Cases Reported in 2015 SCC Vol. 5 May 21, 2015 Part 1

  • Information Technology Act, 2000 — Ss. 66-A, 69-A and 79 — Constitutionality: While an informed citizenry is a precondition for meaningful governance, the culture of open dialogue is generally of great societal importance. The ultimate truth is evolved by “free trade in ideas” in a competitive “marketplace of ideas”. S. 66-A of Information Technology Act, 2000 ropes in all kinds of information disseminated over internet regardless of content of information and irrespective of whether the same falls within realm of discussion or advocacy causing only annoyance, inconvenience, etc. to some (which is permissible), or the same causes incitement leading to imminent causal connection with any of eight subject-matters contained in Art. 19(2) of the Constitution (which is not permissible). S. 66-A affects right of people to know, thus is violative of Art. 19(1)(a) and not saved by Art. 19(2) of the Constitution, hence, struck down in its entirety. Shreya Singhal v. Union of India, (2015) 5 SCC 1

  • Penal Code, 1860 — S. 304-A — Causing death by negligence: There is nonchalant attitude among Indian drivers, driving in a rash and negligent manner (whether in drunken state or not) or youthful adventurous enthusiasm, as if there are no traffic rules or no discipline of law. Nobody should ever get oblivious of fact that in such accidents precious lives are lost or victims who survive are crippled for life, which is worse than death. Hence, there is an urgent need to scrutinise, relook at and revisit sentencing policy under S. 304-A of Penal Code. State of Punjab v. Saurabh Bakshi, (2015) 5 SCC 182

  • Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 — Ss. 357 and 357-A — Compensation to victims of offence: Apart from sentence and fine/compensation to be paid by accused, court has to award compensation to be paid by the State under S. 357-A when the accused is not in a position to pay fair compensation. State of M.P. v. Mehtaab, (2015) 5 SCC 197

  • Penal Code, 1860 — S. 304-B — Dowry death: To attract conviction under S. 304-B, prosecution should adduce evidence to show that “soon before her death”, deceased victim was subjected to cruelty or harassment. There must always be a proximate and live link between effects of cruelty based on dowry demand and death concerned. Major Singh v. State of Punjab, (2015) 5 SCC 201 

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