The last rundown of the National Registry of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was closed on 31st August 2019. Nonetheless, even after the multi-organized interaction, there were still around 2 million individuals left outside its domain. The humongous program led under the Citizenship Act, 1955 and observed by the Supreme Court of India, included generous regulatory expenses as well as the deficiency of lives and rejection of individuals to guarantee their essential citizenship rights. The whole cycle of the ID of ‘outsiders’ has genuine repercussions on the existence of these individuals. It has been contended that since the pandemic, the extra-normal deferral in settling the arguments about citizenship shows a ‘remarkable absence of respect for individuals who have been barred’. In this specific situation, it gets basic to comprehend the cycle of the legal goal of disagreements about citizenship.
In terms of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 citizens of Assam are required to demonstrate that they or their ancestors may have entered the country before 12 PM March 24, 1971, by registering with the Office of International Registration. The fate of the remaining persons is to be determined by a legal entity known as the “Foreigner Tribunal” under the Foreign Courts Act, 1946 after this “Act of 1946”.
The functioning of these councils has been compromised by unnecessary key controls, and from now on, they cease to be rational and unfair in following procedures. These councils ridicule the standards of fairness and do not give thoughtful consideration to a distressed individual. In this way, the functioning of these organizations requires thorough scrutiny of the principles of authoritative law.
THE FOREIGNER’S TRIBUNAL
The Foreign Tribunal(FT) is the court with a unique locale to hear matters concerning the assurance of citizenship. Rather than different courts which have been set up under Article 323(b) of the Constitution, Foreign Tribunals are the lone councils set up through a leader request. These were set up under the Foreigner’s Tribunal Order, 1964 given as per the 1946 Act. Principally two reports are fundamental for demonstrating citizenship, the primary indicating that candidates guardians or precursors were living in Assam in 1971 or before, for example, land records, permit, financial balances and so on, and the second demonstrating that the candidate is the relative of such progenitor, for example, birth testament, board/college archive, electing roll and so on For any individual who is prohibited from NRC on the record of not outfitting these archives, there are two different ways to bid the FT. First and foremost, the individuals who have been rejected from the NRC can straightforwardly record an allure here, and besides, the cases can be alluded to by these councils by the Assam Border Police and the Election Commission(EC). The EC can skeptically examine the elector’s list cautiously and mark farfetched citizens to allude to the council which makes trouble for an enormous number of individuals as their citizenship gets dicey. These cases must be then controlled by the single appointed authority seat of the FT.
The legitimacy and the validity of this tribunal were challenged as of late on account of Abdul Kuddus v. Association of India. The applicants contended that an opinion delivered by the Foreigners Tribunal has no more importance than a leader’s request. They said that the council’s discoveries can’t be seen as last and can be tested in a courtroom that will correct the regulatory blunders considering proof accessible. They likewise expressed that the procedures under the 1946 Act were unique to NRC arranged under the Citizenship Act, 1955 was extraordinary. While drawing the differentiation between the two cycles of NRC and procedures of the FT, they argued that the previous was an interaction freely observed by the Supreme Court and the cases before the unfamiliar council are questions relating to who is an outsider according to Foreigner’s Tribunal Act, 1946 and henceforth, res judicata can’t matter.
The Supreme Court, while excusing the appeal, expressed that the “opinion” of the Foreigners Tribunal was to be treated as a “Quasi-Judicial” and it said that the 1946 and 1955 Act alongside the Citizenship, 2003 standards were to be perused together.
PROCEDURAL LAPSE IN THE WORKING OF THE TRIBUNAL
Being a quasi-judicial body in nature, there is an impressive unwinding given to these tribunals to lead their methodology while applying the principles of Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) and Evidence Act, rather than customary courts. According to the 1946 demonstration, the court can direct its system. Paragraph 4(c) of the 1964 request enables the court to analyze observers and archives. Nonetheless, much of the time the creation of witnesses was troublesome since the courts were situated far and witnesses would not like to bear the expenses of showing up. Under the Foreign Court Act (Amendment) 2019, any oppressed person who did not get his or her name from the NRC can also go to court. Earlier the state government had the power to go to court against the suspect, but now, even the oppressed person has the opportunity to express his opinion within 60 days of requesting avoidance by the NRC.
