Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench of M.G. Sewlikar and T.V. Nalawade, JJ., while allowing the present petition with respect to the issue of right to agitation, held that,

“Our ancestors fought for freedom and also for the human rights and due to the philosophy behind the agitations, we created our constitution. It is unfortunate but, people are required to agitate against their own Government now but only on that ground the agitation cannot be suppressed.”

The present petition was filed against the order of the Police Inspector, Beed passed under Section 149 CrPC, the order passed by the Additional District Magistrate, Beed along with said the petitioners also sought for direction to respondents to see that petitioner companions were allowed to hold peaceful demonstrations and agitations at Old Idgah Maidan at Majalgaon for indefinite period between 6 pm to 10 pm.

Issue for consideration in the present petition is that:

Whether the aforesaid order issued under Section 37(1)(3) of the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951 could have been issued to prevent such agitation?

Analysis of High Court

Court noted that the order made by Additional District Magistrate shows that the District Superintendent of Police had informed by letter to the DM that many political parties and associations in the district had started agitations which included blockade of roads, taking out morchas, etc., for many causes including protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Apprehension was that due to such agitations there was a possibility of some untoward incident and there was a possibility of creation of law and order problem. In the aforesaid order, DM prevent many activities which included carrying of arms, prevented sloganeering, singing, beating of drums, etc.

On taking the above into consideration, the Court said that there was no fairness in the above order.

Court added to its opinion that,

When such an act is made, some people may be of a particular religion like Muslims ay feel that it is against their interest and such an act needs to be opposed. It is a matter of their perception and belief and the Court cannot go into the merits of the same.

Courts are bound to see whether these persons have the right to agitate, oppose the law. If Court finds that it is part of their fundamental right, it is not open to the Court to ascertain whether the exercise of such right will create law and order problem.

Further the Court cannot go with the presumption that only a particular community or religion has interest opposing such law. As in the case of the present order that has been mentioned in the petition, it is clearly specified that persons of all religions have started the agitation.

We need to remember the constitutional and legal history when we consider the provisions of the constitution. We need to keep in mind the freedom struggle and the causes which were taken up by the freedom fighters.

Explaining and clarifying the right to agitate, Court also stated that,

India got freedom due to agitations which were non-violent and this path of non-violence is followed by the people of this country till date.

Referring to the present petition, Bench stated that petitioners and companions want to agitate peacefully to show their protest.

Our ancestors fought for freedom and also for human rights and due to the philosophy behind the agitations, we created our constitution.

Decision

Court is expected to consider the right of persons to start agitation in a peaceful way.

Court expresses that such persons cannot be called as traitors, anti-nationals only because they want to oppose one law.

Stressing on the rights of people, Court pointed out that,

If the persons agitating believe that it is against the ‘equality’ provided under Article 14, they have the right to express their feelings as provided under Article 19 of the Constitution of India.

Fraternity

Circumstance that the persons of other communities, religions are supporting the minority community shows that we have achieved fraternity to a great extent.

“…it is the dissent of people against the act made by the Government and the bureaucracy needs to be sensitive when it exercises powers given by law.”

Thus, the people from bureaucracy need to be sensitized by giving them proper training on human rights which are incorporated as fundamental rights in the constitution.

Hence, High Court held that the order of Additional District Magistrate is illegal and needs to be quashed and set aside and consequently the order made by the police station concerned is illegal and is to be set aside. [Iftekhar Zakee Shaikh v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 244, decided on 13-02-2020]

Conference/Seminars/LecturesLaw School News

New Law College, Bharti Vidyapeeth University, Pune is organising 10 days’ Lecture Series on “Gender, Law and Equality: Emerging Issues” from 1st August to 11th of August, 2018. The concept of gender justice and it’s emerging dimensions are gaining in the global world. The lecture series will focus on understanding the laws, it’s procedural intricacies and judicial decisions aimed at gender justice.
The participants after completing the lecture series will be able to:
(a) Understand gender, gender concepts, and definitions relating to it.
(b) To reflect on gender and gender differences and their implications in society.
(c) To become familiar with the national and international legal framework for gender equality.
Registration Date: 24th-28th  July, 2018
Registration fees : Rs 500 to be paid in cash (College Office)
Registration for non-NLC students: The students can  download the registration form from  www.bvpnlcpune.org. The scanned copy of   the   registration   form   signed   by   the principal, bearing college seal should be sent on   newlawcollege@yahoo.co.in  on  or  before  28th July 2018. The registration fee Rs. 500 can be paid in cash by the students on the first day of program for which receipt will be given them.

