Karnataka High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

   

Karnataka High Court: In a case where an arrest was made wrongfully because the name of the father of the arrested person was similar to the name of the person named in the warrant, Suraj Govindaraj, J. directed Director General of Police to issue suitable Guidelines and/or Standard Operating Procedure as to what are the steps to be taken by the arresting officer before arresting a person including the verification of identity.

The company application was filed under Rules 6 and 9 of Companies (Court) Rules, 1959 for dropping the proceedings against N.G.N. Raju s/o Ningegowda on the grounds that he is not the Ex-Director of the Company in liquidation as on verification it was found that the applicant in the application is not Raju N.G.N., who is the Ex- Director of the Company in liquidation. The only reason why the applicant had been arrested is that the name of his father was similar to the name of the person named in the warrant.

The Court noted that even though the arrestee had disputed the applicability of the warrant to him, his identification was not cross-checked and verified resulting in an innocent person being arrested. Thus, by arresting a person whose arrest was not authorized there is a violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The Court observed that if Guidelines or Standard Operating Procedure are already issued to cater to this situation, training in this regard to be provided to all arresting officers.

However, in case it is not issued, the Court directed the Director General of Police to issue suitable Guidelines and/or Standard Operating Procedure as to what are the steps to be taken by the arresting officer before arresting a person including the verification of identity. The same to be issued within 4 weeks from the date of receipt of the copy of this order.

The Court, considering that the arrestee was put to loss of liberty and reputation, directed the State to pay Rs 5 lakhs as compensation which is to be paid within 8 weeks from the date of order.

[Ningaraju v. Official Liquidator of India Holiday (Pvt) Ltd., Company Application No 96 of 2022, decided on 07-07-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

K S Mahadevan, Advocate, for the Applicant;

K Ananda, Advocate, for the Respondent.


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Karnataka High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

   

Karnataka High Court: M Nagaprasanna, J. quashed the proceedings initiated against a public servant working as an Executive Engineer in the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited, (‘the petitioner') as the entire process initiated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (‘ACB') is contrary to the law. This is due to no preliminary inquiry being conducted as was necessary, moreover, source information report was prepared in haste without following necessary steps and disproportionate assets being alleged are displayed on the source report as zero. The dates in the present case are of significance.

A crime was registered against one J. Jnanendra Kumar on 15-03-2022 in connection with which the house of one Munavar Pasha was searched as preliminary enquiry conducted by the ACB. While searching the house of Munavar Pasha two travel bags and one carton box, neither belonging to Munavar Pasha nor J. Jnanendra Kumar were found. They allegedly belonged to the petitioner. The ACB immediately prepared a source report, registered an FIR and conducted searches in the house and office of the petitioner on 17-03-2022. The house of the petitioner was searched on the basis of FIR registered on 16-03-2022 for offences punishable under Section 13(1)(b) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 Act (‘PCA, 1988') after drawing up a source information report which also was prepared on 16-03-2022. The proceedings emanating from this FIR form the subject matter of the instant petition.

What is a Source Information Report (‘S.I.R')?

A source information report is a report which forms the basis to charge a public servant with Section 13(1) PCA, 1988 which deals with criminal misconduct, and being in possession of assets disproportionate to his known source of income. Thus, the report in corruption parlance is a source information report. The preparation of S.I.R is the responsible work of a responsible officer i.e., Inspector of Police, under the guidance and supervision of a superior police officer, a Deputy Superintendent of Police and it has to be drawn up after calculating entire period of service of a public servant and arrive at a conclusion albeit, prima facie, that he has amassed wealth disproportionate to his known source of income.

The Court noted that on perusal of the SIR, the column total years of service of the petitioner reads ‘not yet ascertained’. Therefore, the ACB did not even know how many years of service a public servant has put in. The check period which is the most important ingredient of a source information report is left vague by stating ‘from the date of joining service to till date'. Wife's designation, salary particulars, Annual Property Returns (‘APR') etc. are not even looked into. The official income that is petitioner's salary and petitioner's wife's salary read as ‘yet to be ascertained’. The value of total property is mentioned, and the percentage of disproportionate income is zero as it is left completely blank. It is this source information report that becomes a FIR under Section 13(1)(b) and 13(2) PCA, 1988. Section 13(1)(b) PCA, 1988 deals with criminal misconduct against a public servant. The basis being the source information report, it is trite that the report assumes a great significance while imputing allegations of criminal misconduct.

Thus, placing reliance on P. Sirajuddin v. State of Madras, (1970) 1 SCC 595, Lalita Kumari v. Government of UP, (2014) 2 SCC 1 and Charansingh v. State of Maharashtra, (2021) 5 SCC 469, the Court observed that the Anti-Corruption Bureau which performs a very significant role in checking corruption amongst public servants cannot indulge itself in such casual act of drawing up the source information report on the instant, registering the FIR and conducting the search. The entire narration of the allegation which would become criminal misconduct against the petitioner is on the basis of the records found in somebody else's house in connection with someone else's crime. Such a source information report against the petitioner is no report in the eye of law.

The Court concluded that there was no preliminary inquiry worth the name that was even conducted by the ACB in the case of the petitioner as every act of the ACB i.e., preparation of the source information report, registration of FIR and conduct of search on the house of the petitioner have all happened on one single day — 24 hours.

The Court thus held it was a fit case, where “the Court cannot turn a blind eye to the plea of petitioner for exercise of jurisdiction of this Court under Section 482 Criminal Procedure Code and obliterate registration of crime against the petitioner.”

[K R Kumar Naik v. State, WP No. 7911 of 2022, decided on 26-06-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Satish K, Advocate, for the Petitioner;

Manmohan PN SPl. PP, Advocate, for State.


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Karnataka High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

   

Karnataka High Court: A Division Bench of PS Dinesh and Anant Pamana Hegde, JJ. rejected the appeal filed by Commissioner of Central Tax and considered that Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (‘CESTAT') was right in dropping the demand for extended period mainly on the ground that the details of trading were available in the balance sheet of the respondent during the relevant period and that there was much confusion during the relevant period as to whether credit could be availed in respect of trading activities.

ABB Limited (‘respondent') was engaged in the business of manufacture and clearance of turbo chargers, electric motor, transformer etc. falling under Chapter 85 of Central Excise Tariff Act, 1985 (‘CETA, 1985') and provides taxable output services such as management, maintenance, repairs etc. and for the purpose of payment of service tax they have obtained service tax registration.

Based on the intelligence report, a show cause notice was issued stating that apart from manufacturing, respondent was also engaged in trading of electrical goods under the trade name ‘ABB' and it had wrongly utilized the CENVAT credit in relation to the trading activity and was further called upon to show cause as to why Rs.5,68,00,000/- should not be treated as wrongful availment of CENVAT credit and recovered from it under Rule 14 of the CENVAT Credit Rules, 2004 read with proviso to Section 73 of the Finance Act, 1994 and proviso to Section 11-A of the Central Excise Act, 1944.

A reply was filed by the respondent holding that the CENVAT credit was inadmissible for trading activities, and it was disallowed. Further directions were issued for appropriation of the said sum in the CENVAT account, and it was paid under protest. On appeal, the Customs, Excise & Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (‘CESTAT') held that there was no suppression of facts on the part of the assessee with an intent to evade payment of tax and it confirmed the demand only for normal period i.e., disallowed appropriation of the payment made under protest and interest at applicable rate and penalty of equal sum holding that there was no evasion of payment of tax and set-aside the demand for the extended period of limitation and confirmed the demand only for the normal period. The penalty relating to the normal period was also set aside during the relevant period on the grounds that there was much confusion on the availment of credit for trading activities. Aggrieved by the same, the revenue ‘appellant' has filed the instant appeal.

Counsel for appellant Adv. Jeevan J Neeralgi, submitted that the assessee did not declare its trading activities in the returns and based on the intelligence report, the department learnt about the trading activities of the assessee. The findings recorded by the CESTAT in its order that the department was well aware of the trading activity of the respondent are factually incorrect. Though the said finding is a matter of fact, since it is perverse on the face of it, it amounts to a question of law.

Counsel for respondent Adv. Ravi Raghavan submitted that the show cause notice issued was on the basis of the balance sheet wherein all activities of the assessee were truly declared. Therefore, there was no suppression of material facts. Further, it is trite law that when an assessee has acted in good faith, invoking an extended period of limitation is not tenable.

Reliance was placed on Asst. Commissioner of GST v. Shriram Value Services Pvt. Ltd., (2019) 368 ELT 928 Mad. wherein it was observed

“it is clear that the position was clarified by the Government by insertion of Explanation only with effect from 1-4-2011 that the trading activity will be Exempted Services. The Explanation is clarificatory in nature and can be held to be applicable even for the past period. Thus, at the relevant period of time. Viz., from April 2009 to March 2011, the Assessee was, obviously, under bona fide belief in view of the conflicting decisions of the Tribunals during that period and taking the trading activity as Exempted Services, availed the CENVAT Credit which is sought to be reversed and recovered by the Department invoking the extended period of limitation. Such a bona fide belief cannot be held to be done with ulterior purpose for evading the Duty and therefore, the extended period of limitation would not be available to the Revenue Authority in view of the aforesaid decision rendered by the Hon'ble Supreme Court”.

