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Yet to receive proposal to fill up judges’ vacancies in SC: Govt tells Parliament

There are six vacancies of judges in the Supreme Court, while nine high courts are working without regular chief justices, but the government has not received any proposal from the apex court collegium to fill up the slots, the Rajya Sabha has been informed.Union Minister of State for Law PP Chaudhary, in a written reply, has informed the Upper House of Parliament that the “government has not received any proposal for filling up of the six vacancies of judges in the Supreme Court and for appointment of chief justices in the nine high courts, which are functioning with acting chief justices”. The approved strength of the Supreme Court is 31, including the Chief Justice of India (CJI).The high courts of Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka and Manipur are working without regular chief justices. As per the procedure for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts, the apex court collegium recommends the names of candidates to the government which, in turn, either accepts the proposal or returns it for reconsideration. The collegium comprises the CJI and four seniormost judges of the apex court.

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Marriage does not mortgage woman to man: Supreme Court

On Thursday, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra observed that a woman does not mortgage herself to a man by marrying him. She retains her identity, including her religious identity, even after she exercises her right to marry outside her community under the Special Marriage Act.The top court’s observation came when a five-judge bench was hearing the matter of a Parsi woman who was barred from entering the Tower of Silence to offer prayers for her dead relatives because she married outside her faith.”Special Marriage Act confers in her the right of choice. Her choice is sacred. I ask myself a question: Who can take away the religious identity of a woman? The answer is only a woman can choose to curtail her own identity,” Chief Justice Misra said on the first day of the hearing.Couples from different faiths who wish to retain their individual religious identities may opt for a marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, which ensures religious protection.Nobody can presume that a woman has changed her faith or religion just because she chose to change her name after marrying outside her community, the CJI observed.The bench — also comprising Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan — then asked senior advocate Gopal Subramanium who is representing the Valsad Parsi Anjuman Trust whether it would allow petitioner Goolrukh Gupta time to respond by next week.Should the trust respond in the negative, the court will then have to decide whether a Parsi woman can hold on to her religious identity if she chooses to marry someone outside her faith.Prima facie, the top court observed that it did not adhere to the principle of merger relied upon by the Gujarat High Court in denying Gupta the right to practice her faith. Gupta has challenged the high court’s order which essentially suggested that by the principle of merger, Gupta became a Hindu when she married one and thus ceased to be a Parsi.Representing Gupta, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising sought the court’s indulgence to treat this case as an endorsement of inter-faith marriages. Those who marry outside their faith should be saddled with any disabilities, she added. Government data suggests that the Special Marriages Act is not used as often as it should be, she said.Every custom, usage, customary and statutory laws must stand the test of the Fundamental Rights principle, Jaising said. Article 372 (continuance of existing laws) of the Constitution is subject to Article 13, which mandates that laws should not violate the fundamental rights of an individual, she added.Suggesting that excommunicating Parsi women for marrying outside the faith tantamount to gender discrimination, CJI Misra asked: “How can you (Parsi elders) distinguish between a man and woman singularly by a biological phenomenon… If a woman says she has not changed her religion, by what philosophy do you say that she cannot go to the Tower of Silence? No law debars a woman from retaining her religious identity.””If a woman’s identity is merged, then Special Marriage Act is not required, is it not?” Justice Sikri pointed out.”The Tower of Silence is not a mutt or a citadel of a cult. It is a place to offer prayers to the dead. Can such a right of a woman be guillotined? It is part of her Constitutional identity,” CJI Misra further observed.The court’s decision favouring the Parsi woman’s right will create a paradigm shift for women within the minority community. Earlier this year, the top court recently ruled in favour of Muslim women by striking down instant triple talaq as unconstitutional.
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PM Modi bats for cooperation after CJI Misra, RS Prasad spar over judicial activism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi today stressed that the legislature, the judiciary and the executive were part of the same family and should work to strengthen each other, even as the Chief Justice and the law minister sparred over the issue of judicial activism.The prime minister also said that the three wings — the legislature, the judiciary and the executive — need to brainstorm on how to move forward in the changed scenario.”They are members of the same family…we do not have to prove anyone right or wrong. We know our strengths, we know our weaknesses,” he said at a gathering of judges and advocates at the National Law Day event here.
ALSO READ Bar and bench need to work together to bring down number of pending cases: CJI Misra Modi pointed out that while fighting for rights, one should not forget about duties.He emphasised that the balance between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary has been the backbone of the Constitution and it has helped the country during the Emergency.
ALSO READ New India will lead the world in the 21st century: PM ModiModi also pitched for self-regulation and a system of checks and balances for the good health of any institution and quoted B R Ambedkar to state that there should be a limit for any authority.Before the prime minister addressed the gathering, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad reminded the judiciary of the principle of separation of powers between the judiciary, the legislature and the executive.He said the concept of separation of power is as binding on the judiciary as it is on the executive.Responding to the remarks of the law minister, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra said that “there should be mutual respect and there cannot be any claim for supremacy by any of the wings”.The CJI said that the dream of the Prime Minister is a literate, educated and digitally-enabled India and the judiciary is “playing the role of a constitutional catalyst” to achieve the goal.Referring to the issue of judicial over-reach, Prasad said law-making must be left in the realm of those elected to make the law.”The founding fathers clearly meant that governance must remain in the realm of those elected to govern by the people of India and accountable to the people of India,” he said.While independence of the judiciary was “important”, judicial accountability, probity and propriety were “equally” necessary, he said.Justice Misra hit back by saying that, “We are not really interested to bring any kind of policy.””But the moment the policies are formed, we are allowed to interpret and see that they are implemented,” he said.Misra said the judiciary follows the principle of ‘judicially manageable standards’ under which it does not get into realms where it can’t do much. “If we can’t do it, we will not get into it,” he asserted.Misra rejected the suggestion that PILs were being used as a means to formulate policies and to govern the country.He said there had been several writs and PILs which the Supreme Court has turned down. He also said that the apex court has been going “slow” on economic matters, particularly tenders and especially global tenders.Prasad said while the government accepts the Supreme Court decision to strike down the National Judicial Appointments Commission which sought to overturn the system of judges appointing judges, it is important to appreciate the suggestion of an audit of judicial appointments.He referred to the contempt of court proceedings by the apex court against Justice C S Karnan.Prasad said his records show that the then collegium had described him as an expert in all fields of law. Perhaps, he was not an expert on contempt of court, the minister said, without naming Karnan.The CJI said whenever the law minister writes to the collegium, his observations are not ignored. The recommendations once rejected by the government are not reiterated out of mutual respect.Earlier in the day too, the two had countered each other’s assertions.

Judges bribery case: 3-judge SC bench reserves order

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today reserved its order on the maintainability of a petition in which the issue of alleged bribing of judges has been raised.A three-judge bench headed by Justice R K Agrawal said it was likely to pass an order in the matter tomorrow. During the hearing, the bench questioned advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner Kamini Jaiswal, whether filing of two identically-worded petition was not a matter of propriety and would it not tantamount to forum shopping if it is sought to be listed before a particular bench.Meanwhile, Attorney General K K Venugopal said the petitioner should withdraw the plea as it has cost the reputation of the institution.”The order is reserved on the maintainability of the plea,” the bench then said. A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer had ordered on November 9 that the plea should be heard by a five-judge constitution bench of the senior-most judges of the apex court. However, on November 10, in an unprecedented hearing, a five-judge constitution bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra had ruled that “no judge can take up a matter on his own, unless allocated by the chief justice of India, as he is the master of the roster”.It had over-ruled the order of Justice Chelameswar directing a constitution bench hearing, saying “if any such order has been passed by any bench, that cannot hold the field as that will be running counter to the order passed by the constitution bench.” The showdown over the issue of supremacy of constituting a bench in which the authority of CJI was allegedly undermined by a bench headed by Justice Chelameswar.Justice Chelameswar, who is the senior-most judge after the CJI, had termed as “disturbing” the allegations levelled in a CBI FIR and ordered setting up a bench of five top judges of the court as a petition by Jaiswal had alleged there were allegations against Justice Misra. The CBI, in its FIR, lodged on September 19, has named several persons, including former Orissa High Court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi, as accused in an alleged corruption case.Quddusi, who had also served as a judge in the Chhattisgarh High Court, was arrested along with Lucknow-based Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences’ chairman B P Yadav, his son Palash Yadav and three others, for allegedly trying to settle a matter relating to a medical college barred from admitting new students. The judge had later been released on bail.

Linking of mobile with Aadhaar: Some people in Mumbai switch off mobile for an hour every day to register protest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of citizens in Mumbai have joined a movement of switching off their mobile phone for half an hour every day for 30 days to protest the linking of Aadhaar. The mobile has to be switched off from 11 am onwards for 30 days. The protestors also ask citizens to mail their protest to the chief justice of India (CJI) and seek opting out of Aadhaar. A template has been provided for the same. “The reason why I am supporting this is because these days for everything they are asking for Aadhaar. Even for the credit cards they are asking and want it to be linked. It seems that government wants to do some kind of surveillance on citizens. They are implementing Aadhaar without any thought process. Why they are not linking it with voter identity card is not known. That should have been done because it affects democracy and elections,” said Bhaskar Prabhu, resident of Dadar. “I have supported the movement. Since I am already a petitioner in Supreme Court in Aadhaar case and my case is going one, I do not have to write a letter to the chief justice,” said Vikram Krishna, a resident of Bandra who is actively supporting the movement and also sending emails in his contact list for people to support the movement. “Very simply any system that imposes arbitrary number is flawed approach. It is a very poorly designed programme. The user has no control and if the biometrics are lost, there is nothing to fall back upon. Aadhaar was designed to give identification to those who did not have one so that they can get schemes. When most people made Aadhaar, they had at least some identification. The DoPT has said that there is no last date for linking mobile but not many people know,” added Krishna. The mail sent also mentions how an 11 year old beneficiary of a scheme lost his life becuase Aadhaar was not linked to the ration card.

Medical college owners worked the system

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra yesterday annulled the decision of a two-judge bench headed by Justice Jasti Chelameswar to form a Constitution bench to hear the plea for court-monitored probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the alleged bribery case involving retired Orissa High Court judge IM Quddusi and others.The issue that became the subject matter of heated argument between the counsel for the petitioners and the CJI himself was whether CJI Misra ought to have recused from being part of the five-judge bench.Behind the demand for the CJI’s recusal was the fact that another bench headed by him had earlier heard the case involving the erring medical colleges. The PIL alleges that the retired high court judge who was arrested by the CBI had used his influence in the judiciary to get favourable orders for a college.The college in question set up by the Prasad Education Trust was one of the 46 colleges barred by the Government from admitting medical students for the forthcoming 1 or 2 years because of substandard facilities and non fulfilment of the required criteria.Here is what happened thereafter: In August first week, a bench comprising the CJI and Justices Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar directed the Health Ministry to conduct a fresh inspection “to obviate the possibility of any injustice in the process.” The ministry gave the college a fresh hearing but found nothing in its arguments to make it change its earlier decision.This is where the rot set in, according to the CBI. The college management got in touch with Justice Quddusi, who allegedly advised them to withdraw the petition from the Supreme Court, which they did.They then filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court, making, basically, the same prayer.In a curious turn of events, the High Court allowed the medical college to be on the list of colleges notified for counselling. The HC also stayed the ministry’s order to encash the bank guarantee.The MCI challenged the HC’s decision in the apex court, which, on August 29, disposed of the appeal after the college submitted that it would not claim any benefit from the order passed by the High Court.Two days later, on August 31, Prasad Education Trust filed a writ petition, which was admitted for hearing by a bench headed by the CJI.On September 18, a bench headed by CJI Misra ruled that there would be no renewal for the academic session 2017-18. It further stated that the bank guarantee that was deposited shall not be encashed and be kept alive. The bench also directed the MCI to send inspecting teams to the Institution as per the schedule to re-evaluate and consider granting the college leave of permission for the academic year 2018-2019.The very next day, on September 19, the CBI filed an FIR accusing Justice Quddusi and fixer Bhawana Pandey and other in a case of corruption.

High drama in Supreme Court, CJI Misra overturns order to hear graft case involving judges

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The tussle within top judiciary today came to the fore with the Supreme Court overturning the order of a two-judge bench to set up a larger bench to hear a graft case allegedly involving judges, asserting that Chief Justice of India was the “master of the roster”.The showdown was over the issue of supremacy of constituting a bench in which the authority of Chief Justice Dipak Misra was allegedly undermined by a bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer, which had yesterday set up a five-judge bench to hear a case of alleged bribery of judges in which a retired judge of Orissa High Court, Justice Ishrat Masroor Quddusi, is an accused.Justice Chelameswar, who is the senior-most judge after the CJI, had ordered setting up of the five-judge bench of top judges of the apex court as a petition by an NGO and an advocate had claimed there were allegations against Justice Misra.However, in a dramatic development, the CJI today set up a five-judge bench headed by him and overturned yesterday’s order of the two-judge bench, saying the Chief Justice had the sole prerogative of setting up a bench and allocating matters.In fast-paced events, the five-judge bench, also comprising Justices R K Agrawal, Arun Mishra, Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, assembled at 3 PM and commenced an urgent hearing on the question as to who can direct the setting up of a bench of specific judges to hear a particular matter.”There cannot be a command or an order directing the CJI to constitute a bench of specific strength,” the bench said while making it clear that neither a two-judge, nor a three- judge bench can direct the CJI to constitute a specific bench.”Needless to emphasis that no judge can take up a matter on its own unless allocated by the CJI as the CJI is master of the court,” the bench said and annulled the decision of the two-judge bench, in the hearing which witnessed heated exchange of words between the judges and advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioners.”Any order passed contrary to this order (by the constitution bench) should not hold the field and shall be treated to be annulled,” the CJI said in hard-hitting remarks while refusing the request of a lawyer to bar the media from reporting the case, saying he believed in “freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of press”.The bench said if the principle of law, judicial discipline and decorum of the court was not followed, there would be “anarchy” and “chaos” in the administration of justice as well as the functioning of the institution.Perturbed by yesterday’s order, the CJI, without taking names of the concerned judges, said there were hundreds of matters listed in the court daily and if the orders were passed like this, then the court cannot function.Members of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), including its President R S Suri, vice-president Ajit Sinha, Secretary Gaurav Bhatia and several senior advocates including Ashok Bhan, Aman Sinha and others strongly countered the allegations levelled in the petitions and said strong action should be taken against any attempt to “browbeat” the judges.”Getting orders by terrorism should not be tolerated by this court. Strong action needs to be taken against any such attempt,” SCBA members said while requesting the bench to initiate contempt proceedings in the matter.The hearing in the jampacked courtroom saw allegations flying thick and fast with Bhushan even raising his pitch while asking the CJI to recuse himself from hearing the matter as his name has allegedly figured in the CBI’s FIR.The CJI retorted by asking Bhushan, who was accompanied by advocate Kamini Jaiswal, one of the petitioners, to read the contents of the FIR and warned against losing his temper.”We have been giving you indulgence and you cannot deny that, despite you levelling wild allegations against me. You can afford to lose your temper but we cannot”, the CJI said.Bhushan, who was representing an NGO ‘Campaign for Judicial Accountability’ and Jaiswal, seeking constitution of an SIT to probe the corruption case allegedly involving judges, said the CJI’s name features in it.”What FIR against me? It is nonsense. There is not a word in the FIR naming me. Read our orders first. I feel sorry. You are liable for contempt now,” the CJI said.Bhushan dared the bench to issue a contempt notice to him and said the hearing cannot be conducted in this manner without allowing him to speak.The activist advocate was also rebuked by Justice Arun Mishra, who observed that FIR cannot be lodged against sitting judicial officer of lower courts, judges of the higher judiciary, the Vice President of India or the President of India because they have immunity.He said the contents of the petition filed before it was per se contemptuous.Bhushan left the court in a huff midway during the hearing, alleging that he was not being allowed to speak while the court has heard “all and sundry”. He was seen apparently being pushed and jostled while he was leaving the courtroom.The CJI also said he had set up the five-judge constitution bench as a two-judge bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, while hearing a separate plea with similar allegations of bribery earlier in the day, had said that the matter should be placed before the CJI for passing an appropriate order.At the fag end of the hearing, one of the bar members requested the bench to pass an order gagging the media from reporting the case, claiming it would tarnish the image of the institution which is a “temple of justice”.The CJI refused to accept the oral submission, saying “I believe in freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of press”.”Prime facie, I am always of the view that freedom of speech and expression should be respected. I am not going to pass any order restraining the press,” CJI Misra said.The constitution bench also made it clear that the pleas regarding alleged bribes taken in the names of judges would be taken up by an appropriate bench after two weeks.The CBI, in its FIR, has named several persons, including former Orissa High Court judge Ishrat Masroor Quddusi, as accused in the alleged corruption case.

