Weekly Legal Updates (12 March to 18 March 2023)

Weekly Legal Updates main objective is to update the legal knowledge of law students, lawyers, academicians and other professionals. If we do not update our legal knowledge regularly, our knowledge become redundant.

Children of lesbian, gay parents do not necessarily become lesbians, gays: SC informs government

Growing up with lesbian or gay parents will not necessarily make a child lesbian or gay, a puzzled Supreme Court on March 13, 2023 confronted the government’s concern about the “psychological” impact same-sex marriages may have on children.

Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud referred petitions seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriages to a Constitution Bench, but took the time on Monday to soothe the government’s anxiety about how such a move would affect Indian “social ethos”.

“The Parliament will have to examine… The Parliament will have to see what would be the psychology of a child who has seen either two men or only two women as parents… What would be the psychology of a child who was not reared by a father and a mother… Parliament will have to debate whether we would like this institution to be recognised in view of our social ethos…” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the Union, objected to the court’s intervention. (Courtesy:-The Hindu,  13 March 2013)

Remove mosque on Allahabad HC premises in 3 months: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on monday i.e. 13 March 2023 directed authorities to remove a mosque from the premises of the Allahabad HC within three months, telling the petitioners opposing the demolition that the structure stood on a terminated lease property and they can’t claim it as a matter of right to continue.

The petitioners, Waqf Masjid HC and UP Sunni Central Waqf Board, had challenged a November 2017 Allahabad HC order, which had given them three months to move the mosque out of the premises. The top court dismissed their plea on Monday. A bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar, however, allowed the petitioners to make a representation to the UP government for allotment of land nearby for the mosque. 

“We further grant three months time to demolish the construction in question by the petitioners and if the construction is not removed within a period of three months from today, it will be open for authorities including the high court to have them removed or demolished,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the management committee of the mosque, said the mosque has been there since the 1950s and it cannot be just asked to move out.  (Courtesy:- The Times of India, 14 March 2023)

In absence of cogent evidence, mere invoice production, cheque-payment insufficient to claim ITC: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court observed that for claiming ITC, the dealer should prove the actual physical movement of goods and mere production of tax invoices will not be sufficient.

It’s a bad news for the industry as Supreme Court has held that mere production of invoice and cheque payment is insufficient to claim ITC (Input Tax Credit). Expert say though this order is related with matter under Value Added Tax (VAT) regime, but likely to have impact on GST too. (Courtesy:- Buisnessline, 14 March 2023)

Maharashtra crisis: Supreme Court rules that discontent in political party not enough for governor to call for floor test 

The Supreme Court made an observation on Wednesday stating that calling for a trust vote solely on the basis of disagreements between members of a ruling party can lead to the downfall of a democratically elected government. The court further added that the governor of a state cannot misuse their position to bring about a specific outcome.

“It will be a sad spectacle for democracy,” a five-judge constitution bench headed by chief justice DY Chandrachud said while taking forward the hearing on the events that unfolded during the June 2022 Maharashtra political crisis triggered by a revolt in the then undivided Shiv Sena by MLAs loyal to Eknath Shinde.

The bench made the observations after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Maharashtra governor, narrated the sequence of events and said there were various materials before the governor including a letter signed by 34 Shiv Sena MLAs, a letter from Independent lawmakers withdrawing support to the Uddhav Thackeray government, and another of the Leader of the Opposition that prompted him to order a trust vote. 

“Difference of opinion among MLAs within a party can be on any ground like payment of development fund or deviation from party ethos but can that be a sufficient ground for the governor to call for the floor test? Governor cannot lend his office to effectuate a particular result. Calling for a trust vote will lead to toppling of elected government,” the bench said.  (Courtesy:- The Times of India, 15 March 2023)

Continuity of Service with back wages can be directed in cases where the retrenchment was not bonafide: Supreme Court

KCR’s Daughter Approaches Supreme Court Over Rules To Question Women

K Kavitha, Bharat Rashtra Samithi leader and daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, has approached the Supreme Court against her questioning by the Enforcement Directorate in the Delhi liquor policy case.

In her petition, K Kavitha challenged the ED summons in a money-laundering case linked to the liquor policy. A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice P S Narasimha agreed to hear the plea of Kavitha, who is also a member of legislative council, on March 24.

On March 11, the BRS leader was questioned for hours by the Enforcement Directorate in the money laundering case. The agency has summoned her again for a third time on March 16. (Courtesy:- NDTV, 15 March 2023)

Suicide by married males: Plea in Supreme Court seeks National Commission for Men

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking guidelines to deal with suicide by married males subjected to domestic violence and a ‘National Commission for Men’.

The plea filed by advocate Mahesh Kumar Tiwari cited the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data published in 2021 on accidental deaths in India which claimed 1,64,033 people died by suicide across the country that year.

Out of these, 81,063 people who ended their lives were married men, while 28,680 were married women, the petition said.

“Around 33.2 per cent men ended their lives because of family problems and 4.8 per cent due to marriage related issues in the year 2021. In this year total 1,18,979 men have committed suicides which are about (72 per cent) and total 45,026 women have committed suicides which are about 27 per cent,” the plea said while referring to data provided by the NCRB.

