Today’s Legal Updates

Friday, 2nd June 2023



Article – 243N Continuance of existing laws and Panchayats.

Notwithstanding anything in this Part, any provision of any law relating to Panchayats in force in a State immediately before the commencement of the Constitution (Seventy-third Amendment) Act, 1992, which is inconsistent with the provisions of this Part, shall continue to be in force until amended or repealed by a competent Legislature or other competent authority or until the expiration of one year from such commencement, whichever is earlier:
Provided that all the Panchayats existing immediately before such commencement shall continue till the expiration of their duration, unless sooner dissolved by a resolution passed to that effect by the Legislative Assembly of that State or, in the case of a State having a Legislative Council, by each House of the Legislature of that State.

State immediately before the commencement of the Constitution (Seventy-third Amendment) Act, 1992, which is inconsistent with the provisions of this Part, shall continue to be in force until amended or repealed by a competent Legislature or other competent authority or until the expiration of one year from such commencement, whichever is earlier:
Provided that all the Panchayats existing immediately before such commencement shall continue till the expiration of their duration, unless sooner dissolved by a resolution passed to that effect by the Legislative Assembly of that State or, in the case of a State having a Legislative Council, by each House of the Legislature of that State.

Today’s Legal Updates: 

  1. On Friday the Madras High Court said that the ten persons involved in the murder of Dalit youth Gokulraj in 2015 were driven by caste hatred towards him.
    • A bench of Justices MS Ramesh and N Anand Venkatesh said that the case brought to the Court’s attention the ills of the caste system, bigotry, inhuman treatment of persons belonging to the marginalised sections, and also the now familiar “scourge” of witnesses deliberately turning hostile to manipulate a case.
    • the Court said, The accused in this case were under the influence of a demon called caste.
    • the Court said, This is a case which brings out the dark side of human behaviour. It focuses our attention to the ugly facets of our society; the caste system, bigotry, inhuman treatment of persons belonging to the marginalised section, et al. En-route, this Court is confronted with the now familiar scourge of witnesses conveniently turning hostile in a deliberate bid to derail and deflect the course of justice.
    • This has virtually become the norm in high profile cases with the added pressure of the press and social media, the technical challenges posed in proving a large body of electronic evidence. These factors undoubtedly cast an additional burden on the judges who are tasked with the duty of deciding this case. Despite such pressures, the judges must rise to meet these challenges and ultimately render justice within the parameters of the law.
    • the High Court said, It is high time that the Legislature has a complete re-look and comes up with an appropriate legislation with respect to electronic evidence abreast with the prevailing scenario and make the procedure simpler for letting in electronic evidence during trial.
  2. On Friday Former Supreme Court judge Justice Kurian Joseph were speaking at the India Today Conclave South 2023 said that he is completely opposed to the idea of same-sex marriage and that a union of two individuals belonging to the same sex could be at best an association but cannot be included within the contours of marriage.
    • Justice Joseph said, Marriage is a union between man and woman. Other is an association. But the marriage is for procreation and recreation. The other is an association, a union. I am 100 percent against same sex marriage. It (homosexual relationships) can be an association.. own choice on living together as a friend, intimate friend etc. But the moment you touch concept of marriage, then it is different. It is a basic unit of the society. This affects the roots of the issue.
    • he said, Marriage is not a fundamental right.
    • The primary duty of the court is check legality of the legislation or laws in place. Unless that is there, it is difficult for the court to enter this domain.
    • Justice Joseph along with another retired Supreme Court judge Justice Jasti Chelameswar said, When Supreme Court gave a judgment in SR Bommai case, the ones who were not in power said it is a great constitutional judgment. So all this lakshman rekha business is rhetoric. Only lakshman rekha I know is Constitution itself delineating functions to each organ has been done.
  3. On Friday the Delhi High Court’s Justice Mukta Gupta said at her farewell ceremony held Judges, while granting relief to parties are not doing any charity, judging was not like performing a divine duty, and that for her, the only effort has been to ensure that justice won at the end.
    • she said, Over the past 14 years, when I have been the judge of this Court, I have dedicated my life to the cause of justice. To err is human and I am sure I also made mistakes along the way. But I did my best to ensure that whatever may have been the outcome of my decision, the eventual victory was that of justice,
    • As a standing counsel, I tried that everybody should be doing all kinds of matters. But every briefing which was more than 20 volumes landed back in my lap at the eleventh hour. However, I never said that I cannot do it. Accepting every challenge resulted in decisions in some of the most challenging matters that have been referred to today.
