Monday, May 10, 2021

Seizure of oxygen concentrators from Khan Market: Delhi court declines to grant interim relief to businessman Navneet Kalra

A Delhi Court has reportedly refused to grant interim relief to businessman Navneet Kalra in the case filed in connection with the seizure of oxygen concentrators from Kalra's restaurants, including "Khan Chacha."

Kalra had moved a Saket Court seeking anticipatory bail in the case. As per an News report, Special Judge Sumit Dass has directed the Investigating Officer to file the reply to the application by tomorrow, when the case will be taken up next. 

In the meanwhile, there would be no interim stay on any coercive action that may be taken against Kalra, the Court is stated to have clarified. 

Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava opposed the pre-arrest bail application in court today, adding that since it was a case being probed by the Crime Branch, the Saket court was not the suitable court. 

Last week, oxygen concentrators were reportedly recovered from restaurants owned by Navneet Kalra, including 96 from "Khan Chacha". 

The police claimed that the imported concentrators were being sold in the black market amid the COVID-19 crisis. 

On Saturday, the police transferred the case to the Crime Branch. Kalra has been absconding, reports add. A lookout notice has also been reportedly issued.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Bombay High Court quashes FIR by Mumbai Police against Sunaina Holey in relation to Tweet allegedly promoting religious enmity

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday quashed a First Information Report (FIR) registered against Sunaina Holey by the Mumbai Police cyber cell for her tweet allegedly promoting enmity between two communities.



The Court said that the tweet did not name any communities and it has to be judged from the perspective of a prudent man.

"Neither community nor religion is named. If the test of a strong or prudent person is applied said tweet cannot be said to have created hatred between community or show the petitioner has men's rea," the Court said.

The Court said that while it appreciates the efforts of police in ensuring that the situation does not go out of hand, the contents of the FIR do not constitute an offence.

"After careful and in-depth consideration, we deem it fit to quash FIR," the Court, therefore, ordered.

The order was passed by a Bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik on a plea by Holey to quash the FIR registered against her after she tweeted a video that allegedly had the possibility to promote enmity between religious communities.

"Hauling up officers for contempt won't bring oxygen:" Supreme Court stays Delhi High Court order on contempt of court against Centre

The Supreme Court said that there is no reason for the time being to exercise contempt of court jurisdiction against government officers but asked the Central government to submit a tabulated plan to meet the 700 MT Oxygen target by 10.30 am on Thursday.



"We stay the operation of the contempt notice issued by Delhi HC. this stay will not be a restraint on Delhi HC to monitor the on-ground situation on other heads," the Court ordered.

The Court was hearing an appeal against the show cause notice for contempt issued to the Central government by the Delhi High Court.

The matter was heard today by a Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned the matter before Chief Justice of India NV Ramana this morning.

"Ultimately putting officers in jail or hauling officers for contempt will not bring oxygen. Please tell us steps to solve this," Justice Chandrachud remarked. during the hearing.

No review on 50% cap on reservation, quota for Marathas invalid: Supreme Court

Supreme Court strikes down Maratha Reservation law for exceeding 50 per cent cap; upholds Indra Sawhney, 102nd Constitutional Amendment


On Wednesday, the Supreme Court quashed Maharashtra law to grant reservation for Marathas in jobs and educational institutions and ruled that there was no need to re-examine its 1992 verdict capping quota at 50 per cent. 
A five-judge Constitution bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, L Nageswara Rao, S Abdul Nazeer, Hemant Gupta and S Ravindra Bhat were unanimous on the unconstitutionality of Maratha law and said that the Maratha community can not be declared as socially and educationally backward community to grant them reservation. 
The court also pointed out that there were no exceptional circumstances and extraordinary situation to justify a breach of a 50 per cent cap in granting reservation to Marathas. 
The state government had framed the law on November 30, 2018, granting a 16 per cent quota for Marathas in government jobs and admission in educational institutions. 
While upholding the law, Bombay High Court on June 27 last year directed the government brought it down to 12% for education and 13% for jobs as recommended by a state-appointed backward class commission headed by former HC judge M B Gaikwad. 
Challenging the high court’s, the petitioners contended that the HC misread SC judgments to conclude that there is no stringent ceiling limit of 50% reservation as set out in the 1992 Indra Sawhney case. 

