It is now becoming a trend to register FIRs alleging sexual harassment cases to force a party to withdraw complaint or to arm-twist a party: Delhi HC - The Daily Guardian
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It is now becoming a trend to register FIRs alleging sexual harassment cases to force a party to withdraw complaint or to arm-twist a party: Delhi HC

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Delhi HC

It is remarkable, righteous, refreshing, rejuvenating and reasonable to learn that while ruling explicitly, elegantly, eloquently and effectively that time has come to initiate action against persons who file frivolous complaints under Sections 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D IPC etc only for an ulterior purpose, the Delhi High Court has just recently on February 23, 2021 in a latest, learned, laudable and landmark decision titled Laishram Premila Devi & Ors. vs The State & Ors. in CRL. M.C. 533/2021 and CRL.M.C. 534/2021 has imposed a cost of Rs. 30,000 on the petitioners with a warning not to file false and frivolous cases. It is a national tragedy that we see that laws meant for protection of women are fast turning into weapons of stabbing men in the most cowardly, dastardly and gruesome manner. But our lawmakers care a damn for it! This alone explains why there is no provision in our laws whereby she is made to suffer in the same manner as the man if she dares to ever level false charges against men!

It is a matter of national shame, national disgrace and national humiliation that a man named Vishnu Tiwari had to suffer without committing any offence 20 years of incarceration in connection with a false rape case filed against him by a woman owing to an alleged land dispute in Lalitpur district in UP. He was acquitted just recently by the Allahabad High Court but only after spending 20 years in jail! Why is it that a woman who files a false rape case is not similarly made to undergo rigorous imprisonment for at least the same period which the man had to undergo? Why is she usually let off without even imposing any jail term or even fine or even reprimand! Why our lawmakers most shamelessly, senselessly and stupidly not do anything on this score?

To put it mildly: Why women has been given the unfettered licence to attack men whenever she likes to level most absurd charges against men as we see in this case and in Vishnu Tiwari case and so many other cases also and then yet escape away very lightly? This has to be checked immediately by imposing strict punishment on those who dare to malign men without any valid ground so that no women ever dare to take the right to life and personal liberty as guaranteed under Article 21 of Constitution for granted! Is women stupid, senseless, mad and lunatic that she does not understand anything when she levels most serious allegation against men of rape, against her own husband of dowry charges using Section Section 498A of IPC as most potent weapon where most of the cases are also found to be false and in many other cases?

It is high time and women also now must be held accountable for her misdeeds! She should not be let off lightly or after imposing just some fine as she is solely culpable for ruining man’s life for no fault of his! As we all know that women these days demands equality in every field then why should she demand exemption here? No women of right senses will ever demand so and she should be seriously taken to task if she does something wrong intentionally against men!

To start with, the ball is set rolling by single Judge Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad of Delhi High Court who authored this leading judgment by first and foremost putting forth in para 1 that, “CRL.M.C. 533/2021 has been filed for quashing FIR No.239/2017 dated 12.05.2017, registered at Police Vasant Kunj(North), New Delhi for offences under Sections 509, 506, 323, 341, 354, 354A and 34 IPC. The complainant/respondent No.2 in the said FIR has alleged that on 12.05.2017, when she was going to drop her children to school, the accused who reside in the neighbourhood beat her and outraged her modesty and also committed act of sexual harassment. The contents of FIR are not being repeated here.”

As we see, the Bench then observes in para 2 that, “CRL.M.C. 534/2021 has been filed for quashing FIR No.238/2017 dated 12.05.2017, registered at Police Vasant Kunj(North), New Delhi for offences under Sections 509, 506, 323, 341, 354, 354A and 34 IPC.”

While elaborating on the facts of the case, the Bench then points out in para 3 that, “The complainant in the said FIR is the accused in CRL.M.C. 533/2021. The allegation in this FIR is that the petitioners herein have committed offences punishable under Section 354 IPC i.e. assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty. The parties in all the FIRs are residents of 95/9, Kisangarh, Vasant Kunj, Delhi, and are neighbours.”

