The Supreme Court has ordered re-investigation of cases related to 1984 anti-Sikh riots triggered by the assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two bodyguards.
An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Mishra said on Wednesday it would constitute a three-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe 186 cases that had been closed without investigation.
Last year, the Supreme Court had appointed a committee to look into closure of 186 anti-Sikh riots cases by a SIT out of 241. The court’s order followed the panel’s findings.
In one of the worst massacres in post-Independent India, 2733 people were killed in the Indian capital alone by rampaging mobs, joined in by anti-social elements.
Allegations were galore that some Congress leaders of that time were involved in perpetrating violence against Sikhs and their complicity had fuelled the riots in neighbouring Punjab and Haryana. Though Congress has been consistently denying and rejecting all these charges, 1984 has remained the party’s Achilles heel.
The apex court asked the Central government to name three people – a former high court judge, a retired and a serving police officer – for the SIT by Thursday.
The SC order could cast a shadow on Congress 2019 poll campaign.
Centre to set up special courts to try politicians
The Center informed the Supreme Court that it will set up at least 12 special courts across the country to try criminal cases involving MPs and MLAs. Currently there are 1,581 cases involving MPs and MLAs, as declared by the politicians at the time of filing their nominations during the 2014 general elections. These courts exclusively handle these ongoing cases on politicians and deliver speedy justice.
This decision by central government is the response to a Supreme Court direction in to the government to frame a Central scheme for setting up special courts across the country exclusively to try criminal cases involving “political persons”. Apex court opined that such an effort will cleanse politics of criminality and corruption. Initially central government argued that setting up such courts would depend on the availability of funds with the States. But Supreme court asked Center to have a central scheme to resolve the issue. Now the Central government said it had allotted ₹7.8 crore and framed a scheme to set up the special courts.
Some cases against politicians are taking several years to get the verdict. By this time, he or she would have served as a Minister or legislator several times over.It may take a while to have this proposal completely materialized, but if these fast track courts against politicians are constituted, ongoing cases against MLAs and MPs will get verdicts soon impacting the political careers of those leaders. There are several noted politicians like Gali Janardhan Reddy, Jagan Mohan Reddy, Lalu Prasad, Madhu Koda, Kanimozhi, and Mayawati etc who are facing criminal cases currently.
At last, there is a serious attempt in the country to rid the political system of criminals. The initiative has come not from political leaders who preach moral values and ethics from the pulpit of high moral ground but from an active judiciary.
On November 1, the Supreme Court asked the Central government to set up special courts to try political leaders, including members of Parliament and legislatures, involved in criminal cases, and dispose of the cases within one year.
Interestingly, the apex court order came on the day when the Election Commission of India had sought a permanent ban on convicted lawmakers from contesting elections. Now, if they are proved guilty, they face only a six-year ban.
When put together these two moves –the expeditious disposal of cases by special courts exclusively dealing with political criminals and a life ban on those convicted – could make a qualitative difference in the country’s public life. It’s fact that money and muscle power play a pivotal role in elections from panchayat to Parliament. Over the years, the nexus has only strengthened, making the corrupt system a mockery of the ‘largest democracy in the world.’
Before and after every election, honest citizens and a few NGOs cry hoarse about criminal background of public representatives and if any cases are filed against them, it takes ages for courts to decide on the cases. In such a scenario, the Supreme Court move for fast-track courts is welcome. But the major hurdle remains the staggering number of cases pending with courts and the acute shortage of judges. Can the courts afford to spare one or two judges for the special courts even if they are set up? The apex court, of course, has asked the Centre to place before it the government’s action plan. The court has also sought details of 1,581 cases involving lawmakers (MPs as well as MLAs) as declared by them in their nomination papers during the 2014 elections and how many of the cases have been disposed of within one year as per the apex court’s direction given in 2014.
The point not to be missed is the Supreme Court has done what the Parliament and mainstream political parties should have done long ago in public interest. But, the way our democratic polity works, no party is interested in cleansing the system for fear of losing power. Now, will the SC’s historic attempt to make the lawmakers throw out the tainted help clean a corrupt political system? Even if it doesn’t help much, a beginning has been made which should serve as a warning to those who want to enter public life with criminal background in 2019.
Against this background, if we look at the record of the two Telugu states that are gearing up for Assembly polls in less than two years from now, it’s no better than the traditionally tainted states.
According to the Forum for Good Governance, every third legislator in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has a criminal record. The data published in a national newspaper has shown while AP has 60 MLAs, Telangana has 39. In the case of parliamentarians, TDP and YSR Congress have four members each.
In July this year, the AP government had withdrawn 23 criminal cases against ministers, MLAs and MLCs, all belonging to the ruling Telugu Desam party. Some of the charges levelled against these leaders may be frivolous. But some others are too serious to ignore. Still, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu had brushed off the objections and wiped their slates clean.
When lawmakers turn lawbreakers, no amount of legal prodding can set things right. Change has to come either through within or through vote. Neither is possible in the near future.
The Supreme Court on Friday delivered a crucial verdict on the book ‘Samajika Smugglerlu Komatollu’ by Professor Kancha Ilaiah. The court noted that it cannot order to ban the book just because it is controversial.
