Supreme Court Issues Guidelines For Conferring Lawyers With Senior Designation

A. Indian Penal Code, 1860—Section 306—Abetment of suicide—Suicide—Meaning of The word suicide in itself is nowhere defined in the Indian Penal Code, however its meaning and import is well known and requires no explanation. ‘Sui’ means ‘self’ and ‘cide’ means ‘killing’, thus implying an act of self-killing. In short a person committing suicide must commit it by himself, irrespective of the means employed by him in achieving his object of killing himself. Dalveer Bhandari & A. K. Patnaik, JJ. Gangula Mohan Reddy ….Appellants Vs. 1. Mahendra Singh & Another v. State of M.P. 3. State of West Bengal v. Orilal Jaiswal & Another. 4. Chitresh Kumar Chopra v. State (Govt. 2. The appellant, aggrieved by the said judgment of the learned Assistant Sessions Judge filed an appeal before the High Court. The High Court upheld the judgment of the learned Assistant Sessions Judge, but while affirming the conviction of the appellant under Section 306 of the Code, the sentence of rigorous imprisonment of 10 years was reduced to 5 years. The appellant, aggrieved by the said judgment, approached this Court. This Court granted leave and released the appellant on bail.

According to the case of the prosecution, the appellant, who is an agriculturist had harassed his agriculture labour (servant) deceased Ramulu by levelling the allegation that he had committed theft of some gold ornaments two days prior to his death. It was also alleged that the appellant had demanded Rs. 7,000/- from the deceased which was given in advance to him at the time when he was kept in employment. 4. The prosecution further alleged that the deceased Ramulu could not bear the harassment meted out to him and he committed suicide by consuming pesticides. The prosecution in support of its case examined the father of the deceased as P.W.1 Urikonda Jammanna in which he had stated that his son Ramulu was a farm servant and used to work at the house of the appellant. He also stated that the appellant gave Rs. 7,000/- in advance to his son. PW1 also stated that about two years ago, the appellant had asked his son (Ramulu) that his wrist watch was missing from his house and harassed him on which his son had returned the watch to the appellant.

PW1 in his statement stated that the appellant also levelled the allegation that the gold ear-rings were also missing from his house and the same were stolen by Ramulu. PW1 also stated that the appellant also demanded the advance of Rs. 7,000/- paid to Ramulu at the time of his employment. He further stated that Ramulu committed suicide because the appellant had levelled the allegation of theft of ornaments. 5. The prosecution also examined Balamma, the mother of the deceased as P.W.2. She also corroborated the statement of PW1 and gave same version of the incident in her testimony. On the basis of the testimonies of P.W.1 and P.W.2, the Trial Court convicted the appellant under Section 306 of the Code and his conviction on appeal was confirmed by the High Court. 6. Learned Counsel for the appellant submitted that the conviction of the appellant is totally unsustainable because no ingredients of offence under Section 306 of the Code can be made out in the facts and circumstances of this case.

7. The word suicide in itself is nowhere defined in the Indian Penal Code, however its meaning and import is well known and requires no explanation. ‘Sui’ means ‘self’ and ‘cide’ means ‘killing’, thus implying an act of self-killing. In short a person committing suicide must commit it by himself, irrespective of the means employed by him in achieving his object of killing himself. 8. Suicide by itself is not an offence under either English or Indian criminal law, though at one time it was a felony in England. • Degradation of corpse of deceased by burying it on the highway with a stake through its chest. • Forfeiture of property of deceased by the State. 9. This penalty was later distilled down to merely not providing a full Christian burial, unless the deceased could be proved to be of unsound mind. However, currently there is no punishment for suicide after the enactment of the Suicide Act, 1961 which proclaims that the rule of law whereby it was a crime for a person to commit suicide has been abrogated.

10. In our country, while suicide in itself is not an offence, considering that the successful offender is beyond the reach of law, attempt to suicide is an offence under Section 309 of IPC. 11. ‘Abetment’ has been defined under Section 107 of the Code. Thirdly – Intentionally aides, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing. 13. Learned Counsel for the appellant has placed reliance on a judgment of this Court in Mahendra Singh and Anr. State of M.P. 1995 Supp. My mother-in-law and husband and sister-in-law (husband’s elder brother’s wife) harassed me. They beat me and abused me. My husband Mahendra wants to marry a second time. He has illicit connections with my sister-in-law. Because of these reasons and being harassed I want to die by burning. 14. The court on aforementioned allegations came to a definite conclusion that by no stretch the ingredients of abetment are attracted on the statement of the deceased. According to the appellant, the conviction of the appellant under Section 306 IPC merely on the basis of aforementioned allegation of harassment of the deceased is unsustainable in law.

