Hot Off The PressNews

As reported by media, Cabinet of the State of Andhra Pradesh has cleared the passage for a bill that proposes capital punishment in the cases of sexual abuse of women. Justice in 21-days including investigation and trial are also the components of the Bill.

Andhra Pradesh government has cleared two bills with the objective of speedy justice to women and children with the focus on rape victims and other sexual offences.

First Bill aims for justice in 21-days including investigation and trial and the second one mandates setting up special courts to try sexual offences against women and children.


[Source: Media Reports]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Rajiv Sharma and Lok Pal Singh, JJ. allowed a writ petition directing the Central Government to establish a regional bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal in the State of Uttarakhand.

The petition was filed by ex-servicemen, a practicing advocate. He demanded the establishment of a permanent bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal in the State of Uttarakhand. According to the petitioner, it was difficult for the serving as well as retired servicemen to have access to the Armed Force Tribunal at Lucknow. It is noteworthy that the Lucknow bench was established in the year 2009 with jurisdiction over the States of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Uttarakhand. Later, in 2016, a regional bench was established at Jabalpur with jurisdiction over Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. It was submitted that a total of 220 cases of the Uttarakhand State were pending before the regional bench at Lucknow. Thus, the petitioner sought the prayer as mentioned hereinabove.

The High Court noted that the underlying principle of Armed Force Tribunal Act 2007, is to provide access to justice within a reasonable cost to the service personnel. Further, the largest number of service personnel hailed from the State of Uttarakhand. Section 30 of the Act bars the jurisdiction of all civil courts as well as the high courts in the service matters of the servicemen. There were 220 pending cases from the State, and this number seemed to be less as many cases including those by the widows of the service personnel must have never reached the bench at Lucknow since it is difficult for many people to reach the bench at Lucknow, given the geography and difficult terrain of the State. The High Court observed access to speedy justice is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution. Armed Forces Tribunal had been constituted to fortify the trust and confidence among members of the three services in the system of dispensation of justice in their service-related matters. The servicemen have a right to approach the Tribunal for adjudication of their service matters at a reasonably accessible place. The sacrifices made by the armed forces personnel during active war and peace could not be forgotten. The society has a duty to ensure that their grievances are redressed immediately. Having observed thus, the High Court directed the Central Government to establish a regional bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal in the State of Uttarakhand, at an appropriate place. [Lalit Kumar v. Union of India, 2018 SCC OnLine Utt 579, dated 12-06-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Stating that the virus of seeking adjournments needs to be controlled in order to avoid the abuse of the process of law, the bench of Dipak Misra and R. F. Nariman, JJ said that such act causes colossal insult to justice and to the concept of speedy disposal of civil litigation.

In a suit relating to recovery of possession, the examination- in-chief continued for long and the matter was adjourned seven times. The defendant sought adjournment after adjournment for cross-examination on some pretext or the other as if it was his right to seek adjournment on any ground whatsoever and on any circumstance. The Court said that a counsel appearing for a litigant has to have institutional responsibility and the professional ethics decries such practice. It was further reiterated that it is desirable that the recording of evidence should be continuous and followed by arguments and decision thereon within a reasonable time. That apart, the Courts should also constantly endeavour to follow such a time schedule so that the purpose of amendments brought in the Code of Civil Procedure are not defeated.

Quoting the saying of Gita “Awake! Arise! Oh Partha” for guidance of trial courts, the Court said that in the cases where the Judges are little proactive and refuse to accede to the requests of unnecessary adjournments, the litigants deploy all sorts of methods in protracting the litigation and it is not surprising that civil disputes drag on and on. The misplaced sympathy and indulgence by the appellate and revisional courts compound the malady further. The Court, hence, directed the defendant to deposit Rs, 50, 000 to the State Legal Service Authority, Karnataka within 8 weeks of this order and it was further made clear that if the amount is not deposited, the right of defence to examine its witnesses shall stand foreclosed. [Gayathri v. M. Girish, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 744, decided on 27.07.2016]