Dump law-breaking lawmakers in prison!

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Highlights

And the nation witnessed the sordid drama once again in the parliament in the last week.

…And the nation witnessed the sordid drama once again in the parliament in the last week. Unfortunately, nowadays shouting, brow-beating, insulting and even assaulting by indulging in fist-fighting and kicking the 'Hon'ble' people's representatives in the parliament or assemblies has become the order of the day! As our democracy grows older day by day, the level of mental maturity of our elected representatives declines conversely. The legislative history is replete with the dirty examples of goon's behaviour by our MPs and MLAs.

What is more serious is the entire sordid drama witnessed by the whole world, thanks to the advanced technology. Obviously, the non-democratic countries like those having monarchy, dictatorship and communist role subtly 'enjoy' the drama with their tongue in cheeks.

Indeed, the good old makers of our Constitution must have in good faith thought that the future generations of our 'free' people live up to the most cherished ideals of democracy. They might have dreamt of the future generations as decent in behaviour, law-abiding, respectful to values and above all, magnanimous. But alas! our present generation has let them down.

The latest incident of Santanu Sen, MP, snatching papers from a Minister and tearing them off right on the floor of the House is certainly not an isolated one. Prior to this incident, there have had been several tens, if not hundreds, of such incidents which have not been forgotten till today. While it is futile to indulge in the blame-game to pin-point the responsibility of maintaining decorum in the august houses of legislature, one thing is certain that lack of will rather than competence of the Chair is mostly responsible for the precarious growth of this ugly trend over the years.

Sometimes due to political compulsions and sometimes due to misconceived immunity available to the elected people's representatives from 'criminal' action, the brutes under the garb of MPs and MLAs become wilder and wilder as they go berserk resulting into chaos and pandemonium in the House and at times, also the loss of public property.

Now, it is high time to say, enough is enough and catch the unruly bulls by horns. To achieve this, the rules of conducting business of the elected Houses, including the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, should be amended by making stringent provisions for their violation. The fear of attracting 'rigorous' imprisonment and hefty fine alone can discipline such outlaws. The Speaker or Chairman post must go to a person who is well qualified in law and above all, has necessary guts to punish such wayward unruly 'Honourable' members.

The Peoples Representation Act should also be amended with a new provision that if an elected member has suffered punishment for unruly behaviour in any elected body, he stands disqualified to contest any elective post or nomination as a member of any elected body for say, five years.

Indeed, the people are fed up of watching unruly scenes in the elected bodies, right from the parliament to municipal corporations to gram panchayats. There is, therefore, an urgency for setting the Houses in order. Let the Triple Talaq Bill wait, let the Uniform Civil Code Bill wait or let any other important Bill wait; but the amendments suggested hereinabove cannot wait any longer since the credibility of our elected Houses is at stake and nothing is more important than restoring and retaining the credibility.

SC on compounding of offences

The Supreme Court division bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah has observed that the power of compounding an offence must be expressly conferred by the statute which creates the offence.

This is so, because Section 320 of CrPC provides for the compounding of offences only under the IPC. The court emphasized that societal interest in the prosecution of crime which has a wider social dimension must be borne in mind.

The apex court's observation on the subject of applicability of Section 320 of CrPC came in a case titled, Prakash Gupta Vs Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

Courts must follow the spirit of JJ Act: Allahabad HC

The Allahabad High Court has in a recently delivered judgement on July 14, has observed that the courts must adhere to the spirit of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 while dealing with a juvenile.

Delivering verdict in a criminal revision filed by one Meghraj Sharma against the State of Uttar Pradesh and another Justice Pankaj Bhatia, inter alia, observed: "The court where the plea of juvenility is raised for the first time should always be guided by the objectives of the JJ Act, 2000 and be alive to the position that the beneficent and salutary provisions contained in the Act are not defeated by hyper-technical approach and the persons who are entitled to get benefits of Act get such benefits. The courts should not be unnecessarily influenced by any general impression that in schools the parents/guardians understate the age of their wards by one or two years for future benefits or that age determination by medical examination is not very precise. The matter should be considered prima facie on the touchstone of preponderance of probability."

In the instant case, the Juvenile Justice Board as well as the appellate courts below the apex court had rejected the claim of the juvenile petitioner expressing doubts about the genuineness of his date of birth as entered into the high school certificate. Subsequently, the medical opinion too, had estimated his age over 19 years.

Gutka cases quashed by TS HC

In a classic example of sub-standard and ill-equipped State prosecution machinery, the Telangana High Court at one go quashed about 50 cases filed by the State police authorities under Sections 188, 270, 269, 271, 272, 273, 328, 336 and 420 read with 34 and 511 of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 20(1), 20(2), and 5 read with 7 (2) and 7 (3) of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003 , Sections 58 and 59 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 and Section 51 (b) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 respectively against the alleged 'offenders'.

The main allegations against the petitioners-accused were that they were transporting, possessing, selling and purchasing the banned products viz., tobacco/tambaku/gutka/khaini/zarda/pan masala respectively.

Justice K Lakshman, in his order dated July 5, elaborately dealt with each and every allegation made by the prosecution and tested whether the allegations were legally tenable and sustainable after applying the case-law. Finally, the court did not find any water in the allegations of the prosecution and quashed the cases.

Indeed, this is a sad commentary on the state of affairs prevailing in the law enforcing agencies and their judicial hands, called the Public Prosecutors of all levels.

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