Case BriefsSupreme Court

“This Court stands as a staunch proponent of the freedom of the media to report court proceedings. This we believe is integral to the freedom of speech and expression of those who speak, of those who wish to hear and to be heard and above all, in holding the judiciary accountable to the values which justify its existence as a constitutional institution.”

Supreme Court: In the case where the Election Commission of India (EC) had sought a direction restraining the media from reporting on court proceedings after Madras High Court made certain oral remarks attributing responsibility to the EC for the present surge in the number of cases of COVID-19, due to their failure to implement appropriate COVID-19 safety measures and protocol during the elections, the bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud* and MR Shah, JJ has refused to restrain the media from reporting on Court proceedings.

“It is trite to say that a formal opinion of a judicial institution is reflected through its judgments and orders, and not its oral observations during the hearing. Hence, in view of the above discussion, we find no substance in the prayer of the EC for restraining the media from reporting on court proceedings.”

During the course of the hearing, the Madras High Court had allegedly orally observed that the EC is “the institution that is singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID-19” and that the EC “should be put up for murder charges”. These remarks, though not part of the order of the High Court, were reported in the print, electronic and tele media.

EC had alleged that these remarks are baseless, and have tarnished image of the EC, which is an independent constitutional authority.

Noticing that these oral remarks are not a part of the official judicial record, and therefore, the question of expunging them did not arise, the Supreme Court said that,

“… the High Court was faced with a situation of rising cases of COVID-19 and, as a constitutional Court, was entrusted with protecting the life and liberty of citizens. The remarks of the High Court were harsh. The metaphor inappropriate. The High Court – if indeed it did make the oral observations which have been alluded to – did not seek to attribute culpability for the COVID-19 pandemic in the country to the EC. What instead it would have intended to do was to urge the EC to ensure stricter compliance of COVID-19 related protocols during elections.”

Tasked with balancing the rights of two independent constitutional authorities, the Court observed that the High Courts are often the first point of contact for citizens whose fundamental rights have been violated. High Courts are constantly in touch with ground realities in their jurisdictions.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the High Courts across the country have shown commendable foresight in managing the public health crisis which threatens to submerge humanity. Their anguish when they come face to face with reality must be understood in that sense.”

On the other hand, the EC has facilitated the operation of our constitutional democracy by conducting free and fair elections and regulating conduct around them for over seven decades.

“Its independence and integrity are essential for democracy to thrive. This responsibility covers powers, duties and myriad functions which are essential for conducting the periodic exercise of breathing life into our democratic political spaces.”

While the Court held that the High Court was faced with a situation of rising cases of COVID-19 and, as a constitutional Court, was entrusted with protecting the life and liberty of citizens and hence, only intended to urge the EC to ensure stricter compliance of COVID-19 related protocols during elections, it emphasised on the need for judges to exercise caution in off-the-cuff remarks in open court, which may be susceptible to misinterpretation.

“Language, both on the Bench and in judgments, must comport with judicial propriety. Language is an important instrument of a judicial process which is sensitive to constitutional values. Judicial language is a window to a conscience sensitive to constitutional ethos. Bereft of its understated balance, language risks losing its symbolism as a protector of human dignity. The power of judicial review is entrusted to the High Courts under the Constitution. So high is its pedestal that it constitutes a part of the basic features of the Constitution. Yet responsibility bears a direct co-relationship with the nature and dimensions of the entrustment of power. A degree of caution and circumspection by the High Court would have allayed a grievance of the nature that has been urged in the present case.”

The Court concluded by saying that the oral observations during the course of the hearing have passed with the moment and do not constitute a part of the record.

[Chief Election Commissioner of India v. M.R Vijayabhaskar, Civil Appeal No. 1767 of 2021, decided on 06.05.2021]


*Judgment by: Justice Dr. DY Chandrachud

Appearances before the Court:

For EC: Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi and Advocate Amit Sharma

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Madras High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, J., while addressing the State’s failure in filing the status report in view of the High Court’s previous orders.

Court expressed,

Even as the common man remains apprehensive and fears for his life while praying that he does not get affected by the virus since the medical facilities remain suspect, the State’s indolence knows no bounds to use the pandemic as an excuse for acting in flagrant breach of orders of this Court.

Bench noted that it is the virus being blamed for the status report not being filed despite previous orders.

Court depicted its exasperation by noting the order passed nearly three weeks back in this petition on 7-04-2021:

“The State seeks a further week’s time to comply with the relevant order.

As a last chance, the State is afforded ten days’ time to complete the work and file a status report when the matter appears next a fortnight hence.

List on 28.04.2021.”

In the above order, State was given “last chance” to file the status report but it failed.

Matter will appear today i.e. 30-04-2021. Court stated that the Advocate-General should represent the State to file the status report and justify the conduct of the State as was noticed in several other matters.[C. Kumar v. State of Tamil Nadu, WP No. 31008 of 2019, decided on 28-04-2021]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Madras High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, J., while noting the upsurge of COVID-19, stated that

Public health is of paramount importance and it is distressing that Constitutional authorities have to be reminded in such regard. It is only when the citizen survives that he enjoys the other rights that this democratic republic guarantees unto him. The situation is now one of survival and protection and, everything else comes thereafter.

Instant petition pertained to the counting of votes at a solitary assembly constituency, but the larger picture cannot be missed.

Petitioner apprehended that at assembly constituency, special measures have to be taken at the time of counting to maintain COVID protocol since 77 candidates are in the fray and even though an additional hall has been arranged by the Election Commission for the purpose of counting, that may not suffice to accommodate the counting personnel and the agents of 7 candidates.

COVID Protocol not adhered

It was noted that even though the polling was by and large peaceful in this State on 6-04-2021, the Election Commission could not ensure that political parties adhered to the Covid protocol at the time of election campaigns and rallies.

Election Commission and COVID Protocol

Despite repeated orders of this Court, going on like a broken record at the foot of almost every order on an election petition, that Covid protocol ought to be maintained during the campaign time, the significance of adhering to such protocol may have been lost on the Election Commission, going by the silence on the part of the Election Commission as campaigning and rallies were conducted without distancing norms being maintained and in wanton disregard of the other requirements of the protocol.

