2017: The year in review

2017 in court: unusual cases that made headlines this year

As the year comes to a close, The Hindu takes a look back at some of the interesting and unusual cases that not only made headlines but also stood out from the crowd because of their peculiarity

Recite Thirukkural verses for bail

In February, a Tamil Nadu court reportedly ordered three college students, arrested in an assault case, to recite 100 verses of Thirukkural treatise by poet-saint Thiruvalluvar daily for 10 days as a condition for granting bail.

The court in Mettupalayam ordered the students, who were charged with assaulting a person, to appear before a Tamil teacher in the Government Boys High School in the area to recite the verses.

The court also asked the head of the school to issue a certificate to the students at the end of the 10th day.

Long queues for liquor ‘undignified for buyers’

Terming long queues outside liquor shops “a violation of self-respect of those in the queues”, the Kerala High Court asked the liquor outlets not to make customers stand outside the shops.

The court directed that adequate waiting area be provided for the people coming to buy liquor so that it does not cause nuisance to public in the vicinity.

“The sinuous queues that are found of men in several parts of Kerala waiting for their turn to buy liquor, which spill over to the roads, streets, lanes and other public areas are not merely a sight for the sore eyes but is also an affront on the collective dignity of the citizenry of the State,” the High Court said.

“What is violated is not merely self-respect of the persons in the queues but also the collective respect of the citizenry as a whole,” it said asking the local police to ensure that law and order is maintained near liquor outlets.

Don't make elephants beg

Using elephants for blessing and receiving money in return is nothing but begging, the Madras High Court ruled.

The court said forcing the jumbos to beg would amount to subjecting them to behave in an uncharacteristic manner. This, the court said, is exploitation of the animal.

The order came on a plea of a man whose elephant was detained by officials after it was found to be used for begging. The High Court also ordered to ensure the best possible atmosphere and health conditions for captive elephants.

Names of Hindu gods can't be monopolised

Before everyone started staking claims to Hindu gods and deities’ names for their businesses, the Bombay High Court declared that nobody can be allowed to claim monopoly over such words as trademarks or trade names.

The court ruled that names of Hindu gods are not exclusive. The order came while dismissing a trademark infringement plea moved by a company which was selling brooms under the name ‘Laxmi’.

The company had objected to the use of word ‘Mahalaxmi’ by a competing company for its broom.

Denial of marriage photos is ‘mental harassment’

Consider a scenario when your photographer refuses to hand over your wedding photographs and videos despite payment of dues.

Terming it “mental harassment”, a district consumer forum in Delhi awarded ₹10,000 as compensation to a groom who was denied the photos and videos by the photographer without assigning any reason.

“Marriage ceremony is once in a life time event and is memorised only by photographs and video,” the consumer forum said holding the photographer guilty of deficiency in service.

FIR against Maria Sharapova

International tennis stars seldom hit Indian tennis courts much less dragged into a trial in an actual Indian judicial court.

Things changed in 2017 when a Delhi court in November ordered an FIR against Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova after getting a complaint that a luxury housing project publicised in her name never took off.

The Gurugram court order came on a complaint of a buyer claiming that Ms. Sharapova aggressively promoted the residential project named as “Ballet by Sharapova”.

The curious case of Justice Karnan

In an unprecedented order, the Supreme Court on May 9 held Calcutta High Court Judge C.S. Karnan guilty of contempt of court, judiciary and judicial process and sentenced him to six months imprisonment.

The day before, Justice Karnan had ordered eight Supreme Court judges to five years of “rigorous imprisonment” and imposed a fine of ₹1,00,000 each under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 and the amended Act of 2015.

Justice Karnan also directed the Supreme Court judges “to appear before him”.

The SC Bench had earlier ordered Justice Karnan to be medically examined. He, however, refused to undergo medical tests and told the team of doctors, in a written response, that he is “absolutely normal and with a stable mind”.

He was released from the Presidency jail in Kolkata on December 20 after serving the prison term.

Rape inside diesel auto in Delhi not possible

Over the years we have seen a fair share of false rape cases being reported in the media, but this one takes the cake.

A woman had accused an autorickshaw driver of intoxicating and raping her around GT Karnal Road by-pass in the Capital. However, it did not take the Delhi High Court very long to nab the inconsistencies in her statement.

The complainant, a mother of two, had alleged that the auto in which she was raped was having a Haryana registration number and was running on diesel.

The court noted that autos running on diesel are banned in Delhi and that a Haryana-registered autorickshaw could not have been hired while in the Capital.

Crime show host gets lifer for wife’s murder

For a man who used to host ‘India’s Most Wanted’, a highly popular television programme on wanted criminals in the late ’90s, irony played such a role that he himself became the headline for killing his wife.

Suhaib Ilyasi, who produced, directed and hosted the show, was convicted for murdering his wife in January 2000. Anju Ilyasi was murdered at her marital home in east Delhi.

A Delhi court sentenced him to life imprisonment. Initially, Ilyasi was booked on charges of subjecting his wife to cruelty, dowry death and destruction of evidence. But later, the Delhi High Court in 2014 ordered that he be tried for murder.

All quiet before Shivling

Keeping in mind the adverse effects that noise, heat and vibration can have on Amarnath Temple’s ice Shivling, a natural formation in the cave, the National Green Tribunal directed devotee or anyone standing in front of the Shivling to maintain silence.

“The direction in our considered view is required to maintain the sanctity and pristine condition of the holy cave on the one hand, while on the other to ensure that there are no adverse impacts of noise, heat and vibrations upon the Amarnath Ji Maha Shivling,” the tribunal said.

Additionally, the NGT directed that a one-way queue of visitors had to be maintained at the shrine.

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