Weekly Highlights (14 March 2022- 20 March 2022)

Following Supreme Court orders, the Orissa High Court notifies the Vulnerable Witnesses Deposition Centers Scheme 2022

The Vulnerable Witnesses Deposition Centers (VWDC) Scheme 2022 was recently announced by the Orissa High Court, with the goal of establishing a safe and suitable atmosphere for recording the evidence of vulnerable witnesses. On March 9, the Registrar-General of the High Court issued a notification to that effect.

The aforementioned programmed was enacted in response to the Supreme Court’s directives in Smruti Tukaram Badade v. State of Maharashtra and Others (2022). In that decision, the Supreme Court emphasized the importance of establishing facilities to enable a safe, barrier-free environment for recording the testimony of vulnerable witnesses.

Karnataka High Court upholds Hijab Ban in colleges, says it’s not essential to Islam

The Karnataka High Court upheld a government order (GO) issued on February 5 that effectively allows colleges in the state to prohibit Muslim female students from wearing hijab (headscarves) on campus. The High Court, in a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justices Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi, held that: Hijab is not a part of Islam’s essential religious practices; Uniform requirement is a reasonable restriction on the fundamental right to freedom of expression under Article 19(1)(a); the government has the power to pass the GO; and no case is made out for its invalidation.

On February 25, the verdict was reserved after an 11-day hearing before the Bench. The Court issued an interim injunction on the first day of the hearing prohibiting students from wearing hijab, saffron shawls (bhagwa), or using religious flags while attending courses in colleges with a prescribed uniform.

The Central Government’s ‘One Rank, One Pension’ programme has no constitutional flaws: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court affirmed the Central government’s One Rank One Pension (OROP) system, which was announced on November 7, 2015. 

Justices DY Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and Vikram Nath of a three-judge bench ruled that there is no legal requirement that everyone with the same rank receive the same pension. It was held that the OROP programme was a policy choice made by the Central government, and that the government had the authority to do so.

“A policy decision has been made by the central government. Such a choice falls within the scope of the government’s policymaking authority. We do not see any constitutional flaws in the OROP principle or the November 7, 2015 announcement “as per the Court.

“Rusk is not bread; rusk is bread with extra value”: Meghalaya High Court has refused to grant rusk a VAT exemption

The Meghalaya High Court ruled that the state’s VAT exemption for bread could not be extended to rusk since rusk is not the same as bread.

The petitioner-company puts bread to further manufacturing activity to prepare rusk, thus adding value to draw VAT, according to a bench led by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W Diengdoh.

“The identical components that go into the creation of bread may, surely, be employed by the petitioner,” the Court noted, “but after the petitioner manufactures bread, the petitioner subjects such bread to a second process of manufacturing activity to arrive at its finished product of rusk.”

As a result, bread is bread, and rusk is rusk, and the two cannot be equated, according to the Court.

Madhya Pradesh High Court  asks the state government to respond to a petition questioning the anti-begging law

The Madhya Pradesh High Court’s Indore Bench has served notice on the state government in response to a public interest litigation petition (PIL) challenging the constitutional validity of the MP Bhiksha Vritti Nivaran Adhiniyam, which criminalises begging.

The State was served with notice by a bench of Justices Vivek Rusia and Amar Nath Kesharwani, who asked for a response.

The petition claims that the Act and Rules promulgated under it violate the Constitution’s guarantees of equality, freedom of speech and expression, and the right to live in dignity.

Suspension orders should be challenged based on the facts of each case: Madras High Court’s Full Bench 

A Madras High Court Full Bench recently ruled that challenges to suspension orders should be evaluated on the facts of each case, taking into account the seriousness of the allegations and the procedures that apply.

Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justices V Bharathidasan and D Bharatha Chakravarthy said in Ajay Kumar Choudhary v. Union of India that the Supreme Court had not established an absolute proposition of law that a suspension order could not be extended beyond three months.

“As a result, when a challenge to a suspension order is submitted, the court shall assess each case on its facts,” the High Court’s decision said. While deciding a reference made by a single judge arising from two conflicting judgements on challenges to suspension orders, the Full Bench laid down the principles.

Courts are unable to enforce election manifestos: Allahabad High Court dismissed a petition accusing the BJP of making misleading promises

The Allahabad High Court recently reaffirmed that there is no law that punishes political parties for failing to deliver on election pledges made in their election manifestos.

Justice Dinesh Pathak brushed aside a petition seeking action against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for allegedly failing to keep promises made in its 2014 election manifesto “As a result, it is clear that any political party’s election manifesto is a statement of their policy, viewpoint, promises, and vows made during the election, but it is not a binding document that can be enforced through the courts of law. Even if political parties fail to keep their promises made in their election manifestos, there is no provision in any statute to bring them into the hands of enforcement agencies.”

When both parents are living, the son cannot claim ownership of their property: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court has ruled that a son cannot acquire a right, title, or interest in his parents’ flats as long as they are alive.

The Court was hearing a plea submitted by Sonia Khan, who wanted to be named the legal guardian of her husband’s property, who had been in a vegetative state for a long period.

During the hearing, their son Asif Khan attempted to intercede, claiming to be his father’s de facto guardian for many years. He claimed that, even though his parents were still living, he had an enforceable legal right to any or both of the flats because they were “a shared home.” 

The submission was judged to be unfounded and irrational by Justices Gautam Patel and Madhav Jamdar. The Court reasoned that no provision existed in any community’s succession laws for a son to claim right or title to a parent’s property while the parent was alive. “Asif (son) can have no right, title, or interest in either of these flats — one in his father’s name and the other in his mother’s name — so long as his parents are alive, in any conceptualization of succession law for any community or faith,” the order noted.

Bombay High Court ruled in favour of Netflix, Hotstar, and Reliance on the broadcasting rights of Ranveer Singh’s film 83

The Bombay High Court upheld Reliance Entertainment Studios’ exploitation rights while refusing to prevent Star India (owner of OTT platform Hotstar) and Netflix from streaming the Bollywood film ’83’ on their respective programming sites. The issue before the High Court was Star and Netflix’s use of satellite and/or digital media for commercial purposes.

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I am Arryan Mohanty, a second-year student, pursuing BA-LLB from Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur. Although my interests are constitutional law, administrative law, contracts, torts, and criminal law, I am also keeping a keen interest in other aspects of law as well. I am an analyst who analyses the geo-political situation and political situation during these times. I am a quizzer and actor....sometimes I play volleyball, kabaddi and tennis( not in touch since 2019). I am a big Cricket Enthusiast.