Rishika Taneja and Sidhant Kumar Privacy (with data protection as its subset) in today’s context is not an abstract human rights concern alone. Over time, it has acquired elevated importance owing to the increasing use of data in our social and economic interactions. Therefore, it is imperative that we have a clear legal basis for the fundamental Right to Privacy. The Supreme Court, recently sitting as a nine-judge Constitution Bench, has been hearing arguments on the question whether privacy is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. In essence, the dispute is focused on the validity of two decisions of […]

Two persons with a legal background have emerged as frontrunners for this year’s presidential election. By July 20, we will know who out of Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Ramnath Kovind and law graduate Meira Kumar will become the fourteenth President of India. We will also know which of the above will likely face a round of litigation before the Supreme Court of India. If there has been something almost as certain as death and taxes over the last few decades, it is a challenge to the election of the President of India. The election of all but two Presidents – Sarvepalli […]

Anuroop Omkar and Kritika Krishnamurthy It is our personal opinion that to truly understand mediation, we need to first re-learn the anatomy of disputes. A dispute is like an abstract painting where each party sees different aspects, angles and facets and each party thinks what they see is absolute, unlike connoisseurs of art. While the most logical conclusion to a dispute ought to be a viable solution, with the passage of time, it has branched out into other conclusions such as proving one is right and setting a precedent. Accordingly, the means by which we resolve disputes have also become […]

The Supreme Court is currently functioning with twenty-seven judges as against a sanctioned strength of thirty-one. Just fourteen of the sitting Supreme Court judges have disclosed their assets on the website of Supreme Court of India. The assets of the remaining thirteen judges are yet to be published. Interestingly, the thirteen include all the three judges who have been elevated directly from the Bar. The thirteen judges, whose assets are yet to be published, are: RF Nariman AM Sapre UU Lalit Amitava Roy AM Khanwilkar DY Chandrachud Ashok Bhushan L Nageswara Rao Sanjay Kishan Kaul Mohan M Shantanagoudar S Abdul Nazeer Navin Sinha […]

M Rishi Kumar It’s a coincidence that in the same year Wonder Woman broke the glass ceiling when it stomped on the box-office record of another super-hero movie, Iron Man, history was created at the Madras High Court when the First Bench was an all-woman bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Bhavani Subbaroyan. In the Madras High Court’s 135 years, it is a first. It took seventy years since independence, in the male-dominated world of higher judiciary, for the four chartered and oldest high courts in Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta and Madras to be headed by women. To trace the first instances of […]

Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose was elevated to the Supreme Court on March 8, 2013. After a tenure of more than four years, or 1541 days to be precise, Justice Ghose was the latest apex court to retire, attaining superannuation on May 27 this year. Justice Ghose enrolled at the Bar in 1976. Born to Justice SC Ghose, former Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, he went on to practise on both the original as well as the appellate side at the High Court. He made the switch to the Bench in 1997, when he was elevated as a judge […]

This article deals with the tax treatment proposed to be accorded to Senior Advocates under the Goods and Services Tax (‘GST’) regime. It also seeks to provide an overview of the manner in which service tax was levied on Senior Advocates under the previous tax regime and its comparison with the impending GST regime, along with the impact on recipient/client companies. Genesis of service tax on legal services In Roscoe Pound’s words, the ideas involved behind a respectable profession are “Organisation, learning, and a spirit of public service, the remaining idea, that of gaining a livelihood, is incidental.” The legal profession […]

Payal Chawla The much awaited decision of the three judge bench in relation to two-tier arbitrations in the matter of M/s Centrotrade Minerals & Metal Inc. v. Hindustan Copper Ltd. was delivered on 15.12.2016. The Supreme Court framed two issues, but answered only one.  On the first issue i.e. validity of two-tier arbitration, the court held the same to be valid and not against public policy of Indian law. On the second issue i.e. whether the award rendered in the appellate arbitration being a ‘foreign award’ is liable to be enforced under the provisions of Section 48…”, the court observed […]

