Today’s Legal Updates

Tuesday, 7th March 2023

Legal Awareness: – CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

Part – Vl THE STATES

CHAPTER- IITHE STATE LEGISLATURE

Procedure in Financial Matters

Article – 204 Appropriation Bills.

  1. As soon as may be after the grants under article 203 have been made by the Assembly, there shall be introduced a Bill to provide for the appropriation out of the Consolidated Fund of the State of all moneys required to meet—
    • (a) the grants so made by the Assembly; and
    • (b) the expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of the State but not exceeding in any case the amount shown in the statement previously laid before the House or Houses.
  2. No amendment shall be proposed to any such Bill in the House or either House of the Legislature of the State which will have the effect of varying the amount or altering the destination of any grant so made or of varying the amount of any expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of the State, and the decision of the person presiding as to whether an amendment is inadmissible under this clause shall be final.
  3. Subject to the provisions of articles 205 and 206, no money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of the State except under appropriation made by law passed in accordance with the provisions of this article.

Today’s Legal Updates: 

  1. On Tuesday the Calcutta High Court ruled that the University Grants Commission Regulations, 2018 (UGC Regulations) do not allow universities governed by it to withdraw study leave granted to teachers on account of disciplinary proceedings contemplated or initiated against them.  (Shri Rajesh KV Alias Rajesh Kaleerakath Venugopal v. Visva-Bharati and others)
    • Justice Kausik Chanda made the observation while relying on a provision under clause 8.2 (xiii) of the UGC Regulations, which deals with the circumstances in which study leave benefits, such as leave salary, should be refunded to the university.
    • clause 8.2. (xiii) (d), provides that when a teacher is dismissed or removed from service, he is liable to refund leave salary and other allowances and expenses incurred in connection with studies pursued while on leave.
    • the Court said, n my view, the said clause duly outlines the course of action to be taken in the event where a disciplinary action has been initiated against a teacher. The said rule does not authorise the university to revoke any leave benefit where a disciplinary proceeding is contemplated or initiated against a teacher.
    • the Court added, In my view, the said UGC Regulations, 2018, provide for an exhaustive set of leave rules when Visva-Bharati does not have its own. There cannot be any doubt that the provisions for leave contained in UGC Regulations, 2018, shall apply to the petitioner.
    • the Court ruled in the petitioner’s favor the university was directed to grant the study leave applied for by the petitioner within seven days from the judgment. 
    • the Centre for Cultural Resources and Training was also directed to consider extending the period of the petitioner’s fellowship, if required, to make up for the time consumed in legal proceedings for this case.
  2. On Tuesday the Karnataka High Court granted interim anticipatory bail to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Madal Virupakshappa in a corruption case.
    • Single-judge Justice K Natarajan granted the relief subject to him furnishing personal bail bond of ₹5 lakh.
    • The Court also directed the MLA, who represents the Channagiri constituency, to corporate with the investigation.
    • A case was registered against Prashanth and Virupakshappa under Section 7(a) and 7(b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
    • Prashanth, who is the Joint Controller of the State Accounts Department, was ocuppying post of Chief Accountant in the Bengaluru Jal Board.
    • He was allegedly caught by the Lokayukta Police taking a bribe of ₹40 lakh to award a contract to supply chemicals to the Karnataka Soap and Detergent Factory (KSDL).
  3. The Supreme Court expressed concerns over the apparent uncertainty and delay involved in the implementation of compassionate appointment schemes by the West Bengal government.  (State of West Bengal vs Debabrata Tiwari and ors)
    • A bench of Justices Krishna Murari and BV Nagarathna observed that such a state of affairs may have ultimately prejudiced families of several government employees dying in harness.
    • The Court sounded a strong word of reproach against the West Bengal government authorities about the manner in which applications for compassionate appointment by hundreds of dependents were dealt with.
    • the Court added, Much uncertainty looms around the scope, extent and beneficiaries of the various schemes formulated by the State for governing compassionate appointment and therefore, the concerned authorities are unable/unwilling to positively decide claims for compassionate appointment.
    • the Court said, Delay on the part of the authorities of the State to decide claims for compassionate appointment would no doubt frustrate the very object of a scheme of compassionate appointment. Government officials are to act with a sense of utmost proactiveness and immediacy while deciding claims of compassionate appointment so as to ensure that the wholesome object of such a scheme is fulfilled.
    • the Court explained, The sense of immediacy in the matter of compassionate appointment has been lost in the present case. This is attributable to the authorities of the Appellant-State as well as the Respondents-Writ Petitioners. Now, entertaining a claim which was made in 2005-2006, in the year 2023, would be of no avail, because admittedly, the Respondents-Writ Petitioners have been able to eke out a living even though they did not successfully get appointed to the services of the Municipality on compassionate grounds.
