1. ELECTION COMMISSION CHALLENGES MADHYA PRADESH HIGH COURT ORDER RESTRAINING PHYSICAL POLL CAMPAIGNS IN SUPREME COURT
The Election Commission has moved to SC Challenging an order of Madhya Pradesh High Court which put various conditions in holding physical gatherings by political parties for campaigning in assembly bye-polls in the state. The poll panel, which is empowered under the Constitution to take decisions to hold elections, has issued the guidelines to allow limited political assemblies during the campaigning. However, the Gwalior bench of High Court had put stringent restrictions on physical campaigning by candidates for the assembly bye- elections in Madhya Pradesh in view of the pandemic situation.
2. ESTABLISHED STATUS QUO BROUGHT ABOUT BY JUDGMENTS INTERPRETING LOCAL/STATE LAWS SHOULD NOT BE LIGHTLY DEPARTED FROM: SC
Case Name: Navin Chandra Dhoundiyal v. State of Uttarkhand and Ors.
Context: The appellants are working as professors in the Kumaun University and Statute No. 16.24 of the said University envisaged three main notions:
• Each teacher attains the age of Superannuation on completing 65 yrs.
• After attaining the age of superannuation, no teacher has the right to re – employment.
• If the date of superannuation does not fall on June 30, the teacher shall continue in service till the end of the academic session i.e., June 30 and will be treated as re - employment.
The office order dated 21.12.2019 set out their respective dates of retirement (attained the age of Superannuation i.e. 65 yrs) and restrained them to work until June 30. Aggrieved by the order, the appellants approached the Uttarakhand High Court in writ proceedings and relied upon a previous judgement of the Division Bench of the High Court in Dr. Indu Singh v. State of Uttarakhand which stated that the legislative intent of the said statute was not to adversely affect the academic activities and to safeguard the interest of the students. Rejecting the contention, the Uttarakhand High Court was of the opinion that the impugned judgement was in error and held that whenever the superannuation of an employee falls within the month of June, in that event, his or her retirement would stand extended till the end of June of that particular month.
Setting aside the High Court order, the Supreme Court held that the view in Indu Singh was correctly interpreted and entitled the appellants to continue till the end of June on re- employment.
3. SCHEME OF WAIVER OF ‘INTEREST ON INTEREST’ FOR ELIGIBLE BORROWERS WILL BE IMPLEMENTED BY NOV.5: CENTRE TELLS SC
The Central Government has filed an affidavit in response to a batch of pleas in the Apex Court, raising issues pertaining to validity of RBI’s March 27 circular which allowed lending institutions to grant moratorium on payment of installments of term loans falling due between March 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020 due to pandemic, which was later extended till August 31. The plea stated that the Ministry of Finance has approved the policy decision for granting various reliefs for Covid-19 pandemic, including a policy decision whereby waiver of interest on interest would be effectuated for eligible borrowers of loans up to Rs. 2 Crore. The eligible borrowers under the scheme shall be on MSME loans, education loans, housing loans, consumer durable loans, credit card dues, automobile loans, personal loans to professional and consumption loans of up to 2 crores. And to be eligible for the scheme, the account should be standard as on February 29, 2020 and the loan should not be a Non-Performing Asset as on that date. Under the scheme, the difference between the compound interest and simple interest will be credited to the borrower’s loan account for the period between March 1, 2020 and August 31, 2020. The scheme further states that after crediting the said amount by the institutions in account of eligible borrowers, lending institutions would claim reimbursement from the Central Government through the nodal agency of State bank of India. The lending institution is required to credit the amount to borrower’s account by November 5, 2020. The Centre has stated that the aforesaid decision has been taken after careful consideration, keeping in mind the overall economic scenario, nature of borrowers, impact on the economy and such other factors as a policy decision, earmarking the aforementioned borrowers as class of borrowers for grant of benefits.
