Supreme Court: Citizens are free to air their views on Corruption in Judiciary, it is not Contempt of Court

February,22,2017:

Public opinion of Judiciary
Public opinion of Judiciary

Rather such surveys instead gave opportunity to address the malady in the system, said the Bench.

Supreme Court has expunded that a report based on the public views regarding the corruption in judiciary may not invite contempt of court action.

It added that such surveys instead gave opportunity to address malady in system.

Apex Court Bench headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar a and also comprising of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay K Kaul enunciated that law of contempt would not ordinarily encompass individuals or organisations which interview people and compile their views on whether the judiciary was also afflicted with corrupt practises such as bribing and exercising influences.

SC further questioned that,“How do you understand society? You raise questions; ask people in society; record their views and then compile it to see how people think…What is their perception of a particular institution or an issue. Where will the research go if this is contempt of court?” .

It added that collection of data by individuals or organisations would not invite contempt.

“Are you saying that if there is a malady, whether it is expediting a case or delaying it, and other such acts, should we close our eyes? If somebody collects data, we think, someone should look at it closely and find ways to remedy the problems,” it added.

Apec Court was responding to a submission by Counsel for Jammu and Kashmir Government who had sought to defend a show-cause notice which was issued to Transparency International (India) and the Centre for Media Studies (CMS) for releasing a damning report on corruption in State’s Subordinate Judiciary.

This report was based on a survey of litigants and more than 90 per cent of respondents complained of corrupt practices, which included bribes to delay cases or assign them to other judges, to lose or misplace files etc.

J&K-based newspaper, published this report, Judicial Magistrate in Kangan issued a show-cause notice to the chairman of Transparency International and CEO of CMS in May, 2006.

The notice was issued under provisions of Contempt of Court Act as well provisions of criminal defamation.

Bench added that if a Magistrate feels that an aspersion is casted on his integrity all he can do is seek a reply on why proceedings be not initiated against him and if the reply is found unsatisfactory send a reference to the High Court.

SC said that the Magistrate definitely exceeded his powers in issuing bailable warrants to secure the personal presence of the TII and CMS officials as a he could not have issued the Warrants of Arrest against the alleged contemnor.

Apex Court Bench has referred matter back to magistrate for hearing it afresh from stage of issuing show-cause notice and decide the future course of action strictly in accordance with law. Indian Express

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8.2.2017 – Top Seven SC Judges join to initiate Contempt proceedings against a sitting High Court Judge

1.2.2017 – High Court to consider if withdrawl from Mutual Consent Divorce Petition can attract Contempt action

7.1.2017 – Justice Markenday Katju tenders unconditional apology: SC Drops Contempt Proceedings, accepts Apology

22.12.2016 – SC convicts Two Doctors in Contempt for keeping Accused admitted in their Hospital to evade Arrest Warrants, Read Text

25.7.2016 – Supreme Court issues Contempt Notice to Vijay Mallya on Bank’s Plea

26.6.2016 – HC sitting over violation of its Order by State, despite Contempt Bench asks Govt to seek SC view on it

Law Commission Report No. 200- Trial by Media, Free Speech vs. Fair Trial Under Criminal Procedure (Amendments to the Contempt of Court Act, 1971), 2006

21.2.2016 – They called Afzal Guru hanging “Judicial Killing” and Apex Court Judges ‘Killers’: Kanhaiya, Gilani and ors. face SC’s Contempt

24.12.2015 – High Court issues Contempt Notice to Arundati Roy for seeking Bail for Prof. GN Saibaba, Read Order

17.12.2015 – Delhi High Court Jails a Lawyer in Contempt of Court for calling a Judge Corrupt, Read Judgment

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23.8.2015 – Supreme Court fumes, castigates Delhi Police Commissioner and issues contempt for not Arresting the Accused on NBWs & instead sermonizing the Court

SC: Terrorists killing innocents won’t get reliefs like Bail or Parole in the name of family exigencies

February,21,2017:

No sympathy for Terrorista Pic Courtsey ctvnews.ca
No sympathy for Terrorista Pic Courtsey ctvnews.ca

Convict had sought interim bail for a month to attend to his daughter’s wedding.

Supreme Court while taking a tough stand against the convicted terrorist expounded that those are lodged in prison for long years for slaughtering people could not be given parole or interim bail just because of the family exigencies.

Apex Court enunciated that,”If you are involved in such a heinous offence of the indiscriminate killing of innocents, you cannot be seen to plead that you have a family and its responsibilities. The moment you get convicted in such offences, that is end of your ties with your family and your family life”.

