Today’s Legal Updates

Thursday, 8th December 2022




Officers of the State Legislature

Article – 178 The Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

Every Legislative Assembly of a State shall, as soon as may be, choose two members of the Assembly to be respectively Speaker and Deputy Speaker thereof and, so often as the office of Speaker or Deputy Speaker becomes vacant, the Assembly shall choose another member to be Speaker or Deputy Speaker, as the case may be.

Today’s Parliament Updates: 

On Thursday the Winter Session of Parliament saw replies to questions answered on topics ranging from Supreme Court Collegium proposals to the implementation of the Nyaya Mitra scheme.

  1. No proposal to reintroduce NJAC, 146 recommendations from HCs pending with Centre and SC Collegium
    • On a question by MPs Mallikarjun Kharge and Dr John Brittas in the Rajya Sabha, it was revealed by Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju that the Central Government, at present, has no proposal to reintroduce the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) for appointment of judges.
    • The answer also revealed that as on December 5, 2022, there is 1 proposal for appointment of a Supreme Court judge and 8 proposals for appointment of High Court judges that are pending with the Centre.
    • Rijiju, further revealed there are 11 proposals for transfer of High Court judges, 1 proposal for transfer of a Chief Justice and 1 proposal for appointment of Chief Justice of a High Court recommended by the Collegium which are under consideration of the government.
    • In the last five years, a total of 256 proposals have been remitted by the government to the High Courts on the advice of the Supreme Court Collegium, the response stated.
    • The following table illustrates that 146 proposals recommended by various High Courts are at different stages of processing with the government and the Supreme Court Collegium.
  1. Facilities for women in court complexes
    • Rajya Sabha MP S Niranjan Reddy asked whether the government intends to introduce a policy for creating facilities for women in courts.
    • He also asked whether it intends to amend the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for the Development of Infrastructure Facilities for the judiciary to specifically make provisions for women lawyers and litigants.
    • The reply stated that as per Supreme Court records, 26% of court complexes do not have a separate ladies’ toilet.
    • Further, the scheme that is being implemented since 1993-94, and has been extended from 2021-22 to 2025-26 with a budgetary outlay of ₹9,000 crore, including the central share of ₹5,307 crore.
    • It added that besides the construction of court halls and residential quarters, the scheme now also covers the construction of lawyers’ halls, digital computer rooms and toilet complexes in the district and subordinate courts.
  2. Need to extend POCSO fast track courts scheme
    • Andhra Pradesh MP Prabhakar Reddy Vemireddy in the Rajya Sabha, the Ministry of Law & Justice revealed that the Centrally Sponsored Scheme for setting up Fast Track Special Courts under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act needs to be extended beyond March, 2023, given that 1,93,000 cases are still pending.
    • “Centrally Sponsored Scheme for setting up Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs)is operational till 31.03.2023. FTSCs have disposed more than 1,24,000 cases till October, 2022. However, more than 1,93,000 cases are still pending in these courts and hence, there is a need to extend the Scheme beyond March, 2023. Accordingly, an evaluation study of the Scheme has been taken up as per the instant provisions,” the reply stated.
  3. Number of cases pending for over 10 years
    • Madhya Pradesh MP Rajmani Patel, among other things, sought details of civil and criminal trials that have been pending for over 10 years.
    • The reply stated that as per information received from the Supreme Court of India, the number of matters pending before the apex court for more than 10 years is 11,049.
    • The following data on the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) reflects the number of civil and criminal cases pending in High Courts, district & subordinate courts for more than 10 years:
  1. Implementation of Nyaya Mitra Scheme
    • In response to questions on the implementation of the Nyaya Mitra Scheme, it was revealed that the since its introduction in 2017, a total of 39 Nyaya Mitras were engaged in the States of Assam, Bihar, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

The Nyaya Mitras engaged so far have assisted the courts concerned in disposal of 6,832 old cases, which includes matrimonial cases, accident claims and also criminal cases, the reply stated.

Today’s Legal Updates: 

