High Court commutes rape-murder convict’s death penalty to 25 yrs in jail

Citing absence of criminal antecedents & also the possibility of reform, the High Court has commuted the death penalty awarded to a youth who had raped & murdered an eight-year-old girl in Aug 2012 to 25-year imprisonment.

Saleem, a tailor by profession & resident of Goripalya in Bengaluru, will have to serve the jail term without any remission & also pay a fine of ₹1 lakh.

He was also sentenced to 10-year imprisonment & levied a fine of ₹1 lakh fine to be paid to the girl’s mother & ₹10,000, which will vest with the state.

Quoting several Apex Court judgments, a division bench comprising of Justice Ravi Malimath & Justice HP Sandesh has said the imposition of life sentence is not adequate & a death penalty is too excessive as the case on hand doesn’t fall under “rarest of the rare “ category.

Saleem was 29 when he committed the offence. He had gone to his elder sister’s house at Janata Colony in Tavarekere on the outskirts of Bengaluru. He was staying alone in the house as his sister had gone to her parents’ home. The girl lived next door & was in class 3. Her mother worked in an incense stick manufacturing unit.

Around 7pm on Aug 15, 2012, Saleem asked the girl to buy beedis for him. At that time, her mother was busy preparing dinner. When the girl returned, Saleem closed the main door of the house & raped her. He smothered her to death when she tried to raise alarm.

Neighbours caught Saleem & thrashed him before handing him over to police. Acting on the girl’s complaint, Tavarekere police probe the matter & filed the charge sheet. On January 23, 2018, the third additional district & sessions court in Ramanagara convicted Saleem for offenses under IPC Section 302 (murder) & Section 376 (rape).

The next day, the court awarded him death penalty. It also sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment & a fine of ₹50,000 for rape.

In view of the death penalty, the matter was referred to the high court for confirmation as provided under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) section 366(1).

Saleem’s Counsel claimed the Trial Court failed to consider the contradictions in the statements of the girl’s mother & other prosecution witnesses & also there was a failure to explain the injuries sustained by him.

However, the state public prosecutor contended that the accused did not deny the allegations nor did he say the murder was committed by some other individual.
“The evidence of prosecution witnesses & the doctor’s evidence not only corroborates that the accused not only raped the girl, but also committed the murder in a cruel manner & he sustained the injuries while committing the crime,” argued the prosecutor.

The Judgement has been delivered by Justice Ravi Malimath & Justice HP Sandesh.

Why not make Transport Corporations private-public entities: High Court

Criticizing the transport corporations in the state for failing to serve the people & generate revenue for the government, the Madras high court has suo motu impleaded the transportsecretary & questioned whether the government can bring all transport corporations under the public-private partnership model to improve efficiency.

The Court asked the Govt. if it wants to denationalize the Public Transport Corporations. It also raised the issue of militant unionism & the need to appoint experts to enhance efficacy. The court raised the questions while hearing an appeal against a tribunal order awarding a compensation of ₹45 lakh to the family of a man killed in an accident involving an MTC bus. A division bench of Justice N Kirubakaran & Justice Krishnan Ramasamy enhanced the compensation to ₹1.06 crore after perusing the submissions.

Observing that transport corporations face similar problems as Govt. offices — corruption, inefficiency & political intervention — the court said reckless driving by some of the drivers of the corporations has led to loss of lives & payment of hefty compensation by the corporations.

After awarding the enhanced compensation in the present case, the Division Bench impleaded the transport secretary, director general of Police & the Chairman and managing directors of the Transport Corporations in the State. It also sought details on accidents involving state-owned transport corporation buses in the past 10 years.

The Court sought for details of lives lost & injured people, the number of claim petitions & amount awarded as compensation in the past 10 years by each transport corporation with annual breakup. It also wanted
details of departmental proceedings against drivers involved in accidents & the number of people convicted for the accidents in the past decade.
“Is it a fact that even in departmental proceedings initiated against workmen (drivers & conductors), in the inquiry proceedings, the management witnesses are turning hostile, thereby no action can be taken effectively against erring staff?” the said, & sought a response on the claims that trade union leaders are preventing officials from taking action against deviant staff.

