High Courts Weekly Roundup [Dec 7 – Dec 13]

first_imgNews UpdatesHigh Courts Weekly Roundup [Dec 7 – Dec 13] Akshita Saxena13 Dec 2020 7:08 AMShare This – xSummation of important High Court orders this weekAllahabad High Court 1. “Instead Of Arguing Matter, Lawyer Misbehaved & Challenged Authority Of Court”: Allahabad High Court Refers Matter To UP Bar Council [Pawan v. Union Of India & Ors.] A Bench of Justice Saral Srivastava referred the matter of an Advocate, who misbehaved in the Court and challenged the authority of the Court, to the UP Bar Council and to the Advocate…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginAllahabad High Court 1. “Instead Of Arguing Matter, Lawyer Misbehaved & Challenged Authority Of Court”: Allahabad High Court Refers Matter To UP Bar Council [Pawan v. Union Of India & Ors.] A Bench of Justice Saral Srivastava referred the matter of an Advocate, who misbehaved in the Court and challenged the authority of the Court, to the UP Bar Council and to the Advocate On Roll Committee of this Court to institute appropriate proceeding against the misconduct of the counsel. Advocate Ajay Singh continuously insisted upon the Court to pass the order so that he could go to Supreme Court. “This conduct of the counsel is reprehensible as instead of arguing the matter on merit he misbehaved in the Court and challenged the authority of the Court”, said the Bench. The Chairman, U.P. Bar Council has been requested to “apprise the Court about the outcome of proceedings”. 2. Motor Accidents: Claimant Deprived Of Full Pension Of Her Husband Entitled To Compensation For Loss Of Earnings, Holds Allahabad High Court [Subhadra Pandey v. Siddharth Agrawal & Ors.] A Bench of Justice Dr. Kaushal Jayendra Thaker held that a claimant widow, who is deprived of full pension of her husband because he died in a motor accident, is entitled to compensation under the head of loss of earnings. In effect, it has been held that a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal cannot say that since the claimant is receiving ‘family pension’, there is no loss of income. It has to be seen that if not for the fatal accident of her husband, the claimant would receive the full sum. In this case, the deceased was a retired railway employee and was getting pensions. After his demise, the pension was halved and the appellant was getting Rs. 14,000/-. The MACT had held that since the deceased was getting Rs. 28,000/- as pension, 50% of the same would be spent on the deceased himself and the remaining 50% would be the monthly datum figure available to the widow. The High Court however rejected this reasoning. 3. Allahabad High Court Seeks UP Government’s Response On Steps Taken For Implementation Of Witness Protection Scheme 2018 [Rannsamar Foundation v. State of UP & Ors.] A Bench of Justices Pankaj Mithal and Saurabh Lavania issued notice to the UP Government on a PIL seeking effective implementation of the Witness Protection Scheme, 2018. The bench has also asked the Government to furnish on record all the letters and documents, which the AGA said were sent to all the District Authorities for immediate and effective implementation of the aforesaid Scheme. The Petitioner in this case submitted that even though the scheme was approved by the Supreme Court in 2018, it is ‘seldom enforced’ and the same is evident from the manner in which witnesses in the Hathras killings and Unnao rape case were ‘intimidated and tortured’. 4. Allahabad High Court Seeks UP Govt’s Reply On Plea For Establishment Of Special Human Trafficking Courts [Guria Swayam Sevi Sansthan v. State of UP & Anr.] A Division Bench of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Piyush Agrawal asked the UP Government about the steps taken to establish special Courts for trying cases relating to human trafficking in the State. In this case, the Petitioner had submitted that human trafficking in the State of Uttar Pradesh is on rise but due to lack of courts, no adequate steps have been taken to combat such trafficking. It submitted that even during the period of Covid-19 restrictions, such trafficking is rampant. The Petitioner had urged the Court to issue directions for establishment of more special courts in each and every districts of the State of Uttar Pradesh to adjudicate trials under Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956. Section 22A of the Act provides for establishment of Special Courts by the State Governments. This provision is however not mandatory and is subject to ‘satisfaction’ of the Government that the situation in a particular region warrants establishment of special Courts. 5. ‘Extraordinary Haste Shown’: Allahabad High Court Cautions State To Use National Security Act With Extreme Care [Javed Siddiqui v. Superintendent District Jail, Jaunpur & Ors.] While setting free a person arrested under the stringent National Security Act, Bench of Justice Pritinker Diwaker and Justice Pradeep Kumar Srivastava observed, “Where the law confers extra-ordinary power on the executive to detain a person without recourse to the ordinary law of the land and to trial by courts, such a law has to be strictly construed and the executive must exercise the power with extreme care.” In this case, the Court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by detenu Javed Siddiqui. Quashing the detention order under the NSA, the Bench observed that the authorities did not present Siddiqui’s petition report before the Advisory Board on time. “We are of the view that delay in taking a decision on representation and not placing the same before the Advisory Board are important factors to adjudicate upon the legality or illegality of the order of detention,” it added. 