Note ban and Supreme Court

i. Information on encounter killings sought: The Supreme Court directed states to respond to a petition of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking that they mandatorily submit information about any encounter killings in their jurisdiction to enable it to carry out an enquiry. The NHRC has sought the information in accordance with the guidelines and provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. [National Human Rights Commission vs. Union of India, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1012/2014, date of order 04.07.2017]

ii. False caste certificate will vitiate job and education seat: The Supreme Court in a significant judgment has held that appointment to a post or admission in an educational institution based on a false caste/tribe certificate is void. The Court observed that “when a person who does not belong to a caste, tribe or class for whom reservation is meant, seeks to pass off as its member, such a stratagem constitutes a fraud on the Constitution.”[Chairman & Managing Director, FCI & Ors. vs. Jagdish Balaram Bahira & Ors., Civil Appeal No. 8928 of 2015, date of judgment: 06.07.2017]

iii. Stay on Uttarakhand High Court order granting legal status to rivers: The Supreme Court has stayed the Uttarakhand High Court order declaring the rivers Ganga and Yamuna as having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person, and also issued notice to the Centre. [State of Uttarakhand & Ors. vs. Md. Salim & Ors., Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 016879/2017, date of order: 07.07.2017]

High Courts and Other Forums

iv. Posting insulting facebook post against SC/ST punishable: The Delhi High Court has held that posting insulting/humiliating content on facebook to humiliate a member of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes is punishable under the law, even if the insult was not made in the presence of the victim. [Gayatri vs. State, Writ Petition (Cri) No. 3083/2016, date of judgment: 03.07.2017]

v. Yahoo wins trademark infringement case: The Delhi High Court awarded Rs 5 lakhs as damages to Yahoo, the US-based company, for trademark infringement by a website called ‘Yahookochi’. The Court held that there is no plausible explanation for the adoption of the identical mark as part of the trading name and domain name of the defendants. [Yahoo Inc. vs. Rinshad Rinu, CS (COMM) 668/2016, date od order: 03.07.2017]     
vi. Right to carry firearm not a fundamental right: The Delhi High Court has held that there is no fundamental right of an individual to carry firearms. The grant of license to hold arms is a privilege under the Act, which is granted only for the purpose of self-defence, i.e., when there is a specific threat to the individual concerned.

Castigating the new culture of carrying arms by influential persons, the Court observed that “we are not living in a lawless society where individuals have to acquire or hold arms to protect themselves. Possession of arms today has become a status symbol. Individuals seek to possess arms mostly for the purposes of showing off that they are influential people. Arms are even being used indiscriminately for celebrity firing at marriages, etc.” [Virendra Prasad vs. Additional Commissioner of Police, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 11035/2016, Date of order: 03.07.2017]    

vii. Appeal under Arbitration Act to be filed within 90 days: The Kerala High Court has held that an arbitral appeal under the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 has to be filed within the limitation period of 90 days, though the Act does not expressly provide for it.

viii. Data numericals of corrupt officers to be published: The Central Information Commission has directed all Ministries and Departments of the Union of India to publish the numerical details of on-going departmental, vigilance and well as police prosecution cases. However, the identity of the employees would be kept confidential, and only the year and departmental wise numeric data to be disclosed. [Ashok Kumar Reddy vs. PIO, GNCTD [File No. CIC/GNCTD/C/2017/178018, date of order 28.06.2017]

II. Other Legal and Policy Developments

ix. The Department of Revenue has notified the list of transactions that shall not be subject to the limit of cash transaction of Rs 2 lakhs, in the exercise of its powers under Section 269ST(iii) of the Income Tax Act 1961.

x. Notice for Vice Presidential Election out: On 4th July, 2017, a Public Notice for the Vice-Presidential election has been issued by the Election Commission of India. The last date for filing nomination is 18th July, 2017, while the election will take place on 5th August, 2017. [See:]

xi. Anti-defection law does not apply to Presidential Elections: The Election Commission of India clarified that the anti-defection law does not apply to Presidential Elections. It stated that “voting or not voting as per his/her own free will at the Presidential election will not come within the ambit of disqualification under the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India and the electors are at liberty to vote or not to vote at the Presidential election as per their own free will and choice.”

Appointment of new Attorney General: Shri K.K. Venugopal, Senior Advocate and Constitutional Expert, was appointed by the President as the 15th Attorney General of India on 1st July, 2017, after Mukul Rohtagi stepped down from the post.  (IPA/Concluded)

Wednesday, 19 July, 2017