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Sushant case: Analysing the FIR registered in Patna

Actor Sushant Singh Rajput died under alleged mysterious circumstances in Mumbai. Investigation under Section 174 CrPC was commenced by Mumbai Police and while the investigation was pending, father of the deceased, a resident of Patna, filed a criminal complaint seeking registration of FIR in Patna.

Rohan Garg

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Fans of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput gather outside his father’s residence in Patna.

A common man, invariably, runs from pillar to post in pursuit for justice and sometimes struggles even endlessly for it. This is due to the slow pace of our legal system which is procedurally complex and at times highly technical for a layman to comprehend. But there have been occasions where influence, power or money, have abridged this struggle and pursuit for justice. Sushant Singh Rajput’s case has once again highlighted this deviation in the legal procedure and system. Much has been said of Sushant Singh Rajput case and storm has now been calmed down by the Supreme Court decision. However, it is interesting to look back and analyse the events how they took place in this case.

 Late Sushant Singh Rajput, a public figure, died under alleged mysterious circumstances in Mumbai. Investigation under section 174 CrPC was commenced by the Mumbai police and while the investigation was pending, father of the deceased, a resident of Patna, filed a criminal complaint seeking registration of FIR in Patna. A FIR under sections 341, 342, 306, 380, 406, 420, 506 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 got registered in Rajeev Nagar Police Station, Patna, which was later transferred to CBI under approval of Bihar governor. Serious issues arose right from the registration of FIR by Patna police to its transfer to CBI for investigation.

Talking of jurisdiction based on the consequences that ensued on commission of alleged offence, we have often seen that sections 179 r/w 181(4) of the CrPC are used in the matrimonial disputes where the wife files a complaint against her husband under section 406 IPC (criminal breach of trust) at her parental place on the averment that the husband either received, or retained, or misappropriated, or had to return her property at her parental place. This is a question of fact and there ought to be necessary averments in the complaint and prima facie evidence to support it. In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput, his father filed a complaint in Patna on the similar theory alleging that the misappropriation of money was accounted for in Patna. However, given the facts and circumstances of this case, this theory appears to be too far-fetched and seems nothing more than a tactic to bring the case within the jurisdiction of Patna police one way or the other. Criminal law has to be strictly construed, therefore, to make jurisdiction in Patna for an offence of misappropriation of money/criminal breach of trust, either the offence of misappropriation had to be committed in Patna, or part of the property had to be received in Patna, or retained in Patna, or was required to be returned or accounted for in Patna. None of these parameters, were present in the case of Sushant Singh Rajput, yet Patna police registered FIR taking the shelter of section 179 and 181(4) of the CrPC.

Another interesting facet of this case is that the other sections appearing in the Patna FIR namely section 306 (abetment to suicide), 341 (wrongfully restraining a person), 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement), 380 (punishment for theft), 420(cheating), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120B (conspiracy) had no connection with Patna. Therefore, to bring the case within the jurisdiction of Patna police, section 406 of the IPC was added and it was alleged that the misappropriated money was accounted for in Patna. This, prima facie, appears to be the modus operandi used to involve the state of Bihar in the case. Had the case been not registered by Patna police in the first place, it would have either been transferred by Bihar to Mumbai under zero FIR or the complaint itself would have been forwarded to Mumbai police. In either case, there would not have been any occasion for the Supreme Court to direct CBI investigation in the Patna FIR and the transfer petition filed by Rhea Chakraborty seeking transfer of investigation from Patna to Mumbai would not have existed. It was only due to the registration of FIR by Patna police that Rhea Chakraborty sought transfer of the FIR to Mumbai and in turn the Court invoked Article 142 of the Constitution of India.

