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AP Shah

15 December 2015

Former Delhi high court Chief Justice and chairperson of the Law Commission AP Shah criticised the Supreme Court for overturning Delhi high court judgment on decriminalising homosexuality and commented that the Supreme Court bench had “ignored the counter-majoritarian role of the judiciary” while speaking at the Tarkunde Memorial Lecture at the India International Centre, reported The Indian Express.

He expressed his concern over the Supreme Court’s decision which ignored a violation of fundamental rights and chose to stick with outdated laws. He was quoted as saying:

The Supreme Court neither engaged with the change in English law nor with changing social mores globally. Instead, the court’s views suggest that the legitimacy of a law is unquestionable, regardless of its origins in an imposed foreign morality or contrary evidence, scientific or otherwise. In fact, the high court’s extensive consideration of international developments were brushed aside by the Supreme Court.

Observing that either the judiciary or the legislature have the power to repeal Section 377 of Indian Penal Code that criminalises intercourse against the course of nature, he added: “It cannot be a never-ending game of toss and catch between the legislature and the judiciary. Someone must take up the gauntlet. Both the legislature and the judiciary need to act independently, but act now they must.”

27 July 2015

The union government will urge the Supreme Court’s e-committee to allow audio-visual (AV) recording of Supreme Court proceedings to “usher transparency as it would discourage witnesses from retracting their statements” and to prevent “unwarranted delay in trials (through re-recording of witness testimony)”, reported the PTI.

The law ministry cited law commission chairman justice AP Shah’s pilot project of recording court proceedings in district courts, to request the e-committee to reconsider the AV recording proposal it had rejected last year.

AV recording of court proceedings was in the agenda of the Aam Aadmi Party during its short-lived tenure forming the Delhi government in February 2014, but does not find a place in the agenda of the party currently as it forms the Delhi government for the second-time.

53-year-old businessman-turned-lawyer Deepak Khosla who has been fighting to allow AV recording in courtrooms for years now had a win of sorts in the Calcutta high court in June when the court’s registrar allowed recording his proceedings with Khaitan & Co.

Calcutta high court Justice Aniruddha Bose made history this July as probably the first high court chamber to install a permanent video camera and a microphone on the request of Khosla.

07 May 2015

The Law Commission of India - the law ministry’s three-year-term advisory wing on law making in India – may be made a permanent statutory body if recommendations of the current law secretary PK Malhotra are accepted by the parliamentary standing committee on law and personnel, reported Zee News.

The standing committee had expressed its concern over the slow pace at which Law Commission reports are being considered by the parliament and that a permanent term to the commission would enable producing a greater number of reports of better quality, according to the news report.

The law commission, which is in its 60th year and 20th term since it was established, has produced 256 reports so far, on laws that need to be introduced, amended and repealed, but has seen only around 45 per cent of its recommendations getting implemented, the current chairman justice AP Shah told Legally India and Mint* /. /Shah had asserted that the Law Commission was in need of statutory status.

07 May 2015

AP Shah (via Mint)Legal reform in India has been steered by dozens of its best legal minds since 1955, including legendary attorneys general M.C. Setalvad and C.K. Daphtary, justice P.B. Gajendragadkar, justice H.R. Khanna and justice V.R. Krishna Iyer.

30 July 2014

The Law Commission chairman Justice AP Shah has recommended that the tenure of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) should be fixed to at least two years, and that the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) should consist of at least four judges, including the CJI as chairperson, reported The Hindu and the Indian Express.

The minimum CJI tenure should take effect after the current roster of sitting Supreme Court judges in line for the CJI post will have retired by August 2022, with Justice NV Ramana as the last CJI under the old system, recommended Shah in a note he sent to the law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Furthermore, he recommended that judges should have a three year “cooling off period” after retirement before they take up any government jobs. The JAC, apart from the four sitting Supreme Court judges, should also include the law minister, with an eminent jurist and an eminent member of civil society picked by the CJI, the prime minister and the leader of the Lok Sabha opposition.

Shah’s proposal was reportedly discussed in Monday’s meeting between the law ministry and top lawyers and retired judges.

08 August 2013

Cherie Booth QCThe London Court of International Arbitration’s (LCIA) Indian subsidiary resolved real estate giant Hiranandani Group’s family business dispute yesterday after over two-and-a-half years of arbitration.

11 July 2013

Hot coals: Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Siddharth Luthra recused himself from acting for the Centreal Bureau of Investigations (CBI) in the Coalgate scam yesterday. CBI’s previous counsel was senior advocate Uday Lalit, who recused himself after he came under pressure for having represented mining companies owned by Naveen Jindal in the past [Zeenews]. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court slammed the government’s opaque allocation of mining rights after the CBI filed its third stats report in the case [Mint]

Bangalore dress-up: Karnataka state submits female bartender and waiter dress code proposal to high court, after petition by the Bangalore Ladies’ Working Bar and Restaurants Owners’ Association, which wants the dress code to prevent police shutting down bars on the grounds of female staff’s “indecent” dress. The proposed dress code includes full trousers and full shirt, or T-shirt with or without a blazer or a salwar kameez [Free Press Journal]

AP Shah for collegium reform: Former Delhi high court Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah calls for reform of judicial appointments to reflect merit and social diversity, but argues against the “reactionary move” of setting up a judicial appointments commission (JAC) [TOI]