Thursday, August 27, 2015

India loses solar case against US at WTO; to appeal

India has lost another case against the US at WTO as the body ruled that India's domestic content requirements under its solar power programme were inconsistent with the international norms.

India will now approach the appellate body of the Geneva-based WTO against the dispute panel's ruling, an official said.

Last year, the US dragged India to WTO on country's solar mission plan.

The US alleged that India's programme appears to discriminate against the US solar equipment by requiring solar energy producers to use locally manufactured cells and by offering subsidies to those developers who use domestic equipment.

 US drags India to WTO on solar mission programme

It also alleged that forced localization requirements restricted US exports to Indian markets.

On January 11, 2010, India launched its national solar policy Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

The country has an ambitious target of generating 20,000MW of solar power by 2022.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Whether Courts could direct a state to rebuild religious places damaged due to its failure to maintain law and order'

The Supreme Court on Wednesday faced a tricky constitutional question -- 'whether courts could direct a state to rebuild religious places damaged due to its failure to maintain law and order'.

The question was faced by a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and P C Pant as it started final hearing on a petition filed by the Gujarat government challenging a high court order that the state was duty bound to reimburse the cost of restoration of shrines damaged during the 2002 communal riots.

Appearing for Islamic Relief Centre, Gujarat (IRCG), senior advocate Yusuf Muchala said the state government had completely abdicated its constitutional role to maintain law and order and protect lives and property of citizens during the communal riots and hence, it was its secular duty to restore the mosques and dargahs damaged by mobs.

"The National Human Rights Commission had directed the state to conduct a survey of damage to places of worship of Muslims during the riots. A defiant state which had failed to protect the religious places belonging to minority community has conducted no such survey even after more than a decade. The religious minority suffered gravely. Attack on religious places was an attack on the religious identity of the community. The motive was to inflict humiliation on the minority," Muchala said.

For the state, additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta told the bench that a scheme was framed by the government to pay compensation to religious places at the rate applicable to damaged residential and commercial properties.

However, Mehta put a constitutional caveat, "Right to practice, profess and propagate any religious belief is part of fundamental rights. But right to worship from a particular place is not. Is giving compensation to rebuild religious places part of the secular scheme of governance?

"Under the constitutional scheme, a court cannot direct a state government to utilize taxpayers money for religious purposes. Most of the damaged religious places have been restored with community funding. Even if the state was directed to meet the expenses incurred, whom should it be paid?"

The bench had a different concern. How could the HC designate district judges as special officers and task them with assessing damage to the shrines and quantify the cost of restoration, it asked.

"Asking district judges to send a report on damaged places of worship is one thing. But under what procedure of law will the district judge gather evidence about damage, examine witnesses and allow their cross-examination and quantify the damages? Moreover, in civil law, there is a time limit for claiming compensation. That time limit expired a long time ago. A court cannot extend that period of limitation," the bench said. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Send babus and netas' kids to govt schools: HC

The Allahabad high court on Tuesday took a serious note of the pathetic condition of primary schools in the state and directed the chief secretary to ensure that children/wards of government officials/servants, those serving in the local bodies, representatives of people and judiciary, etc., send their wards to these schools.

"Only then would they be serious enough to look into the requirements of these schools and ensure that they are run in good condition," the court observed.

Student washing utensils in school suffers electric shock, NHRC notice to UP govt

Hearing a slew of writ petitions filed by Umesh Kumar Singh and several others, Justice Sudhir Agarwal directed the chief secretary to take steps within six months so as to make the aforesaid directions effective from the next academic session of primary schools.

The court also directed him to submit a compliance report immediately after the lapse of six months.

The issue involved in the writ petitions was with regard to appointment of assistant teachers in state's 

During the course of hearing, the court noticed the deplorable condition of these schools and observed that although they are catering to the needs of 90% population of children, their condition could be described as "shabby."

The court further observed that as officials responsible for running these primary schools are treating them in a shabby manner, these schools have given rise to multiple litigations.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

No alimony if woman divorced over adultery, HC rules

A woman divorced on the ground of adultery cannot claim maintenance from her ex-husband, the Madras high court has ruled.

The judge made the observation while allowing a criminal revision case filed by a government staffer challenging a lower court's order to pay a monthly maintenance of Rs 1,000 to his former wife, whom he divorced in 2011 on the ground of adultery.

