Selection of successful DJS candidates would remain intact: SC

delhi high courtThe Supreme Court today said the selection of 15 successful candidates of the Delhi Judicial Services examinations held last year would remain and sought response of the Delhi High Court registry on its view that the answer sheets of other examinees be examined again.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant asked Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the Delhi High Court registry, to seek instruction on the view as to whether the answer sheets of unsuccessful candidates can be checked again or not.

The bench had suggested that a former apex court judge can be asked to look into the entire issue.

It had said that the successful candidates would not be touched and the limited aspect for the court-appointed panel would to see as to whether more eligible candidates can be selected.

The bench had earlier sought response from successful candidates on the PIL filed by the Centre For Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) alleging arbitrary evaluation of answer sheets in the judicial services examinations held in 2014.

The bench had said that it would like to hear the 15 candidates, who were selected for the interview, before appointing a former apex court judge re-evaluate all answer sheets.

On November 2, the bench had suggested to have a former apex court judge for rational re-evaluation of all the answer sheets of the Delhi judicial services examinations held in 2014.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for CPIL, had said that 659 students out of 9033, who were declared successful in preliminary examination, took the main examination held on October 10 and 11 last year.
The CPIL also said, “The result of this Main Examination

was declared on May 1 2015, almost 8 months after the exam was held. Surprisingly, only 15 students (13 from General Category and 2 from reserved category) have been selected for the interview for total 80 vacancies. That means a total of 98 per cent of the students were failed and only 2 per cent managed to pass.”

Bhushan had said that only 15 students have been called for the interview against 80 vacancies becomes “remarkable” as there are at least 68 candidates, who were not selected for the interview round, are “those who have already cleared judicial examinations of other States and most of them are sitting judges in their respective states”.

CPIL had sought a direction to “quash the result of the Main Exam of the Delhi Judicial Service, 2014 declared on May one.

Teesta’s fund embezzlement case: SC extends arrest protection

The Supreme Court today extended by four weeks the interim protection from arrest granted to Teesta Setalvad and her husband in a case of alleged embezzlement of funds for a museum at Ahmedabad’s Gulbarg Society that was devastated in the 2002 riots.

A bench comprising Justices A R Dave and Adarsh Kumar Goel said the interim protection from arrest will continue till October 15.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal mentioned the issue on behalf of the couple, saying the interim order was expiring on September 15.

Setalvad and her husband Javed Anand have challenged the order of the Gujarat High Court denying them anticipatory bail in the case.

The High Court order was stayed by the apex court and has been pending to be heard by a three-jteestaudge bench.

The apex court had on April 16 constituted a three-judge bench to hear afresh the anticipatory bail plea of Setalvad and her husband as a two-judge bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Adarsh Kumar Goel on March 19 had referred it to a larger bench and extended its interim order protecting them against arrest till the larger bench takes up the matter.

The couple have denied all charges levelled by the Gujarat Police, which in an affidavit in July had alleged that they had misappropriated funds meant for charity for personal expenses buying items ranging from wine to mobile phone, besides tampering with evidence.

Teesta and her husband, who have been fighting for justice for the victims of the riots, have denied all allegations contending that they have been implicated in the case and were victims of political vendetta.


Rahul Gandhi appears in Maharashtra court in RSS defamation case

rahul gandhiCongress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today appeared in a local court in connection with a criminal defamation case against him, notwithstanding the Supreme Court stay on the proceedings in the matter.

He presented himself before Magistrate D P Kale in line with the commitment given by his counsel on March 30. The court posted the case of defamation against him for allegedly blaming the RSS for the Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.

Gandhi, who spent less than 15 minutes in court, told reporters that he came to honour the commitment given to the court.

“We respect the judiciary, that is why I am here. I had made a commitment to the court. I am here to fulfil that commitment,” said a post on his office’s Twitter handle @office 0f RG, which was launched only yesterday.

“The fight which Gandhiji fought is our fight. We will fight that and we will win,” said another tweet.

Gandhi arrived in Mumbai this morning on way to Bengaluru and drove to Thane.

The Supreme Court had yesterday stayed the proceedings against him in the criminal defamation case filed by Rajesh Kunte, an RSS functionary, before the Bhiwandi trial court.

“There shall be a stay of further proceedings in a case pending before the trial court till the next date of hearing,” an apex court bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and P C Pant had said yesterday.

