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IBA asks Supreme Court to withdraw its NPA order

The Supreme Court on Friday disposed of a petition filed by Gajendra Sharma in the so-called loan moratorium case, with the borrower expressing satisfaction with the government’s pay-back scheme. 

The court recorded that lending institutions have returned over 4,300 crore in compound interest collected from small borrowers during the moratorium period. It also noted the submission made by Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta on behalf of the government that ex gratia payments have been made into 13.12 crore bank accounts as of November 13.

A Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan noted in a 24-page judgment that “Mehta submits that in pursuance of circular dated October 23, 2020, the State Bank of India has informed that as on November 13, as per provisional, unaudited information received so far from various lending institutions, such lending institutions have released ex gratia amount of an aggregate exceeding 4,300 crore in over 13.12 crore accounts of borrowers covered under the scheme.” 

During today’s hearing, the Indian Banks Association, represented by senior advocate Harish Salve, urged the Bench to withdraw its September 3 interim order restraining banks from declaring as non-performing assets (NPAs) accounts found perfectly good till August 31. Salve said the banks are being rendered helpless against defaulting borrowers. The September 3 order had directed that “accounts which were not declared NPA till August 31, 2020 shall not be declared NPA till further orders”.

The Reserve Bank of India, represented by senior advocate V Giri, had made the same request to the court in a hearing on November 5. Giri had said the restraint order has led to “great difficulties” in the functioning of banks. The court agreed to examine the issue on December 2. 

‘Additional relief’

 Gajendra Sharma’s petition had led to the introduction of the waiver scheme as an “additional relief” to borrowers affected by the pandemic-induced financial distress.

The payments were made in compliance with the government’s pay-back scheme introduced on October 23 to waive the difference in the compound and simple interest charged between March 1 and August 31 (the moratorium period) for eight categories of loans each up to a maximum of 2 crore. The eight categories were MSME, education, housing, consumer durables, credit card, auto, personal and consumption loans.

"Will Chief Minister Be Arrested If A Person Names Him In A Suicide Note For Not Paying Salary?": Salve Argues For Arnab Goswami

Senior Advocate Harish Salve vociferously told the court today that the case against Arnab Goswami did not stand the test of basic ingredients required to establish an offence of Abetment to Suicide under Section 306 IPC. "Last month a man in Maharashtra committed suicide saying the Chief Minister failed to pay salary? What you do? Arrest the Chief Minister?" Salve said. Mr. Salve is currently making rejoinder arguments in the Supreme Court before bench of Justices DY Chandrachud & Indira Banerjee against the Bombay High Court order denying Goswami bail for a 2018 Abetment to Suicide case.

Salve has substantiated his arguments on mala fides against Goswami which he said are apparent & that his arrest and detention is "tainted in malice".

Do you arrest a man in a three-year-old FIR and put him in jail on a Diwali week and then transfer him to Taloja jail with hardened criminals?"Salve submitted before a division bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee.

In this context, Salve had told the bench that Goswami was being targeted by the ruling dispensation and that the unrelated issue pertaining to the instant case was raised in discussions before the Legislative Assembly.

"There is no doubt what is happening in the State. This is a smokescreen for teaching the man a lesson", Salve added.

Salve further submitted that the Magistrate should have released him on bond on the first day of production itself as no offence was made out against him. Mere non-payment of dues cannot amount to abetment to suicide, Salve said. He also touched upon the issue of the other accused persons mentioned along with Goswami in the suicide note but only Arnab Goswami was being discussed. "Would heavens have fallen if the man was released on ad-interim bail?", he asked.

Salve submitted that he was also making a prayer to transfer of investigation of Anvay Naik abetment to suicide case to the CBI and was seeking interim release in the meantime.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve opened arguments today by narrating the chain of events from regarding registration of FIRs against Goswami,viz. over his reporting of Palghar lynching and Bandra migrants gathering incidents, the subsequent intervention made by the SC on multiple FIRs, the threat issued by Shiv Sena to cable operators to boycott Republic TV, the breach of privilege notice issued by the Maharashtra assembly against him,the TRP scam FIR etc.
In this backdrop, he submitted that there were continuous attempts by the ruling party of Maharashtra to target Arnab Goswami. Salve further submitted that the offence of abetment to suicide was not made out by the allegations in the FIR. Person was driven to a point where they committed suicide because say 88 lacs balance payment remains, this is not a case of Abetment to suicide," said Salve. The hearing is currently underway.

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Hours after the Supreme Court granted interim bail to Arnab Goswami in the 2018 case of alleged abetment to suicide of an interior designer, the Republic TV Editor-in-Chief was released from Mumbai's Taloja jail by the authorities. Goswami and two others were granted interim bail earlier today by the SC on a bond of Rs 50,000.
A bench headed by justice Chandrachud said that Goswami, Nitish Sarda and Parveen Rajesh Singh should not tamper with evidence and cooperate in the probe in abetment to the suicide case.
Goswami has approached the SC after the Bombay high court on Monday refused to grant interim bail to him and two others in the case and had asked them to move to the local court for the relief.

Formal application not necessary to avail right to Default Bail if conditions under Section 167 (2)(a), CrPC are met: Delhi High Court

An accused would be entitled to default bail even if he has not specifically mentioned Section 167(2) in his bail application, provided other statutory conditions are met, the Court said.

The Delhi High Court recently clarified that the indefeasible right of default bail under Section 167 (2)(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure does not hinge upon an accused specifically invoking the provision in his application for bail (Subhash Bahadur @ Upender v. State).

Rather, Justice Vibhu Bakhru has highlighted

"... in cases where the statutory period of sixty days or ninety days has expired, the accused would be entitled to be released on bail provided he meets the condition as set out therein – that is, he is prepared to furnish and does furnish bail. It is important to note that there is no provision requiring him to make any formal application."

In criminal cases where the police is not able to file its final report (chargesheet) within 24 hours of having arrested the accused, Section 167 (2)(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) lays down that such a person cannot be detained beyond a period of either 60 days (or 90 days in more serious offences), if the person “is prepared to and does furnish bail.

The High Court observed,

"A plain reading of the Proviso (a) to Section 167(2) of the Cr.PC indicates that an accused would necessarily have to be released on bail 'if he is prepared to and does furnish bail.'"

The High Court also pointed out that a court's power to remand an accused to custody is limited, in that the exercise of remand has to be backed by law. As noted in the judgment,

"It is also trite law that there is no inherent power in a court to remand an accused to custody. Such power must be traced to an express provision of law.... As is apparent from the language of Proviso (a) to Section 167(2) of the Cr.PC, the power of a Court to remand an accused to custody pending investigation is circumscribed and stands denuded if the period of sixty days or ninety days, as the case may be, has expired and the accused is ready and willing to furnish bail."

The case before the High Court involved the arrest of a man (petitioner) for allegedly having taken part in a mobile phone robbery, during which the complainant was also shot on his leg. The petitioner was arrested in connection with the case in January this year.

The chargesheet was filed on September 14. The period of 60 days stipulated in Section 167 (2) (a), CrPC had expired in March. Bail applications moved in May and June were rejected by the trial court. Pertinently, the petitioner did not invoke Section 167 (2) (a), CrPC while moving his bail pleas.

The State relied on the case of Hitendra Vishnu Thakur v. State of Maharashtra to argue that a court cannot release an accused on bail on its own motion without any application on his behalf.

It would be necessary for the accused to make an application for release on bail on account of a default on the part of the investigation agency, he told the Court. Therefore, it was submitted that since no such application had been made, the petitioner could not have been released on default bail in this case.

The Court, however, did not agree. Justice Bakhru pointed out courts have consistently interpreted the law to favour substance over form. In this regard, he also quoted from Ajay Hasia Etc v Khalid Mujib Sehravardi & Ors, wherein the Supreme Court said,

"... where the constitution fundamentals vital to maintenance of human rights are at stake, functional realism and not facial cosmetics must be the diagnostic tool, for constitutional law must seek the substance and not the form.

As such, the Delhi High Court observed,

"... if in substance the essential conditions as set out under the Proviso (a) to Section 167(2) of the Cr.PC are met and complied with – that is (i) if the investigation has not been completed within the period of sixty or ninety days, as the case may be, from the date of arrest of the accused; and (ii) if the accused is prepared to offer bail – then there would be no justifiable reason to detain the accused."

For this provision to apply, all that is required is to see that an accused seeking bail is ready to furnish bail once the period of 60 (or 90 days, as the case may be) has lapsed.

In the present case, the Judge noted that the petitioner had told the lower Court that he is willing to furnish bail, provide a sound surety and ready to comply with any condition the court may impose. Therefore, the High Court granted him bail, remarking,

"Clearly, the Proviso to Section 167(2)(a) of the Cr.PC did not require the petitioner to do anything more except to indicate that he is prepared to furnish bail. Of course, he would be released on bail only if he did so...it is at once clear that the petitioner would be entitled to default bail even though he had not specifically mentioned the provisions of Section 167(2) of the Cr.PC in his application."

The Court also added a note on the significance of the right to default bail, as enunciated by the Supreme Court in numerous cases.

"...the Proviso to Section 167(2) of the Cr.PC is intrinsically linked to the right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India that 'no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.' It embodies a safeguard that circumscribes the power to detain an accused pending investigation. Keeping this principle in mind and the consistent view of the Supreme Court that in matters of personal liberties, it would not be apposite to curtail the same on technicalities, this Court is of this view that the petitioner would be entitled to default bail."

Advocate Mohd Perwez appeared for the petitioner. Additional Public Prosecutors Meenakshi Chauhan and Amit Gupta appeared for the State.

FIR against Goa professor for outraging religious feelings

An FIR was registered on Monday against Shilpa Singh, an assistant professor at a Goa law college, for allegedly outraging religious feelings with deliberate and malicious intention. The case was filed on a complaint by Rajiv Jha, of Rashtriya Hindu Yuva Vahini’s Goa unit.

In his complaint, Jha referred to a Facebook post by Singh, who teaches Political Science at Panaji’s VM Salgaocar College of Law, on April 21 in which she had challenged the patriarchy and dogma by comparing ‘mangalsutra’ to a “chained dog”.

Singh has also approached the police for purportedly abusive and threatening messages she is receiving after “Jha’s [social media] abusive post on October 30”.

The development comes days after the college sent a written response to a complaint against Singh by ABVP, the students’ outfit of RSS, stating that it does not have a “locus standi” to raise objections about her teaching, and that no termination order will be issued against her. The ABVP had complained that Singh promotes “socially hateful thoughts about a particular religion” and had sought her termination.

Jha said he was aware of the “ABVP matter” but is not party to it, and that he filed the complaint in “personal capacity”.

Confirming the developments, SP (north Goa) Utkrisht Prasoon said FIRs have been registered on the basis of complaints by both Jha and Singh. “Shilpa Singh has been booked under IPC Section 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings). Rajiv Jha, a resident of Ponda, has been booked under IPC Sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 509 (insulting modesty of woman).”

Both complaints will be probed, Prasoon said.

Jha told The Indian Express: “She is not my friend on Facebook but we seem to have 20 to 25 mutual friends. After ABVP’s complaint, I saw this April 21 post of her on Facebook and got angry. I first approached Panaji police on October 28 and in a written note asked that she should seek public apology. Since they (police) didn’t react…we again went with a new complaint the next day [October 29).”

Jha said he is a “practicing Hindu Brahmin” and in the video calls Singh “Hindu-phobic”. “If she has thoughts (on religion), she should keep it to herself, and not publicise on social media. She is a professor; if this is what she writes here, (I) wonder what she must be teaching her students,” he said.

He said, “Since she is a woman I went to the police station. She has filed a counter-compliant of abuse and threat to life. I could have gone directly to the college and sought action. (But) I have not.”

He also claimed to have “open support” of the Rashtriya Hindu Yuva Vahini, the women’s wing of the outfit, Parshuram Gomantak Sena, and Brahmin Parishad.

Singh maintained it is a “witch hunt”. In a letter to the chancellor’s nominee, executive council, Goa University [or the Governor], she has raised doubts on Jha filing a complaint six months after her Facebook post, and around the time her college refused to entertain ABVP’s demands to sack her.

She wrote: “As education is not merely rote learning, I try my best to impart critical tools necessary for students of political science to understand and analyse the complexities, contradictions and emergent power relations animating the realm of politics in the world. As a teacher, I would not be fulfilling my duty, if I teach them in a sterile manner without enriching my students with real life examples that supplement the theoretical content of their source…I suspect that having failed at intimidating me at my workplace and having failed to humiliate me by getting me sacked, the present day demand for FIR and police action against me on account of my opinion on social media is just another ploy in the course of a conspiracy to defame, humiliate and break me down.”

Hours before the FIR was lodged, Singh had apologised on Facebook, writing that her words from the post were clipped and taken out of context. “…I wish to express my regret to my fellow women if any of my facebook posts have caused them hurt and offended them…. Since my childhood, I have been curious on questions why we have exclusive marital status symbols for women and not for the men in various cultures practices. It is depressing to see that a false opinion has been created about myself by my detractors – that I am an ‘anti-religion’ or a run-of-the-mill ‘god-hating atheist’. This is far from the truth… I see myself as an intellectual and for me, my criticism of a set of practices and dogma has little to do with my disdain or irreverence for religion or religious believers but more to do with the inherent symbolism they represent in political and civil society of our country historically.”

She also defended the “spirit of rational enquiry and progressive thinking”.

Jha countered, saying that she “should have confronted these mangalsutra women instead of using such language in Facebook against the whole Hindu religion…we Hindus consider it very auspicious.”

Earlier, the ABVP wing of her college had demanded on October 19 that Singh be sacked within 24 hours, as she “promotes socially hateful thoughts about a particular religion, community and group of people”. Verbally, they informed the college that they had clips from Singh’s online classes to first-year law students.

Political Science teachers from different Goa institutions had subsequently backed her right as a teacher to provoke students with various political theories — as is the nature of the highly layered subject, they had stated – before the college wrote back to ABVP stating that it stands by its teacher.

Bombay High Court observes; reserves order in Arnab Goswami pleas

The Court refused to grant Goswami interim bail, noting that its order should not be construed as an impediment to the journalist to approach the Sessions Court for bail under Section 439 CrPC.

The Bombay High Court today reserved its order in the habeas corpus and bail pleas filed by Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in connection with the abetment to suicide case he is currently in judicial custody for.

The Bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik heard the matter this on a Saturday after obtaining the consent of the parties yesterday.

The Court refused to grant Goswami interim bail, noting that its order should not be construed as an impediment to the journalist to approach the Sessions Court for bail under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). If such lower court is approached for bail, it shall decide the matter within four days, the High Court further held.

Senior Advocate Amit Desai appeared for the State. Inter alia, he argued against the High Court directly entertaining the plea to release Goswami, asserting that the hierarchy of courts should not be disrupted unless there are extraordinary circumstances. He asserted,

"This is not a fit case for grant of interim relief. They have remedy before the trial court. They may get bail when if the trial court deems it fit. But to exercise this jurisdiction will lead to flood gate of applications."

Desai added that he does not want to comment on the allegations of malice made by Goswami, since the matter is sub juice. He further submitted that the proper procedure has been followed to restart the investigation.

The Court today also heard submissions made for the other two persons accused in the case. Advocate Vijay Aggarwal argued for the release of Nitesh Sarda, and Advocate Nikhil Mengde made allied submissions for Feroze Shaik.

During Aggarwal's arguments, the Court asked out loud,

"Don’t you think that with (other) remedies available, if we grant remedy, then everyone will come to the High Court? It will send wrong signal that though Section 439 is there, then why come under writ? It will also undermine the authority of lower courts."

Bombay High Court

Advocate Subodh Desai appeared for Adnya Naik, Anvay Naik's daughter, who seeks re-investigation into the 2018 case and action against the police officers “who did a miserable job of investigation” in the first instance.

Senior Advocate Shirish Gupte, appearing for the informant Akshata Naik, questioned the urgency behind giving Goswami three days of hearing. He further contended that there will be harm to the victim’s family if the journalist is released.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve then made rejoinder submissions on behalf of Goswami. Urging the Court to grant relief to his client, Salve argued that the powers of a High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution are at par with the powers of the Supreme Court under Article 32.

When Salve pressed for interim bail, the Court said that it could not pass an order immediately, and that it needed to consider the compilations and submissions made by the parties.

It thus reserved its orders in the matter and granted the parties four weeks' time to file replies.

The case concerning the suicides of Anvay Naik and his mother was closed in 2019 after the police submitted an "A summary" report which indicated that there was insufficient evidence to proceed further against the accused.

During arguments made on behalf of Goswami yesterday, it was alleged that the State has been acting maliciously against Goswami, as could be gauged from the multiple proceedings recently initiated against him.

Reference was also made to the breach of privilege notice issued against Goswami by the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly and the allegations being made against Republic TV in the TRP scam by the Mumbai Police. Senior Advocates Harish Salve and Aabad Ponda had appeared for Goswami.

Goswami was arrested on Wednesday morning in connection with a 2018 abetment to suicide case of interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother Kumud Naik. Naik had named Goswami and two others in his suicide note alleging that they had failed to pay up money owed for the work done by Naik's company. The case was reopened by the state government after two years.

Arnab Goswami  gets Supreme Court protect from arrest in Maharashtra assembly's privilege case

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a discover of contempt to the secretary of the Maharashtra meeting for writing a letter to Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami on October 13 for breaching the confidentiality of the proceedings of the House by approaching the highest courtroom in opposition to the breach of privilege discover.

The prime courtroom requested the secretary of the Maharashtra meeting to stay current through the listening to on this letter to happen after two weeks. Till then, the courtroom ordered no arrest of Goswami within the privilege matter. The bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde appointed Arvind Datar, a senior advocate, as amicus to help within the matter.

The Supreme Court famous that the letter severely interferes with the administration of justice because it intimidates Goswami for approaching Court. The bench additionally comprising justice AS Bopanna and justice V Ramasubramanian termed the letter by the meeting secretary as unprecedented and surprising.

“The clear intention of the author of the letter seems to be to intimidate the petitioner because he approached the Court and to threaten him with a penalty for doing so,” it mentioned. “The assembly should be well advised to understand that the right to approach this Court under Art 32 of Constitution is itself a fundamental right,” the courtroom added.

The prime courtroom has issued a discover to Attorney General KK Venugopal to help on this matter. The letter of October 13 was produced earlier than the courtroom by Goswami’s lawyer Harish Salve who submitted an utility with an affidavit by 47-year-old journalist’s spouse as he’s in jail.

Goswami was arrested on Wednesday from his home in Mumbai and was then taken to Alibag in reference to a 2018 case of abetment to suicide. Designer Anvay Naik and his mom Kumud Naik died of suicide and named Goswami as one of many three individuals who didn’t pay dues amounting to Rs 5.four crore.

J&K HC | Magistrate can delegate power of verifying allegations before registration of FIR while entertaining an application under S. 156(3) CrPC; Petition dismissed

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: Sanjay Dhar J., while dismissing the present petition challenging the delegation of power by the Magistrate to the officer in charge of the concerned police station, reiterated that there are cases wherein a preliminary investigation is necessary before registration of FIR and there is no infirmity in delegating the same.

