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Supreme Court

27 November 2015

Harish Salve said he has materials to show that “dance bar is an animal in itself”, while acting for Maharashtra which defended its defiance of the Supreme Court’s order that had directed it to begin accepting bar licence applications, reported Indian Express.

Salve asked a bench of justices Dipak Misra and PC Pant, for additional time to produce materials highlighting the harmful sociological effects of dance bars, and submitted that the Maharashtra government will, in the interim, comply with the court’s 12 October order that had stayed its prohibitive law on dance bars.

The bench said: “We must remind the authority that the court order has to be respected. We have stayed your new law that prohibited dance performances. Now our order has to be complied with without any deviation.” “Are they (organisations) puritans? Dance performances do not take place only at these bars. Dance has been a respectable concept in India for centuries. You are calling it a social evil but this may only be a problem relating to law and order which can be regulated. We have already said no to obscenity so can you now prohibit them citing some social norms?”

26 November 2015

The Essar group told a bench headed by justice TS Thakur of Supreme Court that there is “nothing illegal or improper” in politicians and bureaucrats making job requests to them and that certain favours to government servants are “common courtesies extended by corporate houses” in a counter affidavit filed last week in a Public Interest Litigation by Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) reported The Indian Express.

A whistleblower in the company had leaked the company’s internal communications leading to the PIL

The company defended itself by claiming that meeting of MPs and civil servants with its official was allowed in a democracy and the job seekers given on requests by politicians and bureaucrats had prescribed qualifications and were otherwise also eligible for appointments.

The petition demands CBI enquiry and framing of guidelines to regulate relationships of big corporate groups with individuals in positions of power and influence.

25 November 2015

Taped telephonic conversation was admitted in defence evidence, in an unprecedented move by the Supreme Court, in a child sexual abuse case’ trial on Monday, reported the Times of India.

A Supreme Court bench of justices Dipak Misra and PC Pant admitted the CD produced by the alleged sexual offender who claimed that the phone conversation recorded in it depicted that he was wrongfully framed for the offence, owing to revenge in a lingering family property dispute.

The trial court and the Punjab and Haryana high court had rejected his application for producing the phone-recorded evidence. He had also pleaded with the trial court to get the CD tested for authenticity, by a forensic laboratory, and match it with voice samples taken from the persons featuring in the conversation.

Reversing the stand of the lower courts, the Supreme Court said the CD produced by the accused can be treated as a document under the Evidence Act and observed: “On a document filed by the defence, endorsement of admission or denial by the public prosecutor is sufficient and defence will have to prove the document if not admitted by the prosecution. In our opinion, the courts below have erred in law in rejecting the application to play the compact disc in question to enable the public prosecutor to admit or deny, and to get it sent to the forensic science laboratory by the defence.”

Obseving that as the accused is in jail he would not have any intention to delay the trial, the court ordered the police to place the compact disc on record and get it examined by a forensic laboratory. However, the bail application of the accused was rejected due to delay.

25 November 2015

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hold an urgent hearing of a PIL seeking CBI probe into the allegation that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had declared himself a British national in the documents filed before the registrar of companies in Britain.

“There is no urgency in the matter,” the bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said as PIL petitioner advocate Manohar Lal Sharma mentioned the matter for an urgent hearing.

Sharma urged the court to direct the CBI to investigate the matter and submit the report of its investigation only to the apex court.

Accusing Rahul Gandhi of becoming the Lok Sabha member by holding back the information that he was once a citizen of Britain, Sharma said it amounted to cheating with the electoral process.

Sharma said no one with foreign nationality could become the member of any legislature in India.

Sharma also sought to know when Rahul Gandhi gave up his British citizenship and had acquired the Indian nationality.

The petitioner has also sought direction to the Election Commission that it should ask every candidate aspiring to contest election to file an affidavit stating that he or she is a citizen of India and same should be backed with documentary proof.

23 November 2015

Counting the Rs 40.4 lakh of fees paid to 10 lawyers for 151 cases, Ignoring the higher fees paid to the two highest paid lawyers, that works out to a mathematical average of only Rs 2,675 per case.

23 November 2015

Counting the Rs 40.4 lakh of fees paid to 10 lawyers for 151 cases, Ignoring the higher fees paid to the two highest paid lawyers, that works out to a mathematical average of only Rs 2,675 per case.

20 November 2015

The final day of the hearing on neo-Collegium at Court No.4 in Supreme Court began at 10.40 am yesterday (19 November), with the presiding Judge, Justice JS Khehar claiming that the 10-minute delay in assembling was due to some discussions which the five judges had among themselves about the hearing.

18 November 2015

Professor Upendra Baxi, in a comment to Legally India, had expressed his surprise how his name appears in the list of those who made proposals for reforming the Collegium, compiled by Supreme Court appointed committee comprising senior advocate, Arvind Datar and ASG, Pinky Anand, as he had not submitted any such proposal. Prof Baxi was also surprised that his so-called proposal was also shown not contributing to any of the five categories, identified by the Court and the Committee, namely, Collegium Secretariat, Eligibility Criteria, Transparency, Mechanism to deal with complaints and Miscellaneous.

