Ayodhya Case(Day 12):’In the suits in which deity is vitally interested, it has to be heard’ Justice Chandrachud says

Senior Advocate Sushil Kumar Jain resumed his arguments for Nirmohi Akhara before the 5-Judge Constitution bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi. Today he focused on oral evidence and documentary evidence.

Relying on witness testimonies, Mr. Jain submitted that there have been no allegations that Nirmohi Akhara misused its rights or did anything adverse the deity. He said that these are the only grounds on the basis of which Shebaitship rights of a shebait can be taken away. He submitted that shebait is like Karta of a family.

Justice Bobde seeking clarification, said that Nirmohi Akhara is not claiming ownership in the normal sense, they are claiming management rights, but what all do they manage?

Mr. SK Jain said that puja-aarti at the disputed site is to be done and controlled by them.

Mr SK Jain further submitted that only shebait can file that suit, but as far as construction of temple is concerned, they’ll take help of other Hindu parties as well, they don’t want monopoly in construction.

Relying upon oral evidence, Mr. Jain stated that nobody has disputed their Shebaitship and possession of over 150 years, of both inner and outer courtyard.

Justice Chandrachud observed that the job of Nirmohi Akhara is simply to ensure that puja is done, offerings are received as per rituals and traditions.

Mr. Jain said that giving 1/3rd of the disputed property to Ram Lalla and Sunni waqf board was ‘wrong’, he said that they cannot be given possession, decree should have been passed in favour of Nirmohi Akhara only.

He went on with submissions stating that when digging was by the Archaeology Department, under the chabootra another chabootra was found exactly beneath it. Relying on witness testimonies he submitted that the disputed structure was never used as a mosque till 1856-57, and no historic evidence has been found to show that namaz was offered there.

Justice Bobde told Mr. Jain to focus on those evidences which support his case and prove his right of Shebaitship.

Mr. Jain stated that “There were tons of documents establishing the right of shebaitship, but in dacoity they all have got stolen.”

After quoting a number of witness testimonies, Mr. Jain submitted that presence of Nirmohi Akhara and its possession has never been doubted, there is no dispute about it. He stated that the Allahabad High Court has also recognised in its impugned judgement that Nirmohi Akhara was managing the affairs even after idols were placed under the central dome of the disputed structure.

Justice Chandrachud told Mr. Jain that he has categorically denied thatPlaintiff No. 1 and Plaintiff No. 2 in Suit 5 are juridical persons, however in his oral submissions he says that they are juridical persons, but, the moment he accepts that they are juridical persons, they have right to be represented by counsels.

Justice Chandrachud asked him that if the suit of the deity fails, who will he be shebait for? “You stand together, you fall together” Justice Chandrachud added.

Mr. Jain said that his only endeavour it to get his suit accepted. This prompted Justice Bobde to ask, “Should we take it then that you are not seeking dismissal of Suit 5?” Mr. Jain stated that in this regard he will be able to make a statement tomorrow.

Justice Chandrachud told Mr. Jain that there is no boundary between his claim as a shebait and claim of Plaintiff No. 3 as next friend, because even if the case is decreed in their favour, Nirmohi Akhara can independently claim shebaitship.

Justice Chandrachud further explained that the moment he said that Plaintiff No. 1 and Plaintiff No. 2 are juridical persons, there is no conflict between his suit and their suit, and even if the suit is decreed in their favour, he will still be entitled to assert his cause of action.

Justice Chandrachud told him that he is unnecessarily entering an area of conflict which does not belong to him, it belongs to Sunni Central Waqf Board.

Mr. Jain was further told Justice Chandrachud that his case is that Suit no. 5 cannot be maintained, then the only consequence would be dismissal of the Suit, and if the Suit no. 5 is dismissed, he should consider what the consequences would be for him, he cannot be shebait for a mosque.

Justice Chandrachud said that his submission should be to independently accept his suit, without opposing to Suit no. 5.

Agreeing, Mr. Jain submitted that his endeavour is this only, but the possession has to be handed over to him.

