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  • Sep 06, 2019
    As per the details given in previous article we knew that Anne McClain is the first person who has committed crime in space. This particular case shows that realm of law is also wide as the space, in fact I should say wherever will human go there sooner or later law will also reach. Crime committed by Anne McClain seems inane comparing to other crimes like murder, but it has definitely opened various plots in space law. As there are various missions lined up by other countries and private companies regarding sending humans into space and other planets, will lead to the hilt in space crimes. Facts of the case - Primarily wooden filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Do read whole article on my blog- https://shataxiamicuslex.blogspot.com/2019/09/in-wake-of-first-crime-in-space.html
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  • Aug 20, 2019
    PROMISES OF PROTECTING HER SAFE BY HUSBAND ARE NOW FADED LANDMARK JUDGMENTS ON SECTION 498A OF IPC Reported cases of crime against women increased 83% from 185,312 in 2007 to 338,954 in 2016. Cruelty by husband or his relatives” was the most reported crime against women, accounting for 33% of all crimes in 2016. So, Are the laws incompetent or are the execution of the law needs to be effective? Section 498A of IPC deals with the crime i.e. Cruelty to the woman by his husand or relatives. UNDERSTANDING SECTION 498A OF IPC Where religions and customs translated marriage as a bond based on love and sharing, local experiences indicated it as a license to ill-treat the wife. Section 498A has been engrafted in the India Penal Code(IPC), 1860 in the year 1983 when the national concise was disturbed by cases of bride beating, suicides, cruelty by husband and relatives on the wife. Section 498A through its explanations defines the term ‘cruelty’ as any wilful conduct which drives the woman to commit suicide or harm her life or health, or any kind of harassment whether mental or physical in order to meet the unlawful demand. Section 498A prescribes the punishment of three years along with fine, also here the burden of proof lies on the accused as result of the consequential amendment made in the Indian Evidence Act. This article will be dealing with the five landmark judicial trends respect to the Section 498A of IPC. LANDMARK CASES HELD Shobha Rani v. Madhukar Reddi - Cruelty was defined Noorjahan v. State - Objects behind the enactment of Section 498A of IPC Natubhai Somabhai Rohit v. State of Gujarat & Anr - FIR instituted against one and all family members irrespective of the roles, is liable to be quashed Mrs Christine Lazarus Menezes v. Mr Lazarus Peter Menezes - Misuse of Section 498A of IPC is cruelty and ground for divorce Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar and another v. Union of India - SC Modifies The Earlier Directions Issued To Prevent Misuse Of 498A IPC, Says No To ‘Welfare Committees’ 1 - Shobha Rani v. Madhukar Reddi “The categories of cruelty are not closed." These words of ‘Lord Denning’ as referenced in the judgment, defines the core of the judgment in this very case. In a very short period of Four years after the introduction of Section 498A of IPC, there was an urgent need of an appropriate definition of cruelty and the same was pronounced in the landmark judgment of Shobha Rani v. Madhukar Reddi, 1987. The case focused on three basic questions related to Section 498A of IPC - ● What is Demand for dowry? ● Whether amounts to cruelty? ● Whether wife entitled to a decree for dissolution of marriage? FACTS OF THE CASE - 1 - The Petitioner Sobha Rani married Madhukar Reddy the Respondent on December 19 1982, but the relationship between them became bitter and hence the Petitioner approached the court for Divorce on the ground of cruelty by Husband and his parents. 2 - The appeal was dismissed by the trial court on the ground that there is no satisfactory reason which invites the term cruelty or harassment. 3 - Adjectiving the Petitioner Sobha as ‘hypersensitive’ the High Court rejected the appeal and additionally held that demand for money had to be viewed from a proper angle and there is nothing wrong if the respondent, a medical doctor asking her rich wife to spare some money. 4 - Petitioner approached the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court allowed the appeal by the special leave(Article 136 of the Constitution of India). JUDGMENT - ● Cruelty is the course of conduct of one which adversely affects the other. Cruelty can be defined as ‘Mental’ or ‘Physical’, ‘Intentional’ or ‘unintentional’. Physical cruelty can be easily determined based on facts and degree, but mental cruelty determination brings challenges. ● So it is a matter of inference to be drawn from - i) the nature of the conduct, ii) effect on the complaining spouse and if the nature of the conduct is found to have a harassing nature on the complaining spouse, then that will lead to cruelty. ● Cases like where the nature of the conduct is itself bad enough, unlawful or illegal then there is no need to inquire the effect of the conduct and cruelty will be established if the conduct itself is proved or admitted. ● Each case may be different. A set of facts stigmatized as cruelty in one case may not be so in another case. Cruelty alleged may largely depend upon - 1. type of life the parties are accustomed to, 2. their economic and social conditions, 3. their culture and human values to which they attach importance. ● Cruelty should be observed from the case and the conduct of the parties of the case and shall not be decided on any preset standard definition because new kind of cruelty may crop up depending upon the human behavior. "The Court has to deal, not with an ideal husband and an ideal wife (assuming any such exist) but with particular man and woman before it” - Chandrachud, J HELD - Decree for dissolution of marriage was granted by the Supreme Court. 