Latest blog entries - Legally India http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/latest Sun, 26 Apr 2015 11:45:30 +0530 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Section 66a: Its repeal and its after-effects http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/section-66a-its-repeal-and-its-after-effects http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/section-66a-its-repeal-and-its-after-effects INTRODUCTION:
In what is being termed as one of the most landmark judgments upholding the right to free speech in recent times, the Supreme Court in Shreya Singhal and Ors. vs Union of India, struck down Section 66A of the Information & Technology Act, 2000. The ruling which is being lauded by the common man and legal luminaries alike, found the Cyber law provision to be open-ended, vague and unconstitutional owing to the restriction it caused to the Indian citizens' right to free speech.

FLAWS IN S.66A:
The Bench primarily objected to the vague and ambiguous phrasing of S.66A that left it open to arbitrary application and misuse, in addition to the fact that S.66A was a cognizable offence, i.e. those who posted content that can be considered ‘offensive’ or ‘menacing’ could be arrested by the Police without a warrant, making this the most crucial drawback to this vaguely drafted provision. What essentially made this provision prone to inappropriate application was leaving to the discretion of police authorities, the interpretation of an overly-broad law. Therefore, the net effect of this Supreme Court ruling is the abolition of immediate arrests by the Police on vague and unclear grounds.

EFFECT OF THIS JUDGMENT ON OTHER PROVISIONS OF THE IT ACT:
While it is S.66A that has garnered maximum attention, the judgment also considered the validity of other provisions of the IT Act namely Section 69A and 79 along with the Rules made thereunder. Section 69A and the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009 authorise the Central Government to block or order an intermediary (such as Facebook, YouTube or any internet/ telecom service provider) to block access by the public of any content generated, transmitted, stored, etc. in any computer resource, if it is satisfied that such content is likely to create communal disturbance, social disorder or affect India's defence and sovereignty, etc..

The Supreme Court however did not strike these provisions down but instead upheld the constitutional validity of the Power given to the government under S.69A to block website content in certain circumstances. Further, S.79 has been ‘read down’ to mean that intermediaries shall be required to block content only in accordance with a Court Order or a notification issued to this effect by the Government or its agency. While the Supreme Court has undone the need for intermediaries to undertake self-policing and self-determination of the nature of content, it has allowed the government to direct intermediaries to disable information deemed “harmful/inciteful, etc.” on their websites/server space.

The visible paradox here is that both provisions i.e. S.66A and 69A, stipulate vague grounds on which action, albeit different in nature, can be taken against objectionable content. The lack of distinct principles to outline the ambit of S.66A gave the Police no yardstick with which to ascertain the veracity and severity of allegations made regarding content being “annoying/offensive”. If the same logic is extended to 69A, the Court has failed to explain as to how in the absence of any specific test/guidelines, an official of the government can be expected to correctly interpret whether any content is liable to disturb public order, the security and defence of India, etc. Nevertheless, while one provision (namely S.66A) has been deemed unconstitutional owing to its vague phraseology, the other (S.69A), notwithstanding its ambiguity has been retained, thus putting a question mark over the uniformity of the Court’s rationale.

The Court has founded its decision to repeal S.66A essentially on its potential to cause an obstruction to free speech. The dichotomy is that by upholding S.69A, this judgment continues to provide political/Government authorities with an avenue to “restrict free speech” by issuing an order on vague grounds to filter any published content if they do not find the same to be agreeable.

WHY WE NEED A REGULATORY MECHANISM FOR ONLINE MEDIA
That information technology has been recurrently exploited to harass or create public disorder cannot be denied. Anomalies aside, S.66A has proved to be a useful remedy, particularly in situations of sensitive nature concerning religious and communal sentiment; for instance the episode of the exodus of north-east students from Bangalore where the Police Authorities were forced to take recourse to S.66A to avoid spreading of rumours caused by inflammatory SMSes, circulated to incite violence against persons of the north eastern community. Such instances where religious and communal harmony have been disrupted by publishing/transmitting inflammatory content in the form of texts, mails, posts, etc. have to undoubtedly be deemed as “grossly offensive”. Therefore, the reasoning of the Court that S.66A acts beyond the scope of Article 19(2) seems unfounded.

S.66A provided an opportunity to genuine victims of cyber harassment to obtain immediate relief against content that may be insulting or injurious in nature, abrogation of which has now made Police authorities toothless in dealing with the growing menace of cyber bullying. No doubt S.66A could be used arbitrarily, but by doing away with the provision on account of its potential misuse, the Court has also discarded a remedial mechanism available to the common man to counter actual cyber offences.

A multi-racial, multi-cultural country like India, where free speech is susceptible to misuse on sensitive grounds of communal, political and religious bias, is not prepared for such an absolute and unrestrained right. What we need is to be able to exercise the right to speech freely but on practical and workable grounds i.e. within specific boundaries.

HOW PARALLEL SECTIONS HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO MISUSE:
The repeal of S.66A does not however result in an unrestricted right to free speech since analogous provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) will continue to apply to social media online viz. Intentionally Insulting Religion Or Religious Beliefs (S. 295A), Promoting Enmity Between Groups On Grounds Of Religion, Race Etc. (S. 153A), Defamation (S. 499), Statements conducing to Public Mischief (S. 505), Insulting The Modesty Of A Woman (S 509), Criminal Intimidation (S 506), Sedition (S124-A), etc.
S.66A required the police authorities to ascertain by themselves, the severity of the material posted and thereafter arrest the person. The biggest downside to its repeal will be for genuine recipients of such emails or messages who now have no provision at their disposal to avail prompt counteractive relief as the procedure for dealing with similar offences under the IPC is a lot more laborious. Complainants will now have to undertake the arduous task of approaching the Court first, without whose order no action can be initiated.

Now the closest alternate provisions to book offences of online media will be Section 499, 124A, 295A and 506, etc. of the IPC. Ironically, these provisions have been criticized for being misused before S.66A was even introduced.

SECTION 124-A Although Section 124(A) (Sedition) should be invoked only if there is a genuine likelihood of public disorder due to violence or incitement to violence, this provision has been regularly subjected to gross misuse by governmental agencies to suppress scathing critics: [Outlook India]

  • Seema and Vijay Azad, a journalist couple from Allahabad, were charged with Sedition and sentenced to life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 70,000 by a sessions court in Allahabad for writing about corruption and illegal mining in Uttar Pradesh
  • Arundhati Roy: for making a speech at a seminar in New Delhi about Kashmir which was termed ‘anti-India’ 
  • Piyush Sethia, an environmental activist was accused of sedition for disrupting a Republic Day ceremony in Salem in 2010 by attempting to distribute a controversial anti-mining leaflet.
  • Manoj Shinde Editor, Surat Saamna, was charged in August 2006 for using “abusive words” against Narendra Modi in an editorial alleging administrative failure in tackling the Surat flood situation 
  • Gautam Mehta Photographer, Gujarat Samachar charged in June 2008 for articles and photographs alleging links between the Police Commissioner of Ahmedabad and the underworld
  • Aseem Trivedi, a cartoonist was arrested by the Mumbai Police in 2012 on charges of Sedition after he caricatured national emblems and Parliament. The Bombay High Court in its recent judgment observed that there was a need to add safeguards to the Section on Sedition in the Indian Penal Code as it could be easily misused”. The Bench added that the cartoons, though not witty or humorous, were not seditious as they do not incite violence or public disorder. The State could not slap sedition charges on citizens for making fair criticism.’ [The Hindu March 18, 2015]

SECTION 295-A This provision that penalizes statements insulting religious beliefs, has also been randomly invoked time and again [The Telegraph Dec 5, 2012]


In 2012, rationalist Sanal Edamaruku, booked under Section 295A by Catholic organisations, was forced to flee the country for fear being arrested because he proved that a statue of Jesus Christ at a Mumbai church that was declared to be “weeping” was not a ‘miracle’ but actually a result of water leakage due to defective plumbing.
Southern actress Jaimala was charged under Section 295-A for entering the Sabarimala temple, entry to which is prohibited by women
Taslima Nasrin faced charges under this provision for her controversial book Dwikhondito,

SECTION 500:-Even Section 500 that covers defamation, has recently come under the judicial scanner with the Supreme Court intending to examine the constitutional validity of criminal defamation, which has long been in the news for having been blatantly misused by the ‘high and mighty’ to silence disagreeable opinions. The Supreme Court previously had a chance to ascertain the constitutionality of Section 499 and 500 with respect to of Article 19(2) in two cases. The court in both these cases said that the validity of Section 499 and 500 was required to be examined but deferred it for a more opportune case in the future. [The Times of India October 31, 2014]

All of the aforementioned instances depict an unfortunate but clear picture: Every law is prone to misuse. Abrogation of a provision vulnerable to misuse cannot guarantee fair implementation of the due process of law.

The Supreme Court in Namit Sharma vs Union of India (2013)1SCC745) placing reliance upon D.D. Basu’s ‘Shorter Constitution of India’ (Fourteenth Edition, 2009) observed as follows “The Court should examine the provisions of the statute in light of the provisions of the Constitution (e.g. Part III), regardless of how it is actually administered or is capable of being administered. In this regard, the Court may consider certain factors as noticed in D.D. Basu (supra) such as the fact that the possibility of abuse of a statute does not impart to it any element of invalidity.”

The Supreme Court while recently entertaining a set of PILs that challenged the constitutional validity of Sections S.66A, S.69 and S.80 of the IT Act observed that "Instances of abuse of law would be there. Merely because the ingredients of an offence are covered under an existing law, that cannot be a ground for quashing it," A bench of Justices J. Chelameshwar and S.A. Bobde on December 11, 2014 opined that “laws were "prone to abuse" and cited the example of Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, which was brought in to safeguard the interests of married women but has often led to complaints of misuse "…The Bench added that “The Parliament normally does not make laws unless flooded with complaints. We are saying this on the presumption of constitutionality. It is not that all of us sitting here in courts, including the highest court, cannot make mistakes," "Because technology changes so fast, a legislature cannot visualise what are the safeguards." [The Telegraph December 12, 2011]

A similar view was taken by the Law Commission of India in its 243rd Report 2012 on the extensive misuse of Section 498-A of the IPC wherein it was observed as under: [243rd Report of the Law Commission of India 2012]

‘That Section 498-A has been misused in many instances admits of no doubt. S.498A has a lofty social purpose and it should remain on the Statute book to intervene whenever the occasion arises. Its object and purpose cannot be stultified by overemphasizing its potentiality for abuse or misuse. Misuse by itself cannot be a ground to repeal it or to take away its teeth wholesale. The re-evaluation of Section 498-A merely on the ground of abuse is not warranted…......While the Commission is appreciative of the need to discourage unjustified and frivolous complaints and the scourge of over-implication, it is not inclined to take a view that dilutes the efficacy of s.498A to the extent of defeating its purpose especially having regard to the fact that atrocities against women are on the increase. A balanced and holistic view has to be taken on weighing the pros and cons. There is no doubt a need to address the misuse situations and arrive at a rational solution – legislative or otherwise, while maintaining the efficacy of law.”

Consequently, instead of repealing this frequently misused provision, the Supreme Court in the judgment of Arnesh Kumar (Supra), issued directions to be followed by the police authorities and Magistrates to prevent casual arrests of the accused under 498-A.

WHY THE COURT SHOULD HAVE ESTABLISHED REGULATORY GUIDELINES
The main criticism against 66A was that its terminology being overly ambiguous and broad made it susceptible to misuse. This was a malady that the Court deemed fit to remediate by resorting to the “lessor adopted” approach of abolishing the provision altogether.

Instead of removing a protective provision in its entirety, an endeavor ought to have been made by the Judiciary to give proper meaning and scope to the ambiguous terms within it, so as to bring them in the purview of Article 19 (2). The Bench could have considered the possibility of establishing specific tests to determine what would constitute an offence under S.66A along with prescribing thresholds that minimise the possibility of arbitrary application of such provision while also allowing for the effective operation of reasonable restrictions given by the Constitution.

As was pointed out by the Additional Solicitor General in this case while justifying the necessity to retain such a provision “If the medicine is bitter then we can have sugar after it instead of throwing the medicine. People have to take the medicine as it is for their benefit". [Times of India February 05, 2015]

There have been significant instances in the recent past where the Judiciary has taken upon itself the duty to issue guidelines for effective interpretation of the law if the same is found to be vague or prone to abuse:

  • The most recent example being that of Section 498-A of the IPC. In light of the extensive misuse of this anti-dowry provision, the Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar vs. State of Bihar and Ors. (2014)8SCC273 specifically defined principles and carved out parameters to be followed by the police authorities and the Magistrates while making arrests and/or authorizing detention of an accused under Section 498-A thereby providing respite from the mechanical approach of the authorities in authorising arrests and detentions on the basis of mere allegations of commission of an offence.

  • Electronic records being more inclined to being tampered and altered, the Supreme Court in Anvar P.V.v. P. K. Basheer (2014) 10 SCC 473) redefined the evidentiary admissibility of electronic evidence under Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 by enumerating comprehensive safeguards to ensure their source and authenticity.  

  • Another significant instance was where the Supreme Court defined the factors to be considered while entertaining PILs. Owing to the widespread misuse of PIL for vested interests in the guise of public interests and in the absence of any fixed principles to prevent the same, the Supreme Court compiled a set of Guidelines that provide whether a petition actually falls within the bona fide categories for which the crucial remedy of a PIL can be availed of.

CREATING A BALANCE BETWEEN GRANTING A RIGHT AND PREVENTING ITS MISUSE:

The incident that triggered the Petitioner to file this PIL was the “Palghar case’ where 2 college students were arrested after they uploaded a post on a social networking site questioning the shutdown in Mumbai following a politician’s death. Such gross abuse of the law is inevitable if analysis and interpretation of what constitutes “annoying” or “menacing” “insulting” is left to the discretion of the Police.

The Judiciary struck down the Section without appreciating that the flaw actually lies in the laws pertaining to arrest in India which continues to remain ambiguous. It was the discretion of the Police that was misused in most incidents, who due to lack of guiding principles, failed to distinguish between harmless free speech and a genuinely offensive statement. The safeguard against arbitrary and unwarranted arrests lies in sensitizing the Police on the procedure to be observed while exercising their powers to arrest in cases of this nature.

The Bench seems to have completely ignored the existence of guidelines already issued to the Police by the Central Government on the use of Sec 66-A after the infamous “Shaheen Dada case” to curtail the repetition of such instances. As per these guidelines, police officers can effect an arrest under this Section only if prior permission to do so is obtained from an officer of the rank of Inspector General of Police in metropolitan areas and Deputy Police Commissioner or Superintendent of Police, in district areas. Despite the issuance of such advisory guidelines to channelize the process of dealing with complaints under S.66A through a higher official to appropriately determine if ingredients of the offence have been made out, the Court found the Section to be vulnerable to arbitrary application.

In the event that such Guidelines were found to be insufficient, the Court could have conceptualized a detailed procedure of arrest by the Police to ensure effective application of the law. When the law lacks direction, the same should be channelized by the Judiciary based on the settled principles of due process, justice and reason read with the facts of the case, as was done by the Court for S. 498A of the IPC in the matter of Arnesh Kumar (supra). When provisions, being vague or subjective in nature cannot be acted upon, it is incumbent upon the Judiciary to lay down tests to determine whether or not the ingredients of an offence have indeed been made out along with the complexity of the offense alleged and then adjudge the matter against the standards set by the Constitution.

Likewise, the learned Additional Solicitor General in the Shreya Singhal case asked the Court to ‘read into’ S.66A each of the subject matters contained in Article 19(2) in order to save the constitutionality of the provision and even proposed an extensive list of principles that could be read into S.66A to make it workable. The Court however thought fit to rescind the entire provision without providing an alternate provision in its place, which could be applicable to online offences without the fear of it being ‘abused’. A Statute cannot be expected to anticipate every eventuality or foresee as to whether or not a provision can be subjected to misuse and arbitrary discretion of Executive authorities. But what the Court can do is to establish a framework to harmoniously permit free speech while ensuring it is not abused, also bearing in mind that misuse of discretion by executive authorities is not always avoidable.

The Judiciary in this case, neglected the fact that S.66A was brought into effect because the social media culture necessitated it since right to free speech is commonly used to undermine the rights and dignity of others. Dismissing the provision for being vague has also nullified one’s safety in the online forum. What the Judiciary should have ensured is to enlist specific directions in configuration with the moralities of the present society to prevent the misuse of electronic communications to harm the reputations and rights of others on a public platform. Terms like ‘annoyance’, ‘offensive’, ‘menacing’, being subjective by nature, cannot be bound by a precise definition but explanatory guidelines by the Judiciary from time to time would facilitate in establishing the degree of ‘annoyance’, ‘offensive’, ‘menacing’ that would deem the content to be objectionable for the purpose of this Section.

It would be have been more desirable to establish elaborate thresholds for the Court to be able to determine the parameters within which to review the liberty to exercise one’s right to free speech; for instance, its intent and context, severity or range of its impact, its probability of creating public unrest, insult, etc. The Judiciary being an independent body, free of political or commercial influences can ideally prescribe an extensive mechanism that effectively balances the right to free speech while also safeguarding the right to protect one’s privacy and reputation by appropriately countering harmful content online.

The intent and object behind the S.66A and the constant need for monitoring the harmful effects of unrestricted free speech should have been borne in mind by the Bench while also ensuring that exaggerated and frivolous allegations with vested interests are restrained. Considering the promptness and range with which information goes viral in today’s times, the Court should have taken this case as an opportunity to answer the question as to which categories and forms of freedom of expression should be reasonably restricted.

CONCLUSION:

Every law is vulnerable to exploitation. Mere prospect of abuse should not have been the ground for removing an essential provision in totality because almost every other legal provision will then be liable to be removed by the same logic. Seeing as the right to free speech in consonance with right to protect one’s dignity and reputation is a basic right, this case might have been an appropriate opportunity for the Court to propose a workable distinction between protecting rights and restricting them.

Authors: Mr. Partha Pati – (Partner) and Ms. Sanjana Sinharoy (Associate) of ABHAY NEVAGI AND ASSOCIATES


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sanjana@anevagi.com (Abhay Nevagi Associates) Technology, Media & Telecommunications Fri, 24 Apr 2015 06:07:00 +0530
Bombay High Court questions the reliability of Digital Signatures http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/bombay-high-court-questions-the-reliability-of-digital-signatures http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/bombay-high-court-questions-the-reliability-of-digital-signatures Digital Signatures, a means of validating and authenticating the integrity of the message, software or a digital document are a technique, which has been adopted and accepted by the corporate world owing to its convenience and a technique more reliable than manual verification.

In fact, Digital Signatures are being considered by the Apex Court, to sign off the Judgments and orders passed by them and uploaded on its official website. But is a Digital Signature as infallibly reliable as thought to be?

It seems the answer is no.

The Hon’ble Bombay High Court, whilst granting ad-interim reliefs in a couple of Suits before it, discovered the possible manner in which a Digital Signature could be misused and scorned at the plausible impact that such misuse of Digital Signature could cause.

The Suits in reference were filed by two companies situated in Mumbai, namely DDPL Global Infrastructure Private Limited and Unicorn Infra Projects & Estates Private Limited. A group of 4 individuals are Directors on the Board of both of these companies (the "Existing Directors").

We are a legal advisors to the Existing Directors and the company.

One fine morning, the Directors realized that the MCA portal shows the names of two unknown persons as the Directors of the Companies instead of themselves. On probing a little further, the Existing Directors fathomed the entire gamut of fraud played to oust them as the Directors of the Companies from the MCA portal.

The whole fraudulent act of removing the names of the Existing Directors from the MCA portal was initiated by fraudulently obtaining a digital signature of one of the Directors on basis of forged photo identity and address proof of the concerned Director. Using the said Digital Signature of one unknown persons name was uploaded on the MCA Portal as the Director of the Company, who then not only uploaded forms to oust the Directors and himself from the MCA portal, but also to upload requisite forms to upload the other two unknown persons as the Director of the Companies.

The Court has referred to the entire aforesaid act by the unknown persons as being “nothing short of a wholesale Corporate Hijack". The extent of threat it poses to the reputation of any corporate is unfathomable as there is room for misuse of the private key. The primary purpose behind adopting Digital Signature is to encrypt the information.

Quite contrary to serving its purpose, the present case exhibits how the digital signatures if used unwarranted, can sabotage the working of its users.

The whole case has brought to light the possible mischief that can be committed on a company by merely procuring a fraudulent Digital Signature of one of the Directors of the Company.

The other glaring issue which the Court noted was that of the access to MCA portal being permitted simply against entry of DIN numbers without any use of a now industry-standard the two-step security protocol to verify the legitimacy of the user logging in. The potential threat to any corporate, is highlighted by the present case is shuddering and requires urgent attention of the concerned authorities.

Probably nothing could conclude the whole case better than the observations of Hon’ble Mr. Justice G.S. Patel of the said case made in his Order:

"This is, to put it mildly, a most alarming state of affairs. The reasons are many. It throws into doubt the viability of using digital signature at any level that demands security, from companies to courts. It also demands a closer scrutiny of the manner in which digital signatures are issued in the first place. It appears that these are being issued willy-nilly without sufficient checks and balances and without proper verification or adherence to standard KYC norms."

By Rajani Singhania & Partners managing partner Prem Rajani and partner Ashish Parwani.


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dcosta.reena@rsplaw.in (Rajani Singhania Partners) Technology, Media & Telecommunications Thu, 23 Apr 2015 05:45:37 +0530
Madras High Court Arbitration Centre Rules http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/madras-high-court-arbitration-centre-rules http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/madras-high-court-arbitration-centre-rules Three Rules have been published by the Registrar-General of the Madras High Court in relation to the Madras High Court Arbitration Centre. These Rules are as follows: The Madras High Court Arbitration Centre (MHCAC) (Internal Management) Rules, 2014The Madras High Court Arbitration Centre (MHCAC) (Arbitration Proceedings) Rules, 2014The Madras High Court Arbitration Centre (MHCAC) (Administrative Cost and Arbitrators’ Fees) Rules, 2014
These developments are significant to arbitration in Tamil Nadu. Probably the Madras HC would go the Delhi High Court way in referring most of the disputes to the Arbitration Centre. The development is in the right direction. Readers of this blog would recollect this blawgger's article in the Economic & Political Weekly criticising the secrecy behind the nomination by the High Courts of the arbitrators in petitions under Section 11 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996.
 
This development is in the right directions since the manner of appointment of arbitrators and reference is provided in detail in these Rules.

Original author: Badrinath Srinivasan


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lawbadri@gmail.com (Practical Academic) Analysis Sat, 18 Apr 2015 11:57:00 +0530
An IDIA to Run For http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/an-idia-to-run-for http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/an-idia-to-run-for

IDIA(Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access)enthusiastically invites you to Run, Jog or Walk the Tata Consultancy Services World 10k Run [“TCS 10k”] on 17th May 2015 in Bangalore, to spread awareness and raise funds for underprivileged students to become leading lawyers and community advocates.

 

What does IDIA do?

TheIDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education) project is a non-profit, pan India movement premised on the notion that law is a powerful tool that can be leveraged by underprivileged and marginalised communities to help themselves. IDIA facilitates the access to quality legal education, provides financial assistance and mentorship guidance, ensuring IDIA Scholars receive no less than the best opportunities life has to offer.

We hope we can count you, your friends, our members, volunteers, scholars, well-wishers and members of the public to join us at the start line of the Namma Run in Bengaluru, and help us deliver a dream!