    • Due to the confidence I had in my ability, I soon not only authored a number of judgments in IPR, but I also co-authored India’s first and only appellate post-trial judgment in patent law with Justice Nandrajog. I also became the first woman judge in India to be recognised amongst the top 50 in the world of the IP matters in the year 2020.
    • It is your faith in yourself that gives you the strength to cross every hurdle. No profession is a cakewalk. No one gets everything on a platter. You have to earn your place.
    • On demitting the office, I can confidently say to God and to myself that after being appointed as a judge, I have performed the duties of my office with the best of my ability, knowledge and judgment, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will and that I have upheld the Constitution and the laws.
  4. On Friday the Delhi High Court issued notice to the Delhi Police on a plea filed by activist Sharjeel Imam seeking quashing of the chargesheet filed against him in the 2019 Jamia violence case invoking the offences of Sedition and promoting enmity between groups.
    • Imam has also asked the Court to issue directions to the trial court to proceed with trial in respect of all other offences in FIR 242/2019 without any further delay.
    • Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar issued notice and asked the Delhi Police to file a status report in the matter.
    • FIR 22/2020 invoked Sections 124A/153A/153B/505 of the Indian Penal Code and a chargesheet was filed against him after obtaining sanction under Section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Formal charges were framed against Imam by the trial court and the trial is ongoing.
    • the petition said, It is important to mention here that the Jamia Speech which was already investigated by the same investigating agency in FIR No. 22/20 was also made subject matter of the present FIR and chargesheet was additionally filed U/s 124A and 153A against the Petitioner in complete disregard and defiance of the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in T.T. Antony Vs State of Kerala & Ors, AIR 2001 SC 2637 and plethora of other judgments reiterating the same principle of law.
    • The same is in complete defiance of the fundamental right of the Petitioner to fair and speedy trial guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
  5. On Friday the Delhi High Court observed there is a growing tendency among women to rope in all the relatives of her husband including minors as accused in matrimonial cases for the offence of cruelty to wife under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). (Vikram Ruhal vs Delhi Police)
    • A division bench of Justices V Kameswar Rao and Anoop Kumar Mendiratta noted that many such complaints are eventually settled by parties out of court.
    • the Court said, There is a growing tendency amongst the women to rope in all the relatives including minors in case an FIR is lodged with reference to matrimonial disputes. Many of such complaints are eventually either settled between the families/spouses and are later on stated to have been filed in the heat of the moment over trivial issues. The abuse of the aforesaid provision has been substantially noticed though the salutary purpose of the enactment cannot be ignored in any manner.
    • the bench observed, Considering that the petitioner had been placed in Column 12 of charge-sheet and the fact that evidence did not establish his involvement in the offences after investigation, he should have been logically considered suitable for appointment. Merely being named in the FIR cannot be treated as an impediment for public appointment, unless the involvement is substantiated on investigation, specially in relation to matrimonial offences.
    • the Court said, Merely naming in the FIR does not lead to an inference that the employer can keep in abeyance the employment of an applicant for an indefinite period, even if the applicant has been placed in column 12 of the charge-sheet and has not been summoned.
  6. On Friday the Delhi High Court ordered that Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is in judicial custody in relation to the Delhi excise policy scam, shall be allowed to meet his wife from 10 am to 5 pm tomorrow (June 3).
    • Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma, however, clarified that Sisodia should not interact with the media in any manner or meet anyone else except his family. He will also not have access to phone or the internet.
    • the Court added, Enforcement Directorate (ED) shall furnish a status report in the interim bail plea by tomorrow evening.
    • the ASG said, He held 18 portfolios as minister and did not have time to visit his wife. Now he is creating all these grounds to get bail.
    • Four days back they withdrew the plea. Now they have come back again. There has been no change in his wife’s condition… only cosmetic change.
  7. On Monday the Mumbai sessions court directed the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police to investigate the role of Ramesh Abhishek, Chairman of Forward Markets Commission (FMC), in the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) payment default crisis.
    • the judge opined, Whatever the suspicious acts and omissions highlighted by the NSEL requires to be investigated by way of further investigation. No prejudice or harm will cause to prosecution if the matter is investigated into the above facts. On the contrary, actual truth will come out which will helpful to decide criminal liability of the actual culprits.
  8. On Wednesday the Allahabad High Court confirmed a Varanasi court order that had deemed maintainable a suit filed by Hindu parties seeking rights of worship inside the Gyanvapi Mosque. (Committee of Management, Anjuman Intezamia Masajid, Varanasi v Rakhi Singh)
