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Master the skill of presenting facts of cases before courts: CJI Dipak Misra tells budding lawyers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra today asked budding lawyers to master the skill of presenting facts of the cases before courts.The CJI, who was felicitated by the Bar Council of India — apex bar body — praised women advocates and judges for their endeavours in the field of advocacy and judiciary and asked them as well as their male counterparts not to deviate from the principles of the profession.Justice Misra, who succeeded Justice J S Khehar as the CJI on August 27, expressed gratitude to the bar and advised budding lawyers to get mastery over facts of the cases being fought by them.”Everyday, we judges are taught by lawyers. If a young lawyer is not recognised by this country, his ambition will be scuttled,” he said.Praising women lawyers and judges, the CJI said that they were doing a great service to the nation.Besides the CJI, several apex court judges, including Justices Arun Mishra, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud, L N Rao, S Abdul Nazeer and Navin Sinha, graced the occasion.Speaking at the function, Justice Misra highlighted the importance of a strong and independent bar and said it was necessary for a strong judiciary.”If the bar is not strong and its independence is compromised, the judiciary will become very weak. The bar’s duty is to keep the judiciary in a perspective. Bar is our protection,” he said.BCI chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra raised the issue of rising vacancies in judiciary.”With the new CJI among us, we hope that vacancies across high courts in the country would be filled up speedily,” he said.He emphasised that bar bodies like the BCI should be consulted by the judiciary in appointment of judges.”We don’t know why the bar has been given a step-motherly treatment by judiciary. We hope that in times to come, the BCI’s autonomy is respected and not compromised,” he said.He also raised the issue of frequent strikes by lawyers and said that the BCI was aware of the situation.

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.

SC sets aside triple talaq, terms it void and unconstitutional

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court by a majority verdict today set aside the practice of divorce through triple talaq among Muslims, saying the practice was void, illegal and unconstitutional. The apex court held that the triple talaq was against the basic tenets of Quran. “In view of the different opinions recorded by a majority of 3:2, the practice of ‘talaq-e-biddat’ triple talaq is set aside,” a five-judge constitution bench said in a 395-page order. While Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice S Abdul Nazeer were in favour of putting on hold for six months the practice of triple talaq and asking the government to come out with a law in this regard, Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman and U U Lalit held it as violative of the Constitution. The majority verdict said any practice including triple talaq which is against the tenets of Quran is unacceptable. The three judges also said the practice of divorce through triple talaq is manifestly arbitrary and violative of the Constitution and must be struck down. The minority verdict by CJI Khehar and Justice Nazeer, which favoured keeping on hold the practise of triple talaq for six months, asked the political parties to set aside their differences and help the Centre in coming out with a legislation. The judges in the minority verdict said that if the Centre does not bring a law within six months, then its injunction on triple talaq will continue. CJI Khehar and Justice Nazeer in their minority verdict expressed hope that the Centre’s legislation will take into account the concerns of Muslim bodies and the Sharia law. The bench, made up of judges from different religious communities — Sikh, Christian, Parsi, Hindu and Muslim, had heard seven pleas, including five separate petitions filed by Muslim women challenging the prevalent practice of ‘triple talaq’ in the community. The petitioners had claimed that the practice of ‘triple talaq’ was unconstitutional. The Muslim women, who had filed the petitions, had challenged the practice of ‘triple talaq’ in which the husband pronounces ‘talaq’ thrice in one go, sometimes even by phone or a text message, to get divorce. During the hearing, the apex court had observed that the practice of ‘triple talaq’ was the “worst” and “not a desirable” form of dissolution of marriage among Muslims, even though there were schools of thought which called it “legal”. The Centre had earlier told the bench that it will come out with a law to regulate marriage and divorce among Muslims if ‘triple talaq’ is held invalid and unconstitutional by the apex court. The government had termed all the three forms of divorce among the Muslim community – talaq-e-biddat, talaq hasan and talaq ahsan, as “unilateral” and “extra-judicial”. It has said that all personal laws must be in confirmity with the Constitution and rights of marriage, divorce, property and succession has to be treated in the same class and has to be in conformity with the Constitution. The Centre had said ‘triple talaq’ is neither integral to Islam, nor a “majority versus minority” issue but rather an “intra-community tussle” between Muslim men and deprived women. The batch of pleas had also challenged the constitutional validity of other practices like ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy among Muslims. The bench had taken up the main matter on its own as a petition titled “Muslim women’s quest for equality”. The apex court had on its own taken cognizance of the question whether Muslim women faced gender discrimination in the event of divorce or due to other marriages of their husbands.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Triple talaq verdict today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A five-judge, multi-faith bench of the Supreme Court will on Tuesday decide the legality of triple talaq and rule whether the contentious practice violates the dignity and fundamental rights of Muslim women.The verdict will come a little over two months after the constitutional bench heard the matter over a period of six days during the summer vacation starting on May 11.The Centre has been pushing for a ban on the practice on grounds of gender equality and justice. A favourable order from the bench — comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar (Sikh), along with Justices Kurian Joseph (Christian), Rohinton Nariman (Parsi), UU Lalit (Hindu) and SA Nazeer (Muslim) — will win the ruling BJP support from Muslim women.The issue came under scrutiny with reports emerging of men divorcing their wives via letters, Skype and even WhatsApp messages. Several women divorced by triple talaq petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the practice.The all-men bench has heard arguments from various women’s rights groups, the Centre and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), among others.

