Karnataka High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

   

Karnataka High Court: While deciding the instant application seeking regular bail for offences under the provisions of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006* and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), the Bench of Rajendra Badamikar, J., held that POCSO Act is a special legislation, and it overrides any personal law.

Facts and Contentions: The accused/petitioner is the husband of a 17-year-old Muslim girl, who came to know about her pregnancy when she visited a Primary Health Centre for a check-up. A complaint was thus lodged against the accused/petitioner by the Sub-Inspector of R.K. Puram Police Station, based on information furnished by the Medical Officer who examined the victim-wife. It was alleged that the victim’s marriage to the petitioner was solemnized when she was still a minor. Sexual intercourse with her husband resulted in her pregnancy.

The complaint was filed under Sections 9 and 10 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act and Sections 4 and 6 of the POCSO Act. The petitioner’s application for bail was rejected by the Sessions Judge, therefore, he approached the High Court in the instant petition.

The petitioner’s counsel argued that under Muslim Law, the consideration for marriage is puberty and the normal age of puberty is treated as 15 years; hence, it was contended that no offence was committed under the provisions of POCSO Act and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

  • Decision of the Court: Perusing the facts and contentions of the case, the Court held as follows: The Court held that POCSO, being a special law, will override any personal law and the age of consent for sexual activity is 18 years.

  • However, the Court noted that the victim-wife is 17 years old and capable of understanding things. Even though she asserted that the marriage with the accused/petitioner was solemnized without her consent, there is no evidence showing that the victim raised any objections. Hence, there was prima-facie evidence of the victim being a consenting party and that there is no dispute regarding the marriage between the accused/petitioner and the victim-wife. The Court also took into consideration that the victim now being pregnant required care and the petitioner if enlarged on bail could take care of herUnder these circumstances the Court granted bail with strict conditions.

[Aleem Pasha v. State of Karnataka, 2022 SCC OnLine Kar 1588, decided on 12-10-2022]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

Basavanna M.D., Advocate, for the Petitioner;

K. Nageshwarappa, HCGP, for the Respondent.


*Editorial Note: The text of the High Court’s Judgment mentions “Child Marriage Restraint Act”, however, the Statute involved in the petition is Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006. The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 has been repealed.

**Sucheta Sarkar, Editorial Assistant has prepared this brief.

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a case where challenge was made to declare Section 50(a) of the Delhi Land Reforms Act, 1954 unconstitutional being ultra vires Articles 14, 15, 254 and 21 of the Constitution of India, the bench of Hemant Gupta and Vikram Nath*, JJ has held that all the legislations included in the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution before the Judgment in the case of Kesavananda Bharati vs. State of Kerala, 1973 (4) SCC 225 that is 24.04.1973, would stand protected under Article 31B of the Constitution and, therefore, the challenge to the validity of provisions of the 1954 Act must fail.

The Provision in question

Section 50. General order of succession from males: – Subject to the provisions of Section 48 and 52, when a Bhumidhar or Asami being a male dies, his interest in his holding shall devolve in accordance with the order of the succession given below:

a) Male lineal descendants in the male line of the descent:

Provided that no member of this class shall inherit if any male descendant between him and the deceased is alive:

Provided further that the son or sons of a predeceased on how low so ever shall inherit the share which would have devolved upon the deceased if he had been then alive:

b) Widow; c) Father; d) Mother, being a widow; e) Step mother, being a widow; f) Father’s father; g) Father’s mother, being a widow; h) Widow of a male lineal descendant in the male line of descent; i) Brother, being the son of same father as the deceased; j) Unmarried sister; k) Brother’s son, the brother having been a son of the same father as the deceased; l) Father’s father’s son; m)Brother’s son’s son; n) Father’s father’s son’s son; and o) Daughter’s son.

Grounds of challenge

(i) violation of Article 14 of the Constitution;

(ii) women being discriminated despite world over the rights of women were being empowered;

(iii) Hindu Succession Act, 1956 would prevail over the 1954 Act.

