- Mothers of Rohit Vemula and Payal Tadvi file petition to end caste discrimination in campuses – The mothers of Rohit Vemula and Dr. Payal Tadvi have approached the Supreme Court to create a mechanism in campuses to end caste based discrimination. The petition states that not only are instances of discrimination prevalent but they are further supplemented by antipathy from the institutions themselves. No independent mechanisms have been provided to deal with the issue of caste based discrimination. Such instances are a clear failure of the State in protecting the fundamental rights of the citizens. The UGC, (Promotion of Equity in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2012 also do not provide for any such mechanism. The petition seeks that firstly the HEI regulations are strictly enforced and the equal opportunity cells should include members of the SC/ST communities and representatives from NGOs to ensure impartiality.
- Wire withdraws petition filed against the gag order on the Jay Shah article – The news website ‘The Wire’ has withdrawn its petition filed in the Supreme Court against the article talking about Jay Amit Shah, Union Minister Amit Shah’s son. The article had highlighted financial irregularities in the finances of Jay Shah’s company – Temple enterprises. He then filed a case against the website for defamation. The High Court barred further discussion of the matter and allowed publishing of the article without the references to the PM, Narendra Modi. The Wire then challenged this order in the Supreme Court. But after having being pending for more than one and a half year, the petition has been withdraw, which was allowed by the Supreme Court bench hearing the matter. [Rohini Singh v State of Gujarat, Special Leave Petition (Criminal) No. 1836 of 2018, date of order: 27.08.2019]
- Prosecution still has to establish a case under the NDPS, irrespective of the reverse burden of proof – The Supreme Court has held that the reversed burden of proof imposed under the NDPS does not absolve the prosecution from establishing a prima facie case against the accused. It is only after the establishment of a prima facie case can the burden of proof shift. Further, since the burden of proof is reversed, the prosecution has to comply with the statutory provisions more strictly. In the present case, the evidence submitted by the prosecution was shoddy and clearly not enough, in the opinion of the court to establish a case. In light of the same, the court acquitted the accused. [Hanif Khan v CBI, Criminal Appeal No(s). 1206 of 2013, date of decision: 20.08.2019]
- Delhi Police seeks prosecution of Shashi Tharoor on murder charge – The Delhi Police has asked the trial court to allow Shashi Tharoor to be tried on charges of abetment to suicide in alternative to being tried on charges of murder in the case for the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar. Earlier Tharoor had been charged with Sections 498A and 306 of the IPC. Before her death, the police informed the court, the couple would fight a lot, which led to Pushkar had been very upset and distressed. Police had accused Tharoor of torturing his wife, which drove her to commit suicide. The case has been listed for further hearing.
- Courts ordered to deal with bail applications in a week – The Kerala High Court has directed that all bail applications must be dealt with in a week from the date of filing and the orders must be passed either on the day of the hearing or the next day. The application in question had been disposed off in 22 days and the order had been passed after 2 weeks of the hearing. This, the judgment said, was a serious omission on the part of the magistrate. It asked the registry to look into the matter and pass appropriate directions. [Santosh Kumar v State of Kerala, Bail Application No. 6123 of 2019, date of order: 29.08.2019]
- Evidence by the child witness could be basis of conviction, if appears to be reliable – The Chhattisgarh High Court has held that if it can be shown that the child witness is reliable and is capable of giving rational answers to the questions put to it, then there is no bar on allowing a conviction solely on such a testimony. The child in this case was 10 years old. He narrated the facts clearly and was able to identify the accused in a Test Identification Parade. It was alleged in the appeal that the child was tutored by his mother, but the Court did not find any indication of the same in the child’s testimony. His testimony was also supported by evidence of a handwriting expert. So, even if some witnesses had turned hostile, the Court allowed the conviction on the basis of the child’s testimony. A testimony of a child, the Court noted, is pure and not motivated by any vendetta. [Pappu v State of Chhatisgarh, Criminal Appeal No. 968 of 2012, date of decision: 8.08.2019]