High Court Round UpLegal RoundUp

112 significant Reports from 22 High Courts


 

Allahabad High Court


 Right to Reputation


People using cyberspace to vent out anger and frustration by travestying key-figures holding highest office in country, is abhorrent and violates right to reputation

Sanjay Kumar Singh, J., expressed that,

“The internet and social media has become an important tool through which individuals can exercise their right to freedom of expression but the right to freedom of expression comes with its own set of special responsibilities and duties.”

Read full report here…

Corruption


Corruption is a termite in every system; a root cause of all problems but has to be put to account

While expressing that medical and legal fields are more a service than a profession especially the stream of oncology which deals with life and death, Krishan Pahal, J., held that “Corruption is a termite in every system.”

Read full report here…


Andhra Pradesh High Court


Bail


”…being an educated man and Software Engineer, he is not justified in making such irresponsible comments against the Judiciary and the High Court”, Bail denied

Cheekathi Manavendranath Roy J. dismissed the criminal petition and granted bail to the accused advocates and denied bail to accused software engineer.

Read full report here…

Reckless Driving


In the case of reckless driving, injured party will have to always prove that either side was negligent?

The Division Bench of Dr Kaushal Jayendra Thaker and Ajai Tyagi, JJ., while addressing a case of negligent driving, expressed that,

“…if the injury rather death is caused by something owned or controlled by the negligent party then he is directly liable.”

Read full report here…

Evidence


Prosecution must stand on its own legs basing its findings on the evidence that has been led by it

Siddhartha Varma, J., held that it is the bounden duty of the enquiry officer to have seen whether the charges were proved on the basis of the evidence which was led by it.

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Bombay High Court


Nomination of a Councillor


Can a nominated Councillor be appointed as Leader of the House under Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act, 1949? 

“The term ‘elected Councillor’ in Section 19-1A would necessarily have to be read as an exclusion and bar to any other Councillor i.e ‘nominated Councillor’ to become the Leader of the House.”

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Negligence


When a person suffers injury without any negligence on his part, but result of combined effect of negligence of two other persons: Is it a case of composite or contributory negligence?

Expressing that, Negligence does not always mean absolute carelessness, but want of such a degree of care as required in particular circumstances, Vinay Joshi, J., held that no absolute standard can be fixed as to what constitutes negligence differs from case to case.

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License


To operate in State of Maharashtra, Uber and other unlicensed aggregators to apply for license before 16th March 2022

The Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ and Vinay Joshi, J., directed UBER and other transport aggregators who have not obtained a license as per Section 93(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act to apply for the license before 16th March 2022 otherwise they shall not be able to operate in the State of Maharashtra.

Read full report here…

State Quota


If an aspirant has not completed her 10th and 12th standard from State of Maharashtra, can she still be covered under State Quota of Maharashtra for M.B.B.S?

The Division Bench of S.V. Gangapurwala and S.G. Dige, JJ., addressed a matter wherein an aspirant of M.B.B.S Course approached the Court praying that the petitioner be considered in State Quota from NRI Quota.

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IBC


Can Additional Sessions Judge or Sessions Judge try offences under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016?

Sandeep K. Shinde, J., held that Special Court which is to try offences under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 is the Special Court established under Section 436(2) (b) of the Companies Act, 2013 which consisted of Metropolitan Magistrate or Judicial Magistrate First Class.

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Parent’s Property


When parents are alive, can a son claim his share in the property of his parents?

The Division Bench of G.S. Patel and Madhav J. Jamdar, JJ., held that Asif i.e. son has no rights in his father’s flats.

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Film ‘83’


No stay on OTT Release of film ‘83’: Bom HC | Netflix and Star India already have antecedent rights, both digital and satellite for 10 years

While refusing to restrain Star India and Netflix from streaming the film ‘83’ on their respective broadcasting portals, R.I. Chagla, J., observed that, prospective owner of copyright in a future work may also assign to any person the copyright in the future work.

Read full report here…

Child in Conflict


When a Child in Conflict with Law is to be tried as an adult, an assessment under S. 15 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 is required to be done?

M.G. Sewlikar, J., held that, in terms of Section 15 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, Juvenile Justice Board has to make assessment into heinous offences to determine whether CCL is to be tried as an adult.

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Currency Notes


Can Currency Notes in police custody pre-demonetisation, be replaced with current valid tender?

The Division Bench of G.S. Patel and Madhav J. Jamdar, JJ., addressed a matter concerning currency notes pre-demonetisation and their replacement with current valid tender.

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Karta


Daughters and widow of a deceased would inherit properties of deceased as tenants in common or joint tenants?

Mangesh S. Patil, J., expressed that, by virtue of Section 19 it has been explicitly made clear that if two and more heirs succeed together to the property and in the estate, they take the property as tenants in common and not as joint tenants.

Read full report here…


Calcutta High Court


Rape


Penetration even of the slightest degree is necessary to establish the offence of rape; Court modifies order after 8 years of imprisonment

“It is settled law penetration even of the slightest degree is necessary to establish the offence of rape.”

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Tax


No intention of any evasion of tax; Court directs refund of penalty and tax paid on protest

Md. Nizamuddin, J. decided on a petition which was filed challenging the impugned order of the appellate commissioner confirming the original order passed by the adjudicating authority under section 129 of the West Bengal Goods and Services Act, 2017 for detention of the goods in question on the grounds that the e-way bill relating to the consignment in question had expired one day before, i.e. in the midnight of September 8, 2019, and that the goods was detained in the morning of September 9, 2019 on the grounds that the e-way bill has expired which is even less than one day and extension could not be made and petitioner submits that delay of few hours even less than a day of expiry of the validity of the tenure of the e-way bill was not deliberate and willful and was due to break down of the vehicle in question and there was no intention of any evasion of tax on the part of the petitioner.

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Repealed Acts


Whether the orders passed under a repealed Act be executed? Court discusses

Rajasekhar Mantha, J. disposed of a petition observing that the Supreme Court is the only authority to clarify  whether the orders passed under a repealed Act can be executed or not

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Breach of Contract


Parties to agreement of sale consciously changing their relationship cannot seek relief on the basis of previously established relationship

The Division Bench of Soumen Sen and  Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee, JJ., dismissed an appeal concerned with a breach of contract. The appeal arose out of a judgment in a suit for recovery of possession and injunction. Trial Court had decreed the suit on contest and dismissed the counter claim filed by the defendant.

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Detention Order


Detention order quashed due to lack of opportunity of hearing in the matter of S. 129 of the West Bengal Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017

Md. Nizamuddin, J. disposed of a petition which was filed challenging the impugned order passed by the Deputy Commissioner of Revenue on the ground that the said impugned order was bad in law for the reasons that the petitioners being the owner of the goods in question, which had been detained without giving any opportunity of hearing to the petitioners under the relevant provision of Section 129 of the West Bengal Goods and Service Tax Act, 2017.

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GST Act


The interest of revenue has been safeguarded; Order of detention against the State upheld in matter of GST Act

The Division Bench of T. S. Sivagnanam and Hiranmay Bhattacharyya, JJ., dismissed an appeal and connected application which was filed by the State against the order of detention passed by the authority detaining two trucks containing consignment of steel and other products in WPA 17611 of 2021 dated: 07-12-2021 wherein petitioner was the wife of late Mohit Madhogoria, who was a registered dealer under the provisions of the W.B.V.A.T. Act presently under the GST Act.

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Chhattisgarh High Court


Compassionate Appointment


Illegitimate child’s right to be considered for Compassionate appointment

Sanjay K. Agarwal, J., held that an illegitimate son would be entitled to consideration on compassionate ground and cannot be denied consideration on the ground that he is the illegitimate son of the deceased Government servant.

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Rape


In view of changed definition of rape under S. 375 (b) of  IPC pari materia to S. 3(b) of POCSO Act, whether sexual intercourse is necessary to attract ingredients of offence of rape or penetrative sexual assault?

Addressing a case wherein a minor girl was subjected to sexual, Deepak Kumar Tiwari, J., held that,

In view of the changed definition of rape under Section 375 (b) of the IPC pari materia to Section 3(b) of the POCSO Act, sexual intercourse is not necessary to attract the ingredients of offence of rape or penetrative sexual assault.

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Delhi High Court


Dishonour of Cheque


To prove that cheque amount was larger than debt due, can defence of Issuer be looked at stage of issuing summons?

While addressing a matter revolving around Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, Subramonium Prasad, J., held that Courts should primarily proceed on the averments in the complaint, and the defence of the accused cannot be looked at the stage of issuing summons unless it can be shown on admitted documents which the Supreme Court described as “unimpeachable in nature and sterling in quality” to substantiate that there was no debt due and payable by the person who has issued the cheque or that the cheque amount is large than the debt due.

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If a cheque is not honoured by issuer and even after a legal notice he doesn’t pay, he is bound to face criminal trial

Rajnish Bhatnagar, J., dismissed a matter revolving around the dishonour of cheque under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.

Read full report here…

Yes Bank Loan Fraud


Public money under garb of Term loan siphoned off, resulting in generation of ‘proceeds of crime’ as well as its layering and ultimate projection as untainted money: Del HC while denying bail to Gautam Thapar

While addressing a matter wherein bail of Gautam Thapar accused in Yes Bank Loan Fraud case, was sought, Manoj Kumar Ohri, J., expressed that it is well settled that, economic offences constitute a class apart and need to be visited with a different approach, given their severity and magnitude. Albeit these offences are likely to adversely impact the economic fabric of the country, bail shall not be denied to a person accused of an economic offence in a routine manner.

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Jurisdiction


Can partners in dispute of an LLP or any other business entity carrying out business in different parts of country, file suit in any place where business is carried out?

Amit Bansal, J., expressed that an LLP or any other business entity can carry out business in different parts of the country, but that would not mean that a suit with regard to disputes between the partners, could be filed in any place where the business of the firm/LLP is carried out.