Analysis

Repugnancy – Article 254 of the Constitution

It was argued before the Court that Succession provided in 1956 Act will prevail over the succession provided in 1954 Act in view of Article 254 of the Constitution, as there is clear repugnancy. The Court rejected this submission and held that the question of repugnancy arises only if both the Parliament and the State legislature have made law with respect to any one of the matters enumerated in the Concurrent list (List III). However, in the present case two enactments of 1956 and 1954 are relatable to Entries in List III and List II respectively. Thus, no question of repugnancy would arise in view of Article 254 of the Constitution.

Special Law

The argument relating to 1956 Act being a special law and 1954 being a general law is completely misconceived as, it has been expressed by the Supreme Court as well as High Courts, on several occasions, that any State enactment relating to Agricultural land tenures is a special law.

Repeal of an enactment – Effect

The Court also rejected the contention that Section 4(2) of the 1956 Act having been deleted by an amendment in 2005, there would be no justification to apply the provisions of succession given in the 1954 Act as the same would now be governed by the 1956 Act as by virtue of Section 6 of the General Clauses Act, the repeal of an enactment would not affect the previous operation of such an enactment.

In the case at hand, the deletion of Section 4(2) took place w.e.f 09.09.2005. Therefore, the effect of the deletion can only be in respect of successions which opened on or after 09.09.2005. This is because under Section 6(b) and 6(c) of the General Clauses Act repeal cannot affect the previous operation of any enactment so repealed and cannot affect the previous operation of any enactment so repealed and cannot affect any right which may have been acquired or accrued.

In the present case, as the succession has opened prior to 09.09.2005, the rights of the descendants in terms of Section 50 became crystallized on account of the said Section read with Section 4(2) of the 1956 Act, therefore, the deletion of Section 4(2) cannot have retrospective effect.

Also, the 1954 Act is a special law, dealing with fragmentation, ceiling, and devolution of tenancy rights over agricultural holdings only, whereas the 1956 Act is a general law, providing for succession to a Hindu by religion as stated in Section 2 thereof. The existence or absence of Section 4(2) in the 1956 Act would be immaterial.

Gender Bias

While it was argued before the Court that the provisions of Section 50(a) of the 1954 Act are violative of Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India as there is clear discrimination on the ground of sex, the Court held that the argument was invalidated once it was held that there can be no challenge to the 1954 Act as the said legislation is included in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution of India.

[Har Naraini Devi v. Union of India, CIVIL APPEAL NO. 22957 OF 2017, decided on 20.09.2022]


*Judgment by: Justice Vikram Nath

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Supreme Court of Pakistan: The Three-Judge Bench of Mian Saqib Nisar, HCJ; Mushir Alam and Ijaz Ul Ahsan, JJ., allowed the petition filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the order granting bail to a person accused of laundering money in a scheme pertaining to army personnel.

A company – Globaco Pvt. Ltd. – under an arrangement with Defence Housing Authority (DHA) launched a subsidized scheme for army personnel. DHA, Lahore filed a complaint against the company alleging diversion of funds received from the public. NAB started an investigation into the said transaction. During the course of the investigation, it was revealed that respondent was Director in a company Orange Properties Pvt. Ltd., which was the holding company of Globaco Pvt. Ltd.

It was the case of NAB that respondent had enriched himself by diverting colossal sums of money received from the public, into accounts of various companies of which he was, directly and indirectly, the beneficiary. Consequent to his arrest by NAB, the respondent filed a writ petition wherein the learned Judge released him on bail. The said order was assailed by way of present petition.

The Court observed that the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 is a special law enacted with an objective to combat the white-collar crime of high magnitude. All offences under the Ordinance are non-bailable. It was opined that where persons handling the affairs of a corporate entity use a legal attire to carry out any commercial activity and commit any wrong, then NAB has authority to lift the veil of incorporation and trace the mastermind behind such façade. Relying on Nisar Ahmed v. State, 2015 SCC OnLine Pak 136 it was held that powers for the grant of bail in such cases must be exercised strictly.

In view of the above, the impugned order was set aside.[National Accountability Bureau v. Murad Arshad, Civil Petition No. 1707 of 2018, Order dated 22-10-2018]