The Supreme Court disapproves of Centre challenging its stand, seeks report of the consultation process in three months for the minority status of Hindus in some states - The Daily Guardian
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The Supreme Court disapproves of Centre challenging its stand, seeks report of the consultation process in three months for the minority status of Hindus in some states

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The Supreme Court in the case Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay versus Union of India observed in a plea seeking minority status for Hindus in states where they are numerically less. The court further expressed disappointment at the Central Government changing its stances.

For seeking minority status for Hinduism, Bahaism and Judaism a Public Interest Litigation along with the Counter affidavit is filled by the Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay to know the minority status of Hindus in the in states like Mizoram, Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab, Manipur and Union Territories of Ladakh and Lakshadweep. the National Commission for Minorities Act 1992 and National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act 2004 and the power of the Central Government to notify minorities were also questioned in the PIL filled.

for the purposes of Articles 29 & 30 of the Constitution of India the States in which Hindus are in minority can notify them as minorities, it was stated by the Central Government in an affidavit filed on 28th March 2022., the Union Government has taken a different stand in an fresh affidavit filled on 5th May, 2022.

taking into consideration several sociological and other aspects obviating any unintended complications in future with regard to such a vital issue as will ensure that the Central Government is able to place a considered view before this Hon’ble Court and though the power is vested with the Central Government to notify minorities, the stand to be formulated by the Central Government with regard to issues raised in this group of petitions will be finalized after having a wide consultation with State Governments and other stakeholders was submitted in its recent affidavit by the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs.

The bench of Justice Kaul expressed concern and reckoned that in the interregnum the consultation process could have been undertaken further Justice Kaul stated that the Union Government should be more careful while filing affidavits, so that they do not have to back out from the stand taken on a later date.

Justice Kaul further stated that how can the affidavit first be filed that both Centre and State have power, in an matter like this because before the affidavits are filed everything is in the public domain. That has its own consequences. I am not blaming anybody but Somebody should have been more careful as Number of dates were given.

Thereafter the SG Tushar Mehta, contended that it finds way in the public domain, once we serve the copy on the parties.

a status report to be filled in August and the Centre to undertake the consultation process, the bench directed while adjourning the matter.

The matter requires final hearing and has to be finally heard if they say that they want to consult the states, the parliament has made the law and it for your lordships to interpret it was stated by the senior counsel, CS Vaidyanathan, appearing for the petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay.

On 28.03.2022, the first affidavit filed by the Ministry of Minority and in supersession of the first affidavit, stated that the Centre has the power to notify minorities but wider consultations are needed to finalize its position on the issue and it stated that it is for the concerned States to take a call on the matter

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Supreme Court: Asks Petitioner On Plea Challenging Talaq-E-Hasan, To Mention Next Week

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The Supreme Court observed the Muslim personal law practice of Talaq-E-Hasan which was mentioned before a vacation bench for urgent listing. A petition was filed before the Supreme Court challenging the Muslim Personal Law Practise.

The petitioner argued before the court that the practise is arbitrary and is a violation of Article 14, Article 15, Article 21 and Article 25 of the Constitution and is therefore unconstitutional as the practise is discriminatory since only men can exercise the same and seeks a declaration. As it is not an essential practice of Islamic faith, according to the petitioner.

the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana had refused to grant urgent listing for the plea on 09.05.2022.

by pronouncing “talaq” once a month for three months, a Muslim man can divorce his wife as per Talaq-E-Hasan.

Ms. Anand submitted that as on April 19, first noticed was issued and Now second notice has been issued and he further submitted that we are challenging the proceedings and hence for Talaq E Hasan, a notice have been issued through lawyer.

The bench led by Justice Chandrachud further remarked that “Why under Article 32?”.

Ms. Anand submitted that the Talaq-E-Hasan was left out and the only issue of Talaq E Biddat was considered was considered in Shayra Bano.

Justice Chandrchud further remarked that there is no urgency and We will keep it on the re-opening day after vacations.

