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Nine women lawyers challenge Madhya Pradesh HC bail condition directing the accused of sexual assault to get Rakhi tied by victim

Supreme Court advocate Aparna Bhat and eight other women legal counsellors have challenged the July 30 bail condition forced by Madhya Pradesh High Court where a man accused of sexual assault was approached to get a Rakhi tied on him by the victim.

The advocate has stated that they have not challenged the award of bail however just the condition set of tying rakhi to the incriminated.

The plea documented by Advocate on Record, Pukhrambam Ramesh Kumar, has looked for a stay on the condition for bail imposed on July 30.

The plea affirms that since the judgment is given by the High Court, it would belittle such a heinous offense and that “there is a solid probability that such observations and headings may result in normalizing what is basically crime and has been perceived to be so by the law.”

“The High Court should have been perceptive and delicate to the situation including a sexual offense, it is tremendously hard for the survivor to lodge an FIR and seek after a criminal case against the accused.” the petitioners added.

While Rakshabandhan is a festive celebration of protection between brother and sister, the applicants contend that the said bail condition sums “to a gross effort to downplay the trauma endured by the Complainant in the current case.”

One of the substantial questions of law brought up in the plea is, “Whether in a case looking for bail, it is proper for a court to force extraneous conditions which permit contact between the accused and the complainant?”

The appeal will be heard on October 16 by the Supreme Court.

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Vishaka & Ors. V/S State of Rajasthan

Citation:  Vishaka & Ors. V/S State of Rajasthan (AIR 997 SC 3011)

Bench of Judges: CJI, Sujata V. Manohar, B. N. Kirpal

Facts of the case:

Bhanwari Devi was a social worker in a program started by the state legislature of Rajasthan, expecting to deter child marriage, a deep-rooted evil. While stopping a child marriage in one of Ramakant Gujjar’s family, Bhanwari Devi made an honest effort to bar that marriage.

Notwithstanding the effort, the marriage still went through, even though there was a broad -demonstration. In September 1992, to look for revenge, Ramakant Gujjar, alongside his gang of 5 men, raped Bhanwari Devi in front of her significant other. The department of police, firstly, attempted to discourage them from filing the case on one excuse or another. However, to her assurance, she stopped a protest against the charge.

They were still exposed to unforgiving pitilessness by the female police officials even to the degree that for acquiring proof, they asked for her lehenga, and she was left with her significant other’s blood-stained dhoti. Adding to their agony, their demand to spend the night in the police station was also refused.

The trial court exonerated the accused; however, she didn’t lose hope, and seeing her persistence, all other female social workers came forth to her help. Bhanwari Devi’s case was filed by an NGO named Vishakha. The Supreme Court was called upon to outline rules for the prevention of sexual harassment at the workplace.

The honorable court came up with rules as “Vishakha Guidelines”, which framed the premise of “The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013”. It has been laid down in the aforementioned judgment that it is the obligation of the management or other responsible individuals in workplaces of different organizations to prevent further occurrences of such an event and to equip the workers with the adequate procedure for punishing such immoral acts of sexual harassment. For this Act, “sexual harassment” signifies unpleasant and unwelcome sexual advances, and demands for sexual favors, as direct or indirect as;

  • physical contact and advances;
  • an interest or demand for sexual courtesies;
  • explicitly sexual comments;
  • making someone watch pornography;
  • some other unwanted physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature

Judgment:

The court saw that the fundamental rights under Article 14, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India, each field of employment ought to maintain a safe workplace for their work staff. Sexual harassment at the workplace curbs the right to lead a life of decency. The essential prerequisite of the right to equality is that there ought to be safe working conditions at the workplace.

 

The Supreme Court upheld that women have the fundamental right to work in a sexual harassment-free workspace. It likewise set forth different significant rules for the working staff to follow to prevent sexual harassment in a workspace. The court additionally proposed to have appropriate techniques for exercising the situations where there is a chance of sexual harassment at the workplace. The principle target of the Supreme Court was to guarantee gender equality among individuals and to guarantee that there ought to be no inequality between men and women at the workplace.

After this case, the Supreme Court made the term “sexual harassment” unambiguous, stating, “any physical touch or conduct, showing of pornography, any unpleasant taunt or misbehavior, or any sexual desire towards women, sexual favor will come under the ambit of sexual harassment.”

Critical Analysis:

In the case of Vishakha and Others v. the State of Rajasthan, the Supreme Court clearly underlined the meaning of “sexual harassment”, as something which passes any undesirable or uninvited physical touch or showing of pornography or any determinable sexual remarks or messages will go under its ambit.

In my opinion, doing any such act legitimately hampers the right to life for women and it likewise influences their right to live with decency. It likewise affects the psychological and physical wellbeing of women. The Supreme Court created guidelines that, the individual accountable for that specific corporation, association, or office whether be it private or public, shall be responsible for the prevention of any events that could be labeled as sexual harassment.

