SC to hear black money case Feb 19

supreme courtThe Supreme Court Friday said it would hear Feb 19 a plea by counsel Ram Jethmalani seeking enforcement of the court’s July 4, 2011, order that had directed the setting up of a special investigating team headed by two former judges to monitor a probe into stashing away of black money in tax havens.

A bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy (since retired) and Justice S.S. Nijjar by their July 2011 judgment had appointed the SIT headed by former judge B.P. Jeevan Reddy with Justice M.B. Shah as his deputy.

Directing the hearing of the matter Feb 19, the apex court bench of Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai and Justice Madan B. Lokur observed that the court understood the importance of the matter before it.

The matter is before the three-judge bench following a split verdict between the then Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S.S. Nijjar on the maintainability of the central government’s pleas seeking recall and modification of the July 2011 order.

The apex court bench of Justice Kabir (since retired) and Justice Nijjar Sep 23, 2011, referred to Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia (since retired) the maintainability of the central government’s application seeking recall of the July 2011 judgment setting up a SIT to probe black money.

Jethmalani, seeking an expeditious hearing of the matter, has maintained that since the July 2011 order for setting up of the SIT has not been stayed, so it is enforceable.

Pointing out that two years have passed since the July 2011 judgment was delivered, yet “no steps have been taken by the respondents (central government) in compliance with the directions of the apex court”.

The centre on the other hand, seeking the recall and modification of the July 2011 order, is also pressing for an early hearing of the matter.

The apex court by the July 2011 order had also asked the government to disclose the names of those having accounts in Liechtenstein Bank and about whom the investigations are either complete or progressing.

(Source: IANS)

Justice Reddy’s appointment as Goa Lokayukta to be challenged

A day after state cabinet approved the appointment of retired Justice B Sudershan Reddy as the Lokayukta of Goa, city-based social activist and lawyer Aires Rodrigues announced that he would challenge the same, saying it was done in a non-transparent and high-handed manner.

Addressing a news conference here in the presence of leaders of various political parties and NGOs, Adv Rodrigues strongly criticized Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar for appointment of Justice Reddy as Lokayukta.

He urged Governor Bharat Vir Wanchoo not to administer the oath to Justice Reddy as the Lokayukta on March 16.

Strongly criticizing Mr Parrikar for having entrusted Advocate General Atmaram Nadkarni the task of searching a Lokayukta, he said the Chief Minister should have instead written to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or some other High Courts seeking names for the post.

He said there is a consensus within all the political parties and NGOs against his appointment as Lokayukta. He also said the person who will hold the office of Lokayukta should be sturdy and non-partisan.

He said the selection of Justice Reddy will be challenged in a court of law for not being transparent and in accordance with law.

Adv Rodrigues sought to know why Justice Reddy recommended Mr Parrikar’s controversial and draconian amendments to the Goa Lokayukta Act that were passed in the last Assembly session.

He also sought to know why he did not propose any other amendments that would give teeth to the Goa Lokayukta to crack the rampant prevailing corruption in the state.

 

UNI

Government wants review of apex court’s black money order

The government Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking review and recall of its judgment appointing a special investigating team (SIT) headed by its two former judges to monitor investigations into the stashing away of black money in tax havens abroad.

The apex court bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy (since retired) and Justice S.S. Nijjar by their judgment July 4 appointed the SIT headed by its former judge B.P. Jeevan Reddy, with former judge M.B. Shah as his deputy.

The review petition was filed Friday evening in the registry of the apex court.

 

Apex court seeks timely disposal of mercy petitions

The Supreme Court Wednesday issued notice to the central government on a petition filed by an NGO seeking time-bound disposal of mercy petitions lying with President Pratibha Patil.

Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar issued the notice, returnable in four weeks.

NGO Justice on Trial has sought direction to the government to dispose off all mercy petitions within three months.

The petitioner has said that one of the touchstones of the public considerations is that the mercy petitions should be decided expeditiously in a just and fair manner.

 

Black money: Justice MB Shah to be SIT vice-chairman

 A retired judge of the Supreme Court and former chief justice of Bombay high court, Justice MB Shah, will be the vice-chairman of the Special Investigations Team (SIT) constituted to monitor the probe into black money stashed abroad. The SIT will be chaired by former Supreme Court judge, Justice BP Jeevan Reddy.

A direction to this effect was issued by the Apex court, on Monday. A bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice B Sudershan Reddy and Justice SS Nijjar directed that the High-Level Committee (HLC) constituted by the government to look into the issue of black money would “forthwith” be a part of the SIT.

The SIT will monitor the investigation and the steps being taken to bring black money stashed away in foreign banks.

Justice Shah, 73, was appointed as judge of the Gujarat high court on January 28, 1983 and was chief justice of the Bombay high court when he was elevated to the apex court in December 1998. He retired from the Supreme Court in September 2003. “I have not yet received any order from the Supreme Court or notification from the government, following the order.

Therefore, I’m not in a position to talk about my new task,” justice Shah said when contacted by DNA. When asked whether his consent was taken prior to his appointment as vice-chairman of the SIT, justice Shah said: “It is an order of the Supreme Court.”