    • Justice JJ Munir held that the suit was not hit by Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act which seeks to protect the status of all religious structures as it stood on the date of independence by barring courts from entertaining cases which raise dispute over the character of such places of worship.
    • the judgment stated, This Court fails to see that if the plaintiffs or devotees like them can do pooja and darshan of the deities on a single day in the year with no threat to the mosque’s character, how the making of it a daily or a weekly affair, would lead to a conversion or change of the mosque’s character.
    • the Court said, The mere asking to enforce a right to worship Maa Sringar Gauri, Lord Ganesha, Lord Hanuman and the other Deities, located in the suit property at their specified place, is not an act that changes the character of the Gyanvapi Mosque into a temple. It is no more than the seeking of a full enforcement of a subsisting right that inheres in the plaintiffs and since long exercised by other devotees like them until a time much after 15th August, 1947.
    • Justice Munir found that what the plaintiffs simply sought to enforce a subsisting right of worship which they had been exercising after August 15, 1947.
    • It is not that the plaintiffs, in any manner, wish to bring about any change to the suit property or alter its character, in whatever manner existing.
    • The learned District Judge has, more or less for the same reasons, held that the suit is not barred by the Act of 1991 and this Court, for all that has been said, does not find any ground to interfere with that conclusion.
  9. On Friday the Madras High Court upheld the conviction and the sentence imposed by the trial court on the 10 upper caste men for having killed 23-year-old Dalit engineering student, Gokulraj on the suspicion that he was in a relationship with a woman belonging to their caste.
    • A bench of Justices MS Ramesh and N Anand Venkatesh dismissed the appeals preferred by the convicts, including S Yuvaraj, the prime accused and leader of a local dominant caste outfit, challenging their conviction and life sentence imposed by a trial court in 2015. The bench however, altered the sentence imposed upon two of the ten convicts and reduced their life terms to five years imprisonment.
    • the bench said, We remained conscious of the fact that moral conviction has no place in criminal jurisprudence.
  10. On Friday the Delhi High Court granted police protection to a same-sex interfaith couple (petitioners) apprehending threats from the family members of the one of the petitioners.
    • Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar ordered the local Station House Officer (SHO) and beat constable to provide their contacts to the couple and respond immediately in case a distress call is made.
  11. On Friday the Supreme Court lifted the stay imposed by the Madras High Court on a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) press release inviting suggestions and objections from the public and other stakeholders on the Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023.  (Union of India vs Theeran Thirumurugan and ors)
    • A vacation bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Pankaj Mithal issued notice on the appeal moved by the Central government and listed the matter for further hearing in the first week of July.
    • The Madurai Bench of the High Court had noted in its order dated May 24 that the Bill proposes many crucial amendments to the 1980 Forest (Conservation) Act, which would would have wider implications.
    • A  bench of Justices MS Ramesh and PT Asha had noted, While the endeavour of the respondents in calling for suggestions from the public is laudable, the same could rendered futile if the notification seeking for suggestions does not reach to such sections of the public, who are not familiar with either the English or the Hindi languages. Thus if the Amendment Bill or the Press Communique are not made available in the vernacular languages other than English and Hindi, the object behind calling for suggestions from the public could be defeated.
    • Though it is not our desire to stall an important Amendment Bill, we are constrained to put it on hold for some time, for the Government to explore the possibilities of publishing translated copies of the Amendment Bill as well as Press Communique in all the vernacular languages of the country.
    • Justice Datta asked the SG, Where does petitioner after reading the bill in Tamil file his objections if the (public) hearings conclude by then?
    • Justice Datta asked the SG, Can you invite only one class and not the others?
  12. On Friday the Bombay High Court deferred the hearing in the suit filed by gangster Chhota Rajan against makers of the Netflix series ‘Scoop’ alleging infringement of personality rights.
    • Vacation judge Justice SG Dige noted that since the series has already been release, there is no urgency involved in the matter and the makers of the show can be granted time to respond to the plea.
    • Desai argued, I am shown as the one behind the murder. I am admitting I am convicted. My appeal is pending. Should I be portrayed like this in front of the whole world? Lakhs of people are going to watch it. It is going to create a lot of problem for me.
  13. On Wednesday Justice B Veerappa of the Karnataka High Court said during his farewell function Judiciary is the only temple in India which every citizen worships regardless of religion, caste, sex and place of birth.
    • The High Court judge emphasized that courts are temples of justice and like the other two organs in the country (legislature and executive), manned by human beings. 
    • the judge said, It is the last stop of the people after every knock of all doors fail. People approach the judiciary as the last resort. It is the only temple worshipped by every citizen of this nation, regardless religion, caste, sex, place of birth.
