Weekly Legal Updates (5 February 2023 to 11 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.

J-K High Court rolls out virtual case hearing for Ladakh

In a first-of its kind initiative, the court of Justice Tashi Rabastan heard six cases of the Union Territory of Ladakh virtually, a move that will provide relief to litigants and lawyers who earlier had to travel to Jammu and Srinagar for appearance, an official said.

Justice Rabstan, acting chief justice of High Court of J&K and Ladakh, rolled out the initiative of taking up the Judicial matters of the Ladakh Union Territory through virtual mode by allowing the parties and lawyers to appear and plead their cases from Ladakh itself.

Tashi Rabstan heard the matters of Ladakh virtually, in which the lawyers and government representatives who were petitioners and the respondents in the listed cases appeared from Leh and pleaded their cases, the official said.

The official said six matters of the Union Territory of Ladakh were listed before the Bench, in which the virtual proceedings were conducted.

(Courtesy:- https://theprint.in/ 4 February 2023)

No Bar of Res-judicata on Second Petition for Divorce If It Is Founded on New Facts: Madras HC

(Case Details:- C.R.P.No.3753 of 2019 and C.M.P.No.24655 of 2019; 10.01.2023 For Petitioner: Mr.R.Nalliyappan For Respondent: Mr.I.Calvin Jones for M/s. Ajmal Associates Madras HC)

The Madras High Court recently dismissed a civil revision petition filed by a woman against an order of a lower court that had allowed a second divorce petition filed by her husband. The lower court had dismissed the woman’s petition filed for rejection of her husband’s second divorce petition on the ground of res-judicata. The HC upheld the decision of the lower court while stating that “even if same grounds are taken in the subsequent proceeding for divorce, no bar of res judicata could apply as long as the cause of action for the subsequent proceedings remains to be different”.

The bench of Justice GK Ilanthiraiyan observed, “Insofar as the ground of dissolution of matrimonial matters are concerned, they are of continuing or recurring nature…(and) when the cause of action is of continuing and recurring nature, the subsequent litigation of divorce brought on same grounds disregarding the dismissal of former O.P. will not be barred by res-judicata.”  (Courtesy: https://www.news18.com/ 6 February 2023)

Meghalaya High Court Dismisses Saket Gokhale’s Plea Seeking Action Against NPP For Violation Of Electoral Rules

The High Court of Meghalaya has dismissed the writ petition filed by TMC national spokesperson Saket Gokhale seeking action against the NPP for not filing their expenditure report within 75 days of the Assembly elections in 2018.

The petitioner flagged the violation of electoral rules given in Rule 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.

But the learned counsel for NPP, S Sahay, questioned the maintainability of the petition on grounds of the bar under Article 329(b) of the Constitution of India.

“…a constitutional bar exists against interference by Courts in electoral matters and has referred to Article 329(b) of the Constitution, to support this point. He further submits that, the bar to interference includes all matters directly or incidentally connected with the electoral process, which is already under way in the State of Meghalaya, whereby elections to the Legislative Assembly, has been notified on 18.01.2023,” Sahay submitted before the court.

The court said that the dispute sought to be raised by the writ petitioner will not be entertainable under Article 226 of the Constitution, more specifically with the electoral process already underway.

“This Court having come to a finding on the maintainability of the writ petition to be barred by Article 329(b), the other questions and the authorities placed are not gone into or discussed, and this writ petition accordingly stands dismissed, as not maintainable,” it ruled.

It may be reminded that Gokhale in his plea had called to attention the failure of the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Meghalaya to take necessary action against the NPP for flouting the law. (Courtesy:- https://theshillongtimes.com/ 5 February 2023)

Plea seeking culling of birds, animals creating ‘nuisance’ in Lucknow rejected by HC

The Allahabad High Court has declined to issue a direction to the Lucknow Municipal Corporation to kill birds and animals that were claimed to have become vermin and been creating “nuisance” in the Uttar Pradesh capital.

A bench of Justice Ramesh Sinha and Justice Subhash Vidyarthi passed the order on Saturday on a PIL moved by lawyer Manoj Dubey.

Dismissing the plea, the Lucknow bench of the high court said such a direction cannot be issued by the court as there is no provision which obliges the civic body to kill “innocent animals”.

