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Supreme Court

14 November 2013

FacebookA post on social media corroborated parts of the sexual harassment allegations against a former Supreme Court judge made by one of his former research assistants.

13 November 2013

The Supreme Court today stayed the demolition of flats, which were illegally constructed more than two decades ago in the Mumbai Campa Cola society, reported the PTI.

A bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi passed the order after around 140 families living in the apartments had barricaded themselves in the compound to resist eviction to massive media attention, reported the WSJ.

The SC said that the residents in the illegal flats should move out in seven months and that the Bombay Municipal Corporation should delay the demolition until 31 May 2014, reported the Hindustan Times.

According to @Spread_Law on Twitter, Singhvi was “badly disturbed by the developments last evening”, with the disturbance remaining after the judge woke after four hours of sleep at 3:30am.

Senior counsel Fali Nariman had mentioned the matter.

13 November 2013

The NUJS Kolkata graduate who blogged about having been allegedly sexually assaulted by a former Supreme Court judge in 2012, released a statement requesting privacy until she would depose before the Supreme Court’s three-judge inquiry, which was set up yesterday.

12 November 2013

Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court has set up a three-judge committee to probe the allegation that a retired Supreme Court judge sexually harassed a law student intern in late 2012.

12 November 2013

A 75-year-old lawyer petitioned the Supreme Court to abolish the custom of addressing judges as “my lord” and “your lordship” as being “against the dignity of the country”, reported the PTI.

Shiv Sagar Tiwari said that “using the word My Lord and Your Lordship which is symbol of slavery should be strictly prohibited to be used in the courts throughout India as it is against the dignity of the country”.

He also submitted that the Bar Council of India has already passed a resolution in 2006 saying that nobody will address the court in India as My Lord and Your Lordship but it is not being followed.

The bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it could not issue a direction to prevent these term from being used and questioned whether any court insisted on it, as the petitioner claimed that one of his Supreme Court cases was dismissed because he did not use the honorific. Gogoi then recused himself from the case, which is now up for re-listing.

11 November 2013

gxrrp4tbA law graduate who recently blogged about how a retired Supreme Court judge sexually assaulted her while she was his intern, says that the problem is real and not uncommon at the bar and the bench.

05 November 2013

The Supreme Court has, for the third time, upheld the appointment of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) chairman UK Sinha, Mint reported.

Dismissing a September 2012 petition filed by a Bangalore-based financial expert alleging irregularities in the process of his appointment, a bench of justices SS Nijjar and PC Ghose said that even though the petition was worth dismissing on several grounds they chose to examine the issue to “satisfy [their] judicial conscience”

In substance the petition had asserted that rules were bent to select Sinha to the chair.

In Friday’s 87-page order the judges accused the petitioners of being “stool pigeons” of powerful corporate lobbies, reported the Business Standard. They said: “We are unable to easily discard the reasoning. The anxiety of these business houses for the removal of the present Sebi chairman is not wholly unimaginable. We have been left with the very unsavoury impression that the petition is more for the protection of the vested interests of some unidentified business lobbies.”

30 October 2013

Scores of Indian lawyers have made the transition from India to become English solicitors. However, Karishma Vora’s path to becoming a barrister in the UK from the Bombay high court is much rarer and more arduous, taking her three years. Legally India asked her how it’s done.

22 October 2013

The Supreme Court’s guidelines to deal with sexual harassment complaints within the court corridors are now up on its website, reported PTI.

The Gender Sensitisation and Sexual Harassment of Women at the Supreme Court of India (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal), Regulations 2013 [link via Gazette] were framed on 17 July after a petition by Supreme Court advocates Binu Tamta and Vibha Datta Makhija.

Women in the Supreme Court, whether they are its employees or not have the right to relief under the regulations. A seven to 13 member Gender Sensitisation and Internal Complaints Committee will deal with complaints under the regulation.

14 October 2013

SC cases, broken up: Over 300 cases of sexual harassment are pending before the Supreme Court, revealed an RTI reply to activist Vihar Dhurve. Also outstanding: “472 cases related to corruption, 588 road accident cases related to permanent disability, 45 road accident for other injuries, 418 divorce cases and 39 matters of atrocities on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are also pending.” [PTI]

KGB’s NHRC seat safe from home ministry: Home ministry won’t ask apex court to look into ex-CJI KG Balakrishnan’s conduct either as head of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) or as judge, claiming to have had no evidence of corruption and that prior conduct was not ‘proved misbehaviour’ for the purposes of making a presidential reference under NHRC rules [TOI]

Delhi district court strike today after police allegedly assaulted an advocate who is now in critical condition, tweeted @DKMahant

Force feed torture: Guantánamo Bay, The Hunger Strikes - video animation [YouTube (warning, content could be disturbing)]

27 September 2013

Today’s landmark judgment by the Supreme Court on the petition of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) has for the first time given the Indian voter the right to reject all candidates contesting an election, reported the PTI.

The voter can now mark the “None of the Above” (NOTA) option that the apex court mandated should be present on ballot papers and in Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). The bench did not say what the consequence would be if NOTA votes outnumbered those received by actual candidates.

25 September 2013

Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati apologises to SC bench headed by Justice RM Lodha for apparent annoyance when unable to respond properly to Coalgate grilling (“It’s very difficult. It is a tremendous strain. I cannot carry everything in my head. Once I argue on one aspect, another question arises on another aspect. How would I go ahead”).

