Indian Judiciary Rijiju

Indian Judiciary To Go Paperless soon: Rijiju

Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju on Tuesday asserted the Indian judiciary will go completely paperless in the near future.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Delhi High Court new building, the Minister said, “I had a detailed meeting about the e-Court projects. For e-courts I have also requested the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to complete the task in his tenure.”
He said lawyers in the country should be prepared for paperless work adding that the Ministry has conveyed to law officers that very soon the system will have to go paperless.

“When we talk about the judiciary which is totally digital, then it will have a huge impact on the justice delivery mechanism itself. It will also help in delivering fast result,” Rijiju said.

While stating that as the central government has a well-defined role, Law Minister Rijiju said, the Centre cannot do much for High Court infrastructure as it is the State government who has to look after the expenditure for developing the infrastructure.

“We have to make the judiciary more interesting and attractive so that aggrieved people should be able to come to courts with ease,” he said

On Tuesday, the Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud inaugurated a new ‘S block’ of the Delhi High Court. Besides the Chief Justice of India, Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Puri, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Hima Kohli, Justice Sanjeev Khanna of Supreme Court, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal were guests of honour at the inauguration function.

According to the Delhi High Court communication, the ‘S block’ building is truly a new benchmark in judicial infrastructure as well as public architecture made possible by the support of the Government of India, the Government of Delhi and all Government regulatory as well as project management agencies who worked synergistically to serve in the cause of justice.

According to Delhi High Court’s press communication, the new building has Delhi International Arbitration Centre with 18 new arbitration rooms and huddle rooms. It will also have a Judicial Convention Centre with Full Court Facility, a 285-seater Auditorium, 200 lawyers’ Chambers, and Common meeting rooms with other facilities for lawyers including a cafeteria.

The new Block will also have offices across 6 floors and a large 300 capacity Parking facility across three basements. (ANI)

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Supreme Court on living will

SC To Hear Plea For Lifetime Ban On Convicted MPs, MLAs From Contesting Elections

The Supreme Court on Tuesday posted for next week hearing in a plea seeking to debar convicted Members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies from contesting elections for life.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli and JB Pardiwala said that it will hear the matter next week as it was hearing other matters.
Senior advocate Vijay Hansaria, who was appointed amicus curiae to assist the top court in the matter, told the bench, “I am requesting, some urgent orders are required.”

The bench said it will hear the matter next week.

A recent status report submitted before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) stated that there are 51 MPs and 71 MLAs, sitting and former, who stand accused by the agency of offense under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The report does not specify exactly how many of those are sitting MPs/MLAs and how many are former MPs/ MLAs.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has also submitted a similar report stating that a total of 121 cases are pending trial against sitting and former MPs and MLAs.

The number of MPs involved in those cases is 51 out of which 14 are sitting, 37 are former and 5 are deceased. The report further stated that 112 MLAs are involved in CBI cases out of which 34 are sitting, 78 are former and 9 are deceased.

The number of cases pending investigation against MPs and MLAs by the CBI is 37, the report of the CBI submitted.

Hansaria also filed a report pursuant to an order passed by the court seeking a status report relating to the pendency and grant of sanctions for prosecution, the expected time for completion of the investigation, and reasons for the delay in the same.

In his report Hansaria highlighted a “glaring case of inordinate delay” in the trial of cases against lawmakers, submitting that many cases were pending for over five years.

He sought directions to ensure that courts dealing with case against lawmakers should exclusively try such issues.

The plea filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay sought direction that convicted parliamentarians and State legislators, former and sitting, should be disqualified and banned for life from contesting elections to Parliament or Assemblies.

The plea also sought speedy disposal of cases against them and pointed out that while judges and babus were suspended for such activities, politicians were condoned by the law.

As of now, convicted politicians are banned from polls for six years.

The Central government in an affidavit filed in 2020 had rejected the idea of a lifetime ban on convicted persons contesting elections or forming or becoming an office-bearer of a political party.

It had said that disqualification under the Representation of the People Act of 1951 for the period of six years was enough for legislators.

