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Important High Court judgements of 2023 : Part 1

By Rintu Mariam Biju      01 January, 2024 11:25 AM      0 Comments
Important High Court judgements of 2023 : Part 1

NEE DELHI: With the dawn of 2024, it is important for both Lawyers and law students to have a holistic idea regarding the important and crucial judgements passed by the Supreme Court as well as various High Courts in the country. That is exactly what we at Lawstreet Journal have done, keeping our readers in mind. 

We have picked over 50 important judgements/orders delivered by the High Courts, the past year. The judgements have been picked based on their relevance and impact (both positive and negative). The list of judgements have been divided into two parts for ease of reading. 

Here is the first part of the judgements : 

1. Allahabad High Court directs forming of High Powered Committee for corruption cases

The Allahabad High Court directed the Uttar Pradesh government to set up a high-powered committee headed by Chief Secretary to develop comprehensive and well-structured guidelines, preferably within three months and not beyond a period of six months in any case, for continuous and consistent monitoring and ensuring expeditious completion of investigations in all corruption cases involving public servants.

2. There is systematic design to destroy institution of marriage, Hight Court on Live In Relationship

The Allahabad High Court allowed a bail application filed by a man accused of raping his female live-in partner, highlighting security and stability of institution of marriage offered to the couples. Justice Siddharth said the security, social acceptance, progress and stability which the institution of marriage provides to a person is never provided by live-in-relationship, which should only be considered as normal after the institution of marriage becomes obsolete in this country.

3. Allahabad High Court Greenlights Scientific Survey of Gyanvapi Mosque Complex to Examine Historical Origins

The Allahabad High Court allowed the Archaeological Survey of India to conduct a survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi to ascertain if current structure was built on a pre-existing temple. A High Court bench led by Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker rejected a plea filed by Anjuman Intezamia Masjid, which manages the mosque, challenging the survey ordered by the District Judge on July 21. The Muslim side has moved the High Court on July 25, a day after the Supreme Court halted the ASI survey till 5 pm on July 26, allowing time for the mosque management committee to appeal against the district court's order.

4. Allahabad High Court Raps Censor Board Over Dialogues and Scenes in 'Adipurush

The Allahabad High Court slammed the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for clearing the controversial film 'Adipurush' in view of its questionable dialogues and scenes out of Hindu epic 'Ramayana', by asking if this is the way to test the tolerance of the people. A bench of Justices Rajesh Singh Chauhan and Shree Prakash Singh asked if the board understood its responsibilities.

5. Allahabad High Court Transfers Krishna Janmabhoomi Cases to Itself for Trial 

In a major development, the Allahabad High Court ordered for transfer of all the cases related to Krishna Janmabhoomi pending before the Mathura court to itself, while exercising its suo motu power for trial. 

A single bench of Justice Arvind Kumar Mishra also allowed a transfer petition filed by Bhagwan Shrikrishna Virajman and seven others through advocates Hari Shankar Jain, Vishnu Shankar Jain, Prabhash Pandey and others. 

"As many as 10 suits are stated to be pending before the civil court and also there should be more suits that can be said to be pending and issue can be said to be seminal public importance affected the masses beyond tribe and beyond communities having not proceeded an inch further since their institution on merits for past two to three years, provides full justification for withdrawal of all the suits touching upon the issue involved in the suit from the civil court concerned to this court under Section 24(1)(b) Civil Procedure Code.

6. Men have higher responsibility to prevent gender violence, silence needs to be broken: Gujarat High Court

In a landmark verdict on marital rape, the Gujarat High Court opined that men have a higher duty and role to play in averting gender violence than women. The Court noted that in India the actual instances of violence against women may be much higher than the data suggests. Due to this, women may continue to face hostility and remain in environments where they are subject to violence. It said that because of this the responsibility on men is much higher than that on women. “This silence needs to be broken. In doing so, men, perhaps more than women have a duty and role to play in averting and combating violence against women”, Justice Divyesh Joshi of the High Court wrote.

7. Gujarat High Court castigates jail authorities for not releasing convict despite bail 

The Gujarat High Court castigated the Sabarmati jail authorities for their negligence in not releasing a life convict despite having been granted bail three years ago, as they could not open the attachment in the email. A division bench of Justice A S Sephia and Justice M R Mengdey ordered the Gujarat government to pay Rs one lakh compensation to the hapless man, Chandanji alias Gato Chhanaji Thakor who suffered incarceration for three years for no fault of his. The court expressed displeasure with the administrations of Mehsana sessions court and the Sabarmati jail for not paying heed to the email in which the ball order was sent for prisoner Chandanji Thakor, who was awarded life imprisonment in 2020 in a murder case.

