The Delhi High Court upholds life term of two for murdering man

The Delhi High Court has upheld the life imprisonment of two persons for killing a man and throwing his body in a jungle, while setting aside the trial court’s verdict convicting and sentencing the victim’s wife.

The court said each chain of the circumstances points towards the involvement of convicts Sachin and Sunil but no substantial legal evidence has come on record against Prabha, the victim’s wife.

A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and I S Mehta upheld the decision of a trial court convicting and sentencing the two men for killing Rakesh.

“The facts are interdependent and leave no room except to show involvement of accused persons in the crime committed. Therefore, we find no merit in appeals of accused Sachin and Sunil, same are dismissed,” it said.

“Each chain of the circumstances pin points towards the involvement of appellants Sachin and Sunil,” the bench said.

Both the men, who were friends with the woman, were convicted for the offences of murder, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence.

The bench set aside the trial court’s verdict convicting and sentencing Prabha to life term and said that she be released from the jail forthwith, if not required in any other case.

The case came to the fore after Rakesh’s father lodged a missing persons complaint alleging that his son went to his in-laws’ house in south Delhi’s Jaitpur on May 7, 2011 to meet his wife, who was living separately due to their strained relation, but did not return the next day.

The police then traced Sachin and Sunil after going through call records of the woman, who was constantly in touch with the two men before the murder, which led to the recovery of Rakesh’s bones from a jungle two weeks later, the prosecution had said.

While convicting the three in July 2017, the trial court had noted that the cause of death could not be ascertained but circumstantial evidence established he was killed by the trio.

They were arrested on May 23, 2011 and several items were found during the investigation which proved their guilt, the court had said.

During the trial, they had claimed innocence and said they were falsely implicated.

HC directs JNU not to take coercive step against Umar Khalid till tomorrow

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today directed the Jawaharlal Nehru University not to take any coercive steps till tomorrow against its student Umar Khalid, who was rusticated and slapped with a fine of Rs 20,000 in connection with a 2016 incident of alleged anti-India slogans being raised at an event.

Justice Siddharth Mridul issued notice to JNU on a plea by Khalid challenging the penalty imposed on him by an appellate authority of the university on July 4 in connection with the incident.

The court said the matter be listed tomorrow along with another plea filed by JNU’s former students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, on whom Rs 10,000 fine has been imposed by the appellate authority.

During the hearing, Khalid’s counsel said the urgency was that two weeks time was given by the authorities to pay the fine amount.

JNU’s counsel said Khalid has been rusticated for one semester starting from July 23.
The court said there cannot be any urgency as far as depositing of fine was concerned and added, “in the meantime, JNU shall not take any coercive steps against the petitioner (Khalid)”.

The court had yesterday directed the varsity not to take any coercive step against Kumar, who has also challenged the penalty.

Both of them have sought direction to quash the office order of July 4 passed by the JNU through the chief proctor.

Kumar has alleged in the plea that there were serious lapses towards observing the principles of natural justice and violation of the high court’s earlier order.
On February 9, 2016, a poetry event was held at JNU in connection with the third anniversary of Afzal Guru’s hanging for his role in the attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001.
A high-level panel of JNU had in 2016 recommended a fine of Rs 10,000 on Kumar. It also suggested that Khalid be rusticated in connection with the incident. Besides, financial penalty was imposed on 13 other students for violation of disciplinary norms.
The students had then moved the high court, which had on October 12 last year directed the university to place the matter before an appellate authority to review the panel’s decision.
On July 5, the university stated that the appellate authority had upheld the decision against Khalid and Kumar, and in some cases, the penalty had been reduced.
Kumar, Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, arrested on charges of sedition in connection with the 2016 controversial event, are out on bail.

Omar Abdullah seeks divorce from Payal Abdullah to re-marry: Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court today sought the response of Payal Abdullah, the estranged wife of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, on his plea seeking divorce on the ground that their marriage has broken down irretrievably and he wants to get re-married.

A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Deepa Sharma issued notice to Payal asking her to file a reply before the next date of hearing on April 23.

The court also sought her stand on an application moved by Omar seeking early hearing in the matter.

Advocate Malavika Rajkotia, appearing for Omar, claimed that the court had on an earlier date asked if the parties wanted to get married again. She replied in affirmative about Omar’s intent, saying “I do”.

