Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Gauhati High Court: Ajai Lamba, CJ. while considering a bail application of Akhil Gogoi who was in custody on the allegations of conspiring and committing acts with intent to facilitate design to wage war against the State by means of using passage of Citizenship Amendment bill in Parliament as a cause, held that,

“no actionable evidence or material has been pointed out which would conclude that applicant and other accused waged war against the State.

Present proceedings took place in a virtual court in view of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Akhil Gogoi had filed the present application for bail under Section 439 CrPC, 1973 under Section 120(B)/122/123/143/147/148/149/150/152/ 153/326/333/353 of Penal Code, 1860.

It has been alleged that accused persons used Citizenship Amendment Bill as an opportunity to abet, incite unlawful assemblies with deadly weapons at various placed and abetted extreme violence.

They all connived, engaged and promoted the engagement of persons to become members of unlawful assembly at various placed in Assam. It was a full-fledged conspiracy secretly hatched by the accused along with some other unknown persons.

Adding to the above allegations, it has been alleged that in pursuance to unlawful common abject to assault and voluntarily cause grievous hurt to public servants by deadly weapons and inflammable substances likely to cause death, conspiracy was hatched.

Accused himself admitted that he took part in the protest rallies. It has been brought out that by taking part in these rallies he instigated common citizens, which is an act of criminal design to wage war against the State.

People were provoked which created enmity between various communities on the ground of religion, race, residence, etc., which is prejudicial to maintenance of harmony — waging war against the State.

High Court

Court noted that attention of the Court towards any actionable evidence or material that would indicate waging of war against the State has not be drawn.

Adding to the above, bench asked the question as to under what circumstance Investigating Agency concluded that such protest against the Bill would constitute waging war against the State?

To above position, Court stated that nothing has been pointed with regard to such protests to conclude as an attempt by the applicant and other accused to wage war against the State.

Bench held that such actions and incidents had taken place virtually all over the country and in view of that further custody of applicant shall not serve any purpose in law or any purpose of investigation.

Thus, applicant be released on bail to the satisfaction of Chief Judicial Magistrate and in case at any point during investigation or trial intimidates or influences or approaches any witness of the incidents, prosecution would be at liberty to seek cancellation of bail. [Akhil Gogoi v. State of Assam,  2020 SCC OnLine Gau 1092 , decided on 26-03-2020]

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Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and SA Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna, JJ refused to put a stay on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) and granted the Central government four weeks’ time to file a reply on the petitions challenging CAA. The Court also indicated setting up a Constitution Bench to hear the pleas.

The Court was hearing a batch of more than 140 petitions challenging or supporting the newly amended citizenship law that fast-tracks the process of granting citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and took refuge in India on or before December 31, 2014.

During the hearing, CJI said,

“We may ask the government to issue some temporary permits for the time being.”

Attorney General K K Venugopal asked the Court to freeze filing of further petitions, as over 140 petitions have been filed and others who wish to be heard, may file intervention applications. He said,

“Centre has prepared a preliminary affidavit that will be filed today.”

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the Assam Advocates Association, sought an ex-parte order from the court with respect to the implementation of the Act in Assam. He told the court,

“The situation in Assam is different, 40,000 people have already entered Assam since the last hearing.”

Several petitions were filed in the top court and high courts across the country for and against the CAA. There have been protests in different parts of the country against the Act. It has also been challenged by the Kerala government in the Supreme Court. Kerala and West Bengal have also said that they will not implement the amended law. However, Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid have said that
state governments cannot legally refuse to implement a law passed by the parliament.

Earlier, on December 18, 2019, the 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and BR Gavai and Surya Kant, JJ  had refused to stay the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.


**READ THE ACT HERE: Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

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Supreme Court: Refusing urgent hearing on a plea seeking to declare the Citizenship Amendment Act as constitutional, CJI S A Bobde observed that the country is going through difficult times and there is so much violence going. Expressing surprise over the petition, the bench said that this was the first time that someone was seeking that an Act be declared as constitutional.

“There is so much of violence going on. The country is going through difficult times and the endeavour should be for peace. This court’s job is to determine validity of a law and not declare it as constitutional,”

The bench also comprising justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant said it will hear the petitions challenging validity of CAA when the violence stops.

