The way the Supreme Court bench endorsed the decision making process involving the Prime Minister is astonishing. This is the only area gone into by the three judges and the judgment clearly shows that they have ignored some of the major stages of the process involving serious violations on the part of the Indian Government. The apex Court has failed to perform its supreme duty as the custodian of the nation.
This is a joint statement by Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and Prashant Bhushan in response to the Supreme Court's December 14, 2018 verdict on the Rafale deal. All three were petitioners, along with a few others, in a batch of public interest litigation demanding a probe by a joint parliamentary committee into the Rafale deal, wherein 36 Rafale fighter jets were bought instead of 126 aircrafts as per the earlier deal, a decision taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, much like his choice of offset partner in Anil Ambani's brand new defence company.
For the Lok Sabha elections, the Opposition, especially the Congress has to do two things — first, the Party’s election manifesto must reflect the aspirations of the masses, especially the young, unemployed and the farmers, and it should form the core of the common minimum programme of the anti-BJP front, and second, the Congress must learn to act as first among the equals among the Opposition parties and treat the smaller parties with compassion and dignity so that the anti-BJP front can be sustained on a long term basis.
On December 12, 2018, the Supreme Court asked Justice Bedi (Retd.) as to whether he had shared the reports submitted to the Court with other members of the monitoring committee. The Court also directed that the report shall not be shared with the petitioners until further order. The Gujarat Government contended that the report was unilateral. The case has been adjourned and the hearing will resume after the winter vacations.
FIRs for offences under Sections 376, 376A, 376AB, 376B, 376C, 376D, 376DA, 376DB, 376E and the POCSO shall not be put in public domain. No person can print or publish the name of the victim or even in a remote manner disclose any facts that can lead to the identification of the victim, even when she is deceased and the family agrees to disclosure, unless authorised by a judge.
Prime Minister Modi and the BJP national president Amit Shah tried every trick to win the elections in its so called strongholds and mobilised massive resources and RSS muscle power. Even in the last part of the campaign, the PM stooped too low by openly telling in the meetings that Sonia Gandhi and her family would be named by the extradited Agusta Westland deal middleman as the recipient of the bribes.
The family of the slain eight-year-old girl, which has been subjected to a social and administrative boycott, pleads with the government to provide them a piece of land elsewhere in lieu of their land in Rasana village. Many of their own community members, according to the family, have started acting distant after the incident. The civil administration — in keeping with the majority sentiment — also seems to have imposed a boycott on the family.
Urjit Patel’s term as the head of the Reserve Bank of India would surely be reckoned as one of the most tumultuous time. Demonetisation was thrust upon him almost immediately after he took over the reins, while, some of the worst board members of the Reserve Bank were foisted upon to breathe down his neck. Without them around, the governor might not have left peremptorily.
It goes without saying that the Congress’s good showing in the three states is Rahul Gandhi’s big moment. He led the party from the front by effectively replying to Narendra Modi’s barbs with the video which the Congress president tweeted about the prime minister’s incessant harping on the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty being perhaps the most telling riposte.
Muslims get no succor from the law enforcement agencies too because most of the police personnel too are polarised on communal lines. Perhaps the heinous murder of one of their own will spur them into action like it did once to Punjab Police in controlling militancy when the militants started attacking police personnel and their families.
The right to fair trial by the procedure established by law is the right guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution. The arbitrary actions of the State in detaining under preventive laws, torturing of the detenu in custody and imposing impossible conditions for executing bail are few examples of violation of rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
At 128 in 2018 alone, and about 266 instances of internet shutdowns since 2012, India wears the unenviable crown of curtailing internet connectivity because of flimsy political excuses, despite chanting “Digital India” 24 X 7 X 365. Precisely why the validity of the Internet Shutdown Rules has been questioned in no uncertain terms by Shashi Tharoor, who has urged the government to undertake a comprehensive review of the Internet Shutdown Rules.
The Indian National Congress and other political parties will be pigmies before cash-rich saffrons on eve of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, thanks to the dubious electoral bond scheme introduced by the BJP government early last year, through the Finance Act 2017. Already, a staggering majority of the bonds have been issued to the BJP by corporate donors, as the Election Commission data have shown. This must be challenged in court.
On behalf of The Leaflet, Prashant Padmanabhan, Advocate-on-Record at the Supreme Court of India, spoke to Justice Kurian Joseph (Retd) on December 4, 2018 for an in-depth peak into the recently retired Supreme Court judge’s mind and heart, as well as his inspirations while deliberating on major court cases and delivering landmark judgments. Justice Kurian Joseph, who has been known as an upright and compassionate judge, retired as a Supreme Court judge on November 29, 2018.
Instead of coming up with a charter of demands the famers’ organisations had just three demands — an unconditional all-India loan waiver, increase in MSP as per the original Swamianthan formula and, above all, a 21-day special session of the Parliament divided into seven three-day thematic sub-sessions, each with a set of very specific and well-articulated demands.
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha activist Balkrishman Namdeo said that at a time when the government was spending huge amounts on recreational events, many widows of gas victims were waiting to get their pensions.
Having noticed this huge lacuna in the general public’s understanding and awareness of the RTI Act, The Leaflet will be running a weekly column on it, in an attempt to make Indian citizens more aware about the myriad uses of the Act, thereby encouraging its wider application in holding various government departments accountable and transparent in their functioning as well as decision-making process.
It is not for India, let alone its army chief, to tell Pakistan how to run its affairs even if India does not approve of its form of governance with its dominant military presence or the religious-oriented character of its society. All that is in the domain of the Pakistani people and it is up to them to retain or reject them.
On the 34th anniversary of the man-made-disaster, the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghathan (BGPMUS) and the Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti (BGPSSS) pay their homage to the deceased victims and reiterate their determination to continue to uphold the cause of the survivors and to seek justice for the hapless victims.
Rizwana Khan approached the Rajasthan High Court under Article 226 claiming protection for her husband who is currently in the Udaipur Jail. She claimed that there is a possibility of his assassination as he was an important witness in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case, Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case and Haren Pandya case.
The Counsels submitted that only the Statutory Committee appointing the CBI Director can tweak the otherwise two-year fixed term of the CBI Director, as per Section 4B(1) of DSPE Act, 1946. The Counsels in the case were Fali Nariman for Alok Verma, Dushyant Dave for NGO Common Cause, Kapil Sibal for Mallikarjun Kharge, Rajeev Dhavan for AK Bassi and Indira Jaising for M K Sinha, while Attorney General KK Venugopal represented DoPT, Government of India.
This week will fall the anniversary of the demolition of Babri Masjid, on December 6. Along with the pillars of the historic mosque, the goons of the Sangh Parivar had also attempted to demolish the pillars of Constitution like rule of law, supremacy of judiciary and the Constitution itself. It is time to reassert the basic features of our secular democratic Constitution.
#MeToo is a scream for help as well as a call to action — by women from all walks of life, united in their demand to end rape culture in general and sexual harassment at workplace in particular. The #MeToo tracker is a collation of all the names that have been accused of sexual harassment so far in India in the wake of the 2018 movement.
Their testimonies segue into how propaganda about “beef eaters” in India makes incensed mobs out of ordinary men. Through articulate first-person accounts of victims who hold India’s Hindu Right responsible for communally-charged mob violence, Lynch Nation also spotlights the struggle of ordinary citizens against far-right vigilantism’s unchecked power.
Dr Hamza V K, the petitioner, challenged the selection process on the ground of non-adherence to the UGC regulations on Minimum Qualifications for Appointment of Teachers and other Academic Staff in Universities and Colleges and Measures for the Maintenance of Standards in Higher Education-2010.
All eyes are on the Supreme Court to hold the ideals of the Constitution up and declare FGM an offence. It is about time that India joins the international movement against FGM and that the law protects its citizens from such heinous violation of human rights and bodily integrity.
In Chapter 15 of their newly released book ‘Loose Pages: Court Cases that Could Have Shaken India’, authors Sourya Majumder and Paranjoy Guha Thakurta explore the quagmire of the cases heard by benches featuring Justice Arun Kumar Mishra of the Supreme Court, especially the Sahara-Birla papers case, in which Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was an alleged recipient of the company’s largesse of Rs 10 crore.
It is the State’s duty under the Directive Principles (Article 48A) of the Indian Constitution as well as the citizens’ responsibility under Article 51(g) of the Fundamental duties to ensure clean air and a healthy environment. Over the years, we have noticed the Supreme Court laying down certain principles when it comes to securing a clean and healthy environment.
The Karnataka High Court example amply demonstrates that the new process of senior designation gives confidence to the young lawyers without ‘connections’ in the legal profession. It gives them hope that if they are deserving, no one can take away their opportunity to be one day considered for the senior designation. Conferral of this distinction has been duly democratised.
From teeming arrears of cases to disillusioned members of the Bar, the Court requires not just some gentle course correction, but a genuine uprooting of settled practices to guide it back on course. The existing status quo caters heavily to those who favour personal profit or gain from repeated listings and non-effective hearings. It is therefore imperative that some measures are put in place which might upset that comfortable collective.
