13 juvenile prisoners move SC, seek immediate release after serving 14-22 years in prison

The 13 prisoners, who were recognized as minors by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) at the scene of the offence and are currently being detained at the Agra Central Jail in Uttar Pradesh. The prisoners have petitioned the Supreme Court for their early release.

Rishi Malhotra, a lawyer, filed a plea before the Supreme Court demanding urgent suitable directives and judgments in this respect. In his plea, Malhotra claims that these 13 criminals, who were designated minors by the JJB at the time of the trial, have been confined in harsh cells with dangerous convicts. The petition contended that the appellants’ suffering is exacerbated by the fact that they had previously served legal prison for periods ranging from 14 to 22 years in Agra Central Jail. It is significant to mention that under Section 15 and Section 16 of the Juvenile Justices (JJ) Act, 2000, the average age of confinement is three years, and this is only in juvenile homes. 

Furthermore, the petition stated that all of the plaintiffs who have had rulings announcing them to be juveniles have been subjected to illegal detentions as of today, and prayed to the Apex Constitutional Court to issue necessary orders for their immediate release in accordance with Article 21 of the Constitution.

It was also noted that the JJB had invalidated the appeals of these 13 petitioners on the grounds of their ineligibility. The JJB, in a series of orders spanning February 2017 to March 2021, explicitly held that all of the petitioners were under the age of 18 on the date of the claimed occurrence, and so deemed them juveniles. However, their statutory criminal appeals against their convictions under different Indian Penal Code (IPC) violations are ongoing in the High Court in the majority of instances. Yet, given that these petitioners have been labelled juveniles and have already served the maximum time of incarceration allowed under the JJ Act of 2000, namely three years, it is imperative that they be released immediately.


‘One last notice’ issued by the Government to twitter to comply with IT rules

The government gave Twitter one final chance on Saturday to “promptly” cope with the requirements of the IT regulations, warning that inability to do so will result in the company losing its exemption from liability under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000

The ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY) stated in the notification that it is disappointed to see that Twitter’s replies to the ministry’s letters do not resolve the disclosures demanded by the ministry, nor do they demonstrate complete compliance with the standards. It went on to explain that based on the submissions, it’s evident that Twitter hasn’t provided the information of the chief compliance officer as required by the laws. 

Earlier, the Centre had instructed that the twitter network hire a compliance officer, as well as a grievance officer and a central contact person. The Delhi High Court was notified last week, while discussing a case linked to the subject, that the social networking giant has recruited a Grievance Redressal Officer (GRO) in accordance with the IT Rules, 2021.


Supreme Court rejects plea against High Court order issuing anticipatory bail to journalist in rape case

The Supreme Court on Friday quashed a plea challenging the Delhi High Court order issuing anticipatory bail to a Mumbai-based journalist in a rape case lodged against him by a 22-year-old woman.

On May 13, the high court issued journalist Varun Hiremath anticipatory bail in the matter. Following his anticipatory bail request being denied by a trial court here on March 12, Hiremath went to the high court. 

The petitioner’s senior counsel, Nitya Ramakrishnan, contended in the Supreme Court that the accused had previously escaped for 50 days and evaded the non-bailable warrant. 

An FIR was lodged at the Chanakyapuri Police Station in Delhi based on the woman’s allegations under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 376, 342 and 509.

Ramakrishnan stated the penetrative conduct was done without the woman’s permission, pointing to revisions to the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The victim had repeatedly said “no,” but the accused violently penetrated her, according to the senior lawyer. 

The petitioner claims in her appeal to the Supreme Court that the accused has not been subjected to custody interrogation in the matter for even a single day despite refusing to cooperate with the police investigation. The recording of confessions and statements before a magistrate is covered under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). 

The petitioner claimed that the accused went before the investigating authority after the high court granted him interim protection from arrest on April 9. The complainant’s FIR and section 164 CrPC statement “both unequivocally record that the petitioner pushed him away many times and that she also forcefully yelled no,” according to the statement. 


‘Journalists entitled to safety’: Supreme Court quashes sedition case

Justices Uday Lalit and Vineet Saran cited a 1962 constitution bench verdict in Kedar Nath Singh‘s case to argue that a journalist could not be put on trial under Section 124A of the IPC for “condemnation of policies of the State and its functionaries,” and dismissed a lawsuit brought last year in Himachal Pradesh against journalist Vinod Dua over a YouTube show. 

