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High Courts Weekly Roundup [Nov 16 – Nov 22]

Akshita Saxena
22 Nov 2020 2:31 PM GMT
High Courts Weekly Roundup [Nov 16 – Nov 22]
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Allahabad High Court

1. DNA Test For Paternity Most Authentic For Wife To Establish That She Had Not Been Unfaithful, Adulterous Or Disloyal: Allahabad High Court [Neelam v. Ram Asrey]

A Bench of Justice Vivek Agarwal observed that DNA Test is the most legitimate and scientifically perfect means, which the husband could use, to establish his assertion of infidelity. It said, "This should simultaneously be taken as the most authentic, rightful and correct means also with the wife, for her to rebut the assertions made by the respondent-husband, and to establish that she had not been unfaithful, adulterous or disloyal."

The only issue before the Court was, as to whether a Court, in a divorce petition filed by Husband, under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 on the ground of adultery, can direct the wife, either to undergo a D.N.A. test or refuse to undergo a D.N.A. test?

2. Plea Alleging Illegal Detention & Torture Of Juveniles: Allahabad High Court Seeks UP Govt's Response On Implementation Of JJ Act [HAQ Centre for Child Rights v. State of UP & Anr.]

A Division Bench led by Chief Justice Govind Mathur issued notice on a PIL concerning illegal detention and torture of juveniles during the anti-CAA protests in the State of Uttar Pradesh. It asked the UP Government to file a counter affidavit, with specific averments regarding statutory compliance with the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 in all the districts of the State.

The PIL was filed by an NGO namely, HAQ Centre for Child Rights, alleging that in the process of preventing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, many minors were detained and tortured by the police in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

3. Allahabad High Court Issues Notice To NTA Over Declaration Of NEET 2020 Result Without Deciding On Objections To Questions [Saliha Khan & Ors. v. Union of India]

The Single-Bench of Justice Rajnish Kumar issued notices to Union of India & National Testing Agency (NTA) over the declaration of the NEET 2020 result without deciding on objections filed by the Petitioners in relation to a couple of questions (which appeared in the examination) held on September 13, 2020.

4. No Limitation Period For Filing Motor Accident Claim Petition; Amendment Introducing Six Months Cap Yet To Be Notified, Clarifies Allahabad High Court [Shailendra Tripathi & Anr. v. Dharmendra Yadav & Ors.]

A Single Bench of Justice Dr. Kaushal Jayendra Thaker made it clear that amendments proposed to Section 166 (Application for compensation) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 are yet to be notified. Thus, the proposed limitation period of six months for filing a claim petition before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal has not yet come into force.

"I have enquired from Sri Ojha, State Law Officer and the position is that 166 (3) has not been brought on the statute book. What is the position is that 166 of 1998 Act would still govern the litigation as of today," the Court said. It clarified that Section 53 of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019 which proposes to amend Section 166 of the principal Act and introduce a six months limitation period for filing a claim petition, was not notified by the Central Government on August 9, 2019 (date when major provisions of the Amendment Act were notified).

5. 'Criminal History Of Applicant Starts From 2019 Only, 54 Case Registered After Change In Govt.': Allahabad HC Grants Bail To Azam Khan's Aide [Aley Hasan Khan v. State of UP]

A Bench of Justice Siddharth allowed the bail application of one Aley Hasan Khan, stated to be a close aide of former MLA from Samajwadi Party, Azam Khan, while noting that his criminal history started only after a change in the State Government in 2019.

"The criminal history of the applicant starts from the year 2019 only. The 54 cases lodged against the applicant are after the change in the government of the State. Earlier, he had 3 cases against him wherein final report has been submitted. Those cases are regarding minor offences," a Court observed while directing the Applicant's release on bail upon furnishing a personal bond.

6. COVID 19- "Whether Liberty of Accused May Be Curtailed When The Trial Courts Are Unable to Proceed Trial?"Asks Allahabad High Court [Ram Niwas @ Nankan v. State of UP]

A Bench of Justice Rajesh Singh Chauhan sought response of the Law Department of the State of Uttar Pradesh as to whether in absence of trial, liberty of the accused-applicant may be curtailed. It was hearing a Bail matter where it noted that charge against was framed on 26.3.2019 but trial was held up due to COVID-19 situation and the next date was fixed for examination of witness on 26.11.2020.

