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Pakistan Supreme Court declares military trial of civilians null and void
Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Monday declared the trial of civilians in military courts as “null and void” and ordered authorities to conduct the hearing of the cases of former premier Imran Khan’s supporters arrested for their involvement in the May 9 violent protests in ordinary criminal courts.
A five-member bench of the Supreme Court led by Justice Ijazul Ahsan in its short verdict ordered that 102 accused arrested under the Army Act be tried in the criminal court. The bench comprising Justices Ahsan, Muneeb Akhtar, Yahya Afridi, Mazahir Naqvi, and Ayesha Malik – announced its verdict on a dozen petitions challenging the trial of more than 100 civilians in military courts following the unprecedented violence in the country after the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan on May 9.
The pleas were filed by Imran Khan, the Supreme Court Bar Association and civil society.
(Courtesy:- The Tribune, 23 October 2023)
Fearing end of citizenship in India, UK prof moves Supreme Court
A London School of Economics (LSE) professor has moved the Supreme Court challenging the validity of certain provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955, that provide for automatic termination of Indian citizenship upon acquisition of citizenship of another country.
A Bench issued notice to the Centre earlier this month, asking it to spell out its stand on the contentious issue raised by Prof Tarunabh Khaitan.
The petitioner — whose wife is a British citizen — pointed out that Section 4(1) and Section 4(1)A of the Act required his future children to choose between their Indian citizenship by descent and their British citizenship by birth descent. Despite being eligible to apply for British citizenship since 2013, he has not applied for it as it would result in automatic termination of his Indian citizenship, the petitioner said, adding the ‘Overseas Citizen of India’ status that he would be eligible to get on termination of his citizenship was not comparable to benefits offered by citizenship.
(Courtesy:- The Tribune, 23 October 2023)
Landowners challenge High Court verdict, Supreme Court stays demolition of Gurugram houses
The Supreme Court has stayed the demolition of certain residential properties in Sector 23, Gurugram, after the landowners challenged the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s verdict declining their demand for de-notification of acquisition of the land in question.
A Bench led by Justice AS Bopanna also decided to examine the landowners’ claim under Section 101A of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (as amended by Haryana Legislative Assembly), which provides for denotification of land acquisition where public purpose has become unviable or non-essential.
Taking note of the fact that the petitioners had the benefit of the interim order before the High Court since May 13, 2022, the Bench — which also included Justice PS Narasimha — said, “…neither the structures — if any existing — shall be demolished nor the petitioners shall carry out any improvements or construction in the subject premises.”
The order came on a petition filed by Deepak Aggarwal and others after advocates Govind Goel and ML Sharma submitted on their behalf that the Punjab and Haryana High Court erroneously declined the petitioners’ plea seeking denotification of acquisition of their land.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had on September 22 turned down the petitioners’ claim for denotification of acquisition of the land in question. The High Court held that Section 101A the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 could only be invoked if the public purpose became unviable on account of an act of God or exorbitant financial liability accrued to the government.
The High Court’s judgment became available only on October 13 and the petitioners moved the top court on October 16. In the meantime, the Haryana Shahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) demolition men reached the property situated in Carterpuri village, Gurugram, and started to demolish parts of the boundary wall of the property that houses around 300 people.
The petitioners’ land was originally proposed to be acquired by the Haryana Government in 1981 for the development of Sectors 21, 22 and 23 of Gurugram. Having constructions on the land, the petitioners moved the High Court in 1984 against the acquisition.
After more than three decades, the High Court in May 2014 allowed their petition and held that the acquisition has lapsed under Section 24(2) of the 2013 Act. However, the High Court directed the landowners not to deal with the land in question for a year so that the state government may either re-acquire it or avail of appropriate remedy under the law.
After the expiry of the said one-year period, the land was sold to the petitioners as no action was taken to re-acquire the land by the state government which filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme Court against the HC order after much delay.
Though the state’s SLP was allowed by the top court on February 20, 2018, the Haryana Assembly passed a law in May 2018 that provided for denotification of land if public purpose has become “unviable” or “non-essential”.
Goel contended that the ‘non-essentiality’ or ‘unviability’ was much broader concept and the state itself had denotified under Section 101A on account of existence of residential houses and therefore, the petitioners were entitled to denotification in view of thickly populated property in Sector 23 Gurugram that housed hundreds of people.
Having invoked Section 101A for de-notifying several properties on account of existence of a thick population, the petitioners contended that the state could not single them out as they were entitled to equal treatment and the state authorities could not cherry pick.
(Courtesy:- The Tribune, 25 October 2023)
Bombay HC seeks data on cases against elected representatives
Bombay high court on Wednesday sought a list of criminal prosecutions that were withdrawn against legislators– Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs)–both current and former between September 2020 and August 2021.
The HC bench of Chief Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice N J Jamadar was hearing a suo motu petition that the HC had taken up last year to ensure effective ways for compliance of
the Supreme Court ruling on expediting criminal trials against elected representatives (sitting and former).
Maharashtra Advocate General Birendra Saraf submitted before the Bench that the SC had by its order of September 16, 2020 directed the Chief Justice of the High Courts to designate a special bench, comprising themselves and their designate to inter alia monitor progress of the trial of criminal cases involving prosecution of (sitting and former) elected representatives.
And by an order dated August 25, 2021, the SC clarified that its 2020 order was for pending trials, and said criminal appeals pending before the High Court are required to be taken up as per their turn and need not be given an out of turn hearing.
Saraf said the types of cases included cases where a stay had been granted on trials, and those where prosecution was withdrawn. The HC is to examine whether the withdrawals post September 16, 2020 were properly and legally done.
The HC in its order said, “monitoring the progress of trials involving prosecution of sitting or former elected representatives in the State, we direct that the Registrar General of this Court shall submit a list by the next date of listing of such trials pending in the district courts” and also list of pending trials which are stated.
The HC also requested advocate general Birendra Saraf to submit by December 11, the list of cases withdrawn or where withdrawal was proposed between September 16, 2020, and August 25, 2021, when the matter will next be heard. Meanwhile, lawyer Pranil Sonawane mentioned about eight cases which will be considered later.
(Courtesy:- The Times of India, 25 October 2023)
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Legal News in this Weekly Legal Update are compiled by Team www.deepakmiglani.com