Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: A Bench of Dhiraj Singh Thakur, J. allowed a petition involving suit for pre-emption.  The controversy arose from a suit for pre-emption filed by the respondent who was the plaintiff before the Trial Court. The suit was dismissed by the Trial Court, however, in the first appeal, the plaintiff/appellant succeeded. The miscellaneous appeal thus came to be filed by defendants/petitioners in terms of Order 43, Rule 1(U) of the Code of Civil Procedure, which was also dismissed.

The facts of the case revolve around the compliance of Section 18 of the Jammu & Kashmir Right of Prior Purchase Act, 1993 where it is provided that if any person proposes to sell any agricultural land or village immovable property or urban immovable property, or to foreclose the right to redeem any village immovable property, or urban immovable property, in respect of which any person have a right of prior purchase, he may give notice to all such persons of the price at which he proposes to sell such land or property, or of the amount due in respect of mortgage, as the case may be. The aforesaid section further envisaged that notice shall be given through any Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction such land or property is situated.

A coordinate Bench of this Court came to the conclusion that the provisions of Section 18 of the Act had not been complied with. The appellate court held that any offer made by the seller without the offered price would be a failure on the part of the seller to comply with the requirement of the service in terms of Section 18 of the Act.

Counsel for the petitioners urged that the right of pre-emption was a weak right, as a universally accepted principle of law in the jurisprudence of the pre-emption laws.

The Court allowed the petition.  [Mohd. Amin v. Krishan Lal, 2018 SCC OnLine J&K 1043, Order dated 27-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: A Single Judge Bench of Karuna Nand Bajpayee, J., dismissed an application filed seeking the quashing of summoning order and the entire complaint which was pending in the court of Special Judge.

The question under determination was the testimonial worth of prosecution evidence. The veracity and credibility of material furnished on behalf of the prosecution was questioned and false implication had been pleaded.

The High Court relying on a plethora of cases observed that the cases where the allegations made against the accused or the evidence collected by the Investigating Officer do not constitute any offence or where the allegations are absurd or extremely improbable impossible to believe or where prosecution is legally barred or where criminal proceeding is malicious and malafide instituted with ulterior motive of grudge and vengeance alone may be the fit cases for the High Court in which the criminal proceedings may be quashed. However, in the present case on perusal of record, the Court found a prima facie case established against the accused and therefore declined to quash the complaint. [Anil v. State of U.P., 2018 SCC OnLine All 3366, decided on 01-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench comprising of V.K. Tahilramani, Acting CJ (as he then was) and M.S. Sonak, J. declined bail to the applicant who was a convict for an offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.

The applicant was convicted for murdering her husband. The murder occurred as the applicant was having an illicit affair with the co-accused. She was before the Court seeking bail. It is pertinent to note that earlier as well the applicant had preferred a bail application which was rejected.

Priyal G. Sarda, Advocate for the applicant submitted that there was no eyewitness to the incident and only evidence against her was of recovery. However, during recovery, the applicant was handcuffed and therefore such recovery can’t be taken into consideration. This was opposed by G.P. Mulekar, Additional Public Prosecutor for the State.

The High Court relied on Putlabai Bhimashankar Pattan v. State of Maharashtra, 2010 SCC OnLine Bom 685 wherein it was observed, “…handcuffing a person by itself cannot be a reason to generalize the hypothesis that such a discovery cannot be reliable”. In view thereof, the Court held that there was no substance in applicant’s submission. Furthermore, no fresh ground was brought before the Court to necessitate reconsideration of applicant’s prayer for bail. Therefore, the application was rejected. [Poonam Bhagwatiprasad Gandhi v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine Bom 7283, decided on 30-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Orissa High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of A.K. Rath, J., dismissed the petition under Article 227 of the Constitution which challenged the order by the Addl. Senior Civil Judge, Puri whereby the trial court allowed the application of the plaintiff under Order 18 Rule 1 CPC and directed the defendants to begin first.

The plaintiff instituted the suit for partition. The defendants filed a written statement stating that the said property was renovated and developed by their father and after the death of their father, they became the exclusive owners of the suit property. The plaintiff thereafter filed an application under Order 18 Rule 1 CPC for a direction to the defendants to begin first. Defendants filed an objection to the same. The trial court allowed the application. This gave rise to the question that hinged for consideration that as to whether the defendants shall begin first?