Now that the Section 377, IPC has been read down, the conservative communal elements are targeting sexual minorities by resorting to cunning ways to reinforce regressive social morality over constitutional morality. The Navtej judgment might be a positive and much required step forward, however there are laws like the Beggary Acts of different States, Section 36A of Karnataka Police Act, 1963, which still has the potential to victimise trans-women, and Karnataka Dramatic Performances Act, 1964, which gives immense power to State machineries.
Advocate Sunil Fernandes, on behalf of Manish Kumar Sinha IPS, DIG (Head of Branch), CBI, Anti-Corruption Branch, Nagpur, Maharashtra approached the Supreme Court pleading that Sinha’s transfer is arbitrary, motivated and mala fide, made solely with the purpose and intent to victimise the officer as the investigation revealed cogent evidence against certain powerful persons. Sinha demanded a Supreme Court `monitored SIT probe in the FIR against CBI Special Director Rakesh Asthana, while also adding the the evidence in the FIR against Rakesh Asthana as well as the call records and messages on mobile phones on IO Devender Sharma be preserved, and his transfer be nullified.
As part of the state-wide protest call, in many districts people held demonstrations and in front of Varavara Rao’s house also a demonstration began in the morning. Various students, youth, writers, workers organizations participated and spoke at the demonstration. Several songs against state repression were sung. It was like a full-fledged public meeting, as it was on one of the main roads in the city.
The learned judges led by the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi have reserved the verdict and in all probability, it will be out in December, but there is unanimity that the Prime Minister’s decision making process will be under question and various gaps and irregularities in processing the deal revealed in the official submission to the Supreme Court can implicate Modi himself.
The NDA government in the Centre and the Maharashtra government are trampling upon the entire gamut of rights and not only human rights as understood in the conventional manner. Labour rights, women’s rights and Adivasi rights all are turning into human rights issues because of repression.
As Sudhansu Mohanty, former comptroller general of defence accounts and financial adviser of defence services explained to a business daily, loosely, the letter of comfort can be said to be like letter of intent used in international contracts — may be morally binding but not legally binding and enforceable-somewhat like the Indian sagaai before the marriage.
CJI Ranjan Gogoi categorised the CVC report as: (1) very complimentary to petitioner on some charges, (2) not complimentary to some charges, (3) not very complimentary to some charges and (4) further probe required in some charges. CJI Gogoi also informed that Justice Patnaik had said that findings in CVC report are not by him. He has just supervised the probe as directed by the Court.
The changes brought about by the BJP are being done with a vendetta to rename Muslim names of towns, cities, railway stations etc. They are trying to create an impression that Muslim names are symbols of Islamic rule and slavery of Hindus and changes reflect the imagined Hindu victory gained today.
‘The Personal Data Protection Bill 2018 addresses some of these concerns. Some significant concepts introduced include the right to be forgotten, data portability, restrictions on cross-border data transmission, carve outs for anonymised data and journalistic purposes, and reporting requirements for personal data breaches.’
Like Dassault, Ambani’s companies are also indebted and defaulters. Is it an agreement to meet their losses and defaults by looting the public money? Both Dassault and Ambani’s firm are sharing the loot of public money. Hence the only way out is to totally cancel the deal. Dassault and Anil Ambani are beneficiaries of the loot, of which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the chief catalyst.
The moot question is whether it is possible to reconcile individual liberties and state’s interests. The bigger question would be what would be the responsibility of the courts if individual liberties and state’s interests are at loggerheads and state uses illegal means to curtail individual liberties.
The Union Government has not yet implemented the directions issued by the Supreme Court of India that required the Central Government to give wide-scale publicity to the Supreme Court judgment in Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India.
The apex court has reserved the judgment on a clutch of four Public Interest Litigations filed by six persons, namely — the first two by Advocates M L Sharma and Vineet Danda, a third by AAP MLA Sanjay Singh, and the last one jointly filed by former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, former telecom minister Arun Shourie and lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
Through a notice issued by the Registrar, Supreme Court of India, views/suggestions from stakeholders have also been solicited regarding the published names of the advocates aspiring to obtain the senior designation. Stakeholders have been requested to do the same within 15 days hence. Of 105 advocates who have sent in their applications, 15 are are women.
Now the matter will be heard on January 22, 2019 in the open court to enable the petitioners in the review petitions to present oral arguments to make out the case for the review of the decision of the Supreme Court permitting women’s into Sabarimala temple.
The reported squabble over Reserve Bank’s accumulated “Kuber’s wealth” and government’s claim to a part of it is neither here nor there. The money belongs to the country, and not definitely to the RBI because it has been carefully stacked away by RBI over the years. At the same time, one particularly government has no right to fritter away the resources.
There is no provision in India to report the crime to the police and having the option of not going for compulsory prosecution. Under the rape laws in the West, women are given the choice at the time of reporting whether they want to proceed with the case or not. Since Indian law mandates a compulsory prosecution on reporting of a rape, many victims abstain from reporting.
Far from being the “war to end all wars,” the victory of British, French and Japanese imperialisms over German imperialism and the Austro-Hungarian empire in 1918 helped set the scene for the Second World War. Fascism was, as Georgi Dimitrov explained, the open terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary circles of finance monopoly capital, defending their system against socialism and communism.
The Petitioner through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) had stated that the Fundamental Rights guarantee equality in protection and safeguarding measures, and ensures no discrimination on the basis of sex, life with human dignity, to equality, bodily integrity and privacy.
Excluded names do not belong to a single community or religion, these are a combination of communities — both Muslims and Hindus of Bengali descent, besides Hindi and Nepalese-speaking persons, as well as tribals — with high percentages comprising women, children and daily wage workers having little or no formal education. The glaring lapses in the exercise being undertaken in Assam and the lack of rationality in the exclusion of individuals, stand as a warning bell for any similar process to be implemented in any other part of the country.
The Commission has also called for the action taken report from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Office of the Finance Minister on a letter dated February 5, 2015 written by the former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding “a list of high profile fraud cases of non-performing assets and requested for coordinated investigation into the matter”.
This nomination took place at a time when Justice Goel still had a week to demit his office as a judge of the Supreme Court. The letter written by the then CJI Misra to the Union Minister of Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, also reveals that Justice Goel had verbally conveyed to the then CJI, his willingness to accept the post-retirement assignment.
The Supreme Court’s equality jurisprudence now needs to be extended and applied towards existing patriarchal structures within the home and the family. And what better place to start that the antiquated notion of restitution of conjugal rights – Section 9 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 – where the courts are directly complicit in upholding and perpetuating patriarchy.
The complainants have alleged that Prime Minister Modi’s decision to renegotiate a new defence deal with France was contrary to prescribed guidelines and public interest and that it resulted in pecuniary advantage to a private party. His conduct, it is alleged, amounts to corruption.
The overarching challenge to Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955 itself is currently pending adjudication before a five-judge Constitution Bench, raising a total 13 questions and striking at the root of the Assam Accord 1985. The policy prerogative of the Union Government to either grant or withdraw citizenship to any class of persons will inevitably come under the scanner. The stand of the Union must shift from divisive electoral rhetoric and be subjected to the constitutional test.
A three-judge bench comprising of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, Justices U U Lalit and K M Joseph has today, October 31, 2018, directed the Government of India to place before it in a sealed envelope the pricing and strategic details related to the Rafale deal within 10 days.
Bolsonaro got massive support from big business interests, from right-wing evangelical Christian leaders and churches, and from sections of the military who, as he does, hanker after the days of the military dictatorship of 1964 to 1985, when military officers could steal, torture, and kill with impunity.
Relations between PM Wickremesinghe and President Sirisena have not been good. Their parties have been traditional rivals and they came together in 2015 for the sake of power. Sirisena was critical of investigations into human rights violations during Sri Lanka’s long civil war, which ended in 2009.
Amit Shah’s “warning” must have been taken note of by CJI Ranjan Gogoi and his bench. Courts don’t take warnings and ultimatums seriously, and definitely not kindly. The bench included Justice KM Joseph who had a time getting appointed. And CJI Gogoi was one among the “four senior justices” who held the presser in January this year to warn the nation of “democracy under threat.
The RSS-affiliated teachers who are members of bodies like the Academic Council and Executive Council are attacking Kancha Ilaiah, Christophe Jaffrelot or any thinker/scholar who has expressed criticism of the RSS or Hindutva ideology. They are thus fabricating false pretexts and flimsy excuses to have all critical and divergent opinion removed from DU syllabi and curriculum.
Legal impediments are unlikely to deter the party when it feels that the raising of religious fervour is the only way to overcome the government’s inability to keep its promise of vikas. While the RSS’ Mohan Bhagwat is calling for an ordinance to start building Ram temple, the BJP has decided to make full use of the Sabarimala issue even though it involves flouting the landmark Supreme Court judgment.
Judges are merely ‘black-robed homo sapiens’ and many have observed the direct linkage between public opinion and the behaviour of judges that arise from the force of mutually experienced events and ideas in shaping and reshaping the preferences of both the public and the judges.
