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Constitution Bench hearings can be live-streamed, to begin with: Centre

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Supreme Court of India

New Delhi, July 23: The Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that, to begin with, it favoured live-streaming of hearings by Constitution Benches and Court Number one presided over by the Chief Justice of India.

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud that initially a screen could be installed in a hall where lawyers not appearing in the matter but nevertheless interested, as also interns, could sit and watch.

It will help reduce crowding in the courtroom, he said.

The top court had on February 9 sought Venugopal’s assistance while dealing with separate petitions filed by senior counsel Indira Jaising and Swapnil Tripathi.

Jaising sought the live-streaming and videotaping of court hearings on issues of national importance that have a bearing on a large section of people.

Jaising cautioned against the misuse of such recorded proceedings as she sought “all safeguards” to be put in place to ensure that there was “no commercial use” of the recordings.

Jaising told the bench that the safeguards could include no reproduction of recorded footage by anyone, no matter how small or big, without the court’s permission.

As lawyer Mathews J. Nedumpara sought the bench’s permission to be impleaded as a party in the matter, he was told to assist the Attorney General.

“Let the justice system take the credit and not an individual,” Justice Chandrachud remarked as Nedumpara said that if he was not allowed to be impleaded, then the cause will not get highlighted.

In the last hearing on July 9, the court had said that the live-streaming will bring in transparency and facilitate access to justice since the litigants will know what had transpired during case hearings.

“I may not be present in the court, yet I will be able to know what is happening,” Justice Chandrachud had said while pointing out that clients/litigants have the right to know if a matter was adjourned, and why.

“We are only enforcing the principle of open-court hearing,” the court had said.

The apex court had said that if they go for live-streaming, it will start off with one court as a pilot project and it could then be extended to the remaining courts.

The Attorney General had told the court during the last hearing that the central government will set up a dedicated channel like Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV if the apex court decided to go for live telecast of its proceedings.

IANS

India

Delhi riots: Umar Khalid denied permission to meet family in police custody

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Umar Khalid

A Delhi court on Monday dismissed an application filed by former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Umar Khalid, arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, seeking permission to meet his family during police custody.

On September 13, Delhi Police’s Special Cell had arrested Khalid following a case related to the widespread violence which broke out in Delhi’s northeast area in February this year, after which he was sent to police custody for 10 days. His remand period is slated to conclude on September 24.

The former JNU student had knocked on the doors of the court requesting it to allow him to meet his family for two days for a period of 30 minutes each. Khalid’s counsel Trideep Pais informed the court that a verbal assurance was given to them by the police for meeting, but later they were denied permission.

Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad apprised the court that the meeting could influence the interrogation and pose a hindrance. It was submitted that the accused was already meeting with his counsel and if he has to convey any message to his family members, he may convey that through them.

Prasad further asserted that there is no provision in CrPC for allowing the family of the accused to meet with the accused during his custody remand. He has also submitted that meeting is permissible during judicial custody as per jail rules.

“In the totality of facts and circumstances of the case, I see no merit in the application, and accordingly, the application is dismissed,” the Additional Session Judge noted in an order dated September 19.

Prasad had earlier sought 10 days’ police custody of Khalid to confront him with huge technical data running into 11 lakh pages, “as well as other evidence collected during investigation of present case and also to examine at length about other suspects and various other aspects.”

Khalid is accused of hatching a criminal conspiracy to cause communal unrest by inciting people protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens.

Besides this, Khalid is also named in chargesheets filed in various cases over the riots. Communal violence broke out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after clashes between CAA supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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India

Pak violates ceasefire on LoC in J&K’s Poonch

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Jammu and Kashmir Shopian Indian Army

Pakistan resorted to unprovoked firing and intense shelling in three sectors on the Line of Control on Monday in J&K’s Poonch district.

Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Devender Anand said at about 2.30 p.m. Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing with small arms and intense shelling with mortars along the LoC in Shahpur, Kirni and Qasba sectors of Poonch district.

“The Indian Army is retaliating befittingly,” the spokesman said.

Pakistan has been violating the bilateral ceasefire agreement with impunity since the beginning of this year.

24 civilians have been killed and over 100 injured in over 3,186 ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the LoC in J&K since January this year.

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Govt to move six Bills in LS for passage on Monday

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Parliament of India

The central government is slated to move six Bills, including four pertaining to ordinances, for passage in the Lok Sabha on Monday. These Bills will be moved soon after the House assembles for the day at 3 pm.

The Bills are related to the Ministries of Home Affairs, Finance, and Health.

These are the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020; Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020; Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020; Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020; and Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

As per the legislative Business of the Lok Sabha, Home Minister Amit Shah’s name is listed to move the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020, for passage.

The FCRA Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Sunday to make earlier law more stringent and make Aadhaar number mandatory for registration and give government powers to stop utilisation of foreign funds by an organisation through a “summary enquiry”.

The Bill, which seeks amendment to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, proposes to include “public servants” in the prohibited category and decrease administrative expenses through foreign funds by an organisation to 20 per cent from 50 per cent earlier.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will move the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 to amend the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, as passed by the Rajya Sabha, for consideration and passage.

The Bill will replace the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on June 5 this year.

She will also move the Factoring Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for consideration and passage. The Bill provides amendment to the Factoring Regulation Act, 2011.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will move the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for consideration and passage. The Bill seeks amendment to the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. The Bill will replace the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on April 22 this year.

The Minister will also move the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for passage. The Bill seeks amendment to the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. It will replace the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 promulgated by the President on April 24 this year.

Harsh Vardhan will later move the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for its passage. The Bill seeks to amend the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970, as passed by the Rajya Sabha. It will replace the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 which was promulgated by the President on April 24 this year.

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