Vismay P Shroff When I received an email stating that the US State Department had in conjunction with the Ohio Northern University (ONU), Centre for Democratic Governance and Rule of Law, decided to train Afghan Lawyers and that one of the means of doing so would be through an immersive technique known as ‘Moot Courts’, and that they were going to conduct the Philip C. Jessup Moot Court Competition’s Afghan National Rounds in Kabul, in January of 2017, I was hooked from the first line of the mail. I’d heard all these terrible things about Kabul, most of them through […]

The global movement to protect the environment began to show signs of life in the 1980s, at a time when the Supreme Court of India was having an awakening of its own. This period coincided with the growth of the concept of Public Interest Litigation, and marked a time when the courts were increasingly taking on issues which affect the people on a larger scale. A slew of matters came to be heard by the apex court, which seemed adamant to grant relief in cases where the . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium […]

President of India Pranab Mukherjee recently gave his assent to the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2016, which puts in place stricter provisions to deter the practice in the state. The Bill, which was amended and passed by the state assembly last year, found its way to the Central Home Ministry, which had in turn sent it to the President for his . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of unrestrcited access to previous interviews, columns and articles One year access to all archival […]

Nikita Agarwal   Earlier this week, the Chhattisgarh High Court ordered the authorities to produce Podiyam Panda in a habeas corpus petition filed by his wife. The press release sent by the Sukma Police to various WhatsApp groups following the production and testimony of Panda illustrates the impunity with which the Chhattisgarh police not only maligns and intimidates advocates seeking accountability for police excesses, but also resorts to actions amounting to contempt of court. On May 12, Podiyami Muiye, the Sarpanch of Chintagufa in Sukma, along with her family, approached us, the Jagdalpur Legal Aid Group. She sought legal representation […]

The Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), Kochi, recently released a report titled Assessment of Commercial Dispute Resolution (CDR) in South India. The report aims to highlight the shortcomings of the CDR environment in the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The data was arrived at after consulting entrepreneurs, industrialists, practitioners, lawyers and academicians from the three states. The study was undertaken with support from the British Deputy High Commission in Chennai. CPPR’s report contains some interesting . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year […]

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court delivered its judgement in the disproportionate assets case against former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and her aides. The case crawled through various courts for more than two decades, causing a significant dent to the public exchequer. So just how much did the Karnataka government spend on counsel fees to fight the case in the Special Court? Before revealing that answer, it is pertinent to note how the authorities have acted on the RTI application filed way back in November of last year. The initial response to the query ‘How much did the […]

During May 1 to 9, the last working week of the Supreme Court before it broke for the summer vacation, 10 judges recused from hearing 16 cases.   The surprise among the pack was the recusal of Justice J Chelameswar from hearing the criminal writ petition, ND Jayaprakash v Union of India, [25/2016], which was listed before himself and Justice Abdul Nazeer on May 4. A contempt petition . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of unrestrcited access to previous interviews, columns and articles One […]

For the first and perhaps last time in our judicial history, a sitting High Court Judge has been sent to jail for six months for committing contempt of the Supreme Court. This is the maximum sentence contemplated by section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. This is also perhaps the last time that this may happen, because it is almost impossible to foresee any other judge behaving in a consistently irresponsible manner. Which High Court Judge would ever sentence seven Supreme Court Judges to imprisonment or direct them to pay compensation of Rs. 2 crore each? A controversial […]

Justice CS Karnan created history of sorts, when he became the first judge of a Constitutional Court to be sentenced to imprisonment for contempt of court. A 7-judge Bench of the Supreme Court passed the order sentencing him to 6 months in prison. Born on June 12, 1955 in Cuddalore District, Justice Chinnaswamy Swaminathan Karnan studied law at Madras Law College. In 1983, Justice CS Karnan enrolled at the Bar . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of unrestrcited access to previous interviews, columns and […]

It is now pre-vacation season in the Supreme Court, during which most cases get adjourned only to be heard after the summer vacation. Recusals by judges further aggravate this trend, as litigants and counsel have no clue as to which bench is likely to hear their cases after the vacation. Last week [April 24-28], Bar & Bench found that nine Judges recused from hearing 12 cases, due to various reasons.  Here are the details: Justice Deepak Gupta recused from . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One […]

