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Lawyers send straws and sippers for Father Swamy to Taloja Jail

The group of 42 lawyers wrote to the Superintendent of Taloja Jail to look after other inmates as per Prison Manual as well

28 Nov 2020

Image Courtesy:freepressjournal.in

Since the NIA Special court has taken about a month to provide Parkinson’s inflicted Father Stan Swamy with a sipper and straw, a group of lawyers have sent straws and sippers to Taloja Jail, where he is currently lodged.

LiveLaw reported that the group wrote to the Superintendent of Taloja Jail stating, “We, the undersigned lawyers, feel that above all detention must be humane. To that effect we urge you to make arrangements for all inmates as per the jail manual who have special medical needs. For Father Stan Swamy, we urge you to facilitate his dignified drinking of water, we are sending this plastic Sipper and paper straws, which we believe are permissible as per the Jail Manual and cannot cause any harm.”

List of 42 Advocates who have signed the letter to Taloja jail for Stan Swamy are:

  • Nandita Rao
  • Malavika Rajkotia
  • Sharukh Alam
  • Iram Majid
  • Naomi Chandra
  • Tanima Kishore
  • Ruchi Singh
  • Anjali Sharma
  • Ritu Bhalla
  • Kajal Chandra
  • Ekta Kapil
  • Sunita Dutt
  • Santosh Paul, Senior Advocate
  • Ethashan Hashmi
  • Swaty Singh Malik
  • Shweta Kapoor
  • Aakanksha Nehra
  • Anand Grover, Senior Advocate
  • SaumyaTandon
  • Anubha Rastogi
  • Manali Singhal
  • Fozia Rahman
  • Mani Gupta
  • Niharika Behl
  • Aditi Gupta
  • WR Khan
  • M. Rashid
  • M. Noorullah
  • Mohan Katarki, Senior Advocate
  • Sabarish Gandhi
  • Anupam Sanghi
  • Tarannum Cheema
  • Nidhi Mohan Parashar
  • Kirti Singh
  • Firdaus Moosa
  • Kriti Kakkar
  • Sonam Anand
  • Abdul Nasir Khan
  • Kiran Kalra
  • Sangeeta Bharti
  • Suruchi Suri
  • Som Nath Bharti

On November 6, Father Stan Swamy filed an application seeking permission to allow him a straw and sipper in the Central Jail as he cannot hold a glass because he has Parkinson’s Disease.

Special NIA Judge D.E. Kothalikar, presiding over the case, directed the medical officer to reply to the requirement of a straw and sipper, along with winter clothes when the NIA refused to provide him with the sipper mug after taking 20 days to reply. The matter will now be heard on December 4.

Apart from lawyers, SabrangIndia reported on some other citizens who shared on social media, orders that they have placed for sippers for the Jesuit priest.

Related:

Taloja Jail may soon get a deluge of ‘sippers’, but will they reach Fr Stan Swamy?
Father Stan Swamy moves NIA court for bail  

Lawyers send straws and sippers for Father Swamy to Taloja Jail

The group of 42 lawyers wrote to the Superintendent of Taloja Jail to look after other inmates as per Prison Manual as well

Image Courtesy:freepressjournal.in

Since the NIA Special court has taken about a month to provide Parkinson’s inflicted Father Stan Swamy with a sipper and straw, a group of lawyers have sent straws and sippers to Taloja Jail, where he is currently lodged.

LiveLaw reported that the group wrote to the Superintendent of Taloja Jail stating, “We, the undersigned lawyers, feel that above all detention must be humane. To that effect we urge you to make arrangements for all inmates as per the jail manual who have special medical needs. For Father Stan Swamy, we urge you to facilitate his dignified drinking of water, we are sending this plastic Sipper and paper straws, which we believe are permissible as per the Jail Manual and cannot cause any harm.”

List of 42 Advocates who have signed the letter to Taloja jail for Stan Swamy are:

  • Nandita Rao
  • Malavika Rajkotia
  • Sharukh Alam
  • Iram Majid
  • Naomi Chandra
  • Tanima Kishore
  • Ruchi Singh
  • Anjali Sharma
  • Ritu Bhalla
  • Kajal Chandra
  • Ekta Kapil
  • Sunita Dutt
  • Santosh Paul, Senior Advocate
  • Ethashan Hashmi
  • Swaty Singh Malik
  • Shweta Kapoor
  • Aakanksha Nehra
  • Anand Grover, Senior Advocate
  • SaumyaTandon
  • Anubha Rastogi
  • Manali Singhal
  • Fozia Rahman
  • Mani Gupta
  • Niharika Behl
  • Aditi Gupta
  • WR Khan
  • M. Rashid
  • M. Noorullah
  • Mohan Katarki, Senior Advocate
  • Sabarish Gandhi
  • Anupam Sanghi
  • Tarannum Cheema
  • Nidhi Mohan Parashar
  • Kirti Singh
  • Firdaus Moosa
  • Kriti Kakkar
  • Sonam Anand
  • Abdul Nasir Khan
  • Kiran Kalra
  • Sangeeta Bharti
  • Suruchi Suri
  • Som Nath Bharti

On November 6, Father Stan Swamy filed an application seeking permission to allow him a straw and sipper in the Central Jail as he cannot hold a glass because he has Parkinson’s Disease.

Special NIA Judge D.E. Kothalikar, presiding over the case, directed the medical officer to reply to the requirement of a straw and sipper, along with winter clothes when the NIA refused to provide him with the sipper mug after taking 20 days to reply. The matter will now be heard on December 4.

Apart from lawyers, SabrangIndia reported on some other citizens who shared on social media, orders that they have placed for sippers for the Jesuit priest.

Related:

Taloja Jail may soon get a deluge of ‘sippers’, but will they reach Fr Stan Swamy?
Father Stan Swamy moves NIA court for bail  

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Delhi Riots: Jamia student granted parole to sit for exam

The court noted that some leniency must be showed by allowing Asif Iqbal Tanha to pursue higher education

28 Nov 2020

Image Courtesy:siasat.com

A Delhi Court has granted interim bail to a Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMIU) student, Asif Iqbal Tanha, booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the North East Delhi communal clashes of February, 2020. The bail has been granted in order for him to sit for his compartment examination of BA Persian (Honours) on December 4, 5 and 7, 2020.

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad appeared for the State and Sowjhanya Shankaran represented Asif Tanha.

The Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat said, “The court is of the opinion that if the accused wants to appear for the compartmental examination, the passing of which is necessary as precondition for his admission to MA Persian course for which he had already appeared, leniency must be showed to the accused by allowing him to appear for the said examination.”

The applicant Tanha had enrolled in the course in 2017 and is slated to graduate in 2020 subject to clearing his compartment exams. He had sought bail through his lawyer for, “the purpose of preparing for and attending the exams.”

According to media sources, his lawyer also stated that due to the nationwide lockdown, restricted movement of individuals, limited functioning of Tihar Jail, Tanha was not able to access reading material or the computer to prepare for his backlog papers.

On September 2, 2020, the ASJ had denied him bail for his alleged role at the protest sites. Justice Amitabh Rawat had noted, “He was part of a conspiracy for doing chakka ­jam (blocking of road) leading to the riots." His name comes out in the statements of the witnesses as one of the main coordinators in the entire conspiracy.

Related:

Delhi Riots: No ‘incriminating clinching evidence’, court grants bail
SC refuses to cancel bail of UAPA accused
Delhi riots: Activist Gulfisha Fatima gets bail, but will remain in jail under UAPA

Delhi Riots: Jamia student granted parole to sit for exam

The court noted that some leniency must be showed by allowing Asif Iqbal Tanha to pursue higher education

Image Courtesy:siasat.com

A Delhi Court has granted interim bail to a Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMIU) student, Asif Iqbal Tanha, booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in connection with the North East Delhi communal clashes of February, 2020. The bail has been granted in order for him to sit for his compartment examination of BA Persian (Honours) on December 4, 5 and 7, 2020.

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad appeared for the State and Sowjhanya Shankaran represented Asif Tanha.

The Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat said, “The court is of the opinion that if the accused wants to appear for the compartmental examination, the passing of which is necessary as precondition for his admission to MA Persian course for which he had already appeared, leniency must be showed to the accused by allowing him to appear for the said examination.”

The applicant Tanha had enrolled in the course in 2017 and is slated to graduate in 2020 subject to clearing his compartment exams. He had sought bail through his lawyer for, “the purpose of preparing for and attending the exams.”

According to media sources, his lawyer also stated that due to the nationwide lockdown, restricted movement of individuals, limited functioning of Tihar Jail, Tanha was not able to access reading material or the computer to prepare for his backlog papers.

On September 2, 2020, the ASJ had denied him bail for his alleged role at the protest sites. Justice Amitabh Rawat had noted, “He was part of a conspiracy for doing chakka ­jam (blocking of road) leading to the riots." His name comes out in the statements of the witnesses as one of the main coordinators in the entire conspiracy.

