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SC stays time limit on Amaravati set by AP high court

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In a big relief to AP chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, the Supreme Court on Monday stayed the AP high court judgement on Amaravati capital. The AP high court had in March this year directed the State government to develop the returnable plots area in three months and physically hand over them to the farmers. The court also told the state government to develop Amaravati as the capital city in six months.

The state government had challenged the orders in the Supreme Court contesting the time limit and also the high court statement which said that the Legislature has no right to decide on the capital issue. The Supreme Court, which took up hearing on the case on Monday observed that the time limit was meaningless.

The court said that it can not decide where to develop and what development it should do to a state government. It further felt that the court cannot do the duty of the legislature and executive and hence felt that the decision should be left to the government.

The court also took surprise at the AP high court setting time limit to the state government on development and building of the capital. “Is the court doing town planning work?” the judges observed. The judges further felt that development of the area for returnable plots to the farmers with the basic infrastructure of roads, drains, electricity and others, is not possible in three months.

Similarly, development of Amaravati as capital city in six months is also not practical, the court felt and posted the case to January 31, 2023. The court also issued notices to the Central government, state government and the farmers of Amaravati who are also part of the case to file their affidavits.

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Supreme Court posts Amaravati cases for Nov 28

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The two-member constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Monday posted the Amaravati and other cases for hearing on November 28. The bench told the advocates that it would hear the State government’s petition and the Amaravati farmers’ petition separately.

The state government had filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court challenging the AP high court judgement which said that the state legislature is not competent authority to make laws on the capital city.

The advocates for the state government told the bench that the high court’s observations question the federal spirit of the country, where the states are vested with certain powers. The advocates also sought to remind the bench that the Central government on several occasions in the past had categorically stated that the right of having a capital is solely left to the respective state governments.

The advocate for the state government also told the court that the high court had directed the state government to develop plots to be given to the farmers in three months and build the capital city in six months, which were impractical.

The advocates also told the court that the Amaravati farmers have filed a contempt case against the state government for not implementing the high court orders and wanted a stay to be issued.

The advocate for the state government also contested that the AP high court had heard the case even after the government withdrew the bills related to the decentralisation of capitals. The advocate complained that the high court had given a judgment on the laws which were not in existence in the state.

On hearing all these, the bench consisting of Justice K M Joseph and Justice Hrishikesh Roy said that there would not be any action from the high court as the cases are being heard in the Supreme Court. The bench also told all the petitioners involved in the cases that it would hear the cases separately from November 28.

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SC directs AP to move HC to cancel Narayana’s bail in CRDA case

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The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Andhra Pradesh state government to approach the high court to cancel the bail of former minister P Narayana, in the allegations of irregularities in the inner ring road alignment for Amaravati.

The court consisting of Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice B Nagarathna, took up the special leave petition filed by the Andhra Pradesh government against the AP high court granting anticipatory bail to former minister Narayana and others.

The advocate appearing for the State government and the APCBCID argued that the high court “had erroneously deemed it as a case with 6 years of delay, while the inner ring road was planned in 2018.”

The advocate also told the bench that the AP “High Court had erroneously noted that there was no material against the accused, though there were specific details of offences committed by each of the accused.”

He further complained that the accused were not responding to the investigating agency after the high court granted them anticipatory bail.

On hearing the arguments, the bench observed that the anticipatory bail would not have any adverse bearing on the ongoing investigation into the case. The court also directed the CBCID that the “Investigation agency may approach the High Court if the accused are not cooperating with the investigation and seek for cancellation of the anticipatory bail.”

The CBCID alleged that the alignment of the inner ring road for Amaravati was changed exclusively to benefit some people. The CBCID also sought permission from the court to question the accused, including former minister Narayana, as part of the investigation.

The CBCID had booked cases against Lingamaneni Ramesh, Lingamaneni Rajasekhar and K P V Anjani Kumar in the design of the master plan for the inner ring road for Amaravati, capital city, in 2018.

