The B&B Causelist #81: Haryana Panchayati polls, Surrogacy laws, minors on Facebook & more (Evening updates)

Murali Krishnan

Supreme Court of India

1. Rajbala  & Ors. v. State of Haryana & Ors.

[Item 1 in court 6 – Writ Petition (Civil) 671/2015]

Bench: J Chelamaswer, Abhay Manohar Sapre JJ.

A challenge to the validity of the Haryana Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Act, 2015 which, fixes minimum educational qualifications for candidates to contest Panchayat polls. The Supreme Court had stayed the operation of the Act whereupon the Panchayat polls had been deferred in Haryana. Senior Advocate Indira Jaising is making her submissions. The hearing might conclude today.

Today in court: The hearing concluded and the Court reserved its judgment in the case.

2. Arjun Gopal  & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors.

[Item 90 in court 1 – Writ Petition (Civil) 728/2015]

Bench: Chief Justice HL Dattu, Arun Mishra J.

The petition filed by three infants seeking ban on fireworks, among other things, to arrest air pollution in the country. The court had issued notice in the case on October 8. When the matter was last heard on October 16, the Court had given directions to the government to publicise the ill-effects of fire crackers.

Today in court: The Court declined to impose a blanket ban. It, however, reiterated its 2005 order which permits bursting of crackers between 6 am and 10 pm. It also asked the Central government to publicise the ill-effects of fireworks.

3. Suo-Moto:In re v. Harassement & Physical Abuse of Ms. ‘M’

[Item 19 in court 2 – SMW(Crl) No. 1/2014]

Bench: TS Thakur, Kurian Joseph JJ.

This case pertains to the allegation of gang rape of a lawyer from Chattisgarh. The lawyer had entered the Chief Justice’ court last year and handed over a bunch of papers alleging gang rape. She had claimed that though an FIR was lodged, no action was taken pursuant to that.  She had also claimed that she had swallowed poisonous naphthalene balls.

The court had, immediately taken sou moto cognisance of the case and sought records of the woman’s complaint from the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Bilaspur. She had also been given medical treatment with the Delhi Legal Services Authority being asked to assist her.

Check evening updates.

Today in court: The case was adjourned and will now be heard after the winter break.

4. Union of India v Jan Balaz & Ors CA No 8714/2010

Bench: Ranjan Gogoi, NV Ramana JJ.

A case pertaining to surrogacy laws vis-a-vis non-Indians. According to a Times of India report, the government may disallow non-Indian couples from having children through Indian surrogate mothers.

Check evening updates.

Today in court: The Centre submitted its affidavit with regard to its decision to disallow foreign couples from renting wombs in India. The Court, however, rebuked it for leaking the information to the media before submitting it in court. Read the full report here.

Delhi High Court

1. Damini Chawla Vs Union of India & Ors. (Lead matter in a batch of three connected matters)

[Item 11-13, Court 1- WP (C) 8749/2014]

Bench: Chief Justice G Rohini, Jayant Nath J. 

A batch of petitions seeking directions from the Court to the Central Government on regulating radio taxis in the capital region. Damini, in her petition, has claimed that many taxi/ cab operators, which are internet or telephonic based, are operating in violation of the Radio taxi Scheme, 2006 formulated by the Delhi government.

Today in Court: The petitioners informed the Court that the newly formulated City Taxi Scheme of 2015 by the Delhi Government was not yet made available to them by the Government. With the counsel for the GNCT of Delhi agreeing to furnish a copy of the same, the petitioners sought time to study the new scheme and make fresh submissions. Taking into account this request, the Bench adjourned the matter for November 4.

2. KN Govindacharya v. Union of India

[Item 2 in Court 2 – Writ Petition (Civil) 3672/2012]

Bench: BD Ahmed, Sanjeev Sachdeva JJ.

A petition filed by former BJP Leader KN Govindacharya contending that minors opening accounts with social networking sites violated the Indian Contract Act, 1872, the Indian Majority Act, 1875 and the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Previously, the bench had directed the Centre to “come out” with details of contracts it had with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to ascertain whether these websites have licences to the intellectual property rights of content uploaded.

On the last date of hearing, the Bench had admonished the Union Government for failing to produce the said contracts. 

Today in Court: The Union produced in Court its contract signed with Facebook. However the petitioner raised serious objections to the contents of the document which led to the Bench directing the Union to place on record, contracts signed with Facebook, YouTube and Whatsapp.

The Bench further directed the petitioner to furnish a short note on the main points of arguments advanced by the him before the next date of hearing, so that the scope of the writ petition could be curtailed within those parameters.

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