Appointments, transfers pivotal to justice system; interference doesn’t augur well: Supreme Court

Appointment and transfer of judges form “the root of the administration of justice” and interference in that “does not augur well” for the institution, the Supreme Court said on Monday.

It made the observation while deciding to keep the Gujarat High Court Advocate Association’s plea pending which has sought a direction to the Centre to implement the Supreme Court Collegium’s recommendations on the transfer of Bombay High Court judge Justice Akil Kureshi.

The Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, had recommended to the Centre to appoint justice Kureshi as the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

It later recommended that Justice Kureshi be appointed as the Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court.

“Appointments and transfers go to the root of the administration of justice and where judicial review is severely restricted. Interference in system of administration of justice does not augur well for the institution,” the apex court said while keeping the plea of bar body pending.

A bench comprising the Chief Justice and justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer was told by senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for the GHCAA, that its plea be kept pending till the central government implements the Collegium’s recent recommendations of appointing Justice Kureshi as Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court.

The bench agreed to the submissions of the GHCAA and fixed the matter for further hearing after the Centre takes a call on its decision.

The modified recommendation to send Justice Kureshi to Tripura High Court was uploaded on the apex court’s website late Friday evening and it said that the concerned decision was taken in the Collegium’s meeting held on September 5.

Appointment of Justice Kureshi as chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh high court was recommended by the collegium on May 10 this year.

The GHCAA plea has claimed that the Centre did not clear the file for appointment of Justice Kureshi and on June 7 came out with a notification appointing Justice Ravi Shanker Jha as acting chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

The association has contended that the reluctance of the Centre to appoint Justice Kureshi as chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court is against the procedure laid down in the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) and amounts to a violation of Articles 14 and 217 of the Constitution.

It has further said the inaction on the part of the Centre is an attack on the independence of the judiciary and diminishes the primacy of the judiciary in the matters of appointment and transfer of judges to the high courts and the Supreme Court.

GHCAA president Yatin Oza had reportedly said that Justice Kureshi was being singled out for an order passed by him in 2010, remanding current Union Home Minister Amit Shah in police custody.

Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court does not support claims on inability to access court there : Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Friday said it has received a report from the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court and claims that people are unable to access the court there are not supported.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing child right activists Inakshi Ganguly and Shanta Sinha who have alleged detention of children in Kashmir, had on September 16 told the apex court that people in the Valley are not able to approach the high court there. The bench had then sought a report from the chief justice of Jammu and Kashmir.

“We have received the report from the chief justice (of Jammu and Kashmir High Court) which does not support your statement,” the bench also comprising justices S a Bobde and S A Nazeer told the counsel appearing for the petitioners.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it would entertain the petition regarding alleged detention of children in Kashmir as the plea has raised “substantial issues” regarding minors.

During the hearing on Friday, the apex court directed the Juvenile Justice Committee of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to file a report before it within a week on the issue of alleged detention of children in Kashmir.

Ayodhya case: Muslim party objects hearing on all days of week, says it can’t be ‘rushed through’

A Muslim party on Friday objected in the Supreme Court five-days-a-week hearing of the politically sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case in Ayodhya, saying it will “not be able to assist” the court if the hearing is “rushed through”.

The submission was made by senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, who is appearing for a Muslim party, when the Supreme Court commenced hearing on the fourth day in the case.

Breaking with the tradition, the apex court decided to hear the sensitive case on Friday which is kept kept fresh cases only, along with Monday. As per the apex court’s procedures, on Mondays and Fridays, the registry lists before the benches fresh and miscellaneous cases after notice cases.

As the counsel for deity ‘Ram Lalla Virajmaan’ started advancing its submissions before a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Dhavan got up and interjected the proceedings.

“It is not possible to assist the court if it is heard on all days of the week. This is the first appeal and the hearing cannot be rushed in this manner and I am put to torture,” he told the bench, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S A Nazeer.

He said the apex court was hearing first appeals after the Allahabad High Court delivered the verdict in the case and the hearing as such cannot be rushed through.

Being a first appeal, documentary evidences have to be studied. Many documents are in Urdu and Sanskrit, which have to be translated, Dhavan said.

The senior lawyer alleged that “perhaps, except Justice Chandrachud, other judges might not have read the judgment (Allahabad High Court’s)”.

He said that if the court has taken a decision to hear the case on all five days of the week then he might have to leave the case.

“We have taken note of your submissions. We will revert back to you soon,” CJI Gogoi said and proceeded with the hearing.

The bench has now started hearing the submissions of senior advocate K Parasaran on behalf of deity Ram Lalla Virajmaan.

