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Supreme Court dismisses plea against appointment of new Chief Justice of India

Supreme Court dismisses plea against appointment of new Chief Justice of India

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition seeking the quashing of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar’s appointment as the next Chief Justice of India.

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

The vacation bench of Justice RK Agrawal and Justice DY Chandrachud dismissed as “without merit” the petition by the National Lawyers Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms and others.

President Pranab Mukherjee on 19 December appointed Justice Khehar as the 44th Chief Justice of India. He will be sworn-in on 4 January, 2017. The incumbent Chief Justice TS Thakur retires on 3 January.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 14:20 IST

SC slams PIL opposing Justice Khehar’s elevation as Chief Justice of India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court termed as “virtually infructuous” a petition filed by a group of lawyers opposing the elevation of Justice J S Khehar as next the Chief Justice of India, observing that the President of India has already issued a notification in this regard.Since the notification appointing Justice J S Khehar as the next Chief Justice of India has already been issued, the petition has virtually become infructuous,” a bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and L Nageswara Rao said.”There is nothing left in this petition as the President of India has issued the notification appointing Justice Khehar as the next CJI. Nothing is left in this now. If you want, we can allow you to withdraw the petition,” the bench said.However, the brief hearing witnessed an altercation among the members of the lawyers’ body as its vice president urged the apex court to list the matter for hearing on December 30, while the others urged the bench for liberty to file a plea afresh. To this, the bench observed, “You are fighting among yourselves”. The vice president of the petitioner, National Lawyers’ Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms, requested the bench that there was something which they wanted to argue and he would call for a general body meeting of the members to decide on these aspects.”But nothing remains in this petition now,” the bench said. Some members of the lawyers’ body told the bench that there was no denial that the petition has become infructuous, so they should be given a liberty to file a fresh plea. The bench noted in its order that the notification appointing Justice Khehar as the next CJI has been issued on December 19.On December 19, President Pranab Mukherjee had cleared the name of Justice Khehar as the next CJI. The present CJI Justice T S Thakur demits office on January 3 next year.In its plea, the lawyers’ body has said that instead of Justice Khehar, Justice J Chelameshwar, who is now the fourth senior-most judge in the apex court, should be elevated as he had given a dissenting view when the National Judicial Appointments Commission was struck down by a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice Khehar.

Cannot ban all ‘Sharia courts’ that have legal existence: Haji Ali petitioner

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the Madras high Court put an end to the menace of illegal ‘Sharia courts’ functioning from various mosques across Tamil Nadu, the Haji Ali petitioner Noorjehan Safia Niaz on Tuesday cited a Supreme Court judgement which pronounced that one cannot ban all ‘Sharia courts’ that have a legal existence.”There is a Supreme Court judgement that says that you cannot ban all the Sharia courts that exist and have a legal existence. The Supreme Court has also said that any decision taken by the Sharia court will not be binding and they can be challenged in the regular court of law. But the fact that they are legal, the Supreme Court has already passed the judgment few years back,” Safia Niaz said.Directing the Tamil Nadu government to curb unauthorised ‘Sharia’ courts, the Madras High Court on Monday, declared all Sharia courts working out of mosques as illegal. The High Court made it clear that religious places are meant to be used only for religious purposes.The High Court bench comprising of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M Sundar also ordered the Tamil Nadu government to file a status report within four weeks regarding the same.

JS Khehar appointed new Chief Justice of India: What you need to know about the 44th CJI

The President on Monday appointed Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar as the 44th Chief Justice of India from  4 January, 2017.

Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on 6 December recommended to the government that Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar be appointed his successor when he demits office on 3 January, said informed sources.

Justice Khehar happens to the senior-most judge after the CJI and should succeed to the post on the principle of seniority. As Chief Justice, he will have a tenure of over seven months as he would be retiring on 28 August, 2017.

High profile cases

File image of Justice Khehar Twitter/ @airnewsalertsFile image of Justice Khehar Twitter/ @airnewsalerts

File image of Justice Khehar Twitter/ @airnewsalerts

Justice Khehar also presided over the five judges’ constitution bench that had quashed the then Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa’s decision to pre-pone the assembly session from January 2016 to December as it directed restoration of ousted Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s government. But subsequent political developments in Arunachal Pradesh took a different course.

He was also a part of the bench which sent Sahara chief Subrata Roy to jail while hearing the matter relating to the refund of money invested by people in his two companies.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, Khehar was instrumental as he presided over the constitution bench that junked the National Judicial Appointment Commission as unconstitutional holding that it intruded upon the independence of judiciary.

The government had sought to replace the existing collegiums system for the appointment of judges to higher judiciary by the NJAC mechanism through the enactment of Constitution’s 99th amendment that had put in place NJAC and the NJAC Act, 2014.

Justice Khehar also appeared as counsel for M Krishnaswamy, an MP from the Arani constituency in Tamil Nadu, in defence of Justice V Ramaswami constituted to investigate the grounds on which the removal of Justice V. Ramaswami was sought. He was also a member of the Judges Inquiry Committee for investigating the grounds for removal of PD Dinakaran when Dinakran was the Karnataka High Court Chief Justice.

Background

Having done LLB and LLM from Punjab University, Chandigarh, Justice Khehar was awarded Gold Medal for securing first position in the university in LL.M examination.

Before being elevated as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh on February 8, 1999, Justice Khehgar had practised before it as well as the Himachal Pradesh High Court and the Supreme Court. He was twice appointed as the acting Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court from August 2, 2008, and again from 17 November, 2009.

He was elevated as Chief Justice of Uttrakhand High Court on 29 November, 2009. Later he was transferred as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court.

Justice Khehar was elevated as judge of the Supreme Court on 13 September, 2011.

With inputs from IANS

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 09:12 IST

Justice JS Khehar set to be next Chief Justice of India after President clears appointment

Justice JS Khehar is set be the next Chief Justice of India after President Pranab Mukherjee formally gave his nod to his appointment. He will succeed CJI TS Thakur as the 44th Chief Justice of India after the latter demits office on 3 January.

The Chief Justice of India, the highest authority in the judiciary, is traditionally appointed on seniority basis, on the recommendation of the incumbent Chief Justice. As Justice Khehar was the senior-most judge after the Chief Justice TS Thakur, his name was recommended to the government on the principle of seniority. As Chief Justice, Khehar will have a tenure of over seven months as he would be retiring on 28 August, 2017.

Justice Khehar in a file image. Twitter/ @airnewsalerts

Justice Khehar in a file image. Twitter/ @airnewsalerts

Justice Khehar will be the first Sikh to occupy the highest office. However, as a report in Live Mint states, his appointment assumes importance as doubts were raised that Justice Khehar might be superseded by the government. A group of prominent lawyers had, earlier this month, urged the government to overlook Justice Khehar’s seniority, citing his verdict on the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) case.

Justice JS Khehar was heading the five-judge constitution bench that junked the National Judicial Appointments Commission for the appointment of judges as unconstitutional holding that it intruded upon the independence of judiciary.

Incidentally, Justice Khehar also presided over the five judges’ constitution bench that had quashed the then Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa’s decision to advance the assembly session from January 2016 to December 2015, as it directed restoration of ousted Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s government. But subsequent political developments in Arunachal Pradesh took a different course.

Having done LLB and LLM from Punjab University, Chandigarh, Justice Khehar was awarded gold medal for securing first position in the university LLM examination.

Before being elevated as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh on February 8, 1999, Justice Khehgar had practised before it as well as the Himachal Pradesh High Court and the Supreme Court. He was twice appointed as the acting Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court from 2 August, 2008, and again from 17 November, 2009.

He was elevated as Chief Justice of Uttrakhand High Court on 29 November, 2009. Later, he was transferred as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court.

Justice Khehar was elevated as judge of the Supreme Court on 13 September, 2011.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 21:46 IST

Indiscipline in armed forces to be viewed ‘seriously’: SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indiscipline on part of security force personnel must be “viewed seriously” and deserting work by disobeying orders of superior officers is an act of “gross misconduct”, the Supreme Court has ruled.A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur also said that past conduct of a delinquent employee can be taken into consideration while imposing a penalty on him.The court’s remarks came as it dealt with a plea filed by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) against the Delhi High Court’s August 2014 judgement directing reinstatement of a constable, Abrar Ali, who was dismissed from service due to his alleged acts of indiscipline and misconduct.In its verdict, the apex court held that though Ali was found guilty of deserting the force for a period of five days and not improving his conduct in spite of penalties imposed on him on three earlier occasions, the penalty of dismissal from service is “excessive and harsh” and “in our view, the penalty of compulsory retirement would meet the ends of justice”.The bench, which also comprised Justices DY Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, said “indiscipline on the part of a member of an armed force has to be viewed seriously. It is clear that the respondent (Ali) had intentionally disobeyed the orders of his superiors and deserted the force for a period of 5 days. Such desertion is an act of gross misconduct and the respondent deserves to be punished suitably.”The bench directed that Ali shall be entitled for notional continuity of service till the date of completion of minimum service required to make him eligible for pension but he will not be entitled for payment of salary and allowances for that period.Ali was appointed as a constable in CISF in September 1990 and in October 1999, an inquiry was proposed against him under the CISF Rules for allegations of misconduct and misbehaviour.According to the charges, he was posted at CISF unit in Dhanbad when he had disobeyed the orders of his seniors and was habitual of committing indiscipline. In November 2000, Commandant of CISF unit in Dhanbad held him guilty of all the charges levelled against him and he was ordered to be dismissed from service.Ali then filed an appeal to the Deputy Inspector General of CISF. While he was exonerated of the charges of maligning the image of the force, his appeal was rejected in 2001.After his revision plea against the order was dismissed by the Inspector General of CISF, Ali had approached the Delhi High Court which allowed his plea and asked CISF to reinstate him as constable with notional seniority in his rank.

Supreme Court to pass order on use of demonetized Rs 500 notes

Fri, 16 Dec 2016-01:40pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court said that it may pass some orders on Friday on a plea seeking that demonetized Rs 500 currency notes be allowed to be used for some more time at places like hospitals and petrol pumps.”We will see whether we can pass some orders today,” a bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice DY Chandrachud said when senior advocate Kapil Sibal sought an interim order on the issue. Sibal said that the use of demonetized Rs 500 notes has come to an end and some order needed to be passed.Yesterday, the court had said that the Centre should adhere to its notification that allowed withdrawal of Rs 24,000 per week from bank accounts after demonetization of high-value currency notes.

India court bans liquor shops on highways

India’s top court bans liquor shops along highways in a bid to curb drink driving and accidents.

Demonetisation: SC seeks govt stand on co-operative banks exchanging old notes

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought response of the Centre on the issues including whether the district cooperative banks can be allowed to accept deposits with certain conditions and can there be a minimum assured withdrawal from banks.

A bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to seek instruction and apprise it about the stand of the government on issues including the bar on district cooperative banks from accepting deposits in demonetised currency notes.

The bench also comprising justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said that when the minimum weekly withdrawal limit has been fixed, then why people are not able to get that amount.

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

“Can we say that this will be the minimum assured weekly withrawal amount that a person can get from the bank,” the bench asked and while fixing the batch of petitions for further hearing on 14 December.

The bench, meanwhile, proposed to frame various legal questions to be deliberated upon in the future hearing.

Rohatgi sought a direction that cases in various high courts on the demonetisation issue be stayed. The bench said that it would take up this issue on next date of hearing.

The top court had on 2 December asked the Centre to spell out the measures taken to ease suffering of and inconvenience to the people in rural areas.

While hearing a batch of pleas challenging various aspects of demonetisation, the court had said that all parties should sit together and prepare a list of categories of cases which could be referred to high courts and those that could be heard by the apex court.

The AG had said that the government was aware of the situation in cooperative banks which lack proper infrastructure and mechanism as compared to scheduled banks.

The Centre had on 24 November filed an affidavit in the apex court on demonetisation and had said that the “bold move” would eradicate black money and slush funds operating since independence which cast a “parallel economy” hitting the poor and the middle class.

