Legal Development Updates: PART- 2

Jan 22, 2022

Criminal Appeal Pending In HC For 13 Years: Supreme Court Issues Notice On Convict's Plea For Bail

In Ritu Pal v. State of Uttar Pradesh, while hearing a writ petition filed by a convict who has already undergone more than 17 years of custody, seeking bail as his criminal appeal has been pending in the High Court for over 13 years, Supreme Court today issued notice ordering directions to the High Court to dispose of the Bail Application within 2 weeks. While showing concern regarding the slow justice system in India, the bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Hima Kohli highlighted that the petitioner has given up any chance of receiving substantive justice from the High Court, and even if he were to be acquitted, he would have already served a substantive term, and hence no beneficial purpose would be served. Further, adding to that, the court stated that the aforementioned example is an academic example to highlight not only the complete breach of Article 21 but also directly contradicts this Court's catena of rulings, including Hussaiara Khatoon and Hussain's case.

Second FIR on the same incident is an abuse of the judicial process, and it may be dismissed without waiting for the final report under sec.173 CrPC: Punjab and Haryana High Court

The Punjab and Haryana High Court in Gurmail Singh v. State of Punjab and another has ruled that registering a second FIR for an occurrence for which a prior FIR already exists is an abuse of process of law, and the High Court is well within its rights under Section 482 CrPC to dismiss it without waiting for a final report under Section 173 CrPC.

According to Section 482 CrPC, nothing in this Code shall be regarded to limit or influence the inherent powers of the High Court to issue such orders as may be required to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of any Court's process, or otherwise to ensure the ends of justice. This provision gives the HC the power to dismiss an FIR or a complaint if certain conditions are met, such as those set out in judgments like State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, and R.P. Kapur v. the State of Punjab. The following are the parameters established by Bhajan Lal and R.P. Kapur:

  • Even if taken at face value, the accusations in the FIR/complaint do not prima facie constitute an offence or establish a case against the accused.
  • If the claims in the FIR do not reveal any criminal offence, a police investigation under Section 156(1) of the CrPC is justified.
  • If the claims in the FIR/complaint, as well as the evidence gathered in support of them, do not reveal the commission of any crime, no case can be formed against the accused.
  • If a criminal process is started with malice or with an ulterior motive, it is called mala fides.

In the case at hand, the Court had to decide on two key legal issues: whether a petition under S.482 can be rejected for lack of a report under S.173 of the CrPC; and whether a petition under S.482 can be dismissed for want of a report under S.173 of the CrPC. Second, if filing a new FIR while an existing FIR on the same occurrence is an abuse of the legal system that should be quashed? The Court outlined some of the scenarios in which the abovementioned power could be used despite the lack of a report under Section 173 CrPC, based on the facts and circumstances of the case:

  • If a second FIR has been filed for an incident for which a first FIR has already been filed,
  • If the commission of an act cannot be established based on a cursory reading of the FIR, AND the FIR has been filed for a non-cognizable offence
  • If the FIR was filed for a crime that occurred within the last three years, the statute of limitations has expired.
  • If an FIR has been filed in defiance of a court order,
  • If an FIR was filed in contravention of a statute or a well-established legal concept,
  • If an FIR has been registered in violation of a statute or a legal principle settled by a judicial pronouncement

Right To Health - Provisions Relating To Medical Treatment Reimbursement Are To Be Construed Liberally: Chhattisgarh High Court

In Khuku Biswas v State of Chattisgarh, the Chhattisgarh High Court concluded that self-preservation is a component of the right to health, which is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Justice Sanjay Kumar Agarwal directed the authority to consider the petitioner's request for post-facto medical reimbursement, stating that the rules relating to medical treatment reimbursement must be construed flexibly. The Supreme Court ruled that the "right to health" includes the "right to affordable treatment," and that "the rules relating to medical treatment reimbursement must be viewed freely." The Supreme Court judgment in Consumer Education & Research Centre and Ors v. Union of India & Ors was cited by the Court. In this case, it was decided that a worker's fundamental right to health and medicine is to protect his health and vigor while in service or after retirement under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The Court highlighted that the petitioner has the right to take steps in self-preservation of her own life, which is a part of the right to health, after citing a slew of earlier supreme court decisions. It went on to say,

"non-intimation of commencement of treatment within 48 hours would not preclude her from recovering the amount of medical reimbursement from the respondents, as Rule 11 of the Rules of 2013 takes care of that situation and under Rule 11(1), a post-facto sanction can be granted by the competent authority."

Death Caused By Stress & Strain During Employment: Bombay High Court Directs Employer To Compensate

The Bombay High Court has ordered an employer to compensate the kin of a truck driver in the case of Smt. Harvinder Kaur Vishakha Singh vs Tarvinder Singh K. Singh, remarking that the stress and strain produced during his employment had finally led to his death. The deceased driver's heart attack, according to Justice NJ Jamadar, was an accident arising out of and in the course of his job, as defined under Section 3 of the Workman's Compensation Act.

Statutory Authority Can't Raise Fresh Claim Against Corporate Debtor After Approval Of Resolution Plan: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court in Murli Industries Limited v. Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax and Ors. has decided that after the Resolution Plan has been prepared and authorized, no statutory entity, including the Income Tax authorities, can file a new claim against a Corporate Debtor. After the Resolution Plan was submitted, a division bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Anil Pansare of the Nagpur Bench of the High Court observed that entertaining undecided claims would result in uncertainty about the amount payable by the prospective Resolution Applicant who would have successfully taken over the Corporate Debtor's business.