Justice Shah is currently chairman of the ‘Commission of Enquiry for illegal mining of iron ore & manganese’ that was constituted by the Union government last year.

He has been discharging his duties from his office in a government bungalow in Shahibaug area of Ahmedabad.

On Monday, the judge was busy as usual with the work of the enquiry commission he chairs. When asked about what he expected his task to be as vice-chairman of the SIT, justice Shah said: “I cannot say anything as the Apex court has given the order today. All that will be decided later as I’m not the chairman. I will take charge as and when the notification is issued.”Justice Shah, who refused to say anything on the issue of black money, is clear in his views on the judiciary and the justice delivery system. To a question about the backlog of pending cases and the unfilled vacancies in the judiciary, he said, “It is not an easy task. The recruitment of judges should be made in a phased manner. Only hardworking and competent judges should be appointed.”

He said that people now had faith and high expectations only from the judiciary. “Our judiciary is competent and more judges of integrity should be inducted,” he said.Justice Shah lives in Naranpura. As chairman of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission between 2003 and 2008, he had given some landmark judgments. He has also worked for disposal of cases through Lok Adalats in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court stops Chhattisgarh from using tribals in Salwa Judum

The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed the Chhattisgarh government for using tribals as special police officers (SPOs) in its Salwa Judum counter-insurgency operation against the Maoists , saying this should immediately stop.

An apex court bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S Nijjar directed the Chhattisgarh government to immediately “cease and desist” from recruiting tribals as SPOs for Salwa Jadum.The court said that the use of such ill-trained and unqualified tribals as SPOs was against the moral and constituional mandate of the government.The court directed the Chhattisgarh government to recover all the firearms given to SPOs along with the ammunition. It directed the central government to ensure that its finances are not used for funding such illegal activities.

It also ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into an attack on social activist Swami Agnivesh in a tribal area of the state March 23, 2011.The court order came in the wake of a petition by a Delhi University professor Nandini Sunder seeking a ban on Salwa Jadum activities and relief and rehabilitation of the internally displaced tribals.

Supreme Court appoints probe team on money laundering

The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce Monday its verdict on a plea that a special investigation team (SIT) probe the alleged money laundering by suspected tax evader Hasan Ali Khan and Kolkata based-businessman Kashinath Tapuria, among others.

The plea by jurist Ram Jethmalani also sought a direction to the central government to disclose names, given to it by the German authorities, of Indian citizens who allegedly laundered money to LGT bank in Liechtenstein – a principality in Europe bordering Switzerland and Austria.

Jethmalani earlier told the apex court bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar that he did not expect much from the high-level committee the government has set up to oversee the investigation by various agencies into money laundering.The government constituted the committee under the chairmanship of secretary, department of revenue.Its members are deputy director Reserve Bank of India, directors of the Intelligence Bureau, the Enforcement Directorate, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), director generals of the Narcotic Control Bureau and Revenue Intelligence, director of the financial intelligence unit, and joint secretary of CBDT.

The chairman of the committee was mandated to report to the apex court on the investigations carried out by various departments.Besides the money laundering case involving huge amounts of black money stashed away in tax havens abroad, the apex court’s first day after summer recess will witness 28 judgments being delivered. The summer break started May 16.The apex court bench of Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice T.S. Thakur are likely to pronounce a verdict on the plea of Haryana politicians Abhay and Ajay Chautala challenging their prosecution by the CBI in a disproportionate assets case relating to the period when they were members of state assembly from June 2000 to March 2005.

The Chautala brothers have challenged the institution of the corruption case against them on the grounds that the investigating agency initiated the proceedings without taking prior sanction of the speaker of the assembly.Both Abhay and Ajay Chautala are at present members of the assembly and are grandsons of the former deputy prime minister Devi Lal. Their father Om Prakash Chautala is a former chief minister of Haryana.The case related to admission of students under the reserved category of other backward classes (OBC) in central educational institutions, particularly in Delhi University and the Jawaharlal Nehru University, would also come up Monday.

This matter would be heard by the bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik. A petitioner has sought a uniform policy for the admission of OBC students under the reserved category.

The bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph would hear a petition by the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party challenging the Jammu and Kashmir and central governments’ policy of allowing the return and rehabilitation of former militants from Pakistani Kashmir.

Supreme Court ruling on money laundering probe Monday

The Supreme Court is likely to pronounce Monday its verdict on a plea that a special investigation team (SIT) probe the alleged money laundering by suspected tax evader Hasan Ali Khan and Kolkata based-businessman Kashinath Tapuria, among others.

The plea by jurist Ram Jethmalani also sought a direction to the central government to disclose names, given to it by the German authorities, of Indian citizens who allegedly laundered money to LGT bank in Liechtenstein – a principality in Europe bordering Switzerland and Austria.

Jethmalani earlier told the apex court bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar that he did not expect much from the high-level committee the government has set up to oversee the investigation by various agencies into money laundering.

The government constituted the committee under the chairmanship of secretary, department of revenue.

