In the legal wrap of the day, India Today looks at top stories from the Supreme Court, High Courts and trial courts from across the country.
CENTRE AGREES TO REINSTATE JUSTICE CHEEMA AS ACTING CHAIRPERSON OF NCLAT
The Centre today agreed to reinstate Justice AIS Cheema as the acting chairperson of the NCLAT till September 20 after the Supreme Court sternly questioned the manner in which he was made to leave. Earlier, the Government had told the bench headed by CJI NV Ramana that they would allow Justice Cheema to continue as acting chairperson on paper till September 20 - the date of his retirement. CJI Ramana however told the Attorney General KK Venugopal representing the Centre that Justice Cheema had claimed in his affidavit that he had five judgments pending that were to be pronounced. After a short break, during which the Attorney sought instructions from the Centre, the Government agreed to reinstate Justice Cheema for another 3 days to allow him to pronounce the pending orders. The newly appointed acting chairperson Justice M. Venugopal will be asked to go on leave for the time period.
155 WITNESSES EXAMINED, 4 REMAIN: INQUIRY PANEL ON JAYALALITHAA'S DEATH SEEKS PERMISSION TO RESUME PROBE
The inquiry panel appointed by the State Government in 2017 to probe the circumstances which led to the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday told the Supreme Court that 155 witnesses had already been examine by the panel and only four witnesses remain to be examined and made a request for the panel to be allowed to complete its inquiry. The Justice Arumughaswamy Commission hence sought permission to complete its inquiry into the matter. The Supreme Court had in 2019 stayed the inquiry after a plea was made by Apollo Hospitals alleging that the inquiry was biased. The bench headed by Justice Abdul Nazeer agreed to hear arguments on the same on September 23.
SUPREME COURT ALLOWS GANESHA IDOLS TO BE IMMERSED IN HYDERABAD LAKE AS A ONE-TIME MEASURE
The Supreme Court on Thursday overturned the Telangana High Court order which had banned immersion of PoP Lord Ganesha idols from being immersed in the Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad. The Telangana Government had approached the top court in appeal assuring the Court that proper measures will be undertaken for the immersion and the "last-minute order" from the High Court was difficult to implement. The bench agreed for the immersion to take place this year, directing the Government to ensure alternate arrangements are made in advance the next year.
CENTRE NOTIFIES NEW RULES FOR APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRPERSONS AND MEMBERS TO 14 TRIBUNALS
Amidst an ongoing stand-off with the Supreme Court over the long-pending issue of filling vacancies in various tribunals, the Central government has notified the Tribunal (Conditions of Service) Rules, 2021. The new rules deal with the criteria and the appointment procedure of persons to 14 tribunals, including key tribunals like the NCLAT, TDSAT, Armed Forces Tribunal, National Green Tribunal and more. The rules lay down the minimum criteria for the appointment of Chairpersons, Judicial Members and Technical Members to these tribunals. Most tribunals require the Chairperson to be amongst sitting and retired judges of the High Courts or the Supreme Court. The Securities Appellate Tribunal, TDSAT, NCLAT, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, Armed Forces Tribunal and NGT require the Chairperson to be a judge of the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice of a High Court.
GOVT'S OVERSIGHT MECHANISM UNDER NEW IT RULES WILL ROB MEDIA OF ITS INDEPENDENCE, SAYS MADRAS HC
The Madras High Court today became the second High Court in the country to stay certain provisions of the 2021 Information Technology Rules, which introduced a three-tier mechanism for media regulation in India. In what comes as a setback to the Centre, sub-rules (1) and (3) of Rule 9 have been stayed by the Madras High Court by virtue of which, the third level of regulation, comprising the 'Oversight Committee' of the government, has been halted. The Madras High Court bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu observed, "prima facie there is substance to the petitioner's grievance that the oversight mechanism to control the media by the government will rob the media of its independence and the fourth pillar of the democracy may not be there".
CENTRE DEFENDS RAKESH ASTHANA'S APPOINTMENT AS DELHI POLICE COMMISSIONER BEFORE DELHI HC
The Centre today filed a fresh affidavit before the Delhi High Court on the petition challenging the appointment of Rakesh Asthana as the Delhi Police Commissioner. The Union informed the High Court that Asthana's appointment was done in "public interest" when no suitable candidate with the requisite experience was found in the AGMUT cadre. The bench has adjourned the matter for hearing to September 20.
ALLAHABAD HIGH COURT SAYS TWO ADULTS HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE THEIR LIFE PARTNER IRRESPECTIVE OF THEIR RELIGION
The Allahabad High Court division bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta and Justice Deepak Verma observed in an order that two adults have the right to choose their matrimonial partner irrespective of the religion professed by them. The bench was hearing a plea by an inter-faith couple seeking protection. The bench also ordered the Police to ensure that the couple was not subjected to any harassment by the family members or the police.