Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court:  Fateh Deep Singh, J. allowed the application of bail on the ground that petitioner was behind the bar and that culpability will be determined during the trial which was not going to be concluded in near future.

A petition for regular bail was made for the offence under Sections 342, 354B, 376, 511/34, 450 of the Penal Code, 1860.

The facts of the case were that the accused petitioner and his sons forcibly took the complainant into a room, tore off her clothes, abused her, tried to violate her and gave her beatings against which the FIR was made the very next day of the incident.

G.C. Shahpuri, counsel for the petitioner argued that bare perusal of the FIR would show that no allegation of actual rape has come about and being a pure case of matrimonial dispute, in which the petitioner has no role to play except that he happens to have intervened into the matrimonial dispute, he has been falsely implicated. Thus, prayed for the anticipatory bail.

Baljinder S. Virk, Deputy Advocate General, stoutly opposed the grant of relief on the grounds that if allowed bail the petitioner might stifle the trial.

The High Court opined that no useful purpose will be served by keeping the petitioner in the custody as petitioner was already behind the bars for more than seven months and culpability shall be determined at the end of the trial which was not likely to conclude in the near future.  It was also instructed that anything observed herein shall not be construed as an expression on the merits of the case. Thus, ordered the release of petitioner on regular bail. [Dalip Bera v. State of Haryana, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 669, decided on 28-05-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: A writ petition filed against the order passed by the respondents whereby recovery of Rs. 1.90 lakh was to be made from the petitioner, was allowed by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Pramath Patnaik, J. due to the absence of a departmental enquiry before the passing of the order.

The petitioner, at the relevant time, was a Member of Finance in Jharkhand State Electricity Board.  Alleging that he delayed in making certain payments, the petitioner was asked to show cause. The petitioner alleged that without giving a proper opportunity, the liability was fixed and order of recovery was passed against him. The said order was challenged by the petitioner.

The High Court considered the submissions made on behalf of the parties and perused the record. The Court found that the impugned order was passed by the respondents without holding any departmental proceedings. The order was passed only on the basis of the preliminary enquiry. The Court held the law to be well settled that culpability of an employee cannot be fastened basing only on the preliminary enquiry without holding a full-fledged departmental enquiry. It was held that the impugned order, punishing the petitioner, was not sustainable as it was passed without holding a departmental enquiry. Accordingly, the petition was allowed and the impugned order was set aside. [Niranjan Roy v. Jharkhand SEB,  2018 SCC OnLine Jhar 369, dated 15-05-2018]

 

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Anu Malhotra, J., allowed a criminal petition filed against the judgment of the trial court wherein the appellant was convicted under Sections 392 and 397 IPC along with Section 27 of Arms Act.

The appellant was alleged to have robbed the house of the victim (complainant), and in the act, it was alleged, he used a deadly weapon (knife) that terrorized the victim. The appellant was booked under the above-mentioned sections. He was tried and convicted by the trial court. In the instant appeal, the appellant confined his challenge to the conviction under Section 397. It was contended that there were no allegations against the appellant that he used any deadly weapon in the course of committing the robbery, and as such, he could not be convicted under the said section.

The High Court perused the record and found that in his statement, the victim clearly stated that the co-accused in the case had a knife. But as to the appellant, the victim stated that he did not remember what weapon the appellant was holding. The Court referred to a Supreme Court decision in Dilawar Singh v. State of (NCT of Delhi),(2007) 12 SCC 641: (2008) 3 SCC (Cri) 330, wherein it was held, the word ‘offender’ (as used in Section 397 IPC) envisages individual liability and not any constructive liability. In the instant case, though recovery of the knife was made on the statement of the appellant, however, no specific attributions were made to the appellant carrying a knife at the day of the incident. Noting such facts and circumstances, the High Court held that no culpability could be fixed against the appellant under Section 397, for which the use of a knife is a sine qua non. Accordingly, while upholding his conviction under Section 392 IPC along with Section 27 of Arms Act, the High Court set aside the appellant’s conviction and sentence under Section 397 IPC. [Mumtaz v. State,2018 SCC OnLine Del 9534, decided on 13-06-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Manish Pitale, J. allowed a criminal appeal setting aside the order of conviction and sentence under Sections 7, 13(1)(d) read with 13(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, passed by the trial court against the appellant.

The appellant, who worked as a ‘Talathi’ of the village, was alleged to have taken bribe from the complainant for providing copies of mutation and heir certificates. Aggrieved by the demand of Rs. 200 as illegal gratification by the appellant for providing the above-mentioned documents, the complainant approached the Anti Corruption Bureau. A trap was laid for catching the appellant red-handed while taking the bribe. It was alleged that the complainant went to appellant’s house, where he put Rs. 200 in a newspaper given by the appellant and placed it on the table, wherefrom it was taken by the wife of the appellant. Thereafter, on complainant’s signal the personal of ACB arrested the appellant after conducting the codal procedure. While giving benefit of doubt to his wife, the trial court tried and convicted the appellant under the abovesaid sections. Aggrieved by the same, the appellant preferred the instant appeal.

The High Court perused the record and noted, inter alia, that the factum of ‘demand’ of bribe was not proved against the appellant. Referring to decisions of the Apex Court, the High Court observed that making of ‘demand’ of bribe is essential to establish culpability of the person accused of taking bribe. However, in the instant case, the Court noted that it was only the complainant who stated that he went to the house of the complainant, told him he had come prepared, showed him the bribe money and put it in the newspaper. The High Court was of the view that such evidence could not be said to have established the demand of bribe or illegal gratification by the accused-appellant. The High Court held that in absence of proof of demand, which is a sine qua non for conviction under the provisions of the Act mentioned hereinabove, the appellant could not have been pronounced guilty of taking bribe. Accordingly, the High Court allowed the appeal and set aside the impugned order passed by the trial court. [Sukhdeo Lakshman Parale v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine Bom 1194, dated 12-6-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In the case where the culpability of an accused participating in an unlawful assembly was in question, the bench of S.A. Bobde and L. Nageswara Rao, JJ said that the presence of an accused as part of an unlawful assembly, when not as a curious onlooker or a bystander, suggests his participation in the object of the assembly but it could well be that an accused had no intention to participate in the object of the assembly.

Explaining with the help of an example, the Court said that if the object of the assembly is to murder someone, it is possible that the accused as a particular member of the assembly had no knowledge of the intention of the other members whose object was to murder, unless of course the evidence to the contrary shows such knowledge. But having participated and gone along with the others, an inference whether inculpatory or exculpatory can be drawn from the conduct of such an accused.

According to the Court, the point of time at which the accused discovered that the assembly intended to kill the victim, the attempt, if any, made by him/her to stop the assembly from pursuing the object and if he/she dissociate from the assembly by getting away upon failing to stop the assembly, are the issues that will determine whether an accused shared the common object in the assembly. Without evidence that the accused had no knowledge of the unlawful object of the assembly or without evidence that after having gained knowledge, he attempted to prevent the assembly from accomplishing the unlawful object, and without evidence that after having failed to do so, the accused disassociated himself from the assembly, the mere participation of an accused in such an assembly would be inculpatory. [Kattukulangara Madhavan v. Majeed, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 299, decided on 30.03.2017]