The Court, while relying on the case of Rama Krushna Mohanty v. Bala Krushna Mohanty,2017 SCC OnLine Ori 450, and on Order 18 Rule 1 CPC, held that the defendants should begin first. Only when the defendants lead some evidence in proof of their case, the plaintiff shall be obliged to lead evidence in rebuttal. [Shradhamani Panda v. Chintamani Panda,2018 SCC OnLine Ori 420, decided on 19-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of R.K. Gauba, J. directed partial retrial of a case while disposing of an appeal filed against the order of conviction and sentence awarded to the appellant by the trial court.

The appellant was alleged to have committed an offence of penetrative sexual assault on a ten-year-old child. He was sentenced and convicted by the trial court under Section 376(i)(2) IPC and Section of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. This was challenged by the appellant pleading that he was falsely implicated in the case and the charge against him was not proved.

The High Court perused the record and noted that a crucial witness in the case—- Dr Pallavi, the medical examiner who prepared MLC report of the victim– was not examined by the prosecution. It was noted that summons were sent for Dr Pallavi to appear in Court as a witness but in the summons, the court itself gave liberty to the hospital concerned to send some other doctor in place of Dr Pallavi in case she had left services of the hospital. Subsequently, some other doctor appeared before the court only for the purpose of proving Dr Pallavi’s handwriting and signature. As a matter of fact, there was no examination or cross-examination of the crucial witness. This course was not approved by the High Court as it may lead to a serious miscarriage of justice. It was held,

“No doubt, the prosecution may rely on the evidence of an alternative witness if the witness earlier cited has become unavailable or her presence cannot be secured without unreasonable delay. But the suggestion for alternative witness cannot come from the Court on assumption that the witness may not be readily available, not the least without an attempt being made to reach out to such witness.”

Consequently, the conviction and sentence awarded to the appellant was set aside and the case was remanded back to the trial court directing that Dr Pallavi shall be summoned for examination. [Santosh Kumar v. State, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 12727, decided on 19-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Vimla Singh Kapoor, J. dismissed a revision petition on account of it lacking substance.

The complainant had accused the respondent of harassing her for not bringing sufficient dowry after some time of the marriage for which she was deprived of food and clothing by the respondents even though household items were given at the time of marriage. Further after the birth of their child a new list altogether was demanded dowry. Subsequently, the case was brought before the High Court but finding no force in the complaint, the respondent was acquitted for which the present revision petition lies.

After analyzing the facts and evidences, it wasn’t clear as to after how many years the harassment started rather from the statement of the mother of the complainant she seemed to spent the initial years happily at her matrimonial home along with the fact that the cousin of the complainant was married in the same family yet she showed no similar signs. Also in order to settle the dispute, a village meeting was called but none of the witnesses was examined on record and what was pertinent to note was the fact that first an application for maintenance was made followed by a complaint for cruelty and harassment about a month thereafter which further weakened her case. Accordingly, the revision petition was dismissed for being exaggerated.[Sangeeta Bai Nishad v. Manoj Kumar,2018 SCC OnLine Chh 659, order dated 27-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: A Division Judge Bench comprising of Sharad Kumar Sharma and Sudhanshu Dhulia, JJ. declared that denial of cruelty by the lower court was erred on illogical interpretations.

The appellant has appealed against the orders of the family court on the denial for the grant of divorce and permanent alimony under Section 25 of the of Hindu Marriage Act. She has claimed that respondent under the influence of alcohol misbehaved with her by inflicting mental cruelty along with his absence both as a husband and father with the appellant and her child. She also pleaded an attempt to force sodomy upon her by the respondent.

The Court stated that inferences were drawn from facts which in itself cannot be taken as a proof against the statements of the appellant and thus was not an analogical and judicial inference rendered by the lower court. Also in the written statement the respondent had not specifically denied his act of misbehaving in an intoxicated condition. The most important point for consideration was that sodomy was something a wife would never plead against the husband to allege cruelty and therefore shall be weighed substantially. Accordingly, the act of cruelty stood established plus the appellant was also granted the permanent alimony.[Suman Lata Panwar v. Ajay Singh, F.A. No. 77 of 2013, order dated 15-11-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

“Motor Vehicles Act is a beneficial piece of legislation enacted to give solace to the victims of the motor accident who suffer bodily injury or die untimely.”

