US fails to serve summons to websites: MHA to court

“The US authorities are unable to “execute” the request for assistance in serving summons to 11 US-based websites, including Facebook and Google, accused of promoting class enmity and undermining national integrity,” told by the Ministry of Home Affairs to a court here in Delhi.

The Ministry of Home Affairs told Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja that they have received a communication dated March 20, 2013 from the US Department of Justice according to which they cannot execute the request as it “implicates free speech principles” which are protected as per the US Constitution.

“Pursuant to the treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in criminal matters between the United States and India (the Treaty), we regret to inform you that we will not be able to execute this request for assistance…. as the request implicates free speech principles that are protected by the US Constitution and are considered essential interests,” the letter received by the US authorities said.

The court on January 8 had issued fresh summonses against 11 US-based websites, which have been arrayed as an accused in the complaint filed by Vinay Rai and had directed the MHA to get the process served upon them. The MHA placed before the court the communication received from the US authorities in this matter.

The US authorities, in its March 20 letter, have informed that, “as previously discussed, the first amendment to the US Constitution provides for broad freedom of expression and as a result prohibits criminal prosecution of speech except in narrowly defined circumstances.”

“Upon review of the information available to us, the request implicates free speech principles that are protected by our Constitution and that are considered essential interests. Article 3 of the treaty allows for the denial of a request where its execution would prejudice essential interests,” the US authorities said.

The court has now fixed the matter for further proceedings on May 21.

The US authorities have also informed the MHA that they will not be able to assist with the execution of the request without additional information being provided to them.

“As you know, there are limits to our Constitution’s protections on free speech, such as when the speech comprises a true threat or incites imminent violence. In this case, there has not been a sufficient showing in this regard. “If there are other facts pertaining to this matter that have not been included in this request, e.g. information indicating an endangerment or threat to Indian lives, we will gladly consider them,” according to it.

The letter further said that “although we are not in a position to provide the evidence sought in this matter, the strong bilateral relationship we enjoy bodes well for the successful execution of other request.”

Earlier, advocate S P M Tripathi, who appeared for Rai, had submitted in the court the forms, required to be filled up as per the prescribed norms of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the USA and India.

The websites named in the complaint filed against them for allegedly committing offences like those of selling obscene materials to the youths and hatching criminal conspiracy include Facebook, Orkut, YouTube, Yahoo, Blogspot, Google and Microsoft.

The Centre had earlier told the court that there was sufficient material to proceed against the websites for the alleged offences. The court had on December 23, 2011 issued summonses to 21 social networking websites on the complaint.

India demands justice from Pakistan after Sarabjit’s death

Justice for the death of Sarabjit Singh has been demanded by the India from Pakistan  in a “barbaric” attack in a Lahore jail with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying it was “‘particularly regrettable” it did not heed pleas to take a humanitarian view of the prisoner’s case.

As an outraged government and political parties across the spectrum showed solidarity with 49-year-old Sarabjit’s family, his sister Dalbir Kaur said he should be declared a martyr.

Prime Minister Singh told that Pakistan should ensure that those who are responsible were punished.

Hailing Sarabjit as a “brave son of India”, he attacked Pakistan for not heeding to pleas for taking a humanitarian view on this issue after the attack by the jail inmates.

In a statement here hours after Sarabjit succumbed to injuries suffered in last week’s assault, Singh underlined that the criminals responsible for “the barbaric and murderous attack must be brought to justice”.

“I am deeply saddened by the passing away of Sarabjit Singh. He was a brave son of India who bore his tribulations with valiant fortitude,” the Prime Minister said in his condolence message.

“It is particularly regrettable that the government of Pakistan did not heed the pleas of the government of India, Sarabjit’s family and of the civil society in India and Pakistan to take a humanitarian view of this case,” he said.

Asserting that Sarabjit’s death was a killing of an Indian citizen while in the custody of Pakistan jail authorities, the External Affairs Ministry demanded that Pakistan conduct a through probe into the incident to ensure that those who are responsible were punished.

BJP termed as a “cold blooded murder” the death of Sarabjit.

“It is a cold blooded murder. This is not the way civilised nations behave,” BJP leader Sushma Swaraj wrote on microblogging site Twitter.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said he was “extremely anguished”.