"If the aforesaid report is accepted on its face value, then inference may be drawn that the trial court is unable to proceed the trial on account of COVID-19 situation," the Court said. It noted that if Trial Court is unable to proceed with the trial then there may not be any logical reason to keep the accused under judicial custody inasmuch as it appears that COVID-19 situation is not going to be controlled in days to come. Therefore, the Court observed, "In that situation, the question before the Court would be as to whether liberty of the accused-applicant may be curtailed when the trial courts are unable to proceed the trial."

7. Allahabad High Court Refuses To Quash FIR Against AMU Proctorial Team Accused Of Abusing Man Flying BJP Flag On Vehicle [Prof. Brij Bhushan Singh & Ors. v. State of UP & Anr.]

A Single Bench of Justice JJ Munir rejected a petition for quashing of FIR and consequent criminal proceedings pending against 12 members of the AMU proctorial team, accused of abusing a man for flying BJP flag on his vehicle in the University campus. It observed that the presence of accused persons at the place of incident is not disputed and therefore, it is for the Trial Court to determine if any offence was committed at the said place.

The Court also refused to look into the CCTV-footage of the said incident while stating that evaluation of evidence is beyond the scope of proceedings under Section 482 of CrPC. "It is beyond the accepted scope of this Court's jurisdiction to test the worth of these allegations. The informant was allegedly abused and then had words spoken to his ears, with intent to create enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes. This is a matter to be determined by the Trial Court, particularly when the presence of the applicants, each one of them on the scene of occurrence, is not in dispute," it said.

Other orders by Allahabad HC:

Bombay High Court

1. 'He's Almost On Deathbed': Bombay High Court Orders To Shift Varavara Rao To Nanavati Hospital From Prison

Taking note of the critical medical condition of the 81-year old undertrial Varavara Rao, a Division Bench comprising of Justices SS Shinde and Madhav Jamdar directed that he be shifted to Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital from Taloja Jail, for 15 days for a thorough check-up.

The bench further directed that he should not be discharged from the hospital without informing the Court. The medical reports have to be submitted before the Court. Also, the family members of Rao should be allowed to meet him at the hospital.

Also Read: "He Was Found In A Pool Of Urine : Indira Jaising Tells Bombay High Court In Plea Seeking Medical Treatment For Varavara Rao

2. Seriousness Of Crime Not A Ground To Deny Premature Release To A Life Convict; Reformative Element To Be Considered: Bombay High Court [Dilip S. Shetye v. State Sentence Review Board & Ors.]

A Bench of Justices MS Sonak and MS Jawalkar observed that merely stating that the crime committed by convict was a serious one, without anything else, cannot be a good ground to refuse premature release. It therefore allowed the petition of a life convict under Section 302 of IPC (Murder) and directed that he be granted premature release, as he had spent almost 20 years of actual imprisonment.

The Bench observed that the crime committed by the Petitioner was undoubtedly serious and that is why he was sentenced for life and suffered actual incarceration of about 20 years till date. It explained that the Sentence Review Board was required to consider whether this sentence was sufficient and commensurate to the crime committed by the petitioner.

3. NCLT Has No Jurisdiction To Examine Legality Of Action Taken Under MPID Act: Bombay High Court [State of Maharashtra v. Anil Kohli]

Division bench of Justice SC Gupte and Justice Madhav Jamdar held that the National Company Law Tribunal has no jurisdiction to examine the legality or validity of action taken under the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (In Financial Establishments) Act and it is only the designated Court constituted under Section 6 of the said act that will have exclusive jurisdiction to deal with the same.

"It is clear that the appropriate forum to challenge the attachment of the account of the Respondent is the Designated Court under MPID Act where the Respondent can raise all contentions on merits and also can point out the provisions of IB Code and the effect of the same on the steps taken under the MPID Act. It will be for the MPID Court to consider the interplay of the provisions of the MPID Act and the IB Code and rule on the matter." it held while quashing an order passed by NCLT directing de-freezing of Dunar Foods Ltd.'s bank account, which was freezed in relation to the National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) payment default crisis.

Calcutta High Court

1. Calcutta High Court Denies Permission To Perform Chhat Rituals At Subhas Sarobar In Kolkata [Anasua Bhattacharya v. State of West Bengal & Ors.]

A Division Bench comprising of Justices Sanjib Banerjee and Arijit Banerjee denied permission to perform Chhath Puja celebrations at Subhas Sarobar, a lake situated in the eastern part of the city, amid the surging COVID-19 cases. It held that Subhas Sarobar is a large water body and must remain totally out of bounds for Chhat Puja celebrations.

