lexkhoj-flashbackAs 2016 is going to end soon and we are about to see the dawn of 2017, it is apt time to re look at what Supreme Court and High Courts said this year. What new interpretation of law did the Apex Court offer and what Law has been struck down? We at LEXKHOJ, have compiled important Judgments (Monthly Basis) delivered by the Supreme Court and High Courts this year. Judgments pronounced in the month of November & December  2016 can be read here…

November 2016

Recording Of FIR Not A Condition Precedent For Starting Criminal Investigation

The Supreme Court in Anjan Dasgupta vs. The State of West Bengal, has held that the receipt and recording of First Information Report is not a condition precedent for setting in motion a criminal investigation and the police are duty bound to start investigation when it gets information with regard to commission of crime.

SC Cancels Bail Granted To Rajballav Prasad In Rape Case

 Public interest of fair trial would outweigh the personal interest of the accused, the bench said. The Supreme Court, in State Of Bihar vs. Rajballav Prasad, has cancelled the bail granted by the high court to the accused charged with committing rape on a minor.

‘Culture Of Compromise’, Makes Witnesses Turn Hostile During Trials: SC

 A significant reason for witnesses turning hostile may be what is described as ‘culture of compromise’, the Bench observed. Attributing ‘culture of compromise’ as one of the reasons for witnesses turning hostile during trial, the Supreme Court in Ramesh vs. State of Haryana, has upheld a High Court judgment that reversed an acquittal.

Banks Can Sell Tribal Land To Non-Tribal Even If Prohibited By State Law

 Article 31-B of the Constitution would not confer immunity to a legislation from being overridden by the provisions of a Parliamentary statute, the Court said. In an important pronouncement which would have serious impact in states having significant tribal population, the Apex Court has held that Banks can sell tribal land to non-tribal.

Forming Opinion On Punishment Before Giving Chance To Delinquent To Reply On Inquiry Report Violates Natural Justice: SC

The Supreme Court in HP State Electricity Board Ltd vs Mahesh Dahiya, has observed that in disciplinary proceedings, before making opinion with regard to punishment which is to be imposed on a delinquent, the delinquent has to be given an opportunity to submit representation/reply on the inquiry report which finds a charge proved against the delinquent. 

Wife Can Be Prosecuted For Lying Before Court To Claim Maintenance: Gujarat HC

It is often found that the litigants coming before the court chose to speak blatant lies and do so with complete impudence, the court said. Lying on affidavit and deposing falsehood in the witness box is much not unusual in litigation, especially when it is a matrimonial one. 

Not Necessary For Woman To Share Household With Accused At The Time Of Making An Application Under DV Act: Orissa

The High Court of Orissa on Tuesday held that for maintaining proceedings under Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, it is not necessary for the woman to have lived in a shared household with the accused at the time of making an application to the Magistrate.

Madras HC DB Upholds Order Directing Google, Youtube To Give Details Of Uploader Of ‘Defamatory’ Video :

 A division bench of Madras High Court has upheld an order of a single bench that had issued a direction to YouTube and Google to furnish the correct IP address along with the name of the person who uploaded an allegedly ‘defamatory’ video in YouTube.

Mere Extra-Marital Relationship By Husband Not ‘Cruelty’ To Attract Section 498A/306 IPC: SC

If the husband gets involved in an extra-marital affair that may not in all circumstances invite conviction under Section 306 of the IPC, but definitely that can be a ground for divorce or other reliefs in a matrimonial dispute under other enactments, the bench said.

BIFR, AAIFR Not Competent To Issue Directions To Non-Sick Industrial Company: SC

The Supreme Court in President J.K. Synthetics Mazdoor Union, Kota vs. Arfat Petrochemicals Pvt. Ltd., has reiterated that the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction (BIFR) has no competence to issue directions under Section 22A of the Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Act, 1985, to a company that is not a sick industrial company. Certain directions like not to dispose of the assets were issued by the BIFR against M/s Arafat Petrochemicals Pvt. Ltd. (APPL), which was affirmed by Appellate Authority for Industrial and Financial (AAIFR). The said order was set aside by the Rajasthan High Court holding that the BIFR and the AAIFR do not have jurisdiction to issue directions to a company, which is not a sick industrial company under Section 22 A of the Act. 