The application by Omar seeking grant of divorce has been moved in his petition challenging a trial court decision of August 30, 2016 dismissing his plea for divorce. He has contended that their marriage has “irretrievably broken down”.

The trial court had held that he had failed to prove irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

It had also said that Omar could not prove his claims of “cruelty” or “desertion” which were the grounds alleged by him for grant of decree of divorce.

In his appeal against the trial court order, Omar had claimed that his marriage had broken down irretrievably and he has not enjoyed conjugal relationship since 2007 and the couple, married on September 1, 1994, were living separately since 2009. The couple have two sons who are staying with their mother.

Terrorising teachers unthinkable: HC on threats to DU professor

 “Terrorising” teachers is an “unthinkable” and “shocking” act, the Delhi High Court said after it was told that a DU law student had threatened a lady professor who had caught him cheating during exams.

Anguished by the incident, a bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Najmi Waziri said it was an “anathema” to call such institutions schools or refer to such persons as students.

“Terrorising teachers is unthinkable. Shocking. It is an anathema to call them schools or such students as students,” the bench said.

It made the strong remarks after it was told that former DUSU President Satender Awana, pursuing LLB from the Faculty of Law in Delhi University had threatened a lady professor who had allegedly caught him cheating during the semester exams in May-June this year.

He had also allegedly tried to intimidate the members of the unfair means committee of the varsity which was looking into the alleged incident.

The court pulled up the university for not taking action against the student with regard to the incident.

The incident was brought to the court’s attention by senior advocate N Hariharan, appointed by the bench as an amicus curiae in a matter concerning the standards of legal education in India.

The amicus was asked by the court to file a plea seeking contempt action against the student. The main petition by S N Singh, an advocate and a former DU law professor, was listed for further hearing on October 26.

During the hearing, Rahul Mehra, the standing counsel for Delhi Police, also told the court that the agency had received a communication from the lady professor regarding the alleged threat by the student.

The bench directed the police to ensure protection to the professor and told it not to “plead helplessness”.

The court has already ordered protection for the law faculty’s dean, Ved Kumari, in another matter pertaining to threats to her by some students, allegedly including Awana, in connection with attendance shortage for giving the LLB semester exams.

Senseless violence over trivial issues has become endemic: HC

jat quataSenseless violence over trivial issues has become “endemic”, the Delhi High Court has said as it expressed concern at the prospect of such tendencies “spilling” over to affect the general “populace” leading to “chaos and a state of anarchy”.

Justice Siddharth Mridul made the observation in his order for quashing of an FIR lodged for voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons against the students of an institute here, who entered into an altercation with another group during elections in an engineering college last October.

“Senseless violence over trivial or no issue at all has become endemic in Delhi. One can only shudder at the prospect of these violent tendencies spilling over to affect the general populace and leading to chaos and a state of anarchy,” the court observed.

It, however, ordered the setting aside of the proceedings against all the students, subject to each of them performing “Kar Sewa at Gurudwara” here “once a week on every Saturday for three hours” during evening “for a period of four weeks”.

“Head of the management of the said Gurudwara is requested to utilise the service of the petitioners in any manner he considers appropriate and furnish a certificate qua their conduct at the expiry of the four weeks,” the judge added.

‘Kar Sewa’ refers to selfless service, performed without any thought of reward or personal benefit.

The court’s order came on a plea by students of Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology here, who were named in the FIR lodged by a student of the same college, seeking quashing of the case on the ground that they have resolved the issue among themselves without any undue influence.

Advocate Amit Sahni, appearing for the accused, urged the court to quash the FIR, contending they all are “students and the subject FIR may blight their career prospects”.

On which the court observed that the students were present in court and they have expressed remorse over the incident and undertaken to maintain good behaviour henceforth.

In the back drop of an election to the student body of the institute and during the run-up to a cultural festival in the institution, an altercation took place on October 14, 2015 between the complainant of the FIR and the petitioners.

It was alleged that surgical blades were used by parties to attack each other.

On this the court remarked “the incident is evocative of the idiom that ‘politics is war by other means’ as well as the saying that ‘all is fair in love and war’.

Nitish Katara’s mother apprehends of being eliminated

nitish kataraNeelam Katara has told the Delhi High Court that she may be “eliminated” if Vikas Yadav, convicted of murdering her son Nitish, is released on parole.