Related:

Delhi Riots: No ‘incriminating clinching evidence’, court grants bail
SC refuses to cancel bail of UAPA accused
Delhi riots: Activist Gulfisha Fatima gets bail, but will remain in jail under UAPA

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SC takes suo moto cognisance of Rajkot Covid Hospital fire

A fire broke out in the ICU ward of Rajkot’s Uday Shivananda Hospital, killing five and injuring six on November 27, 2020

27 Nov 2020

Gujarat Hospital

A Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah has taken suo moto cognisance and expressed shock at a horrific incident of fire that killed five and injured six patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a Rajkot hospital. The incident took place in the early hours of November 27 at the Uday Shivanand Hospital, a designated covid care facility. They have sought a response from the Centre and the Gujarat Government.

The Bench gave the directions in the suo moto case titled, In Re: Proper Treatment of COVID-19 Patients and Dignified Handling of Dead Bodies in the Hospitals, etc.

The Bench said, “This is shocking! And let me say this is not the first incident. The Court takes suo motu cognisance of the incident that happened today where 6 persons in Rajkot died due to fire in a covid designated hospital, not the first incident. These incidents are repeated and we notice that no complete steps are being taken by states nor is there any mechanism to abrogate the situation.”

The Court said that though there are guidelines and reports from time to time, the same are not implemented by States and the inspection of electrical lines is lax leading to such frequent short circuits and accidents.

Justice Shah said, “This is not done. This is happening in different hospitals. There needs to be inspection whether electrical lines are proper or not. How does this short circuit happen? Report given to the High Court with respect to fire safety is shocking! You don't have the chief officer.”

Justice Reddy weighed in observing that the guidelines issued by the Central government are hardly followed by States. He said, “In many cases there are no fire extinguishers. In most of the cases there is an electrical line default.”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta apprised the court that a report will be submitted by the Government by the next date of hearing. The court noted, “The SG submits that he is aware of the incident and he will ensure that steps are taken by tomorrow and that he will inform the court regarding steps taken on the next date. We also direct the Counsel of Gujarat to submit a report by Tuesday when the matter is taken up next.”

The court stringently noted that this is not the first incident and no legitimate measures were being taken by the authorities to mitigate and prevent these fires in hospitals.

Further, Justice Ashok Bhushan wondered whether the Chief Fire Officer must be consulted. “You must consult with the Chief Fire Officer, Mr. MF Dastoor”, said Justice Bhushan. The SG replied that they would form a committee to look into the incident. Not very thrilled with the idea, Justice Bhushan said, “We do not want a committee, we want proper steps to be taken.”

The Central Government was ordered to submit a report regarding the steps taken to avoid fire hazards and the Gujarat government has been directed  to submit a report on the Rajkot fire accident by December 1, 2020.

Shrey Hospital Fire

In a similar case, a massive fire had broken out in Ahmedabad’s Shrey Hospital on August 6, 2020 killing eight Covid patients in the ICU ward. A month after the horrific tragedy, it was revealed that the mobile phones of the victims were allegedly taken away by the Hospital staff.

Human Rights Advocate Suhel Tirmizi, whose wife Ayesha perished in the fire, had a curious experience where his wife’s phone appeared to have remained intact, hours after the fire. He told SabrangIndia, “I had sent her a video message at 5:30 A.M. and it showed that it was delivered. Now if the victims died of 80 percent burns, how did their phones not get damaged?”

Rajesh Shah, the son of the deceased Lilavatiben Shah also spoke to SabrangIndia and said, “The investigation has not been proper and we are still waiting for answers. This incident has taken a heavy emotional toll on the entire family.”

On September 15, around 300 activists, citizens, family members of the victims issued a statement in solidarity and demanded for the investigation to be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as the CCTV cameras did not record anything of significance on the night of the fire and that mobile phones of victims went missing mysteriously.

The statement also pointed out failure to book the accused under proper sections of the law, saying, “For a fire of this nature, which took the lives of 8 helpless patients, which is likely to have occurred due to wilful negligence of fire safety rules and procedures, the charges should have been far more stringent.” They further demanded, “We feel that section 304 of the CrPC should have been invoked, and the failure of the police not to have done so raise(s) serious questions regarding their intent to do a free and fair investigation. There seems to be a conspiracy to get the hospital management off the hook.”


Related:

Another fatal inferno in Gujarat Covid hospital!

8 killed in Ahmedabad Covid-19 Hospital Fire

Shrey Hospital Fire: The curious case of the missing phones

Shrey Hospital Fire: Civil society demands CBI inquiry

 

SC takes suo moto cognisance of Rajkot Covid Hospital fire

A fire broke out in the ICU ward of Rajkot’s Uday Shivananda Hospital, killing five and injuring six on November 27, 2020

Gujarat Hospital

A Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah has taken suo moto cognisance and expressed shock at a horrific incident of fire that killed five and injured six patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a Rajkot hospital. The incident took place in the early hours of November 27 at the Uday Shivanand Hospital, a designated covid care facility. They have sought a response from the Centre and the Gujarat Government.

The Bench gave the directions in the suo moto case titled, In Re: Proper Treatment of COVID-19 Patients and Dignified Handling of Dead Bodies in the Hospitals, etc.

The Bench said, “This is shocking! And let me say this is not the first incident. The Court takes suo motu cognisance of the incident that happened today where 6 persons in Rajkot died due to fire in a covid designated hospital, not the first incident. These incidents are repeated and we notice that no complete steps are being taken by states nor is there any mechanism to abrogate the situation.”

The Court said that though there are guidelines and reports from time to time, the same are not implemented by States and the inspection of electrical lines is lax leading to such frequent short circuits and accidents.

Justice Shah said, “This is not done. This is happening in different hospitals. There needs to be inspection whether electrical lines are proper or not. How does this short circuit happen? Report given to the High Court with respect to fire safety is shocking! You don't have the chief officer.”

Justice Reddy weighed in observing that the guidelines issued by the Central government are hardly followed by States. He said, “In many cases there are no fire extinguishers. In most of the cases there is an electrical line default.”

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta apprised the court that a report will be submitted by the Government by the next date of hearing. The court noted, “The SG submits that he is aware of the incident and he will ensure that steps are taken by tomorrow and that he will inform the court regarding steps taken on the next date. We also direct the Counsel of Gujarat to submit a report by Tuesday when the matter is taken up next.”

The court stringently noted that this is not the first incident and no legitimate measures were being taken by the authorities to mitigate and prevent these fires in hospitals.

Further, Justice Ashok Bhushan wondered whether the Chief Fire Officer must be consulted. “You must consult with the Chief Fire Officer, Mr. MF Dastoor”, said Justice Bhushan. The SG replied that they would form a committee to look into the incident. Not very thrilled with the idea, Justice Bhushan said, “We do not want a committee, we want proper steps to be taken.”

The Central Government was ordered to submit a report regarding the steps taken to avoid fire hazards and the Gujarat government has been directed  to submit a report on the Rajkot fire accident by December 1, 2020.

Shrey Hospital Fire

In a similar case, a massive fire had broken out in Ahmedabad’s Shrey Hospital on August 6, 2020 killing eight Covid patients in the ICU ward. A month after the horrific tragedy, it was revealed that the mobile phones of the victims were allegedly taken away by the Hospital staff.

Human Rights Advocate Suhel Tirmizi, whose wife Ayesha perished in the fire, had a curious experience where his wife’s phone appeared to have remained intact, hours after the fire. He told SabrangIndia, “I had sent her a video message at 5:30 A.M. and it showed that it was delivered. Now if the victims died of 80 percent burns, how did their phones not get damaged?”

Rajesh Shah, the son of the deceased Lilavatiben Shah also spoke to SabrangIndia and said, “The investigation has not been proper and we are still waiting for answers. This incident has taken a heavy emotional toll on the entire family.”

On September 15, around 300 activists, citizens, family members of the victims issued a statement in solidarity and demanded for the investigation to be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as the CCTV cameras did not record anything of significance on the night of the fire and that mobile phones of victims went missing mysteriously.

The statement also pointed out failure to book the accused under proper sections of the law, saying, “For a fire of this nature, which took the lives of 8 helpless patients, which is likely to have occurred due to wilful negligence of fire safety rules and procedures, the charges should have been far more stringent.” They further demanded, “We feel that section 304 of the CrPC should have been invoked, and the failure of the police not to have done so raise(s) serious questions regarding their intent to do a free and fair investigation. There seems to be a conspiracy to get the hospital management off the hook.”


Related:

Another fatal inferno in Gujarat Covid hospital!

