Goa: Supreme Court scraps all mining leases for iron ore, no operation post March 15

Source: NDTV
The SC found that the second renewals were illegally granted by the State government
The Supreme Court cancelled the renewal of 88 mining leases given in Goa in 2015. The Court has ordered that licenses must be granted anew through a fresh process of bidding. These renewals were in fact done for the second time and were supposed to be valid until March 15th.
The bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur stated the reason behind the cancellation was a violation of the legislature. A public interest litigation (PIL) had been filed by the Goa Foundation in 2015 that raised questions on the renewal of the leases.
The Court also asked that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) be set up to determine the money that had been earned by the companies since the renewal of the licenses. Prashant Bhushan, who was representing the plaintiff said that the state policy was not in alliance with the apex court’s policy on optimum usage of natural resources.
The state government should have ideally held a fresh bidding as opposed to renewing the licenses a second time. “The second renewal of the mining leases granted by the State of Goa was unduly hasty, without taking all the relevant material into consideration and ignoring available relevant information and therefore not in the interests of mineral development,” it stated.

Senior SC Judges take on CJI, say democracy is at stake

Image Courtesy: R.V. Moorthy/ The Hindu
L to R: Justice Kurien Joseph, Justice Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Madan B Lokur, all Supreme Court Judges, addressing the media in New Delhi.

New Delhi, January 12: Four senior Supreme Court Judges addressed the media to place before the country their worries, which, according to them, failed to move the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. The rare press meet by Justices J Chelameshwar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph, was a first in the history of India and SC.

The SC judges appealed to the country to save their establishment if the people of India wanted democracy to survive.

Assignment of Judge Loya case is seen as reason behind the historic press conference by the top 4 judges.  Justice Chelameswar, senior most lawyer in SC, stated his concern over the corrosion and compromise taking place within the establishment of the judiciary and also within the portals of the SC.

Justice Chelameswar said that they had met CJI with an explicit request which regrettably couldn’t convince him that they were right therefore, they were left with no option except to speak the nation that please take care of the establishment.

Countering reports of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra holding a press conference on 12th January, 2018, after four senior SC judges took on the CJI in an extraordinary Press Conference, the Bar and Bench reported that the CJI is hearing cases as usual in the court.

ANI reported that the Attorney General KK Venugopal met CJI Misra over the accusations made by the 4 senior SC judges.

Letter sent by four judges to Chief Justice Dipak Mishra.

Sources: The Hindu, The Economic Times

Playing the National Anthem henceforth not mandatory in cinema halls: SC

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stated that henceforth, playing the national anthem before a film is screened will no longer be mandatory for cinema halls. On Monday, the government filed an affidavit asking the Supreme Court to reconsider its November 2016 order which made it mandatory for cinema halls across the country to play the national anthem before screening a film. It also stated that an inter-ministerial committee was being set up to look into modifications in the existing rules- Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, if required.

The apex court, permitting the request, iterated that citizens ought to show respect to the national anthem and that the committee must look into all aspects. The government also let petitioner Shyam Narayan Chouksey take up his prayers with the committee. The top court added that the earlier order which granted disabled persons an exemption from standing during the anthem would still stand valid.

“We are happy. Part of our demands has been met. We will give our suggestions to the panel,” Abinav Shrivastav, lawyer for the petitioner said.

According to the court’s initial order in November 2016, the audience must “stand up in respect” till the anthem is finished playing. That, in its opinion, would “instill a feeling within one, a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism,” the bench had ordered; led by Justice Dipak Misra, who later became the Chief Justice of India.

Based on the affidavit, the committee will be headed by Additional Secretary (Border Management), Ministry of Home Affairs, with representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Department of Legal Affairs, Department of School Education and Literacy and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability.

Cauvery Water dispute: SC to declare verdict within four weeks

Image Courtesy: Sruthisagar Yamunan
Supreme Court will be giving out its verdict on 22-year-old Cauvery river dispute within four weeks.

New Delhi, January 09: The Supreme Court has decided to declare its verdict on the Cauvery water dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka within four weeks. The water-sharing row had snowballed into a massive problem resulting in protests and subsequent violence in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu after the Supreme Court directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu in September 2016.

