Kerala High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: In a PIL seeking extension of facilities to every person with a disability in need of special assistance irrespective of the percentage of disability, the Division Bench of S. Manikumar CJ., and Shaji P. Chaly, J., issued notice to Union Government and the State of Kerala.

The petitioner, a person with 25% learning disability, had approached the Court with an allegation that the disability criteria for the students in need of special assistance in the State Government schools for the SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) and Higher Secondary Examinations is still 40% or above and that the State Government has not framed any rules for the differently abled students as directed by the High Court in Blessen Baby v. State of Kerala, 2020 SCC OnLine Ker 714.

Noticeably, when the petitioner was studying in Class X, his request for a scribe as per Section 4(2) and 17(i) of the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 for the public examination was rejected by the authorities on the ground that the disability should be 40% or above for the assistance of a scribe for the SSLC examination for the year 2020.

While hearing the petitioner, at that time, the Court in Blessen Baby case (supra) had directed the State Government to re-visit the guidelines in vogue issued by the Government of Kerala and to issue fresh guidelines, after taking note of the guidelines issued or to be issued by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Union Government in tune with the directions issued by the Supreme Court in Vikash Kumar v. Union Public Service Commission, 2021 SCC Online SC 84.

Pursuant to the directions of the Court, the petitioner had passed his Xth and XIIth standard examinations with the aid of a scribe.

In Avni Prakash v. National Testing Agency (NTA), 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1112, the Supreme Court observed that despite the clarification of the position in law in Vikash Kumar (supra), the law continues to be violated and NTA has continued to restrict the grant of facilities only to Persons with Benchmark Disability (PwBD). To address the hardships faced by the persons with disability, the Supreme Court issued the following directions:

  • “The facility of reservation in terms of Section 32 of the Rights of Persons with Disability (RPwD) Act, 2016 is available to PwBD. Other facilities contemplated by the RPwD Act, 2016 for PwD cannot be so restricted by an administrative order which would be contrary to the provisions of the statute.

  • Individual injustices originating in a wrongful denial of rights and entitlements prescribed under the law cannot be sent into oblivion on the ground that these are a necessary consequence of a competitive examination.

  • Having due regard to the decision of this Court in Vikash Kumar (supra) and the statutory provisions contained in the RPwD Act, 2016, facilities which are provided by the law to PwD shall not be constricted by reading in the higher threshold prescribed for PwBD;

  • By way of abundant caution, it is clarified that for the purpose of availing of the reservation under Section 32 of the RPwD Act, 2016 or an upper age relaxation as contemplated in the provisions, the concept of benchmark disability continues to apply; and

  • The persons working for the first respondent and exam centres like that of the second respondent should be sensitised and trained, on a regular basis, to deal with requirements of reasonable accommodation raised by PwDs.”

On the contention of the State that it had already issued guidelines in the matter of extending concession to the candidates with special needs having 40% or more disability, the petitioner submitted that irrespective of the percentage of disability, the benefits of the earlier judgment of the Court may be extended to all the students in need of special assistance in SSLC as well as first year and second year Higher Secondary examinations.

Considering the above, the Court had issued notice to the Union Government and the State of Kerala.

[Blessen Baby v. Union of India, 2022 SCC OnLine Ker 4269, decided on 04-08-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr. Sheji P. Abraham, learned counsel for the petitioner;

S. Manu, learned ASGI, Sri. N. Manoj Kumar, learned State Attorney.


*Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

Allahabad High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Division Bench of Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Rajnish Kumar, JJ. dismissed a PIL which was filed by the petitioner society with the prayer that the respondents may be directed to enhance the age of retirement from 60 to 62 years in respect of the employees of the State Government who are differently abled.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that in the State of Punjab as also in the State of Haryana, the age of retirement of differently abled government employees is 62 years and hence, State of Uttar Pradesh may also be directed to enhance the age of retirement from 60 to 62 years of differently abled government employees working in the State of U.P. . It was their contention that by not extending the age of superannuation from 60 to 62 years the Government of U.P. is subjecting its differently abled government employees to hostile discrimination and in terms of the provisions contained in Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 the differently abled persons in the State of U.P. are entitled to be given the same treatment.

Assistant Solicitor General of India appearing for the Union of India and State Counsel opposing this PIL have unanimously submitted that the prayer made in this PIL essentially pertains to service matter and as per the settled position of law, no PIL can be entertained in relation to service-related matters and accordingly the writ petition is liable to be dismissed .

The Court relied on Girjesh Shrivastava v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (2010) 10 SCC 707, Duryodhan Sahoo (Dr.) v. Jitendra Kumar Mishra, (1998) 7 SCC 273, B. Srinivasa Reddy v. Karnataka Urban Water Supply & Drainage Board Employees’ Assn., (2006) 11 SCC 731 and Dattaraj Nathuji Thaware v. State of Maharashtra, (2005) 1 SCC 590 where the Supreme Court had reiterated the legal principle that in service matters, no Public Interest Litigation can be entertained.

The Court opined that this Public Interest Litigation was not maintainable observing, “It is equally well settled that except where a writ of Quo Warranto is prayed for, Public Interest Litigation in service-related matters ought not to be entertained.”

The Court further clarified that no doubt that Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 has been framed by the Parliament for empowerment of the persons with disabilities and the said Act clearly mandates that differently abled persons cannot be discriminated against. However, such non-discrimination which runs across the Act, 2016 has to be read in the context. The Act 2016 was framed to make a law prohibiting all kinds of discrimination of differently abled persons in the society and also for ensuring their effective participation and inclusion in the society as also for creating an environment where there will be respect for the difference such differently abled persons bear and also to create equality of opportunity etc.

The PIL was dismissed.

[Ramkali Samajik Utthan Evan Jan Kalyan Samiti v. Union of India, Public Interest Litigation (PIL) No. – 487 of 2022, decided on 10-08-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Birendra Kumar Yadav, Amit Kumar, Satendra Jaiswal, Advocates, for the Petitioner;

S.B. Pandey, Advocates, for the Respondent.


*Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a complex case where both the parties claimed to be disabled to get the matrimonial case transferred to the court of their convenience, V. Ramasubramanian, J., held that once the order fixing maintenance has attained finality, the petitioner cannot seek a transfer of the execution pending under Section 125(3) the CrPC to another Court.

In a collateral proceeding, the marriage between the parties had been dissolved by the Family Court and the petitioner-husband was directed to pay the maintenance to the respondent-wife under Section 125(1) CrPC. The said order has attained finality.

Later on, the respondent-wife approached the Family Court on the ground that the maintenance so fixed in the original order had not been. The petition for enforcement was taken up by the Family Court along with an application for modification of the maintenance, filed by the petitioner-husband.

The Family Court passed an order on 18-01-2019 directing the petitioner-husband to pay the entire arrears of maintenance within one month as a condition precedent for deciding the application for modification. Though the petitioner did not challenge the said order dated 18-01-2019, he has come up with the instant petition for transfer of the proceedings on the ground that he is suffering from bone cancer and that he is not in a position to undertake travel from Delhi to Nagpur, Maharashtra. The Petitioner also contended that he is wheelchair-bound and the Family Court in Nagpur is not disabled-friendly. The averments made by the petitioner were disputed by the respondent-wife. In contrast, she claimed to be suffering from a serious kidney disorder forcing her to undergo dialysis.

Considering the contentions of the parties, the Court said,

“The question as to whether the petitioner or the first respondent, who is more disabled has itself become a serious matter of challenge. It is not possible for this Court while dealing with a transfer Petition, to undertake a roving inquiry to find out who is more disabled.”

Noticing that the conditional order dated 18-01-2019 for taking up the application for modification has also not been complied with and a period of more than three years has passed, the Court opined that even if the transfer is ordered, as prayed for, the order dated 18-01-2019 will stare at the face of the petitioner.

Therefore, the Court concluded that however unfortunate the case may be on either side or on both sides, the petitioner did not deserve the indulgence of the Court for transfer. Therefore, the Transfer Petition was dismissed.

[Navneet Wadhwa V. Simran Wadhwa, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1078, decided on 16-08-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

AOR Krishan Kumar,and Advocates Vidur Kamra and Jyoti Taneja, Advocates , for the Petitioner;

Senior Advocate V. Mohana, Advocates Satyajit A. Desai, Devdeep, and AOR Anagha S. Desai, Advocates, for the Respondent(s).


*Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.

Tripura High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Tripura High Court: Arindam Lodh, J. allowed a writ petition issuing directions to the Tripura State Electricity Corporation Limited to pay all the cumulative dues such as salary, allowances, etc. which were payable to the petitioner-employee under his service condition.

It was the case of the petitioner that while the petitioner was discharging his duties, he suffered an accident and out of that accident, he became disabled. Due to such disability, he could not attend his duties. It was the contention of the respondents that the salary of the petitioner was duly paid upto 16-03-2020. Thereafter, no salary was paid to the petitioner though he was all along willing to join to perform his duties commensurate to his disability. Report of the Standing Medical Board made it clear that petitioner was not in a position to perform his official and field level activities which may work out throughout the State and that his conditions may improve. In spite of that report, the petitioner was not paid his due salary and other allowances treating his absence from duty as unauthorized.

The Court reproduced the office memo dated 25-02-2015 issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions and stated that it was further reviewed in the year 2016 where the rights of persons with disabilities were not in any way diluted rather expanded the rights of such persons. It mandates that the State-employer must create conditions in which the barriers posed by disability can be overcome.

The Court noticed that a plea has been taken that the respondents did not accept his joining report or leave application as he did not report to the joining authority in person however he expressed his willingness to join his duties by submitting an application to the authority concerned but it was refused on the pretext that the petitioner did not physically appear before the concerned authority.

“The conduct of the concerned officer is not in consonance with the object the legislatures wanted to achieve. Keeping in mind the objectives of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the respondents should realize the challenge the petitioner has been facing and accommodate him with humane approach. Any failure to meet the needs of disabled person will definitely breach the norms of reasonable accommodation.”

The Court relied on Vikash Kumar v. UPSC, (2021) 5 SCC 370 which had an observation that the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 is a “paradigm shift” and further overview of the scheme of 2016 Act was also discussed.

Keeping in mind the facets and objects of the 2016 Act the Court directed that:

(i) the respondents are to pay all the cumulative dues such as salary, allowances, etc. which were payable to the petitioner under his service conditions within a period of three month from today;

(ii) the salary and allowances payable to the petitioner shall be released from this month and regularize his service conditions by way of recalling all the earlier orders passed by TSECL treating his absence from duty as unauthorized absence. Those unauthorized absence period, according to the TSECL, shall be regularized and that would not have any bearing to the service of the petitioner;

(iii) if it is found that the petitioner is eligible to perform his duty, then, he may be permitted to undertake such duties. Further, if the petitioner is found to be unfit to perform the nature of duties, which he was performing before being disabled, then, he should be assigned/adjusted with such suitable duties which he would be able to discharge;

(iv) if the petitioner is found incapable of performing any kind of duties, then, the respondents are under obligation and shall pay all service benefits including the promotion to the petitioner by creating a supernumerary post until a suitable post is available or he attains the age of superannuation;

(v) the respondents shall utilize capacity of the petitioner by providing and environment around him and ensure reasonable accommodation by way of making appropriate modifications and adjustments in the spirit of the discussions and observations made herein above;

(vi) the petitioner shall appear before the constituted Medical Board of the State Government within 7(seven) days from today. The Medical Board shall examine and issue necessary certificate mentioning the extent of his disability in consonance with the RPwD Act; and

(vii) it is not advisable to send the petitioner to the Medical Board time and again.

