SCC Online Weekly Rewind Episode 46 ft. Nilufer Bhateja, Associate Editor is out now. The written episode along with the video episode can be watched and read below.


Top News of the Week

 Bishop Franco Mulakkal; A victim of faction feud in the Church and group fights of nuns? Read why Sessions Court acquitted the Bishop in nun rape case 

  While hearing a case which had lead nation to one of the most controversial outbreak and had lifted the veil to showcase the alleged atrocities and harassment behind the four walls of the Church, Gopakumar G., Addl. Sessions Judge held that what seem to be a disturbing case of sexual violence by a Bishop, intoxicated with power, authority and position was nothing but a faction feud in the Church and the victim was a mere scapegoat in the hands of priests. 

Kerala High Court acquitted the Former Bishop Mulakkal in the nun rape case, wherein it was alleged that the nun was raped 13 times. 

 Read a comprehensive report on this very interesting and awaited decision on the SCC Online blog. 

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Supreme Court 

“Reservation is not at odds with merit”; SC upholds OBC reservation in NEET PG and UG Admissions in AIQ quota  

In a detailed judgment, the bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna, JJ has upheld the Constitutional validity of the reservation for OBC candidates in the All India Quota seats for PG and UG  medical and dental courses and noticed that while an open competitive exam may ensure formal equality where everyone has an equal opportunity to participate, however, widespread inequalities in the availability of and access to educational facilities will result in the deprivation of certain classes of people who would be unable to effectively compete in such a system. 

On the question that whether after graduation, an individual is entitled to reservation on the ground that they belong to a class that suffers from social and educational backwardness, the Court said that it cannot be said that the impact of backwardness simply disappears because a candidate has a graduate qualification. It was hence held that no prohibition in introducing reservation for socially and educationally backward classes (or the OBCs) in PG courses. 

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“Can’t allow Devas and its shareholders to reap the benefits of their fraudulent action”; SC upholds NCLAT’s order to wind up Devas   

The bench of Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has upheld NCLAT’s order of winding up of Devas Multimedia Private Limited and has observed that allowing Devas and its shareholders to reap the benefits of their fraudulent action, may send wrong message that by adopting fraudulent means and by bringing into India an investment in a sum of INR 579 crores, the 133 investors can hope to get tens of thousands of crores of rupees, even after siphoning off INR 488 crores. 

The winding up of Devas was initiated on the ground that the agreement with Devas, a joint venture between ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix and USA’s Forge Advisors, was a result of a fraudulent and criminal conspiracy between the persons in management of the affairs of the company and the officials of Antrix/Government of India, to award a lease of scarce and   valuable   S­band   spectrum,   without   obtaining   necessary approvals and without following applicable norms and procedures. 

The Supreme Court, in such facts and circumstances observed that, 

“If the seeds of the commercial relationship between Antrix and Devas were a product of fraud perpetrated by Devas, every part of the plant that grew out of those seeds, such as the Agreement, the disputes, arbitral awards etc., are all infected with the poison of fraud.” 

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High Courts

Madras High Court: On Judgement Day, God shall admonish petitioner for committing un-Christian act’: Read weather Madras HC holds Catholic Priest prima facie accountable under S. 295A IPC for using ‘Bharat Mata’ and ‘Bhuma Devi’ in offensive manner 

While addressing a case wherein a catholic priest’s speech created public outcry and the offending speech prima facie attracted the offences under Sections 153A, 295A and 505(2) of IPC. 

 Court found that the catholic priest outraged the religious beliefs and further observed that, 

  Bhuma Devi is considered as a Goddess by all believing Hindus. I use the expression “believing” because, even materialists, rationalists and non-believers also can be counted as Hindus. I may add tongue-in-cheek that even the great iconoclast and rationalist Periyar did not cease to be a Hindu. Bharat Mata evokes a deeply emotional veneration in a very large number of Hindus. She is often portrayed carrying the national flag and riding a lion. She is to many Hindus a Goddess in her own right. 

Further, Court also expressed that, 

To uphold the sanctity of the Constitution and maintain public order, the strong arm of law will have to come down heavily on those who seek to disrupt communal peace and amity. 