  1. On Thursday the Madras High Court said that it is “eagerly waiting” for the legislature to reduce the age of consent under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) from the current 18 years.  (Ravi @ Virumandi v State and another)
    • the Court, Whereas, the law defines that the person who has not completed the age of 18 years, is a child. This Court, being an Appellate Court, is a final fact finding Court cannot traverse beyond the statute. This Court also eagerly is waiting for the amendment in the Legislature as expressed by my learned brothers.
    • Further, as far as the other decisions of this Court referred to by the learned counsel for the appellant are concerned, though this Court has expressed the view that the teenage persons who have completed 17 years and not completed 18 years may not be punished under the POCSO Act, with great respect to the learned brother Judges, that it is the opinion of the particular Judge and it may not be a finding in all cases.
    • the victim was a minor and the appellant took the custody of the minor without the knowledge or consent of her natural guardians and had committed penetrative sexual assault on her and hence, the offence committed by the appellant falls under Section 5(l) which is punishable under Section 6 of the POCSO Act, the Court ruled.
    • the High Court held, Though the learned counsel for the appellant vehemently contended that the act committed by the appellant does not fall under Section 366 IPC, the victim voluntarily went along with the appellant to Bangalore and with her consent, he married her. However, at the time of occurrence, the victim was a child and so, consent is immaterial and if the Court finds that the custody of the victim is removed from her natural guardians, that too for the purpose of marriage, the act committed by the accused falls under Section 366 IPC. Therefore, the contention raised by the learned counsel for the appellant is not acceptable.
  2. On Thursday the Bombay High Court batted for the rights of transgender persons and asked why the laws in the State of Maharashtra do not mirror the social progress achieved in the field of LGBTQIA rights.
    • the Court remarked, There are 11 states which provide this. Why should Maharashtra not provide? If society is progressing then why can’t the laws also progress.
    • the Bench said, If for seven years the government is in deep slumber, then what do we do? Why do we have to do it? You do not perform your functions. Which is why citizens are forced to come to courts. When courts pass orders then we are accused of overreaching. The MAT has done the right thing.
    • the AG argued, Justice must be done in accordance with law. The appropriate direction should be to direct the State to amend rules. Please do not carry an impression that State is against transgender persons.
    • the Bench remarked, The MAT has done the right thing.
  3. On Thursday the Andhra Pradesh High Court held that creating ill-will against the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) will not amount to an offence of promoting enmity between different groups under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).  (Kollu Ankababu vs Tirupathi Ramesh)
    • the judge observed in the order pronounced on 2nd December, The primary requirement of existence of two groups is not available in this case. At best, creation of ill-will against the Chief Minister’s office would not amount to creation of ill-will or hatred between the two groups. Even if such ill-will is said to have been created between two groups, the provisions as relied upon by the prosecution would not be attracted as the groups should have been on the basis of religion, race, etc., which is not the case herein.
    • the judge opined, The groups between whom such enmity or disharmony or hatred or ill-will is caused would be groups defined on the basis of their religion, race, language, place of birth, caste or community. Differences or ill-will caused between two groups which are not defined on the basis of the above requirements would not attract the provisions of Section 153 A of the IPC.
  4. On Thursday Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju informed Rajya Sabha, there is no proposal by the Central government to re-introduce National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) for appointment of judges to the High Courts and the Supreme Court.
    • the reply, No Sir, at present there is no such proposal.
    • the Law Minister said, Appointment of the judges of the Constitutional courts is a continuous, integrated and collaborative process between the executive and the judiciary. It requires consultation and approval from various constitutional authorities both at state and central level. Government appoints only those persons as judges of High Courts who are recommended by Supreme Court collegium.
    • reply said, Supreme Court while hearing a court case has expressed its opinion over delay in notifying the names of judges recommended by the collegium.
    • Responding to a question on the number of vacancies as on date in the Supreme Court and High Courts, Law Minister Rijiju replied, As on December 5, 2022, against the sanctioned strength of 34 Judges, 27 judges are working in the Supreme Court leaving 7 vacancies. In the High Courts, against the sanctioned strength of 1,108, there are 778 Judges are working leaving 330 vacancies.
  5. On Thursday the Rajya Sabha passed the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2022 to amend the Wild Life (Protection) Act of 1972, by voice vote.
    • In the long title of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act), for the words “protection of wild animals, birds and plants”, the words “conservation, protection and management of wild life” shall be substituted.
    • Provided that the transfer or transport of a captive elephant for a religious or any other purpose by a person having a valid certificate of ownership shall be subject to such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
  6. On Thursday the Delhi High Court observed that tapping phone lines or recording calls of individuals without their consent is “breach of privacy”  (Sanjay Pandey v Directorate of Enforcement)
    • the Court said,I am prima facie of the view that tapping phone lines or recording calls without consent is a breach of privacy. The right to privacy enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution demands that phone calls not be recorded. Only with consent of the individuals concerned, can such activity be carried out otherwise it will amount to breach of the fundamental right to privacy.
    • the Court held, the facets of privacy include right of non-interference with the individual body, protection of personal information and autonomy over personal choices.
  7. The Uttarakhand High Court imposed costs of ₹50,000 on social media platform Facebook for not filing its response in a plea seeking formation of guidelines to deal with online extortion. (Alok Kumar v Union of India)
    • the division bench ordered, The costs be deposited within three weeks. It is made clear that no further time shall be granted for this purpose.
  8. On Thursday A Gujarat court granted bail to Trinamool Congress (TMC) spokesperson Saket Gokhale in a complaint filed against him over his tweets about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Morbi after the suspension bridge collapse.
    • RTI reveals that Modi’s visit to Morbi for a few hours cost ₹30 crores. Of this, ₹5.5. crore was purely for ‘welcome, event management, & photography’. 135 victims who died got ₹4 lakh ex-gratia each i.e. ₹5 crore. Just Modi’s event management & PR costs more than life of 135 people,

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