 Brief Facts

The facts of the case are enlisted herewith;

  1. That the petitioner had filed an application under Section 156(3) of CrPC before the Magistrate seeking a direction for registration of FIR.
  2. That in the application it was alleged that at about 9.30 am on 29-08-2020, when the petitioner was working in her land, the accused persons, armed with Dharatis and clubs, trespassed into the said land and hurled abuses upon the petitioner.
  3. That it is also alleged that the petitioner somehow managed to escape from the spot otherwise she would have been physically harmed by the accused persons.
  4. That it was further alleged that the petitioner had approached the concerned SHO and the SSP, but her efforts to get the case registered against the accused persons did not bear any fruits.
  5. That, subsequently she approached the Magistrate with a request to issue a direction for registration of a case against the accused persons in terms of Section 156(3) of CrPC.
  6. That the Magistrate vide a detailed order dated 09-09-2020, after noting the contents of the complaint and the submissions of the counsel for the petitioner, directed SHO to verify the matter and if cognizable offences are made out, to proceed in terms of Section 156(3), CrPC.
  7. That it is this order which is under challenge before this Court by way of the instant petition.

 Contentions

Counsel for the petitioner, Deepak Mahajan, contended that, there was no occasion for the Magistrate to get the matter verified when the application of the petitioner on the face of it disclosed commission of cognizable offences against the accused.

Observations

Reflecting upon the scope of power of the Magistrate under the provisions contained in Section 156(3) of CrPC, the Court said, “Magistrate who has jurisdiction to entertain a complaint under Section 190 of CrPC for taking cognizance of an offence, is empowered to issue direction to the officer-in-charge of a Police Station to register and investigate a case if the information laid before him discloses commission of cognizable offences. The discretion lies with the Magistrate whether to proceed under Section 156(3) of CrPC or to adopt a course in terms of Chapter XIV of the Code of Criminal Procedure by taking cognizance of offences and proceeding in accordance with the provisions contained in the said Chapter.”

With respect to the registration of FIR, the Court referred Lalita Kumari v. Govt. of UP, (2014) 2 SCC 1, and reproduced the eight pointers laid down by the Supreme Court, reiterating the scope of Section 154 CrPC. The Court further placed reliance on the case of Priyanka Srivastava v. State of U.P., (2015) 6 SCC 287, where it was categorically said, “In our considered opinion, a stage has come in this country where Section 156(3) CrPC. applications are to be supported by an affidavit duly sworn by the applicant who seeks the invocation of the jurisdiction of the Magistrate. That apart, in an appropriate case, the learned Magistrate would be well advised to verify the truth and also can verify the veracity of the allegationsThis affidavit can make the applicant more responsible. We are compelled to say so as such kind of applications are being filed in a routine manner without taking any responsibility whatsoever only to harass certain persons.”

Moreover, addressing the contention of the counsel for the petitioner that the Magistrate could not have delegated his powers to verify the veracity of the allegations made, the Court said, “(…) once the Magistrate decided to proceed in terms of Section 156(3) of CrPC, she had no option but to get the allegations made in the complaint verified by the officer-in-charge of the Police Station. The Magistrate could have done so by herself only if she would have decided to proceed in terms of the provisions contained in Chapter XIV of the Code of Criminal Procedure and not otherwise.”

Decision

Dismissing the present petition on lack of merits, the Court clarified the interplay of Section 156(3), Section 154 and Section 190 CrPC.[Taro Devi v. UT of J&K,  2020 SCC OnLine J&K 549, decided on 22-10-2020]

FIR filed against Amitabh Bachchan, KBC makers for ‘hurting Hindu sentiments’

The KBC episode question annoyed some netizens who accused the show of running a "leftist propaganda", while others said it hurt Hindu sentiments.

BJP MLA in Maharashtra on Tuesday approached police seeking action against megastar Amitabh Bachchan and makers of TV show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati 12’ for allegedly hurting Hindu sentiments.

Abhimanyu Pawar, BJP legislator from Ausa in Latur district, in a complaint to Latur SP Nikhil Pingle said action should be taken against Bachchan and Sony Entertainment Television over a question asked during Friday’s Karamveer special episode.

“There was an attempt to insult Hindus and create discord between Hindus and Buddhists who have been living in harmony,” Pawar tweeted, posting a copy of his two-page letter to the police official.

The episode had social activist Bezwada Wilson and actor Anup Soni in the hot seat opposite Bachchan, who asked the folliwng question, worth Rs 6.40 lakh:

On 25th December 1927, Dr B R Ambedkar and his followers burned copies of which scripture?

The options were: (A) Vishnu Purana (B) Bhagavad Gita, (C) Rigved and (D) Manusmriti.

Bachchan then said, “In 1927, Ambedkar condemned the ancient Hindu text Manusmriti to ideologically justify caste discrimination and untouchability and burned its copies.”

“All the four options pertained to Hindu religion. It is clear that the motive behind this question was to hurt the sentiments of Hindus,” Pawar said in his police complaint.

“This question spreads the message that Hindu religious scriptures are meant for burning and triggers enmity between Hindus and followers of Buddhism,” said Pawar, who was a close aide of Devendra Fadnavis while he was Maharashtra chief minister.

The KBC episode question annoyed some netizens who accused the show of running a “leftist propaganda”, while others said it hurt Hindu sentiments.

Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri shared a clip from the show on micro-blogging site Twitter, claiming KBC was “hijacked by Commies”. “Innocent kids, learn this is how culture wars are won. Its called coding,” he tweeted.

SC rejects PIL seeking withdrawal of Z+ security to Mukesh Ambani, family

The Supreme Court has dismissed a PIL seeking withdrawal of Z+ security given to Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani and his family, saying it is for the State to take a call on such issues.

“It is for the State to assess and review the threat perception of individuals on a case to case basis,” a Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan said rejecting petitioner Himanshu Agarwal’s petition challenging a December 2019 order of the Bombay High Court.

The high court had said the State was bound to provide security to individuals willing to bear the entire cost for security to protect their lives in view of their own grave threat perceptions.

The Mumbai Police Commissioner had no option but to ensure that Z+ security was provided to Ambani and his family “irrespective of whether any individual or any authority is convinced about the existence or otherwise of real threat to their life or liberty”, as they were willing to bear the entire cost to protect their lives in view of their own grave threat perceptions, the HC had said.

Though the challenge to the high court’s order has been dismissed, the Supreme Court’s October 27 order has clarified that granting security to individuals would depend upon the assessment of the State and not the threat perception of the individual in question.

The Bombay High Court had noted that Ambani and his family members were not desirous of any security at the State expenditure and were ready to bear the cost for security provided by the State.

The High Court had cited the Supreme Court’s 2015 verdict in Biswanath’s case in which it was held that if the police were satisfied about the existence of threat to the life of citizens they shall be provided free security.

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FIR against J&K lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawat over tweet on Navratri

Rajawat dismissed the FIR as 'a fractured piece which will not survive in the court', adding that it was registered by way of 'sheer abuse of law and under pressure from BJP and other saffron organisations'.

Advocate Deepika Singh Rajawat, who represented the Kathua gangrape victim in 2018, was on Sunday booked by the Jammu and Kashmir Police for allegedly hurting the religious sentiments of a community in one of her tweets.

A police officer confirmed the registration of the FIR in the matter, saying that this has been done following complaints from different people.

Sources said Rajawat has been booked under provisions of Sections 295A and 505 (b) (2) of the Indian Penal Code, which deal with creating enmity and hatred between different classes of people and making malicious report or content with an intention to cause alarm or induce a personal attack and damage public property, besides injuring religious sentiments.

On Tuesday, Rajawat had tweeted a cartoon making a point about women’s safety featuring Goddess Durga, which had sparked outrage online.

The offences levelled in the FIR are non-bailable. The police said they are waiting for a report by the Cyber Cell about the origin of the tweet, among other things, before initiating action against the lawyer.

Earlier, Bajrang Dal activists led by Rakesh Bajrangi had held a demonstration outside Rajawat’s residence and demanded action in the matter. They had also lodged a formal complaint against her with the police.

Rajawat dismissed the FIR as “a fractured piece which will not survive in the court”, adding that it was registered by way of “sheer abuse of law and under pressure from BJP and other saffron organisations”.

Pointing out that her tweet meant to send a message about women’s safety, she said that in the FIR, she has been charged with offences which she did not commit.

No blanket order should be passed under S. 438 CrPC to prevent accused from being arrested when there is no crime registered against him; Court quashes order granting anticipatory bail : Kerla HC

Kerala High Court: P. Somarajan J., allowing the present criminal miscellaneous case, clarified the law related to anticipatory bail under Section 438 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

Brief Facts

The State Government came up challenging the anticipatory bail granted under Section 438 CrPC. by the Sessions Judge on the simple reason that no crime was registered against the accused/first respondent till that time. Interestingly, within one month the first respondent was impleaded in the array of accused. The crime was earlier registered on the allegation of offence under Section 307, 324 read with Section 34 Penal Code, 1860 but later, Section 326 IPC was incorporated as well.

The present application is submitted both under Section 482 and 439(2) CrPC on the allegation that the earlier order granting anticipatory bail was used by the first respondent to avoid his arrest in connection with his impleadment subsequently as an accused in the existing crime.

 Issue

Whether an anticipatory bail, allowed in the absence of an FIR, permissible as per laws of Criminal Procedure?

 Observations

The Court made the following observation in addition to its decision;

“No blanket order should be passed under Section 438 Cr.P.C. to prevent the accused from being arrested when there is no crime registered against him. The procedure to be adopted is to direct the investigation to comply with the requirement under Section 41 A Cr.P.C., before effecting the arrest of accused so as to enable him to exhaust the remedy under Section 438 Cr.P.C. The defect crept in the order cannot be cured under Section 439(2) Cr.P.C. because of the reason that the accused will get a right to exhaust the remedy under Section 438 Cr.P.C. based on the subsequent accusation and it cannot be curtailed by invoking the jurisdiction under Section 439(2) Cr.P.C. By reserving the right of the first respondent to exhaust the remedy under Section 438 Cr.P.C. based on the present accusation, it is fit and proper to set aside the order granting anticipatory bail on the ground of non-registration of crime.”

 Decision

While allowing the instant petition, the Court said, “When no crime was registered against the first respondent, it is not permissible to grant anticipatory bail, on the reason that it would act as a blanket as against all sort of accusations which may arise in future against the said person.”[State of Kerala v. Ansar M.C., Crl. M.C. No. 4051 of 2020, decided on 21-10-2020]

Criminal complaint against Kangana Ranaut in Andheri Court :Citizens have right to freedom of speech, not hate speech

The complaint alleges that Ranaut has time and again put up statements on her Twitter handle with malafide intentions of creating an atmosphere of hatred in the country amongst different religious ground.

Adding to the legal woes faced by Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut for her controversial tweets, a criminal complaint has now been filed before the Metropolitan Magistrate in Andheri, Mumbai.

The complainant, Advocate Ali Kaashif Khan Deshmukh, has asked the Court to take cognizance and issue process against Ranaut for allegedly committing offences under Sections 121, 121A (attempting to wage war against the Government), 124 (sedition), 153A, 153B, 195A, 298 and 505 (related to spreading enmity and hatred amongst different religious groups) of the Indian Penal Code.

The complaint states,

"It is pertinent to note that every Indian citizen has got the right to freedom of speech and not the freedom of ‘hate’ speech."

Deshmukh has alleged in his complaint that Ranaut had been putting up comments against the Government of Maharashtra and executive machineries like the Ministers and Mumbai Police on her Twitter handle.

He added that Ranaut has time and again put up statements on her Twitter handle with “malafide intentions and ulterior motives of creating an atmosphere of hatred in the country amongst different religious groups.

He further notes,

"Ranaut is committing criminal contempt of court by terming the judiciary as "Pappu Sena"."

Deshmukh approached the Court after the Andheri police station refused to take cognizance of his grievances. He had previously filed another complaint in July against Ranaut and her sister Rangoli Chandel for “maliciously spreading and promoting enmity amongst different groups on the ground of religion.

An order will be passed in this matter on October 29.

A similar complaint was filed before the Metropolitan Magistrate in Bandra, where the Court ordered the concerned police to register a complaint against the sisters.

Civil or Criminal Proceedings will Automatically Expire within a Period of Six Months: SC

A bench of Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph of the Supreme Court has reiterated that whatever stay has been granted by any court including the High Court on civil or criminal proceedings will automatically expire within a period of six months unless an extension is granted for good reason within the next six months.

Brief Facts of the Case

  • The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Pune had denied proceeding with the matter stating that it can’t pass any order which has been stayed by the Bombay High Court.
  • The Magistrate stated that the Complainant should approach the High Court to restart the trial by filing an application before the HC.

Observation of Hon’ble Supreme Court

  • We must remind the Magistrates all over the country that in our pyramidical structure under the Constitution of India, the Supreme Court is at the Apex, and the High Courts, though not subordinate administratively, are certainly subordinate judicially. This kind of orders flies in the face of para 35 of our judgment.
  • Whatever stay has been granted by any court including the High Court automatically expires within a period of six months, and unless an extension is granted for good reason, as per our judgment, within the next six months, the trial Court is, on the expiry of the first period of six months, to set a date for the trial and go ahead with the same.
  • We expect that the Magistrates all over the country will follow our order in letter and spirit. Whatever stay has been granted by any court including the High Court automatically expires within a period of six months, and unless an extension is granted for good reason, as per our judgment, within the next six months, the trial Court is, on the expiry of the first period of six months, to set a date for the trial and go ahead with the same.

Case Name: ASIAN RESURFACING OF ROAD AGENCY PVT. LTD. vs. CENTRAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

Daughter-in-law has right to reside in matrimonial home : SC 

The top court, however, said, the interim order protecting the right to residence of a woman under the law will not come in the way of filing of civil cases related to the property.

NEW DELHI: In a significant verdict, the Supreme Court on Thursday held that the relief granting right to residence to a married woman under the domestic violence law by a criminal court is 'relevant' and can be considered even in civil proceedings seeking her eviction from the matrimonial home.

Deliberating in details about the provisions of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the apex court said, "the progress of any society depends on its ability to protect and promote the rights of its women.

"Guaranteeing equal rights and privileges to women by the Constitution had marked the step towards the transformation of the status of the women in this country," it said.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and M R Shah also termed as "incorrect law" and set aside an earlier judgment's interpretation of definition of "shared household" under the Act and said that the definition was quite exhaustive and intended to provide the residence to the victim women under the law.

"The definition of shared household given in Section 2(s) cannot be read to mean that shared household can only be that household which is household of the joint family to which husband is a member or in which husband of the aggrieved person has a share," the bench said in its 151-page judgement.

It said shared household meant the place where the woman lives or at any stage has lived in a domestic relationship either singly or along with the husband and it includes the house "owned or tenanted".

The top court, however, said, the interim order protecting the right to residence of a woman under the law will not come in the way of filing of civil cases related to the property.

"The pendency of proceedings under (Domestic Violence) Act, or any order interim or final passed under the D.V. Act under Section 19 regarding right of residence is not an embargo for initiating or continuing any civil proceedings, which relate to the subject matter of order interim or final passed in proceedings under the DV Act," it said.

"The judgment or order of the criminal court granting an interim or final relief under Section 19 of DV Act  are relevant within the meaning of Section 43 of the Evidence Act and can be referred to and looked into by the civil court," it held.

A civil court is to determine issues in proceedings on the basis of evidence which has been led by the parties before it, the judgement said.

Referring to facts of the case, the court said the lawsuit filed in a civil court for eviction of woman was "fully maintainable" and issues raised by her father-in-law, who claims to own the house, as well as by the woman claiming a right to residence were to be "addressed and decided on the basis of evidence".

The top court's verdict came on an appeal of 76-year-old Delhi resident Satish Chander Ahuja against a Delhi High Court's judgement.

The Delhi High Court had set aside an order of a trial court passed in 2019 asking the daughter-in-law of Ahuja to vacate his premises.

The High Court had also passed several directions and asked the civil court to decide the lawsuit afresh.

Ahuja had said that the property belonged to him and neither his son nor his daughter-in-law have any ownership rights over it and it led to passing of an order asking the woman to vacate the premises.

  The husband had filed a separate case for decree of divorce against his wife and the woman had filed a criminal complaint under the domestic violence law against husband, Ahuja and the mother-in-law.

A criminal court had passed an interim order under the Domestic Violence Act that she be not dispossessed until further orders.

However, the father-in-law then filed a civil suit and got a decree of eviction.

The top court concurred with the high court's finding which had said that in all the cases, the husband of the woman needed to be made parties by the trial court by invoking its “suo motu powers” under the Civil Procedure Code.

"The Trial Court will then consider whether the appellant had made any unambiguous admission about the respondent's ownership rights in respect of the suit premises; if she has and her only defence to being dispossessed there from is her right of residence under the DV Act, then the Trial Court shall, before passing a decree of possession on the wife premise of ownership rights, ensure that in view of the subsisting rights of the appellant under the DV Act, she is provided with an alternate accommodation as per Section 19(1)(f) of the DV Act, which will continue to be provided to her till the subsistence of her matrimonial relationship," the high court had held.

Right to default bail under Section 167(2), CrPC not merely a statutory right, but part of procedure established by law under Article 21: SC

The Court held that there is a fundamental right granted to an accused person to be released on bail once the conditions of the first proviso to Section 167(2), CrPC are fulfilled.

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justices Rohinton Fali NarimanNavin Sinha and KM Joseph has held that right to default bail is not merely a statutory right under the first proviso to Section 167(2) of the CrPC, but that it is part of the procedure established by law under Article 21 of the Constitution of India (Bikramjit Singh v. State of Punjab).

Therefore, it is a fundamental right granted to an accused person to be released on bail once the conditions of the first proviso to Section 167(2), CrPC are fulfilled.

The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), through Section 167 (2) provides that the detention of an accused person cannot be authorised beyond a statutory period prescribed to complete the investigation.

Ordinarily, the statutory period to complete investigation and file a charge sheet is a maximum of 90 days in offences punishable with life imprisonment or death. However, for offences under UAPA, this period can be extended up to 180 days.

While dealing with a UAPA case, where the accused was denied a plea for default bail, the Supreme Court said.

"We must not forget that we are dealing with the personal liberty of an accused under a statute which imposes drastic punishments. The right to default bail, as has been correctly held by the judgments of this Court, are not mere statutory rights under the first proviso to Section 167(2) of the Code, but is part of the procedure established by law under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which is, therefore, a fundamental right granted to an accused person to be released on bail once the conditions of the first proviso to Section 167(2) are fulfilled."

The Court further held that the Special Court alone had jurisdiction to extend time up to 180 days under the first proviso in Section 43-D(2)(b) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The Supreme Court observed that all offences under the UAPA, whether investigated by the National Investigation Agency or by the investigating agencies of the State Government, are to be tried exclusively by Special Courts set up under the NIA Act.

The accused in this case was remanded to custody by a Sub-Divisional Magistrate. After expiry of 90 days in custody, he filed an application for default bail before Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate.

This bail application was dismissed as the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate had already extended time for custody from 90 days to 180 days under Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 as amended by the UAPA.

This order was set aside by the Special Court, which held that the Special Court alone had jurisdiction to extend the time for custody 180 days under the first proviso in Section 43-D(2)(b), UAPA.

However, the plea for default bail was refused.

The Special Court order was set aside by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which held that when the probe is being conducted by the State police, the Magistrate has the power under Section 167 (2), CrPC, read with Section 43 (a) of UAPA to extend the period of investigation up to 180 days. The High Court held that in such a case, the Magistrate may then commit the case to the Court of Sessions as per provisions of Section 209, CrPC.

The High Court added that in case the investigation is conducted by the agency under the NIA Act, these powers would be exercised by the Special Court.

On appeal, the Supreme Court first took note that the High Court had got the dates all wrong.

Whereas the bail application was made by February 25, 2019, the High Court had marked it as March 26, 2019. The charge sheet was filed on March 26, while the High Court marked it as March 25.

