Weekly Legal Updates (19 February to 25 February 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.

Takeaway food will not to attract service tax

Takeaway food will not to attract service tax, CESTAT (Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal) has ruled in the matter of Haldiram. Though this ruling relates to a pre-GST regime issue, there is feeling that it could have an impact on GST too.  At present, GST is applicable at the rate of 5 per cent on restaurant services, both in the case of dine-in in the premises or takeaway. GST on dining in a restaurant within hotels, where the daily room tariff is Rs 7,500 or more, is 18 per cent. While 5 per cent rate is without input tax credit, 18 per cent rate is with input tax credit.

CESTAT in its ruling delivered last week said: “It has to be held that no service tax can be levied on the activity of takeaway of food items as it would amount to sale and would not involve any element of service.”  Delhi-based Haldiram Marketing is engaged in running food outlets where customers can either purchase packaged foods such as sweets or namkeen, or avail of restaurant dining facilities. Additionally, the appellant also provides the facility of ‘takeaway’ of food items. The bench took the reference from an order passed by the Commissioner (Appeals) in the matter of Anjappar Chettinad (2019) and noted that it was accepted by the tax department. (Courtesy:- Business Line, 20 February 2023)

Merchandise exporters to pay 18% GST on shipping costs: Govt

Merchandise exporters will have to cough up 18% goods and services tax, or GST, on the services of transportation of goods, a move that the industry says could lead to cash flow issues at a time when exports are declining. This follows a recommendation of the GST Council that the place of supply of transportation of goods must be determined on the location of the service receiver, rather than on the basis of destination of goods.

Government officials said the move aims to provide tax parity between foreign and Indian shipping lines with regard to integrated GST on transportation of goods by vessels from India to outside India and vice-versa. Currently, the export freight rate charged by Indian shipping lines to Indian exporters is taxable while freight charged by foreign shipping lines to Indian exporters for transport of goods to a place outside India is not taxable as it is neither an inter-state nor an intra-state supply.  (Courtesy:- Economic Times, 21 February 2023)

Ordered Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation to pay Rs 2000 compensation, bus conductor refused to return Rs 1 change topassenger: Consumer Court

(Case Details:-Case Title: Ramesh Naik.L And Managing Director, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation,Case No: CC 1900/2019)

A consumer court in Bengaluru appreciated the effort of a consumer, who approached the forum after being shortchanged for Rs 1 by a bus conductor of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC). The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission vide order dated January 31, allowed in part a complaint filed by Advocate Ramesh Naik L and directed the Corporation to refund Rs 1 to him and pay him a compensation of Rs 2,000 towards deficiency of service along with Rs 1,000 towards cost of litigation, within 45 days.

Further, it said that if the order is not complied with, the complainant is at liberty to file a criminal case against the Managing Director of the Corporation under Section 72 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

“The dispute appears to be trivial in nature since the complainant took the issue as a matter of right before the Commission. It needs to be appreciated and recognised as a matter of right of a consumer,” said the Commission.

The complainant said that he was travelling in the BMTC Volvo bus on September 11, 2019 from Shanthinagar Bus station to Majestic. The lady conductor of the bus issued a ticket for Rs 29 but she collected Rs 30 from him. He alleged that when he demanded Rs 1 back, the conductor refused to pay and started behaving rudely and shouting at the complainant “as if the commuter should not ask for Rs 1 change.”

Naik approached the commission seeking relief of refund of Rs 1 along with damages of Rs 15,000 and other reliefs. The BMTC denied any deficiency in services and it was contended that the non-payment of Rs 1 is a trivial issue but the complainant is trying to make it a big issue. The commission said the allegation with respect to the non-refund of the change of Rs 1 appears to be proven fact.(Courtesy:- https://thedailyguardian.com/ , 20 February 2023)

Prithvi Shaw Selfie Case: Mumbai Court Grants Bail To Accused Influencer Sapna Gill, 3 Others

Social media influencer Sapna Gill and 3 others were granted bail by the Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate’s court on Monday in the Prithvi Shaw Selfie Case.

