Supreme Court allowed NGO Naz Foundation Trust to withdraw curative plea against verdict recriminalising consensual gay sex

The Supreme Court Monday allowed NGO Naz Foundation Trust to withdraw its curative plea challenging the apex court’s 2013 verdict that had again criminalised gay sex between two consenting adults.

A bench headed comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna considered the plea of the NGO that its curative plea has now become infructuous in view of the five-judge constitution bench verdict in 2018 which had set aside the 2013 judgement.

The trust, which had first knocked doors of the Delhi High Court with its plea in 2001, seeking decriminalising of the consensual sexual act, had filed the curative petition.

After the 2013 verdict, the Supreme Court had dismissed the review plea that had laid the foundation to file the curative petition.

However, a five-judge constitution bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra entertained fresh petitions seeking decriminalising of the consensual gay sex.

The NGO said that the 2018 judgement had already set aside the earlier one, and hence it be allowed to take back its curative petition. The apex court allowed it.

A five-judge bench had on September 6 last year unanimously struck down part of the British-era law and held that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalised consensual gay sex was “irrational, indefensible and manifestly arbitrary”.

The bench had held that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community possess the same constitutional rights as any other citizen and part of Section 377, which prohibits sexual relationship between consenting adults of the same sex, is violative of the right to equality and the right to live with dignity.

The court referred to its 2013 verdict and said that upholding the validity of Section 377 on the ground that LGBTs comprised a minuscule fraction of the total population was constitutionally “impermissible” and the law was being misused.

SC to fix schedule of hearing of Ayodhya land dispute cases in January next year

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday fixed the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute cases for the first week of January next year before an appropriate bench, which will decide the schedule of hearing.

A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, said the appropriate bench will decide the future course of hearing in January next year on the appeals filed against the Allahabad High Court verdict in the Ayodhya land dispute case.

“We will fix the date of hearing of the Ayodhya dispute case before the appropriate bench in January,” the bench, which also comprised Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, said.

Earlier, a three judge bench, by a 2:1 majority, refused to refer to a five-judge constitution bench the issue of reconsideration of the observations in its 1994 judgement that a mosque was not integral to Islam. The matter had arisen during the hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute.

An apex court bench headed by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the civil suit has to be decided on the basis of evidence, adding that the previous verdict has no relevance to this issue.

The bench had fixed the batch of appeals for final hearing today.

As many as 14 appeals have been filed against the high court judgement, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77 acres of land be partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.

Sabarimala: Activist Rehana Fathima expelled from Muslim community

Activist Rehana Fathima, who had
made an attempt to enter Sabarimala temple, has been expelled from the Muslim community for “hurting the sentiments of lakhs of Hindu devotees”, the Kerala Muslim Jama’ath Council said.
Initiating action against Rehana, Kerala Muslim Jama’ath Council president A Poonkunju said in a press statement Saturday that she had been expelled from the community.
He said the Council has also directed the Ernakulam Central Muslim Jama’ath to expel her and her family from the membership of Mahallu.
“Her act hurt lakhs of Hindu devotees,” the statement said.
Her act was also against the rituals of Hindu community, it said.
Pookunju said Rehana, who had participated in ‘Kiss of Love’ agitation and acted nude in a film, “has no right to use a Muslim name”.
The activist’s house was allegedly vandalised by unidentified persons while she was away trying to climb the holy hills on Friday.
She made a failed attempt to reach the temple with heavy police protection.
The attackers reached Rehana’s house in Panambilly Nagar here while she was climbing the hills.
Rehana, a model and activist who was part of the ‘Kiss of Love’ movement in Kochi in 2014 against alleged moral policing, was among the two women who had reached the hilltop, but had to return before reaching the sanctum sanctorum following massive protests by Ayyappa devotees.
Rehana and Hyderabad-based journalist Kavitha were taken to the hills with heavy police protection.
A mother of two and employee of the BSNL, the activist had kicked up a row last year by posing for topless photos with watermelons in protest against a Kozhikode-based college professor’s statement comparing women’s breasts to watermelons.
Meanwhile, a case has been registered by police in Pathanamthitta against the activist for hurting religious sentiments.
The case was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by one Radhakrishna Menon.
On September 28, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by then chief justice Dipak Misra had lifted the centuries-old ban on the entry of women of menstrual age into the shrine, but a section of devotees is protesting the decision

Supreme Court refuses, Reservation in job promotions

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Wednesday said its 2006 verdict putting benefits of quotas in job promotions for SC/ST employees need not be referred to a seven-judge bench. There is a need for quantifiable data to give reservation,” the apex court said. The court also clarified that there is no need to collect quantifiable data of backwardness of SC/STs to provide reservation in promotions.

Pronouncing the verdict, a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that its 2006 verdict in the M Nagraj case need not be referred to a 7-judge bench. However, the court overturned one aspect of the 2006 order that had put a condition for the government to follow in case it wished to provide reservation in jobs.

The bench, also comprising Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, S K Kaul and Indu Malhotra. The government had strongly backed restoring quotas in promotions for SCs and STs, arguing that these communities had suffered social inequalities for years.

