File status reports on custody deaths: SC to state govts

The amendments brought in recently in the CrPC drew the attention of the Supreme Court on Monday....

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 10, 2009 12:46 am

The amendments brought in recently in the CrPC drew the attention of the Supreme Court on Monday,which observed that these amendments have rendered the famous landmark judgment in D K Basu case ineffective. The judgment had specified measures to be taken while carrying out arrests or preventive detention.

“After CrPC amendments,the earlier order on arrests no longer survives,” observed the Bench,headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan,as it agreed with the counsel assisting the court that custodial death was a serious issue that needed to be checked.

After hearing senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi,who is assisting the court as an amicus,the Bench,also comprising Justice P Sathasivam,asked all state governments to file their status reports,detailing the exact number of such incidents and steps taken to check them.

Earlier Singhvi,while arguing before the court said that the number of deaths in custody has been increasing and is hence,a cause of worry. Citing the case of Punjab,where 73 cases of death in judicial custody were reported in 2006 and seven cases of deaths in police custody during the same period,the counsel said the states have not been filing their replies.

‘Drunk’ MLA: SC upholds punishment

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday came down heavily against the conduct of an MLA from Bihar,who was awarded three months imprisonment for criminal contempt of a judge. The JD(U) MLA from Piro constituency,Sunil Kumar Pandey,was allegedly drunk when he abused one Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate,Vikram,on April 25,2007 after forcefully entering his chambers. The MLA was brought to the court in connection with a case of kidnapping. Shocked at his conduct,the Bench,headed by Justice B N Agarwal,remarked,“What type of a legislator are you? What standards are you setting? How can you enter the chambers of a judge in a drunken state?”

Pandey has filed an appeal challenging the punishment awarded to him by the Patna High Court for criminal contempt. “What is your sentence? Three months. We want to enhance it to at least six months. How do you expect a judge to function when someone enters his chamber?” the Bench asked. The Bench said that if a lenient view is taken in this case,some person “might enter the chamber of a Supreme Court judge too”. The apex court rejected the plea of the counsel that the legislator was not in an inebriated state,as alleged by the magistrate. “Drunken,or not,what business you had to enter a judge’s chamber?” the Bench asked.

SC judge stresses on family courts

New Delhi: Laying stress on the need for family courts at every block across the country,Justice Arijit Pasayat rued the fact that even the Capital does not have such courts. “Every home you save is a deed greater than granting Rs 100-crore-worth compensation,as you protect children from the trauma of a broken home,” said Justice Pasayat at the inauguration of the Lok Adalat on Sunday.

Talking about the role of the family courts in disposing matrimonial cases,he said it was unfortunate that only a few states have functional family courts. He added that while functioning as the chief of National Legal Services Authority,he had come across a number of cases where couples got involved in a bitter war of words,little realising the impact it had on their children.

“I have always been in favour of mediation and reconciliation methods to save homes. Children are the real victims when parents indulge in multifarious litigations against each other,” he said. “One needs to highlight the human angle. A matrimonial dispute should be adjudicated by focusing on this aspect.” ENS

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