It should be noted that the jurisdiction of these courts only states whether the person is an immigrant under Section 2A of the 1946 Act. However, Amnesty’s international report notes and criticizes the functioning of these courts as they end up branding these people as ‘illegal immigrants’, while FT has no power to determine that illegality. In a recent decision by Assam Public Works v. Union of India, the Supreme Court has upheld FT’s decision to declare the children of skeptical voters as non-citizens. This violation of human rights by abuse of power by the Tribunal is said to be justified if it is stated that nothing was said in the Act on this and that the SC decision was reversed. Also, in the past, these courts have traditionally held permanent detention. Following a written request, the Supreme Court ordered that the individuals be released from detention camps after three years and paid two dollars bail, 1 lakh each as a bond. However, this is futile as many people are unable to access this money and are imprisoned indefinitely.
VIOLATING THE PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL JUSTICE
As quasi-judicial activities are not required to be strictly in specification with the procedure of law but it is essential to follow the principles of natural justice. The principles of natural justice are an important and integral part of common law and cannot be removed by any adjudicatory body. The principle of natural justice includes the rule against bias, the rule of Audi Alteram Partem, and reasoned decision. Section 3(1) of the 1946 Act says that the court will serve notification to the individual being claimed as an outsider referring to the grounds of charge. The same was maintained in the case of the State of Assam v. Moslem Mondal and ors. The court seldom follows this in any case and inadequately drafted notices are served to the people concerned. Most of the time, the notification is not served to the individual concerned. If people do not appear before the tribunal due to the inability to understand the notice for more than 10 days after the notice has been issued to file a written statement, the tribunal passes an ex- parte order. A reasonable option to make a representation is seriously restricted by these extreme ex-parte orders which are not adhering to the principles of natural justice.
HIGH BURDEN OF PROOF AND NO SPEAKING ORDER
The foreign Tribunals are having extreme power to accept or reject the evidence presented by the petitioner but they are bound to accept the evidence presented by the police. By the amendment of 2019, the burden of proof was shifted to the residents. This has its roots from the historical period as the court in case Sarbananda Sonowal v. UOI held that illegal movement represents a danger of outside hostility upon the country and therefore the weight of proving citizenship will consistently lie upon the individual blamed for being a non-resident. Presently, they need to assemble reports identified with birth, schooling, and land ownership. Residents are asked to present their original and certified documents as no photocopies will be accepted. The major problem with documents is that they are originally written in Bengali and later translated into English. It is quite unfair to ask rural residents to gather these documents to prove their residency.
If the Foreign Tribunal doesn’t appear to be happy with the reports introduced or says that documents like marriage certificates and so on are not enough, it can end the citizenship of an individual. It has been held in a plethora of cases that the quasi-judicial bodies, being the courts of the first occurrence, should act decently, and regardless of whether there is no legal necessity for giving reasons, such a prerequisite can be perused by the goodness of Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
In light of the structure of liberal vote-based standards, the Indian Constitution conceives a fair living for every one of its residents. It is relevant that the chief or different bodies don’t interfere with the undertakings of the legal executive or judges in quasi-judicial bodies to guarantee that these objectives are accomplished. In the current case, the FT is the quasi-judicial body set up to decide the subject of citizenship of individuals pronounced ‘outsiders’. The procedures before these bodies ought to follow the standards set up by the courtroom. Notwithstanding, it is seen that the FT doesn’t act genuinely as per justice. There is a pressing requirement for the Parliament and the higher legal executive to make remedial moves in such a manner that corrective actions are achieved in this regard.
