Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge Bench of SA Bobde, CJ and AS Bopanna and S. Ramasubramanian, JJ has ordered a revised schedule for appointment of judicial officers in the State of West Bengal for the year 2020. For the conduct of Madhya Pradesh HJS (District Judge – Entry Level) (Direct Recuitment from Bar) Examination 2020 , the Court has asked the Examination Committee of the Madhya Pradesh High Court to review the situation once in a month and take a decision to conduct the above examination.

High Court of Calcutta

The High Court of Calcutta has approached the Court seeking a modification of the timeline fixed by this Court in Malik Mazhar Sultan vs. U.P. Public Service Commission, (2008) 17 SCC 703 for filling up of vacancies of judicial officers for the year 2020. As per the Malik Mazhar case, the schedule is to commence with the notification of the number of vacancies being issued by the 31st March every year and the whole process coming to an end with the issuance of appointment letters by 30th September indicating the last date of joining as 31st October, 2020.

Admittedly, even the first step namely that of notifying the vacancies, has not been taken due to the announcement of lock down by 24.03.2020.

Therefore, the Court ordered a revised schedule for appointment of judicial officers in the State of West Bengal for the year 2020 as follows:

High Court of Madhya Pradesh

High Court of Madhya Pradesh approached the Court seeking deferment of MPHJS (District Judge – Entry Level) (Direct Recuitment from Bar) Examination 2020 till the Examination Committee finds it suitable to conduct the examination. The notification for recruitment was published on 16.01.2020 and preliminary examination was fixed to be held on 16.03.2020. However, the examination got postponed due to the current Pandemic. On 24.08.2020, a new notification was issued fixing the date of preliminary examination as 30.09.2020. But due to the increase in the number of persons affected by Covid-19, a request was received from the MP High Court Bar Association on 29.08.2020 seeking postponement of the examination.

A total of 3113 candidates are likely to appear for the examination and out of them 1942 candidates belong to other States. The examinations are to be conducted at Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur.

During the period from 25.03.2020 to 08.08.2020, 8 judicial officers, 52 judicial employees, and 46 Advocates tested positive for Corona. Therefore, the Court directed the Examination Committee of the Madhya Pradesh High Court to review the situation once in a month and take a decision to conduct the above examination. The first of such review shall be conducted in the first week of November, 2020.

The Court said that the the High Court may endeavour to hold the above examination as soon as the situation becomes conducive and the time-schedule shall stand extended accordingly.

[Malik Mazhar Sultan v. U.P. Public Service Commission, IA No.52864/2020 in Civil Appeal No(s).1867/2006, order dated 22.09.2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: Sangeeta K. Vishen, J., allowed an application directing the respondent to allow the petitioner to appear in the examination for the subject – Foundation Engineering while observing that technical glitches could be faced during an online examination.

The petitioner, an engineering student had approached the High Court against the Gujarat Technological University which had barred him to appear for the pre-check trial test declaring that he had failed in the test which was conducted for the subject. The counsel for the petitioner, N.M. Kapadia contended that the petitioner was unable to answer the entire set of questions due to technical glitches during the online examination. He further contended that when the pre-check trial test was conducted on 15-9-2020, the technical glitch was again experienced by the petitioner as well as other students. Accordingly, the University, on the same day had tweeted that “Students who are not able to successfully submit today’s Pre-check trial test can re-appear tomorrow i.e. 16-9-2020 from 11:00 to 11:30 AM Login will start from 10:15 AM Students can appear using the same credentials used by them today and that are displayed in their student portal.” It was submitted that thereafter, the petitioner had appeared in the pre-check trial test on 16-9-2020. It was further contended that as is discernible from the contents of the affidavit-in-reply filed by the respondent 1 – University, it suggests that there is the least likelihood of any malfunction. The University does not say that there was no malfunction in the system. The stand of the University was that remedial examination was available to the petitioner, as the petitioner had failed in one of the subjects; the same would grossly affect the career of the petitioner inasmuch as, the petitioner will carry two mark sheets for the same subject, for no fault of him. It was contended that right to education is a fundamental right and the same cannot be tinkered with by the University in such a fashion.

The Court while allowing the application directed the respondent to allow the petitioner to appear in the examination for the subject – Foundation Engineering. The Court further observed that the fact that the situation complained of was beyond his control and stated that

As the technology is and we all know, it has the tendency of uncertainties, be it network issues, device issues, etc. When working with the technology, technical glitches cannot be ruled out and must be taken into consideration.”

[Harsh Hiteshbhai Gandhi v. Gujarat Technological University, R/Special Civil Application No. 11056 of 2020, decided on 18-09-2020]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: N.S. Dhanik, J., partly allowed a criminal revision which was preferred against the Judgment and order passed by the District and Sessions Judge whereby he had confirmed the judgment and order passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate and also against the judgment and order passed by Chief Judicial Magistrate in a Criminal Case under Section 3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act, whereby the revisionist were convicted for the offence punishable under Section 3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act and sentenced to undergo one-year simple imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs 5,000.

The informant lodged an FIR alleging therein that on information, the informant came to know that two Nepali people who often smuggling the cement, compost, kerosene oil, etc from Tankpur to Nepal upon their motorcycles. The informant along with other police officials reached the Gandhi Park and seeing two persons who were tying the plastics canes in their motorcycles outside the warehouse of Naresh Chandra Gupta. Both tried to run away, but they were arrested on the spot. From the possession of the accused persons, Jaricanes were recovered and on asking regarding the said recovery, they told that they had purchased the Kerosene oil from the Naresh Chandra Gupta (present revisionist) and 20 litres kerosene oil was also recovered from the warehouse of Naresh Chandra Gupta. After investigation, the charge sheet against the accused revisionist for the offence punishable under Section 3/7 of the Essential Commodities Act was filed. The Counsel for the revisionist, Mr. Bhuwanesh Joshi submitted his arguments only on the quantum of sentence. He submitted that the revisionist had served about 27 days in the jail and that he was a poor person and the matter relates back to the year 2008.