Quoting from precedents, Mr. Jain stated that an idol is certainly a juridical person, who can hold property, has power to sue, be sued in respect of the property, but its personality is linked with physical personality of Shebiat.

Relying on caselaws, Mr. Jain further submitted that it has been held that shebait can maintain a suit on behalf of the deity in his own name and need not implead the deity as a party to any case.

Justice Chandrachud pointed out that in the suits in which deity is vitally interested, it has to be heard. Mr. Jain said that the personality of idol is merged with the shebiat, and the shebiat is suing on behalf of the deity. However, Mr. Jain said that plaintiff in the suit of next friend has mentioned that Shebiat is not acting in the interest of deity.

Justice Chandrachud explained that if a claim is brought by debtor or there is a suit for recovery of property belonging to the deity, then you will not implead the deity, because in such a situation shebait may represent the deity, but in a situation where it has to be established whether a person is his or her shebait, then the deity clearly has right to implead and ascertain whether this person has the shebaitship.

Mr. SK Jain will continue his submissions tomorrow, 27th August 2019.

High Court agrees to hear a fresh plea on Uniform Civil Code

The Delhi High Court Monday agreed to hear on Tuesday a PIL seeking direction to the Centre to constitute a judicial commission or a high level expert committee to draft a Uniform Civil Code (UCC) for securing gender justice, equality and dignity of women.

The plea was mentioned before a bench a Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar which tagged it for hearing along with a similar pending petition.

The petition, filed by advocate Abhinav Beri, also said that a direction be given to the Law Commission to draft a UCC within three months taking into account the best practices of all religions and sects, civil laws of developed countries and international conventions and publish that on its website for at least 90 days for wide public debate and feedback.

Another petition by Bharatiya Janata Party leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, seeking framing of the UCC to promote unity, fraternity and national integration is also pending before the court.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has moved the high court opposing Upadhyay’s PIL and sought to be impleaded as a party in the matter, saying the petition was not maintainable in law and ought not to be entertained.

The fresh petition said the nature and purpose of the Article 44 is to introduce a common civil code for all, which is essential to promote fraternity, unity and national integration.

“It proceeds on the assumption that there is no connection between religion and personal laws in a civilised society. While the Constitution guarantees freedom of conscience and of religion, it seeks to divest religion from personal law and social relations and from laws governing inheritance, succession and marriage, just as it has been done even in the Muslim countries like Turkey and Egypt etc. The object of Article 44 is not to encroach upon religious liberties,” it said.

The need of the hour for national integration is a draft copy of UCC, it added.

It said gender justice and gender equality, guaranteed under Articles 14-15 of the Constitution and dignity of women, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, cannot be secured without implementing the Article 44.

In last 70 years, the Constitution has been amended 125 times and judgment of the Supreme Court has been nullified 5 times but the executive has not taken serious steps to implement Uniform Civil Code, the plea said.

In his plea, Upadhyay has contended that the Centre has “failed” to put in place a UCC as provided under Article 44 of the Constitution.

A UCC would replace the personal laws, based on the scriptures and customs of various religious communities, with a common set of rules governing every citizen of the country.

The high court had on May 31 issued notice to the Centre seeking its response to the PIL.

UP: 4 sentenced to life imprisonment for killing man in 2015

A local court sentenced four people, including a notorious criminal, to life imprisonment for killing a man in 2015.

Additional district sessions judge Pankaj Kumar Aggarwal also imposed a fine of Rs 4,50,000 on the four men — Jamshed, Gulsanawwer, Munawwer and Nadeem.

According to the prosecution, Tasleem, 40, was shot dead outside his house in Sikri village here by the four men on October 16, 2015.

They were convicted under sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC.

Jamshed was involved in more than 40 criminal cases, the prosecution said on Saturday.

Triple Talaq: SC issues notice to Centre on plea against new law; agrees to examine validity

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine the validity of a newly enacted law which makes the practice of instant divorce through triple talaq among Muslims a punishable offence entailing imprisonment of up to three years.