Magistrate CP Kashid passed the order. The four were arrested by the Oshiwara police last week and were booked for rioting, extortion and criminal intimidation following a brawl with India cricketer Prithvi Shaw and his friends over refusal of a second selfie.

The four accused are Sapna Gill, Shobhit Thakur, Sahil Singh and Rudra Solanki.

Today, all the four accused were first produced before the court wherein the police sought their further custody. However, the court remanded them to judicial custody following which they applied for bail. (Courtesy:- The Times of India, 21 February 2023)

South Korea court recognises legal status of same-sex couples for the first time

A court in South Korea has ruled that homosexual couples in the country are entitled to the same type of spousal coverage allowed under the national health insurance service as heterosexual couples. This marks the first time ever that the legal status of same-sex couples has been recognised in the nation.

The landmark ruling took place on Tuesday, February 21 by Seoul high court, which overturned a previous ruling by a lower court in January 2022 that restricted a gay couple’s petition. One partner was told that he was supposed to make separate health insurance payments. However, under South Korean law, a dependent is exempted from making health insurance payments if their spouse falls under certain employment conditions. But a lower court had dismissed the gay couple’s petition as it did not recognise the partners as spouses.

More than two dozen nations across the globe including Taiwan have legalised same-sex marriage but it still remains illegal in countries such as South Korea and Japan. The men involved in the landmark ruling in South Korea had married in a wedding ceremony in 2019 but same-sex marriage is still not recognised in the nation. Welcoming the ruling, the plaintiff So Seong-wook also lauded the recognition of a “very obvious right” that was not provided. He sued the National Health Service (NHS) after he was denied coverage on his partner Kim Yongmin’s plan. They were granted coverage at first, but it was revoked as NHIS said that it was a mistake because they were a same-sex couple. (Courtesy:- The Economic Times, 21 February 2023)

Government to amend law for mandating foreign ship owners pay provident fund to Indian seafarers

The existing PF law is applicable only to seafarers employed on Indian flag ships. The government also plans to introduce gratuity and pension schemes in the amended PF law

Foreign ship owners will have to pay provident fund, gratuity and pension to the Indian crew they hire to run their ships, per a proposal mooted by the Directorate General of Shipping to amend the law relating to provident fund for seafarers. 

funds for Indian seafarers working on Indian flag ships are governed by a separate law named Seamen’s Provident Fund Act, 1966. The proposed amendment is also aimed at introducing gratuity and annuity (pension) schemes for seafarers in addition to the provident fund, a government official briefed on the plan said. (Courtesy:- The Economic Times, 22 February 2023)

Cabinet approves term extension of 22nd Law Commission of India upto August 31, 2024

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the extension of the term of the 22nd Law Commission of India up to August 31, 2024.

Notably, the 22nd Law Commission was constituted after 4 years. On November 7, 2022, the Central Government appointed Justice Rituraj Awasthi, retired High Court Chief Justice of Karnataka, as chairperson of the 22nd Law Commission, along with five other members.

The Chairperson and Members of the Commission have joined office recently and took up several pending projects for examination and report, which are works in progress. Therefore, as per the Cabinet decision, the tenure of the 22nd Law Commission has been extended up to August 31, 2024. It will consist of the same composition, which is as follows:

(a)    a full-time Chairperson

(b)    four full-time Members (including Member-Secretary)

(c) Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs as ex-officio Member

(d) Secretary, Legislative Department as ex officio Member

(e) Not more than five part-time Members

Courtesy:- (https://newsonair.com/ 22 February 2023)

Mom’s infidelity no basis to seek paternity test: SC 

A child should not be lost in its search for paternity, said the court, directing family courts adjudicating between warring parents to order DNA tests only as a last resort