"Just as a man has an obligation to maintain his divorced wife, the woman also has an obligation not to have illicit relationship with another man," Justice Nagamuthu said.

"The divorcee would suffer disqualification from claiming maintenance if she had relationship with another man. She was entitled to get maintenance from the person with whom she had relationship and not from the ex-husband," he said.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Suspended Advocate Son held for giving client fake HC order

City police on Friday arrested Homi Maratha, a resident of Ambavadi, for creating a fake Gujarat high court order by forging the signature of the then judge, Justice HK Rathod. Crime branch officials said Homi's father, Navinchandra Maratha, who is a suspended advocate, is also an accused in the same case.

"We could not find him at his residence," said a police officer. "We are searching for him."

Assistant Commissioner of Police, crime branch, KN Patel said Sanjay Dalal, an army officer then based in Ahmedabad, had approached Homi Maratha to file a petition against the Army denying him promotion to the rank of Colonel.

"Dalal had come to know about the advocate while surfing the Net," said police inspector J S Geddam. "Nevertheless, posing as an advocate, Homi accepted the case and took Rs 1.60 lakh from the Army Officer as advance payment of the total fee of Rs 3 lakh."

Crime branch officials said later Dalal was transferred to Rajasthan and even promoted to the post of Colonel in Bikaner.

"However, when Dalal inquired about the outcome of the petition, Homi mailed him the fake high court order with forged signature of Justice HK Rathod," said Geddam. "The court order was in his favour. Homi took the remaining Rs 1.40 lakh of the fee."

Sources in the crime branch said that when the Colonel demanded the original copy of the order to submit it to the army, Homi began giving excuses.

"The Colonel became suspicious," said a crime branch official. "When he checked the status of his petition, he found that the petition number given to him by Dalal was of some other plea." Police officials said correspondence with the Gujarat high court registrar also revealed that no such petition was filed.

Later, the Colonel approached the city crime branch and lodged a complaint against Homi and his father Navinchandra.

"During investigation, we found that the fake court order was mailed by Homi and, hence, we arrested him," said police inspector Geddam. "We are searching for his father Navinchandra who has been suspended by the Bar Council in connection with 14 cases of cheating lodged against him at Dholka police station."

Uber rape case: You are trying to destroy criminal justice system, SC raps accused

The Supreme Court on Thursday slammed the accused in the Uber cab rape case, saying he was trying to "destroy criminal justice system" by seeking re-examination of the victim who has only been "embarrassed and insulted" by him in her earlier deposition.

The bench headed by Justice JS Khehar came hard on the accused while reserving verdict on two pleas of Delhi police and the victim against a Delhi High Court decision allowing the accused cab driver to recall 13 prosecution witnesses, including the girl in the trial.

"You are, in a way, trying to destroy the criminal justice system of this country. You are saying that let this person sit on our head. You are trying to say that the criminal should be honoured and he should get everything which he wants," the bench, also comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, said.

"Don't play fool with us. We are used to counsel. We are used with the jugglery of words," it said at the fag end of the day and asked the counsel for accused to show one "good" ground for recall of witnesses including the girl.

The bench may also lay down guidelines as to whether an accused has right to get witnesses recalled for re-examination in a criminal trial.

Referring to trial court records, the bench said, "You are asking totally irrelevant and nonsense questions in the cross-examination."

"So far as the occurrence of crime is concerned, in the three days of the cross-examination, there was no relevant questions were asked by you," the bench, also comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, said.

The prosecutrix gave a "perfect answer" to question asked about the cab's picture taken by her and "For three days you only embarrassed her. You only insulted her," it said.

"We feel you have all nonsense at your hand. For three days what you did except to humiliate the prosecutrix who made the allegations,"

The bench said the counsel for accused "wasted three days to come to the most crucial questions "related to the offence.

"All your questions doesn't matter to the crime. Whether she spoke to her mother before making complaint does not matter here," the bench said.

During the day-long hearing, the apex court also raised questions on move of accused Shiv Kumar Yadav to seek recall of witnesses including the victim and said that this man is "master" in playing legal tricks.

The meticulous planning done by accused is usually unheard of a person like him, it said.

