The best of Indian courts in 2020 CJP takes a look at various court orders that positively shaped human rights’ jurisprudence

28, Dec 2020 | CJP Team

As the year 2020 draws to a close, here is an annual round up of orders and judgements of India’s constitutional courts — High Courts and the Supreme Court of India. In a month by month look, CJP brings you a calendar of the year gone by: through judgements and orders that paved new paths in human rights jurisprudence, constitutional rights and criminal justice reform; bringing some hope and cheer at the year’s end.

December

Jail authorities pulled up for impinging Article 21: Allahabad HC

Allahabad High Court (Uttar Pradesh) directed the jailer who refused to release a prisoner due to discrepancy in name in the release order, to show cause why a departmental inquiry may not be recommended against him. It observed that the applicant was illegally deprived of his liberty without any just or reasonable cause due to obstinate attitude of the jail administration.

Medical panel to re-examine 2 riot victims: Delhi HC

Mohammad Imran and Shokat Ali, two bystanders who were injured in, and survived the February 2020, communal violence of North East Delhi were asked to appear for re-examination before a medical board by the Delhi High Court (Delhi). Both were seriously injured and did not get either proper medico-legal care (MLC) nor adequate compensation. This was a landmark intervention by the Delhi High Court.

Allahabad HC stays arrest of man booked under Love jihad law

The court (Uttar Pradesh) protected the man from arrest and said that the alleged victim was an adult who can understand her well-being, upholding their freedom of choice and Right to Privacy. The court also noted that the FIR was based on mere suspicions and no evidence was placed on record.

SHO pulled up for lapse in Tablighi case investigation: Delhi court

The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) of Saket Court (Delhi), Arun Kumar Garg acquitted all 36 foreigners accused in the Tablighi Jamaat case, noting that the prosecution failed to prove the presence of the accused inside the Markaz premises and contradictions in the witness statements. He also said that they had been maliciously picked up from different places to be prosecuted upon the directions from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for defying Covid-19 Guidelines.

State to file report in response to Hathras victim’s kin demands: HC

The Allahabad High court (Uttar Pradesh) directed the State to file the first or interim report of the SIT in regard to the family’s complaint over DM’s non-fulfilment of promise over employment and housing facilities. The state was also directed to state whether the victim’s father’s complaint about the DM was recorded by the SIT. The court also went through the audio-visual material on record and fixed January 16 as the date for the parties in the case to view the proceedings.

 Implement Manual Scavengers Act: Karnataka HC

The court issued directions to the State asking for accountability over implementation of the Act in light of the death of three manual scavengers due to suffocation, while cleaning a pit in an apartment complex at Bengaluru. The court asked the state authorities to place on record the number of FIR’s filed, data on the manual scavengers and insanitary latrines survey, details about number of meetings held at the Districts, Sub-Divisional and the State level Vigilance Committees, etc. The Manual Scavengers Act of 2013 is not being strictly implemented in the country and government and government agencies are often responsible.

Preventive detention affects personal liberty: Allahabad HC

The court (Uttar Pradesh) quashed a detention order issued against a person accused under National Security Act (NSA) on the ground that unreasonable delay was caused in processing the representation made by the petitioner and in placing the same before the Advisory board. The court noted that this inaction on the part of the authorities certainly resulted in deprivation on his rights to fair opportunity of hearing and it also resulted in denial of the opportunity of fair hearing to the petitioner as provided under law. The high court held this to be a gross violation of established legal and procedural norms and legal and constitutional protection.

On Preventive Detention, the courts opined that it heavily affects the personal liberty of individual enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India and, therefore, the Authority is under obligation to pass detention order according to procedure established by law. This will ensure that the constitutional safeguards have been followed.

No CCTV camera footage is no defense: Bombay HC

The court (Maharashtra) strictly noted that CCTV cameras that control atrocities against persons who are brought to the Police Stations has to be functional and constantly monitored by police officers and the non-availability of the footage cannot under any circumstance be used as an argument by the police to absolve themselves of accountability.

Photos & video recording in custodial deaths: Madras HC

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court (Tamil Nadu) has issued specific directions relating to steps leading to a post mortem, especially in cases alleging custodial deaths while allowing relatives to take photos and videos of the dead body before post mortem. The court asserted that, “Every time a custodial death occurs, the legitimacy of the State suffers a big dent. That can be set right only by ensuring transparent investigation. A dead person is equally entitled to justice.” Once the video is recorded/ pictures are clicked, the court directed that forensic medicine expert conducting the autopsy should ensure immediate sealing of the memory chip/video cassette and its immediate dispatch with all required particulars to the inquest authority. This will help ensure that proper steps have been taken in custodial death matters.