Supreme Court says can’t revisit Memorandum of Procedure issue in open court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst high drama in the courtroom, the Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that top judicial appointments were not matters to be discussed in a public forum. Openly disagreeing with the observations of a two-judge bench — passed last month, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra maintained that the reason behind delay in finalising the new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) was not an issue to be heard on the judicial side.”After the Constitution Bench has gone into all this in the NJAC issue, there is no need to go into them now… these are not matters to be gone into on the judicial side at all. That’s all there is to be said,” the CJI noted.However, the decision of the bench – which also comprised Justices AK Sikri and Amitava Roy, was hotly contested by advocate RP Luthra who had filed the petition, incurring their wrath.The hearing saw heated arguments by Luthra, who wanted his submissions to be heard before deciding the matter.Amicus curiae KV Vishwanathan also told the bench, “It (delay in finalising MoP) is a matter of grave concern. There is a feeling that there is undue delay. The pendency is shocking. Access to justice is a fundamental right.”Responding to Luthra and Vishwanathan, the bench said, “These are not matters to be taken up on the judicial side and so we are dismissing the petition. You don’t know what all steps we have taken and we do not intend to say it here.”Incidentally, on October 27, the bench of Justices Adarsh K Goel and UU Lalit had issued notice to the Centre on a petition which had challenged the delay in finalising the new MoP.The petition filed by Luthra had challenged the appointment of new judges to the higher judiciary on the grounds that the MoP had still not been finalised in terms of the decision of the apex court.Though, the bench Justices Goel Lalit had dismissed this, it had found merit in the prayer that there should be no further delay in finalising the terms of the MoP in larger public interest.”Even though no time limit was fixed by this court for finalising the MoP, the issue cannot linger on for an indefinite period. The order of this court is dated 16th December 2015 and thus more than one year and ten months have already gone by,” the bench had noted.The court had sought the presence of Attorney General KK Venugopal and also appointed senior advocate KV Vishwanathan as an amicus to assist the court on this issue.While previous CJI JS Khehar had sent the collegium’s unanimous view on the draft MoP to the Centre in March, the government has been sitting on the file, refusing to take any final view on it.

Banks and telecom service providers have to indicate last day for linking Aadhaar: SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Supreme Court today made it clear that banks and telecom service providers will have to indicate the last date of linking bank accounts and mobile numbers with Aadhaar in their communications with customers.Currently, the last date to link Aadhaar with bank accounts is December 31 this year while for mobile numbers, it is February 6, 2018.The top court did not pass any interim order on the pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act as well as linking of 12-digit unique biometric identification number with bank accounts and mobile numbers.It said that final hearing in all Aadhaar-related issues would start before another bench in the last week of November and that bench would decide on the issue. Moreover, the Centre has already extended the deadline till December 31.A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan was told by the advocates representing the petitioners that “panic” was being caused among the people as the messages sent by the banks and mobile service providers were warning them the services would be deactivated if Aadhaar is not linked.”We make it clear that in the messages sent by banks and telecom service providers, the date of December 31, 2017 and February 6, 2018, shall also be indicated as the last date of linking Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile numbers,” the bench said.The court issued notice to the Centre on four separate pleas and tagged them with the main petition which would come up for final hearing before a constitution bench.At the outset, the bench said that since another bench was scheduled to commence the hearing on Aadhaar-related pleas from the last week of November, the matters listed before it should also be decided by that bench.Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing one of the petitioners, referred to the recent affidavit filed by the Centre and said it has been told by the government that the December 31 deadline for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts may be extended up to March 31, 2018.”The notification says the process (of linking Aadhaar with bank accounts) should be completed by December 31, 2017 or else the accounts would cease to operate. Now, they say it may be extended till March 31, 2018.Therefore, till March 31, bank accounts should not be made non-operational,” he said.He said Attorney General K K Venugopal had recently mentioned the matter before Chief Justice Dipak Misra but not made a statement that no coercive action would be taken till March 31, 2018 against those who have not linked their mobiles or bank accounts with Aadhaar.”The whole idea is not to coerce people. If they are extending the deadlines, this aspect must be clarified,” Divan argued while also raising the issue of linking of Aadhaar with mobile numbers.When the bench asked the Attorney General about it, Venugopal referred to the apex court’s judgement declaring right to privacy as a fundamental right and said in that verdict, Justice D Y Chandrachud had emphasised on a robust regime for protection of data.He said the report of Justice Sri Krishna committee, which has initiated the process of reviewing the entire issue of data protection, is likely to be ready by first week of March and that is why he had mentioned the matter before the CJI for extension of time till March 31, 2018 for linking of Aadhaar to avail the benefits of various government schemes.”It was opposed tooth and nail (by the petitioners). The court had said it will hear it in the last week of November,” the Attorney General said.When the petitioners again said the Centre should not take coercive action against anyone till March 31 next year, the bench said, “till December 31, time is already there”.”Since the final hearing in these matters would start in the end of November and time is already extended up to December 31, 2017, there is no need to pass any interim order at this stage.”However, liberty is granted to the petitioners to press prayer for stay in case the hearing does not take place or continue beyond that,” the bench said.At the fag end of the hearing, senior advocates Arvind Datar, Anand Grover and K V Vishwanathan, representing the petitioners, said the Centre cannot compel the citizens to link Aadhaar either with bank accounts or mobile numbers.Datar said that under the prevention of money laundering rules, the government cannot say that bank accounts would be discontinued after December 31 unless linked with Aadhaar.”There is no doubt that these arguments need consideration. The matter is going to come up in the last week of November and the time (to link Aadhaar with bank accounts) has been extended till December 31,” the bench said.Vishwanathan argued that the Centre should tell the banks and mobile service providers not to send messages to customers threatening them of deactivation of accounts or mobile numbers if they fail to link it with Aadhaar as the “public is in a panicky situation due to this”.On October 30, a bench headed by the CJI had said that a constitution bench would be constituted and Aadhaar-related matters would come up for hearing before it in November last.

SC collegium restores judges’ appraisal move

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over seven months after the Supreme Court collegium junked the system of evaluating the performance of Additional Judges of the high courts through a detailed scrutiny of their judgments, the Supreme Court collegium yesterday restored the system.The decision to restore the system was taken at the meeting of the collegium under Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Mishra. The collegium has also decided that judgments of Additional Judges of the High Courts would be evaluated by a committee of two Judges of the Supreme Court to be nominated by the CJI.These two Judges would not be the consultee-Judges – which refers to Judges who have served in the high court to which the additional judge, whose case for making permanent is under consideration, belongs.The guideline was the main criteria to decide whether an Additional Judge should be made a Permanent Judge and was issued by the then CJI SH Kapadia on October 30, 2010.As first reported by DNA, the decision of the collegium, then headed by previous CJI JS Khehar, taken at a meeting on March 3, 2017, had, however, not found favour with the Centre.The Union Law Ministry took strong exception to the new practice of the collegium recommending names of additional judges of various high courts for confirmation as permanent judges without making an objective assessment of the judicial work of the judge.This newspaper had also reported that the government had told the SC collegiums that since the guideline that made it mandatory for a Judgments Evaluation Committee to evaluate the performance of an additional judge before recommending his/her name for appointment as permanent judge was the only “parameter” to examine the performance of the judge, it did not agree with the decision to scrap it.In his letter to the HC CJs on March 29, then CJI Khehar had written, “The collegium comprising myself and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court in its meeting held on 3rd March, 2017 has resolved that assessment/evaluation of judgements of Additional Judges of High Court for purpose of determining their suitability for confirmation as Permanent Judges runs contrary to Para 41 of the Judgment of the Supreme Court in SP Gupta case (1981 Supp. SCC 87) and, therefore, the practice of Judges’ Committee by the chief justices of the high courts for the said purpose needs to be discontinued.”He had also written to Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on April 16, requesting him to consider the possibility of issuing “necessary instructions to the concerned department to take note of the contents” of his communication to the chief justices while “processing the proposals for appointment of Additional Judges of the high court as Permanent Judges”.GOVT OBJECTIONDNA had reported Centre’s objection to the practice of the collegium recommending names without making an objective assessment of the judicial work of judges

SC Collegium to now make judge appointments and transfers visible to public to ensure transparency

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After coming under intense scrutiny for the proposed transfer of Justice Jayant M Patel of the Karnataka High court to the Allahabad high court, the Supreme Court of India’s collegium (which appoints judges to the nation’s constitutional courts) have finally given into the mounting pressure and will now ensure transparency in the appointment and transfer of judges.Justice Patel had ordered CBI investigation in the Ishrat Jahan encounter case and his transfer, followed by subsequent resignation, sparked a major controversy.The resolution was passed by the five senior most judges namely, Chief Justice of India Deepak Misra, Justice J Chelameswar, Justice R Gogoi, Justice M Lokur and Justice K Joseph. The ruling means that the appointment and transfer of judges will be open to public.In their statement, the judges said, “ That the decisions henceforth taken by the Collegium indicating the reasons shall be put on the website of the Supreme Court, when the recommendation(s) is/are sent to the Government of India, with regard to the cases relating to initial elevation to the High Court Bench, confirmation as permanent Judge(s) of the High Court, elevation to the post of Chief Justice of High Court, transfer of High Court Chief Justices / Judges and elevation to the Supreme Court, because on each occasion the material which is considered by the Collegium is different. The Resolution is passed to ensure transparency and yet maintain confidentiality in the Collegium system.”Back in March this year, the collegium headed by former CJI Jagdish Singh Khehar had negated the central government’s clauses related to national security and appointment of permanent secretariat. The secretariat would collate data on the track record of Judges being considered for appointment and place it before the Collegium. For decades, the Centre and the Supreme Court have not been able to come to terms on the Memorandum of Procedure, a crucial document, which would uncover the procedure of appointment or transfer of judges.CJI Deepak Mishra, who is yet to appoint 10 judges in the Supreme Court, had slammed all allegations of pro-government judges’ appointments and external influences. In fact, Justice Misra has sent out the message of ensuring transparency in appointment of judges loud and clear and that the collegium has nothing to hide from its citizens.

Wheelchair-bound man will write to CJI over ‘Pakistani’ barb

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Guwahati-based man who is bound to the wheelchair and was called a ‘Pakistani’ when he could not stand up for the national anthem at a movie theatre has now said he will write an open letter to CJI Dipak Misra and seek a legal recourse into the matter.Arman Ali, who is the executive director of disability rights NGO Shishu Sarothi, said the incident took place on September 28, when he had gone with his family for a movie at the Centre Mall. As the national anthem was being played, his family stood up, but Ali, who couldn’t, heard two men behind him say, “Saamne ek Pakistani baitha hai (There’s a Pakistani sitting in front).”Ali said that the duo smirked when he turned back at them. In a Facebook post, which got some light, Ali wrote, “Movie halls seem to have become the new battlefield of the Nation, where people prove their patriotism and nationalism (sic).”Speaking to DNA, Ali said the point that he is trying to make is beyond that of disability rights. “I find the idea of singing the national anthem inside a movie hall rather funny to prove one’s patriotism. Why was I called a Pakistani, why not a Chinese or Russian or Bangladeshi? Why is it necessary to prove our patriotism in movie halls and not in Parliament or at government offices? I’m a tax-paying citizen of this country, and don’t need to prove my patriotism to anyone,” said Ali.Ali, who is suffering from cerebral palsy,added that on that day he had to be lifted to seat inside the hall by four men. He said the men who passed the remark were well-to-do and educated.The Supreme Court had, in November last year, passed an order that playing of the national anthem is compulsory in all movie halls before a movie play. In February this year, however, the apex court said that if the national anthem is in the form of a documentary or a film, people need not necessarily stand up.Ali said he will not let the matter die and will take it up with the CJI. “At this point, I am carrying out research and speaking to a diverse set of people to look at realities to write a letter to the CJI. The apex court passed the judgement to instill patriotism, but how does one prove their nationalism by calling another Pakistani,” he said.

Only Advocates-on- Record (AoRs) can mention out-of-turn listings: SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The old practice of designated senior lawyers mentioning cases for out-of-turn listing and urgent hearing came to an abrupt end, with the Supreme Court making it clear that from now on, only Advocates-on- Record (AoRs) can mention such matters.The courtroom of the Chief Justice of India (CJI), where matters for out-of-turn hearing are mentioned, had yesterday witnessed noisy scenes after a lawyer complained that while his senior colleagues were being allowed to mention such cases, junior members of the bar were denied such opportunity.”Only Advocates on Record will mention henceforth,” CJI Dipak Misra thundered as soon as Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta started mentioning a matter for urgent hearing.Deafening silence dawned in the otherwise chirpy and crowded courtroom, the moment the CJI made public the decision that lawyers, except AoRs, cannot mention matters for urgent hearing.AoRs are the lawyers authorised by the apex court to file cases and pleadings before it. The apex court conducts examinations to designate a lawyer as an AoR.The bench, also comprising Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, had yesterday expressed annoyance when a lawyer had complained that junior members of the bar were not allowed to mention cases.”We cannot spend the whole day and allow mentioning to go on like this,” it had observed.Yesterday, senior lawyers including former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and Anand Grover had mentioned their matters, following which the court had started hearing the already listed cases.One of the lawyers, P V Dinesh who was in the queue, had then objected and alleged that senior advocates have been allowed to mention multiple cases, but others should also get at least a chance as all litigants cannot afford big advocates.Some lawyers, who were also in the queue, supported their colleague, leading to noisy scenes in the packed courtroom.

HC judge impeachment: Jurists’ panel submits report to V-P

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over two years after the then Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari set up a three-member committee of jurists to probe allegations of sexual harassment (forcing a female Additional District Judge to resign to protect her ‘dignity’) against Justice SK Gangele, a sitting judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, the committee has finally submitted its report.Sources told DNA that the committee comprising Supreme Court Judge R Banumati, Bombay High Court Chief Justice Manjula Chellur, and Attorney-General KK Venugopal submitted the report to Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, last week. While the original committee was headed by Supreme Court judge Vikramjit Sen, after his retirement, it was taken by Justice Banumati.The committee examined several witnesses and also heard the complainant and the accused high court judge. Sources in Naidu’s office said that the report is being “studied” and will be placed before the House at the next session. However, neither the three members nor the RS Chairman’s office was ready to disclose the contents of the report.Ansari had constituted the committee in April 2015 after receiving a motion signed by 58 RS MPs seeking impeachment of Justice Gangele for allegedly sexually harassing a former Additional District and Sessions judge of Gwalior.The judge had resigned in 2014, saying she had done so to protect her “dignity, womanhood, and self-esteem”.In her complaint to the CJI, the ADJ had accused Justice Gangele of sending her a message through the district court registrar to “perform a dance on an item song” at a function in his residence. She said, a day after the function, which she chose not to attend, the judge allegedly told her “he missed the opportunity of viewing a sexy and beautiful figure dancing on the floor”.Incidentally, an in-house committee of judges constituted by the CJI to probe the charges against Justice Gangele, had exonerated him, stating there was “insufficient” evidence to establish a charge of sexual harassment.However, the committee had also found Justice Gangele to be “ambivalent and evasive about facts which are within his knowledge”. It had also raised questions of propriety of a high court judge (Justice Gangele) holding a public event to celebrate his 25th marriage anniversary on December 11, 2013, which was attended by many government officers.

