05 March, 2016

Legal News : 5 March 2016

India has blocked a proposed visit by US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)
India has blocked a proposed visit by US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which sought to “discuss and assess religious freedom“ conditions in the country. India had earlier denied visas to USCIRF officials in 2009.The independent, bipartisan US federal government commission hit back in a press release, saying it would continue to pursue a visit to India in the light of “ongoing reports from religious communities, civil society groups and NGOs that conditions for religious freedom in India have been deteriorating since 2014“.
SC takes note of lawyer  violence
The Supreme Court expressed concern over the recent incidents involving lawyers which have brought the legal profession into disrepute, saying there was a need for introspection.  
“It is time that we need to start introspection. It will help Bar Council of India BCI) also. Some lawyers are now agitating, some are fighting, some are stoning, only a few are arguing,“ a bench, comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices R Banumathi and U U Lalit, said.
The observations were made as SC referred to a five judge Constitution Bench the challenge to All India Bar Exam which has been made mandatory for advocacy licence. The bench told BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra that it wants that the issue is settled once and for all.
Supreme notice to CBI over documents seized in secretariat raid at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s principal secretary Rajendra Kumar’s Office
The Supreme Court agreed to hear the Delhi government's plea seeking return of papers seized by CBI during raids at chief minister Arvind Kejriwal's principal secretary Rajendra Kumar's office and issued a notice to the agency .
A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Prafulla C Pant sought response from CBI on an appeal filed by the AAP government challenging the Delhi high court order which had allowed CBI to keep the documents with itself. Senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan and advocate Chirag C Shroff, appearing for the Delhi government, contended that investigating agencies were not authorised to seize documents unrelated to the case and the agency under the garb of search warrant could not seize documents indiscriminately .
Judicial exam: Supreme Court panel clears 12 more candidates for interview
A one-member inquiry committee, headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice (Retd) P B Reddy, who was also asked to reevaluate answer papers of candidates of 2104 Delhi Judicial Services Examination marred by allegations of favouritism and nepotism, has found discrepancies in the marking pattern and cleared 12 more candidates for interview.
The committee submitted its report before a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra in a sealed envelop.The bench, however, allowed the lawyers, appearing for some unsuccessful candidates, to peruse the report and adjourned the case.
For 80 vacancies in the Delhi subordinate judiciary , more than 9,033 candidates had appeared in the preliminary examination in 2014. At least 614 had appeared for the main examination out of 659 who had qualified the prelims. However, the Delhi HC found that only 15 candidates got the required grades to be invited for an interview.
SC glare on privilege motion by UP House::Court Stays Summons Against Editors
Does Parliament or state legislatures have jurisdiction to initiate breach of privilege motion against a person merely for allegedly maligning the image of a minister or individual members?
The Supreme Court agreed to settle the controversial issue while staying proceedings against editors of a media group for airing a sting operation on the role of UP minister Azam Khan in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.
Questioning the UP assembly's decision to summon the editors of two channels of the group for allegedly defaming Azam Khan, a bench of Justices J S Khehar and C Nagappan said airing of sting operation did not amount to interference in the functioning of the House and prima facie breach of privilege was not made out.
The assembly had on February 23 summoned the editors of the channels to present their side on the sting operation after a seven-member panel, headed by Samajwadi MLA Satish Kumar Nigam submitted its report to the House on February 16, concluding that the channels had so ught to put Khan in the dock without “adequate evidence“.
Court will pass order to shield good Samaritans
Bystanders or passers-by would not have to suffer or face harassment for extending helping hands to road crash victims as the Supreme Court accepted the Centre's guideline and standard operating procedure (SOP) for protection of ‘good Samaritans'. The apex court also indicated it would pass an order making these binding on state governments.
The road transport ministry in its affidavit had stated that in the absence of any statutory backing it was felt that it will be difficult to enforce these guidelines. The ministry had prayed that the court may consider issuing the guidelines through “an order binding all states and UTs until a new law is enacted“ to protect good Samaritans.
The ministry guidelines and SOP say that anyone who chooses to assist an injured person or someone in distress on the road need not reveal his her identity or contact details. There is also a provision to take disciplinary action against officials who coerce or intimidate a good Samaritan to reveal his name or personal details.
The guidelines and SOPs deal with how to cross-examine any good Samaritan, who volunteers to be a witness in court, how the hospitals need to treat those who rush injured people and the dos and don'ts for police in such cases.
Opposition seeks withdrawal of AMU affidavit in Supreme Court
An united opposition in Rajya Sabha demanded that government withdraw its affidavit in the Supreme Court that says Aligarh Muslim University is not a minority institution. NDA had recently withdrawn UPA's affidavit in the apex court that supported AMU's minority status.
The matter came to the fore during the Zero Hour when Javed Ali Khan of Samajwadi Party cited news reports about HRD ministry's reluctance to allocate budget for AMU's three off-campus centres in Malappuram, Kishanganj and Malda. He said, “HRD minister Smriti Irani is threatening to close them. Vice-Chancellor says they are legal.“ As soon as Ali ended his speech, leaders of most of the opposition parties showed their support for his concern. But the matter did not end there.