Note:

  • Certificate will be given to the participants.
  • No conveyance will be given to the students.
  • The registration is restricted to 2 entries from each college.
The lecture series will be conducted with inputs from expertise including judges, lawyers, academicians and persons having field experience.
For further information, click HERE.
For Registration Form, click HERE.
Case BriefsHigh Courts

High Court of Jammu and Kashmir: A Division Bench comprising of Ramalingam Sudhakar, J. and M.K. Hanjura, J. recently addressed a petition which challenged an order dated 9.12.2016 wherein, the appellants (petitioners) had been directed to accord the benefit of notional seniority to the respondents with effect from the time when the other candidates who had been granted with seniority along with directing the appellants to fix the pay and the benefits of the respondents accordingly.

The facts of the case are that an advertisement notice had been issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Service Selection Recruitment Board for the post of teachers in the district of Jammu following which the respondents had submitted their application forms. The respondents were either graduates or post graduates and all of them possessed B.Ed degrees. The appellants had prescribed 50% weightage to the candidates’ 12th standard exam. Despite the respondents being comparatively more meritorious in that aspect, they had not been selected for the posts in question.

Aggrieved by the lower court’s decision upholding the appellants’ decision of not awarding the posts to the respondents, the latter had filed a Letters Patent Appeal wherein the criterion for the selection process was held to be unreasonable. This was followed by the J&K Service Selection Board reframing the criteria which was followed by the Board reevaluating the merit of all those who had filed the case in the first place and the respondents being appointed by the department. The respondents subsequently requested the court to issue a writ of mandamus to the petitioners commanding them to give effect to the respondents’ appointments from the year when the other selectees were appointed and that all such people be given benefits of the post from that very year itself.

A Single Judge Bench responded to the writ petition by disposing it off with directions to accord the respondents with notional seniority from the initial year of selection of the appointees resulting from the advertisement along with the benefits accruing out of the positions. The Division Bench upheld the decision of the Single Judge which only responded to a single individual’s writ petition for her recruitment in the disputed position. The Division Bench held that this decision needed to be upheld for others aggrieved by the initial decision of the Board which denied them their rightful position. The Court held that the law is that adherence to the rule of equality in public employment is a basic feature of our Constitution and since the rule of law is the core of our Constitution, a Court would certainly be disabled from passing an order upholding a violation of Article 14 or in ordering the overlooking of the need to comply with the requirements of Article 14 read with Article 16 of the Constitution. Therefore, consistent with the scheme of public employment, when the appointment is in terms of the relevant rules and after a proper competition among qualified persons, there can be no discrimination between the appointees on the same set of facts. [State v. Sushma Sharma,  2017 SCC OnLine J&K 732, order dated 7.12.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a PIL seeking guidelines to be set down to curb acts of discrimination against persons from the north-eastern states, the 3-judge bench of T.S. Thakur, CJ and Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud and L. Nageswararao, JJ said that in order to enhance a sense of security and inclusion, the Union Government in the Ministry of Home Affairs should take proactive steps to monitor the redressal of issues pertaining to racial discrimination faced by citizens of the nation drawn from the north-east.

The Court said that a regular exercise of monitoring and redressal should be carried out by a Committee consisting of a Joint Secretary (North-east), Ministry of Home Affairs and 2 other members to be nominated by the Union Government (one of whom should be a public figure). It was further said that the work of the Committee should be widely publicised in the electronic and print media, including in the north eastern states. The Committee should be accessible to grievances, suggestions and complaints. The Committee should meet periodically and preferably at monthly intervals to monitor the redressal of all such grievances including the implementation of the recommendations of the Bezbaruah Committee, to the extent to which they have been accepted by the Union Government.

