[Read Order]- Delhi Highcourt Restrains Jet Airways Owned Jet Lite From Alienating Approx Rs. 180 Crore in the Terms of a UK Highcourt Decree

Jet Airways

The Delhi High Court on Friday temporarily restrained Jet Lite (India) Ltd. (a subsidiary of the Jet Airways), from dispossessing, alienating its assets, to the tune of an international decree passed against it by a UK court.

The Single bench comprised of Justice C. Hari Shankar ordered,

the judgment debtor is restrained, till the next date of hearing, from alienating or creating third party interests, in respect of its assets, to the extent of the amount decreed in favour of the petitioner, i.e. which has been quantified in the petition as ₹ 183,24,01,374/-, till the next date of hearing.

The order was passed in an Execution Petition filed against the company by TWC Aviation Capital Limited, through Advocate Ankur Mahindro seeking enforcement of a judgment passed in its favour by the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, London, UK.

The Petitioner, TWC Aviation is involved in the business of manufacturing and leasing aircrafts to airlines across the world. In the case at hand, the Petitioner was constrained to institute recovery proceedings against Jet Lite, after it stopped paying rent for two leased airplanes since October, 2018.

After obtaining a favourable decree from the UK Court to the tune of approximately Rs. 180 crore, the Petitioner has approached the High Court seeking enforcement of the decree.

Enforcement of international decrees is governed by CPC under Section 44A read with Section 14. As per the said provision, where a certified copy of decree of any of the superior Courts of any reciprocating territory has been filed in a District Court, the decree may be executed in India as if it had been passed by the District Court.

The present case has been filed before the High Court because in Delhi, matters valued above Rs. 2 crore fall within the pecuniary jurisdiction of the High Court.

The court has also issued notice to the Jet Lite’s parent company, Jet Airways Limited, though its Insolvency Resolution Professional.

The bench has directed that the parent company be impleaded as an additional Respondent in the proceedings. The matter is now listed for hearing on July 8, 2020.

On District Planning At State’s Behest, Pending SEC Opinion On Feasibility Of Elections To 13 Competent Authorities- (Uttarakhand Highcout Restrains Spending Of 110 Crore) – [Read Order]

Uttrakhand High court

The Uttarakhand High Court on Friday restrained the State Government, from spending the budget of District Planning, of about Rs. 110 crores (as per ANI), on the complaint that the State Election Commission is not holding elections for constitution of the District Planning Committees.

The Chief Justice-led bench observed that the Uttarakhand District Planning Committee Act, 2007 was notified in the gazette on 16.07.2007. Section 2(b) thereof defines a 2 ‘Committee’ to mean the ‘District Planning Committee’ constituted under Section 3 of the Act. Section 3(1) requires a District Planning Committee to be constituted in every district to consolidate the plans prepared by the Panchayats and Municipalities in the district, and to prepare a draft development plan for the district as a whole.

Section 3(2) requires the Committee, in preparing the draft development plan to (a) have regard to (i) matters of common interest between the Panchayats and Municipalities including spatial planning, sharing of water and other physical and natural resources, the integrated development of infrastructure and environmental conservation, and (ii) the extent and type of available financial or other resourses; and (b) consult such institutions and organisations as the Governor may, by order, specify.

Section 4 relates to ‘Composition of District Planning Committee’ and Section 9 to the ‘Functions of the Committee’. Section 12 requires the Committee, i.e. the District Planning Committee to finalize the draft development plan for the district. Section 13(1) stipulates that, for the purpose of implementation of the district plan, the State Government may, subject to the District Plan outlay ceiling, make district-wise provisions for money in its annual financial statement and, after due appropriation thereof, to allocate in a lump-sum to the district.

“It is only after the draft development plan for the district is finalized by the District Planning Committee, constituted in terms of Section 3(1) of the 2007 Act, would the question of implementing such a plan, in terms of Section 13(1) of the said Act, arise”, noted the division bench.

The Court appreciated that Section 8 relates to ‘Election of the members of the District Planning Committee’ and, thereunder, the State Election Commission shall have superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls of, and the conduct of, elections of the members of the Committee in such manner as may be prescribed.

