The Supreme Court on Friday asked Italy to deposit Rs 10 crore, that would be paid to the families of two Kerala fishermen killed by Italian marines, in an account specified by the Ministry of External Affairs.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian said the compensation received from the Italian government will be deposited with the Supreme Court for disbursement among the victims.
The Central government and the Kerala government informed the top court that victims' families have agreed to a compensation of Rs 10 crore, over & above ex-gratia amount received earlier from Italy. The bench observed that the case against Italian marines will be closed after the compensation is deposited.
The top court has listed the government's application for closure of criminal trial against Italian marines on April 19.
During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the top court that the Indian government has negotiated a good deal with the Italian government and cited the international tribunal order, which ruled that the criminal proceedings will be carried out against the marines by the Italian government.
The Italian government has offered a compensation of Rs 10 crore, out of which Kerala government proposed to disburse Rs 4 crore, to the dependents of each deceased and Rs 2 crore to the owner of the boat St. Antony.
Mehta told the bench that after the Indian government receives money from the Italian government, it will be transferred in the top court account within three 3 days.
Chief Justice Bobde told Mehta: "We wish the government showed such promptness in other cases listed before us." In a lighter vein, Mehta replied, "it depends on which ministry is involved in a case."
Senior advocate Suhail Dutt, representing the Italian government, submitted that his client has agreed to deposit the compensation of Rs 10 crore with the Indian government and they are waiting instructions from the Ministry of External Affairs to transfer the money.
The top court was considering Centre's plea to close criminal proceedings pending against Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012.
The Supreme Court on Thursday said Rohingyas, detained in Jammu, will not be deported to Myanmar without following law.
An application has been filed by Mohammad Salimullah, a Rohingya refugee, through advocate Prashant Bhushan, seeking direction from the top court to the government to refrain from implementing any orders on deporting the Rohingya refugees who have been detained in jail in Jammu. The petitioner also sought their release.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde said that the Rohingyas detained in Jammu cannot be deported without following the due process prescribed in the law.
On March 26, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that India is not capital of illegal immigrants contesting a plea seeking release of about 150 Rohingya reportedly detained in a Jammu jail.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan vehemently argued about atrocities Rohingyas may face if they were deported to Myanmar, as the current military government in Myanmar is unfavourable to them. "We are not in any way called upon to condone or condemn genocide in Myanmar, though we believe genocide anywhere is condemnable," said a bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde had then told Bhushan.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, had said Rohingya, who had fled persecution in Myanmar to India, were deported only after confirmation of their nationality from the government of that country.
"They are illegal immigrants...We are in touch with Myanmar and once Myanmar confirms their nationality, then they will be deported," Mehta clarified.
The bench also compromising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V.Ramasubramanian queried Mehta, "Will you deport them only after Myanmar confirms?" Mehta explained the government will not deport a person hailing from Afghanistan to Myanmar.
The top court observed, "The fear is that once they are deported, they may get slaughtered. But we cannot stop it".
The Supreme Court-appointed three-member committee of agricultural economists has submitted its report to the top court on the three contentious farm laws in a sealed cover.
The committee comprises four members: Bhupinder Singh Mann, National President, Bharatiya Kisan Union and All India Kisan Coordination Committee; Dr. Parmod Kumar Joshi, Agricultural Economist, Director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute; Ashok Gulati, Agricultural Economist and Former Chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices; and Anil Ghanwat, President, Shetkari Sanghatana. Mann resigned later. The committee had also sought views, and suggestions of the general public through a public notice, which was published in major newspapers.
Speaking to IANS, Anil Ghanvat confirmed that the committee has submitted the report, but declined to divulge any details on the content. He added the contents will not be public till Chief Justice S.A. Bobde takes it up for hearing and discussion. The hearing in the matter is expected after April 5 when the court reopens after Holi vacation.
