When we talk about law school examinations or any competitive exam in which law-related questions are asked, recent Judgements play a very important role. Therefore in continuation with the last article, in this blog, we will be talking about the rest of the important cases of the year 2021.
Gautam Navlakha vs. National Investigation Authority (2021)
Overcrowding of prisons has been a perennial problem in India and this issue has been dealt with a number of times to which no prominent solution is yet found. However, house arrest can be one such solution to prevent this problem.
A case that gave clarification on the legality of house arrest in India is Gautam Navlakha vs. National Investigation Authority. This case held that house arrest can be ordered by the courts under Section 167 of the CrPC. Gautam Navlakha was denied bail in the Bhima Koregaon case as he gave provocative speeches resulting in Koregaon violence.
If we take a look at the investigation procedure then an accused can be kept behind the police custody for 24 hours after arrest during which the police investigates and this period can be extended to 15 days (here comes Section 167 of CrPC) and then to 60 or 90 days depending upon the seriousness of crimes. Gautam Navlakha was ordered house arrest of 34 days which he pleaded to be counted within the maximum of 90 days- time period.
His appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court (Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph) stating that house arrest is an alternative form of detention under Section 167 CrPC.
Satbir Singh v. State of Haryana (2021)
India reported nearly 7000 dowry deaths in 2020 and Uttar Pradesh had the highest number of reported dowry deaths with more than 2,000 cases. The dowry system in India includes payments in many forms made to the groom as a condition for marriage. With no permanent halt on this offence, India witnessed another recent case in which the Supreme Court laid down guidelines for dowry death trials. Let’s take a look!
This case dealt with Section 304-B of IPC and its interpretation. If we take a look at this section, then it uses a phrase “soon before” to establish the proximate link between the cruelty and consequential death of the victim.
The fact of this case is that the death of a woman was caused after 1 year of marriage by setting her ablaze. So, in cases of dowry deaths, it is the court’s duty to determine the proximate time and link between cruelty and consequential death of the victim.
The Supreme Court held that the phrase “soon before” cannot be restricted to mean immediately before; it has to be interpreted in accordance with factum of each case.
PASL Wind Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Vs. GE Power Conversion India Pvt. Ltd. (2021)
The concepts of 'Seat' and 'Venue' are of utmost importance in any arbitration proceeding as they not only determine where the arbitration is conducted but is also crucial in ascertaining the supervisory jurisdiction of courts. Disputes in relation to the seat of arbitration is not new, and this case also held upon a similar issue clarifying that companies are free to choose their foreign seat of arbitration. Have a look!
This case dealt with Section 44 of Arbitration Act and deliberated on the issue that, if two companies are incorporated in India then can they choose an arbitration forum outside India?
The two companies herein referred had a contractual dispute relating to wind turbines and according to the arbitration clause in their contract, in case of any dispute, it must be heard at Zurich and governed under Swiss law.
The Court therefore held that both the companies can choose a foreign seat for arbitration proceedings.
In Re: Distribution of Essential Supplies and Services During Pandemic (2021)
Last year, India witnessed one of the most devastating pandemics of all times in the form of COVID- 19 virus. The entire health system, government were under huge pressure. As a sign of relief, more than 300Cr. People are fully vaccinated and fighting this pandemic. This brings us to a case on “Vaccine Policy of the Centre and distribution of essential supplies during pandemic”. Have a look!
A Public Interest Litigation was Suo motu filed during the pandemic to supervise the effective distribution of essential supplies and services. And the court focused on various other needs such as proper oxygen supply, implementation of proper methods and manner of providing vaccinations etc.
Reliefs sought under this case-
1. Priority groups for the vaccination must be
a) People aged 45+.
b) People who are disabled.
2. The CoWin app must be made fully accessible for online registration.
3. Vaccination sites must function without any glitch etc.
This case is still being heard.
Rajeev Suri v. DDA & Ors. (2021)
The Central Vista project since announced had sparked debates about development. Central Vista is also termed as India’s power corridor and no sooner a case popped up against the construction or development of the Central Vista building. Let’s have a look at this case.
The Supreme Court in this case upheld Centre's Plan for the Central Vista Project by 2:1 majority. A number of petitions by numerous persons were filed against the Central Vista Project, one of them was Rajeev Suri who filed a petition against the project stating its construction will lead to change in land use and even the petitioners alleged that the Centre infringed Article 21 & the Public Trust doctrine by denying basic access to public or recreational spaces that are essential to life and liberty.
