District CourtForeign CourtsHigh Court Round UpHigh CourtsLegal RoundUp

Let’s have a look at the most interesting legal stories reported this week on the SCC Online Blog from High Courts, Foreign Court to District Court.

“Islam is not about turban and beard.”

— Federal Court of Putrajaya

Hijab Case | When Karnataka High Court temporarily restrained students from wearing hijab, religious flags, saffron shawls, etc.: Read Court’s interim order || A Recap

While expressing that, “Endless agitations and closure of educational institutions indefinitely are not happy things to happen”, the Bench of Ritu Raj Awasthi, CJ and Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi, JJ., restrained all the students regardless of their religion or faith from wearing saffron shawls (Bhagwa), scarfs, hijab, religious flags or the like within the classroom, until further orders.

Read more, here.

To Wear or Not to Wear? Precedents on dilemma of wearing ‘Headscarf’ from the Kerala High Court

In Nadha Raheem v. C.B.S.E2015 SCC OnLine Ker 21660, Kerala High Court’s Single Judge Bench in the year 2015 dealt with petitions by two female students belonging to the Muslim community contending that the dress code prescribed by the Central Board of Secondary Education (C.B.S.E) of wearing half sleeve kurta/salvar would prejudice them, as their religious custom mandates them to wear a headscarf and also full sleeve dresses.

Read more, here.

Is the Bhinder case relevant in Hijab ban row? Canadian SC’s decision in Rule conflicting with religious tenet of an employee

In this case, a work rule was introduced, as per which all the employees had to wear a hard hat at a particular work site, but Bhinder a Sikh employee refused to comply with the said rule because his religion did not allow the wearing of headgear other than the turban.

Read more, here.

Did You Know? What Bombay High Court held when a Muslim girl raised the issue that asking her not to wear a “headscarf” in school violates her fundamental right under Article 25 of the Constitution of India?

“A girl student not wearing the head scarf or head covering studying in exclusive girls section cannot be said to in any manner acting inconsistent with the aforesaid verse 31 or violating any injunction provided in Holy Quran. It is not an obligatory overt act enjoined by Muslim religion that a girl studying in all girl section must wear head-covering. The essence of Muslim religion or Islam cannot be said to have been interfered with by directing petitioner not to wear head-scarf in the school.”

Read more, here.

Did you know that 3 minor Muslim boys were expelled from school for not following dress code and for wearing “Serban” (turban) in Malaysia?

“…in a country with many religions being practised, to allow a regulation or law to be declared unconstitutional just because someone claims that it prohibits his “religious practice” no matter how trivial it is and even though in a very limited way, would lead to chaos.”

Read more, here.

Whether prohibition of ‘purdah’ is an infringement of constitutional right? What the Supreme Court of Kuala Lumpur (Federal Court of Malaysia) decided

“…there seem to be a myth or misconception by certain groups of Muslim in Malaysia regarding the wearing of purdah which covers the entire face except the eyes. They believe that it is one of the Islamic injunctions which must be followed strictly.”

Read more, here.

Uphaar Case | Manner in which judicial records tampered revealed well-planned & methodical attempt to subvert justice system: Suspending sentence of Ansal brothers would amount eroding faith of public? Read Del HC’s decision

Stating that the manner in which Court records tampered was insidious and revealed a well-planned and methodical attempt to subvert the justice system in order to escape conviction in the Main Uphaar Case, Subramonium Prasad, J., held that since the matter relates to tampering of judicial record, the same has to be decided expeditiously in order to ensure faith of the public in the judicial system.

Read more, here.

If Court finds that marriage failed due to incompatibility, but one of the parties withholds consent for mutual separation, would that be ‘Cruelty’? Kerala HC elaborates

Expressing that, “If the conduct and character of one party causes misery and agony to the other spouse, the element of cruelty to the spouse would surface, justifying grant of divorce”, the Division bench of A. Muhamed Mustaque and Sophy Thomas, JJ., held that, Court cannot leave the life of a spouse to the mercy of the opposite spouse.

Read more, here.

Teacher administering moderate and reasonable force to enforce discipline in classroom, can be exposed to criminal prosecution? Kerala HC answers

While explaining that inflicting corporal punishment on a Child by a parent or teacher is forbidden, Dr Kauser Edappagath, J., observed that,

“Hurt of a less serious crime is not forbidden when inflicted in the reasonable chastisement of a child by a parent or by a school teacher.”

Read more, here.

