Weekly Legal Updates (30 April 2023 to 6 May 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.

Nothing illegal about missionaries spreading Christianity: TN Govt in SC

TN government says that “every citizen has the opportunity to practice and spread his religion peacefully”

There is nothing illegal about missionaries spreading Christianity unless they employ unlawful means to do so, the Tamil Nadu government has told the Supreme Court, stressing that the Constitution of India gives people a right to “spread their religion peacefully” and “change their beliefs”.

Maintaining that “anti-conversion laws are prone to misuse against minorities”, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)-led government submitted in the top court that citizens of the country should be allowed freely to choose their religion and it would not be appropriate for the government to put spokes to their personal belief and privacy.

The Tamil Nadu government, in an affidavit filed recently, remained emphatic that no incident of forceful conversion has been reported in the southern state in last many years, as it opposed the prayers made by PIL petitioner-advocate Ashwini Upadhyay to order a CBI probe into the alleged cases of forcible conversions and direct the law commission of India to prepare a draft on anti-conversion law.

“The Anti-conversion laws are prone to misuse against minorities and there is no data on convictions under the various anti-conversion laws of the states. It is most respectfully submitted that the citizens are at liberty to choose the religion they want to follow,” stated the affidavit, criticising Upadhyay for trying to target Christian missionaries by filing what the state called a “religiously motivated petition”.

(Courtesy:- Hindustan Times, 1 May 2023)

Supreme Court Refuses To Stay Demolition Drive In Delhi’s Tughlakabad

“Let notices be served on the Central government, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and the Delhi Development Authority. We are not staying,” the bench said.

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay a demolition drive to remove encroachment from the Tughlakabad area in South Delhi.

Agreeing to hear the matter on the issue of rehabilitation, a bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice M M Sundresh issued notices to the Centre, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and the Delhi Development Authority on the plea filed by some residents.

“Come tomorrow. We will take it up as the first item. Let them say if they have land. If you are ready to go to Narela side, we can tell them.

“Let notices be served on the Central government, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and the Delhi Development Authority. We are not staying,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the residents, first mentioned the matter before Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud, who allowed him to take it to Justice Khanna.

The Supreme Court said it will hear the matter on Tuesday. (Courtesy:- NDTV, 1 May 2023)

Supreme Court Refuses To Stop Movie “The Kerala Story” On Claims Of Being “Propaganda”

The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a plea seeking a stay on release of the movie “The Kerala Story” on grounds that its a “worst kind of hate speech” and an “audio-visual propaganda”.

A bench of Justices KM Joseph and BV Nagarathna was told by senior advocate Kapil Sibal and advocate Nizam Pasha that the trailer of the movie, which is scheduled to be released on Friday, has garnered 16 million views.

Mr Pasha claimed, “This movie is the worst kind of hate speech. It is a completely audio-visual propaganda”.

The bench said, “There are varieties of hate speeches. This film has got certification and has been cleared by the board. It’s not like a person getting on the podium and starts giving uncontrolled speech. If you want to challenge the release of the movie, you should challenge the certification and through appropriate forum”.

Justice Nagarathna said the petitioner should first approach the high court. Mr Pasha said there was no time left as the movie is scheduled to release on Friday.

“This is not a ground. Otherwise everyone will start coming to the Supreme Court”, the bench said.

The Hindi film is based on the theme of religious conversion.

(Courtesy:- NDTV, 2 May 2023)

Bristol Myers accuses AstraZeneca of infringing patent on cancer blockbuster Opdivo—again

After clashing with oncology rivals over checkpoint inhibitor patents multiple times in the past, Bristol Myers Squibb is going after rival AstraZeneca once more.

In a new lawsuit in Delaware federal court, BMS claims AZ infringed a patent covering its blockbuster checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo.

Specifically, BMS claims AZ’s Imfinzi infringes its so-called ‘899 patent, which BMS was awarded in 2016. The patent covers a method of treating cancer by using an anti-PD-L1 antibody to limit interactions between proteins PD-1 and PD-L1.

