Punjab and Haryana High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

   

Punjab and Haryana High Court: While deciding the instant petition preferred by the petitioners to seek protection from the threats received for being in Live-in relationship, Vikas Bahl, J., held that every major person has a right to live with a person of their choice and in case the relatives are unhappy with the “Live in Relationship” and can cause harm then the Court will have to take necessary directions to protect the aggrieved.

Facts:

Both the petitioners are major and are in a “Live in relationship.” One of the petitioners is still married to the respondent and no legal divorce has been taken yet. The petitioners seek protection from their relatives as they are a threat to the petitioners’ life. On 13-09-2022, the petitioners made representation to the Punjab police which was not decided by the authorities.

Observation and Analysis:

The Court cited Ishrat Bano v. State of Punjab, 2021 SCC OnLine P&H 1726, wherein it was held that “ No doubt in case a criminal case is registered against any of the parties, the law should take its own course, however, the life and liberty of any person who has approached the Court with such a grievance need to be taken care of and the protection be provided as permissible in law. No person can be permitted or allowed to take law in his hands.”

In view of the above, the Court granted protection of life and liberty to the petitioners without taking into consideration the issue as to whether the relationship between the parties was legal or not.

The Court said that protection of life and liberty is a basic feature of the Constitution, and every major person has a right to live their life with the person of their choice.

Further, the Court said that if the relatives of the persons in such a relationship are unhappy and threaten them to cause harm to their life and liberty then the Court will have to take necessary steps to protect them.

The Court, without commenting on the legality of the relationship, directed the Punjab police to assess the threat perception to the petitioners and after considering the same, take appropriate action in accordance with law.

[Manjeet Kaur v. State of Punjab, 2022 SCC OnLine P&H 2460, decided on 20-09-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case:

For the Petitioners: Ms. Akshita Charak, Advocate;

Mr. Sahil Goel, Advocate;

For the Respondents: Mr. Tarun Aggarwal, Sr. DAG, Punjab.

Allahabad High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Division Bench of Kaushal Jayendra Thaker and Ajai Tyagi, JJ. dismissed a writ petition with costs which was filed by the petitioners seeking protection of their lives and liberties.

Petitioner 1 was married to respondent 3 and there were children born out of the said wedlock. Petitioner 1 alleged that she was harassed as respondent 3 had come in contact with bad elements and used to come home only at midnight. In the complaint dated 01-09-2021, she also alleged that on the night of 07-09-2021, he came with his friends and wanted her to have illicit relations with his friends which she refused and at night, when her husband and children were sleeping, she left the matrimonial home. She later on went to live with petitioner 2.

The Court noted that till September, 2021, petitioner 1 was with respondent 3 and the daughters but it has not been disclosed that since when petitioner 1 and 2 were living as husband and wife and as to when respondent 3 had threatened their relation. The Court was unable to reconcile as to how the incident of 07-09-2021 can be narrated in a complaint dated 01-09-2021.

The Court distinguished on facts the case of Indra Sarma v. V.K.V. Sarma, (2013) 15 SCC 755 relied on by the counsel of the petitioner regarding the belief of relationship where there is domestic violence perpetrated and defence was taken that there was no marriage. However, the Court said the marriage and family are social institution of vital importance reiterating relevant part of the same judgment. The Court thus concluded that it cannot be said that the relationship outside the matrimony has also to be recognized under Indian law. Paragraph 52 of the said judgment categorically mentions that Live-in relation as such is a relation which has not been socially accepted in India unlike many other Countries.

The Court clarified that the contention that India is governed by Constitution of India and we are not living in primitive days makes no difference as in the present case it cannot be said that petitioners are living as husband and wife and it is evident from the record and submission that the marriage of petitioner 1 with respondent 3 has not yet been dissolved. Further, there was nothing on record to show as to when respondent 3 threatened her while being in live-in-relation.

Constitution of India may permit live-in relation but, this writ petition is nothing else but filed with a purpose of obtaining seal of this Court on their illegal relationship.

The Court determined whether there is any act, omission or conduct of the respondent which would permit us to issue direction of no coercive action or granting protection and found that petitioner 1 had come with incorrect facts deliberately as her complaint has not culminated into F.I.R. being lodged. The Court was of the opinion that there are grey areas in the facts of the case which police will have to investigate. There is no threat perception, and no such complaint has been made to the police authority.

The petition was dismissed with costs Rs.5,000/- because there is no threat perception as prayed by petitioners from respondent 3.

[Sunita Devi v. State of U.P., 2022 SCC OnLine All 488, decided on 18-07-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Shyam Shankar Mishra, Advocate, Counsel for the Petitioner;

C.S.C., Counsel for the Respondent.


*Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Punjab and Haryana High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Amol Rattan Singh, J., directed protection to couple who were facing threats after getting married against the wishes of their family.

Petitioners sought the protection of life and liberty as the petitioners had married each other against the wishes of the respondents.

Petitioners counsel had submitted that neither the petitioners were in any prohibited relationship to each other, nor any of them were married earlier.

Since the protection of life and liberty was a fundamental right of every citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, without making any comment on the validity of marriage, Court disposed of the petition directing respondents 2 and 3 to ensure that the lives and liberty of the petitioners are not put to any harm or threat.

Bench stated that there was no firm proof of age of either the petitioners other than their Aadhar Cards, which was actually not a firm proof of age.

High Court added to its decision that, if any of the petitioners are found to be below the marriageable age in terms of the provisions of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, this order shall not be construed to be a bar on any proceedings initiated under that Act, the offences committed under that Act being cognizable in terms of Section 15.[Navdeep Singh v. State of Punjab, CRWP -7832 of 2021, decided on 7-09-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

Mr Karandeep S. Sidhu, Advocate, for the petitioners.

Case BriefsCOVID 19Tribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Central Information Commission (CIC): Vanaja N. Sarna (Information Commissioner), observed that,

For a CPIO to be able to ascertain the impediment to life and liberty of a person, there ought to be some consideration between the information seeker and the person whose life and liberty is at stake.

Appellant in the present matter stated that a 9-member committee was set up in April 2020 to ensure the adequate availability of medical oxygen in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

With respect to the above, applicant sought certain information.

Due to non-provision of the information sought under Section 8(1)(a) and (d) of the RTI Act, second appeal was filed.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Commission observed that,

“…life and personal liberty are the most valuable possessions of an individual. The value for life, liberty and property are not merely a norm or a policy of the State but an essential prerequisite of any civilized society.”

Coram relied on the decision of this Commission in Venkatesh Nayak v. Department of Defence, 24-07-2019,

“Commission remarked at this instance that the instant RTI Application has been filed on the grounds that it concerns life and liberty of a person, however, it is not clear from the facts on record as to how life and liberty of a third party Lt. Col. Dharamvir Singh concerns the Appellant.

 

 Commission clarified that it is not the locus standi vis-a-vis the RTI Act that is being questioned but locus standi of the Appellant vis-à-vis the life and liberty of Lt. Col. Dharamvir Singh. In other words, Commission inquired if the affected person or his wife who allegedly filed the FIR reached out to the Appellant to pursue their case or if the Appellant is aware of what prevented the affected party or his wife from seeking this information.

 

 It may be noted that since every case involving the life and liberty of an individual will not invariably concern human rights violation, the considerations advanced by the Appellant to contest locus standi on the claim of human rights violation of the said officer is deemed as extraneous in the instant case.

 

 For a CPIO to be able to ascertain the impediment to life and liberty of a person, there ought to be some consideration between the information seeker and the person whose life and liberty is at stake.”