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Allahabad High Court Quashes POSCO Case: If Husband/Accused Is Convicted Then Victim/Wife’s Future Would Be Ruined
The Allahabad High Court recently in the case Rajiv Kumar v. State of U.P. And 2 Others observed and has recently quashed an FIR and criminal proceedings in a POCSO case registered against a man as it noted that the accused man and victim-wife (who was a minor at the time of the incident) married the accused/ applicant out of her own sweet will and is living a happy married life with him.
The bench comprising of Justice Manju Rani Chauhan observed that to punish punish the offenders for a crime, involved in the present case, is in the interest of society, but, at the same time, the husband is taking care of his wife and in case, the husband is sentenced and convicted for societal interest, then, the wife will be in great trouble and it would ruin their future. Thus, it is also in the interest of society to settle and resettle the family for their welfare, the bench quashed the rape-POCSO case against the accused.
Facts of the Case:
The Maternal Uncle of the Victim lodged an FIR against the accused under Sections 363, 366, and Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860and Section 3/4 of the POCSO Act, alleging that the accused had raped the victim (then a 17-year-old minor).
Further, the accused moved the instant Section 482 CrPC petition seeking to quash the instant FIR. Also, the victim appeared before the Court and had submitted that her maternal uncle had lodged the FIR in an attempt to ruin her married life.
It was further stated by her that she has entered into a compromise with the accused and has married him out of her free will, and consent, and without any external pressure, coercion, or threat of any kind. Before the court, it was also submitted that that out of their wedlock, they are blessed with a male child, who is presently four and half years old and as per her date of birth and at the time of marriage she was nearly 17 and half years old.
It was submitted by the Applicant-Accused that on account of the compromise entered into between the parties concerned, all disputes between them have come to an end, and therefore, further proceedings are liable to be quashed in the present case.
Observations Made By Court:
In the present case, the court noted that though the offence under the relevant sections 363, 366 and 376 of IPC and Sections 3/4 of POCSO Act are not compoundable under Section 320 Cr.P.C, however, adding to it, the court stated that the power of the High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C is not inhibited by the provisions of Section 320 Cr.P.C and the criminal proceedings as well as the FIR can be quashed by exercising inherent powers under provision of Section 482 Cr.P.C, if warranted in given facts and circumstances of the case for ends of justice or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court, even including the cases which are not compoundable where parties have settled the matter between themselves.
The court while considering the facts and circumstances of the case, and also the submissions made by the counsel for the parties, the court came to the considered opinion that the victim herself, has stated before this Court that out of her own sweet will, she has married the applicant and is living a happy married life and out of their wedlock, the couple are blessed with a male child. However, no useful purpose shall be served by prolonging the proceedings of the criminal case as the parties have already settled their disputes.
Accordingly, the court quashed the charge sheet and the cognizance order as well as the entire proceedings of the Criminal Case were hereby quashed. Thus, the application was allowed.
SC likely to hear next month pleas related to Article 370
A Supreme Court constitution bench is expected to hear a slew of petitions related to Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) semi-autonomous status before it was repealed in August 2019. Chief Justice of India (CJI) Uday Umesh Lalit said on Friday that the petitions will be heard after the Dussehra holiday.
When senior advocate Prashanth Sen asked the CJI to list the matter, Justice Lalit responded, “We will certainly list that…it will be listed after Dussehra break.” From October 3 to 10, the court will be closed for Dussehra.
The petitions were last heard in March 2020, when a five-judge panel declined to refer the case to a larger panel. The reference was requested because previous court decisions on the subject were in conflict with one another. This contention was rejected by the bench.
At the time, the bench was aware of an older batch of petitions pending in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Articles 370 and 35A, which granted J&K special status. It was stated that all issues concerning Article 370 should preferably be heard together.
National Conference legislators, former bureaucrats, and some organisations are among those who have objected to the repeal of Article 370. Some petitioners cited the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision, which stated that Article 370 had gained permanent status.