On 29 November, the apex court had agreed to hear pleas of 14 cooperative banks of Kerala seeking its nod to transact business like banks and others seeking demonetisation of any currency note higher than Rs 100 denomination.

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 15:41 IST

Contention over position of CBI chief: SC to hear plea which claims govt prematurely curtailed tenure of RK Dutta

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to hear on 9 December a plea challenging the appointment of Gujarat cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as the interim director of CBI.

Supreme Court of India. AFP

Supreme Court of India. AFP

“Okay. It will come up on Friday,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao said after advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, mentioned the plea.

The petition, filed by the NGO, alleged that the Centre took a series of steps in a “completely mala fide, arbitrary and illegal manner to ensure that Asthana was given the charge of CBI director”.

It has claimed that the government did not convene a meeting of the selection committee comprising the prime minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the Chief Justice of India, even though it was fully aware that Anil Sinha was going to demit the office of CBI director on 2 December.

Asthana, an IPS officer of 1984-batch, was elevated as the additional director in the agency on 2 December when CBI Special Director R K Dutta, who was reportedly among the front-runners for the top post, was shifted to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) as a special secretary.

The PIL claimed that the government had “prematurely curtailed” the tenure and transferred Dutta to MHA on 30 November — just two days before Sinha was slated to demit office.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 13:44 IST

Justice JS Khehar to be next Chief Justice of India

Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Tuesday recommended to the government that Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar be appointed his successor when he demits office on 3 January, said informed sources.

Justice Khehar happens to the senior-most judge after the CJI and should succeed to the post on the principle of seniority. As Chief Justice, he will have a tenure of over seven months as he would be retiring on 28 August, 2017.

Supreme Court of India. ReutersSupreme Court of India. Reuters

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

Considered to be a strong judge, Justice Khehar presided over the constitution bench that junked the National Judicial Appointment Commission as unconstitutional holding that it intruded upon the independence of judiciary.

The government had sought to replace the existing collegiums system for the appointment of judges to higher judiciary by the NJAC mechanism through the enactment of Constitution’s 99th amendment that had put in place NJAC and the NJAC Act, 2014.

Justice Khehar also presided over the five judges’ constitution bench that had quashed the then Arunachal Pradesh Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa’s decision to prepone the assembly session from January 2016 to December as it directed restoration of ousted Chief Minister Nabam Tuki’s government.

But subsequent political developments in Arunachal Pradesh took a different course.

Having done LL.B and LL.M from Punjab University, Chandigarh, Justice Khehar was awarded Gold Medal for securing first position in the university in LL.M examination.

Before being elevated as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh on February 8, 1999, Justice Khehgar had practised before it as well as the Himachal Pradesh High Court and the Supreme Court. He was twiuce appointed as the acting Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court from 2 August, 2008, and again from 17 November, 2009.

He was elevated as Chief Justice of Uttrakhand High Court on 29 November, 2009. Later he was transferred as Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court.

Justice Khehar was elevated as judge of the Supreme Court on 13 September, 2011.

First Published On : Dec 6, 2016 21:28 IST

Delhi HC seeks MoD’s reply on PIL on private sale of military apparel

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing concern over private sale of army apparel and gear that have been used by terrorists to strike at military bases, the Delhi High Court today sought the Defence Ministry’s response on what it has done to address the issue. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath issued notice to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), saying that “we want to know your response” and listed the matter for hearing on February 3 next year.”Yes, we know it is a serious issue. Otherwise we would not take it up,” the court told the lawyer, appearing for the petitioner NGO, who said the private sale of military apparel and gear was a cause for concern. The Pathankot Air Force base was attacked in January this year by terrorists dressed in Indian Army fatigues, leading to the death of seven security personnel including a Lieutenant Colonel, and a civilian.Last month, terrorists dressed in police uniform had attacked the army’s XVI Corps headquarters at Nagrota in Jammu district, killing seven security personnel including two officers.Advocate K R Chitra, who filed the PIL by NGO Fight for Human Rights, said the court on July 20 this year had asked the ministry to treat the issue raised as a representation and to take a decision within three months. She said that subsequent to the July 20 order, she had again made a representation to the government. However, no response was received and therefore, she has now again moved the court. She contended that the government has not taken any action to stop private sale of military apparel and gear. Chitra has claimed that as per a January 8, 2016 notification issued by the Indian Army, civilians and private shopkeepers have been directed not to wear or sell military apparel and gear. The NGO has sought steps to curb private sale and manufacture of military apparel, like uniforms, shoes, badges and other gear used by the armed forces which were being made by private industries in Ludhiana and Amritsar in Punjab and sold all over the country.One place where such articles are sold is at the Railway Market at Pathankot, the NGO has claimed.The PIL has also sought that MoD be directed to handle with immediate effect the responsibility of manufacturing, stocking and sale of military apparel and gear used by the armed forces, saying private shops do not check to whom they sell such articles.

Supreme Court adjourns demonetisation matter till December 9

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned hearing of the demonetization matter till December 9.The apex court was about to hear the case against demonetization, but decided to defer it to December 9.Earlier, the top court had adjourned the matter on December 2 because of problems faced by cooperative banks.Chief Justice of India TS Thakur has asked the government to see if something can be done. “People are suffering, it is a serious problem.” he had said then.The Centre had submitted an affidavit last week on the demonetization move in the Supreme Court, saying it is an attempt to unearth black money stashed over the last seven decades.Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the Centre had filed a reply in the Supreme Court in compliance with the top court’s earlier order on the issue.The Centre in its affidavit told the apex court that demonetization is a step to reduce ratio of cash transactions, adding the objective is to unearth illegal parallel economy.Attorney General Rohatgi had earlier filed a transfer petition before the Supreme Court seeking a stay on all pending pleas against demonetization.The apex court had on November 18 refused to put a stay on hearings in various High Courts and lower courts related to the demonetization of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes.

Supreme Court to hear demonetization matter today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will hear the demonetization matter on Monday. The apex court had earlier on December 2 adjourned the matter because of problems faced by cooperative banks.Chief Justice of India TS Thakur has asked the government to see if something can be done. “People are suffering, it is a serious problem,” he said.The Centre had submitted an affidavit last week on the demonetization move in the Supreme Court, saying it is an attempt to unearth black money stashed over the last seven decades. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that the Centre had filed a reply in the Supreme Court in compliance with the top court’s earlier order on the issue.The Centre in its affidavit told the apex court that demonetization is a step to reduce ratio of cash transactions, adding the objective is to unearth illegal parallel economy.Attorney General Rohatgi had earlier filed a transfer petition before the Supreme Court seeking a stay on all pending pleas against demonetization.The apex court had on November 18 refused to put a stay on hearings in various High Courts and lower courts related to the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.

SC to hold special hearing on Nirbhaya gang rape case today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will on Saturday hold a special hearing of the Nirbhaya gang rape case.The death sentence of four of the convicts – Akshay, Vinay Sharma, Pawan and Mukesh was upheld by the Delhi High Court.In the last hearing on November 7, the top court’s Amicus Curiae in the case, Raju Ramachandran, had asked the apex court to set aside the death penalty awarded to the accused.In his written submissions, the senior advocate listed six fundamental errors committed by the trial court while awarding death sentences, including not taking the mitigating circumstances of the accused persons into consideration and not hearing them in person on their punishment.Amicus curiae refers to someone who is not a party to the case but volunteers to offer information on a point of law or some other aspect of the case to assist the court in deciding a matter before it.The top court had on April 4 begun final hearing of the convicts’ appeal almost two years after staying their execution.Two of the four death-row convicts had written to Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice Deepak Misra, stating that they do not approve of the defence counsel appointed by the court to argue their case before the top court as they had given statements against them to the media in the past.The trial court had in September 2013 awarded death sentences to the convicts. Six months later, the Delhi High Court upheld their conviction and sentence. All the convicts moved the apex court in 2014, which stayed their execution. Six people, including a juvenile, had brutally assaulted the woman in a moving bus in South Delhi.Later, the accused threw out the victim and her male friend at an isolated spot. She died in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012, triggering nation-wide protests that resulted in giving more teeth to laws related to rape and other forms of sexual harassment.

Supreme Court adjourns hearing on demonetization matter till Dec 5

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to spell out measures taken to ease the sufferings and inconvenience of people in rural areas, who are mostly dependent on co-operative banks, post-demonetization.A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice D Y Chandrachud, while hearing a batch of pleas challenging various aspects of demonetization, said all the parties should sit together and prepare a list of categories of cases which could be referred to high courts and those that could be heard by the apex court.Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, said that the government is aware of the situation in co-operative banks which lack proper infrastructure and mechanism as compared to scheduled banks.”Entire chapter in the additional affidavit filed by the Centre is dedicated to the issue of co-operative banks. It is not that we are not aware of the situation but these (the co-operative banks) lack proper facilities, mechanism and proper infrastructure as compared to scheduled banks,” he said.He said that the government has deliberately kept co-operative banks out of the drive as these did not have the expertise to detect fake currency.Rohatgi said, “Several cases are filed each passing day in various high courts on various aspects post demonetization and it is not possible to deal with cases simultaneously in Kerala, Kolkata, Jaipur and Mumbai… All these matter should be clubbed together and be referred to any one high court or the apex court should hear them.” Senior advocate P Chidambaram, appearing for co-operative banks, questioned the government’s decision, saying that the rural economy is almost paralysed due to non-inclusion of co- operative banks.Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for one of the petitioners, suggested that they will sit together and file the list of categories by Monday.The bench then posted the hearing on the matter to December 5.

Indian Railways, IRCTC include transgender as third gender

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Railways and IRCTC have included “transgender as third gender” in the option alongside male and female in ticket reservation and cancellation forms.The decision which was taken on a representation made by a lawyer will include the facility for reservations and cancellations, both online as well offline.The Delhi-based lawyer had made the representation after the Delhi High Court in February had asked him to approach the Railway Ministry while disposing of his petition.The ministry in its circular referred to the direction of the apex court of April 2014, which had said that hijras, eunuchs, apart from binary gender, be treated as third gender for protecting their rights.”Supreme Court (in the judgement) has directed that Hijras, Eunuchs, apart from binary gender, be treated as third gender for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under Part III of our Constitution and the laws made by the parliament and the State Legislature.”It has, therefore, been decided to include the third gender/transgender option alongside male/female in reservation cancellation requisition form. This information will be captured by the system and tickets to transgender will be issued on full fare,” the circular stated.Advocate Jamshed Ansari in his PIL before the high court had alleged violation of Article 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), by non-inclusion of “transgender/third gender” as a gender option in its forms.He had also sought compliance of the apex court judgment in which it directed the Centre and the state governments to recognise transgender as the third sex, and to provide them with the benefits accorded to socially and economically backward classes. He had further demanded special coaches and reserved seats for the transgender community in all trains, for their “care and protection”.On which the bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini had asked the ministry to look into the averments made in the writ petition.

