2016 SCC Vol. 3 April 14, 2016 Part 5

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Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — S. 357-A — Compensation to victims of acid attack — Quantum and manner of disbursal: Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India directed to coordinate with States/UTs to give effect to S. 357-A CrPC, in particular, with reference to acid attack victims. Central Government and State Governments also directed to consider making appropriate provision for regulation of sale of acids so that it is not easily or readily available to offenders. [Laxmi v. Union of India, (2016) 3 SCC 669]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21, 32 and 141 — PIL — Rape of young girl children: When statutory provision regarding rape of minor girls and punishment therefor exists under S. 376(2)(i) IPC, Court can neither enhance punishment so provided nor can it create a new offence and prescribe punishment in that regard. This is a legislative function and Court can only make suggestions to legislature. Having regard to increasing incidents of rape of girl children, observed, in present social situation, Parliament should define “child” in context of rape by prescribing upper age limit, may be, of ten years so as to distinguish girl children from minors generally [falling within expression “woman when she is under 16 yrs of age” under S. 376(2)(i) IPC] and providing for more severe punishment for those committing rape on girl children. [Supreme Court Women Lawyers Assn. (SCWLA) v. Union of India, (2016) 3 SCC 680]

Consumer Protection — Consumer Forums: When first complaint was dismissed for default or non-prosecution, second complaint on the same facts and cause of action, maintainable in the absence of any rule similar to Or. 9 R. 9(1) CPC. [Indian Machinery Co. v. Ansal Housing & Construction Ltd., (2016) 3 SCC 689]

Ancient and Protected Monuments, Art and Antiquities — Administration, Conservation, Maintenance, Refurbishment, Alteration, etc. of Monuments: For protection of Tughlakabad Fort, directions issued for monitoring and compliance of earlier orders of Supreme Court directing that there would not be any further construction in Tughlakabad Fort. [S.N. Bhardwaj v. Archaeological Survey of India, (2016) 3 SCC 691]

Constitution of India — Arts. 21, 32 and 226 — Human dignity — Prison reforms: Prisoners like all human beings deserve to be treated with dignity. Prisoners face double handicap as most prisoners belong to weaker sections and their voices are inaudible. They cannot take recourse to legal remedies for their release. Thus prison reforms should be sincerely and effectively implemented. [Inhuman Conditions In 1382 Prisons, In Rr, (2016) 3 SCC 700]

Penal Code, 1860 — Ss. 498-A and 506 r/w Ss. 3/4, DP Act, 1951 — Allegation of dowry demand and harassment: As there was absence of clear allegations levelled by R-2 (wife) against A-4 to A-6 (married sisters of husband) and only two occasions of graha pravesh and naming ceremony of R-2’s daughter when they had visited her matrimonial home, which were occasions of celebration and not where they harassed R-2, proceedings under Ss. 498-A & 506 IPC r/w Ss. 3/4, DP Act, directed to be concluded expeditiously against A-1 to A-3 (husband and his parents), but quashed against A-4 to A-6 (married sisters of husband). [Ram Saran Varshney v. State of U.P., (2016) 3 SCC 724]

Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 321, 362 and 91 — Withdrawal of application for withdrawal from prosecution — Permissibility: At stage when Public Prosecutor/Additional Public Prosecutor (PP/APP) only files application for withdrawal from prosecution and does not move it for being put up for hearing and decision by court, if PP/APP on reappreciation of entire facts intends to withdraw his earlier application for withdrawal from prosecution, he would be entitled to do so by filing an application, written or even oral, without requiring to convince court in that regard as court has no role in such situation. Application to not press for withdrawal from prosecution cannot be treated as one for review under S. 362. Accused persons cannot be allowed to contest application to not press for withdrawal from prosecution and file documents by taking recourse of S. 91. They have no role at this stage. [V.L.S. Finance Ltd. v. S.P. Gupta, (2016) 3 SCC 736]

Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 — Ss. 13, 14, 34, 35 and 37 — Person in possession of secured asset as a lessee/tenant of borrower, where lessee/tenancy is created prior to mortgage: Provisions of SARFAESI Act cannot be used to override the provisions of Rent Control Act. Whereas SARFAESI Act has been enacted by Parliament with a laudable object to provide a smooth and efficient recovery procedure to enable banks to recover non-performing assets, various Rent Control Acts have been enacted by different State Legislatures (including the one involved herein) with a laudable object to control and regulate the rate of rent so as to avoid unnecessary hardships to tenants and to provide protection to tenants against their arbitrary and unreasonable evictions from tenanted property. Once tenancy is created, tenant can be evicted only after following the due process of law as prescribed by Rent Control Act. He cannot be arbitrarily evicted by using provisions of SARFAESI Act as that would amount to stultifying the statutory rights of protection given to tenant. A non obstante clause i.e. S. 35 of SARFAESI Act cannot be used to bulldoze the statutory rights vested on tenants under Rent Control Act. Expression “any other law for the time being in force” as appearing in S. 35 of SARFAESI Act cannot be extended to each and every law enacted by Central and State Legislatures. It can only extend to laws operating in same field. [Vishal N. Kalsaria v. Bank of India, (2016) 3 SCC 762]

Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 — Ss. 2(c)(viii), 2(b), 13(1)(d) and 13(2) — Public servant — Who is: Chairman/Managing Director or Executive Director of a private bank operating under licence issued by RBI under Banking Regulation Act, 1949, holds an office and performs public duty so as to attract definition of “public servant” for the purpose of PC Act, 1988. However, such accused person cannot be said to be “public servant” within the meaning of S. 21 IPC, as offence under S. 409 IPC may not get attracted. [CBI v. Ramesh Gelli, (2016) 3 SCC 788]

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