- Proceedings against Vijaya Mallya under Fugitive Economic Offences Act—The Supreme Court refused to stay the proceedings against Vijaya Mallya who was sought to be declared a ‘fugitive economic offender’ by the Enforcement Directorate (‘ED’), and also sought confisaction of his property, while seeking a response from ED to Mallya’s petition. Mallya had appealed against the Bombay High Court order, wherein the High Court had rejected his prayer to stay proceedings under Section 4 of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act till further orders of the Appellate Tribunal under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act(PMLA) in the Appeals filed by SBI and and 11 other banks. [Vijay Vittal Mallya vs. Enforcement Directorate, Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No. of 2018, date of order: 07.12.2018]
- Curative petition against the erstwhile CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthanato be heard by the Supreme Court–The Supreme Court would hear the curative petition filed by Common Cause, NGO, against the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the Special Director of CBI. The petition seeks to challenge the order of the Apex Court dismissing a PIL filed by the NGO on the basis that the Court cannot question the ‘unanimous’ decision taken by the selection committee, and that the said decision was not illegal.The petition argued that his appointment was illegal as his name had surfaced in a diary recovered during a raid conducted by the Income Tax department at the offices and other premises of company Sterling Biotech Ltd and Sadesaras Group of Companies. [Common Cause vs. Union of India, Curative Petition (Crl.) No. 144 of 2018]
- High Courts have inherent powers to recall their own orders: The Supreme Court clarified that the High Court, being courts of record, has inherent jurisdiction to recall their own orders. The issue came up in the context of an arbitration agreement, wherein the single bench of Bombay High Court had directed the appointment of an arbitrator, pursuant to an agreement, but later realised that the agreement did not contain any arbitration clause. He then recalled his own order, which was challenged before the Division Bench who held that since the Arbitration and Conciliation Act did not contain any provision of the courts reviewing their own orders, the Single Judge could not have reviewed his own order. On appeal, the Supreme Cout set aside the Division bench decision. [Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai v. Prathibha Industries, Civil Appeal No. 11822of 2018, date of judgment 04.12.2018]
- Another petition filed in Bombay High Court seeking investigation in Judge Loya’s death:- A petition has been filed before the Bombay High Court seeking constitution of a seven-judge bench to hear the case and appointment of a Special Investigation Team of three IPS officers from non-BJP ruled states to investigate the death of Judge BH Loya. The petition filed by Sanjay Bhalerao has named 24 respondents, including the Supreme Court of India, Niranjan Takle (the journalist who wrote Caravan’s report regarding mysterious circumstances surrounding Judge BH Loya’s death) and Advocate Satish Uke.
- Public authorities empowered to get information from third parties under the RTI Act: The Delhi High Court that a public authority is entitled to access information from a private body under any other law, it is “information” as defined in Section 2 (f) of the RTI Act and the public authority is under an obligation to get that information from the private body and furnish it to the RTI Applicant. It noted that ‘information’ includes in its ambit, the information relating to any private body which can be assessed by public authority under any law for the time being in force. [Telecom Regulatory Authority of India vs. Kabir Bose, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 12388 of 2018, date of judgment: 20.11.2018].
- Challenge to the age upper limit in the Adoption Regulations, 2017 dismissed: The Kerala High Court rejected the challenge against eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents as contained in Regulation 5 of the Adoption Regulations, 2017, with regard to the maximum composite age of prospective adoptive parents for the purpose of adoption of child up to four years of age. The Court categorically held that “once it is admitted that the child is either a child in need of care and protection and that the adoption is liable to be regulated in terms of the Act, 2015, then the petitioners’ right to adopt is regulated by the Regulations framed under the said Act and the rights of the prospective parents has to immediately give way to the best interest of the child.” [Jeshy C.O. &Ors. vs. Union of India, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 31780 of 2016, date of judgment: 05.11.2018]
- Orissa Government decides to drop prosecution against Abhijit Iyer-Mitra: The Odisha Government decided to deny sanction to prosecute Abhijit-Iyer in the criminal cases registered against him for hurting religious sentiments and promoting communal hatred on the allegations that some of his tweets were derogatory to Konark temple and Lord Jagannath. Iyer-Mitra, a defence analyst and journalist based in Delhi, was first arrested on September 20 in relation to tweets made about Konark temple. A court in Delhi had granted him conditional bail directing him to join the investigation.