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Karnataka HC grants bail; Imposed stringent conditions to ensure compliance and prevent interference with the investigation.

CASE TITLE – Yunus Ahmed & Ors. v. State of Karnataka

CASE NUMBER – CRIMINAL PETITION NO. 4103 OF 2024

DATED ON – 02.05.2024

QUORUM – Justice V. Srishananda

 

FACTS OF THE CASE

The Chithradurga Rural Police registered a case in Crime No.133/2024 for offences under Sections 427, 504, 143, 147, 148, 149, 395, 448, 307, 323, 324 of Indian Penal Code, on 02.04.2024 at about 8:30.p.m., based on a complainant lodged by B.H.Gowdru alias B. There was an incident that had occurred at about 2:30.p.m., on 02.04.2024, where under a Muslim Woman by name Farzana Khanum had a conversation with B.H.Gowdru alias B. At that juncture, about 18 to 20 persons from Muslim community people have forcibly ingressed to the compound wall of the house of B.H.Gowdru and took serious objection in having a conversation with Muslim Woman. It is also contented that the mob assaulted with hands and legs and stones and had a Neck Chain weiging of 55 grams, One Bracelet of 30 grams and Two Rings of 20 grams and Cash of Rs.40,000/- from his pocket were stolen by the mob and they also caused damage to the car. In respect of the same incident, Smt. Farzana Khanum also lodged a complaint before the Women Police Station, Chitradurga against B.H.Gowdru alias B on 03.02.2024 at 6:00.a.m. Police are investigating both matters. In the process, petitioners who were accused Nos.2, 4, 5 and 6 were arrested and sent to Judicial custody. The attempt made by the petitioners herein to obtain an order of grant of bail was turned down by the learned District and Sessions Judge, Chithradurga. Thereafter, petitioners are before the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka.

 

ISSUE

Whether the Petitioners/Accused are entitled to bail given the severity of the charges against them.

 

CONTENTIONS BY THE PETITIONERS

The learned Senior Counsel for the revision petitioners contended that even assuming that entire allegations found in the complaint lodged by Sri. B.H.Gowdru is to be accepted as gospel truth, no ingredients are attracted in so far as the offence under Section 307 of I.P.C., prima-facie. He further contended that at any rate, since there is case and counter-case, the accused/petitioners are entitled to be enlarged on bail. He further pointed out that having regard to the allegations levelled against the present petitioners in the incident, continuation of the accused/petitioners in Judicial custody no longer warranted and the apprehensions expressed by the prosecution can be met with by imposing suitable conditions.

 

CONTENTIONS BY THE RESPONDENT

The learned High Court Government Pleader opposes the grant of bail on the ground that the offence alleged against the petitioners are heinous in nature and it stands proved, the petitioners are liable for the punishment of life imprisonment and therefore, gravity of the offence is on the higher side. He further contended that the investigation is still in inception stage and if the bail is granted to the petitioners, then the investigation process could be hamper. He also pointed out that the release of the petitioners on bail may result in reputation of the offences and therefore, sought for release of bail

 

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

The Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka held that the complainant averments clearly depict that the mob including the petitioners attacked the complainant by hands and legs and also stones and damaged the car and robbed the precious items from the custody of the complainant. Since, the accused persons were already in custody on and from 04.04.2024, the investigation could have progressed a considerable extent and at any rate, custodial interrogation if any, would have been completed. There was no criminal antecedents insofar as the petitioners are concerned. They also stated that from the complainant averments itself, even though the prosecution has invoked Section 307 of I.P.C., prima-facie materials would not disentitle petitioners, from obtaining an order of grant of bail by resorting to special powers vested in this Court under Section 439 of Cr.P.C. Therefore, the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka held that the Bail Petition is allowed certain to some conditions, those being: (a) Petitioners shall be enlarged on bail by taking a bond in a sum of Rs.2,00,000/- with two sureties for the like sum to the satisfaction of the Trial Court. (b) Petitioners shall attend the Court regularly. (c) Petitioner shall mark their attendance before the investigation officer every alternative Sunday in between 10:00.a.m., to 2:00.p.m., till the charge sheet is filed. (d) Petitioners shall not directly or indirectly tamper the prosecution evidence nor hamper the investigation process. (e) Petitioners shall not leave the Jurisdiction of the Chitradurga District without prior permission. And stated that violation of any one of the conditions would entitle the prosecution to seek for cancellation of bail.

