Shortage of judges in higher judiciary saddening:  Former Union law minister Salman Khurshid

 Former Union law minister Salman Khurshid has said the shortage of judges in the higher judiciary was “saddening” and called for steps to address the issue at the earliest.

Khurshid, himself a senior advocate, said that right to justice should get the attention similar to that of ‘Swachh Bharat’ programme and there were some “fundamental flaws” in the judicial system.

“We don’t have an appellate judiciary which is stable at the top. Number of Chief Justices serve a very short tenure,” he said at the conclave — ‘The Rule of Law Convention 2018 on Judicial Reforms’ — organised by the Bar Association of India here.

Khurshid also talked about the issue of vacancies in the higher judiciary.

“The vacancies in the higher courts are very saddening.

Young people should come and join the judiciary,” he said.

“We need to take various steps to solve this issue at the earliest,” he said.

At present, the Supreme Court has 25 judges, including the Chief Justice of India, against the sanctioned strength of 31 judges. Several High Courts in the country are also facing a shortage of judges.

Referring to the hearing in the apex court on the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute, he said there was a need to have better case management.

“The CJI had to sit down and look at the paperwork and figure out what has to be done. All this is done by the solicitors the world over. This wastes time. This is a serious problem,” he said.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, who is also the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, also addressed the gathering and expressed his concern over shortage of judges.

“I don’t understand why office of judge can be allowed to remain vacant. Why don’t we have a system where judges are appointed well before the date of retirement of the sitting judge,” he said.

“The entire issue that played out in public was about turf war, about who appoints rather than the quality of the judge,” Singh said.

Trademark row: DPS World Foundation files settlement proposal

Trademark row: DPS World Foundation files settlement proposal
Trademark row: DPS World Foundation files settlement proposal

DPS World Foundation, floated by a group of Delhi Public School alumni including former Union minister Salman Khurshid, today submitted in the Delhi High Court a proposal for settling the trademark dispute with DPS society, which runs the prominent school.

In its proposal for settlement filed before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal, the foundation has suggested that it could use a new name like putting ‘alpha’ symbol before ‘DPS world school’ or ‘Delhi Public world school’ for their upcoming 17 new schools for the academic year 2017-18.
The foundation, which has challenged a single judge interim order restraining them from using DPS name or trademark crest of the school, also suggested that they would also have a bottom line reading as “a DPS Alumni Dipsites knowledge initiative” with it.

“These clarifications would clearly show that the schools (of foundation) are not associated with DPS society,” senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for the foundation, said.

Senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, who was representing DPS society, said they have registered the trademark of DPS and the foundation cannot use the same.

The bench, however, told Sethi, “We will like to have your response on this. You tell us what you have to say about their proposal so that some arrangement can be made”.

The bench asked DPS society to file its response on the proposal of settlement and fixed the matter for hearing on January 10.

The foundation has said that several schools are running with similar names, like International Delhi Public School, and the society “cannot have objection to the usage of ‘Delhi Public world school’ since it has never had any objection to other schools operating”.

The foundation has moved the court challenging a single judge order of April 18 last year on the ground that DPS has no trademark of the logo or the crest.

It has claimed that it had not hidden anything from the society as it has clearly mentioned on its website that it is not associated with the Delhi Public School in any manner.

The single judge, in its order, had held that using DPS name would amount to trademark infringement of DPS Society.

It had directed the foundation to refrain from using DPS name and its registered mark or any other crest identical or deceptively similar to the registered mark of DPS Society.

The single judge order had come on a suit filed by DPS society against the use of words “DPS World” by the foundation, claiming that the defendants had misappropriated the name and distinctive crest with a firelight held in a hand inside a shield, which had been used by the DPS schools since 1948.

The suit, filed in 2015, had stated that the foundation was opening schools using the name DPS World School, which amounted to infringement of the society’s copyright.

The single judge had barred the trustees, members, franchisees, officers, employees, agents, delegates, representatives, associates and all others acting for DPS world foundation from using or dealing in any manner with the DPS name or crest till the disposal of the suit.

( Source – PTI )

Khurshid for e-courts, video conferencing in high courts

Khurshid for e-courts, video conferencing in high courts
Khurshid for e-courts, video conferencing in high courts

Former Union minister and senior advocate Salman Khurshid today said there was a need for e-courts and video conferencing facilities in the high courts of the country for a robust justice delivery system.

He was speaking at a conference on ‘Use of Technology in Courts and Liberalisation of the Indian Legal Profession’ at the Indian Law Institute (ILI) here.

“My ambition is for e-courts and video conferencing in important high courts of the country so that we could have arguments, if not for the final disposal of cases, at least for admission hearings.