Arguing for the petitioner, senior advocate Sudeep Seth sought issuance of a direction to the Lucknow Municipal Corporation to discharge the duty of destruction of birds or animals, including stray dogs, that are causing nuisance and have become vermin. (Courtesy:- https://www.tribuneindia.com/  5 February 2023)

Centre Appoints 13 Additional Judges To 3 High Courts

Eleven advocates and two judicial officers were today appointed as additional judges in the Allahabad, Karnataka and Madras high courts.

One of those appointed to the Madras High Court is advocate Lekshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri whose reported affiliation to the BJP had triggered a controversy.

Some lawyers had recently asked the Collegium to recall its recommendation for Ms Gowri alleging her affiliation. Some other lawyers had supported her elevation, citing hardwork and her commitment to the profession.

In a significant development, the Supreme Court today advanced to February 7 the hearing on a plea challenging the appointment of lawyer Victoria Gowri as a judge of the Madras High Court, soon after the Centre notified her judgeship.

The top court had earlier in the day agreed to hear on February 10 the petition against her elevation but the matter was mentioned again and the hearing was fixed for Tuesday by a bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud which said the Collegium has taken note of “certain developments” after her name was recommended to the Centre.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju announced the fresh appointments on Twitter and extended his best wishes to them.

Those appointed include six for the Allahabad High Court, five for the Madras High Court and two for the Karnataka High Court. (Courtesy:- https://www.ndtv.com/ 6 February 2023)

Mumbai Court Sentences Businessman To 3 Months Imprisonment For Negligence After His ‘Aggressive’ Rottweiler Dog Attacked 72-Yr-Old Relative

Thirteen years after a Santacruz businessman’s pet Rottweiler bit his 72-year-old relative thrice, leaving him with bleeding injuries on the arm and leg, a magistrate’s court, in a rare case on Saturday, convicted and sentenced the businessman to three months imprisonment. The incident took place when the businessman and his relative were out on the street, arguing over a long-pending property dispute.

The court observed that the accused was aware of the aggressiveness of the breed and that it is the owner’s duty to take reasonable care of others’ safety. The court found Cyrus Percy Hormusji (44) guilty of “negligent conduct with respect to animal”.

On May 30, 2010, the two men were standing near Hormusji’s car. The Rottweiler and a Labrador, who were in the car, were barkingy. Hormusji let the dogs out. The Rottweiler attacked the septuagenarian Kersi Irani. (Courtesy:- The Times of India, 6 February 2023)

Cal HC Quashes FIR Against Actor Paresh Rawal For Speech During Gujarat Polls

(Case Details:- Paresh Dayabhai Rawal @ Paresh Rawal vs State of West Bengal Paresh WPA 2120 of 2023 Calcutta High Court)

Calcutta High Court quashed an FIR filed against actor Paresh Rawal by the CPI(M)’s West Bengal unit secretary Mohd Salim who claimed that the Padma Shri awardee had made derogatory comments against the Bengali community.

The court noted that Rawal, who had moved a petition before it seeking quashing of the FIR, has already given clarifications and tendered an apology over the speech in question. It said the speech was made in Gujarati and some of the criticisms that have been made against the speech are by persons who may not necessarily understand the language. Considering all aspects of the case, Justice Rajasekhar Mantha quashed the FIR, observing that further continuation of the proceedings was not desirable (Courtesy:- https://news.abplive.com/ 6 February 2023)

Insurer Can’t Claim Exemption In Absence Of Material To Show Claimant Was A ‘Gratuitous Passenger’: Gauhati High Court

The Gauhati High Court upheld a Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal order awarding compensation to a person as a ‘non-gratuitous’ passeThe claimant was driving a truck when the driver lost control and struck one stationary vehicle and one electric pole. 

The claimant suffered serious iwas amputated as a result, as per reports. By order dated February 2, 2006, the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT) Kamrup, Guwahati awarded a sum of ₹3,31,000 as compensation tcompany filed an appeal under Section 173 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (as amended) against the impugned judgement and award. 

The claimant was a ‘gratuitous’ passenger, so he was not entitled to any compensation, according to the grounds of appeal. However the claimant claimed that he was the vehicle’s second driver, sitting inside the driver’s cabin while the other driver drove. While dismissing the appeal, Justice Parthiv Jyoti Saikia observed, “The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 does not define the expression ‘gratuitous passenhand, expressly exempts the case of a “gratuitous passenger” in a goods vehicle in a public place.  (Courtesy:- https://www.guwahatiplus.com/ , 7 February 2023)

No police mock drills depicting persons of particular community as terrorists till Feb 10: High Court


THE AURANGABAD bench of the Bombay High Court recently directed that till February 10, no police mock drills shall be conducted depicting members of a particular community as terrorists.