Its members are deputy director Reserve Bank of India, directors of the Intelligence Bureau, the Enforcement Directorate, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), director generals of the Narcotic Control Bureau and Revenue Intelligence, director of the financial intelligence unit, and joint secretary of CBDT.

The chairman of the committee was mandated to report to the apex court on the investigations carried out by various departments.

Besides the money laundering case involving huge amounts of black money stashed away in tax havens abroad, the apex court’s first day after summer recess will witness 28 judgments being delivered. The summer break started May 16.

The apex court bench of Justice V.S. Sirpurkar and Justice T.S. Thakur are likely to pronounce a verdict on the plea of Haryana politicians Abhay and Ajay Chautala challenging their prosecution by the CBI in a disproportionate assets case relating to the period when they were members of state assembly from June 2000 to March 2005.

The Chautala brothers have challenged the institution of the corruption case against them on the grounds that the investigating agency initiated the proceedings without taking prior sanction of the speaker of the assembly.

Both Abhay and Ajay Chautala are at present members of the assembly and are grandsons of the former deputy prime minister Devi Lal. Their father Om Prakash Chautala is a former chief minister of Haryana.

The case related to admission of students under the reserved category of other backward classes (OBC) in central educational institutions, particularly in Delhi University and the Jawaharlal Nehru University, would also come up Monday.

This matter would be heard by the bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik. A petitioner has sought a uniform policy for the admission of OBC students under the reserved category.

The bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice Cyriac Joseph would hear a petition by the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party challenging the Jammu and Kashmir and central governments’ policy of allowing the return and rehabilitation of former militants from Pakistani Kashmir.

Liberalisation hasn’t led to education for deprived sections: Apex court

The Supreme Court has said the notion that liberalization and free-market economy in India would generate wealth which the government would use for providing higher education to deprived sections of the society has turned out to be “false and a mirage”.

“For the past two decades, this country has been in the throes of early ‘amor’ with the false but mesmerizing promises of laissez faire, free markets, liberalization, privatization and globalization,” said a bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar.

The observation came in a recent judgment, made available on Tuesday, holding as “ultra vires” (beyond its powers) the Delhi government notification permitting the Army College of Medical Science in Delhi cantonment to enroll only the wards of serving and retired army personnel and that of war widows.

 

Speaking for the bench, Justice Reddy said, “The state, in the throes of that false passion, believed that it would lead to generation of such wealth, that it could then take on the task of providing access to higher education to hitherto excluded classes and groups.”

 

“However, that promise has turned out to be false and a mirage. It is now apparent to the state that denial of access to higher education, to socially and educationally backward classes, and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, would potentially be dangerous to the ship of our nation, the Constitution.”

 

The court held that there could not be any executive (government) order that is contrary to the statutory provisions and the mandate of the constitution of providing reservation to socially and economically weaker sections of the society.

 

“The disadvantaged (sections) are obviously brutalized and dehumanized, by the very structure in which they are compelled to live in,” the judgment read.

 

It further cautioned that, “If the (disadvantaged) masses of India were to start believing, which thankfully they do not, and hopefully will not in the future, that their dehumanized condition is immutable, then also the ship of our constitution would have lost its way.”

Apprehending a violent turn that this brutalized and dehumanized section of the society may take, the judgment said, “If they conclude that dehumanization is the only normal order based on what some keep propagating, and then further conclude that the only way out for them would be to violently revolt and oppress the oppressor, the (Indian) ship would sink.”

Supreme Court slams ED in black money case

The Supreme Court Wednesday slammed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for interrogating Hasan Ali, allegedly country’s top tax evader, only in 2011 when the case was registered against him in 2007.

The apex court bench of Justice B.Sudershan Reddy and Justice S.S. Nijjar said, “Case was registered in 2007 and custodial interrogation takes place in 2011. What is the speed? What is going on in this country?”

The observation came in the wake of Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium telling the court that there was no need for setting up Special Investigation Team (SIT) as sought by petitioner Ram Jethmalani.

The court’s indictment of the investigation by the ED came as it reserved its ruling on Jethmalini’s petition seeking a SIT to investigate money laundering by Indian citizens and their stashing away black money in the tax havens.

As Subramanium told the court that setting up of the SIT would not help the investigation but would torpedo the same, Justice Reddy said: “You started investigation only after persistent queries by the court.”

The solicitor general said the present investigation has made significant advances and all offences relating to money laundering were being investigated.

Justice Reddy asked what was the principal objection of the central government to the appointment of someone to monitor the investigation by the multi-disciplinary High Level Committee (HLC).

“There could be changes, addition or deletion, in the composition of HLC. What is the principal objection you have if someone is appointed to monitor the investigation?” Justice Reddy said.

Subramanium said the committee (obvious reference to multi-member monitoring) should be accountable. “We don’t want someone on the top who is not accountable.”

At this Justice Nijjar said, “The person who would be monitoring will give report to this court and we will do the scrutiny. You must take into account the anxiety of the court that the speed and efficiency of the investigation has to be maintained.”

As the solicitor general sought to dispute the figures of black money stashed away in tax havens, Justice Reddy said that the figures were given by the bench and the government has acknowledged it.