The Court noted that investigation is at very crucial stage, and thus accused are not entitled to be released on bail.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and K M Joseph has agreed to examine the legality of the order passed by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on October 23, 2018, whereby Alok Kumar Verma had been divested of his powers, function and duties as CBI Director in respect of cases already registered and /or required to be registered and/or being inquired/enquired /investigation under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
'Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping our work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.'
While the Rafale fighter jet deal will entail huge financial losses for the country, the agreement for the world’s largest nuclear power project at Jaitapur in an ecologically diverse and fragile region like Konkan, along with attendant concerns of the safety of EPRs, an unsteady French nuclear industry and its inexperienced Indian counterparts, will pose serious challenges to the environment, biodiversity, health and livelihoods of lakhs of people in and around the region.
The NDA government led by Narendra Modi has reached its lowest ebb of governance with the CBI under the stewardship of the PMO riven by unheard of factional fighting in the history of this investigating agency. The myth of minimum government and maximum governance lies shattered.
Stressing the provision available to the arrestees under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc), Justice Mridula Bhatkar says that the provision as contemplated by Section 167 of the Code is a “laudable provision” vindicating the right of the accused to be released after the stipulated period and an incomplete investigation beyond 90 days cannot be a ground to deny the accused bail.
We see obfuscation of the various illegal processes undertaken by the Chhattisgarh government and corporate interests to alienate people from their lands in several villages of the state, cleverly masked by news headlines that scream of encounters and surrenders. Standing in the way of this naked state-corporate greed are the original inhabitants of these areas — the adivasis who have forever been denied their rightful claim in the “development” of this country.
Why was there a tearing hurry in sending the Alok Verma on leave without placing the CVC recommendation for the consideration by the selection committee? Law does not envisage even the transfer of the CBI director without the consent of the committee, let alone sending him on the leave unilaterally at the behest of just the Executive.
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (March 8, 1841 – March 6, 1935), one touted as the more famous and better known than any other judge in the English speaking world, was a brilliant liberal judge in the United States of America during the late 19th to early 20th There are numerous books written on him and there are books containing his writings and opinions, which are oft-quoted in important judgements, including Kesavananda Bharti vs State of Kerala.
Activists are being called “urban naxals” to criminalise dissent and holding a differing ideological position. RSS and the Modi government have been indulging in a nefarious game of eliminating the Dalits, Muslims and rights activists on the plea of fighting urban naxals. With Dalit resistance spilling out on the streets, the Maharashtra police has been trying to implicate activists who have stood their ground to help promote the movement for the rights for marginalised groups.
IAPL condemns the threat issued by Shivaji Pawar, ACP, Maharashtra Police to arrest IAPL’s President Justice Hosbet Suresh (Retd.) and the most alarming portrayal by him of IAPL as a frontal organisation of CPI (Maoist). IAPL believes that such attacks on Judges and Human Right defenders which includes lawyers and organisations, require to be understood in the in the light of rising authoritarianism and fascist attacks in the country.
The powerful and praiseworthy dissents of judges like HR Khanna, M Hidayatullah have always spoken in the favour of protecting the sanctity of Part III of the Constitution while the dissent of Justice Indu Malhotra puts restrictions on the bounds of Article 14 of the Constitution. The non-application of Article 14 in religious matters would go against the very basic principles of the Constitution.
This order has come on an appeal filed by RTI applicant and Indian Forest Service officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi who sought regarding corruption charges against Cabinet Minsters/IAS officers etc. including details of various projects such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Skill India’, ‘Swachh Bharat’and ‘Smart City Project’, etc. from the PMO.
Court has noted that ‘5133 posts out of the total of 22036 posts as on date are vacant. The information collected by the Registry of this Court from the Registries of different High Courts indicates that recruitment process/processes to fill up 4180 posts are presently underway and the said recruitment processes are poised at different stages in different States. The information collected also indicates that total of 1324 posts out of the 5133 vacancies are yet to be subjected to any recruitment process’.
Justice for women means the right to work, expecting their employers to understand and prevent sexual harassment at the workplace, zero tolerance of sexual harassment by employers, providing a mechanism to raise complaints when it happens. When employers fail in their duty to prevent sexual harassment, or even to recognise its existence under their nose, where is the question of ‘due process’?
M J Akbar’s resignation is a testament to the sheer power of the #MeToo movement, and the horror of its stories and experiences. In fact, Akbar tried to emulate this government’s bullying tactic by initially denying all the allegations, and then filing a criminal defamation case against Priya Ramani, a senior journalist.
It is difficult to see in what way the likes of Pranab Mukherjee or Kailash Satyarthi can gain by associating with an organization which had been banned several times, including in the aftermath of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination because of suspected complicity.
It is the obligation of lawyers to uphold public interest. My social commitment to the #MeToo movement overrides my professional engagement, and therefore I have taken a conscious decision to stop representing Talib Hussain in any court.
The firebrand trade unionist, lawyer and teacher is under house arrest, charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, for merely representing the downtrodden and the vulnerable, the Dalits and their legal voices. But Sudha Bharadwaj has mentored so many wide-eyed law students and young lawyers eager to make a difference to our deeply unjust world that the tributes just keep pouring in, even as they wait for her to be exonerated in the court of law.
It is evident that neither Vishaka guidelines nor The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (‘SHW Act’) were followed by the organisations, as most of the complaints were either not investigated properly, or women could not complain.
Many women victims hesitate to approach the complaints committees because they fear getting doubly victimised in a hierarchic power relation — first through sexual abuse and if they choose to complain then through harassment at work. Moreover, the committees can only report their findings to the top management and it is the management which has to take action. When the senior management officials are accused, how can their juniors conduct impartial enquiry against them?
Our legal system subscribes to the principle of open justice. The prayer for live-streaming of courtroom proceedings has its genesis in this principle. Open courts effectively foster public confidence by allowing litigants and members of the public to view courtroom proceedings and ensure that the judges apply the law in a fair and impartial manner.
‘#MeToo is an example of a successful self-correction leading to change of mind sets. Nevertheless, we would still be seeking help from experts to assess if there are any changes required anywhere so that women feel safer in the work places. I am going to set up a body of judges who will act as a Commission . They can hear the complaints and then give us their recommendations.’
Mutilation of dead bodies is a ‘clear violation’ of both customary, and treaty norms in both international armed conflict (IAC) and non-international armed conflict (NIAC). Under international criminal law, the prohibition of mutilating dead bodies in international armed conflicts is covered as a war crime.
The lady former judge has contended that her resignation amounts to “deemed termination”. The relief sought by way of this petition by the ADJ is her re-instatement to the post of ADJ along with seniority as applicable to her tenure, back wages and all other consequential relief.
We are in a situation where the allegations of sexual harassment are so pervasive — ranging from the judiciary, the legal profession, the newsrooms, the entertainment industry, academia, and politicians — that it would be counterproductive to deal with each case individually. What is required is a commission of inquiry to inquire into the failures of the existing legal systems and the Sexual Harassment Act to prevent the happening of these incidents.
Supreme Court judge says, for more women to come in judiciary, yardsticks have to change
The Bombay Lawyers Association was found in 2012 by lawyer Ahmed Abdi, who has been doggedly pursuing legal course in two curiously connected cases — the deaths of Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Judge BH Loya — both of which are in turn connected to Amit Anilchandra Shah, now the national president of the BJP.
Why is it so important for you to know your judges before they are appointed? The IB has no mandate to check for predatory behaviour of the Supreme Court nominee towards women and such behaviour can pass through the net very easily. This would be the contribution of the #MeToo movement to accountability in the judiciary.
‘The observations of the Apex Committee in the sexual harassment case against him, that ‘to keep his past conduct in mind while considering any assignment, which involves intensive interaction with a female colleague/subordinates’, are adverse in nature’ — said a 2015 note on Chakrabarty when he was being considered as a potential candidate to be the VC of Delhi University.
Since the challenge in Ismail Faruqui was based upon the argument, inter alia, that a mosque cannot be acquired and the observations made by the Constitution Bench were in the context of acquisition only and are not to be read broadly, nor will have any effect whatsoever upon the present appeals against the 2010 High Court verdict, the apprehensions of the Muslim side, upon whom reference of Ismail Faruqui to a larger bench was sought, stands addressed to a large extent.
The apex court refused to stop the deportation from taking place, citing that as per the Government’s statement the men had consented to being repatriated, and that Myanmar had accepted them as “citizens/nationals”. The key considerations based on which the Supreme Court refused intervention in the deportation of the Rohingya men were gravely misplaced, and raises grave concerns about its willingness to preserve basic human rights.
The stark difference between the majority judgment authored by Justice AM Khanwilkar and signed on by the then CJI Dipak Misra and the one written by Justice D Y Chandrachud outline how starkly divergent Supreme Court’s understanding of a complex political and legal issue that is the Bhima Koregaon arrests and the subsequent case hearing can be. While Justice Chandrachud’s judgment is a fine example of constitutional morality, the same simply be not said of the other.
A three-judge bench consisting of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph on October 4, 2018 dismissed an application filed through Advocate Prashant Bhushan praying for the restraint order against deportation of any Rohingya refugee lodged in jails or detention centres in Assam or any other part of the country.