The Court held that the substantial questions raised by the Revenue are answered in favour of the assessee. Hence, the appeal was dismissed with no costs. dismissed. No costs.”

[Commissioner of Central Tax v. ABB Limited, Central Excise Appeal No. 16 of 2021, decided on 01-06-2022]

*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Karnataka High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court (Dharwad Bench): Suraj Govindaraj, J. while deciding a matter regarding handcuffing of an accused during arrest, held that “handcuffing should be by way of last resort and such handcuffing should mainly be only for the reason of whether there is a possibility of the accused and/or under trial prisoner escaping custody, causing harm to himself or causing harm to others.

Some disputes had arisen between a law student studying in Shikshan Prasrak Mandals Law College at Raibag (‘the petitioner’) and Babu Annappa regarding a mortgage deed executed in respect of agricultural lands belonging to the petitioner. Due to this, five criminal cases were filed against the petitioner for offences under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 on account of dishonour of cheques issued in pursuance of the said mortgage. Pursuant to this, the petitioner was arrested by the Respondent 3- Police Sub-Inspector, Ankali Police Station after a non-bailable warrant was issued Thereafter, he was allegedly paraded with handcuffs in Ankali Town and later on was taken in a bus in handcuffs from Ankali to Chikodi Police Station, without being produced before the Court.

Later on, the petitioner’s bail application was rejected, and he was remanded to judicial custody. He appealed the order of conviction which was thereby stayed The petitioner alleged that despite the conviction being stayed, he was repeatedly harassed by the police as they would illegally arrest or detain him, visit his house, and threaten him. Thus, the petitioner filed the present writ petition seeking relief in nature of compensation under Articles 226 and 227 of Constitution of India, for the damage caused to his life and reputation due to illegal detention and illegal handcuffing even prior to the petitioner being proven guilty.

Issues framed by the Court:

1. Whether the accused who is arrested can be handcuffed? If so, under what circumstances?

2. If there is any violation by the Arresting Officer, would the accused be eligible for compensation?

3. On what basis is the compensation required to be determined and paid?

4. Whether the accused suffered damage to his life and reputation or not? If yes, then what amount of compensation should be awarded?

Relevant Statutory Provisions regarding Arrest and Handcuffing

A perusal of Section 46 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ‘CrPC’ indicates that a person can be arrested by touching or confining the body of the person to be arrested, unless there is a submission to custody by word or action. It is only when there is a resistance to the arrest or evasion of arrest that the Police Officer may use all means necessary to effect the arrest.

Section 49 CrPC indicates that a person arrested shall not be subjected to more restraint than is necessary to prevent his escape. Therefore, it is the requirement of law that the restraint has to be reasonable and only to the extent that the person does not escape from custody.

Section 220 of Penal Code, 1860 ‘IPC’ indicates that if a person who has legal authority to confine a person, confines such a person contrary to law, he shall be punishable with imprisonment, which may extend to seven years or with fine or with both.

Sections 831, 832, 833, 834 and 835 of the Karnataka Police Manual provide for instructions for using handcuffs. A perusal of the said provisions would indicate that the prisoner should not be normally handcuffed, unless he is violent or disorderly or circumstances necessitate such handcuffing. In the event of an accused is handcuffed, the facts and reasons for it is required to be recorded in the Station House Dairy.

Analysis and Findings:

Reliance was placed on Prem Shankar Shukla v. Delhi Administration, (1980) 3 SCC 526 and Antonio Sebastiao Mervyn Degbertde Piedade Pacheco v. State of Goa 2008 (6) AIR Bom R 585 and observed that normally during arrest an accused cannot be handcuffed. Only under extreme or exceptional circumstances, such as violent tendencies or the possibility of escape, can an accused be handcuffed. Furthermore, there are some requirements to be fulfilled by the authorities in such a case:

  • When an accused is handcuffed, the Arresting Officer is required to record the reasons for handcuffing, which would have to sustain the scrutiny of the Court.

  • Whenever an accused is produced before the Court of law, it would be required of the Court to enquire if the accused had been handcuffed or not and if handcuffed, to ascertain the reasons recorded by the Arresting Officer on the justifiability on the same.

Thus, the court held that “handcuffing should be by way of last resort and such handcuffing should mainly be only for the reason of whether there is a possibility of the accused and/or under trial prisoner escaping custody, causing harm to himself or causing harm to others. The nature of offences and the punishment prescribed for the said offence are not relevant for the matter of handcuffing.

Dealing with the issue regarding compensation, reliance was placed on D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal (1997) 1 SCC 416 and Nilabati Behera v. State of Orissa (1993) 2 SCC 746 and observed that “if there is a violation by the Arresting officer in putting handcuffs on the petitioner, the petitioner would be eligible for compensation”. Thus, in the present case, the State is responsible for compensating the petitioner and the amount of damage is to be calculated on the basis of any evidence and documents produced by the petitioner.

Regarding the third issue, the court held that there are a few considerations that have to be made while awarding the compensation, these considerations are as follows:

  • The court should take into consideration the loss/damage that might have been caused to the person who has been handcuffed.

  • The court should also consider the imposition of compensation as a deterrent to the Police Officers who do not discharge their duties in a proper manner and/or violate the applicable law. Additionally, although the State would be required to pay the compensation, the State would be at liberty to recover the same from the concerned defaulter(s).

Thus, the court observed that “Compensation which is required to be paid as aforesaid being a Public Law Remedy, there cannot be a straitjacket formula which could determine the amount of compensation that has to be paid. Be that as it may. The compensation which is required to be paid is by applying the principles of strict liability.

Lastly, the court held that the evidence provided by the petitioner does not sufficiently prove that the petitioner was paraded in handcuffs and his reputation has been as immensely damaged as he claims. Thus, for the procedural irregularity of handcuffing, the petitioner was awarded Rs. 2 lakhs as compensation as opposed to Rs 25 lakhs which was originally demanded.

[Suprit Ishwar Divate v. State of Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 1133 decided on 10-06-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Santosh P. Pujari, Advocate, for the Petitioner;

Praveen K. Uppar, Advocate, for the Respondent.

Karnataka High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

   

Karnataka High Court: Hemant Chandangoudar J. quashed the FIR against accused 5 being the woman who had illicit relations with the husband of the complainant, for the offence punishable under Section 498-A Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC').

An FIR was filed by R2, being the legally wedded wife of accused 1 (‘the husband') for the offence punishable under Section 498-A, 506, 504 and 34 of IPC and Section 3 and 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961. The FIR was filed against accused 1 to 4 being family members of the husband and accused 5 being the woman alleged of having illicit relations with the husband.

Counsel for accused 5, in this case being the petitioner, submitted that the allegation made against the petitioner does not constitute the commission of the offences alleged and therefore, the registration of the FIR for the aforesaid offences was impermissible.

The Court noted that the only allegation against the petitioner — accused 5 is that she is having an illicit relationship with the accused 1 who is the husband of the respondent 2- complainant. Thus, the Court held that “this allegation does not constitute the commission of the offences alleged against the petitioner — accused 5 and in the absence of any essential ingredients so as to constitute the commission of the said offences, registration of the FIR against accused 5 is without any substance.”

[Shilpa SC v. State of Karnataka, Criminal Petition No. 2743 of 2017, decided on 02-06-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Nagaraj G., Advocate, for the petitioner;

S. Vishwamurthy, Advocate, for R1;

Babu Reddy, Advocate, for R2.


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Karnataka High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: M Nagaprasanna, J. allowed the petition filed seeking further cross examination of the child victim as the victim has now attained 18 years of age and the rigour given under S. 33(5) Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (‘POCSO Act’ ) is not applicable now.

The petitioner was alleged to have indulged in acts which had become an offence punishable under Sections 4 and 6 POCSO Act and Section 376 of Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’). FIR was thereby filed, and the matter is pending consideration before the Sessions Judge. The petitioner filed an application under Section 311 Criminal Procedure Code (‘CrPC’) seeking recall of the victim for further cross-examination which was rejected. Aggrieved by this, an instant petition was filed.

The Court observed that in terms of Section 311 CrPC, a Court may at any stage of any inquiry, trial or other proceeding, recall a witness for re-examination, if his evidence appears to be essential for a just decision in the case.

Placing reliance on V N Patil v. K Niranjan Kumar, (2021) 3 SCC 661 wherein it was observed that the aim of every Court is to discover the truth. Section 311 CrPC is one of such provisions which strengthen the arms of a court in its effort to unearth the truth except where applications are filed as an abuse of the process of law. Such discretion will have to be exercised by the Court.

The Court noted that in terms of Section 33(5) POCSO Act, the Special Court must ensure that the child is not called repeatedly to testify in the Court. A reading of Section 33(5) POCSO Act, would clearly indicate the intention behind such enactment that in genuine cases the child-victim is not harassed. That would not mean that the accused can be deprived of his right to cross-examination in a trial, particularly, where offence punishable is beyond ten years. The mandatory nature to recall the witness for cross examination, if the evidence appears to be essential, is always necessary for a just decision in a case, except in cases where repeated applications under Section 311 CrPC are filed frivolously.