15. Learned Counsel also placed reliance on another judgment of this Court inRamesh Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh (2001) 9 SCC 618. A three-Judge bench of this Court had an occasion to deal with a case of a similar nature. In a dispute between the husband and wife, the appellant husband uttered “you are free to do whatever you wish and go wherever you like”. Thereafter, the wife of the appellant Ramesh Kumar committed suicide. The Court in paragraph 20 has examined different shades of the meaning of “instigation’. “20. Instigation is to goad, urge forward, provoke, incite or encourage to do “an act”. To satisfy the requirement of instigation though it is not necessary that actual words must be used to that effect. Yet a reasonable certainty to incite the consequence must be capable of being spelt out. 16. In State of West Bengal v. Orilal Jaiswal and Anr.

17. The Court in the instant case came to the conclusion that there is no evidence and material available on record wherefrom an inference of the accused-appellant having abetted commission of suicide by Seema may necessarily be drawn. 18. In the instant case, the deceased was undoubtedly hyper sensitive to ordinary petulance, discord and differences which happen in our day-to-day life. Human sensitivity of each individual differs from the other. Different people behave differently in the same situation. 19. This Court in Chitresh Kumar Chopra v. State (Govt. 2009 (11) SCALE 24 had an occasion to deal with this aspect of abetment. The court dealt with the dictionary meaning of the word “instigation” and “goading”. The court opined that there should be intention to provoke, incite or encourage the doing of an act by the latter. Each person’s suicidability pattern is different from the others. Each person has his own idea of self esteem and self respect. Therefore, it is impossible to lay down any straight-jacket formula in dealing with such cases. Each case has to be decided on the basis of its own facts and circumstances. 20. Abetment involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing of a thing. Without a positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid in committing suicide, conviction cannot be sustained. 22. In the light of the provisions of law and the settled legal positions crystallized by a series of judgments of this Court, the conviction of the appellant cannot be sustained. Consequently, the appeal filed by the appellant is allowed and disposed of. 23. During the pendency of the appeal, the appellant was released on bail. He is not required to surrender. His bail bond is cancelled and he is set at liberty forthwith, if not required in any other case. 24. Consequently, the appeal filed by the appellant is allowed.

Section 133 therefore requires that (a) there is a new or newly discovered fact; (b) showing beyond reasonable doubt; (c) a miscarriage of justice. What does the phrase “miscarriage of justice” mean for the purposes of s.133? All the appellants had been convicted of murder but had their convictions quashed and they all claimed compensation under s.133. The Secretary of State argued that the men had not shown that a “miscarriage of justice” had occurred. The phrase miscarriage of justice was capable of different meanings. The court noted that the primary object of s.133 was to compensate a person who had been convicted and punished for a crime which he had not committed. The court eliminated Categories 3 and 4 from the scope of s.133. Category 3 was outside s.133 since the section required that the miscarriage of justice had to be shown beyond a reasonable doubt. Category 1 cases were clearly covered by s.133. A majority (5 to 4) held that s.133 was not restricted solely to Category 1 cases.

To so restrict it would deprive of compensation some who were in fact innocent but could not establish this beyond reasonable doubt. The wording of this formula is different to the wording used to describe Category 2. Clearly the formula includes all Category 1 cases and goes to some extent beyond that. However, Lord Hope disagreed saying that material disclosed to the defence by the time of the trial could not be said to be new – (a literalist interpretation). The other 4 justices argued that there should be a reasonable explanation for the failure to adduce the evidence at the trial. The outcome of the case on this point, given the differences of opinion, can hardly be said to be satisfactory. On the facts of the cases, Adams was not entitled to compensation. His was a Category 3 case and did not fall within s.133. The appeals of MacDermott and McCartney were allowed as it had been shown conclusively that the evidence against them had been so undermined that no conviction could possibly be based on it. The Supreme Court’s Press Summary of this important case is available. The Guardian 11th May 2011 looks at the judgment and links to the potential for considerable sums in compensation to become payable. Solicitor’s Journal 11th May 2011 also considers the case.

] has declared that one witness was sufficient in order to determine the validity of a will. The Court held that it was not obligatory to examine both the witnesses to a will to come and testify in order to determine the genuineness of a will. Arriving at this conclusion, the Court quoted the provisions of the Indian Evidence Act to declare that the Indian law departed significantly with the English law in this regard. 12. It was contended by the learned counsel for the objectors that since PW-2 and PW-3 did not sign in the presence of each other, there was no proper execution of the Will. I, however, find no merit in the contention. The evidence on record does not show that PW-2 was not present when the Will was attested by PW-3 or that PW-3 was not present when it was attested by PW-2. In fact, their affidavits indicate that both of them were present together when the Will was first signed by the Testator and then by these witnesses. In case the document happens to be a Will, there is a slight distinction, which has to be kept in mind. “It is well settled that one who propounds a will must establish the competence of the testator to make the will at the time when it was executed. The onus is discharged by the propounder adducing prima facie evidence proving the competence of the testator and execution of the will in the manner contemplated by law.

