Weekly Highlights (21 Feb 2022- 27 Feb 2022)

In Tata v. Mistry, the Supreme Court decides to hear the Pallonji Group’s review petition in open court:; Justice V Ramasubramanian  dissents

In response to the Supreme Court’s verdict in favour of Tatas last year, Cyrus Mistry filed a review petition. By a vote of 2:1, the petition was allowed, and the hearing has been set for March 9. The review Petition was heard on February 15 by a three-judge bench chaired by Chief Justice NV Ramana and including Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian. V Ramasubramanian offered a dissenting opinion in choosing whether or not to accept the Petition, indicating that he does not find any sufficient cause to review the previous year’s ruling and accept the current review Petition. 

According to the judge, the grounds mentioned in the review petitions do not fit within the scope of a review, and hence the requests for an oral hearing should be rejected. The review petition should be considered, according to Chief Justice Ramana and Justice Bopanna.

The Supreme Court affirmed the Tata Sons board’s decision in October 2016 to remove Cyrus Mistry, the company’s then-chairman, from office and subsequently the board, and overturned the NCLAT’s previous judgement reinstating Mistry’s appointment as executive chairman of the Tata group.

On the request of the Solicitor General, the Supreme Court postpones the Pegasus case hearing until February 25

After Solicitor General Tushar Mehta requested it, the Supreme Court postponed the Pegasus case hearing. On February 23, 2022, a bench led by Chief Justice N V Ramana was expected to hear the Pegasus petitions for the first time since October 27, 2018, when it ordered the formation of a three-member team of cyber specialists to investigate the eavesdropping accusations.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, stated that he would be preoccupied with a part-heard Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) issue on February 23 and, as a result, requested that the Pegasus petitions be heard on February 25.

NV Ramana, the Chief Justice of India, concurred and instructed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to notify the other parties. The Supreme Court will hear the report of the high-level committee appointed by the court to investigate the Pegasus case on February 25.

Three specialists in cyber security, digital forensics, networks, and hardware were instructed to “inquire, examine, and decide” if Pegasus malware was used to spy on Americans. Former Supreme Court judge R V Raveendran was in charge of the investigation. The group has filed an interim report, which the court has yet to consider.

[COVID-19] Citizens’ fundamental rights have been revoked as a result of certain illegitimate decrees: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court stated that certain directives made by the Maharashtra government’s former chief secretary restricting those who are not completely vaccinated from travelling on public transportation violated the basic rights of a select group of residents.

While the court was hearing public interest litigation challenging Maharashtra government orders issued on July 15, August 10, and August 11, 2021, the government’s lawyer, Anil Anturkar, notified the court that the Maharashtra government had decided to remove the orders. “However, the superseding orders remained in effect, and the State Executive Committee (SEC) was scheduled to convene to evaluate the orders in light of the court’s deliberations as well as the state of the Covid pandemic and ideas from the Covid task force,” Anturkar explained.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik expressed their hope and confidence that the SEC will consider the state’s statistics before making a judgement on easing limitations. “We hope and trust that, in light of the current situation and observations, the SEC will make an appropriate decision for lifting restrictions, taking into account all aspects of the matter, including the particular circumstance that fundamental rights of a section of the citizens were abrogated earlier due to certain illegal orders passed by the SEC chairperson,” the Bench wrote in the order.

‘Important Aspect Of Gender Equality Is Being Postponed,’ says Supreme Court, ordering which orders Nagaland’s government to implement a 33 percent women reservation in local bodies

The Supreme Court gave Nagaland six weeks to provide a report on how it planned to implement a 33 percent reservation for women in municipal and town councils. The orders were issued by a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh while considering a petition filed by the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and woman activist Rosemary Dvuchu, who challenged the Nagaland Assembly’s resolution dated September 22, 2012 that exempted the operation of Part IX A of the Constitution, which mandates 33 percent reservation for women in municipal and town councils in the State.

While adjourning the case to April 12, 2022, the bench reminded the State that any failure to comply will be seen as a breach of the Court’s order. “In terms of power centre opposition, these gender problems are quite complicated. If you resist bringing in equal norms, we will supersede and do it judicially. Please, just do it. This case will not be postponed. Gender cannot be a factor in local concerns. I’m presenting it to you in very hazy terms: we’ll accomplish it “Justice SK Kaul commented. “We notice with considerable sorrow that an essential part of gender equality appears to be on hold, and a decade has passed on that front,” the bench wrote in its ruling.

The Karnataka High Court  ruled that properties given as dowry must be included in a partition suit brought by a daughter under the Hindu Succession Act

The Karnataka High Court has ruled that goods given as dowry or otherwise at the time of the daughter’s marriage would be subject to division and would have to be included in a petition for partition brought by the daughter. “In a suit for partition, the properties which had been given as dowry or otherwise at the time of marriage of the daughter plaintiff, claiming a right of partition under Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, would be amenable to partition and the same would have to be included in a suit for partition,” a single judge bench led by Justice Suraj Govindaraj said.

Petitioner Hemalatha had gone to court to challenge an order issued by the City Civil Judge Bengaluru on August 8, 2018, allowing an application filed by the petitioner’s brother to include two properties in the petitioner’s partition suit, claiming that they were given as dowry at the time of her marriage.

