The Supreme Court, which registered a suo motu case on safeguarding courts and judges in the wake of district and sessions judge Uttam Anand of Dhanbad in Jharkhand mowed down by a speeding vehicle while on a morning walk on July 28, on Friday issued a notice to all the states to file affidavit on the kind of protection and security provided to the judges and fixed further hearing on August 17.
A Bench of Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justice Surya Kant sought a status report within a week from the Jharkhand government on the investigation into the death of the judge.
The CJI berated in strong words the police, the CBI and the IB they do not help the judiciary at all, even when complaints are lodged by the judges alleging the threats faced by them.
Justice Kant joined the CJI pointing out that the judges are many times mentally harassed and threatened in the cases involving gangsters or high profile people, but their complaints never yield any result as they get no help.
“There are cases in the country involving gangsters and where high profile people are accused. So judges are threatened mentally also by sending messages on Whatsapp and SMSes. Complaints were made but CBI has done nothing. No change in attitude of CBI, sorry to observe (this),” Ramana said.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, who was asked to be present to assist the court, agreed the judges need to be protected by beefing up their security. I have a list of judges who were attacked. It’s time strong measures are put in place,” the AG said.
He said: “When such cases are taken which have gangsters and high profile accused, the judges often gets calls saying they know which car are they travelling in.”
“So you washed off your hands,” the CJI remarked when Jharkhand Advocate General Rajiv Ranjan said the case of the Dhanbad judge’s killing was handed over to the CBI, though police had formed a 22-member SIT and apprehended the driver of the vehicle. The advocate general justified the CBI probe on the ground they may be cross-border implications. CJI said: “We will ask CBI to appear on Monday. We have seen in other cases too...”
Asked by Justice Surya Kant on the steps taken to provide security to the judges of the lower judiciary, the advocate general said their societies and homes have been given security by police and protection force. The CJI intervened to affirm the unfortunate death of a young judge is a failure of the state since this area has coal mafias and the security should have been provided to the residences of the judges.
The advocate general said additional security has already been given and the boundary walls are in place.
Justice Kant told him the hardened criminals cannot be contained with the boundary walls. Seeking a counter not filed by the Centre, the CJI said a plea was filed noting the anti-social elements roam in the courts. He indicated to pass orders in next hearing on August 17, after noting the Centre’s response.
Terrorising court with bulky files: CJI Ramana
NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Friday flared up at the Indian Broadcasting Foundation filing voluminous annexures, running into 51 volumes, along with its appeal against the Bombay High Court upholding TRAI’s new tariff order.
Expressing shock at the outset at the length of the pleadings and documents submitted by the litigant, the CJI said: “You’ve filed 51 volumes. We had to get a lorry to carry your files to court. Do you want to terrorise us? File small volumes if you want to be heard.” The Bench, also comprising Justice Surya Kant, said: “We will not hear this. Imagine 51 volumes in one case. File one compilation and serve it on us then we will take it up.”
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing TRAI, submitted he will file a 2-page affidavit only. The bench said it will not go into the matter now and posted the case for further hearing on August 18. The SC was hearing an appeal against the judgment of the Bombay High Court, which partially upheld the validity of the New Tariff Order (NTO) issued by TRAI in January 2020, prescribing price ceilings on the rates charged by television channels. In June, the high court, while upholding the NTO, had struck down one of the pricing conditions as unconstitutional. —Our Bureau
Want to continue with tribunals or shut them: Court
NEW DELHI: Peeved over the Centre dragging feet in filling up the vacancies to different tribunals across the country, the SC on Friday asked it if it wants to continue with the tribunals or shut them down.
Taking exception to the delay by in filling up the vacancies in tribunals, practically paralysing them and leaving people without legal remedies, CJI Ramana heading a bench with Justice Surya Kant warned the government the concerned officers will be summoned to appear before it if the vacancies not filled.
An anguished CJI Ramana told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre,: “I have given the names of tribunals and vacancies. Please take a stand and report to court within a week.”
Sensing the court’s mood, the SG said: “That (summoning of officers) will not be needed. Please give us 10 days.”
The court posted the matter on Aug 16. It was hearing a plea by MP State Bar Council, challenging the validity of the Central govt’s notification transferring the jurisdiction of Debt Recovery Tribunal, Jabalpur to DRT, Lucknow due to unavailability of a presiding officer at Jabalpur. Our Bureau
NGO moves SC against appointment of Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police chief
An NGO on Friday moved the Supreme Court challenging the appointment of Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rakesh Asthana as Delhi Police Commissioner and the extension of his service by one year. The NGO, ‘Centre for Public Interest Litigation’, urged the apex court to direct the Centre to produce the July 27 order it issued, approving the inter-cadre deputation of Asthana from Gujarat cadre to AGMUT cadre. The petition by advocate Prashant Bhushan urged the court to set aside the Centre’s order to extend Asthana’s service period. It termed the extension of his tenure as well as appointment as “illegal” as he did not have a residual tenure of mandatory 6 months of service at the time of his appointment as Commissioner of Police since he was to retire within 4 days.
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