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SC declines immediate listing of plea seeking hearing on Karnataka hijab matter

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 The Supreme Court on Friday turned down a plea to immediately list a plea seeking permission to allow students to appear in annual examinations in Karnataka’s pre-university colleges with their head scarf.

A woman lawyer mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud. The lawyer submitted that exams are five days later and added they had come earlier also, and sought urgent listing of the plea.

The bench told the lawyer, “You come on the last date, what can we do?” The Chief Justice said the new bench to hear the matter will be created after the Holi break.

On February 22, the Supreme Court agreed to examine a plea for hearing by a group of students seeking permission to allow them to appear in annual examinations in Karnataka’s pre-university colleges with their head scarf.

Advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing on behalf of the students, had then submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that they had to appear in annual examinations beginning from March 9 in government colleges.

The top court queried the counsel, why are they prevented from taking the examination? The counsel replied because of the headscarf and further added that the students had already lost one year and if no relief was granted, they would lose another year. The bench said the plea for listing would be examined.

On January 23, the Supreme Court agreed to examine a plea to constitute a three-judge bench to consider petitions challenging ban on hijab in classrooms of pre university colleges in Karnataka.

The Supreme Court, in October last year, gave a split verdict on petitions challenging the validity of ban on hijab worn by some Muslim girl students in classrooms of pre-university colleges in Karnataka. The split verdict was delivered by a bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia.

Justice Gupta, retired now, upheld the Karnataka government circular and dismissed the appeals against the Karnataka High Court judgment. However, Justice Dhulia quashed the Karnataka government’s decision to ban wearing of hijab inside classrooms of pre-university colleges, saying that the Constitution is also a document of trust and it is the trust the minorities have reposed upon the majority.

Justice Dhulia, in his judgment, said: “We live in a democracy and under the Rule of Law, and the laws which govern us must pass muster the Constitution of India. Amongst many facets of our Constitution, one is Trust. Our Constitution is also a document of Trust. It is the trust the minorities have reposed upon the majority.”

The bench had then said since there is divergence of views, the matter would be posted before the Chief Justice of India for setting up a larger bench.

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Rescue operations continue for 2nd day to save girl stuck in borewell in MP’s Sehore

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Rescue operations were on to save a three-year-old girl who fell into a borewell in Madhya Pradesh’s Sehore, said officials on Wednesday.

The operation has been going on for the past 18 hours after the girl fell in the borewell on Tuesday while she was playing.

“The rescue operation is still underway on the second day,” the Sehore district administration officials said, without elaborating much about the current situation of the girl.

The officials said that the digging of a parallel hole/tunnel was still underway which will take some more time.

The girl, Shristi Kushwaha, was stuck at a depth of 25-30 feet in the 300-ft deep borewell.

Oxygen was being supplied to her and her movements were being monitored through a camera. An official said digging was delayed due to the presence of hard rock.

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan directed the district administration to rescue the baby girl.

Earlier, in March this year, a 7-year-old boy fell into a borewell in Vidisha district and was rescued after 24 hours operation jointly by Indian Army and SDRF team, however, by the time the boy was rescued, he had died.

Following which, the state government had ordered the officials to check all the borewells and ensure that all of them are covered. However, no heed was paid to the instruction. In the last one and a half years, nearly half a dozen such incidents were reported in different parts of Madhya Pradesh.

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SC: Opportunity must be given to borrowers before banks declare their account as fraud

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The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that an opportunity must be given to an account holder to be heard, before the borrower or account is declared fraud.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud affirmed the order passed by Telangana High Court and set aside the contrary view taken by the Gujarat High Court.

The bench said decision classifying borrower accounts as fraudulent must be with reasoned order and further added that debarring borrowers from accessing institutional finances causes severe impact on borrowers and is similar to blacklisting of borrowers, which impacts credit score.

It held that the principles of “audi alterm partem” must be read into the circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on the classification of bank accounts as fraud.

The bench stressed that opportunity of hearing must be granted for the borrowers under the master directions on fraud.

The judgment in the matter will be uploaded later in the day.

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Bombay HC asks SP MLA Rais Shaikh to convert his plea against Maharashtra’s inter-faith marriage panel into PIL

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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday permitted Samajwadi Party Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Rais Shaikh to convert his petition challenging the decision of the Maharashtra government to set up an Inter-Faith Marriage Family Coordination Committee before a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice into a public interest litigation (PIL). 

A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale noted that the petition seemed to be in the nature of a PIL and hence the petitioner (Shaikh) could convert the same into a PIL. 

The bench said petitioner should take up matter in appropriate manner

The bench noted, “Other than the name and address of the petitioner, there is no statement of fact about the petitioner. The petitioner is not concerned with the subject matter. He may have public interest but then it is open to him to take it up in an appropriate manner.” 

During the hearing on Monday, the judges wondered how the petition was circulated in the media even before it could be taken up by the HC. “How is it that, even before we have seen this petition, every media person has seen it? If you want to test this in the media forum, then don’t waste our time. Every media forum has seen this. If you want them to decide, we couldn’t care less,” said Justice Patel. 

Maharashtra govt issued GR on December 13 on inter-faith marriage panel

The Maharashtra Government issued the GR on December 13, 2022 following the gruesome murder of Shraddha Walkar in Delhi allegedly by her inter-faith live-in partner. The committee is meant to provide a platform to ‘counsel, communicate and resolve’ issues between couples and families. The committee comprising 13 members is to be headed by Women and Child Development Minister Mangal Prabhat Lodha.

SP MLA contested that the panel is attempt to discourage/ forbid interfaith marriages

The SP MLA filed a petition last week alleging that the GR is the government’s attempt “to discourage and/or forbid inter-faith marriages and is essentially a pre-cursor to laws related to purported love jihad marriages which has been stayed in numerous States of India.”

Shaikh alleged the GR was an attempt by the government to discourage and forbid inter-faith marriages and is a precursor to laws related to alleged ‘love jihad’ marriages

The plea seeks that the state government be directed to withdraw the said GR and declare that the same is in violation of the provisions of the Special Marriage Act. 

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