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Delhi High Court refuses to stay AAP’s odd-even formula for plying vehicles

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The court has asked Arvind Kejriwal-led government to take into consideration the issues of physically challenged commuters while formulating the scheme.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to give interim stay on AAP government’s plan to impose the odd-even number plate formula for plying of private vehicles from January 1.The court has asked Arvind Kejriwal-led government to take into consideration the issues of physically challenged commuters while formulating the scheme.A bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini said: “Delhi government shall take into consideration the concerns of various sections of society including physically challenged people while making the scheme on odd-even number issue.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court recorded the submissions of Delhi government that “scheme has not been finalised yet and posted the matter for January 6, 2016.The bench said: “The petition is filed by physically challenged person. What precautions you (Delhi government) have taken so that they don’t have to face any problems? You should take into consideration their concerns.”The court was hearing a bunch of PILs challenging the AAP government’s decision on only allowing even and odd number cars to ply in Delhi on alternative dates.One of the petitioner, Nipun Malhotra, moved the court asking to allow physically challenged commuters to use own vehicles as public transport is not disabled friendly.The court had earlier refused to restrain AAP government from enforcing its odd-even vehicle formula, saying the decision is on a “trial basis”.The PILs filed earlier had said the government announced its plan to restrict the number of cars on roads without first conducting a public debate and a study of the pros and cons of a system based on whether the registration number of a motor vehicle ends in an even or odd digit.To bring down the alarming air pollution level in the city, the Delhi government has decided that from January one, private vehicles would be allowed to run on the streets on alternate dates depending on whether their licence plates numbers end in odd or even numbers.

Delhi HC refuses to stay AAP’s Odd-Even formula for plying vehicles

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The bench further observed that the city government has called for representation from various stakeholders of the society and as of today they have not finalised any scheme.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to give interim stay on AAP government’s plan to impose the odd-even number plate formula for plying of private vehicles from January 1. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath declined the request made by one of the five petitioners that the court should at least grant stay on the implementation of the government’s idea till January 6, which has been fixed as the next date of hearing on the PILs. “Sorry. We do not know whether it (the odd-even formula) will be implemented or not. The Delhi government has not yet come out with any scheme on this issue,” the bench said, adding, “As of today we cannot grant such relief.” The bench further observed that the city government has called for representation from various stakeholders of the society and as of today they have not finalised any scheme.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Additional Standing Counsel (ASC) Piyush Kalra, appearing for Delhi government, submitted before the court that as of now they have no notification for the proposed plan. The bench, meanwhile, has asked the government to consider representation of a physically challenged man Nipun Malhotra, one of the petitioners who has urged the court to allow such commuters to use their own vehicles as public transport is not disabled-friendly. It said, “We are concerned about this class (physically challenged) of people, so the Delhi government should consider them as well.” “What precaution you are taking with regard to disabled people?” the bench asked the government. The court was hearing five PILs filed by different individuals against AAP government’s plan to impose odd-even number plate formula.

Gujarat HC asks state govt to ban ‘sky lanterns’ during kite-flying festival

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The bench of acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice V M Pancholi passed the order on a public interest litigation filed by Mehsana resident Jivanbhai Rabari.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday asked the state government to ban manufacturing, sale and use of sky lanterns within two days, noting that these small hot-air balloons, launched during the kite-flying festival on the occasion of Uttarayan, are known to start fires.The bench of acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice V M Pancholi passed the order on a public interest litigation filed by Mehsana resident Jivanbhai Rabari. The PIL said that last time 21 incidents of fire caused by sky lanterns were reported in Ahmedabad city alone. In an incident in Ramol area, three children were charred to death as several huts caught fire after a lantern landed on one of them.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The petition was filed in February. In their affidavits, the state government and the police have admitted that sky lanterns are hazardous. As the final order of the HC is yet to come, the petitioner had sought an interim order as this year’s kite flying festival is approaching.The HC noted during the hearing that a majority of the victims of fires caused by sky lanterns are poor people. It directed the state Home Secretary to issue a notification announcing the ban in two days. The ban shall be in operation till January 31.

UP government misled Supreme Court: High Court CJ

On Wednesday, the apex court had taken the unprecedented decision of unilaterally finalizing the name of Justice Yadav for the post after several of its severe nudges to the Akhilesh Yadav government to make the appointment failed.

The Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court Justice DY Chandrachud has put the proverbial spanner in the works in the appointment of Justice (retd.) Virendra Singh Yadav as the new UP Lokayukta.On Wednesday, the apex court had taken the unprecedented decision of unilaterally finalizing the name of Justice Yadav for the post after several of its severe nudges to the Akhilesh Yadav government to make the appointment failed.On Thursday, the High Court CJ shot off a letter to UP Governor Ram Naik and to the Chief Justice of India saying that the Supreme Court had been misled about the names being considered for this post. The CJ is part of the three-member selection panel for the Lokayukta’s appointment, besides leader of the Opposition and the UP CM.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The allegation puts the state government’s counsel Kapil Sibal in the dock as he was the one who after consulting the state government gave the five names to the bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The bench named retired judge Virendra Singh as the new Lokayukta.Though a copy of the letter was not available, Governor House sources said Justice Yadav’s name had already been struck off the list of probables on Tuesday evening when a five-hour marathon meeting of the three-member selection committee failed to name a unanimous choice.The panel had met again on Wednesday morning, an hour before the apex court was to hear the related case. The Supreme Court had fixed Wednesday as the deadline for the UP government to name the new Lokayukta.Sources said that on Wednesday morning, the selection committee named Justice Mittal, a serving judge of the Allahabad High Court, as the unanimous choice for this post.How and why Justice Virendra Singh Yadav’s name was included in the list of probables at the last moment before the apex court remains a mystery. Sources said that the High Court CJ had vetoed Justice Yadav’s name as he was known to be close to the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) leadership.The CJ’s letter, virtually voicing his opinion against the judge the apex court has named, casts doubts about whether the UP Governor would administer the oath of office to Justice Yadav. Chances of this happening seem rather bleak under the changed circumstances.

Delhi HC dismisses CBI’s plea to probe into AAP’s funding

The plea, moved before the high court on February 4, had also sought CBI probe against Home Ministry officials, who in their report had earlier stated that donations made by eight foreign residents to AAP, were not in violation of the FCRA.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed a plea seeking CBI probe into past and present funding of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the alleged violation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).”The petition is dismissed,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said, while passing order on the PIL alleging that AAP has been receiving foreign funds in violation of FCRA. The bench also said that the petitioner, advocate M L Sharma, approached the investigator and it is not that the agency has declined to entertain his complaint.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, the Ministry of Home Affairs had informed the bench that nothing was found against AAP in its probe regarding allegations that it had received offshore funds in violation of FCRA provisions, after which the court reserved its verdict on the plea. AAP had termed the allegations against it as “baseless” while contending that the party had not flouted any law in receiving foreign funds and got donations worth Rs 30 crore from Indian citizens only, of which about Rs 8.5 crore had come from NRIs.The plea, moved before the high court on February 4, had also sought CBI probe against Home Ministry officials, who in their report had earlier stated that donations made by eight foreign residents to AAP, were not in violation of the FCRA. Denying violation of foreign exchange or other laws, AAP had earlier contended that the PIL accusing it and its founding members of having illegally received foreign funding was “scandalous, frivolous, motivated and baseless”.AAP had claimed that it has “very small amount of funds and has the most transparent method of political funding among all parties”. The PIL had also alleged that “undisclosed funding to AAP was coming from terrorist groups” and that the party had succeeded in stalling Home Ministry probe against it and managed to get a favourable reply to mislead the court. It had alleged that it was a case of serious corruption on part of the ministry officials who filed an “un- investigated” report despite high court direction.The ministry in its report had said that eight people with foreign addresses made donations to AAP and “their passport numbers as mentioned in the contribution report of EC were checked and it was found that they possess Indian passports and NRIs holding Indian passports are not a foreign source”.

Make fresh MOP in consultation with CJI to appoint judges: Supreme Court to Centre

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre to prepare fresh memorandum of procedure (MOP) in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI) for the appointment of judges for the apex court and high courts.Issuing a slew of guidelines to improve the collegium system and to make the procedure more transparent and accountable, a five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice J S Khehar also asked the government to look into five key aspects — eligibility criteria, transparency in appointment process, setting up of secretariat for management of selection process, mechanism to deal with complaints against those who are being considered for appointment and to look into the miscellaneous issues.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Narrating the reasons after examining thousands of suggestions from various quarters, the court said, “The Government of India may finalise the existing MOP by supplementing it in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI). The CJI will take a decision based on the unanimous view of the collegium comprising the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court,” the bench said.”The MOP may indicate the eligibility criteria, such as the minimum age, for the guidance of the collegium (both at the level of the High Court and the Supreme Court) for appointment of Judges, after inviting and taking into consideration the views of the State Government and the Government of India (as the case may be) from time to time,” it said.Ensuring transparency in the appointment process, the bench said the MoP for the appointment of judges ought to be made available on the website of the court concerned and on the website of the department of justice of the government of India.The bench also noted that the MOP may provide for an appropriate procedure for “minuting the discussions including recording the dissenting opinion of the judges in the collegium while making provision for the confidentiality of the minutes consistent with the requirement of transparency in the system of appointment of judges.”The bench said that for better management of the system, the MOP may provide for establishment of secretariat for each high courts and the apex court and prescribe its functions, duties and responsibilities. The court passed the order after noting the submission of attorney general Mukul Rohatgi that the MOP and introducing amendments therein, had always been prepared by the Government in consultation with the President of India and the CJI.The court also noted down the submissions of the AG who had noted that formulation of MOP was an administrative responsibility which fell in the executive domain and the apex court neither had expertise nor the wherewithal for proposing amendments in the existing MOP which was drawn on June 30, 1999 by the Government for improving the collegium system.

UP government stunned into silence

The SC verdict promises to prove ready fodder for the opposition parties’ guns, and is sure to be a big stick to beat the state government with during the upcoming winter session of the UP Legislature.

The Supreme Court’s decision on the appointment of the Lokayukta has delivered a devastating blow which has had the state government reeling under its impact.The judgment is unprecedented and has delivered a resounding rap on the knuckles to the Akhilesh Yadav regime which spent over two years dawdling over the matter despite the stern view of the apex court. On Wednesday, the government seemed to have been stunned into silence as no official reaction to the SC verdict was forthcoming till late evening.The SC verdict promises to prove ready fodder for the opposition parties’ guns, and is sure to be a big stick to beat the state government with during the upcoming winter session of the UP Legislature. Opposition leaders have slammed the Akhilesh government for making a mockery of the Lokayukta institution.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>UP Governor Ram Naik seemed to put the government in the dock as he expressed displeasure over its role in (not) appointing a new Lokayukta. “There has been an undue delay (in appointment). Despite all my efforts, the government did not take any decisive action. The (apex court) order is a lesson (for the government),” he told reporters.”This is a slap on the face for the state government which should now realize how it has circumvented the law to keep its pet incumbent in the Lokayukta office to gloss over the corruption cases of ruling party leaders and bureaucrats close to the powers that be,” said BJP spokesman Vijay Pathak.Congress leader Akhilesh Pratap Singh seemed to agree as he said: “The state government has made a mockery of the Lokayukta’s institution. They wanted to force their choice which the (Allahabad HC) Chief Justice (CJ) rightly resisted.”The criticism is not without basis. The SP government wanted its chosen judge Justice (retd.) Ravindra Singh Yadav as the new Lokayukta. Both HC CJ DY Chandrachud and Leader of the Opposition SP Maurya opposed this. Both are members of the panel, besides the CM, authorized under the UP Lokayukta Act to choose the Lokayukta. The Akhilesh government even took the unseemly step of passing a Bill in the UP Assembly to divest the CJ of this power. However, the Governor had refused to sanction this Bill. The government finally dropped the idea after the Governor had returned Justice Yadav’s file a record four times.

Supreme Court hints at banning diesel-run SUV in Delhi

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur slammed the car dealers who argued against the National Green Tribunal order banning registration of diesel cars.

Around 23% of cars registered in Delhi are run on diesel

Observing that the rich can’t move around the capital city in SUVs polluting the environment, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would ban registration of diesel-run SUVs, cars with engine capacity of more than 2000 cc and commercial vehicles for three to four months and double the green cess levied on trucks entering Delhi.Further indicating that only CNG cabs may be allowed to ply on city roads and the ban on burning of the municipal waste may be enforced strictly, besides introduction of Euro-IV emission norms, the court also agreed to ban the entry of trucks registered before 2005 in the national capital region and increase the green tax for trucks entering the capital.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur slammed the car dealers who argued against the National Green Tribunal order banning registration of diesel cars.”People’s life is at stake and you are interested in selling cars,” the court said.After hearing the Delhi air pollution issue for about three hours, the bench said the detailed order will be passed on Wednesday.The court had on October 12 ordered that light duty vehicles would have to pay Rs 700 and three-axle vehicles Rs 1,300 to enter Delhi in addition to the toll tax from November 1 as ‘environment compensation charge’ (ECC) in a bid to check high pollution levels in the city.Now, the light duty vehicles may have to pay Rs 1,400 and three-axle vehicles Rs 2,600 as ECC for entering Delhi.”Why don’t you people take credit for cleaning Delhi air? You could enumerate the steps to be taken and why you are asking the court to do it,” the bench said and asked the counsel representing Centre and the Delhi government to come out with comprehensive long and short term plans to tackle the menace of air pollution.The court said that as an interim measure for three-four months, it may ban registration of SUVs, high-end cars having engine capacity of over 2000 cc, besides banning entry of commercial vehicles, registered prior to 2005, in Delhi.The bench was hearing various pleas including the 1984 PIL filed by environmentalist M C Mehta.Last week, the green tribunal had directed that no new diesel vehicles will be registered in Delhi. The tribunal has also said that central and state government must stop buying diesel cars in Delhi.On the issue of the Delhi government’s plan to allow cars with odd and even registration numbers on alternate days from January 1 to check pollution, the court said, “We are not sure if it would help. You can implement it if it is going to help. We haven’t stopped you.”Around 23 per cent of the cars registered in Delhi are diesel. Diesel cars can legally emit 7.5 times more particulate matter than the petrol versions and produce more toxic nitrogen dioxide. Diesel emissions are also cancer causing, says the World Health Organisation.

Emergency meeting to select a new UP Lokayukta inconclusive

The meeting, which began at 6 PM, continued for almost five hours to meet a Supreme Court deadline.

The Akhilesh Yadav Government was rapped by the Supreme Court on Wednesday for not having elected a Lokayukta.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The marathon meeting to appoint a new Lokayukta in Uttar Pradesh remained inconclusive on Tuesday as the selection committee failed to reach a consensus.The three-member selection committee comprising Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court DY Chandrachud and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Swami Prasad Maurya could not hammer out a name and will meet on Wednesday again, a senior official said. The meeting, which began at 6 PM, continued for almost five hours to meet a Supreme Court deadline.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The emergency meeting was held a day after the apex court pulled up the state government for not appointing Lokayukta in the state despite its directions and ordered compliance by December 16, saying it seemed that appointing authorities have their “own agenda”.The present ombudsman Justice N K Mehtrotra has already spent nine years in office.Pulling up the state government for not appointing Lokayukta in the state despite its directions, a bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana said, “Why do you not appoint the Lokayukta? Why has our order not been complied with? Why can’t the Chief Minister, the Governor and the Chief Justice (of the High Court) sort this out?””We don’t mince words. It seems, each one of you have your own agenda… you make the appointment by Wednesday,” it said, fixing the petitions on the issue for hearing on December 16.Earlier in the day, the Governor told reporters that the state will have a new ombudsman tonight as a meeting had been convened this evening to hammer out the issue. The last meeting of the selection committee held on September 27 to appointment new Lokayukta remained inconclusive with High Court Chief Justice questioning the validity of the process after a Bill was passed in the state assembly.HC Chief Justice Chandrachud was of the view that as a Bill was passed in the state assembly, deciding name of Lokayukta could amount to its contempt. He suggested to take a legal opinion for the same. The UP Assembly had passed the Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta and Up-Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2015, to amend Lokayukta Act dropping Allahabad High Court Chief Justice from the selection committee.The bill proposed that the committee be made a four-member body comprising the CM, Leader of the Opposition, Speaker and a retired judge who would be selected in consultation with the CM and Speaker. Before this, the Supreme Court had on July 23 asked the government to suggest a name for new Lokayukta by August 23 after which the government finalised the name of former justice Raveendra Singh Yadav and sent it to the Raj Bhawan for the first time on August 5.The state government and the Governor have not been on the same page on Yadav’s nomination and the file recommending his name moved back and forth nearly half a dozen times between Raj Bhawan and the state government. The amendment was passed after the Governor refused to accept the appointment on the grounds that a proper meeting of the selection committee was not held and also the Allahabad HC Chief Justice had expressed reservations in view of Singh’s proximity to the ruling Samajwadi Party.The bill is still awaiting the Governor’s assent. With no consensus over his name, Yadav had opted out of the race for the key post by sending a letter to the chief minister.

