Lockdown and the Wave of Police Brutality

By Yashwanth J With the onset of nationwide lockdown following the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the coronavirus, various photos and videos have surfaced on the internet and the TV news channels portraying the highhandedness by the police officials against the flouters of the impugned curfew. The Government’s Guidelines on the measures to be taken by…

Does the Epidemic Diseases Act of 1897 Call for an Amendment?

By Manan Daga The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 (hereinafter referred to as the Act) is one hundred and twenty-three years old legislation. It was incorporated by the Britishers to fight the bubonic plague epidemic in 1896 in the Bombay Presidency.[1] This underlines a vital fact which cannot be ignored. The Act was a mechanism for…

Singapore High Court’s Judgment on Homosexuality: A Critique

By Raj Krishna and Rishika Introduction Human dignity is harmed when minority groups are marginalized. – Judge Michael Leburu On 30th March 2020, the High Court of Singapore, in Ong Ming Johnson v Attorney-General and other matters, upheld the colonial-era law that criminalized homosexuality between two consenting adults. The Court held that Section 377A of…

Looking Beyond Retribution: A Plea To Abolish Capital Punishment

By Ashna D After making innumerable attempts to postpone their execution, Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Kumar Singh, the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang-rape case have been hanged to death on 20th March 2020. In recent years, there has been a heightened support in favour of imposing the capital punishment for…

A Critique of Section 62 (5) of Representation of the People Act, 1951

By Jagriti Pandey and Deeptangshu Kar   On 11th February 2020 in Praveen Kumar Chaudhary & Ors. v Election Commissioner of India and Ors., the Delhi High Court re-affirmed the constitutionality of Section 62(5) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 that deprives prisoners of their right to cast vote in elections. The Section…

From A Peccadillo to Treason: How Counterfeiting Became a Terrorist Offence

By Sehaj Cheema and Kuldeep Garg Although dubbed as the world’s ‘second oldest profession’, it was not until the 20th century that the potential of currency-counterfeiting as a strategic weapon was realized. An ingenious prong of Hitler’s offence against the British consisted of efforts at smuggling counterfeit currency into their territory, and therefore, economically destabilizing…

Scope of Judicial Discretion in Sentencing

By Nipun Kalra INTRODUCTION Judgement is not upon all occasions required, but discretion always is. -Philip Stanhope Discretion is said to be the right or the power to make official decisions using reasoning and accurate judgment of the circumstances while choosing from the available alternatives. The exercise of this power is considered to be omnipotent…

Nirbhaya Case: An Analysis of the Cyclic Syndrome of Delay and Pendency

By Raj Shekhar and Zevesh Modi “Justice delayed is justice denied.” Abstract On December 16th, 2012 a young paramedical intern was beaten, brutalized and raped by five men and a juvenile on a moving bus. They threw her out afterwards and thereafter, she died due to her injuries and internal bleeding. This case sparked a…

Delhi Riots: Duties of the State Organs

By Abhiraj Das and Nihal Deo On the 24th of February, when the international community was keenly looking forward to the U.S. President’s visit to India, a severe riot broke out in Delhi. More than 50 people are reported to have lost their lives with hundreds being injured, shops thrashed and several homes set ablaze….

Descending into the Abyss: The Denial of Bail in the KLE Students Case.

By Abhinav Sekhri   Basit, Talib, and Amir are three students of the prestigious KLE college in Karnataka. They are all in their early 20s and received scholarships to pursue their college education. They also happen to be Muslim, and hail from the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. These students made a short video…

Apology Legislation: A Boon for an Overburdened Judiciary.