Deadline for mandatory Aadhaar to avail social benefits extended till December 31: Centre informs SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that it will extend till December 31 the deadline for mandatory Aadhaar to avail social benefits.Attorney General KK Venugopal informed the Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra about the extension of deadline till December 31.This information was provided when the petitioners sought early hearing of challenges to Aadhaar based on privacy declared to be a fundamental right by the Supreme Court.AG requested the CJI-headed bench to list Aadhaar petitions before a 5-judge constitution bench instead of a 3-judge bench.The Court also said that it will hear a batch of petitions in Aadhaar- related matters in the first week of November.

Justice Dipak Mishra: All you need to know about the 45th Chief Justice of India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Justice Dipak Mishra was on Monday sworn in as the 45th Chief Justice of India (CJI) and will remain at the helm till October 2, 2018, a tenure of almost 14 months.Outgoing CJI JS Khehar had recommended his name as his successor last month.Born in a small town in Orissa, Mishra had come a long way from struggling in English language to being a top-level judge in the apex court.Justice Mishra is a known name in the law circles, who grabbed wide media attention when he made several key verdicts while also drawing flak for a few blurred decisions.Mishra scripted history when he led the three-judge bench to dismiss 1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict Yakub Memon’s plea seeking a stay on his execution. In May 2017, Mishra doctored the landmark judgement confirming the death penalty of four convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape-murder case that send cracks in the nation.Another noteworthy decision he made was directing all States and Union Territories to upload the FIRs on their websites within 24 hours of registration at police stations.However, Mishra dawned criticism when he ordered mandatory for all cinema theatres to play nation anthem before the start of every movie show. He said that patrons should stand up in respect and “committed patriotism and nationalism” when National Anthem and also National Flag are featured in the halls.Mishra played an instrumental role in upholding the constitutionality of the 150-year-old law on criminal defamation. He was part of the seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court to convict Justice CS Karnan, the then Calcutta High Court judge, of contempt of court and sentenced him to six months’ in prison.In 2015, Mishra-led Bench set aside the ban on dance bars under the Maharashtra Police Act and said there are other ways to ban on dance performers to ensure safety of woman.Mishra, who is National Legal Services Authority executive chairman, was the mastermind behind the idea of introducing Legal Assistance Establishments in states to streamline activities to provide free legal aid to the needy.Born in a family of intellects, jurists and politicians from a small town in Orissa, Mishra had always shown inclination towards the law. Despite studying in an Oriya-medium school, he showed interest in English and mastered himself in English.Justice Dipak Mishra, who enrolled as an advocate on 14th February 1977, rose up to the ranks of additional judge of the Orissa High Court in 1996 and a year was later transferred to Madhya Pradesh. He has practised in Constitutional, Civil, Criminal, Revenue, Service and Sales Tax matters in the Orissa High Court and the Service Tribunal.In 2009, he was appointed as the chief justice of the Patna High Court and later went onto to head Delhi High Court in 2010.His time in Delhi HC paved the way for his elevation to the Supreme Court in 2011. In 2017, he was finally recommended as the CJI by the outgoing CJI JS Khehar as his successor.

SC declares right to privacy as Fundamental right: Here’s the chronology of the case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Thursday declared right to privacy as a Fundamental right under the Constitution.A nine-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar ruled that right to privacy is protected intrinsically as part of rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.Following is the chronology of Supreme Court hearings in the right to privacy case:► July 7: Three-judge bench says issues arising out of Aadhaar should finally be decided by larger bench and CJI would take a call on need for setting up a constitution bench.Matter mentioned before CJI who sets up a five- judge constitution bench to hear the matter.►July 18: Five-judge constitution bench decides to set up a nine-judge bench to decide whether the right to privacy can be declared a fundamental right under the Constitution. Nine-judge bench (Chief Justice J S Khehar, Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Abhay Manohar Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer) constituted to hear the privacy matter.► July 19: SC says the right to privacy can’t be absolute, may be regulated.► July 19: Centre tells SC that right to privacy is not a fundamental right.► Jul 26: Karnataka, West Bengal, Punjab and Puducherry, the four non-BJP ruled states move SC in favour of the right to privacy.► July 26: Centre tells SC that privacy can be fundamental right with some riders.► July 27: Maharashtra government tells SC that privacy is not a “standalone” right, but it is rather a concept.► August 1: SC says there has to be “overarching” guidelines to protect an individual’s private information in public domain.► August 2: SC says protection of the concept of privacy in the technological era was a “losing battle”, reserves verdict.► August 24: SC declares right to privacy as a fundamental right under the Constitution.

Triple Talaq verdict: A new dawn for muslim women, freedom from instant indignity

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a historic decision, the Supreme Court on Tuesday called the controversial practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’, which allows Muslim men to divorce their wives instantly by uttering “talaq” thrice, “manifestly arbitrary” and declared it illegal.The majority judgement of a five-judge bench came as a huge victory for lakhs of Muslim women who had long argued that instant talaq violated their right to equality.Pronouncing the final order of the bench, Chief Justice of India JS Khehar announced: “By majority of 3:2, ‘talaq-e-biddat’ is set aside.”Judges from five different religious backgrounds — Hindu (Justice UU Lalit), Sikh (CJI Khehar), Christian (Justice Kurian Joseph), Parsi (Justice Rohinton Nariman) and Muslim (Justice S Abdul Nazeer) — formed the five-judge Constitution bench.While Justices Joseph, Nariman and Lalit ruled against instant talaq, CJI Khehar and Justice Nazeer ruled in favour of the practice, holding that it was being followed for over 1,400 years by the Hanafis and had become a part of religious practice.CJI Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer, in their minority judgement (which is not binding), put the onus of passing a new legislation on to the legislature, hoping it would do so within six months.In the meantime, they ordered a stay on instant triple talaq for six months. They said if a legislation banning instant triple talaq completely is not placed before Parliament within six months, the stay on the practice would continue till the House enacted or rejected the law.The minority judges opined: “It would not be appropriate for this court to record a finding, whether the practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ is or is not affirmed by ‘hadiths’, in view of the enormous contradictions in the ‘hadiths’, relied upon by the rival parties.””The practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ being a constituent of ‘personal law’ has a stature equal to other Fundamental Rights. The practice cannot therefore be set aside, on the ground of being violative of the concept of the constitutional morality, through judicial intervention.”The minority judgment also held that instant talaq did not violate Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.However, CJI Khehar also observed that in view of the fact that even the Muslim world had shed talaq-e-biddat, there was no excuse for independent India to lag. He appealed to political parties and legislators to set aside their individual gains and give “thoughtful consideration” to frame a suitable law.Triple talaq is banned in 22 Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.While Justice Nariman penned the majority judgment, Justice Joseph wrote a separate concurring one. Justice Nariman said triple talaq in all three forms — talaq-e-biddat, talaq ahsan and talaq hasan — was “recognised and enforced” under Section 2 of the Shariat Act of 1937. Due to this very reason, he added, triple talaq was no longer a personal law but a statutory law, which fell under Article 13(1) of the Constitution. Under Article 13, no law can be violative of the Fundamental Rights.Justice Joseph said triple talaq was not sanctioned by Quran and hence could not form part of the Fundamental Right to religion. He also added that what is not true in theology couldn’t be sanctioned by practice or law.The five-judge bench, which sat for six days during the summer vacations, was constituted to decide the validity of triple talaq after a batch of petitions were filed by Muslim women challenging the legality of the same.At the end of the hearings, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) had submitted that the issue was outside the judiciary’s realm.The AIMPLB had asked the court not to interfere in what was essentially the religious matter of the Muslim community. The then Attorney-General, Mukul Rohatgi, had asserted that the issue could not be seen as discrimination between majority and minority communities.During hearings, the Centre had also argued against the practice, terming it “unreasonable, unfair and discriminatory” and assuring the court that it would bring in a new law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if the practice of triple talaq was declared unconstitutional.However, the apex court had decided to restrict itself to the validity of triple talaq and had refused to go into other issues of polygamy and nikah halala, which requires a female divorcee to marry someone else, consummate the marriage and then get a divorce to remarry her previous husband,under the Muslim personal law.Earlier this year, the Allahabad High Court had held triple talaq unconstitutional and violative of basic human rights of Muslim women.What the judgement meansOnly instant talaq goneTalaq-e-biddat that allowed the husband to pronounce talaq thrice in one sitting is now illegal. The other two forms of talaq — Talaq-e-Hasan and Talaq-e-Ahsan — remain valid. They allow the husband to pronounce talaq three times spread over three monthly courses. The divorce is revocable during those months.What the order will lead to The Supreme Court’s judgement reasserts Muslim women’s right to equality. If Muslim men divorce their wives by letter, telephone, text, WhatsApp messages and Skype, it will be held illegal. The verdict will improve the condition of women who face atrocities due to instant triple talaq.Minority view not binding Of the five judges, two — CJI JS Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer — upheld the validity of instant talaq. But this is not binding. The views of three other judges override that. Initially, there was confusion among journalists about the ruling because CJI Khehar started reading out the minority judgement first.Personal Law upheld The Supreme Court not only left the two other forms of divorce untouched, but also refused to go into other contentious issues of polygamy and nikah halala. This went on to enthuse even the All India Muslim Personal Law Board which said the order has protected Personal Law.No new legislation as of nowCJI Khehar and Justice Nazeer, in their minority judgement, also suspended instant talaq for six months, asking the government to bring in legislation. This will also not be binding. Government officials still ruled out the need for bringing any legislation in the light of the overriding verdict.

Freedom, freedom, Freedom … From Instant Indignity

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a historic decision, the Supreme Court on Tuesday called the controversial practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’, which allows Muslim men to divorce their wives instantly by uttering “talaq” thrice, “manifestly arbitrary” and declared it illegal.The majority judgement of a five-judge bench came as a huge victory for lakhs of Muslim women who had long argued that instant talaq violated their right to equality.Pronouncing the final order of the bench, Chief Justice of India JS Khehar announced: “By majority of 3:2, ‘talaq-e-biddat’ is set aside.”Judges from five different religious backgrounds — Hindu (Justice UU Lalit), Sikh (CJI Khehar), Christian (Justice Kurian Joseph), Parsi (Justice Rohinton Nariman) and Muslim (Justice S Abdul Nazeer) — formed the five-judge Constitution bench.While Justices Joseph, Nariman and Lalit ruled against instant talaq, CJI Khehar and Justice Nazeer ruled in favour of the practice, holding that it was being followed for over 1,400 years by the Hanafis and had become a part of religious practice.CJI Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer, in their minority judgement (which is not binding), put the onus of passing a new legislation on to the legislature, hoping it would do so within six months.In the meantime, they ordered a stay on instant triple talaq for six months. They said if a legislation banning instant triple talaq completely is not placed before Parliament within six months, the stay on the practice would continue till the House enacted or rejected the law.The minority judges opined: “It would not be appropriate for this court to record a finding, whether the practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ is or is not affirmed by ‘hadiths’, in view of the enormous contradictions in the ‘hadiths’, relied upon by the rival parties.””The practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ being a constituent of ‘personal law’ has a stature equal to other Fundamental Rights. The practice cannot therefore be set aside, on the ground of being violative of the concept of the constitutional morality, through judicial intervention.”The minority judgment also held that instant talaq did not violate Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.However, CJI Khehar also observed that in view of the fact that even the Muslim world had shed talaq-e-biddat, there was no excuse for independent India to lag. He appealed to political parties and legislators to set aside their individual gains and give “thoughtful consideration” to frame a suitable law.Triple talaq is banned in 22 Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.While Justice Nariman penned the majority judgment, Justice Joseph wrote a separate concurring one. Justice Nariman said triple talaq in all three forms — talaq-e-biddat, talaq ahsan and talaq hasan — was “recognised and enforced” under Section 2 of the Shariat Act of 1937. Due to this very reason, he added, triple talaq was no longer a personal law but a statutory law, which fell under Article 13(1) of the Constitution. Under Article 13, no law can be violative of the Fundamental Rights.Justice Joseph said triple talaq was not sanctioned by Quran and hence could not form part of the Fundamental Right to religion. He also added that what is not true in theology couldn’t be sanctioned by practice or law.The five-judge bench, which sat for six days during the summer vacations, was constituted to decide the validity of triple talaq after a batch of petitions were filed by Muslim women challenging the legality of the same.At the end of the hearings, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) had submitted that the issue was outside the judiciary’s realm.The AIMPLB had asked the court not to interfere in what was essentially the religious matter of the Muslim community. The then Attorney-General, Mukul Rohatgi, had asserted that the issue could not be seen as discrimination between majority and minority communities.During hearings, the Centre had also argued against the practice, terming it “unreasonable, unfair and discriminatory” and assuring the court that it would bring in a new law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if the practice of triple talaq was declared unconstitutional.However, the apex court had decided to restrict itself to the validity of triple talaq and had refused to go into other issues of polygamy and nikah halala, which requires a female divorcee to marry someone else, consummate the marriage and then get a divorce to remarry her previous husband,under the Muslim personal law.Earlier this year, the Allahabad High Court had held triple talaq unconstitutional and violative of basic human rights of Muslim women.What the judgement meansOnly instant talaq goneTalaq-e-biddat that allowed the husband to pronounce talaq thrice in one sitting is now illegal. The other two forms of talaq — Talaq-e-Hasan and Talaq-e-Ahsan — remain valid. They allow the husband to pronounce talaq three times spread over three monthly courses. The divorce is revocable during those months.What the order will lead to The Supreme Court’s judgement reasserts Muslim women’s right to equality. If Muslim men divorce their wives by letter, telephone, text, WhatsApp messages and Skype, it will be held illegal. The verdict will improve the condition of women who face atrocities due to instant triple talaq.Minority view not binding Of the five judges, two — CJI JS Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer — upheld the validity of instant talaq. But this is not binding. The views of three other judges override that. Initially, there was confusion among journalists about the ruling because CJI Khehar started reading out the minority judgement first.Personal Law upheld The Supreme Court not only left the two other forms of divorce untouched, but also refused to go into other contentious issues of polygamy and nikah halala. This went on to enthuse even the All India Muslim Personal Law Board which said the order has protected Personal Law.No new legislation as of nowCJI Khehar and Justice Nazeer, in their minority judgement, also suspended instant talaq for six months, asking the government to bring in legislation. This will also not be binding. Government officials still ruled out the need for bringing any legislation in the light of the overriding verdict.