Further, in the matter of Sehar Singh v. PMO, while dealing with the query of “when is the question of life and liberty to be considered a matter of concern?” laid down the following parameters:

“-The RTI application be accompanied with substantive evidence that a threat to life exists (eg. Medical report).

-If, the claim of concern for life and liberty is not accepted in a particular case by the public authority, the reasons for not doing so, must be given in writing while disposing of the application.”

Conclusion

In the instant matter, in view of the above discussion, the Commission came to the conclusion that the Parliament has made a very special exception for cases involving “life or liberty of a person” so that it would be used only when an imminent threat to life or liberty is involved.

Coram added that appellant referring to the matter as being related to the public at large, and not ‘a person’ as specified in Section 7(1) proviso and in the interest of preventing the damage caused by pandemic is not sufficient to invoke this particular clause of 48 hours reply timelines, when apparently, the Appellant failed to substantiate as to how information sought in the instant RTI Application has a bearing on his life and liberty or of any other person.

Further, the Commission stated that the appellant also failed to quote any particular instance in which any individual related to him was affected due to non-disclosure of the information. Therefore, the life and liberty of whom the appellant was pleading for was non-existent.

Though, the Commission found the matter to be of greater public interest. 

In the opinion of Commission, the matter was unprecedented and hence the appellant’s plea that disclosure of information would have helped in holding discussions with the Government is far stretched.

Whether there were enough steps taken by the authority or not in ensuring supply of medical oxygen?

Commission answered that the above-stated question was outside its jurisdiction.

Now, since the matter of life and liberty was rejected, Coram found the CPIO’s response on time. Though the delay was due to the ill health of CPIO.

Concluding the matter, Commission could not find any relation nor as a matter of fact, any justification of concerns of life and liberty of any person and therefore, there was no question of applicability of the proviso of Section 7(1).

CPIO vide letter dated 11.06.2021 had provided a cursory reply claiming exemption u/s 8(1)(a) and (d) and had failed to amplify the same with reasons. The fact of the reply being timely is justified but the denial was not justified in his reply. Further, he also failed to record his reasons for rejecting the applicant’s request to consider the same under the clause of “life and liberty”. The CPIO is, therefore, cautioned to be careful in future and ensure that he follows the provisions of the RTI Act implicitly.

CPIO contended that “…the proposals considered by the empowered group contain commercial business, technological and strategical information pertaining to several government and private entities which qualifies as commercial confidence and/or intellectual property and the disclosure of the same would impair and irreparably harm the competitive position of such government and private entities constituting third parties. Thus, such information has been exempted from being disclosed u/s 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act.”

Further it was submitted that,  High level discussions of the empowered group frequently form part of the discussions within the highest decision-making body to avert and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the country and thus must be protected from disclosure given the larger intent to protect such information from being misused or being adversely used against the interest of the state.

Lastly, the Commission directed the CPIO to provide a suitable point-wise reply to appellant within 10 days. Coram added that any information if denied completely should be suitably justified with the application of the relevant clause.

In view of the above discussion, appeal was disposed of. [Saurav Das v. CPIO, DPIIT; CIC/DOIPP/A/2021/625997; decided on 29-07-2021]


Advocates before the Commission:

Appellant: Present over phone

Respondent: Karan Thapar, Deputy Secretary and CPIO, present over the phone

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Rajasthan High Court: Mahendar Kumar Goyal, J., decided upon a petition which was filed under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code for the protection of life and personal liberty of the petitioners.

Counsel for the petitioner, Mr Amit Jindal submitted that both petitioners were major and were married with the consent of their respective parents,   which was an arranged marriage.   He submitted that two sisters of petitioner 1 were married to two brothers of petitioner 2 and her sisters, leaving their in-laws family, were residing at their “pihar”. It was alleged by the counsel that the parents and other family members of petitioner 1, i.e., the respondents 5 to 9, were pressurizing and harassing the petitioners so that petitioner 1 may also return back to her “pihar”. The counsel prayed for police protection.

