Supreme Court
Supreme Court
File Photo

This segment highlights the important issues of the Indian Legal System of the week objectively and with a magnified legal lens factually.

What made Headlines from the Supreme Court of India this week?

Analysis: Here's what the Supreme Court and High Courts of India had to say this week
PTI Photo

1. The Supreme Court, while refusing to intervene in the violent incidents that took place in the capital on India's 72nd Republic day, observed that a press statement by the Prime Minister has revealed that the law will take it's due course. The bench was hearing batch of petitions concerning the Republic day tractor rally violence.

Bench: Chief Justice SA Bobde, JJ. AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun
Case: Sanjeev Newar Vs. UOI, Vishal Tiwari Vs. UOI, ML Sharma Vs. UOI, Vineet Jindal Vs. UOI

SC grants interim bail to comedian Munawar Faruqui
SC grants interim bail to comedian Munawar Faruqui
File Image

2. Top Court granted release of Munnawar Faruqui on ad-interim bail. Faruqui had been accused of hurting religious sentiments by mocking Deities of the Hindu community at his live show. A bench led by Justice RF Nariman accepted the plea of the accused and on the point of law, granted him bail. The bench asked Senior Advocate Saurabh Kirpal if the landmark judgment of Arunesh Kumar Vs. Union of India which reiterated safeguards under section 41A of the CrPc from arrest were followed. To this, Kirpal responded with a negative.

What To Expect in the next hearing? With the top court issuing notice to UP Government as well as effectuating a stay on the Madhya Pradesh High Court's order, appearances are expected to be entered by the State.

Bench: JJ. RF Nariman, BR Gavai
Case: Munnawar Faruqui Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh

Representative pic
Representative pic

3. Supreme Court has declined to intervene in plea's challenging the Love Jihad Laws formulated by State of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand with regard to forceful religious conversions for purposes of marriage. The bench stated that since the issue is already pending before Allahabad High Court for consideration, it would not be appropriate to wade into the territory.
Bench: CJI SA Bobde, JJ. AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun
Case: Vishal Thakre Vs. UOI/ Centre For Justice & Peace Vs. UOI

Analysis: Here's what the Supreme Court and High Courts of India had to say this week
File Photo

4. Hearing in the Plea by M.D. & Vice President of Facebook India challenging the summons issued by Delhi Assembly against is underway before Supreme Court. Senior Advocate Harish Salve, Abhishek Manu Singhvi & Solicitor General Tushar Mehta made submissions before top court during the week on February 2, 3rd & 4th. This challenge is to a summons which was issued by a Committee constituted by the Legislative Assembly probing into Delhi Riots of 2020 for Mohan for "intentional omission and deliberate inaction on the part of social media platform" with respect to hate speeches.

What to expect in the next hearing? The hearing is now scheduled for February 9, 2021. Dr. Singhvi for Delhi Assembly is expected to conclude his submissions. Interesting questions of law including the powers (or absence thereof) of a legislative panel to summon witness are expected to be extrapolated. Mr. Salve's arguments on the "Right to remain silent" on behalf of Mohan and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta's submissions on the power to regulate intermediaries (Facebook in this case) lay with the centre in terms of Information and Technology (procedure and safeguards for blocking for access in public domain) Rules were put forth.
Bench: JJJ. SK Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari, Hrishikesh Roy
Case: Ajit Mohan Vs. Legislative Assembly, NCT Delhi

Analysis: Here's what the Supreme Court and High Courts of India had to say this week
Photo: Unsplash

5. The Supreme Court issued notice to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in a plea which has sought holding Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp responsible for spreading hate speech. An advocate had moved the Supreme Court and a writ petition in form of a PIL had been filed seeking regulating social media platforms. It was filed primarily on account of tweets by one, Armin Navabi on his twitter handle account (@ArminNawabi) targeting Hindu Goddesses and depicting them in a disparaging mannerThe petition has now been tagged with another pending plea seeking handing over of checks and balances on operators for violations to the Program Code, to private bodies, claiming that the Government is unable to handle the transgressions.

What to expect in the next hearing? With the plea being tagged with another petition, the respondent's are expected to enter appearances.
Bench: CJI SA Bobde, JJ. AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun
Case: Vineet Jindal Vs. Union of India & 5 Ors.

Marriage or knot?
Marriage or knot?

6. The Supreme Court issued notice in a plea seeking transfer of petitions pending before the Rajasthan High Court & Delhi High Court which have sought uniform age of marriage for both men & women. The petitioner has stated that while men are permitted to marry at the age of 21 years, women are permitted to marry at 18. This, he states are based on a certain stereotypes and completely nullifies what has been envisaged in the International Human Rights obligations.

