Next Chief Justice of India favours reservation in higher judiciary


 

R. BALAJI
New Delhi, July 1: Chief Justice of India-designate Justice P. Sathasivam has favoured reservation for members of the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes in the higher judiciary, such as Supreme Court and high court judges’ posts.

Justice Sathasivam, who will take over as the country’s Chief Justice on July 19 from the incumbent, Justice Altamas Kabir, felt that members of the SCs, STs and OBCs could be elevated to the higher judiciary by giving them certain concessions in the appointment process, provided they fulfilled minimum requirements.

In an interview with The Telegraph here today at his residence, Justice Sathasivam said that such an arrangement would go a long way in assuring all sections of the society that their well-being was taken care by the country, irrespective of their social moorings.

“Yes, you are correct. We need to have some sort of reservation and representations for SCs, STs and OBCs. But at the same time we cannot ignore the minimum standards which are already in vogue for appointment. It does not mean we have to select a person far junior or who lacks merit. But we have to give them some concession,” the judge said.

“But they must satisfy the minimum requirements. It is in our (judges) mind. You can also say it is in my mind. I am anxious that persons from SC, ST and OBCs are appointed. Of course, there are members of the OBCs who are already in the higher judiciary,” Justice Sathasivam said in response to a query.

Although not specifically related to the ongoing tussle between the Bengal government and the state election commission on the former’s plea to re-schedule the panchayat polls in view of the Ramazan month, the Chief Justice-designate said courts and the election commission have to take note of public sentiments.

Refraining from directly commenting on the Bengal situation, Justice Sathasivam said: “Normally, the courts and the election commission have to take note of the sentiments of the people if the majority of the people feel inconvenienced. For example, during the Ramazan month, many employees leave their offices early. Even judges leave the courts early… that is because a devout Muslim is not allowed even to swallow his saliva. So we can’t have rigid rules or any straitjacket formula for such an issue. It all depends on the facts of each case.”

He rejected the government’s bid to bring in a judicial appointments commission to replace the present collegium system. Justice Sathasivam said the government could not claim that it would have its own representatives in the judiciary.

“The government cannot include their names as, by and large, the high court and the Supreme Court collegiums keep everything in mind while giving representations to all sections. Law officers like advocates-general, additional advocates-general, central government law officers, government pleaders are provided representation in the appointments,” he said.

The Chief Justice-designate agreed with a suggestion that judges of the Supreme Court should have a cooling period before accepting post-retirement jobs in tribunals like TDSAT (the Telecom Disputes Settlement Authority Tribunal), CAT (the Central Administrative Tribunal), NCDRC (the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission) to insulate the judiciary from allurement from political executives.

Conceding that the judiciary was not 100 per cent free of corruption, Justice Sathasivam said that the institution was still transparent unlike other wings like the legislature and the executive.

He pointed out that if a presiding judge in a subordinate court passed an order on the basis of some extraneous considerations, it was liable to be set aside by the higher judiciary — a remedy not available to the citizens before the other wings of the government.

 

 

 

#India -SC sets aside 2009 ruling, says kicking daughter-in-law is not Cruel #goodnews #Vaw


NEW DELHI: Four years after it shocked women by ruling that kicking a daughter-in-law was not an act of cruelty as defined under Section 498A of Indian Penal Code, the Supreme Court on Thursday erased it from court records.

Allowing a plea by National Commission for Women (NCW), a bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices P Sathasivam and G S Singhvi set aside the July 27, 2009 judgment by which it had quashed the charges under Section 498A against Bhaskarlal Sharma and his wife Vimla Sharma who were summoned by the trial court for allegedly kicking their daughter-in-law Monica Sharma.

A bench of Justices S B Sinha and Cyriac Joseph had said in the 2009 judgment, “Allegations that appellant No.2 (Vimla) kicked the respondent (Monica) with her leg and told her that her mother is a liar may make out some other offence but not the one punishable under Section 498A.

“Similarly, her allegations that the appellant No.2 poisoned the ears of her son against the respondent, she gave two used lady suits of her daughter to the complainant (Monica) and has been giving perpetual sermons to the complainant could not be said to be offences punishable under Section 498A.”

However, if the mother-in-law takes away the gifts given to the couple at the time of the marriage, it amounts to ‘breach of trust’ as specified under Section 406 IPC, the bench had said.

