MP political crisis: SC suggests Speaker interact with rebel MLAs via video link.

The Supreme Court on Thursday suggested that Madhya Pradesh Assembly Speaker N P Prajapati should interact with the rebel Congress MLAs through video link or the court can appoint an observer to allay the fear that the legislators are in captivity.

However, the Speaker refused to accept the top court’s proposal.

A bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said it can create conditions to ensure exercise of volition of the rebel MLAs is truly voluntary.

“We can appoint an observer to Bengaluru or some other place so that the rebel MLAs can connect with the Speaker through video conferencing after which he can decide,” the bench said.

It also asked the Speaker whether any inquiry was made on the resignation of the rebel MLAs and what decision has he taken on them.

Senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for the Speaker, said the day court begins to give time-bound direction to the Speaker, it will be constitutionally problematic.

The counsel appearing for Governor Lalji Tandon told the bench that Chief Minister Kamal Nath was “sitting aside” in the turn of events and it is the Speaker who is “leading the political battle” in court.

The bench asked all the parties how does the decision of a Speaker in matters of resignation and disqualification of MLAs affect the floor test.

It said the constitutional principle that emerges is that there is no restraint on trust vote because of resignation or disqualification being pending before the Speaker. It said, therefore, the court will have to flip around and see whether the Governor acted beyond the powers vested in him.

Disciplinary Action Against Employee For Conviction In Criminal Case Not Barred Due To Suspension Of Sentence : Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has reiterated that disciplinary action against an employee for conviction in a criminal case is not barred due to the suspension of sentence.

On this premise, a division bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta set aside a judgment passed by a division bench of Gujarat High Court which restrained the Life Insurance Corporation from taking a final decision on the show-cause notice issued to an employee during the pendency of criminal appeal.

The employee in the instant case, one Mukesh Poonamchand Shah, was found guilty by a CBI Court in 2014 for offences under Sections 13(1)(d) and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Section 120B read with Sections 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the Penal Code.

In 2017, the employee was served with a show cause notice by the LIC proposing to impose the penalty of removal from service in view of his conviction by the Special Judge, CBI.

This was challenged him by filing a writ petition on the ground that disciplinary action cannot proceed during the pendency of criminal appeal. The single bench did not accept this and dismissed the writ petition. In further appeal by him, the division bench allowed the plea, restraining LIC from acting against him till his criminal appeal is disposed of.

Challenging this, the LIC approached the SC.

At the outset, the SC noted that only the sentence has been suspended in the criminal appeal, and not the conviction. The Court also noted that Regulation 39(4) of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (Staff) Regulations 1960 enabled the authority to take action against the employee “where a penalty is imposed on an employee on the grounds of conduct which had led to a conviction on a criminal charge”.

The bench also referred to the decision in Dy Director of Collegiate Education (Admn) v S Nagoor Meera (1995) 3 SCC 377 which held that proceedings against a government servant who has been convicted by a criminal court is not barred merely because the sentence or order is suspended by the appellate court. In that decision, the Court specifically disapproved of the view that until the appeal against the conviction was disposed of, action under clause(a) of the second proviso to Article 311(2) was not permissible.

This view has been reiterated in another two judge Bench decision of SC in K C Sareen v CBI (2001) 6 SCC 584, where Justice K T Thomas, speaking for the Court, held:

“12. …When a public servant who is convicted of corruption is allowed to continue to hold public office, it would impair the morale of the other persons manning such office, and consequently that would erode the already shrunk confidence of the people in such public institutions besides demoralising the other honest public servants who would either be the colleagues or subordinates of the convicted person. If honest public servants are compelled to take orders from proclaimed corrupt officers on account of the suspension of the conviction, the fallout would be one of shaking the system itself…”

In this backdrop, the SC observed :

“The judgment of the Division Bench restraining the appellant from taking a final decision on the show cause notice pending the disposal of the criminal appeal has no valid basis in law”

SC to hear plea challenging constitutional validity of Article 370 in April

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court adjourned the hearing on a plea challenging the validity of Article 370 of the Constitution till April 2019, following a request by the state and the Centre.  The Centre had asked for the adjournment saying the current situation is very sensitive in the state.