This is not the first time that BMS has sued AstraZeneca for alleged infringement. In 2017, Imfinzi’s approval year, BMS alleged infringement on the same patent.

That lawsuit was ultimately dismissed, so it appears BMS is pressing its case once again with the latest action.

The two drugs are major moneymakers. Last year, Opdivo brought in $8.25 billion for BMS, while AZ garnered $2.8 billion with Imfinzi over the same period.

BMS and AZ didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Aside from legal activity over the ‘899 patent, BMS in March sued AZ for allegedly stepping on eight Opdivo patents issued between 2017 and 2019.

And in January, the company targeted AZ’s CTLA-4 inhibitor Imjudo, which BMS claims treaded on two of its Yervoy patents.

The company hasn’t just tussled with AZ. Bristol also went after Merck & Co. in a separate patent case and ultimately scored a $625 million payout plus royalties, which BMS split 75/25 with its partner Ono Pharmaceutical.

And in November 2020, Bristol and Ono revealed a patent licensing deal (PDF) with Roche. (Courtesy:- https://www.fiercepharma.com/, 2 May 2023)

Gilead Sciences battles U.S. government in court over HIV prevention patent

The U.S. is trying to enforce CDC patents on a two-drug PrEP regimen that helps prevent HIV infection.

The U.S. says Gilead’s drugs Truvada and Descovy infringe on those CDC patents. Gilead denies the allegations.

A trial in the case kicked in federal district court in Delaware and is expected to last six days.

Gilead Sciences  and the U.S. government faced off in court Tuesday in the first day of a trial that will probe allegations that the drugmaker violated patents for a crucial HIV prevention drug regimen.

The U.S. is trying to enforce four patents issued to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a two-drug regimen known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP for short. The government accuses Gilead of reaping billions of dollars in PrEP sales without paying royalties to the CDC.

The U.S. filed the lawsuit against Gilead in 2019. Gilead has rejected U.S. allegations that the company’s sales of its PrEP oral medications, Truvada and Descovy, infringe on any CDC patents.

The trial in Delaware federal district court is expected to last six days.

Scientists at the CDC discovered in the mid-2000s that two drugs, emtricitabine and tenofovir, taken together were highly effective in preventing HIV infection, according to U.S. government’s lawsuit.

Gilead’s Truvada and Descovy both contain emtricitabine and tenofovir. The company’s combined sales worldwide for Truvada and Descovy were about $2 billion in 2022.

Gilead rejects CDC claims that agency scientists developed the the PrEP regimen. The company said it’s not obligated to apply for a license with the CDC or pay the agency any royalties.

Subsequent clinical trials have demonstrated that PrEP is 99% effective at preventing HIV infection. (Courtesy:- CNBC, 2 May 2023)

2020 Delhi riots: Supreme Court says no to Delhi Police’s pleas against bail to 3 students

A bench of Justice SK Kaul and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, while dismissing the pleas, noted that the accused had been on bail for almost two years.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the pleas by the Delhi Police against the bail granted in June 2021 to three student activists in a case related to the 2020 Northeast Delhi riots, saying they are out on bail for almost two years and it sees no purpose in keeping the matter alive.

A bench of Justice SK Kaul and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, while dismissing the pleas, noted that the accused had been on bail for almost two years. The bench also clarified in the order that it has not gone into the correctness of the Delhi HC’s order of interpreting the provisions of UAPA and said that the same should not be treated as a “precedent” by other courts. 

“The impugned order is an extremely elaborate order on bail interpreting provisions of the UAPA Act. In our view, the only issue, which is required to be examined is in the factual scenario whether the accused is entitled to bail or not. While issuing notice, we observed that the impugned judgement shall not be treated as a precedent.