By Bodhisattwa Majumder   Apology legislation provides an opportunity for a guilty person to provide information without the fear of liability, thus strengthening the victim’s right to have accurate information.[i] The main purpose behind having apology legislation is to enable the accused to feel culpable for their actions, and offering of sympathy without the fear…

The Economics of an Imbalanced Scale of Justice

By Anchal Bhatheja The Law treats civil and criminal matters differently in terms of the degree of burden of proof required, the nature of courtroom procedure to be followed, the punishment to be awarded and so on. This is because civil matters concern only private individuals while criminal matters concern the society at large and…

Two-finger Test: Transgression into Dignity, Privacy, and more…

Aman Garg On January 29, the Gujarat High Court, in a strongly worded verdict, declared the ‘two-finger test’ to be violative of woman’s right to privacy and dignity and held the same to be unconstitutional. The Hon’ble Court noted that the said practice was in direct conflict with different constitutional and statutory provisions and directed…

Internet Shutdown under Section 144: Only Alternative?

By Milind Rajratnam and Shivang Yadav  “Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.” – Henry Louis Gates Jr. INTRODUCTION The UNHRC has passed a resolution that makes access to the internet a basic human right. Recently in the case of Faheema Shirin R.K. v. State of Kerala, the Kerala High Court has held…

Section 144 CrPC — Part I

By Abhinav Sekhri (This is the first part of a new multi-part series on the Blog) December 19, 2019. Thousands of people took to the streets across several major cities of India. The photographs would later reveal just how diverse the gatherings were: many students, of course, but numerous old men, women and salaried employees…

Privatization of Prisons and the Constitution in India

By Yagnesh Sharma INTRODUCTION India is viewed as an emerging superpower in the world that we live in today, and one of the major reasons for this status of India is attributed is to the sheer workforce that is translated to the population of the country. This population, however, brings its own problems. While India…

Debunking Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Dilemma for the Criminal Justice System

By Abhishek Choudhary and Aditya Shekhar “They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe foe the terrible power of the things they carried.”- Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried.[1] INTRODUCTION Traumatic events have the potential to generate a psychiatric disorder i.e. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, popularly known as PTSD. War, rape,…

Delhi Police Circulars & Standing Orders for Regulating Protests

By Abhinav Sekhri The many public demonstrations across the territory of Delhi and also other parts of the country that began last December brought the police powers of regulating such demonstrations into sharp focus. The statutory powers of the police were easily traceable — the Delhi Police Act of 1978, modelled on the old Police Act of…

The Constitution Bench Reference in Sushila Aggarwal v. State

By Abhinav Sekhri A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court decided a reference made in Sushila Aggarwal & Ors. v. State (NCT of Delhi) & Anr. [SLP (Crl.) 7281-82/2017, decided on 29.01.2020], where two questions had been posed for consideration: (1) Whether the protection granted to a person under Section 438 Cr.P.C. should be limited to a fixed period…

The Peril of Hate Speech in India

By Diya Vaishnav and Nihal Deo Recently, Union Minister Mr. Anurag Thakur and BJP MP Mr. Parvesh Verma received a ban of 72 hours and 96 hours respectively from campaigning for the Delhi Elections. The reason behind the same was the ‘Hate Speech’ that they delivered in their respective rallies in Delhi. While Mr. Thakur…

Custodial Death Verdict by Sri Lankan Supreme Court: Justice at Last

By Ishan Kumar Introduction “I know that it’s hard to believe that the people you look to for safety and security are the same people who are causing us so much harm. ― Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race On  17th December 2019, the Sri Lanka Supreme Court in the case of Rathnayeke Tharanga…

The complex world of bail in India’s Criminal Justice System

By Abhinav Sekhri On January 24, 2020, a bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Rastogi & Malhotra, JJ, delivered its judgment in State of Kerala v. Rajesh [Crl. Appeal Nos. 154-57 of 2020]. The State of Kerala had challenged an order of the High Court granting bail to persons in a case under the Narcotics, Drugs & Psychotropic Substances…

Privacy Judgement: Impact on Law of Searches

By Samarth Sansar “The right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.”[1] A 9- judge bench of the Supreme Court in Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and Anr. vs Union Of India…

