Important Legal News | 20th October

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Supreme Court Issues 14 Landmark Directives to Eradicate Manual Scavenging [Dr Balram Singh v. Union of India and Ors]

In a significant move, the Supreme Court has issued fourteen directives with the aim of completely eradicating manual scavenging in India. Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Aravind Kumar stressed that this battle is about human dignity, not wealth. They called upon the Union and states to ensure the elimination of manual scavenging and the end of human suffering.

Additionally, the Court highlighted the importance of true fraternity among citizens. The directives include compensation of at least ₹30 lakh for sewer deaths, ₹20 lakh for permanent disablement and ₹10 lakh for other disablement cases. The Court also emphasised the need for coordination among all relevant agencies. High Courts will continue to monitor these cases.

Kerala High Court: Section 498A IPC Doesn’t Apply to Live-In Relationships Narayanan & Ors. v State of Kerala]

The Kerala High Court has ruled that Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which addresses cruelty to married women, cannot be invoked in live-in relationships. Justice Sophy Thomas clarified that to seek protection under Section 498A, a woman must be legally married to the accused or his family members.

The court emphasised that even if the couple led society to believe they were married, without a formal marriage, Section 498A does not apply. The ruling came as the court set aside the conviction of a man and his brother under Sections 498A and 306 of the IPC for the alleged abetment of a woman’s suicide.

The court found that the woman’s death occurred in a live-in relationship and the “marriage agreement” had no legal sanctity. As a result, the accused were acquitted of the charges.

Supreme Court Upholds Telangana VAT (Second Amendment) Act as Unconstitutional

The Supreme Court has upheld a Telangana High Court verdict declaring the Telangana Value Added Tax (Second Amendment) Act, 2017 unconstitutional. Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Aravind Kumar ruled that the amendments in Telangana were void due to a lack of legislative competence.

The Telangana High Court had previously stated that Parliament’s intention with the introduction of the GST regime was to eliminate multiple taxes by consolidating indirect taxes into a single tax. It found that the State legislature’s competence had diminished after the 101st Constitution Amendment Act of 2016, rendering the Second Amendment Act invalid.

The Court concluded that amending the VAT Act was unnecessary after its repeal, except in specific cases and that Section 19 of the Constitution Amendment Act did not grant the State legislature the power to enact the Second Amendment Act.

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