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Judge vs judge matter: Supreme Court transfers to itself case from Calcutta HC
The Supreme Court on Monday transferred a case related to fake certificate in West Bengal from Calcutta High Court to itself, news agency ANI reported. The five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud also directed all concerned parties to complete their arguments in the meantime.
Last week, the apex court stayed all proceedings before the two benches in the high court that saw a rare conflict between a single judge and a division bench over a CBI probe into an alleged fake caste certificate scam. It also issued notice to the state and to the original petitioner before the high court, and stayed the implementation of the direction issued by the single judge Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay directing the CBI probe in connection the case.
The bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud and justices Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose decided to transfer the matter to the Supreme Court and listed the case after three weeks.
According to Live Law, advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for West Bengal, submitted the report claiming that the single judge has been passing similar orders. “The judge continues to take these matters now, in future he will do the same thing. What should be done?,” Sibal said.
CJI Chandrachud however appealed to the lawyers to refrain from making comments casting aspersions on the judge. “Let’s not…after all we are dealing with a HC judge…casting aspersions on either judge would be improper…anything we say here shall not impinge on the dignity of the HC,” the CJI said.
On January 26, the Supreme Court had taken the suo motu cognisance of the matter, after an order was passed by Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay ignoring an order passed by a division bench staying the CBI investigation alleged irregularities in the admission of MBBS candidates in state-run medical colleges and hospitals as “illegal and ignored”.
Initially, the single bench of justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay had directed a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the admission of MBBS candidates in medical colleges. Later the division bench of Justices Soumen Sen and Uday Kumar had stayed the single bench’s order.
On Januray 25, the single-judge bench of justice Gangopadhyay held that the order passed by the division bench as wholly illegal and had to be ignored. He also accused Justice Sen of misconduct, and possessing political bias and asked how an order could be passed when there was no memo of appeal.
A petition filed in the Calcutta High Court on January 24 has raised concerns about the widespread issuance of fake caste certificates in West Bengal.
(Courtesy:- Hindustan Times, 29 January 2024)
Stop mentioning caste and religion of litigants, SC directs all courts
Disapproving the practice of litigants mentioning their religion or caste along with their names, Supreme Court has directed all courts across the country to shun the practice and
comply with its order.
“We see no reason for (it)… Such a practice must be ceased forthwith. It is therefore deemed appropriate to pass a general order directing that henceforth the caste or religion of parties
shall not be mentioned in the memo of parties of a petition/proceeding filed before this court, irrespective of whether any such details have been furnished before the courts below,”
said a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah.
The apex court, while permitting transfer of a case to a family court in Punjab, was surprised to find the caste of both parties to the dispute (husband and wife) had been mentioned in the memo of the parties. When asked, the petitioner’s lawyer said if the memo of the parties, as filed before SC is changed in any manner, the registry raises objection. And in this case, as the caste of both the parties was mentioned before the court below, he had no option but to mention their caste in the proceedings before the apex court.
The bench then decided to pass a general order to be implemented across all courts – high courts or subordinate courts under their respective jurisdictions – in the country.
(Courtesy:- The Times of India, 30 January 2024)
SC asks HC to reconsider termination of 6 women judicial officers in MP
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Madhya Pradesh high court to decide within three weeks whether it can reconsider its decision to terminate the services of six women judicial officers for their unsatisfactory performance.
A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Sanjay Karol was hearing a suo motu (on its own) petition initiated after three of the six former judicial officers approached the top court against the termination of their services.
The bench said it was not passing any written order at present but asked the counsel for the Madhya Pradesh high court to convey the court’s view to the HC and seek appropriate instructions.
Justice Karol told the counsel, “You see, institutions do not have egos only status. Convey our intentions to the high court.”
Justice Nagarathna added if the high court reconsiders its decision, then the apex court will not pass any orders in the matter.
Senior advocate Gaurav Agarwal, who has been appointed as an amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter, said no adverse remarks had been made about the performance of these former judicial officers by the administrative committee of the high court.
The bench said it was not saying anything at present and only asking the counsel to convey its view to the high court on reconsidering the termination.
On January 12, the top court took cognisance of the termination of the services of the six women civil judges and issued notice to the registrar general of the high court seeking a response.
The court had also issued notice to the axed judicial officers asking them to place on record their contentions.
Agarwal said three of the six former judicial officers, who had approached the top court last year also after their services were terminated, had moved the high court too against their dismissal and their petition is pending there.