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of A.M. Sapre and Indu Malhotra, JJ. allowed the present appeal filed against the decision of Rajasthan High Court whereby the appeal of the claimants was dismissed and award  by Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (Jaipur) was affirmed.

In the present case, the deceased was travelling in a passenger bus to a place called ‘Chomu’ and when the bus reached Chomu, a truck which was going towards Jaipur came on a high speed and dashed against the bus. Deceased sustained grevious injuries resulting in instant death which led to the filing of an FIR. Further, the incident gave rise to initiation of criminal and civil proceedings.

Proceeding were initiated before the civil court, filed by the appellants (claimants) against the Insurance Company (Respondent 1), driver (Respondent 2) and owner of the offending truck (Respondent 3) under Section 166 Motor Vehicles Act before MACT claiming to award reasonable compensation for loss on account of untimely death of the deceased, their only bread earner. Appellants along with the claim petition had filed all the requisite documents against the driver. Tribunal had dismissed the appellants claim petition stating that claimants failed to prove the accident for want of evidence and the one adduced was not exhibited and hence was of no use. Aggrieved by the same, the claimants approached the Rajasthan High Court wherein their appeal was dismissed and therefore filing of the present appeal in Supreme Court arose.

The Bench gave a seven pointer reasoning on the issue by adding that the High Court while dismissing the appeal simply affirmed the award of the Tribunal without assigning any reason. In Court’s opinion, “ non-exhibition of the said document was nothing but a procedural lapse, which could not be made basis to reject the claim petition.” Thus, the Court while stating that “if the Court did not exhibit the documents despite the appellants referring them at the time of recording evidence then in such event, the appellants cannot be denied of their right to claim compensation on such ground.” Appellants were held entitled to claim Rs 11,27,920 by way of compensation from the respondents jointly and severally. [Vimla Devi v. National Insurance Co. Ltd.,2018 SCC OnLine SC 2458, decided on 16-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sanjay Kumar, J. while hearing an appeal against dismissal of application for setting aside decree of trial court in a title suit, ruled that consideration of a case and rendering of a decision must be based on appreciation of all the facts, materials and evidence on record.

Petitioner had filed a title suit against respondent for specific performance of the contract which was decreed ex-parte. Respondent’s application to set aside the said decree was dismissed in default. Thereafter, she filed a miscellaneous case for the restoration of her application on the ground that she could not appear before the trial court for several months on account of her illness. A medical certificate in support of her contention was annexed with her pleadings.

The petitioner contended that the parties were litigating in another case where the respondent was appearing continuously and as such her claim of illness was false and the medical certificate had been procured fraudulently from the doctor.

The High Court noted that the trial court had not considered the witness accounts and the documents filed by appellant and respondent and the case had been allowed without proper appreciation of materials on record. The only document considered by court was the medical certificate which showed that the respondent was suffering from jaundice. The trial court had neither discussed the oral evidence of parties nor the other relevant documents on record for deciding the issues involved in the matter.

In view of the above, the instant petition was allowed and trial court’s order dismissing respondent’s application was set aside. The matter was remitted to trial court for disposing of the application after due consideration of oral and documentary evidence adduced on behalf of both the parties. [Gopal Mahto v. Shyama Devi,2018 SCC OnLine Pat 1907, decided on 11-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sureshwar Thakur, J., dismissed this petition where an application for production of document relied on by respondent was in question.

Facts of the case were that respondent, landlord of the petitioner had filed a petition seeking eviction of tenant/petitioner on the ground that the property is bonafidely required by respondent for personal use. During the pendency of rent petition respondent filed an application under Order 7, Rule 14 (3) of the Civil Procedure Code where a report prepared by a Civil Engineer was produced. Petitioner had approached this court aggrieved by the order of Rent Controller where respondent’s application as mentioned above was accepted. Petitioner contended that the documents submitted under the application was a report made after the institution of rent petition and was not existing before filing of the rent petition as it should have been under the provision. 

The High Court was of the view that the document submitted was an expert report which rather falls under Section 45 of the Evidence Act. The fact that there are no provisos under Order 7 Rule 14 barring opinion of an expert, the same can be permitted as an evidence even when it came into light subsequent, to, the institution of the petition. Therefore, the Court granted leave for tendering the report as evidence which is just and essential for the controversy in the rent petition and affirmed the impugned order. [Suman Bala v. Rakesh Sood,2018 SCC OnLine HP 1462, decided on 28-09-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The petition had been filed before a Single Judge Bench comprising of Anjani Kumar Mishra, J., from the proceeding going on under Section 34 of the Land Revenue Act, for mutation. This order of mutation was filed by Tehsildar in favour of respondent. Petitioner contended that the above order was passed ex-parte in a restoration application which was rejected by Tehsildar.

