Sunday, October 10, 2010

Court pulls up Delhi sub-divisional magistrate

Court pulls up Delhi sub-divisional magistrate

New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) A sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) posted in south Delhi has been pulled up by the Delhi High Court for abusing his power and acting in a corrupt manner in a land dispute case.

Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra while setting aside a December 2009 order passed by Vivek Tripathy, SDM, Vasant Vihar, said: “It is most unfortunate that an SDM holding a responsible post in executive could have acted in such a corrupt manner that he could pass an order without caring for the orders passed by his predecessor in respect of the same land.”

The matter is related to a dispute over 14 biswas of land (1 biswa is 8.2 acres) in Bijwasan Village in south Delhi.

Earlier, the SDM’s senior had passed an order in favour of Sanjeev Kumar Sharma who was declared owner of the land. But Tripathy modified the ruling when his senior’s decision was contested by Usha Puri in Bijwasan village.

“The parties were all along contesting rights over the land in various courts. However, the SDM, in patent abuse of his power, conducted the proceedings on Dec 17, 2009, late at night, in the absence of the petitioner,” the court said in an order delivered last week.

“When the petitioner learnt about the late night proceedings, he went to the SDM but he was not allowed to participate in the proceedings and in gross misuse of his power passed the order,” said Justice Dhingra.

Following a legal battle for several years, the 14 biswas land was allotted to Sharma and physical possession was given to him with the help of local police in 2001. Puri contested the order in various forums but the decisions went against them.

In December 2009, on an application filed by Puri, the SDM passed an ex-parte order in a hurry favouring her, without issuing even a notice to Sharma. Later, he declined Sharma’s plea for re-hearing of the matter

Activist judges can thwart corrupt cops,“Judges cannot remain oblivious to injustice” – Justice Dhingra - Delhi Police rarely act against its erring officials

“Judges cannot remain oblivious to injustice” – Justice Dhingra

06.10.2010 | 21:46
New Delhi
Abhijit Pandey

The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition filed by a Delhi Police officer against a lower court decision directing to initiate criminal proceedings against the officer for not registering a case on the complaint of a woman who had been gang raped in 2005.

The court while upholding the lower court decision said “The Sessions Judge was rightly disturbed at the lack of sensitivity of the petitioner to a gang rape victim and his grave dereliction of duty in not registering FIR in a gang rape case”.

The court dismissed the contention of the petitioner that the power to direct police to make further inquiry under section 156 Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) rest with the Magistrate and not with the Session Judge. Justice Dhingra noted with regret, “The learned Sessions Judge in this case directed registration of an FIR and had also brought the relevant facts to the notice of the senior police officials. It was expected of the police department to have taken action immediately and swiftly in this case. The most unfortunate part is that whatsoever wrong the police officials may do, the department rarely takes action against them instead they are protected despite dereliction of duties on their part.” Justice Shivnarayan Dhingra pulled up the police department for not taking appropriate action against such officers.

“I also consider that a judicial officer apart from being a Judge is also a human being and citizen of this country. He while discharging his functions as a Judge cannot remain aloof and oblivious to his functions as a citizen of this country and cannot just adjudicate the matter and rest with it when he finds that a police officer involved in the investigation of the case had deliberately tried to save the accused persons. It is his constitutional duty to bring it to the notice of the department and ask for appropriate action including registration of an FIR.” the court observed and dismissed the petition seeking quashing of criminal proceedings initiated on behest of recommendation of the Sessions Judge.

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Activist judges can thwart corrupt cops: HC

New Delhi, October 06, 2010

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said that the menace of cops colluding with accused in many criminal cases and in lodging of FIRs, can be effectively thwarted if a judge goes beyond the evidences submitted before him and thinks like a lay person. The court said that it is the judge’s

“constitutional duty” to bring it to the notice of the department and ask for appropriate action including FIR registration.

Justice SN Dhingra ruled: “If a Judge learns about commission of a crime, either inside the court or he learns about commission of crime by the investigating officer/SHO, during the course of trial, there is no reason why he cannot inform about this crime having been committed by one of the police officers, to his superiors and ask that action should be taken in accordance with law.”

“The HC considers that a judicial officer apart from being a Judge is also a human being and citizen of this country. While discharging functions, a Judge cannot remain aloof and oblivious to his functions as a citizen. He cannot just adjudicate the matter and rest with it when he finds that a police officer involved in the investigation of the case had deliberately tried to save the accused persons,” Dhingra said.

According to the High Court, “An FIR can be registered at the instance of any person, who has the information of commission of crime.”

Justice Dhingra’s remarks came while dismissing a petition filed by Inspector Gurmeet Singh seeking quashing of criminal proceedings ordered against him by the trial judge for refusing to lodge FIR in a Gokulpuri gang rape case in 2005. Singh was the SHO of the police station at the time of the incident.

The sessions judge’s order against the cop came after he tried and convicted all the accused in the gang rape case.


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Delhi Police rarely act against its erring officials: HC

HC quashes FIR against DU professor accusing him of sexual molestation.

HC quashes FIR against DU professor accusing him of sexual molestation

TNN, Oct 5, 2010, 04.25am IST

NEW DELHI: In a relief to Delhi University professor, the Delhi high court has quashed an FIR registered against him accusing him of sexual molestation.

