Section 377 of Penal Code not applicable to LGBT community.

Right of privacy of consenting adult:

i. The offence of “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” has not been defined in Section 377. It is too wide, and open-ended, and would take within its sweep, and criminalise even sexual acts of consenting adults in private.

A distinction has to be made between consensual relationships of adults in private, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual in nature. Furthermore, consensual relationships between adults cannot be classified along with offences of bestiality, sodomy and non-consensual relationships. Sexual orientation is immutable, since it is an innate feature of one’s identity, and cannot be changed at will. The choice of LGBT persons to enter into intimate sexual relations with persons of the same sex is an exercise of their personal choice, and an expression of their autonomy and self-determination.

Section 377 insofar as it criminalises voluntary sexual relations between LGBT persons of the same sex in private, discriminates against them on the basis of their “sexual orientation” which is violative of their fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution. Continue reading “Section 377 of Penal Code not applicable to LGBT community.”

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Delay in filing election petition

Application of Limitation Act, 1963 on Election Petition under Representation of People Act.

Facts:

The first respondent filed an election petition in the first instance to which there was an objection to maintainability under Order 7 Rule 11 of the CPC. Confronted with the objection under Order 7 Rule 11, the first respondent obviated a decision thereon by withdrawing the election petition. The grant of liberty to file a fresh election petition cannot obviate the bar of limitation. The fresh election petition filed by the first respondent was beyond the statutory period of 30 days and was hence liable to be rejected. Continue reading “Delay in filing election petition”

West Bengal Panchayat Elections

Supreme Court Refused to countermand West Bengal Panchayat Elections:

These were the reasons given by Supreme Court for declining to interfere:

“[I]t would be inappropriate for this Court to exercise its jurisdiction to interdict the declaration of results of the uncontested seats. First and foremost, it is necessary for the Court to notice that no specific relief was claimed before the High Court in regard to those seats where there was no contest. Neither were there adequate pleadings nor indeed were specific prayers set up before the High Court when its jurisdiction under Article 226 was invoked. The proceedings before the High Court were brought by several political parties, each of whom would have been well aware of the situation on the ground and the need to formulate an adequate basis in fact to invoke the jurisdiction of the High Court. Absent such a factual foundation, the High Court dealt with the only issue which had been addressed, which was the plea that nominations should be allowed to be filed in the electronic form. No other plea was raised.

Continue reading “West Bengal Panchayat Elections”

Eviction of tenant under Rajasthan Rent Act.

Rajasthan Premises (Control of Rent and Eviction) Act, 1950; Section 13.

It is evident from Section 13(3) of the Rent Act that the use of the word ‘shall’ puts a mandatory obligation on the court to fix provisional rent within three months of the filing of the written statement but before framing of the issues. The language of the Section is mandatory and places a duty on the court to determine the provisional rent irrespective of any application or not. If the rent so determined by the court is paid by the tenant as provided under Section 13(4), no decree for eviction of the tenant can be passed on the ground of default under Section 13(1)(a) in view of Section 13(6) of the Act. It is thus clear that unless the determination under Section 13(3) takes place, Section 13(6) cannot be complied with and a valuable right given to a tenant would be lost. The High Court, in our view, has rightly held Section 13(3) of the Act to be mandatory.

[Source: Ram Pratap vs Anand Kanwar decided by SC on 21 August, 2018]

Scope of Moratorium under Bankruptcy Code 2016.

Whether Section 14 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, which provides for a moratorium for the limited period mentioned in the Code, on admission of an insolvency petition, would apply to a personal guarantor of a corporate debtor?

The amended Section reads as follows:

“14. Moratorium.— xxx xxx xxx (3) The provisions of sub-section (1) shall not apply to—

(a) such transactions as may be notified by the Central Government in consultation with any financial sector regulator;

(b) a surety in a contract of guarantee to a corporate debtor.”

The Insolvency Law Committee, appointed by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, by its Report dated 26.03.2018, made certain key recommendations like:

“…….since many guarantees for loans of corporates are given by its promoters in the form of personal guarantees, if there is a stay on actions against their assets during a CIRP, such promoters (who are also corporate applicants) may file frivolous applications to merely take advantage of the stay and guard their assets. In the judgments analysed in this relation, many have been filed by the corporate applicant under Section 10 of the Code and this may corroborate the above apprehension of abuse of the moratorium provision.

