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Another year of several pioneering judgments and high-voltage political drama has come to an end for the Delhi High Court.
Overall, in 2019, the Delhi High Court displayed a conservative approach as it repeatedly restrained itself from entertaining petitions challenging the government's policy decisions.
While exercising its writ juridiction, the Court, time and again, reiterated that it would generally not interefere in matters of policy.
The Court, while dealing with a petition to link social media accounts with Aadhaar, said,
“The role of courts is primarily to interpret the law as it is. We are not concerned with law as it ought to be. The primary role of law as per the theory of positivism is to interpret the law and not make law, except in exceptional circumstances, especially when there is a gap in law or it is silent..”
On another ocassion, the Court said,
"…This Court will be slow in giving directions (to the Government) to formulate policy...”, as it dismissed a plea seeking directions to the Centre to make laws in relation to marriage, adoption, divorce of LGBT persons.
A similar remark was made by the Court when it dismissed a petition to quash the blanket ban on condom advertisements on television between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
Apart from Justice Menon, Justices AK Pathak, Vinod Goel, Sunil Gaur and RK Gauba also retired on attainmenent of superannuation.
A number of developments occurred over the course of the past year. The High Court issued several Practice Directions, including ones for filing petitions under Article 227, Section 115 CPC, and service of documents between counsel and court clerks. It was also clarfied that service by email was adequate proof of service in cases under Ordinary Original Civil jurisdiction.
The High Court also introduced a one-time process fee for original side matters.
The Delhi High Court Advocates Welfare Trust was also introduced to help lawyers in need.
At the Bar level, the Delhi High Court Bar Association elected Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur as its President.
This year, the High Court also called for applications for designation of advocates as senior advocates.
Below are some of the highlights of 2019:
January 7: The Court upheld the Constitutional validity of the Rule which gave power to the Centre to voluntary retire RAW Officers with compromised identity.
The Court set aside the Centre’s decision to ban an FDC manufactured by Wockhardt Ltd.
January 9: The Court held that there was no fundamental right to education in an institution of one’s personal choice or preference.
January 8: The Court dismissed a plea to immediately remove Arvind Kejriwal from the post of the Chief Minister of Delhi.
January 11: The Court refused to quash the FIR lodged against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana and others in relation to the Moin Qureshi bribery case.
January 15: The Court partly set aside an arbitration award directing DMRC to pay over Rs 2,700 crore to a unit of Reliance Infrastructure Ltd for breach of an agreement between them.
January 16: The Court held that information regarding allegations of corruption and human rights violations in respect of Section 24(1) RTI Act need not be mandatorily disclosed by the concerned authorities under the Act, if the information is struck by Section 8 of the Act.
January 23: The Court held that a victim under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (SC/ST Act) is not entitled to seek the appointment of an advocate of his/her choice as the Public Prosecutor/Special Prosecutor.
Jannuary 28: The Court held that POCSO victims cannot be asked to pay expenses for Sec 207 CrPC documents.
Februray 7: The Court directed plantation of over 15,000 trees for failure on part of certain respondents to file their replies in CBI, ED appeals in the 2G case.
February 8: The Court dismissed a plea seeking regulation of content on online streaming platforms.
February 13: The Court set aside the Centre’s decision to ban FDCs of the formulations used to treat Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus.
Februrary 15: The Court asked the Bar Council of India (BCI) to consider framing guidelines on professional fees charged by lawyers.
Februray 18: The Court set aside the notification banning the Combikit of Azithromycin, Secnidazole and Fluconazol.
The Court dismissed a plea challenging the transit remand order passed against Manipur student activist Thokchom Veewon.
Februray 22: The Court set aside Notification banning the manufacture, sale and distribution of drugs having Fixed Dose Combination of ‘Pioglitazone 30 mg + Metformin 500 mg’.
Februray 28: The Court refused to entertain Jairam Ramesh's petition challenging the amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) through the Finance Acts of 2015, 2016 and 2018.
The Court upheld the Election Commission's order which allotted AIADMK’s Two Leaves symbol to the faction led by EK Palaniswami and O Panneerselvam.
The Court upheld the eviction of Associated Journals Limited from the Herald House premises at ITO, New Delhi.