 

Registration is open!!!

IDIA will shortly be registered as a listed NGO on the India Cares Foundation website. Do write to us after completing the registration process, or if you have any further questions. As a donor, your name will be placed on all material that publicises the event. All participants will receive an IDIA T-shirt before the race. Please watch this space for more information on the event.

For more information about the run,please visit: http://tcsworld10k.procamrunning.in/

Original author: Jiti Nichani


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kranti@idialaw.com (IDIA Law) Student life Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:47:34 +0530
IDIA Scholar shines at Vis East http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/idia-scholar-shines-at-vis-east http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/idia-scholar-shines-at-vis-east

The following post was written by IDIA scholar Shivam. He is a student of NUJS, Kolkata and his team recently reached the semifinals of the prestigious Vis East Moot Court Competition.

shivam-sharan

It was 19th September 2014, when the result for moot internals at NUJS was released and I was selected to go for the 12th Willem C. Vis (East) ICA Moot. A total number of 108 law schools from all over the world participated in the 12th edition in which the NUJS team featured in top four teams.

The moot proposition was released during the October vacation, and started preparing for it immediately. Working for the moot itself was an enjoyable experience as the problem was very practical; it was a perfect blend of arbitration and commercial law. In this year’s edition of the problem, the procedural aspect of the dispute is based on the Arbitration Rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), while the substance of the dispute centers around the interpretation and application of the Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG).

The oral rounds were more interesting, as we had to plead in front of practicing arbitrators from different countries and jurisdiction (common law and civil law). I learnt new things in every single rough right down to the semifinals. En-route we faced touch challenge from teams from New York University, Florida University, Chicago University and the likes

Apart from the moot there were a number of fancy dinners, parties and ferry rides. One of the most interesting part was that we met a lot of people, both participating teams and arbitrators, and I enjoyed explaining to them about the legal system in India and the law relating to arbitration. It was a six month process altogether, but I should say it was a very challenging experience, as it taught us a lot.

At last, I would like to thank Shamnad Sir and the whole IDIA family for being so supportive, this would not have been possible without your help. Had it not been the relentless support of the IDIA family, financial or otherwise, I would have never been able to participate in such competitions.

Original author: Diwakar Kishore


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kranti@idialaw.com (IDIA Law) Student life Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:15:29 +0530
The National Roaming Tariffs Set to Reduce by Virtue of the TRAI’s Tariff Order http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/the-national-roaming-tariffs-set-to-reduce-by-virtue-of-the-trai-s-tariff-order http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/the-national-roaming-tariffs-set-to-reduce-by-virtue-of-the-trai-s-tariff-order

In a step towards implementing the One Nation – Free Roaming objective of the National Telecom Policy, 2012, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (“TRAI”) issued the Telecommunication Tariff (Sixtieth Amendment) Order, 2015 (3 of 2015) vide Press Release No. 26/2015 dated April 9, 2015 (“60th Tariff Order”), reducing ceiling tariffs for national roaming calls and SMSes. The TRAI also made it mandatory for the telecom service providers (“TSPs”) to offer a special roaming tariff plan. The 60th Tariff Order would be implemented with effect from May 1, 2015.

TRAI has specifically laid down in the 60th Tariff Order that a special roaming tariff plan would mean a plan to be offered by the TSPs, where the subscriber would not be charged for an incoming voice call on national roaming upon payment of a fixed charge, if any. Such plan, although currently offered by certain TSPs, would mandatorily have to be offered by all the TSPs to both its pre-paid and post-paid subscribers.

Further, with regard to the revision in the ceilings for voice calls and SMSes, the TRAI has fixed the limits on the tariff chargeable by TSPs. The following table sets-out the comparison between the existing and the revised tariff ceilings for various heads:-

ItemExisting Ceiling

(in INR)

Revised Ceiling (w.e.f. May 1, 2015)

(in INR)

Outgoing local voice call while on national roaming1.00 per minute0.80 per minute
Outgoing long distance (inter-circle) voice call while on national roaming1.50 per minute1.15 per minute
Incoming voice call while on national roaming0.75 per minute0.45 per minute
Outgoing local Short Message Services (SMS) while on national roaming1.00 per SMS0.25 per SMS
Outgoing long distance (inter-circle) Short Message Services (SMS) while on national roaming1.50 per SMS0.38 per SMS

The TRAI is of the view that all subscribers would be benefited from the reduced tariff ceilings. TRAI expects competitive pricing among the TSPs within the ceiling levels and would be monitoring the implementation of this regime.

Original author: Arjun Uppal


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mohdsalmanwaris@gmail.com (LocalLoop) Technology, Media & Telecommunications Wed, 15 Apr 2015 11:22:46 +0530
Regular Consultations between the Telecom Department and Operators http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/regular-consultations-between-the-telecom-department-and-operators http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/regular-consultations-between-the-telecom-department-and-operators

In what is being seen as an attempt by the Department of Telecommunications (“DoT”) to mend its relationship with the telecom. operators, which has gone sour over spectrum pricing, quantity and call rates and the airwave auctions the DoT has decided to hold consultations between the Telecom Secretary and executives of the telecom operators on a regular basis.

As readers may be aware from our previous posts the Government garnered approximately INR 1.09 lakh crore from the spectrum auctions that were conducted last month, by selling approximately 89% of the total spectrum put for auction at a premium of about 68%. Infact certain press reports indicate that an amount of around INR 28,872 crore, has been paid by the telecom operators to the Government upfront.

The telecom players apparently have been unhappy with the hefty amounts they had to pay  for buying back airwaves and are of the opinion that this high price for the airwaves would result in lower amount available for network upgradation.

The DoT expressed its willingness to hear all the grievances of the industry and take steps to address them. For the initial meetings with the industry, the DoT’s agenda covers a road map on spectrum trading and sharing, spectrum availability and the plan about the quantum of spectrum to be auctioned for different bands.

Further, as per latest media reports, it appears that the Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad may also hold separate discussions with industry leaders, addressing the issues faced by the industry.

The Government has been of the view that the spectrum auctions would not result in a rise in the telecom tariffs and that the auction allows for consolidation, since it would lead to the survival of the fittest.

Original author: salmanwaris


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mohdsalmanwaris@gmail.com (LocalLoop) Technology, Media & Telecommunications Tue, 14 Apr 2015 17:46:21 +0530
IDIA Scholar gets placed: Our First. http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/idia-scholar-gets-placed-our-first http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/idia-scholar-gets-placed-our-first

ArindamEdited

Arindam Bhattacharjee, an IDIA Scholar from our first batch, is presently in his 4th year at NLIU, Bhopal, and has just secured a job at Khaitan & Co., one of India’s premier law firms!

We asked him to share his thoughts on his commendable achievement and his journey over the last 5 years. His post follows.

 

4th April, 2015 was a memorable day in my life. On this day I secured a job at Khaitan & Co. and fulfilled my aspirations of having a better life for me and my family. The result of the placement process was beyond my wildest imagination. While on zero-day I secured a job at Khaitan & Co., one of the best law firms in the country, I had also been offered jobs by two other prominent institutions. My immediate reaction was one of awe, disbelief and eventually relief!

The whole journey started when I accidentally came across the CLAT brochure and took an instinctive decision to give CLAT. With the help and guidance of IDIA, I cracked CLAT with a rank of AIR 343. I got admission in National Law Institute University, Bhopal. Since then the journey has been memorable. During my life in law school, I always remained focused on maintaining a good academic record. I interned with prestigious organisations like Samvad Partners, JSA, Crawford Bailey & Co. and the Chamber of Protik Prokash Banerji. All these internships were great learning experiences and helped me in growing academically and as a person. I was also involved actively in student activities like NLIU Law Review, Placement Coordination Committee, Alumni Cell. I also took part in co-curricular activities like Moot, ADR, Client Counseling competitions. Recently I participated in the 7th Symbiosis B. Krishna Memorial National IPR Moot Court Competition held at Symbiosis Law School, Pune.

During this entire journey IDIA has been a constant companion and has helped me by providing me with career counseling, internships and preparing me for job interviews. I really believe in the goal of IDIA and remain committed to the cause of IDIA, looking forward to helping other IDIA Scholars like me in their pursuit of success.

Original author: Arindam Bhattacharjee, IDIA Scholar, NLIU Bhopal


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kranti@idialaw.com (IDIA Law) Student life Wed, 08 Apr 2015 01:07:00 +0530
My First Year at Law School http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/my-first-year-at-law-school http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/my-first-year-at-law-school The circus of joining a law school began on May 31st, 2014. After thousands of refresh commands and 404 errors, the page appeared with my name and Tier-2 quality CLAT rank. A night of tears led to a month of bewilderment. After countless trips across India, it seemed that a certain city in the state popularly known for its mustard fields was going to be my home for five years, or at least an year since my plans then included going through the month long post-CLAT mayhem again in 2015.

I was settling down well when another law school from the land of kebabs seemed to develop a late liking towards me and offered me the chance to switch my home. Hesitation prevailed, but eventually, after careful consideration, I decided to hit the refresh button again, and boom, I was again at a new place.

Arriving at this new place, I had been told that I was lucky to have missed the 'ragging' season. Settling down here though took it's time, as it could eventually be seen in my term marksheet where the Attendance category did not contain very pleasing scores. I had missed most of the 'committee' inductions as well, thus again pushing me further on the back foot. 

But then, something of my interest popped up. The Debating Grand Intras catered well to my interest of public speaking, and teaming up along with two equally enthusiastic fellow newbies, something good came out of it. The Freshers' Moot ensured that I would be garnering the experience of participating in a moot court competition in my first year itself. From there on, there was no stopping. Be it the Parliamentary Debate in one of the most prestigious colleges of Delhi University, or the moot in one of the fast rising colleges in MPL, I was never left idle. There was and is a time when exams and projects start raising the heat, putting all the extra-curricular activities on a halt. A computer and fat-book fatigue is one of the major resultants when your projects and examinations get over respectively.

Meeting people from various backgrounds has been the highlight of the year. My life now goes beyond the certain metropolis I was staying in, though I still cannot stop bragging and loving that city. But new people give rise to new experiences, and the ones who keep learning from everything around them are the ones who go on to change the world. This includes chilling your soft drinks in a bucketful of chilled water.

Eventually, I had been so involved in the activities at law school that I realised that it would be fruitless to repeat it again in a new college which would be at best only marginally better. I didn't want to sacrifice the activities at hand, and the uncertainty of getting into a so-called 'better' college hit me. I realised that I didn't need to hit the refresh button again, I could continue with the script that I was writing. The CLAT plan was dropped.

I'm close to completing the first chapter of five in the College phase of my life story. Sleepless nights are close again, and frankly its astonishing how quickly this chapter got over. However, there have been enough learnings and realisations to understand that this chapter, unlike most masala Bollywood films, has sufficient and quality content. The biggest realisation though has been towards the degree of truthfulness of what my father told me during the post-CLAT mayhem -

"What might not be best for everyone might be best for you". Maybe, the Awadh capital is the best place for me. 


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singh.pushkar1996@gmail.com (munoctopus) Student life Tue, 07 Apr 2015 23:25:00 +0530
Live blog: 1st NUSRL National Trial Advocacy Competition, 2015 http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/1st-nusrl-national-trial-advocacy-competition-2015 http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/1st-nusrl-national-trial-advocacy-competition-2015

               b2ap3_thumbnail_DSCN4142.JPG

National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi, within five years of its inception proudly presents its maiden flagship event i.e., 1st NUSRL National Trial Advocacy Competition, 2015 which shall bear witness to the participation of 18 teams from across the country.

Participating Universities:

  1.   Amity Law School, Delhi
  2.   College of Legal Studies (CoLS) UPES, Dehradun
  3.   Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Vishakhapatnam
  4.   Five Year Law College, University of Rajasthan
  5.   Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar
  6.   Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur
  7.   KLE, Bangalore
  8.   Law Center 1, Faculty of Law, Delhi University
  9.   M. S. Ramaiah College of Law, Bengaluru
  10.   NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad
  11.   National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam (Guwahati)
  12.   National Law University, Odisha (Cuttack)
  13.   National University of Advanced Legal Study, Kochi
  14.   Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala
  15.   School of Law, Christ University, Bengaluru
  16.   School of Law, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar
  17.   Symbiosis Law School, Pune
  18.   University School of Law and Legal Studies, GGSIU, New Delhi

A Trial Advocacy Competition is similar to a sessions trial. It focuses on improving one’s litigating skills through fundamental methods like strategic planning, witness examination, delivering of opening statements and closing arguments. In short, it gives a true court room experience, which is beneficial for law students.

The problem hence set forth, is based on General Principles of Criminal Law. The facts and circumstances leading to murder of a person, the FIR thus filed and the various testimonies and accounts are the subject of scrutiny. Essentially, the diverse setting of a Criminal Trial has been set, and the teams shall now begin!

The competition is a four day event scheduled from 2nd – 5th April, 2015.  The event shall begin on April 2nd, 2015 with a grand opening ceremony followed by the Orientation and Draw of lots by 4 PM. The competition aims at testing the participants on the intricacies of a Criminal Trial. The Preliminary Rounds shall be held on April 3rd, 2015. Top four teams shall qualify for the Semi-Final Rounds, which shall be announced on the same day. The Semi Final Rounds shall be held on April 4th, 2015. The Final Rounds shall be held on April 5th, 2015. All rounds shall be Knock-out Rounds; that is going to make this a skin shaking and ferociously competitive parley.

As an institution of excellence reiterating our vow to quality, passion, dynamism, innovation and brilliance, we are proud to host this competition as it is going to be one of its kind. Therefore, it shall be our utmost duty to put in sincere effort in aggrandizing the overall experience of the competition and the hospitality for the participants thus striving to make this event a magnificent one!

Since this live blog is going to give you all the updates starting from 4 PM tomorrow!

STAY TUNED!

 

 

Day 1: Inaugural Ceremony 

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Good Evening Folks, we are here in the inaugural ceremony.

05:30 pm- The dignitaries are escorted to the desk. Lighting of Lamps marked the commencement of the ceremony. It is subsequently followed by Vande mataram song by the students of NUSRL, Ranchi.

05:35 pm- Mr. Kaushik Bagchi, Chairperson MCC, is addressing the august gathering and welcomes the Chief Guest, Guest of Honour. Speaking about trial advocacy, he explained the intricacies involved in it. He finally wished all the participants all the best for the competition.

05:45 pm- Prof. B. C. Nirmal, Vice Chancellor address the people present. Listing out the important qualities of a good judge, he recalls the historic anecdotes of Socrates. He also focuses upon the importance of honesty, integrity and rightfulness in the profession related to law.

05:07 pm- Next to the podium is the Chief Guest, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Amareshwar Sahay, Lokayukta, Jharkhand. He recognizes the importance of moot court competitions and exhaustive research.  Wishing the competition a great success, he asks the organizers to consider the theme of corruption & white-collar crimes in next editions.

06:15 pm- Hon’ble Mr. Jutice N. N. Tiwary, Guest of Honour graces the gathering with his presence. A student of the host University is delivering the speech on his behalf explaining the procedure of criminal trial.

06:32 pm- Hon’ble Vice- Chancellor, NUSRL Ranchi declares the ceremony open & announces the names of all the  participating universities & extends them a warm welcome.

06:45 pm- NUSRL Ranchi showcases the life at campus & glimpses of preparation of the event.

06:53 pm- The atmosphere lightens up with the students of the University, depicting the cultural folklore of Ranchi in the form of a dance performance. 

06:57 pm- Pritish Mishra, Student Co-ordinator, MCC NUSRL, presents the achievements of our University so far, in a slideshow presentation.

07:00 pm- Mr. Rajesh Kumar, Assisstant Registrar (In- Charge) delivers the vote of thanks. Acknowledges the contribution of dignitaries and the sponsors.

07:13 pm- Draw of lots to begin in a short while

07:32 pm- Draw of lots just got concluded. We wish you all the best, teams! Have a good night’s preparation.

 

We will be back tomorrow at 9 AM for the prelims.

 

Day - 2: Preliminary Round(s)

A very Good Morning to all out there!

09:15 am- The moment is here, All the teams are here in the academic block, waiting to proceed to their respective Court Rooms. The session will start at 9.30 am. "We wish you luck guys"

The Court rooms are filled buzz with preparations! The mooters are in place, briefing their witness. The Judges haven't arrived yet.

09:25 am- The Judges have arrived and teams are in their respective Court Rooms. 

 

COURT ROOM 1 -  "HNLU" (Prosecution) Vs. "FYLC, University of Rajasthan" (Defense) 

09:35am - The court setting is thus in place, the teams on the sides of Prosecution and the defense are shuffling through there papers and seem prepared to deliver their best. The teams shall now begin.

9.38 The Speaker 1 on behalf of the Prosecution has now taken to the podium. The Counsel introduces the co-counsels and pleads to begin with his opening statement.

9.40 The Judges nod in agreement as the Speaker 1 from HNLU sets out the Facts. The Counsel puts forward the argument that the framing of charges in the present matter is not rightly set, as there was no disturbance to the peace and tranquillity.

9.42 The Counsel proceeds to seek the permission of the bench to the fact that the persons so concerned in the matter were dealer's in illegal arms trade. The Speaker now rests his Opening statement.

9.44 The Judges however pose a question as to the Jurisdiction of the present court, which the Speaker 1 has satisfactorily deflected.

9.46 The Counsel for defense has now taken to the podium. He begins with his opening statement. He moves on from the facts, and tries to establish the onerous charges that the present court is to entertain.

9.50 The Speaker 1 from the side of the prosecution has once again taken to the podium. He seeks the permission of the bench to proceed with the cross examination. The bench has granted the permission.

9.51 The PW.1 has been granted the oath and has identified herself as the brother of the Deceased. The judges are dictating the details of the witness, being recorded by the court stenographer. The Counsel for the prosecution is now proceeding with his questions.

9.53 The witness has been asked to narrate the statements, as given to the Police, at the time of the FIR in brief.

9.57 The counsel for the Prosecution puts forth questions as to whether PW1 saw the shooter, The distance between the racing bikes etc.

9.58 The Judges proceed with queries and subject the witness to certain other questions. (Dictation to the Steno)

9.59: The Speaker 1 from the side of prosecution is now cross examining the witness by asking questions as to whether the witness saw any faces, and reasons, if any due to which there was a failure in recognising the person.

10.05: The Judges question as to whether the Statement thus made will be recorded under S.154 or S.161 of the CrPC.

10.10: The Counsel on behalf of the defense has now come to the Podium, and with the permission of the Court proceeds with his cross examination.

10.11 The counsel raised the question as to whether the witness saw the shooter, and when the brother of the witness was shot in the back, how was it that the witness saw the hands of the shooter as has been mentioned in the statement. However, the judges discourage this line of questioning as the counsel on behalf of the defense goes on to make arguments, leading the statement as made by the PW1.

10.15 The Speaker 1 from the side of defense takes his leave.

10.16 The Speaker 1 from the side of Prosecution has now come to the stand. He requests the permission to call PW2. The PW2 is being administered the oath.

10.22 - The Counsel for the Prosecution proceeds with his questioning. and brings to the notice of the court the fact that the brother of the deceased took to begging the PW2 for help after the accident.

10.23 - The Speaker 1 from the side of the defense is now subjecting the PW2 to cross questioning.

10.28 - The Speaker 1 from the side of the defense, has taken to putting the PW2 through ample number of question's. Inorder to discredit the witness, his educational qalifications and his general understanding is put to scrutiny. The Prosecution objects to thsi line of que as argumentative.

10.30 - The PW3 is now called upon. The Counsel puts forth the questions with the due permission of the Bench.

10.39 - The PW3 describes the process of panchanama at the behest of the counsel for prosecution. He goes on to describe how the witnesses were taken to the crime scene and the vlood samples were collected.

10.44 - The Counsel on behalf of the defense (Speaker 1) has now come to the stand.

10.51 - The PW4 is now being called to the Witness box. The PW3 is the Medical Expert in the present matter.

10.53 - W4 proceeds to elaborate on the autopsy conducted. There was visible injuries on the right side of the face and hands. Also, the judges note that the cause of the death was due a gun-shot injury. The Counsel for the prosecution impleads the witness to elaboarte the exact nature of the injuries, in support of which the Counsel attaches an annexure.

10.57 - The Counsel on behalf of the prosecution brings to the attention of the bench the fact that it was a dangerous wound, which was liable to bring about the death.

11.05 - The Court masters have alerted the Court that the time is up. However, with the permission of the bench the Counsel for the defense proceeds with his case.

11.06 - The PW4 ( Medical expert) is answered a few technicall questions, which she fails to answer. The Counsel for the Defense is successfully discrediting the testimony of the Witness.

11.08 - The nature of Injuries are being re-iterated. The counsel for the defense now puts the question as to whether there was any clotting of blood.

11:13 - The damage to the lungs and the diaphragm due to the gun shot wound are being dealt on. The Counsel for defense ( Speaker 1) successfully points out the loop-holes in the Medical expert's testimony. The Question lingering right now is the "Weight of the Liver", and well the wit on part of the Speaker 1 leaves the judges mesmerised.

11:17 - We have now moved on to the question of damages to the spinal cord. The Counsel for the defense has taken to ripping the autopsy report of PW4 point by point and has quite successfully done so.

11.22 - With the due permission of the court, the Counsel for the prosecution takes to the stand for 30 seconds and tries to salvage the testimony of the M.E.

11.25 - The PW5 is now brought to the stand. The Witness is the Ballistic expert on behalf of the Prosecution.

11.27 - The captivating charm of a sessions-trial is underway. The process of cross-examination by both the prosecution and the defense has set n aura of a mock-trial being successfully conducted. The witnesses and their testimonies keep both the side on their toes.

11:36 - The counsel for the prosecution takes the leave of the court. The counsel for the defense is back with a list of questions, to try and shake the testimony of the B.E.

11:48 It has been an intense session of Cross-examination in CR-1.The speakers from both the sides have put up good fronts and have tried their best to establish the case from their sides.

11.50 The PW 6 is now brought to the stand. He is the Sub-inspector of the police station at Tanke. The PW6 is asked by the bench to state his father's name, to which he replies "Mr. Shekhawat only". Well, from one end to the other, for once, every person in the court is sharing a smile. 11.53 The judges are dictating the Steno. 11.55 The PW6 elaborates that the blood samples were collected from several spots at the crime scene. It was taken from the road, the seat of the motorbike, the tail light etc.

12:02 The Counsel for the prosecution has now taken to bring to the attention of the court, the primary reasons due to which the present defendants have been charged with conspiracy and murder. The PW6 elaborates on how the investigation and research was undertaken by them and then the present defendant was implicated.

12:21 The Speaker 1 from the side of Defense keeps the witness (Sub-inspector) at his toes and showers a plethora of questions pertaining to the Investigation report.

12:26 The PW6 is being subjected to an intense cross-examination by the Defense counsel. The Judges are losing patience with the line of questioning, it seems. (One of them takes to their phone).

12:41 - The PW7's examination is now underway. The air of excitement in the Court room has died down to some extent. The Trial has been a long-drawn one.

12:58 - The Speaker 2 from the side of the defense has now taken to the stand. The DW1 has now been called to the stands and is being administered the oath.

1:04- The speaker 2 from the side of the Prosecution has now taken to finding the loopholes in the statements of the DW1.

1:15 The judges seem to be pondering over the accounts of DW2 as has been called to give her statement. The Speaker 2 from the side of defense has very calmly led her with the questions and brought on record the testimony of the accused's son.