“The complaint in the writ petition is that the State Election Commission is not holding elections for constitution of the District Planning Committees. While the reasons for such elections not being held, as also the challenge to the validity of the ordinance, must necessarily await the counter-affidavits of the respondents, the limited question which we are required to consider, in the present Interim Relief Application, is the validity of the order passed by the State Government on 16.06.2020 in terms of which, for the Financial Year 2020-21, amounts were sanctioned, with the approval of the Governor, to each of the 13 districts, and power was conferred on the District Magistrates to utilize the sanctioned amounts”, said the bench.

The Court appreciated that Section 8-A was inserted into the 2007 Act by the Uttarakhand District Planning Committee (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, which was notified on 12.06.2020. Section 8-A, as inserted by the 2020 Ordinance, reads thus:

“8-A. Approval and application of District Plan in inevitable circumstances: Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or any other Act when in opinion of the State Election Commission such emergency circumstances exist, that it is not feasible to conduct election then till such circumstances exists proposed district plan after approval of State Government may be approved and applied, in concerned District by District Magistrate of concerned district.”

“Section 8-A enables the State Government to approve the proposed district plan and, after its approval, for the said plan to be applied in the concerned district by the District Magistrate concerned. Unlike Sections 3(2) and 12 of the 2007 Act, in terms of which a draft of the district plan is required to be prepared and finalized by the District Planning Committee, Section 8-A confers power on the State Government to approve the proposed district plan, and to empower the District Magistrates to apply these plans in their respective districts”, said the bench.

It was of the opinion that In view of the non-obstante clause in Section 8-A, the provisions therein will apply notwithstanding any other provisions of the 2007 Act or of any other Act. The Court reflected that Section 8-A is, however, hedged by the pre-condition that the State Election Commission should form an opinion that emergency circumstances exist rendering it non-feasible to conduct elections. It is only on such an opinion being formed by the State Election Commission, and its being communicated to the State Government, would it be open to the State Government thereafter, till such emergency circumstances as opined by the State Election Commission continue to exist, to approve the proposed district plan, and to allocate funds for its implementation in the district.

“No such opinion was formed by the State Election Commission, much less sent to the State Government in terms of Section 8-A of the 2020 Ordinance, after the said Ordinance came into force on 12.06.2020”, recorded the bench.

Accordingly, the Court ordered that As, in terms of Section 8-A of the 2007 Act inserted by the 2020 Ordinance, the pre-condition for exercise of power thereunder by the State Government is the formation of opinion by the State Election Commission, and the impugned order dated 16.06.2020 was issued even without seeking the opinion of the State Election Commission, there shall be an interim order restraining the State Government from spending the budget, allotted in terms of the district plan, pending further orders.

Delhi Highcourt Stays NLU-Delhi’s 50% Domicile Reservation For Local Residents

Delhi Highcourt

The Delhi High Court on Monday stayed the decision to introduce 50% horizontal reservation in National Law University Delhi to students who passed their qualifying exam from the institutes located within the National Capital Territory.

The Court ordered that status quo as of previous years should be maintained with respect to LL.B, LLM admissions of this year.

A division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramaniam Prasad further directed that:

‘The University is directed to bring out a fresh admission notification before 2nd July and is also directed to publish the same on its website. A further one week period is given to enable the students to apply afresh who may be interested in applying for the admission process.’

All the other issues shall be taken up for hearing on 18th August 2020. The examination shall take place on the date so mentioned.

Filed by Pia Singh, the petition submits that the reservation policy of respondent University to give 50% reservation to those students who have passed their qualifying degree from Institute situated in Delhi is not only against the constitutional mandate under art 15(3) but is also against all reasonable and logical norms.

It is argued that the classification for 50% reservation to students who have passed their qualifying degree from Institute situated in Delhi is far away from intelligible differentia. Also, there seems no object behind this classification which the respondent university seeks to achieve.

Furthermore, providing 22% reservation to OBC and 10% reservation to EWS category without increasing the total no. of seats is also challenged as unconstitutional and against the mandate of guidelines issued by MHRD.

