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1. [Fun Fair] The Bombay High Court has sought a response from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in a petition filed by a citizen regarding the illegal setup of a 'Fun Fair'. A division bench of the High Court, consisting of Justice GS Kulkarni and Justice Firdosh Pooniwalla, was hearing a plea filed by the citizen, alleging that the 'fair', in his vicinity in Powai extended beyond stalls and included large high-raised swings and a giant wheel. The petitioner argued that the installation of swings posed a risk to the lives of citizens residing in the vicinity, thereby infringing upon their rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The plea highlighted that the BMC, on November 2, 2015, issued a circular stipulating that for conducting fairs, permission must be sought not only from the BMC but also from other authorities, including the health department and food authorities.
Bench: Justice GS Kulkarni and Justice Firdosh Pooniwalla.
Case title: Javed Shaikh vs State of Maharashtra.
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2. [Annulment of Adoption] The Bombay High Court has annulled the adoption of a 3-year-old child after the adoptive parents conveyed to the adoption agency that they were unable to form a bond with the child and wished to return the child. The single judge bench Justice RI Chagla was hearing a petition moved by Bal Asha Trust seeking to annul the adoption and declare the child as ‘Free For Adoption’. The adoptive parents from Ghaziabad were granted permission to adopt the child from Mumbai by the high court in August 2023. However, within a mere five months following the adoption, the couple approached the adoption agency, expressing concerns about the child's uncontrollable behaviour and eating habits. In response, the agency recommended counselling sessions for the couple. During these sessions, it was discovered that the couple was unwilling to take necessary measures to address the child's eating habits.
Bench: Justice RI Chagla.
Case title: Bal Asha Trust vs XYZ.
3. [498A] The Central Government, represented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, has reiterated in an affidavit before the Bombay High Court that making Section 498A (Cruelty Against Wife) of the IPC compoundable would not be in the interest of women. The affidavit was submitted by Richa Sharma, Under Secretary in the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, before the division bench of Justice Anuja Prabhudesai and Justice NR Borkar. “..this Ministry is of the view that there is a need to adopt a consistent approach towards crimes committed against women. Uptil now, it has been the policy of Government of India to take deterrent measures regarding crime committed against women and children. Accordingly, as a nodal Ministry for welfare and development of women, this Ministry reiterates that making Section 498A IPC compoundable will not be in the interest of women” the affidavit states.
Bench: Justice Anuja Prabhudesai and Justice NR Borkar.
Case title: Sandip Sarjerao Sule & Ors vs State of Maharashtra & Anr.
4. [Arvind Kejriwal] The Goa Bench of the Bombay High Court has quashed the summons issued to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal by a magistrate in Mapusa, Goa. A division bench of the high court at Goa, comprising Justices MS Sonal and Valmiki SA Menezes, heard a petition filed by Kejriwal challenging the summons issued to him in relation to a complaint filed against him alleging a violation of the Election Code of Conduct during the 2017 Goa General Elections The division bench stated that the procedure was not followed by the magistrate while issuing a notice to Kejriwal. The high court directed the magistrate to reconsider issuing a summons to Kejriwal.
Bench: Justices MS Sonal and Valmiki SA Menezes.
Case title: Arvind Kejriwal vs State of Goa.
5. [FCU] On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court stated that the Central Government should not notify the Fact Check Unit (FCU) as an administrative courtesy to the Chief Justice and the third judge who will be giving his opinion in light of the split verdict by the division bench of the high court. A division bench of the high court, comprising Justice GS Patel and Justice Neela Gokhale, was hearing an interim application filed by the petitioners seeking to extend the statement of the central government not to notify the Fact Check Unit “If I had the misfortune to be third judge, I would seriously be upset by the lack of courtesy to given to me for enough time to come to grips with what has come to this much time for division bench. Our judges are under the most intolerable pressure. Our Chief Justice has not been able to identify a judge who is available. The working hours are beyond brutal. Someone will have to set aside their work and deal with this. I would be very upset if I am put under that kind of pressure,” Justice Patel said. The high court delivered a split verdict on January 31, 2024, in petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Fact Check Unit established by the central government under the amended IT Rules to identify fake, false, and misleading content on social media. In the split verdict, Justice Patel struck down the amended rule establishing FCU while Justice Gokhale ruled against the petitioners.
