03 March, 2016

Legal News : 3 March 2016

Supreme Court ordered the Maharashtra government to grant licences to dance bars by March 15 2016                                                                                             
The Supreme Court ordered the Maharashtra government to grant licences to dance bars by March 15 while ruling that police couldn't insist on monitoring live CCTV feed of performances.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and S K Singh modified six of 25 other conditions that cops had imposed on bar and restaurant owners and asked the latter to comply with the norms within three days. The state was then directed to grant licences to the bars within 10 days of compliance.
Appearing for the Maharashtra government, additional solicitor general Pinky Anand said police were insisting on be ing supplied live CCTV footage of performances because they believed that dance bars, which operated till the wee hours, were centres for many other activities and there was a need to keep a constant watch on them.
The SC bench asked police to keep men posted in these dance bars if they feared anything untoward would happen there.
However, the bench agreed to separate the performers in bars from the audience by a three-feet railing. It also agreed that the restaurant area and the dance bar area would have to be separated by a non-transparent partition. It also asked hotel and bar owners to verify the criminal antecedents of persons before employing them in their establishments.
Only certified photographers at ASI monuments
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is amending its photography policy and making it mandatory for photographers to be licensed to operate commercially in protected monuments. The decision was taken to tackle the menace of freelance photographers who flock around centrally-protected monuments pestering visitors to click their pictures.
ASI has 3,686 ancient monuments, archaeological sites and remains of national importance and manages them through 27 circles and two mini circles.
According to the proposed amendments, “No person shall, within a protected monument, hawk or sell any goods or wares or display any advertisement in any form or show a visitor around or take his photograph for monetary consideration, except under the authority of, or under, and in accordance with the conditions of, a licence granted by an archaeological officer or additional director general, ministry of tourism.“
ASI will determine the number of photographers required per monument by assessing the extent and size, growth potential and footfall at the sites. It will then provide the details to the ministry.
Despite High Court order, South Delhi Municipal Corporation wants control over pension
South Delhi Municipal Corporation is insisting on distributing its own pension even after the Delhi high court's order that all three corporations would hand over their pension scheme to the city government.
The corporation has directed the legal department to move the high court to be allowed to disburse the pensions for old age people, widows, destitutes and physically challenged through its councilors. In January , the court had passed the order after the north and east corporations failed to pay due to severe financial crunch. The north and east corporations have already handed over the operation to the government. The corporation has distributed pensions only till December 2014.
Indian Institute of Mass Communication student faces action for casteist posts
A student of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) was suspended on Wednesday from its hostel for three weeks for allegedly making casteist and offensive posts on a social networking website, while another who had complained regarding the matter was barred from the residential premises for a week for using “indecent and vulgar language“ against a faculty member.
The action comes a month after 17 students of IIMC complained to the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry regarding the posts.
Hit by allegations of casteist remarks, the IIMC, run by the I&B ministry , had last month ordered a probe into the incident and had set up an inquiry committee for the same. The ministry had also ordered a probe into the case under the aegis of the ministry joint secretary Mihir Kumar Singh.The committee was set up after a group of students, including those from SC and ST community , had approached authorities alleging that “ill will“ and “hatred“ against them was being spread by some of their peers after they protested over Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula's suicide.
Case  registered against BJP MLA from Rajasthan  for calling Rahul Gandhi ‘traitor’                    A local court in Meerut registered a case against a BJP MLA from Rajasthan for calling Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi a “traitor“.
Kailash Chaudhary , the MLA, had during a `kisan sammelan' in Rajasthan a few days ago said Gandhi was a “traitor“ for his stand on the JNU row. The case was filed by a Congress worker, Rikin Ahluwalia, under Section 210 of CrPc . March 15 was fixed as the date of hearing for the case.
Supreme Court: Bring LLB on par with MBBS, BTech
The Supreme Court started the arduous task of initiating “long overdue“ reforms in legal education and in the profession of advocacy to put the LLB degree on a par with those of MBBS and BTech.“The system is crying for reforms and we must do something,“ a bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice U U Lalit said.
The CJI said there was a general feeling that students enrolled in LLB courses when they didn't get admission into other professional streams. “If students do not get into MBBS or BTech courses, they join LLB. Legal profession should not be a free for all profession. So, it needs to be reformed,“ he added.
The bench said any addition to the pool of legal professionals must be talented and of good quality . “Administration of justice is as important as the profession of a doctor.If one is not permitted to become a half-baked doctor, you can't also become a half-baked lawyer,“ the CJI said.
The bench referred the matter to a three-judge bench for evolving criteria to weed out non-serious lawyers from entering the profession.
Central Vigilance Commission told in the Supreme Court that many government officials had complained of being harassed for exposing the alleged malpractices in their departments
Thirteen years after Indian Engineering Service (IES) officer Satyendra Dubey was murdered for exposing corruption in Golden Quadrilateral highway construction project, whistle-blowers continue to face life threats and harassment for raising voice against irregularities in government departments.
Underscoring the need to have a comprehensive legislation to protect whistle-blowers, the Central Vigilance Commission told the Supreme Court that many government officials had complained of being harassed for exposing the alleged malpractices in their departments and they were being punished by way of transfer and departmental proceedings.
Taking a serious view of the loopholes in the existing mechanism to protect whistle-blowers, a bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur and U U Lalit asked the Centre to file affidavit on how to improve the current set-up for their protection and also maintain confidentiality .
With Whistle-blowers Protection law pending in Parliament for years and in the absence of any effective administrative set-up to deal with the issue, the court said there was absolute vacuum, which could not be allowed to go on and directed the government to file a response within four weeks. The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO -Parivartan-seeking its direction for an effective whistle-blowers protection programme. The petition was filed after Dubey was killed and the apex court had in 2004 directed to put in place a suitable machinery to deal with the complaints of whistle-blowers.
SEBI bans 16 entities from commodity trade  
Markets regulator Sebi cracked down on 16 entities for irregularities in the commodities derivatives market by banning them till further orders for manipulating trading in castor seeds futures on National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX) a few months ago. Of the entities banned by SEBI, four are commodities brokers -Mid India Commodities, Investmart Commodities, Neer-Ocean Multitrade and Leo Global Commodities -and other well known names in the space which include Ruchi Global, Stride Multitrade, Vijay Saraf and Sisne Polymers.
SEBI investigations into trading of castor seeds in the February contracts found that the aggregate positions of these fours traders and their clients amounted to about 10% of India's total annual production of castor seed, and was worth about Rs 540 crore. All these entities had either traded in castor seed contracts or facilitated the trades on NCDEX.
SEBI investigation found that these entities which had large positions in castor seed faced margin pressure after prices of these seeds in the spot market fell by around 14% between January 1 and January 27, 2016 and abou 20% in futures market. SEBI also found that these four bro kers, directly or indirectly collectively held 62.48% of open position in February 2016 castor seed contracts.
The Supreme Court of Ohio in the U.S.A has declined to accept an Indian origin man’s appeal in a sexual assault case
The Supreme Court of Ohio in the US has declined to accept an Indian-origin man's appeal in a sexual assault case.
Upholding the February 2015 conviction by a Logan County Common Pleas jury in Ohio for kidnapping and gross sexual imposition, the court refused to accept the plea of Gurwinder Singh, 28, who is serving a nine-year sentence for sexual assault on a woman.
The assault occurred at the Valero gas station in Stokes Township in Ohio on February 25, 2013 where he worked at the time. He was labelled a Tier-II sex offender requiring him to register with authorities for 25 years.
He had entered a guilty plea to rape in 2013 and was sentenced to five years in prison.Singh took the case to trial in February 2015. He was found guilty of both charges and given a nine-year sentence. He is also facing deportation.

