Journalist of news channel that irked Yogi gets bail from Allahabad High Court

A journalist of a TV news channel, accused of airing defamatory content on UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court in a fraud and forgery case on Tuesday, his lawyer said.

Anuj Shukla, the managing editor of the Noida-based Nation Live channel, has been given the relief by Justice Ajit Singh, who heard the matter at court number 80 this morning, lawyer Nitin Gupta told PTI.

The same court and judge had on July 19 granted bail to Shukla’s colleague Anshul Kaushik, who worked as a news anchor in the channel, he said.

Both of them were held on June 10 and were since lodged at the Luksar jail in Gautam Buddh Nagar.

The channel’s head Ishika Singh was also arrested in the case, in which two separate FIRs were registered at the Phase 3 police station in Noida, but her bail plea is yet to be taken up by the high court.

“Anshul and Anuj had moved the Allahabad High Court to seek relief in the other case, after all three were granted bail by a local court in the defamation case. Today, the Allahabad High Court heard Shukla’s plea and granted him bail in the fraud and forgery case,” Gupta said.

“We argued that Shukla is only an employee of the channel and had joined in April this year. It was not his domain of work to find out if the news channel was working under an unregistered name. Justice Singh had granted bail to Kaushik on similar grounds,” Gupta, who is representing Kaushik and Shukla, said.

The lawyer, however, said bail orders were yet to be signed by the high court judge and accordingly it would have to be produced in a lower court in order to get the journalist duo freed from jail.

One of the FIRs was filed under sections 153 (promoting enmity between different groups), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 505 [1] (Whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report) and 505 [2] (statements conducing to public mischief).

The other FIR was registered under sections 420 (fraud) and 467 (forgery of documents) of the IPC and related offences after it emerged that the channel was “operating illegally” without having the “requisite permissions” from the government to operate under the name ‘Nation Live’.

All three scribes were on June 20 granted bail in the defamation case by the District and Sessions Court, Surajpur, Greater Noida.

The police had on June 10 sealed the premises of Nation Live in Sector 65 of Noida under Section 151 of the CrPC, while the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had issued a show-cause notice to the channel for illegal operations .

Lawyer’s Murder: Allahabad High Court Directs Govt. To Ensure Fool Proof Security In Courts

Taking a stern view of the Uttar Pradesh Bar Council Chairperson Darvesh Yadav’s murder in Agra court premises, the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday directed state government to ensure foolproof security in all court premises in the state. Darvesh Yadav, 38, the first woman chairperson of the UP Bar Council, was allegedly shot dead by her colleague Manish Sharma inside Agra district court premises on Wednesday.

“Chief Justice (Govind Mathur of the high court) has taken serious view of the aforesaid incident,” said the high court’s registrar general in a statement. The chief justice has also assured all legal fraternity that the high court is taking all necessary steps to beef up the security of all court premises in the state, said the statement, while condoling Yadav’s death and conveying condolences to her family members. “The state government has also been directed to take appropriate steps immediately regarding Zero Error Security in the High Court, Allahabad and Lucknow and the district courts of the state, said the registrar general.

Allahabad HC stays arrest Sonakshi Sinha in cheating case

The Allahabad High Court on Friday stayed the arrest of Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha in connection with a criminal case lodged against her for allegedly cheating an event organiser in Moradabad.

The actress and four others were booked in the case last month.

In a complaint on November 24 last year, an event organiser, Pramod Sharma, had alleged that he paid Rs 24 lakh to a company to invite Sinha for a prize distribution function in Delhi and that the actress had confirmed her presence, but did not turn up, police had said.

According to them, the complainant, a resident of Shivpuri in Moradabad, said that in total he paid Rs 37 lakh, which included transferring a huge amount to Sinha.

Disposing of a writ petition filed by Sinha, a division bench comprising Justice Naheed Ara Moonis and Justice Virendra Kumar Srivastava Friday directed that she will not be arrested till submission of report by police after completion of investigation into the matter.

The court however ordered Sinha to cooperate with police in the investigation and appear as and when called upon to assist in the probe.

“It is clarified that the petitioner shall not be subjected to any embarrassment or harassment in the intervening period,” the HC said.

It, however, declined the actress’ plea of quashing the FIR against her saying, “From perusal of the FIR, prima facie cognisable offences is made out at this stage against the petitioner. Therefore, we do not find any cogent reason to quash the FIR.”

During the course of hearing, the counsel for the petitioner submitted that the FIR has been lodged by the complainant containing absolutely false and concocted allegations against the petitioner with the ulterior intention of exerting pressure upon her.

Sinha’s management agency had earlier denied the charge against her, saying despite repeated reminders, the organiser failed to make payments to the actress before the event as contracted.