Many petitions have also been filed against the Jammu and Kashmir State Reorganization Act, which calls for the division of J&K into two Union Territories.
Despite opposition from the central government, which argued that Article 370 had international and cross-border implications, the Supreme Court issued notices on the petitions on August 28, 2019. The Centre also claimed that it is a highly sensitive issue, and that whatever happens in the country will be brought up at the United Nations. While issuing notices in 2019, the court referred the case to the five-judge constitution bench.
Supreme Court: Fixed Term Sentences Exceeding 14 Years Can Be Alternative To Death Sentence In Certain Cases
The Supreme Court in the case State of Haryana vs Anand Kindoo observed and stated that fixed term sentences exceeding 14 years can be awared in appropriate cases to strike a delicate balance between the victims’ petition for justice and rehabilitative justice for the convicts.
The bench comprising of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Abhay S. Oka and the Justice Vikram Nath observed that this fixed term sentence can only be by the High Court or this Court and not by the trial Court.
In the present case, the trial court awarded death sentence to the accused who were ‘trusted employees’ of the deceased. However, Major General Kailash Chand Dhingra (K.C. Dhingra) and his wife Smt. Sangeeta Dhingra, who were an aged couple and were killed by the accused while they were sleeping. It was refused by the High Court to confirm the death sentence and imposed life sentence on them.
In an appeal before the Apex Court, the complainant and the state contended that given the brutality of the crime, the court should impose a fixed term sentence before which the convicts are not liable to be considered for granting of remission. Thus, it was submitted that there should be at least a fixed term sentence.
The court observed that it was a pre-planned murder for gain and greed by somebody who was in a position of trust with the family.
The bench observed that at an advanced stage in such health respect, there is always an element of trust and faith in the person by a person who employs them as well as the family members. However, the work takes other family members elsewhere and with the joint family system having broken down, the role of such trusted help becomes even more significant. Also, it is the significance of the society where a wrong signal goes if a trusted person breaches that trust to kill the person who had employed them in such a gruesome manner. It has been stated by the trial Court, the society itself demands justice, apart from an utter element on deterrence which is in any aspect of conviction. Further, the approach cannot be the vindictive but lack of appropriate sentence leaves the cry of justice of the society un-addressed apart from the fact that other persons who may have the propensity to carry out the crime feel that they will get away with the lighter sentence, if in case they are caught. While, battering two sleeping people beyond recognition who imposed trust in their employee certainly calls for something more than merely a life sentence under Section 302, IPC, even if death sentence is not to be imposed.
Therefore, the court imposed a fixed term sentence of 30 years.
The bench while allowing the appeal observed in the case Shankar Kishanrao khade vs. State of Mahrashtra (2013) 5 SCC 546, wherein it was held that if there is any circumstance favouring the accused such as lack of intention to commit the crime, young age of the accused, possibility of reformation etc., accused not being a menance to the society, no previous criminal record etc., the accused may avoid capital punishment. It was opined by the court that the crime is important but so is the criminal and hence the Supreme Court in recent past has substituted death penalty with fixed term sentences exceeding 14 years. It stated that imposing a fixed term sentence creates a possibility for the convict to re-integrate into society after serving his/her sentence. A delicate balance is strike the balance between victims’ plea for justice.
NCLAT Upholds Dismissal Of Section 7 Petition, Corporate Debtor Willing To Pay Full Amount, Opposed By Financial Creditor
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (“NCLAT”) in the case Reliance Commercial Finance Limited v Darode Jog Builder Private Limited, the Principal Bench, comprising of Justice Ashok Bhushan (Chairperson), Judicial Member, Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy and the Technical Member, Mr. Barun Mitra observed while adjudicating an appeal filed in Reliance Commercial Finance Limited v Darode Jog Builder Pvt. Ltd., has upheld the Adjudicating Authority’s decision to not admit a petition under Section 7 of IBC, despite there being a default and a debt. It was recorded by the bench the Corporate Debtor an opportunity to pay/settle the full amount of default despite the Financial Creditor’s unwillingness to enter settlement.
