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Madras high court

06 February 2014

Madras HC pendency down 50K! Madras high court case pendency has reduced by 50,000 cases to 5.57 lakh cases since 2012 year-end [Hindu]

Six out of 12 clear Kerala DJS: Six candidates cleared the Kerala district judicial service exam, still leaving 50 per cent judges vacancy at the service in the Rs 51,550 to Rs 63,070 pay scale [Zee News]

Ex-SC Justice AK Mathur to head 7th Pay Comm: Former Supreme Court judge and retired armed forces tribunal chairman AK Mathur will head the seventh commission, which will recommend on revising the salaries and pensions of five million current (and three million retired) government employees from 1 January 2016 [Business Standard]

06 February 2014

Hunger strike for permanent Western Orissa HC bench: Orissa high court lawyers launched an indefinite hunger strike today on the third day of their court boycott, to protest against the lack of a permanent bench of the HC in western Orissa. The lawyers have also asked all banks and financial establishments to join them on 7, 8 and 9 February by lowering their shutters [PTI]

Hunger strike for Tamil as official court language: Two advocates of the Madurai bench of the Madras HC went on a “fast-unto-death” four days ago to push for Tamil to be the official language of the HC [TOI]

Lawyers’ strike brings alive dead industrial tribunal: The Mumbai industrial court, which was paralysed for over two months due to having only one judge out of its quorum of nine, is sort of functional again after the appointment of three judges, reportedly, owing to pressure from a strike by the Labour Law Practitioners’ Association Mumbai [Free Press Journal]

27 January 2014

Madras high court (HC) senior advocate R Gandhi has asked to withdraw his petition to recall the controversial 12 names recommended for judgeships at the HC, reported the Times of India.

Advocates who had been boycotting work intermittently at the HC since December to protest against the judgeship recommendations, called off the boycott on Thursday after meeting the union law minister Kapil Sibal and the chief justice of India P Sathasivam, “on the latter’s assurance”. Gandhi had filed a memo for withdrawal of the petition on Friday “citing the same reason”, according to the TOI report.

24 January 2014

Venkata SivakumarThe Madras high court has admitted a petition asking the Bar Council of India (BCI) to look into recommendations to “eradicate malpractices” in India’s legal education system and those to “prevent dishonest candidates entering the Bar Council or other judicial appointments”.

24 January 2014

Lawyers boycott supporting boycott to force judicial transfer: The Allahabad High Court Bar Association boycotted work today in support of the boycott of work by the Awadh Bar Association of Lucknow. In fact Allahabad outdid Awadh and added an extra half-day of boycott after lunch yesterday. The boycotts attempt to force the transfer of Allahabad high court judge Satish Chandra to the “remotest HC of the country” [TOI]

Chhatisgarh HC gets 2 judges: The Chhatisgarh high court today got two new additional judges in Inder Singh Uboweja and Chandra Bhushan Bajpai, taking its total strength to 13 [PTI]

1,400 criminal cases pending v TN lawyers: 1,200 lawyers in Tamil Nadu have criminal backgrounds and 1,424 cases are pending against them, the director general of police told the Madras high court in a petition filed in the HC. The DG seeks to prohibit advocates who qualify in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka from practicing in Tamil Nadu [New Indian Express]

MM moves HC against DU study leave: A Delhi metropolitan magistrate has moved the Delhi high court against the Delhi University’s condition to obtain a two-year study leave from her employer – the Delhi high court – in order to obtain her PhD from the university, calling the condition (arbitrary and unreasonable) [PTI]

SC/ST advocates entitled to held-up grants: Advocates belonging to scheduled communities are eligible for upto Rs 1 lakh of municipal grants annually in Karnataka, for the purpose of buying books. 450 advocates have alleged before the Karnataka high court that the grants have not been released since 1977 [New Indian Express]

Salve challenges CAG audit order: Senior advocate Harish Salve called the Delhi government order, which wanted a CAG audit on power companies, a “Sheikh Chilli” order that gave the CAG the power to audit every private citizen because all taxes go to the consolidated fund of India. He was representing the power companies appealing against the HC’s decision but the HC declined them a stay on its earlier order [Indian Express]

RamJet liplock “controversy”: A photograph has surfaced showing veteran Bollywood actor Dharmendra apparently in a “lip-lock” with politician and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani at the venerable advocate's recent birthday bash. The photo has “caused a stir in social media” as a sight that was both “shocking and unbelievable”, gasped the Times of India

