Weekly Highlights (7th – 13th Feb)

Weekly Highlights (7th - 13th Feb)

Uttarakhand HC: Victims of rape have the legal right to abort their pregnancy

Recently, the Hon’ble High Court of Uttarakhand ruled that a rape victim had the right to terminate her pregnancy under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971. The right to life, according to Justice Alok Kumar Verma, is more than “survival or animal existence,” it also includes the right to live in dignity. The Court held, “There is a legal right to terminate a pregnancy based on rape. A rape survivor has the right to choose whether or not to carry her child. She also has the right to refuse to carry a pregnancy, according to the criteria outlined in the Act.”
The Court was considering a petition from the father of a young rape survivor who requested that the State quickly terminate her 28-week pregnancy. Following the Court’s prior instructions, a Medical Board presented a report declaring that, due to the danger to the girl and the foetal viability, terminating the pregnancy at this gestational age was not recommended.

Under Article 12, the Wakf Board is a “State” and land allocated to religious purposes is not exempt from vesting with the State: SC

The Supreme Court ruled that a Wakf Board is a “State” within the sense of Article 12 of the Constitution, and hence subject to writ jurisdiction challenges. A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian also stated that land set aside for pious and religious purposes is not exempt from state ownership.

The decision came in a case brought by the State of Andhra Pradesh (now Telangana) to overturn a notice issued by the Wakf Board in 2006 recognizing 1,654 acres and 32 guntas of land as wakf property. The case was originally brought before the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which denied the claims, stating that wakf properties cannot be reversed since they are always recognized as wakf holdings. The High Court also established guidelines for dealing with wakf property. It further stated that the Wakf Tribunal would be the only arbiter of all issues involving wakf property.

Section 498A of the IPC is being utilised often to settle individual scores with husbands and kin: SC

The Supreme Court observed that relatives of the husband cannot be made to stand trial for cruelty under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code based on ad hoc charges of dowry harassment by the wife. The Supreme Court has concluded in many cases that a criminal trial leading to an ultimate acquittal inflicts serious wounds on the victim and that such an exercise should be discouraged, according to a bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari.

The Apex Court was hearing an appeal against a Patna High Court decision that refused to dismiss a first information report (FIR) filed against the in-laws under IPC Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 379 (theft), 354 (assault or criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty), and 498A (husband or relative of a woman subjecting her to cruelty). The woman said she was being tortured emotionally and that her in-laws were threatening her if she didn’t terminate the pregnancy.

Post offices and banks are held vicariously accountable for fraud and mistakes made by personnel while on the job: SC

The Supreme Court stated that a post office might be held vicariously accountable for conduct committed by its workers while on the job.

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, Sanjiv Khanna, and BR Gavai emphasised that the post office would be able to pursue defaulter officials for the damage caused by the fraud or illegal act, but that this would not free them of their responsibility. The Bench remarked that “such conduct by bank/post office workers happening in the course of their duties will afford the appellants the right to initiate legal action for injury, as this is their exclusive recourse against the post office.” However, in order to hold a post office or bank vicariously accountable for the activities of a servant/employee, it must be proven that the latter committed fraud or wrongful act while on the job.

The Court was hearing an allure questioning the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) ruling denouncing a complaint made against post office authorities, and holding that authorities cannot be held vicariously liable for the fraud committed by their employee with regard to Kisan Vikas Patras encashment (KVPs).

Government notifies the appointment of three new justices to the Orissa HC

The appointment of three new judges to the Orissa High Court has been notified by the central government. V Narasingh, Biraja Prasanna Satapathy, and Murahari Sri Raman are the three lawyers, who were appointed as judges. A notification to this effect was issued on the Ministry of Law and Justice website on February 10. After deliberations on January 29, the Supreme Court collegium approved the names of all three. The Orissa High Court currently has 18 judges on the bench, compared to the sanctioned number of 27. The Orissa High Court’s working strength would increase to 21 with these appointments.

No religious clothes will be worn until the decision is made; an interim order will be issued: Karnataka HC on Hijab row

The Karnataka High Court said that it will issue an interim injunction prohibiting petitioners in the Hijab ban case, as well as other students, from wearing any religious garment or headpiece until the case is resolved.

In addition, the Court has requested the State to reopen educational institutions as soon as possible and has prohibited pupils from wearing any religious clothing, regardless of faith, while the case is pending. Only those institutions that have established a uniform dress code are subject to the interim directive. The Court stated that extending academic semesters would be damaging to students’ careers and that it is in the best interests of the students to return to school rather than continue their protests over a religious dress.

Madras HC dismisses defamation case against Maridhas

Recently, Hon’ble Madras High Court quashed a defamation suit against Youtuber Maridhas, acknowledging that the complainant was not an “aggrieved individual”. 

When Justice GR Swaminathan of the Madurai Bench found that the complainant was not authorised to make the case on behalf of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), he said, ” “There has been no legal harm to the complainant. His reputation has not been tarnished in any manner. The filing of the complaint has not been authorised by the Party. If the party members or members of the DMK had been defamed, the responder might have filed a complaint as a member of a specific group of persons. This is not the case in this instance. The complaint was submitted by the complainant on his own. Because he is not a person who has been wronged, continuing the contested processes would be a misuse of the judicial system.” 

The appellant, who claimed to be a DMK member, had filed a complaint against Maridhas for allegedly making derogatory statements against DMK members in a YouTube video broadcast on January 3 of last year.

SC petition demands a uniform clothing code for all State-recognized educational institutions’ staff and students

A public interest litigation has been filed at the Supreme Court, asking the court to order the federal and state governments to impose a uniform dress code in all registered and state-recognized educational institutions across the country. 

The petition was submitted by Nikhil Upadhyay, the son of attorney Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, at a time when cases involving the prohibition on hijab in government institutions in Karnataka are pending in the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court. 

A uniform dress code in educational institutions, according to Upadhyay’s argument, is necessary to provide social equality, ensure dignity, and foster fraternity, unity, and national integration. “Common Dress Code is not only required to promote equality, social justice, democracy, and the creation of a just and compassionate society, but it is also vital to combat the greatest threat of casteism, communalism, classism, radicalism, separatist, and fundamentalism,” the petition stated.

After concluding that Bihar’s Debt Recovery Tribunal is ineffective, the SC provides relief

The Supreme Court recently halted an e-auction procedure in a case from Bihar, citing the lack of a functioning Debt Recovery Tribunal in the state.

The auction procedure was halted till the next date of hearing by a Division Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant, who also ordered the petitioner to deposit one crore with the SBI Stressed Assets Management Branch (respondent) by February 14, 2022, and another 75 lakh by March 14, 2022. The Court was informed that the Debt Recovery Tribunal in Bihar was not operational.

“In the circumstances described above, we order that the petitioner deposit Rs 1 crore with the SBI Stressed Assets Management Branch (Respondent No 5) on or before February 14, 2022, and Rs 75 lakhs on or before March 14, 2022. 3 The e-auction will be stayed until the next day of listing, assuming the petitioner follows the foregoing instructions “According to the ruling.

The Court was hearing a case in which it was claimed that a Division Bench of the Patna High Court had granted time for the petitioner to settle the account with the respondent–bank in order, and then proceeded to dismiss the petition with the proviso that if the settlement did not work out, the petitioner would be free to “take recourse before the Debt Recovery Tribunal.”

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.