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Supreme Court posts hearing of Amaravati cases to Nov 14

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The Supreme Court on Friday posted the hearing on the Amaravati cases to November 14. The two-member bench consisting of Justice K M Joseph and Justice Hrishikesh Roy told both the parties that they have to study the issue before hearing the case.

The advocate for the State government requested the bench to hear the case as the high court had given its judgement asking the state government to complete development of Amaravati in six months. The advocate further told the bench that the high court had also issued a contempt order against the state government for not implementing its orders.

Senior advocate for the Amaravati farmers, Fali Nariman, told the bench that the high court had given its order in March this year and wondered why the state government took so many months to file the Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court.

However, the bench said that they have to go through the details of the case before taking up the hearing. They needed time to go through the files and understand the case and wanted at least two weeks-time.

Senior advocate Nariman offered to give a synopsis of the case in the form of an affidavit if the court gave them one week time. The judges responded saying that they would not accept so much time and had asked the advocate to file the affidavit by November 7.

Despite the requests from the state government’s advocate, the bench posted the case for next hearing on November 14.

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In a first, Supreme Court live streams proceedings

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For the first time in history, the Supreme Court proceedings were live streamed on Friday, more than three years after it recommended live-streaming for its hearings.

The live streaming was done for the ceremonial bench of outgoing Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana.

“Please take notice that on the eve of laying down the office of the Chief Justice of India, the proceedings of the Hon’ble Chief Justice Court i.e., Ceremonial Bench on August 26, 2022, 10.30 a.m. onwards shall be live streamed through the NIC Webcast portal,” said a notice issued by the apex court, adding that the link could also be accessed from the website of the Supreme Court of India.

As per the custom, Justice Ramana shared the bench with Chief Justice-designate Justice U.U. Lalit on his last working day.

Justice Lalit had been recently appointed as the 49th Chief Justice of India and will take over after the retirement of CJI Ramana.

The top court also live streamed hearing of cases and pronouncement of orders, for the first time, listed in the CJI’s court.

The top court’s order on freebies was amongst the orders which were live streamed.

However, it is not clear whether live streaming of court proceedings will become a regular feature.

In 2018, the apex court ruled that live telecast of court proceedings are part of the right to access justice under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The top cour’s e-committee came out with model guidelines to regulate live-streaming of court proceedings in India.

Six high courts are live streaming their proceedings through their own channels on YouTube.

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Supreme Court gives relief to Raghurama in Gachibowli case

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The Supreme Court on Monday gave some relief to YSR Congress rebel MP, K Raghurama Krishnam Raju in a case filed against him in the Gachibowli police station in Hyderabad. The court directed the Gachibowli police not to proceed further in the case till further orders.

The Gachibowli police have registered a case against Raghurama Krishnam Raju, his son and two CRPF personnel on a complaint given by an AP CID constable. The constable told the police that the MP’s personnel have taken him to their home by force and beat him up when he was on vigil during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The constable said that as he belonged to the CID, he was posted in the area where Raghurama Krishnam Raju also lives. His job was to keep an eye on the movements of the people in the VIP areas, he told the police. However, some people belonging to the MP have taken him in their car by force and beat him up accusing him of spying on their house.

The constable also told the Gachibowli police that the MP’s personnel have taken his photo identification card by force. The CRPF had already suspended the two persons involved in this incident.

The MP said that the constable without disclosing his identity was moving near his house suspiciously and as an MP with Central security he had questioned him. His security personnel too have questioned the person as he did not reveal his identity. It was only after he was produced to the Gachibowli police, the constable had revealed his identity, the MP said.

In this background, the Supreme Court bench consisting of Justice Abdul Nazeer and Justice J K Maheswri directed the Gachibowli police not to act on the FIR filed against the MP and his son till further orders.

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Supreme Court rejects Raghurama petition

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The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the quash petition of Narasapuram MP K Raghurama Krishnam Raju requesting the court to quash the FIR filed against his son and his security personnel in an alleged case of beating an AP intelligence constable.