BJP lauds SC for striking down ‘regressive practice’ of Triple Talaq

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday hailed the Supreme Court?s decision to strike down the ?regressive practice? of Triple Talaq and said the verdict will be written in golden letters in India?s post independence history. Speaking to ANI, BJP leader G.V.L. Narsimha Rao said the apex court?s judgement will be deemed as an important chapter in India?s history. ?The judgement of honourable Supreme Court has ended the practice of triple talaq, which was being misused to violate the fundamental rights of Muslim women. At a time when most of the Islamic world has banned this practice it is really shocking that this practice prevailed in our country for seven decades after Independence. We want to compliment the court and also want to congratulate the government at the Centre, Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not only articulating the government?s position on this issue but also publically speaking about this issue,? he told ANI. Another saffron party leader S. Prakash also welcomed the apex court?s verdict of striking down a ?regressive practice?. ?A regressive practice of triple talaq has been struck down. The onus is on the Parliament to frame the rules and alternative law for Muslim divorce Act,? he told ANI. Earlier on Tuesday, the apex court struck down the practice of Triple Talaq as ‘unconstitutional’ by a 3:2 majority. The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Jagdish Singh Khehar, deciding on the verdict, was seemingly split on the legality of the practice. CJI Khehar, while pronouncing the judgement, said, “Talaq-e-biddat is not violative of Articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution”, but did say that there was a need for Parliament to enact a law on the issue at the earliest. The decision came soon after the apex court resumed the hearing on the matter on Tuesday morning.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Triple talaq verdict: Here are the key points of agreement and disagreement in the SC verdict

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following are the points of agreement and disagreement between the majority and minority verdicts of the Supreme Court which today set aside the age- old practice of triple talaq among Muslims:*Justice Kurian Joseph who wrote one of the two majority verdicts agreed with the minority verdict penned by Chief Justice J S Khehar that The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, is not a law regulating talaq.*He disagreed with a separate majority verdict by Justice R F Nariman that the 1937 Act is a legislation regulating triple talaq and hence, can be tested on the anvil of Article 14 (right to equality).
ALSO READ Triple talaq verdict: Prophet Muhammed said divorce most disliked among lawful things in eye of God, says SC *Justice Joseph, however, agreed with Justice Nariman that a legislation, be it plenary or subordinate, can be challenged on the ground of arbitrariness, saying Indian democracy cannot conceive of a legislation which is arbitrary.*He further disagreed with CJI Khehar that triple talaq has to be considered integral to the religious denomination in question and part of their personal law.*Justice Joseph agreed with the views of CJI that freedom of religion under the Constitution is absolute.*Justice Joseph said that merely because a practice has continued for long, that by itself cannot make it valid, if it has been expressly declared to be impermissible.*He disagreed with the CJI that there cannot be any constitutional protection to triple talaq.*Justice Joseph disagreed with the view of the CJI that though triple talaq is fundamental to Islam, its practice can be stayed by the SC by exercising extra-ordinary powers under Article 142 of the Constitution.

Rajnath Singh hails SC triple

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday hailed the Supreme Court’s verdict on triple talaq as a ?historic act? of judicial courage. Singh took to his Twitter handle to say, ?The Supreme Court’s verdict on Triple Talaq is a historic act of judicial courage. It will strengthen the cause of women empowerment in India?. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court struck down the practice of Triple Talaq as ‘unconstitutional’ by a 3:2 majority. The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) J.S. Khehar, deciding on the verdict, was seemingly split on the legality of the practice. CJI Khehar, while pronouncing the judgement, however, upheld the practice and said, “Talaq-e-biddat is not violative of Articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution”, but did say that there was a need for parliament to legislate on the issue at the earliest. “Even the minority view which upheld the practice certainly was conscious of the fact that there was a need for a reform and that is why by upholding the practice itself, they injuncted it,” said the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The decision came soon after the apex court resumed the hearing on the matter on Tuesday morning.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Triple talaq verdict: PM Modi’s decision to back his Muslim sisters made this possible, says union law minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad called the Supreme Court’s judgement on triple talaq an indication of a ‘New India.’Speaking about the verdict, Prasad said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and his firm decision to back his Muslim sisters made this possible.“Prime Minister Modi firmly supported their cause inside the court and clearly stated that the issue is not of religion or faith, but is simply of gender justice, gender equality and gender dignity,” Prasad said.He also said that today is the day to salute the nation’s women.Ravi Shankar also said that Prime Minister Modi clearly said that this government would not bow down, adding that this is the win of Indian Constitutional principles.“Today marks a new dawn in the country and let us celebrate that,” he said.Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court struck down the practice of Triple Talaq as ‘unconstitutional’ by a 3:2 majority.The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) J.S. Khehar, deciding on the verdict, was seemingly split on the legality of the practice.The Supreme Court further asked the Union Government to formulate a new legislation within six months.The apex court reportedly referred to the abolition of triple talaq in the Islamic countries and asked “why can’t independent India get rid of it.”The decision came soon after the apex court resumed the hearing on the matter on Tuesday morning.CJI Khehar, while pronouncing the judgement, however, upheld the practice and said, “Talaq-e-biddat is not violative of articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution.”The CJI, further using his power under Article 142, directed the Union of India to form a proper legislature regarding ‘talaq-e-iddat.’CJI Khehar said that all parties must decide keeping politics aside.The constitution bench had reserved its verdict on May 18 after a six-day marathon hearing.

Rahul Gandhi terms SC’s verdict on triple talaq as ‘Welcome Move’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict on triple talaq and congratulated the women who fought for the same. “Welcome the Supreme Court decision setting aside instant #TripleTalaq. I congratulate the women who fought for justice,” he tweeted. Earlier in the day, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala too welcomed the verdict on triple talaq as an affirmation of the rights of the Muslim women, which were perverted over the years. ?The verdict is an affirmation of the rights of the Muslim women and gives relief to them against being subjected to discrimination by the practice. We welcome the acceptance of reality by the court and we welcome the verdict of the Supreme Court,? he said. Further speaking about the Muslim Personal Law Board?s plea before the Supreme Court against the practice of instant triple talaq, Surjewala said that the verdict is a culmination and acceptance of a wider wisdom. ?Several interveners, including amicus curiae, as also the Muslim Personal Law Board had pleaded before the Supreme Court against the practice of instant triple talaq by speaking it instantly three times, on the ground that it deviated from the practice prescribed by Islamic Law and has no sanction, either in the Quran or in the Hadith- the two main sources of Islamic jurisprudence,? he said. ?The Supreme Court?s verdict is a culmination and acceptance of wider wisdom, as also the recognition of the rights of Muslim women. We welcome the same,? he added. The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, struck down the practice of Triple Talaq as ‘unconstitutional’ by a 3:2 majority. The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) J.S. Khehar, deciding on the verdict, was seemingly split on the legality of the practice. Justice Nariman, Justice Lalit and Justice Kurien opposed the view of Justice Nazir and Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and dubbed the practice of Triple Talaq as unconstitutional and unislamic. The Supreme Court further asked the Union Government to formulate a new legislation within six months. The apex court reportedly referred to the abolition of triple talaq in the Islamic countries and asked “why can’t independent India get rid of it.” The decision came soon after the apex court resumed the hearing on the matter on Tuesday morning. CJI Khehar, while pronouncing the judgement, however, upheld the practice and said, “Talaq-e-biddat is not violative of articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution.” The CJI, further using his power under Article 142, directed the Union of India to form a proper legislature regarding ‘talaq-e-iddat.’ CJI Khehar said that all parties must decide keeping politics aside. The constitution bench had reserved its verdict on May 18 after a six-day marathon hearing.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Owaisi differs on triple talaq verdict, calls it ‘contentious’, slams BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> While the Supreme Court?s decision of banning triple talaq was welcomed by many sections of the society, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has called it a ?contentious issue? that demands a more nuanced step than the one taken. In his argument, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi highlighted the fact that even the five-judge constitution bench could not arrive at the decision unanimously as Justice Nariman, Justice Lalit and Justice Kurien opposed the view of Justice Nazir and Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar. “Triple Talaq is a very contentious issue. That is why you see even in the Supreme Court, there was no unanimity.” Owaisi said. On being asked if he agrees that the decision is a positive step towards women empowerment, Owaisi said that the number of cases of women being victimised due to triple talaq was miniscule, adding that if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) really wants to empower women, it should ?bring a legislation and give reservation to only Muslim women in education and employment; that will be the greatest empowerment.? ?You (BJP) control your ?Gaurakshaks? who have made many Muslim women widows. The Muslim women have lost their children. It is a social evil that is why the Muslim Personal Law Board has taken this up as a social reform movement. And it is only through the Muslim Personal Law Board?s reform programme that this inhuman practice will come down in coming months and years,? he said. He further accused the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government of trying to make India a ‘Hindurashtra’, the pursuit of which will ?open a can of worms, as a uniform civil court will not work in a diversified country?. If so, then all personal laws would begin to be questioned, including the Hindu Undivided Family law. Citing the Shamim Ara judgement in 2002, Owaisi said that the majority decision has already been the law as the 2002 Supreme Court judgement had pronounced that “a divorce will not happen unless and until a reasonable cause and arbitration effort was made.? ?My stand is that for the Muslims who follow the Hanafeez school of thought, it is sinful to pronounce divorce in the form of triple talaq, and divorce happens, and that is why the Muslim Personal Law Board has said very clearly that do not use this form of triple talaq. It is sinful and we must discourage this thing,? he said. Owaisi added that he respects the SC decision, but that there are many issues attached to this decision and ?it?s going to be a great, herculean task to implement it on the ground,? as a legislation is not the answer to solving problems. To cite an instance, he said that the law against child marriage has not been able to stop the marriage of one crore minor girls in Indian villages. ?The minority judgement said that it is an integral part of Islam, but unfortunately the majority didn?t agree with Justice Khehar and Justice Nazir. So even in that majority judgment, other judges have said that personal laws cannot be challenged now, so this is a welcome step,? he said. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court struck down the practice of Triple Talaq as ‘unconstitutional’ by a 3:2 majority. The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) J.S. Khehar, deciding on the verdict, was seemingly split on the legality of the practice. Justice Nariman, Justice Lalit and Justice Kurien opposed the view of Justice Nazir and Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and dubbed the practice of Triple Talaq as unconstitutional and unislamic. The Supreme Court further asked the Union Government to formulate a new legislation within six months. The apex court reportedly referred to the abolition of triple talaq in the Islamic countries and asked “why can’t independent India get rid of it.” The decision came soon after the apex court resumed the hearing on the matter on Tuesday morning. CJI Khehar, while pronouncing the judgement, however, upheld the practice and said, “Talaq-e-biddat is not violative of articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution.” The CJI, further using his power under Article 142, directed the Union of India to form a proper legislature regarding ‘talaq-e-iddat.’ CJI Khehar said that all parties must decide keeping politics aside. The constitution bench had reserved its verdict on May 18 after a six-day marathon hearing.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Salman Khurshid hails triple talaq verdict, says it uproots practices established outside Islam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Appreciating the Supreme Court?s decision to strike down the triple talaq practice as ‘unconstitutional’, senior advocate Salman Khurshid said the decision has uncovered the real Islam and has directed to uproot all the practices established outside Islam in the country or elsewhere. Speaking to ANI, the former Minister of External Affairs said that ?what we hoped for has happened and it is a good decision.? “There is no role of legislature now as it is only the minority, which said the legislature should step in, but the majority has not sought that so now there is no role of legislature,” he said, while commenting on the court’s directive to bring a new legislation in place. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court struck down the practice of Triple Talaq as ‘unconstitutional’ by a 3:2 majority. Commenting on the split decision Khurshid said, ?Chief Justice?s opinion was a minority opinion; the chief justice himself recognized that at the end when the order was passed, it is the majority that prevails in our system and therefore the majority has not asked for the matter to go to the parliament, therefore what the chief justice has said is no longer of any functional value.? In the verdict that ruled out today, Justice Nariman, Justice Lalit and Justice Kurien opposed the view of Justice Nazir and Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and dubbed the practice of Triple Talaq as unconstitutional and unislamic. The Supreme Court has further asked the Union Government to formulate a new legislation within six months. The apex court reportedly referred to the abolition of triple talaq in the Islamic countries and asked “why can’t independent India get rid of it.” The decision came soon after the apex court resumed the hearing on the matter on Tuesday morning. CJI Khehar, while pronouncing the judgement, however, upheld the practice and said, “Talaq-e-biddat is not violative of articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution.” The CJI, further using his power under Article 142, directed the Union of India to form a proper legislature regarding ‘talaq-e-iddat.’ CJI Khehar said that all parties must decide keeping politics aside. The constitution bench had reserved its verdict on May 18 after a six-day marathon hearing.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Triple talaq banned: Muslim cleric Barkati praises ‘unique’ decision

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Following the Supreme Court?s decision to strike down the practice of Triple Talaq as unconstitutional, Muslim cleric Moulana Ahmed Barkati called the judgement an ?unparalleled and unique? decision ?in light of the Indian Muslims? misuse of triple talaq?. He also reassured that the decision is neither a disappointment to the Muslim men and women, nor interference on the Shariat. Barkati denounced the instant nature of divorce as having no relation to the religion of Islam and educated Muslims, further explaining that the Prophet of Islam has pronounced triple talaq to be ?the most wrong thing which should only be used after a conscious thought by both parties.? ?There are only pros, and no cons to this decision, because the Muslims have made a mockery out of divorce and out of Islam as well- getting drunk and announcing divorce is not the right way. Divorce is a decision that should be taken after a conscious thought, and after a discussion between both husband and wife. In my visits to the Muslim countries of Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh, I have never seen this way of divorce,? he told ANI. The Muslim cleric who dubbed it a wrong practice, said he speaks from his 30-35 years of experience as a Shahi Amaam (Royal priest) and a scholar of Islam. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court struck down the practice of Triple Talaq as ‘unconstitutional’ by a 3:2 majority. The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) J.S. Khehar, deciding on the verdict, was seemingly split on the legality of the practice. Justice Nariman, Justice Lalit and Justice Kurien opposed the view of Justice Nazir and Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and dubbed the practice of Triple Talaq as unconstitutional and unislamic. The Supreme Court further asked the Union Government to formulate a new legislation within six months. The apex court reportedly referred to the abolition of triple talaq in the Islamic countries and asked “why can’t independent India get rid of it.” The decision came soon after the apex court resumed the hearing on the matter on Tuesday morning. CJI Khehar, while pronouncing the judgement, however, upheld the practice and said, “Talaq-e-biddat is not violative of articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution.” The CJI, further using his power under Article 142, directed the Union of India to form a proper legislature regarding ‘talaq-e-iddat.’ CJI Khehar said that all parties must decide keeping politics aside. The constitution bench had reserved its verdict on May 18 after a six-day marathon hearing.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Social activists welcome SC’s verdict on triple talaq

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> After the 3:2 majority Supreme Court verdict invalidated the Islamic practice of triple talaq, women activists welcomed the judgement, saying this would definitely give good morale boost and legal support to the victims of this age-old tradition. Speaking to ANI here, Nirmala Samant said, “The best way to give justice to women was the Supreme Court’s priority, so this verdict needs to be welcomed. This will definitely give a good morale support and legal support to the women who were given triple talaq.” Resonating similar views, social activist Javed Anand termed the verdict as ‘fantastic’. Anand told ANI, “It is fantastic. It is what progressive Muslim women and men were hoping, fighting and campaigning for the last so many years.” Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court struck down the practice of Triple Talaq as ‘unconstitutional’ by a 3:2 majority. The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) J.S. Khehar, deciding on the verdict, was seemingly split on the legality of the practice. Justice Nariman, Justice Lalit and Justice Kurien opposed the view of Justice Nazir and Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and dubbed the practice of Triple Talaq as unconstitutional and unislamic. The Supreme Court further asked the Union Government to formulate a new legislation within six months. The apex court reportedly referred to the abolition of triple talaq in the Islamic countries and asked “why can’t independent India get rid of it.” The decision came soon after the apex court resumed the hearing on the matter on Tuesday morning. CJI Khehar, while pronouncing the judgement, however, upheld the practice and said, “Talaq-e-biddat is not violative of articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution.” The CJI, further using his power under Article 142, directed the Union of India to form a proper legislature regarding ‘talaq-e-iddat.’ CJI Khehar said that all parties must decide keeping politics aside. The constitution bench had reserved its verdict on May 18 after a six-day marathon hearing.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Congress welcomes Triple Talaq verdict, denies violation of Muslim law