After reviewing the evidence, the court concluded that a beneficiary under Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act cannot claim a benefit by means of division in relation to joint family holdings without first considering the possessions she got as dowry/gift or otherwise at the time of marriage. The court further stated that whether the properties in question were acquired separately and would not be susceptible to division is a matter for the trial court to consider, and that it cannot do so.

Should Temples Be Managed by the Government? Isn’t it reasonable for activists to argue that the government should have the same control over mosques and churches? questioned the Madras High Court

Two FIRs against temple activist Rangarajan Narasimhan for allegedly publishing derogatory social media remarks on the Srirangam Temple management have been overturned by the Madras High Court (Srirangam Lord Ranganathaswamy Temple). While quashing the FIRs, Justice G.R Swaminathan pointed out that Section 199 CrPC prohibits the filing of a defamation FIR. The court emphasized that Section 199 requires the court to not take cognizance of offences under Chapter XXI of the IPC [Defamation] unless a complaint is filed by a person who has been harmed by the offence.

When the case was finally decided, the single judge bench highlighted several concerns regarding temple management. “Should the government continue to have control over them (temples)? Shouldn’t a government that claims to be secular treat all religious organisations equally? Isn’t it reasonable for informed and devoted campaigners like Shri.T.R.Ramesh to argue that the government should exert the same amount of control over temples as it does over churches and mosques? These are my views and questions since the petitioner in front of me is not just a devout follower but also an activist.”

The court next considered whether the petitioner had committed the act under Section 505(2) [Statements generating or encouraging animosity, hostility, or ill-will between classes] after ruling that the FIRs were not valid since the violation arises under Section 500 IPC. The court pointed out in Bilal Ahmed Kaloo v. State of A.P. (1997) that the statements were made by a Vaishnavite against the management of a Vaishnavite temple and its executive officer, and that there was no evidence that one group was opposed against the other on any basis.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s summons in the national anthem matter has been stayed by the Sessions Court

The Mumbai Sessions Court on Friday issued summons issued against West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a criminal charge filed by BJP Mumbai Secretary Vivekanand Gupta saying Banerjee had insulted the national anthem. Banerjee had petitioned the Sessions Court for a reversal of the Metropolitan Magistrate’s ruling at Sewree, Mumbai, which had issued summons to Banerjee. The summons were delayed as Special Judge Rahul Rokade awaited responses from the complainant, a BJP Mumbai Secretary, attorney Vivekanand Gupta, and the State of Maharashtra.

“It is vital to offer both the prosecution and the complainant an opportunity to refute the case.” At first glance, it appears that the necessary provisions of Section 200 of the CrPC have been disregarded. In the meanwhile, because there is a pressing need, it would be necessary to continue proceedings before the Metropolitan Magistrate,” the 5-page judgement states.

“It’s an affair and a sexual relationship that ended in a breakup:” Rajasthan High Court dismisses a rape case

The Rajasthan High Court’s Jaipur Bench rejected a first information report (FIR) against a rape suspect, concluding that the parties had a consensual relationship. While Justice Farjand Ali found no evidence of rape, he did remark that the prosecutrix continued to have a sexual contact with the petitioner for two years. The single-judge inquired in his order, “Why did the complainant allow the accused to have inter-course with her on several days, at different places, and even at different intervals?” According to the Court, this is an unhappy but common situation of a boy and a girl having an affair, engaging in a sexual connection, and then breaking up.

A complaint of rape with a fraudulent promise of marriage was filed against the petitioner. The petitioner sought to have the FIR quashed because it was “exaggerated.” The petitioner intimidated and lured the prosecutrix into intercourse on the false pretence that he would marry her, according to the prosecutrix. The prosecutrix was deemed to be an educated lady who was aware of the repercussions of intercourse before marriage, according to the Court. The FIR was dismissed because the court felt it was a case of a boy and a girl having an affair, engaging in a sexual connection, and then breaking up.

Protected witness statements can be disclosed to UAPA defendants after their identities have been redacted: Supreme Court

After redacting the identities of those who are declared ‘protected witnesses’ under Section 173(6) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) read with Section 44 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Supreme Court held that an accused has the right to obtain copies of statements of those who are declared ‘protected witnesses’ under Section 173(6) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) read with Section 44 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and MM Sundresh was debating whether the defense can use the remedies under Sections 207 and 161 of the CrPC to get copies of redacted statements of witnesses who have been proclaimed protected witnesses by the trial court.

In comparison to Section 207 of the CrPC, the top court concluded that the provisions of Section 173(6) of the CrPC read with Sections 44 of the UAPA and 17 of the NIA Act (both dealing with witness protection) stand on a distinct plane with different legal ramifications.

If the police officer believes that any part of a statement is not relevant or essential to the proceedings, they must indicate that part of the statement and attach a note to the statement requesting the Magistrate to exclude that part from the copies to be granted to the accused and stating his reasons for doing so.

Section 207 of the Criminal Procedure Code deals with the Magistrate providing copies of the police report and other papers to the accused.

“The purpose of Section 44 of the UAPA, Section 17 of the NIA Act, and Section 173(6) of the NIA Act is to protect witnesses. They are similar to a legislative witness protection programme. Such an order can be issued if the court determines that disclosing the witness’s residence and identity will put the witness’s family and witness in danger. They also apply to particular provisions created for offences under specific legislation “According to the Court.

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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.