The writ petition was thus allowed.

[Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl v. Tripura State Electricity Corpn. Ltd., 2022 SCC OnLine Tri 547, decided on 01-08-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

C.S. Sinha, Advocate, for the Petitioner (s).

N. Majumder, H. Sarkar, Advocates, for the Respondent (s):


*Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Canada SC
Case BriefsForeign Courts

Canada Supreme Court: A full bench comprising, Wagner C.J. and Moldaver, Karakatsanis, Côté, Brown, Rowe, Martin, Kasirer, and Jamal JJ unanimously upheld the framework laid down in Canada (Attorney General) v. Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society, 2012 SCC 45 and stated that in cases wherein constitutionality of the law is challenged by Public Interest Organization on behalf of community members or marginalized groups who lack money, status, and privileged access to justice, the Court should adopt a flexible and discretionary approach to public interest standing. Therefore, it was held that the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (hereinafter The Council) meets the test for public interest standing and can continue the lawsuit.

Facts and Contentions of the case

In 2016, The Council and two individuals challenged the constitutionality of British Columbia’s mental health legislation. The law allows doctors to administer psychiatric treatment to patients with mental disabilities without their consent or the consent of someone else on their behalf. It was submitted before the Court that such treatment without their consent violates sections 7 and 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 7 guarantees everyone the right to life, liberty, and security of the person and Section 15(1) guarantees everyone has the right to be treated equally without discrimination, including based on mental or physical disability.

In 2017, the two individuals withdrew their case, leaving the Council as the only plaintiff. Therefore, the Council pleaded that it should be granted the status of public interest standing and allowed to continue the lawsuit. The trial court held that the Council cannot be granted the status of public interest standing.

Observations made by the Court

The bench made the following observation while writing the unanimous judgment:

  • The decision to grant or deny public interest standing is discretionary. The Downtown Eastside framework mandates that in exercising its discretion, a court must assess and weigh three factors: (i) whether the case raises a serious justiciable issue; (ii) whether the party bringing the action has a genuine interest in the matter; and (iii) whether the proposed suit is a reasonable and effective means of bringing the case to court.
  • Courts must consider the purpose that justifies grantingstanding in their analyses and is giving effect to the principle of legality, therefore, ensuring access to justice. The goal in every case is to strike a meaningful balance between the purposes that favour granting standing and those that favour limiting it.
  • There cannot be a rule of law without access, otherwise, the rule of law is replaced by a rule of men and women who decide who shall and who shall not have access to justice. Access to justice is symbiotically linked to public interest standing: it provides an avenue to litigate the legality of government action despite of social, economic, or psychological barriers which may preclude individuals from pursuing their legal rights.
  • Courts may consider the plaintiff’s capacity to bring the claim forward, whether the case is of public interest, whether there are alternative means to bring the claim forward, and the potential impact of the proceedings on others. To evaluate capacity, courts should examine the plaintiff’s resources, expertise, and whether the issue will be presented in a sufficiently concrete and well‑developed factual setting. Though courts cannot decide constitutional issues in a factual vacuum, public interest litigation may proceed without a directly affected plaintiff.
  • A strict requirement for a directly affected plaintiff would pose obstacles to access to justice and would undermine the principle of legality. It would also raise procedural hurdles that would deplete judicial resources. The participation of directly affected litigants is accordingly not a separate legal and evidentiary hurdle in the discretionary balancing.

Based upon the aforementioned observations, the Bench unanimously held that the Council meets the three-part test for public interest standing. Firstly, it raises an important issue: the Charter rights of people with mental disabilities. Secondly, the Council has a genuine interest in the challenges faced by people with mental disabilities. Thirdly, its claim is a reasonable and effective way to bring the matter before the courts. In the light of this conclusion, Chief Justice Richard Wagner said that

“The granting of public interest standing in this case “will promote access to justice for a disadvantaged group who has historically faced serious barriers to bringing such litigation before the courts”

[British Columbia (Attorney General) v. Council of Canadians with Disabilities, 2022 SCC OnLine Can SC 2, decided on-23-06-2022]

Armed Forces Tribunal
Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Armed Forces Tribunal (Lucknow Bench): The Division Bench of Justice Umesh Chandra Srivastava, Member (J) and Vice Admiral Abhay Raghunath Karve, Member (A) held that a cadet is akin to a probationer; hence, the employer has a right to discharge a Cadet who is not meeting the medical standards required for military service/training.  

Factual Background 

The applicant joined Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai on 05-04-2012 as a Lady Cadet; where she was available for training only for 19 days and was continuously absent from training from 18-04-2012 to 19-11-2012.  

Later on, the applicant was invalided out from service in low medical category due to the following disabilities: 

  • “Persistent Somatoform Pain Disorder” at 40% for life; and  
  • “Non-Supportive Ottis Media (LT) With Mild Hearing Impairment”, at 6-10% for life 

The disabilities were considered as neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service. Therefore, the claim of the applicant for ex-Gratia payment was rejected. Similarly, the first and second appeals of the applicant were also rejected.  

The respondent contended that the applicant’s claim of alleged development of disability (hearing impairment) due to pressure of military training was incorrect and unjustified since cadets are neither subject to hard physical or mental toughness training nor put through weapon training during their initial phase of training in the junior terms. A gradual and easy start is given to all new cadets to enable them to develop their capability to withstand tough military training in later phases of their training. 

Grievances of the Applicant 

As per the applicant, she was under stress and strain of military training which led to the occurrence of the injury. Therefore, both the disabilities should be considered attributable to or aggravated by military service and she should be paid the disability pension and Ex Gratia accordingly.  

The applicant submitted that she had applied for women entry of Short Service Commission (Technical) and at the time of medical board after Services Selection Board (SSB), she was declared temporary unfit due to Chronic Ottis Media (LT) with mild hearing impairment. Later on, after being operated Chronic Ottis Media (LT), she was declared fit in SHAPE-1 by the Army Medical Board. Thereafter, she joined OTA on 05-04-2012.  

Further, the applicant claimed that in May 2012, due to pressure of military training, she had developed a relapse of Chronic Ottis Media (LT) with mild hearing impairment and was treated first at MH Chennai and then at Command Hospital, Air Force, Bangalore, and was placed in medical category H-2 (Temporary) on the recommendation of ENT Specialist.  

Evidently, it was in June 2012 that the applicant was diagnosed with “Persistent Somatoform Pain Disorder” and was recommended to be medically invalided out of service in low medical category S-5.  

Findings and Conclusion  

The Tribunal relied on Narsingh Yadav v. Union of India, (2019) 9 SCC 667, wherein the Supreme Court had held that mental disorders cannot be detected at the time of recruitment and their subsequent manifestation does not entitle a person to disability pension unless there are very valid reasons and strong medical evidence to dispute the opinion of Medical Board. 

Noticing that the applicant had attained the training for a brief period of 15 days, the Tribunal affirmed the findings and opinion of the Medical Board and the Appellate Committee. The Tribunal held that a cadet is akin to a probationer and hence the respondents as an employer have a right to discharge a Cadet who is not meeting the medical standards required for military training/service. Therefore, the Tribunal upheld the opinion of the Medical Board that the applicant’s disability is neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service, and hence, she is not entitled to disability pension and Ex Gratia.  

In view of the above, the Original Application was dismissed.  

[Nira Chaudhary v. Union of India, Original Application No. 99 of 2021, decided on 28-04-2022]  


Appearance by:  

For the Applicant: Vinay Sharma holding brief of Col Y.R. Sharma (Retd), Advocate 

For Union of India: Dr. Shailendra Sharma Atal, Central Govt Counsel 


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 

High Court Round UpLegal RoundUp

Allahabad High Court

Disability

In a case where an employee of Central Bank of India petitioned to be exempted from routine transfers due to permanent disability of wife, Rajesh Singh Chauhan, J. held that the transfer is an exigency/ incidence of service and no courts are ordinarily interfered with the transfer orders but if such transfer may be avoided for any specific compelling reason and that reason is unavoidable, the Competent Authority being model employer should consider such condition sympathetically. Read more

Right to Education

The Division Bench of Rajesh Singh Chauhan and Subhash Vidyarthi, JJ., dealt with a case where the admission of a class VIII student was rejected by the school authorities without proper information being given to the parents on time, so that such student could get his admission in any other institution inasmuch as to receive proper education is a Fundamental Right enshrined under Article 21-A of the Constitution of India. Read more

Manual Scavenging

The Division Bench of Manoj Kumar Gupta and Chandra Kumar Rai, JJ., took up suo motu cognizance and directed the authorities concerned to take concrete measures for implementation so that some change is discernible in the working conditions of the sanitary workers in line with Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be followed in cleaning sewers and septic tanks. Read more

Andhra Pradesh High Court

Habeas Corpus

A Division Bench of Tarlada Rajashekhar Rao and K Manmadha Rao, JJ., directed the State authorities to produce the detenu-wife before Court as couple is major and have agreed to live together. Read more

Bombay High Court

POCSO

The Division Bench of Prasanna B. Varale and S.M. Modak, JJ. dismissed an FIR lodged under Section 376 of the Penal Code, 1860, and Section 4 of the POCSO Act, observing that the conflict had been addressed and the girl and boy intended to marry. Read more

Personal Liberty

A.S. Chandurkar and Amit Borkar, JJ., stated that the right to travel abroad is spelled out in Article 21 of the Constitution and that the provisions of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993, do not implicitly confer such powers on the Debt Recovery Tribunal to restrain a person from travelling abroad. Read more

Extra-Marital Affair

The Division Bench of Sunil B. Shukre and G.A. Sanap, JJ., granted an application to quash an FIR filed under Section 306, 34 Penal Code. Read more

Advertisement/ Qualification

The petitioners contested a School Tribunal judgement ordering them to reinstate the respondent/employee. In overturning the Tribunal’s decision, the Bench of Rohit B. Deo, J. clarified that job advertisements are not limited to reserved positions. Under the Maharashtra Employees of Private Schools (Conditions of Service) Regulation Act, 1977, it is also obligatory to advertise the positions in the open category. Read more

Motor Vehicles Act, 1988

S.G. Mehare, J., authorised an appeal against the July 30, 2001 order of the Commissioner for Workmen’s Compensation and Judge Labour Court. Read more