March 18: The Court held that forced and unannounced eviction of slum dwellers without drawing up a rehabilitation plan was contrary to law.
The Court stayed the ban on e-cigarettes, e-sheesha in India.
The Court disposes of a plea seeking a probe into FDI norms violation by Amazon, Flipkart.
March 20: Robert Vadra moves the Court to quash the ECIR in a money laundering case by ED against him.
March 29: The Court rejected a plea by former Ranbaxy promoter Malvinder Singh seeking exemption of the quarterly ‘pension’ received by him from the ambit of an attachment order passed by the Court.
April 2: The Court held that SARFAESI, RDBA, IBC do not prevail over PMLA, to be enforced in harmony.
April 3: The Court held that mere registration as an advocate did not imply legal practice.
April 8: The Court directed YouTuber PewDiePie to remove two songs which defamed T-Series from his platform.
April 10: The Court issued notice in a plea to stop unauthorized operation of Google Pay.
The Court declared Section 22(3) of Competition Act as unconstitutional.
The Court called for a dynamic injunction to crack down on Piratebay, Fmovies.
April 22: The Court issued notice in a challenge to appointment of Dr. Mrinal Satish as Chairman of Delhi Judicial Academy.
April 25: The Court set aside Centre’s decision to restrict production of Basmati rice to areas in the Indo-Gangetic plain
April 29: The Court refused to hear a plea for a media gag order on sexual harassment allegations against then CJI Ranjan Gogoi.
The Court held that the existence of tortious claim was not a ground to permit a party to wriggle out of arbitration.
May 8: The Court directed Google, Twitter to take down an article facilitating short selling in the stock market.
The Court held that it cannot examine issues of paternity in Habeas Corpus writs.
May 9: The Court iterated that the #MeToo campaign could not become a `Sullying #UToo’ campaign forever.
May 15: The Court stayed a TRAI direction to reinstate long duration packs under the old tariff regime.
The Court held that the United Nations was not 'State' under Article 12 and was thus not amenable to Article 226 jurisdiction.
May 16: The Court directed Delhi Government to grant sanction to establish 18 fast track courts.
May 22: The Court awarded Rs. 50 lakh compensation to doctors, nurse killed in Faridabad air ambulance crash.
May 24: The Court stayed trial court proceedings against Usha Ananthasubramanian, other officials.
May 27: The Court dismissed a PIL against BJP leader Rajeev Chandrasekhar for filing an allegedly false affidavit in Rajya Sabha Election.
The Court issued notice in ED's plea challenging anticipatory bail granted to Robert Vadra in connection with a money laundering case.
The Court upheld its Rule mandating filing of pleadings in English, stated that pleadings could not be in Hindi.
May 28: The Court held that ‘Family’ as a unit was entitled to protection against arbitrary interference by the State.
The Court imposed Rs 10 lakh costs on Policy Bazaar for concealment of material facts.
May 30: Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay Rs 25 lakh each to 67 patients affected by faulty hip implants.
The Court upheld the District Magistrate’s power under the Senior Citizen's Act to evict children who do not maintain their parents.
The Court directed the Centre to implement Delhi Government’s decision on revising pay scale for Public Prosecutors.
May 31: The Court extended the time granted to CBI to complete the Rakesh Asthana probe by four months.
The Court issued notice in a plea seeking Uniform Civil Code.
June 19: The Court restrained Hotelier Association from calling for a ban on Oyo Rooms.
July 2: The Court dismissed GVK Airport's plea to restrain Bid Services from selling its stake in Mumbai Airport.
July 3: The Court issued notice in a plea to stop operations of PayPal in India.
July 5: The Court issued notice in Raghav Chadha's plea challenging the election of BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri in the Lok Sabha Elections.
The Court asked GVK Airport Holdings to approach the Arbitral Tribunal for interim relief against Bid Services.
July 8: The Court restrained Amazon, Flipkart from selling Amway products without consent.
The Court dismissed a plea to recognize LGBT relationships by making laws on marriage, adoption.
The Court disposed of a plea seeking guidelines on phone tapping.
The Court dismisses plea to quash 6AM-10PM ban on condom advertisements on TV.
Thirteen Banks moved the Court against Service Tax demand of Rs. 38,000 crore by Centre.
