Today’s Legal Updates

Saturday, 8th January 2022

Legal Awareness:- Women and the Indian Constitution

Fundamental Duty

Article 51A (e)enjoins upon every citizen to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.

Today Legal Updates:-

  1. Yesterday the Madras High Court observed that the demographic profile of Kanyakumari district in terms of religion has seen an inversion since 1980 and the Hindus are in minority in the district though the 2011 census tells us otherwise. (Fr. P. George Ponnaiah v. The Inspector of Police)
    • This is because the census does not take into account the fact that a large number of Scheduled Caste Hindus, though having converted to Christianity and professing the said religion, call themselves Hindus on record for the purpose of availing reservation.
    • “That is why, notwithstanding the census figures, the petitioner boasts that the Christians have crossed 62 per cent in Kanyakumari District. He foresees that they would soon reach the figure of 72 per cent. His triumphalism is evident when he says “I warn the Hindus” and claims that nothing can stop their growth,” 
    • “India was partitioned on the ground of religion. Millions died in the ensuing riots. That is why, our founding fathers consciously adopted secularism as the guiding principle of the new republic. There is something truly enchanting about the idea of India propounded by them. The status quo in the matter of religious demography has to be maintained,” 
    • the single-judge emphasised “Dileep Kumar became AR Rahman. Yuvan Shankar Raja is now a Muslim. One of the sons of T Rajendar has embraced Islam. These are perfectly understandable and no exception can be taken. But religious conversions cannot be a group agenda. Our Constitution speaks of composite culture. This character has to be maintained,” 
    • the Court opined “If there is a serious subversion of the status quo, calamitous consequences may follow. State is there to maintain and uphold the rule of law. But if the tipping point is reached, things may become irreversible,” 
  2. Today the Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum (DHCWLF) has addressed a letter petition to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana, to take cognizance of the Bulli Bai app on which details of more than 100 prominent Muslim women were put out allowing users to participate in an ‘auction’ of those women.
    • A  letter signed by 77 lawyers of the DHCWLF, said that the “Sulli Deals” and “Bulli Deals” issues highlighted the failure of the Central and State governments to protect the minority community from flagrant violation of Article 21 of Constitution which guarantees right to live with dignity.
  3. Yesterday A Special Court in Mumbai under the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act sentenced two Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) operatives to eight years rigorous imprisonment after they pleaded guilty for offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
  4. Today the Supreme Court has stayed the contempt of court proceedings initiated by the Karnataka High Court against the Karnataka Chief Secretary and other top State officials in a case concerning regularisation of employees at Zila Panchayats and other departments. (State of Karnataka vs Suresh Naik & Ors)
  5. Today a Delhi-based Senior Advocate Ratan K Singh has been appointed as an international member of the Keating Chambers in London, with effect from January 1, 2022.
  6. A Delhi Court held while sentencing a former court staffer to five years in jail for threatening and trying to extort money from a judge in 2007, creating fear in the mind of a judge affects their ability to function properly and affects the justice dispensation system. (State v. Shiv Shankar Prasad)
  7. The Delhi High Court upheld the conviction of an accused under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act), brushing aside the testimony of the father of the daughter that she was a 16-years-old at the time of the offence.  (Mohd. Afsar v The State)
  8. Yesterday the Gujarat High Court notified that it has implemented an online e-court fees platform on pilot basis.
  9. At least four judges of the Supreme Court of India have tested positive for COVID-19, the top court had already announced on January 6 that hearing of cases from January 10, Monday will be complete via virtual mode with the judges joining for hearing via video conference from their residences instead of court.
    • only extremely urgent ‘mentioned’ matters, fresh matters, bail matters, matters involving stay, detention matters and fixed date matters will be heard from January 10.
  10. On Wednesday the Delhi High Court issued notice to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on a plea filed by two women challenging the order of the special court which extended their period of detention and investigation from 90 to 180 days.  (Mizha Siddique and Anr v NIA)