After seven years since I sought the information under the RTI Act, the CIC has directed the HQ-IDS to make the complete text of these doctrines public within 15 days. Whether HQ-IDS will comply with the CIC's direction and disclose the Joint Doctrines or challenge that decision in the Delhi High Court remains to be seen.
Despite several serious pitfalls in the 45th CJI’s tenure, CJI Misra’s contribution to gender justice cannot be overstated. His sincerity in granting urgent hearings in cases of torture, violence against women and lynch-mob incidences has been par excellence. He was a humane judge, with great tolerance who never resorted to contempt jurisdiction despite all kinds of insinuations, allegations, and barrage of criticism traded against him. He has an eminently unforgettable term on which history will shine a kind light with the healing distance of time.
CJI Dipak Misra is perhaps the first Chief Justice of India in recorded history who has had to face a proposed motion for removal under Article 124 of the Constitution of India. That said, his legacy is a bag of highs and lows, with many failures on the administrative side that led to allegations of Executive interference into the Judiciary, while being a judge whose sensitivity towards gender justice remains unparalleled in the history of the Supreme Court.
Mob lynching in India in many cases has received the sanction of the State, just like how the U.S. Senate kept silent while thousands of African Americans were lynched over many decades. To recognise the deep-seated abhorrence in the society, and calling it what it is, that is “lynching”, sends a very powerful message that criminal acts of hatred are not tolerated in an equitable society.
The right to privacy squarely includes an individual’s right to make a moral choice, whether it is with regards to marriage, food, attire, ideology or religion, inter alia. While there is not much judicial discourse on this essential right against moral paternalism, the Kerala High Court recently passed a remarkable judgment recognising an individual’s right against moral paternalism.
In a reply to the Punjab CM dated 9 August 2018, the Minister of State for Finance – Shri Shiv Pratap Shukla stated:- there is no need for any further amendment to enhance the punishment/penalty for cases under the NDPS Act, 1985, at present.
The September 26 judgment violates the court’s own landmark ruling on citizen’s constitutional right to privacy by failing to address why biometric data is required at all for benefits and services received from government. It also fails to take account of the fact that its own orders were violated by both government and private companies during the pendency of the hearings and that passing of Aadhaar Act as a Money Bill was simply unconstitutional, as echoed in Justice Chandrachud’s strong dissent.
Given that the marker of identity of Scheduled Castes is the historic disadvantage of the untouchable, the question of proving backwardness by quantifiable data does not arise. This was the basic flaw of the Nagaraj judgment; its failure to recognise these markers of identity. This now stands corrected.
The is a table detailing the provisions and of the Aadhaar Act that were challenged and the grounds argued for their unconstitutionality by the Petitioners; the responses of the respondents, along with the decision on each of the provisions by the three separate opinions.
In a more than welcomed judgment pertaining to Indira Jaising v. Registrar General of Supreme Court commonly known as the “live streaming” case, Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud conceded to the demand of the petitioner-in-person, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising to allow the live-streaming of court proceedings. Justices Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud authored two separate judgments with Chief Justice Misra siding with Justice Khanwilkar.
In the majority judgment passed by the five judge bench of the Supreme Court in the Aadhaar matter (referred to as “the Aadhaar judgment”) yesterday — September 26, 2018, the Supreme Court by a 4:1 majority has held that the Aadhaar project does not tend to create a surveillance state and further declared the Aadhaar Act, save and except some provisions, to be constitutionally valid.
Time will tell how Justice Chandrachud’s judgment will be regarded given that the constitutionality of the Aadhaar scheme and the Act of 2016 has been upheld by Justices Sikri, Khanwilkar, Bhushan, and the CJI Dipak Mishra. The only silver lining in this aspect is that the court declared that Money Bills, under which the Aadhaar Act was passed, are open to judicial scrutiny.
On July 20, 2018, after nine hearings of vociferous and heated arguments stretching from March 14, 2018, the Supreme Court of India, the repository of the best amongst the intelligentsia, reserved its verdict on the issue as to whether the 1994 verdict of theirs in Dr. M. Ismail Faruqui Vs. Union of India [(1994) 6 SCC 360] needs a reconsideration or not. It is yet to be seen whether the Supreme Court, represented by the select intelligentsia of the country are convinced enough to walk the path of secularism in a way that ensures equal treatment to all.
In their plea, advocates R P Luthra and Satyaveer Sharma had said they were seeking adjudication of the question of law relying on the contents of the press conference of January 12, called by four senior judges (Justices Chelameswar (since retd), Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph) of the apex court.
The petitioners are an interesting array of parties, two former judges, several academics, technologists, a few organisations that work for social justice, two retired army personnel who claim that Aadhaar is a massive national security threat, and individuals who have been not given their due services and benefits due to non possession of Aadhaar.
Though the Court refused to declare that a candidate with criminal antecedents stands disqualified for contesting an election upon framing of criminal charges, has issued slew of direction with regard to the disclosure of the antecedents of the candidates and the responsibilities of the political parties.
Sridhar Rangayan’s Breaking Free (2015) is a 90-minute documentary on the LGBTQI movement in India until the great heartbreak of the 2013 Supreme Court judgment. Much like the four-part SC judgments, it explores the link between sexuality and love, questions of identity that the LGBTQI peoples have faced, the systemic abuses from family members, society as well as law enforcement agencies, while celebrating the collective will of the people who kept the faith.
In a response to an RTI application filed by one Paras Nath Singh on May 30, 2018, the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) cum Under Secretary in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) after being directed by the First Appellate Authority (FAA), informed Singh on September 19, 2018, that no such proposal was under consideration by the Union Government at present.
Writing, for Manto, was a violent transmission (or translation) of reality, where language speaks what it hears, and often fails to digest. Writing was Manto’s indigestible preoccupation. He was not looking for coherence, but instability. Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays Manto the way a refined artist pays tribute to another. His rendering of Manto allows you to reinvent the writer.
Already, religious lobbies use Section 295A and insist on the importance of its existence is representative of their intentions to attack free speech and silence criticism. IPC 295 AA, as it is called in Punjab, now proposes to punish ‘whoever causes injury, damage or sacrilege to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Srimad Bhagwad Gita, Holy Quran and Holy Bible with the intention to hurt the religious feelings of the people’ with imprisonment for life.
Throughout the judgement, the Indian Supreme Court makes a distinction between ‘social’ or ‘majoritarian’ morality and ‘constitutional’ morality. Applying this distinction to the case at hand, the court rejects homophobia and popular sentiments that marginalise and discriminate against those who go against heteronormativity. This judgment has great resonance in Sri Lanka, where at present LGBTQI activists are agitating to strike Section 365 and 365a from the Penal Code, which is akin to Section 377 of IPC.
That Azad was kept in prison for 15 months, despite a court order saying his arrest by ‘politically motivated’, is quite the proof that preventive detentions are unconstitutional laws that equip the executive with judicial powers. Under these preventive laws, the State is the victim, the arbitrator and the judge. And NSA is being used widely, especially in Uttar Pradesh under Yogi government, to target Muslims and Dalits protesting the oppressive Hindutva regime.
A bench consisting of Justices Kurian Joseph and Sanjay Kishan Kaul of the Supreme Court has today permitted a total of 208 candidates to participate in the main examination for the post of the Madhya Pradesh Additional District Judge. Grievance of the candidates was that they had qualified the preliminary examination, but was debarred from appearing in the main examination on the ground that their applications did not reach the High Court on or before August 25, 2018.
In the Rajesh Sharma case, the Court had legitimised the argument by directing the setting up of ‘family welfare committees’ to scrutinise a complaint by a woman before the police even take cognisance of it and to give its opinion to the police. However, the Court course-corrected in the subsequent Manav Adhikar case, when it accepted that social welfare committees have no role to play during investigation and prescribing duties to the social welfare committees will tantamount to judiciary overreaching its power as it is the Parliament which makes the law.
Ambedkar predates one of the most powerful feminist slogans of the twentieth century “the personal is the political”, yet his relationship with wife Ramabai, as well as his views on marriage and birth control, represent precisely this. His feminism is alert to the caste and gendered discrimination that governs our lives and our decisions — who we socialise with, who we hire, where we live, and who we marry.
The rare sight that Delhi witnessed on September 5, with workers, peasants and the farmers marching decisively demanding a fair share in the growing economy of the country, is a cry for help. They are demanding implementation of MSP in accordance with the Swaminathan Committee report, irrigation facility as well as loan waivers. Workers are demanding better conditions and salaries. But it’s also a war cry. The present ruling government has been sent an ultimatum before the 2019 general elections. Will things change?
The notable rise in the recent cases of sedition in India, urge the question of the origins and relevance of the law in contemporary times. Is the a law a mere colonial residue which treats citizens as subjects, or is it essential in troubled times to keep the fabric of the nation from falling apart?
The entire basis of the FIR against those arrested is that Sudhir Dhawale sang a song whose words were a call to bring down the State — he explained how these words are actually a translation of a poem in a play by Bertolt Brecht, The Good Person of Szchewan. He quoted CJI Dipak Mishra’s judgments rejecting the ban on the Malayalam novel Meesha where there SC upheld freedom of expression particularly cultural, artistic expression of a poet.