1.27 The Speaker 2 from the side of the prosecution has taken to badgering the defense witness.

1.38 DW3 has now been called to the stand. The Speaker 2 from the side of defense has started posing questions and judges are referring to the materials hence submitted by the counsel.

1.50 The Speaker 2 from the side of the Prosecution quite vehemently shreds away the statements as made by the DW3. He successfully didcredits the accountability of the witness.

1.51 The DW4, the last witness to be called for the Cross-examination has now been brought to the stand. The Speaker 2 from the side of the defense now begins with the perusal of facts in hand.

1.55 The Speaker 2 after seeking the permission of the Bench, starts his line of questioning, and set out at the behest of the witness's statement that the arrest was made at 12 noon.

2.12 After the extensive Cross-Examination that has gone in for more that 4 hours, the Counsel from the side of the Prosecution submits the Closing Statement.

2:17 The Prosecution stresses on the observations of the investigating officer as a witness. 2:19 The Speaker 1 from the side of Prosecution puts forward the various entries made at the bar as a significant evidence to be noted by the Court.

2:22 pm The Counsel for the Prosecution questions the validity of the defence witness to which the judge has a keen hearing.

2:23 pm The Prosecution submits its prayer.

2:25 pm The Counsel 1 from the side of the defence goes for its rebuttal of the closing statement by the Prosecution.

2:28 The Counsel for the defense wraps it up in a compact show of legal acumen to which the judge concedes that there is merit in the submissions.

2:29 With that, the grueling fight of these five hours comes to an end.

2:32 pm The participants and the judge have a feedback session with regards to the submissions they have put in. Well, the Judge applauds the participants on their efforts and with that the tense five hours end with a note of appreciation.

This Marks the END of the Session

 

COURT ROOM 2 -  "LC - I, Faculty of Law, DU" (Prosecution) Vs. "DSNLU" (Defense)

9:33 - Good morning people! The proceedings in Courtroom here have just begun with the arrival of the Hon’ble Judges. The counsel for prosecution has begun their case by briefing the facts of the case. The judges nod with an expression of understanding. Who is to know what all this courtroom awaits on this date.

9:37 - The Witness 1 has been called by the counsel for prosecution who seems calm and composed, showing no sign of fear on the face.

9: 39 - The counsel is confidently asking the facts pertaining to the subject matter, to the Witness.

9:42 - Counsel asks Witness about the Ajay Shakhia and other people involved in the case and the Witness nods and is answering in affirmative.

9:44 - Counsel on behalf of defense is now addressing the court.

9:48 - Counsel denies all the statements made by the prosecution and the veracity of the Witness and asks for the Cross examination of the Witness

9:52 - The judges are summarizing their findings to the stenographer.

9:55 - Judges are having an intense discussion among themselves about the case and meanwhile there is pin drop silence in the courtroom.

10: 02 - Prosecution is asking the physical details of the accused to the Witness. This is the particular word used by him. Prosecution is asking to Witness whether her vehicle had the light and Witness answer it OBVIOUSLY with a big smile

10: 06 - It seems that council is haven't slept the whole night and now badly wants to take rest. Counsel 1 for prosecution is again before the Dias for Witness examination. Witness 2 is before the court now.

10:10 - Counsel presents the annexure before the court

10:11 - Counsel prays the judges to notify the statement of the Witness 2 that it was very dark at that particular night

10:13 - Now the counsel for defense comes forward for cross examination.

10: 19 - Judges are smiling, listening to the questions of the counsel for defense.               .

The cross examination of Witness 2 has completed

10: 20 - Witness 3 now before the court. Counsel of prosecution is examining the Witness

10:22 - Counsel is asking about the bullet to the Witness and it seems that Witness is much confident about his statements

10: 24 - Counsel for prosecution is putting pressure on the Witness as to whether he found anything else but surprisingly judge interrupted him in between as counsel is not allowed to examine in this manner

10: 26 - Now its again the time for cross examination and defense counsel asking questions very smoothly that even the judges could not hear the same

10: 28 - Witness 4 is now before the court.

10: 29 - Counsel asks Witness about the blood stains and arguing before the court that the bullet was fired from short range and this caused the death of the diseased.

10: 34 - defense counsel is cross examining the Witness and the counsel is continuously objecting the opposite counsel for the questions asked by him

10:39 - Judge allowed the counsel for defense to carry on with his queries to the Witness

10:44 - It’s all silence in the courtroom as judges are going through the authorities submitted by the parties

10:50 - The counsel for prosecution prays the judges to again ask the Witness No. 4 some questions for refreshing the memory the Witness and the same was allowed as per the provision. The counsel ask Witness about the body organs of the deceased which was damaged during the bullet shot

10:54 - Witness No. 5 is before the Court

Prosecution counsel asks the Witness about the direction of the gun shot. The Witness No. 5 is a doctor and defense counsel asks him that whether the bullet which has been found was shot from the gun which is before the court. The Witness seems somewhat confused that answers that probably it may be!

11: 05 - the defense counsel put one more question as to the time period of the firing but the opposite counsel objects that its not possible to find out the same

11:06 - Witness 6 in the court room

Witness No.6 is the investigating officer

The counsel for prosecution asks the Witness about the findings at the place of accident

The Witness tells the court that 2 guns was seized from the 2 accused and the counsel prays the judges to note the same

The proceedings in Court Room are running smoothly, almost buttery. Both the counsels are trying hard to protect their clients.

11: 13 - the defense counsel objects about the queries made by the opposite counsel

11: 14 - the prosecution counsel asks the Witness that whether, after the findings of the case, there was sufficient grounds to proceed in the investigation ?

11:17 - defense counsel comes forward for cross examination

The most important finding by the defense counsel that no seizure memo was prepared by the Witness 6 which plays an important role in the trial. judges are much convinced by this finding. now, the counsel seems much confident .

The defense court blames the Witness that Witness 6 is introducing new facts but the prosecution counsel objects that these are the undisputed facts!

Counsel in place of Court

11:25- the judge asks the witness the difference between metro bar and PH2! The witness couldn't answer the same ; and the cross examination of witness 6 gets complete here.

11:33- discussion between the judges now gets complete

11:34- witness 7 before the court. The counsel for prosecution asks him about how the recognized the accused.

Examination was pretty short and now the defense counsel comes for the cross examination.

looking more confident than earlier examination, the counsel continuously asking the questions to witness and witness looks quite dumb and counsel continuously praying the judged to note each statement of the witness and hence, his purpose for cross examination successfully comes to an end.

11:40- the defense counsel 2 now before the court for cross examination

the judges are enlightening the counsel for the mistakes done by their team in the written arguments . A huge smile on the face of judges. It seems it will help the counsel to proceed smoothly.

11: 47- another witness before the court. Prosecution Counsel 2 is now on dais.

The counsel asks the witness about the time limit within which the autopsy should be done! The defense counsel objects for the question and judges to interrupt the counsel for the same.

11:53- Here comes the accused Ajay Shakhia! Prosecution counsel 2 is now examining the accused The accused tells the counsel that he went outside to take tea as he was not feeling better! The counsel asked accused as what was he doing on 1st Jan? "OBVIOUSLY I WAS CELEBRATING NEW YEAR!!"; comes the smart reply. But the counsel was even smarter than the accused as his next question was that why the accused did not celebrate the New Year on 31st Jan. The counsel is claiming that the accused is concoting the facts to hide his actions from getting revealed. Another accused Raman Bhalla before the court!

The prosecution counsel asks her about where she was on 1st Jan. The accused answered that the facts are not clear about the same. (smart indeed). At this answer the defense team gave silencing gesture accompanied by a "Shhhh! The judges grilled the team that such behavior is not allowed.

12:11 For above brief, the judges ask the Bhalla as where was he at the time when Ajay Shakia went out for 40 minutes. He explains his case with much patience and calmness. This happens to be the ending of the proceedings of this courtroom.

This Marks the END of the Proceedings.

 

COURT ROOM 3 -  "NLUJA, Assam" (Prosecution)  Vs. "School of Law, Christ University" (Defense)

9:35am- And we're in Courtroom Number 3, where we have the first preliminary round face- off between both the teams. The judges have arrived and have taken their seats. The witnesses are asked to leave the courtroom after being briefed. All set to go!

9:37am: The counsel for the prosecution starts off with the basic details and the opening statements explaining the jurisdiction of the court, the forum through which the prosecution has arrived. He is dealing with the facts of the case. The judges are listening intently to the facts. The counsel seeks extra time for the opening statement, which has been duly granted. The counsel concludes the opening statement.

9:42am: The counsel for the defense starts off and in the first instant itself challenges the jurisdiction invoked by the prosecution counsel. ‘’Did he draw the FIRST BLOOD?’’ The counsel explains the charge under various Acts on his client and denies the charges put on his client. The counsel finishes with his opening statement. The judges seemed satisfied with the opening statement of the defense counsel.

9:47am: The counsel for the prosecution starts the trial with the witness examination. The counsel seeks permission to perform chief examination of the PW1, who stands in the witness box. Permission granted. The judges look to the written statement of PW1 to confirm the validity of the PW1. The counsel asks PW1 for details of the incident and asks the judges to focus on specific points.

9:52am: The defense counsel performs cross examination and the grilling begins. The counsel is standing right beside the witness box, and let me tell you this can be very intimidating. The counsel is still in very humble overtone. The judges take note of the cross examination. The witness, PW1, seems calm and composed as of now. The counsel continues with his questions to the PW1. There has been an interruption as some information is being provided to the judges by the organisers. The time allotted gets over and the counsel seeks few more minutes for a couple of question and is now contradicting the PW1's statement. The examination of PW1 is done and the next prosecution witness is brought to the witness box. Meanwhile, we see the photographers clicking pictures of the courtroom.

10:05am: The prosecution is examining PW2. The defense counsel takes over. The cross examination begins and he is questioned on his profession and details of the facts of the case. The examination arena is now being brought to the crime scene. The witness seems to have not remembered his role quite well. This could be a weak link in the prosecution's armour.

The prosecution counsel counters and comes in favour of his witness. The defense counsel continues after being moderated by the judges as to what line of questions should he prohibit from asking the witnesses.

And the GRILLING continues...

*The defense counsel completes his cross examination and the judges take over the charge with the questions. They ask him with the details of his signatures and points out to the stenographer to jot the point.

10:18am: The next witness is brought to the box. She identifies herself to the court and narrates her story with the case. The defense counsel takes over. The CROSS begins. She is against lot of questions, and she seems well prepared for the same. The prosecution seems satisfied with their witness. The judges notify the steno to add some more notes. The defense tries to contradict the written statements, but the counsel manages a narrow escape. PHEW! The defense is done with the cross and the judges have some queries to make. Finally! The counsel rests.

10:28 am: Next to the box is the Medical Expert, PW4. She clarifies all queries with help from her medical report. The CHIEF examination is done. The CROSS starts. She is grilled on her practice duration of not being eligible for providing the medical report. She is asked to identify the various bones of the human body and OH NO, she falters... Cheeky Laughs in the courtroom. The first light moments shared. She informs the court of the major reasons for the injury and the death of the deceased. The stenographer is provided with information by the judges. The judges clarify their doubts as to the cause of the death. PW4 leaves. And call for PW5 goes around. The court master is smooth in her duties.

10:40 am: PW5, ballistic expert is brought to the witness box. The CHIEF is performed by the prosecution. She is provided with her reports and she clears the doubts. The defense object to the line of questioning, the judges allow. 3 MINUTES left! CHIEF examination begins. She is grilled with the basic ideas of bullets, cartridges. She tries her best to satisfy the defense, but isn't very convincing.Oh DEAR! That is too much technical knowledge to ask a law student who is playing a ballistic expert. The CROSS examination is done.

10:53 am: PW6, Sub Inspector, Police comes upto the witness box. She narrates the incidents on the eve of crime and justifies her action of arresting two accused in response of the crime. The CROSS examination begins. She is asked details of her rank. RANDOM QUESTIONS! She replies to the questions regarding her submission of FIR to the magistrate, the admission of deceased to the hospital and further duties. The defense counsel seeks extra time for the cross examination. More GRILLING continues. The bell rings. One and half minutes granted. Now there is a dispute between the defense counsel and the PW6 with the respect to the crime scene and the crash scene. PW6 is adamant on her stand. The defense counsel provides her with the written statements. The dispute still fails to resolve. TIME'S UP!

11:08 am: PW7, waiter, comes to the courtroom. The defense is already getting ready. They seem to have done their work quite well. They have, fair to say, grilled every prosecution witness. The CHIEF is done. The CROSS begins. In his ever- humble tone, the defense counsel begins. The two accused have been sitting in the courtroom from the commencement of the trial. The PW7 is questioned as to whether he was able to identify the accussed, DW1, in the restaurant. This was anyway a QUIET affair.

11:20 am: The defense asks to bring in DW1. The judges allow. The DW1 is up for his CHIEF examination. He is a defense expert and speaks about the scenario in which the shot could have been fired and talks of other defense technicalities. The CROSS begins. The prosecution examines the witness and the defense objects to the questions under the provisions of the EVIDENCE ACT. The defense continues to object, reiterating such facts already being established in the CHIEF Examination. The judges allow the questions. DW1 satisfies the prosecution counsel. The judges have some questions to ask. The judges point out specifics of the examination to the stenographer.

11:27 am: DW2, Accused No.1, in the witness box. The judges clear out the basic concepts on the issue of summoning the accused with the defense counsel. The CHIEF starts. DW2 identifies himself to the bench and other personal details with the deceased. The judges intervene, asking the accused of the employment issue and the consignment issue. The CROSS EXAMINATION begins. The first witness being examined by the Team E. Lets see what they've got! Questions related to  his presence on the day of crime and his residential details are being asked. THIS HAS JUST STARTED. This could go long! There is a long silence in the courtroom as the accused tries to remember the details of his written statements. ‘’OBJECTION’’ by the defense counsel on the issue of difference between occupation and profession. OVERRULED by the judges. The prosecution counsel is very feeble in his pleadings. The judges have to pay all ears to listen to him. Another objection by the defense counsel. This time, objection sustained. The team M is working quite good collectively, protecting their client at all possible times. GENTLE moments in the courtroom as the accused mishears the word GUNS to something very different. And an array of OBJECTIONS flow. The defense bringing up the issue of ASKING AN ANSWER under Evidence Act and stating such issues have already being determined under CHIEF. The prosecution changes his question. A few more questions and the CROSS examination is done.

11:46 am: DW2, accused number 2, is up for examination. The CROSS examination is on way. He is being questioned as to his relation to the accused No. 1 and his presence on specific dates. The defence objects. Objections overruled. The prosecution continues. The defence and the accused object to his right to answer the questions, however, the judges clear out the doubts directing DW2 to answer the put forward specific questions. CHIEF'S done. The judges have some query to make. The accused answers in negative. The dence counsel seeks permission to bring in her last witness, DW4, the receptionist.

11:58 am: DW4 up for his chief examination. He narrates the scene at the hotel on the eve of 1st Jan and mentions the rush and inability to identify. NOT MUCH TO MENTION.

12:15 pm: The defence counsel is up for her final statement. She points out the contradictions of the reports filed, the medical expert and the ballistic experts failing in their examinations and submissions. The counsel brings out the issue of credibility of the witnesses and clarifies that the prosecution fails to prove any suspicions and cites a case in their favour. The judges test the academic knowledge of the counsel with respect to the concepts of defence mechanisms, sections of IPC and Evidence Act. The counsel tries to satisfy the judges, failing occasionally. The judges are now in a jolly mood. They have listened to both the parties for so long, now its their turn to go offensive. MORE QUESTIONS. 12:29 pm: The prosecution comes up with their final statement. The counsel for the side stresses on the circumstantial evidences and brings in important facts proving his case. He refers to various provisions of the Evidence Act and the Arms Act and IPC referring to the concepts of criminal conspiracy. TIME'S UP. The court grants him extra time to sum up his pleadings. The court listens to statement carefully. AND they ask a question. The counsel answers, but fails to satisfy the judges. They counter question him on his answers. It's COUNSEL v. JUDGES now... The counsel manages to satisfy the queries and reads out the prayer. 

This Marks the END of Proceedings

 

 COURT ROOM  4 - "NLU, Odisha" (Prosecution) Vs. "NALSAR University of Law" (Defense)

9:24 - The teams are preparing the witnesses. NALSAR seems at ease. NLU- O is going through the paperwork and briefing their witnesses.

9:32 - The Judges have arrived and the Court is now in Session!

9:36 - The witnesses have been asked to leave the Courtrooms so that they can be called one by one when the Trial commences.

9:39 - NLU-O is seeking clarifications as to the allotment of time from the Courtroom Master.

9:40 - Both the Judges are seated. The Trial is about to Begin.

9:42 - Speaker 1 of NLU-O has proceeded with the Opening Statement on behalf of the Prosecution.

9:42 - Speaker 1 is contending that the prosecution would show a conspiracy in order to prove the Murder.

9:45 - Speaker 1 answers the query of the judges as to Licenses and the Judges seem satisfied with his answer.

9:48 - Speaker 2 of NALSAR is contending that a fresh evidence has been introduced by the Prosecution and that no notice has been provided to them. Speaker 1 of the team from NALSAR is calmly contending his matter relying on a case law to that effect.

9:53 - Speaker 2 of NLU-O is contending that fresh evidence can be introduced at the discretion of the Judges.

Speaker 1 of NALSAR begins to argue. The judges ask the Counsel never to agree with the Prosecution' evidence.

Speaker 2 of NALSAR is passionately contending that the entire case of the Prosecution is based on weak chain of evedence.

9:59 - Speaker 2 of NALSAR is contending that the no witnesses was present and that there was no link between the Accused and the weapon.

10:01 Speaker 2 of NLU-O, the Prosecution has called in his first witness.

10:03 - The Witness is seated in the Witness Box.

10:03 - The Judges are having an intense discussion among themselves.

Speaker 2 of NLU-O seeks the permission of the Hon'ble Court to proceed with the Examination of its first witness.

10:08 - The defense asks the Prosecution to be a little loud.

10:10 - Speaker 2 of NLU-O seems a little hesitant in his examination of the witnesses.

10:11 - The first witness seems confident.

10:12 - The defense has raised a contention that there is a conflict between the Prosecution evidence and the witness's testimony.

10:13 - The Prosecution asks the Bench to direct the defense to save their contention for the cross examination and not to disturb in between.

10:15 - Speaker 1 of NALSAR proceeds with the Cross.

Speaker 2 is contesting the reliability of the testimony of the witness.

10:18 - He begins to quote a Supreme Court Judgment but he is being objected by the Prosecution.

10:19 - Speaker 2 is very confidently cross examining the witness.

10:20 - Speaker 1 of NALSAR is precisely putting forward his questions.

10:22 - Speaker 1 of NLU O comes to the rescue of the witness who asserted that she could not understand the question of the defense.

Speaker 1 of NALSAR seeks time for his contention.

Speaker 1 of NLU- O seeks permission from the Bench to re-examine the witness.

10:27 - The Judges decline his request.

Speaker 2 requests to call upon the Prosecution witness no. 2.

10:29 - The witness is taking the Oath.

10:31 - Speaker 1 of NLU O confidently begins with his examination of PW 2.

10:34 - Speaker 2 of NALSAR begins with the Cross examination and challenges the age related aspects of the witness.

10:34 - The Prosecution comes to the rescue of the Witness contending that defense is misleading the Court by providing false information. Speaker 2 of NALSAR contends that they are not misleading the Court and that the said age aspects have changed.

10:39 - The Speaker 1 of NLU O begins with the examination of PW 3.

10:42 - Speaker 1 of NLU O humbly contends that the testimonies of both the eyewitness are in consonance and are significant.

10:43 - Speaker 1 of NALSAR proceeds with the cross.

10:43 - And in a minute he has left the Prosecution witness baffling with precise question.

10:45 - Speaker 1 of NALSAR seems to have done his homework well.

10:46 - The Prosecution contests the defense's averments and requests for a re examination.

10: 47 - Request denied with a direction from the judges that the Prosecution should not ask irrelevant questions.

10: 50 - Speaker 1 of NLU- O begins with the examination of the PW4.

10:53 - Speaker 1 of NLU- O cites a case law....But wait the judges are of the opinion that the said case is in favor of the defense.

10:57 - The Speaker 1 of NALSAR questions the expertise of the witness as a Medical Examiner.

10:58 - The Judges asks the the Counsel to presume the expertise of the Witness for the Prosecution and not to contest it.

11:01 - Speaker 1 of NALSAR applies Tortious Liability to the present case as an anology. The Judges seek clarification. This has left the NLU-O team on a laughing spree.

11:03 - However, Speaker 1 of NALSAR confidently and calmly answer to the query of the Judges.

11:05 - Speaker 1 of NLU- O questions the stand of the defense as to the cause of the death but the defense contends that they never raised such a contention.

11:08 - The Speaker 1 of NLU- O calls upon his next witness.

11:09 - The Judges direct the Speaker 1 of NLU- O to at least pay heed to the testimony of his witness rather than going through the paperwork.

11:11 - And again the Speaker 1 of NALSAR enquired about the specifics of ballistics to the expert witness.

11:18 - The Prosecution contends that the defense is "putting words in the mouth of the witness".....

11:19 - The Speaker 1 of NLU- O begins with submission.......but the Judges are of the opinion that it is a wrongful submission.

11:22 - Speaker 1 of NALSAR objects that the purpose of the examination is being defeated as the Prosecution is not "examining" but arguing his case.

11:25 - NALSAR requests the Judges to direct NLU-O to pay heed to their submissions and then frame their submissions. And the Courtroom has turned into a legal Melodramatic battle....

11:30 - The Judges are of the opinion that the present witness is very important.

11:32 - The Defense objects the question of the Prosecution as being a leading one.

11:39 - Speaker 1 of NLU- O requests for extension of time, however, only 45 seconds granted by the Judges.

11:41 - Speaker 1 of NLU- O brings forward a Blood stained shirt as evidence, however the judges direct that the I.O is the requisite authority for verification of the said evidence and not the Counsel on behalf of Prosecution.

11:43 - Speaker 1 of NALSAR begins with his cross and contends that a TIP was not conducted by the Authorities which is prima facie, against the accused.

11:54 - Speaker 1 of NLU- O contends that TIP is not mandatory.

11:56 - Both the judges and the NALSAR team demand a citation or judgment to that effect. And the NLU-O Team are unable to produce the same.

11:59 - Speaker 1 of NLU- O invites his last witness on behalf of the Prosecution

12:01 - NALSAR requests NLU-O to be loud, again....and the Speaker 1 of NLU- O is LOUD..... NALSAR requests the witness to be loud but Speaker 1 of NLU- O intervenes in between contending that he would prefer to listen the witness first. !!! Speaker 1 of NALSAR begins with his Cross Examination of the witness. Speaker 1 of NALSAR is ardently cross examining the witness and contending that there was no source of light and therefore the witness visibility was restricted.

12: 13 - The Speaker 1 of NLU- O objects on the ground of asked and answered. Objection Overruled. The Speaker 1 of NLU- O proceeds with his questions.

12:16 - The Judges seek clarification on the evidence produced, Speaker 2 of NLU- O and Researcher volunteer to answer but Speaker 1 of NLU- O takes charge and tries to provide a clarification on the same....leaving him open further objections by the Defense.

12:20 - Speaker 2 of NALSAR is on the Dice and proceeds with examination of DW3.

12:27 - Speaker 1 of NLU- O requests the NALSAR team not to signal witnesses to which NALSAR denies.