The Court relied upon the cases of the Supreme Court in Lata Singh v. State of UP, (2006) 5 SCC 475, S. Khushboo v. Kanniammal, (2010) 5 SCC 600, Indra Sarma v. VKV Sarma, (2013) 15 SCC 755 and Shafin Jahan v. Asokan KM, (2018) 16 SCC 368 wherein it was clearly held that society cannot determine how individuals live their lives, especially when they are major, irrespective of the fact that the relation between two major individuals may be termed as unsocial.

Thus, life and personal liberty of the individuals has to be protected except according to procedure established by law, as mandated by Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Further, as per Section 29 of Rajasthan Police Act, 2007 every police officer is duty bound to protect the life and liberty of the citizens.

The Court disposed of the petition with the direction that counsel for the petitioners shall send a copy of the petition along with its annexures to the Station House Officer of concerned Police Station through registered post/e-mail, and on receipt of the same, the Station House Officer concerned shall treat it as a complaint and after due enquiry,   he shall take necessary preventive measures and other steps to ensure safety and security of the petitioners in accordance with law.[Saroj Devi v. State of Rajasthan, S.B. Criminal Writ Petition No. 777 of 2021, decided on 20-04-2021]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: Sindhu Sharma, J., while allowing the present petition, issued directions to the police authorities, to ensure that the life and liberty of the petitioner is maintained without undue interference.

The present case has been filed to seek police protection as the petitioners apprehend danger to their lives from respondent 5 to 13, the reason for which is allegedly marriage without the will of respondent 5 to 13. Counsel for the petitioner referred the decision of Supreme Court in the case of Lata Singh v. State of UP, (2006) 5 SCC 475, and submitted that in absence of there being any legal impediment, the petitioners are entitled to marry according to their choice and the respondents are duty-bound to protect the life and liberty of the petitioners.

Court observed, “Any person(s) having attained the age of majority are entitled to marry as per their wishes and the police department is duty bound to protect their life and liberty, if approached. However, it appears that the petitioners have not ever approached the official respondents for their indulgence in the matter for providing protection to them.” Disposing off the matter, Court issued directions saying that, “…respondent Nos. 2 to 4 shall look into the grievance of the petitioners for providing them adequate security and to ensure that nobody interferes in married life of the petitioners, if the petitioners approach them.”[Radha Devi v. UT of J&K, 2021 SCC OnLine J&K 2, decided on 11-01-2021]


Sakshi Shukla, Editorial Assistant put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: Saumitra Dayal Singh, J. decided on a writ petition which was filed praying for a direction the nature of mandamus directing the respondents not to interfere in the peaceful married life of the petitioners.

The counsel for the petitioner, Mr Shailesh Kumar Shukla submitted that the petitioners had attained the age of majority and that their marriage was solemnized. Petitioners further asserted that no FIR had been registered against them in respect of the same and that their marriage was solemnized with their free consent without duress on any party. The petitioners further alleged that they were being threatened and harassed by respondents for reason of having thus got married.

The Court mentioned the judgment of Lata Singh v. State of UP, (2006) 5 SCC 475 where while dealing with a case of harassment by the parents of the boy and girl, who had entered into inter-caste marriage, the Supreme Court has issued directions to the Administration /Police authorities throughout the country in the following terms:-

            “This is a free and democratic country, and once a person becomes a major he or she can marry whosoever he/she likes. If the parents of the boy or girl do not approve of such inter-caste or inter-religious marriage the maximum they can do is that they can cut off social relations with the son or the daughter, but they cannot give threats or commit or instigate acts of violence and cannot harass the person who undergoes such inter-caste or inter-religious marriage. We, therefore, direct that the administration/police authorities throughout the country will see to it that if any boy or girl who is a major undergoes inter-caste or inter-religious marriage with a woman or man who is a major, the couple are not harassed by any one nor subjected to threats or acts of violence, and any one who gives such threats or harasses or commits acts of violence either himself or at his instigation, is taken to task by instituting criminal proceedings by the police against such persons and further stern action is taken against such persons as provided by law.” (emphasis supplied)