To put things in perspective, the Bench then envisages in para 4 that, “It is stated that with the intervention of some common friends, relatives and family members, the parties have settled their dispute and an oral settlement has been reached between the parties. It is stated that both the parties, the petitioners and respondents in CRL.M.C. 533/2021 and CRL.M.C. 534/2021, have realised their mistake and they had decided to compromise the matter.”

As it turned out, the Bench then stated in para 5 that, “As per the said oral settlement, the parties have agreed that they will approach this Court for the quashing of the abovementioned FIRs. It is stated that they had agreed that they will maintain harmonious relations with each other. It is requested that the FIRs be quashed as the dispute has been amicably resolved.”

To be sure, the Bench then also discloses in para 6 that, “The parties have also filed their respective affidavits affirming the fact that the matter has been settled amicably. It is also stated that the complainants in both the petitions do not have any objection if the instant FIRs and the proceedings emanating therefrom are quashed.”

Most significantly and most remarkably, what forms the cornerstone of this brilliant, brief, blunt and bold judgment is then stated superbly and suavely in para 7 wherein it is held explicitly, elegantly, eloquently and effectively that, “Unfortunately, it is now becoming a trend to register FIRs alleging offences under Sections 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D IPC either to force a party from withdrawing a complaint instituted against them or to arm twist a party. Offences under Sections 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D IPC are serious offences. Such allegations have the effect of tarnishing the image of the person against whom such allegations are made. Allegations regarding these offences cannot be made at a drop of a hat. This practice is an abuse of the process of law. The instant case is a classic example as to how frivolous allegations of Section 354 and 354A have been levelled by the parties against each other. A small fight regarding parking has been escalated by levelling allegation of outraging modesty of women. This court can take judicial notice of the fact that the police force is very limited. Police personnel have to spend time in investigating frivolous cases. They have to attend court proceedings, prepare Status Report etc. The result is that investigation in serious offences gets compromised and accused escape because of shoddy investigation.

Time has come to initiate action against persons who file frivolous complaints under Sections 354, 354A, 354B, 354C, 354D IPC etc. only for ulterior purpose. Some of the petitioners in these instant petitions are students who should understand not to take courts and the police for granted and assume that anything and everything can be settled and they can get away by filing false cases.”

Furthermore, the Bench then goes on to add in para 8 that, “In view of the mutual settlement arrived at between the parties, this Court is satisfied that no useful purpose will be served in prosecuting with the present proceedings. Resultantly, the FIR No.238/2017 and FIR No.239/2017 dated 12.05.2017, under Sections 509, 506, 323, 341, 354, 354A and 34 IPC registered at Police Vasant Kunj(North), New Delhi and the proceedings emanating therefrom are hereby quashed. The parties shall remain bound by the mutual settlement and the undertaking given to the Court.”

Finally, while disposing of the petition as stated in para 8, the Bench then holds in para 9 that, “Since the Police has had to spend valuable time in investigating the offence and considerable time has been spent by the Court in the criminal proceedings initiated by the parties, this Court is inclined to impose cost on the petitioners with a warning not to file false and frivolous cases. The petitioners in CRL.M.C. 533/2021 are directed to deposit a sum of Rs.30,000/-(Rupees Thirty Thousand Only) with ‘DHCBA Lawyers Social Security and Welfare Fund’ within three weeks from today and the petitioners in CRL.M.C.534/2021 are directed to deposit a sum of Rs.30,000/-(Rupees Thirty Thousand Only) with ‘DHCBA Lawyers Social Security and Welfare Fund’ within three weeks from today. Details of the Account are as under:

Account Name: DHCBA Lawyers Social Security and Welfare Fund

Account Number: 15530100009730

Bank Name: UCO Bank

Branch: Sher Shah Road, New Delhi

IFSC Code: UCBA0001553

Copy of the receipts be also filed with the Registry to show compliance of the order.”