8. Gujarat High Court Dismisses Rahul Gandhi's Plea to Suspend Conviction in Modi Surname Defamation Case 

The Gujarat High Court dismissed a plea by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to suspend his conviction in a defamation case for his remark as to why all thieves had Modi surname. A bench of Justice Hemant Prachchhak pronounced the judgement, stating that in view of Gandhi's conduct and other pending cases against him, the conviction in the present case would not do any injustice to him. The court also pointed out it is well settled law that stay on conviction is not a rule but rather an exception. "Moreover, as many as 10 criminal cases are pending against the applicant. It is now the need of the hour to have purity in politics...After the complaint in the present case, another complaint was filed at Pune by the grandson of Veer Savarkar against the applicant," the bench said.

9. Gujarat High Court References 'Manusmriti' to Discuss Early Marriage and Abortion of Minor's Pregnancy

The Gujarat High Court said it is difficult to allow abortion of foetus of six or seven months carried by a minor above 16-year, citing 'Manusmriti' to point out the girls used to get married early and became mother by the age of 17. 

“There is anxiety because we are living in the 21st century. Ask your mother or great-grandmother. Fourteen-fifteen was the maximum age (for marriage), and girls used to give birth to their first child before turning 17. And girls get mature before boys. Though you may not read, but you should read Manusmriti once," Justice Samir J Dave told a counsel for the rape survivor. The was hearing a plea by father of a rape survivor for termination of her pregnancy.

10. Fundamental right to hold passport can’t be curtailed without due procedure of law: Andhra Pradesh High Court 

The Andhra Pradesh High Court came to the rescue of a Non-resident of India whose passport was illegally seized by the authorities. While ordering the return of his passport, Justice BS Bhanumathi noted that procedure as mandated under Sections 91 and 102 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was not followed by the Superintendent of Police and the Inspector of Police. 

“As can be understood from the submissions on both sides, the seizure of the passport is not authorized nor was the procedure contemplated under Sections 91 and 102 of Cr.P.C. followed. Therefore, the continuation of holding the passport with respondents No. 3 and 4 is not legally sustainable,” the Court held.

11. Vague allegations regarding harassment prima facie do not establish offence Us. 498A Indian Penal Code , 1860 : Andhra Pradesh High Court

When there are no specific allegations made against the husband's family in a dowry harassment case, the Andhra Pradesh High Court held that it prima facie does not constitute a crime under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. 

“The said allegations prima facie do not constitute any offence punishable under Section 498A IPC. Except the said vague allegation, there are no specific allegations made against these petitioners regarding the harassment said to have been caused by them to the deceased by making any illegal demands for additional dowry etc”.

12. NDPS Act | Statement Of Police Witnesses Cannot Be Discarded If They Inspire Confidence: Punjab & Haryana High Court

 

In this case, the Punjab & Haryana High Court made it clear that the statement of police officials cannot be discarded because they are police officials, however their testimonies must inspire confidence. Justice Anoop Chitkara dismissed the plea challenging the conviction of a man who was convicted under Section 15 of NDPS Act for involving in trade of contraband and sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment. 

13. Live-in couple entitled to protection even if they are not old enough to marry: Punjab & Haryana High Court

A couple in a live-in relationship is entitled to protection from threats by their relatives even if the partners in the relationship may not be of marriageable age, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled. “"It is the bounden duty of the State, as per the Constitutional obligations casted upon it, to protect the life and liberty of every citizen.”

15. Husband has moral and legal liability to maintain wife even if he is a professional beggar: Punjab & Haryana High Court

The Punjab & Haryana High Court observed that a husband has a moral and legal liability to maintain his wife who is unable to maintain herself, even if he is a professional beggar. 

The instant revision petition was filed in furtherance of an application under Section 24 of Hindu Marriage Act (‘HMA’) allowed by the Trial Court through order dated 14-2-2023 awarding maintenance during pendency of litigation at the rate of Rs 5,000 per month payable to the wife by her husband along with a further lump sum of Rs 5,500 as litigation expenses and Rs 500 per hearing. Aggrieved by the said order, the husband approached the Court through the instant revision petition.

16. Wife who accepted extramarital affair of husband cannot later call it cruelty in divorce case: Delhi High Court

 

The Delhi High Court observed that if a spouse condones an extramarital illicit or intimate affair, it cannot later be called an act of cruelty in divorce proceedings.

In the present case, the Court found that the wife had expressed her willingness to continue living with the husband, despite such an episode.

Hence, the Court held that such an affair cannot be viewed as cruelty to the wife during divorce proceedings.