He had informed the apex court that the plea which was filed in the top court was later withdrawn.
According to the January 11 office report of the case uploaded on the apex court website, the application by three former civil judges, class-II (junior division) from Madhya Pradesh State Judicial Service was addressed to the apex court.
The three former judges had said the termination happened despite the fact that a quantitative assessment of their work could not be done on account of COVID outbreak.
“It is further submitted that the officers along with three other female officers were appointed in Judicial Services in the state of Madhya Pradesh. They are alleged to be terminated from service primarily on account of disposal not being up to the standards set,” the office report said.
The termination orders were passed in June 2023 by the state law department after an administrative committee of the high court and a full court meeting found their performance during the probation period unsatisfactory.
According to an impleadment application filed by one of the former judges through advocate Charu Mathur, despite having an unblemished service record of four years and not having suffered any adverse remarks, she was terminated without following the due process of law.
She alleged her termination from service was a violation of her fundamental rights under Articles 14 (right to equality before law) and 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.
She said in her application that if the period of her maternity as well as childcare leave is taken into consideration in the quantitative work assessment, it will cause grave injustice to her.
“It is a settled law that maternity and child care leave is a fundamental right of a woman and also the infant, therefore evaluation of the applicant’s performance for the probation period on the basis of the leave taken by her as part of maternity and child care is grossly violative of her fundamental rights,” the application said.
(Courtesy:- rediff.com, 2 February 2024)
SC refuses to interfere with Hemant Soren’s arrest, asks him to move high court
The Supreme Court on Friday refused to interfere with former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in the money laundering case. The top court asked his lawyers to rather move the Jharkhand High Court.
“Why don’t you approach the high court,” the top court asked Kapil Sibal, appearing for Soren. Sibal submitted to the court that the case pertained to a chief minister who has been arrested.
Soren was arrested on Wednesday by the central agency following questioning in connection with a money laundering probe into a land scam case. He was produced before the court on Thursday and was sent to a day-long judicial custody.
The JMM leader had accused the ED of arresting him as part of a “well-orchestrated conspiracy” by the Centre ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due months from now.
In his plea before the apex court, Soren urged it to declare his arrest as unwarranted, arbitrary, and in violation of his fundamental rights.
The Enforcement Directorate, while producing Soren before a special PMLA court in Ranchi on Thursday, had claimed that the ex-Jharkhand chief minister had illegally acquired and allegedly possessed 12 adjacent land parcels in Ranchi measuring 8.5 acres, obtained by “a very large syndicate” involved in grabbing properties.
The central agency’s probe against Soren stems from the raids it carried out in 2023 against one Bhanu Pratap Prasad, a sub-inspector in the revenue department in the state, who allegedly worked along with the land mafia.
According to ED, the sub-inspector was allegedly involved in hatching conspiracies to acquire and conceal various properties in an illegal manner including the ones which are illegally acquired and possessed by Hemant Soren.
(Courtesy:- Hindustan Times, 2 February 2024)
Supreme Court issues new guidelines for environmental regulatory bodies
The Supreme Court on Wednesday held that bodies and authorities enforcing environment laws should be accountable, transparent and efficient in their functioning as it issued a slew of directions, including regular audit of their performance towards proper institutionalisation of environmental regulatory bodies and authorities.
A bench headed by justice BR Gavai said, “We seek to emphasise and reiterate the importance of ensuring the effective functioning of these environmental bodies as this is imperative for the protection, restitution and development of the ecology.”
The court passed the order while approving the Centre’s notification making the expert committee assisting the Supreme Court on environment and forest issues – the central empowered committee (CEC) – to be a permanent body with members chosen by the Centre for a fixed tenure and specified functions.
Approving the two notifications issued by government on September 5 constituting CEC as a permanent body and on September 8 naming chairperson and members, the bench was satisfied that its concerns over the functioning of CEC have been addressed. At the same time, the court emphasised the need for proper institutionalisation of authorities and bodies dealing with enforcement of environmental rule of law.
The bench, also comprising justices PS Narasimha and PK Mishra, said, “These bodies (tasked with enforcing laws on environment, forests and wildlife) constitute the backbone of environmental governance in our country. They need to function with efficiency, integrity and independence. As duty bearers, they are also subject to accountability.”
(Courtesy:- Hindustan Times, 2 February 2024)
*Disclaimer: – Always check with the original copy of judgment from the Court website.
Legal News in this Weekly Legal Update are compiled by Team www.deepakmiglani.com