Weekly Legal Updates (15 January 2023 to 21 January 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.

Buffer Zone: Supreme Court refers pleas to modify 1 K.M. ESZ Mandate to 3 Judges Bench

Case Title –  In Re: T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad v. Union of India & Ors. 

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the batch of pleas seeking a relaxation of the directive to declare one kilometre around protected forests as ecologically sensitive zones (ESZ) to be listed before a combination of three Judges. A division bench comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and Vikram Nath was hearing the petitions filed by, inter alia, the governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, as well as an application moved by Advocate V.K. Biju, on behalf of persons facing hardships because of their homes lying within the ‘one-kilometre ESZ’.

After hearing the submissions made by the counsel, Justice Gavai directed the matter to be placed before the chief justice, saying, “It will be appropriate that all these modification applications are heard and decided by a bench having a strength of three judges.” (Courtsey – Hindustan Times 16 January 2023)

Ethanol manufacturing unit cannot be established within 15-km radius of a sugar factory:Karnataka High Court

A factory for production of only ethanol is also considered as a “sugar factory” as per the changes made in the laws, and restriction imposed in the law against setting up another “sugar factory” within 15-km radius of the existing one applies even for establishing a factory to produce only ethanol, said the High Court of Karnataka.

It is obvious that this definition became necessary since the manufacture of ethanol was based on sugarcane juice/sugar syrup/ molasses, which were byproducts of sugarcane, and as a consequence the procurement of sugarcane by the existing factories would be hampered if a factory manufacturing only ethanol was permitted within 15-km radius restriction, the court observed. (Courtsey – The Hindu 16 January 2023)

Will same steps taken in Europe be followed in India?: Supreme Court asks Google in challenge to CCI order over android dominance

Case: Google LLC and Anr. v. CCI And Ors.

Will Google follow the same approach taken by it in European Union, as regards pre-installed apps in Android-based in mobile phones, in India? The Supreme Court asked Google India this question while considering the tech-giant’s plea challenging the order of National Company Law Appellate Tribunal(NCLAT) which declined to stay the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) decision to impose Rs 1,338 crore penalty on it for unfair and anti-competitive practices in relation to Android phones.

The matter was listed before CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha, and Justice JB Pardiwala. Google India has approached the Supreme Court challenging the order passed by the NCLAT on January 6 refusing to stay the CCI’s order and directing it to deposit 10% of the penalty amount within a period of three weeks. (Courtsey – Times Business 16 January 2023)

View that Default Bail cannot be cancelled on merits will reward lethargic investigation : Supreme Court

The State Through Central Bureau of Investigation versus T. Gangi Reddy @ Yerra Gangi Reddy

The Supreme Court, on Monday, held that when special reasons are made out from the chargesheet and the chargesheet reveals commission of non-bailable crime, default bail granted to an accused under proviso to Section 167(2) CrPC can be cancelled.

The Supreme Court observed – “The Courts will be loathe for such an interpretation, as that would frustrate the justice. The Courts have the power to cancel the bail and to examine the merits of the case in a case where the accused is released on default bail and released not on merits earlier. Such an interpretation would be in furtherance to the administration of justice.” (Courtesy – The Hindu 17 January 2023)

Child adopted by widow after death of government employee not entitled to family pension: Supreme Court


The Supreme Court held that a son or daughter adopted by the widow of a deceased government servant, after the death of the government servant, cannot be included within the definition of ‘family’ under Rule 54(14)(b) of the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 to claim family pension.

The definition of the term ‘family’ cannot be extended to include those persons who were not even dependents of the government servant, at the time of his death, the bench of Justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna observed. (Courtesy – Times of India 17 January 2023)

‘Wikipedia not completely dependable’ : Supreme Court cautions Courts & Adjudicating Authorities

In a judgment delivered today, the Supreme Court cautioned the courts and adjudicating authorities against use of ‘wikipedia’ for legal dispute resolution. These sources, despite being a treasure trove of knowledge, are based on a crowd ­sourced and user­ generated editing model that is not completely dependable in terms of academic veracity and can promote misleading information, the bench of Justices Surya Kant and Vikram Nath observed. (Courtesy – Tribune India 17 January 2023)

Sec 138 NI Act – Accused relies on income tax returns to show complainant did not have financial capacity; Supreme Court affirms acquittal

The Supreme Court observed that the standard of proof for rebutting the presumption under Section 139 of the Negotiable Instruments Act is that of preponderance of probabilities. In this case arising out of cheque bounce complaint, the accused was acquitted by the Trial Court. The High Court reversed the acquittal and convicted the accused. (Courtesy – The Daily Guardian 18 January 2023)