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Soon after the Supreme Court struck down the age-old practice of ?Triple Talaq? among the Muslim community, the Congress on Tuesday, while welcoming the same, dismissed any violation of the Muslim Personal Law. ?This is a very tricky case. However, we must laud the judiciary for this decision. The Supreme Court has shown amazing restraint from their part, without giving way for judicial overage. There is scope for larger parliamentary debate, intervention and improvement. The welcome approach of the Supreme Court has avoided violating the Muslim personal law too,? Congress leader Rahul Eswar told ANI. Re-iterating this, Congress leader Manish Tewari, while citing the earlier abolition of the practice of untouchability, said the reform lies within the domain of the community or the Parliament. ?When the abolition of untouchability was announced, some people could have argued that it is a practice that is meaningful to the Hindu faith. Through this verdict, it is clear that although the Constitution guarantees its citizens the freedom to practice any faith or religion of their choice, certain practices are reprehensible,? he said. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court struck down the Triple Talaq practice as ‘unconstitutional’ by a 3:2 majority. The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) J.S. Khehar, deciding on the verdict, was seemingly split on the legality of the practice. The Supreme Court further asked the Union Government to formulate a new legislation within six months. The apex court reportedly referred to the abolition of triple talaq in the Islamic countries and asked “why can’t independent India get rid of it.” The decision came soon after the apex court resumed the hearing on the matter on Tuesday morning. CJI Khehar, while pronouncing the judgement, however, upheld the practice and said, “Talaq-e-biddat is not violative of articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution.” The CJI, further using his power under Article 142, directed the Union of India to form a proper legislature regarding ‘talaq-e-iddat.’ CJI Khehar said that all parties must decide keeping politics aside. The constitution bench had reserved its verdict on May 18 after a six-day marathon hearing.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Triple talaq verdict: This is what five Supreme Court judges said in their verdicts on ‘talaq-e-bidat’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court has termed triple talaq practice unconstitutional by a 3-2 majority verdict. Triple talaq is widely known as Instantaneous talaq — or talaq-e-bidat. The SC ruled that triple talaq was violative of Article 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. While CJI JS Khehar and Justice Abdul Nazeer backed triple talaq, Justice Nariman and Justice Lalit ruled to set aside triple talaq terming it unconstitutional. Justice Joseph set it aside on the ground that it is against the teachings of Quran. CJI wanted Parliament to bring about a law to deal with triple talaq.According to reports, following reasoning was offered by the judges while giving the verdict on triple talaq.Chief Justice JS Khehar: Matters of personal law cannot be touched by a constitutional court law or constitutionality cannot be tested. CJI said Talaq-e-biddat is an integral part of Sunni community practiced since 1000 years.Justice Nariman: Triple talaq is a part of 1934 act should always be tested on constitutionality and said it’s unconstitutional.Justice Kurien said triple talaq is not an essential part of Islam and enjoys no protection of Article 25, set it aside. Justice Kurian added that triple talaq was against the tenets of Holy Quran and hence violates Shariat law.“Extremely difficult to agree with CJI that Triple Talaq is integral to the practise of Islam,” Justice Kurian said. The verdict has been delivered by a panel of five judges from different major faiths – Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, and Zoroastrianism. The bench had reserved its verdict on May 18 after hearing it for six days starting May 11 during the summer recess.

SC notice to Centre on CAT’s plea challenging Finance Act

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Centre on a plea of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) challenging the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the newly-amended Finance Act. The CAT said the ‘Tribunals, Appellate Tribunals and Other Authorities (qualifications, experience and other conditions of service of members) Rules, 2017’, framed under the Act, provides that the search-cum-selection committee to select its administrative members will be headed by a nominee of the central government. Earlier, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) or his nominee had a role in selection of administrative members of CAT, the tribunal told a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud. The bench found prima facie merit in the submission of senior advocate C A Sundaram, representing the CAT, and sought the response of the Centre in two weeks. The panel also sought an interim stay on the provisions of the new Act and the Rules, under which new Search-cum- Selection Committee for the post of Administrative Member would be set up. The senior advocate told the court that the new Act will take away the powers of the CJI. “Because of the provisions of the new Act, the power of your Lordships have been taken away as the final authority in deciding the administrative members of the tribunals which used to rest with the CJI,” he said. However, on the issue of selection of CAT’s chairperson and judicial members, the 2017 Rules provide that the search- cum-selection committee would be headed by the CJI or his nominee. The Finance Act, which came into effect from April 1, led to the framing of the 2017 Rules, which allegedly gave “unbridled” powers to the Executive to decide on the qualification of the members, their appointment and removal among other issues, one of the petitions filed by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, said. The apex court had earlier issued notice to the Centre on two other similar pleas filed by Ramesh and an NGO Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE). The NGO, in its plea filed through lawyers Vivek Chib and Ruchira Goel, had sought the quashing of Part 14 of the Finance Act and Rules framed under it. It alleged that the alterations brought about by the Finance Act would weaken the functioning of tribunals including the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and curtail their powers. Senior advocate Mohan Parasaran, who had appeared for Ramesh, had submitted that the power of judiciary has been compromised by the provisions of the new law. The petition has said the changes brought about by the Act would weaken functioning of tribunals including the NGT and curtail their powers.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

‘Citizens of all religions, ethnicity proud Indians’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chief Justice of India, Jagdish Singh Khehar, at an Independence Day function at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, asserted that every citizen of India is equal and whatever be the religion or ethnicity, should be proud of being an Indian.”Whether it is Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Muslims or Jains, everybody should be proud of his own religion to be an Indian. Everybody should be proud of his own ethnicity. Proud of being an Indian and that is what the Constitution is all about,” he said.The event became a nostalgic affair for CJI Khehar, as he reminisced about how his great grandfather was forced to shift to Kenya to avoid being arrested in Lahore for his suspected role in fomenting a student uprising against the British rule. “The CJI was not a citizen of this country to start with. But when he became the citizen of this country, he was equal to everybody else and had equal opportunities. This is what citizenship or Independence of this great country means,” he said.The CJI’s statement assumes significance coming as it is within days of previous Vice President Hamid Ansari’s assertion that Muslims were feeling insecure in the country.”You might be thinking how I reached Kenya and became a Kenyan national? My great grandfather was Dr Wazir Chand, a medical doctor in Lahore. In his spare time, he was honorary doctor of student boarders in the DAV institutions in Lahore. He was suspected of involvement in the freedom movement, for motivating college students to join the uprising against the British. To avoid his arrest and from being incarcerated in the Andamans, he fled to Kenya,” CJI Khehar recalled.However, while the CJI’s great grandfather escaped to Kenya, his grandmother, Sulakshna, was brought up in Jalandhar under the care of freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai. The family remained in Kenya, but after Independence Dr Wazir Chand returned to India. While still in school, CJI Khehar gave up his Kenyan nationality, deciding to acquire Indian nationality.”After being a citizen, you are neither inferior nor superior to anyone. You are no less or more than anyone else,” CJI Khehar said. He pointed out that the country has a Dalit leader who spent his childhood in a mud hut, a Vice-President who is an agriculturist, and a Prime Minister who was once a tea vendor.In his address, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was also present, suggested that the country’s greatest achievement was its secular fabric. “I hold a very firm view that India is not secular because the Constitution says so. The word ‘secularism’ was added to the Preamble only during Emergency. India is secular because India’s heritage is secular. That flows from the great Rig Veda. Truth is one, wise men interpret it in different manners,” he said.

Supreme Court bans Chidambaram Jr from leaving country

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karti Chidambaram will not be allowed to leave the country unless he joins the probe investigating allegations of irregularity against him. The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Madras High Court order that had stayed the implementation of the Lookout Circular (LoC) issued to the former finance minister P Chidambaram’s son.The apex court urged Karti to “cooperate and participate” in a corruption case where his company INX Media allegedly paid kickbacks to officials in the finance ministry for obtaining clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB).”Our business is only one. You must go for the investigation. How will it be if people of this country do not respond to investigations against them?” CJI Khehar observed. “As of now, do not leave the country till you participate in the investigation. That’s all,” the bench added. CJI Khehar contended that his decision arose from previous ‘bitter experiences.’ He was referring to the Aircel- Maxis case where he allowed the accused businessmen to leave the country only for them to ignore summons.”We have had the bitter experience of allowing people to go abroad and they never come back… You (Karti) first show us your bonafide by going to the investigating officer,” the top judge said in response to senior advocate Gopal Subramanium’s plea. Subramanium had submitted that Karti had already booked his tickets for the UK on August 16 and would return later in the month.However, the Centre who had approached the top court in the morning seeking to quash the HC order said that the intent and language of the LOC was not to detain or arrest Karti. Representing the CBI, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the circular was issued a day after the FIR was registered (on May 15) in order to ensure that he (Karti) did not leave the country when the investigation of a “serious offences” was going on.Mehta submitted that in the course of preliminary investigation, money was routed to companies – allegedly owned by Karti, outside the country. Various documents indicating property papers outside the company was also recovered during the searches.”The question you have to consider here is when do you really interfere with the right of a citizen to travel… It is only when somebody is a fugitive. My client was sitting in the same courtroom as the investigating officer during the case hearing. He has his father here. He has a daughter. His family is here,” Subramanium said strongly objecting to the LoC.Subramanium pointed out that even though the FIR was registered on May 15, search warrants were issued the next day. Karti was then issued a notice on June 15 to appear before the investigating officer on June 29, however, even before he could meet the officer, the LoC was issued on June 16.”We are not on the issue whether he is guilty or not. We are on a very small issue. Have you participated and co-operated with the investigating officer? The answer is ‘no’,” the bench said.”And what is wrong with an LOC on the next day? The CBI is conducting an investigation. They do not want to take the chances of a man becoming a fugitive… the LOC does not say they will arrest you. They just do not want you to travel out of the country.”

International Council of Jurists seeks in-house probe against SC judge

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as Chief Justice of India (CJI) JS Khehar has recommended the name of senior-most Supreme Court judge Justice Dipak Mishra as his successor, the International Council of Jurists (ICJ) has sought an in-house probe against Justice Mishra for alleged irregularities.Since the CJI has already recommended Justice Mishra’s name as his successor despite the charges against him, ICJ plans to approach the President and the Prime Minister seeking their intervention.Lok Sabha MP Harinder Singh Khalsa has also written a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office expressing his concern over the CJI’s recommendation of Justice Misra.”I feel very strongly about what is going on at the moment. Allegations of impropriety and the incident with Justice CS Karnan prompted me to write to the Prime Minister,” Khalsa told DNA.In his letter, Khalsa referred to late Arunachal Chief Minister Kalikho Pul’s suicide letter which accused several judges of the higher judiciary of corruption. Khalsa wrote: “The people of this country who certainly expect the next CJI to be not merely a Caeser’s wife above suspicion but a judicial statesman, a tall figure whose integrity and probity is beyond doubt.”As first reported by DNA, an in-house probe headed by Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice SJ Vazifdar and two other Hgh Court judges against two Orissa High Court judges was abruptly stopped when the name of a sitting Supreme Court Justice cropped up. The committee wrote to CJI Khehar and stated that it could not conduct any enquiry against a sitting Supreme Court judge.The ICJ wrote a letter to CJI Khehar on July 24 and sought an internal probe against Justice Misra since its own enquiries had “revealed that the Supreme Court judge in question is Justice Dipak Misra, who is the senior-most after the CJI.””We seek your indulgence to immediately appoint an in-house committee consisting of Judges of Supreme Court of India to look into the allegations against Mr Justice Dipak Misra, Judge, Supreme Court of India, to ensure transparency in the functioning and independence of Indian judiciary,” the letter sent by ICJ president Adish Aggarwala reads.The ICJ letter also refers to a September 2016 complaint filed by one Jayanta Kumar Das, alleging that Justice Misra was involved in the illegal transfer of large tracts of government land in Bidanasi and other areas of Cuttack when he was a lawyer. According to ICJ Aggarwala, Justice Misra was allotted land in 1979 when he was an advocate there and there is a court order with adverse remarks in the matter pertaining to the land.”Your Lordship, since institutional integrity is involved in the whole episode and that the allegations are against a sitting apex court judge, who may be considered for appointment as next Chief Justice of India, it is incumbent on you to clear the doubts in the minds of the public and lawyers about your successor,” the letter says.It also points out that when allegations of impropriety were made against Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court, “allegations, which were much less serious than those against Mr. Justice Dipak Mishra, the then CJI immediately constituted an in-house committee to look into the allegations against him”.”Once the veracity of allegations against him (as an advocate) was established, the then CJI recommended his impeachment. Unless a similar procedure of enquiry is followed in case of Mr Justice Dipak Misra, the high name of Indian judiciary may be smirked,” it says.

Supreme Court denies 10-year-old rape survivor consent to abort

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court has turned down an abortion plea filed by a 10-year-old rape survivor. The survivor, who is 32 weeks pregnant, had moved the SC seeking permission to terminate her pregnancy.The order was passed after a Bench comprising the Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud took into consideration the observation of a medical board set up by PIMER (Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research) Chandigarh that examined the case. According to the board, aborting the foetus would risk the life and health of the 10-year-old, who is almost eight months pregnant now. “The report says continuing with the pregnancy would risk the mother’s life,” CJI Khehar said.Soon after passing the order, CJI Khehar asked the Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to look into the feasibility of setting up permanent medical boards at the state level to help dispose of the rising number of cases that deal with permission to abort a foetus without delay.”In light of the rising matters reaching us, look into setting up a board at the state level so that these matters can be disposed of at the first step itself,” CJI Khehar said at the end of the hearing. The top court further directed the doctors at the government hospital treating the child to give her “due medical care”.The victim was allegedly repeatedly raped by her maternal uncle, who was arrested by the police following a complaint. The incident was reported when the girl was taken to a hospital by her mother after she complained of severe stomach ache on July 15.The permission to abort the child was denied by the local court on July 18 under the MTP Act, 1971, highlighting the serious health risks involved. The medical board, comprising of doctors from a government hospital in the city, had concluded that her pregnancy had gone beyond 26 weeks and could be fatal if she is forced to give birth.According to the MTP Act, abortion is allowed only up to 20 weeks of gestation. Mother’s who want to abort the foetus beyond this deadline, will get permission only if ‘the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury physical or mental health.’Though, keeping pace with the changing times, the new MTP Amendment Draft Bill 2014 (which is yet to be passed), plans to extend the abortion cut-off to 24 weeks.

Supreme Court cancels HC judge’s transfer

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a clear sign of the increasing clout of the Narendra Modi government, the Supreme Court collegium has cancelled its earlier decision to transfer Justice Valmiki Mehta of the Delhi High Court to the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court.Sources told DNA that the five-member collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, met last week and decided to write to the Centre, informing it of its decision to recall the proposal made by the collegium to transfer Justice Mehta. Justice Mehta will continue in the Delhi High Court.The move comes almost five months after the Centre, after sitting on the collegium’s recommendation for almost a year, quietly sent it back for reconsideration. It had also sent back a similar recommendation for transfer of Justice MR Shah of the Gujarat High Court to the Madhya Pradesh High Court.Before doing so, the Centre had also indicated to the SC its reluctance to process the transfers.All the transfers had been recommended by the collegium, then headed by previous CJI Tirath Singh Thakur. The failure of the government to process the recommendations had became a major bone of contention between the higher judiciary under CJI Thakur and the Modi government, with the SC questioning the government inaction on numerous occasions.Authoritative sources told DNA that the government had last year reached out to the then CJI Thakur, requesting him to get the collegium to rescind the transfer recommendations but he refused to play along.Upset with the refusal of the government to implement the recommendations, during the hearing of a petition, a bench headed by then CJI Thakur, in August last year, had threatened to withdraw judicial work from Justices Mehta and Shah if the transfer of these judges was not given effect to.Sources said that the collegium hasn’t decided anything so far in the case of Justice Shah but there are indications that the collegium may send him as Chief Justice of a High Court soon.Incidentally, even as it sent back the recommendations about the two High Court judges, another recommendation, this one for transferring Uttarakhand High Chief Justice KM Joseph as Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court, continues to remain pending with the Centre without any action since the last over one year.