6. Allahabad High Court Issues Notice To Election Commission In Plea Challenging Use Of Election Symbols Post Elections [Kali Shankar v. Election Commission of India & Anr.] A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Piyush Agrawal issued notice on a PIL raising issues relating the ‘misuse’ of ‘reserved election symbols’ allotted by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to the contesting candidates. A reserved election symbol is a symbol that is reserved for a recognized political party for “exclusive allotment to contesting candidates”, under para 5 of the Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968. The Petitioner had objected to use of such election symbols by the political parties, even after elections. He had submitted that election symbol is required to be allotted to a contesting candidate to be used only and only for the election purpose and not otherwise. 7. Labour Court & Industrial Tribunal Working Together On Different Days In A Single Room: Allahabad High Court Seeks State’s Response [Vashishth Rai v. State of UP & Ors.] Noting that the Labour Courts and Tribunals are organized to dispense cheap and effective justice to a class of citizens, a Bench of Justice JJ Munir expressed concern over the condition in which Labour Court/Industrial Tribunals at Gorakhpur are working. It directed the Principal Secretary, State Ministry of Labour, to submit a report within one week as to what steps can be taken immediately to remedy the situation. In this case, when the Court called for an explanation from a Labour Court as to why Adjudication in a matter was pending for the last 12 years, it was informed that about 1291 matters are under adjudication and that the Labour Court and the Industrial Tribunals together are functioning in a private house. It was also submitted that the Labour Court and the Industrial Tribunal sit in the same courtroom and so they can’t work simultaneously and that is why the Labour Court was working for 3 days a week and the Industrial Tribunal was working for 2 days a week. Other developments: Allahabad High Court Disposes PIL For Protection Of Sanitation Workers Amid Covid-19 With Directions To Approach Govt AuthoritiesBomb Threat To UP Chief Minister: Allahabad High Court Grants Bail To Accused Considering His Unconditional ApologyElderly Couple Threatened By Daughters: Allahabad High Court Directs District Magistrate To Ensure Their SafetyPlea In Allahabad High Court Challenges UP Government’s Ordinance On Religious Conversions “In The Name of Love Jihad”Girl Dies By Suicide After Her Objectionable Snaps Posted On Social Media: Allahabad High Court Denies Bail To Accused Bombay High Court 1. Bombay High Court Dismisses Plea Against Construction Of Lokhandwala-Andheri Link Roads With Rs. 2 Lakh Cost [Rabindra Nath Kakar & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.] A Division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni dismissed a PIL filed by a group of residents from Versova questioning the construction of Lokhandwala Andheri link roads citing uprooting of mangroves as a cause for concern, observing that the petitioners appear to have “private interest” in the matter. Court imposed a cost of Rs. 2 lakh to be deposited with the Maharashtra State Legal Service Authority within 4 weeks. The said PIL was filed in 2019 questioning the project undertaken by the MCGM alongwith the State Government and MMRDA to connect the areas of Versova and Lokhandwala. The Petitioners contended that execution of the project work would involve uprooting of mangroves and it would not resolve the prevailing traffic situation in the area. “From the frame of the petition, it appears that the petitioners are not in a position to contend that they are super experts in the field of planning and thus are in a position to either displace the planning of the road project in question by the MCGM and/or are in a position to sit in appeal over the project planning,” the Court said. It also noted that Petitioners had suppressed the order dated March 7, 2017 wherein permission to restart the project was granted by the Court. Thus, the bench expressed “grave doubt as to whether this is a genuine public interest litigation.” 2. ‘Humanity Most Important’: Bombay High Court On Jail Authorities Refusing Gautam Navlakha’s Spectacles Sent By Partner A division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice MS Karnik pulled up the prison authorities after the news of Bhima Koregaon case accused Gautam Navlakha being denied replacement spectacle by the Taloja jail surfaced. “Humanity is most important. Everything else will follow. Today we learnt about Gautam Navlakha’s spectacles. This is high time to conduct a workshop for prison authorities,” said the Bench. Referring to the allegation by Navlakha’s family that although a replacement for the spectacles was sent by Speed Post on December 3 and were delivered on December 5 but the jail authorities refused to accept it, Justice Shinde asked- “Can you deny all these small items? These are all humane considerations.” 