Despite being a judge of the Supreme Court, such ideas don't strike us, one of the judges said, while referring to the steps taken by the accused to prolong the trial and demolish the case of the prosecution.

Referring to the change of defence lawyers and the move to seek recall of witnesses, the bench said that it seemed that the accused is getting "perfect" legal advice in the case.

The delay of several months in the trial has led to unnecessary harassment of the victim as it is very traumatic experience for her to come and depose again and again, it said, adding that the accused has "misused" the process of law.

At the outset, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Delhi police, opposed the plea of accused that he was rightly allowed by the High Court to recall the witnesses.

He said the accused cannot seek this on the pretext that his lawyer was a "novice" as he has been familiar with court proceedings.

"We have to weigh both sides. If we say that incompetency of a lawyer is a ground to recall witnesses then a lot of similar cases will come to us.

"If we do not do this, then it may cause injustice to some of the accused. So we will have to weigh both the sides," the bench said.

Rohatgi then said, "This accused has faced criminal trials earlier. There are three rape cases including the present one against him and in addition to these, there are several other cases in UP.

"The idea is to show that the accused is familiar with the court proceedings."

The first FIR against this man was lodged way back in 2001 and he has been acquitted in one of the rape cases, the AG said.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Indian company gets High Court stay against Audi to desist use of ‘TT’

The Audi TT is a dream car for many people in the world. However, German auto maker Audi cannot use the brand name ‘TT’ to sell accessories, bags, leather and faux leather goods, or toy cars in India, as it violates the trademark of Delhi-based garment firm TT Industries.

The Delhi High court in an order issued on July 21 has issued an ex parte interim injunction restraining Audi from using the name ‘TT’ as a brand name for its goods in India, after TT Industries proprietor Rikab Chand Jain filed a plea under the Trademarks act alleging that the German firm was violating its internationally known trademark.

The bench of Justice Najmi Waziri in its order has issued the injunction after noting that TT Industries had “made out a prima facie case for an ex parte ad interim injunction and in case such an order is not passed at this stage, irreparable prejudice would be caused to them.”

TT Industries, which mainly manufactures garments, threads and yarns and other consumer goods, has claimed in its plea that its “goodwill” in the market was under threat. The company has sought court orders to permanently restrain Audi GM from using the TT brandname in India.

The company has also sought Rs 25 lakh in damages from Audi GM for “selling car and the related accessories with the mark ‘T T’ clandestinely in Delhi.”

The court has issued an interim stay on the use of the TT brand name by Audi AG, and has directed Audi AG Germany as well as its India office in Mumbai to file their reply to the plea by November. Speaking to The Indian Express, advocate Shilpi Jain Sharma said that the court notice for trademark violation had been sent to the Audi offices in Germany as well as Mumbai.

The Bombay HC order for Maggi

The Bombay high court on Thursday lifted the ban on Nestle's flagship instant noodle brand Maggi.

However, Maggi will not be up for sale in the market immediately.

Maggi samples will have to go through fresh tests and if results are fine, only then can Nestle manufacture and sell Maggi in India.

Relief for Nestle, Bombay HC sets aside food regulator's ban on Maggi

As per the HC order, Nestle will have to send five samples of each variant of noodles for fresh testing to three labs in Punjab, Hyderabad and Jaipur.

If lead content is found below permissible limit by the three labs, Nestle will be allowed to manufacture Maggi noodles.

While passing the order, the Bombzy HC said that "principles of natural justice was not followed while banning Maggi noodles".

"Laboratories where tests were performed were not authorized," the HC said.

So, consumers will have to wait a while longer for Maggi to be back on the shelves.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

SC stays Gujarat HC proceedings against 27 judges

The Supreme Court today stayed proceeding against 27 retired and sitting judges initiated by Gujarat HC for allegedly getting plots in violation of law.

A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Datu stayed the proceeding on a plea of a retired HC judge challenging Gujarat HC order.

The case was mentioned before the bench in morning and the CJI agreed to grant an urgent hearing and posted it 12:40 PM. The bench took up the matter at noon and stayed the HC order after a brief hearing.

