Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Anup Jairam Bhambhani, J., while addressing a bail application of a person alleged to have been involved in burning the shop during the Delhi Riots, stated that:

“..ordinarily this court would not have entered upon any discussion on the evidence at the stage of considering bail, however here is a case where a purported unlawful assembly of some 250-300 persons is alleged to have committed offences; of which the police have picked-up only two.”

What transpired the bail application?

Present bail application has been filed by a person who has been taken into custody under Sections 147, 148, 149, 427 and 436 of Penal Code, 1860, though he sought bail on the grounds that neither has he been named in the FIR nor is there any allegation in the FIR nor any other material collected during investigation which would have identified him as one of the perpetrators in the offences alleged.

Supplementary Statement of Complainant

The first statement of the complainant has not been filed on record. Though APP submitted that the same has been extracted in-extenso in the FIR itself.

Senior Counsel, Rebecca John — for the applicant

Submissions:

  • Complainant’s supplementary statement on which the State sought to rely did not in any manner identify or connect the applicant to the alleged offences.
  • No test identification parade was conducted of the applicant to get the complainant to identify him
  • Applicant is a resides 15-minutes away from the complainant’s shop; and therefore the applicant’s presence in the vicinity of the shop cannot be assumed, unless there is evidence to that effect, which there isn’t.

Another point that is to be taken note of is that the co-accused with the applicant has already been admitted to bail by Additional Sessions Judge.

APP, Hirein Sharma for the State — Opposing Bail

While opposing the bail he submitted that applicant had been identified by complainant; Constable Vikas and the CCTV footage of Rajdhani School also identifies the applicant — these hold a sufficient basis to hold him in judicial custody. Overall there were around 250 to 300 rioters in the area at the relevant time.

Complainant’s supplementary statement

Complainant only submitted that in the video and photos shown to him in the police officer’s cellphone, he had identified 2 persons who set fire to his shop and, if confronted, he will be able to identify other persons who were present.

According to the State’s status report dated 23rd may, 2020, no footage of the incident is available and the cameras installed by PWD in various parts of the area are still awaited.

Ct. Vikas in his statement submitted two names including the applicant’s name.

It is extremely important to note however, that in the complainant’s statement upon which the FIR was recorded, the complainant says that when the rioters vandalised his shop, he tele- phoned the police but the police telephones were going busy ; and that therefore he ran away to save his life. In the teeth of this statement of the complainant that there was no police help on hand, Ct. Vikas claims that he was present at the scene of the offence and in- ter-alia saw the applicant commit the offences.

Now another point with regard to CCTV footage that is to be noted is that the Rajdhani School and applicant’s shop are at a 400 meters distance with a 5 minute walk but on 2 different sides of a turn in the road. Therefore, it appears incredible that camera/s installed in the school would be able to ‘see’ the complainant’s shop.

Additional Status report of the State says that:

“…. Granting of bail at this early stage may send an ad- verse message in the society and such crimes should not be allowed to happen in the national capital. ….”.

(Emphasis supplied)

Decision of the Bench

“Prison is primarily for punishing convicts; not fo detaining undertrials in order to send any ‘message’ to society.”

Further the Court observed that remit of the Court is to dispense justice in accordance with law, not to send messages to society.

It is this sentiment, whereby the State demands that undertrials be kept in prison inordinately without any purpose, that leads to overcrowding of jails ; and leaves undertrials with the inevitable impression that they are being punished even before trial and therefore being treated unfairly by the system.

In regard to the present matter, Court cannot but notice that the offences under Sections 147/148/149 IPC arise in the context of an ‘unlawful assembly’, which Section 141 IPC defines as an assembly of 5 or more persons acting with unlawful purposes as defined in that provision ; while in the present case only 2 persons appear to have been charged.