She also opposed the plea of Vikas, serving 30-year jail term without remission for the killing, saying the convict may abscond to another country.

The victim’s mother has made the submissions in an affidavit before Justice Siddharth Mridul while opposing Vikas’ plea for two weeks’ parole to sell his ancestral property in Uttar Pradesh.

Neelam said that being the complainant in the case she has a “grave fear that now that the Supreme Court has decided the Special Leave Petition on the matter of conviction and upheld the verdict of the high court that Vikas Yadav is found guilty of the murder of Nitish Katara.

“If the petitioner (Vikas) comes out on bail then he may eliminate her/other important witnesses.”

The court fixed the matter for March 9 for filing of reply of Vikas on Neelam’s submissions.

Neelam was responding to court’s notice issued on January 27 seeking her reply on Vikas’s plea for parole.

The high court on March 27 last year granted seven-day custody parole to Vikas to visit his 93-year-old grandfather who underwent an angioplasty.

The high court had on February 6, 2015 enhanced the sentence of Vikas and his cousin Vishal from life imprisonment to 25 years without remission for murdering Nitish and five more years for destruction of evidence in the case.

Yadavs’ acquaintance Sukhdev Yadav alias Pehelwan was also awarded an enhanced life sentence of 20 years without remission by the high court.

The three were awarded life term by a trial court for abducting and killing Nitish, a business executive and son of an IAS officer, on the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002. They did not approve of the victim’s affair with Bharti, daughter of D P Yadav.

The high court had on April 2, 2014 upheld the verdict of the lower court, describing the offence as “honour killing” stemming from a “deeply-entrenched belief” in caste system.

In August last year, the Supreme Court had upheld the conviction of Vikas and others in the case.

Judge frowns at govt, police counsel slugfest in court

Judge frowns at govt, police counsel slugfest in court
Judge frowns at govt, police counsel slugfest in court

Disapproving the slugfest between two counsel representing Delhi police, one appointed by the city government and the other by the probe agency, a Delhi High Court judge told them that politics has no place in his court.

Justice Siddharth Mridul quoted a Ghalib couplet which meant — ‘the world is a children’s playground before me, night and day this theatre is enacted before me’ — and said, “show a little bit maturity…Rather than utilising judicial proceedings to cross swords”.

“Politics has no place in my court. Don’t indulge in a slugfest in my court,” the court said during hearing of a petition which has raised the question whether Delhi police and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) can refuse to concur with NHRC’s request for CBI probe into encounter killings or custodial deaths.

The court’s observation came after the additional standing counsel (criminal) of Delhi government strongly objected to the Delhi police lawyer interrupting her while she was making her submissions before the court.

Both the lawyers said they were briefed by the police and began arguing over who would answer the court’s query regarding the progress in the instant case.

The petition has sought implementation of a 2006 recommendation by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) which had wanted a CBI enquiry to be carried out into an alleged encounter of five men in May that year.

The NHRC had also recommended payment of Rs five lakh each to the kin of the five persons, saying there was “grievous violation” of their human rights, the petition filed through advocate Saurabh Prakash has said.

The petition has also said that till date no payment has been made.

Justice Mridul today told Delhi police that in such situations it should suo motu make the payment instead of the court directing the same and told the agency to bring the compensation amount on the next date of hearing.

The court also issued notice to Delhi government and sought its reply after making it a party in the matter on the oral request of the petitioner.

It said the presence of Delhi government was necessary to adjudicate on the issue of whether CBI probe was required in the matter and sought a detailed reply from the police also before the next date of hearing on December 2.

( Source – PTI )

Tandoor murder case: Sharma’s parole extended

Tandoor murder case: Sharma's parole extended
Tandoor murder case: Sharma’s parole extended

Former Congress leader Sushil Kumar Sharma, serving life imprisonment for the gruesome murder of his wife Naina Sahni and trying to destroy evidence by burning the body in a restaurant’s tandoor, today got a breather for four more weeks, with Delhi High Court extending his parole.

Justice Siddharth Mridul, while granting relief said since Mr Sharma’s parole has been extended on various occasions on the ground of his mother’s ailment, this was the “final” opportunity. He was asked to surrender before jail authorities on expiry of his parole without “demur”.

“In view of the fact that the petitioner has remained in jail for over 20 years and is the only son of his 81-year-old father and 78-year-old mother, he has an obligation to provide medication to his ailing mother. I see no impediment in granting him one final parole.