As it will be over, she has received the second notice on 05.19.2022 and on 06.20.2022.

She has received the second notice on May 19 and on June 20 it will be over”

on May 19 and on June 20 she has received the second notice and by the time it will be over as by that time everything third talaq will be given and everything will be over.

The bench led by Justice Chandrachud further remarked that there is no urgency as the first notice issued was on April 19 and wait for a period to come here.

Ms. Anand submitted further submitted that it is about a woman being abused and by reopening everything will be over.

On which Justice Chandrachud further remarked to take his chance and mention it next week.

The Vacation Bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and the Justice Bela Trived contended that the petitioner has received the second notice of talq as the Public Interest Litigation petition filed by Senior Advocate Pinky Anand

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KERALA HIGH COURT: NO QUARRYING OR CONSTRUCTION WORK ON LANDS ASSIGNED FOR CULTIVATION

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The Kerala High Court directed the State Government to take steps for the resumption of such land, notify and exempt the provisions of required and further the court directed that no quarrying activities are permitted on the land assigned for cultivation in the case Raphy John v. Land Revenue Commissioner & connected matter.

It was being contended that through the rule the authorities had made a conscious decision not to grant or renew any quarrying lease if the land was assigned for a specific purpose. The revenue authorities would be incapacitated from verifying if the land was assigned for cultivation as the appellants had argued that if quarrying permits are sought for such lands. The amendment was brought in since it was impossible to distinguish between assigned lands in an appeal moved by the State while citing and the week after the judgment was delivered and lands sold to third parties, The impugned decision was, however, put on hold by the Court.

It was mandate by the impugned rule made that for granting or renewing any quarrying lease a Certificate is required from Village Officer and if such lands are assigned for any specific purpose, the village officer has to certify it.

It was being observed by the bench led by a Single Judge that since a quarrying lease was executed by the State and the bench further stated that the State has given sanction to conduct quarrying on assigned land, it can be presumed

In January 2018, the bench comprising of Single Judge had interfered with the amendment in the Kerala Minor Mineral Concession Rules brought in by the State to prevent quarrying on assigned lands and then sold it to third parties through assignees.

once an application for the same is received, the State may take a decision on the land classification, in furtherance with the decision made.

The order issued by the Revenue Department barring other constructions on agricultural land shall be strictly enforced was also being emphasized by the Bench And it has also been established under the Kerala Land Assignment Rules, 1964 and that there will be a violation of the Land Acquisition Act if there are any other construction activities on assigned lands and that assigned lands could not be used for any other purpose.

It has also opined that the Revenue authorities are empowered to take action to suspend all quarries that are currently operating on such lands the Court all the work assigned on lands including the other constructions and has also stayed of all resorts and petrol pumps while emphasizing that quarries are not allowed on such land.

A division bench comprising of Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P. Chaly, while ruling a single Judge Decision, in a batch of petitions moved by filed by the quarry owners and the Stated related to quarrying in lands assigned for rubber cultivation at the State’s capital.

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DIGITAL TRACKER WATCHES AND THE SURVEILLANCE CONUNDRUM: A DAILY DEHUMANISATION OF INDIA’S MUNICIPAL WORKERS

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The issue around digital privacy, or rather the lack of it, has been a hot topic of debate in India and has even made its way to the Parliamentary lobbies. In India, personal data is collected and stored by various merchants, big tech companies and other entities through the innumerable digital applications and devices that people use. From digital payment and ecommerce applications to social media platforms, personal data collection and storage is happening en masse, all while individuals still scramble to understand its repercussions. What’s worse — this personal, often sensitive information including financial and medical records, of millions of Indians is available for sale online through “data brokers” who have put a price tag to these records.

WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH MUNICIPAL WORKERS IN INDIA

Going a step further, there is an urgent need to look into this invasion of digital privacy from the lens of India’s municipal workers. Over the past few years, there have been several news pieces buried amid the bulk of eye-catching headlines, about municipal workers across several Indian cities being made to wear smartwatches to track their daily working hours. As per news reports, municipal corporations in cities like Nagpur and Chandigarh have made it mandatory for sanitation workers to wear GPS-enabled watches that are used to monitor their arrival at work, attendance record, number of hours clocked at work and the end of their shifts. The reports suggest that some of these watches have in-built cameras and microphones to allow the supervisors to monitor them by the minute. To make things worse, any discrepancy in the recorded number of hours at work is reportedly manifesting itself in the form of workers’ salary deductions. Thus, workers have been protesting the use of these digital trackers as being humiliating and violating their privacy in the garb of improving work efficiency.

INFRINGEMENT OF WORKERS’ RIGHT TO PRIVACY

The fact that sanitation workers are often unaware of the ramifications of surveillance of this kind, as is enabled by these digital trackers, goes to show how their informed and aware consent is not likely sought while implementing this technology. In this case in particular, the employer being the State, these rules amount to digital snooping on citizens by a government. This form of a ‘surveillance state’ directly impinges on citizens’ right to privacy, a fundamental right that flows from Article 21 of the Indian Constitution (K.S. Puttaswamy & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors.). While one can argue that this right is not absolute and there can be certain grounds for restricting the same (legitimate state interest, necessary and proportionate to achieve the interest, among other things), this is a justification that would hold up when a comprehensive and well-defined legislation is in place to regulate the collection and storage of such personal data of citizens.

EXISTING LEGAL FRAMEWORK ON PERSONAL DATA PROTECTION

At present, the only legislation that to some extent deals with the handling of personal data of individuals is the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2008, and the subsequent rules framed by the government. However, the coverage of this law is very limited in that it does not apply to collection and use of personal data by various entities (Section 43A of the IT Act 2000 recognises personal data dealings by a ‘body corporate’ and the compensation in that regard). It primarily focusses on information security as opposed to personal data protection. There exist other sectoral, subject-specific laws that regulate data dissemination in the respective segments, however, these are very narrow in their scope of protection. Further, while the Privacy Rules 2011 define what comes under the meaning of personal information and sensitive personal data, but how far the data collecting entities adhere to compliance standards and rules on storage and disclosure, grievance redressal and user safety is a big question mark.

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, can be viewed as a step in the direction of chalking out the contours of digital privacy and collection, storage and dissemination of personal data of individuals in India. To begin with, the bill seeks to define what all would come within the ambit of ‘personal data’, and would govern the processing of personal data by governments, Indian and foreign companies. This is especially significant as it would plug the gaps that exist in the IT Act and rules subsequent thereof. Further, it would also outline the rights of individuals with respect to their personal data and the remedies available. However, it has been in the pipeline for some time, with objections having been raised over several aspects of the proposed law.

THE WHYS AND HOWS BEHIND THIS DIGITAL SURVEILLANCE

The recent mandate by city municipal corporations requiring workers to wear the digital trackers (Human Efficiency Tracking Systems, as they’re being referred to) takes on another hue when viewed from the lens of worker exploitation. Reports suggest that the trackers are being used to map the daily hours of every employee, and failure to wear the watch at all times or getting disconnected could result in salary deductions. Also, in the event of device malfunction, the workers would have to bear the brunt of the pay cut despite having clocked their daily hours. How and when such grievances would be addressed and dealt with is not very clear. Thus, workers’ woes take a backseat in the productivity and efficiency-focused surveillance work environment. Since municipal workers and sanitation staff employed by city corporations are usually not very tech-savvy or comfortable with tech-based gadgets, they are wary of how the system works. It can result in unnecessary anxiety regarding loss of earnings due to technical glitches.

