During the last 40 years in India, politics has been divided into regional and mainstream parties. The mainstream party was the only one dominated by a family. Under its shelter, every state advanced state-level family powerhouse. They are still inter-alia in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, and Telangana. However, the said respective families would oppose state elections and partner in the central government. This continued for decades. Slowly people realised that there is a change in voting tendency. Well, let’s migrate to the topic under discussion to the current situation as the country will go for Lok Sabha elections in 2024. The small local regional parties referred to in para hereinabove along with the mainstream party formed an alliance. They named it as INDI Alliance. This INDI Alliance has introduced a new idea to fetch more votes. They have proposed that rights on the national resources will be as per the population of a caste. A caste having a larger population should get more facilities. During the tenure of UPA erstwhile Prime Minister said that it is in particular Muslims who has first right to the resources of this country. Please see the link https://youtube.com/shorts/UAdiboSk-vk?si=P1bjy7UvohWHj-CE PARTITION India has seen division in 1947. A bloody partition based on religion. Millions. Many shed lives and were martyred and many children lost while crossing the border. Nehru became the first PM of independent Bharat. INDIA WAS BORN We have a constitution in force. Our constitution gives equal opportunity to all. Let us see what it provides: Article 13. Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights. (1) All laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, in so far as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this Part, shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, be void. (2) The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void Article 14. guarantees Equality before the law. —The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. Article 15. Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth (1) The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them. (2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth, or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction, or condition with regard to— a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment; or (b) the use of wells, tanks, bathing ghats, roads and places of public resort maintained wholly or partly out of State funds or dedicated to the use of the general public. (3) Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making any special provision for women and children. [(4) Nothing in this article or in clause (2) of […]Read more
Judicial activism is most debated among the students of law and laymen. What is judicial activism? Judicial activism is exercising the power of judicial review to set aside government acts by the judiciary. Last decade we saw most of the orders passed to administer various policies of the government by the Supreme Court. From abortion of 24-week fetuses to supply of oxygen and medicine, gay rights, gay marriages, Aadhaar- PAN linking, repeal of Article 370, Ram Temple, Rafael allegation. During the coronavirus pandemic court orders were passed distribution of remdesivir, vaccine, oxygen. In Uttar Pradesh, photos of the burial of bodies at Ganga Ghat were used to create sensation and Hon’ble Court dismissed such frivolous litigation. PITH AND SUBSTANCE Origin: It is a legal doctrine originated in Canada. The doctrine is primarily used when a law is challenged on the basis that one level of government (be it provincial or federal) has encroached upon the exclusive jurisdiction of another level of government. (as applicable in Canada) The doctrine was first articulated in Cushing v. Dupuy, where the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council held that certain rules of civil court procedure could be prescribed under the federal bankruptcy power. It was subsequently confirmed in Tennant v. The Union Bank of Canada, where rules governing warehouse receipts with respect to bank loans could be prescribed under the federal banking power. *The full test was articulated in General Motors v. City National Leasing by Dickson CJ, where he summarized and outlined the analysis to be used in that regard in future cases: The court must determine whether the impugned provision can be viewed as intruding on provincial powers, and if so to what extent. It must establish whether the act (or a severable part of it) in which the impugned provision is found is valid. In cases under the second branch of s. 91(2) this will normally involve finding the presence of a regulatory scheme and then ascertaining whether the hallmarks articulated by the Court have been met by the scheme. If the scheme is not valid, that is the end of the inquiry. If the regulatory scheme is declared valid, the court must then determine whether the impugned provision is sufficiently integrated with the scheme that it can be upheld by virtue of that relationship. This requires considering the seriousness of the encroachment on provincial powers, in order to decide on the proper standard for such a relationship. If the provision passes this integration test, it is intra- vires Parliament as an exercise of the general trade and commerce power. If the provision is not sufficiently integrated into the scheme of regulation, it cannot be sustained under the second branch of s. 91(2). *(source Wikipedia) INDIA AND THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE CONSTITUTION Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala Case, is also known as the Fundamental Rights case. It is one of the most significant decisions in Indian constitutional history, post-independence. It was heard by 13 judges’ bench of the Supreme Court. S.M. Sikri C. J., Hegde J, Mukherjee J, Shehlat J, Grover J, Jaganmohan Reddy J, and Khanna J delivered […]Read more
AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION BY A JUDGEMENT AND ENCROACHING UPON THE POWER OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL HEAD A JUDICIAL OVERREACH?