On perusal of the above, Court admits the applicant to regular bail on following conditions:

  • Rs 50,000 Personal Bond; 2 sureties of the like amount from blood-relatives
  • Cannot leave NCR without Court’s permission
  • Shall present himself on every alternate Wednesday between 11 am and 11.30 am before the investigation officer.
  • Passport to be surrendered
  • applicant shall not contact nor visit nor threaten nor offer any inducement to the first informant/complainant or any of the prosecution witnesses. The applicant shall not tamper with evidence.

Court added to its observation that,

In this peculiar circumstance, this court was compelled to sift the evidence only prima-facie and limited to cursorily assessing how the police have identified the applicant from that large assembly of persons.

In view of the above discussion, bail application is allowed. [Firoz Khan v. State (NCT of Delhi), Bail Application No. 945 of 2020, decided on 29-05-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Functioning of the High Court of Delhi and its Subordinate Courts shall remain suspended till 14-06-2020.

It has further been ordered that as per earlier directions, all the Benches of the High Court shall take up urgent matters through videoconferencing as per Roster notified on 20.05.2020 and the notes contained therein.

Matters listed in the subordinate courts from 01.06.2020 to 12.06.2’020 be adjourned en bloc and information in this regard be uploaded on District Court website.

To read the detailed notice’s, please follow the link below:

Public Notice 1

Public Notice 2


Delhi High Court

Notice dt. 29-05-2020

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

In order to further contain the spread of COVID-19, Delhi High Court notified that till further orders, while appearing before this High Court or its Subordinate Courts, through videoconferencing or otherwise, the Advocates are exempted from wearing gowns, coats, Sherwanis, Achkans, Chapkans and Jackets.

However, they shall be dressed in a sober and dignified manner and expected to adhere to the rest of the Dress Code, as prescribed in Part VI, Chapter IV of the Bar Council of India Rules (Rules framed under Section 49(1) (gg) of the Advocates Act, 1961).

The above directions shall come into force with immediate effect.


Delhi High Court

[Circular dt. 25-05-2020]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal has tendered her resignation from the office of Judge, Delhi High Court, in pursuance of proviso (a) to clause (1) of Article 217 of the Constitution, with effect from 30th May, 2020.

Heres’ the Notification: NOTIFICATION


Ministry of Law and Justice

Notification dt. 21-05-2020

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Aarogya Setu, a mobile application, has been developed by the Government of India to connect the people of India with essential health services to collectively fight against pandemic (Covid-19) outbreak.

The mobile application is aimed at augmenting the initiatives of the Government of India, particularly the Department of Health, in proactively reaching out to and informing the users of the application regarding risks, best practices and relevant advisories pertaining to the containment of COVID-19. It also helps significantly in contact-tracing and curbing the spread of Covid-19.

Considering the benefits and advantage of Aarogya Setu mobile application, all the officers/officials of this Court are requested to download, install and use the same.


Delhi High Court

[Office Order dt. 13-04-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Pursuant to Order No.40-3/2020-DM-1(A) dated 14.04.2020 issued by the Government of India regarding continuance of lockdown upto 03.05.2020 and in continuation of this Court’s Office orders No.373/Estt./E1/DHC dated 23.03.2020 and No.194/RG/DHC/2020 dated 25.03.2020, Hon’ble the Administrative and General Supervision Committee of this Court has been pleased to order that the functioning of the High Court of Delhi shall continue to remain suspended till 03.05.2020 on same terms.

The arrangements qua mentioning and hearing of urgent matters by this Court through videoconferencing shall continue as before. However, the number of Benches, hearing matters through videoconferencing, would be increased further.

To read the detailed Orders , follow the link below:


Delhi High Court

[Office Order dt. 15-04-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

In a unanimous decision by a Full Bench presided over by the Chief Justice, the Delhi High Court had resolved that the High Court as well as all the subordinate courts will remain open in the month of June 2020.