Karnataka High Court issued notice to Mallya on SBI's arrest plea
The Karnataka high court issued a notice to liquor baron Vijay Mallya and his defunct Kingfisher Airlines and nine others on a petition filed by bankers, including SBI, seeking his arrest and impounding of his passport for defaulting on loans of more than Rs 7,000 crore.
Thirteen bankers, including SBI, approached the high court after they moved the DRT to take up their pleas on a priority basis. SBI heads the consortium of 17 lenders to the grounded Kingfisher Airlines.
Sterling And Wilson Wins Supreme Court Building Contract
The company's scope of work under the contract will include installation of complete electrical, mechanical, and public health and safety systems by June 2017.
The Supreme Court of India has awarded the mechanical, electrical, and public health (MEP) system contract for its Additional Office Complex adjoining Pragati Maidan in New Delhi to Sterling and Wilson Pvt Ltd, one of India's leading MEP companies and part of Shapoorji Pallonji Group.The complex being constructed for the Supreme Court of India is located in the heart of Delhi and covers a total area of approximately two million square feet.
The project has three basements and 5 blocks of different heights averaging 7 to 8 stories. The new complex will boast of a solar powered system of approximately 1,000 kVA that will be set up by Sterling and Wilson, the company said in a press release.
The energy generated by the solar plant will be used for powering the building while the surplus power will be supplied to the grid.
Supreme Court to hear Centre’s review petition over 2014 transgender verdict 
The apex court in its April 2014 judgement had said transgender people should be recognised as the ‘third gender’ and acknowledged their right to declare themselves either  male, female or third gender.
The Supreme Court will the Centre’s review petition seeking clarity on issues arising out of a historic 2014 judgement that accorded legal recognition and rights to transgender people.
The judgement asked the government to give other backward class status to transgender people, pointing out their poor social and economic status and widespread social discrimination meted out to them.
The apex court in its April 2014 judgement had said transgender people should be recognised as the ‘third gender’ and acknowledged their right to declare themselves either male, female or third gender.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment  is close to finalising the Draft Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2015, and will try to place it in Parliament during the ongoing budget session.
The draft bill has a chapter that details offences which will be treated as atrocity and violence against transgender people.
As per the draft bill, the Union government will, by a notification, constitute a National Council for Transgender Persons to advise the central and state governments on the issues related to improving the quality of life of transgender persons.
Telecom Companies in  Supreme Court:100 per cent network coverage is against Law of Physics
As the Supreme Court agreed to immediately hear a petition filed by cellular operators against a law making them strictly liable to consumers for call drops, telecoms said a “100 per cent call drop-free network” is impossible under the Law of Physics and will cost them hundreds of crores in compensation payable to customers every month.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), on the other hand, maintained that its Telecom Consumers Protection (9th Amendment) Regulations, 2015  which was upheld by the Delhi High Court last month was framed purely in the interest of the common man.
The debate in the court then moved on to how a strict liability can be imposed on service providers without even a mechanism to certify whether a call was dropped or never got connected at the receiver's end.
Both the prosecution and defence advocates entered the realm of Physics to disprove each other's arguments about the plethora of reasons behind call drops, which range from entering no coverage zone like a basement or lift when a conversation is on to complex terrains, moving vehicles, presence of huge water bodies, new buildings and even “landlords shutting off power”.
The petition said TRAI has no power or authority to grant compensation. It said the regulations were inconsistent with the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. The petition said telecom licence issued to the companies under Section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act do not prescribe 100 per cent coverage.
India Challenges U.S. Worker Visa Fees at WTO
India has filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization challenging the U.S. system for handing out temporary work visas to foreigners, a program that has become a lightning rod for criticism in the U.S. presidential campaign.
The complaint challenges increased fees charged by the U.S. for certain types of visas available for highly skilled workers, the WTO said. India’s information technology companies with operations in the U.S. have been among the most frequent users of these visas, bringing tens of thousands of Indian workers to the U.S.
The U.S. passed a law last year that doubles the fees to $4,000 and $4,500, depending on the kind of visa. Republicans and Democrats had both criticized the program for allowing companies to replace U.S. workers with cheaper labor from developing nations, such as India.
Google, Facebook, Microsoft, others join Apple's legal fight against FBI
A broad array of technology firms joined Apple's legal fight on encryption warning of a dangerous precedent if the company is forced to help the government break into a locked iPhone.
Three tech associations which represent Apple's main business rivals including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo announced a joint brief supporting Apple's efforts to challenge an order that would require it to help unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino attackers. 
A number of other companies and associations were expected to file briefs in the case, which has divided the American public and set off a highly charged debate about the limits of law enforcement in accessing digital device.

For any query:- legalbuddy@gmail.com

No comments: