Acquittal of Mahmood Farooqui

i. Vodafone’s appeal against fixation of inteconnection usage charges dismissed: A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court has held that the consultation process adopted by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for fixing interconnection usage charges (IUCs) between cellular and fixed line operators suffered from no infirmity. IUCs are charges paid by operators of telecommunication services on whom the call originates to operators at whose end the call terminates. Vodafone had approached the Court after it was denied the cost models used to deduce the IUC charges. It had contended that TRAI’s withholding of critical information is illegal, arbitrary and in violation of the mandate of transparency required under the TRAI Act. The Court noted the structure of the process of consultation, which invited suggestions and submissions from various stakeholders at different stages, and satisfied the transparency requirements [Vodafone India v. TRAI, LPA 592 of 2017, judgment dated 26.09.2017]. In conjunction with Airtel and Idea, Vodafone had earlier approached the Bombay High Court to stay the decision passed by TRAI to slash the IUC charges by 57% to 6 paise, from 14 paise, from October 1 and scrapping the charge from 2020. The Bombay High Court did not grant stay on the matter[Idea Cellualr Ltd. v. TRAI, WPL/2687/2017, order dated 29.09.2017].

ii. Regularisation of guest teachers by APP Government halted: The Delhi High Court stayed the appointment of guest teachers and promoting those who have been appointed since 2010. The stay and the order to maintain status quo has been directed, as the Court noted that the authorities had not complied with the order passed by the Court in 2001. According to the earlier order, the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB) had been asked to ensure that there should be zero vacancy of teachers in schools before the beginning of each academic session. The plea was filed against the abrupt move of the DSSSB to withdraw an advertisement inviting 8,914 teaching posts in the Directorate of Education of the Delhi government and for 5,906 teaching posts in the three municipal corporation schools [Social Jurist. v. Dharmendra Sharma, Cont. Case(C) 1136 of 2016, order dated 27.09.2017].

iii. CBI questioned for not challenging trial court acquitting officers in Sohrabuddin case: The Bombay High Court questioned the CBI as to why it had not challengedthe trial court order discharging senior IPS officers involved in the fake encounter of Sohrabuddin and Tulsiram Prajapati. The Court further asked the agency on challenging recent orders acquitting other accused in the case. The Court had acquitted them on the grounds that CBI had not taken prior sanction to prosecute them. The Court also instructed the CBI court to refrain from framing of charges against any accused in the case until the next date of hearing [Rubabuddin Shaik v. The State of Maharashtra, Crim. Rev. 557 of 2016, order dated 29.09.2017].

iv. Honeypreet denied anticipatory bail: The Delhi High Court refused to grant bail to Honeypreet, the adopted daughter of Dera Sacha Sauda Chief, Gurmeet Singh. She has been evadingarrest and sought anticipatory bail from the Delhi High Court. She is wanted in relation to the case of inciting violence following the conviction of Gurmeet Singh. The Court however, denied her relief, since she had evaded arrest and it felt that her petition was essentially a ploy to delay proceedings in the concerned Haryana Court.[Honey Preet Insan v. State and Anr, Bail Application 1983 of 2017, order dated 26.09.2017]

v. Raghav Chadha’s petition dismissed: The Delhi High Court dismissed the petition filed by Raghav Chadha challenging his summoning in a criminal defamation case filed by the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley. Chadha’s case had recently been remanded to the High Court by the Supreme Court, with a direction that it be decided expeditiously. The main issue raised was whether a retweet falls under the scope of ‘publication’ under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code, which relates to criminal defamation. The Court directed that this issue would have to be decided by the trial court.[Raghav Chadha v. State, Criminal Miscellaneous Application 10690 of 2017, order dated 25.09.2017]

vi. PIL filed to make rape provisions gender neutral: The Delhi High Court issued notice on a petition to make the rape provisions under the IPC gender neutral. Currently, the provisions are gender specific. That is, only a woman can be raped, while only a man can commit rape under Section 375-376. Sexual assault of a man by a man, would be covered under Section 377. The petition relied onthe laws in different countries,highlighting how rape provisions can be gender neutral. It contended that men who have been raped don’t come out in open to report sexual crimes against them. [Sanjiv Kumaar v. Union of India, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 8745 of 2017, order dated 27.09.2017]

vii. Pintos granted interim protection from arrest: The Ryan Group CEO Ryan Pinto and his parents were granted interim protection from arrest by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.While the Pintos had sought anticipatory bail, the CBI sought time to file reply. Thus the court granted interim protection until CBI filed its reply. [Ryan Augustine Pinto v. State of Haryana, CRM-M 35002 of 2017, order dated 28.09.2017]

viii. Probe ordered into alleged human rights violation in Tihar Jail: A fair probe has been ordered into the human rights violations that have been alleged by 47 inmates of the Tihar prison. The inmates have alleged that they were beaten up mercilessly, denied access to adequate medical treatment and to their families. The Superintendent has been ordered to file a report in three weeks. [Jamal alias Ranjha v. NCT of Delhi, Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 2742 of 2017, order dated 17.09.2017]

ix. Charges to be framed against Tarun Tejpal: The Goa High Court upheld the decision of the Mapusa sessions court framing charges against the former Tehelka editor-in-chiefTarun Tejpal. He is accused of sexually assaulting a female colleague inside an elevator of Hotel Grand Hyatt in Goa on the night of November 7, 2013. But the Court has said that the trial will not begin until it directs so and no examination of the witnesses is done. The charges were then formally framed by the trial court [Tarun Tejpal v. State of Goa, CRIR 60 of 2017, order dated 26.09.2017]. (IPA/Concluded)

Thursday, 5 October, 2017