CJI happy over paperless SC, project rolled out in five courts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is so convenient that there are no bundle of files on the dais, Chief Justice J S Khehar said today as the Supreme Court rolled out its ambitious paperless project by going into the digital mode to conduct the day’s matters. The Chief Justice expressed happiness saying the move has helped in removing the bundles of files from the podium. “From yesterday, I am very happy because it is so convenient. There are no bundle of files here (at the dias),” the CJI said while hearing a matter on the first day of reopening of the apex court after summer vacation. Justice Khehar, who was holding the bench along with Justice D Y Chandrachud, occasionally took the help of the court staff to go through the files in digital mode and conducted the day’s hearing without any hiccup. While trying to adjust to the digital mode, some of the judges in the first five courtrooms also resorted to the conventional style of going through the hard copies of the case files. A bench headed by CJI Khehar had on March 23 said that the apex court will go “paperless” within six to seven months. Later at a seminar here on May 10, CJI Khehar, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had said digital filing of cases would make the judicial system “extremely transparent” and rule out any manipulation of the records. While the ball was set to go digital, the apex court today also changed the location of some courtrooms which created some confusion among the lawyers, litigants and scribes as they had to rush from one corner to the other. Former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who was present in one of the courtrooms, said with the re-numbering of some courts, “the courtroom of registrars have now been made courtrooms and the courtrooms have now been turned into court of registrars”. “The advocates are now rushing from one corner to the other in the apex court,” he told a bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar. Similarly, senior advocate Dushyant Dave told a bench headed by Justice Chelameswar that “from now on, the apex court will see leaner and thinner members of bar as they will have to rush to the newly created courtrooms.” Some of the newly created courtrooms have been shifted to the first floor of the apex court. The location of court rooms six, seven, eight and nine have been changed. The top court has also upgraded its display board systems as new boards have been installed inside and outside the courtrooms. The apex court registry had yesterday said that the paperless digitisation project would be implemented gradually and, in the first phase, only fresh matters listed in first five courts would be accessed by the judges digitally on an interactive display device. The registry had said that all the high courts in the country have been provided with login IDs to upload digitised records in the prescribed format. “The Supreme Court has made all the preparations to make the court paperless. As the concept of paperless court involves various technical and functional issues, it is proposed to implement the project gradually, as it would be a new method of working for the advocates and judges,” the apex court registry had said in a press release. The registry had said that the apex court had extended the facilities of disseminating details to all concerned by providing two helpdesks at the two reception counters in the court premises.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mosques can be built anywhere, but not temple Swamy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> With the Supreme Court set to hear the Ram temple matter today, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Monday expressed confidence that the decision would be taken in his favour. ?I would request to resolve the matter through dialogue and let the temple to be built there. Mosques can be built anywhere but temple cannot be constructed everywhere. So we have all the right. It is certain that decision will be taken in our favour,? Swamy told ANI. The Supreme Court will today hear the plea filed by Swamy, seeking its intervention in the Ram Janmabhoomi issue. Swamy sought permission to perform puja in the temple. On March 31, the apex court refused Swamy?s plea, seeking urgent and expeditious hearing of the Ayodhya matter. The apex court questioned Swamy’s role in the matter and said it did not have the time to hear the plea. “What is your locus standi in the case? We didn’t know that you are a party to the case. We don’t have time to hear you now,” the court said. Swamy told ANI “Of course, I m not connected with the petty issue of property ownership. All I am concerned about is with my fundamental right to worship” The court has said that the Ayodhya dispute is a sensitive and sentimental issue that needs to be settled amicably and through consensus. The court suggested that if required, a principal mediator can be chosen by the court to settle the issue. Chief Justice of India (CJI) J.S. Khehar said if the parties want him to mediate, then he is ready for the task.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Signs of thaw: Re-setting the judicial compass

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 2013, speaking at an event, the former Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir had said that in India, there are only 15 judges for every one million population, making it one of the lowest judge-population ratios in the world.Four years later, not much has changed, except that India has its first majority government in three decades.One of the first significant steps of the Narendra Modi government was to get both houses of Parliament and majority of state legislatures to pass the contentious Constitutional amendment, aimed at replacing the opaque collegium system.But, it led to a fresh round of judiciary versus government discord. This discord between came to a head when a Supreme Court bench headed by current Chief Justice of India J S Khehar scrapped the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) Act on October 17, 2015. From then on, till (then CJI) T S Thakur’s retirement, it as all downhill in so far as relations between the two sides was concerned, with both sides missing no opportunity to take potshots at each other – in public.The dissolution of the governments in Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh only worsened the situation.”500 judges posts are vacant in the high courts. They should be working today, but they are not. At present, there are several vacant courtrooms in India but no judges available. A large number of proposals are still pending and hope the government will intervene to end this crisis,” former CJI Thakur had said at an event in 2016 seeking government intervention to overcome shortage of judges in high courts and tribunals.However, at the same event Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had disagreed and stated that the Modi-led government has made the highest number of judicial appointments in almost a quarter of a century.Despite the acrimony, the government continued to clear names for appointment to higher judiciary.From the yet-to-be-finalised Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), stalled appointments and non-movement of files, the list of issues that continue to plague the relations between government and the judiciary is long. Access to justice within reasonable time – a basic right accorded to citizens in the Constitution – became an unlikely victim in this bitter public battle of the parents.The relationship however, has taken a significant turn with the elevation of Chief Justice of India JS Khehar.The Supreme Court collegium has now made relative peace with the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) – a long standing thorn and once a bone of contention. Before the logjam, CJI Thakur had refused to agree to the controversial national security clause the government wanted to insert in the MoP. This would allow the government to hold the power to reject any name for appointment as a judge of the high court for reasons of “national security.” The collegium under CJI Khehar has held on to that position, making it clear to the government that interference in appointments was not acceptable.While it has not been smooth sailing, the collegium has at least conceded on accepting integrity reports on judges prepared by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) before making appointments.Six months of 2017 has seen some interesting moments between the judiciary and the government. Under CJI Khehar, the SC has taken a strong stand against triple talaq, convicted J Jayalalithaa, reopened the investigation in the Babri Masjid demolition case, banned liquor on state and national highways, ordered the compulsory singing of national anthem in theatres, and stood up for farmers of West Bengal when it held the State’s acquisition of land for Tata’s Nano car factory under the emergency clause as unconstitutional.IT has also upheld the death penalty in two cases where crimes against women were heinous, thereby sending a strong message to the society that bayed for blood.In the last three years, there have been several allegations of corruption against many members of the higher judiciary.Calcutta High Court judge Justice CS Karnan became the first judge in India’s independent history to be censured by court and held in contempt when he wrote a letter to the PMO in January alleging corruption against various sitting and retired members of the higher judiciary.In holding him in contempt, the SC awarded Justice Karnan a six-month prison term. However, all appeals by Justice Karnan, who is now in hiding, have fallen on deaf ears.Similarly, there was criticism in the way former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul’s suicide letter was handled. The former CM hung himself on August 9, 2016 at his official residence in Itanagar, leaving behind some sets of type-written (in Hindi) note bearing his signature on every page, which levelled serious allegations against some members of the judiciary and politicians.Since his death, his widow Dangwimsai has approached senior judges of the SC, appealed, and even appealed to the Vice-President to no effect.While, the working and the functions between the Centre and the judiciary seem to have gained smooth ground, sweeping certain issues under the carpet leaving a bitter after taste. But, on the brighter side, both the Supreme Court collegium and the government have started clearing names for various high courts.

Government is bound to ensure fair competition: CJI J S Khehar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government is bound to ensure fundamental principle of fair competition is followed and its benefits are extended to all, Chief Justice of India (CJI) J S Khehar today said. The CJI, who was delivering Vth Competition Commission of India (CCI) Annual Day lecture here, said the colonial British rule “wiped out” fair trade competition and the state of Indian textile industry then was an example of unfair practice. “Every government is bound to ensure full fundamental principles of competition. The extension of its benefits to all as per constitutional principle. It is the duty of the governing political party. “This has to be done without infringing basic fundamental and constitutional benefits,” Justice Khehar said. Referring to various Supreme Court judgements in cases like SEBI-Sahara, BCCI, Unitech and T N Godavarman which dealt with investors’ money, functions of cricket body, home buyers’ rights and illegal mining respectively he said, “they show that constitutional remedies are available”. Speaking about the evolution of law on fair competition and monopoly in trade practise in the country, the CJI said, the 2002 Competition Act gives wider power to the CCI to ensure fair trade competition and freedom of trade. Referring to the provisions governing the CCI, the CJI said that it has “extra-territorial jurisdiction” and can be termed as “global watchdog of international transactions” as it has wide power to regulate such deals if they violate the law. He then dealt with significant judgement of the Supreme Court in a case that held that “prima facie” view of the CCI cannot be challenged in appellate courts.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sentencing Justice Karnan to six months in prison is a conscious decision: Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday said a “conscious decision” was taken by seven of its judges to sentence Calcutta High Court judge Justice C S Karnan to six months imprisonment by holding him guilty of contempt.”The seven judges assembled to take a conscious decision,” a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said. The CJI made the remarks while he was sitting with four other judges who were hearing the issue of triple talaq. He made the statement when advocate Mathews J Nedumpara, on behalf of Justice Karnan, mentioned the plea for recall of the May 9 order when the bench had come to the dias after lunch to hear the triple talaq matter.The CJI told the advocate that the bench was hearing a different matter and he should not make a mention but address his grievances before the registry. “We are in a different bench,” Justice Khehar said. However, the advocate said, “I am addressing the CJI only” and added that the plea related to suspension of sentence of Justice Karnan.
ALSO READ Contempt case: Justice Karnan may or may not be in the country, says his aideThe CJI shot back “Why you are coming here everytime? Go and give it (original copy of petition) to the registry. You are not accepting any one-off procedure. You are only putting your ‘danda’ (stick) here. It does not work here”. After this observation, the advocate withdrew himself as the bench resumed the post-lunch hearing on triple talaq.However, after the day’s hearing, the counsel made another attempt to draw the attention of the bench, which left the dias without giving him audience. Nedumpara had also mentioned the matter earlier when the bench was about to rise for the lunch break. He had asked the bench when would his matter would be listed for hearing.
ALSO READ Justice Karnan ‘sentences’ CJI, 7 other SC judges to 5 years imprisonment for ‘caste discrimination’ The CJI said “you had said registry was not accepting it (plea). We have sent it to the registry. … You cannot keep on handing over papers to us. You give it to the registry. There are norms.”Justice Karnan had yesterday moved the apex court seeking recall of the order holding him guilty of contempt of court and sentencing him to a six-month jail term. The seven-judge bench of the apex court had on May 9 passed the order sentencing Karnan to jail by holding him guilty of contempt of court and sentencing him to six months imprisonment, a day after he defiantly ordered eight apex court judges to be put behind bars.It had also ordered the West Bengal police to take him into custody forthwith. However, before the apex court had pronounced the order, Justice Karnan had left Kolkata and was reported to be staying in Chennai. The West Bengal police is yet to arrest him.Justice Karnan, who has been on a warpath with the Supreme Court for last several months, is the first sitting judge of a high court to be sentenced. He is due to retire next month.

PM, Chief Justice push for a digital judiciary

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chief Justice of India (CJI) JS Khehar on Wednesday inaugurated an integrated software aimed at digitising the judiciary to cut down on time and bring about transparency in the system.Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister of Information Technology and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad attended the function held at Vigyan Bhavan, along with several Supreme Court judges, subordinate judges among others.After introducing the ‘Integrated Case Management Information System’ of digital filing process in the court, the CJI revealed that he planned to digitise all 24 high courts in the country and slowly trickle down to the lower courts.”I propose to take this system to all the High Courts and then to all the district courts. This means a litigant will file one case, insofar as the paper book is concerned,” Chief Justice Khehar said.”This is a process which will ensure an absolutely transparent system. A system which cannot be breached. A system where documents cannot be manipulated… And for doing this, we do not need to change any rules. This digitised process replaces the pleadings,” he added.While, the CJI listed the benefits of a ‘paperless’ judiciary, Prime Minister Modi was of the opinion that the mindset of our country should change. Digital India has been Modi’s dream project, and this push towards entirely digital court is at par with it.”Accepting technology can’t happen if only some people are keen on it,” Modi said. “The scale has to be larger. E-governance is easy, effective and economical. It is also environment friendly. Paperless offices will benefit the environment,” Modi said.The PM expressed his confidence in the combination of ‘IT plus IT is equal to IT’, that is ‘Information Technology’ and ‘Indian Talent’ is equal to ‘India Tomorrow’. Elaborating on the possibilities that rapid change in technology could bring in our lives, the PM also spoke artificial intelligence and its implication.Speaking on his app ‘Bhim’, the PM said, “Today technology is such that you can easily survive even if you do not have a single rupee in your pocket.”Also speaking at the event, Shankar, talked about how he planned to push India and make it a leader in the global digital world. The Law Minister then touched upon how the introduction of Aadhar had drastically cut down on corruption.The new integrated system, which was originally supposed to be in place by May 1, will now be fully functional once the top court resumes work after summer vacations.What it meansUnder Integrated Case Management Info system a litigant will file only one case, insofar as the paper book is concerned. The CJI moots that the system needs be taken to all HCs and district courts.

