Can’t act in a mechanical manner in matrimonial matters: Allahabad HC - Business Guardian
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Can’t act in a mechanical manner in matrimonial matters: Allahabad HC

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While taking a very strong, sensible and principled stand, the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court has in an extremely commendable, courageous, composed, cogent and convincing judgment titled Anamika Srivastava v. Anoop Srivastava in First Appeal No. 30 of 2022 and cited in 2022 LiveLaw (AB) 267 that was finally delivered on May 27, 2022 observed forthrightly that the Court is not supposed to act in a mechanical manner and force the parties to engage in mediation where the marriage has irretrievably broken down. The Bench of Justice Rakesh Srivastava and Justice Ajai Kumar Srivastava-I further stressed that reference of the parties to mediation is not compulsorily required where the facts and circumstances of the case showcase that no purpose would be served out of such reference. The Court made these significant observations in light of Section 9 of the Family Courts Act which casts a duty upon the Family Court to make efforts for settlement. The Court opined emphatically that the endeavour to get the matter settled is compulsory, but the reference to mediation by the Family Court itself is not. At the outset, the Division Bench of Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court comprising of Hon’ble Justice Rakesh Srivastava and Hon’ble Justice Ajai Kumar Srivastava sets the pitch in motion of this brief, brilliant, bold and balanced judgment by first and foremost putting forth in para 1 that, “This first appeal under Section 19 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 has been filed challenging the orders dated 02.02.2022 and 07.03.2022 passed by the Family Court (Principal Judge, Family Court, Barabanki) rejecting the prayer made by the Appellant and the Respondent to waive the minimum period of six months stipulated under Section 13-B(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (for short ‘the Act’) for a motion for passing a decree of divorce on the basis of mutual consent.” To put things in perspective, the Bench then envisages in para 2 that, “Anamika Srivastava, the Appellant, was married to Anoop Srivastava, the Respondent, according to Hindu rites and rituals at Barabanki on 17.06.2010. Soon after the marriage, differences arose between them to such an extent that the Appellant left her matrimonial home on 24.09.2010 and since then she has been living with her parents. On 01.05.2013, the Appellant moved an application under Section 125 CrPC against the Respondent before the Family Court. The said case was registered as Criminal Misc. Case No. 258 of 2013 (Anamika Srivastava vs. Anoop Srivastava). On 03.10.2018, the Family Court allowed the application moved by the Appellant and directed the Respondent to pay a sum of Rs. 5000/- (Rupees five thousand only) per month to the Appellant towards maintenance with effect from the date of judgment. The judgment and order dated 03.10.2018 was assailed by the Respondent before this Court in Criminal Revision No.10 of 2019.” As it turned out, the Bench then observes in para 3 that, “This Court vide its order dated 08.09.2021, passed in the said criminal revision, referred the matter to the Mediation and Conciliation Centre of this Court to explore the possibility of an amicable settlement between the parties. The mediation was successful. The Appellant and the Respondent agreed to dissolve their marriage. It was agreed that the Respondent shall pay a sum of Rs. 4,25,000/- (Rupees four lacs twenty five thousand only) to the Appellant towards full and final settlement of all disputes and the litigation between them whether civil or criminal will terminate. In terms of the settlement arrived at between the parties, the Respondent paid a sum of Rs. 3,00,000 (Rupees three lacs only) to the Appellant and on 13.01.2022 the parties jointly filed an application under section 13-B of the Act before the Family Court for dissolution of their marriage. The said case was registered as Regular Suit No.56 of 2022, Smt. Anamika Srivastava v. Anoop Srivastava. A copy of the settlement agreement dated 30.03.2022 signed by the Appellant, the Respondent, their counsel and the mediator has been brought on record as annexure no. SA-2 to the supplementary affidavit dated 12.04.2022.” Briefly stated, the Bench then notes in para 4 that, “On 13.01.2022 the Family Court passed an order, whereby the petition for divorce moved by the Appellant was ordered to be registered. 02.07.2022 was the date fixed for second motion and in the meantime the parties were directed to appear before the mediation centre on 14.02.2022.” In brief, the Bench then also points out in para 5 that, “On 02.02.2022 the Appellant and the Respondent jointly moved an application before the Family Court under Section 13- B(2) of the Act, seeking waiver of six months waiting period to make a motion for the court to pass decree of divorce on the ground that the mediation between the parties had already taken place before the mediation centre of this Court wherein the parties had agreed to dissolve their marriage by mutual consent and, as such, there was no occasion for the second mediation. The said application was rejected by the Family Court.” In short, the Bench then discloses in para 6 that, “On 07.03.2022 the parties again moved an application for waiving the statutory period of six months for second motion. It was inter alia said in the said application that parties had been living separately for more than ten years; that before the Mediation Centre of this Court the parties freely on their own accord, without any coercion or pressure, have arrived at a joint settlement. In the circumstances, six month waiting period be waived and a decree of divorce be passed forthwith. By an order dated 07.03.2022 the said application has been rejected by the Family Court on the ground that in terms of the order passed in the said case, the parties had not appeared before the mediation centre and, as such, there was no good ground to waive the statutory period of six months.” It deserves mentioning that the Bench then reveals in para 7 that, “The orders dated 02.02.2022 and 07.03.2022 are under challenge in this appeal.” To be sure, the Bench then states in para 12 that, “The three ingredients for initiating proceedings under Section 13-B of the Act for divorce by mutual consent are: firstly, that the parties to the marriage have been living separately for a minimum period of one year. Secondly, they have not been able to live together, and thirdly, they have mutually agreed that marriage should be dissolved.” Be it noted, the Bench then specifies in para 13 that, “Sub-section (1) of Section 13-B of the Act is an enabling section. It enables the parties to file a petition for divorce by mutual consent. Subsection (2) of Section 13-B lays down the procedure for the parties to adhere to after expiry of six months from the date of filing of the petition for divorce by mutual consent. The second motion, which as per Sub-section (2) of Section 13-B is to be made not earlier than six months after the date of presentation of the petition, enables the court to proceed with the case. If the court is satisfied that the consent of the parties was not obtained by force, fraud or undue influence and they mutually agree that the marriage should be dissolved, the court is left with no other option but to pass a decree of divorce.” It must also be noted that the Bench then mentions in para 14 that, “Sub-section (2) of Section 13-B of the Act, in unequivocal terms, provides that the second motion has to be made not earlier than six months from the date of presentation of