Mere recovery of stridhan can’t be sole ground for arresting a person for offences u/s 498A, 406 IPC: Delhi HC - The Daily Guardian
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Mere recovery of stridhan can’t be sole ground for arresting a person for offences u/s 498A, 406 IPC: Delhi HC

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In a very significant, suave and sagacious decision titled Pooran Singh vs State of Delhi in Bail Appln. 2029/2018 which shall have far reaching implications in matrimonial cases and that was delivered as recently as on December 10, 2021, the Delhi High Court has minced just no words to state in simple, straight and suave language that the mere fact that recovery of stridhan is to be made from a person cannot be the sole ground for arresting him for offences under Section 498-A (related to dowry demand) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC. It must be mentioned here that a single Judge Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad observed that in such cases, police are empowered under CrPC to conduct searches of premises of the accused. The Bench also made it crystal clear that, “Custodial interrogation of the Petitioner is being sought only for recovery of stridhan. The recovery of stridhan alone cannot be a reason to deny anticipatory bail to the Petitioner. The police are vested with sufficient powers under the CrPC to conduct searches of premises.”

To start with, the single Judge Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad of the Delhi High Court who authored this noteworthy judgment sets the ball rolling by first and foremost mentioning about the purpose of the application stating in para 1 that, “This application under Section 438 Cr.P.C. has been filed for grant of bail to the petitioner in the event of arrest in FIR No. 56/2018 dated 11.02.2018, registered at PS Model Town for offences under Sections 498-A, 406 and 34 of IPC.”

As we see, the Bench then puts forth in para 2 that, “The relevant portion of the impugned order vide application no – 1680/2018 in FIR no – 56/2018 passed by the Additional Special Judge, Rohini, as extracted from the impugned order dated 04.08.2018 is as follows:

“….. Since, the custodial interrogation of the applicant is required to recover the dowry articles and stridhan and the complainant is receiving the threat constantly on whatsapp from the applicant. I find no ground to admit the accused on bail, at this stage…..”

Aggrieved by this impugned order, the petitioner herein has filed the present bail application.”

To put things in perspective, the Bench then while elaborating on the facts of the case envisages in para 3 that, “The factual matrix which has transpired in this case is as under –:

a) A complaint was filed by Anjali Sogarwal on 13.04.2017 to the SHO, PS Model Town, The DCP, Model Town and the Deputy Commissioner of Police, EOW office stating that her husband Pooran Singh who is the petitioner herein, her mother-in-law Ratna Devi and both her sisters-in-law Kamlesh and Lata had insulted, beaten, pressurized, harassed and tortured the complainant for more dowry and threatened that if the complainant wanted a peaceful life, her father must further arrange a dowry amount of Rs. 50 Lacs.

b) It was also stated that the petitioner herein illegally procured the complainant’s SIM card from the service provider and uploaded pictures of his wife i.e. the complainant on social media websites and it is also stated that the petitioner sent abusive/insulting messages from the complainant’s social media accounts to the friends of the complainant with malafide intentions. Based on the said complaint, FIR No. – 56/2018, dated 11.02.2018 was registered at PS Model Town, North West Delhi for offences under Sections 498-A, 406 and 34 of IPC.

c) It is stated that on 16.02.2017, the complainant’s father transferred Rs. 90 thousand into the accused’s account and Rs. 1.5 Lacs into the complainant’s account which was further transferred into her husband’s account.

d) It is further stated that on 21.01.2017, the petitioner herein invited three female friends of the complainant, one male friend, both the complainant’s brothers and one relative of the accused, namely, Ravi. It is stated that the petitioner herein mixed alcohol and served it to all her friends and took inappropriate photos and threatened them that he would upload it on the internet.

e) It is also stated that the petitioner herein has taken the stridhan of the complainant and forcibly given it to his mother. It is stated that on 09.03.2017, the petitioner herein fought with the complainant and threw her out of the house and that the passport, ID and clothes of the complainant is with her husband who is the petitioner herein. It is also stated that the petitioner herein used all these documents to procure the SIM card from the service provider and logged into the complainant’s social media accounts by using the mobile number.

f) It is also stated that the petitioner herein forced the complainant to bring money from her parents and the complainant had to go through physical, mental and emotional torture.

g) It is also stated that the petitioner herein forcibly committed explicit and unnatural relationship and also showed inappropriate pictures to her.

h) It is also stated that on 25.03.2017, the petitioner herein was harassing the complainant after which the complainant called the Women helpline number 1091.”