If a person keeps tobacco at residence, would that amount to being an offence? Ker HC answers

While addressing a matter for an offence alleged under Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act, Juvenile Justice Act and Kerala Police Act, Dr Kauser Edappagath, J., expressed that mere keeping tobacco at residence would not amount to being an offence.

Read more, here.

Expression of a victim’s trauma or experience is his/her fundamental right which can only be curtailed if it falls under 4 broad categories: Read on to know categories | Alleged sexual harassment case of a ScoopWhoop employee

Patiala House Court, while addressing the alleged case of sexual harassment against the CEO of ScoopWhoop, wherein it sought an interim injunction, Court expressed that,

Expression of a victim’s trauma or experience is his / her fundamental right which can only be curtained it is falls under four broad categories i.e. “libel, slander, defamation”, “contempt of court”, “offends against decency or morality” and “undermines the security or tends to overthrow the State”. 

Read more, here.

High Court Round UpLegal RoundUp

“One of the basic tenets to be followed by every Hindu is tolerance. Tolerance must be his own community or religion and in particular, to also to every other religious practice.”[Paulraj v. District Collector, WP (MD) No. 1276 of 2020]

Here are some of the interesting Legal Stories from the Second Week of February 2022.

Bombay High Court

Law on Custody | 9-year-old child prefers to stay with mother’s father and his family members and shows animosity towards father: Whether father will get custody of child or not? Bom HC decides 

“At an impressionable age such articulation about the opposite party, in a custody battle, often affects the capacity to exercise an intelligible preference. It is quite possible that when a child spends time with a non-custodial parent, he may be disabused of such perception.”

Read full report here…

Employer setting big targets, not granting leave and not accepting resignation would be acts in normal course of business: Bom HC grants anticipatory bail to employer accused of abetting suicide committed by employee 

High Court remarked that the acts as mentioned like not providing a driver for vehicle, deceased being asked to stand for a meeting daily, etc. were not things that could be covered under the meaning of Sections 107 read with 306 IPC.

Read full report here…

Calcutta High Court

 14-yr old girl subjected to penetrative sexual assault by man who called her grand daughter: Is girl’s complaint vital to form basis of conviction? Cal HC explains

“In a case relating to sexual assault and rape, the evidence of the victim girl is very much vital and if found reliable can form the basis of conviction of the accused without seeking for further corroboration.”

Read full report here…

Kerala High Court

“Marrying a Christian man would not wipe off the benefit of reservation granted to a scheduled caste persons”, HC reiterates caste of a person is to be decided on the basis of birth

Kerala High Court held that marrying a Christian man would not wipe off the benefit of a reservation granted to scheduled caste persons.

Read full report here…

Madras High Court

“One of the basic tenets to be followed by every Hindu is tolerance. Tolerance must be his own community or religion and in particular, to also to every other religious practice”: Madras HC

“Fundamental Rights and Duties are sacrosanct and binding on the Courts which adjudicate issues relating to the religion.”

Read full report here…

Tripura High Court

Exclusion of married daughters from the die-in-harness scheme of the State Government discriminatory? Court discusses

“Marriage does not break the bond between a daughter and her parents as it does not do between a son and his parents. A crisis in the family of her parents equally worries a married daughter. As such, there is no rationale behind exclusion of a married daughter from the scheme.”

Read full report here…

District Court

Tis Hazari Court

Can an unemployed husband escape from his responsibility to maintain wife? Tis Hazari Court answers

“It is trite to state that it is the moral and legal obligation of the appellant (husband) to maintain his wife and provide her same comforts commensurate to his status and standard of living.”

Read full report here…

Op EdsOP. ED.

District Courts are the first place where a law student starts to explore the nitty-gritty of the legal system in India. Almost every single case or suit finds its genesis in the District Court. Whilst a District Court may be a goldmine for someone alien to the Indian judicial system, this short guide seeks to equip you with a pickaxe to understand it all. This guide will help you in understanding the structure and functioning of courts. Further the physical layout of a courtroom, composition of the court staff, general Urdu calques used and the general structure of the District Court judiciary.

The District Court judiciary is divided broadly into two types – civil and criminal. Further, the classification depends upon the population of the zonal territory (called “the Sessions Division”) and subsequent declaration by the State Government[1]. Thus, the District Judiciary would be, depending on classification as Sessions Division or Sessions Divisions called districts, set up as either of the following:


In addition to the above, Special Courts are courts set up for expeditious resolution of cases that involve special subject-matter. These courts are allocated all cases pertaining to the subject-matter, for which they are set up. For example, an Additional Sessions Court set up for Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 19853 (the NDPS Act), would be dealing in matters concerned only with the NDPS Act.4

Court room.—The Bench consists of the Judge in the center, on the right (of the Judge) the reader is situated, right below the Bench is the stenographer and the clerk who handles the drafting of judicial documents. The orderly announces each case as per the cause list (a list of cases to be taken up that day). The orderly sits usually on the side of the reader.