On January 12, this year, the Supreme Court had said the extraordinary order of stay of implementation of the farm laws will encourage farmers' bodies to convince their members to get back to their livelihood, both in order to protect their own lives and health and in order to protect the lives and properties of others. "We are of the view that the constitution of a committee of experts in the field of agriculture to negotiate between the farmers' bodies and the government of India may create a congenial atmosphere," the top court had said in its order.
The committee held deliberations with several farmer organisations on the three farm laws for two months. The committee had spoken to many farmer organisations besides other stakeholders like officials from APMC.
Several farmer unions have been agitating at various Delhi borders since the end of November, and they have declined to hold discussions with the top court appointed committee. The farmer unions have consistently demanded the scrapping of the three farm laws, and have informed the government that would not settle for anything less.
On January 12, the Supreme Court stayed the implementation of three farm laws: 1) Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; (2) Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020; and (3) Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020.
Justifying the stay on implementation of farm laws, the top court had said: "We deem it fit to pass the following interim order, with the hope and expectation that both parties will take this in the right spirit and attempt to arrive at a fair, equitable and just solution to the problems."
San Francisco, March 30 (IANS) The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has decided not to pursue the anti-trust case against global chip-maker Qualcomm.
In a statement, the agency said that given the significant headwinds facing the commission in this matter, "the FTC will not petition the Supreme Court to review the decision of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in FTC v. Qualcomm."
The FTC first filed a complaint against Qualcomm in 2017, charging that the company has a monopoly in baseband processors, adding that the company used its position to "suppress competition and overcharge smartphone manufacturers".
In 2019, a judge for the US District Court ruled in favour of the FTC but in August 2020, the decision was reversed by a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter said on Monday that she continues to believe that "the district court's conclusion that Qualcomm violated the antitrust laws was entirely correct and that the court of appeals erred in concluding otherwise".
"Now more than ever, the FTC and other law enforcement agencies need to boldly enforce the antitrust laws to guard against abusive behaviour by dominant firms, including in high-technology markets and those that involve intellectual property," Slaughter said.
"I am particularly concerned about the potential for anticompetitive or unfair behaviour in the context of standard setting and the FTC will closely monitor conduct in this arena."
The FTC's complaint challenged Qualcomm's unlawful maintenance of a monopoly in baseband processors, semiconductor devices that enable cellular communications in cell phones and other products.
It asserted that Qualcomm has engaged in exclusionary conduct that taxes its competitors' baseband processor sales, reduces competitors' ability and incentive to innovate, and raises prices paid by consumers for cell phones and tablets.
In a huge victory for Tata Group, the Supreme Court on Friday accepted all contentions of the Tata conglomerate and set aside the order of the NCLAT, which restored Cyrus Mistry as the executive chairman of the Tata conglomerate.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde said all questions of law are in favour of Tata Group and dismissed the appeals filed by Mistry. The top court upheld the Tata Sons decision to sack Cyrus Mistry on October 24, 2016.
Shapoorji Pallonji Group counsel had argued that Mistry was removed because he was going to place a draft governance structure at the Board meeting on October 24, 2016.
"We find all the questions of law are liable to be answered in favour of the appellants (Tata Group) and the appeals filed by the Tata Group are liable to be allowed and Shapoorji Pallonji group is liable to be dismissed," said the top court.
The top court said the value of SP Group shares will depend on the valuation by Tata Sons equities and the court will not determine the fair value.
In December 2019, the NCLAT had ruled that the proceedings of the Board meeting of Tata Sons held on October 24, 2016 removing Cyrus Mistry as chairperson was illegal.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has submitted before the Supreme Court that the new IT regulations will keep a strong check on the content on OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. The government said the regulation is similar to mechanisms in many countries like Singapore, the European Union, Australia, etc.
The response from the government came on a plea filed by Supreme Court advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha seeking regulation of content on over-the-top (OTT) platforms.