    • the Court said, existence of a policy issued by the State Government is a sine qua non for making appointments on compassionate basis … The appointments must follow the stipulations made in the policy. It is therefore a no-brainer that in the absence of a policy governing compassionate appointment to posts under a local authority, no appointment could be made to such an authority on compassionate grounds.
  4. On Tuesday the Calcutta High Court imposed ₹20,000 as personal costs on an income tax Assessing Officer (AO), Bitan Roy, after the Court found that he had issued an assessment notice to a company that no longer existed after its amalgamation with another entity in 2019.  (Orbit Projects Private Limited Vs Income Tax Officer, Ward 5(1), Kolkata & Ors.)
    • Justice Md. Nizamuddin also found that this was not the first time that AO Roy had issued such a notice to the same non-existing entity.
    • the Court said in its 2nd March order, in spite of quashing of such notice by this court on earlier occasion, again the assessing officer has issued the impugned notice dated 27th May, 2022 against the very same non-existing entity. Such conduct reflect, total non-application of mind by the Assessing Officer, namely Bitan Roy, Ward No.V(1), Kolkata, and rather it is contumacious also and in total disregard and defiance of earlier of the order of this court.
    • the judge went on to observe, Conduct of the officer as appears that he is not mentally in a position to discharge his duty and that the reason best known to him as appears from his conduct that he is harassing the petitioner by inviting for this unnecessary litigation and cost of which is to be incurred by the petitioner and by the Government also from public exchequer for defending such type of cases.
    • the latest order, Let a copy this order be communicated to the Principal Chief CIT, West Bengal and Sikkim, by the office of the Ministry of Law and Justice, who will take note of this order about the affairs going on in his department and take necessary steps.
  5. On Tuesday the Delhi High Court stayed the proceedings before a trial court against journalist Swati Chaturvedi in a defamation case filed against her by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga.  (Swati Chaturvedi v State and Anr)
    • Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar issued notice in the matter and stayed the proceedings on a plea by Chaturvedi challenging the summons issued by a magistrate in the defamation case.
    • The first part of the tweet in question made reference to an incident in 2011, where Bagga and two others allegedly attacked advocate Prashant Bhushan in his Supreme Court chambers, as a result of which the veteran lawyer sustained minor injuries to his head and leg.
    • Bagga filed a defamation case against Chaturvedi. In an order passed in May 2018, a magistrate court ordered Chaturvedi to appear before the court, Chaturvedi challenged the order but the same was dismissed in December 2022 by the Sessions Court.
    • Chaturvedi then moved the High Court, Advocate Adit S Pujari appeared for Chaturvedi he said as per Explanation 4 to Section 499 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), to invite the offence of defamation, it is necessary that the person’s repuation is lowered in the estimation of others. However, no witness has been examined in the case.
    • Pujari submitted, There is no one who came forward and said he saw the tweet and therefore the respondent’s (Bagga’s) reputation was lowered.
    • Counsel appearing for Bagga said, This FIR, too, was quashed later. I am saying that the case has peen halted for a long time. It has finally started, let it not be stayed.
  6. On Tuesday the Delhi High Court granted transit anticipatory bail till March 20 to Uttar Pradesh BJP spokesperson and Goa Standing Counsel Prashant Umrao, in the case registered against him by the Tamil Nadu police over a tweet he made regarding alleged attacks on migrant workers in the southern state. 
    • Umrao has been booked under Sections 153 (provocation for rioting), 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischie) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
    • the Court asked, How can I give you transit anticipatory bail for 12 weeks.
    • the counsel for Umrao said, I am witch hunted like anything. Give me 6 weeks at least.
    • the Court made it clear, No chance. It can’t be such a luxury.
    • the counsel further submitted, I am the only person against whom FIR has been registered in Tuticorin.
    • Senior Counsel Sanjay Hegde, appearing for Tamil Nadu government said, He has a history of making tweets that incite violence. He is standing counsel for Goa. He is a man of some standing. Freedom of speech does not mean you light fire to a crowded theatre. He has a continual record of making such tweets and then deleting it without even a clarification.
    • the single judge replied, I will only see that he gets a proper redressal. I will only ensure that he gets access to justice.
    • the Court ordered, I am of the view that he be given reasonable time. The applicant is granted transit anticipatory bail till March 20. The applicant should share his contact number with the counsel for Tamil Nadu.
  7. On Tuesday the Kerala High Court held that the examination of witnesses via video conference is permitted under the Electronic Video Linkage Rules for Courts (Kerala), 2021 (2021 Rules) and it does not affect the rights of the accused person.  (Gopal C v Central Bureau of Investigation)
    • Justice A Badharudeen said that the whole purpose of the Rules is to allow examination of witnesses who cannot be present physically, so as to avoid delay in disposing of the case or other expenses.