17. Delhi High Court disposes pleas for SIT on alleged over-invoicing by Adani's, Essar's & others' power cos

The Delhi High Court disposed of pleas seeking setting up of a Special Investigating Team (SIT) against alleged over-invoicing by power companies belonging to the Adani Group, Essar Group and others without issuing any directions for the same. 

The Court noted that since the filing of the petitions in 2017, multiple proceedings have already been initiated and are pending before relevant forums in this regard. Stating that investigation is already in process in some cases, the Court said it “finds it appropriate to direct the respondents to meticulously and expeditiously look into the allegations of the petitioners to unearth actual factual position and take appropriate actions against the erring companies, if any, as per law.”

18. Delhi High Court refuses to entertain plea on Women's Reservation Act, 2023

The Delhi High Court refused to entertain a writ petition seeking the implementation of the Women’s Reservation Bill 2023 before the 2024 General Assembly elections. The Bill mandates 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha. A bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad gave liberty to the petitioner to withdraw the plea and file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) instead, as the reliefs sought were in the nature of a PIL, according to it.

19. Surrogacy industry need not be encouraged in India: Delhi High Court 

Hearing an Indian couple based in Canada challenging the Centre's notification banning donor surrogacy, the Delhi High Court observed, "The (surrogacy) industry need not be encouraged here." A bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Minister Pushkarna remarked, "Why should the court get into all this now? You are based in Canada. You cannot run an industry here. This will become a billion dollars industry. This is not a case where we should be asking the government to do anything." The Court was expressing concerns that if left unchecked the 'surrogacy industry' may grow into a billion-dollar business.

20. Wife’s insistence to live separately from parents amounts to cruelty: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court said a woman's "persistent insistence" on living separately from her in-laws without justification is torturous for husband and would be an act of cruelty, as it allowed divorce to a man. A bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Neena Bansal Krishna said that unlike the West, in India, it is not usual for the son to get separated from his family and his wife becomes integral to it. "Normally, without any justifiable reason, she (wife) should never insist that her husband should get separated from the family and live with her separately," the court said. The bench allowed the man's plea against a family court order refusing to grant divorce.

21. No Rape If Muslim Man Makes Physical Relations With 15 Year Old Wife: Delhi High Court

 

The Delhi High Court said physical relationship of Muslim man with about a 15-year-old child after marriage cannot be termed. The court upheld acquittal of Mohd Kayum a Muslim man accused of sexual assault under Section 6 read with Section 5(1) of POCSO Act. As per Muslim law, a girl over the age of 15 years, is competent to enter into a contract of marriage with the person of her choice and sex with such a girl is not considered an offence. A bench of Justices Suresh Kumar Kait and Neena Bansal Krishna said, “We find that since the child victim was the wife who was almost fifteen years of age, the physical relationship of the respondent with the victim, cannot be termed as rape. The respondent has been rightly acquitted”.

22. Unpaid domestic labour by married woman to be considered for determining legal rights to marital property

In a significant judgment delivered on 21st June (Kannain Naidu vs Kamsala Ammal), the Madras High Court held that unpaid domestic labour performed by a married woman must be taken into account when determining legal rights to marital property - Madras High Court 

 

23. Madras High Court commutes death penalty of father who raped daughter; orders doctors not to perform ‘two-finger test’

While commuting the death penalty of a father who raped his own daughter, the Madras High Court reminded medical professionals that the Supreme Court has prohibited the two-finger test on survivors of sexual assault and said that those doctors still performing such test will be held “guilty of misconduct.”

 

24. Madras High Court urges State to recognise 'Deed of Familial Association' to protect rights of same-sex couples

The Madras High Court  urged the State government to formulate a procedure for registration of 'Deed of Familial Association' which will give a stamp of approval to same-sex relationships and enhance the status of persons in such relationships in society.

25. Madras High Court directs Tamil Nadu government to ensure quota for transgenders in Local Body Elections 

 The Madras High Court asked the Tamil Nadu government to initiate steps to provide reservations to transgender persons in the local body elections as a welfare measure with a view to include them in a mainstream society and ensure their democratic participation. "It is in these law making forums, where transgender persons can express their views and discuss their rights. More so, transgender persons have a right to reservation, owing to the fact that “they are socially Backward Class" a bench of Justice S M Subramaniam said. The court said that in order to give the voices of this community, the reservation for transgenders must extend to forums of law making institutions. The bench rued the social stigma attached to transgenders is yet to be removed.



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Important High Court judgements of 2023 : Part 1 Important High Court judgements of 2023 : Part 1

Here are the top judgements from high courts all across India in 2023.

Important High Court judgements of 2023 : Part 2 Important High Court judgements of 2023 : Part 2

important judgements, Karnataka High Court, Delhi High Court, Kerala High Court, Allahabad High Court, Madras High Court

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