"It is humbly submitted that in various jurisdictions across the globe like Singapore, European Union, Australia, etc., have also framed similar mechanisms regulating/ restricting access on the OTT platforms", said the affidavit filed by MIB.
The affidavit said the government was already seized of the need for developing an institutional mechanism regarding regulation of audio video content streamed on OTT platforms and it has been in active consultation with stakeholders for over two years.
The affidavit added that the government had received several complaints, representations from members of civil society, MPs, chief ministers regarding contents of programmes being streamed on OTT platforms and the need for putting in place a mechanism to check the content on these platforms.
The government said there is a mechanism for regulation of the OTT platforms under the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and the new framed Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 has been notified by the government under Section 87 (2) of the IT Act, 2000 for regulation of online curated content. These rules were notified on February 25, 2021, for social media platforms, OTT players and digital media.
"In respect of the Internet, the IT Act has provisions for prohibition of publishing or transmitting content that is obscene, containing sexually explicit act or containing sexually explicit act involving a minor under Sections 67, 67A and 67B," said the affidavit. The affidavit added that there are also provisions for criminal proceedings with punitive measures depending on the nature of complaints filed with police authorities.
"The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) rules 2021 are comprehensive in nature and framed keeping in view the major audience enjoyed by the OTT platforms and maintaining a fine balance so that various age groups are taken into an account and a healthy classification is being done", said the affidavit.
The top court on March 5, had observed that the Centre's guidelines on regulating content on OTT platforms lack teeth. The observation was made while granting protection from arrest to Amazon Prime Video's India head Aparna Purohit in FIRs lodged over web series Tandav.
The new rules provide self-classification of audio-visual content of such platforms into five age-based categories for informed choice to be exercised by viewers. In these rules, "publishers and self-regulating bodies shall disclose all grievances received by them, the manner in which the grievances are disposed of, the action taken on the grievances, the reply sent to the complainant, etc., on a monthly basis."
The Supreme Court on Tuesday said any amount collected during moratorium period by banks as interest on interest or compound interest, should either be refunded or adjusted against the next EMIs payable by the borrowers.
A bench comprising Justices D. Y. Chandrachud, M. R. Shah and Sanjiv Khanna pronounced the verdict. The top court said it could not understand the rationale behind waiving interest on interest on loans up to Rs 2 crore, and why this limit has been set by the government, has not been explained.
The top court said it would not get into the matters of trades and commerce and emphasized that judges are not experts on financial matters.
"Not for us to decide if public policy could have been better", noted the top court. However, the apex court also rejected the petitioners' prayer seeking extension of the 6-month loan moratorium period granted by the RBI in the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic.
The top court stressed that the government cannot be directed to ask banks to waive off interest on loans during the period of lockdown.
The bench pronounced the verdict in the case of Small Scale Industrial Manufacturers Association vs Union of India.
"Economic and fiscal policies are not amenable to judicial review and merely because a sector is not satisfied with a policy decision...", observed the top court. The judgment in the matter was reserved on December 17, 2020.
New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) Making his point on behalf of Future Retail in the case against Amazon, senior advocate Harish Salve said in the Delhi High Court on Monday that in the face of the Supreme Court order dated February 22 allowing NCLT proceedings to go on and in the face of the earlier stay granted by the Division Bench on February 8, Justice Midha's order dated March 18 is contrary to the apex court's order which ought to be stayed outright and immediately.
The Division Bench was pleased to immediately stay the order of Justice Midha dated March 18 in its entirety. The stay will operate till the date of the next hearing, which has been fixed for April 30. The order has already been dictated by the Division Bench, which is expected to be uploaded on Monday.
Salve pointed out that Justice Midha was supposed to only give reasons for his order of February 2 in this order. But he has travelled beyond the scope and passed mandatory directions on prayers not argued in this order dated March 18.