 Immediately upon registration, FIR no. 241 of 2020 came under the scanner for being without jurisdiction and a result of political intervention. However, the Bihar government justified its registration on the ground that the consequences of the offences were within the jurisdiction of the state of Bihar, therefore, in view of section 179 r/w section 181(4) of the CrPC the FIR was valid. Also, reference was made to the Supreme Court law that when the allegations of criminal breach of trust and misappropriation are made, it can be investigated by the police station situated within the jurisdiction of the Magistrate within whose jurisdiction the accused was bound by law or by contract to render accounts or return the entrusted property, but failed to discharge that obligation. The government, therefore, argued that in the present case, since the allegation related to criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of money which were to be eventually accounted for in Patna, it had lawful jurisdiction to register the FIR. One may say that while the conduct of the Patna police is commendable for being swift and overtly receptive, it does make one ponder as to how many times, when the complainant is not a celebrity but a common man, would have the police walked these extra miles in registering FIRs with such swiftness and receptiveness? It will not be incorrect to state that there may not even be handful of occasions when this would have been done. It is a general perception that the overall performance of police officials is based upon the number of cases lodged in the police station so the police officials invariably devise ways not to register a complaint. As per media reports based on surveys, there have been instances where the police stations refrained from filing FIRs in 50% of cases. But in the present case, where the police could actually have lawfully transferred the complaint to Mumbai police, not only ended up registering a FIR themselves but also eventually transferred the same to CBI under orders of Bihar governor. After all, it concerned a successful and a popular celebrity who hailed from Patna, hence the State compassion! It is one thing to say that the family of a young talented actor who lost his life under mysterious circumstances deserves a proper investigation but one has to keep the sanctity of CrPC intact, which should also not be compromised for no individual is above law.

Talking about the swiftness of Patna police, as per media reports, the Rajeev Nagar Police Station FIR was registered after intervention and clearance given by the Bihar Chief Minister Mr. Nitish Kumar. Thereafter, the Hon’ble CM recommended CBI investigation in the case. How many times do the complainants get such preferential treatment? Can law be differently applied to differently placed individuals? Will the procedure followed in the case of Sushant Singh Rajput be applied to each and every case from now on? If not, then under what circumstances can this deviation be allowed? Is such procedure adopted only because a famous personality has died or because the Chief Minister Office intervened? Had it not been a case of death of a celebrity, had it been a common man, would this procedure be followed? If not, then does it not erode the confidence of a common man and does it not bolster the general perception – one law for the rich and another for the poor? These are some of the basic questions that this case has brought to forefront again.

Invariably, in cases of section 306 IPC, the inquiry is taken up under section 174 CrPC and consequently upon completion of inquiry, if a cognizable offence is made out, a FIR is registered under appropriate sections, by the police station within whose jurisdiction the offence or part of the offence is committed. In the present case, while the inquiry under section 174 CrPC was pending in Mumbai, Patna police hurried onto registering a regular FIR and not a “zero” FIR on a complaint despite knowing that the mysterious death occurred in Mumbai and all the alleged misappropriation of money was also done in Mumbai. The FIR was however justified on the ground that the alleged misappropriation of money was to be eventually accounted for in Patna. This is nothing but an attempt to do something indirectly which could not have been done directly thereby violating – what law forbids directly, cannot be done indirectly. Nevertheless, even if we presume for a moment that the FIR had legal validity, we seldom witness such swift action by police in registering FIRs. While it is commendable that Patna police or the State of Bihar acted with such legal insight, swiftness, and compassion towards the complainant, a common man can only wonder and wait in despair considering the influence that is needed to achieve such a swift result.

Bihar Government justified registration of the FIR by Patna police on the ground that the complaint disclosed commission of a cognizable offence and thus it was incumbent upon the Patna police to register a FIR and investigate. It will not be incorrect to state here that had it been a routine complaint with no publicity or political intervention, Patna police would have registered a “zero” FIR and transferred the same to Mumbai police for further proceedings. This would have been in compliance with the general procedure prescribed under the Code of Criminal Procedure but this case was worthy of a deviation for reasons well known!