“Since, the petitioner belongs to General/Unreserved category, and is also a permanent resident of Delhi and intends to pursue her LL.M. from NLU Delhi; the provision of 50% reservation to the students of Delhi and also, the provision of 22% OBC & 10% EWS reservations in LL.M. without increasing the number of seats as per MHRD guidelines is adversely affecting her chances of selection and her future career prospects”, it is urged.

The petitioner has averred that In the previous academic year i.e. 2019-20 total seats for LL.M was 70. Out of these seats 15% for SC & 7.5% for ST were vertically reserved and 5% for PWD were horizontally reserved. 

On 02.03.2020, NLU Delhi has issued its e-prospectus for under graduate & post graduate course for academic year 2020- 21.

A provision for 50% reservation was made for students of Delhi. Also, provision for 22 % OBC & 10% EWS reservation in addition to 15% SC & 7.5% ST reservation was made for both B.A. LL.B. and LL.M. courses from the academic year 2020-21.

“It is apparent by analysing seat matrix of both academic years that in the previous year seats for unreserved category were 64 but in this academic year only 30 seats were notified for the unreserved category. Hence, NLU Delhi has grossly violated the guidelines issued by MHRD and reservation for OBC & EWS were implemented without increasing the seats”, it is sought to be contended.

Further, it is brought to the attention of the Court that while making 50% horizontal reservation for students of Delhi two classification was made by respondent i.e. First, Candidates passing the qualifying examination from a recognised School/ College/ Institute located within the NCT of Delhi only will be eligible to apply for seats reserved for Delhi Region. Second, in case of Distance education students, if the Centre of examination/ study Centre is located in the N.C.T. of Delhi, the candidate shall be considered under the Delhi Region and if the Centre of examination/ study Centre is located outside N.C.T. of Delhi, he/ she shall be considered under the All India Level seats.

“So, as per these guidelines respondent could have increased at least 50% seats for implementing 22% OBC reservation and 25% seats for implementing 10% EWS reservations in this academic year but instead by doing so respondent has cut down these seats from the Unreserved category seats which is beyond the authority of the respondent university”, it is advanced.

Moreover, it is argued that the horizontal reservation given by respondent University to the students of Delhi region is sui generis and strange- “The classification between students who are passing the qualifying examination from a recognised School/ College/ Institute located within Delhi and who are not passing from such an institute is not germane to the very rule of intelligent differentia. The respondent has recognised the former as “students of Delhi regions” . This classification is beyond any reason and bereft of logic and rule”

It is admitted that “any State can give a reservation to the ‘domiciled’ person of the state, reason being that such state funds the institute and hence may seek welfare for the residents of that particular state”.

“But respondent university is not giving this reservation to the domicile of the state but to the students who have passed their qualifying examination from Delhi. Delhi is a metro city and capital of India and a hub for the prominent educational institutes. Students from every corner of the country came here to study. Circumstances may arise that many students who are the permanent resident of Delhi may not get admission in any oschool/college situated in Delhi and they got enrolled in any other institutes located outside Delhi”, it is argued.

“In such cases, these students who are permanent residents of Delhi would be paying all taxes to the state of Delhi but will not get the reservation in the Institution of their State instead any other student from down south, east, west or north will get that benefit”, the petitioner has pointed out.

“The classification for the students of distance education is not only ridiculously drafted, but also, sufficient to stunt any prudent, right thinking and reasonable person. Those students whose Centre is located in Delhi will get the benefit of reservation, as such students will be considered as students of Delhi. This classification is harassing and imaginary only. Thousands of such Institution work in Delhi NCR and surrounding states whose Centre of examination falls in Delhi for the sake of convenience. And the Centre of examination is completely dependent on the discretion of the examination authority. In distance education a student comes only for examination to that Centre. This classification has created a sheer absurd situation in which any student from any part of India will come for a few days for his examination only (his institute though situated out of Delhi) and will get “Students of Delhi” reservation”, reads the plea.