Court expressed that due to rapid surge in the number of cases on a daily basis, albeit this State not yet being as badly affected as some other States, the measures to be adopted at the time of the counting of votes on May 2, 2021, should already have been planned in the light of the grim situation now prevailing.

Bench remarked:

At no cost should the counting result in being a catalyst for a further surge, politics or no politics, and whether the counting takes place in a staggered manner or is deferred.

 Further, as far as the Karur constituency was concerned Election Commission submitted that two halls were arranged and on Court’s query whether such spaces would be adequate if the 77 candidates were to engage agents at the time of counting, Election Commission claimed that all but two of the independent candidates indicated that they would not engage any agents while counting and only 7 out of 9 major political parties were confirmed in writing that they would be appointing agents.

In view of the prevailing situation, Election Commission did not expect that COVID protocol and appropriate measures could not be taken if counting was conducted at two designated halls.

Adding to the above, the Commission stated that 6 additional counting tables were also organized so that the distancing norms could be maintained.

Bench stated that similar appropriate measures be adopted at other counting centres and only upon maintaining regular sanitization, proper hygienic conditions, mandatory wearing of mask and adherence to distance norms, should any counting begin or be continued.

Lastly, the Court directed that State Health Secretary and Director of Public Health should be consulted by Election Commission and the Chief Electoral Officer responsible in the State, to put appropriate measures in place immediately.

Petitioner said that since Karur is a sensitive constituency, additional security measures should be put in place. The Returning Officer, in consultation with the Chief Electoral Officer in the State, will ensure that appropriate security measures are put in place and, if there is any apprehension of trouble or mischief, the State may be approached in this regard.

Matter to appear on 30-04-2021 to review the situation when a complete picture as to adequate steps having been taken at all counting centres should be indicated by the Election Commission. [M.R. Vijayabhaskar v. Chief Election Commissioner of India, WP No. 10441 of 2021, decided on 26-04-2021]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

COVID-19 Upsurge | Madras High Court

Even though the situation in Tamil Nadu may be better than other places in the country, so as to ensure that immediate preventive measures are taken to arrest the further spread of the pandemic, the State Government has requested the High Court of Madras to take appropriate immediate measures so that the footfall in the court buildings is reduced considerably.

Therefore, it is notified that,

1. In the High Court, hearing of cases shall be only on virtual mode to the extent possible, except the appearance of the Government Lawyers in respect of bail and other urgent motions.

2. All Lawyers’ Chambers shall remain closed from 17-04-2021 (Saturday) until further orders.

3. The Libraries in all the Bar Associations shall remain closed until further orders.

4. The above restrictions will apply to the Madurai Bench as well.

5. The above arrangements will continue till 23-04-2021 (Friday). The situation will be reviewed on 22-04-2021 for further directions.

6. This notification supersedes the Notification No.23991-C/2020/C3, dated 18.03.2021; Notification No.75/2021, dated 07.04.2021; and all other earlier notifications on the above subject.


Madras High Court

[Notification dt. 15-04-2021]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Sathish Kumar, J., expressed that:

“…to constitute an offence under Section 500 of IPC, against the constitutional functionaries or the Minister of State, it has to be established by the prosecution that the alleged imputation made in respect of the conduct of a public servant/public functionary in discharge of his/her public functions and the public function stands on a different footing than the private activities of a public servant.

If the statement is made on mere criticism then it is a right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”

The present criminal original petition was filed to quash the proceedings pending with regard to criminal cases related to elected Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu, Chennai.

Prosecution submitted that in an interview, the petitioner gave a defamatory statement against the Chief Minister and Ministers of Government of Tamil Nadu which was telecasted in leading Television Channels and the same came in the leading dailies on a subsequent day.

In view of the above-stated complainant gave a complaint under Section 199(2) of CrPC of the alleged offence under Section 499 of IPC punishable under Section 500 IPC.

Analysis, Law and Decision

In the instant matter, the imputation alleged to have made by the petitioner was only an allegation made against the ministers in general and in no way connected with the discharge of their official functions.

“…power of quashing of a criminal proceedings should be exercised sparingly, with circumspection and in rarest of rare cases. The court, is not justified in embarking upon an enquiry as to the reliability or genuineness of the allegations made in the FIR or the complaint on the basis of the evidence collected during investigation.”

 Supreme Court decision in State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, 1992 Supp (1) SCC 335, was cited.

Bench stated that the allegations in the FIR and the materials collected by the prosecution did not disclose the commission of any offence and made out a case against the accused and prosecution itself is instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance, Court can exercise power under Section 482 CrPC.

Supreme Court in a catena of decisions such as Rajdeep Sardesai v. State of A.P., (2015) 8 SCC 239 held that judicial process should not be an instrument of oppression or needless harassment.

Mere allegation made against the Ministers in general without any intent on the part of the petitioner and/or without any nexus with discharge of public duties will not come under the purview of offence punishable under Section 500 of IPC.

 While taking cognizance of a complaint under Section 199(2) CrPC, defamation should be directly attributed to a person in discharge of his/her public functions and only in such circumstances the said provision would stand attracted.

Hence, in view of the above discussion, the pending complaint related to Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu was liable to be quashed.

Before parting with the decision, High Court recorded that persons in public life and the leaders of various political parties should restrain themselves from making serious allegations or criticism against constitutional functionaries since leaders of political parties have huge followers and the same will have a serious impact on the followers and the followers also blindly follow the path of their leaders.

“…irrespective of the political affiliation, when a person raised to the level of leader of a political party should show atmost respect to the others in public life. Of course, every citizen of a democratic country have a freedom of speech, but at the same time such criticism should not exceed affecting the sentiments of others also.”