    • the Court said, Since the purpose of enactment of Electronic Video Linkage Rules for Courts (Kerala), 2021 itself is to examine the witnesses whose presence could not be secure without undue delay or expenses and for other reasons stated in Rule 8(23), .. In fact, the examination of the witness either through physical mode or through video linkage, the same makes no difference as far as the right of the accused to cross-examine the witness is concerned.
    • the Court added, That apart, it is worthwhile to note that the framers of the Rules even visualized the argument of this nature while implementing the Rules and they vigilantly implemented Rule 8(24) and the said provision provides that subject to the orders of the Court, if any party or his authorized person is desirous of being physically present at the Remote Point at the time of recording of the evidence, it shall be open for such party to make arrangements at his own cost. If so, the dread of persuasion of the petitioner could be addressed by resorting to Rule 8(24), subject to the orders of the Court.
    • the Court noted that Rule 8(23), stipulates that may authorize the conduct of the proceedings through video conference from the place where the required person is situated if such person’s presence cannot be secured without undue delay or expenses, or for any other genuine reason.
  8. On Monday the Rouse Avenue District Court Delhi granted bail to Butchibabu Gorantla in a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) case related to the alleged Delhi excise policy scam.
    • Butchibabu is a chartered accountant (CA) by profession and alleged to be a close aid of of Telengana lawmaker and Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s daughter, K Kavitha.
    • CBI has alleged that he was acting as a part of the “South Group” that had obtained undue benefits under the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 by bribing officials of the Delhi Excise Department.
    • Special CBI Judge MK Nagpal noted that the alleged involvement of Butchibabu was limited to giving professional advice as a CA and that it was not the case of the prosecution that he was involved in payment of kickback amount or ever received or transferred any amount from his bank account.
    • the Court ordered, Therefore, in light of the above, the bail application filed by the accused Butchibabu Gorantla in the present case is allowed and he is directed to be released from custody on furnishing of a personal bond in the sum of rupees two lacs (₹2,00,000/) with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of this court.
  9. On Monday the Delhi High Court ruled that the language used in the web series ‘College Romance’ streaming on over the top (OTT) platform TVF, is obscene, profane and vulgar which will deprave and corrupt the the minds of young people.
    • Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said that she had to watch the episodes of show with the aid of earphones in the chamber as the profanity of language used was such that it could not have been heard without shocking or alarming the people around.
    • the judgment, he Court had to watch the episodes with the aid of earphones, in the chamber, as the profanity of language used was of the extent that it could not have been heard without shocking or alarming the people around and keeping in mind the decorum of language which is maintained by a common prudent man whether in professional or public domain or even with family members at home. Most certainly, this Court notes that this is not the language that nation’s youth or otherwise citizens of this country use, and this language cannot be called the frequently spoken language used in our country.
    • the judge has said, Holding so, will amount to a dangerous trend and will be against public interest.
    • The language which is being today called normal college culture and lifestyle is bound to percolate to school going children since it is unclassified and tomorrow may be called normal school culture, since the new generation will learn from the older generation. It will be a sad day for society in case the same vulgar and obscene language is spoken in schools, streets and houses in the name of new culture of the students.
    • While observing so, the Court may be looked upon as old fashioned or belonging to old school. However, this Court is of firm opinion that while examining the pride of the nation i.e. the language used for ages, there can be no question of profanity being considered part of this language even with passage of time.
    • the court observed, To uphold the contention of the petitioners that hurling such obscenities in public forums and by the young generation in general, in the universities and colleges, is so common that it is considered natural, without causing any distress, could amount to holding that a certain standard of decency cannot be expected on streets, public places or educational institutions. Such linguistic decay of Hindi language will go beyond falling standards in society.
    •  the court added, The use of profanity and words which are taboo in general parlance in the web series on the pretext that this is how the new generation behaves and speaks or communicates, in this Court’s opinion, is not the mirror of such social realities and is certainly distorted. Though such web series may portray a certain part of society, the popular culture of this country still identifies with and adopts point of view of civil language.
    • A copy of this judgment be forwarded to the Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, and concerned officials of YouTube India.

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