3. While Quantifying LSD, The Weight Of Paper Containing Dried LSD Drops Can’t Be Counted: Bombay High Court [Hitesh Hemant Malhotra v. State of Maharashtra] While holding that weight of the paper containing dried LSD drops of LSD solution is required to be accounted while determining its quantity; whether small or otherwise is incorrect, a Bench of Justice Sandeep K. Shinde granted bail to a Thane resident who was allegedly found in possession of LSD doses and Charas. The further observed that the paper, which releases the drug on swallowing, only carries the drug and facilitates its consumption and thus, “the paper with LSD drops, as a whole, is neither ‘preparation’ nor a ‘mixture’ within the meaning of the NDPS Act.” 4. Instances Of Cheating & Duping Farmers Increasing Everyday, Systems Not Sensitive Towards Problems Faced By Farmers: Bombay High Court [Mayur K. Khandelwal & Ors. v. State of Maharashtra & Anr.] A Division bench of Justice TV Nalawade and Justice MG Sewlikar while hearing an application for quashing a FIR filed by Jalgaon-based businessmen who were accused of cheating farmers, observed that instances of duping farmers are increasing day by day and it is a fact that systems are not showing sensitivity towards farmers. “The suicides of farmers are increasing day by day as farmers are facing all kinds of problems and present problem of cheating is additional circumstance which is compelling the farmers to commit the suicide. Due to all these circumstances, this Court holds that no relief can be granted in favour of applicants,” it said. 5. MPLAD Funds Suspension- Decision Taken To Fight Pandemic ‘Unexceptionable’: Bombay High Court [Neelima Sadanand Vartak. v. Union of India & Ors.] While dismissing a PIL challenging the Centre’s move to suspend and divert ‘Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme’ (MPLADS) funds for two years, a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni held that the decision has been consciously taken for the purpose of promoting a specific purpose, i.e., to provide measures for the nation to combat COVID-19. Importantly, the Bench observed, “In an unprecedented situation such as the pandemic, when the Central Government and the State Governments are exploring all avenues to secure the best of health conditions for the citizens of the country and to make both ends meet, the endeavour of the petitioner to have the initiative taken to utilize the MPLAD Scheme funds to sponsor health and medical care related projects scuttled, has to be nipped in the bud.” Other developments: Plea Moved In Bombay High Court Challenging The De-facto Imposition Of ‘Aarogya Setu’ In Passport Office, Mumbai Calcutta High Court 1. Ensure Strict Obedience To Laws Relating To Prevention Of Cruelty To Captured Animals Including Birds: Calcutta High Court Directs State [In re : Smuggling and illegal trading of endangered species of birds] In a suo moto case registered against ‘cruel intrusion’ into the life birds, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee directed the State Forest Department to strictly ensure obedience to the laws relating to prevention of cruelty to animals and birds and also the laws governing the prevention of cruelty to captured animals, in particular capturing of birds. “Migratory birds do not carry passports and do not need visa stamping. The geographical territories or terrain from which the migratory birds may move would not at all be relevant to provide protective umbrella of the Constitution of India and the Statues falling under it for the succour to and management of the fauna which fly in of their own,” it observed. 2. High Time That Police Reforms Are Introduced In State To Bifurcate Law & Order Wing From Investigating Wing: Calcutta High Court [Sk. Sahanoor Islam v. State of West Bengal & Ors.] Noting that Criminal cases suffer because of lack of adequate investigation, a Bench of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Arijit Banerjee observed, “It is high time that police reforms are introduced in this State to bifurcate the law and order wing from the investigating wing.” The Court was hearing a case of a missing girl, wherein despite time being afforded to the State, it further sought time to locate the missing girl. The Court directed that copy of this order should be forwarded to the Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary of the State “for appropriate measures to be taken in terms of the Supreme Court dictum in Prakash Singh v. Union of India [(2006) 8 SCC 1] and the police reforms that remain outstanding for more than a decade after such pronouncement.” In that case, the Apex Court had instructed central and state governments to comply with a set of 7 directives related to operational reform and functional autonomy of the police. Other developments: Calcutta High Court Calls For Clear Policy For Construction Of Public Toilets; Suggests Tapping Of CSR & NGO FundsCalcutta High Court Sets Aside 2016 Recruitment Process For Assistant Teachers in Upper Primary Schools In West Bengal Delhi High Court 1. Delhi High Court (FB) Mandates Filing Of Convict’s Income Affidavit & Victim Impact Report To Determine Compensation U/S. 357 CrPC [Karan v. State NCT of Delhi] Holding that Section 357(3) of CrPC for payment of compensation to victims is a mandatory provision, a Full Bench comprising of Justices JR Midha, Rajnish Bhatnagar and Brijesh Sethi issued directions to the Trial Courts to take steps to implement the same. Section 357(3) empowers the Court to award compensation to victims who have suffered by the action of the accused. Access full report to read directions. 2. “Govt Is Expected To Scrupulously Follow Covid19 Protocol”: Delhi High Court On Allegation Of Irresponsible Disposal of Rapid Antigen Test Swabs A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan disposed of a petition alleging irresponsible disposal of Rapid Antigen Test swabs during and after the conduct of Covid-19 tests. The AAP-led Delhi Government informed the court that guidelines for disposal of such test kits are already in place, namely, “CPCB’s Guidelines for Handling, Treatment, and Disposal of Waste Generated during the Treatment/Diagnosis/Quarantine of COVID-19 Patients” issued earlier this year, in July. The Court observed that the Government is expected to follow these guidelines. The Petitioner had specifically alleged that used swabs were being “thrown out in public” and “tests were being carried out over a pile of used swabs for COVID-19” at the district magistrate’s office, in blatant disregard of the CPCB’s guidelines. 