In an unprecedented move, the High Court had on Monday issued notices to sitting as well as former judges, including that of the Supreme Court, over allotment of residential plots to these judges by theGujarat government in Neetibaug Co-operative Housing Society in Sola area in Ahmadabad.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Don't want to open Pandora's box: Gujarat Chief Justice on judges scams

A division bench of Gujarat high court comprising acting Chief Justice VM Sahai and Justice Mohinder Pal on Tuesday referred the hearing of a suo motu PIL on allotment of plots to 27 judges to a three-judge larger bench of Justice Mohinder Pal, Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice Paresh Upadhyay, which will take up the hearing on Wednesday. 

The move came following allegations levelled against the acting CJ for having "personal interest" to own a plot. 

Justice Pal became part of the division bench after justice RP Dholaria opted out after the proceedings on Monday. The new bench framed 10 questions to be decided by the larger bench-main query being whether the allotment of land to Neetibaug Judges' Cooperative Society near the HC campus in Sola and its development was carried out as per law. 

In a jam-packed court room, the questions were framed amid loud protests by advocate general Kamal Trivedi and other senior lawyers, who have been hired by the judges. The issue of allotment of plots to HC judges took an ugly turn when justice Sahai threatened the state government to unearth many more scams in the high court allegedly involving other judges. 

This happened when the advocate general requested the division bench not to limit the scope of the PIL to allotment of plots only. He was hinting at a letter written by advocate BT Rao, who not only objected to allotment of plots to judges, but had also taken exception to 60-odd appointments made for posts in Class III & IV in the high court by the acting CJ exercising his powers under Article 229 of the Constitution. 

Gujarat HC took suo motu cognizance of the land allotment issue after two former HC judges - Justice BJ Sethna and former Bombay HC Justice KR Vyas - wrote letters taking exception to the process. 

The acting CJ also told the lawyers that he wrote a letter to all sitting judges seeking their opinion on the issue. "They felt that I don't have guts to take action. I waited and waited, but no reply came," the judge said. 

Upon resistance by AG against taking two former judges' letters as PIL, Justice Sahai immediately replied, "A scam is a scam. You made me do something I didn't want to do... If you raise this issue, many more scams will come and names of 3-4 other judges will come. The chief justice has all information. I don't want to open a Pandora's box." However, Justice Sahai accused a sitting judge of allotting the laptop purchase order worth Rs 2.79 crore to his nephew.

Supreme Court refers Aadhar card matter to Constitution Bench

The Supreme Court today referred to a Constitution Bench a batch of petitions challenging the Centre's ambitious scheme to provide Aadhar card to all citizens and decide whether right to privacy is a fundamental right.

Allowing the Centre's plea, a three-judge bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde and C Nagappan, framed various questions, including as to whether right to privacy is a fundamental right, to be decided by the larger Constitution Bench."If yes, then what would be contours of the right to privacy," the apex court said while referring the matter to Chief Justice H L Dattu for setting up the larger bench.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Raj HC holds Jain practice of fast-unto-death illegal

The Rajasthan high court, in a judgment pronounced on Monday afternoon, held Santhara or Sallekhana - the controversial Jain practice, where a person gives up food and water till death - to be illegal and directed FIRs to filed against persons undertaking this practice.

The court has equated Santhara with suicide while deciding on a petition which likened it to sati.

The Jain community reacted with outrage. Jain studies scholar Manish Modi told dna, “It is deeply disappointing to hear of this judgement. Santhara or Sallekhana is an integral practice, custom and tradition of the Jain religion and has been so for the past thousands of years.”

According to him, “There is enough scriptural evidence in most ancient Jain texts composed in Prakrit, Sanskrit, Apabhramsha, Tamil, Braj, Dhundhari, Kannada, Marathi, Maru Gurjar, Gujarati etc. to show that Sallekhana was considered an ideal way of shedding the mortal coil. From ancient times till today, many Jain ascetics as well as lay followers have given up their body through sallekhana/santhara with faith in the scriptures.”

Calling the opposition to this religious practice a vilification, he said: “More can be said once the judgement is read in detail but one wonders if the opposition to the practice is part of a larger conspiracy to subvert minority religions in India.”

“Whether it’s the Christmas controversy with which the Centre tried to needle the Christian community or the Maharashtra government’s decision to ban beef, which was clearly done to target Muslims, it seems like its achche din only for the majority community,” said a senior Jain monk. “It’s like they want to browbeat us all minorities into accepting Hinduism and its way of life,” he said.