The Court while partly allowing the revision modified and reduced the sentence to three months considering the contention that matter related back to the year 2008 and ends of justice would be sub-served if the jail sentence of the revisionist is reduced adjusting the period already undergone by him, although the sentence of the fine was enhanced from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000.[Naresh Chandra Gupta v. State of Uttarakhand, Criminal Revision No. 326 of 2013, decided on 16-09-2020]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Telangana High Court: A Division Bench of Raghvendra Singh Chauhan, CJ and B. Vijaysen Reddy, J., while addressing the present petition observed the following:

“The preventive detention laws cannot be invoked as an easy way method bypassing the ordinary law and if a detention order is passed, it is very much necessary for the detaining authority to apply its mind and arrive at a conclusion that ordinary law is not capable of acting deterrent against the detenu and thus, detention order needs to be passed.”

Commissioner of Police had passed a detention order against Mohd. Nawaz in the exercise of powers under Section 3(2) of the Telangana Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Dacoits, Drug Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Land Grabbers, Spurious Seed Offenders, Insecticide Offenders, Fertilizer Offenders, Food Adulteration Offenders, Fake Document Offenders, Scheduled Commodities Offenders, Forest Offenders, Gaming Offenders, Sexual Offenders, Explosive Substances Offenders, Arms Offenders, Cyber Crime Offenders and White Collar or Financial Offenders Act, 1986 (Amendment Act No.13 of 2018) which has been challenged as being illegal and arbitrary.

Counsel for the petitioner was Pendya Swathi and T. Srikanth Reddy, Government Pleader for Home for the respondents.

It was noted that the detaining authority considered five cases as grounds for his detention.

Courts concerned had granted conditional bails in all the 5 five cases wherein the bail petitions by the detenu were moved.

Prosecution opposed the grant of bail even after that the Courts concerned granted the detenu conditional bails.

If the detaining authority feels that even after strongly opposing the bail, the concerned Courts have granted bail, it is always left open for the authorities to move an application for cancellation of bail either before the same Court or higher Court.

Further, the Court stated that the State cannot take advantage of its own lapses, whereby, on one hand, the State does not effectively oppose the bail application or seeks cancellation of bail and on the other hand, the State finds an easy way method to pass detention order by invoking preventive detention laws.

Supreme Court’s decision in Sudhir Kumar Saha v. Commr. of Police, Calcutta, (1970) 1 SCC 149, it was observed that,

“…The power to detain is an exceptional power to be used under exceptional circumstances. It is wrong to consider the same, as the executive appears to have done in the present case, that it is a convenient substitute for the ordinary process of law.”

Bench also observed that an order of detention has to be resorted to as an extreme and last step only when attempts made by the authorities to deal with and prosecute the detenu under ordinary law do not yield results.

Court stated that the crimes mentioned against the detenu relate to specific individuals/victims and come within the ambit of maintenance of law and order and not public order.

Hence the impugned detention order is unsustainable and was therefore set aside.[Mohd. Jaffar v. State of Telangana, WP No. 10230 of 2020, decided on 03-09-2020]

Appointments & TransfersNews

President appoints the following Additional Judges as Permanent Judges:

S/Shri Justices (i) V.G. Arun (ii) N. Nagaresh (iii) T.V. Anilkumar, and (iv) N. Anil Kumar, Additional Judges of the Kerala High Court, to be Judges of the Kerala High Court with effect from the date they assume charge of their respective offices.

Read the notification, here: NOTIFICATION


Ministry of Law and Justice

[Notification dt. 11-09-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: Sanjeev Prakash Sharma, J., partly allowed a writ petition filed by the Society of Catholic Education Institutions in Rajasthan and Progressive Schools Association, Nisa Education, School Shiksha Pariwar Sanstha and D.G.J. Educational Society challenging the orders passed by the State Government which had deferred the collection of fees from students indefinitely till the State Government takes any decision for the opening of the schools further, it had directed that the names of students should not be struck off for non-payment of fees.

The counsel for the petitioners contended that there had already been a deferment of fees for a long period of almost six months and the schools required to maintain the infrastructures and also pay salary to its staff, which includes non-teaching and teaching staff and are facing great hardship and therefore, by interim arrangement at least tuition fees be allowed to be collected from students as per the provisions of the Rajasthan Non-Government Educational Institutions Act, 1989 and the Rules framed therein, it is binding for the institution(s) to pay regular salary to its staff even during the lock-down period. Further, as far as the teaching process was concerned, the same was continuing in terms of the directions issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education by adopting entire process and for the purpose of teaching by virtual methods, the members of the petitioner association had to incur additional expenditure in procuring additional gadgets for implementation of virtual classes. It was submitted that all the students were taking benefit out of the online classes being run by the schools and it cannot be said that the students were not being provided education for their classes during this pandemic.

The Court observed that at the interim stage, a balance was required to be struck between the financial difficulty of the school management relating to release of the salary of the staff and minimum upkeep of school on one side and the financial pressure, which has come on the parents due to the pandemic and lock-down as noticed above. The Court while relying on various judgments passed by the High Courts of Gujarat, Punjab & Haryana and Delhi, held that prima facie, members of the petitioner association cannot be deprived of receiving the tuition fees for the students, who continued to remain on their rolls. However, this Court noticed that total infrastructure cost, which the school may incur for the regular studies during normal days, had been definitely reduced day to day schools are not opening thus, directing the school authorities to allow the students to continue their studies online and allow them to deposit 70% of the tuition fees element in three installments from the total fees being charged for the year. It was made clear that on non-payment of the said fees, the student(s) may not be allowed to join online classes, but shall not be expelled from the school.[Society of Catholic Education Institutions in Rajasthan v. State of Rajasthan, 2020 SCC OnLine Raj 1299, decided on 07-09-2020]


*Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: B. Pugalendhi, J., while addressing a petition, observed that,

“An impartial investigation is the basic requirement for any investigation. A fair investigation is also a part of constitutional right guaranteed under Articles 20 & 21 of the Constitution of India.”

“Majority of people are now hailing the police encounters and majority of people are now opting for other modes of redresses, like Kangaroo Courts, etc.”