Referring to the default bail plea first preferred by the accuse, the Supreme Court went on to remark,

"The fact that this application was wrongly dismissed on 25.02.2019 would make no difference and ought to have been corrected in revision. The sole ground for dismissing the application was that the time of 90 days had already been extended by the learned Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Ajnala by his order dated 13.02.2019. This Order was correctly set aside by the Special Court by its judgment dated 25.03.2019, holding that under the UAPA read with the NIA Act, the Special Court alone had jurisdiction to extend time to 180 days under the first proviso in Section 43-D(2)(b)."

Supreme Court

Opining that the accused had a fundamental right to be released on default bail, once the statutory conditions under Section 167 (2), CrPC were fulfilled, the Supreme Court proceeded to set aside the High Court ruling under challenge.

The Court added that

"... so long as an application has been made for default bail on expiry of the stated period before time is further extended to the maximum period of 180 days, default bail, being an indefeasible right of the accused under the first proviso to Section 167(2), kicks in and must be granted".

Bombay HC States That All NDPS Offences Are Non-Bailable, Quantity Does Not Matter

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted bail to actor Rhea Chakraborty who was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in connection with a drugs case linked to the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. But the court did not accept the argument put forward by Chakraborty’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde that the offences involving small quantities of contraband are bailable under the NDPS Act.

In a lengthy judgement, Justice Sarang V Kotwal delved deeper into the issue and highlighted two important judgements of the Supreme Court.

This issue is important and, therefore, I am examining this issue in detail. In support of his contention that the offences involving small quantities are bailable, Mr Maneshinde relied on a judgment of a single judge of this court in the case of Stefan Mueller vs State of Maharashtra. In this case, it was held that the offences involving small quantities of contraband were bailable offences,” Justice Kotwal observed. “This judgment in the case of Stefan Mueller was relied on by a Division Bench of High Court of Delhi in the case of Minnie Khadim Ali Kuhn Vs. State NCT of Delhi and others. The learned Single Judge Bench of this Court in Stefan Mueller (supra) has observed that the heading or the marginal note of Section 37 reads as “Offences to be cognizable and nonbailable. The language of Section 37 itself mentions that every offence punishable under this Act shall be cognizable, but, there is no such similar sentence mentioning that every offence punishable under NDPS Act shall be non-bailable,” the Judge further said.

Here is the observation made by Justice Kotwal in deciding Chakraborty’s bail (from the court order):

“As per requirements of this Section, the Court has to give opportunity to the Public Prosecutor to oppose the application for such relief. Such opportunity is given in the present case as I have heard learned ASG extensively. He has opposed this application. The second requirement is that, the Court should be satisfied about the two conditions. There should be reasonable grounds for believing that the Applicant is not guilty of such offence and the Applicant is not likely to commit any offence while on bail. Therefore, the Court will have to consider whether these two conditions are satisfied. However, these requirements are applicable only where the rigours of Section 37 mentioned in Clause (b) of Sub-Section (1) of Section 37 are applicable in the case. This view is consistently taken by the Hon’ble Supreme Court (Union of India Vs. Rattan Mallik alias Habul).”

Based on these guidelines and observations, Justice Kotwal decided to take the present application and explained that the following questions need to decided in this application.

I. Whether the offences alleged against the Applicant are bailable. This question needs to be decided because the Applicant is claiming her release on bail as a matter of right.

II. If the offences are non-bailable, then, as to whether rigours mentioned in Section 37(1)(b) of NDPS Act are applicable.

III. If such rigours are not applicable and if the offences are non-bailable then whether the Court should exercise its discretion to grant or refuse bail.

The applicant has vehemently contended that the allegations, at the highest, show that the offence is a bailable offence and the Applicant could not have been detained in custody since the Applicant was ready and willing to furnish bail.

The learned Judge has observed that since the Legislature has not declared specifically under Section 37 that all the offences under the Act shall be non-bailable, the provisions of CrPC are required to be looked into to find out whether the offences under NDPS Act are bailable or not.

The learned Single Judge thereafter referred to Part-II of the Schedule to the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (for short, ‘CrPC’), which gives classification of offences against other laws declaring them to be bailable or non-bailable. This classification under Part II of the Schedule to CrPC mentions that the offences in other laws are bailable if they are punishable with imprisonment for less than three years or with fine only. Therefore, according to the learned Judge, since the offences involving small quantity of the contraband were punishable for sentences less than three years, these offences would be bailable. In the same judgment, it was further held that in bailable offences, even conditions cannot be imposed on the accused in view of provisions of Section 436 of CrPC.

The judge then went on the describe the amendments brought in to the sections of NDPS Act in 1985 and 2001. “The situation has not changed since 1999 when these observations were made by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. In fact, the situation has become worse. Therefore, these observations apply to today’s scenario with more force,” the judge said.

Further examining the provisions of Section 27A, Justice Kotwal said in his observation, “The allegations and material against the present applicant are that on some occasions she had used her own money in procuring drugs. She facilitated procuring of drugs through her brother. For that purpose employees of Sushant Singh Rajput were also used. As discussed earlier, her acts would not fall under Section 27A of the NDPS Act.”

Rhea Chakraborty's bail: Court order exposes motivated charges

The grant of bail by the Bombay High Court to actor Rhea Chakraborty in a drugs case related to actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death may not mean the end of all charges against her in the case.

DHNS, OCT 10 2020, 02:55 ISTUPDATED: OCT 10 2020, 03:08 IST The grant of bail by the Bombay High Court to actor Rhea Chakraborty in a drugs case related to actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death may not mean the end of all charges against her in the case
The order might only show the court’s view that she need not be kept in custody and that her freedom would not jeopardise the case in any way. The court has also imposed conditions to ensure that she does not leave the country or try to influence the witnesses. But the observations made by the court are important because they completely knock down the basis of the charges made against her. The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had accused her of procuring drugs for Rajput and called her an “active .member of a drug syndicate.’’ She was arrested on September 8 and had to spend about a month in jail on charges which now appear to be flimsy. 

The court said that the actor was not a drug dealer and had not forwarded the drugs allegedly procured by her to somebody else for any benefit.

It also said that there were grounds to believe that she was guilty of any offence punishable under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act) and made it clear that providing money for a particular transaction would not amount to financing illegal trade. It also rubbished the allegation that she had “harboured’’ Rajput.

All other related charges were also rejected, and the observations made by the court brought out the absurdity of those charges. Some of the clarifications and interpretations made by the court only made common sense and should have been clear to the investigating agency.

But it made a mountain of what may even have been less than a molehill of a drug, bought in good faith by the actor for her friend, and then tried to implicate her in a made-up case, though she had no record of any crimes.
The important question is who will compensate for the loss of freedom and reputation of a person who was projected as a drug dealer and a perpetrator of several illegalities. Rhea Chakraborty is a public personality and has an image and reputation to protect.
If a government agency causes her freedom to be taken away and her reputation to be tarnished without basis and evidence, wilfully as it has turned out, what is the protection for the ordinary citizens of the country? The NCB cannot even be given the benefit of doubt for acting in a bona fide manner in this case. It should be held responsible for this gross abuse of power and made to pay for it.


No person or group of persons can block public places to express dissent: SC on Shaheen Bagh protest

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that no person or group of persons can block public places or carriage ways to demonstrate or express dissent.
The SC verdict came on a number of petitions seeking guidelines and other directions on the right to protest in wake of the Shaheen Bagh protest where a group of people had gathered for months to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) blocking a key road connecting Delhi and Noida.
“Protest should be at designated places. Authorities should remove protests which are not being staged at designated places,” the SC said.
“Occupation of public places or roads by demonstrators, which cause inconvenience to a large number of people and violate their rights, is not permissible under law,” the SC bench, headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and also comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari, said.
The SC said right to peaceful protest is a constitutional right and it has to be respected. But that does not mean agitating people should adopt means and modes of protest that was used against colonial rulers during struggle for independence.
Thousands of people, including a large number of Muslim women, had staged a sit-in protest at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh area blocking a stretch of GD Birla Marg since mid-December last year against the CAA and the proposed National Register of Citizens.
The top court had earlier appointed senior advocates — Sanjay Hedge, Sadhana Ramachandran, and former bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah — as interlocutors to talk to the protestors and convince them to demonstrate at an alternate location.
The interlocutors had submitted their report in a sealed cover in February.
The petitions filed in the matter had sought directions to the respondents, including the Centre, for laying down “detailed, comprehensive and exhaustive guidelines relating to outright restrictions for holding protest/agitation” leading to obstruction of the public space.

 Actress released from Byculla jail after a month

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted bail to actor Rhea Chakraborty in an alleged drugs case related to the death of Sushant Singh Rajput. While Rhea was granted bail on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh, the high court rejected the plea of her brother Showik and alleged drug peddler Abdel Basit Parihar.

Justice Sarang V Kotwal who passed the orders said that that “(Rhea) is not part of the chain of drug dealers. She has not forwarded the drugs allegedly procured by her to somebody else to earn monetary or other benefits.” “Since she has no criminal antecedents, there are reasonable grounds for believing that she is not likely to commit any offence while on bail,” said the judge.

Justice Kotwal also disagreed with NCB’s argument that celebrities and role models should be treated harshly so that it sets an example for the young generation and they do not get encouraged to commit such offences. The judge said, “I do not agree. Everybody is equal before the law.”

On rejecting Showik’s plea, the court noted that the applicant not only knew many drug dealers but was also in touch with them and was actually transacting with them. “At this stage, the investigating agency has sufficient material to show that he (Showik) is a part of a chain of drug dealers engaged in illicit traffic of drugs,” the order stated.

Rhea, who was reportedly in a relationship with Sushant Singh Rajput, was arrested by the NCB on September 8, on charges of being a part of a drug syndicate operating in Mumbai. Her brother Showik was arrested on September 4. Her bail plea was rejected by the special court, following which she has filed an appeal before the Bombay High Court. Since her arrest, Rhea has been in Byculla jail cell. Another court had yesterday extended their judicial custody till October 20.

After the High Court verdict, Rhea’s lawyer Satish Maneshinde said they are “hounding and witch hunt” against the actor must stop. “Truth and Justice have prevailed and ultimately the submissions on facts and law have been accepted by Justice Sarang V Kotwal. The arrest and custody of Rhea was totally unwarranted and beyond the reach of law,” he said.

The bench also granted bail to Sushant Singh Rajput’s cook Dipesh Sawant and his domestic help Samuel Miranda on a personal bond of Rs. 50,000 each. They will have to be available for questioning whenever required and further conditions can be imposed for a limited period.

When the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) sought a stay on the operation order for a week, the HC declined the same and said that stringent conditions have been imposed for granting of bail. The court has directed Rhea to appear before her nearest police station for ten days after her release. She has also been restricted from leaving the country without the court’s permission and will have to deposit her passport with the investigating agency. She has also been ordered to inform the investigating officer if she has to leave out Greater Mumbai.

After hearing the bail pleas for nearly seven hours, Justice Kotwal had reserved its orders on September 29 after the NCB submitted that the accused were involved in crimes “worse than murder or culpable homicide” and that the case should be “a lesson” for others.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is separately probing a case against Rhea Chakraborty and others for allegedly abetting the actor’s suicide.

Abuse Of Authority, Display Of High-Handedness': Plea In SC Seeks Imposition Of State Emergency In Uttar Pradesh


Advocate CR Jaya Sukin has moved the supreme court of India seeking the direction upon the central government in order to impose a state emergency in Uttar Pradesh under article 356 of the constitution. The plea has been filed in the backdrop of horrific incidents taking place in the state over a period of time. According to the petitioner, “a situation has arisen in which the government of the Uttar Pradesh State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.”

Article 356 of the Constitution states that in cases where the constitutional machinery of a state fails then the president's rule may be imposed. A major reference has been made to the heinous Hathras gangrape case. The petitioner has also cited various other horrific cases which go against the basic constitutional framework including the illegal detention of Dr Kafeel Khan, violation of human rights during AMU violence, Unnao rape case, erection of name and shame banners against anti- CAA  protestors, failure to ensure the right to life under article 21 to a eight-month pregnant women who died due to non-availability of hospital beds. Uttar Pradesh is the most unsafe country for women in India recording a high degree of crimes against women according to the National Crime Record Bureau's "Crime in India" 2019 report. The petitioner contends that the state has been functioning in an unfair, whimsical, illegal manner which is against the basic principles of natural justice. This in turn is also in violation of articles 14, 16, and 21. Various shortcomings in the administration have been reported consisting of unlawful and arbitrary killings, torture by prison officials, arbitrary arrest and detention by government authorities, use of criminal libel laws to suppress freedom of speech and expression, rising crimes against Dalit, women, and minority sections. These are just a number of crimes that are recorded but there are many who go without any police inquiry or registration. The day to day crimes are increasing at a substantial rate and the need of the hour is to abolish them. The law and order need to act in the right way without any political influence. It is alleged that injustice has been caused to the entire population of the state and their basic amenities have been affected due to the "non-appreciation of relevant materials in an objective and impartial manner by the State of Uttar Pradesh".

The court must take the plea into consideration and a state emergency shall be declared. The recent Hathras rape case has left everyone shunned. The victim’s family has been tortured by the state authorities and section 144 has been imposed in the state wherein people are not allowed to raise their voice, form unions, and protest against the wrong. For justice to prevail it is the ultimate need of the hour to provide for the harshest of punishments to the accused. Allahabad court has taken suo moto cognizance into the case to speed up the process.

Babri Masjid demolition case live: Satyamev Jayate, tweets Yogi Adityanath after Babri verdict; jabs Congress

 

Babri Masjid Demolition Case Verdict Live Updates: Former deputy prime minister LK Advani, former Union minister MM Joshi, former Union minister Uma Bharti and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh were among the 32 accused acquitted in the case investigated by the CBI.

Special CBI judge Surendra Kumar Yadav has delivered his verdict in the Babri Masjid demolition case on Wednesday, 28 years after the 16th century structure was razed by a mob in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya town. The court ruled that the CBI had not been able to produce evidence to back up its charge that there was a conspiracy to demolish Babri Masjid. The judge acquitted the 32 accused in the case including former deputy prime minister LK Advani, former Union ministers MM Joshi and Uma Bharti and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh.

The court ruled that the CBI had not been able to establish that there was a conspiracy to demolish the structure, holding that the demolition was not preplanned but a spontaneous act primarily carried out by mischievous elements. The 32 accused face charges under several sections of the IPC, including criminal conspiracy, rioting , promoting enmity between different groups and unlawful assembly. During the trial, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) produced 351 witnesses and 600 documents as evidence before the CBI court. The court had initially framed charges against 49 accused; 17 accused have died.

Former deputy prime minister LK Advani welcomed the verdict. In his first comment after the Lucknow court delivered its finding in the Babri demolition case, Advani said he “wholeheartedly welcome the judgment”. “The judgement vindicates my personal and BJP’s belief and commitment toward the Ram Janmabhoomi movement,” Advani said, according to news agency ANI. A founding member of the BJP, Advani led a Rath Yatra in 1990 that criss-crossed north India, whipping up sentiment for a Ram temple. He had earlier denied all charges and said he was dragged into the case because of politics.

-Satyamev Jayate, tweets Yogi Adityanath after Babri verdict; jabs Congress

Uttar Pradesh chief Minister Yogi Adityanath welcomed the CBI special court verdict. “Satyamev Jayate,” he tweeted before going on to accuse the then Congress government of acting with political bias, indulging in vote bank politics and defaming BJP leaders, saints, VHP leaders and various social organizations by lodging false cases. “The people involved in the conspiracy (over Babri demolition ) should apologise to people of the country,” he said.

 Justice has been done, says Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti after Babri verdict

Mahant Ram Vilas Vedanti emerged from the court flashing a victory sign. “It’s good. Justice has been done. The court agreed that we did no wrong,” said the former Bharatiya Janata Party MP who had on previous occasions, said he was ready to go to jail.

- Stand vindicated, says Shiv Sena leader Satish Pradhan after acquittal in Babri demolition case

Shiv Sena leader Satish Pradhan, one of the 32 accused in the Babri demolition case, expressed happiness over the verdict. “I had no connection with the demolition as I was not even present in the spot. My stance has been vindicated and I finally got justice,” said the former Rajya Sabha MP.

- Good that this is over, says Iqbal Ansari, petitioner in Ram Janambhoomi case; welcomes acquittal

Iqbal Ansari, the petitioner in the Babri title case, welcomed the CBI court’s acquittal of 32 accused. “It’s good that this is now over. Let’s all live in peace. Let there be no fresh trouble of this nature. Hindu and Muslim have always lived in peace in Ayodhya,” he told reporters.

-Court ruled video recording was tampered, CBI didn’t follow procedure: Defence lawyer

Special CBI judge Surendra Kumar Yadav did not admit the videos produced by the Central Bureau of Investigation, holding that the recording had been tampered with, defence lawyer Manish Tripathi said. The judge also did not admit the photographs submitted by the CBI since it could not produce the original negatives. The judge also agreed with the defence that the CBI did not follow provisions of the Evidence Act.

- Court said RSS, VHP didn’t have a role in demolition, says defence lawyer Manish Tripathi

Defence lawyer Manish Tripathi told reporters that the court ordered acquittal on grounds that the evidence against them was insufficient, “The court said the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad did not have a role in the demolition. It was carried out by mischievous elements,” Tripathi said, giving details of the court verdict.

- This ends long-pending dispute over December 6 incident, says defence lawyer

“The CBI court has acquitted all 32 accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case. This ends the long pending dispute related with the December 6, 1992 incident, “ said lawyer KK Mishra who is representing 25 out of 32 accused in the case 

- CBI court acquits LK Advani, MM Joshi, 30 others

Former deputy prime minister LK Advani, former ministers Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti and former chief minister Kalyan Singh along with 28 other accused of conspiring to demolish the Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya town 28 years ago have been acquitted by CBI special judge Surendra Kumar Yadav. In a hearing that lasted just about 10 minutes, the judge ruled the CBI had not been able to establish charges against the accused.

- Babri Masjid demolition verdict: On high alert, UP police told to prevent gatherings

The UP police have issued a high alert across the state in view of the verdict, in the Babri mosque demolition case, to be delivered by the special CBI court (Ayodhya case) in Lucknow on Wednesday, said senior police officials.

- CBI Judge Surendra Kumar Yadav reaches CBI court.

The court will pronounce verdict in the Babri mosque demolition case, nearly 3 decades after the 16th century structure was demolished in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992.

- While top accused including LK Advani, MM Joshi, Kalyan Singh, Uma Bharti are unlikely to attend as Kalyan and Uma Bharti are recovering from Covid-19, various other accused are expected to be present.

Also read: Babri Masjid demolition verdict: On high alert, UP police told to prevent gatherings

- Shiv Sena leader admits to role in Babri Masjid demolition

Accused Jai Bhagwan Goyal, 62, who was Shiv Sena’s north India chief at the time of demolition arrives. On the issue of demolition Goyal while talking to HT said the CBI court had directed them to bring guarantor along and said he won’t comply with the order. “Yes, I admit to my role in demolition,” he said.

Also read | Babri verdict: BJP leaders Advani, Joshi, Bharti unlikely to be present in court

- BJP leader denies role

BJP leader Vinay Katiyar, who is among the accused in demolition case, denies hand in the criminal conspiracy. Katiyar and other leaders were on a stage that was away from the site where mosque was felled.

- ‘Ready to face gallows for Lord Ram’, says former BJP MP

Former BJP MP and accused in the case Ram Vilas Vedanti has said that he is “ready to face anything, including gallows, for Lord Ram.”

- Several accused reach CBI court ahead of verdict

Among the accused, Vinay Katiyar, Jai Bhagwan Goyal, Sadhvi Rithambhara, Acharya Dharmadas, Lallu Singh, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, Ram Vilas Vedanti, Champat Rai and Sakshi Maharaj are present in the court.