Bench: Justice GS Patel and Justice Neela Gokhale.
Case title: Kunal Kamra & Ors vs UOI.
6. [Chanda & Deepak Kochhar] The Bombay High Court has confirmed the interim bail granted to former ICICI CEO Chanda Kochhar and her husband Deepak Kochhar in the Videocon Loan Fraud Case. A division bench of the high court, comprising Justice Anuja Prabhudesai and Justice NR Borkar, declared the arrest of the couple as illegal while confirming the interim bail granted to the Kochhars on January 09, 2023. A case was registered against the duo by the CBI afte a whistleblower alleged that Chanda had given loans worth Rs. 3250 crores to the Videocon group. As a quid pro quo, the Videocon group invested in the company of Deepak Kochhar. The loan granted to the Videocon group was later declared as an NPA. The husband and wife duo were arrested on December 24, 2022, by the CBI and are currently in judicial custody. The CBI had also arrested Venugopal Dhoot of the Videocon group. In the order granting interim bail to the Kochhars, the division bench of the High Court noted that the arrest was not in accordance with Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Case title: Chanda Kochhar & Anr vs CBI.
7. [Bollards] On Wednesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) informed the Bombay High Court that it will remove within 3 months the obstruction caused by bollards to disabled persons on the footpaths of Mumbai. The division bench of the High Court, comprising Chief Justice Devendra K Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor, was hearing a Suo Moto Public Interest Litigation (PIL) registered by the high court after it received an email from a 25-year-old Shivaji Park resident, Karan Shah, who has been wheelchair-bound since birth. Senior Advocate Anil Singh informed the high court that the survey of all 24 wards has been completed, and communication has been made to all the officers to remove the obstruction. “On the last occasion, I made a statement that we are conducting the survey. My affidavit is ready. A survey of 24 wards is done. There are places where there is obstruction. We have asked ward officers to remove that. There is a policy wherein there has to be a certain distance between bollards for wheelchairs. We are seeking 3 months for rectification,” Singh said.
Bench: Chief Justice Devendra K Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor.
Case title: High Court on its own motion.
8. [Rakhi Sawant] Rakhi Sawant has withdrawn the pre-arrest bail plea filed in the Bombay High Court in the case filed against her for leaking her ex-husband’s explicit video. The petition was withdrawn after Justice Sarang Kotval stated that he was not inclined to allow her petition. "After arguing for some time, when I expressed my disinclination to grant relief in this application, learned counsel for the Applicant prays for unconditional withdrawal of this application" the order reads Sawant had approached the high court after her pre-arrest bail plea was rejected by the Sessions Court Sawant was booked under sections 500 (defamation) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 67A (publishing sexually explicit material in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act. It was alleged that Sawant had played the said explicit video of Adil Durani on a TV Show. Further, it was alleged that Sawant circulated the video on WhatsApp groups and also transmitted the videos by sharing the links.
Bench: Justice Sarang Kotval.
Case title: Rakhi Anant Sawant vs State of Maharashtra.
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9. [POCSO] The Bombay High Court has recently granted anticipatory bail to a 17-year-old boy in a POCSO case registered against him for raping a 17-year-old girl. A single judge bench of Justice Sarang Kotwal was hearing an anticipatory bail plea moved by a boy after an FIR was filed against him at Rabale Police Station, Navi Mumbai, on 03.01.2024. The boy was charged under sections 4 (penetrative sexual assault), 8 (sexual assault) and 12 (sexual harassment) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and Section 376 of the I.P.C. The FIR was filed against the boy by the mother of the victim. It was alleged that the boy established physical relations with the victim against her wishes. Subsequently, it was found that the victim was pregnant. Justice Kotwal in its order recorded that as per the victim’s statement, the sexual relation was consensual.
Case title: LMN vs State of Maharashtra.
