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No need for CBI, SIT probe into Muzaffarnagar riots: Supreme Court

New Delhi, The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the plea for CBI/SIT probe into the Muzaffarnagar communal riots that took place in September 2013. The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice P.Sathasivam said that if the Centre and the state intelligence agencies had smelled of what was happening at the ground level, then the riots could have been prevented. The court also held the state govt was responsible for "initial negligence. The Surpeme Court said that the state had failed to protect the serious violation of fundamental rights of the people and said it was duty-bound to protect and uphold the people`s rights. The Surpeme Court also said that all those intelligence officials who failed in their duty must be proceeded against irrespective of their ranks. The Supreme Court also ordered the state to pay Rs 10 lakh compensation to women who were sexually assaulted and harassed during the riots. In a reference to a state government circular saying that the relief would be available to Muslim victims only, the court in one of its several directions said that the availability of relief should not be on the basis of victim`s religious denomination and it ...
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SC gives 14 days buffer to death row convicts

New Delhi, The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed all prison authorities to give a gap of 14 days between intimation of rejection of mercy petition to the condemned prisoner and his actual execution to allow him to prepare mentally to make peace with god, prepare his will and meet family and friends one last time. It also was critical of the practice in certain jails to put a person in solitary confinement immediately after the trial court awarded death penalty after conviction and said a condemned prisoner could be put alone in a single cell only in the last 14 days of his life and not before that. A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam found that some prison manuals did not provide for any minimum period between the President`s decision to reject a mercy petition being communicated to the condemned prisoner and his family members and the actual date of his execution. Some prison manuals have a minimum period of one day while others have 14 days, it said. It said there was a need to provide a minimum gap of 14 days between receipt of communication of rejection of mercy petition and scheduled execution as it would allow the condemned prisoner — * to prepare ...
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Devenderpal Singh Bhullar may latch on to SC relief for 15

New Delhi, The Supreme Court`s verdict letting 15 condemned prisoners off the hangman`s noose will come as an unexpected boon for death row prisoner Devenderpal Singh Bhullar and Rajiv Gandhi assassination case condemned prisoners Perarivalan, Santhan and Murugan. This verdict could serve as political aspirin for the headaches given by these two cases to Akali Dal and Congress. Despite the apex court`s judgment last year rejecting Bhullar`s mercy plea, the Akali Dal had made all out attempts to save Bhullar from the gallows. Congress was finding itself in a quandary over commutation of death sentence to Rajiv assassination convicts. Though the death sentence of another convict Nalini was commuted to life imprisonment after the intervention of Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, the party was finding it difficult to take a decision to commute death sentence of others convicted in the killing of their leader. Last year, a two-judge bench had rejected Bhullar`s plea for commutation of death penalty to life imprisonment. Bhullar had pleaded that the President took 11 years to dispose of his mercy plea and the wait for more than a decade under the shadow of death had resulted ...
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Coal scam: 7 files, 173 applications and 9 documents missing, says Centre

New Delhi, The mystery of missing coal block allocation files deepened on Tuesday with the Centre admitting before the Supreme Court that seven files, 173 applications and nine documents remained untraceable but gave an assurance that "all out efforts" were on to trace them. Accepting the opposition's charge about missing files, the coal ministry in its affidavit told the court that out of 43 files sought by the CBI, 21 were handed over and 15 were available to be given to the agency. "Efforts are being made to locate the rest of the seven files," it said. The acknowledgement came amid indications about CBI's readiness to tell the court that some of missing files were crucial for investigation into the irregular allocation of coal blocks, and could set the stage for potentially stormy proceedings in the apex court on Friday when the apex court is set to hear the mega scam case. Sources in the agency said the absence of details of deliberations of the 35th meeting of the screening committee, the body which determined the eligibility of bidders for the rich coal deposits, could hit the probe hard. The 35th meeting of the committee allotted coal blocks to some leading and ...
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2G case: I don't recall each meeting, Anil Ambani tells court