3. Woman Admits False Rape Case Filed Against Man ‘Out Of Anger’: Delhi High Court Accepts Her Unconditional Apology, Quashes FIR [Lalit Kumar Vats v. State of NCT of Delhi & Anr.] While noting that FIR was lodged ‘out of anger’ as she & the petitioner had an altercation, a Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait quashed an FIR registered against the Petitioner, for the offence of rape and all other proceedings arising therefrom. It observed that the complainant was liable to be prosecuted under the law, however, since she sought unconditional apology and submitted before the Court that her matrimonial life would be destroyed if the present case is sent for trial, the Bench accepted her unconditional apology. It may be noted that recently, while granting bail to a health worker accused of raping a woman who had come to him for getting a COVID Negative Certificate, the Kerala High Court directed the Director General of Police to take appropriate action against the victim who deposed that it was consensual sex. 4. Delhi High Court Seeks Reply From RBI, SEBI, NPCI On Plea Seeking Regulation Of GooglePay, AmazonPay, PhonePe Etc. [Dr. Resmi P Bhaskaran v. Union of India & Ors.] A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan sought reply from the Ministry of Law, Finance Ministry, RBI, SEBI, and National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on a public interest litigation seeking regulation of the entry and operations of “tec-fin” companies like GooglePay, AmazonPay, PhonePe and others. It also issued notice to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) seeking their stand on the plea. The petition, which has been filed by an applied economist, Reshmi P Bhaskaran, seeks the High Court to direct inter alia that these “TechFin” companies be allowed to operate in the country only after having their registered offices here, their necessary approval/ registration from the appropriate financial regulators, the formulation of a strict framework for their entry and operation through any mode (including partnerships with existing financial entities), and their mandatory statutory audit. 5. Delhi High Court Dismisses Plea Seeking Transfer Of Case Of Tablighi Jamaat Leader To NIA, Grants Liberty To Approach Supreme Court [Ghanshyam Upadhyay v. Union of India & Ors.] A Division Bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh dismissed as withdrawn, a plea seeking the transfer of investigation of a case against Tablighi Jamaat leader Maulana Saad, from the Delhi Police to the National Investigation Authority. The Court however granted the advocate for the petitioner liberty to press the petition seeking similar relief instituted by him before the Supreme Court. Petitioner Ghanshyam Upadhyay had sought the invocation of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and entrusting of investigation to National Investigating Agency for “the crime of organizing huge congregation by Tablighi Jamaat with delegates from foreign countries and its members/participants,” and thereafter “knowingly spreading” the novel Covid-19 virus across the country. The petition stated that the effects of the crime spanned across India, therefore an investigating agency with powers to probe swiftly across the country should handle the case. 6. Delhi High Court Directs Centre to File Status Report on Actor Rakul Preet Singh’s Plea, Actor Seeks to Implead Other Channels A bench of Justice Navin Chawla directed actor the Centre to file a status report within 3 weeks on actor Rakul Preet Singh’s petition seeking action against news channels for publishing slanderous material against her, linking her to drugs. Sr. Adv. Aman Hingorani appearing for Singh sought and was granted leave of the court to implead other news channels as well in the matter. Earlier, Rakul Preet Singh had approached the Delhi High Court seeking action against the channels under the Program Code framed under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act. In September, the High Court, after observing that the media should exercise restraint, passed an interim order directing the NBSA to pass orders on the actor’s complaints against the reports. Also Read: NBSA Slams TV Channels For Vilifying Reports Against Rakul Preet Singh; Zee Asked To Apologize; Videos To Be Taken Down 7. Delhi High Court Stays CIC Order Directing Air Force To Disclose RTI Information About Prime Ministers’ Entourage On Foreign Trips A single bench of Justice Navin Chawla stayed the operation of the order passed by the Central Information Commission (CIC) directing the Indian Air Force to divulge information relating to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s entourage on foreign trips, under the RTI Act. The stay order was passed in a petition filed by the Air Force challenging the CIC direction. In the RTI application filed in 2018, Mr. Batra had sought certified copies of Special Flight Returns Part-I and Part-II relating to foreign visits by Prime Minister Modi and former Prime Minister Singh, undertaken by Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft, from April 1, 2013. Justice Chawla observed that under the provisions of the RTI Act, the CPIO could not provide details of anything more than the number of passengers accompanying the PM on the flight. However, this too was disputed by the CPIO. 8. Delhi High Court Raps Bar Council Of Delhi For Saying Online Enrollment Will Be Difficult A single judge bench of Justice Navin Chawla rapped the Bar Council of Delhi for its failure to have a procedure in place for online mode of enrolment of law graduates during the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and asked the