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Restrictions on Court Hearings Lawful

Restrictions on Court Hearings Lawful Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Judiciary Recently, the Supreme Court held that all restrictions imposed on people from entering, attending or taking part in court hearings are lawful in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The court said these restrictions were in tune with the social distancing norms and best public health practices advocated to contain the Covid-19.   Duty vs Discretion: The apex c

Supreme Court direction for welfare of migrant labour’s

Supreme Court direction for welfare of migrant labour’s housed at relief centre The Court directed that adequate medical facilities besides proper arrangements for food, clean drinking water and sanitation be ensured for migrant workers at relief camps/shelters across the country. Further, trained counsellors and/ or community group leaders belonging to all faiths should visit the relief camps/ shelter homes and deal with any consternation that the migrants might be going through. The

Pre-Retirement Judgements and Post Retirement Jobs

Context: It was thought that on retirement from high constitutional office, a judge would lead a retired life. Nobody ever expected them to accept plum posts. But the clear demarcation between the judiciary and executive got blurred as many judges over the years began to accept posts offered by the government.   Examples: A few years ago, a former Chief Justice of India (CJI) was made a Governor by the ruling BJP government. (Sathasivam is the second judge from Tamil Nadu to bec

Supreme court guidelines on prison reforms

PRISON REFORMS 'Prisons'/'persons detained therein' is a State subject under Entry 4 of List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. Administration and management of prisons is the responsibility of respective State Governments. However, the Ministry of Home Affairs provides regular guidance and advice to States and UTs on various issues concerning prisons and prison inmates. Supreme Court guidelines for prison reforms: The National Crime Records Bu

Supreme Court guidelines regarding reservation in India

Reservation in India -Analysis The two main aims to provide reservation as per the Consitution of India are: Advancement of Scheduled Castes (SC) and the Scheduled Tribes (ST) OR any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens (Eg: OBC) OR economically weaker sections (EWS) – Article 15 (4), Article 15 (5), and Article 15 (6), Adequate representation of any backward class of citizens OR economically weaker sections (EWS) in the services under the State. – Artic

Virtual courts amidst lockdown

Introduction: Amidst the national lockdown, the Supreme Court and several other courts have been holding virtual proceedings. A question of concern to the Bar is whether virtual courts have become the “new normal” and whether it means a move away from the idea of open courts towards technology-based administration of justice without the physical presence of lawyers and litigants. Virtual courts:   What is Virtual court? Virtual Court

Belated, but welcome: On Supreme Court move on migrant workers

Belated, but welcome: On Supreme Court move on migrant workers Introduction It is a matter of relief that the Supreme Court has at last taken cognisance of the plight of millions of inter-State workers looking for transport home and relief from the unrelenting misery unleashed on them by the lockdown. Justice delayed A three-judge Bench has initiated suo motu proceedings based on media reports and representations from senior advocates, observing that there have been inadequacies and

Rule of Law Index

Rule of Law Index It is released by the World Justice Project, an independent organisation.It is a quantitative assessment tool designed to offer a detailed and comprehensive picture of the extent to which countries adhere to the rule of law in practice. The World Justice Project defines the rule of law system as one in which the following four universal principles are upheld: The government and its officials and agents are accountable under the law. The laws are clear, publicized, st

Supreme Court ruling- disqualification petitions

Supreme Court ruling- disqualification petitions In January 2020, a three-judge bench of the SC expressed its displeasure with the Speaker’s lack of urgency in deciding the disqualification petitions. It ruled that Speakers of assemblies and the Parliament must decide disqualification pleas within a period of 3 months. Extraordinary circumstances are exceptions to this. The ruling settled the law for situations where the timing of the disqualification is misused to manipulate fl