The idea was to protect the state against the use of judgment on the enunciation of law in a bail matter. Respondents have been on bail for almost two years. We see no purpose in keeping this matter alive,” the court said in its order. The bench also criticised Delhi Police for its lackadaisical approach in dealing with the matter and seeking adjournments on almost every date of hearing. 

The activists were released after an order was passed by a high court bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Anup J Bhambhani. The HC bench had described the charges against them as “hyperbole” and had ruled that it would be “a stretch” to “say that the protest affected the community at large for it to qualify as an act of terror”.

In January 2021, the Supreme Court termed the HC’s order as “surprising” and directed not to treat the same as precedents in any other case or relied upon them in any court proceedings.  The bench had said that it was “staying the effect of the HC order” but clarified that the three activists would remain out on bail. The court had opined that the orders required scrutiny in so far as they had sought to interpret the provisions of UAPA and returned a finding on the circumstance for the invocation of the anti-terror law.  (Courtesy:- The New Indian Express, 3 May 2023)

Google to move Supreme Court against NCLAT ruling in Android case

Google is planning to move the Supreme Court in appeal against the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) ruling in the Android case where the appellate tribunal had reaffirmed the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI’s) penalty of ₹1,337 crore, but set aside four of the ten non-monetary directions of the competition watchdog.

The appeal by Google will be both against the penalty of ₹1,337 crore and the remaining six non-monetary directions that NCLAT wanted Google to comply with, sources said. 

Notably, Google has already deposited with the Consolidated Fund of India the entire penalty amount of ₹1,337 crore. Tech giant had deposited the penalty to show their bonafide to the Supreme Court, sources said, adding that Google is going to challenge the entire penalty and the six directions.

Indications are that Google will make the move at the fag end of the 60 days window available to parties to appeal NCLAT ruling before the Apex Court, sources added. 

The NCLAT passed its ruling on March 29 and the limitation period would be expiring in last week of May by which time SC would have already proceeded for summer vacation.

Therefore, Google’s appeal against the NCLAT order will come up before Supreme Court in July only after the summer vacation gets over.

The CCI has already decided to file an appeal before SC on the ‘effects doctrine’ issue. Appeals by the CCI and Google are likely to be clubbed and heard together, sources added.

The four directions set aside by NCLAT are related to allowing users to uninstall the preloaded apps, allowing sideloaded apps, sharing of APIs and allowing of third party app stores in Play Store.

The six non-monetary directions that Google had to comply with are: OEMs shall not be restrained from choosing from Google’s proprietary applications to be pre-installed and should not be forced to pre-install a bouquet of applications and deciding the placement of pre-installed apps on their smart devices; licensing of Play Store to OEMs shall not be linked with the requirement of pre-installing Google applications; Google shall not offer any monetary/other incentives to, or enter into any arrangement with, OEMs for ensuring exclusivity for its search services.

Google shall also not impose anti-fragmentation obligations on OEMs and OEMs should be permitted to manufacture/ develop Android forks based smart devices for themselves. Additionally, Google shall not incentivise or obligate OEMs for not selling smart devices based on Android forks; and it shall allow users, during the initial device set-up, to choose their default search engine for all search entry points. (Courtesy:- The Hindu Business Line, 3 May 2023)

Panel to review execution by hanging: Centre to Supreme Court

Centre is in the process of appointing a committee to examine alternative methods of executing capital punishment.

The process has begun to ascertain if a less painful and more humane method than hanging by the neck can be considered for carrying out the death sentence in India, the Union government told the Supreme Court on Tuesday, adding that a committee will soon be set up to review the mode of execution under the country’s penal law.

Appearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, attorney general (AG) R Venkataramani submitted that the government is in the process of appointing an expert committee to examine whether a less painful method of execution can be used under the law.

“I had suggested the appointment of a committee to examine the issue, and the government is considering it while pondering over which experts could be part of the proposed committee,” Venkataramani told the bench, which also included justice JB Pardiwala.

