One of the key facets of the criminal law regime is that an individual/ entity should be given a fair and transparent trial. Sections 207 and 208 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (“CrPC”) are in furtherance to the said principle, which relate to providing copies of police report and other documents to accused persons.Continue Reading Significance of Providing Un-Relied Documents to Accused: An Indicator of a Fair Trial
The powers of revision serve to provide an important avenue to an accused or the prosecution seeking to remedy any patent defect in the finding of a trial court through different stages of a criminal trial. However, a key stakeholder in a criminal trial, as has been recognized by the Supreme Court of India, from time to time is also the complainant, who may also be the victim of the alleged criminal act. It would, therefore, not be out of place to assess the role that a complainant/informant plays in revisionary proceedings before a superior court. It is this aspect that forms the subject matter of the present blog. In an effort to situate the role of a complainant in criminal revision proceedings, in the following segments, we discuss: (i) the scope and powers of a revision court; (ii) the locus standi of a complainant/informant; (iii) the circumstances whereunder a complainant/informant is permitted to intervene in revision proceedings and the extent of such intervention and (iv) nuances surrounding a revision application which has already been preferred by the State.Continue Reading Intervention in Criminal Revision Petitions by the Complainant
The craft of cross examination is often tested by the ingenuity of a trial lawyer in impeaching the credibility of a witness by extracting contradictions such that his previous testimony becomes unworthy of belief. The art of cross examination has always been deemed the surest test of truth and a better security than oath. The method lies in introducing and proving an otherwise inadmissible evidence, with a masterful knowledge of the underlying laws of evidence. At a macro level, the broad contours of impeaching the credit of a witness is contemplated under Section 155 of the Evidence Act, 1872 (the “Act”), where under inter alia proving contradictions play a formidable part. Superior courts in India have time and again emphasised on the imperativeness of proving contradictions in consonance with the procedure prescribed under Section 145 the Act. Whilst, in a large measure, Section 145 of the Act is worded to take within its fold the procedure for proving contradictions in both criminal and civil trials by an adverse party, outlined below is an attempt at non-exhaustively analysing the procedure for extracting and proving contradictions in a criminal trial.Continue Reading Explaining the Rudimentary Principles of Proving Contradictions in a Criminal Trial
The Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 (“SEBI Act”) was essentially introduced to protect the interests of investors and to regulate and promote the development of the securities market in India. As a direct consequence of this legislative intention, the SEBI Act lays down that contravention, attempt to contravene and abetment of contravention of the provisions of the SEBI Act would be punishable with imprisonment and fines of varying quantum.Continue Reading Prakash Gupta Judgment – Has the Supreme Court given more Powers to SEBI in the Matter of Compounding
An essential principle of criminal law is that the trial of an offence should take place in the presence of the accused. This principle has been embodied in Section 273 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (“CrPC”), which provides, as a general rule, that all evidence taken in the course of trial shall be taken in presence of the accused. While it cannot be denied that such a rule is mainly for the protection of the interest of the accused, CrPC has provisions allowing courts the discretion, in certain circumstances, to exempt an accused from personal appearance. However, exemption from personal appearance is not available to an accused as a matter of right; and is subject to the discretion of the Court.Continue Reading Can an accused be granted exemption from personal appearance? -Understanding Section 205 and 317 of the code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (“PC Act”), was promulgated to curb corruption in the country. In particular, the PC Act serves as a consolidated body of law to prevent corruption by public servants in India. Though the PC Act came into force in 1988, recent years have seen a marked judicial and legislative inclination towards expanding the scope of the PC Act and strengthening its provisions.
For instance, in CBI v. Ramesh Gelli in 2016, the Supreme Court found that the Managing Director and Executive Director of a private bank, operating under a licence, issued by the Reserve Bank of India, would be considered as a ‘public servant’ and thus would be liable under the PC Act. Subsequently, in 2018, the PC Act was amended by the legislature, expanding the scope of offences regarding commercial organisations carrying on business in India.
Continue Reading Expanding the Net: The Increasing Scope of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
“Under the law of nature, all men are born free, every one comes into the world with a right to his own person, which includes the liberty of moving and using it at his own will. This is what is called personal liberty and is given him by the author of nature, because necessary for his own sustenance.” – Thomas Jefferson
Personal liberty is a natural, vital and essential right of an individual, recognised as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. This entitlement is a part of the inalienable basic structure of the Constitution of India. When an individual is suspected to have committed an offence (punishable under the law for the time being in force), the machinery of law is mandated to arrest them, bring them to trial and punish them if found guilty. Arrest deprives an individual of his personal liberty, and the act of securing bail usually sets him free. The concept of bail is inextricably linked to the right to personal liberty. The entitlement to secure bail flows from the provisions of Sections 436, 437 and 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (“Code”), along with the facet of anticipatory bail, introduced thereto by the Law Commission’s 41st report.
Continue Reading Decoding the Law on Anticipatory Bail
In line with the government’s stated goal of promoting Ease of Doing Business, the Company Law Committee (CLC), set up by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), has recently submitted its report to the MCA, recommending decriminalisation of 46 compoundable offences under the Companies Act, 2013 (the Act). This list is in addition to the 16 compoundable offences already decriminalised by the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2019.
To put things into perspective, attempts to decriminalise business laws is not new to India. This process began with liberalisation of the Indian economy in 1991. The first commercial law that was decriminalised was the Imports and Exports (Control) Act, 1947. It was replaced by the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act, 1992, which decriminalised most of the offences relating to imports and exports. The most fundamental step in this direction was the replacement of draconian Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA), 1973, by Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999 which decriminalized offences relating to foreign exchange regulations.
Continue Reading Decriminalizing our Company Law – Has the Pendulum Moved Too Far?