Delhi High Court: While recognising the growing sense of public accountability of the criminal justice delivery system, the Court said that justice should be done to all, i.e. the accused, the society as well as a fair chance to prove to the prosecution is not only an integral part of the criminal justice system but it is its prime objective. Reiterating the principle that “justice should not only be done but also seem to be done”, the Court dismissed the appeals against the trial court’s judgments in the gory and brutal murder of Nitish Katara. It upheld the judgments (dated 30-05-2008 and 06-07-2011) awarding the sentence of life imprisonment to the accused persons, Vikas Yadav, Vishal Yadav and Sukhdev Pehalwan for committing offences under Sections 302/34 and 10 years rigorous imprisonment for offences under Sections 364/34 of the Penal Code, 1860.
Briefly stated, the facts of the case are that the deceased and the accused person’s sister were in love with each other and were looking for permanency in their relationship. This fact was opposed by the accused persons. With a motive to kill the deceased they kidnapped him on the fateful night and brutally murdered him bashing the victim’s head with a hammer. Thereafter they not only burnt the dead body but also removed all signs of identification from his body with an intention to conceal the evidence. The Court reviewed the entire evidence and the relevant circumstances of the case under the appellate jurisdiction, and held that the chain of circumstances stand proved beyond any reasonable doubt against the appellants. It was also said that their conduct unerringly points to only one conclusion that they are guilty of the heinous crime. Hence, the appeals were dismissed and the conviction was upheld [Vishal Yadav v. State of U.P., CRL. A. 741/2008, decided on April 2, 2014]
Non-appearance of a name of an accused while lodging an FIR does not vitiate it:
Bombay High Court: Dismissing an appeal filed by an accused under MCOCA, a division bench comprising of PV Hardas and AS Gadkari, JJ stated that it is not expected for a complainant to remember every minute detail immediately and held that more details and names can be added to the complaint later. In the present case, the victim and his wife were in their car when some men, obstructed their way and encircled their car. One man hurled a stone at a pane on the driver’s side, while others pulled out the victim and assaulted him. The victim succumbed to his injuries at a hospital. Police after investigation came to a conclusion that it was a crime committed by an organized crime syndicate of the accused and his associates. The accused was arraigned as accused number 12 in the case in 2012. The Court also found nothing wrong in the prior sanction granted to prosecute him under MCOCA and said the prosecution must be given a chance to lead evidence during trial in the case.The Court rejected the Counsel for the Appellant’s claim that his name was added later in the complaint as an afterthought which indicates he was not involved. The Court held that non-appearance of a name of an accused while lodging an FIR does not vitiate it, neither can an inference be drawn that such an accused had not participated in the crime at all. The bench while dismissing the appeal observed that, it cannot be expected from a witness who is under the impact of a ghastly incident to give each and every minute detail when he or she is suffering from the trauma and it is only after the witness comes out of the trauma, that it is possible for him or her to recapitulate the details and give a detailed account to the police. [Farman Imran Shah vs. State of Maharashtra, Criminal Appeal No. 12 of 2014, decided on March 25, 2014]
Release of Convict:
Court requests Pakistan to release alleged Indian spy:
Gujarat High Court: Requesting Pakistani authorities to release an alleged Indian spy on humanitarian grounds, a division bench comprising of Mohinder Pal and Ravi R. Tripathi, JJ, relied on the judgment of the Supreme Court in a similar case of 2011. In the present case, the alleged Indian spy was arrested during a trip to Pakistan and was charged with spying and was sentenced by a court in Pakistan. His mother had moved a petition for his release in 2007 but as she died in 2011, her fight was taken ahead by the brother and sister of the accused. In Gopal Dass vs. Union of India (2011) 4 SCC 300, a bench comprising of Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra, JJ had held that Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to give directions to the government of another sovereign country for release of the petitioner who was languishing in a Pakistani jail for 27 years after being awarded life sentence under the Pakistan’s Official Secrets Act, 1923, however, it requested the Pakistani authorities to release him on humanitarian grounds by remitting a part of his sentence. In a quick response to the Supreme Court’s request, the Pakistani authorities had remitted the sentence of the petitioner and released him on humanitarian grounds as a goodwill gesture in the above case.
In view of the aforesaid observations made by Supreme Court, the High Court was of the opinion that a similar request to the Pakistan Authorities was required to be made and therefore requested the Pakistani Authorities to consider the appeal of the petitioner – the heirs of deceased widowed mother of the person in Pakistani prison, for remitting the remaining period on sentence and release him and other Indian prisoners in the same spirit. The judgment also quoted a couplet by Faiz Ahmed Faiz “Qafas udaas hai yaaron, saba se kuchh to kaho/Kaheen to behr-e-Khuda aaj zikr-e-yaar chale” (The cage is cheerless, someone please tell the breeze/For God’s sake, let it carry the story of our friends). [Mayadevi Nanakchand Yadav vs. Union of India, Special Civil Petition No. 12239 of 2007, decided on March 26, 2014]