8 killed in Ahmedabad Covid-19 Hospital Fire

Shrey Hospital Fire: The curious case of the missing phones

Shrey Hospital Fire: Civil society demands CBI inquiry

 

Related Articles


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Sheena Choudhary case: Delhi HC slams Rajasthan Police for 'completely unjustified' behaviour

Rajasthan cops have a lot to answer for how they treated a 26-year-old educated woman, forcibly taking her into ‘custody’ because she did not want to get married according to her parents will

27 Nov 2020

Rajasthan Police

“She was forced into a car violently by a male officer of the Rajasthan Police, who was not in uniform. Her mobile phone was taken away… Her statement was nor recorded… She states that one hour before she and the police party reached Dholpur, Rajasthan, they stopped for dinner at a roadside restaurant and the police party also consumed liquor,” are not words extracted from a script of the latest cop drama web series. This is what the Delhi High court observed in the case of 26-year-old Sheena Choudhary, who was forcibly detained from Delhi by the Dholpur district police on November 24, 2020. The police were allegedly acting at the behest of Choudhary’s parents who were trying to marry her off against her wishes.

Act Now for Harmony And Democracy (ANHAD) founder Shabnam Hashmi, who was in contact with Choudhary since November 20, had said the police as well as the woman’s uncle manhandled and treated her like an accused. “Choudhary was with eight young girls and boys from ANHAD at an eatery near the office. As they stepped out, Rajasthan policemen pounced at her. I was told they have taken her to Jamia Nagar police station. When I reached, she wasn't there. I met the SHO who told the Rajasthan police that they have to first bring her to the police station, but they did not listen,” said Hashmi. 

Sheena Choudhary, was working in Dholpur as a Mahatma Gandhi National Fellow placed by the IIM Bangalore as part of the National Skill Mission. A graduate of Miranda House College and Delhi School of Social Work, Choudhary had no plans of marriage and wanted to pursue higher studies and a career.

She told the Court that her phone was not returned to her despite her repeated demands and that even the Delhi Police did not record her statement. The court observed that “All these allegations, if true, raise very serious issues with regard to the working of the police force and certainly call for investigation and appropriate action.” 

The Delhi High Court on Thursday called the Rajasthan Police's action of forcibly taking away a 26-year-old woman  as "completely unjustified". According to news reports a bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar said, “It was not open for the male force to forcibly push Sheena into a car. We have already noticed that she was not an accused and was stated to be a victim of the offence in the FIR registered by father and uncle of Sheena.”

Sheena was brought back to Delhi and produced before the court via video conferencing, and narrated how she left her home after her family pressured her to get married, and how the Rajasthan Police forcibly took her to Dhaulpur to record her statement before a magistrate. The court was hearing a petition filed by the woman, through her pairokar (friend), seeking her own production and safety, stated news reports.

She told the court that her “mobile phone was snatched by the officials” and while on their way to Dhaulpur, they stopped the vehicle for dinner at a roadside restaurant where the “police officials consumed liquor.” The bench took cognisance of the allegations saying it raises “serious issues with regard to working of the police force and call for an investigation” and directed the “ State of Rajasthan to look into the aforesaid aspects and an inquiry be made and take appropriate action accordingly." 

The bench was also critical of the fact that the woman was driven all the way to Rajasthan for recording of her statement before a magistrate which could have been done before a court in Delhi, "we find that the action taken by the Rajasthan Police to forcibly take away the woman to Rajasthan with them despite her saying that she was at the office of ANHAD (NGO) was completely unjustified." The court added that incident has left both the woman and her family members in a state of shock.

The woman had told the court that she was taken away from Delhi by the Rajasthan Police on Tuesday while she was having lunch in Jamia Nagar with her friends. On seeing the police party, she started running and screaming for help, however, she was forcibly caught by the officials and pushed into their vehicle. Her father reportedly filed a police complaint in Dholpur, Rajasthan, which is also her place of work for the alleged offences of “kidnapping, abduction to compel for marriage and wrongful confinement.” It was in pursuance of that FIR, that Rajasthan Police came to Delhi and picked her up.

Meanwhile, the woman's father Satinder Kumar told the court that their entire family was highly educated and “encouraged their children to go for higher studies”. He said his daughter had “not conveyed to him properly that she wanted to study further and did not want to marry at this stage.” He has assured the court that the family will not pressurise her to get married and urged the bench to make his daughter understand to come home.

However, Sheena said marriage was not in her priority list and that she was under family pressure to get married and was feeling threatened and scared due to which she had to run away. But, she clarified that she does not want any action against her family and was only concerned about her own safety.

The bench after interacting with the woman, and her father and uncle noted, "It appeared to us that the desire expressed by the woman that she does not want to get married to anyone at this stage and this did not register to the minds of parents and relatives who were keen to get her married” adding that “the incident has sent a clear message that the woman does not want to get married at this stage," the matter is listed for further hearing on December 5.

The court directed the Delhi Police to drop her to the residence of activist Shabnam Hashmi, the pairokar who has filed the petition on her behalf, and told the family not to contact Sheen, who will call them if and when she wishes to. The court asked the Station House Officer (SHO) of Jamia Nagar police station to also counsel Sheena’s father about this order and its compliance.

Sheena had earlier sought legal help from the Delhi State Women's Commission’s Chairperson Swati Maliwal on November 23, and the Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Parliament police station on November 21 along with National Federation of Indian Women’s General Secretary Annie Raja. She made the requests to officials to ensure her safety via:

1.       A restraining order to prevent family from forcibly accosting her or contacting her

2.       A protection order to prevent physical harm

3.       A direction to local police to inform Choudhary parents not to contact her while she stayed in a place of her own choosing.

4.       A transfer to Jaipur along with security so that the woman will feel more secure.

“My family is denying my right to make my own decisions with regard to my future. They want to perform my marriage without my consent and without any say in choice of my future husband. I have known my family to be conservative in such matters. They agree with some very regressive views and attitudes that people in the community have about women,” Choudhary had said, adding instances of physical violence against girls for disobeying orders were not uncommon in her family.


Related:

Rajasthan police allegedly abduct woman who defied her parents' dictat on marriage

Girls and young women continue to get hunted in UP, Rajasthan

Bid Curb Inter-faith marriages: Ruse to Restrict Women’s Freedom

 

Sheena Choudhary case: Delhi HC slams Rajasthan Police for 'completely unjustified' behaviour

Rajasthan cops have a lot to answer for how they treated a 26-year-old educated woman, forcibly taking her into ‘custody’ because she did not want to get married according to her parents will

Rajasthan Police

“She was forced into a car violently by a male officer of the Rajasthan Police, who was not in uniform. Her mobile phone was taken away… Her statement was nor recorded… She states that one hour before she and the police party reached Dholpur, Rajasthan, they stopped for dinner at a roadside restaurant and the police party also consumed liquor,” are not words extracted from a script of the latest cop drama web series. This is what the Delhi High court observed in the case of 26-year-old Sheena Choudhary, who was forcibly detained from Delhi by the Dholpur district police on November 24, 2020. The police were allegedly acting at the behest of Choudhary’s parents who were trying to marry her off against her wishes.

Act Now for Harmony And Democracy (ANHAD) founder Shabnam Hashmi, who was in contact with Choudhary since November 20, had said the police as well as the woman’s uncle manhandled and treated her like an accused. “Choudhary was with eight young girls and boys from ANHAD at an eatery near the office. As they stepped out, Rajasthan policemen pounced at her. I was told they have taken her to Jamia Nagar police station. When I reached, she wasn't there. I met the SHO who told the Rajasthan police that they have to first bring her to the police station, but they did not listen,” said Hashmi. 

Sheena Choudhary, was working in Dholpur as a Mahatma Gandhi National Fellow placed by the IIM Bangalore as part of the National Skill Mission. A graduate of Miranda House College and Delhi School of Social Work, Choudhary had no plans of marriage and wanted to pursue higher studies and a career.

She told the Court that her phone was not returned to her despite her repeated demands and that even the Delhi Police did not record her statement. The court observed that “All these allegations, if true, raise very serious issues with regard to the working of the police force and certainly call for investigation and appropriate action.” 

The Delhi High Court on Thursday called the Rajasthan Police's action of forcibly taking away a 26-year-old woman  as "completely unjustified". According to news reports a bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar said, “It was not open for the male force to forcibly push Sheena into a car. We have already noticed that she was not an accused and was stated to be a victim of the offence in the FIR registered by father and uncle of Sheena.”

Sheena was brought back to Delhi and produced before the court via video conferencing, and narrated how she left her home after her family pressured her to get married, and how the Rajasthan Police forcibly took her to Dhaulpur to record her statement before a magistrate. The court was hearing a petition filed by the woman, through her pairokar (friend), seeking her own production and safety, stated news reports.

She told the court that her “mobile phone was snatched by the officials” and while on their way to Dhaulpur, they stopped the vehicle for dinner at a roadside restaurant where the “police officials consumed liquor.” The bench took cognisance of the allegations saying it raises “serious issues with regard to working of the police force and call for an investigation” and directed the “ State of Rajasthan to look into the aforesaid aspects and an inquiry be made and take appropriate action accordingly." 