 Another bizarre submission that was made on behalf of the Bihar government was that since Mumbai police did not register a FIR, the action taken by the Patna police was legally justified. Over the years, we have seen that a State registers a “zero” FIR and transfers it to the State having jurisdiction, which then investigates. Thereafter, the complainant has legal remedies if he is not satisfied by the investigation undertaken by the State to which the “zero” FIR was transferred. He can file a representation to the senior police officials and if still aggrieved can file an application under section 156(3) of the CrPC for the court monitoring investigation or even a writ petition in the High Court of that State. But this case saw deviations from the prescribed procedure from the very inception. One, during the pendency of inquiry under section 174 CrPC by Mumbai police, instead of filing a complaint with the Mumbai police, the complainant chose to file it in Patna (his place of residence) and sought registration of a FIR. Two, a FIR was duly registered, apparently after concern is expressed by the Chief Minister Office. Three, the usual procedure of registering a ‘zero’ FIR or forwarding the complaint to Mumbai was given a go-by. Four, the FIR was then transferred to CBI on approval by the Bihar governor in terms of section 6 of the DSPE Act. In addition to this sequence of events, on one hand the State of Bihar made allegations against the State of Maharashtra of inaction and intentional botched up investigation to protect the culprits and even demanded resignation of Maharashtra Chief Minister while on the other hand, the State of Maharashtra hit back at Bihar government claiming that Mumbai gave Sushant prosperity while Bihar did not stand by him during his struggle and that when one State is investigating the matter another State ought not to interfere or commence parallel investigation. The manner in which the events took place, it not only gave the case a political overtone and created an obvious clash between the two State governments but it also laid down the foundation for the Supreme Court to make an exception whereby it transferred the investigation to CBI on the ground that there is a conflict between the two State governments on who amongst the two is competent to investigate the case. Another question that one may think – was such a conflict between the two States intentionally created to carve out an exception to meet the standard of law that transfer of investigation can be done only in rare and exceptional cases. Bihar also came under scanner for staging its involvement to politically exploit the case ahead of State elections. Whatever the case may be, the very fact that the incident occurred in Mumbai, the registration of FIR by Patna police on the basis that the alleged misappropriation of money was to be accounted for in Patna appeared to be an act done under political clout. In usual business, in such a case, the police complaint would have resulted either into a “zero” FIR by the Patna police or the Patna police would have simply forwarded the complaint to Mumbai police for registration and investigation. However, the dramatic twists and turns that were witnessed in this case right from the registration of FIR no. 241/2020, to forced quarantine of senior Patna IPS officer, to transfer of investigation to CBI by Bihar Governor, to transfer of the entire case to CBI by Supreme Court, it may well set the tone where the complainants may choose to file complaints in the place of their residence by adding section 406 IPC (criminal breach of trust) and including an averment in the complaint that the misappropriated money was to be accounted for within their jurisdiction. Such a practice, can seriously impair the federal structure and attract unnecessary delay in justice delivery system. The impact of the observations passed by the Supreme Court in Rhea Chakraborty v State of Bihar & Ors. relating to the jurisdictional issue in cases of misappropriation of money may see extensive ramifications in the times to come.

Adv. Rohan Garg is Partner, Fox Mondal & Co. He is a LL.M (Utrecht University) D-1926/2005

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Legally Speaking

CESTAT: Registration Of Premises Not A Necessary Prerequisite For Claiming A Refund Under Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004

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CESTAT: Registration Of Premises Not A Necessary Prerequisite For Claiming A Refund Under Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004

The Delhi Bench of the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) in the case M/s. Selling Simplified India Private Limited Versus Commissioner of CGST, East Delhims observed and has held that the registration of premises is a necessary prerequisite for claiming a refund under Rule 5 of the Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004.
The bench comprising of Judicial Member, Rachna Gupta observed and has stated that the service providers are entitled to a refund under rule 5 of the Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004 when the output service is exported.
In the present case, the appellant is engaged in rendering taxable services of business support to the following group companies, i.e., Selling Simplified Group, Selling Simplified Inc, Selling Simplified Ltd., U.K. and three of the companies are located outside of India. It is availed by the appellant that the Cenvat credit for input services used to render the said output service as they are paying service tax on such input services. Thus, on 22.12.2016, the appellant filed a refund claim for Rs.9,97,364 under Notification No.27/2012-CE(NT) dated 18.06.2012, issued under Rule 5 of the Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004, along with several documents.
It was observed by the department that the appellant had centralised service tax registration for the premises but had claimed some input service credit for the services utilised at the unregistered premises. Some of the export invoices were also raised from the unregistered premises. However, with these observations, the department formed the opinion that the appellants should get registration for their Noida premises also. A ‘Show Cause Notice’ was issued by the department proposing the rejection of the refund claim.
It was contended by the appellant that the export invoices were issued by the appellant from an address that is not part of the centralised registration. Further, the address mentioned in the invoices is Noida; hence, the Commissionerate does not have jurisdiction to decide the refund. The group of companies and the appellant to whom the Appellant had provided business support services are simply the establishments of a single individual.
It was held by the CESTAT that the show cause notice is a foundation on which the department has to build its case and it should be specific and contain all relevant details so that an assessee will be able to give a reply to specific allegations made in the show cause notice. As since the issue of jurisdiction was not specifically taken in the show cause notice, the adjudication on this point against the assessee is not sustainable. Since, the appellant admittedly has centralised registration in terms of subclause (2) and (3) of Rule 4, and the Noida unit was not required to be registered.