Doing ‘our best’, will appoint new Lokayukta soon: UP after SC cracks whip on state govt

The apex court on Monday rapped the UP government for not appointing Lokayukta despite its directions and ordered compliance by December 16, saying it seemed that appointing authorities have their “own agenda”.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday said it was doing “its best” to appoint a new Lokayukta as soon as possible, hours after Supreme Court cracked the whip on the state government for not appointing the anti-corruption ombudsman even after its earlier directions. Senior government officials on Monday went into a huddle in Lucknow after the apex court’s direction to the UP government to appoint a new Lokayukta within two days.”The state government is doing all its best to appoint a new Lokayukta as early as possible,” an official spokesman told PTI. They also said that senior officials were going through today’s order.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The apex court on Monday rapped the UP government for not appointing Lokayukta despite its directions and ordered compliance by December 16, saying it seemed that appointing authorities have their “own agenda”.”Why do you not appoint the Lokayukta? Why has our order not been complied with? Why can’t the Chief Minister, the Governor and the Chief Justice (of the High Court) sort this out?,” the bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana said.”We don’t mince words. It seems, each one of you have your own agenda… you make the appointment by Wednesday,” it said while fixing the petitions on the issue for hearing on December 16.A tug of war is being witnessed between the state government and Governor Ram Naik for the last several months over the appointment of a new anti-corruption ombudsman after justice (retd) N K Mehrotra.In August this year, the Governor had returned a file recommending Justice (retd) Raveendra Singh’s name to Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for the third time.A Raj Bhawan communique had said the Governor returned the file asking the state government to follow proper procedure for the appointment. It had said that Leader of the Opposition Swami Parsad Maurya wrote to the Governor informing him that the three members of the selection committee — the Chief Minister, Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court and Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly — never met to decide the name of the Lokayukta.The state government officially recommended Singh’s name on August 5. The file has since gone back and forth thrice. Naik has made it clear he will not give his assent until the name is cleared in a meeting of the selection committee. He has also recommended that the selection committee first consider a panel of names rather than directly take an opinion on just one name.The Supreme Court had issued notice to the state government on December 4, asking why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against it for non-compliance of its order to appoint a new Lokayukta in the state. A bench comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi and NV Ramana had sought response from the state on a fresh contempt petition alleging that despite apex court’s orders to find a suitable replacement of current Lukayukta, no appointment has been made so far.Amid the tug-of-war between UP Rajbhawan and the state government, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had met Governor Ram Naik on December 9. The Governor is believed to have told the chief minister to find out a way with regard to appointment of Lokayukta after discussing the issue with Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court DY Chandrachud. The Governor does not appear to be in favour of referring the Lokayukta issue for presidential consideration as it will only prolong the matter.Naik has returned the file concerning the appointment of a new Lokayukta to the state government a number of times, each time asking the chief minister to follow the proper procedure for selecting the ombudsman. The process to select the new Lokayukta ran into rough weather after the Chief Justice had expressed his reservations against the government’s nominee Justice (retd) Ravindra Singh Yadav.The state government and the Governor are also not on the same page on Yadav’s nomination and the file recommending his name has moved back and forth between Rajbhawan and the state government. The UP Assembly has passed the Uttar Pradesh Lokayukta and Up-Lokayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2015, to amend Lokayukta Act dropping Allahabad High Court Chief Justice from the selection committee.The bill proposed that the committee be made a four-member body comprising the CM, Leader of the Opposition, Speaker and a retired judge who would be selected in consultation with the CM and Speaker. The amendment was passed after the Governor refused to accept the appointment on the grounds that a proper meeting of the selection committee was not held and also the Allahabad HC Chief Justice had expressed reservations in view of Singh’s proximity to the ruling Samajwadi Party. The bill is still awaiting the Governor’s nod.On April 24, last year, the court had upheld the constitutional validity of amendment in UP Lokayukta Act for fixing eight-year tenure for the anti-corruption ombudsman. It had also directed the state government to take steps for selecting new incumbent within six months. The apex court, in July this year, had taken note of a contempt petition alleging non-compliance of its on April 24, 2014 order and directed the state to do the needful within 30 days.Justice Mehrotra was appointed as Lokayukta on March 16, 2006 for six years. Later, the government granted him a two-year extension by amending the Act under which the tenure was extended to eight years or till a successor took over. While upholding the constitutional validity of the amendment to the UP Lokayukta Act, the court had directed the state government to take steps to select a new ombudsman within six months.

Extension of juvenile’s stay at observation home: Delhi High Court seeks report

The court asked whether a management committee has been constituted as per the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Rules, is it still in existence and what are its activities.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Friday moved a plea before the Delhi High Court for an order not to release the juvenile convict in the December 16, 2012, gang-rape case till he has reformed completely.Issuing notice to Centre, a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw also asked the government to inform it about the measures taken, if any, regarding post release rehabilitation of the juvenile, who will be freed on December 15 after serving the three year incarceration.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court asked whether a management committee has been constituted as per the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Rules, is it still in existence and what are its activities.”What are the plans… It is not an ordinary case and requires consideration,” the bench said.The court passed the order after the Centre’s lawyer told the bench that there was no opposition to extension of the juvenile’s stay at the observation home, as per the rules the committee has to make plans for post release rehabilitation.Counsel for the Centre placed before the court the reports of the IB relating to the behaviour of the juvenile during his stay in special home.However, the court asked the counsel to place the report before it in a sealed cover.The government was responding to Swamy’s petition, who claimed that there is lacuna in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.JJ Board had sentenced the juvenile three years detention in reformation home. In his petition before the HC, Swamy contended that “no provision has been made in the Act, to provide for vicious unregenerate convicted juveniles who despite having undergone the reformation process for the maximum penalty of three year’s custody in a special home, continue to be a menace to the society”. Swamy said provision has to be made to deal with such juvenile for further period in such a manner that he does not prove menace to the society. Six persons, including the juvenile, had brutally assaulted and raped a 23-year-old girl in a moving bus in south Delhi on December 16, 2012. The victim had died in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012. Mukesh, Vinay, Pawan and Akshay were awarded death penalty by trial court in the gang rape and murder case which was later confirmed by Delhi High Court. Their appeals are pending before the Supreme Court. Prime accused Ram Singh had allegedly committed in Tihar jail in March 2013.

‘Lack of professionalism’ by arbitrators bringing bad name to the country: CJI Thakur

The CJI also said that the overburdened judiciary is supportive of the alternate dispute resolution mechanism of arbitration in view of the huge pendency of cases.

TS Thakur

Suggesting that the legal format of arbitration process must undergo a change, Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Friday said “lack of professionalism” by arbitrators was bringing a bad name to the country.”Lack of professionalism on the part of arbitrators and lawyers is bringing a bad name to the country,” he said, adding, “I think that the legal format (of arbitration process) has to undergo a change.”The CJI also said that the overburdened judiciary is supportive of the alternate dispute resolution mechanism of arbitration in view of the huge pendency of cases.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We would welcome a system like arbitration. We are supportive of arbitration as it relieves us of the burden of pendency of cases. Entire judiciary, from top to bottom, is supportive of arbitration process,” he said. “What is heartening is that the government is conscious of this requirement. They have brought in an ordinance and that shows that they want to make changes, they want to make amends, things are moving and the fact that they are making some amendments in the ordinance is very heartening,” Justice Thakur said.Under the amendments proposed by the government to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, an arbitrator will have to settle a case within 18 months. However, after the completion of 12 months, certain restrictions will be put in place to ensure that arbitration case does not linger on. In his inaugural address at the two-day international conference here on ‘Arbitration in the era of globalisation’, Justice Thakur spoke about the challenges faced in the Indian arbitration process.He also said, “For arbitration to flourish in India, you ought to make yourself professional.” Stressing on the need to have a smooth arbitration process in India, he said that the judiciary welcomes a system that is alternative to the system of adjudication. “We would welcome a system where people would go for resolution of a domestic problem. Like arbitration where people can choose their judges and agreeing to solve their dispute with the help of those judges. We have absolutely no difficulty.”Actually we welcome these measures where parties agree for an effort to arbitration which consume less time and money…, Justice Thakur said. The CJI also said that in India, where the population is over 1.25 billion, there are around 15,000 judges in the lower judiciary while 800 judges are there at the High Courts followed by 30 judges in the Supreme Court besides the Chief Justice. “We have a large number of cases pending all over the country. Judiciary processes five crore cases a year and out of this, the judiciary disposes around two crore cases per year despite the infrastructure problems and vacancies of judges,” he said, adding that pendency of cases is a great concern.Justice Thakur said arbitration is even mythologically known to India and to arbitrate and mediate is a divine function. “If you fail, it does not make a difference as even Lord Krishna had failed in his attempt,” he said while referring to the epic Mahabharata where Lord Krishna had tried to mediate between the Pandavas and Kauravas to prevent the war.

Delhi HC not in favour of retired judges who head tribunals taking up private work

The court also said “a whole-time employee is expected to bestow all his time, energy and resources to the whole time employment and not to divert the same to any other job, work or vocation.”

The Delhi High Court on Friday observed that if retired judges who head or are part of statutory bodies, tribunals and commissions also simultaneously get involved in any other “commercial-legal” activity like arbitration, it may jeopardise reputation of their office.A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said “not only would pursuing such a vocation or occupation simultaneously with the office occupied be at the cost of the work of the said office, but may also jeopardise/ appear to jeopardise reputation of the said office…”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court also said “a whole-time employee is expected to bestow all his time, energy and resources to the whole time employment and not to divert the same to any other job, work or vocation.””Moreover, retired judges appointed as chairpersons or members of statutory bodies, tribunals.. discharge judicial /quasi-judicial functions and their involvement in any other commercial legal activity or as arbitrators would necessarily require them to interact, in all possibility, with same set of people…, giving rise to speculation about their impartiality in discharge of their duty in such capacity.”The court noted that though some statutes on appointment of chairperson/member of tribunals/statutory bodies prohibit taking up of any other work, this provision was not present in all legislations, and this “lacuna” resulted in some judges being entitled to taking up arbitrations while others who were similarly placed were barred.”It is precisely to remedy such a situation that amendments to the existing legislations/new legislation are/is proposed. However, the said process, inspite of our waiting for the last nearly five years, has not yielded any fruit,” it said.It, however, did not issue any directions on the issue as it felt the subject fell in the “domain” of the legislature. It only asked the government “to bestow special attention on the issue and to ensure that appropriate legislation is made at the earliest”.The court’s observations came in its judgement disposing of a PIL by NGO Common Cause, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, seeking that no retired Supreme Court or High Court judge should take up arbitration work while he/she was a chairperson/member of any government appointed constitutional /statutory body, commission, commission of inquiry, tribunal or appellate body.

Delhi High Court refuses to pass interim order on AAP’s vehicle plan

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath termed the PILs as “premature” and said, “The Delhi government has proposed an idea, which is to be implemented from January 1, 2016, on trial basis for 15 days, so let them (Delhi government) try it.”

AAP’s vehicle plan: HC refuses to pass interim order on PIL

PTI
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to pass any interim direction on the PILs filed against AAP government’s plan to restrict plying of private vehicles from January 1 to combat pollution, saying it was too early to pass an order.A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath termed the PILs as “premature” and said, “The Delhi government has proposed an idea, which is to be implemented from January 1, 2016, on trial basis for 15 days, so let them (Delhi government) try it.” “It’s just going to be implemented on trial basis. They have proposed an idea for which suggestions have also been called form various stakeholders of society. Meetings are being held in this regard. Let’s see what the stakeholders suggest,” the bench observed orally.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It further said “also, no notification has been issued so far, let such notification come then we will see.” “We will take up the matter after two weeks, by when the suggestions may also reach to the government,” the bench said and fixed the matter for further hearing on December 23. The bench also said, “Don’t use these PILs to pressurise the respondent (Delhi governments).” The court’s oral observation came during hearing the PILs, filed by Shweta Kapoor and Sarvesh Singh, which sought directions for restraining implementation of the policy.Defending the Delhi government’s idea, its senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra sought dismissal of the PILs and imposing of a heavy cost on the petitioners. One of the petitioner has claimed that “imposition of such a policy/law would be contrary to public interest and has been imposed without any public debate or discussion and without understanding the situation and facts and circumstances in India”. It has also questioned whether the AAP government has the power to modify vehicular movement in the national capital.Terming the national capital’s public transportation system as “undeveloped and unsafe”, the petitioner has said that it would create problems for women who travel alone as well as differently-abled persons who use modified vehicles to commute.

Supreme Court dismisses plea seeking enactment of uniform civil code

The bench said those who are being allegedly discriminated have not come forward for redressal

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a petition by a Delhi BJP leader seeking a direction to the Centre and Parliament to enact a uniform civil code to put an end to alleged discrimination being faced by Muslim women.A bench, headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, said it was not for the apex court to pass a direction to Parliament to introduce a Bill in this regard and warned the petitioner that if such petitions were filed without regard to the law, the court will come down very heavily. “If you file such petitions, we will have to come down heavily,” the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi, said while disapproving the submissions made by senior advocate Gopal Subramanium on behalf of Ashwini Kumar Upadhaya.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench said those who are being allegedly discriminated have not come forward for redressal. “Has anybody from the community discriminated come forward,” the bench said adding that “it is a wastage of time going through such petitions when law is well settled.” “Legal position is very well settled. There are judgements on the issue and you are required to look into it. This court had already decided not to go into the issue,” the bench said. “The Supreme Court has already said that it is for Parliament to take a view on the issue,” the bench further said and asked the senior advocate “you tell us how a mandamus can be issued to Parliament to introduce a Bill on Uniform Civil Code? We hope that Parliament will address these issues but it is not in the realm of courts.”The local BJP leader and practicing advocate had placed reliance on two Supreme Court judgments, one of which was a recent judgment delivered by Justice Anil R Dave and Justice A K Goel. “If there is a judgment already, why don’t you seek its implementation rather than file a fresh petition?” the bench said.

No tug of war between court and government over cleaning of Ganga: CJI Thakur

Justice Thakur’s fresh comments assume significance as, during the hearings on a 1984 PIL on cleaning of Ganga, he had observed that the river would not be restored to its pristine glory even in 200 years.