The bench was also critical of the fact that the woman was driven all the way to Rajasthan for recording of her statement before a magistrate which could have been done before a court in Delhi, "we find that the action taken by the Rajasthan Police to forcibly take away the woman to Rajasthan with them despite her saying that she was at the office of ANHAD (NGO) was completely unjustified." The court added that incident has left both the woman and her family members in a state of shock.

The woman had told the court that she was taken away from Delhi by the Rajasthan Police on Tuesday while she was having lunch in Jamia Nagar with her friends. On seeing the police party, she started running and screaming for help, however, she was forcibly caught by the officials and pushed into their vehicle. Her father reportedly filed a police complaint in Dholpur, Rajasthan, which is also her place of work for the alleged offences of “kidnapping, abduction to compel for marriage and wrongful confinement.” It was in pursuance of that FIR, that Rajasthan Police came to Delhi and picked her up.

Meanwhile, the woman's father Satinder Kumar told the court that their entire family was highly educated and “encouraged their children to go for higher studies”. He said his daughter had “not conveyed to him properly that she wanted to study further and did not want to marry at this stage.” He has assured the court that the family will not pressurise her to get married and urged the bench to make his daughter understand to come home.

However, Sheena said marriage was not in her priority list and that she was under family pressure to get married and was feeling threatened and scared due to which she had to run away. But, she clarified that she does not want any action against her family and was only concerned about her own safety.

The bench after interacting with the woman, and her father and uncle noted, "It appeared to us that the desire expressed by the woman that she does not want to get married to anyone at this stage and this did not register to the minds of parents and relatives who were keen to get her married” adding that “the incident has sent a clear message that the woman does not want to get married at this stage," the matter is listed for further hearing on December 5.

The court directed the Delhi Police to drop her to the residence of activist Shabnam Hashmi, the pairokar who has filed the petition on her behalf, and told the family not to contact Sheen, who will call them if and when she wishes to. The court asked the Station House Officer (SHO) of Jamia Nagar police station to also counsel Sheena’s father about this order and its compliance.

Sheena had earlier sought legal help from the Delhi State Women's Commission’s Chairperson Swati Maliwal on November 23, and the Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Parliament police station on November 21 along with National Federation of Indian Women’s General Secretary Annie Raja. She made the requests to officials to ensure her safety via:

1.       A restraining order to prevent family from forcibly accosting her or contacting her

2.       A protection order to prevent physical harm

3.       A direction to local police to inform Choudhary parents not to contact her while she stayed in a place of her own choosing.

4.       A transfer to Jaipur along with security so that the woman will feel more secure.

“My family is denying my right to make my own decisions with regard to my future. They want to perform my marriage without my consent and without any say in choice of my future husband. I have known my family to be conservative in such matters. They agree with some very regressive views and attitudes that people in the community have about women,” Choudhary had said, adding instances of physical violence against girls for disobeying orders were not uncommon in her family.


Related:

Rajasthan police allegedly abduct woman who defied her parents' dictat on marriage

Girls and young women continue to get hunted in UP, Rajasthan

Bid Curb Inter-faith marriages: Ruse to Restrict Women’s Freedom

 

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J&K HC refuses to stay probe against  Deepika Singh Rajawat's tweet

The Kashmiri Lawyer had tweeted about Navratri highlighting the increasing instances of rape in India

27 Nov 2020

Deepika Singh Rajawat's tweet

In the ongoing matter of Deepika Singh Rajawat v Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir & ors (CRM[M] No. 405 of 2020), the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on November  25, refused to interfere in the investigation pertaining to an FIR registered against Advocate Deepika Singh Rajawat for her tweet on Navratri.

Justice Sanjay Dhar directed that the investigation in the FIR may continue but the final report shall not be filed by the investigating agency before the competent court without permission of the High court.

He observed, “At this stage, it may not be appropriate to go into the merits of the rival contentions of the parties and it will also be not proper to interfere in the investigation of the FIR, which is stated to be at its infancy.”

Advocate Rajawat has already been protected by way of an anticipatory bail granted by Principal Sessions Judge, Jammu in October, 2020.

Background

Rajawat challenged FIR No.174/2020 registered against her for offences under Section 295-A (deliberately outraging the religious sentiments of a class) and 505[2] (promoting hatred enmity between groups) of the Indian Penal Code registered at Police Station, Gandhi Nagar, Jammu.

The FIR was registered based on complaint that Rajawat had tweeted a picture from her official Twitter account showing an image of a woman being revered during the time of Navratri and being sexually assaulted during rest of the year with a caption 'irony’.

Rajawat had stated that she posted the said tweet “with an objective to raise voice against increasing rape cases in India and condemn people who bring atrocities on Women”. She therefore, sought a stay on investigation during the pendency of the present petition for quashing the FIR.

The Senior Counsel P.N Raina who appeared for her contended that if, “we have a look at the image that was tweeted by the petitioner, it does not, in any manner, hurt the religious feeling of any community, inasmuch as it simply depicts that the women are being revered during Navratri festival, whereas similar treatment is not given to them during rest of the days of the year.”

But the Additional Advocate General (AAG), representing the government, pointed out that after Rajawat put out the controversial tweet, a particular outfit felt agitated and held a demonstration in front of her house and she had to seek police protection.

On October 21, SabrangIndia had reported on how the Hindutva mob assembled outside her residence and raised slogans against her as they were allegedly offended by her online activity.

The J&K High Court has directed the State to file their response/status reports and the next hearing is slated to be heard on February 9, 2021.

The order may be read here: 

Related:

Your grave will be dug here: Hindutva mob threatens Kashmiri lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawant

My thoughts on Deepika and her Hinduism –a beacon of hope in these depressing times

Kathua victims legal counsel honoured in Canada

 

J&K HC refuses to stay probe against  Deepika Singh Rajawat's tweet

The Kashmiri Lawyer had tweeted about Navratri highlighting the increasing instances of rape in India

Deepika Singh Rajawat's tweet

In the ongoing matter of Deepika Singh Rajawat v Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir & ors (CRM[M] No. 405 of 2020), the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on November  25, refused to interfere in the investigation pertaining to an FIR registered against Advocate Deepika Singh Rajawat for her tweet on Navratri.

Justice Sanjay Dhar directed that the investigation in the FIR may continue but the final report shall not be filed by the investigating agency before the competent court without permission of the High court.

He observed, “At this stage, it may not be appropriate to go into the merits of the rival contentions of the parties and it will also be not proper to interfere in the investigation of the FIR, which is stated to be at its infancy.”

Advocate Rajawat has already been protected by way of an anticipatory bail granted by Principal Sessions Judge, Jammu in October, 2020.

Background

Rajawat challenged FIR No.174/2020 registered against her for offences under Section 295-A (deliberately outraging the religious sentiments of a class) and 505[2] (promoting hatred enmity between groups) of the Indian Penal Code registered at Police Station, Gandhi Nagar, Jammu.

The FIR was registered based on complaint that Rajawat had tweeted a picture from her official Twitter account showing an image of a woman being revered during the time of Navratri and being sexually assaulted during rest of the year with a caption 'irony’.

Rajawat had stated that she posted the said tweet “with an objective to raise voice against increasing rape cases in India and condemn people who bring atrocities on Women”. She therefore, sought a stay on investigation during the pendency of the present petition for quashing the FIR.

The Senior Counsel P.N Raina who appeared for her contended that if, “we have a look at the image that was tweeted by the petitioner, it does not, in any manner, hurt the religious feeling of any community, inasmuch as it simply depicts that the women are being revered during Navratri festival, whereas similar treatment is not given to them during rest of the days of the year.”

But the Additional Advocate General (AAG), representing the government, pointed out that after Rajawat put out the controversial tweet, a particular outfit felt agitated and held a demonstration in front of her house and she had to seek police protection.

On October 21, SabrangIndia had reported on how the Hindutva mob assembled outside her residence and raised slogans against her as they were allegedly offended by her online activity.

The J&K High Court has directed the State to file their response/status reports and the next hearing is slated to be heard on February 9, 2021.

The order may be read here: 

Related:

Your grave will be dug here: Hindutva mob threatens Kashmiri lawyer Deepika Singh Rajawant

My thoughts on Deepika and her Hinduism –a beacon of hope in these depressing times

Kathua victims legal counsel honoured in Canada

 

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Pandemic or mass disaster cannot override Article 21 protection: Allahabad HC  

The HC has come down heavily on the lower court’s decision to not recognise the accused’s rights to default bail on grounds of Covid lockdown

27 Nov 2020

HC

The Allahabad High Court observed that the Sessions Judge and Magistrates have not performed their duty and noted, “A mass disaster or Pandemic may severely obstruct our life and governing systems in many ways but the doors of the courts of law must remain open for the protection of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.” (Abhishek Srivastava v State of U.P Bail App No. 5384 of 2020) and (Sanjeev Yadav v State of U.P Bail App No. 5756 of 2020).

