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Supreme Court

09 December 2015

CJI Thakur: Different breed?It's been less than a week that Justice TS Thakur took oath as the Chief Justice of India and it doesn't seem to be a straight road ahead for him.  In the middle of a polarised intolerance debate, a parliamentary and judicial "supremacy" tussle and almost stagnant judicial appointments.  It's been less than a week that Justice TS Thakur took oath as the Chief Justice of India and it doesn't seem as though he’ll have a straight road ahead of him: he’s taking up the chief’s mantle in the midst of a polarised intolerance debate, a tussle between parliamentary and judicial supremacy tussle and almost stagnant judicial appointments. 

09 December 2015

The Supreme Court will examine the validity, with the help of central and state governments, of a decision of the Bombay high court that the Protection of Women from the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 can be used by a mother in law to initiate action against her daughter in law, reported The Hindustan Times.

The Bombay high court had in September 2015 held that the daughter in law can be prosecuted under the act after which she petitioned in the Supreme Court before the bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi which took cognizance of the matter and asked the Central as well as the Maharashtra governments to respond about their stand on the issue.

The petitioner has claimed in the case that as per the act a mother, sister or mother in law can only prosecute men and not women.

The next date of hearing of the matter in the Supreme Court is 17 February 2016 when the Attorney General’s office will also assist the court.

09 December 2015

Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur declined to entertain a public interest litigation demanding bringing of a uniform civil code in the country on Monday telling the petitioner that the power to do so remains with parliament and not the judiciary, reported The Times of India.

The petitioner Ashwini Upadhayay was represented by four senior advocates including Gopal Subramanium and Mohan Parasaran who relied on Directive Principles in the Constitution as well as case laws where the Supreme Court has insisted on introduction of the Uniform Civil Code.

The bench of TS Thakur and Justices AK Sikri and R Banumathi were unmoved by petitioner and said that heavy costs would be imposed on him if he continued with the petition. The bench said: “Sarla Mudgal case is the best that you can refer to in support of the PIL Article 44 is a constitutional goal. Are courts equipped and empowered to enforce constitutional goals? It reflects the hopes of Constitution makers. But hopes will remain in the realm of hope unless Parliament decides to convert them into enforceable rights.”

“The Supreme Court has consistently declined to go into it. The moot question is can Supreme Court convert a Directive Principle into fundamental right? It is for Parliament to take a call on it. What cannot be done directly, cannot be done indirectly through the courts.”

The bench however provided hope to Muslim women and observed that if and when a Muslim woman comes to the court and challenges triple talaq, it would be examined by the court and also said that no woman from a Muslim community has questioned the practice of triple talaq till now.

The petition was withdrawn by the petitioner’s advocate.

09 December 2015

The Supreme Court refused a district-level judge relief in his petition demanding reservation for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes in the higher judiciary on Monday, reported The Hindustan Times.

The petitioner judge, Kanta Prasad was seeking promotion to the Uttarakhand high court on the basis of his caste. Prasad works as a registrar with the HC’s vigilance department and had claimed in his petition that the collegium should have considered him since there is no representation from his community in the higher judiciary.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur rejected his plea and asked “Where is the rule, which says there has to be a quota for SC/ST in the HC? You cannot claim it as a right.” The bench also clarified that elevation to the HC is on the basis of seniority. “Only because you belong to a particular caste doesn’t mean you should become an HC judge. Has anyone junior to you from the services got promoted? If not, there is no reason for your grievance,” the bench reportedly said.

The bench also suggested Prasad’s lawyer to send his representation to the Supreme Court bench that recently held a detailed hearing on how to improve the appointment system in order to make it more transparent.

05 December 2015

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has released its final list of candidates, after the phase of withdrawal of names is over. 

04 December 2015

The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a petition seeking cancellation of bail of Bollywood star Salman Khan who was convicted and sentenced in a hit and run case.

A bench of Justice FMI Kalifulla and Justice Amitava Roy refused to entertain the plea saying the order of Bombay high court doesn’t require interference.

Khan was granted bail by the high court on the very day he was convicted and sentenced by the sessions court. The plea filed by Sushila Bai Himmat Rao Patil challenged the bail order.

The actor was on 6 May found guilty in the 28 September, 2002 hit and run case and sentenced to five years’ jail for various charges, including culpable homicide not amounting to murder. One person was killed and four injured when the actor’s car ran over them while they were sleeping on a pavement.

In August the Supreme Court had also dismissed a petition seeking cancellation of Khan’s bail.

04 December 2015

Oral arguments in the sexual harassment case against Madhya Pradesh high court judge SK Gangele began today in the parliament, four months after the Supreme Court dismissed the allegations against him.

Legally India understands from sources close to the process that the upper legislative house - Rajya Sabha - is investigating under the Judicial Inquiry Act 1968 and the Judicial Inquiry Act 1969, the sexual harassment allegations made against Gangele by a female additional district and sessions judge at Gwalior. The complainant and Gangele have already made their written submissions in the case to the Rajya Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha has written to its vice president Hamid Ansari, requesting Gangele’s impeachment, reported the Indian Express. 58 members of the house, who were unhappy with the judicial probe into Gangele’s case, signed the impeachment request made to Hansari.

The accused judge at the Jabalpur bench of the Madhya pradesh high court has survived two judicial probes in this matter: one by the Madhya Pradesh high court and another by the Supreme Court. The courts had ruled that charges weren’t proved against him due to lack of sufficient evidence.

The grounds which Rajya Sabha is looking into are the same as inquired into earlier by the courts. The gounds were:

Sexual harassment of a woman Additional District and Sessions Judge of Gwalior while being a sitting judge of the Gwalior Bench of the high court of Madhya Pradesh Victimisation of the said Additional District and Sessions Judge for not submitting to his illegal and immoral demands, including, but not limited to, transferring her from Gwalior to Sidhi Misusing his position as the Administrative Judge of the high court of Madhya Pradesh to use the subordinate judiciary to victimise the said Additional District and Sessions Judge.

04 December 2015

As Chief Justice of India (CJI), Justice HL Dattu appeared to be a man in a hurry. However, despite having held the office for a near eternity compared to many other recent CJIs, what he has managed to achieve as a judge and administrator in that time is questionable.

03 December 2015

Justice Tirath Singh Thakur was on Thursday sworn in as the 43rd Chief Justice of India.

02 December 2015

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled the Tamil Nadu government has no suo motu power to grant remission and release the convicts accused of conspiracy in the assassination case of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The apex court’s constitution bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said that the state government could grant remission and release the convicts only in consultation with the central government as the case was investigated and prosecuted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The court said this while answering reference by a three-judge bench which had asked the constitution bench to address seven questions framed by it.

Having answered the question of law, the court said the validity of the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to grant remission and release the convicts accused of conspiracy in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case would be examined by the three-judge bench.

In the case of heinous crimes, the court by a majority verdict held that it could sentence the accused to life imprisonment, meaning the whole life without remission.

01 December 2015

The Social Justice bench of the Supreme Court has agreed to examine the existing administrative and judicial guidelines relating to dowry cases, allegedly biased against females, reported The Indian Express.

A petition by NGO ‘Social Action Forum for Manav Adhikar’ (SAFMA), through advocate Jyotika Kalra, has alleged that the high courts have diluted the anti dowry harassment law by changing the conditions of mandatory FIR and arrest provisions in the law and compelling women to settle such cases.

SAFMA submitted a draft guideline related to FIR, arrest and grant of bail in cases lodged under Section 498-A to the bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Uday U Lalit for review. The court issued notice to the government and sought its reply in the matter.

Focusing on the unequal bargaining capacity of women in India who fear societal pressure and depend on others for financial stability, the draft regulations vouch for not forcing the woman to compromise and helping her to form a uniformed decision. It has also sought police be made to give written reasons for not arresting accused in such cases.

01 December 2015

Remaining seated while the Indian national anthem is being sung or played is not punishable under Indian statutory or case law or by any order of the Indian government, argues the Express in light of the recent alleged incident in a Mumbai theatre where, according to a viral video online, audience members were asked to leave because they remained seated while the anthem was being played.

Section 3 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act 1971 – the statutory law on the subject – only penalises the offence of disrupting the singing or playing of the national anthem. It does not make it mandatory to sing or play the anthem.

Government of India orders issued on 5 January 2015 make it mandatory to stand up when the anthem is being sung or played, but prescribe no punishment for not obeying this order.

The Supreme Court in 1987 ruled in favour of three students who were expelled from a school in Kerala because they were standing up but not participating in singing the national anthem when it was being played. The students had asserted that they were against singing anything other than what their Jehovian religion prescribed. The two judge SC bench had, in its order, observed: “Our tradition teaches tolerance; our philosophy preaches tolerance; our Constitution practises tolerance; let us not dilute it.”

01 December 2015

As the Chief Justice of India (CJI) HL Dattu retires on 2 December, the Government is apparently preparing red carpet for him at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) according to several reports, as the post of the chairperson of the NHRC has been vacant since May this year, and only former CJIs are eligible for this high office.

30 November 2015

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a PIL seeking a CBI probe into the citizenship row of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.

Chief Justice HL Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy dismissed the PIL filed by lawyer ML Sharma, saying PILs cannot be individual-centric.

The court also questioned the petitioner about the authenticity of the documents he had placed before the court.