Abetment involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing of a thing. Without a positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid in committing suicide, conviction for the offence under section 306, Indian Penal Code cannot be sustained.
As held by the Supreme Court, in order to convict a person under section 306 IPC there has to be a clear mens rea to commit the offence. It also requires an active act or direct act which led the deceased to commit suicide seeing no option and this act must have been intended to push the deceased into such a position that he committed suicide.
In the instant case, an agriculturist harassed his agriculture labour by levelling the allegation that he had committed theft of some gold ornaments. The labour could not bear the harassment meted out to him and he committed suicide by consuming pesticides. The Supreme Court held that the conviction of the agriculturist for the offence under section 306, Indian Penal Code, as recorded by the courts below was not sustainable.
Gangula Mohan Reddy v. State of A.P. , Crl. App. No. 1301 of 2002; Decided on 5-1-2010 (SC) [Dalveer Bhandari and A.K. Patnaik, JJ.]
MOTOR ACCIDENT CLAIMS: Procedural Delays in Adjudication / Settlement
Considering consequential hardship to the victims and their families due to the procedural delays in adjudication/settlement of claims by Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals, the Supreme Court has issued directions to the police authorities and Claims Tribunals to expedite and streamline the adjudication of motor vehicle claims and disbursement of compensation.
The Director General of Police of each State is directed to instruct all police stations in his State to comply with the provisions of section 158(6) of the Motor Vehicles Act.
The Registrar General of each High Court is directed to instruct all Claims Tribunals in his State to register the reports of accidents received under section 158(6) of the Act as applications for compensation and deal with them without waiting for filing of claim applications by the victims.
The insurance companies shall be directed to deposit the admitted amount or the amount determined, with the Claims Tribunal within 30 days of determination. In cases of death, where the liability of the insurer is not disputed, the insurance companies should, without waiting for the decision of the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal or a settlement before the Lok Adalat, endeavour to pay to the family of the deceased, compensation as per the standard formula determined by the decisions of the Supreme Court of India. In cases of injuries to any accident victim, the insurer should offer treatment at its cost to the injured, without waiting for an award of the Tribunal.
Where there is no insurance cover for a vehicle, the owner should be directed to offer security or deposit an amount, adequate to satisfy the award that may be ultimately passed, as a condition precedent for release of the seized vehicle involved in the accident.
Jai Prakash v. National Insurance Co. , SLP (Civil) Nos. 11801-11804 of 2005; Decided on 17-12-2009 (SC) [R.V. Raveendran, Dr. Mukundakam Sharma and K.S. Radhakrishnan, JJ.]
RIGHT TO INFORMATION FROM JUDICIAL OFFICERS: Reasons for Judgment
An applicant under section 6 of the Right to Information Act can get any information which is already in existence and accessible to the public authority under law. Of course, under the RTI Act, an applicant is entitled to get copy of the opinions, advices, circulars, orders, etc., but he cannot ask for any information as to why such opinions, advices, circulars, orders, etc. have been passed, especially in matter pertaining to judicial decisions. A judge speaks through his judgments or orders passed by him. No litigant can be allowed to seek information as to why and for what reasons the judge had come to a particular decision or conclusion. A judge is not bound to explain later on for what reasons he had come to such a conclusion.
In the instant case, the petitioner had not challenged the validity of the order passed by a judicial officer. Instead, he filed an application under section 6 of the RTI Act to know why and for what reasons the judicial officer had come to a particular conclusion which was against the petitioner. The Apex Court dismissed the application as not maintainable while holding that a judge should be free to make independent decisions.
Khanapuram Gandaiah v. Administrative Officer , SLP (Civil) No. 34868 of 2009; Decided on 4-1-2010 (SC) [K.G. Balakrishnan, CJI and Dr. B.S. Chauhan, J.]