· The SC ultimately held that the public trust doctrine does not prohibit the government from utilising the resources held in public trust as the Central Vista Project is in public interest.
· Section 11A (2) of the DDA gives power to the Centre that it can modify or change the framework of the master plan for city development, so the change in land use is legal in this case.
Kumari D v. State of Karnataka (2021)
Whether the Right of a Woman to Exercise her Reproductive choice is a dimension of personal liberty under Article 21 or not has been largely debated in various courts of India. And the Supreme Court in 2021 cleared the stance on this. Lets have a look at this case!
In this case there was a medical practitioner who had refused to terminate the pregnancy of a 16 year old rape survivor since it crossed the 24 weeks limit as mentioned in Section 3 of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. The petitioner went to the court saying that she cannot be forced to carry the burden of a crime & she should not be compelled to deliver a baby against her will.
In this case the Court directed immediate abortion saying that the fate of the child may be perilous and detrimental to its own interest and also said that pregnancy if allowed to continue could be possibly affect the girl’s mental health.
The judge noted that the right of a woman to exercise her reproductive choice is a dimension of “personal liberty” under Article 21 and she has a sacrosanct right to have her bodily integrity protected.
Jorawer Singh Mundy v Union of India (2021)
Right to be forgotten is a fairly new and evolving concept in India. Whether it falls under the purview of individual's right to privacy or not has been debated in various cases. Lets have a look at one of them!
In this case the petitioner was an American citizen who visited India in 2009. A case was filed against him under Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. He was acquitted by the trial court a few years later.
When he went back to the US he found significant hurdles in finding a job since the Judgement of the HC on appeal was easily available on the internet. So any potential employer who would do a background check on him could find the details of the case.
So he sent notices to Google India Pvt Ltd. , Google LLC, Indian Kanoon & vLex.in. The Judgement was only withdrawn from vLex.in and not from other platforms therefore he filed a writ petition before the Delhi HC.
What was the issue?
Whether a court order can be removed from online platforms?
On one hand we have petitioners' right to privacy and on the other hand Public’s Right to Information & Preservation of transparency in judicial records.
What did the court say?
The court recognised the petitioner's right to privacy had been infringed and directed Google and Indian kanoon to remove access to the Judgement from their portals.
This was the first time in which a court ordered the removal of access to its complete final Judgement from certain spaces.
Tata sons v Mistry Case 2021
This battle basically started in October 2016 when the Chairman of Tata Sons- Cyrus Mistry was suddenly removed from the position.
The issue of minority shareholders and their rights came into question on allegations raised by the Mistry family and the Shapoorji Pallonji Group that removal of Mistry meant that minority shareholders were being oppressed.
A three judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice SA Bobde (including Justices AS Bopanna & V Ramasubramanian) determined that there was no case of oppression and mismanagement at Tata Sons which was alleged by Cyrus Mistry.
In its 282 page Judgement the court set aside the NCLAT’s order of December which reinstated Mistry on the Tata Sons Board & had termed the appointment of the current chairman N Chandrasekaran, illegal.
State of Kerala v. Leesamma Joseph (2021)
In this case the petitioner, Leesamma, who was appointed as a typist/clerk in the Police Department in 1996 on compassionate grounds as her brother had passed away while in service. She suffered from 55% permanent disability & at the time of joining, Joseph suffered from Post-Polio Residual Paralysis (L) Lower Limb & her permanent disability was assessed at 55%. However, since it was a case of compassionate appointment, she was hired under the general category and not as a disability under the existing PwD Act, 1995.
She raised a claim that she was entitled to promotion as a Senior Clerk with effect from 1st July, 2002 with all consequential benefits and as a Cashier with effect from 20th May, 2012 with all consequential benefits and thereafter as Junior Superintendent with effect from the date of her entitlement.
The primary question in this case arose was whether persons with disabilities have the right to claim reservation in promotion?
The Supreme Court affirmed the Kerala High Court Judgement holding that persons with physical disabilities (PwD) are entitled to reservation in promotion.
A key argument raised by the State of Kerala in its appeal before the SC was that the candidate cannot be given reservation in promotion as she was appointed on compassionate grounds and not in PwD quota.
SC said that the absence of rules to provide for reservations in promotion would not defeat the rights of PwD to reservations in promotion as it flowed from The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (replaced by “The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016).
The year 2021 had an array of important Judgements and legal events which are very important keeping in mind various competitive examinations. The judgements we discussed should be read in depth for better understanding.
We hope this compilation helps students in their respective examinations.
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