Supreme Court Collegium proposes Elevation of Justices Ravindra Bhat, Krishna Murari, Hrishikesh and Ramasubramanian Roy as Supreme Court Judges [Read Resolution]

The SC Collegium has recommended the elevation of four Chief Justices of High Courts as Supreme Court judges.
They are :

1.    Justice S Ravindra Bhat, Chief Justice of High Court of Rajasthan
2.    Justice V Ramasubramanian, Chief Justice of High Court of Himachal Pradesh
3.    Justice Hrishikesh Roy, Chief Justice of High Court of Kerala.
4.    Justice Krishna Murari, Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court.

The Collegium of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Bobde, Ramana, Arun Mishra & R F Nariman said that they have taken into consideration the combined seniority of all judges & has kept in mind the desirability of giving due representation to all High Courts, as far as possible.

Justice S Ravindra Bhat

Justice Shripathi Ravindra Bhat (born 21 October 1958) is Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court He was Judge in Delhi High Court.

Born on 21 October 1958, at Mysore. Educated in Bangalore and Gwalior. Finished schooling from Central School, Faridabad. Thereafter completed graduation in B.A.(.Hons) in English literature from Hindu College, Delhi University, 1979. Graduated in law (LL.B) from Campus Law Centre, Delhi University (1982). Enrolled with Delhi Bar Council in August 1982. Commenced law practice in 1982. Practised before the Delhi High Court, Supreme Court. During the course of law practice, had exposure in different branches of law as Public Law, Banking, Education, Labour and Service, and Indirect Taxation. Assumed office as Additional Judge of Delhi High Court on 16 July 2004, and Permanent Judge of Delhi High Court on 20 February 2006.

He was appointed Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court on 30 April 2019. He took oath as Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court on 5 May 2019

Justice V Ramasubramanian

Justice V. Ramasubramanian (born 30 June 1958) is an Indian Judge and the Chief justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court. He is former Judge of Madras High Court and Telangana High Court.

 Justice Hrishikesh Roy

Hrishikesh Roy (born 1 February 1960) is an Indian judge and the present Chief Justice of Kerala.

In 1982, Roy passed LL.B. from University of Delhi. He was initially enrolled under the Bar Council of Delhi thereafter shifted to Guwahati. He served as the Senior Government Advocate for the State of Arunachal Pradesh, Standing Counsel for the Assam State Electricity Board and Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council. He was designated as Senior Advocate of Gauhati High Court on 21 December 2004. Roy became an Additional Judge of Gauhati High Court on 12 October 2006 and permanent Judge on 15 July 2008. In his career he was the Executive Head of the Assam State Legal Services Authority and nominated as a member of the National Judicial Academic Council presided by the Chief Justice of India. On 29 May 2018 Justice Roy was transferred from the Gauhati High Court to Kerala High Court as the Acting Chief Justice. He became the permanent Chief Justice of the High Court on 8 August 2018 after the retirement of Justice Antony Dominic.

Justice Krishna Murari

Krishna Murari (born: 9 July 1958) is the present Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was also served as Judge of Allahabad High Court till his elevation as Chief justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Murari was born in a lawyer family of Uttar Pradesh. His uncle G.N Verma was a senior advocate and a leading lawyer. Murari passed LL.B. from the Allahabad University, Allahabad. He was enrolled as an Advocate on 23 December 1981 and started practice in the Allahabad High Court on Civil, Constitutional, Company and Revenue matters. In his 22 years lawyers career he served as Standing Counsel of Uttar Pradesh State Yarn Company, Northern Railway Primary Co-operative Bank, Uttar Pradesh State Textile Corporation etc. He also appeared for Bundelkhand University of Jhansi.Murari was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Allahabad High Court on 7 January 2004 and became the Permanent Judge in 2005. On 2 June 2018 he was elevated in the post of the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court in Chandigarh after the retirement of Justice Shiavax Jal Vazifdar.

Elgar Parishad case: CD title with Gonsalves suggests something anti-State, says high court

The Bombay High Court hearing a bail plea of Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case accused Vernon Gonsalves on Wednesday questioned his motive behind keeping copies of some books and CDs whose titles prima facie indicated they contained material against the State.

The books and CDs the high court referred to included copies of Marxist Archives, a CD titled ‘Rajya Daman Virodhi’ released by Kabir Kala Manch, and Leo Tolstoy’s literary classic ‘War and Peace’ among others.

“The title of the CD ‘Rajya Daman Virodhi’ itself suggests it has something against the State while ‘War and Peace’ is about a war in another country. Why were you (Gonsalves) having these books and CDs at home? You will have to explain this to the court,” said a single-judge bench of Justice Sarang Kotwal.

