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21 May 2015

Nalsar Hyderabad has increased its batch size from 80 to 120 students from this year, after having been in violation of a Bar Council of India (BCI) rule on batch sizes for up to nine years.

30 January 2015

NUJS Kolkata has introduced a 10-seat state domicile reservation for admissions, reported Bar & Bench.

Vice chancellor Ishwara Bhat told Bar & Bench that the West Bengal government would provide NUJS with 3000 square metres of land to build a girl’s hostel, after which the academic council made the decision to introduce to quota. “Almost all law schools have some form of reservation and at NUJS, these seats are less than 10 per cent of the total seats avaialble,” Bhat said.

Only NLSIU Bangalore, NLU Jodhpur and NLU Orissa do not have state reservations, reported Bar & Bench.

24 July 2013

Media friendlier new CJI? New CJI P Sathasivam said in a speech that he was in favour of self-regulation of the media rather than strict controls [Hindu] His remarks follow both his predecessors’ significant fall-outs with the media – SH Kapadia constituted a constitutional bench into media conduct, while his successor Altamas Kabir released a six-page statement slamming two newspapers yesterday.

Arbitrary CAG challenge heard: A Delhi high court bench headed by acting chief justice BD Ahmed said it would hear two PILs challenging the central government’s allegedly arbitrary appointment of Shashi Kant Sharma as Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). Centre to respond by 8 August. [PTI]

OBC state college: The Delhi high court ruled that state-established or -affiliated universities can follow their own state’s Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservations and do not have to adhere to the Centre’s [DNA]

Sahara where art thou? The Supreme Court asked Sahara today by when it would pay refunds to its investors, following a contempt petition by Sebi over Sahara’s delays in obeying with the order [NDTV]

SC presumes against gang rape consent: Supreme Court bench of BS Chauhan and SA Bobde rule that in gang rape cases there is a presumption that there was no consent of the victim [Express / Md Iqbal & Anr. vs State of Jharkhand (Cr App 109-110 of 2011)]

Salman trial frenzy: Bollywood star Salman Khan’s culpable homicide trial started today in Mumbai sessions court. He pleaded not guilty. Turn on any TV set near you for wall-to-wall coverage [PTI]

Bear witness to Ambani: Reliance Telecom fields Mukul Rohatgi to argue before Supreme Court special 2G bench that Anil Ambani and his wife should not be called as witnesses in the 2G spectrum scam [PTI]

AP Shah for RTI: Ex Delhi HC CJ AP Shah and other high-powered signatories to a petition have urged MPs not to vote for a bill that excludes political parties from the RTI Act [PTI]

02 July 2013

IB nixes terrific collegium: A collegium of judges in a state affected by militancy had six months ago recommended an advocate, who was linked to a terrorist outfit, for elevation to the high court. The Prime Minister’s Office ordered an Intelligence Bureau (IB) scrutiny of all the persons recommended; when the IB rang alarm bells the recommendation was pulled out of the list [ET]

Lest CBI be judged: The union cabinet has decided to supervise the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) through an external panel of three judges. “It will be like making us report to two sets of judges and having to share with them our investigations,” a CBI officer said [TOI]

CJI for judicial reservations: Chief Justice of India-designate Justice P Sathasivam has favoured reservations for higher court and apex court judges [Telegraph]

Demonstrating for good judges:The lawyers in the Madras high court are agitating for ‘good and competent’ judges by holding a lunch-hour dharna on Monday inside the court premises “to highlight the need for transparency in the appointment of judges” [Deccan Chronicle]

23 August 2011

SC hears PIL to exclude ‘creamy layer’ in SC/ST reservations: oversteps judicial boundary or filling in weakness left by democracy? [Hindu]

UP gov’t petitions SC to clarify whether Reliance KG gas taxable in state or in Centre [HT]

Delaying complaint by a few days is not defence to sexual assault, says Bombay HC [DNA]

SC rules for farmers in Ghaziabad 28,000 acre land acquisition case for leather works, nullifies deal [Law et al]

Who will judge the judges? Good summary of recent judicial activism and corruption at the bench [India Today]

23 August 2011

Naik Naik & Co has succeeded in challenging the three states’ orders banning the film Aarakshan before the Supreme Court, following an earlier favourable order before the Bombay High Court.

Naik Naik & Co partner Madhu Gadodia summarised the case before the Supreme Court:

Prakash Jha Productions and Mr. Prakash Jha (“Petitioners”) filed a petition in the Hon’ble Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, challenging the orders passed by State of Uttar Pradesh, State of Punjab and Andhra Pradesh (collectively “Respondents”) suspending the exhibition of the film “Aarakshan” (“Film”) in their respective territories for a certain period. While the State of Punjab and Andhra Pradesh subsequently revoked their orders of suspension, the State of Uttar Pradesh continued the ban / suspension by their order dated 10th August, 2011.

The state of Uttar Pradesh had passed the suspension order in accordance with Section 6 (1) of the UP Cinemas (Regulation) Act which entitles the State Government to suspend the exhibition of a film which is being exhibited for a period of two films if there is reasonable likelihood / apprehension of breach of public order. The Petitioners therefore filed the petition seeking the relief in terms of striking down section 6 (1) of the UP Cinemas (Regulation) Act, the same being ultra vires the Constitution. The Petitioners also sought setting aside the decision taken by the Respondents prohibiting the screening of the Film in their respective states for a specified period.