[T.T.V. Dhinakaran v. City Public Prosecutor, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 1370, decided on 08-03-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For Petitioner: Mr.P.S. Raman Senior Counsel for Mr N.Raja Senthoor Pandian

For Respondent: Mr.A.Natarajan, State Public Prosecutor

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: V. Bhavani Subbaroyan, J., while addressing a very significant issue with respect to a divorce being sought, expressed that:

“…concept of marriage in the present generation has been taken very lightly and even for trivial issues, divorce is filed, and marriage is broken.”

Wife filed the present petition against the petition filed by the Husband before the Family Court. The husband’s petition was filed on the ground that the wife was suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and was not fit for cohabitation or to give birth to a child.

Husband also filed an interlocutory application seeking for an amendment to include the provision of law from 12(1)(a) and 12(1)(a) and (c). The said petition seeking for amendment was pending before the Family Court for decision.

Petitioners Counsel, S.P. Arthi submitted that PCOS disorder is an endocrine system disorder that affects the capacity of reproduction in women, and which is totally distinct and different from claiming to be impotence.

As per the contention of counsel for the petitioner, the said claim made by the husband was absolutely incorrect and the said usage of terminology of impotency against the wife could not be sustained and on the said ground striking off the petition was sought.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Bench noted the categorical allegation placed by the husband with regard to the issue of PCOS in the wife due to which the husband sought a divorce.

High Court expressed that:

The term ‘PSOS’ by itself cannot be termed as ‘impotency’. Impotency is different and unable to give birth to a child is different, owing to various physical and mental reasons.

 On careful consideration of the contentions placed on record, it was clear that the husband did not plead the wife’s inability to give birth to a child as ‘Impotency’, but he sought annulment of marriage on the reason that there was no cohabitation and wife could not bear a child. He also submitted that the wife did not cooperate for cohabitation owing to her medical condition, as she was almost 25 days on her menstrual cycle.

Marriage being a bondage between men and women as husband and wife, it not only limits to a biological needs and desires, but also as a companion in life caring forward to the next generation through their children.

Elaborating more in respect to the present set of facts and circumstances, Bench added that Family Courts have increased in numbers to cater to the demand of intolerant couple, who are unmindful of the institution of marriage, break the relationship on unimaginable trivial reasons.

As per the pleadings placed, nowhere the husband used the word connoting impotency towards his wife. He mainly approached with the complaint that the wife could not bear a child for two reasons:

  • No Cohabitation
  • Suffering from ‘PCOS’ due to which wife suffers from improper menstrual cycle.

Legitimate Expectation?

Bench expressed that it is the husband’s legitimate expectation to live with his wife and have cohabitation and bear children and if the same is not achieved owing to some physical or mental problems, it is quite logical that either of the parties will approach the Court for seeking a divorce.

Except for some case wherein the couple are understanding and come forward with the life issue-less or even go for adoption, however, the same has to be proved by the person claiming that his or her partner is incapacitated to give or bear the child.

Petitioner/Wife could not show the husbands averments to be illusive.

Hence, High Court did not find any grounds seeking for the intervention of this Court under Article 227 of the Constitution of India with regard to striking off the petition.[ Annapoorani v. S. Ritesh,  2021 SCC OnLine Mad 1079, decided on 16-03-2021]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, J., addressed an issue wherein the association of fishermen sought compensation and jobs for the family of deceased fishermen who were recently killed by an attack apparently at the hands of the Sri Lankan navy. 

“There should be no duplication of job opportunities, but the appropriate departments of the State and the Centre may coordinate and provide adequate compensation in the wake of the untimely deaths of the four fishermen.”

Background

The association of fishermen sought to espouse the cause of the four local fishermen who were recently killed by an attack at the hand of the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly straying beyond the territorial waters of India.

The two aspects involved in the present matter are as follows:

  • Compensation and Jobs for the family of the deceased fishermen
  • Appropriate Police Station to conduct the investigation into the deaths of the four fishermen.

With regard to the jobs to legal heirs and compensation demanded, the petitioner shall approach the Department of Fisheries of the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Department of the Animal Husbandry and Fisheries under the State Government.

Bench stated that the State and Central Government may coordinate and provide adequate compensation in the wake of the untimely deaths of the 4 fishermen.

Investigation

The Centre and the State should coordinate to specify a particular authority, in accordance with law, that would head the investigation and bring the matter to a logical end by giving a due closure so that the families of the deceased fishermen are aware of the circumstances in which the four died.

High Court in view of the above disposed of the present petition.[Fisherman Care v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 1291, decided on 22-03-2021]


For Petitioner: Mr L.P.Maurya

For Respondents: Mr S.Janarthanam CGSC for respondent Nos. 1 to 4

: Mr V.Jayaprakash Narayanan State Government Pleader for respondent No.5

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ and SenthilKumar Ramamoorthy, J., addressed the concern with regard to the quality of education being compromised in law colleges due to the increasing number of law colleges being opened up.

Instant matter pertained to the mushrooming of law colleges in the State.

It was stated that the standard of education imparted at some of the existing law colleges and the infrastructure available needs to be looked into.

As per the State Bar Council, it has been taking vigilant and sufficient steps, but unless there was uniformity all over the country, whether under the aegis of the Bar Council of India or pursuant to Court Orders, the situation could not be appropriately addressed.

Bench stated that there was substance in what the Bar Council stated since regulation of law colleges in a continuous state allows easy access.

Since orders have been passed earlier pertaining to the present matter hence Bench stated that the only thing that can be said is for the Bar Council to be vigilant as far as this State was concerned, since it cannot go beyond the territorial limits.

Bench expressed that the matter needs to be looked into, in-depth, by the Bar Council and possible orders have to be sought at an all India Level to ensure that the quality is not compromised in course of more law colleges being born in the guise of opportunities being created.

However, High Court held that no mandamus could be issued. Further, since it may not be effective merely to regulate the opening of law colleges within the boundaries of this State as easy access to law colleges across the neighbouring States will always be open, no meaningful order is possible to be issued at this level.