Also Read: [Chhat Puja] Calcutta High Court Sets Broad Guidelines, Asks State To Strictly Enforce Ban On Crackers

Delhi High Court

1. Delhi HC Dismisses Plea Against The Appointment Of Sanjay Dwivedi As Director General Of IIMC, Delhi [Dr. Ashutosh Mishra v. IIMC]

A single Bench of Justice Jyoti Singh rejected a petition filed by a Professor and Dean of School of Mass Communication at Chitkara University, Punjab, demanding the quashing and setting aside of the appointment of Sanjay Dwivedi as Director General of Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi. The plea also demanded setting up of an inquiry to probe into the alleged 'illegal appointment'.

The Court noted that there was no averment in the petition that any statutory provision had been violated, and that "in the absence of any averment as to the violation of any statutory provision, writ in the nature of quo warranto is not maintainable." It relied on the decision of Jose Meleth v. Union of India & Ors. where it was held that the Courts cannot, while exercising powers of judicial review, sit over the decisions of Expert Selection Committees.

2. [Income Tax] Providing Information Regarding Ongoing Investigation To Its Informer Is Inappropriate, Injurious: Delhi High Court [Principal Director, Income Tax (Investigation-2) v. Rajiv Yaduvanshi & Ors.]

A Single Bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait cautioned that providing information regarding an ongoing investigation in an income tax case to its informer is not only inappropriate, but also injurious to the investigation. " The Income Tax Department has a specific framework of investigations dealing with the TEPs and information in respect of the investigation carried out by the office of Directorate General of Income Tax (Investigation) is not required to be intimated to the complainant as the said office is even outside the purview of the RTI Act, 2005," it observed.

The observation was made while hearing a case against Magistrate's order directing the Income Tax Department to file an action taken status report with respect to a tax evasion complaint filed by the Respondent herein.

3. Delhi HC Rejects Ashok Arora's Appeal Against An Order Refusing To Stay His Suspension From SCBA

A Division Bench of Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Justice Asha Menon refused to provide relief in an appeal filed by Ashok Arora against the order of the Single Judge wherein his plea seeking a stay on his suspension from Supreme Court Bar Association was rejected.

On May 8, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) suspended its Secretary, Ashok Arora, with immediate effect after the Executive Committee (EC) took this decision in a meeting. while refusing to provide relief, the Single Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta had noted that Ashok Arora failed to establish a prima facie case in his favour.

4. Delhi High Court Refuses To Set Aside Delhi Govt's Order To Ban Chhath Puja Celebrations In Delhi

Noting that public gatherings such as these one would act as a super-spreader of the infection, a Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad refused to interfere with the order of the Delhi Government wherein a ban has been imposed on the public celebration of Chhath Puja.

The order was passed in a plea challenging the order of the Chairman of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority to prohibit public gatherings on the day of Chhath Puja, that is, November 20. In that order, puja celebrations near ponds and riverbanks have been prohibited in light of the pandemic.

5. Delhi HC Restraints A Bakery From Using The Mark 'FACEBAKE' In A Trademark Suit Filed By Facebook [Facebook, Inc. v. Noufel Malol]

A Single Bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher restrained a bakery from using the mark 'FACEBAKE' in a trademark infringement suit filed by Facebook. While issuing notice, it noted that if interim relief is not granted, Facebook's legal rights and business interests will get impacted.

The order has come in a civil suit filed by Facebook against a bakery called Facebake, which is selling cakes, and articles like watches with the mark 'FACEBAKE.' It was also informed to the court that the bakery is running a website as well, which is called www.facebake.in.

6. Common Order For Summoning In Different Cases Cannot Be Passed When Parties Are Unrelated: Delhi High Court [Vikas Bajaj & Anr. v. M/s Kanika Investments Ltd.]

A Single Bench of Justice Anu Malhotra made it clear that a common order for summoning Respondents, in different cases filed by a common Petitioner, cannot be passed when the Respondent parties are unrelated. It thus quashed a common summoning order passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate in three cases, cases wherein the Complainant i.e., Kanika Investments Ltd. was same but the accused were different.

7. Delhi High Court Directs Sameet Thakkar To Take Down Tweets Against TV Today Network, Its Management & Employees [TV Today Network Ltd. v. Sameet Thakkar & Ors.]