The petition has also sought direction to the National Human Rights Commission to deal with the issue of suicide by married men and accept the complaints of men suffering domestic violence.

“Issue direction to the respondent no.1 (Union of India) to issue proper guidelines through the Ministry of Home Affairs to the police authority/ Station House Officer of every Police Station to accept/ receive the complaint of victims of domestic violence or those are under stress due to family problems and marriage related issues and refer the same to the State Human Right Commission for its proper disposal, till the proper legislation is enacted by the Government of India.

“Issue a direction/ recommendation to the Law Commission of India to carry out research on the issue of suicides of married men who are suffering from domestic violence or under family problem and marriage related issues and make necessary report in order to constitute a forum like National Commission for Men,” the plea said. (Courtesy:- The Times of India, 15 March 2023)

Supreme Court Grants Interim Bail To Man Accused In NDPS Case On Medical Grounds

A bench of Justices Krishna Murari and Sanjay Karol issued notice to the Gujarat government on the plea filed by the accused.

The Supreme Court has granted interim bail to a man  accused in a case lodged under the anti-narcotics law, noting that he is on ventilator support.

A bench of Justices Krishna Murari and Sanjay Karol issued notice to the Gujarat government on the plea filed by the accused.

“Issue notice returnable in four weeks.Considering the medical condition of the petitioner as he has been put on ventilator and there is no proper medical facility for his treatment in the jail hospital, we are inclined to release the petitioner on interim bail,” the bench said. (Courtesy:- Outlook, 15 March 2023)

U.K. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Ukraine, Sends $3 Billion Russian Bond Default to Trial

Ukraine won a significant boost in its attempt to set aside a $3 billion defaulted bond after the UK Supreme Court ruled that judges need to consider the backdrop of Russia’s campaign of threatening behavior in the run-up to the annexation of Crimea.

Britain’s top court declared that a judge should pore over Russian attempts to strong-arm Ukraine into buying the bond, giving the green light to a full-blown London trial. The long-awaited decision allows Ukraine to argue that the bond, sold in 2013 on the eve of the revolution in Kyiv, was part of unlawful political and military aggression from Moscow.

“The success of Ukraine’s defense turns on whether it can establish that Russia threatened the use of force and that those threats were a reason for Ukraine’s decision to enter into the agreement,” Judge Robert Reed said in the ruling. “That question can only be determined after trial.”

The judges gave their decision Wednesday in a ruling that knocks out Russian attempts to win the case and allows Ukraine to stave off any further repayments.

Ukraine’s push to postpone debt repayments has already won support at an international level from key government creditors as well as private bondholders. Ukrainian officials have since been exploring ways to restructure the nation’s debt as funding options dry up, with Russia’s invasion destroying industry and depleting foreign reserves.

The London case has been elevated from a simple commercial dispute to one that has legal implications about the ability of English courts to decide upon sovereign defaults. Judges have traditionally shied away from intervening in foreign state affairs — or what a lower court called “acts of high policy by Russia.” (Courtesy:- Time, 15 March 2023)

Versova–Bandra Sea Link: Supreme Court stays all proceedings challenging the project before NGT

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the ongoing proceedings before the National Green Tribunal pertaining to the challenge to the grant of environmental clearance (EC) to the Maharashtra government’s ambitious Versova-Bandra Sea-Link (VBSL) project in Mumbai.

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala stayed the proceedings after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Limited (MSRDCL), said the Bombay High Court and the National Green Tribunal (NGT), in other proceedings, have dismissed the pleas challenging the project.

The bench referred to the legal doctrine of constructive “res judicata” and said the same issue cannot be raised again as it may lead to a situation where no public project will be allowed to proceed.

The VBSL is an under-construction bridge of 17.17 kilometer in Mumbai and will connect Versova in suburb Andheri to the Bandra-Worli Seal Link in Bandra. This eight-lane sea link is expected to reduce congestion in the city.

The MSRDCL in the apex court has challenged the proceedings before the NGT in which Dileep V Nevatia has challenged the EC granted for the upcoming sea link by the environment department of the Maharashtra government.

The NGT bench had on January 25, said principle of “res judicata” will not be applicable in the matter because in the earlier appeal and in the present appeal of 2017, against the Mumbai bench of NGT, the parties are different.

It had said appellant Nevatia was not a party in the earlier proceedings before the NGT and the high court, and therefore, he cannot be deprived of right of hearing in the present appeal, which was filed in 2017.

“In our opinion, the parties being different in the earlier filed two matters, that is an appeal and the Original Application, from the parties in the present case, therefore, the principle of res judicata would not be applicable,” the NGT had said.

“Hence, it would be appropriate for us to decide this matter on merits afresh. Although at that stage, the Judgment passed by this Tribunal in Appeal and Original Application could be certainly taken into consideration,” it had said.The EC was issued in favour of the MSRDCL in February 2017, by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA). (Courtesy:- Times Now, 18 March 2023)

*Disclaimer: – Always check with the original copy of judgment from the Court website.

Legal News in this Weekly Legal Update are compiled by Team www.deepakmiglani.com

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