Train young lawyers to understand profession,ethics

Train young lawyers to understand profession,ethics
Train young lawyers to understand profession,ethics

Chief Justice of India J S Khehar today urged the Bar Council of India to train young lawyers to make them understand the profession and its work ethics.

He also asked the apex lawyers’ body, BCI, to improve the quality of legal institutions by training and helping litigants and make the lawyers competent enough to discharge their obligations towards the society.

“Have the institutions right. Lawyers serve the society.

Lawyers should be the best. The institution should be competent to discharge the obligation.

“Arrange training for people who join the Bar. People who are scared. People who do not know their profession. Help them. You need to help a lawyer one time, he will then fight every case by himself as he will understand how to search for the law. Also teach them ethics. Have good institutions,” he said.

Justice Khehar was addressing the Bar Council members during a function organised to felicitate him on his elevation as the CJI.

While welcoming the CJI and other dignitaries, BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra extended his support to the Chief Justice-headed collegium, while expressing concern over delay in appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

“The BCI is seriously concerned about the delay tactics and objectionable conditions proposed by the government in the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP)–a document to guide appointment of Supreme Court and high court judges.

“BCI demands that all the vacancies in High Courts and the Supreme Court should be filled up at the earliest. We cannot accept any condition in the MoP which our collegium and the Chief Justice of India do not think proper. The Bar stands with the judiciary whole-heartedly and will take necessary steps for strengthening it,” Mishra said.

( Source – PTI )

Law Ministry faced flak over vacancies in courts in 2016

Law Ministry faced flak over vacancies in courts in 2016
Law Ministry faced flak over vacancies in courts in 2016

2016 can be summed up as a year when the Law Ministry came under constant fire of outgoing Chief Justice of India T S Thakur for rising vacancies in the higher judiciary even as its efforts to finalise a document to guide appointments in high courts and the Supreme Court failed.

On its part, the ministry appointed 126 judges this year, the highest number in the past several years.

On April 24, those present at the inauguration of the Chief Ministers-Chief Justices conference were shocked to see Justice Thakur in tears in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The CJI lamented government’s “inaction” in raising the number of judges from 21,000 to 40,000 to handle mounting cases, saying, “you cannot shift the entire burden on the judiciary”.

“Nothing moves”, an unusually emotional Thakur said, recalling a 1987 Law Commission recommendation to increase the number of judges from then 10 judges per 10 lakh people to 50.

Days after Justice Thakur had quoted the Law Commission recommendation on judge-population ratio, the then Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said the report was not based on scientific data.

At the conference, it was decided that an extraordinary provision of the Constitution would be used to appoint retired high court judges in high courts to help bring down rising pendency of cases.

But days after the Law Ministry approved the minutes of the conference, it told a Parliamentary committee that there is no mechanism in place to deal with complaints against retired judges.

As of now, names of 18 retired judges from six high courts for re-appointment are pending with the government.

Another major point of confrontation was the decision of the government to return the names of 43 candidates for appointment as high court judges to the Supreme Court collegium.

( Source – PTI )

Justice J S Khehar to be the 44th CJI

Justice J S Khehar to be the 44th CJI
Justice J S Khehar to be the 44th CJI

Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, who led the five-judge constitution bench in the Supreme Court which had struck down the controversial NJAC Act for appointment of judges, was today recommended as the 44th Chief Justice of India.

Chief Justice of India T S Thakur today wrote a letter recommending the name of Justice Khehar, who is the senior most judge of the Supreme Court to be his successor.

Justice Khehar, 64, will be the first Chief Justice from the Sikh community and he will succeed CJI Thakur who will be demitting office on January 3, 2017.

Justice Khehar, who will be sworn in on January 4, will hold the tenure for over seven months till August 27, 2017.

Besides heading the bench in NJAC matter, Justice Khehar has also headed a bench which had set aside the imposition of President’s Rule in Arunachal Pradesh in January this year.

He was also a part of the bench which sent Sahara chief Subrata Roy to jail while hearing the matter relating to the refund of money invested by people in his two companies.

Justice Khehar also headed a bench which recently gave a significant verdict holding that the principal of ‘equal pay for equal work’ has to be made applicable to those engaged as daily wagers, casual and contractual employees who perform the same duties as the regulars.

While the turf war between the judiciary and the executive over the appointment of judges for higher judiciary has intensified, Justice Khehar on the occasion of Constitution Day on November 26 had responded to the tirade from Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi by saying that the judiciary was working within its “lakshmanrekha”.

“Judiciary is mandated to shield all persons, citizens and non-citizens alike, against discrimination and abuse of State power. Liberty, equality and dignity of citizen have flourished substantially in India due to the pro-active role of judiciary in the country,” he had said.