A Bench of Justice Mukta Gupta directed Sameet Thakkar to take down the Tweets allegedly posted against TV Today Network, its Management & employees from his Twitter account within 48 hours. It may be noted that the Plaintiff had given 29 sets of objectionable ULRs.

"The tweets make wild allegations and also use derogatory and defamatory language against the Plaintiff, its management and its employees. The tweets are also very offensive and some contain abusive language. Such a campaign against the Plaintiff, its management and employees can be extremely damaging to their reputation and also cause personal injury to them and their family members. The tweets are in bad taste and use objectionable language including abuses," the Court had earlier observed.

8. Your Ministers Can't Say That The Third Wave of COVID Has Peaked, Delhi HC Tells Delhi Govt While Directing Filing Of Fresh Status Reports [Rakesh Malhotra v. GNCTD]

After taking into consideration the status report filed by the Delhi Government highlighting the steps taken by it to manage the rising COVID-19 cases in Delhi, a Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad ordered a Fresh Status Report to be filed within one week on Thursday.

While issuing the said direction, the court pulled up the Delhi Government on its media briefings on rising COVID19 cases in Delhi. The court said: 'Your ministers can't say to media that the third wave of the virus has peaked when the number of positive rises are still rising every day.'

9. Delhi High Court Dismisses Plea Moved By Hanuman Seva Samiti Seeking Stay Of Demolition Of Hanuman Temple At Chandni Chowk [Manushi Sangathan, Delhi v. GNCTD & Ors.]

A Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad dismissed an application seeking intervention and stay of demolition of the Hanuman Temple at Chandni Chowk.

The Court dismissed the application filed by Shri. Hanuman Seva Samiti on the ground that when GNCTD had been granted the liberty to approach the court as per the Order of the Supreme Court and had so far not approached the court for any relief, there was no reason to entertain this application which was nothing but an attempt to reagitate the same issue that has been considered and rejected by an earlier order dated 14th November, 2019.

Other orders by Delhi HC:

Gauhati High Court

1. Gauhati High Court Declines Relief To AF Constable Dismissed From Service For Entering Church With A Rifle Under Influence Of Alcohol [MS Dawngliana v. State of Mizoram & Ors.]

A Bench of Justice Michael Zothankhuma refused to exercise its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution in a case against dismissal of a Constable from the armed forces, while stating that it cannot act as an Appellate Authority over the impugned order. It held that the Disciplinary Authority and the Appellate Authority will have to be considered to be the sole Judge of facts, except when the findings are perverse.

The Single-Judge relied on the decision of the Apex Court in BC Chaturvedi v. Union of India & Ors., (1995) 6 SCC 749, whereby it was held that the disciplinary authority, and on appeal the appellate authority, being fact-finding authorities have exclusive power to consider the evidence with a view to maintain discipline.

Other orders by Gauhati HC:

Himachal Pradesh High Court

1. Continued Inaction Of State To Make Colleges Functional Is Against Principles Of Welfare State & Rule Of Law: HP High Court [Ashok Negi v. State of Himachal Pradesh & Ors.]

"Continued inaction on part of State to make colleges functional is against principles of the welfare state and Rule of law. The public cannot be made to suffer due to lackadaisical attitude of the State", observed a Bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua.

The Court was hearing writ petitions claiming inaction on the part of the respondent-State Government, in not opening certain Colleges, which were announced by the previous government during the year 2017.

2. An Employee Who Retired On 31st Of A Month Not Entitled To Increment Which Would Have Fallen Due On 1st Of Next Month: Himachal Pradesh High Court [Hari Prakash v. State of Himachal Pradesh & Ors.]

A Division Bench of Justices Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Jyotsna Rewal Dua held that an employee, who has retired on the 31st of a month, cannot claim the benefit of an increment which became due on the 1st of the next month, as on that day, his status is not that of an employee but of a pensioner.

It noted that in terms of FR 56(a), the day when the government employee retires has to be treated as his last working day. Further, FR 17(1) provides that an officer shall begin to draw pay and allowances attached to the post w.e.f. the date when he assumes duties of that post and shall cease to draw them as soon as he ceases to discharge those duties.

