Justice Nagappan and Justice S.K. Singh sworn in as SC judges

Justice C Nagappan and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh were on Thursday sworn in as judges of the Supreme Court.

They were administered the oath of office by Chief Justice P Sathasivam.
With their appointment, the strength of the apex court judges has gone up to 30. It is still one short of its sanctioned strength of 31.

Before being elevated to the apex court, Justice Nagappan was the chief justice of the Orissa High Court and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh was the chief justice of the Allahabad High Court.

Justice Nagappan hails from Tamil Nadu and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh is from Bihar.

With Justice Nagappan taking oath on Thursday, the number of judges from Tamil Nadu has gone up to three — including Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Fakir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla.

With Justice Shiva Kirti Singh joining, the number of apex court judges from Bihar has gone up to three. The other two are Justice CK Prasad and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra.

(Source: IANS)

SC dismisses Gujarat Police ADG’s petition

The Supreme Court Friday dismissed a petition by the Additional Director General of Gujarat Police P.P. Pandey challenging the state high court’s order by which it had handed over to the CBI the investigation into Ishrat Jahan and her associates’ staged shootout killing.

The court also directed the registration of a fresh First Information Report (FIR).

Holding that the high court order had been challenged two years after it was passed Dec 1, 2011, and the charge sheet in the case had already been filed, the apex court bench of Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Kurian Joseph said it was not a fit petition to be entertained.

Pronouncing the order, Justice Misra said there were numerous instances wherein high courts, upon finding that the investigation by the state police was not being carried out satisfactorily, had handed the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and ordered the registration of a fresh FIR.

It is not “uncommon and unknown to law for the high court to handover the investigation into a case to CBI if, in its opinion, the facts of the case justified it”, said the court pronouncing its order.

Rejecting Pandey’s plea, the court further noted that there was no valid or justified contention that the matter should not have been handed over to the CBI.

Having said this, Justice Misra referred to the Nithari case, pointing out that after the matter was first investigated by the Uttar Pradesh Police, it was handed over to the CBI.

Nithari in Uttar Pradesh, a village bordering Delhi, made international headlines in 2006, when the skeletons of apparently murdered women and children were recovered. A businessman and his servant were sentenced to death in the case.

Rejecting the plea that long delay in filing the petition challenging Dec 1, 2011, order of the High court was because Pandey was not a party to the case, the court said that he could have impleaded himself in the case before the high court after he was named in the second FIR as one of the accused.

Rejection of Pandey’s plea has further compounded his woes, as the trial court has already declared him an absconder since he has so far evaded arrest.

Ishrat Jahan and her three associates were killed in a staged shootout by Gujarat Police June 15, 2004 after an input by the Intelligence Bureau that the operatives of Lashkar-e-Taiba were heading towards Gujarat to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

(Source: IANS)

SC refuses to intervene in IPL scandal probe

The apex court bench of Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Madan B Lokur asked the petitioner, Mumbai-based law lecturer Sharmila Ghuge, to wait and watch the ongoing investigation while posting the hearing for July 23.


Ghuge sought the handing over of investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as multiplicity of investigation could result in conflicting findings which could be taken advantage of by people in the realm of suspicion.

She urged the court to direct the CBI to investigate the “allegations of spot fixing, match fixing and betting pertaining to the cricket matches of IPL-6 or its earlier versions, unearth the huge racket committing such illegalities….” 

(Source: IANS)

SC gives cement makers more time to pay part of penalty

The Supreme Court Wednesday declined to interfere with the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) order directing 11 cement makers to deposit 10 percent of Rs.6,200 crore penalty imposed on them by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for alleged cartelisation to control cement prices.

The apex court bench of Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya, however, extended the deadline for depositing the part-penalty by a week from the June 16 to June 24.

The COMPAT had asked the cement manufacturers to deposit 10 percent of the penalty imposed on each one of them by June 16, saying that in the event of a failure their petitions would be deemed to have been dismissed.

The court said this amount to be deposited with COMPAT by each of the cement manufacturer would be put in term deposits in separate accounts in the name of each of the companies in nationalised bank.

The competition watchdog CCI had taken cognizance of alleged cartelization in the years 2009-2011. The average increase in the cement prices was 42 percent.

As some of counsel appearing for various cement companies questioned the quantum of penalty imposed on them on grounds that the profits from their their ventures too were taken for calculating the penalty, the court said all these issues could be raised before the COMPAT.

Senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for one of the cement manufacturers, assailed the CCI’s order which equated to price parallelism to cartelization.

