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Courts this Week: Law Street Journal's Weekly Round-Up of SC & HCs [May 20 - May 25]

By Jhanak Singh      26 May, 2024 11:25 AM      0 Comments
Courts this Week Law Street Journals Weekly Round Up of SC and HCs May 20  May 25

NEW DELHI: A weekly round-up of the top stories from the Supreme Court of India and High Courts across the country summed up in a 3-minute read.

Supreme Court:

Relocation of Uttarakhand HC outside Nainital: Supreme Court stays Uttarakhand High Court’s Order

The Supreme Court stayed the May 8 order of the Uttarakhand High Court directing the state government to explore sites for relocation of the High Court outside its current location, i.e. Nainital. 
After staying the High Court's order, the court fixed the matter for further hearing after summer vacations on July 8, when it would be reopened for hearing.

The Court issued notice to, and sought the response of, the state government in this regard.

The move comes on a challenge by the Uttarakhand High Court Bar Association (UKHBA) to a May 8 order directing the Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand to locate the best suitable land for relocation of the High Court building.

Supreme Court refuses to entertain plea for stay on new criminal laws

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider a plea for a direction to the Centre to stay the operation and implementation of three new criminal laws Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita 2023, Bharatiya Nagrik Suraksha Sanhita 2023 and Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam 2023, replacing Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Indian Evidence Act respectively.
A vacation bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Rajesh Bindal said the new Acts have yet not been implemented and the petition has been drafted and filed in casual and cavalier manner.

Petitioner-advocate Vishal Tiwari, who appeared in person, sought to withdraw the plea, which was allowed by the court.

‘National security always paramount,' SC cancels bail of PFI members

The Supreme Court has said national security is always of paramount importance and any act in aid to any terrorist act, violent or non-violent, is liable to be restricted as it cancelled bail granted to eight suspected members of banned Popular Front of India.

A bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Pankaj Mithal pointed out counter terrorism enactments are to strike a balance between the civil liberties of the accused, human rights of the victims and compelling interest of the state.

"The UAPA is one of such Acts which has been enacted to provide for effective prevention of certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations, and to deal with terrorist activities, as also to impose reasonable restrictions on the civil liberties of the persons in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India," the bench said.

'Can't interrupt in between polls,' SC declines to consider plea for uploading voters turnout data

The Supreme Court declined to entertain a plea for immediate uploading of Form 17C data related to booth wise voters turnout data on website as the Lok Sabha elections were already on with five phases of scheduled seven having been held.

A bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma said prima facie the court is not inclined to grant any interim relief since one of the prayers in 2019 petition (filed by the ADR) is similar with a prayer (B) in the 2024 application.

The court also pointed out the instant interlocutory application by the NGO in a pending 2019 writ petition sought prayer in nature of final relief.
"We don't say anything on merit...but you don't have a good case, at this time," the bench told senior advocate Dushyant Dave and A M Singhvi, appearing for the NGO and TMC Mahua Moitra respectively.

'Conduct not free from blemish,' SC refuses to consider plea by Hemant Soren

In a big setback to former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, the Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a plea for interim bail by him in a money laundering case related to alleged land scam in Ranchi, saying his conduct was not free from blemish for not disclosing complete facts.
A bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Satish Chandra Sharma said the petitioner has not come with clean hands and did not disclose the fact that the cognisance had already been taken in the complaint by the Enforcement Directorate and his bail plea was dismissed.

"We cannot consider a plea by the man whose conduct is with blemish," the bench said.

Supreme Court asks Law Ministry to introduce comprehensive sentencing policy

The Supreme Court has said there is a crying need for a clear sentencing policy, which should never be judge-centric as the society has to know the basis of a sentence.

A bench of Justice M M Sundresh and S V N Bhatti recommended the Department of Justice, Law and Justice Ministry, Union Government, to consider introducing a comprehensive policy, possibly by way of getting an appropriate report from a duly constituted Sentencing Commission consisting of experts in different fields for the purpose of having a distinct sentencing policy.

"Sentencing shall not be a mere lottery. It shall also not be an outcome of a knee-jerk reaction. This is a very important part of the Fundamental Rights conferred under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. Any unwarranted disparity would be against the very concept of a fair trial and, therefore, against justice," the bench observed.

Supreme Court dismisses plea for review of judgment on Article 370 

The Supreme Court has dismissed a clutch of petitions seeking reconsideration of its December 11, 2023 judgment which upheld the Centre's August 5, 2019 decision to do away with special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcating the erstwhile state into two UTs - J&K and Ladakh.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices Sanjiv Khanna, B R Gavai, Surya Kant and A S Bopanna noted that there was no error apparent in the judgment, so there was no case of review.

"Having perused the review petitions, there is no error apparent on the face of the record. No case for review under Order XLVII Rule 1 of the Supreme Court Rules 2013. The review petitions are, therefore, dismissed," the bench said.

Supreme Court quashed criminal case of stalking and criminal intimidation to save marital ties

The Supreme Court recently quashed a criminal case of stalking and criminal intimidation against an accused to preserve the marital ties between the parties. The court, while invoking Article 142 of the Constitution of India, held that affirming the judgment rendered by the Telangana High Court could have disastrous consequences for the accused, which in turn could jeopardize his matrimonial relationship with the complainant.