Mercy Petitions: The Need for Regulation

By Viti Bansal A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking framing of proper procedures, rules, and guidelines for the disposal of mercy petition in an effective and time-bound manner. According to the petitioner, the rights of both the convicts as well as that of the victims under Article 14…

Criminals and Their Society: A Peek Into the Abode of a Criminal Mind

By Tanya Hasija Is society more to blame for crimes than the individuals who commit them? Crime makes up an unfortunate part of our society. While not all of us are prone to committing crimes, a number of us find ourselves grappling with the question: what is right and what is not?  The understanding of…

Seizure of Motor Vehicles and Violation of Human Rights

By Deeksha The seizure of vehicles by police officers has been a matter of great legal concern in recent years. The police stations around the country are now being converted into dumping yards for seized vehicles with these confiscated vehicles gathering dust over a number of years.[i] Section 102 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898…

Criminal Law and Obscenity – A Legislative Analysis

By Sagrika Rajora ‘Oh’ for Obscenity Every day we live by impressions of reality that have been constructed around us. These notions develop a congenital identity that brands us as members of society. The common sense that is inherent to societal functioning ensures a certain normative behavior. Law is an institution that promotes this common…

Decoding the Judicial Interventions in National Security Act, 1980

By Nityesh Dadhich Introduction ‘Having passed 10 years of my total life in prison dungeons and condemned cells….. I know the tortures which detention without trial means and I can never reconcile with it’ said Shibban Lal Saxena in Constituent Assembly while the assembly was discussing Article 22 of the Indian Constitution. Article 22 of…

Is it Time for Brunei to Amend its Penal Code?

By Raj Krishna and Vivek Kumar Introduction “We declare that human rights are for all of us, all the time: whoever we are and wherever we are from; no matter our class, our opinions, our sexual orientation.” – Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon On 6th of May 2019, amidst international criticism, the Government of Brunei…

Not a Yes, Means a No: Spanish Laws Roar for Change

By Akash Anurag and Navya Bhandari Sexual offences against women have often been termed as a “silent epidemic“[1] mainly due to the propensity of such cases going unreported. It is only in the recent years that women globally have broken the long imposed societal omerta of keeping quiet over the sexual offences committed against them…

Supreme Court’s Fact-Finding Priorities

By Abhinav Sekhri and Mansi Binjrajka Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sharad Aravind Bobde, just yesterday, took suo moto cognizance of the working of the criminal justice system in relation to sexual offences. Highlighting how the amendments brought to criminal law after the Nirbhaya incident have not achieved the objective of speedy investigation…

Preventive Measures under CrPC: A Tool to Stifle Peaceful Protests?

By Amlan Mishra [This article risks engaging with preventive measures under CrPC and their constitutionality from the prism of lived experiences in protests against CAA] The recent protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 have raised pressing questions about the right to protest and the proportionality of police action. This post uses lived experiences of…

Can Constitutional Courts Really Not Do Much About Police Brutality?

By Abhinav Sekhri India’s constitutional courts have won deserving acclaim for intervening to save forests, put curbs on pollution, fearlessly address corruption in government, usher in prison reforms, drive governments to pass anti-lynching laws, and strike down patently unconstitutional laws and practices to enable the expression of individual freedom. So to read a news article…

A Repost: On the legality of Internet Shutdowns

[Radhika Malpani is a fourth year law student at National Law University, Jodhpur. It was first published on the blog on Dec. 11, 2018] Introduction With the increase in the reliance on internet for every single detail, its significance in today’s world is not less than a necessity. It helps in imparting information and knowledge…

No Censure and Total Sanction: A Recipe for Disaster

By Abhinav Sekhri Below are some random quotes that I’ve extracted from news reports in the aftermath of the horrible incident of alleged rape in Telangana: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has promised to bring in a law to punish rapists within 21 days of a crime. [Article dated 09.12.2019 from News Minute]; Thank…