The court, making reference to Kedar Nath’s case while demonstrating the basic requirements for registration of a first FIR under Section 124A, said that an individual has the right to critique or comment on the initiatives taken by the government and its functionaries as long as he does not instigate people to violence against the government established by law or with the intent of creating public disorder. 

As per the court, sedition involves a sentence of three years to life in prison, a fine, or both. Sections 124A and 505 (statements fostering or encouraging enmity) of the IPC shall be used only when the words or phrases have the destructive tendency or objective of causing public disturbance or disrupting law and order. 

As it turned down Dua’s plea for the establishment of a committee in every state to ratify FIRs against individuals in the media with at least 10 years of experience in the profession, the bench referred to its 1962 judgement, which laid out the prerequisites before registering a sedition case.

The decision was taken two days after another SC court voiced concern over the usage of India’s sedition legislation, indicating that it will clarify the parameters of the colonial-era criminal legislation to determine what constitutes sedition and what does not. 


Delhi HC quashes Juhi Chawla’s plea against 5G rollout

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday quashed actress and environmentalist Juhi Chawla’s petition against the installation of 5G wireless networks in the nation, stating it was brought up for media attention. 

According to Chawla, social worker Veeresh Malik, and Teena Vachani’s lawsuit, if the telecom industry’s initiatives for 5G succeed, no person, animal, bird, insect, or plant on the planet will be able to avoid exposure to stages of RF radiation that are 10x to 100x times higher than what currently exists.

Chawla was also queried by the court for initiating the lawsuit without first notifying the government of her concerns about the technology. Chawla’s complaint contained multiple failures in terms of the Code of Civil Procedure, according to the Court (CPC). The plaintiffs, Chawla and two others, were supposed to first contact the authorities for their rights, and if refused, they should approach the court, according to Justice J R Midha. The court, which deferred ruling on the case after holding hearings from several parties, also questioned why as many as 33 parties were attached to the plaintiff, claiming that this was against the law. The court, further, inquired about the plaintiffs’ understanding of the factual information and threatened to prosecute them for submitting fraudulent claims. 

The Central government’s Solicitor General Tushar Mehta also contended that the litigation was baseless and prohibited by Section 9 of the Code. Furthermore, SG Mehta and Mahajan submitted objections to the litigation being prohibited under Sections 80 and 91 of the CPC.


Extramarital affair no ground to presume woman would be a bad mother or to deny child custody: Punjab & Haryana HC

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that to have an extramarital affair is insufficient evidence to determine that a woman is a terrible mother or that she should be deprived custody of her kid. 

Justice Anupinder Singh Grewal made the remarks, adding that it is very usual in patriarchal societies to cast aspersions on women’s moral integrity. 

In addition, the court had a progressive stance on solo parenting, particularly by mothers. The judge stated that while the court has encouraged the couple to reconcile, it does not imply that a kid raised by a single parent would be at a disadvantage. Justice Grewal made the statement in response to a habeas corpus petition filed by an Australian mother seeking the release of her four-year-old daughter from her divorced husband’s custody. During the hearing, the petitioner’s spouse claimed that the petitioner was having an adulterous affair with his relative. 

The claims, according to Justice Grewal, were totally baseless and could not be used to decide the case. The child’s growth in the formative years would necessitate the mother’s love, care, and devotion. During adolescence, the mother’s support and direction are equally essential. In any event, according to Section 6 of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956, the mother was the child’s natural guardian until the age of five.


Retired Justice Arun Kumar Mishra takes charge as NHRC head

Justice Arun Kumar Mishra, who retired as a Supreme Court judge last year, was named head of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday. 

Justice Mishra, a dedicated Supreme Court judge who retired on September 2 last year, caused controversy earlier this year when he called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “versatile genius” who “thinks internationally and acts domestically.” 

The President nominates the Chairman and representatives of the NHRC following the advice of a committee chaired by the Prime Minister. The Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Union Home Minister, and the leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, and the deputy chairman of the Rajya Sabha are the other members of the board.

The Chairman must be a former Chief Justice of India, as per the original 1993 Human Rights Act. In July 2019, the act was modified by introducing a sub clause 2(i) in Section 3 that used the word “Chief Justice of India or a judge” in the sense of chairman nomination.