Duty of judiciary to see that Govt organs don’t cross ‘Lakshman Rekha’: CJI Thakur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Chief Justice of India T S Thakur cautioned that no organs of government should cross the “lakshman rekha” and stressed judiciary has been given the duty to watch that all remain within its limit.Speaking at a function in the Supreme Court lawns to celebrate Constitution Day, earlier known as Law Day, he said judiciary has every right to set aside any law made by Parliament, if it is against the Constitution or beyond the limits granted by the statute book. “The Constitution tells us that what would be the works to be done by the government. It has fixed the duties and responsibilities for judiciary, executive and legislature. It has fixed their limits and ‘lakshman rekha’.”The judiciary has been given the duty to keep a watch that nobody crosses that limit. If Parliament has the power to make the laws, it should make only in the limits granted under the Constitution. If the State has the right to make laws, it should make only in the limits granted under the Constitution. “If they are making a law which is out of the limits granted under the Constitution or against the fundamental rights, the judiciary has every right to say that it was wrong.”Any order which is against the Constitution, judiciary can set it aside to maintain the rule of law,” CJI Thakur said. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said there is a high respect across the globe for the Indian Constitution which does not distinguish between rich, big and poor.”People are convinced that they can unseat any political leader, howsoever big, from power. It can also replace any political party,” he said.Speaking on the occasion, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said “the delicate balance of the Constitution was disturbed in 70s. That balance must be restored.”The CJI also said that celebrating November 26 as Constitution Day was better than celebrating it as the Law Day.”The importance of this day is that the Constitution was adopted on this day. So, if we have to celebrate the adoption of the Constitution, it can only be celebrated as the Constitution Day. Celebrating it as Law Day was not important,” he said. Judiciary shouldn’t interfere with governance: Ravi Shankar Prasad Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday said that judiciary must give directions to the executive but it should not interfere with the governance. ‘Court must give direction if executive fails, but governance must remain with those who are elected to govern. If those nuances are kept in mind then large number of problems that we encounter would be resolved,’ Prasad said. ‘I must remind that the Constitution has always given legislation with the legislature and that must be remain preserved with it,’ he added.Earlier in the day, stating he “respectfully” disagrees with Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, the Law Minister had said the government has so far appointed 120 High Court judges, adding this is the second highest number of appointments in the history of the country’s judicial system.”We have got the highest regard for the CJI, but we respectfully disagree with him. This year we have made 120 appointments. This is the second highest after 121 were appointed in 2013. Since 1990 there had only been 80 appointments,” Prasad, who was also present at the event, told the media later.Prasad also said that the Supreme Court has failed to make the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), a document to guide appointment of judges to higher judiciary, more transparent and reasonable despite repeated requests from the government.Responding to Justice Thakur’s claim that there is a lack of adequate infrastructure provided to the tribunals, Prasad said, “As far as infrastructure is concerned, it is a continuous process. So many tribunal courts are there. But we need to understand that every retired Supreme Court judge cannot be given the same bungalow of the same size, there is land constraint also.”Earlier, Justice Thakur had stated that there were 500 judges’ posts lying vacant in High Courts while adding that courtrooms are unable to function without judges.With inputs from agencies

Supreme Court bans sale, stocking of firecrackers in NCR

Supreme Court bans sale, stocking of firecrackers in NCR

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday imposed a blanket ban on the sale and stocking of firecrackers in the National Capital Region (NCR) with immediate effect.

It also asked the central government to immediately suspend the licenses of those who stock them.

A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur, Justice AK Sikri and Justice SA Bobde said no further licenses would be issued till further orders.

In another direction, the court asked the Central Pollution Control Board to prepare a report to show what elements were used in the manufacturing of the firecrackers to ascertain if they were harmful to people.

First Published On : Nov 25, 2016 17:11 IST

Supreme Court bans sale of fire crackers in Delhi-NCR to curb rising air pollution

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday banned the sale of fire crackers in Delhi and NCR region until further notice in wake of the alarming air pollution in the region.The top court has asked the Central Pollution Control Board to file a reply within three months regarding harmful effects of fire crackers.Environmentalists were seeking courts intervention in passing orders for ban on sale of firecrackers due to considerable increase in level of pollution in the national capital.The sale of fire crackers will be enforce from today onwards till further order or any hearing by the apex court.The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Tirath Singh Thakur passed this verdict.Earlier, the bench had asked Arjun Gopal, one of the petitioners of the case to put all the materials on record with respect to extent of damage caused by the pollutants on health.In the wake of rising air pollution in the national capital earlier Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung also decided to ban use of firecrackers, except at religion functions.

SC to hear all matters pertaining to demonetization on Dec 2

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will on December 2 hear all pleas including the transfer petition filed by the Centre on the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes.Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on Friday told the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur that he had placed the affidavit on record in connection with the demonetization issue.Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, who appeared for one of the petitioners, told the bench that people are starving in the streets as there was no cash at all. “Public are suffering every day, no political leader was suffering due to demonetization,” said another lawyer Manohar Lal Sharma.Sharma pleaded that the government should not have demonetized the high-value currency notes and said the apex court should pass appropriate order which it deemed fit to deal with the present situation. The Chief Justice of India remarked demonetization as a very serious matter. “What can be done let us see,” he said.Earlier on Thursday, the Centre submitted an affidavit on the demonetization move in the Supreme Court, saying it is an attempt to unearth black money stashed over the last seven decades. Rohtagi said that the Centre had filed a reply in the Supreme Court in compliance with the top court’s earlier order on the issue. “We have filed the report starting from the initiation of SIT and all other issues which could be the affect of demonetization process,” Rohtagi said.The Centre in its affidavit told the apex court that demonetization is a step to reduce ratio of cash transactions, adding the objective is to unearth illegal parallel economy. “Earlier, we constituted SIT to curb black money, amended Benami Act. The people might have to face some inconveniences. Re-calibration of ATMs is in full swing. Crores of fake currency notes have became useless. Funding of terror groups has been stopped,” said the affidavit. Attorney General Rohatgi had earlier on Monday filed a transfer petition before the Supreme Court seeking a stay on all pending pleas against demonetization. The Supreme Court had on November 18 refused to put a stay on hearings in various High Courts and lower courts related to the demonetization of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes.

Delhi HC seeks Centre’s response on plea to bar MPs, MLAs from poll

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court asked the Centre on Wednesday for a response on a plea that sitting Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies should not participate in poll campaigns for their parties.A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice VK Rao said that the issue needs consideration and, therefore, the government should file a counter affidavit with regard to the averments made in the petition.The bench fixed March 8, 2017, for further hearing on the issue.The petition has contended that ministers, MPs and MLAs are public servants and under the law, public servants are prohibited from participating in elections except to the extent of casting their vote.Petitioner Mohan Singh Sharma, a retired sub-inspector, has said that after MPs and MLAs take oath, “it should be presumed that they will only work for the nation and not for any political party during their tenure”.

SC to hear plea seeking ban on Sikh jokes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will hear a petition filed by advocate Harvinder Choudhry seeking a ban on jokes against the Sikh community on Tuesday. Choudhary had contended that such jokes portray the Sikh community in negative light and wants such websites, which disseminate such ‘insensitive’ jokes, to be prosecuted under laws that carry a prison term of six months to five years. The petitioner argued that such jokes on many social network websites portray Sikhs as “unintelligent”, “foolish” and “naive”, making them an easy target of ridicule and racial abuse.Choudhary, herself belonging to a Sikh family, said that she too had been a target of ridicule and abuse because of such jokes. The Supreme Court has asked an expert panel headed by former apex court judge H.S. Bedi to submit draft guidelines so that appropriate orders can be passed to prevent circulation of sardar jokes on websites.In July, a bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice DY Chandrachud gave six weeks time for the panel to hold discussions and submit the guidelines. The bench passed the order after hearing the counsel for various parties including the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) which said that the community is being bullied by such jokes.

Demonetization | There are difficulties, long queues outside banks a ‘serious issue’: SC to govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday dubbed as a “serious issue” the long queues outside banks and post offices and expressed its reservation on the Centre’s plea seeking a direction that no other court in the country should entertain petitions challenging the November 8 notification demonetising Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes.”It is a serious issue which requires consideration,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A R Dave said, while asking the parties to be ready with data and other issues in writing.”Some measures are required. See the kind of problems people are facing. People have to go to the high court. If we shut them from going to the high court, how can we know the magnitude of the problem. People going to different courts indicates the magnitude of the problem,” the bench said.It made the remarks as Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi submitted that any matter relating to challenge to the demonetisation issue be heard by the apex court only.However, the bench said, “People are affected. People are frantic. People have the right to approach the courts,” noting that there are difficulties and “can you (the Centre) dispute”.The AG said there is no dispute, but the queues are getting shorter and even suggested that the CJI can go out during lunch and himself look at the queue.”Kindly go in the lunch time,” the AG told the bench and took objection to senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for a private party, for allegedly exaggerating the situation.”It’s a political attempt in the court. I have seen your (Sibal’s) press conference also. You are not appearing for a political party, but for an advocate. You are turning the apex court into a political platform,” Rohatgi said.At the outset, the bench questioned the relief measures undertaken by the Centre by saying, “Last time you said there will be relief for people in the coming days but you have squeezed the exchange limit to Rs 2,000 only.” “What is the difficulty? ” the bench asked Rohatgi.The AG explained the situation by stating that after printing, the currency has to be moved to thousands of centres across the country and ATMs have to be re-calibrated.”There is no shortage of funds,” he said.To questions from the bench, the AG said Rs 100 notes are in circulation and the ATMs needed to be re-calibrated to issue new currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000.He also elaborated on the steps taken by the government to meet the situation by stating that besides reducing the exchange limit, farmers have been allowed to withdraw Rs 50,000 and people having weddings at home can withdraw Rs 2.5 lakh.”At a petrol pump, which has card swipe machine of SBI, people can go and withdraw money upto Rs 2,000. We have been monitoring the situation day-by-day,” Rohatgi said and added that the idea was to push the new notes of Rs 2,000 as one note of Rs 2,000 is equal to 20 notes of Rs 100.At this point, Sibal interrupted and said the problem is of printing as they need to print Rs 23 lakh crore, but they do not have the capacity to do that.”Already they have frozen Rs 14,000 crore and it is not clear under which law they have done so,” he said, contending that it is a serious situation where people cannot withdraw their own taxed money.”They are trustee, how can they not let us withdraw our legitimate money,” he said, adding that “the situation has turned from bad to worse”.Sibal said that the government was not concerned about the people living in remote areas of the north-east, Himachal Pradesh and Naxal-hit district of Bastar where people have to walk for 20 kms to reach an ATM.While the Congress leader was making the submission pointing out the deficiencies and the steps taken by the Centre, the AG said, “We need not give any explanation as right now it is the interim application that has to be heard.” Realising that the bench has reservation in entertaining the Centre’s application, Rohatgi said, “We will file a transfer petition”.The matter will be heard again on November 25.The Centre has moved the apex court seeking a stay on the proceedings before various high courts and other courts except the apex court against demonetisation issue, saying otherwise it will create a lot of confusion.

Appointment of HC judges: SC refuses to accept rejection of Collegium recommendations by Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday refused to accept rejection of 43 names by Centre recommended by its Collegium for appointment of HC judges by the Centre.”We have reiterated 43 names for the appointment as judges of high courts which were rejected by the government and have been sent back for reconsideration,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and A R Dave said.The apex court stated this after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi reminded the bench about the statement made by him during the last hearing on Tuesday.The top court has sent back all 43 names for reconsideration.The government last week told the Supreme Court that it had cleared 34 out of 77 names recommended by the collegium for appointment in High Court. It added that the remaining 43 names have been returned to the collegium.Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had said, “Out of 77 names recommended by the collegium, 34 have been cleared for appointment as High Court judges.” The AG told SC that not a single file on appointment of judges is pending with the government. The fresh Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) draft sent by government to the Supreme Court on August 3 is yet to receive a reply. The Supreme Court had rapped the government in late October for not appointing judges despite recommendations made by the collegium in this regard.”There should not be a deadlock in appointment of judges. You (Centre) cannot bring the institution to a grinding halt,” said the top court hearing a petition concerning the delay in the appointment of judges to various high courts.Stating that courtrooms across the country were being locked out because of lack of judges, the apex court said, “Government can’t sit over a situation where executive inaction is decimating the judiciary. You have committed that process of appointment will continue without finalisation of Memorandum of Procedure (MoP). Finalisation of MoP has nothing to do with the ongoing appointment process in judiciary,” the court told the Centre.

