A woman who was present at the house where a kidnap victim was kept was convicted by the high court. She contested the order on the grounds that she was neither present when the victim was picked up nor was she aware of the plan. The Supreme Court held that in cases related to kidnapping, not only the abductor but also a person who acts as a go-between should be held guilty. In this case, the woman had provided food and medicine to the victim so she could not claim to be unaware of the victim being held there against his wishes. The court acquitted her under Section 364A (kidnapping for ransom) but upheld her conviction under Sections 365 / 343 (kidnapping with intent to confine / wrongful confinement) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) (Suman Sood vs State of Rajasthan).
What’s in a name'
A food inspector seized 600 gm of powdered corn from a shop and sent it for testing. It was found that it did not conform to the ash content and alcoholic acidity specified for cornflour in the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, 1954. The shop contended that the product wasn’t cornflour but cornmeal (used by the shop to make pizzas) and was not for sale. Quashing the adulteration proceedings, the Andhra Pradesh High Court held that cornmeal cannot be equated with cornflour. Since no standards had been prescribed for cornmeal and the product was not for sale, the shop should be given the benefit of the doubt, the court ruled (Viveik Sharma vs State of Andhra Pradesh).
For reading out aloud
In her dying declaration, a burn victim said she was set ablaze at the instigation of her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. There was strong evidence against them and they were convicted. They appealed to the Bombay High Court on the ground that the dying declaration had not been read out to the deceased. The court held that witnesses had confirmed the woman’s statement, a doctor had declared her mentally fit to make a statement and an executive magistrate had recorded it. Hence, the conviction could not be overturned just because the head constable and the magistrate had not confirmed if the statement was correct by reading it out to her (Bhasker s/ Bhauras Solankhe vs State of Maharashtra).