Case BriefsHigh Courts

Calcutta High Court: A Division Bench of Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, CJ and Arijit Banerjee, J., directed the State to remove from all Government portals and facebook sites of government institutions and departments the publications that are Anti Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Court further asked the Eastern Railway and Southern-Eastern Railway to place reports with respect to actual details of loss caused to railway property and damages incurred therein. The reports will also contain a statement in regard to the action taken and the action to be taken for recovery of loss caused for such damages to the railway property.

The Bench decided to leave open the legal issue as to whether the State or the Government could issue such publications at State expense or using the government machinery.

Court also noted the Advocate General Kishore Datta’s response with respect restrictions on internet services, that the same have been lifted throughout the State and the publication material which is anti-CAA and NRC to be withdrawn from circulation.[Sri Surajit Saha v. State of W.B., 2019 SCC OnLine Cal 5228, decided on 23-12-2019]

Hot Off The PressNews

Editors Guild of India issues statement condemning the acts of violence and brutality committed by by police forces, in particular those in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, against media persons in dfferent parts of the country in last one week.

Guild reminds the police forces across the country that journalists are present at different venues, where protests are taking place, as part of their Constitutionality guranteed duties of gathering information and disseminating it among the people through tehir respective media platforms. Using force or physical volence against journalists on duty throttles the very voice of democracy and media freedom.

The Guild urges the Union Home Ministry to direct police forces in different states to offer adequate protection to journalists engaged in coverage of the ongoing protests. Instead of targeting them forphysical attack, the need of the hour is to ensure proper and reponsible coverage, a goal that cannot be achieved by by such acts of violence and brutality against journalists on duty.

Editors Guild of India

[Press Statement dt. 23-12-2019]

Hot Off The PressNews

Jamia Milia Violence | Jamia Protest | Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

Sunday evening on 15-12-2019 turned out to be full of fear and violence on the campus of Jamia Milia Islamia University when police forces entered the campus and used tear gas along with lathi-charge on students.

It has been reported that, the students were detained and taken to two of the police stations where for a few hours no lawers, activists, media persons or anyone was allowed to enter. Students were beaten in the libraries, hostels, everywhere.

Several came out in support of the Jamia Students.

As reported by NDTV, Protests swept campuses across the country against the police crackdown at Jamia Millia Islamia after Sunday evening’s violence over the new citizenship law.

The police, which used batons and teargas to contain the violence, later barged into the university and detained around 100 students. All the detained students were released around 3:30 am.

Delhi High Court’s take on the incident:

As reported by All India Radio, A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar declined to list the plea for urgent hearing, saying there was no urgency in the matter.

The plea sought judicial inquiry into the action taken by the police, including allegedly firing at the students.  It also seeks proper medical treatment and compensation for the injured students.

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

S.O. 4273(E).—Whereas, the United Liberation Front of Asom and its various factions, wings and fronts (hereinafter referred to as the ULFA) has professed its aim namely, the “Liberation” of Assam from the Indian Union through an armed struggle in alliance with other armed secessionist organisations of the North East Region”;

And Whereas, the Central Government is of the opinion that ULFA has-

(i) indulged in various illegal and violent activities intended to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India in furtherance of its objective of liberating Assam;

  1. (ii)  aligned itself with other unlawful associations of North Eastern Region to secede Assam from India;
  2. (iii)  in pursuance of its aims and objectives, engaged in several unlawful and violent activities during the currency of its declaration as an unlawful association;

And Whereas, the Central Government is of further opinion that the unlawful and violent activities which are attributed to ULFA include –

  1. (i)  about seventy incidents of violence, either individually or in alliance with other insurgent groups of North East Region, during the period from 1st January 2015 to 31st July 2019;
  2. (ii)  killing of thirty-two persons, including twenty-five civilians and seven security forces personnel, during the period from 1st January, 2015 to 31st July 2019;
  3. (iii)  kidnapping of six persons, during the period from 1st January, 2015 to 31s1 July 2019;
  4. (iv)  forty- seven cases of recovery of unauthorised arms and ammunitions from its cadres;
  5. (v)  indulging in a spate of extortions and secessionist activities, and endangering the lives of innocent citizens, in addition to acts of kidnappings for ransom;
  6. (vi)  instructing its cadres to carry out acts by targeting the establishments of security forces and their personnel, political leaders, railways and oil installations;
  7. (vii)  establishing sanctuaries and training camps in the neighboring countries; and
  8. (viii)  embarking upon restructuring of its organisational network at the grass root level by launching a systematic drive for recruitment of fresh cadres while continuing its violent and insurgent activities;

And Whereas, for the reasons mentioned above, the Central Government is also of the opinion that the activities of ULFA are, detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India and that it is an unlawful association;

And Whereas, if there is no immediate curb and control of the unlawful activities of ULFA, it may take the opportunity to –

  1. (i)  mobilise its cadres for escalating its secessionist, subversive and violent activities;
  2. (ii)  openly propagate anti-national activities in collusion with forces inimical to India’s sovereignty and national integrity;
  3. (iii)  indulge in killings of civilians and targeting of police and security forces personnel;
  4. (iv)  procure and induct more illegal arms and ammunitions from across the border;
  5. (v)  extort and collect funds and illegal taxes from the public for its unlawful activities;

Now therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967), (hereinafter referred to as the said Act), the Central Government hereby declares the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) along with all its factions, wings and front organisations as an unlawful association;

The Central Government, having regard to the activities of ULFA, mentioned above, and to meet the sustained and ever increasing violence committed by ULFA in the recent past against the police, the armed forces and the civilians, is of the opinion that circumstances exist which render it necessary to declare ULFA to be an unlawful association with immediate effect and accordingly, in exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to sub-section (3) of section 3 of the said Act, hereby directs that this notification shall, subject to any order that may be made under section 4 of the said Act, have effect from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

Ministry of Home Affairs

[Notification dt. 27-11-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Orissa High Court: The Bench of Akshaya Kumar Mishra, J. acquitted the accused by setting aside the order of the Sessions Court since the allegation of dowry or violence were not proven and were vague.