SC bars lawyer from practising before it for a month

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a stern message to a lawyer for pointing fingers towards the apex court Registry on listing of cases, the Supreme Court today restrained him from practising as an Advocate On Record (AOR) for a month. A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said contemnor Mohit Chaudhary has abused the privilege of being an AOR under the 2013 Supreme Court Rules and his conduct was “unbecoming” of an advocate. It said the listing of cases was based on judicial directions and not determined by the Registry of the court. “We are thus of the view that the appropriate course of action would be that the contemnor is not permitted to practice as an Advocate-on-Record, for a period of one month from the date of the order. A painful task had to be performed and is performed. “We hope that both for the petitioner and other advocates who may consider the interest of the client paramount even to breach the ethical practice of the court, this would be a caution. We say no more,” the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, said. Justice Kaul, writing the judgement for the bench, said the contemnor has been practising since 2009 and was not a “novice” as he has been representing prestigious institutions, state governments and authorities, which proved that he was quite familiar with the practices of the court. “He cannot be said to be oblivious to the fact that no bench is constituted by the Registry, but by the Chief Justice of this Court. Thus, in an indirect manner, an imputation was impliedly made even against the Chief Justice, though in the garb of a virulent attack on the Registry,” the court said. It said the contemnor took a conscious decision to be a “pawn” in the hands of the litigant, to “scandalise” the court and its Registry with the sole objective of achieving a bench shifting. “It was clearly a commercial decision to sub-serve the interest of his client, even though, it would amount to false allegations and be unbecoming of an advocate,” the bench said. The court also said that it is the duty of an advocate to put his best case for the litigant before the Court. However, this does not absolve him of the responsibility as an officer of the court as this is a “dual responsibility.” The top court said the fundamentals of the profession required an advocate not to be immersed in a “blind quest” of relief for his client. “The dignity of the institution cannot be violated in this quest as law is no trade, briefs no merchandise,” it said. Chaudhary on April 7 had mentioned a matter before a bench headed by the CJI and alleged that it was directed to be listed on that day itself but in a “manipulated way”, it was listed before a special bench. He was appearing for a firm in a slum redevelopment case and his matter was listed before a special bench of Justices Arun Mishra and S Abdul Nazeer.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SC restrains lawyer from practising for a month

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today restrained a lawyer from practising as an Advocate On Record (AOR) for a month. A bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar passed the verdict against the lawyer for allegedly casting aspersions on the apex court Registry in listing of a case. “We are not inclined to proceed with contempt notice but the contemnor is not allowed to practise for a month as an AOR,” the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul, said. The lawyer had made the allegations against the apex court Registry in listing of a case. Advocate Mohit Chaudhary on April 7 had mentioned the matter before a bench headed by the CJI and alleged that it was directed to be listed on that day itself but in a “manipulated way”, it was listed before a special bench. The lawyer had on April 7 told the bench that the matter was to be listed before a regular bench but the registry had listed it before a special bench for which there was no need. Chaudhary was appearing for a firm in a slum redevelopment case and his matter was listed on April 7 before a special bench of Justices Arun Mishra and S Abdul Nazeer. The matter was listed on April 6 for regular hearing but later put in the supplementary list before the special bench headed by Justice Mishra as there was judicial order of March 31 to list the matter before the bench which had heard it.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