While what the learned Judge – Justice Subramonium Prasad of the Delhi High Court has held is best suited in the present circumstances but it is high time and now penal law must be amended suitably. A woman under no circumstances should be allowed to get away lightly after levelling the most serious allegations which tarnishes the reputation and dignity of man to the hilt and in many cases he is made to suffer imprisonment in fake cases as we saw most recently in Vishnu Tiwari case where he had to suffer imprisonment in a fake rape case for no fault of his! This is terrible!

It must also be asked: How can those women who dare to hit men below the belt be allowed to escape so lightly with a mere warning or a fine of few thousand rupees? Laws meant for protection of women cannot be allowed under any circumstances to become a potent weapon to harm men below the belt in the most heinous manner under the garb of “seeking justice for women”! Laws are meant to be used and not abused but most unfortunately we are seeing that in many cases laws meant to protect women are themselves becoming potent weapon of abuse and this is what needs to be checked, combated and decimated by punishing severely all those who dare to indulge in it! This is what our lawmakers are showing no intention to do and this is what merits course correction by immediately amending our concerned penal laws accordingly. It cannot be held in abeyance any longer now!

Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,

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Legally Speaking

MP HIGH COURT SEEKS DGP’S REPLY: DOES POLICE’S FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE FULL CRIMINAL ANTECEDENTS OF ACCUSED AMOUNTS TO MISCONDUCT, INTERFERENCE WITH JUSTICE?

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The Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case Kuldeep Dohare Versus the State of Madhya Pradesh observed, recently the Gwalior bench directed the Director General of Police, State of Madhya Pradesh to file an affidavit explaining as to whether non-communication of criminal antecedents of an Applicant or Accused to the Court is a minor misconduct or if it amounts to interference with the criminal justice dispensation system. Before the next date of hearing, the affidavit is to be filled.

The bench comprising of Justice G.S. Ahluwalia observed and remarked that the court was frequently finding that the police authorities were not sending the complete criminal antecedents, in spite of the circular issued by Police Headquarters.

It was observed that the police authorities did not send the criminal antecedents of the applicant. Furthermore, it is clear that it is a clear attempt to facilitate the applicant to obtain bail by projecting that he has no criminal antecedents. The issue raised is weather the conduct of police officers can be said to be a minor negligence or it is an interference with the criminal justice dispensation system?

In the present case, the court was dealing with a bail application moved by the accused applicant for offences punishable under section 307, Section 149, section 148, section 147, section 506, section 294, section 201. On an earlier hearing, the court had observed that even though the case diary did not reflect any criminal antecedents on the part of the Applicant. The impugned order passed by the lower court rejecting his bail application mentioned otherwise.

It was observed that a reply was sought by the court from the Superintendent of Police, District Bhind as to why the important information with regard to the criminal antecedents of the Applicant were withheld by the respective SHO. The SP informed the Court on the subsequent hearing that the SHO concerned as well as the Investigating Officer in the case were found guilty of misconduct and were fined with Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 5,000, respectively.

The Court observed that since the problem was stemming from different police stations. However, the DGP should file his reply regarding the prevailing situation-

Since in different police station, this situation is prevailing. Therefore, an affidavit is directed to be filled by the DGP, State of Madhya Pradesh as to whether non- communication of criminal antecedents of an applicant is a minor misconduct or it amounts to interfere with the criminal antecedents of justice dispensation system.

Accordingly, the affidavit needs to be filled within a period of 1 week, the matter would be heard next on 08.07.2022.

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HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH: SECTION 5 OF THE LIMITATION ACT APPLIES TO ARBITRATION REFERENCE UNDER NATIONAL HIGHWAY ACT, 1956

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The High Court of Madhya Pradesh in the case Ghanshyam Gupta v. State of Madhya Pradesh and Ors observed and stated that Section 5 of the Limitation Act would be applicable to reference to arbitration under the National Highways Act, 1956.