Bombay HC says efforts to curb black money should be supported

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Refusing to pass any order on a PIL regarding demonetization, the Bombay High Court on Thursday said the Union government’s efforts to act against black money need to be supported.A division bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur made the remarks while hearing a PIL filed by Akhil Chitre seeking directions to the Centre and the state government to ease the inconvenience caused to the common people following the demonetization of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.”The government’s intention to act against parallel economy in black money cannot be said to be mala fide. Though there are problems faced by the citizens, it should be supported,” Justice Chellur said.Refusing to pass any direction, the bench said the Supreme Court was already hearing petitions pertaining to the issue and hence it would not be correct for the high court to interfere.

Bombay HC refuses to stay ‘Coldplay’ concert for non-payment of entertainment duty

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court on Thursday refused to stay the upcoming concert of British rock band ‘Coldplay’, but said the Maharashtra government should take an undertaking from the event organiser that it would be willing to pay the waived entertainment duty if the court directs so in future.A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice M S Sonak was hearing a public interest litigation filed by activists Anjali Damania and Hemant Gavande challenging the government’s decision to waive the entertainment duty for the concert.The concert by the British band is scheduled to be held on November 19 at the MMRDA grounds in suburban Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). The petitioners have challenged the validity of the decision primarily on grounds that exemption from payment of entertainment duty under the Bombay Entertainment Duty Act-1923 can be given only for shows or programmes organised for charitable or educational purposes.
ALSO READ PIL filed in Bombay HC against waiving entertainment duty on ‘Coldplay’ concertActing Advocate General Rohit Deo on Thursday submitted to the court that the concept of the festival was different and that it was not just a rock show. “It is going to be an eight-hour-long programme and the concert by Coldplay is just a part of it. The festival is to create awareness and educate people mostly youngsters about three subjects – gender equality, education and clean water. These three are part of the 17 sustainable goals of the United Nations,” Deo said.He said that out of the 80,000 tickets, 65,000 will be given free of cost to those persons who show their contribution to society in the above mentioned subjects. “Out of the remaining 15,000 tickets, 11,000 will be sold by the organiser to meet the expenditure of the programme and 4,000 have been kept for dignitaries,” Deo said, adding that several industrialists and political leaders are expected to come.After hearing arguments of both the sides, the court said it cannot accept the contentions of the petitioners at this stage and hence, was not inclined to stay the concert. “However, in the interest of justice we cannot throw away this petition. As a precautionary measure, the state government is directed to take an undertaking from the organiser that in future if the petition succeeds, then they (organiser) would pay the necessary entertainment duty,” Chief Justice Chellur directed.The petitioners’ lawyer, Uday Warunjikar, argued that the organisers are from Delhi and, hence, there cannot be any guarantee that in future they will pay the entertainment duty. Warunjikar cited the example of a show for Michael Jackson organised by a company in 1996, stating in that case the high court had later ordered the organisers to deposit the entertainment duty in court. To this, the court said, “If you look at everything with tainted glasses then everything will appear yellow. We cannot suspect and doubt everything and every action of the state government.”The petition also challenged the MMRDA’s decision to grant 75% concession on rentals, which amounts to almost Rs 6 crore. The court then said it cannot interfere in this decision as it is the MMRDA’s discretion how much rent to levy.​

Centre moves SC to stay proceedings against demonetization

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear on Friday a fresh plea of Centre seeking a stay on the proceedings before various high courts and other courts except the apex court against its November 8 decision to demonetize high denomination currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.A bench comprising justices A R Dave and A M Khanwilkar agreed to the contention of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, that proceedings in various courts except the apex court on the issue will create a lot of confusion.The bench said the matter will be heard by another bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur which is hearing a batch of PILs against the Centre’s demonetization move.The apex court, on November 15, had refused to stay the government’s demonetization notification but asked it to spell out the steps taken to minimise public inconvenience.Out of the four PILs in the apex Court on demonetization issue, two were filed by Delhi-based lawyers Vivek Narayan Sharma and Sangam Lal Pandey, while two others were filed by individuals, S Muthukumar and Adil Alvi.The petitioners had alleged that the sudden decision has created chaos and harassment to public at large and the notification of the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance be either quashed or deferred for some time.The Prime Minister, in a televised address to the nation, had declared that high denomination notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 will no longer be legal tender from November 8-9 midnight. He had said the Government has declared a “decisive war” against black money and corruption.

PIL filed in Bombay HC against waiving entertainment duty on ‘Coldplay’ concert

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A PIL was, on Wednesday, filed in the Bombay High Court challenging Maharashtra government’s decision to waive off entertainment duty for the upcoming Coldplay concert in Mumbai, just three days ahead of the much-anticipated performance by the British rock band.The public interest litigation filed by activist Anjali Damania will come up for hearing tomorrow before a division bench headed by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur.The concert by the British band is scheduled to be held on November 19 at the MMRDA grounds in suburban Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC).The petition has challenged the government’s decision to waive off entertainment duty for the concert and also the MMRDA’s decision to grant 75% concession on rentals, which amount to almost Rs6 crore less.Damania’s lawyer Uday Warunjikar said the concert is a commercial activity and hence, such waivers cannot be granted.He said that granting such waivers was beyond the scope of the Bombay Entertainment Duty Act.Warunjikar mentioned the petition, on Wednesday, before the High Court which said it would hear it on Thursday.The petition has sought for both the entertainment duty and the ground concession money to be collected.

SYL canal: SC denies urgent hearing on plea against Parkash and Sukhbir Badal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to grant urgent hearing to a fresh plea seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab for their alleged statements against the verdict in the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal water sharing agreement.A five judge constitution bench had recently termed as “unconstitutional” the 2004 Punjab law which terminated the SYL water pact, saying the state cannot “unilaterally” terminate it or legislate to “nullify” the verdict of the highest court. A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice D Y Chandrachud today told lawyer Rakesh Dahiya, who sought urgent listing of a criminal contempt petition, that the plea would come up in due course.The plea, which was filed by one Satbir Hooda, a resident of Rohtak in Haryana who runs an NGO, alleged that Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal, Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab respectively, have made statements that the apex court verdict in the case will not be allowed to be implemented. “This constitutes the offence of criminal contempt,” the lawyer said.In its verdict, the apex court recently responded in the “negative” to all the four questions referred to it for the opinion by then President APJ Abdul Kalam on the validity of the law passed by then Punjab government-led by Captain Amrinder Singh to nullify the court verdicts and unilaterally terminating the almost three-dacade old SYL water sharing agreement. The controversial 1981 water sharing agreement came into being after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966.

Delhi Pollution: Supreme Court agrees to hear plea on Tuesday

Delhi Pollution: Suprme Court agrees to hear plea on Tuesday

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New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday a plea on the alarming state of air pollution in Delhi as it was told that it had, in the past, issued several directions but their effective implementation and enforcement was lacking.

Vehicles ply on smog covered street in New Delhi on Saturday. PTIVehicles ply on smog covered street in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

Vehicles ply on smog covered street in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice L Nageswara Rao agreed to hear the matter on Tuesday after Sunita Narayan of Centre for Science and Environment told the court that there was no effective implementation of the directions issued by the apex court last year.

She told the court that as of now the direction issued in the past were sufficient but if the need arose they would urge the court to issue further directions.

She sought from the court monitoring of the implementation of its directions.

The apex court was also given the report by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority for NCR on the state of air pollution in the national capital territory.

Narayan also told the court that Uttar Pradesh and Haryana were diverting the heavy vehicles and other traffic so that they don’t pass through the national capital but because of shortage of manpower the diversion of traffic was not upto the desired levels.

Bombay HC not providing copy of orders; SC expresses unhappiness

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Expressing unhappiness over Bombay High Court for “repeatedly passing orders” without making their copies available to the concerned parties, the Supreme Court has asked the Chief Justice to intervene and see if “something can be done”.The apex court made the remarks during the hearing of a matter relating to a property dispute after counsel for the petitioner informed the bench that despite the order being passed by the High Court in August, its copy has not been made available to them. “We are extremely unhappy that the Bombay High Court is repeatedly passing orders without making a copy thereof available to the parties. We request the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court to look into the matter and consider whether something can be done,” a bench of Justices M B Lokur and Adarsh Kumar Goel said.The court’s order came after petitioner company M/s Gada Properties Pvt Ltd failed to provide the copy of high court’s order which it has challenged before the apex court, despite earlier directions by the bench. While granting permission to the firm to file an appeal without the certified as well as plain copy of the judgment, the bench said “in this case, the order was passed by the High Court on August 8, and even two and half months later, a copy of the order is not available”.”This raises a serious issue of access to justice,” the court said while directing an interim stay on the high court order. The bench also issued notice to the civic body and others on the plea of firm.The apex court had on September 16 granted interim stay on high court’s August 8 order and directed the civic body not to take coercive steps against the petitioner, including demolition of the suit property, till the next date of hearing of the matter.It had also given two weeks to the firm to produce the certified copies of the high court’s order. The firm’s petition was dismissed by the high court on August 8 in which it had challenged the order of civic body terming portions of its three buildings in the city as illegal.

Kerala media writes open letter to CJI to resolve standoff with lawyers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Regional Committee of the Indian Newspaper Society and the Kerala Television Federation have written an open letter to Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, appealing him to resolve the stand-off between mediapersons and lawyers in the state. The letter, carried on page one of all major dailies today, said, “A huge blot left by a section of the legal fraternity has blurred the transparency of the judicial process even as grand preparations for the diamond jubilee celebrations are on.”The CJI is on a visit to the state to attend the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Kerala High Court.Welcoming him on the occasion of the state’s 60th formation day today, the letter said the actions of a section of legal fraternity have seriously affected the excellent relations t​hat prevailed till recently between the judiciary and the media in the state.The letter recalled a series of incidents played out by a section of lawyers following the reportage of an incident involving government pleader Dhanesh Mathew Manjooran who had allegedly misbehaved with a woman in a crowded street here. Such incidents were a blot on the legacy of judiciary in the state which has benefited from the timely intervention of many illustrious judges whose vision and perspective had given Kerala a right roadmap to evolve as an enlightened society with good legal literacy, it said. Recalling a meeting the senior representatives of the Kerala media had with the CJI in New Delhi, the letter said, “We all were immensely hopeful of an early solution post this meeting. But unfortunately precious little has changed on the ground”. “This bleak scenario is continuing inspite of intervention of Governor Justice P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, various international press associations, senior leaders of all socio-political organisations and prominent citizens,” it said.The letter also cited an incident in which journalists were hounded out of the Chief Justice’s court in Kerala High Court the very next day after a third communique reassuring media of hassle-free entry and reporting, signed by the registrar general, was sent to the media houses in the state. “At the Vanchiyoor court in Thiruvananthapuram, sadly, again in the presence of the judge, journalists, including women, were booed and manhandled and elbowed out of the courtroom,” said the letter. PTI

Judges appointment row: Govt insists no abnormal increase in vacancies in high courts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rapped by the Supreme Court for delaying judicial appointments, the government has said that it has increased the sanctioned strength of high court judges from 906 to 1,079 and insisted that there has been no abnormal increase in the vacancies in the high courts under NDA rule. The average annual rate of appointment of judges in the high courts has not declined during the last two years, though no new appointments were made during April-December, 2015 due to hearing of the NJAC matter, sources said.”Government of India has utmost respect for the judiciary and its independence,” a source said, against the backdrop of strong statement by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur over the vacancies not being filled up. The sources said the government is concerned about the increasing pendency in the judicial courts and “hence, government has been making all out efforts to see that the vacant posts are filled up”. They said while the sanctioned strength in June, 2014 was 906, the present government increased it to 1,079 in June this year.The sources said that it is being presented in the media that the number of vacancies of judges in the high courts has increased abnormally in recent times. “However, an analysis of data for the last 10 years indicates that there is no such abnormal increase,” the source said. Giving details, the sources said that during the last 10 years, the number of vacancies has varied from 265 to 280. Similarly, working strength of judges in the high courts has remained almost the same, around 600. The current working strength in high courts is 620, they said against the backdrop of attack by the Chief Justice of India and opposition parties, including Congress. “Further, 173 new posts of judges were created in last two years. This has added to the vacancies in the High Courts,”the source said. During the period 2009-2014, only 20 new posts of high courts judges had been created, whereas during 2015 and 2016, 173 new posts were created.”If we exclude that period, the average annual rate of appointment of High Courts judges has increased by 63% (from 74 to 121 per year),” the source added.They said government is keen to expedite appointment of judges and as explained in the court, 86 fresh appointments have been made in the high courts. 121 additional judges have been made permanent, 14 chief justices have been appointed and four chief justices transferred. The sources said 18 additional judges have been given extension and four judges to the apex court were also appointed. Besides, 33 judges of high courts have also been transferred.

