Excessive Courts Weekly Roundup

1. Allahabad High Court Allows Mother’s Habeas Corpus Plea Seeking Child’s Custody From Father [Master Advait Sharma v. State of UP & Ors.]

A Single Bench of Justice JJ Munir allowed the habeas corpus petition of a mother, seeking the custody of her child aged three and a half years, from her husband (the child’s father). It observed that there is a strong presumption about a child’s welfare to be better secured in the mother’s hand.

The Bench remarked, “It is the precipitate wisdom of generations that a young child’s welfare is better ensured in the hands of the mother than the father, or for that matter, anyone else. It is in keeping with this transcendent experience of mankind that the proviso to Section 6(a) of the [Hindu Minority and Guardianship] Act of 1956 reserves to the mother the right to the child’s custody until the age of five years.”

2. Allahabad High Court Seeks UP Govt’s Response On Implementation Of Anganwadi Projects In The State [Nishant Chandra & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.]

A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Saurabh Shyam Shamshery sought the response of the UP Government on the condition of Anganwadis in the State, especially with regard to nutrition programmes undertaken therein.

The order was passed on a PIL filed by one Nishant Chandra and others, appearing in person. They had submitted that most of the Anganwadis in the State of Uttar Pradesh are not having adequate means to provide nutritive food to the children.

3. Tandav- Allahabad HC Denies Anticipatory Bail To Aparna Purohit- Says “Such People Make The Revered Figures Of Religion Of Majority Community Source Of Earning Money”

Underlining that western filmmakers have refrained from ridiculing Lord Jesus or the Prophet but the Hindi filmmakers have done this repeatedly and still doing this most unabashedly with the Hindu Gods and Goddesses, a Bench of Justice Siddharth denied Pre-arrest bail to Commercial Head of Amazon Prime Video, Aparna Purohit, in the ongoing investigation against the web series ‘Tandav’.

Drawing parallels with the Munawar Faruqui incident, the Ciurt remarked, “Things are worsening as is evident from the fact that an obscure stand-up comedian, Munawar Faruqui, from Gujarat made comments on Hindu God and Godesses in a new year show at Indore and gained undue publicity on being arrested in a case. This shows that from films this trend has passed to comedy shows.”

Bombay High Court

1. Bombay High Court Grants Varavara Rao Bail For 6 Months On Medical Grounds In Bhima Koregaon Case [Dr. PV Varavara Rao v. NIA & Anr.]

A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale granted bail on medical grounds to 81-year-old Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case, who has been under custody awaiting trial since August 28, 2018. The High Court observed that it was a “genuine and fit” case for granting relief in view of the advanced age of the petitioner and inadequate facilities at Taloja jail hospital.

The Court also ruled that an undertrial accused of serious offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) can be granted bail purely on grounds of sickness and advanced age, if it is found that his continued incarceration is endangering his life

2. ‘No Likelihood Of Trial Being Completed In Near Future’ : Bombay High Court Upholds Bail Granted To Youth Accused Of Joining ISIS [NIA v. Areeb Ejaz Majeed]

A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale upheld bail granted to an alleged Islamic State recruit from India, Areeb Majeed and disposed of an appeal by the National Investigating Agency (NIA). The Court cited Majeed’s prolonged incarceration of six years and slow pace of the trial to uphold his bail.

The 27-year-old man from Kalyan, argued his own bail application. He was granted bail by the Special Court on March 17, 2020. The order was subsequently stayed after the NIA approached the HC in appeal.

3. Medieval Notion Of Wife Being The Property Of Husband Still Persist In Majority Mindset, Refusal To Give Tea Not Sudden Or Grave Provocation : Bombay HC [Santosh Mahadev Atkar v. State of Maharashtra]

Observing that the medieval notion of the wife being the ‘property of the husband to do as he wishes, still persists,’ a Single Bench of Justice Revati Mohite Dere refused to show any leniency to a man convicted for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. It held the husband’s contention that his wife, by refusing to make tea, offered a grave and sudden provocation to be “ludicrous,” “clearly untenable and unsustainable.”

4. ‘Sanctioning Authority Must Apply Mind’ : Bombay HC Quashes Sanction To Prosecute Order Issued ‘Mechanically’ [Anand Murlidhar Salvi v. State of Maharashtra]

A single bench of Justice SK Shinde ruled that an order granting permission or sanction to prosecute an individual under the Prevention of Corruption Act must demonstrate that the Sanctioning Authority has applied his mind and not passed the order “mechanically”.

It held that ordinarily the Sanctioning Authority is the best person to judge, based on the investigation report placed before him, whether the government employee should or should not be prosecuted under the PC Act. A pre-requisite to provide a safe-guard to a public servant against frivolous and vexatious litigants.

5. Bombay High Court Directs Removal Of Matter From The Board After Lawyer Removes His Mask [Kondiba Shankar Nikam v. Balasaheb Kisan Bhosale & Ors.]