9-judge bench to hear right to privacy issue from Wednesday: Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court will commence hearing from Wednesday to decide if the contentious issue of right to privacy is a fundamental right under the Constitution.Hours after referring the matter to a larger bench, the apex court today set up the nine-judge bench to be headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar. It will also comprise 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.A five-judge Constitution bench headed by the CJI, which was to deal with pleas challenging the validity of the Aadhaar scheme and the right to privacy attached to it, was faced with the two past verdicts, delivered in 1950 and 1962 by larger benches, holding that the privacy right was not a fundamental right.The apex court said the nine-judge bench would deal with the limited issue of right to privacy and the correctness of the two judgements. The matter challenging the Aadhaar scheme would be then referred back to a smaller bench, it said. “During the course of the hearing today, it seems that it has become essential for us to determine whether there is any fundamental right of privacy under the Indian Constitution,” the bench, also comprising Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer, said.”The determination of this question will essentially entail whether the decision recorded by this court in M P Sharma and Ors vs. Satish Chandra, District Magistrate, Delhi and Ors. (of 1950) by an eight-judge Constitution bench, and also, in Kharak Singh vs. the State of UP and Ors. (of 1962) by a six-judge Constitution bench, that there is no such fundamental right, is the correct expression of the constitutional position,” it said in its order.The court asked Attorney General K K Venugopal, representing the Centre, and other senior advocates, including Arvind Datar, Shyam Divan, Gopal Subramanium and Anand Grover, who appeared for petitioners opposed to the Aadhaar scheme, to submit their written briefs in the meantime. At the outset, Venugopal reiterated the arguments of his predecessor Mukul Rohatgi that there have been inconsistent views so far as judicial pronouncements on right to privacy was concerned.He said the apex court in M P Sharma and Kharak Singh cases have held that right to privacy was not a fundamental right and later, the smaller benches have said that it was a fundamental right. Venugopal also said that the right to privacy is not a fundamental right and rather it is common law right which is not recognised by the Constitution.One of the counsel for petitioners termed as “regressive” the stand of the Centre that the right to privacy was common law right and not a part of fundamental right under the Constitution.The apex court, initially, referred to the 1978 judgement in the Maneka Gandhi case and said that there was no need to revisit the judgements in Kharak Singh and M P Sharma cases on right to privacy. A three-judge bench had in 2015 referred to a larger bench a batch of pleas, including the one filed by Justice (retd) K S Puttaswamy, challenging the validity of the Aadhaar scheme and the aspect of right to privacy attached to it. The apex court had agreed to set up a bench on July 12 to deal with the Aadhaar-related matters after the attorney general and senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for petitioners, had jointly mentioned the matter.The petitioners had claimed that collection and sharing of biometric information, as required under the scheme, was a breach of the “fundamental” right to privacy. Allowing the Centre’s plea, the court had framed various questions, including as to whether right to privacy was a fundamental right, to be decided by a Constitution bench. “If yes, then what would be contours of right to privacy,” the bench had said while referring the matter to the then CJI for setting up a larger bench.At an earlier hearing, then AG Rohatgi, while backing the Aadhaar card scheme, had contended that right to privacy was not a fundamental right. “No judgment explicitly cites right to privacy as a fundamental right. It is not there under the letters of Article 21 either. If this court feels that there must be clarity on this subject, only a Constitution bench can decide,” Rohatgi had said. He had cited the two judgements, pronounced by six and eight-judge benches, which had held that right to privacy was not a fundamental right.Subsequently, smaller benches had held a contrary view and, hence the matter needed to be decided by a larger bench, he had said. “Whether right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution of India, in the light of express ratio to the contrary by an eight-judge bench in M P Sharma case and also by a six-judge bench of this court in Kharak Singh’s case has to be decided,” Rohtagi had said.

SC to examine if triple talaq is enforceable fundamental right

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today made it clear that it would examine whether the practice of triple talaq among Muslims is fundamental to their religion as it began hearing petitions challenging the practice. A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said it would look into the aspect whether triple talaq is part of an “enforceable” fundamental right to practice religion by Muslims. The bench also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, U U Lalit and Abdul Nazeer, however, said the issue of polygamy among Muslims may not be deliberated upon by it as this aspect is unrelated to triple talaq. The apex court made it clear that each side will get two days each for canvassing their arguments on the two questions formulated by the bench and one day will be given for the rebuttal. The apex court also made it clear that it would stop any counsel who will repeat the arguments. “Each side can argue whatever they want but there should not be any repetition. They will only focus on the validity of triple talaq,” the bench said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Kashmir scientists’ crop discovery recognised after 34 years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It took 34 years for the scientific community to recognise the contribution of Kashmiri scientists in increasing the agricultural output and helping India become a food-sufficient country.Indian Society of Genetics and Plant Breeding felicitated the scientists of Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences (SKUAST), Kashmir, who discovered the high yield maize variety — Composite 15 (C15) — in 1983 that later went on to become a landmark crop.Developed by the Srinagar Centre of All India Coordinated Research Project on Maize under the leadership of Dr MI Handoo, C15 was derived from European material possessing traits which are important in maize production in temperate climates, like early maturity and cold tolerance.”It (C15) matures in about 135-140 days in the Valley and is recommended for higher elevations up to 2,400 metres. It shows resilience to drought and resistance to leaf blight and stem borer, with a yield potential of 60-70 quintal per hectare. Flour from C15 can be used to make quality chapatis and is preferred by people living in high-altitudes”, said Dr Bashir Elahi, senior scientist at Dryland Agricultural Research Station, SKUAST Kashmir.Vice Chancellor of SKUAST, Kashmir, Professor Nazeer Ahmad told DNA that the university has been maintaining and propagating the C15 variety since it was developed by the scientists in 1983, a year after the university was established in the valley.”This (C15) is one of the varieties that contributed to the green revolution in India. These varieties have been recognised for contributing to the food security of the country. They awarded the scientists and the university which contributed to the development of this variety”, said Professor Nazeer.However, the award has come too late as most of the scientists who contributed to the developing of this variety have retired from the services. “We are planning to honour all those scientists who have contributed to the discovery of C15 maize. It is because of their contribution that we have been awarded. We will present the certificate to them as well”, said Prof Nazeer.Official figures reveal that maize is cultivated on over three lakh kanals (20 kanals form one hectare) of land in Kashmir. C15 is being cultivated presently over approximately 20,000 hectares of land.

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.

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