Madras High Court
Madras High CourtFile

Federalism also applies to judiciary, says judge

When the matter was taken up, the judge questioned the maintainability of the petition since the matter was already heard and disposed of by the Karnataka HC on November 30, 2021.

CHENNAI: While it is a common aspect among political parties, certainly ones that have blended with regional aspirations to speak loud about ‘Federalism,’ now, it is the turn of the Madras High Court to highlight the significance of federalism.

“Federalism is part of the basic structure of the Indian Constitution and it applies to Judiciary as well,” Justice Abdul Quddhose made this observation, asserting, “One High Court cannot exercise powers, which under normal circumstances, would have been exercised only by the other High Court.”

The judge pointed out this in the backdrop of dismissing a petition filed by a Chennai-based private deemed-to-be medical university and a Bengaluru-based private medical college challenging the impugned notification and order of UGC withdrawing its earlier order granting approval to include the second petitioner (College) under the ambit of the first petitioner (University).

When the matter was taken up, the judge questioned the maintainability of the petition since the matter was already heard and disposed of by the Karnataka HC on November 30, 2021.

“The integral part of the cause of action pertaining to the impugned notification and order arose only at Bengaluru, Karnataka and if this court intervenes and entertains this writ petition, it may be detrimental to the interest of the state of Karnataka who may approach the Karnataka High Court in case of any interference by this Court which may result in inconsistencies and potentially contradictory judgments,” Justice Quddhose ruled.

The judge further noted that the principle of lis alibi pendens (dispute elsewhere pending) also applies to this case. “If two courts were to hear the same dispute it is possible they would reach inconsistent decisions. Lis alibi pendens arises from international comity and it permits a court to refuse exercising jurisdiction when there is parallel litigation pending in another jurisdiction,” the Madras HC noted and dismissed it.

The case of the petitioners is that one Raja Rajeswari Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru wanted to come under the ambit of the first petitioner Dr MGR Educational and Research Institute – a deemed to be a University in Chennai.

The UGC first granted the approval on February 14, 2019. Besides, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, a Karnataka state university with which the college was originally affiliated, rejected the disaffiliation request of the private medical college in March 2020.

This made the petitioners to approach the Karnataka HC challenging the rejection request of the state university. As the single judge dismissed the plea, the petitioners/institutions approached a division bench of Karnataka HC. The division bench of Karnataka HC disposed of the plea on November 30, 2021, directing the UGC to pass a speaking order on this issue.

The UGC on May 25, 2022, withdrew the approval. Therefore, the institutions approached the Madras HC saying the varsity is in Chennai.

Advocate moves HC seeking legal aid to youth held for Kallakurichi school violence

A Madurai-based advocate named Rathinam approached the Madras High Court for releasing several innocent youths arrested on charges of indulging in violence and vandalising a private school in Kaniyamoor village in Kallakurichi district after the suspicious death of a higher secondary school girl.

A division bench of Madras HC comprising Justice S Vaidyanathan and Justice AD Jagadish Chandira is to hear the matter on Monday. The petitioner advocate said in his affidavit that the police had arrested so many youths in Kaniyamoor and surrounding villages under the guise of arresting the accused who were involved in violence on July 17 as well as for vandalising the school properties.

Rathinam wanted to identify the innocents who were arrested in the case. He further prayed for a direction to give compensation to such innocents.

He also flagged that several of the youths are unable to get legal assistance in the case. The petitioner pleaded for a direction to the district magistrate to assign legal assistance through the district legal services authority.

The petitioner also alleged that a female schoolteacher who was arrested in connection with the death of the school girl is under judicial custody in Salem prison where the school’s secretary is also under incarceration. “As the school teacher was threatened by certain people, it is necessary to shift her to some other prison considering her security,” the petitioner noted.

Got proof against EPS, submits Arappor Iyakkam

The Arappor Iyakkam had informed the Madras High Court that it possesses proper evidence and materials against former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami for awarding highways department tenders illegally when he held the portfolio. The organisation alleged that due to the irregularities in awarding highways department tenders, a loss of Rs 692 crore occurred to the state’s exchequer.

As per the direction of Justice Krishnan Ramasamy of Madras HC on the criminal defamation suit filed by EPS against Arappor Iyakkam’s convener Jayaram Venkatesan, the defendant filed the counter.

EPS sought Rs 100 crore rupees damages for making allegations on social media as well as for lodging complaints with the DVAC.

Jayaram Venkatesan, in his affidavit, submitted, “I have lodged a complaint with the DVAC on July 26, 2022, which was published on our social media and it is not defamatory.”

Jayaram further pointed out that courts had already ruled in his favor. “The rulings of several High Courts, including Madras HC, have held that an action for defamation by a statement in an FIR will lie only after the FIR case was decided. Our own Hon’ble court has held that lodging of a complaint with police cannot be considered to be a publication of a defamatory statement and that even if the criminal law is set in motion based on an alleged false complaint, then action for malicious complaint can be launched only after disposal of the criminal case wherein a specific finding is given to that effect,” the NGO submitted.

Since EPS said in his suit that the complainant alleged that the incident happened in July 2020 and he lodged a belated complaint before the DVAC in 2021, Jayaram Venkatesan said that he had been lodging so many complaints with the secretary to the highways department and finance department from July 2020 to January 2021.

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