Background Facts of the Case:
The Appellant/ Financial Creditor, Reliance Commercial Finance Limited had sanctioned Term-Loans of Rs. 19.5 Crores to the Corporate Debtor i.e., Darode Jog Builder Pvt. Ltd. on 29.07.2013. In 2017, the Loan Accounts were declared as the Non-Performing Assets. On 04.11.2019, a petition under Section 7 of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (“IBC”) was filled by Financial Creditor, wherein seeking initiation of Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (“CIRP”) over a default of Rs. 15,79,41,658/- against the Corporate Debtor.
It was observed that in an hearing held on 06.07.2022, the Corporate Debtor acknowledged its liability to pay and made an offer of Rs. 12.75 Crores, which is to be paid within 45 days. Thus, the Adjudicating Authority directed the Counsel for the Financial Creditor to obtain appropriate instructions. Thus, the court observed that if the Settlement did not take place, the Petition would automatically be admitted on the next date of hearing.
The court on the next date of hearing i.e. 11.07.2022, it was submitted by the Corporate Debtor that it is willing to deposit the entire amount of Rs. 15,79,41,658/- within 45 days. However, the Financial Creditor expressed its unwillingness for settling the matter. The Bank account details of the Financial Creditor were obtained by the Adjudicating Authority and alongside granted liberty to the latter to file for restoration of petition in case said amount is not deposited within 45 days. The court disposed of the appeal.
The Financial Creditor filed an appeal before the NCLAT, aggrieved by the order dated 11.07.2022.
Contentions Made By Appellant:
It was submitted by the Financial Creditor that the Adjudicating Authority committed error in disposing of the Petition, as it was not willing to settle the matter. However, the Adjudicating Authority could not have permitted the Corporate Debtor to deposit amount in Financial Creditor’s account.
Contentions Made By Respondent:
It was argued by the Corporate Debtor that Financial Creditor was unwilling to settle as earlier entire amount was not offered and settlement had not taken place despite several adjournments. Further, it was submitted that the Corporate Debtor has financial capacity to deposit the entire amount.
The Bench placed reliance on the Supreme Court judgment in the case Vidarbha Industries Power Limited Vs. Axis Bank Limited, Civil Appeal No. 4633 of 2021.
It was observed by the bench that as per the judgment, even after debt and default is there, Adjudicating Authority has to apply its mind to assess the feasibility of initiating CIRP.
It stated that when the Corporate Debtor has complied to deposit the entire defaulted amount of the Financial Creditor as permitted by the Adjudicating Authority and no purpose and occasion shall survive to still proceed with the Corporate Debtor Insolvency Resolution.
Accordingly, the bench observed that the proceedings under Section 7 are for resolution of insolvency. Adjudicating Authority had not erred in ascertaining whether the Corporate Debtor can comply to deposit the entire defaulted amount in bank account of Financial Creditor’s. Further, the court observed that the Financial Creditor’s interest was fully protected, since liberty was already given to revive the petition in case full amount was not received within 45 days.
The bench dismissed the appeal.
IBBI Amends Liquidation Process Regulations: COC To Function As Stakeholder’s Consultation Committee For First 60 Days
On 16.09.2022, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (“IBBI”) has notified amendments for a second time to the IBBI (Voluntary Liquidation Process) Regulations, 2016 (“Voluntary Liquidation Regulations”) and IBBI (Liquidation Process) Regulations, 2016 (“Liquidation Regulations”).
Detailed Overview Of the Amendments:
the IBBI has introduced the following amendments to the Voluntary Liquidation Regulations and Liquidation Process regulations, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 196(1)(t) read with Section 240 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
For enabling better participation of stakeholders and streamline the liquidation process to reduce delays and realize better value, the following major modifications are made for the amendment in Liquidation Regulation.
