Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ and G.S. Kulkarni, J., noted that the trigger for the present petition involved a very interesting question of law that seemed to be a political rift. 

What was the question of law?

Whether a “nominated councillor” of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai having special knowledge or experience in municipal administration, can be inducted in the Corporation’s Standing Committee?

Bench noted that as per the provisions of Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, there appeared no express bar for a “nominated councillor” of the Corporation to be inducted in its Standing Committee.

Section 3(c) of the Act suggests certain limitations imposed upon a “nominated councillor” that he/she shall have no right:

  • to vote at any meeting of the Corporation and Committee of the Corporation; and
  • to get elected as Mayor of the Corporation or as a Chairperson of any of the Committees of the Corporation.

A Court may iron out the creases in a statutory provision but not change the fabric of which the same is woven.

 It was further elaborated and expressed that literal reading of provisions points towards the legislative intent of not imposing any restriction, which does not appear to the Court to be absurd or preposterous, and thereby no strained interpretation of the Act to fit in with the interpretation on the law placed by the Corporation is required to be made.

High Court did not agree with the contention that with regard to the statutory scheme revealed from the provisions of Section 43(1) and Section 5(1)(b) of the Act read with Rule 3 of the said Rules 2007, only the elected councillors and not the subsequently “nominated councillors” can only be inducted in the Standing Committee.

If indeed a “nominated councillor” was to be left out of the fray for induction in the Standing Committee, such ineligibility ought to have been clearly stated or positively spelt out, which is not the case here.

Upshot of the above discussion

Bench held that the act of removal of the petitioner from the Standing Committee of the Corporation merely on the ground that he was a “nominated councillor” and not an “elected councillor” does not have statutory support and cannot be countenanced in law.

Therefore, the impugned order was set aside and the present petition was allowed. [Balchandra Shirsat v. Mayor, MCGM; 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 526, decided on 05-04-2021]

Advocates before the Court:

Mr Amogh Singh i/b. Mr Jeet Gandhi for the petitioner.

Mr. Aspi Chinoy-Senior Advocate with Mr. Joel Carlos, Ms. Oorja Dhond, Ms. S.M. Modle i/b.

Ms. Aruna Savla for respondent nos. 1 and 3.

Mr Ravi Kadam-Senior Advocate with Mr Rajiv Chavan-Senior Advocate and Ms Vandana Mahadik i/b. Ms. Aruna Savla for respondent no.2.

Mr A.Y. Sakhare- Senior Advocate with Mr Joel Carlos i/b. Ms. Aruna Savla for respondent no.4.

Mr Hemant Haryan -AGP for State.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A Division Bench of Vikram Nath, CJ and P.B. Pardiwala, J., while addressing an issue with regard to the live streaming of the Court proceedings held that a committee to work out the modalities for the said purpose has been constituted comprising of two Judges of this Court.

A law student raised the issue with regard to the Live Streaming/Open Access of the Court proceedings and in the public interest Gujarat High court should work out the necessary modalities for the said purpose.

Bench on perusal of the material on record, stated that to observe the  requirement of an open Court proceedings, members of the public should be allowed to view the Court hearings through video conferencing except the proceedings ordered for the reasons recorded in writing to be conducted in-camera.

Right to Know and receive information is one of the facts of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and for which reason the public is entitled to witness the Court proceedings.

As, the above-stated Court proceedings involve the issue impacting the public at large or a section of the public.

Bench appreciated the efforts of the 3rd year law student appeared in person in the public interest.

Further, in line of the above-stated observations, Bench stated that to work out the modalities to facilitate the people at large including the media to watch the virtual hearing, Committee of two Judges of this High Court has been constituted pursuant to Standing Committee’s decision on 25-06-2020.

In the near future, a report of the committee is expected after which to allow access to the public at large including the media persons of print digital and electronic media shall be finalized.

Petition was disposed of in view of the above. [Pruthvirajsinh Zala v. Gujarat High Court, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 1055 , decided on 20-07-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

7 persons (6 staff members of the High Court Registry and one constable from the Vigilance Department) were found to be COVID -19 positive.

It was further communicated that as per the latest COVID control strategy adopted by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, any area in which 3 or more COVID -19 cases are found positive, the said area is declared as Micro Containment Zone and there is complete restriction of movement in such Containment Zone for atleast 14 days.

After due deliberations, Standing Committee passed the following resolution:

“…Premises of the High Court be shut down for 3 days starting from Wednesday 8th July to 10th July, 2020.The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to carry out a thorough and comprehensive exercise for cleaning and sanitising the entire premises of the High Court, Judicial Academy and Auditorium , including inside of the buildings such as chambers, officers, record rooms, washrooms, etc., during this period.

Judicial functioning of the High Court will remain suspended for the above period.”

Gujarat High Court

Circular dt. 07-07-2020