SCC Online Weekly Rewind Episode 41 ft. Prachi Bhardwaj


STORY OF THE WEEK 


Three death row convicts to walk free as SC finds them “not guilty” of murdering six family members  

In a big relief to three death row convicts, a 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court has acquitted all of them of charges of killing 6 members of their own family after it was found that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. 

On 23rd January, 2014, 6 members of a family, including two children aged 15 and 8 were found brutally murdered.  

It was Prosecution’s case that one Momin Khan, with his wife Nazra, along with his first cousin and nephew came armed with knives and assaulted his parents, his brother, sister-in-law and two children. While the Trial Court convicted and sentenced all 4 to death, the Allahabad High Court affirmed the sentence imposed on 3 men but acquitted the woman.  

The Supreme Court, however, found several loopholes and inconsistencies in the prosecution story and was surprised at how the Trial Court and the High Court had dealt with the case in such a casual manner while considering the question of life and death of the accused. 

The Court observed that a greater degree of scrutiny, care and circumspection was expected while directing the accused to be hanged till death. 

Read here: Three death row convicts to walk free as SC finds them “not guilty” of murdering six family members 


SUPREME COURT


Consumer Protection| Can written statement be accepted beyond 45 days? SC settles the conundrum once and for all 

After a series of judgments, before and after the Constitution Bench verdict in New India Assurance company Limited case on March 4, 2020, gave contradictory views with respect to discretion of NCDRC to condone the delay beyond 45 days, thereby creating uncertainty over the applicability of the Constitution Bench verdict, the Supreme Court has settled the controversy once and for all and has held that the Constitution Bench judgment would not affect applications that were pending or decided before March 4, 2020. 

On March 4, 2020, the Constitution Bench had held that the limitation period under Section 13(2)3 of the Consumer Protection Act 1986 could not be extended beyond the statutorily prescribed period of forty-five days. 

Read here: Can written statement be accepted beyond 45 days? SC settles the conundrum once and for all 

Time to do away with Discretionary quota for allotment of Government Largesse 

Noticing that the allotment of government largesse on the basis of discretionary quota inevitably leads to corruption, nepotism and favouritism, the Supreme Court has suggested that discretionary quota should be done away with, and allotments of the public properties/plots must be through public auction by and large. 

The observation came in a case where the officials of the Bhubaneswar Development Authority and the Housing and Urban Development Department, Odisha Deptt hatched a criminal conspiracy for allotment of 10 plots in the discretionary quota arbitrarily and to their own family members/relatives. 

Read here: Time to do away with Discretionary quota for allotment of Government Largesse 


HIGH COURTS


KERALA HIGH COURT

Forced Conversion Therapy of LGBTQA+ community; HC directs State to constitute an expert committee for forming guidelines against such therapies 

In an important ruling on the rights of the LGBTQA community, the Kerala High Court has directed the Kerala Government to take strict action against the forced conversion therapy of LGBTQIA+ Community in the State. The Bench also directed the government to constitute an expert committee and form a guideline based on that in this regard. 

Read here: Forced Conversion Therapy of LGBTQA+ community; HC directs State to constitute an expert committee for forming guidelines against such therapies

Husband harasses wife, portrays her as a psychiatric patient; HC slams Child Right Commission for directing psychiatric treatment of wife without any medical assessment 

In an interesting development, Kerala High Court slammed the Kerala State Commission for Child Rights for directing psychiatric treatment for wife of the accused without any jurisdiction. Expressing anguish over the factum that the Commission had aided the accused in trespassing the house of the victim and forcefully admitting her in the hospital, the Bench remarked, 

“The case is very distressing insofar as, the respondent , prima facie has been attempting to style his wife as a mental patient before various forums.” 

The Court noticed that the respondent; employed in the Law Department of the State and also once appointed as a temporary Magistrate, wants to use his official clout to witch-hunt his wife and children.

Read here: Husband harasses wife, portrays her as a psychiatric patient; HC slams Child Right Commission for directing psychiatric treatment of wife without any medical assessment

Accused has no right to Narco Analysis Test to prove innocence; HC denies permission to 68 years old POCSO accused from voluntarily undergoing Narco Test 

Holding that accused have no rights to claim subjecting themselves to Narcotic Analysis Test to prove innocence, the Kerala High Court observed the limitation of Narco Test and stated that,  

“The possibility of accused himself making exculpatory statements to support his defence also cannot be ruled out. There is no mechanism or the present Investigating Agency is also not equipped to assess the credibility of such revelations of the accused.”