Read full report here…

Ownership of YouTube Channel


Who ‘owns’ a YouTube channel?: Del HC passes interim directions in dispute over channel ‘Shabad Kirtan Gurbani – Divine Amrit Bani’

Asha Menon, J., considered a very interesting case where the dispute between the parties is regarding the ownership of a YouTube channel. The Court has found a prima facie case in favour of the plaintiff and issued certain directions.

Read full report here…

Bail


On pretext of removing evil spirit from body of a woman who was bipolar in nature, a man lured woman and committed sexual intercourse, but ADJ granted bail: Will HC cancel his bail? Del HC analyses

Mukta Gupta, J., cancelled the bail of an accused who lured a female on the pretext of removing an evil spirit from her body and further committing sexual intercourse with her.

Read full report here…

Theft


Daughter-in-law thrown out of matrimonial home and accused of removal of letters from possession of matrimonial home: Whether Del HC will find her guilty under S. 380 IPC or not?

Chandra Dhari Singh, J., noted that instant dispute has arisen out of matrimonial discord between two people which had also, led to the filing of more than 50 criminal and civil cases between not only the husband and the wife but also their family members. It was found that for the sole purpose of harassing the other party such cases were filed by persons with no just cause or reason and substantial ground for allegations.

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Right of Residence


Right of residence under DV Act is exclusive to and isolated from any right that may arise under S. 9 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955

“The existence of the strained relationship between the Petitioner and the Respondent has been well established by the fact that there are more than about 60 criminal and civil cases pending between the parties.”

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Desertion and Cruelty


Wife leaves matrimonial home and never returns after several requests and legal notice under S. 9 of HMA, alleges husband of several cruelties without any evidence: Would it amount to desertion and cruelty by wife?

Noting the separation of 12 years between the husband and wife, the Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh, JJ., found that the wife had subjected the husband to desertion and cruelty, hence decree of divorce be granted.

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Accusation of extra-marital relationship is a grave assault on character, status, reputation as well as health of spouse against whom such allegations are made: Would this come under ambit of cruelty?

While addressing a matter surrounding the issue of cruelty by wife, the Division Bench of Vipin Sanghi, ACJ and Dinesh Kumar Sharma, J., expressed that,

“It has repeatedly been held that accusations of unchastity or extra marital relationship is a grave assault on character, status, reputation as well as health of the spouse against whom such allegations were made.”

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Arbitration and Conciliation Act


Del HC dismisses appeal filed by Indiabulls Housing Finance in Zee Entertainment – Sony Pictures Scheme of Arrangement

Suresh Kumar Kait, J., addressed an appeal under Section 37(2)(b) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 against the interim order passed by Arbitrator was preferred.

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Mere use of the word ‘Arbitration’ in the heading of an Agreement would mean existence of an arbitration agreement?

Mukta Gupta, J., decided that mere use of word ‘Arbitration’ in the heading of an Agreement would not mean the existence of an arbitration agreement.

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Religious Structure


State obligated to remove unauthorized constructions from public land, but if it is a religious structure, can State still be obligated to do so?

Expressing that, the mere fact that certain encroachments represent religious structure cannot possibly detract State from its obligation, Yashwant Varma, J., held that, State remains duty-bound to remove all unauthorized constructions which may exist on public land.

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Extraordinary Writ Jurisdiction


Extraordinary writ jurisdiction is to be exercised only in rare cases or certain contingencies in the interest of justice, including exceptional cases

Chandra Dhari Singh, J., expressed that it is settled law that the power to issue writ has its own well-defined limitations imposed by the High Courts, one of which was the availability of alternative efficacious remedy.

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Power to Transfer Cases


Can Chairman of CAT on his own motion, without any notice, transfer any case pending before one Bench for disposal to another Bench?

The Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and Jyoti Singh, J., held that the Chairman of Central Administrative Tribunal has been conferred the power to transfer a matter from one Bench to another, on his own motion, without any application from any party.

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Right to Speedy Trial


Incarcerated for 8 years for an offence punishable with minimum 10 years imprisonment: Violation of Right to Personal Liberty and Right to Speedy Trial

Subramonium Prasad, J., remarked that,

“…achievement of universal equality before the law requires the tenets of personal liberty to be applicable to all similarly circumstanced individuals and must not be restricted unless according to procedure established by law.”

Read full report here…

Arms License


If you are found in possession of live ammunition along with a valid arms licence, can an offence under S. 25 of Arms Act still be registered against you?

Deciding a matter of whether an NRI person in possession of two live ammunitions with a valid license can be registered under Section 25 of Arms Act or not, Asha Menon, J., held that, prima facie no malafide intent was found and the licence found was a valid arms licence.

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Right of Putative Father


Right of Putative Father to visit minor child upheld: Del HC

Upholding the rights of the putative fatherV. Kameswar Rao, J., expressed that while determining and granting such rights, more so when the child is of less than 3 years of age, surely his well-being/welfare is of paramount importance

Read full report here…

Issuance of Notice


Section 292BB of Income Tax Act deals with failure of service of notice or failure to issue notice?

The Division Bench of Manmohan and Dinesh Kumar Sharma, JJ., addressed a matter wherein the decision of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal for the Assessment Year 2011-12 was challenged.

Read full report here…

RTI Act


Employees of a security establishment cannot be deprived of their fundamental and legal rights just because they work in an intelligence and security establishment

Expressing that, RTI Act is a tool that facilitates the employees and officers in airing their grievances systematicallythe Division Bench of Manmohan and Sudhir Kumar Jain, JJ., remarked that,

“…both service and RTI laws ‘act like a safety valve in the society’.”

Read full report here…

Maternity Leave


Can maternity leave benefits extend beyond the period when contractual period of an ad hoc employee comes to an end?

In a claim of maternity benefit by a contractual employee, the Division Bench of Rajiv Shakdher and Talwant Singh, JJ., expressed that, The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 Act is a social legislation that should be worked in a manner that progresses not only the best interest of the women-employee but also of the child, both at the pre-natal and post-natal stage.

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Unmarried Daughters


Can unmarried daughters claim expenses of marriage from their parents under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956?

While stating that, in Indian society, normally expenses are required to be incurred for pre-marriage and also at the time of marriagethe Division Bench of Goutam Bhaduri and Sanjay S. Agrawal, JJ., held that unmarried daughters have a right to claim expenses of marriage from their parents under the Hindu Adoptions & Maintenance Act, 1956.

Read full report here…

SC Collegium December Meeting


 

Newspaper reports are of no evidentiary value and Courts would be transgressing their well settled limitation if cognizance were to be taken of such unsubstantiated and unverified reports

In a matter wherein, details were sought with regard to Supreme Court Collegium meeting held on 12-12-2018, Yashwant Varma, J., expressed that, newspaper reports are of no evidentiary value and Courts would be clearly transgressing their well-settled limitation if cognizance were to be taken of such unsubstantiated and unverified reports.

Read full report here…


Gujarat High Court


Reasoning in Judgment


Providing reasoning is to give it a value of precedent which can help in reduction of frivolous litigation; Court emphasises on recording reasons in judgments

“It is trite that in a delay application, sufficient cause is the paramount consideration and if sufficient cause is shown, the Court should generally condone the delay. However, if the sufficient cause is imbibed with the laxity on the part of the delayer despite due knowledge, then Court should restrain itself from encouraging such practice and condone the delay.”

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GSTR-6 Return


Court allows writ furnishing the GSTR – 6 return for recording and distributing the ISD credit

“Credit was a tax paid by the registered person on input transactions and such tax already paid to the credit of the Central Government was a vested right of the person. Such vested right cannot be defeated on account of any irregularity in the system evolved by the Government.”

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NDPS


No Conscious possession; Court upholds acquittal under NDPS Act

The Division Bench of S.H. Vora and Sandeep N. Bhatt, JJ., dismissed an application for special leave to appeal which was filed feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied with the judgment and order in NDPS Case whereby the trial Court acquitted the respondent 2 herein-original accused 2 of the offences punishable under Sections 8(c), 20(b) and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (“NDPS Act”).

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Detention Order


Simplicitor registration of FIR/s by itself cannot have any nexus with the breach of maintenance of public order; Detention order quashed

Rajendra M. Sareen, J. allowed a petition which was directed against the detention order passed by respondent–detaining authority in exercise of powers conferred under section 3(2) of the Gujarat Prevention of Anti Social Activities Act, 1985 (“the Act”) by detaining the petitioner-detenue as defined under section 2(b) of the Act.

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Gauhati High Court


Sexual offences against minor cannot be compromised by parents; HC rejects application to enforce compromise

Arun Dev Choudhury, J., held that sexual offences against minor cannot be compromised by parents.

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Himachal Pradesh High Court


Rape


Minor girl students raped and subjected to penetrative sexual assault by their teacher: Sanctity of Teacher-Student relationship polluted

Polluting the sanctity of the relationship of the teacher and students, a teacher committed rape and penetrative sexual assault with minor students, the Division Bench of Sabina and Satyen Vaidya, JJ., noting the harrowing incidents expressed that the said is a sad reflection of the present-day society where a most platonic relationship was exploited.

Read full report here…


Jharkhand High Court


Execution of a Will


Testamentary disposition of property is deviation from natural line of inheritance in lesser or greater degree: Can it result in complete disposition in favour of one heir or exclusion of any other heir?

Expressing that the due execution of a Will is to be proved as per the provisions of law as laid down in Evidence Act as well as that if Indian Succession Act,  Gautam Kumar Choudhary, J., remarked that, a probate court being a Court of conscience, the intention of the testator is paramount and it is the bounden duty of the Court to ascertain the real WILL of the testator if any.

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Karnataka High Court


Domestic Violence Act


Whether the maintenance awarded under the Domestic Violence Act can be sought to be enhanced under the CrPC?

“The language employed in Section 127 of the Cr.P.C. is unequivocal as on a proof of change in the circumstances of any person receiving allowance under Section 125 of Cr.P.C. can maintain a petition under Section 127 of the Cr.P.C.”

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Criminal Proceedings


SC-ST Act is prospective or retrospective? Kar HC quashes criminal proceedings for offences committed in the year 1975

Krishna S Dixit J. quashes the criminal proceedings as the SC-ST act is not retrospective in nature.