12:29 - Speaker 2 of NLU- O asks the witness as to the qualification of a Ballistics Expert.

12:30 - Speaker 1 of NALSAR objects on the ground of being Irrelevant and Immaterial.

12:30 - The Judges direct Speaker 2 of NLU- O not to examine the competency of its own witness. And that it refrain from doing so!!! Speaker 2 of NALSAR calls upon his next witness.

12:38 - Speaker 2 of NALSAR ardently examines the witnesses.

12:40 - The Speaker 2 of NLU-O in his cross tries to establish the level of Intoxication of the Accused.

12:42 - The Speaker 1 of NALSAR objects it on the ground of it on being irrelevant.

12:45 - The Judges seek clarification as to the discharge of burden of proof from Speaker 2 of NLU-O. which he is unable to provide. Speaker 2 of NALSAR calls upon its next witness. Speaker 2 of NLU-O proceeds with the cross.

12:56 P.M The Speaker 2 of NALSAR calls upon his last witness.

12:58 - Speaker 2 of NLU O proceeds with the cross examination.

01:00 - Speaker 2 of NALSAR seeks permission from the Court for re-examination. Permission granted for 30 seconds. Speaker 1 of NLU O objects it on the ground of it being leading.

01:02 - Speaker 1 of NLU-O proceeds with the Closing Statement.

01:04 - A friendly gesture meanwhile happens, the Speaker 1 of NLU O looks drained out after a long session of arguments during his closing statement while the Speaker 2 of NALSAR extends water to him.

1: 09 - Speaker 1 of NALSAR requests for Rebuttal of the Closing Statement.

01:11 - The Speaker 1 of NALSAR contends that the the Prosecution has not proved the case beyond reasonable doubt and that the Prosecution's case is based on flimsy evidence as the investigation was not carried out properly.

01:15 - The Speaker 1 of NLU-O contends 5 seconds submission. The Judges "finally" grant his request. He contends that " the people may lie but the circumstances don't...." An apt 5 Second argument to finish with, one must say!!!

With that, this melodramatic trial comes to an end!

 

COURT ROOM 5 - "Symbiosis Law School" (Prosecution)  Vs. "School of Law, KIIT University" (Defense)

Good Morning, friends. It’s a bright day here in Ranchi, outside the court rooms. The atmosphere inside the court room is tense. 

8.45: The witnesses are being briefed thoroughly. The counsels look very confident.

9.35: The Hon’ble Judges have arrived. The court is in session. This session is being adjudged by Mr. Deepak Roshan and Mr. Anil Kumar.

9:40: Counsel No. 1 on behalf of the prosecution begins with the facts. There is a lot of passion in the counsel in his opening statement; like he knows what he has to say in the court room today. Counsel No. 1 on behalf of the defense starts with her opening statement. She is calm and composed. The prosecution now has been granted permission to call their first witness.

9.45 The first witness called is the deceased's sister. The prosecution asks her about her relationship with her brother, how they started the logistics company together. The witness gets cold feet, drinking water. The prosecution is running out of time as she asks her about the night of unfortunate event.

9.53 The defense begins to cross examine the witness. The witness confidently answers all the questions. The prosecution constantly objects to the repeated questions.

10.00 The prosecution calls the second witness. He owned a shop on the highway where the deceased was shot. He claims to have seen the bullet shot and the injury on the deceased. He claims to have seen the deceased fall off the bike as the bike skidded. the witness is bombarded with questions by your lordships, regarding the distance between his shop and the occurrence of the event.

10.10 The defense starts the cross examination of the witness. the defense gets it out of the witness that it was dark and there were no street lights on the road. The witness admits to not have seen the second bike or the bike of the accused on being asked by their lordships. He only claims to have seen the injuries on the deceased body after he was shot. The prosecution objects to the defense asking repeated questions being irrelevant to the facts of the case. Their Judges advise the defense to focus on only the relevant questions.

10.18 The prosecution calls the third witness, PW 3 to the witness stand. The witness gives a brief introduction about himself. He tells the court that he was standing at the beetle shop on the NH and smoking a cigarette while the unfortunate event happened. He claims to have seen the blood stains on the pillion rider and the rider. He claims to have seen no bullet but only blood stains. Their lordships find that PW3 like PW2, wasn't really an eye witness, as they did not see the event happening.

10.27 The prosecution calls the medical expert for examination. During the process of examination, while the prosecution proceeded with asking her about the medical conditions in a very generic term, the defense pointed out and objected to the expert carrying her statement on a piece of paper. The objection was sustained by the learned magistrates. The court is now clear on the fact that the bullet was shot from a very closed distance, ie, from 15-20cms.

10.33 The defense starts to cross examine the medical expert. The expert is asked details about the autopsy. the expert says that the internal parts of the deceased was completely damaged. the defense failed to make a point here.

10.36 The prosecution calls the next witness, the forensic expert. He has specialized in all kinds of bullets, shells and pistols. He tells the court that it is easy to know which bullet is shot from which pistol. He tells the court that the powdered detonation of the shell, shows that the bullet was shot from a range to 15 to 30 cm.

10.45 the defense starts to cross examine the expert. The court is still waiting for the defense to make some sort of striking revelation but the defense is still trying hard to gather their questions. The defense starts questioning about the bullet and the expert tells the court that the bullet was 0.38mm or 0.32mm of diameter.

10.48 The prosecution calls the next witness, PW 6. She is the waiter, Mr. Anand Sarkar in the bar where the accused was a regular customer. She tells the court that she doesn't remember how much he drank that day but he was shaky, anxious and scared. The incident occurred at 10.02 pm. The accused was absent from the bar between 9.40 to 10.20. She tells the court that the distance from the bar from the place of occurrence was around half a kilometer.

10.56 The defense starts to cross examine PW 6. The defense asks the witness how many customers she was serving that day which she fails to remember. The defense asks if she could be so sure of noticing the accused only that night. The witness says that she is very sure of what she saw because he was a regular customer and his behavior was strikingly different that night. She tells the court that on that night the accused came with his colleagues but left alone.

11.00 The prosecution calls the next witness, PW 7. He is the Investigation officer. He tells the court that the bullet found matched the shell that he found at the crime scene. He gives all information found during the preliminary investigation. He tells the court about the professional relationship turned into rivalry between the accused and the deceased before the deceased terminated the employment of the accused. The IO says to have dropped the investigation because he thought the allegations were proved. The learned magistrates look quite convinced.

11.14 The defense cross examines PW 7. Their lordships ask him if he has investigated the criminal records of Ajay Shaqia to which the IO says that the investigation is still going on. The defense is not able to put any valid questions.

11.16 The prosecution is done with all its witnesses. The defense calls its first witness, a forensic expert. He is asked all questions about the kinds of bullets. the prosecution objects that the defense is leading the expert to answer in a way. The expert tells about an impressionable mark on the body of the victim of a gunshot that should be mentioned in the ballistic report. The defense has smoothly established that the cartridge has to be removed manually from the revolver and there was no way that the shell or the cartridge could have fallen out at the crime scene. The prosecution objects that the defense counsel is elaborating the statements in a way that will favor their contentions.

11. 29 The prosecution begins to cross examine the expert. The prosecution counsel has confidently started his case by showing the expert, a picture of a bullet wound asking the expert to identify it. The expert stammers, fumbles. The prosecution asks the expert about the skid marks on the shell. The prosecution has successfully established that the expert was not credible enough to be used as an authority in the present case as he was not clear about the basics of 'guns'.

11. 35 The defense calls the primary accused, Ajay Shaqia. Upon being asked about why he was removed from office by the deceased, he admits to have been involved in certain acts of smuggling of arms. 11.39 The prosecution starts to cross examine the accused. The accused narrates the entire scenario starting from why he got involved with smuggling at the first place, to what the deceased said to him whiling firing him. The prosecution has cleverly pointed out that the accused's salary is much less than how much he paid at the "Metro Bar" that night to let the court decide upon the kind of person the accused is. The prosecution comes straight to the point and asks where he was at the time of the occurrence of the event as he was absent from the bar for 40 minutes. SLS, Pune is doing exceptionally well. Both the speakers are sharp, to the point, confident and passionate about their arguments. The prosecution concludes by saying that the accused was a very contradictory man and he contradicted everything on the statement.

11.55 The defense has called another witness, the co-accused, to the witness box. She claims to know and be friends with Ajay Shaqia. She tells the court that Ajay Shaqia was upset when he was sacked out of his office. She tells the court that she was involved with Ajay Shaqia in the smuggling business. Upon being asked about the happenings of the unfortunate night, she says that she was really drunk on the night of the murder so she does not remember anything. The accused here, is doing a really good job at the witness box, she has annoyed the counsel more than he could.

The prosecution failed to take anything relevant out of her.

12.05 The defense calls the next witness. She was the manager of the hotel. She tells the court that Ajay Shaqia wasnt a regular customer and that night Ajay Shaqia plus two, were served by one of their waiters. 12.11 The prosecution starts to cross examine the witness. The prosecution asks the witness if they have CCTVs installed in their bars. The prosecution continues to ask the witness and question her responsibilities and duties. The prosecution established that the accused were lying in the court about being totally drunk and not remembering anything as they had had sober conversations with the manager.

12.11 The prosecution starts to cross examine the witness. The prosecution asks the witness if they have CCTVs installed in their bars. The prosecution continues to ask the witness and question her responsibilities and duties. The prosecution established that the accused were lying in the court about being totally drunk and not remembering anything as they had had sober conversations with the manager.

12.20 The prosecution begins making the closing statements. The prosecution summarizes the findings. Their lordships look very convinced and impressed.

12.26 The defense makes the closing arguments. He is still confused about what he wants to submit in the court. However, he is fixated with the defense expert, retired forensic expert who said that there was no mention of skid marks in the ballistic reports. Their lordships are satisfied with the proceedings. The court is adjourned.

This Marks the END of the Proceedings 

Lunch Break is from 1:00 pm, Proceeding at Court Room 1 is still on. We will Resume at 3.00 pm. 
Stay Tuned for the Post Lunch Session! 

Good Noon People! We are back after Lunch Break. Time for some Court-Room Drama! 

 

COURT ROOM 2 - "M. S. Ramaiah College of Law" (Prosecution) Vs. "K.L.E Society, Bangalore" (Defense)

3:13 pm: The judges have arrived. The counsel for the prosecution has started with his opening statement stating the facts of the case chronologically. He finishes his opening statement very swiftly and is followed by the counsel for the defense who presents his opening statement. He presents an opening note and there is commotion as to whether such is allowed or not. After discussions, the court further listens to the opening statement of the counsel.

3:20 pm: The first witness for the prosecution, PW1, comes to the witness box and sits comfortably in the box. The counsel conducts his chief examination and asks him random questions related to his business, family relations and his whereabouts as on 1st Jan, 2015.

Meanwhile, there's lot of discussion between the judges and the organisers. The counsel for the defense objects and accuses the prosecution of misleading the witness. The judges consult each other. The counsel for the prosecution presents a case for the same. There is lot of action in the court room.

3:26 pm: One of the judges is questioning the witness, the other is giving dictations to the stenographer. After further queries from the witness, the judge continues with his dictations to the steno.

The PW1 is reiterating the facts and trying to re-create the crime scene. And the counsel smartly manages to highlight points in favour of his case from his testimony. THE BELL RINGS.

3:35 pm: The judges allow him time for two extra questions on request of the counsel. The witness recognises the FIR, his signatures and the accused present in the courtroom. The counsel objects on grounds of procedures not followed in consonance with section 161 of Cr.P.C. There is dispute between the two sides as the defense objects to the questions asked by the prosecution counsel, the court after getting an proper explanation from the counsel allows the question. The defense counsel is up for the cross examination of PW1. He seeks few answers from the witness and asks the court master to allow extra time lost in the dictations provided to the steno. The court master justifies her stand. FACEPALM!

3:55 pm: The defense continues with his questions in relation to the STATISTICS of the place of crime scene. There is an argument between the defense and the prosecution as to what questions are allowed, both citing cases in their respective favour. TIME'S UP. The court master is always ready with the pamphlet displaying TIME UP. The counsel gets extra time and he does some more questioning. There is an issue as the judges warn the prosecution of not dictating to the steno, which I'm sure, was done in good faith. This examination has it all. Finally, the examination of PW1 is done.

4:12 pm: PW2, passer-by, comes to the witness box. There has been an issue with respect to the address of PW2 being different in the FIR and elsewhere. The counsel justifies the change with the provision of s. 161 of Cr.P.C. In his CHIEF, he narrates what he saw on the day the crime was committed.

4.20 pm: One of the judge provides dictation to the steno. The counsel seeks narration of further events and dictates the same to the steno. THIS TIME THE JUDGES HAVE ALLOWED IT. THE STENOGRAPHER IS HAVING A HARD TIME IN THE COURTROOM. NO RESPITE FOR HIM AS MORE DICTATIONS POUR IN.Finally, the chief is done and the cross examination starts.

4.32 pm: The defense counsel takes the position at podium. In the first question itself, there is disapproval from the prosecution side and another defense counsel joins the argument. Further questions for the witness as they confirm his testimony. LOT OF WORK FOR THE STENO. They're dictating every statement to the steno. And there's a replacement for the steno. Temporary respite for him. After some queries the examination is completed. Next witness please..

4:34 pm: PW3, owner of the beetle shop, is here. He is directed to narrate what he saw. THE SAME STORY. Somehow, the CHIEF is taking more time than the CROSS examination. I'm amazed over that. After this, his 'panchnama' is confirmed by him as he recognises his signature and such is marked as an 'exhibit'. The defense counsel comes up for the cross examination. He tries to contradict the statement of PW2 with respect to the jacket involved. Dictations to the steno is provided. PW3 recognises his panchnama and is being let off.

4:46 pm: PW4, medical expert comes to the witness box. Light laughs in the courtroom as a male student portrays a female medical officer and the judge finds that confusing. He is being inquired about the autopsy reports and the injury caused to the deceased and he speaks about them in detail. THAT MUST HAVE TAKEN A LOT OF LEARNING. With further info provided, the prosecution witness rests and the defense counsel comes up for cross examination. Now there's a dispute concerning the time period for the autopsy and the two sides contend on the relevance of such question. The medical expert confirms with the uniforms and the injuries caused by the bullets. The defense counsel now asks PW4 of the details of the human body. THIS HAS BEEN THE BEST ESCAPE ROUTE FOR THE COUNSELS DOING THE CROSS EXAMINATION TODAY. Too much expected. For the sake of justice, the counsel asks for two minutes for PW4 to complete his statements after the ever ready court master displays TIME UP.

5:05 pm: The ballistic expert is here as PW5. The chief examination confirms her credibility as an expert. She is further queried for the knowledge of guns and is asked whether the shots were fired once or twice? The witness is giving the scientific explanations for the injury and she's doing that quite good. SHE SEEMS TO HAVE A KNOWLEDGE OF THE CONCEPTS. BUT THE REAL TEST WOULD BE AGAINST THE CROSS EXAMINATION. The cross begins. The aim would be to degrade the credibility. As expected, counsel questions her on near point shoot, ball powder and all other details. THIS WITNESS IS WELL PREPARED FOR SUCH QUESTIONS. She's left after clearing further queries. Next witness please.

5:24 pm: After the witness takes his place in witness box, the judges ask the prosecution counsel to restrict himself to NECESSARY questions only. Dictations provided to the steno. The next witness, PW6, is the Police Sub-Inspector who tells the court about his actions after getting the knowledge of the crime. He identifies the accused, who are present in the courtroom. NORMAL PROCESS. Facts of the case as part of the testimony dictated to the steno. There's a point of disagreement between the counsels and the witness innocently raises his hand to try answering the queries.

5:44 - there is chaos in the court room as counsels from prosecution as well as defence counter each other. The defence counsel continues his questioning to the witness. The counsel for the defence doesnt seem very authoritative about his questions, and the prosecution continously object to his line of questioning.

5:50 - Next witness arrives at the court room, as the last witness the I.O of police leaves on a note that he doesnt know a provision of CrPC, thats really sad on the part of the I.O.

5:52 - The prosecution question was too short and precise and the judges also didn't seem too excited and said its just repetition of facts. Now, its the defense who comes on to interrogate the witness, the question are precise, relevant and judges take a note of important points. The witness seems at ease and answers very coolly and confidently.

 6:00 pm: The first defense witness comes to the witness box and the chief examination starts. The prosecution very smartly manages to point out that the DW1 was answering by looking into a sheet of paper. CAUGHT! The cross examination begins and so does the GRILLING. She is grilled on the details of her testimony. They manage to bring a contradiction in the statement of the defense expert and a AUTHORITATIVE BOOK. That could be useful. The credibility of DW1 is brought down by that cross examination. Extra legalities involved as counsel for defense seeks for re-examination under s. 137 of Cr.P.C. Granted.

6:15 pm: The accused, DW2, comes to the witness box for his chief examination. The counsel with help of the narration brings out the prejudice caused to the DW2 in bringing him along with DW3 to bars. The cross examination of the first accused. This defense witness is taking the game to the prosecution, straight at them, rejecting their claims and clarifying any doubts that could be a thorn for the defense.

6:25 pm: DW3, accused no. 2, is here in the witness box. For the cross examination, the defense witness is all so frustrated playing the accused all through the day. Even the judges acknowledge that. No strict grilling from either side. He is being let off. The next and the last witness comes to the box. PHEWW!

6:33 pm: DW4, receptionist, is here. She identifies the persons present in the courtroom. THE GENERAL PROCESS. The counsel for prosecution objects on ground of asking a LEADING QUESTION. The judges sustains such objection. Dispute as to whether such answer to a question regarded as a LEADING QUESTION can be exhibited or not? More legal knowledge flows in, more people join in the dispute. PEOPLE ARE NOW GETTING RESTLESS. The prosecution is up for the cross examination, the last for this courtroom today. Various queries related to the work, the designation, the work timings and more questions keep coming up. It's been a long work for the steno today. MORE DICTATIONS. Queries answered. That being done, this ends the witness examination session. And we EAGERLY wait for the final statement to commence and trial to end. 

7:01 pm: The judges are back from a break. Mooters are busy preparing for their final statements.

7:15 pm: The court master signals for the commencement of this final act. The prosecution counsel begins his submission by pointing out how they ticked every requirement necessary to prove the guilt of the accused. He deals with the issues of validity of FIR, the circumstantial evidence, the autopsy report, the ballistic report and the issue of alibi. The judge questions him on whether his submissions are amply strong to shift the guilt to the accused. However, he very gracefully clears all doubt.

7:32 pm: The defense counsel is up with her final statement. She points out issues of natural justice not being followed in proper terms. She points out the contradictions brought out in the testimony of the medical reports and the ballistic reports, the two prosecution witnesses. She also pleads that the GOLDEN RULES of circumstantial evidence and they not being in consonance in the present case. THE COURT MASTER TO RESCUE. BELL RINGS. Extra time. Last moments of submission. She completes. And the prosecution comes up for the rebuttal of final statement. They are leaving no stone unturned. And the defense is back with sur-rebuttal, upon the judge's discretion. And we're finally done with the trial.

This Marks the END of this Session

 

COURT ROOM 3 - "Amity Law School" (Prosecution) Vs. "NUALS" (Defense)

3.14 - You're now in for another round of submissions by the young advocates.

3.15 - The Speaker 1 from the side of the prosecution has taken to the podium, and is delivering her opening statement with the permission of the Hon'ble Judges. 

3.17 Speaker 1 in a concise and clear submission puts out the facts of the present matter, and holds the Judges attention. With the permission of the court, she lays out the Charges in the present case, i.e. of conspiracy under S.120B of IPC and other charges like use of illegal arms.

3.21 - The Hon'ble judges raise the question as to whether the Present accused had been named in the FIR under S.154 of Crpc, to which the Speaker succesfully cited interpretations that naming the accused in the FIR is not always a necessary part of the FIR.

3.23 The Speaker 1 from the side of the defense has taken to the Podium and he spells out the facts which were shadowed by the Prosecution. Facts like that the accused has always had a strained relationship with the deceased's family.

3.27 There is an objection raised by the Speaker 2 from the side of the prosecution, owing to the allegation that further additional charges were framed against the accused.

3.29 The PW1 has been called to the stand, and the speaker 1 from the side of Prosecution has now taken the task of establishing her case.

3.33 The counsel from the side of the prosecution has led the line of questioning in a such a way that the sequence of the events are being lined. There is also a preliminary objection raised by the Counsel's for defence, under S.141 of the Crpc. The hon'ble Judges take this objection into account. The Prosecution proceeds.

3.36 The Judges have raised a question however, as to the attentiveness of the counsels of defense in light of the witness's statement. To be precise, the words, "Are you sleeping Counsel" were used. The Hon'ble judges seemed irked at the irresponsible behaviour on part of the Defense.

3.39 PW1 describes the Gun-Shot, and the subsequent events

3.46 The speaker 1 from the side of the defense with the permission of the bench, approaches PW 1 near the witness box. The counsel is intimidating the witness and coaxing the witness into conceding on the fact that the death of the brother, causes the alive sibling a benefit in the business.

3.50 The speaker 1 from the side of the defense is successfully establishing facts in their favour as the witness did not see the other speeding bike, and the fact that they fell and it was dark are playing against the prosecution.

3.53 At one point, the Prosecution raises an objection, to which the hon'ble judges reply that there is no objection during cross!! As is the procedure...

3.55 The court masters have notified the bench that the time is up. However, the bench is kind enough to grant an extension of 2 minutes to the counsel. The Speaker 1 from the side of defense has successfully swayed the facts in the favour of defense, and quite enigmatically captured the attention of the bench. The Judges nod approvingly!

3.58 The PW 2 is now being called to the stand. The Oath is being administered. 

4.00 The Speaker 1 from the side of the prosecution takes charge. (The PW2 is a feeble, person with a low voice, and the whole court room is cracking up, as no one can hear him!!!)

4.02 The Judge's smile is wide, as he continuously rebuff's the attempt of the Defense to object on grounds of leading question, and he concurs with the procecution on the point that it is indeed not a leading question, smilingly!!

4.06 PW 2 is an interesting witness indeed, he seems not only feeble with his voice but also with his conviction on his own statement. He seems to recant incorrectly any and at all information being dispensed by him. The speaker 1 from the side of the Defense, perpetuating his stance of intimidation seems to be having fun with the words of the PW 2. The Counsel for defense has once again successfully put out facts which discredit the reliability of PW 2.

4.14 PW 3 has now been called to the stand, and the speaker 1 from the side of the prosecution takes up the questioning.

(In contrast to the PW 2's feeble voice, we now have PW 3, who seems to be a speedster, and has left the Judges transfixed, with her statement)

4.22 There seems to be some inconsistency between the PW 3's statement's in the Police record and the words as have been stated in the court. PW 3 say's however, verbatim, "Whatever I am saying now is the truth"!! This has left the whole court-room chuckling!!

4.27 The PW 3 has quite regretfully conceded to the point that seeing someone die had left her disturbed, and he was "not in the right state of mind"! The Speaker 1 from the side of the defense takes his seat triumphantly!

4.30 PW 4 has now begun with her statements, and the counsel for the prosecution tries to hold on the facts on the technical grounds of the autopsy of the dead body.

4.36 The line of questioning and the answer's by the witness's are very amusing and definitely leave you wondering about the gun shot wound, ruptured organs, vital damages and the subsequent fatality! Amazing how cross-questioning is indeed "Word-play"!!