Justice S N Dhingra put an end to the proceedings against the accused, Bidhyut Chakraborty, saying he didn't molest or threaten the victim.

Chakraborty, who was working as an honorary director on deputation in Gandhi Bhawan, was accused of molesting an employee of the Bhawan. Subsequently, the police filed an FIR.

Once the probe got over, a chargesheet was filed in the court which revealed that the investigating officer conducted several inquiries with different staff members of Gandhi Bhawan tea vendors and other witnesses available outside the Bhawan to find out the truth. The IO submitted in the chargesheet that not even one witness was found who could support the allegations levelled by the victim and said no evidence could be found against the professor to warrant his arrest. However, keeping in view the complaint made by the victim, the IO left it to the court to issue summons to Chakraborty if needed.

HC was surprised to note that despite no evidence, the police was reluctant to file a closure report. The court next turned its attention to the inquiry report of Delhi University that had examined the complaint of the woman. It revealed that on the day of the alleged incident, Chakraborty found all employees missing from Gandhi Bhawan even though lunch break had long got over. This infuriated him and he scolded the employees including the complainant, ordering them not to come to office for a month. The IO seconded the inquiry of DU and added that when the victim was being scolded, she kept saying "sorry sir''.

This convinced HC that after being scolded by Chakraborty, the victim levelled the allegation of being molested and granted him the relief.

Gender laws in favour of women?

Gender laws in favour of women?

5 October 2010

nivedita choudhuri

The Union minister of law and justice has been saying on many occasions that laws will be made gender neutral in the next four years. Mr Veerappa Moily, recently replying to a debate in the Rajya Sabha, said male chauvinism and dominance should disappear and that men should never allow women to be degraded and looked down upon. However, the existence of a number of laws that are tilted heavily in favour of women makes the layman wonder if gender neutrality means looking after the interests of women (read wives) only and ignoring totally the welfare of men.

Take for instance the anti-dowry law – Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code – which has reportedly been misused by many women to lodge false or exaggerated complaints against their husbands and in-laws, accusing them of cruel behaviour. Implemented in 1983, Section 498A is a criminal law.

A case filed under this section is non-bailable (one has to appear in court to get bail), non-compoundable (the complaint cannot be withdrawn) and cognisable (the police has to register and investigate the complaint). The law says, “Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.”

This was meant to be a special law to get more convictions, but the opposite has happened because there are too many false complaints. Many women use the law to blackmail their husbands, allege activists of the Save Indian Family Foundation, a group that fights the misuse of laws targeted at men.

The false complaints can be filed due to many reasons. Sometimes, a wife wants her husband to sever ties with his family or stop giving money to his parents. If he does not comply with her demands, she slaps a false case against him alleging harassment for non-payment of dowry, allege the activists.

Men also find it unfair that their family members are arrested in the event of the wife naming them in the FIR. Anybody named in the FIR is arrested. It can even be the man’s parents, who live in a different town. The frivolity of the complaints was driven home by a recent newspaper article which reported that a wife was ready to slap a dowry harassment case against her father-in-law who had demanded fish curry for dinner. The wife, who was in no mood to cook fish curry, thought it would be easier to punish her ‘errant’ father-in-law by slapping a dowry harassment case on him.

Another law that is allegedly being misused is The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005. This law assumes that all victims of domestic violence are women and it does not give a man a chance to complain or seek justice if he is being harassed or abused by his wife. It also assumes that wives are always honest and truthful. Therefore, proof and evidence to support the allegations of abuse are not required.

Due to the lack of social support and legal protection, many male victims of domestic abuse are taking their lives every day, allege SIFF activists. False cases are severely hampering the personal and professional lives of the most productive section of the Indian population.

Moreover, the so-called “women protection’’ laws are causing more harm than good to women. In every false case, at least two women, a mother-in-law and a sister-in-law, are accused. Minor girls, married and unmarried sisters, ailing mothers and even aged grandmothers have been sent behind bars based on mere allegations and subjected to long-drawn trials before being declared innocent.

Unreasonable and easily misused laws like Section 498A IPC and the Domestic Violence Act are creating a situation of fear and mutual distrust and adversely affecting inter-personal relationships between men and women in society. There is fear psychosis among men, who are increasingly finding it difficult to repose faith in women or marriage.

Despite the public outcry over the misuse of Section 498A IPC and the Domestic Violence Act, the government is not ready to make the proposed Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill gender neutral. It presupposes that women are always victims of harassment in offices and does not take into account the fact that a woman employee can be every bit as abusive and sadistic as a male. Such laws violate the essence of Article 15 of the Indian Constitution, which prohibits discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

Of course, the prime motivation in filing false cases is money. There are scores of cases, allege SIFF activists, where the wives threaten to go to the police or courts if they are not given hefty sums of money as “settlement’’. Sometimes, the clinching factor is the property and assets of their in-laws which the wives covet. What better way to usurp it all than foist false cases on one’s in-laws and then demand a king’s ransom. The proposed Bill against sexual harassment, if not made gender neutral, is likely to encourage the extortion “culture’’.

Though the sufferings of men and their families are increasing, the Indian government still thinks that it’s women who need protection. It is continuing to turn a blind eye to these harassed men, who have to spend the best years of their lives running around in courts to proclaim their innocence. But, can anything better be expected in a country which ranks a lowly 84th in the Corruption Perceptions Index?

The writer is a freelance contributor\