The court had also tagged Rahul’s petition, in which he has also challenged the constitutional validity of the penal provisions dealing with criminal defamation, along with that of BJP’s Subramanian Swamy and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

“We are not going to touch upon the merits of these cases. We are not going to address the merits of these cases. We are only on the Constitutional validity of sections 499 and 500 of IPC,” the bench had said.

Rajesh Kunte, the complainant who is Secretary of the Bhiwandi had alleged that the Congress leader Gandhi had said in an election meeting in Sonale in the district on March 6 last year that an RSS worker killed Mahatma Gandhi. Kunte is Secretary of the Bhiwandi unit of RSS

After he had lodged the complaint, the magistrate issued notice to Rahul for his appearance.

SC seeks govts’ stands on transgenders’ rights

The Supreme Court om Monday sought the stands of the Centre and various state governments on a plea for declaring transgenders as citizens with a third category of gender and demanding equal protection and rights for them.

A bench of justices KS Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra also issued notices to four Union ministries – the Social Justice and Empowerment, the Women and Child Development, the Urban and Rural Development and the Health and Family Welfare on a petition complaining that transgenders have been deprived of many of their fundamental rights and privileges which other persons enjoy as citizens.

The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition, filed by the National Legal Services Authority, the statutory body mandated to provide free legal services to the weaker sections of the society and organise Lok Adalats for amicable resolution of disputes, also sought reservation for transgenders in educational institutions and job opportunities in public and private sectors, either as a separate category or as being a backward class.

Senior advocate L Nageshwar Rao and counsel Indira Sawhney submitted that transgenders are deprived of their fundamental rights available to the other two sexes – males and females, and are not considered as the third sex.

“The transgenders are deprived of social and cultural participation, are shunned by family and society, have only restricted access to education, health services and public spaces and have restricted rights as citizens such as right to marry, right to contest elections, right to vote, employment and livelihood opportunities and various human rights such as voting, obtaining passport, driving licence, ration card, identity card etc.”

“The transgenders are treated as legal non-entity in violation of Articles 14, 15, 16 and 21 of the Constitution,” the PIL said.

SC refuses to rely on Chawla natural resources report

The Supreme Court today refused to rely on a report of a high-level committee, headed by former Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla, favouring auction as the route for disposal of natural resources, saying the report is yet to be accepted by the government.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia, while delivering its opinion on the Presidential Reference arising out of the apex court’s February 2 verdict on the 2G spectrum, refused to consider the Chawla Committee Report’s recommendations, also saying that it conducts an economic analysis of the means of disposal of natural resources.

“Since the opinion rendered in the Chawla Committee Report is pending acceptance by the Government, it would be inappropriate for us to place judicial reliance on it.

“Besides, the report conducts an economic, and not legal, analysis of the means of disposal of natural resources. The purpose of this Reference would be best served if this court gave a constitutional answer rather than the economic one,” the bench also comprising justices D K Jain, J S Khehar, Dipak Misra and Ranjan Gogoi said.

The report was brought to the notice of the apex court by Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy, who had said the government has told Parliament on August 9 that the Chawla Committee’s recommendations on allocation of natural resources through competitive bidding have been accepted.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati, who had refuted the claims and contentions of Swamy, had said it is factually incorrect that the Chawla Committee’s recommendations have been accepted by the EGoM in its meeting of October 14, 2011.

Auction not the only route for resource allocation:SC

Auctions are not the only permissible method for disposal of natural resources across sectors, the Supreme Court Monday said holding that the 2G verdict was confined to allocation of spectrum and is not applicable to other resources.

Giving its opinion on the Presidential reference arising out of 2G verdict, a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia also ruled that common good is the touchstone for any policy and if it meets that then any means adopted is in accordance with the constitutional principles.

Auction despite being a more “preferable method” of allotment of natural resources cannot be held to be a constitutional mandate, observed the bench also comprising justices D K Jain, J S Khehar, Dipak Misra and Ranjan Gogoi.

“In our opinion, auction despite being a more preferable method of alienation/allotment of natural resources, cannot be held to be a constitutional requirement or limitation for alienation of all natural resources and therefore, every method other than auction cannot be struck down as ultra-vires the constitutional mandate,” the bench said.