Hansaria had earlier filed the report in the apex court and informed that a total of 4,984 criminal cases against former and sitting MPs and MLAs are pending before various sessions and magistrate courts across the country, an increase of 862 such cases in the last three years.

In August 2021 the top court directed that no prosecution against sitting former MPs and MLAs will be withdrawn without the permission of the High Court of the concerned state.

It had further directed that judges hearing the criminal cases against MPs and MLAs in Special Courts should continue in their current posts until further orders of the Supreme Court. (ANI)

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Chhawala Case

Unless Guilt Established, Circumstantial Evidence Theory Not Accepted: Chhawala Case

Amid the public outrage over the acquittal of three accused in the Chhawala rape and murder case, former Chief Justice of India UU Lalit on Sunday said unless and until that guilt is completely established, circumstantial evidence case theory is not to be accepted.

Speaking to ANI, Justice Lalit said, “The element was purely based on circumstantial evidence. Law is clear that facts must point only in direction of the guilt of that man, unless and until that guilt is completely established, circumstantial evidence case theory is not to be accepted.”
On the public outcry on his judgment in the Chhawala rape case, Justice Lalit said the law is that the chain must get completed.

“There were actually no circumstances that could point in their direction conclusively. The law is that the chain must get complete, it is on account that the benefit of the doubt must flow in that direction,” added the former CJI.

The Supreme Court on Monday set aside the Delhi High Court order and acquitted three men who were awarded the death penalty by a lower court after being held guilty of raping and killing a 19-year-old woman in Delhi’s Chhawala area in 2012.

A bench of Chief Justice of India UU Lalit, S Ravindra Bhat, and Bela M Trivedi set aside the judgments and orders of conviction and sentence passed by the trial court and the High Court in the case.

The court gave the accused a benefit of the doubt and directed to set free the accused forthwith if not required in any other case.

However, the court also directed that the parents of the victim would be entitled to the compensation, if not awarded so far by the Delhi State Legal Services Authority, as may be permissible in accordance with the law.

“Every case has to be decided by the Courts strictly on merits and in accordance with the law without being influenced by any kind of outside moral pressures or otherwise,” the top court remarked.

Three men had moved the top court against capital punishment for the rape and murder of a 19-year-old girl in Delhi’s Chhawala.

The three convicts were awarded the death penalty after being held guilty of raping and killing a 19-year-old woman in 2012. The victim’s mutilated body was found in a field with multiple injuries due to assault with objects ranging from car tools to earthen pots.

A Delhi court in February 2014 convicted them. The capital punishment was confirmed by the Delhi High Court on August 26, 2014, saying they were “predators” moving on the streets and “were looking for prey”.

Three men, Ravi Kumar, Rahul, and Vinod were convicted under various charges dealing with kidnapping, rape, and murder.

The three convicts have challenged the Delhi High Court order in the Supreme Court.

A case was registered regarding this at outer Delhi’s Chhawala (Najafgarh) police station.

According to the prosecution, the offense was barbaric in nature as they first kidnapped the woman, raped her, killed her, and dumped her body in a field in Rodhai village in Haryana’s Rewari district.

“The woman was kidnapped by the three men in a car from near her house in the Qutub Vihar area on the night of February 9, 2012, while she was returning from office,” the prosecution had said.

The prosecution had also revealed multiple injuries on the woman’s head and other parts of her body and said that the three men had assaulted the woman with a car jack and an earthen pot. The crime was committed by Ravi Kumar with the help of the other two accused as the girl has refused the friendship proposal of Ravi Kumar, the prosecution had alleged. (ANI)

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Delhi Court Notice Tihar Jail

8 Lakh Views To India’s First Live-Streaming Of SC

In a landmark moment in the history of the Indian judiciary, the Supreme Court on Tuesday live-streamed on YouTube its proceedings for the public to watch.

The proceedings were watched by more than eight lakh viewers.
This step will go a long way in overcoming the barriers of distance and will provide citizens from every nook and corner of the country opportunity to watch the Supreme Court proceedings, said a statement issued by the Supreme Court.

It further stated that this is a humble beginning and the “attempts will now be made to live-stream proceedings in all important matters” until live-streaming of proceedings becomes the order of the day.

