Weekly Legal Updates (26 February to 4 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.

Sheer Volume Of NEET Cases In Supreme Court Indicates Need For Reforms In Medical Education : CJI DY Chandrachud

Delivering the 19th Sir Ganga Ram Oration on “A prescription for justice: Quest for fairness and equity in healthcare”, the CJI, who has been heading a Supreme Court bench dealing with cases linked to NEET, on Sunday said it is the bounden duty of the courts to intervene in matters whenever they witness injustice.

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has observed that a larger number of cases related to NEET and medical admission reach the Supreme Court and this is indicative of the need for reforms in medical education.

While delivering the 19th Sir Ganga Ram Oration on the topic “A prescription for Justice: Quest for fairness and equity in healthcare”, CJI said :

Several cases challenging National Medical Commission’s decisions or cases relating to NEET have found their way to my bench at the Supreme Court. Often, courts cannot enter policy domain and it is the duty of the state to listen to the representations made by the students. However, whenever injustice is done, it becomes our bounden duty to intervene. The sheer volume of litigation of NEET cases is indicative of the hopes and aspirations of millions of students. It is proof that medicine is one of the most sought-after professions in India. Yet, the litigation is also symbolic of the need for reforms in medical education in India”.

He concluded his address with a quote of Dr. Rudolf Virchow, also Known as the father of modern pathology

“Should medicine ever fulfil its great ends, it must enter into the larger political and social life of our time; it must indicate the barriers which obstruct the normal completion of the life cycle and remove them.” (Courtesy:- Hindustan Times, 27 February 2023) 

Supreme Court sets aside Allahabad HC order on GNIDA’s ancestral property classification

The Supreme Court has set aside the Allahabad high court order upholding the classification of ancestral and non ancestral properties in Greater Noida being exercised by the Greater Noida Authority since 1991 while awarding land compensation. The Greater Noida Authority had, through a board resolution, differentiated between ancestral and non-ancestral properties. While land bought before 1991 was considered ancestral property, those bought after were placed under the non-ancestral head. And since 1991, the Authority has been awarding a higher land compensation on ancestral properties — 15% additional land compensation on acquired ancestral land plus 6% of developed land.

A group of farmers moved the Allahabad HC in 2008-09, which classified GNIDA’s classification “right”. The apex court set aside the HC order on February 20, nearly five years after the farmers challenged the HC order on the ground that the classification is against the tenet of Article 14 of the Indian constitution which grants ‘equality before law’. A two-judge bench of justices Krishna Murari and S Ravindra Bhat said, “Section 23 of the Land Acquisition Act does not allow for a discrimination between pushtaini (ancestral) and gair-pushtaini (non-ancestral) landowners in determination of compensation under the Land Acquisition Act. (Courtesy:- The Times of India, 27 February 2023)

Supreme Court’s Contempt Warning To Centre Over One Rank One Pension

The Supreme Court asked the Defence Ministry to get its “house in order” and warned that it would issue a contempt notice if the notification wasn’t withdrawn.

The Supreme Court today pulled up the Ministry of Defence over its communication regarding the payment of arrears under One Rank One Pension (OROP) in four instalments to eligible pensioners of the armed forces. A bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud asked the ministry to get its “house in order” and warned that it would issue a contempt notice if the notification wasn’t withdrawn.

“The orders of the Supreme Court regarding OROP needs to be followed. Why was the decision taken to pay the arrears in instalments despite the court order?” asked the Supreme Court.

The court was hearing a petition by a group of ex-servicemen who were seeking a direction to the Centre that the arrears should be paid in one instalment instead of four. The group of ex-servicemen said that approximately four lakh pensioners have died during the pendency of the petition.

On January 9, 2023, the Supreme Court had asked the Center to pay the arrears to the armed force pensioners by March 15. However, just days later, on January 20, the Defense Secretary issued a notification saying that the department would pay the arrears in four instalments.

The bench has now directed the secretary to file a personal affidavit explaining his position.

The Chief Justice, during the hearing, categorically said that “court proceedings must be fair”. “It is not a war but a rule of law. Get your house in order,” he added.

