Apex court’s anti-gay verdict misjudgement, say celebs

supreme courtCelebrities like Madhur Bhandarkar, Kunal Kohli and Shruti Haasan have strongly disapproved of the Supreme Court’s verdict that holds same-gender consensual sex as an offence. The verdict, they feel, has pushed people to the dinosaur era.

The Supreme Court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice S.J. Mukhopadhayay, Wednesday setting aside the Delhi High Court verdict of 2009, said there was no constitutional room for change in the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Section 377 of the IPC holds that same-gender sexual relationship is against the order of the nature and is an offence. The apex court upheld the constitutional validity of the section.

The verdict has left many stars unhappy. Here’s what they had to say:

Madhur Bhandarkar: Just when we thought we are looking into the future, comes a judgment that treats us like we are in the stone age. The disappointment is justified.

Chetan Bhagat: What?! Consensual gay sex ruled illegal in 2014? Shows you how badly India needs new young leaders with a modern outlook.

Shruti Haasan: 11.12.13 a day that reminds us how blatant regressing and oppressing someone has become – plan b move bedroom to another planet and time.

Sudhir Mishra: The decision declaring gay consensual sex illegal betrays a primitive Victorian mind. It is certainly not Indian.

Kunal Kohli: On 11-12-13 Supreme Court goes back to the medieval ages with Section 377.

Anupam Kher: We obviously don’t believe in equal rights even in the times when we send Mangalayan to Mars.

Kalki Koechlin: Supreme Court’s job is to uphold the right and freedom of every individual, not to decide what is culturally acceptable or not. In this case they failed.

Shruti Seth: So while the world is trying to legalise gay marriage, here’s what we’re doing as a nation. Such a disgrace!

Riteish Deshmukh: Supreme Mis-judgement.

Nikhil Advani: Welcome to the medieval ages! It was only a matter of time.

Neha Dhupia: How can love be illegal?

Rahul Bose: So much for those believing the judiciary is ‘the last bastion of common sense’ in this country.

Vinay Pathak: Supreme Court – Straight or scared!

Milap Zaveri: Nothing supreme about the court’s decision. Shocked and disappointed at the anti-gay verdict.

Shirish Kunder: Personally, I’ve no problem with same-sex relationships, as long as it’s not compulsory.

Vir Das: Today is 11.12.13. Unless you work in our Supreme Court, in which case it’s the year 1826.

Sandhya Mridul: The courts are unfortunately only following the law of the land, which are as old as the dinosaurs. Blame the legislature more than Supreme Court!

Hansal Mehta: Does India not have a single gay judge? Or does being gay mean that you can only be unfairly judged?

Siddharth: India is a bigot nation. I pray that every person who tries to deny another person their rights gets IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome). Bigots beware.

Richa Chadda: The Supreme Court criminalises love, again. Sad day.

Nachiket Barve: The problems of this world are because of what happens ‘without consent’ rather than what happens between ‘consenting adults’! wake up!

Celina Jaitly: I cannot believe Supreme Court’s decision. I have been in shock since it came. Such a contradiction of democracy.

Indian courts settle over 35 lakh cases in a single day

National Lok AdalatA National Lok Adalat, held simultaneously in the Supreme Court and courts across the country, Saturday settled over 35 lakh of the 39 lakh pending cases concerning accident claims, matrimonial disputes, dud cheques and traffic fines, among others.

The mammoth exercise was undertaken in the day-long Adalat, inaugurated by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, to deal with pending cases relating to motor accident claims, matrimonial disputes, labour disputes, dud cheques, bank recovery cases, civil suits and traffic tickets.

This was the first time that cases were taken up simultaneously all over the country for settlement.

Organised by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee, the Lok Adalats took place in the apex court, all 24 high courts and all the district and sub-district courts of the country.

As many as 35,10,390 cases had been settled, according to figures from the apex court.

In the Supreme Court, out of the 107 cases that were taken up for amicable settlement by three courts, 51 cases were settled.

Inaugurating the National Lok Adalat, Chief Justice Sathasivam had said that the main object of the adalat was to ensure speedy justice to litigants and make sure that there were no further appeals.

He described the resolution of disputes through the Lok Adalat as cost-effective, and also providing easy access to justice.

The chief justice urged the presiding judges to ensure that parties to the settlement of the cases are not intimidated or compromised while arriving at a settlement. He cautioned that Lok Adalats should not be allowed to be used by unscrupulous elements, who defraud people.

Of the 39 lakh cases that were taken up by different Lok Adalats all over the country, 7,94,484 were in Madhya Pradesh, 5,66,102 in Maharashtra, and about four lakh cases each in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Three lakh cases were before the courts in Delhi, of which 273,000 were related to dud cheques.

NALSA chairman Justice G.S. Singhvi, who had initiated the move for the convening of the National Lok Adalat, said: “Lok Adalats or mediation is one of the most powerful instruments in speedy justice, which conforms to the goals of the preamble of the constitution.”

Justice Singhvi, who took over as NALSA’s executive chairman in September, has also expressed the need for nurturing awareness of the benefits of amicable resolution of disputes through forums like Lok Adalats or mediation.