“Three Constitution Benches in Court nos. 1, 2 and 3 of the Supreme Court of India were sitting today simultaneously and the proceedings in these three Courts were being live streamed through YouTube and other T.V. Channels. Statistics show that more than eight lakh viewers watched the proceedings before the three Constitution Benches,” said the Supreme Court.

The decision to live stream the proceedings of the Constitution benches was taken by the Full Court on September 20, 2022 and soon thereafter trial runs were undertaken by the Registry.

The technical support teams ensured that the live streaming was without any obstruction or difficulty and was completely seamless, the statement added.

Last week Supreme Court decided to hold live streaming of all the Constitution bench hearings from September 27.

Today, three Constitution benches heard the cases relating to pleas challenging the Centre’s decision to grant a 10 per cent quota for the EWS category in admissions and jobs, the Maharashtra political crisis, and control of administrative services in Delhi.

A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit heard pleas challenging the EWS quota case. The case challenges the 103rd Constitution Amendment.

Justice DY Chandrachud-led bench heard the petitions filed by both the Uddhav Thackeray-led camp and Eknath Shinde group on the issue of Maharashtra political crisis, and the plea of the Delhi government on the contentious issue of who should control administrative services in Delhi over the transfers and postings of officers in the national capital.

While a bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul heard the matter relating to the validity of the All India Bar Examination.

Yesterday, CJI said that the Supreme Court will have its own platform to live-stream its proceedings and the use of YouTube for the purpose is temporary.

“These are the initial stages. We will certainly have our own platforms… We will take care of that (copyright issue),” he said while a lawyer told the apex court that the copyright of the top court proceedings cannot be surrendered to private platforms like YouTube.

Currently, the Constitution bench of the Supreme Court has been hearing a number of cases including economically backward class reservation law, the religious practice of ex-communication in the Dawoodi Bohra community, Centre’s petition on additional compensation for victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy among others.

The cases that the five-judge Constitution bench will hear in near future include challenges to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), abrogation of Article 370, Maharashtra political crisis etc.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising had also written to the CJI and other judges requesting the Supreme Court to begin live streaming of proceedings of matters of public and constitutional importance.

In 2018 the then CJI Dipak Misra-led three-judge bench had agreed to start a live telecast of proceedings in a phased manner.

For the first time, the Supreme Court in August live-streamed its proceedings through a government webcast portal of a ceremonial bench for while giving farewell to outgoing Chief Justice of India NV Ramana. (ANI)

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CJI Lalit

CJI Lalit Refutes Reports Of Rift Among Top Judges

Chief Justice of India (CJI) UU Lalit refuted any rift among judges of the Supreme Court in relation to the new listing system of cases on Thursday, and said that “all judges are on the same page”.

“We have taken a new way of listing. What has been reported is not the correct state of affairs. All Judges are completely on the same page,” CJI Lalit said in the felicitation function organised for him by the Supreme Court Bar Association.

The CJI elaborated that the new listing system was a work in progress that has shown promise by disposing of 5200 cases since its introduction.

Earlier on Wednesday, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul remarked that the new listing system does not give adequate time to take up matters fixed for hearing. The bench, also comprising Justice Abhay Oka, said that many cases cannot be taken up as there are a number of matters within the span of the ‘Afternoon’ session.

“The new listing system is not giving adequate time to take up matters fixed for hearing like the present case as there are a number of matters within the span of ‘Afternoon’ session,” the order passed by the bench of Justice Kaul had said.

CJI Lalit, while addressing the gathering, said that till yesterday, the apex court could dispose of 5200 matters as against the filing of 1135 cases.

“As a result of change over, there have been certain instances where matters were listed on the 11th hour. Difficult for judges, indebted to them for discharging everything with a smiling face. That’s how we were able to dispose of 5200,” he said.

We have been able to reduce the arrears by 4000, CJI said terming it a good beginning. “So many matters were pending and had become infructuous. So we had to dispose of them and the results are before you,” CJI added.