4.42 The question being discussed right now in CR-3 is "the location of the heart"! "Where is the heart?, Quoting the Speaker 1 from the side of defense verbatim. They arrive at the conclusion that Heart is indeed centrally located, but a bit to the "lefter" side, Sure gives one the KICKS!

4.45 The Counsel's on behalf of the prosecution raise an objection, on the basis of the post-mortem report and thus, for once, the defense counsel has fallen flat in his arguments, as the Hon'ble judges agree with the prosecution.

4.53 PW 5 is now being called to the stands!

4.56 The Counsel on behalf of the prosecution adopts a clear and set-out approach towards establishing facts in the favour of the prosecution, and thus gains the approving gestures from the Bench. However, the hon'ble Judge uses his liberty to point out the irrelevant question as raised by the counsel!

5.01 The Counsel for defense is now examining the PW 5. The ballistic's expert seems unperturbed, however, the statement is conceded on the point, that however diligently the forensic scientists may conduct the tests the exact and accurate results may still allude them!

5.10 On the prosecution's request, PW 7 has been called before the PW 6. The Counsel on behalf of the prosecution begins the questioning! However, on objection raised by the Defense, the Bench has asked the Counsel to re-phrase her question!

5.13 The defense failed to object and once again, the Lordship has overtly expressed his disappointment. "KEEP SLEEPING", quoted verbatim.

5.17 The cross-questioning is now being taken up by the counsel for the defense.

5:21 The PW 7 states that she remembers the accused Ajay Shakia, from that night in the restaurant because, he was behaving in a "Stupid" manner, and also asking for "Ketchup" repeatedly!! The Counsel on behalf of the defense tries here to discredit the statements of the PW 7, however, the court see no strength in the frivolous arguments as raised by the defense counsel!

5:26 The Speaker 1 from the side of the prosecution has now taken to the podium and PW 6 is now on the stand. PW 6 is the Sub-inspector in charge of the present investigation.

5:38 The matter now ensuing in the CR-3 is upon the acceptance of annexures as submitted by the Defense. The Judges raise some concerns on the proper procedure to have introduced the papers, however, the prosecution does not raise any objection, and thus, the material becomes a part of the record.

5.40 The speaker 1 of the Defense side continues with his Cross-exam of PW.6

5:40 The DW 1 is now called to the stands. The Defense counsel (Speaker 1), begins the questioning.

5:51 The Defense counsel has put out that the Accused suffers from diabetes, and that he is prescribed to not consume "Ketchup"

5:59 The Prosecution proceed with its cross-examination of DW 1, speaker 2 from the side of the prosecution is now posing questions to the accused. the questions hence raised, are in attempt to establish a timeline of the events before and after the shooting.

6.06 The defense has now called for the DW 3!

6.13 The counsel for the prosecution has now taken to cross-examining the witness! He questions his knowledge of any ailment that the accused was suffering from.

6.16 The defense raises an objection but the court does not entertain the objection. The defense has now called on the DW 4.

6:25 The evidence as provided by the DW 4 establishes the case in the favour of the prosecution and thus, the alleged accused persons have been rightfully identified by the DW 4 as having been present at the Metro Bar.

6:35 The DW 2 has now been called to the stands!

6:35 The Courtroom is now witness to a discussion on Revolvers and Pistols, the cartridge's and the variety of residue left after the machine is fired.

6:41 The evidence of DW suggests to the court that the Ballistics report in the present matter had some discrepancies, which further brings to light the loopholes in the case of the prosecution.

6:42 The counsel for the prosecution, very resolutely rises to defend the case that has been made out by them, and in response to the suggestion that the ballistic report was susceptible to irregularities, the counsel now tries to discredit the reliability of the private ballistic expert, brought in by the Defense!

6:46 Dictations by the Hon'ble judges. 

7:04 The session has now finally resumed for the closing statements from both the sides.

7.07 The counsel for the Prosecution begins with his closing statement. He re-iterates the facts briefly, and states that the prosecution would be discharged of the burden of proof. This argument however, is rejected.

7:19 The Speaker 2 from the side of the prosecution, lays down his final arguments, in a synchronised and systematic method! He delivers a concise and yet to the point, submission towards the case of the prosecution, and humbly takes leave of the court, expressing his gratitude.

7.22 The Speaker 2 from the side of the Defense now takes to the podium, and having an advantage over observations, he proceeds to criticize the grounds of the prosecution leg by leg!

7:36 The Court is now officially adjourned. And the judges proceed with the feedbacks and engage in a conversation with the participating students!

This Marks the END of this Session

 

COURT ROOM 4 - "RGNUL" (Prosecution) Vs. "GNLU" (Defense)

03:15 pm- The Judges have arrived and are seated.

The Court is now in Session.

03:19 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL has arrived to the dais and has commenced with his Opening Statement.

03:21 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL is contending that the Prosecution will be contesting its case based upon the the testimony of                   the witnesses and the evidence. 

03:24 pm- Speaker 1 of GNLU very calmly put forward her opening statement.

03:27 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL calls upon his first witness. and has begun with the Examination-in-Chief.

03:32 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL is contending that the investigation carried was properly in presence of Sub Inspector and due care was taken.

03:37 pm- The Judges direct Speaker 1 of RGNUL to smoothly proceed with his examination quoting a judicial maxim, "Justice hurried is justice burried".

03:40 pm- Team GNLU is keenly paying attention to the submission of the Speaker 1 of RGNUL.

03:41 pm- The Judges have directed the witnesses not to carry any material or notes with them.

03:45 pm- The Judges are seeking clarification from Speaker 2 of GNLU as the premise on which their Cross examination is based.

which he answers.

03:48 pm- The judges direct the Speaker 2 of GNLU to refrain from asking contradictory question for it may make the witness conscious.

03:51 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL objects on the ground of it being irrelevant. However, the Judges direct Speaker 1 of RGNUL to let the defense to complete his question.  Objection Sustained.

04:02 pm- Speaker 2 of RGNUL objects referring to Section 77 of the IEA that certified copies have not been produced and that the reliance is not proper. 

04:03 pm- Speaker 2 of RGNUL provides that the said Documents will be provided as and when required!!

04:05 pm- The Judges direct the Speaker 2 of GNLU not to ask any question which may annoy the witness and that the Counsel should re-frame the question.

04:08 pm- The Speaker 2 of RGNUL objects GNLU on the ground of being asked and answered.

Objection Sustained.

04:10 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL calls upon his next witness.

04:12 pm- Hon'ble Mr. Justice P.N Rai again insists on the smooth conduct of the trial.

04:16 pm- The Speaker 1 of GNLU objects on the ground that the witness is responding with the exact words of the FIR.

04:17 pm- Speaker 2 of RGNUL comes to the rescue of his witness contending that the witness is only putting forward his own statement and not of anyone else.

04:19 pm- Hon'ble Mr. Justice P.N Rai directs the parties to reserve their arguments for the later stage and proceed only with the examination.

04:24 pm- The Judges take a moment to discuss the matter at hand among themselves.

04: 30 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL seeks clarification as to the signatory of the document (Exhibit 1).

04:33 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL seems to be satisfied with his examination in chief.

04:35 pm- Speaker 2 of GNLU proceeds with his Cross examination. 

04:36 pm- The seek clarification as to the question posed.

04:37 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL objects on the ground of Section 161 of CrPC..

04:39 pm- Speaker 2 of GNLU contends that the witness' s testimony and the FIR are contradictory. The objection of RGNUL is sustained.

04:43 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL calls upon PW3. 

04:45 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL is calmly posing question before the witness.

04:56 pm- Speaker 2 of GNLU cites a case law in his cross examination but the Judges direct him to reserve it for the argument Stage. The Counsel apologizes.

05:00 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL calls upon PW 4.

05:06 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL poses question pertaining to the injury of the deceased.

05:07: pm- Speaker 2 of GNLU objects it on the ground of it being leading.

05:09 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL provides the witness with the documents as to the injury in order to refresh her memory.

05:12 pm- GNLU objects to the testimony of PW 4 on the ground that in the garb of refreshing memory, the witness is reading the document.

05: 17 pm- The objection is overruled.

05:19 pm- Speaker 2 of GNLU very confidently begins with their cross.

05:20 pm-The counsel questions the competency of the Expert Witness as a main Coroner.

05:24 pm- Speaker 2 of GNLU poses to the Coroner that how is it plausible that the bullet did not leave any piercing mark.

05:27 pm- The Witness answers that he has not inserted any such observations in the autopsy.

05:28 pm- The Defense questions the M.O of the Coroner as to the Medical examination and the entire process of examination.

05:29 pm- Speaker 2 of RGNUL objects on the ground that the defense has no authority on its contention.

05:31 pm- When GNLU produces authority, RGNUL contends that the said authority is not binding.

05:33 pm- On a jolly note, Hon'ble Judge has granted the permission to the people seated in the Courtroom to smile and laugh on account of the lengthy proceeding!

05:35 pm- Speaker 1 of RGNUL calls upon PW 5.

05:44 pm- Speaker 2 of GNLU proceeds with the cross examination of the Ballistics Expert Witness.

05:48 pm- The Speaker 2 of GNLU poses the question to the Ballistics Expert as to the difference between "Saturday Nights" and other standardized guns!

05:51 pm- The Speaker 2 of RGNUL objects on the ground that the Defense is asking questions without reasonable grounds.

06:14 pm- The Speaker 1 of RGNUL has called upon his next witness.

06:16 pm- This witness (PW 6) seems to be confident and and clear as to his capacity.

06:17 pm- Folks, if there was ever a rule as to the art to be a witness, it would be like "Do not volunteer any information".                       And this witness seems to already know that.

06:22 pm- The Hon'ble Judges direct the Speaker 1 of RGNUL not to provide answers to the witness but allows the Counsel to provide PW 6, documents to refresh his memory.

06:32 pm- Folks, this Trial is a test for the participants not only on their legal skills but their patience too!!!!!

06:35 pm- Speaker 2 of GNLU proceeds with the cross by asking as to what constitutes "conclusiveness of evidence".

06:43 pm- The Prosecution objects on the application of Section 161 of Cr.P.C and the Hon'ble Court take a note of this objection.

06:52 pm- Speaker 1 calls upon his LAST witness!!

06:57 pm- The Defense objected but the Judges overruled it.

06:58 pm- The Defense objects yet again to the question put forward as asked and answered.

07:02 pm- Speaker 2 of RGNUL objects to the questing style of GNLU' speaker 2 as to the fact that he is forcing the PW 6 to answer.

07:06 pm- The Hon'ble Judges clarify the Counsels on Section 313 of Cr.P.C.

07:10 pm- The Defense has now begun with the Examination in chief of its witnesses.

07:11 pm- Speaker 2 of RGNUL objects the question on the ground of it being leading. 

07:12 pm- However, the Hon'ble Judges are of the opinion that it is a mere introductory question.

07:13 pm- The Counsel on behalf of Prosecution is trying his best to convince the Judges.

07:14 pm- And the Judges have noted the Objection

07:21 pm- The Prosecution is being objected on the ground that it is badgering the witness.

07:22 pm- RGNUL Duo is trying to convince the Judges to establish relvancy. 

07:27 pm- The Judges ask the witness DW 1 to provide the requisite information and not to argue the case.

07:34 pm- Speaker 1 of GNLU requests the Judges to refresh the witness's memory. The Judges deny it.

07:35 pm- The judges hold that the Prosecution has asked a very specific question and that the witness should first answer the question.

07:42 pm- The Speaker 2 of GNLU is ardently cross examining the DW 1 about the technicalities of the Ballistics related aspects.

07:45 pm- the Judges direct the witness to limit her answers not to volunteer any information.

07:50 pm- Speaker 1 of GNLU has begun with the examination of DW 2.

07:53 pm- Speaker 2 of RGNUL has proceeded with the cross.

07:54 pm- The Speaker 1 of GNLU objects it but the Speaker 2 of RGNUL is persistently contending that such question is material in order to check the veracity and the position of the Accused. 

07:56 pm- Objection noted by the Judges. but allowed.

07:57 pm- Another objection raised by the Defense on the ground of irrelevancy, allowed by the Bench.

08:00 pm- The Courtroom is getting melodramatic....with continuous objections from GNLU on the grounds of irrelevancy and the Accused, the star witness of defence who seems to be very witty & yet co operative in her reply, the Courtroom is Interestingly amusing.

08:07 pm- The defense call upon his next witness DW .

08:10 pm- Speaker 2 of RGNUL has proceeded with the cross.

8:11 pm- The speaker 2 of RGNUL just asked DW 3 " To what extent you can do things for your friend." The said question was objected on the ground of irrelevancy by GNLU.

08:13 pm- Objection noted and sustained.

08:15 pm- Speaker 2 of GNLU calls upon its LAST witness.

08:22 pm-  The Speaker 2 of RGNUL has proceeded with the cross of the Last witness.

08:24 pm- The Hon'ble Court instructs the Witness not to argue but only to answer questions.

"You are here as a witness and not as a Lawyer."

08:48 pm- Speaker 2 of RGNUL has ardently begun with his closing statement relying on a quote.

08:50 pm-  The Counsel is trying to draw a timeline and a chain of events connecting in order to establish guilt.

08:52 pm- He is contending his case on the circumstantial evidence and asserting that mere absence of any witness so as to hold the accused present on the scene of crime does not make him a free man.

08:54 pm- The counsel is also contesting the qualification of the DW's. By proving the presence of both Mens rea and actus rea, he is seeking to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

08:48 pm- the Counsel qouted a line from " The HOUND of Baskervilles",

09:01 pm- The counsel is confidently and calmly proceeding to prove the charge of the Co accused.

09:04 pm- The Counsel is trying his level best to satisfy the Judges in regard to their queries. And the Judges seem to be pretty satisfied.

09:05 pm- The Judges seek suggestion from the Counsel, relying on a S.C judgment but the Counsel has none to offer. 

09:07 pm- Speaker 2 of GNLU has commenced with his Closing statement. He is relying on a judgment ( citation not available) and holds a firm ground as to his submissions.

09:11 pm- The Counsel is thwarting the evidences of the Prosecution one by one in order to bail out the accused.

09:15 pm- He is relying on the Medical Jurisprudence Texts in order to thwart the ballistics expert's testimony.

09:19 pm- The Judges caution the Counsel that the Judgments provided are not overruled.

09:21 pm- The Counsel satisfies the Court that the Judgments relied on are good in law. He finally argues on "beyond the reasonable doubt"

09:24 pm- The Court asks the Counsel whether the Counsel would like to plead on the Arms Act ground or would confess to the same. The Counsel does not argue on the said issue and "confesses". 

09:26 pm- With this this six hour long session comes to an END (finally)....The lengthiest session so far

This Marks the END of the most heated and extended discussion of the Preliminary Rounds

 

COURT ROOM 5 - "USLLS, GGSIU" (Prosecution) Vs. "UPES" (Defense)

3:15 pm- The court is in session. The counsel has started with the facts relevant to their case.

3:17 pm- The prosecution is beautifully arguing on the facts explaining the various intricacies of law.

3:18 pm- The defense makes the opening statement. The counsel states the facts of the case relevant to their side.

3:20 pm- The prosecution calls their first witness, PW 1 to the witness box. The witness narrates the happenings of the unfortunate night when his brother was shot. The defense objects to the prosecution's question if he identified the accused and the objection is over ruled.

3:29 pm- The defense starts to cross examine the witness. The witness is asked about his share in the logistics company with his brother. The witness is asked about the deceased's temper issues. The defense cleverly points out that the witness may not have noticed the wounds and happenings correctly because he was the riding the bike when this happened. There are deliberations on section 65 of the Evidence Act. The defense tries to direct the court towards believing that the witness had ulterior motive for killing his brother.

3:28 pm- The prosecution has called the second witness, PW 2. He is the investigating officer. The IO tells the court that he found bullets in the crime scene during investigation. He tells the court that the gun belonged to Ajay Shaqia and the unloaded cartridge belonged to the other co accused.

3:45 pm- The defense begins the cross examination of PW 2. The defense asks him questions regarding the time, the distance between the police station, the crime scene and the hospital and concluded to the court that the entire investigation of the murder was done in 15 minutes. The IO is grilled thoroughly. The defense has made up its mind to not let go.

3:55 pm- The prosecution calls the third witness, PW 3. He owns a shop on the highway where the murder took place. He tells the court about the crime scene.

3:59 pm- The defense cross examines the witness. The defense is careful choosing what words to use. He calmly asks a few questions to the witness. The court finds nothing new.

The session is not energetic and the counsels need to bring more heat.

4:04 pm- the prosecution calls the fourth witness, PW 4. The witness is stammering, probably trying to control what he is asked to speak and what he is not.

4:09 pm- The defense starts to cross examine PW 4. The defense points out the discrepancies in the address and age in the statement and what he is saying in the court. The witness fails to clarify. The witness refuses to any findings regarding the bullet at the crime scene. Their lordships are suggesting the defense to be more careful while cross examining the witnesses. The defense seems to be taking that to note.

4:14 pm- The prosecution calls the next witness. PW 5 is the medical officer. The prosecution is asking about the autopsy details. The medical officer tells the court that the cause of death is hemorrhage and excessive loss of blood caused by the gun shot.

4:17 pm- The defense counsel confidently begins the cross examination by asking him to briefly describe the injuries sustained by the deceased when the body was brought in for autopsy. There are some discrepancies regarding the injury on the right hand of the deceased. The defense asks the witness if the clothes of the deceased was thoroughly examined. The medical expert refuses the same further clarifying that it is the duty of the forensic expert to examine the clothes and other property that belong to the deceased.

4:26 pm- The prosecution calls the next witness. PW 6 is the forensic expert. The prosecution asks the expert about the kinds of bullet that was used. The witness tells the court that there was powdered tattooing around the wound which means that the bullet was shot from close quarters.

4:30 pm- The defense starts to cross examine PW 6. The defense questions the witness if there is any possibility of a bullet being shot as a body and not affecting the clothes. The expert tells the court about the smokeless cartridges. the defense counsel raises the question as to why she did not mention this possibility in the ballistic reports. The defense further asks her if the bullet found belonged to either of the revolvers found. The expert is shown a pictures of the revolvers and cartridges. The expert clarifies all the questions by the defense counsel regarding the diameter and sizes of the bullet and the wound.

4:40 pm- The prosecution calls the next witness, PW 7. The counsel on behalf of the prosecution asks him if he remembered Ajay Shakia and his friends that day. The witness worked as a waiter in "Metro Bar". The witness tells the court that they were drinking alot and they were regular customers at the bar.

4:50 pm- The defense calls their first witness. He is the receptionist ( not manager) at the bar. The defense asks him why he didn't maintain register listing the entry and exit of the customers. The receptionist mumbles something and he is still not further asked by the counsel to elaborate.

4:53 pm- The prosecution cross examines the witness. The prosecution asks the witness about his duties as a receptionist. And again neither of the parties made any point to the court.

4:57 the defense calls the second witness. The second witness is a retired forensic expert. On being asked about the autopsy report, he tells the court that the autopsy was conducted after 12 hours of the incident. There are constant deliberations regarding the examination of the clothes that was missed by the medical as well as the forensic experts.

5:03 the prosecution starts to cross examine the expert. The counsel asks the expert about powder tattooing. In the course of deliberations, the defense have repeatedly raised objections. Their lordships warned the prosecution to just ask questions that are relevant.

5:10 The defense has called Ajay Shaqia, the accused to the witness box. Ajay Shaqia tells the court about how he was abused and sacked out of the office by the deceased.

5:15 The prosecution begins the cross examination of the accused. The counsel asks the accused the reason of his absence from the bar for 40 minutes in the night of murder. To this, the accused clarifies that he was only absent from the table and not the bar. The counsel proceeded to ask him about his salary but their lordships stopped him there saying its irrelevant.

5:20 pm- The defense brings the co accused to the witness box. He claims to be Ajay Shaqia's friend and he tells the court how depressed Ajay Shaqia was about losing his job.

5:23 pm- The Prosecution begins to cross examine the co accused. The Co accused tells the court that the accused quit smuggling of arms only after losing the job whereas the accused said he had given up the illegal business 1.5 years prior to losing his job.

The counsels look tired. The energy levels in this courtroom is just dropping with every minute.

5:35 pm The counsel on behalf of the prosecution begin to make the closing statements by summarizing all their arguments and the probable findings of the court.

5:44 pm- The counsel on behalf of the defense submit their closing statements by denying all the averments and allegations made by the prosecution.

 

This Marks the End of this Session 

Fingers crossed for the results. Stay tuned!

10:00 pm- Here we come with the results of the Prelims Round.

                The following team(s) qualify for the semi-final. 

                1. Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar

                2. Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala

                3. School of Law, KIIT University, Bhubaneswar

                4. Symbiosis School of Law, Pune 

Congratulation to the teams. 

10.15 pm- After a long, energetic, action packed and of-course exhaustive day, we are signing off. 

                Good Night. Stay Tuned for the Semi-Finals. 

 

Day 2 - Semi- Final Round

A very warm Good Morning all! We are now about to foray into the much awaited Semi-Final rounds of the 1st NUSRL NTAC, 2015. The participants have arrived and the witnesses are being briefed by the respective counsel's!

COURT ROOM 1 - "School of Law, KIIT University" (Prosecution) Vs. "GNLU" (Defense)

Hon'ble Judges presiding over the round are Ms.Vandana Singh and Mr.R.S.Majumdar. 

10.10 am: The Judges have now arrived to the court-room and are now settling in! The rounds will now begin. 10.12 The Speaker 1 from the side of prosecution has now taken to the podium, and proceeds with the opening statement. The counsel establishes the jurisdiction and then proceeds with the brief statement of facts.

10.17 am- Thus in fair submissions, the counsel for the Prosecution sets out the facts, investigative report and the alleged charges.

Now, Speaker 1 from the side of the defense (GNLU) has taken to the podium.

10:23 AM- After briefly outlining the line of defense that the counsels were likely to adopt, the counsel rests her opening statement, with listing all the Defence Witnesses and their role in establishing their arguments. 10.24 The witness examination has now begun, and PW 1 has been called to the stand. The counsel for the prosecution begins with the standard introductory questioning, and the witness re-iterates the events leading to the death of his brother.

10:26 AM- The preliminary objections raised by the Defense have been overruled by the Hon'ble judges, and now, the Speaker 2 from the side of defense has now taken to the podium. He begins with the Cross-examination.

10:36 AM- The defense counsel has successfully brought to light the facts of the case, by probing the PW 1, and clearly swayed the approval of the court to some extent. The court has raised a question on its own, for the PW 1, and the Hon'ble judges explain the principle of assuming an accused to be innocent until proven guilty.

10:40 AM- PW 2 has now been called to the stands. Oath is being administered. The counsel for the prosecution takes up the questioning. 10.42 The Counsel for defense, Speaker 2 seeks the permission of the bench to proceed with the cross-examination.

10:45 AM- The PW 3 has now been called to the stands. The Counsel for the prosecution proceeds with the questioning in order to further establish the chain of events. The counsel for the defense now proceeds with the Cross-examination. 10.49 The PW 4, the expert witness on behalf of the prosecution has now come to the stand, and is elaborating now on the various injuries suffered and the post-mortem conducted, at the behest of the counsel for the prosecution.

10:57 AM- The counsel has successfully discredited the testimony of the expert witness. Hurling continuous questions and catching the witness off-guard, the Speaker 2 has indeed taken up the court's attention.