Why are we discussing this issue? Anoop Baranwal v. Union of India A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has ordered that Election Commissioners will be appointed by the President of India on the advice of a Committee consisting of the President, Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, and Chief Justice of India. However, in this case, the Office of the President was not a Party. Directions were sought against the Election commission. Hence prima facie the Judgment is not binding upon her. POWER TO AMEND The power to amend the constitution is with Parliament. It is an unfettered power under Article 368 of the Constitution. However, a series of Judgements and stare decisis has put a limitation on the exercise of this power. It was felt by the Court that elected representatives may have their own agendas. The landmark judgments say that as far as fundamental rights are concerned amendment should not touch the basic structure of the constitution. ROLE OF JUDICIARY UNDER THE CONSTITUTION: The Supreme Court has the power to declare any law that it finds unconstitutional void. CAN SUPREME COURT AMEND THE CONSTITUTION BY ORDER AND JUDGMENT? On two occasions this question has arisen: The power of the President to appoint higher court Judges under Articles 124 and 217 is shielded by a Judgement and a system of collegium is formed; Amending Article 324 whereby the power of the President is veiled by a recent judgment of the Supreme Court in the matter of Anup Baranwal ( Supra); POWER OF THE PRESIDENT UNDER THE CONSTITUTION: Under Article 52 President is bestowed upon executive powers. Every power is executed in the name of the President under Article 77. WHAT ARE THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS: What is Election Commission? Under the provisions of the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business)] Act, 1991 “Chief Election Commissioner” means the Chief Election Commissioner appointed under Article 324 of the Constitution. PART XV Provides for the appointment of the Election Commission and procedure. Under Article 324 entire superintendence, direction, and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to Parliament and to the Legislature of every State and of elections to the offices of President and Vice-President held under this Constitution vests in a Commission (referred to in this Constitution as the Election Commission). APPOINTMENT The Election Commission under Article 324 consists of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners if any, is appointed by the President from time to time and the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners shall, subject to the provisions of any law made in that behalf by Parliament, be made by the President. When any other Election Commissioner is so appointed by the President the Chief Election Commissioner shall act as the Chairman of the Election Commission. Before each general election to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of each State, and before the first general election and thereafter before each biennial election to the Legislative Council of each State having such Council, the […]Read more
Indians are a very tolerant community. Citizens are basically law-abiding. But as per data available there are more than 5 crore cases are pending in various courts across India. This includes criminal, civil, DRT, matrimonial, adoption, insolvency, and others. There is always vacancy for Judges and there is also friction between different stakeholders regarding the method of appointment. The pending cases are monetary disputes, land disputes, agricultural land, easement, flat purchasers right, and so on. This also includes international arbitration awards and their execution. When a suit is filed immediate party moves for ad-interim reliefs by way of a Notice of Motion or Interim Application as the case may be. When the order is passed same Notice of Motion comes up for a final hearing after 5 to 10 years. By that time if Plaintiff did not get the order he loses the edge and his right. Then suit may be on board for framing of Issues may be another 5-10 years. The next stage is the affidavit of evidence, admission denial of documents, and cross-examination of witnesses. When a decree is passed it takes time of 2 to 3 years for sealing. When the decree is ready for execution if not executed then we have to take out 21×22 notice in which takes another 2 years to reach and there may be objections. So, for Plaintiff entire exercise is futile. Citizens need a remedy that is speedy and result oriented. The matter