1. "Name Mentioned In Suicide Note Must Be Probed With All The Seriousness": Punjab & Haryana High Court
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recently observed that if the person dying by suicide names some other person being responsible to force him/her to take the extreme step, his/her such statement is required to be taken up with all the seriousness.
The Bench of Justice H. S. Madaan further observed: "Why should a person leaving this mortal world by ending his life himself would blame an innocent person holding him responsible for his death, is difficult to understand."
The matter in brief: The Bench was hearing an Anticipatory Bail plea in connection with an FIR No.260 under Sections 306/34 IPC (Section 506 IPC added later on). As per the prosecution case, one Joravar died by suicide in June 2020 leaving behind a suicide note in which he had blamed the present petitioner Sudha @ Babli and her husband Yaspal for driving him to commit suicide.
On the matter being reported to the police by the son of the deceased, a formal FIR was recorded alleging that on account of the acts of the petitioner, the deceased was compelled to end his life by committing suicide. In the suicide noted, it had been mentioned that the petitioner/accused had contacted him (deceased) in the year 2018 and asked him to lend money for the purpose of construction of her house and he, after selling the crops gave a cash amount of Rs.11,50,000/- to her.
Further, it was stated therein that when he (deceased) asked Sudha and her husband to return the money, they put off the matter and ultimately threatened him and once, when he had gone to their house, then Sudha had caught him by the collar of his shirt threatening that she would get him killed.
Court's observations: At the outset, the Court noted that for a human being, his/her life is a very precious thing and that human beings are in awe of death and want to lead a long life and that people are fearful of death.
"The desire to live more by even old people is there. It is under very compelling circumstances that one ends his own life and while doing so, if the person committing suicide named some other person being responsible to force him to take the extreme step, his such statement is required to be taken up with all the seriousness," the Court further remarked.
Source: Bar & Bench
2. Right To Be Forgotten- Courts Can't Direct Redaction Of Names Of Acquitted Persons From Records In Absence Of Statutory Backing: Madras HC
The Madras High Court has refused to redact the name of a person from court records, who was acquitted of all criminal charges levelled against him, while stating that there is now law in India that contemplates such a request.
Justice N. Anand Venkatesh, while refusing to grant relief to the Petitioner who had sought enforcement of his right to privacy, observed, "This Court honestly feels that our criminal justice system is yet to reach such standards where courts can venture to pass orders for redaction of name of an accused person on certain objective criteria prescribed by rules or regulations."
It stated that the "right to be forgotten" cannot exist in the sphere of administration of justice. The only exception, it observed, is in cases of victims of rape and other sexual offences where the Supreme Court itself has directed that the identity of victims cannot be disclosed.
The Judge added, "In the absence of any statutory backing this Court cannot undertake the exercise of issuing directions when no judicially manageable standards exist in the first place. There must be a proper policy formulated in this regard by means of specific rule.
It will be more appropriate to await the enactment of the Data Protection Act and Rules thereunder, which may provide an objective criterion while dealing with the plea of redaction of names of accused persons who are acquitted from criminal proceedings. If such uniform standards are not followed across the country, the constitutional courts will be riding an unruly horse which will prove to be counterproductive to the existing system."
The "right to be forgotten" cannot exist in the sphere of administration of justice particularly in the context of judgments delivered by Court.
The Court observed that there is no law in India such as the General Data Protection Regulation for EU which includes a "right to erasure".
"In the absence of any statutory backing this Court cannot undertake the exercise of issuing directions when no judicially manageable standards exist in the first place", the Court observed.
"It will be more appropriate to await the enactment of the Data Protection Act and Rules thereunder, which may provide an objective criterion while dealing with the plea of redaction of names of accused persons who are acquitted from criminal proceedings. If such uniform standards are not followed across the country, the constitutional courts will be riding an unruly horse which will prove to be counterproductive to the existing system", the Court added.
Source: Bar & Bench
3. 'Teaching & Non-Teaching Staff Can Be Included in the Category of Frontline Workers for Vaccination': Karnataka High Court
The Karnataka High Court suggested the State Government to include teaching and non teaching staff of schools in the category of frontline workers for being provided with Covid-19 vaccine.
A Division Bench of Justice B V Nagarathna and Justice P Krishna Bhat directed the state government to place on record by next date of hearing, district wise break up of teaching and non-teaching staff of government and aided schools who have been vaccinated.
The bench orally said vaccination would be the first step before deciding upon the reopening of schools. However, it clarified that it cannot direct the state government to open schools on a certain date. It would have to be a decision taken by the state government after taking into account experts' opinion and the present situation of Covid-19 cases in the state.
The Bench while hearing the petition filed by Radha M said that, "When the cases were ebbing, they (state) conducted the SSLC, but now in some districts of the state the curve is seen to be again rising and thus a decision will have to be accordingly taken by the state government. It should not happen that schools reopen and infection spreads among children."
Earlier, the government had informed the court that a special committee was constituted for considering reopening of the schools. The recommendations made by that committee have been placed on 15/07/2021 before the State Government and a decision would be taken with regard to the reopening of the schools accordingly.
Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari appearing for the petitioner submitted that in addition to teaching staff, non-teaching staff should also be vaccinated. Even before the physical attendance of children happens, schools must be well-prepared through as much sanitization and cleaning of the school premises, orientation for teachers and staff vis-à-vis new standard operating protocols, and all safeguards necessary for when the children attend the schools physically.
Therefore, it was requested that the State may be directed to take steps, at least with respect to the preparations prior to the stage of children attending the schools physically.
Source: Bar & Bench
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