December 2016

Delhi HC Acquits Husband In 30-Yr-Old Dowry Death Case

It is necessary to establish the offence of Section 498A IPC to prove the charges under Section 304B IPC, the court said. Acquitting a husband in a three-decade-old dowry death case, the Delhi High Court in Ramesh Chander vs. State of Delhi, has observed that in order to prove the charges under Section 304B of Indian Penal Code.

Consumer Complaints Can’t Be Rejected Citing ‘Alternative Remedy’ Under Other Statutes: Chhattisgarh HC

Remedy available to the consumer under the Consumer Protection Act is an additional remedy, the high court observed. The Chhattisgarh High Court has held that the remedy available to the consumer under the Consumer Protection Act is an additional remedy.

Removal Of Prisoner’s Name From Remission Register Doesn’t Amount To ‘Double Jeopardy’ 

The removal of a prisoner’s name from ‘Remission Register’ after registering a case against him for not reporting back in time after being released on parole does not amount to double jeopardy, the Bombay High Court has ruled. 

Mind-Set Against Citizens From North East Should Be Changed: SC 

Greater awareness of the history and the rich cultural traditions of the North-East is required to be inculcated, the bench said. The Supreme Court has asked the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to take proactive steps to monitor the redressal of issues pertaining to racial discrimination faced by citizens from the North-East.

‘Black Money’ Disclosures Not Immune From Criminal Liability: Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 Came In To Force

Levy of penalty for misreporting of income @200% of tax payable under Section 270A of the Income-tax Act shall continue to apply. Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 came into force as the Government has notified the rules on 15th December 2016. The Taxation and Investment Regime for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016 introduced in the amendment will    commence today i.e.17th December, 2016 and will remain open for declarations up to 31st March, 2017.

Malayalam Writer Booked For Sedition For ‘Insulting’ National Anthem 

Kamal C Chavara, a Malayalam writer and theatre artiste, has been arrested by the Kerala Police for allegedly disrespecting the national anthem. Reportedly, charges of sedition were slapped on him. Yuvamorcha, the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party, activists had lodged complained against him for posting some excerpts from his novel “Smasanangulude Nottupusthakam” on Facebook, which they alleged was an insult to the national anthem. The alleged post is still seen on his Facebook profile. He reacted to his arrest by posting on Facebook: “I don’t have money with me. Neither do have any lawyer. Waiting for the Court to set me on bail.”

 NIA Court Awards Death Penalty To Yaseen Bhatkal, 4 Other IM Operatives 

 The NIA Court of Hyderabad has awarded death penalty to Yaseen Bhatkal and four other Indian Mujahideen operators, who were accused of perpetrating two consecutive bomb explosions that took place at Dilsukhnagar market in 2013 in Hyderabad. The bomb blast had resulted in the death of 18 persons, including one unborn child, and injuries to 131 persons. NIA judge T. Srinivasa Rao termed the crime as ‘rarest of rare’. Reportedly, the judge has observed the chances of reform are zero, “as the convicts took to terrorism as their ideology, and appeared to be of the view that that they were morally right in doing what they did”.

Forcing Husband To Stay Away From His Parents Amounts To Cruelty: Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court in Chitra Sachin Mapara vs Sachin Kumar Mapara has held that any pressure on part of the wife on the husband to stay away from his parents without any justifiable cause amounts to cruelty.

Justice RD Dhanuka, while dismissing a second appeal preferred by the wife, observed that it is bound by the Supreme Court decision in Narendra vs K Meena, wherein it was held that the persistent effort of the wife to constrain the husband to be separated from the family would be torturous for the husband and this constitutes an act of cruelty.

SC Orders De-Novo Trial On Decade-Long Sexual Abuse Case

Upon a plea by a rape victim who alleged decade-long sexual harassment by her uncles, the Supreme Court has ordered de-novo trial in a Delhi court. The girl had alleged before a trial court that her two uncles sexually harassed her since 2003 and her aunt had abetted the crime. The Delhi High Court had upheld the trial court order discharging the aunt and one of her uncles. The second accused was discharged on the ground that the alleged incident did not take place within the territorial jurisdiction of Delhi. However, the trial had commenced against the first accused.

No Provision For Temporary Enrollment As Advocates

The Gujarat High Court has held that there is no provision for grant of temporary certificate by the Bar Council for practising as an advocate. The Division Bench of Gujarat High Court headed by the Chief Justice R. Subhash Reddy made this observation while setting aside a Single Bench direction to Bar Council of Gujarat wherein it was directed to grant temporary enrollment number to a lady.