The Court further noted that the other factor that is necessary to be noticed is, the current age of the victim once the victim crosses 18 years of age, the rigour of Section 33(5) POCSO Act gets diluted, as it is the child-victim who shall not be called for cross examination or re-examination repeatedly. The word ‘child’ is defined under Section 2(1)(d) POCSO Act, to mean a person below 18 years of age. On the child reaching 18 years of age, the rigour under Section 33(5) POCSO Act gets diluted and sequentially, will not become a bar for seeking further cross-examination of the victim under Section 311 of the CrPC.

The Court held “the victim ought to have been permitted to be cross-examined by accepting the application seeking to recall the witness”.

[Mahammad Ali Akbar v. State of Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 1048, decided on 06-06-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Mr Syed Muzakkir Ahmed, Advocate, for the petitioner;

Mrs KP Yashodha, Advocate, for the respondent.


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Karnataka High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: M Nagaprasanna J. allowed the petition and directed to dispose the application seeking maintenance, within a period of two weeks from the date of receipt of the copy of this order.

The petitioner filed an application invoking Section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (‘DV Act’ ) on several allegations which are not under challenge before the Court. The petitioner filed this application seeking a direction by issuance of a writ in the nature of mandamus to the Metropolitan Magistrate Traffic Court-III, Bangalore to dispose of the interlocutory/main application filed under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 in a Criminal Miscellaneous application within three months.

Counsel for petitioner contended that every application accompanying the main application should be decided by the learned Magistrate within three months from the date of its presentation in terms of Section 12 DV Act.

The Court observed that sub-section (5) of Section 12 DV Act mandates that every application filed under the Act shall be disposed of by the Court within sixty days (60 days) of the date of its presentation. The order sheet reveals that the application was filed on 12-11-2021 seeking maintenance but 60 days have passed by yet the order sheet does not demonstrate any consideration of the application.

The Court thus held “the petitioner is entitled to a mandamus at the hands of this Court or a direction to the Magistrate to dispose of the application for maintenance expeditiously.” [Rajamma H v. Thimmaiah V, 2022 SCC OnLine KAR 1009, decided on 09-06-2022]

*EDITORIAL NOTE:

For disposal of application filed under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005,  Section 12(5)  mandates the time limit of 60 days from the date of presentation and not 6 months.


Appearances

For petitioner- Mr Ragavendra Gowda K. and Mr Mohan Kumar D.

 


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Karnataka High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: The Division Bench of S. Sunil Dutt Yadav and K.S. Hemalekha, JJ. allowed the petition in part and dissolved the marriage between the parties on account of mental cruelty for levelling unsubstantiated claims against husband by the wife. 

  

The present appeal was preferred by the husband assailing the judgment and decree passed by Principal Judge, Family Court, Dharwad, whereby the petition filed by the husband under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 seeking decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty was dismissed. The grounds for divorce are regarding allegations levelled against him that the husband is impotent in front of relatives which amounts to mental agony and cruelty to the husband. 

  

The issue under consideration is whether the allegation made by the wife that the husband is impotent and not competent to perform matrimonial obligations has resulted in mental cruelty as envisaged under Section 13(1)(ia) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 or not. 

  

The Court observed that cruelty includes both physical and mental cruelty as enumerated under the Section 13(1) (ia) Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, and cruelty would require the assessment of the cumulative effect of the attending facts and circumstances established by evidence on record. 

  

The Court noted

No prudent woman would think of making allegation of impotency in the presence of others, rather she would take necessary steps to see that the reputation of the husband is not affected and not thrown out in public.

  

The Court relied on G Padmini v. G Sivananda Babu, 1999 SCC OnLine AP 678 wherein it was observed that putting unnecessary allegations on the husband to not being able to bear children, without presenting any proof, will lead to intense mental agony and anguish for the husband. 

  

The Court also observed, though Section 13 Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 does not consider the impotency as the ground for divorce, the false allegation of impotency being made by the wife would definitely cause mental disharmony and this would amount to mental cruelty within the meaning of Section 13(1)(ia) of the Act, and enables the husband to seek divorce on the ground of cruelty. 

  

The Supreme Court held in Pramila Bhatia v. Vijay Kumar Bhatia, 2000 SCC OnLine Raj 54, as no evidence having been specifically adduced by the wife to prove that the husband is actually impotent; the allegation would remain only an allegation and has the effect of lowering the dignity of the husband, which amounts to cruelty. 

  

The Court held “in light of the allegations having not been proved to be genuine, and calling the husband an impotent without legally substantiating the same, itself would amount to cruelty within the meaning of Section 13(ia) of the Act and the trial Court was not justified in holding that the cruelty asserted by the husband is not proved. Thus, we are of the considered opinion that the judgment and decree of the Family Court needs to be set aside and the petition filed by the husband under Section 13(1) (ia) of the Act needs to be allowed granting a decree of divorce in favour of the husband.”

[X v Y, MFA No. 10265 of 2022, decided on 31-05-2022] 


Appearances:
For the appellant:  Mr. Srinand A. Pachhapure 

For the respondent: Mr. S.R. Hegde 


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief. 

Appointments & TransfersNews


Karnataka High Court


The President appoints Shri Cheppudira Monnappa Poonacha, to be an Additional Judge of the Karnataka High Court, for a period of two years, with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office.


 


Allahabad High Court


The President appoints Shri Syed Waiz Mian, to be an Additional Judge of the Allahabad High Court, with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office till 04.01.2023.

 


Ministry of Law and Justice

[Notification dt. 8-6-2022]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: Noting that the nature of work assigned to a woman cannot be carried from home, R Devdas, J., held that, as per Section 5(5) of the Maternity Benefits Act, 1961 work from home after availing the maternity benefit could be given only in a case where the nature of work assigned to the women is such that it is possible for her to work from home.

Factual Background


The petitioner delivered a baby girl in August 2020 and was on maternity leave till February 2021.

Further, the petitioner contended that during the second wave of COVID-19 and the lockdown announced by the Government of Karnataka, the petitioner was given benefit along with other employees, to work from home during the lockdown period.

Respondent-Organization did not deny the fact that the petitioner’s attendance was regularized. However, when the petitioner did not join duty after the sanctioned leave was exhausted, the impugned communication was issued to the petitioner stating that she was staying away from duty without sanction of leave and overstay without sanction of leave would be treated as unauthorized absence.

It was also informed to the petitioner that disciplinary action could be initiated against her for willful absence from duty after expiry of the leave period sanctioned by the Management.

Petitioner pointed out the benefits that were required to be provided to a woman under maternity, and two official Memoranda, which provided for grant of child care leave to women employees having minor children below the age of 18 years.

Analysis, Law and Decision


High Court expressed that the petitioner was not able to point out any specific provision of law or rules that would mandate the respondent-organisation to grant childcare leave facility as is available to the Central Government employees, to the employees of STARC.

Bench made reference to Section 5(5) of the Maternity Benefits Act, 1961, it was evident from the said provision that maternity benefits such as work from after availing the maternity benefit could be given only in cases where the nature of work assigned to the women is such that it is possible for her to work from home.

It was noted that the premises of respondent-Organisation was sensitive and involved with risk due to usage of chemicals and toxic gases and the employees working were involved in research work which was both sensitive as well as complicated. Hence, the said work of the petitioner cannot be carried on from home.

During the proceedings, this Court noted that by the impugned communications issued by the respondent-Organisation, the petitioner warned about unauthorized absence and the consequence of willful disobedience.

The Bench stated that the Court cannot lose sight of the fact that during the period of delivery and post-delivery, there were two serious waves of COVID-19 pandemic, firstly, which commenced during the month of March 2020 and for a prolonged period lockdown was announced by the State Government. The second wave commenced from April 2021. This Court would take judicial notice of the fact that there was a third wave in the month commenced from November-December 2021.

Therefore, if the petitioner was unable to join the duties, the respondent-Organisation was required to have a sympathetic view toward the petitioner.

High Court opined that although the prayer made by the petitioner regarding the grant of child care leave could not be granted, however, liberty was reserved to the petitioner to make fresh representation regarding the unauthorized absence and seek regularization of the same.

In view of the above, the petition was accordingly disposed of. [Prachi Sen v. Ministry of Defence, WP No. 22979 of 2021 (S-RES), decided on 3-3-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Beena P.K., Advocate

For the Respondent: H. Jayakara Shetty, CGC For R1 to R4

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: B.M. Shyam Prasad, J., held that there cannot be a complete adjudication of the petitioner’s rights unless the third parties are also heard.

In the present matter, the petitioner was a society registered under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960 and first respondent was a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956 engaged in the business of real estate development and construction of multi-storied apartments.

Further, the second respondent was a company registered under Section 25 of the Companies Act.

What is the Dispute?

The dispute was with regard to handing over vacant possession of certain apartments constructed in the property situated at Norris Road, Municipal ward No. 76, Richmond Town, Bengaluru. [Subject Property]

The said building was constructed by the first respondent in performance of the terms of the Joint Development Agreement and the Supplemental Agreement of even date. The said agreements were executed and registered amongst the petitioner and respondents.

