The apprehension entertained by the CBI that the trial of the case at Ghaziabad may not be fair, resulting in miscarriage of justice, is held to be misplaced, therefore, not to be accepted. From the material on record, the court was unable to draw any inference of a reasonable apprehension of bias on a bald allegation that since the trial judge and some of the named accused had been close associates at some point of time and that some of the witnesses are judicial officers, the trial at Ghaziabad would be biased and not fair, undermining the confidence of the public in the system. While it is true that judges are human beings, not automations but it is imperative for a judicial officer, in whatever capacity he may be functioning, that he must act with the belief that he is not to be guided by any factor other than to ensure that he shall render a free and fair decision, which according to his conscience is the right one on the basis of materials placed before him.
Nahar Singh Yadav v. Union of India , SLP (C) No. 12981 of 2008; Decided on 19-10-2010 (SC) [D.K. Jain, V.S. Sirpurkar and G.S. Singhvi, JJ.]
All trial courts in India are directed to ordinarily add section 302 IPC to the charge of section 304B, IPC, so that death sentences can be imposed in such heinous and barbaric crimes against women. As held by the Apex Court, this court is going to take a serious view in the matters of crimes against women and give harsh punishment. In the instant case, the husband was found guilty of murdering his pregnant wife for demanding cash amount barely six months after their marriage. He was awarded life sentence under section 304B, IPC, apart from sentences under other sections. The High Court had reduced the sentence to 10 years rigorous imprisonment. In appeal, the Supreme Court held that the High Court was not justified in reducing the sentence of husband as it appeared to be a case of barbaric and brutal murder. The injuries on deceased, prima facie, indicated that her head was repeatedly struck and she was throttled.
Rajbir v. State of Haryana , SLP (Crl) No. 9507/2010; Decided on 22-11-2010 (SC) [Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra, JJ.]
MOTOR ACCIDENT CLAIM: Medical Evidence
The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal should not be a silent spectator when medical evidence is tendered in regard to the injuries and their effect, in particular the extent of permanent disability. The Tribunal should act with caution, if it proposed to accept the expert evidence of doctors who did not treat the injured but who give 'ready to use' disability certificates, without proper medical assessment. But where the disability certificates are given by duly constituted Medical Boards, they may be accepted subject to evidence regarding the genuineness of such certificates. However, mere production of a disability certificate or Discharge certificate will not be proof of the extent of disability stated therein unless the doctor who treated the claimant or who medically examined and assessed the extent of disability of claimant, is tendered for cross-examination with reference to the certificate.
Many busy surgeons refuse to treat medico-legal cases out of apprehension that their practice and their current patients will suffer, if they have to spend their days in Tribunals giving evidence about past patients. As held, the solution does not lie in coercing the doctors to attend the Tribunal to give evidence. The solution lies in recognizing the valuable time of doctors and accommodating them.
Raj Kumar v. Ajay Kumar , C. A. No. 8981 of 2010; Decided on 18-10-2010 (SC) [R.V. Raveendran and H.L. Gokhale, JJ.]
NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION: Jurisdiction
The National Human Rights Commission has been constituted to inquire into cases of violation of and for protection and promotion of human rights. This power is an extensive one, which should not be narrowly viewed. Thus, if a person has been guaranteed certain rights either under the Constitution or under an International Covenant or under a law, and he is denied access to such a right, then it amounts to a clear violation of his human right and NHRC has the jurisdiction to intervene for protecting it.
Of course, NHRC cannot intervene in proceeding pending in court without its approval as it is assumed that court will remedy any case of violation of human rights. However, the assumption that there can be no violation of a person's human right by a judgment of the court is held as not correct. The instances of the Supreme Court's judgment violating the human rights of citizens may be extremely rare but it cannot be said that such situation can never happen. But NHRC cannot function as a parallel seat of justice to rectify or correct or comment upon orders passed by the Supreme Court or any other courts of competent jurisdiction for correcting an order in a judicial proceeding. The aggrieved party has to avail of the well established gamut of the corrective machinery of appeal, revision, review and so on.
Ramdeo Chauhan v. Bani Kant Das , R.P. (C) No. 1378 of 2009; Decided on 19-11-2010 (SC) [Aftab Alam and Asok Kumar Ganguly, JJ.]
MAINTENANCE TO WIFE
In the wake of the admitted second marriage of the husband, the wife would be entitled to claim maintenance and her refusal to join the company of husband would be of no consequence whatsoever as she had not forsaken the company of her husband without any reason. She was very clear in her evidence that the husband stopped visiting the matrimonial house after his second marriage.
Saygo Bai v. Chueeru Bajrangi , Crl. A. No. 2169 of 2010; Decided on 19-11-2010 (SC)
MILITARY SERVICE: Pension Anomalies
There is widespread discontent among the serving and former members of the armed forces and their widows and family members regarding their service conditions e.g., pay scales, allowances, anomalies regarding pensions, inadequate pension (particularly to those disabled while in service), widows benefits, promotion matters (including promotion policy and process) etc. They have a feeling that the bureaucrats do not care for them and do not properly address their grievances. As a result, thousands of ex-armed forces personnel have returned their medals, and some have even burnt their artificial limbs.
As observed, this is not good for the nation. The armed forces personnel should have a feeling that their grievances are heard by an independent body. The Supreme Court, therefore, has directed the Central Government to set up within two months a Commission which shall be called the Armed Forces Grievances Redressal Commission.
Pushpa Vanti v. Union of India , Writ Petition (C) No. 291 of 2010; Decided on 15-11-2010 (SC) [Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra, JJ.]
The inner urge for freedom is a natural phenomenon of every human being. Respect for life, liberty and property is not merely a norm or a policy of the State but an essential requirement of any civilized society. Just as the liberty is precious to an individual, so is the society's interest in maintenance of peace, law and order.
A great ignominy, humiliation and disgrace is attached to the arrest. In case, the State considers some suggestions laid down by the Apex Court, it may not be necessary to curtail the personal liberty of the accused in a routine manner. As reported, by and large, nearly 60% of the arrests are either unnecessary or unjustified. As held, the arrest should be the last option and it should be restricted to those exceptional cases where arresting the accused is imperative in the facts and circumstances of that case. Similarly, the discretion vested with the court under section 438 CrPC should be exercised with caution and prudence. It is imperative to sensitize judicial officers, police officers and investigating officers so that they can properly comprehend the importance of personal liberty vis-à-vis social interests. Once the anticipatory bail is granted then the protection should ordinarily be available till the end of the trial.
Siddharam Satlingappa Mhetre v. State of Maharashtra , Crl App. No. 2271 of 2010; Decided on 2-12-2010 (SC) [Dalveer Bhandari and K.S. Panicker, JJ.]