[Breaking] Using derogatory terms against spouse amounts to cruelty

Division Bench of the Supreme Court consisting of Vikramajit Sen and Abhay Manohar Sapre JJ while allowing a petition for dissolution of marriage on the ground of cruelty held that, either of the spouse to a marriage abuses the other OR calls police and lodge false complaint against the other spouse or his relatives OR refusing to allow close relatives from visiting other spouse and reside in the matrimonial home for some days etc. would amounts to cruelty towards the other spouse for the purpose of divorce (dissolution of marriage) under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.

The present case is a series of cases filed between the parties viz. the appellant filed a petition for thedissolution of marriage under Section 13 (1) (ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, petition forrestitution of conjugal rights filed by the respondent under Section 9 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and a petition for maintenance of Rs. 2 lacs under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Code.

After considering the facts and evidences, apex court was of the view that, the Appellant had duly pleaded instances of mental cruelty which he proved in evidence and documents. An examination of the divorce petition makes it abundantly clear that various allegations of cruelty were made out and a number of incidents were mentioned therein. Further evidence was submitted during the course of the Trial to substantiate these allegations, which is in keeping with Order VI Rule 2 of the CPC.

Court was further opined that, the Trial Court examined the evidence at great length and came to the reasoned conclusion that the actions of the Respondent amounted to cruelty. After a cursory discussion of the evidence which the Trial Court had discussed threadbare, the High Court was not justified to set aside the conclusions arrived at by the Trial Court without giving substantiated reasons. Hence, the apex court allowed the appeal and restored the trial court’s verdict granting the divorce to the appellant.

Read full Judgement of Vinod Kumar Subbiah v. Saraswathi Palaniappan (decided on 24-04-2015, Supreme Court)

Government to reconsider Section 66 A of IT Act

While replying to the Supreme Court’s comment seeking clarity on Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, Central Government informed the apex court that Government is willing to take a re-look at Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act, which empowers police to make arrests over social media messages, and to put in necessary safeguards for allaying apprehensions against its misuse.

Government gave assurance to that, it will take appropriate steps to frame necessary guidelines to curb misuse of Section 66 A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Government also assured the guarantee of absolute freedom of speech and expression on the social media.

Central Government further submitted that the government had an open mind regarding applicability of Section 66 A and that if necessary, it could also frame guidelines to make sure the law is not abused to arrest innocent people and curtail their fundamental right and the government is willing to take all pre-emptive steps to negate the chilling effect that Section 66 A may have on an individual’s right to speech and expression. Government further promised that, even the most vociferous of the political dissent would not be attempted to be curbed by way of this legislation.

Considering the submissions made by the Central Government court advised petitioners, who have challenged the constitutional validity of Section 66 A, to give their suggestions regarding the proposed safeguards by December 25 to Additional Solicitor General (ASG). “The government will consider these suggestions on the guidelines to be framed and we can then hammer out the issues,” said the bench, while adjourning the case to 13 January, 2015.

Advocate sentenced to Jail for abusing Woman Colleague

A bench of Justices T S Thakur and Adarsh K Goel of the Apex Court send a strong signal against incidents of harassment of women particularly in court premises, while dismissing an appeal by a lawyer against a week-long jail term in a case of misdemeanour against a woman colleague in Delhi High Court in 2012.

Apex Court has upheld imprisonment of an advocate who had been sentenced to seven days imprisonment for criminal contempt charges, where he allegedly abused and slapped a woman lawyer during proceeding before the joint registrar. Way back in January 13, 2012 advocate is accused of physically abusing a female colleague and behaving indecently during a hearing before a High Court Registrar.

High Court on the same day acting suo motu sent the accused to jail for a week and debarred him from practising in any Delhi court for three months. Further, court also directed the Bar Council of India, which is the apex disciplinary authority for lawyers, to take necessary action against the accused.

Earlier High Court convicted the accused saying that, his actions had interfered with judicial procedure, obstructed justice and lowered the majesty of the Court; the high court had convicted him of contempt of court. However, in his appeal to the Apex Court, he challenged the High Court order on the ground that, his conduct did not strictly fall under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, and the incident took place when the two lawyers were working together and the registrar was not present. Further, he submitted that, the incident happened on the spur of the moment and his client regretted his behaviour and any disciplinary action against him could come only from the Bar Council and not the court.

Sanskrit to be introduced from this academic year

A bench of Justices A R Dave and Kurian Joseph of the Apex Court accepted the proposal of Central Government for introducing Sanskrit as the third language replacing German in Kendriya Vidyalayas from the current academic session. However, Court said that the students would be required to appear in Sanskrit examination from the next academic session (2015-16).

Decision came after obtaining an assurance from the Central Government that, the mid-session switch from German to Sanskrit would in no way hinder the academic progress of the students. It was submitted by the Central Government that, the Ministry of HRD has already addressed the apprehensions of parents of Kendriya Vidyalaya students.

It was further submitted that, the students would be required to appear in Sanskrit examination only from the next academic session. However, schools would provide facilities to students who wanted to pursue German or any other language as an optional subject.

Upon convinced with the submissions of the Central Government, bench disposed of a petition by some parents of Kendriya Vidyalaya students. Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan had clarified that Class VIII students would not face difficulty as their marks in German in classes VI and VII would make them eligible to sit for class X board examination.