Respondent had filed a final report against the Appellant for the offence under Sections 341, 302 and 394 r/w 397 of Penal Code, 1860.

Trial Court did not find the appellant guilty for the offence under Section 394 r/w 397 IPC but found him guilty for the offence under Section 341 and 304 (ii) IPC.

Property Dispute

Deceased Senthil had a property dispute with the family of one Ponnusamy.

Ponnusamy’s brothers Udayar and Jeyaraman; and one Sabarimalai surrounded the deceased was stabbed.

Mohideen Basha, Counsel for the appellant and Robinson, Government Advocate [Crl Side].

Decision

Bench noted certain lapses in the investigation of the present case.

High Court called the CD file to find out the manner in which the investigation was conducted.

Further, the Court stated that the investigation agency acted in a casual manner, so as to bury the truth and the real accused, who committed the brutal murder on a poor man escape from the clutches of law.

Hence, the appeal was allowed and the conviction and sentence imposed on the appellant were set aside.

Supreme Court’s decision in Popular Muthiah v. State, (2006) 7 SCC 296, was also cited.

The investigation must be unbiased, honest, just and in accordance with the law. The purpose of the investigation is to bring out the truth of the case before the Court of law.

In the present matter, it has been obliterated and the investigation has proceeded in a causal manner as to the whims and fancies of the investigation agency.

Court added that,

“1000 culprits can escape, but, one innocent person should not be punished.”

The available materials, in this case, expose the perfunctory and designed investigation and therefore, this Court is left with no other option except to interfere with the judgment of conviction passed by the trial Court.

A Crime is a public wrong, which involves the public rights of the community as a whole and also harmful to the society in general.

Criminal Justice System

It was also stated that the responsibility of the investigation agency in the criminal justice system plays a major role and they are, in fact, the kingpins in the criminal investigation system.

We are taking pride that the Tamil Nadu State Police is one of the best investigation agencies in the World and it is because of the exemplary service rendered by our police officers.

We cannot allow this reputation of the agency to be eroded by some irresponsible officers.

— Madras High Court

Further, the High Court also observed that the Tamil Nadu Police Reforms Act was enacted in the year 2013, yet it has not been implemented in letter and spirit.

Investigation

An investigation is not a mechanical work, which can be conducted in a casual manner, it requires expertise, knowledge and technical skills to collect the materials, which could unearth the truth.

Concluding the decision, Court stated that the accused can be declared innocents and can be set at liberty, either on the merits of the case or on the lapses committed by the Department. If it is on the lapses committed by the Department, steps should be taken on the side of the Department to avoid the same.

An innocent person does not deserve to suffer the turmoil of long drawn litigation, spanning over a decade or more.

Court placed certain queries for the State and DGP to give their response which are as follows:

i) How the investigation officers are equipped with the knowledge and expertise in conducting a criminal investigation and how it is ensured by the superior officials?

ii) Whether any disciplinary proceedings have been initiated as against the officials, who are responsible for acquittal because of their perfunctory investigation?

iii) How the superior officers, namely, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Additional Superintendent of Police, Superintendent of Police, Deputy Inspector General of Police and Inspector General of Police are monitoring the investigation?

iv) In the case of lapses in the investigation, whether the investigation officer alone is responsible or the higher officials, who are expected to monitor the investigation, are also responsible?

v) The steps taken by the Government in fully implementing the decision of the Supreme Court in Prakash Singh v. Union of India, (2006) 8 SCC 1 and the Tamil Nadu Police Reforms Act, 2013, in letter and spirit, in all the police stations.

vi) The steps taken by the Government in implementing the decision of the Supreme Court in State of Gujarat v. Kishanbhai, (2014) 5 SCC 108.

vii) The steps taken by the Government and the Department, to implement the amendments made to Sections 161, 164 and 275 CrPC?

viii) The steps taken by the Government and the Department, to implement the amendments to Sections 161, 164 and 275 CrPC, pursuant to the direction of the Division Bench of this Court in Satheesh Kumar’s case (supra).

ix) Whether the Circulars issued by the Director-General of Police then and there are strictly complied with? In the event of non-compliance, whether any disciplinary proceedings are contemplated against them and if so, the details thereof.

x) Whether the circulars issued by the Director-General of Police are readily available in all the police stations, in the form of a manual and whether they are available in the common platform, such as websites, so that, it can be accessed by the general public?

xi) The existing mechanism to enhance the quality of investigation among the investigation officers and the ways and means to enhance the same as to the present-day scientific advancements.

xii) The possibility of issuing a checklist including the steps to be carried out by the investigation officers, step by step, depending upon the nature of crime and the applicability and training using advanced scientific techniques, like fixing the accused using call details and tower location, etc., and how such collected details be marked/produced before the Court.

xiii) Why not compensation of Rs 10,00,000 be awarded to the victim in this case, who suffered because of the perfunctory investigation, which could be recovered from the investigation officers, namely, PW 12, Thiru N. Muthukumar; and PW 14, Thiru Poun and the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sivagangai concerned?

xiv) The Secretary to Government, Home, Excise and Prohibition Department; and the Director-General of Police, Chennai, shall give their comments/proposal as to the present case and the further course of action, if any, in view of the fact that ten years have lapsed since the commission of offence.

xv) Ways and means to address the issue raised & to effectively overcome the same.

xvi) Any other suggestions to avoid the acquittals due to such perfunctory investigations, in future, so as to regain the losing glory of the Department.

The present matter listed for 22-09-2020. [Balamurugan v. State, 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 2165, decided on 08-09-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: S.M. Subramaniam, J., while addressing a motor accident claim, observed that,

Once, the policy is contractual in nature and the parties have signed the agreement, then such a contract cannot be construed or brought within the ambit of statutory liability.

The Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Limited is the appellant. Respondent/Owner of Tata Indica Tourist Taxi TN-32-L-8595 dashed against the palm tree on the roadside due to unavoidable reasons, causing road traffic accident.

Respondent filed the claim petition under Section 163 of the Motor Vehicles Act seeking compensation of Rs 2,00,000 from the Insurance Company.

The Claim Petition was filed only against the appellant/Insurance company as the respondent car was insured with the appellant/Insurance company.