Supreme Court bench comprising Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah posted the matter for further hearing in first week of April, 2019.Earlier, all major regional parties boycotted the Jammu & Kashmir local body polls over the matter.

Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, sought adjournment on the ground that the current situation is very sensitive. Senior advocates appearing for Jammu & Kashmir Rakesh Dwivedi and advocate Shoeb Alam told the bench that a letter is being circulated seeking adjournment due to the nine-phase local body polls in the troubled state.

Article 35A provides constitutional protection to Jammu and Kashmir’s special status while Article 370 bestows autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir.

J&K Govt Approaches SC in new DGP’s appointment

NEW DELHI: The Jammu and Kashmir government approached the Supreme Court after violating the Supreme Court guidelines that restricts States from appointing acting and interim police chiefs.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of the state government that in view of the upcoming panchayat polls and security situations incumbent DGP S P Vaid has been replaced by in-charge DGP Dilbagh Singh.

Standing counsel for the state Shoeb Alam mentioned about the application before Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, said the matter is likely to be taken up on Monday.

The state government last night removed S P Vaid as police chief and appointed Director General of Prisons Dilbag Singh as an interim head of the force contrary to the guidelines of the Supreme Court, which had ruled in July that there will be no ad hoc arrangement for the post of Police chief in the states.

The SC has admitted the State’s application and the matter is likely to be heard on Monday.

UIDAI’s proposal to hire social media agency is against its submissions, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court  said the proposal of the Unique Identification Authority of India to hire an agency  to monitor various social media platforms and monitor such platforms was contrary to its earlier submissions.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud  asked Attorney General KK Venugopal to assist it in the matter,  while hearing a plea by Trinamool Congress MLA Mahua Moitra the bench said  what the UIDAI was proposing was contrary to “what it had argued while seeking validity of Aadhaar”. 

The court further added  Monitoring is directly against the submissions made by the UIDAI during the hearing of the Aadhaar matters.

The UIDAI, during the hearing of a clutch of petitions challenging the validity of Aadhaar scheme, had told the apex court that it did not want to monitor the online activities of citizens holding Aadhaar cards.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Moitra, told the court that the UIDAI’s move infringes on the fundamental right to privacy of citizens.  Earlier, the Centre had told the apex court that it will undertake a complete review of social media policy and withdrawn its notification proposing a social media hub for the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry.

Supreme Court, gave states one week’s time to show exercise To Prevent Mob Lynching

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday gave states one week’s time  to give a report on what steps they have taken to prevent mob lynching. Only nine states have replied to the Supreme Court so far, the top court warned the remaining states that their respective Home Secretaries will be summoned if they fail to file the report within the time frame.

In its reply, the centre told the Supreme Court that an empowered Group of Ministers (GoM) has been set up to  examining the possibility of enacting a law to check such incidents.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khawilkar and D Y Chandrachud was hearing a plea by Congress leader Tehseen Poonawala seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against Rajasthan officials including the Chief Secretary and the police chief for alleged violation of the top court’s verdict in the alleged lynching of dairy farmer Rakbar Khan on July 20.

In July, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said state and central governments have to take preventive, punitive and remedial measures to stop lynching incidents in the future.

Supreme Court dismissed, plea seeking ban the on the book ‘Meesha’said Craftsmanship of writer deserves to be respected

NEW DELHI: A SC Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra expounded that,”Craftsmanship of a writer deserves to be respected, seeking to ban the book ‘Meesha’ for allegedly depicting Hindu women visiting temples in derogatory light, saying the Top court said craftsmanship of a writer deserves to be respected”.

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud stated that,”A book must not read in “fragmented manner” but as a whole, Subjective perception about a book should not be allowed to enter legal arena with regard to censorship. The bench also said that the writer should be allowed to play with words like a painter who plays with colour.

A particular conversation between two characters in the novel was picked out and circulated on social media, claiming that the novel was anti-Hindu.

Although DC books, a leading publishing house in Kerala, published Harish’s novel and made the copies available in stores and online last month. Meesha, the serialised novel by Kerala writer S Hareesh which was withdrawn from a leading Malayalam weekly after protests by Hindutva outfits, has been published by DC Books. It is available in bookstores across the State. Ravi Deecee, CEO of DC Books, confirmed the move, affirming that the publisher always stood with its readers and its writers.

