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Supreme Court dismisses plea seeking halt for Vande Bharat train at Tirur railway station
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea seeking a halt for the Vande Bharat Express at the Tirur railway station in Kerala’s Malapuram district [PT Sheejish v Union of India & Ors].
A bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and Manoj Misra expressed its reservations about the court’s involvement in deciding train stops.
“You want us to decide which train stops it should have. Now we will also take a call on stations from Delhi to Mumbai Rajdhani. Sorry dismissed,” the Court said.
The plea before the apex court challenged a May 2 decision of the Kerala High Court rejecting such a prayer.
A division bench consisting of Justices Bechu Kurian Thomas and C Jayachandran of the High Court had dismissed the plea stating that halting points of a train are determined by the Indian Railways and no one has a vested right to demand halt for a train at a particular station.
The appeal before the apex court said that as per the first schedule of train stop initially announced by the Indian Railways for Vande Bharat, Tirur railway station was allotted a stop for the commuters in Malappuram district.
Subsequently, the Indian Railways remove the halt at Tirur railway station and instead another railway station, Shornur in Palakkad district was allotted the stop, which is roughly 56 kilometer away from Tirur.
The action of calling back the railway stop that was proposed to be allotted to Tirur railway station is significantly due to political reasons, which is sheer injustice to the entire people of Malappuram district, the petition said.
The plea filed through advocates Sriram Parakkat and MS Vishnu Shankar further stated that the petitioner does not have a vested interest and has only highlighted a larger public interest as the issue affects lakhs of citizens living in Malappuram district.
(Courtesy:- Deccan Herald, 17 July 2023)
Supreme Court rejects plea against stand-up comedian Bassi for ‘humiliating’ lawyers
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking action against stand-up comedian Anubhav Singh Bassi for allegedly humiliating lawyers and the judicial system on his show ‘Bas Kar Bassi’. “What is this writ petition under Article 32 (of the Constitution)?
Both of us can’t understand what you want,” a bench of Justices S K Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia told the petitioner. Article 32 gives Indian citizens the right to moved the Supreme Court if they feel their fundamental rights have been violated.
The petitioner, advocate Farhat Warsi, told the court she had come across a video on YouTube that was derogatory to lawyers and the judicial system.
“I came across a video on Youtube named ‘Bas Kar Bassi’ and I saw that the respondent Anubhav Bassi has humiliated the advocates, the judicial system…,” the petitioner said.
The bench said there are other people to take care of such things and the lawyer should worry about herself.
Courtesy:- The Times of India, 17 July 2023)
Can’t summon officers to court at the drop of a hat: SC
Officers cannot be made to appear in court as a routine practice as their time is meant for citizens, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday as it came across a case of a Patna high court judge who had issued 142 orders summoning senior Bihar government officials in various cases since October 2021.
Staying a July 13 order passed by the same judge who was part of a bench which issued bailable warrants against Bihar education department additional chief secretary KK Pathak in a contempt case relating to a teacher’s promotion, a bench of justices BR Gavai and JB Pardiwala said, “In a matter where there is blatant disregard of orders passed by the court, it may be justified in securing personal presence of officers. However, such a practice should not become a routine practice.”
The Bihar government, represented by senior advocate ANS Nadkarni, informed the court that this was not a one-off case as one of the judges on the bench, justice PB Bajanthri, had in the past issued similar directions summoning officials of the state. The state compiled a list of 142 similar orders passed by the judge in routine matters over the past 20 months.
Noting this in its order, the bench said, “No doubt authorities of state are bound to comply with court’s directions, such directions cannot be at the drop of a hat… Officers are supposed to discharge their duty to citizens. Their presence in court will deprive citizens of their precious time.”
Nadkarni pointed out that bailable warrants were issued on July 6 despite the state having fully complied with the order issued by the high court.