Justice TS Thakur

Chief Justice TS Thakur on Sunday dispelled impressions about his hard-hitting remarks during the judicial proceedings on the government’s ambitious Clean Ganga project, saying the judicial process was “not an impediment” and “intervention” was needed for its honest implementation.”There is no adversarial element in it. Ganga ki safai ko lekar court aur sarkar ke beech koi kheenchtan nahi hai (There is no tug of war between the court and the government over the cleaning of Ganga),” the Chief Justice said in an interaction with mediapersons here. “We will intervene. Judicial process is not an impediment, it can be helpful,” he said, adding that cleaning of the river was an “ambitious plan”, but “it has to be seen how honestly the project is implemented.” Justice Thakur’s fresh comments assume significance as, during the hearings on a 1984 PIL on cleaning of Ganga, he had observed that the river would not be restored to its pristine glory even in 200 years.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Emphasising people’s participation in the Rs 20,000 crore Clean Ganga project covering 50 small and big cities, Justice Thakur said there was a need for an awareness campaign and the venture, which has to implemented in various stages, cannot be completed overnight. “We all are linked to Ganga. A civilisation is linked to it and the river is linked to the civilisation of Hindustan.The river is linked to everyone, be they rich or poor. Faith is also attached to it,” he said. However, he said the condition of the river “is not right today, but it is not so that the situation cannot be rectified. The government is serious …. It has allocated Rs 20,000 crore. The government has also given a representation on the various phases of work it will carry out on this project. Cleaning of the Ganga cannot be done overnight.”The CJI pointed out that free flow of untreated industrial waste into the river was one of the major causes of pollution in it, and added that the sewage treatment plants on its banks were not working properly. “It will be a long-drawn battle to cleanse the river,” Justice Thakur said.

New CJI TS Thakur backs Kejriwal’s even-odd car formula; says judges have no problem

“CJI’s support 2 odd even formula is welcome n huge encouragement. SC judges pooling cars wud inspire millions 2 follow. Thank u My Lords,” Kejriwal said in a tweet.

New CJI TS Thakur

The newly-appointed Chief Justice of India, Justice TS Thakur, has extended support for the ?odd-even traffic formula? suggested by the Delhi Government to curb the menace of ever rising pollution in the national capital.”Judges have no problem with odd-even formula of the Delhi Government,” CJI Thakur told ANI. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who has been facing criticism from all the opposition parties, thanked Justice Thakur for his support and said that this would provide inspiration to millions of others.”CJI’s support 2 odd even formula is welcome n huge encouragement. SC judges pooling cars wud inspire millions 2 follow. Thank u My Lords,” Kejriwal said in a tweet.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: Will stop odd-even scheme for private vehicles if people face difficulty, assures KejriwalKejriwal had on Saturday said that the plan to allow odd and even numbered vehicles on alternate days on Delhi roads from January 1 was an ‘experiment’ to deal with the ’emergency situation’ in the city.He said it could be discontinued if people faced problems.The odd-even formula was among a series of measures announced at a meeting chaired by Kejriwal on Friday after the National Green Tribunal pulled up the Delhi Government for failing to curb air pollution. The Delhi High Court had also said earlier this week that living in the city was like “living in a gas chamber”.

Executive’s power to remit sentence can’t be taken away: Supreme Court judges

Justices U U Lalit and A M Sapre, who concurred with other three judges led by Chief Justice H L Dattu on six questions arising out of Tamil Nadu government’s decision to free killers of Rajiv Gandhi, differed on the issue

Supreme Court

Courts cannot take away the statutory powers of the Centre and the states to grant remission to convicts, two judges of the Supreme Court on Wednesday said in a dissenting verdict.Justices UU Lalit and A M Sapre, who concurred with other three judges led by Chief Justice HL Dattu on six questions arising out of Tamil Nadu government’s decision to free killers of Rajiv Gandhi, differed on the issue and said the courts cannot quantify the jail term leading to a situation where Executive is stopped from exercising their power of remission provided under CrPC.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In our view, it would not be open to the court to make any special category of sentence in substitution of death penalty and put that category beyond application of remission, nor would it be permissible to stipulate any mandatory period of actual imprisonment inconsistent with the one prescribed under Section 433A of CrPC,” Justice Lalit, who wrote 80-page long separate judgement, said. The verdict also said that the life imprisonment “means imprisonment for the rest of life or the remainder of life of the convict”.However, such a convict can “always apply for obtaining remission” either under the provisions of the Constitution or under CrPC and “the authority would be obliged to consider the same reasonably”. The three other judges namely CJI Dattu and justices FMI Kalifulla and P C Ghosh upheld the principles enunciated in the Swamy Shraddananda judgement which had said that “a special category of sentence may be made for very few cases where the death penalty might be substituted by the punishment of imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term in excess of 14 years” and they can put beyond the power of remission of the executives.Referring to the Shraddananda judgment, the majority view said that courts can ignore remission right in heinous crimes like mass murder and terrorism by awarding sentences ranging from 20 to 40 years unless it is not rarest of rare offences emitting death sentence.”We hold that the ratio laid down in Swamy Shraddananda that a special category of sentence, instead of death can be substituted by the punishment of imprisonment for life or for a term exceeding 14 years and put that category beyond application of remission is well-founded and we answer the said question in the affirmative,” the majority judgement said.

Ensure attendance of staff in I-Day, R-Day functions: Kerala HC to government

A bench, comprising Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A M Shaffique, issued the order a PIL by one Nimisha K of the city complaining about non-participation of a large number of government employees in the celebrations.

The Kerala High Court on Monday directed the state government to ensure attendance of officers and staff during Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations.A bench, comprising Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A M Shaffique, issued the order a PIL by one Nimisha K of the city complaining about non-participation of a large number of government employees in the celebrations. The court asked the state to implement circular and directions issued by it regarding participation of government employees on national day celebrations in its true spirit.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It said if the directions were not implemented, appropriate penal measures should be taken. The state government informed the court that it had issued a circular on November 5, 2015 compelling the presence of government employees at their offices during the national day celebrations. The court said the directions will be applicable to government employees, educational institutions, including aided, and state public sector units.

Supreme Court to examine issue of discrimination against Muslim women

The apex court, on being told that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi whose assistance has been sought was not served with the notice, deferred the hearing saying “let it come after three weeks.”

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday said it would hear after three weeks a PIL, instituted by the court itself, to examine whether Muslim women were facing gender discrimination in cases of divorce or due to other marriages of their husbands.The apex court, on being told that Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi whose assistance has been sought was not served with the notice, deferred the hearing saying “let it come after three weeks.” The lawyer on behalf of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), which was also urged to be made a party, appeared today before the bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, another bench headed by Justice A R Dave had asked the CJI to constitute an “appropriate bench” to examine the question as to whether Muslim women were facing gender discrimination. It had ordered registration of a Public Interest Litigation and putting it up before a new bench to deal with the issues relating to the challenge to the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act. It had noted that the issue was not merely a policy matter but concerns the fundamental rights of the women guaranteed under the Constitution.The issue had cropped up during the hearing of a matter related to Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act and the bench had noted that “an important issue of gender discrimination which though not directly involved in this appeal, has been raised by some of the counsel for the parties which concerns rights of Muslim women. Discussions on gender discrimination led to this issue also.” The court had said, “it was pointed out that inspite of guarantee of the Constitution, Muslim women are subjected to discrimination. There is no safeguard against arbitrary divorce and second marriage by her husband during currency of the first marriage, resulting in denial of dignity and security to her.””For this purpose, a PIL be separately registered and put up before the appropriate Bench as per orders of the Chief Justice of India. “Notice be issued to learned Attorney General and National Legal Services Authority, returnable on November 23. We give liberty to counsel already appearing in this matter to assist the Court on this aspect of the matter, if they wish to volunteer, for either view point,” it had added.

Supreme Court to hear Subramanian Swamy’s plea on Ram Sethu on November 26

The Sethusamudram shipping channel project has been facing protests from some political parties, environmentalists and several Hindu religious groups.
File Photo
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The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear on Thursday BJP leader Subramanian ​Swamy’s plea to withdraw his 2009 petition against the Sethusamudram project, following a recent decision of the Centre that the mythological bridge Rama Sethu would not be dismantled.”List it for hearing on Thursday. We will hear it provided all parties agree,” a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Amitava Roy said when Swamy mentioned the matter for urgent listing. Swamy said his prayer for scrapping of the project stands satisfied after the Centre took a decision and hence, he wanted to withdraw his plea.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Sethusamudram shipping channel project has been facing protests from some political parties, environmentalists and several Hindu religious groups. The mythological Ram Sethu is a continuous stretch of limestone shoals that runs from Pamban Island near Rameshwaram in South India to Mannar Island off the northern coast of Sri Lanka.Under the Sethusamudram project, a 83-km-long deep water channel would have been created linking Mannar with Palk Strait by extensive dredging and removal of the limestone shoals which constitute the Sethu.

Supreme Court asks Centre, Gujarat whether birds have a right to fly

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India H L Dattu sought response from the both the governments on a PIL by the Pet Lovers’ Association.

Do birds enjoy a fundamental right to fly and not be kept in cages? The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from the Centre and the Gujarat government on pet lovers’ plea against a high court order for releasing 494 birds. The high court (HC) had said that the birds have a right to fly in the open sky. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India H L Dattu sought response from the both the governments on a PIL by the Pet Lovers’ Association.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Appearing for the association, senior advocate Salman Khurshid submitted that there are already laws in place to protect birds which can be domesticated. He said that the HC order that they have the fundamental right to fly is a “flawed one” and required to be struck down. The HC, in 2011, had held that the birds cannot be caged as they have the right to fly. The HC ordered the release of 494 birds and said that their confinement was a violation of their right to live freely. The HC ordered the release of not only birds like parrots, doves, pigeons and love birds, but also animals like rabbits and dogs. Earlier, the SC court had refused to entertain an appeal against the HC order on grounds of delay and had suggested to Khurshid to file a PIL instead. The HC had passed the order while dealing with a bunch of petitions by bird sellers of Surat, demanding custody of their caged birds, which were confiscated by the police under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and under Section 12 of the Wildlife Protection Act. The HC had ordered the release of these birds and animals seized from Abdul Kadar Sheikh and others, and placed them with an NGO, running shelter for birds and animals. Taking the bird sellers to task, the court said that, prima facie, an offence of atrocity on birds and animals was made out against the bird sellers. “The only order which can be passed in such circumstances would be to set the birds free, and, if such an order is passed, it would be respecting the rights of birds,” the HC said in its order.

Justice Tirath Singh Thakur appointed as Chief Justice of India

The senior-most judge of the apex court, Justice Thakur (63) will take over from incumbent Justice H L Dattu who retires on December 2.

Justice Tirath Singh Thakur

Justice Tirath Singh Thakur, who had led the Supreme Court bench which delivered a verdict on reforming the Indian Cricket Board, was on Wednesday appointed the Chief Justice of India. He will take oath on December 3.The senior-most judge of the apex court, Justice Thakur (63) will take over from incumbent Justice HL Dattu who retires on December 2. “In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (2) of Article 124 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint Justice Tirath Singh Thakur, Judge of the Supreme Court, to be the Chief Justice of India with effect from December 3, 2015,” a Law Ministry statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Justice Thakur headed the bench which had delivered the verdict on reforming the BCCI in the wake of the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. The probe in the Saradha chit fund scam case is also being monitored by a Supreme Court bench headed by him. He is also hearing the multi-crore rupee NRHM scam, in which ex-UP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha is also an accused besides other politicians and bureaucrats.Born on January 4, 1952, he would have a tenure as CJI for a little over one year and would retire on January 4, 2017. Justice Thakur was designated as a senior advocate in 1990. On February 16, 1994, he was appointed as an additional judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and transferred as a judge of the Karnataka High Court in March, 1994.He was appointed as a permanent judge in September 1995 and transferred to the Delhi High Court in July 2004. Justice Thakur was appointed as acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court on April 9, 2008 and on August 11, 2008, he took over as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

dna reports on former CBI chief win Ramnath Goenka Award

dna’s series of investigative reports on former director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Ranjit Sinha, have won the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for investigating reporting for 2014. The stories by Raman Kirpal and Hakeem Irfan exposed Sinha’s link with people accused in the 2G and coal scams. The story was based on the visitors’ diary at Sinha’s residence, 2 Janpath, which recorded all his meetings with the accused in 2013 and 2014. The award will be presented at a ceremony at ITC Maurya on November 23.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The stories unravelled the nexus between powerful corporate houses, politicians and the country’s top investigating official. The agency chief held unexplained meetings with people whom CBI was probing. They included officials of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, whose Reliance Telecom is one of the accused in high-profile 2G scam, politicians accused in coal scam, controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi, high-profile lobbyists, bureaucrats and businessmen. The stories also established how Sinha was trying to influence 2G investigations by trying to incorporate some new details in the trial court. When dna had contacted Sinha for comments, he had threatened the paper of dire consequences. The series of stories exclusively reported by dna were followed up by every media outlet in the country and many foreign publications across all platforms. On the second day of our reportage, the Supreme Court took cognisance of a PIL in the matter and issued notice to Sinha. He was later removed from 2G investigations on court orders while still in office. A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu rejected Sinha’s arguments, questioning the authenticity of the visitors’ diary and also recalled its previous order to disclose the identity of the whistle-blowers. The bench also ordered a further inquiry by a team headed by former CBI special director ML Sharma in May this year to find out how Sinha attempted to scuttle the coal scam probe by meeting several accused. The team is expected to submit its report by mid-December this year.The apex court made a damning remark that an “elaborate order on the issue would tarnish the image and reputation of the premier investigating agency.” The court also observed that the allegations against Sinha were credible and required to be accepted. This was one of the rare incidents when a serving chief of the premier investigating agency was asked to recuse himself after being exposed through a series of stories.The Ramnath Goenka Awards are given in 16 categories, including journalism.Read some of the articles in the award-winning series here.

Delhi High Court dismisses PIL for law banning cow slaughter, beef sale

Additional Standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose, appearing for the state government, further contented that the petition was a publicity stunt and should be dismissed with exemplary cost.

The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a PIL seeking enactment of a law prohibiting slaughter of cows and sale of beef and such products across the national capital region, terming it as “misconceived”.A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath declined to entertain the plea after the AAP government informed the court that there is already ‘Delhi Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act’ to protect cattle.Additional Standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose, appearing for the state government, further contented that the petition was a publicity stunt and should be dismissed with exemplary cost.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He further informed the court that under the Act, “no person shall transport or offer for transport or cause to be transported agricultural cattle from any place within Delhi to any place outside Delhi, for the purpose of its slaughter, knowing that it is likely to be slaughtered.” Ghose further said that Delhi government had five shelter homes with capacity of 23,000, however, today the strength of these cattle is around 10,000.”If the petitioner has any such cattle, he can send them to us,” the counsel said.Taking note of the submissions of Delhi government’s counsel, the bench said, “The writ petition is misconceived and same is dismissed.”During the brief hearing, the bench also observed that it cannot issue any direction for enactment of law and it is for the state and Central government to take the decision.”Let them take the decision of the issue. We are not inclined to entertain the same,” the court said.The petition, filed by Swami Satyananda Chakradhari, who claimed to be a monk, has sought directions to the state government to enact a law similar to the 1932 Ranbir Penal Code, applicable in Jammu and Kashmir, which states that slaughter of cows and “like animals” was punishable with up to 10 years of imprisonment as well as a financial penalty.The plea, filed through advocate Nawal Kishore Jha, has also sought directions to the state government to set up a “Gokul Gram” where old cows, bulls and bullocks can be rehabilitated.

Delhi HC dismisses PIL for law banning cow slaughter and beef sale

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a PIL seeking enactment of a law prohibiting slaughter of cows and sale of beef and such products across the national capital region, terming it as “misconceived”.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath declined to entertain the plea after the AAP government informed the court that there is already ‘Delhi Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act’ to protect cattle.

Additional Standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose, appearing for the state government, further contented that the petition was a publicity stunt and should be dismissed with exemplary cost.

Representative image. ReutersRepresentative image. Reuters

Representative image. Reuters

He further informed the court that under the Act, “no person shall transport or offer for transport or cause to be transported agricultural cattle from any place within Delhi to any place outside Delhi, for the purpose of its slaughter, knowing that it is likely to be slaughtered.”

Ghose further said that Delhi government had five shelter homes with capacity of 23,000, however, today the strength of these cattle is around 10,000.

“If the petitioner has any such cattle, he can send them to us,” the counsel said.

