Legal Bites brings you a roundup of Important decisions of the Delhi High Court (2022), which played a significant role.

Legal Bites brings you a roundup of Important decisions of the Delhi High Court (2022), which played a significant role. It will help the readers to remember all legal and current updates of 2022 pertaining to the Delhi High Court in the most efficient and easy way.

Important Judgments of Delhi High Court (2022) - Legal Bites Year Update

1. Restricting individual rights to travel abroad by issuance of Look Out Circular (LOC)

On 12th January 2022, Delhi High Court, in the case 'Vikas Chaudhary v. Union of India & Ors' (2022), ruled that since the State has not presented proof that a person's ability to go abroad would be “detrimental to the economic interests of India,” it was improper to issue a Look Out Circular curtailing that right. A Delhi-based clothing manufacturer filed a Writ Petition with Justice Rekha Palli to overturn a Look Out Circular (LOC) the Respondents, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Income Tax Department. Had issued against him that the Court observed the LOC had been in effect for nearly three years, and that the respondents had, admittedly, not pursued any further action against the petitioner during that time.

2. Individuals above 25 years can possess 9 Litres of Specified Liquor

On 28th February 2022, Delhi High Court decided the case of Avjit Saluja v. State of NCT of Delhi, (2022). In the capital city of India, the petition has been filed to rescind the FIR registered against the petitioner, a resident of Delhi, for the storage of liquor illegally in his home.

The petitioner not having a valid liquor license and has 132 bottles of alcohol recovered, which includes 51.8 litres of whisky, rum, vodka, and gin, as well as 55.4 litres of wine, beer, and alcoholic beverages. He had been charged under Section 33 of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009 and Rule 20(a) of the Delhi Excise Act. The Council of the Petitioner has stated that the alcohol seized was within acceptable limits because the residence, where it was found, was a habitation for six adults (all over the age of 25). The amount of alcohol seized from the petitioner's residence does not exceed the maximum permissible limit given under Rule 20 of the Delhi Excise Rules.

The court concluded in the case that the offence, under Section 33 of the Delhi Excise Act, is not made out against the petitioner from the facts and circumstances of the case. Thus, it invalidated the FIR made against him.

3. The Enforcement Directorate is exempt from the RTI Act unless the information relates to allegations of corruption or Human Rights violations

On 22nd March 2022, the Delhi High Court, in the case of Union of India v. Central Information Commission & Anr., (2022), stated that the Enforcement Directorate is exempt from the Right to Information Act because it is an intelligence and security organisation as defined in the Second Schedule of the Act unless the information relates to allegations of corruption and human rights violations. A case, headed by Justices Manmohan and Sudhir Kumar Jain, involving an RTI request submitted by a superintendent (the respondent in the matter) who works in the administration with the Enforcement Directorate. The mentioned application requested copies of all Lower Division Clerk (LDC) seniority lists from 1991 to the present, copies of LDC promotion proposals presented to the DPC, copies of meeting minutes, and copies of promotion orders issued based on the DPC recommendations from time to time.

4. While “exceptional hardship” may be used to waive the cooling-off period under section 14 of the Hindu marriage act, denial of a conjugal relationship does not.

On 18th April 2022, in the case of Rishu Aggarwal v. Mohit Goyal (2022), Delhi High Court opined that the denial of a conjugal relationship is a cause for divorce and cruelty. But it does not make up “extreme hardship” as defined under Section 14 of the Hindu Marriage Act. Before filing for divorce, you must wait a minimum of one year from your marriage, according to Section 14 of the Act. They may waive the one year under a proviso if the petitioner is experiencing “extraordinary hardship” or the respondent is acting with “extreme depravity.”

The denial of sex by one spouse to the other or by both of them to each other may constitute “hardship”, but it cannot be claimed to be “extreme hardship” according to a bench consisting of acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh.

