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Sunday, December 08, 2019

Supreme Court Today HIGHLIGHTS: SC strikes down Finance Act rules on tribunals

Supreme Court Today HIGHLIGHTS: With three working days remaining before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi retires this weekend, all eyes are on the top court.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 13, 2019 5:40:40 pm
In Supreme Court today: Karnataka MLA disqualification case, RTI Act, Shiv Sena plea The Supreme Court of India will pronounce its judgment on Rafale and Sabarimala review petitions tomorrow. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

Upholding the 2010 Delhi High Court verdict, the Supreme Court Wednesday ruled that the office of the Cheif Justice of India is a public authority under RTI. A Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and including Justice N V Ramana, Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said judicial independence had to be kept in mind while dealing with transparency.

In another judgment, the Supreme Court struck down rules in the amended Finance Act 2017 on tribunals and directed the government to reformulate fresh norms with respect to the appointment of tribunal members. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi directed the Ministry of law to conduct an impact study and submit a report to the apex court.

The apex court Wednesday upheld the Karnataka Speaker’s decision to disqualify 17 MLAs from the 16th Legislative Assembly in July this year. A three-judge bench of Justices N V Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari, however, said the Speaker was not empowered the disqualify the MLAs till the end of the term, thereby allowing them to contest the upcoming bye-elections on December 5.

The Court will pronounce its verdicts on the Rafale and Sabarimala review petitions on Thursday.

Also read | Five key judgments CJI Gogoi has to deliver before retirement

Live Blog

Supreme Court verdict in Karnataka MLA disqualification case, RTI Act, 2005 and Finance Act, 2017 today; Rafale, Sabarimala review pleas and Rahul Gandhi defamation case tomorrow. Follow HIGHLIGHTS below.

Highlights

    15:37 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    ICYMI: When SC issued notice to Centre on plea challenging Finance Act

    The Supreme Court, earlier in July, had issued notice to the Centre on a petition challenging the constitutional validity of Finance Act, 2017, as it “purports to” change the constitution of tribunals, including the National Green Tribunal (NGT), and adversely affect “functioning and independence” of the environment body. A bench of Chief Justice of India J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud issued the notice on a plea by the NGO Social Action for Forest and Environment (SAFE). The petition challenges Sections 156 to 189 of the Act dated March 31, 2017 and the Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017 framed under Section 184 of the Act.

    The impugned sections, appearing in Chapter XIV of the Act, were “unconstitutionally certified as Money Bill” to bypass the requirement to get the assent of both Houses of Parliament, the petition stated. This amounts to colourable exercise of power, it said. Vivek Chib, the counsel for SAFE, argued that the new regime of appointment and removal of judges in tribunals introduced through the Finance Act is grossly unconstitutional and contrary to judgments of the apex court declaring the National Tax Tribunal Act as unconstitutional.

    15:12 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    Independence of judiciary to be protected from breach: SC on CJI office under RTI

    There should be a balancing formula for right to privacy and right to transparency, Justice N V Ramana, who concurred with Justice Sanjiv Khanna said. "Independence of judiciary should be protected from a breach," Justice Ramana said.

    Emphasising that judges function under the rule of law, Justice D Y Chandrachud said: "Judges cannot function in total insulation, they also function under Rule of Law. Judges also enjoy the constitutional post and discharge public duty."

    -PTI inputs

    15:04 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    RTI cannot be used as tool of surveillance: SC

    Ruling that the office of CJI will come under the purview of the RTI Act, the Supreme Court in three concurring judgments said only names of judges recommended by the Collegium can be disclosed and not their reasons.

    Stressing on how judicial independence has to be kept in mind while dealing with transparency, the top court said: "RTI cannot be used as a tool of surveillance. Method of appointment has impact on the independence of judiciary. "

    Justice Sanjiv Khanna said the independence of the judiciary, transparency go hand in hand.

    -PTI inputs

    14:47 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    ICYMI: What had Delhi HC said about SC, CJI in 2010?

    The Supreme Court ruled that the CJI office will come under the RTI Act. The court delivered a verdict on an appeal by the top court's Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) against a January 2010 ruling of the Delhi High Court which held that the Supreme Court and CJI are “public authorities” under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

    Earlier, the HC had upheld a Central Information Commission order directing the SC CPIO to provide information sought by an applicant on assets of SC judges. This is significant as the Bench will decide if disclosure of confidential information, like discussions in the collegium for appointment or promotion of judges, under RTI would be “deleterious to functioning” of the judiciary.

    The Bench had earlier said “somewhere a line has to be drawn” on how much information about the process can be made public lest it affect the institution itself. “Nobody is for a system of opaqueness. Nobody wants to remain in darkness. Nobody wants to keep anyone in darkness. The question is where do we draw a line. Somewhere a line has to be drawn. In the name of transparency, you cannot destroy the institution,” CJI Gogoi had said, reserving the verdict.

    14:32 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    CJI office to come under RTI Act, rules Supreme Court

    CJI office to come under RTI Act, rules Supreme Court. A Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and including Justice N V Ramana, Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said the office of the Chief Justice of India is a public authority under RTI.

    14:29 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    SC strikes down rules regarding functioning of Tribunals

    The Supreme Court has struck down rules framed by Centre in 2017 regarding composition and functioning of Tribunals. The Constitution Bench has directed the government to frame new rules.