What to expect in the next hearing? Appearances on behalf of Respondent's expected to be entered.
Bench: CJI SA Bobde, JJ. AS Bopanna & V.
Case: Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay Vs. Union of India

Apex Court Judgments:

1. The Supreme Court has held that the presence of statutory restrictions under like Section 43-D (5) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 shall not oust the ability of the Constitutional Courts to grant bail on the grounds of violations of Part III of the Constitution.
Bench: JJJ. NV Ramana, Surya Kant & Aniruddha Bose
Union of India Vs. K.A. Najeeb

Analysis: Here's what the Supreme Court and High Courts of India had to say this week

2. The Supreme Court has observed that absence of proof of demand for illegal gratification and mere possession or recovery of currency notes is not sufficient to constitute an offence under section 7 and section 13(2) read with section 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988.
Bench: JJJ. Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy, Justice M.R Shah
Case Title: N.Vijayakumar v. State of Tamil Nadu

Updates from the High Courts and other legal updates

Analysis: Here's what the Supreme Court and High Courts of India had to say this week

1. The Delhi High Court has directed that investigation be effectuated in a time-bound manner while hearing a plea seeking release of persons detained allegedly, in an illegal manner by Delhi Police for their involvement in the violence that engulfed the Capital on India's 72nd Republic Day.

2. The Meghalaya High Court has held that data privacy safeguards are sine qua non for the purpose of protecting the privacy of citizens, particularly when an ‘APP’ such as a CORONTINE APP or a STAY SAFE MEGHALAYA APP is required to be installed by a citizen at the instance of the State.

3. The Delhi High Court has recently clarified that appeals arising out of orders/judgments passed by Commercial Courts at the District level are required to be placed before a Division Bench and not a Single Judge in terms of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015.

Analysis: Here's what the Supreme Court and High Courts of India had to say this week

4. The Delhi High Court has recently reiterated that the presumption of innocence must be maintained until the accused is found guilty. The single judge bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru while setting aside the impugned judgment where the appellant was convicted for offence punishable under s 307 of IPC observed, “even though the appellant may be involved in other cases, the same could not be considered as a factor to award a harsher sentence because the appellant had not been convicted in any of the cases at the material time.”

5. The Allahabad high court recently observed that it is the duty of the court to monitor the rights of citizens which are under threat on account of their sexual orientation.

Analysis: Here's what the Supreme Court and High Courts of India had to say this week
Representational Image

6. The Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court, in a significant judgement has recently issued directions to print media, electronic media, people using social media such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Internet, Twitter etc., to be cautious while circulating information related to rape cases so that the information about the victim, directly or indirectly, is not disclosed to the public.

7. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently observed that a person cannot be compelled to live life in accordance with the terms imposed by the society.

8. The Delhi High Court has held that the Court could not permit to quash FIR for offences u/s 377 of the Indian Penal Code,1860 and Section 4 of the POCSO Act, which are non-compoundable on the ground that the parties have decided to put an end to dispute and differences amicably.

9. The High Court of Gujarat has set aside impugned order dated 18.01.2021 passed by the learned Judicial Magistrate First Class, Mundra, Kutch in which the an arrest warrant was issued against Paranjoy Guha Thakurta in the Adani Defamation case.

10. The Delhi High Court has adjourned the Letter Patent Appeal filed for implementation of Section 30 of the Advocate Act,1961 and effectuate filing in the Supreme Court by Advocates who have more than 15 years of practice in terms of the judgment AOR Association in SCBA Vs. B.D. Kaushik 2011 (13) SCC 774 for final hearing on 12th March 2021.

11. The Delhi High Court has recently reiterated that in exercise of powers of Judicial Review, Court cannot sit as an Appellate Authority over the decision taken by administration/management.

12. The Delhi High Court has held that departmental proceedings post-retirement cannot be effectuated against employees post retirement. Objectively, the bench observed that procedure's like issuance of show-cause notice in order to effectuate process to declare accounts as Non Performing Asset's (NPA) cannot overreach the limitation provided for under the Regulation 48(2) of the Punjab and Sind Bank (Employees) Pension Regulations,1995 and neither is such power is contemplated under the statute.

13. A significant direction was issued by the Allahabad High Court on Thursday. Court directed the standing Counsel to seek instructions on how many police stations in the state of Uttar Pradesh did not have toilets for women.

14. The Delhi High Court has held that the Full Court as a Disciplinary Authority is not bound by the report of an internal complaints committee (IC). The Court has held that for persons belonging to judicial services of a State in the High Court, the right to appeal under section 18 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 is required to be read in terms of Article 235 of the Constitution of India.

15. The Sikkim High Court has held that the “reasonable grounds” under Section 18 of the Sikkim Anti-Drugs Act (SADA), 2006 would have same meaning as has been explained by the Supreme Court vis-à-vis Section 37 of the NDPS Act, 1985.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal