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Supreme Court

21 August 2013

SC: U/A Tuesday - ThursdayAt the apparent request of lawyers upset with overcrowding, the Supreme Court (SC) has prohibited law students and interns from entering the apex court on Mondays and Fridays.

07 August 2013

Android friendly SCI: The Supreme Court of India has released an Android smartphone app to view a replica of the Supreme’s Court’s case display board. The display board in the SC indicates the item numbers of matters being heard across all courtrooms at any given point of time. It’s pretty basic, but seems to do what it says it does [To install on your Android device go to Settings –> Security, and check ‘Unknown Sources’. Then click this link from your phone: SCI Android app via SC e-committee]

Gujarat miffs Lokayukta appointee: The Gujarat government has cleared the appointment of former Gujarat high court justice RA Mehta as the state’s first Lokayukta in 10 years, after it lost a two-year long battle in the high court and the Supreme Court against his appointment. Mehta, however, has declined the post citing foul play by the government leading to loss of his credibility [TOI/TOI]

Dhir & Dhir promos: Dhir & Dhir Associates promoted five principal associates to associate partner and hired a new associate partner. Sachin Gupta and Jayshree Shukhla from the litigation team, Sandeep Gupta from the corporate restructuring and insolvency team, Santosh Pandey from the infrastructure practice and Girish Rawat from banking finance & capital markets were promoted, while Bibhakar Mishra was hired in the dispute resolution team [Bar & Bench]

Bombay e-court: The Bombay high court will inaugurate its first ever e-court on 15 August accepting all petitions through e-filing. This court will initially accept filing of company matters [PTI]

Lawschool caste violence: A student in the Government Law College Coimbatore was injured after the college failed to check the hoisting of flags on campus paying homage to various caste leaders by student groups. The move had divided the student community and the unease led to violence [TOI]

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.

18 July 2013

Altamas last goodbye: Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir retired today, giving a speech and usual shindig in the Supreme Court. He makes way for Justice P Sathasivam, who will serve until 26 April 2014 [Hindu]

Kabir quashes NEET: The Supreme Court (CJI Kabir, on his last day, prevailing in the two judge-majority over Justice AR Dave) has quashed as unconstitutional the medical and dental college common entrance test. The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) held by the Medical Council of India (MCI) was opposed by private colleges [NDTV]

Married compense: Cabinet approves law to allow married women to claim husband’s ancestral property or compensation in case of divorce [Indian Express]

Pathetic retirement homes: The Supreme Court, never one to let a chance for criticism slip by, decried the “pathetic” state of tribunals such as the NGT and the Law Commission. Justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukhopadhaya said, in a petition related to Kolkata NGT’s shoddy facilities: “One does not know what forces the judge to accept such assignments.” [Zeenews]

LL When? The two-year LLM of BR Ambedkar Government Law College may be disbanded, as its umbrella institution, Pondicherry University, has withdrawn affiliation because it is offering a similar course [New Indian Express]

Harry case: Sirius Black v Lily James Potter [1981] 1 WLR 33 [Reader blog]

17 July 2013

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the Bombay high court’s decision to strike down the ban on dance bars in Maharashtra, holding that “the cure is worse than the disease” and that safety measures and improvement in working conditions of the dancers was the solution, reported the Hindustan Times.

Now bars, restaurants, and hotels can obtain police licenses to hold dance performances on their premises. The Maharashtra police had expressed fears of increase in crime rate in letting the bars stay open, as they were “dens of anti-social elements”.

Writing a separate concurring opinion, Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir observed:

“The right to practise a trade or profession and the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 (of Constitution) are, by their very nature, intermingled with each other, but in a situation like the present one, such right cannot be equated with unrestricted freedom like a run-away horse... it would be better to treat the cause than to blame the effect and to completely discontinue the livelihood of a large section of women, eking out an existence by dancing in bars, who will be left to the mercy of other forms of exploitation.”

