Today’s Legal Updates

Tuesday, 2nd May 2023

Legal Awareness: – CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

Part – Vl THE STATES

CHAPTER- VI SUBORDINATE COURTS

Article – 233 Appointment of district judges.

  1. Appointments of persons to be, and the posting and promotion of, district judges in any State shall be made by the Governor of the State in consultation with the High Court exercising jurisdiction in relation to such State.
  2. A person not already in the service of the Union or of the State shall only be eligible to be appointed a district judge if he has been for not less than seven years an advocate or a pleader and is recommended by the High Court for appointment.

Today’s Legal Updates: 

  1. On Tuesday the Supreme Court expressed its displeasure at the attempt by the Bilkis Bano gang rape convicts to avoid the present bench from hearing the case challenging their remission.  (Bilkis Yakub Rasool vs Union of India and ors)
    • A bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna said that it was quite clear that the attempt by the lawyers for the convicts was to avoid the present bench, since Justice Joseph, who is heading the bench, is due to retire soon.
    • Justice Joseph remarked, It is clear what is being attempted. I am retiring retiring on June 16 and my last working day is on May 19. It is obvious you do not want this bench to hear the case. You (lawyers) are officers of the court (first), do not forget that role. You may win or lose a case but do not forget your duty.
    • he said, Matter concerns 11 remissions. If petitions by X,Y and Z are allowed then it will lay down a bad position of law. Not only in this case, it should not become a precedent.
  2. On Tuesday the Calcutta High Court has reassigned the bunch of petitions relating to the school jobs for cash scam involving Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee, to Justice Amrita Sinha.
    • the notification said, The Writ Petitions, all application filed in the writ petitions and any further application/s that may be filed including Review Application/s are assigned to Justice Amrita Sinha.
    • the Supreme Court had said, Having considered the note prepared by Justice Gangopadhyay and also perused the transcript of the interview, the transcript has been authenticated on April 26, 2023 by the interpreting officer on the original side of the High Court, we direct the admin Chief Justice shall reassign the pending proceedings in the case to some other judge of the Calcutta High Court.
    • During a hearing, Justice Gangopadhyay had reportedly asked in open court, Supreme Court judges can do whatever they want? Is this a Zamindari?
    • Banerjee moved the apex court stating, The fact that judicial orders passed by the highest court of the land, are not only under scrutiny but criticism in the most cavalier manner by the said Ld. Single Judge, calls for intervention by this Hon’ble Court so as to ensure that the majesty of the Institution is maintained and the faith which a common man deposes in it stands strong.
  3. Last Week the Supreme Court urged all courts in the country to ensure that bail orders are not lengthy and are pronounced on time.  (Sumit Subhashchandra Gangwal and anr vs State of Maharashtra)
    • A bench of Justices BR GavaiVikram Nath, and Sanjay Karol stressed that courts should act promptly in matters concerning liberty of citizens.
    • the bench said, Detailed elaboration of evidence has to be avoided at the stage of grant/rejection of bail/anticipatory bail…It is always said that in the matters pertaining to liberty of citizens, the Court should act promptly…inordinate delay in passing an order pertaining to liberty of a citizen is not in tune with the constitutional mandate.
  4. On Tuesday the Delhi High Court warned the Adjudicating Authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against the repeated use of “templated paragraphs” and “disconcerting language” in its orders.
    • Justice Prathiba M Singh said that if such language is used by the Authority, the Court would be constrained to direct action to be taken against it.
    • the order said, Repeated use of templated paragraphs, as though the principles of Natural Justice are mere rhetoric, is not permissible. The present order shall be treated as a warning to the concerned authority to not use such language as extracted below in its orders, failing which the Court would be constrained to direct action to be taken.
    • the Adjudicating Authority had said that it is always open to the accused of the alleged offenders to make more noise about the so-called violation of principles of natural justice.
    • The Authority further said that such noise can be heard quite often in these type of matters with a view to drag the proceedings and scuttle the efforts of the authorities concerned to pin down the offenders to the crime in furtherance of the provisions of the Act.
    • the Court ordered, Thus, this Court is not inclined to entertain the present writ petition. The Petitioner is relegated to avail of its Appellate remedy in accordance with law.
  5. On Tuesday Munmun Dhamecha, one of the accused in the cruise ship drug case, has approached a Mumbai court seeking discharge from the cruise ship drug case, in which Aryan Khan was arrested.