Burden of Proof

The appeal against the appellant’s conviction for the offence is punishable under section 302 of the Penal Code, 1860, whereby he was sentenced to suffer R.I. for life and a fine of Rs. 5,000, was permitted by the Division Bench of Sadhana S. Jadhav and Milind N. Jadhav, JJ. Read more

Copyright Infringement

RI Chagla J. awarded an ad-interim injunction in favour of the “Janhit Mein Jaari” film’s creators and ordered the defendants to take down infringing links right away. Read more

Hindu Marriage Act

Bharati Dangre, J. dismissed a writ petition brought by the petitioner-husband against maintenance order towards his daughter stating that an unmarried major Daughter is entitled for maintenance from her father and glossy life on Instagram do not prove independent and sufficient income to exempt petitioner’s responsibility/liability. Read more

Consent vis a vis Sexual Relationship

Bharati Dangre, J. rejected an anticipatory bail application which was filed apprehending arrest for the offences punishable under Sections 376(2)(n), 376(2)(h) and 417 of the Penal Code, 1860 and held that merely sharing friendly relationship with a girl does not permit a boy to take her for granted and construe it as her consent to establish physical relationship. Read more

Departmental Proceedings

The Division Bench of S.B. Shukre and G. A. Sanap, JJ. sets aside an FIR for the offences punishable under Sections 13(1)(c)(d) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 in the matter of departmental proceedings being based on identical/similar charges as criminal proceedings cannot be proceeded with if accused was exonerated in departmental proceedings based on identical/similar charges. Read more

Calcutta High Court

Gratuity/ Pension

Amrita Sinha, J. dismissed a petition filed by an Assistant Teacher who retired on October 31, 2020, concerning the delayed payment of the gratuity and arrear pension amount. Read more

Dispute Bill

Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya, J. granted a petition directing CESC Ltd. to restore the petitioner’s electricity supply unconditionally. Read more

Peaceful Procession

Shampa Sarkar, J. heard a petition alleging that the Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, denied Utshi United Primary Teachers Welfare Association permission to march peacefully from Raja Subodh Mullick Square Park to Rani Rashmoni Avenue on June 11, 2022. Read more

Reasonable Opportunity

The Division Bench of Debangsu Basak and Bibhas Ranjan De, JJ. dismissed an appeal directed against the order dated 09-02-2022, holding that, despite the assessee receiving additional evidence regarding the quantum of tax liability after the conclusion of the order or refund, there was no material irregularity in the order of refund warranting interference under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. Read more

Child Trafficking

Ananya Bandyopadhyay and Joymalya Bagchi, JJ., the division bench, denied a request for bail in a human trafficking case. The report was read in court, and it said that on June 14, 2022, psychological treatment was provided to trafficking victims. A request has been submitted for the lawful award of interim compensation. To provide the aforementioned witnesses with the security they need, measures were taken. Read more

Prostitution

A revisional application was filed for the quashing of the proceedings under Sections 3, 4, 5, 7, and 18 of the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (commonly referred to as the “I.T.(P) Act”) read with Section 120-B of the Penal Code, 1860,” and also for the setting aside of the order by which the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate took cognizance against the current petitioner. This application was granted by Judge Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee. Read more

Victim Compensation Scheme

After hearing a petition, Moushumi Bhattacharya, J. gave instructions about the non-payment of victim compensation following a decision made by the Secretary of the District Legal Services Authority setting the compensation amount at Rs. 1,50,000/-. Read more

Arbitration

The Arbitral Tribunal’s award was affirmed by Shekhar B. Saraf, J., who also ruled that the award holder should be held liable for the full sum, plus interest and additional fees. Read more

Delhi High Court

Arbitration & Conciliation

While addressing the ineligibility of an arbitrator to be appointed, Vibhu Bhakru, J., elaborated on the expression ‘close family member’ and the likelihood of bias. Read more

Dishonour of Cheque

Asha Menon, J. refused to allow a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC seeking quashing of summoning order passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Courts in a complaint filed by the respondents 1 and 2 against the petitioner under Section 138 read with Section 142 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881. Read more

Income Tax Act

The Division Bench of Manmohan and Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, JJ., expressed that, merely because there was a delay of one day in asking for an adjournment, the assessee living outside India cannot be denied his right to file an objection to Show Cause notice. The present petition had been filed challenging the order passed under Section 148 A (d) of the Income Tax Act, 1961, and the notice was passed under Section 148 of the Act. Read more

A Division Bench of Manmohan and Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora JJ. dismissed the petition and ordered the respondents to refund the amount adjusted more than 10% of the disputed tax demands for the Assessment Year 2017-18 to the petitioner. Read more

Arbitration

While hearing an application against an arbitral tribunal’s award, Vibhu Bakhru, J. ruled that the arbitral tribunal could not rewrite or examine the parties’ agreement. Read more

FATF/ Economic Security

The Division Bench of Mukta Gupta and Mini Pushkarna, JJ., stated that the simple smuggling of gold without any link to a danger to the country’s economic security or monetary stability is not a “terrorist crime” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Read more

Police Post

In a case where a police officer was injured after being attacked with an illegal weapon outside of the police station, Talwant Singh, J., stated that a police station is a place where people go to lodge complaints about disputes among themselves, not a place where public servants are supposed to be attacked. Read more

Trademark Infringement

Prathiba M. Singh, J. granted Colorbar Cosmetics Private Limited an ad interim ex parte injunction, restraining the Canada-based Faces Cosmetics India Private Limited from manufacturing, selling, and offering for sale cosmetics and other products under the trademark “Velvet matte.” Read more

Jyoti Singh, J. granted an ex-parte injunction and noted that a stricter approach is required in cases of medicinal preparations and products because any confusion between the respective medicinal products is likely to have a disastrous effect on public health. Read more

Dinesh Kumar Sharma J. granted an ex parte injunction to Voltas Limited restraining a website from using their registered trademark and logo VOLTAS and block and suspend the website. Read more

Matrimonial Offences

Swarana Kanta Sharma, J., stated that cases under Section 376 of the Penal Code, 1860 should not be quashed and should not be considered a crime against the society at large. However, in unusual circumstances, where the complainant states that her future depends on the quashing of the FIR and adds that the rape was not committed upon her, it would be in the interest of justice to quash the FIR. Read more

Illegality

Geetanjali Goel, J. upholds the discharge of Delhi CM and others in the Anshu Prakash assault case, finding no reason to interfere with the Trial Court’s impugned order and dismissing the petition as without merit. Read more

Adjudication

A Division Bench of Manmohan and Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora, JJ., dismissed the petition and ordered a new adjudication since the Assessing Officer did not examine any of the representations and contentions. Read more

Organ Donation

Yashwant Verma, J. dismissed the petition and directed the respondent hospital to process the petitioner’s application and request following the law. Read more

POCSO

A Division Bench of Mukta Gupta and Mini Pushkarna, JJ., maintained the assailed conviction decision, citing the accused’s terrible act of rape on a four-year-old child from his close family. Read more

Income Tax

Jyoti Singh and Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, JJ., of the Division Bench, struck aside notices addressed to a deceased assessee despite being informed of his death by his relatives. Read more

Injunction

Pratibha M Singh, J. issued directives to domain name registrars whose offices are located outside of India and whose details are not disclosed so that they do not avoid injunction orders issued by Indian courts. Read more

Compensation

Manoj Kumar Ohri J. dismissed the petition because the employer-employee relationship was established before the court by a witness and strict rules of evidence are not applicable in such cases. Read more

Controller of Patents

The applicant did not intend to abandon, the court should be lenient in its approach if it is convinced that the patent agent made a mistake and the applicant can demonstrate full diligence, said Pratibha M. Singh J., who also excused the delay in filing the applicant’s reply to the First Examination Reports. Read more

Foreign National Reservation

The refusal of admission by AIIMS and PGIMER was supported by Sanjeev Narula, J., because PGIMER did not promote seats for foreign nationals simply because it mentioned the requirements for admission as a foreign citizen in its prospectus. Read more

Mandamus / Judicial Review

Table tennis players Swastika Ghosh and Manush Shah, who had challenged the decision made by the Table Tennis Federation of India on the athletes who will represent India in the Commonwealth Games in 2022, were refused relief by Dinesh Kumar Sharma, J. Read more

Gujarat High Court

Wages

Biren Vaishnav, J. dismissed a petition filed by a petitioner who was dissatisfied with the award dated 14-02-2020, which directed the petitioner-State of Gujarat to pay the respondent-sweeper salary for four hours of work per day, plus arrears from the date of reinstatement. Read more

Rape/Sodomy

Biren Vaishnav, J. dismissed a petition filed by a petitioner who was dissatisfied with the award dated 14-02-2020, which directed the petitioner-State of Gujarat to pay the respondent-sweeper salary for four hours of work per day, plus arrears from the date of reinstatement. Read more

Family Law

The Division Bench of Vipul M. Pancholi and Rajendra M. Sareen, JJ., rejected a plea brought by the father under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution seeking custody of his daughter. Read more

Arms Act

The licence under the Arms Act of 1959 (“the Arms Act”) for self-defense was rejected by the District Magistrate, and the Additional Secretary Home Department of the State Government upheld the previous ruling in an appeal. The petitioner filed a challenge, which was accepted by Judge A.S. Supehia. Read more

Promotion

A petition asking for a directive to nullify and disregard the Seniority List of Multi-Purpose Health Workers was granted by Judge Biren Vaishnav. Read more

PPF

A.S. Supehia, J. allowed a writ petition directing Bank to deposit PPF amount deducted for settlement of liability that the amount of Public Provident Fund account shall not be liable to any attachment in respect of any debt or liability incurred by the account holder. Read more

Gauhati High Court

Anticipatory Bail

Sanjay Kumar Medhi, J. denied a petitioner’s request for bail under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC), in a case that was filed under Sections 21(c) and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. Read more

Drug and Food Safety

According to Rumi Kumari Phookan J., only a food inspector can investigate offences under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act), and Maharashtra Police lacks both jurisdiction and jurisdictional authority to do so. As a result, the court ordered Maharashtra Police to pay the petitioner Rs. 2,00000 as petition costs. Read more

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act

While granting bail to the applicant herein, under Section 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) for a case registered under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, Ajit Borthakur, J. held that the provisions of Section 37 of the NDPS Act shall not be applicable if the service courier driver is unaware of what is being transported by him. Read more

Himachal Pradesh High Court

Arbitral Proceeding

In the case where it was argued before the Court that the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 does not provide for any remedy to challenge an arbitral order and was therefore contrary to the “public policy of India,” Satyen Vaidya J. observed that, “The term “public policy of India” carries within it innumerable facets. Read more

Bail/ Parole

The plea for a parole extension filed under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code (the “CrPC”) was denied by Judge Vivek Singh Thakur because Article 226 of the Indian Constitution provides the appropriate remedy. Read more

Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court

Anticipatory Bail

While deliberating on an anticipatory bail application concerning an FIR registered in Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh, the Bench of Sanjay Dhar, J., considered whether this High Court has the jurisdiction to grant bail in a case that has been registered beyond its local limits of jurisdiction under Section 438, CrPC. Read more