The “reader” ensures the judicial documents are correct, for example, ensuring signatures of witnesses, etc., prepares other judicial documents to aid the Judge, polices everyone’s conduct, guides other staff of the courtroom. The reader is the seniormost court staff member. For any clarifications regarding dates, proceedings, cause list, decrees, etc. he or she may be approached.

The second most senior member, the stenographer (steno) is the “typing hand” of the Judge. Every order/judgment/charge/notice that bears the header of the court, emerges out of the steno’s computer. The Clerk aids the steno in drafting or maintaining documents and ensuring every box is ticked or every document attested, etc.

Court Naib is a police constable, serving as an attaché in the Department of Prosecution who maintains the peshi register (witness register), warrant/FIR register, etc. in the courtroom. In order to know which item number is ongoing or if a witness will come to the court today, he or she can be approached.

Public Prosecutor (PP).—Each criminal court has a separate table located on the right side, when you enter the court, where you will find the State’s legal representative. The PP assists the court in progression of the case and partakes to represent the interests of the State.5

Alhmad room.—This is a separate room with each court, which stores all records of that court. A Alhmad room is under the management of an Ahlmad assisted by two or more assistant Alhmads. An advocate inspects the case file here, after seeking permission of the court.

Dasti.When it is remarked “Dasti to be given” it means an uncertified copy of the order, given to the party that requests for the same.

Courtroom decorum.—Discarding the cinematic exaggerations, every lawyer that appears before a court and wishes to be granted the prayed relief, places his or her arguments in a patient, calm and cogent manner. However, friendly banter is as common as a friendly Judge.

Rudimentary practices exemption of appearance/passover.

An application for exemption to appear, is excusal of an accused/co-accused for non-appearance in the court, due to reason stated, usually due to sickness or infirmity.6

A passover is a request for the matter (as a case is called) to be taken up later, at the requested time, or at the end of the cause list.

Oath Commissioner/notary.—A notary is a qualified and experienced lawyer, who is entrusted by the court to authenticate and verify identities, declarations, documents, etc.

Lastly, each District Court premises has:

  1. A nazarat block aka process serving agency is primarily responsible for delivery/execution of various judicial pronouncements/decrees (summons/notices/warrants, etc.) The execution is generally done of civil decrees, however, it is not a mandate.
  2. District Legal Services Authority Office.— DSLA is a State-sponsored legal aid authority which offers legal representation to those who cannot afford a lawyer or want a State-sponsored lawyer, to represent them in criminal matters.
  3. Lockup for undertrials.—Those in custody of the State – be it police or judicial – are kept in this lockup while they await their turn to be produced before a court.
  4. Lawyers’ block.—This building/set of building contains the chamber of advocates.
  5. Office of the Bar Association.—Each District Court has its own District Bar Association that has an elected council to decide matters pertaining to the welfare of advocates.
  6. Facilitation centre/filing counter.—As the name suggests this is where all matters are filed.
  7. Copying agency.– From here, you can obtain certified copies of judgment/decrees.
  8. Police station and amenities like canteen, post office, etc.

Citizen charter.—To understand the District Court premises in detail, code of conduct in the court premises or any other information, one can refer to the citizen charter issued by the State at the District Court website.

*Second year student, BA LLB (Hons.), Dr B.R. Ambedkar National Law University. Author can be reached at  goelspr@gmail.com.

[1]Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Ss. 7-8.

[2]Flowchart Credits,  https://www.jagranjosh.com/general-knowledge/subordinate-courts-in-india-1438321965-1, refer Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Ss. 15-19.

3Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

4Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, S. 194.

5Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, S. 24.

6Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, S. 317.

