The Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up advocate M.L. Sharma for making Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah as respondents in his petition seeking a court monitored SIT probe into the Pegasus snooping issue.
A bench comprising Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Surya Kant said: "You have included certain individuals (Prime Minister and Home Minister as respondents in the petition). We can't issue notice like this. Don't try to take advantage of things, you have a defective memo of parties".
Sharma had argued that the government is fabricating material in the computer through this software.
The bench replied, "This is not the way to file a PIL, where is the material other than paper cuttings."
Sharma argued that his petition is based on facts and not merely newspaper cuttings. He also agreed to amend the parties as respondents in his petition, after the bench objected to making individuals as respondents in his petition.
During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing N. Ram, argued that Pegasus is a rogue technology, and it is entirely illegal, as it infiltrates into our lives through telephone, and it hears and watches. Sibal emphasized that it is an assault on privacy and human dignity.
The top court noted that there are too many petitions, and it has to see on which petitions it has to issue formal notice and on which it shouldn't. The top court asked petitioners to serve copy on the Union of India and indicated that only in a few petitions court, it may issue notice on Tuesday after hearing the views of the Centre.
Sharma's plea said: "The Pegasus scandal is a matter of grave concern and an attack on the Indian democracy, country's security and judiciary. The widespread use of surveillance is morally disfiguring. National security implications of this software are huge".
Insisting for a court-monitored probe, Sharma's plea contended that the scandal involves issues concerning national security and judicial independence. Several petitioners have filed in the Supreme Court seeking a court monitored probe into the Pegasus snooping scandal. The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on Tuesday.
New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) A dissenting judgment, as ordinarily understood, is a judgment or an opinion of a judge, sitting as part of a larger bench, who 'dissents' (i.e. disagrees) with the opinion or judgment of the majority. Dissenting judgments or opinions appear in different ways.
Tracing, exploring and analysing all dissenting judgments in the history of the Supreme Court of India, from the beginning till date, Rohinton Fali Nariman, in "Discordant Notes - The Voice of Dissent in the Last Court of Resort" (Penguin), brings to light the cases which created a deep impact in India's legal history.
From the famous Bengal Immunity Co Ltd v. State of Bihar in 1955 to Bhagwandas Goverdhandas Kedia v. Girdharilal Pashottamdas and Co in 1966, State of Bombay v. The United Motors (India) Ltd in 1953, Superintendent & Legal Remembrancer, State of West Bengal v. Corporation of Calcutta in 1967, Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association v. Union of India in 1993, Mafatlal Industries v. Union of India in 1997 and Pradeep Kumar Biswas v. Indian Institute of Chemical Biology in 2002, Keshava Madhava Menon v. State of Bombay in 1951, United Commercial Bank Ltd. v. Workmen and Ram Singh v. The State of Delhi in the same year and Union of India v. West Coast Paper Mills Ltd. in 2004 among others, this two-volume definitive work is a thorough examination of the important dissenting judgments of the Supreme Court of India, and of some of the Judges of the Supreme Court who have gone down as 'Great Dissenters', for having written dissents of legal and constitutional importance, some of which have gone on to be recognised as the correct position of the law.
Comprehensive, definitive, and authoritative, this is a must a must-have for legal scholars and practitioners. Besides, the book will greatly interest policymakers as well as anyone, interested in India's legal history.
Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman, a Parsi priest, a scholar of western music and comparative religion, is a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India. A polymath and a polyglot, he is an institution in himself. Justice Nariman was formerly Senior Counsel, Supreme Court. Justice Venkatachalaiah amended the rules in order to make him a Senior Counsel at the young age of 37 against the mandatory age of 45.
Justice Nariman has practiced Maritime Law in New York at Haight, Gardener, Poor and Havens for 1 year. He has practiced law for the last 35 years with over 500 reported Supreme Court Judgments to his credit. He is an expert in Comparative Constitutional Law and Civil Law.
A contempt petition has been moved in the Supreme Court making Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and the Ministry of Home Affairs as respondents, while challenging the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the Delhi Police Commissioner.
The plea moved by advocate M.L. Sharma said Asthana's appointment to the post came just days before his superannuation on July 31, as a result he will have a tenure of one year as Delhi Police chief. On Tuesday, Sharma mentioned the petition before a bench comprising Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Surya Kant. Justice Ramana said: "Let us see if it is numbered. Let the petition be numbered first. We will see".
