New roster released by SC to hear works like PILs by CJI S A Bobde.

 The Supreme Court has released a new roster of work saying that PILs would now be heard by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde and three other senior most judges of the apex court.

In the roster of allocation of work that took effect from November 26, CJI Bobde has kept Public Interest Litigations and letter petitions to himself along with Justices N V Ramana, Arun Mishra and R F Nariman.

The new roster is slightly different from the last time when the outgoing CJI Ranjan Gogoi had kept PIL matters for top five judges of the apex court, including the CJI.

Besides PIL matters, CJI Bobde has kept with him matters of contempt, election, habeas corpus, social justice, direct and indirect tax cases, among others.

The CJI will also be dealing with criminal matters and cases related to commissions of enquiry, company law, Monopolistic and Restrictive Trade Practices, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Securities and Exchange Board of India and the Reserve Bank of India, among others.

As per the new roster, bench headed by Justice Ramana would deal with matters pertaining to armed forces, paramilitary, compensation, criminal and ordinary civil matters and issues related to judicial officers, employees of Supreme Court, high courts, district courts and tribunals, among others.

Justice Ramana will also be hearing matters related to eviction under public premises act, special leave petitions challenging arbitration matters, admirality and maritime laws and issues of commercial transactions.

Similarly, bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra would also deal with land acquisition and requisition matters, quota in admission to medical colleges, appeal against orders of statutory bodies and issue of establishment and recognition of educational institutions, among others.

Justice Mishra will look into indirect tax matters, contempt of court, ordinary civil issues and admission or transfer to engineering and medical colleges.

Besides PIL matters, Justice R F Nariman would look into cases of family law and hear matters related to armed and paramilitary forces, cases of leases, contracts by government and local bodies.

Justice R Banumathi led bench would hear matters related to labour, rent act, land laws and agricultural tenancies, among others.

Besides the CJI, Justices Ramana, Mishra, Nariman and Banumathi are part of the apex court Collegium.

Anguished with way judiciary being treated: SC on lawyer’s claim of conspiracy against CJI


The Supreme Court Thursday expressed anguish over the “systematic attack” on the judiciary and said time has come to tell the rich and powerful of this country that they are “playing with fire” and this must stop.

The apex court was hearing claims made by an advocate that there was a larger conspiracy to frame Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogi on allegations of sexual harassment.

The court said it will pass an order at 2 pm.

A special bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra said that it was anguished with the way the judiciary has been treated for the past 3-4 years.

“The way this institution is treated in last few years we must say that we will not survive if this will happen,” a bench also comprising Justices R F Nariman and Deepak Gupta said.

“There is a systematic attack, systematic game to malign this institution”, the bench said.

The Supreme Court sentences lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara to 3 months jail for contempt of Court and suspends term after apology.

The Supreme Court Wednesday sentenced lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara to three months in jail for contempt of court and attempting to browbeat judges in a matter related to designation of senior advocates.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Vineet Saran suspended the sentence taking note of the unconditional apology tendered by him as also his undertaking that he will never attempt to browbeat any judge either in the Supreme Court or the Bombay High Court.

The bench however barred Nedumpara from practising as an advocate in the Supreme Court for one year.

The bench, meanwhile, issued a fresh contempt notice to Nedumpara and three others for scandalous allegations against both the judges of the bench.

It said that serious allegations have been levelled against both the members of the bench in a letter which was received by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and other judges of the apex court.

It requested the CJI to constitute an appropriate bench to hear the fresh contempt issue saying scandalous allegations have been levelled against both the members of the present bench.

Supreme Court refuses reopening of Sterlite plant, grants Vedanta liberty to approach HC

The Supreme Court Monday refused to allow reopening of Vedanta’s Sterlite plant in Tamil Nadu’s Tuticorin, which was at the centre of massive protests over pollution concerns, but granted the company liberty to approach the high court.

A bench headed by Justice R F Nariman allowed Tamil Nadu’s appeal against the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order only on grounds of maintainability and said the tribunal has no jurisdiction to order reopening of the plant.

The court was hearing a plea by Vedanta group seeking a direction to Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to implement the NGT order which had set aside the government’s decision to close the plant.

