The Delhi High Court in Review: August, 2020 [Part I]

Adella Miesner

In Vinay Mittal v. Union of India, while expounding on the ‘Doctrine of Speciality’, the Court observed that in terms of Section 21 of the Indian Extradition Act, 1962, a person who stood extradited for a particular crime can be tried for only that crime and no other till the […]

In Vinay Mittal v. Union of India, while expounding on the ‘Doctrine of Speciality’, the Court observed that in terms of Section 21 of the Indian Extradition Act, 1962, a person who stood extradited for a particular crime can be tried for only that crime and no other till the extradition requests qua other matters are also granted by the extraditing country.

In Tushar v. State, the Court held that even in heinous cases involving accusations of rape, the Court could exercise the requisite power to quash the proceedings when the complainant specifically stated that the complaint was made on account of a misunderstanding which had now been resolved and yet further, the prima-facie evidence such as the FSL report indicated that the allegations seemed to be incorrect.

In Sahil Parvez v. Government of NCT of Delhi, the Court observed that senior officials should eschew issuance of administrative instructions which might have the effect of creating bias on the part of the investigating officials.

In Ashok Panwar @ Ashok Pawar v. State (GNCT of Delhi), the Court deprecated the argument that an undertrial accused of a grave offence was required to be kept in custody for a long period so as to deal with him ‘strictly’, and reiterated that the only rational parameter for keeping the accused in judicial custody was to ensure that there was no interference with the investigation.

In Jayant Kumar Jain v. State, the Court granted bail to an accused in an FIR registered under Sections 409/467/468/471/120B of the Indian Penal Code,1860 (‘IPC’) inter-alia on the ground that in a connected FIR filed in a different State, with which there was overlap and commonality of allegations, the investigating officer concerned had admittedly filed a closure report.

In Mohmmad Anwar v. The State of (NCT) of Delhi, the Court in the context of only two persons having been identified and named at the said stage as having committed the offence in question, observed that in order to bring home the charge of unlawful assembly under Section 141 of the IPC, it is necessary for the prosecution to establish that the accused was accompanied by at least four other persons who were part of and involved in the offences as an unlawful assembly in order to meet the bench-mark of five or more persons as required under the provision.

In Amit Tomar v. The State (GNCT of Delhi), the Court rejected the argument regarding the doubtful nature of the identification of the accused by the complainant inter-alia by noting that the sketch of the accused had been prepared based on the description given by the complainant and no attempt was made to establish or even argue that the said sketch did not bear any similarity with the facial features of the accused.

In Jai Bhagwan @ Bhedha Bhai v. N.C.B. (Narcotics Control Bureau), the Court reiterated that while a statement of the co-accused can be used as corroborative evidence, it is very difficult to sustain the conviction solely on the basis of the testimony of a co-accused.

In Adia Askerbekova & Begaim Akynova v. Department of Customs, the Court allowed a Kyrgyzstani national who was undergoing trial to visit her country to take care of pressing personal obligations on the basis that even though there was no extradition treaty between India and Republic of Kyrgyzstan, there was indeed a treaty between the countries on mutual legal assistance in criminal trials, the provisions of which could be resorted to ensure the return of the person concerned with the attendant undertaking of the concerned Embassy in this regard.

In V.Murli v. State of NCT of Delhi, the Court reiterated that even in the absence of a Test Identification Parade, the identification of the accused for the first time in Court, can be relied upon if the eye witness concerned could be demonstrated to have had sufficient opportunity to observe the accused during the event and thus, have an enduring impression of the identity of the accused.

In Anuj v. State, the Court held that even when a person was acquitted by a Court in a criminal proceeding during which the acquitted person claimed to have been kept in illegal confinement by certain police officials, the factum of acquittal by itself would not render the arrest as an act beyond the official discharge of duties by the police personnel concerned. The Court further observed that inasmuch as the act of apprehending the acquitted person remained one which was done within the overall scope of duty, prior sanction within the meaning of Section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1908 (‘Cr.P.C’) was essential to initiate prosecution.

In Anil Kumar v. State, the Court directed initiation of a departmental enquiry against various police officials for having adopted discriminatory parameters while investigating cross FIR(s) lodged by the parties.

In Birpal v. N.C.B., the Court granted bail in an offence under Section 37 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) after observing that all the pre-conditions under the said provision stood satisfied as also that the accused seemed to be a low-ranking employee of the company which was attributed a major role, and no recovery was either effected from him nor was he connected to the money trail.

In Naushad v. State of NCT of Delhi, the Court reiterated that in the case of anticipatory bail, it is not merely the seriousness of the allegations that has to be considered, but also the circumstances surrounding the release of the accused such as if released on bail whether the accused would not flee from justice and would cooperate in the investigation as also not attempt to influence the witnesses or tamper with the evidence.

In Rajesh Kumar Sharma @ Rajesh Kumar v. C.B.I, the Court rejected an appeal against the conviction under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, inter-alia while noting that the element of conspiracy between the government employee and his brother, even in the absence of direct evidence, could always be inferred circumstantially including the observations in a distinct criminal proceeding where though separate trails and separate judgments were rendered convicting the brothers, there remained various common elements thereunder.

In Sameem @ Sameer v. State (NCT of Delhi), the Court observed that on account of a large number of incidences of rape occurring in confined or secluded places, witnesses or extensive medical or forensic evidence may not be available and, hence, the testimony of the victim has to be of unimpeachable quality to be able to meet the standard of establishing the guilt of the accused beyond doubt.

In Udhav Kumar v. State (NCT of Delhi), the Court held that aside from the fact that the testimony of the child victim was extremely inconsistent, a further reason to weigh the victim’s testimony with caution was for the reason that the incident occurred late at night much after the victim’s normal bed time and that too in a wedding banquet with on-going festivities which would have in the ordinary course left the victim exhausted and unable to focus clearly.

In Sanjay Chuniana @ Sanju v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, the Court acquitted the accused of the offence under Section 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 as also under Sections 376 and 506 of the IPC, on the ground that there were material inconsistencies in the statement of the complainant as also the same were not corroborated by any witness nor was there any meaningful investigation in the said case.

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