Divorce is an extremely painful and long-drawn process for anyone unfortunate enough to go through it. The support of friends and family is vital at this point to keep the divorcees’ emotional health intact, and the services of a well-qualified, experienced attorney are necessary to keep the legal side of things as straightforward as possible. While looking for a divorce lawyer, it is imperative not to take shortcuts. Instead of dialing the first number you see on an ad or Yellow Pages, check and double-check for the lawyer’s credentials, reputation and track record before you make your choice. 1. Is the lawyer well qualified? Other than the mandatory LLB, there are numerous higher and more specialized degrees and certificates that the lawyer can earn. Postgraduate courses are a good second qualification, but a series of specialized certificates in family law or divorce would be the ideal qualification to opt for. The University of Florida offers good law courses, while the Supreme Court of the state organizes regular certificate courses in all branches of law – including divorce law. 2. What is the lawyer’s track record like?

You will want to find out how long he has been practicing, the type of cases he has dealt with, and – most importantly – his win-loss ratio. Preferably, opt for a lawyer who has had ample experience in family and divorce cases – preferably complex ones that make your case seem easy as pie. However, guard against lawyers who tend to take on mostly very highly paid or high-profile cases, as they may give you a lower fraction of their attention than they would give their other clients. 3. What is the lawyer’s reputation? A lawyer with an excellent record may also be known for being a threatening, conniving or downright dishonest character. Make sure to get proper references for your lawyer before trusting him with your assets and divorce process. A lawyer in family law and divorce will be well versed in all parts of the divorce process – filing for divorce, settling the division of joint property, child custody, alimony, visiting, mediation and so on. Also, the lawyer may help you settle your case out of court or via mutual consent, which is a much less expensive and drawn-out process than a fully-fledged court battle. Do not bank on the fact that you can change divorce lawyers halfway through the divorce if your first one fails you. Changing attorneys during a case may be forbidden by some courts, while others require you to have a judge’s permission in order to opt for a new lawyer halfway through. Also, the hassle of informing a new lawyer about every previous aspect of your case while it is being fought in court is both unnecessary and cumbersome.

The Cook County Democratic Party today endorsed six of the eight judges already serving by Supreme Court appointment for countywide vacancies in the March primary. The Party endorsed Brendan O’Brien and Maureen O’Donoghue Hannon for the other two countywide vacancies. O’Brien filed for a countywide vacancy in the 2014 primary, withdrawing in January 2014 and leaving the Democratic Party’s slated candidate (and eventual victor) Kristal Rivers in a one-on-one with appointed Judge Peter J. Vilkelis. Hannon was also a candidate in the 2014 election cycle, also withdrawing in January 2014 and leaving the Democratic Party’s slated candidate (and the eventual victor) Diana Rosario in a one-on-one contest with Stephen J. Feldman. The two appointed countywide Circuit Court judges who did not receive the endorsement of the Democratic Party are Judges Jean Margaret Cocozza and James L. Kaplan. According to Manuel Galvan, press secretary for the Cook County Democratic Party, neither Judge Cocozza nor Judge Kaplan scheduled an appearance before the slating committee. There are currently two Appellate Court vacancies. Justice Bertina Lampkin holds one of these by Supreme Court appointment; the other is held by Justice Stuart E. Palmer. Justice Lampkin was slated today by the Cook County Democratic Party for one of these two vacancies, as was Circuit Court Judge Eileen O’Neill Burke. Three alternates were also selected. In order, these are Associate Judge William Boyd, Judge Raul Vega, and Associate Judge Leonard Murray. Justice Palmer did not schedule an appearance before the slating committee, according to Galvan.

The candidates will have to file an application or the committee can also recommend a candidate to the full court on its own, according to the guidelines. NEW DELHI: Ten months after its verdict, the Supreme Court today notified its guidelines for according ‘senior’ designation to lawyers and constituted a five-member permanent committee headed by Chief Justice of India to shortlist the candidates. The names will then be sent to the Full Court, comprising all the apex court judges, for a decision. The candidates will have to file an application or the committee can also recommend a candidate to the full court on its own, according to the guidelines. The apex court has notified the norms in pursuant to its judgement on October 12, last year by which it had laid down guidelines for itself and 24 high courts to govern the exercise of designating lawyers as seniors. The committee which will meet twice a year in January and July will have a permanent secretariat which would facilitate collating the details of the probable candidates.

Besides the Chief Justice of India as Chairperson, the permanent committee will have two senior-most judges of the apex court, the Attorney General as members and a member of the Bar as nominated by the Chairperson and other members. The committee can suo motu recommend a lawyer’s name for designation as senior as well as interested advocates can also submit their application for the designation. The guidelines said that all the names cleared by the permanent committee will be forwarded to the full court and the full court will not resort to voting by secret ballot unless it is unavoidable. It said that an advocate-on-record or advocate seeking conferment o senior gown will have to submit an application in the prescribed format to the Secretariat. The notification says that every year, in the month of January and July, the Secretariat will invite such applications and at least 15 days time shall be given to file the applications.