23 January 2014

Karnan opposes own transfer: Madras HC justice CS Karnan, who had complained against the HC’s chief justice and the Chief Justice of India for collegium interference and caste bias, opposed his transfer to another high court on the ground that his presence was needed in the Madras HC until he had proven his allegations against the two senior brother judges [TOI]

JS Verma’s ‘flawed’ & unloved Hindutva verdict: Supreme Court advocate and political commentator AG Noorani points out how the 18-year-old flawed verdict of former Supreme Court justice JS Verma on Hindutva is pending a reference by a constitutional bench, which none of the successive Chief Justices of India have bothered to constitute yet [Frontline]

Govt advocate alleges unfair dismissal: An additional government advocate has challenged his premature removal from his post on the ground that the removal was spurred by the chief minister’s underhand attempt to appoint someone from his own community to the post, and has alleged that the same unfairness has happened to 50 other government advocates in the state [TOI]

Consumer courts clogged, empty in Karnataka: 9,660 cases are pending in Karnataka’s consumer courts after 32 member posts lie vacant across the state [Bangalore Mirror]

Delhi lower judiciary gloom: The Delhi HC’s administrative department has said that vacancies in the city’s lower judiciary cannot be filled because there are not enough courtrooms [Business Standard]

Sesquicentennial bar anniversary: The Advocates Association of Western India will tomorrow begin celebrating its 150th year, with unveiling a portrait of former Chief Justice of India, the late YV Chandrachud, who was once a member of the association [TOI]

SEZ Act 2005 under final examination: Seven years after farmers’ groups, politicians and corporates filed petitions under the SEZ Act against forcible land acquisitions and other issues around setting up of Special Economic Zones in the country, the Supreme Court has begun final hearings for the clubbed bunch of petitions [DNA]

23 January 2014

A delegation of Madras High Court Advocates Association president, Paul Kanagaraj and others met with CJI Sathasivam and SC justices Ibrahim Kalifulla and C Nagappan yesterday about their problems with the list of 12 names proposed for judgeship at the high court, reported The Hindu.

The delegation told the Deccan Chronicle that they also met law minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday, who assured them he would “recall” the list. The CJI reportedly told them that because he is from Tamil Nadu, “he has de­ep interest in the state and will en­sure that only persons with absolute qualifications will be elevated as judges”.

Lawyers in the state returned to work today.

22 January 2014

Why HC judges decline SC judgeship: Abhinav Chandrachud, Stanford Law doctoral student and son of the current Allahabad HC chief justice, illustrates that an obsession with hierarchy and seniority weren’t always the defining characteristics of India’s judiciary, and perhaps shouldn’t be, in a percipient history lesson starring former Bombay high court chief justice MC Chagla, who declined the Supreme Court judgeship [Frontline]

Justice Karnan accuses CJI: Madras HC judge CS Karnan yesterday accused Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam of having “usurped” the powers of the collegium in declining the 12 names recommended for the HC’s judgeships, which have been the cause of recent controversy. So far Karnan has barged into the middle of court proceedings on the issue, barged into the HC’s chief justice’s chambers accusing him of bias and shot off a complaint against the chief justice to the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes [PTI]

Delhi law min closet skeletons: “Law minister Somnath Bharti is also a ‘spammer’” read a Hindustan Times headline today reporting how Bharti’s relatives ran a company sued for spamming. Over the fortnight Bharti’s career went from newly appointed law minister to professional misconduct accused, criminal-assault accused spammer who is presently under the Bar Council of Delhi’s scanner [Via “OMG.. A Law Breaker & Spammer becomes The Law Minister under the Swaraj of Kejriwal.. Really, its a systemic change.. Dr. Manish Kumar (@DrManishKumar1)”]

17 January 2014

Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) president Paul Kanagaraj, with an MHAA “delegation”, met Tamil Nadu governor K Rosaiah seeking his intervention in recalling a list of 12 names recommended for judgeship at the HC, and taking exception to the fact that the recommended advocates were “shortlisted by the collegium on the interference of the Chief Justice of India”, reported the Deccan Chronicle.

Meanwhile the HC’s justice CS Karnan wrote to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes seeking action against chief justice RK Aggarwal for “changing his portfolio [of cases] from Karur to Sivanga”.

Legally India delved into the polico-cultural climate at the Madras Bar, a lot of which apparently revolves around casteism.{jcomments off}

17 January 2014

fp2igb13[20]The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday transferred to itself a week-old Madras high court (HC) petition challenging 12 names that were recommended for judgeship at the same HC, after the apex court ordered that judicial review of the list was not permitted and that the HC lacked the “conducive atmosphere” to hear such a petition.