 The J.D. Agreement was executed contemporaneously with a Power of Attorney. The said agreement provided for the resolution of disputes/difference amongst the parties.

As per the terms of the JD Agreement, the second respondent was the owner of the subject property with the petitioner being described as the Administrative Trustee managing the affairs of the subject property, and the revenue records for the subject property were made in the respondent’s name.

A dispute arose between the parties with respect to the allotment of the apartments. Hence the petitioner had filed a petition under Sections 11(4) and 11(6) of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Firstly, the High Court referred to the Supreme Court decision in Vidya Drolia v. Durga Trading Corpn., (2021) 2 SCC 1.

The respondent’s objection to the reference of the dispute to arbitration was on multiple grounds such as that the dispute was essentially between two trusts, because of the fraud that was played by the first respondent in tandem with Sri Michael Sreenivasan, the dispute was time-barred, the parties did not agree upon mandatory arbitration and the dispute could not be just amongst the parties to the present petition.

Further, the respondent contended that certain third parties entered into the shoes of the petitioner with the assignment of their respective rights in the subject apartments in favour of third parties and therefore, the claim was non-arbitrable.

High Court stated that the proceeding under Section 11 of the Arbitration Act is not a stage for the Courts to enter into a mini-trial.

It emerged from the facts that the dispute was about the delivery of 3 apartments. The petitioner and the respondents entered into MOUs with third persons agreeing to assign their rights in the said apartments in favour of Kaveri Bai and Sudhir Jaganathan Kamath, who were not parties to the present petition.

It was added that the petitioner was categorical in his pleadings in the application under Section 9 of the Arbitration Act that such MOUs had been executed in favour of the above-said. The petitioner while admitting creation of third-party rights, proposed adjudication of its right to recover possession of the subject apartments in the absence of the third parties.

In this Court’s view, the dispute encompassed the question of facts which would have to be necessarily decided with due opportunity to the third parties who will not be parties to the arbitration proceedings.

Bench noted that, the petitioner did not even assert that the third parties would be bound by the arbitration clause as contained in the JD Agreement. The larger questions of facts involved the third-party rights, which were to be decided and such third parties would not even be parties to the arbitration proceedings.

Lastly, the High Court concluded that, respondents must be protected from being forced to arbitrate when the matter was demonstrably non-arbitrable.

Hence, since the dispute was non-arbitrable, parties must necessarily work out the remedies in properly instituted proceedings with the third parties. [South Indian Biblical Seminary v. Indraprastha Shelters (P) Ltd., Civil Miscellaneous Petition No. 129 of 2020, decided on 28-3-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Joshua Hudson Samuel, Advocate

For the Respondents: Navakesh Batra, Advocate and B.R. Dhanalakshmi, Advocate for R1; V.B. Shivakumar, Advocate for R2

Karnataka High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: M Nagaprasanna J. allowed the petition and quashed the proceedings in the case pending on the file of the Civil Judge and JMFC, Devanahalli, Bengaluru.

The facts of the case are such that an Assistant Immigration Officer at Bangalore International Airport caught 3 Indian nationals, who were intending to travel to Kaula Lampur by an Indigo flight being accompanied by another passenger by name Rajkumar – the petitioner. The passengers revealed that they were being taken by the petitioner to Kula Lampur for employment purposes on tourist VISAs. It was also informed that the petitioner was introduced to them by another agent named Kiran, based in Amritsar. Few of the persons who were questioned also indicated that they have paid some amounts to Rajkumar and others. Based upon the aforesaid interrogation and incident, a complaint came to be registered against the petitioner for offence punishable under Section 370 of the IPC. Aggrieved by the proceedings, the present petition was filed challenging the proceedings registered for the offences punishable under Section 370 of the IPC.

The Court after perusing complaint, charge sheet and Section 370 of the IPC observed that the petitioner had indulged himself in human trafficking and thus the soul of the provision is exploitation. There is no allegation in the complaint made by any victim alleging exploitation by the petitioner. The complaint, investigation and wavering statements of the persons, who accompanied the petitioner created suspicion in the mind of the Immigration Officer. The suspicion was on account of the statement of handing over of some cash to the petitioner by the people who accompanied him. This cannot in my considered view, be enough circumstance to prosecute the petitioner for offence punishable under Section 370 of the IPC for human trafficking.

The Court thus held “the petitioner would be acquitted for want of evidence, that would be an appropriate case where this Court would in exercise of its inherent jurisdiction under Section 482 of Cr.P.C., obliterate such proceedings.”

[Rajkumar v. State of Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 660, decided on 23-03-2022]


Appearances

For petitioners- MRC Manohar

For respondents- K P Yashoda


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Dismayed as to how all of a sudden that too in the middle of an academic term the issue of hijab is generated and blown out of proportion, Court remarked that some ‘unseen hands’ are at work to engineer social unrest and disharmony in the way ‘hijab imbroglio’ unfolded.


Let’s breakdown the Hijab Case in the simplest way:


What was the issue?

The whole issue was the aftermath of a Government Order dated 5th February, 2022 issued under the Karnataka Education Act 1983 by the State of Karnataka.


What did the Government Order state?

The order directs the College Development Committees all over the State to prescribe ‘Student Uniform’, presumably in terms of Rule 11 of Karnataka Educational Institutions (Classification, Regulation & Prescription of Curricula, etc.) Rules, 1995.


What did the interim order of the Court state?

While expressing that, “Endless agitations and closure of educational institutions indefinitely are not happy things to happen”, the Bench of Ritu Raj Awasthi, CJ and Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi, JJ., restrained all the students regardless of their religion or faith from wearing saffron shawls (Bhagwa), scarfs, hijab, religious flags or the like within the classroom, until further orders.


What did the detailed Judgment pronounce today, consist of?

Four Key questions were dealt with, the first one was:

Q.1 Whether wearing Hijab is a part of essential religious practice in the Islamic faith protected under Article 25 of the Constitution?

  • Since ages, India is a secular country. For India, there is no official religion, inasmuch as it is not a theocratic State. The State does not extend patronage to any particular religion and thus, it maintains neutrality in the sense that it does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of religious identities per se.
  • Essential Religious Practices should associate with Constitutional values. The person seeking refuge under the umbrella of Article 25 of the Constitution has to demonstrate not only essential religious practice but also its engagement with the constitutional values.
  • Holy Quran does not mandate the wearing of a Hijab or Headgear for Muslim women.

“…at the most is a means to gain access to public places and not a religious end in itself. It was a measure of women enablement and not a figurative constraint.”

  • What is not religiously made obligatory therefore cannot be made a quintessential aspect of the religion through public agitations or by the passionate arguments in courts.
  • It is not that if the alleged practice of wearing hijab is not adhered to, those not wearing hijab become the sinners, Islam loses its glory and it ceases to be a religion.

Therefore, wearing of hijab by Muslim Women does not form a part of essential religious practice in Islamic faith.


Q.2 Whether there is power to prescribe dress code in educational institutions?

  • No reasonable mind can imagine a school without a uniform.
  • The power to prescribe uniform as of necessity inheres in every school subject to all just exceptions.

“…it is impossible to instill the scientific temperament which our Constitution prescribes as a fundamental duty vide Article 51A(h) into the young minds so long as any propositions such as wearing of hijab or bhagwa are regarded as religiously sacrosanct and therefore, not open to question. They inculcate secular values amongst the students in their impressionable & formative years.”

“It is nobody’s case that the dress code is sectaraian.”

  • Stating that the Court has no quarrel with petitioners’ essential proposition that what one desires to wear is a facet of one’s autonomy and that one’s attire is one’s expression, but the same is subject to reasonable regulation.
  • It is too far-fetched to argue that the school dress code militates against the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under Articles, 14, 15, 19, 21 & 25 of the Constitution and therefore, the same should be outlawed by the stroke of a pen.
  • Adherence to the dress code is a mandatory for students.

Hence, the prescription of school uniform is only a reasonable restriction constitutionally permissible which the students cannot object to.


Q.3 Validity of Government Order dated 5th February, 2022 providing for prescription of dress codes in educational institutions?

  • The said order per se does not prescribe any dress code and it only provides for prescription of uniform in four different types of educational institutions.
  • Wearing hijab is not an essential religious practice and school uniform to its exclusion can be prescribed.

“…hardly needs to be stated that uniform can exclude any other apparel like bhagwa or blue shawl that may have visible religious overtones.”

Hence, the government has power to issue the impugned Order dated 5th February, 2022 and that no case was made out for its invalidation.

  • Prescription of school dress code to the exclusion of hijab, bhagwa, or any other apparel symbolic of religion can be a step forward in the direction of emancipation and more particularly, to access to education.

Q.4 Whether any case is made out in WP 2146 of 2022 sought the issuance of direction for initiating disciplinary inquiry against respondents 6 to 14 and for issuance of quo warranto against respondents 15 and 16?