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Jammu and Kashmir High Court: Dowry Prohibition Act vis-a-vis J&K Dowry Restraint Act; HC blurs the line between the two. In a case alleging dowry death, Rajnesh Oswal, J., clarified the scope and applicability of Jammu and Kashmir Dowry Restraint Act 1960. Observing that the Trial Court had conducted mini trial at the stage of framing of charge, the Bench expressed, 

   “The trial court was considering issue with regard to framing of charge under section 304-B RPC but the trial court got swayed by the definition of dowry as defined under the Act of 1960 forgetting the legislative intent behind making the amendment, more when the definition was elastic even for the purpose of Act of 1960 by the use of expression “In this Act unless the context otherwise requires”. 

The petition had been filed by the mother of the deceased against the impugned order of the Trial Court by which the respondents were discharged of offence under section 304-B RPC and instead charges were framed for offences under sections 306 and 498-A/34 RPC. 

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  District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Kolkata: Consumer cannot be forced to pay “service charge” in a restaurant: Consumer Forum finds conduct of restaurant contrary to principles of Consumer Protection Act 

While holding against the service charge, charged by a restaurant, Coram of Swapan Kumar Mahanty (President) and Ashoke Kumar Ganguly (Member) directed for return of the amount charged as “service charge” along with compensation. 

  Commission held that the restaurant committed unfair trade practice and further expressed that restaurant must have been aware of the guidelines of Fair Trade Practice related to changing of service charge from the consumers by hotels/restaurant issued by Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, inter alia, stipulating that service charge on hotel and restaurant bill is “totally voluntarily” and not mandatory. 

  Read more

Legislation Updates

Securities and Exchange Board of India (Settlement Proceedings) (Amendment) Regulations 

SEBI (Settlement Proceedings) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 has been notified in order to amend Securities and Exchange Board of India (Settlement Proceedings) Regulations, 2018. 

The amendment modifies the period for permitting the applicant to submit revised settlement terms from 10 working days to 15 working days;  It also modifies the Table specifying mathematical basis for calculating the settlement amount under Chapter III under the regulations by 

  • Reducing the value of Proceeding Conversion Factor (PCF) which was earlier ‘0.65’ for voluntary or confidential settlement, and now reduced to ‘0.40’. 
  • Base amount for each unit of alleged default or on joint liability basis has been revised such as for each count of violation for a body corporate, in a case not involving FUTP or Insider Trading etc. has been revised to Rs. 10 lakhs in comparison to earlier Rs. 15 lakhs. 

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Registration of Factors (Reserve Bank) Regulations, 2022 

the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued the Registration of Factors (Reserve Bank) Regulations, 2022 relating to the manner of granting Certificate of Registration to companies which propose to do factoring business. 

The Regulations provide that the company seeking registration as NBFC-Factor shall have a minimum Net Owned Fund (NOF) of ₹5 crore, or as specified by the Reserve Bank from time to time. 

For more details about the Regulation, read our full story on the blog 

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Securities Transaction Tax (1st Amendment), Rules, 2022 

the Central Government notifies Securities Transaction Tax (1st Amendment), Rules, 2022 to amend the Securities Transaction Tax Rules, 2004

The Amendment introduces Provision for collection and payment of securities transaction tax in case of insurance company  

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Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (Amendment) Rules, 2022 

Central Government notifies Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (Amendment) Rules, 2022  and introduces Criteria based on which sums may be released by Government .  The Criteria is:  

(a) the beneficiary of the fund shall be a micro or small or medium enterprise and shall file the memorandum; 

(b) the fund shall be mandatorily utilised for the project or scheme or activity for which it is approved by the Governing Council; 

(c) the fund shall be disbursed as per the guidelines notified for that particular project or scheme or activity ; and 

(d) beneficiary of this fund cannot claim benefits from any other Scheme or programme of Central Government or any State Government or Union territory Administration for that project or scheme or activity. 

 New Feature

 New Topics: IBC and Arbitration introduced in Curated Topics

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