Centre responds to SC: Govt keen to expedite appointment, 86 judges designated in HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On a day the Supreme Court rapped the government over delay in appointments to higher judiciary, the Centre said while it’s keen to appoint new judges, there is also a need to expedite the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) pending before the collegium for the past two months. “The government is keen to expedite appointment of judges and as explained in the court, 86 fresh appointments have been made in the high courts. 121 additional judges have been made permanent, 14 chief justices have been appointed and four chief justices transferred,” a source said.The sources said 18 additional judges have been given extension and four judges to the apex court were also appointed. Besides, 33 judges of high courts have also been transferred. They pointed out that there is also a judicial direction to finalise the MoP a document to guide appointment of Supreme Court and High Court judges to make collegium more transparent and objective and to make the the zone of consultation wider. The direction was given because the existing system was found to be flawed.The MoP, as per the direction of the apex court, should be finalised by the Chief Justice of India with a unanimous view of the fellow members of the collegium. “The government’s view is pending before the SC for two months now. That also needs to be expedited now,” they said.
ALSO READ SC raps Centre for not appointing judges; says cannot bring the institution to grinding haltWhile the focus is on shortage of judges in the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts, the situation in the subordinate courts, considered the backbone of justice delivery system, is even worse. Latest data show there is a shortage of 5,111 judicial officers who run subordinate courts across the country.As on June 30, while the total sanctioned strength was 21,303, the subordinate courts were functioning with 16,192 judicial officers — a shortage of 5,111. In most of the big states, the selection of judicial officers is done by the high courts.
ALSO READ SC to hear delay in appointment of judges to high courtsIn 11 states the recruitment of subordinate judiciary is done by the high courts, while in 17 states it is done by the state public service commissions. The 24 high courts face a shortage of nearly 450 judges. Nearly three crore cases are pending in courts across India.

SC not to restrain govt from using surgical strikes for political gains

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking to restrain the government from using the issue of surgical strikes and other actions of armed forces for political gains.In the PIL, filed by Manohar Lal Sharma, a Delhi-based lawyer, sought the apex court’s direction to the government in this regard.A three-judge bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of India Tirath Singh Thakur and comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and L. Nageshwar Rao dismissed Sharma’s PIL on the ground that the petition lacked merit, and thus, was baseless.The India Army conducted surgical strikes along the Line of Control (LoC) on seven Pakistan terror launch pads on the intervening night of September 28-29.India’s Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh announced that Indian Army had carried out multiple surgical strikes in the wake of the infiltration bids by terrorists along the Line of Control (LoC), including at Uri and Poonch earlier this month.Although almost all political parties hailed the surgical strike, they asked the government not to thump its chest on the issue to manipulate voters in the wake of assemblies elections in four states, including Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

Political activist becoming a judge is inconceivable now: CJI Thakur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Scrutiny in appointments to the higher judiciary is much more stringent these days and it would have been “inconceivable” for a judge like late V R Krishna Iyer, who flaunted his political activism, to be elevated to the apex court, Chief Justice T S Thakur said on Wednesday.”A politician becoming a judge and that too a judge of the Supreme Court is inconceivable in present context. That too a judge who has been prosecuted in 10 criminal cases. A judge who has undergone sentence for 30 days,” he said in his speech at Inaugural Lecture series in memory of Justice Iyer here. “A judge who is a political activist, an agitationist becoming a candidate and becoming a judge is inconceivable today,” he further said.While calling himself a die hard fan of Justice Iyer, the Chief Justice said in today’s time, if we had an Iyer-type candidate, the collegium would have hesitated in recommending him. “We had a meeting of the collegium today. One of the objection about two of the candidates were that they had obtained a chamber and the allotment was later cancelled as it was found that the allotment was not valid according to rules.”Allottee has gone to the court to challenge the cancellation. Now one of the objection is that this candidate is in litigation. We have even deferred. Times have changed.Today if we had a Justice Krishna Iyer kind of candidate, we would have been very very hesitant in recommending him for elevation,” CJI said. Beside the CJI, former Supreme Court Judge K S P Radhakrishnan, senior advocates Fali S Nariman and P H Parekh praised Justice Iyer while addressing the first lecture series organised by Sarada-Krishna Satgamaya Foundation, a charitable trust founded by Justice Iyer, to conduct law lectures and to promote other activities connected with legal education and legal literary works. Senior lawyer Nariman, while delivering the inaugural speech of the lecture series, recalled major judgments pronounced by Justice Iyer like the Ratlam municipality judgment and remembered his toughness in dealing with the issues of social justice keeping away his political affinities. Nariman also hailed Justice Iyer as a jurist who defined bail jurisprudence in favour of undertrials when he laid down that bail, not jail was the rule and was averse to preventive detentions as a general rule.The senior lawyer also referred to Justice Iyer’s 1975 conditional stay on Allahabad High Court verdict that unseated Indira Gandhi as MP which led to the events that culminated in the imposition of Emergency. He recalled that once Justice Iyer was denied enrollment in the Kerala Bar Association but he threatened to sue the Kerala Bar Association. “Evidently, it worked,” Nariman said while hailing Justice Iyer as “super judge”.He also criticised the handling of the recent dengue epidemic in Delhi, as something Justice Iyer would never have done. Endorsing the senior counsel’s words praising former apex court judge, CJI Thakur called late Justice Iyer a legend and compared him with Mount Everest. “If we compare the judicial landscape with the Himalayas, Justice Krishna Iyer was the Mount Everest,” he added. He further said the presence of such huge gathering of Bar at this hour, on a working day shows there is a great hunger for knowledge, continuing education, to know about the past legends and their contribution.”Why can’t we organise such lectures on a regular basis in memory of various other prominent lawyers and jurists? This can be an opportunity to the younger generation of the bar. “Only way we can relieve the memories of such great people is to remember them through the work that they have done and especially through the words of those who have worked with them,” CJI said adding Justice Iyer was unique in many respects. “First of all he was the first person who came from politics to judiciary. We know that judges who have retired have a tendency to meddle in politics,” he added.CJI also said Iyer’s understanding about the constitutional ethos was unparalleled. “I admire his vocabulary. Krishna Iyer’s vocabulary was phenomenal. I believe that he has the distinction of coining new expressions. He has made additions to English language. For an Indian to do that, I think it requires only a man from Kerala eating lots of fish, a brainy fellow, who can do all these,” he said.

SC to continue its hearing on 1995 Hindutva verdict

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will continue its hearing on the Hindutva case on Wednesday which deals with electoral malpractices arising out of its 1995 judgment. During the hearing by the seven judges’ Constitutional bench, the apex court on Tuesday said it won’t reconsider 1995 judgment which defined Hindutva as “a way of life and not a religion.” The observations came after an on interlocutory application filed by social activist Teesta Setalvad requested the bench to reconsider the 95 judgment. A seven-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, said the court will not go into the larger debate as to what is Hindutva or what its meaning is and will not reconsider the 1995 judgment. The remarks were made by the bench when some advocates sought to intervene in the ongoing hearing which commenced last Tuesday. Last week, Setalvad had sought the Supreme Court’s intervention in the matter with an application stating that religion and politics should not be mixed and a direction be passed to delink religion from politics.The apex court bench also comprised Justices M B Lokur, S A Bobde, A K Goel, U U Lalit, DY Chandrachud and L Nageshwar Rao. The apex court instead took up a separate plea filed in 1990 whether seeking of votes in the name of religion will amount to a corrupt practice under the Representation of the People Act warranting disqualification.It may be recalled that the Bombay High Court had set aside the election of Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi in the mid-1990s. The matter was then moved to Supreme Court, which in 1995 overturned the high court order saying Hindutva is a way of life.Since then, the issue was raised in the top court many times, including in 2002 when the court referred the matter to a seven-judge bench for clarity.

SC to hear December 16 gangrape convicts’ plea today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will on Monday hear an appeal filed by December 16 Nirbhaya gangrape convicts’ Akshay, Vinay Sharma, Pawan and Mukesh.They had challenged their death sentence awarded by the Delhi High Court in the apex court.The top court had on April 4 begun final hearing of the convicts? appeal almost two years after staying their execution.Two of the four death-row convicts had written to Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice Deepak Misra, stating that they do not approve of the defence counsel appointed by the court to argue their case before the top court as they had given statements against them to the media in the past.The trial court had in September 2013 awarded death sentences to the convicts.Six months later, the Delhi High Court upheld their conviction and sentence. All the convicts moved the apex court in 2014, which stayed their execution.Six people, including a juvenile, had assaulted the woman in a moving bus in South Delhi.Later, the accused threw out the victim and her male friend at an isolated spot.She died in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012, triggering nation-wide protests that resulted in giving more teeth to laws related to rape and other formes of sexual harassment.

Soon, all-India entrance test for judges’ appointments

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The four-decade old plan of setting up an all-India service for appointment of judicial officers in the lower judiciary is finally taking shape. Sources in the law ministry said the issue of creation of an All India Judicial Service (AIJS) was discussed recently as part of the Centre’s plan to bring judicial reforms. Chief Justice of India TS Thakur is likely to meet chief justices in all states to discuss the modalities of AIJS.The plan of holding an all India entrance test for judges, as is done in case of Indian Administrative Services, is ostensibly being pushed by the law ministry in a bid to ensure regular appointment of judges in the lower judiciary, which is currently reeling under staff shortage.According to latest statistics, as of June 30, there was a shortage of 5,111 judicial officers in the country’s district courts, which have only 16,192 judges against the sanctioned strength of 21,303. Nearly three crore cases are pending in district courts across India. At present, judges for lower courts are mostly selected by High Courts or the State Public Service Commission of respective states.Sources said the creation of AIJS will make the government instrumental in appointment of judges at the entry level. This is significant because every year, 60 per cent of vacancies in the High Courts are filled through promotion of lower court judges to High Courts, where the main recruitment happens through the Collegium system, in which the government has no say.The government narrative is that since the case of appointments in higher judiciary is stuck, it is working towards strengthening the lower judiciary. The higher judiciary case is stuck because the government and judiciary have not been able to come on a common ground regarding finalising of a Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for the Collegium.Meanwhile, sources said Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and senior officials from the ministry tried to build a strong case for AIJS in a meeting held with some judges a few weeks ago.That things are moving forward for AIJS is also evident from a note prepared by the law ministry’s justice department. The note, dated September 20, 2016, states: “The matter has been discussed at the highest level in the government and the judiciary. It has been decided that the Honourable Chief Justice of India would convene a meeting of the Chief Justices of the High Courts to arrive at a consensus on formation of AIJS.”Relations between the government and the judiciary strained after the Supreme Court struck down the government proposal to replace the Collegium system with the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) for appointments in higher judiciary.Though the Apex Court had questioned the objectivity of its own Collegium system, it chose the Collegium over NJAC. The Supreme Court, however, asked the Centre to devise in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, an MoP for the Collegium, a task that remains pending.It is pertinent to mention that various law commissions (1st, 8th, and 11th) had also suggested the creation of AIJS. Even the Supreme Court, in two of its judgments in 1991 and 1993, had recommended setting up of AIJS. In addition, Article 312 of the Constitution also talks about the creation of AIJS, which was also a part of the All India Conference of Chief Justices of High Courts and Chief Ministers meet in 2013 and 2015.In November, 2012, a Committee of Secretaries chaired by the Cabinet Secretary had approved a “comprehensive proposal” for creation of the service. At the time, 18 high courts out of 24 had responded to the proposal, and most of them had opposed it. It will be interesting to see how the High Courts react to the present proposal which, according to sources, has been significantly tweaked to convince the judiciary that it would remain free of government control.