In the contempt petition, Sharma claimed Asthana's appointment did not comply with the top court judgment delivered on July 3, 2018. "All the States shall send their proposals in anticipation of the vacancies to the Union Public Service Commission, well in time at least three months prior to the date of retirement of the incumbent on the post of Director General of Police," the plea cited an excerpt from the judgment.
The plea argued that the home ministry headed by Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) knowingly and deliberately acted against the Supreme Court judgment, therefore a serious contempt of court is liable to proceed against both respondents.
"The intention of the accused in a contempt case is immaterial. What really matters is the effect or the likely effect of his act on the administration of justice. Any act which causes lack of confidence in the administration of justice, or otherwise interferes or tends to corrupt it, has to be prevented," said the plea.
The plea said the Centre gave additional charge of the Delhi Police commissioner to Balaji Srivastava after the retirement of S.N. Shrivastava on June 30, and there was no indication at the time that the charge was temporary.
Prior to his appointment as the Delhi Police chief on July 27, Asthana was Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF). He is a 1984-batch Indian Police Service officer from the Gujarat cadre. On Thursday, Delhi Assembly passed a resolution against Asthana's appointment.
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to all state governments and union territories (UTs) on a plea complaining that people were being booked under Section 66A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, which has been quashed by the top court.
A bench comprising justices R.F. Nariman and B.R. Gavai directed that notice should be served to registrar general of all high courts and listed the matter for further hearing after 4 weeks.
The Centre has told the top court it is the primary duty of states and UTs to stop registering cases under Section 66A of the IT Act after the provision was quashed by it. The Supreme Court, earlier this month, had said it was "shocking" and "distressing" that people were being booked under Section 66A though the provision was quashed.
On Monday, during the hearing the bench noted that judiciary's aspect can be taken care of separately, but there is police also who are charging people under this section. The bench said there needs to be one proper order because this cannot continue like this.
The Centre, in its affidavit, had said: "It is submitted that 'police' and 'public order' are state subjects as per the Constitution and prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of crimes and capacity building of police personnel as primary responsibility of states".
According to the central government, 21 states and UTs have reported compliance with the 2015 judgment in their letters to the ministry of information and technology.
The Supreme Court on Friday took suo motu cognisance of the alleged mowing down of Dhanbad Additional District Judge (ADJ) Uttam Anand, by an auto-rickshaw and sought a status report of investigation from the Jharkhand government through chief secretary and DGP within a week.
A bench comprising Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and justice Surya Kant said the case was widely reported by media and it was also brought to the notice of this court by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).
SCBA president and senior advocate Vikas Singh on Thursday asked the top court to take suo moto cognizance of the alleged killing of Anand.
The bench took into consideration several instances in different parts of country, where judicial officers have been attacked along with lawyers appearing in cases.
The bench said: "It is the state duty to protect the judicial officers and legal fraternity who function fearlessly. It may require hearing of these larger issues. We thought to take up suo moto of such cases."
The bench recorded in its order that it has recently come across several instances of attack on judicial officers and lawyers inside and outside the court premises, and it is essential to know the nature of incidents and steps taken by the government to protect the law officers. The bench emphasized that larger issues of safety and security of judicial officers in the country need to be addressed.
The bench directed the chief secretary and state Director General of Police (DGP) to submit a report in a week's time on the status of the inquiry on the sad demise of the judge.
The top court clarified that it is not interfering in the ongoing proceedings before the high court. "These issues require larger consideration and detailed examination," said the top court.
ADJ Anand was said to be handling cases in connection with gangsters. He was hit by an auto-rickshaw on his morning walk on Wednesday. Anand succumbed to the injuries at the hospital.
CCTV footage indicated that he was deliberately hit by the auto-rickshaw which was stolen on the previous night. The wife of deceased judge has reportedly lodged a murder case against unknown people.
The top court has listed the matter after one week.
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a plea by veteran journalists N. Ram and Sashi Kumar seeking a direction for an independent probe by its sitting or retired judge into the alleged Pegasus snooping scandal.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Surya Kant stating that civil liberties of citizens, politicians, belonging to Opposition parties, journalists, and court staff have been put under surveillance.
He insisted that it is an issue, which is making waves in India and worldover and this issue requires an urgent hearing. After Sibal's submissions, the bench said it may hear the matter next week.