Jharkhand High Court

1. "No Material To Connect Him With Al-Qaeda": Jharkhand High Court Grants Bail To Maulana, Who Was In Jail For More Than A Year Under UAPA Charges [Maulana Kalimuddin Muzahiri v. State of Jharkhand]

A Bench of Justice Kailash Prasad Deo granted bail to one Maulana Kalimuddin Muzahiri, booked under the stringent anti-terror UAP Act, for his alleged involvement in the activities of Al-Qaeda outfit. It observed, "No material has been collected with regard to the involvement of the petitioner in any activities of Al-Qaeda outfit nor the Investigating Officer has collected any material with regard to the money given to this petitioner by any Organization, who was involved in unlawful activities."

Karnataka High Court

1. Mere Registration Of Multiple Cases Not A Ground To Cancel Bail: Karnataka High Court [Ms. X v. State of Karnataka]

A bench of Justice H P Sandesh dismissed a petition filed by a rape survivor seeking to cancel bail granted to the accused on the ground that he is a habitual offender and has similar cases registered against him.

The Court said "In the absence of any cogent material on record, the liberty of any person as envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, cannot be curtailed on the mere ground of the number of cases being pending against him. It is settled law that Section 439(2) of Cr.P.C. has to be invoked in exceptional cases when it causes miscarriage of justice, if it is not invoked and the same has to be exercised sparingly and not mere asking of the cancellation of bail."

2. Karnataka High Court Directs Govt. To Compensate Students Who Were Denied Benefits Of Mid-Day Meal Scheme

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar directed the State Government to inform in how much time and in what manner it would compensate each and every student who is entitled to the benefit of Mid-day meal scheme but it was denied to them from May 31, due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The direction followed after the state government admitted that after 31st May, 2020, there is no implementation of the provisions Section 5(1)(b) of the National Food Security Act, 2013 read with the Mid-day Meals Rules, 2015.

3. 'Violation Of Articles 21, 21A' : Karnataka High Court Directs Survey Of Children Forced To Do Street Vending

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty directed the State Government and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to come out with a scheme to identify children who are forced to sell toys, flowers, etc at prominent places on the streets and traffic signals, in Bengaluru city.

It said "This is a serious issue as children who are forced to undertake such activities are deprived of right under article 21-A. Moreover, if circumstances are forcing them to do this act it may be violation of Article 21 as well."

4. 'Intention To Protect Politicians', Karnataka High Court Observes On Govt Policy To Not Prosecute Persons For Not Wearing Masks

Responding to a query raised by Court as to whether it will prosecute Member of Parliament Tejasvi Surya and other political leaders did not wear face masks during political rallies, the Karnataka Government said that it was never its intention to prosecute or imprison persons who were found not wearing masks in public places or not maintaining social distancing, under the stringent provisions of section 5 of the Karnataka Epidemic Diseases Act.

Objecting to this submission, a division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty said, "It cannot be the policy of the state to not prosecute. Once an offence is made out which is a cognizable offence, can the state take a stand that we will not prosecute. Does this stand in wake of the Lalita Kumari judgement?" It added, "Ultimately the intention appears to be to protect a particular class (politicians) of violators. A small man, if he forgets to wear a mask, he will be promptly penalized and when politicians come together and if there is violation, they will be let off!"

5. 'Duty Of Court To Protect Personal Liberty': Karnataka High Court Cites SC Order In Arnab Goswami Case To Grant Bail To TV Channel MD [Rakesh Shetty v. State of Karnataka & Anr.]

While allowing the anticipatory bail of Rakesh Shetty, Managing Director and Editor of Power TV in an alleged case of extortion in the case, a single bench of Justice B A Patil cited the observations made by the Supreme Court last week on personal liberty while ordering the release of Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami.

"It is the duty of the Court to exercise its jurisdiction in proper way to protect the personal liberty of a citizen. If the Courts do not interfere, we are troubling the path on destruction. This proposition of law has been laid down by the Hon'ble Apex Court in its recent decision in the case of Arnab Manoranjan Goswami Vs. The State of Maharashtra & Others…" the order read.

Other orders by Karnataka HC:

Kerala High Court

1. 'Premature': Kerala HC Dismisses PIL Seeking Probe Into Air Crash Occurred At Calicut International Airport [Yeshwant Shenoy v. Union of India & Ors.]

The bench comprising the Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly dismissed a PIL filed by a lawyer seeking a probe into air crash that occurred at the Calicut International Airport on 7th August 2020. It observed that there is clear cut procedure in Aircraft (Accident and Incidents Investigation) Rules, 2017 prescribed to deal with the investigation of an aircraft accident and that the entire matter in respect of the investigation is under the control of the Government of India and the appropriate statutory authorities and if there are any shortcomings in the matter of enquiry, it is for the Government of India or the authorities to take appropriate decisions at the appropriate time.