Supreme Court dignifies Justice Katju’s Facebook post with a debate: Was it necessary?

Justice Markandey Katju’s reasons for criticising the Supreme Court (SC) judgment in the Soumya rape case may have been legitimate, but is the SC right in engaging with him by inviting him for a debate?

In the last few months, Justice Katju has attacked the Chief Justice of India (CJI), made casteist jokes, mocked Biharis and offended the people of Odisha in his Facebook posts, ending them all with an exclamatory “Hari Om“.

He had to recently apologise for a post he shared on Facebook and on his personal blogpost, ridiculing the people of Odisha. He wrote in the post: “I was asked to write about the Oriyas (Odias). What is there to write about these poor chaps? Ever since they got a thrashing at the hands of Ashoka in the battle of Kalinga they have been a dejected lot. Now all they have with them are a lot of pots (Patras), big pots (Mahapatras) and supposedly intelligent kings (Patnaiks). And of course they have Lord Jaggannath, to whom they pray every day for revenge on the abominable Biharis.

File photo of Justice Markandey Katju. PTIFile photo of Justice Markandey Katju. PTI

File photo of Justice Markandey Katju. PTI

Katju, a retired SC judge, is a passionate Facebook user. His posts in a day put together are enough to fill the edit page of a national daily. Given his standing, the views expressed by him on the social networking website often make the news, which he then happily and unfailingly shares.

You can understand when a retired judge, at leisure, engages with the world through Facebook – more often than not to put forward his unsolicited views on every issue under the sun. What is perplexing is the fact that the highest court of the land is dignifying his criticism of a judgment by inviting him for a debate.

Under normal circumstances, a common man expressing his or her unabashed criticism of a judgment that has already been decided, following due process and the procedure established by law, would have amounted to contempt of court.

Justice Katju’s criticism has, however, attracted a summon for a debate instead.

According to a PTI report,”In an unprecedented order, the Supreme Court on Monday summoned Justice Katju to appear in person before it to point out the ‘fundamental flaws’, as claimed by him in the Soumya rape case,”

“He (Justice Katju) is a respected gentleman. We request him to come in person and debate his Facebook post criticising the judgment. Let him come to the court and let’s debate over the fundamental flaws in our verdict,” a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice UU Lalit said after issuing a notice to Justice Katju, the PTI report stated.

But, in spite of many of his posts that fall in the ‘just joking’ category, the fact remains that his legal expertise and acumen cannot be questioned and it cannot be denied that he must have had valid doubts and reasons for questioning the apex court’s judgment.

For example, he has raised some extremely important points in his post, which reads, “In acquitting the accused on the murder charge the Court held that there is no evidence that the accused had any intention of causing the death of Soumya and so could not be convicted under section 302 IPC. The Court held that it is possible that after being assaulted on the head four or five times and then being raped, Soumya might herself have jumped off the train on which she was travelling. However, the Court found the accused guilty of rape under section 376 and also guilty of some other provisions of the IPC.”

And he also states reasons for finding the assertions flawed, “Section 300 states that it is a case of murder (for which capital punishment can be imposed under section 302) even if there was no intention to kill, if the accused inflicts a wound sufficient to cause the death of a person in the ordinary course of nature.”

Therefore, the pertinent question to be asked here is whether it was desirable for the Supreme Court to hold a debate on a judgment duly decided by the Lordships just because Justice Katju found it flawed.

In the last few months, on more than one occasion, CJI TS Thakur has talked about the huge pendency that the courts, including the SC, is grappling with.

Earlier this month, CJI Thakur made an important appeal when he urged the ministry of law and justice to devise a mechanism to relieve the judicial system of the “avoidable burden” that arises out of the “sheer apathy, indifference or incapacity” of the government and its departments to take certain decisions.

As reported by PTI, the Chief Justice also asked the government to set up a panel, comprising of former judges, to decide on whether or not to fight a case against any citizen when the issue could be resolved outside the court.

“I would request the law minister to devise some mechanism to relieve our judicial system of avoidable burden that comes on us, not because we are not ready to share that burden but because of the sheer apathy or indifference or the incapacity of the government to deal with a situation to take a decision,” the Chief Justice said.

The appeal was important given the huge pendency that the judiciary is grappling with. According to an Indiaspend report, published in Firstpost in April, more than 20 million cases are pending in the Indian districts courts; two-thirds are criminal cases and one in 10 have been pending for more than 10 years.

The Indian Express reported that according to statistics provided by the Supreme Court’s E-Committee on pending cases in district courts, there are more than 2.18 crore cases pending in district courts across the country. In 12 states, more than 5 lakh cases are pending for disposal.

The report further stated that data, as of 30 April, highlights the glaring problem of the huge pendency across states and Union territories. Over 2.18 crore cases remain pending, of which more than 22.5 lakh cases have failed to be decided in the last 10 years – 10.3 percent of the total pendency.

It also stated that, “Around 38.3 lakh cases are pending for more than five years but less than 10 years – 17.5 percent of the total number of cases. Therefore, more than one-fourth of cases pending across district courts in the country are pending for at least five years. And 29.5 per cent of total cases, or 64.5 lakh cases, have been pending for more than two years.”

Justice Katju, like any other citizen, has the right to comment upon the Soumya case judgment without attacking the legal sanctity attached to the courts. It is an expression of free speech. But there is no convincing enough reason for why any court should spare any amount of its precious time in engaging with such a criticism, unless it involves some pertinent constitutional questions.

SC to hear Haji Ali Dargah Trust’s plea challenging Bombay HC order

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will on Monday hear Haji Ali Dargah Trust’s plea challenging the Bombay High Court order lifting the ban on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the renowned Muslim shrine in South Mumbai. The apex court had on October 7 extended the stay on the entry of women in dargah till October 17 after the dargah management said that it would come out with a progressive stand in two weeks. A Bench, led by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, was hearing a plea by the Haji Ali Dargah Trust challenging the Bombay High Court ruling, providing equal entry right for women and men into the Dargah’s sanctum sanctorum.On August 26, the Bombay High Court held that the ban imposed by the Trust, prohibiting women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and said women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men. The order came on a public interest litigation petition filed by two women from the NGO Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan. It held that the trust had no power to alter or modify the mode or manner of religious practices of any individual or any group. Noorjehan Fiaz and Zakia Soman, founders of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), had petitioned the Bombay High Court against the ban, calling it unconstitutional. Prior to 2011, the dargah did not discriminate against women and allowed free entry of people across religions. On March 2011, the dargah’s board of trustees imposed a ban on women’s entry, calling it a “grievous sin”. On July 10, 2015, a bench headed by Justice VM Kanade set aside previous order framing eight questions by an earlier bench of the High Court on maintainability and decided to hear the PIL on merits.

No bar for journalists: Advocates have no right to decide who should enter courts, says Pinarayi Vijayan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Saturday there is no bar on journalists to report court proceedings and called the action of a section of lawyers obstructing reporting unacceptable. Inaugurating the state meeting of Kerala Union of Working Journalist in Kochi, Vijayan said government would take action against those violating law in this regard.”There was no bar for journalists to report court proceedings and action of some lawyers putting obstruction in reporting cannot be accepted,” Vijayan said.His statement comes a day after some lawyers dragged out media persons who went at the Vigilance Court in Thiruvananthapuram to cover the hearing of a petition against former Industries Minister EP Jayarajan on an appointment row. “Advocates have no right to decide who should enter courts and who should not. The court complex belongs to the country. It is part of judiciary and advocates have no right over it”, he said.”It is also a misunderstanding that advocates have a small power that of judge”, he said.Preventing journalists amounted to causing hindrance to freedom of the press, he said, adding, the advocates should understand that it was violation of law. It is the duty and responsibility of the government to take steps to protect law of the land, he added.Vijayan also explained the initiatives taken by him in ending the standoff between media and a section of lawyers by holding discussion with High Court Chief Justice recently.A group of lawyers, angered over a media report about a government pleader allegedly misbehaving with a woman, had chased some media persons away and media have not been able to go to the High Court to report its proceedings since July 19.` A media delegation of Editors from Kerala had recently met President Pranab Mukherjee and brought to his notice the issues faced by journalists with regard to court reporting.The delegation had informed the President about the closure of media room inside the High Court in Kochi and at other courts in the state and the efforts by the Chief Justice to find an amicable solution to the problem. He said after the discussion he had with the Chief Justice, the High Court Registrar General had informed that there was no bar for media to cover court proceedings. Despite the assurance, the attack on journalist at the Vigilance Court on Friday is not acceptable, he said.Vijayan said that efforts should be made to isolate those trying to create problems. Meanwhile, police have registered a case in connection with Friday’s attack on journalists at the Vigilance Court.

Justice Katju professes his love for Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa in sentimental Facebook post

Former Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju has professed his love for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in a Facebook post. In the post, Katju calls Jayalalithaa a ‘lioness’ and calls her opponents ‘langurs’.

The post has now been taken off his page, but here is the full text of the post:

“All these Cassandras of doom will be disillusioned. Jayalalitha is a sherni, and her opponents are langoors.
She will recover and be back to work.
When I was a young man, and she too was young I thought her extrememly attractive and had fallen in love with her, though of course she did not know about it, and it was unrequited love.
I still find her attractive (which unfortunately I am not now), and am still in love with her, and wish her speedy recovery. Hari Om”

He wrote another post titled ‘My meetings with Jayalalithaa’, where he described the two instances when he met the Tamil Nadu CM.

The first time Katju met Jayalalithaa was when he was the acting Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court and the notification to be the Chief Justice of Madras High Court came. The second time he met her was when he was the Chairman of the Press Council of India.

Katju is popular for voicing his opinions publicly and has a reputation of being controversy’s favourite child. In the past, he has offended various communities with his jibes on social media platforms.

SC extends stay on Bombay HC order on women entry in Haji Ali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Supreme Court on Friday extended the stay granted by Bombay High Court to facilitate an appeal against its decision to lift the ban on entry of women near the sanctum sanctorum of the famous Haji Ali Dargah, till October 17 when it will hear the matter.However, during the brief hearing, a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A M Khanwilkar expressed hope that the Haji Ali Dargah Trust, which has challenged the high court judgement, “will take a stand which is progressive”.The court adjourned the matter at the request of senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam who appeared for the Trust.”The order of the High Court granting stay on operation of its judgement to continue till the next date of hearing on October 17,” the bench said.Subramaniam assured the bench that he was on a “progressive mission” and said all holy books and scriptures promoted equality and nothing which is regressive in character should be suggested.The bench also remarked that “if you are not allowing both men and women to go beyond a point, there is no problem.But if you are allowing some to go beyond a point while others are not, it is a problem.”The bench, which recorded that an identical issue has been raised and was pending before the Supreme Court relating to the Sabarimala Temple in Kerala, said “the problem is not only among Muslims, but among the Hindus also”.The counsel, appearing for a women’s group which has challenged the practice of the Trust not to allow women near the sanctum sanctorum, submitted that the position was different before 2011 than what it is today.The Trust moved the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court order lifting the ban on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the renowned Muslim shrine in South Bombay.The High Court on August 26 had held that the ban imposed by the Trust on women from entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali Dargah, contravened Articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution and said women should be permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorum like men.

PIL in Delhi HC over increasing size of warning on liquor bottles; court seeks Centre, state govt’s response

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday sought response from the Centre and Delhi government on a PIL seeking directions to increase the size of ‘statutory warnings’ on liquor bottles and packaging.

A division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal asked both governments to file their response by 7 December.

