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Posts Tagged ‘Indian Penal Code

Indian courts can try offences committed by Indian in foreign country, rules Bench

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PUBLISHED IN THE HINDU

But prior consent of Central government (under Section 188 Cr.P.C.) is required

A dowry or any other offence committed by an Indian husband against his wife in a foreign country can be tried by a court in India, the Supreme Court has held.

A three-judge Bench of Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice S.S. Nijjar said “the provisions of Indian Penal Code have been extended to offences committed by any citizen of India in any place within and beyond India by virtue of Section 4 thereof.”

The Bench, however said that offences committed by an Indian citizen in a foreign country would be amenable to provisions of IPC subject to the limitation imposed under Section 188 Cr.PC, viz seeking the prior consent of the Central government.

In the present case, the appellant Thota Venkateswarlu was married to Parvatha Reddy Suneetha in November 2005 as per Hindu traditions and customs in Ongole in Andhra Pradesh. At the time of marriage Rs. 12 lakh in cash, 45 sovereigns of gold and Rs. 50,000 as ‘Adapaduchu katnam’ was alleged to have been given to the husband, mother-in-law, and other relatives of the husband.

According to Suneetha, her husband left for Botswana in January 2006 and she later joined him. While in Botswana, she was allegedly severely ill-treated and various demands were made including a demand for additional dowry of Rs. 5 lakh. Unable to withstand the torture she sent a complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Ongole for dowry offences under IPC as well offences under the Dowry Prohibition Act.

The magistrate, to whom the complaint was forwarded took cognisance and issued summons to the husband and others, who were questioned on their arrival to India. While the Andhra Pradesh High Court quashed proceedings against the appellant’s mother and two others, it dismissed his plea. The present appeal by Venkateswaralu is directed against this order.

The appellant’s wife argued that part of the offence relating to dowry was committed in Indian soil and part of the offence was committed abroad. Hence the offence could be tried in Indian courts. However, the appellant argued that he could not be tried without the previous sanction from the Central government.

Writing the judgment Justice Kabir pointed out that it was clear that the case relating to the alleged dowry offences were committed outside India. But since part of the offence was committed in India, the court here could try the appellant and the High Court was correct in rejecting his plea to quash the proceedings. The Bench while asking the trial court to take up the case said, the trial would not proceed without the sanction of the Central government as envisaged in Section 188 Cr.P.C.

Jan Lokpal Bill and Parliament

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SHANTI BHUSHAN IN THE HINDU

Social activist Anna Hazare having a word with his team members Prashant Bhushan and Shanti Bhushan during the fast for Jan Lokpal Bill at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi.

Is the Bill within the legislative competence of Parliament? Yes.

All provisions in Anna Hazare’s Jan Lokpal Bill are within the legislative competence of Parliament, including the provisions relating to Lokayuktas in the States. Some confusion is being spread in the media that Parliament cannot enact all the provisions of the Jan Lokpal Bill, particularly those relating to the Lokayuktas in the States, a law for which will have to be enacted by the State Legislatures themselves. Any constitutional jurist would confirm that there is no substance in this impression and that Parliament is fully competent to enact all the provisions of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Parliament can enact any law if the “pith and substance” of that law is covered by any entry in the Union List or any entry in the Concurrent List. Entry 97 of the Union List is as follows: “Any other matter not enumerated in list 2 or list 3 including any tax not mentioned in either of those lists.”

The effect of this is that unless the pith and substance of the Jan Lokpal Bill falls squarely under any of the entries in the State List, Parliament cannot be denied the legislative competence to enact the provisions of the Jan Lokpal Bill. Even a student of law would tell you that the pith and substance of the Jan Lokpal Bill does not fall under any entry in the State list.

One of the entries in the Union List is entry No.14: “entering into treaties and agreements with foreign countries and implementing of treaties, agreements and conventions with foreign countries.” Article 253 provides that “Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this Chapter, Parliament has power to make any law for the whole or any part of the territory of India for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country or countries or any decision made at any international conference, association or other body.” The effect of Article 253 is that even if the pith and substance of an Act is squarely covered by an entry in the State List, even then if the enactment is for implementing a U.N. Convention, Parliament would still be competent to enact the legislation.