“The argument that we have today is between the haves and have nots, rich and poor, enabled and non-enabled in various fields like education, medicine and other fundamental areas of human existence, which remind us that there is a problem in justice delivery system in India. Therefore, there should be a system which enables all to file cases through the use of technology,” he said.

The senior Congress leader also rooted for ‘liberalisation’ of the legal profession.

“With little effort from budding lawyers and universities, law practitioners could be persuaded to support liberalisation,” Khurshid said, adding that it will provide ample opportunities to lawyers.

The inaugural session of the conference was held by the National Law University (NLU) in association with Australia’s Deakin University.

( Source – PTI)

SC notice to Guj on plea against HC order on birds

SC notice to Guj on plea against HC order on birds
SC notice to Guj on plea against HC order on birds

The Supreme Court today issued notice to Gujarat government on a plea challenging the High Court order declaring ‘right to fly’ as fundamental right of the birds which effectively banned keeping them in cage.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu sought response from the government on the PIL filed by Pet Lovers Association on the issue.

Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for the association, said that there are already laws in place to protect birds who can be domesticated.

He said that the High Court order that they have the fundamental right to fly is a flawed one and required to be struck down.

The Gujarat High Court, in 2011, had held that the birds cannot be caged as they have the right to fly.

Earlier, the court had refused to entertain an appeal against the High Court order on the ground of delay and had rather suggested to Khurshid to file a PIL instead.

( Source – PTI )

Court stays Nepal-India deal on upgrading immigration system

Nepal’s Supreme Court Monday ordered the government not to implement a recent agreement signed with India on upgrading the immigration system at the capital city’s international airport and setting up immigration offices in two border towns.

A day ahead of the visit of India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, a single-judge bench of Justice Tarka Raj Bhatta issued the stay order on setting up Indian immigration check-posts at Pashupatinagar and Lumbini.

A home secretary-level meeting between the two countries last month had reached the agreement regarding upgrading of the immigration system at Tribhuvan, the country’s only international airport, and setting up Indian immigration offices in the two border towns.

The minutes of the home secretary-level meeting that concluded in Kathmandu June 1 said: “The Indian side proposed to establish immigration check points at Lumbini and Pashupatinagar. The Nepalese side agreed to it in principle and would officially respond through the diplomatic channel.”

The meeting also agreed to the modernisation of the immigration system at the airport.

The Supreme Court was moved by petitioner Shree Prasad Pandit last week against the proposals.

Pandit termed the move an “attempt to violate national sovereignty” of Nepal.

He said that as per the previous Supreme Court order, any such move would require approval of parliament, and that the court should issue an order to the government not to move ahead with the proposal unless it is ratified by parliament.

The bench justified the stay order, saying there was a need for the apex court’s intervention.


NGO funding: Court rejects plea for FIR against Khurshids

A plea seeking registration of an FIR has been dismissed by a Delhi court  which was against Union Minister Salman Khurshid and his wife Louise for alleged criminal misappropriation of funds meant for a family-run trust, saying it has no “territorial jurisdiction”.
Metropolitan Magistrate Saumya Chauhan rejected the petition of  Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, president of a Delhi- based youth organisation Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena, saying he should file the case before a court in Uttar Pradesh.

“… The court is of the view that this court does not have the territorial jurisdiction to try and decide the present case.

“Hence, the complaint is returned to the complainant (Bagga) with the advice that he should file the case before proper court which can try the same,” according to the court, adding that Bagga should file the complaint in Uttar Pradesh.

The order came on a petition by Bagga, who alleged that the Khurshids had misappropriated funds worth over Rs 71 lakh meant for Dr Zakir Hussain Memorial Trust.

In his petition, Bagga has sought the court’s directions to the Jamia Nagar police station in South Delhi to lodge an FIR against the Khurshids and hold an inquiry into the alleged misappropriation of funds.

The judge, however, shot down Bagga’s request saying neither the court can order nor the Jamia Nagar police station has territorial jurisdiction to register case against the respondents (the Khurshids).

The judge, in a three-page order, also said Bagga can file the case before a proper court in Uttar Pradesh as the said crime took place there and the issue related to the misappropriation of funds also happened there.

Bagga had pleaded the court to direct the police to lodge an FIR against Khurshid and Louise under various provisions of Indian Penal Code related to cheating, forgery, using false documents in judicial proceedings and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Khurshid: Govt not to censor internet

The Law Minister Mr. Salman Khurshid today denied any kind of censorship on internet and said adequate provisions are already in place and IT Ministry is also holding consultations with various stakeholders to address concerns on objectionable content.