Union Minister Manish Tewary said that what happened to Sarabjit was “extremely inhuman and barbaric” since India has been pressing with Pakistan to take a humanitarian view in his case.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal demanded an independent probe by an international agency into the circumstances leading to death of Sarabjit.

Badal also criticised the Centre’s approach in handling the matter.

NIA to probe Italian marines’ case, trial on daily basis: SC

NIA has been allowed by the by the Supreme court of India here in Delhi to probe the case against two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen and asked the special court to conduct the trial on a day-to-day basis after the charge sheet is filed.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir clarified that the special court, set up by the Centre for this case, will not take up any other matter and complete the trial as soon as possible,  IPC, CrPC, Maritime Zones Act, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,

The bench also comprising Justices A R Dave and Vikramajit Sen said that the two marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone will remain in the custody of the apex court till the completion of the trial.

The Italian government had raised objection over the case being handed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), saying that the agency has no jurisdiction and pleaded that the case be probed by CBI.

The Italian government had approached the apex court, saying that the charges which have been slapped on the marines are not covered by the NIA Act.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Italian government, had submitted that NIA can probe the case only if charges under Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continental Shelf Act, 2002, are also slapped against the marines and the same cannot be done in view of apex court verdict to prosecute them only under IPC, CrPC, Maritime Zones Act and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The two marines were on board Italian vessel ‘Enrica Lexie’ when they had allegedly shot dead two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15, last year.

SC lifts order restraining Italy Ambassador

The order has been vacated by the Supreme Court of India to restrain Italy’s Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving India as the two Italian marines, accused of killing two Kerala fishermen, returned here to face the proceedings as per commitment given by him to the court.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir vacated its March 14 order by which it had restrained the Ambassador from leaving the country after the Italian government had refused to send back the marines.

The court also directed the Centre to take immediate steps for setting up a special court to hold proceedings against Italian marines Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore

Girone, who had allegedly killed two fishermen off Kerala coast last year.

The court had on March 14 asked the envoy not to leave the country without its permission. The bench had on March 18 expressed its anguish over the Ambassador “reneging” from his undertaking to the court on the return of the marines.

It had said that the envoy had breached its trust over his undertaking on return of the marines and had also told him that he did not enjoy diplomatic immunity.

Sensing the mood of the apex court, the Italian government later agreed to send back the marines and they reached India within the time limitation fixed by the court.

The two marines, who were allowed by the apex court on February 22 to go to Italy for four weeks to cast their vote in the general elections there, had returned on March 22.

The bench had on March 18 also said that the period of four weeks for which the marines were allowed to go to Italy to cast their vote was yet to be over and they still had time to return.

On February 22, the apex court had questioned the government as to why it was “dragging its feet” on the issue of setting up a special court for trying the two Italians.

It had also taken exception to the Centre not following its January 18 direction to consult the Chief Justice of India for setting up a special court.

The two marines were on board an Italian vessel ‘Enrica Lexie’ when they allegedly shot dead two fishermen on February 15, last year.

SC lifts order restraining Italy Ambassador from leaving India

Supreme Court today vacated its order restraining Italy’s Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving India as the two Italian marines, accused of killing two Kerala fishermen, returned here to face the proceedings as per commitment given by him to the court.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir vacated its March 14 order by which it had restrained the Ambassador from leaving the country after the Italian government had refused to send back the marines.

The court also directed the Centre to take immediate steps for setting up a special court to hold proceedings against Italian marines Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore

Girone, who had allegedly killed two fishermen of Kerala coast last year.

The court had on March 14 asked the envoy not to leave the country without its permission. The bench had on March 18 expressed its anguish over the Ambassador “reneging” from his undertaking to the court on the return of the marines.

It had said that the envoy had breached its trust over his undertaking on return of the marines and had also told him that he did not enjoy diplomatic immunity.

Sensing the mood of the apex court, the Italian government later agreed to send back the marines and they reached India within the time limitation fixed by the court.

The two marines, who were allowed by the apex court on February 22 to go to Italy for four weeks to cast their vote in the general elections there, had returned on March 22.

The bench had on March 18 also said that the period of four weeks for which the marines were allowed to go to Italy to cast their vote was yet to be over and they still had time to return.

On February 22, the apex court had questioned the government as to why it was “dragging its feet” on the issue of setting up a special court for trying the two Italians.