The Court further mentioned the judgment of Bhagwan Dass v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2011) 6 SCC 396 where the Supreme Court held in paragraph 28 and 29 as under:-

            “28. ….. Often young couples who fall in love have to seek shelter in the police lines or protection homes, to avoid the wrath of kangaroo courts. We have held in Lata Singh case that there is nothing “honourable” in “honour” killings, and they are nothing but barbaric and brutal murders by bigoted persons with feudal minds. In our opinion honour killings, for whatever reason, come within the category of the rarest of rare cases deserving death punishment. It is time to stamp out these barbaric, feudal practices which are a slur on our nation. This is necessary as a deterrent for such outrageous, uncivilized behaviour. All persons who are planning to perpetrate “honour” killings should know that the gallows await them.

  1. Let a copy of this judgment be sent to the Registrars General/ Registrars of all the High Courts who shall circulate the same to all the Judges of the Courts. The Registrars General/ Registrars of the High Courts will also circulate copies of the same to all the Sessions Judges/Additional Sessions Judges in the States/Union Territories. Copies of the judgment shall also be sent to all the Chief Secretaries/Home Secretaries/Directors General of Police of all States/Union Territories in the country. The Home Secretaries and Directors General of Police will circulate the same to all SSPs/SPs in the States/Union Territories for information.” (emphasis supplied)

The Court while disposing off the petition issued directions in order to comply with the directions of the Supreme Court. The Court further mentioned that this order was to protect the life and liberty of the petitioners from any threat arising from or being occasioned by their marriage – life and liberty being the foundation of all freedoms guaranteed under our Constitution.[Savita Diwaker v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine All 1357, decided on 20-11-2020]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsCOVID 19Tribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Central Information Commission (CIC): Exercising the power under Section 25(5) of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (“RTI Act”), Vanaja N. Sarna, Information Commissioner, issued an advisory to Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training (“DoPT”), to evolve a system to take immediate steps towards providing a platform for implementation of Section 7(1) of the RTI Act.

The Commission was seized of the matter where the complainant had sought certain documents in relation to meetings of Sports/Admission Committee (academic year 2018-19) of Daulat Ram College, University of Delhi. He was aggrieved by the alleged arbitrary rejection of 16 girls of Daulat Ram College. It was mentioned that the complainant faced the issue of making an online application under Section 7(1) through the online portal of DoPT to the public authority “University of Delhi”, as the said portal did not provide the facility of the same. He relied on the Supreme Court decision in CBSE v. Aditya Bandopadhya where it was held that right to information is a cherished right. It is a formidable tool in the hands of responsible citizens to fight corruption and bring in transparency and accountability.

The Commission was of the view that it is imperative upon public authorities to make available to each citizen a platform to file “Life and Liberty” RTI applications. Notably, the proviso to Section 7(1) of RTI Act provides that where the information sought for concerns the life and liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within 48 hours of the receipt of the request. The time frame for replying to other requests is within 30 days.

In view of the above, the Commission issued an advisory under Section 25(5) of RTI Act to the Secretary, DoPT, to evolve a system after coordinating with the Director General, National Informatics Centre (“NIC”), in the spirit of the RTI Act and take immediate steps towards providing a platform for implementation of Section 7(1) of RTI Act.

It was further observed by the Commission: “Due to the ongoing pandemic of coronavirus in the country and the prevalent lockdown, the Commission finds it appropriate to highlight the issue of Section 7(1) implementation by citizens more so when postal receipt of RTI applications are minimal, in such situations all public authorities should encourage RTI application through email in case of life and liberty matter.