No ‘routine’ arrests even in crime against Dalits: HC

The Allahabad High Court Tuesday told police they could not arrest four people booked for assaulting a Dalit woman and her daughter without following the CrPC provisions endorsed by the Supreme Court in an order in 2014.

Though the case was registered under Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act as well as under IPC sections the court prevented the police from making an immediate, routine arrest.

The ruling was given by Justices Ajai Lamba and Sanjay Harkauli of the High Court’s Lucknow bench.

In 2014, the SC had endorsed guidelines on arresting the accused in the Arnesh Kumar case.

Sections 41 and 41A of the CrPC stipulate that an accused facing a jail term of up to seven years would not be arrested unless the police record elaborate reasons for the need of an arrest.

The high court ruling comes soon after Parliament passed a Bill overriding a Supreme Court judgment to prevent the misuse of the SC/ST law, particularly on arrests without a preliminary investigation.

Tuesday’s ruling was on a bail plea by a Gonda resident Rajesh Kumar and three members of his family, who were accused by a Dalit woman of abusing and assaulting her and her daughter.

The family members were booked for various penal offences besides the stringent provisions of the SC/ST Act.

Supreme Court refuses interim bail to principal of BRD Medical College Gorakhpur

The Supreme Court today refused to grant interim bail to a former principal of a medical college and hospital in Uttar Pradesh where scores of children had died last year allegedly due to shortage of oxygen supply.

Dr Rajeev Kumar Mishra of Gorakhpur’s BRD medical college and hospital told the top court that he has been in jail for more than ten months and the children had died due to Japanese Encephalitis disease and not for shortage of oxygen.

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and M M Shantanagoudar issued notice to Uttar Pradesh government on the plea of Mishra and listed the matter for June 6.

More than 60 children, mostly infants, had died at the government-run Baba Raghav Das Medical College in Gorakhpur within a week in August 2017. There were allegations that the deaths occurred due to disruption in oxygen supply over unpaid bills to the vendor.

At the outset, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Mishra, said he was arrested on August 29, 2017 and has remained in jail for over ten months.

“Chargesheet has been filed in the case. The co-accused in the case including one doctor Kafeel Khan, who was the head of the Encephalitis ward, and the Oxygen gas supplier Manish Bhandari have already got bail. I should be granted at least interim bail till the petition is disposed of,” Rohatgi said.

When the bench asked him what was in the chargesheet filed against his client, the senior lawyer said it has been alleged that Mishra had not cleared the bills for supply of oxygen, due to which the gas supply to the hospital was cut.

To this, the bench said, “then what do you expect, that you will not clear the bills and the vendor will keep supplying the gas”.

Rohatgi said “oxygen gas was not the issue, as the children had died due to a disease called Japanese encephalitis”.

He said at least interim bail should be granted till the petition is disposed of as over ten months have gone by.

The bench, however, refused the plea and sought response from the state government.

Mishra had approached the apex court challenging the order of Allahabad High Court dated April 30, by which it had denied bail to him. He has been booked for criminal negligence and offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The state government had told the High Court that due to the alleged role of Misra, the oxygen supply got halted in the hospital as he had stopped payments to the supplier to allegedly force the company to pay him kickbacks.

On April 9, the top court had granted bail to the proprietor of a firm which supplied oxygen to the hospital saying he had spent seven months in jail for an offence which entailed maximum punishment of three years imprisonment.

Supreme Court to examine plea seeking prosecution of UP CM in Gorakhpur riot case

The Supreme Court today agreed to examine a plea challenging an Allahabad High Court order dismissing a petition seeking prosecution of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in a hate speech case of 2007.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked petitioner Rasheed Khan to serve the copy to all the parties who were before the High Court.

The High Court had earlier this year upheld a sessions court order which had quashed a magistrate’s order taking cognizance of the chargesheet filed by the police in 2009.

While dismissing the petition, the high court had said the sessions court was right in holding that there was no prosecution sanction to initiate trial against the BJP leader and others in the case.

The Sessions Court at Gorakhpur district had on January 28, 2017, quashed the magisterial court’s cognisance order saying there was no sanction to prosecute the accused including the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and others.

On January 27, 2007, several incidents of violence were reported in Gorakhpur district of Uttar Pradesh and Khan had lodged the FIR under various sections of IPC.

DND flyway toll issue would be hear in July: SC

The Supreme Court today said it would hear in July the matter related to the Allahabad High Court ruling which stated that no toll should be collected from the commuters using the Delhi-Noida Direct (DND) flyway.

A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said that report filed in the matter by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) be kept in a sealed cover.

The supreme court had in November last year asked the CAG to assist in the matter and verify the company’s claim that the total cost of the project has not been recovered.

During the hearing today, the bench said that it would not rely on the CAG’s report as of now in the matter.