Appellant though defended the claim petition on the ground that the respondent was not some third party infcat he was the owner of the vehicle, therefore no statutory coverage in terms of Section 147(1) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 can be granted.

The Claim Petition was filed under Section 166 of the Motor Vehicles Act. However, the Tribunal has referred the Claim Petition as if it was filed under Section 163A of the Motor Vehicles Act. However, misquoting of the provision could not disentitle the claimant from availing the rights.

Tribunal directed the Insurance Company to pay the compensation to the respondent.

Bench on perusal of the facts and circumstances of the present matter, stated that in the absence of any statutory liability on the part of the Insurance company, the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act cannot be invoked nor an adjudication can be done before the Tribunal.

The very purpose and object of the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal are to adjudicate the Claim Petitions and grant ‘just compensation’ with reference to the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.

If a particular Personal Accident Policy is contractual in nature, then statutory liability cannot be fixed on the Insurance company.

Contractual liability cannot be equated with statutory liability.

Owner’s Package Policy with reference to the Personal Accident Cover for owner-cum driver is contractual in nature. There is no third party involvement with reference to the Personal Accident Cover.

Tribunal granted compensation beyond the agreed contract between the parties to the Personal Accident Cover.

The Tribunal is bound to see the nature of the insurance policy as well as the coverage with reference to the terms and conditions stipulated, which were agreed between the parties.

Court added that in the vent of no coverage under the policy, the insurance company cannot be held liable to pay compensation.

No person is entitled to claim any benefit beyond the scope of the terms and conditions agreed between the parties.

MV Act being a Special Legislation and the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal constituted to deal with the Accident Claims specifically under the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, the tribunal has no jurisdiction to deal with all other policies issued by the Insurance Company, which all are contractual in nature and the terms and conditions agreed between the parties specifically.

Insurance Policy

Motor Vehicle policies are issued by the Insurance company for the purpose of grant of compensation and the language employed is “Compensation”. However, the Personal Accident Coverage Policy reveals that it is “benefit” is to be granted.

Motor Accident Policies are strictly within the ambit of the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. The Personal Accident Coverage Policy is strictly in accordance with the terms and conditions agreed between the parties.

Court also added that the tribunals are bound to look into the nature of the Policy at the first instance, before entertaining the Claim Petition as the tribunal cannot adjudicate the terms and conditions agreed between the parties in a contract and grant compensation under the Motor Vehicles Act.

In the present case, the Personal Accident Coverage Policy has been agreed between the insurance company and respondent under the Personal Accident Coverage Policy of amount Rs 2,00,000.

For availing the benefit of the Personal Accident Coverage Policy, the respondent/claimant has to establish the nature of the ‘disablement’ and the same is to be established before the competent Court of law and the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal is not empowered to entertain the Claim Petition under the Motor Vehicles Act.

Hence if the Insurance Company has deposited any award amount before the Tribunal, then they can withdraw the said amount with accrued interest.[Cholamandalam MS General v. Ramesh Babu, 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 2164, decided on 02-09-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Suresh Kumar Gupta, J., while addressing the present jail appeal held that,

“…in cases involving sexual assault/rape, it is generally difficult to find any corroborative witnesses, except the victim herself and therefore, the evidence of the victim is sufficient for conviction unless there exist compelling reasons for seeking corroboration.”

Appellant has been convicted and sentenced under Section 376 of Penal Code, 1860 for 10 years rigorous imprisonment alongwith a fine of Rs 20,000 and in default of payment of fine, two years additional imprisonment, under Section 342 IPC for six months imprisonment alongwith fine of Rs 500 and in default of payment of fine fifteen days additional imprisonment and under Section 506 IPC for 2 years rigorous imprisonment alongwith fine of Rs 1000 and in default of payment of fine, one-month additional imprisonment. All the sentences shall run concurrently.

Trial Court held the accused guilty and convicted him for the charged offences as aforesaid.

Counsel for the appellant Deepak Rana and AGA for the State is Sri Jai Prakash Tripathi.

Bench observed that it is a settled principle of law that in cases involving sexual assault/rape, it is generally difficult to find any corroborative witnesses, except the victim herself and therefore, the evidence of the victim is sufficient for conviction unless there exist compelling reasons for seeking corroboration. Thus, a conviction can be sustained on the sole testimony of the prosecutrix, if it inspires confidence.

In Gagan Bihari Samal v. State of Orissa, (1991) 3 SCC 562 Supreme Court of India whilst observing that corroboration is not the sine qua non for conviction in a rape case, held as follows :

In cases of rape, generally, it is difficult to find any corroborative witnesses except the victim of the rape. It has been observed by this Court in Bharwada Bhoginbhai Hirjibhai v. State of Gujarat,(1983) 3 SCC 217.

Further, it is also a well-settled principle of law that the testimony of child witness can be relied upon along with other circumstances and corroborative evidence to convict the accused. Undoubtedly, the settled proposition of law that the evidence of child witness is required to be scrutinised and appreciated with great caution.

Court in view of the well-settled law examined whether the evidence adduced by the prosecution, particularly the testimony of the victim is trustworthy, credible and can be relied upon.

Victim clearly stated that she was misled by the accused/appellant Jonny and he took away her to his house and committed rape upon her by extending threat. The statement of PW-2 has also been corroborated by the mother of the victim PW-1.

Further, there are catena of Judgments of the Supreme Court of India that it is necessary for the Court to have a sensitive approach when dealing with the cases of rape.

In the Supreme Court decision of State of Punjab v. Ramdev Singh, (2004) 1 SCC 421  it was held that,

Sexual violence apart from being a dehumanizing act is an unlawful intrusion on the right of privacy and sanctity of a female. It is a serious blow to her supreme honour and offends her self-esteem and dignity.

It degrades and humiliates the victim and where the victim is a helpless innocent child or a minor. It leaves behind a traumatic experience. A rapist not only causes physical injuries but more indelibly leaves a scar on the most cherished possession of a woman i.e. her dignity, honour, reputation and not the least her chastity. Rape is not only a crime against the person of a woman, it is a crime against the entire society.