15 July 2013

The higher judiciary is revamping the system of appointment of senior advocates, to weed out incompetent advocates and appointment through ‘uncle judges’. In the Delhi high court, the full court will now have to consider the name of each applicant, while in the Supreme Court five sitting judges of the SC will have to agree to the candidature of an advocate.

The Times of India reported:

Some of the advocates who have not been considered by a particular high court for such prestigious position have allegedly used clouts to get the coveted post from high courts of smaller states where the bench is relatively smaller.

12 July 2013

Grey skiesHave you heard about the senior advocate who “borrowed” paintings from a five-star suite and then got his client to pay for them?

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.”

11 July 2013

A Supreme Court bench of Justices AK Patnaik and SJ Mukhopadhaya ruled that lawmakers can be disqualified if they have been convicted of a criminal offence.

The bench struck down as ultra vires section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), which protected MPs, MLAs and other legislators in their posts if they had appealed their criminal convictions in a higher court, reported the Indian Express.

The ruling, which will not apply retrospectively to those who have already filed their criminal appeals, was made in petitions filed by Lily Thomas and the NGO Lok Prahari, which challenged a number of RPA provisions as unconstitutional.

According to disclosures made by candidates to the Election Commission, 1,460 MPs and MLAs have criminal cases pending, of which 688 were serious, reported the Express.

[Download judgment here]

13 May 2013

Ineffective BCI: SC justices BS Chauhan and Dipak Mishra today said: “Bar Council has become ineffective. No action is taken against erring lawyers and we have to suffer. We are actually the victim and lawyers are making money… Lawyers think that they are above law. We are facing such situation every day.” [PTI]

Collegium conspiracies: 1,000 Punjab & Haryana High Court Bar Association members have signed a resolution opposing the elevation of seven lawyers to the bench, asking the Chief Justice of India to intervene in the “conspiracy of silence” [Express]

CCI market research: The Competition Commission of India has decided to have a dedicated Market Research Unit with the help of some external agency [Zee News]

3 new Bom HC judges: Member secretary of the Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority P N Deshmukh, secretary general of the Supreme Court A I S Cheema and Registrar General of the HC S B Shukre have been elevated as additional judges of Bombay high court [Express]

Imagine world without lit: Andhra Pradesh State Legal Services Authority (APSLSA) has identified 172 villages across the State as ‘litigation-free’ and the AP High Court will soon declare them as ‘litigation free areas’. Disputes will be settled only by Lok Adalats in these villages [Hindu]

American Hindu?: Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy has filed a plea in the Delhi High Court saying editors of news organisations in India “must be Indian citizens and residents of India” and not foreign citizens. He has attacked the US citizenship of editor of The Hindu Siddharth Varadarajan [Newslaundry]

07 May 2013

SC Maha lesson: Hoping to curb the trend of its directions been “taken lightly” by state governments, the Supreme Court imposes an exemplary cost of Rs 5 lakh on the Maharashtra government for a three-day delay in filing an affidavit related to police reforms. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Mahrashtra and Goa had been ordered to file the affidavit by 3 May [moneylife]

Well and fair in Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said she wants to hike its previous Rs 1 crore grant to the Delhi bar council’s corpus fund for the welfare of lawyers, while president Pranab Mukherjee asked judges to “encourage” young lawyers by appointing them amicus curiae in matters of public importance, at the bar council’s National Seminar on Welfare of Lawyers [Zee News]

IOUID: Who owns India’s UID database, who will make money out of it and how? Privacy law and other implications [moneylife]

Courts too secure: Delhi HC’s justice Gita Mittal ordered constitution of expert committee to look into court’s security mechanisms requiring photo identification to enter courtrooms. Mittal said it was a restriction on the “open court principle” and restricts court access to poor litigants [Zee News/HT]

3 new Guj HC judges: Gujarat HC registrar general RP Dholariya, and principal district judges AG Uraizee and KJ Thaker were appointed additional judges of the Gujarat HC [IE]

Delhi HC to have 59 courtrooms: CJI Altamas Kabir last week inaugurated the construction of two new building blocks which will take the total tally of Delhi HC courtrooms to 59 by the end of 2015. Out of 24 new courtrooms, nine will be of joint registrars who handle certain categories of civil cases [HT]

