Monday, June 26, 2017

The 19-year-old boy killed hisf ather for raping married sister

A 19-year-old boy killed his father after he got to know that the latter had raped his married sister in a village of Jamnagar's Jodiya taluka on Sunday.
Police said the traumatized rape survivor called up her brother, who lived in Jamnagar city, and told him about the sexual assault by her father. The man had raped his daughter twice on Sunday morning.


The furious boy immediately rushed home and asked his father about the crime. After a heated altercation, he strangulated him till he died.
"The rape survivor had returned to stay with her mother since one month due to troubled relationship with her husband in Devbhoomi Dwarka district. Her father, who worked as casual labourer, came home once every 10-15 days," P S Koringa, sub-inspector, Jodiya police station told News agency.
The boy has been detained by police.

High court pulls up officials, elected representatives for interfering in bail matters

The Gujarat high court on Friday castigated the government and public office-bearers for the practice of issuing certificates advocating prisoners' bail and warned them not to interfere with the functioning of the court.
A bench of Justice Abhilasha Kumari and Justice A J Shastri termed advocating prisoners' bail on temporary basis — by elected representatives and revenue officials at the village level — as a 'disease, which needs to be eradicated'. In the line of fire were a talati-cum-mantri of Mota Vadodar village of Lunavada taluka in Mahisagar district, a woman sarpanch of Samli village in Panchmahal district and a councillor of Bharuch municipality.


A murder accused, Babubhai Vankar, obtained a letter recommending the extension of the bail period from the woman sarpanch. Since the sarpanch is illiterate, her husband issued a letter advocating more time in prisoner's freedom. The judges made it clear that the high court does not need any recommendation from public in judicial work. The court did not grant any relief to prisoners and deprecated the practice of such recommendation by office-bearers, calling it "overstepping the limit of their power".
The court took the letter issued by Bharuch councillor Babubhai Vasava very seriously and observed that there is a direct nexus between elected representatives and prisoners in jail. The bench directed the secretary of urban development and urban housing department to issue appropriate notification/guidelines to curb the malpractice.


The high court said that a councillor's duty was to monitor civil and public works and said a councillor was not authorized to issue certificates to convicts. The high court further observed that the gesture of issuing such a letter is not only beyond the scope of the duties of a councillor, but it "constitutes a direct interference in the judicial functions of the court." The court went on to say: "The court does not need recommendations from any elected personality in order to perform its judicial functions. Further, it reveals the direct nexus between such elected representatives and convicted persons, who are serving sentence in jail."

Prison riot: FIR against Indrani Mukherjee, others

Around 200 women inmates, including Sheena Bora murder case accused Indrani Mukherjee, have been booked for rioting and criminal conspiracy inside Byculla jail.

The Nagpada police also filed an FIR against six Byculla women prison staffers, including a jailor, for the murder of a 31-year-old convictManjula Shetye, inside the jail on Friday. The Bhandup resident was serving life term in Yerwada jail since 2005 for the murder of her sister-in-law, and was shifted to Byculla prison recently.

A case of murder was registered at Nagpada police station after the jail officials received the post mortem report on Saturday. The report signed by three doctors—P A Patil, N P Kamble and S V Khandare from JJ Hospital—stated 'evidence of multiple contusions' as the cause of death. Samples of her viscera will be sent for forensic analysis.

The six officials—jailor Manisha Pokharkar and guards Bindu Naikode, Waseema Shaikh, Sheetal Shegaokar, Surekha Gudve and Aarti Shingane—were suspended on Saturday for dereliction of duty after the news of Shetye's death spread. On Saturday morning, around 200 women inmates, including Indrani Mukherjee, climbed up the two-storey jail's terrace and staged a protest over the death, with some of them setting papers, books and clothes on fire. Nagpada police, who rushed to the prison and brought them down, have registered a case of rioting and criminal conspiracy against the protesters.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sandhya Rani Debbarma & Ors vs The National Insurance Co. Ltd & ... on 16 September, 2016

Supreme Court of India

Sandhya Rani Debbarma & Ors vs The National Insurance Co. Ltd & ... on 16 September, 2016

Author: V G Gowda

Bench: V. Gopala Gowda, Adarsh Kumar Goel

                                                                          NON-REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                        CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

                       CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9194  OF 2016
                   (Arising out of SLP(C) No.1448 of 2014)


SANDHYA RANI DEBBARMA & ORS.            …APPELLANTS

                              Versus

THE NATIONAL INSURANCE
COMPANY LTD. & ANR.                    … RESPONDENTS


                               J U D G M E N T

V. GOPALA GOWDA, J.

Leave granted.