Bench stated that it has been established that in the absence of a family member of victim, the accused/appellant fraudulently called the victim to his house. On being called the victim reached the house where appellant forcefully committed rape. In these facts and circumstances in an ordinary procedure it cannot be said to be a case of false implication.

Prosecution by cogent and credible evidence is able to prove the charge under Section 376 IPC against the appellant.

In the present matter, victim is a minor and an adult committed rape on a girl of tender age, deterrent punishment is called for, taking a lenient view is out of the question.

Presently the appellant is incarcerated for more than 7 years. Conviction of the appellant is confirmed under Sections 376, 342 & 506 IPC. So on the point of conviction, the appeal is dismissed.

On the quantum of the sentence, this Court thinks that the end of justice would be met if the appellant is sentenced to imprisonment which he has already undergone.

In view of the above, the appeal is finally disposed of. [Jonny v. State of U.P., Jail Appeal No. 343 of 2018, decided on 03-09-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A Division Bench of Sonia Gokani and N.V. Anjaria, JJ., held that there may not be an actual interference with the course of administration of justice but it is enough if the offending publishing or act is likely or tends in any way to interfere with the administration of law.

Contempt Proceedings

Suo Motu contempt proceedings were initiated under Article 215 of the Constitution of India read with Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 where this Court issued a notice under Section 17 of the Contempt of Courts Act to respondents/alleged contemner.

Since every case of criminal contempt under Section 15 is required to be heard and determined by the bench of not less than two judges which is as per Section 18 of the said Act, the matter was placed before the Chief Justice and the same has been placed before this Court by way of a roster.

Factual Matrix

Contemner-Respondent 1 filed an anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for the offences punishable under Sections 143, 145, 332, 504, 186, 147, 153, 269 of the Penal Code and Section 13(1) of the Gujarat Epidemic Disease-19 Regulations, 2020 and Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

On 22-06-2020, a phone call was received by the Judge on her official mobile phone from a person who introduced himself as Niranjan Patel, MLA.

Phone Call

Further, the person inquired as to why he made a phone call, he said there was one criminal case listed before the Court on that day and the Judge immediately stopped him from talking further and clearly told him that he should not have called a Presiding Judge in the manner it was done and disconnected the phone.

The said person called thrice but the Judge did not answer the calls and laters it was noticed that the number belongs to Taufik Faiz Xerox having Vodafone number.

Bench was of the opinion that,

“…it was an act meant to prejudice or interfere with due course of Judicial proceeding, or an act which interfered or tended to interfere with the administration of Justice which would amount to criminal contempt with the meaning of Section 2(c) of Contempt of Courts Act, 1974.”

However, to ascertain as to who in fact was in the custody of the mobile phone number at those hours and who had called and sent the messages, the Superintendent of Police was directed to record the statement of Niranjan Patel, MLA and Tosif Vohra.

Malicious

Niranjan Patel indicated that he had no family relations with respondent 1. With regard to the call in question, he stated that he never had made any such call nor would he ever think to make any such call on behalf of anyone. His name is dragged maliciously.

Decision

In the present matter, on perusal of the submissions, High Court stated that the apology as may be tendered by the parties, the alleged contemners shall need to be regarded by the Court, where it is also to regard as to whether the apology tendered is at the first point of time without attempting to justify the actions and creating the defence or is it being used as an escape route.

Court also needs to regard, “Whether the same is in a case which has been committed the first time.”

The law is also clear that it is not necessary for the Court to accept such an apology, even if found to be unconditional and unqualified when the parameter of genuineness is not found satisfying.

Administration of Law

Further, the Court added that what is also required to be considered is that there may not be an actual interference with the course of administration of justice but it is enough if the offending publishing or act is likely or tends in any way to interfere with the administration of law.

If the Act if is so derogatory to the very dignity of the justice delivery system so as to undermine the confidence of the people, Court would not choose to overlook such a serious dimension.

Even an apology which is conditional but inspiring confidence, being full of contrition and remorse and which is also meant to be sincere, demonstrating clearly that the person concerned has out of repentance and remorse tendered the same and is not a design or manner to overreach the process, can also be accepted.

Section 12 of the Contempt of Court provides for the punishment of contempt.

Supreme Court’s decision in Bal Kishan Giri v. State of U.P., (2014) 7 SCC 280 considered as to when can an apology be considered, where the following was held:

”…apology cannot be a defence, justification or calculated strategy to avoid punishment for an act which tantamount to contempt of court, and is not to be accepted as a matter of course. However, apology can be accepted where conduct for which apology given is such that it can be ignored without compromising dignity of court, or evidences real contrition, and is sincere. Apology cannot be accepted where it is hollow, there is no remorse, no regret, no repentance, or if it is only a device to escape rigour of law that is it is merely paper apology.” On facts, it had been held that the High Court was justified in not accepting apology which was not bonafide.“ It also held that casting of bald, oblique unsubstantiated aspersions not only causes agony and anguish to judges concerned but also shakes confidence of public in judiciary.”

Decision rendered in case of Vishram Singh Raghubanshi v. State of U.P., (2011) 7 SCC 776  also reiterated that not necessarily, apology even if unconditional and unqualified needs acceptance.

Apart from being bonafide, if the conduct is serious which has caused damage to the dignity of the institution, the same need not be accepted.

High Court stated that when the conduct of both alleged respondent 1 and 2 are considered, it can be noticed that both tendered apology which they insisted to be unconditional and unqualified and at the first given opportunity.

Compromising with the dignity of the institution

Present case being an extremely gross case where there is a direct attempt to contact the Presiding Judge of the Court with a clear design to obtain an order in favour of the respondent 1 by camouflage and all possible efforts have been made to interfere with the administration of justice, even if the apology is termed as a qualified and unconditional, accepting the same would amount to compromising with the dignity of the institution.

Prima facie, it appears that with an intent to get the order in his favour, he had hired alleged contemner 2 who in his opinion was having all resources and was having more contact and he made arrangement in his meeting to get the number of Judge.