The PIL filed by Delhi resident Ved Pal also sought direction from the government to come up with a policy and plan about the nature, size and contents of the mandatory statutory warnings on liquor bottles and packaging.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The plea, filed through advocate Anju Jain, said statutory warning of a larger size when visible shall be more effective in discouraging people from consuming alcohol.

It said the larger format would work better in preventing health-related issues and even leave a positive impact by reducing addiction and dependency on alcohol thereby positively impacting family life.

The petition stated that “the manner in which it is written is … unreadable and … is not prominent … due to which the purpose of writing … become meaningless and hence needs to be increased … prominent to obtain and achieve the purpose”.

“The warning — Consumption of liquor is injurious to Health — is a mere formality and there exist no set rules, prescription as to colour, size or specific directions to prominently display it to obtain the desired objective,” the plea added.

It further said that a set policy/guideline regarding the same is required which needs to be urgently framed by the respondents.

It said governments cannot merely seek the sale of alcohol for the purpose of earning revenue to the exchequer at the cost of health and life of its citizens.

It said that it was the government’s moral responsibility to promote and educate the citizen about the adverse effects of alcohol.

The petition also sought direction for governments to increase amount of expenditure on prohibition and welfare programmes for alcohol addicts in proportion to the revenue earned in the form of excise duty from the sale of liquor.

BCCI must not think it is above the law, says Congress leader Manish Tewari

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maintaining that it absolutely bizarre that a report by the Justice R M Lodha panel is not being implemented by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Congress leader Manish Tewari has said the panel’s recommendations haves to be implemented, and added that the cricket body is not above the law.Tewari told ANI, “It is absolutely bizarre that a report given by the former chief justice of India and accepted by a judgement of the current Chief Justice of India or a divison bench headed by the current Chief Justice of India, is not being implemented by the BCCI. There cannot be a more flagrant disrespect of the rule of law, and therefore, under those circumstances, the court, which is of course ceased of the matter at this point in time, would obviously look at it very seriously,” he said.Former BCCI president Sharad Pawar had on Wednesday said the cricket body is not opposing the reforms proposed by the Supreme Court, but only seeking clarifications.Tewari said that judgement has to be implemented and the cricket body is not above the law.”Well, there is a timeline for the implementation of reform. The fact remains that there is a judgement of the court and the judgement has to be implemented and the BCCI is not above the law,” he added.The Justice Lodha Committee on Wednesday submitted its status report with the Supreme Court, accusing the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) of defying the apex court’s orders and stalling its proposed reforms.In its report, the Supreme Court-appointed panel stated that the BCCI was not implementing its recommendations aimed at reforming the country’s cricket governing body.Responding to the Lodha panel’s charge, the Supreme Court pulled up the BCCI, warning it to “fall in line” or face punitive action.The Justice R M Lodha panel sought the removal of the BCCI top brass, including its president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke, for non-compliance of the apex court directions.It said that the BCCI and its office bearers were not complying with directions and repeatedly issuing statements to undermine the authority of the court and the members of the Lodha panel, which had recommended structural reforms in BCCI.The counsel appearing for the panel said BCCI is not replying to emails and other communications sent to them and repeatedly defying the orders of the court.The bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur took note of the submissions and said these are serious allegations and BCCI has to follow the directions of the court.

No instance of sexual harassment against female RJs: AIR to Delhi HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All India Radio (AIR) on Tuesday told Delhi High Court that there have been no instances of sexual harassment against female radio presenters as alleged in a PIL which has claimed that the authorities have failed to take any action despite several complaints by women radio jockeys (RJs).In an affidavit filed by the Director General (DG) of AIR, it was stated that from time to time, the organisation has been taking steps to ensure that full security was provided to all the female staff. AIR, in the affidavit filed before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, denied the allegations against it that the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) was not functioning.”The present writ petition in the garb of public interest litigation is a misuse of the process of law. The issue raised is purely a service dispute between the department and an individual and no public interest is involved. AIR respects and values the contribution of women serving the organisation either in permanent capacity or as casual artistes. In the present case, it is alleged that women casual presenters are harassed and their voice for justice remains unheard. However, the same is not true,” AIR said.The court was hearing a PIL filed by Meera Mishra against the alleged sexual harassment and exploitation of women radio presenters of AIR, the national public radio broadcaster. The PIL, filed through advocate Sugriva Dubey, has claimed that one of the RJs, who had filed a complaint of sexual harassment against a duty officer, had been removed from her job.

Supreme Court refuses urgent hearing on PIL over Indus Water Treaty

Supreme Court refuses urgent hearing on PIL over Indus Water Treaty

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to grant an urgent hearing on a PIL seeking a declaration of the India-Pakistan Indus Water Treaty as unconstitutional.

File image of Supreme Court. AFPFile image of Supreme Court. AFP

File image of Supreme Court. AFP

“There is no urgency in the matter. It will come up for hearing in due course,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A M Khanwilkar said.

Advocate M L Sharma, who filed the PIL in his personal capacity on the issue, sought urgent hearing of the matter saying the treaty was unconstitutional as it was not signed as per the constitutional scheme and hence should be declared “void ab initio”.

“Keep politics aside. The matter will come in due course,” the bench said when the lawyer insisted on an urgent hearing.

Jammu and Kashmir: High Court refuses to ban pellet guns, cites mob violence in Valley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rejecting a plea seeking ban on use of pellet guns in controlling street protests in Kashmir Valley, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has cited the ground situation and observed that as long as there is violence by unruly mobs, use of force is inevitable.A bench comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also declined the plea to prosecute the officers who ordered use of pellet guns or fired them even as it directed the authorities to provide adequate medical treatment to the injured by specialists in or outside the state.”Having regard to the ground situation prevailing as of now and the fact that Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs has already constituted a Committee of Experts through its Memorandum dated July 26, 2016 for exploring other alternative to pellet guns….”Before filing of the report by the Expert Committee and a decision taken at the government level, we are not inclined to prohibit the use of pellet guns in rare and extreme situations,” the court said in its order here yesterday.The bench was hearing a petition filed by Kashmir High Court Bar Association seeking ban on use of pellet guns for crowd control.The court said “it is manifest that so long as there is violence by unruly mobs, use of force is inevitable”.What kind of force has to be used at the relevant point of time or in a given situation or place, has to be decided by the persons in-charge of the place where the attack is happening, it said.”This court in the writ jurisdiction without any finding rendered by the competent forum/ authority cannot decide as to whether the use of force in particular incident is excessive or not,” the court said. The bench also declined the plea to prosecute the officers who ordered use of pellet guns and those who actually fired them.”Same cannot be considered in this petition as no findings on use of excessive force, violating the guidelines issued in SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), have been recorded by any fact-finding authority,” it said.Hence the persons alleging use of excessive force due to which death or injury has occurred, can very well approach the appropriate forum to establish the same and seek redressal, the bench ruled.However, the court said the pendency of the PIL with regard to other prayers will not be a bar for the state government for paying compensation to deserving family members of the deceased or injured persons.The court directed the concerned authorities to ensure that all the injured are extended adequate medical treatment for whatever injury they sustain and provide all possible required medical treatment to the injured by specialists.If specialists are not available in the state, appropriate arrangement has to be made to treat the patients by inviting specialists in the state or to shift the patients to hospitals outside the state wherever specialists are available, the court said.

Judges split over Ramkumar’s post-mortem plea; appeal placed before Chief Justice

Chennai: A division bench of the Madras High Court referred to the Chief Justice an appeal filed by the father of the sole accused in the murder of a woman techie, challenging a single judge’s order, rejecting the plea for a doctor of his choice to be present during the autopsy of his son, who allegedly committed suicide in prison.

The bench of Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice S Vaidyanathan, who differed in their views on the prayer of appellant R Paramasivan, father of P Ramkumar, directed that the appeal be placed before the Chief Justice for getting the opinion of a third judge.

Justice TS Sivagnanam had on Tuesday turned down the plea of the petitioner and appointed a panel of four government doctors to conduct the autopsy on the body of Ramkumar, who died on 18 September after reportedly biting a live wire at Puzhal Central Prison, where he was lodged.

Challenging the order, Ramkumar’s father filed the appeal seeking a direction that one of the doctors during the post-mortem should be of his choice to ensure transparency since it was a custodial death.

Ramkumar. PTIRamkumar. PTI

P Ramkumar. PTI

He wanted Dr P Sampathkumar, Vice Principal and HoD, Ramachandra Medical College, Porur, to be present during the post-mortem.

When the bench said the doctor was from a private institution, the appellant’s counsel cited Supreme Court judgments, allowing the presence of a doctor of the victims’ choice.

Opposing this, Additional Advocate General Mani said the government had nominated reputed doctors. If the appellant had any doubt, he could challenge the post-mortem report but could not seek a doctor of his choice on “mere apprehension”.

Besides, he said, the appellant had not questioned the competency of the doctors appointed by the government.

After the submissions, the judges expressed a difference of opinion on allowing a doctor of the appellant’s choice.

Justice Ramesh was for allowing an independent forensic expert to be present during the autopsy, saying it would be in no way prejudicial to the case of the prosecution and would, in effect, fortify the stand of the state about its fairness.

However, Justice Vaidyanathan, concurring with the view of the AAG, said an independent person with forensic knowledge would, in fact, lead to creating a doubt in the minds of the public about the arbitrary nature of the conduct of the state machinery. He suggested one more government doctor in the panel, instead of an independent person of the appellant’s choice.

“Since there exists a difference of opinion with regard to appointment of an independent person to be present at the time of autopsy, between us, Registry is directed to place the matter before the Hon’ble Chief Justice for listing it before a third Hon’ble judge for his opinion,” the bench said.

It also ordered that the autopsy be not conducted till the decision was taken by the third judge.

Ramkumar was arrested for allegedly hacking to death Swathi, a software engineer, on 24 June at Nungambakkam suburban railway station.

Maratha quota: SC dismisses plea on quota, says Bombay HC can be approached

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea alleging that petitions challenging Maharashtra government’s decision to grant 16% quota to Marathas in jobs and education in the state were still pending adjudication.A bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and A M Khanwilkar, however, allowed the petitioner to approach the Bombay High Court for “expeditious” hearing of the case.”We see no reason to interfere with the order impugned. The special leave petition is accordingly dismissed. We leave it to the petitioner to approach the High Court for an expeditious hearing of the matter, in which event, we expect the High Court to consider the prayer sympathetically,” the bench said.The order came on a plea filed by one Vinod Narayan Patil seeking urgent hearing of his plea citing “urgency” as the Bombay High Court, which stayed the order granting quota on November 14, 2014, has not even fixed the matters for final hearing and adjudication despite an order from the apex court.The High Court, in an interim order, had stayed the decision after faulting the data used by the state to back its assertion that the Maratha community was backward. It had also put on hold the 5 per cent quota in public employment under a special backward class category to about 50 sub-castes among Muslims.The High Court had not disturbed a similar benefit for backward Muslims in state-owned or aided educational institutions. The decision to grant reservation to Marathas and Muslims was taken by the erstwhile Congress-NCP government before the 2014 assembly elections.

SC raises questions on Aligarh Muslim University’s new VC with no academic qualifications

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday raised questions on the appointment of a person of non-teaching background as the Vice Chancellor of prestigious Aligarh Muslim University.

File image of Aligarh Muslim University. Photo: amu.ac.in

File image of Aligarh Muslim University. Photo: amu.ac.in

“You (AMU) are a central university. UGC regulations apply to you as they are mandatory. The VC must be an academician and he should be a person who has worked for at least 10 years as a professor in a university.

“If every other central university follows the regulation, why can’t AMU? Why to appoint a former army officer? We are not questioning his abilities. We are on the question whether his appointment is as per the UGC Regulations,” a bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and AM Khanwilkar said.

The observation came during hearing of a plea challenging the appointment of AMU’s vice-chancellor Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah on the ground that according to the regulations of University Grants Commission (UGC), the VC ought to have worked for at least 10 years as a professor in a university or on an equivalent post in a research or academic institution.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner Syed Abrar Ahmed, said the UGC regulations, which pertain to minimum qualifications and maintenance of standards in the higher education, had become binding on the AMU when it had adopted these on 6 December, 2010.