    • The case arose when a special team of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) seized 13 grams of cocaine, 5 grams of mephedrone MD, 21 grams of charas, 22 Pills of MDMA (Ecstasy) and ₹1,33,000 at the International Cruise Terminal, Green Gate Mumbai. 
    • the plea, That in the case of Khan, who was arrested due to being in the company of co-accused Arbaaz Merchant, from whom a recovery of 0.6 grams of charas was made, Khan was discharged by NCB through their chargesheet.
  6. On Tuesday the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the release of the movie, The Kerala Story in theatres and via OTT (Over The Top) platforms and other such avenues, contending that the movie’s release is likely to cause hatred and enmity between different sections of society in India.  (Jamiat Ulama i Hind v. Union of India)
    • the plea said, The movie demeans the entire Muslim community, particularly Muslim youth and it will result in endangering the life and livelihood of the entire Muslim community in our country and this is a direct infringement under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.
    • the plea said, The message the movie imparts is that non-Muslim young women are being lured into converting to Islam by their classmates and subsequently, trafficked to West Asia where they are forced to join terrorist organisation.
    • the petition stated, It is falsely stated that 32,000 girls have left Kerala for West Asia to join ISIS even though the United Nations, the Union Home Ministry, police sources and experts agree that the number of Indians who left to join ISIS is around 66 and the maximum number of pro-ISIS persons who may have shown inclination towards ISIS is in between 100 and 200.
  7. On Tuesday the Gujarat High Court reserved its verdict on a plea filed by Rahul Gandhi seeking stay on his conviction by a Magistrate court in a criminal defamation case against him for his remark “All thieves have Modi surname”. (Rahul Gandhi v Purnesh Modi)
    • Single-judge Justice Hemant Prachchhak refused to pass any interim order in favour of Gandhi and said that he will pronounce the final verdict in the matter after the Court reopens post the summer vacation of the Court.
    • Justice Prachchhak said, I will pass the order during the vacations and pronounce it post vacation.
    • Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said, I beseech my lords, to take some decision today please.
    • the judge maintained, I made myself clear. I will hear all arguments etc. I will use the vacation time to write the order.
  8. On Tuesday the Supreme Court entrusted former apex court judge, Justice L Nageswara Rao with the task of finalising the draft constitution of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
    • A Bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala sought a report on the same and directed, We are of the view that it will be appropriate to defer this exercise since these are not issues of law but matters of policy dealing with running sport of football in India. Bearing in mind the case of IOA handled by Justice L Nageswara Rao, we entrust Justice Rao with the task of formulating the AIFF constitution and we request him to take the draft constitution prepared and finalise a report. In finalising the report, Justice Rao is requested to hear all the stakeholders.
    • Senior Advocate Harish Salve informed the Bench that, The issue is that if you see the language…like the BCCI model which the court accepted.. like discipline, rule and conduct of game is up to the association and commercial exploitation is given to a franchise and that model should be followed.
    • Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan informed Bench that, There are four major objections. One is player inclusion in the general body, league and how it should be run. Then the question of how the Sports Code should apply to the state associations. Then disqualification of public servants, and then some to amendments to the constitution.
    • the Court added, Any decision which we take here will be like either we are running AIFF or taking away powers. A former judge of the Court has to apply mind perhaps. Also, you cannot equate BCCI with football since clubs run football in India.
    • CJI Chandrachud said, Let us have a prima facie view by a seasoned former judge and it obviates a grievance that people have not been heard. We can appoint Justice L Nageswara Rao to hear this and we can just accept what he says…There is one part of our mind which says let us finish this here…these are intractable issues and when we hear it we see very little law and more on sports policy and that is why courts face flak for these issues that are we equipped to deal with all this…rather have a seasoned expert apply his mind to the case.
  9. On Tuesday the Kerala High Court said that petitions against movies like The Kerala Story will give such movies unnecessary publicity.
    • a bench of Justices N Nagaresh and Mohammed Nias CP sought the response of the Central government and the produces of the movie on a plea filed by advocate Anoop VR seeking a stay on release of the movie.
    • Justice Nagaresh asked, Does this kind of petition not give unnecessary publicity to these movies.
    • the bench asked, Isn’t this just art? How can it be conflated with hate speech.
    • Raj submitted, Right now only trailer is available to the public but even in that they are saying it is based on true stories. It is an insult to the State and its people. If the court feels this is not hate speech then nothing else would be considered hate speech.