The bench also sought for the percentage of absenteeism in each of the transport corporations for the past decade & whether accidents caused by the corporations’ buses are because of improper maintenance by successive governments. “Are substandard motor spare parts purchased for repairing buses resulting in mechanical failure?” the Court asked.

Justice N Kirubakaran & Justice Krishnan Ramasamy suggested the government appoint a committee of experts from various fields including management professionals & technocrats to find reasons for the losses & suggest remedial measures.

The transport secretary & others are to respond to the questions by Sep 5.

Chopper deal: Ratul Puri moves HC seeking anticipatory bail

Businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, on Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory bail in connection with a money laundering case related to the VVIP chopper scam.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar agreed to list the matter for hearing post lunch.

Puri is an accused in a money laundering case related to the now scrapped Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal.

Advocate Vijay Aggarwal mentioned before the bench the matter in which he has challenged the August 6 order of the trial court dismissing Puri’s anticipatory bail plea.

The trial court had on August 9 issued non-bailable warrant against Puri on the plea by the Enforcement Directorate.

The high court had dismissed his petition seeking a direction to the trial court not to pronounce order on his anticipatory bail plea without hearing his other pending applications.

Hours later, the trial court dismissed his anticipatory bail plea, noting that the probe was at a crucial stage.

According to Enforcement Directorate, Puri has not been joining investigation since he was granted interim protection by court on July 27 on his application for anticipatory bail, which was later dismissed on August 6.

The ED had said he did not join the probe on July 29, 30, 31 and further on August 6 and 7, nor was he accessible on phone or at his residence and that his whereabouts were not known.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the purchase of 12 VVIP choppers from Italy-based Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland. The deal was scrapped by the NDA government in 2014 over the alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of payment of kickbacks for securing the deal.

According to the ED, Puri’s role surfaced after deportation of another AgustaWestland case accused Rajeev Saxena on January 31 from the UAE and the arrest of Sushen Mohan Gupta, an alleged defence agent.

It said the investigation showed his foreign entities received proceeds of crime directly from Interstellar Technologies Limited, an accused company, and he had received funds from both the chains of money laundering involved in the matter.

It said the probe has further revealed that the applicant, using shell companies in the name of others, accumulated proceeds of crime which have been parked and later laundered to reach the desired beneficiaries including the applicant amongst other.

As per ED, the proceeds of crime have been deposited in the accounts of different companies owned by the accused and he is a key link to unearth the modus operandi adopted by other accused persons and to determine last mile connectivity of the proceeds of crime in the case.

The agency also claimed that Puri has also received proceeds of crime from channel of another alleged middleman Christian Michel James.

High Court sets aside arrest warrant against BJP’s Roy Mukul

The Calcutta High Court has set aside an arrest warrant against BJP leader Mukul Roy in connection with the alleged recovery of unaccounted cash from a person.

Justice Rajasekhar Mantha set aside the warrant issued by a city court on a plea by the Kolkata Police to question him in connection with the alleged recovery of ₹19 lakh from a person in Burrabazar area of the city last year.

The High Court directed that the original proceedings pertaining to the alleged recovery of the sum will continue before the city court. The Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Kolkata, had on July 29 issued the warrant against Roy on a prayer by the Burrabazar Police Station, alleging non-cooperation on his part in investigation into the case.

Appearing for Roy before the High Court, Senior Counsel Bikash Bhattacharya submitted that since the BJP leader has already been quizzed by police at his Delhi residence, there is no reason for the warrant to be in force.

Public prosecutor Saswata Mukherjee submitted before the Court that the purpose of the arrest warrant has been served since he has already been interrogated, but the main proceedings before the lower court with regard to the recovery of the sum should continue.

The Delhi High Court had on Aug 01 granted Roy protection from coercive action for 10 days, on a plea by the BJP leader challenging the notices issued to him by the Kolkata Police to appear before it for questioning in the case.

Delhi High Court while granting the relief to him, asked Roy to join the investigation into the case and be available for questioning. Roy was quizzed by officers of the Kolkata Police at his Delhi residence on Aug 02.

The case pertains to the recovery of ₹19 lakh from a person in Burrabazar area of Kolkata on July 31, 2018, leading to his arrest and a few others. Roy’s phone number allegedly featured in one of the arrested persons’ call list.

Supreme Court asks wife to approach HC to file plea against reduction of maintenance

The Supreme Court of India has instructed the petitioner-wife to approach the High Court for appropriate relief on reduction of maintenance due to change of circumstances in which it was earlier reduced.

The High Court has allowed the reduction in maintenance on the ground that the respondent-husband has been paying E.M.I. of Rs.42,000/- for the home loan which he has availed.

It pointed that in the said house for which home loan has been taken the petitionerwife and her daughter are residing.

Though Learned Council of the petitoner submitted that after the impugned order is passed, the respondent-husband has stopped paying E.M.I. for the home loan.

To this, the Apex Court said that the petitoner is open to approach the High Court for appropriate relief due to change of circumstances.

It further requested the High Court to consider and decide the same in accordance with law if the appeal is filed.

The order has been passed by JUSTICE R. BANUMATHI and JUSTICE A.S. BOPANNA on 03-07-2019.

Delhi Police didn’t appreciate seriousness of orders to install CCTV cameras: High Court

The Delhi High Court on Friday said the police did not appreciate the seriousness of its past orders to ensure better street lighting and CCTV cameras in West Delhi’s Aman Vihar area, despite hundreds of cases of missing children and adults being reported from there.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar also noted that according to Delhi Police, 587 cameras were to be installed at 118 vulnerable locations in the city but the same was not done.

“It is misfortune of people living in Aman Vihar that not a single CCTV camera has been installed there by the respondent (police). It appears the seriousness of court orders has not been appreciated by the respondent. Enough is enough. Unnecessarily you people are not doing anything,” the court said.

It directed the Delhi Police commissioner to install CCTV cameras in the Aman Vihar area as well as the other vulnerable locations in the city “as early as possible and practicable” and preferably within six months from the date of receipt of the order.

The court told the top cop that if more than 587 cameras were required then more should be installed.

Urdu & Persian Words in FIR: High Court directs Police not to use such “bombastic” language

HC Bench comprising of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar stated that,“Too much flowery language, the meaning of which is to be found out by a dictionary, should not be used. An FIR should be in the words of the complainant”.

Bench further added that,”Police is there for public at large and not just for persons with doctorate degree in Urdu or Persian. Simple language should be used, instead of high-sounding words. People have to know what is written. It is applicable to use of English also. Do not use bombastic language.”

HC Bench was hearing a petition filed by Advocate Vishalakshi Goel seeking directions to Delhi Police not to use Urdu and Persian words in FIRs.

Delhi Government Additional standing counsel Naushad Ahmed Khan, appearing on behalf of Police stated that the Urdu and Persian words used in FIRs can be understood by “making a little effort”. He added that words are used when transferring the FIR to the higher authorities.

High Court has directed Police Commissioner to file an affidavit explaining whether Urdu or Persian words are used by Agency or the Complainant.

Bench has listed the matter for further hearing on November 25.

High Court discharges Think Tank’s claim on ITO plot

Delhi High Court has allowed the recovery of a prime property at ITO that was alloted forty years ago to a Think Tank founded by late Prime Minister Chandrashekhar.

The 2,000 sq yards plot in Central Delhi was being run as a political party office, the land and development office (L&DO) had alleged, while cancelling the allotment.

The High Court upheld L&DO’s move to evict centre of applied politics from the plot at IP Estate.

The Court found that the plot had illegal constructions including temporary barrack-like structures.

Taking into account L&DO’s charge that unauthorised construction was raised on the land, which is being used for the work of a political party, it pointed,“Two photographs indicate that a photograph of a former Prime Minister has been prominently displayed on the land in question, indicating that the premises are connected with the political party to which he belonged [Samajwadi Janta Party(R)].”

While the society claimed it had never received the cancellation notice nor allowed a chance to explain before the land owning agency, the court noted that the organisation “has failed to comply with the conditions of the agreement for lease.”

The society claimed it was granted land in 1971 to undertake and promote studies (both theoretical as well as practical) in various fields, including political process/administration and diplomacy and the same was being done continuously.

But when the bench asked if the society has any faculty engaged in academic exercise or further research or if it has published any paper or book of academic significance, the think tank claimed that carrying on work of a political party is the practical side to the object of doing basic research and training in politics and political processes.