Taking exception to the Counsel’s act of removing his mask during the Court hearing, a Bench of Bench of Justice Prithviraj K. Chavan directed the removal of matter from the Board. It referred to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the resumption of physical hearing at the Principal Seat, High Court of Bombay w.e.f. 11th January, 2021 to stress that wearing a face mask all the time is compulsory.

6. Bombay High Court Rejects Union Minister Nitin Gadkari’s Plea Against Election Petition Filed Against His Election To Lok Sabha [Md. Nafis v. Election Commission of India & Ors.]

A single judge bench of Justice A.S. Chandurkar dismissed an application filed by Union Minister Nitin Gadkar challenging an election petition filed against him by one, Mohd. Nafis Khan for submitting false information in nomination form and election affidavit.

It allowed the election petition to continue after observing that two points in its prayer with regards to the land solely owned by Mr. Gadkari and declaration of agriculture as his source of income “disclosed material facts and necessary cause of action” to challenge his election in the general elections to the Lok Sabha from Constituency No.10-Nagpur. However, the bench went ahead to strike down other prayers as set out in the petition.

Other developments:

Calcutta High Court

1. Calcutta High Court Directs Administrative Wing To Examine Issues Relating To Quality & Size Of Filing Papers In All Courts [Nikunj Berlia v. High Court at Calcutta]

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee has directed the Registrar General to initiate requisite activities on the Administrative side to examine issues relating to the quality and size of papers that are used for filing of pleadings, vakalatnamas, etc., in the Courts of West Bengal and the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The development comes in a writ petition filed by Advocate Nikunj Berlia, inter alia seeking that the quality of A4 size papers that are used for printing and filing matters in the Appellate Side and Original Side of the High Court should be such that the same would be cost effective, without insisting on bond papers.

2. ‘Once Appeared For A Party”- Calcutta HC Judge Recalls Her Order Even After No Objection By Both Parties, Says “It Is The Best And Only Course Available” [Duroply Industries Ltd. & Anr. v. Ma Mansa Enterprises Pvt. Ltd.]

A single Bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya recalled its order of an injunction passed in a trademark dispute as the Judge presiding over the case had appeared for one party in respect of the same trademark in the past.

The Court recalled the order passed by her even after assurance by parties that they had no objection to the judgment being delivered by the Court. She found that releasing the matter was the best and only course of action since she had appeared for one party in relation to the same trademark on which the the party claimed exclusivity in present proceedings.

3. Removal Of A Blind Person From The Job Solely On Ground Of Disability Violative Of Rights of PwD Act 2016: Calcutta High Court [Dr. Shishir Kumar Biswas v. State of West Bengal & Ors.]

A Single Bench of Justice Ravi Krishan Kapur set aside an order removing a blind Professor from the position of Head of the Bengali Department by the Haringhata Mahavidyalaya, primarily on the ground of his physical disability. It noted that the memo dated 31st July, 2017, whereby the petitioner was removed, is in direct violation and contravention of the provisions of the Rights of Persons With Disabilities Act, 2016.

Section 20 provides that no Government establishment shall discriminate against any person with disability in any matter relating to employment. Every Government establishment shall provide reasonable accommodation and appropriate barrier free and conducive environment to employees with disability.

4. Exception Of Customary Divorce U/S 29(2) Hindu Marriage Act Not Attracted In Absence Of Declaration From Civil Court Regarding Its Validity: Calcutta High Court [Krishna Veni v. Union of India & Ors.]

A Single Bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya held that merely obtaining a customary divorce will not attract the exception envisaged under Section 29(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act.

It has made it clear that the validity of such a divorce has to be established by a deed of declaration. “For Section 29(2) of the 1955 Act to be invoked, it has to be established by the party relying on a custom that the right of the party was recognized by custom, to obtain the dissolution of a Hindu marriage,” it held.

5. COVID-19: Guidelines Shouldn’t Be Thrown To The Wind, Police-People Confrontation Can’t Be Permitted: Calcutta High Court To Govt. [Mangal Sardar v. Union of India & Ors.]

A Bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee directed the State Government to see to it that COVID-19 guidelines and safety precautions shouldn’t be thrown to the wind. It also directed the Government to ensure that confrontation between the police and the people should not be permitted to happen, since situations of human rights violation and such aspects have also to be taken care of.

Delhi High Court

1. “Professional Bills Of Lawyers Not Being Cleared”: Delhi High Court Directs Delhi Govt. To Clear Bills Of Empanelled Lawyers [Pranay Ranjan v. Govt. Of NCT of Delhi]

While noting that despite the Court’s Order, the bills of the empanelled lawyers are not being cleared and that they are being compelled to file writ petitions for the same, a Bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh directed the Law Secretary, GNCTD to clear the bills of an Advocate (Writ Petitioner) within a period of 30 days.

In the case of Piyush Gupta v. GNCTD & Ors. W.P.(C) 5373/2020, the Delhi High Court, in August 2020, had directed the Delhi Government, Union of India, as well as the various municipal corporations of Delhi, to clear the bills of various government counsel within 4 weeks.

