Monday, 8thJanuary 2024

The Constitution is not a mere Lawyers Document, it is a Vehicle of Life, and its Spirit is always the Spirit of Age.

Notes: – UN predicts groundwater level in India will reduce to ‘low’ by 2025.’

Legal Awareness: – CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

Part – XIX MISCELLANEOUS

Article – 365 Effect of failure to comply with, or to give effect to, directions given by the Union.

Where any State has failed to comply with, or to give effect to, any directions given in the exercise of the executive power of the Union under any of the provisions of this Constitution, it shall be lawful for the President to hold that a situation has arisen in which the Government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

Today’s Legal Updates: 

  1. On Monday the Supreme Court of India will deliver its verdict in the petitions challenging the early release of men convicted for the gang rape of Bilkis Bano during the 2022 Gujarat riots.
    • A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan will deliver the verdict in the batch of petitions challenging the remission granted to the convicts.
    • The top court had reserved the matter for judgment on October 12, 2023.
    • The case concerns the early release of 11 convicts who had gang raped Bano and murdered her family members during the riots.
    • The name of 11 convicts who were set free are Jaswant Nai, Govind Nai, Shailesh Bhatt, Radhyesham Shah, Bipin Chandra Joshi, Kesarbhai Vohania, Pradeep Mordhiya, Bakabhai Vohania, Rajubhai Soni, Mitesh Bhatt and Ramesh Chandana.
  2. On Monday the Supreme Court judgment quashing the Gujarat government decision to grant remission to eleven convicts who had gangraped Bilkis Bano, leave it open to the Maharashtra government to reconsider the plea by the convicts for remission?
    • the apex court court had observed that the appropriate government to take a call on remission was Maharashtra, since the trial in the case had happened in Maharashtra, While setting aside Gujarat government’s decision to allow premature release of the convicts.
    • The judgment in paragraph 52.6 states, Had the State of Maharashtra considered the applications of respondent Nos.3 to 13 for remission, this vital opinion of the Presiding Judge of the Court which had convicted them would have carried weight in the mind of the Government of the State of Maharashtra as well as the terms of the Government’s Resolution dated 11.04.2008 which was the applicable policy for remission.
    • The 11 men were convicted for rape and murder (of Bano’s family). The Special Judge in Greater Mumbai on January 21, 2008 gave them life sentences.
    • The minimum sentence prior to any remission is at least 18 years as per the 2008 resolution.
  3. On Monday the Supreme Court quashed the Gujarat government’s decision to allow premature release of convicts in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case.  (Bilkis Yakub Rasool v. Union of India and ors)
  4. On Monday the Supreme Court said that the Gujarat government was “complicit and acted in tandem” with the convict who had earlier approached the Supreme Court for a decision on his plea for premature release in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case.
  5. The eleven convicts found guilty in the Bilkis Bano gang rape case have been ordered to be re-imprisoned within two weeks by the Supreme Court, after the top court quashed the Gujarat government’s August 2023 decision to release the convicts from jail early.
  6. On Monday the Kerala High Court directed the State Police Chief to respond to allegations that a police officer verbally abused an advocate and emphasized the need for maintaining civility while carrying out policing functions.
    • Justice Devan Ramachandran expressed concern about the officer’s conduct, stating that it goes against the Court’s earlier directions as well as a circular issued by the State Police Chief on the need for police officers to treat citizens with dignity and civility.
    • the Court observed, This Court is not concerned about the disputes between the police officer and the Advocate – it could be in any realm … This Court had earlier directed the State Police Chief to ensure necessary steps to maintain integrity of the policing system, including by reminding the officers that they have an unexpendable obligation to treat citizens – whatever be their status – with dignity and civility. However, though the judgment of this Court is stated to be wholly complied with, instances as afore submitted still appear to be happening.
    • the Court said, It is rather distressing that the imperative requirement of the police officers to act in a civilised manner to the citizen, requires to be stated and restated every now and then. The State Police Chief must keep in mind that it is not sufficient that circulars are issued, but that they are implemented in its letter and spirit, through appropriate measures.