Taking note of the submissions of Delhi government’s counsel, the bench said, “The writ petition is misconceived and same is dismissed.”

During the brief hearing, the bench also observed that it cannot issue any direction for enactment of law and it is for the state and Central government to take the decision.

“Let them take the decision of the issue. We are not inclined to entertain the same,” the court said.

The petition, filed by Swami Satyananda Chakradhari, who claimed to be a monk, has sought directions to the state government to enact a law similar to the 1932 Ranbir Penal Code, applicable in Jammu and Kashmir, which states that slaughter of cows and “like animals” was punishable with up to 10 years of imprisonment as well as a financial penalty.

The plea, filed through advocate Nawal Kishore Jha, has also sought directions to the state government to set up a “Gokul Gram” where old cows, bulls and bullocks can be rehabilitated.

PTI

Supreme Court upholds Kerala government’s decision to ban online lotteries

The apex court said a state government can “organise, conduct or promote” a lottery and it would be within the legislative power “complying with the provisions of the Act made by the Parliament”.

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the decision of Kerala government to prohibit sale of online lottery tickets, saying the state was “well within its legislative competence” to regulate such lotteries.”We are of the considered opinion that State of Kerala was well within its rights to prohibit the sale of online or internet lotteries in its State and there is no fault in it. It is well within the powers conferred on it under Section 5 of the Act,” a bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said. The apex court said a state government can “organise, conduct or promote” a lottery and it would be within the legislative power “complying with the provisions of the Act made by the Parliament”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noting that lottery was a form of gambling, the court said it was an evil which was considered “vice” by all civilised societies. “It is common case that lottery is a species of gambling. Gambling is considered as a pernicious vice by all civilised societies from time immemorial. The Rigvedas, Smritis and Arthashastras have condemned gambling as a vice. Several Judges and learned authors are unanimous in their condemnation of gambling.”Experience has shown that the common forms of gambling are comparatively innocuous when placed in contrast with widespread pestilence of lotteries. The former are confined to a few persons and places, but the latter infests the whole community; it enters every dwelling; it reaches every class; it preys upon the hard earnings of the poor; it plunders the ignorant and the simple,” the bench also comprising R K Agrawal and Arun Mishra said.The court’s judgement came on an appeal filed by All Kerala Online Lottery Dealers Association, Sikkim and others questioning the ban.Kerala government had banned all lotteries in January 2005. In April 2005, the order modified the notification that the prohibition on online lotteries would continue but sale of paper lotteries conducted by the state government would be permitted. Both the single Judge and a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court had upheld the ban. The present appeals were filed against this order. The petitioners contended that the state did not have legislative competence to ban online lotteries alone while permitting sale of paper lotteries.

Kerala High Court says local bodies to act against stray dogs in line with legal provisions

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and A M Shaffique insisted authorities should ensure strict compliance of Rules 7, 9 and 10 of Animal Birth Control Rules (Dogs) 2001.
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Observing that there has to be more concern for protecting the lives of human beings than stray dogs, Kerala High Court on Wednesday said local bodies can exercise their power to capture, sterilise or destroy the strays, provided it is done in accordance with legal provisions.The division bench comprising Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and A M Shaffique insisted authorities should ensure strict compliance of Rules 7, 9 and 10 of Animal Birth Control Rules (Dogs) 2001.Rules 7, 9 and 10 deal with capturing dog on specific complaint, euthanasia and handling of rabid dogs.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There cannot be any dispute with the proposition that there has to be more concern with the life of human beings than that of stray dogs and there cannot be any quarrel to the proposition that local authorities can exercise the power to capture and destroy the stray dogs and this exercise has to be carried out in accordance with provisions of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and Animal Birth Control Rules (Dogs) 2001,” the High Court said in its judgement.The court also criticised the local bodies’ inaction in implementing the provisions of Act and Rules in the state. The High Court, which pronounced the 86-page judgement while disposing of 12 writ petitions related to stray dogs, ruled that vaccination and sterilisation of stray dogs be made compulsory and veterinary hospitals and polyclinics should be set up in district and taluk level.The Animal Welfare Board of India was also directed to take steps to provide financial help for building infrastructure to deal with the dog menace. Rule 7 stipulates that capturing of dogs shall be based on specific complaints (for which the local authority in consultation with the Monitoring Committee shall set up a dog control cell to receive complaints about dog nuisance, dog bites and information about rabid dogs).”On receipt of specific complaint about nuisance or dog bite the same shall be attended on priority basis,irrespective of the area from which the complaint comes. On receipt of such complaint,details such as name of the complainant,his complete address, date and time of complaint, nature of complaint etc shall be recorded in a register to be maintained for permanent record,” it says.Rule 9 deals with euthanasia of street dogs. “Incurably ill and mortally wounded dogs as diagnosed by a qualified veterinarian appointed by the committee shall be euthanised during specified hours in a humane manner by administering sodium pentathol for adult dogs and Thiopental Introperitoneal for puppies by a qualified veterinarian or euthanised in any other humane manner approved by Animal Welfare Board of India,” it says.The Rule says that no dog shall be euthanised in the presence of another dog. According to it, on receipt of complaints from the public to the Dog Control Cell of the Local Authority or on its own, the dog squad of the Local Authority would catch such dogs, suspected to be rabid.The Rule says the dog would then be taken to the pound, where it would be kept in an isolation ward. It would then be subjected to inspection by a panel of two persons — a veterinarian surgeon appointed by the Local Authority and a representative from an Animal Welfare Organisation.”If the dog is found to have a high probability of having rabies it would be isolated till it dies a natural death. Death normally occurs within 10 days of contracting rabies. Premature killings of suspected rabid dogs therefore prevents the true incidence of rabies from being known and appropriate action being taken. But if it is found not to have rabies but some other disease, it would be handed over to the AWOs who will take the necessary action to cure and rehabilitate the dog,” it says.The High Court said local authorities shall ensure that dog shelters, dog capturers and ambulances are in place by next financial year. It directed the state government to provide infrastructure and financial assistance to local authorities.

President Pranab Mukherjee calls for preserving multiplicity within country

Referring to the growing “intolerance in the country” President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday once again called for “preserving the multiplicity and pluralistic character of the country” and said India has thrived due to its “power of assimilation and tolerance.”The President, who had already spoken against growing intolerance, was speaking at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Delhi High Court here.“Our country has thrived due to its power of assimilation and tolerance. Our pluralistic character has stood the test of time. Our ancient civilisation has over the centuries accommodated our diversities.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>“Multiplicity is our collective strength which must be preserved at all costs. It finds reflection in the various provisions of our Constitution,” Mukherjee said.After the Dadri lynching and subsequent incidents, the President had questioned whether tolerance and acceptance of dissent are on the wane in the country.He said the judiciary, which is one of the three important pillars of our democracy, is the final interpreter of the Constitution and laws. It must help maintain social order by swiftly and effectively dealing with those on the wrong side of the law.“As an upholder of the Rule of Law and enforcer of the right to liberty, the role of the Judiciary is sacrosanct. The faith and confidence people have in the Judiciary must be always maintained,” he said.Speaking on the occasion, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the independence of judiciary should not be compromised. He also urged judiciary for quick disposal of cases for speedy justice.Chief Justice of India H L Dattu, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court G Rohini and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung also attended the function.Asking the judiciary to “reinvent itself through introspection and self-correction system of judges’ appointment, Mukherjee said the process must operate on “well-established and transparent principles to select the best” and no one can meddle with it “.He was referring to the Supreme Court’s recent verdict on National Judicial Appointments Commission.“The appointment process must conform to the highest standards of probity. Whichever system of appointment we follow, it must operate on well-established and transparent principles to select the best. No one can meddle in the process,” he said.Prez for speedy justicePresident Mukherjee said that there was the need for quick justice delivery system which should be “accessible” and “affordable” to all. “Delay in administering justice is as good as denial.”There are over 60,000 court cases pending in the Apex Court, another over 40 lakh pending in the High Courts, and over 2.6 crore in the district and subordinate courts. The phenomenon of high pendency must change through multi-dimensional effort.”Courts must have enough resources to boost their infrastructure. Vacancies in judicial positions must be filled up on priority. Having said that, expeditious selection must be no ground for sacrifice on quality,” he said.

A temporary setback, will move SC: Arvind Kejriwal on HC decision on discoms

New Delhi: The AAP government will move the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court order today quashing its decision to get the accounts of three private power distribution companies audited by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today said that the HC order is a “temporary setback” for the people of the national capital and he is “committed” to provide cheap electricity to people.

“Delhi HC order is a temporary setback for the people of Delhi. Delhi government will soon file an appeal in SC.

“I am committed to providing cheap electricity to people of Delhi. Our fight will continue (sic),” Kejriwal said in a series of his tweets.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court quashed the AAP government’s decision to get the accounts of three private power distribution companies audited by the CAG.

“We have allowed the petitions of the discoms,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw said while clarifying that the entire audit process carries out so far as well as the draft report of the CAG would be “non-est” and would have no bearing any more.

A senior government official said that on April 17, 2014, Supreme Court had made it clear that wherever public money or resources are involved, CAG audit is “required”.

CAG is a constitutional institution under Art 148 of the Constitution of India. Once it accepts reference for an audit, it must be respected, the official said.

The discoms – Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL), BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd – had challenged the AAP government’s decision on January 7, 2014, of ordering a CAG audit of their accounts.

The discoms had also challenged an order of a single judge of the High Court, who had refused to stall the CAG audit.

The single judge, in his January 24, 2014 order, had also asked the discoms to “fully cooperate with CAG in the audit process”.

While allowing the discoms’ pleas today, the court dismissed a PIL filed by NGO United RWAs Joint Action (URJA) which had sought an audit of the discoms’ accounts by CAG.

Earlier, the city government had told the court that a CAG audit of the private discoms here was necessary as these companies discharged “public function”.

The discoms are a 51:49 per cent joint venture between the private companies and the Delhi government.

The government had said it was not trying to stop their (discoms) functioning or interfere in it, but was only trying to bring them under public audit, as 49 per cent stake in the discoms was held by the Delhi government which has also infused capital in these companies.

PTI

Blow to Kejriwal as Delhi HC quashes AAP govt order to carry out CAG audit of discoms

The discoms — Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL), BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd — had challenged the AAP government’s January 7, 2014 decision ordering a CAG audit of their accounts.

Arvind Kejriwal

The Delhi High Court on Friday quashed the AAP government’s decision to get the accounts of three private power distribution companies audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).”We have allowed the petitions of the discoms,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw said while clarifying that the entire audit process carries out so far as well as the draft report of the CAG would be “non-est” and would have no bearing any more.The discoms — Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL), BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd — had challenged the AAP government’s January 7, 2014, decision ordering a CAG audit of their accounts.The discoms had also challenged an order of a single judge of the high court who had refused to stall the CAG audit.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The single judge, in his January 24, 2014 order, had also asked the discoms to “fully cooperate with CAG in the audit process”. While allowing the discoms’ pleas today, the court dismissed a PIL filed by NGO United RWAs Joint Action (URJA) which had sought an audit of the discoms’ accounts by CAG.Earlier, the city government had told the court that a CAG audit of the private discoms in Delhi was necessary as these companies discharged “public function”. The discoms are a 51:49% joint venture between the private companies and the Delhi government.The government had said it was not trying to stop their (discoms’) functioning or interfere in it but was only trying to bring them under public audit, as 49% stake in the discoms was held by the Delhi government which has also infused capital in these companies.

HC seeks EC’s reply over Gujarat minister’s fake degree row

The division bench of acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice N V Anjaria issued notice to the ECI after the petitioner added the Commission as a party to the PIL. On October 13, the HC had issued notices to Gujarat government

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday sought a reply from the Election Commission of India to a public interest litigation petition alleging that Gujarat minister of state Shankar Chaudhari holds a bogus MBA degree.The division bench of acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice N V Anjaria issued notice to the ECI after the petitioner added the Commission as a party to the PIL. On October 13, the HC had issued notices to Gujarat government, State Election Commission, the minister and the Superintendent of Police of Patan district. It also issued notices to Patan-based Sheth K B Vakil Vividhlaxi Vidyalaya where Chaudhari completed his std 12th in 2011 and the National Institute of Management (NIM) of Vadodara where he got his allegedly bogus MBA degree.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chaudhari is minister of state for Health and Family Welfare with independent charge of Urban Housing. The petitioner Farsu Goklani is a Patan-based Congress worker. As per the school records obtained under RTI Act, the minister passed std 12th in 2011, but his affidavit before the State Election Commission in 2012 stated that he had completed MBA in the same year (2012) from NIM, the PIL points out.No institute can grant an MBA within a year of completing the std 12th, and the minister should be prosecuted for providing false information in the affidavit, it says. Chaudhari’s election should be set aside and he should be sacked from the ministry, the PIL demands. Chaudhari, MLA from Vav in Banaskantha district, was made a minister after Anandiben Patel became Chief Minister in May 2014.

CRPF team visits Madras High Court over security

Ten days ago, Madras High Court First Bench, comprising Chief Justice S K Kaul and Justice TS Sivagnanam, directed the central and state governments to make security arrangements by CISF or any other similar independent security agency for the principal bench here and Madurai bench.

A team of CRPF personnel on Sunday visited the premises of the Madras High Court as part of preparatory measures to take over the security of the inner periphery of the court here.A seven-member team of CRPF personnel visited the court to plan security as part of their preparatory work for the inner periphery of the High Court, official sources said.Photographs of court premises were also taken.However, local police officials were not present during the visit of the CRPF team. The Central police team was assisted by the court administrative officials.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The team had also visited the campus two days ago for similar inspection purposes.Ten days ago, Madras High Court First Bench, comprising Chief Justice S K Kaul and Justice TS Sivagnanam, directed the central and state governments to make security arrangements by CISF or any other similar independent security agency for the principal bench here and Madurai bench.The First Bench had said it intended to place in the hands of a central force, the security of the inner periphery of the court for six months while the state police would man the outer periphery. The matter was posted to October 30.The development followed unsavoury incidents including a protest inside the court hall of Chief Justice Kaul seeking Tamil as court language.

NJAC debate: Collegium system was like a gymkhana club, says Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: A debate on the now-struck down National Judicial Appointments Commission, on Friday, saw participants sharply divided on the collegium system of choosing judges with events its supporters admitting that it has some faults and needed reform.

The participants — Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who had sharply criticised the recent Supreme Court judgement, former CJI RM Lodha and jurists Soli Sorabjee and Rajeev Dhawan — felt there was need to correct the flaws in the system of judges appointing judges.

Supreme Court of India. AFPSupreme Court of India. AFP

Supreme Court of India. AFP

The “National Debate” was organised by Times Now news channel in the wake of the Supreme Court last week striking down as unconstitutional the NJAC Act passed by Parliament. It also witnessed repeated sparring between Jaitley and Dhawan.

Justice Lodha conceded that the collegium system of appointing judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts was “opaque and secretive” and said the appointments and the procedure adopted can be put in the public domain or provided under RTI to bring in transparency.

“True, the (collegium) system is opaque and secretive. There are faults… The three faults are lack of transparency, lack of an expert body like a standing committee, to help the collegium and the executive’s indifferent role in the participatory process,” Justice Lodha.

He said that while he respects the executive, he was of the view the judiciary “has to be insulated” from political interference or pressure, and added that interference by executive has to be “nominal”.

Justice Lodha said though the NJAC Act has been set aside, it was still open for the executive and the legislature to devise an alternate method of appointing judges.

Opposing the collegium, Jaitley said it was full of flaws and while the nation needed an independent judiciary, its credibility was more important.

“To be independent is important. To be credible is more important. We all know there was a CBI Director who was independent but not credible,” he said.

Jaitley, himself a noted lawyer, questioned the “exclusivity” enjoyed by the judges who appoint judges without any interference by the executive, saying the collegium system was akin to the Gymkhana Club here where members appoint the future members. He also said that the executive always participated in the process, but its “comments were never taken seriously”.