11:01 AM- The Hon’ble judges have once again raised a pertinent question, the court addresses the question to PW 4, and hence the witness is now elaborating on the systematic details of the entry and the exit wounds. 11.07 The PW 5 has now been brought on the stand.

11:16 AM- The Counsel for the defense has taken to cross-examining the PW 5 and thus, draws the attention of the court to the discrepancies in the statements made.

11:21 AM- After an intense battle of words between the Defense counsel and the PW 5 the court takes the opportunity to raise another question in place. The Lordships points that all evidence must have been marked by the I.O. and that the defense counsel has failed to exploit this point of argument.

11:30 AM- PW6 is brought to the stand and even as the prosecution counsel takes the podium to conduct the Examination-in-Chief, the judges SPECIFICALLY asks her to make sure that the Investigating Officer performed her job professionally. The counsel nods in affirmation. 

11:42 AM- PW6 narrates the incidents as the prosecution counsel asks the RANDOM questions. No objections as of now from the defense.

11:54 AM- The defense is up for the cross examination. The defense counsel begins in a very humble tone questioning the credibility of the witness as Investigating Officer. The counsel requests the court to mention anomalies in the report filed by the Investigating Officer. THAT IS GOOD JOB FROM THE DEFENSE. He has significantly reduced the Investigating Officer's authority. The counsel asks the PW6 to reiterate events and apologises for same, to which the witness says APOLOGIES ACCEPTED. The court master displays 3 MINUTES LEFT. The judges seem satisfied by the defense counsel's cross examination as they jot down yet another point on his request. TIME'S UP. The judges clear their queries now. The judge is very specific as well as dramatic in pointing out contradictions and dereliction of duty on part of Investigating Officer. The Investigating Officer meekly listens to the anomalies pointed out in the FIR. QUESTION MARKS ALL OVER THE FACE.

Even the counsels, both defense and prosecution, seem to accept the LEARNED JUDGE'S POINTS. The Investigating Officer stood there all too long listening to what faults did he make and finally being left. It seemed the court was acting as a defense, definitely pointing out much more than the defense.

12:09 PM: PW7, the waiter to the witness box. LISTLESS questions in the cross. The defense counsel comes up, wittingly FLATTERS her written statement and then contradicts her statement. The witness clarifies, the counsel asks her not to take things PERSONALLY, the witness gives a frown. This is a part where regular dialogues are shared between PW7 and the defense counsel, clarifying stands and reaching HIGH CORDS as the judges smile to this cross examination. The witness explains the difference between FRIENDS and FRIENDLY RELATIONS. DRAMATIC! The prosecution sits calmly as their witness's statement is contradicted.

12:21 PM: The court is adjourned as a 10 minute break is provided. The judge says 10 MINUTES means 10 MINUTES.

12:30 PM- We're back in courtroom number 1 as the 10 minute break ends. The court is back in session. The first defense witness is brought to the witness box. DW1, defense expert, presents the contradictions of the medical reports and the autopsy reports in favour of the defense. The prosecution counsel in his cross asks the judges to mark few points as exhibit. IT SEEMS THE WITNESS IS CROSS EXAMINING THE COUNSEL AS THE COUNSEL FAILS TO ASK A SPECIFIC QUESTION. She says and i quote, "DO NOT QUESTION MY AUTHORITY". Meanwhile, the counsel manages to bring a significant point and the judges acknowledge the same. The court clarifies some doubt and then DW1 leaves.

12:45 PM- The accused number 1, DW2, is here in the witness box. THE PRIME ACCUSED IS HERE. OOPS! The judge correct him as they says "You're alleged to be a prime accused, yet proved to be one." The EXamination-in-Chief is done.

The prosecution comes for the cross examination. RANDOM QUESTION AS OF NOW! The defense is chit-chatting among themselves whether to object on a question or not. They chose not to. The cross continues. THE JUDGES SHARE A LIGHT MOMENT BETWEEN THEMSELVES. The accused answers all the questions calmly. The counsel ask the judges to note a point, the judge refuses to do so. The judges on the offensive now. Few question and one of them reminds, "You're the accused, I'm not." The judges now question the morality of the accused, his past profession. This for sure, takes away the balance towards the prosecution.

01:03 PM- The accused number 2, DW3 is the stands now. The chief examination is very swift and the counsel for the prosecution comes up. He clears his throat and continues. The witness is very confident in justifying his actions with respect to the illegal gun consignment. The judge in his very strong voice asks the counsel to justify his irrelevant questions. The court reprimands the counsel for wasting time. He gets nervous over that. The judges pacify him and he leaves the podium. The cross examination is done.

01:22 PM- DW4, the receptionist of the METRO BAR, in the stands. Not much to mention in the chief examination. The judge takes over as the cross begins. The judges do the work of cross, terms the document as manipulated and reminds him of the consequences. The witness leaves. That brings the examination part to an end. Waiting for the final statement as the sides prepare for the same.

01:54 PM- The prosecution counsel comes up with his final statement and elucidates the points of contradiction in the testimony and written statements of the defense witnesses and the behaviour of the accused. He finally points out the various sections under which the conviction should be upheld. The judges ask him to refer to the 'panchnama'. MORE DRAMA TO FOLLOW! Final statement being a misnomer as the counsel is grilled with further questions and contradictions. The judge provides him with PRACTICAL ADVICE. Recurrent queries from the judges as the courtroom listens carefully to the conversation. The judge is now challenging the validity of the conclusions made. The judge says and I quote, " If you're getting nervous, I'll close my mouth." This is serious grilling on part of the judges. 

02:05 PM- The defense counsel is next with his opening statement. He informs the court that as a defense counsel all he has to do is to discredit all the evidence provided against his clients and he did so in the examination of witnesses. He points out all such anomalies. He cites various cases to the same effect. He says and says and says. TIME'S UP. He is granted two more minutes. HE EVEN CONTENDS THAT PROCEEDINGS BE INITIATED AGAINST THE Investigating Officer and the student, portraying Investigation Officer, present in the courtroom smiles to that. He requests for similar proceedings against other witnesses. Someone please remind him there are already too many backlog of cases. The counsel finishes with the prayer for the defense. The judges listen to this FINAL ACT. It has been an exhaustive day for them. They ask few questions on the prayer.

This Marks the END of the Session.

 

COURT ROOM 2 - "RGNUL" (Prosecution) Vs. "Symbiosis Law School" (Defense)

Hon'ble Judges presiding over the round are Mr. Jai Prakash and Mr. Vikas Pandey. 

09:50 AM- The atmosphere in the court room is very tense. Pre-trial jitters combined with the competitive spirit- this trial is going to be exhilarating! Both the teams have set their eyes on the trophy and they look like they are going to argue like it’s going to be their last trial. DO or DIE!

09:52 AM- The RGNUL team has very wittingly devised their examination of the Ballistics Expert in relation to her expert opinion.

09:56 AM- The technique used is "Go to the Witness Box without your Specs."......Folks, these boys certainly know their way around!!

09:58 AM- The Speakers of SLS Pune are figuring out their line of action. 10:00 The witnesses have been asked to leave the Courtroom.

10:02 AM- The Counsels for both the teams are seated and waiting for the Judges to come.

10:10 AM- The court room is in session.

10:10 AM- The prosecution begins with the opening statement. The counsel looks quite confident. He briefly states the facts of the case. The co-counsel on behalf of prosecution submits some documents to the judges.

10:14 AM- The defense begins with the opening statement. The counsel briefly maps the summary of their submissions. He narrates the facts briefly relevant to his case. The counsel looks very confident. It looks like Symbiosis, Pune has come very well prepared to bag the trophy.

10:18 AM- Prosecution calls upon its first witness, PW 1. For the benefit of the court, the witness is asked to introduce herself. She is the brother of the deceased. She enlightens the court about her relationship with her brother, professional as well as personal. Further, she tells the court about what happened that night. She beautifully expresses her regret and pain after her brother's death. "I was devastated. I couldn't understand what I was supposed to do. I saw my brother getting shot." She tells the court that when she went back with the others to the crime scene, they only found blood spatters and broken pieces of indicators. They couldn't find the bullet.

10:27 AM- Defense begins the cross examination of PW 1. The counsel begins by asking about the kind of work their firm was engaged in. The witness wasn't able to describe it, probably because she wasn't briefed well, however, she manages on the spot and cleverly says how she is obedient to her brother's orders and she never had to know much about the firm. The counsel asks her if she suspected anyone, to which she said she didn't. The counsel points out at all the contradictions in her testimony and her statement. The cross examination is getting heated up. The counsel asks PW 1 about some phone calls about her shares in the firm etc. The prosecution continues to raise objections as to questions being irrelevant. The defense counsel is trying to direct the court towards believing that the witness who was the brother of the deceased killed the deceased. The witness burst into tears! "My brother was shot! I saw that! Shot!"

10:35 AM- The Prosecution screams "Objection Your Honour! Defense is brow-beating the witness." The Defense continues, so does the witness. The defense counsel asks the witness why PW 1 spoke to the co-accused for 25 minutes. The witness answers that she didn't have her phone that day.

10:40 AM- And the melodramatic examination of PW1 ends on a "teary note." !!

10:41 AM- The Judges are engaged in the dictation of PW1's testimony to the Stenographer. Th Speker 1 of SLS seems to be satisfied with his cross.

10:45 AM- The RGNUL team are devising their strategy in regard with their next witness.

10:46 AM- The Speaker 1 of RGNUL calls upon its next witness, PW2.

10:49 AM- Speaker 1 of RGNUL seems to be calmly examining his witness and trying to establish a timeline as to the crime.

10:51 AM- Speaker 1 of RGNUL is clear with his line of questioning and hands over certain documents as to refresh her memory.

10:53 AM- Speaker 1 of SLS commences with his cross....but wait ....speaker 2 of RGNUL objects to the Defense on the ground that he is not using the designated area for cross and that he is annoying P.W 2.

10:55 AM- Objection overruled on the ground that the Counsel took prior permission of the Court. 10:56 Speaker 1 of SLS is ardently framing his question and putting it to the witnesses.

10:59 AM- The Judges seem to like the questioning style of the SLS team.

11:01 AM- Speaker 1 of RGNUL call upon its next witness, PW3.

11:02 AM- Speaker 1 of RGNUL, prosecution begins by asking the happenings of the unfortunate day. The speaker indirectly tries to prompt some details out of the witness which has been objected by the defense. The objection was sustained. The counsel asks the witness about the light in the area where the victim was shot.

11:08 AM- Speaker 1 of SLS, Pune, defense begins the cross examination. PW 3 was the shopkeeper at the NH. He is asked if he knew certain Jaggu, PW 2, he refuses any sort of acquaintance. The counsel pointed out to the court that he has mentioned his name in the statement earlier. The counsel from SLS, Pune, is sharp and knows exactly how to ask and when to ask- Witty plus correct timing!

11:13 AM- Speaker 1 of RGNUL calls upon PW4.

11:14 AM- Speaker 1 of RGNUL is quite clear with his case but the examination mode adopted by him seems to be a little drab in contrast to Speaker 1 of SLS whose line of examination is riveting.

11:19 AM- Speaker 1 of SLS shows a photographic document of a gunshot wound and asks question pertaining to it......RGNUL objects to it on the ground of no authority but the objection is overruled.

11:23 AM- Seaker 1 of SLS has just contested the Credibility of the witness as an Expert.

11:25 AM- with the kind of questioning, SLS is lunging ahead with, it is quite clear that this team has done their homework well.

11:28 AM- The Court will be back in session after 2 minutes.

11:34 AM- The Court is now back in session.

11:35 AM- Speaker 1 of RGNUL has called upon the PW 5. PW 5 being a ballistic expert tells the court about her findings from the body and the bullet wound.

11:38 AM- The defense starts the cross. The defense counsel shows a picture of a wound to the witness asking her to recognize it. She refuses to identify the same as she tells the court that she forgot to wear her glasses. The counsel immediately gives her a pair of glasses to wear, she wears them and says that's not her power. They are both clever, trying to play each other. He continues to ask her more about powder tattooing, parts of a gun etc. which she successfully answers.

11:41 AM- Speaker 1 of SLS is bombarding the PW 5 with questions. An objection has bee raised by Prosecution on the ground that it is annoying the witness. Objection sustained.

11:45 AM- Speaker 1 of SLS is seeking clarification as to the calibre of the gun used. The Prosecution has raised an objection on the ground that it is annoying the witness. The Judges overrule the objection. 

11:48 AM- The prosecution calls upon its next witness, PW 6. PW 6 introduces himself to the Court as the Sub Inspector. He is asked by the prosecution about the timings of investigation of the crime scene. He tells the court that he found blood spatters in the crime scene. He narrates further about his investigation in the 'Metro Bar'. He narrates further about the findings of the investigation he conducted. He tells the court about the rivalry and antagonistic relationship between the deceased and the accused Ajay Shakia.

11:55 AM- This witness seems to be quite exhaustive and elaborate in his reply.

11:58 AM- Speaker 1 of SLS, Pune has proceeded with the cross.

12:00 NOON- The Speaker 1 of SLS seeks clarification as to the charges framed. The witness begins .....but is a little doubtful as to all the charges..but the RGNUL team comes to the rescue of their witness by asking the witness to refer to the charge sheet.

12:03 PM- The Judges direct the Counsel (Speaker 1 of SLS) to first listen to the witness before noting the testimony.

12:07 PM- Speaker 1 is presently engaged in a rigorous cross with PW6.

12:09 PM- RGNUL objects on the ground that the defense is trying to defame their witness.

12:18 PM- The prosecution calls for its last witness. PW 7 is the waiter of the "Metro Bar". The counsel asks him if he could recall Ajay Shakia that night in the bar. The witness is quite sure that he remembers Ajay Shakia, the accused at the night of the murder, in the bar.

12:20 PM- The co counsel sends a document of statement to the witness, to which the defense out rightly objects. Objection is overruled.

12:23 PM- The witness is asked how much he had served to the accused that day.

12:24 PM- The defense begins with the cross.

12:25 PM- Speaker 2 of RGNUL objects on the ground of irrelevancy.

12:26 PM- The Speaker 1 of SLS is asking the witness (A Waiter) regarding the tipping habits at the said bar.....Reply 100-00 bucks ..( in a a Bar like that, poor waiter)

12:30 PM- The Judges take the examination in their hand asking a couple of question.

12:31 PM- The first question is whether the witness can identify the accused to which the witness replies in affirmative.

12:33 PM- The Defense seeks the permission from the Court as to establish the identity of the accused in the Courtroom to which the Judges deny directing the defense that they should establish alibi as a part of their Cross.

12:39 PM- Hon. Mr. Justice Jai Prakash ask the Defense that "What is the first known Statement u/s 313 of Cr.P.C?" 

12:40 PM- The Counsel is unable to answer.....and the Judges themselves provide an explanation to the same..... The answer being in the Court of Ashoka, the Emperor!!

12:45 PM- Speaker 2 of SLS,Pune calls upon its first witness, DW 1.

12:46 PM- The Judges direct the Counsel to pose only relevant question in precise form.

12:49 PM- Speaker 2 of RGNUL proceeds with the cross. SLS objects it on the ground of relevancy. Objection overruled.

12:55 PM- Speaker 2 of SLS has called upon its next witness, DW2

12:58 PM- RGNUL is a little apprehensive as to whether the Defense Witness has written something in her hand in order to support her testimony!

01:00 PM- They object and request the Judges to check the hands of the witness! ONLY TO FIND NO MARK OR WRITING IN HER HAND!

01:05 PM- Speaker 2, Symbiosis Pune, Defense counsel asks her about the size of the wound, and if it says anything about the distance from where it was shot. She further asks the expert about powder tattooing. The witness elaborately explains the technicalities of the same.

01:08 PM- The prosecution begins cross examining the expert. The expert tries to justify her observations and the report based on her 35 years of experience as well her qualifications.

01:10 PM- The prosecution asks the expert about her date of birth. The defense raises objection as to the question being irrelevant. The objection is sustained. The counsel further asks her about the ambiguities of the ballistic report and the autopsy report. The expert explains the same. (This expert is the star witness of the defense as they thank her while she leaves!)

01:13 PM- The judges dictate the witness's testimony to steno. The prosecution is having some intense discussion about their strategies while the defense is just arranging their arguments in order.

01:17 PM- The defense has called upon its next witness, DW 3. For the benefit of the court, he introduces himself. He tells the court that Ajay Shakia, the accused was his friend. He further tells the court how disappointed he was when he lost his job. Not wasting any further time of the court, the counsel on behalf of the defense directly comes to the point and asks him what happened the night of the murder.

01:18 PM- He tells the court that they were in the 'Metro Bar' that day celebrating the New Years day. The counsel asks him if he knew how to ride a bike. He refuses.

01:20 PM- The prosecution begins the cross. Upon being asked by the counsel about the smuggling business he was involved in with Ajay Shakia, he tells the court that they needed money.

01:26 PM- The defense calls the accused to the witness box, DW 4. The counsel asks the accused about his job at the logistics company owned by the deceased. The defense counsel straight away proceeds to asking about the day of the murder and the next day. The accused tells the court that he was busy with some consignments the next day and that day of the murder he was celebrating New Years' with his friends. The counsel asks him if he knew how to ride a bike, the accused refused.

01:29 PM- The prosecution begins to cross examine the accused. The counsel opens with the question if he follows the traffic rules. Without second thoughts the accused said he does. The counsel did not deliberate any further in this light. He further asked him his monthly salary and if it sufficed. The accused boldly said NO.

01:32 PM- The Court is adjourned and will re-convene in 10 Mins.

01:51 PM- The Hon'ble Court is now in Session.

01:55 PM- The prosecution begins to make the closing statements. The counsel quotes from the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle i.e. "The Hound of Baskervilles" again! He cites various cases as his co counsel promptly hands out the corresponding annexures to the judges. The counsel affirms that the bullet was shot by Ajay Shakia, the accused in the present case. He takes the relevant portions of all the witness testimonies and cleverly summarizes it in a way that substantiates their contentions. He further submits that the defense expert should not be considered a reliable or credible source as she had not conducted any kind of tests on the deceased's body.

02.02 PM- He states the essentials of murder under IPC and the punishment for the same. He further proceeds to justify why Ajay Shakia and Naman Bhalla can be said to have committed the murder of the deceased. And the BELL GOES! The Judges have given the counsel an extension of two minutes time to finish his submissions. The counsel continues. The research as well as the delivery has bound every listener in this court room. The BELL goes AGAIN! The counsel is still not done. The judges still give him an extension of time. And finally, the prosecution is done with the submissions.

02:09 PM- After the closing statement of the Prosecution, Hon'ble Mr. Justice Jai Prakash poses few intrinsic questions pertaining to the case. The Hon'ble Judge clarifies to the Counsel that the Courts have no discretion to impose fines in context with Section 302 offences and that the Counsel (Speaker 2 of RGNUL) was wrong in contending so.

02:10 PM- The defense begins with the closing statements. Speaker 2 from Symbiosis has walked up to the podium for the purpose of making closing arguments. The counsel on behalf of the defense openly states in the court that their witnesses were more useful to the court than the prosecution witnesses in degree of relative evidenciary value. She further tells the court that their client, Ajay Shakia was absent from his table in the bar for 40 minutes as he was talking over the phone about a lost consignment.

02:14 PM- The counsel draws the attention of the court to a testimonies of the prosecution witnesses which makes it clear that only Aditya Raizyada was an eye witness to the shot of the deceased. The others did not see anything or anyone. She continues to direct the court towards believing that Aditya Raizyada only murdered the deceased as he had ulterior motive of acquiring all the shares of the logistics company.

02:16 PM- The Counsel further substantiates her submissions with various case laws. She talks about the faulty investigation by the medical expert, the ballistic expert and the investigating officer.

02:17 PM- She further reminds the court of all the contradictions that the prosecution witnesses showed in their testimonies and the statements given and signed by them. She is precise, quick and assertive.

02:19 PM- There goes the BELL! The judges seem more than happy to give her an extension of two minutes time to complete her submissions.

02:21 PM- The counsel proceeds to cite more cases substantiating her arguments about sec 34 of IPC, Section 28 of Arms Act etc.

02:24 PM- The Judges provide explanation to the Counsel (Speaker 2 of SLS) on the factual matrix of the case.

02:27 PM- With the closing statement of the Speaker 2 of SLS, Pune (Defense) and the Judge's note ; this interesting legal tussle comes to an end.

This Marks the END of this Session along with the Semi-Final rounds.

02.35 PM- The Participants proceed for the lunch after the exhaustive sessions. Results of the Semi-Final round will be declared shortly. For the time being, we are signing off, BYE Everyone.

04:05 PM- Good Evening folks, the wait for the result of the Semi-Final is over. 

                   Qualifying Team(s) for Finals of 1st NUSRL National Trial Advocacy Competition, 2015 are

                    1. Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar

                    2. Symbiosis Law School,  Pune

                   Congratulations to the Winning Team(s). 

Gear up for the final shakedown to be judged by a 3 judge Bench comprising of the siting Judges of the High Court of Jharkhand, tomorrow at 10:00 AM right here, LIVE ! Till then Take Care. Signing Off  

 

Day 4 : THE FINAL SHOWDOWN

Good morning people! The D-Day is here. We are reporting LIVE! from the Court Room, NUSRL, Ranchi

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The Stage is all set for the final tussle between "Symbiosis Law School, Pune" (Prosecution) Vs. "Gujarat National Law University, Gandhinagar" (Defense) for acclaiming the winning title of The 1st N.U.S.R.L National Trial Advocacy Competition, 2015.

09:56 am- The GNLU Team is thoroughly preparing its D.W, the Ballistics Expert and the witness seems to be taking it well.

10:03 am- The teams have exchanged good wishes and are waiting for the Judges to arrive.

10:14 am-  The atmosphere is tense with both the teams going through their paperwork.

10:29 am- Final Round is presided over by a 3 Judge Bench and the Judges have arrived. The presiding Judges are Hon'ble Mr. Justice R.R Prasad, Hon'ble Mr. Justice Prashant Kumar and Hon'ble Mr. Justice H.C Mishra. The Hon'ble Judges are being felicitated. 

10:32 am- An introductory speech by Mr. Mainan Ray, Asst. Prof NUSRL, Ranchi introduces Hon’ble Mr. Justice R.R.Prasad to the gathering here. Mr. Subir Kumar, Faculty NUSRL,Ranchi introduces Hon’ble Mr. Justice Prashant Bhushan, tracing his life, and achievements. Hon’ble Mr. Justice Mr. S.C.Mishra, being introduced by Mrs. Priya Vijay, Faculty, NUSRL, Ranchi. After a short introduction of the Hon’ble Judges coming to an end and now the rounds are all to start.

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10:37 am- The Court is now in Session!

10:39 am- Speaker 1 of SLS, Pune begins with the Opening Statement on behalf of the Prosecution.

10:41 am- He seems clear, calm and composed in his submission. He is laying the groundwork as to the Prosecution's case.

10:44 am- Speaker 1 of SLS, Pune successfully answers the query of the Judges in regard with the framing of Charge u/s 504 of the IPC.

10:47 am- Speaker 1 of GNLU has begun with her Opening Statement on behalf of the Defence.

10:49 am- She narrates the facts of the case briefly. She tells the court the course of submissions that shall be made by the defence. The Speaker successfully points out the faults in the submissions made by the Prosecution.

10:52 am- The Bench asks the Speaker 1 of GNLU, if amendment of a criminal application is possible during the course of trial to which the speaker responds that it is completely the discretion of the court whether or not to allow the same.