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Hijab Ban


16 pointer report on why wearing of Hijab is not a part of essential religious practice in Islam

“Dismayed as to how all of a sudden that too in the middle of an academic term the issue of hijab is generated and blown out of proportion, Court remarked that some ‘unseen hands’ are at work to engineer social unrest and disharmony in the way ‘hijab imbroglio’ unfolded.”

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The uniform can exclude any other apparel like bhagwa or blue shawl that may have the visible religious overtones

“The Holy Quran does not mandate wearing of hijab or headgear for Muslim women rather it was traditionally worn as a measure of social security” 

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POCSO


Whether victim under POCSO Act can be permitted to be cross-examined once she turns hostile?

M Nagaprasanna J. allowed the petition and quashed the impugned order and remitted the matter back to Sessions Judge for cross-examination

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Marital Rape


“Wanton lust, vicious appetite, depravity of senses, loathsome beast of passion, unbridled unleashing of carnal desire of demonish perversion” Kar HC discusses protection provided to husband by the institution of marriage

A man is a man; an act is an act; rape is a rape, be it performed by a man the “husband” on the woman “wife”

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Kerala High Court


Cruelty


At odd hours, if wife continues making discreet phone calls with another man even after a warning by husband, would it constitute matrimonial cruelty?

The Division Bench of A. Muhamed Mustaque and Dr Justice Kauser Edappagath, JJ., held that, despite a warning by the husband, if the wife continues to make discreet calls with another man that too at odd hours, it would amount to matrimonial cruelty.

Read full report here…

Medical Negligence


Do District and State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions do not have jurisdiction to take cognizance of medical negligence complaints?

Nagaresh, J., decided whether medical service would fall within the ambit of Section 2(42) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 unless of course the service is free of charge or is under a contract of personal service.

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Breach


Compensation payable under Ss. 73, 74 and 75 are only for loss or damage caused by breach or inclusive of mere act of breach as well?

The Division Bench of P.B. Suresh Kumar and C.S. Sudha, JJ., expressed that,

“…compensation payable under Sections 73, 74 as also under Section 75 is only for loss or damage caused by the breach and not account of the mere act of breach. If in any case the breach has not resulted in or caused any loss or damage to a party, person concerned cannot claim compensation.”

The words ‘loss or damage’ in the Sections 73 and 74 would necessarily indicate that the party who complains of breach must have really suffered some loss or damage apart from being faced with the mere act of breach of contract. That is because every breach of every contract need not necessarily result in actual loss or damage.

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Internal Complaints Committee


In the film industry, would production units have to constitute Internal Complaints Committee to deal with harassment against women?

While expressing that, any organisations, establishments, private institutions are employing workers whether for wages or not in contemplation of the provisions of the Act, 2013 coming under the definition of employer, employee and workplace, they are duty bound to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee,  the Division Bench of S. Manikumar, CJ and Shaji P. Chaly, J., held that, a production unit of each film industry is an establishment employing Actor Artists and other workers and therefore, such production units have to maintain an Internal Complaints Committee if they are engaging more than 10 workers

Read full report here…

Moral Policing


Man taking a lady from another community in his car, attacked by violent mob: Act of mob moral policing?

Calling it to be ‘moral policing’ K. Haripal, J., addressed a matter wherein a man had taken a lady from another community in his car due to which a mob attacked him with deadly weapons.

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Pre-arrest Bail


Trespassed in house, committed rape, misappropriated money, threatened: Kerala HC denied pre-arrest bail in view of such allegations

Shircy V. J., dismissed a bail application wherein a man committed rape with a woman and misappropriated her money after putting her under threat.

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Strikes


Bar on Government servants to engage in strikes?

While expressing that, it is the duty of the welfare Government to protect not only the citizens, but to continue with, all the Government work as expected, the Division Bench of S. Manikumar, CJ and Shaji P. Chaly, J., directed that Government servants should be prevented from engaging in a strike.

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Madras High Court


Central Information Commission


High Court cannot act as a post office to collect and exchange information

While stating that Central Information Commission has only made recommendations, which cannot by any stretch of imagination be taken as a statute so as to give effect, the Division Bench of Munishwar Nath Bhandari, CJ and D. Bharatha Chakravarthy, J., dismissed the petition.

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Promotion


Can an employee claim promotion as a matter of right?

S.M. Subramaniam, J., expressed that employees cannot seek any direction to fill up the post or claim a promotional post.

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Bribe


Every Advocate is a Court officer and part & parcel of justice delivery system: Madras HC found a Govt. Advocate demanding bribes at the cost of justice

The Division Bench of K. Kalyanasundaram and R. Hemalatha, JJ., expressed that, the Government advocate being the representative of the Government has to act in an honest manner. If he/she goes around with the intention to make money at the cost of justice, only chaos will prevail.

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Manipur High Court


Appointment/Promotion of High School Teachers


All resolutions passed at the emergency meeting will be subject to confirmation or revision at the next ordinary meeting; Court allows petition

“Rule 14 (b) of the Rules of 1975 provides that all resolutions passed at the emergency meeting will be subject to confirmation or revision at the next ordinary meeting, none of the respondents, either the State or the respondent 3 to 10 has brought on record that the resolution passed in the emergency meeting held on 21-02-2015 was confirmed or revised in the next ordinary meeting.”

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Madhya Pradesh High Court


Writ of Mandamus


A writ for mandamus cannot lie to direct the State to enact a law; Petition dismissed

The Division Bench of Ravi Malimath, CJ. and Dinesh Kumar Paliwal, J.dismissed a petition which was filed in public interest praying for a writ of mandamus to incorporate certain provisions in the law, namely, Section 14-A of the Madhya Pradesh Municipal Corporation Act, 1956 and Section 32-A of the Madhya Pradesh Municipalities Act, 1961.

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Election Dispute


Registrar exercising power of the election tribunal cannot pass interim directions of any nature; Court allows appeal

“…Registrar who was trying the election dispute was exercising the power of the election tribunal. Therefore, he could not have passed orders even though it was in the interest of society.”

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Custody


Technical objections cannot come in way of custody; Court allows 16-year-old to choose to live with father

The Division Bench of Subodh Abhyankar and Satyendra Kumar Singh, JJ., dismissed an appeal which was filed being aggrieved of the order passed by Single Judge wherein he quashed the earlier impugned order passed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate whereby custody of the children of the appellant was given to her husband (respondent 4). The Single Judge had only partly granted relief by not giving any express direction restoring the custody of the children in favour of the appellant.

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Appointment Order


Cancellation of candidature on the ground of typographical error arbitrary and grossly disproportionate; Court allows petition

Pranay Verma, J., allowed a petition which was filed praying for a direction to consider petitioner’s candidature for the post of Office Assistant (Multi purpose) and to issue appointment order in her favour in light of offer letter.

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Meghalaya High Court


Family Pension


Court decides on eligibility of family pension under Rule 48 of Meghalaya Civil Services Pension Rules of 1983

“Rule 48, provides that an unmarried/widowed/divorced daughter, would be entitled to family pension and that a person would be entitled for family pension, only after other eligible family members in the first category have ceased to be eligible to receive it.”

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Companies Act


If an advertisement for petition filed under S. 433 of Companies Act, 1956 is not published, will entire matter be transferred to NCLT?

Sanjib Banerjee, CJ, addressed a petition wherein a creditor’s winding-up petition was instituted under Section 433 of the Companies Act, 1956 and the same was not yet advertised.

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Testimony


Court affirms trial court’s conviction on the basis of victim’s testimony in POCSO matter

The Division Bench of  Sanjib Banerjee and W. Diengdoh, JJ., while hearing an appeal which challenged the judgment of conviction of December 21, 2018, which convicted the appellant under Section 3(a) R/W Section 4 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, upheld the same and stated that there was no good reason to interfere with the judgement of the trial court.

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Compromise Deed


Lower Courts to deal with entire process expeditiously after receipt of the application under S. 151 read with Or. 20 R. 6-A CPC

H.S. Thangkhiew, J. while hearing a revision application allowed the same and directed the lower court to deal with the entire process expeditiously immediately on receipt of the application under Section 151 read with Order 20 Rule 6-A CPC.

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Inherent Power


fraus et jus nunquam cohabitant; Ori HC analyses how does prohibition under S. 362 CrPC operate viz-a- viz the inherent power of the High Court

It is the oft-repeated and a salutary principle of law that fraud and justice never dwell together (fraus et jus nunquam cohabitant)

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Rape


If a man rubs his organ on vagina over victim’s underpants, would that amount to rape?

The Division Bench of Sanjib Banerjee, CJ and W. Diengdoh, J., addressed that, if the victim’s underwear was not taken down and the man merely rubbed himself on the victim’s crotch while she still wore her underpants, would that amount to commission of rape.

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POCSO


FIR and proceedings in Special POCSO Case quashed; Minor ‘victim’ gave birth to child while living with accused as his wife

Diengdoh, J. allowed a petition which was filed praying to quash the criminal proceedings pending in the Court of the Special Judge (POCSO) under Section 5(j)(ii)/6 POCSO Act, 2012.

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Punjab and Haryana High Court


Live-in Relationship


In ever-evolving society, evolving law with it, time to shift perspective from didactics of orthodox society, shackled with strong strings of morality to one that values an individual’s life

While dealing with a matter regarding protection to live-in relationship, Anoop Chitkara, J., held that, every person in the territory of India has an inherent and indefeasible fundamental right to life flowing from Article 21 of the Constitution of India and the State is duty-bound to protect life.

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Laws governing ‘Live-in-relationships’ is need of the hour; Court directs State to file response on the social predicament

‘Live-in-relationships’ has always been a debatable issue because of the absence of any law on the said practice. The Legislation has not yet consolidated any Act in this regard; on the other hand the Judiciary, through several decisions has made a clear stand to protect the various rights of such couples. Supreme Court in Lata Singh v. State of U.P., (2006) 5 SCC 475S. Khushbhoo v. Kanniammal(2010) 5 SCC 600, and Indra Sarma v. V.K.V. Sarma(2013) 15 SCC 755, has upheld the status of live-in-relationships and issued certain direction to protect life and liberty of the individuals.