“It (collegium) is a de-facto system where executive has to follow what the judiciary says. It is a clerical role that the executive has,” the minister said adding that there should be a system of checks and balances.

The minister contended by its judgement the apex court has re-written the constitution as it does “extreme damage” to sovereignty of the Parliament.

Backing the verdict, Dhawan said it does not affect Parliament’s sovereignty as it does not have sovereignty but is supreme in its sphere.

Sorabjee, a former Attorney General, supported the view of Jaitley and said that judges should have an important role in the appointment process “but not an exclusive role”.

“Why do you want to arrogate the power (to appoint judges) to judges only?” Sorabjee said.

He said that Justice Kurien Joseph, who was part of the five judge-bench, which delivered the NJAC verdict, had “castigated” the collegium system by saying that various deserving persons were ignored while several undeserving persons were included.

Sorabjee said that instead of striking down of the NJAC Act, the apex court could have “read into it” that eminent persons, who would be part of the NJAC, should be those who belong to the field of law.

On the objection to the inclusion of the Law Minister in the six-member commission, he said the minister “was not a pariah”.

Dhawan, who had appeared in the apex court during the NJAC hearings, countered the views of Jaitley and Sorabjee and said the problem with the NJAC was that it had some “design faults”, one of them being that it consisted of six members.

Another “fault” that he felt was that the two eminent persons or the law minister and one of the eminent persons could stall the appointment of a judge, apart from also impacting upon the primacy of the judiciary and the Chief Justice of India in appointing judges.

This view also received support of Justice Lodha who also said the NJAC in its current format could stall appointment of an independent judge.

Another threat to independence of judiciary that was feared by Justice Lodha, with which the other three agreed, was the issue of post-retirement jobs that judges get.

“Pre-retirement judgements are influenced by post-retirement benefits,” he said and suggested a method to counter it.

He said that three months prior to retirement, judges can be given the option of choosing between receiving pension or a full salary-job. If they opt for the former, then they would be disqualified from being considered for post-retirement work, he added.

However, if they opt for full salary, then their names would be made part of a panel and when a statutory vacancy comes up, which requires a judge of a high court or the apex court, then someone from these judges can be selected by the executive in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

On Jaitley’s point that organisations like Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), Election Commission of India (ECI), and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) were functioning well enough despite appointments there being made by the government, Justice Lodha and Dhawan said judiciary’s role was much different from that of these statutory bodies.

They said that the judiciary was the institution which was called upon to decide matters like coal block allocation, 2G spectrum allocation, life and liberty issues as well as the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Representation of the People Act and it cannot be compared to other statutory institutions.

“We need a strong and independent judiciary,” they said.

PTI

Lt Guv Jung and CM Kejriwal not on same page as new name comes up in Lokayukta search

Delhi government will oppose Kakru’s name for the post that has been lying vacant since November, 2013, over the issue of certain allegations against him.
File Photo
PTI
With the name of retired Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court, Nisar Ahmad Kakru, doing the rounds for the Delhi Lokayukta’s post, the tussle between the Lt Governor and the Arvind Kejriwal government could take a new turn as the ruling AAP is opposed to the candidate. Lt Governor Najeeb Jung is to hold a consultation tomorrow featuring, among others, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to select a candidate for the post.The Law Department of AAP government has proposed a panel of three names vis-a-vis the appointment of Lokayukta — retired Chief Justice of Orissa High Court, Bilal Nazki, retired Chief Justice of Haryana and Punjab High Court, Jasbir Singh, and retired judge of Delhi High Court, Reva Khetrapal. But sources said that Kakru’s name, too, is doing the rounds.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The government will oppose Kakru, whose name has come up in connection with the search for a new Lokayukta,” sources said.Delhi government will oppose Kakru’s name for the post that has been lying vacant since November, 2013, over the issue of certain allegations against him.As per Delhi Lokayukta and Uplokayukta Act, 1995, the Lokayukta is appointed after consultations among the chief justice of high court, the chief minister and the leader of opposition in Delhi Assembly. BJP has sought to corner the AAP government alleging that it was delaying the appointment of Lokayukta.The government had told high court in the last hearing that all steps will be taken to ensure that the Lokayukta is appointed by the end of October.In August this year, former Law Commission Chairman and former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, AP Shah, had turned down the Kejriwal government’s offer to appoint him as the new Delhi Lokayukta. The last Lokayukta, Justice (Retd) Manmohan Sarin, had relinquished office in November, 2013, following a five-year term.

New Kejriwal-Jung row on the cards as new name comes up in the search for Delhi Lokayukta

New Delhi: With the name of retired Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court, Nisar Ahmad Kakru, doing the rounds for the Delhi Lokayukta’s post, the tussle between the Lt Governor and the Arvind Kejriwal government could take a new turn as the ruling AAP is opposed to the candidate.

Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung (left) and CM Arvind Kejriwal. Agencies

Delhi L-G Najeeb Jung (left) and CM Arvind Kejriwal. Agencies

Lt Governor Najeeb Jung is to hold a consultation on Tuesday featuring, among others, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to select a candidate for the post.

The Law Department of AAP government has proposed a panel of three names vis-a-vis the appointment of Lokayukta – retired Chief Justice of Orissa High Court, Bilal Nazki, retired Chief Justice of Haryana and Punjab High Court, Jasbir Singh, and retired judge of Delhi High Court, Reva Khetrapal.

But sources said that Kakru’s name, too, is doing the rounds.

“The government will oppose Kakru, whose name has come up in connection with the search for a new Lokayukta,” sources said.

Delhi government will oppose Kakru’s name for the post that has been lying vacant since November, 2013, over the issue of certain allegations against him.

As per Delhi Lokayukta and Uplokayukta Act, 1995, the Lokayukta is appointed after consultations among the chief justice of high court, the chief minister and the leader of opposition in Delhi Assembly.

BJP has sought to corner the AAP government alleging that it was delaying the appointment of Lokayukta.

The government had told high court in the last hearing that all steps will be taken to ensure that the Lokayukta is appointed by the end of October.

In August this year, former Law Commission Chairman and former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, AP Shah, had turned own the Kejriwal government’s offer to appoint him as the new Delhi Lokayukta.

The last Lokayukta, Justice (Retd) Manmohan Sarin, had relinquished office in November, 2013, following a five-year term.

PTI

‘Indian democracy cannot be a tyranny of the unelected’: Arun Jaitley’s ‘alternative view’ on the NJAC verdict

In a jolt to the central government, the Supreme Court on Friday struck down the constitution’s 99th amendment and the NJAC Act as unconstitutional and void, restoring the collegium system for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary. The government has accepted the Supreme Court’s verdict, but the verdict is hardly an end to the debate on the controversial collegium system for appointment of judges.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been vocal and expressed his opinions over issues that have surfaced in recent times and has defended the government’s position on those issues in his Facebook posts. Recently, after CBI Special Judge OP Saini discharged all the accused in the 2G spectrum case, Jaitley expressed his opinion in a 15 October post titled ‘A fabricated charge sheet rebuffed by the Court’. He had also expressed his views on the Dadri Lynching and writers returning their Sahitya Akademi award in protest and defended the government in a 14 October post titled ‘A manufactured revolt – Politics by other means’

Jaitley, for the third time in the space of four days, took to Facebook on Sunday, 18 October, and pointed out the errors in the NJAC verdict in a post titled ‘The NJAC Judgement – An Alternative View’. Following is the full text of his post:

The Supreme Court of India, by a majority opinion, has struck down the 99th Constitution Amendment, which provided for the establishment of the National Judicial Commission to appoint judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court. Having read the opinion of the five Hon’ble Judges, a few issues arise in my mind.

The key rationale behind the majority opinion appears to be that independence of judiciary is an essential ingredient of the basic structure of the Constitution. This is unquestionably a correct proposition. Having stated this, the majority transgresses into an erroneous logic. 

It argues that the presence of a Law Minister in the Commission and the appointment of two eminent persons in the Commission by a group, which will, besides Chief Justice of India, comprise of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, will constitute political involvement in the judicial appointments. Judges appointed on this basis may feel gratified to the politicians.

Political persons would be obviously guided by their political interest. The Judges warn of “adverse” consequences if politicians were a part of the appointment process. Hence protection of the judiciary from political persons was essential. This is key reason on which constitution amendment, unanimously passed by both the Houses of Parliament and the State Legislature, has been struck down.

Politician bashing is the key to the judgement. One learned judge argues that Shri LK Advani has opined that dangers of an Emergency like situation are still there. Civil society in India is not strong and, therefore, you need an independent judiciary.  Another argues that it may be possible that the present Government does not favour appointment of persons with alternative sexuality as Judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court. Politician bashing is akin to the 9.00 PM television programmes.

A file photo of Supreme Court of India. PTI

A file photo of Supreme Court of India. PTI

The judgement ignores the larger constitutional structure of India. Unquestionably independence of the judiciary is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution. It needs to be preserved. But the judgement ignores the fact that there are several other features of the Constitution which comprise the basic structure.

The most important basic structure of the Indian Constitution is Parliamentary democracy. The next important basic structure of the Indian Constitution is an elected Government which represents the will of the sovereign. The Prime Minister in Parliamentary democracy is the most important accountable institution. The Leader of the Opposition is an essential aspect of that basic structure representing the alternative voice in Parliament. The Law Minister represents a key basic structure of the Constitution; the Council of Ministers, which is accountable to Parliament. All these institutions, Parliamentary sovereignty, an elected Government, a Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, Law Minister are a part of the Constitution’s basic structure. They represent the will of the people.

The majority opinion was understandably concerned with one basic structure – independence of judiciary – but to rubbish all other basic structures by referring to them as “politicians” and passing the judgement on a rationale that India’s democracy has to be saved from its elected representatives. The judgement has upheld the primacy of one basic structure – independence of judiciary – but diminished five other basic structures of the Constitution, namely, Parliamentary democracy, an elected Government, the Council of Ministers, an elected Prime Minister and the elected Leader of the Opposition. This is the fundamental error on which the majority has fallen.

A constitutional court, while interpreting the Constitution, had to base the judgement on constitutional principles. There is no constitutional principle that democracy and its institutions has to be saved from elected representatives. The Indian democracy cannot be a tyranny of the unelected and if the elected are undermined, democracy itself would be in danger. Are not institutions like the Election Commission and the CAG not credible enough even though they are appointed by elected Governments?

As someone who has spent more years in court than in Parliament, I feel constrained to speak out for Indian democracy. There is no principle in democracy anywhere in the world that institutions of democracy are to be saved from the elected.
The illustrations given had to be on a sounder footing. If one leader feels that there are dangers of emergency, there is no presumption that only the Supreme Court can save it. When in the mid-Seventies the Emergency was proclaimed, it was people like me – the politicians, who fought out and went to prison. It was Supreme Court that caved in and, therefore, for the court to assume that it alone can defend the nation against Emergency, is belied by history.

As for the cause of those representing alternative sexuality, the Delhi High Court had decriminalized it. I am a part of the present Government, but I had publically supported opinion of the Delhi High Court. It was the Supreme Court which recriminalized alternative sexuality. The assumption that the cause of the practitioners of alternative sexuality to be appointed as judges, can only be protected by Supreme Court, is again belied by history. The Supreme Court opinion is final. It is not infallible.

The judgement interprets the provision of Article 124 and 217 of the Constitution. Article 124 deals with the appointment of Judges in the Supreme Court and Article 217 deals with the appointment of Judges of the High Court. Both provide for the appointment to be made by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. The mandate of the Constitution was that Chief Justice of India is only a ‘Consultee’. The President is the Appointing Authority. The basic principle of interpretation is that a law may be interpreted to give it an expanded meaning, but they cannot be rewritten to mean the very opposite. In the second Judge’s case, the Court declared Chief Justice the Appointing Authority and the President a ‘Consultee’. In the third Judge’s case, the courts interpreted the Chief Justice to mean a Collegium of Judges. President’s primacy was replaced with the Chief Justice’s or the Collegium’s primacy. In the fourth Judge’s case (the present one) has now interpreted Article 124 and 217 to imply ‘Exclusivity’ of the Chief Justice in the matter of appointment excluding the role of the President almost entirely.  No principle of interpretation of law anywhere in the world, gives the judicial institutions the jurisdiction to interpret a constitutional provision to mean the opposite of what the Constituent Assembly had said. This is the second fundamental error in the judgement. The court can only interpret – it cannot be the third chamber of the legislature to rewrite a law.

Having struck down the 99th Constitutional Amendment, the Court decided to re-legislate. The court quashed the 99th Constitutional Amendment. The court is entitled to do so. While quashing the same, it re-legislated the repealed provisions of Article 124 and 217 which only the legislature can do. This is the third error in the judgement.

The fourth principle on which the judgement falls into an error is while stating that collegium system, which is a product of the judicial legislation, is defective. It fixed a hearing for its improvement. The court has again assumed the role of being the third chamber. If there is a problem with the procedure of judicial appointments, have those legislative changes to be evolved outside the legislature?

As someone who is equally concerned about the independence of judiciary and the sovereignty of India’s Parliament, I believe that the two can and must co-exist. Independence of the judiciary is an important basic structure of the Constitution. To strengthen it, one does not have to weaken Parliamentary sovereignty which is not only an essential basic structure but is the soul of our democracy.

Arun Jaitley

(The views expressed are personal)

Sacked Gujarat High Court employees move court

A city-based RTI activist Ajay Prajapati had last month filed an affidavit before the high court alleging that due process was not followed and several rules were flouted by the high court in recruiting the class IV employees, such as peons recently.

Around 15 class IV employees of the Gujarat High Court, out of the total 94, whose recruitment had been cancelled following a row over their appointments, have moved the HC challenging their termination of services.The High Court had last month cancelled the appointment of the 94 class IV employees who were recruited by its former acting Chief Justice, V M Sahai, allegedly by flouting norms. All of them had been appointed allegedly without any public advertisement. Justice Sonia Gokani of the Gujarat High Court is likely to hear the case on October 20.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A committee of the high court judges, which was formed to probe the case, had issued show-cause notices to the appointed candidates after irregularities were found in the recruitment.A city-based RTI activist Ajay Prajapati had last month filed an affidavit before the high court alleging that due process was not followed and several rules were flouted by the high court in recruiting the class IV employees, such as peons recently. He claimed that he had earlier raised this issue by writing a letter on July 3 to the HC Registrar, President of India, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and others.In the letter, which is now a part of his affidavit, Prajapati said Article 229 of the Constitution confers powers on the high court for appointment of officers and servants of HC.”But it does not mean that the high court can appoint any staff without following any process of law. This amounts to back-door entry. In these posts, the staff appointed are the relatives of HC judges and staff attached to them…their sons and relatives only,” the letter alleged.

Striking down NJAC: Why the SC rejected A-G’s argument on past cases where collegium failed

By Rakesh Bhatnagar

The Supreme Court has ruled that appointment of judges is  “really the foundational part” of independence of judiciary as it rejected the Union government’s contention that it is  a “small part and certainly not a predominant part” of free dispensation machinery.

During the hearing, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had made some references to past appointments to the Supreme Court, so as to “trumpet the accusation that the ‘collegium system’ had not functioned efficiently”.

He had cited instances of some judges who were selected and appointed as Judges of the Supreme Court by the collegiums. He had maintained the “dignity of this Court” by refraining to name those judges. nevertheless , the print and electronic media had splashed their identity.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

But post retirement, these judges had been accommodated by the Union government in different positions. He had made a reference to the improper appointment of three Judges to the Supreme Court.

Without going into the merits of the A-G’s charge,  that finding fault with just three Judges, despite the appointment of over a hundred Judges to the Supreme Court since the collegium system came into being on 6 October 1993 should be considered as no mean achievement.

Rohatgi had referred to one judge  who  had “hardly delivered any judgments, both during the period he remained a Judge and Chief Justice of different High Courts,  as also, the period during which he remained a Judge of this Court”.