5. A split decision on a group of petitions contesting exception 2 to section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, which exempts forced sexual intercourse by a husband with his wife from the offence of rape

On 11th May 2022 in the case of RIT Foundation v Union of India (2022), the Split verdict on Criminalisation of Marital Rape Exception (MRE), the Division Bench of Delhi High Court pronounced a 393-Pages Judgment.

NGOs RIT Foundation, All India Democratic Women's Association, and two individuals have filed petitions against marital rape. The exception to Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code which states that sexual intercourse by a man with his wife aged 18 or above is not rape even if it is done without her consent was overturned as unconstitutional by Justice Rajiv Shakdher, who presided over the two-judge Bench. However, Justice C. Hari Shankar rejected the request to make marital rape a crime, stating that any modification to the law must be made by the legislature because the matter necessitates taking into account a number of factors, including social, cultural, and legal factors.

A certificate of leave to appeal to the Supreme Court has been granted by both justices stating that substantial questions of law are involved.

6. Spousal Consent to Organ Donation violates the right to control own body

On 30th May 2022, in the case of Neha Devi v. Govt of NCT of Delhi & Ors., (2022), the Delhi High Court observed that requiring spouse approval for organ donation would violate the wife's freedom to manage her own body. According to Justice Yashwant Varma’s interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Rules and the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, a spouse cannot be acknowledged in law as having a superior or supervening right to control a personal and conscious decision of the donor.

7. A newspaper or news agency cannot be considered as performing a public function

On 2nd June 2022, in the case of Prakash Singh v. Union of India & Anr., (2022), as per Delhi High Court, a newspaper or other organisation disseminates news cannot be viewed as performing a public function. Justice Yashwant Varma dismissed a writ petition brought by Prakash Singh, accusing Agence France-Presse, a French private international news agency, of racial discrimination and harassment.

The court rejected the argument because it was unpersuasive. The petitioner’s counsel, Raghav Awasthi, called the court's attention to the fact that a French Parliament Act established Agence France-Presse. Some argued its fundamental duties would show that it was an autonomous civil entity that had been established to locate in France and abroad the components of a complete and objective information service and also put those components at the users' disposal for payment.

8. Mere Gold Smuggling that does not endanger India's economic security is not a “terrorist act” under UAPA

On 3rd June 2022, in the case of Vaibhav Sampat More v. National Investigation Agency Through its Chief Investigation officer (2022), Delhi High Court said that mere gold smuggling that does not endanger India's economic security is not a “terrorist act” under UAPA.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act does not apply to the simple smuggling of gold if there is no connection at all to a threat to India’s economic security, or monetary stability, according to the Delhi High Court. Nine accused had approached the court by filing an appeal against the Trial Court order. The bail has been cancelled in a matter involving offences under sections 16, 18, and 20 of the UAPA and sections 120 B, 204, 409, and 471 of the IPC were granted bail by a division bench headed by Justice Mukta Gupta and Justice Mini Pushkarna.

9. Hate speeches knock down the constitutional ethos: Delhi High Court will take warrant stringent peremptory action against elected representatives of Central and State Government

On 13th June Delhi High Court decided the case of Brinda Karat and Anr v. State of NCT of Delhi and Anr., (2022). Delhi High Court has noted that hate speeches, particularly those made by elected officials, political figures, and religious leaders based on religion, caste, region, or ethnicity, undermine the idea of fraternity and trample the constitutional ethos. It violates Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 of the Indian Constitution read with Article 38.

Justice Chandra Dhari Singh stated that it is a flagrant violation of the fundamental obligations outlined in the Constitution, which calls for immediate and severe action from the federal and state governments. It made the remarks as the Court dismissed the criminal writ petition by politician KM Tiwari and CPM leader Brinda Karat against a trial court ruling. The Court denied their request to file a police report against BJP leaders Parvesh Verma and Anurag Thakur for allegedly making hate speeches in 2020.