Notices were issued to all Respondents and the matter was placed for hearing today. Counsel Mr. Harish Salve and Mr. Ameet Naik appeared for the Petitioners. Counsel Mr. A.S Chandiok appeared for Union of India and Counsel Mr. Uday Lalit appeared for State of UP. The matter was argued at length. The Hon’ble Court observed that since the states of Punjab and Andhra Pradesh had withdrawn the suspension orders and the Film is being exhibited in these two states, the petition is infructuous as far as these two states are concerned. 

Mr. Salve and Mr. Naik submitted that the exercise of power by the State Govt. of UP to suspend the exhibition of the Film  in UP amounts to pre-censorship of the Film which is the responsibility of Central Board of Film Certification (“Censor Board”), the statutory body constituted under the Cinematograph Act for the said purpose. In the present case, the State Govt. of UP has in the Impugned order cited several scenes of the Film which are objectionable in their view and which are required to be deleted as a pre-condition for exhibition of the Film. Therefore, the power sought to be exercised by the State Government under Section 6 (1) of the Uttar Pradesh (Cinemas) Regulation Act (“UP Act”) in the present case is without jurisdiction.

The scheme of the said section is to temporarily suspend the exhibition of a film to enable the State Government to make appropriate arrangements to deal with and maintain the law and order situation. The said section does not empower the State Govt. to step into the shoes of Censor Board and make decision  / suggestion regarding the content of the Film as in the present case. Moreover, the provision of Section 6 (1) of the UP Act is to be exercised only when a film is “being publicly exhibited” and there is apprehension of breach of public order. In the present case, the Film was not publicly exhibited until the date of the Impugned order i.e 10th August, 2011 (Film was scheduled for release on 126th August, 2011).

Therefore, the question of State Govt. exercising its powers under Section 6 (1) of the UP Act did not arise. Mr. Salve also relied upon judgments of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of S. Rangarajan vs. P Jagjevan Ram & Ors. and Union of India & Ors. vs. P. Jagjivan Ram & Ors  and Sankarappa and Bombay High Court in the case of Kamal Khan vs. State of Maharashtra holding that the fundamental freedom under Article 19 (1) (a) can be reasonably restricted only for the purposes mentioned in Article 19(2) and the restriction must be justified on the anvil of necessity and not on the quicksand of convenience or expediency.

Freedom of expression which is legitimate and constitutionally protected, cannot be held to ransom by an intolerant group of people. Open criticism of Government policies and operations is not a ground for restricting expression. We must practice tolerance to the views of others. Intolerance is as much dangerous to democracy as to the person himself.

Mr. Chandiok appearing for the Union of India supported the contentions of the Petitioners and submitted that once a film was certified for public exhibition by the Censor Board, the State Governments are not empowered to interfere with the exhibition of the Film.

Mr. Lalit appearing for State of UP submitted that the State Govt. had suspended the exhibition of the Film in accordance with Section 6(1) of the UP Act since there was likelihood of breach of public order and the same was the basis of such apprehensions were certain press reports. He also submitted that the Film was viewed by a committee of experts constituted by the State Govt. of UP and apprehended to cause breach of public order.

Upon hearing the parties at length, the Hon’ble Court observed that admittedly, the Film was certified for public exhibition by the Censor Board who had also constituted a special committee comprising of persons from SC, ST and OBC.   The certification was granted in accordance with the provisions of Cinematograph Act and Rules and Guildelines thereunder. Pursuant to certification, the Film is being exhibited in various parts of India without any problem of law and order. 

Moreover, the Hon’ble court observed that the term “being publicly exhibited” in section 6 of the UP Act pre-supposes “exhibition” of the film. Such power cannot be exercised in respect of a film which is yet to be exhibited. “Suspension” envisages that which is functional / running. Therefore the UP Govt. ought not to have exercised their powers under Section 6 (1) of the UP Act for a film that was not being exhibited. The decision taken at that stage cannot envisage future exhibition. The Hon’ble Court also observed that the apprehensions of UP Govt. don’t hold substance in view of the fact that the Film is being exhibited in other states, which are also sensitive states, without any difficulty.

The court further observed that reservation in addition to being a sensitive issue is also a social issue and in a vibrant democracy like ours, such discussion on social  issues bring in awareness which is required for effective working of our democracy. Infact, when there is dissent on such issues an informed decision can be taken which is necessary at this stage. The Hon’ble Court upheld the observations in the case of Sankarappa and Rangarajan case and held that the right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19 (1) (a) cannot be taken for granted and once the Censor Board has certified the film for public exhibition, it is not open for the State Governments to perform the role of pre-censorship.  

In the above background, the Hon’ble Supreme Court allowed the petition to the extent of challenge to the suspension orders passed by the State of UP and set aside / quashed the order dated 10th August, 2011 passed by the UP Govt. suspending the exhibition of the Film for a period of two months in the State of UP. The order was dictated in open court. Therefore, as per the order the Film can be released in the state of UP with immediate effect without any obstruction. 

11 August 2011

image Naik Naik & Co represented the producers of the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Aarakshan (reservation) and successfully persuaded the Bombay High Court not to stay the release of the film, which has been attracting controversy for its purported anti-reservation message.

22 June 2010
The Karnataka High Court has issued notices to NLSIU Bangalore and the state government after admitting a public interest litigation (PIL) that sought a reservation of seats in the national law school for students residing in the state, according to newspaper reports.