Disabled are entitled to same benefits of SC/ST quota: Supreme Court

Disabled are entitled to same benefits of SC/ST quota: Supreme Court The Supreme Court, in a significant decision, confirmed that persons suffering from disabilities are also socially backward and entitled to the same benefits of relaxation as Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe candidates in public employment and education. A three-judge Bench led by Justice Rohinton Nariman upheld a 2012 judgment of the Delhi High Court in Anamol Bhandari (minor) through his father/Natural Guardian v. Delh

Plea bargaining

Plea bargaining What is plea bargaining and how does it work? Context * Many members of the Tablighi Jamaat belonging to different countries have obtained release from court cases in recent days by means of plea bargaining. * Accused of violating visa conditions by attending a religious congregation in Delhi, these foreign nationals have walked free after pleading guilty to minor offences and paying the fines imposed by the court. * These cases have brought the focus on plea bar

A template to manage temples

A template to manage temples By K. Jayakumar is a former Chief Secretary of Kerala Context -   In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court has held that the erstwhile Travancore royal family is the “human ministrant” or the shebait (manager) of the properties belonging to Sri Padmanabha, chief deity of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. -   The judgment also makes it clear that the temple is a public temple and needs to be administere

Set up a High Court for Puducherry

Set up a High Court for Puducherry   Context: - The article argues the case for a separate High Court for Puducherry. - Puducherry was a former French colony. Fifteen years after India gained independence; this small French colony was liberated on August 16, 1962 and merged with India. - Initially, the jurisdiction of the Madras High Court was extended to it. - Previously, there have been demands for a separate High Court or at least a Bench of the Madras High Court. -

The chilling effect of criminal contempt

The chilling effect of criminal contempt By, Justice A.P. Shah is retired Chief Justice, Delhi and Madras High Courts, and former Chairperson, Law Commission of India Context Supreme Court of India have dozens of constitutional cases that need to be desperately addressed, such as the constitutionality of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the electoral bonds matter, or the issue of habeas corpus petitions from Jammu and Kashmir. It is disappointing that instead of taking up matters

Contempt of Court

Contempt of Court GS-PAPER-2 Governance (Mains-I.V) Recently, the Supreme Court of India initiated the proceedings for criminal contempt of court against lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan. The contempt charges were lodged in the context of the comment made on social media, targeting the current Chief Justice of India. The contempt power is needed to punish wilful disobedience to court orders (civil contempt), as well as interference in the administration of justice and overt th

Madras High Court on Criminalisation of Politics

Enact a law to bar criminals in elections, asks Madras HC Context: The Madras High Court has directed the Centre to explain in two weeks as to why it should not enact a law prohibiting people with criminal background from contesting in parliamentary, Assembly and local body elections. The observations were made while dealing with the HCP(Habeas Corpus Petition) to quash a preventive detention order passed against Jana alias A. Janarthanan, who is facing as many as 19 criminal cases in

What is criticism and what is contempt?

What is criticism and what is contempt? By, Gautam S.Raman is an advocate practicing at the Madras High Court Context A recent order of the Supreme Court found senior advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of contempt for two tweets — one relating to the Chief Justice of India astride an expensive motorcycle and the other a comment that the Supreme Court, in his opinion, played a role in the destruction of democracy in India over the last six years. Criminal contempt 2(c)

Where is the sentinel guarding our rights?

Where is the sentinel guarding our rights? Context This article talks about the need for the Supreme Court to re-address its role assigned under the Constitution as “sentinel on the qui vive’. What is “sentinel on the qui vive”? •“sentinel on the qui vive” means the watchful guardian of fundamental rights. Issues With regard to the exercise of power: Since the assumption of office by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar in 2017, the Cour

Fair and unfair

Fair and unfair Context: Madras High Court has decided not to pursue the ill-conceived attempt to initiate action against film actor Suriya for contempt of court. News: The actor had questioned the correctness of the Supreme Court in allowing NEET to be held across the country during the pandemic when the Court itself was holding virtual hearings out of fear of infection. It was clear from the beginning that it constituted no contempt, as it did nothing more than raise the