As it turned out, the Bench then states in para 4 that, “A Complaint was filed by the petitioner herein dated 20.03.2018 to the Commissioner of Police, I.P. Estate, ITO, New Delhi against the complainant i.e. Anjali Sogarwal, the complainant’s father i.e. Ramphal Singh, the complainant’s mother i.e. Sarngi, complainant’s brothers Amit Sogarwal and Mohit Sogarwal. It was stated in the complaint that Anjali Sogarwal (wife of petitioner) was not happy with her marriage and used to abuse her husband who is the petitioner. It is stated in the complaint that the petitioner was threatened by the complainant’s father stating that he works as an officer in Delhi Police Department and the accused should obey the complainant’s wishes, otherwise he would face dire consequences. It is also stated that on 10.03.2017, the wife of the petitioner left the house without giving any reason. It is also stated that the complainant lodged a written complaint at the CAW Cell, New Delhi against the petitioner herein under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, which is pending before Rohini, District Court, Delhi and also filed the present FIR no – 56/2018.”

Furthermore, the Bench then discloses in para 5 that, “Status report was filed which stated that on 10.06.2017, the complainant received a text message from the petitioner admitting that he was lying throughout. He also admitted that all the jewellery, passport and other personal belongings of the complainant are with the petitioner and that the petitioner hacked the Facebook account of the complainant by using her SIM which was illegally procured. Further, he exerted pressure on the complainant’s friends to extract more information on the complainant. On 30.08.2018, the petitioner herein moved an anticipatory bail application before this Hon’ble Court and this Court granted interim protection to the petitioner herein, subject to him joining the investigation. The petitioner herein joined the investigation, but did not cooperate during the investigations.”

On the one hand, the Bench points out in para 6 that, “Mr. S. V. Rateria, Learned counsel for the Petitioner, states that the wedding of wthe petitioner and the complainant took place on 08.12.2016 and the complainant left her matrimonial house on 10.03.2017 without any rhyme or reason, and since then she has been residing at her parental house. The learned counsel submitted that the father of the complainant is Assistant Sub Inspector in Delhi Police and that he is threatening the petitioner herein and his family with dire consequences. He also submitted that the petitioner herein has joined the proceedings before the CAW Cell and the investigation before the concerned Investigating Officer. The learned counsel for petitioner also stated that the FIR no – 56/2018 does not contain any specific allegations regarding the entrustment of stridhan against the accused. The Learned Counsel for the Petitioner relied on the case of Neera Singh v. State, CRLMC-7262/2006 regarding the justification of marriage expenses, observing that the complainant needs to provide necessary documents to make a prima facie case in her favour. The Learned Counsel for the Petitioner prayed to enlarge the Petitioner on bail in case of his arrest in FIR no – 56/2018.”

On the other hand, the Bench then also notes in para 7 that, “Per contra, Mr. Amit Chadha, Learned APP for the State, and Ms. Mallika Parmar, Learned Advocate for the complainant, vehemently opposed the Bail Application by submitting that custodial interrogation of the Petitioner is required to recover the dowry/stridhan articles and the recovery of the mobile phone which was used for.”

The learned counsel submitted that the father of the complainant is Assistant Sub Inspector in Delhi Police and that he is threatening the petitioner herein and his family with dire consequences. He also submitted that the petitioner herein has joined the proceedings before the CAW Cell and the investigation before the concerned Investigating Officer.

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Policy & Politics

INDIA TO ADD 50 FRESH UNICORNS IN 2022: STUDY

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In India more than 50 startups have the potential of entering the unicorn club in 2022 as showcased in a new study. This will take the total tally of India to well over 100 startup unicorns(those well valued over $1 billion each). The year 2022 has shaped up nicely to become a matrix and a petri-dish of startups and with each success the chances of others joining them becomes well over-precedent. The growth of startups can be attributed to various national economic policies and the ease of doing business norms. The shopping capabilities and buying parameters of the people also has to do a lot with this, the report by a consultancy firm suggested.

Amit Nawka, partner(deals and startup leader) in PwC India, which conducted the study said that, “ We can say that the base of these companies in growth stage and late-stage deals have improved have improved significantly in the calendar year 2021, depicting a stronger base of companies having the potential to reach the unicorn status. With market sentiments favourably inclined towards startups, and the large base of scaled startup companies at the end of CY21, we expect the startup’ unicorn tally to go well beyond 100 by the end of 2022.” Over $10 billion was invested in the Indian startup ecosystem in the October-December quarter alone, according to the report.

81 is the total number of startups in India as of now with a total valuation of 4274 billion. Of these 44 unicorns with a total valuation of $89 billion were born last year, shows data from Invest India, the national investment promotion agency. The PwC report shows that in the fourth quarter, startup funding crossed the $10 billion mark.

If we talk about categorisation, Fintech startups raised nearly four times more funds last year as compared to the previous year. Edtech followed closely with a growth of 86% compared to $2.2 billion raised in 2020. Software as a service came in a close third. Growth and late-stage deals comprised around 85% of the total funding. Among the most persistent and active investors were Sequoia Capital, Accel and Tiger Global. A December 2021 report by the Hurun Research Institute had mentioned that India is the third largest home for unicorns globally but trails the US and China by a wide margin.

