Weekly Highlights ( 31st Jan- 6th Feb)

Weekly Highlights (Jan 31st- Feb 6th)

Supreme Court: Article 13 defines “law” as rules enacted to carry out the functions of the State Legislature.                 

Recently, the Hon’ble Supreme Court reaffirmed that rules enacted to carry out the authority and privileges of state legislatures are “law” under Article 13 of the Constitution.

This statement was made as part of a judgement by a Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari, and CT Ravikumar, which overturned a one-year ban of 12 BJP MLAs from the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly for allegedly insulting and manhandling Speaker Bhaskar Jadhav.

The Bench emphasized that when State Legislatures purport to exercise such power, the enactment of such a bill must be recognized as a law within the sense of Article 13, as the State is acting under Article 246 of the Constitution.

This was in response to the State’s contention that under Article 208 of the Constitution, the Legislature might diverge from the Rules adopted by the House. Such norms, it was said, were only analogous to society’s bye-laws, which were not enforceable and could not be considered statutory rules.

The Supreme Court, on the other hand, ruled that this reasoning was “of no avail.”

Supreme Court: There is no way to repeal a legislation that has been declared unconstitutional by a court; rights cannot be established under it.                                  

The Supreme Court ruled that a legislation that has been deemed unconstitutional by a court cannot be repealed. The fact that legislation has been knocked down for being unconstitutional obliterates it all together as if it had never been passed, according to a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, BR Gavai, and BV Nagarathna. As a result, no rights may be established under it, according to the Court.

The Court was hearing appeals from the State of Manipur against a Manipur High Court decision that struck down the Manipur Parliamentary Secretary (Appointment, Salary and Allowances, and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2012 (2012 Act) and the Manipur Parliamentary Secretary (Appointment, Salary and Allowances, and Miscellaneous Provisions) Repealing Act, 2018 (2018 Act) (2018 Repealing Act). The Supreme Court had already struck down the Assam Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances, and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004 in Bimalangshu Roy v. State of Assam & Anr. Following that, in 2018, the Manipur Assembly approved the 2018 Repealing Act to repeal the state’s 2012 legislation, which was comparable to the Assam Act of 2004. The 2018 legislation allowed the State administration to appoint MLAs as parliamentary secretaries with ministerial privileges who could not be accommodated in the cabinet.

The High Court held that a legislative body’s capacity to repeal a statute is co-extensive with its authority to enact it. If the State Legislature lacked the legislative authority to create the 2012 Act, it, therefore, lacked the authority to repeal it through the Repealing Act. As a result, the High Court determined that the State could not have included a saving provision in the Repealing Act to explain actions taken and rights, advantages, and duties assumed under the 2012 Act. As a result, both the 2012 and 2018 Acts were declared invalid. The Supreme Court stated right away that the High Court could not have reviewed and determined the constitutional viability of the 2012 Act since it had already been repealed by the 2018 Act.

Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, has been summoned by a Mumbai court for allegedly disrespecting the national anthem.                           

Based on a complaint submitted by the BJP Secretary Mumbai, a Metropolitan Magistrates Court in Mumbai has issued a process and summoned West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to appear before it.

Banerjee began singing the National Anthem in a sitting position after a public engagement at the Yashwantrao Chavan Auditorium in Cuffe Parade, Mumbai. According to Gupta’s complaint, she later rose and sang two verses of the national anthem before abruptly stopping and departing the event. The event was found after he saw a video recording of it on social media, according to the lawsuit.

Even though Banerjee is the Chief Minister, Metropolitan Magistrate PI Mokashi remarked that a sanction was not necessary to issue a process against her because the function was not an official function. After all, no government personnel were present.

“As a result, although the accused is the Chief Minister of West Bengal, she was not doing her official responsibilities. As a result, even though she is the Chief Minister of West Bengal, the accused’s actions do not fall within her official responsibilities. As a result, no sanction is necessary, and there is no obstacle to prosecuting the accused “the magistrate said.

He inferred that Banerjee’s attendance at the occasion was not an official government event. As a result, she was not performing any official obligations while attending the ceremony, and so no punishment was necessary to commence criminal proceedings against her, according to the Magistrate. As a result, he found “no justification as such to extend procedure against Banerjee under Section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, despite her residing beyond the Court’s jurisdiction.”

The Magistrate issued an order calling Banerjee to appear on March 2, 2022, after determining that there was sufficient evidence to summon her.