As the statement of objects and reasons of the Jan Lokpal Bill would show, the object of the Jan Lokpal Bill is to implement the United Nations Convention on Corruption, which has already been ratified by India (http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/treaties/CAC/index.html).

The definition of “public official” in the U.N. Convention includes any person holding a legislative, executive, administrative, or judicial office, whether appointed or elected. This is quite similar to the definition of “public servant” in the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, enacted by India’s Parliament, which covers all Ministers including the Prime Minister, all judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court as well as all elected Members of Parliament and State Legislatures. Incidentally, it may be mentioned that the Prevention of Corruption Act was enacted by Parliament and not by any State Legislature, even though it is applicable not only to Central government servants but also to servants of the State governments. The main object of the Jan Lokpal Bill is to set up an independent authority as required by the U.N. Convention to investigate offences of corruption by all public servants covered by the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

Entry 1 of the Concurrent List refers to criminal law, including all matters included in the Indian Penal Code. As bribery and corruption were covered by the Indian Penal Code, Parliament had full competence to enact the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Entry 2 of the Concurrent List relates to criminal procedure, including all matters included in the Code of Criminal Procedure. Since the investigation of bribery and corruption was included in the Code of Criminal Procedure, Parliament is fully competent to enact a law to provide for alternative methods of investigation of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Article 8 (2) of the U.N. Convention requires each state that is a party to the Convention to apply, within its own institutional and legal systems, codes or standards of conduct for the correct, honourable, and proper performance of public functions.

Article 8 (5) further requires the states to establish systems requiring public officials to make declarations regarding their outside activities, employment, investments, assets, and substantial gifts or benefits from which a conflict of interest may result with respect to their functions as public officials.

Article 8 (6) further requires the states to take disciplinary or other measures against public officials who violate the codes or standards established in accordance with the convention.

Article 12 (2) requires the taking of measures for preventing the misuse of procedures regulating private entities, including procedures regarding subsidies and licences granted by public authorities for commercial activities. It further requires the imposition of restrictions for a reasonable period of time on the professional activities of former public officials after their resignation or retirement, where such activities of employment relate directly to the functions held or supervised by those public officials during their tenure.

Article 34 of the Convention requires the states to consider corruption a relevant factor in legal proceedings to annul or rescind a contract, withdraw a concession or other similar instrument, or take any other remedial action. It would be crystal clear to any constitutional jurist that even if the Jan Lokpal Bill had not been for the purpose of implementing the U.N. Convention, all its provisions would be squarely covered by the Union List and the Concurrent List.

While one can understand the anxiety of political parties to somehow attempt to dilute the provisions of the Jan Lokpal Bill by reducing its coverage or to weaken it, they owe it to the people of India not to mislead the gullible people that Parliament is not competent to enact the provisions contained in Anna Hazare’s Jan Lokpal Bill. Even the claim that at the least the States are required to be consulted has no basis at all. The Constitution-makers had foreseen that in a federal or quasi-federal country, the States’ views had to be taken into consideration by Parliament when enacting a law. They had, therefore, provided for the Council of States and a Bill cannot be enacted by Parliament unless it is passed both in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The constitution of the Rajya Sabha provides that each State elects its representatives to this House. Thus all States are represented in the Rajya Sabha. The MPs in the Rajya Sabha are there to represent the views of the states on any Bill that comes before it and there is thus an inbuilt mechanism in the Constitution itself to provide for taking into consideration the views of the States on a Bill that is being enacted by Parliament.

(Shanti Bhushan, a constitutional expert, is a former Union Law Minister and member of the Joint Drafting Committee on the Lokpal Bill.)

Origin: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article2430078.ece?homepage=true

CRUELTY AGAINST HUSBAND IN INDIA

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DHAWESH PAHUJA in LEGAL INDIA

In India where marriage is the union between man and woman to get social status in the society and marriage is nothing but procreation and caring of the child. According to Westmark Marriage has been often like as an institution made by itself. As there is increase in number of marriages every day, at the same time breakdown of marriages in the society has also been seen to be increasing whether by fault of husband or wife. Though cases filed by wife against husband and in-laws under Domestic Violence Act and 498-A of IPC to claim maintenance and divorce but all complaints are not filed bona-fidely. Freedoms of education, job opportunities, economic independence and social attitude have brought tremendous change in the status of women. The balance of scale has tilted reversely in favour of women.

