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Presence at Crime Scene Is Not Enough Ground To Book a Person: HC

Hyderabad: Justice K. Surender of the Telangana High Court quashed criminal proceedings against a student, stating that the mere presence at the scene of offence was inadequate to array the person as an accused. The judge ruled that when there was no allegation of assault or use of criminal force or when nothing is specifically alleged regarding the acts done by the accused, the offence under Section 353 of IPC would not be attracted. The judge allowed the criminal petition filed by Vishal Lalwani, a postgraduate student. The petitioner was arrayed as A4. It is the case of the de-facto complainant, a surveyor of GHMC, Goshamahal, that notices for demolition of old buildings were served to some shopowners. While leaving the premises, shopowners dragged the complainant and others into a showroom, and snatched the documents and abused them in filthy language. Based on the complaint, police investigated the case and filed a chargesheet against four persons including this petitioner. Counsel for the petitioner contended that there were no specific overt acts that were attributed to the petitioner and nothing was specifically stated in the complaint as to how he was liable for any of the offences. Counsel argued that petitioner was not named in the complaint nor was any description given about him. In the absence of any specific allegation against the petitioner, none of the ingredients for offences under Section 353 of IPC were made out. Justice Surender quoting various judgments of the apex court said, “Mere presence at the scene will not entail criminal prosecution unless oral evidence and the complaint make out any of the ingredients of the penal provisions under Sections 342, 353, and 384 of IPC.”

Development deal subject to tax: HC

A two-judge bench of the Telangana High Court rejected the plea that a development agreement involving realtors was not subject to service tax. The bench of Justice P. Sam Koshy and Justice Laxmi Narayana Alisetty dismissed a writ petition filed by Prahitha Construction Private Limited seeking a declaration that the transfer of development rights in land by the landowners to the petitioner as contemplated under the joint development agreement (JDA) was essentially resulting in sale of land by the owners and consequently was not subject to GST on account of it being covered under Entry 5 to Schedule III of the CGST Act and the TGST Act and/or that the impugned notifications seek to impose GST on transfer of development rights in land by the landowner under a JDA essentially resulting in the sale of land by the landowner to be ultra vires the provisions of Articles 14, 246A and 265 of the Constitution. Senior counsel S. Ravi appearing for the petitioner had contended that in terms of the JDA, the landowners had approached the petitioner to develop the land owned by them and had agreed to sell/convey an undivided share in the land to the petitioner as consideration for the activity. Dominque Fernandez, appearing for the revenue department, on the other hand contended that it was only applicable to residential projects and not commercial projects. It was undisputed that the writ petition related to a commercial project and not a residential project. The bench dismissed the writ petition. The reasoning given by the court was not available.

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