Earlier in the week, the Telagnana high court had dismissed Raghurama Krishnam Raju’s quash petition for withdrawal of a case filed in Gachibowli police station against his family members and security personnel in the same case.

The Supreme Court had asked the petitioner to wait for the completion of the FIR process and investigation.

It may be mentioned here that Raghurama Krishnam Raju’s son and security personnel have allegedly beaten up an intelligence wing constable near his house earlier in July. While the constable was on duty, the MP’s son and his security personnel took him home and beat him up, before informing the Gachibowli police.

The constable lodged a complaint against the MP’s son and the two CRPF personnel for thrashing him and taking away his identification card. The Central government had suspended the two CRPF personnel, while the Gachibowli police had booked a case.

The Supreme Court wanted the petitioner to allow the police to complete the formalities and approach the court at a later stage. The Telangana High Court too had asked the MP to wait for the police to complete the investigation.

The counsel for the AP Intelligence informed the high court that the CRPF personnel were placed under suspension and the case has strength to proceed further. The court accepted the argument and dismissed Raghurama Krishnam Raju’s petition.

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Norman Fosters seek SC intervention to get Amaravati fee

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The Brittan’s architecture firm, Norman Fosters, had approached the Supreme Court on Thursday seeking its intervention to get the Andhra Pradesh state government to pay the consultancy fee to them.

The Norman Fosters firm had given designs to the state government for Amaravati capital city. The Norman Fosters had also given town planning designs for the capital city during the TDP government between 2016 and 2019.

The Norman Fosters have given designs for the Assembly, High Court, Secretariat and other government buildings. Then chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu held several rounds of meetings with them, checked their designs, and made corrections.

In the meanwhile, there were elections in 2019 and the TDP lost the power. The YSR Congress came to power in the state. After the change of guard, the Norman Fosters have never visited the state, as the YSR Congress government changed the capital plans bringing in three capitals format.

The Norman Fosters said in its petition to the Supreme Court that they have been in constant touch with the Amaravati Metropolitan Region Development Authority (AMRDA), which was earlier the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA), seeking payment of its consultancy fee.

The firm alleged that the AMRDA did not respond to their representations, forcing them to approach the Supreme Court of India for its intervention. The firm requested the court to direct the State government to pay their consultancy fee.

On admitting the petition, the Supreme Court had sent a notice to the AP government asking it to file an affidavit in reply to the petition. It is to be seen what this government would say to the court on the issue.

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SC order is a slap on Jagan Govt, says Naidu

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The Supreme Court once again pulled up the Jagan Mohan Reddy government for diverting the Rs 1,100 cr State Disaster Response Fund, meant for fighting the Covid pandemic.

The directions given by the apex court that the diverted funds be deposited immediately with the SDRF account is nothing but a slap on the face of the State Government, said TDP president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu here on Monday.

The Jagan Mohan Reddy Government is not only committing blunders but also resorting to serious foul-play to cover up these mistakes, Naidu said. Diverting the funds meant for the assistance of even the Covid-affected is a classic example of the inhuman nature of the Jagan Mohan Reddy regime, he stated.

When calamities like floods or Covid take place, instead of coming to the rescue of the affected, the State Government is diverting the funds meant for their rescue operation and this is nothing but doing injustice to them, he maintained.

The State government should implement the guidelines given by the Supreme Court that if anyone complains that he or she did not receive the Covid compensation, it should be resolved within four weeks, he said, stating that the ruling party should not escape under some pretext or the other.

At least now, the State Government should come to the rescue of the Covid-affected families and save them from the troubles that they are facing, Chandrababu Naidu added.

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Modi’s image removed from Supreme Court e-mails

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The Supreme Court administered a shock to the government on Saturday when it asked the Central government-run National Informatics Centre (NIC) to remove the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in e-mails sent to the advocates by the Registry of the Supreme Court. Late on Friday night, the registry of the Supreme Court said that it directed the NIC to drop the image from the footer of the emails originating from the e mail.