The Koodankulam anti-nuclear movement intensified following the catastrophic Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan in 2011. The accident, coupled with Tamil Nadu’s memory of the devastating Tsunami of 2004, and state apathy to the people’s concerns, all played a role in invigorating the agitation, which was met with unprecedented repression by the State.
Behind this orchestrated targeting of the immigrants is the party’s need to pose as the sole saviour of the nation in the run-up to the next general election when all other parties are unwilling, in its view, to denounce the “aliens” and take effective steps against them because they are a part of the Muslim vote bank of the “secular” parties.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave on February 28, 2016 after assessing the situation advised the SBI team to immediately approach the Supreme Court the next day, February 29, seeking an order restraining Mallya’s overseas travel. But something happened in the next 24 hours after the crucial meeting between the SBI team and Dave. Dave waited but there was no response from the SBI team on February 29. Why?
The bench led by the CJI while modifying the said direction passed in Rajesh Sharma case held that ‘...there is introduction of a third agency which has nothing to do with the Code and that apart, the Committees have been empowered to suggest a report failing which no arrest can be made. The directions to settle a case after it is registered is not a correct expression of law’.
One of the most fierce and vociferous opposition to LGBTQ+ rights has come from religious lobbies — be it the evangelical Christians in the USA running gay conversion therapy camps, or Baba Ramdev claiming that he can “cure” homosexuality through yoga, or the All India Muslim Personal Law Board. But the premise of human rights and liberty cannot be somebody else’s right to religion.
In a judgment running into 493 pages, with four concurrent opinions from Chief Justice Dipak Mishra (who also wrote on behalf of Justice AM Khanwilkar) as well as Justices Rohinton Nariman, DY Chandrachud, and Indu Malhotra, the Supreme Court unequivocally upheld the constitutional rights of equality, non-discrimination, freedom of expression, privacy, autonomy, dignity, and health of LGBT persons guaranteed under Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 of the Constitution. The arc of justice and freedom has finally come home, into the lives of LGBT persons, into the law, and hopefully will soon penetrate to their families, work spaces, public places, and in private domains.
In response to a PIL, the Government of India in an affidavit has said that it is looking at only four of the eight vacancies, and has also not committed any specific timeframe within which to fill in all the vacancies should be filled. The affidavit has also revealed that Modi Government has been intending to amend the RTI Act, 2005 since 2016 itself to change the very nature of the posy of Information Commissioners.
CBSE has been frustrating the students’ right the access to answer sheets by charging exorbitant fee of Rs. 1200 for obtaining the copies of board examinations which is in contravention to the RTI Act, and Rules framed thereunder that provides for only Rs 2 per page for accessing the information.
This piece comments on the Bhima Koregaon arrests, the multitude of problems with the UAPA as well as its empirically evident history of sinister targeting of those defending the powerless against State excesses. UAPA criminalises ideology and association. By virtue of declaring an organisation 'unlawful’ or/and ‘terrorist’ and banning them, it criminalises their ideologies de facto” and verily creates a regime of thought crimes. A disturbing pattern of targeting those working for the rights of minorities subscribing to ideologies at variance with that of the dominant state brass emerges if one were to look at those who were detained for years under the UAPA.
This part analyses the judicial biases manifest in legalising the ‘gender’ wage gap through perverse logic that has held patriarchal inequalities as the ‘intelligible’ differentia for ‘reasonable’ classification to premise further inequality in treatment and work/service conditions. It critically analyses the jurisprudence in this regard so far and leaves us pining as we often do, for nothing short of normative, structural overhauls in society to bolster law enforcement.
The judgment holds that Section 377, to the extent it criminalises sexual acts between consenting adults in private is in violation of Articles 14 and 15 (equality and discrimination); Article 19 (Fundamnetal Freedoms) and Article 21 (privacy and dignity). Very importantly, the judgment notes that it is not the popular morality but constitutional morality which will would prevail. And constitutional morality includes the values enshrined in the Preamble.
Senior Advocate Indira Jaising — appearing for the petitioner Tushar Gandhi — submitted to the Court that all states be directed to upload the compliance report on their respective websites and that due publicity is given to the directions passed by the Court to curb the menace of mob lynching.
Lawyers Collective examines Vidhi Legal Centre’s ‘Addict’ to ‘Convict’ Report on the NDPS Act and finds serious errors and omissions in its analysis of the law. ‘Addict to Convict’ contains sound recommendations but unsound reasons.
As Section 377 is read down today, we must not forget that ABVA filed the first writ petition to challenge the constitutional validity of Section 377 before Delhi High Court. The petition was dismissed in 1999 for non-prosecution just before Naz Foundation filed its petition in 2001.. On July 2, 2009 the Delhi High Court pronounced its historic judgment by declaring Section 377 unconstitutional, but it was overturned on December 11, 2013 by the Supreme Court on appeals filed by religious and cultural organisations. Today, the Supreme Court course-corrected again.
All public authorities under the RTI Act, whether within the public or the non-government sector are prohibited from charging GST for providing information under the RTI Act. he GST Act's exemption will directly apply to the duties that PIOs perform under the RTI Act. This exemption will apply to First Appellate Authorities (FAAs) also who are government servants, wherever the State RTI Rules empower them to charge appeal fees. Therefore, it would be brazenly illegal to charge GST for providing access to information or deciding first appeals under the RTI Act.
The Petitioner has contended that in the Uttarakhand State Elections held in February 2017, not only the Election Commission officials and employees of Electronics Corporation Of India Limited(ECIL) were allowed access to the EVMs, but also several persons belonging to a private firm M/s T&M Services Consulting Private Limited engaged by the ECIL were allowed to access the EVMs — thereby raising serious concerns and apprehensions about the possibility of a security breach.
This is a two-part series on the sociological and legal analysis demystifying the ‘gender’ wage gap, so ubiquitous and normalised in all sectors of the economy, that it rarely witnesses the holistic critical engagement it merits to uncover its sociological, cultural and legal aspects beyond the litany of outrageous statistics. We need to look at how voicing of women’s professional ambition almost unequivocally always backfires as obnoxious ‘self-promotion’, even as men scale ladders of success amidst generous acknowledgement for their ‘negotiation skills’ and ‘networking’.
International law recognises the practice of enforced disappearance as a distinct offence and States have an obligation under international law to not partake in such arbitrary deprivations of liberty and human dignity. Article 1 of the 2006 International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance places a non–derogable prohibition against enforced disappearance. While Pakistan has taken steps, India is woefully behind in recognising enforced disappearance as a distinct offence.
The arrests of human rights activists and lawyers on August 28 and earlier on June 6, 2018 are all part of a wider theatre of Hindutva’s state-sponsored repression on those demanding democratic rights and freedoms for the most marginalised of Indian citizens. What began with Bhima-Koregaon had actually begun long back, with the atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis crossing the political threshold, such as those in Una and Saharanpur, as well as the ‘institutional murder’ of Rohith Vemula in January 2016.
Upendra Baxi, reflecting on the continuation of a colonial policing system has noted that that when a decolonised society maintains its inherited police organisation, refusing to adapt to the aspirations of free society, it gets a colonial-repressive police organisation and colonial-repressive political regimes. This, he suggests is because of the intent of the governing elites.
Justice Gogoi’s participation in the January 12, 2018 press conference in the company of brother judges set his stock soaring in the legal fraternity. He expanded on the ‘vision of justice’ when he delivered this year’s Ramnath Goenka Memorial Lecture and said that India at present needs “not only independent judges and noisy journalists, but even independent journalists and sometimes noisy judges”, in order to be a truly democratic and just society.
While it creates a distinction between personal data, and sensitive personal data,the exemptions under Data Protection Bill include matters of security of state, for prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of contraventions of law, processing for purposes of legal proceeding, research, archiving, or statistical purposes, personal or domestic purposes, journalistic purposes, or manual processing by small entities.
'It is a totally concocted letter fabricated to criminalise me and other human rights lawyers, activists and organisations. It is a mixture of innocuous and publicly available facts and baseless fabrication. Various legal and democratic activities such as meetings, seminars, protests have been sought to be delegitimised by alleging that they are funded by Maoists.'
It has been important for Governments, both the Congress-led UPA and the BJP to disguise their attacks on Adivasis, and now, in the case of the BJP, their attack on Dalits— as an attack on “Maoists” or “Naxals.” This is because, unlike in the case of Muslims who have been almost been erased from electoral arithmetic, all political parties do have an eye on those Adivasi and Dalit constituencies as potential vote banks. By arresting activists and calling them “Maoists’, the Government manages to undermine and insult Dalit aspiration by giving it another name.
Courts in five different places, including Delhi High Court, Faridabad court, Pune sessions court, Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Supreme Court, have addressed the police’s recent targeting of lawyers, activists and writers, in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence in petitions filed by concerned members of the academic fraternity.