The Division Bench comprising of Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Purushiandra Kumar Kaurav observed and reiterated that since no limitation is provided under Section 3G (5) of the National Highways Act. The bench stated that the provisions of Article 137 of the Schedule to the Limitation Act, 1963 would apply to such proceedings.

Therefore, the court held that the limitation period for filing an appeal against the decision of the competent authority before the arbitrator from the date of expiry of 90 days is three years from the decision of the competent authority.

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The petitioner, Mr. Ghanshyam Gupta was the landowner of the land which was acquired by the Respondent, Madhya Pradesh Road Development Corporation. Thereafter, the competent authority determined the quantum of compensation payable to the petitioner and passed an award to that effect on 30.07.2015.

The petitioner being dissatisfied with the quantum of compensation determined by the competent authority. On 04.12.2019, an appeal was filled by the petitioner before the arbitrator. The appeal was dismissed by the arbitrator as time-barred filed after the expiry of three years limitation period.

the petitioner filed a writ petition before the High Court, Aggrieved by the decision of the arbitrator.

Contentions Raised by the Parties:

It is stated that Section 5 of the Limitation Act is applicable to arbitration reference under Section 3G (5) of the National Highways Act, 1956.

It was observed that the petitioner was unaware of the availability of the remedy of appeal against the decision of the competent authority, the petitioner only after consulting his lawyer, that the petitioner came to know that he could seek enhancement. Further, there is a valid ground to condone the delay.

The submissions of the petitioner were countered by the Respondent on the following grounds:

Though, in the absence of a period of limitation for filing an appeal under Section 3G (5) of the Act of 1956, it was construed that the provisions of Article 137 of the Limitation Act would stand applicable.

It was stated that Article 137 provides for 3 years period, and the petitioner filed the appeal after a delay of 4 years.

COURT ANALYSIS:

The court observed and stated that since no limitation is provided under Section 3G (5) of the National Highways Act, the provisions of Article 137 of the Schedule to the Limitation Act would apply to such proceedings.

Therefore, the court held that the limitation period for filing an appeal against the decision of the competent authority before the arbitrator from the date of expiry of 90 days is three years from the decision of the competent authority.

The court observed that there is nothing in the National Highways Act that excludes the applicability of Section 5 of the Limitation Act. However, Section 5 of the Limitation Act would be applicable to reference to arbitration under the National Highways Act, 1956 and the arbitrator has the power to condone the delay against the award, in filing an appeal by the competent authority.

The court noted that the petitioner was not aware that an appeal could be filed against the decision of the Competent Authority and it is only after consulting his lawyer that the petitioner came aware of any such right, therefore, there is sufficient reason to condone the delay.

Accordingly, the application was allowed by the court and the court directed the arbitrator to decide the case of the petitioner on merit.

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KERALA HIGH COURT APPOINTS AMICUS CURIAE IN SARITHA NAIR’S PLEA; IS A STATEMENT RECORDED U/S 164 CRPC A PUBLIC DOCUMENT?

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The Kerala High Court in the case Saritha S. Nair v. Union of India & Anr observed and appointed an amicus curia to assist the court to decide the legal question of whether a statement recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC is a public document.

The bench comprising of Justice Kauser Edappagath appointed the amicus curiae, in the petition filled by Saritha S. Nair, the prime accused in the infamous solar panel scam seeking a direction to provide her with copies of the Section 164 statement given by Swapna Suresh, the accused in the gold smuggling case.

The court appointed Advocate K.K. Dheerendrakrishnan, as the amicus curiae in the case.

In the present case, it was observed that Saritha Nair is accused of having duped several influential people to the tune of 70 lakhs, by offering to install solar power units for them or by making them business partners and by receiving advance payments for the same.