The Supreme Court has now posted the matter after Holi vacation. OROP is paid to the personnel of the armed forces who retire at the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement. (Courtesy:- NDTV 27 February 2023)

‘You want to keep country on boil’: SC on plea seeking renaming of ancient places named by ‘invaders’

The PIL was filed by lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay who sought setting up of a ‘renaming commission’ to restore the “original” names of ancient, cultural and religious places “renamed” by invaders.

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea seeking the formation of a panel to rename historical and religious places which have reportedly been named by “barbaric foreign invaders”, saying that selected part of the country’s history cannot be wiped out.

The PIL was filed by lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay who sought setting up of a ‘renaming commission‘ to restore the “original” names of ancient, cultural and religious places “renamed” by invaders.

A bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna questioned the motive of the PIL, saying it will bring alive those issues, “which would keep the country on the boil”. The apex court also India can’t be a prisoner of the past.

“This is a fact that our country was invaded and ruled by a foreign power. We cannot wash out selected part of our history,” the bench said.

The SC also said that India is a secular country and that Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life, “which has assimilated everyone and there is no bigotry in it”.

The apex court said that digging up the past will only create disharmony, adding that the history of the country should not haunt its present and future generations.

Upadhyay, in his plea filed earlier this month, said that Mughal Garden was recently renamed Amrit Udyan, but the government did nothing to rename the roads named after invaders. (Courtesy:- Times Now, 27 February 2023)

Power To Transfer Probe To CBI To Be Used “Very Sparingly”: Supreme Court

(Case Details:- Case Title: Royden Harold Buthello & Anr Vs State Of Chhattisgarh & Ors | Criminal Appeal No.634 Of 2023)

The Supreme Court recently reiterated that the Court’s power to transfer cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation or any other specialised agency is an extraordinary power and therefore, should be used sparingly.

A Bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Ahsanuddin Amanullah observed that the transfer of a case should be made to a specialised agency only if there’s no other option of securing a fair trial otherwise. The Bench was considering an appeal of a person who was accused of alleged possession and sale of 9.2 grams of cocaine. He was challenging two orders of the Chhattisgarh High Court which refused to transfer his case to the CBI and to quash the proceedings initiated against him.

The Court also highlighted that since the trial is under progress, the appellant would be entitled to put across his case when the statement under Section 313 of CrPC is recorded and also, he would be entitled to tender evidence, if necessary,

While dismissing the appeals, the Court noted that in case the appellant were really “framed”, other remedies to take action for malicious prosecution, loss of reputation, action against involved persons, compensation, among others would be available. (Courtesy:- NDTV, 28 February 2023)

Patent filings hit a record high in 2022, UN agency reveals

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Chinese telecoms giant Huawei remained by far the most prolific patent filer in 2022, with well over 7,600 to its name.

South Korea’s Samsung came in second, followed by Qualcomm of the US, Mitsubishi of Japan, and Ericsson of Sweden.

WIPO was established in 1967, as a self-funding agency of the UN, to provide a forum for the Organization’s 193 Member States, to oversee intellectual property services, policy information and international cooperation across the entire field.

Its mission is to lead the development of a “balanced and effective” system that fosters innovation and creativity for the benefit of all.

Globally, patent applications rose – slightly – to more than 278,000 in 2022 – the highest number ever recorded in a single year – despite the huge challenges to the economy due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the continuing COVID pandemic, rising inflation and supply chain woes. 

In India, patent registrations shot up by 25.4 per cent, and South Korea saw sharp growth of just over six per cent, but the overall picture was of more modest growth, said Carsten Fink, WIPO Chief Economist. (Courtesy:- UN News, 28 February 2023)

Haryana: NGT bans building temporary bridges on Yamuna for mining

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has barred Haryana from allowing the construction of temporary bridges by mining contractors across the Yamuna for sand mining.

The directions came in a case where the Haryana Government’s policy, dated October 19, 2021, for allowing such bridges across the river is under challenge.

During a resumed hearing in the case on February 23, the NGT said, “Section 20 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, inter alia mandates this tribunal to apply the precautionary principle. In view thereof, it is ordered that no further permission for the construction of any temporary bridge across river Yamuna for facilitating any sand mining and allied activities be granted.”