Given the multi-state nature of the raids and the requisite inter-force coordination, it is fair to conclude that the clampdown flowed from the highest echelons of the ruling regime. This campaign of hatred, isolation, and trolling aims at maligning and subverting all dissenters and activists critical of the government (and the BJP) by either false-flagging them as “security threats to India” or labelling them as extended affiliates of militant movements without any solid evidence.
Aadhaar data-linked sensitive private information on citizens that Central and State governments, and by default, the political parties in power, have access to could easily be used to create caste and religion based voter maps. Such data would be invaluable to a Delimitation Committee mandated with the task of redrawing the boundaries of constituencies, and could well empower such a Committee with the potential to influence the delimitation process in a manner that could influence the outcome of an election in favour of a particular political party/group, thereby unethically influencing the electoral system and undermining democracy.
A constitutional republic can only survive if there is a semblance of the rule of law. But yesterday the rule of law broke down. Raids and arrests occurred. Those who were arrested didn't have the charges read out to them. Arrest memos were presented in a language the courts couldn't follow and courts granted remands based on those memos.
We are going through times when lawyers who are on the front lines taking up unpopular causes are being maligned, attacked, arrested and held in prolonged detention, and/or killed. If this does not stop, one day there will be no one to defend the rule of law, one day there will be no rule of law to defend.
In a ‘historic’ encounter, as was reported by the DIG, Anti-Naxal Squad, DM Awasthi, 15 ‘Maoists’ were shot dead in Sukma by the District Regional Guards (DRG) on the early morning of August 6, 2018. However, the villagers from Gompad, Nulkatong, Vellpocha, Kinderpad and Etagata have a completely different story to tell — stories of haunting memories of the past and terror of today. Accompanying a fact-finding team called for by the adivasi activist Soni Sori to look into the incident, The Leaflet’s Kritika Agarwal heard and recorded the unspeakable stories as recounted by the eyewitnesses, as she came face-to-face with the terrifying and recurring truth of unparalleled violence on innocents perpetrated in the name of security.
The RTI application was filed on July 5, 2014 which cited media report stating that Amit Shah, the national president of the Bhartiya Janata Party, would be provided Z-Plus security cover by the Government. This information was denied by the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the MHA, citing exemption clause (g) & (j) of the Section 8(1) of the RTI Act, 2005, and has now been upheld by the CIC.
The petitioner, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising herself, had filed a Writ Petition on January 18, 2018 to permit the live streaming of Supreme Court case proceedings of constitutional and national importance, having an impact to the public at large. The primary grounds for the request was based on the mandates under Article 19 and Article 21 of the Constitution of India, which upon a conjoint reading correspond to the right to receive information, and the access to justice through open courts
The privacy judgment pegged the right not just to Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution but also held it to be a component of all other fundamental rights and to be treated as the “dark matter” pervading the fundamental rights chapter. The Aadhaar and LGBTQI rights cases are bound to be impacted by the decision of the Supreme Court in the Puttaswamy case.
The issue for debate was whether the States are required to collect quantifiable data to determine “backwardness, adequacy of representation, efficiency in administration” as laid down in M Nagaraj judgment. Senior Advocates PS Patwalia, Indira Jaising, Shanti Bhushan, Rajeev Dhawan argum that the M Nagaraj verdict be reconsidered.
A beacon of free and fair press, anti-Emergency warrior who had served jail time during Indira Gandhi’s regime, a pacifist and advocate of India-Pakistan peace process, and a fierce critic of Hindutva, Nayar was a ‘gentle colossus’ fondly remembered by almost every senior journalist in Delhi today.
The applicant, Sudhir Chaudhary, on May 12, 2016 filed an RTI application seeking information on the process of filing a criminal complaint on behalf of Government of NCT of Delhi. A criminal complaint was filed against Zee News, News X, and India News with allegations of having knowingly and with malicious intent caused damage to JNU students. Charges under Sections 465 (punishment for forgery) and 471 (using as genuine forged document or electronic record) of the IPC were pressed.
The past week has been a devastating period for the state of Kerala, for almost triple the estimated rainfall was experienced by the State. Yet, Central government’s puny financial grant of Rs 600 crore when the loss exceeds at least Rs 20,000 crore, its refusal to categorise the Kerala floods as a ‘national disaster’, and instead calling it a “calamity of a severe nature”, and finally not accepting foreign aid directed towards Kerala — indicate a strong bias against the southern state.
As a lawyer I believe in the Rule of Law and not in media trials. So I prefer to continue going about my work and duties as a trade unionist, a lawyer and a teacher; serving people as best I can and as I have been doing for the past three decades. Let my love for my country and its citizens speak, not through words, but through my work.
The Petitioner contended that the EC’s circular is contrary to the mandate of Article 80 (4) of the Constitution of India and the case of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and another v. Union of India. They further argue that the EC’s circular is unconstitutional as the Rules relied upon to make the voting provisions do not even remotely conceive of NOTA.
Paired with the fact that a suit can be filed at any of the 600 district courts across the nation, Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code prima facie seems facilitative of abuse and harassment. This misuse was pre-empted by the Section’s drafting committee which feared that it might be used to target not just the ‘scurrilous scribbler’, but also any form criticism or mere comment upon religious matters.
Often blandly described as a “conspiracy thriller”, JFK (1991), its artistic liberties notwithstanding, makes us sit up and ask uncomfortable and unrelenting questions about the government of the people, for the people, and by the people. Beset by yet another jingoistic round of nationalistic fervour, not seen since WWII, JFK, over and above its immediate subject, is actually re-examining the subversion of democracy and its institutions.
FGM is a harmful practice that scars girl children for life, resulting in severe psychological and sexual dysfunction, while being an assault on the dignity, autonomy and bodily integrity of its female victims. How can it be termed an ‘essential religious practice’ and protected as such under Article 25 when it violates Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution?
The Supreme Court has stated that the Allahabad High Court misdirected itself and dismissed the prayers of the Petitioners despite compelling facts and circumstances of the case, as well as a lack of due appreciation of the evidence and law. In the case, the accused is the current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath.
Enquiries through the Right to Information Act have become a powerful facilitator of accountability of state institutions by the citizens of India. Recent developments have indicated however that the State Bank of India has been dodging pertinent information related to electoral bonds.
Adding to the historical tussle between the Indian Legislature and Judiciary, the Constitutional Bench is now questioning the eligibility of politicians involved in criminal allegations. The back-and-forth observed in the hearing is evident in realizing the anxieties surrounding the overlapping powers of the institutions.
A Standard Operation Procedure (SoP) to dispose of the claims and objections after the release of NRC as proposed by the Central Government was placed before the Supreme Court. As per the Government, the disposal of claims and objections will be done through holding of hearings. Claimants will be required to bring evidence including recorded oral evidence to support their claim.
Adhering to the true spirit of the Constitution and the NALSA judgment, Shanavi should be entitled to self-determine her gender and should also be able to avail the benefits of the affirmative actions. The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation dismissing her letter on the grounds that it is only open for “women” is going against the value of the judgment.
Social movements in India need to broaden their understanding of the prison politics and how the State is actively criminalising the poor, and locking up a large number of marginalised communities in prisons. The State and dominant groups use law as an instrument to perpetuate discrimination and violence against these marginalised groups, which is a replication and extension of the colonial practice of subjugation.
From its premature Cabinet clearance without any enforceable data protection framework in place, to its muddled approach to consent, in-built technologies of coercion leading to profiling and possible criminalisation of vulnerable groups, invasive information collection methods and mythicisation of the “infallibility” of the DNA technology — the Bill is a confused disarray of State arrogance fused with misplaced reliance on technology that’s still too nebulous for effective and wide-scale use
Tribunal in its long report running into 2,700 pages has recommended for changes in the Act of 1956 and as well as in the functioning of Central Water Commission as it found many shortcomings in its report. It has in total allocated 38.25 tmc of water of inter-state river Mahadayi, which consists of 24 tmc to Goa, 13.4 tmc to Karnataka and 1.33 tmc to Maharashtra.
Article 35A, being the right under the Constitution to define a permanent resident, and to consequently confer upon such citizens rights related to immovable property, is intrinsically connected to both land and law in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Tampering with it, therefore, might itself give rise to claims of self-determination propelled by forces that will inevitably manifest under any forced ‘integration’ scenario.
It is now for the fist time in 73 years that I am made to remember by Hindu origins from across the border. But there is no comfort in it, only pain for the Republic of India, which is in danger of losing its secular foundational principles, its birth-pangs of great ideals, of pluralism and inter-faith harmony.
My father, who as a young boy marched in the freedom rallies, now at the age of 85, uses thick glasses to read newspapers only to find acute despair in them, with the news of mob lynching, crimes against women and politicians fuelling the fire of communal violence.
India's core strength lies in its inclusive secular tolerant and harmonious ethos. Each and every community in India, especially the two largest ones, Hindus and Muslims have a solemn responsibility to ensure that the idea of India is protected and preserved to be handed down as our outstanding legacy to our succeeding generations.