ANTICIPATORY BAIL: Grant of
No blanket order can be passed under section 438, Criminal Procedure Code to prevent the accused from being arrested at all in connection with the case. Anticipation bail is given for a limited duration to enable the accused to surrender and to obtain regular bail and primarily on the expiry of that duration or extended duration, the court graning Anticipatory bail should leave it to the regular court to deal with the matter on the appreciation of evidence placed before it.
The provisions of section 438 CrPC cannot also be invoked to exempt the accused from surrendering to the court after the investigation is complete and if charge sheet is filed against him. Once the investigation makes out a case against him and he is included as an accused in the charge sheet, the accused has to surrender to the custody of the court and pray for regular bail. On the strength of an order granting Anticipatory bail, an accused against whom charge has been framed, cannot avoid appearing before the trial court.
HDFC Bank Ltd. v. J.J. Mannan , Crl. App. No 2415/2009; Decided on 16-12-2009 (SC) [Altamas Kabir and Deepak Verma, JJ.]
HINDU LAW: Partition
A deed of family settlement seeking to partition joint family properties cannot be relied upon unless signed by all the co-sharers. Under the Hindu Law if a family arrangement is not accepted unanimously, it fails to become a binding precedent on the co-sharers.
Narendra Kante v. Anuradha Kante , C.A. No. 8290 of 2009 @ SLP (C) No. 27909 of 2008; Decided on 15-12-2009 (SC) [Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph, JJ.]
SERVICE LAW: Termination on giving wrong information
If it is found that the government servant who is holder of a civil post, has given any false information during the course of employment, that will have to be treated as a misconduct and punishment can be imposed only after subjecting him to an appropriate disciplinary proceedings as per the relevant Service Rules.
The appellant was appointed as a Peon in the Water Resources Department. Nearly a decade later, he was charge sheeted in a criminal case but he was acquitted by Judicial Magistrate by judgment dated 9-9-2004. In the year 1994, the appellant was required to submit an attestation form giving his personal data, antecedents, etc. In column 12 of the said form, regarding query as to 'whether any case is pending against you in Court of law', the appellant wrote 'No'. After verification of particulars, the authorities were informed that appellant had furnished wrong information in regard to the queries in column 12 of the attestation form. However, no show cause notice was issued to the appellant. The appellant continued to work. Nearly seven years later, an order was issued terminating the services of appellant forthwith 'for giving wrong information and concealment of facts in attestation form at the time of initial recruitment.
The Apex Court held that the termination order passed without an enquiry or hearing was illegal and invalid. The appellant was reinstated with continuity of service and other consequential benefits.
Kamal Nayan Mishra v. State of MP , C.A. No. 8317 of 2009; Decided on 7-12-2009 (SC) [R.V. Raveendran and K.S. Radhakrishnan, JJ.]
CHILD CUSTODY: Guardianship Proceedings
As far as the matter of guardianship is concerned, the prima facie case lies in favour of the father. Unless the father is not fit to be a guardian, the Court has no jurisdiction to appoint another guardian. However, the question of custody is different from the question of guardianship. Father can continue to be the natural guardian of the children; however, the considerations pertaining to the welfare of the child may indicate lawful custody with another friend or relative as serving his/her interest better.
In a recent case, mother of two minor children died and their father again married. The children had been living with their maternal grandparents and maternal uncle and aunt since their mother's death. Keeping in mind the paramount consideration of welfare of the minor children, the Supreme Court held that it was not inclined to disturb their custody which currently rests with their maternal relatives as the scope of the order was limited to determining with which of the contesting parties the minors should stay till the disposal of the application for guardianship. It was held that the custody of the minor children with their maternal relations was lawful, hence, the consideration that the custody of the children should not undergo an immediate change prevailed.
Athar Hussain v. Syed Siraj Ahmed , Civil Appeal No. 11 of 2010; Decided on 5-1-2010 (SC) [Tarun Chaterjee and V.S. Sirpurkar, JJ.]
RITA ARYAN LL.M. (Medalist)