In- House Procedure Against Judges of Higher Judiciary

In- House Procedure Against Judges of Higher Judiciary What is in the News? Recently, in a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI), Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister has accused the Supreme Court judge, Justice N.V. Ramana and some judges of Andhra Pradesh (AP) High Court of misconduct, corruption and political bias. The allegation against the judges is unprecedented since it has been made publicly. What are the Issues Involved? The Constitution of India protects the ind

Changing the discourse on victim jurisprudence

Changing the discourse on victim jurisprudence Context Supreme Court has led the movement for recognition of victim rights to access to justice, compensation and assistance, little has changed in terms of both the black letter of the law and the ground realities. There is an overwhelming need to re-conceptualise the institutions of our criminal justice system to account for victims both at the pre- and post-crime levels. As opposed to post-crime mitigation and rehabilitation, a pr

Amid a judicial slide, a flicker of hope on rights

Amid a judicial slide, a flicker of hope on rights By, Justice Ajit Prakash Shah is retired Chief Justice, Delhi and Madras High Courts, and former Chairperson, Law Commission of India An expeditious hearing The application before the Supreme Court was in appeal against the decision of the Bombay High Court to refuse to entertain Mr. Goswami’s habeas corpus petition, citing procedure that no bail can be granted in a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution and requiring h

Judicial Activism and Marriage Laws

Judicial Activism and Marriage Laws The Allahabad High Court has ruled that the provision of publication of notice of intended marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, is not mandatory. The court, in a significant judgment delivered on January 12, said making such publication mandatory “would invade the fundamental rights of liberty and privacy, including within its sphere the freedom to choose for marriage without interference from state and non-state actors, of the persons

Patriarchal mind-set within the Judiciary

Patriarchal mind-set within the Judiciary NCRB data on women related crimes A survey by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in 2018 had rated India as the most dangerous country for women. According to a National Crime Records Bureau report (2019) as many as 32,032 rapes were reported in 2019 — or 88 incidents of rape a day. Every hour, 39 instances of crime against women including four instances of rape are committed in India. Reported rape cases have increased by 88% over a

Bangkok General Guidance for Judges in Applying a Gender Perspective

Bangkok General Guidance for Judges in Applying a Gender Perspective Background The Bangkok General Guidance for Judges in Applying a Gender Perspective was discussed and adopted by judges from Philippines in 24 to 25 June 2016, hosted by the ICJ and UN Women. The idea to initiate the development of the Bangkok General Guidance emerged from the ASEAN Regional Dialogue on Judging with a Gender Perspective, which was held in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2015. General Guidance The Ba

Vacancies in Judiciary

Vacancies in Judiciary Over 60% of the sanctioned strength of judges was vacant at Patna High Court. High Courts with highest vacancy was in Patna(60%) > Calcutta(55.6%) > RJ(54%) > MP(49.1%) > (48.6%). High courts with lowest vacancy MN(0%) > ML(0%) > SK(0%) > KR(14.9%) > Guwahati(16.7%).   Huge workload: Judges in high courts hear between 20 and 150 cases every day, or an average of 70 hearings daily. The average time that the ju

Phase III eCourts Project of Supreme Court

Phase III eCourts Project of Supreme Court In another major initiative the eCommittee Supreme Court has prepared the draft vision document for Phase III of the eCourts Project under the auspices of the Supreme court of India. E-Courts Project is a mission mode project undertaken by the Department of Justice, Government of India. The eCommittee Supreme Court of India yesterday released the Draft Vision document for Phase III of the aforementioned e-Courts Project. The eCommittee of

Judicial Appointments

Judicial Appointments Context: CJI Sharad A. Bobde had recommended Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana, the seniormost judge of the Supreme Court, for appointment as the 48th Chief Justice of India. About NV Ramana: Student leader working for farmers and industrial workers to journalist for a leading Telugu newspaper to a first-generation lawyer. He was Additional Advocate General for Andhra Pradesh before being called to the State High Court Bench in 2001. Justice Ramana was