The decision to suspend the summer break was taken in light of the inconvenience caused to the litigants due to the restrictive functioning of the Court amid COVID-19 lockdown. The Court has been hearing only hearing urgent matters amid outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.  To make up for the loss of court working hours due to COVID-19 lockdown, the Full Court passed the resolution, the relevant portion of which reads:

“Since during the period of suspension of work, the hearing is limited to the matters of extremely urgent nature or urgent nature, there is negligible fresh filing of cases, lesser disposal and corresponding escalation in arrears, resulting in extreme hardship to litigants.

In view of the severe hardship faced by the litigants due to the prevailing pandemic of COVID-19 that has impaired the functioning of the courts, it has been unanimously resolved by the Full Court that to make up for the loss of court working hours and to ensure restoration of normalcy in the functioning of the courts at the earliest, in modification of the resolution of the Full Court dated 16.09.2019, declaring the period of the Summer vacations for this Court and the Courts subordinate thereto in the month of June 2020, this Court and courts subordinate thereto shall continue functioning during the entire month of June i.e. from 01.06.2020 to 30.06.2020. It is hoped and expected that members of the Bar shall extend their full cooperation in making the functioning of the courts meaningful and purposeful during the month of June 2020.”    

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

In continuation of the directions issued vide Office Order No. 157/ RG/DHC/2020 dated 23.03.2020, this Court shall continue hearing extremely urgent matters through videoconferencing, till further orders.

Besides continuing with the steps listed in the said office order, it is further clarified as follows:

1) Mentioning of urgent matters shall continue before the designated Registrars/Joint Registrars, as before.

2) Mentioning is permitted only by the “Counsel on record “.

3) The timings fixed for said purpose may be adhered to.

4) Wherever any request for urgent mentioning is declined by the designated Registrar/Joint Registrar, the concerned “Counsel on record ” shall have an option to re-submit the same for consideration by this Court through a clickable link http://164.100.68.118:8080/DHC_FILING/

5) The aforesaid link shall be available on all working days from 12 Noon to 2.00 pm.

6) Urgency must be explained by uploading a pdf file comprising of one page (not more than 5 MB in size).

7) All the mandatory fields mentioned in said link must be filled up, failing which, the said request will not be processed.

8) If on reconsideration, the matter is found to be of an extremely urgent nature, the concerned Registrar shall immediately inform all concerned about the date and time of listing.

9) Only soft copies of the documents shall be entertained & they may be forwarded to the designated email.

10) In view of the prevailing circumstances, an application shall be submitted with a prayer for exemption from filing duly affirmed affidavit(s) along with an undertaking to pay the court fees/deficit court fees which shall be deposited within 72 hours from the date of resumption of the regular functioning of this Court.

11) Hearing in all such matters shall be conducted through videoconferencing which can be joined by the concerned counsel from their respective residences/offices, as is already being done.


Delhi High Court

[Notice dt. 04-04-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Having considered the steps already taken by this Court to combat the impending threat of coronavirus (2019-nCOV) and considering the prevalent situation, particularly in view of the lockdown declared by the Government in the National Capital Territory of Delhi upto 31.03.2020 and in view of request of Bar Associations for complete closure of the Courts, in supersession of earlier notifications in this regard, the Administrative and General Supervision Committee of this Court has resolved as under:­

i. The functioning of this Court  as well the Courts subordinate thereto is hereby. suspended till 04.04.2020.

ii. In case of any fresh matter of extreme urgency, the Registrar/Joint Registrar (Filing) and Registrar/Joint Registrar (Original) of this Court be contacted telephonically. Hearing of such matter would be through video conference.

iii. As regards the Courts subordinate to the High Court,  the following directions are issued, which shall come into effect immediately:

(a) The respective District and Sessions Judges shall prepare a roster of Judicial Officers for dealing with remand related to fresh arrests. For fresh matters of extreme urgency, one Administrative Officer (Judicial) be nominated in each District who can be contacted telephonically by the Advocate/party. Necessary directions be issued and uploaded on the website by the concerned District & Sessions Judges.

