Dowry demand can be made any time: SC

Demand for dowry can be made at any time and not necessarily before marriage, the Supreme Court has said while upholding the life term awarded to a man for poisoning and burning his wife to death in 1997.

A bench of justices M Y Eqbal and Pinaki Chandra Ghose rejected the plea that the accused did not demand any dowry before marriage and seeking it after tying the nuptial knot was out of question.

Referring to an earlier judgement, it said the social evil of dowry is prevalent in Indian society and the defence that it was not sought before the marriage “does not hold water. The demand for dowry can be made at any time and not necessarily before marriage.”

The apex court dismissed the plea of Uttarakhand native Bhim Singh and his family members noting that there was no missing link in the circumstantial evidence brought by the prosecution.

“There must be a chain of evidence so complete as not to leave any reasonable ground for the conclusion consistent with the innocence of the accused and must show that in all human probability the act must have been done by the accused.

“Whenever there is a break in the chain of circumstances, the accused is entitled to the benefit of doubt… there is no missing link in circumstantial evidence put forth by the prosecution, and hence the accused are not entitled to benefit of doubt,” the bench said.

According to the prosecution, Bhim was married to Prema Devi in May, 1997.When she went to her in-laws’ house after marriage, her husband and in-laws taunted and tortured her by saying that she had brought nothing in dowry, it said.On September 26, 1997, Prema was administered some toxic substance due to which she died and later on she was burnt, it added.

The trial court had held Bhim and his brother guilty of offence 304-B (dowry death) of IPC and sentenced them to life, Section 498-A (cruelty) of IPC and Sections 3 & 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.

Odisha: MLA’s bail plea hearing adjourned yet again

Hearing on the bail application of Banki MLA Pravat Kumar Tripathy in Orissa High Court would be taken up again on February 20.

The hearing remained inconclusive yesterday and Justice Shatrughna Pujahari posted the matter for February 20.

Arrested by CBI on October 31 last year for his alleged links with chit fund company Artha Tatwa and its chairman and Banki MLA Pravat Kumar Tripathy, the senior politician is behind the bars for over hundred days now.

HC urged to reopen fraud case after cops file closure report

The father of a lady accountant of a cooperative society, who committed suicide two days after being questioned by seniors in a fraud at her workplace, has urged the Bombay High Court to order reopening of the case to probe the involvement of others in the alleged malpractice.

A division bench of justices Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudessai, on February 9, ordered the prosecution to file a reply to the petition and also submit a copy of summary report filed by police before a Magistrate, saying the case may be abated or closed in view of the death of the accountant.

The accountant, who was working in Chinchani branch of Setu Co-operative Credit Society here had committed suicide on June 8 2012, two days after she was called for questioning by her seniors after a fraud was detected in the society’s accounts.

Her father filed a petition through lawyer Aniket Nikam, saying police had closed the case on the ground that the accountant alleged to have been involved in the fraud had died. However, the petitioner argued that his daughter alone may not have been involved and there could be other staff of the society also involved in the alleged crime.

Advocate Nikam argued that police may have closed the case in order to protect other persons in the alleged fraud and hence it would be just and proper if the case is re-investigated.

Nikam argued the forensic audit report in respect of transactions of the said society categorically said that the alleged fraud could not have been possible without the involvement of other officers because the accounts of members including the Chairman were used for parking of huge funds.

The matter would be heard again on February 23 when police files a reply and the summary report of the closure of the case.

Orissa HC orders for panel to monitor jaundice

Orissa High CourtOrissa High Court has directed the state government to form a high-level committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to monitor the situation arising out of the spread of jaundice in the state.

A bench of justices Indrajit Mahanti and Subash Chandra Parija, taking up a petition filed by Cuttack city civic body corporator Giribala Behera, also asked the state government to include the officials of the jaundice-affected civic body and the state urban and health secretaries in the Committee for taking appropriate measures to check the menace.

Behera in her petition had alleged that due to improper management of drinking water facilities, jaundice had affected over hundred people in the state.

The High Court in its order yesterday asked the Cuttack Municipal Corporation to immediately relocate the drinking water pipelines.

The civic body was also asked to take immediate steps to provide clean drinking water and replace the damaged

Man gets 5-days jail term for drunken driving

drunken drivingA sessions court here has sent a man to five-days’ imprisonment for driving after consuming alcohol and said he was not only putting his own life in danger but that of the general public as well.

Additional Sessions Judge Virender Kumar Bansal passed the order while dismissing an appeal of Delhi resident Naveen Kumar against a magisterial court’s verdict by which he was sentenced to five days’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs 4,100.

“The fact shows that he was driving a two wheeler scooter and percentage of alcohol found in blood was 384.6 mg per 100 ml of blood whereas permissible limit is 30 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, i.E., twelve times more then the permissible limit.

“By doing so he was not only putting his own life in danger but he was putting the life of general public on road as well. He was not even having the driving licence at the relevant time,” the court said.