CBI independence: Expensive private senior lawyers such as KK Venugopal and UU Lalit are being hired by the CBI which is seen as increasingly turning away from the attorney general and the additional solicitor general, who can be “political appointments” who are seen as “placing a high premium on being loyal to the government” [ET]

Assault on lawyers: Two Delhi lawyers, Nikhil Mehta and Milan Malhotra, were allegedly assaulted by Geeta Colony Delhi’s Station House Officer (SHO) pressuring them to settle a dispute outside court. A senior officer of the Delhi police also allegedly applied pressure when they complained instead of taking action against the SHO. Delhi HC justice Sunil Gaur has asked for an inquiry [HT]

Mohan Parasaran on CBI: Solicitor general Mohan Parasaran said “[…] the CBI director has stated in the affidavit that future reports wouldn’t be shared with the political executive. This clearly shows that the agency knows what should be done and what not”, indicating that it is not open to the CBI to brush aside the charge of showing its investigation report to the government departments it is investigating [Firstpost]

24 April 2013

Kesavananda doctrine turns 40: India celebrates 40 years of “saving the democracy” on today’s anniversary of Kesavananda Bharati v State of Kerala where a 13-judge constitutional bench held that the parliament cannot amend the constitution to alter its “basic structure”. The Hindu narrates the full run-up to the 703-page judgement [Hindu]

SC sex harassment watchdog: The “Supreme Court Internal Complaints Committee” headed by an “eminent jurist” whose name is not decided yet, will soon come into power, decided the Supreme Court after finding that sexual harassment committees at various high courts of the country exist only on paper [PTI]

Pro bono por promos? Lawyers giving free legal aid and organising Lok Adalats could now earn bonus points that’ll help them become senior advocates and subordinate judges, if NALSA executive chairman P Sathasivam’s proposal at made at the 11th All India Meet of State Legal Service Authorities is accepted [TOI]

CCI moneybags: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed Rs 8,013 crore of penalties against 19 business entities in anti-competitive behaviour cases in 2012-13 FYI, while closing 262 out of total 347 registered cases [The New Indian Express]

Base judicial practices: A retired judge cannot practice in a court lower than the one in which he served, according to the Bar Council of Gujarat’s recent circular reiterating section 7 of the BCI rules [Daily Bhaskar]

Beyond contempt: The US’s Lewis & Clark law school dean apologises to the school paper’s editors after his pressuring them to take the US Supreme Court’s consent before publishing the news of the US chief justice judging a moot at their law school [Washington Post]

17 April 2013

The Supreme Court yesterday stayed its September 2012 order that made it compulsory to appoint retired judges to central and state information commissions under the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005.

11 April 2013

Historic apex sistren: Justices GS Misra and Ranjana Desai are set to be the first two female judges to sit together in the Supreme Court, ever, tomorrow [@CourtWitness1]

Your NRI Honour: Subject to confirmation, Sri Srinivasan could become first Indian-American federal judge and even rise to the US Supreme Court, speculates TOI.

Cracking a nut: Police says Delhi property lawyer Baljeet Singh Sehrawat conspired in Bhardwaj killing [TOI]

Linguistic appeal: The languages of Indian courts discussed, as CM calls for Tamil in Madras court [The Economist]

PH bound: As Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri is likely to ascend to the apex court tomorrow taking the strength to 29 with only two vacancies, sources have floated that the Delhi high court’s most senior judge, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, could take up the post of Punjab and Haryana high court chief justice left vacant by Sikri [Hindustan Times].

4 permanence: Additional New Delhi high court judges Justice Suresh Kumar Kait, Valmiki J Mehta, Vinay Kumar Jain and Indermeet Kaur Kochhar elevated to permanent status [PTI]

Legally heroic: Feature on making of the film Shahid about hero lawyer and activist Shahid Azmi who was murdered in 2010 at the age of 38 [The Big Indian Picture]

03 April 2013

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