  • The college can prescribe uniform to the exclusion of hijab or bhagwa or such other religious symbols, and therefore, the alleged act of the respondents in seeking adherence to the school discipline & dress code cannot be faltered.
  • For seeking a Writ of the said nature, one has to demonstrate that the post or office which the person concerned holds is a public post or public office.
  • The Court opined that respondents 15 & 16 do not hold any such position in the respondent school.

Hence, no case is made out in W.P. No.2146/2022 for issuance of a direction for initiating disciplinary enquiry against respondents 6 to 14. The prayer for issuance of Writ of Quo Warranto against respondents  15 and 16 is rejected being not maintainable.

[Resham v. State of Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 315, decided on 15-3-2022]


Hijab Row | Karnataka HC upholds Hijab Ban: Read Questions formulated by HC while pronouncing verdict

Case BriefsHigh Courts

“The Holy Quran does not mandate wearing of hijab or headgear for Muslim women rather it was traditionally worn as a measure of social security”

Karnataka High Court: A Full Bench of Ritu Raj Awasthi CJ, Krishna S. Dixit J and J. M Khazi J. dismissed the petitions being devoid of merit.

Writ Petition Details

  1. W.P No. 2347 of 2022 praying for a direction to the respondents to permit the petitioner to wear hijab (head – scarf) in the class room, since wearing it is a part of ‘essential religious practice’ of Islam.
  2. WP No. 2146 of 2022 praying to initiate enquiry against the Respondent 5 college and Respondent 6 i.e. Principal for violating instruction enumerated under Chapter 6 heading of “Important information” of Guidelines of PU Department for academic year of 2021-22 for maintaining uniform in the PU college, conduct enquiry against the Respondents for their Hostile approach towards the petitioners students and interfering in the administration of Respondent no 5 school and promoting their political agenda.
  3. WP Nos. 2880 of 2022, 3038 of 2022 & 4309 of 2022 challenges G.O. dated 05-02-2022 issued under section 133 read with sections 7(2) & (5) of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983 (hereafter ‘1983 Act’) provides that, the students should compulsorily adhere to the dress code/uniform as follows:

a. in government schools, as prescribed by the government;

b. in private schools, as prescribed by the school management;

c. in Pre–University colleges that come within the jurisdiction of the Department of the Pre–University Education, as prescribed by the College Development Committee or College Supervision Committee; and

d. wherever no dress code is prescribed, such attire that would accord with ‘equality & integrity’ and would not disrupt the ‘public order’.

4. WP No.3424 of 2022 prayed to permit Female Muslim students to sport Hijab provided they wear the stipulated school uniform also.

5. WP No.4338 of 2022 prayed that the CBI/NIA or such other investigating agency should make a thorough investigation in the nationwide agitation after the issuance of the GO to ascertain the involvement of radical organizations such as Popular Front of India, Students Islamic Organization of India, Campus Front of India and Jamaat-e-Islami; to hold and declare that wearing of hijab, burqa or such “other costumes by male or female Muslims and that sporting beard is not an integral part of essential religious practice of Islam” and therefore, prescription of dress code is permissible.

 Issues Framed

  1. Whether wearing hijab/head-scarf is a part of ‘essential religious practice’ in Islamic Faith protected under Article 25 of the Constitution?
  2. Whether prescription of school uniform is not legally permissible, as being violative of petitioners Fundamental Rights inter alia guaranteed under Articles, 19(1)(a), (i.e., freedom of expression) and 21, (i.e., privacy) of the Constitution?
  3. Whether the Government Order dated 05-02-2022 apart from being incompetent is issued without application of mind and further is manifestly arbitrary and therefore, violates Articles 14 & 15 of the Constitution?
  4. Whether any case is made out in W.P.No.2146 of 2022 for issuance of a direction for initiating disciplinary enquiry against respondent 6 to 14 and for issuance of a Writ of Quo Warranto against respondent 15 & 16?

Court’s Observations

Issue 1 

What is an essential religious practice?

Indian Young Lawyers Association surveyed the development of law relating to essential religious practice and the extent of its constitutional patronage consistent with the long standing view. Ordinarily, a religious practice in order to be called an ‘essential religious practice’ should have the following indicia:

  • Not every activity associated with the religion is essential to such religion. Practice should be fundamental to religion and it should be from the time immemorial.
  • Foundation of the practice must precede the religion itself or should be co-founded at the origin of the religion.
  • Such practice must form the cornerstone of religion itself. If that practice is not observed or followed, it would result in the change of religion itself and,
  • Such practice must be binding nature of the religion itself and it must be compelling.

That a practice claimed to be essential to the religion has been carried on since time immemorial or is grounded in religious texts per se does not lend to it the constitutional protection unless it passes the test of essentiality as is adjudged by the Courts in their role as the guardians of the Constitution.

Which authoritative Commentary on Holy Quran was relied by Court?

‘The Holy Quran: Text, Translation and Commentary’ by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, (published by Goodword Books; 2019 reprint), there being a broad unanimity at the Bar as to its authenticity & reliability. The speculative and generalizing mind of this author views the verses of the scriptures in their proper perspective. 

Is Hijab a Quranic injunction and Islam specific?

Indian jurist Abdullah Yusuf Ali referring to sūra (xxxiii), verse 59, at footnote 3765 in his book states: “Jilbāb, plural Jalābib: an outer garment; a long gown covering the whole body, or a cloak covering the neck as bosom.”. In the footnote 3760 to Verse 53, he states: …In the wording, note that for Muslim women generally, no screen or hijab (Purdah) is mentioned, but only a veil to cover the bosom, and modesty in dress. The screen was a special feature of honor for the Prophet’s household, introduced about five or six years before his death… Added, in footnote 3767 to verse 59 of the same sura, he opines: This rule was not absolute: if for any reason it could not be observed, ‘God is Oft. Returning, Most Merciful.’…” Thus, there is sufficient intrinsic material within the scripture itself to support the view that wearing hijab has been only recommendatory, if at all it is.

The Court observed that whatever is stated in the above sūras, we say, is only directory, because of absence of prescription of penalty or penance for not wearing hijab, the linguistic structure of verses supports this view. This apparel at the most is a means to gain access to public places and not a religious end in itself. It was a measure of women enablement and not a figurative constraint. 

Tracing the history of Hijab

Sara Slininger from Centralia, Illinois in her research paper “VEILED WOMEN: HIJAB, RELIGION, AND CULTURAL PRACTICE” wrote

“Islam was not the first culture to practice veiling their women. Veiling practices started long before the Islamic prophet Muhammad was born. Societies like the Byzantines, Sassanids, and other cultures in Near and Middle East practiced veiling. There is even some evidence that indicates that two clans in southwestern Arabia practiced veiling in pre-Islamic times, the Banū Ismāʿīl and Banū Qaḥṭān. Veiling was a sign of a women’s social status within those societies. In Mesopotamia, the veil was a sign of a woman’s high status and respectability. Women wore the veil to distinguish Slininger themselves from slaves and unchaste women. In some ancient legal traditions, such as in Assyrian law, unchaste or unclean women, such as harlots and slaves, were prohibited from veiling themselves. If they were caught illegally veiling, they were liable to severe penalties. The practice of veiling spread throughout the ancient world the same way that many other ideas traveled from place to place during this time: invasion.”

Thus the Court observed wearing hijab was recommended as a measure of social security for women and to facilitate their safe access to public domain. At the most the practice of wearing this apparel may have something to do with culture but certainly not with religion. The Quran shows concern for the cases of ‘molestation of innocent women’ and therefore, it recommended wearing of this and other apparel as a measure of social security. Thus, it can be reasonably assumed that the practice of wearing hijab had a thick nexus to the socio-cultural conditions then prevalent in the region. The veil was a safe means for the women to leave the confines of their homes. Ali’s short but leading question is premised on this analysis. What is not religiously made obligatory therefore cannot be made a quintessential aspect of the religion through public agitations or by the passionate arguments in courts.

It is not an obligatory overt act enjoined by Muslim religion that a girl studying in all girl section must wear head-covering. The essence of Muslim religion or Islam cannot be said to have been interfered with by directing petitioner not to wear head-scarf in the school.” These observations should strike the death knell to Writ Petition Nos.2146, 2347, 3038/2022 wherein the respondent college happens to be all-girl-institution (not co-education).

 Is wearing Hijab a matter of conscience?

Conscience is by its very nature subjective. Merely stating that wearing hijab is an overt act of conscience and therefore, asking them to remove hijab would offend conscience, would not be sufficient for treating it as a ground for granting relief. Freedom of conscience as already mentioned above, is in distinction to right to religion as was clarified by Dr. B.R.Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly Debates. There is scope for the argument that the freedom of conscience and the right to religion are mutually exclusive. Even by overt act, in furtherance of conscience, the matter does not fall into the domain of right to religion and thus, the distinction is maintained. There is no evidence that the petitioners chose to wear their headscarf as a means of conveying any thought or belief on their part or as a means of symbolic expression..

The Court thus held In view of the above discussion, we are of the considered opinion that wearing of hijab by Muslim women does not form a part of essential religious practice in Islamic faith.”

Issue 2

Whether prescription of school uniform to the exclusion of Hijab violates Articles 14, 14, 19(1)(a) and 21?

