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SC rejects plea for SIT probe, says image of top court damaged




New Delhi, Nov 14: The Supreme Court on Tuesday junked a petition, terming it as “scandalous”, for seeking an SIT probe into the allegations of graft involving a retired Orissa High Court judge and observed that the whole controversy has damaged the image of the top judiciary and created doubts about its integrity.

“Unnecessary doubts about the integrity of the institution have been created,” the bench of R.K. Agrawal, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar observed, as it deprecated the petition by lawyer Kamini Jaiswal.

Observing that nobody, including the judges of the top court, were above law, Justice Mishra pronouncing the judgment also said ‘No’ to contempt against the lawyers – Prashant Bhushan and Jaiswal – with a hope that “all will unitedly work for the welfare of the institution (top court)”.

Saying that “none of us” in the higher echelons was above law, the court said, “It is the duty of both the Bar and the Bench, to protect the dignity of the entire judicial system”.

“We find that filing of such petitions and the zest with which it is pursued, has brought the entire system in the last few days to unrest. An effort was made to create ripples in this court; serious and unwanted shadow of doubt has been created for no good reason whatsoever by way of filing the petition which was wholly scandalous and ought not to have been filed in such a method and manner. It is against the settled proposition of law,” said Justice Mishra speaking for the bench.

In case “majesty of our judicial system” has to survive, the court said that such kind of petitions should not have been preferred that too against the settled proposition of law laid down by this court.

Regretting that “unnecessary” aspersions were cast without proper verification of the facts, the court took a dim view of the plea for recusal of Justice Khanwilkar from the bench on the grounds that he along with Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud had heard the matter relating to a Lucknow-based private medical college linked to the admission scam.

Saying that it was “far fetched and too tenuous” that any judge of this court, much less Justice Khanwilkar, has any interest in the subject matter before them, the court said: “There is no room for reasonable suspicion even in remote, and the argument is simply too derogatory to be made, probably that has been made anyhow, for somehow to protect the case and to bring disrepute to this court.”

“We cannot fall prey to such unscrupulous devices adopted by the litigants, so as to choose the benches, as that is a real threat to the very existence of the system itself and it would be denigrated in case we succumb to such pressure tactics,” the judgment said.

Pointing to the scenarios created by two petitions as “disturbing”, which has “unnecessarily brought into disrepute” the entire judiciary for “no good cause whatsoever”, the court said: “It passes comprehension, how it was that the petitioner presumed, that there is an FIR lodged against any public functionary.”

Referring to averment that FIR was against the highest judicial functionaries, the court said, “We do not find reflection of any name of the Judge of this Court in the FIR.”

Recalling its earlier judgment, the court said, “There is no question of registering any FIR against any sitting Judge of the High Court or of this Court as it is not permissible as per the law laid down by a Constitution Bench.”



Delhi HC to hear plea challenging acquittal of A Raja in 2G case




New Delhi, March 21: The High Court to hear a plea filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the acquittal of former telecom minister A. Raja and others in the 2G spectrum case on Wednesday. 

Yesterday, the probe agency filed the appeal in the high court after a special CBI court in a shocking judgment in last December acquitted all the 19 accused, including A. Raja, in the Rs 30,984 crore scam.

The CBI had back then stated it would lodge a petition challenging the trial court order.

The high court after examination found strong grounds for an appeal and fixed March 21 for hearing.

Earlier, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had on Monday filed a plea in the Delhi High Court against the same.


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Sushma should apologize to 39 bereaved families for ‘misleading’ them: Congress



Randeep Surjewala

New Delhi, March 20 : The Congress on Tuesday demanded that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj should apologise to families of the 39 Indians, killed in Iraq, for “misleading” them and also demanded that the Narendra Modi government compensate them.

The party also accused the government of crossing all limits of “insensitivity, inhumanity, and being merciless” as well as politicising the issue.

“The 39 Indians were kidnapped in June 2014. The entire world and the neighbouring countries had confirmed that they were not alive,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

However, the government had however assured the country and the families seven times from 2014 till July 2017 that they were and being provided basic amenities and food, he said.

“When Indian media went to Mosul in July 2017 and reported that the Indians were not alive, Sushma Swaraj and Modi government rejected it. When an eyewitness came forward said that the ISIS have killed the Indians, they rejected it too.

“Sushma Swaraj had said when Iraqi Prime Minister comes to India, the government will confirm it from him, but didn’t do anything,” he added.

“Did the government think about the families even once, when they were desperately waiting for their dear ones for four years.

“Now they are blaming us for politicising it. 39 Indians have died, but the minister is praising the government and thanking the PM and her junior minister,” he said.

Surjewala also asked what was the need to give the statement in a hurry. “Was it not because Iraq’s Martyrs Foundation was going to hold a press conference in the afternoon today (Tuesday) and was about the reveal the truth about the killing of 39 Indians? She, therefore, gave the statement in a hurry.

“She gave the statement when the issue of no-confidence came up. Sushma Swaraj and Modi government should not have done politics with this….Unfortunately, even today they are politicising it.”

“We demand, if there is slightest of humanity left, the minister should visit all the families and apologise to them for misleading them. Modi government must also compensate the families respectfully for the long wait of four years,” he demanded.

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Aadhaar exposes transgenders to surveillance, harassment: SC told

Appearing for Swatantra, advocate Jayana Kothari told the court that agencies collecting demography information for Aadhaar could not insist on the disclosure of gender identity as it is covered under privacy.



Majority of transgendera

New Delhi, March 20 : The Supreme Court was told on Tuesday that the parting of personal biometric and demographic information by transgenders and sexual minorities under the Aadhaar Act exposes them to “violence, surveillance and harassment by the State and private persons”.

“Once the personal demographic details of transgenders and sexual minorities is declared, it exposes them to surveillance, violence, and discrimination including infringement of their fundamental right to life and liberty, equality, free speech and movement,” NGO Swatantra told a constitution bench.

The five-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, is hearing a batch of petitions including by former Karnataka High Court Judge K.S. Puttuswamy, Magsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha, feminist researcher Kalyani Sen Menon and others challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act.

Appearing for Swatantra, advocate Jayana Kothari told the court that agencies collecting demography information for Aadhaar could not insist on the disclosure of gender identity as it is covered under privacy.

Pointing to the Supreme Court granting transgenders the legal status by recognising them as the third gender, Kothari said the compulsory disclosure of gender identity while parting with biometric and demographic information was violative of the Constitution’s Article 14.

Referring to the top court judgment upholding right to privacy as a fundamental right, Kothari said this would also include the right to informational privacy which permits individual control over the dissemination of personal information including gender identity.

Mentioning past and prevailing laws, including the Karnataka Police Act and Telangana Eunuchs Act, Kothari said “these laws continue to enable the State to target and prosecute (people from the) transgender community solely on the basis of their gender identity”.

Kothari told the court that Telangana Eunuchs Act is a “draconian colonial legislation” which empowers the State to make arrests solely on the basis of gender identity.

“A brief review of existing legislation, ongoing litigation and State action (and)prosecution confirms that wherever the State has been permitted to aggregate information about transgender community it has often led to systematic discrimination and oppression of the community in India,” Kothari said.

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