Others like Supreme Court advocate Rishabh Sancheti told dna how his phone has been ringing continuously since the judgment. “I have received several calls from across the community, seeking to challenge the decision. The outcome of the case comes as a shock to anyone who knows the core values of Jainism. Prima facie, the outcome does not appear to be correct,” he said.

Despite its historical and religious significance, Santhara has been opposed by activists, citing abuse and coercion. Among them is Jaipur-based lawyer Nikhil Soni, who filed the petition.

This native of Churu in Rajasthan – reputed as the world’s Santhara capital for its highest per capita incidence of the practice in recent history – recounted how, for years, he quietly watched many such fasts-unto-death. That was till September 2006, when Soni heard of one Bimla Devi being coerced into Santhara by her family.

“Diagnosed with terminal cancer, the elderly Bimla Devi was too weak and depressed to protest as her relatives went about publicly announcing ‘her decision’. In her final hours, when she started screaming in a last-ditch effort for food and water, her cries were drowned out by loud bhajans sung to the accompaniment of high-decibel dholaks,” he said.

“Bimla Devi’s case convinced me that Santhara is suicide, masquerading as a religious practice wrapped in the mantle of hoary tradition. At its worst, Santhara came across as nothing but ritual murder, devised to rid a family of the economic burden of caring for its elderly, seen as a burden on the family,” he said.

Mumbai-based journalist-filmmaker Shekhar Hattangadi has brought the focus sharply to this religion with his documentary Santhara (which won awards at both Bengaluru and Kolkata short film festivals). He said, just like his film, he would not want to take sides for or against the judgement. This visiting faculty at two Mumbai law colleges, explains: “Santhara, for me, is a classic example of the challenge that all faith-based societies face as they adopt modern, secular norms of governance, and the challenge is to reconcile individual freedom and personal liberty as well as a minority community’s religious rights on the one hand, and, on the other, with the need for state intervention in matters of religion.”

He pointed out how the HC has gone by the Supreme Court ruling in the Gian Kaur case of 1996. “The apex court had then ruled that Right to Life cannot mean Right to Death. The Rajasthan HC seems to have gone by that ruling,” he said.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Asst prof’s post not office of profit, MP can retain job: House panel

A Parliament joint committee has ruled that a Trinamool Congress MP, who is an assistant professor in a government-aided university, can hold both offices and avail salaries from both places.

In its draft report, the joint committee on offices of profit has stated that the office of the assistant professor in Visva Bharati University is not an office of profit.

This is contrary to the opinion of law ministry officials that it is an office of profit as it is “attached with remuneration in the form of pay”.

The joint’s committee’s report means that the MP, Anupam Hazra, will not have to take leave from the university. The report is expected to be tabled in Parliament next week. Sources said two members of the committee had expressed their dissent verbally.

Hazra, who was granted “extraordinary leave” for a year until June 1, had approached the Lok Sabha Speaker seeking statutory approval for continuing his teaching profession.

Explaining why the assistant professor’s post is not an office of profit, the report says: “University offices are not appointed by the government, but by the executive... The offices of visitor, chancellor, rector etc cannot be equated with the central or state government and they cannot be placed on the same footing.”

The panel, headed by BJP MP PP Chaudhary, has said it is “exercising abundant caution with regard to the supremacy of the Parliament to ensure that the university does not take any action that contravenes the authority of Parliament and ensure that the rights of the person mentioned in this matter are upheld.”

Earlier, law ministry officials pointed out that Hazra’s appointment was a permanent post, under pay band 3 (Rs15,600-39,100). They said the office of the assistant professor was a “subsisting, permanent, substantive position — which has an existence independent from the person who filled it... it has all the ingredients of an office and since it is attached with remuneration in the form of pay it would constitute an office of profit.”

HRD officials said a government servant is paid from the civil estimates of the government, and an assistant professor or professor of a university does not fit in this category.

In this connection, the panel has pointed out that all university staff draw their salaries and allowances from the varsity’s funds.

“The funds are contributed by the government through UGC. Hence the university and its offices do not draw any profit from the government,” says the report.