( Source – PTI )

CJI recuses from hearing PIL seeking norms for raids

CJI recuses from hearing PIL seeking norms for raids
CJI recuses from hearing PIL seeking norms for raids

Chief Justice of India T S Thakur today recused himself from hearing a PIL seeking framing of guidelines for safeguarding rights of public against alleged misuse of powers by probe agencies during search and seizure.

As the plea contained details of recent searches conducted at the houses of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, Justice Thakur said “I know him for many years. I will not be part of the bench which hears it”.

The petition, filed by journalist Upendra Rai, contended that probe agencies were allegedly “harassing and humiliating citizens while conducting searches at their residential premises” and the procedures need to be regulated.

“Issue a direction under Article 32 of the Constitution in the form of adequate guidelines regulating procedure of search and seizure at the residential premises/dwelling units by all the investigating agencies in India,” the plea said and sought protection of fundamental rights of citizens including protection of life and personal liberty.

“Issue appropriate guidelines/measures to protect the Fundamental Rights under Article 19(1)(a), 19(1)(d) and 21 of the Constitution, of the citizens against harassment and humiliation being caused to them by Investigating Agencies while conducting search at their residential premises,” the PIL, filed through advocate Keshav Mohan, said.

The plea cited examples of recent searches conducted at the residences of the Himachal CM and Director General of Corporate Affairs B K Bansal, whose wife and daughter allegedly committed suicide here.

“The petitioner is seeking indulgence of this Court to the atrocities being committed by probe agency like CBI and issue adequate guidelines to safeguard rights of public against the misuse of powers of search and seizure by the investigating agency, particularly when search is being conducted at the residence of a person and further to protect family members of the person from social stigma caused to their reputation from the illegal search conducted by the investigating agencies,” it said.

CJI not happy with PM skipping issues of judiciary in I-Day speech

CJI not happy with PM skipping issues of judiciary in I-Day speech
CJI not happy with PM skipping issues of judiciary in I-Day speech

Chief Justice of India T S Thakur today expressed dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi not mentioning the problems faced by the judiciary in his speech on the occasion of 70th Independence Day, and said he was expecting some words about the judges’ appointments.

“I think I have reached the peak of my career, so I don’t hesitate in saying what I feel. So, I should speak the truth which touches your hearts… We heard speeches by the popular Prime Minister, the Law Minister and was expecting something about justice and judges’ appointments.

“Cases used to get decided within 10 years under British rule but even that is not happening now. The number of cases and people’s expectation have risen so substantially that it is becoming difficult to achieve the objective now. That is why I have time and again requested the Prime Minister to pay attention towards this aspect,” the CJI, who had recently made an emotional appeal to the PM in this regard at a function, said.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, however, said that the appointment of judges would go ahead irrespective of whether new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) was in place or not.

Prasad said the absence of MoP would not come in the way of the appointment of judges to higher judiciary.

The Centre and the judiciary have been at loggerheads in recent times on finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure which deals with the appointment of judges in High Courts and the Supreme Court.

The collegium had questioned the Centre’s right to reject its recommendation on grounds of national interest and had asked it to change certain other clauses.

The clause on the right to reject a recommendation on national interest is contrary to the current practice where the government is bound to accept a recommendation by the collegium, comprising the CJI and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, if it reiterates the same.

Recently, an apex-court bench headed by the CJI had given a stern message to the Centre over non-execution of the collegium’s decision to transfer and appoint Chief Justices and judges in High Courts and said that it would not tolerate “logjam in judges’ appointment” and would intervene to “fasten accountability” as justice delivery system was “collapsing”.

In a function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association on 70th Independence Day, the CJI said unemployment is a major challenge today and “freedom in real sense is freedom from unemployment and exploitation.

“When we pay homage to our martyrs who lost lives for the sake of the country we should introspect and examine how much we have lived up to their ideals,” he said.

( Source – PTI )

3.08 crore cases pending in HCs, lower courts: Govt

3.08 crore cases pending in HCs, lower courts: Govt
3.08 crore cases pending in HCs, lower courts: Govt

Despite disposal of over two crore litigations last year, over three crore cases are still pending in the 24 high courts and various lower courts in the country, Rajya Sabha was told today.

The latest figures have come even as Chief Justice of India T S Thakur had on Sunday lamented that the judge-to-people ratio in India stands at 15 to 10 lakh whereas the Law Commission had nearly 30 years ago recommended an increase to 50 judges per 10 lakh people.

Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said in a written reply in the Upper House that 38.70 lakh cases were pending in the high courts and 2.70 crore cases were pending in the district and subordinate courts on December 31, 2015.