The bench said that auctions may be the best way of maximizing revenue but revenue maximisation may not always be the ultimate motive of the policy and natural resources can be allocated to private companies by other methods for the purpose to subserve public good.

“Common good is the sole guiding factor under Article 39(b) for distribution of natural resources. It is the touchstone of testing whether any policy subserves the common good and if it does, irrespective of the means adopted, it is clearly in accordance with the principle enshrined in the Article,” the bench said.

The apex court referred to various judgements delivered by it earlier while upholding government’s decision to allocate natural resources through means other than auction.

“It is manifest that there is no constitutional mandate in favour of auction under Article 14. The Government has repeatedly deviated from the course of auction and this Court has repeatedly upheld such actions,” the bench said.

It said “whenever the object of policy is anything but revenue maximization, the Executive is seen to adopt methods other than auction”.

Justice Khehar, who wrote a separate but concurring judgement, said that natural resource should not be dissipated as a matter of charity, donation or endowment, for private exploitation.

“No part of the natural resource can be dissipated as a matter of largess, charity, donation or endowment, for private exploitation. Each bit of natural resource expended must bring back a reciprocal consideration. The consideration may be in the nature of earning revenue or may be to best subserve the common good. It may well be the amalgam of the two.

“There cannot be a dissipation of material resources free of cost or at a consideration lower than their actual worth. One set of citizens cannot prosper at the cost of another set of citizens, for that would not be fair or reasonable,” Justice Khehar said.

The court disagreed with the contention that auction should be the only means of allocation as other methods can be abused by the private companies in connivance with government authorities as happened in 2G case.

“It may be said that even auction has a potential of abuse, like any other method of allocation, but that cannot be the basis of declaring it as an unconstitutional methodology either. These drawbacks include cauterisation, winners curse etc.

“However, all the same, auction cannot be called ultra vires for the said reasons and continues to be an attractive and preferred means of disposal of natural resources especially when revenue maximisation is a priority.

“Therefore, neither auction, nor any other method of disposal can be held ultra vires the Constitution, merely because of a potential abuse,” the bench said.

The court said that revenue maximisation cannot always be the primary consideration while allocating resources to private companies and assume secondary consideration when the development is the main consideration.

“Revenue maximization is not the only way in which the common good can be subserved. Where revenue maximization is the object of a policy, being considered qua that resource at that point of time to be the best way to subserve the common good, auction would be one of the preferable methods, though not the only method.

“Where revenue maximization is not the object of a policy of distribution, the question of auction would not arise. Revenue considerations may assume secondary consideration to developmental considerations,” the bench said.

It said that the suggestion that disposal of a natural resource for commercial use must be for revenue maximization is based “neither on law nor on logic”.

“Economic logic establishes that alienation/allocation of natural resources to the highest bidder may not necessarily be the only way to subserve the common good, and at times, may run counter to public good.

“Hence, it needs little emphasis that disposal of all natural resources through auctions is clearly not a constitutional mandate,” the 208-page opinion given by the apex court said.

(Source: PTI)

No recognition of unaided schools at cost of aided ones: SC

The state is justified in denying recognition to unaided schools if it adversely affects the interests of the government run-aided schools, the Supreme Court has held. “The state spends large amount by way of aid, grant etc for running schools in the aided sector as well as the state-owned schools. ”

Indiscriminate grant of recognition to schools in the unaided sector may have an adverse effect on the state-owned schools as well as the existing schools in the aided sector, by way of division fall, retrenchment of teachers etc. “Therefore, the procedure laid down in Rules 2, 2A of Chapter V of KER (Kerala Education Rules) cannot be overlooked,” the apex court said. A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra gave the judgement while disposing of a Kerala government’s appeal challenging the state high court’s decision with a contrary view.

The case related to state government’s refusal to recognise Betham English Medium School, established by an organisation, Tribal Mission in 2001 at Attappady in Palakkad District in unaided sector.

The state government had refused to grant recognition to it on the basis of one of its executive orders June 13, 2007 saying it would adversely affect the interests of the aided schools in the region.

A single-judge of the high court had dismissed the school’s plea, but a division bench of the high court had, on an appeal from the organisation, directed the state to grant recognition to run classes from standard I to X from academic year 2010-11 onwards. The state government had come to the apex court against this order.