council, “When everything is going digital during the COVID-19 pandemic, how can we accept the argument that it might be difficult for BCD to go online?” Other developments: Delhi High Court Says It Will Pass Its Order On Centre’s Appeal Against Vodafone Grp PlcTransgenders To Be Included as Separate Gender Category in NCRB Reports: Centre Informs Delhi High Court”Can’t Provide Details Of Prime Minister’s Entourage”: IAF Moves Delhi High Court Against CIC Order Directing Disclosure Under RTI ActDelhi Riots: Delhi High Court Issues Notice On Devangana Kalita’s Plea Seeking Copies Of Video Footage From Jafrabad ViolenceDelhi High Court Grants Bail To Murder Accused In Delhi Riots Case On Ground Of ParityDelhi High Court Closes Suit By Ashok Arora Challenging SCBA’s Decision Suspending Him From Secretary Post Jammu & Kashmir High Court 1. Terrorist Activities In The State Orchestrated By ISI; Providing It Vital Info/Pictures Is Waging War Against The Country: Jammu and Kashmir High Court [Pankaj Sharma v. Union Territory of J&K & Anr.] While observing that UT of Jammu and Kashmir is facing “onslaught of terrorist activities from the neighboring country, which is orchestrated by ISI of Pakistan”, a Bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar denied bail to a person (named Pankaj Sharma) who allegedly hobnobbed with ISI of Pakistan and passed on photographs of vital installations and troops movement to them. It observed, “Providing of vital information and photographs to the intelligence agency of an enemy country, to my mind, is nothing but waging war against the country.” The Senior Counsel for the Petitioner, submitted before the Court that mere taking of photographs of some installations and sending it to some persons stationed at Sudan would not amount to either hobnobbing with enemy agents or waging war against the government of India. The Court however observed that initially, the petitioner did not know that he was acting at the behest of ISI of Pakistan but later on he did came to know about it and inspite of this, he continued to send messages and photographs to his masters and kept on deleting the same to avoid detection. 2. Govt. Officials Like ‘Kumbhkarana’; Need To Be Woken Up From Slumber By Using Different Means: Jammu & Kashmir High Court [M/s National India Construction Company v. State of J&K & Ors.] Expressing its displeasure over the working of the government officials in Jammu and Kashmir, Bench of newly appointed Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal compared the Government officials with “Kumbhkarna” from Ramayana, who used to sleep for six months at a stretch. The Judge further observed, “As has been mentioned in Ramayana, Demon King Rawana had to use a lot of noise and different means to wake up Kumbhkarana, when his kingdom was in trouble. Here also the government officials are to be woken up from slumber by using different means.” The Court, in its order, noted that in the instant case, a project for creation of infrastructure in Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir had been put on hold, on account of interim stay granted by this Court on 17.04.2018. “As usual the department was sleeping over the matter. They did not even take care to file objections immediately after receipt of notice”, said the Court. Noting that in the instant case, replies/objections were not filed in time, the Court stated that in some cases replies/objections are not filed even for a decade. In this context, the Court observed as to how lightly the litigation is taken by offices in Jammu & Kashmir and that the result of “this casualness is causing huge loss to the public exchequer”. Karnataka High Court 1. Willing To Issue A Public Notice That ‘Cauvery Calling’ Is Not A State Project? Karnataka High Court Asks State Govt A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty directed the state government to clarify whether it was willing to issue a public notice that the ‘Cauvery Calling’ project is the project of ‘Sadhguru’ Jaggi Vausdev’s Isha Foundation and Isha Outreach and that the government has nothing to do with it. The bench also directed that if at all the state government has taken any sponsorship from Isha foundation or allowed it to participate in any of the government projects, the written order giving such permission should be placed on record. The direction was given while hearing a petition filed by Advocate A V Amarnathan raising objections over ‘Sadhguru’ Jaggi Vasudev’s Isha foundation, collecting funds from the public for the Cauvery Calling Project. As per the petition, the Foundation is planning to plant 253 crores tree saplings across the 639 kilometer stretch of Cauvery river bank from its birth place Talacauvery to Thiruvarur. The Foundation is said to be collecting Rs. 42 per tree planting from the public. That means it is collecting a whooping sum of Rs 253 X 42 in total of Rs, 10,626 crores , which according to the petitioner is a major scam. 2. What Steps Are Being Taken To Protect Great Indian Bustard? Karnataka High Court Asks State Govt [Edward Santosh Martin & Ors. v. State of Karnataka & Ors.] A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty issued notice to the state government and directed it to place on record the immediate steps it proposes to take for protecting, surviving bird species of the Great Indian Bustard, in the state. The bench said “The Wildlife Protection Act has been enacted to provide for protection of wild animals, birds and plants. The definition of animal includes birds and the definition of wildlife includes animals which include birds. Thus, it is the obligation of the state to protect the wildlife.” It added that “Under Article 48A of the Constitution state will have to protect, improve and safeguard forest and wildlife.” The government has to respond on December 21. 