The present appeal has been filed after a delay of 2824 days against the impugned judgment and order dated 17.05.2006 passed by the learned single judge of the High Court of Tripura at Agartala in Writ Petition (C) No. 113 of 2006. The Writ Appeal preferred by the appellants against the same before the Division Bench of the High Court, came to be dismissed as not maintainable vide judgment and order dated 22.08.2013. The appellants herein filed an SLP challenging the same. Vide order dated 05.05.2014, this Court directed the appellants to amend the Special Leave Petition and impugn the judgment and order of the learned single judge as well. Having regard to the fact that the delay was caused only on account of the appellants pursuing the remedy of filing a Writ Appeal before the Division Bench of the High Court, as well as the fact that claim is made under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, which is a beneficial legislation, we deem it fit and proper to condone the delay in filing the Special Leave Petition. Hence, delay is condoned.

The necessary relevant facts required to appreciate the rival legal contentions advanced on behalf of the parties are stated in brief hereunder:

On 14.11.2003, the deceased, while travelling in a vehicle (Jeep) bearing No. TR013476 met with an accident at Assam-Agartala Road near Banukumari, at Baramur due to collision with a Bus bearing No. TR01-1212 coming from opposite direction. He was taken to the nearby Government Hospital namely, GBP Hospital, Agartala where he was declared ‘brought dead’. Jirama P.S. Case No. 90 of 2003 was registered on the very same day under Sections 270338and 304A of the Indian Penal Code (hereinafter referred to as “IPC”).

The appellants herein (being the legal heirs of the deceased) filed Title Suit (M.S.C.) No. 1 of 2004 before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, West Tripura, Agartala (hereinafter referred to as “the Tribunal”) claiming a total compensation amounting to Rs.33,45,000/-. It was submitted that the deceased was survived by his parents, wife and two minor children. On the day of the accident, his age was 31 years and 4 months. He was working as Junior Engineer (Grade-I) under the Government of Tripura and drawing monthly salary of Rs.13,504.50/-, without imposition of income tax, as per the statutory exemption in the state of Tripura from paying income tax to the members of Scheduled Tribes. The owner of the jeep and its insurer-National Insurance Company Ltd. as well as the owner of the Bus and the insurer-Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. were made parties to the claim.

The Tribunal by way of judgment and award dated 14.12.2005 held that the age of the deceased being 31 years at the time of the accident, a multiplier of 17 would be applicable and awarded as under:

|Head under which awarded       |Amount                      |
|Loss of dependency             |32,32,000/-                 |
|Funeral expenses               |2,000/-                     |
|Loss of consortium             |25,000/-                    |
|Loss of estate                 |2,500/-                     |
|Total                          |32,52,700/-                 |

The Tribunal further ordered that the insurer of both the vehicles involved in the accident, that is, the bus and the jeep were equally liable to pay the compensation. Thus, the National Insurance Co. Ltd (insurer of the jeep) and the Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. (insurer of the bus) were ordered to pay a sum of Rs.16,26,350/- each, along with 6% interest per annum from the date of filing of the claim petition to the appellants. It was further ordered by the Tribunal that the payment had to be paid within a period of two months from the date of receipt of the award, failing which the interest would be payable at the rate of 9% per annum.

Aggrieved by the said Award passed by the Tribunal, the National Insurance Company Ltd. challenged the Award by filing Writ Petition No. 113 of 2006 under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India before the learned single Judge of Gauhati High Court. The other insurer-Company did not prefer any appeal.

The learned single judge of the High Court, by way of judgment and order dated 17.05.2006 allowed the writ petition and modified the Award passed by the Tribunal by reducing the amount from Rs.32,52,700/- to Rs.20,40,000/- only. The learned single judge, held as under:

“4. But the finer question of law is where none of the grounds permitted under Section 149(2) of the act has been taken as ground for the purpose of approaching this Court under  Article 227 for setting at right alleged perversity, gross infirmity and infraction of settled legal principles which constitute parameter of the Tribunal, whether plenary powers of a writ court can be kept at bay in the name of the restrictions and limitations imposed by section 149(9) of the act.” On the issue of calculation of the compensation amount, the learned single judge observed:

“8. In the case on hand, the average monthly gross income after double advancement was assessed at Rs. 16,750/- from which only Rs. 1,000/- was deducted for taxes, self-maintenance and pleasure of the deceased which in my view is a gross perversity because of its fanciful subjectivity, irrationality in total disregard of the ratio noticed above. It amounts to stepping out of its parameters by the Tribunal.” The learned single judge further went on to hold:

