The Centre has filed an affidavit on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) moved in the Delhi High Court challenging the surveillance systems that share information and surveillance between law enforcement agencies.
In the PIL, the petitioner claimed that the citizens' right to privacy was endangered by surveillance systems such as the Centralised Monitoring System (CMS), Network Traffic Analysis (NETRA), and National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID).
However, in its affidavit, the central government on Wednesday stated that these systems do not give any blanket permission to the law enforcement agencies to conduct surveillance, interception, or decryption. It emphasised that permission is required in this regard from a competent authority.
It further said that the NATGRID project will not allow for real-time profiling of individuals, but would allow the agencies to get selective information about selective entities as a part of an anti-terror framework to facilitate access to information from various data sources.
The NGOs were seeking for the forming of an oversight mechanism over the upcoming surveillance systems on grounds that they could allow for extensive public surveillance and violation of privacy.
Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana on Tuesday said the courts in India assist and support arbitration and "leave substantive part of adjudication to arbitral tribunals".
In his address at the annual meet of Indo-German Chamber of Commerce on the theme "Arbitration in a Globalised World - The Indian Experience" at Germany's Dortmund, he said: "In recent years, there has been some apprehension in the minds of parties about increasing interference of domestic courts in the arbitration process. Let me assure you, Indian courts are known for their pro-arbitration stance. Courts in India assist and support arbitration and leave the substantive part of adjudication to the Arbitral Tribunal itself."
He added that the geography of international arbitration is mostly concentrated around the business centres of the developed world: Singapore, London, Paris, or Stockholm, despite the fact that most disputes are generated in the developing world, and this needs to be balanced.
The CJI emphasised that it is the responsibility of the host country to ensure that there is peace and stability in the country, and also an effective legal redressal system so that it attracts investments that generate employment.
"The Indian judiciary is recognised for giving paramount importance to the rule of law. The Indian judiciary eternally guards the constitutional rights in the world's largest democracy. You can trust the Indian judiciary for its absolute independence and its inherent constitutional strength to treat all parties equally and equitably," he said.
Chief Justice Ramana said the constitutional courts of India - the high courts and the Supreme Court - have the power to judicially review every act of the government. "They can strike down any law that is not in tune with the constitutional principles. They can also set aside the arbitrary measures of the executive," he said.
He said international arbitration has several known advantages and it is in this spirit that the Indian judiciary delivers justice, to one and all, and the Indian courts do not discriminate on the basis of country of origin and emphasised that all are equal before the courts of law in India.
Chief Justice Ramana said: "For the past two decades, India is following the path of actively encouraging arbitration, mediation, and other modes of alternative dispute resolution. India adopted the UNCITRAL Model Law while enacting the Arbitration and Conciliation Act in 1996, to make the arbitral process more efficient and to harmonise it with the international practice and procedure".
He added that to keep up with the changing global and economic scenario, the Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1996 was amended in 2015, 2019, and 2021.
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to pass an interim order in connection with the extending tenure of 23 members of company law tribunals.
The National Company Law Tribunal Bar Association has challenged the notification issued by the Central government fixing the term of 23 NCLT members appointed in 2019 as three years instead of five years.
A vacation bench of Justices C.T. Ravikumar and Sudhanshu Dhulia said it will examine the locus standi of the lawyers' association, which contended that with a total sanctioned strength of 63 members across 28 benches, the tribunals would be adversely affected if more judges retire, and they may collapse if 23 of the 45 members retire by July.
The bench said it would take up the matter which includes the rights of the appointed persons and their continuance in office for five years, on July 20, and also the process of appointment. It clarified that if the court were to decide in favour of a five year term, then it will separately examine the issue of those members who retire while the case is pending.
The Central government has submitted that it can make appointments for a three-year term, while the members of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), appointed in 2019 claimed they are entitled to a tenure of five years. Except eight members whose tenures were extended last week, others are scheduled to retire between June 20 and July 3.
The bench pointed out that the 2019 appointment letters clearly mention the tenure of service was three years, and the members signed the letters with open eyes. However, the notification inviting applications for the posts for three years is yet to be challenged, it added.
The Ministry of Corporate Affairs, in an affidavit, said the NCLT's functioning is critical to the country's economy, and that till April, the tribunals across the country were hearing cases involving Rs 17.5 lakh crore.
The Central government maintained that it did not cherry pick eight members, and a committee led by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, after looking into the issue, had allowed the government to take appropriate decision on the tenure of members. The government added that the committee considered aspects such as character, antecedents and performance.
The government had also argued that the lawyers' association petition was not maintainable as members accepted the tenure prescribed in September 2019 appointment orders, by choosing not to initiate any proceedings.