Apology

It is a very serious case and, in a time, where many litigants harbour a notion to win over and manoeuvre anything and everything by adopting even extra-legal means and whose only goal is the end result which they desire, regardless of the means adopted, the Court is of the clear opinion that acceptance of apology would vindicate such notion that one can get away with any outrageous conduct by merely tendering an apology.

It appears largely a design to procure liberty by an ill design and unpalatable means of contacting the sitting Judge of this Court right on the day when the matter is scheduled to get the order by hook or crook and the means adopted, as can be noticed, prima facie are such which would shake the edifice if permitted to go scot-free.

The glaring facts of the instant case would not permit this Court to accept the apology and discharge the notice as requested by the Counsels appearing for the parties as the Court cannot overlook the vital and fundamental aspect that such acceptance can mean this Court compromising the dignity of the institution and interference with the administration of justice.

Hence, Court is not persuaded in the totality of facts and circumstances, to accept such apology so tendered. [Suo Motu v. Vijay Arvindbhai Shah, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 1274, decided on 31-08-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: N. Anand Venkatesh, J., while addressing the contempt petition held that,

“The doctrine of merger does not make a distinction between an order of reversal, modification or an order of confirmation.”

Petitioners Counsel, N.G.R Prasad and Sathish Parasaran, Senior Counsel on behalf of the respondent, represented the parties in the present matter.

Maintainability of Contempt Petition

Court’s view in the present matter was that the Court need not venture into rendering its findings on the contentions raised on either side since the very maintainability of the Contempt Petition is in question.

Final orders were passed in the petition on 06-02-2020, respondent took the matter on appeal in W.A. No. 252 of 2020 and Division Bench dealt with the case on merits and partly allowed the Writ Appeal.

Once an order has been passed in the Writ Appeal and the order passed by the Single Judge is modified and the Writ Appeal is partly allowed, the order of the Single Judge merges with the order passed in the Writ Appeal.

The doctrine of merger does not make a distinction between an order of reversal, modification or an order of confirmation.

Reference to the Supreme Court decisions in Kunhayammed v. State of Kerala, (2000) 6 SCC 359 and Shanthi v. T.D. Vishwanathan, (2019) 11 SCC 419, was made.

Bench in view of the above decisions held that the contempt petition filed before the Single judge is not maintainable since the order of the Single judge has merged with the order passed by the Division Bench in the writ appeal.

Adding to the above, Court also stated that if the petitioner feels that the order has been violated or disobeyed, a Contempt Petition can be maintained only before the Division Bench and not before the Single Judge.

Hence, the Contempt Petition was closed.[All India Union Bank Officer v. Brajeshwar Sharma, Contempt Petition No. 570 of 2020, decided on 31-08-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Division Bench of Samit Gopal and Ramesh Sinha, JJ., while addressing the present petition made the following observation:

“…the freedom of speech cannot be extended to such extent which may be prejudicial to the National interest.”

Counsel for the petitioners: N.I. Jafri, Senior Advocate assisted by Khalid Mahmood, Counsel for the petitioners, Meena A.G.A appearing for the State.

Petitioner seeks quashing of the FIR by the present petition, which has been registered under Section 67 of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008, Sections 153-A, 153- B and 124-A of Penal Code, 1860.

Petitioners Counsel submitted that petitioner shared posts against the activities of the Government on her Facebook which is said to be an Anti-National activity and she is also alleged in making posts on Facebook against the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from 2014 to 2017 but she did not share posts after 2017, while the F.I.R. has been lodged in the year 2020.

Further, he adds that the petitioner had simply shared the Facebook posts on somebody else’s Facebook post which does not at all amount to spreading disharmony or feeling of enmity, hatred or ill will between different religions and is not prejudicial to National Integration and hence no offence is disclosed against the petitioner.

He also submits that whatever the petitioner has stated in her posts is her right to freedom of speech.

Decision

Bench on perusal of the above states that the material which has been posted by the petitioner appears to be of serious, one which may incite communal disharmony and the impugned FIR discloses cognizable offence against the petitioner, hence no interference is called for by this Court.

Present petition lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed.[Dr Imrana Khan v. State of U.P., Criminal Misc. WP No. 8632 of 2020, decided on 03-09-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: A Division Bench of Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, CJ and Subhasis Dasgupta, J. takes suo motu cognizance of the unnatural death of the elephants, bisons and other wildlife in the form of animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, etc. as well as the flora and fauna.

Media reports have highlighted that the unnatural death of Elephants along with Bisons are repeatedly happening in different parts of North Bengal.

Further, it has been stated that while there could be reasons attributable to behaviour of animals in the jungles, the possibility of electrocution and killing for gain or game cannot be ruled out.

Through the media reports itself, the Court states that it has received the inputs of the departments concerned.

Preservation of Forest Wealth

Bench observes that it is time for the judiciary to have a look at the matters touching the safety of the Jungle habitat and the forests, having particular regard to the interest of the wildlife in the form of animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, etc. as well as the flora and fauna including the preservation of forest wealth.

In continuation of the above Court stated that they are initially inclined to look at the condition of wildlife management situation in the Buxa Tiger Reserve and Jaldapara National Park in Alipurduar district, Gorumara National Park, Binnaguri in Jalpaiguri District.

“We need to consider the risk to animal life in the forests when they come in conflict with the movement of trains.”

In view of the above point, Court stated that the railway administration’s modality of protective intrusion into the forest area also deserves to be considered.

Hence, Chief Wildlife Warden, West Bengal shall place a report of the situation at present in regard to the above-stated issue.[Unnatural death of Elephants, Bisons and other wild animals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, etc. in North Bengal during the recent past, In Re., WPA No. 6904 of 2020, decided on 03-09-2020]


Y.J. Dastoor, ASG, for Union of India; Kishore Dutta, AG for the State and Siddhartha Banerjee, for the Court.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: A Division Bench of P.R. Ramachandra Menon, CJ and Parth Prateem Sahu, J., addressed an issue with regard to the alienation of Government Land.

Petitioner approached the Court challenging the course and proceedings being taken by the respondents in connection with the alienation of the Government Land, allegedly without any regard to the relevant provisions of law.