“13. It is thus clear that where on the face of it, an award is a perversity due to gross non-observation of the settled legal principle in determining the just amount of compensation, it can be said that the Tribunal has not acted within its parameters calling for interference by the High Court in exercise of its plenary supervisory powers” Aggrieved, the appellants filed Writ Appeal No. 38 of 2006 before the High Court of Tripura, Agartala. The Division Bench of the High Court dismissed the Writ Appeal as not maintainable vide judgment and order dated 22.08.2013 holding that the order passed by the learned single Judge was under Article 227 and not under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, and thus, the same was not amenable to being challenged by way of a Writ Appeal. The Division Bench held as under:

“An appeal is the creation of a statute and if the Single Judge has clearly mentioned that he is exercising powers under article 227 against which no appeal lies, then the mere fact that the petitioner had also invoked the provisions of Article 226 would not be sufficient to hold that an appeal would lie against such an order. The law is well settled that what cannot be done directly, cannot be permitted to be done in an indirect manner………” Hence, the present appeal.

Mr. Bijan Kumar Ghosh, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellants submits that the learned single judge of the High Court grossly erred in entertaining the writ petition filed by the insurance company against the award passed by the Tribunal. The learned counsel places reliance on the decision of a Three Judge Bench of this Court in the case of Sadhana Lodh v. National Insurance Co. Ltd.[1], wherein it has been held that a writ petition under  Article 227 of the Constitution of India, challenging the award of the Tribunal in a motor accident case is not maintainable. It is further contended that it was not open to the High Court to enlarge the grounds of appeal which have been provided for in the statute to the insurer in cases of motor accidents. Thus, the learned counsel prays that the award passed by the Tribunal be restored and that the compensation be awarded to the appellants at the interest rate of 9% per annum.

On the other hand, Mr. S.L. Gupta, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent-Insurance Company submits that the impugned judgment and orders suffer from no infirmity in law. It is submitted that the award was passed by the Tribunal in complete ignorance of the decisions of this Court in the cases of G.M., Kerala SRTC v. Susamma Thomas[2], Sarla Verma & Ors. v. Delhi Transport Corporation & Anr.[3] as well as  T.N. State Transport Corpn. Ltd. v. S. Rajapriya[4] The learned counsel submits that the monthly income of the deceased was Rs.10,020/- at the time of the accident, which was wrongly taken as Rs.13,500/-. The Tribunal further arbitrarily arrived at the figure of Rs.16,750/- per month as the monthly salary of the deceased. Thus, the award of compensation of Rs.32,52,700/- arrived at by the Tribunal was definitely on the higher side. Thus, the learned counsel contends that the learned single Judge has rightly interfered with the quantum of compensation awarded by the tribunal.

We have heard the learned counsel appearing on behalf of the parties and have perused the evidence and materials placed on record, as well as the impugned judgments and orders passed by both the learned single judge and the Division Bench of the High Court.

At the outset, we make it clear that we are dealing with the matter on merits, without going into the question of maintainability of the writ petition filed by the insurance company before the single judge of the High Court, questioning the correctness of the quantum of compensation awarded by the Tribunal.

The date of birth of the deceased as shown on the admit card of the Tripura Board of Secondary Education was 03.07.1972. The accident occurred on 14.11.2003. Thus, the age of the deceased at the time of the accident was 31 years and 4 months. Thus, the appropriate multiplier in the instant case is 17. On the issue of the salary of the deceased at the time of the accident, the learned single judge proceeds on the assumption that it was Rs.10,020/- on the ground that the same was the amount mentioned in the claim petition. Thus, we proceed on the basis that the monthly income of the deceased at the time of the accident was Rs.10,020/-. Further, in accordance with the principle of law laid down by this Court in the case of Santosh Devi v. National Insurance Corporation[5], an addition of 50% must be made to the actual salary income of the deceased towards future prospects in those cases where the deceased had a permanent job and was below 40 years of age at the time of the accident. Thus, in the instant case, 50% of Rs.10,020/- comes to Rs.5,010/-, which if added gives the income as Rs.15,030/-. In accordance with the principle of law laid down by this Court in the case of Sarla Verma & Ors. v. Delhi Transport Corporation & Anr[6](supra), where the number of dependents of the deceased are between 4 and 6, 1/4th of the income of the deceased is to be deducted towards the living and personal expenses. Since in the present case, there are 5 dependents, (wife, two minor children, mother and father), 1/4th of the monthly income, that is, Rs.3750/- (rounded off) is to be deducted towards living and personal expenses.