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

In view of the threat of the imminent third wave of the Covid pandemic and also the alarming rise in the number of Covid affected cases, the Court shall function with effect from 03-01-2022 in the following manner until further directions:

  • The Court proceedings shall be through virtual mode only. Hybrid mode is allowed only in respect of bail matters where public prosecutors will be allowed to be physically present with case diary and in other matters where Government and other Advocates are to produce or tender documents in court. Trial of suits by witness examination shall be suspended. Other proceedings in suits to continue.
  • Staff attendance shall not be more than 66 & 2/3 percent with rotational transferable duty. Non-essential departments may be suspended and their staff shall be utilised in essential departments.
  • The same system shall be followed in the District Courts as far as applicable and practicable.
  • The same system shall be followed in the Circuit Benches subject to adaptation by the Senior most Hon’ble Judge in Circuit.
  • The concerned stakeholders including Court-staff shall get themselves fully vaccinated and shall strictly adhere to the norms of social-distancing and Covid-19 protocols, guidelines, directions etc. issued by the Government of India, the State Government, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and this Hon’ble Court from time to time.

Calcutta High Court

[Notice dt. 1-1-2022]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

In view of the sudden spurt and spike in Covid-19 cases in the NCT of Delhi and issuance of ‘yellow alert’ in Delhi by GNCTD,  this Court shall, with effect from 03.01.2022, take up the matters, as per the existing arrangement with regard to the listing of cases, through virtual mode only.

The Courts of Registrar and Joint Registrar (Judicial) shall also take up matters through virtual mode only.

The District Courts in Delhi shall also, with effect from 03.01.2022, hold Courts through virtual mode only. The video-conferencing links of the Courts shall be made available on the website/ cause-list(s). The Principal District and Sessions Judges, in consultation with the DG (Prisons), shall make necessary arrangements for extension of remand of UTPs. Wherever required, the UTPs may be produced through video-conferencing.

The aforesaid arrangement shall continue till 15.01.2022. The entire situation shall be reassessed and reviewed, shortly. All the stakeholders including court-staff, required to come to the Courts, shall get themselves fully vaccinated and shall strictly adhere to the norms of social-distancing and Covid-19 protocols, guidelines, directions, etc. issued by the Government of India, Government of NCT of Delhi and this Court from time to time.

[Public Notice dt. 30-12-2021]

Delhi High Court

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a case where the Bombay High Court failed to  to evaluate even prima facie of the most basic issue thereby refusing bail to the accused, the bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud* and Indira Banerjee, JJ has reminded the High Courts and District Courts of their duty to ensure human liberty.

In the judgment running into 55-pages, here is what the Court said:

Fair Investigation

The public interest in ensuring the due investigation of crime is protected by ensuring that the inherent power of the High Court is exercised with caution. That indeed is one – and a significant – end of the spectrum. The other end of the spectrum is equally important: the recognition by Section 482 of the power inhering in the High Court to prevent the abuse of process or to secure the ends of justice is a valuable safeguard for protecting liberty.

The need to ensure the fair investigation of crime is undoubtedly important in itself, because it protects at one level the rights of the victim and, at a more fundamental level, the societal interest in ensuring that crime is investigated and dealt with in accordance with law. On the other hand, the misuse of the criminal law is a matter of which the High Court and the lower Courts in this country must be alive.

“Courts should be alive to both ends of the spectrum – the need to ensure the proper enforcement of criminal law on the one hand and the need, on the other, of ensuring that the law does not become a ruse for targeted harassment.”

Procedural hierarchy of Courts

The procedural hierarchy of courts in matters concerning the grant of bail needs to be respected. The High Court has the power to protect the citizen by an interim order in a petition invoking Article 226. Where the High Court has failed to do so, the Supreme Court would be abdicating its role and functions as a constitutional court if it refuses to interfere, despite the parameters for such interference being met.

“The doors of this Court cannot be closed to a citizen who is able to establish prima facie that the instrumentality of the State is being weaponized for using the force of criminal law. Our courts must ensure that they continue to remain the first line of defense against the deprivation of the liberty of citizens. Deprivation of liberty even for a single day is one day too many. We must always be mindful of the deeper systemic implications of our decisions.”

Emphasizing on the role of the district judiciary, which provides the first point of interface to the citizen, the Court said,

“Our district judiciary is wrongly referred to as the “subordinate judiciary‘. It may be subordinate in hierarchy, but it is not subordinate in terms of its importance in the lives of citizens or in terms of the duty to render justice to them.”

High Courts get burdened when courts of first instance decline to grant anticipatory bail or bail in deserving cases. This continues in the Supreme Court as well, when High Courts do not grant bail or anticipatory bail in cases falling within the parameters of the law. The consequence for those who suffer incarceration are serious. Common citizens without the means or resources to move the High Courts or this Court languish as undertrials. Courts must be alive to the situation as it prevails on the ground – in the jails and police stations where human dignity has no protector. As judges, we would do well to remind ourselves that it is through the instrumentality of bail that our criminal justice system’s primordial interest in preserving the presumption of innocence finds its most eloquent expression.