Right to shelter: Karnataka HC

As the huts of migrant workers were burnt down by unidentified miscreants during the lockdown, the court held that it is the duty of the state to protect people’s right to shelter. This order is important as the judges recognised the inaction of the authorities while directing them to construct the structures at its own cost for the affected families.

 C’s order to end custodial abuse

The Supreme Court had passed a detailed and specific order directing states and the centre to take concrete steps towards ensuring that every police station in the country and all investigating agencies have CCTV cameras in their premises. In addition, it also ordered for proper monitoring and operation of the cameras at the District and State levels.  

State appears to justify hasty cremation of Hathras victim: A’bad HC

After the State counsel submitted before the court that the Government had decided to not transfer the DM as it was just a political game and that there is no possibility of him tampering with evidence and that the State has nothing to do with the investigation as it is being looked by the CBI, the Allahabad High Court (Uttar Pradesh) noted that the senior counsel for the state attempted to justify the cremation of the victim in the night by narrating the facts and to contend that the District Magistrate did not commit any wrong in this regard. The court also ordered the office to index the audio-video material provided by different Media Houses in the proceedings.

November

Choosing a partner, intrinsic to Article 21: Allahabad HC

In a matter involving an inter religious marriage, the court held that neither any individual nor a family nor a State can have any objection to relationship of two major individuals who out of their own free will are living together. A question was raised regarding the validity of the marriage because of an alleged forced conversion. To that, the court (Uttar Pradesh) held that a right to choose a partner, which if denied would not only affect his/her human right but also his/her right to life and personal liberty, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The court also said that right to live with a person of his/her choice irrespective of religion professed by them, is intrinsic to his/her right to life and personal liberty.

Tablighi case will not affect foreign visa to India: SC

The Supreme Court clarified that the Karnataka High Court’s condition imposed on foreign nationals to not enter India for the next 10 years, will not affect future applications for visa for travel to India. The top court said that all applications will be decided on merit. The petitioner here was a Kyrgyzstan national and was arrested for violating visa conditions and hence was booked for violating the Foreigners Act, 1946. The petitioner and other similarly placed appellants had moved the Karnataka High Court for quashing of the FIR against them and the court ended up quashing criminal proceedings against them and directed the state to make necessary arrangement or issuance of exit permits to them. However, the court imposed a condition that they would not return to India for another 10 years.

44 Tablighi foreigner’s acquittal upheld: Delhi court

A Delhi court refused to entertain the plea filed by the Delhi Government against the discharge of all foreigners who had come to India to attend the Tablighi Jamaat meet. In addition to this, the court also noted the lack of evidence to frame the foreigners, some who were not even present in the Markaz premises.

Witness Protection in cases against legislators: SC

In matters of criminal cases pending against present and former legislators, the Supreme Court directed the State to implement the witness protection scheme 2018 and also held that no unnecessary adjournment, vacation of stay on proceedings after a certain period of time will be allowed. The Supreme Court acknowledged the vulnerability of witnesses in cases involving political personalities and stressed on the need of strict enforcement of the scheme. This was significant as it pushes trial courts to grant protection to witness, without the witness having to ask for it.

Protect same sex couple facing resistance: Allahabad HC

A same sex couple that had been facing harassment and resistance from their respective family members and society was offered police protection by the High Court (Uttar Pradesh). It observed that it being a constitutional Court is duty bound to monitor and observe the Constitutional morality as well as the rights of the citizens which are under threat only on account of the sexual orientation.

Be tolerant while invoking sedition law: Punj & Haryana HC

The Punjab and Haryana High Court granted bail to a person booked for “sedition and inciting communal hatred” cautioning the State against indiscriminate use of sedition and hate speech laws. The accused was booked for expressing his displeasure over the way lockdown was implemented in the State as he went on Facebook Live, abusing the authorities. The court, noted that although intemperate and abusive language had been used, the same does not amount to exciting disaffection towards the Government established by law or to excite hatred against it. It also does not amount to inciting religious disaffection or disruption of communal harmony. It is an expression of dissatisfaction with the functioning of the Government and criticism of its policies.

Covid bail extended for 30 days: Delhi HC

Taking note of the Covid-19 situation in Delhi, the High Court considered the High-Powered Committee’s suggestion regarding the inconvenience to jail authorities and extended the interim bail granted to prisoners to decongest jails by another thirty days.