Once the decision is implemented by the university, Hazra will not be required to take on any additional responsibility other than teaching, and may not have to follow the condition that stipulates a particular number of working hours.

The panel referred to a DO letter dated September 10, 1974, that said, “...teachers who are either elected or nominated to the Parliament or state legislatures may not be required to resign their academic positions or to take long leave during the tenure of their membership”.

However, another DO issued to Vice Chancellors on March 6, 1987, said such teachers would be required to take leave of absence during their term, but they would not lose seniority .

Explain why you shouldn’t face action for Yakub coverage: Govt notice to 3 channels

The NDA Government has issued separate show-cause notices to ABP News, NDTV 24x7 and Aaj Tak alleging that these three private news television channels showed disrespect to the judiciary and the President of India by airing certain content on the day 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon was hanged. The Union Information & Broadcasting Ministry has asked these channels to explain within 15 days why action should not be taken against them for broadcasting such content.

The content includes phone-in interviews of Chhota Shakeel on Aaj Tak and ABP News in which he claimed Yakub Memon was innocent and said that four mercy petitions were dismissed in a single day. He also alleged that justice had not been done and that he did not believe the court. NDTV 24x7 had aired an interview of Yakub Memon’s lawyer who spoke about how many countries have done away with the death penalty.

The show-cause notices to the channels invoke at least three sections including Section 1(d), Section 1(g) and Section 1(e) of Rule 6 of the Programme Code prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994.

Section 1(d) states that no programme should be carried which contains anything “obscene, defamatory, deliberate, false and suggestive innuendos and half-truths.” Section 1(e) states that no programme should be carried in the cable service which is “likely to encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promote anti-national attitudes. Section 1(g) bars channels from carrying content which “contains aspersions against the integrity of the President and Judiciary”.

Yakub Memon’s hanging on July 30 came hours after an unprecedented late-night opening of the Supreme Court that eventually rejected a final plea for a stay on his execution. That order came 12 hours after the same bench had dismissed another writ petition by Yakub challenging the validity of the death warrant. Justices Dipak Misra, P C Pant and Amitava Roy also rejected objections raised by Justice Kurian Joseph a day earlier and said there was no legal lacuna in dealing with Yakub’s curative petition which was dismissed on July 21.

Sources said the I&B ministry obtained video clips of the Chhota Shakeel phone-in and Yakub’s lawyer’s statement from the Electronic Media and Monitoring Centre (EMMC) to get the quotes which have been cited in the notice.

At least three orders prohibiting transmission of channels for a period ranging from one day to 30 days have been issued by the Government so far. NDTV Good Times and TLC were taken off air for a day for content described as adult and Al-Jazeera was prohibited for five days after it did not show Jammu & Kashmir as an integral part of India in the country’s map.

Once the channels reply to the show-cause notice, an inter-ministerial committee, which includes officials from the Home, External Affairs and Defence ministries, will review their response and decide on the next step.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Supreme Court to Katju: Those who criticise must be ready to face criticism too

Retired Supreme Court Judge Markandey Katju failed to get relief from the apex court Monday, as a three-judge bench led by Justice T S Thakur said “he should be mentally prepared for his own criticism if he criticises others”. The bench was hearing a petition filed by Justice Katju for quashing Parliament’s resolution against him for his comments against Mahatma Gandhi and Subhash Chandra Bose. In March, both the houses had passed resolutions condemning the former Press Council of India chairperson for his blog post in which he called Gandhi “a British agent” and Bose “a Japanese agent”. Justice Katju claimed the resolutions curtailed his right of free speech and harmed his reputation. 