The Court thus dismissed the petition filed by the Society and discharged the Think Tank’s claim on ITO plot.

The judgement has been delivered by Judge VIBHU BAKHRU on 30-07-2019.

High Court reinstates Judge fired for passing wrong judicial orders after 10 years

The High Court of Karnataka has reinstated a Judge who was dismissed from service on allegations of wrong judicial orders.

“We have no hesitation that allegations made against the appellant could not have been subject matter of departmental inquiry,” the bench comprising of Justice L Narayana Swamy and Justice R Devdas said in their judgement on Aug 2.

Judge M Narasimha Prasad was kept under suspension in 2005 and later dismissed from service after a departmental enquiry. Complaints against the Judge was filed by two Advocates about procedural lapses and wrong conclusion and judgement.

The Judge had initiated action against the two Advocates earlier for Contempt of Court. One of them who is an assistant PP had apologized and the other lawyer was condemned by the Advocates Association. All this happened while he was playing his part as a Civil Judge (Junior Division) at Heggadadevanakote from a period of 2001 & 2003.

On the basis of complaints that alleged above, among other things, passing order of temporary injunction without compliance of Section 80 of CPC, issuing NBW to witnesses without any reason and properties released to accused in a forest offence without hearing the prosecution, a total of 11 charges were framed and 4 enquiries initiated against him.

He was found guilty in the enquiry so conducted and thereafter dismissed from service as action o him. The Governor confirmed for his dismissal. A single Judge bench of the High Court upheld the decision in 2012.

The Judgement of the Division Bench last week though put the blame on the Registrar.The Court also questioned the manner in which the inquiry was conducted. It said, “Different departmental inquiries are initiated and bout 15 charges are framed, different prosecution witnesses and number of documents and common inquiry officer to deal with and inquiry officer virtually prevented the appellant from effectively defending the case.”

The Bench also suggested that only people with administrative knowledge should be appointed as Registrars.

The High Court mentioned that the Judge was made to suffer without any mistake on his part.

The judgement has been passed by Justice L.Narayana Swamy and Justice R. Devdas on 22-08-2019.

High Court shifts conviction from ‘murder’ to ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ after finding no unusual behavior in attack

The High Court of Chattisgarh has shifted the conviction of the convict from Section 302 of the IPC to Section 304 Part­I of the IPC after finding that the accussed hasn’t shown any unusual behaviour in the claimed attack on the deceased which showed that he knew that the attcak may result in death but wasn’t intending to murder the deceased intentionally.

The Court also found lapse on behalf of the family of the deceased as they took the victim to Police Station first and not the hopital. The doctor said in his statement that the life of the deceased could have been saved if she was brought to hospital immediately after death.

The case goes around wherein the sister-in-law of the covnvict has been attacked by him on the day of her marriage. The reason as disclosed was that he had acquired some liking for her and was disturbed of the fact of her getting married. The incident had two eye witnesses which gave statements against the convict and confirmed the fact that he was the one who committed the crime.

The deceased died immediately after lodging FIR to which the Court examined whether the same is admissible in evidence as dying declaration. The Court took notice of cases such as Dharam Pal & Ors. Vs. State of UP {AIR 2008 SUPREME COURT 920}, wherein the Supreme Court has observed thus in Para­10:­

Similar observation has been made by Karnataka High Court in Ismail Vs. State of Karnataka {2000 CRI.L.J. 1994}.Learned Counsel for the appellant would submit that the act of the appellant would not amount to culpable homicide but it would amount to culpable homicide not amounting to murder and at best, the offence would fall under Section 304 Part­I of the IPC and not under Section 302 of the IPC.  He would refer  to  the  judgment  rendered  by  the  Supreme  Court in the matter of Lavghanbhai Devjibhai Vasava Vs. State of Gujarat {(2018) 4 SCC 329}.

The Court took notice of the fact that the appellant has inflicted one single blow over the neck of the deceased which means he has not acted in cruel or unusual manner in the sense that after giving one blow he did not repeat the blow. The Court was of the considered opinion that the appellant has committed offence with knowledge that it may cause death of the deceased but had no intention to commit murder.

Considering all this the Court stated that offence would fall under Section 304 Part­I of the IPC and not under Section 302 of the IPC.