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?
1. The Supreme Court has allowed interim Bail to Siddique Kappan on an application by his mother, praying that she be allowed to meet him. The bench allowed the plea on the ground that the visit shall remain limited to the meeting with his ailing mother, doctors and anybody else concerned with his Mother’s health. The application was argued by Mr Kapil Sibal who said that the doctors had now given up on Kappan’s mother and that he be allowed to meet her. Solicitor General Mr. Tushar Mehta however, sought permission from the Court to place on affidavit underlining instances which prove that Kappan's mother is not as unwell as she was being projected. "The petitioner is being projected as a Martyr back at his home place and huge sum of money is being traded in his name," said the Solicitor General.
What to expect in the next hearing? This plea by KUWJ is a habeas corpus petition, challenging Kappan's detention who was held by UP police on his way to Hathras. The UP Government has maintained that Kappan and his aides were operating under instructions of Mohd. Danish, an accused in the Delhi Riots case.
Case Title: Kerala Union of Working Journalists Vs. UOI
Bench: CJI SA Bobde, JJ. AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun
2. In a curious turn of events, Supreme Court clarified that the news item being circulated with respect to suo moto registration of contempt case against Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai was ‘inadvertently placed’ on the official website and immediate actions to rectify the same was under process. Earlier, Learned AG had rejected to invoke his powers under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, to initiate Contempt proceedings against the alleged tweets of Mr. Sardesai. Grounds inter-alia stated by the petitioner in; Aastha Khuranna v. Rajdeep Sardesai, for seeking a contempt action against the aforementioned tweets say that that since the contemnor is a journalist by profession in public life and influential person, such remarks will seriously affect the Supreme Court reposing faith of millions of Indians
3. The Supreme Court while hearing the suo moto writ petition against former CJI Ranjan Gogoi observed, “Justice A K Patnaik committee report has said a conspiracy to level sexual harassment charges against former CJI Ranjan Gogoi in April 2019 cannot be ruled out. The report said it could have been because of tough stand taken by then CJI on judicial & administrative side.”
Bench: Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice V. Ramasubramanian
Case Title: In Re Matter of Great Public Importance Touching upon the independence of judiciary - mentioned by shri Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India
1. State & Instrumentalities Do No Not Shed Character Or Obligation To Act Fairly With Private Parties In Realm Of Contract: Supreme Court
The Top while allowing the appeal in part, made significant observations on compensatory payment, liability of State instrumentality in cases of contract with private entities and power of Court under Article 226 to intervene contractual arrangement having arbitration clause.
Bench: Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice M.R. Shah,
Case Title: Unitech Limited v. Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure
2. Study Of Biology/ Biological Sciences In Each Of Years Of 10+2 For Admission To Medical Course Mandatory
The Supreme Court has held that Regulation 4(2)(a) to (f), Medical Council of India Regulations are inclusive of one another and the requirement of having read Biology/Biological Sciences for each of the two years 10+2, is mandatory. The bench, while setting aside the impugned judgment of the Telangana High Court said, “The stipulation of equivalence in Regulation 4(2)(f) is not merely a formal one. The provision must be read in the context of the consistent conditions of eligibility prescribed in Regulations 4(2)(a) to (e).”
Bench: Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat
Case Title: Kaloji Narayana Rao University of Health Sciences v. Srikeerti Reddi Pingle
3. Modification Of Punishment To Remainder Of Natural Life Could Not Have Been Imposed By The Trial Judge: Supreme Court Upholds Sentence Citing Gruesome Line Of Events
Top Court, while dismissing an appeal sought against imprisonment for remainder of natural life, said, “It is true that the punishment of remainder of natural life could not have been imposed by the learned trial judge but after looking into the entire case, we consider it appropriate to confirm the sentence of imprisonment for life to mean the remainder of natural life while upholding the conviction under Section 302 IPC.”
Bench: Justice Indu Malhotra & Ajay Rastogi
Case Title: Gauri Shankar v. State of Punjab
1. In a comprehensive judgment by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Shri Ravindra Kumar Pandey, while acquitting Journalist Priya Ramani in the Defamation suit against MJ Akbar observed, “The woman cannot be punished for raising voice against the sex-abuse on the pretext of criminal complaint of defamation as the Right of Reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the Right to life and dignity of woman.” It was further said that the series of happenings and the testimony of the accused and witnesses clearly proof that the complainant cannot be called a man of “stellar reputation” as submitted.
2. The Delhi High Court, while recently dismissing a petition filed on the ground of quashing detention order due to delay in execution, has observed that there cannot be any hard and fast rule about the time within which the order of detention under Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974 should necessarily be passed from the date of discovery of the continued involvement of the detenu in the prejudicial activity.
3. The Single Bench of Justice S.K. Panigrahi of Orissa High Court has recently refused to grant bail to the accused who was alleged to torture his wife suffering from physiological illness. The Bench relied on the Supreme Court's Judgement In V. Bhagat v. Mrs D. Bhagat AIR 1994 SC 710 to discuss the issue of cruelty in the context of section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act,1955.
4. The Madras High Court, while recently directing the police to provide immediate police protection and ensure that action is taken against the land grabbers, has observed that the name of political parties should not be used for land grabbing. “Courts cannot turn a blind eye to such blatant illegal activities committed by certain persons claiming to belong to a particular political party.”, Single Bench of Justice N.Anand Venkatesh noted.
5. The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has recently observed that the Deputy Commissioner is not a higher authority nor has the authorization from Government to suspend a gazetted officer belonging to the J & K Administrative Tribunal.
6. The Allahabad High Court on 9th February 2021 comprising a Division Bench of Justices Rajeev Singh and Ramesh Sinha quashed an impugned order dated 23.12.2020 observing that the,“entire material evidences collected by the C.B.I. was not produced before the authority concerned and only report submitted by the C.B.I. was available to him, and the submissions of learned counsel for the respondents is that the entire material was placed before the authority concerned cannot be justified in the eyes of law.”
7. The Bombay High Court recently stayed the tender opening process initiated by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to construct five toilet blocks and two garbage collection centers in BKC area of the city.
8. The Madras High Court has recently observed that the accused under section 91 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 does not have any absolute right to ask for summoning any document. "Any party invoking Section 91 Cr.P.C., is bound to show the relevancy and necessity or desirability for the said documents. As already pointed out, the petitioner has nowhere stated about the necessity or desirability. Only when the Court, on a consideration of facts and circumstances, considers that the production of the document or thing sought for is necessary or desirable for the trial, enquiry or proceedings would summon the same, but not otherwise. Hence, it is to be seen only as to whether the trial Court has judiciously and judicially exercised its discretion", Single Bench of Justice K.Murali Shankar noted.
9. A civil Court at Varanasi took up for hearing, the civil suit seeking removal of the Gyanvapi Mosque in Mathura and for the restoration of Temple rituals. The Mosque Management appeared in Court today and sought time to file a reply.
- Sanya Talwar is the Editor of Lawbeat