The Committee of Creditors (CoC) constituted during Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process (CIRP) shall function as Stakeholders Consultation Committee (SCC) in the first 60 days and after the adjudication of claims and within 60 days of initiation of process, the SCC shall be reconstituted with respect to the admitted claims.
It has been mandated to the liquidator to conduct the meetings of SCC in a structured and time bound manner with better participation of stakeholders.
It has been enlarged the scope of mandatory consultation by liquidator with SCC and now SCC may even propose replacement of liquidator to the Adjudicating Authority (AA) and fix the fees of liquidator, if the same during CIRP is not fixed by the CoC.
The amount of claim collated during CIRP shall be verified by the liquidator, if any claim is not fixed during the liquidation process.
Whenever it is decided by the CoC that the process of compromise or arrangement may be explored during liquidation process, an application shall be filled by the liquidator only in such cases before Adjudicating Authority for considering the proposal of arrangement or compromise, if any, within thirty days of the order of liquidation.
For Auction process, specific event-based timelines have been stipulated.
SCC b Before filing of an application for dissolution or closure of the process shall advice the liquidator, the manner in which proceedings in respect of avoidance transactions or fraudulent or wrongful trading and shall be pursued after closure of liquidation proceedings.
Further, the Amendment Liquidation Regulations and Amendment Voluntary Liquidation Regulations lays down the manner and period of retention of records relating to liquidation and voluntary liquidation of a corporate debtor or corporate person, respectively.
Supreme Court: Setting Aside NCDRC Order Awarding Compensation To Women Who Gave Birth Despite Undergoing Tubectomy Surgery
The Supreme Court in the case Civil Hospital vs Manjit Singh observed and has set aside an NCDRC order that directed a hospital to pay compensation to a woman who delivered a child despite undergoing tubectomy procedure.
In the present case, a woman underwent tubectomy procedure twice, though both the procedures remained unsuccessful. In the year 2003, she gave birth to a male child. A complaint was filled by her before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum alleging medical negligence on account of failed tubectomy surgery. Thus, the court dismissed the same on the ground that the hospital is not a consumer. The order was affirmed by the State Consumer Commission (SCDRC). Later, the revision petition was allowed by the National Consumer Commission and has directed to pay compensation as per the guidelines and the policy of the State.
Before the Apex Court, two contentions were raised by the hospital (1) that hospitals and Doctors who render service without any charge to every person availing of the service would not fall within the ambit of ‘service’ under Section 2(1)(o) of the Act relying on the case Indian Medical Association Vs. V.P. Shantha And Ors., (1995) 6 SCC 651 that the failed tubectomy surgery is not a case of medical negligence as the sterilized woman can become pregnant due to natural causes. [relying on the case State of Punjab Vs. Shiv Ram and Ors., 2005, 7 SCC 1].
The bench while taking notice of the law laid down in the decisions relied on by the appellants, allowed the appeal by setting aside the NCDRC order. However, if the respondent has been paid any amount in terms of the Order of the NCDRC, the same shall not be recovered by the State, the bench said.
It was observed in In V.P. Shantha that the Hospitals and Doctors who render service without any charge whatsoever to every person availing of the service would not fall within the ambit of ‘service’ under Section 2(1)(o) of the Act. Thus, the payment of a token amount for registration purposes only would not alter the position in respect of such doctors and hospitals.
The Apex Court regarding failed tubectomy surgery in Shiv Ram (supra), had observed that the cause of action in claiming compensation in cases of failed sterilization operation arises on account of negligence of the surgeon and not on the account of child birth. Further, the failure due to natural causes would not provide any ground for claim and it is the women who has conceived the child to go or not to go for medical termination of pregnancy. Thus, having gathered the knowledge of conception in spite of having undergone sterilization operation, if the couple opts for bearing the child, it ceases to be an unwanted child and the compensation for maintenance and upbringing of such a child cannot be claimed.
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