After assuming the office of CJI, one of the first changes introduced by CJI Lalit was regarding the hearing of cases in the top court on non-miscellaneous days (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays). As per this, on non-miscellaneous days, the apex court currently hears regular matters in the morning session (10.30 am to 1 pm) and miscellaneous and after notice matters in the afternoon session (2 pm to 4 pm).

Earlier, the norm was to take up miscellaneous matters first and then proceed to the regular hearing.

CJI also said that it was always his dream to become a judge of the Supreme Court.

“It’s a privilege to be a lawyer. Everything I am today is a because of this legal profession. I can’t consider myself to be anything other than this profession. Being a member of this bar association was a matter of privilege,” CJI further said.

Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal also attending the felicitation ceremony said that he was happy to have a CJI of “unquestionable integrity and calm” who doesn’t raise his voice whatever may be the provocation.

“We are all happy that one among us, who is a member of the Supreme Court Bar Association, is holding the highest judicial office in the country. Only a few among us have had the privilege of being directly elevated to the bench of the Supreme Court of India. We are additionally happy that we are having a Chief Justice of India of unquestionable integrity,” AG said.

“If the last two and half weeks of Justice Lalit’s tenure have shown us anything it is that he is committed to planting a seed of lasting change and that his tenure offers a great future for this institution,” AG further said. (ANI)

Witnesses Are Eyes, Ears Of Courts: Delhi HC Chief Justice

The Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, inaugurated the second vulnerable witness deposition complex in the Tees Hazari Court on Tuesday.

Highlighting the importance of witnesses the Chief justice said that “witnesses are the eyes and ears of the court.”
While addressing the judges of Delhi High court and District Court he said that it is a constitutional duty to ensure the court remains accessible to the common public, that is to the victim, the accused, the witnesses and to everyone who could be considered as a potential stakeholder of the justice delivery system.

“The witnesses are regarded as the eyes and ears of the courts as the witness plays an integral role in bringing the truth home in a case. And it is precisely because of this reason that the witness finds himself or herself at a vulnerable spot in the system,” he said.

He said that it is, therefore, extremely important that such new ideas are adopted in all courts and this particular class of witness is provided a secure environment to depose freely.

“The provisions of the vulnerable witness deposition complex would go a long way not only in promoting access to justice for all and also promoting faith in the judicial system,” he added.

He also appreciated the building’s maintenance and the constitution committee for making such a complex in such a short time.

Lauding the new structure he said, “This complex is better than my chamber and adjoining rooms to my chamber. They have done very hard work. I hope they will construct the same kind of system in all the courts in Delhi and the rest of the country will follow the Delhi High court.”

“I must convey that the establishment of this complex is the first step we must constantly endeavour to sensitise all the stakeholders in the system regarding the function and true essence of such complexes that I am sure that judicial officers entrusted with this function will ensure the same,” he added.

This program was attended by Justice Suresh Kait, the chairman of the building maintenance and construction committee of Tees Hazari court, justice Mukta Gupta, justice Anu Malhotra, justice Yogesh Khanna and other justice of the Delhi High Court and judges of the District Court.

Justice Mukta Gupta shed light on the categories of vulnerable witnesses and witness protection schemes. She also highlighted the more VWD rooms.

She said earlier there were four rooms in the complex, two for each district but more rooms were needed after the scope of the definition of the vulnerable witness was broadened by the Supreme court in the Tukaram Wadade vs State of Maharashtra case.

The newly inaugurated complex has separate ways for witnesses, the accused and the judges. It has also other facilities for witnesses and child witnesses.

Now the court complex has four rooms for each district namely central and west respectively. (ANI)

Justice Ranjan Gogoi Likely to be Next CJI

reports said on Saturday. Outgoing Chief Justice Dipak Misra has reportedly recommended Justice Gogoi’s name as his successor to the law ministry. According to the norm, the outgoing CJI recommends the name of the second senior-most judge for the post 30 days before he is to demit office. In January this year, Justice Gogoi was one of the four, along with Justices J Chelameswar (now retired), MB Lokur and Kurian Joseph, who had called a press conference raising concern over the goings-on at the Supreme Court.]]>