Legal Gallery: High Court dismisses plea against UP BJP MLA’s election

Prayagraj (UP): The Allahabad High Court has dismissed a petition challenging the election of Ajeet Pal Singh, BJP MLA from the Sikandra Assembly segment in Kanpur Dehat in 2017.

Ajeet Pal Singh is a Minister for State (IT department) in the Yogi Adityanath government.

Dismissing the election petition filed by one Seema Sachan on Wednesday, Justice D.K. Singh observed, "The counsel for the petitioner has miserably failed in proving as to how the said non-providing of the copy of the required document to polling agents by the presiding officers has resulted in materially affecting the election result of the returned candidate.

"It has also come on record that the margin of defeat is very huge as the winning candidate has won this election by securing 73,325 votes while the petitioner has just secured 61,455 votes and, therefore, it shows a difference of more than 10,000 votes."

Seema Sachan had contested the 2017 elections against Ajeet Pal Singh on a Samajwadi Party ticket.

The submission of the counsel for the petitioner was that the returning officer has acted against the mandatory provisions of the Representation of Peoples' Act in not providing required documents to the agents.

Secondly, the election of the winning candidate has been materially affected on account of improper reception of votes of the electronic voting machines (EVM), the seals of which were found tampered or broken at the time of counting.

However, while opposing the election petition, Bharat Pal Singh the counsel for the elected candidate, contended that the petition is devoid of merit, therefore, it deserves to be rejected.

Plea in SC seeks release of Rohingya refugees detained in Jammu

New Delhi: A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking immediate release of detained Rohingya refugees in Jammu and also a direction to the Centre to expeditiously grant refugee identification cards through the FRRO for Rohingyas in the informal camps.

The application filed by Mohammad Salimullah, a Rohingya refugee, through advocate Prashant Bhushan, sought a direction from the top court to the government to refrain from implementing any orders on deporting Rohingya refugees who have been detained in the sub jail in Jammu.

The plea said the refugees faced an imminent danger of being deported vide the government circular which directs the relevant authorities to identify and expeditiously deport illegal Rohingya refugees. "It (petition) is filed in the public interest, in order to secure and protect the right against deportation of the petitioner refugees in India and to protect Constitutional guarantees under Article 14 and Article 21, read with Article 51(c) of the Constitution of India, against the deportation of Rohingya refugees who have taken refuge in India after escaping widespread violence, bloodshed and discrimination against their community in their home State of Myanmar", said the plea.

The plea urged the top court to direct UNHCR to intervene and determine the protection needs of the Rohingya refugees not just in the Jammu but also in camps across the country and complete the process of granting them Refugee cards. The plea said according to news reports in this month, nearly 150-170 Rohingya refugees in Jammu are being detained.

The petitioner argued that this follows after the Union Minister Jitendra Singh's statements two months ago that the Rohingya wouldn't be able to secure citizenship. "In India, no legislation has been passed yet that specifically refers to refugees. Hence, it has in practice often clubbed Rohingya refugees with the class of illegal immigrants who may be deported by the government under the Foreigners Act 1946 and the Foreigners Order 1948", said the plea.

Last year in January, the apex court had agreed to hear a clutch of pleas against the Centre's decision to deport illegal Rohingya Muslim immigrants to Myanmar.

Plea in SC seeks guidelines to compensate victims of wrongful prosecution

A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Centre to frame guidelines to compensate victims, subjected to wrongful prosecutions, and implement the recommendations of the Law Commission's report number 277, dealing with the issue.

The plea, filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, contended that there are many startling cases which show the gross abuse of power and authority by the state and vexatious complainants, which caused absolute "miscarriage of justice".

Arguing that failure of justice causes irreparable damage to right to life, liberty and dignity of innocent citizens and no relief is given by the courts, the petitioner said being the custodian of the Constitution, the Supreme Court may use its plenary constitutional power, as an alternative, to frame guidelines for compensation to victims of wrongful prosecution.

Citing the cause of action for the PIL, the plea said: "The Allahabad High Court acquitted Vishnu Tiwari, who spent 20 years in jail on rape charges with no compensation awarded, ignoring even the public law remedy which shows the necessity of effective compensation and legal mechanism for malicious prosecutions and wrongful incarceration of innocents."

Citing the National Crime Records Bureau's annual statistical report titled Prison Statistics India (PSI), the plea said according to PSI 2015, there were 4,19,623 prisoners across the country out of which 67.2 per cent were under trial -- substantially higher than the convict population 1,34,168 (32 per cent).

"A review of the data in PSI shows that across the country as well as in states, under trial prisoners continue to be higher in numbers than the convict population. The states with the highest percentage of under trials were Meghalaya - 91.4 per cent, Bihar - 82.4 per cent, Manipur - 81.9 per cent, Jammu & Kashmir - 81.5 per cent, Nagaland - 79.6 per cent, Odisha - 78.8 per cent, Jharkhand 77.1 per cent, and Delhi - 76.7 per cent," it said.

The plea contended that malicious prosecutions and incarceration infringes fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

The Delhi High Court, on November 30, 2017, directed the Law Commission of India to undertake a comprehensive examination of issue of relief and rehabilitation to victims of wrongful prosecution and incarceration. "The Law Commission submitted its Report No 277 on August 30, 2018 but the Centre has not taken appropriate steps to implement the recommendations," the plea said.

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