10 January 2014

Madras HC 12-judge-names appeal: The Madras HC through its registrar general will move the SC against its own division bench decision that had stayed the appointment of the 12 recommended Madras HC advocates as judges whose recommendations has courted controversy at the HC [TOI]

Madras HC advocates against opacity, subjectivity in judge selection: Madras High Court Advocates Association President RC Paul Kanagaraj says that in the absence of transparency in the collegium process the judges panel recommending names for judgeships is easily prone to favouritism. Kanagaraj is opposed by a faction of lawyers of the HC who feel that consulting bar associations is a process prone to subjectivity and not entirely fair [New Indian Express]

Delhi needs 100 more judges: Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti has advised the Delhi HC to recruit 100 judges for various courts in the capital [Business Standard]. Last year Legally India reported how the Delhi district judges recruitment machinery falls remarkably short of the need faced in the capital.

Delhi gets 47 new courts: Delhi HC chief justice NV Ramana today ordered setting up of 47 new courts in the capital. The new courts, which will come up in six district court complexes from January 15, will deal with heinous crimes, civil cases, and motor accident claims [PTI]

MMB Legal first partner: Wipro senior corporate counsel Sonal Basu joined former MMB Legal partner Talha Salaria’s Bangalore-based start-up L.A.W as a partner. Basu, who has had stints at JSA Bangalore and at Nokia, will focus on L.A.W’s Information Technology/ITeS and telecom practices [Bar & Bench]

3 new Kerala HC judges: Kerala high court additional judges, justices Babu Mathew P Joseph, Ambazhavelil Velayudhan Pillai Ramakrishna Pillai and Pannipuzhayil Divakaran Rajan have become permanent judges in that HC [Net Indian]

Karnataka Lokayukta on anti-corruption cell: Karnataka’s Lokayukta Justice Y Bhaskar Rao has written to Karnataka HC Chief Justice D H Waghela seeking intervention in helping the general public file complaints before the state’s anti-corruption cell with support from the Karnataka Legal Services Authority and legal volunteers under it in rural areas [TOI]

Slow special child abuse case disposal law: “More than a year after Parliament passed a special law to ensure the speedy disposal of cases of child abuse, just 38 of over a thousand cases filed in Maharashtra have been disposed of with only nine convictions,” reports [DNA India]

Useful ordinance? 1/615: Out of 615 ordinances promulgated in India between 1958 and 2006, the only one justifiable ordinance is the one introduced by former Prime Minister Morarji Desai in 1978—where currency notes in denominations ofRs.1,000/5,000/10,000 were demonetized—because they thought it was one way of dealing with corruption and inflation, according to a study conducted by  NUJS Kolkata graduate and Singapore Managment University assistant professor Shubhankar Dam [Mint]

08 January 2014

AAP law minister calls for judicial reforms opposed: Somnath Bharti called for a meeting of Delhi’s district judges to encourage reforms but he was faced with opposition in the house and a letter to Delhi HC chief justice NV Ramana from Delhi principal law secretary AS Yadav, who said he saw it as an attack on the independence of the judiciary [PTI]

Madras HC advocates crowded the HC’s chief justice’s chambers yesterday, shouting slogans against the 12 names recommended for judgeships in the HC [TOI]

SC advocate HS Phololka joins AAP: Phololka, who is spearheading the 1984 riot victims’ case, is joining the political party Aam Aadmi Party whose leaders Arvind Kejriwal, Shanti Bhushan and Manish Sisodia contributed in the mission to get justice for the riot victims, at various times [TOI]

11 December 2013

SC Singhvi retires, leaves legacy
The Supreme Court’s justice GS Singhvi, most famous for his stern treatment of the 2G and the land acquisition cases, retired today just after overturned the progressive Delhi HC judgment that had decriminalised homosexuality [The Hindu]

Madras HC advocates for Ganguly
Madras HC advocates yesterday took out a rally in support of sexual harassment accused former Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly, asserting that he was being targeted because of his stern dealing of sensational cases [TOI]

CCI’s giant Coal India fine
Coal India is facing Rs 17.7 billion ($290m) Competition Commission of India fine for abusing its dominant position and imposing unfair conditions in fuel supply agreements with customers [Reuters]