2 - Noorjahan vs State Rep. By D.S.P The Supreme Court, in this case, torches the objects behind the introduction of Section 498A of IPC. It was also held by the court that cruelty has been defined under Explanations for the purpose of Section 498A. In words of Supreme Court - “ Consequences of cruelty which are likely to drive a woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health, whether mental or physical of the woman is required to be established in order to bring home the application of Section 498A IPC” FACTS OF THE CASE - 1- Appellant-1(A-1) and Syed Ali Fatima(deceased) married on 22/04/2001. A-2 is the brother of A-1. A-3 and A-4 are the sisters of A-1 and A-5 is the mother and A-6 is the father of A-1 2 - A-1 to A-6 were arrested. A-2 came forward to give confessional statement The accused persons pleaded innocence and, therefore, the trial was held in the court of Session and conviction was recorded and sentence was imposed. 3 - Accused approached the Supreme Court and hereby leave was granted. JUDGMENT - ● In the judgment, the Supreme Court referenced the Statement of Objects and Reasons while enacting the Criminal(amendment) Law Act 46 of 1983. ● Section 498A is implied to combat the menace of dowry death and cruelty as the cases which were concerned with the ill-treatment of the married woman by his husband or the relatives of the husband which lead to the woman to commit suicide or was murdered constituted only a small fraction of cases involving such cruelty. ● The object behind the proposal of amending the IPC, Criminal Procedure Act and Evidence Act was to deal suitably not only with dowry deaths but also with cases of cruelty by Husbands or relatives to the married woman. HELD - The prosecution failed to establish the allegations on the appellant and therefore the appellant was released on bail and appeal was granted. 3 - Natubhai Somabhai Rohit v. State of Gujarat & Anr Cruelty has been mentioned in the IPC to deal with the ill-treatment with the married woman but it is also possible and happens, that people use to exploit their rights and powers. The fact that you have been embedded with the power doesn’t mean that you are going to trouble the whole family or the innocent one. FACTS OF THE CASE - 1 - Application was filed before the Gujarat High Court for quashing of the FIR in which all ten members of the family were shown accused under sections 498A, 323, 504,506(2) and 114 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, read with section 3 and section 7 of the Dowry Prohibition Act without any idea of their roles in the alleged crime. 2 - According to the FIR the complainant was harassed by the family members and was subjected to cruelty. JUDGMENT - _The court emphasised on the judgment delivered in the case of Neelu Chopra and another vs. Bharti a s the complaint or FIR should show that which accused played what role in the offence otherwise the complaint will suffer from opacity. ● The tendency to rope all the family members in the FIR speaks for themselves and therefore it becomes a matter of importance to allege specific role for each of the members. ● “All should stay together” forms an indispensable aspect in a complaint, which ropes all family members. ● The court relied on what was held in G.V Rao v. L.H.V Prasad that a complaint relating to matrimonial dispute where all the members are roped into irrespective of role, becomes liable to be quashed. HELD - The FIR roping the whole family for the alleged offence, was quashed. 4 - Mrs Christine Lazarus Menezes v. Mr Lazarus Peter Menezes FACTS OF THE CASE - 1 - The appellant(Wife) had filed the Criminal Complaint against her husband(Respondent) to which he was arrested and was in jail for about 7 days , later the respondent approached Family Court for dissolution of Marriage on the ground of cruelty and the prayer was granted by the family court to the respondent. 2 - The Appellant appealed against the order of the Family Court which awarded a decree for dissolution of marriage on the grounds of cruelty, in the Bombay High Court. JUDGMENT - A False case under Section 498A contributes to mental cruelty to Husband by the Wife and may attract dissolution of marriage on the ground of Cruelty. HELD - Upheld the order of Family court, opined with the view that the husband has been subject to mental cruelty by the wife. 5 - Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar and another v. Union of India " We have protected Pre-arrest or anticipatory bail provision in dowry harassment cases ," said the bench headed by the CJI and comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud. On September 14 2018, Supreme Court modified its latter judgment pronounced in the case of Rajesh Sharma & Ors. v. State of U.P. before focusing on the fresh judgment of Supreme Court let’s have a catchy look at the judgment of Rajesh Sharma & Ors. v. State of U.P - The main concern before the Supreme Court was to deal with the misuse of Section 498A of IPC, so a committee ‘Amicus’ was appointed to overlook the problem and aid the court with relevant solutions. Family welfare committees were established to examine the complaints attracting Section 498A of IPC and present the report and, pro report, no arrest can be made. FACTS OF THE CASE - Nyayadhar, a Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO) which is a group of women advocates of Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar District approached the Supreme Court through a Writ Petition seeking sharpness in Section 498A, claiming that the otherwise "helpful instrument" in the hands of victim women has become "valueless". The case was before a three-judge bench headed by CJI Deepak Mishra. JUDGMENT IN THE PRESENT CASE - ● The court restored the powers of the police to act in Dowry harassment complaints under Section 498A of IPC and said - “ We think it appropriate to direct the investigating officer to be careful in dealing with the complaints of dowry harassment.” ● Investigating Officer probing with the offences under Section 498A should be provided rigorous training with regard to the principles stated by the top court relating to the arrest made in such cases. ● There should be gender justice for women as Dowry has a chilling effect on marriage, and also right to life and personal liberty of man. HELD - Family Welfare committee is quashed and police officers are now made competent authority to deal with the complaints and based on the facts of the case and subject to law should decide the case. CONCLUSION In accordance to deal with ‘Misuse of power‘ diluting the power of authorities, will rather lead to pendency and since today’s society should be provided speedy justice accurate and direct procedure should be followed. Authorities chargeable for adjudicating disputes or serious crimes should be in direct power to deal with the case in accordance with the facts of the case considering the legal sphere and so the same has been held by the Supreme Court modifying its the previous judgment. AUTHOR- Mr. Prashant Tiwari (Penultimate Year Law Student)