  11. As per the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 2021 (later replaced by an Act of the same name), five appellate tribunals were abolished, including the Intellectual property Appellate Board (IPAB). Cases pending before such tribunals were transferred to High Courts. Consequently, the Delhi High Court issued apress release, creating an IP division (IPD) in the High Court.
  12. Yesterday the hearing of a maintenance dispute before the Delhi High Court witnessed some heart warming scenes as lawyers who were waiting to argue their matters via video conference, agreed to contribute to raise the education expenses of two girls after their father conveyed his inability to pay the amount.  (Shalini Bangia v. Neeraj Bangia)
  13. The Orissa High Court has decided to hear cases through video conference from January 10, 2022 to February 4, 2022 in view of the rise in COVID-19 cases.
  14. Today the Gujarat High Court witnessed an interesting exchange when the Chief Justice Aravind Kumar, rebuffed a litigant who sought to address the Court in Gujarati by reminding the Chief Justice that he is in Gujarat.
    • Justice Kumar, who hails from Karnataka, was not one to take it lying down responding to the person in Kannada and reminding him that the language of High Courts is English and regional language can be used only in subordinate courts.
      • “You want to answer in Gujarati?,” asked Justice Kumar.
      • “Ji sir,” the litigant responded.
      • “(Then) I will tell you in Kannada….(speaks in Kannada) We cannot understand what you are speaking. If you want to speak, speak in Kannada, which we can understand,” he said.
      • “Yeh Gujarat hain. Main pehle aa chuka hoon High Court main,” the litigant responded.
      • “This is High Court. Not District Court. Only in District Court, local language is permissible. Here it is only English,” the CJ responded.
  15. Yesterday A Nagpur-based lawyer wrote to the Supreme Court appointed Technical Committee probing the Pegasus spyware scandal, stating that he has reasons to believe his phone was hacked and compromised by the spyware.
  16. Yesterday the Gauhati High Court sought the response of the Government of Assam over its failure to establish Transgender Welfare Board and a Transgender Cell in the State.  (All Assam Transgender Association v. State of Assam and Others)
  17. The Supreme Court ruled that, Mere statement or common intention for a criminal action will not attract the offence under Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code unless there is an act in furtherance of such intention.  (Japreet Singh @ Jassu v State of Punjab)
    • “A mere common intention per se may not attract Section 34 IPC, sans an action in furtherance. There may also be cases where a person despite being an active participant in forming a common intention to commit a crime, may actually withdraw from it later,” 
    • “When a Criminal act is done by several persons, in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were by him alone.”
    • The Court laid down the following with respect to the provision and how and when it would stand attracted.
      • Section 34 IPC creates a deeming fiction by infusing and importing a criminal act constituting an offence committed by one, into others, in pursuance to a common intention.
      • The intent of Section 34 IPC is to remove the difficulties in distinguishing the acts of individual members of a party, acting in furtherance of a common intention. There has to be a simultaneous conscious mind of the persons participating in the criminal action of bringing about a particular result
      • What is required is the proof of common intention. Thus, there may be an offence without common intention, in which case Section 34 IPC does not get attracted.
      • Onus is on the prosecution to prove the common intention to the satisfaction of the court.
      • The quality of evidence will have to be substantial, concrete, definite and clear. When a part of evidence produced by the prosecution to bring the accused within the fold of Section 34 IPC is disbelieved, the remaining part will have to be examined with adequate care and caution, as we are dealing with a case of vicarious liability fastened on the accused by treating him at par with the one who actually committed the offence.
      • A mere common intention per se may not attract Section 34 IPC, sans an action in furtherance.
  18. The Supreme Court has upheld a Madras High Court order which ruled that the top court’s suo motu order of March 2020 extending limitation period to file cases will apply not only to the ‘period of limitation’ but also to ‘period upto which delay can be condoned in exercise of discretion conferred by the statute.’  (Centaur Pharmaceuticals v. La Renon Healthcare and Stanford Laboratories)
  19. The American e-commerce giant has approached the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) challenging the order passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) suspending its 2019 deal with the Future Group.

Legal Prudent Fraternity