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MBBS Course


Whether Court can issue directions for filling up the vacant seat for the MBBS Course?

S. Thangkhiew, J. allowed a petition in which he had to consider whether this Court can direct the respondents to consider the petitioner for filling up the vacant seat for the MBBS Course.

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Recission of Contract


Application for rescission of contract ‘mandatory’ to avail the relief, as S. 28, Specific Relief Act, 1963 doesn’t confer indefeasible right

Sudhir Mittal, J. dismissed the revision petition filed by the petitioners (in this case the judgment-debtors) against the action of the Executing Court for refusing to recall the impugned order. According to the petitioners, the execution order was passed, ex parte hence, the fundamental principle of natural justice was violated.

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Carnal Intercourse


Use of phrase “carnal intercourse” considered as a conscious act of the legislature reflecting the clear intent to engraft an offence under S. 377 IPC, conviction upheld

Vinod S. Bhardwaj, J. contemplated the revision petition filed by the accused/ children in conflict with the law, challenging the dismissal of appeal by Additional District and Sessions Judge along with the order of conviction and sentence passed by the Juvenile Justice Board, for the commission of offence punishable under Section 377 of Penal Code, 1860 and Section 10 Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

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Cooling Off Period


Cooling off period under S. 13-B (2) HMA directory and not mandatory, court must waive off statutory period where marriage is irreconcilable

Rajbir Sehrawat, J., allowed the instant revision petition, filed against the order of Family Court, where the joint application for waving off the statutory period of 6 months for cooling off, had been dismissed.

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CBSE


Schools succeeded in hoodwinking CBSE, however, no fault can be attributed to the students; direction for issuance of class 12th result

Sudhir Mittal, J. allowed the writ petitions filed against the action of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) declaring petitioners ineligible for evaluation of class 12th and to issue the final result.

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Fundamental Rights vis a vis Judicial Review


Answer to the question on ‘fundamental rights vis-a-vis judicial review’ considered as ‘National Confusion’ as different interpretation possible

Rajbir Sehrawat. J., contemplated and answered the interesting question asked in the recruitment test on which the dispute of the petitioner revolves around. Thorough interpretation of judgments starting from Sankari Prasad to I.R. Coelho was analysed by the Court to formulate the correct answer asked in the recruitment test.

73. Which of the following schedule of the Constitution is immune from judicial review on the grounds of violation of fundamental rights?

  1. A) Seventh Schedule B) Ninth Schedule C) Tenth Schedule D) None of the above”

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Material Fact


Suppression of a ‘material fact’ of non-disclosure of pendency of bail application considered, subservient to the right of liberty granted to the petitioners; Guidelines issued

Three petitions are clubbed together where the petitioners intended to withdraw their bail applications as bail was already granted by the different trial courts. The main issue before Jasgurpreet Singh Puri, J. was effect of filing bail applications and passing of bail orders by the trial courts during the pendency of bail application before High Court by the same accused without disclosing such pendency and what safeguards should be adopted by the trial courts in this regard.

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Compensation


Entitlement to compensation on general principles for inordinate delay in receiving monies due; Interest on refund of excise duty granted

The Division Bench of Ajay Tewari and Pankaj Jain, JJ., contemplated the appeal where the interest on refund of excise duty was rejected by the authorities. The main question before the Court was whether the assessee was entitled to interest.

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Departmental Punishment


Departmental punishment of government servant is not a necessary and automatic consequence of conviction on a criminal charge

Jaishree Thakur, J. set aside and quashed the dismissal of the petitioner and remanded back the matter to the punishing authority for reconsideration. The Court directed that punishing authority to apply its mind and to form an opinion as to whether the conviction of the petitioner deserves the penalty of dismissal, removal or reduction in rank or any other lesser penalty.

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Patna High Court


Economic Offence


Entire community is aggrieved if economic offenders, who ruin economy of the State are not brought to book

Expressing that the entire community is aggrieved if the economic offenders, who ruin the economy of the State are not brought to bookAnjani Kumar Sharan, J., held that economic offence is committed with cool calculation and deliberate design with an eye on personal profit regardless of the consequence to the community.

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Rajasthan High Court


Whenever there is a conflict between substantial justice and hyper-technicality then substantial justice should be preferred to avoid defeat for the ends of justice: Raj HC observes in a case where candidature was rejected on a hyper-technical approach

A Division Bench of Anoop Kumar Dhand and Pankaj Bharadwaj, JJ., disposed of the petition and directed the Department to appoint the respondent.

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Cause Title


“..use of salutation and titles is prohibited in terms of Arts. 14 18 and 363A of the Constitution of India in public documents and public offices”; Raj HC observes in a case where hereditary title was mentioned in a cause title

“…any title awarded to the citizen of India by a Foreign State cannot be accepted nor used and no such title, other than the military or academic distinctions, can be conferred other than by the State. In terms of Article 363A of the Constitution of India, the heredity titles of nobility being in conflict with the principles of equality and contrary to Article 14 of the Constitution of India cannot be used as prefixes or suffixes.”

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Provisional Attachment


Order of provisional attachment cannot survive beyond a period of one year in terms of S. 83 (2) CGST Act; Provisional attachment order stayed

“Section 83 of the CGST Act pertains to provisional attachment to protect the revenue in certain cases. In sub-section (1) of Section 83 the commissioner is empowered to order provisional attachment of the property of the assessee including bank account where proceedings under Chapters XII, XIV and XV are pending and the commissioner is of the opinion that for the purpose of protecting the interest of government revenue it is necessary so to do.”

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Public Interest Litigation


“Citizen approaching Court in a public interest jurisdiction holds greater duty to make full research” PIL dismissed due to lack of necessary evidence presented

A Division Bench of Akil Kureshi, CJ and Rekha Borana, J. dismissed the petition and kept it open for the petitioners to file a fresh public interest petition.

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Private Entity


In absence of any factual foundation to show whether a particular entity is State or not, writ jurisdiction not maintainable

Mahendar Kumar Goyal J. dismissed the petition being not maintainable against a private entity. 

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Interim Maintenance


Raj HC dealt with whether husband can be absolved from his duty to pay interim maintenance if there is delay of 30+ years in filing application

“…an order under Section 125 of CrPC is in the nature of interim maintenance and husband, who admittedly earns Rs 40, 000/- per month cannot be absolved of his obligation to pay interim maintenance, merely because the respondent – wife has chosen to file the application after 36 years of marriage.”

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Transfer Petition


Transfer petition for trial of Salman Khan’s deer hunting case allowed; High Court to take charge

Pushpendra Singh Bhati, J., allowed a transfer petition in the infamous deer hunting case of actor Salman Khan.

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Bail


Economic offender should not be dealt as general offender because economic offenders run parallel economy; bail rejected

Narendra Singh Dhaddha rejected bail and dismissed the petition being devoid of merits.

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Sikkim High Court


Compromise


Handing out punishment is not the sole form of delivering justice; Court allows compromise

Bhaskar Raj Pradhan, J. allowed the compromise to bury the difference between parties and gives them their lives as good citizens.

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Tripura High Court


Disposal of Garbage


Court directs AMC to set up proper slaughterhouses and ensure garbage disposal in scientific manner

Court issued directions to the Corporation to prepare a long-term plan for not only setting up the abattoir/slaughter house but also for ensuring disposal of garbage in an appropriate scientific manner, rendering all authorities including the local police authorities for enforcing/assisting in carrying out its duties, considering application for licenses and disposing of at an early date so that people are not deprived of essential needs, maintaining hygienic conditions and carrying out inspection of all the license premises.

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Divorce


Unable to approve this kind of matrimonial conduct or filing a suit for divorce on such coloured narrative; Court dismisses appeal in matter of divorce

The Division Bench of S. Talapatra and S.G. Chattopadhyay, JJ. dismissed an appeal which was filed under Section 28 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 from the judgment by the Additional District Judge declining to grant the divorce and consequently dismissing the suit. It was observed that case did not reflect any such situation which can demand the dissolution of marriage between the petitioner [the appellant and the respondent].

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Uttaranchal High Court


Personal Rights


Irrespective of the personal rights of a person or a community, it can under no set of circumstances, override the rights or need of the defence of the country; Petition dismissed

Sharad Kumar Sharma, J. dismissed a writ petition which involved the issue pertaining to regulating the frontier borders of the country, adjoining to the ‘Line of Actual Control’, which adjoins and shares the boundary lines of our neighbouring country, China, which is approximately about 20 to 25 Kms. only away from the land, in dispute, which is proposed to be acquired for the purposes of meeting out the defence need of the ITBPF, i.e. ITBP.

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Judgment of Acquittal


There have to be very substantial and compelling reasons for setting aside a judgment of acquittal; petition dismissed

The Division Bench of S.K. Mishra and A.K. Verma, JJ., dismissed the appeal for acquittal considering it to be devoid of substantial and compelling reasons.

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Hate Speech


Right to freedom, as granted under the Constitution is not an absolute right; Court rejects bail in Hate Speech matter

Ravindra Maithani, J., rejected a bail application which was filed by the applicant who was in judicial custody under Sections 153A, 298 Penal code, 1860.

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Public Service Commission


Public Service Commission directed to declare result of candidate who submitted late fees

The Division Bench of Sanjaya Kumar Mishra, CJ. and Ramesh Chandra Khulbe, J. allowed a petition which was filed by an aspirant seeking a direction to respondents to allow the petitioner to appear for the mains examination of the Assistant Conservator of Forest.

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Registration of Sikh Marriages


State directed to take steps to frame and notify Rules for Registration of Sikh Marriages

The Division Bench of Sanjaya Kumar Mishra, ACJ. and Ramesh Chandra Khulbe, J. took up a PIL filed by the petitioner commanding the respondent State to notify the Rules under Anand Marriage Act, 1909 and also to issue guidelines to register the marriage of people of Sikh Community under the Anand Marriage Act, 1909.

