In this overview of court judgments, we examine the remarks and orientations of constitutional courts concerning exclusion provisions under the national law on food security, penalties for magistrates for corruption-related offenses, assurances of political leaders and determination of the age of minors in conflict with the law.
Bombay HC: The lack of connection with Aadhaar is no reason to deny benefits under the Food Safety Act.
In the case of Ganpat Dharma Mengal & Others v Bureau of Tehsildar, Murbad et al., Bombay High Court observed that there is no reason to deny the benefits of grain distribution National Food Security Act 2013 (NFSA) to the tribes for certain technical reasons.
The High Court noted that several tribals were denied supplies under the public distribution system due to their non-binding Aadhar cards and ordered the Tehsildar of Murbad to distribute supplies to nearly 90 tribals in ‘by November 4, 2021.
The state claimed that the Aadhaar cards of those affected were tied to a location other than residence. This was the reason for the non-distribution. The state also cited a government circular (GO) from October 2013, which mentions that the Aadhar of each family member on the ration card must be linked to the PDS benefit portal.
The bench of Judges Prasanna Varale and Madhav Jamdar observed that the state’s GO demands are in stark opposition to a central government notification dated February 08, 2017, which clearly indicates that the Aadhaar card is only one of the criteria for identifying the beneficiary, and not the only criterion.
According to clause 5 of the center notification, any member of an eligible household listed on the ration card is entitled to receive the full cash transfer or food subsidy under the NFSA, if even a member fulfills the identification conditions, in the case of Aadhaar the number is not yet assigned to all.
Therefore, the High Court ordered the distribution of food grains to the tribal beneficiaries of Murbad Taluka under the leadership of the NFSA and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, after checking their ration cards. The court also ordered the granting of aid to tribals similarly placed in the state.
Supreme Court: Prior sanction of the magistrate not compulsory for investigating an unrecognizable offense and a recognizable offense.
In the case of the State of Jammu and Kashmir v Dr Saleem ur Rehman, the Supreme Court ruled that a magistrate’s prior sanction is not mandatory to investigate an unrecognizable offense together with a recognizable offense.
The Supreme Court heard an appeal against a judgment handed down by the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, where it quashed the FIR under the J&K Law on Corruption Prevention (PC) and Criminal Association in under Article 120B of the Ranbir Penal Code. The FIR was canceled by observing that the prior sanction of the magistrate in accordance with article 155 of the J&K Code of Criminal Procedure had not been obtained to investigate the offense of criminal conspiracy, which was not recognizable in accordance with to the penal code of Ranbir. Among other reasons, the High Court also found that the delay in completing the preliminary inquiry was a reason for quashing the case.
Judges MR Shah and AS Bopanna observed that the High Court erred in ruling that the magistrate’s sanction was necessary to investigate the unrecognized offense (in this case Article 120B CPR), as the offenses under the Prevention of Corruption Act were recognizable.
The judiciary is of the opinion that the infringement of the Law on the prevention of corruption is a substantive infringement. Therefore, when the investigation of the PC Law offense is coupled with the criminal association offense, there is no requirement for prior sanction from the Magistrate.
In addition, the Supreme Court also observed that just because a certain time is required to conduct a preliminary investigation, this cannot be a ground for setting aside criminal proceedings for an offense under the Law on prevention of corruption.
Telangana HC: Insurance by the chief minister, the ruling party or even by the governor does not become the law of the land.
The Telangana District Court observed if an assurance has been given by the ruling party, the chief minister or the governor does not become the law of the land.
The High Court was hearing a series of petitions seeking retrospective implementation of the state government’s decision to raise the retirement age for government jobs from 58 or 60 to 61. The state legislature passed the Telangana Law on Public Employment (Regulation of Retirement Age) (Amendment) of 2021, under which the retirement age of public employees was raised from 58 at 61 years old.
The state government notified that the said law would be deemed to have come into force on March 30, 2021. This meant that employees who were to retire on March 30 or later were entitled to the benefit of the law.
Challenging the government order, some retired employees (who retired before March 30) have gone to the High Court, claiming they had been discriminated against by the government and the 2021 amending law.
The petitioners also claimed that in 2018 the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party gave assurances at election time to raise the retirement age for Telangana government employees to 61. In addition, in 2021, the governor of Telangana made a pledge regarding raising the retirement age in a Republic Day speech.
Therefore, the petitioners argued that once a promise was made by the state government to raise the retirement pension age from 58 to 61 in 2018 (at the time of the elections to Assembly), the state government cannot deny the benefit of increasing the retirement age.
After examining all the petitions, the High Court found that setting a deadline still leaves a large number of employees dissatisfied. Therefore, it does not guarantee any interference.
The judges of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice A. Rajasheker Reddy have argued that raising the retirement age is a matter of policy. The bench reiterated that any assurances given by the ruling party, the chief minister or the governor would not become the law of the land. In conclusion, the summons were rejected.
Delhi HC: The Delhi High Court has set a deadline for completing the “age determination” of “minors in conflict with the law”.
Delhi High Court on its own initiative Posted guidelines for streamlining the investigation process for minors in conflict with the law and scrupulous respect for all authorities.
The High Court dealt with questions of law posed by a senior magistrate of a Juvenile Justice Council regarding circumstances in which a child in conflict with the law also happens to be a child in need of care and protection under the aegis of Juvenile Justice Act.
The High Court granted the Delhi government 4 weeks to provide information on minor offenses pending before all Juvenile Justice Boards (JJBs) in Delhi between six months and one year, including number of cases, date of opening of the investigation and the date of the minor’s first production before the JJB.
The bench of Judge Siddharth Mridul and Judge Anup J Bhambhani issued the following directives:
- In all cases concerning minors in conflict with the law, whatever the nature of the alleged offenses, the investigator must collect and submit to the JJB the documents required to prove the age of the minor within 15 days from the date of date of issue of these instructions. .
- In all cases concerning minors in conflict with the law, whatever the nature of the alleged offenses, the investigator must ensure that the ossification test concerning the minor is completed, a report is obtained and filed before the JJB within 15 days from the date on which the ossification test is ordered by a JJB.
- All persons / educational institutions / medical institutions / government authorities who are requested by an investigator to provide documents for age determination or to perform an ossification test on a minor must undertake the procedures and processes necessary to ensure that deadlines are met. above.