On January 8, the apex court had paved the way to re-open the plant by refusing to stay the tribunal’s order.

It had also stayed the last year’s December 21 decision of the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court which had ordered status quo with respect to re-opening the plant.

The state had moved the top court, saying the NGT had “erroneously” set aside various orders passed by the TNPCB last year with regard to the Sterlite plant.

It had said the tribunal had consequentially directed the TNPCB to pass fresh orders of renewal of consent and issue authorisation to handle hazardous substances to Vedanta Limited.

On December 15, the NGT had set aside the state government’s order for closure of the Sterlite copper plant, saying it was “non sustainable” and “unjustified”

At least 13 people were killed and several injured on May 22 last year when police had opened fire on a huge crowd of people protesting against environment pollution being allegedly caused by the factory.

The Tamil Nadu government had, on May 28, ordered the state pollution control board to seal and “permanently” close the mining group’s copper plant following violent protests over pollution concerns.

Sabarimala temple case: Kerala govt to SC ‘ban on women unconstitutional’

New Delhi: The Kerala government today told the Supreme Court that the custom of barring entry of women between the age group of 10 to 50 years into the Sabarimala temple in Kerala is not permissible under the Constitution.

It said that celibate status of deity cannot be a ground for barring entry of women as it is a Hindu temple and not a temple of a particular denomination.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra reserved its verdict on a batch of pleas challenging the ban on entry of females between the age group of 10 to 50 years into the 800-year-old shrine after hearing the matter for eight days.

“We will pass orders. Judgment reserved. Hearing concluded. Advocate on Record of both the sides will collect written submissions and compile it and submit before the court in seven days,” the bench also comprising justices R F Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra said.
Senior advocate Jaideep Gupta, appearing for Kerala government, said that the custom of barring women between the age group of 10 to 50 years is not permissible under the Constitution.

“Sabarimala temple cannot claim to be a distinct denomination to claim a custom which bars entry of women of 10-50 year age group to temple. It is not a temple of a particular denomination but a Hindu temple,” he said.

Gupta, referring to the arguments of the petitioners who had challenge the ban on entry of women into the temple, said that they pointed out that Kerala high court had held that it is a denominational temple.

“It is my submissions, that it is not a denominational temple and the religious rights are not protected”, he said.

Citing an example of Lord Jagannath Puri temple, Gupta said that it is also not a temple of particular denomination while on the other hand temple of Ramakrishna Paramhans is of a particular denomination as he is being worshipped by a particular sect.
He said that even Dakshineswar temple in Kolkata, where Shri Ramakrishna Paramhans himself worshipped, is not a temple of any particular denomination.

SC rejects bail plea of juvenile accused in Gurgaon schoolboy killing

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today rejected a bail plea of a juvenile, accused of killing a seven-year-old boy in a private school in Gurgaon.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra rejected the plea which sought default bail on the ground that charge sheet was not filed within 60 days.
The bench said it is a heinous offence under section 302 of IPC and the time limit for filing the charge sheet was 90 days and not 60 days.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had on June 6 dismissed the bail plea of the 16-year-old student, accused of killing a seven-year-old boy in a private school in Gurgaon in September last year.
The high court had also rejected the accused’s submission that he deserved the benefit of statutory bail on the ground that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had failed to conclude its probe within the prescribed limit of 60 days.
The accused had challenged in the high court the February 5 order of a Gurgaon sessions court which had rejected his plea saying that the stage was not fit for granting bail.
On May 21, the sessions court had held that the 16-year-old student would be tried as an adult in the murder case.

Upholding the decision of the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), the court had said the juvenile board took into consideration all the material placed before it to establish “the physical and mental capacity (of the accused) to commit the crime” and there was no need for any intervention.
The accused had challenged the December 20 order of the JJB, which had held that the teenager would be tried as an adult.
The CBI, in its charge sheet, had alleged that the teenager had murdered the student on September 8 last year in a bid to get exams postponed and a scheduled parent-teacher meeting cancelled.The victim’s body, with the throat slit, was found in the washroom of the school at the Bhondsi area of Gurgaon.Earlier, the court had barred the media from using the name of the victim, the accused and the school and asked it to use fictitious names instead.While the victim was named “Prince” by the court, the accused was named “Bholu” and the school was referred to as “vidyalaya”.