2. Plea Seeking Appointment Of 1 Independent Human Rights Prosecutor In Each Of The 11 District Courts Of Delhi: HC Issues Notice To Govt. [Sarvadaman Singh Oberoi v. Govt. Of NCT Of Delhi & Ors.]

A Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli issued notice to Delhi Government in a plea seeking the establishment of Human Rights Court in each of the 11 District Courts of Delhi. it also directed the Delhi Government to respond to Petitioner’s prayer seeking direction to Respondents to ensure one Independent Human Rights Prosecutor exclusively appointed to examine and process claims of human rights offences (in each of the 11 District Courts of Delhi).

3. Delhi High Court Seeks Centre’s Response On Plea For Quashing Delhi Minorities Commission & Others’ Reports on Delhi Riots

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice on and sought response of the Central Government, the Delhi Police and publishers on a plea seeking quashing of reports prepared by the “Delhi Minorities Commission” and other private organizations/ individuals on the Delhi Riots.

The plea, filed by a riots victim, claims that the organizations which are admittedly self-constituted, are running a parallel fact-finding exercise and hampering investigation in the cases. The centre through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta took the view that the matter would need examination. As such, the court has posted the matter for further hearing on Mar 26.

4. Give Prisoners Choice Between Video Conferencing & Physical Appearance: Delhi High Court

Hearing a petition filed by Pinjra Tod activists Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita, a single judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh has asked Director General Prisons, Delhi, to consider giving prisoners the choice between being produced before the courts physically or through video conferencing.

The Petitioners alleged that the requirement for them to be quarantined for 14 days after each physical production before the courts prejudiced their rights, and therefore a prior order dated Feb 1 permitting them to be produced via video conferencing may be allowed to continue.

5. Delhi High Court Comes Down Heavily On Tihar Jail Authorities For Alleged Murder Of 23-yo Undertrial In Prison

A Single Judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh came down heavily on the Delhi state government and Tihar jail authorities while hearing a compensation petition on the alleged murder of a 23-yo undertrial, Dilsher Azad in Delhi’s Tihar jail, and directed the Delhi Police to file a status report within 3 days. The court also asked the respondents of the petition, the state of Delhi, the Director General and the Superintendent, Tihar Jail to clarify whether any FIR and chargesheet have been filed with respect to the incident.

Noting that the incident was very serious in nature, the court also asked the jail authorities for the relevant CCTV footage of the incident, and observed that in such cases the footage must be seized and confiscated immediately.

6. Bar Council of UP Moves Delhi High Court Against BCI’s Decision To Oversee Its Activities, Conduct Elections [Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh & Anr. v. Bar Council of India & Ors.]

A Single Bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh sought response from the Bar Council of India on a petition filed by the State Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh, alleging that the former is attempting to take over its functioning.

The Bar Council of UP and its Chairman have challenged two Circulars issued by the Bar Council of India, alleging that the same amount to interreference in its functioning. The impugned Circulars dated 19th January, 2021 and 2nd February, 2021 appoint a nine-member Committee to look after the activities of the Bar Council of UP and a three-member Committee for conducting its elections.

7. ‘Not Before This Bench’ : CJ-led Bench Of Delhi HC Adjourns Pleas Against ‘Aaj Tak’ For Alleged Misreporting Of Tractor Rally

A division bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh said that it will not hear the petitions seeking action against ‘Aaj Tak’ news channel over alleged mis-reporting of the tractor rally, and that the case will be assigned to another bench. “Not before this bench”, it remarked while stating that the cases will be considered by another bench.

8. Delhi High Court Issues Directions For Feeding Of Street Dogs In Residential Colony In Delhi [Urvashi Vashisht & Ors. v. RWA & Ors.]

A single Bench of Justice Pratibha Singh issued directions in an ongoing dispute regarding feeding of street dogs in residential colonies.

The High Court has directed the parties involved in the case, including the Animal Welfare Board of India, Petitioners, office bearers of the Residents Welfare Association to identify a spot to be used for the purpose of feeding and taking care of street dogs etc. Once the spot is decided, the dogs are to be fed only on that spot and no hindrance is to be created in doing the same.

9. ‘There Is Legitimate State Interest In Limiting Recognition Of Marriage To Persons Of Opposite Sex Only’, Centre Opposes Plea To Recognize Same-Sex Marriage

Opposing a petition seeking recognition to same-sex marriages under various personal laws before the Delhi High Court, the Centre today informed the court through an affidavit that, “there is a “legitimate state interest” in limiting recognition of marriage to persons of opposite sex only”, and that the institution of marriage is not merely a concept relegated to the domain of privacy of an individual.

“The acceptance of the institution of marriage between two individuals of the same gender is neither recognized nor accepted in any uncodified personal laws or any codified statutory laws”, the affidavit stated.

Other developments:

Gujarat High Court

1. Train Officials Asking Them To Strictly Adhere To Law & Inculcate In Them Sensitivity With Dispassionate Actions: Gujarat HC To State Police Academy [Samirkhan Faizullahkhan Pathan v. State Of Gujarat]

A Bench of Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice Sangeeta K. Vishen recommended the State Police Academy to train police officials asking them to strictly adhere to the law and the principles established under the law, and also inculcate in them sensitivity with dispassionate actions.