HC seeks CBI status report in Hathras

The Allahabad High Court (Uttar Pradesh) asked the Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) how much more time they would need to finish the investigation into the Hathras gang rape and murder case and directed them to file a status report before November 25. It asked a responsible Officer of the Central Reserve Police Force to file an affidavit indicating the nature of security provided and measures taken for the victim’s family and directed the court officials to delete the name of the victim and her family members from all records. It also rejected the applications of the accused as they had no locus and the CBI’s investigation was still ongoing. The court also pondered over transferring the DM during the pendency of the proceedings as the cremation took place under his watch.

October

Statement to NDPS officers not evidence: SC

The 2:1 judgment said that the NDPS officers are police officers and so confessions will not amount to admissible evidence. Elucidating more on this, the officers under section 53 of the NDPS Act are “police officers” and as a consequence of this, any confessional statement made to these officers would be barred under section 25 of the Evidence Act and “cannot be taken into account in order to convict an accused under the NDPS Act.

Maternity leave no ground for dismissal: SC

As the ad hoc assistant professor was dismissed from her job during her maternity leave, the top court supported the Delhi High court’s direction of imposing Rs.50,000 on college for unfair dismissal and noted that, “Having a child is no reflection on a woman’s professional ability, whether she is in the Army, Navy, judiciary, teaching or bureaucracy. We will not allow termination on this ground.” Significantly, the Delhi High court had observed, “need for leave due to her pregnancy and confinement would tantamount to penalising a woman for electing to become a mother while still employed and thus pushing her into a choiceless situation as motherhood would be equated with loss of employment. This is violative of the basic principle of equality in the eyes of law. It would also tantamount to depriving her of the protection assured under Article 21 of the Constitution of India of her right to employment and protection of her reproductive rights as a woman. Such a consequence is therefore absolutely unacceptable and goes against the very grain of the equality principles enshrined in Articles 14 and 16.”

Police cannot summon to intimidate & harass: SC

The top court held that the power of a police officer to summon an individual under section 41A of the CrPC. if they believe that there is credible information or against whom a reasonable complaint is made cannot be used as an intimidation, harassment or threatening tactic. The court noted that this power has been misused before. The court also placed some burden on itself and said the courts must safeguard the fundamental right to the freedom of expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

Allahabad HC to monitor Hathras case: SC

The Supreme Court ordered that probe into the Hathras case will be carried out under supervision of the Allahabad High Court (Uttar Pradesh) and directed protection to the Victim’s family from the Central Paramilitary forces (CRPF).  The court also directed the high court to erase all mention of the identity of the victim and her family from the previous high court order.

CRPF protection to Hathras family: SC

Citizens for Justice and Peace in its intervention application (Crl. M.P. No. 102148 of 2020) as listed third in the Supreme Court order dated October 27, 2020 had prayed for a judicial monitoring of the investigation, the protection of witnesses by Central paramilitary forces, and appointment of a retired Supreme Court Judge to investigate the circumstances which led to the cremation of the victim on September 30, 2020. The Court took note that even though the state assured security to the victim’s family, the general pessimism and normal perception around was not unjustified. In that view, as a confidence building measure, the top court directed that the security to the victim’s family and the witnesses shall be provided by the CRPF.

UP anti-cow slaughter act being misused: Allahabad HC

Allahabad High Court (Uttar Pradesh) made some very pertinent observations about how provisions of law against the slaughter of cows were being misused in Uttar Pradesh. Granting bail to one Rahmuddin, the court observed that the Act is being misused against innocent persons. Whenever any meat is recovered, it is normally shown as cow meat (beef) without getting it examined or analysed by the Forensic Laboratory. In most of the cases, meat is not sent for analysis, the court added. The court noted that alleged accused persons continue to languish in jails and whenever cows are shown to be recovered, no proper recovery memo is prepared and one does not know where cows go after recovery.

Medical corroboration not important to prove rape: Madhya Pradesh HC

A Single Bench of the High Court had held that delay in filing FIR by the survivor is no ground to throw away the prosecutrix’s case and that medical corroboration is not an absolute necessity while assessing gang rape cases. On the basis of the prosecutrix’s statement, the accused’s bail plea was dismissed.