The court also issued notices to the state Home department and Director General of Police, among others, who are named respondents in the case, seeking their response to the PIL by a social activist from the Muslim community.

The PIL challenged conduct of mock drills by the police department, in which the “attire and slogan shouting was as if to indicate that the terrorist is a Muslim”. The court also directed Public Prosecutor D R Kale for the state government to inform it as to whether there were any guidelines in place for holding of police mock drills.

The PIL sought guidelines for police mock drills and referred to three such mock drills conducted at Ahmednagar, Chandrapur and Aurangabad, where a police constable allegedly playing the role of a terrorist was “conspicuously dressed in attire most prominently worn by the men of the Muslim community” and was shouting “Nara-e-Takbeer, Allah-u-Akbar” after being arrested during the drill.

A division bench of Justice Mangesh S Patil and Justice Santosh G Chapalgaonkar was, on February 3, hearing a plea by Sayed Usama who claimed that in certain mock drills, the Muslim community was “deliberately shown as terrorist” by state police authorities and same showed their “bias” against the community. (Courtesy:-  https://indianexpress.com/ 7 February 2023)

For selling fake belts, shop owner told by Delhi High Court to pay Rs 5 lakh to Louis Vuitton

(Case Details:- LOUIS VUITTON MALLETIER vs CAPITAL GENERAL STORE & ORS.  CS(COMM) 469/2021 & LA. 15066/2022 Delhi High Court)

The Delhi High Court directed the owner of a Delhi-based shop selling belts to pay Rs 5 lakh as damages to Louis Vuitton, after the court observed that he chose to continue selling counterfeit goods in violation of a previous order of the HC which had restrained him from doing so.

A single judge bench of Justice C Hari Shankar observed that ramifications of counterfeiting “extend far beyond the confines of the small shop of the petty counterfeiter”. “It is a commercial evil, which erodes brand value, amounts to duplicity with the trusting consumer, and, in the long run, has serious repercussions on the fabric of the national economy. A counterfeiter abandons, completely, any right to equitable consideration by a court functioning within confines of the rule of law. He is entitled to no sympathy, as he practises, knowingly and with complete impunity, falsehood and deception… the court is required to be economically and socially sensitised, and to send a deterrent message to others who indulge, or propose to indulge, in practice of counterfeiting,” the HC observed.

The court observed that the store owner chose to continue with his business of selling counterfeit LV-branded goods, even after being restrained from doing so by HC in its order of September 2021 which “augmented his culpability”. The HC was hearing an application moved by Louis Vuitton, in its already pending trademark infringement suit against several small entities. On September 23, 2021, HC passed an interim order restraining these entities from importing, manufacturing, selling or offering for sale or otherwise dealing with registered trademarks ‘Louis Vuitton’ or the logo ‘LV’, and associated monograms and patterns infringing the company’s trademark. (Courtesy:-  https://indianexpress.com/ 7 February 2023)

CLAT 2024: Vijender Kumar Appointed as New President of Consortium of NLUs, Read Details Here

The Vice Chancellor of the Maharashtra NLU Vijender Kumar has been appointed as the new Vice President of the Consortium of NLUs. The annual governing body meeting of the Consortium of National Law Universities (NLUs) was recently conducted where several officers were elected.

As per the latest notification, in the meeting, a new executive committee has been chosen. It was officially announced that the Maharashtra National Law University (MNLU) Vice Chancellor Vijender Kumar will be the next president of the Consortium of NLUs for Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) for the next session of 2024. 

Moreover, it has been reported that Vijender Kumar will now administer the position of President of the Consortium of NLUs. He has replaced Poonam Saxena who also holds the position of Vice Chancellor at Jodhpur NLU. 

An annual governing body meeting was organized in the month of January 2023 at Diu under the Chairmanship of Poonam Saxena, VC of NLU Jodhpur. In addition to this, the Governing Body elected a new Executive Committee at the meeting for the Consortium of NLUs along with Vijender Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, Maharashtra National Law University, Nagpur taking over as President from the Outgoing President Poonam Saxena, as per the statement given by an official. 

