The year 2012 saw the Delhi High Court ordering day-to-day trial of sexual offence cases in the aftermath of the brutal gangrape case besides some judicial interventions for loosening decades-old grip of politicians on sports bodies.
Following the widespread protests and calls for speedy justice, the high court came up with the unprecedented order that all sexual offence cases would be tried on daily basis.
Sports bodies Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and Archery Association of India, represented by Suresh Kalmadi, facing trials in graft cases related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and V K Malhotra of BJP respectively, were asked to strictly adhere to the National Sports Development Code.
“Quit IOA post or be ready for ouster” was the stern message to Kalmadi by the court which also barred him from taking part in the London Olympics as a sports administrator.
Besides rendering a person older than 70 years ineligible to run the poll for a sports body office, the code provided that no person elected to an office consecutively for three terms would be eligible to run the poll.
In 2012, the court was busy in ensuring fair polls in sports bodies and providing equal opportunities to players.
Sports bodies such as Wrestling Federation of India, Athletic Federation of India, Indian Hockey Federation and Hockey India, All India Chess Federation, Gymnastic Federation of India and All India Football Federation kept replying to court notices during the year.
In an embarrassment to 87-year-old Congress veteran N D Tiwari, the court rejected all his pleas and went ahead
with the pronouncement of the DNA test result that declared him the biological father of 32-year-old Rohit Shekher.
Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, who recently bid adieu to ODIs, got a relief with the court trashing a PIL challenging his nomination to Rajya Sabha on the ground that experts only from the fields of science, arts, literature and social services can be nominated to the Upper House.
Political bigwigs, facing corruption charges, also kept approaching the high court either to get bail, sentences suspended or to seek stay of trials or get the charges quashed against them.
Among them, jailed former Haryana minister Gopal Goyal Kanda, accused of abetting suicide of his employee air hostess Geetika Sharma, did not get any relief as the court rejected his anticipatory and regular bail pleas.
However, Kalmadi and former BJP president Bangaru Lakshman, 73, got the bail after spending some time in jail in connection with corruption cases. Bangaru was earlier sent to jail after being awarded four years jail term for accepting Rs 1 lakh bribe from some undercover scribes for pushing through a fictitious arms deal during NDA regime in 2001.
Kalmadi, who was suspended from Congress party after his arrest on April 25 in connection with CWG-related graft cases, also got bail on the ground of the Supreme Court verdict in 2G case that “bail is rule and jail is exception”.
Another Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, facing trial in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases, could not get the trial stayed in one of the matters in whichsix persons were killed at Sultanpuri here. The court has reserved its order on his plea against the framing of charges in it.
However, Congress spokesperson and leading advocate Abhishek Manu Singvi got relief with the court restraining a media house from “publishing, telecasting and broadcasting” contents of a “concocted” CD allegedly showing him and a lady lawyer. Later, the parties settled the case.
Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy, pursuing various litigations against the establishment including a PIL on 2G scam, got anticipatory bail in a case lodged against him for writing an allegedly “inflammatory” article.
A Raja, former Telecom Minister and key accused in the 2G case and Kanimozhi, Rajya Sabha MP and daughter of DMK supremo M Karunanidhi, joined other co-accused and filed pleas in the high court against framing of charges in the high profile matter. The pleas of other 15 accused are still pending.
Former Samata Party president Jaya Jaitly also moved the court against framing of charges for allegedly taking bribe to influence a “fictitious” defence deal in 2000. The FIR was lodged against her and others on the basis of a sting of a news-portal to exposing alleged corruption in defence deals.
Jaitly also got a jolt as the court denied her permission to visit 82-year-old socialist leader, George Fernandes, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, at his home, saying she has no locus to claim visitation right.
In other notable developments, the high court, which had suffered a terror attack on September 7, 2011 in which 15 persons died,set aside a lower court order and directed framing of the charge of waging war against the nation against lone arrested accused Wasim Akram Malik in the case.
In an extortion case involving gangster Abu Salem, the court allowed the Centre to drop stringent MCOCA charges against him to enable India to seek reversal of an order of the Portuguese Supreme Court by which his extradition was quashed on the ground of non-observance of extradition terms.
A plethora of PILs, subsequent court notices, observations and decisions in some also hogged the limelight in 2012.
One of the pleas pertained to allotment of 190 acres of IGI Airport land to private consortium Delhi International Airport Limited at a “throw-away” price. The court took note of it and asked the Centre to file documents related to allotment.
On another PIL, alleging scam of whopping Rs 67,000 crore in purchase of 111 planes by Air India, the court, however, refused to order a probe by the CVC, saying the matter was being looked into by Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.
Anti-graft activist Anna Hazare and his supporters got support in the hearing of a PIL alleging that some NGOs got foreign funds which were used in the stir.
The strike of Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), representing the pilots of original Air India, over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training and matters relating to their career progression also kept the court busy.
It restrained the pilots from continuing with the strike and later, asked the national carrier to mediate withthem after some of them were sacked.
IPG’s rival, Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association, a body of pilots of Indian Airlines, could not get relief as the court refused to stay Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh’s order to extend the flight duty time limitation (FDTL) of pilots and cabin crew, saying it was their duty to enable Air India to “pull through” the “financial crisis”.
Some PILs, pertaining to local issues, also made news in 2012.
The court dismissed a plea to scrap the 5.8-km-long Ambedkar Nagar-Moolchand Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor saying its implementation is not an “irrational decision”. The BRT project is the brainchild of the Delhi government.
The city government, facing contempt for not amending the law to make wearing helmets mandatory for woman pillion riders on two-wheelers, took a stand in the hearing of a PIL that it cannot be done as it may hurt religious feelings of a section of the society.
The court also asked the government and other civic agencies to make a long term plan to solve the water logging problems in the capital.
It also took a suo motu cognisance of the unauthorised construction of a mosque at a Metro railways project site here and asked the ASI and the civic body to demolish it. Later, some of the parties went to the Supreme Court.