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Supreme Court: No Bar To Withdraw Admitted CIRP Application Before Constitution Of Committee Of Creditors-IBC

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Supreme court

The Supreme Court in the case Ashok G. Rajani vs Beacon Trusteeship Ltd. Observed and stated that there is no bar to withdrawal of an admitted CIRP application before constitution of Committee of Creditors.
The bench comprising of Justice Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari observed and has stated that the settlement cannot be stifled before the constitution of the Committee of Creditors in anticipation of claims from third persons, against the Corporate Debtor.
It was observed by the court while dismissing the appeal against NCLAT order which gave the parties the opportunity to settle their disputes before the Adjudicating Authority (NCLT) in terms of Section 12A of the IBC reading with Rule 11 of the National Company Law Tribunal Rules, 2016 (NCLT Rules).
Further, the bench noted that Section 12A of the IBC enables the Adjudicating Authority to allow the withdrawal of an application admitted under Section 7 or Section 9 or Section 10, on an application made by the applicant with the approval of 90% voting shares of the Committee of Creditors in such a manner as it is specified.
The court stated that Section 12A of the IBC clearly permits withdrawal of an application under Section 7 of the IBC that has been admitted on an application made by the applicant. Thus, the question of approval of the Committee of Creditors by the requisite percentage of votes, can only arise after the Committee of Creditors is constituted. In our view, before the Committee of Creditors is constituted, there is no bar to withdrawal by the applicant of an application admitted under Section 7 of the IBC.
Further, the court noted that Rule 11 of the NCLT Rules enables the NCLT to pass orders for the ends of justice including order permitting an applicant for CIRP to withdraw its application and to enable a corporate body to carry on business with ease and should be free of any impediment.
While dismissing the petition, the court stated that considering the investments made by the Corporate Debtor and considering the number of people dependant on the Corporate Debtor for their survival and livelihood, there being no reason why the applicant for the CIRP, should not be allowed to withdraw its application as once its disputes have been settled. However, the settlement cannot be shifted before the constitution of the Committee of Creditors in anticipation of claims against the Corporate Debtor from third persons. Thus, the withdrawal of an application for CIRP by the applicant would not prevent any other financial creditor from taking recourse to a proceeding under IBC and the urgency to abide by the timelines for completion of the resolution process cannot be stated as a reason to stifle the settlement.

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Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi Declines To Be The Next Attorney General For India

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Mukul Rohatgi declines govt’s offer to become Attorney General

The Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi has declined to be the next Attorney General for India. The offer made by the Central Government in that regard is turned out by him.
On September 30, the term of the incumbent Attorney General for India KK Venugopal is ending. However, there were reports that Rohatgi was going to take the AG’s mantle after Venugopal.
In June 2017, Rohatgi had earlier resigned as the Attorney General after serving for three years. Venugopal was appointed as the AG for a term of three years after Rohatgi and he was given one year extension each in 2020 and 2021. This year on June 29, AG Venugopal’s term was extended by three more months by the Union Government. Thus, there were reports that Venugopal had requested the Government to not further extend his tenure citing health problems, and the Government requested him to continue for three more months.

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Hijab–Fight for rights or religion..?

Adv. Manjunath Kakkalameli

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Hijab–Fight for rights or religion..?

Hijab controversy took grounds in Karnataka after the Udupi College issued guidelines for the academic year in July 2021 prescribing a uniform dress code.
In September six students (who later became the lead petitioners in the Karnataka High Court) complained of discrimination by teachers against them on religious grounds. By December, their complaint had taken the form of protest that drew intervention of entire country. The very Primary and important issue under consideration of Supreme Court is whether Hijab is a fundamental right or mere a religious practice.
As of now, a settle law position says that even though right to religion is covered under Art. 25 of the constitution and art 19- Right to Speech and 21- Personal Liberty of the constitution but can it be excluded or included in under ‘Reasonable Restriction’ of the fundamental rights. However, to consider any religious practice under Art 25 of the Constitution must fall within the ambit of ‘Essential Religious Practice”.
Before we get into the issue lets see what the Holy Quran Say on Hijab-

How does the Quran address the issue of Hijab-
Term Hijab is reiterated seven times in the Quran referring each time exactly to the same means Curtain, Separation, mask but the verse that has been most often used to prove the obligation of veiling for women and mentions the term Hijab is as under-
“ O you who have been believed, do not enter the houses of the prophet except when you are permitted to meal…. And when you ask (his wives) for something, ask then from behind a separation (Hijab) Quran 33;53.
As it indicates here, the Hijab concerns only the wives of the prophet and meets a circumstantial requirement in order to respect the private life of Prophet. Besides, it does not represent, in anyway, a particular model of clothing.
It is therefore, quite clear that the term Hijab does not absolutely refer to the meaning given nowadays. Hence it could be ascertain that Hijab is not an essential in Islam.

