Supreme court sets terms for bar election

The Supreme Court Monday said that members of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) whose names do not figure in the final list of regular practitioners would not be entitled to either vote or contest the election for the office bearers of the apex body of lawyers.


‘The members of the SCBA, whose names do not figure in the final list of regular practitioners, shall not be entitled to either vote for election of the office bearers of the SCBA or to contest any of the posts for which elections would be held by,’ said an apex court bench of Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice H.L. Gokhale.


After preparation of the final list of the regular practitioners, each member shall give a written intimation to the association whether he was a member of another court annexed bar, the judgment read.

Justice Panchal said that it would be mandatory for a member, whose name was included in the list, to give a permanent declaration that he would vote only in the SCBA and would not vote in any of the election of any high court bar association or district bar association or taluka bar association or associations of quasi-judicial bodies.


A copy of this declaration shall be displayed on the website of the SCBA as well as on the notice board of the SCBA, the judgment said.

The court said that such an information would be sent to all the bar associations.


‘Once such a declaration has been given, it will be valid till it is revoked and once it is revoked a member shall forfeit his right to vote or contest any election to any post to be conducted by the SCBA, for a period of three years from the date of revocation,’ said the judges.

For the identification of the regular practicing lawyers appearing in the matters before the apex court, the judges said that the criteria adopted by the court for allotment of chambers should be adopted by the SCBA.

Under the said criteria, an advocate on record has to do 20 filings of cases in a year, a lawyer has to appear in 50 cases and an arguing counsel has to argue 50 cases to be eligible for the allotment of a chamber.

This court recommended names of three senior counsel – K.K. Venugopal, P.P. Rao and Ranjit Kumar – as the members of a committee for implementing its directions.

Punjab plea against Haryana’s canal wall dismissed

The Supreme Court Friday dismissed the Punjab government’s application seeking to restrain Haryana from undertaking the construction of a 3.8-km long wall on the left bank of Hansi-Butana canal along the Ghaggar river embankment.


A bench of Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice H.L. Gokhale, while dismissing Punjab’s application, said: “It is rightly pointed out by the state of Haryana that if the relief, as prayed for, is granted to the state of Punjab, it is state of Haryana which will suffer greater loss and irreparable injury.”


“It cannot as well be denied that state of Haryana has the right to carry out the necessary work in its territory and also the duty to its citizens,” the judgment read.


Speaking for the bench, Justice Panchal said: “Hence, in view of the larger damage, which was caused in Haryana in the year 2010, and which is likely to be caused in Haryana, if the bandh is not properly repaired as undertaken, the balance of convenience is in favour of the defendant-state of Haryana.”


The dispute is over a ‘toe-wall’, described as a low wall constructed at the bottom of an embankment to prevent slippage or spreading of the soil.


The Haryana government had been maintaining that the toe-wall was needed to save agricultural land and several villages from seasonal flooding in the Ghaggar river.


Punjab has been objecting to the wall, saying its construction will lead to flooding in its area, particularly in Patiala. The Punjab government had filed the plea with the apex court in June this year, seeking its intervention and stopping Haryana from constructing the wall.


Both Punjab and Haryana have been involved in a bitter political war over water sharing in the last few years. Punjab has also objected to the construction of the Hansi-Butana canal by Haryana.


It refused to provide extra water to Haryana for this canal which is supposed to carry water to parched areas in south Haryana.


Former chief minister and Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh blamed the Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state for its failure to protect Punjab’s interests in the Supreme Court on the issue of construction of the concrete wall by Haryana.


“The state messed up the matter from Day 1 by adopting a wrong course apparently with an intent to exploit the issue for political gains,” Amarinder Singh said.


With assembly polls scheduled in Punjab February-March next year, the issue is likely to generate political heat in the state after the Supreme Court order.


The court also pulled up the central government for its inaction on controversies between the states involving water disputes. “The central government has not taken any stand whatsoever.”


“Whether the dispute should be referred to the Inter-State River Water Disputes Tribunal, is one of the issues to be decided in the suit. We are, however, required to decide the interim application on the basis of data which is made available to us,” the judgment said.


However, the court regretted that though on one hand, the states talk of inter-state cooperation, on the other hand they engage in “unfortunate controversies”.


“Before we conclude, we must note that although both the states are canvassing the principle of inter-state cooperation, yet there is this unfortunate controversy,” the judgment said.


Package for canal-hit and dam displaced not same, rules Supreme Court

The Supreme Court Tuesday said that people affected by the canal network of the Narmada were not entitled to the same relief and rehabilitation (R&R) package as given to those displaced by the submerges caused by the dam constructed on the river.

The people whose lands had been acquired for the canal network may, however, be accommodated and given a good compensation at market prices, said an apex court bench of Justice J.M. Panchal, Justice Deepak Verma and Justice B.S. Chauhan.

The bench set aside the Madhya Pradesh High Court verdict that asked the state government to pay the same R&R package to the people affected by the canal network as was given to those displaced by the dam construction.

The high court should not have taken a view contrary to the position earlier taken by the apex court, Justice Chauhan said.

The apex court, in its earlier judgment, had said that distinction has to be made between the dam-affected people and the canal network-affected people and both could not be put on the same pedestal for the purposes of giving the package.

BCCI amendment: Petition sent to Supreme Court larger bench

The Supreme Court Thursday referred to a larger bench a petition by former Indian cricket board president A.C. Muthia challenging the amendment to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) rules that permitted its officebearers to own IPL T20 teams.

The apex court bench referred the matter to a larger bench following a divergence of views between Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra.

Justice Panchal dismissed the petition challenging the amendment, which permitted BCCI secretary N. Srinivasan to own Chennai Superkings. On the other hand, Justice Misra allowed the appeal saying if Srinivasan wanted to continue to hold the franchise of Chennai Superkings he would have to give up his position in BCCI.

BCCI rules prohibited its officebearers from engaing in activities that conflict with the commercial interest of the cricketing body. However, this provision was amended to facilitate its officebearers from having stake in IPL T20 teams.

Justice Panchal said the matter may be placed before Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia for necessary directions

Hockey India to send team for Azlan Shah cup: Apex court

The Supreme Court Friday cleared the decks for Hockey India to send the Indian hockey team for the Sultan Azlan Shah cup tournament in Malaysia, starting May 5.

The apex court bench of Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice H.L. Gokhale cleared Hockey India to send its team to Malaysia after being told that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) recognised it (Hockey India).

The court order came in the course of the hearing of a petition by Hockey India challenging a Delhi High Court verdict by which it had upheld the central government’s position that the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) was the sole representative organisation for hockey in India.

While the court gave the central government two weeks’ time to state its stand on the dispute involving Hockey India and the IHF, it said that its Aug 27, 2010 order will continue to be in force. The order had allowed Hockey India to sponsor the national men’s and women’s teams for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games in China.

However, in the order, the court also said that Hockey India would take into account any suggestion made by the Indian Olympic Association.