Wife bent upon destroying husband’s career & reputation amounts to ‘mental cruelty’: Punjab and Haryana High Court - Business Guardian
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Wife bent upon destroying husband’s career & reputation amounts to ‘mental cruelty’: Punjab and Haryana High Court

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Without mincing any words whatsoever and without beating about the bush, the Punjab and Haryana High Court in an extremely learned, laudable, landmark and latest judgment titled Devesh Yadav v. Smt. Meenal in FAO-M-208 of 2013 that was reserved on 30.03.2022 and then finally pronounced on 08.04.2022 has observed explicitly, eloquently and elegantly that if the wife is bent upon destroying the career and reputation of her husband by making complaints against him to his senior officers, then it would amount to mental cruelty and the same would entitle the man to divorce. It must be mentioned that the Bench of Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Ashok Kumar Verma observed thus, while hearing a plea that was filed by an Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel who sought a decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty and desertion. Consequently, we thus see that the Court very rightly granted a decree of divorce and allowed the plea while noting specifically that the marriage between the parties had broken down irretrievably and there is no chance of their coming together, or living together again.

To start with, this extremely commendable, cogent, composed and creditworthy judgment authored by Hon’ble Mr Justice Ashok Kumar Verma for a Division Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising of himself and Hon’ble Ms Justice Ritu Bahri sets the ball rolling by first and foremost putting forth in para 1 that, “The appellant-husband has come up in appeal before this Court seeking setting aside of judgment and decree dated 26.02.2013 passed by the District Judge, Rohtak, whereby petition filed by him under Section 13 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (for short ‘the HMA’) for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce, has been dismissed.”

To put things in perspective, the Bench then while elaborating on the facts of the case envisages in para 2 that, “Brief facts of the case are that appellant-husband filed a petition under Section 13 of the HMA for dissolution of marriage by a decree of divorce pleading therein that marriage between the parties was solemnized on 19.11.1998 and the same was registered on 23.11.1998 at Rohtak. At the time of marriage, appellant-husband was posted at Srinagar and they lived there upto March, 2000. Respondent-wife insisted that delivery of the child should take place at Rohtak, therefore, appellant acceded to her request and they went to Rohtak, where they were blessed with a son, namely, Jalaj on 24.08.1999. Thereafter, appellant was transferred to Jammu and parties lived together there upto April, 2002. The appellant remained posted at Jammu upto September, 2002 and then was transferred to Lucknow. It is alleged by the appellant-husband that from the beginning of the marriage, conduct, behaviour and attitude of the respondent-wife had been cruel, unwarranted and harsh and she used to pick up quarrels over trifles without any justifiable cause. The respondent deserted the appellant in April, 2002 and since then she had not returned to matrimonial home, whereas appellant had always been giving love and affection to the respondent and his son. In the beginning of December, 1999 appellant had taken the respondent along with his son to his place of posting at Srinagar and at the request of respondent her mother was also taken there and appellant provided proper food, clothing and every good lodging facility to the respondent, her mother and the son. In mid December, 1999, respondent suffered with breast abscess and she was got treated and operated at Army Hospital, Srinagar. In December, 1999, respondent was again operated at PGIMS, Rohtak, as the said ailment had re-developed. In April, 2002, respondent went to the house of her parents at Rohtak and thereafter in spite of best efforts of the appellant, she did not return to her matrimonial home. Appellant had also written several letters from the place of his posting requesting respondent and her parents to send the respondent and his son to him but in vain. Whenever, appellant came on leave at Rohtak and tried to meet his wife and the child, respondent’s parents did not allow him to meet them. Rather, Pawan, brother of the respondent, misbehaved with the appellant whenever appellant visited the house of his in-laws. Appellant also met the respondent in April, 2006 and requested her to accompany him and apprised her that he had booked seats for journey but she flatly refused to accompany him and threatened that if he tried to take her with him, she would commit suicide. It is further alleged that respondent failed to discharge her matrimonial duties and obligations and rather she ill-treated and mal-treated the appellant, caused physical and mental cruelty upon him, did not cooperate in married life and made his life hell. The respondent even failed to give any respect and regard to the parents of the appellant. When respondent expressed her desire to do a job, appellant agreed to her request and she had worked at Army Public School, Jammu, from July, 2001 to March, 2002. As in spite of best efforts made by the appellant, respondent did not join the matrimonial home, he was compelled to institute a divorce petition bearing No.58 of 2006. The matter was referred to Lok Adalat/mediation. During the course of these proceedings, respondent agreed to withdraw her complaint made to the Air Force authorities as well as the application for maintenance filed before the Senior Air Force Officer, on withdrawal of said petition by the appellant. The matter was compromised on the basis of separate statements dated 21.12.2008 and the petition filed by the appellant was dismissed as withdrawn. Appellant further alleged that respondent was working as lecturer in mathematics in Matu Ram Institute of Engineering and Management at Rohtak. Even during vacations she never joined the company of the appellant. Despite having given undertaking before the Court in her statement dated 21.12.2008, she had not withdrawn her complaint and maintenance application filed before the Senior Air Force Officer and did not join the company of the appellant at the matrimonial home at the place of his posting i.e. at M.E.T. Flight Air Force Station, Sirsa (Haryana). Therefore, appellant sought decree of divorce on the ground of cruelty and desertion.”