The apex court had on Thursday asked the counsel for the deity, which itself has been made a party to the case, as to how the ‘Janmasthanam’ (birth place of deity) can be regarded as a “juristic person” having stakes as a litigant in the case.

The apex court had said on the third day of the hearing that so far as Hindu deities were concerned, they have been legally treated as juristic person which can hold properties and institute, defend and intervene in lawsuits.

The bench, however, had asked Parasaran as to how ‘Janamsthanam’ can file the case in the land dispute as a party.

The law suit filed by the deity in the Ayodhya case has also made the birth place of Lord Ram as co-petitioner and has sought claim over the entire 2.77 acre of disputed land at Ayodhya where the structure was razed on December 6, 1992.

Supreme Court to hear on April 8 pleas challenging Centre’s decision on 10 per cent quota

The Supreme Court Thursday said it would hear on April 8 a batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s decision to grant 10 per cent reservation in jobs as well as admissions to educational institutions to economically weaker sections across all classes.

A bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer said it would also deal with the contentions raised by some of the petitioners who have said that the matter was required to be adjudicated upon by a constitution bench.

At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, sought an adjournment saying he and Attorney General K K Venugopal were appearing in a matter on Thursday before a constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

“I am on my legs before the constitution bench. Please accommodate me,” he told the bench.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for one of the petitioners, referred to the apex court’s last order passed in the matter on March 11 and said the issue of whether these pleas should be referred to a Constitution bench should be considered.

“If the matter is to go before a Constitution bench, then ad-hoc adjournment cannot come in the way,” he said, adding, “You (bench) have to consider if this matter needs to go before a Constitution bench since it attacks the basic structure”.

To this, Mehta said, “On this (issue of whether to refer the matter to a Constitution bench), the Attorney General has to say something.”

He said these pleas have been “suddenly listed” before a new bench and the Attorney General was appearing in a Constitution bench matter today in the CJI’s court.

“We would like to give opportunity to them (Centre) and the Attorney General,” the bench told the counsel appearing for the petitioners.

Dhavan said the Railways is going to hold recruitment with 10 per cent reservation to economically weaker sections as per the 103rd amendment.

The bench orally observed that it would be subject to its final orders in the matter.

Referring to the nine-judge bench decision of the apex court in the landmark 1992 Indira Sawhney case, Dhavan said reservation is to be based on the concept of discrimination.

The apex court allowed a separate plea filed by the Centre which has sought a stay on proceedings initiated in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the government’s decision to grant 10 per cent reservation to economically weaker sections in jobs and education.

On March 11, the apex court had said it was not in favour of passing an order at this stage to refer the petitions to a constitution bench.

The court had said it will consider on March 28 whether the matter is required to be referred to a constitution bench.

The top court had earlier refused to stay the Centre’s decision to grant 10 per cent quota in jobs and admissions to poor candidates in the general category.

However, the court had agreed to examine the validity of the law and issued a notice to the Centre on the pleas.

Petitions have been filed by parties, including ‘Janhit Abhiyan’ and NGO ‘Youth For Equality’, challenging the Centre’s decision.

One of the petitioners has sought quashing of the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019, saying economic criterion cannot be the sole basis for reservation.

The petitioner has said the bill violates the basic feature of the Constitution as reservation on economic grounds cannot be limited to the general category and the overall 50 per cent ceiling limit cannot be breached.

The Centre has come out with the Constitutional amendment bill giving quota benefits to the poor among general category candidates.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha cleared the bill on January 8 and 9 respectively, and it has been signed by President Ram Nath Kovind.

The quota will be over and above the existing 50 per cent reservation to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

Matrimonial Disputes: Husband’s close should not be roped on the basis Of Omnibus Allegations,SC

NEW DELHI:The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that relatives of a husband should not be roped in cases of matrimonial disputes and dowry deaths unless specific instances of their involvement in the crime is made out. The bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao also cautioned the lower courts to be careful in proceeding against “distant relatives” of the husband in such cases.

The court was hearing a case challenging a 2016 verdict of the Hyderabad High Court, which had dismissed a plea by the petitioners to quash criminal proceedings against them in a case of matrimonial dispute.

The apex court judgement came as it allowed a plea filed by the maternal uncles of a man challenging a Hyderabad High Court s January 2016 verdict dismissing their petition for quashing criminal proceedings against them in a matrimonial dispute case.

In this case, the wife of K. Subba Rao of Telangana was married in 2008 and they were residing in USA. After a few years of marriage, the wife returned to India and filed a complaint alleging harassment by her husband and his family members, including the maternal uncles of her husband. She also complained of the kidnapping of her son by the husband.