Weekly Highlights (28 Feb 2022- 6 March 2022)

If a person is unaware of their visa status, there is no offence of abetment under Section 14C of the Foreigners Act: Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has ruled that no one can be accused of abetment under Section 14C of the Foreigners Act 1946 if he is unaware of the foreigners’ visa status. In this instance, the appellant allegedly enabled the travel of two Chinese people on tourist visas to the Rewa Solar Plant Project site while working as a Senior Engineer (Construction) for Spring Energy Private Limited. For violating Sections 7 and 14 of the Foreigners Act, a First Information Report was filed against him. The aforementioned provision, however, was not cited in the charging sheet. However, the Trial Court drafted charges following these requirements. The Apex Court rejected this, noting that for a violation of Section 14-C, the accused must have abetted the violations under sections 14, 14-A, and 14-B of the Foreigners Act. 

“The word ‘abet’ is a key component of Section 14-C, and it has been interpreted by the courts. ‘Abet’ implies to help, encourage, or accept. When a person instigates another person to do the crime or collaborates with another person(s) to commit the crime, this is known as the abetment of the crime. Passivity and indifference alone will not constitute an abatement offence “, stated the bench, which included Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi.

Divorce can be sought in Indian courts by Overseas Indian Citizens: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court recently allowed a British national with Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status to file for divorce and child custody in a Bangalore Family Court, stating that OCIs are regarded similarly to Non-Resident Indians in many ways and are not barred from obtaining matrimonial relief. 

According to a single judge bench led by Justice Krishna S Dixit, “Certain privileges are not conferred to OCI Cardholders under Section 2 of Section 7B of the Citizenship Act. This prohibition, however, does not apply to the ability to seek matrimonial remedy from native courts. True, the subject statutory notices do not in so many words vest them with such a right to litigate; but, this does not deprive them of a right that is available to even OCI Cardholders.” “After all, ubi jus ibi remedium is the operating basis of our system; once legitimately admitted to a territory, even foreigners are entitled to some essential rights that are required for a meaningful life,” the statement continued. 

Before the Bengaluru family court, the estranged wife filed a plea under Sections 27(1)(a) and (d) of the Special Marriage Act, 1954, r/w Sec.18 of the Foreign Marriages Act, 1969, seeking a decree for dissolution of marriage and child custody. The petition was opposed by the husband, who applied to have it dismissed. The Family Court, in a ruling dated September 25, 2020, denied his motion, stating that the native court has the authority to hear the relevant matrimonial case. The spouse took the order to the top court to have it overturned.

Mining is prohibited in Odisha’s eco-sensitive zone until the Comprehensive Wildlife Management Plan is implemented: Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has halted mining in Odisha’s eco-sensitive zone till the state adopts the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife’s Comprehensive Wildlife Management Plan (NBWL). The National Green Tribunal ruled in this case that mining activities are prohibited within and near the Simlipal – Hadagarh – Kuldiha – Simplipal elephant corridor. The Tribunal directed that the process for declaring a conservation reserve in the elephant corridor under Section 36 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 be completed within three months.

The appellants sought the Apex Court, claiming that there was no rationale for stopping mining operations in an area that did not fall within the eco-sensitive zone and that the direction to stop mining activities in the proximity of the elephant corridor was arbitrary. The challenging respondent, on the other hand, claimed that no mining activity could be permitted near an eco-sensitive zone unless the Comprehensive Wildlife Management Plan was adopted and Section 36A of the Act was followed. “The dispute can be resolved by giving the State Government direction to implement the Comprehensive Wildlife Management Plan and complete the process of declaring the traditional elephant corridor as a conservation reserve as provided in Section 36A of the Act,” Justices L. Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai wrote for the bench.

Transgender people should have their reservation, separate from women’s reservations: Madras High Court

In future public employments, the Madras High Court firmly advised the State government to create a certain proportion of distinct reservations for Third Gender (TG) or transgender people. In a petition filed by transgender people, Justice MS Ramesh rendered the verdict in a case challenging the TNUSRB’s recruiting process for Grade-II Police Constables. The High Court overturned all of the petitioners’ disqualifications, finding the procedure used in the recruitment process to be void insofar as it relates to the failure to provide for a special reservation for TGs in both male and female categories, as well as the denial of concessions/relaxations in the physical tests.