Allowing the appeal, the apex court quashed the high court order.
The main plank of the bunch of petitioners challenging the validity of the Maratha quota is that it took the total reservation way beyond the 50% ceiling on quota put by the SC in its landmark Indra Sawhney judgment in November 1992, while upholding the validity of 27% OBC quota in government jobs, which was later extended to admissions in state-run educational institutions. 
However, the state government said that there was no illegality in giving reservation to the Maratha community and pointed out that many states were providing reservation above 50 per cent, which has not been stayed by SC. 
Various states have also supported the Maharashtra government and pleaded that SC's 1992 verdict by nine-judge bench needed to be re-examined and contended that that 50 per cent cap imposed by judicial verdict should go and they should be allowed to decide on the quantum of quota required. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Insurance policies have to cover mental illness, cannot discriminate between physical illnesses and mental illnesses: Delhi High Court

"All insurance companies are liable to give effect to Section 21(4) of the MHA, 2017 with effect from the date when it has come into force i.e., 29th May, 2018. Mental illnesses ought to be covered without any discrimination,"  Delhi High Court


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Block search results, remove identical content and more: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued guidelines aimed at meaningfully acting against the publication of unauthorised or offensive content on the internet (X v Union of India and ors)

The order was passed by Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani, who opined that for an order directing the removal of offending internet content to be effective, "a search engine must block the search results throughout the world."

"No purpose would be served by issuing such an order if it has no realistic prospect of preventing irreparable harm to a litigant," the judge further observed.

Read The Judgment

Supreme Court orders High Courts to amend rules governing criminal trials to address delay, deficiencies

The Supreme Court on 20th April ordered High Courts across the country to amend their rules governing criminal trials in order to incorporate the draft rules prepared by three Supreme Court-appointed Amici Curiae with a view to addressing delays and deficiencies in criminal trials.


The judgment was delivered by a bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, and Justices L Nageswara Rao and S Ravindra Bhat.

"All High Courts shall take expeditious steps to incorporate said Draft Rules 2021 as part of rules governing criminal trials and ensure that the existing rules, certifications, orders and practice directions are suitably modified and promulgated wherever necessary in the official gazette within six months from today," the Court said.

If the State government's cooperation is necessary in this regard, the approval of the concerned departments and formal notification of the said draft rules shall be made within six months, the Court added.

The top court had taken suo motu cognizance of the issue after it had noticed inadequacies in the procedure followed during the criminal trials across the country.

"It was found that some of these inadequacies and deficiencies were relatable to the rules in that regard framed by the various High Courts. Undoubtedly such inadequacies and deficiencies attributable to the rules do not exist in all the High Courts," the Court had stated in a January 20, 2021 order.

The Court had then appointed three lawyers as Amici Curiae to look into the delays concerning criminal trials across courts in the Indian legal system.

The Amici Curiae had submitted its detailed report in March 2020 after extensive deliberations with the representatives of different states, union territories and high courts.

They placed before the Supreme Court ‘Draft Rules of Criminal Practice, 2020’ (draft rules) outlining a slew of measures aimed at addressing shortcomings in the trial of criminal cases and to bring about uniformity of practice across the country in criminal probe and trial.

The measures suggested in the draft rules included steps to ensure the independence of public prosecutors by appointing separate legal advisors to advise the investigators during the probe, photographing and video graphing post-mortem of deceased persons who have died in police custody and uniform practices for recording evidence and writing judgments.

Some of the measures suggested in the draft rules are given below.

Body Sketch to accompany Medico-Legal certificate

Every post-mortem report should contain a printed format/ sketch of the human body indicating injuries. The sketch should contain a frontal and rear view of the human body.

Photographs and Videography of post mortem in certain cases

In case of the death of a person in police action or while in police custody, the investigating officer should inform the doctor in charge to arrange for photographs or videography for conducting a post-mortem examination of the deceased person. Photographs of the deceased shall also be taken in all cases.