Deducting Rs.3750/- on account of personal and living expenses, the monthly income comes to Rs.11,280/-. Since the age of the deceased at the time of the accident was 31 years and 4 months, multiplier of 17 is applicable. Thus, the total loss of dependency comes to:

Rs.11,280/- X 12 X 17 = Rs.23,01,120/-

The High Court arrived at the amount of Rs.20,40,000/- in complete and utter forgetfulness of the principles of computing compensation laid down by this Court in catena of cases, which shall be referred to in a later part of this judgment.

What is more shocking is the logic applied by the High Court in modifying the award to Rs.20,40,000/-, which is only the annual loss of dependency, thereby, completely missing the next crucial step in determining the award of compensation due to the dependents of the deceased under the other different heads such as loss of estate, funeral expenses, loss of consortium etc. It is worth reproducing the reasoning of the learned single judge in not awarding any amount under the other heads: “19. For the reasons and discussions aforementioned, this writ petition has merit and the same is allowed modifying the award to Rs. 20,40,000/- only. As this amount would fetch perpetually more than Rs. 10,000/- per month by way of interest @ 6% per annum without consuming the principal sum during the period of dependency, no further award on any other count is called for……” It is difficult for this Court to understand what is the legal principle on which the learned single judge has relied on to arrive at the conclusion that no further award under any other head is called for, when the same has been the well settled position of law by this Court.

In light of the three judge bench decision of this Court in the case of Rajesh & Ors. v. Rajbir & Ors.[7] as well as the decision of this Court in the case of Kalpanaraj & Ors. v. Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation[8], the appellants are further entitled to compensation under the following heads:

|Head                           |Amount                          |
|Funeral expenses               |Rs.  25,000/-                   |
|Loss of consortium             |Rs.1,00,000/-                   |
|Loss of guidance to minor      |Rs.1,00,000/-                   |
|children                       |                                |
|Loss of love and affection to  |Rs.1,00,000/-                   |
|aged parents                   |                                |
|Loss of estate                 |Rs.1,00,000/-                   |
|Litigation costs               |Rs.  25,000/-                   |
|Total                          |Rs.4,50,000/-                   |

The appellants are thus, entitled to a total compensation of Rs.23,01,120/- + Rs.4,50,000/- = Rs.27,51,120/-.

This amount is payable by the respondents to the appellants, not at rate of 6% interest per annum as the learned single judge has held, but at the rate of 9% per annum, according to the principle laid down by this Court in the case of Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Delhi v. Uphaar Tragedy Victims Association & Ors[9].

The appeal is accordingly allowed. The judgments and orders passed by the Division Bench and the learned Single Judge of the High Court are set aside. Both the insurance companies shall be liable to pay half a share each of the compensation amount of Rs.27,51,120/-, at an interest rate of 9% per annum from the date of filing the claim petition till the date of realization. The respondent-Insurance companies are directed to pay the amount as awarded in this judgment to the claimants within four weeks from the date of receipt of the copy of this judgment and order in terms of the apportionment of the compensation made by the Tribunal. No costs.

………………………………………………………J.

(V. GOPALA GOWDA) ………………………………………………………J.

(ADARSH KUMAR GOEL) NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 16, 2016

-----------------------

[1]    (2003) 3 SCC 524
[2]     (1994) 2 SCC 176
[3]     (2009) 6 SCC 121
[4]     (2005) 6 SCC 236
[5]    (2012) 6 SCC 421
[6]    (2009) 6 SCC 121
[7]    (2013) 9 SCC 54
[8]    (2014) 5 SCALE 479
[9]    (2011) 14 SCC 481

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Sedition charges against 15 men for raising pro-Pakistan slogans after Champions trophy match

Fifteen Muslim men who allegedly raised pro-Pakistan slogans and burst crackers in Mohad village of Madhya Pradesh’s Burhapur district after India’s defeat in the ICC Champions Trophy final on Sunday night have been charged with sedition.
The fifteen are in the age group of 20 and 35. They were arrested on Monday from the village, about 25 kilometers from the district headquarters Burhanpur, which is a communally sensitive district in Madhya Pradesh.
Investigating Officer Ramashray Yadav told The Indian Express that an offence under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and Section 124 A (Sedition) has been registered against the fifteen in Shahpur Police Station. He further said Mohad is a Muslim-dominated village and a complaint was filed by a Hindu villager.
“The police would soon send a letter to the district magistrate with a request to stop government subsidies being enjoyed by the accused”

Monday, June 19, 2017

Man jailed for sharing photo of London fire victim on Facebook

A 43-year-old man has been jailed in the UK for posting on Facebook a video and pictures of a victim of the massive fire that engulfed a 24-storey residential tower in west London, killing at least 79 people.