He had sought to nail the collegiums system on that score. He had said that “such a person would have been weeded out, if a meaningful procedure had been in place”.

The second instance cited by him was, in respect of a Judge who did not abide by any time schedule. It was asserted, that the Judge, was inevitably late in commencing court proceedings. Rohatgi had contended that past experience regarding the Judge indicated a “similar demeanour’, as a Judge of different High Courts and as Chief Justice of one High Court.

He had lamented that such behaviour was not sufficient, in the process adopted under the “collegium system”, to reject the Judge from elevation to the Supreme Court.

The third Judge was described as an individual who was habitually tweeting his views on the internet. He described him as an “individual unworthy of the exalted position of a Judge of the Supreme Court”, and yet, the “collegium system” had supported his appointment.

The constitution bench declined to either agree or disagree with Rohatgi’s lamentation saying, “He may well be right in his own perception, but the misgivings pointed out by him may not be of much significance in the perception of others, especially those who fully appreciate the working of the judicial system”.

The “misgivings” pointed out by him  need to be viewed in the backdrop of the facts that the allegations levelled against the Judges in question, do not depict any lack of ability in the discharge of judicial responsibility.

However, the court agreed that aberrations ought to have been taken into at the time of selection and appointment of an individual as a Judge at the level of the higher judiciary.

None of the “misgivings” expressed by him cast doubt on integrity and misdemeanour of the judge concerned. Not in a single of the instances referred by A-G, “the political-executive had objected to the elevation of the Judges” to the apex court or to a high court, the apex court said.

“We say so, because on our asking, we were furnished with the details of those who had been elevated, despite objections at the hands of the Union-executive. None of the Judges referred to, figured in that list. Fourthly, no allegation whatsoever was made by the Attorney General, with reference to Judges, against whom objections were raised by the political-executive, and yet, they were appointed at the insistence of the Chief Justice, under the “collegium system”, the bench noted.

Despite the allegations levelled by the A-G, the political executive at the Centre “chose to grant post-retirement assignments” to three of the four judges, it said.

“ A post-retirement assignment was also allowed by the political-executive, to the Judge”, who senior lawyer and president of Supreme Court Bar Association, Dushyant A Dave, had alleged grabbed a brief in which he had vested interest.

Either the A-G had got it all wrong. And if he is right, the political-executive got it all wrong, because it faltered despite being aware of the factual position”, as was highlighted by him, the court noted.

“It has not been possible for us to comprehend, how and why, a Judge who commenced to tweet his views after his retirement, can be considered to be unworthy of elevation. The fact that the concerned Judge started tweeting his views after his retirement is not in dispute. The inclusion of this instance may well demonstrate that all in all, the functioning of the “collegium system” may well not be as bad as it is shown to be,” the court noted

Government can’t appoint judges, says Supreme Court

Apex court strikes down NJAC, revives collegium system * Verdict a blow to govt’s judicial reforms programme

In a huge setback to Narendra Modi government, the Supreme Court on Friday declared as unconstitutional the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act for appointing judges in the higher judiciary.The five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Justice J S Khehar, also struck down the related 99th Constitutional Amendment Act. It also rejected a prayer for reference to a larger Bench and restored the earlier collegium system for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary. The court said the presence of political persons (law minister) in the appointment of judges was an infringement on the independence of judiciary.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The two Acts struck down by the court were brought to replace the collegium system of judges in vogue for more than two decades to invoke the government’s role in the appointment of the Supreme Court and High Court judges and transfers of chief justices and judges of the High Courts.In a 4-1 judgment, the bench held that NJAC Act and Constitution Amendment Act were “un-constitutional and void”, questioning the “presence of law minister and government nominee in the appointment of judges”, saying “it is against the independence of judiciary.”However, Justice J Chelameswar differed from colleagues as far as 99th Constitutional Amendment was concerned, but sided with the rest in quashing the NJAC Act. The lone judge in the five-judge Constitution Bench to differ, said the Parliament has powers to amend the Constitution, except altering its basic structure. The appointment of judges by Chief Justice of India through collegium is not the basic structure and the Modi government’s amendment is valid under the law.While declaring the collegium system to be operative, the apex court also ordered listing of the case on November 3 “to consider introduction of appropriate measures, if any, for an improved working of the collegium system.”In the 1,030-page verdict, each judge has given separate reasons and finding on both the issues. In his findings, Justice Khehar questioned the inclusion of law minister in the appointment of judges. Admitting that the collegium system had drawn criticism for some ‘bad’ decisions on the appointments, Khehar said the system needed some improvement. The court sought suggestions from the government.The Modi government brought the Constitution Amendment and NJAC Act as part of its reform programme to replace the 1993 collegium system for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts.Justice Jagdish Khehar wrote the majority judgment. Other judges on the Bench were Justices Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Adarsh Kumar Goel.Nixing the provision (Clause (d) of the Article 124 A(1)) providing for two eminent persons on the NJAC, the order said that the “inclusion of two eminent persons” as members of the NJAC is also ultra vires for a variety of reasons and that the same was violative of the “basic structure” of the Constitution.Justice Chelamswar in his separate judgment agreed with attorney general (AG) Mukul Rohatgi’s argument that appointment of judges by the collegium is not basic feature of the Constitution. While defending the amendment, Justice Chelameswar said, “The basic feature of the Constitution is not primacy of the opinion of the CJI (collegium) but lies in non-investiture of absolute power in the President (executive) to choose and appoint judges of constitutional courts. That feature is not abrogated by the amendment.Not agreeing with fellow judges over inclusion of law minister, he said, “The executive may at best only make a proposal through its representative in the NJAC, i.e. the law minister. Such proposal, if considered unworthy, can still be rejected by the other members of the NJAC. The worth of a candidate does not depend upon who proposes the name nor the candidate’s political association, if any, should be a disqualification.”The judgment came in response to a batch of PILs challenging the constitutional validity of the Acts. Soon after the pronouncement of the judgment, attorney general Rohatgi said, “A flawed judgment ignoring the unanimous will of the Parliament, half the state legislatures and the will of the people for transparency in judicial appointments. Inappropriate to revive the collegium system. This judgment is not a case for review. The parliament may take a call.”Former law ministers – Ram Jethmalani and Kapil Sibal – welcomed the judgment saying it is an ill-conceived legislation.However, senior advocate Harish Salve said, “Judges should not appoint judges.”Similarly, advocate KTS Tulsi, who is also Rajya Sabha MP, in his personal capacity said, “I feel disappointed. Appointment of judges should not be an exclusive reserve of the judges. There must be wider consultation….” Actvist lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who was intervenor in the PIL, said “appointment of a full-time judicial appointments commission is required which is independent of the government as well as the judiciary and which works in a transparent and scientific manner by laying down the criterion for selection, advertising the vacancies and evaluating the applicants/nominees on a discernible basis on the criteria laid down.During the hearing, the Centre had defended introduction of the new law saying that the two-decade-old collegium system where judges themselves appointed judges was not free from defects and got the support of the Supreme Court Bar Association. The measure was also supported by 20 state governments which had ratified the NJAC Act and the constitutional amendment. One of the contentious provisions of the new law was the inclusion of two eminent persons to the NJAC which included Chief Justice of India, two senior-most judges of the apex court and the Union law minister.Under the NJAC Act, two eminent persons were to be nominated by a committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister, and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha or where there is no such LoP, the leader of the single-largest Opposition Party in the House. Further, it envisaged that two eminent persons, one from the scheduled castes or scheduled tribes or OBCs, minority communities or a woman. As per the Act, the eminent persons shall be nominated for a period of three years and shall not be eligible for re-nomination. The issue of eminent persons on the panel was a major bone of contention between the parties and, on final day of hearing, the bench had differed with the Centre, saying inclusion of laymen in the new system of judicial appointments “cannot work”.

Supreme Court strikes down NJAC; govt expresses surprise, to come up with structured response

The unanimous verdict quashing the NJAC Act was delivered by a five-judge Constitution bench comprising justices J S Khehar, J Chelameswar M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Goel which also rejected the plea of Central government to refer for review to larger bench the 1993 and 1998 verdict of the apex court on the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court on Friday declared as unconstitutional the law brought by the NDA government to replace the over two-decade- old collegium system of judges appointing judges in the higher judiciary.The apex court, which quashed the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act in an unanimous verdict, also declared as unconstitutional the 99th amendment to the Constitution to bring in the Act to replace the collegium system.The unanimous verdict quashing the NJAC Act was delivered by a five-judge Constitution bench comprising justices J S Khehar, J Chelameswar M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Goel which also rejected the plea of Central government to refer for review to larger bench the 1993 and 1998 verdict of the apex court on the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While four judges held as unconstitutional the 99th amendment of the Constitution, Justice J Chelameswar differed with them and gave his own reasons for upholding its validity.Meanwhile, reacting to the Supreme court’s verdict, Union Law Minister Sadanand Gowda said,”I am surprised by the verdict of the Supreme Court on NJAC. A will of the people had been brought to the court; will consult senior colleagues and the Prime Minister and take decision.”He further added,”NJAC was completely supported by Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha; it had 100% support of the people.”Telecom Ministry Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “We will go through judgement and come up-with a structured response.” He also said that it is indeed very important to recall the circumstances in which the constitutional amendment came to be passed.Congress leader RS Surjewala said, “Congress respects judgement of the Supreme Court of India.”Justice Khehar, who pronounced the judgment for the bench, said that the system of appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice and judges of the high courts and transfer of judges from one high court to another has been existing in the Constitution prior to the 99th amendment.The bench also said it was willing to take suggestions for improving the collegium system of appointment of judges and posted the hearing for November 3.Justice Khehar said each one of us have recorded their reasons and order has been jointly signed.The five-judge bench had reserved its judgment on July 15 on a bunch of pleas challenging the consitutional validity of the NJAC Act and the 99th amendment in the Constitution after a marathon hearing for 31 days on the issue.The petitions challenging the new legislation were filed by Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) and others contending that the new law on the selection and appointment of judges was unconstitutional and aimed at hurting the independence of judiciary.However, the Centre had defended the introduction of the new law saying that the two-decade-old collegium system where judges appointed judges was not free from defects and got the support of the Supreme Court Bar Association.The measure was also supported by 20 state governments which had ratified the NJAC Act and the constitutional amendment.One of the contentious provisions of the new law was the inclusion of two eminent persons to the NJAC which included Chief Justice of India, two senior most judges of the apex court and the Union Law Minister.Under the law, two eminent persons will be nominated by a committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister, and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha or where there is no such LoP, the leader of single largest Opposition Party in the House.Further, it envisaged that of the two eminent persons, one would be from the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes or OBCs, minority communities or a woman.As per the Act, the eminent persons shall be nominated for a period of three years and shall not be eligible for re-nomination.The issue of eminent persons on the panel was a major bone of contention between the parties and, on final day of hearing, the bench had differed with the Centre, saying inclusion of laymen in the new system of judicial appointments “cannot work”.Defending the provision for inclusion of two eminent persons, Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi had said, “If we can have laymen in some other Commissions and Tribunals then why not in the six-member NJAC.”Noted jurists like Fali Nariman, Anil Divan and Ram Jethmalani were among prominent senior advocates who had argued against the NJAC replacing the collegium system.(With agency inputs)

SC strikes down NJAC: A short timeline of the controversial law for appointment of judges

The Supreme Court’s scrapping of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) is the latest development in a battle between the judiciary and the legislature over appointment of judges to the higher judiciary. The issue has seen several twists and turns, with court pronouncements, committee reports and legislative actions, interspersed with strongly-worded opinions on both sides of the divide.

Here’s a short history of what the controversy is all about-

The SC verdict in 1981 that set the ball rolling 

In 1981, the Supreme Court gave its judgment in what came to be known as the ‘first judges’ case’, in the case of SP Gupta vs President of India & Ors.

The judgment ended with the majority ruling that the Chief Justice of India’s opinion is not binding for deciding on appointments of judges of the High Court and Supreme Court. This, in effect, meant that the legislature would have a say in their appointment.

Representational image. Image courtesy: ibnliveRepresentational image. Image courtesy: ibnlive

Representational image. Image courtesy: ibnlive

Supreme Court in 1993 says only judiciary should take lead in appointment of judges

In 1993, another bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice J S Verma struck down the earlier view on the issue and held that the judiciary must be given primacy.

This was the judgment which led to the setting up of the collegium system, which is the bone of contention at present. In the collegium system, the Chief Justice of India and four other senior-most judges of the Supreme Court decide the appointments to the higher judiciary, a report by The Hindu said.

SC clarifies in 1998 that Chief Justice has to take into account a ‘plurality’ of judges for making a decision

The third judgment, in the year 1998, stated that the Chief Justice of India has to take into account the views of a ‘plurality’ of judges before making decisions on appointments. This was in response to a reference by the President in which the Supreme Court was asked to clarify whether the Chief Justice has to take the opinion of other judges, or if it is not necessary.

Law Commission report in 2008 sparks debate on efficiency of collegium 

In 2008, a report of the Law Commission of India gave rise to the debate on whether the system of judges appointments themselves was a good one. It pointed out that in other countries, the executive is either the sole authority to appoint judges, or it appoints judges in consultation with the Chief Justice. Saying that the second judges’ case had completely eliminated the role of the executive, it said, “It is time the original balance of power is restored.”

Govt introduces NJAC Bill in Lok Sabha in 2014

On August 11, 2014, the government introduced the National Judicial Appointments Commission Bill in the Lok Sabha. Under the bill, the collegiums system would be scrapped and a commission, which would include members of Parliament, would do the job of appointing judges.

On 13 August, it was passed in the Lok Sabha and the next day, it was passed in the Rajya Sabha. On 1 January this year, the President gave his assent to the Bill.

Supreme Court holds NJAC unconstitutional

On October 16, the Supreme Court has held the NJAC to be unconstitutional and restored the collegium system.

Supreme Court strikes down NJAC terming it ‘unconstitutional’, collegium system of appointment of judges to continue

Pronouncing its judgement on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of NJAC, the Court also rejected the plea of Centre that the petition challenging NJAC Act be referred to a larger bench.

The Supreme Court on Friday declared NJAC Act as unconstitutional which was meant to replace the two-decade old collegium system of judges appointing judges in higher judiciary.Pronouncing its judgement on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of NJAC, the Court also rejected the plea of Centre that the petition challenging NJAC Act be referred to a larger bench.Advocate Surat Singh said, “Amendment has been declared unconstitutional and the Old collegium system has been restored.He further added, “Supreme Court declared 99th amendment of constitution seeking appointment of judicial commission as ‘unconstitutional’. The ground for unconstitutionality is that it violates the basic structure of the constitution.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A five-judge bench headed by Justice JS Khehar had reserved its judgement on July 15 after a marathon hearing for 31 days on the issue of validity of the 99th Constitutional amendment and the NJAC Act.The petitions challenging the new legislation were filed by Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association (SCAORA) and others contending that the new law on the selection and appointment of judges was unconstitutional and aimed at hurting the independence of judiciary.However, the Centre had defended the introduction of the new law saying that the two-decade-old collegium system where judges appointed judges was not free from defects and got the support of the Supreme Court Bar Association.The measure was also supported by 20 state governments which ratified the NJAC Act and the constitutional amendment.One of the contentious provisions of the new law was the inclusion of two eminent persons to the NJAC which included Chief Justice of India, two senior most judges of the apex court and the Union Law Minister.Under the law, two eminent persons will be nominated by a committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister, and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha or where there is no such LoP, the leader of single largest Opposition Party in the House.Noted jurists like Fali Nariman, Anil Divan and Ram Jethmalani were among prominent senior advocates who had argued against the NJAC replacing the collegium system.With agency inputs

National Herald case: Sonia, Rahul Gandhi object to ‘different treatment’ in Delhi HC plea

New Delhi: Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi have moved the Delhi High Court objecting to “different treatment” being accorded to a challenge filed by them in the National Herald case.

