Chatter #13: Essential Legal Bytes (Delhi Riots, NGO Terror Funding, Court tech, Divorces in US, 'Act of God')
This week's legal news consists of Delhi Riots criminals charged, NGO Terror Funding, Court tech, Divorces in US, 'Act of God' vs Insurable event
1. Delhi Riots killers charged by Delhi High Court
It happened in 2020. The picture of Ankit Sharma's hand jutting out of the ditch is still vivid in people's minds. Finally, the process to indict the criminals of Delhi riots has started. Here is our article at that time.
The Delhi High Court has charged former AAP Councillor Tahir Hussain and 10 other men for the murder of Intelligence Bureau staffer Ankit Sharma during the 2020 Northeast Delhi riots. Additional Sessions Judge Pulastya Pramachala has framed charges against Hussain and the others under several sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 147, 148, 153A, 302, 365, 120B, 149, 188 and 153A. The other individuals who have been charged are Haseen, Nazim, Kasim, Sameer Khan, Anas, Firoz, Javed, Gulfam, Shoaib Alam, and Muntajim. Tahir Hussain has also been charged with violations of sections 505, 109, and 114 of the IPC.
2. NGO Terror Funding Case arrest
On Wednesday, a local court granted the National Investigation Agency (NIA) custody of Kashmiri journalist Irfan Mehraj for ten days. Mehraj was arrested for his alleged involvement in the NGO terror funding case of 2020, under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The national agency presented Mehraj before the Special NIA Judge at Patiala House Courts and requested his custody for 12 days. However, the court granted only 10-day NIA custody.
Who is Irfan? Per NIA, Mehraj was a close associate of jailed human rights activist Khurram Parvez and had been working with his organisation -- Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies (JKCCS).
NIA charged that the JKCCS was funding terror activities and had also been propagating a secessionist agenda in the Valley under the garb of the protection of human rights.
3. Use of technology in Courts
The Supreme Court has requested that other high courts follow the example set by the Orissa high court in the use of technology. In particular, the two-judge bench consisting of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli noted that "The High Court of Orissa has demonstrated innovative use of technology to reduce travel time from other parts of Odisha to Cuttack. It is important that other high courts also adopt this approach to ensure that people living in remote areas have access to justice."
4. Divorce: US vs India - which is valid?
In a landmark judgment, the Madras High Court declared a US court's ex parte divorce decree void for an Indian couple, as the US court lacked jurisdiction because the marriage took place in India.
The court ordered a compensation of Rs 25 lakh to the woman, Maheshwari, who fled the US due to alleged torture by her husband, a World Bank employee. Justice G Chandrasekharan passed the orders recently on a petition filed by Maheshwari, who is a doctor by profession. The judge held the divorce order and decree not valid as the circuit court of Virginia has no jurisdiction to grant a divorce to the couple whose marriage was solemnised in India.
5. "Act of God" vs Insurable event
The New India Assurance Co. Ltd. filed an appeal challenging the order passed by the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Pune, which awarded compensation to the insurance company. The Tribunal considered the negligence of driver S G Dige and partly allowed the appeal, upholding the driver's negligence. The incident occurred when the deceased was traveling in the offending car with his friend, and due to a burst tire, the car toppled. The counsel for the appellant argued that the burst tire was an act of God and that it was not the driver's negligence that caused it. Therefore, the driver of the offending vehicle cannot be considered liable. However, the Tribunal did not consider this fact. The appellant also argued that the consortium amount and the amount under other heads were awarded on the higher side.