Instead, the registry has begun putting the image of the illuminated Supreme Court in place of Narendra Modi Modi’s image was put as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav to mark the 75 years of independence next year. However, a lawyer petitioned against placing the ad containing a snapshot of Modi on the emails emanating from the Supreme Court.

The NIC said that the same format and script was being used on all NIC platforms. Earlier, a message from mahatma Gandhi was used on the occasion of Gandhi’s birth anniversary However, we have removed Modi’s image following the directions of the Supreme Court, an official said. He said the image of Modi was replaced by an image of the Supreme Court.

An advocate said that the Supreme Court should not only be independent, but also look independent. He said that the image of the Supreme Court should be seen as being different from that of a political party. Such association should be avoided, he said.

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Disha case: SC panel examines two tehsildars

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The Supreme Court-appointed three-member inquiry commission, probing the alleged encounter killing of four suspects in the Disha rape and murder case, on Tuesday examined two of the tehsildars who had conducted the inquest.

Tehsildars of Farooq Nagar, Kondurg, Kothur, and Keshampet had conducted the inquest of the bodies of four accused.

The commission, which had already examined the tehsildar of Farooq Nagar, on Tuesday examined the tehsildars of Kondurg and Kothur. The panel asked them if they followed the set guidelines while conducting the inquest, and they explained the steps taken by them while conducting the ‘panchnama’.

The three-member panel headed by ex-SC judge V.S. Sirpurkar is scheduled to continue the hearing till September 25. It will examine Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat, who headed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted to probe the alleged encounter.

The commission on Tuesday began the fourth schedule of witness examination. It so far examined 14 witnesses in three schedules since August 21. They included Principal Secretary, Home, Ravi Gupta and the victim’s sister. The panel twice quizzed investigating officer J. Surender Reddy.

Headmasters of government schools where the victims studied were also examined by the panel. They were asked about credibility of entries in school admission records, based on which bona fide certificates were issued. Citing school records, families of the two had claimed that they were minors at the time of the alleged encounter.

The panel was set up on December 12, 2019 to inquire into the circumstances leading to the killing of four accused in the case in an alleged encounter with police on December 6, 2019.

The four accused were shot dead on at Chatanpally on National Highway-44 near Hyderabad, the same highway where the charred body of a 27-year-old Disha (as the victim is referred to by the investigators) was found.

According to police, Disha was kidnapped and sexually assaulted near the Outer Ring Road on the outskirts of Hyderabad on the night of November 27, 2019. After the sexual assault, the accused murdered her, took the body to Chatanpally, and set it afire.

The Supreme Court constituted the panel while hearing petitions raising doubts that the police killed the accused in their custody and projected it as encounter.

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Gali Janardhan Reddy gets reprieve in Supreme Court

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Mining baron and former Karnataka minister Gali Janardhan Reddy got a reprieve in the Supreme Court on Thursday (today) in the illegal mining case involving his Obulapuram mining company (OMC) in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka..

The Supreme Court relaxed certain bail conditions of Gali Janardhan Reddy.

Gali was arrested in September 2011 in illegal mining case. After spending three years and four months in Bengaluru’s Agrahara jail, the Supreme Court granted him conditional bail in January 2015.

Gali sought permission to visit his native Bellary in Karnataka and Kadapa and Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh.

The Supreme Court granted permission and asked him to stay there for a limited period with the permission of district SPs concerned.

The CBI informed Supreme Court that it has no objection if Gali visits Bellary, Anantapur and Kadapa.

The Supreme Court directed CBI special court in Hyderabad to complete the hearing of illegal mining case and give judgement as early as possible.

The Supreme Court said that it will conduct full-fledged hearing into illegal mining case in the third week of November.

Gali recently moved Supreme Court seeking relaxations of certain bail conditions granted to him.