3. Large Number Of Civil Contempt Petitions; No Machinery To Monitor Compliance Of Orders : Karnataka High Court Tells State Govt A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty directed the State Government to make a statement before the court on December 21, on whether it is willing to appoint a Nodal Officer(s), for the implementation of the orders passed by the court against Government officers, in their official capacity. The bench took into account the fact that a large number of contempt petitions for initiating action for civil contempt are coming before the Court. In some cases, the orders of which breach is alleged are based either on an undertaking given by the Government officer or on the basis of statements made by the learned Additional Government Advocate across the Bar. It noted that “The reason for filing a large number of contempt petitions against the officers of the State Government appears to be that there is no machinery set up by the State Government to monitor the compliance of the orders by its officers.” 4. Karnataka High Court Reserves Order On Amnesty International’s Plea Against ED Freezing Its Bank Accounts reserved its order on the petition filed by international human rights body, Amnesty International’s India offices (M/s Indians for Amnesty International Trust), challenging the communication issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to banks directing them to freeze the accounts held by trust. Justice P S Dinesh Kumar had on Tuesday directed the Enforcement Directorate to respond whether it is willing to allow the petitioner to make statutory dues like salaries, tax payments, etc to the tune of Rs 40 lakh per month, from the five bank accounts which have been frozen by ED. Also Read: Karnataka High Court Asks ED If Amnesty International Can Be Allowed To Pay Statutory Dues From Frozen Bank Accounts 5. Manual Scavenging Most Inhuman; Violates Article 21 : Karnataka High Court Issues Directions To Implement Manual Scavengers Act 2013 [All India Council of Trade Unions v. Union of India] A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty issued several directions to the state government to ensure proper implementation of the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. “There can be no dispute that our Constitutional philosophy does not permit any form of manual scavenging. Right of a citizen to live with dignity is an integral part of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The preamble of the Constitution shows that the Constitution seeks to protect the dignity of an individual. There can be no dispute that manual scavenging is most inhuman and it infringes the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21,” said the Bench. Access Full report to read the directions issued by the Court Other developments: Karnataka High Court Grants State Govt One More Opportunity To Clarify Its Stand On ‘Cauvery Calling Project’Cow Smuggling Case : Karnataka High Court Grants Anticipatory Bail To Three AccusedKarnataka High Court Grants Bail To Sanjjanaa Galrani In Sandalwood Drug CaseBar Association Discharges Public Functions; Writ Petition Under Article 226 Maintainable Against It: Karnataka High Court Kerala High Court 1. Mere Discrimination On Ground Of ‘Sex’ Without Sexual Undertones Not ‘Sexual Harassment’ Under POSH Act: Kerala High Court [Dr. Prasad Pannian v. Central University Of Kerala] A Division bench comprising Justices AM Shaffique and P. Gopinath held that the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, does not contemplate a situation of discrimination on the basis of sex if there is no express or implied sexual advance, sexual undertone or unwelcome behaviour which has a sexual tone behind it. In this case, the Court concurred with the petitioner’s contention was that mere difference in sex between two individuals cannot give rise to a sexual harassment even though there might be harassment. It was insisted that harassment can be meted out against an individual in different forms and only in instances where the harassment has an element of sexual advance in some form, it becomes a sexual harassment. 2. Kerala High Court Directs CRPF To Take Over Kothamangalam Church If State Fails To Do It By January 8 A bench of Justice PB Suresh Kumar directed the CRPF to take over the Kothamangalam Marthoman Cheriyapalli Church, which is embroiled in the dispute between Jacobite-Orthodox factions, if the state could not comply the direction to take control of it on or before 8th January 2021. The Court observed that the state cannot be given discretion whether or not to implement court orders and also as to the time within which the orders could be implemented. Father Thomas Paul Ramban, the Vicar appointed by Orthodox faction had obtained a temporary injunction order from the Munsiff Court to the effect that he shall not be prevented from performing religious services in the Kothamangalam Church. The court also ordered police protection to him to ensure compliance of the injunction order. The High Court upheld the order dismissing the petition filed by the Patriarch faction. As he was not allowed to enter the church even thereafter, Vicar moved High Court by filing a writ petition. The Court directed the state government to remove all persons who had been squatting in and outside the Marthoman Cheriyapalli (Church) in Kothamangalam area of Kerala and to take over its precincts and all its movables. Alleging that the state is not complying the High court direction, the Vicar again moved the High Court by filing a contempt petition. 