    • The Court proceeded to adjourn the matter by ten days and requested the State Police Chief to submit a proper response.
    • the Court also asked the State Police Chief to appear online for an interaction on January 18, 2024 to discuss the future course of action.
  7. Recently the Rajasthan High Court invoked Manusmriti while holding that minor rape victims are entitled to ₹3 lakh compensation under the Rajasthan Victim Compensation Scheme, 2011.  (GK v. State of Rajasthan)
    • Justice Anoop Kumar Dhand invoked a famous shloka in Manusmriti in a plea filed by father of a minor rape victim.
    • the judge emphasised, Yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra Devata, yatraitaastu na pujyante sarvaastatrafalaah kriyaah – is a famous shloka in Manusmriti, which means, where women are honoured, divinity blossoms there and where women are dishonoured, all actions no matter how noble remain unfruitful.
    • the Court underscored, It causes not only the physical torture to the body of the woman but it adversely affects her mental, psychological and emotional sensitivity. Therefore, rape is treated as the most heinous crime against the very basic human right and woman’s most important fundamental right, namely ‘the right of life.’ It is less a sexual offence than an act of aggression aimed at degrading and humiliating women.
    • the Court underlined, Crime of rape committed with the minor victim is a dehumanising one and an affront to human dignity. Hence, compensation should be awarded as a solace to the victim.
    • the judgment said, A general mandamus is issued in favour of all minor rape victims, with whom the incident was committed prior to 2009 for award of compensation. This general mandamus would be applicable only in those cases where the applications were submitted prior to 2009.
    • The Court also clarified, Before parting with this order, it is made clear that this order would not provide a new cause of action to any applicant and it would apply to the cases which are either pending before the competent authority and/or to the cases where litigation with regard to claim of victim compensation is pending on the date of this order only.
  8. On Monday the Madras High Court said while journalists have the freedom to criticise an individual for his political ideology, they cannot make any unfound personal allegations, while directing Delhi based journalist Abhijit Majumder to “remove” derogatory comments that he had made against social activist and Tamil ideologue late Periyar.
    • Justice N Anand Venkatesh said that in today’s times, there was “no decency in expressing news and opinions.”
    • Majumder had called Periyar “an intellectual thug who did not just marry his own adopted daughter 40 years younger, but reportedly incited local goons to sexually harass his wife to stop her from visiting a temple.”
    • the Court said, Why did you make an allegation like that? Having different ideologies is okay. One person can have a certain ideology and another can oppose it. But how can you make these allegations? If you want to criticise a person’s politics, ideology, it is all okay. But you cannot make personal allegations.
    • The Court then directed Majumder to remove the derogatory portion and express regret for publishing the same.
  9. On Monday the Kerala High Court raised some pertinent concerns regarding the conditions under which minor victims of sexual offences offer their deposition in courts that try cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act).
    • Single-judge Justice Sophy Thomas was considering a list of regular bail applications, several of which had been moved by persons accused under the POCSO Act.
    • Justice Thomas explained, In POCSO courts, there is a box in which children are to be deposed. It is meant for the victim and it is just like a kennel. Children will be scared just to enter it. Asking children to go into that cage could itself be very traumatising.
    • Justice Thomas remarked, Only their faces are visible. Even dog kennels have bars which let light in. Here the children are put into a closed box from which only their face is visible so that the accused cannot see them.
  10. On Monday the Delhi High Court held that the special courts constituted on the directions of the Supreme Court to deal with criminal cases against Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly (MPs and MLAs) can try offences against former MPs and MLAs as well.  (Manjinder Singh Sirsa v State of NCT of Delhi and Anr)
    • Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma referred to the Supreme Court’s order dated August 31, 2020 wherein the Court had clarified that the pendency of the case before the apex court “would not come in the expeditious disposal of the case relating to the elected representatives i.e. either sitting or former”.