Further, it has been stated that the land in question is being allotted to a particular political party through respondents 3 and 4.

Petitioners Counsel, Sharad Mishra submitted that the property was allotted to the respondent concerned. At present, it has been sought to be allotted in the name of Pramod Sahi — Respondent 6 vide the resolution on a lease for 30 years.

Counsel further submits that, no prior sanction of the Government land has been obtained which is clearly in violation of Section 109 of the Municipalities Act, 1961.

As respondent 6 has been allotted a plot already for the purpose of setting up an office, by virtue of the clear mandate under Rule 3B (ii) (b) & (c) of the Rules, 1996, no further allotment shall be made again in their name.

Dy. Advocate General, Chandresh Shrivastava on behalf of the State submitted that the present petition is not maintainable, so far as the petitioner is having a private interest being the leader of a political party.

It was also pointed out that Rule 3B of the Act of 1996 enables allotment of the Government land to the political parties for the construction of their offices.

High Court on perusal of the above held that a prima facie case has been made out by the petitioner and hence the case stands admitted.

Bench has issued notices to the State Government and directed them to file their reply.

Matter to be posted for further consideration on 20-09-2020. [Bhanu Chandrakar v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2020 SCC OnLine Chh 183, decided on 01-09-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Harnaresh Singh Gill, J., rejected the bail application filed by the applicant-accused in connection with the FIR registered for offence punishable under Sections 22 and 25 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS).

The facts, in brevity, are that the intoxicant tablets were recovered from the car in which the applicant was sitting which led to the filing of the above stated FIR.

Counsel for the applicant, Manpreet Ghuman has contended that the recovery has been effectuated in the present case and the applicant has been languishing in police custody for the past seventeen months. Also, the challan has been presented along with the filing of the charges hence the purpose to keep the applicant behind bars has turned redundant.

Counsel for the respondent, M.S. Nagra vehemently objected to the bail application stating that the intoxicant tablets that were recovered in the present matter were of commercial quantity hence, it is not fit that the applicant be granted bail.

Upon careful perusal of the facts, circumstances and arguments advanced the Court observed that an accused does not get entitled to bail merely because of the fact that a challan has been presented or charges have been framed. It’s an inadequate ground especially in the present case where the amount of intoxicant tablets recovered from the applicant falls under the category of commercial quantity. Section 37 of the NDPS Act has specifically barred the grant of bail to an accused in case of a commercial quantity being involved.

In view of the above, Court rejected and dismissed the application for lack of merit. [Prem Singh v. State of Punjab, 2020 SCC OnLine P&H 1341, decided on 26-08-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Prathiba M. Singh, J., noted that Delhi University has now launched an online portal through which the students can obtain their digital degree certificates.

The above information came after a series of hearings in the matter.

Petitioners’ grievance was that they wished to pursue their post graduate medical education in USA and for the said purpose they required their degree certificates, however the same were not issued by Delhi University on the ground that the contract with printer had expired.

Court on 23-07-2020 had directed DU to come up with a protocol for issuance of digital degree certificates. On 4th August, Court appointed a committee for the said purpose.

The committee submitted a sample digital degree certificate and on perusal of the Court is satisfied.

Further, the Court added that the digital degree certificates are duly verified by two officials of the DU and digitally signed by the Authorised Officer of the DU, hence the same would satisfy the petitioners’ purpose.

Bench directed that the digital degree certificates for all the petitioners shall be issued by e-mail on or before 13-08-2020.

Adding to the above, Court noted that DU has now activated the online portal for issuance of digital degree certificates being www.digicerti.du.ac.in, wherein the students have to register themselves and give their details including their academic qualification, name of their college, etc. Upon the same being completed by the students, the digital degree certificates for the students shall be issued within a maximum period of one week, after completing the verification, etc.

Court also directed MEITY/Digilocker and DU to file an affidavit regarding what steps have been taken to ensure that the data is made available to students through DigiLocker.

Another aspect to be looked into by DU is whether mark sheets and transcripts of students can also be issued digitally.

Matter to be listed on 07-09-2020. [Dhritiman Ray v. University of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 977, decided on 07-08-2020]


Also Read:

Del HC | “No reason why DU should not adopt technically advanced methods”; Court suggests DU to issue degree certificates online through email

Del HC | Obtaining a degree should have been a cause of celebration, but turned into a nightmare; Court constitutes committee to finalise the process of issuing digital degree certificates to DU students

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Tripura High Court: Arindam Lodh, J.,  while terming the doctors as “frontline warriors”, directed the Investigating officer to conduct Test identification parade to ascertain the real offenders responsible for harassing a doctor.

Dr Sangita Chakrobarty was serving as District Health Officer, West Tripura, and was discharging her duties as, in-charge of distribution of COVID-19 patients. Five post-delivery mothers long with their new born babies, who were tested COVID-19 positive, were sent to a COVID Care Centre to ensure maximum safety and were kept under the surveillance of Dr Chakrobarty.

Some of the previously admitted older patients started protesting indiscriminately demanding that they would not allow entry of any new patients in the centre. The protests turned graver shortly and situation worsened. Dr Chakrobarty tried to calm down the protestors, however, they abused her, threw sexually coloured remarks, spat on her face and exhibited more of such uncivilised behaviour. Complaint against these patients was filed by the Director of Health Services, Government of Tripura.

The petitioner was one of the alleged protestors, and therefore, came before the High Court under Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for grant of anticipatory bail.

The counsel, Raju Datta, for petitioner argued that the name of the petitioner had not been transpired in the complaint, there was no accusation against him, and on this ground alone, the petitioner should be granted anticipatory bail. High Court raised a question before him, whether mere apprehension of arrest attracts the ingredients of Section 438 of CrPC to which Mr Datta, submitted that mere apprehension of an arrest does not attract the ingredients of Section 438 of CrPC for granting anticipatory bail.

Bench looked into the relevant sections of CrPC. and the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, to consider the bail application. He further explained the importance of doctors in society and especially during the time of COVID-19 when doctors have become the “first-line defence of the country”.