Petitioner aggrieved by the rejection of the restoration application filed a revision petition before Additional Commissioner which was allowed. Later, the order which rejected the recall application and order of mutation was set aside. The restoration application reveals that petitioner claimed to be the second wife of one Bhunesh after whose death the mutation proceedings were filed. It was found that petitioner failed to show that she was the second wife of Bhunesh thus her restoration application was rejected.

The High Court observed that the order in question seemed perverse where petitioner failed to provide evidence to establish her position as the second wife. Court was of the view that this matter requires consideration and the matter was disposed of. [Mamta v. State of U.P.,2018 SCC OnLine All 1784, dated 05-10-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench comprising of G.S. Sistani and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, JJ. dismissed an appeal challenging the admission of an unsigned document in the Family Court.

The complaint of the appellant was that an unsigned document in the absence of original being available was exhibited in the Family Court. PW-2, Inspector concerned, had admitted in her cross-examination that the document (copy of the closure report) did not contain her signatures. The appellant submitted that Section 14 or 20 of the Family Courts Act would not be applicable to the instant case.

The High Court was of the view that the appellant’s submission had no force. In her, examination-in-chief, PW-2 categorically deposed that the said document was a photocopy of the report which was prepared and typed by her. She testified that it was correct that the said copy of the closure report was not signed by her but ordinarily such reports are signed and admitted and the original may contain her signatures. Furthermore, reading Section 14 made it clear that the Family Court may receive as evidence any report, statement, documents, information or matter that may in its opinion assist it to deal effectively with the dispute. In the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court held that it was not correct to say that the closure report was false and fabricated. No infirmity was found in the order impugned. Resultantly, the appeal was dismissed. [Sangeeta Gera v. Sanjeev Gera,2018 SCC OnLine Del 11675, dated 16-08-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Mukta Gupta, J. allowed an appeal filed against the order of the trial court whereby the appellant was convicted for an offence punishable under Section 21(c) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

The prosecution case was that one Romy (co-accused) was apprehended by the police while supplying contraband substance. Case property (46 grams of the contraband substance) was recovered from him. On Romy’s revealing that he is supplied the said contraband from the appellant, he was also apprehended. Case property (105 grams of the contraband substance) was also recovered from the appellant. The appellant was tried and convicted by the trial court as mentioned above. Aggrieved by the same, the appellant filed the instant appeal.

The High Court perused the record and found that as per the malkhana register, the alleged recovery of case properties from the two accused was deposited at the same time on 23 August 2012. However, the recovery from Romy had already been made on the previous day, i.e. 22 August 2012. In view of the Court, the contradiction with respect to deposit the case properties in malkhana pursuant to the two recoveries goes to the root of the matter. The same creates serious doubt in the link evidence that the case properties were kept in safe custody and were not tampered with. In such circumstances, the Court held that the appellant was entitled to benefit of doubt. The appeal was allowed and the convict was acquitted of the offence. [Earnest v. State (NCT of Delhi), Crl. A. 1112 of 2016, dated 27-8-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: N.V. Ramana, J., delivered the judgment for himself and S. Abdul Nazeer, J., dismissing the appeal filed against the decision of Patna High Court affirming the conviction and sentence awarded to the appellant by the trial court.

The appellant along with other co-accused was convicted under Section 396 IPC. Allegations against them were that they committed dacoity in the house of Kamdeo Singh and assaulting his family members while committing the act. One Kameshwar Singh, father-in-law of Kamdeo, succumbed to such injuries. The judgment of conviction and order of sentence passed by the trial court was affirmed by the High Court. Aggrieved thus, the appellant preferred the instant appeal.