Bengaluru and the Nation Capital Region witnessed nearly three-fourth of the total funding by venture capital and private equity funds, the report said. In its list of 50 potential unicorns it placed companies like Khatabook, Whatfix, Practo, Ninjacart, Inshorts, Pepperfry as among the candidates because of their history of having raised over USD 100 million to date.

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Policy & Politics

Effect of high rated fuel on country’s economy

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High fuel taxes combined with a recovery in international crude oil rates has affected millions of people, slowing down the recovery of the country. The price of petrol and diesel hits a new record everyday. In Mumbai, petrol can be bought at Rs 109.98 per litre and diesel costs Rs 94.14 for one litre as on 18th January.

Experts have warned that rising fuel rates could severely derail India’s economy, which is already under pressure due to the impact of the second Covid-19 wave. High petrol and diesel prices have not only impacted vehicle owners, but also people who do not own a car. Rising fuel prices have resulted in a sharp rise in retail inflation, making a host of essential commodities and services costlier for citizens.

Elevated tax levels are playing a major role in the current record high prices in India. The central government had last year increased levies on petrol by Rs 14 per litre and on diesel by Rs 16 per litre to shore up revenues as the pandemic forced a sharp slowdown in the economic activity. Central and state taxes currently account for about 53.5 per cent of the pump price of petrol and about 47.6 per cent of the pump price of diesel in Mumbai

The rising crude oil prices, and the higher taxation impact, have also contributed to the prices of petrol and diesel regularly setting new record highs across the country in 2021. Petrol in nation’s capital is priced at Rs 95.41 per litre while diesel in the national capital is retailing at Rs 86.67 per litre. India has seen a faster recovery in the consumption of petrol than of diesel after pandemic-related restrictions with petrol consumption up 9 per cent in September compared to the year ago period but diesel consumption remaining 6.5 per cent below 2020 levels. Diesel accounts for about 38 per cent of petroleum product consumption in India and is a key fuel used in industry and agriculture.

India has long pushed for Middle eastern countries to remove the Asian premium that Asian countries have to pay for crude oil as key oil producers set higher prices for India than for the US and European countries. Despite a 40 cent per barrel cut in the official selling price of light crude to Asia, Saudi Arabia is still charging a $1.30 premium on the benchmark price for light crude sold to India compared to a $2.4 discount on the benchmark price for European customers.

Experts have noted that countries like India do not have much bargaining power in the current market scenario where supply is lower than demand and that India’s bargaining power may be reduced further if we try to further diversify crude oil procurement. Also, the level of output and pricing benchmarks are decided by cartels such as OPEC.

So, Experts believe that the government should cut excise duty to some extent as it will provide some relief to customers and lead to higher sales and revenues which will accelerate the economy. But economic recovery will become tricky if the government continues to ignore rising fuel prices. If the commodity becomes too expensive, it would see a sharp decline in revenue.

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India-born top the list of founders among US unicorns: Study

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It is not only in India but in the US too that Indian founders are creating unicorns.

A study by Professor of Finance at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, Ilya A. Strebulaev researched that 90 out of 1,078 founders and entrepreneurs across 500 US unicorns were born in India which signalled a significant presence of Indian-Americans in the country’s startup and tech economy. He tweeted that, “Over four out of ten unicorn founders are first gen immigrants”. Indian born founders were followed by the ones from Israel and Canada with 52 and 42 founders respectively.

Some of the Indian origin founders of prominent unicorns include: Rohan Seth of Clubhouse, Baiju Bhatt of Robinhood, Dheeraj Pandey, Mohit Aron, Ajeet Singh of Nutanix, Apoorv Mehta of Instacart, Aayush Phumbhra of Chegg, among many others.

The research undertaken by Strebulaev is ripe at the time when India based technology want to return back home. Indian immigrants in the US are increasingly leaving their American dream behind because of visa issues and also because of the allure of a thriving startup culture in the home country. America has had a history of extremely successful Indian-origin entrepreneurs including Kanwal Rekhi, Pramod Haque, Sanjay Malhotra among others. India born executives are not only fueling the startups of the US but they are the executives of the most powerful tech giants.

U.S based Kaufman Foundation 33.2% of the co-founders of technology and engineering founded by immigrants in the US were Indians. Kaufman Foundation found out that Indian immigrant contribution in tech and startup industry was the only one that increased, all other immigrant contributions saw a decline. Another finding showed that 33 of the top 50 AI companies have at least one first generation immigrant founder. And 53 of the 125 founders are first generation immigrants. India and Israel were the largest senders of immigrant AI founders followed by the UK, China and Portugal.

