Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: A.S. Supehia, J., addressed a bail application revolving around a matter concerning a 20-page suicide note.

Instant application was filed to seek bail in connection with FIR for the offences punishable under Sections 306, 465, 477, 120B and 114 of the Penal Code, 1860.

It was submitted that First Informant was a follower of Khodiyar Dham Ashram and the same was being run by Jayramdas Bapu. It was alleged that on 01-06-2021 he received a call that something happened to Jayramdas Bapu and on reaching the ashram it was noticed that he passed away.

It was alleged that a suicide note by Jayramdas Bapu was found from his room containing 20 pages in which deceased named three accused. It was stated in the note that the accused people caused mental and physical torture to bapu and had recorded the videos of bapu in compromising conditions with some ladies due to which bapu committed suicide.

Further, it was alleged that the death certificate certifying that the deceased passed away of natural death i.e. cardiac arrest with incorrect time of death issued by one Dr Kamlesh Kareliya of Dev Covid Care Center, was in fact issued at the behest of the applicant.

The role, which is sought to be alleged and played by the applicant, is that when he examined the dead body of the deceased, the applicant being a doctor, did not prescribe for the postmortem of the deceased and by issuing such certificate, he had tried to save or shield the main accused.

High Court while granting the bail to the applicant considered following:

(a) The role attributed to the applicants;

(b) The applicant is not named in the F.I.R.;

(c) The applicant is a doctor, who was treating the deceased since last several years;

(d) Prima facie, the F.I.R. reveals that there is no monetary ill-gain by the applicant;

(e) Prima facie, the ingredients of Sections 306, 107 as well as 465 of the IPC are not established in the case of the applicant;

(f) The suicide note, which is left by the deceased does not implicate the applicant in any manner and there are no allegations leveled against the applicant in this regard in the F.I.R.;

(g) Considering the facts of the case, the custodial interrogation of the applicant at this stage is not necessary.

Bench relied upon the following Supreme Court cases:

Sushila Aggarwal v. State (NCT of Delhi), (2020) 5 SCC 1 and

Siddharam Satlingappa Mhetre v. State of Maharashtra, (2011) 1 SCC 694

In view of the above, the present application was allowed.[Nilesh Gopalbhai Nimavat v. State of Gujarat, 2021 SCC OnLine Guj 1056, decided on 16-07-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

MR YOGESH LAKHANI, SENIOR ADVOCATE WITH MR APURVA R KAPADIA(5012) for the Applicant(s) No. 1

MR MITESH AMIN, PUBLIC PROSECUTOR WITH MR HIMANSHU K PATEL, APP for the Respondent(s) No. 1

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Avneesh Jhingan, J., ordered to expeditiously conduct second post-mortem of infamous gangster Jai Pal Singh Bhullar, who was allegedly killed in a police encounter.  The Bench observed,

“Noting the fact that body of son of the petitioner is lying at his place for almost nine days and rejection of prayer of the petitioner at this stage may result in irreversible damage by not conducting the second post-mortem.”

 The petitioner, father of late gangster Jai Pal Singh Bhullar, alleged that his son had been killed in a police encounter and there were serious issues of human rights violation. The petitioner contended that his son had been mercilessly tortured to death under the guise of a fake encounter and the body was handed over by the West Bengal authorities in the sealed box. While conducting the last rites, number of injuries was found on the body of the deceased, the petitioner urged for conducting second post-mortem as the first post-mortem report was not with him and according to the instructions received from the Doctor cause of death was fire-arm injury.

Noticeably, on 17-06-2021, (CRM-M-23367 of 2021) the High Court had dismissed the petition seeking directions to get a second post-mortem examination conducted on the dead body of his son on the ground that the petitioner’s son had died in Kolkata, and the post-mortem had also been conducted by the Doctors of Kolkata, which was outside the jurisdiction of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana and, West Bengal.

Directions of the Supreme Court

The petitioner had knocked on the door of the Supreme Court by filing an SLP (No. 4311 of 2021) against the impugned order. The Supreme Court noticed that though the High Court had dismissed the said petition on the ground that the grievance of the petitioner was with regard to the mode and manner of the post-mortem examination, which took place in Kolkata by the Doctors of Kolkata. However, the Supreme Court opined that the Court has failed to consider that there were serious allegations against the Punjab Police in the case, which was alleged to have been involved in the said encounter. The dead body of the petitioner’s son had been brought to Punjab and was presently lying in Punjab. The Punjab Police was in seisin of the case. The petitioner had alleged that the Punjab Police had resorted to manipulation of the post-mortem report. Thus, the Supreme Court held that the High Court had erred in dismissing the petition, accordingly, the impugned order was set aside.

Stand Taken by the State

The State of Punjab vehemently opposed the pleadings that the son of the petitioner was killed on 09-06-2021, in an encounter by Punjab Police. It was submitted by the State that the Punjab Police was not involved in the alleged encounter and all the action was of the West Bengal authorities. Also, that the State had only preserved the body by sending Freezer in compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court as the post-mortem was conducted on 10-06-2021 and body was handed over to the petitioner on 12-06-2021 and since then it is in possession of the family.

