SC makes all preparations to go paperless

SC makes all preparations to go paperless
SC makes all preparations to go paperless

In a bid to make the Supreme Court paperless, the apex court has made all the preparations to implement an ambitious project.

According to the apex court registry, the project would be implemented gradually and at the first instance, only fresh matters listed in first five courts would be accessed by the judges digitally on a interactive display device.

The registry said that all the high courts in the country had been provided with login IDs to upload digitised records in the prescribed format.

“The Supreme Court has made all the preparations to make the court paperless. As the concept of paperless court involves various technical and functional issues, it is proposed to implement the project gradually, as it would be a new method of working for the advocates and judges,” the apex court registry said in a press release.

The release said that after the launch of the integrated case management information system (ICMIS) of the Supreme Court, different high courts in the country had uploaded a large number of case files on it.

“The Supreme Court registry is communicating with all the high courts, even video-conferences have been held with the nodal officers of the high courts. The process will be periodically updated with the eventual aim of making the court paperless,” it said.

The registry said that the apex court had extended the facilities of disseminating details of all those concerned by providing two help desks at both the reception counters in the court premises and anyone desirous of having any information about implementation of ICMIS and related issued could approach these help desks.

( Source – PTI )

Deposit interest or property may by attached: SC warns Unitech

Deposit interest or property may by attached: SC warns Unitech
Deposit interest or property may by attached: SC warns Unitech

The Supreme Court today directed real estate firm Unitech to deposit 14 per cent interest on Rs 16.55 crore invested by 39 home buyers at its project in Gurugram by May 8.

The apex court also warned that failure to meet the deadline could invite attaching the realtor’s property.

It refused to grant more time to Unitech Residential Resorts Ltd, which has delayed handing over of flats to these home buyers.

“Let these matters be listed on May 8 by which time the amount(s) as directed on earlier occasions shall be deposited, failing which this court may think of attaching the property of the appellant company,” a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar said.

When the counsel appearing for the company requested the court to extend the time for depositing the money, the bench categorically said, “let the money come”.

Advocate Brajesh Kumar, representing 20 of the 39 home buyers, opposed the submission of the firm and said they should be asked the deposit the money soon.

The 39 home buyers had booked flats in Unitech’s Vista housing project in Gurugram. They had sought a refund of their principal amount, totalling Rs 16.55 crore with interest, after the developer, which had promised to give the possession by 2012, delayed it.

The apex court on February 20 had directed the developer to deposit 14 per cent interest on Rs 16.55 crore invested by these home buyers and had said that the interest would be calculated from January 1, 2010.

It had asked the real estate major to deposit the amount with the apex court registry.

The bench had directed the registry to disburse 90 per cent of this amount to home buyers on pro rata basis, as was done while giving refund of the principal amount.

However, it had said that issue of compensation will be deliberated upon later.

The court on January 12 had directed that Rs two crore deposited by Unitech with its registry as principal amount, be distributed among 39 home buyers.

The apex court had on August 17 last year directed the embattled real estate firm to deposit Rs 15 crore principal amount by September-end to pay back investors and home buyers who were not given possession of the flats on time.

The investors had told the court that they had paid money to the firm on time and the company was scheduled to hand over possession of the flats in 2012 but had not till date.

Over two dozen home buyers of Unitech’s housing projects in Noida and Gurugram had approached the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) after the builder failed to give them possession of the flats as the per schedule.

The consumer forum had asked Unitech to refund the money to the home buyers with interest.

( Source – PTI )

Larger SC bench to examine if an expelled MP is bound by whip

Larger SC bench to examine if an expelled MP is bound by whip
Larger SC bench to examine if an expelled MP is bound by whip

The Supreme Court today referred to a larger bench the issue whether a lawmaker is bound by the party whip even after his or her expulsion.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Rajya Sabha MP and expelled Samajwadi Party member Amar Singh, who has sought to declare that the provisions of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution relating to disqualification on ground of defection do not apply to an elected member of a House who has been expelled by the party.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar referred to an earlier plea filed by Singh in which the court had refused to revisit the historic 1996 verdict on the anti- defection law which had held that a nominated or elected lawmaker of a political party is bound by its whip even after expulsion.

The bench said while dealing with that case, the two judge bench had referred the matter to a larger bench and framed certain questions, including “What is the status in either House of Parliament or the state legislatures of a member who is expelled from the party which set him/her up as a candidate for election”.

The matter was then heard by a three-judge bench which had disposed of the plea while keeping open the questions referred to by the two-judge bench for decision in an appropriate case.

“As we find, in the case at hand, the term of the petitioner (Amar Singh) shall be up to July 4, 2022. Thus, the reference that was made in the case of Amar Singh, the present petitioner, remains to be dealt with as the same has not been answered with the efflux of time,” the apex court said today.

“As the question remains alive today, we think it appropriate that the matter should be placed before the larger bench for consideration of the questions which we have reproduced from the decision rendered in Amar Singh,” it said.

The bench said the petition be placed before Chief Justice of India J S Khehar for the constitution of an appropriate larger bench to deal with the issues.