Prof. (Dr.) V.C. Vivekanandan, Vice Chancellor of Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU) Raipur was designated as Vice President. During the CLAT exam of 2023, Vijender Kuma held the Vice President post. Shanthakumar, Director of the Gujarat National Law University of Gandhinagar was elected Convenor for the CLAT 2024 exam.  (Courtesy:- https://www.jagranjosh.com/ 7 February 2023)

[POSH Act] Institutions Can’t Escape Liability For Dragging On Sensitive Sexual Harassment Complaints: Delhi HC Imposes 1 Lakh Cost

(P v. UNION OF INDIA AND ORS W.P.(C) 14403/2022 and CM APPL. 43979/2022 Delhi High Court)

While hearing a case about sexual harassment within a company, the Delhi High Court recently held that adjudication of complaints in such cases needs to be dealt with utmost care and companies cannot escape the responsibility of dragging on such cases.

A single judge bench of Justice Prathiba Singh in its February 1 decision observed that in cases of sexual harassment, the constitution of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) (POSH) Act, 2013, is of “utmost importance”.

“The management and authorities of the organisations have to behave in a responsible manner and on the mere ground that the constitution was incorrect, a re-examination of the whole proceedings cannot be directed under the present facts and circumstances… Adjudication of complaints relating to sexual harassment needs to be dealt with utmost care. The inquiry needs to be by a duly constituted ICC and the same needs to be complete in all aspects. Institutions cannot escape liability for dragging on these sensitive complaints,” Justice Singh held.

The High Court was hearing the plea of a woman who had filed a complaint in July 2019, to the head of the Human Resources department of a company that provides financial services, alleging sexual harassment by a senior official.

The complaint was placed before the managing director who forwarded it to Human Resources and the chief vigilance officer of the group company to take up the matter in their ICC as the accused person was an employee of the group company. However, on July 10, 2019, the general manager of the group company marked the complaint back to the financial services company. ( https://indianexpress.com/ 8 February 2023)

Calcutta High Court Sets Aside Acquittal In Cheque Dishonour Case: Advocate’s Mistake Should Not Prejudice Party’s Rights [S.256 CrPC]: Calcutta High Court

[Case Details :- Prasanta Bhatta v. Abdul Sk C.R.A. 45 of 2008 Calcutta High Court]

The Calcutta High Court set aside an order of acquittal for the offence of dishonour of cheque under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. The High Court opined that the rights of a party should not be prejudiced due to an inadvertent mistake made by the advocate representing the party, 

The Court was adjudicating upon an appeal filed by the appellant bank against an order of acquittal passed by the concerned trial court for the offence of dishonour of cheque under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act.

The concerned trial court had acquitted the respondent under Section 256 CrPC which contemplates dismissal on default of complainant. It provides that the Court may, after issuance of summons, if the complainant does not appear, acquit the accused unless for some reason it thinks it proper to adjourn the hearing of the case to some other day. (Courtesy:- https://thedailyguardian.com/, 8 February 2023)

Delhi High Court Calls Virginity Test On Female Accused ‘Sexist’, ‘Unconstitutional’

[Case Details:- SR. SEPHY v. CBI & ORS. W.P.(CRL) 1729/2009 Delhi High Court]

The Delhi High Court ruled that conducting a “virginity test” on a female accused is unconstitutional, sexist and in violation of her right to dignity, calling it a form of inhuman treatment.

The court also observed that there is no legal procedure that provides for a “virginity test”.

The order was passed by Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma on a plea moved by Sister Sephy, who sought to declare the conduct of a “virginity test” on her in connection with a criminal case over Sister Abhaya’s death in Kerala in 1992 as unconstitutional.

The petitioner had alleged before the high court that she was forcibly subjected to a “virginity test” in 2008 by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the pretext of the agency’s investigation to substantiate its case and the results were leaked.

The petitioner’s plea was opposed by the CBI, which argued that it was well within its right to get her medical examination conducted and the test was necessary for the investigation of the murder case. (Courtesy:- https://www.outlookindia.com/ 8 February 2023)

Delhi HC restrains 24 food entities from using the trademark ‘Khan Chacha’

[Case Details:-  (GUPTA AND GUPTA PVT LTD v. KHAN CHACHA HYDRABADI BIRYANI AND ORS  CS(COMM) 62/2023 & I.A. 2128/2023, I.A. 2129/2023, I.A. 2130/2023, I.A. 2131/2023)]

Gupta and Gupta had filed a suit against various entities, stating that they are providing similar services by using the appellation Khan Chacha without any authority

In a February 6 order, justice C Hari Shankar said Gupta and Gupta Private Limited, which has been using the trademark Khan Chacha since 1972, has made a clear prima facie case of infringement in its favour. 