the petition before the Court.” We cannot be oblivious that the Bench then clearly states in para 15 that, “Section 14 of the Act provides that notwithstanding anything contained elsewhere in the Act, it shall not be competent to the Court to entertain any petition for dissolution of a marriage by a decree of divorce, unless on the date of presentation of the petition, one year had elapsed since the date of marriage. However, the proviso to Section 14 provides that the Court may, on application made to it, in accordance with such rules as may be made by the High Court, allow a petition to be presented before one year has elapsed since the date of marriage, on the ground that the case is one of exceptional hardship to the Appellant or of exceptional depravity on the part of the respondent.” It is worth noting that the Bench then points out in para 16 that, “The provisions of the Hindu Marriage Act evince an inherent respect for the institution of marriage, which contemplates the sacramental union of a man and a woman for life. However, there may be circumstances in which it may not reasonably be possible for the parties to the marriage to live together as husband and wife. The Act, therefore has provisions for annulment of marriage in specified circumstances, which apply to marriages which are not valid in the eye of law and provisions of judicial separation and dissolution of marriage by decree of divorce on grounds provided in Section 13(1) of the said Act, which apply to cases where it is not reasonably possible for the parties to a marriage to live together as husband and wife.” Notably, the Bench then reveals in para 17 that, “Section 13-B incorporated in the Act with effect from 27.5.1976, which provides for divorce by mutual consent, is not intended to weaken the institution of marriage. Section 13-B puts an end to collusive divorce proceedings between spouses, often undefended, but time consuming by reason of a rigmarole of procedures. Section 13-B also enables the parties to a marriage to avoid and/or shorten unnecessary acrimonious litigation, where the marriage may have irretrievably broken down and both the spouses may have mutually decided to part. But for Section 13-B, the defendant spouse would often be constrained to defend the litigation, not to save the marriage, but only to refute prejudicial allegations, which if accepted by Court, might adversely affect the defendant spouse.” Practically speaking, the Bench rightly enunciates in para 18 that, “Legislature has, in its wisdom, enacted Section 13-B(2) of the Act to provide for a cooling period of six months from the date of filing of the divorce petition under Section 13-B(1), in case the parties should change their mind and resolve their differences. After six months if the parties still wish to go ahead with the divorce, and make a motion, the Court has to grant a decree of divorce declaring the marriage dissolved with effect from the date of the decree, after making such enquiries as it considers fit.” While citing the relevant case law, the Bench then states in para 19 that, “Prior to the judgment in Amardeep Singh (Supra), subsection (2) was treated to be mandatory in nature. In Neeti Malviya v. Rakesh Malviya, (2010) 6 SCC 413, a Bench of two Judges of the Apex Court, while dealing with the question as to whether the period prescribed in Sub-section (2) of Section 13-B of the Act could be waived off or reduced by the Apex Court in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 142 of the Constitution, observed as under: “7. As already stated, the language of the said provision is clear and prima facie admits of no departure from the time-frame laid down therein i.e. the second motion under the said sub-section cannot be made earlier than six months after the date of presentation of the petition under sub-section (1) of Section 13-B of the Act.”” Of course, the Bench then hastens to add in para 20 that, “However, in Amardeep Singh (supra), the Apex Court considered the question as to whether the minimum period of six months stipulated under Section 13-B(2) of the Act for a motion for passing decree of divorce on the basis of mutual consent was mandatory or it could be relaxed in any exceptional situations and after taking into account the statutory provisions and the judgment on the issue for the first time opined that the statutory period of six months specified under subsection (2) of Section 13-B of the Act was not mandatory and the court, in exceptional circumstances, can waive the same, subject to certain conditions specified therein. Paragraph 19 of the said report is extracted below: “19. Applying the above to the present situation, we are of the view that where the court dealing with a matter is satisfied that a case is made out to waive the statutory period under Section 13-B(2), it can do so after considering the following: (i) the statutory period of six months specified in Section 13-B(2), in addition to the statutory period of one year under Section 13-B(1) of separation of parties is already over before the first motion itself; (ii) all efforts for mediation/ conciliation including efforts in terms of Order 32-A Rule 3 CPC/Section 23(2) of the Act/Section 9 of the Family Courts Act to reunite the parties have failed and there is no likelihood of success in that direction by any further efforts; (iii) the parties have genuinely settled their differences including alimony, custody of child or any other pending issues between the parties; (iv) the waiting period will only prolong their agony. The waiver application can be filed one week after the first motion giving reasons for the prayer for waiver. If the above conditions are satisfied, the waiver of the waiting period for the second motion will be in the discretion of the court concerned.” (emphasis supplied).” Quite pertinently, the Bench then clarifies in para 21 that, “Thus, as held by the Apex Court in the case of Amardeep Singh, the period mentioned under Section 13-B(2) of the Act is not mandatory but directory. It is open to the Court concerned to exercise its discretion in the facts and circumstances of each case. However, the discretion to waive statutory period of six months is a guided discretion for consideration of interest of justice where there is no chance of reconciliation and the parties were already separated for a longer period or contesting proceedings for a period longer than the period mentioned in Section 13-B(2) of the Act.” While citing a very recent and relevant case law, the Bench then envisages in para 22 that, “In Amit Kumar v. Suman Beniwal, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 1270, the Apex Court enumerated some of the factors which are to be taken into consideration while exercising the discretion of waiving the statutory period of six months for moving a motion for divorce and observed as under:- “27. For exercise of the discretion to waive the statutory waiting period of six months for moving the motion for divorce under Section 13B(2) of the Hindu Marriage Act, the Court would consider the following amongst other factors : – i. the length of time for which the parties had been married; ii. how long the parties had stayed together as husband and wife; iii. the length of time the parties had been staying apart; iv. the length of time for which the litigation had been pending; v. whether there were any other proceedings between the parties; vi. whether there was any possibility of reconciliation; vii. whether there were any children born out of the wedlock; viii. whether the parties had freely, of their own accord, without any coercion or pressure, arrived at a genuine settlement which took care of alimony, if any, maintenance and custody of children, etc.”” No doubt, the Bench rightly states in para 24 that, “Subsection (3) of Section 23 of the Act further