E&Y legal to launch Singapore with HSF partner
“Former Herbert Smith Freehills’ Singapore partner John Dick has joined Ernst & Young Singapore as a partner as the “big four” accounting firm mulls legal services launch,” reported [The Lawyer]

PIL reveals crippled IPAB
A PIL in the Madras HC has brought attention to the “crippled” state of the Intellectual Property Appellate Board due to insufficient funds to have permanent premises for its principle and circuit benches [TOI]

Maha-NLS dream remains distant
Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan “dodged” the Times’ query regarding schedule of setting up of Nagpur NLS, even though its proposal was earlier promised to be tabled in the winter session of the state legislative assembly. The paper now writes it could be a distant dream [TOI]

10 December 2013

The Puducherry Bar Association president, secretary and two other Puducherry advocates locked litigants inside a courtroom hall during court proceedings demanding the transfer of a local judge. The lawyers proceeded to barge into the chamber of a family court judge and abused him, and are now facing contempt proceedings in the Madras High Court, reported the Times of India.

“Their conduct tends to lower the dignity of the court in the eyes of the general public and prima facie amounts to committing criminal contempt of court,” the bench said, adding, “therefore, taking suo motu cognizance, we direct the registry to issue statutory notice to the four persons.”

09 December 2013

BCI cozies up to NaMo
A delegation led by Bar Council of India (BCI) chief Manan Kumar Mishra met Narendra Modi on Saturday, inviting him to address the valedictory function of the Gujarat bar Council. According to a Gujarat state press release, the BCI respected Modi’s nationalism, while Modi called for better application of technology and faster disposal of criminal cases by improving forensic science education [TOI]

SC settles TDSAT-TRAI turf war: TRAI wins
Telecom tribunals’ TDSAT and TRAI’s three-and-a-half-year-long turf war has been finally put to rest by the Supreme Court which has held that the TDSAT has no business interfering in TRAI-made regulations. TDSAT can only hear and dispose of appeals against TRAI orders [Business Standard / SC judgment]

Crowds admire Kerala HC astrological garden
Kerala high court now has its very own astrological plant garden with 27 varieties of medicinal saplings that relate to the 27 constellations. Crowds thronged the HC complex on Friday in search of their medicinal star-sign flower pot [IANS]

AP HC allows lower courts to accept PILs
We haven’t succeeded in putting our finger on the legal provision Andhra HC chief justice KJ Sengupta has employed in reaching this conclusion: “The common man need not approach the high court for filing of PILs as it involves a cost factor. The filing of PILs can be done at munsiff magisterial courts also.” Can you? [PTI]

Madras HC asked for anti-sex harass cell: After the Allahabad HC is done constituting its anti-sexual harassment cell, the Madras HC is now also under the wave of demand for the cell after a PIL was filed in the HC asking for a mechanism to deal with the problem in all Tamil Nadu courts [TOI]

Bombay HC prioritises ‘younger’ senior citizens’ cases, lowers age limit 
The “precedence age” – the age at which a litigant can get his case listed on priority in the Bombay HC – has reduced from 65 to 60. On 3 December the HC has issued a circular that if even one of the litigants party to a case have attained the age of 60, their case will be listed for final hearing and disposal on priority basis, on their request. In 1999, this age was fixed at 65 [PTI]

Madras HC lawyers against SC lawyers as their judges: Madras HC lawyers will have a 25 per cent empty roster rather than “importing a stranger” to fill judge seats in the HC, if their opposition to the appointment of three SC lawyers to the HC’s judgeship is anything to go by. The Advocates Association of the HC swears that the move will ‘'completely distort the present selection process”, because the appointment will not be made by the collegium’s recommendation but on the request of the SC’s Advocates-on-Record association [The Hindu]

Lawyer punches pesky customs officer for clients: A Madras HC lawyer has managed to make headlines for taking his solemn duty for his client a tad too seriously by roughing up the customs officer who held up his clients after their questioning at the unit was over [TOI]

18 November 2013

SC examines death row pardon in extreme brutality: The Supreme Court will hear a PIL on whether the President can commute death penalties in cases of extreme brutality. The petitioner Pinki Virani’s plea referred to five death sentences of convicted rapists of children, which former President Pratibha Patil had commuted [NDTV]

Technical porn block feasible, asks apex court to the Department of Telecommunications. Justice BS Chauhan, heading the bench, queried whether websites with pornographic content (particularly child pornography) could be blocked technically [PTI]

AP-split PIL rejected: Supreme Court justices HL Dattu and Madan B Lokur reject PIL on Telangana Andhra Pradesh bifurcation [PTI]