Article 142 of the Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court to pass any decree or order necessary for doing complete justice in any case or matter pending before it.

BJP Moves Supreme Court Against Calcutta High Court's Ban on "Derogatory" Ads Targeting TMC

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has moved the Supreme Court to challenge a Calcutta High Court order that prevents it from publishing "derogatory" or "slanderous" advertisements targeting the Trinamool Congress (TMC) during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
The petition was brought up for an urgent hearing before a bench comprising Justice Bela M Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mithal, who stated they would consider listing the matter.

"It was an ex parte order, in force till June 4," noted the counsel representing the BJP.

High Courts:

Delhi HC appoints ad-hoc committee led by Retd. Justice Najmi Waziri to run the Equestrian Federation of India

Hearing a plea by the Rajasthan Equestrian Association, the Delhi High Court has set up an Administrative Committee to manage the affairs of the Equestrian Federation of India (EFI). 

The decision of setting up the Committee under a retired High Court judge came following allegations of "impropriety" in the functioning of the Equestrian Federation of India - which is a national sports federation handling all equestrian (horse-related) sporting activities in India.

The Court said that that the decision was taken due to “clear impropriety”, and running of administrative affairs in an “arbitrary” or “perverse” manner, compelling the Delhi High Court to intervene in a matter concerning a sporting federation’s administration.

Justice Tara Vitasta Ganju made it clear that ordinarily, a court does not interfere in the administration of a national sports federation.

Manipur High Court Relies on ChatGPT Research to Reinstate Dismissed VDF Personnel

The Manipur High Court recently revealed its use of ChatGPT 3.5 to research procedures for the disengagement of Village Defence Force (VDF) personnel. Justice A. Guneshwar Sharma heard a writ petition under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution to quash the disengagement order issued by the Superintendent of Police, Thoubal, which removed the petitioner from VDF membership without a hearing.

Previously, the court had directed the state's counsel to explain the procedures for VDF disengagement, but the Superintendent's counter-affidavit lacked this information. Consequently, the court turned to Google and ChatGPT, noting, "In the circumstances, this Court is compelled to do extra research through Google and ChatGPT 3.5."

Delhi HC allows Ashneer Grover and wife to travel to US, but separately: Know the conditions imposed by HC 

The Delhi High Court has permitted former BharatPe Managing Director and Shark Tank fame Ashneer Grover, along with his wife Madhuri Jain Grover, to travel to the United States, but separately. Grover is authorized to travel from May 26 to June 12, while his wife has been granted permission to travel from June 15 onwards to ensure the availability of at least one of the duo in the country.
The Court also asked the Delhi Police for suggestions on conditions to be imposed on them alongside granting the permissions. Subsequently, the following conditions were mandated:

Mortgage and Surety Bond: One party must remain in India as a mortgage, and a surety bond equivalent to ₹80 crores in assets must be submitted.

Detailed Itinerary and Cooperation: The couple must provide a complete itinerary of their stay, including hotel details, travel plans, and phone numbers, and they must fully cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

Cooperation with Investigation: The party remaining in India must cooperate with the investigation.

No Third-Party Rights on RIPL Shares: No third-party rights should be created on the RIPL shares. 

Submission of UAE Golden Visa: Their UAE Golden Visa must be submitted back to the authorities.  

Delhi HC Seeks Responses from Meta and Backgrid USA on TV Today's Suit Over Harper's Bazaar India Instagram Suspension

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought responses from Meta and US-based celebrity news agency Backgrid USA regarding a suit filed by TV Today seeking the restoration of Harper's Bazaar India's Instagram page.

Justice Anish Dayal issued notice and scheduled the next hearing for July 9. However, the Court stated that it could not issue ad hoc directions in the case.

"We can’t pass an ad hoc order in this matter. We do not want to tread on the legal right in an ad hoc manner," the Court said.The Court also noted that Harper's Bazaar cannot claim complete innocence in the matter.

"You cannot say you have not committed any sin. You can say I did not know it was a sin."

Advocate Hrishikesh Baruah, representing Harper’s Bazaar, informed the Court that their Instagram page has nearly 7,000 posts, of which only three were found to be infringing, yet the entire account was suspended.

Demand Notice via courier valid in cheque bounce cases: Allahabad High Court

The Allahabad High Court has held that a demand notice sent through a courier service is valid for initiating proceedings under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments (NI) Act in cheque dishonour cases. However, the Court clarified that the presumption of service under Section 27 of the General Clauses Act cannot be invoked for notices sent via courier until an amendment is made to include courier services along with registered post.
The Court also observed that in Section 94 of the N.I. Act, the word "may" for sending the written notice through the post is directory and not mandatory.

MP High Court Grants Police Protection to Couple Facing Honour Killing Threats over Marriage

The Madhya Pradesh High Court has recently granted police protection to a couple who performed marriage without the consent of their parents and have received death threats from them.

The court also referred to Shakti Vahini vs. State of M.P., wherein the apex court took the matter of "Khap Panchayat" as well as "Honour Killing" very seriously and issued certain preventive, remedial, and punitive measures for state governments. The court held that if the petitioners receive any threat or fear for their life from their parents or anyone in the future, they may approach the Superintendent of Police, Gwalior along with their documents relating to age proof and marriage, record their statement, and inform the name of the person who is threatening them.


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