The observation came after advocate Vineet Dhanda sought urgent listing of his plea to declare CAA as constitutional and a direction to all states for implementation of the Act. The plea has also sought action against activists, students and media houses for “spreading rumours”.

On December 18, the Supreme Court had agreed to examine the constitutional validity of the CAA, but refused to stay its operation. It said that it will hear the batch of 59 petitions on January 22, 2020.

The newly amended law seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities who came to the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014.

Several petitions have been filed challenging the constitutional validity of the Act including by RJD leader Manoj Jha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi.

Several other petitioners include Muslim body Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, All Assam Students Union (AASU), Peace Party, CPI, NGOs ‘Rihai Manch’ and Citizens Against Hate, advocate M L Sharma, and law students have also approached the apex court challenging the Act.

(Source: PTI)

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Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ and BR Gavai and Surya Kant, JJ has issued notice to Centre on a batch of pleas challenging the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. The Court has, however, refused to stay the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019. It said that it will hear the petitions on January 22, 2020.

Yesterday, the Court had refused to intervene in the incidents involving the violence taking place at the Jamia Milia University and the Aligarh Muslim University as an outcome of the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act, the bench headed by CJI SA Bobde has asked the petitioners to approach the High Courts first. The Court said,

“We don’t want to spend time knowing facts, you should go to courts below first.”

The Court also said that since the incidents have taken place at various places, one inquiry cannot be ordered in these cases. Asking the petitioners to approach the High Courts, the Court said the High Court would not only be at liberty to pass orders on arrests and medical assistance, they will also be at liberty to order inquiries.


**READ THE ACT HERE: Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

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Supreme Court: Refusing to intervene in the incidents involving the violence taking place at the Jamia Milia University and the Aligarh Muslim University as an outcome of the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act, the bench headed by CJI SA Bobde has asked the petitioners to approach the High Courts first. The Court said,

“We don’t want to spend time knowing facts, you should go to courts below first.”

In the hearing that escalated into a high voltage court room drama, Indira Jaising appearing for the students said,

“It’s established law that universities are not a place where police can enter without permission of VC. One person lost eyesight. Legs of some students were broken.”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was quick to respond that “not a single student lost eyesight.”

When the lawyers started arguing at high pitch, the Court took a strong noteand said,

“there should not be a shouting match just because there is large crowd and media.”

The Court also went on to ask how the buses burn during the protest. It said that it was a law & order problem.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for protesters, urged the Court to send a former judge to AMU for fact finding. It was also argued that Police must have prior permission of VC of university before entering the University premises.

When the Court asked the Centre to give details as to why notices were not given to protesters before arrest and whether medical assistance was given, the Solicitor General responded that no student was in jail and that the police took the injured students to hospitals.

The Court said that the injured students must get medical attention and if anybody commits offence then police is free to arrest.

The Court also said that since the incidents have taken place at various places, one inquiry cannot be ordered in these cases. Asking the petitioners to approach the High Courts, the Court said the High Court would not only be at liberty to pass orders on arrests and medical assistance, they will also be at liberty to order inquiries.

Yesterday, when a battery of senior lawyers including India Jaising, Colin Gonsalves, Salman Khurshid, etc approached the Court to take the Court to take suo moto cognizance of the violence taking place at the Jamia Milia University and the Aligarh Muslim University as an outcome of the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act, a bench headed by CJI Bobde said that it would hear the matter with a ‘cool mind’ tomorrow but the rioting must stop.

(Source: PTI)


**READ THE ACT HERE: Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

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Supreme Court: When a battery of senior lawyers including India Jaising, Colin Gonsalves, Salman Khurshid, etc approached the Court to take the Court to take suo moto cognizance of the violence taking place at the Jamia Milia University and the Aligarh Muslim University as an outcome of the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act, a bench headed by CJI Bobde said that it would hear the matter with a ‘cool mind’ tomorrow but the rioting must stop.

Taking strong note of damage of public property and rioting during the Jamia Milia protest in which around 50 students were detained last night and later released, the Court said,

“We are not against peaceful demonstrations but we can’t allow people to go on streets, indulge in rioting.”