The Petitioner has stated that she could not trace out the source of legal power by which the respondent University drew the power to implement such reservation policy “because it is published nowhere that state assembly of NCT Delhi has made any law related to this 50% reservation”. “Hence, making such provision of reservation by way of an executive order is also against the law enshrined under Article 14 & 15”, it is pointed out.

“And even we consider that the University has such power then also the quantum of reservation i.e. 50% is bad in law as it has reduced the all India unreserved category seats to the extent of 20% of total seats. If we add up all the kinds of reservation provided by the respondent university then the quantum of total reservation is 80% which means, now OBC reserved seats are more than the Unreserved category seats. Hence, quantum of 50% reservation is also against the principle of equality enshrined under part-III of the constitution”, it is suggested.

All Pending UG, PG Final Semester Exams Cancelled In Odisha also Read the Alternative Evaluation Scheme – [Covid-19]

In view of the Covid crisis, the Higher Education Department of Odisha has cancelled the undergraduate and postgraduate final semester examinations for all State Public Universities and Autonomous Colleges, except for medical/ paramedical and pharmacy courses.

Through a notification dated June 18, 2020, it is intimated that final year students whose examinations could not be conducted, will be promoted on the basis of an “alternative evaluation method” by August, 2020.

Alternative evaluation method

Marks for Final Year/Final Semester papers will be awarded as per the below given formula:

Marks to be awarded for Final Year/Final Semester papers = (Internal Mark as per Prescribed Weightage) + (Practical Mark as per Prescribed Weightage, if applicable) + (Average of marks obtained in all previous semesters/years in the corresponding papers of that subject, for the remaining weightage)

Where Practical examination has not been conducted, the average of marks obtained in Practical Papers of all previous semesters/years in the corresponding Practical Papers of that subject will be awarded as the Practical examination mark for Final Year/Final Semester

Dissertation/ Project/ Internally Evaluated Papers shall be evaluated by the internal examiners out of full marks allotted for the papers.

Note: The alternative evaluation method shall not be applicable for universities and colleges where the examinations have already conducted. In such cases, the normal evaluation method shall be followed.

Grievances

The Department has stated that in case of any grievance with the above mentioned method, the students may appear in a special examination, which will be conducted by Universities/ Autonomous Colleges by November, 2020 and the results of the same will be declared by December, 2020.

The final result mark sheet shall be revised as per the student’s performance in the special examination, irrespective of whether s/he secures more or less mark than what is awarded to him through alternative evaluation method,” the notification states.

Back Papers

The Department has clarified that pending back paper examinations for Final Year/ Final Semester students shall be cancelled, to a maximum two back papers.

Students, who have more than two Back Papers, will have to appear in the regular examination in all the Back Papers.

For UG and PG Intermediate Semesters/ Year Examinations, 2020 students

The Department has decided that the intermediate even Semesters/ Year Examination shall not be held for the current academic session 2019-20.

The students of the aforesaid semesters/ year(s) shall be automatically promoted to next semesters/ Year for 2020-21 academic session, on the basis of an alternative evaluation method to be decided by the Universities and Colleges themselves, as per their Examination Regulations, conforming to UGC guidelines. However, Back Paper examination shall be held as usual.

In case of Yearly system (Annual) of examination, there will be regular examinations for the Ist year students of 2019-2020 session as per schedule to be notified by the University/College.

In “blatant detention matters”, lower courts must be sensitive to the accused who approach the District Judiciary for their freedom: Punjab & Haryana Highcourt

Punjab and Haryana Highcourt

The High Court added that when the lower courts do not intervene in such matters, litigants “are unnecessarily forced to approach the High Court on account of lack of exercise of jurisdiction, even in valid cases.”

The Punjab and Haryana High Court was recently prompted to urge lower courts to be more senstive to the accused in cases of “blatant detention” (Mandeep Singh @ Lavi v. State of Haryana).

The denial of bail to a man jailed for almost 6 months in connection with an FIR that did not mention his name led Justice GS Sandhawalia to remark,”It is hoped that in such blatant detention matters also the Sessions Court would be more sensitive to the accused who approach the District Judiciary for their freedom and who are unnecessarily forced to approach the High Court on account of lack of exercise of jurisdiction, even in valid cases, which is coming to the notice of this Court time and again.”Punjab and Haryana High Court

The case concerned charges of conspiracy and attempt to murder. The complainant did not name anyone who he personally saw committing the offences. Rather, the order recounted that bullet marks were found the day after the alleged attack. Three persons were named in the FIR as suspects.