In an important ruling to protect the rights of children whose paternity is questioned in a matrimonial dispute between parents, the Supreme Court has ruled that when husband and wife cohabited together, and no impotency is proved, then the child born from their wedlock is “conclusively presumed to be legitimate”, even if the wife is guilty of infidelity and in such cases DNA test of child is not to be done. Expressing concern over the interest and wellbeing of child being sacrificed by parents in their legal battle and father often demanding paternity test to prove infidelity of wife, a bench of Justices V Ramasubramanian and BV Nagarathna said Section 112 of the Evidence Act presumes legitimacy of a child born out of a valid marriage and DNA test can be directed only when a man proves non-access to his wife.

“Thus, where the husband and wife have cohabited together, and no impotency is proved, the child born from their wedlock is conclusively presumed to be legitimate, even if the wife is shown to have been, at the same time, guilty of infidelity. The fact that a woman is living in adultery would not by itself be sufficient to repel the conclusive presumption in favour of the legitimacy of a child. Therefore, shreds of evidence to the effect that the husband did not have intercourse with the wife at the period of conception, can only point to the illegitimacy of a child born in wedlock, but it would not uproot the presumption of legitimacy under Section 112,” Justice Nagarathna, who wrote the main judgment for the bench, said.

Justice Ramasubramanian, in his separate but concurrent verdict, said, “We are not suggesting for a moment  that Section 112 acts as a shield even for the alleged adulterous conduct on the part of the wife. All we say is that anything that would destroy the legal effect of Section 112 cannot be used by the respondent, on the ground that the same is being done to achieve another result”.

The court passed the order on a plea filed by a woman challenging orders passed by family court and Bombay high court which directed paternity test of her child on an adulterous allegation levelled by her husband who wanted divorce. The apex court set aside the orders and held that it was not a fit case for paternity test as the husband had not raised the issue of non-access to his wife. (Courtesy:- The Times of India, 22 February 2023)

SC refuses to entertain PIL for menstrual leave for women in schools, workplaces

The PIL harped upon the 1961 Maternity Benefit Act for allowing monthly leave for girl students and working women at their respective workplaces during their menstrual cycle

The Supreme Court on Friday refrained from entertaining a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directive to all the state governments to frame rules for menstrual pain leaves to female students and working-class women at their respective workplaces.

A bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, observed that not only the matter is within the realm of a policy decision, a directive of this sort may dissuade prospective employes from hiring women for jobs.

“Having regard to the policy views, it would be appropriate if the petitioner approaches women and child development ministry. The petition is accordingly disposed of,” said the bench, which also included justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala. .(Courtesy:- Hindustan Times, 24 February 2023)

Hindenburg report on Adani: SC rejects plea for media gag

The Supreme  Court rejected a plea seeking to stop the media from reporting on the Adani-Hindenburg matter till the court takes a decision on the petitions pending before it.

“We are not going to issue any injunction ever against the media,” Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, heading a three-judge bench, told Advocate M L Sharma, who filed the plea contending that the media was sensationalising the issue.

The bench, also comprising Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala, told Sharma to “make a reasonable argument… not for injunction against the media”.

The counsel reminded the court that it was yet to pronounce its decision on a batch of petitions on the matter. The bench said it would pronounce its order soon. Earlier this month, the court had reserved its decision on the petitions which sought a probe  into the Hindenburg Research report accusing the Adani Group of “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud”. (Courtesy:- The Indian Express, 25 February 2023)

Court clears tracks for Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train

Clearing the last hurdle for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project, the Supreme Court on Friday rejected Godrej & Boyce’s plea challenging the Maharashtra government’s acquisition of a 10-acre plot of the firm in Vikhroli earmarked for one of the entry points for the rail link’s underground section.