The matter before the HC pertained to an assistant teacher Ghanshyam Prasad Singh at a Nalanda school who had approached the HC in 2014 challenging refusal of the state government to grant him promotion in graduate trained scale on the basis of Sahitya Alankar degree from Hindi Vidyapeeth, Deoghar.
The HC ruled in his favour on 23 February 2016 and ordered the state to grant him the requisite pay scale from the date his immediate junior in service obtained the same pay scale. The state challenged this order before the Supreme Court but failed to get relief. In 2018, the teacher filed a contempt petition which was taken up in May this year.
The high court asked the state authorities to explain the seven-year delay in implementing its 2016 direction and sought a response from the principal secretary in the state education department. In June, Pathak joined as additional chief secretary and acted with alacrity to grant promotion as per the HC order. On June 20, he filed an affidavit placing this fact before the HC and seeking closure of the contempt case. The contempt petitioner was also satisfied with the state action.
(Courtesy:- Hindustan Times, 19 July 2023)
Rhea bail final as NCB tells Supreme Court it won’t appeal
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the Bombay high court ruling in actress Rhea Chakraborty’s case — that giving money to a person for procuring drugs would not mean encouraging illicit trafficking — would not be considered as a precedent while allowing the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)’s plea not to challenge the bail granted to her.
At the outset of the hearing on the NCB’s appeal, additional solicitor general S V Raju told an apex court bench comprising Justices A S Bopanna and M M Sundresh that the government
was not challenging Chakraborty’s bail and that the legal issue regarding interpretation of Section 27A of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act be left open for a decision at a later stage.
The central agency disagreed with the HC’s interpretation of Section 27A (under which one can be jailed for a maximum of 20 years for financing illicit drug trafficking and harbouring offenders) and urged the court the ruling should not be treated as precedent by other courts.
Allowing the NCB’s plea, the bench said, “At this stage, the challenge to the impugned order in so far as grant of bail may not be required. However, the question of law raised isleft open to be considered in an appropriate case and, as such, the judgment may not be treated as precedent in any other case.” Rhea Chakraborty and others, including her brother Showik Chakraborty, were accused of having facilitated procurement of drugs for late actor Sushant Singh Rajput who died under mysterious circumstances. She was arrested on September 8, 2021, and got bail on October 4, 2021.
While granting relief to the actress, the HC had pointed to the anomaly in Section 27A as the punishment for consumption of narcoticdrugs was a maximum one year or imposition of fine up to Rs 20,000 but if some other person, such as a friend or a relative, paid for such drugs, the person who actually consumed the drug would be punished only with imprisonment up to one year but the person who paid for the drugs would face the prospect of spending 20 years in jail.
“ I am unable to agree with the submission that giving money to another for consuming drugs would mean encouraging such a habit and would mean ‘financing’ or ‘harbouring’ as envisaged under Section 27A of the NDPS Act,” the HC had said.“I am satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the applicant is not guilty of any offence punishable under Sections 19, 24 or 27A or any other offence involving commercial quantity. There are no other criminal antecedents against her. She is not part of the chain of drug dealers. She has not forwarded the drugs allegedly procured by her to somebody else to earn monetary or other benefits. Since she has no criminal antecedents, there are reasonable grounds for believing that she is not likely to commit any offence while on bail,” Justice Sarang V Kotwal had said in his verdict.
(Courtesy:- The Times of India, 19 July 2023)
SC refers Delhi govt’s plea challenging Centre’s Ordinance to Constitution bench
The Supreme Court on Thursday referred a Delhi government’s petition, challengeingthe Centre’s ordinance which will take away the control of services from the current Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, to a Constitution bench.
The bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices P S Narasimha and Manoj Misra said that a detailed order will be uploaded by the Supreme Court on the website later in the day.
Senior advocates Harish Salve and Abhishek Singhvi appeared for Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena and the Delhi government respectively. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the Centre.
After hearing the submission, the apex court said, “We will refer it to the constitution bench.”
The top court recently refused to grant an interim stay on the ordinance, over the control of service in the national capital, and issued notices to the Centre and lieutenant governor (LG) VK Saxena.