provides for methods to facilitate the process, which reads as follows: “23. (3) For the purpose of aiding the court in bringing about such reconciliation, the court may, if the parties so desire or if the court thinks it just and proper so to do, adjourn the proceedings for a reasonable period not exceeding fifteen days and refer the matter to any person named by the parties in this behalf or to any person nominated by the court if the parties fail to name any person, with directions to report to the court, as to whether reconciliation can be and has been, effected and the court shall in disposing of the proceeding have due regard to the report.” (emphasis supplied).” Needless to say, the Bench then adds in para 25 that, “The Family Courts Act was introduced with the avowed object to set up Family Courts for the settlement of family disputes, where emphasis was to be laid on conciliation and achieving socially desirable results without adherence to rigid rules of procedure and evidence.” It deserves noting that the Bench then lays bare in para 26 stating that, “Section 9 of the Family Courts Act makes it obligatory on the part of the Family Court to endeavour, in the first instance to effect a reconciliation or a settlement between the parties to a family dispute. During this stage, the proceedings are informal and the rigid rules of procedure do not apply. The said provision reads as follows: “9. Duty of Family Court to make efforts for settlement.— (1) In every suit or proceeding, endeavour shall be made by the Family Court in the first instance, where it is possible to do so consistent with the nature and circumstances of the case, to assist and persuade the parties in arriving at a settlement in respect of the subject matter of the suit or proceeding and for this purpose a Family Court may, subject to any rules made by the High Court, follow such procedure as it may deem fit. (2) If, in any suit or proceeding, at any stage, it appears to the Family Court that there is a reasonable possibility of a settlement between the parties, the Family Court may adjourn the proceedings for such period as it thinks fit to enable attempts to be made to effect such a settlement. (3) The power conferred by sub-section (2) shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, any other power of the Family Court to adjourn the proceedings.” (emphasis supplied).” Most significantly, the Bench then holds in no uncertain terms in para 27 that, “No doubt Section 9 of the Family Courts Act casts an obligation upon the Family Court to make efforts for settlement. However, the Court is not supposed to act in a mechanical manner, and force the parties to engage in mediation where the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Section 9 itself states that the Court is required to make an endeavor to assist and persuade the parties to arrive at a settlement. It also says that this has to be done in consistence with the nature and circumstances of the case. Therefore, it is clear that reference of the parties to mediation is not compulsorily required where the facts and circumstances of the case showcase that no purpose would be served out of such reference. The endeavor to get the matter settled is compulsory, but the reference to mediation by the Family Court itself is not.” While referring to relevant case laws, the Bench then states in para 28 that, “At this juncture, it is relevant to support the above conclusion by making reference to certain extracts of a judgment of the Apex Court in Naveen Kohli v. Neelu Kohli, (2006) 4 SCC 558, wherein a three Judge Bench of the Apex Court observed as under: “72. Once the parties have separated and the separation has continued for a sufficient length of time and one of them has presented a petition for divorce, it can well be presumed that the marriage has broken down. The court, no doubt, should seriously make an endeavour to reconcile the parties; yet, if it is found that the breakdown is irreparable, then divorce should not be withheld. The consequences of preservation in law of the unworkable marriage which has long ceased to be effective are bound to be a source of greater misery for the parties. 74. We have been principally impressed by the consideration that once the marriage has broken down beyond repair, it would be unrealistic for the law not to take notice of that fact, and it would be harmful to society and injurious to the interests of the parties. Where there has been a long period of continuous separation, it may fairly be surmised that the matrimonial bond is beyond repair. The marriage becomes a fiction, though supported by a legal tie. By refusing to sever that tie the law in such cases does not serve the sanctity of marriage; on the contrary, it shows scant regard for the feelings and emotions of the parties. 85. Undoubtedly, it is the obligation of the court and all concerned that the marriage status should, as far as possible, as long as possible and whenever possible, be maintained, but when the marriage is totally dead, in that event, nothing is gained by trying to keep the parties tied forever to a marriage which in fact has ceased to exist. In the instant case, there has been total disappearance of emotional substratum in the marriage. The course which has been adopted by the High Court would encourage continuous bickering, perpetual bitterness and may lead to immorality. 86. In view of the fact that the parties have been living separately for more than 10 years and a very large number of aforementioned criminal and civil proceedings have been initiated by the respondent against the appellant and some proceedings have been initiated by the appellant against the respondent, the matrimonial bond between the parties is beyond repair. A marriage between the parties is only in name. The marriage has been wrecked beyond the hope of salvage, public interest and interest of all concerned lies in the recognition of the fact and to declare defunct de jure what is already defunct de facto. To keep the sham is obviously conducive to immorality and potentially more prejudicial to the public interest than a dissolution of the marriage bond.” (emphasis supplied).” Most forthrightly, the Bench then while citing the concerned case law states in para 29 that, “In the case of Amit Kumar (Supra) the Apex Court has observed where marriage between the parities has irretrievably broken down and the parties have mutually opted to part ways, it is better to dissolve the marriage. Paragraphs 18 and 19 of the report are extracted below:- “18. The object of Section 13B(2) read with Section 14 is to save the institution of marriage, by preventing hasty dissolution of marriage. It is often said that “time is the best healer”. With passage of time, tempers cool down and anger dissipates. The waiting period gives the spouses time to forgive and forget. If the spouses have children, they may, after some time, think of the consequences of divorce on their children, and reconsider their decision to separate. Even otherwise, the cooling period gives the couple time to ponder and reflect and take a considered decision as to whether they should really put an end to the marriage for all time to come. 19. Where there is a chance of reconciliation, however slight, the cooling period of six months from the date of filing of the divorce petition should be enforced. However, if there is no possibility of reconciliation, it would be meaningless to prolong the agony of the parties to the marriage. Thus, if the marriage has broken down irretrievably, the spouses have been living apart for a long time, but not been able to reconcile their differences and have mutually decided to part, it is better to end the marriage, to enable both the spouses to move on with the life.” (emphasis supplied).” Read concluding part on sunday-guardianlive.com