Advocate Yeshwant Shenoy had approached the High Court seeking an open enquiry about the air crash by appointing retired Judges. He contended that the investigation can never be independent or impartial, unless it is open to the public and headed by a Retired Supreme Court Judge or at least a retired High Court Judge. He had also sought a direction to shut down the Calicut airport permanently for operations of both narrow body and wide body aircrafts.

2. Successive Reservation To Offices Of Chairpersons/Presidents Of Local Authorities Illegal: Kerala High Court [Aboobacker Kanniyan v. Kerala State Election Commission]

A Bench of Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque allowed a batch of writ petitions which challenged the legality of the consecutive or successive reservation for the office of Chairpersons and Presidents in the local bodies in the forthcoming election.

"It is arbitrary as it would deny aspirations of the candidates of non-reserved categories to occupy the offices of the Presidents or Chairpersons. By insisting on following the rotation, the Constitution intends to avoid reverse discrimination. Thus, the failure to follow rotation would deny equality of opportunity," the Court said. It directed the State Election Commission to recast the reservation of the office of the Presidents and Chairpersons of the local bodies in the State pursuant to the notification issued by it on 3rd November.

3. Anti-Defection Law : Kerala High Court Directs Election Commission To Get Declaration From Candidates About Support From Coalition [K Sivadasan v. Kerala State Election Commission]

In order to avoid ambiguities about the application of anti-defection law, a single bench of Justice A Muhamed Mustaque has directed the Election Commission to obtain a written declaration from candidates about the support from a coalition.

"...it is appropriate to direct the Election Commission to insist on obtaining a declaration from the contestants of a coalition to produce the declaration that the contestant is part of the coalition", ordered the Court while setting aside the order of disqualification passed by the State Election Commission against a candidate who had won the local body polls in 2015.

4. No Change Of Trial Judge In Actor Sexual Assault Case; Kerala High Court Dismisses Transfer Pleas Of Victim & Prosecution [State of Kerala v. Sunil NS & Ors.]

A single bench of Justice V G Arun dismissed the applications filed by the prosecution and the victim seeking to change the judge holding trial in the sensational actor sexual assault case of 2017. It also lifted stay whereby trial proceedings in the Court of Additional Sessions Judge (Special/CBI)-III, Ernakulam, were halted.

"When the question is one of transfer of a criminal case on the ground of judicial bias, mere allegation of apprehension of bias is not enough, the court has to see whether such apprehension is reasonable or not", the Court observed. It also discussed in detail the seven instances pointed out by the prosecution and the victim to allege bias.

Also Read: Trial Will Not Become 'In Camera' Unless Witnesses Are Provided With A Comfortable Atmosphere To Depose Freely: Kerala HC

5. Election Commission Has Power To Decide Disputes Over Symbol In Case Of Party Split: Kerala High Court [PJ Joseph v. ECI & Ors.]

A single bench of Justice N Nagaresh upheld the order of the Election Commission of India to allot the party symbol 'two-leaves' to Rajya Sabha MP Jose K Mani-led faction of the Kerala Congress(Mani) party. It dismissed the writ petition filed by P J Joseph MLA, the leader of the rival section of KC(M), challenging the ECI order as without jurisdiction.

"If the Commission is not to be disabled from exercising effectively the plenary powers vested in it in the matter of allotment of symbols and for issuing directions in connection therewith, it is plainly essential that the Commission should have the power to settle a dispute in case claim for the allotment of the symbols of a political party is made by two rival claimants", the Court observed.

Other orders by Kerala HC:

Madhya Pradesh High Court

1. Consider Application Filed By Padmashri Recipient Seeking Indian Citizenship Without Further Delay: Madhya Pradesh HC [Bhalchandra (Bhalu) v. Union of India & Ors.]

A Signle Bench of Justice Vivek Rusia the Government authorities to consider the application filed by a "Padmashri" award recipient Bhalchandra Dattatray Mondhe seeking Indian Citizenship. The court noted that all the relevant documents has been submitted by the petitioner, and there is no impediment in considering the pending application without any further delay.

Bhalchandra, an octogenarian Artist, sculptor and ace photographer was awarded Padmashri in the year 2016. Though he was born in Indore, he later migrated to United Kingdom. He applied for grant of Indian citizenship on 15.5.2009.