“The persons who are mass leaders and occupy high offices must conduct themselves with utmost integrity and responsibility. Leaders elected in a democracy like that of India, owe their responsibility not only towards the electorate in their own constituency but also towards the society/nation as a whole and ultimately to the Constitution. It is they who are the role models for the ordinary masses. Thus, it does not befit or behove the leaders to indulge in acts or speeches that cause rifts amongst communities, create tensions, and disrupt the social fabric in the society,” the Delhi High Court observed.

10. Airport authorities cannot detain a person against whom a “LOC of intimation” has been issued

On 4th July 2022, in the case of Dhruv Tewari v. Directorate of Enforcement 2022, the Delhi High Court stated that the Airport authorities or any other port could not restrain or detain any person under the pretext that intimation of arrival or departure is required to be given to the originating agency when a Look out circular (LOC) of intimation is issued against a person. Justice Mukta Gupta said that it would immediately function as a preventive LOC and also, and it was established that nothing could be accomplished indirectly.

11. Delhi anti-corruption branch has the authority to look into allegations of corruption against Delhi Police Officers

On 4th July 2022, in the case of Johnson Jacob v. State (2022), Delhi High Court dismissed the defence offered by a Delhi Police official who claimed that because the department is under the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Delhi Government's Anti Corruption Branch was unable to investigate the corruption allegations brought against him. Justice Jasmeet Singh mentioned the case of Anil Kumar v. GNCT of Delhi. In the case, it was determined that the Delhi government's Anti-Corruption Branch had the authority to receive and act on a complaint under the Prevention of Corruption Act regarding a Delhi Police officer and to investigate and prosecute any offenders.

12. The POCSO Act will apply to Muslim girls under 18 who have reached puberty

On 6th July 2022, Delhi High Court rejected the assertion that a minor Muslim girl who has attained the age of puberty would fall out of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Justice Jasmeet Singh said that the purpose of the POCSO Act is to safeguard children while they are still young, assure their safety from abuse, and protect their infancy and youth from exploitation.

13. To enter the examination hall, they should give candidates wearing kara or kirpan advance notice to report one hour before the exam centre: the Delhi high court instructs the DSSSB

On 11th July 2022, in the case of Mrs Manhareleen Kaun v. Union of India & Ors., (2022), the Delhi High Court ordered the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) to make sure that candidates who wish to wear a Kara or Kirpan should be pre-informed about that they should arrive at the testing location an hour before the reporting time.

Justice Rekha Palli said,

“It is expected that not only the DSSSB but all other recruiting agencies who conduct similar examinations will take appropriate steps in this regard well before the conduct of the examinations.”

14. Distorted facts are used to intentionally lower court dignity, action must be taken

On 14th July 2022, in the case of Ms. M Victim v. State of NCT of Delhi Through S.H.O. & Ors, (2022), Delhi High Court noted that while the judiciary is not exempt from criticism, it cannot find such criticism on grossly misrepresented facts or material assertions to diminish its dignity and respect. When dealing with an appeal that accused Trial Court and High Court judges, Justice Jasmeet Singh gave the appellant’s lawyer a notice to explain why contempt proceedings should not be taken up against him.

Delhi High Court said,

“There is a direct attack on the reputation and functioning of not only one Judge, but several Judges of this Court. This vilification of Judges can affect the administration of justice, as it becomes a form of public mischief. An unwarranted attack on a Judge, citing and unscrupulous administration cannot be ignored by this Court."

15. Subjecting citizens to police scrutiny, with no valid reason for the verification of the personal documents, comes under the invasion of the Right to Privacy

On 18th July 2022, in the case of Jindal Kumar v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi) and Anr., (2022), the Delhi High Court said that a citizen’s right to privacy would be violated if they were subjected to police investigation without cause, including the verification of their documents, according to the Delhi High Court. When addressing a request from a complaint asking the Delhi Police for instructions to inquire about the correct identity of a private person following an altercation between the two parties, Justice Asha Menon made the observation. The police were required to establish the genuine identity of the respondent in the kalandra proceedings because it was the petitioner's contention that he was using multiple names and identities. The plea, therefore, sought directions from the Delhi Police to enquire concerning Aadhaar Cards, Voter Cards, Driving Licenses, and Pan Cards being in the name of colourful names allegedly being used by the replier existent.