Bench suggested that the petitioner can continue the crusade but he may carry the said request to a different level.[M.D. Ashok v. Tamil Nadu State Government, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 1289, decided on 23-03-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For Petitioner: Mr M. Madhuprakash

For Respondents: Mr V. Jayaprakash Narayanan State Government Pleader for respondent Nos.1 and 2

                               : Mr. S. R. Raghunathan for respondent No.3

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, J., expressed that:

Election Commission has sufficient authority to put checks and balances in place that allow a Minister or the like to enjoy the status yet not spend official funds for campaigning or election purposes.

Petitioner sought prohibition on Ministers and the like from campaigning in the elections as they hold public offices, draw a salary from the government and were in a position to exert undue influence.

Further, it was added that the petitioners shall be restrained to campaign for their party candidates contest in the general elections (except their candidature).

In an ideal world, there should be a level playing field where government functionaries do not use the perks and benefits in the office while they campaign for election purposes.

Further, it was noted that a Minister may be willing to shed his official bandobast to attend a rally merely as a politician, the very status of the Minister and the requirement to give him security cover may not permit the freedom that would be required for the purpose. This goes more so with higher officials like Chief Ministers and those holding cabinet positions at the Centre.

It was stated that the petitioner’s idealism may be slightly out of place. However, Strict Election Commission could put some guidelines in place, adding to the present ones in order to at least ensure that the government funds are not brazenly used for campaigning purposes as is usually being indulged.

Bench in view of the above added that the malaise is now deep-rooted.

One has to wear allegiance to a political leader, if not on the sleeve at least visibly crying out of the pocket. And these are not only at election time but adopted as a perennial measure, almost as a talisman to ward off the evil eye. 

High Court held that the Election Commission will deal with the petitioner’s representation, if not for the upcoming elections, then for the future elections. [Ahimsa Socialist Party v. Chief Election Commissioner, WP No. 5179 of 2021, decided on 23-03-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For Petitioner: Mr. T. Sivagnanasambandan

For Respondents: Mr. Niranjan Rajagopal

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Anand Venkatesh, J., while addressing an issue with respect to protection to the same-sex couple, expressed that:

“…I am also trying to break my own preconceived notions about this issue and I am in the process of evolving, and sincerely attempting to understand the feelings of the Petitioners…”

Pursuant to the earlier order passed by this Court on 22-03-2021, considering the sensitivity of the issue, the matter was directed to be posted in chambers.

Petitioner 1 aged 22 years completed B.Sc. Mathematics and was presently pursuing M.B.A. in correspondence mode. Petitioner 2 aged 20 years pursued B.A. Tamil through correspondence mode.

Both the petitioners have known each other for the last 2 years and both of them in unison stated that their friendship blossomed into love and clearly stated that they wanted to be partners.

The petitioners did not mince any words and there was so much clarity in what they wanted to convey.

Petitioner’s parents did not like the relationship between the petitioners, due to which pressure started mounting and hence the petitioners left for Chennai. They are looking for a job in order to financially sustain themselves.

High Court individually interacted with parents of the respective petitioners and noted that the parents were worried and concerned about the security of the petitioners that they should not get exploited. The parents were also eager to talk with their respective daughters.

Further, Bench requested the Mediation Centre to allot two cabins to enable the parents to have one-to-one interaction with their daughters.

Court referred the petitioners and their respective parents to a counsellor who specializes in working with LGBTQI + individuals and added that:

“This move becomes very vital since this Court is moving into unchartered waters, and a report from a specialist will provide support to this Court to move forward in this case.”            

Bench expressed that:

“…I am also trying to break my own preconceived notions about this issue and I am in the process of evolving, and sincerely attempting to understand the feelings of the Petitioners and their parents thereafter, proceed to write a detailed Order on this issue. That is the reason why I am trying to develop this case brick by brick and ultimately, construct something purposeful on this issue.”

High Court informed the parties that the counselling will take place during the third week of April, 2021.

Court also requested Ms Vidya Dinakaran, M.Sc. Counselling Psychology, to counsel the parties and the request was readily accepted by the specialist.

Prima facie, Court got an impression that the parties will work towards a peaceful resolution, and what is required for the present was an understanding of the issue at hand. Petitioners even agreed to interact with their parents on a regular basis.

While concluding, the Government Advocate submitted that the police will not interfere in the present issue any longer, and that the complaints will be immediately closed.

Matter to be posted on 28-04-2021. [S. Sushma v. Director General of Police, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 1290, decided on 29-03-2021]


Read more:

Madras HC | Society still grappling to come to terms with same sex orientation: HC orders protection and in-chamber hearing

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Madras High Court: A Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ. and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, J., requested all political parties and candidates, who hold meetings and go campaigning all over the State, to ensure that at every gathering masks are worn by all and that social distancing norms are maintained without exception.

The Court was hearing a petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying for issue of Writ of Mandamus directing the State of Tamil Nadu and the State Chief Election Commissioner to prevent the election campaign in 234 constituencies in the State Assembly Election to be held next month. The petitioner had forwarded a representation on 2-3-2021 to such effect but the authorities did not respond to the petitioner or take any action in terms thereof.

The Court noted that: “It is no doubt a matter of concern that the Covid cases have been rising in the recent days and a second wave appears to be upon us.

However, as per the Court, since the assembly elections have been notified and the process is about to be completed by voting next month, it cannot be interfered with at this stage.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the instant petition by requesting all political parties and candidates, who hold meetings and go campaigning all over the State, to ensure that at every gathering masks are worn by all and that social distancing norms are maintained without exception. The Court further said that it may do well for the Election Commission to send a message in such regard to all candidates and in respect of all gatherings at campaign meetings and the like. [A. Jalaudeen v. State, WP (MD) No. 5766 of 2021, decided on 22-3-2021]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Anand Venkatesh, J., while addressing a concern with respect to threat to life and liberty of the same-sex couple, stated that:

“…it is a sample case of how the society even now is grappling to come to terms with same sex orientation.”

Petitioners have same-sex relationship and the same was being opposed by the 4th and 5th respondents, who are the father of the respective petitioners.

Petitioner counsel, Manuraj submitted that since the parents did not agree with the same sex relationship, complaints were registered and two FIRs wherein it was submitted that a girl was missing.

