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Altamas Kabir

11 December 2013

Altamas Kabir NUJS Kolkata will appoint former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir as an honorary professor by Monday, if no objections are received.

02 December 2013

Kabir The revelation that former Supreme Court Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly is the judge alleged to be at the heart of the apex court’s sexual harassment inquiry, has split commentators along political and institutional lines.

06 August 2013

Advocate Prashant Bhushan alleged in an interview that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) judgment was leaked from the chambers of ex-Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir to private medical colleges.

In response to a question about how Kabir had called Bhushan one of his enemies in a recent TV interview, the advocate told legal website Livelaw:

I can understand why he thinks that. It is because I told him to recuse himself from several cases which he should not have dealt with. He also knows that I was openly talking about the fact that his judgment in the NEET case had been leaked well before it was delivered. Although he said it was not leaked from his chamber, but his body language gave him away. It was obviously given to the private medical colleges well before it was given to his brother judge Justice Dave.

The draft judgment was ready at least by the first of July because on that date my application was listed before him and that time I had information that the draft judgment was already with these private medical colleges. Therefore, I am not surprised at his statement. Every corrupt judge would regard me as his enemy because I have been speaking out against corrupt judges and corruption. I am not surprised he regards me as his enemy.

25 July 2013

CJI slams ex-CJI stay: Chief Justice of India (CJI) P Sathasivam said about an order of his predecessor Altmas Kabir, who had stayed a lower court’s Rs 100 crore penalty against builders Jaiprakash Associates. “We do not approve of the manner in which the interim orders came to be passed. We do not sit on appeal over orders passed by a coordinate bench. These orders should not have been passed,” said Sathasivam, sitting alongside Justice Ranjan Gogoi [TOI]

SA fixed matches in HC: The Delhi HC accepts charge sheet in 2000 South Africa-India cricket match fixing conspiracy against bookies who allegedly colluded with now-deceased South African captain Hansie Cronje, as Supreme Court rejects PIL asking for CBI inquiry into the more recent spot-fixing scandal [Indian Express]

Justice pleads v boycott: Madras HC Justice Paul Vasanthakumar asked the bar to stop boycotting courts, which was adding to pendency [TOI]

Kanimozhi wants stay lifted for fair trial: DMK party MP Kanimozhi has appealed to the SC to lift the stay on hearings in the 2G spectrum case because it violated her fundamental right to clear her name in court [Hindu]

FDA ignored J&J: Bombay HC queries FDA on why it waited for 18 months to serve a show-cause notice to Johnson & Johnson over allegedly carcinogenic baby talcum powder [Indian Express]

Dow in the dock? Dow Chemicals served fresh summons by district court [PTI]

Acid survivor attacks: “An Acid Attack Survivor Helps India Change Its Laws” [NYT India Inc]

23 July 2013

The former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir, who retired last week, has lashed out at the Times of India and the Indian Express for their critical reports of Kabir, purporting to explain in a six-page press release what actually went on behind the scenes.

19 July 2013

Altamas Kabir blasts collegium ‘gang’: Justice Altamas Kabir, who retired as the chief justice of India (CJI) yesterday, on 2 July requisitioned a meeting of the SC collegium – himself and justices P Sathasivam, GS Singhvi, RM Lodha and HL Dattu – to propose that they recommend the elevation of an unnamed high court chief justice to the Supreme Court. The collegium rejected Kabir’s proposal because it is not customary for exiting CJIs to be making appointments and since Sathasivam had already been formally named as the next CJI. Kabir accused the others of “ganging up” on him, reported the TOI

SC snakes & ladders: After the Supreme Court seven years ago took up adjudication of municipal matters in Delhi, which are normally under the jurisdiction of the high court, various district courts and municipal bodies, the apex court released an order passing those matters back to their respective jurisdiction. The Times of India reported on the game of snakes and ladders which spawned up 715 intervention applications

IT raids HNLU: HNLU Raipur owes taxes worth Rs 1.25 lakhs to the income tax department due to non payment of tax deducted at source, on advance payments given to a contractor. HNLU vice chancellor Prof SP Singh said that the law school had cooperated with the IT department and had defaulted by mistake [TOI]

Costly frivolous PILs: The Karnataka high court on Wednesday imposed costs of Rs 1.4 lakh on 14 peitioners for filing public interest litigations for “frivolous and personal reasons”. Dasapura villagers had asked the court for directions to the state government to clear encroachments on their land [NIE]

Food and/or nutrition: India’s first food security law – the Chhattisgarh’s Food Security Act 2012 – was amended to include “nutrition” in its short title to ensure “access to adequate quantity of food and other requirements of good nutrition to the people of the state, at affordable prices, at all times to live a life of dignity” [BS]

12 July 2013

Gujarat high court chief justice (CJ) Bhaskar Bhattacharya, whose elevation to the Supreme Court was rejected unanimously by the SC collegium, has accused chief justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir of bias spurred by Bhattacharya’s opposition of the CJI’s sister’s elevation to the bench, reported the Express.