With his death, India has lost an outstanding parliamentarian and an exceptional leader. In times of diminishing reverence for politicians and parliamentarians, he was the cynosure of all, displaying exemplary statesmanship and commitment throughout his illustrious career. As a Lok Sabha Speaker, Chatterjee introduced landmark changes and brought great dignity and respect to the office.
Umar Khalid blamed the hate news channels that normalise everyday violence against those who question the government in his statement on camera after the incident at Constitution Club, the heart of the national capital. He said he remembered his mentor, the slain journalist Gauri Lankesh when he was attacked.
The Sub-Committee on Accreditation of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions underscored that the current selection process under the Act is not sufficiently broad and transparent since it does not mandatorily require the advertisement of vacancies and establishment of clear and uniform criteria upon which all parties assess the merit of applicants. The SCA also noted that the NHRC was not free from political interference.
While the Supreme Court will to decrimnalise consensual same-sex relationships is pretty clear to many, there are important issues to address, such as formulating anti-discrimination laws for private sector, making rape laws gender neutral to incorporate homosexual consensual sex acts, as well as move to recognize same-sex marriage.
With both the adultery and the marital rape issues being now considered by the Court, it is important to acknowledge that the fear of frivolous litigation should not stop protection from being offered to those caught in abusive traps, where they are degraded to the status of a chattel. The questions involve impairment of the rights conferred under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The Delhi High Court Bench, comprising the outgoing Acting Chief of the High Court, Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, rightly declared the main provisions of the Bombay Act as ‘manifestly arbitrary’ and against the mandate of Article 21 of the Constitution which guarantees citizens right to live with dignity and with the necessities of life required for it.
Are ‘chores’ merely useful tasks that must remain unpaid and unintegrated in the economy because they are by nature different from conventional definition of work? Or, trying to point out a difference between work and chores is an exercise in creating a false binary? Read the first ‘Leaflet debate’.
The Bill intends to lay out that preliminary enquiry shall not be required for registration of a FIR against any person; or the Investigating Officer shall not require approval for the arrest of any accused person. For a Dalit, securing proper non-delayed investigation and successful prosecution is almost improbable which might result from intimidation of the victim and witnesses. The requirement of prior sanction would thus worsen the problem of delay in prosecution and hostility of witnesses.
279 teachers voted in favour of him being relieved, 8 voted in favour of the VC staying. In total, 300 out of 586 listed faculty turned up for the referendum. Eight votes were invalid and five voters abstained from voting. Out of the 51% of the faculty participating in the referendum, only 2.67 percent of the faculty wanted VC Jagdesh Kumar to remain in his office. While a staggering 93 percent of the faculty wanted him to vacate his office.
With 143 names recommended by the High Court Collegium pending with the Supreme Court Collegium, it seems the latter too must be blamed for staggering vacancies in the high courts of India.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising and advocate Sunil Fernandes — appearing for the petitioner, a relative of Talib Hussain — submitted that the moment there’s torture perpetrated against the accused/prisoner, the custody becomes unlawful. Supreme Court has issued a notice to the J&K Police to file a reply to the allegations. The matter will be next heard on August 21, 2018.
protest programme at Parliament Street in Delhi by Campaign Against State Repression on Rights Activists saw the participation of over four thousand people from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and all other parts of the country. The programme was presided by Professor G Haragopal. Justice BG Kolse Patil, D Raja, Manorajan Mohanty, Arundhati Roy, Dharamvir Gandhi, S Vanchinathan and others addressed the gathering.
Even as the Justices chided the officials for issuing statements to the press that were out of line, and “highly improper”, “touching upon matters which should have formed the basis of orders to be passed by the court”, the fact of the matter is the second draft of the NRC released on July 30 has opened a Pandora’s Box of uncertainties and communalisation of the bureaucratic exercise, leading to much anxiety among those affected, as well as every concerned citizen of the country.
The death penalty is another method of policing vulnerable communities and is symptomatic of what the current criminal justice system already is. All aspects of the criminal justice system are politically tinted, such as, who is to be arrested and investigated, who is likely to be unrepresented or poorly represented at trial, who the judge thinks is more likely to have committed the crime and deserves punishment, and whether the mercy petition is considered or not.
Alka Lamba has been criticised on social media for stereotyping the trans community by calling them "beech wale" who clap loudly ("thaali peetna"). Despite being called out on Twitter for her transphobic remarks, she has neither pulled down her tweet, nor has apologised for it.
Another eyewitness and a close aide of Talib Hussain has alleged that he was brutally beaten on August 5. ‘There is a huge bump in his skull. Blood is visible through the bandaged head. However, there are no records in the hospital.’ Talib’s aide further alleged that none of his relatives are allowed to visit Talib Hussain in the jail.
The notification comes days before the anniversary of Jaising’s ‘Gown Wapsi’ movement. On August 15 of last year, she shed her senior counsel gown to symbolise the discrimination inherent in the senior advocate designation process. The eligibility criterion for designation is a minimum of 10 years combined standing as an advocate or a District Judge, or as a Judicial Member of any Tribunal whose qualification for eligibility isn't less than that prescribed for a District judge.
While requesting the Court to stay the Order, KK Venugopal, Attorney General of India submitted that, ‘The insensivity of the Court towards social justice cause and judicial dilution of a stringent protective social justice legislation by resorting to judicial excess in total disregard to the legislative intent has been committed in passing of the directions.’
Jaising has specified in her written submissions that the M Nagaraj case erred in law to hold that Article 16(4-A) and (4-B) flow from Article 16(4). She insisted that such provisions draw source from Article 14 and 16 (1) instead of Article 16(4). She has next expressed her concern that the phrases "controlling factors" and "compelling reasons" as laid down in the M Nagaraj case have not been prescribed by the Constitutional language.
The Brazilian Supreme Court is holding a two-day public hearing about the decriminalisation of abortion, and Senior Advocate Anand Grover was selected through an open application to speak on the subject from India. At the hearing, which took place on August 3 and is taking place today, August 6, about 50 speakers can be heard, including health, law and social science experts, as well as feminist and international human rights organizations, and religious representatives.
The latest ‘Basic Law’ that was enacted by the Israeli Knesset on July 19, 2018 has adverse effect on Palestinians within Israel and in the occupied territories of Palestine, contravenes even the assertions made in the Declaration of Independence by the Provisional Government of Israel on May 14, 1948. The existence of at least 65 other laws that seek to discriminate Arab Palestinians vis-à-vis their Jewish counterparts provide proof of the existence of an Apartheid system in Israel, which is well captured in the ESCWA Report of 2017.
According to their warrants of appointments signed off by the President of India on August 3, 2018, Justice K M Joseph has been put below the other two justices in the seniority order despite the fact that Justice Joseph’s name was initially recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium much before the name of Justices Banerjee and Saran. The Collegium erred knowing fully that reiteration of his name along with the names of other Chief Justices could compromise his seniority further.
The police had been restrained from arresting Hussain by the J&K High Court in a case of domestic violence filed by his estranged wife. While the court order was issued on July 30, the sister-in-law of his wife filed a complaint of rape, committed allegedly a month and a half ago, on the very next day.
The Supreme Court’s Collegium consisting of the Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Kurian Joseph and Jutsice A K Sikri, had reiterated his name for the appointment as judge of the Supreme Court on July 16, 2018 after Centre government had returned his name for reconsideration in April 2018.
Supplementary charge-sheet has established through the evidence of money trail and call data analysis of the accused persons as to how the accused cops allowed a cover-up of the gruesome incident. It also reveals the location of Jangotra, son of Sanji Ram, alleged to be the mastermind behind the abduction and killing in January this year.
Kishore Kumar is my all-time favourite singer, a clear undisputed no.1, across all languages, genres and ages. A singer with no formal classical training in music, he was able to establish his popularity over far more classically accomplished and trained singers like Mohammad Rafi, Manna Dey and Mukesh, for almost two decades — from the late 1960s till his death in 1987.
The advocates for petitioners and interveners seeking decriminalisation of adultery (Section 497 of IPC) said that there is no compelling state interest or a valid rational behind the state to penalise an act of consensual sex between adults; that origin of adultery lies in treating women as property of the man, and that it is in violation of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of Indian Constitution.
Senior advocate Jaising presented that rights of the deity are restricted for to matters, limited to maintenance of properties and the taxation related issues. Jaising held that this principle has been consistently maintained in the Indian legal jurisprudence since the time of Privy Council and the Judicial Committee decisions, so must apply in Sabarimala as well, and shouldn’t infringe upon fundamental rights of women as citizens.
The MoS Law and Justice P P Chaudhary skirted the reply to the question which specially sought to know steps taken by the government to facilitate removal of Justice Shukla, therefore, making it appear that the government has not taken any initiative to remove the tainted judge.
The latest draft of the RTI Amendment Bill 2018 reflects a discriminatory approach towards a statutory body such as the Information Commission. There appears to be an uncanny intention on behalf of the Centre to acquire overarching powers to decide the salaries and tenures of the Information Commissioners. The proposed Bill has also been critiqued for being violative of various Constitutional provisions, especially that of Article 14.