The bail petitioner, though unnamed in the FIR, was arrested on the basis of disclosure statements recorded by the investigating police officer. He had remained in police custody since December 12, last year.

In this factual backdrop, the High Court expressed its surprise that the Additional Sessions Judge declined the grant of bail in May this year, stating that the allegations levelled against the petitioner had to be examined in trial and that the petitioner may hamper evidence if released.

The High Court, however, disagreed, observing that, “the reasons given by the Additional Sessions Judge are not justified in the facts and circumstances.”

Justice Sandhawalla added,

“The Court has failed to take into consideration that the petitioner has been detained as such on a disclosure statement which may not stand the scrutiny in the Court of law. Apparently prima facie the investigating officer has over stepped his jurisdiction in his keenness to solve the crime as such which was not appreciated by the Additional Sessions Judge.”

Therefore, the High Court proceeded to allow the bail plea, while clarifying that it has not made any observations on the merits of the case for the purpose of trial.

99% Of Habeas Pleas Filed Before Jammu and Kashmir Highcourt Since Abrogation Of Article 370 Are Still Pending: Jammu & Kashmir HighCourt Bar Association Writes To CJI Bobde- [Read Letter]

Jammu and Kashmir Highcourt

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Srinagar has written to the Chief Justice India, highlighting various problems that are being faced by its members ever since abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, last year.

Disposal of Habeas Corpus Petitions

The Association has informed the CJI that since August 6, 2019, i.e. after the Abrogation of Article 370, more than 600 habeas corpus petitions have been filed before the High Court of UT of J&K at Srinagar. However till date, not even 1% of such cases have been decided by the J&K High Court.

Citing an example the Association said, the habeas corpus petition of the President of the Bar Association, Mian Abdul Qayoom, alone took 9 months for disposal. The matter is now pending before the Supreme Court.

Similarly, it has been pointed out that petitions filed in August/ September, 2019, are yet to be heard by the High Court.

The Association has asserted that the primary reason behind such delay in disposal is that no direction has been given by the High Court Chief Justice, asking the Registrar Judicial to list these HCPs before every Judge irrespective of their daily roster, so that the petitions are decided within 14 days as per the High Court Rules.

It is alleged that the Executive Committee of the HCBA ventilated these grievances on behalf of its members before High Court Chief Justice Gita Mittal however, no concrete steps were taken for resolving their problems.

Non-availability of high speed internet

The letter states that because of restrictions of operation of 4G in the J&K valley, it has become very difficult for lawyers to argue matters through virtual mode, though an option is given to the counsel to appear before the Court. The lawyers whose cases are listed are allowed to enter the court premises but their clerks and juniors are not allowed disabling the lawyers to assist the courts properly, the letter states.

Significantly, the issue of restoration of 4G speed internet services has already been heard by the Supreme Court at length. Vide order dated May 10, 2020, the court refrained itself from passing any positive directions and instead, directed the Centre to constitute a “Special Committee” to examine the issue.

Meanwhile, the Central Government passed another order, extending the restrictions on internet speed in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir till July 8, 2020.

Huge pendency of service matters

The Association has also taken exception to transfer of service matters, pending before the Srinagar Bench of the J&K High Court, to the newly established CAT, Jammu.

After the Abrogation of Article 370, all the Service Writ Petitions stand transferred to The Central Administration Tribunal, Jammu from the Srinagar Wing of the Hon’ble High Court, were nearly 45000 Service Writ Petitions were pending alongwith Misc. Applications. Despite the fact that on 28.05.2020 Ministry of Personal and Public Grievance and Pensions issued a notification No. 317E that the Central Govt. specifies Jammu and Srinagar as the places at which the Benches of CAT shall ordinarily sit for the Union Territory of J&K and UT of Ladakh. On 28.05.2020 another notification no. 318E was issued that the Jammu Bench would have the justification over UT of J&K and UT of Ladakh. Accordingly, the cases of Srinagar Bench are not being taken up nor the Bench has held a single sitting in Srinagar since the date of said notification. Not only the lawyers but public at large particularly the litigants whose cases stand transferred to the CAT suffer because their cases cannot be heard by Hon’ble High Court,” the letter states.