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Legally Speaking

Supreme Court: Commercial Transactions Outside Purview Of Consumer Protection Act 1986

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The Supreme Court in the case Annapurna B. Uppin And Ors. Versus Malsiddappa And Anr. observed wherein the complaints is filed seeking recovery of the investment from which the complainant is deriving benefit in the form of interest cannot be entertained under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. The bench comprising of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Satish Chandra Sharma in the case observed and has stated that it was a commercial transaction (investment) and therefore also would be outside the purview of the 1986 Act.

The court in the case stated that Commercial disputes cannot be decided in summary proceeding as stated under the 1986 Act but the appropriate remedy for recovery of the said amount, if any, admissible to the complainant respondent No.1, would be before the Civil Court. Thus, the complaint was not maintainable. The aforesaid observations came in the judgement authored by Justice Vikram Nath while deciding the civil appeal preferred by the appellants, the Legal heirs of the partner of the firm against the decision of the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, NCDRC.

The present case relates to the alleged for the non-payment of the respondent no.1, the investment amount by the appellant(s). The respondent also had invested an amount of Rs. 5 lakhs in the partnership firm, wherein the husband of appellant’s was a partner to be repayable after 120 months with interest @ 18% per annum.

On the other hand, the Respondent No. 1 sought for the premature release of the invested amount but was asked to wait till the maturity period and when the amount was not returned even after the end of the maturity period, thus, he filed a consumer complaint claiming the said amount. Therefore, the Forums at various levels allowed the respondent No. 1 i.e., complaint, following which the appellant approached the Supreme Court.

Arguments:

It was also contended before the court Supreme Court by the appellants that the transaction to invest in the partnership firm was commercial and the consumer complaint filed seeking recovery of the investment made by respondent no. 1. Would not be maintainable under the 1986 Act. It has also been contended by the appellants that the complainant could not seek the recovery of the investment because when the investment was made by respondent no.1, he was the partner of the firm.

Further, it was contended before the court by respondent no.1 that the refusal of the appellants to return the investment amounted to a deficiency of service and therefore, the complaint was maintainable. It also being the case of respondent No.1 that the appellants herein inherited the estate of the Managing Partner Basavaraj Uppin, and hence cannot escape the liability of making the payment due to respondent No.1.

Observations Made By Supreme Court:

The court while finding force in the appellant’s contentions held that the complaint seeking recovery of the investment would not be maintainable under the old act. The court in the case noted that respondent no.1 would not benefit from the complaint as he was the partner of the partnership firm during the period of the investment made by him.

The court observed that this court is of the considered opinion that once there was a registered partnership deed dated May 27,1996, there is no further document which is placed on record by the complainant-respondent No.1 with regards to the dissolution of the said registered deed which continued till the time when the investment was made by the complainant respondent No.1 on May 21, 2002 and hence the complainant respondent No.1 would be deemed to be partner of the firm.