July 10: The Court dismissed a plea to quash the result of NEET UG 2019.
July 11: The Court dismissed Subramanian Swamy’s plea to stay grant of international flying permit to AirAsia India.
The Court dismissed a plea challenging the interview process for Christian candidates in St Stephen’s College.
July 12: The Court issued notice in a challenge to the election of BJP’s Hans Raj Hans from North-West Delhi in the Lok Sabha Polls.
July 16: The Court directed EC to consider if there can Aadhaar-based voting system for Elections.
The Court held that 90 days limitation for appeal under NIA Act was not mandatory in nature.
The Court issued notice in plea to link property documents with Aadhaar.
July 18: The Court dismissed plea alleging discrepancies in cut-off for reserved category Christians in St Stephen's College.
July 23: The Court held that it could not direct institutes to lower cut-offs for candidates with learning disability.
July 24: The Court upheld a Delhi Government order fixing Rs 20,000 as the minimum wage for nurses in private hospitals.
July 25: The Court held that Separate Arbitration Agreements could be referred to joint arbitration in case of a composite transaction.
July 29: The Court dismissed a plea to regulate standard of education in Madrasas, Maktabas, and Gurukuls.
July 31: The High Court set aside charges against ex-Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss in relation to a medical college corruption case.
August 2: The Court quashed criminal proceedings against Reliance Industries under theOfficial Secrets Act.
August 6: The Court accepts an unconditional apology by the author of article making scandalous allegations against Justice Muralidhar.
August 7: The Court upheld the constitutional validity of Section 7(3) of the Extradition Act.
August 10: The Court disposes of a plea to remove all “obstacles” around New Delhi Airport.
August 13: The Court allowed the release of ‘Batla House’ subject to modifications in the film.
August 14: The Court set aside a Rule mandating joint proposal by Senior Advocates to apply for Senior Designation before it.
The Court issued notice in plea to ensure safety of Uber, Ola passengers.
The Court stayed an inquiry against JNU teachers for holding a protest in July 2018.
August 19: The Court sought the Centre’s response in a habeas corpus petition to release Shah Faesal.
The Court issued notice in plea to raise theminimum marriageable age for women to Twenty-One.
August 20: The Court denied anticipatory bail to P Chidambaram in the INX Media case.
The Court dismissed an anticipatory bail plea by Kamal Nath’s nephew, Ratul Puri in the AgustaWestland case.
August 23: The Court allowed Naresh Goyal to withdraw his petition challenging the LOC against him.
The Court upheld the validity of Section 43 of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.
September 4: The Court held that remedies to homebuyers under the Consumer Protection Act and the RERA are concurrent in nature.
September 6: The Court sets up court in AIIMS to record statement of the Unnao rape survivor.
September 12: The Court allowed Shah Faesal to withdraw the Habeas Corpus petition seeking his release.
September 13: The Court restrained Subramanian Swamy, PGurus from publishing defamatory allegations against Indiabulls.
September 17: The Court held that mere inclusion of name in voter list of another bar association was not hit by ‘One Bar One Vote’.
September 27: The Court directed Radha Soami head to pay up the money taken from Singh Brothers in connection with the Daiichi Sankyo case.
September 30: The Court dismissed P Chidambaram's bail plea in the INX Media case.
The Court directed Facebook to reveal the identity of the person behind anonymous sexual harassment allegations against Subodh Gupta.
October 1: The Court issued notice to Citizens Whistle Blower Forum in a perjury application by Indiabulls.
October 9: The Court granted CBI two more months to conclude the probe against Rakesh Asthana and ors in connection with the Moin Qureshi bribery case.
October 11: Court allowed Indiabulls to withdraw the defamation case against Subramanian Swamy, PGurus.
The Court issued notice in ED's plea to cancel anticipatory bail to P Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram in the Aircel Maxis case.
October 14: The Court issued notice in a plea challenging the exclusion of transgenders as victims under Section 377.
S Gurumurthy was dropped from the array of parties in a contempt case against him after he offered to retweet the unconditional apology by the author of the offending article.
October 22: The Court issued notice in a challenge to EC decision to reduce the disqualification term of Sikkim CM Prem Singh Tamang.
October 23: The Court granted bail to DK Shivakumar in a money laundering case.