Madras HC judgeships: As Madras HC’s 15 judge recommendations await the SC’s approval, the next list of recommendations is already in the offing to fill the court’s 25 per cent vacant roster [TOI]

Delayed judge transfers: Himachal HC chief justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar was today transferred to Madhya Pradesh HC as chief justice, four months after the SC’s recommendation. Sources said that the delay in his transfer was because of a representation made by a senior Madhya Pradesh High Court judge to the President [Deccan Chronicle]

CCI vs CAT: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) will not take the Competition Appellate Tribunal’s ban on its practice of imposing high penalties, sitting down. The CCI plans a Supreme Court challenge [ET]

CCI can rule on petrol? The CCI, which is currently looking into suspected unfair trade practices by state-run oil marketing firms while setting petrol prices, will rule on its own jurisdiction to examine the issue this month [PTI]

Lacking SHRCs: Tripura and 10 other states and Union territories are yet to set up a human rights watchdog - a State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). Except Assam no other north eastern state has a full-fledged SHRC. However, Manipur and Meghalaya are in the process of constituting such a body. The NHRC is presently looking into 60,000 human rights violations [TOI]

25 October 2013

Advocate’s wheelchair stolen, police indifferent: A differently-abled Madras HC advocate’s Rs 20,000 wheelchair was stolen inside the Madras HC premises three weeks ago but the police refused to even register an FIR for his complaint and a senior official asked him to get a new wheelchair, alleged the advocate. He’s now appealing to the court registrar for help [Deccan Chronicle]

16 October 2013

Court bars advocate from filing, orders psych: Delhi high court advocate Uma Shankar Pandey was barred from filing petitions in the court and was ordered to undertake psychiatric treatment, by justices Pradeep Nandrajog and V Kameswar Rao after hearing his six-hour-long arguments for three days. The right to access courts can be restricted to pursue “legitimate and proportionate aims”, observed the bench [IE]

New Madras HC judges: The president has finalised 7 new madras high court judgeships: R Mahadevan, K Kalyanasundaram, PN Prakash, S Vaidyanathan and a lawyer Pushpa Sathyanarayana and two service candidates V Ravi and G Chockalingam [Hindu]

End of Swiss bank secrecy: Switzerland, well-known for its anonymous numbered bank accounts and tight banking secrecy rules, became the world’s 58th nation on Tuesday to sign the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters – a document, which paves the way for automatic exchange of tax information, thus ending baking secrecy in Switzerland [Hindu]

Bar Assoc against Telangana: Visakhapatnam Bar Association have decided members will meet BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley and request them not to extend their support to the proposed Bill for creation of Telangana State [Hindu]

Indo-brazil internet security: Brazil and India have agreed to share information of internet security strategies to devise internet regulations in order to protect online privacy from snooping by other countries [Hindu]

NSA knows your friends: The National Security Agency has been sifting through millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts around the world including those of Americans in its effort to find possible links to terrorism or other criminal activity, according to a published report [Hindu]

20 August 2013

The Madras high court, the Jharkhand high court, the Delhi high court and the Meghalaya high court will soon have new chief justices respectively with Madras HC acting chief justice RK Agrawal, Madras HC seniormost judge R Banumathi, Andhra Pradesh HC acting chief justice NV Ramana and seniormost Uttarakhand HC judge PC Pant’s names cleared  by the collegium, reported the Hindu.

It is the first time an Andhra Pradesh or Uttarakhand high court judge has become chief in any high court

“Justice Agrawal (60) became a permanent judge of the Allahabad High Court and he became acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court on February 7 this year. A direct recruit, Justice Banumathi (58) entered the Tamil Nadu Higher Judicial Service in 1988 as district judge. She has worked as district and sessions judge in Coimbatore and Vellore. Justice Ramana (56), who hails from an agricultural family at Ponnavaram in Krishna district, has functioned as additional standing counsel for the Central government.”

19 August 2013

The Madras high court will get eight new judges as the SC collegium cleared eight out of 15 names recommended to it by the high court, reported The Hindu.

Six advocates including two women (R Mahadevan, K Kalyanasundaram, PS Jayakumar, S Vaidyanathan, VM Velumani and Pushpa Sathyanarayanan) and two district judges (VS Ravi and G Chockalingam) will be elevated.

The Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) and an open letter by 46 lawyers and well-known civil society activists had strongly criticised the selection process of the shortlist of 15, requesting the collegium to withdraw the nominees.