The Centre told the Supreme Court on Monday that “anarchy” and “administrative chaos” in the national capital led the Union government to urgently promulgate an ordinance wresting the control over bureaucrats from the elected Delhi government.
The Centre further blamed the AAP government of acting in an “undemocratic” fashion while trying to influence ongoing investigations into several vigilance cases, allegedly involving its ministers.
The Centre announced the 2023 Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Ordinance on May 19. The ordinance, in effect, nullified a May 11 Supreme Court judgment affirming that the control of bureaucrats in Delhi must remain with the elected government in all but three spheres — land, public order, and policing.
(Courtesy:- Hindustan Times, 20 July 2023)
Supreme Court gives Teesta Setalvad bail, says high court’s findings ‘totally perverse’
The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted regular bail to activist Teesta Setalvad in a case of alleged forging of documents and tutoring witnesses to implicate high functionaries of the Gujarat government in post-Godhra riots cases, after terming the high court order denying her relief as “totally perverse”.
A single judge bench of the Gujarat HC had rejected Setalvad’s bail plea on July 1 and ordered her to surrender immediately, forcing her to knock the doors of the apex court.
The three-judge SC bench of Justices Gavai, A S Bopanna and Dipankar Datta, which had earlier criticised the HC judge for not granting “sufficient time” to Setalvad to approach the SC, said on
Wednesday, “To say the least, the findings of the single judge of the HC are totally perverse.”
While giving a two-hour hearing to Setalvad’s counsel Kapil Sibal and the Gujarat government represented by additional solicitor general S V Raju, Gavai said, “We generally decide most bail pleas within 15 minutes.”
CJI Chandrachud had constituted a bench of Justices A S Oka and Prashant K Mishra to hear Setalvad’s bail plea, but with the two-judge bench differing, the CJI constituted a three-judge bench led by Justice B R Gavai, which granted her interim bail on the lines of similar relief given to her by a three-judge bench on September 2 last year.
The bench relied on the grounds quoted by the SC in its September 2, 2022, order granting interim bail to Setalvad — that a woman had been in custody from June 25 to July 3, 2022; the offences alleged against her related to 2002 and going by the assertions in the FIR, pertained to documents which were sought to be presented and/or relied upon till 2012; and the investigating machinery had the advantage of her custodial interrogation for seven days after which she was sent to judicial custody.
The only warning given by the SC to Setalvad was not to attempt influencing witnesses. “If she attempts to influence witnesses, the prosecution can move the SC directly to seek cancellation of her bail,” the bench said as a consolation to the Gujarat government which tried its best to project the offence — attempting to implicate high functionaries in murder cases — as grave.
The FIR against her said, “There is material in the final report submitted by the SIT which indicates that Teesta Setalvad had conjured concocted forged fabricated facts and documents and/or evidence, including fabrication of documents by persons who were prospective witnesses of the complainant. It is not only a case of fabrication of documents, but also of influencing and tutoring witnesses and making them depose on pre-typed affidavits.”
The SIT was appointed by the SC to probe riot cases.
(Courtesy:- The Times of India, 20 July 2023)
Karnataka HC voices concern over gross misuse of SC/ST Act, quashes action against landlords
The Karnataka High Court has quashed a police complaint filed under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act by an aggrieved tenant, who is also a member of the Urban Consumer Commission, against her landlords. The court observed that it was a “counter blast” after the landlords had themselves initiated legal action.
The order was passed on July 12 by a single-judge bench consisting of Justice M Nagaprasanna, allowing a petition by the landlords.
Justice Nagaprasanna said that it is due to cases of this nature where “the provisions of the Act are grossly misused engaging the courts of law, at times, genuine complaints of people who have actually suffered such abuses, would go into the oblivion.”
The bench also observed that the relevant section of the SC/ST Act only referred to an abuse in a public place, and in any case, the presence of the complainant inside the house at the time was “conspicuously absent.”