The Committee concluded that Section 14 does not intend to bar actions against assets of guarantors to the debts of the corporate debtor and recommended that an explanation to clarify this may be inserted in Section 14 of the Code. The scope of the moratorium may be restricted to the assets of the corporate debtor only.”

The Report of the said Committee makes it clear that the object of the amendment was to clarify and set at rest what the Committee thought was an overbroad interpretation of Section 14. That such clarificatory amendment is retrospective in nature.

“In determining, therefore, the nature of the Act, regard must be had to the substance rather than to the form. If a new Act is ‘to explain’ an earlier Act, it would be without object unless construed retrospective. An explanatory Act is generally passed to supply an obvious omission or to clear up doubts as to the meaning of the previous Act. It is well settled that if a statute is curative or merely declaratory of the previous law retrospective operation is generally intended. The language ‘shall be deemed always to have meant’ is declaratory, and is in plain terms retrospective. In the absence of clear words indicating that the amending Act is declaratory, it would not be so construed when the pre-amended provision was clear and unambiguous. An amending Act may be purely clarificatory to clear a meaning of a provision of the principal Act which was already implicit. A clarificatory amendment of this nature will have retrospective effect and, therefore, if the principal Act was existing law which the Constitution came into force, the amending Act also will be part of the existing law.”

[Source: State Bnk of India vs. Ramakrishnan decided by SC on 14 August, 2018]

Custody of child who is citizen of USA

Dispute between Parents of the child and mother removed the child to India. Mother approaching family court at New Delhi, India and Father at Illinois, USA.

Mother/appellant and minor child are presently in New Delhi and the appellant has no intention to return to her matrimonial home in the U.S.A. The appellant has apprehensions and serious reservations on account of her past experience in respect of which we do not think it necessary to dilate in this proceedings. That is a matter to be considered by the Court of Competent Jurisdiction called upon to decide the issue of dissolution of marriage and/or grant of custody of the minor child, as the case may be. For the time being, we may observe that the parties must eschew from pursuing parallel proceedings in two different countries. For, the first marriage between the parties was performed in New Delhi as per Anand Karaj Ceremony and Hindu Vedic rites on 31st October, 2010 and the petition for dissolution of marriage has been filed in New Delhi. Whereas, the civil marriage ceremony on 19th March, 2011 at Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, USA, was performed to complete the formalities for facilitating the entry of the appellant into the US and to obtain US Permanent Resident status. It is appropriate that the proceedings pending in the Family Court at New Delhi are decided in the first place including on the question of jurisdiction of that Court. Depending on the outcome of the said proceedings, the parties will be free to pursue such other remedies as may be permissible in law before the Court of Competent Jurisdiction. Continue reading “Custody of child who is citizen of USA”

Directions to prevent cow vigilante and mob lynching

Rule of Law:

Law, enacted for the benefit of the society by conferring rights on the citizens and to regulate social behaviour in many a sphere, is required to be implemented by the law enforcing agencies and the citizens are duty bound to follow the law treating it as sacred. Law has to be regarded as the foundation of a civilized society. The primary goal of law is to have an orderly society where the citizenry dreams for change and progress is realized and the individual aspiration finds space for expression of his/her potential. In such an atmosphere while every citizen is entitled to enjoy the rights and interest bestowed under the constitutional and statutory law, he is also obligated to remain obeisant to the command of law.

Duty of authorities:

There can be no shadow of doubt that the authorities which are conferred with the responsibility to maintain law and order in the States have the principal obligation to see that vigilantism, be it cow vigilantism or any other vigilantism of any perception, does not take place. When any core group with some kind of idea take the law into their own hands, it ushers in anarchy, chaos, disorder and, eventually, there is an emergence of a violent society. Vigilantism cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be given room to take shape, for it is absolutely a perverse notion. We may note here that certain applications for intervention and written notes have been filed in this regard supporting the same on the basis that there is cattle smuggling and cruel treatment to animals. In this context, suffice it to say that it is the law enforcing agencies which have to survey, prevent and prosecute. No one has the authority to enter into the said field and harbour the feeling that he is the law and the punisher himself. A country where the rule of law prevails does not allow any such thought. It, in fact, commands for ostracisation of such thoughts with immediacy. Continue reading “Directions to prevent cow vigilante and mob lynching”

claim of exclusive right to trade mark in common use.