Omega Mwaikambo posted one video and two pictures of the body bag with the man inside and then later five pictures of the victim's face and body after opening it to look inside.

He pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates Court to two counts of sending by a public communications network an offending, indecent or obscene matter.

Public welfare is supreme law: HC reminds govt

Amid allegations that the government is bending laws to make it easy for industrialists to acquire land, Gujarat high court has told the state government not to forget that "welfare of the people is the supreme law", and advised it on how "public necessity is greater than private".

Justice J B Pardiwala pulled up the state government for allowing a private company to retain possession of a huge parcel of land though it remained unutilized for long.

"Why this charity of a huge government largesse to an individual?" asked the court.

Prior to that, the court pointed out the huge number of people who lack shelter in this country. "They have to brave the scorching heat in the summer, torrential rains during monsoon, and biting cold in winter," the court said.

Without mincing words, Justice Pardiwala said, "Let me remind the authorities concerned of the two maxims 'salus populi est supreme lex' which means, 'the welfare of the people is the supreme law' and 'necessitas publica major est quam privata', which means 'public necessity is greater than private'."

The case involved Navyug Industry, which was allotted over 53,000 square metres of land in 1962 near Patan town. As the city expanded, the land was covered by the city survey and a portion of the plot was vested with the government authority. The industry, which was wound up in 2001, was permitted to sell the land on condition that it would not claim another parcel of land in lieu of the plot.
Meanwhile, Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) needed a plot to build a depot and a pick-up bus stand. It was allotted 15,300 square metres from the land forfeited from the company after it breached the condition of allotment.


The company moved the HC claiming a stake in the land that was allotted to GSRTC.


After hearing the case, the HC observed that the government had taken the matter "very lightly and with no sense of responsibility".


Rejecting the company's claim to the land, the court said, "At least, it could be said that the government land is being used for public purpose, rather than allotting such a huge parcel of land to an individual who has defaulted, or rather breached, the condition of allotment."

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Rs 10 crore secured bail for Gayatri Prajapati, reveals HC probe

The bail granted to UP ex-minister Gayatri Prajapati in a rape case had led to a huge furore, and it now emerges that the relief was part of a deep conspiracy in which senior judges were involved.

A sum of Rs 10 crore also changed hands in the "deal".

The startling facts came to light after Allahabad high court Chief Justice Dilip B Bhosale sought an inquiry into Prajapati's bail. The probe revealed high-level corruption in posting of judges to sensitive courts which handle cases of heinous crimes such as rape and murder.

In his report, Bhosale said additional district and sessions judge O P Mishra, who granted bail to Prajapati on April 25, was posted as POCSO (protection of children from sexual offences) judge on April 7 when he had just three weeks left for retirement.

He was appointed bypassing norms and by removing a judge who was "handling the assignment efficiently" for a year.

IB probe establishes graft in judge's POCSO posting

The report said the grant of bail was settled upon payment of Rs 10 crore, of which Rs 5 crore was shared among three lawyers who acted as middlemen and Rs 5 crore was paid to the POCSO judge (Mishra) and district judge Rajendra Singh who posted Mishra to the sensitive court.

Singh has been questioned and his elevation as an HC judge has been withdrawn by the Supreme Court collegium pending further action.

"Laxmi Kant Rathaur, who was assigned POCSO jurisdiction on July 18, 2016, was doing very well. There was absolutely no justification or reason to change him suddenly and appoint O P Mishra as POCSO judge on April 7, 2017, more so when he was about to retire within three weeks," Justice Bhosale is believed to have observed in his confidential report.

After a nudge from the SC, the UP police had registered an FIR on February 17 against Prajapati, a minister in the Samajwadi Party government, in a rape case.

He was arrested on March 15 and moved a bail application in Mishra's court on April 24. A day later, he was granted bail even as the investigation was still in progress.

A probe by the Intelligence Bureau established corruption in Mishra's posting to the sensitive POCSO court and raised questions on the transfer-posting regime in UP's subordinate judiciary.

Government says cancer patient will get MA card

Gujarat high court seeking clarification on preparing a bed-ridden cancer patient's Mukhyamantri Amrutam Yojana card for free treatment, Rajkot authorities assured the court the she would get the card once her family member tenders application with the necessary documents. 

Rajkot district's Meenaben Parmar filed the petition for her mother-in-law Anuben Parmar, who is bed-ridden for past few months due to cancer. She submitted that because of family's poor financial condition, they were trying to get benefit of MA Yojana for treatment of the old woman. When they applied for MA card, the district authorities insisted to bring the patient in person without with the procedure could not be completed. 

