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SC directs joint committee to find factual position on diversion of Mahadayi river


The Supreme Court has directed the joint monitoring committee of superintending engineers of the states of Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra to find the factual position on diversion of waters of the Mahadayi river.

The apex court which yesterday heard the special leave petitions of the states on the tribunal award on the river sharing dispute between Karnataka and Goa said that it would hear the petitions for a final order in April this year.

In a Press statement in Bengaluru, Karnataka Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi said that the monitoring committee should visit the river sites and submit a report before the next hearing. 

All three SLPs filed by the States of Maharastra, Karnataka and Goa were listed before the  Supreme Court today. Apart from the SLPs, the Contempt Petition 724/2020 filed by the State of Goa also listed yesterday. Mr Prabhuling K Navadgi, Advocate General, Mr Mohan V Katarki, Sr. Advocate and other counsel appeared for the State of Karnataka. The Counsel for the State of Goa pressed for the hearing of the Contempt petition alleging that the State of Karnataka has diverted the water to Malaprabha river and water is not flowing to the territory of Goa, which allegation is strongly opposed by the Ld.AG for Karnataka. The Supreme Court did not issue a notice in the Contempt Petition but directed the three  State Governments to nominate one SE to conduct a joint inspection and report to the Hon'ble Supreme Court.

The SLPs will be listed for a final hearing in April 2021 before which all party States shall file their written submissions in one compilation book.

The advocate appearing for the state of Goa pressed a contempt petition and alleged that there has been a breach of the order dated 02/03/2020 passed in the special leave petition 19312/2019 as water is prevented from flowing to Goa by removing the vaults erected pursuant to the orders of the MWDT. In order to ascertain the factual position the Hon’ble Supreme Court directed the joint monitoring committee appointed by the MWDT to implement the order dated 17.04.2014 passed by MWDT to conduct a joint inspection to ascertain whether there is a diversion of water by removing the vaults. 

Therefore action will have to be now taken to convene the meeting of the joint monitoring committee of the three superintending engineers of the State of Karnataka, the State of Goa and the State of Maharashtra constituted by the honourable tribunal to implement the order dated 17th April 2014. The said joint monitoring committee is directed to inspect the place and file a report. The case is now ordered to be called in April 2020.

#Maharashtra #Goa #Karnataka

Important transfers and appointment of Judges


President Ram Nath Kovind has made the following new appointments and transfers of Judges and Chief Justices:-

Name of the Judge - Dr S Muralidhar 
Present High Court - Punjab and Haryana
New High Court - Orrisa (elevated as Chief Justice)

Name of the Judge - Ms Hima Kohli
Present High Court - Delhi
New High Court - Telangana (elevated as Chief Justice)

Name of the Judge - Sanjib Banerjee
Present High Court - Calcutta
New High Court - Madras (elevated as Chief Justice)

Name of the Judge - Pankaj Mithal
Present High Court - Allahabad
New High Court - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh (elevated as Chief Justice) 

Name of the Judge - Raghvendra Singh Chauhan (Chief Justice)
Present High Court - Telangana
New High Court - Uttarakhand

Name of the Judge - Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari (Chief Justice)
Present High Court - Andhra Pradesh
New High Court - Sikkim

Name of the Judge - Mohammad Rafiq (Chief Justice)
Present High Court - Orissa
New High Court - Madhya Pradesh

Name of the Judge - Arup Kumar Goswami (Chief Justice)
Present High Court - Sikkim
New High Court - Andhra Pradesh

Name of the Judge - Sanjay Yadav (Judge)
Present High Court - Madhya Pradesh
New High Court - Allahabad

Name of the Judge - Rajesh Bindal (Judge)
Present High Court - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh
New High Court - Calcutta

Name of the Judge - Vineet Kothari (Judge)
Present High Court - Madras
New High Court - Gujarat

Name of the Judge - Joymalya Bagchi (Judge)
Present High Court - Calcutta
New High Court - Andhra Pradesh

Name of the Judge - Satish Chandra Sharma (Judge)
Present High Court - Madhya Pradesh
New High Court - Karnataka

Name of the Judge - Ravi Vijaykumar Malimath (Judge)
Present High Court - Uttarakhand
New High Court - Himachal Pradesh

#Judge #ChiefJustice

Over 10 lakh cases settled in National Lok Adalat of Year 2020


Last National Lok Adalat of the year 2020 was organised through virtual and physical mode across the country under the aegis of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) on 12th December 2020, a release issued today by the Ministry of Law and Justice said.

The requisite safety protocol in view of the COVID-19 pandemic was strictly observed by all State Legal Service Authority - SLSAs and District Legal Services Authority - DLSAs during the organisation of the daylong event of the Lok Adalat.

A total number of 8152 Benches were constituted by 31 SLSAs to conduct the National Lok Adalat. It was successful in disposing of 10,42,816 cases. Out of the total cases disposed of 5,60,310 cases were at the pre-litigation stage and 4,82,506 cases were those which were pending in the courts. The details, as provided by states on NALSA portal, indicate that the settlement amount was nearly Rs 3227.99 Cr.