A bench of justices N V Ramana and Ajay Rastogi issued notice the Centre on a batch of petitions which has sought to declare The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019 as “unconstitutional” on grounds that it allegedly violates the provisions of the Constitution.

“We will examine this,” the bench told senior advocate Salman Khurshid, who was appearing for one of the petitioners.

Khurshid told the bench that there were many dimensions, including making the practice a punishable offence and jail term of up to three years, which was required to be examined by the top court.

Triple Talaq: SC agrees to examine validity of new law; issues notice to Centre

The Supreme Court Friday agreed to examine the validity of a newly enacted law which makes the practice of instant divorce through triple talaq among Muslims a punishable offence entailing imprisonment of up to three years.

A bench of justices N V Ramana and Ajay Rastogi issued notice to the Centre on a batch of petitions seeking to declare The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019 as “unconstitutional” on grounds that it allegedly violates the provisions of the Constitution.

“We will examine this,” the bench told senior advocate Salman Khurshid, who was appearing for one of the petitioners.

Khurshid said there were many dimensions, including making the practice a punishable offence and jail term of up to three years, which need to be examined by the top court.

He said the petitioners were concerned about making the practice of triple talaq among Muslims an offence as the apex court had already declared it to be null and void.

“If there is no such thing as triple talaq then what are they making an offence,” he told the bench and referred to a five-judge Constitution bench verdict which had declared the practice of triple talaq among Muslims as null and void.

To this the bench asked, suppose if a religious practice is declared as null and void and it is declared as an offence like dowry and child marriage, but if it still goes on then what is the remedy.

Responding to the query, Khurshid said several aspects have to be examined and in the triple talaq matter the Constitution bench had already said the practice is void.

He said it has to be examined whether the religious practice denies the rights to the woman.

The bench, while agreeing to examine the validity of the 2019 Act, observed that petitioners have also raised the issue of punishment of up to three years and grant of bail to the husband only after the woman is heard by the court.

A total of four petitions have been filed in apex court challenging the validity of the law.

Two Muslim organisations Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind and ‘Samastha Kerala Jamiathul Ulema’, a religious organisation of Sunni Muslim scholars and clerics in Kerala, have moved the Supreme Court this month challenging the law’s validity.

Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind approached the apex court on Thursday.

President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the Act which makes ‘talaq-e-biddat’ or any other similar form of talaq having the effect of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce pronounced by a Muslim husband void and illegal.

In the plea filed through advocate Ejaz Maqbool, Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind has claimed that since the pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife had already been declared “void and illegal”, there was no requirement to enact the law.

“However, the impugned Act criminalises the act of pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband and makes it a cognizable offence, without appreciating that such pronouncement had already been declared unconstitutional and amounted to nullity in the eyes of law,” the plea said.

Referring to the provision of the Act which stipulates punishment of up to three years jail along with fine, the plea said it is an “ill-conceived provision which imposes excessive and disproportionate punishment.”

It claimed that “criminalising a mode of divorce in one particular religion while keeping the subject of marriage and divorce in other religions only within the purview of civil law, also leads to discrimination, which is not in conformity with the mandate of Article 15”.

Article 15 of the Constitution deals with prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

The plea said that punishment prescribed under the Act “is not only disproportionate but extremely excessive and stringent”.

Referring to other offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including rioting, bribery and causing death by negligence, the plea said that lesser punishment has been prescribed for many offences “which are far graver”.

It said that section 7 of The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 makes the pronouncement of talaq, having the effect of instantaneous divorce, a cognisable and a non-bailable offence.

The plea said that offences like kidnapping, causing death by negligence and bigamy, are bailable “which show that making the pronouncement of instantaneous talaq non-bailable is excessive and evidently unwarranted”.

The plea said that marriage is civil contract as per the Islamic Law and talaq is only a mode to repudiate the contract and imposition of criminal liability for a civil wrong violates the fundamental rights of Muslim men.

It said that “object of punishment must not be to wreak vengeance but to reform the criminal as to prevent him from further crime.”