Judicial Appointments in India

Judicial Appointments in India What is Collegium? Collegium system of the Supreme Court (SC) and the High Courts (HCs) of India is based on the precedence established by the “Three Judges Cases (1982, 1993, 1998) “. It is a legally valid system of appointment and transfer of judges in the SC and all HCs. It is a system of checks and balance, which ensures the independence of the senior judiciary in India. The Judges Cases The First Judges Case (1981) ruled tha

Delay In Judicial Appointments

Delay In Judicial Appointments In light of extraordinary delay in filling up judicial vacancies and to clear the mounting arrears in the various High Courts , the Supreme Court decided to invoke a “dormant provision” in the Constitution to clear the way for appointment of retired judges as ad hoc judges. Article 224A of the Constitution, which provides for appointment of ad hoc judges in the High Courts based on their consent. A Bench headed by CJI S.A. Bobde has made it clear

Appointment of Ad hoc judges

Appointment of Ad hoc judges Introduction The Supreme Court’s decision to invoke  Article 224A in the Constitution to clear the way for appointment of retired judges as ad hoc judges to clear the mounting arrears in the various High Courts is an indictment of the extraordinary delay in filling up judicial vacancies. Huge vacancy in High court Whether the fault lies with the Collegium system or the Centre’s tardiness, there is little doubt that the unacceptab

Judicial federalism in India

Judicial federalism in India Introduction In comparison to the legislature and the executive, what the judiciary can deliver in the realm of socio-economic rights is limited. Courts cannot build better health infrastructure or directly supply oxygen; neither are they functionally bound to. Courts often lack the expertise and resources to decide social rights issues. Parmanand Katara v. Union of India (1989) In Parmanand Katara v. Union of India (1989), the Supreme Cour

Judicial Appointments in India

Judicial Appointments and Vacancies in India Judicial Vacancies has been the issue of Indian Judiciary since a long time now. Click here to read more on the UPSC Facts and Data for Vacancies in Indian Judiciary. Some Constitutional Provisions related to appoint of Judges Article 124(2) of the Indian Constitution provides that the Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President after consultation with such a number of the Judges of the Supreme Court and of t

eCourts Project of Supreme Court

eCourts Project of Supreme Court In another major initiative the eCommittee Supreme Court has prepared the draft vision document for Phase III of the eCourts Project under the auspices of the Supreme court of India. E-Courts Project is a mission mode project undertaken by the Department of Justice, Government of India. The eCommittee Supreme Court of India yesterday released the Draft Vision document for Phase III of the aforementioned e-Courts Project. The eCommittee of the Suprem

Online Dispute Resolution in India

Online Dispute Resolution in India NITI Aayog recently released a handbook on Online Dispute Resolution mechanism. ODR has the potential to decentralize, diversify, democratize, and disentangle the justice delivery mechanism in India’s courts. Present Scenario in India’s Courts & Associated Issues The pendency of over 40 million cases in our judicial system remains a focal point for reform and reduction. This pendency makes a strong case for online dispute reso

Judicial Appointments and Vacancies in India

Judicial Appointments and Vacancies in India Judicial Vacancies has been the issue of Indian Judiciary since a long time now. Click here to read more on the UPSC Facts and Data for Vacancies in Indian Judiciary. Some Constitutional Provisions related to appoint of Judges Article 124(2) of the Indian Constitution provides that the Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President after consultation with such a number of the Judges of the Supreme Court and of t

Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs)

To bring more stringent provisions and expeditious trial and disposal of such cases, the Central Government enacted "The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018" and made provision of stringent punishment including death penalty for perpetrators of rape. This led to the establishment of the Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs). Fast Track Special Courts are dedicated courts expected to ensure swift dispensation of justice. They have a better clearance rate as compared to the regular

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