Subramanian Swamy moves court for access to Congress books

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy approached a court in Delhi seeking summoning of certain documents related to the financial details of Indian National Congress (INC), Associated Journals Pvt Ltd and Young Indian Pvt Ltd for the purpose of investigation in the National Herald case. In an application moved before Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen Swamy has sought to summon balance sheet, receipts, income and expenditure statements for assessment years 2010- 11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 of INC, Associated Journals Pvt Ltd (AJL) and Young Indian Pvt Ltd (YI).
Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi, Motilal Vora, Oscar Fernandes, Suman Dubey and Sam Pitroda are accused in the case. Swamy had accused Sonia, Rahul and others of conspiring to cheat and misappropriate funds.
On February 20, the court had directed that some documents summoned from the Ministries of Finance, Urban Development and Corporate Affairs, Income Tax Department and other agencies in the case would be kept in a sealed cover till further orders, after noting that Delhi High Court was seized of the matter. The direction had come after the accused in the case had argued that Swamy should first satisfy the court about the relevance of the documents which were ordered to be summoned.
The court had on December 19, 2015, granted bail to Sonia, Rahul, Vora, Fernandes and Dubey, who had appeared before it pursuant to the summons issued earlier. Pitroda was granted bail on February 20 when he had appeared in the court.
The Supreme Court had earlier granted exemption to Gandhis from personal appearance in the trial court. Sonia, Rahul, Vora (AICC Treasurer), Fernandes (AICC General Secretary), Dubey and Pitroda were summoned for alleged offences under section 403 (dishonest misappropriation of property), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420(cheating) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC.
Texas abortion case goes before shorthanded US Supreme Court
The US Supreme Court takes up a major abortion case focusing on whether a Texas law that imposes strict regulations on abortion doctors and clinic buildings interferes with the constitutional right of a woman to end her pregnancy.
Eight justices will hear the case, not the usual nine. The February 13 death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who opposed abortion and backed restrictions on it, means the court no longer has five conservatives who might support more restrictive abortion regulations nationwide.
The court potentially could split 4-4, with its four liberal justices opposing the abortion restrictions and its four conservatives backing the regulations, an action that would let stand a lower-court ruling that affirmed the Texas law but would not set a nationwide legal precedent.
The state contends the Republican-backed 2013 law protects women's health. The abortion providers who have challenged it assert that it is aimed at shutting down their clinics.
The court has not ruled in an abortion case since 2007.
The Texas law requires abortion doctors to have "admitting privileges" at a hospital within 30 miles (48 km) of the clinic so they can treat patients needing surgery or other critical care. Abortion providers say the provision already has prompted clinics to close because this formal hospital affiliation is difficult for clinic doctors to obtain.
The abortion providers also are challenging provisions in the law, not yet in effect, that mandate that clinics have costly, hospital-grade facilities. The Supreme Court found a constitutional right to end a pregnancy in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case. That decision was affirmed in 1992, as the justices ruled that any regulation must not impose an "undue burden" on women seeking an abortion.                                               

13 students studying in various law colleges in Aurangabad approach high court seeking law varsity
Thirteen students studying in various law colleges in Aurangabad have approached the Bombay high court seeking implementation of the Maharashtra National University (NLU) Act, 2014 to be established in Aurangabad.
When the matter came up for hearing , government pleader Amarjeet Singh Girase pointed out to the court that the government has on Wednesday itself put up an advertisement in newspapers for the post of vice chancellor for the National Law University at Aurangabad. Following this, the bench comprising Justice S S Shinde and Justice P R Bora adjourned the matter .
The students have approached the court stating that if the NLU had been established at Aurangabad in June 2012 as per the undertaking made by the then chief minister, minister for higher and technical education, the principal secretary of law and judiciary department and the principal secretary of higher and technical education department, owing to the regional reservation, they would have certainly had a reasonable opportunity to be considered for admission in NLU at Aurangabad.
Petitioners argued that they have been deprived of the opportunity to receive NLU education owing to the callous attitude of the state in not establishing the NLU at Aurangabad.

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