Monday, December 2, 2013
Friday, November 29, 2013
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Domestic Violence Act could not be invoked by a woman in a live-in relationship with a married man, especially if she knew his marital status.
A relationship between a woman and a married man could not be termed a 'relationship in the nature of marriage', the basic requirement for an aggrieved woman in a live-in relationship to take recourse to DV Act for action against her 'erring' partner, the court said.
After giving this interpretation to live-in relationship between a married man and an unmarried woman, a bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Pinaki Chandra Ghose said if the married man walked out of such a relationship, the woman was not entitled to seek maintenance under DV Act from him.
On the contrary, it warned, the deserted woman ran a risk of being sued for damages by the man's wife and children for alienating them from the love and care of their husband/father.
But the bench was aware of the social reality of married men walking out of live-in relationships. Finding that in such situations, poor and illiterate women suffered the most, the apex court appealed to Parliament to take remedial measures through appropriate legislation.
One Indra Sarma had a live-in relationship with V K V Sarma, already married with two children. The man moved in with her, started a business enterprise with her and after several years, went back to his family.
After the live-in relationship ended, Indra moved a Bangalore court demanding from him a house, a monthly maintenance of Rs 25,000, reimbursement of her medical bills and Rs 3.50 lakh in damages.
The trial court found that the two lived together for 18 years. Finding the woman aggrieved, the magistrate directed the man to pay Rs 18,000 per month towards her maintenance under DV Act. The sessions court upheld the trial court decision.
But the Karnataka High Court set aside the trial court order saying the live-in relationship did not fall within the ambit of "relationship in the nature of marriage", a cardinal principle for one to invoke DV Act.
Upholding the HC order, Justices Radhakrishnan and Ghose said, "We are of the view that the appellant (Indra Sarma) having been fully aware of the fact that respondent (V K V Sarma) was a married person, could not have entered into a live-in relationship in the nature of marriage.
"Appellant's and respondent's relationship is, therefore, not a 'relationship in the nature of marriage' because it has no inherent or essential characteristic of a marriage, but a relationship other than 'in the nature of marriage' and the appellant's status is lower than the status of a wife and that relationship would not fall within the definition of 'domestic relationship' under Section 2(f) of the DV Act. Consequently, any act, omission or commission or conduct of the respondent in connection with that type of relationship, would not amount to 'domestic violence' under Section 3 of the DV Act."
But the bench noticed the deficiency in law to address such relationships in which women, especially poor and illiterate, suffer the most when their partners -already married men - just walk out. The court said it was for Parliament to take remedial legislative steps to plug this loophole in law.
The bench said, "We have, on facts, found that the appellant's status was that of a mistress, who is in distress, a survivor of a live-in relationship which is of serious concern, especially when such persons are poor and illiterate, in the event of which vulnerability is more pronounced, which is a social reality. Children born out of such relationship also suffer most which calls for bringing in remedial measures by Parliament through proper legislation."
Despite the concern, the bench decided to go by the law and said, "If any direction is given to the respondent to pay maintenance or monetary consideration to the appellant, that would be at the cost of the legally wedded wife and children of the respondent, especially when they had opposed that relationship and have a cause of action against the appellant (the woman) for alienating the companionship and affection of the husband/parent which an intentional tort."
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
Irfan Faiz, 55, was held at Leeds Bradford Airport on September 18 as he underwent pre-flight checks in an Airbus 310 with 145 passengers and 11 crew.
He was about to pilot the PIA flight to Islamabad when he was asked to leave the cockpit due to concerns raised by security staff, who said he smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet.
The father of two was found to have three times the legal amount of alcohol in his blood, prosecutors told Leeds Crown Court in northern England. The legal limit for driving a car is 35 microgrammes but for flying in the UK it just nine.
Sentencing him, Justice Peter Coulson said Faiz had committed a "very serious offence".
He described as "extraordinary" that the rules in Pakistan only stated that there should be a 12-hour gap between "bottle and throttle", no matter how much the pilot had drunk.
"This is a very serious offence. If he had not been stopped, he would have flown the aircraft to Islamabad. That could have had potential catastrophic consequences," he said.
"Many people find flying a difficult and nervous ordeal at the best of times. They need to have absolute confidence in their safety and security."
Faiz told police that he had drunk three-quarters of a bottle of whisky but had stopped drinking at about 3:00 am, some 19 hours ahead of the planned take-off.
His barrister Paul Greaney told the court his client was not a heavy drinker but was under a lot of stress at the time because of a kidnap threat against his family. The court heard the defendant is from a prominent family in Pakistan.