Damages shall be levied from the accused of sexually harassing a coworker. It had become an extremely critical point to follow up on for the prevention of such behavior. If there should arise an occurrence of such an event in a privately owned corporation, stringent rules regarding the penalties will be included.

On the off chance, a person who isn’t an employee conducts the sexual harassment, the individual accountable for that corporation must take strict action against such conduct.

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Jharkhand Coal Scam: Special CBI Judge sees previous Minister of State Dilip Ray as liable

A Special CBI Judge has indicted previous Union Minister of State Dilip Ray for his inclusion in the Jharkhand Coal Scam of 1999.

Special Judge Bharat Parashar today sentenced Ray and others for the offense of criminal conspiracy and other breaches.

The court additionally indicted two previous senior authorities of the Ministry of Coal Pradip Kumar Banerjee and Nitya Nand Gautam, also the Director of Castron Technologies Limited.

The case relates to inconsistencies in the distribution of a Jharkhand coal block in 1999 when Ray was Minister of State for Coal in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. The sentence is required to be pronounced on October 14.

The accused in this case have been called to the Special Court in Delhi for the final verdict.

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Delhi HC directs Twitter to take down Rakesh Simha tweets criticizing Rajdeep Sardesai and India Today Group

The Delhi High Court, on 25th September, pronounced that the tweets by columnist Rakesh Simha against the India Today Group and its Consulting Editor, Rajdeep Sardesai, as prima facie defamatory. While giving summons to Simha in the petition filed by Living Media India Limited (India Today Group), the Court has asked Twitter to take the tweets being referred to, down.

The tweets, posted by the previous India Today Group representative, Rakesh Krishnan Simha, among other charges, are said to contain a cuss word while blaming Sardesai for having been paid for his interview with celebrity Rhea Chakraborty.

In proceedings under the Delhi High Court, the tweets were said to be abusive and evidently bogus. The order passed by a bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher states:

“Regardless, the use of cuss words against a representative of the plaintiffs, not just affects the reputation of the concerned individual and brings down his image in front of his friends, colleagues, peers and partners but also impinges upon the business interests of the plaintiffs .Since social media platforms are accessed by a large number of persons of various ages, it is expected of users to display sobriety and common courtesies to those towards whom the comments are directed.”

Aside from the tweets against Sardesai, Simha’s charges that the India Today Group killed a story on one Sumit Mukherjee; distorted insights identifying with the dissemination of its magazine; and made bogus claims about the publication of the book Weapons of Peace: Secret Story of India’s Quest to Be a Nuclear Power, composed by the Group’s Managing Editor, Raj Chengappa, raised doubts in the Delhi High Court.

Countering Simha’s claims, Advocate Hrishikesh Barua, submitted:

The story identifying with Mukherjee was distributed by the India Today magazine in 2003, a lot after Simha was given his calming request. The Group’s pronounced course figures were upheld by measurements.

Chengappa’s book was published by Harper Collins and not by the Group’s sister distribution ‘Books Today’, as asserted by Simha.

Observing these entries Justice Shakdher watched: “I am of the view that the plaintiffs have made out, at any rate at this stage, at prima facie case in support of themselves that the criticized tweets need justification.”

With these comments, the Court gave notice and posted the issue for November 19th.

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Delhi HC issues notice in plea to change order exceeding interim bail till October 31

The Delhi High Court today gave notice in an application looking for changes of its earlier request expanding interim bail orders till 31st October, 2020 taking into account COVID-19 pandemic.

A three-Judge Bench comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh has directed  the State to submit information regarding number of prisoners currently in jail who are tested positive for COVID-19 and prisoners released on interim bail.

The order was passed after Advocate Amit Prasad, Special Public Prosecutor for Delhi riots expressed that the order passed by the honorable court is being abused by the prisoners, after it was observed by a trail court managing Delhi riots cases.

He informed that in cases under Section 302 IPC, accused people were pulling back ordinary bail application and looking for between time abandon compassionate grounds, along these lines getting a ceaseless expansion by virtue of the High Court request.

“If people are misusing, this is wrong. We will stop this order. We will recall it.”

SPP Prasad included that now the correctional facilities were outfitted with confinement wards and a person is transferred to normal prison simply after following 14 days of quarantine after his/her arrest. On being asked, Senior Standing Counsel (Criminal) Rahul Mehra requested for more time to get the refreshed figures on the status of COVID-19 patients in correctional facilities.

The Court on this matter gave more time to State to present the most recent figures regarding COVID-19 positive prisoners in prisons and of those released on interim bail.

The Court has also issued an order to the Director-General (Prisons) to be present before the court on the following date of hearing.

The issue would be heard next on 16th October.