Bhattacharya was the third senior-most high court (HC) CJ at the time of his rejection. His nomination, alongside that of Bombay HC CJ Mohit Shah and Uttarakhand HC CJ Barin Ghosh, was rejected as proving “counter-productive and not conducive to the administration of justice”.

According to the Express, Bhattacharya wrote in his letter to the CJI:

“As a human being, I have a reasonable basis to apprehend that the fact that as a member of the collegium while I was a judge of the Calcutta HC, I raised serious objections against the elevation of Smt Shukla Kabir Sinha, your (CJI Altamas Kabir's) younger sister, is the real reason for making such observations against me.”

“In my view as an advocate who at the age of 58 years is just capable of earning a net amount of Rs 88,000 from practice should in no case be recommended for judgeship. We cannot lose sight of the fact that a High Court chaprasi gets more than Rs 13,000 per month as salary which is equivalent to Rs 1,56,000 per annum which is almost double the income of Mrs Shukla Kabir Sinha from her practice as a lawyer.”

“When time came for selection of Smt Shukla Kabir Sinha as a Judge of the HC, I was pressured to agree to such a proposal as a member of the collegium, but I thought it would amount to committing rape of the Calcutta HC, which was like my mother and if I didn't raise any objections that would amount to closing my eyes while my mother was being raped.”

01 July 2013

Senior-most Supreme Court justice P Sathasivam was appointed Chief Justice of India-designate on Saturday. He will be sworn in as the Chief Justice of India CJI) on 19 July, a day after current CJI Altamas Kabir’s retirement.

Sathasivam, aged 64, is the first judge from Tamil Nadu to become the CJI, reported the Hindu. He was elevated to the SC on 21 August 2007 while serving as a judge in the Punjab & Haryana high court and had never served as a high court CJ.

He started his career in 1973 after graduating from Government Law College Chennai, as a junior lawyer under Madras high court senior advocate Muthumani Duraisamy, according to the New Indian Express.

“Statistics point that just one per cent of cases from Madras High Court go on appeal to the Supreme Court whereas this figure is 12 per cent for Delhi High Court. We hope this scenario would change and he would do something about it,” Madras HC advocate NL Rajah told NIE.

Sathasivam – the 40th CJI – will retire on 26 April 2014.

08 April 2013

Elysium collegium: CJI Kabir defends collegium system of judges’ appointment, which he says involves “intense deliberations” and adds that people who are not fully aware of the system should refrain from commenting on it [Outlook]

Double vision 2018: SC and HC judges mega conference agrees to double the number of Indian judges from 18,871 to 37,000 over the next five years. The National Court Management Systems Committee appointed by the SC reported that India would need 75,000 judges in the next 30 years [Dailymail]

Lawyers don't dream of electric writs: Court Computerisation Committee chairman and Karnataka high court judge Ram Mohan Reddy says e-courts are a distant dream when lawyers aren’t willing to adjust to even electronic cause lists [Hindu]

Votive vs ILI vote: Alleged fraud at ILI governing council elections [IANSBar & Bench]

Blame bar for pendency: RTI filer asks Delhi HC for list of oldest pending suits and reasons for delay. Delhi HC responds: reason is lawyers continually seeking adjournments and litigants being “in no hurry” even while the court tries expedition [TOI]

Anti-terror paper: Prof Faizan Mustafa says, all newspapers, except The Hindu, should cover terrorism less to deprive terrorists of publicity oxygen [The Hindu]

03 April 2013

Judges meet24 CJs and 28 SC judges will converge on Delhi between April 4 and 7 with tall orders.

19 March 2013

Bombay high court (HC) chief justice (CJ) Mohit Shah, Gujarat HC CJ Bhaskar Bhattacharya, and Uttarakhand HC CJ Barin Ghosh will retire without elevation to the Supreme Court (SC) after the SC collegium unanimously rejected their nominations as potentially proving “counter-productive” to the administration of justice.

14 March 2013

Supreme Court bench headed by CJI Kabir restrains Italian ambassador from leaving India to explain why broken undertaking and why accused marines won’t return to India [BBC]

Eight students of Government Law College Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu arrested after burning effigies of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sri Lankan President, causing further student protests [The Hindu]

Alleged 2011 Delhi HC bomber now also charged with waging war against country, which carries death [Jagran]

26 February 2013

SEBI, UPSC appealed more CIC orders than they answered RTIs. UPSC hides civil service mains papers most, while SEBI doesn’t like disclosing insider trading orders and chairman’s assets and liabilities [Express]

Punjab and Haryana HC gives back government job benefit of Leave Travel Concession (LTC) to Haryana subordinate judiciary. The government had denied LTC to 400 judges holding them as a “separate class” of government employees [TOI]