Salve further drew the attention of the Division Bench to its order completely staying the operation, implementation and enforcement of Justice Midha's earlier order until the next hearing. The order of the Division Bench had specifically allowed statutory authorities like SEBI, NCLT etc. to proceed further with the scheme in accordance with law.
Amazon had filed an SLP in the Supreme Court challenging the Division Bench order. The Supreme Court did not stay the order of the Division Bench, but only directed that NCLT proceedings will be allowed to go on but will not culminate in any final order of sanction of the scheme.
Salve pointed out that when the matter came up before the Division Bench, since the Supreme Court was seized on the matter pending before the Division Bench, the bench continued the stay and did not hear the matter further.
Salve further stated that Gopal Subramanian, the counsel for Amazon, while mentioning the matter before Supreme Court on March 18, informed the top court that in spite of Supreme Court's order, the Division Bench continued the stay the February 26 order. The Supreme Court simply said that the matter will be heard on April 27 and did not interfere with the extension of stay.
Salve said in the light of the fact that the Supreme Court has allowed the NCLT proceedings can go on, Justice Midha could not have passed any orders directing the appellants to write to statutory authorities to recall the approvals already granted and bring the NCLT proceedings to a halt. Salve asserted that this could not have been done at all.
The entire matter, whether the emergency arbitrator's order is valid and enforceable in Indian law, and whether Amazon can successfully initiate arbitration proceedings against Future Retail Limited etc. are all now pending to be heard by Justice Nariman in the Supreme Court on April 27.
In the teeth of the above, the order of Justice Midha dated March 18 will not lie, Salve said.
Senior advocate Rajiv Nayar at this stage interrupted and said that FRL's appeal was not maintainable. Salve told the court that if Nayar is going to argue on maintainability, he will have to be given the first opportunity as the appellant to commence arguments. Again, he reiterated that Division Bench should not hear on merits at this stage.
Gopal Subramanian submitted that Amazon will be filing the order of Justice Midha with an application for directions. Salve said that Gopal Subramanian's client can do whatever they want, but if that means FRL to withdraw the appeal, that will not be possible.
Amazon's counsels pressed for not granting a stay on the ground that Supreme Court is seized of the matter. Nayar repeatedly tried to interfere with the court proceedings, while the order was being dictated, but the court did not pay any heed to him.
Justice Midha's order said that all objections raised by FRL and other respondents are rejected with costs of Rs 20 lakh to be deposited with Prime Minister's Relief Fund. FRL and other respondents have deliberately and willfully violated the interim order dated October 25, 2020. The assets of FRL and respondents No. 2 to 13 are attached. Show cause notice issued to respondents No. 3 to 13 to show cause why they be not detained in civil prison for a term not exceeding three months, it said.
New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) In a major development in the coal block allocation scam case, which has been moving at a snail's pace for six years, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the Delhi High Court's Chief Justice to suggest five judges of "high calibre" to replace the special judge appointed to try the case.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, said: "We accordingly request the Hon'ble Chief Justice, Delhi High Court to give us a panel of names of about five judges of a high calibre and absolute integrity to enable us to suggest an appropriate replacement for Bharat Parashar, Special Judge."
The bench said it has received a letter from the Delhi High Court's Registrar General seeking its permission to nominate/post another suitable officer as special judge in place of Parashar, citing that the coal block allocation matter is pending for about six years when the law contemplates the disposal of such matters in two years, with the proviso of four extensions of periods of six months each.
"We find that Bharat Parashar who has acted as a Special Judge (PC Act), (CBI)-07, Patiala House Court, New Delhi, needs to be replaced, as he has now completed more than 6 years in the same post after having been posted as Special Judge in the above-mentioned court since August 19, 2014," the top court said in its order.
The special judge, which was nominated by Supreme Court on recommendation of a sitting Delhi High Court judge, had reportedly taken to task various investigating agencies from time to time. Parashar had also summoned former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the coal scam.