Petitioners were being made to run from pillar to post for their own safety and security. Counsel submitted that the respondent police should be directed not to cause harassment to the petitioners and also ensure that no danger from the 4th and 5th respondents would be caused.

Government Advocate on behalf of the respondent Police submitted that police will be instructed in this regard and safety will be ensured.

Bench in view of the facts and circumstances of the matter expressed that, the case in hand requires to be dealt with more sensitivity and empathy.

Matter to be posted on 29-03-2021, in his Lordship’s Chamber. [S. Sushma v. Director General of Police, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 1188, decided on 22-03-2021]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, J., while addressing a riveting issue wherein a political party challenged Section 60 (c) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the corresponding rules to facilitate postal ballots for absentee voters including senior citizens of above 80 years, persons with disabilities, COVID-19 affected/ suspected and persons employed in essential services, held that:

“…clause (c) is eminently compatible with the company that it keeps in Section 60 of the Act of 1951 without betraying any sign of incongruity.”

Amendment effected in 2003 to Representation of the People Act, 1951 || In Question

Propriety of an amendment effected in 2003 to the Representation of the People Act, 1951 had been called into question by one of the leading political parties in the State along with myriad other grievances in respect of guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India and classification of persons who may exercise their franchise otherwise than by presenting themselves at a polling booth in the forthcoming assembly elections.

Stance of Political Party

The introduction of 60 (c) of the Act, 1951 amounts to the excessive delegation as it is perceived to confer virtual legislative authority to the Election Commission.

Election Commission has the primacy in conducting assembly elections, Petitioner while agreeing the said suggested that matters as such as the classes of persons who may vote otherwise than by attending the election booth must be completely indicated in any rules that may be framed by the Central Government and Election Commission must not be left with any authority to pick and choose from such classes of persons.

The said provision does not permit Election Commission to indicate any classes of persons to permit them to vote otherwise than by attending the election booth.

Hence, in view of the above stated, the 2019 and 2020 amendments to Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 have been challenged along with the guidelines issued by the Election Commission on 17th September, 2020; 2nd February, 2021 and 27th February 2021.

Rules have been challenged and questioned on the ground of — Excessive Delegation.

Petitioner submitted that

  • Sanctity of the right to vote, which is the most fundamental right enjoyed by a citizen in a democracy, is desecrated by the mode and manner of voting as stipulated for a class of persons by the Election Commission.
  • Secrecy in casting a vote, which is the fulfilment of the right to choose by an ordinary citizen, is seriously compromised in the voting process designed by the Election Commission for absentee voters.
  • Election Commission has virtually cut off the role of political parties in the process.

Analysis, Law and Decision 

Bench in view of the facts and circumstances of the present case stated that the petitioning party must be seen to be aware of the voter, difficulties that the Election Commission may face in implementing the manner of voting through postal ballot, the endeavour of the party has to be respected as an attempt to ensure a free and fair election.

Court further expressed that the nature of the petitioner’s attack on the validity of Section 60(c) of the Act of 1951 falls way short of the exalted tests that a person questioning the propriety of a statutory provision must meet.

The discussion with respect to excessive delegation in the present matter pertains to high constitutional authority as the Election Commission and the venerable position conferred to such Commission by constitutional provisions in Part XV of the suprema lex.

There is no doubt that the Election Commission has to abide by the laws made by the Parliament, but the laws made by the Parliament can only be such as may facilitate the conduct of the elections by the Election Commission in the milieu of the expansive domain carved out for the Commission in the wide words of Article 324 of the Constitution.

 Further with regard to the choice of senior citizens aged 80 years, Petitioner contended that when the lower age limit of a senior citizen has been reduced from the erstwhile 80 years to 65 years by the Central Government amending the 1961 Rules, the Election Commission has no business to go by the class of senior citizens in the pre-amended provision and extend only to them the choice of voting by postal ballot.

Fallacy in the above argument

Section 60(c) of the Act of 1951 permits any person to be chosen by the Election Commission from a class of persons indicated in the Rules to be conferred the privilege of voting by postal ballot as long as the choice is preceded by a consultation with the Central Government and followed by a notification in such regard being published.

If the statute confers the right to indicate classes of persons to the executive and the executive allows the Election Commission to choose sub-classes in consultation with the executive, no case of excessive delegation is made out.

Further, the High court noted that the only matters of substance that the petitioner has been able to urge pertain to the word “notified” used in Section 60(c) of the Act of 1951 and the perceived failure of the Election Commission in such regard together with the use of the word “postal” implying that the postal ballots would necessarily have to be sent by post and received back by post and in no other manner.

Adding to the above, Bench expressed that,

Four classes of persons included as absentee voters and entitled to choose to exercise their franchise by postal ballot – senior citizens above 80 years, persons with disabilities, Covid-affected persons and personnel engaged in specific essential services – have been duly notified upon the notifications being completed by corresponding publications being made in the Official Gazette of the State.

With respect to choosing the smaller classes over larger in some cases was upon consultation with the Central Government.

Noting and observing the above discussion, Court further proceeded to state that:

“…all that the Election Commission has done here is to be inclusive and allow certain classes of persons who would have been excluded from exercising their franchise the right to use the postal ballot and participate in the celebration of the festival of democracy.”

Elaborating more on the said subject of excessive delegation, Court held that in the backdrop of the rule-making provision in Section 169 of the Act of 1951 mandating consultation with the Election Commission, the Rules of 1961, particularly the amendments brought about in 2019 and 2020, do not amount to the excessive delegation.

Right to participate in the democratic process

Court also found no arbitrariness in the classification of the persons permitted by the Rules of 1961 to cast their vote by postal ballot, which is based on who may not be able to physically attend the polling booth.

Supreme Court decision in A.C. Jose, recognised the authority of the Election Commission to pass any orders in respect of the conduct of elections when there is no parliamentary legislation or rule made under the said legislation.