(b) The matters which are already fixed upto 04.04.2020, be adjourned en-bloc to subsequent dates and the information in this regard be uploaded on the website of the District and entered into CIS so that auto generated messages are received by a” concerned.

(c) The concerned District and Sessions Judges shall ensure that in view’ of the above directions, only those staff officials, who are residing in Delhi and are using own conveyance, are called for handling indispensable services, as aforesaid. However, as already directed, all those staff officials, who are not required to report for duty on any given day, would not leave the station under any circumstance. They would always be available on call and would be deemed to be on duty. In case of any urgency, District and Sessions Judge may call upon them to report back for duty immediately. Record with respect to roster of all such court staff officials shall be maintained by each district.

(d) Delhi Judicial Academy shall suspend all its training programmes and court attachments till 04.04.2020.

iv. ‘Lockdown/suspension of work’ of Courts shall be treated as “closure” within the meaning of the Explanation appended to Section 4 of the Limitation Act, 1963 and other enabling provisions of the Act and other Statutes, as may be applicable to court proceedings. Thus, limitation for any court proceeding shall not run w.eJ. 23.03.2020 till 04.04.2020 subject to further orders.

v. All Court rooms and other parts of the court complex (including lawyers chambers) of the High Court and Courts subordinate thereto would remain closed except those which are required to be opened in connection with the directions as given hereinabove.


Delhi High Court

[Office Order dt. 23-03-2020]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Justice D.N. Patel is a senior puisne Judge from Gujarat High Court and at present is functioning, on transfer, in Jharkhand High Court. Having regard to all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the considered view that Justice D.N. Patel is suitable in all respects for being appointed as Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court. The Collegium resolves to recommend accordingly.


[Resolution dt. 10-05-2019]

Collegium Resolutions

Appointments & TransfersNews

Proposal for appointment of following four Judicial Officers as Judges of the Delhi High Court:

  1. Shri Talwant Singh,
  2. Rajnish Bhatnagar
  3. Ms Asha Menon
  4. Shri Brijesh Sethi

On the basis of interaction and having regard to all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the considered view that S/Shri (1) Talwant Singh, (2) Rajnish Bhatnagar, (3) Ms Asha Menon, and (4) Brijesh Sethi, are suitable for being appointed as Judges of the Delhi High Court.

Collegium comprising of Ranjan Gogoi, CJ and S.A. Bobde and N.V. Ramana, JJ. resolves to recommend that S/Shri (1) Talwant Singh, (2) Rajnish Bhatnagar, (3) Ms Asha Menon, and (4) Brijesh Sethi, Judicial Officers, be appointed as Judges of the Delhi High Court. Their inter se seniority be fixed as per the existing practice.


[Notification dt. 06-05-2019]

Supreme Court of India

Appointments & TransfersNews

This relates to the proposal for appointment of following two Advocates as Judges of the Delhi High Court:

  1. Shri Krishnendu Datta
  2. Shri Saurabh Kirpal

On the basis of material on record and having regard to all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the considered view that the proposal for elevation of Shri Krishnendu Datta, Advocate, deserves to be remitted to the Delhi High Court. The Collegium resolves to recommend accordingly.

The proposal for the elevation of Shri Saurabh Kirpal, Advocate is deferred.

[Notification dt. 01-04-2019]

Collegium Resolutions

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

S.O. 1491(E)— Whereas the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), Jammu and Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (Mohd. Yasin Malik faction) (JKLF-Y) has been declared as unlawful associations, vide, notifications number S.O. 1069(E) dated the 28th February, 2019 and S.O. 1403(E) dated the 22-03-2019, respectively;

Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by the sub-section (1) of Section 5 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967), the Central Government hereby constitutes an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal consisting of Mr Justice Chander Shekhar, High Court of Delhi, for the purpose of adjudicating whether or not there is sufficient cause of declaring the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), Jammu and Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (Mohd. Yasin Malik faction) (JKLF-Y), as unlawful association.