“Tasked as we are with the primary responsibility of preserving the liberty of all citizens, we cannot countenance an approach that has the consequence of applying this basic rule in an inverted form. We have given expression to our anguish in a case where a citizen has approached this court. We have done so in order to reiterate principles which must govern countless other faces whose voices should not go unheard.”

Data reflecting pending Bail applications in High Courts and District Courts across India

Noticing that 15,54,562 bail applications are currently pending in High Courts and District Courts across India, the Court said that

“The Chief Justices of every High Court should in their administrative capacities utilize the ICT tools which are placed at their disposal in ensuring that access to justice is democratized and equitably allocated. Liberty is not a gift for the few. Administrative judges in charge of districts must also use the facility to engage with the District judiciary and monitor pendency.”

[Arnab Manoranjan Goswami v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 964, decided on 27.11.2020]

*Justice Dr. DY Chandrachud has penned this judgment. Read more about him here

Also read: Anvay Naik Suicide|High Court abdicated it’s duty by failing to make prima facie evaluation of FIR. Here’s why SC granted interim bail to the accused

SC grants interim bail to 3 accused in Anvay Naik suicide case. Calls Bombay HC order erroneous

Tripura High Court
Hot Off The PressNews

For the purpose of filing of pleadings, petitions, affidavits or other documents in High Court and all other Courts in State of Tripura, following specifications of paper and font type would be applicable:

“Superior quality A4 size paper having not less than 75 GSM printing on both sides of paper with font — Times New Roman, font size 14, in one and half line spacing (for quotations and indents — font size 12 in single line spacing), with margin of 4 cm on left & right snd 2 cm on top & bottom.”

For all other internal communications and official purposes of Registry of the High Court and other courts of District Judiciary also, A4 size paper having not less than 75 GSM would be utilized and except for judgments of Courts, printing may be done on both sides in all documents.

Tripura High Court

[Order dt. 23-03-2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Terming the inadequacy of judges to be the root cause for the delay in disposal of cases resulting in huge backlog, the 3-Judge Bench of T.S. Thakur, CJ and Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud and L. Nageswara Rao, JJ said that until National Court Management Systems Committee (NCMSC) formulates a scientific method for determining the basis for computing the required judge strength of the district judiciary, the judge strength shall be computed for each state, in accordance with the prevailing ‘Unit system’ of the High Courts.

Under the ‘Unit system’, weightage is given to cases based on their nature and complexity. The High Courts have established disposal norms for the district judiciary based on units allocated for disposal of different cases. On the basis of the units prescribed, performance is rated from “excellent” and ‘very good’ to ‘unsatisfactory’. Earlier, the ‘rate of disposal method’ was being applied to resolve this issue. Under the Rate of Disposal Method, the Commission first looked at the current rate at which judges dispose of cases and how many additional judges working at a similar level of efficiency would be required so that the number of disposals equals the number of institutions in any one year time frame. However, the method was criticized on the ground that a lower rate of disposal may not necessarily reflect upon the efficiency with which a judge has conducted the court. Trials are held up because of a paucity of public prosecutors, absence of witnesses on dates fixed for trial, laxity of police in service of summons, etc.

The Court said that while prescribing units for disposal, a robust attempt must be made by the High Courts to ensure that due importance is given to the disposal of old cases. The units prescribed for disposal must provide adequate incentives to attend to complex and time consuming cases. It was also said that the District judges with long years of experience in the service are in a position to appreciate practical realities and to indicate the manner in which the unit system can be revised in each state to encourage judges at both the trial and the appellate level to take up those cases which consume judicial time and which should not be placed on the back-burner for fear that the judge will not be able to fulfill the units expected. The Chief Justices should initiate the process of revising unit based norms in relation to their states.

The Court further said that in prescribing the judge strength it is necessary to ensure that a backlog does not result in the future as a result of an increase in annual filings. One method of estimating the extent of the increase in future filings is to have regard to the increase reflected over a comparable period in the past for which data is available. Those figures can be extrapolated to determine the increase in annual filings. The enhancement in the strength of the district judiciary should be such that a ‘five plus zero’ pendency is achieved i.e. wiping out the backlog within a target period of five years.

The Court has requested the NCMSC to submit it’s final report by 31 December 2017. [Imtiyaz Ahmad v. State of U.P., 2017 SCC OnLine SC 7, decided on 02.01.2017]