Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, a person tried to outrage the modesty of a woman and when he was not successful, he poured kerosene on her and put her on fire.

The victim woman has suffered 85 per cent burn injuries and has been admitted in the SKMCH Hospital where her condition is critical. Reportedly, the victim’s family had approached the police five times for registarion of an FIR but no acrtion was taken but neither an FIR was registered by the police nor any action was taken against the accused.

The Commission has observed that the contents of the news reports, if true, amount to serious violation of human rights of the victim. Accordingly, it has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, Bihar calling for a detailed report in the matter within four weeks. The Commission would also like to know about the status of the investigation and treatment of the victim woman, who is reportedly in a state of coma at SKMCH Hospital in Muzaffarpur. The report must include whether any departmental action has been taken against the guilty police officials and whether any relief has been granted to the victim/ family.

According to the media reports, the accused who allegedly assaulted the victim has also sustained burn injuries in his hand. The accused, as mentioned in the news report was harassing the victim for the last three years for which the family of the woman had approached the Ahiyapur police station five times, to get an FIR registered but no FIR was registered by the police. Now, reportedly, the police is making efforts to arrest him.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 09-12-2019]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Green Tribunal (NGT): The Bench comprising of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel (Chairperson) and Justice Raghuvendra S. Rathore, Justice S.P. Wangdi, Justice K. Ramakrishnan (Judicial Members); Dr Satyawan Sigh Garbyal, Dr Nagin Nanda and Saibal Dasgupta (Expert Members), took cognizance of air quality in Delhi.

Tribunal noted the report in some of the newspaper’s:

‘The Hindu’, the matter is reported under the heading ‘Delhi Chokes as air pollution levels hit a three-year high’.

‘Indian Express’, It is reported under the heading ‘Capital air crosses severe level, PMO steps in, Centre to monitor.

‘Times of India’, It is reported under the heading ‘Atmosfear: Delhi Victim of Sick Choke, Capital a Gas Chamber After Light Drizzle.

In the Hindustan Times, the heading is ‘Capital Punishment- Bhopal Gas tragedy occurred once and it has been dealt with, but this gas tragedy is occurringevery year and is not properly dealt with.

Further, Tribunal stated that, to provide efefctive access to judicial remedies for enforcement of right to healthy environment which is part of Right to Life under Article 21.

Supreme Court has issued directions in various matters. This Tribunal has also dealt with the issue in several cases including the matter dealing with 122 ‘non-attainment cities’ in the Country where the air quality is beyond prescribed norms and on the subject preventing ‘crop residue burning.

“Air pollution is source of diseases and threat to life.”

Tribunal adding to the above, stated that the present situation of severe air pollution “is not creation of one day. It is continuous negligence and apathy of statutory authorities in enforcing the law. While remedial action may continue to be taken in the best possible manner, there is urgent need to have proper planning to address the gaps in existing enforcement strategies and existing undesirable situation.”

The Bench further held that after interaction with the Chairman and Member Secretary of CPCB who have presented detailed analysis of the situation, tribunal found it necessary to further examine the matter after looking into the status of implementation of GRAP and other measures including preventive strategies currently adopted. [Air Quality Deterioration In And Around Delhi as reported in Print and Electronic Media, In Re, O.A No. 1008 of 2019, decided on 04-11-2019]

Hot Off The PressNews

Press Council of India (PCI) Chairman Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad expressed grave concern over the order issued by the Government of Andhra Pradesh dated 30-10-2019 granting permission to the Secretaries of respective Departments to initiate legal action with regard to the publication of false, baseless and defamatory news items against the print media through the public prosecutor.

The Chairman is of the view that the threat to prosecute media personnel, in general, shall demoralise the journalists in large which shall have a severe bearing on the freedom o the press. Not only this the problems which the order in question seeks to redress can very well be remedied by The Council itself.

While taking Suo-Motu cognizance of the issue, the Chairman has directed the Government of Andhra Pradesh through its Chief Secretary and Special Commissioner (I&PR)  to file a reply statement in this matter.


[Press Release dt. 01-11-2019]

Press Council of India

Hot Off The PressNews

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report supported with photograph that as many as 20 persons including the Civic Agency staff and the lawyers received head injuries in the alleged police action in Howrah, West Bengal on the 24th April, 2019. Reportedly, demanding action against the police personnel, the Bar Council of West Bengal observed black day throughout the State today and has resolved to cease the work till April 29th in solidarity with the lawyers of Howrah. According to media reports, the incident happened following the lawyers’ faceoff with the Howrah Municipal Corporation staff over parking.

The Commission has issued a notice to the Director General of Police, West Bengal calling for a detailed report in the matter, within four weeks including action taken against the delinquent police personnel and health status of the victims.

It has observed that the contents of the news report, if true, raise the serious issue of violation of human rights of the victims, who have sustained injuries in the incident. Apparently, the police personnel did not deal with the situation in a proper manner which resulted in humiliation and physical injuries to the victims.

According to the media report that the incident was triggered after and the elderly lawyer was turned away by the Guard of the civic headquarters on Mahatma Gandhi Road in Howrah when he tried to park his vehicle in the civic agency’s compound. Thereafter, the lawyers and the civic body staff fought for hours as many lawyers joined the protest against the guard. The civic staff, however, claimed that they were attacked first. Both sides, as mentioned in the news report, pelted stones and bricks at each other before the police intervened and chased away the lawyers.