Trade Mark MALABAR in public domain.

The appellant though claims exclusive right over the word ‘MALABAR’ since there is a disclaimer to the exclusive use of the word ‘MALABAR’, the appellant has no right over the exclusive use of the word ‘MALABAR’. The respondents have also inter alia brought on record the materials to show the registration of other goods under Class-30 with the word ‘MALABAR MONSOON’ granted in favour of Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company Limited for Coffee Cream, Coffee included in Class-30. The registration of the mark ‘MALABAR MONSOON’ under Class-30 also contains similar disclaimer of the word ‘MALABAR’. Likewise, the label ‘MALABAR COAST’ has been registered in Class-30 for Coffee, Tea, Cocoa, Sugar etc. in favour of Tropical Retreats Private Limited which again contains a similar disclaimer for the exclusive use of the word ‘MALABAR COAST’. Having regard to the materials placed on record, we are of the view that the High Court rightly held that the appellant cannot claim exclusive right over the use of the word ‘MALABAR’. Continue reading “claim of exclusive right to trade mark in common use.”

Plea of fraud after 16 years delay

Plea of fraud raised at the stage of execution of decree.

The assignment of agreement, which was basis of decree sought to be challenged claiming the signatures on the deed to bea forgery but no explanation offered for delay of 16 years in raising the question.

Kalyani executed an agreement for sale on 27.12.1968 in favour of second plaintiff-Vasudevan Pillai. Second plaintiff assigned the aforesaid agreement on 05.08.1978 in favour of one Rajayyan and the said Rajayyan assigned the agreement in favour of third plaintiff-Selvi on 10.03.1983. As pointed out earlier, all the three plaintiffs filed final decree application in I.A. No.120 of 1985. After the disposal of the matter by the first appellate court and when the second appeal was pending before the High Court, second plaintiff Vasudevan Pillai filed an affidavit on 07.01.2013 before the trial court – District Munsiff Court, Kuzhithurai alleging that a fraud has been played on him and denying the right of third plaintiff-Selvi to pursue the final decree application. Continue reading “Plea of fraud after 16 years delay”

Scope of appeal against acquittal

Duty of appellate court:

It is the duty of an appellate Court to look into the evidence adduced in the case and arrive at an independent conclusion as to whether the said evidence can be relied upon or not and even if it can be relied upon, then whether the prosecution can be said to have been proved beyond reasonable doubt on the said evidence. The credibility of a witness has to be adjudged by the appellate court in drawing inference from proved and admitted facts. It must be remembered that the appellate court, like the trial court, has to be satisfied affirmatively that the prosecution case is substantially true and the guilt of the accused has been proved beyond all reasonable doubt as the presumption of innocence with which the accused starts, continues right through until he is held guilty by the final Court of Appeal and that presumption is neither strengthened by an acquittal nor weakened by a conviction in the trial court.

[Source:  Padam Singh v. State of U.P., (2000) 1 SCC 621]

Appeal against acquittal:

The power of the appellate Court in an appeal against acquittal is the same as that of an appeal against conviction. But, in an appeal against acquittal, the Court has to bear in mind that the presumption of innocence is in favour of the accused and it is strengthened by the order of acquittal. At the same time, appellate Court will not interfere with the order of acquittal mainly because two views are possible, but only when the High Court feels that the appreciation of evidence is based on erroneous considerations and when there is manifest illegality in the conclusion arrived at by the trial Court.

In the present case, there was manifest irregularity in the appreciation of evidence by the trial Court. The High Court based on sound principles of criminal jurisprudence, has interfered with the judgment of acquittal passed by the trial Court and convicted the accused as the prosecution was successful in proving the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

[Source: Khurshid Ahmed vs. State of J & K, decided by SC on 15th May 2018]