    • Justice Sharma observed, Therefore, the necessary inference that can essentially be drawn up from the above-mentioned reading of the four orders, would lead to a conclusion that the Special Courts were constituted to try offences alleged against sitting or former MPs/MLAs, and the Hon’ble Apex Court nowhere has observed that the Special Courts shall try only those offences where accused was a sitting MP/MLA, at the time of commission of offence.
    • This Court is also of the opinion that the learned counsel for petitioner has failed to convince this Court, as to how his case, being tried expeditiously, can cause any prejudice to the petitioner.
    • The High Court returned these findings while dealing with a plea filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa seeking quashing of a magistrate’s order rejecting his application for transfer or return of a complaint against him on account of lack of jurisdiction.
  11. Recently the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court remarked that truth is no defence for publishing defamatory material against a private citizen when no public interest is involved. (Pritam Chand alias Pritam Singh v. Dr. Kamal Saini)
  12. On Monday the Supreme Court stayed the Bombay High Court’s recent order directing the Election Commission of India (ECI) to immediately conduct bye-elections to fill a vacant seat in the Pune Lok Sabha constituency. (Election Commission of India vs Sughosh Joshi and anr)
  13. On Monday the Supreme Court confirmed the acquittal of Union Home Minister of State Ajay Mishra Teni in a murder case dating back to the year 2000.  (Rajeev Gupta vs Ajay Mishra alias Tani and ors)
  14. On Monday the Delhi High Court cautioned YouTuber and journalist Shyam Meera Singh that it will initiate contempt of court proceedings if he continues to tweet on the ongoing defamation suit filed against him by Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.
  15. On Monday the Supreme Court refused to direct the Bombay High Court to resume monitoring the probe and trial concerning the murder of rationalist and activist, Narendra Dabholkar. (Mukta Dabholkar vs Central Bureau of Investigation and ors)
  16. On Monday the Supreme Court sought the response of the Central government and the Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligence on a plea filed by online gaming companies challenging the levy of 28 percent Goods and Service Tax (GST) on all forms of online real-money gaming.
  17. Recently the Supreme Court issued notice on a plea filed by Pernod Ricard India, which owns the Blenders Pride whisky brand, alleging trademark infringement by Indore-based company JK Enterprises that manufactures beverages under ‘London Pride’ mark.  (Pernod Ricard India Pvt Ltd and anr vs Karanveer Singh Chhabra)
  18. On Monday the Karnataka High Court questioned how those defying the ban on manual scavenging are ultimately able to get away with little or no action against them.
  19. On Monday the Calcutta High Court refused to grant urgent hearing to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition highlighting the recent attack on the officers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in Sandeshkhali area of North 24 Parganas district. 
  20. On Monday the Delhi High Court issued notice the Enforcement Directorate on a plea by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh seeking bail in the wake of his arrest in a money laundering case related to the Delhi excise policy scam case.
  21. On Monday the Kerala High Court granted anticipatory bail to Malayalam cine actor and former BJP Member of Parliament (MP) Suresh Gopi in a case registered against him for allegedly touching a woman journalist inappropriately during a press interaction in Kozhikode.
  22. On Monday TV9 and News Nation have approached the Delhi High Court to save their YouTube channels after copyright infringement suits were filed against them in a United States court.
  23. Recently the Himachal Pradesh High Court dismissed a review petition filed by East India Hotels (EIH), managed by the Oberoi Group, challenging a judgment allowing the State government to take possession of the land on which the Wildflower Hall hotel is situated.  (EIH Ltd & Ors v. State of HP & Ors)
  24. Recently the Orissa High Court directed the Odisha Chief Secretary to issue directions to all doctors to write medical prescriptions and medico-legal documents like post-mortem reports in legible handwriting. (Rasa @ Rasananda Bhoi v. State of Odisha & Ors)
  25. Recently the Delhi High Court held Sameet Thakkar guilty of contempt of court and imposed a fine of ₹1 lakh on him for violating an order to not post defamatory tweets against TV Today Network.  (TV Today Network Limited v Sameet Thakkar & Anr)
  26. Recently the Bombay High Court held that a divorced Muslim woman is entitled to mahr (lumpsum maintenance amount payable by husband to wife on divorce) from her husband as stipulated under Section 3 of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 (MWPA) even if she has remarried.

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