But the bench said that prima facie, there was nothing wrong in the houses passing the resolutions, and it did not interfere with the fundamental rights of the former judge. The SC bench, also comprising Justices Gopala Gowda and R Banumathi, asked Justice Katju’s lawyer, Gopal Subramanium, why the blog post should not amount to defamation. “If this article is defamatory, everyone has a right to condemn him. Justice Katju is entitled to his view but the Parliament and others may disagree. If there is one action, it must be against Justice Katju for writing this article. What he said about Mahatma and Bose may amount to defamation,” said the bench. “Once you (Justice Katju) have chosen to expose yourself to public life, you will have to accept criticism,” said the bench. Questioning the need for the petition, the bench said: “Has your right to speak been taken away? No. Can anybody ever take it away from Justice Katju? We don’t think so. If he wants, he can again make such statements. But like he has a right to free speech, others also have a right to speak in criticism.” The bench said Parliament was entitled to put its condemnation on record. “The moment you write something and submit it to the judgement of the people, anyone can criticise you… anyone can disagree with you. If an individual can criticise you, why can’t an institution like Parliament? It is not a slur but a strong criticism of your views,” it said. Subramanium argued that Parliament could not pass the resolution without giving him notice. “How has this resolution affected your right? Which fundamental right of yours has been curtailed? If you want, you can still say what you had been condemned for. You can hold onto your personal belief but then you cannot prevent your criticism. We don’t see how the resolution is an injury to your reputation,” said the bench.

Rape violates human rights of victim: Supreme Court

Rape as an assault on human rights and personal sovereignty of a woman, the Supreme Court has said that no sympathy should be shown to persons committing such heinous crime.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant awarded 10-year imprisonment to two convicts for raping their 14-year niece in Sirsa in Haryana. It said that case depicts a sordid situation where the relatives betrayed the trust of a minor girl who was subjected to gang rape.

"It has to be borne in mind that an offence of rape is basically an assault on the human rights of a victim. It is an attack on her individuality. It creates an incurable dent in her right and free will and personal sovereignty over the physical frame. Everyone in any civilized society has to show respect for the other individual and no individual has any right to invade on physical frame of another in any manner," it said.

The court that there is no justification for awarding lesser punishment as they had taken advantage of their social relationship with the victim who innocently trusted them.

"It is not only an offence but such an act creates a scar in the marrows of the mind of the victim. Anyone who indulges in a crime of such nature not only does he violate the penal provision of the IPC but also right of equality, right of individual identity and in the ultimate eventuality an important aspect of rule of law which is a constitutional commitment," it said.

"The perpetrators of the crime must realize that when they indulge in such an offence, they really create a concavity in the dignity and bodily integrity of an individual which is recognized, assured and affirmed by the very essence of Article 21 of the Constitution," it said.

The court also turned down the plea of convicts who submitted that the victim was above 16-years of age and she consented to get into physical relation with them.

"The mental and physical condition of a young girl under the dominion of two grown up males who had become slaves of their prurient attitude can be well imagined. The consent, apart from legal impressibility, cannot be conceived of," it said.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Govt rethinks porn ban order, will block only sites related to child porn

The Department of Telecom's order blocking 857 porn websites, it appears that the government is taking a step back and partially lifting the ban.

IT and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told India Today TV channel and news agency PTI that the ban will be partially lifted and websites that do not feature child porn will be unblocked. This implies that the ban will be partially lifted.

In damage control mode, Prasad took a high-level review meeting today, which was attended by IT Secretary R S Sharma and Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, among others.

Explaining the rationale behind the original directive, Prasad said, "The instant action is basically in obedience to the observation of the Supreme Court where the court asked the department to take action on the list of alleged porn sites provided by the petitioner."
The minister said that the government is committed for freedom of communication on the internet.

"The government compliments the dissemination of idea on the social media. We have launched the mygov platform seeking views of people of India on developmental agenda and lakhs of people are participating on this platform," he said.

The ministry of communications and information and technology, in its order of July 31 under section 79(3)(b) of the IT Act 2000 had banned 857 websites terming their content "immoral and indecent". Some websites in the list were found to be hosting jokes, memes and other humourous content without any pornography.

Vyapam: Why transfer whistleblower? HC asks state

Taking cognizance of frequent transfer of Vyapam scam whistle-blower Dr Anand Rai and his wife Dr Gauri Rai, both working with state health department, Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court on Tuesday gave two-day time to state government to explain the reason behind transfer and directed state not to take any action against the couple till the outcome of the case.

While hearing a petition filed by Dr Anand Rai challenging transfer of his wife, who has been transferred twice in last one month, double bench of Justice PK Jaiswal and TK Kaushal issued notice to state giving them two day time to reply.

HC observed that newspapers are reporting about deaths of people associated with scam and recently one whistle-blower had died. So what is need for transfer of whistle-blower (Anand Rai), who has got security from police, to out of Indore?