Criticising the conduct of lower courts, Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi remarked, “Non-performance of duty owing to holidays is firstly a serious dereliction of duty on the part of the Session Judges/magistrates.”

Background

The Court was hearing two bail applications on the ground of default on the part of the prosecution to file the charge sheet within the statutory period as provided under Section 167(2) of Code of Criminal Procedure which violated their right to personal liberty embodied under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The First Bail application (Bail No. 5384 of 2020) was filed by one Abhishek Srivastava and the second one (Bail No. 5756 of 2020) was filed by one Sanjeev Yadav. Abhishek Srivastava’s first remand order was passed on January 16, 2020, thereafter, the judicial custody continued from time to time and lastly, the remand was extended for a period of fourteen days, that is up to March 25, 2020.

Subsequently, due to Covid imposed lockdown, no remand orders could be passed from March 25 to June 26, 2020.

The period of 90 days (as mandated under section 167[2]) in his application expired on April 14, 2020 and in absence of any remand order since March 25, the applicant (Abhishek Srivastava) continued languishing in jail till the filing of the charge sheet on May 1 and thereafter until the rejection of default bail by the Magistrate on June 26.

Similarly, in the case of Sanjiv Yadav, his right of default bail accrued to him on April 29, 2020 on completion of 90 days. This right was very much alive when the charge sheet was filed in the court on May 5, however, he too was denied default bail.

The Single Bench then opined on Abhishek’s application, “The personal liberty of the accused applicant oscillated without any attention either by the prosecution or the guardian of justice i.e. courts. The duty on the part of the State to set the applicant free by apprising the court was given a complete go by to legitimize the default. Non-performance of the judicial duty also owes its failure to the nationwide lock-down due to Pandemic Covid19.”

So, the issue that the court was faced with was whether such a right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India would stand eclipsed under the lock-down directives issued by the Government or any directives issued by the High Court applicable on holidays contrary to the mandate embodied under Section 167(2) Cr. P.C?

Section 167(2) empowers the Magistrate to detain an accused in jail for a maximum period of 90 days only.

Courts observations and final order

While taking note of the matter before it, the High Court said, “The District Judges were under a bounden duty to assign the remand duty to the courts of magistrate/Session Judge during the lock-down period and irrespective of the fact that the courts were closed, the remand matters were bound to be taken up and wherever the indefeasible right of personal liberty accrued to an accused incarcerated in jail, he ought to have been offered default bail in the manner prescribed under Section 167(2) of the Cr.PC.”

“The remand matters could not be ignored selectively by attaching preference or priority to fresh/first remand cases in derogation of the procedure applicable on holidays”, the Bench added. With respect to Abhishek Srivastava’s application, the court said, “The report forwarded by the District Judge, Lucknow is alarming and the selective role which the courts have played from March 25 to April 16, 2020 deserves to be condemned.”

The court also lamented over the unfortunate situation created by the State. “It is unfortunate to note that the legal services which the law contemplates as an essential service for victims was rendered inadequately by the State as well as by the legal services authorities during the Pandemic Covid-19. In the absence of the services of legal practitioners, the State was under a bounden duty to activate legal aid authorities to deal with the situation and the benefit of default bail accruing anywhere ought to have been effectively taken up before the courts”, he said.  

Regarding the two bail pleas filed by the petitioners, the court first noted that in Abhishek Srivastava’s application, “There is a clear dereliction of duty in Bail Application No. 5384 of 2020 (Abhishek Srivastava v. State of U.P.) and the position is amply evident from the report of the District Judge,” and directed the Magistrate to order for his immediate release.

With regard to the second Bail Application No. 5756 of 2020 (Sanjeev Yadav v. State), Justice Masoodi noted, “The prosecution has adopted a peculiar stand to justify the default. It is stated that the closure of court prevented them to file the charge sheet before the deadline i.e. April 29. The prosecution has taken a bald plea without showing any steps having been taken to file the charge sheet by approaching the court or through online service."

Further, the Court said, “The right of default bail which undoubtedly accrued to the applicant became enforceable on 29.4.2020 (April 29). This right was very much alive when the charge sheet was filed in the court on 5.5.2020 (May 5) and survived thereafter.” The Court said that the applicant Sanjeev Yadav was entitled to be enlarged on bail.

The Allahabad High Court directed the Senior Registrar of this Court, in the light of report forwarded to the Court on September 29 by the District Judge, Lucknow, to obtain the relevant details of magistrates/Session Judges from District Lucknow/Hardoi who had failed to pass remand orders from March 25 to June 16.

The matter has now been listed on December 10.

The order may be read here:

 

Related:

Right to default bail: Not just statutory, but a fundamental right

Right to default bail can’t be nullified by post facto complaint: SC

Pandemic or mass disaster cannot override Article 21 protection: Allahabad HC  

The HC has come down heavily on the lower court’s decision to not recognise the accused’s rights to default bail on grounds of Covid lockdown

HC

The Allahabad High Court observed that the Sessions Judge and Magistrates have not performed their duty and noted, “A mass disaster or Pandemic may severely obstruct our life and governing systems in many ways but the doors of the courts of law must remain open for the protection of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.” (Abhishek Srivastava v State of U.P Bail App No. 5384 of 2020) and (Sanjeev Yadav v State of U.P Bail App No. 5756 of 2020).

Criticising the conduct of lower courts, Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi remarked, “Non-performance of duty owing to holidays is firstly a serious dereliction of duty on the part of the Session Judges/magistrates.”

Background

The Court was hearing two bail applications on the ground of default on the part of the prosecution to file the charge sheet within the statutory period as provided under Section 167(2) of Code of Criminal Procedure which violated their right to personal liberty embodied under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The First Bail application (Bail No. 5384 of 2020) was filed by one Abhishek Srivastava and the second one (Bail No. 5756 of 2020) was filed by one Sanjeev Yadav. Abhishek Srivastava’s first remand order was passed on January 16, 2020, thereafter, the judicial custody continued from time to time and lastly, the remand was extended for a period of fourteen days, that is up to March 25, 2020.

Subsequently, due to Covid imposed lockdown, no remand orders could be passed from March 25 to June 26, 2020.

The period of 90 days (as mandated under section 167[2]) in his application expired on April 14, 2020 and in absence of any remand order since March 25, the applicant (Abhishek Srivastava) continued languishing in jail till the filing of the charge sheet on May 1 and thereafter until the rejection of default bail by the Magistrate on June 26.

Similarly, in the case of Sanjiv Yadav, his right of default bail accrued to him on April 29, 2020 on completion of 90 days. This right was very much alive when the charge sheet was filed in the court on May 5, however, he too was denied default bail.

The Single Bench then opined on Abhishek’s application, “The personal liberty of the accused applicant oscillated without any attention either by the prosecution or the guardian of justice i.e. courts. The duty on the part of the State to set the applicant free by apprising the court was given a complete go by to legitimize the default. Non-performance of the judicial duty also owes its failure to the nationwide lock-down due to Pandemic Covid19.”

So, the issue that the court was faced with was whether such a right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India would stand eclipsed under the lock-down directives issued by the Government or any directives issued by the High Court applicable on holidays contrary to the mandate embodied under Section 167(2) Cr. P.C?

Section 167(2) empowers the Magistrate to detain an accused in jail for a maximum period of 90 days only.

Courts observations and final order

While taking note of the matter before it, the High Court said, “The District Judges were under a bounden duty to assign the remand duty to the courts of magistrate/Session Judge during the lock-down period and irrespective of the fact that the courts were closed, the remand matters were bound to be taken up and wherever the indefeasible right of personal liberty accrued to an accused incarcerated in jail, he ought to have been offered default bail in the manner prescribed under Section 167(2) of the Cr.PC.”

“The remand matters could not be ignored selectively by attaching preference or priority to fresh/first remand cases in derogation of the procedure applicable on holidays”, the Bench added. With respect to Abhishek Srivastava’s application, the court said, “The report forwarded by the District Judge, Lucknow is alarming and the selective role which the courts have played from March 25 to April 16, 2020 deserves to be condemned.”

The court also lamented over the unfortunate situation created by the State. “It is unfortunate to note that the legal services which the law contemplates as an essential service for victims was rendered inadequately by the State as well as by the legal services authorities during the Pandemic Covid-19. In the absence of the services of legal practitioners, the State was under a bounden duty to activate legal aid authorities to deal with the situation and the benefit of default bail accruing anywhere ought to have been effectively taken up before the courts”, he said.  

Regarding the two bail pleas filed by the petitioners, the court first noted that in Abhishek Srivastava’s application, “There is a clear dereliction of duty in Bail Application No. 5384 of 2020 (Abhishek Srivastava v. State of U.P.) and the position is amply evident from the report of the District Judge,” and directed the Magistrate to order for his immediate release.

With regard to the second Bail Application No. 5756 of 2020 (Sanjeev Yadav v. State), Justice Masoodi noted, “The prosecution has adopted a peculiar stand to justify the default. It is stated that the closure of court prevented them to file the charge sheet before the deadline i.e. April 29. The prosecution has taken a bald plea without showing any steps having been taken to file the charge sheet by approaching the court or through online service."