[Dated: 26-04-2019] 

NHRC

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The Bench of Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta, JJ while seeking the status of investigation into the murder of a woman assistant town planner, who was shot dead by a hotel owner during a Supreme Court-ordered demolition drive at Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh, directed the Himachal Pradesh Government to apprise it about the steps taken to ensure that no unauthorised constructions were carried out in the entire state.

The Court also asked the state to inform it about the implementation status of it’s order regarding demolition of unauthorised constructions in 13 hotels at Kasauli.

The Bench said:

“The death is not a result of the court’s order. It is a result of the non-implementation of the law. The incident is very unfortunate. You have to ensure rule of law and implementation of law related to unauthorised constructions.”

The Court had, on April 17, directed the state government to demolish unauthorised structures in several hotels and guest houses in Kasauli and Dharampur areas of Solan and four teams were constituted by the authorities to carry out the work. Assistant Town and Country Planner Shail Bala Sharma had on May 1 gone to supervise the demolition of unauthorised construction at Kasauli’s Narayani Guest House where its owner Vijay Singh allegedly shot at her. She later succumbed to injuries. The Court had, on 02.05.2018, taken suo motu cognizance in the matter.

The State has to file an affidavit giving details by the next date of hearing i.e. May 9, 2018.

Source: PTI

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The bench of Madan B. Lokur and Deepka Gupta, JJ took suo motu cognizance  of the murder of a woman assistant town planner, who was shot dead by a hotel owner during a Supreme Court-ordered demolition drive at Kasauli in Himachal Pradesh. Expressing shock over the death of Shailbala Sharma on Tuesday, the Court said that this is a serious issue in which a government official has been killed for doing her duty in compliance with the order of the highest court.

The Court had, on April 17 ordered the demolition of illegal constructions at several hotels and resorts in the picturesque Himachal Pradesh town of Kasauli, saying the life of people cannot be endangered for making money. It had observed that the illegal constructions had put the entire city in danger, causing landslides, and ordered the demolition of such constructions. Giving ultimatum to the hotel owners, the Court had said:

“Either you demolish it or we will ask the authorities to demolish it. It is your choice. No instructions are needed. Let the authorities demolish it.”

The Court is likely to hear the matter on 03.05.2018.

Source: The Hindu

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 7-Judge Bench of Jagdish Singh Khehar, CJ and six senior most Judges of the Supreme Court, Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, PC Ghose and Kurian Joseph, JJ, in the suo motu contempt proceedings initiated against Justice C.S. Karnan, restrained him from handling any judicial or administrative work, as may have been assigned to him, in furtherance of the office held by him. The bench also directed him to return, all judicial and administrative files in his possession, to the Registrar General of the High Court immediately.

Justice Karnan, who is a sitting judge of Calcutta High Court, had written letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to take actions against the corrupt sitting and retired judges of the Supreme Court and Madras High Court when he was a Judge of the Madras High Court and had passed an injunction against his own transfer orders. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had asked the Supreme Court to take suo motu action against the Judge to set an example.

Justice Karnan will appear before the Court on the next date of hearing on 13.02.2017. [IN RE : Justice C.S. Karnan, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 105, dated 08.02.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Interpreting Section 173 CrPC with reference to the power of the investigative agency, the Court said that the un-amended and the amended sub-Section (8) of Section 173 of the Code if read in juxtaposition, would overwhelmingly attest that by the latter, the investigating agency/officer alone has been authorized to conduct further investigation without limiting the stage of the proceedings relatable thereto. This power qua the investigating agency/officer is thus legislatively intended to be available at any stage of the proceedings.

The bench of Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy, JJ said that though the Magistrate has the power to direct investigation under Section 156(3) CrPC at the pre-cognizance stage even after a charge-sheet or a closure report is submitted, once cognizance is taken and the accused person appears pursuant thereto, he would be bereft of any competence to direct further investigation either suo motu or acting on the request or prayer of the complainant/informant. The direction for investigation by the Magistrate under Section 202 CrPC, while dealing with a complaint, though is at a post-cognizance stage, it is in the nature of an inquiry to derive satisfaction as to whether the proceedings initiated ought to be furthered or not. Such a direction for investigation is not in the nature of further investigation, as contemplated under Section 173(8) CrPC. Had it been the intention of the legislature to invest such a power, Section 173(8) of the Cr.P.C would have been worded accordingly to accommodate and ordain the same having regard to the backdrop of the incorporation thereof. The Court said that the recommendation of the Law Commission in its 41st Report which manifesting heralded the amendment, significantly had limited its proposal to the empowerment of the investigating agency alone.

It was held that after a report is submitted by the police on completion of the investigation, the Magistrate, in both the contingencies, namely; when he takes cognizance of the offence or discharges the accused, would be committed to a course, whereafter though the investigating agency may for good reasons inform him and seek his permission to conduct further investigation, he suo motu cannot embark upon such a step or take that initiative on the request or prayer made by the complainant/informant. Not only such power to the Magistrate to direct further investigation suo motu or on the request or prayer of the complainant/informant after cognizance is taken and the accused person appears, pursuant to the process, issued or is discharged is incompatible with the statutory design and dispensation, it would even otherwise render the provisions of Sections 311 and 319 Cr.P.C., whereunder any witness can be summoned by a Court and a person can be issued notice to stand trial at any stage, in a way redundant. [Amrutbhai Shambhubhai Patel v. Sumanbhai Kantibhai Patel, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 86, decided on 02.02.2017]