Another issue is the alleged in-built cameras and microphones in these trackers. For workers who are not very well versed in such gadgets, the fear of being watched constantly could be debilitating, more so in the case of female workers. Their movement at work is tracked down to minutes, even seconds, linking the same to productivity targets and goals. Failure to meet these targets and minute-to-minute monitoring requirements could lead to reduction in the month-end salary payments. Automated workplace management is a concern that is prevalent across countries, and a parallel can be seen in the surveillance systems implemented by tech giant Amazon at its warehouses across the United States. The hazards of this surveillance system, like higher rate of injuries at workplace or even leaving workers without bathroom breaks, is similar to what is being witnessed in the case of India’s digitally-tracked municipal workers. The only major difference in the above-mentioned sets of scenarios is the place of occurrence and the entity engaging in worker surveillance. In India, the State is the data collector, often times undertaking this feat with the help of a third-party IT services firm. This makes the workers’ situation more precarious as their personal, sensitive information could be easily accessible to such contractual firms, especially in the absence of a data privacy law to regulate the same.

With increasing technological advancement and innovation, the cost of such surveillance methods has dropped, thus making it easier and more convenient for employers to adopt and implement. In contrast, this weakens the position of workers and the unions advocating for them as there is limited knowledge and legal recourse in this regard.

CONCLUSION

Thus, these GPS trackers are problematic on various fronts- they infringe individual privacy, operate in regulatory grey areas (as there is no proper oversight) and finally and most importantly, they constantly dehumanize the workers by treating them in a manner similar to bonded labour and robots. The human element of taking into account genuine issues being faced by employees or the context as to why they may not have been available on the tracking systems throughout the day (like poor internet connection, device malfunction, etc.) is completely ignored and disregarded.

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NCLT BAR ASSOCIATION’S PLEA CHALLENGING 3-YEAR TENURE OF NCLT MEMBERS IN JUNE: A PLEA IN SUPREME COURT

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The Supreme Court in the case National Company Law Tribunal Bar Association Vs Union Of India observed in a petition filed by the NCLT Bar Association challenging the notification of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs fixing the tenure of the members of National Company Law Tribunal as 3 years, while adjourning the hearing.

It was being argued before the court that the discharge of full five years is necessary for Tribunals to functions effectively and efficiently and by the time the members achieve the required knowledge, efficiency and expertise and a term of three years is very short as one term will be over.

On April 5, a notice is being issued on the petition to the Centre by the bench comprising of Justice L Nageswara Rao.

Further it was argued that the Notification is contrary to the judgments passed by the Supreme Court in Madras Bar Association v. Union of India & Anr. (2010) and Madras Bar Association v. Union of India & Anr. (2021) The Court held that the term of members should be 5 years. It was also being observed in the Madras Bar Association Case in which the Supreme Court observed that a longer term was necessary to ensure independence and the Court disapproved the shorter term.

It was being argued by the Association that the said notification is contrary as according to Section 413 of the Companies Act, 2013 which clearly prescribes the term of members for 5 years and even also the early expiration of the tenure will create a void and will add to the pendency of cases before Tribunals.

The Committee is considering all aspects of the matter including the verification report, assessment of suitability etc As on June 20, one of the members is due to retire and it was being submitted by Solicitor General the matter can be considered on June 15.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that a meeting was held by the committee On April 20.

The term prescribed by Companies Act, 2013 is 5 years was being submitted before the court by Senior Advocate Tushar Malhotra, Appearing for the Petitioner.

The Bench comprising of Justice DY Chandrachud and the Justice Bela M Trivedi observed deferred the hearing to June 15 as the bench was being told that a committee chaired by the Chief Justice of India and consisting of Justice Surya Kant and the Secretary of the MCA is holding a meeting to deliberate on the term of 23 NCLT members appointed in 2019 by the Solicitor General of India.

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UNDER COMMERCIAL COURTS ACTS, SC ORDERS EXCLUDING PERIOD FROM 15.03.2020 TILL 28.02.2022 AS PRESCRIBED UNDER THE ACT

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The Supreme Court in the case Babasaheb Raosaheb Kobarne vs Pyrotek India Private Limited observed with respect to the limitation prescribed under the Commercial Courts Act, 2015. The Court observed that for the purposes of limitation the period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 is also applicable.