SC refuses to ban politicians facing criminal charges, leaves it to Parliament

NEW DELHI: In a crucial judgement the Supreme Court left the matter of disqualification of politicians carrying criminal charges against them and said it was not within its powers to disqualify politicians facing criminal cases from contesting elections  and left it to Parliament to frame an appropriate law.

The court also directed the Parliament to make a law to ensure that candidates with criminal records don’t enter public life and take part in lawmaking. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said malignancy of criminalisation of politics was “not incurable”, but the issue was required to be dealt with soon before it becomes “fatal” to the democracy.

Referring to the report of the NN Vohra Committee, set up to study the problem of criminalisation of politics,SC asks legislature to consider framing law to ensure decriminalisation of politics.

Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said “in a multi-party democracy, where members are elected on party lines and are subject to party discipline, we recommend to the Parliament to bring out a strong law. The bench, also comprised Justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra

Aadhaar is Constitutionally valid, Declares Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: Pronouncing its verdict on a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar scheme and its enabling 2016 law,  the Supreme Court on Wednesday declared the Centre’s flagship Aadhaar scheme as Constitutionally valid.

Reading out the first of the three judgements, Justice A K Sikri said that there is sufficient defence mechanism for authentication in Aadhaar scheme. The top court said minimal demographic and biometric data of citizens are collected by UIDAI for Aadhaar enrolment.

The five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, also had Justices  AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan and Justice A K Sikri .  Justice Sikri pronounced the judgement for himself, Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar.

There is no possibility of obtaining a duplicate Aadhaar card said the apex court. SC says nothing in Aadhaar Act that violates right to privacy of individual.

Acting Jammu and Kashmir DGP Dilbag Singh, Will Continue As Top Cop: Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that Dilbag Singh will continue as the acting chief of the Jammu and Kashmir police  till the Union Public Service Commission decides on the state’s proposal. However, the top court asked the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to send a panel of police officers to Jammu and Kashmir in five weeks for appointment of a regular DGP

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said acting DGP Dilbag Singh, who replaced S P Vaid, shall continue to operate and asked the UPSC to take a decision within four weeks on suitability of senior police officers.

On an earlier date the SC had asked the Centre for assistance to deal with the removal of S P Vaid as the police chief of J&K.Advocate Prashant Bhushan alleged that the state is in gross contempt of the Supreme Court’s judgment. He said the DGP faced no charge or disciplinary action where as Dilbagh Singh who replaced him has been charged in a recruitment scam.

The state government had told the apex court that the appointment of acting DGP was an interim measure and the decision was taken in the wake of peculiar circumstances and the law and order situation.

Arrest of activists: Democratic institutions should be robust enough to accommodate opposition says, SC

NEW DELHI: The Supreme court was hearing submissions in connection with the arrest of five activists in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case when the bench emphasised upon a need to have a distinction between dissenting views and subverting law and order.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y.Chandrachud said: “our institutions should be robust enough to accommodate opposition either to the system or even to the this court. We will look at this case with a hawk’s eye.”

The bench also extended till Thursday the house arrest of five activists and lawyers even as the Maharashtra police defended the arrests.

Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha were arrested by Pune police on August 28 in connection with a meeting on the eve of the January 1 violence at Bhima Koregaon.

Acid attack on nikah halala petitioner: woman seeks protection

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court, asked the Uttar Pradesh government to respond to a protection plea filed by acid attack victim Shabnam Rani. Shabnam, one of the women who filed a petition against nikah halala attacked with acid in Uttar Pradesh’s Bulandshahr. The attack was carried out by her brother-in-law and his friends. She is currently under undergoing treatment.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwikar and D Y Chandrachud considered the plea of Shabnam Rani, and asked advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, counsel for Rani, to submit a copy of the petition to the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government.

The Bench issued a notice to the State through its Additional Advocate General Aishwarya Bhati. According to reports, Shabnam was attacked with acid on Thursday while she was on her way to register a police complaint after she was allegedly assaulted at her in-law’s house a day earlier.

The reports stated that Shabnam’s husband had earlier allegedly divorced her by the means of triple talaq after remarried. She then challenged both practices of polygamy and ‘nikah halala’ in the apex court. The matter has been listed for further hearing on September 17.

Frame scheme for rehabilitation of leprosy patients, SC asks Centre and State

NEW DELHI: Supreme Court issued a slew of directions to end the stigma and discrimination of leprosy patients, expressing serious concern over the discrimination being meted out to leprosy patients, the Supreme Court Friday directed the Centre to consider framing separate rules for granting disability certificates to leprosy patients for availing reservation and various welfare benefits.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud has directed the States and Union Territories to undertake massive awareness programs on the curability of leprosy. The apex court said that acceptability of leprosy patients in the society would go a long way in reducing the stigma attached to the disease and passed a slew of directions to the Centre and the state governments for launching massive awareness programmes.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Pankaj Sinha alleging that the government was not taking adequate steps to eradicate the disease. The bench said awareness should be spread about the free availability of MDT at all government healthcare facilities in the country.