- CBI given two weeks’ extension to complete the probe in Unnao rape survivor’s accident: The Supreme Court agreed to grant an extension of two weeks to the Central Bureau of Investigation (‘CBI’) to complete its probe into the road accident of the Unnao rape survivor, and her lawyer, which happened on 28th July, 2019 at Raibareilly, Uttar Pradesh, leaving both the survivor and her lawyer grievously injured, while her aunts were killed in the crash. The CBI submitted that they needed to record the statement of both the survivor and her lawyer, both still in critical condition, in order to complete the probe, and thus needed more time from the Court. The Supreme Court also directed the Uttar Pradesh State Government to pay an interim compensation to Rs 5 lakhs to the survivor’s lawyer to cover the medical expenses [In Re: Alarming Rise in the Number of Reported Child Rape Incidents, Criminal Writ Petition No. 1 of 2019, date of order: 19.08.2019]
- Tarun Tejpal’s plea to quash the rape charges dismissed: The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed by Tarun Tejpal, former editor of Tehelka, against the order of Bombay High Court confirming the order of the Sessions Court in Goa framing charges of rape and sexual assault against him in September, 2017. While refusing to interfere with the High Court’s order, the Apex Court noted that the charges were serious and could not quashed before the trial commenced. The Court also directed the Sessions Court to complete the trial within 6 months.
- UAPA amendment in 2019 challenged in the Supreme Court: A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the Unlawful Activities Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2019, wherein the amendment provides that an individual person could be designated as a terrorist. The Petitioner argues that the amendment allowing designation of individuals as terrorists strikes at the heart of the fundamental right to reputation of a person guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. It further contends that the amendment also restricts the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, including the right to hold and express dissenting opinions. [Sajal Awasthi v. Union of India, Writ Petition (Criminal) No. of 2019]
- Ayodhya hearing continues: The Supreme Court continued to hear the dispute on Ram Janmabhoomi issue, wherein the Counsel for Ram Janmabhoomi tried to argue that there were historical documents recording that Babri Masjid was built after allegedly demolishing a temple said to be the birth place of Lord Ram. He further contended that Muslims could not claim ownership of the site, merely because they offered prayers there. The Judges also asked questions whether there was evidence to prove that Babar demolished the temple or it was Aurangzeb.[M. Siddiq v Mahant Suresh Das, Civil Appeal Nos. 10866-10867 of 2010, date of order: 14.08.2019]
- Offences committed outside India do not need sanction from the Central Government for Prosecution: The Kerala High Court held in a recent case that the bar under Section 188 of the Code of Criminal Procedure does not affect the power of arrest and detention available to the Police authorities in cases where the allegations pertain to offences committed outside the territory of India, even when the sanction of Central Government was not procured. Only those inquiries within the meaning of Section 2(g) of the CrPC, which are within the post-cognisance stage, alone would come within the zone of prohibition contained in the proviso to Section 188 of CrPC. [Mohammad Shameer Ali v. State of Kerala, Bail Application No. 5055 of 2019, date of judgment: 02.08.2019]
- Bombay High Court allows termination of 28 weeks’ old foetus: Citing substantial risk to the foetus, who, if born, would suffer from severe physical or mental deformities, the Bombay High Court permitted a woman to abort her 28 weeks’ old foetus, after perusing the opinion of the medical board. The Board was constituted on the order of the High Court itself, which went through multiple sonography to reach its conclusions.
- Magistrate cannot order investigation under Section 156(3), CrPC: Quashing an order of the Magistrate directing investigation under Section 156(3), CrPC, after taking cognisance of the same under Section 202, CrPC, the Madras High Court held that Section 202, CrPC only empowers the Magistrate to take cognisance of an offence and order an enquiry, and cannot order the same under Section 156(3). Terming the order as patently illegal, the High Court noted that Section 156(3) allows investigation only at pre-cognisance stage, and not after taking cognisance.