- Decisions of foreigners’ tribunals will bind NRC – The Supreme Court held that the decision of a tribunal declaring a person an illegal foreigner will be binding upon the National Register of Citizens for Assam. The decision of a tribunal will be quasi judicial in nature and thus prevail over the decision of the NRC. However, those whose names are excluded on this basis can give the relevant documents to seek review of the decision. The court also refused to create an appellate tribunal for those who are declared as illegal aliens by the tribunal under Article 142. [Abdul Kuddus v Union of India, Civil Appeal No. 5012 of 2019, date of order: 17.05.2019]
- Arrest of BJP leader Priyanka Sharma termed ‘prima facie’ arbitrary – The Supreme Court called the arrest of the BJP leader Priyanka Sharma by the West Bengal government for sharing the meme of the morphed image of Mamata Banerjee ‘prima facie’ arbitrary. The brother of the accused brought it to the attention of the court that she had not been released even though the Court had asked for the same. The Court retorted to the inaction by pointing out that the arrest in the first place had been arbitrary. The hearings on the matter will now be heard in July. [Rajib Sharma v State of West Bengal, Writ Petition Criminal No. 146 of 2019, date of order: 15.05.2019]
- Court to look into powers of Chief Judicial Magistrate under Section 14 SARFESI Act – The Supreme Court noted that there are conflicting decisions on issue of the powers of the Chief Judicial Magistrate to entertain applications under Section 14 of the SARFESI Act to assist secured creditor in taking possession of secured asset. While interim orders have been passed in the instant case, but the court has decided to look into the conflict. Some Courts like Kerala and Andhra HC hold that Chief Judicial Magistrates are at the same footing as Chief Metropolitan Magistrates in non-metropolitan areas and so can entertain the application but some courts like Madras HC have held otherwise.[Harley Carmbel v Federal Bank, Special Leave to Appeal (Criminal) No.4657 of 2019, date of order: 13.05.2019]
- Not producing Section 65B affidavit with electronic evidence at the stage of chargesheet would not be fatal to prosecution – The Supreme Court has held that failure to provide certificate under Section 65B of the Evidence Act at the stage when the charge-sheet is not fatal to the prosecution. The Karnataka High Court had not allowed the evidence filed at the stage of chargesheet claiming that the certificate filed later would be simply an after-thought. But the Supreme Court struck down the decision explaining that the certificate is only required when one wants to include an electronic file in evidence which is not at the stage of chargesheet. When a charge-sheet is filed, the court has to assume that everything provided is true and then proceed with the analysis as to whether the ingredients of an offence have been disclosed or not, making the 65B certificate at this stage redundant. [State By Karnataka Lokayukta Police Station, Bengaluru v M.R. Hiremath, Criminal Appeal No.819 of 2019, date of judgment: 01.05.2019]
- Government directed to set up 18 Fast Track and 22 Commercial Courts – The Delhi High Court has asked the NCT Government to set up 18 Fast Track and 22 Commercial Courts in different districts of Delhi and sought a report on the implementation of the same in compliance of the order to ensure speedy disposal of cases. According to information received in an RTI more than 6,414 cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences 2012 (‘POCSO’) are pending in various in courts in Delhi and more than 2,800 cases under various other sections, particularly Section 376 IPC (rape), are pending in the courts in Delhi. Many cases are also pending before the Commercial Courts. Thus it was seen imperative that the said number of courts be established. [Prag Chawla v Govt. of NCT of Delhi, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 3939 of 2019, date of judgment: 16.05.2019]
- Govt. cannot take possession of land of private persons without adequate compensation – The Allahabad High Court reprimanded the Uttar Pradesh Government for taking the land of private persons without giving them compensation for the same. The judgment notes that while right to property may not be a fundamental right anymore, it is a constitutional right. The State has also been directed to take action against erring officers. The Court came down heavily against the practice of state of taking land for widening roads without compensating the land owners in direct contravention of the Right to Fair Compensation Act and Article 300A which prohibits taking away of land without adequate compensation. The government had set up a committee to address grievances of those who had not been provided compensation, but the judgment observes that the compensation is to be provided before the land is acquired. [Gayatri Devi v State of UP, Writ Civil No. 14473 of 2019, date of order: 09.05.2019]
- Copy of forensic reports allowed to be given to accused in Bhima–Koregaon case – The Special Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) Court has allowed copies of forensic reports submitted along with the police report, to be furnished to the accused lawyer Surendra Gadling and activist Arun Ferreira in the Bhima Koregaon case. The application had been filed under Section 207 of the CrPC, which mandates the court to allow access to copies of various documents filed by the police, with the police report, to the accused. The Nazir of the court has been asked to keep the copies ready and video record the process of copying of the documents. [State of Maharshtra v Surendra Gadling, Special ATS No. 01/2018, date of order: 17.05.2019]
- CBI withdraws application in Bofors case – The CBI has withdrawn their application seeking permission to probe the payoffs in Bofors case. The CBI had claimed that it had come across fresh evidence. The CBI while withdrawing stated that they will take decision on the future course of action. The judge allowed CBI’s petition holding that it was its prerogative whether to continue with the investigation or not.