File photo. Image courtesy: AFPFile photo. Image courtesy: AFP

File photo. Image courtesy: AFP

In an application filed in the High Court, the Gandhis have said that their petition challenging a trial court order in the case had been part heard by Justice S Gaur and has now been placed before another judge Justice P S Teji, in violation of the procedures and practice being followed by the court.

The application filed before the bench headed by the Chief Justice said that their challenge petition ought to have been listed before the bench of Justice Gaur before whom the matter was pending for over eight months and was heard by him at length on several occasions.

The application further said in the light of the above facts and circumstances the court may look into the matter and pass orders for listing of the matter before an appropriate bench in accordance with the established practice and procedures of the court.

“It is however clarified that the petitioner has no difficulty whatsoever in the matter being placed before any appropriate bench in accordance with law,” the application said.

The matter will come up for hearing on October 15.

PTI

Beef ban: Supreme Court refuses to hear plea for hearing in Jammu bench

As the bench expressed its view, the petitioner Parimoksh Seth sought permission to withdraw his fresh plea and sought a liberty to move the apex court again in case he felt aggrieved by any subsequent order of high court.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a plea seeking a direction that a three-judge bench should hear the petitions on enforcement of a prohibition on slaughter of cow and beef sale in the state in Jammu instead of Srinagar bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court.”Yesterday night, I had a talk with the learned Chief Justice and he is not expecting any problem whatsoever,” a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra said. The observation of the bench came when the counsel for the petitioner, who had filed the PIL before the Jammu bench of the high court, said that there could be a law and order problem if matters are heard and decided at Srinagar bench.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the bench expressed its view, the petitioner Parimoksh Seth sought permission to withdraw his fresh plea and sought a liberty to move the apex court again in case he felt aggrieved by any subsequent order of high court. The plea was allowed. Earlier, the apex court had suspended for two months a controversial court order for enforcing a legal bar on the sale of beef in Jammu and Kashmir while asking the Chief Justice of J-K High Court to set up a three-judge bench to decide on two conflicting orders on the issue.The apex court had kept in abeyance the September 8 order of the Jammu bench of the High Court which had ordered enforcement of bar on sale of beef in the state in pursuance of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) provisions.The bench had also referred to the order passed by another division bench of high court at Srinagar which issued a notice on a PIL demanding scrapping of the RPC provision.The apex court had said, “Since there are conflicting expressions given by two division benches of the high court, we request the learned Chief Justice to constitute a bench of three learned judges to take a decision on writ petitions.” The apex court had further said the HC Chief Justice willbe at liberty to decide the place where the larger bench will hear and decide together the two writ petitions. The Supreme Court’s decision had come on the plea of the state government which had said that the inconsistent views of the two benches of the high court were being “misused” to disturb peace and communal harmony in the state.While the Jammu bench of the High Court had ordered enforcement of the bar on the sale of beef in the state under the RPC, the Srinagar bench agreed to hear a separate plea seeking scrapping of the provision that bars slaughter of bovine animals.In its order, the Jammu bench had said, “The Director General of Police is directed to ensure that appropriate directions are issued to all the SSPs/SPs, SHOs of various police districts so that there is no sale of beef anywhere in the State of J&K and strict action is taken in accordance with the law against those who indulge in it.” On the other hand, the Srinagar bench, on September 16, issued notice on a plea that had sought striking down of the RPC provision banning slaughter of bovine animals.The Srinagar bench had also said that the pendency of the plea before it will not operate “as a bar” if the state wants to do away with the provision

SC to decide on including Manmohan Singh’s allocation of Talabira block in coal scam cases

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said that its coal bench will decide whether allocation of 15 percent of Talabira II Coal Block to Hindalco by the then prime minister Manmohan Singh was beyond the cases covered under the coal block allocation scam.

A bench headed by Chief Justice H.L. Dattu said that the matter will be listed before the coal bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice A.K. Sikri.

File photo. Image courtesy: PTIFile photo. Image courtesy: PTI

File photo. Image courtesy: PTI

“The matter would be listed before the coal bench, you persuade them that it did not fall within the category of the coal scam cases,” Chief Justice Dattu told senior counsel Kapil Sibal as he sought hearing of the matter next week.

However, when senior counsel Harish Salve appearing for industrialist Kumarmangalam Birla and Hindalco told the court that these were batch matters and sought their hearing post-Diwali holidays, the chief justice asked both Salve and Sibal to decide the date among themselves and the matter will be heard accordingly.

Manmohan Singh and Birla have moved the apex court for quashing criminal proceedings against them for alleged wrongdoing in the allocation of the Talabira-II coal block in Odisha to Hindalco in 2005.

The apex court on April 1 had stayed the summons issued on March 11 against Manmohan Singh and Birla by the special court holding trial of coal scam cases. It had also stayed further proceedings in the matter.

The apex court April 1 had also stayed the summons to former coal secretary P.C. Parakh, D. Bhattacharya and Hindalco.

Birla has challenged the constitutional validity of section 13(1)(d)(iii) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The special court had summoned Manmohan Singh, Birla and others after it rejected two closure report by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

IANS

Ex-CBI chief Ranjit Sinha can object to demand of visitors’ diary copy: SC

Ranjit Singh said the objection will be raised before another bench which is hearing the coal block allocation scam matters.

Ranjit Sinha

dna Research & Archives
The Supreme Court on Monday left it open for Ranjit Sinha to raise objection to the demand for a copy of original visitors’ diary of his official residence during his tenure as CBI Director, by former Special Director of the agency, M L Sharma, to inquire into the allegation against him for scuttling the coalgate probe.When the matter came up for hearing before a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Amitava Roy, the objection was raised by Sinha’s senior advocate Vikas Singh, who said the original diary was taken into the safe custody of the apex court in connection with the 2G spectrum scam matter.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh said the objection will be raised before another bench which is hearing the coal block allocation scam matters.A bench comprising Justices M B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri, which is hearing coal block cases, had referred the plea of the special probe team to the bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu on the ground that the visitors’ diary, submitted by advocate Prashant Bhushan, has been kept in a sealed cover in pursuance of the order of CJI bench.Taking note of the submissions, the CJI said Sinha’s counsel can raise the objection before another bench on the issue.”You can say that the diary was for the 2G case and not for the coal scam cases,” the bench said while posting the matter for Thursday.The bench, while hearing the coal matter on September 30, had observed “we realise that this document is important.” The diary allegedly contains names of persons, including those facing court cases in the 2G and coalgate scams who had visited Sinha’s official residence during his tenure as the CBI Director.The apex court had on September 14, entrusted M L Sharma with the power to summon any person in his inquiry against Sinha, accused of scuttling probe in the coal block scam as the agency’s chief.It had also ordered that Sharma will have access to all documents required by him for his probe and asked him to submit the report of inquiry in three months.Sharma, who had emerged as the first choice of the apex court, had given his consent to assist the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in its probe against Sinha.The court had on September 7 said the scope of inquiry was limited to recording the statements of persons accused in the coal allocation scam to draw an inference whether the probe into the cases were in any way influenced or interfered with, as suggested by the CVC.

SC suspends beef ban in J&K, asks High Court to set up 3-judge bench to decide

The Supreme Court on Monday suspended for two months a controversial court order for enforcing ban on the sale of beef in Jammu and Kashmir while asking the Chief Justice of J-K High Court to set up a three-judge bench to decide on two conflicting orders on the issue.

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
The Supreme Court on Monday suspended for two months a controversial court order for enforcing ban on the sale of beef in Jammu and Kashmir while asking the Chief Justice of J-K High Court to set up a three-judge bench to decide on two conflicting orders on the issue.A bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu directed that the September 8 order of the Jammu bench of the High Court, by which it had ordered enforcement of ban on sale of beef in the state in pursuance of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) provisions, be kept in abeyance for two months.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench also referred to the order passed by another division bench of high court at Srinagar in which the state was given liberty to amend the RPC provision in question. The bench, also comprising Justice Amitava Roy, said, “Since there are conflicting expressions given by two division benches of the high court, we request the learned Chief Justice to constitute a bench of three learned judges to take a decision on the writ petitions.”Asking the apex court registry to intimate its counter part about the order “forthwith”, the court further said that the Chief Justice of the high court will be at liberty to decide the place where the larger bench will hear and decide together the two writ petitions.The bench disposed of the petition filed by the state government which had said that the inconsistent views of the two benches of the high court were being “misused” to disturb peace and communal harmony in the state.While the Jammu bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had ordered enforcement of the bar on the sale of beef in the state under the RPC, the Srinagar bench agreed to hear a separate plea seeking scrapping of the provision that bars slaughter of bovine animals. The order asking the police to enforce the beef ban had led to strong protests in the state and forced a three-day internet shutdown during the Eid festival to avert any flare-ups. The state, in its plea, had said, “Vide impugned orders of Jammu & Srinagar Benches of the Jammu & Kashmir High Court…have passed two mutually conflicting orders which have grave ramifications for the law and order situation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir as orders are being misused and interpreted in a manner so as to disturb peaceful fabric of the State.” It had said that the apex court should “ensure there is uniformity and consistency in judicial pronouncements and no scope to exploit the present situation by disrupting communal harmony, amity and peace in the state and thereto alienating people of the State from national mainstream.” In its order, the Jammu bench had said, “The Director General of Police is directed to ensure that appropriate directions are issued to all the SSPs/SPs, SHOs of various police districts so that there is no sale of beef anywhere in the State of J&K and strict action is taken in accordance with the law against those who indulge in it.” On the other hand, the Srinagar bench, on September 16, issued notice on a plea that had sought striking down of the RPC provision banning slaughter of bovine animals.It was alleged in the plea before the Srinagar bench that the RPC provision was “ultra-vires” as the bar constituted an “unreasonable infringement” on fundamental rights of citizens.The Srinagar bench had also said that the pendency of the plea before it will not operate “as a bar” if the state wants to do away with the provision.”…We would like to make it clear that if the State or Legislature contemplates or takes steps for scrapping or amending the provisions as are under challenge, the pendency of this writ petition shall not operate as a bar,” it had said.

Domestic violence case: SC tells Bharti to approach trial court for bail plea

New Delhi: The estranged wife of former Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti on Monday told the Supreme Court that she was not ready to undergo mediation to settle the domestic violence and attempt to murder case lodged by her against the AAP leader.

A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu took note of the statement of Bharti’s wife Lipika Mitra and disposed of the MLA’s petition saying that it has now become infructuous as the petitioner has already surrendered.

During the hearing, the bench also comprising Justice Amitava Roy asked Lipika’s view on the issue of undergoing mediation at the Supreme Court itself.

Image courtesy: FacebookImage courtesy: Facebook

Image courtesy: Facebook

It then asked Vijay Aggarwal, counsel for Bharti, to approach the trial court with a fresh plea seeking regular bail.

“It is now for the petitioner to move learned trial judge seeking regular bail. If an application is made, we direct the trial judge to consider the said application either on the day it is filed or on the next day,” the bench said.

The apex court had on October 1 declined the oral plea of Bharti’s counsel for grant of interim bail and sought Lipika’s presence today to know her stand on possibility of mediation.

The 41-year-old MLA was on Sunday sent to Tihar Jail for a day by a trial court, after Delhi Police informed it that it does not seek his further custody. Bharti’s lawyer had pressed for one-day judicial custody instead of 14 days as sought by the police, as the matter was listed before the apex court today for the purpose of mediation between the leader and Lipika.

Bharti had on September 23 moved the apex court seeking protection from arrest in the case and a direction to restrain Delhi Police from arresting him till his plea challenging the high court order is decided.

PTI

Somnath Bharti says police asked him to strip during police interrogation

The Supreme Court denied his interim today and sent him to police custody.

He said before the Supreme Court hearing about his bail that an ACP asked him to remove his kurta during police interrogation.

Somnath Bharti seems to have had a tough time dealing with the police during his interrogation. He said before the Supreme Court hearing that about his bail that an ACP asked him to remove his kurta during police interrogation. The Supreme Court denied his interim today and sent him to police custody. The apex court also sought the presence of his wife before it on Monday to explore the possibility of mediation in domestic violence and attempt to murder case lodged by her. The apex court, which said that Bharti’s petition for anticipatory bail has become infructuous after his surrender, declined the oral plea of his counsel for grant of interim bail till October 5. A bench, comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy, said it will wait for the outcome of proceeding before the Magistrate where the controversial legislator will be produced on expiry of his two-day police custody today. “Let us see what the Magistrate does. If for any reason nothing happens, we will see on Monday,” the

Probe against Ranjit Sinha: Supreme Court appointed team seeks visitors diary copy

The diary allegedly contains names of persons, including those who are facing court cases in the 2G and coalgate scams, who had visited official residence of Ranjit Sinha during his tenure as the CBI Director.

The apex court-appointed probe team led by ex-CBI Special Director M L Sharma on Wednesday moved the Supreme Court seeking a copy of original visitors’ diary having names of persons who had visited the official residence of Ranjit Sinha, the then Director of CBI.A three-judge bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur, which has been hearing matters related to coal blocks allocation scam, said “we realise that this document is important.”The bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri, referred the plea of the special probe team to another bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu on the ground that the visitors diary, submitted by advocate Prashant Bhushan, has been kept in a sealed cover in pursuance of the order of that court.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) has been monitoring cases relating to the 2G scam and had earlier ordered that the visitors diary, given by Bhushan on behalf of NGO Common Cause, be kept in a sealed cover.Now the plea filed by the special probe team would be heard by the CJI’s bench on Monday.The diary allegedly contains names of persons, including those who are facing court cases in the 2G and coalgate scams, who had visited official residence of Ranjit Sinha during his tenure as the CBI Director.The apex court had on September 14, entrusted M L Sharma with the power to summon any person in his inquiry against Sinha, accused of scuttling probe in the coal block scam as the agency’s chief.It had also ordered that Sharma will have access to all documents required by him for his probe and asked him to submit the report of inquiry in three months.Sharma, who had emerged as the first choice of the apex court, had given his consent to assist the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in its probe against Sinha.The court had on September 7 said the scope of inquiry was limited to recording the statements of persons accused in the coal allocation scam to draw an inference whether the probe into the cases were in any way influenced or interfered with, as suggested by the CVC.

Somnath Bharti surrenders at last after giving cops a tough time

Police personnel wait for the arrival of AAP MLA Somnath Bharti to suurender at the Dwarka North Police Station in New Delhi on Monday.

PTI
AAP legislator Somnath Bharti surrendered before the investigating agency late Monday night after playing a cat and mice game with the Delhi police for nearly a week. The otherwise forlorn Dwarka locality had remained abuzz all day with cops, media personnel and other inquisitive locals, as they all the controversial Leader to arrive any moment. Police officials on duty said they were not sure if Bharti will surrender. For, Despite a Supreme Court order and his counsel’s promise that he would actually do so by 6.30 pm on Monday, Bharti’s lawyer, in a letter to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on the same day, has specifically mentioned that Bharti is travelling, and “not available in Delhi. He is willing to make himself available for further interrogation on Tuesday onwards”.Bharti, against whom a case of attempt to murder and domestic violence was filed by Delhi on his wife Lipika Mitra’s complaint, was directed to surrender after his anticipatory bail was rejected by both High court and Apex Court. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We want him to surrender before appropriate jurisdiction of the police by this evening. We don’t intend to pass any further order,” a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu had said on Monday.Rejecting his counsel senior advocate Gopal Subramanian’s prayer to grant time till tomorrow, the court said,“As a responsible citizen what should have been your conduct after both trial court and high court rejected your plea (anticipatory bail plea).”While Subramaniam submitted that the whole incident was an outcome of the matrimonial dispute, the bench said it was not concerned with the issue at this stage. “You went for anticipatory bail before the trial court, you did not succeed. You went before the high court, you did not succeed. What is your duty as a responsible citizen,” the bench said and ädded “first you surrender, then we will see whether the matter should be referred to mediation centre. We want family dispute to be sorted out but we can’t be saying that we will be protecting an absconder.””We will find out from his wife whether she is ready to sit for mediation. We want families to live together. We don’t want disruption in family life,” the bench also said.After court’s observation, his counsel assured the court that his client will surrender before the police by 6.30pm.Ever since a trial court issued an NBW against Bharti, the Delhi police has spent dozens of sleepless nights trying to nab him. Party members have also stopped supporting him, with Kejriwal publicly asking him to surrender in a tweet. There were widespread speculations about him taking refuge in Agra, but there was no confirmation. Bharti, however, had chosen to remain elusive till Monday keeping his location a mystery. “I have never seen so many people here. I came here after I saw so many cameras,” said Aarti a class 12 student of Kendriya Vidyalaya. Police, however, did not share Aarti’s excitement. “It’s been a hard day for us. Even though we don’t anticipate trouble but seniors officials directed is to be alert in case Mr Bharti is accompanied by his supporters,” an officer said. Chandan, a tea-seller was perhaps one of the few people who would not complain much about today’s happenings. ” I have made quite a sale today, ” he told dna.“On the other hand, Bharti’s lawyer’s letter to Kejriwal stated that Bharti is ‘avoiding’ arrest, but not ‘evading’ arrest, and that he is exhausting all legal options which is perfectly his right before surrendering to ‘distinctly partisan and biased investigating agency’.“Which sane person deliberately puts his head in the mouth of a hungry lion ?”the letter stated, also seeking a time with Kejriwal for a meeting to “advance the objectives of a lawful and fair investigation while protecting the interests of my client.””I was not running away from law..I was only availing legal remedies available in Constitution. Since supreme court has asked me to surrender, I m complying the order,” said Bharti just before surrendering.

