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Top Ten Legal Headlines of the Week-20 Nov 2023

Top Ten Legal Headlines of the Week-20 Nov 2023


1. Madhya Pradesh High Court says abusing by caste name Chamar in staffroom not offence under SC/ST Act since staffroom not public place

 The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently dismissed a case under the SC/ST Act, ruling that a staff room isn't a public place. In the case of Ashutosh Tiwari vs The State of Madhya Pradesh, Justice Vishal Dhagat handled accusations that the accused insulted the complainant's caste during a staffroom meeting. The court highlighted that the SC/ST Act applies to intentional insult or intimidation in places "within the public view," emphasising the staff room's private nature.

2. Rape, murder of 5-year-old in Aluva: Kerala court awards death sentence to accused within 4 months of incident

 An Ernakulam sessions court today awarded the death sentence to one Ashfaq Alam for the rape and murder of a five-year-old child in Aluva [State of Kerala v. Asafak Alam]. Judge K Soman, who specializes in cases under the POCSO Act, delivered the verdict just four months after convicting Alam on November 4.

3. Delhi government approves the creation of ten more family courts in the national capital

  On November 14, the Delhi government greenlit the setup of ten new family courts, increasing the total from 21 to 31. This decision, prompted by a 2019 Full Court recommendation, aims to tackle the prolonged backlog of matrimonial dispute cases lasting five to ten years. The move is geared towards expediting the resolution of such matters.

4. UAPA | Bail Can't Be Denied Merely Because Allegations Are Serious If There Is No Prima Facie Case: Punjab & Haryana High Court

  The Punjab & Haryana High Court has released a man on bail who was charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The court found no prima facie case indicating his involvement in planning terrorist acts based on connections with Pakistan. Highlighting Section 45 of the UAPA, the court emphasized that no legal action can be taken without the prior sanction of the Central or State Government for offences falling under Chapter IV.

5. Kerala High Court asks government to respond to plea challenging ban on use of donor gametes for surrogacy

The Kerala High Court has asked the Central and State governments to respond to a petition by a married couple challenging a recent amendment to the Surrogacy (Regulation) Rules, 2022. The amendment prohibits the use of donor gametes (eggs or sperm) in surrogacy. Justice Devan Ramachandran has issued notices, emphasising the human aspect of the case and its potential impact on the couple's journey.     

6. Failure to report crimes under POCSO Act is a bailable offence: Himachal Pradesh High Court

The Himachal Pradesh High Court declared that failure to report crimes under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act) is now a bailable offence. This means the accused has the right to bail as a matter of course. The ruling distinguishes between bailable and non-bailable offences, with Section 21 of the POCSO Act specifically penalizing the non-reporting of child sexual abuse cases. The case in question is "Sushil Kumar versus State of Himachal Pradesh."

7. I am not even thinking of retirement: Longest serving lawyer and Guinness World Record holder P Balasubramanian Menon

  “I will work as much as I can. I am running 98. I am not even thinking of retirement. Even now, I work and earn my livelihood," When asked about retirement, Advocate P Balasubramanian Menon, the newly crowned Guinness World Record holder for the longest-serving lawyer, with an impressive 73 years and 60 days in the profession, remains dedicated and shows no signs of slowing down. His remarkable career surpasses the previous record held by Gibraltar government lawyer Louis Triay. Retirement is not currently on Menon's agenda.

8. Madras High Court urges the State to recognise 'Deed of Familial Association' to protect the rights of same-sex couples

  The Madras High Court empathetically called on the State government to establish a process for registering a 'Deed of Familial Association,' aiming to validate same-sex relationships and uplift the societal status of individuals involved. Justice N Anand Venkatesh stressed that such a provision would safeguard LGBTQIA+ rights, fostering an environment free from disturbance or harassment.

9. Punjab and Haryana High Court strikes down Haryana law on 75% domicile reservation in private sector jobs

 The Punjab and Haryana High Court struck down the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020, which sought to enforce a 75 per cent job reservation in the private sector for Haryana residents. The court, in the case of Faridabad Industries Association v/s State of Haryana and Another, deemed the 2021 state law unconstitutional, citing violations of fundamental rights under Part III of the Indian Constitution.

10. Karnataka High Court convicts ten for attacking Dalits who complained against upper caste man

The Karnataka High Court has recently handed down convictions and one-year prison sentences to ten individuals for forcefully entering a Harijan colony and assaulting Dalit residents, who are part of a Scheduled Caste (SC). In a ruling by single-judge Justice JM Khazi, it was determined that the attack was a reprisal for two Scheduled Caste persons reporting a complaint to the police against a member of a "forward community.