“The decision of the Tamil Nadu Uniform Services Recruitment Board (TNUSRB) to merge the TGs who had chosen the female category with the openings earmarked for women deprives them of equality, which is a violation of Articles 14 and 16(1) of the Indian Constitution,” the Court stated. The Court further ruled that failing to establish any type of reservation for Trans Gender people in the male category and placing them on an equal footing with general category candidates is unconstitutional and violates Articles 14 and 16(1). The Court ruled that such behavior violates the Supreme Court’s NALSA decision, which mandated that transgender people be given preference in public employment.

Bombay High Court issued a notice to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in response to a petition challenging the decision to establish special benches in New Delhi to hear cases from the Western Zone.

The Bombay High Court in Goa issued notice on a petition challenging two administrative orders issued by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that established Special Benches in New Delhi to hear and decide cases that fall under the NGT’s Western Zone Bench’s jurisdiction, including cases from Goa.

The petitioners claim that inhabitants of Goa who are pursuing environmental issues have suffered as a result of the Western bench’s erratic operation since 2017. This was the outcome of attempts to transfer Goa’s jurisdiction from the sitting Western Zone bench to the Northern Zone bench, delays in the Western Zone bench’s constitution, and the non-appointment of judicial and expert members at the court’s sitting place in Pune.

Even though the Western Zone Bench’s jurisdiction embraced Maharashtra and Gujarat, it was noted that cases from Goa accounted for the majority of the matters before it. According to the cause lists posted on the NGT’s website, the number of Western Zone cases heard by the NGT in the period February 2018 to August 2021 decreased significantly since the Northern Bench began hearing the Western Bench’s cases, with approximately 78 percent of the cases adjourned and only 22 percent of the cases being heard.

Petition filed in the Madhya Pradesh High Court challenging the state’s indirect exclusion of non-residents from applying for state government jobs.

On a petition challenging the state government’s indirect exclusion of those from outside the state from applying for the State Civil Service Recruitment exam, the Madhya Pradesh High Court issued a notice to the state government. The respondent authorities have two weeks to file their responses, according to Justice Vivek Agarwal of the High Court’s Principal Bench in Jabalpur, who has scheduled the case for March 8. 

The single-Judge noted in his order that the petitioner “has been able to make a case for admission,” and that interim instructions for the respondents’ counsel should be sought and placed on record by March 7. The petition, filed by advocate Nikhil Bhatt, challenged the application process for the Madhya Pradesh Public Service Commission’s State Service Examination, which currently requires an active pre-registration on the state’s employment portal (MP Rozgar).

Puducherry Local Body Elections: Supreme Court issues a notice on petition challenging the elimination of the ST and backward class quotas

The Supreme Court has issued notice in a public interest litigation filed by R Siva, the leader of the opposition in Puducherry Legislative Assembly, challenging the government’s decision to end reservation for backward classes and Scheduled Tribes in local body elections. Justices L Nageswara Rao and BR Gavai urged the Union Territory to file a rebuttal affidavit within two weeks, and the registrar to schedule a hearing within three weeks. The Bench decided that the next date of hearing would not be adjourned. The petitioner dropped his writ petitions filed before the Madras High Court, giving him the right to file them before the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution.

Bombay High Court asks a response from the Maharashtra government about a petition to fill vacancies in the State Commission for the Protection of Children’s Rights

The Maharashtra government was recently asked to respond to the Bombay High Court’s request for information on the steps taken to appoint members to the Maharashtra State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. The grievance in the plea that the Commission was non-functional due to the absence of the required number of members was brought before a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik. In response, Government Pleader Jyoti Chavan informed the Court that the process to fill the positions has begun in earnest. She requested two weeks to file an affidavit setting forth the steps taken and planned for the appointment of the members. This was granted by the Court and the matter was posted for hearing on March 21, 2022.

Supreme Court stayed a Delhi High Court judgement on stray dogs’ entitlement to food

The Supreme Court recently halted a Delhi High Court ruling that had issued a raft of directives for the welfare of stray dogs after finding that they have a right to sustenance.

The verdict that declared stray dogs must have access to food and water, and that Resident Welfare Associations are obligated to provide it, was stayed by a Division Bench of Justice Vineet Saran and Justice Aniruddha Bose. “Permission is granted to file a Special Leave Petition. Send out a notice that must be returned within six weeks. The assailed order’s execution will be halted in the meantime “The Supreme Court stated.

In July 2021, the High Court issued an order prohibiting certain individuals from feeding stray dogs. The disagreement was settled peacefully, but the High Court was urged to establish norms for feeding stray dogs. Community dogs (stray dogs) have the right to food, and citizens have the right to feed them, according to Justice JR Midha. As a result, the single-judge held that no one can prevent someone from feeding dogs unless that person is being harassed or harmed.

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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.