The plea said that the Act, by providing for imprisonment of the husband, fails to ensure cordiality in marriage and would lead to “irretrievable breakdown” of the wedlock.

It said pronouncement of ‘triple talaq’ is considered invalid in several Islamic countries but no punishment has been prescribed for this.

The Act makes it illegal to pronounce talaq three times — spoken, written or through SMS or WhatsApp or any other electronic chat — in one sitting.

“Any pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal,” the law says.

Two Govt hospitals in Pak deny specialised ambulance facility to Nawaz Sharif

Two government hospitals in Pakistan have denied a specialised cardiac ambulance facility for emergency medical cover to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a Jail here, according to a media report.

The Punjab Prisons Department had requested the health higher-ups to provide a fully-equipped ambulance to station it in the Central Jail to shift Sharif to any hospital in case of any emergency. The request was submitted on finding that the ambulance made available in the jail is insufficiently equipped, the Dawn reported.

The health department had been asked for a specialised cardiac ambulance equipped with a defibrillator, cardiac monitor, ventilator and ECG machine. A defibrillator helps save life by giving a high-energy electric shock to the heart of a patient in case of cardiac arrest.

The government hospitals refused to provide a specialised cardiac ambulance to Sharif because of heavy burden of medical cover to the VIP, VVIPs and their families,” the daily reported.

There is a heavy burden of medical cover to the VIPs, VVIPs, foreign delegations and honourable members of the provincial assembly, and judiciary and their families…, reads one of the official replies to the health department.

This stance was take up by a government hospital’s medical superintendent while giving response to the official correspondence of the health department, the daily said.

The request was sent to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology and the Services Hospital, Lahore to provide a specialised cardiac ambulance with driver for Sharif.

The medical superintendent of the Services Hospital further wrote to the authorities that his health facility was already facing an acute shortage of ambulances. He said his institute was unable to meet this requirement because it already had handed over three ambulances to the Rescue 1122 in 2017, said a letter.

Sharif, 69, has been serving a seven-year prison term at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore since December 24, 2018 when an accountability court convicted him in one of the three corruption cases filed in the wake of the apex court’s July 28, 2017 order in Panama Papers case.

The provision of “inadequate” healthcare to the incarcerated PML-N leader by the Punjab government has generated controversy, bringing the two political parties PML-N and PTI to the verge of collision course.

The situation turned unpleasant when the PTI government in Punjab constituted four medical boards within a short span of time for the treatment of Sharif and the PML-N said these were delaying tactics that could risk the life of the three-time prime minister, the daily said.

Despite tensions, Pak stands ready to open Kartarpur Corridor: Shah Mehmood Qureshi

Pakistan on Friday said that despite tensions with India, it stands ready to open the Kartarpur Corridor and welcome the Sikh pilgrims to take part in celebrations in connection with the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said this while speaking to a delegation of civil society and parliamentarians of Afghanistan, which is currently visiting Pakistan for the ‘Track-II dialogue, Beyond Boundaries’.

Tension between India and Pakistan has escalated after New Delhi revoked Article 370 of the Constitution which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories on August 5.

“Despite our tensions with India, we have decided go ahead with Kartarpur Corridor and we stand ready to welcome the Sikh pilgrims for the 550th anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak,” Qureshi told the delegation.

The Kartarpur corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Guru Nanak Dev.

Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak up to the border will be constructed by India.

Qureshi also told the delegation that current tension with India will not affect Pakistan’s relationship with Afghanistan. Border (with Afghanistan) will not be closed nor trade will stop. Why should Afghans suffer because of the idiosyncratic behaviour of Narendra Modi, Qureshi was quoted as saying.

Despite tensions with India, Pakistan is totally focused on the situation and its role in Afghanistan. It (Kashmir situation) can be a huge distraction but we are very clear what we need to do in Afghanistan, he added while responding to a question if escalation of tension with India can distract Pakistan.