The Death Penalty Debate: Witness to an Execution in 2011

By Anthony Schembri Manuel Valle was born in Florida. I was born in Brooklyn. On Sept. 28, 2011, we would meet for the first time at Florida State Prison in Starke. Our roles were different. He had to die. I had to watch. On April 2, 1978, Manuel Valle killed a Coral Gables police officer…

Supreme Court Grants Bail in the P. Chidambaram Cases — Some Thoughts

By Abhinav Sekhri [This is a long post discussing both the CBI and the ED Bail Orders] Readers may recall that at the end of August 2019, the Delhi High Court dismissed the petitions of P. Chidambaram for anticipatory bail in connection with what has become popularly known as the “INX Media Scam“, which was the subject…

Statement Condemning the Hyderabad Police Encounter.

By Women in Criminal Law Association “We emphatically condemn the custodial murder of the four persons suspected of raping and murdering a 26-year-old veterinarian in Hyderabad and unequivocally disown the use of violence in the name of women’s rights and women’s safety. The murder of people in so-called “encounters” by the police and security forces…

Maintenance for Divorced Women: The Paradox of Section 125(4) CrPC

By Shubh Arora Section 125 is one of the very few sections in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 that deal with substantive law. The section often comes in controversy because of the numerous parallels in personal law that deal with maintenance. The section is not gender-neutral, unlike Section 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act,…

Northern Ireland Legalizes Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage: A Discussion

By Alivya Sahay and Raj Krishna INTRODUCTION 22nd October 2019 will be remembered for long in Northern Ireland as on this day the British Parliament by Northern Ireland Act, 2019 legalized abortion and same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. The breakdown of local government in Northern Ireland enabled the British Parliament to step in and amend…

Section 251 CrPC and Discharge in Summons Cases: Part IV

By Abhinav Sekhri [This is Part IV in a multi-part series. The previous posts can be accessed here, here and here] The issue being discussed in this series has been given a sense of urgency, because a trial court in Delhi was pressed to make a reference under Section 305 of the Criminal Procedure Code 1973 [Cr.P.C.] to…

Absence of bodily injury implies consent(?) in rape cases…

By Deeksha Sahni The High Court of Punjab and Haryana in a recent decision in Union Territory, Chandigarh v. Amit Kumar @Rachu & Others passed a very absurd statement to refuse to grant Leave to Appeal against the judgment of acquittal in a rape case. The Court opined that since there were no injuries on…

Section 251 CrPC and Discharge in Summons Cases: Part III

By Abhinav Sekhri [This is Part III in a multi-part series. The previous posts can be accessed, here and here] The previous post in this series traced how the statutory text pertaining to the procedure for trial in Summons Cases developed from 1861 till the late 1960s. This historical arc was traced to identify how, at different points…

Attempt to Suicide : A Comparative Study of Indian Laws vis-a-vis Singaporean and Sri Lankan Laws

By Sneha Sanyal Introduction Suicide is a non-fatal self-directed potentially injurious behavior with an intention to die. This intention can be triggered due to numerous factors such as Psychiatric illness, Depression, Other mental disorders, Sexual/physical abuse (inclusive of childhood adversities), Abuse of alcohol/drugs, Stressful life events such as loss of loved one, imminent criminal prosecution,…

Section 251 CrPC and Discharge in Summons Cases: Part II

By Abhinav Sekhri [This is Part II of a multi-part series. The previous post in this series is here.] The previous post teased the issue of whether magistrates have the power to end criminal proceedings in Summons Cases at a stage prior to acquittal / conviction, after the magistrate has gone ahead and summoned the accused…

Decoding the UAPA Amendment Act: A Death of the Rule of Law?