He had expressed hope that about 20 lakh cases would be settled Saturday.

Pointing to the need for efficient justice delivery, he said the award of enhanced insurance compensation or settlement of a matrimonial dispute after litigation spanning a decade or more is meaningless. He wondered what the value of the money was, if enhanced compensation was decided after 15 years.

Justice Singhvi favoured early resolution of matrimonial disputes either way, so that people could start their lives afresh.

Justice A.K.Patnaik, chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Authority, said the poor litigants, who cannot afford lengthy and expensive litigation, could get relief in Lok Adalats.

R.S.Gujral, secretary in the department of expenditure and NALSA member, said that the ratio of judges per million population in India, compared to developed countries, was very poor, and needed improvement.

He stressed that mutual settlement of cases was the only way to reduce the pendency of cases.


SC bench recuses from hearing Niira Radia tape case

Taking exception to the strong words used by senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan about court adjourning the hearing on the petition by industrialist Ratan Tata in Niira Radia tapes case, the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi Wednesday recused itself from hearing the matter.

“We will not hear this matter at all in view of the submission made by senior counsel Rajiv Dhawan. Matter should be heard by another bench,” said Justice Singhvi, taking serious view of some of the words used by Dhawan while insisting that the court should hear his submission.

Protesting the adjournment of the hearing of the case, Rajiv Dhawan appearing for a news magazine that carried the extracts of former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia’s telephone intercepts described the adjournment of hearing as arbitrary, unfortunate and denying media a right to answer.

The plea submitted that the probe was originally initiated by the Registrar of Companies (RoC) on whose report to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, an SFIO inquiry was ordered.

“All of the above have been thoroughly investigated and action has been recommended against top corporates to the Government of India several months back. Yet no action has been taken.”

The NGO alleged that these cases are different from the issues framed by the apex court in which it had directed CBI probe.

“Thus it is clear an attempt is being made to scuttle investigations arising out of or involving the intercepted conversations of Niira Radia’s telephones in order to save top corporate groups. Only strong directions from this court coupled with the disclosure of the transcribed conversations can lead to the guilty being brought to book,” the application said.


SC seeks details of crimes against women in Delhi

rape victimThe Supreme Court Tuesday asked the Delhi government to submit every month details of the number of offences committed against women in the national capital.

A bench of Justice G.S.Singhvi, Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice C. Nagappan asked for the information in the course of the hearing of a petition seeking an independent probe into alleged unprovoked baton charge by police on Aam Admi Party workers protesting outside Gokulpuri police station in east Delhi.

The Aam Admi Party workers were protesting against the non-registration of a FIR on a complaint by a woman alleging rape inside the police station in June this year.

The court asked police to produce the video of the entire incident that culminated in police baton charge on the Aam Admi party workers, as it found that the photographs produced by police in its defence did not addressing all the queries of the court.

The court was moved by 19 people that included five minors who were arrested by police after the incident.

Appearing for the petitioners, senior counsel Shanti Bhushan sought a SIT probe into the incident as he apprehended cover-up by police. He told the court while police personnel received scratches, the activists of AAP suffered serious injuries.

However, Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra disputed submissions by Bhushan.

He told the court that after the incident, a directive has been issued that all the complaints about such alleged incidents had to be mandatorily registered notwithstanding whether the case is one-day-old or one-year-old.

The court will hold further hearing Wednesday after viewing the video recording of the incident.

(Source: IANS)

Every document filed in court not in public domain says Tata

Industrialist Ratan Tata Friday contended in the Supreme Court that every document filed in the court could not be carried by media by deeming it being in public domain.

“First of all this public domain theory is wrong. Simply that something is filed in the court is assumed to be in public domain,” senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for Tata, told a bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice Gopala Gowda.

ratan tataTata has moved the apex court seeking to restrain media from publishing the transcripts of the tapes of the former corporate lobbyst Niira Radia’s tapped phones.

Radia’s phones were under surveillance by the income tax department.

Not questioning the government’ right to tap the phones but its responsibility to keep the recordings secure, Salve said: “My privacy has to be protected. Government can’t throw up its hands and say that I had tapped it and if it gets leaked, then I can’t do anything about it.”

Alleging that it were the investigating agencies that were leaking the information, Salve said, “Truth is that investigating agencies use the media… it is very dangerous. Why were they leaked. Whom were they aimed to embarrass.”

Contending that media was not above law, Salve said that he has no doubt that original leaks took place because of corporate rivalry.

He said that media was not above law and had the option of seeking to access information through RTI and letting the government decide.


Centre wants ban on nicotine-laced gutka, chewing tobacco

The government Tuesday pitched for a ban on all forms of chewing tobacco, gutka or supari laced with nicotine, saying these products fell under the prohibition prescribed under the food safety provisions.

“Gutka by its definition is a food added with nicotine and flavours” that is prohibited under the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on sales) Regulations, 2011, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Indira Jaising told the apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice C. Nagappan.

Jaising said all form of non-smoking tobacco products were being marketed by misbranding them as mouth fresheners which were in fact unsafe and poisonous.

