This segment highlights the important issues of the Indian Legal System of the week objectively and with a magnified legal lens factually.
What made Headlines from the Supreme Court of India this week?
1. The Supreme Court has reserved orders in Justice V. Eswaraiah's plea challenging the order of Andhra Pradesh High Court directing probe into an alleged conspiracy against Supreme Court and High Court judges. What is this controversy really about? The Judge had the Supreme Court against an order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court whereby an investigation was sought to be conducted into a private conversation between himself and a suspended Munsif Magistrate. This conversation pertained to the alleged hatching of a ‘serious conspiracy’ against the High Court Chief Justice and a Senior sitting Judge of the Supreme Court. The High Court therefor appointed Retired Justice R.V. Raveendran to submit a report on the basis of an enquiry, as to the genuineness of the alleged conversation in the pen-drive, the persons involved and undisclosed interests of the third party. It was against this order that an SLP was preferred in the supreme court by Justice Eswariah.
Case Title: Justice V. Eswariah Vs. UOI
Bench: JJJ Ashok Bhushan, Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai
2. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board has opposed Plea's which seek Uniform Laws related to divorce, maintenance & alimony, stating that they are against the spirit of Articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution. The petition is already being heard before a CJI SA Bobde led bench. The petition by Ashwini K Upadhyay seeks removal of anomalies in the matters of maintenance and alimony in order to make them uniform for all citizens. A separate one, seeks Court intervention in matrimonial Muslim Personal Law, challenging Section 2 of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, averring that it seeks to recognize and validate the practice of Polygamy and Nikah-Halala.
Case Title: Ashwini K Upadhyay Vs. UOI
Bench: CJI SA Bobde, JJ AS Bopanna & V. Ramasubramaniun
3. The Supreme Court has disallowed the grant of an extra attempt for civil services examination aspirants who could not take the examination in October 2020 on account of Covid19. The Court found no infirmity in the order by respondent authority which was impuged before top court. Court further observed that Several other exams by the Centre and State must have been conducted during the said period and the case of the petitioner cannot be taken into isolation for the purpose of seeking additional attempt on the ground of COVID 19 pandemic, more so, in the absence of any such provision under the Rules of 2020.
Case Title: Rachna & Ors v. Union of India
Bench: JJJ. Ajay Rastogi, Indu Malhotra, A.M. Khanwilkar
Apex Court Judgments for the Week
1. Consumer Forum Has No Jurisdiction Or Power To Entertain A Written Statement Beyond Stipulated Period Of 45 Days: Supreme Court has Reiterated.
Court referred to the observation made by a Three judge bench in, J.J. Merchant v. Shrinath Chaturvedi, (2002) 6 SCC 635, which was again reiterated by a larger five judge bench, “Consumer fora has no power and/or jurisdiction to accept the written statement beyond the statutory period prescribed under the Act, i.e., 45 days in all.” Court also relied upon M/s Mampee Timbers & Hardwares Pvt. Ltd, Court and added that the settled law of both judgments stood good in law.
Case Title: M/S Daddy Builders v. Manisha Bhargava and Anr
Bench: JJ. D.Y. Chandrachud, M.R. Shah
2. Banks As Service Providers Owe A Distinct Duty Of Care In Maintaining & Operating Locker Facility: Supreme Court Issues Guidelines For Locker Regulations
Banks As Service Providers Owe A Distinct Duty Of Care In Maintaining & Operating Locker Facility: Supreme Court observed, while Issuing Guidelines For Locker Regulations. Court said that Banks as custodians of public property cannot leave the customers in the lurch merely by claiming ignorance of the contents of the lockers. Court noted that Banks as service providers under the earlier Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and the newly enacted Act of 2019, owe a separate duty of care to exercise due diligence in maintaining and operating their locker or safety deposit systems. This includes ensuring the proper functioning of the locker system, guarding against unauthorized access and providing appropriate safeguards against theft and robbery.
Case Title: Amitabh Dasgupta v. United Bank of India & Ors.
Bench: Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Vineet Saran
3. Hindu Widow Can Enter Into Family Settlement With The Descendants Of Her Brother I.e On Parental Side: Supreme Court
Hindu Widow Can Enter Into Family Settlement With The Descendants Of Her Brother I.e On Parental Side: Supreme Court said, while upholding the family settlement entered into between a Widow and her Nephews with respect to the share inherited by her from her late .
“A perusal of Section 15(1)(d) of the hindu succession act indicates that heirs of the father are covered in the heirs, who could succeed. When heirs of father of a female are included as a person who can possibly succeed, it cannot be held that they are strangers and not the members of the family qua the female”, the bench noted.
Case Title: Khushi Ram & Ors v. Nawal Singh & Ors
Bench: Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice R Subhash Reddy
Important Highlights from High Courts and Other Courts:
1. Bhima Koregaon Violence Accused Varavara Rao Granted Bail By Bombay High Court On Medical Grounds.
A bench of Justices SS Shinde & Manish Pitale granted bail to the accused on the condition that he has to stay within the jurisdiction of the Special NIA Court. He was also directed not to indulge in any activities or similar activities which led to the registration of the FIR.
2. Madras High Court Quashes Order Rejecting Request For Conduct Of Ram Janmabhoomi Temple Awareness, Says Lord Sri Ram Close At The Heart Of Hindu Religion. Single Bench of Justice R. Hemalatha of Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has recently quashed the order passed by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Thilagar Thidal (Law and Order) Range, Madurai City rejecting the petitioner’s request of conducting general awareness campaign regarding Sri Rama Temple in Ayodhya.
3. Calcutta High Court, in its recent judgment, upheld the validity of a Look-Out Circular issued in India on the basis of Bankruptcy proceedings held by a Court in Singapore. Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya, while dismissing the petition challenging validity of the Circular, held, “Not only the economic interests of India but bilateral relations with Singapore (both of which are recognized in the relevant Office Memoranda as valid grounds of issuance of LOC) will suffer in the event the petitioner is permitted to leave India, thereby evading repayment of the huge loans taken by him from the Singapore branch of respondent no.3, a nationalized and Government undertaking bank of India.”
4. A Delhi Sessions Court granted bail to Disha Ravi in connection with the FIR related to Farmers Protests and the alleged toolkit. Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana granted bail to Ravi observing that even though it was conscious of the difficult task to prove the prosecution's case in the affirmative viz. the offence of conspiracy, it was virtually impossible for the defence to prove it in the negative and that even though the police made a conscious decision to arrest the accused, it could not be permitted to restrict Ravi's liberty further.
5. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has reiterated that Educational Institutions do not fall within the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and education which includes extra curricular activities such as swimming is not a "service" within the meaning of the Act.
- Sanya Talwar is the Editor of LawbeatAnalysis: Here's what the Supreme Court and High Courts of India had to say this week
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