The government said it granted two-year extension to only 8 of the 23 members, scheduled to superannuate from various benches of the tribunal as 15 members failed to meet the criteria of good character, work performance, suitability, and antecedents.
Directing the Uttar Pradesh government to file a detailed affidavit within three days on the plea by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind against the recent demolitions in the state, the Supreme Court on Thursday observed that demolitions have to be in accordance with the due process of law.
Issuing notice to the state, the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana orally remarked that the demolitions can't be a retaliatory measure.
"Everything should look fair, we expect the authorities to act only in accordance with the law. Ensure safety so that nothing untoward happens," noted the top court.
The matter will be further heard next week.
During the course of the hearing, Advocate Chander Uday Singh, who appeared for the petitioner strongly argued that one community was targeted and the process of demolition is 'appalling'. The country has never seen such situations even during the emergency period, he remarked.
He argued that notices were not issued prior to the demolition referring to UP Urban planning and development Act Section 27 and said notice was issued without the 15 days duration as per the law.
Senior Advocate Harish Salve, who appeared for the state of Uttar Pradesh argued that the media was creating unnecessary hype on the issue. He also pointed out notices that have been issued long before the riots referring to instances of demolitions.
He also argued that someone was riding the wave to protect their illegal properties, saying the demolitions were happening irrespective of communities. In the plea, moved against the backdrop of the ongoing row over comments on the Prophet and subsequent demolition drives, the Jamiat Ulama sought directions to initiate action against those officials who were responsible for the houses allegedly demolished in violation of the rule of law and the municipal laws enacted by the state.
The plea stated that the present situation is more alarming as the Supreme Court had already ordered a stay of demolitions that were being carried out as a punitive measure in northwest Delhi in similar circumstances. "It is a violation of the orders of the Supreme Court", it read.
Incidents of violence and slogan-shouting were reported from Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj and Saharanpur on Friday (June 10) after prayers when people began protesting against former BJP spokespersons' remarks on the Prophet.
On Sunday, bulldozers, now a symbol of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's crackdown on anti-social elements, reached the residence of Mohammad Javed, a.k.a. Javed Pump, who has been identified as the main conspirator behind the violence that erupted in the city on June 10.
The Prayagraj Development Authority had served notice to demolish the house that was allegedly built without getting the requisite permissions.
The Union Ministry of Law and Justice has appointed Kuldeep Mathur and Shubha Mehta as two new Judges of the Rajasthan High Court.
As Shubha Mehta's husband Mahendra Goyal is already a judge in the Rajasthan High Court, it is for the first time when both husband and wife will both be judges.
The total number of judges in the Rajasthan High Court will now increase from 25 to 27 with these appointments. However, 23 posts still remain vacant despite the new appointees.
The order of the names of Kuldeep Mathur and Shubha Mehta was issued by the Central Government on Friday evening.
Mathur has been made a judge from the lawyer quota and Shubha Mehta from the judicial service quota.
The Supreme Court on Monday emphasized the physical presence of lawyers during the vacation to argue their matters, rather than using video conferencing facilities.
A vacation bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and B.V. Nagarathna said the judges are coming to the court everyday. "You can also come and argue your cases," it told a counsel appearing virtually. The bench said that lawyers who argue their cases physically would get its indulgence and adjourned few cases where lawyers appeared virtually.
The bench asked senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi to appear before the court and added that vacation in courts is not for senior lawyers. Singhvi said let there be a uniform rule saying that there should not be an Article 14 violation. At this, the bench replied: "When are you coming to the court?" The bench adjourned the matter after Singhvi replied he would come to the court on Tuesday.
The bench also did not entertain a request for an urgent hearing mentioned by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who was appearing through video conferencing. The bench asked him to appear physically before it and pointed out that other lawyers are present in the courtroom. Rohatgi requested the bench to adjourn the matter for the day after tomorrow. Agreeing to his request, the bench told Rohatgi that if he is busy, then he can ask his colleague to appear before the court physically.
Another counsel, who appeared virtually, cited the top court's recent circular, which allowed hybrid option -- where both physical and virtual is allowed-- is provided to the lawyers and litigants. The bench told him to be physically present in the court to argue his matter.
Another lawyer, who had gone to Kerala due to some exigency, requested the bench to allow him to argue the matter through video conferencing, but the judges did not agree. The bench told him: "Come here and argue your case."
The Supreme Court on Thursday granted interim bail to Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan in a cheating case and asked him to apply for regular bail before the concerned court.
A bench headed by Justice L. Nageswara Rao invoked Article 142 to grant relief to Khan in view of peculiar facts of the case. The top court added that its order for interim bail will continue till the trial court decides on his regular bail plea. The bench said, "This is a fit case to exercise the powers under Article 142..."