Madras High Court

1. Madras High Court Orders To Remove Teaser Of Tamil Movie 'Irandam Kuthu' From Social Media [Samuganeedhikalvipanpattumaiyam v. Govt of Tamil Nadu & Ors.]

A Bench of Justice N. Kirubakaran and Justice B. Pugalendhi directed the producers of the adult horror-comedy film "Iruttu Arayil Murattu Kuthu – Irandam Kuthu" to remove the teaser of the movie from the social media. "We cannot forget the fact that there is a steep increase in the offences against women and children. If these vulgar contents are available in social media, then it will definitely spoil the younger minds," the Bench orally remarked.

2. Madras High Court Permits Private Educational Institutions To Collect Balance 35% Tuition Fee For Current Academic Year

Taking note of the scant possibility of reopening of schools for physical classes during this academic year, Single Bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh permitted private educational institutions to collect 35% of the balance tuition fee for the academic year 2019-2020. It took judicial notice of the fact that due to Covid-19, re-opening of schools and commencing physical classes may not take place till the end of this year.

In July, the High Court had allowed all unaided private institutions in the state of Tamil Nadu to collect 40% of the tuition fees as 'advance fees', based on the tuition fees for the academic year 2019-2020. At that time, it was directed that balance of 35% of the fees shall be collected within a period of two months from the date on which the institution is reopened and physical classes commence.

3. [Transgender Victim Viewing Herself As Woman] Prosecution Rightly Invoked Prohibition Of Harassment Of Women Act Against Accused: Madras High Court [M. Srinivasan v. State & Neka]

A Bench of Justice G. R. Swaminathan observed in a case that the prosecution was right in registering the case under Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002 against the Accused, as defacto Complainant/Victim (Transgender) named Neka who views herself as a woman.

The Court observed that the Supreme Court, in the case of National Legal Services Authority Vs. Union of India (2014) 5 SCC 483, had held that it is entirely for the transgender person to self-identify her gender and that this self-determination cannot be questioned by others.

4. TN Bar Council Moves Madras High Court For Criminal Action Against Ex-HC Judge CS Karnan

A single Bench of Justice T Ravindran referred an original criminal petition, filed by the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu against retired High Court Judge, CS Karnan for passing rape threats and sexually coloured remarks against wives of judges, women lawyers and female court staff, to a Division Bench. It observed that it will be appropriate to put the matter before the Division Bench which is already seized with another writ petition moved by the Council on the issue.

The petition stated that in a viral video shared by one Dr. M. Dhanasekaran, Karnan has used indecent, obnoxious, un-parliamentary language, threats against the wives of the Judges of the High Court and Supreme Court, both serving and retired.

Meghalaya High Court

1. Strictly Adhere To Provision Of Juvenile Justice Act, Approach Juvenile's Case With Care & Sensitivity: Meghalaya HC To JJ Boards [Ngaitlang Suchiang v. State of Meghalaya & Anr.]

A Bench of Justice W. Diengdoh called upon all the Juvenile Justice Boards in the State to strictly adhere to the statutory provision of Section 12 of the JJ Act, 2015 while considering the issue of grant or refusal of bail for a child in conflict with law and to approach any case where a juvenile is involved with care and sensitivity.

It was hearing a revision petition filed against an order of the Principal Magistrate, JJB, rejecting the bail application filed under Section 12 of the JJ Act on behalf of the CCL.

Telangana High Court

1. 'No Violation Of Right To Privacy When Matter Already In Public Domain', Telangana High Court Allows Release Of RGV Movie "Murder"

A Bench of Justice M. S. Ramachandra Rao and Justice T.Amarnath Goud gave green signal for release of Ram Gopal Varma's Telugu film 'Murder' which is based on the real-life incident of a Dalit youth, Pranay Perumalla, who was assassinated in 2018 in broad daylight by killers, hired by his father in law (belonging to an upper caste), in an alleged hate crime.

"The events which have occurred in her life i.e., the alleged murder of her husband are admitted by her to be in the public domain. The counsel for the respondent did not deny that there was also a wide range reporting in the local newspapers and cable TV channels about these events. Thus, this information was in the public domain. In our view, it cannot, therefore, be said that the events which have occurred in the life of the respondent are in that sense unique to her and to her family alone," the Bench observed while rejecting Perumalla's wife's plea.


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