By Mansi Gupta Introduction On August 2, 2019 the Parliament passed Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 seeking amendment in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), 1967. This bill allows the government to declare ‘individuals as terrorists’ as opposed to the previous law which allowed only organizations to be labelled as ‘terrorist organizations’ but not…

The Problematic Case of Sanctions Under Section 188, CrPC: Filling the Void

By Tanishk Goyal Introduction The extraterritorial application of Indian statutes abroad is something which has been the subject matter of debate for quite some time. To this effect, Section 4 of the Indian Penal Code (‘IPC’), and Section 188 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (‘The Code’), provide for the extra territorial application of Indian…

Section 251 CrPC and Discharge in Summons Cases: Part I

By Abhinav Sekhri Very recently, the Delhi High Court received a reference under Section 395 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 [Cr.P.C.] to clarity certain issues of law. The matter has been registered as Crl. Reference No. 4 of 2019. The issues presented to the High Court are detailed in the order of 11.10.2019, and are extracted below: Does…

Analysis of the Supreme Court Judgment in CBI v. M. Sivamani

By Aastha Gangwal Introduction The prosecution for contempt of lawful authority of public servants, for offences against public justice and for offences relating to documents given in evidence has been discussed under Section 195 [“Section”] of the Code of Criminal Code, 1973 [“CrPC”].  It can be broadly categorized into three parts. Section 195(1)(a) deals with…

P. Chidambaram v. Directorate of Enforcement: A Lost Opportunity?

By Udayan Tandan and R. Harikrishnan Recently, the Supreme Court in P. Chidambaram v. Directorate of Enforcement (hereinafter ‘Chidambaram’), had the occasion to consider the scope of Sections 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (hereinafter ‘PML Act’). To give a brief background of the case – In 2007, INX Media…

Rape as a Hate Crime

By Vedangini Bisht Some researchers prefer to call hate crime a misnomer. Because going solely by the literal meaning of the term, it would refer to a crime which is motivated by hate, when actually there is not hate, but prejudice involved, although there is no saying that there cannot be an overlap in them….

Law of Sedition and the Kedarnath Singh Test: A Confusing Paradox

By Ritwik Sharma On 19th September 2019, the Supreme Court issued a notice in the backdrop of the Jharkhand High Court’s refusal to quash the FIR registered under the sedition law against four Adivasi activists for allegedly inciting violence through Facebook by supporting the ‘Pathalgadi’ movement of the Munda tribal community. In August 2019, an…

The Conundrum of Certification of the Electronic Evidence

By Ayush Mishra Introduction The Supreme Court recently referred the question of ‘requirement of certificate under §65B(4) of the Indian Evidence Act,1872 being mandatory for production of electronic evidence’ to a larger bench.[1] The issue at hand is that the Supreme Court in Shafhi Mohammad vs. State of Himachal Pradesh (2018), held that the “requirement of…

Science in Policing: The New Old Thing

By Abhinav Sekhri Recently, the Home Minister made an interesting public speech where he reportedly lamented the poor conviction rates. An official report of his comments also notes that the Minister suggested that wholesale changes to the Indian Penal Code of 1860, and Criminal Procedure Code of 1973 were on the cards to help make things better on the conviction…

The Supreme Court Order in P. Chidambaram v. ED: Some Thoughts.

By Abhinav Sekhri A Two Justices’ Bench of the Supreme Court has decided the appeal filed by P. Chidambaram against an order of the Delhi High Court dismissing his plea for Anticipatory Bail in an ongoing investigation being conducted into what is being labelled as the “INX Media Scam” [Crl. Appeal 1340 of 2019, decided…

Human Trafficking: The Wound that has Failed to Heal

By Ritika Goyal “Imagine having all of your freedoms taken away, being forced to work against your will, and constantly living under the threat of violence.” This is the plight of around 40.3 million victims of human trafficking worldwide who are compelled for prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, drug peddling, organ removal, adoption, armed conflicts, coerced…

