Supreme Court Grants Bail to 4 Convicts in 2002 Naroda Patiya Riots Case.

The Supreme Court granted bail to four convicts on the chief grounds that the High Court verdict of conviction was “debatable” and that they should be released on bail since their appeal would take much time for disposal.

The Supreme Court has ordered the release of four convicts on bail in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riots case.

At least 97 Muslims were killed in Ahmedabad’s Naroda Patiya area on February 28, 2002, when a mob of thousands descended upon the locality, and murdered them. The incident was one of the worst cases of mob violence during the Gujarat riots.

In the Naroda Patiya case, the Gujarat High Court had last year convicted Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, but acquitted former BJP minister Maya Kodnani for want of evidence.

On Tuesday, a Supreme Court bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar granted bail to four convicts on the chief grounds that the High Court verdict of conviction was “debatable” and that they should be released on bail since their appeal would take much time for disposal. In three bail orders, the Supreme Court has expressed serious doubts over the conviction.

All these accused were held guilty under Section 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house) of the Indian Penal Code, along with other provisions relating to unlawful assembly.

The bench released Umeshbhai Surabhai Bharwad, Rajkumar, Padmendrasinh Jaswantsinh Rajput and Harshad alias Mungda Jila Govind Chhara Parmar on bail after imposing ordinary conditions to be laid out by the trial court.

The Supreme Court, while deciding the bail plea, also noted that the Gujarat HC had primarily relied upon identification of these convicts by police officials but in some cases, no identification parade was conducted and the appeals raised doubt over their identification in a group of around 15,000 persons.

“Prima facie, we find that the approach of the High court is debatable,” said the bench, while granting bail to Bharwad. It also noted that Bharwad was undergoing treatment for HIV and that he had been on bail during the trial of the case.

Taking up the bail plea by Rajkumar, the apex court noted that the HC convicted him while observing that even in absence of any specific role attributed to the applicant his presence being established, the charge of being a member of the unlawful assembly must hold good.

“Prima facie, we find this approach to be doubtful, especially when the witnesses relied upon by the prosecution are police officials and no identification parade of this applicant was conducted during the investigation by the Police,” noted the bench, granting bail to Rajkumar.

The court further noted that Harshad alias Mungda Jila was sentenced to 10 years in jail. “He has already undergone more than five years of actual imprisonment coupled with the fact that the hearing of the appeal is not likely to take place in the immediate near future. Accordingly, applicant is ordered to be released on bail to the satisfaction of the trial court,” directed the bench.

It also released another convict, Prakashbhai Sureshbhai Rathod, on interim bail between January 28 and February 15 to attend his daughter’s wedding.

Sabarimala Case: SC Agrees to Hear Review Petitions on Jan 22

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear in open court review petitions challenging its verdict allowing entry of women of all ages into Sabarimala temple. Hearing a bunch of petitions seeking a review of the court’s verdict, the Supreme Court said it will now hear the matter on January 22 in an open court.

The date of hearing will be after the two-month prime pilgrim season for which the temple reopens on November 17. The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice RF Nariman, Justice AM Khanwilkar, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Indu Malhotra will hear the 49 petitions on January 22.

The Sabarimala temple will reopen for devotees from November 16. Earlier in the day, the apex court had said it will begin hearing writ petitions only after orders on the review pleas. The Sabarimala temple has been in the centre of a controversy ever since the Supreme Court allowed women of all ages to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala.

Arrest of activists: Democratic institutions should be robust enough to accommodate opposition says, SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme court was hearing submissions in connection with the arrest of five activists in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case when the bench emphasised upon a need to have a distinction between dissenting views and subverting law and order.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y.Chandrachud said: “our institutions should be robust enough to accommodate opposition either to the system or even to the this court. We will look at this case with a hawk’s eye.”

The bench also extended till Thursday the house arrest of five activists and lawyers even as the Maharashtra police defended the arrests.

Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha were arrested by Pune police on August 28 in connection with a meeting on the eve of the January 1 violence at Bhima Koregaon.

Taking Note of ‘Misuse’ of Section 498A, SC restores police power to act in Dowry Cases

NEW DELHI: Advocating for balancing interests of both the sides in dowry harassment cases, Supreme Court restored the powers of the police to act on complaints of dowry harassment under Section 498A OF IPC.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra restored the power of the police to decide whether or not to make arrest under Section 498A after it modified an earlier order of the apex court. Striking down its July 27, 2017 order, the apex court said: “We think it appropriate to direct the investigating officer to be careful in dealing with the complaints of dowry harassment.

The bench also compromises justice AM Khanwilkar and justice DY Chandrachud. The court has now scrapped the no arrest rule and removed the “buffer” preventing the arrest of the husband and family members. It also said that anticipatory bail provision shall remain intact for the husband and his family members.

The directions to settle a case after it is registered is not a correct expression of law,” the SC has now said. The court also directed the Director General of Police in the states to ensure that investigating officers who are in charge of investigation of cases of offences under Section 498-A IPC should be imparted rigorous training with regard to the principles stated by this Court relating to arrest.

The court also took note of the rising instances of misuse of the strict anti-dowry provisions, which allow for immediate arrest and long legal process to get bail, as the process has to be governed by statutory provisions.

Supreme Court to hear next week plea for CBI probe into Unnao gangrape

The Supreme Court will hear next week here a plea for a CBI probe into the Unnao gangrape case allegedly involving a BJP lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said it would hear the plea which had also alleged that the rape victim’s father was tortured and killed in the police custody at the behest of the “ruling party” in the state.

The petition, filed by advocate Manohar Lal Sharma, sought the court’s direction to the CBI to probe the alleged kidnapping and rape of a minor girl in July last year “by the BJP MLA and his companion and custodial death of her father via torture” on April 9.

Alleging that the complaint had not mentioned the name of the legislator “under political pressure” and that the state police would not carry out a “fair investigation under compulsion”, it said the matter should be handed over to the CBI for an independent investigation.

Referring to the victim’s statement, the petition also alleged that sitting BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar from Bangarmau constituency in Unnao district was the main accused in cases of the girl’s rape in July last year and custodial death of her father after her protest against the legislator.

The public interest petition also sought protection and compensation to the victim’s kin, as was provided in the Nirbhaya gangrape case

Maha not implementing GR to appoint police complaints body

Maharashtra Home Secretary has been asked by the Bombay High Court to file an affidavit within three weeks on a petition alleging that a Government Resolution for constituting a Police Complaints Authority to look into police lapses has not been implemented.

A bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar asked the Maharashtra Home Secretary on January 23 to file an affidavit in reply to the petition within three weeks.

On September 22, 2006, the Supreme Court had issued directions under Article 32 read with Article 142 of the Constitution for setting up a State Police Complaint Authority and District Police Complaint Authority.

Following this, the state issued a GR to appoint the Police Complaint Authority. However, four years have passed and the GR is not implemented as such a body is not functional, According to the petition.

This showed that the state was not complying with the law laid down by the apex court and the GR was merely an eye wash, the petition contended.

The petitioner, Makarand Mahadik, a city resident, alleged that he had been experiencing non-cooperative and hostile attitude of policemen when it comes to taking cognisance of complaints against influential persons and politicians.

Hence, the appointment of an authority to hear complaints against policemen and politicians was necessary in keeping with the apex court guidelines, he said.

The state government was duty-bound to constitute a Police Complaint Authority, fill up vacancies and provide all infrastructure and facilities for the same, the petition argued.

Non-constituting the Police Complaints Authority was depriving citizens of a vital remedy and increasing social unrest and also putting burden on the courts by encouraging litigations, the petition submitted.