10. [Custody] The Bombay High Court recently observed that India is known for its zero-tolerance policy towards racial discrimination in a petition filed by a Dutch mother seeking custody of her 5-year-old child, who her ex-husband illegally detained. “India is undoubtedly known for its zero tolerance policy towards racial discrimination. The Respondent No.2, however, had the audacity to take the shelter of the defence of racial discrimination; that too against the Petitioner, who once was his wife and spent considerable years with him. This way, the Respondent No.2 has lowered the image of the India and its citizens in the view of Petitioner and her fellow nationals. We record our displeasure for this conduct as according to us, it is unethical,” the order reads. A division bench of the high court, comprising Justice AS Gadkari and Justice Shyam Chandak, heard a petition filed by a Dutch wife who filed a habeas corpus petition against the illegal detention by her husband. The husband, an Indian national, married the Dutch woman on July 5, 2013, after which he was registered as a Dutch resident. On December 14, 2018, a girl child was born to the couple. Following their differences, they filed a petition in the District Court of East Brabant, Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, for divorce.
Bench: Justice AS Gadkari and Justice Shyam Chandak.
Case title: QRP vs State of Maharashtra & Ors.
11. [IT Rules] Justice AS Chandurkar is the third judge who will give his opinion on the split verdict given by the division bench of the high court in petitions challenging the amended IT Rules that established the Fact Check Unit (FCU) to identify fake, false, and misleading content on social media. The division bench of the high court comprising Justice GS Patel and Justice Neela Gokhale delivered a split verdict in the petitions challenging Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023. In the split verdict, Justice Patel struck down the amended rule establishing FCU while Justice Gokhale ruled against the petitioners. Chief Justice Devendra K Upadhyaya of the Bombay High Court passed an order on 7th February assigning Justice AS Chandurkar as the third judge to give his opinion on the challenge to IT Rules.
Case title: Kunal Kamra & Ors vs UOI.
12. [Husband’s Killing] The Bombay High Court has granted bail to a wife who was booked for killing her husband after having a second child despite her reluctance. A single-judge bench of the high court, comprising Justice Madhav Jamdar, heard a bail application filed by the wife who had been in jail for 4 years and 6 months without charges being framed in the case registered against her. It was alleged that the wife had killed her husband after giving birth to a girl child despite her reluctance, as her husband had insisted on having a child. Advocate Vishal Khetre, representing the wife, argued that almost 4 years and 6 months had elapsed with no progress in the trial, and the charges were not yet framed.
Bench: Justice Madhav Jamdar.
Case title: Pranali Sunil Kadam vs State of Maharashtra.
13. [498A Case Filed By Judge] The Bombay High Court has recently quashed an FIR filed by a woman judge against her husband and in-laws in a Section 498A (cruelty against the wife) case. A division bench of Justice AS Chandurkar and Justice Jitendra Jain heard a petition filed by the husband and in-laws regarding the FIR filed against them on July 09, 2023. The judicial officer got married to the man in February 2018 after they met through a matrimonial website. Subsequently, a dispute arose between them, after which the husband refused to consummate the marriage with the wife. Consequently, a divorce petition was filed by the husband, which was still pending. The judicial officer alleged that the husband and his brother entered her chambers and forced her to sign the divorce petition by mutual consent after threatening her. She claimed that the same act was committed by the in-laws on the same day.
Bench: Justice AS Chandurkar and Justice Jitendra Jain.
Case title: XYZ vs State of Maharashtra.
14. [Sameer Wankhede] Revenue Officer and former NCB officer, Sameer Wankhede has approached the Bombay High Court seeking to quash the case registered by the Enforcement Directorate against him. The ED has accused him of allegedly demanding a bribe of Rs. 25 crores from Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, in return for not framing his son in the Cordelia Drugs Cruise Ship Case. The Enforcement Directorate initiated the case against Wankhede after the CBI filed an FIR against him. The FIR filed by CBI alleged offences under sections 7 (bribery), 7A (undue advantage to influence a public servant by illegal means), and 12 (abetment) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, along with sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 388 (extortion) of the Indian Penal Code.
Bench: Justice PD Naik and Justice NR Borkar.
Case title: Sameer Wankhede vs ED.
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