19 Jun 2013
in Advocacy, Announcements, Censorship, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law, Minority Rights
Tags: India, National Security Agency, New Delhi, Public Interest Litigation, Ranjan Gogoi, Supreme Court, Supreme Court of the United States, United States
Agreeing to hear the PIL filed by a former Dean of Law Faculty of Delhi University Professor S N Singh, a bench of justices A K Patnaik and Ranjan Gogoi posted the case for hearing next week.
In his plea, Singh has alleged that such large scale spying by the US authorities is detrimental to national security and urged the apex court to intervene in the matter. He has claimed that the Internet companies are sharing information with the foreign authority in “breach” of contract and violation of right to privacy.
“As per reports, nine US-based Internet companies, operating in India through agreements signed with Indian users, shared 6.3 billion information/data with National Security Agency of US without express consent of Indian users.Such larges cale spying by the USA authorities besides being against the privacy norms is also detrimental to national security,” the petition, filed through advocate Virag Gupta, has said.
Singh has submitted that it is a breach of national security as government’s official communications have come under US surveillance as services of private Internet firmsare being used by them. He has sought directions to the Centre to “take urgent steps to safeguard the government’s sensitive Internet communications” which are being kept outside India in US servers and are “unlawfully intruded upon by US Intelligence Agencies through US-based Internet companies under secret surveillance program called PRISM”.
23 Mar 2013
in Advocacy, Announcements, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law, Minority Rights, Prison
Tags: Bombay, Bombay High Court, Friday, India, Khanwilkar, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Public Interest Litigation
Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Mar 23, 2013, 03.32 AM IST
: The Bombay high court
on Friday pulled up the state government for repeated instances of custodial deaths
and asked what it was doing to prevent them.
A division bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice A P Bhangale was hearing a public interest litigation filed in 2008 by the India Centre for Human Rights and Law ( ICHRL).
ICHRL’s advocate Rebecca Gonsalves told the court that there were 250 custodial deaths between 2001 and 2011. “Maharashtra leads with the highest number. Three days ago, there was a custodial death in Mumbai,” she said, referring to the case of a suspected thief who died in the lock-up ofChembur police station after allegedly banging his head against the wall.
The judges asked additional public prosecutor Aruna Pai what precautions the government had taken and whether it had issued any directives to avoid such deaths. “What change had been brought in the administration to prevent such incidents from happening again and again,” asked Justice Khanwilkar.
The judges have directed the secretary (special) of the home department to file a personal affidavit disclosing the “precautionary measures and preventive mechanisms” introduced by the government since the court took cognizance of the issue in 2008.
The judges also directed that in case no credible steps have been taken by the government, it must define an action plan and place it before the court at the next hearing on April 4.
14 Mar 2013
in Advocacy, Announcements, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law
Tags: Bombay High Court, Indian Standard Time, Nagpur, Naxal, Naxalite, Petitioner, PIL, Public Interest Litigation
TNN | Mar 14, 2013,
NAGPUR: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed on Wednesday before the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court seeking judicial intervention and relief into the various aspects of Naxal undertrials. The petitioner, Soma Sen is a member of the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights and associate professor of English Department at the Nagpur University. She is engaged in social work for more than two decades.
The PIL deals with the plight of the several farmers and other residents of Naxal-affected Gadchiroli who had been nabbed during various operations launched by the government forces in the district. Following their arrest, the petitioner has claimed that the trials are often delayed on numbers of pretexts including not providing escort guards to enable undertrials to remain present before the court.
The petitioner has also claimed that delayed trial of the victims has been aggravated by the violation of the fundamental rights of the prisoners and other laws pertaining to present them before the court. Sen has also prayed before the court to discourage videoconferencing facilities which do not allow the undertrials to have access to their lawyer
12 Feb 2013
in Advocacy, Announcements, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law
Tags: Intelligence agency, Intelligence Bureau, National Technical Research Organisation, New Delhi, Prashant Bhushan, Public Interest Litigation, Research & Analysis Wing, Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the Centre on a PIL demanding regulatory mechanism and accountability of Intelligence Bureau (IB), Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) and National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) under a statutory regime.
Also issuing notices to the three intelligence agencies, a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir asked them to file replies within six weeks.