    13:56 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    SC issues notice to Delhi govt on odd-even scheme

    The Supreme Court has issued notice to the Delhi government on a petition challenging its odd-even scheme. The top court has sought air pollution data from the government and the CPCB for the period between October 1 and November 14, 2019, and from October 1 to December 31, 2018.

    13:36 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    Supreme Court says need a permanent solution to air pollution

    Taking note of the pollution in the national capital, the Supreme Court has directed the Centre to explore a Japanese technology to improve the quality of air. The AQI in the national capital was recorded at "severe" levels today again. The bench of CJI Gogoi and CJI-designate S A Bobde said there was a need for a permanent solution to the air pollution.

    13:15 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    Five key judgments CJI Ranjan Gogoi has to deliver before retirement

    It’s not really a break from the past for Chief Justices of India to keep a bank of key judgments in the tow for the last month before their retirement. Click here to see what's in store for CJI Ranjan Gogoi on his last three working days.

    12:08 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    JUST IN | SC verdict on Rafale, Sabarimala review petitions tomorrow

    The Supreme Court will deliver two crucial verdicts on Thursday. A five-judge Constitution Bench will examine a batch of petitions seeking a review of its September 2018 ruling that had lifted a ban on menstruating women from entering the Sabarimala temple. Separately, a three-judge Bench will pronounce its judgment on a clutch of petitions seeking review of its December 14, 2018 judgment, which had dismissed the pleas challenging India’s agreement with France to procure 36 Rafale fighter jets.

    11:44 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    Disqualification of Karnataka MLAs: A timeline

    In July this year, then Karnataka Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar had disqualified 17 MLAs from the Congress and JDS after they defected to the BJP in a bid to topple the H D Kumaraswamy government. The Speaker's decision was in accordance with the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, also referred to as the anti-defection law. The December 5 bypolls are a test for the BSY government, which needs to win at least six of the 15 seats to remain in power. Here's a timeline of events.

    11:19 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    Shiv Sena won't move SC against Maharashtra Governor's refusal for additional time

    In other news, the Shiv Sena has reconsidered moving the Supreme Court against the Maharashtra Governor's decision not to grant the party additional time to form the government in the state. On Tuesday, the party had said it would file a petition in the court at 10.30 am this morning. However, the party said it is deciding on filing a fresh petition against President's rule. For more on the Maharashtra government formation, click here.

    11:16 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    SC says Speaker not empowered to disqualify MLAs

    The Supreme Court has held that the Speaker of a Legislative Assembly is not empowered to disqualify any member till the end of the term. This means, lawmakers who are disqualified under the anti-defection law cannot be barred from contesting elections during the tenure of the incumbent legislative Assembly.

    11:09 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    SC verdict on disqualified Karnataka MLAs: How it will impact BSY government

    The Supreme Court's verdict today will have a bearing on the B S Yediyurappa government in Karnataka. In the 224-member House, BSY currently has the support of 106 MLAs. Bypolls to 15 of 17 vacant seats will be held on December 5. The BJP has to win at least six of the 15 seats to remain in power. With the Supreme Court's decision to allow the rebel MLAs to contest the polls, it is now to be seen whether the BJP will field them as its nominees.

    Also read | List of constituencies, disqualified MLAs – all you need to know

    11:03 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    Karnataka MLAs allowed to contest December 5 bypolls

    The Supreme Court has allowed the 17 Karnataka MLAs to contest the upcoming bypolls on December 5. The Speaker had previously barred them from contesting election during the tenure of the current Assembly, which is until 2023. The MLAs are now hopeful to contest the elections as BJP candidates. 

    10:47 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    JUST IN | SC upholds disqualification of Karnataka MLAs

    The Supreme Court has upheld the Karnataka Speaker’s decision to disqualify 17 MLAs from the 16th Legislative Assembly. However, the three-judge bench has struck down the provision fixing a time period for which they will remain disqualified.

    10:42 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    Why SC verdict in Karnataka MLA disqualification case matters

    A three-judge Bench will shortly deliver its verdict on the disqualification of 17 Karnataka MLAs. It had reserved its judgment in the case on October 25. Today's verdict will have a bearing on the December 5 bypolls to 15 of the 17 vacant seats in the Assembly, and on the future of the BJP government headed by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. Here's why.

    10:36 (IST)13 Nov 2019
    Anti-defection law, RTI Act, Finance Act — SC to deliver several crucial verdicts today

    The Supreme Court today is expected to deliver its judgment in several crucial cases. Follow our live blog through the day as we bring you the latest news and updates. 

    Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. (File Photo)

    At 10.30 am, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court will decide on the disqualification of MLAs from the 16th Karnataka Legislative Assembly by the then Speaker in July this year under the anti-defection law, and subsequently barred from contesting elections during the tenure of the current Assembly (which is until 2023).

    In the afternoon, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justice N V Ramana, Justice D Y Chandrachud, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjiv Khanna will deliver its verdict on an appeal by the Supreme Court’s Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) against a Delhi High Court ruling in January 2010 which held that the Supreme Court and CJI are “public authorities” under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

    The Court will also examine the constitutional validity of the provisions of the Finance Act, 2017, which affect the composition and functioning of various Tribunals.

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