Directions for Second Post-mortem

Noticing the absence of an earlier post-mortem report, the Bench opined that apart from the bald statement, there were no allegations which had been substantiated with regard to mode and manner of conducting post-mortem at Kolkata. However, in view of direction by the Supreme Court, and noting the fact that body of son of the petitioner is lying at his place for almost nine days and rejection of prayer of the petitioner at this stage may result in irreversible damage by not conducting the second post-mortem,  the Bench persuaded to ignore the technicalities, and directed the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh (PGIMER) to constitute a Board and conduct second post-mortem expeditiously.[Bhupinder Singh v. State of Punjab, CRM-M-23367 of 2021, decided on 21-06-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearance before the Court by: 

Counsels for the Petitioner: Mr. A.P.S. Randhawa, Advocate, Mr. Hardik Ahluwalia, Advocate, Mr. Dhananjay Grover, Advocate, Ms. Ishma Randhawa, Advocate and

Mr. Simranjit Singh, Advocate

Counsel for the State: Mr. Gaurav Garg Dhuriwala, Sr. Deputy Advocate General, Punjab.

Counsels for PGIMER: Mr. Amit Jhanji, Sr. Advocate (Panel Counsel) with Mr. Abhishek Kumar Premi, Advocate

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Calcutta High Court: Debangsu Basak, J., directed the State to videograph the Post-Mortem of the petitioners son suspected to have died due to COVID-19 and alleged to be subjected to medical negligence.

Medical Negligence

Senior Advocate, Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya appearing on behalf of the petitioners submitted that petitioners son died due to medical negligence.

Two hospitals had refused for admission to the deceased son of petitioners and later when he was admitted at Calcutta Medical college on the same day he lost his life.

Petitioners filed a police complaint and submitted that they should be allowed to be present for their son’s post mortem and later the mortal remains of the son be made over to them for performing the last rites.

Advocate General appearing for the State submitted that police authorities are investigating and thus petitioners cannot be allowed to be present in the Post Mortem. Authorities will follow the ICMR guidelines in conducting the Post Mortem and also in dealing with the dead-body.

When the deceased was taken for treatment to a Nursing Home, COVID Test was conducted, wherein he was found COVID-19 positive, after which being taken to other clinical establishments he was refused from being admitted.

Bench stated that given the fact that the State is not averse to conducting a Post Mortem it would be appropriate to permit the State Authorities to conduct Post mortem on the deceased and videograph the same.

Upon Post Mortem being completed, the State Authorities will permit the petitioners to see mortal remains of the son. The State Authorities will also permit the petitioners to undertake such religious rituals as are permitted by ICMR guidelines on the deceased.

Given the nature of the pandemic presently, it would be prudent to err in favour of caution, if one is required to err.

Mortal remains & Dead-body Management

Petitioners should be allowed to perform the last rites in accordance with the COVID-19 guidelines on dead-body management.

The State is not averse to the petitioners performing such last rites. The State does not want the petitioners to accompany the dead-body to the crematorium since the crematorium, according to the State is a designated COVID-19 crematorium and that State requires presence of persons at the minimum.

Adding to its conclusion, Court stated that, the State will allow the petitioners to view the mortal remains of the son after the Post Mortem and to perform the last rites at a place to be designated by the State.

It is clarified that the Court did not decide the issue as to whether the deceased died due to COVID-19 or not.[Srabani Chatterjee v. State of W.B., 2020 SCC OnLine Cal 1206 , decided on 14-07-2020]

Hot Off The PressNews

As reported by PTI,

Telangana High Court: A Division Bench comprising R S Chauhan, C.J. and A Abhishek Reddy, J., directed re-postmortem of the bodies of four accused in the gang-rape and murder.

Bodies of the four accused are currently preserved in the state-run Gandhi Hospital here as per earlier orders of the High Court, after some PILs were filed alleging extra- judicial killing of the men and claiming it was a fake encounter among others.

Bench directed that the second autopsy should be conducted before December 23, and the report with their findings shall be submitted to the Registrar General of the High Court.


Background:

As reported by ANI, Telangana High Court orders to preserve the bodies of the accused, till 13-12-2019.

The matter has been posted for hearing on 12-12-2019.

Advocate Prakash Reddy has been appointed as amicus curiae to assist the Court.

Background:

A representation was made at the Chief Justice’s Office on 6-12-2019, wherein the request for judicial intervention was placed with respect to the extra-judicial killing of the 4 accused’s involved in rape and murder of Disha (name changed) on 27-11-2019.

Advocate General of Telangana informed that the post-mortem of the 4 accused was being done and the same was also being video graphed.

Court asked the video of the post-mortem to be given to the Principal District Judge once the post-mortem is done, which further is to be submitted to the Registrar General of the High Court of Telangana.

Court has further directed for the preservation of the bodies till 9-12-2019 and the matter has been listed for 9-12-2019 before the bench of the Chief Justice of Telangana High Court. [Police encounter which occurred on 06-12-2019 at Chatanapally Village, WP (PIL) No. 173 of 2019, Order dated 06-12-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: Prashant Kumar Mishra, J. disposed of a criminal appeal where he altered the conviction of the appellant from the one under Section 302 (punishment for murder) to that under Section 304 Part I (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Penal Code.