In an order dated 10.01.2022, The Supreme Court had issued the following directives:

It is directed from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 the period shall extend stand excluded for the purposes of limitation as may be prescribed under any general or special laws in respect of all judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings and the order dated 23rd March, 2020 is restored and in continuation of the subsequent orders dated 8th March 2021, 27th April 2021 and 23rd September 2021.

It shall become available with effect from 1st March 2022 Consequently, the balance period of limitation remaining as on 3rd October 2021, if any

In the event the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from 01.03.2022 is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply and in cases where the limitation during the period between 15th March 2020 till 28th Feb 2022, would have expired all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from 01.03.2022, notwithstanding the actual balance period of limitation remaining.

The Sections which prescribe the outer limits i.e., within which the court or tribunal can condone delay and the period(s) of limitation for instituting proceeding includes Section 12 A of the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 and provisos (b) and (c) of Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 and as prescribed Sections 23 (4) and 29A of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 including the termination of proceedings and any other laws and it is further being clarified that the period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022 shall also stand excluded in computing the periods, The court observed while referring to the case Centaur Pharmaceuticals Pvt. Ltd. And Anr. v. Stanford Laboratories Pvt. Ltd

Therefore, the bench directed the Trial Court to take on record the written statement filled by the appellant-respondent.

The Commercial Courts Act, 2015 being a Special Law, the said order shall also be applicable with respect to the limitation prescribed under the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 also and the period from 15.03.2020 till 28.02.2022, in the view of this matter and for the purposes of limitation as may be prescribed under any General or SPECIAL LAWS shall have to be excluded as may be prescribed under any General or SPECIAL LAWS with respect to all quasi-judicial or judicial proceedings.

The Bench comprising of Justice MR Shah and the Justice BV Nagarathna observed while allowing the appeal filled by the defendant the purpose of filing the written statement and ought to have permitted to take the written statement on record as the High Court ought to have excluded the aforesaid period.

In the event the actual balance period of limitation remaining, with effect from 01.03.2022 is greater than 90 days, that longer period shall apply and in cases where the limitation during the period between 15th March 2020 till 28th Feb 2022, would have expired all persons shall have a limitation period of 90 days from 01.03.2022, notwithstanding the actual balance period of limitation remaining.

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Supreme Court expresses disapproval of judicial officer for not releasing accused despite order granting bail

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The Supreme Court in the case Gopal Verma v State of UP observed the recently deprecated act of a judicial officer on the release of the accused despite Court’s order of directing his release against whom FIR was registered u/s 498A, 304B of IPC and section 3/4 of Dowry Prohibition Act.

Since October, 2020 the appellant has been in custody and the bench had granted bail to the accused after being apprised of the fact that the charge of the accused was as under Sections 304B and 498A, Indian Penal Code, 1860

In December, 2021, the charge sheet was filed and as yet only one witness had been examined whereas the prosecution had cited 64 witnesses, the counsel argued before the Court.

the bench while considering criminal appeal assailing Allahabad High Court’s order of refusing to grant bail to the accused on 17.05.202, the bench granted bail to the appellant on terms and conditions to the satisfaction of the Trial court and upon hearing learned counsel for both the parties.

The bench comprising of Justice SK Kaul and the justice MM Sundresh while observing in their order said:

the appellant was not released and that should have been the matter of concern by the trial court as from December 2021, only one witness has been examined rather than what is sought to be raised ad the bench have no hesitation in adding those provisions to the order but don’t appreciate the conduct of the judicial officer whereby despite the orders of this Court.

on the pretext that while the order mentions the charges under Sections 304B and 498A, IPC it does not mention Sections 3/4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, The Judicial Officer refused to release the accused.

The bench further added that the bench has no hesitation in adding those provisions to the order but the conduct of the judicial officer won’t be appreciated despite the order of this courts the appellant was not released.

Further the court added that only one witness has been examined by the trial Court from December 2021 and that should have been the matter of concern rather than what is sought to be raised by the trial Court.

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