All 11 former policemen from Rajasthan, convicted for killing Raja Man Singh of the erstwhile Bharatpur royal family and his 2 colleagues over 35 years ago in Deeg area of the state, were awarded life sentence by a court in Mathura on Wednesday.
The convicts, who were sentenced to life term by Mathura District Judge Sadhna Rani Thakur, include former Deeg Dy SP Kan Singh, 82, and local police station in-charge, sub-inspector Virendra Singh, 78, who had led a police team in killing the Bharatpur royal scion and his two colleagues Sumer Singh and Hari Singh on February 21, 1985.
“Besides undergoing life imprisonment, all the 11 convicts will have to furnish a fine of Rs10,000 each failing which they will have to undergo additional imprisonment of two months each,” District & Session Judge Thakur announced in a jam-packed courtroom.
Being held guilty of murder, all 11 former cops were also convicted for “committing riots armed with deadly weapons” and being part of the unlawful assembly committing an offence with common objective. For the two offences, all 11 convicts were sentenced to two years and six months respectively in jail and were imposed fines of Rs 2,000 each. All sentences would run concurrently, the court said. The court also ordered payment of Rs30,000 to the next of kin of each of the deceased and Rs2,000 to the four injured persons, Vijai Singh, Chandan Singh, Nawab Singh and Babu Lal, in the encounter.
Contempt: SC notice to Prashant Bhushan
The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan and Twitter India, taking suo motu criminal contempt of two tweets posted by him last month and fixing further hearing on August 5. It also ordered the presence of Attorney General KK Venugopal in the next hearing for assistance.
Bhushan did not appear in the court, nor did anyone appear for him in the case that came up before the Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari. The rules of criminal contempt, however, require him to remain present.
One of the objected tweets was posted by Bhushan on June 29 commenting on CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde riding an imported Harley Davidson motor bike in his hometown Nagpur. In the second tweet objected, he had said on June 27: "When historians in future look back at the last 6 years to see how democracy has been destroyed in India even without a formal Emergency, they will particularly mark the role of the SC in this destruction, & more particularly the role of the last 4 CJIs.”
The SC simply asked Twitter India to file its response in the case. For Twitter, senior advocate Sajjan Poovayya said Twitter can disable a tweet only on the court orders and urged the Bench to pass an order to this effect, but the bench refused.
No physical hearing in SC for 4 weeks
CJI Bobde on Wednesday ruled out restarting the physical hearing in the SC in view of the ongoing Covid-19 situation, but he said a 7-member court committee would consider it after four weeks. His observation came when a lawyer prayed for resumption of the physical court hearing before the Bench, comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
The lawyer was referring to a bunch of petitions put on hold because of the current virtual court hearing through video-conferencing. These relate to grant of quota in promotion to SC/ST employees in various states.
Shelter home: CBI response sought
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a response from the CBI on an appeal by Brajesh Thakur to challenge his conviction in the infamous Bihar’s Muzaffarpur shelter home rape case. A division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar issued notice to the CBI, hearing Thakur's plea to set aside a trial court order to convict him and subsequently award him a life term on February 11. The court will now hear the matter on August 25.
The main accused in the sexual and physical assault on female inmates, Thakur pleaded the trial court had failed to appreciate that prosecution in a rape case must first and foremost establish that an accused is potent and thereby capable of committing the crime. "The said fact needs to be established by the prosecution as a foundational fact without which the entire case of the prosecution will collapse," the petitioner said.
‘Can final-yr exams be MCQ, open choices?’
The Delhi HC asked the UGC to clarify if the final year exams by the universities could be conducted based on Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ), open choices, assignments and presentations, instead of long form exams. Justice Prathiba M Singh asked the UGC to explain the import of its guidelines issued in April, which mentioned the type of exams that can be held by a college, for conducting final year exams.