Singhvi told the court that if one cement manufacturer pulled down the price, then others too had to follow in due course to remain in the competitive market.

The court said to determine whether there was cartelisation or not it will have to scan the prices of cement over the years.

The CCI by its June 20, 2012, order imposed the penalty on 11 cement manufacturing companies for allegedly forming a cartel to manipulate the market price of cement.

The cement manufacturers contended that COMPAT failed to consider their plea that the competition watchdog CCI’s order imposing hefty penalty was contrary to the material facts and factors which flew into the findings of the cartelization.

The tribunal had asked the companies to deposit 10 percent of the penalty imposed by the watchdog.

(Source:IANS)

Medical admissions subject to final verdict: SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that admission to the undergraduate and postgraduate medical courses would be subject to the final outcome of the petitions challenging the Medical Council of India’s decision requiring that candidates clear the National Eligibility Entrance Test.

The apex court bench of Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Madan B Lokur said this on an application filed by NGO Sankalp, seeking direction that the private colleges which were enrolling students on the basis of their own entrance tests should admit only those students who had appeared in the NEET and secured at least 50% marks.

Appearing for the NGO, counsel Prashant Bhushan said that the interim order passed by the apex court in May was not clear as it had allowed the declarations of the results of the entrance exams conducted by the Medical Council under the NEET and by various private colleges.

Medical admissions subject to final verdict: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Tuesday said that admission to the under-graduate and post-graduate medical courses would be subject to the final outcome of the petitions challenging the Medical Council of India’s decision requiring that candidates clear the National Eligibility Entrance Test.

The apex court bench of Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Madan B Lokur said this on an application filed by NGO Sankalp, seeking direction that the private medical colleges which were enrolling students on the basis of their own entrance tests should admit only those students who had appeared in the NEET and secured at least 50 per cent marks.

Appearing for the NGO, counsel Prashant Bhushan told the court that the interim order passed by the apex court on May 13 was not clear as it had allowed the declarations of the results of the entrance examinations conducted by the Medical Council under the NEET and by various private colleges but did not spell out how admissions would take place.

Bhushan said there could be a situation that a student, who had appeared in the NEET but did not secure 50 percent marks, gets admitted to a private medical college.

“Why they admit students who get zero in exams conducted by the MCI,” Bhushan asked and submitted that “those students who have not secured minimum eligibility marks in the NEET may not be granted admission”.

This suggestion was opposed by senior counsel PH Parikh, appearing for a college, who said that the minimum percentage of marks for the successful candidate was 50 per cent even in the entrance tests conducted by the private medical colleges.

Parikh said that if admissions were not to be made on the basis of the entrance test conducted by the private medical colleges, then what was the purpose of declaring the results. Parikh appeared for Christian Medical College.

At this, Justice Misra asked: “Don’t you think it would be in our interest if we admit good students?”

The apex Court by its May 13 order allowed the declaration of results of MCI’s NEET and also of tests by private medical colleges to facilitate the admissions for the current academic year.

(Source:IANS)

SC dismisses Gujarat cop’s plea in Ishrat Jahan shootout

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition by additional director general of Gujarat police PP Pandey challenging an arrest warrant issued against him in the 2004 staged shootout case of Ishrat Jahan and three others.


The apex court bench headed by Justice Gyan Sudha Misra said the petitioner, a Gujarat cadre IPS officer, could not approach them for challenging the arrest warrant issued by a magistrate, without approaching the high court.

Besides seeking the quashing of the arrest warrant, Pandey had sought the quashing of the second first information report which was filed in the case on the direction of the Gujarat high court after the investigation into the case was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

An Ahmedabad magistrate had issued non-bailable arrest warrant against Pandey May 2.

Mumbai college girl Ishrat Jahan, Pranesh Gopinath Pilai, Amjad Ali and Jishan Johar were killed by Gujarat Police in a staged shootout June 15, 2004.

SC notice on cement makers’ plea

The Supreme Court Monday issued notice on petitions of four cement manufacturers contesting an order of the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) asking them to deposit a part of the penalty slapped on them for alleged cartelisation and manipulation of cement prices.

The apex court bench of Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya issued notice after senior counsel Abhishek Munu Singhvi and others appearing for cement manufacturers told the court that the order passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) imposing a penalty of Rs.6,200 crore on 11 companies was based on assumption of alleged cartelisation.

As counsel appearing for the CCI defended the decision, Justice Mukhopadhaya said you could have reduced the prices by five percent but by imposing the penalty the money would go to exchequer and would not result in any benefit to the people.