The recommended was made in a matter wherein a Lok Rakshak Dal woman who wished to solemnize her marriage with a Muslim Man was called at the police station after sunset for recording her statement, on the next date.

Himachal Pradesh High Court

1. Holding Peaceful Processions, Raising Slogans Can’t Be An Offence: Himachal Pradesh High Court Quashes FIR Against Lady Advocate [Anu Tuli Azta v. State of HP]

Stating that holding peaceful processions, raising slogans, would not be and cannot be an offence under India’s Constitution, a Bench of Justice Anoop Chitkara quashed an FIR filed against an Advocate under Sections 341, 143, 147, 149, 353, 504, and 506 IPC.

The Court also observed that the FIR nowhere mentions the role of the petitioner and even if is presumed that the petitioner was present at the spot, it would still not lead to an automatic inference of her acting with a common object with those who had inflicted fist blows, hurled abuses, and threatened the SHO, and also threatened to burn the Police Station.

2. Inter-Caste Marriage- Girl Isn’t A Cattle But A Living Independent Soul Having Rights; Can Exercise Her Discretion As Per Her Wishes: HP High Court [Sanjeev Kumar v. Sate of HP & Ors.]

While hearing a petition related to the marriage of an upper-caste woman (Rajput) with a lower caste man, a Bench of Justice Vivek Singh Thakur ruled that a girl is not a cattle or non-living thing but a living independent soul having rights, like others, and, on attaining the age of discretion, to exercise her discretion according to her wishes.

It remarked that opposition to marriage for the difference of caste is the result of spiritual as well as religious ignorance.

Jammu & Kashmir High Court

1. Jammu & Kashmir High Court Issues Notice On Plea Challenging Maximum Preventive Detention Period Under Public Safety Act

A Division Bench comprising of Justices Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Javed Iqbal Wani issued notice to the UT administration on a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of Section 18 of the Public Safety Act, 1978. The provision prescribes that a person, acting in a manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order, may be detained under the Act for a maximum period of twelve months and a person, acting in a manner prejudicial to the security of the State may be detained under the Act for a maximum period of two years.

It is contended that the impugned provision is violative of Article 22 (7) of the Constitution of India, which provides that the maximum period of preventive detention shall not exceed three months, without obtaining the opinion of an Advisory Board.

2. Jammu & Kashmir High Court Seeks Government’s Response In Plea Against Separate Prosecution Wing For J&K [Amit Pathania & Anr. v. Union Of India & Ors.]

A Division Bench compromising of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur has issued notice to the UT administration on a PIL challenging a Government Order for establishment of the J&K Prosecution Service.

As per the Petitioner, the aforesaid service so created by the notification consists of members of J&K Police (Gazetted) service (Prosecution wing) and Prosecuting officers (Non-Gazetted) as its members. He contended that these persons are not eligible for appointment as Prosecutors in view of Section 24(7) of CrPC which provides that a person is eligible for appointment as Public Prosecutor /Additional Public Prosecutor only if he has been in practice as an Advocate for not less than seven years.

Jharkhand High Court

1. “A Lady With 90% Burn Injury Can’t Be Kept Like That”: Jharkhand HC Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of The Incident Based On A Mail Received To Court [Court On Its Own Motion v. State Of Jharkhand]

A Bench of Chief Justice Dr. Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad took suo moto cognizance of an e-mail complaining about the negligent attitude adopted by the MGM Hospital, Jamshedpur as it alleged that a lady with 90% burn injury was left half-naked and without any proper medical facilities.

The Court said, “This untoward and unfortunate incident has given rise to several questions regarding the attitude of the Management of the Hospital, the facilities which are to be provided either by the State or by any competent authority to such Hospitals and perhaps it also shows lack of training to the concerned doctors and staffs in dealing with the situation.”

Karnataka High Court

1. Karnataka High Court Imposes ₹ 10 Lakh Cost On Petitioner For Multiple Petitions Against Azim Premji [India Awake For Transparency v. Union of India]

A single bench of Justice PS Dinesh Kumar imposed a cost of Rs 10 lakh on not for profit company-India Awake for Transparency, for filing multiple petitions on the very same cause of action, seeking to register a case against founder Chairman of Wipro Company, Azim Premji and others.

The Court noted that petitioner had filed multiple writ petitions in the High Court seeking criminal actions over allegations of financial irregularities in companies run by Azim Premji. Despite the dismissal of those petitions, the petitioner filed a fresh writ petition with similar allegations in substance.

2. Karnataka HC Asks Govt About Steps For Survey Of All Quarries In State

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum asked the state government to inform whether it will be carrying out a survey of all quarries in the State in a phased manner and whether any action of determination of lease/licenses is taken by the State Government during the year 2020.

The directions were given in a petition filed by Samaja Parivarthana Samithi (R), highlighting the issue of illegal quarrying being undertaken in the state.