In the aforesaid National Lok Adalat, cases pertaining to MACT, labour dispute, money recovery, land acquisition, maintenance cases, NI Act cases under Section 138, Criminal Compoundable Offences, matrimonial disputes (except divorce), service matters relating to pay, allowances and retirement benefits, other civil cases (rent, easmentary rights, injunction suits, specific performance suits) etc. were taken up.

Lok Adalat, conducted by National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) is an alternative method of dispute resolution. It is a forum where disputes/cases pending in the court of law or at pre-litigation stage are settled/compromised amicably. Lok Adalats have been given statutory status under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. Under the said Act, the award (decision) made by the Lok Adalats is deemed to be a decree of a civil court and is final and binding on all parties and no appeal lies against such an award before any court of law. National Lok Adalats are conducted quarterly for settlement of cases (both pre-litigation and post-litigation) in all the courts from the Supreme Court of India to the Taluk Courts on a single day.

To overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic in making this ADR forum for settling disputes accessible to various sections of people, the Legal Services Authorities introduced virtual Lok Adalat i.e., E-Lok Adalat in the year 2020. E-Lok Adalat by leveraging technology has provided a platform to millions of people to settle their disputes. Upto November 2020, a total number of 3,00,200 cases have been disposed of through the said E-Lok Adalats.

Few of the cases settled through the National Lok Adalat held on 12th December 2020 are as below:-

Compensation to dependents of an accident victim

An application for compensation was filed by the dependents of an unmarried 22-year-old man who had died in a road accident before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal. The claim for compensation was being contested by the Insurance Company. The case was settled in the National Lok Adalat, and the dependents were awarded compensation of Rs 11,30,000.

Settlement of a family land dispute

A family land dispute was creating a strain between two family members. The case was referred to the Lok Adalat bench Korba at the pre-litigation stage itself. The said land dispute was then taken up in the National Lok Adalat and was amicably settled at the pre-litigation stage bringing an end to the dispute.

Matrimonial dispute amicably settled

Cases relating to matrimonial disputes were also settled successfully in the National Lok Adalats. In one such case, a husband and wife who were going through a marital disharmony were reconciled. The husband had filed an original suit for restitution of conjugal rights. The matter was pending before the Principal Judge, Family Court, West Singhbhum at Chaibasa. After the matter was taken up in the National Lok Adalat, the dispute between husband and wife was amicably settled. The wife thereafter agreed to stay with the petitioner husband.

Relief to petitioner in claim for compensation

Through the National Lok Adalat, relief was also brought to a person after many years of struggle in claiming compensation from the Insurance Company against a theft which had occurred at his store. Even after many years of an order being passed in his favour in which Rs 13,53,286/- along with 6% interest was ordered to be paid to him, the insurance company was delaying the payment. Thereafter, he approached DLSA, Deoghar for redressal of his grievance with the said Insurance Company. The matter was settled in National Lok Adalat and a cheque of Rs 13,53,286 was disbursed in favour of the petitioner.

#NationalLokAdalat #MinistryofLawandJustice

2927 Court complexes across country connected by a high-speed Wide Area Network (WAN)


As many as 2927 Court complexes across India have been connected so far by a high-speed Wide Area Network (WAN) under e-Courts Project. 

It has led to completion of 97.86 % sites out of 2992 sites conceived to be connected with high speed WAN under the project. Department of Justice (DoJ) along with BSNL is working relentlessly on connecting the remaining sites. 

Under e-Courts Project, one of the largest digital networks of the world was conceived by Department of Justice along with the e-Committee of the Supreme Court of India to connect the 2992 court complexes located all over India by a high-speed Wide Area Network (WAN) via different modes of connectivity such as Optical Fiber Cable (OFC), Radio Frequency (RF), Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) etc. 

In May 2018 the mandate of providing Managed MPLS VPN services to all these sites was entrusted to the BSNL, which has pan India presence with latest state-of-the-art technology and high-end telecom infrastructure and transmission equipment. 

Many courts under the e-Courts project are located in far flung areas where terrestrial cable cannot be used for providing connectivity. Such areas are termed as Technically Not Feasible (TNF) and in DoJ’sendeavor to bridge the digital divide; connectivity is being established at TNF sites using alternative means like RF, VSAT etc.  With persistent deliberations, meetings and coordination with different stakeholders including BSNL and the Courts, the Department has been able to reduce the total TNF sites from 58 in 2019 to 14 in 2020, thus leading to saving of public money as the cost of providing connectivity through alternative means like VSAT is much higher. Department of Justice has also decided to use the newly inaugurated submarine (under sea) cable for providing connectivity to 5 TNF sites in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

As part of National e-Governance Plan, e-Courts Project is an Integrated Mission Mode Project under implementation since 2007 for the ICT development of the Indian Judiciary based on the ‘National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology in Indian Judiciary’.