Needless to say, the Bench then observes in para 13 that, “It is undisputed fact that the marriage between the appellant and respondent was solemnized on 19.11.1998 and the same was registered on 23.11.1998. On 24.08.1999 a child, namely, Jalaj was born out of the wedlock. According to the appellant, in the month of April, 2002, the respondent left the company of the appellant and went to her parents’ house and the efforts made by the appellant to bring her back went in vain. It is the specific case of the respondent-wife that she never deserted the appellant nor caused any cruelty to him. The Family Court, considering the averments of both the parties, dismissed the petition filed by the husband under Section 13 of the HMA.”

As we see, the Bench then notes in para 14 that, “In view of the above circumstances, before proceeding with the appeal on merits, taking into consideration the fact that the parties were residing separately for about 12 years, vide order dated 28.04.2014, the parties were directed to appear before the Mediation and Conciliation Centre of this Court on 19.05.2014. However, on several occasions parties did not appear before the mediator. Therefore, due to lackadaisical approach of both the parties to settle the matter and due to expiry of the stipulated period, mediator referred back the matter to this Court on 14.08.2014. Thus, the appeal was admitted on 20.02.2015.”

In hindsight, the Bench then recalls in para 15 that, “Being fed up of the behavior of the respondent-wife, earlier also appellant had instituted a petition for divorce bearing No.58 of 2006, which was referred to the Lok Adalat. The matter was compromised on 21.12.2008 and on assurance of the respondent to withdraw her complaint made to the Air Force authorities and the application for maintenance filed by her before the senior Air Force officer, appellant had withdrawn the said petition for divorce.”

To be sure, the Bench notes in para 21 that, “Respondent wife also bent upon destroying the career and reputation of the appellant-husband as she made complaints against him to his senior officers in the Air Force.”

Briefly stated, the Bench mentions in para 22 that, “At this juncture, it is important to make reference to the judgment passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Raj Talreja vs. Kavita Talreja, Civil Appeal No.10719 of 2013, decided on 24.04.2017, wherein, it was held that a false complaint was registered against the husband by the wife, after wife herself inflicted injuries on her person. In criminal proceedings, the husband had been acquitted and thereafter, proceedings against the wife were launched. On this account, the husband was held entitled to decree of divorce, on the ground of cruelty.”

Likewise, the Bench then also points out in para 23 that, “Likewise in Joydeep Majumdar vs. Bharti Jaiswal Majumdar, Civil Appeal Nos.3786-3787 of 2020, decided on 26.02.2021 (Law Finder Doc Id #1813316), where defamatory complaints had been made by wife to husband’s superior officers and the complaint so made by the wife was held to have affected the career progress of the husband, the Hon’ble Apex Court held that it amounted to ‘mental cruelty’ as the husband had suffered adverse consequences, in his life and career, on account of allegations, made by wife. The Family Court, had granted divorce to the husband, on the ground of cruelty. However, the High Court had reversed the finding of the Family Court. The Hon’ble Apex Court, while deciding the matter, referred to another judgment passed in Samar Ghosh vs. Jaya Ghosh, 2007 (4) SCC 511, wherein, it was observed that in order to make out a case of mental cruelty, no uniform standard can be laid down and each case will have to be decided, on its own facts. Further, in Joydeep Majumdar’s case (supra), it was observed as herein given:-

“11. The materials in the present case reveal that the respondent had made several defamatory complaints to the appellant’s superiors in the Army for which, a Court of inquiry was held by the Army authorities against the appellant. Primarily for those, the appellant’s career progress got affected. The Respondent was also making complaints to other authorities, such as, the State Commission for Women and has posted defamatory materials on other platforms. The net outcome of above is that the appellant’s career and reputation had suffered.

12. When the appellant has suffered adverse consequences in his life and career on account of the allegations made by the respondent, the legal consequences must follow and those cannot be prevented only because, no Court has determined that the allegations were false. The High Court however felt that without any definite finding on the credibility of the wife’s allegation, the wronged spouse would be disentitled to relief. This is not found to be the correct way to deal with the issue.

13. Proceeding with the above understanding, the question which requires to be answered here is whether the conduct of the respondent would fall within the realm of mental cruelty. Here the allegations are levelled by a highly educated spouse and they do have the propensity to irreparably damage the character and reputation of the appellant. When the reputation of the spouse is sullied amongst his colleagues, his superiors and the society at large, it would be difficult to expect condonation of such conduct by the affected party.””

Be it noted, the Bench then minces no words to state in para 26 that, “The conduct of the respondent-wife in filing a complaint making unfounded, indecent and defamatory allegations against her husband and parents-in-law indicates that she made all attempts to ensure that appellant and his parents are put in jail and the appellant is removed from his job. We have no manner of doubt that this conduct of respondent-wife has caused mental cruelty to the appellant-husband.”