Further, the Court said, “The right of default bail which undoubtedly accrued to the applicant became enforceable on 29.4.2020 (April 29). This right was very much alive when the charge sheet was filed in the court on 5.5.2020 (May 5) and survived thereafter.” The Court said that the applicant Sanjeev Yadav was entitled to be enlarged on bail.

The Allahabad High Court directed the Senior Registrar of this Court, in the light of report forwarded to the Court on September 29 by the District Judge, Lucknow, to obtain the relevant details of magistrates/Session Judges from District Lucknow/Hardoi who had failed to pass remand orders from March 25 to June 16.

The matter has now been listed on December 10.

The order may be read here:

 

Related:

Right to default bail: Not just statutory, but a fundamental right

Right to default bail can’t be nullified by post facto complaint: SC

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Taloja Jail may soon get a deluge of ‘sippers’, but will they reach Fr Stan Swamy?

The NIA has reportedly told courts it does not have a straw and sipper to give 83-year-old Parkinson's inflicted Stan Swamy, social media users have started ordering online to send to jail authorities

27 Nov 2020

Stan swamy
Image: https://newzhook.com/

A good quality sipper tumbler can be had for a princely sum of under two hundred rupees. For someone with shaking hands, it is a lifeline, to be able to drink water without spilling, perhaps even take some milk, to help combat dehydration, which can be fatal in the elderly. However, the nation’s premier National Investigation Agency (NIA) has told the courts that it does not have a straw-sipper to give to 83-year-old undertrail Fr Stan Swamy who was arrested in October. 

For 20 days now, Stan Swamy, who lives with Parkinsons has been requesting a straw- sipper to be able to drink water. Now he has to depend on the kindness of fellow inmates to help him drink from a cup sipper meant for babies. 

Earlier this month, it was widely reported that the NIA sought 20 days' time to respond to Fr Swamy’s urgent request for the utensil which he urgently needs as a Parkinson's Disease patient. Father Stan Swamy, is a tribal rights activist who has led a simple life. And being able to drink water without spilling is a basic need that he hopes is met, even as he waits trial in the case where NIA has alleged his  involvement in the Bhima-Koregaon violence. 

He will have to wait for another week or so for the government agency to find him a straw and a sipper cup, and some winter clothes. He would have been in jail for nearly two months by then. According to news reports, the NIA has filed a reply on Fr Swamy’s petition seeking the “return of the straw and sipper confiscated during his arrest”. The NIA has stated to a special court in Pune that they did not take the utensil. "Stan Swamy was never taken to NIA custody so we never had any of his belongings. He was sent to judicial custody straight away so he has to request to jail authorities. We are not aware if he has made same request to jail authorities," an NIA official told NDTV, requesting not to be named.

According to news reports, the special court rejected Father Stan Swamy's application, and the activist has moved a fresh application seeking permission to use a straw and a sipper and winter clothes inside the jail. The court has sought the response of the jail authorities and adjourned the matter till December 4, stated the report. Late last month a special NIA court had rejected Mr Swamy's bail application, filed on medical grounds, declaring that the octogenarian had been booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and was therefore not allowed bail.

News reports state that the medical plea was sought on the grounds that apart from suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, Fr Swamy has almost lost hearing in both ears, has fallen multiple times in jail, has pain in his lower abdomen. He is of advanced age, with comorbidities and therefore, needs to be protected from Covid-19. However, the court is stated to have recorded that, “the grounds pleaded by the applicant (Father Swamy) for grant of bail does not reveal that the medical treatment provided to the applicant in prison is not sufficient. On the contrary the applicant had submitted an application for giving directions to the jail authorities to provide him the required amenities.”  News reports stated that the court also mentioned that the Superintendent of Taloja Central had said, “Since the applicant is old aged person, he has been lodged in the separate cell in the hospital/dispensary section. It does not speak even by stretch of imagination that the applicant is suffering from any illness for which the treatment is not available in the prison.”

The NIA which arrested Swamy from his residence in Ranchi on October 8, had earlier sought 20 days' time to respond to his on November 6 request for the sipper. "I cannot hold a glass as my hands are unsteady due to Parkinson's," stated Swamy, who is at the Taloja Central Jail, and  is currently in the prison hospital.
 

However, scores of kind citizens have responded, and began sharing on social media orders they have placed for sippers. Of all kinds, just so the eldery priest-activist can drink water safely.

 

 

Others called out NIA’s response and lack of sensitivity. 

 

 

Here is the time it has taken for the NIA to investigate the case of the missing sipper

November 26: Special NIA Judge D.E. Kothalikar, presiding over the case, directed the medical officer to reply to the requirement of a straw and sipper, along with winter clothes. The matter will now be heard on December 4.

November 6: Father Stan Swamy files an application seeking permission to allow him a straw and sipper in Taloja Central Jail as he cannot hold a glass because he has Parkinson’s Disease.

October 22: His medical bail is rejected, according to news reports, by the same judge who relied upon the directions of the high powered committee constituted to release undertrial prisoners during Covid-19 pandemic. In this case, the court said, “The accused (Father Swamy) is involved in commission of offence punishable under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act cannot be said to be entitled for interim bail.”

October 9: Brought to Mumbai by NIA, and remanded to judicial custody by court.

October 8: Father Stan Swamy is arrested from his home in Ranchi, at night, after hours of questioning by NIA.

 

Related:

Adivasis and the Society of Jesus have taught me to lead a simple life: Fr Stan 

NPRD petitions NHRC to provide Fr Stan Swamy ‘reasonable accommodations’ in jail

Jharkhand MP writes to President demanding Fr. Stan Swamy's release

Stand with Stan, Now!

Bhima Koregaon case: Stan Swamy's bail plea rejected

Hunger fast against Stan Swamy's arrest: Ranchi

 

Taloja Jail may soon get a deluge of ‘sippers’, but will they reach Fr Stan Swamy?

The NIA has reportedly told courts it does not have a straw and sipper to give 83-year-old Parkinson's inflicted Stan Swamy, social media users have started ordering online to send to jail authorities

Stan swamy
Image: https://newzhook.com/

A good quality sipper tumbler can be had for a princely sum of under two hundred rupees. For someone with shaking hands, it is a lifeline, to be able to drink water without spilling, perhaps even take some milk, to help combat dehydration, which can be fatal in the elderly. However, the nation’s premier National Investigation Agency (NIA) has told the courts that it does not have a straw-sipper to give to 83-year-old undertrail Fr Stan Swamy who was arrested in October. 

For 20 days now, Stan Swamy, who lives with Parkinsons has been requesting a straw- sipper to be able to drink water. Now he has to depend on the kindness of fellow inmates to help him drink from a cup sipper meant for babies. 

Earlier this month, it was widely reported that the NIA sought 20 days' time to respond to Fr Swamy’s urgent request for the utensil which he urgently needs as a Parkinson's Disease patient. Father Stan Swamy, is a tribal rights activist who has led a simple life. And being able to drink water without spilling is a basic need that he hopes is met, even as he waits trial in the case where NIA has alleged his  involvement in the Bhima-Koregaon violence. 

He will have to wait for another week or so for the government agency to find him a straw and a sipper cup, and some winter clothes. He would have been in jail for nearly two months by then. According to news reports, the NIA has filed a reply on Fr Swamy’s petition seeking the “return of the straw and sipper confiscated during his arrest”. The NIA has stated to a special court in Pune that they did not take the utensil. "Stan Swamy was never taken to NIA custody so we never had any of his belongings. He was sent to judicial custody straight away so he has to request to jail authorities. We are not aware if he has made same request to jail authorities," an NIA official told NDTV, requesting not to be named.

According to news reports, the special court rejected Father Stan Swamy's application, and the activist has moved a fresh application seeking permission to use a straw and a sipper and winter clothes inside the jail. The court has sought the response of the jail authorities and adjourned the matter till December 4, stated the report. Late last month a special NIA court had rejected Mr Swamy's bail application, filed on medical grounds, declaring that the octogenarian had been booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and was therefore not allowed bail.

News reports state that the medical plea was sought on the grounds that apart from suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, Fr Swamy has almost lost hearing in both ears, has fallen multiple times in jail, has pain in his lower abdomen. He is of advanced age, with comorbidities and therefore, needs to be protected from Covid-19. However, the court is stated to have recorded that, “the grounds pleaded by the applicant (Father Swamy) for grant of bail does not reveal that the medical treatment provided to the applicant in prison is not sufficient. On the contrary the applicant had submitted an application for giving directions to the jail authorities to provide him the required amenities.”  News reports stated that the court also mentioned that the Superintendent of Taloja Central had said, “Since the applicant is old aged person, he has been lodged in the separate cell in the hospital/dispensary section. It does not speak even by stretch of imagination that the applicant is suffering from any illness for which the treatment is not available in the prison.”