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Ban on export of onions challenged; Bombay HC asks Customs to allow export of pending onion consignments

The Bombay High Court asked the Customs specialists to permit the export of onions previously lying with them preceding the issuance of the notification prohibiting the export of onions with impact from September 14.

The Bench of Justices Ujjal Bhuyan and Abhay Ahuja were hearing a plea moved over the issue by the Horticulture Produce Exporters Association, the owner of Fair Agro Industries and other exporters.

The Court was informed that the authorities had taken a decision to permit the export of onions that were stored preceding the notice. The Court called for also permitting help for the applicants before it, who guaranteed that their items were yet to be loaded.

The Court asked  the Customs demonstration speedily in the issue since the transfer products were transitory in nature. The Association has filed this Petition testing the legitimacy of the notification which disallows onion trade. It has asked that: The warning abuses Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution and isn’t in the public intrigue.

The actions of the Customs will directly affect the income and well-being of farmers involved in onions farming in Maharashtra and that the “state is responsible for their well-being”.

The notice conflicts with the arrangements of the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992 and the standards of the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020. The Court has directed Senior Advocate Pradeep Jetly to take essential guidelines from the Customs authority before the following hearing. Jetly showed up for the customs authorities alongside Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh.

Senior Advocate Darius Shroff, showing up for the petitioner, called attention to the Court that the transportation charges gave to them would lapse by September 26, 2020.

Thus the Court explained in its request that since the issue is subjudice, “shipping bills prior to issuance of the impugned notification shall not be construed to have lapsed” till an ultimate decision is made by the Court. The issue is recorded for hearing on September 29, 2020.

The petition for the Horticulture Produce Exporters Association was recorded through Dr. Sujay Kantawalla from India Law Alliance. Supporter JB Mishra is the promoter on record for the Customs authority.

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Fine imposed on person seen spitting on camera during virtual hearing: Gujarat HC

A person who was spotted “spitting” on camera during a virtual case hearing in the Gujarat High Court as of late welcomed the anger of the Presiding Judge, Justice AS Supheia.

Making no effort to cloak his dissatisfaction, the Judge commented:  “the accused No.1, who is present before this Court through video conferencing, seems spitting openly. This Court is not inclined to take up the matter today looking to the conduct of the applicant-accused No. 1.” Said Justice AS Supheia. The person has been asked to deposit Rs. 500 as fine, following which the Court won’t further consider his case.

This isn’t the first of such action’s being caught on camera during the virtual hearings that have become the standard after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Judge Supheia himself recently frowned upon the conduct of an Advocate, who showed up under the watchful eye of the virtual court while sitting in a car and smoking a cigarette. The Judge had commented, at that point, “This Court seriously deprecates such conduct of the advocate Mr. J.V. Ajmera. It was not expected from an advocate to be smoking in the car during the Court proceedings. Such behaviour of the advocate is required to be strictly condemned.”

The Bench had additionally stressed the need to keep up a base decorum during Court proceedings. A few of months before to this, an advocate showed up in Court in a vest and was forced to bear the Rajasthan High Court’s condemnation.

In a video that became famous online via social media, Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhawan was seen taking puffs of a hookah during the politically-charged Sachin Pilot hearings that took place before the Rajasthan High Court. These occurrences have not been restricted to the High Courts, the Supreme Court as of late acknowledged the apology of an individual who was wearing a t-shirt during the virtual procedures. Simply a month ago, the Supreme Court criticized a lawyer who was seen chewing gutka during the virtual hearing.

The adjourned matter at the Gujarat High Court is required to proceed on October 7th, 2020.

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Thailand sues Facebook, Twitter for not banning material in time

Thailand’s government lodged a complaints with police Thursday against Facebook and Twitter, claiming they neglected to follow court orders to obstruct content declared illegal under Thai law. Minister of Digital Economy and Society Buddhipongse Punnakanta said that it was first through his ministry, having made such move against the social media organizations under Thailand’s Computer Crime Act. The ministry recorded the complaints at the police Technology Crime Suppression Division, where Buddhipongse said the corporations had failed to fulfill the 15-day time limit issued by the courts to block the many accounts.

He said the said websites were restricted in light of the fact that they contained unlawful content relating with internet gambling, pornography, drugs and the monarchy, an exceptionally delicate subject. The ministry likewise recorded complaints against parties utilizing five accounts to circulate material considered hostile during a huge anti-governmental rally  previous weekend.

Buddhipongse said Facebook has blocked access in Thailand to 215 of the 661 records his service had mentioned. Twitter had obstructed four of 69 records, he said.

Police Col. Siriwat Deepor, deputy chief of the Technology Crime Suppression Division, said the organizations could be fined of not in excess of 200,000 baht ($6,325) and an extra daily fine of 5,000 baht ($158) for every day the accounts remain unblocked.

Kate Hayes, a representative for Facebook’s Asia Pacific operations, said the corporation didn’t have any remark until further notice on the Thai action. A representative from Twitter couldn’t be reached.