New Delhi, Reliance ADAG chairman Anil Ambani on Thursday appeared as a prosecution witness before a Delhi court trying the 2G spectrum case and said he does not "recall" the various board meetings of a company, said to be an associate of RADAG, as the minutes were "not prepared" by him. Getting no relief from the Supreme Court to avoid appearing as a CBI witness, Ambani took the witness stand for the first time and said he does not recall about each and every meeting of AAA Consultancy Services (P) Ltd when special public prosecutor U U Lalit showed him the minutes of meetings the firm held in 2005-06. "I attend a large number of meetings and I do not recall. I am going by the records only," he told special CBI judge O P Saini. To this, the judge told Ambani that although he does not recall about these meetings, in which he was present, the records must not be false. "But you do not maintain false records. Your record must be correct," the judge asked Ambani. "The records should be correct," Ambani said in response to the judge's query. "Sir I want to take a call. One I do not recall now. Second, minutes are not prepared by me. It is prepared by the secretarial ...
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Supreme Court keeps alive suspense on Ambani’s deposition in 2G trial

New Delhi, The Supreme Court on Friday kept alive the suspense over appearance of Reliance ADAG chairman Anil Ambani and his wife Tina in a trial court as witnesses in the 2G scam case. Desperate to shield the Ambanis from visiting the crowded trial court under media glare where they are summoned to appear on August 22 and 23, Reliance Telecommunications Ltd (RTL) through senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi sought deferment of deposition of new witnesses. Rohatgi informed a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan that the first among the 13 new witnesses summoned by the trial court would depose on Monday. He said since RTL's petition challenging the July 19 order of the trial court summoning the 13 new witnesses was pending, their deposition could be deferred for four weeks. "Today is already Friday. The deposition of new witnesses begins on Monday. Our only request is to defer the deposition of new witnesses for four weeks. The deposition of witnesses cited earlier by the CBI in the case could continue unhindered," Rohatgi pleaded. But the bench said it would hear the plea in this regard on Wednesday, just a day before the scheduled appearance of Anil Ambani ...
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Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case: SC directs IPS officer to appear before court, no arrest till then

New Delhi, The Supreme Court on Friday directed senior Gujarat IPS officer PP Pandey, an absconder in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case, to appear before a trial court in Ahmedabad on July 29 and restrained the CBI from arresting him till then. A bench headed by Justice BS Chauhan, however, made it clear that the protection from arrest to Additional DGP Pandey, a 1982-batch IPS officer, will come to an end if he fails to appear before the special CBI court on Monday. The court passed the order after senior advocate Jaspal Singh, appearing for Pandey, assured that the police officer will appear before the concerned court and he should be protected till then. Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising, appearing for the agency, vehemently opposed court's order for giving any protection to Pandey. "He has gone underground and there is no need to give him any protection. He is an accused in the case," she said. The court, however, granted him interim protection and said that due procedure of law should be followed after he appears before the trial court. "Pandey will appear before the concerned court on Monday and the law will take its course," the bench, ...
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Judiciary lacks wherewithal to understand policy objectives: Sibal

New Delhi, On the day the Supreme Court directed the government to file an affidavit explaining the procedure and methodology adopted for allocation of 164 coal blocks, law minister Kapil Sibal said the judiciary lacked the wherewithal to "fully understand" how a government seeks to attain its objectives through its policies. Speaking at a seminar here, he said under the separation of powers, it was not the domain of the judiciary to "fully understand" the "vision" of a government which seeks to attain a particular objective. "Not because it is not equipped to understand, I am sure that every judge of the superior judiciary is well equipped to understand that. But they don't have the wherewithal. They do not have the support system," a PTI report quoted Sibal as saying. "Behind the cold prints of the law, there is a soul of a vision. You can decide on the cold prints of the law, but you cannot possibly realize the consequences of that... which is why under the Constitution, we have this separation of powers," he added. The law minister said formulation of a policy took more than one year and it included discussions with experts, past experience of the bureaucracy ...
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1993 Mumbai serial blasts case: SC to consider Sanjay Dutt's review plea today