Balancing global and local, bringing diversity on campus, use of tech in legal education and more: NLSIU alumni discuss in E-Symposium

National Law School of India University

The Alumni Association of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) organized an E-symposium on Saturday featuring a panel of academicians, lawyers and entrepreneurs to discuss the future of legal education at NLS .

The programme was divided into three sessions, with a total of 11 speakers from diverse legal backgrounds.

The first session for the evening was dealing with the issues of infrastructure and investment, moderated by Murali Neelakantan.

Starting off the session, Umakanth Varottil spoke on the different challenges that NLS was facing currently. Firstly, NLS will have to balance between globalization and localization as there was a general perception that the University was only catering to the “elite”, he observed.

The second challenge, according to him was the impact of technology in legal education. He opined that technology was not being employed properly in terms of legal education, which opened up a wide range of issues. Lastly, Varottil pointed out that the whole area of legal services was having “a blurring of boundaries.” Students will now have to learn law and “something else“, rather than just law, he said.

Registrar of NLSIU, Prof (Dr) Sarasu E Thomas opined thatthat raising finance was an issue, which affected NLSIU’s outreach programs.

On a similar viewpoint, Varottil mooted that the Alumni could help out by giving out their talent, time and treasure. While talent and time was provided in plenty, the treasure was undermined, he said. As increasing the fees of students was out of the question, the Alumni Body could help out in terms of finance, he suggested.

However, in order to conceptualize this, there needs to a more systematic and sustained arrangement with the Alumni, Virottil said.

Thomas further stressed on the need for making legal courses and subjects more meaningful for the students. Highlighting this view, she said,

We need to focus on making courses more meaningful for students… We need to make law more open, which will allow students from other disciplines to study law. We are even considering opening a 3 year LLB course…

Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee said that the Law School should cater to larger sections of students and not just 70-80 people. He further went on to agree with the notion that Law school was more or less, accommodating the needs of the “privileged”.

Where does Law School discuss local issues or needs?… We are only catering to elite Indian, not the traditional Indian“, Banerjee said.

The second session was on the issues of inclusion and diversity inside and outside classrooms. This session was moderated by Sachin Malhan. This session saw the participation of panelists such as Amba Salelkar, Prof (Dr) Sumit Baudh, Swati Agrawal;and Advocate Vivek Divan.

All the panellists collectively agreed that caste, class, sexual orientation, mental health, difficulty to speak English, may be a few of the issues on which students faced discrimination inside and outside classrooms.

Swati Agrawal touched upon certain entry barriers.Relying on the IDIA diversity report, 2018-2019, she opined that lack of information on the legal profession, law schools, socio-cultural exclusion, interaction on campus were certain entry barriers for potential students.

Agrawal further opined that all kinds of discriminatory practices have to be punished.

Another interesting take on the subject came from Divan who urged the NLS Faculty and administration to be more inclusive. He added,

“Backgrounds of students have to be researched and this exercise can be done by Faculty/administration.”

Prof Dev Gangjee moderated the third and final session, which explored the issues related to the impact of Technology in Legal Education.

Pramod Rao, the first speaker in the session began by citing the example of Byju’s learning app and how the brand grew over the years. “It’s because they have harnessed technology“, Rao said.

He added that this time had to be utilized effectively by students in the form of virtual internships and moots. Contrary to the popular opinion, Rao said these transformations needed innovation and not finance.

Ashok Kamath indicated that “Creative use of assets in creative methods might help reduce the digital divide“.

Rahul Matthan spoke on how technology can be made very useful in the legal area. One of the biggest changes right now is the switch in litigation to e-courts, he observed.

Recalling a personal experience, he said that during his time at NLSIU, students had to refer to commentaries, owing to which the research was very limited. Right now, with technology in the picture, things have changed remarkably, Matthan said.