Referring to the disposal of cases, he said while the high courts disposed of 15,80,911 cases in 2015, the figure stood at 1,78,97,488 for the lower courts.

In 2014, the high courts disposed of 17,34,542 cases while the lower courts settled 1,90,19,658 cases.

According to latest Law Ministry figures, the approved strength of the subordinate judiciary is 20,214 with 4580 vacancies. The approved strength of the 24 high courts is 1056 and the vacancy was pegged at 458 as on March one.

In the apex court, there are six vacancies against the sanctioned strength of 31 judges, including the CJI.

( Source – PTI )

No worry till judiciary’s independence is intact

No worry till judiciary's independence is intact
No worry till judiciary’s independence is intact

Terming the debate on intolerance as a “political issue”, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur today said there is no need to fear or worry till the judiciary is “independent” and upholds the rule of law.

“Yeh siyasi pahlu hain (this is a political issue). We have a Rule of Law. So long as Rule of Law is there, so long as there is an independent judiciary and so long as courts are upholding the rights and obligations, I do not think anyone has to fear for anything,” the CJI said in an informal interaction with journalists here.

“I am heading the institution which upholds the the Rule of Law and the rights of every citizens will be protected… I think, we are capable of protecting the rights of all sections of people. My institution is capable of upholding the rights of citizens. Certain rights are for the citizens and certain rights are for non-citizens also and we are capable of protecting the rights,” Justice Thakur said.

He further said, “India is a big country, we should not be afraid of anything. Yeh sab perception ki baten hain. Jab tak judiciary independent hai, koi baat ki dar nahi honi chahiye (These are all matters of perception. There is nothing to fear till the judiciary is independent).”

However, he refrained from commenting on the political aspects of the intolerance debate, saying “siyasi log iska kaise upyog karten hain, main kuch nahi kehna chahunga (I do not want to comment anything on how politicians use this).”

“But, we are committed to uphold the Rule of Law and protect right of all citizens of the society and people from all creeds and religions. There is no fear to any section of society,” Justice Thakur said.

Observing that certain rights are available even to non- citizens, including terrorists, he said they are the beneficiaries of the Rule of Law and can be tried only in conformity of law and “cannot be hanged” without due process.

“In so far as we are concerned, we have no such impediments. We have no such bias and we have no such reluctance. We can protect the rights of all citizens,” he said while specifically answering questions on the recent trends and the issue of intolerance.

Making it clear that he was not referring to any particular incident, the CJI said this country has been home to all religions and even those who were persecuted in other countries have “thrived” here.

 

( Source – PTI )

Justice T S Thakur to be next Chief Justice of India

Justice T S Thakur to be next Chief Justice of India
Justice T S Thakur to be next Chief Justice of India

Justice TS Thakur would succeed Justice HL Dattu as the next Chief Justice of India.

Justice Thakur, the senior-most judge of the apex court, will take over as the CJI after Justice Dattu retires on December 2.

His name was recommended to the government by Justice Dattu on Monday, official sources said.

After the law ministry clears the file of Justice Thakur’s appointment, it would be sent to the Prime Minister’s Office. His Warrant of Appointment will be issued when the President clears it.

Justice Thakur, who would be the 43rd Chief Justice of India, was born on January 4, 1952 and enrolled as a Pleader in October 1972. He began practising in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and dealt with all types of matters, including civil, criminal, tax and Constitutional and service cases.

He then joined the chamber of his father DD Thakur, an eminent advocate who became a judge of Jammu and Kashmir High Court and later a union minister.

Justice Thakur, who was elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court and assumed charge on November 17, 2009, would have a tenure of little over one year. He would retire as Chief Justice on January 4, 2017.

63-year-old Justice Thakur headed the bench which had delivered the verdict in the Indian Premier League spot-fixing and betting scandal in January this year.

The probe in the Saradha chit fund scam case is also being monitored by a Supreme Court bench headed by him. He is also hearing the multi-crore rupee National Rural Health Mission scam, in which former Uttar Pradesh minister Babu Singh Kushwaha is also an accused besides other politicians and bureaucrat.

Justice Thakur was designated as a senior advocate in 1990. On February 16, 1994, he was appointed as an additional judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and transferred as a judge of the Karnataka High Court in March, 1994.

He was appointed as a permanent judge in September 1995 and transferred to Delhi High Court in July 2004.

Justice Thakur was appointed as acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court on April 9, 2008 and on August 11, 2008, he took over as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

( Source – PTI )

Govt to seeks jurists’ views on bill to scrap collegium system

fffffDisplaying earnest, government will seek the views of jurists and former judges on the proposed Judicial Appointments Commission bill it plans to bring in Parliament to replace the present collegium system where judges appoint judges. Sources said Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad will listen to top jurists and former judges on Monday to elicit their views on the bill.