“In the alternative, declare that the petitioner having been expelled by the Samajwadi Party, his conduct would no longer fall within the acts that constitute a disqualification within the meaning of para 2(1)(a) and para 2(1)(b) of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution,” Singh’s plea had said.

The apex court also issued notice to the Centre on the interim relief sought by Singh that the 1996 verdict shall not apply to him while the issues raised by him are pending consideration by the larger bench.

As per the interpretation of the anti-defection law by the Supreme Court in 1996, a member elected or nominated by a political party continues to be under its control even after his or her expulsion.

( Source – PTI )

Imposing only fine on woman convict in serious case unfair: SC

Imposing only fine on woman convict in serious case unfair: SC
Imposing only fine on woman convict in serious case unfair: SC

The Supreme Court has held that imposing only a fine in serious offences, which entail award of jail terms and fine both, on women convicts would lead to “unfair” and “unjust” consequences.

Observing this, the apex court set aside the Himachal Pradesh High Court verdict imposing only a fine on a woman, who was convicted of drugging and taking part in robbing a man, and said leniency cannot be shown beyond what has been allowed in the statutory scheme.

A bench, comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, who wrote separate but concurring verdicts, said the convict was already shown leniency by the trial court on the ground that she has three minor kids. The trial court awarded her a two-year jail term and a fine of Rs 6,000.

The High Court raised this fine to Rs 30,000 and allowed the woman to walk free.

Justice Sikri said “In the present case, two mitigating circumstances which are pressed into service by the respondent (accused) are that she is a woman and she is having three minor children. This has to be balanced with the nature of crime which the respondent has committed.

“As can be seen, these circumstances were taken into consideration by the trial court and on that basis, the trial court took a lenient view by awarding imprisonment for two years in respect of each of the offences under Sections 307, 328 and 392 of the IPC, which were to be run concurrently.

“There was no reason to show any further mercy by the High Court. Further, as found above, removing the element of imprisonment altogether was, in any case, erroneous in law,” the judge said.

Justice Bhushan was harsher in his observations and said, “Appellate Court cannot exercise its power under 386(b)(iii) to alter the sentence of the imprisonment and fine into a sentence of only a fine, which shall be contrary to the statutory scheme.

“In event, such power is conceded to Appellate Authority to alter a sentence of imprisonment and fine with sentence only of a fine, the consequences will be unfair and unjust.”

Justice Sikri, however, said though gender is not a mitigating circumstances in awarding sentence, in Indian context, a woman can be shown leniency in some cases as the impact of jail term on her kids cannot be lost sight of.

“Insofar as Indian judicial mind is concerned, I find that in certain decisions of this Court, gender is taken as the relevant circumstance while fixing the quantum of sentence. I may add that it would depend upon the facts of each case, whether it should be treated as a relevant consideration and no hard and fast rule can be laid down,” he said.

The verdict came on an appeal against the High Court order which modified the trial court order and imposed the fine only on her.

It was alleged that the woman had helped a man rob another of Rs 27,000 by administering drinks laced with sedatives in August 2000 in Himachal Pradesh.

A Chamba trial court had convicted her and awarded two- year jail term, besides fine. Thereafter, she approached the High Court of Himachal Pradesh against the trial court order.

( Source – PTI )

SC mulls expansion of its creche facility

SC mulls expansion of its creche facility
SC mulls expansion of its creche facility

The Supreme Court today said the creche service in apex court was inadequate and asked the registry to see whether there was any prospect for expanding its service within the available infrastructure.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and M M Shantanagaudar said the registry should look all the prospect for making the service better.

“There is no doubt that the creche facility is inadequate. The service needs to be smart. You should explore the possibility of moving into new building and also see whether there is any prospect of expanding the services in the present infrastructure,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for a lady advocate who has filed a PIL, said more facility needed to be created like separate rooms, so that more children could be kept there by working parents.

The bench, however, said no room facility could be provided.

It asked senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the apex court registry, to take instructions on various aspects of expanding the services and payement of wages to additional nurses who would take care of children.

Earlier the apex court had decided to halve the fee for the service after it faced for criticism for exoribitant fee for the facility.

The apex court had halved the monthly charges to Rs 2500 from Rs 5000 per month.

The petition filed by lady advocate Anindita Pujari had contended that the fee structure was discouraging many working parents from taking the services of the child care unit.

( Source – PTI )

SC denies permission to woman to terminate 27-week foetus

SC denies permission to woman to terminate 27-week foetus
SC denies permission to woman to terminate 27-week foetus

The Supreme Court today refused permission to a woman to abort her 27-week-old foetus showing signs of severe physical abnormalities.

A bench of Justices S A Bobdey and L Nageshwara Rao referred to the report of the medical board, which has examined the woman, and said that as per the opinion of the doctors the baby may be “born alive” if the mother is allowed to abort at this stage.

The apex court also observed that as per the doctors’ opinion the physical condition of the woman is normal and there is no risk to her health.