    • Senior Advocate S Sreekumar said, Then Censor board gave the certificate. Now on the eve of the release petitioner has come here.
    • Raj said, My argument is that the censor board gave the certificate on a partial evaluation of the movie only. The contents of the trailer and the movie are absolutely toxic. Does the teaser trailer have a certificate from the Board.
    • Raj further demanded, Teaser is available even now. For the film I have said that maybe expert committee may be constituted but that is for another day. I am on the teaser trailer right now. Has the teaser been certified.
    • Deputy Solicitor General S Manu said, certificate has been issued on partial evaluation is not based on any fact or material. It may be the opinion of a few citizens only.
    • Raj maintained, I am not seeking to ban the film. The rule of law has to be maintained. I want confirmation if the teaser has been certified or not. If this court won’t do that, then nobody can.
    • the petition stated, The movie `The Kerala Story’ claims to be inspired from true events, however, the statements in the teaser and trailer of the movie are far distant from the truth. The movie has made several controversies from the date of release of its teaser on 03.112022. The teaser itself states the incorrect statistical data that 32,000 women are converted, radicalized, and deployed in terror missions.
    • the plea said, The movie constitutes hate speech as defined in Ext. P3 against the Muslim community and the State of Kerala. Such promotion of hate speech does not constitute freedom of speech and expression under Art. 19 of the Constitution.
  10. On Tuesday the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by the Delhi Police challenging an order of the Delhi High Court granting bail to Asif Iqbal Tanha, Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal in a Delhi Riots case under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). (State of NCT of Delhi vs Devangana Kalita)
    • A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Ahsanuddin Amanullah also reiterated that the High Court’s order shall not be treated as precedent primarily because of elaborate discussion on merits.
    • the bench said, The impugned order is an extremely elaborate order of bail interpreting various provisions of the UAPA Act…The idea [of the interim order] was to protect the State against use of the judgment on enunciation of law qua interpretation of the provisions of the UAPA Act in a bail matter...We make it clear that thus we have not gone into the legal position regarding statutory interpretation one way or the other.
    • the bench said, No, no (adjournment). Not every time. Today is a good day you argue. It is our indulgence earlier that has created this. Earlier Supreme Court did not grant such requests. Do not interrupt proceedings now.
    • the bench had said, We note that once again for the nth time a request for adjournment was made. Nothing survives in the matter really and so we are not willing to accommodate.
  11. On Tuesday the Delhi High Court ordered the passport authority to delete the name of the biological father from a minor child’s passport noting that the man had deserted the child even before he was born and had given up all his rights.
    • Justice Prathiba M Singh said that under certain circumstances the name of the biological father can be deleted from the passport and the surname can also be changed.
    • the court said, Such a relief ought to be considered, depending upon the factual position emerging in each case. No hard and fast rule can be applied. There are myriad situations in the case of matrimonial discord between parents, where the child’s passport application may have to be considered by the authorities.
    • the bench said, Passport Manual 2020 clearly recognizes several situations/ conditions where the exclusion of the name of the father from the minor’s passport is permissible. Clause 4.1 itself clearly enables a single parent to apply for a passport without mentioning the name of the other parent. Clause 4.2 carves out a specific category relating to unwed single parents.
    • the court said, Clause 4.3, clearly mentions that in the case of married parents the name of the father shall be furnished by the other single parent having the custody of the child, irrespective of the status of the marriage i.e divorce, divorce pending, separated etc., However, the mere furnishing of the name does not result in the conclusion that the name of the father has to be compulsorily mentioned. It would depend on the circumstances of each case.
    • the Court finally ordered, In the unique and peculiar circumstances of this case, it is accordingly directed that the name of the father of Petitioner No.2 (child) be deleted from the passport and the passport be re-issued in favour of the minor child without the name of the father.
  12. On Monday the Karnataka government requested the Supreme Court to retain the public prosecutor in the 2008 Bengaluru serial blasts case, in which Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Abdul Nasser Madani is the accused.
    • A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Bela M Trivedi was requested by Additional Advocate General Nikhil Goel to retain the public prosecutor in light of upcoming legislative assembly elections in the Karnataka.