In August, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society effectively pressured Facebook to block a famous page about monarchy. “We are securing our sovereignty, which may not mean protection through physical borders in the customary sense but instead protecting our digital sovereignty,” Buddhipongse said at that point. He pronounced that such assaults “happened quickly and are continually harming Thais.”

Facebook to pay content moderators $52 million as compensation for mental trauma.

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Bail granted to LAHDC-Kargil councilor arrested on sedition charges

The J&K High Court, on Thursday, conceded bail to Zakir Hussain, a political activist from Kargil (Ladakh), arrested in June for supposedly utilizing derogatory language against PM Modi and the Indian Army over the deadlock with China in eastern Ladakh which has left 20 soldiers dead.

Referring to a Supreme Court judgment, Justice Sanjay Dhar who heard Hussain’s petition said “mere expression of derogatory or objectionable words may not be a sufficient ground for invoking the provisions contained in Section 124A or 153A”.

Justice Dhar held that the provisions would apply just when the composed or verbally expressed words have the inclination or goal of causing dishevel or aggravation of public harmony by resort to disorder.

“It will be premature for this court to comment on the question whether the alleged conversation made by the petitioner and uploaded on the social media has the tendency of creating disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence,” he said.

Hussain, a councilor of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)- Kargil was arrested on June 19 after his “questionable” clip insulting PM Modi and the Army in the wake of the conflicts among India and China became a viral clip.

As per lawyer M A. Rathore, Hussain has been “maliciously” suspected by police as he had political hatred with certain individuals which has prompted filing of a case against him.

The petitioner had moved his bail plea to Principal Sessions Judge, Kargil which was excused. The counsel for police said that Hussain has made “highly offensive and derogatory” remarks against  India and its armed forces.

Rathore, nonetheless, fought “Even if it is assumed that the petitioner had made the conversation and uploaded the same on the social media, still then the offence under Section 124A and 153A of IPC is not made out against the petitioner”.

As per him, so as to put forth out a defense under Section 124A of IPC, “it is necessary that the offensive remarks or speech should lead to some sort of violence or agitation from the public, which is not the case here”.

The counsel gave the reference of a Supreme Court judgement, Balwant Singh and Anr. V. State of Punjab which said that whoever by words, either spoken or composed, or by signs, or in any case brings or intends to bring into contempt or hatred, or excites or tries to excite offense towards the established law will be penalized.

The court conceded the prosecution has not had the option to set up any mens rea with respect to the appellants. “The petitioner is an elected representative of LAHDC having deep roots in the community, as such, the chances of his fleeing from justice are very remote,” it said.

It was acknowledged that the bail petition subject to furnishing of personal bond with one guarantee in the amount of Rs 50,000 and some other settings.

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Bombay HC quashes FIR against Tablighis

The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Thursday suppressed the FIR and the chargesheet filed against Myanmar nationals booked for Tablighi activities and stated, “Compelling the applicants to undergo the trial would cause grave injustice.”

On September 21, a division bench of judges V.M. Deshpande and Amit B. Borkar was hearing a plea filed by eight nationals. They arrived on March 22 and from March 24 till March 31 they were sent to institutional isolation in spite of testing negative for COVID 19. On April 5, they were arrested under the Foreigners Act, Epidemic Diseases Act, and Disaster Management Act for suppressing the FIR and chargesheet. They were additionally arrested under sections 269 and 270 of the Indian Penal Code.

The State government contended that after the travelers showed up in India they began lecturing activities and partook in religious exercises disregarding the conditions of the visa manual. On July 21, a chargesheet was filed dependent on statements of witnesses and other proof gathered by researching organizations asserting that there is abundant material on record to arraign the candidates.

The lawyer showing up for the applicants said every one of them are not familiar with the regional dialect; they had studied the Quaran and Hadis in their language. There is no material created by the arraignment to prove that they were engrossed with tabligh work and they were engaged with lecturing strict philosophy or making discourses in religious places. There is no material created by the indictment in the chargesheet, which even at prima facie shows breach of the visa manual.

The court stated, “We are of the opinion that the investigating authorities acted without jurisdiction in registering the FIR under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) based on a complaint by the police. The investigation conducted by the police was also without jurisdiction.”

The 20 page request read, “We are of the opinion that allowing the prosecution to continue would be nothing but an abuse of the process of the court in as much as there was an express legal bar against the institution of FIR against the accused based on the police report. Compelling the applicants to undergo the trial would cause injustice.”

While quashing the FIR and chargesheet, the court noted, “There is no material on record to prove that applicants had indulged in any act which was likely to spread infection of COVID-19. Therefore, from the material produced in the chargesheet, there is no evidence to substantiate the fulfilment of ingredients of Sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 270 (malignant act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) of the Indian Penal Code.”