Upon the HC query, Rajkot's project officer appeared before the court and assured that once Anuben's relatives apply for the card, an officer would visit her for verification and MA Yojana card would be prepared for her. After this assurance, the HC disposed the petition

Why can’t encroachments be removed? High court orders inquiry

Gujarat high court expressed grave concerns at illegal occupation of large parcels of government land. The court for an inquiry into how eviction orders are executed by the government machinery. 

Justice J B Pardiwala called for proper implementation of orders to rid government lands of unauthorized occupation while deciding a case from Patan district. 

In this case, the authorities ordered a family to vacate a piece of land they had been tilling for many years. 

The government said they had actually encroached on a water body and all records indicate government ownership. 

The family claimed that they had been paying revenue for years. 

The high court ruled in favour of the state government and held that the government land must be vacated. However, Justice Pardiwala said, "I have noticed that huge parcels of lands are occupied by various unauthorized individuals. This is on account of indiscriminate state largess in allotment. I have also noticed that although steps have been taken and orders passed for eviction, the authorities have still not bothered to take physical possession of the land. Huge parcels of lands are being misused." 

With this observation, the court further said, "It is, therefore, necessary that an inquiry in this regard be initiated by the state government, to see that all orders passed till this date by revenue authorities are implemented and executed in their true spirit. 

If a person is declared to be in unauthorized occupation of the land, the authorities are expected to take actual possession of the land." 

The court said that even after eviction orders are passed, people in illegal possession of government land remain there for years together. "It does not make any sense," the court said and directed the HC registry to send a copy of its order to the principal secretary of the revenue department to take necessary action for execution of eviction orders and set up an inquiry in this regard.

Salaried law graduates can’t practice law

Gujarat high court has ruled that an advocate having a consultancy contract in the nature of a full-time job is not eligible for enrolment with the Bar Council of Gujarat (BCG) and cannot be given a certificate to practice law. 

The case involves a woman, Jalpa Desai, who passed law from MSU and was seeking to enrol herself with the BCG as an advocate. Trouble arose when it did not take any decision on her application for enrolment on the ground that she was technically employed with the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) since 2012, and a person can't practice as an advocate once she/he is in job. 

However, Desai denied that she was an employee of GIDC. She maintained that she was engaged as a legal consultant/ legal expert. And hence the provisions of Advocates Act and BCG and the Bar Council of India rules can't prevent her from getting enrolled as an advocate. When the Bar did not take any decision, she moved the HC. 

Before the high court, Desai argued that she was never treated as an employee and she was paying tax at source for professional services. What was paid to her was not a salary. BCG maintained that Desai's contract with GIDC, by which she was getting a monthly payment of Rs25,000 required her to be present in office during office hours and that made her a full-time employee according to the Advocates Act and Rule 49 of the Bar Council of India. 

While summing up, Justice N V Anjaria ruled that BCG cannot give Desai a certificate to practice law as an advocate. "Considering the nature of service contract of the petitioner with the Corporation, there is no gain saying that she incurs debility in terms of Rule 49 as her employment could be characterized as a full-time salaried employment," the HC said, and concluded that refusal by BCG to grant her enrolment, and the certificate to practice law, is "eminently proper and legal".

Women sacrificing love for parents common in India, says Supreme Court

 Unsuccessful love stories have found a very vivid description in a Supreme Court observation wherein it has said that women sacrificing their relationship to accept parents' decision is a common phenomenon in India. 

The apex court noted this in a judgement which set aside the conviction and life sentence of a man who had survived a pact with a woman to commit suicide immediately after secretly entering into wedlock. 

While the 23-year-old woman could not be saved in the incident of 1995, the man suffered the ordeal as the police booked him for the offence of killing her. 

The top court noted that the woman might have first "unwillingly" agreed to go by her parents' wish but later she apparently changed her mind which appeared from the scene of the incident where garlands, bangles and vermilion were found. 

Further, it observed that the woman might have told her lover that due to resistance from her family, she would not marry him. 

"Such a reaction on the part of a girl to sacrifice her love and accept a decision of her parents, even though unwillingly, is a common phenomenon in this country," a bench of justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said. 

The court noted that the victim and the accused were in love with each other and the woman's father had testified in the court that due to caste differences, his family had refused to give their nod to the couple to marry. 

The man was convicted for allegedly killing her and awarded life term by a trial court and the verdict was subsequently upheld by the Rajasthan High Court

The man had told the trial court that since her family was not agreeing to their marriage, both of them had decided to commit suicide and consumed copper sulphate at a house in an under-construction building in Jaipur. 

He had said that the quantity of copper sulphate consumed by him was less as compared to the woman after which her health deteriorated and he went out of the building to seek help from neighbours. 