Deceased Partner Liability Do Not Passes Upon Its Legal Heirs:

The court in the case rejected respondent no.1 or complainant argument that being the legal heirs of the Managing Partner of the firm, the appellants cannot escape from the liability owed by the Managing Partner. It has also been stated by the said court that the legal heirs of a deceased partner do not become liable for any liability of the firm upon the death of the partner.

The court in the case observed that there was no evidence on record in order to show that a fresh partnership deed was executed reconstituting the firm in which the present appellants had become partners so as to take upon themselves the assets and liabilities of the firm. Further, the court stated that the law is well settled that legal heirs of a deceased partner do not become liable for any liability of the firm upon the death of the partner.

The court while considering the facts and circumstances of the case allowed the appeal and the complaint preferred by the complainant or respondent No. 1 was set aside. Accordingly, the court allowed the appeal. The counsel, Mr. C. B. Gururaj, Adv. Mr. Prakash Ranjan Nayak, AOR Mr. Animesh Dubey, Adv. Mr. Debendra Ghosal, Adv. Appeared for the Petitioner(s). The counsel, Mr. Chinmay Deshpande, Adv. Mr. Anirudh Sanganeria, AOR represented the respondent(s).

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Former AAP Minister Moves Delhi High Court, Seeks Removal Of Kejriwal From CM’s Post

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In the case Sandeep Kumar v. Arvind Kejriwal and Others, the Delhi High Court observed a petition filed by Aam Aadmi Party MLA Sandeep Kumar seeking the removal of Arvind Kejriwal from the post of Chief Minister of Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal is presently in judicial custody related to an Enforcement Directorate (ED) case concerning the excise policy. This is the third petition seeking such a prayer, with the previous two pleas being rejected by the Division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan.

Sandeep Kumar approached the court as a Court of first instance in writ jurisdiction, not as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), in his individual capacity. He, being a lawyer by profession, claims to be a founding member of the Aam Aadmi Party and a social worker.

The plea filed seeks the issuance of a writ of quo warranto against Kejriwal, calling upon him to show by what authority, qualification, and title he is holding the office of the Chief Minister of Delhi. Additionally, the plea prays for an inquiry to dislodge Kejriwal from the office of the Chief Minister, with or without retrospective effect.

Kumar claims that as a voter of the Delhi Assembly Election, he is personally aggrieved for having a Chief Minister for his Union Territory who has incurred an ‘incapacity to hold the post’ and ‘who can never function as the Chief Minister from custody or prison’ as envisaged by the Constitution of India.

The petitioner argues that Kejriwal has incurred an incapacity to carry out his functions as the Chief Minister of Delhi under the Constitution and therefore, he cannot hold the post. The plea emphasizes that the right to have a government in accordance with the Constitution is a Constitutional Right of every citizen and voter.

Arvind Kejriwal was arrested on the night of March 21 and subsequently remanded to judicial custody until April 15. However, the court refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking Kejriwal’s removal from the post of Chief Minister, observing that there is no scope for judicial interference in the matter, and it is for other organs of the State to examine the issue.

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Delhi High Court Reserved Verdict On Arvind Kejriwal’s Plea Challenging ED Arrest In Liquor Policy Case

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The Delhi High Court in the case Arvind Kejriwal v. Directorate Of Enforcement observed and has reserved verdict on the plea moved by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate, ED in the money laundering case related to the alleged liquor policy scam case.

The bench headed by Justice Sharma in the case observed and has denied any interim relief to Kejriwal and only issued notice on his plea challenging the arrest, as well as his interim application seeking immediate release.

In the present case, Kejriwal is currently in judicial custody. Kejriwal was being arrested on the night of March 21.

The Trial Court in the case remanded him to six days of ED custody, which was extended by further four days. On April 01, he was remanded to judicial custody till April 15.

It has been stated by the Enforcement Directorate, ED that Kejriwal is the kingpin and the key conspirator of the excise scam and there were reasons to believe on the basis of material in its possession that he was guilty of the offence of money laundering.

It has also been alleged that the Aam Aadmi party was the ‘major beneficiary’ of the proceeds of the crime and has committed the offence through Kejriwal.

The response stated that, the Aam Aadmi Party, AAP is the major beneficiary of the proceeds of crime generated in the Delhi Liquor Scam. The Sh Arvind Kejriwal was and is not only the brain behind the AAP but also controls its major activities, he was also one of the founding members and was also involved in the decision making of the policy as evident from the statements of the witnesses.

Arguments:

The counsel, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju told the Court that investigation qua the sitting CM is at a nascent stage. Thus, he also pointed that Kejriwal has not challenged the latest order remanding him to 15 days judicial custody. He has also challenged the first remand order. Please look at the remand order of 26 March. Today we are on April 3. The second remand order is passed on March 28. That has not been challenged. Thus, the third remand order of judicial custody has not been challenged. So today his custody isn’t pursuant to arrest or first remand order, it’s pursuant to April 1 order which has not been challenged. Therefore, Raju also wondered if Kejriwal can challenge his remand since he did not oppose it. ‘He voluntarily accepts please remand me further. Can he challenge the remand order? Or is it barred by waiver? They are blowing hot and cold at the same time. You cant challenge the remand order and say please pass the order and accept it. They have not challenged the latest orders pursuant to which he is in custody. Thus, custody can’t be said to be illegal.”