Quite forthrightly, the Bench then holds in para 30 that, “In the present case, the marriage between the parties had broken down irretrievably and there is no chance of their coming together, or living together again. Further, not to grant decree of divorce would be disastrous for the parties.”

In retrospect, the Bench then recalls in para 31 that, “The three-Judge Bench of Hon’ble the Supreme Court in a case of Samar Ghosh (supra) passed the decree on the ground of mental cruelty but the concept of irretrievable breakdown of marriage has been discussed in detail referring the 71st report of the Law Commission of India.”

While referring to a relevant case law, the Bench then points out in para 32 that, “Hon’ble the Supreme Court in a case of K. Srinivas Rao vs. D.A. Deepa (supra) has observed that though irretrievable breakdown of marriage is not a ground for divorce under the Hindu Marriage Act, however, marriage which is dead for all purposes, cannot be revived by Court’s verdict, if parties are not willing since marriage involves human sentiments and emotions and if they have dried up, there is hardly any chance of their springing back to life on account of artificial reunion created by court decree.”

Adding more to it, the Bench then remarks in para 33 that, “Now, once the respondent-wife who is not staying with the appellant for the last about 20 years and is not ready to give mutual divorce to the appellant-husband, reference at this stage can be made to Naveen Kohli’s case (supra), which was a case of cruelty (physical and mental) where Hon’ble the Supreme Court considered the concept of irretrievable breakdown of marriage. In this case as well, the parties were living separately for the last 10 years and the wife was not ready to give divorce to the husband. Hon’ble the Supreme Court granted decree of divorce but directed the husband to pay a sum of Rs.25 lacs towards permanent maintenance. In para 58, it has been observed as under:-

“58. The High Court ought to have considered the repercussions, consequences, impact and ramifications of all the criminal and other proceedings initiated by the parties against each other in proper perspective. For illustration, the High Court has mentioned that so far as the publication of the news item is concerned, the status of husband in a registered company was only that of an employee and if any news item is published, in such a situation, it could not, by any stretch of imagination be taken to have lowered the prestige of the husband. In the next para 69 of the judgment that in one of the news item what has been indicated was that in the company, Nikhil Rubber (P) Ltd., the appellant was only a Director along with Mrs. Neelu Kohli whom held 94.5% share of Rs.100/- each in the company. The news item further indicated that Naveen Kohli was acting against the spirit of the Article of the Association of Nikhil Rubber (P) Ltd., had caused immense loss of business and goodwill. He has stealthily removed produce of the company, besides diverted orders of foreign buyers to his proprietorship firm M/s Navneet Elastomers. He had opened bank account with forged signatures of Mrs. Neelu Kohli and fabricated resolution of the Board of Directors of the company. Statutory authorityCompanies Act had refused to register documents filed by Mr. Naveen Kolhi and had issued show cause notice. All business associates were cautioned to avoid dealing with him alone. Neither the company nor Mrs. Neelu Kohli shall be liable for the acts of Mr. Naveen Kohli. Despite the aforementioned finding that the news item was intended to caution business associates to avoid dealing with the appellant then to come to this finding in the next para that it will by no stretch of imagination result in mental cruelty is wholly untenable.””

Most remarkably, the Bench then while taking a pragmatic stand minces no words to state in para 34 that, “It is well settled that once the parties have separated and separation has continued for a sufficient length of time and anyone of them 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.”

Simply put, the Bench then recollects in para 35 that, “In the present case, the appellant-husband and the respondent-wife are living separately since April, 2002. Firstly, efforts were made to resolve the matrimonial dispute through the process of mediation, which is one of the effective mode of alternative mechanism in resolving the personal dispute but in vain.”

Finally, the Bench then concludes by holding in para 36 that, “Applying the ratio of the above-mentioned judgments to the facts of the present case and keeping in view the extraordinary facts and circumstances of the case, the appeal is allowed, judgment dated 26.02.2013 passed by the District Judge, Rohtak, is set aside and decree of divorce is granted accordingly in favour of the appellant-husband. Decreesheet be prepared accordingly. However, we direct the appellant-husband to make an F.D. of Rs 20 lakhs as permanent alimony in the name of the respondent-wife.”

In sum, the Division Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising of Hon’ble Ms Justice Ritu Bahri and Hon’ble Mr Justice Ashok Kumar Verma have taken a very balanced, bold and brilliant stand in this notable judgment. It has rightly, rationally and remarkably directed the husband to make an F.D. of Rs 20 lakhs as permanent alimony in the name of the respondent-wife so that she does not face financial distress. But it also simultaneously ensures that it allows the appeal of husband for being granted divorce by stipulating that if the wife is bent upon destroying the career and reputation of her husband by making complaints against him to his senior officers, then it would amount to mental cruelty and the same would entitle the man to divorce. Very rightly so!

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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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