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Threat to judges: Chief Justice says CBI, IB not helping judicial officers

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Chief Justice N.V. Ramana on Friday said a new trend has developed in the country to malign the judges, if people do not get orders of their choice, and there is no freedom given to judges. He added when judges complain to the CBI and IB, they are also not helping.

Justice Ramana said: “New trend developed in the country. No freedom given to judges. If judges complain to the IB and CBI, they are not helping the judiciary at all. This is a serious matter. I am saying it with a sense of responsibility.”

The bench also comprising Justice Surya Kant said in some cases where gangsters and high-profile accused are involved, they attempt to intimate judges physically and mentally, and some people, who do not get orders of their choice, circulate messages on WhatsApp and other social media platforms with an intent to malign judges.

The top court made these strong observations while hearing of suo motu case in connection with the mowing down of ADJ Uttam Anand by an auto-rickshaw and sought a status report on the investigation from the Jharkhand government through the chief secretary and the DGP within a week.

The Chief Justice noted that the Jharkhand government has nothing in connection with the security of judicial officers, in the backdrop of the presence of coal mafia in the state and pointed out that Anand was killed nearby his colony. Attorney General K.K. Venugopal said in criminal cases, the judges are vulnerable and there should be a body to assess such situations.

The Jharkhand government said it had handed over the case to the CBI for further investigation and it will provide full cooperation to the investigating agency.

The top court issued a notice to the CBI and posted it for further hearing on Monday. It noted there are several incidents of judges being threatened and asked state governments to file status reports on measures taken for the security of judicial officers.

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Blow to Jagan govt: SC strikes down Amaravathi insider trading petition!

The YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh headed by Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy received a jolt in the Supreme Court on Monday in a case pertaining to insider trading in purchase of lands by some individuals in Amaravathi capital region and also in acquiring lands for the capital region at Amaravati during previous TDP regime between 2014 and 2019.

The Supreme Court on Monday has struck down the AP government’s petition on Amaravathi insider trading.

The AP High Court on January 20, 2021, struck down the cases registered by the AP Crime Investigation Department (CID) alleging insider trading in purchase of lands by some people in Amaravati.

However, the Jagan government filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court on June 29 challenging the AP High Court judgement delivered on January 20 stating that there was no insider trading in Amaravati.

A division bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Vineeth Saran and Justice Dinesh Meheshwari heard this petition.

The bench struck down the petition on Monday stating that AP High Court has struck down the petition after taking into consideration all the issues.

The CID had registered the cases against several individuals, including Kilaru Rajesh, a close aide of TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh, and Northface Holdings Private Limited director Tottempudi Venkateswara Rao, based on a complaint filed by N Suresh of Velagapudi, alleging insider trading.

It was alleged that some people with the prior knowledge of the location of the State capital, purchased lands at cheaper rates in Amaravati.

The high court had earlier stated that the lands purchased by the petitioners got valid registration documents. Purchase of lands with proper registration cannot be considered as a crime under Section 420 of IPC. No police investigation had concluded that the petitioners committed a crime. There were reports in the media about the location of State capital even before former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was sworn in on June 9, 2014 and it could not be said that the petitioners purchased the lands concealing the facts, the high court observed.

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Supreme Court issues notice to AP government on board examinations

The Supreme Court has directed that notices be issued to four states, including Andhra Pradesh as to why they had not cancelled the intermediate board examinations. The Apex Court, which has heard the arguments, asked the four state governments to submit their replies. In view of this direction, the AP Government, which was to discuss the issue holding Xth and Intermediate examinations, had deferred its decision in view of the directions of the Supreme Court.

Chief Minister YS Jagan on Thursday discussed the issue with the education department officials. The AP Government feels that since the Covid is showing a downward trend, it is advisable to hold the examinations. Already states like Kerala, Bihar and Chhattisgarh have held the examinations and have begun preparation to release the results. It feels that there is a 20 day incubation period for the students to prepare for the examinations.