Greaney told the judge that, despite being an experienced pilot, Faiz was not aware of the rules about drinking and flying in the UK.
Justice Coulson said he was "astonished" to hear pilots regularly flying out of the UK were not aware of the rules about alcohol consumption, which are based on the amount of alcohol present in the body.
In a statement, a PIA spokesperson said "further action" would be taken against Faiz once he had completed his sentence in the UK. "The maximum sentence is termination from service," he said.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
A bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justices Ranjana P Desai and Ranjan Gogoi took serious exception to the notification and said, “In your relief operations, if your notification favours one community, then it is bound to backfire. How can relief and rehabilitation measures be denied on the ground of religion?”
Senior advocate Rajiv Dhavan immediately assured the court that no one would be discriminated and that a corrigendum to the notification would soon be issued. “The team which visited the relief camps thought only Muslims wanted relocation. Now it will be extended to all, whoever wanted to relocate,” he said.
However, the bench, after a brief deliberation, asked for the notification to be withdrawn. “We feel you have to recall this notification and issue a fresh one to include all riot affected families whosoever is eligible irrespective of their religious or community identity,” the judges said.
Dhavan instantly gave the undertaking to the court that the state would immediately withdraw the ‘faulty’ notification and issue it afresh as soon as possible extending the relocation grant of Rs 5 lakh to riot victims without discrimination. Then the court issued notice on a writ petition filed by one Ravindra Kumar of Malikpur Majra Kawal village in Muzaffarngar district, who alleged the police investigation into the riots was biased.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
The Bombay High Court has upheld a family court order granting divorce to a man after his wife failed to prove that her second child was the husband’s biological son and she refused to undergo a DNA test.
The Supreme Court on Monday said it wanted immediate steps taken to block websites with pornographic content, especially those featuring children.
The court asked the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) about the steps which can be taken in this regard.
A bench headed by Justice B.S. Chauhan asked the Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, of which DoT is a part, to file its response within three weeks.
The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Kamlesh Vaswani, who pleaded that although watching obscene videos was not an offence, pornographic sites should be banned as they were one of the major causes behind crimes against women.
"The absence of Internet laws encourages people to watch porn videos and over 20 crore videos or clippings are freely available in the market, which have been directly downloaded from the Internet or copied from video CDs," the petition stated.
Legal experts say the Information Technology Act does not make it illegal to view adult porn but watching child porn is an offence and the law applies to "whoever creates text or digital images, collects, seeks, browses, downloads'' child porn.
Referring to Section 67B of the IT Act added in 2008, which prescribes punishment for involvement in sexually explicit online or electronic content that depicts children, cyber law expert Pavan Duggal said: "The problem is that this law has never been invoked yet and till date there has not been any conviction."
The Centre had earlier told the SC that it was difficult to block international porn sites and sought time to consult various ministries in order to find a solution.
The court criticised the Centre for taking such a long time in dealing with a serious issue, while granting it time to devise a mechanism to block such sites, particularly those containing child pornography.
The petition pointed out that the sexual content that children are accessing today is far more graphic, violent, brutal, deviant and destructive, and has put the whole of society in danger as well as posing threats to public order in India.
The order came on a petition filed by social activist and member ofAam Aadmi Party (AAP) Nutan Thakur. Terming the decision of the Union home ministry to probe into the complaints of anomalies in foreign contribution to AAP as one-sided, the petition demanded probe into the foreign donations received by Congress, BJP and other political parties.
After hearing the petition, a division bench, comprising Justice Devi Prasad Singh and Justice Ashok Pal Singh, said that this matter does not only relate to the petitioner but has a wider public realm and is hence a PIL. Thakur said that on October 26, 2012, when she was not a member of AAP, she had lodged a complaint with the Union home ministry on the alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 (FCRA) by Congress and BJP. Both parties had received donations of about Rs 5 crore each from Vedanta Group subsidiaries — Sterlite Industries and Sesa Goa. She sent a reminder on June 5. However, no action has been taken so far.
Thakur said that her complaint was based on newspaper articles published on October 17, 2012. She said the Election Commission had also asked the central government to probe the matter. But since no action has been taken, Thakur said, she decided to approach the high court to seek a probe into foreign funding of all political parties, including Congress and BJP. The petition also states that the AAP has welcomed the inquiry on its funding ordered by the UPA government. However, it adds, Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has made the announcement at a time when Delhi assembly elections are under way, which raises suspicion.