“You say that they are misbranding,” court noted, asking Jaising: “How many cases you have filed against them?”

She said the burden of implementing the prohibition at the first level lay on industry, but it “does not mean if they don’t do it then the government will not act”.

The ASG told the court that through their misbranding the chewing tobacco companies were targeting “youth and poor people”.

Addressing the question from the tobacco industry as to why government was banning gutka and not the cigarettes, the ASG said there was a tendency that people generally didn’t use cigarettes because these were expensive and “culturally chewing tobacco in India is an acceptable norm”.

Appearing for NGO Indian Asthma Care Society, counsel Prashant Bhushan drew the attention of the court to the diseases like cancer caused by chewing tobacco.

The court would next hear the case Oct 4.

(Source: IANS)

SC rejects Swamy’s plea against Chidambaram

The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking the prosecution of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram along with former telecom minister A. Raja in the 2G case.

Dismissing the curative petition, the apex court bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, Justice G.S. Singhvi, Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan said: “No case is made out….”

The judges took up the matter in their chamber. The curative petition was dismissed Sep 19, but the order was made available Tuesday.

Swamy filed the petition alleging fundamental errors in Dec 24, 2012 court judgment which dismissed his plea seeking to make Chidambaram a co-accused in the case.

The court had then said that no materials were made available even for “a prima facie conclusion” that Chidambaram had “abused his official position, or used any corrupt or illegal means for obtaining any pecuniary advantage for himself or any other persons, including Raja”.

(Souce: IANS)

SC to take up plea on Muzaffarnagar

The Supreme Court will on Thursday hear a plea seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the communal flare-up in Muzzafarnagar in Uttar Pradesh that has claimed nearly 40 lives.

An apex court bench headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi said it would hear the matter Thursday as senior counsel Gopal Subramaniam, appearing for nine petitioners, noted that human life could not be lost on account of negligence in governance.

“We only think that they are human beings,” Justice Singhvi observed as Subramaniam said the plea was a cry of anguish and the victims could not be distinguished on the basis of their caste, creed or colour.

(Source: IANS)

SC rejects corporate honchos’ 2G pleas

The Supreme Court Tuesday junked a batch of petitions by corporate honchos seeking the recall of its April 11, 2011 order barring the Delhi High Court from entertaining any plea against the orders of the 2G trial court.

The court, while rejecting the plea seeking a stop on its monitoring of investigation into 2G scam matters by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate, said that the investigating agency (read CBI) was “no more independent in our country” and the possibility of putting it under pressure was “much more.”

The apex court bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan rejected the pleas by four corporate honchos — Shahid Balwa, Vinod Goenka, Rajiv Agarwal, Asif Balwa — and R.K. Chandolia, a former aide of ex-telecom minister A. Raja.

“The nation and the people of this country are seriously concerned with the outcome of the cases involving larger public interest like the one concerning 2G and this court, as the guardian of the constitution, has got the duty and obligation to see that the larger public interest is preserved and protected,” the court said.

The judges said there was no need to interfere with its April 11, 2011 order prohibiting the high court from entertaining any plea against the 2G trial court’s order.

The court said it would be in the larger public interest and in the interest of the accused that the trial should proceed unhampered on a day-to-day basis.

“…when large public interest is involved, it is the bounded duty of all, including the accused, who are presumed to be innocent until proved guilty, to co-operate with the progress of trial” as “early disposal of the trial is also to their advantage, so that their innocence could be proved…”, Justice Radhakrishnan said.

The court said that when the larger public interest was involved it was its responsibility to “assure judicial legitimacy and accountability.”

The court defended its monitoring of the investigation into the 2G scam, saying: “When the persons involved in the crime wield political power and influence, the possibility of putting political pressure on the investigating agency, which is no more independent in our country, is much more.”

The court said it was only monitoring the investigation being undertaken by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate and not monitoring the trial in 2G cases.

The apex court April 11, 2011 said: “We also make it clear that any objection about appointment of special public prosecutor or the assistant advocate or any prayer for staying or impeding progress of the trial can only be made before this court and no other court shall entertain the same. The trial must proceed on a day-to-day basis.”

(Source: IANS)

Needless security to Asaram, observes SC

Asaram Bapu was on Monday sent to 14 days’ judicial custody in Rajasthan.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday criticised the government for unnecessarily providing heavy security to spiritual guru Asaram Bapu, accused of sexually assaulting a minor girl.

“We are seeing on TV hordes of security around one accused,” the bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice V. Gopala Gowda observed.

“Everybody says these are aberrations but they have become the rule,” said Justice Singhvi.

Dwelling on the path that modern-day godmen take to reach the top, the court said, “These people start as drug peddlers, initially acquire wealth, join politics and religion, grab more property and become more powerful.”

If they are tantriks, they hypnotise people, the court said, adding that “law journals are replete with instances of such people committing heinous crimes”.

The court’s observation came in the course of the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking withdrawal of security cover to undeserving people who use it a status symbol.

Asaram Bapu was on Monday sent to 14 days’ judicial custody in Rajasthan.

(Source: IANS)