The Bench requested Attorney General G E Vahanvati to assist the court on the next date of hearing.
Earlier, senior advocates Anil Divan and Prashant Bhushan brought to the notice of the court that petitioner NGO ‘CPIL’ has amended the prayers of the writ and instead of a directive to the Centre, they now sought a declaration that RAW, IB and NTRO, “which are functioning without any appropriate legislative oversight are a threat to the rule of law and fundamental rights”.
Questioning the very basis of policing powers being exercised by the agencies in absence of any statutory provision, Divan said that phone tapping and audio-video recording were examples of powers that these agencies exercised without being authorised under any law.
Citing excerpts from the books written by a few former intelligence agencies’ officers, the lawyer said their writings highlighted several instances of illegalities and corrupt practices.
The court however refused to entertain this argument. “Somebody says something in his book will be a matter of personal opinion. Conversation between a former Prime Minister and an officer cannot be a subject matter of this petition,” it said.
Divan then said the Bench should, in the larger interest of public, admit this petition since the actions of the agencies pertained to violation of the right to privacy.
“The court needs to look at the issue. All we want is a mechanism where these agencies are made accountable. Let the Supreme Court issue some guidelines. The court should also take into account a possibility of every state having one such agency of its own by way of an executive order,” argued Divan.
The Bench then allowed amendments in the prayers and issued notice.
The petition has sought regulation of the intelligence agencies in line with the supervisory mechanisms available in the USA and the UK.
Seeking to bring the agencies under an Act to be passed by Parliament and to ensure they are not misused by the government, CPIL claimed that the agencies were acting “without any sanction of the law” and hence violated the rule of law as enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution.
It has also asked for audit of these agencies by the Comptroller and Auditor General since they were funded by public money.
24 Jan 2013
in Advocacy, Announcements, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law, Minority Rights
Tags: Coal, Coal mining, Mines, New Delhi, Public Interest Litigation, Regulation, Sharma, Supreme Court
PTI | Jan 24, 2013,
The Supreme Court
has said that the Mines and Minerals Act gives no power to the Centre to allocate coal
blocks to companies.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday questioned Centre’s power to allocate coal blocks to companies, saying it has a lot of “legal explanation” to do as the statutory Act empowers only the states to undertake this task.
The apex court said that the Centre cannot undermine the the Mines and Minerals Act
which has given no power to it to allocate coal block to companies.
A bench of justices RM Lodha and J Chelameswar asked the government to go through other legislations particularly the Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, to find out whether it is empowered to allocate the resources.
“There is absolutely no power given to the Centre under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. There is no provision overriding the Act. You require to give a lot of legal explanation,” the bench said.
“The question is does the Centre have power under the Act and does it have the power to undermine the entire statutory mechanism. Can you override the statutory provision of the Act… It is very doubtful, legally perhaps,” it said.
Attorney general GE Vahanvati said he does not want to give an out of cuff answers to these questions and sought time to go into these issues.
The bench granted six weeks time to the Centre to respond on the issue.
“From your affidavit itself it appears that minerals and mining lease has to be executed by the state and not by the Centre. It strikes at the root of all the allocation,” the bench said.
The bench was hearing a PIL filed by advocate ML Sharma and various members of civil society including former CEC N Gopalaswami, ex-Navy chief L Ramdas and former Cabinet secretary TSR Subramanian, seeking a SIT probe into the coal block allocation scam.
08 Jan 2013
in Advocacy, Health Care, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law, Violence against Women, Women Rights
Tags: Colin Gonsalves, GlaxoSmithKline, Human Rights Law Network, India, Indore, Maharaja Yeshwantrao Hospital, Public Interest Litigation, Supreme Court
TNN | Jan 8, 2013,
INDORE: The Supreme Court on Monday admitted a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by local activists alleging that pharma companies had conducted unauthorised drug tests of their vaccine on tribal girls.
The petition alleges that pharma companies, including Glaxo Smithkline and MSD Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd tested gardasil and cervarix — two unproven HPV vaccines purported to prevent cervical cancer — on nearly 24,000 tribal girls in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, including 44 persons at the Maharaja Yeshwantrao Hospital (MYH). Of 44 patients subjected to drug trials in the state, 10 were males.