The appellant was convicted for the murder of her sister-in-law. The appellant had developed a fancy for the deceased. The marriage of the deceased was fixed on the day previous to the incident. On the morning of the day of the incident, the appellant inflicted axe blow on the deceased in the field. She went to her house and after some time she was taken to the police station where she registered FIR. After that, she was taken to the hospital but she died on the way. The appellant was tried and convicted by the trial court for the offence of murder punishable under Section 302. Aggrieved thereby, the appellant filed the present appeal.

The High Court noted that the deceased having died immediately after lodging FIR, it was required to dwell on the legal character of the said FIR, as to whether the same was admissible in evidence as dying declaration. Relying on Dharam Pal v. State of U.P., (2008) 17 SCC 337, the Court observed: “The legal position is therefore well settled that the FIR lodged by the deceased would attain the character and legal status of dying declaration if the victim dies before his/her examination in the Court.” Considering the same, the Court upheld the finding that the appellant committed the act that resulted in the death of the deceased.

However, the Court considered medical opinion of the doctor who conducted the post-mortem on the deceased, who stated that the deceased would have been saved if she would have been administered treatment immediately after the incident. The relatives of the deceased committed mistake by taking her first to the police station, rather taking her to the hospital. Considering such mitigating circumstances, the High Court altered the conviction of the appellant mentioned above. Also, the sentence of life imprisonment awarded to him by the trial court was reduced to 10 years, as already undergone by the appellant.[Ram Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2019 SCC OnLine Chh 83, decided on 22-07-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench comprising of S. Muralidhar and Vinod Goel, JJ., dismissed the appeal filed against the order of the trial court whereby the appellant was convicted for the offence punishable under Section 300 IPC.

The appellant was accused of murdering the deceased by repeatedly stabbing him with a knife. The trial court convicted the appellant for murder under Section 302. The said order of conviction was challenged by the appellant in the instant appeal. Counsel for the appellant submitted that the incident was not premeditated; it was a result of a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel between the appellant and the deceased. Based on such submission, counsel for the appellant contended that Exception 4 to Section 300 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder)  stood attracted to the case.

The High Court referred to Surinder Kumar v. State (UT of Chandigarh), (1989) 2 SCC 217 and Ghapoo Yadav v. State of M.P., (2003) 3 SCC 528. It was observed that to attract Exception 4 to Section 300, not only must the defence be able to show that the offence was committed without pre-meditation in a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel, but more importantly, it must be shown that the offender ‘did not take undue advantage and did not act in a cruel or unusual manner’. However, in the present case, on the facts and circumstances, the Court was of the view that the exception did not get attracted to the case. The testimony of witnesses as also the post-mortem report clearly showed that whatever may have been the provocation, the act of brutally stabbing the deceased with repeated knife blows, was an act done in a cruel and unusual manner which was disproportionate to the provocation. The appeal was accordingly dismissed. [Rajesh Bansal v. State,2018 SCC OnLine Del 10563, dated 14-8-2018]

High Courts

Kerala High Court: In a recent case of Hyzel Stewert’s unnatural death, a bench of Kemal Pasha J. directed to quash the final report filed by the 3rd additional respondent and also directed the Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch to conduct the investigation in the matter and to file a final report at any rate within a period of 3 months.

In the instant case, the unfortunate father of a young girl filed a complaint under Section 482 CrPC for expeditious disposal of a case filed earlier in respect of his daughter’s death, alleging that from the very beginning the local police had showed a lethargic attitude in conducting the investigation in the case, and that the accused have influenced the police on the basis of his money power and muscle power.

The Court went through the copy of the postmortem certificate of the victim and noted that “there is not even an inch of space in her body which is free from injuries”, “Can it be believed that a person who has sustained these much of ante-mortem injuries could climb over some thing in order to reach the fan on the roof and to hang for committing suicide?”. The Court assumed the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution relying on the decision of M/s Pepsi Food Ltd. v. Special Judicial Magistrate (1998) 5 SCC 749, that High Court can exercise its power of judicial review in criminal matters, and rejected the contention of the Sri P. Vijayabhanu, the learned Senior Counsel for the additional respondents that the injuries on the body of the deceased resulted from resuscitation attempts resorted to by the doctors to resuscitate the deceased who was suffering from heart ailment.

The Court found that the whole investigation is shabby, and noted that “this Court is not making an opinion as to whether an offence under Section 302, IPC is there in this case or not. Even if she is murdered, the offence under Section 304-B, IPC will lie in the matter, over and above the offence under Section 302, IPC”. The Court stated that “the investigation conducted by the investigation officer was not proper and adequate. The apprehension forwarded by the petitioner seems to be genuine”. On the basis of the above finding, the Court directed to quash the final report filed by the 3rd additional respondent, and directed the Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch to conduct a further investigation in the matter by himself or by making use of a team of high officers under him, and to file a final report within 3 months of this Order. Stebert Kumar v. State of Kerala2014 SCC OnLine Ker 19574, decided on 19-12-2014.