The Supreme Court heard the parties and perused the record. The appellant had contended, inter alia, that there was no test identification parade which vitiated the prosecution case. Rejecting the contention, the Court, observed that test identification parade is not a substantive evidence. Its purpose is only to help the investigating agency ascertain as to whether the investigation in the case is heading in the right direction or not. There is no provision in CrPC which obliges the investigating agency to hold or confer a right on the accused to claim a test identification parade. Absence to hold it would not make inadmissible the evidence of identification in court. For such and other reasons, the Court dismissed the appeal filed by the convict-appellant. The impugned order was upheld. [Raju Manjhi v. State of Bihar,2018 SCC OnLine SC 778, decided on 02-08-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of Abhay Manohar Sapre and UU Lalit, JJ. allowed a criminal appeal filed against the judgment passed by Punjab and Haryana High Court whereby it affirmed the appellant’s conviction for offences punishable under Section 21(c) read with Section 29  of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

The appellant was convicted for the abovesaid offences in a criminal case registered on recovery of 3.99 kg of contraband substance-heroin from a white coloured Indica car on interception by Revenue Intelligence Officer at Hoshiarpur-Garhshankar road. The trial court convicted the appellant which  was confirmed by the High Court. It is pertinent to note that the appellant was specifically named by the co-accused Ram Kumar. Apart from such statement, nothing was brought on record to indicate the involvement of the appellant. Counsel for the appellant submitted that he was neither arrested at the site nor was the contraband material in any way associated with him. On such contention, the decision of the High Court was impugned in the instant appeal.

The Supreme Court proceeded on the footing that the statements of the co-accused were recorded under Section 67 of the Act, and on the premise that they amount to confession. It was observed that even on such a premise, certain additional features must be established before such a confessional statement could be relied upon against a co-accused. There is no specific provision in the Act making such a confession admissible against a co-accused. The Court relied on Hari Charan Kurmi v. State of Bihar, (1964) 6 SCR 623 to hold that a confessional statement of a co-accused cannot by itself be taken as a substantive piece of evidence against another co-accused and can at best be utilized in order to lend assurance to the Court. In the absence of any substantive evidence, it would be inappropriate to base the conviction of the appellant purely on the statements of a co-accused. In the present case, the conviction having been based solely on the confession of the co-accused, the Court was of the view that the appellant was entitled to be acquitted. Therefore, the appeal was allowed and the impugned order was set aside. [Surinder Kumar Khanna v. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence,2018 SCC OnLine SC 757, dated 31-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Manish Pitale, J., reversed the judgment of the trial court where the appellant was convicted for an offence punishable under Section 376 IPC and sentenced to 5 years of rigorous imprisonment.

The appellant was accused of committing forcible sexual intercourse on the prosecutrix on two occasions by which she became pregnant. It was alleged that the appellant sexually abused the prosecutrix on a certain day, and after that again when the prosecutrix went to his home to watch television while he was alone. The said incidents were disclosed by the prosecutrix to her mother after she became pregnant, and an FIR was registered against the appellant. The appellant denied the allegations, but the trial court convicted him under Section 376. The appellant contended that the prosecutrix was pregnant with the child of her cousin with whom she stayed for 5-6 months. It was submitted that the appellant was falsely implicated in the case.

The High Court perused the record and found the conviction of the appellant to be unsustainable. It was noted that the conviction was based solely on the evidence of the prosecutrix. There were discrepancies in her statement. She told her mother that the appellant committed the act forcibly, while the doctor was told that it was committed on false pretext of marriage. Further, it was admitted by her that she had a cousin of same age as alleged by the appellant. In such circumstances, and on categorical stand of the appellant that he was falsely implicated, the Court held that the Investigating Officer ought to have conducted DNA test of the girl child born to the prosecutrix, for ascertaining her paternity. In absence of clear proof against the appellant, the High Court set aside the impugned judgment. The appeal was, thus, allowed. [Ganesh Pralhad Sontakke v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine Bom 1795, dated 25-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Ajay Mohan Goel, J. dismissed a petition filed against the order of trial court whereby petitioner’s application under Order 10 Rules 9 and 10A CPC was rejected.

In the abovesaid application, the petitioner had prayed to the court that a revenue expert be appointed to prepare excerpt and to report the history of the suit land as per pedigree table, as in its absence, the petitioner won’t be able to prove his case. Trial court rejected the application holding that it was for the petitioner to prove his case by leading his own evidence. Aggrieved thus, the petitioner filed the instant petition.

