Orders and Judgments Duration March 23, 2020 – April 07, 2020
“WE EAGERLY GET HOLD OF A LAW THAT SERVES AS A WEAPON TO OUR PASSIONS.”
JOHANN WOLFGANG von GOETHE
- Alembic Pharmaceuticals Ltd v. Rohit Prajapati & Ors
‘Ex Post Facto’ Environmental clearance unsustainable in Law: Supreme Court (SC)
The Supreme Court (SC) has reiterated that the concept of ‘ex post facto’ Environmental Clearance (EC) is against the fundamental principles of environmental jurisprudence. “…environment law cannot countenance the notion of an ex post facto clearance. This would be contrary to both the precautionary principle as well as the need for sustainable development”. On this basis, the SC upheld the 2016 order of National Green Tribunal setting aside a circular issued by Ministry of Environment and Forests on 14 May 2002, which envisaged the grant of post facto ECs. The SC agreed with the NGT’s finding that the circular was “unsustainable in law”.
LAW OF LIMITATION
- New Delhi Television Ltd v. Deputy Commissioner of Income Tax
Supreme Court (SC) allows NDTV’s appeal to quash Income Tax Re-Assessment Notice
In a significant relief to media company New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV), the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday allowed its appeal to quash the notice issued by the Income Tax Department seeking to re-open it income assessment for the financial year 2007-08. The assessing officer had issued notices to NDTV under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act on the ground of escapement of income from assessment and proposing a substantial addition of Rs.642 crores to its account. The SC held that these notices, which were issued in 2015, though disclosed reasons, were time-barred and hence unsustainable.
- Bhagwat Sharan v. Purushottam
Burden to prove that the property is a Joint Property of an HUF is on the person who asserts So: Supreme Court (SC)
The Supreme Court (SC) has observed that the burden is on the person who alleges that the property is a joint property of an HUF to prove the same. Not only jointness of the family has to be proved but burden lies upon the person alleging existence of a joint family to prove that the property belongs to the joint Hindu family unless there is material on record to show that the property is the nucleus of the joint Hindu family or that it was purchased through funds coming out of this nucleus, the Supreme Court bench observed while considering an appeal arising out of suit for partition.
RIGHT TO INFORMATION
- Chief Information Commission v. High Court of Gujarat and Another
Copies of Court documents can be obtained only by applying under Court Rules and not Right to Information (RTI): Supreme Court (SC)
The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday held that the information to be accessed/certified copies on the judicial side is to be obtained through the mechanism provided under the High Court (HC) Rules and the provisions of the RTI Act shall not be resorted to. The bench also agreed with the Delhi High Court view in the Registrar Supreme Court of India v. R S Misra(2017) 244 DLT 179, wherein it held that “once any information can be accessed through the mechanism provided under another statute, then the provisions of the RTI Act cannot be resorted to.”
- The Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association, represented by its Secretary v. The State of Kerala, represented by the Chief Secretary to Government of Kerala
Kerala High Court (HC) directs Union Government to remove Karnataka’s border blockade for emergency medical cases
The High Court (HC) of Kerala on Wednesday directed the Union Government to remove the border blockade imposed by Karnataka to allow entry for patients from Kerala to access emergency medical care in hospitals in Karnataka. The Court held that Karnataka’s road blockade resulted in the denial of access to health services, which amounted to infringement of right to life under Article 21. It also affected right to freedom of movement under Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution.
- A K Jayasankaran Nambiar J v. Shaji P Chaly J
National Lockdown: Kerala High Court (HC) directs District Labour Officers & Legal Services Authorities to monitor conditions of migrant Labours in the State till April 17
The High Court (HC) of Kerala on Friday directed all District Labour Officers to work in coordination with the respective District Legal Services Authorities to monitor the conditions of migrant labours in the state, till April 17. In a suo moto case, the bench of Justices AK Jayasankaran Nambiar and Shaji P. Chaly had earlier sought a report from the Advocate General concerning the steps taken by the State of Kerala to provide food and shelter to the migrant workers. On a perusal of the same yesterday, the bench ordered strict compliance of the Supreme Court directions in Alakh Alok Srivastava v. Union of India to ensure accessibility of basic necessities & medical facilities for migrant workers in view of the nationwide lockdown.
- P A Josseph v. State of Tamil Nadu & Ors
Madras High Court (HC) Directs Technical Committee headed by State Health Secretary to consider administration of Siddha Treatment to COVID-19 patients
A division bench of the Madras High Court (HC) has directed the Technical Committee headed by the State Health Secretary to consider treating COVID-19 affected patients with medicine known as Kabasura Kashayam, which is a part of Siddha Medical Treatment. The bench was hearing a plea filed by one PA Josseph who endorsed the abovementioned medicine as a “preventive vaccine” and also as a dose to boost the immunity of already affected persons.