4. HEARING FIRST APPEAL IN CRIMINAL MATTER REQUIRED TO FORM ITS OWN OPINION, REITERATES SC
Case Name: Chandrabhan Singh V. The State of Rajasthan
" The First Appeal in criminal matter requires the court to form his opinion on the basis of the evidence on record and the opinion of the Trail court”
The Supreme Court held that First Appeal in criminal matters required to form its opinion on the basis of the evidence on record and the opinion of the Trial Court, the Supreme Court has reiterated. A Special Leave Petition against a Rajasthan High Court order which had dismissed an appeal against conviction recorded by the Trial Court The bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul noticed that the High Court order is only a recitation of the evidence without appreciation of the same for the purpose of reaffirming conviction in appeal.
The Court said that, in this case, the High Court has set out the facts and also deposition by witnesses and then concluded that the prosecution was successful in proving the guilt of the accused.
5. TESTIMONY OF SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM ENOUGH FOR CONVICTION
Content: The Supreme Court of India upholds the sentence for assault on 13-year-old.
Background: The Madras High Court had upheld the trial verdict that the punishment awarded to a man found guilty under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old child in Tamil Nadu.
Justice M.R. Shah stated that “evidence of the victim of sexual assault is enough for conviction” in a sexual offence case unless there are serious contradiction.
The Supreme Court observed that “A woman, who is the victim of sexual assault, is not an accomplice to the crime but is a victim of another person’s lust and, therefore, her evidence need not be tested with the same amount of suspicion as that of an accomplice,” a three-judge Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan observed.
6. KARNATAKA HIGH COURT RESTRAINS FRANKLIN TEMPLETON FROM PROCEEDING WITH WINDING UP OF SCHEMES WITHOUT OBTAINING CONSENT OF INVESTORS
The Karnataka HC on 24.10.2020 restrained Franklin Templeton Investments (FT) from proceeding with the winding up of debt fund schemes without obtaining the consent of unit investors. While the Court said that it was not interfering with the decision to wind up the schemes, it said that FT has to take the consent of the unit holders before taking further steps on the basis of the decision.
7. PLEA IN SC SEEKING UNIFORM AGE OF MARRIAGE AND TRANSFER OF SIMILAR PLEAS FROM HC
A plea has been filed on behalf of Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay to transfer petitions pending before the Rajasthan and Delhi High Court which have sought uniform age of marriage for both men and women. It was stated in the pleas that while men are allowed to marry at the age of 21 women are permitted to marry at 18. The stipulated difference in this age limit is based on patriarchal stereotypes and has no specific backing and perpetrates de jure and de facto inequality against women. It was stated that the plea has been filed in order to avoid multiplicity of litigations and conflicting views on interpretation Articles 14,15, and 21 and judgments involving gender justice equality.
8. MADRAS HC ISSUES GUIDELINES FOR CONDUCTING POST – MORTEM:
A writ petition under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution was filed to issue a writ of mandamus directing the respondents to follow certain guidelines while conducting Post – Mortem. One of the important contentions made by the petitioner was to conduct an autopsy as per Article 621 of the Tamil Nadu Medical Code and the post – mortem certificate thus prepared should be handed over to the Magistrate concerned through the Head Constable as soon as the autopsy is over on the very same day. The Madras HC issuing guidelines opined that if autopsy reports are prepared in a shabby and unscientific manner and without an actual performance of autopsies by Doctors, it will lead to the collapse of the criminal justice delivery system in this country.
9. DELHI HC DIRECTS UOI & STATE GOVT TO TREAT PIL FILED AGAINST ONLINE GAMBLING AS A REPRESENTATION:
Case name: Tarun Chandiok v. Union of India &Anr.
A Public Interest Litigation was filed by Tarun Chandiok to issue a direction, order or writ against the respondents to:
• Prohibit websites and mobile apps facilitating forbidden “gaming” whether in the name of online fantasy gaming or skill monetization or the game of skill, within the meaning of the Public Gambling Act, 1867 and the Delhi Public Gambling Act, 1955.
• Restrain broadcasters from running advertisements or promotions regarding illegally run gaming websites or mobile apps.
• To initiate penal action with offences envisaged in the above-mentioned acts.
• To formulate policy or constitute Gaming Commission to regulate and redress grievances of online players and protect the interests of minor children & youth from the long shadow.
Since Gaming is a subject matter of the State List, the Delhi High Court directed the State Government to consider the PIL as a representation and do the needful.