Within a day of each other, the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court passed judgments in cases both dealing with heinous crimes and involving the death penalty. Earlier today, the Supreme Court passed a 429-page judgment confirming the death penalty for the four accused in the Nirbhaya case. And just yesterday, the Bombay High Court pronounced an equally detailed judgment in a horrific incident that . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of unrestrcited access to previous interviews, columns and articles One year access […]

Justice Gorla Rohini was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court on April 21, 2014. She retired on April 13, after a tenure of almost three years, or 1088 days in charge. She obtained her degree from Andhra University’s College of Law and enrolled as an advocate in 1980. She served as a Government Pleader, before being elevated as an additional judge of the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad in 2001. Rohini J was . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year […]

Last week, [April 17 to 21], eleven Judges of the Supreme Court of India recused from hearing fourteen cases. Here are the details: Justice R Banumathi recused from hearing a civil SLP, P Sundarajan v State of Tamil Nadu & Ors, [5253/2016], a land acquisition and registration matter listed before the bench of Justice Kurian Joseph and herself on April 19. The case arose out of the judgment dated November 16, 2015 delivered by Madras High Court. The . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year […]

The Supreme Court bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and RK Agrawal delivered a judgment on April 10 in a Civil Appeal, seven months after reserving it. The judgment in the case, Mrs Hema Khattar & Anr v  Shiv Khera, was authored by Justice Agrawal, and reserved on September 6 last year. Why did this case take so long to decide?  Let us examine the facts, and the . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of unrestrcited access to previous interviews, columns and articles One […]

Last week (April 10-13), Justices RK Agrawal and L Nageswara Rao of the Supreme Court of India recused from three cases each, while Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, Navin Sinha, Uday Umesh Lalit, SA Bobde, AK Sikri, and S Abdul Nazeer recused from one each. Here are the details: The first case, Kasturba Health Society v Union of India, was listed before Justices Agrawal and Abhay Manohar Sapre on April 10 . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of unrestrcited access to previous interviews, columns and […]

In this edition of Recusal Watch, we find that last week, seven judges of the Supreme Court of India recused from ten cases. Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and Justices AM Khanwilkar and L Nageswara Rao recused from two cases each, while Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, DY Chandrachud and Navin Sinha recused from one each. Justice Khehar recused from hearing Pravinsingh Bhurabha Chauhan v . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of unrestrcited access to previous interviews, columns and articles One year access […]

Justice Anil R Dave was elevated to the Supreme Court of India on April 30, 2010. After serving a tenure of nearly seven years, or 2,394 days to be precise, Justice Dave retired on November 18 of last year. He enrolled as an advocate in 1976 and was Solicitor for the Gujarat government. He was also a part-time Lecturer at Sir LA Shah Law College from 1976 to 1995. Justice Dave made the switch to the bench when he was appointed additional judge . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium […]

On March 30, Justices Prafulla C Pant and Rohinton Fali Nariman delivered two separate verdicts, disagreeing with each other in a criminal case, within eight days of reserving it. Could they have given a unanimous verdict, if they had spent more time discussing it among themselves, to iron out their differences? Possibly, as they had five more weeks at their disposal, going by the ideal time-frame as suggested by the Supreme Court in the Anil Rai judgment.

Last week, the rate of recusals by Supreme Court judges was lower than that of the prior weeks, but the element of suspense in tracking those cases continues unabated. Justice AM Khanwilkar recused from two cases. The first was on March 29, when he withdrew from hearing the civil SLP [10215-10217/2016] ITC Limited v Blue Coast Hotels Ltd. & Ors, which was listed before Justice Dipak Misra and himself. The recusal order stated,

Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy recently came up with a report, which comprehensively studies the reasons behind inefficiencies and judicial delays in the Delhi High Court. The  report also provides recommendations for the improvement of the judicial process and reduction of delays. The report states that systemic problems are likely to be further exaggerated in the Delhi High Court, as it also has original jurisdiction in certain types of cases.

Our investigation into the recusal of Supreme Court judges continues, as in many cases which have come to light, we are left with no option but to speculate. Justice L Nageswara Rao recused from three cases last week. Of these, one is a service matter, dealing with regularization of ad hoc employees etc. The case, Yogesh Mahajan v RC Deka, Director, AIIMS, was listed before the bench of Justice SA Bobde and himself on March 21, when he recused. A civil . . . Facebook Comment To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you […]