Right to default bail is extension of Article 21: SC

The Supreme Court held that there is a fundamental right granted to an accused person to be released on bail once the conditions of the first proviso to Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure are fulfilled. This section said that the detention of any accused cannot be authorised beyond a statutory period prescribed under law to complete an investigation. Moreover, life and personal liberty of an individual must be paramount. While dealing with a case under the UAPA, where the accused was denied a plea for default bail, the Supreme Court said, “We must not forget that we are dealing with the personal liberty of an accused under a statute which imposes drastic punishments.” The Court further held that the Special Court alone had jurisdiction to extend detention time up to 180 days under the first proviso in Section 43-D(2)(b) of the UAPA and not any Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate.

Women can stay at marital house under DV act: SC

The Apex Court held that women in domestic relationships shall have the right to reside in the shared household, whether or not she has any right, title or beneficial interest in the same under section 17 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The court emphasized on the permanency of a woman inhabiting a house for security and that the purpose of the legislators behind the Domestic violence act was to safeguard the interests of women. This judgment also overturned S.R. Batra vs Taruna Batra 2007 3 SCC 169 where the court observed that claim for alternative accommodation can only be made against the husband and not against the husband’s in-laws or other relatives. But now, the definition of shared household under section 2(s) means a shared household that belongs to any relative of the husband with whom in a domestic relationship the woman has lived.

Gujarat’s anti-labour notification quashed: SC

The Supreme Court quashed the Notification that denied humane working conditions and overtime wages, while stating that it was an affront to the workers Right to Life and the right against Forced Labour. Observing the financial exigencies that factories have faced due to the lockdown, the court also remarked that, “financial losses cannot be offset on the weary shoulders of the labouring worker, who provides the backbone of the economy.”

Suo Motu cognisance in Hathras case: Allahabad HC

After the gang rape, murder and forceful cremation of a 19-year-old Dalit girl, the Allahabad High Court (Uttar Pradesh) took suo motu cognisance of the incident and issued notice to the DGP, SP of Hathras as well as Additional Chief Secretary seeking to know if undue advantage of the family’s economic status was taken while dealing in the matter. The Bench also remarked that this horrific case shocked their conscience.

September

Tablighi Jamaat FIR quashed: Bombay HC

On September 21, the Bombay High Court (Maharashtra) quashed the FIR and chargesheet filed against 8 Myanmar nationals who were booked for being part of Tablighi Jamaat and its activities on grounds that the prosecution did not produce any material “to prove that the applicants were engaged in Tablighi work and that they were involved in preaching religious ideology or making speeches in religious places.” There was also no material on record to prove that they had indulged in any act which was likely to spread infection of Covid -19.

SC restrains Sudarshan News from telecasting “UPSC Jihad”

The content of the show was related to the rising infiltration of Muslims in the Indian civil services. The Supreme Court noted that the program was an insidious attempt to malign a community. The court also commented that the edifice of a stable democracy society under a regime of constitutional rights and values is founded on co-existence of communities and any attempt to vilify a community must be viewed with great disfavour by this court which is a custodian of constitutional rights. CJP had filed a complaint with the NBSA when the promotional video for the show had first emerged. But NBSA forwarded the complaint to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting stating that since Sudarshan News was not a part of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) the NBSA could not take action against it.

Kafeel Khan gets bail: Allahabad HC

The High Court (Uttar Pradesh) granted bail to Human Rights Defender Dr. Kafeel Khan observing that his speech delivered at Aligarh Muslim University against the citizenship laws did not disclose any effort to promote hatred or violence. The speaker was certainly opposing the policies of the government and while doing so certain illustration are given by him, but that nowhere reflects the eventualities demanding detention, noted the court.

August

State acted in malice against Tablighi members: Bombay HC

Being the first court to have called out the blatant communalism and the way the entire incident was handled by the government, the police and the media, three FIRs filed against a total of 29 foreign nationals and 6 Indians were quashed. The court (Maharashtra) observed that there is nothing on the record to show that Tablighi activity is prohibited permanently by the Government. On media propaganda, the court accepted that there was big propaganda in print media and electronic media against the foreigners who had come to Markaz Delhi and an attempt was made to create a picture that these foreigners were responsible for spreading covid-19 virus in India. The court also pulled up the Government that tried to make foreigners as scapegoat in a time of a pandemic.

Reporter’s fundamental right to publish news: Calcutta HC

Granting pre arrest bail to a journalist who was booked after he reported on policemen collecting bribes and driving rashly, causing the death of one person, the court (West Bengal)held that it is the fundamental right of a press reporter to publish any news, which may not be palatable to the administration.