Kerala high court judge Pius C Kuriakose, presiding in that HC since 2002, has been recommended for the position of Sikkim high court’s chief justice [New Indian Express]

Dismissing Sahara’s request for extension of deadline to deposit the court-ordered Rs 24,000 crore with SEBI, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir yesterday rebuked SCBA president MN Krishnamani for interfering in the SEBI V Sahara matter [NDTV]

Calling erroneous his own judgement sentencing the Rajiv Gandhi assassins to death 13 years ago, former SC judge KT Thomas said in an interview that it would be “constitutionally incorrect” to hang them now [TOI]

13 December 2012

India’s first woman additional solicitor general Indira Jaising wrote to the law minister Ashwini Kumar criticising the government’s decision to drop several “competent” woman lawyers from the panel of advocates for handling government litigation in the Supreme Court.

She also wrote to chief justice of India Altamas Kabir requesting for the provision of crèche facilities in the Supreme Court for the toddlers of practicing women lawyers.

Excerpts from Jaising’s letter to Kumar:

This can only send a very wrong message to the (legal) profession as a whole and to women in particular that there is no place for them in the profession. Even otherwise, the perception among people is that only those with powerful godfathers or godmothers (of which there may be very few) can progress in the profession

Several women I know who have assisted me competently have been dropped from the panels with no notice or appreciable reason

I recognize that 'merit' and 'competence' must be the guiding principles in making appointments and selection, but it is a matter of common knowledge that 'merit' itself is not a neutral word but a social construct, which tends to entrench the privilege of the privileged. [TOI]

06 December 2012

The chief justice of India Altamas Kabir yesterday told off senior advocate Arvind Dattar who, in the matter of SEBI V Sahara, had objected to his passing an order contradictory to an order passed by a two judge bench of the court - before which bench the matter is still pending.

A bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and JS Khehar had on 31 August ordered two Sahara group companies to refund the Rs 24,000 crore they had collected through optional fully convertible debentures, to SEBI with 15 per cent interest by 30 November, because Sahara had violated regulatory norms.

Yesterday Kabir’s bench, also comprising justices SS Nijjar and J Chelameswar, allowed the Sahara group to complete the payment of refund to SEBI in two months’ time, ending in the first week of February, contrary to the 31 August order.

The bench reasoned that it was allowing Sahara’s application to protect the interest of investors. The investors, however, were not given a hearing before this order.

Dattar, appearing for SEBI, insisted that propriety called for the matter to be heard by the bench before which it was pending, and that Kabir must record this submission in the court’s order.

"We will record what we feel to record. We cannot record what you say,” shot back Kabir.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh insisted that the investors’ and Sahara’s application should not be disposed of without hearing the investors, which suggestion was again dismissed by Kabir in, reportedly, an “angry tone”. [Hindustan Times]

Singh was appearing for the Universal Investors Association, and wanted the court to take up a writ petition filed on behalf of the investors. Kabir’s bench rejected the plea saying that the investors had no rights since they were not party to the main petition. [The Hindu]

Legally India Supreme Court postcard writer Court Witness tweeted: “Would completely understand if both or one of Radhakrishnan & Khehar are supremely upset with Kabir for undermining them in this way.”

27 November 2012

A heated exchange between Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president PH Parekh and suspended secretary KC Kaushik at the SC’s Law Day celebrations yesterday caused dignitaries including law minister Ashwini Kumar and chief justice of India Altamas Kabir to temporarily leave the venue.

Kaushik and Parekh were arguing over who will be in charge of the function, after Kaushik insisted he preside over it as SCBA secretary. [PTI]

Legally India had reported on Friday that Kaushik had accused Parekh and SCBA vice president and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Rakesh Khanna of conspiring against him, and had in October end demanded that they sit for a polygraph test.

Kaushik was suspended from the post of secretary last year after he allegedly advertised his son’s law practice in the SCBA member diaries. He remains suspended pending the final report of the SCBA inquiry against him.

Kaushik who was on the podium announced the arrival of the Chief Justice and asked the SCBA president and vice-president to escort him to the dais. At this point, Parekh rushed to the podium, pushed Kaushik aside and announced that he (Kaushik) had been suspended and was no longer the secretary.
Kaushik then grabbed the microphone from the podium and told Parekh to stick to his job and let him conduct the proceedings. [India Today pictures of altercation]

24 November 2012

The new law minister Ashwani Kumar has asked the new Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir to look again at ex-CJI SH Kapadia’s nomination of sitting Supreme Court judge Swatanter Kumar for chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

Kabir faces the choice of either confirming Kapadia’s decision or to put forward a new name to head the potentially powerful tribunal, which is currently headed up by acting chairperson Justice AS Naidu. Swatanter Kumar’s nomination had attracted media attention, as well as contempt of court proceedings of two newspapers [Economic Times]