The judge made these observations while hearing the bail plea of Gonsalves, an academic, and other accused persons.

Gonsalves was arrested by the Pune police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act after raids at residences and offices of several activists in connection with the Elgar Parishad case.

The police had claimed provocative speeches made at the Parishad on December 31, 2017 were responsible for the caste violence around Bhima-Korgaon village in Pune district the next day during an event to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. One person was killed and others were injured in the violence.

Police are probing the alleged naxal links in organising the Parishad, which was held at historic Shaniwarwada in Pune.

Other arrested accused in the case include activists and academics Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, and Gautam Navlakha.

Gonsalves’ counsel Mihir Desai told the high court that the Pune police had based the entire case against him on the basis of some e-mails and letters recovered from the computers of other people.

“None of these letters or emails were written by Gonsalves, or were addressed to him. Therefore,in the absence of any cogent incriminating evidence against him, Gonsalves shouldn’t be denied bail,” Desai argued.

Opposing the bail application, advocate Aruna Pai, who is representing Pune Police, said the investigators are yet to find anything incriminating against Gonsalves in the computer and the hard disk recovered from his house a year ago.

She said a search conducted at Gonsalves’ house had yielded “incriminating evidence” in the form of “books and CDs with objectionable titles including the books and CDs mentioned above”.

Desai countered the prosecution argument saying “mere possession” of such books and CDs “did not make Gonsalves a terrorist, or a member of any banned Maoist group”.

Agreeing with defence that mere possession of such material does not make anyone a terrorist, Justice Kotwal, however, said Gonsalves will have to explain why he kept such material at his home.

The judge also said the Pune police too have to do “much explaining” to convince the court that the material found on such CDs and in the books is incriminatory against Gonsalves.

“So far, the police have failed to provide details of what was on the CDs or in the books and pamphlets recovered that linked Gonsalves to the case. Merely stating that they have objectionable titles is not enough. Have you tested these CDs? What if they turn out to be blank inside?” the judge asked.

“If you (prosecution) do not place on record the content and details of such material, the court will have to ignore them,” said Justice Kotwal.

The bench also directed police to provide details of the source of the e-mails and letters, and their authors and recipients.

The arguments are likely to continue on Thursday.

Dalits celebrate the anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle every year as they believe that the Army of the British comprising ‘Mahars’ or scheduled caste soldiers had defeated the forces of the Brahmin Peshwas.

Supreme Court extends protection from arrest to Chidambaram till Thursday in INX Media money laundering case

The Supreme Court Wednesday extended till tomorrow the interim protection from arrest granted to former finance minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media money laundering case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

A bench of Justices R Banumathi and A S Bopanna heard arguments advanced by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who said that Chidambaram was trying to play the “victim card” and prevent ED from exercising its right to arrest him in the case.

“This is not a witch hunt as alleged by them. We have material to show that it is a serious case of money laundering. We have collected cogent materials in the case,” Mehta told the bench, which would continue hearing arguments in the case on Thursday.

The apex court is hearing a plea filed by Chidambaram who has challenged the August 20 verdict of the Delhi High Court denying him anticipatory bail in the INX Media corruption and money laundering cases lodged by the CBI and the ED.

“A ghost is sought to be created by playing the victim card,” Mehta said while opposing grant of anticipatory bail to Chidambaram.

CBI had lodged an FIR on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in FIPB clearance granted to INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as finance minister.

Thereafter, ED lodged a money laundering case.

Chidambaram was Union minister for finance as also home during the UPA-I and UPA-II government from 2004 to 2014.

He had said in the apex court on Tuesday that the ED be asked to produce transcripts of his questioning in the case and claimed that the probe agency wanted his arrest just to “humiliate” him.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, had told the court that he was quizzed by the agency on three dates in 2018 and 2019 and transcripts of questioning would clear the air on whether he was evasive in his replies, as alleged by it while seeking his custodial interrogation.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, also appearing for Chidambaram, had said the former minister was not evasive during his questioning and has fully co-operated in the probe.

“You (ED) want to arrest me, but for what reason? The answer is — to humiliate me, to humiliate me and to humiliate me, minute by minute and hour by hour,” Singhvi had said.

He argued that ED had lodged the case in 2017 whereas the offences alleged are of the period 2007-2008.

Referring to the high court verdict which used “gravity of offence” to deny anticipatory bail to Chidambaram, Singhvi said ‘gravity’ is a subjective word and what is grave for someone may not be grave for others.