3. Tipu Jayanti Tweets : Karnataka High Court Directs Magistrate To Decide Afresh Complaints Against Anant Kumar Hegde, CT Ravi [A. Alam Pasha v. Anant Kumar Hegde]

A single bench of Justice John Michael Cunha directed a Magistrate to consider afresh the criminal complaints against Union Minister Anant Kumar Hegde and BJP MLA CT Ravi over the statements made by them in the context of Tipu Jayanti celebrations in 2017.

It set aside the order passed by an Additioanl Chief Metropolitan Magsitrate, Bengaluru, which had dismissed the complaints citing lack of sanction under Section 196 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The High Court observed that sanction was not required while considering a petition under Section 156(3) of the CrPC seeking registration of FIR.

4. Karnataka High Court Issues Notice On Plea Challenging Travel Restrictions At Kerala Border

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum issued notice to the Union Government and State government on a PIL challenging the restrictions on the movement of public along the Kerala-Karnataka Border in view of the outbreak of Covid-19.

The plea says that the Dakshina Kannada and Kasaragod Districts of Karnataka & Kerala state respectively known as Gadinaada Karnataka. It is submitted that both the districts and the residents thereof are interdependent upon each other in regards to employment, trade, commerce, education and major hospitals which is situated at Mangaluru city of DK District. It is submitted that more than 80, 000 people i.e 35% 40% of the border travel on day to day basis for the aforesaid purposes.

5. Karnataka High Court Issues Notice On Private Schools’ Plea For Collecting 100% Tuition Fees

A single bench of Justice R Devdas issued notice to the State Government on a batch of petitions challenging the government notification dated January 29, by which all categories of Private Educational Unaided Institutions only for the Academic Year 2020-21are directed to collect only 70% Tuition Fees from the parents as collected for the academic year 2019-20 and other charges are not be collected.

6. No Coercive Action Against Cattle Transport Till Rules Are Made : Karnataka Govt Tells High Court

The Karnataka Government assured a division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum that till the rules are brought into force under the “Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act 2021”, no coercive action shall be initiated for breach or violation of Section 5, which restricts cattle transport.

When the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Ordinance was in force, the Advocate General had made a similar undertaking before the Court on January 20. Now that the Ordinance has been replaced by the Act, the Advocate General told the Court that the same undertaking can be continued.

7. Charge Of False Accusation U/S 211 IPC Can Be Made Against De Facto Complainant & Not Against Investigating Officer: Madras High Court [A. Radhika v. Wilson Sundararaj]

A Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh held that an officer who conducted investigation or filed a final report pursuant to filing of a criminal complaint cannot be prosecuted under Section 211 of IPC for making false accusations, in case of acquittal of the accused. The Court further made it clear that the language used under Section 211 regarding false charge can only relate to the defacto complainant who set the criminal law in motion, and not the investigating officer.

Kerala High Court

1. “Matter Pending Before The Apex Court”: Kerala HC Closes Plea Of NRIs Who Could Not Deposit Demonetized Currency In Time [Dr. Sreekumaran Nair v. Union Of India & Ors.]

A Bench of Justice PB Suresh Kumar closed a writ petition filed by NRIs who could not deposit demonetized currency in time noting that the matter falls within the scope of a question formulated by the Apex court for a decision by the Larger Bench (and the matter is pending before the Apex Court).

2. Inclusion Of Land In CRZ As Per 2019 Notification Can Be Objected Even If Land Is Shown CRZ-III As Per 2011 Notification : Kerala High Court [Selil Moideen v. Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority]

A single bench of Justice PB Suresh Kumar observed that the inclusion of a land in Coastal Regulation Zone-III in the Coastal Zone Management Plan(CZMP) prepared as per the 2011 CRZ Notification is not a bar against objecting to the inclusion of the said land in a CRZ zone as per the CZMP to be made as per the 2019 CRZ Notification.

It noted that the CZMP prepared as per 2011 Regulations will remain in force only till the CZMP as per 2019 Regulations is notified. The bench also noted that steps for finalizing the Coastal Zone Management Plan pursuant to the Coastal Regulation Zone notification, 2019 are underway.

3. Kerala High Court Directs Police Action Against Woman Who Made False Rape Complaint After Consensual Sex

A Bench of Justice PV Kunhikrishnan directed the police to take expeditious legal action against a woman for making a false rape complaint against a man after having consensual sex with him.

The woman had lodged a complaint that a junior health inspector had forcibly raped her while she was under quarantine for COVID-19. Last November, the High Court had granted him bail, after the woman filed an affidavit saying that the sexual intercourse between them was based on consent. By that time, the accused had spent 77 days under custody. While granting him bail, the High Court directed the State Police Chief to hold an enquiry against the woman.

4. Not Possible To Relax Mandatory 30 Days Notice Period Or To Permit ‘Digital’ Marriage Unless Special Marriage Act Is Amended: Kerala High Court [Shitha VK v. District Registrar (General)]

Unless the provisions contained in the Special Marriage Act are amended, it would not be possible either to relax the mandatory period of notice or to permit marriage in digital form, a single Bench of Justice PV Asha observed. Thereby, it dismissed a woman’s plea to permit solemnisation and registration of her marriage on digital platform.