The petitioners had let out their premises in the Dollars Colony Area to the tenant with a security deposit of Rs 10 lakh. Two cheques amounting to Rs 3 lakh and 7 lakh were handed over in this regard. The landlords had then lodged a complaint under Negotiable Instruments Act after the second cheque was dishonoured due to lack of funds. There were alleged defaults in rent and maintenance payments, with a final outstanding due of over Rs 15 lakh at the end of the agreement.
An eviction notice was also served. After the landlords approached the Civil Court, a delivery warrant was issued in March 2023 to evict the tenant after a December 2022 order was ignored, and the warrant was executed on March 29.
Later, the tenant registered a police complaint alleging that three days before, the landlords had hurled casteist abuses at her in the house.
The landlords’ counsel described the complaint as a gross misuse of law, asserting that the complainant had been a chronic rent defaulter who had also ignored the order of the civil court, but instead registered a complaint based on a crime that had never occurred. The government pleader arguing on behalf of the tenant argued that further investigation should continue and that whether or not such insults were hurled would become a matter of trial before the court.
“The narration is that on 26th March, 2023, the petitioners came to their house, in which the complainant was a tenant and hurled abuses inside the house….. If this is the allegation in the complaint, permitting any further investigation into the complaint, would, on the face of it, become an abuse of the process of law as it forms a classic case where the provisions of Atrocities Act are misused by a disgruntled tenant who do not want to pay rent after taking the premises on rent and sought to scuttle the decree by not adhering to it,” the court observed.
The delivery warrant being issued against the complainant, leads the complainant to register the crime as a counter-blast, wreck vengeance for what she has suffered as an order at the hands of the concerned court, it said.
(Courtesy:- The Indian Express, 20 July 2023)
Transfer certificate can’t be relied upon to determine victim’s age: SC
School leaving/transfer certificate cannot be relied upon to determine age of a person under the Juvenile Justice Act to determine the age of a victim for applicability of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the Supreme Court has ruled.
Discussing the requirements of Section 94 of the Juvenile Justice Act, a Bench led by Justice S Ravindra Bhat said the court has to consider the date of birth certificate from the school, or the matriculation or equivalent certificate from the concerned examination board, if available. In its absence, the birth certificate given by a corporation or a municipal authority or a panchayat is considered.
It said only in the absence of birth certificate from the school, or the matriculation and the birth certificate given by a municipal authority, age shall be determined by an ossification test or any other latest medical age determination test.
The top court set aside an order of the Madras High Court convicting a man of sexual assault on a minor girl and abetting child marriage. The HC was wrong in relying upon a school transfer certificate and rejecting a doctor’s opinion that the alleged minor was 19-year-old at the time of the incident in question, it held.
(Courtesy:- The Tribune, 20 July 2023)
Karnataka HC stays FIR against BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya for social media post on Rahul Gandhi
The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday stayed investigations into an FIR filed by the Bengaluru police against BJP social media chief Amit Malviya for comments made against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a social media post.
The Bengaluru police had registered an FIR under sections 153A and 505 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Malviya for allegedly promoting enmity between different groups on June 27 based on a complaint given by a local Congress communication wing representative and former MLC Ramesh Babu.
A single-judge bench of the Karnataka High Court, Justice M Nagaprasanna, passed an interim order of stay on the investigations in the case stating that “further investigation would result in abuse of process” since Malviya’s tweet as per the complaint in the case did not refer to any group or community but rather to an individual. The court said that the interpretation of sections 153 A and section 505 of the IPC need not be debated since there are Supreme Court orders in this context
The state government advocate argued that Rahul Gandhi and the Indian National Congress were projected as being anti-national and that the statements of the BJP social media head could lead to extremism. BJP MP Tejasvi Surya, who appeared on behalf of Malviya, argued that the FIR was politically motivated and that no community was named in the tweet from the personal account of the BJP social media head.