The best test of gravity of an offence is period of sentence prescribed for it and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) considers sentence of over seven year, including death or life term, as grave and punishment of up to seven year as less grave, he told the top court.

Offences alleged against Chidambaram entail a maximum punishment of up to seven years, he added.

Singhvi said Chidambaram was not a ‘flight risk’ that he may abscond and non co-operation does not mean that a person has to give answer which the probe agencies want, and that there was no question of tampering of any evidence.

Babri demolition: SC asks UP govt to pass orders in 2 weeks on extension of special judge’s tenure

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to pass orders within two weeks on extension of tenure of the special judge conducting trial in the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition case, involving BJP veterans L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti, in Lucknow.

A bench of justices R F Nariman and Surya Kant said a fresh letter has been written by the special judge on July 27 in which he had made five requests including providing him security.

The bench asked senior advocate Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the state, to consider all the five requests within two weeks time saying these requests appears to be reasonable.

The apex court had on July 19 extended the special judge’s tenure till the completion of trial and delivery of verdict in the case. However, the state government was yet to pass the order.

He was also asked by the top court to deliver the verdict within nine months.

Besides Advani, Joshi and Bharti, the accused against whom conspiracy charge was invoked in the case by the Supreme Court on April 19, 2017, include former BJP MP Vinay Katiar and Sadhvi Ritambara.

Three other high-profile accused Giriraj Kishore, and Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal and Vishnu Hari Dalmia died during trial and the proceedings against them have been abated.

HC notice to Vijender Gupta on Arvind Kejriwal’s plea to quash summons in defamation case

The Delhi High Court on Friday sought response of the state of National Capital Territory (NCT) and leader of opposition Vijender Gupta on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s plea to quash summons in a defamation complaint against him by the BJP leader.

Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri issued notice to the state of NCT and Gupta seeking their stand on Kejriwal’s plea by November 20, the next date of hearing.

The court, however, declined to issue notice on Kejriwal’s application seeking stay on summons issued to him by the lower court on July 8.

Kejriwal had challenged the July 8 summons by moving a revision plea which was dismissed by the lower court on July 26 which also he has challenged in the high court.

While issuing notice in the main petition, the high court said it prima facie appears that trial would be required to decide if the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief’s re-tweet of deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s tweet was defamatory.

Kejriwal, represented by senior advocate Vikas Pahwa and advocate Arunadhri Iyer, has claimed that he has not named Gupta in his tweet or re-tweet.

They also argued that no trial was required to determine if re-tweets would amount to defamation as then anyone and everyone who re-tweets a tweet would be roped in irrespective of their comment in the re-tweet.

Gupta, in his complaint, had accused Kejriwal and Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia of “maligning” his image by allegedly accusing him on Twitter of being part of an alleged “conspiracy” to kill the AAP chief.

The AAP convenor, in his petition filed through Mohd Irsad, has claimed that he had neither mentioned Gupta in his tweet nor made any allegations against him.

His lawyers, however, have admitted that the AAP chief had re-tweeted Sisodia’s tweet but with his own comment in which also Gupta was not mentioned by name.

Kejriwal, in his plea, has also contended that he has neither made any defamatory comment against Gupta nor mentioned his name and therefore, the offence was not made out against him.

After Kejriwal was slapped in May this year during the general election campaign, he had alleged on Twitter that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wanted to get him killed by his own personal security officer (PSO) in the manner in which Indira Gandhi had been assassinated.

In response to his comments, Gupta had said that Kejriwal was slapped because he had relaxed his security cordon.

To this, Sisodia had tweeted that there was a conspiracy to kill Kejriwal and that Gupta was allegedly part of it.

Delhi HC to hear on Sep 3 plea against Shah Faesal’s detention

The Delhi High Court said on Friday it will hear on September 3 former IAS officer Shah Faesal’s plea alleging he was illegally detained at Delhi airport on August 14 and taken back to Srinagar where he has been kept under house arrest.

A bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal asked both sides to file their submissions and listed the matter for hearing on September 3.

The court declined to give an earlier date, saying the matter will take time and “it is not going to happen overnight”.

“A week or 10 days will not matter,” the bench said and also made it clear that it was not going to examine the issue of Faesal’s travel to the US for his studies as it was not a prayer sought in the habeas corpus plea moved on his behalf.

The bench listed the matter on September 3 as Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta was not available during the first half of the day as he was arguing in the Supreme Court.

Faesal’s lawyers, during the brief hearing, sought that his son and parents be allowed to meet him.

The bench said Faesal’s wife, son and parents can meet him, but not all of them together.

The central government said it will ensure that the family can meet Faesal.