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Bail


Society has a vital interest in grant or refusal of bail because criminal offence is the offence against the society; Bail applications rejected in fraud case under Epidemic Diseases Act

Alok Kumar Verma, J. rejected three bail applications of the applicants who were in custody for the offence under Sections 188, 269, 270, 420, 467, 468, 471, 120B of IPC, Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and Section 53 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

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Weekly Roundups from March


Stories of sexual assault of a minor, woman travelling in public transport experiencing inappropriate touch and how children below 12 years of age are ‘asexual’ | Read 7 Legal Stories of the week

9 Legal Stories of the Week | Unlicensed transport aggregators to Spanking back of a woman without her consent, read more such stories in this weekly roundup

From Hijab Ban to Bloomberg Privacy Case and more | 7 Legal Stories of the Week

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Dismayed as to how all of a sudden that too in the middle of an academic term the issue of hijab is generated and blown out of proportion, Court remarked that some ‘unseen hands’ are at work to engineer social unrest and disharmony in the way ‘hijab imbroglio’ unfolded.


Let’s breakdown the Hijab Case in the simplest way:


What was the issue?

The whole issue was the aftermath of a Government Order dated 5th February, 2022 issued under the Karnataka Education Act 1983 by the State of Karnataka.


What did the Government Order state?

The order directs the College Development Committees all over the State to prescribe ‘Student Uniform’, presumably in terms of Rule 11 of Karnataka Educational Institutions (Classification, Regulation & Prescription of Curricula, etc.) Rules, 1995.


What did the interim order of the Court state?

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.


What did the detailed Judgment pronounce today, consist of?

Four Key questions were dealt with, the first one was:

Q.1 Whether wearing Hijab is a part of essential religious practice in the Islamic faith protected under Article 25 of the Constitution?

  • Since ages, India is a secular country. For India, there is no official religion, inasmuch as it is not a theocratic State. The State does not extend patronage to any particular religion and thus, it maintains neutrality in the sense that it does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of religious identities per se.
  • Essential Religious Practices should associate with Constitutional values. The person seeking refuge under the umbrella of Article 25 of the Constitution has to demonstrate not only essential religious practice but also its engagement with the constitutional values.
  • Holy Quran does not mandate the wearing of a Hijab or Headgear for Muslim women.

“…at the most is a means to gain access to public places and not a religious end in itself. It was a measure of women enablement and not a figurative constraint.”

  • What is not religiously made obligatory therefore cannot be made a quintessential aspect of the religion through public agitations or by the passionate arguments in courts.
  • It is not that if the alleged practice of wearing hijab is not adhered to, those not wearing hijab become the sinners, Islam loses its glory and it ceases to be a religion.

Therefore, wearing of hijab by Muslim Women does not form a part of essential religious practice in Islamic faith.


Q.2 Whether there is power to prescribe dress code in educational institutions?

  • No reasonable mind can imagine a school without a uniform.
  • The power to prescribe uniform as of necessity inheres in every school subject to all just exceptions.

“…it is impossible to instill the scientific temperament which our Constitution prescribes as a fundamental duty vide Article 51A(h) into the young minds so long as any propositions such as wearing of hijab or bhagwa are regarded as religiously sacrosanct and therefore, not open to question. They inculcate secular values amongst the students in their impressionable & formative years.”

“It is nobody’s case that the dress code is sectaraian.”

  • Stating that the Court has no quarrel with petitioners’ essential proposition that what one desires to wear is a facet of one’s autonomy and that one’s attire is one’s expression, but the same is subject to reasonable regulation.
  • It is too far-fetched to argue that the school dress code militates against the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under Articles, 14, 15, 19, 21 & 25 of the Constitution and therefore, the same should be outlawed by the stroke of a pen.
  • Adherence to the dress code is a mandatory for students.

Hence, the prescription of school uniform is only a reasonable restriction constitutionally permissible which the students cannot object to.


Q.3 Validity of Government Order dated 5th February, 2022 providing for prescription of dress codes in educational institutions?

  • The said order per se does not prescribe any dress code and it only provides for prescription of uniform in four different types of educational institutions.
  • Wearing hijab is not an essential religious practice and school uniform to its exclusion can be prescribed.

“…hardly needs to be stated that uniform can exclude any other apparel like bhagwa or blue shawl that may have visible religious overtones.”

Hence, the government has power to issue the impugned Order dated 5th February, 2022 and that no case was made out for its invalidation.

  • Prescription of school dress code to the exclusion of hijab, bhagwa, or any other apparel symbolic of religion can be a step forward in the direction of emancipation and more particularly, to access to education.

Q.4 Whether any case is made out in WP 2146 of 2022 sought the issuance of direction for initiating disciplinary inquiry against respondents 6 to 14 and for issuance of quo warranto against respondents 15 and 16?

  • The college can prescribe uniform to the exclusion of hijab or bhagwa or such other religious symbols, and therefore, the alleged act of the respondents in seeking adherence to the school discipline & dress code cannot be faltered.
  • For seeking a Writ of the said nature, one has to demonstrate that the post or office which the person concerned holds is a public post or public office.
  • The Court opined that respondents 15 & 16 do not hold any such position in the respondent school.

Hence, no case is made out in W.P. No.2146/2022 for issuance of a direction for initiating disciplinary enquiry against respondents 6 to 14. The prayer for issuance of Writ of Quo Warranto against respondents  15 and 16 is rejected being not maintainable.

[Resham v. State of Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 315, decided on 15-3-2022]


Hijab Row | Karnataka HC upholds Hijab Ban: Read Questions formulated by HC while pronouncing verdict

Case BriefsHigh Courts

“The Holy Quran does not mandate wearing of hijab or headgear for Muslim women rather it was traditionally worn as a measure of social security”

Karnataka High Court: A Full Bench of Ritu Raj Awasthi CJ, Krishna S. Dixit J and J. M Khazi J. dismissed the petitions being devoid of merit.

Writ Petition Details

  1. W.P No. 2347 of 2022 praying for a direction to the respondents to permit the petitioner to wear hijab (head – scarf) in the class room, since wearing it is a part of ‘essential religious practice’ of Islam.
  2. WP No. 2146 of 2022 praying to initiate enquiry against the Respondent 5 college and Respondent 6 i.e. Principal for violating instruction enumerated under Chapter 6 heading of “Important information” of Guidelines of PU Department for academic year of 2021-22 for maintaining uniform in the PU college, conduct enquiry against the Respondents for their Hostile approach towards the petitioners students and interfering in the administration of Respondent no 5 school and promoting their political agenda.
  3. WP Nos. 2880 of 2022, 3038 of 2022 & 4309 of 2022 challenges G.O. dated 05-02-2022 issued under section 133 read with sections 7(2) & (5) of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983 (hereafter ‘1983 Act’) provides that, the students should compulsorily adhere to the dress code/uniform as follows:

a. in government schools, as prescribed by the government;

b. in private schools, as prescribed by the school management;

c. in Pre–University colleges that come within the jurisdiction of the Department of the Pre–University Education, as prescribed by the College Development Committee or College Supervision Committee; and

d. wherever no dress code is prescribed, such attire that would accord with ‘equality & integrity’ and would not disrupt the ‘public order’.

4. WP No.3424 of 2022 prayed to permit Female Muslim students to sport Hijab provided they wear the stipulated school uniform also.

5. WP No.4338 of 2022 prayed that the CBI/NIA or such other investigating agency should make a thorough investigation in the nationwide agitation after the issuance of the GO to ascertain the involvement of radical organizations such as Popular Front of India, Students Islamic Organization of India, Campus Front of India and Jamaat-e-Islami; to hold and declare that wearing of hijab, burqa or such “other costumes by male or female Muslims and that sporting beard is not an integral part of essential religious practice of Islam” and therefore, prescription of dress code is permissible.

 Issues Framed

  1. Whether wearing hijab/head-scarf is a part of ‘essential religious practice’ in Islamic Faith protected under Article 25 of the Constitution?
  2. Whether prescription of school uniform is not legally permissible, as being violative of petitioners Fundamental Rights inter alia guaranteed under Articles, 19(1)(a), (i.e., freedom of expression) and 21, (i.e., privacy) of the Constitution?
  3. Whether the Government Order dated 05-02-2022 apart from being incompetent is issued without application of mind and further is manifestly arbitrary and therefore, violates Articles 14 & 15 of the Constitution?
  4. Whether any case is made out in W.P.No.2146 of 2022 for issuance of a direction for initiating disciplinary enquiry against respondent 6 to 14 and for issuance of a Writ of Quo Warranto against respondent 15 & 16?

Court’s Observations

Issue 1 

What is an essential religious practice?

Indian Young Lawyers Association surveyed the development of law relating to essential religious practice and the extent of its constitutional patronage consistent with the long standing view. Ordinarily, a religious practice in order to be called an ‘essential religious practice’ should have the following indicia:

  • Not every activity associated with the religion is essential to such religion. Practice should be fundamental to religion and it should be from the time immemorial.
  • Foundation of the practice must precede the religion itself or should be co-founded at the origin of the religion.
  • Such practice must form the cornerstone of religion itself. If that practice is not observed or followed, it would result in the change of religion itself and,
  • Such practice must be binding nature of the religion itself and it must be compelling.

That a practice claimed to be essential to the religion has been carried on since time immemorial or is grounded in religious texts per se does not lend to it the constitutional protection unless it passes the test of essentiality as is adjudged by the Courts in their role as the guardians of the Constitution.

Which authoritative Commentary on Holy Quran was relied by Court?

‘The Holy Quran: Text, Translation and Commentary’ by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, (published by Goodword Books; 2019 reprint), there being a broad unanimity at the Bar as to its authenticity & reliability. The speculative and generalizing mind of this author views the verses of the scriptures in their proper perspective. 

Is Hijab a Quranic injunction and Islam specific?