The plea filed by scribes said mass surveillance using a military-grade spyware abridges several fundamental rights and appears to represent an attempt to infiltrate, attack and destabilise independent institutions, which are critical pillars of country's democratic set-up.
The petitioners sought direction to be issued to the Centre to disclose if any of its agencies have obtained license for Pegasus spyware or used it either directly or indirectly, to conduct surveillance as alleged.
The plea claimed that hacking constitutes a criminal offence punishable under interalia Section 66 (computer related offences), 66B (punishment for dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication device), 66E (punishment for violation of privacy) and 66F (punishment for cyberterrorism) of the IT Act, punishable with imprisonment and/or fine.
Earlier, advocate ML Sharma and Rajya Sabha MP John Brittas had also moved the apex court seeking probe into the spying allegations.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday said destruction of public property in the House cannot be equated with freedom of expression and immunity to legislators can't be extended as an immunity against criminal law. The top court dismissed Kerala government's plea seeking court's nod to withdraw cases against CPI(M) leaders, including education minister V. Sivankutty, for vandalism in the state Assembly in 2015, when the current ruling party was in opposition.
A bench comprising Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah emphasized the right of free speech, privileges and immunity accorded to MLAs and MPs that they do not mean they will enjoy immunity from criminal acts within the House and the trial court was correct in rejecting the application for withdrawal of FIR.
"Acts of vandalism do not serve public function or come under freedom of speech", noted the bench. The top court said the criminal prosecution of former LDF MLAs will continue for creating ruckus inside the Assembly in 2015.
The top court added that privileges are not a mark of status, which allows legislators to stand on a different pedestal, and privileges are also not gateway to claim exemption from law.
The Kerala government had submitted that the House has the prerogative to take action against MLAs for creating a ruckus in the Assembly in 2015. During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud had asked senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, representing the Kerala government, "Suppose an MLA whips out a revolver in the Assembly and also empties his revolver. Can you say House is supreme on this?" The bench clarified it is not possible to carry a weapon inside the Assembly, but it cited this example to carefully examine the issue before the court.
On July 5, the top court had said the unruly behaviour of law makers in Parliament and Assembly cannot be condoned and they should face trial for destroying public property inside the House.
The Kerala government has cited privileges and immunity to MLAs and urged the top court to drop cases against the Left leaders.
The Kerala High Court, in an order passed on March 12, had refused to give its nod saying that the elected representatives are expected to uphold prestige of the House or face consequences. The MLAs had vandalised Speaker's dais, uprooted his chair, pulled out mike system, computer etc.
New Delhi, July 24 (IANS) The Supreme Court has declined to part with information under RTI Act in connection with the Supreme Court Bar Association letter, for proposing names of top court advocates for appointment as High Court judges.
A lawyer, Amritpal Singh Khalsa had filed an application under the transparency law after the SCBA president Vikas Singh had claimed to have written a letter in this matter. The apex court said the "information sought is exempted under provisions of Section 8 (1) (e) and Section 11 (1) of the Right to Information Act, being third party information". "There is nothing available on record based on which the information sought for can be provided. Hence, no information", said Ajay Agarwal, additional registrar and CPIO, Supreme Court.
Khalsa, in his letter to the CPIO, had sought a copy of the proposal sent by the SCBA on May 31, along with the order, letter, communication or any other document in which it is noted that Chief Justice of India has agreed to the proposal of SCBA. Khalsa had also sought a copy of the terms and conditions of the agreement to SCBA proposal and the copy of an entire file with file notings in this regard. "Please provide me copy of request letter, order, issued by CJI to chief justices of the high court to consider the elevation of lawyers practicing in Supreme Court as high court judges", said Khalsa in the letter.
Last month, the top court's lawyer's body formed a "search committee" to identify deserving and meritorious advocates, practicing in the Supreme Court, for elevation as judges in various high courts. The "search committee" comprised of the president, vice president, and senior members, Mahalakshmi Pavani, along with four eminent members of the Bar namely: Rakesh Dwivedi, Shekhar Naphade, Vijay Hansaria and V. Giri, to facilitate the process of elevation by identifying deserving and meritorious Supreme Court practitioners.