    • the judge said, Indian judiciary has by and large enjoyed immense public confidence. The greatest asset and strongest weapon in the armoury of judiciary, is the confidence it commands and the faith it inspires in the minds of the people in its capacity to do even under justice and keep the scale in balance in any dispute. Citizens have always considered the judiciary as the ultimate guardian of the rights and liberties.
    • the judge said, It is a major obstacle to the growth of the country and the future generation. We the judges, stop of the entire judicial system, should pledge to eliminate corruption. We should become a role model to all other organs of the State. Thereby it is high time to both lawyers and judges to ensure calmness in the minds of the public and to protect the majesty of the esteemed institution.
    • the judge said in a lighter vein, Justice Veerappa was known for his fearlessness. Because of that he was so straightforward and he used to ‘roar’ in court, probably because of that that he earned the tag of ‘Tiger’.
  14. On Friday Member of Legislature Assembly from Virajpet and Senior Advocate AS Ponnanna has been appointed legal advisor to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
    • Siddaramaiah also ordered that Ponnanna will be conferred cabinet rank status and accompanying benefits.
    • Ponnanna contested on the Indian National Congress (INC) ticket and secured a victory by a margin of 4,291 votes over three-time Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) and incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader KG Bopaiah, who also served as the former speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.
  15. On Friday the Delhi High Court held that in cases of admissions under the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS)/Disadvantaged Group (DG) categories, private schools may not insist on following the neighbourhood criteria strictly.  (Tarun Kumar & Anr v The Principal Happy Hours School & Ors)
    • Justice Mini Pushkarna said that the entire purpose of EWS reservation in schools will be defeated if seats under this category are allowed to go vacant merely because prospective students do not meet the neighbourhood criteria as per which they should be staying within the proximity of the school.
    • the Court said, The court cannot be oblivious of the noble purpose with which criteria has been developed for reservation of seats under the EWS/DG category. The social purpose of reservation of seats under the EWS/DG category cannot be allowed to be lost, if such objections with regard to the applicants not meeting the neighbourhood criteria, are entertained especially when admissions under the EWS/DG category are involved.
    • the Court added, However, it is directed that the DOE shall make endeavour, as far as possible, to allot schools which are nearest to the residence of the students in question.
  16. The 22nd Law Commission of India headed by former Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court Ritu Raj Awasthi has recommended that Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalises sedition, should be retained in the statute book with certain changes.
    • A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by the then Chief Justice of India N V Ramana had on May 11, 2022, put the provision in abeyance instead of deciding on its validity.
    • the Law Commission said that Section 124A needs to be retained in the Indian Penal Code, though certain amendments, as suggested, may be introduced in it by incorporating the ratio decidendi of Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar so as to bring about greater clarity regarding the usage of the provision.
    • the report said, The 42nd Report of the Law Commission termed the punishment for Section l24Ato be very ‘odd’. It could be either imprisonment for life or imprisonment up to three years only, but nothing in between, with the minimum punishment being only fine. A comparison of the sentences as provided for the offences in Chapter VI ofthe IPC suggests that there is a glaring disparity in the punishment prescribed for Section 124A. It is, therefore, suggested that the provision be revised to bring it in consonance with the scheme of punishment provided for other offences under Chapter VI. This would allow the Courts greater room to award punishment for a case of sedition in accordance with the scale and gravity of the act committed.
      • Section 124A of IPC, as it stands currently, reads as follows:
    • Sedition-Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in lndia, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment which may extend to three years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.
    • the Law Commission has now recommended to alter the Section as: Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in lndia, with a tendency to incite violence or cause public disorder shall be punished with imprisonment for life, to which fine may be added, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, to which fine may be added, or with fine.
    • The Commission also suggested that no FIR dealing with Section 124A be registered “unless a police officer, not below the rank of Inspector, conducts a preliminary inquiry and on the basis of the report made by the said police officer the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, grants permission for registering a First Information Report. “
    • Justice Awasthi led commission opined that “repealing Section 124A of IPC on the mere basis that certain countries have done so is essentially turning a blind eye to the glaring ground realities existing in India.

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