Right to Life

While reviewing the information and concerns provided by the petitioners, the M.A. Chowdhary, J. bench made some important remarks regarding the voluntary marriage of two adults. The Court declared that Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution properly recognise a couple’s right to get married. Read more

Kashmiri Pandits

The bench of Sindhu Sharma, J., dismissed the petition because the petitioners lacked any inalienable right to allotment of government housing when ruling on the instant petition filed by 3 retired State Bank of India employees who had retained their respective government accommodations and were unhappy with the rent being charged at a commercial rate. Read more

Jharkhand High Court

Qualification for promotion

Anubha Rawat Choudhary, J. held that the respondent had the necessary experience of guiding research at the Doctoral level as of the cut-off date in a case relating to qualification to be appointed as a professor at Vinoba Bhave University, even though the concerned research student did not receive her degree. Read more

Karnataka High Court

Rape

M Nagaprasanna, J., annulled the proceedings against the petitioners in Byadarahalli Police Station Crime No.87 of 2022, which was pending before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bangalore Rural District, Bangalore. Read more

Agricultural land compensation

A Division Bench of Alok Aradhe and J M Khazi, JJ., rejected the appeal and overturned the impugned verdict, ordering the appellants to determine and pay the compensation to the respondents. Read more

Protection of Witness

S. Sunil Dutt Yadav, J. listed a few causes of investigation delay, the primary causes of low conviction rate, the consequences of investigation delay, and guidelines for speedy investigation. Read more

Bigamy

M. Nagaprasanna, J. granted the petition in part and remarked that the quadrangle’s protagonists should resolve the issue among them rather than drag other people into the proceedings. Read more

Principles of Natural Justice

S.G. Pandit, J. dismissed the petition, leaving respondent-Railway authorities free to take action against the catering services after providing them with an opportunity under the law. Read more

Cruelty/ Divorce

The plea was partially granted by the division bench of S. Sunil Dutt Yadav and K.S. Hemalekha, JJ. The parties’ marriage was ended due to mental cruelty for the wife’s unfounded accusations against the husband. Read more

Domestic Violence

M. Nagaprasanna J. granted the petition and ordered that the application for maintenance be decided within two weeks after receiving a copy of this decision. Read more

Child sexual offence

The victim has now turned 18 years old, so the strictures under S. 33(5) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, 2012 (the “POCSO Act”) are no longer relevant. Therefore, M. Nagaprasanna, J. granted the petition filed to conduct an additional cross-examination of the child victim. Read more

Dowry Death

The FIR against the lady who had illicit connections with the complainant’s husband and was charged under Section 498-A of the Penal Code, 1860 was dismissed by Hemant Chandangoudar J. Read more

Dishonour of Cheque

M. Nagarprasanna J. allowed a petition filed under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) and directed that interim compensation which would vary from 1% to 20% after recording necessary reasons be given as per the “conduct of the accused” for the applications filed under Section 143-A of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (NI Act). Read more

Kerala High Court

Habeas Corpus/ Special Marriage

A Division Bench of K Vinod Chandra and C Vijayachandran, JJ. dismissed the plea and denied the requested relief, concluding that the detainee maintained that he was not under any unlawful confinement. Read more

POCSO

Taking note of the alarming increase in the number of sexual offences committed against schoolchildren, Bechu Kurian Thomas, J., directed the Kerala Government and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to include sessions/classes in the school curriculum on the provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, 2012. Read more

NTPC/ Discrimination

The decision by V.G. Arun, J., that NTPC’s notification for the recruitment of Assistant Law Officers is discriminatory and in violation of Article 16 of the Constitution because it restricts the selection process to only CLAT PG-2021 candidates comes as a significant relief to non-NLU law graduates looking for employment opportunities in PSUs. Read more

Cruelty/Desertion

A. Muhamed Mustaque and Sophy Thomas, JJ., who made up the Division Bench, ruled that cruelty must be judged from the viewpoint of a spouse, or how that spouse would interpret the actions of the other spouse, to be considered. Read more

Anticipatory Bail

Vijay Babu, a film producer and artist, was granted anticipatory bail by Bechu Kurian Thomas, J., in a high-profile rape case that sparked outrage in the film industry. The Court ruled that there is no legal prohibition against granting anticipatory bail to a person who is physically present overseas. Read more

Reproductive Rights

The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act of 2021 prohibits the sale of human gametes, zygotes, and embryos but does not forbid a couple from using their embryo to conceive a child. This is why V.G. Arun, J., allowed a couple to transfer their frozen embryo to another hospital for infertility treatment. Read more

Pre Arrest Bail

In a case concerning attacks against doctors and medical institutions, Bechu Kurian Thomas, J., denied pre arrest bail and held that granting pre-arrest bail to an accused who is alleged to have committed violence against a healthcare professional will send a wrong message to the public. Read more

Compulsory Licensing

While adjudicating a petition filed by a breast cancer patient seeking to afford life-saving medicines which otherwise cost more than twice her monthly income, V. G. Arun, J. directed Central Government to consider compulsory licensing of the breast cancer drug “Ribociclib”. Read more

Madhya Pradesh High Court

Rape

Anand Pathak, J. granted a petition filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure seeking the dismissal of an FIR filed against the petitioner and subsequent criminal proceedings for an offence under Sections 376 and 506 of the Penal Code, 1860. Read more

Bail/ Corruption

The applicant was arrested on February 3, 2022, for a crime punishable by Sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 471, 201, and 120-B of the Penal Code, 1860, as well as Sections 7, 13(1) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Anand Pathak, J. refused the applicant’s motion for bail. Read more

Arya Samaj

A petition was submitted to address and investigate several concerns regarding marriages solemnized in Arya Samaj Vivah Mandir Trust, and the Division Bench of Rohit Arya and Milind Ramesh Phadke, JJ. accepted it. Read more

Motor Vehicle

While dismissing an appeal filed under Section 173(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 , Vishal Dhagat, J. held that the present case is a case of misrepresentation on the part of legal representatives/driver/owner of vehicle in contracting with the appellant for purchase of policy in name of deceased owner as contract entered between the parties is not voidable. Read more

Madras High Court

Mental Illness

G R Swaminathan J. answered in negative to the moot consideration that can certifying authority insist a Child suffering from mental illness, who requires a disability certificate, to come to premises of institution for assessment. Read more

Educational certificate

While addressing the grievance of some qualified doctors, G.R. Swaminathan, J. stated that because an educational certificate is not a marketable commodity, no lien can be exercised under Section 171 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872. Read more

Income Tax Appellate Tribunal

G. Chandrasekharan, J. declined to quash prosecution against actor SJ Suryah as the order of the Income Tax Appellate Authority, cancelling the assessment orders was not on merits. Read more

Social Media Intermediaries

B. Pugalendhi, J., revoked the bail of a YouTuber who made disparaging statements about the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Read more

Documentary/Oral Evidence

Senthil Kumar Ramamoorthy, J., stated that a suit cannot be hurriedly determined at the request of a plaintiff unless the plaintiff convinces the court that the suit claim has been fully established. Read more

Income Tax

A Division Bench of R Mahadevan and Sathya Narayan Prasad, JJ. rejected the tax appeal because guarantee commission and royalty must be subtracted from company profit to calculate the deduction under Section 80 HHC of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Read more

Service Rules

S M Subramaniam, J. upheld the decision taken by Indian Banks Association to unilaterally withdraw the facility for State Bank of India officers to visit overseas countries as part of Leave Travel Concession ‘LTC’/ Home Travel Concession ‘HTC’. Read more

Meghalaya High Court

POCSO

W Diengdoh J. quashed a POCSO case opining that just holding the hands of the victim girl and complimenting them would not amount to sexual intent or sexual assault under POCSO. Read more

Rape

The appeal, which challenged the April 27, 2021 judgement of conviction finding the appellant guilty under Section 376(2) of the Penal Code, 1860, was decided by the Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ. and W. Diengdoh, J. The main focus of the appeal was the 20 years of rigorous imprisonment and Rs. 50,000 fine that was imposed. Read more

Public Interest Litigation

A petition concerning the current health-care system was heard by the Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ, and W. Diengdoh, J. Read more

Life Imprisonment

The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, Chief Justice, and W. Diengdoh, J., dismissed the petition and set aside the conviction order, which was directed against a judgment of conviction under Section 302 of the Penal Code, 1860 and the order of punishment, which sentenced him to life in prison. Read more

Orissa High Court

Superannuation

S.K. Panigrahi, J., denied the petition, stating that “no plea for a change of date of birth after five years from the joining date will be considered.” Read more

Transgender Rights

A.K. Mohapatra, J., has been instructed to complete the trans-sexual woman’s application for a family pension as soon as feasible, ideally within six weeks after receiving a certified copy of the order. Read more

Administrative laches

S. K. Panigrahi, J., ordered the State to pay simple interest at the rate of 6 percent per year on postponed salary within 30 days of today. Read more

Guardian and Wards Act

The case was dismissed by a Division Bench consisting of SK Sahoo and M S Raman JJ., giving the petitioner the freedom to seek the proper remedy before the proper venue in line with the law. Read more

Central Information Commission

A Division Bench of S. Muralidhar and R.K. Pattnaik, JJ. issued a declaratory writ to the effect that the impugned notification dated 11-08-2016 issued by the Information and Public Relations Department, Government of Odisha under Section 24(4) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (‘RTI Act’), will not permit the Government to deny information pertaining to the Vigilance Department involving allegations of corruption and human rights violations, and other information that does not touch upon any of the sensitive and confidential activities undertaken by the Vigilance Department. Read more

Compensation

Arindam Sinha, J. criticised the State for not following the procedure and granted compensation to a woman who conceived even after being sterilised by the State. Read more

Patna High Court

Right to Sanitation

Sanitation is a private, individual matter that is intimately connected to human dignity. Additionally, cleanliness has a crucial public health component. According to a recent ruling by the Division Bench of Sanjay Karol CJ and S. Kumar J, the right to sanitation falls under the purview of Article 21 and as a result, the State, National Highway Authority of India, and Oil Marketing Companies have been instructed to build public restrooms and other conveniences along all of Bihar’s highways. Read more

Rape

While dealing with a case of rape, A M Badar, J. observed that mere non-offering of physical resistance by a rape survivor cannot amount to the consent given by a woman for sexual activity under Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (‘IPC’). Read more

Punjab & Haryana High Court

Religious Beliefs

Karamajit Singh, J., directed the State of Punjab not to take “coercive steps” against Raveena Tandon, Farah Khan, Bharti Singh, Screen Abbas Aziz Dalal, and Frames Production in response to their petition seeking the quashing of an FIR filed against them for allegedly hurting religious sentiments during a Flipkart web show titled “Backbenchers.” Read more