However, raising concerns over the current system of online classes, he said,

Can we think out of the box with respect to online legal classes now?... Even though students and teachers are not in the same place, whatever was being done in a classroom, is continuing now.”

Others speakers for the E-symposium included Poojitha Rao, Vignesh R, and Savitha K Jadadeesan.

Delhi Highcourt Stays CIC Order, Which Had Allowed A Wife To Get The Details Of Her Husband From The Passport Office Under ‘RTI’

Delhi High Court has stayed the order passed by the Central Information Commission wherein the Central Public Information Officer of the Passport Office was directed to divulge the information about a man under an RTI application filed by his wife.

While issuing notice to the Respondent, the Single Bench of Justice Navin Chawla held that there shall be a stay on the operation of the said Order till the next date of hearing.

The order has come in a writ petition moved by the Ministry of External Affairs against the order dated 15/05/20 passed by the CIC wherein the Passport Office was directed to provide a third party information under an RTI application.

The petition stated that:

‘The issue before the Court for consideration is whether information/documents submitted by a Passport applicant along with the passport application form and/or information contained in the

passport/passport application form, which are personal in nature belonging to third parties, can be divulged to the RTI applicant (Respondent herein) under the Right to Information Act even though no public interest is involved or they are exempt under

Section 8(1 )(j) of the RTI Act.’

In today’s hearing, the Petitioner relied upon the various judgments of the Supreme Court to argue that this court has consistently taken a view that the passport information and the documents submitted by the applicant for issuance of a passport with the Passport Authority cannot be disclosed to an RTI applicant.

The controversy in the present matter pertains to an RTI application moved by the Respondent seeking both her own as well as her husband’s information from the Passport office. The Respondent and her husband are currently involved in a matrimonial dispute.

The CPIO of the Passport Office, while divulged the information pertaining to the Respondent, refused to provide the personal information of her husband.

Aggrieved by this, the Respondent moved the First Appellate Authority which also ruled against the Respondent.

After that, the Respondent moved the CIC where finally, the order was passed in her favour and the CPIO was directed to divulge the information related to the Respondent’s husband in an RTI application moved by the Respondent.

The Petitioner, therefore, challenged the said order of the CPIO in the present writ petition.

The court will next take up this matter on August 13.

The Petitioner, in this case, was represented by Mr.P. Roychaudhuri

Delhi Highcourt- Order

Bombay High Court rules that ISKCON is a “well-known trademark in India”

ISKCON TEMPLE

“ISKCON has come to enjoy a personality that is beyond mere products/services and the recognition, reputation and goodwill of the said trademark s today no longer restricted to any particular class of goods/services.”

The Bombay High Court on Friday declared the registered trademark ‘ISKCON’ of the religious organisation International Society for Krishna Consciousness as a‘well-known mark in India (ISKCON v. Iskcon Appaeral Pvt. Ltd. & Anr).

Well-known trademarks enjoy broader protections than ordinary trademarks, in view of their widespread reputation and recognition.

In his June 26 order, Justice BP Colabawalla found merit in ISKCON’s plea for recognising its trademark as a well-known mark, given that the said mark had come to enjoy a personality beyond the scope of mere products/services rendered under the trademark ISKCON.“Plaintiff’s trade mark ISKCON satisfies the requirements and tests of a well-known trade mark as contained in Sections 11(6), 11(7) and other provisions of the Trade Marks Act, 1999. In view thereof, I find no difficulty in holding that the Plaintiff’s trade mark ISKCON is a ‘well-known’ trade mark in India within the meaning provided in Sections 2 (1)(zg) of the Trade Marks Act, 1999.”Bombay High Court

The judge observed that “I have no doubt in my mind that the Plaintiff’s trade mark ISKCON has come to enjoy a personality that is beyond the mere products/services rendered thereunder and the recognition, reputation and goodwill of the said trade mark ISKCON is today no longer restricted to any particular class of goods or services.”