PIL filed by Kalpana Mehta of Indore, Nalini Bhanot and V Rukmini Rao representing Gramya Resource Centre for Women alleges that the testing had led to adverse effects on girls’ health and the pharma companies ignored their further treatment. Seven girls allegedly succumbed during the vaccine trial. The petitioners were represented by Colin Gonsalves of the Human Rights Law Network.
Admitting the case, Justice S Radhakrishnan and Justice Dipak Misra have directed the Union government to immediately file its reply on the issue.
The apex court has also directed that the Christian Medical College, Vellore, should be asked to examine the medical record of the girls in question and submit a report to the court.
This order comes in the backdrop of allegations by activists that multinational companies are influencing state governments to carry out clinical trials on humans, which are often not transparent or regulated efficiently. The PIL alleges that PATH, an NGO, had initiated a project for the introduction of the two vaccines in India by signing a MoU with ICMR even before they were licensed by the Drugs Controller of India.
05 Jan 2013
in Advocacy, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law, Minority Rights, Political Prisoners
Tags: Aftab Alam, Extrajudicial killing, Manipur, N. Santosh Hegde, New Delhi, Public Interest Litigation, Supreme Court, United States Supreme Court
Published: Friday, Jan 4, 2013, 15:04 IST
Place: New Delhi
| Agency: PTI
The Supreme Court has finally agreed to appoint a commission to inquire into encounter killings in Manipur.The commission comprising former apex court judge Santosh Hegde, former CEC J M Lyngdoh and a police officer will inquire into the five encounter killings, ruled the apex court.
Earlier, on November 5, the apex court rapped the Manipur government for not filing a report on alleged extra-judicial killings in the state, saying “people are dying out there”. A bench headed by justice Aftab Alam directed Manipur to file its response within two weeks and also asked the attorney general to assist the court in deciding the case. “Do it quickly. People are dying out there. File your report by November 19,” the bench said when the counsel appearing for the state sought six weeks’ time to file the response.
The court’s order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) initiated by an association of the families of the alleged victims, pleading with the apex court to set up a special investigation team and direct inquiry into all such cases. The association said over 2,000 extra-judicial killings have taken place in the state, but no one has been held guilty till date. The petitioner said innocent people with no criminal record had been killed by the security forces and no proper investigation had been carried out in such cases. The NGO had alleged that instead of registering FIRs (first information reports) against BSF personnel, they were registered against the dead and the cases closed.
04 Jan 2013
in Advocacy, Announcements, Human Rights, Justice, Kractivism, Law, Violence against Women, Women Rights
Tags: Criminal law, Friday, Member of parliament, Member of the Legislative Assembly, PIL, Public Interest Litigation, Rape, Supreme Court
PTI, The Hindu
The HinduThe apex court, which was hearing two PILs filed after the December 16 gang-rape
incident, said it can only give notice to the government on limited issues as some of the prayers
made in the petitions were beyond its jurisdiction
. File photo
The Supreme Court on Friday declined to hear a plea for disqualification of MPs and MLAs charge sheeted for crime against women but agreed to go into issues of fast track trial of rape cases and implementation of laws for safety of women.
The apex court, which was hearing two PILs filed after the December 16 gang-rape incident, said it can only give notice to the government on limited issues as some of the prayers made in the petitions were beyond its jurisdiction.
“The issue of disqualification of MPs and MLAs is not in our jurisdiction,” a bench comprising justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said.
“What is our power on MPs and MLAs. Obviously, such a sweeping relief can’t be sought,” the bench said referring to the prayer made for a direction for suspension of MPs and MLAs who have been charge-sheeted for crime against women.
The bench, during the hearing, suggested that the PIL petitioners should have taken a ground that if the investigation into the cases was not up to the mark, it should be treated as “misconduct” on the part of the Investigating Officer.
The bench also asked the government to apprise it about the terms and references of justice J.S. Verma committee which was set up to review and strengthen the existing law on rape and offences against women.
While the submission was made about the disqualification of politicians facing criminal cases, the bench observed that without going into the status of a person in life, they should be put on fast track trial.
The bench was told that out of 4835 MPs and MLAs in the country, 1448 are facing criminal cases.
However, the bench said at the moment it was not concerned with the issue and decided to hear the PIL on the limited issues.