- All the accused, barring 6, inside the court; judgment shortly

- Lal Krishna Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi attend proceedings via video conferencing.

- Babri demolition was spontaneous, not pre-planned’: CBI judge reads out verdict

- 32 Babri case accused acquitted. Judge says demolition was spontaneous, not pre-planned

The Special CBI court acquits all 32 accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case ending 28 years of trial in the case.

“The CBI court has acquitted all 32 accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case. This ends the long pending dispute related with the December 6, 1992 incident, “ said lawyer KK Mishra.

Mishra is representing 25 out of 32 accused in the case.

NIA court sentences IS recruit from Kerala to life imprisonment

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Kochi on Monday sentenced a former Islamic State terrorist who had returned from Iraq to life imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 2,10,000.

Subahani Haja Moideen (34) was found guilty under Section 125 of the Indian Penal Code for waging war against a friendly country and Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) by the court on Friday. This is the first time a person has been convicted under Section 125 of the IPC, legal experts said.

The court also lauded the investigating team for carrying out a thorough probe.

The NIA had arrested Moideen in October 2016 from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu where he was living discreetly after his return to the country.

During investigation the NIA found Moideen, a resident of Thodupuzha in Idukki district, had left for Saudi Arabia in 2015 and later reached Turkey. He was taken to the Syrian border by his handlers and was later shifted to Raqqa (Syria) where he underwent intense arms training before being deployed in Mosul (Iraq) under a team led by a French-speaking leader.

During a battle, Moideen saw a fellow IS fighter burn alive and fled the scene but was captured by other IS militants. He told investigators that he was let off only after assuring the IS leadership that he would carry out terror activities in India.

The prosecution said when he was arrested he was planning attacks against some judges and senior political leaders. It also found that he had made several trips to Sivakasi, a Tamil Nadu town famous for its crackers, to collect explosives.

While in custody he was also questioned by French intelligence agencies in connection with the Paris attacks. He told interrogators that in Iraq he worked with Abdel Hamid Abaaoud, a Belgian-Moroccan terrorist, who was the mastermind behind the November 2015 Paris attacks.

Ex-Bihar Top Cop Meets Nitish Kumar Days After Quitting

A few days after resigning from his post as Bihar police chief, Gupteshwar Pandey, who made the headlines for his shocking “aukat (stature) “commented actor Rhea Chakraborty, today met with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. He is likely to join Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United soon and run for assembly next month.

In the visuals after his meeting with the Chief Minister, Mr Pandey is mobbed by reporters demanding to know whether he had discussed his party membership and whether he was ready to fight polls in his hometown of Buxar.

For questions from reporters, Mr Pandey said he came to meet Nitish Kumar only to thank him for his support. “No discussion has taken place on party membership,” Mr Pandey said, adding: “If there is any announcement about it, I will let you know.”

Mr Pandey, who resigned last week, told NDTV on Wednesday that there was nothing wrong with entering politics. “What is the harm if I join politics? Is it unconstitutional, unethical or illegal?” he asked.

“I am the people’s DGP. Jantaka DGP. the janta de Buxar will decide my next step, whether they want me to join politics or not … I’m a son of the ground. I served in 34 districts, ”he said.

The former policeman is known to have political ambitions; in 2009 he unsuccessfully contested the national elections for the parliamentary constituency of Buxar.

Mr Pandey, who also claimed to be known for his “impartial police work”, has been a strong supporter of Nitish Kumar and has been at the forefront of the Sushant Rajput case, pushing it to court supreme.

In a controversial statement following the court order in August – that the CBI will investigate the circumstances of Mr Rajput’s death – he criticized Ms Chakraborty for suggesting that politics played a role in the government of the Bihar pushing for a CBI investigation.

“Rhea Chakraborty does not have the aukat to comment on the chief minister of Bihar … “Mr Pandey said after the court ruling. His statements that Nitish Kumar was being unfairly targeted were seen as unusually political for a sitting police officer.

Ms Chakraborty, who has denied claims by Mr Rajput’s family that she played a role in his death, is currently in Byculla Prison in Mumbai after being arrested by the Bureau of Narcotics.

The Sushant Singh Rajput death case has become a touching issue in Bihar linked to the polls.

Earlier this month, posters of Mr. Rajput, whose hometown is Patna, were put up by the BJP’s cultural cell “Kala Sanskriti Manch” with the message “na bhoole hain, na bhulne denge (we have neither forgotten nor will anyone forget) ”, prompting strong protests from the opposition.

The posters were seen as highlighting the role of the Bihar government led by Nitish Kumar in pushing for a CBI investigation into Mr. Rajput’s death and “ensuring that a promising young son of the state” gets justice.

The Bombay High Court while hearing Kangana Ranaut's plea against MCGM's demolition of her bungalow turned office at Pali Hill, Bandra, observed that the Court cannot leave the partly demolished property as it is and the bench will begin hearing Kangana's case tomorrow.

After the counsel for MCGM Officer Bhagyavant Late sought more time to file an affidavit Division bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice RI Chagla observed-

"We cannot leave the partly demolished house the way it is. We will start hearing the petitioner tomorrow, you need more time here but otherwise, you are very fast."

Bhagyavant Late is the Designated Officer of the Municipal Corporation who along with other officials carried out the demolition at actor Kangana Ranaut's bungalow at Pali Hill which she turned into an office. He was impleaded as a party in the case along with Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut.

Appearing on behalf of Sanjay Raut, Advocate Pradeep Thorat also sought more time to file affidavit as his client is in Delhi to attend the ongoing Parliament Session.

Granting time to both Raut and Late till next Tuesday to file their affidavits, Court observed -

"Since monsoon has started and the bungalow is partly demolished, hearing cannot be delayed any further so we will allow the petitioner's advocate to begin arguments tomorrow"

The matter will come up tomorrow at 3 pm.

Last Tuesday, the Court allowed Rajya Sabha MP and Shiv Sena Chief Spokesperson Sanjay Raut to be added a party to the proceedings as the actor had relied upon a video of Raut allegedly abusing her while alleging malice in the action taken against her by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.

The petitioner has in support of her case that the action taken by MCGM to demolish her bungalow was with malafide and malicious intent, relied on a video clip recording the interview dated September 5, 2020 of Sanjay Raut, wherein he has allegedly abused the Petitioner. She has also relied on a report pertaining to the demolition of her bungalow which report is captioned 'उखाड़ दिया' and is published in the newspaper 'Saamna' on September 10, 2020, of which Raut is the Executive Editor.

Moreover, the petitioner alleged that Bhagyawant Late has with malafide and malicious intent issued notice/order of demolition and has proceeded to demolish her bungalow along. So, Court allowed Bhagyavant Late to be added as a party in the case in order to enable him to defend in his personal capacity.

PIL To Rename Allahabad HC Dismissed; Says its Publicity Stunt Litigation

A Division Bench comprising Hon’ble Mr Justice P.K. Jaiswal and Hon’ble Mr Justice D.K. Singh has junked a Public Interest Litigation seeking renaming of Allahabad High Court to Prayagraj High Court or Uttar Pradesh High Court. The Court found that the writ petition is nothing but a ‘publicity stunt litigation’ which has been filed to get some publicity.

The Brief Facts of Asok Pande (In-Person) vs U .O.I. Thru. Secy. Ministry Of Law & Justice, New Delhi &Ors (PIL Civil No.14171 of 2020) are as follows:

A Public Interest Litigation was filed by a Practicing Lawyer of Allahabad High Court at Lucknow seeking following reliefs:

  1. Issue a writ, order or direction in the nature of Mandamus thereby directing the Respondent No. 1 to re-name the Allahabad High Court as Prayagraj High Court or Uttar Pradesh High Court;
  2. Issue any other writ, order or direction which this Hon’ble Court deems fit and proper in the facts of the case.”

The Allahabad High Court at Lucknow while considering the prayer mentioned above delved into the History of Allahabad High Court. The Court stated that the history of Allahabad High Court dates back to the Charter of 1600 issued by Queen Elizabeth of England. Pursuant to this Charter “East India Company” was incorporated to trade with the East Indies. 

The Division Bench of Allahabad High Court at Lucknow observed that in North Western Province, the only Sudder Courts, which remained, were the Sudder Court of Diwani and Nizamut Adalat for the North-Western Provinces. This Court sat at Agra, although Bengal Regulation-VI of 1831 had provided that it was ‘to be ordinarily stationed at Allahabad. On 24th June 1864, the Secretary of State for India asked the Governor-General in council ‘to take consider the question of establishing High Court in the North-Western Provinces and furnish me with your opinion on the subject at an early date as practicable. 

Four years later from the establishment of three High Courts in Presidency Towns, on 16th March 1866 for the North-Western Provincesthe High Court of Judicature was established under Letters Patent, replacing the only Sudder Diwani Adalat and Nizamat Adalat. Letters Patent, as subsequently amended, are the present Charter of High Court of Judicature at Allahabad. Charter mentioned above-conferred jurisdiction upon newly formed High Court in respect of Civil, Criminal, Testamentary and Interstate as well as Matrimonial matters. The first sitting of High Court took place at Agra on 18.06.1866, but in 1868 it was shifted to Allahabad.

With regard to Avadh/Oudh, a Judicial Commissioner was appointed for disposal of Civil and Criminal cases. For Lucknow, a Court of Appeal was established in 1856 with a Judicial Commissioner. Initially, there was only one Judicial Commissioner, but he was not the highest Court of Appeal in rent and revenue cases. System of the dispensation of justice in Oudh/Avadh was different for the reason that Regulations of Bengal did not apply to Oudh/Avadh. Hence like other Non Regulation Provinces, it also remained None Regulation Territory.

In 1871, five grades of Courts were constituted, i.e. (1) Tehsildar (2) Assistant or Extra Assistant Commissioner (3) Deputy Commissioner or Civil Judge of Lucknow (4) Commissioner and (5) Judicial Commissioner. General control over all Courts of first and second grades in any District vested in Deputy Commissioner and control over courts of first three grades, in any Division, vested in Commissioner, subject to the superintendence of Judicial Commissioner. 

Court of Deputy Commissioner was Principal Civil Court of original jurisdiction in any district. He could direct business in the Courts of first and second grades to be distributed amongst such courts as he found fit, having regard to limits of their jurisdiction. He entertained appeals up to the dispute of Rs. 1000/- and the case involving more than Rs 1000 were laid before the Deputy Commissioner and Commissioner and thereafter to Judicial Commissioner who was empowered to refer cases, in which he entertained any doubt, to High Court of North-Western Provinces.

In 1902, a new name to two Provinces was given i.e. “United Province of Agra and Oudh”. It became ‘Uttar Pradesh’ on 24.01.1950 under United Provinces (Alteration of Name) Order, 1950 (hereinafter referred to as “Order 1950”). The Government of India Act, 1915 was a consolidated Act and, it replaced the Indian Councils Act, 1861 and the Indian High Courts Act, 1861. Part-9 of the Government of India Act, 1915 dealt with the affairs of Indian High Courts. Letters Patent issued in 1862, 1865, 1866 etc. were repealed and substituted by Part- 9 of the Government of Indian Act. By Section 101(5) of Government of India Act, 1915-1919, the name of ‘High Court for the North-Western Provinces’ was changed to “High Court of Judicature at Allahabad”. The High Court at Fort William in Bengal was made as “High Court of Judicature at Calcutta”.

Court of ‘Judicial Commissioner’ in Oudh/Avadh came to an end with the passage of `Oudh Court’s Act’, U.P. Act No. 4 of 1925 (hereinafter referred to as “U.P. Act, 1925”) which also paved the way for the establishment of ‘Chief Court’ for Oudh, consisting of a Chief Judge and four or more Judges who shall be appointed by Governor General-in-Council. Section 8 and 9of U.P. Act, 1925 provided that `Chief Court’ would be deemed to be ‘highest Court of appeal and revision’ for civil appellate jurisdiction and criminal jurisdiction. By Section 21 of U.P Act, 1925, four grades of Civil Courts in Oudh were contemplated as under:

(1) The Court of the District Judge.

(2) The Court of Additional Judge.

(3) The Court of the Subordinate Judge.

(4) The Court of the Munsif.

Government of India Act of 1915-1919 was repealed by the Government of India Act, 1935. Chapter-II of Part-IX of the Government of India Act, 1935 provided for the administration and powers of the High Court. By Government of India Act, 1935, Chief Court in Oudh was included within the meaning of High Court. Sections 219 to 229 of the Government of India Act, 1935 gave power to British Crown to constitute High Court by Letters Patent for any province or any part thereof or reconstitute in like manner an existing High Court, for that province or for any part thereof or where there are two High Courts, in that province, amalgamate that Courts. The Indian Independence Act was passed in 1947. In 1948, Governor-General, in the exercise of powers under Section 229 of the Government of India Act, 1935, issued U.P. High Courts (Amalgamation) Order, 1948, published in Gazette of Government of India. Clause-III of the Amalgamation Order, from appointed date i.e. 26th July, 1948, provided that High Court in Allahabad and the Chief Court in Oudh shall be amalgamated and constitute one High Court in the name of `High Court of Judicature at Allahabad’. All these enactments have now been consolidated and repealed by the provisions of the Constitution of India which w.e.f 26th January 1950.

Allahabad High Court observed that with the aforesaid historical backdrop, it is evident that the High Court of Allahabad was created by Royal Charter. Initially, it was called the ‘High Court of Judicature for North-Western Provinces’ which had the area of aforesaid Province but Oudh was a different Province, not governed by North-Western Provinces. ‘High Court of Judicature for North-Western Provinces’ subsequently became ‘High Court of Judicature at Allahabad’.

The Court referred to the Provisions of Constitution from Articles 214-231 of the Constitution of India. Further, the Court observed that By virtue of Article 372 until and unless the Parliament amends the amalgamation order, the name of the high Court, which is ‘High Court of Judicature at Allahabad’ cannot be changed. 

The Court asked the Petitioner a question during the course of arguments that who could change the name of the High Court, he did not give an answer.

In the end the Allahabad High Court concluded that Courts cannot direct the Legislature to enact a particular law and, therefore, the Court found that the present writ petition is nothing but a ‘publicity stunt litigation’ which has been filed to get some publicity. 

The bench further mentioned that If the petitioner is so concerned, he should convince the Parliament for change of name of the High Court. This Court is not empowered to direct the Parliament or State Legislature to enact a particular law and, therefore, the Allahabad High Court found the Petition to be frivolous, filed with the sole purpose of gaining some publicity. 

Ultimately the Court dismissed the petition but refrained itself from imposing cost as the petitioner was none other than a practising Advocate of Allahabad High Court.

Case Details-

Case Title: Asok Pande (In-Person) vs U .O.I. Thru. Secy. Ministry Of Law & Justice, New Delhi &Ors 

Case No.: PIL Civil No.14171 of 2020

Date of Order: 31.08.2020

Quorum: Hon’ble Mr. Justice P.K. Jaiswal and Hon’ble Mr. Justice D.K. Singh

Appearance: Asok Pande (In Person), ASG and CSC

The Court has decided the issue of maintainability of a Petition Under Section 482 Cr.P.C against the Proceedings Pending Under Section 12 of Domestic Violence Act.

Brief Facts:

The woman who was respondent, in this case, filed a case of domestic violence against her in-laws and Husband and the case was taken up by Judicial Magistrate First Class, Hosdurg. It was alleged that the family member of the husband was ill-treating her, and she was not provided with any care even when she was pregnant. It was also alleged that her husband and in-laws took all the gold ornaments that the victim possessed.

The Court passed an interim order and directed the husband to pay a sum of Rs. Ten thousand monthly to the second respondent ( wife ) and Rs.5000 should also be paid to her every month so that the wife can take care of the child.

The wife instituted another case O.P.(Crl)No.234 of 2019 where it was stated that the order passed by the Court on 14.02.2018 was not enforced and the Court should take measures to ensure that the orders were implemented.

Feeling aggrieved, the Mother and Sister of Husband approached the High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C for quashing of Proceedings instituted under Section 482 Cr.P.C

Arguments by the Parties.

The counsel for the petitioners ( the sister and mother of the husband) argued that the allegations against them were vague and ambiguous, and no case of domestic violence was made out against them.

Petitioners also stated that the issue in question was trivial and was blown out of proportion to pressurize the family of the husband. They also submitted to the Court that notices issued to them were unwarranted.

Counsel for the respondents (the wife) argued that the petitioners filed the present case with an intent to delay the proceedings of the Court. 

It was also submitted that the allegations against the petitioners were genuine and a case of domestic violence filed against them was not unwarranted but was instituted as per set precedents.

The ruling of the Court

The Court referred to the Kerala High Court’s Judgement in Vijayalekshmi Amma v. Bindu, wherein the Court held that if section 12 of DV Act proceedings have been invoked against a person then he/she cannot approach the High Court by citing section 482 of Cr.Pc. It is up to the Court which has taken cognizance of the matter to adjudicate the case.

The Court also observed that in cases of domestic violence, it had become a common practice to make even distant relatives or people who have no relation to the crime, a party in the case to pressurize family members and get relief , which is not reasonable.

Reference was made to the Judgment of Supreme Court in the case of Preeti Gupta vs State of Jharkhand (2010) 7 SCC 667 and the Court observed that majority of cases are filed on the advice of lawyers or with their concurrence. 

Further the Court added that all the applications filed under DV Act should be scrutinized and ensured that people should not be arrayed as a party based on vague and substantiated allegations.

The case was however dismissed, and the petitioners (mother and sister of the husband) were directed to approach the Magistrate to get relief.

The Court referred to the  Vijayalekshmi case and gave liberty to the petitioners to approach the Magistrate. The Magistrate was also directed to consider the requests in the light of  Vijayalekshmi case.

Case Details-

Case Title: Sheeja K Vs P.c Jayadev & Ors.

Case No.: OP(Crl.).No.234 OF 2019 and Crl.MC.No.7977 OF 2018(F)

Date of Order: 15.09.2020

Quorum: Hon’ble Mr. Justice P.B Suresh Kumar

Appearance: Sri.S.Rajeev Sri.K.K.Dheerendra Krishnan Sri.V.B.Unniraj Sri.V.Vinay Sri.D.Feroze Sri.K.Anand And Sri.Suresh Kumar Kodoth Sri.K.P.Antony Binu

"Let a message go to media that a particular community cannot be targeted" 10 remarks made during the "UPSC Jihad" hearing in Supreme Court

Today's hearing in the plea filed against Sudarshan TV's show on "UPSC Jihad" before the Supreme Court once again saw interesting exchanges on the topics of press freedom, and how stereotyping a particular religious community is not in line with the idea of a cohesive society.

Here are some of the interesting comments made during today's hearing before the Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph.

1. "This is the real issue. Whenever you show them joining civil services, you show ISIS. You want to say that Muslims joining civil services is a part of a deep rooted conspiracy. Can the media be allowed to target whole sets of communities?"

Justice DY Chandrachud

2. "Suresh Chavhanke is heavily invested in the channel. He says he will face the consequences of transgression of law. It is not a case of a person making an inciteful statement and then disappearing."

Senior Advocate Shyam Divan

3. "We know how an injunction order will be looked at. I am afraid that there will be injunctions galore and we don't want that to be the law of land. We want to give your client a good faith option."

Justice Chandrachud

4. "Let a message go to media that a particular community cannot be targeted. We have to look after a nation of the future which is cohesive and diverse. We recognize national security, but we need to have individual respect too."

Justice Chandrachud

5. "I saw one of the episodes and it was hurtful to watch. You need to take down flames and the green t-shirt people walking with a 500 crore sticker on them."

Justice Indu Malhotra

6. "There are so many half truths in the show. They are in terms of percentages. Union wants Muslims to come up and 50% Muslims made it to the UPSC and now you are running it down."