India has a vibrant and an ever growing startup ecosystem. A recent report by venture capital fund Orios Venture Partners said Indian startups raised $42 Billion in 2021 up from $11.5 Billion in the previous year. The newly minted unicorns include ShareChat, Cred, Meesho, Moglix, MPL, Grofers(now blinkit), upGrad, Mamaearth, Acko, Spinny and others. India with 90 unicorns is the third largest unicorn hub behind the US(487) and China(301) and ahead of the UK(39). According to the report Flipkart was the most valuable unicorn($37.6 Billion).

India has seen four decacorns(companies with a valuation of USD 10 billion and above) so far- Flipkart, Paytm, BYJU’s and Oyo Rooms. While Bengaluru was the ‘Unicorn Hub’ with 18 unicorns emerging from the city in 2021 and 35 in all. It also happens to be the seventh largest unicorn city in the world.

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Policy & Politics

KARNATAKA’S ROLE IN BUILDING A $5 TRILLION ECONOMY WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY LARGER, CHIEF MINISTER BOMMAI

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Karnataka is expected to play a significant part in the economy of the country in the future. The state is home to 13,000 of the country’s 54,000 startups. The Karnataka government has taken a number of steps to stimulate the formation of new businesses. The government is providing guidance and scientific support, according to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

In an online message on the occasion of ‘National Startup Day’ on Sunday, the Chief Minister stated that the notion of a New Karnataka for a New India would be realized. In accordance with the Prime Minister’s wishes, the state has commemorated Startup Day in a meaningful way. The state government will give a major boost to startups, innovation, scientific thinking, and entrepreneurship in the coming days, he added. “Thanks to the Prime Minister’s long-term goal, the number of startups, which was once about 500, has already surpassed 54,000.” He has given a tremendous boost to innovation and entrepreneurs by establishing a forum to assist them and free them from government limitations. “On behalf of the state’s youth, the Prime Minister has been the inspiration for the biggest development of startups in the state,” Bommai added, thanking the Prime Minister.

Bengaluru is home to around 180 science and research institutions in a variety of sectors.

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‘WEALTH OF 10 RICHEST INDIANS ENOUGH TO FUND HIGHER EDUCATION OF CHILDREN’

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DA hike

According to a new study, it has been found that the wealth of the 10 richest Indians is enough to fund school and higher education of children for over two decades (approx. 25 years). When most of the country was gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic, the combined fortunes of the Indian billionaires more than doubled during this period. The superrich count in the country has now shot up to 142, rising by 39 per cent.

The annual wealth inequality survey reported presented by Oxfam India at the Davos Agenda Summit of the World Economic Forum (WEF) said that an additional one per cent tax on the richest 10 per cent can provide nearly 17.7 lakh extra oxygen cylinders to the country. None of us can forget how there was a huge rush for oxygen cylinders and insurance claims during the second wave that struck last year.

On the other hand, a similar wealth tax on the 98 most-affluent families can finance Ayushman Bharat – world’s largest health insurance scheme, for more than seven years.

The report further finds that 142 Indian billionaires together own a wealth of $719 billion (over Rs 53 lakh crore). The richest 98 amongst them have the same wealth ($657 billion or nearly Rs 49 lakh crore) as the poorest 55.5 crore populace who are placed in the bottom 40 per cent.

It was found that if all of the top 10 richest Indians go on to spend $1 million every day, then it will take them 84 years to do away with their current wealth.

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Exports target of US$650 bn within the current financial year achievable: Piyush Goyal

‘$400 Bn target of Merchandise exports is within sight and the Services sector should strive for $250 Bn exports.’

Tarun Nangia

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Piyush Goyal

The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyaltoday said the exports target of USD 650 Billion within the current financial year is achievable. Chairing a Review Meeting of all major Export Promotion Councils (EPCs), Goyal said the $400 Bn target of Merchandise exports is within sight and the Services sector should strive for $250 Bnexports.

Expressing his satisfaction that India achieved $300 BnMerchandise exports in the first nine months of the current FY (April-Dec, 2022), Goyal assured the EPCs that his Ministry will do whatever it takes in handholding the EPCs and resolving their issues to attain even higher export targets in the next FY.

Shri Goyal said we can set a much higher goods exports target in the current last quarter of this FY. “In December alone we touched $37 Bn goods exports despite the Omicron fear factor weighing high. This month, in 15 days till January 15th, we have reached $16 Bn.”

oyal said the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has himself set the pace by setting “transformational results” and not “incremental growth”.

The Commerce & Industry Minister urged the EPCs and entrepreneurs to avail of the Government’s initiatives towards Ease of Doing Business such as obtaining clearances through the National Single Window System. He assured the Industry representatives to pursue their demands during the various FTA negotiations.

Speaking of the government’s efforts to improve the ease of living and the ease of doing business, Goyal said that more than 25,000 compliances have been reduced.

“In December alone we touched $37 Bn goods exports despite the Omicron fear factor weighing high” – Piyush Goyal

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