Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Bench of V.M. Deshpande, J. upheld the judgment of Additional Sessions Judge convicting the appellants for the offences punishable under Section 376(g), 506 and 34 of IPC.

Prosecution Case

On 8-12-2004, appellants came to the house of the victim where she resided with her husband and 2 children. They consumed liquor with her husband. When they were going to bring more liquor, the victim did not allow them. The appellants went away but after some time came back and started knocking the house door while threatening to kill victim’s husband. By this time, her husband felt asleep under influence of liquor. Afraid, the victim ran out of the house from the back door. The appellants caught her and took her to a secluded place where they committed forcible sexual intercourse on her against her will.

Trial Court’s decision and appellant’s challenge

The appellants were charge-sheeted for the above-mentioned offences and after appreciating the evidence, the trial court convicted them under the charges framed. S.S. Rao with C.R. Thakur, Advocates representing the appellants before the High Court challenged trial court’s judgment on various grounds. Much capital was made by the counsels to distrust the victim in absence of any injury on her private part.

Judgment of the High Court

After perusing the entire material available on record, the Court found no infirmity in the trial court’s judgment. All contentions raised on behalf of the appellants were rejected. Referring specifically to the ground of absence of injury, the court expressly observed, ” The marriage of the victim took place prior to 15 years and she is having two grown-up children aged 13 and 10 years. In light of this fact, one cannot expect injuries on vagina even if there is forcible sexual intercourse.”

On re-appreciation of the entire case, the Court dismissed the appeal. The conviction of appellants was upheld and sentence of 10 years imprisonment was confirmed. [Viru v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 68, dated 07-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Karnataka High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Dinesh Maheshwari CJ and S. Sujatha, J. declined to exercise PIL jurisdiction in petition filed by residents of Kottur Town Panchayath challenging approval for construction of town panchayath building on a land.

Mr N. Shankarayana Bhat, counsel on behalf of the petitioners, placed reliance on the Record of Rights (RTC) and submitted that the subject land was reserved for public purpose and specifically shown as ‘park and overhead water tank’ in revenue records. It was submitted that the order granting approval for construction of new panchayath building in that land was not as per procedure prescribed under Section 306 of the Karnataka Municipalities Act, 1964 and as such unsustainable in law.

Learned counsel Mr M.V. Hiremath, appearing on behalf of respondent, refuted the contentions of petitioner and submitted that the subject land was purchased by respondent for constructing town panchayath office and water tank, and RTC records clearly depicted the land to be for official buildings and water tank.

The Court noted that the subject land was purchased by respondent through a registered sale deed for constructing panchayath building and water tank. However, mistakenly, the RTC extracts reflected purpose of land as ‘park and water tank’. The said mistake was corrected on respondent’s representation and that order remained unchallenged. The said order, having attained finality, petitioner could not seek liberty to maintain a park in the subject land.

It was further held that Section 306 of the Act is applicable only if Deputy Commissioner is of the opinion that execution of any order or resolution of a town municipal council is unlawful, or is likely to cause injury/ annoyance to public, or lead to a breach of peace.

Since the proposal to use subject land for building panchayath office and water tank did not militate against public interest, the petition was dismissed.[K.S. Iswara Goud v. Town Panchayath, Kottur, 2018 SCC OnLine Kar 2705, decided on 10-12-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Patna High Court: A Single judge bench comprising of Birendra Kumar, J. allowed a criminal writ petition for anticipatory bail filed in relation to a police case under the SC/ST Act on the ground that there were infirmities in the prosecution allegations.

The appellant was allegedly involved, along with other ten to fifteen persons, in assaulting a person belonging to SC/ST community. He filed the instant appeal under Section 14(A)(2) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 against trial judge’s refusal of prayer for his anticipatory bail.

The High Court noted that the doctor had found two simple injuries on non-vital parts of the informant’s body, and the medical report was inconsistent with the prosecution allegation of commission of assault by 10-15 persons. Further, in a criminal case filed against one of the co-accused a bench of this court had ordered no coercive step to be taken against the co-accused. The said order was still continuing.

Considering the aforesaid infirmity in the prosecution allegation and having regard to the order continuing in favour of a co-accused, the appellant was granted anticipatory bail on the condition of full cooperation with investigation/trial of the case, failing which the court would be at liberty to cancel his bail bond.[Md. Shafique v. State of Bihar,2018 SCC OnLine Pat 1995, decided on 02-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Kuldip Singh, J. dismissed the appeal filed against the order passed by the Civil Judge in execution proceedings.

The appeal was filed by partners of one Dashmesh Artia Cotton Factory which was attached and auctioned as a result of recovery and execution proceedings against one of its partners. Other partners filed an objection to the said auction under Order XXI Rule 90 CPC  which was dismissed by the learned Civil Judge. The appellant challenged the decision of the Civil Judge.

The High Court considered the submissions of the appellant and after referring to various decisions of the Apex Court as well as other High Courts, observed that under Order XXI Rule 90 CPC, the auction can be set aside only on account of fraud or material irregularity which has resulted in substantial injury to the applicant. For this purpose bald allegations are not sufficient, fraud has to be alleged and established. On the facts of the instant case, the Court held that there was no such fraud or material irregularity in the auction sale of the property concerned that would render it liable to be set aside under Order XXI Rule 90. Therefore, the appeals were dismissed. [Bahadur Chand v. Madanlal,  2018 SCC OnLine P&H 636, dated 01-03-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu and Kashmir High Court: An appeal filed by the Executive Engineer against the award of compensation passed in favour of Respondent 2, was dismissed by a Single Judge Bench comprising of Sanjeev Kumar, J.

Respondent 2 (an iron smith) was engaged as a labour by Respondent 3 (contractor) who worked with the appellant. A compressor rod was given by the appellant to Respondent 2 to carry out repairs. While working on the compressor rod, Respondent 2 sustained a certain injury which resulted in his arm getting amputated and thereby he suffered permanent disability. He preferred a claim petition before the Commissioner under Workmen Compensation Act, who awarded him a compensation amounting to Rs. 2,97,000 along with interest at 6% per anum. The appellant challenged the award contending inter alia that there was no privity of contract between him and Respondent 2, therefore, liability to compensate him could not be fastened on the appellant.

The High Court, after duly considering the submissions made by the appellant, observed that his contention was fallacious. The Court noted that it was undisputed that Respondent 3, who had engaged Respondent 2 as a labour, worked with the appellant as a contractor. Respondent 2 was engaged to carry out the work of the appellant. Furthermore, the job of repairing the iron rod, that was the direct reason for the injury, was assigned to Respondent 2 by the Junior Engineer of the appellant. The Court categorically stated that the appellant being a principal employer was liable to pay compensation to Respondent 2 on account of permanent disablement suffered by him during and in the course of his employment with the appellant. In such circumstances, the High Court dismissed the appeal holding the appellant liable to compensate Respondent 2 as awarded by the Commissioner. [Executive Engineer, PWD v. Commissioner, Workmen’s Compensation,  2018 SCC OnLine J&K 367, dated 04-06-2018]