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Supreme Court weekly round-up

Apoorva Mandhani
18 Oct 2015 1:32 PM GMT
Supreme Court weekly round-up
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The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court declared the National Judicial Commission (NJAC) unconstitutional, as it violates basic structure of Constitution of India, by a 4:1 Majority. Justice J.S Khehar, Justice M.B. Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel declared the 99th Amendment and NJAC Act unconstitutional while Justice Chelameswar upheld it.

The Court on Monday directed the Delhi government and the MCD to levy an Environment Compensation Charge (ECC) ranging from Rs 700 to Rs 1,300 on commercial vehicles, largely trucks, entering the capital and cause pollution. A three judge special bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu, Justice Arun K. Mishra and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel ordered that the charge should be levied on all commercial vehicles entering Delhi from November 1 on a trial basis for four months. It has been fixed as Rs 700 for light vehicles and 2 axle trucks and Rs 1, 300 for 3 axle trucks and 4 axle trucks and above.

While adjudicating a Civil Appeal, the Supreme Court on Monday observed that the State as a model employer should construe provisions of a beneficial legislation in a way that extends the benefits thereunder to its employees, instead of curtailing it. The Court also noted that this is a peculiar case in which both the appellant and respondent have acted in accordance with law.

The Court on Tuesday dismissed a plea filed by sacked IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for making BJP President Amit Shah a party in his plea seeking probe into role of senior BJP and RSS functionaries in the 2002 post-Godhra riots. A bench comprising Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra noted that the Special Investigation Team appointed by it had given a clean chit to senior BJP and RSS functionaries mentioned by Bhatt in his petitions after investigating similar charges made by Jakia Jafri, whose husband and former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was killed by rioters.

The Court on Thursday dismissed an appeal filed by father of a deceased rape victim against the acquittal by High Court. Apex court Bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice R.K. Agrawal held that prosecution could not prove the guilt of the accused by any cogent evidence and, therefore, it is difficult to hold that it was the accused who committed rape upon the deceased and thereafter killed her.

The Court on Thursday held that no copyright subsists in the title of a literary work and a plaintiff or a complainant is not entitled to relief on such basis except in an action for passing off or in respect of a registered trademark comprising such titles. An Apex Court bench comprising Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice S.A. Bobde was considering a criminal appeal preferred by Krishika Lulla and others against the order of Bombay High Court refusing to quash a complaint and process issued under Section 63 of the Copyright Act, read with Sections 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The Court on Wednesday dismissed a Petition seeking a direction that the hearing on the beef ban in Jammu and Kashmir be heard by a three-Judge Bench of the High Court at Jammu instead of the Srinagar Bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court. The observation of the Bench comprising Chief Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra, came when the Counsel for the Petitioner, who had filed the PIL before the Jammu Bench of the High Court, said that there could be a law and order problem if matters are heard and decided at Srinagar Bench.

Other happenings

The Court on Monday sought the view of its Registry and the Supreme Court Bar Association on a petition which among others complained that the day care being set up for the benefit of lawyers with small kids did not have adequate facilities and the in-charge was not adequately qualified. The notice by Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice N.V. Ramana has however for the time being only been limited to the plea for extending the age limit of kids who can be admitted to the day care to six from existing two years and also wanted the facilities to be extended free. At present the charges are Rs 5,000 per month.

Author Shobhaa De won the first round of her battle with Shiv Sena as the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Maharashtra government and the state assembly not to take any action against her for her tweets against decision to make it mandatory for multiplexes to screen Marathi movies during prime time. A bench headed by justice Dipak Misra made an attempt to broker peace between the socialite and Maharashtra government asking De to just reply to the state assembly’s notice making her stand clear. Posting the matter for further hearing on November 18, the court asked the assembly not to take any coercive action against her till then.

The Court on Wednesday issued notice to social activist Teesta Setalvad and her husband on a petition filed by CBI seeking their custodial interrogation for failing to cooperate in a probe relating to a Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) case against them. The investigation agency has challenged the August 11 order of the Bombay High Court granting anticipatory bail to the duo after it was denied by the Sessions Court saying.

In a significant order, the Supreme Court on Thursday stayed the 2014 amendment of Maharashtra Police Act which banned dance performances in various places including bars in the state. A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra however gave power to licensing authorities to regulate “indecent” performances.

The Court on Thursday permitted the linking of Aadhaar cards in welfare schemes that also included MGNREGA, all pension schemes and the provident fund besides ambitious flagship programmes like ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna’ of the NDA government. The social welfare schemes, aimed at reaching to the door steps of the poorest of the poor, were in addition to LPG and PDS schemes in which the apex court had allowed the voluntary use of Aadhaar cards on August 11.

The Court recently observed that there was “total confusion” in the country due to various personal laws governing religious practices and asked the Modi government to clarify if it was willing to implement the Uniform Civil Code. The bench posed the query while hearing a PIL challenging the legal provision that forces Christian couples to wait for at least two years for divorce whereas other religions like the Hindu Marriage Act and the Parsi Marriage and the Special Marriage Act, and Divorce Act prescribed only one year for it.

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