The probe agency had given a clean chit to school bus conductor Ashok Kumar, who was arrested by the Gurgaon Police, saying there was no evidence to prove his involvement in the crime.The CBI had taken up the case from the Gurgaon Police on September 22, following a nationwide uproar over the killing.

SC extends deadline till July 30 for Assam NRC final draft

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today extended its June 30 deadline for publication of the final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) by a month, after the Centre and the state coordinator agreed to publish it within the new time limit.
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman considered the report of state NRC coordinator Prateek Hajela and extended the deadline.
Hajela had last week said it would not be possible to release the final draft of the NRC as scheduled on June 30 due to the floods in state. The NRC is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam.

The bench asked the state chief secretary and DGP of Assam to immediately provide adequate security to Hajela and his family members, including his children, in view of the work done by him. It asked them to file a compliance report immediately after taking a decision on tghe issue.

The apex court said it will consider all the interlocutory applications and other related matters on July 31.

The first draft NRC for Assam was published in December end as per the top court’s direction. The first draft, which is a list of the state’s citizens, was published on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 where names of 1.9 crore people out of the 3.29 crore applicants were incorporated.
Assam, which had faced influx of people from Bangladesh since the early 20th century, is the only state having an NRC, which was first prepared in 1951.
The top court had earlier said that the claims of those citizens, whose names do not figure in the draft NRC for Assam published by December 31 last year, would be scrutinised and included in the subsequent list, if found genuine.

No extension of date for updation of NRC in Assam : Supreme Court

The Supreme Court today refused to extend the May 31 deadline for the ongoing process of publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam in the wake of panchayat elections in the state, saying the polls should not become an impediment.

The top court, however, spared the Additional Deputy Commissioner rank officer currently engaged in NRC updation work for the local bodies elections scheduled next month.

“We have already said that the deadline for updation of NRC is May 31 and the next 30 days for cross-checking of data till June 30. It can’t go beyond that and complete final draft should be ready by then. You deploy your surplus employees or request neighbhouring states, but no employee engaged in NRC work can be spared or disturbed,” a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and R F Nariman said.

The bench’s remark came after the state government said the panchayat elections were due next month and urged that the employees engaged in NRC work be allowed to be deployed for the polls. The NRC is being prepared to identify illegal migrants in Assam.

The bench said it had no intention to interfere with the panchayat polls in the state and it should be held as per schedule. But the polls shall not become impediment in the work of NRC, it added.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Assam, told the court that as per the Panchayat Constitution Rules of the state, deputy commissioner is responsible for the elections but he was currently engaged in NRC work.

“When we asked the deputy commissioner to work for polls, the state coordinator of NRC Prateek Hajela said it will be contempt of court as no officer can be engaged in any other work,” he said.

To this, the bench said if there was a statutory requirement, then the additional deputy commissioners of each district can be spared for the local bodies’ election, but no other official can be allowed to do any other job, except NRC updation.

The bench asked all state governments, railways, banks, CBSE, UIDAI and Ministry of External Affairs to assist the NRC officials in verification of the records in the stipulated period.

Mehta said if the panchayat elections are delayed in Assam, then the state will lose a grant of Rs 1000 crore, which can be given only if the elected local bodies are in place as per the recommendation of 14th Finance Commission.

During the hearing, the bench also pulled up the Registrar General of India (RGI) for “putting spanners” in the work of updation of NRC.

“Mr. Attorney General, we have received a confidential report from our sources and have found that this gentleman (Registrar General of India) is putting spanners in the work,” the bench said.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, who was present in the courtroom, asked whether the court meant that the RGI was delaying the work.

“Yes. We have received a confidential report regarding this. If that will be the case, we will not hesitate to direct for replacing the Registrar General of India,” the bench said.

RGI Shailesh was also present in the courtroom when the bench made the observation and warned him of the action.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing on May 8.

On February 20, the apex court had made it clear that the ongoing process of publication of the final NRC in Assam has to be completed by May 31 this year and work on it should continue without “any interference from any quarter”.