On June 19, Karnataka IT/BT, and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj minister Priyank Kharge and Babu had filed a complaint on “behalf of the Indian National Congress party” where Kharge and Ramesh Babu are chairman and co-chairman of the KPCC communication and social media department.
The complaint referred to a June 17 tweet by Amit Malviya which said that “Rahul Gandhi is dangerous and playing an insidious game” and “more dangerous are people who are pulling strings of #Raga like Sam P(itroda), staunchly anti India, they leave no stone unturned to defame India overseas, just to embarrass Hon’ble PM @narendramodi ji”.
The complaint said that in a video shared by Malviya, Gandhi was the target of a malicious and false 3D animated video created “with a clear and malicious intent of not only tarnishing Shri Gandhi and INC’s reputation, but to instigate communal discord, and misrepresent the party and its leaders’ persona”.
Although the complaint was against BJP national president J P Nadda and BJP Chandigarh president Arun Sood, the High Ground police in Bengaluru registered an FIR on June 27 against Malviya. His comments were defamatory and meant to incite hatred and the video is misleading and attempts to spoil communal harmony, the FIR stated.
Malviya was booked under IPC sections 153 (A) for promoting enmity between different groups, 120 B for criminal conspiracy, 505(2) for statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes and 34 for acts done by several persons in furtherance of a common intention.
(Courtesy:- The Indian Express, 20 July 2023)
Delhi HC restrains Canva from releasing product over Indian startup’s patent infringement lawsuit
The Delhi High Court recently restrained graphic designing platform Canva from making available its interactive content feature in India in a patent infringement lawsuit filed by an Indian tech startup RxPrism Health Systems Private Limited.
A single judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh on July 18 granted an interim injunction in favour of RxPrism which had claimed that it had developed a novel and innovative product, My Show & Tell, a system and a method for “creating and sharing interactive content”, distinct from video advertisements and had registered it as a patent in 2020.
Rejecting Canva’s contention that its Present and Record product is different, the HC analysed the steps used in both products. It observed, “After analysing the claimed features and the Defendant’s (Canva) product it is clear that the highlighting of differences between the patented claims and the Defendant’s product is an attempt to distract the Court from the overall identity”.
“In fact, the working of the Defendant’s ‘Present and Record’ feature when compared with the Claims (of the plaintiff RxPrism) would demonstrate that almost all the same steps therein are present in the Defendant’s product, thus, prima facie, establishing infringement,” it added.
The HC directed, “The Defendant shall stand restrained from making available their Canva product with the ‘Present and Record’ feature, which infringes the Plaintiff’s (RxPrism) suit patent being IN360726 or use any other feature that would result in infringement of the Plaintiff’s patent IN360726″.
As the High Court noted that Canva is an Australian company and has no assets or any physical business in India, it directed it to deposit Rs. 50 lakh with the Registrar General as security for RxPrism’s claims “for past use of the infringing feature in India”. It also awarded a cost of Rs. 5 lakh to RxPrism as well while adding that the interim order would not bind the final decision of the lawsuit post-trial.
RxPrism had claimed that Canva’s Present and Record, which enables users to create interactive presentations with personalised visual content, infringed its patent. In its application, RxPrism sought an interim injunction restraining Canva from engaging in activities such as using, making, selling, distributing, advertising, offering for sale, et., or dealing in any product that infringes its patent.
The Indian start-up also claimed Canva’s product was based on its My Show & Tell and contained the very same steps. It said due to the incorporation of this feature, which was infringing in nature, Canva’s active users grew from 30 million in June 2020 to 55 million as of April 2021, with a doubling of revenues.
The HC noted My Show & Tell is centred around the creation of a system capable of being used for the purposes of describing a product or even a service on online platforms, especially, e-commerce platforms.
(Courtesy:- The Indian Express, 20 July 2023)
No instant relief for Rahul Gandhi in ‘Modi surname defamation case’
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to order immediate suspension of the Gujarat High Court’s order refusing to stay Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s conviction in the “Modi surname criminal defamation case”, saying that it needed to hear the other side before passing any orders.