The top court had appointed senior advocate R.S. Cheema, as special public prosecutor to conduct the prosecution of the offences pertaining to coal block allocation matters on behalf of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate after quashing 214 coal block allocations made between 1993 and 2010 in 2014.
The top court had termed these allocations arbitrary, illegal and amounting to unfair distribution of national wealth. The decision had come on a plea led by NGO Common Cause and others challenging the legality of allocation of coal blocks to private companies from 1993 onwards.
New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday sought minutes of the meeting between its Registry and the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), which led to the Standard Operation Procedure (SoP) for hybrid hearing.
Senior advocate and SCBA president Vikas Singh claimed that no consultation was done with the Bar members before a decision was taken for hybrid-style hearings, which is scheduled to begin from March 15.
A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and comprising Justice Hemant Gupta assured the lawyers' body that nothing will be done without any discussion with the Bar. Singh argued that Bar is an equal stakeholder in the justice delivery system.
The bench observed, "if the Bar has not been consulted then the SOP will go."
Justice Kaul told Singh that Bar will be considered and the court will examine the minutes of the meeting. "As an institution, it can take a call, but your opinion certainly has weightage," the bench told Singh.
The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on Tuesday next week.
The SCBA had filed a plea in the top court to issue direction to quash the Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) issued on March 5 for hybrid hearing, as they were issued without due consultation with the lawyers' body.
In the writ petition, the Bar association said it is an equal stakeholder in the dispensation of the justice delivery system and the suggestions given by it ought to have been taken into consideration. Citing SCBA's president Vikas Singh letter, the plea said he had given suggestions on March 2 for resumption of physical hearing, which has not been considered by the apex court.
"That even if before resumption of full physical hearing before this court, a hybrid hearing was to be introduced as an interim measure, in that case the hybrid hearing should have been for all days i.e. from Monday to Friday. In the SOP dated 05.03.2021, there is no provision for hybrid hearing for the matters listed on Monday and Friday, i.e. Miscellaneous days when primarily fresh matters are listed," said the plea.
The plea contended that there is a general feeling in the Bar that for the last few years the top court registry has been issuing circulars without taking it into confidence even though such orders issued directly affect the lawyers practicing before this court. Aggrieved with no oral mentioning of matter, the lawyers' body said in March 5 SoP there was no provision for oral mentioning for urgent matter, which was a regular practice in the normal course of functioning before the pandemic.
New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court has said that the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) or the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) cannot interfere with the "commercial wisdom" of the Committee of Creditors (CoC), except within the limited scope under Sections 30 and 31 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code(IBC), Live Law reported.
A three-judge bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari set aside an order of the NCLAT which had annulled the decision of CoC to accept a resolution plan (Kalparaj Dharamshi and another vs Kotak Investment Advisors Ltd and Others and connected cases).
"It would thus be clear, that the legislative scheme, as interpreted by various decisions of this Court, is unambiguous. The commercial wisdom of CoC is not to be interfered with, excepting the limited scope as provided under Sections 30 and 31 of the I&B Code," the Supreme Court observed.
"It will therefore be clear, that this Court, in unequivocal terms, held, that the appeal is a creature of statute and that the statute has not invested jurisdiction and authority either with NCLT or NCLAT, to review the commercial decision exercised by CoC of approving the resolution plan or rejecting the same," the judgment authored by Justice Gavai stated, as per Live Law.
"We are of the considered view, that in view of the paramount importance given to the decision of CoC, which is to be taken on the basis of 'commercial wisdom', NCLAT was not correct in law in interfering with the commercial decision taken by CoC by a thumping majority of 84.36 per cent," the Court observed, as reported by Live Law.
The appellants in Supreme Court, Kalparaj Dharamshi and Rekha Jhunjhunwala, were successful resolution applicants in a corporate insolvency resolution process. The respondent, Kotak Investment Advisories Ltd (KIAL), another resolution applicant, challenged the acceptance of the resolution plan of appellants contending that it was accepted beyond the time-period.