Indian jurist Abdullah Yusuf Ali referring to sūra (xxxiii), verse 59, at footnote 3765 in his book states: “Jilbāb, plural Jalābib: an outer garment; a long gown covering the whole body, or a cloak covering the neck as bosom.”. In the footnote 3760 to Verse 53, he states: …In the wording, note that for Muslim women generally, no screen or hijab (Purdah) is mentioned, but only a veil to cover the bosom, and modesty in dress. The screen was a special feature of honor for the Prophet’s household, introduced about five or six years before his death… Added, in footnote 3767 to verse 59 of the same sura, he opines: This rule was not absolute: if for any reason it could not be observed, ‘God is Oft. Returning, Most Merciful.’…” Thus, there is sufficient intrinsic material within the scripture itself to support the view that wearing hijab has been only recommendatory, if at all it is.

The Court observed that whatever is stated in the above sūras, we say, is only directory, because of absence of prescription of penalty or penance for not wearing hijab, the linguistic structure of verses supports this view. This apparel at the most is a means to gain access to public places and not a religious end in itself. It was a measure of women enablement and not a figurative constraint. 

Tracing the history of Hijab

Sara Slininger from Centralia, Illinois in her research paper “VEILED WOMEN: HIJAB, RELIGION, AND CULTURAL PRACTICE” wrote

“Islam was not the first culture to practice veiling their women. Veiling practices started long before the Islamic prophet Muhammad was born. Societies like the Byzantines, Sassanids, and other cultures in Near and Middle East practiced veiling. There is even some evidence that indicates that two clans in southwestern Arabia practiced veiling in pre-Islamic times, the Banū Ismāʿīl and Banū Qaḥṭān. Veiling was a sign of a women’s social status within those societies. In Mesopotamia, the veil was a sign of a woman’s high status and respectability. Women wore the veil to distinguish Slininger themselves from slaves and unchaste women. In some ancient legal traditions, such as in Assyrian law, unchaste or unclean women, such as harlots and slaves, were prohibited from veiling themselves. If they were caught illegally veiling, they were liable to severe penalties. The practice of veiling spread throughout the ancient world the same way that many other ideas traveled from place to place during this time: invasion.”

Thus the Court observed wearing hijab was recommended as a measure of social security for women and to facilitate their safe access to public domain. At the most the practice of wearing this apparel may have something to do with culture but certainly not with religion. The Quran shows concern for the cases of ‘molestation of innocent women’ and therefore, it recommended wearing of this and other apparel as a measure of social security. Thus, it can be reasonably assumed that the practice of wearing hijab had a thick nexus to the socio-cultural conditions then prevalent in the region. The veil was a safe means for the women to leave the confines of their homes. Ali’s short but leading question is premised on this analysis. What is not religiously made obligatory therefore cannot be made a quintessential aspect of the religion through public agitations or by the passionate arguments in courts.

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.” These observations should strike the death knell to Writ Petition Nos.2146, 2347, 3038/2022 wherein the respondent college happens to be all-girl-institution (not co-education).

 Is wearing Hijab a matter of conscience?

Conscience is by its very nature subjective. Merely stating that wearing hijab is an overt act of conscience and therefore, asking them to remove hijab would offend conscience, would not be sufficient for treating it as a ground for granting relief. Freedom of conscience as already mentioned above, is in distinction to right to religion as was clarified by Dr. B.R.Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly Debates. There is scope for the argument that the freedom of conscience and the right to religion are mutually exclusive. Even by overt act, in furtherance of conscience, the matter does not fall into the domain of right to religion and thus, the distinction is maintained. There is no evidence that the petitioners chose to wear their headscarf as a means of conveying any thought or belief on their part or as a means of symbolic expression..

The Court thus held In view of the above discussion, we are of the considered opinion that wearing of hijab by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practice in Islamic faith.”

Issue 2

Whether prescription of school uniform to the exclusion of Hijab violates Articles 14, 14, 19(1)(a) and 21?

The prescription of dress code for the students that too within the four walls of the class room as distinguished from rest of the school premises does not offend constitutionally protected category of rights, when they are ‘religion-neutral’ and ‘universally applicable’ to all the students. There shall be two categories of girl students viz., those who wear the uniform with hijab and those who do it without. That would establish a sense of ‘social-separateness’, which is not desirable. It also offends the feel of uniformity which the dress-code is designed to bring about amongst all the students regardless of their religion & faiths. As already mentioned above, the statutory scheme militates against sectarianism of every kind. Therefore, the accommodation which the petitioners seek cannot be said to be reasonable. The object of prescribing uniform will be defeated if there is non-uniformity in the matter of uniforms. Youth is an impressionable period when identity and opinion begin to crystallize. Young students are able to readily grasp from their immediate environment, differentiating lines of race, region, religion, language, caste, place of birth, etc. The aim of the regulation is to create a ‘safe space’ where such divisive lines should have no place and the ideals of egalitarianism should be readily apparent to all students alike. Adherence to dress code is a mandatory for students.

Court’s Observation on petitioner’s citing foreign decisions and policies

Malaysia being a theistic Nation has Islam as the State religion and the court in its wisdom treated wearing hijab as being a part of religious practice. We have a wealth of material with which a view in respectful variance is formed. Those foreign decisions cited by the other side of spectrum in opposing hijab argument, for the same reasons do not come to much assistance. In several countries, wearing of burqa or hijab is prohibited, is of no assistance to us. Noble thoughts coming from whichever direction are most welcome. Foreign decisions also throw light on the issues debated, cannot be disputed. However, courts have to adjudge the causes brought before them essentially in accordance with native law.

The Court thus held “In view of the above, we are of the considered opinion that the prescription of school uniform is only a reasonable restriction constitutionally permissible which the students cannot object to.” 

Issue 3

Validity of Government Order

The subject matter of the Government Order is the prescription of school uniform. Power to prescribe, avails in the scheme of 1983 Act and the Rules promulgated thereunder. Section 133(2) of the Act which is broadly worded empowers the government to issue any directions to give effect to the purposes of the Act or to any provision of the Act or to any Rule made thereunder. This is a wide conferment of power which obviously includes the authority to prescribe school dress code. It is more so because Rule 11 of 1995 Curricula Rules itself provides for the prescription of school uniform and its modalities. The Government Order can be construed as the one issued to give effect to this rule itself. Such an order needs to be construed in the light of the said rule and the 2014 Circular, since there exists a kinship inter se. Therefore, the question as to competence of the government to issue order of the kind is answered in the affirmative and thus the question of un-sustainability of some of the reasons on which the said Order is constructed, pales into insignificance.

Court’s observation on Impugned Order

Certain terms used in a Government Order such as ‘public order’, etc., cannot be construed as the ones employed in the Constitution or Statutes. There is a sea of difference in the textual structuring of legislation and in promulgating a statutory order as the one at hands. The draftsmen of the former are ascribed of due diligence & seriousness in the employment of terminology which the government officers at times lack whilst textually framing the statutory policies. Nowadays, courts do often come across several Government Orders and Circulars which have lavish terminologies, at times lending weight to the challenge. The words used in Government Orders have to be construed in the generality of their text and with common sense and with a measure of grace to their linguistic pitfalls. The text & context of the Act under which such orders are issued also figure in the mind. The impugned order could have been well drafted, is true. ‘There is scope for improvement even in heaven’ said Oscar Wilde.

The Court thus held In view of the above, we are of the considered opinion that the government has power to issue the impugned Order dated 05.2.2022 and that no case is made out for its invalidation.”

Issue 4

What the Chief Architect of our Constitution observed more than half a century ago about the purdah practice equally applies to wearing of hijab there is a lot of scope for the argument that insistence on wearing of purdah, veil, or headgear in any community may hinder the process of emancipation of woman in general and Muslim woman in particular. That militates against our constitutional spirit of ‘equal opportunity’ of ‘public participation’ and ‘positive secularism’. Prescription of school dress code to the exclusion of hijab, bhagwa, or any other apparel symbolic of religion can be a step forward in the direction of emancipation and more particularly, to the access to education. The petition is apparently ill-drafted and pleadings lack cogency and coherence that are required for considering the serious prayers of this kind.

Court’s observation on the writ of Quo Warranto

For seeking a Writ of this nature, one has to demonstrate that the post or office which the person concerned holds is a public post or a public office. In our considered view, the respondent Nos.15 & 16 do not hold any such position in the respondent-school. Their placement in the College Betterment (Development) Committee does not fill the public character required as a pre-condition for the issuance of Writ of Quo Warranto.

The Court thus held In view of the above, we are of the considered opinion that no case is made out in W.P. No.2146/2022 for issuance of a direction for initiating disciplinary enquiry against respondent Nos. 6 to 14. The prayer for issuance of Writ of Quo Warranto against respondent Nos. 15 and 16 is rejected being not maintainable.”

Court’s Concluding Remark

We are also impressed that even Muslims participate in the festivals that are celebrated in the ‘ashta mutt sampradāya’, (Udupi being the place where eight Mutts are situated). We are dismayed as to how all of a sudden that too in the middle of the academic term the issue of hijab is generated and blown out of proportion by the powers that be. The way, hijab imbroglio unfolded gives scope for the argument that some ‘unseen hands’ are at work to engineer social unrest and disharmony.[Resham v. State of Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 315, decided on 15-03-2022]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Hot Off The PressNews

Karnataka High Court formulated a few questions:

  1. Whether wearing Hijab is a part of essential religious practise in Islamic faith protected under Article 25 of the Constitution?

  2. Whether the prescription of the School Uniform is not legally permissible as being violative of the petitioner’s fundamental rights inter alia guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 21 i.e. Right to Privacy of the Constitution?

  3. Whether the G.O. apart from being incompetent is issued without application of mind and is further manifestly arbitrary and therefore violates Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution?

  4. Whether any case is made out in WP 2146 of 2022 sought the issuance of direction for initiating disciplinary inquiry against respondents 6 to 14 and for issuance of quo warranto against respondents 15 and 16?


Answers


  • Wearing of Hijab by Muslim Women does not form a part of essential religious practise in Islamic faith.

  • Prescription of the School Uniform is only a reasonable restriction constitutionally permissible to which the students cannot object to.