Moreover, Swapna Suresh is accused of smuggling 30 kilograms of gold through diplomatic cargo dispatched to UAE Consulate at Thiruvananthapuram.

It was observed that when the petition came up for hearing, the counsel appearing for the petitioner, Advocate B.A Aloor appearing that the statement given by Swapna was a public document and therefore the petitioner was entitled to get a copy.

Further, Nair approached the Court apprehending that certain allegation may have been brought on record against her in the statement given by Suresh. It was prayed by Nair, that the c court allow her plea, directing the production of certified copies of the said document to her, failing which she would sustain an irreparable injury, the hardship and as well as physical and mental agony.

It was observed that the Nair had had initially moved the Principal District and Sessions Court of Ernakulam, with the same request, but this was denied. The court noted and adjourned the matter to July 11, while on a petition filed by the accuse, Saritha S. Nair in the solar scam cases, for seeking a directive to provide a copy of the statement given by Swapna Suresh, accused in the diplomatic gold smuggling case before a subordinate court.

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Legally Speaking

Supreme Court issues notice in an SLP; can section 156 (3) CRPC be invoked after failing to get desired relief in a civil suit?

It was observed that before the Calcutta High Court, it was contended by the accused that the allegations made in the application under Section 156(3) CrPC fails to make out any offence against them. Further, it was submitted that a frustrated unsuccessful litigant before the Civil Court has approached the Criminal Court and the Criminal Investigation.

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The Supreme Court in the case Usha Chakraborty vs State of West Bengal observed and issued a notice in a Special Leave Petition filled, raising an issue whether in a dispute essentially in a dispute of civil nature that can a person, after having failed to get the desired relief from a civil suit, invoke Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure?

In the present case, an FIR was registered against the accused under Sections 323, Section 384, Section 406, Section 423, Section 467, Section 468, Section 420 and Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 following an order passed by the Magistrate under Section 156(3) CrPC.

It was observed that before the Calcutta High Court, it was contended by the accused that the allegations made in the application under Section 156(3) CrPC fails to make out any offence against them. Further, it was submitted that a frustrated unsuccessful litigant before the Civil Court has approached the Criminal Court and the Criminal Investigation, which has commenced, is for the purposes of throttling them. The petition was dismissed by the High Court observing that the materials which have already been collected by the Investigating Agency, prima facie, make out a case for investigation. The issue raised before the court was weather the same would make out an offence after the investigation is concluded is absolutely at the end of the investigation to be analysed.

Therefore, challenging this order, one of the accused approached the Apex Court. However, It was submitted that the dispute is essentially of civil nature, for which the applicant in Section 156(3) CrPC petition filed a civil suit but having failed to get the desired relief, he invoked Section 156(3) CrPC.

The bench comprising of Justice Surya Kant and the Justice JB Pardiwala, while issuing notice also stayed further proceedings in FIR lodged against the accused.

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Legally Speaking

GAUHATI HIGH COURT QUASHES NO-CONFIDENCE MOTION AGAINST GRAM PANCHAYAT PRESIDENT CITING PARTICIPATION OF MEMBER DISQUALIFIED FOR HAVING THREE CHILDREN

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The Gauhati High Court in the case Jugitawali Pawe v State of Assam and 15 ors observed and quashed a resolution expressing no-confidence in the petitioner – the President of a Gram Panchayat, as a result of which she as removed from office. It was stated that it is as per the citing no compliance with Assam Panchayat Act, 1994, reading with Rule 62 of the Assam Panchayat (Constitution) Rules, 1995.

It was preferred by the petitioner to the materials available on record to argue that one of the members of the Gaon Panchayat, the respondent. The respondent voted against the petitioner and had given birth to her third child the previous year. Moreover, by virtue of Section 111(2)(a) of the Assam Panchayat Act, 1994, reading with Rule 62 of the Assam Panchayat (Constitution) Rules, 1995, the petitioner stood automatically disqualified on the date of voting. Following, which her vote was taken by passing No-confidence motion.