The NGT further said that the presence of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and the Ministry of Jal Shakti was essential for the just and proper decision of the questions involved in the case. “Accordingly, the MoEF&CC and the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India, are ordered to be impleaded as respondents…,” added the NGT.Earlier, in 2022, a Sonepat resident, Vikas Kumar, had approached the NGT against M/s Yodha Mines, alleging that the natural flow of the Yamuna had been diverted by constructing an illegal bridge. During the proceedings, Haryana’s policy for allowing temporary bridges for mining also came under scanner.

(Courtesy:- The Tribune, 1 March 2023)

Heated exchange in Supreme Court over allotment of land for lawyers’ chambers

‘Please leave my court. I will not be cowed down by you,’ Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud tells Supreme Court Bar Association president senior advocate Vikas Singh

The Supreme Court on Thursday (2 March 2023) was witness to a heated courtroom exchange between Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud and Supreme Court Bar Association president senior advocate Vikas Singh over allotment of land for lawyers’ chambers.

Chief Justice Chandrachud, usually unflappable, asked Mr. Singh to not raise his voice at the Bench, and finally told him to leave the courtroom.

Mr. Singh pressed on, saying the court got the nearby Appu Ghar because of a petition filed by lawyers. Lawyers were only given one block and construction was yet to begin. He said he had been trying to get the case listed for the past six months.

Chief Justice Chandrachud said the judges were not sitting idle and were battling with a large case load. The CJI said the matter would belisted on April 17, but not as the first item on the case list for that day. (Courtesy:- The Hindu, 2 March 2023)

Gautam Adani: India Supreme Court sets up panel to probe Adani fraud allegations

India’s Supreme Court has set up an independent panel to investigate a US research firm’s allegations of fraud against billionaire Gautam Adani’s business empire.

Hindenburg Research had accused Adani Group firms of stock manipulation and financial fraud in a report in January, sending its shares into a sharp fall.

The group has denied the allegations.

But the incident sparked a political row, with opposition leaders demanding an investigation into the claims.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court appointed a five-member panel to investigate the allegations.

The committee, which will be headed by former judge Abhay M Sapre, has been asked to give its report in two months. (Courtesy:- BBC, 2 March 2023)

‘Jain Shikanji’ trademark: Delhi HC rejects company’s plea against trial court interim order

The trial court restrained a company run by one member of the ‘Jain family’ from using the trademark ‘Jain Shikanji’ for a form of masala-based lemon drink, while recognising the rights claimed by another member of the same family.

Satish Kumar Jain claimed that his father the late Parmatma Sharan Jain opened a Shikanji shop under the name and style of Jain Shikanji on Delhi-Meerut Road, Modinagar, more than five decades ago and that the trademark ‘Jain Shikanji’ became distinctive of the late Parmatma Sharan Jain and his sons, including Satish Kumar Jain, gained immense popularity and goodwill. 

The Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed a plea against a trial court’s interim order which restrained a company run by one member of the ‘Jain family’ from using the trademark ‘Jain Shikanji’ for a form of a lemon-based drink laced with masala, while recognising the rights claimed by another member of the same family over the trademark.

The division bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Saurabh Banerjee were hearing an appeal moved by Jain Shikanji Private Limited, challenging a November 2022 interim order of the trial court restraining them from selling, offering to sell, advertise or promote any product under the trademark ‘Jain Shikanji/ Jain Shikanji Restaurant’ or any other trademark “deceptively similar” to the trademark used by Satish Kumar Jain’s ‘Jain Shikanji’ for their product.

Dismissing the appeal the High Court in its March 1 verdict held, “Discernment of an appeal at the appellate stage in view of the settled position of law…of the CPC leads us to conclude that the appellant has been unable to make out a case for interference by this Court. Hence, taking into consideration the overall factual and legal aspects involved herein and the overall conduct of appellant, this court finds no merit in the present appeal”.

The HC said that the words ‘Jain’ and ‘Shikanji’ when used separately are commonly used words but when used as a single word it is “distinctive and unique capable of being a mark in itself”.