It said, “Keeping in view the entire facts and also that the safety of other road users was also put on risk… In my opinion, trial court has rightly sentenced him. No ground is made out, accordingly, revision is dismissed. Revisionist be taken into custody.”

Kumar was convicted under various provisions of Motor Vehicle Act after he voluntarily pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 5 days simple imprisonment and fine of Rs 4,100.

The magisterial court had also held that he was driving the two-wheeler without any driving licence.

He had then approached the sessions court praying for a lenient view and submitted that he was is a married person having wife and two children and was the sole bread earner of the family

Man penalised for speaking on mobile inside court room

man talking on mobileA 32-year-old man has been penalised for talking on his mobile phone inside a court room in Kendrapara.

Ranjit Pradhan, a resident of Gopalpur village under Rajnagar police jurisdiction, was found talking on his mobile phone in the chief judicial magistrate’s court room yesterday.

The CJM, Rabi Narayan Panda, expressed strong displeasure as a trial was on at that time.

Pradhan was let off after he paid Rs 200 penalty as per an order of the court, secretary, Kendrapara Bar Association, Nruingha Charan Rout, said.

HC notice to centre & Delhi government on deplorable conditions of undertrial prisoners

The Delhi High Court Wednesday issued notice to the central and Delhi governments on the deplorable conditions of undertrial prisoners, including women, in Tihar Jail here.A division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw asked for responses by March 5.

The bench took suo motu cognizance of the issue after the Supreme Court asked it to decide the matter.

The bench tagged this case along with similar issues pending before it.

The apex court had heard a PIL drawing the court’s attention to the scheduled tribe prisoners all over the country and particularly the condition of women among them.

The apex court in November 2014 sent reference to high court to decide the issue of Delhi. The high court has been dealing with two PILs relating to ensuring minimum human rights to inmates of Tihar Jail.

Due to a large number of undertrials cramped in unhygienic conditions, they are being affected by numerous diseases in the jail premises, the bench was earlier informed.

Tuberculosis and other contagious diseases like HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, typhoid are common in Tihar jail premises, the PILs has revealed.

HC halts final bidding for three Chhattisgarh coal blocks

Delhi High Court today directed the government not to conduct final bidding till February 18 for three coal blocks in Chhattisgarh, for which Sarda Energy and Minerals Ltd has submitted its initial price offer on its plea challenging the two-phased auction process in which half of the round one bidders are to be eliminated.

A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva allowed the government to open today the initial price offers (IPOs) for the three blocks – Gare Palma IV/1, IV/4 and IV/7 – as well as announce the qualified bidders, who were in top 50 per cent of bidders, and said the same would be subject to final outcome of Sarda’s plea.

“In present case, although we have permitted announcement of qualified bidders, we direct respondent (Coal Ministry) not to conduct electronic auction (final bidding) till the next date of hearing on February 18,” the bench said.

The court also issued notice to the ministry as well as Hindalco Industries Ltd, Dalmia group’s OCL Ltd, Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, Jindal Power Ltd and Ultra Tech Cement Ltd – all of whom have submitted IPOs for the blocks – and sought their responses on Sarda’s plea by next date.

Sarda, represented by advocate Ratan Singh, has opposed the conditions in the auction process allowing multiple bidding by a company as well as removal of 50 per cent of bidders after opening of IPOs.

Under the auction process for blocks for unregulated sectors like steel, sponge iron, cement, only the top 50 per cent of bidders after opening IPOs would move to round two of electronic auction when final financial bids are to be placed.

Companies are also allowed to submit multiple bids by submitting IPOs in the name of its different bifurcated units.

HC urges state govt to consider hospital’s proposal

The Bombay High Court asked Maharashtra government today to decide on a proposal sent by Bai Jerbai Wadia Children’s Hospital here, seeking its permission to set up a paediatric organ transplant centre, before March 16.

Hearing a petition, a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice B P Colabawala said “if the government does not decide on the application by then (March 16), the Principal Secretary of the Department of Medical Education and Research will have to personally be present in court”.

The hospital had sent a proposal to the state government on July 31, 2014, saying that if the transplant centre was approved it would be one of its kind in the world.

However, the state government is yet to take any decision on the application.

The hospital filed an affidavit informing the court that work on repairing, reconstructing and maintaining the hospital building has begun and would be completed by March 31, 2016 and Rs 27.9 crore has been earmarked for repairs.

The hospital received several awards and once the new building is ready it would be able to house 150 beds in its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and 24 beds in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, the affidavit said.

The hospital, located in Parel here, has been operating from its neighbouring premises since 2009, after it was closed down for renovation.

Kamayani Mahabal, an activist, had moved the High Court alleging that no steps had been taken by the authorities to take up the renovation and complete it at the earliest.

The municipal corporation and Wadia Trust have reached an agreement to take equal financial responsibility to run the hospital