The prescription of dress code for the students that too within the four walls of the class room as distinguished from rest of the school premises does not offend constitutionally protected category of rights, when they are ‘religion-neutral’ and ‘universally applicable’ to all the students. There shall be two categories of girl students viz., those who wear the uniform with hijab and those who do it without. That would establish a sense of ‘social-separateness’, which is not desirable. It also offends the feel of uniformity which the dress-code is designed to bring about amongst all the students regardless of their religion & faiths. As already mentioned above, the statutory scheme militates against sectarianism of every kind. Therefore, the accommodation which the petitioners seek cannot be said to be reasonable. The object of prescribing uniform will be defeated if there is non-uniformity in the matter of uniforms. Youth is an impressionable period when identity and opinion begin to crystallize. Young students are able to readily grasp from their immediate environment, differentiating lines of race, region, religion, language, caste, place of birth, etc. The aim of the regulation is to create a ‘safe space’ where such divisive lines should have no place and the ideals of egalitarianism should be readily apparent to all students alike. Adherence to dress code is a mandatory for students.

Court’s Observation on petitioner’s citing foreign decisions and policies

Malaysia being a theistic Nation has Islam as the State religion and the court in its wisdom treated wearing hijab as being a part of religious practice. We have a wealth of material with which a view in respectful variance is formed. Those foreign decisions cited by the other side of spectrum in opposing hijab argument, for the same reasons do not come to much assistance. In several countries, wearing of burqa or hijab is prohibited, is of no assistance to us. Noble thoughts coming from whichever direction are most welcome. Foreign decisions also throw light on the issues debated, cannot be disputed. However, courts have to adjudge the causes brought before them essentially in accordance with native law.

The Court thus held “In view of the above, we are of the considered opinion that the prescription of school uniform is only a reasonable restriction constitutionally permissible which the students cannot object to.” 

Issue 3

Validity of Government Order

The subject matter of the Government Order is the prescription of school uniform. Power to prescribe, avails in the scheme of 1983 Act and the Rules promulgated thereunder. Section 133(2) of the Act which is broadly worded empowers the government to issue any directions to give effect to the purposes of the Act or to any provision of the Act or to any Rule made thereunder. This is a wide conferment of power which obviously includes the authority to prescribe school dress code. It is more so because Rule 11 of 1995 Curricula Rules itself provides for the prescription of school uniform and its modalities. The Government Order can be construed as the one issued to give effect to this rule itself. Such an order needs to be construed in the light of the said rule and the 2014 Circular, since there exists a kinship inter se. Therefore, the question as to competence of the government to issue order of the kind is answered in the affirmative and thus the question of un-sustainability of some of the reasons on which the said Order is constructed, pales into insignificance.

Court’s observation on Impugned Order

Certain terms used in a Government Order such as ‘public order’, etc., cannot be construed as the ones employed in the Constitution or Statutes. There is a sea of difference in the textual structuring of legislation and in promulgating a statutory order as the one at hands. The draftsmen of the former are ascribed of due diligence & seriousness in the employment of terminology which the government officers at times lack whilst textually framing the statutory policies. Nowadays, courts do often come across several Government Orders and Circulars which have lavish terminologies, at times lending weight to the challenge. The words used in Government Orders have to be construed in the generality of their text and with common sense and with a measure of grace to their linguistic pitfalls. The text & context of the Act under which such orders are issued also figure in the mind. The impugned order could have been well drafted, is true. ‘There is scope for improvement even in heaven’ said Oscar Wilde.

The Court thus held In view of the above, we are of the considered opinion that the government has power to issue the impugned Order dated 05.2.2022 and that no case is made out for its invalidation.”

Issue 4

What the Chief Architect of our Constitution observed more than half a century ago about the purdah practice equally applies to wearing of hijab there is a lot of scope for the argument that insistence on wearing of purdah, veil, or headgear in any community may hinder the process of emancipation of woman in general and Muslim woman in particular. That militates against our constitutional spirit of ‘equal opportunity’ of ‘public participation’ and ‘positive secularism’. Prescription of school dress code to the exclusion of hijab, bhagwa, or any other apparel symbolic of religion can be a step forward in the direction of emancipation and more particularly, to the access to education. The petition is apparently ill-drafted and pleadings lack cogency and coherence that are required for considering the serious prayers of this kind.

Court’s observation on the writ of Quo Warranto

For seeking a Writ of this nature, one has to demonstrate that the post or office which the person concerned holds is a public post or a public office. In our considered view, the respondent Nos.15 & 16 do not hold any such position in the respondent-school. Their placement in the College Betterment (Development) Committee does not fill the public character required as a pre-condition for the issuance of Writ of Quo Warranto.

The Court thus held In view of the above, we are of the considered opinion that no case is made out in W.P. No.2146/2022 for issuance of a direction for initiating disciplinary enquiry against respondent Nos. 6 to 14. The prayer for issuance of Writ of Quo Warranto against respondent Nos. 15 and 16 is rejected being not maintainable.”

Court’s Concluding Remark

We are also impressed that even Muslims participate in the festivals that are celebrated in the ‘ashta mutt sampradāya’, (Udupi being the place where eight Mutts are situated). We are dismayed as to how all of a sudden that too in the middle of the academic term the issue of hijab is generated and blown out of proportion by the powers that be. The way, hijab imbroglio unfolded gives scope for the argument that some ‘unseen hands’ are at work to engineer social unrest and disharmony.[Resham v. State of Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 315, decided on 15-03-2022]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Hot Off The PressNews

Karnataka High Court formulated a few questions:

  1. Whether wearing Hijab is a part of essential religious practise in Islamic faith protected under Article 25 of the Constitution?

  2. Whether the prescription of the School Uniform is not legally permissible as being violative of the petitioner’s fundamental rights inter alia guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 21 i.e. Right to Privacy of the Constitution?

  3. Whether the G.O. apart from being incompetent is issued without application of mind and is further manifestly arbitrary and therefore violates Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution?

  4. Whether any case is made out in WP 2146 of 2022 sought the issuance of direction for initiating disciplinary inquiry against respondents 6 to 14 and for issuance of quo warranto against respondents 15 and 16?


Answers


  • Wearing of Hijab by Muslim Women does not form a part of essential religious practise in Islamic faith.

  • Prescription of the School Uniform is only a reasonable restriction constitutionally permissible to which the students cannot object to.

  • Government has power to issue the impugned Order dated 05.2.2022 and that no case is made out for its invalidation.

  • No case is made out in WP No.2146/2022 for issuance of a direction for initiating disciplinary enquiry against respondents 6 to 14. The prayer for issuance of Writ of Quo Warranto against respondents 15 and 16 is rejected being not maintainable.

[Resham v. State of Karnataka, WP No. 2347 of 2022, decided on 15-3-2022]


Hijab Case | When Karnataka High Court temporarily restrained students from wearing hijab, religious flags, saffron shawls, etc.: Read Court’s interim order || A Recap

Hijab Case | Karnataka High Court to pronounce Judgment today | Whether wearing of Hijab an essential religious practise of Islam?

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Another one to read, from the Foreign Court, now 6 days have passed in a very interesting matter wherein a question arose in Karnataka High Court on the wearing of “headscarf” from a Government Order, let’s read this decision from the year 1994, where a government official was asked not to wear ‘purdah’.


In this matter, a woman used to wear a black ‘purdah’ as a part of her daily attire during office hours and the said ‘purdah’ used to cover the whole o her body from head to foot, leaving only a slit in front, exposing her pair of eyes.

The crux and focus of the issue in the matter arose when a Government Order was issued pertaining to the dress code for civil servants, as per which the women officers were prohibited from wearing jeans, slacks, shorts and any dress which covered the face during office hours.

In view of the said circular, the woman was asked not to wear something which would cover her face, but she continued wearing the attire during work on the ground that as a Muslim, she was required by the Quran and hadith of the Prophet to cover her face and not to expose it in public.

The woman was dismissed from her service for not following the rules pertaining to the dress code for civil servants.

The counsel who was representing the woman submitted that by refusing to allow her to wear the purdah, her constitutional right under Article 11(1) to profess and practise her religion was infringed.

Article 11(1) of the Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion, where every person has the right to profess and practice his religion. However, such a right is not absolute.

Supreme Court of Kuala Lumpur (Federal Court of Malaysia) deciphered that such prohibition as stated in the Government Order did not affect the constitutional right to practice her religion.

To elaborate its reasoning, Bench expressed that it accepted the opinion of Dato’ Mufti Wilayah Persekutuan that Islam as a religion does not prohibit a Muslim woman from wearing, nor requires her to wear a purdah. Secondly, the Court noted that,

“…there seem to be a myth or misconception by certain groups of Muslim in Malaysia regarding the wearing of purdah which covers the entire face except the eyes. They believe that it is one of the Islamic injunctions which must be followed strictly.” 

“It is noted that purdah in its present form has not been specified in the Holy Quran. However, the Holy Quran uses the word ‘hijab’ meaning a screen or covering.”

Observing the above, in the opinion of the Court wearing purdah had nothing to do with the constitutional right of the aggrieved woman to profess and practice her Muslim religion.