It had also taken exception to the Centre not following its January 18 direction to consult the Chief Justice of India for setting up a special court.

The two marines were on board an Italian vessel ‘Enrica Lexie’ when they allegedly shot dead two fishermen on February 15, last year.

 

PTI

SC to decide pharma patent, take up marines case

Here in New Delhi the Supreme Court will pronounce an important judgment on a Swiss pharma firm’s plea asserting its patent over a medicine, and Tuesday take up Sterlite’s plea opposing the order to shut down its plant as well as the case of the Italian marines.

In a judgment that would have a far-reaching implication for the Indian pharmaceutical industry, the court will rule on Novartis AG plea seeking a patent for the beta-crystalline form of imatinib mesylate, which is used in the treatment of chronic mycloid leukaemia.

International drug makers are critical of Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act which says that mere discovery of a new form of a known substance which does not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance does not qualify for patent protection.

The court had clarified that its orders for the promised return of two maries has not been violated as they were to be back by March 23, 2013

Novartis has contended that there could be a situation where a product which is an innovation under 2(j) and 2(j)(a) of the Patent Act is sought to be denuded of invention under 3(d) in terms of pharmaceutical “efficacy”.

Section 3(d) of the Patent Act seeks to thwart the “ever greening” of the pharmaceutical products with minor changes in the content and form without any innovation. Section 2(j) and 2(j)(a) deal with the grant of innovation to the product claimed to be original and a novelty.

The global drug makers have contended that Indian patent law does not encourage innovation and criteria of efficacy under Section 3(d) are not clearly defined.

The next important judgment will be on Tuesday on the plea by Sterlite Industries India Limited challenging the Madras High Court order directing it to close down its Tuticorin copper-smelting plant for violating environmental norms.

The Madras High Court, by it Sep 28, 2010 order, had directed the immediate closure of the plant. The apex court, by its interim order of Oct 1, 2010, had stayed the operation of the high court order.

However, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) on Friday ordered closure of the plant with immediate effect, and power supply to the plant was cut off. The TNPCB order comes after the leakage of noxious gas from the plant March 23, 2013.

The case of two Italian marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone, which had become a hot diplomatic and legal issue after Italy reneged on the undertaking given by its Ambassador Daniele Mancini on their return, is listed before the court of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir on Tuesday.

The court may have a fresh look on its earlier order restraining Italian ambassador Mancini from leaving the country. In the course of the last hearing of the case, the court had clarified that its orders for the promised return of two maries has not been violated as they were to be back by March 23, 2013.

It may also deal with the status of the charge sheet pending before the Kerala trial court as it had already ruled that Kerala Police had no jurisdiction over two marines.

India calls for independent, credible inquiry into HR violations in Sri Lanka

India called for ‘an independent and credible’ investigation into allegations of human rights violations and loss of civilian lives in Sri Lanka.

‘We expect these measures to be to the satisfaction of the international community,’ India’s Permanent representative to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva Dileep Sinha said speaking on a US resolution on ‘Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka’.

According to Mr Sinha in his intervention that India wanted Sri Lanka to take forward measures to ensure accountability.

Voting on the Resolution is to be held later this evening.

The issue has deeply impacted the domestic politics here, with ruling UPA’s important ally from Tamil Nadu DMK withdrawing its support to the Government over its demand for moving amendments to the US Resolution using a very tough language and demanding an international inquiry.

The Indian envoy at UNHRC also urged the Sri Lankan Government to expedite the process of a broad-based, inclusive and meaningful reconciliation and political settlement that ensures that all communities live in dignity with equal rights and equal protection of the laws.

‘As a neighbour with thousands of years of relations with Sri Lanka, we cannot remain untouched by developments in that country and will continue to remain engaged in this matter”, according to him.

Italian marines case: SC serves notice to Italian envoy, seeks his response

Notice of Supreme court has been served by the Italian Ambassador to India seeking his response for not abiding with the undertakings that two Italian marines would come back to face trial in the case of killing of two fishermen.

The Centre filed an affidavit informing the apex court that Italian envoy Daniele Mancini has been served with the SC notice.

An angry apex court directed Mr Mancini not to leave the country without the permission of the court.

The Italian government and two marines have also been given time till March 18 to respond to the court notice.