The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Deepak Mishra said that the court cannot forbid the book. By doing so, they will be curtailing freedom of expression. However, they can only advise the authors to be self-contained.
The Supreme Court today dismissed the petition filed by Arya Vysya Association leader and lawyer Ramanjaneyulu last month to ban the book that allegedly insults their caste.
Author Professor Kancha Ilaiah welcomed the apex court’s decision not to ban the book and noted that Arya Vysya’s should be glad for having a book on their community.
It may be recalled that the book is an extract from Professor’s ‘Post Hindu India’. Arya Vysya’s were angered with the title and the contents as it was discourteous towards their community. Protests continue across the Telugu speaking states against the author.
Following the petition by Tamil Nadu government that the Sadavarti Satram lands belonged to them, Supreme Court directed the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High Court resolve the dispute over the ownership of the lands located at Thalambur village in Kancheepuram district in Tamil Nadu.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Friday heard the case and conceded the arguments of Tamil Nadu government which claimed the ownership and held that the lands did not belong to the endowment and were lying as unclaimed property for nearly four decades.
Days after the second round of bidding took place, apex court cancelled the auctioning and directed the High Court to consider the stand of Tamil Nadu government.
The tussle began in 2016 when YSRCP Mangalagiri MLA knocked the doors of the court complaining that the 83 acres of the land was sold at throwaway price of ₹22.44 crore. High court offered the counsel to deposit ₹27.44 crore with the Endowments Commissioner of Andhra Pradesh and secure the lands. After this order was challenged, the High Court ordered for holding fresh auctions which fetched about ₹60crores. In the meantime, Tamil Nadu government took cognisance of the issue and filed a petition in High Court over the ownership which was rejected.
Triple Talaq (talak-e-biddat) – the Muslim law where men can divorce their wives simply by uttering the word “talaq” three times has left several women destitute. Supreme Court of India on Tuesday delivered a monumental order by 3-2 verdict, in response to petitions from seven Muslim women who had been divorced through triple talaq. Here are six things to know –
Supreme Court ruled out the practice of instant Triple Talaq for six months
It stated that talaq-e-biddat is in violation of articles 14,15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution
The Apex Court asked the government to make a new law regarding the practice within six months
If the government fails to make a law within six months, the court’s injunction will continue
The bench comprised of five judges of different faiths deliberated for three months before issuing its order
Around 20Muslim countries including neighbours Pakistan and Bangladesh have banned the practice
The Supreme Court on Tuesday held Calcutta High Court’s Justice C.S. Karnan guilty of contempt and ordered that he be jailed for six months.
The court ordered the Director General of West Bengal Police to constitute a team for the implementation of its order “forthwith”.
Holding Karnan guilty of contempt for his utterances against the Chief Justice of India and other judges of the apex court and the Madras High Court, a seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar had barred the electronic and print media from carrying any of his statements.
“We are of the unanimous view that Justice C.S. Karnan is guilty of contempt of court and interfered with judicial process of grievous nature,” the court said in its order.
The bench also said it was satisfied in punishing him and sending him to jail for six months.
Karnan had written a series of letters making allegations against the judges of the apex court and the high court.
In the course of the hearing, the bench said that Karnan was medically fit as it noted that Karnan did not co-operate with the medical team that was set-up on the court’s order on May 4 to examine him.
It also said that the medical team too has not given any statement against Karnan.
In its last hearing, the apex court had directed the medical examination, which Karnan refused to undergo.
In a setback for RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, the Supreme Court on Monday set aside a Ranchi High Court ruling and ordered that he be tried in all the remaining five fodder scam cases.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal chief has already been convicted in one of the fodder scam cases and his appeal against this is pending in the Supreme Court.
Setting aside the High Court order which said that since Lalu Prasad has already been convicted in one fodder scam case there was no need to try him in the other cases, a bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Amitava Roy held that the trial would take place in all the cases on all the charges.
The bench also directed that the trials be completed in nine months.
The apex court wondered how could the same judge on the same facts of the case take one view in respect of one accused and a contrary view in case of Lalu Prasad.
The bench also took exception to delay by the Central Bureau of Investigation in filing the appeal against the High Court order.
It ordered CBI Director to hold an enquiry and fix responsibility for the delay.
GoI tells to Supreme Court that there is no need to review the present arrangement of sharing of River Krishna waters among Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Hyderabad: The Stand taken by the Government of India on review of sharing river Krishna water turned out to be a big blow to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The Telangana State had knocked the doors of the Supreme Court seeking review of the water sharing award among Maharasthra, Karnataka and erstwhile united Andhra Pradesh. The plea of Telangana was that the sharing of Krishna waters caused grave injustice to it, and asked the apex court to direct for reopening of the award and make fresh allocations among the four states falling under Krishna basin.
River waters are one of the major issues forming the demand for the bifurcation for a separate state of Telangana. Post bifurcation, even Andhra Pradesh too had joined the Telangana, favoring for reallocation of Krishna waters among four states.