16. Women deserve dignity guaranteed under Article 21 of our Indian constitution during motherhood

On 18th August 2022, the Delhi High Court, in the case of Kajal v. State (NCT of Delhi ) (2022), awarded a pregnant undertrial prisoner who was due to give birth in jail three months of interim bail, stating that every pregnant woman deserved dignity while giving birth. Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta says that pregnancy is a unique circumstance that needs to be recognized. A woman giving birth to a child while in custody would not only be traumatic, but it would also have a lasting negative effect on both mother and child. Every pregnant woman deserves dignity, giving birth in custody traumatizes both mother and children.

17. Only legislative legislation, not mere circulars, can restrict citizens' freedom to establish educational institutions

On 24th August 2022, in the case of Mehta Teacher Training College v. National Council For Teacher (2022), Delhi High Court ruled that a simple decision to impose a complete ban by the NCTE general body of experts or simple inaction to close the portal for years cannot be claimed to fall within the scope of the term “law” as intended by Article 19(6). The court made the observations as it allowed a number of petitions contesting the National Council for Teacher Education's (NCTE) decision to close its online website for submissions from institutions wishing to apply for the recognition of their teachers' educational programmes.

The Council was instructed to activate the online application portal within two weeks and to promptly accept and process any applications that may be submitted for the purpose of granting recognition for the development of new teaching courses for the academic year 2022–2023.

18. Plea dismissed challenging Whatsapp's new privacy policy forces users into compliance by offering a mirage of choice while sharing sensitive data with Facebook

On 25th August 2022, in the case of Whatsapp LLC, Facebook v. CCI (2022), a division bench made up of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad dismissed the petitions filed by WhatsApp and its parent company Meta (previously Facebook) against a single court order rejecting to intervene with CCI investigation into the 2021 privacy policy. The Court noted that there is a significant “lock-in effect” that prevents users from switching to another platform “despite dissatisfaction with the product,” as shown because WhatsApp’s user base remained constant when the 2021 Policy was announced despite an increase in the downloads of rival applications like Telegram and Signal.

19. The Server in Singapore is no defence against the Indian court's order directing telegram to provide information about copyright violators using its platform

On 30th August 2022, the Delhi High Court, in the case of Neetu Singh & Anr. v. Telegram FZ LLC & Ors., (2022) held that the server in Singapore is no defence against the Indian court's order directing telegram to provide information about copyright violators using its platform.

Copyright violators cannot use as a shield the messaging app Telegram regulations, according to the Delhi High Court, solely because Singapore is the location of its physical server. Justice Pratibha M. Singh continued by saying that Indian courts would have every right to force Telegram, which has extensive operations there, to abide by Indian law and orders made by them for the revelation of pertinent information about infringers. The bench added that under Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Act of 2012, a recognised exception to data privacy would be the disclosure of personal information for any actions, including those involving copyright infringement.

20. Documents related to the grant of sanction for prosecution under section 45(1) UAPA may not be disclosed under the RTI Act

On 8th September 2022, in the case of Ehtesham Qutubddin Siddique v. CPIO Ministry of Home Affairs (2022), Delhi High Court dismissed the convict's appeal (UAPA). The Central Information Commission (CIC) ordered that the convict in the Mumbai Twin Blast case (7/11 Bomb Blast case) be denied access to information regarding the proposal and all documents pertaining to the granting of sanction for prosecution under section 45(1) of the Unlawful Activity (Prevention) Act. Justice Yashwant Varma stated that

“Bearing in mind the provisions made in Section 45 of the UAP Act, the Court is of the firm opinion that the disclosures that were sought and in the broad terms as were prayed for in the application, the respondents rightly invoked Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act.”