The High Court found no merit in the petition. It noted that the suit was filed somewhere in 2008; issues were framed and evidence was led. It was at that stage of hearing that the said application was filed. The Court observed that before ordering any investigation under the said rules, the court has to be satisfied that the same shall be necessary for the purpose of adjudication. Further, in the present case, the matter being a property dispute, the onus was on the petitioner to prove his case. Neither scientific investigation was required, nor the court deemed a local investigation necessary for the purpose of elucidating evidence. The Court also observed that it is not a right conferred upon a party to call upon the court to order an investigation. Accordingly, the petition was found sans merit and was dismissed. [Rajinder Singh v. Ran Singh,2018 SCC OnLine HP 889, dated 18-07-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: R. Banumathi, J. speaking for herself and Ranjan Gogoi, J. dismissed a criminal appeal filed against the judgment of the Bombay High Court wherein the order of the trial court acquitting the appellants from the charges including Section 302 IPC was reversed.

According to the prosecution, the appellants and the deceased/prosecution witnesses were members of different political parties. On a fateful day, the appellants being armed with deadly weapons like sword, knife, motorcycle chain, etc., came to the house of the deceased; attacked him; and the deceased succumbed to injuries. The trial court rejected the evidence of all the witnesses on one count or another and acquitted the appellants. However, on appeal, the High Court reversed the order of the trial court and convicted the appellants under Sections 147, 148, 302 read with Section 149 IPC. This judgment was challenged by the appellants.

For adjudicating the matter, the Supreme Court carefully considered the record and discussed the witness evidence in detail. Following points of law are discernible from the discussion of the Hon’ble Court:

  • Witness evidence cannot be disbelieved simply because he did not react in a particular manner, each person reacts in his own way.
  • Relationship with the deceased is not, by itself, a ground for affecting the credibility of a witness.
  • FIR is not an encyclopedia which is expected to contain all the details of the prosecution case. It is not be rejected unless there are indications of fabrication in the FIR.

Further, on perusal of the record, the Court found that witness evidence was corroborated by the medical evidence and also by the recovery of weapons from the accused. It was observed that on an appeal against the acquittal, the paramount consideration is to avoid a miscarriage of justice. The Court was of the view that High Court correctly held that the trial court did not appreciate the evidence properly and its findings were perverse; the High Court was right in reversing the order of the trial court. Accordingly, conviction of the appellants was confirmed and the appeals were dismissed. [Motiram Padu Joshi v. State of Maharashtra,2018 SCC OnLine SC 676, decided on 10-07-2018]

Foreign CourtsNews

US District Court for Northern District of Texas: A federal court presided by Ed Kinkeade, J. halved the amount of USD 500 million that was to be paid by Facebook Inc. and others to ZeniMax Media Inc., a video game publisher. The Court also turned down ZeniMax’s request for the ban on sale and promotion of products by ‘Oculus’- virtual reality unit of Facebook. In 2014, Oculus (bought by Facebook for about USD 2 billion) was sued by ZeniMax alleging it of stealing trade secrets while developing a headset and violating copyright. In 2017, a US Jury in Dallas found that Oculus used ZeniMax’s computer code to launch ‘Oculus Rift’-VR headset; and ordered Facebook, Oculus, and others to pay a combined USD 500 mn to ZeniMax. Kinkeade, J., in his order, said that USD 250 mn ordered against Oculus and its co-founders for false designation lacked sufficient evidence for damages. Holding thus, the Court halved the amount to be paid by Facebook, Oculus, and others.

[Source: Reuters]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: A criminal appeal filed against the order of conviction and sentence passed by the trial court was dismissed by a Division Bench comprising of H.C. Mishra and B.B. Mangalmurti, JJ.

The appellants were accused of assaulting one Mata Sinku and causing his death. The appellants were charged under Section 302 IPC. They were convicted and sentenced of the said offence by the learned trial judge. The appellants contended that their conviction was based only on the testimonies of related witnesses, being the brother, wife and daughter of the deceased. Challenging the admissibility of such evidence, the appellants assailed the order of the trial court.

The High Court considered the submissions made on behalf of the appellants only to reject them. The Court held that the witnesses in the case, although being the brother, mother, and daughter of the deceased, were the only natural witnesses as the incident took place late at night outside their house. Further, the case of the prosecution was also supported by the brother of one of the appellants. The Court held that only because the witnesses were related to the deceased, that fact by itself does not render their evidence to be inadmissible, especially when they were the natural witnesses to the incident. Therefore, the High Court held that there was no infirmity in the order passed by the trial court. The appeals were accordingly dismissed. [Binod Sinku v. State of Jharkhand, 2018 SCC OnLine Jhar 360, dated 17-05-2018]