The Delhi High Court Order in P. Chidambaram v. ED: Three Thoughts

By Mr. Abhinav Sekhri  This week saw the arrest of a former Union Minister, P. Chidambaram, in connection with allegations of corruption and money laundering in what has popularly been called the “INX Media” case. In this post, I’m not interested in the arrest itself — the pageantry of which has already attracted much discussion…

The Question of Justice: Fair Trial, Approver Witnesses and Accused’s Rights

By Bhaskar Kumar and Prannv Dhawan   The legal and political commentariat has been buzzing with the controversy over the reasons and methods regarding the arrest of former Finance Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram. While many have been critical of the unusual haste in the arrest of Mr. Chidambaram, several analysts have suspected that this could…

Is the 2019 Amendment to the PMLA “Retrospective” in its Operation?

By Sameer Sharma I had written a short article recently on the amendments to the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002, and as to how these amendments clarify the conception of what money-laundering constitutes. Now, with the INX Media case involving money-laundering allegations against former Union Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram pending before the Supreme Court,…

Compensation to Rape Victims- A Critical Analysis.

By Sandhya Gupta The criminal law of any country is the basis to punish the public wrongs done by an individual as well as to act as a deterrent for the society. The criminal law deals with various categories of crimes and their respective punishments/penalties. In India, one such category is the sexual offenses against…

Is PMLA Being Retrospectively Applied in the INX Media Case?

By Bhaskar Kumar   Introduction The provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 [“PMLA” or “the Act”] have again caught attention when Dr. A.M. Singhvi argued that the Act is being retrospectively applied in ongoing INX Media case involving Mr. P. Chidambaram. Dr. Singhvi asserted that Mr. Chidambaram could not be tried for an…

Brazil: Discrimination Against the LGBTQ Community is a Penal Offence.

By Raj Krishna and Snehil I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND  On 13th June 2019, Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court by a majority of 8 to 3 declared discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity a criminal offence under the Brazilian hate crime law of 1989 (Law 7716 of 1989). Initially, the Brazilian law recognized discrimination only…

Under-reported Interpretation of Rape via Prism of Criminology.

By Amreen Tapadar and Deeksha Sharma As loathsome and obnoxious the concept of inflicting pain on non-consenting parties to derive sadistic pleasure appears to one, the actuality in cases of rape is the application of sexual sadism. Unfortunately, the justice system prevailing in our nation has opted for discounting the criminology behind rape and has…

Identifying the Juvenile: Is Age the Correct Criterion?

By Khushboo Agrawal The significance of the Juvenile Justice system comes to surface because of the incapability of the juveniles to understand the nature and consequences of their acts. Subjecting these juveniles to the normative criminal justice system may be deleterious. For bringing these juveniles under the justice system, they must first be identified. Various…

The Public Prosecutor & the Child Victim

By Vrinda Aggarwal Justice has been viewed as a triangulation of three interests – the interest of the accused, represented by the defence attorney, the interest of the society to punish a crime, represented by the public prosecution (PP) and the interest of the victim, which often remains unrepresented.[i] This article aims to discuss this…

Stealthing as Post-Penetration Rape

By Bhaskar Kumar In a recent Canadian case, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that non-use of a condom against a participant’s wishes would amount to rape as it robs a partner of his or her liberty to engage in sexual relationship as per the agreed terms and conditions. In this case, the woman…

Anticipatory Bail and Jurisdiction

By Mr. Abhinav Sekhri Suppose you are ordinarily a resident of Delhi, but come to know that a case has been filed (or is about to be filed) against you in Mumbai, alleging you committed non-bailable and cognizable offences such as “Cheating”, punishable under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 [IPC]. Your law-savvy friends tell…

Conducting Trials ‘In Absentia’

By Sanjana Hooda INTRODUCTION TO THE CONCEPT The core objective of a criminal trial is to strive towards the attainment of justice and to ensure that the rule of law is maintained. The presence of the accused, in order to be submitted to trial, is indispensable to the foundation of any judicial system and is…