The bench recorded the AG’s submission that the Centre was in the process of appointing a committee to examine alternative methods of executing capital punishment.

The Centre’s response came following the top court’s observations on March 21 that hanging by the neck to execute the death sentence can be declared unconstitutional if there is scientific material favouring a different method of execution as less painful and “more consistent with human dignity”.

In the March 21 hearing, the apex court clarified that while the court will not tell the legislature which method of execution should be included in the statute, it could still ascertain the validity of the existing mode of execution (hanging) on the anvil of the constitutional right to dignity in death — both in the process of execution and the manner of it.

The bench also said that it would consider referring the matter to a Constitution bench so that the 1983 judgment in Deena @ Deena Dayal Etc Vs Union of India could be reviewed. According to the bench, the 1983 judgment, while affirming the validity of death by hanging, did not consider the test of proportionality to examine if there was any less painful or intrusive method to carry out death sentences. The 1983 judgment was delivered by a three-judge bench, led by former CJI YV Chandrachud, the current CJI’s father.

The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Rishi Malhotra in 2017, challenging the constitutional validity of Section 354(5) of the CrPC, which states that when a person is sentenced to death, he shall be hanged by the neck till he is dead. The lawyer has contended that execution of a death sentence by hanging is an inhuman and cruel act that violates the fundamental right of a convict.

Malhotra, in his plea, relied on Article 21 (right to life) and some previous Supreme Court judgments to argue that a condemned prisoner has the right to have a dignified mode of execution so that death becomes less painful. He also referred to the 187th report of the Law Commission, which advocated the removal of the present mode of execution from the statute. ( Courtesy:-  Hindustan Times, 3 May 2023)

Supreme Court allows Chhattisgarh to recruit under 58% quota norm

The Supreme Court stayed the Chhattisgarh high court’s order that declared “unconstitutional” an amendment to the 2011 law and struck it down last year.

The Supreme Court has granted a temporary concession to the Chhattisgarh government to implement the law providing 58% reservation to Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in state government jobs.

The apex court stayed the Chhattisgarh high court’s order that declared “unconstitutional” an amendment to the 2011 law and struck it down in September last year.

A three-judge bench headed by justice BR Gavai was hearing an urgent request by the Chhattisgarh government, which submitted that owing to the high court’s stay, recruitments had come to a standstill and the state was facing with extreme shortage of manpower.

“We find that a situation cannot be permitted where the state does not have requisite manpower to run the administration,” the bench, also comprising justices Vikram Nath and Sanjay Karol, said in its order on Monday, taking note of the extraordinary situation.

The actual reason behind Kohli and Gambhir’s boiling fight after LSG vs RCB IPL match: Timeline of bitter rivalry

The bench, however, clarified that any action by the state will be subject to the final result in the appeal filed by the state challenging the Chhattisgarh high court’s decision of September 19.

“All appointment and promotion orders shall specifically mention that such appointments and promotions are subject to the final outcome of the present proceedings,” the bench said, as it posted the appeal of the state along with accompanying petitions in July.

In September last year, the high court struck down the Chhattisgarh Lok Seva (Anusuchit Jatiyon, Jan Jatiyon aur Anya Pichhade Vargon ke Liye Arakshan) (Sanshodhan) Adhiniyam, 2011, which provided 58% reservation — 12% for SCs, 32% for STs and 14% for OBCs — in in public services and posts and to certain educational institutions established, maintained or aided by the state government.

The high court held that no exceptional circumstance had been made out for breaching the reservation ceiling limit of 50% as held by the Supreme Court in the Indira Sawhney case in 1994.

( Courtesy:-  Hindustan Times, 3 May 2023)

It’s obvious they don’t want us to hear case: Judge on Bilkis Bano’s petition

Justice Joseph made this remark after the counsel for some of the convicts raised procedural issues and said they were yet to be served notice in the matter. They accused Bilkis of playing a “serious fraud” on the court.