When he returned, he found the woman hanging after which she was rushed to a hospital but she eventually died. 

The man's version of the incident was held as "plausible" by the apex court which noted that as per his statement, the woman was physically abused by her family and was mercilessly beaten even on the day of incident in November 1995. 

"When she was madly in love with the appellant (man) and wanted to marry him, there is a possibility that after receiving such kind of shabbily treatment at the hands of her parents, in anguish she may have decided to revolt and, therefore, proposed to the appellant that they should get married for which they chose a secluded place," the bench noted in its order. 

It observed that there may be a possibility that when a man is not able to get a woman he wants, he may go to the extent of killing her as he does not want to see her alliance with any other person. 

"This might be the motive in the mind of appellant (man). However, whether events turned in this way is anybody's guess as no evidence of this nature has surfaced. It is not even possible for the prosecution to state any such things as whatever actually happened was only known to two persons, one of whom is dead and other is in dock," it said. 

The bench observed that criminal cases cannot be decided on the basis of hypothesis and acquitted the man holding that the prosecution has not been able to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

High court scraps import duty on ethanol in Gujarat

There may be a marginal decrease in fuel prices in the near future as the Gujarat high court struck down the levy on import of denatured absolute alcohol in Gujarat.


The state government had imposed a duty of Rs 3 per litre on import of denatured absolute alcohol, ethanol in this case, from other states. This chemical is important in the oil and chemical industries, and Gujarat has a considerably wide base of these industries. The Centre even mandated 5% blending of ethanol with petrol and diesel to make these fuels greener and cause less damage to the environment. Interestingly, production of any denatured absolute alcohol is not permitted in Gujarat because of its liquor prohibition policy. This chemical is unfit for human consumption.


As the state government decided to levy import duty in 2013, all oil companies including Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) as well as dealers who import the chemical in Gujarat, moved the high court questioning the taxation policy. They cited various Supreme Court orders to establish that this is a central government subject and the state government does not have the power to levy a duty on import of ethanol.


It was also argued that the state government has a policy to recover the costs incurred on verification of the chemical from importers and users. It was also contended that the governments have been earning enough due to import of this chemical in form of imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT), excise duty and income tax. Hence there is no need for the state government to burden the industries and manufacturers more with additional taxation, said advocate Niyati Shah, who represented one of the petitioners. After hearing the case, a bench of Justice M R Shah and Justice B N Karia quashed the state government's notification imposing the duty of Rs 3/litre on ethanol import in Gujarat.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Women sentenced to death ‘for being raped’ in Pakistan


A teenager has reportedly been sentenced to death by a village council in Pakistan’s Punjab province for  having a sexual relationship with her cousin. The 19-year-old denied having consensual sex with him, saying her relative had raped her at gunpoint.
The woman said in a statement to police she and her family were asleep at their home in Rajanpur, a rural district in southwest Punjab, when her cousin came into the house and sexually assaulted her. “I could not raise an alarm as [he] was holding a gun,” she told police, Press Trust of India reported. “But the panchayat refused to accept my statement and declared that I willfully slept with him.”
Panchayats – informal village justice systems that operate in remote areas of Pakistan – have been
criticised for handing out cruel punishments for adultery. The sentences they give out have no legal
standing.
The woman said the court took no action against her alleged rapist. Instead, four men, including the father of the alleged rapist, forced the council to sentence the woman to death, according to the Express Tribune.
Station house officer of Fazilpur Police Station Qaisar Hasnain told the Press Trust of India an official
complaint about the incident had been filed and they would take the men into custody. The woman has reportedly been taken to a government-run refuge in Rajanpur.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Claiming HRA to get harder as govt cracks down on fake house rent receipts

If you have been producing fake rent receipts to lessen your tax burden there is a bad news for you now.

You may no longer be able to claim income tax deductions for house rent allowance (HRA) by fabricating fake bills. The income tax department may now ask for proof from the tax payer showing that he is a genuine tenant. 

According to a report in Economic Times, Dilip Lakhani, senior tax advisor, Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP said, "The ITAT (Income Tax Appellate Tribunal) ruling has now laid down the criteria for the assessing officer to consider the claim of a salaried employee and if necessary question its justification. This will put the onus on the salaried class to follow the rules in availing the tax rebate.”

ITAT Mumbai recently struck down the HRA exemption claim of a salaried individual for rent paid to her mother. This opens a pandora's box for all salaried people as now an IT officer can ask for proof such as leave and licence agreement, letter to the housing co-operative society informing about the tenancy, electricity bill, water bill and so on. 

