May - 2011

  • Parliament: It is empowered to enact laws for extra-territorial aspects or causes, only when such aspects/causes have some impact on or nexus with India. Such powers cannot be restricted with the tests of sufficiency or significance, however, would be tested only to the extent that the connection is real and not illusory. In case where the aspects/causes have no impact or nexus with India, than they would be declared ultra-vires and would be made for a foreign country. GVK Industries Limited v. Income Tax Officer, (Supreme Court) (5J).

  • Advocates: Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquette: Deliberating upon the advocate's role, professional conduct as well as ethical standards, held that advocates have an obligation to uphold rule of law and ensure that public justice system functions at its full potential. An advocate should be dignified in his dealings with Court, to his fellow lawyers and to litigants. Members of the legal profession have a social duty to show people a beacon of light by their conduct and actions. OP Sharma v. High Court of Punjab & Haryana, (Supreme Court).
  • Corporate Criminal Liability: Attribution: A corporate body cannot claim immunity from the criminal offences on the premise that it cannot have a mens rea, i.e., an intention to commit crime. If the degree of control is so intense that a corporation may be said to think & act through a person or body of persons, mens rea of such person(s) in control is attributable to the corporation. Accordingly held that criminal prosecution cannot be dropped on the solitary premises that it has been initiated against a corporate entity. Iridium India Telecom v. Motorola Incorporated, (Supreme Court).
  • Arbitrability of dispute in arbitration: (There are three facets of arbitrability relating to jurisdiction of the arbitral tribunal: (a) Whether the disputes are capable of adjudication and settlement by arbitration? (b) Whether the disputes are covered by the arbitration agreement? (c) Whether the parties have referred the disputes to arbitration? Further held that since arbitral tribunals are private fora chosen voluntarily by parties to the dispute, therefore, they cannot decide the non-arbitrable disputes like, criminal offences, matrimonial disputes, guardianship matters, insolvency and winding-up matters, testamentary (probate, administration & succession) matters, eviction or tenancy matters which are governed by special statutes. Booz Allen and Hamilton v. SBI Home Finance Limited (Supreme Court).
  • Child labour: Violations of rights of children, i.e., less than 18 years of age, by making them work at the circuses all over the country is unconstitutional and illegal, and accordingly detailed guidelines issued by the Hon'ble Supreme Court specifically directing for rehabilitation of the rescued children. Bachpan Bachao Andolan v. Union of India, (Supreme Court).
  • Euthanasia: Active euthanasia which involves administration of lethal dose to a patient is a crime all over the world, and accordingly would be an offence under the Indian Penal Code as well. However, passive euthanasia which involves withdrawal of life-saving drugs is permissible subject to certain safeguards, and even in absence of any legislative provisions. Similarly, voluntary euthanasia is where the consent is taken from the patient, which is permissible. However, non-voluntary euthanasia would be attracted when the patient is not in a position to decide for himself, which would be illegal. Accordingly, held that right to live does not include life to die, and therefore, active as well as non-voluntary euthanasia are offences amounting to abetment to suicide. Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug v. Union of India, (Supreme Court).
  • Exclusion clause: The party approaching the Court has choice of forums which can be restricted on the basis of agreement between the parties, however, such an exclusion shall be pre-fixed with terms like alone, only, exclusively, etc., it cannot restrict the choice of forum of the plaintiff. Life Care International v. Mahindra & Mahindra (HC of MP).
  • Landlord - tenant: An application moved for eviction under the M.P. Accommodation Control Act, 1961 on bona fide non-residential requirement by the landlord would include the requirement of the premises for his children, and cannot be rejected on the premise that the statute uses the phrase, "his business". Shri Badrilal v. Smt. Sita Bai (HC of MP).
  • Pardon: Power to grant pardon under Constitution is amenable to judicial review on the following grounds: (a) If President/Governor exercised power without advise of the government, (b) If President/Governor transgresses his jurisdiction, (c) If the President/Governor has passed the order without applying his mind, (d) If the order is mala-fide, and (e) If the order of President/Governor is passed on some extraneous consideration. Narayan Dutt v. State of Punjab, (Supreme Court).
  • Right to fair trial: When the appointed defence counsel for the accused does not turn up before the Court during the criminal proceedings, then, it was imperative for the Courts to have appointed any other counsel having practise on the criminal side as amicus curiae (friend of the Court) to ensure that there is fair trial as envisaged as a fundamental right under the Constitution of India. Mohd. Sukur Ali v. State of Assam, (Supreme Court).
  • Right to freedom of conscience and expression: Police protection: It is the duty of all persons in the administration & police authorities throughout the country that if any boy or girl who is a major undergoes inter-caste or inter-religious marriage, their marital life should not be disturbed. If anyone gives such threat or commits act of violence or instigation, it is the responsibility of the officers concerned to take stern action against such persons as provided under law. Ashok Kumar Todi v. Kishwar Jahan, (Supreme Court).

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