Appearing for NCW, senior advocate Indu Malhotra on Thursday argued that if allegations of physical violence and taking away of ‘stree-dhan’ (valuables of the bride) did not constitute an offence under Section 498A of IPC, then it would send a very wrong signal and have retrograde effect on the object of the provision to curb violence and cruelty against women in matrimonial homes.

Malhotra argued that the complaint filed by Monica Sharma against her in-laws was quashed by the apex court when the matter was at the initial stage of issuance of summons by the trial court. “This will send a very wrong signal,” she said.

Solicitor general Mohan Parasaran, appearing for the government, supported the NCW’s plea for setting aside of the judgment and requested the court to consider the petition filed by Bhaskarlal Sharma and his wife Vimla Sharma afresh.

Vimla’s counsel U U Lalit questioned the locus standi of NCW in a criminal case and said the apex court did not rule that kicking of a daughter-in-law was not an offence under Section 498A but merely said after appreciating the entire evidence that a case of cruelty against the daughter-in-law was not made out.

But the bench agreed with Malhotra and Parasaran, recalled its July 27 judgment and posted the matter for fresh hearing before another bench.

 

 

IMMEDIATE RELEASE-SC directs compulsory registration of FIRs in all missing children cases


Press Release

 

17 Jan., 2013, New Delhi:  In a major breakthrough, the Supreme Court of India has passed landmark directions for registration of First Information Reports (FIRs) in every complaint of missing children in the country.

In a writ petition filed by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a Supreme Court bench headed by a Chief Justice of India, Justice Altamas Kabir, and of Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice Jasti Chelameswar, has expressed serious dissatisfaction over the lukewarm response from all state governments from across the country on the issue of missing children. The Court has summoned the Chief Secretaries of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Arunachal Pradesh, to appear in person on 5th Feb. 2013, as these states have even failed to appear before the court and had not filed any status reports.

Accepting the arguments of Mr. H.S. Phoolka (Senior Adv.) and Mr. Jagjit Chhabra (Advocate on Record) appearing for the petitioner that every day hundreds of children are going missing without a trace and law enforcement agencies are not serious in their efforts to stop this crime and immediate steps for the recovery of these children must be taken, the Court directed immediate registration of FIRs. The Court has also accepted recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission to set up Special Juvenile Police Units at every police station across the country with a dedicated Child Welfare Officer/Special Juvenile Police Officer, to swiftly act in cases of all children in need of care and protection as well as in conflict with law.

According to BBA, almost 100,000 children go missing, with over 30,000 remaining untraced each year in the country (as per National Crime Records Bureau data). However, less than 10,000 cases are ever registered. Mr. R. S. Chaurasia, Chairperson BBA said, “Govt. Accepts that 7 children go missing every hour. In the absence of a clear definition of ‘missing child’ coupled up with apathy, lackadaisical approach and no respect for children especially those belonging to the poorer sections of society, these directions of the Supreme Court will be a shot in the arm for our efforts against organised crime of trafficking involving these missing children.

“Many times the complaints from parents, especially those of adolescent girls, result in insensitive and lewd remarks from the police that the girl may have eloped with her lover, leaving the parents in lurch for tracing their children all by themselves”, he added.

 

Warm Regards

 

Shri. R.S Chaurasia

Chairperson,

Bachpan Bachao Andolan

 

 

Supreme Court notice to govt on PIL over Aadhar #UID


200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

TNN | Dec 1, 2012, 12.40 AM IST

 

 

Supreme Court notice to govt on PIL over Aadhar
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine the legal sanctity behind the much hyped Aadhaar cards being prepared by the Unique Identification Authority which will be the sole proof for the government’s scheme for direct transfer of cash to a poor person’s account.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine the legal sanctity behind the much hyped Aadhaar cards being prepared by the Unique Identification Authority which will be the sole proof for the government’s scheme for direct transfer of cash to a poor person’s account.

A bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice J Chelameswar issued notice to the Centre on a PIL by a retired judge of Karnataka high court, K S Puttaswamy, who alleged that the government, by going ahead with distribution of UID numbers and cards to citizens, was bypassing Parliament which was still considering a bill on this issue.

The PIL said collection of personal data by the government not only violated the citizen’s fundamental right to privacy but was also an executive act in overreach of Parliament, where National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2010, was still pending for consideration.

Senior advocate Anil Divan questioned the grant of UID numbers and Aadhaar cards to illegal migrants at a time when the bill was pending before Parliament and its standing committee had rejected the bill in its report. The PIL requested the court to restrain the government from issuing UID numbers and Aadhaar cards till Parliament took a decision on the bill.