“It is a project of national importance. They have taken possession of the land after completing the acquisition process and awarding Rs 264 crore compensation. You (Godrej & Boyce) are demanding Rs 572 crore. You can always move the appropriate forum for enhancement of the compensation amount. We will not entertain your appeal against the the Bombay high court order,” said a bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala.

Appearing for the company, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said Godrej & Boyce had an earlier agreement with the state government for payment of Rs 572 crore as compensation for the land, which is part of a civil suit since 1973. Solicitor general Tushar Mehta said that the parties failed to reach an agreement and, hence, the government acquired the land by resorting to the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, adding that the state recognises the company’s right to move appropriate forum questioning the compensation amount. (Courtesy:- The Times of India, 25 February 2023).

“Victim Has Fundamental Right To Fair Probe, Trial”: Supreme Court

While refusing to order a CBI probe in the matter, a bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar said the Bombay High Court has not committed any error in refusing to transfer the investigation to CBI.

Observing that a victim has a fundamental right to a fair trial, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered Maharashtra Police to further investigate the alleged assault on a man at NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad’s bungalow over an objectionable social media post.

The alleged incident had taken place on the night of April 5, 2020.

According to the victim’s complaint, some policemen were also involved in “abducting” him and taking him to the bungalow of the former Maharashtra minister.

While refusing to order a CBI probe in the matter, a bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravikumar said the Bombay High Court has not committed any error in refusing to transfer the investigation to CBI.

The Supreme Court said it is in complete agreement with the view taken by the High Court insofar as refusing to transfer the investigation to CBI is concerned. “Even according to the state investigation agency, a further investigation is required. As observed and held by this Court in the aforesaid decisions, the victim has a fundamental right of a fair investigation and fair trial.

“Therefore, mere filing of the chargesheet and framing of the charges cannot be an impediment in ordering further investigation/re-investigation/de novo investigation, if the facts so warrant,” the bench said. The Supreme Court instructed authorities to conduct a further investigation and complete it as early as possible, ideally within a period of three months.

Reportedly, Anant Karmuse, 40, a city-based civil engineer, was visited by some police personnel at his house, who told him he needed to come with them to the police station, but they instead took him to Awhad’s bungalow. At the bungalow, he was beaten black and blue by some 10-15 men over a morphed picture of the minister he had shared on Facebook, Karmuse had alleged in his complaint. (Courtesy:- NDTV, 24 February 2023)

Supreme Court to soon implement free-of-cost judgment citation system for all its orders

A ‘sub-committee’ for formulating a standard national model for ‘Neutral Citations’ by the Supreme Court and high courts, has been constituted by CJI Chandrachud.

The Supreme Court will soon implement a uniform and secure methodology known as the ‘Neutral Citation System’ for identifying and citing decisions for all its judgments. On Thursday, Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud announced the development. The system will make it easier for courts to publish their orders in the public domain by providing a consistent method of citing judicial decisions.

It will be a court-approved system of citation, which would be independent of the series of law reports or other publications, and unique to each decision. The Supreme Court would have a citation of its own, facilitating easy identification, referencing and retrieval thereof.

According to a press release by the court, access to citations, which at present is available only to the subscription holders of private law reporters, would now be available to everyone free of cost in the reformed and indigenous form of ‘Neutral Citations’.

The press release further stated CJI Chandrachud directed to evolve a mechanism for standardising citations, particularly for easing the adjudicatory process and to avoid confusion arising out of one case being cited by different people in a number of different ways, as they may rely upon different sources to read the reported case laws.

A ‘sub-committee’ for formulating a standard national model for ‘Neutral Citations’ by the Supreme Court and high courts, has been constituted by the CJI. The panel has invited suggestions, deliberated upon various facets of the system and held a considered view that a uniform national model should be adopted.

For neutral citations, the legacy data for judgments and orders will be considered for seeding neutral citations retrospectively. In the e-SCR module, the neutral citation number should be seeded along with the SCR number, which will be shown distinctly. (Courtesy:- India Today, 23 February 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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