Lawwatch

Lok Adalats & Legal Service Authorities

Lok Adalat means people’s court. It is an Alternate Dispute Redressal (ADR) mechanism periodically being conducted under the stipulations in the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.

The legal services authorities established under the act aims to provide free and competent legal services to the weaker section and to organize lok adalats to secure justice to such people in equal terms with others.

The Lok Adalat, being periodically conducted at different levels, settles disputes or cases pending in the court of law or at the pre-litigation stage, in a manner quite satisfying to both the parties.

Importance of Mens Rea in Criminal Cases

The term Mens rea is a crucial ingredient in any crime. It is a mental element of the doer of the crime. It refers to the guilty intention, knowledge or state of mind of an accused in committing a crime. It has come to fore as an indispensable element of crime in tune with a Latin maxim which means, “there can be no crime without a guilty mind” (actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea).

An act done by a person becomes a crime only when it is done with a guilty intention or mental state, in normal course. In other words, an act done with absolutely no guilty intention or state of mind may not become a crime.

What is meant by Cause of Action in a Civil Suit?

What we term as cause of action is a bundle of facts which forms the ground for a civil suit. The plaintiff must have to prima facie convince the court as to the existence of the facts relating to cause of action for the court to proceed with the suit. Cause of action is the foundation of a suit. It is the pivot on which the issues of the suit revolves. The cause of action must have occurred prior to the institution of the suit. The cause of action is the basis of filing the suit.

Ordering police assistance by the civil court

Police assistance by civil courts

No specific provision is provided in the Civil Procedure Code, 1973 (CPC) for enabling a civil court to order police assistance to a party to a case. But the civil court can direct the police to give assistance in implementing its own orders.

In giving such directions the court can invoke its inherent powers under Section 151 of the CPC ( Moidu v Parth Sarathy & others : 1991 KHC 19).

Challenge between the legal heir & the nominee regarding the deposit of the deceased

Who is the legitimate claimant when the bank deposit/insurance amount of a deceased person is claimed simultaneously by both the nominee on the one hand and the legal heir on the other?

The laws have no specific provision to differentiate between legitimacy of a nominee and a legal heir in receiving the deposit/insurance amount of the deceased person. But a few case laws shed light on the issue. This issue, which led to inconsistent decisions by different courts in the yester years, seems to be reasonably well settled right now.

Maneka Gandhi judgment simplified

Landmark judgment in Maneka Gandhi case

The judgment in Maneka Gandhi case ( Maneka Gandhi v Union of India: AIR 1978 SC 597) was a landmark judgment in the judicial history of India. It was a conscious attempt on the part of the Supreme Court (SC) in restoring the people’s faith in the judiciary which reached at its low in the seventies, particularly after the ADM Jabalpur judgment which is considered to be the most infamous judgment in India.

The context, theme & impact of Keshavananda Bharati Case

The Supreme Court (SC) judgment in the Keshavanand Bharati case (Keshavananda Bharati v State of Kerala: AIR 1973 SC 1461), delivered exactly 47 years ago on 24th April 1973, stands out in Indian legal history as a beacon light.

The judgment was delivered by the largest SC Bench so far. The hearing was the lengthiest one spanning 68 days. The judgment running into 703 pages was the longest one then.

The judgment helped India in upholding the lofty principles of Indian Constitution to a great extent, despite the country has been reeling under diverse political pressures over the years. The judgment crystalised the doctrine of basic structure of the constitution and established that any law, amendment of law or even constitutional amendment should not go inconsistent with what is called the basic structure of the Constitution.

Law relating to filing of Vakalatnama in Civil Cases

What a Vakalatnama is

Vakalatnama is a legal document being executed by every litigant as prescribed by law for the purpose of engaging an advocate to conduct some specific judicial proceedings and doing all what is lawfully necessary in that regard in a court. It is a species of Power of Attorney. The term originated from Urdu and it means power of attorney.

The Vakalatnama enables the advocate appearing for the litigant to do several acts as an agent of the litigant who remains as the principal. It creates a special relationship between the lawyer and the litigant. It regulates the extent of delegation of authority to the advocate in regard to the conduct of the judicial proceedings and the terms and conditions governing such delegation. It should, therefore, be properly filled, attested and accepted with due care and caution.

Legal remedies available to those who fail to perform any contract due to Covid Lockdown

Covid : an unforeseen pandemic

The emergence of Covid-19 as a pandemic around the world in an unprecedented manner as nobody could foresee has brought in many unforeseen restrictions in movement, stoppage of production, scarcity of raw materials, shortage of labour and disruption in supply chain. Such restrictions have put timely performance of contractual obligations by many in disarray or made timely performance of many contracts delayed or impossible.

Such failures in performance by the contracting parties under a valid contract are protected by law under Section 32 and 56 of the Indian contract Act, 1872, if such failures occurred due to reason beyond the control of the parties. The Section 32 of the contract act invokes the concept of force majeure and the Section 56 of the contract act invokes the concept of frustrated contracts.

In order to get protection under the Section 32 of the contract act a clause technically called ‘Force Majeure’ clause should be specifically provided in the contract.

Zero FIR and its role in Crime Investigation

What is Zero FIR?

Zero FIR is not at all different from a commonly known FIR (First Information Report) which must be registered in any criminal offence in the police station authorized to investigate it. Zero FIR differs from an ordinary FIR in the sense that it is lodged in a police station which lies outside the location (jurisdiction) of crime. The Zero FIR must be later transferred to the police station having jurisdiction under the criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC).

That means Zero FIR is similar to an ordinary FIR but its serial number would be 0, until it reaches the respective police station having jurisdiction to take further proceedings. An example of a zero FIR is in the Asaram Bapu case in which a minor girl was raped in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, but the victim filed Zero FIR against him in Delhi, a place distant from the place of occurrence.