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2013 Roundup: What the Delhi High Court did in this year

Thursday, 26 December 2013 - 9:01am IST Updated: Thursday, 26 December 2013 - 1:08pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI
Delhi-based founding editor of Tehelka magazine Tarun Tejpal also knocked the doors of the high court for transit bail against his imminent arrest in the sexual assault case of a scribe, but, he later withdrew his plea and moved to a sessions court in Goa.

The Delhi High Court in 2013 dealt with various cases like row over CAG's appointment, funding of Aam Aadmi Party and the IT department's tax demand of 21,153 crore from Nokia and passed a slew of orders to make Delhi a safer place for women.

Taking suo-motu cognisance of the ordeal of the December 16, 2012 gangrape victim, the court not only put Delhi Police to task for its lapses but ordered hospitals, including private ones, not to deny treatment to victims of criminal offences, especially rape victims.

Various long-overdue steps, including increase in number of PCR vans for enhanced night vigil, probe against erring policemen for their failure to detect perpetrators of gangrape, fast track courts for rape trials and compensation for the victims, were taken in pursuance of the court orders.

The high court, which took a bold step by throwing open the gangrape trial for national and international media, of course with certain restrictions, is now hearing on day-to-day basis the references and the appeals of four convicts-- Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh.

They have been awarded death penalty by the lower court.

Delhi-based founding editor of Tehelka magazine Tarun Tejpal also knocked the doors of the high court for transit bail against his imminent arrest in the sexual assault case of a scribe, but, he later withdrew his plea and moved to a sessions court in Goa.

The court, which consistently took a stern view of sexual assaults cases, however, said the rape provisions are often being misused by women as "weapon for vengeance and vendetta" to harass and blackmail their male friends for either extorting money or to force them to marry.

The furore over appointment of former Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma as Comptroller and Auditor General of India on the grounds of conflict of interest reached to it after the apex court declined to entertain the plea of former Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami and others.

Seeking guidelines for such appointments, the PIL sought quashing of Sharma's posting as CAG alleging he was a joint secretary in the ministry during 2003-07 and the director general of acquisitions in 2010 before becoming the Defence Secretary in July 2011.

Moreover, as the CAG, he will be conducting audits of defence deals cleared during his tenures, it added.

The court has now reserved verdict on the PIL, which was vehemently opposed by the Centre.

Issues relating to AAP, whose electoral success took almost all political pundits by surprise, also kept the court busy which asked the Centre to inquire into its fundings and heard the city government's plea against its anti- establishment advertisements on auto-rickshaws.

Finish mobile maker Nokia, which, as per the Income Tax department, owes it Rs 21,153 crore as total tax liability (existing and anticipated), including penalty during a seven-year period from 2006-2013, moved the Delhi High Court with its plea for lifting of stay on sale of the assets.

Paving the way for Nokia's sale to Microsoft under its USD 7.2 billion global deal with the US giant, the high court ordered defreezing of its assets with conditions including that Nokia Finland shall be jointly liable to pay tax demand raised under the IT Act.

The high court also reserved its verdict on US drug major Merck Sharp and Dohme's (MSD) appeal against a single judge bench order refusing to restrain Indian firm Glenmark from manufacturing and selling anti-diabetes drugs Zita and Zita-Met.

The single judge's order had come on the US firm's plea alleging that the Indian pharma firm had violated its IPR over its anti-diabetes medicines, Januvia and Janumet, by coming out with their own drugs containing the same salts.

MSD said it had invented 'Sitagliptin' salt, used in its anti-diabetes drugs, and has patent over it.

The controversy around AirAsia deal, in the form of a PIL, reached to the high court after the apex court asked BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to do so.

The court has sought responses from the Civil Aviation Ministry and DGCA on the plea which has sought a direction against grant of further approvals on the ground that the deal was contrary to the applicable FDI policy and DGCA guidelines.


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