Read here: Accused has no right to Narco Analysis Test to prove innocence; HC denies permission to 68 years old POCSO accused from voluntarily undergoing Narco Test

Whether gifts given to the bride during marriage by parents will be covered under ‘Dowry’ or not? 

In a very important decision Kerala High Court held that, 

“Presents given at the time of marriage to the bride without any demand having made in that behalf and which have been entered in a list-maintained in accordance with rules made under the Dowry Prohibition Act will not come within the purview of Section 3(1) of Dowry Prohibition Act which prohibits giving or taking of dowry.”

Read here: Whether gifts given to the bride during marriage by parents will be covered under ‘Dowry’ or not?


DELHI HIGH COURT

“And Then There Were None”: Agatha Christie’s most famous work in Del HC for trademark registration 

Justice Harishankar, expressing that he was an “avowed aficionado and an admirer of Agatha Christie”, quashed the order which refused the trademark registration to Agatha Christies’ most well-known work  “And Then There Were None”. 

Delhi High Court also observed that, If the mark is distinctive, and is not identical or confusingly or deceptively similar to any earlier mark which is registered or in use from a prior date in respect of similar goods or services, or which results in the passing off, by the applicant, of its goods or services as those of another, registration of the mark is a matter of right.. 

Read here: “And Then There Were None”: Agatha Christie’s most famous work in Del HC for trademark registration

If an advocate has appeared for a party in judicial or quasi-judicial capacity or even as a mediator, Can Court injunct him from appearing to maintain stream of justice? 

In another decision, the Delhi High Court while expressing its opinion on the position of an advocate in law expressed that,  

an advocate owes, to the litigating public, the Court, his client and to the opposite parties, the highest degree of probity and transparency. 

The Court elaborated that where the Court finds that the appearance of an advocate, before it, is not in keeping with the standards expected of the legal profession and is likely to prejudice a fair espousal and prosecution of the lis, the Court can step in and restrain such appearance. 

Read here: If an advocate has appeared for a party in judicial or quasi-judicial capacity or even as a mediator, Can Court injunct him from appearing to maintain stream of justice?

Daughter-in-law claims right of residence in late husband’s mothers’ property under the head ‘Shared Household’: Mother-in-law approaches Del HC seeking eviction of daughter-in-law

Explaining the significance of ‘shared household’, the Delh Highi Court, explained that where a residence is clearly a shared household, it would not bar the owner from claiming eviction against her daughter-in-law, if circumstances call for it. While allowing the mother-in-law’s prayer seeking possession of the subject property to the exclusion of the daughter-in-law, the Court said that 

“The protection under the DV Act assuring the residence of the aggrieved person in the shared household does not vest any proprietary or indefeasible right on the aggrieved person. It is also subject to eviction being initiated in accordance with law.” 

Read here: Daughter-in-law claims right of residence in late husband’s mothers’ property under the head ‘Shared Household’: Mother-in-law approaches Del HC seeking eviction of daughter-in-law 


LEGISLATION UPDATES 


Bihar Biological Diversity (Amendment) Rules, 2021 

The Government of Bihar has notified the Bihar Biological Diversity (Amendment) Rules, 2021 to extend the tenure of Biodiversity Management Committees till tenure of Government Advisory Committees. 

Read here: Bihar Biological Diversity (Amendment) Rules, 2021  

Maharashtra Government revises Excise Duty for wine manufacturers 

The Government of Maharashtra has revised the Excise Duty for wine manufacturers holding licence in FORM BRL. 

As a result, the wines manufactured from any substance and without addition of alcohol and without manufacturing or blending with imported concentrate or imported Bulk Wine shall be exempted from Excise Duty in excess of Rs. 10 per bulk litre. 

Read here:Maharashtra Government revises Excise Duty for wine manufacturers

Dam Safety Act, 2021 

The Dam Safety Act received President’s assent in order to provide for surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of the specified dam for prevention of dam failure related disasters and to provide for institutional mechanism to ensure their safe functioning.  

Read details report about the Act on SCC Blog 

Read here: Dam Safety Act, 2021 


 

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