10:55 am- Speaker 2 of SLS has begun with the examination of PW1 without waiting for the witness to take Oath!

10:58 am- The Bench seeks clarification from the witness as to the timeline of the incident to which he replies. Speaker 1 of SLS, Pune has clarity of thought as to the questions and is patient with the witness's testimony.

11:06 am- The GNLU team is seated like a hawk to set its claw on the witness for the cross.

11:08 am- Speaker 2 of SLS proceeds to ask the connection of the witness with accused, to which the Bench seeks clarification from the concerned Counsel pertaining to the question in regard with Section 161.

11:10 am- Speaker 2, SLS wisely reframes the question so as to lay a firm ground on the previous question, and proceeds with her examination.

11:11 am- Speaker 2 from GNLU begins the cross examination of PW 1. He asks the witness about his controlling stake in the firm owned by the deceased. The prosecution raises objection to this being irrelevant to the case. The objection is sustained.

11:15 am- The Speaker 2 firmly asks the witness who Ranjeet Chaddha was. The Bench starts grilling the speaker for the same. Speaker tries to clarify and elaborate his question.

11:17 am- Speaker 2 puts up another question as to certain phone calls made by the witness to Ranjeet Chaddha. The prosecution objects this as this could mislead the court as those phone calls were not made but received by the witness as well as the deceased that night. The objection was over ruled.

11:24 am- Speaker 2 questions the witness regarding the speed of the bike at the time of the incident. The witness tells the court that he had to increase the speed of his bike because his brother was shot and he had to balance and take him to the hospital as soon as possible. With this, the cross of PW 1 by the defense comes to an end.

11:25 am- The Speaker 2 of SLS commences with the examination of PW2. Speaker 2 of SLS is examining the witness. The Bench asks her to pause but she pauses after a while. Speaker 1 of SLS asks (and signals) her to proceed with a slow pace! 

11:30 am- And the bell GOES! The Bench grants her an extension!

11:31 am- Speaker 2 of GNLU raises an objection on the ground of it being a leading question. Speaker 2 of SLS contends that the said question is only meant for the clarification of the Court. Objection is overruled.

11:33 am- Speaker 2 from GNLU begins the cross examination of PW 2. Speaker 2 asks the witness about the crime scene, the location, the lights etc. The Bench starts grilling the witness. The witness handles the series of questions quite well. Objection by speaker 2 of SLS Pune on the ground “asked and answered”. Objection is overruled.

11:38 am- Speaker 2 of GNLU seems very satisfied, smiles and returns to his seat.

11:40 am- Speaker 2 of SLS calls upon PW 3 as her next witness.

11:42 am- Speaker 2 of GNLU objects to the Prosecution on the ground that the question asked is a leading question. Objection is sustained. The GNLU team shares a smile!

11.48 am- Speaker 2 from GNLU begins the cross examination of PW 3. He asks the witness what side of the road did the bike fall upon. The witness tells the court that the bike fell on the left side of the road. The counsel further asks if she saw the injuries on the body of the deceased. The Bench rectified the question and asked the witness on which side of the body of the deceased did she see the injuries. The witness carefully answers and tells the court that the right side was injured.

11.52 am- The Bench advises Speaker 2 from GNLU to be more precise with the question(s) and to listen to the witness carefully.

11.54 am- It seems speaker 2 is gaining more confidence minute by minute. He reframes his questions in a way that would make him establish a strong case. PW 3 tells the court that it was really dark that night where the murder to place.

11:56 am- Speaker 2 of SLS calls upon its next witness, PW 4 (Medical Expert).

11:57 am- Speaker 2 of SLS asks about the injuries found by the witness, to which the witness hesitates to reply; Speaker 2 of SLS comes to the rescue of its own witness by presenting her the Autopsy Report (relying on Section 159 of IEA).

12.04 pm- The cross examination begins. Speaker 2, GNLU asks the expert about her qualifications. He asks the expert about the technicalities of the bullet perforation into the body of the deceased. The expert tells the court that the lungs and diaphragm were ruptured.

12.10 pm- The expert is asked about the autopsy report. Speaker 2 from SLS, Pune gets up and explains the report to the judges for the benefit of the court. The Bench accepts the explanation and further asks questions to the expert. The expert tries to be clear and elaborate.

12.13 pm- The Bench grills the speaker. A lot of questions are bombarded at the Speaker at this point. The speaker is able to tackle and answer all the questions to the satisfaction of the Bench.

12:21 pm- Speaker 2 of GNLU finally gets the witness to say that " She was handed over the clothes of the witness but she did not examine it."

12:18 pm- The Bench showers the Witness with various questions. The Prosecution tries to help but the Court directs the Prosecution to be seated and let the witness answer for itself.

12:22 pm- The Speaker 2 of GNLU returns to be seated with a sigh of relief.

12:23 pm- Speaker 2 of SLS calls upon her next witness, PW 5.

12:24 pm- The Speaker 2 of SLS asks the witness (Ballistics Expert) about the findings of his tests with the crime weapon.

12.30 pm- Speaker 2 from GNLU starts to cross examine the ballistics expert, PW 5. He asks him if he knows what ‘Saturday Night Special’ means. The expert gives the right answer to that and the Bench deliberates more on that question. SLS, Pune raises objection that the question are not based on reasonable grounds. Objection is overruled.

12:34 pm- Speaker 2 asks him as to what a cartridge is. The Bench then asks the speaker what a cartridge is and how it works. Meanwhile the expert tells the Court about cartridges and that it is detachable from the gun. The Speaker picks this up and draws special attention of the court to the fact that the cartridge can only be manually removed.

12:38 pm- The speaker proceeds further to ask the expert more about powder tattooing. The expert tells the court all the necessary facts about the same. The Bench asks the expert if he examined the clothes of the deceased. The expert tells the court that he did examine the clothes only in regard to his field of expertise, for material like charring, blemishes, soot, detoing etc.

The speaker asks him what “Non Rectilinear Motion” meant. The expert takes permission from the bench and “patience” from the “Speaker” to be allowed to explain the entire concept of the rotating movement of the revolver, skid marks around the shell etc.

12:45 pm- The Speaker precisely asks him what he found and observed. The expert tells the court the extrinsic details as to the entry and exit of the bullet in the body of the deceased.

12:46 pm- The Speaker 2, SLS calls upon PW 6. The Bench asks the Speaker if any of the witnesses were influenced. Speaker 2, SLS humbly requests the Bench to pay heed to the next 2 witnesses as they are significant to the case in regard to circumstantial evidence.

12:52 pm- The SLS team signals their Speaker 2, in context to her question, meanwhile an objection has been raised by GNLU which is noted and overruled.

12:54 pm- GNLU raised an objection on the ground that it is a leading question. Objection is sustained.

12:55 pm- Yet another objection by the GNLU team on the ground of it being "asked and answered". Objection is sustained.

12:56 pm- The Speaker 2, GNLU has now taken up the cross-examination of the PW 6. The speaker begins with highlighting the point that the prosecution's case is placed on PW 6's statement.

12:58 pm- The Speaker 2, GNLU draws the attention of the Bench to the statement that the accused was a regular customer at the Metro-Bar, and the witness is now being subjected to a cross-fire of words. The Prosecution raises an objection that the defense counsel is trying to annoy the witness.

01:01 pm- Speaker 2, GNLU calls upon its last witness (PW 7).

01:02 pm- The Speaker 2, GNLU asks his last question, and the court notes the point that the approximate amount on the bill, on the night in question was about Rs.500-700.

01:05 pm- The competition is neck to neck with the teams relying on dictum "Attack is the best Defense".

01:14 pm- Speaker 2, SLS hands over documents to the witness to refresh his memory and the Bell RINGS!

01:15 pm- An extension is granted to the SLS Speaker for further examination of the witness.

01:26 pm- Speaker 2, GNLU ardently proceeds to cross-examine PW 7.

01.27 pm- The Speaker 2, GNLU is making a sincere effort in order to discredit the Investigation Officer's testimony. He tries to coax the witness into answering questions so framed that the discrepancies in the report submitted by him will come to light.

01.36 pm- The Speaker 2, SLS raises a strong objection on the ground that the counsel is again trying to intimidate the witness, and the latter has hence retreated to the stand.

01:45 pm-  The Speaker 2 from GNLU is now proceeding with his last question to the PW 7, The Bench clarifies to the Speaker that the witness does not have any authority to answer the question so raised.

01:48 pm- A vehement objection is raised by the Speaker 2, SLS, and The Bench affirmed with the Speaker’s objection hence raised. The Speaker 2, GNLU retreated and rests his Cross-Examination.

01:50 pm- The Speaker 2, SLS replies to the queries raised by the Hon'ble Bench, relating to the facts, meanwhile objections are being raised by the Defense.

01:52 pm- Speaker 1, GNLU has called upon its 1st witness, DW1.

01:53 pm- The witness answers in a clever manner and testifies that the Prosecution's Report is flawed. She, very wittingly seeks to refer the Autopsy report on the ground of "old age".

01:54 pm- The SLS team objects it on the ground that the witness is competent enough and can answer the question without any reference; but the Court allows her to refer the material!

02:07 pm- The Speaker 2, SLS has now taken to cross-examining the DW 1. The Speaker 2 introduces an exhibit, which is a picture of a Gun-Shot wound. The Speaker 2 further requests the DW 1 to analyze the picture and provide a brief analysis of the same, to establish her credibility.

02:09 pm- The DW 1 takes an excuse of poor eye-sight and dodges the play set in place by the Speaker 2, SLS. The Bench permits the exhibit to be analysed, and the DW 1 seems to be caught in a situation as she refuses to identify or analyse the picture presented.

02:12 pm- The DW 1 has made it a point to stress the fact that his age is 64, and he is old. However, this does not deter the speaker 2, SLS to pressurize DW 1. Meanwhile, the Bench intervenes and put forth some technical questions to DW 1.

02.22 pm- The Cross-Examination of DW1 has now come to rest, and the Speaker 2, SLS takes his seat.

02:23 pm- The Speaker 1, GNLU is now questioning the DW2 who has now come to the stands.

02:24 pm- The Hon'ble Bench have raised an objection and asks the Speaker to reframe the questions, as the former observed the counsel was leading the witnesses. The Speaker 1, GNLU proceeds.

02.29 pm- The Speaker 2, SLS begins with his cross-examination. The opponent raised an objection to his first question on the grounds of irrelevancy, The Bench upheld the objection. The Speaker 2, SLS however continues with few basic questions to the accused.

02.35 pm- The Speaker 1, SLS asks the accused about his salary. The accused informs the court that he earns Rs. 20,000 per month only. The speaker asks the accused how much he drank that day. The accused says they did not drink much that day as they wasted a lot of the alcohol that they had ordered. That was indeed a smart save!

02.39 pm- The accused further informs the court regarding his lost consignment that he was worried about that day. He went to resolve the matter pertaining to that consignment, the next day.

02.42 pm- The Defense (GNLU) has called in the co-accused to the witness box now. The co-accused tells the court that on 2nd January i.e. the subsequent day of the incident he was sitting at a tea stall with accused and another when the police came.

02:44 pm- The co-accused is asked if he has ever seen a gun. He replies, he has never touched a gun except for the times when he was smuggling the same.

02:45 pm- The Prosecution (SLS Pune) begins with the cross examination. Speaker 1, SLS starts by asking what he did to earn his livelihood. The co-accused replies he is engaged into some family business. Speaker 1, SLS asks the co-accused what he drank that day with his friends.

02:47 pm- The co-accused tells the Court that they had beer and whisky that day. He further contends before the Court that they went to give a phone to certain Jay Prakash at the tea stall. The Speaker 1, SLS has raised a point as to why all four of them had to meet at the tea stall to just give a phone.

02.50 pm- The Defense raises an objection as to irrelevant question. The objection is sustained.

02.50 pm- The Defense raises an objection as to irrelevant question. The objection is sustained.

02:52 pm- The Defense has called upon the last witness i.e. DW 4. DW 4 is the receptionist at the 'Metro Bar'.

02:55 pm- Speaker 1, GNLU begins to examine him. The Bench grills the Speaker here. "Where is the case, counsel?"

02.58 pm- Speaker 1, SLS begins the cross examination.

03:00 pm- Speaker 2, SLS has been objected by the opponent on the ground that the question has been "asked and answered".

03:03 pm- This marks the completion of examination of witnesses. The Court is adjourned for and will resume at 03:20 P.M for the closing arguments.

03:30 pm- The Court is now in session!

03:33 pm- Speaker 2, SLS has begun with her Closing Statement. The Hon'ble Court has directed the Counsel to proceed with the Circumstantial Evidence aspect, as the Prosecution case rests on circumstantial evidence. The Court asks Speaker 2, SLS to specify the time taken for the accused to leave the Metro Bar, commit the crime and come back; to which the Speaker answers that "unfortunately” the I.O has not brought it to the notice in his Report. The Court directs the Counsel that not to call it “unfortunate” as it was the duty of the Prosecution to do so. The Counsel requests to cite a case in this regard to which the Court denies, holding that she should answer the question in the present factual matrix.

03:41 pm- Speaker 2, SLS is being showered with questions from the Hon'ble Bench, which she seems to answer to the best of her capability.

03:42 pm- GNLU "objects" to the submissions of the Speaker 2, SLS, to which the Researcher of SLS conveys that objections cannot be raised in the Closing Statement.

03:51 pm- She has adopted an exhaustive approach in proving the Prosecution 's case.

03:55 pm- Speaker 2, SLS ends her closing statement contending, "The witnesses may lie, but the circumstances don't."

03:57 pm- Speaker 2, GNLU has very humbly begun with the Closing Statement on behalf of the Defense and starts off by denying the testimony of Rajiv Shekhawat. 

04:00 pm- Speaker 2, GNLU is trying to thwarting the evidence of the Prosecution one by one.

04:02 pm- Speaker 2, GNLU contends that the Medical Examiner did not even have a M.D which he cleverly brought out in his Cross and cites a case to that effect contesting the credibility of the Expert.

 

The finals rounds of the 1st NUSRL NTAC, 2015 has now come to its destined denouement. We were witness to the unfolding of an extraordinary Trial Advocacy competition, which saw the participation and the enthusiasm of 18 teams from every corner of the country. It has been an incredible event afar; we are waiting for the results with abated breaths.

 

 04:45 pm- Valedictory Ceremony 

After the end of the Final Round, we are in for the valedictory ceremony

Ms. Priyanka Prasad, Member, MCC, NUSRL Ranchi, welcomes all the Hon’ble Judges, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor, NUSRL Ranchi, Faculty Members, Participants and students to the valedictory session. The final evening of the competition starts with the lighting of the lamp, by the Hon’ble Judges and the Vice-Chancellor of NUSRL, Ranchi. Now, the VC is being called upon the stage to address the august gathering.

04:57 pm- Prof B. C. Nirmal, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, talks about the importance of a lawyer in the administration of justice. He is happy about NUSRL taking efforts to organise this competition successfully. He assures about future events in the month of may and states that it is just a start of the things to come, qouting him “Acche din aane wale hai”.

05:03 pm- VC facilitates Hon’ble Justice R. R. Prasad, Hon’ble Justice Prashant Kumar and Hon’ble Justice H.C. Mishra with flowers, Momento and Shawls as a mark of deep gratitude.

05:08 pm- Hon’ble Justice H.C.Mishra, congratulated the university on organising the event. He emphasises on the importance of legal practise. 

05:14 pm- Hon’ble Justice Prashant Kumar, emphasises on the importance and essentials of trial. He says that such events provide an opportunity to the students to face the real court like experience and acquire the art of argument. 

05:21 pm-  Hon’ble Justice Mr. R. R. Prasad remarked that the job a lawyer is to secure justice, and that this should be the ultimate aim of a lawyer. He inspired the students to join the legal practise which is notable as well a pious. He finally thanks all the organisers who took pain in organising this event.

05:27 pm- Long awaited Results are finally here!

Best Speaker: Sneha Priya Rai of SLS, Pune (Total prizes worth Rs. 27 K!)

Runner-Up Team – SLS, Pune. (Total prizes worth Rs. 80 K!)

Winners – GNLU, Gandhinagar. (Total prizes worth Rs. 90 K!)

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Vote of Thanks being delivered by Ms . Hiral Mehta, Moot Court Committe, Co-Chairperson

 

It was an amazing experience bringing to you the live action and the ground reports. We have tried our best to cover every aspect. This is the live blogging team from NUSRL signing off and hoping to see you again soon at the next edition of the N-NTAC. Final bows!
Thank You!

 


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vishal.nusrl@gmail.com (PVishal) Mooting Premier League Wed, 01 Apr 2015 20:26:00 +0530
Spectrum Auctions 2015 http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/spectrum-auctions-2015 http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/spectrum-auctions-2015

As readers may be aware from our previous post, the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India (“DoT”) had put up spectrum in 4 bands of 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz, spread across the 22 telecom circle of the country. The auction process concluded last week after fierce bidding by eight telecom players over 19 days and 115 rounds.  Our previous posts on the timeline and schedule for the spectrum auctions can be accessed here.

The telecom players which were in the fray to bag spectrum from the auction included Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Reliance Communications, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Tata Teleservices, Aircel and Uninor. These operators participated in the auction process comprising of a total of 465 MHz of spectrum across the four bands (103.75 MHz in 800 MHz band, 177.8 MHz in 900 MHz band, 99.2 MHz in 1,800 MHz band and 85 MHz in the 2,100 MHz band ).

In what could be a further boost to the Government, the Supreme Court has lifted a restraint order and allowed finalisation of the auction result. According to reports, these auctions fetched the Government approximately INR 1.09 lakh crore, which translates into INR 10,900,000,000 billion. The Supreme Court direction implies that the Government could have at least INR 28,000 crore from the total auction money before the end of the current financial year.

Earlier, a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra had on February 26, 2015 allowed the scheduled commencement of spectrum auctions, but directed that the results should not be finalised without its approval. This approval came on March 26, 2015, when the bench observed that it may not be proper to block so much of money, when the Government has agreed that the final allocation will be subject to orders passed by the Supreme Court.

Some of the key highlights of the auction were:-

  • Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular retained their 900 MHz spectrum holdings;
  • Reliance Jio Infocom managed to win CDMA band spectrum;
  • Although Reliance Communications lost in three telecom circles, but it became India’s first and only operator with a nationwide footprint of the contiguous 800 MHz spectrum;
  • Uninor did not win spectrum in any telecom circle;
  • Aircel only participated in the bidding process for 1800 MHZ spectrum band, since it was disqualified from bidding for any new spectrum; and
  • The Maharashtra circle generated the most revenue, accounting for INR 10,822 crore for 14 MHz of spectrum.
  • The results of the bidding process, as issued by the DoT can be accessed here and the DoT’s notice regarding the amount due from the telecom players is here.

    Original author: Arjun Uppal


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    mohdsalmanwaris@gmail.com (LocalLoop) Technology, Media & Telecommunications Wed, 01 Apr 2015 19:20:00 +0530
    Net Neutrality and Public Highways http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/net-neutrality-and-public-highways http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/net-neutrality-and-public-highways

    (My thanks to Malavika Prasad for bringing this case to my attention)

    With the recent release of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s [“TRAI”] “Consultation Paper” on the regulatory framework for over-the-top [“OTT”] services, net neutrality is up for sustained debate in India. Previously, I had written about how net neutrality, in the context of the internet, should be understood as a core free speech issue, and it might be helpful to consider the controllers of the “gateways” to the internet (or, in other words, the owners of the infrastructure of speech on the internet) as having public obligations of non-discriminatory access (even though they might be private parties). The idea of public obligations inhering upon private parties because of their control of public infrastructure, or their performing of a public function, has been upheld by the American Supreme Court in Marsh vs Alabama and by the Indian Supreme Court in the concurring judgment of Mohan J. in Unnikrishnan.

    In the net neutrality debate this time, another bit of imagery has been doing the rounds: that of a public highway. It is permissible to charge a toll for the use of a highway, the rate of which might be proportional to how much one uses – so goes the analogy – but it is impermissible to charge differential toll rates based upon the make of the car you drive, or depending upon whether you’re going to work, or to vacation.

    This is a particularly interesting analogy, because, as it turns out, the Indian Supreme Court has ruled upon precisely this point: that of non-discriminatory access to public highways. Saghir Ahmed vs State of UP, decided in 1954 by a five-judge bench, involved a constitutional challenge to the UP Road Transport Act, which allowed the State government to take exclusive control of running and operating road transport services within the state, if it believed such a step to be necessary in the public interest. Or, in other words, it allowed the State government to create a transport monopoly by executive fiat – which it actually did, for a part of the road network.

    In deciding upon the validity of the State government notification, as well as the constitutionality of the Act, the Court noted:

    “According to English law, which has been applied all along in India, a highway has its origin, apart from statute, in dedication, either express or implied, by the owner of land of a right of passage over it to the public and the acceptance of that right by the public . In the large majority of cases this dedication is presumed from long and uninterrupted user of a way by the public, and the presumption in such cases is so strong as to dispense with all enquiry into the actual intention of the owner of the soil and it is not even material to enquire who the owner was.“

    In response to the Attorney-General’s argument that the rights of commercial passage over a highway were determined by the Motor Vehicles Act, the Court observed:

    “But the right of the public to use motor vehicles on the public road cannot, in any sense, be regarded as a right created by the Motor Vehicles Act. The right exists anterior to any legislation on this subject as an incident of public rights over a highway. The State only controls and regulates it for the purpose of ensuring safety, peace, health and good morals of the public. Once the position is accepted that a member of the public is entitled to ply motor vehicles on the public road as an incident of his right of passage over a highway, the question is really immaterial whether he plies a vehicle for pleasure or pastime or for the purpose of trade and business. The nature of the right in respect to the highway is not in any way affected thereby and we cannot agree with the learned AdvocateGeneral that the user of a public road for purposes of trade is an extraordinary or special use of the highway which can be acquired only under special sanction from the State.”

    A few things ought to be noted:

    (1) Although Saghir Ahmed was a case about State action, and consequently, implicated the petitioners’ Article 19(1)(g) and 14 rights, the Court’s logic here is based upon the nature of the utility (public highway) rather than the nature of the owner. In the first excerpted paragraph, the Court makes it clear that the question of ownership is immaterial, since whatever property rights the owner has, he is deemed to have intended to give up his right to the extent that passage requires.

    (2) The power of the State to control and regulate the public utility must be for the purposes of ensuring safety, peace, health and morals.

    (3) The nature of the use of the public utility (i.e., in this case, whether commercial or for pleasure) does not affect the scope of the right of use in any way.

    (4) The right stems from long and uninterrupted prior use, presumably stretching back to the beginning of road networks, and consequently, being somehow part of the very nature, or essential characteristic, of a “road”.

    Note the striking similarities with the net neutrality debate, with respect to each of the elements. There is, of course, a danger with pushing any analogy too far, but the vocabulary of the TRAI Consultation Paper itself conjures up an image of the internet “highway”. In paragraph 2, it states:

    “The term over-the-top (OTT) refers to applications and services which are accessible over the internet and ride on operators’ networks offering internet access services e.g. social networks, search engines, amateur video aggregation sites etc.”

    And, in para 3:

    “Carriage is separated from content in internet networks, enabling OTT content and application service providers to deal directly with end users.”