On May 11, the Supreme Court had told the Uttar Pradesh government that a pattern was emerging in the case of Samajwadi Party leader -- whenever he gets bail, he is sent to jail in some other matter. The top court directed the state government to file its response to a plea filed by Khan over the delay in hearing his bail application in a land grabbing case.
A bench headed by L. Nageswara Rao said: "What is this? Why not let him go." The bench, also comprising Justices B.R. Gavai and A.S. Bopanna, told the Uttar Pradesh government counsel that Khan has been in jail for two years, and in one or two cases it is okay, but it cannot be in 89 cases. "Whenever he gets bail, he is again sent to jail in some other matter. You file a reply. We will hear on Tuesday," the bench told the state government counsel.
Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, representing the state government, contended before the bench that a wrong impression is being created and each case against Khan has substance.
On May 6, the Supreme Court expressed discontent over the delay in deciding the bail application of Khan.
In February, the top court had declined to grant interim bail to Khan for campaigning in the Uttar Pradesh elections. The court asked him to move to the Allahabad High Court, where his bail plea is pending.
A case was registered against Khan and others for allegedly grabbing of enemy property and misappropriation of public money of more than hundreds of crores of rupees.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Varanasi administration to protect and seal the area where a "Shivling" was found, during a video survey, inside the Gyanvapi mosque complex, while also telling the authorities concerned to not restrict Muslims from entering the mosque to offer namaz.
A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and P.S. Narasimha said: "The area where Shivling is found should be protected." The bench added that no manner of restriction should be imposed on Muslims entering the mosque to offer namaz or religious observances.
Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing the Committee of Management, the Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Varanasi, urged the top court to stay the proceedings before the trial court in Varanasi. The trial court's order for a survey of the area by appointing Court Commissioners was questioned by the masjid committee, which moved the apex court challenging the Allahabad High Court's April 21 order. The high court had declined to intervene into the matter. The survey was conducted on May 14, 15 and 16.
Ahmadi urged the bench to see the manner in which order is passed and added that it shows the lack of fairness. The order was passed in a suit for worship filed by Hindu devotees. The masjid committee opposed the suit saying it is barred by the provisions of the Places of Worship Act, and contended that no tinkering with any place of worship as on August 15, 1947, was permitted.
"How could you seal the premises; you are altering the status quo. It is almost sealing the property and also restricting the prayer inside the mosque on the basis a temple existed.." he said.
Ahmadi also contended that the commission went on for survey, notwithstanding that the top court was already seized of the matter and the trial court acted on an application for sealing of the premises without notice to the other side.
"How can they seal the premises? There's a string of illegal orders," he said, seeking to stay on the orders. He emphasized that the status quo is now sought to be altered, as the entry of Muslims is restricted inside the mosque.
Ahmadi argued all the orders passed by the civil judge were non est in the eyes of law and were in teeth of the top court's judgment in Ayodhya case, where it interpreted Section 3 and 4 of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. Ahmadi said: "It is a bit too dangerous to allow the suit to be heard over there. All orders passed by the trial court were patently without jurisdiction."
The bench told Ahmadi if a "Shivling" has been found, then balance needs to be maintained. "We will direct the District Magistrate to ensure the protection of the place without restricting Muslims from praying," it noted.
The bench modified the trial court's order which ordered sealing of the area, where the "Shivling" was found and barred entry of Muslims over there.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Uttar Pradesh government, said: "The area where Shivling is found, it should be protected, suppose someone goes there and touches with feet, there will be law and order problem."
The top court did not allow the plea for use of wuzukhana -- a place for washing hands, feet, and face before offering prayers -- where the 'Shivling' has been purportedly found.
The top court was informed that advocate Hari Shankar Jain on whose plea the trial court passed ex parte order on May 16 had developed some health issues and he was currently admitted to a hospital in Varanasi.
The masjid committee contended that the suit is all about changing the character of a shrine which is a mosque, and this is not maintainable. However, the top court cited that the suit filed before the Varanasi court was not a title suit but one for an injunction against worship at 'Shringar Gauri'.
The top court has issued notice on the plea filed by the masjid committee and scheduled the matter for further hearing on May 19.
Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on the Gyanvapi row on Tuesday, all eyes are on the court as to what decision it will take.
The Supreme Court will hear an appeal against the Allahabad High Court order which dismissed a petition challenging a Varanasi court's order to appoint an advocate as a court commissioner to inspect the Gyanvapi mosque complex.
A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and P.S. Narasimha will hear the plea filed by Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Varanasi.
After the claim from the Hindu side that it has discovered a 'Shivling', which the Muslim side has countered by saying that it is a fountain head. But, the political debate has started with the BJP leaders at an overdrive. The petitioner's lawyer has said that it is a legal battle and will be taken legally while alleging that the other side wants to "sensationalise the issue which is incorrect as the matter is in courts".