New Delhi, The Supreme Court will on Friday take up Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt's plea seeking review of its March 21 judgement upholding his conviction under the Arms Act and sentencing him to five years in jail in 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. A bench of P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan, which had delivered March 21 verdict, will take up the review plea in chamber. It will also consider similar pleas made by other six convicts in the case. Other six convicts, who filed review petitions are Yusuf Mohsin Nulwalla, Khalil Ahmed Sayed Ali Nazir, Mohamed Dawood Yusuf Khan, Shaikh Asif Yusuf, Muzammil Umar Kadri and Mohd Ahmed Shaikh. A day before the deadline for his surrender ended, the Supreme Court had on April 17 granted Dutt four weeks time to surrender before jail authorities to undergo 42 months remaining sentence in the case. The apex court had on March 21 upheld his conviction in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case which it said was organised by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and others with the involvement of Pakistan's ISI. However, the apex court had reduced to five years the six-year jail-term awarded to him by a designated TADA court in 2006, ruling out ...
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Coal scam report shared with PMO, two ministers, CBI tells SC

New Delhi, The CBI on Friday submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that the coal scam status report prepared by the investigating agency was shared with the PMO and two concerned ministers before presenting it to the court on March 8. During an earlier hearing in the case, additional solicitor general Harin Raval had told the court that the March 8 probe report was not shared with the political executive. The CBI affidavit says the report was shared with law minister Ashwani Kumar as per his request and the coal minister. The affidavit further states that two joint secretaries had also seen the report. A joint secretary level officer in the PMO had also desired to see the status report and his request was complied with, CBI director Ranjit Sinha says in the affidavit. The CBI director also revealed that the status report was shared with a joint secretary in the coal ministry. There has been a huge controversy after it was revealed that the govt had vetted the CBI status report. The apex court had sought an affidavit from the CBI director on the issue. BJP and other opposition parties have been demanding resignation of law minister Ashwini ...
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Plea in SC for stopping Kudankulam nuclear plant commissioning

New Delhi, Four months after the Supreme Court reserved verdict on a petition seeking implementation of mandatory safety parameters in the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, the petitioner on Tuesday made a fresh attempt to stall commissioning of the Centre's prestigious project in Tamil Nadu alleging that use of sub-standard equipment had rendered it unsafe. The new application filed by petitioner G Sundarrajan said after completion of the hearings in December 2012, it had come to public knowledge about use of sub-standard equipment in the nuclear plant, putting serious question marks on its safety. "The issue concerns use of sub-standard equipment imported by Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd from corrupt Russian nuclear suppliers in the said plant," the petitioner said, adding that this was the reason why the commissioning of the plant was delayed. Though the government has made repeated announcements since March 2012 of imminent commissioning of the nuclear plant, it has been delayed because of lack of preparedness and readiness to deal with safety issues. "Despite this, the central government has been making public statements and putting enormous political ...
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1993 Mumbai blasts: SC grants 4 weeks extension in surrender deadline to 3 convicts

New Delhi, After actor Sanjay Dutt, three more convicts got a breather with the Supreme Court on Thursday granting four weeks more time for them to surrender to undergo their remaining jail term in 1993 Mumbai blasts case. The three convicts are Yusuf Nalwala, Altyaf and Esa Memon. The apex court also agreed to hear Zaibunissa and two other convicts' plea for extension of time to surrender later today. Sanjay Dutt on Wednesday successfully invoked the Supreme Court's mercy to get a four-week extension of his surrender deadline. Dutt was directed by the apex court, which upheld his conviction under Arms Act for possessing illegal weapons, to surrender by April 18 to serve out the remaining three-and-a-half years of his five-year jail term but he pleaded for mercy saying he needed six months to complete his shooting assignments for seven films with Rs 278 crore riding on them. A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan took unprecedented recourse to Article 142 of the Constitution -- which empowers the apex court to pass any order to do complete justice -- to defer Dutt's surrender purely on mercy considerations, the only ground pleaded by his counsel Harish ...
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Supreme Court gives Sanjay Dutt four more weeks to surrender