NDPS Act

In a petition under section 439 CrPC for regular bail under sections 22, 25, 27-A, and 29 of the NDPS Act, Jasjit Singh Bedi, J., expanded the petitioner-accused on bail while repeating the observations made by various Courts, including the Supreme Court, on the requirement that section 42 of the NDPS Act be complied with by the relevant authority. Read more

Muslim Personal Law

After the petitioners were forced into marriage, a writ petition was filed to seek the protection of their life and liberty from family members. Jasjit Singh Bedi, J. instructed the Senior Superintendent of Police to determine the petitioners’ claims regarding the threat to their life and liberty after taking into account the petitioners’ capacity to enter into a legal marriage contract and attending to their concerns. Read more

Rajasthan High Court

Bailable Warrant

Dinesh Mehta, J. granted the petition and stated that while expediting the disposition of cases is important, so is adhering to the mandate of the law, including procedural law. Read more

Culpable Homicide

Farjand Ali, J. rejected the petitioner’s request for bail after finding that the investigating agency had overlooked several relevant pieces of evidence. The petitioner was accused of committing an honour killing. Read more

Police Protection

Sameer Jain J. granted police protection and directed the State authorities to charge an appropriate fee from the couple seeking police protection before the Court, if the income is found to be more than the taxable income under the Income Tax Act, 1961. Read more

Telangana High Court

Anticipatory Bail

Juvvadi Sridevi, J., granted anticipatory bail pending the conclusion of the inquiry and the submission of the final report. The Court remarked that the accused 2/petitioner 2 did not appear to have been served with a notice under Section 41-A CrPC, whereas the accused 1/petitioner 1 was simply provided with the notice. Read more

Prevention of Money Laundering

K. Lakshman, J. upheld the petitioner’s appeal against the Directorate of Enforcement’s (ED) request to extend the petitioner’s judicial custody so that the investigation could be finished, stating that a complaint filed without a complete investigation cannot be used to avoid the right to statutory bail under Section 167(2) CrPC. Read more

Maintenance under Section 125 CrPC

In a maintenance case, Sathish Reddy, J. stated that the wife’s earning capacity cannot be used to deny her maintenance. Read more

Commercial Courts Act

The appeal was allowed by the Division Bench of P. Naveen Rao and Sambasivarao Naidu, JJ., who overturned the impugned order’s stance that any disagreement arising from a contract involving real estate that is solely used for business or commerce and whose “specified value” exceeds one crore belongs in a commercial court alone. Read more

Tripura High Court

Harassment

While noting that there were no legitimate grounds to deny the employee gratuity and other retrial benefits, Arindam Lodh, J. directed the employer to release the employee’s gratuity, pension, and other retrial benefits. Read more


*Arunima Bose has put this report together.

Delhi High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Manoj Kumar Ohri J. dismissed the petition as the employer-employee relationship was established by a witness before the court and strict rules of evidence are not applicable in such cases. 

  

The facts of the case are such that Respondent 1 (hereinafter, referred to as ‘the workman’) filed a claim application seeking compensation under the Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923 for injury suffered by him during the course of his employment with the firms namely, Sanjeev Hosiery and Maha Laxmi Hosiery. He was working as a Machine Man since January, 2003 till November, 2005 and his last drawn salary was Rs.8, 000/- per month when he met with an accident. It was claimed that the workman at the time of the incident was about 33 years of age and had suffered disability of about 60%. It was also stated that the services of the workman were terminated on the same day i.e., the date of the incident. The Commissioner, while passing the impugned order allowed the claim petition of the workman and awarded him compensation of Rs. 2, 87,136/- along with interest @ 12%. The instant appeal under Section 30 of the Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923 (hereinafter, referred to as the ‘Act’) was filed seeking setting aside of the order/judgment passed by the Commissioner, Employee Compensation, North District, Delhi. 

  

Counsel for appellants submitted that that the workman has failed to discharge the onus of proving the employer-employee relationship as the workman has claimed that no appointment letter, identity card, attendance card, etc. was ever given to him by the management in question. 

  

Counsel for respondents submitted that the procedure before the Employee Compensation Commissioner is summary in nature and thus rules of evidence are not to be strictly followed. 

  

Issue 1: Relationship of Employer and Employee 

The Court observed that inasmuch as the workman has claimed that no appointment letter, identity card, attendance card, etc. was ever given to him by the management in question. The statement of the workman to this effect is supported by that of co-workman, who was admittedly an employee of the firm(s) on the date of the accident and stated that such documents were not provided to employees by the management. It has also come on record by way of the Inspectors’ reports that the firm(s) in question was not registered. 

  

Issue 2: Reports not proven by scribe 

The Court relied on judgment Om Prakash Batish v. Ranjit, (2008) 12 SCC 212 and opined those proceedings before the Commissioner under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, the provisions of Code of Civil Procedure and Evidence Act are not applicable. The Commissioner can lay down his own procedures and for the purpose of arriving at the truth, rely upon such documents which are produced before it. 

  

The Court held “respondent 1/workman was able to establish his case before the Commissioner; the appeal is dismissed and directed the Commissioner to release the compensation amount in favor of the workman forthwith.” 

[Maha Laxmi Hosiery v. Govind Singh, FAO 548 of 2016, decided on June 6, 2022] 


Appearances: 

For petitioner- Mr Kaushal Yadav and Mr Manish Bansal 

For respondent- Mr Hari Kishan and Mr HS Kohli 


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Rajesh Singh Chauhan, J. allowed a petition which was filed assailing order dated 16-04-2022 passed by the opposite party 1 transferring as many as 163 employees in different Zones serving at Central Bank of India from one place to another.  

 

The petitioner is serving on the post of Officer (Scale-II) in Central Bank of India. Counsel  for the petitioner drew attention of the Court towards Unique Disability ID issued by the Competent Authority of the Government of India relating to wife of the petitioner, who is permanent disable person having 100% disability. Further attention was drawn towards the policy/norms framed on Transfer of Mainstream/ Specialized Officer in Scale-I, II & III of the Bank. He drew  attention of this Court towards para-3 (i) & (iii) of the aforesaid office memorandum of DOPT dated 08-10-2018, which read as under:- 

“(i) A Government employee who is a care-giver of dependent daughter/ son/ parents/ spouse/ brother/ sister with Specified Disability, as certified by the certifying authority as a Person with Benchmark Disability as defined under Section 2 (r) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 may be exempted from the routine exercise of transfer/rotational transfer subject to the administrative constraints.  

(iii) The term ‘Specified Disability’ as defined herein is applicable as grounds only for the purpose of seeking exemption from routine transfers/ rotational transfer by the Government employee, who is a care-giver of dependent daughter/ son/ parents/ spouse/ brother/ sister as stated in para-3 (i) above.” 

 

Counsel for the petitioner has submitted that so as to understand the meaning of ‘care-giver’, ‘benchmark disability’ and ‘permanent disability’, the relevant provision of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. It was therefore prayed that the transfer order, so far as it relates to the petitioner, may be stayed and the petitioner may be accommodated at anywhere at Lucknow Region if he may not be permitted to be posted at a place from where he has been transferred to Cooch Behar, Kolkata. 

 

The Court was of the opinion that if there is any beneficial or compassionate policy to accommodate any employee for the specific and certain reason, the same must be abided by in its letter and spirit. The Court further explained that since the wife of the of the petitioner is a permanent disable person having 100% disability and to look-after and take care of her is a sole responsibility of the petitioner, then his status shall come within the meaning of term ‘care-giver’ as defines under Section 2 (d) of the Act, 2016. The rotational transfers are meant for a person who has not been protected by any compassionate or beneficial policy but if any employee has been protected from any beneficial or compassionate policy, the same may not be ignored unless there is any administrative reason to transfer such person from one zone to another zone.

 

The Court allowed the petition and held that the transfer is an exigency/ incidence of service and no courts are ordinarily interfered with the transfer orders but if such transfer may be avoided for any specific compelling reason and that reason is unavoidable, the Competent Authority being model employer should consider such condition sympathetically. 

[Neeraj Chaturvedi v. Central Bank Of India, 2022 SCC OnLine All 399, decided on 09-06-2022] 


Counsel for Petitioner :- Shireesh Kumar 

Counsel for Respondent :- Gopal Kumar Srivastava 


*Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: The Division Bench of Kesang Doma Bhutia and Moushumi Bhattacharya, JJ. allowed a bail application of the petitioner suffering from 100% speech and hearing impairment under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 under Section 21(C) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

It was brought to the notice of the Court that he had been in custody for 440 days and has suffered from various ailments while in custody.

The Court considering the physical condition of the petitioner and a recent order of the Supreme Court in Rockysingh Jalindersingh Kalyani v. State of Maharashtra, Criminal Appeal No.176 of 2022 where Supreme Court also took into account the physical condition of the person suffering from disability, allowed the bail application.[Parimal Sardar v. State of West Bengal,  2022 SCC OnLine Cal 1217, order dated 18-04-2022]


Mr Arjun Chowdhury, Mrs Pratusha Dutta Chowdhury: For the Petitioner

Mr Aditishankar Chakraborty, Mr Sourav Ganguly: For the State


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: While addressing the plea of a murder convict seeking remission on the ground of blindness, the Division Bench comprising of Sanjay Kisan Kaul and M. M. Sundresh, JJ., directed him to under go medical assessment under Rule 363 of the M.P. Prison Rules and thereafter approach the Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution.

The appellant herein was convicted along with three others in connection with an incident which caused death of two brothers of the complainant and injuries to his father. At the inception itself, by an Order dated 29-01-2010, in view of a medical certificate produced by the appellant that he is visually impaired and is suffering from 100% blindness, the appellant was granted exemption from surrendering and finally on 18-10-2011 the appellant was granted bail.

Notably, the appellant had already undergone sentence of 9 years 10 months and 6 days including remission (actual period 8 years 1 month and 23 days). While pleading remission of sentence to the sentence already undergone, the appellant submitted that instead of canvassing the appeal on merits, an alternative course might be adopted; i.e. Rule 363 of the M.P. Prison Rules, 1968 which provides that where the Medical Officer of the prison is of the opinion that the convicted prisoner has gone completely and incurably blind not as a result of any voluntary act of the prisoner or that a convict prisoner has become completely decrepit or has become disabled on account of incurable physical informity which incapacitated him from the commission of further crime on his release and as such where the release of such a prisoner is not likely to be attended with mischief or danger, he shall report the case of the prisoner to the Superintendent.

The appellant contended that since he is visually impaired to the extent of suffering permanently from 100% blindness and that was not a result of any voluntary act of the prisoner, the aforementioned provision would come to his aid for consideration of his case for release from serving out the remaining sentence.

Considering the case of State of Haryana v. Raj Kumar, (2021) 9 SCC 292, wherein it was held that the benefit of remission can only be granted by the State Government if a prisoner has undergone a minimum period of imprisonment of 14 years without remission as well as the provisions of 432, 433 & 433A of the CrPC read with Article 161 of the Constitution, the Bench agreed that the State can recommend and the power would have to be exercised by the Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution albeit on the aid and advise of the State.