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  • Jun 01, 2019
    Witnesses play a crucial part in international criminal proceedings. Unlike the Nüremberg trials which relied primarily on documentary evidence, modern day international criminal trials rely on witnesses to provide the majority of the information. A testimony not only enables the judges to render a fair judgement, it also helps the people of the region and the international community to learn the truth about the crimes committed and to deter persons from committing these crimes again. By testifying, witnesses make a necessary and valuable contribution to the restoration of justice and reconciliation in the region. In addition to that, testifying at the Tribunal also provides an opportunity for victims to describe what happened to them.   When it comes to testifying, one must differentiate between two segments: the “investigation stage” and the “trial stage”. During the former, investigators will speak to numerous witnesses in an attempt to establish what happened. However, not all individuals interviewed during the preparation of a case will be called to testify in the courtroom. The prosecution and the defence will determine the most appropriate witnesses to appear before the judges.   There are several types of witnesses who can testify before the Court.  Fact witnesses have knowledge and testify about what happened. They can be crimes-based witnesses when they have suffered harm and testify as witnesses about what happened to them. Some of these witnesses can also hold the status ofparticipating victims before the Court; they are called dual-status witnesses.  Insider witnesses have a direct connection with the accused. Expert witnesses testify about matters within the field of their expertise, for example, ballistic or forensic experts. Overview witnesses help establish facts about the context in which a conflict occurred, and can include, for example, professors or NGO representatives. These witnesses can be called, or asked to give testimony, by the Office of the Prosecutor, the Defence, the Legal Representative of Victims, or the Judges themselves. Oral testimony The witness is physically present in court and will tell the court what he or she saw or heard, or what he or she knows of the accused or other events upon which he or she is being questioned. In exceptional circumstances, if for example a witness cannot travel, he or she may give evidence away from the seat of the Tribunal by way of live video-conference link. DepositionIn exceptional circumstances, a witness may be asked by the court to give evidence by way of deposition. A deposition can either be taken in The Hague or elsewhere by a representative of the court in the presence of the prosecution and the defence. The party who has not requested the deposition shall have the right to cross-examine the person whose deposition is being taken. The proceedings will be recorded, at least on audio tape. Evidence in the form of a written declarationThe court may, in certain circumstances, admit evidence in the form of a written declaration. An official authorised to witness such a declaration shall be present. The court may nevertheless decide whether the witness is required to appear in court for further questioning. The side that brought the witness (either the prosecution or the defence) begins by asking the witness questions. This is referred to as “direct examination”. When the prosecution or defence is finished with the direct examination, the other side is allowed to question the witness. This is called the “cross-examination”. Afterwards, the side that brought the witness to the stand may ask him or her some more questions related to issues raised in the cross-examination. This is known as “re-direct examination”. According to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, the judges may also ask questions at any time during the witness testimony.   The Court has a number of protective measures that can be granted to witnesses, victims who appear before the Court and other persons at risk on account of testimony given by a witness. The Court's protection system is based on best practices which are aimed at concealing the witness's interaction with the Court from their community and from the public in general.   Protective measures where witnesses reside aim to limit the witness's exposure to threats or provide an appropriate response to an identified threat. Measures must be proportional to the risk. When there are multiple suitable and available options for protective measures, the Court will choose those that are the least intrusive on the witness's well-being. These measures could include local protection measures, an assisted move or various security arrangements aimed at addressing the identified threat. Witness relocation is only used as a last resort, due to the immense burden this puts on the witnesses and their families.   One particular form of support for witnesses who come to the ICC to testify in Court is the process of "Courtroom familiarization", during which, the Registry staff members show them the Courtroom in advance, before the hearing starts, to allow them to sit in the witness stand for the first time and become familiar with the Courtroom. The staff members explain where the Defence, the Prosecution, Legal Representatives of Victims (where applicable) and Judges will sit during the hearing. They also test out the computer screens and microphones together with the witness, and answer any practical questions the witness might have. They do not discuss with them any element of their testimonies. The Registry will also see if any particular measures would be needed to ensure that the witness can testify in a secure manner and also takes into consideration their privacy, dignity and well-being.
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