Important Legal News | 25 October

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Supreme Court Condemns Judge’s Unassigned Case Handling as Gross Impropriety, Imposes ₹50,000 Costs

In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court denounced the act of judges taking up cases not explicitly assigned to them by the Chief Justice, labelling it as a “gross impropriety.” Justices Abhay S Oka and Pankaj Mithal emphasised the importance of judicial discipline and adherence to the Chief Justice’s roster. The court imposed a ₹50,000 penalty on three litigants for engaging in forum shopping, deeming it an abuse of the legal process.

The litigants had filed a civil writ petition to combine criminal complaints, a move criticised by the court, which argued that it undermined the Chief Justice’s roster system. The court allowed the appellant’s appeal and instructed the Rajasthan High Court to share this order with the relevant bench handling the criminal cases.

Delhi High Court Allows Email Service of Trademark Documents, Clarifies Conditions

The Delhi High Court has clarified that the Trademarks Registry can send documents via email to litigants, provided the party has provided an email address for this purpose. In the case of M/S Mex Switchgears Pvt. Ltd. vs Vikram Suri Trading As M/S Armex Auto Industries, the court held that an email address provided in a trademark application or notice of opposition is a valid address for document service under Section 143 of the Trade Marks Act.

The court emphasised that when an email address is supplied, it implies the party’s consent to receive communications via email. However, it also noted that providing an email address is not mandatory and parties may have valid reasons for not doing so. The court’s decision overturned a Registry order, as the appellant had not provided an email address and the court ruled that documents were not properly served.

Madhya Pradesh High Court Rejects Coca Cola’s Plea to Quash Case Over Sale of Expired Maaza

The Madhya Pradesh High Court has dismissed Coca Cola’s request to quash a case involving the sale of expired Maaza Mango Drink by a retailer. The court emphasised that it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that none of its expired products remain in the hands of wholesalers, distributors or sellers. The manufacturer cannot escape liability by blaming the seller for vending unsafe products.

The court stated that under the Food Safety & Standard Act, a manufacturer or packer of a food product is liable if it fails to meet safety standards. All parties involved, including the manufacturer, work under a contract, making the manufacturer also a seller. The court’s decision affirms that manufacturers must prevent the sale of unsafe food products and cannot avoid liability by shifting blame to the retailer.

Supreme Court Rejects Transfer of Cases Despite Varied High Court Opinions

The Supreme Court has ruled that the mere existence of similar cases before various High Courts does not justify transferring a case to the Supreme Court. Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan highlighted that transferring cases to the Supreme Court in such circumstances would render the proceedings final and deprive parties of their right to appeal.

The court was addressing the Central government’s appeals against orders by the Gauhati and Bombay High Courts related to reassessment notices under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act. The High Courts had issued orders preventing coercive actions against the assessees, who argued that the reassessment notices were time-barred, while the Union government claimed a ten-year limitation period. The Supreme Court found no reason to transfer the case and set a further hearing date.

Kerala High Court Calls for Tightened Monitoring of Anonymous Malicious Movie Reviews

The Kerala High Court has urged authorities to closely monitor online platforms to prevent the uploading and circulation of malicious film reviews or review bombings by anonymous individuals. The court emphasised the need to invoke relevant provisions of the Information Technology Act (IT Act) to address this issue promptly.

Justice Devan Ramachandran noted that anonymous reviews can be used for malicious purposes, such as blackmail or extortion. The court highlighted that this problem is not limited to film reviews but extends to other areas, particularly in the business sector. While acknowledging the efforts by the Kerala State Police to combat this issue, the court called for further actions and asked the Central Government to submit a proper response after studying the protocols in place. The matter will be revisited in two weeks.

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