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Top Ten Legal Headlines of the Week-25 Mar 2024

Top Ten Legal Headlines of the Week-25 Mar 2024


1. SBI tells the Supreme Court it has furnished Electoral Bonds' number and purchaser details to ECI-SBI

The Supreme Court has ordered the Election Commission of India (ECI) to upload data on its website regarding the Electoral Bonds Scheme, which allowed anonymous funding to political parties. The scheme was invalidated after legal challenges, and the State Bank of India (SBI) has submitted all electoral bonds data to the ECI as per the Court's directive.

2. SC rejects plea to stay appointment of two new Election Commissioners -         Election Commission and Supreme court

The Supreme Court declined to stay the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service, and Term of Office) Act, 2023, which outlines the appointment process for Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (EC) through a selection committee. The Court also refused to interfere with the recent appointments of Sukhbir Singh Sandhu and Gyanesh Kumar as Election Commissioners. The bench emphasized that questioning the independence of the poll body based on past executive appointments would not be appropriate, and staying the law just before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections would lead to chaos.

3.'No S.153A IPC Offence Without Presence of Two Or More Communities': Supreme Court Quashes Case Against Journalist

Justice BR Gavai's observation came in a judgment regarding a plea by Shiv Prasad Semwal, an operator of the Parvatjan news portal in Uttarakhand. Semwal challenged the High Court's decision not to quash a criminal case under Section 153A IPC against him. Semwal's article in 'Parvatjan' suggested the land was unlawfully occupied, leading to charges under Section 153A IPC for allegedly stoking enmity and disharmony. The Supreme Court clarified that for an offence under Section 153A IPC, creating enmity and disharmony among groups or communities is crucial, without which no offence is established.

4. Supreme Court refuses to review judgment directing ED to give written grounds of arrest to PMLA accused

 The Supreme Court, comprising Justices AS Bopanna and PV Sanjay Kumar, rejected the Central government's plea to review a judgment from October 2023 (Union of India and ors vs Pankaj Bansal). The judgment ruled that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) must provide written grounds of arrest to individuals arrested in money laundering cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The Court stressed that accused persons have a right to know the reasons for their arrest, which is essential for meeting bail conditions under Section 45 of the PMLA.

5. States/UTs To Issue Ration Cards To 8 Crore Unorganised Sector Workers Registered Under E-Shram Portal: Supreme Court

In April last year, Justices M.R. Shah and Ahsanuddin Amanullah directed state governments to issue ration cards to migrant or unorganized workers registered on the centre's e-Shram portal within three months. On March 19 this year, the Supreme Court ordered State Governments and Union Territories to issue ration cards to 8 crore workers in the Unorganized sector registered on the e-Shram portal within two months. This enables them to access benefits under government schemes and the National Food Security Act of 2013.

6. Supreme Court Transfers Petitions Pending Before Various HCs Against IT Rules 2021 To Delhi High Court

The Bench of Justices Hrishikesh Roy and Prashant Kumar Mishra directed that pending petitions in High Courts where notices have not been issued should be transferred to the Delhi High Court upon the parties' request. The order came during a hearing involving transfer petitions by the Union of India, special leave petitions against interim orders of High Courts, and a writ petition. The High Courts were instructed to transfer relevant paper books to the Delhi High Court within four days to avoid delays.

7. Six new additional judges were sworn in at Kerala High Court

The High Court had 35 functioning judges out of the sanctioned 47 positions. After the recent appointments, there are now only six vacancies left. The Supreme Court Collegium recommended the elevation of these six new appointees on March 12. The Central government then officially appointed them on March 21. The newly appointed judges will serve a two-year term starting today. After this period, they may or may not be made permanent judges of the High Court. On Friday, Chief Justice AJ Desai administered the oath of office to the six new judges, all elevated directly from the bar.

8. Allahabad High Court flagged issues in prosecuting foreign nationals and called for an international treaty—[Zong Hao Zhe @ Jon vs. the State of UP].

The Court addressed concerns during a hearing involving Chinese nationals facing prosecution in Uttar Pradesh. It highlighted difficulties faced by foreign accused in providing sureties for bail, citing their lack of roots in the country. The Court urged the Union government to consider an international treaty for foreign nationals' bail issues due to challenges with traditional sureties. This follows a recent Allahabad High Court case. Justice Ajay Bhanot highlighted the need to adapt legal frameworks to globalization, emphasizing a comprehensive approach for national security and economic impact cases involving foreign nationals.

9. Kerala moves Supreme Court against President withholding assent to four bills  (Supreme Court and Kerala)

The State asks the Supreme Court to declare the Presidential reference for four bills unconstitutional and order the Governor to grant assent to six bills. They challenge the President and Governor's actions, arguing that withholding assent disrupts India's federal structure. The President has approved one bill out of seven, withheld four, and two are pending.

10. Section 420 IPC| Person Cheated Must Have Been Dishonestly Induced to Deliver Property: Supreme Court

On March 20, the Supreme Court clarified that for the offence of cheating (Section 420 of IPC) to be established, it must be proven that Deception occurred, the deception dishonestly induced a person to deliver property, and the accused had a dishonest intention during the inducement. The Court also raised concerns about converting civil disputes into criminal cases. It referred to the case of Prof. R.K. Vijayasarathy v. Sudha Seetharam to define the essential elements of cheating. This ruling came from an appeal where the High Court had declined to quash the FIR, leading to the present decision.