Accordingly, the Bench directed that the appellant, though on bail, to report to the Medical Officer of the prison and stay in observation for few days if required to enable the authorities concerned to comply with procedure enshrined in Rule 363 of the M.P. Prison Rules, 1968 and assess disability of the appellant. Thereafter, the case of the appellant was directed to be laid before the Government.

Hence, the Bench observed that it is only after compliance of Rule 363 that the case of the appellant could be referred to the Governor for exercise of power under Article 161 of the Constitution. Therefore, the Bench directed that the appellant to invoke Rule 363 of the said rules and make an application with all the relevant material within three weeks and simultaneously apply to the Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution.

Since the Court had not addressed the appeal on merit, the matter was directed to listed for directions on 19-07-2022.

[Banshi v. State of M.P., Criminal Appeal No.1944 of 2011, decided on 02-03-2022]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together


Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Opining that the advancement of medical field over a period of time has been enormous, the Division Bench comprising of Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh, JJ., directed the Railways to constitute a committee to revisit its decision disqualifying persons with history of lasik surgery for the post of constables (RPF).

The appellants had appeared in a competitive examination of the Railways and had sought recruitment as constables in the Railway Protection Force (RPF), however, in view of a policy decision taken by the respondents, dated 11-11-2013 qua medical suitability, the appellants were held unfit for service in categories A and B of the Railway Medical Manual, 2000 for having gone through lasik surgery to the eye. The appellants contended that the decision had been brought into force almost 3 years after the date of advertisement; hence it could not be applied to the recruitment process of the appellants. The contention of the appellants had been rejected by the High Court on the reasoning that once the technical committee goes into an aspect, it may not be proper for the court to step into that domain.

Considering the report of the respondents on the requirement of prohibiting the candidates who have gone through lasik surgery, the Bench observed that the order was passed on 17-08-2011 constituting a committee of Ophthalmologists, all from the Railways, to make an in-depth study and formulate guidelines for medical fitness/unfitness qua candidates and employees of various medical categories who have undergone lasik surgery in the past or during the service period. The Bench noted that that at the time of publication of the report, the lasik procedure had been available in India only for a period of 10 years. Pointing the limitation of the report the Bench expressed,

“We may note that now we have the benefit of an extra decade of medical study and observation with respect to the effects of this procedure. In view of the same, it may be time to revisit the issue.”

Emphasizing on the principle of ‘reasonable accommodation’ which underlines the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 with an objective of recognizing the worth of every person as an equal member of the society, the Bench referred to Pranay Kumar Podder v. State of Tripura, (2017) 13 SCC 351, where a candidate suffering from partial colour blindness was declared ineligible to take admission to the MBBS course and by the intervention of the Court a committee of experts was constituted to review the situation which, ultimately opined in favour of the candidate.

Opining that employment is a very important aspect in the Country which deserves a broader conspectus, the Bench directed to constitute a fresh medical committee of three or more members, out of which not more than one Doctor should be from the Railways and an independent Ophthalmologist from a Government hospital and private field should also be included.

The Bench directed that the committee be constituted within a period of two weeks’ to revisit the aspects about the fitness of candidates who have undergone lasik surgery qua different aspects of Railway employment. Further, the committee was directed to opine on the issue and carry out the exercise on or before 30-04-2022. The Bench remarked,

“This is a larger issue. Appellants here are concerned only with a particular aspect of railway employment which does not require fine technical work or the operation of heavy machinery. A parallel with the position in the armed forces may also not be appropriate as constables in the RPF are not deployed at the frontlines.”

The matter was directed to be listed for directions pursuant to the report on 10-05-2022.

[Dalbir v. Union of India, Special Leave to Appeal (C) No(s). 28003-28004 of 2017, decided on 04-02-2022]


Appearance by:

For Appellants: Advocate Raj Kumar, AOR Karunakar Mahalik, Advocate Abhishek Sonkar, Advocate Sangeeta Chauhan, Advocate Sashi Gupta

For Respondent(s): ASG Madhvi Divan, Advocate Vanshaja Shukla, Advocate Piyush Beriwal, Advocate Vaishali Verma, Advocate Preeti Rani, AOR Amrish Kumar, Advocate Brajesh Pandey, AOR Sunil Prakash Sharma


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: Biren Vaishnav J. while deciding on a petition under Art 226 of the Constitution pertaining to prayer of the petitioner to quash his unfit certificate dated 25-01-2022, gave an order dismissing the petition.

The petitioner was declared colour blind and hence unfit for the post of Electrical Assistant by Jamnagar Civil Hospital & Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad. The Court placed reliance on the decision by its decision in Special Civil Applications No. 6217 of 2021 with 8611 of 2020 on 08-02-2022 where it was observed that colour blindness is not a disqualification included in the standards of physical fitness but after examining the nature of duties of Electrical Assistant, he has to deal with live wires, especially during the installation where the colour of the wires is of prime importance. The relied decision justified the denial of appointment to the post of Electrical Assistant.

Therefore, the Court found no fault with the Corporation’s decision of issuing the unfit certificate and the petition was subsequently dismissed.[Bhavesh Khimabhai Pandit v. State of Gujarat, R/Special Civil Appl. No. 2916 of 2022 decided on 11-02-2022.]


Appearance:

For Petitioner: Ms Shubha B. Tripathi

For Respondent: Mr Kurven Desai, Asstt. Govt. Pleader/PP


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Legal RoundUpTribunals/Regulatory Bodies/Commissions Monthly Roundup

Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL)


State commission disallows benefit of increase in the tariff based on the change in law provision; Tribunal directs reconsideration

A Coram of R.K. Gauba (Officiating Chairperson) and Sandesh Kumar Sharma (Technical Member) decided on an appeal which was filed by Solar Power Project Developer (“SPD”) assailing order passed by respondent Bihar Electricity Regulatory Commission (“the State Commission”) disallowing the benefit of increase in the tariff based on the change in law provision with respect to increased Operation and Maintenance (O&M) costs of its 10MW solar power generating system.

Read full report here…


Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT)


AFT grants war injury pension to soldier who sustained injuries resulting in disability during Operation Hifazat

The Bench of Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary (Member J) and Vice Admiral HCS Bisht (Member A), granted war injury pension to the ex-serviceman who had sustained injuries resulting in disability during Operation Hifazat.

Read full report here…


Arbitral Tribunal, New Delhi


Arbitral Tribunal finds SJDA at fault; directs to refund bid amount of Rs 84.24 crores to the claimant in New Township Project

“No permission for conversion of land was obtained and, therefore, even if all other conditions were fulfilled, the Claimant-Developer could not have commenced construction activities on the agricultural lands without obtaining conversion of land use.”

Read full report here…


 Competition Commission of India (CCI)


Apple charging a commission of up to 30% on all payments made through its in-app purchase system, is a violation of its dominant position? CCI orders investigation 

“Some consumers may have preference for closed ecosystem like Apple and others may have a preference for open ecosystems like that of Google.” 

Read full report here… 

Why did CCI suspend the Amazon-Future deal? Detailed analysis of CCI order imposing Rs 202 crores penalty on Amazon

“Amazon had misled the Commission to believe, through false statements and material omissions, that the Combination and its purpose were the interest of Amazon in the business of FCPL.”

Read full report here…

Is Google abusing dominant position in news aggregation? CCI gives prima facie findings; discusses Snippets, Mirror Image Websites, Paywall Options, etc.

“Google appears to operate as a gateway between various news publishers on the one hand and news readers on the other. Another alternative for the news publisher is to forgo the traffic generated by Google for them, which would be unfavourable to their revenue generation.”

Read full report here…


 Customs Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT)


“Obiter dictum” not legally binding as precedent; jurisdictional commissioner cautioned for filing frivolous applications

Suvendu Kumar Pati (Judicial Member) dismissed an appeal which was filed in response to the order passed by this Tribunal for rectification of mistake on the ground that the order to the extent of availment of service of outdoor catering was not proper.

Read full report here…

Jurisdiction for claim of refund filed/initiated to be dealt under the provision Central Excise law and not by the provision of CGST law

Ashok Jindal (Judicial Member) dismissed the application filed by the Revenue (CCE & ST, Panchkula) for ratification of mistake in a final order by the Tribunal which was noticed by the Applicant. The Tribunal dealt with two issues (a) whether to ratify previous order & (b) to deal with the jurisdiction

Read full report here…

Is there any provision under Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004 or Finance Act, 1994 for reversal of CENVAT credit for services provided for which no consideration is received by an assessee? CESTAT analyses

“CENVAT Credit Rules or Finance Act there was no provision for reversal of CENVAT credit for the services provided for which no consideration for service provided was received by an assessee.”

Read full report here…


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

“The OPs 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 full report here…


Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT)


If lessee is not actual owner of property, can actual rental expenses be claimed on return of income? ITAT decides

“The assessee-company has merely taken the assets on lease from the owner, and it is accordingly eligible to claim actual rental expenses in the return of income.”

Read full report here… 

Can merely disowning bank accounts exempt assessee from paying tax? Read why ITAT approved addition of Rs 12.81 Crores under S.68 of Income Tax Act

“Merely disowning the bank accounts by the assessee does not lead to the conclusion that the accounts are not maintained by him when there is a direct evidence contrary to the contention of the assessee.”

Read full report here…


 National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC)


Homebuyers cannot be expected to wait indefinitely for taking possession: NCDRC allows consumer complaint against Builder, directs refund, imposes costs

Commission dealt with a complaint filed under Section 21 read with Section 2(c) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 by the complainant in respect of a plot allotted to him promoted by the OP, claiming deficiency of service due to delay in handing over possession of the plot allotted and claiming refund of amount deposited with compensation.

Read full report here… 

Insurer refuses to issue insurance policy as Risk Confirmation letter obtained on concealment of material fact by Insurance Broker: Policy will be vitiated? NCDRC answers

“Section 19 of Contract Act, 1872, provides that when the consent of an agreement is caused by coercion, fraud, or misrepresentation, the agreement is voidable at the option of the party whose consent is so caused.”

Read full report here…

Plastic pieces found in slices of bread, but compensation denied to consumer. Read why NCDRC set aside State Commission’s order of compensation

Ram Surat Maurya (Presiding Member) addressed a matter wherein Britannia was alleged to have pieces of plastic in its bread, but the complainant failed to prove that the bread was manufactured by the said company.

Read full report here…

Minor treated for “Measles” instead of “Stevens-Johnson Syndrome” due to wrong diagnosis and leading to medical negligence: Read detailed report on NCDRC’s decision

“The patient at her young age of 12 years suffered very serious and potentially fatal SJ syndrome. It was the patient’s sheer good luck that she survived in spite of such grossly inappropriate/inadequate treatment at every stage.”