  • Government has power to issue the impugned Order dated 05.2.2022 and that no case is made out for its invalidation.

  • No case is made out in WP No.2146/2022 for issuance of a direction for initiating disciplinary enquiry against respondents 6 to 14. The prayer for issuance of Writ of Quo Warranto against respondents 15 and 16 is rejected being not maintainable.

[Resham v. State of Karnataka, WP No. 2347 of 2022, decided on 15-3-2022]


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

Hijab Case | Karnataka High Court to pronounce Judgment today | Whether wearing of Hijab an essential religious practise of Islam?

Hot Off The PressNews

A Full Bench of the Karnataka High Court will pronounce the Hijab Verdict today.

Crux of the matter was, the insistence of certain educational institutions that no girl students shall wear the hijab (headscarf) whilst in the classrooms.

Let’s see what the Bench expressed through the interim order on 10-2-2022

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.

To read the background of the matter, read the report on interim decision, here: Full report…

The whole controversy in the matter erupted when the students from Government Girls PU college in the Udupi district of Karnataka started protesting in against the school administration for allegedly barring them from attending classes.


Other decisions revolving around the same issue from Courts around the world:


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

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

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

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

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?

Legal RoundUpWeekly Rewind

 

Top Story


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

On 10th February, 2022, the Karnataka High Court while noting the endless agitation and closure of educational institutions indefinitely, temporarily 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.

The background to this decision were petition filed challenging the insistence of certain educational institutions that no girl students shall wear the hijab (headscarf) whilst in the classrooms

It was specifically stated in the order that the said direction will be confined to such institutions wherein the College Development Committees have prescribed the student dress code/uniform.

Remarking that “Whether wearing of hijab in the classroom is a part of essential religious practice of Islam in the constitutional guarantees, needs a deeper examination.” The Karnataka High Court is continuing to hear the submissions on the case and 6 days on the said proceedings have passed. We will update you with the decision in the matter as and when the Court concludes and pronounces it.

https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/02/15/hijab-case/


Supreme Court


Section 498A IPC| Husband’s relatives cannot be forced to undergo trial in absence of specific allegations of dowry demand  

In a dowry demand and harassment case, where a woman had lodged criminal complaint against her husband and in-laws but  no specific role was attributed to the in-laws, the bench of SA Nazeer and Krishna Murari*, JJ has held that it would be unjust if the in-laws are forced to go through the tribulations of a trial and that general and omnibus allegations cannot manifest in a situation where the relatives of the complainant’s husband are forced to undergo trial. The Court observed that a criminal trial leading to an eventual acquittal also inflicts severe scars upon the accused, and such an exercise must therefore be discouraged.

The Court took note of several rulings wherein the Court has expressed concern over the misuse of section 498A IPC and the increased tendency of implicating relatives of the husband in matrimonial disputes, without analysing the long term ramifications of a trial on the complainant as well as the accused. The Court has observed in those judgments that false implication by way of general omnibus allegations made in the course of matrimonial dispute, if left unchecked would result in misuse of the process of law.

“Therefore, this court by way of its judgments has warned the courts from proceeding against the relatives and in-laws of the husband when no prima facie case is made out against them.”

https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/02/15/section-498a-ipc-husbands-relatives-cannot-be-forced-to-undergo-trial-in-absence-of-specific-allegations-of-dowry-demand/

Explained | Can an insurance claim be repudiated in case of delay in informing the Insurance Company regarding the theft of vehicle?  

The bench of Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi, JJ has held that an Insurance Company cannot repudiate a claim merely on the ground that there was a delay in intimating it about the occurrence of the theft of vehicle. The Court was deciding a case relating to theft of a Truck that was insured with Oriental Insurance Company Limited. During the pendency of the complaint before the District Forum, the Insurance Company repudiated the claim of the complainant vide its letter dated 19.10.2010, stating that there was a breach of a condition of the policy which mandated immediate notice to the insurer of the accidental loss/damage, and that the complainant had intimated about the loss on 11.04.2008 i.e. after the lapse of more than five months and, therefore, the Insurance Company had disowned their liability on the claim of the complainant. While the District forum allowed the Complaint, the NCDRC reversed the said finding.

When the matter reached before the Supreme Court, it observed that, “ Of course, it is true that there was a delay of about five months on the part of the complainant in informing and lodging its claim before the Insurance Company, nonetheless, it is pertinent to note that the Insurance Company has not repudiated the claim on the ground that it was not genuine. It has repudiated only on the ground of delay.” The Court, hence, set aside the order of NCDRC.

https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/02/14/explained-can-an-insurance-claim-be-repudiated-in-case-of-delay-in-informing-the-insurance-company-regarding-the-theft-of-vehicle/  

Supreme Court furthers SOP for evidence recording via video-conferencing in cases related to child victims/witnesses of human trafficking 

Addressing the issue of obviating difficulties to victims of trafficking with respect to travelling long distances for giving evidence in trial courts, the Supreme Court extended the recording of evidence of child victims/witnesses of human trafficking via video conferencing. The Court was of the opinion that the video conference procedure need not be restricted only to the period affected by Covid 19 pandemic.

https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/02/12/supreme-court-furthers-sop-for-evidence-recording-via-video-conferencing-in-cases-related-to-child-victims-witnesses-of-human-trafficking/


 High Court Updates


Delhi High Court

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?

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 CaseDelhi High Court., 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.

Genesis of the entire proceedings stemmed from the devastating fire that occurred in Uphaar Cinema which resulted in the death of 59 people due to asphyxia and caused injuries to more than 100 people.

In this case, tampering of judicial records was noted, in view of which the sentence of Ansal Brother was not suspended.

https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/02/17/uphaar-cinema-fire-tragedy/

Kerala High Court

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

“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”, With this observation the Kerala High Court held that the Court cannot leave the life of a spouse to mercy of the opposite spouse.

The Division Bench of this Court also expressed that,

If one of the spouses is refusing to accord divorce on mutual consent after having been convinced of the fact that the marriage failed, it is nothing but cruelty to spite the other spouse.

https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/02/15/law-on-divorce/

Can a teacher be criminally prosecuted for enforcing reasonable force on a student in order to maintain discipline?

Kerala High Court while explaining that inflicting corporal punishment on a child by a parent or teacher is forbidden also 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.”

https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/02/16/teacher-administering-moderate-and-reasonable-force-to-enforce-discipline-in-classroom-can-be-exposed-to-criminal-prosecution/


District Court Update


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

A District Court in Delhi addressed a case wherein the CEO of ScoopWhoop, a digital media company,who was alleged of sexual harassment by one of the employees of the company sought injunction in order to stop the employees from posting content with respect to the said complaint of sexual harassment.

The Court while denying injunction, 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”.

https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/02/18/expression-of-a-victims-trauma-or-experience-is-his-her-fundamental-right-which-can-only-be-curtained-if-it-falls-under-4-broad-categories/


Legislation Updates 


Standard operating guidelines for vault managers and depositories – Electronic Gold Receipts ( EGR ) segment 

SEBI has issued standard operating guidelines for the vault managers and depositories – Electronic Gold Receipts ( EGR ) segment in order to ensure ease of compliance for the market participants in the EGR ecosystem as well as effective implementation of the Regulations , Standard Operating Guidelines under Regulation 28 of SEBI (Vault Managers) Regulations, 2021.

https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/02/16/sebi-issues-standard-operating-guidelines-for-vault-managers-and-depositories-electronic-gold-receipts-egr-segment/

Central Motor Vehicles (Second Amendment) Rules, 2022 

On February 15, 2022, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued Central Motor Vehicles (Second Amendment) Rules, 2022 in order to prescribe norms related to safety measures for children below four years of age, riding or being carried on a motor cycle. Further, it specifies use of a safety harness and crash helmet. It also restricts speed of such motor cycles to 40 kmph.

These rules will come into force after one year from the date of publication of the Central Motor Vehicles (Second Amendment) Rules, 2022.

https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/02/16/provision-relating-to-safety-measures-for-children-below-four-years-introduced-vide-central-motor-vehicles-second-amendment-rules-2022/

‘New India Literacy Programme’ [FYs 2022-2027] 

The Government approved a new scheme “New India Literacy Programme (नव भारत साक्षरता कार्यक्रम) for the period FYs 2022-2027 to cover all the aspects of Adult Education to align with National Education Policy 2020 and Budget Announcements 2021-22. The National Education Policy 2020 has recommendations for Adult Education and Lifelong Learning.

The objectives of the scheme is to impart not only foundational literacy and numeracy but also to cover other components which are necessary for a citizen of 21st century such as  critical life skills ; vocational skills development; and continuing education.

https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/02/17/new-india-literacy-programme-fys-2022-2027/

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.

Case BriefsForeign Courts

As the proceedings in the Hijab Case are still going on, here we try and look back at one of the decisions from a foreign Court, which addressed the issue with regard to right to practice religion.

In today’s post we look at a case from Canada Supreme Court from the year 1985.

Remember what Canada Supreme Court ruled out in K.S. Bhinder v. Canadian National Railway Company, 1985 SCC OnLine Can SC 76, Case?


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.

Due to the above said, Bhinder’s employment was ceased but the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal found that the said rule was discriminatory in practice and ordered reinstatement and compensation for loss of salary. Though when the matter was appealed, the decision was set aside and referred back for disposition on the basis that the work rule was not a discriminatory practice.

As per Section 14 of the Canadian Human Rights Act,

“It is not a discriminatory practice:

(a) any refusal, exclusion, expulsion, suspension, limitation, specification or preference in relation to any employment is established by an employer to be based on a bona fide occupational requirement;”

In Court’s opinion, the Tribunal did not err in law in holding the bona fide occupational requirement of Section 14 (a) of the Act.

“The wearing of safety helmets by Sikhs, a requirement which has a prima facie discriminatory effect, is a matter governed by the Canadian Human Rights Act, not the Canada Labour Code, where the requirements of the two Acts conflict. Thus, even if the safety helmet policy is necessary under the Canada Labour Code and Regulations, it does not follow that the policy is ipso facto a bona fide occupational requirement for the purpose of the Canadian Human Rights Act.”