Cruelty is an inhuman treatment and it is an act that causes mental sufferings and endangers to the life and health of the other. Cruelty may be in the form of physical as well as mental by the act either of the husband or the wife. Though it is the women who have always been subjected to be tortured and harassed by the husband and relatives, in fact saying this will not be proper as cases of torture and harassment against the husband by the wife is increasing day by day. Cruelty is the main ground to seek divorce as defined under ‘Sec 13(1) (i-a)’ of ‘The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955’ and party who is filing a case must prove that living between husband and wife became impossible.

There are many provisions made applicable for the protection of the women, which has got recognition from our constitutional law. The biased nature of these laws is evident from that fact that unlike almost all laws in INDIA the burden to prove innocence lies on the accused and this means as soon as the complaint is made by the aggrieved person/ wife, the result is that the husband and his family may be immediately arrested and will be considered as accused in the eyes of law. According to the ‘Section 498-A’ of the ‘IPC’ the wife and her parental family can charge any or all of the husband’s family of physical or mental cruelty but genuineness of the case has to be looked into by the court as this section is cognizable, non-compoundable and non-bailable in nature.

What amounts to cruelty against husband? Though it is the duty of the court to decide the case based on facts and circumstances but what amounts to cruelty is an important aspect as misuse of Laws by the wife against husband in society is growing day by day and most apparently some Indian Urban educated women have turned the tables and are using these laws as weapon to unleash personal vendetta on their husbands and innocent relatives and there are certain grounds on which cruelty against husband can be proved:-

• Misuse of Dowry Laws, Domestic Violence Act and ‘Sec: 498-A’ of IPC by wife against husband and in-laws of husband through lodging false complaints.

• Desertion by wife which means wife deliberately intending for separation and to bring cohabitation permanently to an end.

• Adultery by the wife means wife having sexual relationship with some other person during the lifetime of marriage and there must be strict law to punish wife who has committed adultery.

• Wife opting out for second marriage without applying for the divorce proceedings.

• Threatening to leave husband’s home and threat to commit suicide by the wife.

Cruel behavior of wife where wife tearing the shirt of the husband, refusing to cook food properly or on time and breaking of the mangalsutra in the presence of husband’s relatives.

• Abusing and accusing husband by way of insulting in presence of in-laws and in some cases wife abusing husband in front of office staff members.

• Wife refusing to have sex with husband without any sufficient reasons which can be considered as a ground of cruelty and husband can file a divorce petition.

• Lowering reputation of the husband by using derogatory words in presence of family members and elders.

• Lodging FIR against husband and in-laws which has later proved as false report.

• Conduct and misbehavior of the wife against husband i.e. pressuring husband to leave his home, insisting for the separate residence, mentally torture and disrespectful behavior towards husband and in-laws as well.

• Some other grounds of cruelty i.e. mental disorder and unsoundness of wife, Impotency of wife, illicit relationship of wife with some other person and Wife suffering from the filarial.

• Extra-marital affairs of wife can also be a ground of cruelty against the husband.

• Initiating criminal proceedings against husband and in-laws of husband with mala-fide intention by the wife.

CASE LAWS: situations in Hindu marriage where a wife was held as ‘cruel’ to the husband and the Hindu divorce law was applied by the Supreme Court:

I. Mrs. Deepalakshmi Saehia Zingade v/s Sachi Rameshrao Zingade (AIR 2010 Bom 16)

In this case petitioner/wife filed a false case against her husband on the ground of ‘Husband Having Girl Friend’ which is proved as false in a court of law so it can be considered as cruelty against husband.

II. Anil Bharadwaj v Nimlesh Bharadwaj (AIR 1987 Del 111)

According to this case a wife who refuses to have sexual intercourse with the husband without giving any reason was proved as sufficient ground which amounts to cruelty against husband.