A three-judge bench of the apex court has reserved its verdict on appeals filed by Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu against the 2007 order of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT) on sharing of the river water.

There has been enough confusion on the row for over two decades, said the Top court. The court has also said that any forum is allowed to discuss further on the matter after the verdict on this issue is delivered after four-weeks. The three judges involved in passing the judgement are Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.

The court remarked the following during the hearing of the plea filed in 2016 by a citizens’ group called Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC) led by philanthropist Kiran Mazumdar Shaw. He sought its intervention for the supply of drinking water to residents of Bengaluru and surrounding districts.

There has been an acute shortage of drinking water in Bengaluru and other districts of South Karnataka. Bengaluru city alone requires more than 19 TMC of water and the annual drinking water requirement of districts near the Cauvery basin including Bengaluru is around 26 TMC.

The BPAC has appealed to the court that citizens of Bengaluru need adequate drinking water and their right to life needed to be protected by the top court.


Sources: The Times of IndiaScroll.in

Section 377: Plea referred by Supreme Court to Bench

The Supreme Court has referred Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to a larger bench on Monday. This decision comes after 5 petitioners from the LGBT community filed a petition against the law stating that they live under constant fear of police, as reported to The Indian Express.

The apex court stated that an individual must have control over the choices they make, despite their sexual orientation. The court also observed that, “A section of people or individuals who exercise their choice should never remain in a state of fear.”

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, who appeared on behalf of the petitioners stated the importance of Article 21 for an individual. He further added that the petition may be referred immediately because the specific section directly impacts the life and fundamental rights of his clients. Datar reiterated that the, “Right to choose my partner is part of my fundamental right to privacy,” according to The Hindu.

With the Supreme Court passing the Right to Privacy Judgement in August this year, there is still a hope for the section to be quashed in near future. Also because the bench stated in its judgment said that, “Sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy.”

The colonial era legislation criminalizes sexual relationship between members of LGBT community since the relationship according to the law is ‘unnatural.’ With a new hearing, the earlier petition between Naz Foundation and Suresh Kumar Kaushal filed in 2014 will be revisited before a bench.

Cabinet approves bill that seeks to make ‘Triple Talaq’ a punishable offense

A bill that declares’ Triple Talaq as punishable offense has been approved by the Union Cabinet. According to the draft bill, triple talaq would be made illegal and void and would invite a jail term of 3 years for the husband. Earlier in August 2017, the Supreme court had declared the Islamic practice of triple talaq as unconstitutional 

Judges held that triple talaq was an evil and violated the woman’s right to equality. The government believes that triple talaq continues to be practiced despite the court’s order.  

The draft bill titled the ”Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage)” was drafted by an inter-ministerial group headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. Among the others, who contributed to the bill were External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and his junior PP Chaudhary.  

The draft bill would only pertain to cases of instant triple talaq or ‘talaq-e-ibadat.’ It would empower the victim to approach a magistrate and seek ”subsistence allowance” for herself and her children. 

Sources: NDTV, The Times of India

Image Source: PTI

SC reserves order on the Cauvery dispute

SC reserves order on the Cauvery dispute

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on the Cauvery river water dispute involving Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry on the 2007 Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal.   The apex court bench completed the hearing earlier today.

According to Hindustan Times, during the course of the hearing today, the court ordered that the Centre shall have to frame a scheme for the implementation of its orders on the river water-sharing between the states and Puducherry after the judgement is pronounced.

Reserving the order, the three member bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Amitava Roy, and Justice AM Khanwilkar asked the parties involved to present written submissions on various aspects of the issue that had emerged during the course of hearing on the 29 days which spread over eight months.

In September last year, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry filed petitions seeking modification of Cauvery Tribunal’s final order, which was delivered in 2007. In its order, the court had allocated the highest share to Karnataka followed by Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

The apex court had, on July 11 commenced the final hearing on the appeals filed by the three states and the Union Territory which saw the reserving by the court today.

Sources: ANI, Hindustan Times