The counsel, Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Kejriwal argued before the court that the central probe agency did not comply with Section 50 PMLA which empowers it to issue summons, collect evidence, etc. thus, it being clear that section 50 involves an inquiry. Because it’s inquiry which enables ED to make up mind about arrest and prosecution. No attempt is made to record my section 50 even at my residence. While pointing out the remand application he added ED wants to “find out” the role of Chief Minister. ‘Surely that’s not a ground for today’s arrest… There has to be specific role of the petitioner, even for the company, which I’m denying.’

On the other hand, it has been argued by the ASG that the fact that a PMLA offence has taken place is clear and beyond any doubt. Because as far as first Police Custody and subsequent Police Custody is concerned, court has taken cognizance… Categorical finding that there is money laundering. Cognizance of the offence of money laundering. Nobody has challenged the order.

It has also been contended by the Singhvi that ED forced the approvers Raghav Magunta, Sarath Reddy and Magunta Reddy to make statements against Kejriwal. Further, it has been alleged that two approvers even have links with the ruling party. Adding to it, Singhvi stated that initial statements that did not implicate Kejriwal are not even put on record by the ED. ‘These statements are kept in unrelied. Why should the court not see it? Is it fair? What cannon of fairness are you carrying ED? Out of 13 statements by this Reddy. He says nothing in 11 statements. The judge will go by one statement?’

He also questioned the necessity of arrest amid upcoming general elections. The test is not can arrest. It is demonstrating the necessity to arrest. The should arrest test. The necessity to arrest immediately before elections… the only object is to insult, humiliate and disable… So that the petitioner is unable to participate in the election process and to try to demolish the party before the first vote is cast. The timing reeks of basic structure issue, free and fair election issue and democracy issue. What is this urgency or necessity?

Further, Singhvi stated that it said to be a flight risk, given his deep roots in the society. Responding to this ASG stated that, supposing a political person commits murder two days before elections. This means he can’t be arrested? Basic structure comes into play? Criminals are supposed to be arrested and put in jail. In such cases there is no infringement of basic structure.

Further, it has been argued by ASG that calculation was done as to why 5 percent profit was made 12 percent in the new policy. “Only inference is that it was done so that 7 percent of portion is used for giving kickbacks. The fact that there is a scam is beyond doubt. Howsoever hue and cry you make, its a fact that a scam was there… Finding of the actual proceeds of crime is irrelevant if we make out a case that you were involved in money laundering.

Facts of the Case:

Kejriwal had skipped nine summons issued to him by ED. The Aam Aadmi Party leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh are also accused in the case and are presently in judicial custody. While following his arrest, Kejriwal had promptly moved an urgent petition before the Supreme Court challenging his arrest. However, the same was withdrawn later. Kejriwal has previously moved the Delhi High Court, the division bench wherein it challenged the summons issued to him by the central probe agency. He has also filed an application seeking interim protection. The matter is fixed for hearing on April 22. The Kejriwal has skipped the summons, claiming that they are illegal.

It has also been alleged by the ED that Arvind Kejriwal is the ‘kingpin’ of Delhi excise scam and is directly involved in the use of proceeds of crime accounting to over Rs. 100 crores. It being the case of ED’s that the excise policy was implemented as part of a conspiracy to give wholesale business profit of 12 percent to certain private companies, although such a stipulation was not mentioned in the minutes of meetings of Group of Ministers, GoM. Further, it has also been claimed by the Central agency that there was a conspiracy that was coordinated by Vijay Nair and other individuals along with South Group to give extraordinary profit margins to wholesalers. According to the agency, Nair was acting on behalf of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia.

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Delhi High Court CM Arvind Kejriwal’s ED Custody extended By 4 Days Till April 1 In Liquor Policy Case

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The Delhi High Court in the case Surjit Singh Yadav v. Union Of India observed and has remanded the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to Enforcement Directorate, ED custody till April 01 in the money laundering case which relates to the alleged liquor policy scam case. Arwind Kejriwal was being arrested on the night of March 21, 2024. The Special CBI judge Kaveri Baweja of the Rouse Avenue Courts passed the order after Kejriwal was produced in court on the expiry of his six days of Enforcement Directorate, ED custody.

The Delhi High Court in the case declined any interim relief to Kejriwal and only issued notice on his plea challenging the arrest and remand. The counsel, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju told the court that the sitting CM was giving “evasive replies” during interrogation and the agency needs to confront him with some individuals who have been summoned from Goa. Thus, ED sought 7 more days of custody. He doesn’t get exonerated if he is a CM. There is no different standards for a CM. Right to arrest a CM is no different from an ordinary man.”

Yesterday, the Enforcement Directorate, ED summoned AAP’s Goa unit chief Amit Palekar and some other party leaders for questioning. Thus, they have been asked to appear at the agency’s Goa office on March 28, 2024. Further, the Kejriwal while appearing in person submitted before the court that he is not opposing remand. He claimed the entire case is a ‘political conspiracy’ and there is no such material against him. It has also been alleged by the Delhi CM that the central probe agency was collecting selective material and even the approver was forced to make a statement against him. Further, the central probe agency submitted before the court that Kejriwal has refused to share the password of his mobile phone.

Adding to it, Kejriwal responded that ED cannot force him to unlock his electronic gadgets. Delhi High Court Rejected PIL For Removal Of Arvind Kejriwal From Post Of Chief Minister The Delhi High Court rejected the Public Interest Litigation, PIL moved seeking removal of Arvind Kejriwal, who has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate, ED in the liquor policy case, from the post of Chief Minister of Delhi. The Division bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora in the case observed and has stated that the petitioner failed to show any bar in the law which prohibits the arrested CM from holding office. The CJI orally stated that, ‘Show us, where is the prohibition. Show us any legal bar which you’re canvassing’.