    • Madani has been on bail for 8 years in the case. On Monday, he cancelled his trip to Kerala to meet his ailing father after the Supreme Court rejected his plea seeking reduction of high cost of security demanded by the Karnataka Police for his trip to Kerala to meet his ailing father.
    • The Karnataka Police had demanded ₹52 lakh to provide security cover to Madani.
  13. On Tuesday the Bombay High Court granted relief to Bollywood actor and model Arjun Rampal by allowing him to avail the benefits under the now expired Sabka Vishwas (Legacy Dispute Resolution) Scheme, 2019 (SVLDR scheme) and pay his tax dues for financial year 2016-17. 
    • A division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Abhay Ahuja observed that the SVLDR scheme was brought to put an end to legacy disputes in indirect tax matters which would benefit the tax payers as well assessees and revenue. 
    • the bench reasoned, The tax payers would have the benefit of ending the legacy disputes with the revenue authorities and the authorities would in turn unlock the revenues that were locked up in such disputes.
    • Rampal availed the scheme on December 30, 2019 declaring ₹9,16,203 as tax dues. 
    • On February 23, 2020, a form was issued by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) directing Rampal to pay ₹2,74,860 to avail the benefit under the scheme. 
  14. On Tuesday the Central government informed the Supreme Court that it is in the process of forming an expert committee to examine whether death by hanging is the most suitable and painless method to implement the death penalty.
    • Attorney General R Venkataramani told a Bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala, I proposed it (formation of committee) and we are gathering names now.
    • the plea said, It had categorically opined that hanging is undoubtedly accompanied by intense physical torture and pain.
    • the Court had said, If Central government has not done this study, then we can form a committee which can have experts from national law universities like NLU Delhi, Bangalore or Hyderabad, some doctors from AIIMS, distinguished people across the country and some scientific experts.
  15. On Tuesday the Kerala High Court dismissed a plea filed by a practicing lawyer seeking a halt for the newly launched ‘Vande Bharat train’ at Tirur Railway station in Malappuram district.  (PT Sheejish v Union of India & Ors.)
    • A division bench consisting of Justices Bechu Kurian Thomas and C Jayachandran while dismissing the plea said that halting points of a train are determined by the Railways and no one has a vested right to demand which station a particular train should stop.
    • the Court said, Moreover, like the petitioner, if every individual or public-spirited person in every district, starts clamoring or demanding a stop to be provided at a Railway Station of his/her choice, the purpose of setting up high-speed trains would itself be lost. Railway stops are not to be provided on demands based on personal or vested interests, especially for high-speed express trains like Vande Bharat train….we find no reason to entertain this writ petition and the same is dismissed in limine.
    • the judgment stated, The Courts cannot interfere in the matter of providing stops for railway trains, as that is a matter purely within the discretion and jurisdiction of the railways. Providing railway stop for the Vande Bharat train at Tirur, Malappuram is therefore not justiciable.
  16. On Tuesday A plea has been filed before the Supreme Court against the release of the upcoming movie, The Kerala Story alleging the same promotes hate speech.
    • The plea was mentioned on Today by advocate Nizam Pasha before a bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna for urgent listing since the same bench has been hearing another case relating to hate speech.
    • Justice Joseph remarked, We cannot tag it. Why don’t you move the concerned High Court first. See a board has certified it through a process.
    • Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal said, Lordships may just look at the transcript during the recess. Trailer has already has 16 million views. By tomorrow we will file a substantial Petition.
    • Justice Nagarathna said, You cannot come directly here always.
    • Justice Joseph asked, This is about Kerala?
    • Sibal replied, “Yes”.
    • the bench said, This can’t be the mode of getting relief. An IA in another case.
  17. On Tuesday the Bangalore District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission directed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and JAS Toll Road Company Limited to pay compensation of ₹5,000 to a commuter who was charged ₹10 excess toll fee.  (Santosh Kumar MB v. NHAI and Ors)
    • The Commission’s President, B Narayanappa, and members Jyothi N and Sharavathi SM observed that despite having collected excess fee and despite the complainant running from pillar to post to rectify the error, the NHAI and the toll firm did not show an intention to redress the complaint.
    • the order recorded, All they expect is the responsible authority acknowledging their redress and correct the error in the reasonable form of time.
    • The complainant approached the Commission claiming that on two occasions, he was charged ₹40 instead of ₹35 as toll for a highway in Karnataka.

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