3. ‘Unfortunate’ : Kerala High Court Pulls Up CBSE For Expressing Inability To Check Overcharging Of School Fees A Single Bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran pulled up the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for “washing their hands off” on the issues pertaining to collection of excessive fees by affiliated schools amid the pandemic. After the Board expressed its inability to verify the income and expenditure statements of the schools as per a previous direction of the High Court, the Court asked the State Government to look into the matter. It has directed the Government to propose a mechanism to ensure that the fees collected by schools in Kerala is proportional to their expenditure. 4. Kerala High Court Stays NCLT Order Which Held That March 24 Notification Raising IBC Threshold As Rs One Crore Will Apply Only Prospectively [M/s Tharakan Web Innovations Pvt. Ltd. v. NCLT & Anr.] A single bench of Justice PV Asha stayed the order of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) Kochi bench which held that the March 24 notification raising the threshold limit for insolvency proceedings as Rupees One Crore will apply only prospectively. The NCLT, Kochi order in M/s Tharakan Web Innovations Pvt Ltd vs Cyriac Njavally, held that the March 24 Notification which enhanced the minimum threshold for insolvency proceedings in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic does not save a Corporate Debtor when the default has taken place before the pandemic. Whereas, NCLT Chennai has taken a view that the March 24 notification is prospective in nature(M/s Arrowline Organic Products Private Ltd v M/s Rockwell Industries Ltd). Madras High Court 1. Police Force Under Stress Both Physically & Psychologically: Madras High Court Voices Concern, Poses Series Of Questions To State A Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice B. Pugalendhi took note of the suicides and desertions within the police force while observing that “there is no mechanism available in the Police Force and that is the reason why so many genuine grievances of the Police could not be addressed.” It also noted that the “Uniformed Police Force is under stress both physically and psychologically”. The Bench, in its order, noted that the Teachers working in the Elementary Schools are getting more salary than the Policemen and the salary of the Policemen, who are working in Tamil Nadu, is very low when compared to other States. It has posed a series of questions before the State Government, directing them to file a counter affidavit. Access Full Report to read the list of questions 2. Many CBI Cases Ending In Acquittal; Investigation Needs To Be Improved By Adding Experts & Modern Gadgets : Madras High Court Noting that many cases which are investigated by the CBI have ended in acquittal, a Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Jutsice B. Pugalendhi observed that time has come to look into problems faced by the agency and its investigation needs to be improved by adding experts and modern gadgets. It further observed, “CBI should have expert officials with special knowledge in various fields, as various types of cases involving different fields are referred viz., Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Bofors scam, 2G Spectrum Scam, Coal Scam, Hawala Scandle, Phurlia Army dropping case, Sathyam Scandle, Sarada Chit Scandle, Nithari Killings, Sushant Singh Rajput suicide case, Taj Corridor case, Vyapam case.” Access Full Report to read a list of queries to be addressed by the Central Govt. 3. Unfortunate That Some People Claiming To Be Advocates Act Like ”Paid Hooligans” To Grab Land: Madras High Court [Muthaiah v. Principal Secretary, Government Of Tamil Nadu] While taking Judicial note of the fact that many political parties and communal organizations along with some black-sheeps in the Police Force as well as in the administration, are indulging in Land Grabbing, a Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice B. Pugalendhi observed, “It is unfortunate that even some people claiming to be Advocates dressed up in black and white also act, like ‘paid hooligans’ to grab the properties with the connivance of land grabbers.” It added, “As a result, the Police Force is also not registering the cases against them fearing that there will be agitation by Advocates.” The Court asked the Advocate General to get appropriate instructions. The Court was hearing a plea moved by one Muthaiah (aged about 90 years), who alleged that his land has been grabbed in the year 2008 by way of fabricated documents. Noting a steep increase in the offences relating to the properties, especially, Land Grabbing, the Court also observed that many Land Grabbers with the help of disgruntled elements in Police Force, muscle power and political power are encroaching upon the properties of innocent persons and enjoying the same illegally. 4. “Agni Pariksha For CBI”: Madras High Court Directs Crime Branch To Investigate About 100Kg Gold Missing From CBI Custody [C. Ramasubramaniam v. Inspector of Police, CBI] A Single Bench of Justice PN Prakash directed the Crime Branch to probe about the missing 100 Kg gold from CBI custody. It rejected the CBI’s request to direct the CBI of the neighbouring State or the National Investigating Agency to conduct the investigation in this regard. According to liquidator for Surana Corporation Limited, CBI had seized 400.47 kgs. of gold in connection with the investigation against the officials of Minerals & Metals Trading Corporation of India and Surana Corporation Limited on the allegation that MMTC had shown undue favour to Surana, who were importing gold and silver. Pursuant to NCLT direction to return the Gold to the liquidator (as criminal cases were withdrawn), the CBI, along with the representatives of all the banks and Surana, inventorised the