Lastly, while concluding, High Court held that it did not find any merit in the challenge –whether to the validity of Section 60(c) of the Act of 1951 or to the impugned guidelines issued by the Election Commission or, generally, to how the Commission has gone about in its endeavour to conduct the ensuing assembly elections in this State.[Dravida Munnetara Kazhagam v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 1100 , decided on 17-03-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Mr P.Wilson, Senior Counsel for M/s. P. Wilson Associates

For the Respondents: Mr R.Sankaranarayanan Additional Solicitor-General assisted by Mr K.Srinivasamurthy Senior Panel Counsel for Central Government for 1st respondent

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Anand Venkatesh, J., moving further in a matter wherein Court took suo motu cognizance with respect to the sexual harassment of a Lady IPS Officer by the Special DGP, expressed that:

“…the period during which a government servant is kept under compulsory wait is construed to be a ‘period spent on duty’.”

In regard to the matter wherein the Lady IPS Officer alleged that she was sexually harassed by the Special DGP, the Investigation Officer presented the Status Report before the Court.

From the Status report, it was seen that Section 41-A CrPC, summon was issued to accused 1, 2 and Superintendent of Police. Statements of the said persons have been recorded by the Investigation Officer.

In Court’s Order on 12-03-2021, it was clearly expressed that A-2 was placed under suspension considering the seriousness of the allegations made in the case after which the Court specifically posed why A-1 was not suspended till date to which it was brought to the Court’s notice that A1 had been kept under compulsory wait.

Compulsory Wait – A punishment?

Placing an officer under compulsory wait does not attach any stigma to it and such compulsory wait is resorted to only in cases where a government servant is not able to be accommodated in a suitable post or vacancy for extracting his services.

Further, it was added that, till such a suitable post or vacancy is identified, the government servant is kept under compulsory wait.

Government Servant who will be under compulsory wait will be entitled to all the service benefits including allowances during this period.

Hence, keeping an officer under compulsory wait will never amount to punishment.

In the present matter, A-1 is the Special DGP-Law and Order and when such a superior officer is kept on a mere compulsory wait and further interrogated by an officer of a subordinate rank, the same will psychologically intimidate the officer from carrying on the investigation in a free and fair means, which is why the suspension of A-1 assumes significance.

Bench added that the seriousness of the case can be assessed only on the prima facie materials that have been collected by the Investigation Officer, till now.

In light of the prima facie materials available, is it had been applied to a subordinate rank police officer, the officer would have been suspended in contemplation of initiation of disciplinary proceedings.

Free and Fair manner of investigation

Since this Court has taken upon itself to monitor the investigation, in this case, shows that it involves public interest, and also the dignity of the police force in the state of Tamil Nadu. Therefore, taking a positive step by suspending A-1, pending the investigation will bring in more confidence in the perception of the general public that the issue has been taken up with all seriousness and the investigation will progress in a free and fair manner.

In view of the sentiments expressed by the Court, State should take the necessary steps and report before the Court.

Matter is to be posted on 23-03-2021. [Government of India, In Re., 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 1119, decided on 16-03-2021]


Advocates before the matter:

Mr N. Ramesh, Central Government Senior Counsel for R 1

Mr Jayaprakash Narayanan, State Government Pleader for R 2 & R 3

Mr M. Mohamed Muzammil, Government Advocate (Crl. Side) for R 4 & R 5


Read More:

Madras HC | Lady IPS Officer harassed by Special DGP. “Court is not going to be a mute spectator”: HC takes suo motu cognizance; decides to monitor investigation; issues directions

Madras HC | Media and Political Parties restrained from indulging in any discussions on alleged sexual harassment of Lady IPS Officer – NO parallel ‘Media Trial’ || Restraint to continue

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Anand Venkatesh, J., while addressing the concern with respect to a very shocking incident wherein a Lady IPS officer was harassed by the Special DGP, expressed that:

“…effectiveness of a criminal prosecution can be ensured only when it is completed at the earliest possible time and there is a certainty of punishment for the accused person, if found guilty.”

The present writ petition was filed for the issuance of a writ of mandamus directing CB-CID to effectively conduct the investigation, duly monitored by the Court and for a further direction to submit the periodical status report.

It has been stated that the State Government has taken up the issue very seriously and that the investigation is proceeding on the right lines and that no stone will be left unturned. Summons to Accused 1 and 2 have been issued under Section 41-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Enquiry in the Internal Complaints Committee has also commenced parallelly and the developments were also reported before the Court.

Another development that was brought before the Court was that the Superintendent of Police, Chengalpet had already been suspended, pending the departmental inquiry.

High Court when passed the Orders on 01-03-2021, it had restrained the political parties and media from indulging in any discussion, touching upon the merits of the case, along with using or exchanging the names of the victim officer, the accused persons and the witnesses.

In view of the above restraint a representation was made before this Court to the effect that such protection need not be given to the accused persons and therefore, a request was made to modify the earlier direction and permit the use or exchange of name of the accused persons.

Bench while acknowledging the restraint shown by the political parties expressed that the present issue is not just confined to two individuals infact there is a larger issue that requires an effective solution and the interest of the entire police force in Tamil Nadu.

Reasoning for the restrain was that the Court did not want a parallel ‘Media Trial’, since the issue is quite sensitive and required to be handled with maturity.

State, as well as this Court, must maintain neutrality.

 Further, the High Court expressed that it is satisfied with the manner in which the investigation has progressed in this case and the Court hopes that it continues in the same spirit and the same gets completed as expeditiously as possible.

In view of the above discussion, Court held that the restraint imposed by the High Court shall continue. [Government of India, In Re.,  2021 SCC OnLine Mad 1118, decided on 12-03-2021]


Advocates who appeared before this Court:

For Respondents: Mr. N. Ramesh Central Government Senior Counsel for R 1

Mr. Jayaprakash Narayanan, State Government Pleader for R 2 & R 3

Mr. M. Mohamed Muzammil, Government Advocate (Crl. Side) for R 4 & R 5


Madras HC | Lady IPS Officer harassed by Special DGP. “Court is not going to be a mute spectator”: HC takes suo motu cognizance; decides to monitor investigation; issues directions

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: G. Jaya Chandran, J., expressed that the individual property can blend with the ancestral property or with the joint family property but not vice versa.