Lodha good-naturedly attributed it to “heat and weather”. [The Hindu]

23 September 2013

SCBA threatens JAC strike: SCBA threatened to go on a day-long “token strike” if the Judicial Appointments Bill is not scrapped, since lawyers' bodies were allegedly not consulted with when formulating the bill [Outlook]

Maha NLS in Nagpur? National Law School Nagpur’s proposal will be discussed in the winter session of the state legislature; the Maharashtra government is currently looking for land in the city for the NLS [TOI]

Kolhapur’s 3-week strike for bench: Solapur’s Sangola Bar Association has boycotted courts since 29 August demanding a permanent Bombay HC bench in Kolhapur. Lawyers from Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Solapur, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg are not going to court and are conducting a hunger strike at their district headquarters [TOI]

Jude contemptuous of highers: A Wardha Maharashtra additional sessions judge is facing a contempt notice from Bombay HC’s Nagpur bench after the judge went against HC orders by granting bail to a husband accused by his wife of kidnapping their 18-month-old son [TOI]

P&H additional judges: Punjab & Haryana HC additional judges Rajiv Narain Raina, Tejinder Singh Dhindsa and Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia will continue in the HC for another year as the President extended their term of service [NVO News]

Arrest notification guidelines: Madras high court has framed guidelines for effective communication of intimation of arrest incl­u­d­­ing the one that officers effecting arrest of a person should intimate it to his/her relatives and friends through the e-post system. In case of intimation through phone the government should ask BSNL authorities for a mechanism for receipt of proof of service. The government should also communicate the arrest through fax messages from the police station where the arrests were made to the station nearest to the person to be intimated, the bench added [Deccan Chronicle]

Murugesan gets NHRC: Former Delhi high court Chief Justice Darmar Murugesan assumed office as member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for a five-year term on Saturday, presided over by former CJI KG Balakrishnan [Hindu]

09 September 2013

The Supreme Court has designated 12 new senior advocates including eight retired high court (HC) judges and four advocates-on-record, three of whom are women.

Retired justices SN Aggarwal and Rakesh Chandra Mishra from the Madhya Pradesh HC, Ashok Kumar Roopanwal and Yogendra Kumar Sangal from the Allahabad HC, Parthasakha Datta from the Calcutta HC, PR Raman from the Kerala HC, G Bhavani Prasad from the Andhra Pradesh HC and Vinod K Sharma from the Andhra Pradesh HC in addition to the four reported former advocates-on-record have been designated on 3 September.

Out of the four advocates on record three are women, as was reported by the Times of India last week.

04 September 2013

The Supreme Court yesterday decided to designate women advocates Vibha Dutta Makhija, Meenakshi Arora and Kiran Suri as senior advocates by a unanimous decision of a full court, reported the Times of India. Advocate Sushil Jain was also designated a senior in the same meeting.

This is the first time in SC history that a list of designated seniors has male lawyers in the minority. The full court rejected the Supreme Court Bar Association's (SCBA) request to defer consideration of names for the senior designation.

Makhija and Arora are part of the seven-member Gender Sensitisation and Internal Complaints Committee that was recently set up by the SC.

At least five Supreme Court judges have to now agree to the candidature of an advocate to be designated as a senior by the court, reportedly under new rules.

The Delhi high court had in March designated five new seniors including two women, as reported by Legally India.

Correction: An earlier version of this story had wrongly mentioned that not Kiran Suri but Sushma Suri had been designated as a senior, relying on an erroneous Times of India report we linked to. This has been corrected after the Supreme Court released the full list of senior designated in September, online.

03 September 2013

The Supreme Court today admitted that it made a mistake of law in September 2012 when it had directed that only sitting or retired High Court Chief Justices or an apex court judge could head the central and State information commissions, and recalled its 13 September 2012 judgment to that effect, reported the Hindu.

A bench of justices AK Patnaik and AK Sikri allowed the union government’s review against judgment in Namit Sharma v Union of India that was passed by a bench of justices Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar.

The bench however held that the Central Information Commission (CIC) should try referring matters involving a substantial question of law to information commissioners who have got some knowledge of law, and that in CIC appointments preference should be given to people of eminence belonging to the fields of science, technology, media and others, reported the DNA.

02 September 2013

The Supreme Court will have two new judges in Allahabad high court chief justice (CJ) Shiva Kirti Singh and Orissa High Court CJ C Nagappan, reported the Hindu. Both will serve three-year tenures at the SC, taking its judges’ strength up to 30.

Justice Singh is the third judge representing Bihar in the SC, while Nagappan is the third from Tamil Nadu. Singh has been the acting chief justice of the Patna HC in 2009, and again in 2010 before being transferred to the Allahabad HC where he became the acting chief justice in November 2012 and chief justice in February this year.

Justice Nagappan became judge of the Madras HC in 2000 and a permanent judge in 2002. He was appointed CJ of the Orissa HC in February this year.

Editor's note: An earlier version of the story mentioned justice Singh as the second judge representing the state of Bihar in the SC which is an incorrect fact reported in the Hindu story which this story is linked to. Justice Singh is the third representative from Bihar after justice GS Misra and justice CK Prasad.