The court also observed that the appellant had made “tall claims” that ‘Jain Shikanji’ is a family mark as the promoter-director of appellant has derived their rights from the originator of the said trademark – his forefathers and also his own parents. However no documents on this point where produced before the trial court, it said.

The HC said that at the “end of the day what has been appealed is an interim order” of the trial court and not a final order and unless there is some “arbitrariness, perversity or capriciousness” in the interim order the scope of interference by appellate forum is “extremely minimal”.

The High Court further said that it has a very limited role to play while exercising jurisdiction while deciding on an appeal from an interim order of a trial court. (Courtesy:- The Indian Express, 2 March 2023)

Delhi HC restrains Sona Mandhira from using trademark ‘Sona’

In a new turn in the family’s legal battle, the Delhi High Court has recently granted an interim injunction asking Sona Mandhira Pvt. Ltd. to refrain from using Sona BLW Precision Forgings Ltd. (Sona BLW)’s registered trademark “SONA” in any manner or any other trademark/trade name/logo containing “SONA”.

Sona BLW has filed a suit against the use of its trademark by Sona Mandhira with respect to similar/ancillary services and goods, such as automobile parts etc. contending such use to be unauthorised, illegal and a malafide adoption.

A single-judge bench of Justice Navin Chawla observed: “The balance of convenience is also in favour of plaintiffs Sona BLW Precision Forging Ltds and against the defendants Sona Mandhira. The plaintiffs are likely to suffer grave irreparable harm if the defendants are not restrained from using the word ‘Sona’ as part of the corporate name and/or as a trademark during the pendency of the present suit.”

Sona Mandhira contended that the present case was essentially a family dispute between Sunjay Kapur i.e. Chairman of the Sona BLW, Mandira Koirala, sister of Sunjay Kapur and Rani Kapur, mother of Sunjay Kapur.

The legal battle between siblings Mandira and Sunjay, children of the late Surinder Kapur, has just begun and could potentially be lengthy. As per a source close to the Kapur family, Sunjay is trying to prevent his sister’s rapidly growing company from using the brand name. (Courtesy:- daijiworld.com, 2 March 2023)

UK Supreme Court hears landmark patent case over AI “inventor”

An American computer scientist on Thursday (2 March 2023) urged the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court to rule he is entitled to patents over inventions created by his artificial intelligence system, in a landmark case about whether AI can own patent rights.

Stephen Thaler wants to be granted two patents in the UK over inventions he says were devised by his “creativity machine” called DABUS.

His attempt to register the patents was refused on the grounds that the inventor must be a human or a company, rather than a machine.

Thaler’s lawyer Robert Jehan told the Supreme Court in London that Thaler is “entitled to the rights of the DABUS inventions” because there is no requirement under UK patent law that an invention “must have a human inventor to be patentable”.

He argued in court filings that the owner of an AI system is “entitled to inventions generated by the system and to the grant of patents for those inventions if patentable”.But lawyers representing the UK’s Intellectual Property Office, which initially refused Thaler’s applications in 2019, argued the appeal should be dismissed. (Courtesy:- Reuters, 2 March 2023)

Remove encroachers in Yamunanagar school: Supreme Court

Stating that there can’t be a school without a playground, the Supreme Court today ordered the removal of encroachment from the premises of a school in Yamunanagar district.

A Bench, led by Justice MR Shah, reversed a 2016 order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to legalise the unauthorised occupation of a school land on the payment of market price by the encroachers, terming it “a very serious error”.

“There is no playground at all. The school is surrounded by the unauthorised construction made by the original writ petitioners. Therefore, the unauthorised occupation and possession of the land, which is reserved for the school and the playground, cannot be directed to be legalised. There cannot be any school without a playground. Even the students, who study in such a school are entitled to a good environment,” said the Bench, which also included Justice BV Nagarathna.

Holding that the land in question comprising Khasra numbers 61/2 and 62, belonged to the gram panchayat and the school, the Bench gave 12 months to Satpal and other villagers to vacate it, failing which the appropriate authority has been directed to remove their unauthorised and illegal occupation/possession. (Courtesy:- The Tribune, 3 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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