IS HIJAB ESSENTIAL IN ISLAM?
Before considering the issue, it is pertinent to know whether Hijab fall under essential right in Islam or not?
Many Islam Scholar would say that Head Cover is mandate in Quran however while answering the same Karnataka High Court referring ingredients of Article 25 of the constitution concludes that Hijab is not essential part of Islam. Art 25 of the Constitution guarantees a person the freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate her religion. But this fundamental right is subject to public order, morality and health. This is not an absolute right.

UNIFORM VS FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT-
School Uniforms are form of secular democracy, it demonstrate secular and homogeneous in the Schools and colleges therefore achieves constitutional secularism. Therefore Fundamental rights cannot be claimed against School Uniforms. Therefore, The Karnataka High Court ruled, “We are of the considered opinion that the prescription of the school uniform is only a reasonable restriction constitutionally permissible, which the students cannot object to.”

Judicial Review – Essential Religious Practice
The hon’ble Supreme Court and High Courts have ample time interpreted the law regarding religious beliefs and practice of religion, however, every time the courts might have opined in different way but all the opinions are based on same foundation called “ Essential Religious Practice The Hon’ble Supreme Court first discussed the concept of ‘Essential Religious Practice’ in the case of Commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras v. Shri Lakshmidar Thirtha Swamiyar of Shri Shirur Mutt AIR 1954 SC 282. In the said case, the Supreme Court distinguished ‘secular practices’ from ‘religious practices’ and held that the latter alone is protected by article 25 of the Constitution. The ‘religious practice’ must be essential to the religion itself.
The Supreme Court further elaborated that the Essential part of a religion means the core beliefs upon which a religion is founded. Essential practice, in a religion, means those practices that are fundamental. It is on these essential practices that the superstructure of the religion is built on without which any religion will be no religion. The test to determine whether a part or practice is essential to a religion is to find out whether the nature of the religion will be changed without that practice. If the taking away of that part or practice could result in a fundamental change in the character of that religion or in its belief, then such part could be treated as an essential or integral part.
In order to understand whether the practice of wearing a Hijab satisfies the test of Essential Religious Practice, it is important to further study the judicial developments in this regard.
In the case of Javed and Ors. v/s State of Haryana and Ors. (2003) 8 SCC 369, a challenge was laid to the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act disqualifying anyone with more than 2 living children from holding specified offices in the Panchayat. The Petitioner, a Muslim by faith, submitted, amongst other grounds, that his personal laws permitted him performance of marriages with up to 4 women for the purpose of procreating children and restriction thereof would violate Art 25 of the Constitution of India. The Hon’ble Supreme Court held that such a protection can be claimed only if the same forms an Essential Religious Practice. The Hon’ble Court further held that what is permitted or prohibited does not become a positive tenet of a religion and that a practice does not acquire sanction simply because it is permitted. The Hon’ble Court concluded by holding that the same can be regulated or prohibited by Legislation in the interest of public order, morality, and health.
In the case of Khursheed Ahmed Khan v/s State of UP and Ors. (2015) 8 SCC 439 the Supreme Court affirmed the principle propounded in the Javed Ali case (supra.). In the instant case, the Petitioner challenged the UP Government Servants’ Service Conduct Rules, 1956 that provided for removal of government servants for proven misconduct of contracting another marriage during the subsistence of an already existing one. The challenge to the rule by the Petitioner was that it was permissible for Muslims to enter into marriage with 4 women and as such the said service rules violated his Fundamental Rights under Article 25 of the Constitution of India. The Hon’ble Supreme Court while referring to a plethora of judgements including the Javed Case (supra.), negatived the plea and held that Art 25 was subject to public order, morality, and health and further went on to hold that polygamy was not an integral part of the religion and monogamy was a reform within the powers of the State under Art 25 of the Constitution of India. Holding so, the Hon’ble Court dismissed the Petition and upheld the service rule
To conclude with the issue of Hijab will have to undergo the test of ‘Essential Practice of Religion’. And in such case I feel the issue has very little chances of recognizing Hijab as ‘Essential religious Practice’ and if the petitioners fail to convince the court, it would then, remain as religious practice but not essential religious practice.

(Author is columnist and practicing advocate at Bombay High Court)

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Allahabad High Court Quashes POSCO Case: If Husband/Accused Is Convicted Then Victim/Wife’s Future Would Be Ruined

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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.

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SC likely to hear next month pleas related to Article 370

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SC to hear Manoj Tiwari’s plea on firecracker

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.

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