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Top Ten Legal Headlines of the Week-21 Aug 2023

Top Ten Legal Headlines of the Week-21 Aug 2023



Freedom of Speech Must Be Respected: Supreme Court Dismisses PIL For Central Govt Authority to Regulate Media

The bench, consisting of Justices Abhay S. Oka and Sanjay Karol, underscored the importance of upholding the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression. This stance was taken as they dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that urged the Indian Government to establish a "Broadcast Regulatory Authority of India" responsible for overseeing the media. The PIL, filed in 2020 by Reepak Kansal, was prompted by concerns arising from the media coverage of the Sushant Singh Rajput case. The petitioner sought a range of directives to prevent the erosion of an individual's dignity through broadcasting channels operating under the guise of press freedom.

Maharashtra Co-Operative Societies Act Does Not Curtail Power of Police Investigation Under CrPC: Supreme Court

A panel of three judges, Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, during the process of considering an appeal, concluded that: "The police possess a separate authority and a responsibility as per the CrPC to inquire into a crime as soon as they are made aware of information suggesting its occurrence. This authority remains unaffected by the regulations outlined in the 1960 Act (Maharashtra Co-operative Societies Act)."

Order XVII Rule 2 CPC -Court Can Proceed Only Against an Absent Party Whose Evidence Has Been Substantially Recorded: Supreme Court

The judges, Justices Vikram Nath and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, pointed out that according to the clarification provided in Order XVII Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the Court notes the presence of a party who has already presented significant evidence but then does not show up for further proceedings. Order XVII Rule 2 CPC specifies that if any of the parties do not appear on a rescheduled hearing date, the Court can proceed to handle the case as directed in Order IX or take any other appropriate action.

RERA: Supreme Court Seeks Responses Of States/UTs Which Have not Established Real Estate Regulatory Authority, Appellate Tribunals    

The Supreme Court sought the responses from the chief secretaries representing the state governments of Meghalaya and Sikkim, as well as the union territory administration of Ladakh. The focus of these responses is their apparent need for progress in establishing regulatory authorities and appellate tribunals as mandated by the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016.

 Furthermore, similar clarifications have been requested from the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and West Bengal and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for not establishing real estate appellate tribunals. These states have notified the rules and established regulatory authorities under the RERA except Nagaland. 

Preventive Detention-Three Months Limit Under Article 22(4)(a) Applies Only At Initial Stage Till Advisory Board's Report: Supreme Court  

The Supreme Court recently dismissed an appeal against a preventive detention order under the Andhra Pradesh Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Boot-leggers Act, 1986. Led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Mishra, the bench deviated from the Cherukuri Mani case's stance. This departure from the previous ruling has broader implications, reflecting the evolving legal interpretations and the judiciary's role in shaping preventive detention laws under Article 22(4)(a) of the Constitution.

Service Tax | Assesses Cannot Be Penalised Based On Show-Cause Notice Mentioning Erroneous Category Of Service: Supreme Court

A Supreme Court Division Bench, comprising Justices Abhay S. Oka and Sanjay Karol, delivered a significant ruling during ongoing appeals. The bench firmly stated that penalising an assesses based on a show cause notice with entirely inaccurate service categorisation is unjustifiable. Consequently, the Court voided the demand made under such a flawed notice. The appeals stemmed from service tax demands triggered by four separate show cause notices under Section 73 of the Finance Act, 1994. The ruling highlights the necessity of accurate grounds for penalties, stressing precise categorisation within show cause notices.

SC Order Dismissing an Appeal Without Any Reasons Cannot Be Treated as Precedent: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court emphasised that dismissing an appeal without providing reasons does not create a binding precedent. In a recent judgment by Justices Sanjiv Khanna, Bela M. Trivedi, and Ujjal Bhuyan, the Court addressed an appeal by M/s. Experion Developers Private Limited against a National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission judgment.

The Court clarified that established legal precedents are unsuitable for interpreting facts. The case involved the appellant comparing their situation to a previous Supreme Court decision in the Pawan Gupta case. 

Supreme Court: "Falsus in Uno, Falsus in Omnibus" Not Applicable in Indian Courts                                           

The Supreme Court of India reiterated that the principle "Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" doesn't apply in its courts. Justices MM Sundresh and JB Pardiwala emphasised the duty to carefully assess evidence to uncover the truth while dismissing a criminal appeal. The accused in this case had been convicted by both the Trial Court and the High Court of Karnataka under Sections 302, 120B, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. The Court's stance highlights its dedication to thorough, unbiased evidence examination, diverging from the "falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus" notion.

Supreme Court calls for framing State rules on selection, training, and pay of support persons in POCSO cases            

 The Supreme Court released a comprehensive set of guidelines pertaining to the recruitment, operations, and compensation of "support persons" who aid victims and their families in cases falling under the purview of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act). The outlined guidelines, formulated by a bench comprising Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Aravind Kumar, were explicitly targeted at Uttar Pradesh (UP) due to the provisions laid out in Section 39 of the POCSO Act.

Women can file cruelty cases under Section 498A IPC after divorce but only for incidents during marriage: Gujarat High Court     

The Gujarat High Court ruled that a woman can file a complaint under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) post-divorce, but only for incidents during the marriage. This was stated in the case of Rameshbhai Danjibhai Solanki vs. the State of Gujarat. Justice Jitendra Doshi clarified that such complaints cannot cover events after the marriage's legal dissolution. The Court emphasised that Section 498A targets accusations against "the husband" and "relatives of the husband."