The Delhi high court has restrained 24 food entities from using the trademark “Khan Chacha”, and has directed that these outlets be delisted from food delivery apps Zomato and Swiggy.

In a February 6 order, justice C Hari Shankar said Gupta and Gupta Private Limited, which has been using the trademark “Khan Chacha” since 1972, has made a clear prima facie case of infringement in its favour.

“Usage of the ‘Khan Chacha’ moniker by any other entities for similar services, would, therefore, clearly infringe the plaintiff’s registered mark within the meaning of Section 29(1) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999,” the court said in an interim order.

Gupta and Gupta had filed a suit against various entities, stating that they are providing similar services by using the appellation “Khan Chacha” without any authority. It had contended that the entities are also providing online services for supply of food and other items through Zomato and Swiggy. (Courtesy:- Hindustan Times 9 February 2023) 

Kerala HC Grants Anticipatory Bail To Producer & Director Of ‘Kantara’ On Condition To Not Use ‘Varaharoopam’ Song

Supreme Court Relief For ‘Kantara’ Makers Over Plagiarism Row

[Case Details:- Vijay Kirgandur & Anr. v. State of Kerala & Anr. BAIL APPL. NO. 759 OF 2023, CRIME NO.703/2022 OF Kozhikode Town Police Station, Kozhikode O.S.NO.4/2022 BEFORE DISTRICT COURT, PALAKKAD]

The Supreme Court modified one of the conditions of the high court and directed that producer Vijay Kirgandur and director Rishab Shetty be released on bail immediately if arrested.

The Supreme Court on Friday put on hold the Kerala High Court’s condition directing the producer and director of the Kannada superhit movie “Kantara” to not exhibit the film with the song “Varaharoopam” till a final order in the copyright infringement case.

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala also issued notice to the Kerala government and sought its reply in two weeks.

The bench modified one of the conditions of the high court and directed that producer Vijay Kirgandur and director Rishab Shetty be released on bail immediately if arrested.

The top court took note of the submissions of senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for Mr Kirgandur and Mr Shetty, challenging some conditions in the high court order and passed an interim order.

On February 8, the high court granted anticipatory bail to the director and producer in a case registered in a Kozhikode police station alleging plagiarism in the song. The allegation was that “Varaharoopam” was an unauthorised copy of the song “Navarasam” shown on the Malayalam music channel Kappa TV. (Courtesy:-  https://www.ndtv.com/ 10 February 2023)

NCLT admits application seeking CIRP against McLeod Russel India

The National Company Law Tribunal, Kolkata Bench, on Friday, admitted an application for initiating a corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) against McLeod Russel India, the country’s largest bulk tea producer and part of the Brij Mohan Khaitan group. In a filing with the stock exchanges, the company informed that NCLT, Kolkata Bench, had admitted an application filed by IL&FS Infrastructure Debt Fund under Section 7 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). 

The default in payment pertained to two group companies of McLeod Russel – Babcock Borsig (Rs 150 crore) and Williamson Magor & Company (Rs 99.5 crore); McLeod had executed a shortfall undertaking in favour of the financial creditor. A clause in the undertaking said on a breach by Williamson Magor and Babcock of its obligation to maintain the required amounts in the debt service reserve account (DSRA) under the respective debenture trust deeds, McLeod would have an irrevocable and unconditional obligation towards the financial creditor to meet any shortfall. 

The tribunal found that a financial debt exists, which has been defaulted by the McLeod Russel and accordingly the application of IL&FS Infrastructure Debt Fund for initiating CIRP against McLeod Russel was admitted and an interim resolution professional appointed. 

This is not the first time that McLeod has been admitted for CIRP. In August 2021, the NCLT, New Delhi Bench, had admitted an application by Techno Electric & Engineering Company under Section 7 of the IBC. However, the application was withdrawn after a settlement. The CIRP comes at a time when McLeod has entered into exclusive talks with Carbon Resources for a one-time settlement of its debt to lenders. McLeod’s bank debt is understood to be in the range of Rs 1,600 crore. (Courtesy:- Business Standard 10 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 Devesh Kumar (Team www.deepakmiglani.com

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