The Noida Toll Bridge Company Ltd (NTBCL) told the court that the CAG was originally not made a party in the PIL which was filed before the high court.

The counsel appearing for the firm said that following the high court’s order, the company was not getting anything but its obligation to maintain the flyway stands.

On November 11, 2016, the apex court had said that the flyway would remain toll free for commuters, while disagreeing with the contention of NTBCL that its refusal to stay the high court verdict would cause irreparable loss to the firm.

The high court had on October 26, 2016, said no toll would be collected henceforth from those using the 9.2 km-long, eight-lane flyway.

The order was passed as the high court had allowed a PIL by the Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Association that had challenged the “levy and collection of toll in the name of user fee” by the NTBCL.

The firm has challenged the high court verdict in the top court, saying it did not take into account all aspects and factors such as interest on construction cost, depreciation and maintenance expenses, which come to around Rs 12.5 lakh per day, had not been duly considered.

Supreme Court acknowledges wife’s plea for justice of army man jailed for 27 years.

The Supreme Court has taken note of a woman’s plea that her husband, an Army man, has been languishing in jail for 27 years without a final decision on the death penalty awarded by a Court Martial for killing two of his colleagues.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar took note of the plea of Mithilesh Rai, wife of the jailed Army man Lance Naik Devendra Nath Rai and issued notice to the Ministry of Defence, the Chief of Army Staff and others and asked them to respond within four weeks.

Rai, 60, whose mental health suffered due to the long incarceration, was awarded the death penatly by the General Court Martial (GCM) in 1991. The Centre confirmed the noose.

The Army man appealed in the Allahabad High Court which, in 2000, upheld the conviction, but set aside the death penalty saying no special reason was accorded by the GCM which also did not do balancing of mitigating and aggravating circumstances.

The Central government challenged the verdict in the Supreme court which, on January 10, 2006 remanded the case back to the High Court and asked it to decide it afresh.

The high court dismissed the plea of Rai on May 8, 2007 due to non-prosecution as the lawyer could not appear.

The plea for restoration was filed compounding the woes of Rai and his wife as the case files remained untraceable in the High Court Registry from 2007 and 2013 and finally, the case got revived.

However, the high court, despite the specific order of the top court, transferred the case to the Armed Force Tribunal (AFT) to decide the case of Rai by scrutinising the 1991 findings arrived at by the General Court Martial (GCM), the plea said.

The AFT, which adjourned hearing on four occasions, dismissed the plea of Rai for non-prosecution in 2015.

Ultimately, the wife of the jailed Army man moved the top court through senior lawyer Shekhar Naphade and advocate Amartya Kanjilal seeking enforcement of the fundamental right to life. The top court has issued notice to the Centre and others recently.

The Lance Naik was allegedly involved in the murder of two Army personnel on June 15, 1991 and was immediately taken into custody.

His wife alleged that during last 27 years of incarceration, Rai has not been released even once either on bail, parole or furlough.

The plea has sought quashing of the order of the sentence passed by the General Court Martial way back in 1991.

Alternatively, the plea has sought Rai’s release after awarding the jail term already undergone by him.

Accumulation of cases due to shortage of judges : Justice Sudhir Agarwal

A senior judge of the Allahabad High Court, Justice Sudhir Agarwal today said that shortage of judges is the reason behind accumulation of cases in high courts and district courts .

Out of the sanctioned strength of 160 judges in the Allahabad High Court only 106 judges were working, he said, adding that many of them would retire in coming months reducing the strength to below 100.

Justice Agarwal, who has been appointed by the Supreme Court as chairman of the arrears committee, told that the Allahabad High Court has over 9 lakh pending cases, whereas the district courts have over 63 lakh pending cases.

“Over three lakh cases are filed every year in the Allahabad High Court”, the judge said.

The apex court had constituted the arrear committee to work out ways to reduce the pendency and impart speedy justice to the suffering people.

“Other members of the committee include Justice RD Khare and Ramesh Sinha”, he added.

Allahabad High Court directs Varanasi DM to finalise land for animals colony.

The Allahabad High Court today asked a committee headed by Varanasi commissioner to submit a report by April 10 on a plea seeking setting up of an animals colony outside the city.

The court directed the district magistrate of Varanasi, vice-chairman of Varanasi Development Authority and officials of Avas Vikas Parishad and Nagar Nigam Varanasi to finalise the land for the animals colony.

The order was passed by a two judge-bench comprising Chief Justice D B Bhosale and Justice Suneet Kumar based on a writ petition filed by Jyoti Kesarwani and several others.

The state counsel informed the court that in many cities, land for animals colony has been marked, but the same could not be done in the temple city of Varanasi because of non-availability of land.

In the petition, it was alleged that in the absence of animals colony, the animals were moving freely on the roads leading to accidents.