The NIA which arrested Swamy from his residence in Ranchi on October 8, had earlier sought 20 days' time to respond to his on November 6 request for the sipper. "I cannot hold a glass as my hands are unsteady due to Parkinson's," stated Swamy, who is at the Taloja Central Jail, and  is currently in the prison hospital.
 

However, scores of kind citizens have responded, and began sharing on social media orders they have placed for sippers. Of all kinds, just so the eldery priest-activist can drink water safely.

 

 

Others called out NIA’s response and lack of sensitivity. 

 

 

Here is the time it has taken for the NIA to investigate the case of the missing sipper

November 26: Special NIA Judge D.E. Kothalikar, presiding over the case, directed the medical officer to reply to the requirement of a straw and sipper, along with winter clothes. The matter will now be heard on December 4.

November 6: Father Stan Swamy files an application seeking permission to allow him a straw and sipper in Taloja Central Jail as he cannot hold a glass because he has Parkinson’s Disease.

October 22: His medical bail is rejected, according to news reports, by the same judge who relied upon the directions of the high powered committee constituted to release undertrial prisoners during Covid-19 pandemic. In this case, the court said, “The accused (Father Swamy) is involved in commission of offence punishable under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act cannot be said to be entitled for interim bail.”

October 9: Brought to Mumbai by NIA, and remanded to judicial custody by court.

October 8: Father Stan Swamy is arrested from his home in Ranchi, at night, after hours of questioning by NIA.

 

Related:

Adivasis and the Society of Jesus have taught me to lead a simple life: Fr Stan 

NPRD petitions NHRC to provide Fr Stan Swamy ‘reasonable accommodations’ in jail

Jharkhand MP writes to President demanding Fr. Stan Swamy's release

Stand with Stan, Now!

Bhima Koregaon case: Stan Swamy's bail plea rejected

Hunger fast against Stan Swamy's arrest: Ranchi

 

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Continued use of unconstitutional section 66A of IT Act in UP

The HC noted that the UP police have been disregarding the Shreya Singhal Judgment and lodging FIRs under an already struck down provision

26 Nov 2020

66A

The Allahabad High Court on November 18, quashed the FIR registered in 2019 under section 66A of the Information Technology Act, a provision that was struck down in 2015. Nikhil Kumar and Prashant Kanha represented the aggrieved petitioners and Government Advocate Kundan Rai argued on behalf of the respondent State.

In Rajesh Singh & ors v State of Uttar Pradesh & ors (Crl. Misc. W.P No. 24804 of 2019), the Division Bench of Ramesh Sinha and Samit Gopal said, “The impugned FIR and all subsequent proceedings taken against the petitioners in pursuance thereof are hereby quashed.”

Background

The court was hearing a matter pertaining to the petitioner’s prayer to quash the FIR registered against him at Police Station, Sector-49, Noida, District Gautam Buddha Nagar. Counsel for petitioners submitted that the impugned FIR cannot be lodged against the petitioners as the offence under Section 66A of Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2000 has been declared ultravires by the Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of Shreya Singhal Vs. Union of India (2015) 5 SCC 1.

The Government Advocate though opposed the prayer for quashing of the FIR, also conceded the fact that the impugned FIR could not be registered under Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 in view of the order in Shreya Singhal.

The Division Bench observed that the court has been encountering such situations where cases are getting registered under this unconstitutional law. They said, “The authorities concerned in spite of the clear mandate of the Hon'ble Apex Court in the Case of Shreya Singhal (Supra) declaring the same as ultra-vires and later on in the case of Peoples' Union for Civil Liberties (Supra) having reminded the said situation through a specific order have become unresponsive and insensitive to the issue.”

“Time and again reminders have been issued by this Court for effective and actual enforcement of it and of the fact that Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 has been declared ultra-vires and also in spite of the fact that the said judgment declaring it to be so, has been ordered to be circulated amongst the officers concerned, there appears to be no regards for the same and the situation remains as earlier as is the said section is well in force”, the Bench added.

Shreya Singhal Verdict

Section 66A, introduced in the Information Technology Act by virtue of an Amendment Act of 2009 penalised any person with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine who sent, by means of a computer resource or a communication device, any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or any information for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will.

This provision was struck down as it violated the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India.

In 2019, the Supreme Court through a Bench comprising Justice Rohinton Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran had taken cognisance of an application filed by People's Union for Civil Liberties on the continued use of Section 66A. The court had warned the concerned officials that they will be arrested if its order scrapping the provision will be violated. The top court had also directed the Chief Secretaries of all states to sensitise the police departments in the country by sending copies of the Shreya Singhal judgment to the Director General of Police in each State.

The Allahabad HC order may be read here:


Related:

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Continued use of unconstitutional section 66A of IT Act in UP

The HC noted that the UP police have been disregarding the Shreya Singhal Judgment and lodging FIRs under an already struck down provision

66A

The Allahabad High Court on November 18, quashed the FIR registered in 2019 under section 66A of the Information Technology Act, a provision that was struck down in 2015. Nikhil Kumar and Prashant Kanha represented the aggrieved petitioners and Government Advocate Kundan Rai argued on behalf of the respondent State.

In Rajesh Singh & ors v State of Uttar Pradesh & ors (Crl. Misc. W.P No. 24804 of 2019), the Division Bench of Ramesh Sinha and Samit Gopal said, “The impugned FIR and all subsequent proceedings taken against the petitioners in pursuance thereof are hereby quashed.”

Background

The court was hearing a matter pertaining to the petitioner’s prayer to quash the FIR registered against him at Police Station, Sector-49, Noida, District Gautam Buddha Nagar. Counsel for petitioners submitted that the impugned FIR cannot be lodged against the petitioners as the offence under Section 66A of Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2000 has been declared ultravires by the Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of Shreya Singhal Vs. Union of India (2015) 5 SCC 1.

The Government Advocate though opposed the prayer for quashing of the FIR, also conceded the fact that the impugned FIR could not be registered under Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 in view of the order in Shreya Singhal.

The Division Bench observed that the court has been encountering such situations where cases are getting registered under this unconstitutional law. They said, “The authorities concerned in spite of the clear mandate of the Hon'ble Apex Court in the Case of Shreya Singhal (Supra) declaring the same as ultra-vires and later on in the case of Peoples' Union for Civil Liberties (Supra) having reminded the said situation through a specific order have become unresponsive and insensitive to the issue.”

“Time and again reminders have been issued by this Court for effective and actual enforcement of it and of the fact that Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 has been declared ultra-vires and also in spite of the fact that the said judgment declaring it to be so, has been ordered to be circulated amongst the officers concerned, there appears to be no regards for the same and the situation remains as earlier as is the said section is well in force”, the Bench added.

Shreya Singhal Verdict

Section 66A, introduced in the Information Technology Act by virtue of an Amendment Act of 2009 penalised any person with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine who sent, by means of a computer resource or a communication device, any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or any information for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will.

This provision was struck down as it violated the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1) (a) of the Constitution of India.

In 2019, the Supreme Court through a Bench comprising Justice Rohinton Nariman and Justice Vineet Saran had taken cognisance of an application filed by People's Union for Civil Liberties on the continued use of Section 66A. The court had warned the concerned officials that they will be arrested if its order scrapping the provision will be violated. The top court had also directed the Chief Secretaries of all states to sensitise the police departments in the country by sending copies of the Shreya Singhal judgment to the Director General of Police in each State.

The Allahabad HC order may be read here:


Related:

Police Continue To Make Arrests Using ‘Unconstitutional’ Section 66A of IT Act, Struck Down By Supreme Court 3 Years Ago

Where does the law stand on your “objectionable” posts on social media?

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Punjab Haryana HC issues notice to Haryana govt over alleged illegal detention of farmer leaders

The habeas corpus petition has been filed by an advocacy group stating that the farmer leaders’ houses were raided at “unearthly” hours

26 Nov 2020

Farmers detention

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notice to the Haryana government in a habeas corpus petition filed seeking release of over 100 farmers detained at midnight as they were march towards Delhi as part of a farmers’ agitation.

Haryana Progressive Farmers Union filed the habeas corpus petition which was heard by a bench of Justice Sant Prakash. These farmers were allegedly picked-up at midnight by Police across several districts of Haryana, on the pretext of proposed agitation by farmers at Delhi against the state policies, reported LiveLaw.

The petition states that the houses of farmers’ leaders were raided at unearthly hours between 1am and 3am on November 25 and in these illegal midnight raids, the leaders were taken in custody, mainly to “sabotage the peaceful protest planned by the farmers' organisations against the three contentious farm laws - viewed as antifarmer."

The Plea further states, "the government wants to stie the voice of people by arresting and detaining them under preventive measures. The innocent farmers were picked-up at midnight from their houses without any ground of arrest and without commission of any offence, which is clearly in violation of the Article 19, 21 and 22 of the Constitution of India."