The facts of the case are that the deceased had married the petitioner in 1997 and after a few days he started demanding for cash, T.V., cycle and for the inability to give those articles, the deceased returned to her father’s house and lodged written FIR. Based upon the testimony of the victim, the demand was found to have been proved. A concurrent verdict was passed in 1999 by the Addl. Sessions Judge dismissing the appeal against the judgment given in 1998 passed by the SDJM. However, the deceased had filed an affidavit in pursuance of the order stating that she was staying with her husband and both of them was blessed with two female children. In today’s date, the children are well settled and are living with their father peacefully.

The Court while setting aside the order passed by the Addl. Sessions Judge, held that there was no clinching evidence to hold the accused persons guilty for the reason that the allegation of torture was not specific and demand of dowry was not commensurate to the common man life. [Raibu v. State Of Orissa, 2019 SCC OnLine Ori 28, Order dated 24-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: The Bench of R.K. Gauba, J. quashed the summoning order passed by Metropolitan Magistrate against the CEO of Swiggy observing that it does not pass the muster of a judicial order.

The incident 

The incident occurred at Delhi-19, a restaurant in Kalkaji, Delhi. The company “Swiggy” is a food aggregator which collects food and beverages from restaurants as per customer’s orders through delivery personnel described as PDP (pick-up and delivery partners). On 14-7-2018, there was a rush of PDPs at Delhi-19 as there was some delay in service by the restaurant. The situation got out of hand inasmuch as the Fleet Manager of Swiggy had to intervene. It was alleged that later some of the PDPs returned and ransacked Delhi-19. In such course, violence erupted and one Kanav Madnani suffered injuries. An FIR was registered on statement of the proprietor of Delhi-19 and after the filing of first charge-sheet was filed against arrested persons. Subsequently, a supplementary charge-sheet was filed on the basis of which CEO of Swiggy (petitioner) was summoned to appear before the Metropolitan Magistrate.

The charge

In the supplementary charge-sheet, the CEO of Swiggy along with others was sought to be put on trial for the offence punishable under Section 109 read with Section 338 IPC. It was indicated that he was negligent in framing the policies with respect to the employment of delivery boys and failed to take preventive steps, thereby having intentionally aided by illegal omission, the commission of offence under the sections mentioned herein.

High Court’s decision

The High Court noted that the petitioner was stationed in Bangalore far away from the Delhi, the place of incident. The court was of the view that having regard to CEO’s role and responsibilities, the Magistrate was expected to subject the entire material presented before him to a closer scrutiny.  It was held that the summoning order did not pass the muster of a judicial order. There was no consideration of background facts or the connection between the offence and role of the CEO. In such circumstances, the summoning order was quashed and the matter was remitted back to MM for fresh consideration.[Sriharsha Majety v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2019 SCC OnLine Del 6730, dated 25-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: The Delhi High Court took suo motu cognizance of violence and vandalism against members of the Delhi Bar. The Bar in it’s resolution dated 23rd January, 2018 and 22nd January, 2018 mentioned that the Counsel who were victimised were so victimised because they were appearing as counsel for a lady advocate.

The Court noted that there was shocking similarity in the design and manner of the execution of the incidents of violence and vandalism and hence, opined that the incidents could not be treated as separate incidents. The court noted that FIRs have been filed in relation to the incidents but even after a month, minimal steps have been taken by the police in providing assistance and carrying out investigation. The Court, stating that such violence to thwart legal assistance in pending cases is tantamount to criminal contempt of court. In view of above observations, the Court invoked it’s suo motu jurisdiction to call upon an immediate report from the Delhi Police. Also, it directed the matter to be treated as a writ in public interest. [Court on it’s own motion v. Commissioner of Police, Delhi, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 7221, decided on 29.01.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Amidst the increasing clamour surrounding the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for its unnecessary incisions of the movies, a Division Bench comprising Rohini C.J. and Nath J. upheld the ruling of the Single Bench, rejecting all the incisions/deletions suggested by CBFC for the documentary ‘Textures of Losses’.

The documentary film highlighting the plight of Kashmiris caused due to gun violence in the region had obtained recommendations of CBFC for incisions/deletions of certain portions of the documentary. The recommendations were challenged by the producer/director of the documentary before the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, which partly upheld the recommendations. Aggrieved by the same, the respondents approached the High Court, where the Single Bench set aside all recommendations in entirety. In the letters patent appeal filed, the appellants represented by Gaurav Sarin contended that the film being on a sensitive topic of violence in Kashmir required consideration with due care and caution in light of protecting the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India enshrined under Art. 19(2) of the Constitution.

The Bench refused to accept that there was any objectionable material in the film, stating that all views expressed by the people in the film are their personal views and are not anti-national. Court noted that the film seemed to depict the emotions of the persons who lost their dear ones in the violence. With the mutual settlement for placing a disclaimer at the commencement of the movie, the Court directed a ‘U’ certificate for the film, disposing the appeal in favour of the respondents. [Central Board of Film Certification v. Pankaj Butalia, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 844,  decided on 15/02/2016]