“As regard to the foetus, the report states that, if the pregnancy is terminated in the 27th week, there is a possibility that the baby may be born alive,” the bench observed.

“We don’t consider it appropriate to direct the petitioner (woman) to terminate the foetus,” the apex court said.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the bench that as per the report of the medical board of the Mumbai-based K E M Hospital, the foetus has severe physical abnormalities but the doctors have not advised termination as she is in her 27th week of pregnancy.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prohibits termination of pregnancy after 20 weeks even if there is a fatal risk to the mother and the foetus.

( Source – PTI )

We don’t allow people to file motivated petitions: SC

We don't allow people to file motivated petitions: SC
We don’t allow people to file motivated petitions: SC

The Supreme Court today said it does not allow litigants to “raise motivated petitions” and dismissed a plea seeking action against a firm for allegedly not paying the minimum prescribed wages to the labourers.

“You (petitioner) want us to take action only against this company… You can do great service to the country by raising genuine public related issues like minimum wages but not in this way. It (plea) is motivated. Everything is in air,” a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said.

“We don’t allow people to raise motivated petitions,” the bench, also comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul, said.

The bench also warned the petitioner of imposing cost for filing such “motivated petitions”.

“This is a motivated petition. It seems you have targeted only one company. We can give you the liberty to raise this issue before labour court and other competent authorities,” the bench told the petitioner.

The apex court, while dismissing the petition on the ground that no public interest was involved in it, noted that the petitioner was working with the company against which he had filed the petition but not disclosed as to the circumstances in which he had left the job.

( Source – PTI )

SC bench to verify how Mallya’s case came up before it

SC bench to verify how Mallya's case came up before it
SC bench to verify how Mallya’s case came up before it

The hearing on allegations by banks that beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya had allegedly transferred USD 40 million to his children violating court orders, could not take place in the Supreme Court today as it came up before a different bench.

The bench said it would verify how the case filed against Mallya by a consortium of banks, led by the State Bank of India, was listed before it when another apex court bench was already hearing the matter.

“There is a system of listing. It cannot be listed like this,” a bench compsiring Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit said after it was apprised that the case was being heard by another bench headed by Justice Kurian Joseph.

“We will verify how this matter has been listed before us,” it said and posted the matter for hearing on March 3.

At the outset, the bench was informed that this matter was being heard by another bench comprising Justices Joseph and R F Nariman.

When the court said it would hear the case only after verifying how this matter was listed before it, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, representing the banks, said “my submission is that this matter should not go to another bench”.

The bench said “but there must be some reason. We will check it”.

Earlier, a bench headed by Justice Joseph had asked Mallya to file his response on the allegations by the banks that he had allegedly transferred USD 40 million to his children in “flagrant violation” of various judicial orders.

The banks had alleged that the orders of the Debt Recovery Tribunal and Karnataka High Court have been violated by Mallya by transferring the amount to his children, that he and his firm owed over Rs 6,200 crore to the banks and the money should have been deposited here.

( Source – PTI )

SC to hear plea to allow 3 BCCI representatives in ICC meet

SC to hear plea to allow 3 BCCI representatives in ICC meet
SC to hear plea to allow 3 BCCI representatives in ICC meet

The Supreme Court would today hear a plea seeking that three persons, authorised by it, be allowed to take part in the crucial ICC meeting commencing from February 2.

The apex court had authorised three persons, Vikram Limaye, Amitabh Chaudhury and Anirudh Chaudhury, to represent BCCI in the meeting.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Tamil Nadu Cricket Association, said that out of three authorised persons, only Limaye has been asked to attend the meeting and this is against the order passed by the court.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said that it would hear the matter at 2 PM.

The Justice R M Lodha panel and amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam informed the court that a request has been made to the ICC chairman Shashank Manohar that all the three representatives be accommodated in the meeting.

He said that as per the ICC rules only one member of a cricket board can represent the body in the meeting.

( Source – PTI )

Use of unparliamentary word, ‘lowest point:’ SC

Use of unparliamentary word, 'lowest point:' SC
Use of unparliamentary word, ‘lowest point:’ SC

The Supreme Court today termed as “lowest point in the history” of the apex court last week’s incident in which a senior advocate had used an unparliamentary word while assailing the verdict in the BCCI matter.

“I am sorry but this reflected the lowest point in the history of modern Supreme Court. I am pained,” Justice D Y Chandrachud, who was part of the three-judge bench, said.

The observation came when senior advocate Vikas Singh said it was “slip of the tongue” and he has apologised before anybody could notice it.

However, the bench, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, said, “Decorum of the court should not be spoilt”.

The bench said it was pained as an allegation or assertion was made without any substance that they do not want to hear him. “It is not done. It is not proper to say that we don’t want to hear anybody,” the bench said.

At this stage, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said “cases come and go, but dignity should be there”.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal said he was apologising on behalf of the bar.

During the hearing on January 20 in the case, the court had witnessed a piquant situation when the senior advocate used an unparliamentary word while assailing the verdict, evoking a sharp reaction from the bench which not only reprimanded him but barred him from advancing arguments on that day.

( Source – PTI )