‘Senior Bar Member must be more responsible’ : Justice Dinesh Maheshwari expresses displeasure at Senior Advocate Vikas Singh

Supreme Court judge Justice Dinesh Maheshwari on Wednesday expressed displeasure at the conduct of Senior Advocate Vikas Singh, the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, in raising an “unnecessary” objection about the order of hearing of cases in the court. The bench comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Bela Trivedi, after hearing the fresh matters, straightaway took up one matter which was heard in part yesterday. Vikas Singh then made an interruption to make an objection. Justice Maheshwari pointed out that it was specified in the list that after fresh matters, the matters in supplementary list will be taken. But after Singh persisted with the objection, a heated exchange followed. (Courtesy – Bar and Bench 18 January 2023)

‘Lalit Modi made scurrilous allegations against my colleague Mukul Rohatgi’ : Kapil Sibal tells Supreme Court

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that IPL founder Lalit Modi has made “scurrilous allegations” against Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi in social media, violating an undertaking given to the Court that he will refrain from making such statements.The property settlement dispute relating to Lalit Modi’s family is pending before the Supreme Court. “In this matter, there is a family dispute. The Modi family dispute. There was an undertaking given before the Court that no statements will be made in social media. But scurrilous statements have been made against my colleague Mukul Rohatgi. This cannot be allowed, it is a violation of this court’s order”, Sibal mentioned before Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud Lalit Modi, who is currently living in United Kingdom, had recently made statements in his Instagram page against Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi over the latter calling him a “fugitive”. Few days ago, he made another Instagram post expressing apology for his comments against Rohatgi. A special leave petition filed by Lalit Modi challenging a Delhi High Court judgment which held as maintainable the the anti-arbitration suit filed by his mother Bina Modi and siblings is pending in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court had earlier relegated the parties to mediation. (Courtesy Law Street Journal  –19 January 2023)

Because Saurabh Kirpal is open about his sexual orientation, he is still qualified to serve as a High Court Judge: Supreme Court Collegium reiterates proposal

The Supreme Court Collegium has expressed its disagreement with the Centre which returned the proposal to appoint gay Advocate Saurabh Kirpal as a Judge of the Delhi High Court, based on his openness about his sexual orientation. The Centre apprehends that given his “attachment” to the cause of gay-rights, it cannot rule out the possibility of Kirpal’s bias and prejudice. It had therefore referred the proposal back for reconsideration.

SC Collegium however noted that there is no apprehension that behaviour of Kirpal’s partner has any bearing on national security. “There is no reason to pre-suppose that the partner of the candidate, who is a Swiss National, would be inimically disposed to our country, since the country of his origin is a friendly nation. Many persons in high positions including present and past holders of constitutional offices have and have had spouses who are foreign Nationals. Hence, as a matter of principle, there can be no objection to the candidature of Shri Saurabh Kirpal on the ground that his partner is a foreign National.” (Courtesy – The Wire 19 January 2023)

Chargesheets not ‘Public Documents’, Investigating Agencies cannot be directed to upload the chargesheets filed in cases in a public platform: Supreme Court

Case Title : Saurav Das vs Union of India 

The Supreme Court on Friday held that police and investigating agencies like CBI, ED etc., cannot be directed to upload the chargesheets filed in cases in a public platform for easy access by the general public.A bench comprising Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumarheld so while dismissing a PIL filed by RTI activist and investigative journalist Saurav Das. The bench termed as “misplaced” the reliance made by Advocate Prashant Bhushan on the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Youth Bar Association Case in which directions were issued to the police to upload the FIRs in website within 24 hours except in sensitive cases like rape and sexual offences. (Courtesy – India Today 20 January 2023)

Recovery cannot be relied on under Section 27 of the Evidence Act in the absence of record of the statement of accused : Supreme Court

Case Title : Boby vs State of Kerala

The Supreme Court observed that the recovery cannot be relied on under Section 27 of the Evidence Act in the absence of record of the statement of accused.

The bench of Justices B R Gavai and M M Sundresh acquitted a murder accused who was concurrently convicted by the Trial Court and the High Court. Boby, along with other accused, were convicted for the offences punishable under Sections 395, 365, 364, 201, 380, 302 and 302 read with Section 34 of the IPC. In appeal, the contention raised on Boby’s behalf was that a Memorandum under Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 is required in cases of recovery initiated at the instance of an accused person, based on the statements made before the Police. Neither such Memorandum was prepared at the time of the recovery of the body of deceased Vishwanathan, nor were signatures of independent or panch witnesses taken at the time of said recovery and concurrent conviction was set aside. (Courtesy – Live Law 20 January 2023)

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

Legal News in this Weekly Legal Update are compiled by Devesh Kumar (Team www.deepakmiglani.com)

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