At the national level, as many as 18 states have cancelled the state board examinations, but four states, including AP, Punjab and Assam are yet to take a decision on holding the examination. Six states, including Chhattisgarh and Bihar, have already completed the examination.

The AP government was planning to hold intermediate examinations from July 7 to July 25, while the X th examinations from July 26 to August 2. As many as 4.5 lakh Xth class students and 5 lakh intermediate students would take the examinations as per the schedule.

Education Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Adimulapu Suresh, is likely to make a statement soon.

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Supreme Court stays APCID inquiry on ABN, TV5!

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The Supreme Court on Monday issued stay orders on APCID inquiry against ABN Andhra Jyothy and TV5 news channels.

The APCID filed FIR against these two channels along with YSRCP rebel MP Raghurama Krishnam Raju early this month in connection with sedition charges.

Both the channels challenged the APCID FIRs registered against them in the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court issued notices to Andhra Pradesh government and the APCID to file their counters within four weeks.

The Supreme Court also directed ABN and TV5 channels to file their counters on the counters filed by AP government and APCID within two weeks.

The Supreme Court adjourned the case by six weeks.

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Supreme Court grants ‘conditional bail’ to RRR

In a jolt to YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh, the Supreme Court on Friday granted ‘conditional bail’ to YSRCP rebel MP Raghurama Krishnam Raju in seditions case.

The AP CID has filed sedition case against RRR and arrested him on May 14 in from his residence in Hyderabad on charges of sedition, delivering hate speeches and promoting disaffection against the government on May 14, weeks after he escalated his attacks on YSRCP chief and AP Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Raju had approached the AP high court for bail a day after his arrest but was told to first file the request with a lower court. Later he moved the Supreme Court for bail on Monday.

Prominent lawyer Mukul Rohatgi who argued in Supreme Court in favour of Raju brought to the notice of the court that Jagan government had arrested Raju and tortured him in APCID custody by using third degree methods after Raju filed a case against Jagan in CBI court seeking cancellation of bail granted to Jagan.

Rohatgi said that the CBI is currently hearing Raju’s petition against Jagan. Rohatgi also told Supreme Court that there are over two dozen cases pending against Jagan in courts.

Later, the Supreme Court delivered its verdict granting ‘conditional bail’ to Raju. Raju was asked to obtain bail from APCID after submitting sureties of Rs 1 lakh.

Raju was directed to appear before APCID whenever it calls for investigation. The investigation should be done in the presence of Raju’s lawyer. Raju was also directed not to give any interviews to media or social media on this issue. He was also directed not to indulge in any activities which influences the investigation into the case. The Supreme Court warned that if Raju flouts bail conditions, it will be viewed very seriously.

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Supreme Court orders for tests on Raju at Army Clinic

The Supreme Court of India has issued latest orders to send rebel MP Raghurama Krishna Raju to the Secunderabad Army Hospital for further tests. The Apex Court ordered the AP Chief Secretary and the Telangana High Court Registrar to make the necessary arrangements.

The Telangana HC should send a judicial officer in whose presence the Army doctors would conduct tests and give their report in a sealed cover. Initially, the advocates speaking on behalf of the AP Government refused to accept the Army Hospital and instead they agreed for tests at the AIIMS, Delhi. The AIIMS, Mangalagiri, was ruled out in the beginning itself since two YCP MPs are on the board of this hospital. Already, the Guntur GGH report triggered needless controversy.

Interestingly, the Supreme Court ordered the videography of the medical tests and the videos concerned should also be submitted to it along with the sealed cover.

The costs of all these tests at the Army Hospital should be borne by the Narsapuram MP only. With this, the alleged custodial torture of Mr. Raghurama Raju has taken a decisive turn.