Justice KM Joseph

Justices Indu Malhotra, DY Chandrachud and KM Joseph
UPSC Coaching Centre for Muslims received donations from terrorism linked trusts and organizations: Sudarshan TV tells Supreme Court

7. "All communities want a part of the slice of the power centre cake. You have put up a cocktail of various factors but at the bottom you are maligning an entire community."

Justice Joseph

8. "There may be some case before court to see whether a code has been breached etc.. but I don't believe that any constitutional court has a first function to see whether a code is violated or not."

Shyam Divan, in response to Justice Joseph's concerns

9. "…painting all candidates as carrying out an agenda shows the kind of hatred. This is the element of concern... here free speech becomes hatred. You can't brand every member of the community…you alienate the good members too by divisive agenda."

Justice Chandrachud

10. "All these episodes are objectively hate speech and nothing else. We would like to persuade the court that it is indeed the Constitutional court's duty to order an injunction in this particular case."

Shadan Farasat

The three-judge Bench will hear the case again on September 21, 2 PM. Meanwhile, the injunction order against Sudarshan TV's "UPSC Jihad" program will continue.

Advocate fined Rs 500 for not wearing mask while driving alone; Moves Delhi HC seeking Rs 10 lakh as compensation

The Petitioner-Advocate has argued that there could be no fine for not wearing a mask in a personal, private vehicle while travelling alone as it is not a “public place”

The Petitioner, Advocate Saurabh Sharma, is an advocate with 20 years of practice.

As per the Petitioner, on September 9, while he was on his way to his office, he was stopped near Geeta Colony by Delhi Police officials.

One of the officials first took his photo while he was still sitting in his car and then asked him to alight, it is said.

“On inquiry, the Petitioner was informed that since he was travelling in his car without wearing a mask, he will be fined for a sum of Rs 500 under the offence of not wearing a mask in public place.”, the Petitioner has narrated.

Although the Petitioner “tried to impress” upon the offices that since he was travelling alone, he had not committed any offence, no heed was paid by the officials and a challan was issued.

The fine was thereafter paid by the Petitioner to the officials albeit under protest.

Arguing that the “unjust and illegal stopping” and "extortion" of fine caused “huge mental turmoil and harassment”, the Petitioner has not only sought the refund of the Rs 500 paid by him as fine but has also prayed for grant of compensation of Rs 10,00,000 from the Delhi Government.

In his petition before the Court, the Petitioner has submitted that there could be no challan for not wearing a mask in a personal, private vehicle while travelling alone as it is not a “public place”.

“..wearing a mask while sitting alone in the car is not a hazard to anyone’s health and safety but wearing it all the time even when a person is alone is certainly a health hazard for oneself.", the petition reads.

It is added that there has been no Executive order directing people to wear a mask while travelling alone and thus, any such fine levied on the general public by authorities is liable to be quashed.

The petition was heard today by a Single Judge Bench of Justice Navin Chawla.

After hearing the counsel for the Petitioner, the Court sought the relevant document from the Respondent authorities.

The Petitioner was represented by Advocate KC Mittal with Advocate Yugensh Mittal. The petition was filed through Advocate Joby P Varghese.

The matter would be heard next on November 18.

Can't allow you to say that Muslims are infiltrating civil services, SC directs Sudarshan TV to defer "UPSC Jihad" broadcast

The Supreme Court today directed Sudarshan TV to defer the broadcast of its programme touted as a ''big expose on the conspiracy" regarding Muslims "infiltrating government service", until further orders.

The Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and KM Joseph took up the matter for hearing today after earlier refusing to impose a pre-broadcast ban on the controversial programme.

On the basis of what has been aired, we are of the view that it will be necessary to interdict any further telecast. Consequently, we direct that pending further orders of this Court, the fifth respondent shall stand injuncted from making any further telecast in continuation of or similar to the episodes which were telecast on 11, 12, 13 and 14 September, 2020 either under the same or any other title or caption.

Reads the order

The Court also called for the setting up of a committee of five citizens who can come up with standards for electronic media. It said,

"We don't want any persons of politically divisive nature and we need members who are are of commendable stature."

Appearing for the petitioners, Senior Advocate Anoop George Chaudhari informed the Court that there were only 292 Muslims in the services at present. He said,

“If you read the transcript you will see that they say Muslims are infiltrating the civil services. They say how Muslim OBCs are eating the share of other OBCs.The show has graphs they have used words like "ha***** gaddar" in the show. Very unfortunate words.”

At this point, Justice Chandrachud noted that the petition prays for guidelines on how media show report some issues. He made it clear,

"We are not saying states will impose any such guidelines as it would be an anathema to Article 19 (1)(a)."

Justice Joseph made an important observation that the ownership of media channels must be disclosed.

“We need to look at the ownership of the visual media. Entire shareholding pattern of the company must be on site for public. Revenue model of that company should also be put up to check if government is putting more ads in one and less in another."

Justice KM Joseph

Justice Joseph also took note of the manner in which debates are conducted on news channels.

"...in debates, one needs to see the role of the anchor. How one listens when others speak...check in the TV debates the percentage of time taken by anchor to speak. They mute the speaker and ask questions."

On the topic of the Sudarshan TV broadcast itself, Justice Chandrachud observed,

"The anchor’s grievance is that a particular group is gaining entry into civil services. How insidious is this? Such insidious charges also put a question mark on the UPSC exams. Aspersions have been cast on UPSC. Such allegations are without any factual basis, how can this be allowed? Can such programs be allowed in a free society?"

The Court went on to ask,

"Shouldn't there be enforceable standards that the media profess itself to so that Article 19(1)(a) is upheld?"

In response, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said,

"Freedom of the journalist is supreme. There are two aspects of the statements by Justice Joseph. It would be disastrous for any democracy to control the press.

Justice Joseph's concerns have to be addressed by giving respect to journalistic freedom. There are large number of web portals whose ownership is different than what they show."

Justice Joseph replied,

"When we talk about journalistic freedom, it is not absolute. He shares same freedom as other citizens. There is no separate freedom for journalists like in the US. We need journalists who are fair in their debates."

Justice Chandrachud then said,

"Let the best within the nation suggest measures which we can help debate on our platform and then arrive at standards...now an anchor is targeting one particular community. To say we are a democracy we need to have certain standards in place."

When Senior Advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for Sudarshan TV, sought some time to reply, Justice Chandrachud said,

"Your client is doing a disservice to the nation and is not accepting India is a melting point of diverse culture. Your client needs to exercise his freedom with caution."

Justice Chandrachud

On resuming from the lunch break, Justice Chandrachud asked Advocate Nisha Bhambhani, appearing for the News Broadcasters Association,

"We need to ask you if you exist apart from the letter head. What do you do when a parallel criminal investigation goes on in the media and reputation is tarnished?"

SG Mehta then said,

"For example, (Advocate) Gautam Bhatia writes something to which I dont agree. I want to settle scores and I come out with a nasty piece to which he does not respond. Then how can your lordship regulate?"

Justice Chandrachud replied,

"But that cannot be compared to profit making entities. Intellectual blog on academic interests is very different than such organizations."

Justice Joseph pointed out that Rule 6 of the Programme Code notes that cable TV programs cannot show anything that targets a particular religion or a community.

Later, Advocate Shadan Farasat, appearing for the petitioners, stated,

"This show has completely vilified the image of Muslims in civil services. They have beem called a terror. Hate speech is something where the right to respond is not possible. How does one respond to a statement that Muslims should not be in civil services?"

Divan then sought two weeks' time to respond to the plea. However, he refused to concede to deferring the broadcast of the remaining episodes till then. When Chandrachud J asked Divan what the essence of the show was, he replied,

"They perceive it to be an investigative story and consider it a national security issue and in public interest. There is enormous amount of funding from abroad which is proving to be not friendly for India. They believe that it is their duty to inform the citizens about it."

To this, Justice Joseph replied,

"By the time you finish two weeks, the show will be over. Government asked you not to violate the program code. What is the penalty?"

Counsel for the intervenors made their arguments, after which Farasat sought to share his screen to show the Bench clips of the programme titled 'Bindaas Bol'.

After watching the clip, the Court directed Sudarshan TV to defer the broadcast of its remaining episodes till September 17, when the matter will be heard next.

Divan strongly protested against this, saying,

"There cannot be a pre-broadcast ban. We already have four broadcasts so we know the theme. If this is a prior restraint order, then I have to argue. There is a clear link on funds from abroad."

Chandrachud J responded,

"We are concerned that when you say students who are part of Jamia Millia Islamia are part of a group to infiltrate civil services...we can't tolerate."

"As a Supreme Court of the nation we cannot allow you to say that Muslims are infiltrating civil services. You cannot say that the journalist has absolute freedom doing this."

Justice DY Chandrachud

Divan sought to contend that nothing has changed between the Court's previous order and today.

"There is no departure in facts and law since August 28. On September 9, Centre holds and directs me to the program code. If i violate it, then I will be held accountable. One frame here and one frame there cannot summarize the whole show."

Chandrachud J then asked SG Mehta whether the Union Ministry for Information & Broadcasting had applied its mind while allowing the episodes released on September 11 and 14, after giving the green signal for the airing of the programme on September 9. Mehta said he would take instructions on this.

Advocate Gautam Bhatia went on to submit,

"Our main point in the IA is that there needs to be certain standard to judge hate speech. Here in this case, a community is being vilified. To that extent that they are not being able to respond. In this case, the pre-telecast restraint parameter is different."

After hearing the parties, the Court noted in its order,

"Situation from pre-broadcast ban stage has changed. Petitioners submit that fake news have been shown in the program and screenshots from the program and transcripts have been shown to state that program states its a conspiracy to infiltrate civil service… It has been argued that program has become a focal point of hate speech in the country...

…it appears to the court that object of the program is to vilify the Muslim community and make it responsible for an insidious attempt to infiltrate the civil services. We are duty bound to ensure adherence to the Programme Code formed under Cable TV Act...

...edifice of a stable democratic society and observance of constitutional rights and duties is based on co-existence of communities. Any attempt to vilify a community must be viewed with disfavour. We are of the view that there is a change in circumstances...

...episodes broadcasted till now show nature and objective of the program. Pending further orders of the Court, Sudarshan News stands injuncted from making any more broadcasts on this subject on any other name too."

The Court had earlier refused to impose a pre-broadcast ban on the controversial Sudarshan TV programme. It said that it has to be circumspect in imposing a prior restraint on publication or the airing of views.

UPSE Jihad sudarshan tv, Supreme Court
Breaking: Supreme Court refuses pre-telecast ban on Sudarshan TV program on 'UPSC Jihad', issues notice to Centre

The Court, however, issued notice to the Centre, the Press Council of India, the News Broadcasters Association, and Sudarshan News.

Advocate Firoz Iqbal Khan had moved the Court, submitting transcripts of the show to prove that the program set to be aired today would be derogatory to Muslims entering the profession of civil services.

The petitioner had submitted that the airing of views in the course of the programme would violate the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995, together with the Code of Ethics and News Broadcasting Standards Regulations.

A group of former civil servants too moved Supreme Court to intervene as applicants in the petition by Khan stating that the Supreme Court must lay down an authoritative pronouncement on hate speech.

The intervention application filed through Advocate Anas Tanwir states that the Court had expressed an intention to consider the balance between free speech and other constitutional values that were raised in the instant case, and that it was important for the Court to do so.

UPSE Jihad sudarshan tv, Supreme Court
[Breaking] Former civil servants move Supreme Court to intervene in "UPSC Jihad" case, raise need for authoritative ruling on hate speech

Elaborating on the freedom of speech and expression, the plea says that such a freedom "is not limited to what the ruling dispensation may find palatable or what public consensus may permit but includes the freedom to dissent, to question recieved wisdom and established social mores and to offend, shock or disturb".

The promo of the show shared by the channel’s Editor-in-Chief Suresh Chavhanke, with hashtag ‘UPSC Jihad’, had garnered criticism from several quarters.

In the video, he called those passing out of Jamia Milia Islamia's Residential Coaching Academy (RCA) and clearing the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) as “Jamia ke Jihadi”.

UPSE Jihad sudarshan tv, Supreme Court
Delhi HC stays broadcast of Sudarshan TV's show on Muslim "infiltration" in government services

Citing freedom of press, the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting gave the green signal to the show.

Soon thereafter, the Delhi High Court had issued notice in a petition challenging the Central government's decision to allow the Sudarshan TV broadcast.

Delhi Police to Fine Those Driving Without a Mask, Even if They are Alone in Car

Vehicle owners in Delhi will now be penalised if they are caught not wearing a mask while driving their cars, even if the said driver is alone in the vehicle. This mandate comes as a part of updated rules which are being implemented by the Delhi Police in order to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. The rules have also been updated for two-wheeler owners as they will now be required to wear a mask under their helmet at all times while riding the vehicle, as per a report by Carandbike.

The report goes on to mention that this has been done keeping certain situations in mind where the drivers can be caught exposed without their mask, for example, if they need to roll down the windows and interact with someone or maybe ask for directions. Additionally, it has to be a proper mask which has to be worn and things like handkerchief wrapped around their face will not be counted as proper protection and could attract a fine.

In states like those in Maharashtra and in Uttar Pradesh, police have been booking thousands of car owners if they are often found to be flouting Covid-19 restrictions, despite the strict guidelines.

Kesavananda Bharati, Lead Petitioner In The Basic Structure Case, Passes Away

Kesavananda Bharati, the seer who was the lead petitioner in the case which resulted in the Supreme Court evolving the Basic Structure doctrine, passed away today morning, reported the Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi.

He passed away today morning in his ashram at Edaneer in Kasargod district of Kerala. He was aged 79 years.

Kesavananda Bharati filed the case challenging the land reform laws of Kerala, enacted with the aim of distributing land to the landless tillers. He also challenged the 29th Constitution Amendment which included the Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963 in the ninth schedule of the Constitution, immunizing it from a challenge on the ground of violation of fundamental rights. The case ultimately led to the evolution of the 'Basic Structure Doctrine', after a marathon hearing of 68 days before a 13-judge bench. Legendary lawyer Nani Palkhivala appeared for Bharati.

Though the verdict did not result in individual relief to Bharati, it led to the formulation of an important constitutional doctrine limiting the

amending powers of Parliament. It was on April 24, 1973, that the Supreme Court delivered the verdict, with a thin majority of 7:6 out of the 13-judge

https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/kesavananda-bharati-the-lead-petitioner-in-basic-structure-case-passes-away-162471?fbclid=IwAR0Z-wNwD2lnqmKN57bbl_dsx22qwaYruGunFPgQ1plvTkiuFDrst-R7h8I

[Section 96 CPC] Strangers Cannot File Appeal Unless They Satisfy The Court That They Are 'Aggrieved Persons': SC

The Supreme Court has observed that strangers cannot be permitted to file an appeal under Section 96 of the Code of Civil Procedure unless he satisfied the Court that he falls within the category of 'aggrieved persons'.

They have to demonstrate that they are prejudicially or adversely affected by the decree in question or any of their legal rights stands jeopardized, the bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari and S. Ravindra Bhat observed.

The appellants before the High Court were not party to the suit which was decreed by the Trial Court. Though they had tried to get impleaded in the suit, their applications were dismissed by the Trial Court. The High Court also refused to grant them leave to file an appeal.

Before the Apex court, they contended that the judgment of the Trial Court holding the sale agreements time barred and granting a decree of permanent injunction actually affects their interests as they are in possession of the suit property. The bench observed:

Section 96 and 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure provide for preferring an appeal from any original decree or from decree in appeal respectively. The aforesaid provisions do not enumerate the categories of persons who can file an appeal. However, it is a settled legal proposition that a stranger cannot be permitted to file an appeal in any proceedings unless he satisfies the Court that he falls with the category of aggrieved persons. It is only where a judgment and decree prejudicially affects a person who is not party to the proceedings, he can prefer an appeal with the leave of the Appellate Court.

The bench, referring to some earlier decisions including Srimathi K. Ponnalagu Ammani Vs. The State Of Madras represented by the Secretary to the Revenue Department, Madras and Ors., noted that ordinarily leave to appeal should be granted to persons who, though not parties to the proceedings, would be bound by the decree or judgment in that proceeding and who would be precluded from attacking its correctness in other proceedings. It also noted that the expression 'person aggrieved' does not include a person who suffers from a psychological or an imaginary injury; a person aggrieved must, therefore, necessarily be one, whose right or interest has been adversely affected or jeopardized ( Shanti Kumar R. Canji Vs. Home Insurance Co. of New York and State of Rajasthan & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors.).

Perusing the judgment and decree of the Trial Court, the bench said that it is in no sense a judgment in rem and it is binding only as between the plaintiffs and defendants of the suit, and not upon the appellants. Upholding the High Court judgment, the bench observed:

"Though it has been vehemently contended before us and also pleaded before the High Court that the judgment and decree of the Trial Court affects the appellants adversely. The appellants have failed to place any material or demonstrate as to how the judgment and decree passed by the Trial Court adversely or prejudicially affects them. Mere saying that the appellants are prejudicially affected by the decree is not sufficient. It has to be demonstrated that the decree affects the legal rights of the appellants and would have adverse effect when carried out. Facts of the case clearly demonstrate that suit which has been decreed is confined only to a declaration sought in respect of an agreement to sell. Injunction was also sought only against the defendant- society or its officers or assigns. There is not even a whisper in the entire plaint or in suit proceedings about the sale deed executed in favour of the appellants by the General Power of Attorney holders or even for that matter in the judgment and decree of the Trial Court.. The appellants have thus failed to demonstrate that they are prejudicially or adversely affected by the decree in question or any of their legal rights stands jeopardized so as to bring them within the ambit of the expression 'person aggrieved' entitling them to maintain appeal against the decree"

Case details
Case no. : CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 2701-2704 OF 2020
Case name: V.N.KRISHNA MURTHY vs. RAVIKUMAR
Coram: Justices L. Nageswara Rao, Krishna Murari and S. Ravindra Bha

'Without Valid Consent From Maharashtra Govt., CBI Has No Jurisdiction To Investigate Sushant Singh Rajput's Death': Mumbai Police Tells SC

The Mumbai police has filed its affidavit before the Supreme Court challenging the July 25 FIR, at the instance of Sushant Singh Rajput's father against actor Rhea Chakraborty and 5 others for abetment to suicide, registered in Patna and subsequently transfered to the CBI.

The affidavit reads that pending the present proceedings, the CBI ought not to have gone ahead and registered the case with it or constituted a team for conducting the investigation. It ought to have awaited the final decision of the present proceedings at the hands of the Apex court, especially in view of this court order passed on August 5. The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it has accepted the Bihar Government's recommendation for a CBI probe into the late actor Sushant Singh Rajput's death case.

A bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy refused to grant a stay in Chakraborty's plea seeking transfer of an FIR filed against her from Patna to Mumbai and the stay on the investigation by the Bihar police. The bench granted 3 days to all parties to file reply and sought an update from State of Maharashtra on the Investigation done by Mumbai Police.

"Suffice it to say that, the indecent haste with which the CBI has proceeded in this regard speaks for itself, regarding the bona fides of all involved in this exercise", the Mumbai Police contends.

Narrating the sequence of events, the affidavit avers that Rajput passed away on 14 June at his residence in Bandra, Mumbai. On a telephone call having been received, the Mumbai police visited the residence of the deceased and saw the body of the deceased lying on the bed. The sister of the deceased and four others were present at the said residence. The Mumbai police registered an accidental death report and commenced enquiry about the unnatural death of the deceased under section 174 of the CRPC. After the inquest was completed, the Mumbai police commenced the investigation under section 175 of the CRPC to ascertain the cause of death of the deceased.