gold that was kept in the vaults of Surana. It was found that there was a shortage of 103.864 kgs. of gold. In these circumstances, the liquidator approached the High Court seeking a direction to CBI to return 103.864 Kgs of gold. Other developments: Central Govt. Is Expected To Respect Languages Of All The States & Issue Notifications In Vernacular Language: Madras High Court Orissa High Court 1. Circulation Of Objectionable Videos – “Young Girls Facing Menace; Duty Of Govt. To Check Misuse Of Social Media”: Orissa High Court While noting that the menace of circulating objectionable videos in the social media has become a problem for young people, especially young girls, A Bench of Justice SK Mishra and Justice Savitri Ratho observed that it is the duty of the State Government to see that such kind of misuse of social media should not be permitted. The Bench was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by a man who alleged that his daughter had been abducted. It was brought to Court’s notice that the petitioner’s daughter had been rescued, but the youth, who had abducted her, has been harassing the victim by circulating objectionable videos in social media. Accordingly, it was directed that if a cognizable case is made out, a FIR be registered and investigation may be instituted thereof, including raiding the houses of the accused if required. 2. Having Been Caught Red Handed, Victim Tried To Blame Appellant: Orissa HC Acquits Man Of Attempt To Rape Charge After 30 Yrs [Satrughana Nag v. State of Odisha] A Single Bench of Justice SK Sahoo allowed a criminal appeal filed 30 years ago and acquitted the appellant of rape charges after noting that the victim’s statement was not reliable and the evidence regarding actual commission of rape is at variance from what was recorded by police during evidence. While analysing the pieces of evidence presented on the record, the Court said that there were many opportunities for the victim to raise shout and protest but she did not do that. “The Victim’s conduct and her late reaction in raising shout probably on the arrival of her brother makes it clear that she was a consenting party and after having been caught red-handed with the appellant in a compromising position inside her bedroom in the night by her brother, the victim tried to put the entire blame upon the appellant as perpetrator of the crime, in order to save her own skin among her family members as well as in her society,” the Court observed in the facts of the case. Punjab & Haryana High Court 1. Punjab And Haryana High Court Rejects AAP MP Sanjay Singh’s Plea To Quash Defamation Case Filed By Bikramjit Singh Majithia [Sanjay Singh v. Bikram Singh Majithia] A Bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar dismissed the plea filed by senior Aam Aaadmi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh seeking to quash the case proceedings and summoning order passed by Ludhiana Magistrate Court against him in the defamation case filed by Shiromani Akali Dal leader Bikramjit Singh Majithia. It observed, “The summoning order clearly demonstrates application of mind by the learned magistrate at Ludhiana and all relevant issues were duly considered by him before issuing the process.” In the year 2016, Bikramjit Singh Majithia filed a complaint under Section 499 IPC read with Sections 500, 501, 502 and 120-B IPC. Therein, he alleged that on 05.09.2015, Sanjay Singh, made scurrilous and defamatory statements against him at a rally at Moga in Punjab, which were also published in a newspaper. It was further alleged that again, on 27.12.2015, at a public rally at Fatehgarh Sahib in Punjab, Sanjay Singh made similar statements about him and they were published in newspapers on 28.12.2015. Also Read: Delhi High Court Reserves Order On Manoj Tiwari’s Plea Against Summons In Manish Sisodia’s Defamation Case Rajasthan High Court 1. Environment & Traffic Management In Jodhpur: Rajasthan High Court Halts Re-construction Of 50 Yrs Old Temple On Public Footpath [Ravi Lodha v. CS Rajan & Ors.] A Division Bench of Justice Sangeet Lodha and Justice Rameshwar Vyas pulled up the Municipal Corporation of Jodhpur for its failure to ensure that no encroachments are made on public footpath, pavements and public way, etc. On noting that a new temple was being constructed on a public footpath, a fell one step short of instituting contempt proceedings against the concerned authority, after it was assured that the such construction will be stopped forthwith and the structure will be removed within 2 weeks. 2. Even If Child Is Born Prior To Joining Govt. Service, The Servant Is Entitled To Maternity Leave: Rajasthan High Court [Neeraj v. State of Rajasthan & Ors.] A Bench of Justice Dinesh Mehta held that the Petitioner, a female government servant, is entitled to grant of maternity leave, irrespective of the fact that she had given birth to the child prior to her joining Government service. It specifically ruled, “A female Government servant is entitled to avail maternity leave, if she joins within the period of confinement, i.e. 15 days before to three months after the childbirth, regardless of the fact that the child was born prior to joining or before issuance of appointment order.” In this case, the Court was dealing with Rule 103 of the Rajasthan Service Rules, which governs the grant of maternity leave to female government servants. The Petitioner had joined the services on 06th June 2016. She moved an application for grant of maternity leave on 21st June 2016, while clearly mentioning that she gave birth to a child on 15th May 2016. Other developments: Casteist Remark Case: Rajasthan High Court Adjourns Hearing Of Salman Khan’s Plea To Quash FIRsSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more