The above stated observations, were made by Supreme Court Bench comprising of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul while dismissing a petition for interim bail by Mohammad Naushad, who was convicted by trial court and Delhi High Court for the 1996 Lajpat Nagar bomb blast that had killed 13 people and injured 38.

Naushad, through Advocate had sought interim bail for a month to attend to his daughter’s wedding on February 27.

His appeal against the conviction and the CBI’s appeal for enhancement of his life sentence to the death penalty are pending before Apex Court.

 

SC questions Centre: What steps are you taking for release of 14,000 Acres of encroached Defence Land?

February,21,2017:

Temples of Justice
Temples of Justice

Extent of encroached defence land had increased from 6,903 acres in 1997 to 14,539 acres in 2009.

Supreme Court has asked Centre to respond to a PIL seeking creation of a ‘unified authority’ to take urgent steps to free more than 14,000 acres of defence land which has been encroached upon and is being commercially exploited by land mafia.

Apex Court Bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar issued notice on petition filed by Advocate S N Bharadwaj after Senior counsel Rakesh K Khanna cited Public Accounts Committee report to Parliament, which revealed that extent of encroached defence land had increased from 6,903 acres in 1997 to 14,539 acres in 2009.

PAC further added that existence of multiple authorities like Directorate General of Defence Estates (DGDE) and Local Military Authorities (LMAs) that look after the management of defence lands have only exacerbated situation for want of clear demarcation of responsibility.

Committee’s December 31, 2013 report to the Parliament recommended “creation of a single unified authority, which shall look into management and protection of the defence lands, fast-track recovery of encroached lands and shall also be responsible for monitoring and supervision of all field offices entrusted with responsibility to manage defence lands and properties”.

NGO, through lawyer Prashant Bhushan, had cited a report by CAG on encroachment of the defence land and had sought a comprehensive audit of such land to pinpoint the encroachments.

NGO further added that Defence establishment was biggest land holder in country with 17.31 lakh acres in its kitty. Of this, less than 2 lakh acres were within 62 notified cantonment areas while over 15 lakh acres fell outside cantonment boundaries.

Supreme Court questions source of Money in Teesta Setalvad’s frozen Bank Accounts

February, 21 2017:

Teesta Setalvad Pic Courtsey scroll.in
Teesta Setalvad                                                                          Pic Courtsey scroll.in

Whose money is this? From where did the money in these bank accounts have come?

Supreme Court questioned source of money in bank accounts of social activist Teesta Setalvad and others which were frozen by Ahmedabad police in 2015 after allegations of misappropriation.

Apex Court Bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra asked counsel appearing for Setalvad that,”Whose money is this? From where did the money in these bank accounts have come”.

“Atleast court should direct them that the personal bank accounts should be defreezed as lot of time has passed,” stated Advocate Aparna Bhat appearing for Setalvad.

She said they have submitted details of source of money to Gujarat government but till now no action has been taken on defreezing accounts.

Bench has posted matter for further hearing on April 18.

 

Teesta, her husband and two NGOs Sabrang Trust and the Citizens for Justice and Peace had approached the Supreme Court challenging October 7, 2015 verdict of Gujarat High Court rejecting their pleas for defreezing their personal bank accounts.

One of the residents of Gulberg Society, Firoz Khan Pathan, had filed complaint against the Setalvad and others alleging that money was raised to make a museum at Gulberg Society in memory of 69 people killed in the 2002 Gujarat riots, but it had not been utilised for purpose.

The freezing of the accounts by Ahmedabad Police had come soon after its crime branch had started probing a case in which Setalvad and others were accused of embezzling Rs 1.51 crore collected to convert Gulberg Society into a museum.

High Court had upheld verdict of a lower court in this regard observing that probe was at a serious point in alleged case of Gulberg society fund embezzlement.

Supreme Court trashes plea against UP Government’s Samajwadi Pension Scheme for poor

February,20,2017:

Supreme Court
Supreme Court

Petitioner objected to the 25 per cent reservation Scheme provides for minorities on the plea that is not permissible under the Constitution.

Today, the Apex Court refused to entertain a plea challenging the Akhilesh Yadav government’s ‘Samajwadi’ pension scheme for poor.

A bench comprising CJI J S Khehar, Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice S K Kaul said the scheme is meant for poor people & “it’s a beautiful one”.

The Apex Court was hearing the appeal filed by ‘Hindu Front for Justice’ against the Allahabad HC order which didn’t find merit in the plea against the scheme.