Read full report here…


National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) 


Is it proper for NCLT to record finding regarding default when RP is yet to consider it and submit report? NCLAT discusses Ss. 95, 97, 99 IBC

“…there cannot be any dispute with the statutory scheme as contained in Section 97 that when application is filed by the Resolution Professional under Section 95, the Adjudicating Authority shall direct the Board within seven days of the date of the application to confirm that disciplinary proceedings pending against the Resolution Professional or not and the Board was required within seven days to communicate in writing either confirming the appointment of the Resolution Professional or rejecting the appointment of the Resolution Professional and nominating another Resolution Professional.” 

Read full report here…

Aggrieved with the categorisation as ‘unsecured creditor’, Tribunal secures ‘secured creditor’, having relinquished the security interest

The Coram of Ashok Bhushan J, (Chairperson), and Dr Alok Srivastava (Technical Member) while accepting the appeal and rejecting the claim of the respondent, the Tribunal was of the opinion that the Adjudicating Authority committed an error in rejecting the claim of the appellant to be ‘secured creditor’.

Read full report here…

Is approval with 90% vote of CoC required before allowing withdrawal of CIRP application even where CoC was not yet constituted? NCLAT clarifies law on S. 12-A IBC 

“…when the application is filed prior to the constitution of Committee of Creditors, the requirement of ninety percent vote of Committee of Creditors is not applicable and the Adjudicating Authority has to consider the Application without requiring approval by ninety percent vote of the Committee of Creditors.”

Read full report here…

Dominant position and Predatory Pricing or Win-Win for riders and drivers? NCLAT upholds CCI’s decision

“We do not think that Ola could operate independently of other competitors in the relevant market, and hence it did not enjoy a dominant position in the market.”

Read full report here…

Once Adjudicating Authority approves Resolution Plan, does it still remains a confidential document? Read what NCLAT says

“The category of creditors including the Members of the suspended Board of Directors or the partners of the corporate persons, who are entitled to participate in the meeting of the Committee of Creditors are entitled to receive copies of all documents.”

Read full report here…


 National Green Tribunal (NGT)


Rampant noise pollution, incessant use of horns; a Deplorable state of affairs! NGT finds Rajasthan in contempt of Supreme Court’s order 

While addressing the issue of pressure/air horns and motor vehicles being driven with intolerable sound in Rajasthan, the Bench comprising of Justice Sheo Kumar Singh (Judicial Member) and Dr. Arun Kumar Verma (Expert Member) found the State of Rajasthan in contempt of the Supreme Court’s order and issued notice to the state government to reply within three weeks.

Read full report here…


Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI)


Twitter, Telegram and the tattered chances-Illicit act of swindlers recommending stock tips on social media; Tribunal acts immediately

“The tips circulated through the Channel create an inducing impact which are then followed by the subscribers and ironically, such stock tips may also prove to be true, if large number of recipients of such tips believe it and collectively act on it. Slowly and gradually, after seeing the price of the said thinly traded scrip actually rising, more and more subscribers start believing in the tips and start acting on it, which further strengthens the belief of such tips being genuine, as large number of individuals end up acting on such tips and by their collective buying actions, convert the deceitful, specious and baseless tips to realty”

Read full report here…

‘Billionaire’ dream turns into dread-Unauthorsied investment advisory amounted to fraud & misrepresentation

S.K. Mohanty, Whole Time Member while affirming an ex-parte interim order of SEBI, was of the view that the activities of the Noticees, Billionaire Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (Sole proprietor Akash Jaiswal) was covered within the definition of “fraud” defined under regulation 2(1)(c) of the PFUTP Regulations, 2003. And therefore was held liable for the violation of provisions of Section 12A (a), (b), (c) of the SEBI Act, 1992, Regulations 3 (b), (c) & (d), 4(1), 4(2)(k) of the SEBI (Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices relating to Securities Market) Regulations, 2003 (PFUTP Regulations, 2003).

Read full report here…

Kerala High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: N. Nagaresh, J., held that it is by virtue of the statute mandating reservation for disabled persons that persons with disability are treated as a homogenous class irrespective of social classification and such a valid classification cannot be sought to be impeached by way of linking it with Article 16 or Article 15 to claim on same reservation for SC/ST candidates.

Factual Matrix

The petitioner, a participant of NEET Examination, 2021 belonged to Scheduled Caste community. The grievance of the petitioner was that as per the Prospectus and various Government Orders, 10% of the Government seats in Government Medical Colleges were reserved for SC/ST candidates; however, the reservation provided by the State was discriminatory in nature. The petitioner alleged that while providing reservation to persons with disabilities, the respondent adopted a criterion to reserve 5% of the seats available after leaving the seats set apart under Clauses 4.1.1 and 4.1.2. However, while granting reservation to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the respondent adopted a different criteria under Clause 4.1.5 by reserving seats leaving the seats set apart under Clauses 4.1.1, 4.1.2, 4.1.3 and 4.1.4 resulting in marginal reduction of number of seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Therefore, the petitioner challenged the Clause 4.1.5 of the Prospectus on the ground that the two classes entitled for reservation were discriminated among them and such adoption of criteria lead to the marginal decrease in the available seats for the SC/ST candidates. The petitioners argued that the condition prescribed in Clause 4.1.5 of was highly arbitrary, unreasonable and violative of the principle of equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution and hence liable to be interdicted.

On the contrary, the State argued that it is for the State to decide as to how the principle of reservation is to be applied and the petitioners cannot maintain a prayer seeking a direction to adopt different criteria from that adopted by the State as the State has sufficient authority to decide how the principle of vertical reservation should be applied.

Analysis and Observations

Persons having disability form a homogenous class by themselves where disability is not on the basis of social backwardness but on the basis of physical disability. Noticing that the claim of the petitioners for reservation was traceable to Article 15 which is an enabling right, while the claim of the PWD persons traces to a statute promulgated for the purpose of implementation of a Constitutional mandate, the Bench held that such a valid classification cannot be sought to be impeached by way of linking it with Article 16 or Article 15.

Therefore, the Bench concluded there was no violation of Article 14, as it postulates equal treatment for equally placed persons that is to say unequals can be treated unequally. The Bench observed,

“Persons claiming social reservation fall in one compartment and persons with disabilities who are included in the quota fall on a different distinct compartment so there arises no question of violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.”

Further, the Bench emphasised that reservation itself is not a matter of right and the Constitutional provision is only enabling in nature. The State can provide for separate and exclusive channels of entry or sources of admission, the validity whereof cannot be determined on the constitutional principles applicable to communal reservations.

Accordingly, it was held that such two channels of entry or two sources of admission were valid provisions, when the classification was based on an intelligible differentia with a laudable object sought to be achieved. The petition was dismissed for being devoid of merit. [Sumith V Kumar v. State of Kerala, WP(C) No. 21885 of 2021, decided on 11-01-2022]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance by:

For the Petitioner: K.Siju, S.Abhilash and Anjana Kannath, Advocates

For the Respondents: P.G.Pramod, Government Pleader and Titus Mani for R7

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: The Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi and Sanjeev Narula, JJ., decided a matter while reasoning out on why a person with Bipolar Disability should be granted reservation under the mental illness category for the appointment as Judicial Officer.

Background

The present petition was preferred to assail the notice/result published by the Registrar General, Delhi High Court dated 21-5-2019, whereby the candidature of the petitioner for Delhi Judicial Services-2018 under the category of Persons with Disabilities was rejected on account of the petitioner’s mental capacity not being found to be permanent in nature.

For the above, the respondent relied upon the Disability Certificate issued by the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences.

Issue for Consideration

Whether the petitioner who is certified to have been suffering from the mental illness i.e., BPAD which is in remission and is likely to improve, is entitled to the benefit of Reservation provided to PwD under the RPwD Act?

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court relying on the Supreme Court decision of Pankaj Mahajan v. Kajal, (2011) 12 SCC 1, wherein the nature of the said illness was considered i.e. BPAD in the context of a claim for divorce on the ground of the wife being incurable of unsound mind, and on the ground of cruelty. In this decision, Court accepted the position that BPAD was a lifelong/permanent and incurable mental illness, premised on statements and evidences led by medical doctors.

This Court in view of the above-cited Supreme Court decision along with medical literature concluded that Bipolar Affective Disorder was a serious lifelong and permanent incurable mental illness that can, at best, be suppressed with medications and treatment, but cannot be cured.

People who suffer from Bipolar Disorder can live a healthy life, albeit they will have to take treatment all their lives.

In the present matter, the petitioner had been suffering from Bipolar Affective Disorder since 2010 and was in treatment for the same since 2010.

In Court’s opinion, the petitioner successfully competed with other PwD candidates, and he was permanently disabled. Hence, he cannot be denied reservation on an assumed basis, as done by the respondent.

The true reason why the respondent rejected the petitioner’s candidature was not that his mental illness was not of permanent nature, or that it may fall below 40% but because the respondent was of the opinion that the medical condition of BPAD rendered the petitioner incapable of rendering service as a Judicial Officer.

Bench expressed that,

Once the posts are advertised – seats are reserved for, inter alia, persons with mental illness, it is not open to respondent to deny the petitioner reservation under the RPwD Act, merely on the basis of an opinion or belief entertained by it – that the petitioner would not be able to discharge his duties as a Judicial Officer due to his mental illness.

Parliament granted reservation, inter alia, to PwD – who suffer from mental illness (which does not include retardation, as taken note of hereinabove), so that such persons get an opportunity to lead a normal life with encouragement and dignity.

It was also stated that

“Merely because they may need medication and treatment throughout their lives, or may suffer setbacks from time to time, cannot be a reason to deny them equal opportunity to assimilate in the society, make their contribution and have a life of dignity.”

Further, the Court elaborated its above observation stating that, such person has a fully developed mind like any normal human being. They may suffer from a substantial disorder of thinking, mood, perception, orientation or memory that may grossly impair judgment, behaviour, capacity to recognize reality or ability to meet the ordinary demand of life, but with medication and treatment such manifestations can be kept at bay.

Why Respondent was not right in not granting reservation to the petitioner?

High Court added that,

  • the respondent could not place any medical opinion on record to come to the conclusion that a person suffering from BPAD and is under remission, would not be able to discharge his responsibilities as a Judicial Officer.
  • Respondent cannot discriminate against any person with a disability in any matter relating to employment.
  • Respondent has no competence to take a decision on the issue of whether the post of a Judicial Officer should be exempted from the rigor of Section 20(1), having regard to the type of work carried out in the establishment of the judicial service.
  • Mere apprehension that there is a possibility that, in future, the petitioner’s disability may deteriorate – once he is appointed as a judicial officer and takes charge, and he may not be able to handle the responsibilities because of its stressful nature, cannot be a reason to deny him the benefit of reservation – to which he is statutorily entitled, and discriminate against him on the basis of his disability.

In view of the above reasons, denial of reservation was in clear breach of Sections 20 and 30 of the RPwD Act.

In the Supreme court decision of LIC of India v. Chief Commissioner for Disabilities, (2002) 101 DLT 434, it was held that a possible future eventuality cannot be a ground to deny employment.