SC: “Lok Adalat verdict cannot be used for redetermination payments under Section 28A of the Land Acquisition Act” 

The Supreme Court has held that a Lok Adalat award made under Section 20 of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, cannot be used to predetermine compensation under Section 28A of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

An Allahabad High Court judgement holding that an award issued by the Lok Adalat can be used to exercise authority under Section 28A of the Land Acquisition Act was overturned by a bench of Justices KM Joseph and P Narasimha. The Bench supported the decisions of the Bombay High Court in Umadevi Rajkumar Jeure v. District Collector and the Karnataka High Court’s sole judge in Vasudev v. The Commissioner and Secretary Government, Revenue Department. The Supreme Judicial ruled that the sole ground for using Section 28A of the Land Acquisition Act for compensation redetermination is a court decision as stipulated in the Act. According to the ruling, “Section 28A does need a Civil Court ruling, as specified in Section 2. (l). In other words, adjudication by the Court, as specified in the Act, has been constituted the sole ground for invoking Section 28A of the Act “. As a result, the Court concluded that a claim based on estoppel deriving from a consent decree or an Award issued by a Lok Adalat that may be compared to a consent decision cannot be used to predetermine compensation.

It is the case when the NOIDA authority issued a notification under the Land Acquisition Act in 1983 for the development of specific lands in Dadri tehsil, the Land Acquisition Officer issued an award that set the rate to be paid to the land givers at 24,000 per bigha. The respondents did not seek compensation augmentation under Section 18 of the Act. Fateh Mohammad, on the other hand, requested a reference against the award. The allusion was made to a Lok Adalat. In 2016, the Lok Adalat issued an award setting compensation at 297 per square yard, up from 20 per square yard set by the Land Acquisition Officer in his 1984 award. As a result, the respondents filed petitions with the Additional District Magistrate for redetermination of compensation under Section 28A of the Act. The applications were denied by the Additional District Magistrate because the Lok Adalat award was based on compromise. Writ petitions were filed in the High Court, which found that a Lok Adalat award would be deemed a Civil Court judgement, and that the respondents would be allowed to utilize Section 28A of the Act as a result. 

The Supreme Court, on the other hand, decided that the legal fiction of treating the Lok Adalat Award as a decree is limited to “just conferring enforceability in like way as if it were a decree” and nothing more. As a result, the highest court held that the Additional District & Sessions Judge was functioning as Lok Adalat and not as “the Court” within the meaning of the Land Acquisition Act when he decided the case. While allowing the appeal, the highest court stated, “It also cannot be construed as an award of the Court within the sense of Section 20 and 21 of the ‘1987 Act.”

(Section 45 of PMLA) After a 2018 amendment, the dual bail terms have been reinstated: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court’s Nagpur Bench recently decided that the Supreme Court’s declaration of the twin requirements for bail under Section 45(1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as unconstitutional had been resurrected by legislative action via the PMLA Amendment of 2018. The public prosecutor must be allowed to object to bail, and the court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accused is not guilty of the crime or is unlikely to commit another while on release.

The legislature must decide whether to give effect to the amending provisions prospectively or retrospectively, according to a bench comprising Justices VM Deshpande and Vinay Joshi. The Court stated that “the section as it stood after amendment must be read as a whole” and that “the section as it stood after amendment must be read as a whole.”

“The modified clause cannot be watered down unless it is struck down by the courts. We are not in agreement with the position that the entire provision must be re-enacted utilizing modification following the judgement in the case of Nikesh Shah since the entire complexion of section 45 has altered as a result of the alteration,” the Court stated.

The Court said that the twin criteria will be revived and implemented as a result of the current amended statute. As a result, the Court responded to the petition by saying that “the twin criteria in section 45(1) of the 2002 Act, which was deemed unconstitutional by the Apex Court’s judgement in Nikesh T. Shah Vs. Union of India, remain resurrected in light of the legislative intervention via Amendment Act.” The 2018 alteration was made by ordinance, and the offences were now referred to as “under the Act” rather than “under Part A of the Act.”

As a result of this modification, in circumstances where the accused is charged with money laundering but is not a scheduled offender under Part A, the accused must now meet the twin criteria before being granted bail. After a referral to the Division Bench was made due to contradictory opinions stated by single-judges regarding the implications of the modified Section 45 of the PMLA, the High Court made its judgement.

Colin Gonsalves in the Delhi High Court on marital rape says rape by a spouse is more devastating.

Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves informed the Delhi High Court that rape by one’s husband had more “damaging implications” for a woman than rape by a stranger.