5. Monthly Maintenance To Minor Cannot Be Deposited In Bank Account With A Direction For Disbursement On Attainment Of Majority: Kerala High Court [Fathima Fidha v. Faisal CP]

A Single Bench of Justice Mary Joseph set aside the directions issued by the Family Court directing maintenance allowance to be deposited by the father in a bank account in name of the minor child that who would receive the amount on attaining majority.

The Court observed that the monthly allowance is meant to be disbursed to the person who has claimed it and found by the court entitled to, solely to meet the expenditures in a month, and if such maintenance allowance is ordered to be deposited, the daily sustenance of the party in whose favour it was ordered would be in peril. It was observed that if the monthly maintenance allowance is ordered to be deposited, it would defeat the very purpose intended by the parliament while incorporating Section 125 in CrPC.

6. Aided School Teachers Cannot Contest In Elections: Kerala High Court Declares Section 2(iv) Of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualifications) Act Unconstitutional [Moosa v. State Of Kerala]

A bench comprising the Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly held that the Teachers of aided schools cannot contest in the election to the local bodies, including State Legislative Assembly and Parliament.

It held that Section 2(iv) of the Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualifications) Act, 1951, which provides that a person shall not be disqualified for being chosen as and for being, a member of the Legislative Assembly of the State of Kerala by reason only—(iv) that he holds an office in any educational institution other than a Government institution, is ultra vires to Article 21A of the Constitution of India.

7. In The Guise Of Strike Workers Cannot Resort To Strong Arm Tactics To Intimidate Management: Kerala High Court [Bharat Serum Vaccines Ltd. & Ors. v. State of Kerala & Ors.]

A Single Bench of Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan V. observed that there cannot be any doubt that the workers have the right to resort to strike to effectively bargain with the management. However, under no circumstances can the workers resort to violence to further their cause as the same would infringe the rights of the concerned organization to carry on their business.

The remarks come in a writ petition filed by Bharat Serum Vaccines Limited, against intimidatory tactics used by some of its employees and the Trade Union, after they were transferred to a unit out of the State.

Madhya Pradesh High Court

1. Munawar Faruqui Case: Madhya Pradesh High Court Grants Ad-Interim Bail to Nalin Yadav And Sadakat Khan

A Bench of Justice Rohit Arya granted ad-interim Bail to Nalin Yadav And Sadakat Khan, who were arrested in the case registered against comedian Munawar Faruqui on 02nd January for allegedly making indecent remarks against Hindu deities and against Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a show held at a cafe in 56 Dukan area of Indore on January 1

Madras High Court

1. If Police Officials Are Unable To Comply With Court’s Order Then They Are Unfit To Hold Their Post: Madras High Court

Noting that when the Advocate Commissioner went to inspect the property, dogs were let loose and nobody could enter into the property despite police protection, a Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice PD Audikesavalu came down heavily on the concerned police officials.

It sternly remarked, “The Court’s orders have to be implemented/complied with in letter and spirit. If the officials are unable to do that, they are unfit to hold the post that too, in a disciplined force, like police force.”

2. Time To Review Mentality Of Considering Plight Of Injured Victims Sympathetically Despite Violation Of Traffic Laws By Them: Madras High Court [Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation v. Marimuthu & Ors.]

While dealing with the case of a bus driver, who was held liable by the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal for accident with a two-wheeler vehicle carrying four persons, a Single Bench of Justice K. Murali Shankar observed, “It is high time for all stakeholders to review our mind-set that in cases of road accidents involving big and small vehicles, fixing the driver of the big vehicle as tort-feasor, as in majority of cases FIRs came to be registered against the driver of the big vehicle and investigations are being carried out in such a way to make that driver is responsible for the accident.

It is also high time for all who are dealing with motor accident claims to review our mentality in considering the plight of the injured victim or the legal heirs of the deceased victim sympathetically and awarding of compensation in the accidents occurred by violating the Laws and Rules.”

3. COVID’s Home Grown Variant- “Be On Guard & Take Immediate Appropriate Decisions To Safeguard Citizens’ Health”: Madras HC To Govt.

While noting that homegrown variants of the Coronavirus have been noticed in Amaravati and Akola (in Maharashtra), a Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy directed the Union and the States “to be on guard”. It also directed the Governments to take immediate appropriate decisions to safeguard the health of citizens, whether by imposing new measures or rolling back the opening of normal life.

4. ‘Persons Who Mistreat Animals Must Be Dealt With As Mercilessly’: Madras High Court Asks Govt To Prohibit Future Ownership Of Elephants By Individuals, Temples [Rangarajan Narasimhan v. Chief Secretary & Ors.]

Expressing concern over the ‘mistreatment’ meted out to privately owned animals (elephants in this case), a Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy observed that there must be a uniform policy that “future ownership of elephants by individuals and temples be completely prohibited.” It sternly added, “Any kind of mistreatment of elephants and other animals must be dealt with promptly and as mercilessly as such persons deal with the animals.”