The intent and object of the RPwD Act is to protect and preserve the rights of disabled persons, and employment is an essential aspect of utmost importance and the RPwD Act has to be read liberally, keeping in mind that it is a beneficial and social welfare legislation which has to be given effect to in order to protect the rights of the PwD, and not to defeat their rights.

 Concluding the matter, High Court set aside the notice which declared the petitioner’s disability to be not permanent.

The direction was issued to the respondent to declare the petitioner as selected to the Delhi Judicial Service without any further delay since he was the only qualified candidate in the ‘mental illness’ category.

Upon his appointment, the petitioner would retain his notional seniority along with his other batchmates and he would be deemed to have joined his post along with his other batchmates, though he would not be entitled to any back wages.

 In view of the above petition was disposed of. [Bhavya Nain v. High of Delhi, WP (C) No. 5948 of 2019, decided on 8-5-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner:

Mr. Arvind K. Nigam and Mr. Mohit Mathur, Senior Advocates with Mr.Kawal Nain, Mr. Rohit Dadwal, Mr. Mehtaab Singh Sandhu and Mr.Pratishth Kaushal, Advocates.

For the Respondent:

Mr. Viraj R. Datar, Ms. Meenal Duggal, Advocates.

Armed Forces Tribunal
Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT): The Division Bench of Justice Umesh Chandra Srivastava and Vice Admiral Abhay Raghunath Karve, Member (A) granted disability pension to the person invalidated from service due to Hypertension.

The applicant was enrolled in the Army Service Corps on 24-12-1993 and was discharged in Low Medical Category due to PRIMARY HYPERTENSION @30% for life. Since the Release Medical Board (RMB) had opined the disability to be neither attributable to nor aggravated by service, the applicant’s claim for disability pension was rejected by the respondent.

The applicant contended that he was found mentally and physically fit for service in the Army at the time of enrolment and there was no note in the service documents that he was suffering from any disease at the time of enrolment, therefore, the disease of the applicant was contacted during the service, hence it was attributable to and aggravated by Military Service which made him entitled to disability pension and its rounding off to 50%.

The law on attributability of a disability had been settled by the Supreme Court in the case of Dharamvir Singh v.Union of India, (2013) 7 SCC 316, wherein it had been observed that,

“29.5. If no note of any disability or disease was made at the time of individual’s acceptance for military service, a disease which has led to an individual’s discharge or death will be deemed to have arisen in service [Rule 14(b)].

29.6. If medical opinion holds that the disease could not have been detected on medical examination prior to the acceptance for service and that disease will not be deemed to have arisen during service, the Medical Board is required to state the reasons [Rule 14(b)]; and 29.7. It is mandatory for the Medical Board to follow the guidelines laid down in Chapter II of the Guide to Medical Officers (Military Pensions), 2002 – “Entitlement: General Principles”, including Paras 7, 8 and 9 as referred to above.”

Rejecting the opinion of RMB that the disease was neither attributable to and aggravated by Military Service because the applicant was posted in Peace location, the Bench opined that denying disability pension to applicant was not convincing and did not reflect complete truth on the matter. The Bench held that peace Stations have their own pressure of rigorous military training and associated stress and strain of military service, since the applicant’s disability had started after more than 22 years of Army service the Bench was of the view that benefit of doubt in should be given to the applicant and the disability of the applicant should be considered as aggravated by military service.

Regarding rounding off of disability pension, the Bench relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in Union of India v. Ram Avtar, 2014 SCC OnLine SC 1761, and held that the impugned order rejecting applicant’s claim for grant of disability element was set aside and the disability of the applicant was held as aggravated by Army Service.

The respondents were directed to grant disability element to the applicant, which was directed to be rounded off to 50% for life from the next date of his discharge. [Naba Kumar Chandra v. Union of India, O.A. No. 237 of 2021, decided on 04-10-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance by:

For the Applicant: Advocate Pankaj Kumar Shukla

For the Respondent: Advocate Shaym Singh

Armed Forces Tribunal
Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT): The Division Bench of Justice Umesh Chandra Srivastava (Chairperson) and Vice Admiral Abhay Raghunath Karve, Member (A) held that there is no barometer that can assess the disability percentage to the extent of 1% and therefore, the percentage of disability which has been assessed as 15-19% may be 20% also and there may be variation of at least two percent plus.

Briefly stated facts of the case were that the applicant was enrolled in the Indian Air Force on 14-11-1995 and was discharged on 30-11-2015 in Low Medical Category (Permanent). At the time of his retirement, the Release Medical Board (RMB) assessed his disability ‘SEVERE OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNOEA (OLD)’ at 15-19% for life and opined the disability to be neither attributable to nor aggravated (NANA) by service. The applicant approached the respondents for grant of disability pension but the same was rejected, pursuant to which the applicant had preferred the present Original Application.

The applicant pleaded that he was enrolled as Radio Fitter (Electronics & Telecommunication) trade and was working in advance defence ground environmental system which deals with Radar and Radio equipments and such units are usually at High Altitudes, thus environmental condition leads to stress and strain which had affected his health badly. He submitted that in the year Dec 1998, he was posted at High Altitude Area i.e. Dalhousie (H.P.) located above 10,000 feet and to protect from cold large heating blowers were used. Due to high altitude there was lack of oxygen and due to use of blowers there was lack of moisture content which resulted in breathing problems. In the last phase of his three years tenure, he started having breathing problems at High Altitude due to Nasal Blockage. He further submitted that claim for the grant of disability pension was wrongly rejected on the ground of disability percentage being less than 20% and NANA.

Regarding the issue of disability being assessed as less than 20%, the Tribunal stated that various Tribunals and Courts had found that,

“The assessment of disability to the tune of 15-19% itself is a doubtful assessment and cannot be final for the simple reason that there is no barometer which can assess the disability percentage to the extent of 1% and therefore, the percentage of disability which has been assessed as 15-19% may be 20% also and there may be variation of at least two percent plus also. In case of doubt as the benefit should always be given to the applicant.”

Noticeably, the applicant was enrolled in Indian Air Force in fully fit condition after rigorous medical examination and the disability was detected for the first time in January 2008 after more than 12 years of Air Force service. Therefore, the Tribunal held that disability of the applicant must be presumed to have arisen in the course of service which must, in the absence of any reason recorded by the Medical Board, be presumed to had been attributable to or aggravated by service. Further, there was neither any note in the service record of the applicant at the time of his entry nor was any reason been recorded by the RMBoard that the disease which the applicant was found to be suffering from, could not have been detected at the time of his entry into service hence the reasoning for denying disability pension to applicant was not convincing and did not reflect the complete truth on the matter. The Tribunal remarked,

“The opinion that ‘SEVERE OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNOEA (OLD)’ is caused by obesity and included anatomical variations resulting in airway collapse and apnoea is an good opinion, but nowhere rules out that this may not occur due to conditions of service.”

In the backdrop of above, the Tribunal held that the benefit of doubt in should be given to the applicant and the disability of the applicant should be considered as aggravated by military service. Accordingly, the impugned orders rejecting claim for grant of disability element to the applicant were set aside. The respondents were directed to grant disability element of the pension at 15-19% to the applicant, which was directed to stand rounded off to 50% from the date of discharge.[Rohitash Kumar Sharma v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine AFT 1413, decided on 18-01-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance before the Tribunal:

For the Applicant: Rohitash Kumar Sharma (In-person)

For the Union of India: Govt. Counsel Kaushik Chatterji

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ., and G. S. Kulkarni, J., asked the Municipal Corporations if they are prepared to introduce door to door vaccination for such citizens notwithstanding disinclination of Central government to formulate policy in that regard.

The ASG, Mr. Singh had submitted before the Court the minutes of meetings of Expert Committee constituted by Central government to discuss possibility of door to door vaccination for elderly and disabled citizens. The ASG had further submitted that the Central government is considering of adopting a Standard Operating Procedure for vaccination of elderly. On the other hand, the petitioner contended that no valid reason had been assigned by the Expert Committee for not introducing door to door vaccination policy for the elderly and disabled citizens who cannot be taken to the vaccination centres.

Observing the minutes of the meetings, the Bench asked the Municipal Commissioner whether they are prepared, in spite of disinclination of to formulate door to door vaccination policy for elderly and disabled citizens to introduce door to door vaccination for such citizens and undertake measures for their vaccination upon making them aware of the aftereffects/consequences, under proper medical care and upon obtaining consent of either such citizens or their near relatives, for being vaccinated in pursuance of Court’s order.

[Dhruti Kapadia v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 733, decided on 19-05-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together

Appearance before the Court:

Counsel for the Petitioner: Dhruti Kapadia (In person)

Counsels for UOI: ASG Anil C. Singh with Advait Sethna i/by Anusha P. Amin

Counsels for the State: G.P. Purnima Kantharia with Addl. G.P. Geeta Shastri

Counsel for MCGM: K. H. Mastakar

Counsel for Pune Municipal Corporation: Ahijit Kulkarni

Armed Forces Tribunal
Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Armed Forces Tribunal: The Division Bench of Justice Virender Singh (Chairperson) and Air Marshal BBP Sinha, Member (A) rejected the instant application for the grant of disability pension and rounding off benefits.

The applicant was enrolled in the Grenadiers Regiment on 19-07-2000 and was invalided out of service on 10-02-2001 in low medical category “EEE” during the basic military training itself. The disability of the applicant was assessed at 20% for two years, opining it as neither attributable to nor aggravated by Military service (NANA). The claim of the applicant for disability pension was rejected by the authorities, the applicant instead filing an appeal against the aforesaid decision preferred a writ petition before the High Court of M.P.

The High Court, while relying on the decision of Supreme Court in Union of India v. No. 2695668 Ex Rect Chhittarmal Gurjar, dated 11-07-2002 in LPA No.111 of 2002, directed the respondents to conduct fresh medical examination of the applicant by Army Doctors other than those who had done earlier medical examination. In the subsequent medical examination the applicant was again found medically unfit for further service. Thus, the claim of applicant for disability pension being rejected once again, the applicant reached this Tribunal with original application, which was disposed of vide order dated 01-09-2017 directing the respondent to consider the case of the applicant in the light of the judgment in Chhittarmal’s case. However, once again the claim of applicant was rejected by the respondent vide letter dated 19-04-2018

Counsel for the applicant, Adv. Pankaj Kumar Shukla argued that the applicant was enrolled in Army in a medically fit condition and thereafter he had been invalided out in Low Medical Category, therefore, his disability should be considered as attributable to and aggravated by military service and he should be granted disability pension.

The Tribunal observed that the (Invalidment Medical Board) IMB had clearly opined that the disease existed prior to enrolment of the applicant in the Army service. The disease of the applicant was related to chronic inflammation of the middle ear leading to hearing loss. Hence, it was held that by no stretch of imagination it could be said that the disease which surfaced within four months of enrolment was attributable to or aggravated by stress and strain of Army service. The application was dismissed.[Shailendrabeer Singh v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine AFT 10386, decided on 30-09-2019]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.