July

Police cannot file FIR under section 188 of IPC: Madras HC

The Madras High Court quashed (Tamil Nadu) an FIR against a person who was booked under sections 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly) and 188 (defying order promulgated by a public servant) of the IPC for protesting against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) without prior permission. The court held that the police officer was not competent to file the FIR. The bench also observed that the complaint did not even state as to how the protest formed by the petitioner and others is an unlawful protest and does not satisfy the requirements of Section 143 of IPC. Therefore, the final report was quashed.

Court pulls up Police in Delhi riots case

The Additional Sessions Judge in Delhi said that the Police seemed to be in a state of inscrutable indolence in collection of relevant video footage during the riots in February 2020. The court noted that the video footage is essential evidence in the investigations into the North East Delhi riots case from the Jafrabad and Maujpur Metro stations area which is yet to be collected by the Police.

June

Man granted bail in Delhi riots case: HC

While granting bail to a person accused of burning a shop during the North east Delhi riots of February, Delhi High Court held that the court cannot deny bail to someone for ‘sending a message to society’. This remark was made after the prosecution argued that granting bail at such an early stage may send an adverse message in society. The court said that the remit of the court is to dispense justice in accordance with law, not to send messages to society. It is this sentiment, whereby the State demands that undertrials be kept in prison inordinately without any purpose, that leads to overcrowding of jails; and leaves undertrials with the inevitable impression that they are being punished even before trial and therefore being treated unfairly by the system.

Tablighi Jamaat members rescued by Allahabad and Madras HC

In two separate bail orders, the Allahabad High Court (Uttar Pradesh) and the Madras High Court (Tamil Nadu) have given protection, in their respective cases to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation members who had gathered at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi. The Allahabad High Court noted the constitutional provisions under Article 20 of the Constitution of India which guarantees an equal protection to foreign nationals in the matter of trial in criminal cases and Article 21 which guarantees protection of life and personal liberty in equal measure. Bail was granted to 6 applicants and they were also permitted to reside at the place mentioned in the tourist Visas and were given the liberty to receive disclosed financial support from their relatives in Bangladesh or anyone in India and in case of shortage of support, the central government, after consulting with Bangladesh government, shall provide necessary financial help to the accused applicants for sustaining their life in a dignified manner inclusive of the medical aid.

The Madras High Court, on the other hand held that the activities of the applicants have not prejudiced public tranquillity and that there is absolutely nothing on record to indicate that they had contributed to the spread of the novel coronavirus. The court also refused to call the people involved as Tablighi and said categorization can have serious pitfalls. Justicing has to be an individualized exercise. There are scores of foreign Tablighi’s who are presently in detention. They hail from different countries. Some of them are women. Quite a few are senior citizens. They are normal human beings. The court noted that they have all unnecessarily suffered and granted bail to all 11 foreigners.

May

Action against Police for not lodging an FIR of a Dalit man: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court, as a reprimand to Delhi police, had directed the trial court to initiate proceedings against police officers who refused to register complaint of a Dalit man alleging abuse and harassment in 2018. The court observed that the man ran from pillar to post for justice for 2 years and the police did not do its duty. The court also observed that there was no embargo that would justify the non-registration of the FIR by the police.

April

No mention of person’s caste in court papers: Rajasthan HC

The Rajasthan High Court issued a notification on April 27, in connection with a controversy arising out of mention of caste in a judicial order. The notification stated that mentioning an individual’s caste is against the spirit of constitution and is also contrary to a direction issued by the High court 2 years ago. The notification points out that the caste of the accused and other persons is being mentioned by the Registry and presiding officers of subordinate courts and Tribunals in the state in judicial and administrative matters.

Compensation if delayed inquiry in sexual harassment cases: SC

The Supreme Court directed the Union government to pay compensation to an employee of RAW in a sexual harassment case. The apex court found the need to compensate the complainant owing to the improper handling of her complaint and her being subjected to “insensitive and undignified circumstances”. The court also said that the cases of sexual harassment at workplace is not confined to cases of actual commission of acts of harassment, but also covers situations wherein the woman employee is subjected to prejudice, hostility, discriminatory attitude and humiliation in day to day functioning at the workplace.