Following the plea of the Telangana the Supreme Court has sought the opinion of the Centre on the demand of Telangana. After taking much time, on Tuesday, in his oral submission, the Counsel (Additional Solicitor-General) representing the Centre, Tushar Mehta, in the Krishna Waters Dispute case said that the Centre does not feel that there is a need to relook into the issue. And, the two Telugu states would do well to share the united Andhra Pradesh’s quota between them, without disturbing the existing arrangement.
Counsel for Telangana Government Vaidyanathan, while reacting to the stand taken by the Centre said that the submission was not made in writing. Hence, he was in no position to react and he will react after going through the contents of the submissions made by the Centre.
Noted actor and former Rajya Sabha member Mohanbabu on Monday got a breather from Apex court over the ban imposed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court with regard to using Padmasri as honorific.
The Supreme Court set aside the High Court ruling that stripped Mohan Babu Padma Shri award following a petition by former BJP state president N Indrasena Reddy.
Reddy contended that the actor Mohanbabu and another actor Brahmanandam had misused the civilian award in the titles of his movie ‘Denikaina Ready’ and ‘Jhummandi Naadam’. Reddy also sought annulment of Padmsri awarded to Brahmanandam.
According to the petitioner, prefixing Padmasri to the their name was violation of Article 18(1) and earlier directions of Supreme Court.Convinced with argument, in the first of its kind order in the country, the Hyderabad High Court, in February 2014, directed the union home ministry to recommend to the president of India to annul the Padmasri accorded to Mohan Babu in 2007 and Brahmanandam in 2009.
Later in April 2014, both Mohanbabu and Brahmanandam moved the SC.
A Division Bench of Justices H L Dattu and SA Bodde, upon hearing their senior counsel Soli Sorabjee , directed the actors not to misuse the civilian title. Then SC stayed the High Court order.
Mohan Babu and Brahmanandam assured the Apex Court in writing that they would not misuse the titles.
In the petition filed by Mohanbau court ruled that he could retain the Padmasri.
It may be recalled that a government press release on April 17, 1968 , had clarified that using the Padma awards as titles on letterheads, invitation cards, posters, books etc, violated the spirit of the constitution, which has abolished titles.
In major embarrassment to Telangana government, three telecom operators informed the Supreme Court that they had tapped certain numbers from Andhra Pradesh in May-June 2015 as per the instruction from TS.
The tapping was done by Airtel, Idea and Reliance companies.
These companies admitted to this before the Apex Court, in a petition filed by Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI), the representative body of cellular operators.
Supreme Court, in turn, directed these companies to part with information in a sealed cover within a week and give this to trial court in Vijayawada. The direction is a victory of sorts to Andhra Pradesh, which wants to use the charge of Telephone tapping by Telangana government to neutralize the T State’s threat to implicate chief minister Chandrababu Naidu in cash-for-vote scam.
This is expected to intensify the war of words between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
In the meantime, union home minister Rajanath Singh reportedly dashed off a letter to the states in conflict asking them to keep the centre posted with the problems arising between them such as telephone tapping.
Because the implementation of the AP Reorganization Act-2014 is the responsibility of union ministry of home affairs (MoHA). The MoHA took the extraordinary step of writing to warring states as the telephone tapping and seeking the information thus tapped involves the issues of national security.
The petitioner, COAI said, “During the period from May 2015 to June 2015, the law enforcement agencies of the state of Telangana directed petitioners (Airtel, Idea and Reliance) to carry out lawful interception of certain phone numbers under Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act. The petitioners, who were bound under law, accordingly complied with the said orders. But they do not have access to the content of the said lawful interception. However, the said lawful interception has resulted in political storm in both the states.”
A probe by Andhra Pradesh into cash-for-vote scam in which T-TDP MLA Revanth Reddy was caught red-handed while giving money to nominated MLA Stephenson in connection with MLC elections, revealed that certain phones of Andhra Pradesh government functionaries had been tapped. State then set up special investigative team (SIT) to investigate into the telephone tapping by TS which found that certain phones had been tapped.
Then, AP took legal recourse to get the call data from the Telecom operators. The Telangana government, however, had warned that disclosure of call data would be considered a violation of Official Secrets Act, 1923 and Indian Telegraph Act, 1995, by the operators. Telangana argues that telecom service providers are not supposed to entertain requests by anybody to furnish data, which is confidential in nature, and pertaining to lawful interceptions of telephone communication undertaken by law enforcement agencies falling within the jurisdiction of Telangana to police officers and individuals of other state who have no jurisdiction over the territory of Telangana state.
Informing the Apex court how they had been pressurized, with a request form AP for data, and a warning from Telangana against the three service provides sought the advice of the Union home ministry and Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
The DoT on the other hand on June 30, 2015 the DoT said, “the matter has been referred to the Government of India for legal examination as it related to lawful interception and monitoring that has bearing on national security.“
But with a court in Vijayawada directing the three companies to part with the information in a sealed cover by July 24, they moved the Supreme Court on Thursday.
The Supreme Court upon hearing the prayer of the three service providers directed them to furnish information sought by AP to the magistrate concerned in a sealed cover and directed the trial court to preserve it for a month so that petitioners could move Hyderabad High Court.