It was alleged that it provides 25% reservation for minorities which isn’t permissible under the Indian Constitution.

Samajwadi Pension Scheme
In the initiative the Scheme covers poor families of the state & gives them all-around protection. With this scheme, the Samajwadi Party Govt. is helping families which do not have source of income.

Under this initiative, every poor family is given ₹500 per month as cover money.

  • So far, more than 45,00,000 families have been benefited under the Samajwadi Pension Scheme.
  • It meets standards of education and health capacities.
  • The Samajwadi Pension Scheme is increased by ₹50 per year to meet the requirements.
  • The upper limit of the scheme has been fixed at ₹750.
  • ₹3,327 crore have been sanctioned for the Samajwadi Pension Scheme in the budget.
  • The beneficiaries are given the amt. quarterly and till now, ₹5049.084 lakhs have been given to 33,66,056 people.

Central Govt through NITI Aayog is bringing a Model Law on Contract farming to safeguard small Farmers

February,20,2017:

Small Farmers, Pic courtsey Wikipedia
Small Farmers, Pic courtsey Wikipedia

Law aims to help farmers who do distress sale of Agricultural Produce at cheap rates and are not able to hold it.

In a move intended to protect farmers against the price volatility, particularly in the perishables like onions, tomatoes and potatoes, Niti Aayog is drawing up a model law on contract farming for approval by Cabinet by June,2017.

As the market fluctuations have made distress sales with dramatic photographs of the farmers dumping kitchen staples on the roads, Central Government’s think-tank is considering options that can reduce risks for the farmers by balancing entry of the private players with the safeguards for the agriculturalists.

Ramesh Chand, Agriculture Expert and member of NITI Aayog said that,”We have been working on model law for quite some time. Meetings with the States’ Representatives were held last year”.

Bringing a model law on the contract farming was announced as part of the reform measures in Union Budget.

Law on contract farming is considered important for entry of the private players into sector as it would induce competition and ensure better price of agriculture and horticulture produce to the farmers through advance agreements.

Once states come on board and adopt proposed law, farmers can enter into agreements with the private entities\buyers who may, in turn, invest in the technology and bring in management skills to increase the productivity and reduce transaction costs.

At present, the farmers suffer losses when a bumper crop causes a glut in market or in a situation where their produce is unable to reach the ‘mandis’ in the time for a variety of reasons.

Therefore, main idea behind contract farming is to integrate farmers to agro-processing units for better price realisation. It will also take care of their post-harvest losses, if any.

Model Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act was first circulated to the States during 2003 for contract farming agreement. Though 20 states had amended legislation, only 12 have so far notified rules for implementation.

Chand further added that,”If implemented properly by States, both these reform measures will go a long way in doubling farmers’ income by 2022″.
RelatedNews @ LatestLaws.com-

Supreme Court to Builder: We can’t leave Property Buyers at your mercy, imposes heafty fine

February,20,2017:

Supreme Court Complex in Delhi
Supreme Court Complex in Delhi

Bench warned Real Estate companies not to play with people’s dreams of owning a house and instead usurp their hard earnrd Money.

Supreme Court has directed Unitech to pay a fine equivalent to a whopping 14 per cent a year of principal deposited by the 39 buyers, retroactive from 2010, in addition to returning principal amount.

This means that Unitech has to pay out 14 per cent a year for every year from 2010, on principal amount of Rs 16.55 crore which was deposited by 39 flat buyers. This, is in addition to Rs 16.55 crore.

Apex Court has also directed that Unitech to pay atleast 90 per cent of total amount to these buyers within eight weeks.

Last October, Supreme Court has asked realtor to return Rs 16.55 crore to 39 flat buyers in its Vista project.

At that time, Senior Advocate A M Singhvi, appearing on behalf of Unitech, had informed Apex Court that construction was underway on 39 buyers’ flats and that they would be handed over to them in April,2017.

Apex Court Bench had however, refused to grant more time after buyers “unequivocally and categorically” turned down the company’s proposal.

Bench further warned real estate companies to not to play with people’s dreams of owning a house by reneging on their promise of delivering flats in time and instead making them run from pillar to the post to get back their hard-earned money.

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15.1.2017 – SC petitioned as Delhi Govt is accused of illegally diverting Rs 900 crore from Building Construction Workers’ Welfare Fund

19.2.2016 – Venkaiah Naidu releases Model Building Bye-Laws 2016 loaded with Environmental considerations, Read Full Text

11.3.2016-  Real Estate Bill: Will it tame the Builders and make ‘Consumer the King’, Read Full Text Here

18.2.2016- National Consumer Commission directs Unitech to refund Rs 4 Crore to buyers for delayed Projects, Read Order

Ex. CJI Altamas Kabir no more, was under treatment at Apollo Hospital in Kolkata

February,19,2017:

Ex. CJI Altamas Kabir no more
Ex. CJI Altamas Kabir no more

He remained CJI for around 10 months.

Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir today passed away in Kolkata in the Hospital.

He was suffering from a prolonged illness was under treatment at Apollo hospital in Kolkata as per PTI.

He was reported to be in a critical condition and was on life support.

With age of just 68 years he was suffering from a kidney ailment. He had his last breath at 2.52 PM today.

He is survived by his wife Ms. Meena Kabir, a daughter and a son, his son in-law Leon D’Souza.

He was 39th Chief Justice of India and held CJI’s office from September 29, 2012 till  July 18, 2013.

Modi Govt. to Kejriwal’s Delhi Govt: Justify your move seeking 400% Salary hike for MLAs under GNCTD Act, 1991

February,19,2017:

Sought 400% hike in MLAs Salary
Sought 400% hike in MLAs Salary

Central Govt found procedural defect by way of non-reference of legislative proposals to the Union Govt.

Union Home Ministry was not satisfied with “incomplete” clarifications received from the Delhi government in November 2016 on proposal to hike MLAs’ salaries, prompting it to request complete information on December 15, 2016.

“A response to fresh query, which seeks to know how cost of living in Delhi has been worked out commensurate with proposed pay hike, is still awaited,” stated a Senior Officer in the Central Government.

Clarifications were sought by Centre via Delhi LG’s office on May 25, 2016 after he sent ‘legislative proposal’ on May 3 in respect of five Bills seeking to hike pay cheques of the Delhi MLAs, Ministers, Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Leader of the Opposition and Chief whip in Delhi legislative assembly.

Three key queries raised were  —

  • Rationale for steep hike, considering that no other state has given its MLAs 400% pay hike in one go;
  • how fat pay-cheque on grounds of ‘high cost of living’ in Delhi is offset by the limited geographical area of an assembly constituency as compared to the other states; and
  • How unprecedented hike is justified when MLA salary base in Delhi is neither low nor has it been long since it was last revised.

FIve bills have been doing rounds of  home ministry, Delhi government and LG’s office for over a year now.

These bills were referred by LG in December 2015 for consideration of President without actually ‘reserving’ them, citing procedural defect by way of non-reference of legislative proposals to Centre.

 

Bills were returned recommending to consider these bills after due procedure is observed.

Supreme Court: Only gross Negligence by an Advocate, would amount to Professional misconduct, Read Judgement

February,19,2017:

Disciplining the Bar
Disciplining the Bar

The accusation which were leveled against the practicing Advocate were found to be of simple negligence not sufficient to hold him guilty.

Disciplinary Committee of Bar Council of India in BCI TR Case No.138 of 2005 whereby said authority has found appellant guilty of gross negligence in discharge of his professional service to client.

Accordingly he was imposed punishment of reprimand with a further stipulation that he shall pay a sum of Rs.5,000/- to Bar Council of India.

It had also ordered that an equivalent amount to the complainant within two weeks’ time from date of receipt of order failing which he would stand suspended from practicing for a period of six months.

The factual background is that respondent-complainant engaged appellant as an Advocate in respect of a matrimonial dispute and during the pendency of  the matrimonial case, wife of the respondent breathed her last due to a kidney failure in year 2002.

Appellant advised complainant-respondent that as wife had expired, there was no justification to prosecute any further the case for the divorce and it was advisable to withdraw said litigation.

In the meantime, respondent engaged him to file a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 (for short, ‘the N.I. Act’) as a cheque issued by one Ramachandran in favour of the respondent for a sum of Rs.75,000/- (Rupees seventy five thousand only) had been dishonoured.

It is not in the dispute that appellant thought it appropriate not to file a complaint under the N.I. Act but he felt it apposite to file a complaint case before competent Magistrate under the Section 420,Indian Penal Code and accordingly he did so.

Disciplinary Committee found appellant guilty of gross-negligence as he had failed to get acknowledgment from complainant-respondent.

Supreme Court found that act of appellant cannot be treated to be in realm of gross negligence as it was only one of negligence.

As such the appeal was allowed by the Apex Court and order passed by Disciplinary Committee of Bar Council of India was set aside.

SC Judgement on Only Gross Negligence by an Advocate, Would Amount to Professional Misconduct by latest laws team on Scribd