Only non-CJIs had formerly acted as acting chairpersons. The chairperson’s initial five-year term was lowered to three years or until the incumbent reached the age of 70, whichever occurred first, under Section 4(i) of the modified statute. Following the modification, a Supreme Court judge would be appointed chairwoman of the commission for the first time, following the retirement of the present chairperson, Justice H.L. Dattu, former Chief Justice of India.


Olympic Wrestler Sushil Kumar sent to judicial custody by Delhi Court

A Delhi court on Wednesday denied the Delhi Police’s request for a custodial questioning of detained wrestler Sushil Kumar in the suspected death of a young wrestler at the Chhatrasal Stadium. The court also condemned him to nine days in judicial custody, dismissing the police’s request for three further days of detention.

At the end of his four-day police custody, the two-time Olympic medalist was summoned before Metropolitan Magistrate Rashmi Gupta and instructed to be held in judicial detention for nine days. The co-accused in the case, Ajay Kumar Sehrawat, was also sentenced to nine days in judicial custody by the judge. 

Furthermore, Kumar was not cooperating in the probe, according to additional public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava, who represents the Delhi Police. He went on to say that he required police custody to obtain his phone and weapon of crime. The counsel also requested that the CCTV video evidence from Kumar’s home be recovered, that his clothing from the event be retrieved, and that Kumar be faced with his accomplices, who were also caught. Sushil Kumar’s lawyer, Pradeep Rana, claimed that Sushil Kumar had already been escorted to Bhatinda for the retrieval of his cellphone and to Haridwar for the retrieval of the video and his clothing.


President nominates Mahesh Jethmalani to Rajya Sabha

On Monday, eminent counsel Mahesh Jethmalani was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, which is a significant milestone. The appointment follows the abrupt vacancy in the Upper House of Parliament caused by the death of a nominated member earlier this month.

President Ram Nath Kovind has nominated Senior Advocate Mahesh Jethmalani to the Rajya Sabha for his legal competence under Article 80 of the Indian Constitution.

Mahesh Jethmalani is a Senior Advocate of the Bombay High Court, and is the son of former senior advocate and politician Ram Jethmalani. Jethmalani entered the Bombay High Court after acquiring his Bachelor of Arts from St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai and his Master of Arts from Oxford University. During his time as an attorney, he has served in a number of high-profile cases. He has advocated prominent people, including the Birla family in the Priyamvada Birla case and Anil Ambani in the Reliance case. Additional instances in which he has been involved include the trial of Harshad Mehta in the Maruti Udyog trial, as well as the trial of Rajni Patil in the Prof. Vishram Patil murder case, in which the brother of ex-President of India, Pratibha Patil, was a defendant. He is currently defending Parmabir Singh, the former Mumbai Police Commissioner, in a variety of issues, including an alleged extortion case.


IUML moves SC to stay MHA order permitting Indian Citizenship to non-Muslim Minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh

The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the first complainant in the Supreme Court to question the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 (CAA), has sought a stay on the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) order, which authorized 13 districts throughout three states to award citizenship to non-Muslim minority groups from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.

IUML has registered a petition in the Supreme Court questioning the Centre’s notification enabling inhabitants of certain districts in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who are participants of minority groups such as Sikhs, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Jains, and Parsis to apply for Indian citizenship. 

Non-Muslim immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists, who reside in 13 districts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, and Punjab, were encouraged to apply for Indian citizenship on Friday under Sections 5 and 6 of the Citizenship Act of 1955.

IUML has indeed filed a petition in the ongoing CAA case, objecting to the announcement on the basis that the mentioned clauses of the Citizenship Act do not enable applicants to be categorized based on religion. The Citizenship Act, Section 5 (1) (a)-(g), specifies who is entitled to obtain citizenship by registration, while Section 6 of the Act enables anybody (who is not an illegal migrant) to gain citizenship through naturalization. According to the IUML’s application, the Respondent Union’s endeavor to bring down the validity of the two articles by an executive order is unconstitutional. 

Furthermore, the application asserted that a cursory reading of the order dated 28.5.2021, as well as the regulations questioned in the prevailing writ petition, namely the Amendment Act, Order 3A of the Foreigners Order 1948, and Rule 4(ha) of the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950, clearly indicates that the three legislations’ motives are one and the same. And therefore, as this Hon’ble Court has recognized in a number of instances, what cannot be done explicitly cannot be done indirectly, and hence the order dated 28.5.2021 should be stayed.