Referring to Kalyani Mathivanan’s judgement, he said Shah was a retired army general and had no academic qualification as mandated by UGC Regulations, 2010. The UGC Regulations make it explicitly clear that “the vice chancellor should be a distinguished academician with a minimum of 10 years of experience as professor in a university system or 10 years of experience in an equivalent position in a reputed research and/or academic administrative organisation,” Bhushan said.

Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, appearing for AMU, opposed the submission and said UGC Regulations were only meant for teachers in central universities and not for appointment to the post of VC which is the post of an officer. Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Shah, referred to section 26 of UGC and said AMU is a minority institution.

He said the alleged non-compliance of Regulations could lead to stoppage of funds granted by the UGC but the terms of appointment of the VC cannot be dictated to the university. The apex court posted the matter for hearing on 26 September.

Mumbai’s local dish under trouble: HC directs action against illegal ‘Shiv Vada Pav’ stalls

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court directed the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) on Monday to initiate action against all illegal ‘Shiv Vada Pav’ stalls across the city within three months. A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice MS Sonak was hearing a public interest litigation filed by NGO Janseva Mandal.The petitioner alleged that there are over 250 ‘Shiv Vada Pav’ stalls across the megapolis, which are operating without license and cooking food in the open. The petition pointed out that a recent High Court order had banned cooking in illegal stalls and carts in the city, as it was not permissible under the Food Safety rules. The bench directed the civic body to take action against all those stalls which are operating without license from the concerned authority and submit a compliance report after 12 weeks.As per the plea, in 1995, the Maharashtra government launched a scheme named ‘Zunkha Bhakar Kendra’, to provide wholesome food at subsidised rates to the people. The scheme was dropped in 2000 due to blatant misuse by stall operators. The same year, a new scheme titled ‘Shiv Vadapav’ was floated, but was not approved. Even then, the stalls and carts mushroomed across the city, the PIL claimed.The petition sought directions to MCGM to remove all such illegal ‘Shiv Vada Pav’ stalls.

SC adjourns hearing of Gujarat govt EWS ordinance till Aug 29

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing of a Gujarat government plea that challenged a high court order on quashing of its ordinance of providing 10% quota for the economically backward among the unreserved category, including the agitating Patel community.A three-judge bench comprising of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, which had listed the matter for hearing on August 22 instructed parties to the plea that there would be no new admissions under the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category or quota in Gujarat till the Supreme Court ruled on the matter at its next hearing fixed for August 29.It may be recalled that the high court had quashed the ordinance, and had stayed the operation of its order by a fortnight on the request of the state government to enable it to file an appeal in the apex court. The high court had termed the Gujarat government ordinance issued on May 1 as “inappropriate and unconstitutional”, and rejected the state government’s argument that it is a classification under the general category and not the reserved category. The court had then maintained that such classification had the dangerous potential of breaching the 50 per cent quota cap set up by the Supreme Court.The court said in May this year that the 10% reservation for poor among the unreserved category would take the total quota beyond 50%, which the apex court had not permitted. The high court also pulled up the then state government for taking a decision without conducting any study or scientific data.The Supreme Court was hearing challenges to the Gujarat government ordinance from petitioners Dayaram Verma, Ravjibhai Manani, Dulari Basarge and the Gujarat Parents’ Association.The ordinance had declared reservation of 10 per cent seats to candidates belonging to the unreserved category with family income cap of Rs.6 lakh annually in government jobs and educational institutions. The state government claimed the fresh classification did not violate either the Supreme Court order or the constitutional provisions.

Najma Heptulla takes over as governor of Manipur

Sun, 21 Aug 2016-05:25pm , Imphal , PTI

Shanmuganathan, whom Heptulla succeeds, was holding the dual charge of Governor of Manipur and Meghalaya. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former Union minister Najma Heptulla was sworn in as Governor of Manipur at Raj Bhavan at Imphal on Sunday. Acting Chief Justice of Manipur High Court Rakesh Ranjan Prasad administered the oath of office at 11.30 AM.Heptulla, the 18th governor of the state, replaced Shanmuganathan who was holding the dual charge of Governor of Manipur and Meghalaya. The swearing in ceremony was attended by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi and his cabinet colleagues among others, an official statement said.

Unpolluted, speedy justice still a distant dream: Chief Justice of India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Justice of India Justice TS Thakur on Saturday said that “corresponding upgradation” of judiciary was a must to face the challenges of emerging social and economic scenario and observed that “unpolluted and speedy justice still remains a distant dream”.Thakur said that the three pillars of our democratic set up have many challenges, which assume greater dimensions as we make all round progress, widening the gulf between haves and have nots.In his address at the 23rd convocation of Himachal Pradesh University here, Thakur said that “the judiciary as third pillar has its own challenges of making access to judiciary easy and unpolluted and speedy justice remains a distant dream for variety of reasons, especially when the country is making rapid strides on the developmental front”.”The legislature and executive face the formidable challenge of banishing poverty by preventing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few as a sizable section of people continue to suffer from all kinds of deprivation and the number of poor people is increasing ever year and challenges of clean drinking water, basic minimum health care, education and jobs for every able bodied person remains a daunting task even after 70 years of independence,” he lamented.Forty years of planned development, liberalisation and reforms has made India relevant to the world and enabled 700 million smartphones and 332 million internet users, but India’s consumer story is led by 130 million urban consumers and is only one side of the story, he said.He said that land reforms have remained an unfulfilled project since 1950s, growth carries burden of shrinking jobs, workforce falling into urban middle class constitutes only two per cent of the population, educated middle class facing reduction in jobs and technology was replacing the labour, as he stressed need for immediate re-skilling to be job relevant.”A resurgent India faces challenges of global competitiveness, social inclusiveness, and environmental sustainability and it is not possible for the institutions handling these challenges without a resurgent idea of justice that is actually enforced. Increasing farmer suicides and resurgence cannot go together,” he added.Thakur said that the Constitution and directive principles guarantee social, economic and political justice for all without regard to caste, creed or colour and also ensure religious freedom but in a society long oppressed by foreign rule and stark social and economic disparities, constitutional objectives are not easy to achieve.Presiding over the convocation, Governor Acharya Devvrat called for inculcating human values and said that the education is not only for earning bread and butter.Asking the degree holders and medal winners to serve the society with missionary zeal and raise their voice against social evils like drugs and female foeticide, the governor also stressed the need to change the mindset about girls.”Our daughters had always brought laurels to the nation, the recent example of which was Rio Olympics,” he added.Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh expressed happiness that girls had outnumbered boys in winning gold medals and PhD degrees at the convocation and exhorted students to preserve their traditions, customs and culture in march to prosperity.Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court Mansoor Ahmed Mir said that education has a two-fold function – utility and culture – and it must enable the pass outs to become more efficient and achieve the legitimate goal in life.The students must be trained in quick, resolute and effective thinking and think logically and scientifically, he added.Earlier, Justice Thakur was conferred with honorary degree of Doctor in Laws by the governor while Justice Bhawani Singh, former chief justice of Gujarat High Court was conferred PhD in law ‘Honoris Causa’. As many as 189 students were conferred PhD degree while 143 toppers were awarded gold medals.

CJI to decide gay celebs’ plea for scrapping of IPC

Chief Justice of India (CJI) T S Thakur will now decide whether the plea filed by gay celebrities challenging the law criminalising gay sex will be heard by the Constitution Bench – which is seized of the matter – with the main issue whether to scrap the penal provision 377 of IPC.The Apex Court asked the five celebrity petitioners to go before CJI for appropriate order so that their plea will also be heard along with the main homosexuality issue.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are not inclined to hear the petition at this stage. We will keep this till the Constitution Bench decided the curative petition. If you want you can go before CJI for appropriate order,” a bench headed by Justice SA Bobde said.Appearing for the celebrities, senior counsel Arvind Dattar told the court that the petitioners are the real aggrieved persons and earlier an NGO had filed the plea in the apex court which is pending. Several well-known lesbian, gay and bisexual Indians argued that Section 377 of India’s penal code, which prohibits “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal”, undermined their fundamental rights by failing to protect their sexual choice.Chief Justice T S Thakur is yet to set up the Constitution bench.The celebrities, including chef Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath and dancer N S Johar, in their plea had sought protection of their sexual rights on the ground that it is an integral part of the fundamental right to life.The gay celebrities said their lives have been “inexorably constricted and their rights infringed” by the penal provision.In February, Chief Justice bench had agreed to hear in an open court the curative plea of NGO ‘Naz Foundation’ and some gay rights activists but had referred the curative plea to a five-judge Constitution Bench for re-examination of the 2-year old verdict.While setting aside the July 2, 2009 verdict of Delhi High Court, the apex court had held that Section 377 of IPC does not suffer from the vice of unconstitutionality and that the declaration made by high court was legally unsustainable.

dna Evening Must Reads: From govt employees going on strike to death toll in Istanbul attack reaching 41

1. Unhappy with 7th Pay Commission hike, govt employees to go on strike on July 11Nearly 32 lakh central government employees have announced they will be going on a strike starting July 11, protesting against the 23.55% salary hike approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday, Zee Business channel news frash indicated. Read more here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Shastri should’ve been in the interview in person, instead of vacationing in Bangkok – ‘Absent’ Sourav lambasts RaviFormer Indian captain Sourav Ganguly who had avoided speaking about the national coach selection row till now, finally lashed out at Ravi Shastri on Wednesday. Ever since he lost out on India coach’s job, Shastri has not wasted a single opportunity to show his ‘disappointment’ about the selection process. Read more here.3. Vodafone tax case: Delhi HC allows IT dept to go ahead with penalty proceedingsDelhi High Court on Wednesday allowed the income tax department to go ahead with its penalty proceedings against telecom major Vodafone, but asked the agency not to give effect to its final order till the next hearing in July. Read more here.4. SC bench sends fresh PIL against Section 377 to CJI for appropriate ordersSupreme Court bench on Wednesday sent a fresh PIL on decriminalising consensual homosexuality to Chief Justice of India (CJI) for appropriate orders. The CJI will decide if the petition is to be heard along with the curative petition already pending in SC. Read more here.5. At least 41 dead, 239 wounded in Istanbul attack: GovernorA triple suicide bombing at Istanbul’s international airport left 41 people dead, 13 of them foreign nationals, and 239 wounded, the city governor said in a statement. The governor’s office said 109 of the 239 wounded were discharged from hospital. It said 13 of the dead were foreigners. Read more here.

SC bench sends fresh PIL against Section 377 to CJI for appropriate orders

Supreme Court bench on Wednesday sent a fresh PIL on decriminalising consensual homosexuality to Chief Justice of India (CJI) for appropriate orders.The CJI will decide if the petition is to be heard along with the curative petition already pending in SC.Some high-profile celebrities, who claim to be part of the LGBT community, have approached the Supreme Court seeking quashing of section 377 of the IPC which criminalises homosexuality in the country.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The celebrities, including chef Ritu Dalmia, hotelier Aman Nath and dancer NS Johar, have sought protection of their sexual rights on the ground that it is an integral part of the fundamental right to life.The gay celebrities, in their plea, said their lives have been ‘inexorably constricted and their rights infringed’ by the penal provision.Earlier, a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur had agreed to hear in an open court the curative plea of NGO ‘Naz Foundation’ and some gay rights activists.On February 2, the court referred the curative plea to a five-judge Constitution Bench for re-examination of the 2-year old verdict by which a colonial law, criminalising consensual sexual acts between the same sex under section 377 of IPC, was restored.The curative plea was filed against the dismissal of their petition seeking a review of the 2013 judgement of the apex court upholding the validity of section 377 (unnatural sexual offences) of IPC.Now, the gay celebrities have filed a fresh writ petition to quash the penal provision.(With PTI inputs)

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