A Bench led by Justice BR Gavai, however, issued notices to Gujarat BJP MLA Purnesh Modi and the state government on Rahul’s petition against the High Court’s July 7 order and asked the respondents to file their replies in 10 days. Directing the petitioner to file his counter-affidavit by August 3, the Bench posted the matter for further hearing on August 4.
Senior advocate Abhishek Singhvi urged the Bench to order interim suspension of Rahul’s disqualification as an MP from Wayanad in Kerala, saying that the petitioner had suffered for 111 days and had lost one Parliament session and was losing another one. Elections to the parliamentary constituency of Wayanad could be held shortly, he submitted. However, the Bench said it could not pass orders without hearing the other side.
Before issuing the notices, Justice Gavai disclosed that his father was closely associated with the Congress even though he was not a member of the party and that his brother was still active in the Congress. “It’s my duty (to disclose)…Everyone should know. Tomorrow, there shouldn’t be a problem. Coincidentally, my father has been with your (Singhvi’s) father as well as his (Mahesh Jethmalani’s) father in Parliament. They were great friends,” Justice Gavai said, adding that he had the pleasure of appearing with senior advocate Ram Jethmalani as a junior. “Please take a call if you want me to hear this,” Justice Gavai asked Singhvi and Mahesh Jethmalani who represented Rahul and Purnesh Modi, respectively. Justice Gavai went on to issue the notices after both parties said they had no problems with his past associations.
Following a Surat court’s March 23 verdict convicting him in the defamation case and giving him two-year imprisonment, Rahul – elected to the Lok Sabha from Wayanad in 2019 — was disqualified as an MP under the Representation of the People Act. A stay on conviction would pave the way for his reinstatement as an MP.
Rahul questioned the trial court’s decision to award him the maximum punishment for criminal defamation, contending it was a “rarity in a criminal defamation case”.
BJP MLA and former minister in the Gujarat Government Purnesh Modi had filed a criminal defamation case against Rahul over his comments made on April 13, 2019.
(Courtesy:- The Tribune , 21 July 2023)
4 Tihar Jail Officials Suspended Over Yasin Malik’s Supreme Court Appearance
The Department of Delhi Prisons suspended four officials, including a deputy superintendent, in connection with jailed JKLF chief Yasin Malik physically appearing before the Supreme Court, a statement said today.
Malik’s presence in a packed courtroom created a flutter in the Supreme Court on Friday. He is serving a life term in Delhi’s Tihar jail.
Malik, who is in jail following his conviction and life sentence in a terror funding case, was brought to the high-security court premises in a prison van escorted by armed security personnel without the court’s permission.
He walked into the courtroom to the utter surprise of all present.
“In the matter of the physical production of Malik before the Supreme Court on Friday, the Prisons Department has suspended one deputy superintendent, two assistant superintendents, and one head warder on Friday night as they were found to be prima facie responsible based on preliminary inquiry,” the statement said.
“A detailed probe is being conducted by DIG Tihar to identify any other officials who may also be responsible for the serious lapse,” it added.
On Friday, prison officials said the Deputy Inspector General (Prisons-Headquarters) Rajiv Singh would conduct an inquiry into the lapse and fix the responsibility of erring officials and submit a report to the Director General (Prisons) within three days.
Surprised by Malik’s presence in the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Friday told a bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Dipankar Datta that there is a procedure for high-risk convicts to be allowed into the courtroom to argue their case personally.
When Tushar Mehta pointed at Malik’s presence in the courtroom, the bench said it had not granted him permission or passed any order allowing him to argue his case in person.
Malik appeared in the Supreme Court when a bench headed by Justice Kant was hearing an appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the September 20, 2022 order of a trial court in Jammu in the 1989 kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed, the daughter of then Union Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
(Courtesy:- NDTV, 22 July 2023)
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