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Indian Courts this Week: Law Street Journal's Weekly Round-Up of SC & HCs [Jan 8 - Jan 13]

By Shreya Agarwal      14 January, 2024 10:32 AM      0 Comments

A weekly round-up of the top stories from the Supreme Court of India and High Courts across the country summed up in a 5-minute read.

Supreme Court

  1. No equal stipends for PG Ayurveda and allopathy students: SC rules

    The Supreme Court has said Post Graduate Ayurveda students would not be entitled to equal stipend as they do not perform the same duties as Allopathy students.

    A bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta allowed an appeal filed by the Madhya Pradesh government, noting the High Court's order of November 19, 2019 as "not sustainable in law".

    Questioning validity of the HC's order, Madhya Pradesh's Additional Advocate General Saurabh Mishra said the issue is no longer res integra.

    He said the Supreme Court in the case of State of Gujarat and others Vs Dr P A Bhatt and others, last year had held, duties discharged by the Post Graduate students in Ayurveda stream cannot be equated with the duties discharged by the Postgraduate students in Allopathy stream.
  2. Supreme Court refuses stay on appointment of CEC, ECs

    The Supreme Court on Friday refused to a plea by a Congress leader and others to stay the law on appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners, which replaced the Chief Justice of India by a Minister in a committee to be set up for picking up poll panel.

    A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta, however, issued notice to the Centre and scheduled the matter for hearing in April, 2024.

    Senior Advocate Vikas Singh for the petitioner insisted for stay on the law.       

    "We can't stay the statute like this," the bench said.

    Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jaya Thakur and advocate Gopal Singh questioned validity of the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Terms of Office) Act, 2023.
  3. SC notice to centre on Kerala's plea alleging interference in power to regulate finances

     The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre on a plea by the Kerala government, claiming interference with its power to borrow and regulate its own finances, which caused huge arrears by affecting welfare schemes for the poor and the vulnerable, others.
  4. SC tells Centre to frame policy on phasing out heavy duty diesel vehicles - air pollution matter

    The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to frame a policy within six months to replace heavy duty diesel vehicles such as trucks and trailers with those BS VI, which are run on clean fuels, holding that air pollution adversely affected health guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

    The court also emphasised air pollution affects citizens' quality of life.
  5. Bilkis Bano verdict

    The Supreme Court on Monday quashed the Gujarat government's decision to grant remission to 11 convicts sentenced to life term for the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and killing her family members during the 2002 Gujarat riots, for lacking competence and jurisdiction.

    A bench of Justices B V Navarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan declared the State where the trial was shifted, that is, the State of Maharashtra would be the appropriate authority to decide the question of premature release of convicts.

    The court ordered all the convicts to surrender within two weeks before the jail authorities in Gujarat where they were previously lodged in before their release on August 10, 2022.

High Courts 

  1. Downloading, watching child porn not POCSO offence: Madras HC

    Merely downloading or watching child pornography on one’s personal electronic device is not an offence under the Protection of Child from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the Information Technology (IT) Act, the Madras High Court ruled.

    For an offence under Section 14(1) of Protection of Child from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, a child or children must have been used for pornography purposes. This would mean that the accused person should have used the child for pornographic purposes, Justice N Anand Venkatesh clarified. Even assuming that the accused person had watched child pornography video, that too, is beyond the scope of Section 14(1) of Protection of Child from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. 
  2. Delhi High Court's guidelines on financial assistance to rescued bonded child labour

    Coming to the rescue of rescued bonded child labourers, the Delhi High Court has issued directions for the recovery of back wages and for providing financial assistance to them.

    A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora issued a slew of directions to be followed by the Central and state agencies while dealing with pleas filed by the fathers of two child labourers.

    The plea sought statutory financial assistance for their children and several other similarly situated children.
  3. West Bengal ED officials attack: BJP's plea denied to be entertained by Calcutta High Court

    A public interest litigation (PIL) plea exposing the "brutal attack" on Enforcement Directorate (ED) personnel during searches earlier this month to conduct raids in West Bengal's Sandeshkhali and Bongaon was rejected by the Calcutta High Court on Thursday.

    A bench of Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Supratim Bhattacharya wasn’t inclined to take up the plea after noting that the petition was largely based on newspaper reports.
  4. Punjab and Haryana HC verdict protecting the press

    A recent judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court protecting the press has been taking rounds among the legal fraternity for all the right reasons. In the judgement, the High Court made several pertinent observations on how journalism is the fourth pillar of the democracy. And that, honest reporters require the protection of the Court while trying to bring the truth to the public. 

    While stating that journalism as “civilisation’s mirror” and investigative journalism “its X-ray”, the High Court quashed the summons and all subsequent proceedings in a criminal defamation case filed against Indian Express’ Resident Editor and Deputy Resident Editor.
  5. Asking minor victims in POCSO cases to go into cage-like witness boxes traumatising: Kerala HC

    The Kerala High Court has voiced concerns pertaining to the conditions under which minor victims of sexual offences give their statements in special courts established under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act).
    "In POCSO courts, there is a box in which children are to be deposed. It is meant for the victim and it is just like a kennel. Children will be scared just to enter it. Asking children to go into that cage itself could be very traumatizing," the judge reportedly said.
  6. “Travesty of justice”: Karnataka HC takes exception to “zero conviction rate” in manual scavenging cases

    The Karnataka High Court took serious exception to the ‘zero conviction rate’ for the offence of manual scavenging in the State. The Court noted that those who were involved in going against the State government’s ban against manual scavenging, weren’t bearing the penal consequences.
  7. Kangana Ranaut approaches Bombay High Court seeking stay on defamation case trial by Javed Akhtar

    Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut has filed a petition before the Bombay High Court wanting a stay in the trial in relation to lyricist Javed Akhtar's defamation complaint. 

    Akhtar filed the defamation complaint against Ranaut in 2020. He alleged that Ranaut made defamatory statements on national and international television, “in what appears to be a clear campaign to malign and tarnish (Akhtar) in the eyes of the general public”. These statements were made by Kangana in an interview with Republic TV.
  8. Need to educate people sex of child depends on father: Delhi High Court

    The chromosomes of the son and not daughter-in-law, through union of a married couple will decide the birth of a daughter or a son, the Delhi High Court expressed while hearing a bail application of a person who was arrested in a dowry death case.

    Justice Swaran Kanta Sharma of the Delhi High Court took exception to how only women were being constantly nagged for not being able to fulfil her husband and in-laws desire of preserving the family tree.
  9. Bombay High Court grants bail - relationship out of attraction not lust

    The Bombay High Court has granted bail to a man accused of raping a 13-year-old child observing that they had a love affair, and the alleged sexual relationship appears to be out of attraction and not lust.
  10. Special Courts can also try old MP, MLA cases

    The Delhi High Court held that Special Courts constituted on the Supreme Court's directions to deal with criminal cases against members of Parliament and legislative assemblies can try offences against former MPs and MLAs as well.
  11. Delhi High Court allows termination of 29 week pregnancy - mental health of woman at stake

    The Delhi High Court allowed a widow with depression to terminate her 29-week pregnancy, citing mental stability issues. The Supreme Court had earlier rejected a woman's plea for termination of her 26-week pregnancy stating that the pregnancy is not a foetal abnormality and the length of pregnancy exceeds 24 weeks.

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A wanderer, aspiring yogini and writer. Shreya is a lawyer by profession, journalist by passion. A g...Read more

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