17 November 2015

Nestle Maggi’s comeback was challenged in the Supreme Court yesterday by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), reported The Economic Times.

The FSSAI has filed an appreal against the Bombay high court order that had lifted the ban that was imposed over five months ago on the popular noodle brand in India. The ban was imposed due to the alleged presence of lead in the noodles, making them unfit for human consumption.

FSSAI chairman and CEO Ashish Bahuguna was quoted by Economic Times as saying, “We have appealed in the Supreme Court on two accounts, one is the allegation that our officials acted against the system of natural justice and second the validity of operations of our labs. Our labs follow provisions as stated in the FSS Act and a question on them will bring all our enforcement to a standstill putting the safety of consumers under risk.”

The FSSAI, in the Supreme Court, has challenged the “sanctity” of the samples provided to the government-approved labs for the re-test. Nestle suffered losses of Rs 450 crores due to the destruction of already produced and distributed Maggi, and due to the ban on it since June.

The government had also filed a first-of-its-kind suit for damages of Rs 640 crores against Maggi before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), as reported by Legally India

Nestle resumed manufacturing the product after tests done on all fresh Maggi samples by government approved labs, as authorised by the Bombay high court, declared it safe. It is still awaiting clearances to make Maggi at its Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh plants, it was reported.

16 November 2015

Mumbai maverick lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara has filed an application in the Supreme Court for review or recall of order dated 5 November 2015 in which the court has invited suggestions from the public for reforming the Collegium system, by 13 November and for holding two-day hearing of select counsel on 18 and 19 November.

10 November 2015

The report submitted to the Supreme Court’s Constitution Bench by Senior Advocate Arvind Datar and ASG, Pinky Anand on the neo-collegium received over 60 representations and suggestions from various associations and individuals.

09 November 2015

In a panel discussion on the recent NJAC judgment on 5 November, organized by the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, New Delhi at the India International Centre Annexe, eminent senior advocate, Raju Ramachandran, had outlined grave implications for the application of the Basic Structure Doctrine.

09 November 2015

Madras high court’s controversial Justice C S Karnan has filed long-leave application with the Madras high court to protest the allocation of “insignificant and dummy portfolio” of cases to him by Madras HC Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, reported Business Standard.

In a letter to the Chief Justice he wrote: “It is with a heavy heart that I am desirous of proceeding on a long leave as a result of the harassment and belittlement meted out to me by you lordship and to ensure that the decorum of the court is maintained to the satisfaction of the general public.”

He also wrote letters to the Union Law Minister and the Principal Accountant-General in Chennai.

Justice Karnan said that the collegium system of appointment of judges was a doubtful system that promoted only high caste candidates and said it should be rooted out “lock, stock and barrel.”

In January this year, he had stormed into a court of Madras high court hearing petitions in the matter of appointment of judges at the court and initiated a suo motu writ petition against constitution of the collegium at the high court. This eventually led to Supreme Court taking over the matter.

09 November 2015

Polygamy - the practice of taking several wives - is “heinously patriarchal” observed the Gujarat high court even as it quashed the bigamy charges against a muslim man, reported the Times of India.

Gujarat high court justice JB Pardiwala quashed the charges against the man because bigamy and polygamy is currently legal under muslim personal law. But justice Pardiwala called for a uniform civil code in India “on the basis of modern progressive thinking”, and the mandate under Article 14 of the Indian constitution that the state must “endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory.”

“If the state tolerates this law, it becomes an accomplice in the discrimination of the female, which is illegal under its own laws,” the judge was reported as saying. He also said, “”... It’s for the maulvis and Muslim men to ensure that they do not abuse the Quran to justify the heinously patriarchal act of polygamy in self-interest.”

The courts in India have been vying for uniform civil code and the Supreme Court has asked the government to ensure necessary reforms in various cases. Huffington Post reported that the Supreme Court has observed in various cases that fundamental rights of the citizens affected by these laws. One of the observations in judgment in a christian divorce matter was quoted as “We have to stamp out religion from civil laws. It is very necessary. There are already too many problems because of this.”

06 November 2015

In the midst of the melee in Court 4 on 5 November before the constitution bench hearing the proposals on reforming the collegium, counsel arguing for and against the brief adjournment, missed a crucial fact: the present collegium headed by the outgoing CJI, Justice HL Dattu, is unlikely to meet to recommend the names of new Judges, in view of Dattu’s recommendation to the government to elevate the senior-most of his colleagues, Justice TS Thakur, as the CJI, after his retirement on 2 December.

05 November 2015

At a discussion on the Supreme Court’s recent judgment quashing the 99th Amendment Act and the NJAC Act, eminent academic, Professor Upendra Baxi, defended the judgment, but expected nothing much to come out of the ongoing hearing on reforming the collegium.