Fuzail Ahmed Ayyubi, who is a lawyer for the petitioner in the plea against the UP court order, said,"I don't want to comment on it as the matter is now in the court."
While AIMIM's Asadudin Owaisi termed it a repeat of 1949, senior Congress leader Salman Khurshid said the 1991 Law should be respected. Owaisi has slammed the court order that directed to seal the place where the 'Shivling' was discovered during the survey.
"This is a textbook repeat of December 1949 in Babri Masjid. This order itself changes the religious nature of the Masjid. This is a violation of 1991 Act. This was my apprehension and it has come true. Gyanvapi Masjid was, and will remain a Masjid till judgment day, Inshallah,," Owaisi tweeted.
It was alleged that in 1949, idols were kept inside the disputed Babri Mosque. However, the court in its judgment gave the land to the Ram temple, and the construction is in full swing.
On Monday, the Hindu side advocates claimed that a 'Shivling' had been found inside the well. Lawyer Vishnu Jain said he would go to the civil court to seek its protection.
An advocate from the Hindu side, Madan Mohan Yadav, claimed that the 'Shivling' is Nandi faced. Heavy security was deployed as the court-appointed committee reached the spot to conduct the survey on Monday. Nearly 65 per cent of the exercise was completed on Sunday. Another report would be submitted to the court on Tuesday.
Former Home Minister and senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Saturday said that the status quo in all places of worship should be maintained else it would lead to a conflict.
"Places of Worship Act was passed by the Narasimha Rao government with the lone exception of Ram Janmabhoomi. All other places should have th status quo as any kind of change could lead to a huge conflict," he had said.
The Supreme Court will on Tuesday hear a plea against the Allahabad High Court order which dismissed a petition challenging a Varanasi court's order to appoint an advocate as a court commissioner to inspect the Gyanvapi mosque complex.
A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and P.S. Narasimha will hear the plea filed by Committee of Management Anjuman Intezamia Masajid Varanasi. On May 13, the apex court had declined to immediately stop the survey of the Gyanvapi mosque in Varanasi, and agreed to list the matter.
Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing the petitioner, mentioned a plea before the top court filed by the Committee seeking a stay on survey of complex. The plea challenged the validity of Allahabad High Court's April 21 order, which dismissed the plea against the civil court's order for the survey.
Ahmadi mentioned the plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana. The bench said: "We don't know anything about the matter... We have no details. How can we pass the order?"
Ahmadi said "please grant status quo", and added that the mosque has been covered under Places of Worship Act. The bench said: "Let me look at the papers, let me see..."
A Varanasi court on a suit filed jointly by five Hindu women, last month ordered an inspection of the premises through advocate commissioner Ajai Kumar Mishra. The Allahabad High Court affirmed the civil court order.
The petitioners urged the court for year-long access to pray at a shrine behind the western wall of the mosque complex. The women petitioners also want permission to pray to other "visible and invisible deities within the old temple complex".
On May 12, a Varanasi court ordered resumption of the video survey of the Gyanvapi mosque complex, including the basement and closed rooms.
The Muslim parties had objected to the survey. The court said the survey report should be submitted on May 17.
The Varanasi court also declined to entertain the demand of Muslim parties to remove advocate commissioner Ajai Kumar Mishra, instead appointed two additional commissioners -- lawyers Vishal Singh and Ajay Pratap Singh -- to assist him.
The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Delhi High Court order, directing Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to pay the DAMEPL, a Reliance infrastructure arm, the balance arbitration award amount of Rs 3,300 crore by May 30.
A bench comprising Justices L. Nageswara Rao and B.R. Gavai dismissed the appeal filed by Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited (DAMEPL) against the High Court order passed in March this year. DAMEPL moved the high court to execute the award.
The Anil Ambani group firm had contended that the high court had disabled it from recovering entitlement granted to it under the Rs 4,600-crore arbitration award, which was upheld by the apex court in September last year.
The high court directed DMRC to make payment of the remainder sum in terms of the May 11, 2017 arbitral award in two installments by May end. DAMPEL had contended that the high court erroneously rejects computation of post-award interest by it on 'sums awarded' since it includes the pre-award interest.
The DAMEPL's plea said that after including the pre-award interest, the sum awarded under Section 31(7) of the (Arbitration) Act as on the date of award is Rs 4,662.59 crore and the total gross decretal sum along with post-award interest (up to March 10) on the sum awarded computed in accordance with the award is Rs 8,053.21 crore.
The plea further added that out of the said amount, only a sum of Rs 2,278.42 crore has been paid so far by DMRC, hence, the remaining decretal sum yet to be satisfied along with interest is Rs 5,774.79 crore.