According to the petitioner's attorney, the CIC was required to determine whether the provisions of section 10 of the RTI Act would be applicable and whether specific elements of the information requested were severable and, as a result, did not fall under the purview of section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act. The Court, however, denied this assertion.

21. Delhi High Court Quashed the ban on manufacturing and selling chewing tobacco products in the national capital

On 27th September 2022, in the case of Sugandhi Snuff King Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. v. Commissioner (Food Safety) Government of NCT of Delhi (2022), Several announcements banning the production, distribution, or sale of Gutka, Pan Masala, flavoured tobacco, and related goods in Delhi have been invalidated by the High Court. The Commissioner of Food Safety has sent out seven notices since 2015. Justice Gaurang Kanth said that the notifications were provided year after year without adhering to the fundamental guidelines outlined by the requirements of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. “The classification sought to be created between smokeless and smoking tobacco for justifying the issuance of the impugned Notification is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution,” the court said.

22. Call recording or phone tampering without consent violates the Right to Privacy

On 8th December 2022, in the case of Sanjay Pandey v. Directorate of Enforcement (2022), Delhi High Court ruled that tapping phone lines or recording calls without the concerned individual's consent violates privacy under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

In a money laundering case involving the alleged illegal phone tapping of National Stock Exchange employees, the court made the following observations when granted bail to Sanjay Pandey, the former Mumbai Police Commissioner.

In this case, NSE allegedly contacted ISEC Services Private Limited, a company with a contract for data analysis and assessing cyber risks, to examine its employees' pre-recorded calls in 2009. To “identify and isolate questionable calls relating to the issue of data and information security and cyber and process vulnerability,” this was allegedly done.

23. Irrespective of rank, all the personnel of paramilitary forces entitled to a House Rent Allowance

On 16th December 2022 in the case of Praveen Yadav and Ors v. Union of Indian Ors. (2022), Delhi High Court on 16 December 2022 directed the Central government and other authorities to take requisite measures to provide House Rent Allowance (HRA) benefits to all personnel, regardless of their ranks. The petitioners in their plea before the Court, said that after the office memorandum issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the personnel of uniform services will receive HRA under the seventh pay commission. However, the Group-A officials were not granted the aforementioned benefits, confined to personnel below officer rank (PBOR). The division bench of Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and Justice Saurabh Banerjee noted that the respondent had not made a submission showing that they take into account the plan to provide the same benefits to the petitioner which the same benefit to PBORs of CAPF and PBORs of Defence Force.

The Court partially overturned MHA’s OM, instructing the authorities to provide the benefit to all Forces personnel, regardless of rank, in accordance with their entitlement, after observing that the respondent authorities cannot be allowed to hold a discriminatory view for personnel of various forces.

24. Delhi High Court directed schools to ensure the education of children with economically backward class quota

On 16th December 2022, in the case of Rameshwar Jha v. The Principal Richmond Global School & Ors., (2022), Delhi HC took a positive step regarding the elementary educational level in Delhi. The court directs all schools to ensure that children belonging to Economically Backward classes should not be ill-treated and should provide an equal chance of admission to private schools. In this case, the petitioner, under Section 2(e) of the RTE Act, tried to find private schools for children who belonged to the EWS category at the elementary level. The Department of Education (DoE) provided the children with documents attesting to their enrollment in schools under the RTE Act. The schools declined to admit the children even though they had letters of confirmed admission from the DOE.

Justice Chandra Dhari Singh directed the DoE to conduct the appropriate screening to authenticate the credentials of the children and the parents and to further check the facts surrounding eligibility. The provisions of the RTE Act must be followed exactly in letter and spirit by schools. The court further ordered to make sure that, all children who were shortlisted and notified to be accepted in a local school would be admitted as soon as possible, within one month or within the time frame set by the relevant authorities.

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Mayank Shekhar

Mayank Shekhar

Mayank is an alumnus of the prestigious Faculty of Law, Delhi University. Under his leadership, Legal Bites has been researching and developing resources through blogging, educational resources, competitions, and seminars.

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