly issued bogus medical certificates to jail inmates to enable them to secure bail. (Dilip Trinath Gauda vs State of Gujarat)
  12. On Friday the Retired Supreme Court judge Justice Hemant Gupta expressed his doubts with the correctness of the recent Constitution Bench decision that held that an unstamped arbitration agreement is invalid in law.
  13. On Monday the Delhi High Court stayed the income tax proceedings initiated against the think tank Centre for Policy Research (CPR).  (Centre for Policy Research v Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax, Central Circle 14, New Delhi & Anr)
  14. On Monday the Delhi High Court issued notice and sought response from Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik in a plea by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) seeking his death penalty in a terror funding case.
  15. On Monday the Rajasthan High Court observed the right of a human being to choose his/her sex or gender identity is integral to his or her personality and is one of the most basic aspects of self-determination, dignity and freedom.
  16. On Monday the Delhi High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging Reserve Bank of India (RBI) notification allowing exchange of ₹2000 currency notes without any identity proof.
  17. On Saturday the IIAC Chairperson, Justice (Retired) Hemant Gupta said India International Arbitration Centre (IIAC) has government support but it does not run at the whims and fancies of the Central government.
  18. The Kerala High Court observed that unhealthy, unscientific and deleterious practices must be prevented even if they are done for religious purposes.  (Raveendran PT v. State of Kerala & Ors.)

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