The senior counsel argued on the bench that a Writ Court cannot “conjure up numerous conditions of compulsion and consent” and bring such a finding within the scope of a constitutional challenge to a single article of the Code. Gonsalves stated that it would be premature for a Constitutional Court to rule on the problems since they would be dependent on the facts of individual cases that would be decided by Trial Courts when evaluating the scope of issues regarding the question of wife’s permission and husband’s coercion. “When the High Court or any court strikes down the exemption, marital law becomes applicable in India, and trial courts begin hearing cases for the first time and issuing decisions on a wide range of circumstances, including facts about coercion, whether the husband was coercive, and facts about consent… Finally, the law governing what constitutes compulsion or consent will emerge through trial courts, which will then be appealed to the High Courts and Supreme Court, and only then will solutions to these problems be given. It would be premature to respond to these questions today “Gonsalves countered with a counter-argument.

He went on to say that a Constitutional Court’s adjudicating power does not include imagining the full range of possibilities and then concluding that the exception should be abolished. “When deciding on the constitutionality of a provision, that would not be within your cognitive processes. That is left to the formulation of marital consent legislation “he stated. According to Gonsalves, the Constitutional Courts’ and Trial Courts’ duties in unravelling the aforementioned “knotty legal situation” would be extremely different. He contended that the Constitutional Courts are solely concerned with the legality of this provision of legislation and that the duty of the High Court is completed once the pronouncement of unconstitutionality is issued. “The jurisdiction over issues involving marital rape will eventually be transferred to the Trial Court. This Constitutional court cannot ignore the constitutionality of the exemption because it would be quite hard for the woman to prove marital rape since it occurs occasionally in the privacy of the home “Gonsalves countered with a counter-argument.

It was added “It is a well-established legal position, as evidenced by various Supreme Court and High Court decisions, that if the prosecutor’s statement is consistent, unequivocal, and unimpeachable, it is sufficient to take cognizance of the offence. In addition, each case should be determined on its own merits and based on the facts presented by the parties.”

Adding that the High Court is only a first-instance institution that cannot solve all problems at once, Gonsalves stated that after the High Court’s judicial exercise, Parliament will be called upon to apply its collective mind as to how, if at all, the generic definitions of coercion and consent should be elaborated through legislation.

The Assam Repealing Act, which turned state-funded madrassas into government schools, was upheld by the Gauhati High Court

The Assam Repealing Act of 2020, which converted existing provincialized madrassas in the state to ordinary government schools, was maintained by the Guwahati High Court. The petitioners’ contention that provincialized (government-funded) madrassas are minority institutions established and governed by the minority group is unfounded, according to a bench led by Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Soumitra Saikia.

State madrassas cannot be considered to be formed or administered by minority institutions because the whole teaching and non-teaching personnel of these educational institutions are government employees, the Court stated. The Supreme Court was reviewing petitions contesting the Repealing Act and the Act’s supporting executive orders. The Assam Madrassa Education Provincialization Act, 1995, and the Assam Madrassa Education (Provincialization of Employees and Reorganization of Madrassa Educational Institutions) Act, 2018, were both abolished by the Act. The petitioners argued that the Act infringed on their basic rights under Articles 14, 21, 25, 26, 29, and 30 of the Constitution by converting minority institutions to government institutions.

“Religious teachings and religious education continued to be delivered in these provincialized madrasas, even though they were now entirely sustained out of State monies,” the Court stated at the beginning.

There is no fundamental right to have the Prime Minister’s photo removed from the COVID vaccine certificate: Kerala High Court

Recently, Hon’ble Kerala High Court said that individuals have no constitutional right to petition the government to remove Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture off Covid-19 vaccination certificates.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly was hearing an appeal from a single-judge order dismissing a Public Interest Litigation seeking the removal of the Prime Minister’s photograph from certificates issued for paid vaccinations on the grounds that it violated Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech and expression.

The Court, however, disagreed with this assertion and rejected the appeal, concluding that the petitioner’s claim was not protected by his basic rights.  It went on to say that under Article 73, the government has the ability to issue executive orders on matters of national administration for the common good by adopting and envisaging appropriate policies to meet the needs of the moment.

The Court stated that the image or statement on the certificates appears to have been created with the goal of attracting the attention of the general public in order to encourage them to come forward and receive the vaccination. When the globe was fighting the pandemic, such action was critical, according to the Court. Furthermore, the Court agreed with the single-judge that once an elected body in parliament comes to power with the mandate of the voters, it has the right to carry on with the administration of the country by enacting policies that are appropriate, convenient, and adaptable to the country while keeping the larger public interest in mind.

As a result, the appeal against the single-judge Bench ruling was dismissed by the Court. However, in light of the pandemic’s budgetary restrictions, the Division Bench decreased the single-fees judge’s from one lakh to 25,000, along with a warning to the appellant not to squander the court’s valuable time by submitting unnecessary and frivolous petitions in the future.

Arryan Mohanty
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.