Qureshi said that Pakistan did not believe in any strategic depth. We want good neighbourly relations with Afghanistan and peaceful co-existence. We have no favourites in the upcoming election. It is not our business who governs Afghanistan. We will not interfere. Whoever you [Afghanistan] will choose, we will work with them.”

The foreign minister emphasised that honesty was the best way forward between the two countries. It is foolish to think we can trick each other, he said, adding that blaming each other was not an option. Accusatory statement will not help each other.

He also said that we do not want Talibanisation of any region but they [Taliban] are Afghans and they are a reality . He added: We will also support intra-Afghan dialogue. The process has to be Afghan-owned and Afghan-led.

Qureshi told the delegation that he had invited the foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s and China for a trilateral meeting. The foreign minis

Cop challenges charges of Unnao teen’s father’s death in this State High Court

On Wednesday, a UP Police constable approached the High Court of Delhi, challenging framing of charges against him for the alleged murder of the Unnao rape survivor’s father & framing him in a case of possession of illegal arms.

Amir Khan, UP Police Constable, claimed in his plea that the trial court has “wrongly” clubbed the two cases as one was sessions triable & other was magisterial triable case.

On Aug 13, Expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar & nine others had been charged by the trial Court for murder, criminal intimidation, wrongful restraint, criminal conspiracy & false evidence & under the Arms Act.

The charges framed against them also included voluntarily causing hurt, voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, public servant disobeying law, with intent to cause injury to any person & public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury.

Bail of three UP police officials had also been cancelled by the Court – then Makhi police station in-charge Ashok Singh Bhadauria, Sub Inspector Kamta Prasad & Amir Khan – accused in the case, & sent them into custody after the charge of murder was framed against them.

High Court mulls ways to curb criminal abuse of social media

The Madras HC on Wednesday simply adjourned the hearing of the PIL seeking to link Aadhar with social mediaaccounts to ensure easy detection of online fraud & cybercrimes, as the SC(Supreme Court) is seized of the issue & the latter has restrained the HC from passing any final order.

A division bench of Justice S Manikumar & Justice Subramonium Prasad, however, made it clear that they are not inclined to entertain the prayer for linking Aadhar with social media accounts. The bench said it was trying only to navigate ways to curb online crime with the cooperation of social media companies. The bench then said it would take up the hearing on September 19, as the SC has listed the plea moved by Facebook seeking transfer of all such cases to the Top Court on September 13.

On Wednesday, when the plea moved by Antony Clement Rubin came up for hearing, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Facebook, submitted that it would be a waste of time for the HC to continue hearing the matter as the SC had already restrained the HC from passing any final order. Opposing the submission, Tamil Nadu advocate-general Vijay Narayan contended that there is no impediment for the HC to continue the hearing as the SC has made it clear that the HCs could continue hearing the pleas but should not pass any final order.

Concurring with the submissions of Rohatgi, the bench observed that any further hearing of the case would be useless if the Top court decided to transfer the cases from HCs. During the last hearing, an expert from IIT-Madras informed the HC that it was technically possible to track people spreading rumours through social media platforms like WhatsApp.

The submission was made in response to the stand taken by WhatsApp that messages on its platform can never be traced to the origin because of the encryption built in to ensure privacy of its users. V Kamakoti, a professor at IIT-M countered this, telling the court that it is technically possible to add an ‘original’ identification tag to messages on WhatsApp even with the encryption. He said this is possible by WhatsApp making a change in the product design to include the phone number of the ‘originator’ whenever a message is forwarded.

Special Court awards 8 Years Jail term to Chhota Rajan in 2012 Attempt to Murder Case

Special Court judge, AT Wankhede convicted six under various sections of stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) & the Indian Penal Code.

Fine of Rs 5 Lakh has been imposed by Court on each of the accused.

In Oct 2012, Hotelier BR Shetty was shot in suburban Andheri when he was going to meet his friend.

Rajan is currently lodged at Delhi’s Tihar Central Jail after his arrest in Indonesia and subsequent deportation to India in October 2015.