September 30, 2022

The Lawmatics Bulletin- 4

(31-08-2020 to 6-09-2020)

SUPREME COURT STARTED HEARING MATTER ON MAHARASHTRA RESERVATION

A Bench of Justice L. Nageswara rao, Hemant Gupta and S. Ravindra Bhat heard the arguments with respect to reference to an 11 Judge Bench of the issue related to, whether the state had the power to exceed the 50% reservation cap set by 9 Judge Bench in Indira sawhney case.

Points raised: 

The Senior Advocates, who augmented in favour to revisit 50% reservation limit contended that,

First, the ceiling of 50% could not be exceeded as per the 9 judge bench decision, but allowed in exceptional cases.

Second, 102nd and 103rd Constitutional Amendments had taken the reservation limit above and beyond 50% in many states and challenged the validity of these amendments.

Third, Whether Article 342A had the capacity to allow the state to make reservations exceeding the cap.

Fourth, In Indira sawhney, it was held that Articles 15 and 16 were mostly caste-based, and that reservation could not be on economic factor. But this factor of economically backward brought in EWS reservation.

Background:

In june 2019, the Bombay High Court had upheld the validity of reservation granted to Maratha community under the socially and educationally backward class category in government jobs and education which led to the pleas filed in supreme court to revisit the reservation quota limit. The division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre dismissed the petitions filed challenging the Maratha reservation act, 2018 granting reservation for Marathas. Post Maratha Reservation, the total reservation in Maharashtra effectively increased to 52% to 68% way past the 50% ceiling set by the Supreme court.


PLEA IN SC CHALLENGES CONSTITUTIONAL VALIDITY OF SPECIAL MARRIAGE ACT, 1954

A Special Marriage Act,1954 has come under challenge in the Supreme court by way of writ petition filed by law students. The petition challenged the constitutional validity of the provisions of said act, which violates Right to privacy of couples as it requires a Marriage officer to publish copies of Marriage notices submitted to him by the couple intending to marry under the act. 

Provisions in question:

Section 5 of act provides that the parties who intend to marry under this act shall give notice thereof in writing in the specified form to the marriage officer of the district in which at least one of parties to marriage has resided for a period of not less than 30 days immediately.

Section 6 is also in question which allows inspection of Marriage Notice Book at any time, without fee, by any person desirous of inspecting the same. 

The petitioner contended that subjecting couples marrying under Special Marriage Act but not under Hindu Marriage Act violates Article 14 and 15 of the constitution and publication of personal information of the parties to marriage violates the Right to privacy. 

Background:

In Pranav kumar mishra v. Government of NCT of Delhi, observed that, “the unwarranted disclosure of matrimonial plans by two adults entitled to solemnize it may, in certain situations, jeopardize the marriage itself”. 

Recently, the Kerala government issued a notice to stop uploading scanned marriage notices.


NO POWER TO GIVE RESERVATION IN FOR IN-SERVICE CANDIDATES TO PG MEDICAL COURSES

The apex court in, T.N. Medical officers Association v. Union of India,2020 has held that the Medical council of India has no power to make any reservation for in-service candidates in Post Graduate Medical Course in states and only states are allowed to grant the benefit of reservation of seats to in-service doctors in the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test(NEET) postgraduate degree courses by exercise their powers under Entry 25, List 3. The court said the state governments are competent to devise a separate channel of entry for in-service doctors. 

The bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, Indira Banerjee, Vineet Saran, M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose observed that the Medical Council of India is a creation of a statute under Entry 66 of List 1 of the Constitution and has very limited scope as it only deals with “coordination and determination of standards” in higher education. 

The Court further held that the action of the state to provide for the in-service quota is in the discharge of its positive constitutional obligation to promote and provide better health care facilities for its citizens. Such action is in discharge of its constitutional obligations as provided in Article 47 of the constitution.

Concurrent List(Entry 25)

Education, including technical education, medical education and universities, subject to the provisions of entries 63,64,65 and 66 of list 1; vocational and technical training of labour.

Union List(Entry 66)

Coordination and determination of standards in institutions for higher education or research and scientific and technical institutions.


INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF JURISTS CALLS FOR REVIEW OF CONTEMPT LAW IN INDIA

The International Commission of Jurists has expressed concern over the Supreme Court’s decision to convict Advocate Prashant Bhushan for criminal contempt, the ICJ has urged for a review of criminal contempt laws in the country. They have voiced its concern pertaining to the conviction of prashant bhushan as it is inconsistent with International Law on Freedom of expression as guaranteed by International covenant on Civil and Political Rights(Article 19), to which India is a party. The ICJ has thus joined over 1800 Indian lawyers in expressing concern over the judgement and asking the supreme court to review the standards of criminal contempt.

Background:

The 3-judge bench of apex court on 1 september 2020 has sentenced advocate Prashant Bhushan with a fine of Re.1/­ (Rupee one) to be deposited with the Registry by 15.09.2020, failing which he shall undergo a simple imprisonment for a period of three months and further be debarred from practising in this Court for a period of three years. It had found advocate Prashant guilty of criminal contempt on 14.08.2020 in the suo motu contempt petition initiated against him after he criticised the Supreme Court and the sitting and former CJIs in a couple of tweets.