SC rejects plea for minimum punishment, of two years for electoral offences

NEW DELHI:  A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra refused to entertain plea that sought a minimum punishment of two years for electoral offences by candidates and political parties. The bench refused to entertain a PIL filed by advocate that sought to make electoral offences cognisable.

Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay that sought to make electoral offences cognisable. Heard and dismissed,” said the bench also comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.

Mr. Upadhyay’s petition had reiterated the proposal made by the Election Commission of India in February 1992, when it had demanded that election offences should be made cognizable with minimum two years of imprisonment.

He said the Home Ministry has conveyed to the poll panel that it has initiated the process to amend sections 171B and 171E of the Indian Penal Code for the same.

Mr. Upadhyay had therefore demanded a direction to the Centre to make electoral offences such as bribery, undue influence, personation, false statement, illegal payments and non-filing of election accounts, cognizable offences with minimum two years.

However, the government has not done anything in this regard till date, the petitioner claimed.

SC to hear PIL for making ‘Yoga’ compulsory for students

yogaThe Supreme Court would next week hear a plea seeking framing of a ‘National Yoga Policy’ and making ‘Yoga’ compulsory for students of Class I-VIII across the country.

A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao has agreed to hear on November 7 the PIL that seeks inclusion of Yoga as a compulsory subject in the curriculum on grounds including that its “secular” and right to health was an integral part of right to life.

The plea, filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a lawyer and Delhi BJP spokesperson, has sought a direction to the Ministry of Human Resources Development, NCERT, NCTE and the CBSE to “provide standard textbooks of ‘Yoga and Health Education’ for students of Class I-VIII keeping in spirit various fundamental rights such as right to life, education and equality.

“‘Right to Health’ is an integral part of Right to Life under the Article 21. It includes protection, prevention and cure of the health and is a minimum requirement to enable a person to live with human dignity.

“State has a obligation to provide health facilities to all the citizens, especially to children and adolescents. In a Welfare State, it is obligation of the State to ensure the creation and sustaining of conditions congenial to good health,” the plea said.

It said that right to health cannot be secured without providing ‘Yoga and Health Education’ to all children or framing a ‘National Yoga Policy’ to promote and propagate it.

“There are about 20 crore children, throughout the country, studying in primary and junior classes at the cost of public exchequer. Yoga should be taught to them as a compulsory subject as per National Curriculum Framework 2005, notified under Section 7(6) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009…”, it said.

It also sought a direction to the Ministries of Women and Child Development and Social Justice and Empowerment to declare ‘First Sunday’ of every month as ‘Health Day’ on the lines of ‘Polio Day’ to make the people aware about health- hazards and health-hygiene.”

The plea also said that a court at California had held that “yoga is secular”.

Source : PTI

HC slams Mumbai Police for arresting cartoonist for sedition

The Bombay High Court today slammed Mumbai Police for arresting cartoonist Aseem Trivedi on “frivolous” grounds and “without application of mind”, saying its action breached his freedom of speech and expression.

“How can you (police) arrest people on frivolous grounds? You arrest a cartoonist and breach his liberty of freedom of speech and expression,” a division bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and Amjad Sayyed said while hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Sanskar Marathe claiming Trivedi’s arrest was illegal and unjustified.

The Kanpur-based cartoonist, arrested last Saturday on sedition charges, was released two days back after the high court granted him bail amid mounting public outrage.

Observing that Trivedi’s arrest was prima facie “arbitrary”, the court said, “We have one Aseem Trivedi who was courageous enough to raise his voice and stand against this, but what about several others whose voices are shut by police.”

Noting that the police would have to satisfy the court as to how the sedition charge was applied against the young cartoonist, the judges said they intended to lay down certain parameters for application of the law of sedition.

“If there are no parameters there will be serious encroachment of a person’s liberties guaranteed to him in a civil society,” the bench said.

It said the sedition law was a pre-independence provision when government wanted protection from the citizens.

“What is the government’s stand now? Does it intend to drop the charge? someone has to take political responsibility for this. Why did the police not apply its mind before arresting him on sedition charges,” the court wanted to know.