New Delhi, The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted Sanjay Dutt four more weeks to surrender and undergo his remaining prison term of 42 months in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. The apex court granted partial relief to the actor on "humanitarian" grounds, a day before the deadline for his surrender ended on April 18. Sanjay Dutt had sought a six-month extension to allow him to complete shooting of seven films worth Rs 278 crore. "Considering the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and reasons stated in the petition, we are not inclined to extend the time by six months. However, we extend the time by four weeks from tomorrow. It is made clear that no further extension will be granted," a bench comprising justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan said. The court said that the actor will not be entitled to any further extension of time hereafter. The bench also noted in its order that senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Dutt, has agreed to the same that no further extension will be sought. The CBI opposed the extension of time but was silenced by the court which asked, why didn't the agency file an appeal against Dutt's acquittal from TADA ...
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Sanjay Dutt seeks six more months from SC to surrender

New Delhi, After crying before the cameras and expressing his resolve to abide by the judgment asking him to undergo another three-and-a-half year jail term for possessing illegal weapons during the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, Sanjay Dutt on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking a six-month extension of his April 18 surrender deadline. Seven films with a budget of Rs 278 crore were under various stages of production and it needed 196 acting days to complete, Dutt said in his application which will be placed before a bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam for hearing on Tuesday afternoon. Dutt also said he had already undergone 18 months imprisonment and that during pendency of his appeal against the trial court's judgment in apex court, he was permitted to go abroad for shooting. He said he had scrupulously abided by the conditions imposed on him. A bench of Justices Sathasivam and B S Chauhan had on March 21 found Dutt guilty of possessing a cache of arms, including an AK-56 assault rifle, which were part of the consignment brought into Mumbai by the masterminds of the serial blasts that killed and maimed hundreds. Senior advocate Fali S Nariman also mentioned writ ...
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Devinderpal Singh Bhullar to hang, SC refuses to commute his death penalty to life sentence

New Delhi, The Supreme Court has rejected death row convict Devinderpal Singh Bhullar's mercy plea. The SC rejected Bhullar's plea to commute his death penalty to life sentence on the ground that he underwent great agony for 11 years awaiting the President's decision on his mercy plea. Rejecting Bhullar's petition, the apex court cryptically said the petitioner has failed to make out a case for commutation of death penalty to life imprisonment. This means the SC refused to accept delay in deciding mercy plea as a ground for commutation of death penalty to life imprisonment. Bhullar was handed down death penalty for his role in the bomb attack on then Youth Congress president M S Bitta in 1993 in which nine policemen were killed and 25 were injured including Bitta. Bhullar had pleaded for commutation of the death sentence on the ground that he had undergone imprisonment for 20 years which was akin to a life term and that he had lost mental equilibrium in the despairing 11-year wait. A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya had heard elaborate arguments on three petitions - one by Bhullar, second by his wife Navneet Kaur and third by NGO 'Justice on Trial ...
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Security situation in Punjab problematic, state govt tells Supreme Court

Chandigarh, The state of Punjab is still not a safe place. This averment was made by Punjab government before the Supreme Court, stating, "Security environment in the state of Punjab continues to be problematic". The statement was made before the apex court by secretary (home) Samir Kumar while justifying deployment of a large number of state police personnel for VVIP security. As per the state government, "considering the situation in the state," 1,294 protectees have been provided 4,120 security personnel by the state on which Rs 15.69 crore is being spent every month. In February last year, the SC had asked the Punjab government to provide a list of persons who have been given security by the state and the total expenditure incurred in this regard. The affidavit, which was placed before the SC on March 25 by the state government, has claimed that political and religious personalities of the state are on the hit list of militants and extremist groups, which are often being sponsored and supported by fundamentalist and extremist groups based abroad. "The recent attack on Lt Gen (Retd) K S Brar in London shows that both terrorist/militant outfits and radical and ...
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Sanjay Dutt's fate in 1993 Mumbai blasts case to be sealed today