When the bench said Parliament could debate the standing committee’s report and decide not to accept it, Divan said this could happen only through a informed debate on the floor of Parliament and the government could not have pre-empted the outcome of the debate through an executive action.

The petitioners, Justice Puttaswamy and another, said they had ascertained that the Unique Identification Number Project proposed to give UID numbers not only to citizens but also illegal migrants pursuant to a scheme framed by the government through an executive order of January 28, 2009.

Referring to several judgments of the Supreme Court on right to privacy of a citizen guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, the petitioners said, “Collecting biometric information as a condition precedent for the issue of Aadhaar card is an invasion of right to privacy of citizens and thereby this can only be done by a law enacted by Parliament and hence, beyond the executive power.”

The petitioners asked, “Can executive power be used in a manner so as to make legislative power redundant or in other words, whether by the exercise of executive power, the executive can circumvent Parliament?”

 

 

 

Supreme Court to examine Section 66A of IT Act #CENSORSHIP #FOE


New Delhi, November 29, 2012

IANS

 

 

Referring to the recent arrests over Facebook comments, Chief Justice Altamas Kabir said “we were considering taking suo motto cognizance of these incidents”.

The Supreme Court will on Thursday examine the constitutional validity of Section 66A of the IT Act in the wake of recent arrests of people for posting comments critical of politicians.

The apex court headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir directed the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL).

The petition was filed by Shreyansh Singhal, drawing the court’s attention to the large-scale misuse of section 66A.

The section provides for action against people for posting offensive and annoying comments on websites or other electronic mediums.

As senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi mentioned the matter before the court, the chief justice observed: “We were wondering why nobody has filed a petition on the issue. In fact we were considering taking suo motto cognizance of these incidents.”

The PIL petitioner has drawn the attention of the court on some incidents of misuse of section 66A of the IT Act.

In April, Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra was arrested in Kolkata for circulating a cartoon depicting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

More recently, a young woman, Shaheen Dhada, and her friend were arrested in Maharashtra for a Facebook post questioning Mumbai’s shutdown following Bal Thackeray’s death.

 

Supreme Court directs Chhattisgarh government to bring Soni Sori to AIIMS for treatment


Supreme Court directs Chhattisgarh government to bring Soni Sori to AIIMS for treatment

On 2nd May a bench of Supreme Court judges, Justices Altamas Kabir and Chalameshwar, directed the Chhattisgarh state to produce the Adivasi teacher, Soni Sori, in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences within one week.  Reacting to descriptions of her continuing severe medical health problems in letters received from Soni Sori in Raipur jail and from her advocate who had met with her, the Supreme Court expressed deep concern about Soni Sori’s medical condition and recommended that she be brought to AIIMS at the earliest for a thorough medical examinationand full treatment. The Director of AIIMS has also been directed to constitute a Medical Board comprising of Heads of Gynecology, Endocrinology and other departments who would examine Ms. Sori and treat her, and give their opinion on her condition to the Supreme Court by July 10th.

Ms. Soni Sori is the Superintendent of Jabeli ashram for tribal children in Dantewada.  She had been arrested in Delhi on Oct 4 2011 for being a suspected Maoist sympathizer. Having faced police harassment for over a year while functioning in her government-appointed post, she was in Delhi at that time to file a complaint against the Chhattisgarh police and expose them in the media.  Fearing torture at the hands of Chhattisgarh police after her arrest, she had appealed to the Delhi High Court to keep her in custody in Delhi and not send her to Chhattisgarh, but her plea was rejected.  Subsequently, she was brutally tortured by the Chhattisgarh police while she was in their custody from 8-10 October 2011; torture that has since been corroborated by an independent medical examination conducted by NRS Hospital and Medical College in Kolkata.

The Supreme Court today made mention of the brutalization of Ms. Sori that was confirmed by the Kolkata Hospital which recovered three stones inserted deep inside the private parts of Ms. Soni, during the torture she was subjected to in her custodial interrogation.  The Kolkata hosptal had recommended that she be brought back for further treatment and examination at the end of 15 days –  but more than six months have passed since her examination in Kolkata in October 2011 and not only has she not been taken back for treatment, even the medicines prescribed by the Kolkata doctors are not being given to her.  The letters read out in court today described her worsening medical condition where she complains of intermittent bleeding, anemia, vaginal discharges, prolapsed uterus, difficulty in standing and walking, variably high blood pressure, numbness in limbs etc.  In these letters, it was also described how the Chhattisgarh jail authorities are withholding Ms. Soni’s treatment despite court orders, and how Ms. Sori has to suffer their taunts for simply requesting medical treatment.

