No doubt, the Constitution of India aims at making our society a law-ruled society wherein the rule of law shall dominate all other dispensations. Therefore, the law has been placed at the highest pedestal. Nobody, howsoever mighty he may be, can surpass the height of law. The history of the country has recorded instances where after following the due process of law, the highest functionaries like Prime Minister, Chief Minister and other public representatives were sentenced to imprisonment for the violation of law of the land.
Indeed, on such occasions the head of the country was held high in appreciation of the dauntless independent judiciary. The judges adorning the judicial seats despite all the professional haphazard dared such power-wielding people and paid heavy price for their uprightness by way of losing promotions, plum postings post retirement and what not. The nation will always remember such judges and they will be followed like beacon lights for all generations of judges to come.
Seen in this context, what happened in the Supreme Court on August 4 in the criminal defamation case against Rahul Gandhi is, to say the least, shocking! The appellant, Rahul Gandhi who has the history of tendering unconditional apology to the Supreme Court for making baseless, irresponsible allegations against the Prime Minister of the day, was given reprieve by way of stay on the punishment of two years awarded by the sessions court at Surat and subsequently confirmed by the Gujarat High Court.
In so far as the legal position is concerned, it is a settled law that in second appeal, the appellate court will generally not interfere with the concurrent findings by the trial court as well as the first appellate court. It is only in a rare situation where the courts below have committed grave error of law which has made the judgement perverse that the second appellate court will interfere to do complete justice.
Going by the proceedings of the Supreme Court on August 4 in the stay petition, one of the reasons given by the apex court while granting the stay on two years imprisonment is that the trial court did not give reasons for awarding maximum punishment of two years! Another reason for granting the stay is that Rahul Gandhi was elected as an MP by the people of Wynad (Kerala) and by stripping him off his membership, the people of Wynad will remain unrepresented in parliament.
Undoubtedly, both these reasoning are devoid of logic and legal force. Nowhere in the CrPC is it ordained that a judge should give reasons while awarding the maximum punishment to an accused. Because the judgement’s last part is always the conclusion part. Based on the elaborate analysis of case, evidence and arguments advanced by the respective parties, the judge arrives at a conclusion and awards punishment or acquits the accused. Usually, after recording his opinion that the prosecution has proved the allegations levelled on an accused, under the provisions of the Probation of Offenders Act the court hears the convict on the quantum of punishment. If it is pleaded by the convict that there are some mitigating circumstances such as his own sickness or sickness of a family member, poverty, first conviction etc., the court may take a lenient view and award lesser punishment wherever permissible by law. In the instant case, Rahul Gandhi too, was given an opportunity to relent and seek pardon of the court or plead for a lesser punishment, but he did not avail that opportunity.
On the other hand, he took a definite stand and publicly refused to apologise. When on earlier occasion he could tender unconditional apology before the Supreme Court, now what prevented him to apologise once again, remains a riddle. Further, the first appellate court, that is, the High Court,has elaborately dealt with the quantum of punishment. However, that has not found favour with the Supreme Court that is a different thing.
With regard to the representation of people of Wayanad due to disqualification of Rahul Gandhi as an MP, it would suffice to say that the law sees the offence and not the offender. The Election Commission of India is duty bound to conduct the by election within six months from the date a seat falls vacant. Wayanad or any seat is not the ancestral property of Rahul Gandhi which cannot be filled up by any other person after winning the election. Therefore, such à myopic approach is illogical and strikes directly to the much-avowed principle of rule of law.
Still, what is more intriguing is the much brouhaha indulged in by the ill-informed supporters of Rahul Gandhi. Distribution of sweets, bursting of firecrackers, singing of odes and painting Rahul Gandhi as the next prime minister after getting the temporary relief from the apex court, is nothing but sycophancy of the extreme level. He has neither spent even a minute in the jail nor has been found innocent from concurrent punishment under Sections 499 and 500 of IPC by two courts. He has also not espoused any public cause by abusing in the filthy language a 13 crore strong Modi community. For such a person no tears deserve to be shared; much less painting him a Mahatma!
SC GO-AHEAD FOR ASI
SURVEY OF GYANVAPI
The Supreme Court of India after hearing all sides on August 4 permitted the survey of Gyanvapi structure in Varanasi by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) to decide whether the present mosque was built on the Gyanvapi temple after it was destroyed by Aurangzeb.
However, the survey should be conducted through noninvasive methods, the apex court stated in its order. The court also added that the sealed structure of Vazukhana where the Jyotirlinga of Shiva is located shall not be disturbed by the ASI.
In pursuance to the order of the apex court, a team of ASI comprising 41 personnel has already commenced its work. The ASI has been also directed to submit its report to the District and Sessions Judge, Varanasi within four weeks.
FORMER PAK PM
cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan was on July 5 convicted in what is known as the Toshakhana case on the charge of theft and sentenced to three years of imprisonment. The Lahore court also imposed a fine of Rs1 lakh and disqualified him from contesting any election for 5 years.
Soon before he was taken into custody, Imran Khan made a public address and declared himself innocent. He termed his conviction as a political vendetta and exhorted people to come out in streets to protect their freedom. Later, he was flown to Islamabad and lodged in a prison.
SC NO TO PLEAS UNDER
GARB OF CORRECTIONS
In a case titled, Ketan Kantilal Shah State of Gujarat the Supreme Court discouraged the tendency of filing petitions to correct judgement under the pretext of corrections or errors instead of filing a review petition. Describing the scope of the petition for correction the court observed that the same had a limited scope. Only clerical or mathematical errors in a judgement can be corrected through such petitions, the two -judge bench comprising Justice Suryakant and Justice J.K Maheshwari added.
REGISTRATION OF FIR
The Karnataka High Court has reiterated that the registration of First Information Report (FIR) in a cognisable offence by the police is mandatory.
Citing the case law of Lalita Kumari Vs. State of Uttar Pradesh the court the single judge bench of Justice Suraj Givindaraj in a judgement titled Vittal Vs. PSI of Baleshwar PS directed the Director General of Police to issue a circular/ SOP to all the police stations in the state of Karnataka to follow scrupulously the contents of para 120 of Lalita Kumari judgement. The court also directed that such instructions should be accompanied by English/ Kannada. translation of the said part of the Lalita Kumari judgement.
OF HC JUDGES
For the first time in judicial history, the Supreme Court Collegium recommended transfer of as many as 25 judges. The SC has also addressed individual letters to the concerned judges to ascertain their views on the proposed transfer.
(This story has not been checked by JK Mega and is auto-generated from other sources)