Mumbai, Days after Mumbai observed the 20th anniversary of the 1993 serial blasts, the Supreme Court will on Thursday deliver its verdict on 97 convicts, including actor Sanjay Dutt and 11 others who were sentenced to death. Dutt faces six years in jail for possession of arms. The judgment is scheduled to be pronounced by a division bench of Justice P Sathasivam and Justice BS Chauhan. "We are awaiting the final verdict," advocate Farhana Shah, who represented many accused in the trial court and the Supreme Court, told TOI. As many as 257 people were killed and 713 injured in the serial blasts that rocked 12 locations in Mumbai on March 12, 1993, killed 257 people and maimed 713 others, besides damaging property worth Rs 30 crore. The fishermen's colony at Mahim Causeway, Bombay Stock Exchange, Zaveri Bazar, Plaza Cinema in Dadar, Century Bazaar in Worli, Hotel Sea Rock, Sahar Airport, Air India building, Hotel Juhu Centaur and a petrol pump opposite the Sena Bhavan were some of the places that were targeted. According to the CBI, fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim, along with Pakistant's ISI, engineered the blasts, and Tiger Memon and his brother Ayub were the main ...
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Sibal wrong to protest Supreme Court's spectrum order?

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal is more lawyer than politician. Supreme Court judgments from the mid-1980s till 2004 bear testimony of his ability to explain rule of law-based legal principles while assisting the court in solving complex constitutional puzzles in scores of cases. He is a staunch believer in democratic governance where all three organs — legislature, executive and judiciary — play their roles independently but in a manner that strengthens the constitutional scheme. That is why it is a little intriguing why Sibal decided to go public in venting his disapproval of SC's February 15 order on spectrum. The court directed telecom firms, which had operated mobile services for almost a year despite cancellation of their licences, to stop operations immediately for either not participating in the auction of cancelled spectrum or being unsuccessful in the auction. Sibal was right when he faulted the order for not specifying the reasons for the directions. Few can have a quarrel with his logic: "Courts scrutinize government files to discover the basis of decision making. If transparency is expected from government, it must follow that the courts should give full ...
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BJP continues attack on Press Council chief Katju over Modi remarks

New Delhi, Launching a fresh attack on Press Council of India chairperson Markandey Katju, the BJP on Monday said the former Supreme Court judge was expressing "unsolicited, bizarre" opinions against non-Congress ruled states and demanded that he should step down. "Mr Katju as Chairperson of the Press Council of India, holds a statutory position, yet he is seemingly floating around the country like a vagabond and giving unsolicited bizarre opinions," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters. He alleged that Katju is biased and demanded his resignation. "Katju prefers slurring opposition ruled governments whether it is Mamata Banerjee ruled West Bengal, the JDU-BJP ruled government in Bihar or Narendra Modi government in Gujarat," Rudy said. Rudy maintained that the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley had made an apt statement that Katju was carrying the "brief of the Congress party" and asked him to resign. "Mr Modi has also supported Jaitley's statement that Katju should quit," Rudi said. Jaitley and Katju were yesterday locked in a bitter war of words over the latter's article critical of Modi with the two asking each other to ...
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President Pranab Mukherjee rejects mercy pleas of four Veerappan associates

Chennai, The mercy petitions of four Veerappan associates, sentenced to death in a landmine blast case, were rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee, an advocate S Balamurugan, appearing for the accused, said. "We have received information from reliable sources that the message has been sent to Belgaum jail authorities and apparently it has also been conveyed to the prisoners," Balalmurugan, who is also the Tamil Nadu PUCL state secretary, said. The dreaded sandalwood bandit Veerappan was killed in an encounter with the Tamil Nadu police of the special task force in October 2004. The four accused, Gnanprakasham, Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran, were sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in January 2004 in connection with the killing of 21 policemen in a landmine blast at Palar in Karnataka near the inter-state border in 1993. They were sentenced to undergo life imprisonment by the Mysore court. But the government moved the Supreme Court, which awarded them the death sentence. Their mercy pleas have been pending since 2004. A division bench of Justice YK Sabharwal and Justice BN Agrawal had converted the life imprisonment of convicts to death sentence and ...
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