Digital filing in SC to be transparent, manipulation free: CJI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Digital filing of cases would make the judicial system “extremely transparent” and rule out any manipulation of records, Chief Justice of India (CJI) J S Khehar said today. Introducing the ‘Integrated Case Management Information System’ of digital filing process in the apex court, the CJI said he intended to put the system in place in all the 24 high courts after it is introduced here and would like to see that it takes place in the lower courts across the country. The Chief Justice of India was speaking at a function attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and a large number of judges from the SC and High Courts and senior lawyers. At the event, the Prime Minister uploaded ‘Integrated Case Management Information System’ on the the Supreme Court website at the function held at Vigyan Bhavan here. “I propose to take this system to all the High Courts and then to all the district courts. This means a litigant will file one case only in his lifetime, insofar as the paper book is concerned,” Justice Khehar said. “This is a process which will ensure absolutely a transparent system. A system which cannot be breached. A system where the documents cannot be manipulated. A system where the records are there for keeps …And for doing this, we do not need to change any rules. This digitised process replaces the pleadings,” he said. Referring to his observations made during a hearing that he would make the Supreme Court “paperless”, the CJI said the system would be different from the present e-filing process as lawyers will be required to file only the grounds of appeal in the apex court and the remaining judicial files would be automatically transferred. “This programme is the resource from the database which exists. So if you are filing an appeal in the Supreme Court from a case in the High Court, all you need to do is to put in the number of the case you are filing. “And besides that, you have to file the grounds. As soon as you file the grounds, the entire paper book of the High Court gets transferred to the Supreme Court. So the paperwork of the Supreme Court is finished. It is replaced by the grounds of appeal,” the CJI said. Justice Khehar said the move would be of “great environmental help as well” as it would lessen the use of paper. Addressing the programme titled ‘Moving towards, security and transparency from a paper court, to a digital court’, he said all parties in the High Courts would be automatically informed and they can download the grounds of appeals challenging the orders. The new digitised system would ensure that the litigants come to know the exact cost of filing, besides the date of filing the appeals in the Supreme Court, and nobody would be able to “manipulate” records initially filed and “nobody can lie” that he has already filed them, Justice Khehar said. The government departments and common litigants will come to know instantly about the filing of the case and may ask their lawyers to download the paper book from the website. The CJI said with the introduction of new system, every bit of the filing process would be monitored and a litigant will file one case in his life-time in a dispute from the trial court to the Supreme Court. He said he has held discussions with the bar bodies on the issue and have been telling them that it would lessen their work and save their time and effort. “If there is any person who wants to add any additional documents, he may move an IA (interim application) and file the documents. If he wants to have a part of the pleadings translated, he can move another IA and translate that part of the pleading. “So the process remains the same, rule remains the same. Its only extremely, extremely transparent, extremely, extremely accurate. It can’t be breached..,” he said. Elaborating on the benefits of the new system, the CJI said “nobody now can say he has filed, when not filed, because the client knows the moment you have filed. The moment you file, the filing system tells you about what court fees you have to pay. And so does your client know that this much is the amount of court fees involved.” “If you have delayed, the system tells you. What is the delay for limitation and what should be your application and how many days of delay must you explain? This system tells your client, the day process (notice) is served upon the other party, the day the case is taken up, the days on which various orders are passed,” he said. Interestingly, the system has a feature which gives access to information to every department of the Centre and state governments and “the moment a case is filed from that department, it will tell you that you are the respondent. The department has immediate access to the case on the date of filing”, he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SC lauds efforts of Haji Ali Dargah in removing encroachments

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today “appreciated” the efforts of Mumbai’s Haji Ali Dargah Trust in removing encroachments around the shrine and asked it to clear out the remaining ones in a 500 square metre area in four weeks. A bench headed by CJI J S Khehar directed that the beautification plan around the shrine has to be placed on record before the apex court on or before June 30. It said the beautification plan prepared by the trust can be accepted and if required, the municipal council of Mumbai can make modification. The council would also be at liberty to substitute it with another plan and in carrying out the above exercise the civic body can take assistance of a well-known urban heritage architect. The bench said the sentiments of the people of the community should be kept in mind while carrying out the plans. The bench posted the matter for further hearing on July 3, 2017.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Justice CS Karnan issues NBWs against seven SC judges, including CJI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after the Supreme Court passed an order directing the Calcutta Hospital to medically examine Justice CS Karnan in order to attest his mental capabilities, the latter on Tuesday ordered issuance of non-bailable warrants against seven judges of the Supreme Court, including the CJI. The order was issued even as the Attorney General said he was not sure whether the “gentleman” would undergo medical tests as ordered by the apex court.Justice Karnan, who is facing contempt of court charges, issued a two-page “suo motu judicial order in the interest of the nation to protect the general public from corruption and unrest” naming seven judges — CJI JS Khehar, Justice Dipak Misra, Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Manad B Lokur, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Kurian Joseph — as accused. The order said they failed to appear before him or send their representatives so a non-bailable warrant was issued in their names.“The Registrar General High Court at Calcutta is directed to issue the non-bailable warrant to the above named accused to be executed through the Director General of Police or Commissioner of Police New Delhi,” the order read.Meanwhile, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who was on Tuesday arguing in an Aadhaar matter before a bench comprising Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, said he was not sure whether Justice Karnan would follow the direction given by a seven-judge bench yesterday to undergo medical check-up regarding his mental health in the contempt case.“I have read that he (Justice Karnan) has asked the seven judges of this court (who have passed the order yesterday) to undergo medical tests,” he said while arguing in the Aadhaar matter about whether a person can be forced to give his finger prints.Talking to mediapersons in Kolkata on Monday, Justice Karnan had said he will not appear before a medical board for examining his health as directed by the apex court.He had also threatened to “pass suo motu suspension order against the Director General of Police (DGP) of West Bengal, if the DGP functions against my wish.”SUO MOTU ORDERJustice Karnan, who is facing contempt of court charges, issued a two-page “suo motu judicial order in the interest of the nation to protect the general public from corruption and unrest” naming 7 judges — CJI JS Khehar, Justice Dipak Misra, Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Manad B Lokur, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Kurian Joseph — as accused— With PTI inputs

Kashmir separatists playing politics over dead bodies, alleges Ram Madhav

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP leader Ram Madhav on Sunday attacked separatist leaders in Kashmir accusing them of playing politics of sentiment over dead bodies and said that the Centre had made it clear that it would not hold talks with them.”Separatists have only one motto – one dead body a day, so that they can play sentimental politics over the dead bodies. They use the people of the Valley as guinea pigs in their reprehensible politics of violence and separatism,” the BJP General Secretary alleged in a post on Facebook.He said the security forces and the government on the other hand try their best to ensure that the ill intentions of separatists do not succeed.It is a difficult job being executed with commendable sincerity by the government and the security forces, he said.Madhav, who is considered to be the BJP’s pointsman for Kashmir said the Centre had told the Supreme Court yesterday that there is no plan to hold any talks with separatists and those not loyal to India.He said the Supreme Court too had taken a strong stand while hearing a petition which demanded that the use of pellet guns be barred by emphasising that stone pelting and street violence had to be stopped. “The stand of the SC judges including Chief Justice of India (CJI) is commendable and I am sure patriotic people in the country including those in the Valley welcome this position of Court,” the senior BJP leader said in his post.He said that the forces have very few pellet guns and use them in rare situations only and they are deemed less lethal than the normal guns.The BJP leader said that the Government of India’s stand is to tackle militants and their sponsors with utmost toughness and stone-pelters with deftness so that violence is firmly put down but care is taken to prevent loss of life.

Absence of timely legal help to poor affects credibility: CJI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The credibility of the legal system and the rule of law have come under “severe strain” in the absence of timely help to poor and illiterate Indians, Chief Justice of India J S Khehar said today. The CJI made the observations while highlighting the importance of Para Legal Volunteers (PLV) who, according to him, enabled ordinary and helpless people to avail the benefits of the legal system for alleviating their sufferings and injustice. “In the absence of timely help to most Indians, the credibility of the legal system and the rule of law comes under severe strain,” he said, stressing that the poor and illiterate Indian were the main clients of the justice system. Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who also spoke at the two-day National Meet of Para Legal Volunteers here, emphasised the use of technology in providing access and administration of justice. Inaugurating two-day National Meet, the CJI said the service to poor was a “super divine duty” being carried out by the volunteers, which was move than the “divine duty discharged by the judges”. The last-mile connectivity for a villager under the PLV scheme was not the lawyers but the PLVs working under the competent legal authorities which impart awareness of laws and legal system to them, he said. When the disputes are such that they are beyond the capacity of these volunteers who have basic training in law, they approach the nearest legal services authority for a dispute settlement mechanism like Lok Adalat, mediation or more formal legal remedies. “These volunteers trained under the 2009 para legal volunteer scheme act as filters relating to the number and nature of disputes that need to be formally and institutionally dealt with by the legal services. Para legal volunteers save time and money of the poor, the official administration and the courts,” Justice Khehar said. Lauding NALSA’s poverty allevation scheme, he said it ensured that the benefits of various anti-poverty schemes of the central and the state governments actually reach the intended beneficiaries. Emphasising the need for restructuring its approach and design, the CJI favoured skill-driven PLVs who can properly research and investigate facts or laws related to a case. “In fact, this will develop para legal volunteer as multi skilled individual and enhance his or her performance as the critical interface between the common litigant and the courts by a process of upgradation that opens more opportunity for them,” he said. The Minister emphasised the need for increasing use of technology in the judicial process. “Time is changing fast and with the changing times, we have to change our technology. Technology is a very important tool in the administration of justice. “In a country of 125 crore people, 108 crore people have mobile phones, among whom 35 crore have smart phones, which will very fast reach 50 crore figure”, Prasad said. He said 113 crore people have Aadhaar cards but refused to speak on it further saying the matter was sub-judice. Noting that good governance can be delivered with the help of technology, he said with government’s scheme of common service centre (CSC), people in villages and in small towns could avail digital services like making of ration cards, PAN cards, Aadhaar cards or booking of railway tickets. “We have decided to link the CSC with the access to justice. Now these centres could help Dalit women, Kashmiri women and people from North East to get access to justice,” he said, adding that CSCs were being opened in 1,000 panchayats of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and soon 800 such centres will be opened in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East. Justice Dipak Misra, the executive chairman of NALSA, said this year has been dedicated as the year of excellence to “access to justice through para-legal volunteers”. “Through these legal volunteers, the poor people of the country will be able know about government schemes and seek redressal of their grievances,” he said. Several Supreme Court judges, high court judges and judicial officers from various trial courts across the country were also present at the event.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

India becoming hub of international arbitration: CJI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Justice of India J S Khehar today said India is becoming a hub of international arbitration and the government’s initiative to work towards zero interference in the process will promote confidence among foreign traders.Justice Khehar said that potential for international arbitration is increasing due to foreign investment.Speaking at a two-day seminar ‘Engaging Asia Arbitration Summit’, the CJI said government’s ‘Make in India’ scheme will make the country a favoured market among the emerging ones.”At the highest level of planning in Indian government, efforts are on that neither the government nor its agencies will have interference in international arbitration process.The zero interference by the government will give room for foreign traders in India that the process here is neutral…”In my view, it will promote further confidence of traders in arbitration in the country,” he said.Justice Khehar noted that India has a talent pool of lawyers and arbitrators and the future of international commercial arbitration in Asia must commence from India.

CJI asks HCs to work for a few days during summer break

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Justice of India J S Khehar has asked high court judges to volunteer working for a few days during the summer break to hasten the disposal of cases, a step which the Supreme Court has already decided to take. The CJI had written to the chief justices of the 24 high courts on April 6 requesting them to work for a few days during summer vacations to bring down pendency. Minister of State for Law, P P Chaudhary told the Lok Sabha in a written reply that no consultations are required to be held with the high courts to work for a few days during the courts’ summer break. For the first time in the apex court’s history, three constitution benches of five judges each will sit during the summer break. These would be in addition to the two regular vacation benches set up every year to hear urgent matters. On May 11, the first day of summer break of the Supreme Court, a bench will hear petitions demanding scrapping of triple talaq, nikah halala and practice of polygamy among the Muslims. Over 3 crore cases are pending across various courts of the country, including 38.7 lakh cases in the high courts.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Supreme Court declines to expedite hearing of PILs against tainted politicians

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The apex court on Monday said it was not possible to set up a Constitution bench in the near future on issues pertaining to politicians with criminal histories contesting elections. The Chief Justice of India JS Khehar also shot down a plea for an urgent hearing on this matter.”We have already fixed three matters for disposal by a five-judge Constitution bench in summer vacation,” a bench comprising of the CJI and Justice DY Chandrachud said.Former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay who filed the plea sought setting up of a five-judge constitution bench during the summer vacation to hear the matter. “It is a very important issue for democracy in our country. I was assured by the court that a bench would be set up,” Upadhyay said when he mentioned the matter on Monday. Upadhyay added that the issue can be concluded soon as it will not take more than three days.To this, the CJI responded by saying, “You cannot imagine how much time and effort is needed in writing judgments.” Apart from reeling under the pressure of a massive backlog of cases, the Supreme Court (SC) has set up three constitutional benches to hear the triple talaq case, privacy issuing surrounding WhatsApp and cases related to illegal migration in Assam. Besides these cases, another 5,200 cases have been listed to be heard during the summer vacation which commences on May 11.Upadhyay’s petition said that it was impossible to decriminalise politics unless convicted felons were removed from the system as is done in the executive and the judiciary. His petition rested on three important points: (a) directing the Election Commission (EC) to set up Special Courts to decide criminal cases related to People Representatives Public Servants and Members of Judiciary, (b) implementation of the “Important Electoral Reforms” proposed by Election Commission, Law Commission and National Commission, and lastly, (c) setting a minimum qualification and maximum age limit for people’s representatives and allow cost to petitioner.In January, the top court had indicated that it might set up a Constitution bench to decide this issue. In March, the EC, which is a party to this case had submitted an affidavit supporting Upadhyay’s petition.In its affidavit, the EC submitted they were not “not adversarial and supported the cause espoused by the petitioner,” on the first two points. On the last point, the EC opined that the issue was in the legislative domain and would require an amendment in the Indian Constitution. It also added that several recommendations to decriminalise politics were pending with Law Commissions for their further consideration including making bribery a cognizable offence and the prohibition of paid news.Presently, a politician who has been convicted of criminal charges is banned from contesting election for 10 years. Should a law to this effect come to pass, it would affect politicians like Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Lalu Prasad Yadav, Indian National Lok Dal leader OP Chautala and recently convicted AIADMK’s Sasikala from holding any position in their parties

SC hears pleas to lift blanket ban on sale of alcohol along highways

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After standing up the states and several liquor associations, the Supreme Court finally held an urgent hearing on pleas that challenged the December 15, 2016 order which mandated the closure of liquor vends along state and national highways from April 1.A batch of petitions that reached the Supreme Court read that the proposed 500 metre distance from the state and national highways, after which liquor vends can be set up, is high and should be reduced.Many senior advocates representing interested parties crowded Court number 1 and unanimously sought a modification of the December order. A bench comprising of the Chief Justice of India JS Khehar along with Justices L Nageshwara Rao and DY Chandrachud heard from a battery of lawyers who all submitted that the blanket ban should be modified and appropriate measures to be taken after considering the topography of each state.Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who was speaking for two states including Kerala, submitted that the closure of the liquor vends would result in “incalculable loss of revenue to the states.” Rohatgi said that a distance of 500 metres would result in different outcome in different states. In Goa, Rohatgi said, 500 metres would mean virtually in the “middle of the sea.” Another state submitted that state highways were small and crisscrossed, hence logistically, it would be difficult to relocate the liquor vends.“States follow different excise policy that have indigenous rules, let that be considered instead,” Rohatgi added. “A blanket ban is not going to achieve the intended purpose. What can be done is accident prone spots can be identified and the ban could be tweaked accordingly,” Rohatgi said.Advocate like Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Harish Salve, Rajeev Dhawan, Salman Khurshid and many others supported the idea of tweaking the order and enforcing the ban at problematic spots.After hearing the matter for around 90 minutes all the arguments opposing the ban, the CJI posted the matter for Thursday when he would continue hearing the issue. “Rest assured we do not want to be any impediment in your earning revenue. But drunken driving, a person dying is dead and gone. Imagine about his family. We are not against revenue earning by you. But suggest some alternative. We want to balance it,” CJI Khehar said.In a move to curb the menace of drunken driving, the Supreme Court banned liquor shops along national and state highways. Stressing the importance and the need to improve road safety, a bench led by then-Chief Justice of India TS Thakur further ordered that no liquor shops can operate or been seen within 500 metres of the highways.Liquor shops that are functional have been allowed to operate till April 1, 2017, however, licenses will be not be renewed or issued post March 31, 2017. The bench has ordered the chief secretaries of all the states to chalk out a plan to enforce the ban in consultation with excise and municipal officials.The SC gave this directive in response to a PIL filed by the NGO Arrive Safe. According to the NGO, around 1.42 lakh people were killed in road accidents, a majority of which were caused by drunk driving. The NGO claimed that the easy availability of liquor along highways was one of the main reasons for road accidents.