- ML Ravi v. State of Tamil Nadu
We expect a balanced and humane approach from Police: Madras High Court (HC) on action against lockdown violators
The Madras High Court (HC) has asked the state Government to file a report on lockdown violations and the action taken by the Police against such violators, within four weeks. While doing so, the bench also authorized the state administration to adopt “safety measures” to prevent people from unnecessarily venturing outside. It thus directed that Nodal Officers may be appointed who will grant permission to people having urgent needs, to approach the concerned outlets.
- N Prakash v. State of Kerala, represented by its Secretary to Government of Kerala &Others
Choice to rear pets traceable to Fundamental Right to Privacy Under Article 21 : Kerala High Court (HC)
While allowing a person to travel to purchase pet food for his three cats amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the High Court (HC) of Kerala observed that choice to rear pets was traceable to fundamental right to privacy under Article 21 of the Constitution. The petitioner said that he was a vegetarian, and non-vegetarian food was not cooked in home. Therefore, for his cats, he used to buy from outside a particular brand of feed. The bench noted that the right to life of animals was recognized by the Supreme Court in the case Animal Welfare Board of India v A Nagaraja. The Court went a step ahead to notice a link between the reliefs claimed by the petitioner to his right to make free choices under his right to privacy. It was noted that his choice to remain vegetarian, his choice not to cook non-vegetarian food in his home, his choice to rear cats, and his choice of a particular brand of feed were all facets of his right to privacy.
- Supreme Court (SC) issues slew of directions to implement video conferencing in all Courts across the Country
The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday issued a slew of directions in order to streamline the functioning of courts via video conferencing during the COVID-19 lockdown. A bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde, Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao highlighted the immense need to observe social distancing alongside unhindered access to justice. It remarked, “Access to justice is fundamental to preserve the rule of law in the democracy envisaged by the Constitution of India. The challenges occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 have to be addressed while preserving the constitutional commitment to ensuring the delivery of and access to justice to those who seek it…Court hearings in congregation must necessarily become an exception during this period.”
Thus, in exercise of its power under Article 142 of the Constitution the bench directed,
a) “All measures that have been and shall be taken by this Court and by the High Courts, to reduce the need for the physical presence of all stakeholders within court premises and to 4 secure the functioning of courts in consonance with social distancing guidelines and best public health practices shall be deemed to be lawful;
b) The Supreme Court of India and all High Courts are authorized to adopt measures required to ensure the robust functioning of the judicial system through the use of video conferencing technologies;
c) Consistent with the peculiarities of the judicial system in every state and the dynamically developing public health situation, every High Court is authorised to determine the modalities which are suitable to the temporary transition to the use of video conferencing technologies;
d) The concerned courts shall maintain a helpline to ensure that any complaint in regard to the quality or audibility of feed shall be communicated during the proceeding or immediately after its conclusion failing which no grievance in regard to it shall be entertained thereafter.
e) The District Courts in each State shall adopt the mode of Video Conferencing prescribed by the concerned High Court.
f) The Court shall duly notify and make available the facilities for video conferencing for such litigants who do not have the means or access to video conferencing facilities. If necessary, in appropriate cases courts may appoint an amicus-curiae and make video conferencing facilities available to such an advocate.
g) Until appropriate rules are framed by the High Courts, video conferencing shall be mainly employed for hearing arguments whether at the trial stage or at the appellate stage. In no case shall evidence be recorded without the mutual consent of both the parties by video conferencing. If it is necessary to record evidence in a Court room the presiding officer shall ensure that appropriate distance is maintained between any two individuals in the Court.
h) The presiding officer shall have the power to restrict entry of persons into the court room or the points from which the arguments are addressed by the advocates. No presiding officer shall prevent the entry of a party to the case unless such party is suffering from any infectious illness. However, where the number of litigants are many the presiding officer shall have the power to restrict the numbers. The presiding officer shall in his discretion adjourn the proceedings where it is not possible to restrict the number.”
The bench urged for cooperation of all courts, judges, litigants, parties, staff and other stakeholders for successful implementation of the above directions so as to ensure that court premises do not contribute to the spread of virus. The court also underlined that modern technological advancements already adopted by the Indian judiciary will enable effective administration of justice, virtually.
“Technology has facilitated advances in speed, accessibility and connectivity which enable the dispensation of justice to take place in diverse settings and situations without compromising the core legal principles of adjudication. Indian courts have been proactive in embracing advancement in technology in judicial proceedings. The Indian judiciary has incorporated Information and Communication Technology systems through the e-Courts Integrated Mission Mode Project (e-Courts Project) as part of the National eGovernance Plan (NeGP). The robust infrastructure in place has reduced conventional impediments and legal uncertainty surrounding the use of virtual courts,” the bench remarked.
The matter is now listed for after four weeks and the abovementioned directions will operate until further orders.
- Court on its own motion v. State of Jharkhand & Anr
Jharkhand High Court (HC) directs State to approach centre for additional Medical Kits
Jharkhand High Court (HC) on Tuesday directed the State Government to approach the Centre for meeting its additional requirements of medical equipment to curb the spread of Corona virus.