The bench, while noting in its order that the work of final draft NRC would be completed by June 30, had also dealt with the issue of the upcoming panchayat and local body elections in Assam, which were due in for April this year.

The top court had said that the state election commission would conduct these elections as per schedule but the poll process should not cause “slightest of interference in the publication of NRC”. It had said that the work of holding election will not be at the cost of upgradation and preparation of NRC.

The first draft NRC for Assam was published in December end as per the apex court’s direction to come out with the first draft NRC by December 31, 2017.

The apex court had said that claims of those citizens, whose names do not figure in the draft NRC for Assam published by December 31 last year, would be scrutinised and included in the subsequent list, if found genuine.

The NRC of 1951 is being updated for Assam in accordance with the tripartite agreement among the state and central governments and the influential All Assam Students Union (AASU), which was arrived at in 2005 to implement the 1985 Assam Accord.

Contempt against woman lawyer for derogatory remarks : Supreme Court

The Supreme Court today initiated contempt proceedings against a woman lawyer for using “derogatory remarks against the court” despite warnings.

The top court said that despite being warned of her conduct, “she persisted and dared the court to take action against her”.

The heated arguments took place when a bench of Justices Adarsh Goel, U U Lalit and R F Nariman, which was hearing a service matter, was informed by senior advocate A K Sanghi, appearing for Union of India, that the matter will take some time.

The bench told advocate Nisha Priya Bhatia, appearing for the respondents, that the matter cannot be taken up today as composition of the bench was only for today and some part-heard matters had to be given preference.

Bhatia then raised her voice and used “derogatory remarks against the court”.

To this, Justice Nariman warned her saying she was crossing her limit.

But Bhatia persisted, kept shouting and dared the bench to take contempt action against her. She left the court shouting at the bench.

Justice Nariman said this was the second time before his bench that she had shouted.

“This is the second time she has done such a thing and this time we cannot allow her to get away like this,” the bench said.

“In our view, her conduct amounts to contempt in the face of the court. However, instead of straightway punishing her for contempt, we deem it appropriate to issue notice. Ordered accordingly,” the bench noted in its order along with the sequence of events.

It asked Bhatia to file a detailed affidavit explaining her conduct within two weeks from the date of receipt of notice.

The bench also recused from hearing the case as well as the contempt petition and directed that it be listed before any other bench as per the order of Chief Justice of India.

The bench appointed former attorney general Mukul Rohatgi and solicitor general Ranjit Kumar as amicus curiae to assist in the matter, saying they should tell the other bench what had happened in this court.

SC asks NDMC to reconsider its decision to auction Hotel Taj Mansingh

The Supreme Court today asked the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to reconsider its decision of auctioning the iconic Taj Mansingh Hotel in wake of the Attorney General and Solicitor General’s opinion not to initiate any such process.

The apex court noted the fact that the opinions of both the top law officers against the auctioning of the hotel was not placed before the Ministry of Home Affairs for consideration.

A bench of Justices Pinaki Ghose and R F Nariman also took note of the fact that there was also an internal opinion of the top office bearers of NDMC against the auctioning process.

“At this stage, we direct NDMC to reconsider its decision in view of its own internal opinion and the opinions of the Attorney General and Solicitor General. The report should be filed within six weeks,” the bench said.

During the hearing, the bench said that “the Attorney General and Solicitor General’s opinion was not looked upon by MHA. You (NDMC) have not placed the opinions before the ministry concerned. We do not know what the ministry would have said if the opinions were placed before it”.

It told Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain that NDMC has told the ministry that opinions of the AG and SG which have favoured extension of lease, are still awaited.

“It is strange and doesn’t look bonafide. The AG and SG’s opinions should have been placed before the ministry concerned,” the bench said.

It asked Jain whether NDMC agrees to reconsider the decision of going ahead with the auctioning process.

To this, the ASG said, “No, it can’t be done.”

“Why are you not agreeing to reconsider the decision. It not a matter of right. Do you not want to be fair to the party who has been paying the rent constinously for 30 years,” the bench said.

The Tata’s Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), which has challenged a Delhi High Court order allowing NDMC to auction the hotel here, had earlier told the apex court that it was “not clear” why NDMC wanted to auction the prime property which gave the “best revenue” to it.