Stating that the Court was experienced enough to understand how rioting takes place, the Court said that it can’t be bullied to take cognizance of a matter just because people were throwing stones outside.

“We will determine the rights but not in the atmosphere of riots, let all of this stop and then we will take suo motu cognizance.”


**READ THE ACT HERE: Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

Following is the list of Bills introduced in Lok Sabha today:

Article 334 of the Constitution lays down that the provisions of the Constitution relating to the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the representation of the Anglo-Indian community by nomination in the House of the People and Legislative Assemblies of the States shall cease to have effect on the expiration of the period of 70 years from the commencement of the Constitution. In other words, these provisions will cease to have effect on the 25th January, 2020, if not extended further.

Although the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes have made considerable progress in the last 70 years, the reasons which weighed with the Constituent Assembly in making provisions with regard to the aforesaid reservation of seats have not yet ceased to exist. Therefore, with a view to retaining the inclusive character as envisioned by the founding fathers of the Constitution, it is proposed to continue the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes for another ten years i.e. up to 25th January, 2030.

The Citizenship Act, 1955 (57 of 1955) was enacted to provide for the acquisition and determination of Indian citizenship.

It is a historical fact that trans-border migration of population has been happening continuously between the territories of India and the areas presently comprised in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Millions of citizens of undivided India belonging to various faiths were staying in the said areas of Pakistan and Bangladesh when India was partitioned in 1947. The constitutions of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh provide for a specific state religion. As a result, many persons belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities have faced persecution on grounds of religion in those countries.

Some of them also have fears about such persecution in their day-to-day life where the right to practice, profess and propagate their religion has been obstructed and restricted. Many such persons have fled to India to seek shelter and continued to stay in India even if their travel documents have expired or they have incomplete or no documents.

Under the existing provisions of the Act, migrants from Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian communities from Afghanistan, Pakistan or Bangladesh who entered into India without valid travel documents or if the validity of their documents has expired are regarded as illegal migrants and ineligible to apply for Indian citizenship under section 5 or section 6 of the Act.

The Central Government exempted the said migrants from the adverse penal consequences of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and the Foreigners Act, 1946 and rules or orders made thereunder vide notifications, dated 07.09.2015 and dated 18.07.2016. Subsequently, the Central Government also made them eligible for long term visa to stay in India, vide, orders dated 08.01.2016 and 14.09.2016. Now, it is proposed to make the said migrants eligible for Indian Citizenship.

The illegal migrants who have entered into India up to the cut of date of 31.12.2014 need a special regime to govern their citizenship matters. For this purpose, the Central Government or an authority specified by it shall grant the certificate of registration or certificate of naturalisation subject to such conditions, restrictions and manner as may be prescribed. Since many of them have entered into India long back, they may be given the citizenship of India from the date of their entry in India if they fulfill conditions for Indian citizenship specified in section 5 or the qualifications for the naturalisation under the provisions of the Third Schedule to the Act.

The Bill further seeks to grant immunity to the migrant of the aforesaid Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities so that any proceedings against them regarding in respect of their status of migration or citizenship does not bar them from applying for Indian citizenship. The competent authority, to be prescribed under the Act, shall not take into account any proceedings initiated against such persons regarding their status as illegal migrant or their citizenship matter while considering their application under section 5 or section 6 of the Act, if they fulfill all the conditions for grant of citizenship.

A Bill to make special provisions for repression of piracy on high seas and to provide for punishment for the offence of piracy and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill, 2019, inter alia, provides for the following:

(a) to make the provisions of the proposed legislation applicable to all parts of the sea adjacent to and beyond the limits of Exclusive Economic Zone of India;

(b) to make the act of piracy on high seas as an offence punishable with imprisonment for life or with death;

(c) to provide for punishment for attempt to commit offence of piracy or being an accessory to the commission of offence;

(d) to provide for a presumption of guilt in case certain conditions are satisfied;

(e) to make the offence extraditable;

(f) to enable the Central Government, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court, to specify certain courts as Designated Courts for speedy trial of offences of piracy under the proposed legislation.