Taking note of all these, the Supreme Court expressed the need for urgent medical examination and treatment of Ms. Soni Sori at an independent institution.  Since the counsel for Chhattisgarh state expressed reservations about treatment at NRS Hospital in Kolkata, the court directed that Ms. Sori should be immediately brought and examined at AIIMS.

सोनी सोरी का दिल्ली के एम्स में होगा इलाज

पाणिनि आनंद

soni sori supreme court order aiims treatment relief maoist aligation raipur
सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने सोनी सोरी मामले में अहम आदेश देते हुए उन्हें दिल्ली लाने को कहा
पुलिस उत्पीड़न का शिकार सोनी सोरी को बुधवार को देश के सर्वोच्च न्यायालय से कुछ राहत मिलती नज़र आई है. सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने इस मामले में दायर एक याचिका पर सुनवाई करते हुए आदेश दिया है कि सोनी सोरी को दिल्ली स्थित अखिल भारतीय आयुर्विज्ञान संस्थान में इलाज के लिए लाया जाए.
अदालत ने कहा है कि एक सप्ताह के भीतर सोनी सोरी को दिल्ली लाया जाए और यहाँ एक मेडिकल टीम गठित करके उनके स्वास्थ्य की ताज़ा स्थिति पर रिपोर्ट तैयार की जाए.
पीयूसीएल की राष्ट्रीय महासचिव कविता श्रीवास्तव ने कहा कि अदालत का यह फैसला फौरी तौर पर राहत देने वाला है क्योंकि इससे सोनी कम से कम अपना इलाज करा सकेगी और यातना और दर्द से कुछ मुक्ति पा सकेगी लेकिन असली लड़ाई उसकी रिहाई है. एक निर्दोष महिला को जेल में डालकर उसके साथ ऐसा बर्ताव करना इस लोकतंत्र के लिए कलंक की तरह है.
सोनी सोरी फिलहाल रायपुर जेल में हैं. उनपर माओवादियों की मदद करने के आरोप लगाए गए हैं. पेशे से अध्यापिका सोनी सोरी का कहना है कि ये सारे आरोप ग़लत है और इसलिए लगाए गए हैं क्योंकि उन्होंने राज्य सरकार द्वारा आदिवासियों के दमन के खिलाफ आवाज़ उठाई थी.
अक्टूबर, 2011 में जेल में भयंकरतम और घृणित यातनाओं को झेल रही सोनी सोरी को कोलकाता के एक मेडिकल कॉलेज में इलाज के लिए ले जाया गया था जहाँ उनके जननांगों और मलद्वार से पत्थर निकाले गए थे. ये पत्थर उनके शरीर में पुलिस अधिकारियों के द्वारा प्रताड़ना के दौरान जबरन ठूंसे गए थे.
हालांकि सोनी सोरी को कोलकाता में इलाज के लिए दोबारा 15 दिनों के भीतर ले जाने की सलाह दी गई थी लेकिन रायपुर पुलिस ने ऐसा कुछ नहीं किया. तब से सोनी सोरी की स्थिति दिन ब दिन और बदतर होती गई.
सूजन, जननांगों से लगातार रक्तश्राव और असहनीय दर्द में तड़पती सोनी सोरी अभी भी रायपुर की जेल में बंद हैं. ताज्जुब की बात है कि जिस मामले में उन्हें जेल में रखा गया है, उस मामले के बाकी कॉर्पोरेट अभियुक्तों को रायपुर हाईकोर्ट ने ज़मानत पर रिहा कर दिया है.
लगभग छह महीने से भयंकर शारीरिक और मानसिक यातना झेल रही सोनी सोरी को जिस अपमान और दर्द से गुज़रना पड़ा है, उसका अनुमान  लगा पाना भी मुश्किल है. बदले में ऐसा करने वाले पुलिस अधिकारी अंकित गर्ग को राष्ट्रपति पदक से सम्मानित किया गया है. एक महिला के इस घृणित शोषण उत्पीड़न के बाद एक महिला राष्ट्रपति द्वारा ऐसा करने वाले को सम्मानित करना खुद में न्याय और मानवाधिकारों के प्रति हमारी राजसत्ता की कलई उतारकर रख देता है.