"During the course of investigation, the Mumbai police have till date, recorded statements of 56 persons and are investigating into the facts and circumstances leading to the death of the deceased from each and every angle. The Mumbai police are investigating the incident fairly, professionally, properly and impartially", it is pressed.

Asserting that in compliance with the August 5 order, the report regarding the status of investigation into the said ADR has been filed in a sealed cover in this court, which is "self-explanatory", the Mumbai police has argued that the investigation is still continuing and hence, it is in the interests of justice that the details of the investigation are not shared with Chakraborty or any other persons except this court. "That the report has been filed in a sealed cover so that this court is able to satisfy itself about the fairness, impartiality as also the professionalism with which the said investigation is being conducted by the Mumbai police into the said ADR",  There cannot be two simultaneous enquiries, much less investigations, by two different agencies in respect of the same incident and as such simultaneous enquiry were to continue, it may result in conflicting results, apart from its adverse effects, it will ultimately end up in helping the suspect or accused, if any and if at all", it is stated.

The affidavit denies the suggestion that the quarantine of the Bihar IPS officer, Mr Vinay Tiwari, was aimed at obstructing the investigation by the Bihar police. In fact such a step was taken by the Municipal Corporation for Greater Mumbai and not by the police authorities. It is pointed out that the protocol by the state of Maharashtra for domestic passengers arriving at Mumbai airport requires that such passengers are to undergo 14 days home quarantine, the only exception being domestic passengers who intend to exit Mumbai within seven days of arrival provided they are able to produce a confirmed ticket for the onward/return journey.

"The newspaper report produced on record by the petitioner states that the Bihar police were hesitant for registration of the FIR but the CM of Bihar and another minister had persuaded them to register it. So it was a politically motivated exercise, one due to extraneous reasons", avers the Mumbai Police.

It is submitted that Section 177 of the CRPC provides that every offence shall ordinarily be enquired into and tried by a court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed, and that the provisions contained in section 178 to section 183 are exceptions to the general rule for enquiry and trial.

"Not a single legally permissible and sustainable ground existed nor does it exist either for the registration of the FIR at Patna or for the transfer of such non-maintainable FIR to the CBI. The alleged sensitivity of the matter cannot be a ground for the registration of the FIR or investigation into the matter by the Bihar police or for that matter to be transferred to the CBI. The recommendation by the Addl. CJM, Patna to transfer the investigation into the FIR by the CBI bristles with mala fide and the same is void ab initio", it is contended.

It is further submitted that the jurisdiction of CBI is confined only to union territories for investigation of offences notified under section 3 of the DSPE act. It requires consent of the concerned state government under section 6 of the DSPE act. Further the CBI requires a corresponding notification from the central government under section 5 of the DSPE act before taking up the investigation of a case outside the union territories. "In other words, law and order being a state subject, the CBI derives jurisdiction only when valid consent is given. As the state of Maharashtra has not given any consent as provided under section 6 for transferring the investigation into the FIR to the CBI, the investigation into the FIR cannot be transferred to the CBI. In the facts and circumstances of the present case it is only the state of Maharashtra which is competent to give consent, the alleged cause of action having completely arisen within the state", the affidavit argues.

It is finally urged that assuming that the CBI is entitled to register the FIR, then also it is mandatory for the CBI to follow the procedure prescribed in the 10 May, 2013 advisory and to transfer the same to the Bandra police station.

 

Injunction against Patanjali from using ‘Coronil’; Madras HC slaps Rs 10 lakh fine, says firm exploiting fear

In a big setback to Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved, the Madras High Court on Thursday made absolute, the injunction earlier imposed on the company from using the trademark "Coronil" in relation to its products being marketed as immunity boosters amid the COVID-19 pandemic, legal news website BarandBench.com has reported.

Last month, an interim injunction was passed in favour of Chennai-based Arudra Engineering Private Limited, which had registered the trademark for 'CORONIL-92 B' as an acid inhibitor product for industrial cleaning and chemical preparations for industrial use in June 1993.

While dismissing pleas moved by Patanjali and the Divya Yog Mandir Trust to vacate this ex parte interim injunction order, Justice CV Karthikeyan has also slapped a Rs 10 lakh fine to be paid jointly by the two defendants.

"The defendants have invited this litigation on themselves. A simple check with the Trade Marks Registry would have revealed that 'Coronil' is a registered trademark. If they had, and had still, with audacity used the name 'Coronil', then they deserve no consideration at all. They cannot assume they can bulldoze their way and infringe a registered trademark. They must realise there is no equity in trade and commerce. If they had not done a check with the Registry, then they are at fault. They cannot plead ignorance and innocence and seek indulgence from this court. Either way, indulgence is refused," Justice Karthikeyan remarked in his judgment passed on Thursday.

The court concluded that Patanjali and the Divya Yog Mandir Trust (defendants) have infringed Arudra's (plaintiff) trademark rights on the following grounds:

  • Arudra's trademarks for “Coronil-92 B and Coronil-213 SPL” still subsists.
  • The defendants have not established that their mark 'Coronil Tablet' is registered. Rather, the defendants have merely applied for registration and it is in the initial stages.
  • Both the words 'Coronil' are the same and identical.
  • There is a direct infringement on the unique name 'Coronil' by the defendants.
  • The plaintiff has established a prima facie reputation in India among the heavy industries where chemical agents are used to treat and prevent corrosion. They have also established a reputation in industries overseas.
  • The defendants have not shown due cause in naming their product as 'Coronil', since there is no direct material produced to show that it is a treatment for Coronavirus and even the reports in this connection, projecting such a cure have been adversely noted by the Ministry of Ayush, New Delhi.
  • The usage of the word 'Coronil' by the defendants will be detrimental to the distinctive character of the mark of the plaintiff since there is no connection between the mark 'Coronil' used by the defendants and their projected statement that it is a cure for Coronavirus.
  • There is a possibility that the general public might question whether the trademark 'Coronil' of the plaintiff would also not prevent corrosion by drawing the analogy of the 'Coronil' of the defendants, which does not cure Coronavirus.

The Court went on to remark,"... the defendants have repeatedly projected that they are Rs 10,000 crores company. However, they are still chasing further profits by exploiting the fear and panic among the general public by projecting a cure for the Coronavirus, when actually their 'Coronil Tablet' is not a cure but rather an immunity booster for cough, cold and fever."

The court added that, "The defendants must realize that there are organisations which are helping the people in this critical period without seeking recognition and it would only be appropriate that they are made to pay costs to them."

In view of these observations, the Judge proceeded to direct the defendants to pay Rs 5 lakhs each towards the Adyar Cancer Institute and the Government Yoga and Naturopathy Medical College and Hospital, Arumbakkam, where, "treatments are afforded free of cost without any claim to either trademark, trade name, patent or design, but only with service as a motto."

N Ram, Arun Shourie, and Prashant Bhusan challenged Contempt of Court Act in Supreme Court

The Hindu Journalist N Ram, former Union Minister Arun Shourie, and advocate Prashant Bhusan has moved Supreme Court challenging the ‘constitutional validity’ of criminal contempt on grounds of ‘scandalizing the court’ under Section 2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Court Act.

The petitioners stated that this sub-section violates Article 19 (i) of the constitution and considered it a chilling effect on the freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed by the constitution.

“The impugned sub-section is unconstitutional as it is incompatible with values (of the Preamble) and basic features of the Constitution” and, further, that it is “unconstitutionally and incurably vague, and manifestly arbitrary,” contended the petition.

The petition further states, “by criminalising criticism of the court in sweeping and absolute terms, the impugned sub-section raises a prior restraint on speech on matters of public and political importance.”

The next date of hearing has been scheduled to be August 4.

Last month, contempt proceedings had been filed against Prashan Bhusan and Twitter India in context to the two tweets undermining the dignity of apex court and Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde.

Supreme Court advocate Mehek Maheshwari had filed the contempt case and tweeted, “The Contempt Petition against Adv Prashant Bhushan is filed my me as he made very inhuman remarks against our CJI Bobde of which Hon’ble Supreme Court took suo moto Cognizance.” The petitioner has also called it a cheap publicity stunt and an attempt to spread hatred in the form of anti-India campaign. The case against Twitter was filed as it has not removed the tweets from its platform.

As many as 131 personalities including former judges, authors, former government servants, and journalists have opposed the top court’s action and want the proceedings to be dropped against Prashant Bhusan. They have released a collective statement that says, “We cannot countenance a situation where citizens live in fear of the Court’s arbitrary power to punish for contempt for words of criticism on the conduct of judges, in or out of court”.

There is already an ongoing 11-year old contempt case against Prashant Bhusan over his comments to a news publication on former CJI.

High Court stays 4-year jail term of Jaya Jaitley in defence corruption case

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court Thursday stayed the 4-year jail term awarded to ex-Samata Party president Jaya Jaitley in a corruption case related to a purported defence deal, her lawyer said. Justice Suresh Kumar Kait also sought the CBI response on Jaitley's appeal challenging her conviction and sentence, advocate Abhijat said.

Jaitley, represented through senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and P P Malhotra, challenged the July 21 order of the trial court convicting her in the case.

Jaitley and two others were held guilty of corruption in a 2000-01 case related to a purported defence deal, the lawyer said. They were sentenced to 4-year imprisonment on Thursday by the trial court which has directed them to surrender by 5 pm.

The other convicts in the case are Jaitley's former party colleague Gopal Pacherwal and Major General (rtd) S.P. Murgai.

Plea In SC To Remove 'Socialist' And 'Secular' Words From Indian Constitution's Preamble

A plea has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking to remove from the constitution's preamble the words “socialist” and “secular” which were added through 42nd constitutional amendment.

The PIL said that the amendment made in 1976 was “antithetical to the constitutional tenets as well as the historical and cultural theme of India.“

The move was “per se illegal for violating the concept of freedom of speech and expression enumerated in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution and the right to freedom of religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution”, it said.

It said the amendment was also against the historical and cultural theme of the “great republic of Bharat, the oldest civilization of the world, having clear concept of 'Dharma' different from the concept of religion”, and that the communist theory of State cannot be applied in Indian context which was not in tune with the religious sentiments and socio- economic conditions of India.

“Issue appropriate direction striking down the words 'Socialist' and 'Secular' inserted in the Preamble of the Constitution by section 2 (a) of the Forty Second Constitution Amendment Act, 1976,” the petition, filed by advocates Balram Singh and Karunesh Kumar Shukla and an individual Pravesh Kumar, said.

It sought a direction the Union of India to declare that the concept of 'socialism' and 'secularism' referred to the nature of the republic and was limited to the working of the sovereign function of the State and same is not applicable to the citizens, the political parties and the social organizations.

The petition filed through advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, has also challenged the insertion of the words 'secular' and 'socialist' in section 29 A (5) of the Representation of People (RP) Act that makes it compulsory for the political parties, applying for registration before Election Commission of India, “to make specific provision in its memorandum or rules and regulations that the association or body shall bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established and to the principles of 'Socialism' and 'Secularism' and democracy and would uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India.“

BSP files writ petition, challenges merger of six party MLAs with Congress in Rajasthan
Jaipur: The Bahujan Samaj Party on Wednesday filed a writ petition in the Rajasthan High Court challenging the merger of six BSP MLAs with the ruling Congress in Rajasthan. Sandeep Yadav, Wajib Ali, Deepchand Kheria, Lakhan Meena, Jogendra Awana and Rajendra Gudha contested and won the 2018 assembly elections on BSP tickets.

They all defected to the Congress in September 2019. BSP state president Bhagwan Singh Baba said, "We have today filed a writ petition in the high court against the merger of BSP MLAs with Congress".

The merger of BSP MLAs with the ruling Congress was a boost to the Ashok Gehlot-led government as the tally of the Congress increased to 107 in the house of 200.

Supreme court's big decision, the jail will not be on social media post, Section 66A revoked

The Supreme Court quashed a historic decision on Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, declaring it unconstitutional.

The court delivered the important verdict, saying that this section of the IT Act is in violation of Article 19 (1) A of the Constitution, which gives the "right to freedom of speech and expression" to every citizen of India. The court said, Section 66A is a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of expression.
After the court order, no one will be arrested for posting any post on social media mediums like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, WhatsApp.

Earlier, under Section 66A, the police had the right to arrest anyone on the basis of what was written on the Internet. Section 66A of the IT Act was challenged in the petitions filed in the Supreme Court.
Describing the verdict as a major victory, petitioner Shreya Singhal said, the Supreme Court upheld the right to freedom of speech and expression of the people.

Cooperative Societies Are Bound by RTI Act, Says Bombay HC order

Notwithstanding the myriad opinions and interpretations of several court judgments on whether cooperative societies come under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, a recent landmark judgment of the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court reiterates that urban cooperative banks, cooperative financial institutions and other cooperative societies are bound by the Act.

The Association of Jalgaon Zilla Urban Cooperative Banks, Credit Societies and other financial institutions registered under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act 1960, appealed in a petition to the High Court that cooperative institutions cannot be treated as public authority under the RTI Act.
They contended, “In view of the provisions of Section 2(h) and Section 8 of the Right to Information Act 2005, cooperative institutions registered under the Cooperative Societies Act cannot be treated as public authority.”
They also argued that under banking rules too certain information cannot be disclosed. Their contention was that in view of the provision of section 34A of the Banking 3 WP 1304 of 2008 Regulation Act, 1949, these institutions are not bound to disclose certain information which, according to them, is confidential in nature.
The petitioners also argued that “these institutions are not receiving financial aid from the Government, directly or indirectly, and so the provisions of the Act cannot be made applicable to them”.
The petitioners, in their prayer, urged the court to declare cooperative societies and others as “not public authorities” under the RTI Act. Following was their submission:
  • The urban cooperative banks, cooperative financial institutions, Patpedhis (credit cooperative societies) and other cooperative societies, which are registered under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act 1960, are not public authorities within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act.
  • These institutions stand exempted from disclosure of information u/s 8)1 (d), (e) and (j) of the Right to Information Act
  • That the court issue a writ, order or direction restraining the officers of the cooperative department from supplying any information to the members or general public which is, according to the said societies, confidential in nature.
  • The court, pending the hearing and final decision of the writ petition, restrain the respondent from disclosing any information other than the balance sheet and profit and loss accounts of the cooperative societies, urban banks and Patpedhis to the general public under Right to Information Act.
In its order issued on 13 February 2017, the court observed that cooperative institutions, are registered under the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960 and that cooperative societies and other such institutions are created by a statute; that they have a public authority over them which is the final decision-making body.
Certain Articles of the Constitution also show that such institutions are discharging the duty of the State and there is an ‘authority’ over them, which is the final decision-making body and the co-operatives are bound to supply information (all of which comes under Section 2 (f) of the RTI Act), to this authority. Hence, cooperative societies and other such institutions are bound to supply information under the RTI Act, the HC said.
The High Court observed:
  • Cooperative institutions are bodies created by the statute. But right from the registration till the liquidation there is control over these institutions by the authority created under the same Act. The authority steps in to take decisions on the rights of the members. The authority has control over the manner in which funds are invested or over the distribution of the funds. Such institutions cannot act independently and the apex bodies are created for such institutions.
  • Even Articles 38,39,43 and 48 of the Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution show that to some extent such institutions are discharging the duty of the State
  • The provisions of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act show that the authority under the Act can do the audit and inquire into irregularities. If loss is caused to the institution, by the directors, promoters etc., the authority can assess the damage, and the loss caused to the institution can be recovered from those persons. Under the Act, the authority can suspend the managing committee and remove its members. For all these and other purposes mentioned in the Cooperative Societies Act, the cooperative institution is bound to supply the record to the authority.
  • The provisions of the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, if read with the definition of information given in Section 2(f) of the Act, makes it clear that everything which is mentioned in the definition of information needs to be supplied by the cooperative institution to the authority created under the Cooperative Societies Act. The definition of 'Public Authority' given in Section 2(h) shows that such public authority can be created by any law made by the State Legislature. It is already observed that the officers like Registrar and his subordinate officers are appointed under the Cooperative Societies Act.
The High Court therefore concluded that, “…the reliefs claimed in the present petition cannot be granted as the reliefs can be used 14 WP 1304 of 2008 directly or indirectly by the cooperative institutions to deny the supply of the information... This Court holds that no relief which is claimed in the present petition can be given to the petitioner.”
RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar, who has been pursuing this issue for long, says, “After the Supreme Court’s order in Thalappalam Services Cooperfative Bank Ltd. against State of Kerala, public authorities and public information officers (PIOs) said the RTI act was not applicable to cooperative societies. Actually even in the Thalappalam case, the apex court, in paragraph 52 of its judgment, had categorically stated that the PIO of Registrar of Cooperative Societies is duty bound to supply the information. But even then PIOs and cooperative societies were denying the information sought under RTI.”

Walmart and Sam's Club to require masks nationwide starting July 20 as COVID-19 cases rise

Walmart and Sam's Club will start requiring masks at stores and clubs nationwide starting Monday, July 20, the company announced Wednesday.

"We know some people have differing opinions on this topic. We also recognize the role we can play to help protect the health and well-being of the communities we serve by following the evolving guidance of health officials like the CDC," the retailers' chief operating officers said in a blog post Wednesday.

The move comes two days after Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said a mask mandate in stores nationwide was "obviously something that's on our minds."

Back-to-school tax holidays:Tax-free shopping comes to 16 states this summer. Here's who is giving a tax break.

More companies are making face coverings a requirement as viral videos of shoppers' tirades and confrontations over being asked to wear them during the coronavirus pandemic erupt. The coronavirus causes the disease COVID-19. 

On Wednesday, the National Retail Federation called on retailers to set nationwide mask policies and said "retailers of all sizes have been on the front lines serving customers and supporting their communities." 

"We hope today’s announcement by Walmart – the world’s largest retailer – that it will be enforcing a policy requiring customers to wear a mask to shop in their stores is a tipping point in this public health debate," the retail federation said in a statement. "Workers serving customers should not have to make a critical decision as to whether they should risk exposure to infection or lose their jobs because a minority of people refuse to wear masks in order to help stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus."

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents Walmart, Target, Best Buy and other major chains, recently asked governors to mandate masks across the nation and says different local mandates have created confusion leading to conflicts between customers and store employees.

If the American public were to embrace masking now, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the pandemic could be brought to heel in less than two months.

Sam's Club and Walmart's mask policy

In the blog post written by Dacona Smith, Walmart U.S. chief operating officer, and Lance de la Rosa, Sam's Club chief operating officer, the company says the requirement will bring consistency across stores and clubs. Currently about 65% of the company's more than 5,000 stores and clubs require masks.

Starting on July 20, Smith and de la Rosa wrote the company will give stores "time to inform customers and members of the changes, post signage and train associates on the new protocols."

Walmart has created a "Health Ambassador" role and the ambassadors will be near store entrances "to remind those without a mask of our new requirements." 

"The ambassadors, identifiable by their black polo shirts, will work with customers who show up at a store without a face covering to try and find a solution," Smith and de la Rosa wrote. "We are currently considering different solutions for customers when this requirement takes effect on July 20."

Allahabad HC Dismisses Plea Seeking Judicial Probe Into Alleged Encounter Of Kanpur Gangster Vikas Dubey As Infructuous

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday dismissed a petition seeking Judicial probe into the alleged encounter of Kanpur Gangster Vikas Dubey, noting that the UP Government has already taken steps in that direction.

"Considering the fact that Special Investigating Team and Judicial Commission have already been constituted by the State of U.P. to enquire into the alleged incident in question, we dismiss the present writ petition as withdrawn with liberty to file fresh petition, if occasion arises," a division  comprised of Justices Pankaj Kumar Jaiswal and Karunesh Singh Pawar said.