The Court held that social media platforms were bound to block offending content globally and mere geo-blocking was not acceptable.
October 24: CBI began its submissions in its challenge to the acquittal of A Raja and ors in the 2G case.
The Court issued notice in P Chidambaram's bail plea in INX Media money laundering case.
The Court sought CBI, ED's response in bail plea by Christian Michel in the AgustaWestland case.
November 1: The Court issued notice in a PIL to insure consumer deposits in Delhi Branches of PMC Bank.
The Court directed Delhi the government to consider a representation on a challenge to its "Odd-Even" Scheme for vehicles in the city.
November 4: The Court held that a director would not demit office in terms of Section 167(1) of the Companies Act, 2013 on account of a disqualification incurred under Section 164(2) for conduct prior to the amendments to the Act introduced from May 7, 2018.
November 6: The Court suggested conduction of a joint meeting of representatives to sort out differences after the Tis Hazari violence.
The Court issued notice in a plea challenging prohibition and criminalization of Cannabis use in India.
November 15: The Court once again denied bail to P Chidambaram in INX Media money laundering case.
The Court granted interim protection from coercive action to two suspended Delhi Police ASIs in connection with the Tis Hazari Violence.
November 18: The Court allowed the person behind anonymous sexual harassment allegations against Subodh Gupta to maintain anonymity for now, by filing vakaltnama in a sealed cover.
The Court asked The Hindu and Indian Express to publish a clarification that there was no cut-paste in the P Chidambaram bail plea order.
November 19: The Court issued further clarifications in the P Chidambaram bail plea order after ED moved a plea seeking certain rectifications.
The Court held that when a junior counsel from the same filing counsel’s office is ready to cross-examine a witness or argue a matter, he/she ought to be permitted to appear and to conduct the proceedings.
The Court upheld a decree of divorce in favour of a Judicial Officer on account of mental cruelty due to a series of false accusations and complaints made by the wife.
The Court issued notice in a petition by the Resolution Professional for Bhushan Power and Steel, Mahender Khandelwal, challenging an IBBI order which imposed a penalty of over Rs 29 lakh on him on account of several violations of IBC.
The Court held that requirement of a minimum percentage of attendance in professional courses like BA LL.B was non-negotiable.
November 21: The Court iterated that it was important to revisit minimum attendance Rule in law colleges to accommodate diligent students.
November 22: The Court held that filing of witness list is mandatory before commencement of recording of evidence.
November 25: The Court stated that no Urdu or Persian Words should be used in FIRs and only simple language should be used.
The Court held that a teacher who is accused of sexual harassment by a student cannot take the defence that his act was welcomed by the student.
The Court directed Bhushan Power and Steel CoC to deposit legal fee paid during the CIRP.
November 27: The Court allowed the ED to take custody of Malvinder Singh, Sunil Godhwani in connection with the Religare FinVest case for a day.
November 29: The Court directed Delhi Police Commissioner to issue circular on registration of Zero FIR by Police Stations.
The Court issued guidelines to balance rights of daughters-in-law under the DV Act and in-laws under the Senior Citizens Act.
The Court issued notice in plea to remove Prof GS Bajpai as Registrar of NLU Delhi
December 2: Delhi High Court decided to fix targets for authorities to mitigate the problem of air pollution in the city.
December 4: The Court refused to issue a direction to the Delhi government to grant prosecution sanction in the JNU sedition case.
The Court issued notice in a plea to prevent exposure of identity of rape victims.
The Court dismissed a plea challenging the election of Dr Harsh Vardhan as MP in 2019.
December 5: The Court gave another opportunity to S Gurumurthy to apologize in connection with the contempt plea initiated by DHCBA for his tweet on Justice S Muralidhar.
December 9: The Court refused to pass a direction to the Centre to link social media accounts with Aadhaar, PAN, voter ID etc.
December 16: CBI moved the Court for the third time to extend the time granted to it to complete probe againt former No.2 Rakesh Asthana and others in connection with the Moin Qureshi bribery case.
December 19: The Court issued notice in a batch of pleas concerning the violence at Jamia Milia Islamia University. As the Court refused to pass an interim portection to the students, the court room erupted in chants of"shame! shame!".