Factual Matrix

In the present matter, it has been stated that the parties engaged in the dispute were descendants of K.N.T Manickam Chettiar. During the lifetime of K.N. Thandavaraya Chettiar, he and his 6 sons entered into a partition deed and got the same registered. Ancestral Properties and the properties accrued through joint family members exertion were divided into 7 lots put under schedule “A” to “G”.

Further, it was added that Schedule “A” was left to parents Thandavaraya Chettiar and his wife Unnamalaiammal, and later after their death to be divided among the 6 sons after clearing the parent’s debts if any.

Manickam Chettiar was allotted properties under “F” schedule and later the said properties were divided into 8 lots under schedule “A” to “H”. Properties listed under ‘A’ schedule was allotted to K.N.T Manickam Chettiar and the ‘B’ Schedule properties were allotted to his son M. Sivasubramaniam. On the demise of K.N.T Manickam Chettiar, properties left by him were divided amongst his children, after which M. Sivasubramaniam was allotted properties listed under Schedule ‘A’.

Sivasubramaniam after getting married had a son named ‘Saravanan’ and a daughter ‘Dhanuja Murali’. Later Sivasubramaniam re-married and from his second marriage he had a son ‘Manikandan’ and two daughters Kavitha and Vidya.

Present Suit by Saravanan for Partition

Sivasubramanian, Mnaikandan, Dhanuja Murali, Kavitha Senthil  and Vidhya Venkataragavan are the defendants. Saravanan contended that ‘A’ and ‘B’ schedule properties are properties in the name first defendant are ancestral properties. ‘C’ Schedule property purchased in the name of First Defendant Sivasubramanian is from out of joint family income.

Trial Court had dismissed the suit holding that the suit properties were not joint family properties and against the said dismissal, the present appeal was filed.

Point for Consideration

Whether the suit properties are ancestral properties to devolve upon the plaintiff by survivorship or it is a self-acquired property acquired by the 1st defendant to dispose of it as self -acquired?

Analysis, Law and Decision

The three categories of properties stood in the name of Sivasubramanian and one property not included stands in the name of Saravanan, who is the plaintiff.

First Category Property: It is the one that devolved upon Sivasubramanian when his father and others divided the ancestral and joint family property. This property is shown under Schedule ‘A’.

Second Category Property: It is the one devolved upon Sivasubramanian under the petition deed between him and his siblings.

Third Category Property: It is the property purchased in the name of Sivasubramanian in the year 2004 upon which, he had constructed a house and the property purchased in the name of Saravanan and construction put upon it.

Property in the name of Sivasubramanian alone is the subject matter of the present suit. Plaintiff excluded the property which stood in his own name and wanted to retain it as his self-acquired individual property and had contended that, it does not form part of the joint family property. Sivasubramanian’s daughters contended that the ‘C’ schedule property in the suit was their father’s self-acquired property and the property in the name of Saravanan was the joint family property purchased in Saravanan’s name.

Controversy:

The controversy is in respect to the property purchased and improved in the name of Saravanan (plaintiff) and Sivasubramanian (1st defendant) – Whether it is the self-acquired property of the individual or joint family property?

If any person says property has been purchased in the name of family members from out of joint contribution of the family members, then, the person who asserts the fact, should prove it.

In the present matter, both plaintiff as well as the 1st defendant were able to show their independent source of income for purchasing the property in their respective names.

Bench opined that since the ‘C’ schedule property stood exclusively in the name of 1st defendant and he had shown his independent source of income for purchasing the said property and improving it, the plaintiff cannot have right or share in the said property.

Trial Court miserably failed to note the ancestral nature of the property and other properties getting blended with the ancestral property.

Further to elaborate on the point of devolution of Hindu Male Mitakshara Property, Bench referred to the Supreme Court decision in: M. Arumugam v. Ammaniammal, (2020) 5 CTC 680.

While concluding, High Court held that an ancestral property is always an ancestral property, unless it gets divided among the existing coparceners. Even then, on the birth of a son and after 2005 amendments also daughter the coparcenary opens to them. Hence, Trial Court erred in the way in which it dealt with ‘A’ and ‘B’ schedule properties.

Hence partly allowing the appeal, Court decided that ‘A’ and ‘B’ schedule property are declared as ancestral property and available for partition, defendant’s 1 to 5 are entitled to share schedule ‘A’ and ‘B’ property equally. As far as ‘C’ schedule property, the plaintiff failed to prove that the said property as purchased from out of the income derived from the ancestral property. [P. Saravanan v. M. Sivasubramanian, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 927, decided on 04-03-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the appellants: R. Subramanian, Senior Counsel for Gupta and Ravi

For R1 to R5: V. Lakshminarayanan, for R. Jayaprakash.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: J. Nisha Banu, J., while addressing a revision petition directed the Family Court to waive off the cooling-off period in view of the petitioners living separately for the past 13 years.

The instant petition was filed to seek direction to waive off the cooling period.

The revision petitioners had preferred the petition on the file of the Family Court under Section 13-B of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Husband and Wife had been living separately for 13 years and mutually agreed to dissolve their marriage.

The grievance that arose was that, since they had been living separately for the past 13 years, the family Court ought to have disposed of the petition. Hence, petitioners are constrained to move the present revision petition before the Court for granting speedy disposal of the petition.

Revision petitioners’ counsel while narrating the facts of the matter, relied upon the decision of the Supreme Court in Amardeep Singh v. Harveen Kaur, (2017) 8 SCC 746, wherein it was held that:

18. In determining the question whether provision is mandatory or directory, language alone is not always decisive. The Court has to have the regard to the context, the subject matter and the object of the provision. ….

