TOP 15 LEGAL HEADLINES OF THE WEEKAnjana Gopinath
1. Prashant Bhushan Held Guilty of Contempt of Court for Tweeting Against the Judiciary.
The Supreme Court held Advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt of court in the suo-motu contempt case taken against him for his tweets against the CJI and the Supreme Court, and observed that Bhushan has committed “serious contempt of the Court”. The case was heard by Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari. In addition to this, the Court had also observed that there is no requirement to obtain the consent of the Attorney General in suo motu contempt proceedings. The Court will now hear Advocate Bhushan on sentence on the 20th of August.
2. Considerable Unexplained Delay by Drug Authorities to Test Sample Can Render Penalty Under Drugs and Cosmetics Act Void: States SC.
The Apex Court Bench comprising of Justices RF Nariman and Navin Sinha while hearing an appeal titled as Medipol Pharmaceutical India Pvt. Ltd. v. Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, noted that unexplained delay on the part of Drug Authorities to test a sample can render any penalty under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940 as void. The Bench also stated that the State has to act fairly and rationally while exercising its power to blacklist a company. The Court in the present case, found the blacklisting to be arbitrary, and thus, set aside the blacklisting order.
3. Attorney General informs SC that 4G Internet Will Be Restored in J&K on Trial Basis.
Attorney General KK Venugopal informed the Supreme Court that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is “still not conducive to restore 4G internet services”. However, it was also informed that a phased restoration would take place at Jammu and Kashmir on a trial basis from the 15th of August. The said statement was made by the AG while a Bench of the Court headed by Justice NV Ramana was hearing the contempt petition in the restoration of 4G Internet in Jammu and Kashmir.
4. Daughters Have Coparcenary Rights Even If Their Father Was Not Alive When Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 Came into Force: SC Judgement.
The Supreme Court, in a case titled as Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma, held that a daughter will have a share even if her father was not alive when the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 came into force. A Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justices Arun Mishra, Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah also overruled the contrary observations made in the case of Prakash v. Phulavati as well as Mangammal v. TB Raju. Additionally, it was also observed by the Court that the injustice in the classic Shastric Hindu law which excluded the daughter from being a coparcener, has been done away with the 2005 Amendment.
The Bench of the Supreme Court also noted that a plea of partition for the purpose of Section 6(5) of the Hindu Succession Act based on oral evidence can only be accepted if the oral evidence is supported by public documents.
5. Karnataka HC Directs VTU To Reconsider the Possibility of Online Examination for Special Exams.
The Karnataka High Court has asked the Visvesaraya Technological University (VTU) to reconsider the possibility of conducting an online examination for students at least in the special chance. The Court stated the same while pointing out the impact final exams have on the students. The Court has also directed the appointment of a Grievance Redressal Officer to look into the complaints of students in relation to the exams.
6. HC Cannot Issue Guidelines that Override the Directions Given by the Supreme Court: states SC.
The Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna stated that the general guidelines issued by the High Court cannot override the directions given by the Supreme Court on the judicial side. The Supreme Court criticized a trial court in Madhya Pradesh for its failure to complete the trial in a rape case, despite explicit orders to do so within 6 months, and rejected the argument of the court which stated that they are only hearing urgent cases amid the situations arising of the COVID-19 pandemic. The court found the said reason to be unacceptable, and that the trial court is expected to comply with the same unless the said directions are relaxed by the former. The Court was hearing the case titled as Ankit Maheshwari alias Chintoo v. State of MP & Ors.
7. SC Orders Reliance Jio to Pay Reliance Communications’ AGR Dues for Using the Latter’s Spectrum.
The Apex Court stated that Reliance Jio must pay Reliance Communications’ AGR dues for using the spectrum of the latter. The Bench of the court comprising of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah also directed the Centre, Reliance Jio and Reliance Communications to produce documents to show who would be liable to pay the AGR dues of Reliance Communications.
8. Failure to Lodge FIR Complaining Dowry and Harassment Before Death of Victim Inconsequential: SC judgement
The Supreme Court in the case titled as Preet Pal Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, stated that the failure to lodge an FIR complaining of dowry and harassment before the death of the victim is inconsequential. The Bench of the Apex court comprising of Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee stated the same while setting aside the order of the Allahabad High Court that granted bail to a man who was convicted in a dowry death case.
9. SC dismisses PIL Challenging Constitutional Validity of Provision of Wildlife Protection Act Permitting Hunting of Wild Animals in Certain Cases.
The Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud and KM Joseph dismissed a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of Section 55(c) and section 11 of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, stating that no valid basis has been indicated in the petition in respect of the prayer challenging the same. The Court also clarified that “a petitioner who moves the Court purportedly in public interest is not exempt from observing the essential principles of pleading”.
10. Termination of Services of Probationer During Probation Does Not Amount to Retrenchment: states Delhi HC
The Delhi High court in its order in the case of UP Samaj (Society) v. Ramesh Kumar Bawalia has reiterated that the termination of services of probationer does not amount to Retrenchment under Section 2(oo) of the Industrial Disputes Act. The Court also pointed out that retrenchment is applicable only to workmen who have been in continuous service under an employer, for not less than one year.
11. Ignorance of Law is No Excuse: Reiterates Kerala HC
The High Court of Kerala tells that ignorance of the law is no excuse to a German Citizen who believed that he had acquired Indian Citizenship through naturalization. The court also directed the accused to surrender before the Investigating officer within a period of 2 weeks and shall be released on bail on the execution of a bond of Rs. 1,00,000 with two solvent sureties. Roland Moesle, the accused had approached the High Court seeking anticipatory bail after a crime was registered against him under Sections 12(1)(c) of the Passports Act and Section 3 read with Section 14(a), (c) of the Foreigners Act.
12. Bombay HC Grants Anticipatory Bail to Army Major Accused of Rape on the Ground That Complaint Was Filed Two Years After the Incident.
The High Court of Bombay granted bail to an Army Major who is accused of rape of a 28-year old on the ground that the fact that the complaint was filed more than two years after the alleged incident of rape. Justice Bharati Dangre observed that the same fact raised a lot of questions. The Court also observed that at this stage, the custodial interrogation of the Applicant is not necessary and with an assurance that he will cooperate with the investigation, the ad-interim relief would suffice.
13. “Cheque-Bounce is not an offence against the society and an accused can escape the punishment by settling with the complainant”: Punjab and Haryana HC
The Punjab and Haryana HC also stated that the sentence imposed must be proportionate to the crime committed and in accordance with jurisprudential justification. The court also noted that it is important to see that the offence is ‘quasi-criminal’ in nature.
14. Article 15(6) is Only an Enabling Provision, States Kerala HC; Dismisses PIL Seeking 10% EWS Quota in Higher Secondary Admissions.
The Kerala HC observed that Article 15(6) is only an enabling provision and consequentially, dismissed a PIL seeking direction to the State to earmark 10% quota for economically weaker section students who apply for Higher Secondary course for the year 2020-21. Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice P Chaly, while hearing the PIL filed by Samastha Nair Samajam dismissed the PIL, giving the Petitioner association the liberty to file a fresh writ petition, if there is the substantive cause.
15. Rajasthan HC Upholds Validity of Interchangeability of Reservation Vacancies Between Widows and Divorcee Women in Instances of Non-Availability of Candidates in Either Category
The High Court of Rajasthan upheld the validity of interchangeability of reservation vacancies between widows and divorcee women in instances of non-availability of candidates in either category, and stated that neither does it does not find any constitutional impediment in doing the same, nor does it create any mischief or inconvenience.