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 . . . To read the entire article, get a premium account With […]

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 . . . 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 material Access […]

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 . . . To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of unrestrcited […]

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 . . . 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 […]

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 . . . 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 […]

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 . . . To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of […]

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 . . . 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 […]

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 . . . To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of unrestrcited […]

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 . . . To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of unrestrcited […]

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 . . . 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 […]

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 . . . 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 […]

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 . . . 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 […]

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 . . . To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you […]

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 . . . To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One […]

The Executive v. Judiciary debate has once again re-ignited, thanks to the recent developments concerning Aadhaar. While the recent notifications by the Central Government making Aadhaar mandatory for Income Tax filing, mobile connections etc. seem to be in clear violation of the orders of the Supreme Court, they are not isolated examples. On one hand, the leaders of the government have been vocal about democracy’s triumph, but on the other hand, their government has failed to respect the orders of the apex court.

by Dr. Amit George When the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 was enacted, it set out to radically redefine the arbitration regime in India when compared to the archaic and outdated provisions of the Act it replaced, i.e. the Arbitration Act, 1940. However, while the 1996 Act was successful in alleviating a variety of the short-comings of the 1940 Act, there were certain areas where this success was elusive. One of these critical areas was the independence and impartiality . . . To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account you get: One year of […]

Our quest to understand why judges of the Supreme Court recuse from cases continues. As expected, we succeed in unravelling some, and leave the rest to the speculation of the readers. As in the previous edition of Recusal Watch, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul continues to top the list in this edition too. He recused from five cases out of the fourteen recusals tracked by us in Supreme Court last week. Here . . . 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 […]

Last week, the Karnataka High Court reserved its judgment in a batch of petitions challenging a 2014 amendment to the laws governing health warnings on the packaging of tobacco products. A Bench of Justices BS Patil and BV Nagarathna will decide the fate of more than fifty petitions filed by individuals and organisations from across the country. In this edition of . . . 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 material Access to all Bar […]

While courts in India have consistently been venturing towards becoming more progressive, there have been a few instances where they have clung to ghosts of patriarchy past. This often reflects though their judgments, some of which might be extremely difficult to place in the present day. Many a time, the courts have failed to take a victim-centric approach in cases relating to women. And in some of these cases, though the courts have delivered legally sound decisions, they have ended up making comments on . . . To read the entire article, get a premium account With a premium account […]

Recusal of judges has been the talk of the town for some time now. The reasons for recusal of judges are  left to the litigant’s imagination more often than not. In fact, the dissenting opinion penned by Justice Kurian Joseph in the NJAC judgment called for greater transparency in recusals. Justice Joseph opined, “The litigants would always like to know though they may not have a . . . 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 […]