Liberalisation of the legal sector

i. SC Refuses to Modify Stay on Cattle Notification: The Supreme Court modified its previous order and vacated the stay on Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (Case Property Animals Rules 2017), which deals with the care and treatment of those animals seized under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The stay on the livestock rules, which imposed a ban on the trade in cattle for slaughter, however, remains in place(Sabu Steephen v. Union of India, W.P.(C) No. 419  of 2017, date of order: 11.08.2017).

ii. SEBI proceeds against shell companies; some obtain stay: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has placed 162 listed entities in a restricted catergory of trading suspected to be ‘shell’ companies, as identified by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The shares of these companies can be traded only once a month under the trade-to-trade category with certain other restrictions. Three companies, i.e., J. Kumar Infraprojects Ltd., Prakash Industries Ltd., and Parsvanath Developers Ltd., approached the Securities Appellate Tribunal, which partially stayed the directions. The stay means that the restriction on the shares will be lifted but the inquiry in those companies will continue(J. Kumar Infraprojects v SEBI, Appeal No. 173, 174 and 175 of 2017, date of orders: 10.08.2017 and 11.08.2017)

iii. Lifetime ban on Sreesanth lifted: The Kerala High Court has quashed the lifetime ban imposed by the BCCI on S. Sreesanth from playing professional cricket. Sreesanth had challenged the ban imposed on him for spot fixing, arguing that a Delhi court had exonerated him of the charges. The Kerala High Court held that the only thing Sreesanth could have been held liable for was the fact that he had knowledge of the betting but did not inform authorities, for which a four year punishment, barring him from all forms of cricket was sufficient (S. Sreesanth v BCCI, W.P. (C) No. 6925 of 2017, date of order: 07.08.2017).

iv. Reliance Life Sciences allowed participating in drug supply tender: The Bombay High Court directed the State of Maharashtra to accept a tender by Reliance for supply of various drugs, including Human Anti-Hemophilic Factor VIII. The State Government had not allowed Reliance to participate in the process, as it had been blacklisted by Bihar Government for not supplying Human Anti-Hemophilic Factor VIII within the required time. Reliance argued that the Bihar Government had subsequently removed them from the black list, though also de-registering them for the supply the drugs for the next five years. The Court found that once the company was removed from the black list, they could not be prevented from participating in the tender (Reliance Life Sciences Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra, Writ Petition No. 1749 of 2017, date of order: 02.08.2017).

v. NDMC Directed to ‘deal with’ Industries in Residential Areas: The Delhi High Court has directed the NDMC to deal with thousands of industries that have been operating in the residential areas of Delhi, even after the 2004 Supreme Court order directing such industries to be relocated. The Corporation argued that they had taken action against only 385 industries and not against many others, as they were non-polluting. It was also claimed that new plots had been allotted to the parties but they were not relocating. The Court asked the Corporation to ensure compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court and file an affidavit before the next date of hearing. (Bawana Factory Welfare Association v Govt. of NCT of Delhi, W.P.(C) 1960 of 2014, date of order: 10.08.2017).

vi. Response of Maharashtra Government sought regarding cow vigilantes:  The Bombay High Court has issued notice to the State Government and the State Police in a case asking for protection against cow vigilantes, ahead of Bakri-Eid. The Petitioners have also sought the setting up of a 24 hr helpline for the protection of citizens and ensure that they are not killed in the name of religion and further to collect information about the activities of cow vigilantes groups in Maharashtra (Shadaab Patel v State of Maharashtra, PIL No. 25 of 2017, date of order: 07.08.2017)

vii. Neglecting wife to live with second wife constitutes domestic violence: The Karnataka High Court has held that a husband neglecting his wife to live with his second wife amounts to domestic violence. The Court was considering a case where a wife filed for maintenance after three decades of separation. The Court observed that the duty to maintain one’s wife extends throughout their matrimonial life and a husband cannot make the excuse that the wife did not seek maintenance for many years (Kasturi v Subhas Meti CRP No. 539/2017, date of order: 03.08.2017).

viii. Police directed to gather information about accused’s email account from Google: The Madhya Pradesh High Court has asked the police, for the second time, to collect details of a man accused in a case of forgery and cheating a woman, from Google. The accused claimed that he has forgotten the passwords to his accounts. The accounts were vital to the commission of the crime. The Court also referred to an earlier order, which said that Google would co-operate in the provision of the information of the accounts, which were allegedly used by the accused to commit the crimes (Pratik Mohapatra v State of Madhya Pradesh, MCRC-7307-2017, date of order: 01.08.2017)

Other Legal Developments
ix. Deepak Misra to be the next CJI: Justice Deepak Misra has been formally appointed as the next Chief Justice of India. He will take over from the current Chief Justice of India, Justice J.S. Khehar who will retire on 27thAugust, 2017. Justice Misra has majorly practiced in the Orissa High Court. He was an additional judge at the Orissa High Court and later at the Madhya Pradesh High Court. He then became the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court in 2010 and then elevated to the Supreme Court in 2011.
Rules of procedure and conduct of business in Lok Sabha amended: The Rules have been amended to allow the Lok Sabha Committee on Petitions to take evidence of experts or interested parties on petitions. The Committee can also seek and rely on public opinion to make its report on the petitions. The Rules have been further amended to accommodate the filing of petitions through Members’ Portal. (Notification No. 12/1/CI/2017 dated 02.08.2017) (IPA/Concluded)

Friday, 25 August, 2017