In the meantime, the government has alerted all airport authorities to ensure that the Italian official does not leave the country.

The Italian government has backed out from its solemn undertaking given to the court that the two marines shall return back to India after participating in the general elections in Italy, latest by March 22

Centre tightens noose around Italian envoy in ‘marines case’

Delhi: In the case regarding to killing of two fishermen by two Italian Marines here Italian evnvoy to India Daniele Mancini has appeared before the Supreme Court to explain why he should not be prosecuted for contempt of court for not abiding by his undertaking to bring back two Italian marines to face trial in Kerala fishermen killing case.

Earlier, a bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices Anil R Dave and Vikaramjit Sen has directed Mr Mancini not to leave the country without prior permission of the court.

The two marines — Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone — were permitted by the apex court to go to Italy for four weeks to participate in the general elections in Italy and March 22 was fixed as the deadline for their return.

The Italian government, however, declined to send the two marines to India to face trial for killing two fishermen.

The government alerted all the airport authorities to ensure that Mr Mancini does not leave India.

The matter is listed tomorrow as item number one before the bench of Justice Kabir.

The apex court had also issued contempt notice to the government of Italy and the two marines.

Senior counsel Harish Salve has withdrawn from the case and refused to appear for the Italian government in the case after this act of betrayal of trust.

According to the law of the land and the Vienna Convention, once a diplomat initiates court proceedings in a foreign country his diplomatic immunity is lost.

Mr Mancini can escape prosecution for contempt of Supreme Court only if the two marines come back to India till March 22

Salve withdraws as counsel for Italian govt in fishermen killing case

Insulted” and “shocked” by Italy’s stand on the marines issue, senior Supreme Court advocate Harish Salve has quit as counsel for the Italian government in the fishermen killing case.

Salve said that now it is “a question of Indian prestige” and the government will be “justified” in the tough steps it takes in the matter after the Italian government refused the return of two marines, charged with killing of two Indian fishermen last year.

“I am an Indian first and then a senior counsel and after that comes my duty to my client and I feel insulted…I feel that first of all we are officers of court and secondly in a matter like this, the client has to take you into confidence and if the client does not have confidence in you, I think we owe it to the system not to continue,” according to him.

“Now its a question of Indian prestige, prestige of the Supreme Court, prestige of all of us is at stake and I think that Government of India will be justified in the toughest steps it takes,” according to him.

Salve said the Italian government’s conduct was “disappointing” especially after they had “acceded” to our jurisdiction and the apex court had taken up the case out of turn and had even given a “substantial relief” by quashing the proceedings in Kerala and shifting it to Delhi.

The two accused marines, Massimiliano Lattore and Salvatore Girone, were allowed by the apex court on February 22 to travel to Italy for four weeks under the control and custody of the Ambassador of Italy in India, to cast their ballot in the elections scheduled for February 24 and 25.

The court had said that the marines are only allowed to travel to Italy and remain there and will have to return to India.

Salve said, “They (marines) acceded to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. A very busy Supreme Court heard their case out of turn, gave substantial relief, quashed proceedings in Kerala, brought it here, let them live in Delhi, was trying to get the government to set up a court and all these questions of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), etc. everything would be gone into. Then this happens. So it is very disappointing”.

Salve said there was no suggestion, implied or otherwise, from the Italian government that they are going to take such a stand and said that he was “shocked” when he came to know about it through the media.

“Never. On the contrary, the assurance was given. It was honoured the first time. That is why the court and the Indian government in an act of nobility agreed…,” he said adding, “It came as a complete shock to me when I saw news headlines saying Italian government directly informed Government of India.”

On who in the Italian government should be held responsible for their decision, Salve said that while the undertaking was given by their Ambassador, it was “powers above him (Ambassador) who gave the instructions.

“It’s his undertaking. Beyond that I have no idea,” he said, adding, “I am sure its powers above him (the Ambassador) who gave the instruction and I don’t know who as they are interacting directly with the Indian government.”

Terming the whole turn of events as “unfortunate”, he said that the matter now has to be resolved at the level of the two governments.

“What happened was very unfortunate. I think now it has to be resolved at the level of the two governments,” he also said.

The two marines were on board the Italian vessel ‘Enrica Lexie’, when they had shot dead the two fishermen on February 15, last year.