Such photographs and videography should be made part of the evidence by a seizure under a panchnama, a document that records evidence and findings that an officer makes at the scene of an offence/crime.

The investigating officer should take the necessary steps to preserve the original copies of such photographs and videography.

The videos and photographs should also be stored on a separate memory card.

Site sketch

A site plan of the place of occurrence of an incident should be prepared by the investigating officer by hand and the same should be appended to the panchnama.

Recording of Evidence

The deposition of witnesses should be in a typed format and should be prepared on computers, if available.

If the deposition of the witness is in a language other than English, the deposition should be recorded both in the language of the witness and in English.

When the deposition is not in English, the translation into English can be done either by the presiding officer of the court or through a translator.

Reference to accused

After charges are framed, the accused should be referred to only by their rank in the array of the accused and not by their names except during the stage of identification of the accused by witnesses.

The witnesses, exhibits and other material objects which form part of the evidence should also be referred to by their numbers and not by names.

Judgment

Every judgment should contain a preface showing the names of the parties and an appendix giving the list of prosecution witnesses, defence witnesses and other evidence.

It should also set out the points for determination, the decision on the points and the reasons for arriving at the decision.

In the judgment, the accused, witnesses and material objects should be referred to by their numbers and not names.

In case of conviction, the judgment should separately indicate the offence involved and the sentence awarded. In case of acquittal, a direction should be given to release the accused if he/ she is in jail.

Expeditious trial

In order to ensure a speedy trial in criminal cases, once the examination of witnesses has commenced, the trial should be held on a day to day basis.

If witnesses are in attendance, no adjournment or postponement should be granted except for special reasons which should be recorded.

Separation of prosecutors and Investigators

In order to ensure that public prosecutors function independent of the investigators, the state government should appoint advocates other than prosecutors to advise investigating officers during the probe of a criminal case.

 


Monday, April 19, 2021

13-yr-old girl gets pregnant from 14-yr-old brother: Kerala HC allows medical termination of pregnancy

The 

Kerala high court

 has allowed 

medical termination of pregnancy

 (MTP) of a 13-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by her 14-year-old brother.





Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas

 allowed MTP for the girl from Malappuram district after considering a petition (WP-C No. 9982/2021) of her parents through advocate K Rakesh. She is now 26 weeks pregnant. 

The judgment said a case was registered and it is suspected during investigation that the 14-year-old sibling of the victim committed the offence. A report in that regard was filed before the 

juvenile justice board

, the judgment stated.


While allowing MTP after obtaining a report from a medical team at 

Government Medical College

, Kozhikode, the court said the pregnancy will cause a grave injury to the minor which will remain a scar throughout her life. “It may even have the possibility of reminding the victim of the incident of rape. It is obviously not in the interest of the society to have this young victim to undergo the trauma of the incident of rape everyday in her life. The anguish that the pregnancy causes to her will be lifelong and she may have to live with the traumatic experience throughout her life. The parents and the siblings will also have to share this trauma throughout their lives,” the judgment said.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Private vehicle would not come within the ambit of ‘public place’, says Supreme Court

The court was deciding on an appeal challenging an order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court affirming their conviction and sentence under the NDPS Act.

A private vehicle does not come within the ambit of a “public place” as per the explanation given under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, the Supreme Court has said.

A Bench comprising justices U U Lalit and K M Joseph made the observation while deciding an appeal challenging an order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court affirming their conviction and sentence under the NDPS Act.

Two bags of poppy straw were recovered from the accused while they were sitting in a jeep at a public place.

The trial court, after considering the evidence on record, acquitted accused Major Singh but convicted accused Boota Singh, Gurdeep Singh and Gurmohinder Singh, under the NDPS Act and sentenced them to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years.

They were also asked to pay a fine of ₹1 lakh, failing which they were directed to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for two years.

The accused argued before the top court that the vehicle in question was a private one belonging to accused Gurdeep Singh and was not a public conveyance, though it was parked on a public road.

The Supreme Court held that the evidence in the present case clearly shows that the vehicle was not a public conveyance but a private one belonging to Gurdeep Singh, and acquitted the accused as they were charged under the wrong section.