The Supreme Court has held that the purpose of the exercise of the creation of the NRC in the State of Assam was not the determination of which person is an ‘original inhabitant’, but the sole test for inclusion in the NRC is that of citizenship under the Constitution of India and the Citizenship Act 1955. However, the constitutionality of Section 6A of the Citizenship Act 1955 was challenged in 2012 by way of a writ petition under Article 32 in the Supreme Court. The matter is currently pending before a Constitution Bench of five judges.
Women’s struggle through history has been to have access to what has been systematically denied to them for centuries. This purpose is defeated if we argue merely that women should work because it benefits the economy. The struggle is about equality, liberty and justice; about claiming what is rightfully theirs.
Four million people are “foreigners” in Assam, despite having lived there for decades. As the National Register of Citizens is released, here’s a look back at its tumultuous official history, stemming from the updation of the NRC being conducted as per the Supreme Court directive issued in 2005. This directive was in furtherance of the tripartite agreement entered into by the Central government, State government and the All Assam Students Union (AASU) to enforce the 1985 Assam Accords.
Ajit Nayak was the president and an active campaigner of the Kali Bachao Andolan, a movement to rejuvenate Kali river, that protested against the damming of the river, industries polluting the river and rampant sand-mining on the beds of the river. His murder is not a rare occurrence but a continuum in the line of attacks on human rights lawyers and Right to Information activists witnessed across the country.
Provisions that permit personal data processing without express consent are clearly overbroad in comparison to comparable frameworks such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) brought forth by the European Union (EU). The non requirement of necessity and proportionality with respect to personal data processing by the State prima facie seems regressive and violative of the tests laid down by the Puttaswamy verdict.
Ambedkar’s concerns were three-fold. How does representative democracy function (successfully) in a society that is fundamentally unequal? How can implementation and adherence by the Hindu majority be ensured? How does law function in a democracy where the lawmakers themselves are socially conditioned? As much as Ambedkar struggled with establishing a legal framework to protect marginalised groups, he left a lasting legacy in the form of an imagination for equality for the millions who followed his path and continue to negotiate within the system, against the system.
Though highly inspired by the Soviet model of planning, Nehru in his presidential address at Indian Institute of Public Administration (March 26, 1954) found Communism “as rigid as a religion”. Nehru believed in “administrative realism”; he planned for a planned development of independent India right after his visit to the Soviet in the British days but invited specialists like Paul H Appleby and Albert Meyer from the United States for evaluation and formative tasks in independent India.
Whether it is arbitrariness, lack of parity in verification requirements, placing the onus of men’s celibacy on women, treating men as a class of devotees whose interests require greater protection —each and every one of these conclusions requires the ban to be struck down as blatantly unconstitutional.
As the country makes progress at the cost of pushing the most vulnerable to the margins, the schemes like NFSA, MGNREGA have become the last thread for the survival of the poor. 7 out of the 12 starvation deaths in Jharkhand documented by the Right to Food Campaign were directly related to the problems with Aadhaar linking. Starvation deaths are not an aberration but an extreme manifestation of exclusions built into the system.
Leaders with far greater mandate than what Imran Khan Niazi, the head of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, has achieved in the latest general elections have been hostage to the Pakistani Deep State insofar their India policy goes. However, if Imran the Prime Minister proves to be half as good as Imran the captain, Pakistan is in for some good times.
The Government’s tearing hurry and avoidance of the Standing Committee shows absolute disregard for democratic processes and parliamentary procedures. It also shows that the Government is not confident of its contents and is afraid that closer examination will expose the pompous claims and rhetoric that has surrounded the Bill.
The Constitution empowers both the legislature and the judiciary to have regulating powers over the personal laws, to bring them up to speed with the times. While it is with great dexterity that such powers should be exercised, it is still a better option than wiping out their existence and imposing a Uniform Civil Code, which comes too close to violation of Article 25, for comfort.
Justice Rajendra Menon has been subject to incriminating comments from a Joint Inquiry Committee led by Justice Banumathi, as per he he has been found guilty of wrongfully and punitively transferring a former woman ADJ who had accused Justice S K Gangele of Madhya Pradesh of sexually harassing her. Does Delhi High Court deserve Justice Menon as the next Chief Justice in place of Justice Aniruddha Bose of Calcutta High Court, the Collegium’s initial, and unblemished, choice?
Parasaran cited judgments highlighting the importance of God, before propounding Hindu religion’s ‘tolerance and non-discriminatory’ nature. He then advanced arguments pertaining to the celibate character of the deity of the temple, Lord Ayyapa, claiming that it enjoys constitutional protection.
The letter came in the wake of the recent Supreme Court judgment wherein the Court heavily condemned such “horrendous acts of mobocracy” and issued directions to the State and Central government to undertake preventive, remedial and punitive measures for the same.
Lawyers, members of the civil society, sex workers, queer rights activist, labour rights activists and child rights activists have criticised the Bill on grounds of increasing abuse of consenting adult sex workers, migrating labourers, targeting of transgender persons and the over-legislation resulting from the Bill’s scope and approach towards consensual sex work.
The bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan stressed the importance of ‘direct participation in public affairs where individuals and groups are able to express dissent and grievances, expose the flaws in governance and demand accountability’, especially in the Indian context to aid ‘the assertion of the rights of the marginalised and poorly represented minorities’.
The former woman judge pleaded that her resignation — given four years back in the wake of “unbearable circumstances” — amounted to an act of constructive termination. She claims that she was forced to put in her papers as a consequence of her being unlawfully and in a mala fide manner transferred to a conflict area for not bowing to the immoral demands of a Madhya Pradesh High Court judge.
Has our approach towards justice stopped taking any other factor into account except the need to immediately replicate the rallying cry of lynch mobs? Just like in the Nirbhaya incident, lynching too has emerged as another dark area representing the failure of governance that Justice Verma had alluded to. We cannot assume that making laws that strike fear will save us all from further collapse.
Given the widespread prevalence of lynching in the country now, it is time to introduce federal crimes, which affect the federation and are not to be described as affecting ‘law and order’ but as crimes that are ‘offences against the Constitution’ and hence for which the Union has to take responsibility.
The proposed amendment in the RTI Act, 2005 takes away the independence of Information Commissions that have been conferred with the adjudicatory power to decide the appeals and complaints arise out of violation of the RTI Act and denial of the information, whatever may be the case.
The High Court of Kerala by an Interim Order struck down the permission for women to trek to Agastyakoodam peak on a plea filed by Bhagavan Kani and Ors. on the pretext that that even tribal women were not allowed to enter the abode of sage Agasthya who was a celibate.
Jaising submitted that the ban on women's entry inside the temple is based upon sex alone, and the discrimination is solely based off physiological factors. She further argued that menstruating women being categorised as a different class is unconstitutional as it lacks constitutional morality.
The SMCH can reasonably be construed to be a surveillance mechanism encompassing the entire digital space, laying the groundwork for an information system where it only flows from a Statist source, with all dissenters silenced into fear of State sanction.
Jaising emphasises on harmonious interpretation of constitutional provisions, that is, Articles 14, 15, 25 and 26 of the Constitution and stated that the right to manage the affairs in the matter of religion does not encompass the right to ban entry inside a temple.
The CJI bench highlighted the threat posed by ‘frenzied mobs across the country instigated by intolerance and misinformed by circulation of fake news and false stories’, while chastising aggravating phenomena such as ‘bystander apathy, numbness of the mute spectators of the scene of the crime, inertia of the law enforcing machinery to prevent such crimes … and grandstanding of the incident by the perpetrators of the crimes including in the social media’.
Lawyers Collective is addressing the media on why the Bill, which has been in the making for over two years, miserably fails to address the legal and real-time challenges that arise in addressing trafficking in persons and securing the rights and dignity of trafficked victims.
A two-judge bench comprising the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Rohinton F Nariman extended the date of filing claims and objections in response to draft NRC from December 15, 2018 to December 31, 2018. The Assam Government filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking an extension of one month for receiving claims and objections in response to draft NRC.
The Leaflet Special Issue is a one-stop destination to get a wide-angle, rigorous perspective on raging debates of the day. Centred around one theme and investigating it from every possible direction, the Special Issue will focus on comprehensive, in-depth and wide-spectrum analysis of the biggest sociolegal and constitutional battles that are central to our understanding of the rule of law, justice as well as human and civil rights. A platform to both look back and look ahead, to tease out the nuances lost in chasing breaking news and views, our emphasis will be to foreground issues that are often neglected by mainstream media.
The significance of the judgment lies not just in its protection of the right to privacy but in its insistence that no government, majoritarian or otherwise can violate the rule of law. Life is not a gift of the state but is a natural right, because it is.
The historical import of such moments is not complete without a reflection of cases past and especially when ‘ghosts’ of certain cases need to be exorcised to enable a vocabulary of non-discrimination and equality in our daily lives inside and outside of the courtroom.
The silhouette of the Red Fort, the warmth of the winter sun softly glowing from across the Humanyun’s tomb, the rare visits of the peacocks in Lodhi gardens, the sprawling, beautiful chaos of the Jama Masjid, the deserted Adham Khan’s tomb, and many more such sites are governed by Acts aimed at conserving and protecting these heritage monuments.