“With respect to the financial hardship of Canadian National in the event of an injury to Mr. Bhinder as a result of his not wearing a safety helmet, the Tribunal concluded the potential additional costs of an exemption from its safety helmet policy in favour of the complainant, and Sikhs in general, was de minimis and, therefore, did not constitute undue hardship.”

Further, it was noted that, the Tribunal found that the rule was useful, that it was reasonable in that it promoted safety by reducing the risk of injury and, specifically, that the risk faced by Bhinder in wearing a turban rather than a hard hat was increased, though by a very small amount. The only conclusion that can be drawn from the reasons for the decision is that, but for its special application to Bhinder, the hard hat rule was found to be a bona fide occupational requirement. Indeed, it would be difficult on the facts to reach any other conclusion.

The conclusion in the said case was that the safety helmet policy of the employer was not a bona fide occupational requirement in respect of its application to Mr Bhinder.

“The Tribunal found that the rule was useful, that it was reasonable in that it promoted safety by reducing the risk of injury and, specifically, that the risk faced by Bhinder in wearing a turban rather than a hard hat was increased, though by a very small amount. The only conclusion that can be drawn from the reasons for decision is that, but for its special application to Bhinder, the hard hat rule was found to be a bona fide occupational requirement. Indeed, it would be difficult on the facts to reach any other conclusion.”

Supreme Court of Canada found error in law for the Tribunal, having found that the bona fide occupational requirement existed, to exempt the appellant from its scope.

What the UN Human Rights Committee held in the case?

Whether the imposition of a ‘hard hat’ policy for reasons of workplace safety was incompatible with Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, where particular religious groups were unable to comply with the requirement?

While holding that, the facts of the case did not disclose a violation of any provision of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Committee noted that,

“If the requirement that a hard hat be worn is regarded as raising issues under article 18, then it is a limitation that is justified by reference to the grounds laid down in article 18, paragraph 3. If the requirement that a hard hat be worn is seen as a discrimination de facto against persons of the Sikh religion under article 26, then, applying criteria now well established in the jurisprudence of the Committee, the legislation requiring that workers in federal employment be protected from injury and electric shock by the wearing of hard hats is to be regarded as reasonable and directed towards objective purposes that are compatible with the Covenant.”

[KARNEL SINGH BHINDER v. CANADA, 23 October – 10 November 1989]


How the Kerala High Court had dealt with the wearing of ‘headscarf’ issue? Read below


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

Case BriefsHigh Courts

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.

In the said case, the Standing counsel for C.B.S.E submitted that the dress code was specified by the C.B.S.E not intending to harass any student, on the contrary, to ensure that no untoward incident shall occur which would lead to cancellation of the examination.

The Standing Counsel had placed the Supreme Court decision by highlighting the extracts which revealed the indigenous methods by which copying was resorted to by means of electronic gadgets, wired to the body itself, and camouflaged by full sleeve dress and so on and so forth.

The Single Judge Bench of the Court noted that only two students came up before the Bench.

In Court’s opinion, the dress code could not be said to be wrong or improper.

However, Justice K. Vinod Chandran observed that,

 “…it cannot be ignored that in our country with its varied and diverse religions and customs, it cannot be insisted that a particular dress code be followed failing which a student would be prohibited from sitting for the examinations.”

Hence, the Court opined that no blanket orders were required in the petitions apprehending that they would be prohibited in writing the examination for the reason of their wearing a dress conducive to their religious customs and beliefs.

In the stated facts and circumstances of the case, High Court had directed that the petitioners who intended to wear a dress according to their religious custom, but contrary to the dress code, shall present themselves before the Invigilator half an hour before the examination and on any suspicion expressed by the Invigilator, shall also subject themselves to any acceptable mode of personal examination as decided by the Invigilator, but however, carried on only by an authorised person of the same sex.

If the Invigilator requires the headscarf or the full sleeve garments to be removed and examined, then the petitioners shall also subject themselves to that, by the authorised person, High Court stated.

Kerala High Court had also asked the C.B.S.E to issue general instructions to its invigilators to ensure that religious sentiments be not hurt and at the same time discipline was not compromised.

In the year 2016, the Kerala High Court while deciding the case of Amnah Bint Basheer v. CBSE, 2016 SCC OnLine Ker 41117, addressed a matter wherein prescription of dress code for All India Pre-Medical Entrance Test-2016 was questioned by the parties who professed Islam.

The ground on which the parties had challenged the dress code was the violation of the fundamental right as guaranteed under Article 25(1) of the Constitution of India.

The parties urged the Court to examine religious freedom in the light of the constitutional scheme.

Kerala High Court observed that, 

The State cannot interfere with the practice of religious affairs which would obliterate his religious identity. The environment in which one has to live is determined by the patterns of the idea formed by his conscience subject to the restrictions as referred under Article 25(1).

Adding to the above observation, in this decision, the Bench also stated that it was open for the State to regulate or make laws consistent with the essential practice of religion. However, while making a regulation or a law, the true import of the essential practice shall not be supplanted.

Petitioners case was that Shariah mandates women to wear the headscarf and full sleeve dress and therefore, any prescription contrary would be repugnant to the protection of the religious freedom.

“..the analysis of the Quranic injunctions and the Hadiths would show that it is a farz to cover the head and wear the long sleeved dress except face part and exposing the body otherwise is forbidden (haram). When farz is violated by any action opposite to farz that action becomes forbidden (haram).”

 “The right of women to have the choice of dress based on religious injunctions is a fundamental right protected under Article 25(1), when such prescription of dress is an essential part of the religion.” 

Giving significance to the Board’s attempt of ensuring transparency and credibility of examinations, Court stated that to harmoniously accommodate the competing interest without there being any conflict or repugnancy. The interest of the Board can be safeguarded by allowing the invigilator to frisk such candidates including by removing scarf. However, safeguard has to be ensured that this must be done honouring the religious sentiments of the candidates.

In 2018, Kerala High Court in Fathima Thasneem v. State of Kerala2018 SCC OnLine Ker 5267, while addressing the petition filed by Muslim girl students with the plea to be allowed to wear the headscarf as well as full sleeve shirt which was inconsistent with the prescribed dress code by the school they were studying in, observed that as one has the liberty to follow its own notions and convictions in regard to the dress code, in the same manner, a private entity also has the Fundamental Right to manage and administer its institution.

Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque while referring to the decision of Amnah Bint Basheer v. CBSE, 2016 SCC OnLine Ker 41117, stated that it is the Fundamental Right of the petitioners to choose the dress of their own choice.

Further, the Court held that it had to balance rights to uphold the interest of the dominant rather than the subservient interest and in the facts, in hand, the management of the institution was the dominant interest.

“Where there is priority of interest, individual interest must yield to the larger interest. That is the essence of liberty.”

Hence the Kerala High Court held that the Muslim girl students could seek the imposition of their individual rights as against the larger right of the institution. Therefore, it was for the institution to decide whether the petitioners could be permitted to attend the classes with the headscarf and full sleeve shirt.


Presently the Karnataka High Court has been dealing with a somewhat similar situation, wherein the challenge was with regard to the insistence of certain educational institutions that no girl students shall wear the hijab (headscarf) whilst in the classrooms.

On 10-2-2022, the High Court on being pained by the agitations and closure of educational institutions expressed that

“…ours is a country of plural cultures, religions & languages. Being a secular State, it does not identify itself with any religion as its own. Every citizen has the right to profess & practise any faith of choice, is true.”

The Bench of Ritu Raj Awasthi, CJ and Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi, JJ., temporarily 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.

The proceedings in the said matter are still ongoing and the Court is yet to pronounce its decision on the matter.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: 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.

Court also remarked that, “Whether wearing of hijab in the classroom is a part of essential religious practice of Islam in the light of constitutional guarantees, needs a deeper examination.”

Petitions were filed challenging the insistence of certain educational institutions that no girl students shall wear the hijab (headscarf) whilst in the classrooms.

Some of the petitions raised challenges to the Government Order dated 5-2-2022 which directed the college Development Committees all over the State to prescribe ‘Student Uniform’, presumably in terms of Rule 11 of Karnataka Educational Institutions (Classification, Regulation & Prescription of Curricula, etc.) Rules, 1995.

Vide an order dated 9-2-2022, Single Judge, Krishna S. Dixit, J., referred the cases to Chief Justice to consider if the said matters could be heard by a Larger Bench ‘regard being had to enormous public importance of the questions involved’. Accordingly, the Special Bench was constituted.

Analysis and Decision

High Court was pained by the ongoing agitations and closure of educational institutions since the past few days, especially when this Court is seized off this matter and important issues of constitutional significance and of personal law are being seriously debated.

“…ours is a country of plural cultures, religions & languages. Being a secular State, it does not identify itself with any religion as its own. Every citizen has the right to profess & practise any faith of choice, is true.”

 Further, the Court added that the above stated right not being absolute is susceptible to reasonable restrictions as provided by the Constitution of India.

“Ours being a civilized society, no person in the name of religion, culture or the like can be permitted to do any act that disturbs public peace and tranquility.”

Concerned with the timelines of admission to higher studies/courses, Bench stated that the elongation of academic terms would be detrimental to the educational career of students.

Hoping and trusting all stakeholders and the public at large to maintain peace and tranquility, Court expressed that the interest of students would be better served by their returning to the classes than by the continuation of agitations and consequent closure of institutions.

Therefore, the High Court requested the State Government and other stakeholders to reopen the educational institutions and allow the students to return to the classes at the earliest.

Lastly, the Court clarified that the present order/direction shall be confined to such institutions wherein the College Development Committees have prescribed the student dress code/uniform.

For further consideration, the matters were listed on 14-2-2022. [Resham v. State of Karnataka, WP No. 2347 of 2022, decided on 10-2-2022]

Note: Proceedings are still going on in the present case.


Advocates before the Court:

For the petitioners:

Senior Advocates, Sanjay Hegde and Devadatt Kamat