“The parole granted to the petitioner is resultantly extended for further four weeks from July 27 onwards on the same terms and conditions (issued on May 7 while granting him parole),” the court said, adding that “the petitioner also undertakes to surrender before the jail authorities on expiry of his parole without demur”.

Mr Sharma, who was present in the court, had sought extension of parole by another six weeks on the ground that he needed to take care of his mother, who was suffering from coronary artery disease and advised to undergo coronary angioplasty with stenting.

He moved the court as the parole granted on May 7, later extended on June 8, June 21 and July 13, was scheduled to expire on July 27.

The court, however, took strong objection to his repeated requests for extension of parole saying, “There is a limit to what can be tolerated by the court”.

Attacks on religious places shakes human conscience : Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Friday said that attacks on religious places shakes human conscience of all and such practices should be stopped.”This is something which shakes the human conscience and agitate all of us. There should not be any attack of any kind on any religious places,” Justice Siddharth Mridul said.

The court’s oral observation was made during hearing of a plea seeking protection of religious rights of Christians and a “court-monitored SIT probe” into the recent attacks on the churches in the national capital.

The court, however, turned down the petitioner Reegan S Bell’s request for SIT probe, saying the same cannot be ordered by this bench and has to be referred to another bench which adjudicates on public interest litigation.

“The reliefs sought in this petition are not personal to him. This has to be heard by the division bench. I wish I could have appointed the SIT but I cannot do that. “List this matter for direction before the division bench headed by the Chief Justice. Chief Justice (G Rohini) should look into the matter and issue some direction,” the court said, adding that it is an “important matter”.

The matter has been fixed before the division bench on April 29. The petitioner, an advocate who is a Christian, prayed that the SIT should comprise members of the minority community or the National Minority Commission.

He has also sought a status report from the Centre, Delhi government and city police on the action taken by them regarding the attacks and efforts made by them to secure these places against such incidents in future.

The central government’s standing counsel Anil Soni, appearing for the Home Ministry, opposed the plea, saying the petitioner’s plea was a “communal petition”.

Police wrong to bar apparel maker from tender for uniforms: HC

police dressThe Delhi High Court today told the city police that “the substratum” of its decision to debar an apparel making firm from the tender for supply of trousers, shirts and T-shirts for its personnel “is wrong”.

Delhi police had issued a show cause notice to Fashion Fusion as well as debarred it from the tender process after Mafatlal Industries Ltd said in a representation that it gave no letter certifying that the apparel making firm had material to supply the uniforms.

A letter or certificate from a mill owner was a mandatory requirement for being considered in the tender process.

Mafatlal, which has also participated in the tender, had also alleged that Fashion Fusion committed fraud as the letter was not signed by the authorised signatory.

A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul, however, disagreed with the stand of the Delhi police as well as Mafatlal saying “neither the signature nor the letter are fake”.

“The very substratum of your decision to debar them is wrong. If Mafatlal was not a bidder then we can understand.

But when it is a bidder, then there is self-interest,” the bench said.

The court was also of the view that the “sanctity of the tender has been vitiated” and the Delhi police should scrap it.

The police, however, did not wish to scrap the tender as it urgently needed fresh uniforms, especially in view of the upcoming visit of US President Barack Obama in January 2015.

The court, thereafter, suggested that Fashion Fusion be allowed to submit a certificate from another mill owner.

The counsel for Delhi police sought time for instructions on whether the high court’s suggestion can be implemented and Fashion Fusion can be allowed to participate in the tender.

In view of the submission made by the counsel, the court listed the matter for further hearing on December 15.

Meanwhile, Mafatlal informed the court that Fashion Fusion never informed for which tender it was seeking the certificate.

The court was hearing a plea by Fashion Fusion which has contended that it had been providing the shirts and trousers to Delhi Police in the past but in this year’s tender there was the additional requirement of getting a certificate from a mill owner that the company has requisite material.

The mill owner, Mafatlal Industries, had issued the certificate. However, as it too was a competitor in the tender process, it had said that the certificate was forged and fake, Fashion Fusion has said in its plea.

Based on Mafatlal’s representation, the city police had barred the company from participating in the tender process.

According to the norms, all policemen from the rank of constables to inspectors, including the station house officers, are entitled to a new pair of shoes and clothes every two years.