HC judge recuses himself from Amity law student suicide case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A judge of the Delhi High Court today recused himself from hearing a case of alleged suicide of an Amity University law student last year on the ground that someone in his family is studying in the varsity. Justice G S Sistani, before whom the matter was listed for hearing, said he was recusing himself from the hearing as someone in his family is studying in the university and that the matter be heard by another bench. A bench of Justices G S Sistani and Vinod Goel had earlier expressed concern over the alleged suicide, saying it appeared that there was a communication gap between the student and the people close to him. It had said that it could not be “believed that a 20-year-old boy ends his precious life, just because he was allegedly not allowed to sit for his semester exam, due to shortfall in attendance”. Sushant Rohilla, a third year law student, allegedly hanged himself at his home in Delhi on August 10, 2016 after the university was said to have barred him from sitting for his semester exams because he did not have the requisite attendance. He left behind a note saying he was a “failure and did not wish to live”. The Supreme Court had on September 5, 2016 taken cognisance of a letter written by a friend of the deceased student, saying it would examine whether there was an “element of suspicion” that the incident could have taken place due to “harassment”. However, on March 6, the apex court had transferred the matter to the Delhi High Court to decide it on merit. Acting on the apex court’s direction, the high court had issued notice to the Indraprastha University, to which the institution is affiliated, saying it was a necessary party. The high court had allowed the application for impleadment of the deceased’ sister, who has alleged foul play in her brother’s death. The PIL was instituted after taking note of the letter written to then CJI T S Thakur by Raghav Sharma, a close friend of the deceased and a 4th-year law student. It has been alleged that Rohilla, who could not attend classes for quite some time due to various reasons including his physical health, was depressed over the prospect of not being allowed to take the examination by the college because of lack of attendance. The letter had blamed the Amity authorities for Rohilla’s suicide. Alleging harassment by his teachers, his classmates had taken to social media and launched protests on campus after his death demanding action against his professors, two of whom have since resigned. The letter to the CJI had also sought that the apex court should take cognisance of the incident and order a probe by an independent committee in such matters. It had also referred to the letter written by the student before taking the extreme step that he “might not mentally survive” the debarment. The varsity had said that the student had 43 per cent attendance, whereas the attendance requirement of the university was 75 per cent.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Government says Aadhaar mandatory, Supreme Court observes no

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday reiterated that Aadhaar cards cannot be made mandatory by the government for extending benefits of social welfare schemes.Despite the Supreme Court’s repeated assurances that Aadhaar is not mandatory to avail social welfare benefits, the Centre has issued at least 18 notifications making Aadhar compulsory to avail various benefits. “We mentioned the matter in the SC on the heels of the notifications issued by various ministries,” said Udayaditya Banerjee, the counsel representing the petitioner. Senior advocate Shyman Divan, representing Justice K S Puttaswamy (retired), another petitioner in this case, took up the issue in front of the bench headed by the Chief Justice of India JS Khehar. “In all more than 70 notifications under section 7 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, making it a mandatory condition for various services have been issued by various ministries,” Banerjee said.Despite the writing on the wall, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) JS Khehar reminded one and all that Aadhaar was not mandatory to avail of benefits, however, the government could insist on the card in “non-benefit” schemes such as Income Tax filings.The top court also refused to expedite the constitution of a seven-judge bench that will finally dispose of the matter claiming that “right now it is not possible.”When the matter came up in January, the apex court had said, “We are not inclined to give immediate hearing as there are limited resources but biometric data collection by private agencies is not a great idea.”Ministries are systematically making the Aadhaar card , a mandatory condition for social welfare benefits, which the opposite of the observation made by the Chief Justice of India on Monday. “There is already adequate protection,” the CJI said while refusing to intervene in the matter when Divan submitted that making Aadhaar mandatory was an infringement of one’s civil liberties. According to notifications from various ministries, if one does not get their Aadhaar card till as early as June 30, 2017, retired defence personnel will not be able to get their pension, compensation will not be dispensed to victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy, students will not be able to avail of the mid-day meal scheme – for some, this meal is often their first meal of the day, nor will they get scholarship. These are but a few of the benefits listed. In an earlier hearing, the top court had indicated that issues pertaining to Aadhaar would be heard by a seven-judge constitution bench. However, the CJI refused to comment on this and the matter remained unlisted. In an August 2015, a three-judge bench made four important observations in their order. According to the order passed by Justices J Chelameshwar, S A Bobde and C Nagappan, the government would use all media outlets to state that it was “not mandatory for a citizen to obtain an Aadhaar card.” The order further read that, “the production of an Aadhaar card will not be condition for obtaining any benefits otherwise due to a citizen.” Aadhar was mandatory only for “PDS Scheme and in particular for the purpose of distribution of foodgrains, etc. and cooking fuel, such as kerosene. The Aadhaar card may also be used for the purpose of the LPG Distribution Scheme.” Lastly the order said, “the information about an individual obtained by the Unique Identification Authority of India while issuing an Aadhaar card shall not be used for any other purpose, save as above, except as may be directed by a Court for the purpose of criminal investigation.” In October 2015, a five-judge bench headed by then CJI HL Dattu, upheld the order and made “it clear that the Aadhaar card Scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory till the matter is finally decided by this Court one way or the other.” The matter was also referred to a seven-judge constitution bench for final disposal. However, the SC had then allowed the Union to add a few more schemes where Aadhaar was mandatory. Hours after the SC’s observation, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar announced that Aadhaar would not be made mandatory for mid-day meals, though they would be issued with an unique identity to prevent the siphoning of funds earmarked for food served at schools. However, if one has to analyze this move, the unique identity is but a first step towards the enrollment for an Aadhaar Card. Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien further announced that the Rajya Sabha would discuss Aadhaar on Wednesday.

Will step in to save environment: CJI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Responding to Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi’s lament that coastal regulations are limiting development and diverting tourism to other countries, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Justice JS Khehar said on Saturday that “environment is not a matter of competition” and that “development can happen, but with due care for environment.”He said that courts will step in only when environmental safeguards are not in place.Rohatgi and Khehar were speaking in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and National Green Tribunal (NGT) Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar at the inauguration of NGT’s two-day international conference on environment.Rohatgi said: “The CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) notification says 500 metres from the sea…there can be no hotels, no development, no other infrastructure. Over the past 25 years, domestic and foreign tourism have been diverted to our neighbours in the South-East.”He added, “If they can do it, surely, it is time for us — the government and the courts and the stakeholders – to take a call. Why should we not look (at) and maybe debunk the ideas which were floated for over 25 years by CRZ. One must see what good CRZ has got.”The AG also said that several projects get stuck for years and there is a need for an advance consultative process for mega projects to prevent lengthy litigation. Responding to the AG’s comments, the CJI Khehar said, “The comparison with tourist spots in India and other countries…it seems as if we were competing with somebody else. Environment is not a matter of competition. You may construct hotels, you may construct whatever you wish, but have in place regulations for environmental protection and no court can ever interfere with that.” He further said that courts will interfere when environmental safeguards are not in place while building developmental projects. “The possibility of interference will arise, when seaports are raised and constructed and the existing environment is altered or when townships are raised without appropriately dealing with sewage, water disposal, that’s when the problem emerges. The policy of the government, in India and elsewhere, has to be to allow development and industry but by taking due care of the environment. That’s the way forward.”The AG’s comments come at a time when the Union Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change is preparing a fresh draft of the CRZ notification easing regulations by reportedly allowing reclamation of land for commercial and entertainment purposes, which is currently prohibited. This move has been opposed for years by environmental activists.Later in the conference, President Pranab Mukherjee stressed that while development is necessary to pull people out of poverty, contradictions between environment and development will end if we can check our lust for appropriation beyond requirements.

Referring to statistics to highlight the gap between

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>developed and developing nations in consumption of electricity and their contribution in rising pollution level, Justice Khehar said “Today, the per capita emission of many developed nations varies between 7-15 tonnes but the per capita emission of the countries like India is around 1.56 tonnes. “Energy is the key to life and emission. Per capita electricity consumption in India is 917 kilowatt per hour, which is about one third of world’s average consumption,” he said. About the Supreme Court’s “societal and legal” role in dealing with the environment-related issues, he said the apex court had held the right to clean air, water and environment as part of the right to life under the Constitution. Stressing on the need for sustainable development, he said that industrialisation needed to be promoted after taking due care of environment. The CJI also responded to the remarks of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that the governments, judiciary, civil society and other stakeholders should come together and evolve a mechanism to ensure that eco-sensitive projects are cleared at the outset and they should not remain stuck for decades during the construction stage or after the completion. Rohatgi, who spoke prior to the CJI, had said that tourist industry in the country has taken a hit as we do not allow construction within the periphery of 500 metres along sea shores and countries like Maldives have constructed hotels on the beaches. The legal hurdles have to be overcome by creating a mechanism of granting prior approvals to such projects, he had said. “Environment is not a matter of competition and encompasses humanity at large. When a programme is sponsored by the government it is well within the framework to draw a policy which will protect the environment. You may construct hotels, you may construct whatever you wish to, but have regulations for the environmental protection and no court can ever interfere. “The possibility of interference is when the existing environment is altered or when townships are raised without dealing with sewerage and water that is when the problem arises. The problem emerges when we allow industrialisation without any quick measures. The policy of the government in India and elsewhere has to be to allow development in industry but with by taking due care of environment. That’s the way forward,” the CJI said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Supreme Court goes digital: Apex court to prefer ‘paperless’ transactions in 6-7 months, says CJI Khehar

Fri, 24 Mar 2017-09:32am , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will go “paperless” within six to seven months, Chief Justice JS Khehar said on Thursday.The observation on the issue of digitisation of the top court was made when senior advocate Indira Jaising, who has filed a PIL seeking uniform guidelines on designating lawyers as senior, sought expeditious disposal of her plea by a larger bench. “Within six to seven months you will not file any paper. We will electronically pick it up trial court and high court records and there will be no need of case records being filed afresh in SC,” the bench comprising the CJI and Justices DY Chandrachud and SK Kaul said.Justice Khehar said the court will soon dispense with the need of filing voluminous documents and paperbooks as it is in the process of digitising the entire court records across the country. He said the apex court will collect all the records electronically from the lower courts and the high courts so that there is no need to file hard copies.The court has set up a three-judge bench to hear petitions seeking framing of uniform guidelines for designating lawyers as senior by the apex court and the high courts across the country.

The high court allowed the application for impleadment of

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>the deceased’s sister, who has alleged foul play in her brother’s death. The bench, meanwhile, asked the counsel for the parties concerned to find out whether senior advocate F S Nariman, who was appointed as the amicus curiae to assist the Supreme Court in the matter, will continue to help out in the case. The court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on March 28. The bench further said that a life has been lost and it is a matter of great pain. “We want that it should not be repeated again. We should ensure that this should not take place in future,” it said. It, however, said that we have to find out the reason for the death of law student. Earlier, the Supreme Court had directed the university’s founder president Ashok K Chauhan to file affidavit detailing action taken on the incident. The PIL was instituted after taking note of the letter written to then CJI T S Thakur by Raghav Sharma, a close friend of the deceased and a 4th-year law student. It has been claimed that Rohilla, who could not attend classes for quite some time due to various reasons including his physical health, was depressed over the prospect of not being allowed to take the examination by the college because of lack of attendance. The letter has blamed the Amity authorities for Rohilla’s suicide. Alleging harassment by his teachers, his classmates had taken to social media and launched protests on campus after his death demanding action against his professors, two of whom have since resigned. The letter to the CJI had also sought that the apex court should take cognisance of the incident and order a probe by an independent committee in such matters. It also referred to the letter written by the student before taking the extreme step that he “might not mentally survive” the debarment. The college had said that the student had 43 per cent attendance, whereas the attendance requirement of the university was 75 per cent.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

"It is the job of the executive to formulate and execute,

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>the job of the legislator to legislate and the duty of the judiciary to interpret so that it becomes sacrosanct. How they have to work in symphony and harmony, is the job that the judiciary needs to find. That’s how I think that our Constitutional governance must function,” Prasad said. The Chief Justice also spoke about an alternative redressal mechanism to reduce pendency of cases in various courts and said “we can deal with a little bit of our arrears if there is a re-look at litigations pending with us at all levels of all courts.” He said the national litigation policy was formulated by the government and it was expected that some kind of control would come around on the litigations that come from the government. “Since the government is the largest stakeholder with us, obviously the consequences of failed litigations is largest for the government. So nobody can grudge the government for raising the claim. “But it seems that we need a further look at it and I am sure that the government will consciously examine this issue”, he said and suggested a mechanism where an independent agency, may be having some retired judges or eminent persons, to take a second call on whether to go for and appealor not. “And if we can just reduce 10 per cent of these litigations, then we will be the long way ahead. Again, please don’t take me wrong, it is not a matter of any criticism,” he said. The CJI said the judiciary was with the government “arm in arm” but pointed out that “it’s a new world, it’s a commercial world and the commercial world doesn’t brook delays and when you (government) say we (courts) delay, I can’t say we don’t delay. “We do delay but there are issues by which we can resolve these delays” and minimise them if matters are decided outside court by alternative modes, Justice Khehar said. “Why should we not push mediation? In case of government dispute, why cant we choose option of mediation. As a try, may be we may succeed and may be we may not, but there is a great success of mediation in this country,” he said. In commercial world, arbitration has a big role to play. “We must have an international standard arbitral tribunal and our international centre for alternative dispute redressal is now moving forward,” he said. Justice Khehar said his predecessor Justice T S Thakur had taken charge of it so that people who came to India from abroad could “rely on us for arbitration in our country rather than us going to Singapore and Malaysia and the likes.” “I am happy to tell you that my discussion with the Union Law Minister on this have been very encouraging and he has expressed all support to us on this issue as well,” the CJI said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Five more Supreme Court judges sworn in

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Five new Supreme Court judges were on Friday sworn in, taking the apex court’s strength to 28, including the Chief Justice of India.Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Navin Sinha, Mohan M Shantanagoudar, Deepak Gupta and S Abdul Nazeer were administered the oath of office by CJI J S Khehar this morning.Justice Kaul was the Chief Justice of Madras High Court while Justice Sinha was the Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court.Justices Shantanagoudar and Gupta were the chief justices of Kerala and Chhattisgarh high courts respectively and Justice Nazeer was a judge in the Karnataka High Court.The sanctioned strength of judges in the apex court is 31, including the CJI.President Pranab Mukherjee had recently signed their Warrants of Appointment.

Targeted for being Dalit: Justice CS Karnan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Justice CS Karnan, a sitting judge of Calcutta High Court against whom the Supreme Court initiated contempt proceedings, has alleged caste discrimination. The judge wrote a strongly-worded letter addressed to the Supreme Court’s Registrar General lashing out at the judges in the apex court for initiating contempt proceedings against him.In the four-page letter dated February 9, Justice Karnan started out with the point that the proceedings against him were not maintainable. He added, by sending the letter to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), he had simply brought forward and submitted proof of ‘high irregularities and illegalities in the judicial courts’.”I am a responsible judge to control such high irregularities, especially corruption and malpractice. I have furnished comprehensive proof of unethical practices happening with the respective courts.”The judge, who had famously stayed his own transfer from Madras High Court to Calcutta High court, added that the Courts did not have the power to enforce punishment against him. He said, proceedings against him should be taken up after the current Chief Justice of India (CJI) JS Khehar retires in August later this year. If there is urgency, Justice Karnan said the matter could be taken up in the Parliament.Justice Karnan had also referred to an order he had passed on February 15, 2016 against the CJI, directing initiation of criminal case against him.”Therefore, the present Chief Justice is bearing the same prejudice as in the past by passing the same order,” he stated.Going a step further, Justice Karnan wrote that he was being targeted by the ‘Upper Caste Judges’, because he was a Dalit. He said, the very same judges were taking the law in their hands and misusing judicial power.In the letter that Justice Karnan had written to the PMO in January, he had mentioned names of 20 judges — apparently the first of many lists to come, who had allegedly indulged in corruption, taking exception to one particular judge at the Madras High Court.The SC had taken note of this January letter to initiate proceedings against him. The apex court has directed Justice Karnan to appear before the specially constituted seven-judge bench on Monday.This is the first time such proceedings have been initiated. It remains to be seen, how the judiciary will forge ahead, since this case would set a precedent.

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