So far as elephants that are already owned by private individuals/ temples are concerned, the Bench said, “There must be a uniform policy that all elephants, privately owned or temple owned come under the care of the Forest Department.”

5. File Report Indicating As To How Govt. Buildings & Public Places Allow Access To Persons With Disabilities: Madras High Court To Govt.

A Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy directed the State Government to file a comprehensive report indicating how government buildings and all public places allow access to persons with disabilities.

has directed that the said report should also indicate the toilet facilities provided for such persons at all government buildings and the easy access to the toilets. Further, the Court has directed that the report should include the Central Government guidelines in such regard for all public buildings and government-owned buildings to follow the relevant guidelines and the extent of adherence to such guidelines.

6. Only Senior Citizens/ Parents Entitled To Prefer Appeal Against Order Of Tribunal Under Senior Citizen Act 2007: Madras High Court [K. Raju v. Union of India & Ors.]

A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy held that only senior citizens/ parents are entitled to file an appeal against an order passed by the Tribunal under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act, 2007. Holding thus, it dismissed a petition seeking a declaration that any aggrieved party to an order passed under the Act can file an appeal under Section 16.

It observed, “When the clear words of a statute do not permit any other meaning or interpretation, particularly when it pertains to a right of appeal, additional words cannot be read into the provision to discover a right in favour of a class of persons excluded by necessary implication in the appellate provision.”

7. Religious Processions Should Spread Positivity/Brotherhood & In No Manner Should Cause Any Communal Disturbance: Madras High Court [M. Thangaraj (Ex. MC) v. District Collector, Dindigul & Ors.]

While allowing the general public including the Petitioner to follow the ritual of taking a procession around the temple (Girivalam), a Bench of Justice R. Hemalatha observed that all the Religious processions should spread positivity and brotherhood and in no manner should be a cause for any communal disturbance.

8. Madras High Court Issues Notice On Plea Challenging Appointment Of Retd. Justice S. Baskaran As Chairperson Of State Human Rights Commission [Logeshwar v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.]

A Division bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy issued notice on a petition challenging appointment of retired High Court Judge, Justice S Baskaran, as the Chairperson of the Tamil Nadu State Human Rights Commission.

It was the Petitioner’s case that Justice Baskaran’s appointment as the Chairperson of TN Human Rights Commission is violative of Article 14 (right to equality) and 16 (equality of opportunity in matters of public employment) of the Constitution. He further contended that the appointment compromises the dictum of the Supreme Court in Rojer Mathew v. South Indian Bank, (2020) 6 SCC 1, with regard to safeguards to ensure the independence of occupants of such offices.

9. Arbitration Court Not Empowered To Embark On Fact-Finding Exercise While Deciding Application For Setting Aside Arbitral Award: Madras High Court [Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. v. Banu Constructions & Anr.]

“While it is not necessary for an arbitral award to justify every paisa or a rupee awarded to the claimant, the broad premise on which the quantum is founded has to be discernible from award itself for the award to be meaningful or even intelligible in legal terms,” observed a Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy. It slammed an Arbitration Court for upholding an unreasoned arbitral award and exceeding its jurisdiction in supplementing that award with reasons.

10. State Has To Compensate Unforeseen Death Or Injury In Govt Hospital Even If There Is No Medical Negligence : Madras High Court [Tamil Selvi v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors.]

A single bench of Justice GR Swaminathan directed the State of Tamil Nadu to provide a compensation of Rs. 5 lacs to a Dalit Petitioner whose daughter had died as a result of complications that arose after administration of anesthesia in a government hospital.

It held that, even though there was no medical negligence on behalf of the anesthetist, there exists an obligation on the part of the government to disburse ex-gratia to the affected party if the patient was admitted to a government hospital and suffered an injury or death which is not anticipated to occur in the normal course of events.

Orissa High Court

1. Death Of 800 Olive Ridley Sea Turtles In Odisha: Orissa High Court Registers Suo Moto PIL [In Re : Olive Ridley Turtles]

A Bench of Chief Justice Dr. S. Muralidhar and Justice B. P. Routray registered suo-moto PIL, taking into cognizance Down to Earth Magazine’s report on the death of around 800 Olive Ridley sea turtles. It issued notices to the Government of Odisha, among others, to apprise the Court of the steps taken to deal with the crisis on an urgent basis.

Latest Update: Death Of 800 Olive Ridley Sea Turtles: Orissa High Court Constitutes Panel To Study The Cause Of Deaths, Give Suggestions For Their Protection

Patna High Court

1. Creating Separate Unit For Transgender Police Personnel Give Them ‘Respectful Representation’: Bihar Govt. Submits To Patna HC [Pallabi Chakraborty v. State of West Bengal & Ors.]

Stressing that Government is sincere to give ‘respectful representation’ to people belonging to Transgender Community, the Bihar Government recently submitted before a Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S. Kumar that it is going to create a separate unit of Transgender Police Personnel named as Special Unit (Transgender) at the District Level under the District SP.

Punjab & Haryana High Court

1. ‘Forum Shopping’: Punjab & Haryana High Court Imposes Cost For Filing Writ Against Order Of State Consumer Commission Instead Of Approaching NCDRC [Gurjeet Singh Johar & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors.]