The Commission suggested that a unique email id can be created by the CPIOs in this regard and reflected on their respective websites. A method of online fees also has to be though of in this regard. In so far as other normal RTIs are concerned, the RTI portal can be used. The Deputy Registrar was directed to circulate the order widely to the public authorities relate to the Registry. [Mohit Kumar Gupta v. CPIO, University of Delhi, CIC/DoP&T/C/2018/628739/MoHRD/03274, decided on 22-4-2020]

Punjab and Haryana High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: A petition under Section 482 CrPC was filed by the petitioner  to conduct proper investigation in FIR registered by him in October, 2014 under Section 364/34 IPC registered at Police Station Malout, District Sri Muktsar Sahib. The petitioner also apprehended death threat from four police officials who are also the respondents in the case.

On hearing both the parties, Court examines the allegations by the petitioner on the respondents. The petitioner has alleged that in October, 2014, his son was kidnapped from Malout under the railway over bridge Malout by some police officials of Abohar while one official was in uniform and others were in civil clothes and accordingly, FIR was registered by the petitioner the very next day of kidnapping. However, later on, Abohar Police registered another FIR under Sections 399 and 402 IPC and Sections 25/54/59 of the Arms Act showing the arrest of petitioner’s son on 15.10.2014 at about 9.00 p.m. from a factory area in Abohar recording that they had received a secret information that five persons are making preparation to commit dacoity. Further, the offences under Sections 399 and 402 IPC were deleted and Amrik Singh was challaned only under Section 25 of the Arms Act and challan is since pending before Illaqa Magistrate for trial and the police also moved a cancellation report of FIR filed by the petitioner.

Conclusively, the Court observed that the allegations put by the petitioner were quite serious as he had alleged that son of the petitioner was falsely implicated after being kidnapped from Malout and Police Station Sadar Abohar registered the FIR for dacoity only after the registration of FIR by the petitioner under Sections 364/34 IPC registered at Police Station Malout regarding kidnapping of his son.

The Court noted the fact that the matter involved was regarding life and liberty of the petitioner and was thus, very serious. The Court concluded with its findings stating that that police officials have committed the crime, necessary departmental and criminal action shall be taken against them and police may also take further action in the FIR lodged by the petitioner and follow up action for quashing the FIR alleged to be falsely implicating the petitioner’s son. It ordered the authorities concerned  to conduct the inquiry and submit the report within 3 months. Accordingly, it allowed the petitioner’s appeal along with an additional order that the petitioner and his son would not be called to the police station without prior permission of the Court. [Balkar Singh v. State of Punjab, 2017 SCC OnLine P&H 1725, decided on 18th July, 2017]

Punjab and Haryana High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: While considering the present issue that whether the petitioners should be granted protection of their life by the State, R.S. Malik, J., observed that Article 21 of the Constitution, that enshrines the most precious fundamental right to life and liberty, must be protected. However the Court also stated that individual freedom being subject to time tested and established social norms is also an important part of the constitutional philosophy. The petitioners therefore, were held to be entitled for the protection of their life and liberty by the State.

In the present case came in the wake of the private respondent’s refusal to accept the marriage of the petitioners. The petitioners via their counsel R.K. Mattoo, contended before the Court that there is an apprehension for their life and liberty from the private respondents.

The Court relying on the decisions laid down by the Supreme Court A.K.Gopalan v. State of Madras, AIR 1950 SC 27, Kartar Singh v. State of Punjab, (1994) 3 SCC 569, and State of West Bengal v. Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, (2010) 3 SCC 571, observed that the instant case is a fit case for exercising the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court under Section 482 of CrPC. .However, the Court also observed that young citizens like the petitioners are expected to think twice before performing ‘rebellion marriage’ and the Court does not intend to put its seal of approval on the marriage of the petitioners since it was not an issue involved in the present petition, but only provide protection to the lives of the petitioners as against the private respondents. [Laltesh Kumari v. State of Haryana, 2015 SCC OnLine P&H 9961, Decided on 18.12.2015]