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Top Ten Legal Headlines of the Week-07 Apr 2024

Top Ten Legal Headlines of the Week-07 Apr 2024


1. Does 'Intoxicating Liquor' Include 'Industrial Alcohol'? Supreme Court 9-Judge Bench Analyses Overlapping Powers of Union & States

The Supreme Court, led by CJI DY Chandrachud, has begun hearings on the issue of overlapping powers between the Centre and the States regarding the production and regulation of Industrial Alcohol. This stems from interpreting Section 18G of the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951. The case, referred to a nine-judge Constitution Bench in 2007, revolves around reconciling the Central Government's authority to control supply and distribution with the State's regulatory powers under List III of the Constitution.

2. Lawyer moves Supreme Court seeking directions to hold elections using ballot paper instead of EVMs            

Advocate Mehmood Pracha has petitioned the Supreme Court to mandate all elections in India to be conducted using ballot papers instead of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), citing the Representation of the People Act of 1951. He's also contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from the Rampur constituency, arguing that paper ballots are non-negotiable under the Act. This plea is part of an ongoing case where the court had previously asked the Election Commission of India to respond to a PIL about counting Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips in elections.

3. Police Cannot Be Allowed To Tutor Prosecution Witness': Supreme Court Asks TN DGP To Take Action Against Erring Police Officers

The Supreme Court, in its rebuke of the Tamil Nadu Police, directed the state's Director General of Police to investigate police officials for coaching witnesses to testify against the accused. The court, led by Justice Abhay S Oka, emphasized that such tutoring of witnesses cannot be permitted. The judgment highlighted the oversight of this critical issue by both the trial court and the High Court. Consequently, the court overturned the appellants' conviction under Section 302, read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, granting them acquittal due to the benefit of the doubt.

4. Old Boys Club": CJI DY Chandrachud flags low representation of women in bar bodies. Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud raised concerns about the lack of female representation nationwide in Bar Councils and Bar Associations.

He criticized the existing environment, which he described as perpetuating an "entrenched old boys club." Despite a significant increase in female lawyers, he noted that this trend isn't reflected in elected bodies. CJI Chandrachud emphasized the necessity of female representation in both the judiciary and the bar, citing statistics such as the mere 2.04 per cent of women in elected roles across State Bar Councils, according to a 2021 Bar and Bench report.

5. District Magistrate can revoke detention order before Government approval: Jammu and Kashmir High Court

The Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court recently addressed a plea challenging a detention order issued by the District Magistrate of Ramban against a person accused of anti-national activities. The State claimed the detention followed legal procedures. Still, the High Court clarified that under the J&K Public Safety Act, the detaining authority can revoke an order unless approved by the government. Justice Sanjay Dhar stated the District Magistrate must promptly seek government approval. The ruling was based on the General Clauses Act, allowing the authority to amend or rescind its order before government approval under Section 21.

6. Supreme Court rejects plea to exhume, bring back mortal remains of Sufi leader from Dhaka to India                            

The Supreme Court dismissed a petition from Dargah Hazrat Mulla Syed, Prayagraj, to exhume and repatriate the remains of Sufi Leader Hazrat Shah Muhammad Abdul Muqtadir Shah Masood Ahmad from Dhaka to India for reburial. The court, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, clarified that no legal or constitutional right exists to bring back a foreigner's remains to India. Hazrat Shah Muhammad Abdul Muqtadir Shah Masood Ahmad had obtained Pakistani citizenship and was buried in Dhaka after passing away there.

7. Supreme Court grants bail to Shoma Sen in Bhima Koregaon case

The Supreme Court granted bail to activist Shoma Sen in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, citing that the charges under the UAPA were not clearly established. The court noted that the evidence presented by the NIA lacked probative value to sustain a case of terror funding against her. Additionally, no specific materials linked her to recruitment activities for the banned organization CPI (Maoist). The court clarified that its observations are preliminary and subject to further examination during trial.

8. GST notices to online gaming companies: Supreme Court transfers all petitions to itself                        

The Ministry of Finance reported 71 GST-related show-cause notices to online gaming companies. The Supreme Court overturned a Karnataka High Court ruling favouring Gameskraft, which faced a ?21,000 crore GST demand. The Court transferred 27 petitions challenging GST notices to gaming companies from different High Courts to itself.

9. Is 90-Day Limitation For Appeal Under Sec.21(5) NIA Act Directory Or Mandatory? Supreme Court To Settle Conflicting Views Of HCs

The Supreme Court's recent decision to address the issue of whether the 90-day upper limit specified in Section 21(5) of the National Investigation Agency Act for filing an appeal against a trial court's order is mandatory or merely advisory reflects a crucial legal concern. The Court's recognition of conflicting interpretations among various High Courts underscores the need for clarity in this matter. In a case from Uttar Pradesh challenging a delay in appealing under the NIA Act, the Supreme Court examines whether the 90-day limit for filing appeals is mandatory. High Courts differ on this. The bench emphasized the fundamental right to appeal, suggesting a directory interpretation to protect personal liberty.

10.'Identity Of POCSO Victim Cannot Be Disclosed': Supreme Court Calls For Sensitization Of Judicial and Police Officers in West Bengal

The Supreme Court expressed concern about the disclosure of a victim's name in a POCSO case, emphasizing the need to sensitize judicial and police officers in West Bengal. They highlighted Section 33(7) of the POCSO Act, which prohibits disclosing a child's identity during investigation or trial unless specifically permitted. Section 228A of the IPC also penalizes such disclosure. The Court's action aims to prevent future discrimination or harassment against victims.