The Government approved the computerization of 14,249 district & subordinate Courts under the e-Courts Phase I project ( 2007-2015). The objective of the e-Courts project is to provide designated services to litigants, lawyers and the judiciary by universal computerization of district and subordinate courts in the country by leveraging Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for improved justice delivery. Envisaging further ICT enhancement through universal computerization of all the courts, the Phase II of the project was approved by the Cabinet in July 2015 with a cost of Rs 1,670 crore under which 16,845 courts have been computerized.

#DepartmentofIndia #BSNL

Madras High Court gets 10 additional judges

The President of India has appointed Justices Govindarajulu Chandrasekharan, A.A. Nakkiran, Veerasamy Sivagnanam, Ganesan Ilangovan, Ananthi Subramanian, Kannammal Shanmuga Sundaram, Sathi Kumar Sukumara Kurup, Murali Shankar Kuppuraju, Manjula Ramaraju Nalliah, and Thamilselvi T. Valayapalayam, as Additional  Judges of the Madras High Court, in that order of seniority.

The appointment of Govindarajulu Chandrasekharan, A.A. Nakkiran, Veerasamy Sivagnanam, Ganesan Ilangovan, Sathi Kumar Sukumara Kurup, Murali Shankar Kuppuraju, Manjula Ramaraju Nalliah and Thamilselvi T. Valayapalayam, would be for a period of two years with effect from the date they assume charge of their respective offices.

However, the period of appointment of Justices Ananthi Subramanian and Kannammal Shanmuga Sundaram, would be with effect from the date they assume charge of their office till 30th July, 2022 and 19th July, 2022 respectively. Department of Justice issued a notification dated 1st December 2020, in this regard.

#Chennai #MadrasHighCourt

Wife can seek information about husband's income under RTI, says CIC

The Central Information Commission has partly allowed a wife's appeal which seeks information about her husband's income under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Information Commissioner Neeraj Kumar Gupta on the basis of certain High Court orders that a wife is entitled to know what remuneration her husband is getting, directed the Income Tax Authority to provide the Appellant with 'generic details' of the net income of her husband.

The Information Commissioner's order said, "we cannot lose sight of the fact that the appellant and the respondent No.1 are husband and wife and as a wife she is entitled to know what remuneration the respondent No.1 is getting."

However, on the plea seeking copies of income tax returns of the husband, the order observed that "the information sought by the appellant regarding copies of income tax returns of her husband, etc. is personal information of third party, which cannot be disclosed under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act."


Court reaches screens

Digitalisation has entered our lives in a big way. Right from shopping to conducting business to entertainment, each and every part of our life is going digital. 

Taking a significant step in line with the Digital India programme, the Gujarat High Court on October 26th showed the court proceedings live on YouTube on a trial basis.  

The Chief Justice said in an order that anyone desirous of watching the live telecast of the hearing can access the link to the YouTube channel from the homepage of the Gujarat High Court website.  

Gujarat High Court website link: 

This step will ensure that people get firsthand information about court proceedings, sitting in the comfortable surroundings of their home.

#Gujarat #GujaratHighCourt #YouTube

Centre asked to file reply on farm law related petitions

The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Centre on three petitions which have been filed challenging the farm laws passed during the recently held Monsoon Session of the Parliament.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde issued notice to the union government and sought its reply within a period of four weeks.

The three laws are Farmers' (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.

The petitions alleged that the three laws would lead to dismantling of the Agricultural Produce Market Committees system intended to ensure fair prices for farm products.

#Agriculture #GovernmentofIndia #SupremeCourt #FarmLaws

Loan moratorium case: Centre files response to SC

The Centre today informed the Supreme Court that any further waiver of compound interest will lead to significant economic costs which cannot be absorbed by the banks without serious dent of their financials.  

The Centre also said that this will have huge implications for the depositors and the broader financial stability. 

The Reserve Bank of India said that it brought a resolution frame work dated August 6, 2020 which enables the lenders to implement a resolution plan in respect of personal loans as well as other exposures affected due to COVID-19, subject to the prescribed conditions, without asset classification downgrade.  

The Reserve Bank also stated that long moratorium exceeding six months can also impact credit behaviour of borrowers and increase the risks of delinquencies post resumption of scheduled payments. 

The Supreme Court on October 5th said that the affidavit filed by the Centre on October 2nd regarding the waiver of compound interests on loans under moratorium in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic does not deal with several issues raised by the petitioners.   

The Supreme Court had asked the government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) authorities to submit a revised response by October 13th, when the next hearing is scheduled.  

#RBI #GovernmentofIndia #LoanMoratorium #SupremeCourt

Justice AS Dave passes away

Former acting Chief Justice (CJ) of Gujarat High Court, A S Dave, passed away this morning at a private hospital in Ahmedabad after prolonged illness. He was 62 years old.

Expressing Condolences on the demise of Justice Dave, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "Anguished by the passing away of Justice AS Dave, former Judge as well as acting CJ of the Gujarat HC. He will be remembered for his contributions to the legal field. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti."

#ASDave #Gujarat #NarendraModi