States release prisoners amidst Pandemic

After the Supreme court order directing all states and union territories to consider the release of prisoners from overcrowded jails, several states acted on it. Uttarakhand released 855 prisoners on parole, Maharashtra’s Akola District jail released 60 on bail, 3000 convicted and undertrials were released in West Bengal, the Agra district jail released 71 prisoners on short term bail, Jammu & Kashmir revoked the detention of 31 people, Haryana released around 1,600 prisoners, 722 undertrial prisoners were released from Assam jails, 94 undertrial prisoners from Shillong jail and eight children from observation home in Meghalaya were released on bail, 74 prisoners including seven women from the Visakhapatnam Central Prison in Andhra, 1,200 prisoners for two months on parole and interim bail in Gujarat and 1,727 jail inmates on parole in Odisha.

March

Banners of anti CAA protestors interfered with privacy: Allahabad HC

Allahabad High Court (Uttar Pradesh) took suo moto cognizance in response to the arbitrary and undemocratic actions of UP state government putting up posters seeking compensation from the accused persons and further to confiscate their property, if they failed to pay compensation. The Court while emphasizing on right to privacy, stated, that in this case, a valid apprehension of causing serious injury to the rights protected under Article 21 of the Constitution of India exists which demands adequate treatment by the Court at its own. The prime consideration before the Court is to prevent the assault on fundamental rights, especially the rights protected under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

1180 prisoners released from jail: Tamil Nadu

Post the Supreme court order to consider release of inmates due to Covid, the Tamil Nadu state judiciary ordered the release of more than 1,180 prisoners from nine Central jails for men, five special prisons for women, district and sub-jails in the state.

Only inevitable arrests to be made: Kerala HC

In a suo moto case, taking cognizance of the national lockdown in place due to outbreak of COVID-19, the High Court extended all interim orders passed by it in all cases by one month keeping in mind that litigants will not be able to approach the courts to extend the same. All recovery proceedings were halted. The court extended interim orders in bail and anticipatory bail cases by one month. Significantly, the court also held that a person’s right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 will not be infringed by arresting unless it is inevitable.

SC suggests release of prisoners amid Covid

The apex court directed all States and Union Territories to form high-level panels in order to consider releasing prisoners who have served a sentence of 7 years or more, on parole to decongest the already overcrowded jails in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19. The court banned transfer of prisoners from one prison to another except for decongestion, to ensure social distancing and medical assistance to ill prisoners. 

February

Equal roles for women in the Army: SC

The Supreme Court said that an absolute bar on women seeking criteria or command appointments would not comport with the guarantee of equality under Article 14. Implicit in the guarantee of equality is that where the action of the State does differentiate between two classes of persons, it does not differentiate them in an unreasonable or irrational manner. The apex court believed that it is an insult to women as well as the Army when aspersions are cast on women, their ability and their achievements in the Army. The court focused on the principles of equality noting that denying opportunities to women was against the ethos of the Constitution and directed the Army to frame guidelines that are equal for men and women.

Anti CAA protestors are not traitors: Bombay HC

Drawing on the experiences of Indians non-violently fighting unjust laws under a colonial regime during India’s struggle for Independence, the Court (Maharashtra) said that an agitation cannot be suppressed only on the ground that people are agitating against the government. Granting relief to petitioners who were seeking permission to sit at a location for an indefinite agitation, the Court expressed that such persons cannot be called as traitors, anti-nationals only because they want to oppose one law. The court said that the bureaucracy needs to be ‘sensitive’ in matters of dissent by giving proper training on human rights.

Rehabilitate labourers touted as Bangladeshis: Karnataka HC

The Karnataka High Court pulled up Bengaluru Police who demolished homes of labourers who actually belonged to Assam and Telangana. The court asked the police to state evidence basis which the conclusion was drawn that the inhabitants of the makeshift homes were Bangladeshi nationals. The court directed that the inhabitants of the homes be rehabilitated and ordered the government to submit a comprehensive rehabilitation scheme to that regard. The State were to also provide either monetary assistance or temporary accommodation to such persons as interim relief.

Anticipatory Bail can extend till the end of the trial: SC

The top court held that the protection granted to a person under Section 438 of Criminal Procedure Code relating to anticipatory bail should not invariably be limited to a fixed period of time and should be in the favour of the accused without any restriction on time.

January

CJP’s plea to not send children to detention camps in Assam accepted: SC

CJP’s application sought directions from the apex court that drew attention to the Constitutional, legal obligations and prayed, specifically that no child excluded from the NRC is either sent to detention camps nor separated from their parents in Assam. The court directed the State to ensure the same through an interim order.

(Compiled by Sanchita Kadam and Adeeti Singh)

 

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