The UP Government had constituted a Special Investigation Team, lead by Additional Chief Secretary Sanjay Bhusreddy, to investigate Dubey's rise and police involvement in his deep-rooted criminal network, last Friday. On the following day, the Government constituted a one member Judicial Commission under Section 3 of the Enquiry Commission Act, 1952, comprised of Justice Sashi Kant Agarwal, former Judge of the Allahabad High Court, to enquire into the subject matter in question within a period of two months.

On being informed about the same by Additional Advocate General VK Sahi, the court observed that the petition had been rendered "infructuous".\

The petition was filed by a practicing Advocate of the High Court, Nandita Bharti, seeking a direction for constituting a Judicial Commission headed by a former/ sitting HC Judge to probe the alleged encounter in terms of the guidelines framed by the Supreme Court in PUCL & Anr. v. State of Maharashtra & Ors., (2014) 10 SCC 635.

She had also sought a direction against the UP government to frame appropriate guidelines governing, planning and carrying out encounters for the purpose of protection of life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

ver 60 criminal cases, including allegations of murder, were pending against Dubey, who was allegedly killed in a police encounter on Friday morning. The incident has given rise to a massive debate around police/ political involvement with the gangster and several representations have been placed before the Supreme Court as well as the Allahabad High Court seeking a a judicial probe.

Recently, one of the police officers, who have been arrested on the allegation of ""connivance" with Dubey, moved the Supreme Court seeking protection of his life from the UP Police.

Rape-accused Bishop Franco Mullakal’s bail cancelled, court issues non-bailable warrant

The court cancelled Mullakal's bail considering the prosecution argument that the accused was trying to delay the trial, and posted the case to August 13.

Kottayam: A local court on Monday cancelled the bail granted to Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun in Kerala, for failing to appear for the trial in the case and issued a Non Bailable Warrant against him.

The Bishop was not present in the Additional Sessions Court during the hearing.

Mulakkal’s counsel informed the court that his client could not appear as he had been in self quarantine due to his primary contact with a COVID-19 infected person.

During the previous hearing on July 1 also he had failed to appear before the Court.

His counsel had then submitted that the priest could not appear as he was stuck in a COVID-19 containment zone at Jalandhar in Punjab.

The prosecution on Monday countered the claim by the accused, saying the place where he lived in Jalandhar was not a COVID-19 containment zone on July 1.

The Court cancelled his bail, considering the prosecution argument that the accused was trying to delay the trial, and posted the case to August 13.

The Kerala High Court on July 7 had dismissed a petition seeking to discharge Mulakkal from the sexual assault case filed against him by the nun.

It had directed the deposed Bishop of Jalandhar diocese to stand for trial in the rape case, which was registered on a complaint filed by the nun of same diocese in Kerala.

The court dismissed the plea by the bishop, admitting the prosecution argument that there was prima facie evidence against Mulakkal in the rape case.

The senior priest of the Roman Catholic Church had filed the revision petition following the dismissal of his discharge plea by the trial court in Kottayam in March this year.

The rape case against the Bishop was registered by police in Kottayam district.

In her complaint to the police in June 2018, the nun had alleged that she was subjected to sexual abuse by the Bishop between 2014 and 2016.

The bishop, who was arrested by the Special Investigation team which probed the case, has been charged with wrongful confinement, rape, unnatural sex and criminal intimidation.

HC ex-judge to probe Vikas Dubey ‘encounter

LUCKNOW: A day after setting up an SIT to probe slain gangster Vikas Dubey’s alleged nexus with politicians and bureaucrats, the UP government on Sunday instituted a judicial inquiry by a retired high court judge into the July 10 “encounter” in which he was killed while being brought to Kanpur from Ujjain in a police convoy.
The inquiry commission of former Justice Shashi Kant Agarwal will also probe all aspects of the ambush by Dubey’s gang in which eight police personnel, including a DSP, were killed in Bikru village near Kanpur on July 3. The commission will submit its report to the government within two months.

To be based in Kanpur, the Agarwal commission will look into all encounters between the police and members of Dubey’s gang between July 3 and July 10, a government spokesperson said.
The commission’s brief is to unearth how Dubey and his associates allegedly formed a nexus with police personnel and officials in other departments.

Kelly Preston, 'Jerry Maguire' actress and wife of John Travolta, dies of breast cancer at 57

Preston's husband, actor John Travolta, wrote an emotional post on Instagram Sunday night, confirming that his wife of 28 years had died.

"It is with a very heavy heart that I inform you that my beautiful wife Kelly has lost her two-year battle with breast cancer," Travolta, 66, wrote. "She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many."

"Kelly’s love and life will always be remembered," Travolta wrote, stating he planned to take time off "to be there for my children who have lost their mother. So forgive me in advance if you don’t hear from us for a while.  But please know that I will feel your outpouring of love in the weeks and months ahead as we heal."

The couple had three children — daughter Ella, 20, and sons Benjamin, 9, and Jett, who died at age 16 in January 2009 after having a seizure while the family was on vacation in the Bahamas.

Ella Travolta paid tribute to her mother on Instagram.

"I have never met anyone as courageous, strong, beautiful and loving as you," she wrote. "You have a glow and a light that never ceases to shine and that makes anyone around you feel instantly happy. Thank you for being there for me no matter what. Thank you for your love. Thank you for your help and thank you for making this world a better place. You have made life so beautiful and I know you will continue to do so always. I love you so much mama."

A family statement to People magazine said that Preston had chosen to keep her cancer "fight private."

"She had been undergoing medical treatment for some time, supported by her closest family and friends," the statement said. "She was a bright, beautiful and loving soul who cared deeply about others and who brought life to everything she touched."

Preston starred in films such as the 1986 comedy "SpaceCamp," "Twins" (1988), as Tom Cruise's fiancée Avery Bishop in "Jerry Maguire" (1996) and alongside Kevin Costner in the 1999 sports drama "For Love of the Game."

Preston's final film role was in 2018's "Gotti," playing Victoria Gotti, the wife of Mafia boss John Gotti. It was a family affair as Travolta portrayed John Gotti.

Travolta and Preston met while filming 1988′s "The Experts." They were married at a midnight ceremony in Paris in 1991.

In September, Travolta and Preston celebrated 28 years of marriage with dual social media offerings.

"Happy Anniversary to my wonderful wife," Travolta, 65, wrote on Instagram, along with a photo of the couple embracing.

Soon after, Preston posted her own photo and described on Instagram how much Travolta meant to her.

"To my dearest Johnny, the most wonderful man I know," she wrote. "You have given me hope when I have felt lost, loved me patiently and unconditionally… made me laugh harder than any other human being possible... shared the most beautiful highs and at times lows."

She added: "You’re a dream Daddio and make life so much fun!! I trust my love with you implicitly... with you I know I will always be okay no matter what happens... I love you forever and completely. "

PUCL Moves SC To Constitute A SIT to Investigate Into The Encounter Of Vikas Dubey

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has moved an application in the Supreme Court related to another horrific encounter done by the UP Police on 10th July, 2020 in Kanpur. The application is moved in a 2018 criminal writ petition moved by the organization, seeking CBI/SIT inquiry into thousands of police encounters that have taken place in the state of UP over the past few years. (PUCL vs. Union of India & others)

he PUCL has taken up the issue pertaining to police encounters earlier also, as it defies the Rule of Law (i.e. Supremacy of law) and administration of law enforcing machinery in accordance with the Constitution. The landmark judgment in PUCL v. Union of India, (1997) 3 SCC 433 brought out the acts of administrative liquidations taking place in the State of Manipur. Though the State had defended their actions in the response, when judicial inquiry was conducted, the fake encounter committed by the police was exposed. The said case was taken up by the PUCL as it involved gross violation of human and constitutional rights. Similarly, the case of massive encounter killings in Maharashtra, particularly in Mumbai, was taken up by the PUCL and pursuant thereto, extensive guidelines have been laid down in PUCL v. State of Maharashtra, (2014) 10 SCC 635.

Present Application:-

In the present case, the Petitioner said that few days back close aides of Vikas Dubey, Prabhat Misra and Amar Dubey, were killed in the similar fashion. The encounter on 10th July has raised many questions against the version of story narrated by the U.P. Police which is against the principle of Rule of Law and administrative liquidation. the States are not following the directions of this Hon’ble Court. The State of UP is flouting the said judgment and indulging in massive encounters with impunity.

Also, the Petitioner has submitted that:

The police encounter/administrative liquidation is a serious crime- murder/culpable homicide and is an offence against the entire society. If such a crime is committed with the support of the State or where the State condones such an offence, it takes a very serious dimension, questioning the entire Rule of Law and governance in accordance with the Constitution.”

Further, the petitioner stated that the incidents, which have been revealed in the killings of the Vikas Dubey and his associates, are very shocking in particular, keeping in view continuous cases of mass encounters in the State of UP which have taken place from 1.1.2017 onwards.

Furthermore, the Petitioners has prayed Supreme Court to Constitute a Special Investigation Team to investigate into the present encounters of VikasDubey, Amar Dubey and Prabhat Mishra. Also, it is prayed to constitute a committee headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge to enquire into the encounters that have been taking place in the State of Uttar Pradesh and the Criminal Political nexus which has been prevailing in the State.

A 36 year delay in execution of eviction decree is a fraud on judiciary: SC

NEW DELHI: In 1984, a youthful Purushottam Sahu was overjoyed by the fast-paced court proceedings leading to a decree of eviction against his tenant Dharamdas Sindhi in Bargarh town of Odisha. Little did he know that he would be nearing 70 years, when the property would finally come to him.
The egregious 36 years delay, caused by multifarious litigation indulged by Sindhis, angered the Supreme Court on Wednesday and it ordered Sindhi's legal heirs to hand over the premises within two months to Sahu, who pursued the litigation in the SC through his counsel Deepanwita Priyanka.

"Since 1984 you have stalled execution of the decree byindulging in collateral litigation. For 36 years you have frustrated the decree. Why should you not be asked to pay an exemplary cost. Such matters cause pain and trouble the judicial conscience of the court. We have to send a signal that this kind of action is not condoned by the judiciary. This is one of the greatest frauds played on the judicial system," said a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M R Shah.
One Dharamdas Sindhi moved to Bargarh town of western Odisha in 1961 and stayed in a shop-cum-house owned by Sahu's father for a monthly rent of Rs 100. Sahu later instituted a money suit to recover arrears of rent. Once the money suit was decreed in 1980, Sahu moved an eviction suit against Sindhi. The eviction petition was allowed in 1982. In 1983, he moved court for execution of the decree and the same was allowed in 1984, said Sahu's counsel Deepanwita Priyank.

Since then, first Sindhi and later his four children filed collateral cases and fought up to the Supreme Court raising doubts over the title of Sahu over the premises. But ..Since then, first Sindhi and later his four children filed collateral cases and fought up to the Supreme Court raising doubts over the title of Sahu over the premises. But, the Supreme Court finally dismissed the petitions in 1992 while ordering Sindhi and his family to vacate the premises within 18 months. But, the decree continued to be in limbo as additional litigation was started by the Sindhis.

Seeing through the delaying tactics adopted by the Sindhis using litigation as a tool, the bench said the legal heirs of Dharamdas Sindhi must immediately vacate the tenanted premises and handover possession to Sahu. When their counsel R K Mehta pleaded for a reasonable time, or at least six months, to vacate the premises given the pandemic situation, the bench refused to accept the request but granted two months for handing over of the premises to Sahu.
The bench directed the concerned trial court in Bargarh to ensure that the Sindhis vacated the premises in two months and if need be take police help to do so. It also asked the Bargarh court to initiate proceedings and quantify within three months the damage the Sindhis should be saddled with for delaying implementation of the decree.

Charlie Daniels, country star best known for 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia,' dies at 83

Charlie Daniels, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame best known for "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," died Monday morning after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke. He was 83.

Daniels' death was confirmed by his publicist, Don Murry Grubbs, to The Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY Network. He is survived by his wife, Hazel, and son Charlie Daniels, Jr.

By the time the Charlie Daniels Band topped the charts with “Devil” in 1979, the instrumentalist, singer and songwriter had long established a remarkable, multifaceted career in Music City. As a session musician, he played on three of Bob Dylan’s albums — including the revolutionary “Nashville Skyline” — as well as recordings for Ringo Starr, Leonard Cohen, Tammy Wynette and other luminaries.

He was a fixture of the touring circuit for the next 40 years. A Grammy-winning singer, entertainer, songwriter and fiddle virtuoso, he migrated from an earlier countercultural stance epitomized on "Long Haired Country Boy" to become an advocate for patriotism and the military.

We would follow him into battle'

Born Oct. 28, 1936, in Wilmington, North Carolina, Charles Edward Daniels grew up inspired by church music and local bluegrass bands. He listened to Nashville’s WSM and WLAC, which streamed country and R&B music from Music City all the way through Daniels’ radio speaker in North Carolina.

Daniels merged those sounds in the mid-1950s to create rock band The Jaguars, which most notably recorded instrumental single “Jaguar,” in Fort Worth, Texas, for national distribution via Epic Records. In Texas, he’d connect with producer Bob Johnston, who — years later — Daniels would credit with helping him find his way as a songwriter and sought-after session player in Nashville.

In 1964, Daniels and Johnston co-wrote “It Hurts Me,” a single cut by Elvis Presley that proved the first victory in decades of songwriting success to come.

“(Elvis) recorded it, and it was by far … the biggest thing that had ever happened to me in my life,” Daniels once said.

With Johnston’s help, Daniels carved his name in the late 1960s and early ‘70s as a marquee Nashville player, working with the likes of Starr, Cohen and, most notably, Dylan.

The life of a session sideman wouldn't stick, though. He'd cut a self-titled debut album in 1970, forming the Charlie Daniels Band — or CDB, as it was known for decades at concert theaters, state fairs and race tracks  — in 1971.

A bearded embodiment of fast-fiddlin' Southern life, Daniels cut a handful of solo efforts in the early 1970s, none more notable than "Fire on the Mountain” — the Platinum-selling release that spilled into mainstream country success. Daniels would proceed to sell more than 13.5 million records, per the RIAA, logging nine Gold, Platinum or multi-Platinum releases.

"His music fused the immediacy of Southern Rock with the classic country storytelling that he heard as a child," Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, said Monday. "He brought new audiences to country music, pointing people to the sources even as he explored the edges."

Backed by "The South's Gonna Do It Again," Trudy" and the rest of his growing catalog, Daniels would forge a reputation among his peers as a scorching live player.

"We would follow him into battle," friend and Nashville musician Larry Gatlin shared Monday. "We would not follow him on stage. We couldn’t. No one else could either. ‘Nuff said."

'Devil Went Down To Georgia' and Daniels' fiery music

Upon its release in 1979, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” didn’t just top the country chart, it became a huge pop crossover hit – climbing up to No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart behind The Knack’s “My Sharona” and Earth Wind and Fire’s “After the Love Has Gone.”

The song won Daniels' only Grammy Award in 1979, for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group. A year later, he played himself in the 1980 John Travolta movie “Urban Cowboy”, which was closely identified with the rise of country music generated by that film. Some of his other hits were “Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye," “Boogie Woogie Fiddle Country Blues” and “Uneasy Rider."

In the 1990s Daniels softened some of his lyrics from his earlier days when he often was embroiled in controversy.

In “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” Daniels originally called the devil a “son of a bitch,” but changed it to “son of a gun.”

In his 1980 hit “Long Haired Country Boy,” he used to sing about being “stoned in the morning” and “drunk in the afternoon.” Daniels changed it to “I get up in the morning. I get down in the afternoon.”

“I guess I’ve mellowed in my old age,” Daniels said in 1998.

Otherwise, though, he rarely backed down from in-your-face lyrics.

His “Simple Man” in 1990 suggested lynching drug dealers and using child abusers as alligator bait. His “In America” in 1980 told the country’s enemies to “go straight to hell.”

Such tough talk earned him guest spots on “Politically Incorrect,” the G. Gordon Liddy radio show and on C-Span taking comments from viewers.

Daniels joined the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

Daniels was an ardent supporter of the troops

A staunch supporter of U.S. troops and veterans, Daniels spent much of his career traveling overseas to play for service members in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

For the last four years, hardly a day went by without Daniels sharing this message on his Twitter account: “22 VETERANS COMMIT SUICIDE EVERY DAY!!”

On the platform, the man who sang 1980's confrontational "In America" solidified his reputation as one of the most outspoken figures in country music. In daily posts, he would decry abortion as “murder,” ask fans to “pray for the blue,” and declare that “Benghazi ain’t going away.”

On July 4, just days before his death, Daniels tweeted: “We’re sitting on the upstairs porch looking at the northern horizon and watching America light up, fireworks going off all over the place. You may tear down statues and burn buildings but you can’t kill the spirit of patriots and when they’ve had enough this madness will end.”

But in his twilight years, Daniels also continued to relate to the countercultural heroes he once played with. In 2014, he covered “The Times They Are a-Changin,” “Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” and others on a full album of acoustic Dylan covers.

"All these things, they're just all part of my life," he told The Tennessean in 2014. "It all adds up. And whatever differences you may have, there are 12 notes of music in the world where you can find common ground."

Late career honors

In 1994, Daniels returned to the gospel music that influenced him as a child, releasing his first Christian album, “The Door.” The record would yield Daniels his first of three Grammy Award nominations for Southern gospel recordings. He’d earn his last Grammy Award nomination in 2005, for Country Instrumental Performance on “I’ll Fly Away.”

At age 70, he joined the ranks of country music stalwarts enshrined as a Grand Ole Opry member. He’d regularly perform on the 94-year-old country music radio tradition until his death.

“To be able to be a member and to have my name linked with my heroes is some pretty heady stuff for a guy that loves music and loves the Grand Ole Opry as much as I do,” Daniels once said.

Beyond the Opry, Daniels was a fixture of touring circuit until COVID-19 brought the industry to a halt this year.

"We play over one hundred cities every year and they’re all special in their own way, but when you get a chance to bring it all back home, especially when so many of your friends are joining you, it don’t get much better than that," Daniels said in 2019.

In 2016, Daniels earned a top honor for any Nashville musician: A place alongside the all-time greats in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Entering at nearly 80 years old, he joined Randy Travis and Fred Foster for the year’s Hall of Fame class.

He was “weak” and speechless when hearing the news he would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Daniels told The Tennessean in 2016.

“I’m so glad it went this way,” Daniels said. “This is the cherry on top of the icing. It doesn’t go any further. That’s where the cake stops.”

NFL will play Black national anthem 'Lift Every Voice and Sing' before each Week 1 game

Four weeks after commissioner Roger Goodell vowed to listen to and work with players in their fight for racial equality, the NFL is in the process of solidifying plans to honor victims of systemic racism with a number of in-game programs during opening week of the 2020 season.

Starting with the nationally televised regular-season opener between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 10, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the Black national anthem, will be performed before every Week 1 kickoff, before "The Star-Spangled Banner," according to a person familiar with ongoing discussions. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because plans have not yet been finalized and announced by NFL officials.

Both anthems will be televised Sunday afternoon, and on "Sunday Night Football" and "Monday Night Football" contests as well. ESPN’s "Undefeated" first reported news of these plans.

The person said after brainstorming with numerous players and the NFL Players Association, NFL officials also plan to honor victims of police brutality through elements such as helmet decals or jerseys. It’s also expected that the Week 1 broadcasts will feature a number of educational PSAs about victims and their families.