Details of this case: Hjh Halimatussaadiah bte Hj Kamaruddin v. Public Services Commission, Malaysia, Civil Appeal No. 01-05-92, decided on 5-8-1994


Also Read


To Wear or Not to Wear? Precedents on dilemma of wearing ‘Headscarf’ from the Kerala High Court

Is the Bhinder case relevant in Hijab ban row? Canadian SC’s decision in Rule conflicting with religious tenet of an employee

Did You Know? What Bombay High Court held when a Muslim girl raised the issue that asking her not to wear a “headscarf” in school violates her fundamental right under Article 25 of the Constitution of India?

https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2022/02/18/did-you-know-that-3-minor-muslim-boys-were-expelled-from-school-for-not-following-dress-code-and-for-wearing-serban-turban-in-malaysia/

Case BriefsHigh Courts

In Nadha Raheem v. C.B.S.E2015 SCC OnLine Ker 21660, Kerala High Court’s Single Judge Bench in the year 2015 dealt with petitions by two female students belonging to the Muslim community contending that the dress code prescribed by the Central Board of Secondary Education (C.B.S.E) of wearing half sleeve kurta/salvar would prejudice them, as their religious custom mandates them to wear a headscarf and also full sleeve dresses.

In the said case, the Standing counsel for C.B.S.E submitted that the dress code was specified by the C.B.S.E not intending to harass any student, on the contrary, to ensure that no untoward incident shall occur which would lead to cancellation of the examination.

The Standing Counsel had placed the Supreme Court decision by highlighting the extracts which revealed the indigenous methods by which copying was resorted to by means of electronic gadgets, wired to the body itself, and camouflaged by full sleeve dress and so on and so forth.

The Single Judge Bench of the Court noted that only two students came up before the Bench.

In Court’s opinion, the dress code could not be said to be wrong or improper.

However, Justice K. Vinod Chandran observed that,

 “…it cannot be ignored that in our country with its varied and diverse religions and customs, it cannot be insisted that a particular dress code be followed failing which a student would be prohibited from sitting for the examinations.”

Hence, the Court opined that no blanket orders were required in the petitions apprehending that they would be prohibited in writing the examination for the reason of their wearing a dress conducive to their religious customs and beliefs.

In the stated facts and circumstances of the case, High Court had directed that the petitioners who intended to wear a dress according to their religious custom, but contrary to the dress code, shall present themselves before the Invigilator half an hour before the examination and on any suspicion expressed by the Invigilator, shall also subject themselves to any acceptable mode of personal examination as decided by the Invigilator, but however, carried on only by an authorised person of the same sex.

If the Invigilator requires the headscarf or the full sleeve garments to be removed and examined, then the petitioners shall also subject themselves to that, by the authorised person, High Court stated.

Kerala High Court had also asked the C.B.S.E to issue general instructions to its invigilators to ensure that religious sentiments be not hurt and at the same time discipline was not compromised.

In the year 2016, the Kerala High Court while deciding the case of Amnah Bint Basheer v. CBSE, 2016 SCC OnLine Ker 41117, addressed a matter wherein prescription of dress code for All India Pre-Medical Entrance Test-2016 was questioned by the parties who professed Islam.

The ground on which the parties had challenged the dress code was the violation of the fundamental right as guaranteed under Article 25(1) of the Constitution of India.

The parties urged the Court to examine religious freedom in the light of the constitutional scheme.

Kerala High Court observed that, 

The State cannot interfere with the practice of religious affairs which would obliterate his religious identity. The environment in which one has to live is determined by the patterns of the idea formed by his conscience subject to the restrictions as referred under Article 25(1).

Adding to the above observation, in this decision, the Bench also stated that it was open for the State to regulate or make laws consistent with the essential practice of religion. However, while making a regulation or a law, the true import of the essential practice shall not be supplanted.

Petitioners case was that Shariah mandates women to wear the headscarf and full sleeve dress and therefore, any prescription contrary would be repugnant to the protection of the religious freedom.

“..the analysis of the Quranic injunctions and the Hadiths would show that it is a farz to cover the head and wear the long sleeved dress except face part and exposing the body otherwise is forbidden (haram). When farz is violated by any action opposite to farz that action becomes forbidden (haram).”

 “The right of women to have the choice of dress based on religious injunctions is a fundamental right protected under Article 25(1), when such prescription of dress is an essential part of the religion.” 

Giving significance to the Board’s attempt of ensuring transparency and credibility of examinations, Court stated that to harmoniously accommodate the competing interest without there being any conflict or repugnancy. The interest of the Board can be safeguarded by allowing the invigilator to frisk such candidates including by removing scarf. However, safeguard has to be ensured that this must be done honouring the religious sentiments of the candidates.

In 2018, Kerala High Court in Fathima Thasneem v. State of Kerala2018 SCC OnLine Ker 5267, while addressing the petition filed by Muslim girl students with the plea to be allowed to wear the headscarf as well as full sleeve shirt which was inconsistent with the prescribed dress code by the school they were studying in, observed that as one has the liberty to follow its own notions and convictions in regard to the dress code, in the same manner, a private entity also has the Fundamental Right to manage and administer its institution.

Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque while referring to the decision of Amnah Bint Basheer v. CBSE, 2016 SCC OnLine Ker 41117, stated that it is the Fundamental Right of the petitioners to choose the dress of their own choice.

Further, the Court held that it had to balance rights to uphold the interest of the dominant rather than the subservient interest and in the facts, in hand, the management of the institution was the dominant interest.

“Where there is priority of interest, individual interest must yield to the larger interest. That is the essence of liberty.”

Hence the Kerala High Court held that the Muslim girl students could seek the imposition of their individual rights as against the larger right of the institution. Therefore, it was for the institution to decide whether the petitioners could be permitted to attend the classes with the headscarf and full sleeve shirt.


Presently the Karnataka High Court has been dealing with a somewhat similar situation, wherein the challenge was with regard to the insistence of certain educational institutions that no girl students shall wear the hijab (headscarf) whilst in the classrooms.

On 10-2-2022, the High Court on being pained by the agitations and closure of educational institutions expressed that

“…ours is a country of plural cultures, religions & languages. Being a secular State, it does not identify itself with any religion as its own. Every citizen has the right to profess & practise any faith of choice, is true.”

The Bench of Ritu Raj Awasthi, CJ and Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi, JJ., temporarily restrained all the students regardless of their religion or faith from wearing saffron shawls (Bhagwa), scarfs, hijab, religious flags or the like within the classroom, until further orders.

The proceedings in the said matter are still ongoing and the Court is yet to pronounce its decision on the matter.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: The Division Bench of Alok Aradhe and M.I. Arun, JJ., addressed whether GST exemption can be claimed for leasing of residential premises as a hostel to students and working professionals.

A petition was filed raising the question, whether the service provided by the petitioner i.e., leasing of residential premises as hostel to students and working professionals is covered under Entry 13 of Notification No. 9/2017 namely ‘service by way of renting of residential dwelling for use as residence’ issued under Integrated Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.

Factual Trajectory

The petitioner along with other co-owners executed a lease deed in favour of the lessee. The residential property was leased out as Hostel for providing long term accommodation to the students and working professionals with the duration of stay ranging from 3 months to 12 months.

The petitioner with a view to seek clarification with regard to his eligibility to seek exemption on the rent received by him from the lessee by letting the property filed an Advance Ruling application.

Further, the AAR held that benefit of exemption notification was not available to the petitioner.

On being aggrieved with the above order, the petitioner filed an appeal before the Appellate Authority for Advance Ruling, Karnataka (AAAR Karnataka), which held that the property rented out by the petitioner was a hostel building which was more akin to sociable accommodation rather than what was commonly understood as residential accommodation.

Hence the said property could not be termed as a residential dwelling. Adding to this, the Court stated that the benefit of exemption notification is available only if the residential dwelling is used as a residence by the person who has taken the same on rent / lease.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Entry 13 in the said exemption notification provided for exemption from payment of Integrated Goods and Service Tax in respect of ‘services by way of renting of residential dwelling by way of use as residence’.

In view of the above, the burden is on the petitioner to show that his case comes within the parameters of the exemption notification.

Elaborating further, the Bench referred to the decision of Supreme Court in Kishore Chandra Singh v. Babu Ganesh Prasad Bhagat, AIR 1954 SC 316, wherein it was held that the expression residence only connotes that a person eats, drinks and sleeps at that place and it is not necessary that he should own it.

“The hostel is used by the students for the purposes of residence. The students use the hostel for sleeping, eating and for the purpose of studies for a period ranging between 3 months to 12 months. In the hostels, the duration of stay is more as compared to hotel in guest house, club etc.”

In Court’s opinion, the expression ‘residence’ and ‘dwelling’ have more or less the connotation in common parlance and therefore, no different meaning can be assigned to the expression ‘residential dwelling’ and it cannot be held that the same does not include hostel which is used for residential purposes by students or working women.

Questions to be considered in order to ascertain whether the service provided by the petitioner was covered under the exemption notification:

  • What is being rented?
  • The purpose for which the residence is used for.

