Legal events & judgments of June 2023

3 Jul 2023  Read 5034 Views

Welcome to the June edition of our Monthly Roundoff of Legal Events and Judgments, where we bring you a compilation of the most significant legal events and judgments in India. We aim to provide you with a concise yet comprehensive overview of the recent developments in Indian law. 

So, let's unwrap what happened in June.

However, before moving any further, we would like you to check our updated free PDF comprising 25 Legal News of 2023: Wrap up the entire year Here!

Legal Judgments of June 2023

1. Coal India Held Liable under Competition Act, 2002

Case Name-  Coal India Ltd v. Competition Commission of India, 2023, SC

Facts- The case arose from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposing a penalty on Coal India for imposing unfair and discriminatory conditions in Fuel Supply Agreements with power producers. Coal India filed a plea challenging the order contending that it operates under the Coal Mines Nationalization Act & is exempted under the Competition Act. 

Judgment- The Supreme Court held that Coal India Ltd., a Public Sector Undertaking, would be subjected to the Competition Act, 2002.  The Court also acknowledged that the Act explicitly includes "government departments" in the definition of an enterprise. Since Coal India's activities do not fall under sovereign functions, it cannot be exempted from the Competition Act. 

2. Supreme Court Limits Judicial Review in Departmental Enquiry Proceedings

Case Name-  The Indian Oil Corporation & Ors. v. Ajit Kumar Singh & Anr., 2023, SC

Facts- An appeal was filed against the High Court's decision invalidating the disciplinary action taken against an employee in internal proceedings. The High Court, during the intra-court appeal, reviewed the evidence again and invalidated the employee's punishment.

Judgment- The Supreme Court held that during the judicial review, a Constitutional Court could not reevaluate evidence in a disciplinary proceeding as if it's a higher court reexamining a criminal trial conviction. The Court said it can only evaluate the decision-making process, not the decision's merits. 

3. Nudity shouldn't be regarded as obscene by default: Kerala HC

Case Name-  XXX v. State of Kerala, 2023, Kerala HC

Facts- A criminal petition was filed by a mother against whom a criminal case was lodged for posting a video of her children painting on her semi-nude body. The case was filed under the POCSO, IT, and JJ Act. 

Judgment- The Kerala High Court dismissed the criminal case filed against the mother & observed that a woman's naked body should not always be seen as sexual or obscene. The Court invoked the principle of body autonomy and highlighted societal double standards regarding male and female bodies.

4. Muslim Woman Can Seek Maintenance Even After Divorce: Bombay High Court

Case Name- ABC v. XYZ, 2023, Bom HC

Facts-  A man filed an application challenging the increase in maintenance to his ex-wife in a domestic violence case. He contended that there was no domestic relationship at the time of the complaint and that the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act should apply, denying maintenance to the complainant.  The woman alleged mistreatment by her husband and his relatives, leading her to file a complaint under section 12 of the DV Act, 2005, against her husband and his relatives for domestic violence. She also filed an application for maintenance. 

Judgment- The Court dismissed a man's application challenging the increase in maintenance to his ex-wife in a domestic violence case. The High Court ruled that even if the husband gave talaq, the wife could still claim maintenance under the DV Act.  

5. Haj Pilgrimage falls within the ambit of Religious Practice: Delhi HC

Case Name-  Al Tawaf Hajj and Umrah Travel and Tourism v. UOI & ors, Del HC, 2023

Facts- In this case, a private Haj Group organizer challenged the suspension of their registration certificates and quota, as published in the "Consolidated List of Allocation of Haj quota for Haj-2023" by the Union Government on May 25 in Delhi Court. 

Judgment- The Court ordered a stay on the comment in the consolidated list of allocation of Haj Quota for HAJ-2023, which stated that the registration certificate and quota would be kept on hold until the resolution of a complaint in order to ensure an unhindered pilgrimage experience for the pilgrims. The Delhi High Court has ruled that the Haj pilgrimage is protected under Article 25 of the Indian Constitution as a religious practice. 

Legal News of June 2023

1. "Sedition Law: Here to Stay"

The 22nd Law Commission of India, in its 279th report, has advised against the complete repeal of the sedition law (Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code) and instead proposed certain amendments to the provision. The Commission recommended that Section 124A should be retained in the Indian Penal Code but with greater clarity regarding its usage. The Commission suggested incorporating the ratio decidendi of the Kedar Nath Singh v. State of Bihar case to achieve this. 

The Commission also proposed increasing the punishment for the offence of sedition.

2. Will India Welcome the Uniform Civil Code?

The 22nd Law Commission of India has sought public and religious organizations' opinions on the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), following the recommendations of its predecessor, the 21st Law Commission. The 21st Commission concluded that a UCC was not necessary or desirable, emphasizing the reform of family laws in various religions to ensure gender justice and uniform rights. The report addressed issues such as women's economic rights, inheritance laws, property division upon divorce, and the rights of persons with disabilities in marriage. However, the government has not acted upon these recommendations in the past five years. 

3. New Constitution Bench formed 

The Supreme Court of India has formed a new 5-Judge Constitution Bench to hear four cases on July 12th and 13th, 2023. Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud will lead the bench and will comprise Justices Hrishikesh Roy, PS Narasimha, Pankaj Mithal and Manoj Misra. The cases involve selection process rules, the appointment of ineligible arbitrators, and driving license requirements. 

4. Supreme Court Rejects Urgent Listing of Manipur Tribal Violence Case

The Supreme Court vacation bench rejected the urgent listing of an Interlocutory Application (IA) filed by the Manipur Tribal Forum. 

The  Interlocutory Application sought intervention to address escalating violence against the tribal community in Manipur. It requested Indian Army control, establishment of a Special Investigation Team, FIR registration against specific individuals, and joint reparations. The Court has scheduled the hearing for July 3. The Interlocutory Application raised concerns about attacks and ethnic cleansing of the Kuki tribe, criticizing the Union of India and the Chief Minister of Manipur. 

5. Session Court Acquits Two Accused in Best Bakery Case 

In the Best Bakery case, a Sessions Court in Mumbai has acquitted two individuals, Harshad Solanki and Mafat Gohil. The Court found them not guilty based on the grounds of insufficient evidence against them. This case relates to the 2002 incident at the Best Bakery in Vadodara, where 14 people were killed during the Godhra Riots. The Court's decision comes after their arrest in 2013 and a trial that began in 2019.

Conclusion

This compilation covered significant legal judgments, including the liability of Coal India, limitations on judicial review, societal perceptions of nudity, Muslim women's rights to maintenance, and the recognition of the Haj pilgrimage. We hope this concise compilation serves as a helpful resource & provides you with essential updates on Indian law. Stay tuned for our next edition of Monthly Legal Updates!

About the Author: Priya Barlota | 15 Post(s)

Priya Barlota is a law graduate from Amity University. She is an avid reader, and has a keen interest in Constitutional Law, IPR and Criminal Law. Follows Geo- Politics religiously.

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