Accused’s Intention, Role To Aid/Instigate Commission Of Suicide Must Be Proved For Conviction: SC

Dislodging concurrent finding of the guilt of in-laws accused of abetting a woman’s suicide, the Supreme Court in Gurcharan Singh vs. State of Punjab, has observed that intention and involvement of the accused to aid or instigate the commission of suicide is imperative to constitute abetment. An apex court bench comprising Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Amitava Roy observed that remoteness of the culpable acts or omissions rooted in the intention of the accused to actualise the suicide would fall short as well of the offence of abetment essential to attract the punitive mandate of Section 306 IPC. Contiguity, continuity, culpability and complicity of the indictable acts or omission are the concomitant indices of abetment, the bench said.

Aadhaar Card Is Not Proof Of Citizenship: Calcutta HC

 Aadhaar card is not a proof of Indian citizenship, the Calcutta High Court has ruled, while rejecting a claim of citizenship on the ground that the accused possessed Aadhaar card. Justice Joymalya Bagchi was considering bail plea of a person who was booked under Section 14F of the Indian Foreigners Act, who had contended that she is an Indian citizen and that the Aadhaar card was issued in view of long residence of the petitioner in the country. The court referred to provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, and said that the Aadhaar card by itself shall not confer any right of or be proof of, citizenship or domicile in respect of the holder thereto. The court also held that the letter issued by the representative of the local body as to the residence of the petitioner also does not, ipso facto, confer citizenship on the petitioner.

Unaided Minority Institutions Cannot Admit Students Of Their Choice By Adopting A Mechanism Of Their Own: Allahabad HC

The Allahabad High Court in Sankalp Institute of Education vs. State of UP, has held that minority self-financed institutions imparting professional or technical education cannot admit students of their choice by adopting a mechanism of their own. Justice Suneet Kumar held that all self-financed institutions would have to depend upon the policy/mechanism of the State Government through the C.E.T. followed by centralized counselling.

Land Belonging To Religious Bodies Can Be Acquired To Serve Larger Public Purpose: Allahabad HC

Allahabad High Court has held that land belonging to religious bodies can be acquired by the government for achieving a larger public purpose.

Explaining the provisions of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991, the court observed that Section 3 of the Act bars any person from converting any place of worship of any religious denomination into place of worship of a different section of the same religious denomination or of different religious denomination or any section thereof.

The bench made it clear that under the scheme of things, there is no bar to acquisition of land under the provision of National Highways Act, 1956, as the said Act enables the Central government to acquire land. It also held that acquisition proceeding under the National Highways Act cannot be permitted to be defeated on the purported premises that the said action is hit by Article 25 and 26 of the Constitution of India.

Notwithstanding Earlier Decision On Same Issue, Parties Can Approach Court Again Under Amended Provisions: Delhi HC

The High Court of Delhi, in Madhava Hytech-Rani (JV) v. IRCON International Limited,  has refused to reject a petition under Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, on the ground that a similar petition had earlier been rejected, taking the view that a fresh petition under the amended provisions could be filed.

Ruling that Madhava could approach the court under the amended provisions, the court reaffirmed the position laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Mathura Prasad Bajoo Jaiswal and Ors v Dossibai NB Jeejeebhoy, wherein the latter observed:

“Where the law is altered since the earlier decision, the earlier decision will not operate as res judicata between the same parties: Tarini Charan Bhattacharjee case. It is obvious that the matter in issue in a subsequent proceeding is not the same as in the previous proceeding, because the law interpreted is different.”

The high court, thereby, ruled: “In view of the principle as explained by the Supreme Court above, the present petition cannot be rejected solely on the ground that Madhava’s earlier petition had been dismissed.”

Group Admin not Liable For Defamatory Texts Made By A Member: Delhi HC 

The Delhi High Court, while dismissing a civil suit for defamation against an administrator of a social media group, observed that he cannot be made liable for defamatory statements made by any other member of the group.

The administrator of Telegram and a Google group, where some defamatory statements were allegedly made by some members, was made defendant to the suit. The court observed that the plaint does not disclose any cause of action against the admin and it deserves to be rejected.

Compiled By Ms. Sukriti Ghai



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