    A full elaboration, of course, would need significant unpacking. What, precisely, is the public highway here? Is it the spectrum? And is the argument then that a spectrum auction by the original owner (i.e., the government) does not carry with it complete rights of ownership, but rather, attendant obligations that act as limits upon those rights. One of those obligations being to provide non-discriminatory access to a public utility, whose public character remains unchanged despite the ownership being in private hands. Of course, such an argument would also need to establish the analogy between roads and the internet, both in terms of their public character (perhaps not so difficult), and the establishment of a right of non-discriminatory access through a long period of uninterrupted usage (perhaps harder in the case of the internet).


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    gautambhatia1988@gmail.com (Gautam.Bhatia) Constitutional Law Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:41:20 +0530
    Delhi Gang rape: A 17 year old adult. http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/delhi-gang-rape-a-17-year-old-adult-1 http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/delhi-gang-rape-a-17-year-old-adult-1 Brutally raped, badly beaten up, insertion of an iron rod inside her nether private parts and thrown naked on the streets of Delhi. That was a Delhi girl who died of such a brutal attack. While a juvenile partaking with other 5 adults, was considered by the court to be having an innocuous mind though he was the most vicious one than others while committing the heinous crime and resultantly was prosecuted before a juvenile court and was given only a minimal period of 3 years of imprisonment.

    Brought to the fore was the above case of a 23 year old Delhi girl that created a huge stir in the society.  Among the 6 convicts, one was a juvenile who was sent to the reformatory home for 3 years. This judgement was highly crucified by the society. In the wake of the judgement a fiery debate took place on whether to prosecute the juvenile along with the other victims in the court or not. However, 3 years have passed nothing is yet done and the time has come when the juvenile will be set free this December 2015. That juvenile who was collectively responsible for the brutal rape and death of a Delhi girl will live a normal life like others with expunged criminal record.

    Rape and murder are the most serious crimes and when such crimes are committed in a very brutal way they fall under the category of being a rarest of the rare case. It is considered to be the most barbaric act committed by a human being and that is why a capital punishment is provided for such crimes. The juvenile act believes in rehabilitation of a juvenile. Suppose a juvenile has committed theft then he will be sent for some months to the reformatory home. So the main purpose is to rehabilitate and prevent any further delinquent acts. However, this instigates juvenile to commit heinous crimes as the maximum imprisonment is just 3 years. Over the years, there has been a tremendous increase in the crimes committed by the juvenile especially in rape and murder. NCRB statistics show that the cases of rape and murder by juvenile have increased enormously. This requires serious attention of the legislature to amend the juvenile act.

    Why in India, the crimes that fall under the rarest of the rare case are considered to be different from other cases. Why is there a different punishment laid down for such crimes? IPC etches punishment for a particular crime for an adult but when it falls under the category of being a rarest of the rare case, capital punishment is attracted. Therefore, adults who commit a crime which falls under the rarest of the rare case are treated differently because of the nature of such crime. Then why are juveniles not treated differently in such cases. Why are they prosecuted the same way other juveniles are prosecuted?

    A capital punishment applied in the rarest of the rare case is an exception to the provisions of IPC.  Accordingly, there should be an exception to the juvenile act also in regard to crimes falling under the rarest of the rare case and thus amend the act by including a proviso considering a juvenile to be an adult in such cases. In U.K. and U.S.A. the juveniles are considered to be an adult at the time of commission of exceptionally severe crimes. This is how it should be in India for juveniles as well. The juvenile act may have a maximum of 3 years of imprisonment but it should certainly have the exception of giving the capital punishment if it falls under the rarest of the rare case. There is nothing to do with the age at the time when juvenile commits a crime so brutally that depicts the mental and physical maturity and strength of that person. The convict of the Delhi gang rape can’t be termed as a juvenile. The sexual assault committed and her private parts damaged so brutally that his acts corresponds to his mental strength. His acts depict the cruelty and the maturity level. When such acts are committed, it is not rational to show clemency towards such juveniles. These kinds of juvenile don’t require rehabilitation. The main intention of the legislature was not to give rehabilitation to such treacherous juveniles. They should be equally held responsible for such acts.

    However, if it’s not feasible to give capital punishment to the juvenile, the punishment for juvenile falling under the rarest of the rare case should be more stringent as the 3 years maximum period doesn’t serve the society at all.  Is it a joke to provide minimal period of just 3 years of punishment for the juvenile in the Delhi gang rape case. The juvenile act should be amended and include more stringent rules on such like cases. If not capital punishment then atleast half of the sentenced served to the convicts prosecuted before a court or in death penalty - minimum of 15 years for the juvenile.

    It was not only the family of that girl who fought for her justice; it was the whole country that got together and demanded justice. Yet we all have to watch over the convict walk away free after a short sentencing of 3 years.  The victim demands justice as the juvenile is going to be released from the reformatory home this December 2015, the judiciary and legislature should both take an immediate step for imparting justice to the victim.


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    fatema6khoraki@gmail.com (fatema) General blogging Tue, 31 Mar 2015 21:52:05 +0530
    In-flight Wi-Fi in India Likely Soon http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/in-flight-wi-fi-in-india-likely-soon http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/in-flight-wi-fi-in-india-likely-soon

    As per recent media reports the Department of Telecommunications is seen to have informally agreed to allow the use of Wi-Fi while in flight in Indian air space. Certain media reports indicate that the Government might soon permit the idea of Wi-Fi based internet connections on flights, meeting a longstanding demand of both airlines and passengers.

    Presently, the internet connectivity service is not permitted for the Indian carriers and only foreign airlines such as Emirates, Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines offer internet connectivity on international flights. Airlines typically provide Wi-Fi services by installing a server on board planes, which connects with a ground-based mobile broadband network or links to the satellites.

    This is a matter of regulatory clearances, similar to the use of mobile phones onboard even in the flight mode.

    From, the perspective of the revenues of airlines, the permission to offer in-flight Wi-Fi would open up a separate revenue stream for the airline players as well.

    As per an additional proposal, the aviation ministry has plans to introduce free Wi-Fi at 30 major airports across India, which are managed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and subsequently with a small charge.

    Original author: Arjun Uppal


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    mohdsalmanwaris@gmail.com (LocalLoop) Technology, Media & Telecommunications Tue, 31 Mar 2015 17:53:00 +0530
    A critical look at the 2002 Re: Arundhati Roy decision and modern-day contempt laws http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/a-critical-look-at-re-arundhati-roy http://www.legallyindia.com/Blogs/a-critical-look-at-re-arundhati-roy Recent judicial pronouncements on law of contempt have brought the issue to the center stage of public debate and discourse. Against this backdrop, Dr KD Singh ruminates retrospectively on some major judgments rendered by the Supreme Court of India in this branch of law, with a particular focus on the seminal Re Arundhati Roy (2002) Supreme Court decision.

    An organisation viz. Narmada Bachao Andolan filed a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India before the Supreme Court. It was a movement or andolan, whose leaders and members were concerned about the alleged adverse environmental impact of the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Reservoir Dam in Gujarat and the far-reaching and tragic consequences of the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people from their ancestral homes that would result from the submerging of vast extents of land, to make up the reservoir.

    During the pendency of the writ petition, the Court passed various orders. By one of the orders, the Court permitted to increase the height of the dam which was resented to and protested by the writ petitioners and others including the respondent herein. Ms. Arundhati Roy, who was not a party to the writ proceedings, published an article entitled 'The Greater Common Good' which was published in Outlook Magazine and in some portion of a book written by her.

    Two judges of the Court, forming the three-judge Bench felt that the comments made by her were, prima facie, a misrepresentation of the proceedings of the court. It was observed that judicial process and institution cannot be permitted to be scandalised or subjected to contumacious violation in such a blatant manner, it had been done by her.

    Recording its disapproval of the act of the respondent and showing its magnanimity, the Court declared:

    'After giving this matter our thoughtful consideration and keeping in view the importance of the issue of resettlement and rehabilitation of the PAFs, which we have been monitoring for the last five years, we are not inclined to initiate proceedings against the petitioner, its leaders or Ms. Arundhati Roy. We are of the opinion, in the largest interest of the issues pending before us, that we need not pursue the matter any further. We, however, hope that what we have said above would serve the purpose and the petitioner and its leaders would hereafter desist from acting in a manner which has the tendency to interfere with the due administration of justice or which violates the injunctions issued by this Court from time to time.'

    The third learned Judge also recorded his disapproval of the statement made by the respondent herein and others and felt that as the court's shoulders are broad enough to shrug off their comments and because the focus should not shift from the resettlement and rehabilitation of the oustees, no action in contempt be taken against them.

    However, after the judgment was pronounced increasing the height of the dam, an incident was stated to have taken place on December 30, 2000 regarding which a Contempt Petition No. 2 of 2001 was filed by J.R. Parashar, Advocate and others. According to the allegations made in that petition, the respondents named therein, led a huge crowd and held a Dharna in front of this Court and shouted abusive slogans against the court including slogans ascribing lack of integrity and dishonesty to this institution. It was alleged that when the petitioners therein protested, they were attacked and assaulted by the respondents. In the evening on the same day, the respondents are stated to have attacked, abused and assaulted the petitioners.

    A complaint was stated to have been lodged with the Tilak Marg Police Station on the next day. In the aforesaid contempt proceedings notices were issued to the respondents in response to which they filed separate affidavits. All the three respondents therein admitted that there was a Dharna outside the gates of the Court on December 30, 2000 which was organised by Narmada Bachao Andolan and the gathered crowd were persons who lived in the Narmada Valley and were aggrieved by the majority judgment of this Court relating to the building of the dam on the Narmada River. In her affidavit Arundhati Roy (one of the respondents), amongst other averments, had stated:

    'On the grounds the judges of the Supreme Court were too busy, the Chief Justice of India refused to allow a single judge to head the judicial enquiry into the Tehelka scandal, even though it involves matters of national security and corruption in the highest places.

    Yet when it comes to an absurd, despicable, entirely unsubstantiated petition in which all the three respondents happen to be people who have publicly -though in markedly different ways - questioned the policies of the government and severely criticized a recent judgment of the Supreme Court, the Court displays a disturbing willingness to issue notice.

    It indicates a disquieting inclination on the part of the court to silence criticism and muzzle dissent, to harass and intimidate those who disagree with it. By entertaining a petition based on an FIR that even a local police station does not see fit to act upon, the Supreme Court is doing its own reputation and credibility considerable harm.'

    The assertions in the aforesaid contempt petition attributed that the contemnors shouted abusive slogans against the court including slogans ascribing lack of integrity and dishonesty to the institution undoubtedly made the action of the contemnor gross contemptuous and as such the court had initiated the contempt proceedings by issuing notice. But in view of the denial of the alleged contemnors to the effect that they had never shouted such slogans and used such abusive words as stated in the contempt petition, instead of holding an inquiry and permitting the parties to lead evidence in respect of their respective stand, to find out which version is correct, the court thought it fit not to adopt that course and decided to drop the proceedings. But in the very show cause that had been filed by Ms. Arundhati Roy, apart from denying that she had not used any such words as ascribed to her, she had stated in three paragraphs, as quoted earlier, after denying that she had never uttered the words ascribed to her and those paragraphs having been found prima facie contemptuous, the suo motu proceedings had been initiated and notice had been issued. However, the Court felt that Ms. Arundhati Roy was found to have, prima facie, committed contempt as she had imputed motives to specific courts for entertaining litigation and passing orders against her. She had accused courts of harassing her as if the judiciary were carrying out a personal vendetta against her. She had brought in matters which were not only not pertinent to the issues to be decided but has drawn uninformed comparisons to make statements about the Court which do not appear to be protected by law relating to fair criticism. It was stated by her in the court that she stood by the comments made by her even if the same are contumacious. For the reason recorded therein, the Court issued notice in the prescribed form to the respondent herein asking her to show cause as to why she should not be proceeded against for contempt for the statements in the offending three paragraphs of her affidavit, reproduced hereinearlier.

    In her reply-affidavit, the respondent has again reiterated what she had stated in her earlier affidavit. It was contended that as a consequence of the Supreme Court judgment the people in the Narmada Valley are likely to lose their homes, their livelihood and their histories and when they came calling on the Supreme Court, they were accused of lowering the dignity of the court which, according to her is a suggestion that the dignity of the court and the dignity of the Indian citizens are incompatible, oppositional, adversarial things. She stated:

    'I believe that the people of the Narmada valley have the constitutional right to peacefully protest against what they consider an unjust and unfair judgment. As for myself, I have every right to participate in any peaceful protest meeting that I choose to. Even outside the gates of the Supreme Court. As a writer I am fully entitled to put forward my views, my reasons and arguments for why I believe that the judgment in the Sardar Sarovar case is flawed and unjust and violates the human rights of Indian citizens. I have the right to use all my skills and abilities such as they are, and all the facts and figures at my disposal, to persuade people to my point of view.'

    She also stated that she has written and published several essays and articles on Narmada issue and the Supreme Court judgment. None of them was intended to show contempt to the court. She justified her right to disagree with the court's view on the subject and to express her disagreement in any publication or forum. In her belief the big dams are economically unviable, ecologically destructive and deeply undemocratic. In her affidavit she has further stated:

    'But whoever they are, and whatever their motives, for the petitioners to attempt to misuse the Contempt of Court Act and the good offices of the Supreme Court to stifle criticism and stamp out dissent, strikes at the very roots of the notion of democracy.

    In recent months this Court has issued judgments on several major public issues. For instance, the closure of polluting industries in Delhi, the conversion of public transport buses from diesel to CNG, and the judgment permitting the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam to proceed. All of these have had far-reaching and often unanticipated impacts. They have materially affected, for better or for worse, the lives and livelihoods of millions of Indian citizens. Whatever the justice or injustice of these judgments whatever their finer legal points, for the court to become intolerant of criticism or expressions of dissent would mark the beginning of the end of democracy.

    An 'activist' judiciary, that intervenes in public matters to provide a corrective to a corrupt, dysfunctional executive, surely has to be more, not less accountable. To a society that is already convulsed by political bankruptcy, economic distress and religious and cultural intolerance, any form of judicial intolerance will come as a crippling blow. If the judiciary removes itself from public scrutiny and accountability, and severs its links with the society that it was set up to serve in the first place, it would mean that yet another pillar of Indian democracy will crumble. A judicial dictatorship is as fearsome a prospect as a military dictatorship or any other form of totalitarian rule.

    The Tehelka tapes broadcast recently on a national television network show the repulsive sight of Presidents of the Bhartiya Janata Party and the Samata Party (both part of the ruling coalition) accepting bribes from spurious arms dealers. Though this ought to have been considered prima facie evidence of corruption, yet the Delhi High Court declined to entertain a petition seeking an enquiry into the defence deals that were referred to in the tapes. The bench took strong exception to the petitioner approaching the court without substantial evidence and even warned the petitioner's counsel that if he failed to substantiate its allegations, the court would impose costs on the petitioner.

    On the grounds that judges of the Supreme Court were too busy, the Chief Justice of India refused to allow a sitting judge to head the judicial enquiry into the Tehelka scandal, even though it involves matters of national security and corruption in the highest places.

    Yet when it comes to an absurd, despicable, entirely unsubstantiated petition in which all the three respondents happen to be people who have publicly - though in markedly different ways - questioned the policies of the government and severely criticized a recent judgment of the Supreme Court, the Court displays a disturbing willingness to issue notice.

    It indicates a disquieting inclination on the part of the court to silence criticism and muzzle dissent, to harass and intimidate those who disagree with it. By entertaining a petition based on an FIR that even a local police station does not see fit to act upon, the Supreme Court is doing its own reputation and credibility considerable harm.

    In conclusion, I wish to reaffirm that as a writer I have right to state my opinions and beliefs. As a free citizen of India I have the right to be part of any peaceful dharna, demonstration or protest march. I have the right to criticize any judgment of any court that I believe to be unjust. I have the right to make common cause with those I agree with. I hope that each time I exercise these rights I will not be dragged to court on false charges and forced to explain my actions.'

    In the aforesaid backdrop, the Supreme Court dealt with the question whether the offending paras in her affidavit amounted to contempt of court. In the proceedings, a preliminary objection was raised by the contemnor that the Hon’ble Judges who issued notice in Criminal Petition No. 2 of 2001 should not be a party to the present proceedings and the case be transferred to some other Bench.

    Rejecting the plea of recusal, the Supreme Court held that cognizance of the criminal contempt against the respondent has been taken by the Court, suo motu under Section 15 of the Act. Whereas sub-section (2) of Section 14 permits a person charged with the contempt to have charge against him tried by some judge other than the judge or judges in whose presence or hearing the offence is alleged to have been committed and the court is of opinion that it is practicable to do so. No such provision is made under Section 15 of the Act.

    Obviously for the reason that when action is at the instance of the Court, there is no question of any motive of and prejudice from any judge. The Court also held that accepting the plea raised by the respondent would amount to depriving all the judges of the court to hear the matter and thus frustrate the contempt proceedings, which cannot be the mandate of law. The apprehension of the respondent was found to be imaginary, without basis and not bonafide. The oral prayer made for one of the judges not to be a member of the Bench, hearing the matter was rejected.

    It is stated that the aforesaid view of the Supreme Court is totally erroneous as the alleged contempt was committed infacie curiae inasmuch as the offending affidavit was filed before a Bench of the Supreme Court and hence falls within the purview of section 14 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 which deals with the procedure where contempt is in the face of the Supreme Court or a High Court. A bare reading of the provision would indicate that in cases of contempt in the face of the Supreme Court or a High Court where a person charged with contempt under this section applies whether orally or in writing to have the charge against him tried by some Judge other than the Judge or Judges in whose presence or hearing the offence is alleged to have been committed and the court is of opinion that it is practicable to do so, and that in the interest of proper administration of justice, the application should be allowed, the same has to be done.

    Thus, the view of the Supreme Court is highly convoluted inasmuch as suo motu cognizance can be taken and in fact has been taken by the Supreme Court under section 14 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 and therefore to this extent, the judgment suffers from a serious infirmity. Moreover, the logic of the court in not entertaining the plea of recusal is highly fallacious. It is not understood as to how the acceptance of such plea would deprive all the judges to hear the matter. The plea was against a particular judge (and not even the Bench) in whose presence the contempt allegedly took place.

    Even otherwise, the principles of natural justice demand that the learned judge ought to have recused on his own without even waiting for the contemnor to request to the same effect. Justice is rooted in confidence and it is destroyed when right minded people go with the impression that the judge was biased. It is submitted that after Maneka Gandhi's case, procedural fairness is part and parcel of our constitutional scheme and consequently the refusal to recuse by the judge can hardly be termed as procedurally fair. It is submitted that principle of natural justice, due process requirement after Maneka and ordinary notions of justice demanded the judge to refuse to hear the matter and to recuse from the Bench.

    It is submitted that there is an in-built bias in the contempt proceedings inasmuch as the functions of the judge, the jury, the hangman and the pall bearers are all discharged by the same institution and it becomes more pronounced when the court takes suo motu cognizance in contempt proceedings and thus the suo motu jurisprudence further compounds the injustice the alleged contemner and results into violation of cherished freedoms.

    A further plea was raised by the contemnor to defer the proceedings to await the decision of a constitutional Bench in Dr. Subramaniam Swamy v. Rama Krishnan Hegde. In the said case a reference was made to the Supreme Court to reconsider the dicta laid down by the Supreme court in Perspective Publications (P) Ltd. v. State of Maharashtra.

    Thus, it was contended that truth can be pleaded as a defence in contempt proceedings. However, the Supreme Court rejected the submission holding that “[i]nasmuch as the question of truth being pleaded as defence in the present case, does not arise. Contempt proceedings have been initiated against the respondent on the basis of the offending and contemptuous part of the reply affidavit making wild allegations against the Court and thereby scandalized its authority. There is no point or fact in those proceedings which requires to be defended by pleading the truth.”

    Thus, the Supreme Court was not even prepared to consider the plea of truth as the same was found to be irrelevant and immaterial. It is stated that the alleged contemptuous paragraphs in the affidavit reflected some factual aspects and therefore it is quite surprising that the truth was held irrelevant in the proceedings. It may be further stated that after Maneka Gandhi's case any restriction on fundamental rights which is not just, fair and reasonable is blatantly unconstitutional and a procedure which does not recognize truth as a defence is, ex facie, an unreasonable restriction on free speech and cannot be termed as reasonable by any notions of arguments and reasoning.

    Further distinguishing its own holding in P.N. Duda v. P. Shiv Shanker, the Supreme Court observed that the criticism of the judicial system was made by a person who himself had been the judge of the High Court and was the Minister at the relevant time. He had made studies about the system and expressed his opinion which, under the circumstances, was held to be not defamatory despite the fact that the court found that in some portion of the speech the language used could have been avoided by the Minister having the background of being the former judge of the High Court. His speech, under the circumstances, was held to be not amounting to imminent danger of interference with the administration of justice nor of bringing the administration into disrepute.

    It is thus apparent from the aforesaid observation of the Supreme Court that the liability will differ depending upon the fact that criticism of the judicial system was made by a person who himself had been the judge of the High Court and was the Minister at the relevant time or by a person having no judicial background. Such a view is highly skewed and makes hostile discrimination between the two categories of the citizens and renders it susceptible to attack on the benchmark of right to equality guaranteed under the constitution.

    The further observation of the Supreme Court in the case to the effect that the respondent has not claimed to be possessing any special knowledge of law and the working of the institution of the judiciary and further that she has not claimed to have made any study regarding the working of the Supreme Court or judiciary in the Country is highly shocking and surprising. A citizen of the country need no learning, formal or otherwise, to exercise its fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression else the said right would become illusory, moonshine and a monopoly of few elites in this country of teeming illiterates.

    Further, the observation of the Supreme Court to the effect that the law "punishes the archer as soon as the arrow is shot no matter if it misses to hit the target" reflects another anomaly in the law (as interpreted) to the requirement of mens rea in a charge of contempt. It is submitted that contempt proceedings being penal are quasi criminal in nature and therefore the offence of contempt must necessarily have mens rea as a necessary ingredient thereof. Absence whereof would unsettle the settled principles of certainty of criminal law and would render the law vulnerable, more so, after the entry of due process clause in Indian Constitution through Maneka Gandhi’s case as stated above.

    Lastly, it is submitted that the Supreme Court convicted the author Ms. Arundhati Roy for the contempt of the court and sentenced her to simple imprisonment for one day and to pay a fine of Rs.2,000/-. It is pertinent to mention that the Supreme Court judgment on the quantum of punishment is perincurium inasmuch as section 13(a) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 clearly states that no court shall impose sentence under the Act for a contempt of court unless it is satisfied that the contempt is of such a nature that it substantially interferes, or tends substantially to interfere with the due course of justice.

    It is submitted that in the present case, no charge was framed to this effect much less any finding recorded thereon and consequently it is writ large that as far as the sentence of one day is concerned, it is totally illegal, bad in law and contrary to statutory mandate. It is stated that the scheme of section 13 of the Act is clear in that as a rule the punishment in case of contempt has to be by way of fine and it is only when the court is satisfied that the contempt is of such a nature that it substantially interferes or tendssubstantially to interfere with the due course of justice, a punishment by way of sentence is warranted. In the present case, no attention was given to section 13 and punishment by way of sentence was imposed and therefore the judgment of the court is not sustainable to this extent as well. It is submitted that sending a citizen for exercising his or her right to freedom of speech and expression (even amounting to contempt) in a functioning and vibrant democracy is indeed a very poor reflection on our judicial system and the laws. Some urgent action on the part of the law makers is needed to rectify such judicial deviance.


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    kapildevsingh@yahoo.com (KDSingh) Constitutional Law Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:26:08 +0530