Addressing a seminar of ‘Editors Guild of India’ here, Mr Khurshid said his colleague and IT Minister Mr Kapil Sibal does not endorse the view of internet censorship in the country and stakeholders have shown willingness to discuss all issues, including how any “viral material” can be removed.

“I can share with you that Kabil Sibal has not endorsed internet censorship. He is already in consultation with the stakeholders. The consultation is going very well, but suddenly people reported that he was trying to put in censorship,” he said.

Explaining the need to monitor and control objectionable material on the internet, Mr Khurshid said the stakeholders have shown willingness to discuss all issues related to this.

“There is no problem with the internet. Stakeholders have been very willing to work with us and find how any viral material can be removed. I think it is not an insurmountable problem,” the Minister said.

On the issue of regulating social media websites, he said adequate provisions are available in this regard.

“There is already adequate provision available in the law as far as social media is concerned,” he said.

On TRP issue

The BJP leader and former Information and Broadcasting Minister Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad while addressing the gathering highlighted the need for regulating the agencies monitoring the TRP ratings of news channels.

Alleging that TRP management is done in the “most fraudulent” manner, Mr Prasad said “TRP must be accountable and it must run in a fair, reasonable and accountable manner duly backed by the law.”

HC asks courts to expedite cases of HIV positive people

Acting on a letter by Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, raising concerns over the problems faced by HIV positive people in accessing judiciary, the Delhi High Court has asked all its subordinate courts to expedite disposal of cases involving such people.

A communique from the high court’s registrar general to all the lower courts directed judicial officers to deal with and dispose of the cases of HIV positive litigants at the earliest and on priority.

The advisory was issued after Law Minister Khurshid wrote to Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri, requesting him to make court procedure “expedient and conducive” for the HIV positive people.

Khurshid’s letter was also annexed with the communique, circulated among all judicial officers at all the courts.

“I am directed to forward herewith a copy of letter dated May 21 of the Minister of Law and Justice with a request and circulate the same among all judicial officers under your control for information and necessary compliance,” said the letter, issued on behalf of the high court’s registrar general.

Judiciary must appreciate practical difficulties: Khurshid

Law Minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday said the judiciary must appreciate the “pragmatic and practical difficulties” of running the political system since it also comes from the same system.

Khurshid said: “(The) pragmatic and practical difficulties of running the political system (are) not alien to the judiciary because ultimately judiciary also comes from the same system.”

On the recent Supreme Court verdicts, Khurshid said: “I think they (the judiciary and the government) should appreciate each others compulsions but by keeping an eye on the constitutional mandate, which is frankly ultimately safeguarded by the judiciary.”

He called for a formal and informal dialogue between the government and the judiciary. Khurshid said we should not be “detracted by specific issues on which we may have different compulsions” and described the dialogue as the “dialogue of democracy”.

Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia articulated this when he said the judiciary, the executive and Parliament should respect each others’ operational areas, said Khurshid. But to say “something in a lecture and implementing the same institutionally and effectively in day-to-day decision-making requires efforts and endeavours on both the sides”, he said.

Khurshid’s remarks assume significance in the wake of a series of decisions unfavourable to the government taken in the recent past by the apex court, including the one on quashing the appointment of PJ Thomas as the Central Vigilance Commissioner and pulling up the government for inaction in tracking black money stashed away in tax havens.

The apex court also made strong observations on engaging illtrained special police officers from among the tribals of Chhattisgarh to counter the Maoists. The court is also monitoring the investigations into the 2G scam. There was some divergence (between the government and the judiciary) in terms of priorities and articulation and these things have to be worked out, Khurshid said.

Dismissing the impression that the government and the judiciary were not on the best of terms, the minister said: “To tell you honestly, we are both looking in the same direction. Our objectives, which are stated or unstated, articulate or inarticulate, are the same which is to provide in modern democracy a transparent and effective system of policing ourselves and giving the best governance.”

Decision on solicitor general’s resignation soon: Salman Khurshid

Salman Khurshid, who took over as Law Minister, today said that he will discuss the issue of the resignation of Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam with the Prime Minister and take a decision after getting directions from him.

“I will take up the issue with the Prime Minister. After receiving necessary directions, I hope to decide on the matter soon,” he told reporters in reply to a question.

Khurshid has already said he could also discuss the issue with Subramaniam.Talking to reporters yesterday, he had said, “Why should I not talk to anyone…but as a lawyer, I must say I have not received the brief. I will have to go through the issue.”

Terming the entire episode as “unfortunate”, the minister said he will first go through the entire details and the “various versions” available before deciding on anything.