Cement manufacturing companies UltraTech Cements Ltd, Jaiprakash Associates Ltd., Century Textiles and Industries Ltd. and Madras Cement Limited have challenged the May 17 interim order of the COMPAT asking them and seven other cement manufacturers to deposit 10 percent of Rs.6,200 crore penalty imposed on them by watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI).

The CCI by its June 20, 2012, order imposed the penalty on 11 cement manufacturing companies for allegedly forming a cartel to manipulate the market price of cement.

The cement manufacturers contended that COMPAT failed to consider their plea that the competition watchdog CCI’s order imposing hefty penalty was contrary to the material facts and factors which flew into the findings of the cartelization.

The tribunal had asked the companies to deposit 10 percent of the penalty imposed by the watchdog.

(Source:IANS)

SC fumes over NHAI’s flip-flop

The Supreme Court Monday fumed over the National Highways Authority of India going back on its earlier position favouring the shifting of a toll plaza on the road from Panipat in Haryana to Jalandhar in Punjab by the project concessionaire.

Soma Isolux NH One Tollway Private Limited had sought the shifting of the toll plaza to complete the delayed project’s remaining 40 km stretch.

The apex court bench of Justice Gyan Sudha Misra and Justice Madan B. Lokur took exception to the turnaround in the stand of the highways authority as senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the company, read from the affidavit filed by the NHAI before the Punjab and Haryana High Court wherein it had categorically supported the shifting of the toll plaza.

“When your own affidavit justifies the shifting of the toll plaza then why are you opposing it now,” Justice Misra asked senior counsel Sandeep Seth, appearing for the NHAI.

As NHAI counsel said that much water had flown since then, Justice Misra “water may have flown, structures do not change”, adding that a river may change its course but that may not erase the fact of the existence of the river.

Taking to task the NHAI for orally saying something that was contrary to its stand in the affidavit before the high court, the court said it was very obvious that the authority wanted to snatch the project from the present concessionaire and give it to someone else.

Singhvi told the court that if they were permitted to shift the toll plaza then they would complete the remaining 40 km stretch of the Panipat-Jalandhar highway in nine months from the date of shifting.

In the last hearing of the matter June 7, the court asked the concessionaire Soma Isolux, which is executing the project on build-operate-and-transfer basis, to file an affidavit giving the shortest time schedule in which it would be able to complete the project.

As Singhvi pressed for the shifting of the toll plaza, NHAI counsel told the court that there was provision in the contract which permitted the shifting of the toll plaza.

The NHAI contested Singhvi’s contention that under the contract the concessionaire could move for the shifting of the toll plaza.

The court gave the NHAI time till Wednesday to file the portion of the contract which, according to it, barred the project concessionaire from shifting the toll plaza.

The court said this while hearing Soma Isolux’s plea challenging the high court order directing it to hand over to the NHAI the project which was behind schedule by one-and-half-year.

Soma Isolux told the court that it had completed construction of more than 70 percent of the highway.

(Source: IANS)

Judges suggest speedy trial ways, lawyers boycott

Amid lawyers refusing to represent the accused in the gang rape-cum-murder case of 23-year-old paramedic, two women judges have come out with suggestions for effective fast-tracking of the trial.

While Justice Gyan Sudha Misra, a sitting Supreme Court judge, suggested amendments to the Evidence Act to avoid recording of evidence at multiple stages to “cut-short” the whole process of trial, former Delhi High Court judge, Justice Usha Mehra opined that the trial judge should ensure service of lawyers to accused from the very outset of the trial.

According to Justice Misra, “I feel in such cases of heinous crimes against women, it should be one-to-one between accused and victim as cases of these natures ultimately hinge on evidence collected by police.”

She also added, “Evidence recorded by the police from the accused and the victim’s side should be recorded before a judicial officer. Why should the statement of prosecution and defence witnesses be recorded at multiple stages? Let us bring changes to the Indian Evidence Act.”

“If the evidence led by the accused and the victim is recorded in front of a judicial officer, why should there be need for a lawyer to record evidence the second time in the court, as it is done today.

Justice Misra added, “The thing left for courts would be only cross-examination and arguments and that is how fast track courts are also going to be fast. Recording of evidence a second time in the court gives rise to manipulations, witnesses turning hostile and in many cases killing of star witnesses”

Justice Mehra, the head of government-appointed one member commission to probe the gangrape case, however, said earlier also, in many cases, the lawyers had refused to represent the accused and they cannot be forced to appear on their behalf but the trial judge has the discretion to provide lawyers to accused either from the legal aid or appoint amicus curiae to defend them.