“One of the biggest evils faced by the Judiciary is ‘forum shopping'” observed a Single Bench of Justice Anil Kshetarpal while imposing cost of Rs. 2 lakh on a writ petitioner, for circumventing the alternate remedy available under the Consumer Protection Act.

The Court made it clear that a State Commission has the power to proceed under Section 27, if the order passed in the complaint has not been complied with. It further held that the appropriate remedy against an order under Section 27 of the Act would be to approach the National Commission under Section 27A.

2. P&H High Court Questions Punjab Govt Policy Allowing Regularization Of Unauthorized Constructions In Violation Of PAPR Act [Mohinder Pal Singh v. State Of Punjab & Ors.]

A division bench consisting of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh took note of regularisation of illegal colonies in violation of Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act (PAPRA), 1995. “Whether the policy promulgated by State Government in the year 2018 under which number of persons have taken benefit is sustainable under the provisions of Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 1995. In such situation, a question would arise if such a policy is permitted to be notified from time to time would it not be advisable to repeal the Act known as Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act, 1995 as the policies defeat the purpose of the Act,” the Court said while seeking the State’s response.

3. High Court Seeks Details Of All Pending Cases Against MPs/MLAs in States Of Punjab, Haryana & U.T. Chandigarh [Court on its own motion v. State of Punjab & Ors.]

A Bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh sought information of all the cases pending against the MPs/MLAs (sitting or erstwhile) in the States of Punjab, Haryana & UT Chandigarh.

The Court has directed an Officer of the rank of Inspector General of Police to be present on the next date of hearing to furnish the requisite information. Significantly, a similar direction was also issued to District Judges of Punjab, Haryana & U.T. Chandigarh to furnish details of such cases and to ensure their speedy disposal thereof.

4. “Celebrities Should Be Careful In Using Terms Which Can Be Misinterpreted”: P&H HC Grants Protection To Yuvraj Singh In Alleged Casteist Remarks Case [Yuvraj Singh v. State of Haryana & Anr.]

While issuing notice to the Haryana Government, a Bench of Justice Amol Rattan Singh granted interim protection against coercive action to Cricketer Yuvraj Singh in a case registered against him for his alleged casteist remarks against another cricketer during an Instagram chat last year.

It was hearing Singh’s plea seeking quashing of the FIR registered against him in connection with this case and remarked, “…Every person, and ‘celebrities’ in particular, should be careful in the usage of any term which can be misinterpreted.”

5. Dalit Labour Activist Nodeep Kaur Granted Bail By Punjab & Haryana High Court [Naudeep Kaur v. State of Haryana]

A Bench of Justice Avneesh Jhingan granted Bail To Dalit Labour Activist Nodeep Kaur in the third FIR Registered against her. The order was passed in a Bail Plea and a Suo Moto registered in connection with her matter (both matters heard together). However, with regard to allegations of her illegal detention, the matter will continue to be heard by the Court.

Significantly, the Bench observed, “It would be appropriate to say that the right to peaceful protest is circumscribed by a thin line. The crossing of line may change the colour of protest. It would be subject matter of trial as to whether the line for peaceful protest was crossed in the alleged incident or not.”

Rajasthan High Court

1. Rajasthan High Court Asks State To Consider Representation For Inclusion Of Persons With Hearing Impairment Under PwD Act [Kaushalya v. State of Rajasthan & Ors.]

A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Satish Kumar Sharma dismissed a writ petition seeking a direction to the State Government to include persons with locomotive disabilities and/or hearing impairment under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. It however asked the Government to review its policy in light of a notification issued by Union of India on January 4, 2021.

2. Jaipur Blasts Case- Rajasthan HC Expresses Surprise At Police Arresting An Accused Soon After His Release From 12 Yrs Custody & Acquittal In 8 Other Similar Cases [Shahbaz Ahmad v. State of Rajasthan]

The High Court was shocked to learn that Shahbaz Ahmad(48), who has been under custody since 2008, was arrested again in a case related to Jaipur blasts, although he was found innocent in 8 other similar cases registered in relation to the blasts.

It is indeed surprising that when the petitioner was languishing in jail(I am using the term “languishing” because petitioner remained in custody for twelve years and ultimately found not guilty in all these cases) as to why the petitioner was not arrested in this case when he remained in custody for twelve years”, a single bench of Justice Pankaj Bhandari observed while granting him bail in the case.

Uttarakhand High Court

1. ‘Irrevocable Loss Would Be Caused To Environment & Elephant Population’: Uttarakhand High Court Stays Order De-Notifying Shivalik Elephant Reserve [Reena Paul v. State of Uttarakhand & Ors.]

A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Manoj Kumar Tiwari held that if the proposed area of the Shivalik Elephant Reserve is diverted for expansion of Dehradun’s Jolly Grant Airport, irrevocable loss would be caused, both to environment, and to the elephant population. Recording this prima facie finding, it stayed the operation of a Govt order de-notifying the Shivalik Elephant Reserve Area.

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