[Notification Dt. 29-03-2019]

Ministry of Home Affairs

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

No. F. 6/21/2018-Judl./Suptlaw/608-615 — In pursuance of the provisions of Section 10 of Delhi Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act, 2001, the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court of Delhi, is pleased to designate the Court of Additional Sessions Judge-02 in each District under Delhi Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act, 2001.

[Notification dt. 25-03-2019]

Department of Law, Justice and Legislative Affairs

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

S.O. 931 (E)—In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of Section 5 read with sub-section (1) of Section 4 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967), the Central Government hereby constitutes the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal consisting of Ms. Justice Mukta Gupta, Judge, High Court of Delhi, for the purpose of adjudicating whether or not there is sufficient cause for declaring the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) as an unlawful association.

[F.No.14017/2/2019-NI-III]

Ministry of Home Affairs

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: The Delhi High Court took suo motu cognizance of violence and vandalism against members of the Delhi Bar. The Bar in it’s resolution dated 23rd January, 2018 and 22nd January, 2018 mentioned that the Counsel who were victimised were so victimised because they were appearing as counsel for a lady advocate.

The Court noted that there was shocking similarity in the design and manner of the execution of the incidents of violence and vandalism and hence, opined that the incidents could not be treated as separate incidents. The court noted that FIRs have been filed in relation to the incidents but even after a month, minimal steps have been taken by the police in providing assistance and carrying out investigation. The Court, stating that such violence to thwart legal assistance in pending cases is tantamount to criminal contempt of court. In view of above observations, the Court invoked it’s suo motu jurisdiction to call upon an immediate report from the Delhi Police. Also, it directed the matter to be treated as a writ in public interest. [Court on it’s own motion v. Commissioner of Police, Delhi, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 7221, decided on 29.01.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Taking note of the fact that the legal practitioners are under a genuine doubt whether they require to get themselves registered under the Central Goods and Service Tax Act 2017 (CGST Act), the Delhi Goods and Service Tax Act 2017 (DGST Act) and the Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (IGST Act), the Court directed that that no coercive action be taken against any lawyer or law firms for non-compliance with any legal requirement under the CGST Act, the IGST Act or the DGST Act till a clarification is issued by the Central Government and the Govt. of NCT of Delhi (GNCTD) and till further orders.

The matter was brought before the Court by Mr. J.K. Mittal, advocate, who contended that he provides legal services including consultancy, opinion, drafting, appearances before Courts etc. and although he has an office only in Delhi, he represents his clients throughout the country before various High Courts and Tribunals outside Delhi. The petitioner had challenged the validity of the Notifications issues by the Central Government and the GNCDT for being violative of the Central Goods and Service Tax Act 2017 (CGST Act), the Delhi Goods and Service Tax Act 2017 (DGST Act) read with Article 279 A of the Constitution of India. He has also challenged the constitutional validity of Section 9 (4) of CGST Act, Section 5(4) of The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (IGST Act) and Section 9 (4) of DGST Act.

The division bench of S. Muralidhar and Pratibha M. Singh, JJ noticed that as of date there is no clarity on whether all legal services (not restricted to representational services) provided by legal practitioners and firms would be governed by the reverse charge mechanism and if all legal services are to be governed by the reverse charge mechanism than there would be no purpose in requiring legal practitioners and law firms to compulsorily get registered under the CGST Act, IGST Act and/or DGST Act. Those seeking voluntary registration would anyway avail of the facility under Section 25 (3) of the CGST Act (and the corresponding provision of the other two statutes).

The Court further clarified that any lawyer or law firm that has been registered under the CGST Act, or the IGST Act or the DGST Act from 1″ July, 2017 onwards will not be denied the benefit of such clarification as and when it is issued. Listing the matter to be taken up on 18.07.2017, the Court said that if the Central Government and GNCDT fail to give an appropriate clarification by the next date, the Court will proceed to consider passing appropriate interim directions. [JK Mittal & Company v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 9087, order dated 12.07.2017]