 

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Judgement Reviewed by – Gnaneswarran Beemarao

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The Supreme Court upholds 50% marks criteria in interview set by the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the promotion as District Judges

Case title – Dr Kavita Kamboj Vs High Court of Punjab and Haryana & Ors

Case no. – Civil Appeal Nos. 2179-2180 of 2024

Decision on – February 13, 2024

Quoram – Chief Justice of India Dr. D Y Chandrachud, Justice J B Pardiwala, Justice Manoj Misra

Facts of the case

The High Court in the year 2013 stipulated that that an aggregate of 50% marks in the written test and viva voce combined is required to render a candidate eligible for promotion. Whereas, in 2021 a meeting of the Recruitment and Promotion Committee overseeing the Superior Judicial Service acting through the States of Haryana and Punjab resolved that a candidate must secure 50% marks in the written test and 50% marks in the viva voce to be eligible for promotion. This resolution was also approved by a full court.

On 24 August 2022, the process of filling up vacancies for the post of Additional District and Sessions Judges from among the in-service officers was initiated The High Court conducted a written test which was followed by a viva voce. Based in this test, the Registrar (Judicial), on 23 February 2023, addressed a communication to the State Government recommending the names of thirteen judicial officers.

The High Court’s directive faced opposition primarily due to the absence of minimum cut-off criteria for viva voce as prescribed by the Rules. Moreover, the State of Haryana objected to the direction, citing the lack of consultation with the State Government as mandated under Article 233 of the Constitution.

The candidates filed writ petitions before the High Court to restrain the State from accepting the recommendations made by the High Court and for quashing the Resolution of 30 November 2021. The High Court by its impugned order directed the State of Haryana to take positive action in concurrence with the recommendations of February 2023.

Submission of the Parties

The Petitioners submitted that there was no rational justification for prescribing of the minimum cut-off criteria in both the suitability test and in the viva voce when appointments are made for in-service candidates

They contended that the candidates drawn for promotion in the 65% promotion quota and 10% from the in-service are from the same pool. Consequently, a minimum cut-off cannot be logically justified for the 65% promotion quota when there is no such norm for the 10%, which is filled up on the basis of the limited competitive examination.

The Counsel submitted that the absence of notice to candidates about the alteration in the criteria of eligibility and introduction of minimum qualifying marks in the viva voce has resulted in substantial injustice.

The Counsel on behalf of the State submitted that as per Article 233 the High Court ought to have consulted the State while making a modification to its own Resolution for the selection of District Judges. Thus, contended that the directives of High Court suffered from implicit subjectivity and arbitrariness.

Issue – Whether the 65% quota for selection through merit-cum-seniority under the promotion procedure is outlined by Rule 8 of the Haryana Superior Judicial Service Rules, 2007.

Court’s Analysis and Judgment

The Supreme Court ruled that since the Rules are silent on the aspect of a minimum cut-off for viva voce, the High Court was justified in prescribing such a condition through a Full Court resolution.

It also distinguished its judgment in Sivanandan CT and others v. High Court of Kerala and others on the ground that in that case, there was already a clear prescription of the rules regarding cut-off criteria. But, in the present case, the Rules were entirely silent regarding prescribing minimum eligibility to clear the test and viva which gave enough space for the High Court on the administrative side to provide the modalities of marking marks.

The petitioners had also questioned the need for an interview, pointing out that the candidates are in-service judicial officers aspiring for promotion as opposed to fresh candidates.

Rejecting this contention, the Supreme Court noted that a candidate should not just show knowledge in the suitability test but must also demonstrate the same in the course of the interview held for the promotion. The Apex Court, thus, stated that the High Court is at liberty to decide the personality and interview requisites of the in-service officers.

The Court also rejected the argument raised by the State Government relying on Article 233 and stated that the State erred in finding fault with the directives of High Court. The Court opined that since the Rules were silent, any issue between the State and the High Court should have been ironed out through a consultative process.

The Court ruled that the impugned judgment of the High Court does not suffer from any legal or other infirmity. Thereby, the Court dismissed a batch of special leave petitions filed by unsuccessful candidates and the State of Haryana and upheld a criteria set by the High Court which stipulated that judicial officers with minimum of 50% marks in the interviews to be eligible for promotion to the post of District Judges.

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Judgement Reviewed by – Keerthi K

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