“The Registration Certificate of the vehicle, which has been placed on record also does not indicate it to be a Public Transport Vehicle.

“The explanation to Section 43 shows that a private vehicle would not come within the expression 'public place' as explained in Section 43 of the NDPS Act.

"On the strength of the decision of this court, the relevant provision would not be Section 43 of the NDPS Act but the case would come under Section 42 of the NDPS Act,” the bench said.

It is an admitted position that there was total non-compliance of the requirements of Section 42 of the NDPS Act, the top court said.

“Total non-compliance of Section 42 is impermissible... In the circumstances, the courts below fell in error in rejecting the submissions advanced on behalf of the appellants.”

“We, therefore, allow this appeal, set aside the view taken by the High Court and acquit the appellants of the charge levelled against them.

"The appellants be released forthwith unless their custody is required in connection with any other offence,” the court said.

Under section 42 of the NDPS Act, a designated officer has powers of ‘entry, search, seizure or arrest’ in a suspected narcotics cases.

Section 43 of the NDPS deals with the power of seizure and arrest in a public place.



Friday, April 16, 2021

Nirav Modi's Extradition To India Cleared By UK Government

Scam-accused billionaire Nirav Modi's extradition to India has been cleared by the British government. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel today signed the extradition order.



Nirav Modi, 50, is a step closer to extradition but still has the option of legally challenging it within 28 days before the UK High Court. The process may take months or even years, as seen in the case of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who went to court against his extradition order signed back in February 2019.

Earlier, the UK Westminster court had allowed the extradition plea and sent the case to the Home Secy.


  • Nirav Modi has option of legally challenging extradition with 28 days

Kerala HC quashes FIRs against ED officials in gold smuggling case

In a jolt to the CPI(M)-led LDF government, the 

Kerala High Court

 on Friday quashed the two FIRs registered by the state police against 

Enforcement Directorate

 officials for allegedly forcing key accused in the 

gold smuggling case

 to give statements against Chief Minister Pinarayi 

Vijayan

.





Quashing the FIRs, the court held that police should have approached the Special PMLA Court, which is considering the cases related to the money trail in the gold smuggling, seeking remedy to their grievances that the ED officials were fabricating evidences.


The court also directed the investigating officer to submit all information gathered in the matter to the PMLA court in a sealed cover.


Justice V G Arun pronounced judgment in two pleas filed by Deputy Director of ED Kochi Zone, P Radhakrishnan.


The petitions challenged the two FIRs registered by the crime branch on the basis of an alleged audio clip by gold smuggling accused Swapna Suresh alleging she was coerced to implicate the Chief Minister in the case and a similar allegation from a letter, allegedly written by her co-accused in the smuggling.


In a petition, the ED had alleged that one of the FIRs was registered against its unnamed officials with "ulterior motive of derailing the statutory investigation" under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) into a large economic offence of smuggling of huge quantities of gold.


The ED had prayed that the FIR be quashed or the probe be transferred from the state police to the 

CBI

 to ensure an impartial investigation, "because certain highly placed persons are involved in the case."




Friday, April 9, 2021

"Payment of extortion money does not amount to terror funding:" Supreme Court grants bail to accused charged under UAPA

The Supreme court noted that while considering the grant of bail under Section 43(5)D, it is the bounden duty of the Court to apply its mind to examine the entire material on record for the purpose of satisfying itself, whether a prima facie case is made out against the accused or not.

"A close scrutiny of the material placed before the Court would clearly show that the main accusation against the Appellant is that he paid levy/extortion amount to the terrorist organization. Payment of extortion money does not amount to terror funding," the Supreme Court held.

READ ORDER

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Nature of allegations needs inquiry by independent agency, Supreme Court dismisses Anil Deshmukh, Maharashtra challenge to CBI probe

The Supreme Court today dismissed the appeal filed by the Maharashtra government and former State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh challenging the Bombay High Court order allowing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the allegations made by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh.


"The nature of allegations and personas involved needs an enquiry by an independent agency. It is a matter of public confidence. We are not inclined to entertain this. Dismissed." -SC