The notification does not require the lessee to use the premises as residence, hence the benefit of exemption notification cannot be denied to the petitioner on the ground that the lessee is not using the premises.

High Court remarked,

The finding recorded by AAAR Karnataka that the hostel accommodation is more akin to ‘sociable accommodation’ is unintelligible and is not relevant for the purposes of determining the eligibility of the petitioner to claim the benefit under the exemption notification.

The Bench held that the order of AAAR Karnataka is quashed, and the service provided by the petitioner i.e., leasing out residential premises as hostel to students and working professionals is covered under Entry 13 of Notification No.9/2017 dated 28.09.2017 namely ‘Services by way of renting of residential dwelling for use as residence’ issued under the Act.

In view of the above discussion, the petition was allowed. [Taghar Vasudeva Ambrish v. Appellate Authority For Advance Ruling, Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 88, decided on 7-2-2022]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner:

(BY MR. ARVIND DATAR, SR. COUNSEL FOR MRS. NAYANA TARA B.G. ADV., & RAHUL UNNIKRISHNAN, ADV.,)

For the Respondents:

(BY MR. HEMA KUMAR, AGA FOR R1 & R3 JEEVAN J. NEERALGI, SPL. COUNSEL FOR R2)

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: While expressing that, “Endless agitations and closure of educational institutions indefinitely are not happy things to happen”, the Bench of Ritu Raj Awasthi, CJ and Krishna S Dixit and JM Khazi, JJ., restrained all the students regardless of their religion or faith from wearing saffron shawls (Bhagwa), scarfs, hijab, religious flags or the like within the classroom, until further orders.

Court also remarked that, “Whether wearing of hijab in the classroom is a part of essential religious practice of Islam in the light of constitutional guarantees, needs a deeper examination.”

Petitions were filed challenging the insistence of certain educational institutions that no girl students shall wear the hijab (headscarf) whilst in the classrooms.

Some of the petitions raised challenges to the Government Order dated 5-2-2022 which directed the college Development Committees all over the State to prescribe ‘Student Uniform’, presumably in terms of Rule 11 of Karnataka Educational Institutions (Classification, Regulation & Prescription of Curricula, etc.) Rules, 1995.

Vide an order dated 9-2-2022, Single Judge, Krishna S. Dixit, J., referred the cases to Chief Justice to consider if the said matters could be heard by a Larger Bench ‘regard being had to enormous public importance of the questions involved’. Accordingly, the Special Bench was constituted.

Analysis and Decision

High Court was pained by the ongoing agitations and closure of educational institutions since the past few days, especially when this Court is seized off this matter and important issues of constitutional significance and of personal law are being seriously debated.

“…ours is a country of plural cultures, religions & languages. Being a secular State, it does not identify itself with any religion as its own. Every citizen has the right to profess & practise any faith of choice, is true.”

 Further, the Court added that the above stated right not being absolute is susceptible to reasonable restrictions as provided by the Constitution of India.

“Ours being a civilized society, no person in the name of religion, culture or the like can be permitted to do any act that disturbs public peace and tranquility.”

Concerned with the timelines of admission to higher studies/courses, Bench stated that the elongation of academic terms would be detrimental to the educational career of students.

Hoping and trusting all stakeholders and the public at large to maintain peace and tranquility, Court expressed that the interest of students would be better served by their returning to the classes than by the continuation of agitations and consequent closure of institutions.

Therefore, the High Court requested the State Government and other stakeholders to reopen the educational institutions and allow the students to return to the classes at the earliest.

Lastly, the Court clarified that the present order/direction shall be confined to such institutions wherein the College Development Committees have prescribed the student dress code/uniform.

For further consideration, the matters were listed on 14-2-2022. [Resham v. State of Karnataka, WP No. 2347 of 2022, decided on 10-2-2022]

Note: Proceedings are still going on in the present case.


Advocates before the Court:

For the petitioners:

Senior Advocates, Sanjay Hegde and Devadatt Kamat

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a case where the Single Judge of Karnataka High Court had termed person committing suicide a ‘weakling’ and also made observations on how the behavior of the deceased before he committed suicide was not that of a person who is depressed and suffering from mental health issues, the bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud* and BV Nagarathna, JJ has held that such observations describing the manner in which a depressed person ought to have behaved deeply diminishes the gravity of mental health issues and that,

“The mental health of a person cannot be compressed into a one size fits all approach.”

Factual Background

Deceased, who was working as a driver for the accused-second respondent, was found dead on 6 December 2016, with a 12 pages long suicide note next to him. The suicide note was uploaded by the deceased on his Facebook account through his mobile.

The suicide note has referred to the illegal activities of the accused in amassing wealth in excess of Rs. 100 crores, converting black money into white and transferring funds from the bank account of the deceased through his mobile to the accounts of the relatives of the accused. The complaint alleged that the accused had threatened the deceased with death and harassed him as a result of which the deceased, having suffered mental stress, committed suicide by consuming poison. Both the second respondent and his “house driver” were specifically named as responsible for this death.

Details highlighted in the note:

  • The transfer of funds in several lakhs of rupees by the accused to his relatives by using the cell phone and bank account of the deceased;
  • The conversion of approximately Rs. 100 crores into currency notes of Rs. 2,000/-, Rs. 100/- and Rs. 50/-;
  • The knowledge of the deceased in regard to the transactions of the accused as a result of which he had been threatened to be killed “by rowdies”;
  • A raid conducted against the accused by the establishment of the Lokayukta of Karnataka while he was posted in the Housing Board;
  • The involvement of judges to whom presents or gifts were made;
  • The payment of salary to the deceased having been stopped at the behest of the accused;
  • The accused having used the deceased for changing currency worth over Rs. 75 crores; and
  • The deceased being in knowledge of “all the information”, and when a shortage of an amount of Rs. 8 lakh was found, the deceased had been directed to make good the deficiency, failing which he was threatened to be killed by rowdies.

Analysis

The Court noticed that the High Court has evidently travelled far beyond the limits of its inherent power under Section 482 CrPC since instead of determining whether on a perusal of the complaint, a prima facie case is made out, it has analysed the sufficiency of the evidence with reference to the suicide note.

While adjudicating on an application under Section 482 CrPC, the High Court in the present case travelled far away from the parameters for the exercise of the jurisdiction. Essentially, the task before the High Court was to determine whether the allegations made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety did or did not prima facie constitute an offence or make out a case against the accused. Instead of applying this settled principle, the High Court has proceeded to analyze from its own perspective the veracity of the allegations.

“The entire judgment of the High Court consists of a litany of surmises and conjectures and such an exercise is beyond the domain of proceeding under section 482 of the CrPC. The High Court has proceeded to scrutinize what has been disclosed during the investigation, ignoring that the investigation had been stayed by an interim order of the High Court, during the pendency of the proceedings under section 482.”

The High Court observed that a prima facie case for the commission of offence under Section 306 of the IPC is not made out since:

  1. the suicide note does not describe the specific threats;
  2. details of the alleged demand of Rs. 8 lacs from the deceased by the respondent-accused are not set out in the suicide note; and
  3. no material to corroborate the allegations detailed in the suicide note has been unearthed by the investigating agency.

The High Court observed that since the deceased took considerable time to write a twelve page suicide note, “it would have been but natural for the author to set out the details”.

Not only this but the High Court had commented upon and made strong observations on the suicide note itself, diminishing the importance of mental health.

The Single Judge had observed:

37. It is not the case of the deceased that the accused had deprived him of his wealth or have committed acts that have shattered his hopes in life or separated him from his family and friends.

[..]

    1. [..] It is not the case of the prosecution that the deceased was running away from or escaping the petitioner or his henchmen, but as is his habit, to visit his parents and to spend time with his friends. If the deceased had really felt threatened, he would have definitely approached the police. It is not that he was naive or not worldly-wise. If his employment with the petitioner was true, then the Police Commissionerate was only a stone’s throw away. It is not that the deceased was a weakling. The deceased by profession, is a driver. A profession where, accidents causing loss of life and limb are a daily occurrence and every driver is aware that he could be involved in an accident at any time.

[..]

    1. His act of attending a relatives marriage in a different town and his interacting with friends and relatives are all actions of a normal person and not of a person under severe duress. The contention that this criminal case would jeopardize his career progression also cannot be brushed aside. It is also not forthcoming as to how he sourced the poison.”

The Court held that the above mentioned observations describing the manner in which a depressed person ought to have behaved deeply diminishes the gravity of mental health issues.

“Behavioural scientists have initiated the discourse on the heterogeneity of every individual and have challenged the traditional notion of ‘all humans behave alike’. Individual personality differences manifest as a variation in the behavior of people. Therefore, how an individual copes up with a threat- both physical and emotional, expressing (or refraining to express) love, loss, sorrow and happiness, varies greatly in view of the multi-faceted nature of the human mind and emotions.”

[Mahendra KC v. State of Karnataka, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1021, decided on 29.10.2021]


Counsels

For Complainant: Mahesh Thakur

For State of Karnataka: V.N. Raghupathy

For respondent-accused: Sharan Thakur


*Judgment by: Justice Dr. DY Chandrachud