The government has already written to leaders of major political parties seeking their support for the bill. The leaders have also been asked to give their views on the issue. The move comes in the wake of claims that the previous UPA regime had nudged the Supreme Court collegium to recommend an extension for a Madras High Court judge who was under corruption cloud. The decision to fast track the bill also comes in the backdrop of a controversy generated by the Centre’s decision to return the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium for appointment of senior lawyer Gopal Subramanium as an apex court judge. The Law Minister had on July 21 said the government is seeking the views of various political parties and eminent jurists for setting up a Judicial Appointments Commission which would scrap the present system of judges appointing judges.

The sources said the NDA government is not averse to the previous UPA government’s plan to put the composition and functions of the proposed Judicial Appointments Commission Bill in Constitution.
By giving the composition and functions of the proposed commission Constitutional status, UPA had sought to ally fears of the judiciary that the composition and functions can be tweaked by any future government.

BJP, then in Opposition, had also raised the issue of constitutional status for the proposed body. While a constitutional amendment bill requires two-third majority for passage in a House, a normal legislation needs just a simple majority. But the NDA government is learnt to be planning to rejig the composition of the proposed panel, the sources said. They said the NDA government has found “certain infirmities” in the UPA version.

The UPA bill had proposed that the Commission be headed by the Chief Justice of India with two senior judges of the Supreme Court, two eminent persons and the Law Minister as its members.
The Secretary (Justice) in the Law Ministry was to be the convener. UPA had proposed that the two eminent persons on the Commission be selected by a panel consisting of the Prime Minister, the CJI and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. A Constitutional Amendment Bill to set up the proposed commission has lapsed following the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha and an accompanying bill is pending in Rajya Sabha.

An earlier effort by the NDA-I government in 2003 to replace the collegium system met with no success. The then NDA government had introduced a Constitution amendment bill but Lok Sabha was dissolved when the bill was before a Standing Committee. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was the Law Minister then. After any Constitutional amendment bill gets Parliamentary nod, it is sent to all the states and 50 per cent of the state legislatures have to ratify it. The process could take up to eight months. After ratification, the government sends it to the President for his approval. The practice of judges appointing judges started after 1993, replacing the system of government picking judges for higher judiciary comprising the Supreme Court and high courts. The move to set aside the 1993 Supreme Court judgement, which led to the collegium system, requires a Constitutional amendment.

(Source: PTI

Subramanium among first choice of CJI

Senior lawyer Gopal Subramanium,Senior lawyer Gopal Subramanium, whose name was left out by the Centre for elevation as Supreme Court judge, today emerged as the first choice of Chief Justice of India R M Lodha to try the high and mighty in the coal blocks scam cases.

“If I failed in something you (lawyers appearing in the matter) persuade him,” the CJI, who was heading the three-judge bench said when Subramanium’s name was suggested among others to be considered as the Special Public Prosecutor for prosecution of cases arising out of the Coalgate.

“We want a person of impeccable integrity and fine legal mind,” Justice Lodha said.

The remarks come in the background of Subramanium writing to the CJI withdrawing his consent for elevation as the Supreme Court judge.

Justice Lodha had expressed his displeasure that Subramanium preferred to make his decision public when he was on an overseas assignment.

While deliberations on the issue of SPP were underway, newly-appointed Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar was in agreement with the CJI over Subramanium as SPP in the coal blocks allocation scam cases, saying that he has been special counsel in several other cases including Parliament attack case.

The CJI said “consent” of the person would be necessary for considering him as SPP and it should not be restricted to the lawyers practicing only in Delhi. (More) PTI AAC RKS PKS
The Supreme Court collegium headed by the CJI had recommended names of four eminent persons as judges of the apex court but the government cleared the names of Chief Justices of Calcutta and Orissa High Courts, Arun Mishra and Adarsh Kumar Goyal respectively, and senior lawyer Rohinton Nariman, leaving out the former Solicitor General.

Subramanium had on June 25 withdrawn from being considered for appointment as Supreme Court judge and had accused the Modi government of “brazenly” ordering CBI to “scrounge” for “dirt” against him to scuttle his elevation.

Subramanium, who had assisted the Supreme Court in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in which Amit Shah, a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now an accused, had said that he was being “targeted” because of his independence and integrity.

Subramanium had sent a nine-page letter to the CJI withdrawing his consent to be appointed as a judge saying that he did not want his elevation to be “the subject matter of any politicization”.

(Source: PTI)