III. Kalpana v. Surendranath (AIR 1985 All 253)

According to this case it has been observed that where a wife who refuses to prepare tea for the husband’s friends was declared by the court as cruelty to husband.

Though the amendments introduced in the penal code are with the laudable object of eradicating the evil of Dowry, such provisions cannot be allowed to be misused by the parents and the relatives of a psychopath wife who may have chosen to end her life for reason which may be many other than cruelty. The glaring reality cannot be ignored that the ugly trend of false implications in view to harass and blackmail an innocent spouse and his relatives, i.e. fast emerging. A strict law need to be passed by the parliament for saving the institution of marriage and to punish those women who are trying to misguide the court by filing false reports just to make the life of men miserable and ‘justice should not only be done but manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done’.

The author is an advoacte in Bengaluru

 

Dowry law may be amended

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In the wake of growing complaints about the misuse of anti-dowry laws by women, the Law Commission is studying the possibility of making section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code a bailable offence for the relatives of the husband.

Currently, the law mandates that any accused will be arrested and jailed during the pendency of the case.

A consultation paper prepared by the Commission seeking opinions from experts and the general public feels that “It is pleaded…that the offence under section 498A should be made bailable at least with regard to the husband’s relation.” But as far as the husband is concerned, the paper notes that “there is a sharp divergence of views on it.”

The move comes after the Supreme Court told directed the union government on two occasions to review these laws following instances of false cases and an abysmal conviction rate of 5 percent, suggesting that most of the cases registered were not genuine.

According to experts, the idea probably is to protect the in-laws of the women who file complaints under this section without any evidence of dowry harassment.

Under the section, offenders, including the husband or his family members are liable for imprisonment without even an investigation. The offence is non-bailable, non-compoundable and cognizable on a complaint made to the police officer by the victim (wife) or by designated relatives. Furthermore, the section does not include any provision for a compromise.

The Law Commission is examining three aspects: whether it is feasible to a. categorise the offence as bailable; b. allow the complainant to withdraw a complaint in case of a compromise with the court’s permission; and c. should the police retain the power to make arrests on their own.

The Law Commission has sought public opinion in this regard and has put up a list of 14 questions to study what people expect from this law, how to make it effective, and prevents its misuse.

Lokpal bill tabled, protests inside and outside House

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For the ninth time in four decades, the government introduced the highly publicised anti-graft lokpal bill in the Lok Sabha on Thursday amid objections from the BJP and burning of its copies by Anna Hazare and his team. With the introduction of the bill seeking to set up an anti-corruption watchdog at the national level, the government honored its commitment made in April, but crossed swords as well with the opposition and also the Hazare-led group in the process.

The bill was introduced on eight previous occasions between 1968 and 2001, but lapsed each time with the dissolution of the respective Lok Sabha without any forward movement.

Within minutes of the bill being introduced, Hazare and his team burnt its copies in different parts of the country. “This is a bad and weak bill…I trusted them when they said they will bring a strong law and ended my fast in April. They cheated me,” Hazare said in his village in Maharashtra.

The government strongly disapproved of the action. “To burn this bill publicly is an insult to Parliament,” telecom minister Kapil Sibal told reporters.

The BJP challenged the constitutional validity of the bill, saying the government’s decision to exclude the prime minister from the lokpal’s ambit “violated constitutional equality”, but the government trashed the allegation, charging the BJP with indulging in “political opportunism and doublespeak.”

As soon as minister of state for personnel V Narayanasamy introduced the bill, leader of the opposition Sushma Swaraj stood up against the exclusion of the prime minister from the ambit of the watchdog.

“While all other laws, such as the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act are applicable to all, why should the lokpal bill exclude the prime minister?” she asked.

Swaraj reminded the government that finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, in his capacity as chairman of a parliamentary standing committee in 2001, had recommended bringing the prime minister under the lokpal’s purview.

Mukherjee countered her by saying though her contention is true, but the NDA government had failed implement the recommendation for two years.

Narayanasamy said the bill, once introduced, was now a property of the House and it would be referred to a parliamentary standing committee, which could decide on all the issues raised by Swaraj.

Several opposition members supported Swaraj’s argument, but Speaker Meira Kumar overruled their objections and admitted the bill’s introduction.