Further, the bench stated that there is no scope for judicial interference in the matter and the executive is examining the issue. The court in the case observed that if there is a constitutional failure, President or Governor will act on it…Is there any scope for judicial interference in this? The LG is examining the issue. It will go to the President. It belongs to a different wing. There is no scope for judicial interference in this. In the present case, the petition is moved by one Surjit Singh Yadav, a Delhi resident claiming to be a farmer and social worker. It has been claimed by him before the court that a Chief Minister accused of a financial scandal should not be permitted to continue in public office. Kejriwal is presently in ED custody which ends on March 28, 2024. It has been submitted by Yadav in the PIL that Kejriwal’s continuation in the post would not only lead to obstruction of due process of law and disrupt the course of justice, but also would lead to a breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the State as Kejriwal does not satisfy most of the limbs of Article 163 and 164 of the Constitution of India owing to his incarceration.

Further, the plea stated that the Respondent No.4 has virtually forfeited his office as a Chief Minister of account of being arrested and as he is in the Custody he has disabled himself from performing the duties and responsibilities of being a public servant and as such he ought not to continue as a Chief Minister. Therefore, the AAP Ministers have been making statements in the media that Kejriwal will not resign from the post and if need be, he will run the government from inside the prison.

It has been submitted by Yadav that a jailed CM would be incapable of transacting any business that the law enjoins upon him and if he is allowed to do so, any material, irrespective of its secretive nature, would have to be scanned thoroughly by the prison authorities before it reaches Kejriwal’s hands and such an act would amount to direct breach of oath of secrecy administered to the CM under the Third Schedule of the Constitution. Further, the plea stated that the Transaction of Business of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Rules, 1993 empowers a CM to call for files from any department of the Cabinet and if Kejriwal continues as CM, he would be well within his rights to demand for the investigation of files wherein he has been arraigned as an accused.

The plea states that, such a situation is against the ethos of Criminal Jurisprudence. Therefore, Yadav had prayed the Court to issue a writ in the nature of Quo Warranto, calling upon Kejriwal to answer under what authority he is holding the post of CM and consequently remove him. However, Yadav has also filed another PIL seeking to prevent Kejriwal from issuing directions or orders while in ED custody. About The Case: The Kejriwal had skipped nine summons which were issued to him by the Enforcement Directorate, ED.

The Aam Aadmi Party leaders Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh are also accused in the case and are presently in judicial custody. The Kejriwal while following the arrest of him had promptly moved an urgent petition before the Supreme Court challenging his arrest. Later, the same was withdrawn. Therefore, Kejriwal has previously moved the Delhi High Court (division bench) challenging the summons issued to him by the central probe agency. Further, the Kejriwal has also filed an application seeking interim protection.

The matter was fixed for hearing on April 22. It has been alleged by ED that two criminal complaints had been filed against Kejriwal in city’s Rouse Avenue Courts alleging non-compliance of the summons by him. Kejriwal has skipped the summons, claiming that they are illegal. It has been alleged by the ED that Arvind Kejriwal is the ‘kingpin’ of Delhi excise scam and is directly involved in the use of proceeds of crime accounting to over Rs. 100 crores.

It being the case of ED that the excise policy was implemented as part of a conspiracy to give wholesale business profit of 12 percent to certain private companies, although such a stipulation was not mentioned in the minutes of meetings of Group of Ministers, GoM. It has been claimed by the Central Agency that there was a conspiracy that was coordinated by Vijay Nair and other individuals along with South Group to give extraordinary profit margins to wholesalers.

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Supreme Court: Plea To Stay Citizenship Amendment Act

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The Supreme Court in the case was hearing the application filed to stay the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 and the Citizenship Amendment Rules 2024.

The bench comprising of CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra was hearing the present matter. In the present case, the court was hearing the 237 writ petitions challenging the CAA, filed in 2019.

Therefore, these petition before the Court on October 31, 2022. The Union Government notified the Citizenship Amendment Rules 2024 to implement the CAA and notified the formation of committees at the State or UT levels to process the applications on March 11.

The petitioner are Political party Indian Union Muslim League (IUML, the lead petitioner in the case), Democratic Youth Front of India (DYFI, youth wing of the CPI(M)), All Assam Students Union, Assam opposition leaders Debrabata Saika and Abdul Khaleque, State of Kerala, AIMIM head Asaduddin Owaisi, Socialist Democratic Party of India etc.,

The Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal told the court that there was no question of a pause back then since the rules were not notified. Adding to it, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta then said that the fact that the rules were notified before the elections was irrelevant.

The party leader Jairam Ramesh has stated that, the pposition has slammed the Narendra Modi government over the timing of the law’s implementation – four years after it cleared the Parliament. The move is “evidently designed to polarise the elections, especially in West Bengal and Assam”.

Further, the Trinamool Congress chief and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stated that she doubts the legality of CAA and alleged a conspiracy to “snatch citizenship rights. The Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee says that, BJP leaders say CAA gives you rights. But the moment you apply for citizenship, you become illegal migrants and you will lose your rights. You will lose rights and be taken to detention camps. Please think before you apply. The Centre has trashed the Opposition’s allegations. Stressing that the CAA is not “unconstitutional”, Home Minister Amit Shah has accused the Opposition of resorting to the “politics of lies”.