Adding to the above, Court labelled the protest which took place as “detrimental to the sentiment, safety and security of the Doctors and the entire society of our nation as well as of this state.” Therefore, keeping in mind the objective of the latest Epidemic Ordinance, he directed the Investigating Officer to record the confessional statement of the victim and her supporting staff under Section 164(5) of the CrPC.

Bench directed the Investigating officer to arrange for Test Identification parade to identify the real offenders. [Karnajit De v. State of Tripura,  2020 SCC OnLine Tri 353, decided on 30-07-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and Prateek Jalan, J., held that as and when any advocate approaches the Court with regard to the inclusion of “Advocates” in the definition of “Professionals” under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006, the same could be entertained on merits.

A Public Interest Litigation was filed wherein the grievance was the non-inclusion of the advocates in the definition of the word “professionals” under the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act, 2006.

Purpose of the petition was the welfare of the advocates as a class so that the benefits which flow from the inclusion under the Act, 2006 are made available to them as well.

Bench declined to entertain the petition.

Adding to its decision, Court stated that such PIL for the benefit of a class of persons can be preferred if the affected persons are unable to access the courts, e.g. the poorest of the poor, illiterates, children, and other classes of people who may be handicapped by ignorance, indigence, illiteracy or lack of understanding of the law.

Advocates are capable enough to approach the Court, if aggrieved.

Hence, as and when any advocate approaches the Court, decision on merits could be taken.[Abhijit Mishra v. UOI, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 927, decided on 29-07-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: Bharati Dangre, J., while addressing a bail application made the following observation:

There cannot be a straight jacket formula as to how a woman will react to an act of outrage by a male, since all women are borne into different circumstances in life, go through different things and faces, experience and react differently and necessarily each woman would turn out to be different from the other.

Applicant sought release on bail for being charged with offences under Sections 376, 354-A and 354-B of Penal Code, 1860.

Advocates who appeared in the present matter:

Dr Abhinav Chandrachud with Ms Khushboo Pathak and Mr Wasi Sayyed i/b Mr Prem Pandey for the Applicant.

Mr Ajay Patil, A.P.P. for the State.

Mr Satyam Nimbalkar for the intervener.

Forceful Sexual Intercourse

Complainant was acquainted with the present applicant aged 24 years since past 8 years. Complainant along with her friends went for an overnight Diwali party and somewhere past midnight she went to a bedroom to take rest and went off to sleep. Around 4,30 she was awakened with a feeling and found that someone was forcing himself upon her.

Complainant found that it Applicant who was forcing himself upon her and trying to have sexual intercourse with her by penetrating his penis into her vagina. At this juncture, the Complainant used all possible force to push him away and she was successful in thwarting the sexual overtures by the applicant.

Later, complainant went to find her friends which she couldn’t hence she returned back to the same room where, on not finding the applicant she went off to sleep, but yet again the applicant tried to repeat the same act to which complainant scolded him and left the room.

Distressed Mental Condition

Due to above stated incident, complainant went through mental trauma and was frightened. She narrated the whole episode to her mother and went to a psychiatrist, further she discussed the whole matter with her family and approached the Kondwa Police Station.

Offences were registered under Sections 376, 354 and 354-A of the Penal code, 1860.

Decision

In complainant’s statement, she stated that on applicant trying to establish physical contact with her she raised an alarm to which none of her friends responded, Court was astonished to the said statement.

Another point which seemed incomprehensible was the fact that she did not report the incident to anyone on the same day though she was amidst of the friends and went for an outing. The photographs placed on record would lead to an impression of her being cheerful in the company of the accused and one other friend.

Considering the material placed on record, Court was of the prima facie view that it does not constitute a reasonable ground for believing that the applicant is guilty of the offence charged.

The statements of two witnesses to the effect that the Applicant and the victim were found sleeping in the same room on the same bed will have to be put to test in a trial and this evidence will have to be appreciated cumulatively.

Further the Bench added that,

“…concept of consent of the victim or as to at what stage the consent was revoked and the act of physical indulgence was attempted to be restrained is a matter of trial.”

Court also quoted Warren Buffet,

“If a lady says No, she means may be” or in the expression of Rich Santos for Marie Claire – “Most of us guys have been there; the night ends, we invite the girls come home with us. When a girl says no, we launch into our second and third attempts. Sadly, these attempts are filled with incentives such as promise of guitar playing, of ‘fabulas chicken tenders at the dinner by my place’ or even promises: ‘I will definitely call on the next day’ etc; I have taken girls home after long discussions, changing Nos to Yeses”

above are the old hat tricks and the issue as to whether the girl really consented freely for a physical indulgence with her is to be searched by applying the new standards of modern life and the present social scenario.

On granting bail to the applicant, Court stated that,

Balancing deprivation of his liberty against the possibility of the trial being commencing and concluding in the immediate times is far beyond reality, particularly in the light of the huge galloping pendency which the judicial system would be staring at, at the end of the Covid pandemic. Incarceration of a young boy for an indefinite period would be antithesis to the concept of liberty.

Hence, applicant was granted bail with stringent conditions. [Jitin Mothukiri v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 821 , decided on 21-07-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Division Bench of Govind Mathur, CJ and Saumitra Dayal Singh, J., took suo moto cognizance of reports wherein it has been stated that the minor girls in Chitrakoot are forced to being entered into immoral activities.

Practicing Advocate at Supreme Court of India, Dr Abhishek Atrey raised concerns with regard to minor girls being forced to enter immoral activities against meager wages, through an email which was treated as a Public Interest Litigation.

Petitioner cited a report published in the India Today Magazine along and also broadcasted on India Today News Live TV wherein it was stated that in the Chitrakoot District minor girls were being forced to enter immoral activities against meager wages. Allegations have also levelled pertaining to violation of Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.

Taking note of the above, Court directed the District Magistrate, Chitrakoot and Chairman, District Legal Services Authority to inquire into the matter as referred in the report given by India Today Magazine.

Separate reports have been asked to be submitted by District Magistrate as well as Chairman, District Legal Services Authority, Chitrakoot to the High Court on or before 28-07-2020.

Petition is to be listed on 28-07-2020. [Suo Moto v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine All 886, decided on 22-07-2020]