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Justice NV Ramana sworn-in as new Chief Justice of India

President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday administered oath of office to 48th Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu and other dignitaries at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

As the Chief Justice of India, Justice Ramana will have a term till August 26, 2022. Before his elevation to the Supreme Court on February 17, 2014, Justice Ramana was the chief justice of the Delhi High Court. Justice Ramana was appointed as judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in 2000. He has also been the acting Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh high Court.

On April 6, the President had signed on the appointment of Justice N.V. Ramana as the next Chief Justice of India. Justice Ramana took over as Chief Justice after the retirement of Justice S.A. Bobde on April 23.

In October 2020, a huge controversy had erupted as the Andhra Pradesh chief minister had written to the then Chief Justice alleging state’s High Court was being used to “destabilize and topple his democratically elected government”. The letter alleged that Justice Ramana was trying to control the High Court and also trying to influence cases, which impact the state government. However, an in-house inquiry did not find any merit in these allegations.

Justice Ramana has presided over several high-profile cases in the top court. In March last year, Justice Ramana headed five-judge Constitution bench which declined to refer to a larger seven-judge bench a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Centre’s decision to revoke provisions of Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

In Anuradha Bhasin v. Union of India, January last year, Justice Ramana expounded on the nature of fundamental rights and declared that the right to freedom of speech and expression over the internet is a fundamental right. This judgment ensured the eventual return of internet in the Kashmir Valley.

In Foundation for Media Professionals v. State (UT OF J&K) matter, where petitioners sought high-speed internet, Justice Ramana headed bench which balanced the fundamental rights and the concerns of the state security and appointed a special committee to ensure that restrictions, if required, are narrowly tailored and not permanent in nature.

Justice Ramana also headed a three-judge bench which dealt with the legal questions emerging from the resignation of 17 rebel MLAs of Congress and JDS of Karnataka. Justice Ramana headed bench, also ordered expediting trial in pending cases against former and sitting MPs and MLAs.

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Supreme Court rejects stay of Telangana Judgment on Fraud Classification as per RBI Circular

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In a setback to SBI and RBI, the Supreme Court has refused to stay the judgment dated December 10, 2020 of a Division Bench of the Telangana High Court, in appeals filed by SBI and RBI.

In the matter of State Bank of India & others Vs. Rajesh Agarwal & others, the appeals of SBI and RBI were heard by the Supreme Court bench of Justice R. F. Nariman, Justice B. R. Gavai and Justice H. Roy.

The Supreme Court has allowed the parties to file replies and rejoinders and listed the matter on July 13, 2021.

The Supreme Court also directed that the minutes / order of the Joint Lenders’ Meeting dated February 15, 2019 is not to be acted upon.

This order would be a major relief to other parties who are similarly placed and affected by fraud classification by lenders without the principles of natural justice being followed. As per the RBI circular on fraud classification, lenders are to file the complaint with CBI in the stipulated time. Based on this order, lenders and CBI cannot proceed.

The Telangana High Court had provided following reliefs as per its Judgment dated December 10, 2020:

“70.1. Firstly, the principle of audi alteram partem, part of the principles of natural justice, is to be read in Clause 8.9.4 and 8.9.5 of the Master Circular.

70.2. Secondly, the decision, dated 15.02.2019, passed by the JLF, and the resolution dated 31.07.2019, passed by the FIC are, hereby, set aside.

70.3. Thirdly, the JLF is directed to give an opportunity of hearing by furnishing copies of both the Reports, namely the Forensic Auditor Report, dated 06.04.2018 and the subsequent Report submitted by Dr. K.V. Srinivas, IRP, to the petitioner, and to the OL.

70.4. Fourthly, the JLF is directed to give an opportunity of personal hearing both to the petitioner and to the OL before taking any decision on the issue whether the account should be classified as ‘fraud’ or not?

70.5. Fifthly, after the JLF has taken its decision, the FIC is directed to pass its resolution whether the decision of the JLF should be confirmed or not?”

In a minor concession to the appellants, the Supreme Court stayed the Telangana High Court’s observation that a personal hearing be given.

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