The Committee shall carry out the following functions:

  • to monitor, oversee, pursue and review the implementation of the MP Bezbaruah Committee Report
  • to monitor the initiatives taken by the Government to curb and deal with the incidents of racial discrimination/racial atrocities/racial violence;
  • to monitor action in respect of incidents of racial discrimination/racial atrocities/racial violence, suggest measures and ensure strict action;
  • to receive, consider and entertain complaints from individuals and groups of individuals who claim to be victims of racial abuse/racial atrocities/racial violence/racial discrimination and forward the same to the National Human Rights Commission and/or the State Human Rights Commissions and/or to the jurisdictional Police Station as the case may be for enquiry and necessary action;
  • to issue necessary directions including calling for reports on incidents of racial discrimination/racial atrocities/racial violence from the State Governments/Union Territories.

Various instances of murder, molestation racial discrimination and other offences against the people of North-eastern states have been reported. [Karma Dorjee v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1469, decided on 14.12.2016]

 

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Giving the Haji Ali Dargah Trust two weeks’ time to restore status-quo ante in regard to women pilgrims entering the sanctum sanctorum at par with men, the Court said that in case there is any default or neglect on the part of the Trust in complying with the direction of the Bombay High Court, the respondents-writ petitioners shall be free to approach the High Court for appropriate redress in the matter.

Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the Trust, had submitted that the Trust has not only decided to restore the status-quo ante and permit women to enter the sanctum sanctorum at par with men but passed a specific resolution to that effect on 11th October, 2016. It was also submitted that the Trust has also decided to relay the flooring on both sides of the sanctum sanctorum inside the Dargah meant for men and women pilgrims. The 3-Judge Bench of T. S. Thakur, C.J.  and D. Y. Chandrachud and L. Nageswara Rao, JJ, agreed to the submissions and hence, held that the Trust will be free to relay the flooring and complete the entire process within a period of four months.

The Bombay High Court, had earlier on 26.08.2016, held that the ban imposed by the Trust preventing the entry of women devotees in the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah was violative of Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution. It was held that under the guise of providing security and ensuring safety of women from sexual harassment, the Trust cannot justify the ban and prevent women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah. The Trust is always at liberty to take steps to prevent sexual harassment of women, not by banning their entry in the sanctum sanctorum, but by taking effective steps and making provisions for their safety and security e.g. by having separate queues for men and women. [Haji Ali Dargah Trust v. Dr. Noorjehan Safia Niaz, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1199, decided on 24.10.2016]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the matter where the employees of Prasar Bharati, who are ‘persons with disability’ (PWD), had alleged that they have been deprived of the statutory right under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 with respect to the Group A and B posts out of the four A to D Groups of Prasar Bharati, the Court directed the Government to extend three percent reservation to PWD in all identified posts in Group A and Group B, irrespective of the mode of filling up of such posts.

It was contended by the respondents that as per the Regulations framed under the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act, 1990, Memorandum II provides for reservation in favour of PWD to the extent of three per cent in all the IDENTIFIED POSTS in Prasar Bharati, when these are filled up by direct recruitment. However, it provides for three per cent reservation in IDENTIFIED POSTS falling in Groups ‘C’ and ‘D’ irrespective of the mode of recruitment i.e. whether by direct recruitment or by promotion. As a consequence, the statutory benefit of three per cent reservation in favour of PWD is denied insofar as IDENTIFIED POSTS in Groups ‘A’ and ‘B’ are concerned, since these posts, under relevant regulations of Prasar Bharati are to be filled up exclusively through direct recruitment.

The bench of J. Chelameswar and Abhay Manohar Sapre, JJ rejected the said contention and held that once a post is identified under Section 32 of the 1995 Act, it means that a PWD is fully capable of discharging the functions associated with the identified post. Once found to be so capable, reservation under Section 33 of the 1995 Act to an extent of not less than three per cent must follow. Once the post is identified, it must be reserved for PWD irrespective of the mode of recruitment adopted by the State for filling up of the said post. The Court, hence, held the impugned memoranda to be illegal and inconsistent with the 1995 Act. [Rajeev Kumar Gupta v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 651, decided on 30.06.2016]