Domestic violence case: AAP MLA Somnath Bharti to surrender to Delhi police shortly

SC had ordered him to surrender before the police today.

Bharti on Monday failed to get relief from the Supreme Court which directed him to surrender before the police.

File Photo
Somnath Bharti’s lawyer has said that the former law minister will surrender at Dwarka Police Station in Delhi shortly.Controversial AAP MLA Somnath Bharti on Monday failed to get relief from the Supreme Court which directed him to surrender before the police in connection with the domestic violence and attempt to murder case filed against him by his wife. “We want him to surrender before appropriate jurisdiction of the police by this evening. We don’t intend to pass any further order,” a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy said while posting the matter for hearing on Thursday. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench rejected the plea of his counsel and senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam that Bharti, who is absconding from law, be given time till tomorrow to surrender. “No, we will not give time. If you want your matter to come on Thursday, you have to surrender today itself,” the bench said, while rejecting a further request that he be given time till 7 pm to surrender. Subramaniam submitted that the whole incident was an outcome of the matrimonial dispute in which, not only the couple, but their two children were also sufferers. The court should keep this in mind while hearing Bharti’s appeal against the rejection of his anticipatory bail by the trial court and the Delhi High Court, he contended.However, the bench said it was not concerned with the issue at this stage and asked how should Bharti conduct himself as a responsible citizen after dismissal of his plea before trial court and the High Court. “Not to say you have lost before two courts (trial court and High Court). You went for anticipatory bail before the trial court, you did not succeed. You went for anticipatory bail before the High Court, you did not succeed. What is your duty as a responsible citizen,” the bench asked.”First you surrender, then we will see whether the matter should be referred to mediation centre. We want family dispute to be sorted out but we can’t be saying that we will be protecting an absconder. We will find out from his wife whether she is ready to sit for mediation. We want families to live together. We don’t want disruption in family life,” the bench said, while making it clear it will not go into the merits of the matter unless Bharti surrenders.

Except on three issues, L-G Najeeb Jung is a ‘figurehead’, AAP govt tells Delhi HC

New Delhi: The Lieutenant Governor (LG) is merely a “figurehead” except for matters related to public order, police and land, the AAP government has told Delhi High Court.

The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath by senior advocate Dayan Krishnan during the hearing of a bunch of petitions on the powers of the LG, Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) as well as the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) set up by the Delhi government to probe into the alleged CNG fitness scam.

File photo. Image courtesy: ReutersFile photo. Image courtesy: Reuters

File photo. Image courtesy: Reuters

“Except for the three exceptions (public order, police and land), LG is only a figurehead,” Krishnan said, while referring to the Constitution.

He also said that under the Constitution, aid and advice by council of ministers means the LG or Governor “was bound” by their decision except where he has discretionary powers.

While one of the petitions has been filed by the Delhi government challenging the Centre’s notifications on the powers of the ACB and LG, others, including one by the Union government, have been filed against setting up of the commission.

The city government has also challenged a September 17 memorandum issued by LG Najeeb Jung directing all officers not to follow the AAP government’s orders which were declared “null and void” by the Union government.

The memorandum has also stated that officers would face strict action for non-compliance with the LG’s order.

The court on Wednesday had decided to club all the matters together and carry out regular hearing on the issues raised in them.

It had also directed the centre and the Delhi government, in the interim, to not precipitate matters by taking “coercive steps” against each other and their officials in connection with the issues raised in the petitions.

The court had directed the centre not to take any coercive measures in regard to the September 17 memorandum and had restrained the city government from taking any coercive steps in connection with the CoI proceedings in the CNG fitness scam.

PTI

Delhi HC junks plea for cancellation of Taslima Nasreen’s visa

Nasreen indulged in “anti-national” activities by preparing the script for a TV serial, said the plea.

The court junked the petition filed by an NGO which claimed that the author had violated the Foreigners Order & Foreigners Act

Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL seeking deportation and cancellation of the visa given to controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen by the Indian government, saying there was no public interest in the matter. “There is no public interest in the matter. Petition is dismissed,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said.The court junked the petition filed by an NGO which claimed that the author had violated the Foreigners Order of 1948 and the Foreigners Act of 1946 by preparing scripts for a film and a serial. The NGO claimed Nasreen had indulged in “anti-national” activities by preparing the script for a TV serial, which was to be aired in West Bengal in 2013 but was deferred due to protests by some religious groups. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It has also alleged that she scripted a Bengali film ‘Nirbashito’, purportedly based on her life, which was shown at the Delhi International Film Festival in 2014. The NGO, All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front, has said the activities were in violation of the statute which prohibited preparing scripts for films and serials by a foreigner without permission from the government.It has sought cancellation of her visa, which was extended for a year in August this year by the government, and sought her deportation.

‘Never before has it fallen to such low levels’: SC flays ‘mob mentality’ of Madras HC lawyers

Judges in the Madras High Court have a “fear psychosis” due to the constant threat that lawyers might enter court rooms shouting slogans, the Supreme Court observed on Monday, lamenting that never before has the situation fallen to “such low levels”.

The Supreme Court flayed the “mob mentality” of lawyers of the High Court, who created a ruckus on 16 September when suo motu contempt proceedings against two leaders of the Madurai Bar Association were being heard in-camera.

Reacting to the apex court’s strongly-worded remarks, Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda met Chief Justice of India HL Dattu on Monday and discussed the matter, The Hindu reported.

Image courtesy: AFPImage courtesy: AFP

Image courtesy: AFP

“Judges in Madras HC sit in courts with a fear psychosis. There is always a threat that at any time, lawyers shouting slogans will enter the courtroom,” the Supreme Court said.

“It was once a traditional court that we all looked up to. Never before has it fallen to such low levels. I have had a long conversation with the Madras HC Chief Justice day before yesterday,” Chief Justice Dattu said.

The CJI, who was heading the bench along with Justice Amitava Roy, also flayed the lawyers associations of Tamil Nadu and Bar Council of India, apex body of advocates in the country, for their inaction.”In Madras, there are three strong lawyers associations. What do they do when mobs enter courtrooms with wives and children and shout slogans?,” the CJI remarked.

“You people take your wives and children and demand that Tamil should be the language of the court. What will the Chief Justice do?” an anguished bench said when an advocate from Chennai sought the indulgence of the bench to hear him.

The CJI said that he has not seen such situations in courts since 1975.

The observations came after senior advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for the High Court registry, apprised the bench of the recent chaotic scenes when a group of around 100 advocates created ruckus after a division bench initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against two advocates of Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court. According to a report in The Times of India, Venugopal told the court that lawyers were entering the chambers of judges and filing frivolous complaints against them. He was quoted as saying that it is “time we protect the judges.”

“Lawyers form different groups based on caste. They take processions in court halls and chambers with wives and children. They enter judges chambers,” Venugopal said and suggested that the apex court send three Supreme Court judges to the High Court to probe the matter. To this, the CJI said, “Let’s give the HC Chief Justice some time. Sending judges from here will create unnecessary problems.”

With inputs from PTI

Delhi High Court asks AAP government for details of funds released for dengue control

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday sought response of AAP government on a PIL seeking direction to immediately release funds allocated for malaria and dengue control programmes to municipal bodies in the capital.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath asked Delhi government to file their comprehensive counter affidavits with regard to the amounts released to three municipal corporations here to control the dengue menace.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

“The court is already seized of the issue and has sought response of the authorities concerned on the steps they have taken to control the menace of dengue. Additional issue has been raised in the present writ petition.

“Delhi government is directed to file a comprehensive affidavit with regard to all points raised in the petition,” the bench said.

The plea sought direction to concerned authorities to ensure that none of the hospitals in the capital turn away any patient with symptoms of dengue and award severe penalties on refusing admission.

Advocates Aman Panwar and Mudit Gupta, appearing for Congress leader Ajay Maken, alleged that people of Delhi were in a state of panic as the “government admittedly is not equipped to deal with the menace and private hospitals have been turning away patients.”

“Hospitals, both public and private, must be duly equipped with dengue testing kits (ELISA kits), platelet transfusion machines and ancillary medicines,” the plea said, adding that additional strength of doctors be deputed in all hospitals controlled by government and municipal bodies “to curb epidemic like situation in the capital.”

Meanwhile, Additional Standing Counsel Sanjoy Ghose, appearing for Delhi government, informed the court that the present PIL has been filed by a politician who had suppressed information regarding a representation made to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the same context.

He also submitted that the Chief Minister had written a back to Maken urging him to join them in fighting the menace. Earlier, high court had voiced concern over the rise in dengue cases in the national capital, asking the Centre and city government to explain the steps they have taken to contain the vector-borne disease on the plea by law student Gauri Grover.

Grover’s plea had sought lodging of FIR against hospitals which denied treatment to a seven-year-old boy who died of dengue and whose parents subsequently committed suicide.

An advocate Arpit Bhargav has also filed a PIL seeking direction to the government and civic bodies on the issue, which will be heard along with other PILs , filed by Maken and Grover, on 24 September.

PTI

As 8 judges retire in a month, High Courts face shortfall of 392 judges

New Delhi: At a time when there is no mechanism in place to appoint or elevate judges to the higher judiciary, 8 High Court judges have retired in a month, raising the vacancies from 384 in August to 392 this month. According to the latest data compiled by the law ministry, as on September one, the high courts are facing a shortage of 392 judges as against the approved strength of 1,017.

As on August one, there were 384 vacancies, while on May one, there was a shortage of 366 judges in the high courts. The high courts were then functioning with a working strength of 651. Thus, the 24 high courts now are functioning with a working strength of 625 judges.

According to the data prepared by the Department of Justice, while two judges retired from the Rajasthan High Court, one judge each retired from the Allahabad, Calcutta, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala and Patna high courts.

Representational image. Image courtesy: ibnliveRepresentational image. Image courtesy: ibnlive

Representational image. Image courtesy: ibnlive

The data does not include the retirement of Bombay High Court Chief Justice Mohit Shah on September 7. While the collegium system — where judges recommended names of judges for appointment and elevation to the superior judiciary — has been done away with by the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, the new body is yet to take shape. The new law which scrapped the collegium system came into force on April 13 this year.

The Supreme Court has reserved its judgement on a clutch of petitions challenging the validity of NJAC. Chief Justice of India H L Dattu’s refusal to participate in the National Judicial Appointments Commission has stalled any immediate chances of constituting the new judicial appointments body.

“In response to the call from your office to attend the meeting to select two eminent persons, I have to say that it is neither appropriate nor desirable to attend the meeting or be part of the NJAC till the Supreme Court decides its validity,” CJI Dattu wrote in his letter to the PM on April 25, thus leaving the new system in limbo.

Therefore, no judge can be elevated as chief justice of a high court, transferred to another high court or elevated to the Supreme Court as there is no system in place for the purpose. With no system in place to elevate judges as chief justices of high courts, the high courts of Guwahati, Gujarat, Karnataka, Patna, Punjab and Haryana, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana high court are at present headed by acting chief justices.

After the retirement of Chief Justice Shah, the Bombay High Court is also functioning without a full-time chief justice. But the Law Ministry data has not taken this into account.

According to Law Ministry officials, Article 223 of the Constitution states that when the office of the Chief Justice of a high court is vacant or when any such Chief Justice is, by reason of absence or otherwise, unable to perform the duties of his office, the duties shall be performed by such one of the other judges of the court as the President may appoint for the purpose.

PTI

Dengue menace: Delhi HC asks Centre, state to explain steps taken to control disease

New Delhi: Voicing concern over the rise of dengue cases in the national capital, the Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the Centre and city government to explain the steps they have taken to contain the vector-borne disease.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath also asked the three municipal corporations and New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to explain the steps taken by them to control the disease.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Terming it as a serious issue, the bench issued notice to Centre, Delhi government, municipal corporations and NDMC directing them to file a short affidavit before 24 September.

The court, meanwhile, refrained from ordering lodging of an FIR against directors of hospitals which denied treatment to a seven-year-old boy who died of dengue and whose parents subsequently committed suicide.

The plea seeking lodging of FIR was filed by law student Gauri Grover contending that the boy died due to the callous attitude of hospitals.

The court, however, asked the petitioner’s counsel Satya Ranjan Swain to produce additional documents showing the specific negligence on the part of hospitals.

The court, which issued notices, said the petitioner should have researched more before filing the present PIL as there were other writ petitions filed earlier in this regard.

Meanwhile, senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi government, informed the court that they have taken adequate steps to treat dengue patients and are also in the process of increasing the number of beds in private hospitals here.

The petition has contended that the suicide note left by the parents of the child “clearly establishes that they were prompted to commit suicide due to the callous attitude of hospital authorities which led to death of their only son”.

“The act of the hospital authorities clearly falls under section 306 (abetment of suicide) of Indian Penal Code,” the petition said.

It sought that the Centre and Delhi government be directed to declare dengue an epidemic and issue necessary directions that no hospital shall refuse to admit dengue patients.

PTI

Armyman claims OROP protesters assaulted by police, demands probe

New Delhi: A retired Armyman on Wednesday moved the Delhi High Court seeking direction for a judicial enquiry into alleged atrocities by Delhi Police on peaceful protesters demanding One Rank, One Pension (OROP).

75-year-old former sepoy Bisamber, in a public interest litigation before a bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini, stated that on August 14, police officials while “mercilessly removing retired war veterans had beaten up the petitioner and removed the medals worn on his shirt by tearing it”.

The armyman sought direction to Ministry of Home Affairs and Delhi police Commissioner to take “strict action against police officers who ordered to use brutal and illegal force against the war veterans and ex-servicemen”.

PTI image.PTI image.

PTI image.

He also said the police had harmed the dignity of the soldiers in the country and violated human rights thus affecting their liberty, equality and dignity. He also sought compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the “ghastly act” committed by the police as it affected the morale and dignity of all serving the forces and humiliating the ex-servicemen.

The plea stated that the action of the cops indicate blatant and flagrant violation of the fundamental rights of life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 as well as Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

In a shocking turn of events that mounted further pressure on the Modi government to deliver on its promises, agitating ex-servicemen demanding implementation of the OROP scheme were allegedly manhandled by the police when they tried to evict them on security grounds from Jantar Mantar area ahead of the Independence Day celebrations.

Terming the police action as barbaric and undemocratic, the ex-servicemen, who have been on protest for several weeks, wondered how they could be a security threat when they had dedicated their lives to protecting the country while in service.

PTI

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