"The High Court Collegium may then consider such names along with the lawyers from the High Court Bar in order to choose the most deserving candidate amongst those available for elevation", said communication by SCBA, saying that Chief Justice N.V. Ramana "has agreed" to its request to consider elevating Supreme Court lawyers as high court judges.
In a big setback for telecom companies, the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed their plea seeking correction of alleged errors in Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) calculation.
A bench headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao said all applications dismissed. On Monday, the apex court already said it would pass its order on applications filed by -- Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel and Tata Tele Services Ltd -- alleging arithmetical errors in calculation of AGR dues payable by them.
The top court, citing an earlier order in the matter, had noted the order clearly point out that no re-assessment of AGR related dues can be done. The telcos submitted that arithmetical errors can be rectified and there are cases of duplication of entries.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Vodafone Idea, had submitted they were not blaming the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for it, and there are arithmetical entries. Rohatgi added that they want to bring these errors to the attention of concerned department, for their rectification.
The bench reiterated that the apex court order had made it clear that there can't be any re-assessment.
Rohatgi responded figures are "not cast in stone" and added, tribunals don't have the power of review but they can correct arithmetical errors. He submitted that they were not seeking any extension of time.
Senior advocate Arvind Datar, representing Tata Tele Services Ltd, submitted rectification of errors in calculation can be done.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, submitted he has not received any instructions from the DoT on allowing correction of errors.
The bench had said that it has said not just once, but twice and thrice that AGR demand can't be recomputed.
Senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, representing Airtel, said there are cases of duplication and also of payments made but not accounted for. He submitted, "I don't want to pay thousands of crores on account of these errors".
Mehta said he can take instructions on this within two days. "It may be little hazardous for me to make statement without taking instructions..", said Mehta.
In September last year, the top court had given 10 years' time to telcos, who were struggling to pay Rs 93,520 crore in AGR dues outstanding amount to the government.
The apex court had said that telecom operators shall make the payment of 10 per cent of the total dues as demanded by DoT by March 31, 2021. The bench had said the rest of the amount was to be paid in yearly instalments commencing from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2031.
New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday said India can't have a dual judicial system -- one for the rich and the other for the poor, and pulled up Madhya Pradesh Police for attempting to shield Govind Singh, the husband of a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA, accused of murdering Congress leader Devendra Chourasia.
A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said the judiciary must remain free from political pressures and influences.
The top court cancelled Singh's bail noting that there has been an abject failure of the police to complete the investigation into the murder.
The court took a strong objection to the fact that police officials tried to pressurize the trial court judge to shield the accused. The top court pointed out that the Madhya Pradesh Police have been complicit in shielding Singh from arrest, and also pulling up state DGP for the inaction of the police force.
The deceased Congress leader's son had submitted that the trial court judge was being pressured by the BSP MLA. The top court noted, "Independence of the judiciary is the independence of each and every judge, so that they are independent of their superiors also. Colonial mindset meted out to district judiciary has to change".
Singh was arrested by the police on May 28, after the top court had given a deadline to the Madhya Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) on April 5.
The top court on March 26, had observed that an effort was made to shield the accused after the DGP had said that despite the court order, police were not able to arrest him.
A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court seeking a court-monitored SIT probe into the Pegasus snooping scandal. The plea filed by advocate M.L. Sharma has claimed that the snooping scandal is an attack on the Indian democracy.
The plea said: "Pegasus scandal is a matter of grave concern and an attack on the Indian democracy, country's security and judiciary. The widespread use of surveillance is morally disfiguring. National security implications of this software are huge".
Insisting for a court-monitored probe, the plea contended that the scandal involves issues concerning national security and judicial independence.
The plea argued that it is a question that whether buying of Pegasus software by central government violates Articles 266(3), 267(2) and 283(2) of the Indian Constitution. The plea further contended that whether it attracts the rigours of sections 408, 409 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.
Sharma's PIL lists the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and the CBI as the respondents. The plea questioned whether Constitution allows Prime Minister and his ministers to snoop citizens of India for their vested political interest?
Earlier, Sharma had PILS in several sensational matters such as Rafale deal, Article 370, Hyderabad police encounter.
Pegasus software made by the Israeli firm NSO Group, can infect smartphones without users' knowledge and access virtually all their data.
According to a news report, the woman staffer who made sexual harassment allegations against the former Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and some of her family members were on the list, as the potential targets of Pegasus snooping.