The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Cheque’ the sign

A woman lodged a complaint against the person who issued the cheque when it bounced. The accused claimed that he hadn’t issued that cheque. He appealed to the court to seek the opinion of a handwriting expert to verify that the signature on the cheque was his. The trial court rejected the appeal so the accused petitioned Madras High Court. The high court also refused his prayer. He then approached Supreme Court, which allowed his appeal. The apex court held that disallowing a person to present evidence in his favour amounts to denial of justice. By not sending the cheque to handwriting experts, the trial court had deprived the accused of the opportunity to rebut the charges against him (Kalyani Bhaskar vs M.S. Sampoornam).

Human touch

A prisoner wrote to Madras High Court asking it to look into the way prisoners, who were given special leave to attend family functions, were treated. He had been allowed out to perform the last rites of his father but all through, his right hand was handcuffed and a policeman held the other end. Treating his letter as a writ petition, the court directed that if a prisoner is permitted to attend a family event, he or she should not be handcuffed although a police escort may be provided till the time he or she returns to prison. The court held that although a prisoner’s right to movement is restricted, he retains part of his fundamental rights, which include the right to live with basic human dignity. Handcuffing him violates that right (P. Bharathi vs Union Territory of Pondicherry and others).

Better late than never

A prisoner, who was allowed out on parole for a specific number of days, reported back late. So the prison authorities termed him an absconder and increased his prison term. The man challenged this order in court. Bombay High Court held that since the petitioner had at no point of time jumped arrest or escaped lawful custody, he could not be termed an absconder. The court directed that the petitioner be released immediately as his original sentence was over (Vasanta Rajaram Rathod vs State of Maharashtra).


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