As it adjourned a hearing Tuesday on 2002 riot victim Bilkis Bano’s plea challenging the Gujarat government’s decision to release 11 men sentenced to life for her gangrape and the murder of her family members, the Supreme Court bench of Justices K M Joseph and B V Nagarathna said “it’s obvious that they don’t want us to hear the matter”.

Justice Joseph made this remark after the counsel for some of the convicts raised procedural issues and said they were yet to be served notice in the matter. They accused Bilkis of playing a “serious fraud” on the court.

“I think it should be more than clear to you what’s happening… The problem for me is that I am retiring on June 16… It’s obvious that they don’t want us to hear the matter… That’s more than obvious,” Justice Joseph said.

The bench said the petitions will be taken up next on May 9, but only for ensuring that the housekeeping formalities are completed. It said the matter can be heard after the vacations. The Supreme Court summer recess starts May 20.

Meanwhile, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Gujarat government and the Centre, told the bench that it is not “pressing a claim of privilege” over records pertaining to the release of the convicts nor filing any plea seeking review of the court’s order directing production of those records. “I have the record. We will show it to the court,” Mehta said.

Justice Joseph’s remark “it’s obvious that they don’t want us to hear the matter” drew responses from the counsel for the petitioners. Advocate Vrinda Grover said, “Justice should not be allowed to be interrupted in this way…. The SG should speak to the other side and allow this matter to be heard”.

Justice Joseph said he was not recusing but Jaisingh said the “legal meaning may be different but this is exactly that”. “This case came to my court in March… So we issued a notice on that very first day. That’s the earliest we could do it. If it had come before me earlier, it’s a different matter, it would have taken a different turn.”

The bench said it was willing to sit during the vacations. “I am retiring on June 16. May 19 is the last working day for me. I declare that I have no problem sitting during vacation..,” Justice Joseph said. (Courtesy:- The Indian Express, 3 May 2023)

SC to hear plea against promotion of judge who convicted Rahul Gandhi, 67 others

On April 28, the Supreme Court had expressed its dissatisfaction with the HC for issuing a notification on April 18 on the transfer of the judges on a sub judice matter. According to the notification, Varma is being transferred as an additional district judge to the Rajkot district court.

The Supreme Court will, on May 8, hear a petition challenging the promotion of 68 judicial officers, including Judicial Magistrate Harish Hasmukhbhai Varma who convicted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for criminal defamation and sentenced him to two years simple imprisonment, to district judges by way of the 65 per cent quota rule.

The petition by two judicial officers of the senior civil judge cadre — Ravikumar Maheta, under secretary in the legal department of the Gujarat government, and Sachin Prataprai Mehta, assistant director at the Gujarat State Legal Services Authority — challenging the selection of the 68 judicial officers to the cadre of district judge. The plea moved on March 28 has sought the court’s direction to set aside the appointment.

On April 28, the Supreme Court had expressed its dissatisfaction with the HC for issuing a notification on April 18 on the transfer of the judges on a sub judice matter. According to the notification, Varma is being transferred as an additional district judge to the Rajkot district court.

The SC noted this transgression to be prima facie a move “overreaching the court’s process”. To this effect, the apex court sought an explanation from the secretary of the state government on “the extraordinary urgency shown in the matter in giving promotion and issuing the notification dated 18.04.2023 granting the promotion, subject to the ultimate outcome of the proceedings.”

The court also sought a reply from the HC specifically on whether the promotions to the post in question are to be given on the basis of seniority-cum-merit or merit-cum-seniority and to place on record the entire merit list. (Courtesy:- The Indian Express, 5 May 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

Also Read Weekly Legal Updates (26 March to 1 April 2023)

Also Read Weekly Legal Updates (2 April to 8 April 2023)

Also Read Weekly Legal Updates (9 April to 15 April 2023)

Also Read Weekly Legal Updates (16 April to 22 April 2023)

Also Read Weekly Legal Updates (23 April to 29 April 2023)

Leave a Comment