63 moons wins MPID case in Bombay HC;Court rules NSEL is not financial establishment

In a victory for 63 Moons Technologies Limited, formerly known as Financial Technologies (India) Ltd, and its group CEO Jignesh Shah in the Rs 5,600 crore National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) scam case the Bombay high court on Thursday held that it is not a financial institution and hence notifications for attachment of the company’s assets including bank accounts and properties, under Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID), stand quashed.

The Hon’ble Bombay High Court today ruled that the National spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) ,is not a financial establishment and hence notifications for attachment of the company’s assets including bank accounts and properties under the MPID act stand quashed. The competent authority requested for a stay . However the honorable High Court declined

The Honorable Bombay High Court has quashed all the notifications issued by the state government in the year 2016 and 2018 attaching movable and immovable properties of 63 moons under the MPID act 1999 by observing that NSEL is not a financial establishment since it did not deposit as defined under the MPID Act and resultantly the petitioner who is a promoter of the state establishment cannot be preceded under the provisions of MPID act

The company had called the state’s action “in excess”, arbitrary, unreasonable and illegal.

The state had issued notifications in April 2018 under provisions of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (In Financial Establishment) Act (MPID). The company challenged their validity. The HC bench of Justices Ranjeet More and Bharati Dangre ruled that MPID is not applicable. The court also declined to stay its judgment. Senior counsel Rafique Dada, appeasing for the state, sought a stay saying it would lose the assets but former attorney general for India Mukul Rohatgi opposed it saying once the court has held NSEL is not a financial establishment it cannot stay the consequences that follow.
The implication would be that the assets attached under MPID stand released.

The company had last year moved the HC to assail validity of certain provisions of the MPID Act and its counsel former attorney general Mukul Rohatgi with Aabad Ponda and Sujay Kantwala had argued that the authorities had sought to attach over Rs 8,500 crore.

The company said its business was of developing and selling technology products to facilitate trading on exchange such as stock exchanges and commodities exchanges. It also claimed to be a champion in financial technologies market and a software belonging to it (ODIN) provides a platform for online trading.

In July 2016, EOW had restrained company from creating third party rights or disposing assets without permission of designated court. In September 2016 state issued notification to attach assets including investments in mutual funds and bonds. This notification, however, excluded the periodically accrued benefits on these investments.

In April 2018, the state issued a notification to attach movable property (software known as ODIN software) and receivables from it. Home department, Maharashtra issued a fresh notification on 19th September, 2018 ratifying the notifications.
“We find sufficient substance in the grievance of the petitioner as ODIN is a software developed by the petitioner and it accrues income to the petitioner by using technology and attaching ODIN perpetually would strangulate the business of the petitioner company,” said the HC in its interim order last year.

The HC had said that, prima facie “amount earned from the non-ODIN business and the revenue accruing from ODIN need not be brought within the purview of attachment…” The reasoned judgment copy will be made available soon.

Court reduced compensation to driver citing negligence

Court cuts compensation to driver citing negligence : N.Lakshmanan, a load van driver who became partially disabled after meeting with an accident received a compensation of Rs 12.29 lakh awarded by a city motor accident claims tribunal. The tribunal, however, awarded the amount after deducting 10% of the total compensation amount, fixing contributory negligence on the van driver for not obtaining a Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) badge. An Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) badge or commercial license is required for those driving vehicle for commercial purposes. Lakshmanan, a resident of Kodungayur moved the claims tribunal after he suffered injuries in an accident that occured on March 13,2016 in Ambattur. In his petition, he claimed that another load van, which rashly driven, collided with his vehicle. In response, his insurance firm contended that the accident happened due to the negligent driving of the petitioner & that he was not in possession of Light Motor Vehicle (LMV) badge. Lakshmanan’s claim was proved valid during cross examination, it noted. tnn

INX Media Case: Former Finance Minister, P Chidambaram sent to 4 days in CBI custody

P. Chidambaram was brought to Rouse Avenue Court complex around 3 pm after a medical check-up. His son Karti and wife Nalini had arrived much earlier.

His team of lawyers including Senior Congress leaders Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Singhvi.

Chidambaram, briefly spoken to his lawyers, later moved to the accused box as they waited for CBI judge, to start the proceedings.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta requested for CBI custody and stated that Ex-minister’s responses to the investigators were evasive and his custodial interrogation was crucial.

He further added that,“Right to silence is a constitutional right and I have no issue, but he is non cooperative, he was evasive to questioning”.

Kapil Sibal asked CBI Court to release Chidambaram on bail, stating that Karti Chidambaram, also an accused in this case, was released on bail in the case and there was no reason to hold his father in custody.