Appearing for ISKCON, Advocate Hiren Kamod recounted that the mark was conceptualised by fashioning an acronym out of name given for the the Krishna consciousness movement founded by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada at New York in 1966, i.e. the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

He went on to submit that the movement has been using the ISKCON trademark regularly, openly, continuously, uninterruptedly and extensively in respect of various goods and services since 1971 at least, with a view to distinguish the goods/services bearing the said mark ISKCON from those of others.

The registered trademark was also diligently safeguarded, as guaged from the successful legal proceedings initiated by the religious organisation against the misuse of its mark ISKCON.

As such, it was contended that ISKCON fulfilled all the conditions outlined in Section 11 (6) and (7) of the Trademarks Act, 1999 to be recognised as a well known mark.

These submissions were made in a trademark infringement suit initiated against Iskcon Appaeral Pvt. Ltd. The Court was, however, informed that the defendant had since changed its name to Alcis Sports Private Limited. It further undertook to refrain from using the trademark or name of ISKCON in any matter whatsoever.

Additionally, the defendant did not dispute the submissions made by its opponent that “ISKCON” deserved recognition has a well-known mark.

In this backdrop, the Court proceeded to allow the plaintiffi’s prayer to recognise its brand ISKCON as a well-known mark, while noting that there was sufficient material showing that this mark had acquired immense and long-standing reputation and goodwill throughout India and abroad.

“From the material placed on record, it is evident that (a) the Plaintiff’s trademark ISKCON has wide acceptability; (b) the popularity of the Plaintiff’ s trademark ISKCON extends not only in India but in other countries as well; (c) the Plaintiff is using its trade mark ISKCON openly, widely and continuously since the beginning; and (d) the Plaintiff has taken several actions against various infringers in the past”, the order notes.

Advocate Hiren Kamod appeared for the plaintiff organisation, along with Advocates Vaibhav Keni and Neha Iyer briefed by Legasis Partners.

Supreme Court Dismisses Plea Against Conduct Of Board Exams In Rajasthan- (Sunday Hearing)

Supreme court of India

The Supreme Court in a special Sunday hearing dismissed a plea challenging the High Court of Rajasthan’s decision of upholding conduct of board examinations for class X and Class XII in the state.

A bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari & Sanjiv Khanna observed that it did not consider it appropriate to intervene in the said plea in light of the recent judgement in “Rajashree v. Karnataka”, wherein Justice LN Rao had stated that the Courts should have minimum interference in academic issues and that it had already dealt with similar pleas earlier.

Court stated that,

“….the petitioners had filed this at the last moment, while the state government had already taken all necessary precautionary measures. Exams set to start from tomorrow, and petitioners have not pointed out any major inconvenience. Hence we do not wish to intervene”

A parent of the aggrieved student has moved the Top Court in special leave petition filed through Advocate Ronak Karanpuria states that the decision of the state board of conducting the Secondary examination of the remaining two papers be conducted on June 29 & 30 is “erroneous” and deserves to be set aside, considering the ongoing pandemic situation.

The plea states that the decision to conduct the remaining examinations during the midst of covid19 is arbitrary and in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.

The petitioner had also cited the recent decision of the Supreme Court which led to the scrapping of Class 10 and 12 board examinations for the safety of students.

Further to this, the plea stated that about 120 schools which are designated examination centres were used to quarantine people for shelter labourers in transit and that the “conducting of examinations is wrong illegal and discriminatory for the reason that it jeopardises the health of the students undertaking the exams and thus, amounting to violation of Article 21 and 14 of the constitution.”

The plea stated that,

“The high court failed to appreciate that the Respondent No. 4 has not given any solution to the practical problems such as the movements of the students residing in the containment zones and the unavailability of private vehicles for all students, thereby restricting the movement”

Advocate Rishi Kapoor and Ronak Karanpuria appeared for the Petitioners and Senior Advocate Manish Singhvi and Advocate DK Devesh appeared for the Respondents.

Just 3 days ago, The Central Board of Secondary Education decided to cancel the exams of Class 10 and 12 scheduled from July 1 to 15 in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and the Supreme Court accepted its alternative assessment scheme.

Earlier, Supreme Court had passed similar orders for Karnataka state board exams.