PIL filed in Bombay High Court for cancellation of CISCE exams after CBSE verdict in SC

After the Supreme Court’s decision to cancel the CBSE exams, the Bombay High Court dismissed the petition (PIL) now seeking the cancellation of the remaining examinations of CISCE.
As per the Supreme Court order, the Council for Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) had clarified its stand in the court that it too would adopt the assessment formula on the lines of CBSE. Not only that, he will also declare the examination results by July 15 on the basis of internal assessment. However, the Supreme Court had also given exemption to the plaintiff that if he is not satisfied with the CISCE assessment methodology, he can approach the court.

The division bench of Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice SS Shinde, while hearing through video conferencing, gave its order on the petition filed by parents and advocate Ranganarayan Tiwari. He had filed a petition to issue directions on behalf of the court to cancel the remaining examinations.

Also Read: These shares can sink your money in corona crisis, it is better to sell

Similarly, the petition filed by some other parents was heard by the Bombay High Court. The plaintiff told the court that the CISCE board has to prepare its marking plan. The plaintiff was told that CISCE’s marketing plan is not yet clear. He said that his petition should be kept pending until the marking methodology is submitted to the court on behalf of the board or the result is declared.

Dr. Anthony Fauci tells Congress new coronavirus cases could reach 100,000 a day without changes

WASHINGTON – New coronavirus infections could increase to 100,000 a day if the nation doesn’t get the ongoing surge under control, Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress Tuesday.

"We’ve really got to do something about that and we need to deal with it quickly," he testified. "It could get very bad."

Fauci, the top infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health, said the surge has been caused both by some areas reopening too quickly and by people not following guidelines.

“We've got to get that message out that we are all in this together,” Fauci told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “And if we are going to contain this, we've got to contain it together.”

Testifying weeks after he’d previously warned of needless “suffering and death” if appropriate steps weren’t taken, Fauci, said he’s “quite concerned” about what’s happening in many states. New cases have been increasing by abut 40,000 a day,

Asked what’s going wrong, he said several states may have gone “too quickly” and skipped over some of the checkpoints laid out for a safe reopening.

But even in areas where state and local officials followed the federal guidelines, individuals acted as if all restrictions had been lifted.

“What we saw were a lot of people who maybe felt that because they think they are invulnerable, and we know many young people are not because they're getting serious disease, that therefore they're getting infected has nothing at all to do with anyone else, when in fact it does,” Fauci said.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., opened the hearing on the state of the coronavirus pandemic by re-upping his past recommendation that President Donald Trump wear a mask to reduce the political divide on that health recommendation.

“The president has plenty of admirers,” Alexander said. “They would follow his lead.”

Health officials have been emphasizing the need for mask wearing as states loosen their social distancing restrictions and as infections have surged in many areas.

In particular, Fauci said, close gatherings in bars is “really not good.”

“We’ve really got to stop that,” he said.

The European Union has deemed Americans too risky to welcome in when the bloc opens up to international visitors July 1.

European countries have better contained the virus, Fauci said, in part because the shutdown of activities there was more widespread. In the United States, only about half the nation shut down compared with about 90% to 95% of activities in many European countries.

“We’re a very heterogeneous country," he said, "and we had a heterogeneous response."

Fauciand the other witnesses entered the hearing room wearing masks. They were spaced six feet apart. The number of reporters let into the room was limited and there was no room for a general audience.

Alexander noted that the Capitol Hill physician said masks could be taken off when talking into the microphone if the speaker was sitting six feet away from others, as he was doing.

“That’s why my mask is off right now,” he said. “But like many other senators, when I’m walking the hallways or on the Senate floor, I’m wearing a mask.”

Alexander lamented that “this simple life-saving practice has become part of the political debate that says this, 'If you're for Trump you don't wear a mask. If you're against Trump, you do.’”

“That's why I've suggested that the president, occasionally wear a mask, even though in most cases, it's not necessary for him to do so,” he said.

Washington Sen. Patty Murray, the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions Committee, tore into Trump in her opening comments.

“We’ve seen a leadership crisis raging in the White House as the president proves time after time he cares less about how this pandemic is impacting families and communities and more about how it makes him look," she said.

The hearing is being held two days after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned that the "window is closing" for the United States to get the situation under control.

Fauci has repeatedly urged states to follow federal guidelines for reopening, including in his last appearance before the Senate health committee when he warned in May that failure to do so would lead to "some suffering and death" that could be avoided.

Today, half the country is struggling to manage rising COVID-19 cases.

A number of states paused their reopening plans last week as the U.S. set records for the number of new cases in one day. Texas closed bars and limited restaurant capacity, while Florida banned drinking at bars.

Experts say states that don’t manage their case counts risk overwhelming the health care system again and infecting neighboring states that have already flattened the curve.

Memory loss, gnarled fingers, panic:COVID-19 didn't kill these Americans, but many might never be the same

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci arrives for a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

The White House has often presented a rosier picture of the situation than what health officials describe.

Asked Monday about Azar's warning, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the president is encouraged that there's been a decline in fatality rates and an increase in effective treatments.

"These things make us uniquely equipped to handle the increase in cases that we’ve seen," McEnany said.

The more than 125,000 deaths in the United States from COVID-19 represent approximately 25% of the world's fatalities. 

Some experts predict the U.S. death toll to hit nearly 180,000 by Oct. 1.

Testifying before a House panel last week, Fauci said these two weeks are "critical" in how the country addresses the surge in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona.

He attributed the "disturbing surge of infections" to a combination of factors, including an increase in person-to-person transmission, or community spread.

More than 500,000 people worldwide have now died from the coronavirus

More than a half-million people have now died from COVID-19 worldwide, and the death toll has doubled in just over seven weeks.

That grim milestone – marked Sunday by Johns Hopkins University – is particularly unsettling given warnings by health experts that the pandemic is still in its infancy. The U.S. with more than 125,000 deaths makes up approximately 25% of the total fatalities.

As the number of confirmed cases also surpassed 10 million worldwide, health officials are bracing for a second wave of the deadly virus, likely this fall.

While China and Europe took the brunt of the early days of the pandemic, the virus is now raging in the United States, Brazil, Russia and India.

 The global death toll surpassed 250,000 on May 4.

In a sign of the new reality, the European Union is set to lift its external borders on July 1, and is weighing which countries should be allowed access to EU member states.

The criteria include not only infection rates in other countries, but also how those countries are dealing with the rates, notably testing and tracing.

Against that backdrop, the EU is not expected to allow travelers from the U.S., Brazil and Russia into their borders.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation released a model Wednesday with a range of 159,497 to 213,715 deaths nationwide.

Institute Director Dr. Chris Murray, however, stressed the importance of wearing a face mask, saying that simple gesture has had a “profound effect” on the epidemic.

Wearing a mask “is extremely low-cost, and, for the individual, provides a 1/3 – as high as one half – reduction in the risk of transmission,” he said in a video press release. “But at the community level, can save an extraordinary number of lives.”

The U.S. on Saturday saw 42,597 new coronavirus cases. On Friday, the nation recorded 45,255 cases, the highest daily count yet.  As several states see dramatic increases as well, the jump in Texas and Florida prompted the states' governors to pause reopening plans. Texas closed bars and limited restaurant capacity, while Florida banned drinking at bars.

Meanwhile, health officials are possibly missing 10 coronavirus cases for every one case detected, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield estimated Thursday.

We’re still in the first wave," Redfield said. But the pandemic today looks markedly different from the outbreak two or three months ago, he said, when many deaths were among older people and those with underlying medical conditions.

Now, the CDC is seeing a greater proportion of cases diagnosed in younger people, said Dr. Jay Butler, the CDC's deputy director of infectious diseases and COVID-19 response incident manager.

The impact on deaths and hospitalizations from the increase in positive cases won't be known for a few weeks. Younger people are less likely to succumb to the disease, and deaths in the United States have been decreasing significantly for the past two months while cases plateaued in the same period.

Plea to younger people:Officials urge adults under 40 to act more responsibly to help slow spread of COVID-19

What is pool testing? Trump administration is considering new testing strategy, Fauci says.

New threats lurk in Europe, Asia

Despite the EU's growing confidence, the threat is far from over for Europe. Dr. Hans Henri Kluge, regional director for the World Health Organization, warned that 11 countries in Europe have reported a "very significant resurgence" in COVID-19 cases recently. These include Armenia, Sweden, Moldova, North Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Kosovo. He said health systems could be "pushed to the brink" if these increased transmissions of the virus go unchecked.

In Asia, India’s confirmed coronavirus cases crossed the half-million mark Saturday, jumping by a one-day record of 18,552 infections. The death count rose above 15,500.

China, which spawned the original coronavirus, reported an uptick in new coronavirus cases a day after the nation’s CDC said it expects an outbreak in Beijing to be brought under control soon. The National Health Commission said Saturday that 21 cases had been confirmed nationwide in the latest 24-hour period, including 17 in the nation’s capital.

City officials have temporarily shut down a huge wholesale food market where the virus spread widely, re-closed schools and locked down some neighborhoods.

South Korea has reported 51 newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus as fresh clusters continue to emerge in the densely populated Seoul area. They bring the national caseload to 12,653, including 282 deaths. Thirty-five of the new cases came from Seoul and nearby cities and towns, which have been at the center of a COVID-19 resurgence since late May. Twelve others were linked to international arrivals.

Australian health officials are expecting more cases of COVID-19 as hundreds of nationals return from overseas to begin mandatory quarantine.

Contributing: Grace Hauck, USA TODAY; Associated Press

More on COVID-19 from USA TODAY:

What does the coronavirus do to your body? What to know about the infection process

Memory loss, gnarled fingers, panic attacks: COVID-19 didn't kill these Americans, but many might never be the same

US coronavirus map: Track the outbreak in your state

 

Supreme Court allows quick removal of asylum-seekers without court hearing

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court handed a green light Thursday to the Trump administration in its effort to speed up the removal of those seeking asylum.

The court ruled that asylum-seekers claiming fear of persecution abroad do not have to be given a federal court hearing before quick removal from the United States if they initially fail to prove that claim.

The decision was written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito. Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented.

The case, one of many to come before the high court involving the Trump administration's crackdown on immigration, concerned Sri Lanka native Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam. He was arrested 25 yards north of the Mexican border and immediately placed in expedited removal proceedings.

Immigration officials determined that Thuraissigiam did not have a credible fear of persecution, even though he is a member of Sri Lanka's Tamil ethnic minority that faces beatings and torture at the hands of the government.

"While aliens who have established connections in this country have due process rights in deportation proceedings, the court long ago held that Congress is entitled to set the conditions for an alien’s lawful entry into this country and that, as a result, an alien at the threshold of initial entry cannot claim any greater rights under the Due Process Clause," Alito wrote in a 36-page opinion.

In her dissent, Sotomayor said the system Congress established short-circuits an inquiry designed to determine whether asylum-seekers "may seek shelter in this country or whether they may be cast to an unknown fate."

"Today’s decision handcuffs the judiciary’s ability to perform its constitutional duty to safeguard individual liberty and dismantles a critical component of the separation of powers," she wrote. "It increases the risk of erroneous immigration decisions that contravene governing statutes and treaties."

The court's other two liberal justices, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, agreed with the judgment but said they would have applied it only to Thuraissigiam's claim.

"Addressing more broadly whether the Suspension Clause protects people challenging removal decisions may raise a host of difficult questions," Breyer wrote, such as whether the same limit can apply to those picked up years after crossing the border, or to those claiming to be U.S. citizens.

During oral argument in March, Chief Justice John Roberts and other conservatives expressed concern that granting Thuraissigiam a hearing could lead to a significant expansion of new claims. His lawyer said about 9,500 asylum-seekers fit the same category.  

Only 30 petitions for federal court hearings have been filed so far, American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt said then. On Thursday, he lamented that the ruling "fails to live up to the Constitution’s bedrock principle that individuals deprived of their liberty have their day in court, and this includes asylum seekers."

But Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler said during oral argument that close to 100 petitions had been filed. Heand warned of "the potential for a flood" of cases if the Supreme Court ruled for Thuraissigiam.

The case represented a crucial test of the Trump administration's effort to speed the removal of thousands of migrants without granting federal court hearings. The fast-track process is allowed under a law passed by Congress in 1996.

The California-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which has drawn Trump's ire for its decisions on immigration, ruled last year that efforts to remove asylum-seekers under such "expedited removal" procedures violated their constitutional rights.

1.5 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week, stoking fears of a slow economic rebound

Fewer Americans are seeking unemployment benefits, but the number who need help remains high as the country haltingly reopens its economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

1.48 million workers filed first time claims for unemployment insurance last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. That latest round of applications means a staggering 47.1 million Americans have made initial jobless benefits claims in just 14 weeks.

While the number of people seeking first time aid fell below the 1.5 million who filed claims the week before and mark the 12th weekly drop in a row, the slide is slowing. And last week's tally was greater than the 1.3 million to 1.4 million economists expected.

Initial jobless claims are the nation's most reliable gauge of layoffs, and in an investors note Oxford Economics said the latest numbers "paint a picture of a job market in turmoil. Initial claims fell only slightly from last week, reminding us that layoffs in some areas remain widespread.''

When the economy largely shut down in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus, job cuts were concentrated in the retail, restaurant and travel industries, businesses especially hard hit when people were instructed to stay home. But job losses have now spread to other sectors, including education, manufacturing and professional services.

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The nation experienced an unexpected uptick in jobs when roughly 2.5 million positions were added in May, following the loss of 22 million jobs during the previous two months.

Still, the weekly numbers of Americans needing aid because they are out of work far exceed the previous record of 695,000 first-time jobless claims made in the fall of 1982, when the nation was in the midst of a deep recession.

Economists expect the unemployment rate to stay high, hovering around 10% by the end of the year. And many out of work Americans may be about to struggle more as the extra $600 unemployment insurance payment they receive through the federal CARES Act is set to expire next month, nearly a week earlier than many expected.

Not so fast, Mickey: Disneyland California delays reopening of theme parks, hotels past July 17

Disneyland Resort in Southern California will not reopen on July 17 as announced earlier this month.

Disney said late Wednesday that it has to delay the planned reopening of Disneyland and California Adventure and on-site hotels because the state of California has said it will not issue reopening protocols until after July 4.

"Given the time required for us to bring thousands of cast members back to work and to restart our business we have no choice but to delay the reopening of our theme park and resort hotels until we receive approval from government officials,'' Disney Parks said in a statement on Twitter.

It did not set a new reopening date, saying it will do so once it has a "clearer understanding'' of when guidelines will be released.

Last week, a petition was launched to delay the reopening

Labor union opposition to the July 17 reopening appears to have played a role, too. Last week, the Coalition of Resort Labor Unions, which represents a dozen Disneyland Resort unions, sent a letter to California Gov. Gavin Newsom saying it was too early to reopen Disneyland, which closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The group and Unite Here, another union representing hotel and other hospitality workers, have a "Disney Caravan for Safety'' event planned Saturday in Anaheim, home to Disneyland.

"Disney wants clearance from the government to reopen the Disneyland Resort in July,'' it said. "Unfortunately, despite intensive talks with the company, we are not yet convinced that it is safe to reopen the parks on Disney's rapid timetable.''

The group said Disney has addressed some of its safety concerns, including temperature checks for employees, but not answered others, including proposed COVID-19 testing. It called the latter a "cornerstone of plans for other areas of the entertainment industry reopening.''

Newsom praised Disney's delayed reopening in a statement provided by spokesman Nathan Click on Wednesday.

"The governor appreciates Disney’s responsiveness to his concerns about reopening amid the recent increases in COVID-19 infections across many Southern California counties,'' Newsom said. "The state and our public health experts continue to be in contact with the company and their workers — as well as other theme parks in the state —  as we track and combat the spread of the virus.''

"In order to reopen our theme parks we need to negotiate agreements with our unions to return employees to work,'' the company said. "We have had positive discussions and are very pleased we have signed agreements from 20 union affiliates.''

Disney said Downtown Disney District will still reopen as planned on July 9. The reopening of the shopping, dining and entertainment complex was previously approved under the state's restaurant and retail reopening guidelines, the company said.

Walt Disney World in Florida is due to reopen on July 11. Disney said its reopening plans for the Florida theme parks and those in Shanghai and Hong Kong were preapproved.

Chinese tech companies with government links face curbs

NEW DELHI: India is trying to identify Chinese technology companies with direct or indirect links to that country’s government or military, a top official said. Such companies will face challenges in getting investment approvals, given that this could have national security implications for India the wake of the recent border hostilities, he said.
But private companies that don’t fall under this category, such as smartphone manufacturers Vivo, Xiaomi and Oppo, are unlikely to face any such hurdles to their plans to invest and expand in India, the official told ET.
Hurdles for Huawei, ZTE
“Nature of ownership of Chinese tech companies will be under immense scrutiny because if the Chinese army or the state is the owner or in any significant way linked to the company, then it is a situation of great discomfort,” he said.

Telecom equipment vendors Huawei and ZTE are alleged to have links to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and to the Chinese government, accusations that the two companies have repeatedly denied. India had thus far stayed away from taking any decision on their participation in telecom supply contracts, especially 5G deployments. But soon after the mid-June border skirmish, India decided not to allow state-run phone companies Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) to source gear from them. “We don’t wish to allow any Chinese state-run agencies to be a part of critical infrastructure in this country as there is a direct conflict of interest here,” the official added.
Officials have said that the government is also thinking of persuading private telcos not to buy equipment from the two vendors, likely locking them out of the 5G market in India. “It is unlikely Huawei (or ZTE) will be permitted,” the official said
The US announced new export control rules two weeks ago aimed at blocking Huawei’s chip development efforts. Under the new rules, non-US companies will have to apply for a permit to use American technology to produce Huawei-designed chips.
The restrictions bring Delhi closer to Washington on the perceived threat posed by Chinese companies besides stopping them from continuing to play a significant role in the Indian market.

“The MHA (ministry of home affairs) circular in April withdrawing any Chinese FDI via the automatic route is essentially targeted at evaluating who is the ultimate beneficiary of any Chinese investment in the country--is it the Chinese state?” the official said. That notification said any FDI application from countries sharing a land border with India will need to be vetted. This followed the Chinese central bank raising its stake in Housing Development Finance Corp. That sparked fears about China picking up stocks of key companies at a time when markets are volatile due to the Covid crisis.
Another senior official told ET that the government was also evaluating the security concerns around Chinese apps and would take a call soon. “There are two issues at hand here — Huawei and ZTE have been banned for security concerns. Our security systems and critical infrastructure cannot be run by Chinese state while we are fighting them at the border but in case of mobile handsets, the story is different,” the official said.
“These (the phone brands) are Chinese private players and with them it’s a battle on a different front. We wish to be self-reliant and to have domestic champions, but we don’t envisage a ban on these companies but of course we would like to reduce our dependence upon China.”

Liz Hurley’s ex and film producer Steve Bing dies aged 55

The film producer, who was best known for working on the movies Kangaroo Jack and The Polar Express, was found dead at around 1pm in Santa Monica, Los Angeles on Monday (22 June).  An LAPD spokesperson has said they are investigating a death but did not confirm the person’s identity. Bing’s publicist, Michelle Bega, told Sky News that she was ‘overwhelmed trying to process this unbelievable and sad event’.

He is survived by two children – Damian Hurley from his former relationship with Liz, and Kira, who he shared with professional tennis player Lisa Bonder.  Tributes have poured in for Bing, with former US President Bill Clinton tweeting: ‘I loved Steve Bing very much. He had a big heart, and he was willing to do anything he could for the people and causes he believed in. I will miss him and his enthusiasm more than I can say, and I hope he’s finally found peace.’  Oscar-winning screenwriter Josh Olson said: ‘Steve Bing was my friend and my partner. He was a good man who loved movies and music and cared passionately about fairness. Simple but important concept. I loved him. Depression is f***ing horrible. Hold your friends close.’

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