Till now, a salaried person receiving HRA could escape paying tax on 60% of the amount by submitting a rent receipt. Now, it may not be possible as the department could ask for supporting documents. 

This Tribunal ruling comes a few months after the government's decision to cap the loss on property bought with borrowed money. According to this ruling a person producing fake rent receipt will be deemed as counterfeit and no required documents will be available with him. There may not be any genuine rent outflow from the person and in some circumstances even if the person is a genuine tenant, the amount mentioned in the receipt may be more than what's paid. 
However, if you pay more than Rs 1 lakh annually towards house rent, then quoting landlord's PAN is mandatory for claiming tax benefit under House Rent Allowance.

Supreme Court Extends Deadline For Bihar Liquor Firms To Dispose Stock

Liquor manufacturers from Bihar today got an extension of two more months till July 31 from the Supreme Court for disposing of their old stocks of alcoholic beverages worth over Rs. 200 crore outside the state.


Earlier, the court had extended till May 31 the deadline of April 30 for disposing of old stocks, including raw material, fixed by the Nitish Kumar government which had imposed a ban on liquor in the state from April 1 last year.

A vacation bench of Justices AK Sikri and Deepak Gupta took note of the submission of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies, that the firms would be incurring huge losses if they are not allowed to dispose of their existing stocks of alcoholic beverages outside Bihar.

The state government opposed the demand for extension of time, saying the firms were indulging in illegal liquor trade.

"If they are engaging in illegal trade, then why don't you (state) check them? Do you think that once the stocks are cleared, there would be no illegal trade," the bench remarked.

It, however, made clear to liquor firms that the deadline of July 31 would not be extended under any condition.

The confederation, on May 24, had moved the top court for extension of May 31 deadline.

The top court had, on March 31, granted time till May 31 to these companies to dispose of the old stocks and directed them to follow the resolution passed by the Bihar government with regard to disposal of stocks following the imposition of prohibition in the state.

The confederation, in its fresh plea, has said it was not possible to dispose of the old stocks worth over Rs. 200 crore in such a short time as due procedure is to be followed for either destroying or exporting the stocks.

It had said that the stock was lying in the warehouses of companies and the godowns of Bihar State Beverage Corporation (BSBCL) which needed to exported to other states or destroyed.

Bihar government which has prohibited consumption, stocking and sale of liquor in the state had on March 30, passed a resolution by which it has allowed the companies to export their old stocks to other states.

The state government had granted time to export the excisable and non-excisable articles till April 30, after which they will not be able to do so. 

The Bihar government had first banned manufacture, trade, sale and consumption of country-made liquor since April 1, 2016, but later imposed a blanket ban on all types of liquor, including foreign liquor, in the state. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Delhi HC Dismisses Challenge To Designation Of Senior Advocates

The Bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Anu Malhotra, noted that the Petitioner was aware of pendency of a similar challenge before the Supreme Court, and observed, “The Constitutional challenge to the statutory provisions raised herein, admittedly pending consideration before the Larger Bench of the Supreme Court of India, the present writ petition filed as if in public interest with full knowledge thereof, is nothing more than an irresponsible attempt at seeking publicity, unnecessarily multiplying litigation in complete disregard of its impact of wastage of precious judicial time. If so advised, the petitioner could have intervened in the pending cases. The present writ petition cannot be entertained before this court.”

The Court was hearing a Petition filed by Advocate Rohini Amin, challenging Section 16 and 23(5) of the Advocate Act, 1961, as violative of the equality of opportunity as granted under Article 16 of the Constitution of India. While Section 16 of the Act classifies Advocates into Senior and other Advocates, Section 23(5) provides Senior Advocates with the right of pre-audience over other advocates.

The Court however noted that the Petitioner had made “general sweeping allegations without making a single assertion on which the relief prayed for could be granted.” 

It further noted that the Supreme Court is currently hearing a Petition filed by Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, challenging the non-transparent and arbitrary method of designation of Senior Counsel by the Supreme Court. The Apex Court had in March issued notice to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court, Advocate on Record Association, and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), on Ms. Jaising’s plea to not designate any lawyer as a Senior Advocate till the Court’s final decision. The matter had earlier been referred to a larger Bench by a Bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

Taking note of this Petition, the High Court dismissed Ms. Amin’s Petition and observed, “Thus, the petitioner who is a practicing advocate as well as ld. counsel representing her are fully aware of the matters and orders passed by the Supreme Court which stand annexed to the present writ petition. Despite knowledge of the fact that the challenge pressed by the petitioner is already the subject matter of challenge in the prior petition which is listed before the Supreme Court, this writ petition has been filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India before this court raising an identical challenge.”