The plea also raises questions of law and states that the families of those arrested have not been informed about the whereabouts of such persons as mandated section 50-A of the Cr. P.C as well as Article 22 of the Constitution.

The plea also argues that for smooth functioning of a democratic state, the government should allow space to dissenting voices and express their agony in a peaceful manner.

The plea also states, "That the police, in order to harass the people and with intention to arrest them, is raiding the houses during midnights. There is no justification in the raiding the house of any person, especially when he is not involved in any cognizable offence”.

The court stated in its order, “By way of filing the present criminal writ petition, the petitioner which claims itself to be an advocacy group formed by farmers from various parts of Haryana for the welfare of the farmers, has sought the issuance of a writ in the nature of habeas corpus seeking direction to the respondents to release the detenues enumerated in annexed list Annexure P-2 alleging that they have been illegally detained without any ground of arrest and without any commission of offence by them, in clear violation of Articles 19, 21 and 22 of the Constitution of India.”

Additional Advocate General, Deepak Sabharwal, accepted the notice of motion on behalf of Haryana state government and requested for short time to file status report.

The court will hear the petition again today, November 26.

Several farmers groups from across the country are joining the ‘Delhi Chalo’ movement and marching towards the capital. Farmers in large numbers from Punjab and Haryana, on their tractors and on foot had started marching towards Delhi on November 25 morning and some hundreds of these farmers have been detained by the Police at various locations.

The high court order may be read here.

Related:

LIVE Updates on All India General Strike and Peasants' Protest 2020
Farmers and workers gear up for November 26 protest!

Punjab Haryana HC issues notice to Haryana govt over alleged illegal detention of farmer leaders

The habeas corpus petition has been filed by an advocacy group stating that the farmer leaders’ houses were raided at “unearthly” hours

Farmers detention

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notice to the Haryana government in a habeas corpus petition filed seeking release of over 100 farmers detained at midnight as they were march towards Delhi as part of a farmers’ agitation.

Haryana Progressive Farmers Union filed the habeas corpus petition which was heard by a bench of Justice Sant Prakash. These farmers were allegedly picked-up at midnight by Police across several districts of Haryana, on the pretext of proposed agitation by farmers at Delhi against the state policies, reported LiveLaw.

The petition states that the houses of farmers’ leaders were raided at unearthly hours between 1am and 3am on November 25 and in these illegal midnight raids, the leaders were taken in custody, mainly to “sabotage the peaceful protest planned by the farmers' organisations against the three contentious farm laws - viewed as antifarmer."

The Plea further states, "the government wants to stie the voice of people by arresting and detaining them under preventive measures. The innocent farmers were picked-up at midnight from their houses without any ground of arrest and without commission of any offence, which is clearly in violation of the Article 19, 21 and 22 of the Constitution of India."

The plea also raises questions of law and states that the families of those arrested have not been informed about the whereabouts of such persons as mandated section 50-A of the Cr. P.C as well as Article 22 of the Constitution.

The plea also argues that for smooth functioning of a democratic state, the government should allow space to dissenting voices and express their agony in a peaceful manner.

The plea also states, "That the police, in order to harass the people and with intention to arrest them, is raiding the houses during midnights. There is no justification in the raiding the house of any person, especially when he is not involved in any cognizable offence”.

The court stated in its order, “By way of filing the present criminal writ petition, the petitioner which claims itself to be an advocacy group formed by farmers from various parts of Haryana for the welfare of the farmers, has sought the issuance of a writ in the nature of habeas corpus seeking direction to the respondents to release the detenues enumerated in annexed list Annexure P-2 alleging that they have been illegally detained without any ground of arrest and without any commission of offence by them, in clear violation of Articles 19, 21 and 22 of the Constitution of India.”

Additional Advocate General, Deepak Sabharwal, accepted the notice of motion on behalf of Haryana state government and requested for short time to file status report.

The court will hear the petition again today, November 26.

Several farmers groups from across the country are joining the ‘Delhi Chalo’ movement and marching towards the capital. Farmers in large numbers from Punjab and Haryana, on their tractors and on foot had started marching towards Delhi on November 25 morning and some hundreds of these farmers have been detained by the Police at various locations.

The high court order may be read here.

Related:

LIVE Updates on All India General Strike and Peasants' Protest 2020
Farmers and workers gear up for November 26 protest!

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We need to respect humanity: Bombay HC to ED on Anand Grover

Court asks ED not to insist on appearance of the senior advocate till December 14

25 Nov 2020

Image Courtesy:thewire.in

On November 24, the Bombay High Court asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to consider deferring summons to legal luminary and human rights defender Anand Grover in connection with a money laundering case. The court asked ED to make the consideration in light of Grover’s age and the still raging Covid-19 pandemic.

Bar and Bench reported that the court reasoned, “The virus is spreading and you have to bear in mind the scenario. The petitioner is around 80 years old, had been tested Covid positive. We need to respect humanity.”

The Bombay HC then asked the Assistant Solicitor General to take instructions on whether the ED can defer the summons served on Senior Advocate Anand Grover to appear before it on November 26, adjourning the case till today.

When proceedings resumed today, Additional Solisitor General Anil Singh submitted before the court that the ED will not insist on Grover's appearance tomorrow, but mysteriously kept insisting that this statement not be recorded, reported LiveLaw. But Grover's legal team comprising Senior Advocates Amit Desai, Aspi Chinoy and Siddharth Luthra insisted that the statement must be recorded apprehending perhaps that the ED might renege on the deal. But the ASG urged that he be taken at his word. After much back and forth the court finally passed an interim order restraining the ED from insisting on the personal appearance of the petitioner till the next date of the hearing i.e December 14.  

Senior Advocates Grover and Indira Jaising are both trustees of Lawyers Collective, a human rights NGO that has been allegedly dragged into a fake case by a vindictive regime. It is no secret that both Grover and Jaising have been a thorn in the side of the ruling disposition on account of their stellar work in key legal cases related to human rights violation as well as vocal criticism of the regime.

First the Home Ministry alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) by the NGO for "political purposes". Based on this an FIR was filed in June 2019. Following this the Central Bureau of Investigation raided Grover and Jaising's home and offices on July 11, 2019. Several Parliamentarians, lawyers and activists had come out in support of the duo at the time. Though the courts granted and even extended the duo protection from arrest, Grover and Jaising continue to remain in the regime’s crosshairs.

Lawyers Collective moved Bombay High Court to quash the case filed against them by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Grover and Jaising called the ED’s complaint an abuse of power.

Related:

SC refuses stay on Bombay HC Order protecting Indira Jaising & Grover from arrest
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We need to respect humanity: Bombay HC to ED on Anand Grover

Court asks ED not to insist on appearance of the senior advocate till December 14

Image Courtesy:thewire.in

On November 24, the Bombay High Court asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to consider deferring summons to legal luminary and human rights defender Anand Grover in connection with a money laundering case. The court asked ED to make the consideration in light of Grover’s age and the still raging Covid-19 pandemic.

Bar and Bench reported that the court reasoned, “The virus is spreading and you have to bear in mind the scenario. The petitioner is around 80 years old, had been tested Covid positive. We need to respect humanity.”

The Bombay HC then asked the Assistant Solicitor General to take instructions on whether the ED can defer the summons served on Senior Advocate Anand Grover to appear before it on November 26, adjourning the case till today.

When proceedings resumed today, Additional Solisitor General Anil Singh submitted before the court that the ED will not insist on Grover's appearance tomorrow, but mysteriously kept insisting that this statement not be recorded, reported LiveLaw. But Grover's legal team comprising Senior Advocates Amit Desai, Aspi Chinoy and Siddharth Luthra insisted that the statement must be recorded apprehending perhaps that the ED might renege on the deal. But the ASG urged that he be taken at his word. After much back and forth the court finally passed an interim order restraining the ED from insisting on the personal appearance of the petitioner till the next date of the hearing i.e December 14.  

Senior Advocates Grover and Indira Jaising are both trustees of Lawyers Collective, a human rights NGO that has been allegedly dragged into a fake case by a vindictive regime. It is no secret that both Grover and Jaising have been a thorn in the side of the ruling disposition on account of their stellar work in key legal cases related to human rights violation as well as vocal criticism of the regime.

First the Home Ministry alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) by the NGO for "political purposes". Based on this an FIR was filed in June 2019. Following this the Central Bureau of Investigation raided Grover and Jaising's home and offices on July 11, 2019. Several Parliamentarians, lawyers and activists had come out in support of the duo at the time. Though the courts granted and even extended the duo protection from arrest, Grover and Jaising continue to remain in the regime’s crosshairs.

Lawyers Collective moved Bombay High Court to quash the case filed against them by the ED under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Grover and Jaising called the ED’s complaint an abuse of power.

Related:

SC refuses stay on Bombay HC Order protecting Indira Jaising & Grover from arrest
Now Members of Parliament bat for Indira Jaising and Anand Grover
Civil Society and Liberals rally behind Indira Jaising and Anand Grover

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