… we are of the view that where the Court dealing with a matter is satisfied that a case is made out to waive the statutory period under Section 13B(2), it can do so after considering the following :

i) the statutory period of six months specified in Section 13B(2), in addition to the statutory period of one year under Section 13B(1) of separation of parties is already over before the first motion itself;

ii) all efforts for mediation/conciliation including efforts in terms of Order XXXIIA Rule 3 CPC/Section 23(2) of the Act/Section 9 of the Family Courts Act to reunite the parties have failed and there is no likelihood of success in that direction by any further efforts;

iii) the parties have genuinely settled their differences including alimony, custody of child or any other pending issues between the parties;

iv) the waiting period will only prolong their agony.

The waiver application can be filed one week after the first motion giving reasons for the prayer for waiver. If the above conditions are satisfied, the waiver of the waiting period for the second motion will be in the discretion of the concerned Court.

  1. Since we are of the view that the period mentioned in Section 13B(2) is not mandatory but directory, it will be open to the Court to exercise its discretion in the facts and circumstances of each case where there is no possibility of parties resuming cohabitation and there are chances of alternative rehabilitation.”

Hence, High Court concluded in the present matter that since the petitioners had been separated for the past 13 years and had entered into a compromise along with this in view of the above-referred decision, Family Court shall waive the cooling period and dispose of the petition.[Jaishankar, In Re., 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 708, decided on 01-02-2021]

Appointments & TransfersNews

President, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, transfers Justice Vineet Kothari, Judge of the Madras High Court, as a Judge of the Gujarat High Court and to direct him to assume charge of his office in the Gujarat High Court.

ORDER


Ministry of Law and Justice

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: R. Pongiappan, J., addressed the Criminal Original Petition seeking to quash the First Information Report of first respondent police as the same was alleged to be illegal.

The instant petition was filed to quash the FIR. The said FIR was registered for the offences punishable under Sections 294(b), 323, 324, 506(1) and Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002.

Petitioner Counsel submitted that petitioner 1 is the husband of the second respondent. Petitioner 1 had filed the original petition under Section 13(1)(1-b) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 to seek dissolution of marriage. The said petition has been pending for commencement of trial.

In view of the above circumstances, to threaten the petitioners, respondent 2 lodged a false complaint and first respondent police without making my enquiry registered a case.

Analysis and Decision

Bench first and foremost referred to the Supreme Court decision on Kamal Shivaji Pokarnekar v. State of Maharashtra, (2019) 14 SCC 350, wherein it was held that:

“5. Quashing the criminal proceedings is called for only in a case where the complaint does not disclose any offence, or is frivolous, vexatious, or oppressive. If the allegations set out in the complaint do not constitute the offence of which cognizance has been taken by the Magistrate, it is open to the High Court to quash the same. It is not necessary that a meticulous analysis of the case should be done before the Trial to find out whether the case would end in conviction or acquittal. If it appears on a reading of the complaint and consideration of the allegations therein, in the light of the statement made on oath that the ingredients of the offence are Sonu Gupta v. Deepak Gupta, (2015) 3 SCC 424. disclosed, there would be no justification for the High Court to interfere.”

Bench on perusal of the facts of the case found that the averments made in the FIR clearly constituted the prima facie case for offences under Sections 294(b), 323, 324, 506(1) and Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act, 2002,

Court further relied on the Supreme Court decision in CBI v. A. Ravishankar Prasad, (2009) 6 SCC 351, wherein it was held that:

“Inherent powers of High Court under Section 482 CrPC are meant to act ex debito justitiae to do real and substantial justice, for the administration of which alone it exists, or to prevent abuse of the process of the court. These inherent powers can be exercised in the following category of cases: (i) to give effect to an order under the Code; (ii) to prevent abuse of the process of court; and (iii) to otherwise secure the ends of justice. Extraordinary power under Section 482 CrPC should be exercised sparingly and with great care and caution.”

Hence, relying on the above-stated decisions, the Court expressed that:

“…only in the circumstances that registration of case itself is an abuse of process of law, inherent powers can be exercised to prevent abuse of process of law.”

Petitioners in the instant case could not prove that the registration of the FIR was an abuse of process of law, therefore, Criminal Original Petition was dismissed. [Karunamoorthi v. State, 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 6026, decided on 02-12-2020]


Advocates for the parties:

For Petitioners: W. Camyles Gandhi

For Respondent 1: S.Karthikeyan Additional Public Prosecutor

For Respondent 2: K.Vasanthanayagan

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: The Division Bench of N. Kirubakaran and B. Pugalendhi, JJ., while addressing the present matter, expressed that,

If the Government servant is not complying with the orders of the Government, the same can be treated as misconduct or as unbecoming of the Government Servant, warranting initiation of appropriate departmental proceedings against them.

Government constituted an Administrative Reforms Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr Justice A.K. Rajan, Retired Judge of Madras High Court to ensure the corruption-free and transparent administration and certain recommendations of the said Committee were also accepted by the Government.

In the above-stated recommendations, one of the recommendations was with regard to fixing accountability on every Government Servant, at every stage at every level.

It was also noted that even though the Government Order was passed in the year 2010, none of the departments had taken any effective steps to implement the said Government Order.

Every Government Servant is expected to act in accordance with the Acts, Rules and the Government Orders issued by the Government then and there.

If the Secretary Level Officers have not complied with the orders of the Government, how we can expect a common citizen to comply with the orders of the Government.

Further, the Court added that only on Court’s direction, Government had sent reminders to the respective Departments for implementation of the G.O based on the recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Committee. Even thereafter, only a few Departments responded with certain Circulars or some Administrative Instructions in a vague manner without implementing the said Government Order in true letter and spirit.

“Ignorantia legis neminem excusat” – Ignorance of law excuses no one. Even a common man cannot plead that he is ignorant of law of the Government. When that is the position for a common man, what would be the responsibility of the Secretary Level Officers.

High Court observed that if the Government Orders are utterly disobeyed by the Secretary Level Officers in such a manner, then who can be expected to obey the Government Orders.

In view of the above discussion, Bench stated that it expected a positive response from the State Government on the possibility of amending the existing relevant Government Service Rules, for effective implementation of G.O.(Ms)No. 24, Personnel and Administrative Department, dated 17-02-2010 and to report before this Court. [A.P. Suryaprakasam v. State of T.N., 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 5981, decided on 18-12-2020]