Amit Shah stated that, On the timing of the law’s implementation, “BJP made it clear in its 2019 manifesto that it will bring CAA and provide Indian citizenship to refugees (from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan). BJP has a clear agenda and under that promise, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in both houses of Parliament in 2019. It got delayed due to Covid.” Further, Amit Shah stated that, minorities of the country “need not be afraid because CAA has no provision to take back the rights of any citizen”.

Court Hearing:

The bench passed an order appointing separate nodal counsels for petitions which relates t0o States of Assam and Tripure. The Adv Ankit Yadav appointed for the petitioners’ side and Adv Kanu Agarwal for the Petitioners.
Sibal: the moment something like this happens, give us liberty to move here.
CJI: We are here.
Jaising : Would your lordships be pleased to say that any citizenship granted will be subject to the outcome of the petitions.
SG : No, no.
CJI : They don’t have the infrastructure in place, the committee..
SG : This attempt was made outside the court four years back. Misleading people that you will be out of NRC. Same thing Mr. Pasha did. NRC is not an issue here. Grant of citizenship is. Please don’t do this. Nizam Pasha : Muslim members left out of NRC will be prejudiced.. 19 lakhs people left out of NRC, it applies to them.
SG : NRC is not an issue
CJI : They are not willing to make a statement, that is why we keep on April 9.
Sibal : If something happens, we will come..
CJI : What we will do is we will keep on April 9, 2024.
Jaising : In the meantime no citizenship.
SG : I am not making any statement.
SC : We direct the proceedings be listed on April 9, 2024.
Sibal : In meantime no citizenship be granted.
SG: Realistically speaking, I need 4 weeks.
CJI : You can file response in one case, opposing interim prayer.
SG : Many matters have different contentions.
Sibal : Then make a statement that no citizenship will be granted
CJI dictates order : On 22.01.2020 notice was issued. The rules have been
recently notified. This has given rise to applications for stay. SG submits that 4 weeks’ time be granted to file response. The request of 4 weeks’ time is opposed on the ground that in the meantime if citizenship is granted, it will be irreversible.
Sibal : There are serious issues of constitutionality.
Sr Adv Ranjit Kumar (for migrant) : From Balochistan, I came to India because I was persecuted. If I am given citizenship, how is it affecting them?
Jaising : They will get the right to vote!.

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Delhi High Court: ED summons cannot be quashed merely because documents required for confrontation or probe not specified in it

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The Delhi High Court in the case Mr Talib Hassan Darvesh v. The Directorate Of Enforcement observed and has said that the summons issued by Enforcement Directorate, ED cannot be quashed merely because relevant documents are required for investigation or confrontation with an accused who have not been specified in them.

The bench of Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta in the case observed and has stated that the summoning, in exercise of statutory powers, cannot be stalled merely on mere apprehension that the accused may be arrested and prosecuted on basis of summons issued after registration of ECIR in the proceedings which are initiated by the Enforcement Directorate, ED. The court in the case observed and has denied the interim relief to Talib Hassan Darvesh, the accused in the money laundering case.

Before the court, he also sought a stay on the summons which is issued to him by Enforcement Directorate, ED and to restrain the probe agency from taking any further coercive steps against him. Therefore, the Enforcement Directorate, ED opposed the petition which being on the ground that Darvesh cannot be insulated from any coercive action at the initial stage itself and no protective orders could be passed in his favour, ignoring the mandate of Section 45 of PMLA.

It has also been submitted before the court that the proceedings which are initiated by ED were an independent investigation into money laundering allegations based upon the ECIR and the benefit could not be granted which being merely on account of orders granting anticipatory bail to Darvesh in FIR registered by CBI.

The court stated while denying the relief that the summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate, ED cannot be quashed merely because the relevant documents required for purpose of investigation or confrontation to the petitioner, have not been specified in the summons. Adding to it, the court stated that since ECIR is an internal document which is being created before initiation of prosecution against persons involved with process or activity connected with proceeds of crime and it is not necessary to reveal the evidence collected by the Enforcement Directorate, ED at this stage in the summons forwarded to Darvesh.

Further, the court stated that the petitioner is yet to be absolved of scheduled offence by way of discharge, acquittal or quashing and as such protection orders cannot be issued in favour of petitioner ignoring the mandate as it is stated under Section 45 of PMLA, 2002 for grant of bail. Further, the court stated that summoning in exercise of statutory powers cannot be stalled merely on mere apprehension that petitioner may be arrested and prosecuted on basis of summons issued after registration of ECIR, in proceedings initiated by Enforcement Directorate, ED.

The court while considering the facts and circumstances of the case observed and found no grounds for interim relief to be made out at this stage, thus, the court disposed of the plea. Accordingly, the court the petition seeking to quash of the ECIR and summons for hearing on May 07.

The counsel, Advocates Mr. Siddharth Luthra and Mr. Siddharth Agarwal, Sr. Advs. with Mr. Ayush Agarwal, Mr. Udhav Sinha, Mr. Amar Gahlot, Ms. Srishty Jaura, Mr. Nalin Bajaj, Ms. Purvi Garg and Mr. Prashant Singh appeared for the Petitioner. The counsel, Advocates Mr. Zoheb Hossain, Special Counsel for E.D. with Mr. Vivek Gurnani, Mr. Kartik Sabharwal and Mr. Abhigiya represented the respondent.

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