Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Bombay High Court:  Bharati Dangre, J., addressed a complaint wherein a verbal altercation took place for the reason that applicant was asked to wear a mask.

Complainant alleged that while he was on duty of bandobast for prevention of CoronaVirus, the applicant on being asked to wear the mask entered into a verbal altercation.

The complaint filed referred to the above-stated altercation in detail and alleged that he was instigated in discharge of his official duty by the applicant and as far as the assault was concerned, complaint stated that he placed his hand on his shoulder.

Offence had been registered under Sections 323, 353 and 506 of Penal Code, 1860 against the applicant and relevant provisions of Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Bench observed that on prima facie what emerges is a verbal altercation between complainant and applicant while latter was discharging his duty. No ingredients of Sections 323 and 353 of Penal Code, 1860 are made out.

Thus in view of the above, applicant was granted ad-interim bail. Court also directed the applicant to not directly or indirectly make any inducement, threat or promise to any persons acquainted with facts of the case to dissuade him from disclosing the facts to Court or nay Police Officer.  [Shekhar v. State of Maharashtra, LD VC Anticipatory Bail Application No. 37 of 2020, decided on 05-05-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Sanjeev Sachdeva, J., upheld the order of the trial court discharging the respondent who was accused of committing offences punishable under Sections 304 and 323 IPC.

An FIR was lodged alleging that there was a dispute between families of the complainant and the accused. Consequent to an altercation, his father was assaulted by the accused persons. It was alleged that accused persons knew that his father was suffering from a heart ailment and had undergone angioplasty. Knowing the same, the accused persons assaulted the complainant’s father which resulted in his death. Immediately after the incident, the complainant along with his family members gave a vivid description and named all persons alleged to have been involved and their names were mentioned in the FIR. It is pertinent to note that the name of the present respondent was not mentioned in the FIR. It was mentioned in a supplementary statement given by the complainant under Section 161 CrPC after a gap of 5 months. Noticing that there was a substantial improvement in complainant’s case, the trial court discharged the respondent as stated above. Aggrieved thereby, the State filed the present revision petition.

Hirein Sharma, Additional Public Prosecutor appeared for the petitioner State. While the respondent accused was represented by Neeraj Anand, Advocate.

The High Court found no merit in the petition. It observed, “A statement which is recorded immediately after the incident has to be given greater credence as compared to a statement which is recorded after five months. The trial court has rightly observed in the impugned order that the addition of the name of the respondent appears to be an afterthought.” It was also noted as undisputed that during the interregnum of 5 months between the date of the incident and the supplementary statement, no incriminating material was found against the respondent. In the totality of the facts, the Court found no infirmity in trial court’s order discharging the respondent. The petition was thus dismissed. [State (NCT of Delhi) v. Nitin, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 7239, decided on 21-02-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of Navin Sinha and K.M. Joseph, JJ., while addressing a criminal appeal regarding assault committed during a dispute between neighbors with regard to strayed cattle in which Appellant 2 was additionally convicted under Section 304 Part II read with Section 34 IPC, altered the sentence from 8 years to 2 years.

The facts of the case as laid down in a nutshell state that some bullocks which belonged to the appellants had strayed into the compound of the deceased. The deceased, in order to drive them away from his land, used lathi which came onto the notice of the appellants and led to some altercation between the two which ended up with major injuries to the deceased and led to his death.

The contentions placed by the appellants’ counsel were that the injuries suffered by the appellants explain that they had only acted in self-defence and they were not the aggressors. There was no intention to cause death; much less the knowledge can be attributed from the nature of the assault. Further, the submissions state that the offence deserved to be reduced and or/alternatively the sentence was excessive in the facts of the case. For the stated contentions they placed reliance on Darshan Singh v. State of Punjab, 2009 (16) SCC 290 and Maqsood v. State of U.P, 2016 (15) SCC 748.

The Supreme Court on noting the circumstances, evidences and the contentions placed, concluded by stating that the occurrence had taken place at the spur of the moment without any premeditation. Appellant only intended to vent their ire against neighbour for having assaulted their bullocks. Since there was no presence of common intention that makes Appellant 2 individually answerable and as the occurrence had taken place in 1980, the Court was convinced to reduce the sentence to 2 years by putting reliance on the case aforementioned.  The appeal was allowed to the stated extent. [Lakshmi Chand v. State of U.P., 2018 SCC OnLine SC 1135, decided on 24-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench of the Delhi High Court comprising of Vibhu Bakhru, J, dismissed a petition against an impugned order in which the Complaint Committee had exonerated Respondent 3 of charges of sexual harassment leveled against him. The petition also challenged the order of the Disciplinary Authority which passed an order in accordance with the findings of the Complaint Committee.

The matter took place on 29.04.2005. The petitioner alleged that while she was working at the laboratory, Respondent 3 had entered the laboratory and created a ruckus, by snatching the samples and throwing the research materials. The Respondent 3 had then, allegedly, pushed the petitioner locked her outside the laboratory. Subsequent to these events, the petitioner was requested to complete the formalities relating to certain equipment of HEM division before leaving the machines as the said division was dissolved. A complaint note was then prepared by the petitioner and forwarded to the Director, CRRI by proper channels. A Complaint Committee was formed comprising of five members. The committee found that the complaint, though, alleged sexual harassment, it was a case of altercation in the background of uncongenial environment prevailing in the Division.

The complainant argued that since there was physical contact during the incident, it would amount to sexual harassment as any physical contact must necessarily amount to sexual harassment. The court said that all physical contact can’t be termed as sexual harassment and only physical contact and advances in the nature of an “unwelcome sexually determined behaviour” would amount to sexual harassment. In the instant case, the physical contact was in due course of an altercation and was without sexual undertones. The Court, finding no infirmity with the impugned order, dismissed the same. [Shanta Kumar v. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, 2017 SCC OnLine Del 11388, decided on 31.10.2017]