It was prayed by the petitioner in the plea for setting aside the impugned resolution and for issuance of a direction to restore his client back in the office. Thereafter, to initiate fresh proceedings, liberty should be granted to the respondent, following the due process.

It was agreed by the Counsel representing for the respondent that the said member of the panchayat had been disqualified but retained on the ground that the disqualification would have no bearing on the petitioner’s case, as the impugned resolution was passed before the declaration of petitioner disqualification.

In the present case, It was noticed by Justice Suman Shyam the member had voted against the petitioner and without her vote. The petitioner would not have been ousted from office. Justice Shyam also found no dispute about the fact that the member had incurred disqualification under the law prior the date of adoption of the impugned resolution. Justice Shyam found it unnecessary to delve into other aspects of the matter which includes the procedural formalities for declaring the member a disqualified candidate.

It is observed that the impugned resolution was declared to be vitiated and liable to be set aside. Further, the Court restored the petitioner to the office of the President of the Bongalmara Gaon Panchayat with immediate effect and it was stated by the court that the order will not stand in the way should the authorities or any member of the Gaon Panchayat propose a fresh motion of “no-confidence” against the petitioner and the due process of law needs to be followed.

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Halt DDA’s demolition action against jhuggis in Nizamuddin’s Gyaspur area, orders Delhi High Court

As per the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015 and the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, the residents who can establish their residence prior to 01.01.2015 are eligible for rehabilitation under the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015.

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plea in Delhi High Court seeking repatriation of 56 pregnant nurses

The Delhi High Court in the case Manoj Gupta & Ors. v. DDA & Ors observed and has ordered status quo on the Delhi Development Authority’s proposal to demolish jhuggi clusters in city’s Gyaspur area in Hazrat Nizamuddin. The vacation bench comprising of Justice Neena Bansal Krishna observed in the petition filled by the residents and the court granted an interim relief.

It was ordered by the court status quo till July 11, the next date of hearing.

The bench orally remarked that a ten-day delay in demolition won’t make a difference but if today it is demolished and later, we come to know that they were entitled, who’s going to… the bench will consider it on July 11, 2022 but in the Meanwhile, some protections are entitled them. Adding this, Status quo be maintained. If since 1995, they have been there, heavens won’t come down if for 10 more days they are protected.

In the plea the petitioner stated that the T-Huts settlement in the area, which was stated by the authorities to vacate. It has been in existence for almost two decades and compromise of 32 jhuggis or households.

In the plea it was alleged that the bulldozers have been parked around the camp and a DDA official has orally asked them to vacate the area and it is noted that till date no proper notice have been sent to them nor has DDA conducted any survey of the area.

Furthermore, the DDA did not provide any alternate arrangement for their rehabilitation which resulted in extreme distress among the residents.

Moreover, it was admitted by the petitioner that the land in question belongs to DDA and they may seek that status-quo to be maintained at the site. It was urged that the residents should not be physically dispose or evicted from the demolition site until the survey is conducted and rehabilitation is provided to the residents as per the DUSIB policy of 2015.

As per the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015 and the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board. The residents who can establish their residence prior to 01.01.2015 are eligible for rehabilitation under the JJ Rehabilitation and Relocation Policy 2015.

It is observed that in the case Ajay Maken v. Union of India, Reliance is placed on the Supreme Court decision and the High Court decision in the case Sudama Singh & Ors. v. Government of Delhi & Anr, it was held in the case that that removal of jhuggis without ensuring relocation would amount of gross violation of Fundamental Rights under Article 21 of the Constitution. Further, it was held that the agencies conducting the demolitions ought to conduct survey before undertaking any demolition.

It is submitted that these observations would apply across the board, in the entire NCT of Delhi.

Advocates Vrinda Bhandari, Shiyaz Razaq, Kaoliangpou Kamei, Jepi Y Chisho and Paul Kumar Kalai, represented the petitioner.

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