SC verdict on ‘rape’ of minor wife rape

Amritananda Chakravorty Mihir Samson

i. Entry of women into Sabrimala Temple referred to Constitution Bench: A three judge bench of the Supreme Court has referred the matter of entry of women into the Sabrimala Temple to a Constitution Bench, which would comprise five or more judges. The bench noted that the matter was sensitive and required consideration, as it pertained to a violation of fundamental right. The larger bench has been asked to answer five questions including aspects of the constitutional validity of the practice of disallowing entrance of women into the temple [Indian Young Lawyers Association v State of Kerala, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 373 of 2006, date of order: 13.10.2017].

ii. Plea to modify cracker ban refused: The Supreme Court refused to modify the ban on sale of firecrackers stating that any modification to the order would go against the spirit of the order. Traders claimed that they were not asking for complete lifting of the ban, but for allowing sale and bursting only during certain and restricted hours. The Court also stated that it was anguished about giving communal colour to the order, which has been passed keeping in mind the ‘adverse effects’ of burning crackers [Arjun Gopal v Union of India, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 728/2015, date of order: 13.10.2017]

iii. CBI investigation into Karti Chidambaram to be examined: The Supreme Court has agreed to look into the documents placed before it by the CBI pertaining to foreign bank accounts and properties of Karti Chidambaram. The Court was considering arguments of the agency justifying the lookout circular issued against him. The CBI had argued that the documents show the money trail involved in the case of clearance to INX Media, granted by his father P. Chidambram when he was a minister. P Chidambaram also filed an affidavit stating that CBI has been pursuing the matter with the sole aim of humiliating him, as Karti was his son and there was no justification for the lookout notice [CBI v Karti P. Chidambaram, Special Leave Petition (Civil) Nos. 20699-20700 of 2017, date of order: 10.11.2017].

iv. Contempt petition against Sahara for obstructing Aamby Valley auction: The Securities and Exchange Board of India has moved a contempt petition against the Sahara Group for allegedly obstructing the auction of Aamby Valley, as had been ordered by the Supreme Court. According to SEBI, Sahara has been suspending the day-to-day business activities of the project, which could create law and order problems in the area and make it difficult to carry out the auction. Sahara had informed the police about the suspension of its activities, because of deteriorating business environment of Sahara, and asked them to depute police in the area to control the situation. [SEBI v. Subrata Roy Sahara, Cont. Pet. No. 1820 of 2017, date of order: 12.11.2017].

v. Death sentences of Sabarmati Express convicts commuted: The Gujarat High Court commuted the death sentences of 11 convicts in the Sabarmati Express burning case in Godhra in 2002, which triggered massive riots across the city. The families of the victims will also be paid a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh. The court gave two reasons for the commutation – firstly, it pointed out that a large number of casualties could actually be attributed to the over-crowdedness of the train. Secondly, the convicts had actually not intended to enhance the number of casualties, as they had set fire to only one side of the train and actually let the other side free for people to escape. Further, the Court made strong remarks against the then Gujarat State Government for its failure to control the riots. [State of Gujarat v Bilal Ismail Abdul Majid, Criminal Confirmation Case No. 1 of 2011, date of order: 11.07.2017]
VI. Costs imposed on Reliance industries in Le Meridian case: The Delhi High Court has imposed costs of Rs. 1 lakh and dismissed the petition filed by Reliance Industries against the decision of the NDMC to evict the C.J. International Hotels Ltd., which runs the Le Meridian Hotel. The operators of the Hotel have not paid dues amounting to about 600 crores and Reliance Industries is one of the occupants of the commercial tower of the hotel. The Court in this case said that the petitioners had no standing to challenge the decision and were merely trying to stall proceedings. [Reliance Industries Limited v The Estate Officer, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 8904 of 2017, date of order: 10.10.2017]

Disciplinary proceedings against Kanhaiya Kumar set aside: The Delhi High Court set aside the order which had imposed a penalty of Rs. 10,000 on Kanhaiya Kumar, former President of the JNU Students’ Union for sloganeering and related events. The grounds of challenge to the order of penalty, among others, were that the enquiry was conducted without the petitioner’s presence, as he was in judicial custody during the period, and that the petitioner was not given the relevant materials on the basis of which he was punished, which was in violation of the principles of natural justice. JNU claimed that ample opportunities has been provided for Kumar to represent himself. While setting aside the penalty, the Court has also ordered Kumar to not enter into any kind of sloganeering or dharna activities. [Kanhaiya Kumar v Jawaharlal Nehru University, Writ Petition (Civil) 7902/2016, date of order: 12.10.2017]  (IPA/Concluded)

Monday, 23 October, 2017