doesn’t end here after the ad-interim there is an Appeal from the Order then the Supreme Court and so on and so forth. The litigation is unending and is also costly. To overcome this situation government introduced concept of mediation. It is not much successful. As far as Arbitration is concerned the new concept of institutional arbitration is introduced. It may have been successful but not much accepted by common people like new entrepreneurs, startups, and the common citizens. That is due to cost and fees of an arbitrator. Many petitions are filed in Supreme Court challenging fees of the arbitrator. (See ONGC vs Afcons Gunanusa JV) Does the question arise what is the remedy? The remedy lies in our constitution. Article 217 says the Appointment and conditions of the office of a Judge of a High Court.—(1) Every Judge of a High Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal and [shall hold office, in the case of an additional or acting Judge, as provided in article 224, and in any other case, until he attains the age of [sixty-two years]:] 126. Appointment of acting Chief Justice.—When the office of Chief Justice of India is vacant or when the Chief Justice is, by reason of absence or otherwise, unable to perform the duties of his office, the duties of the office shall be performed by such one of the other Judges of the Court as the President may appoint for the purpose. 127. Appointment of ad hoc Judges.—(1) If at any time there should not be a quorum of the Judges of the Supreme Court available to hold or […]Read more
CAN SOCIETY CHARGE MAINTENANCE CHARGES ON AREA WISE BY WHICH LARGER FLAT OWNERS CONTRIBUTE A LESSER AMOUNT THAN SMALLER UNITS?
Nowadays an ultra-vires method of chargability has been adopted by several societies. The committee uses its majority power and misguides the General Body of members and passes the resolution. Chargeability on unit-wise results in higher contribution by small flat owners and lower contribution by larger flat owners. Maintenance charges are the foundation to run the expenses of the society. Now first let us see the provisions in the Act of 1960 and the byelaws. Byelaws are contracts between the management and society. Any breach of byelaws amounts to a breach of contract and breach of trust. Any discrimination made is a serious breach of equal rights granted under the constitution of India. BYE-LAWS PROVISIONS FOR CHARGABILITY OF MAINTENANCE: LEVY OF CHARGES OF THE SOCIETY The contribution to be collected from the Members of the Society, towards outgoing and establishment of its funds, referred to in these bye-laws as ‘the charges’ may be in relation to the following : (i) Property Taxes, (ii) Water Charges, (iii) Common Electricity Charges, (iv) Contribution to Repairs and Maintenance Fund, (v) Expenses on repairs and maintenance of the lifts of the Society, including charges for running the lift. (vi) Contribution to the Sinking Fund, (vii) Service Charges, (Viii) Car Parking Charges, (ix) Interest on the defaulted charges, (x) Repayment of the installment of the loan and interest, (xi) Non-occupancy Charges, (xii) Insurance Charges, (xiii) Lease rent, (xiv) Nonagricultural tax. (xv) Education and Training Fund (xvi) Election Fund (xvii) Any Other Charges. The Service charges of the Society referred to at 64 (vii) above shall include the following: Salaries of the office staff, liftmen, watchmen, malis and any other employees of the Society. Where the Society has independent Office, the property taxes, electricity charges, water charges etc. for the same. Printing, Stationery and Postage, Travelling Allowance and conveyance charges to the staff and the Members of the Committee of the Society. Sitting fees paid to the Members of the Committee of the Society, Subscription to the Education Fund of the Maharashtra Rajya Sahakari Sangh Ltd. Annual Subscription of the Housing Federation and any other co-operative institution to which the Society is affiliated. Entrance fees for affiliation to the Housing Federation and any other cooperative institution. Audit Fees for internal, Statutory and reaudit, if any. Expenses incurred at meetings of the general body, the Committee and the Sub-Committee, if any k. Retainer fees, legal charges, statutory enquiry fees. Common electricity charges. Any other charges approved by the General Body at its Meeting. However such charges should not contradict the provisions of the Act, Rules and Bye-laws of the Society. 66. The Committee shall apportion the Share of each Member towards the charges of the Society on the following basis: Property taxes: As fixed by the Local Authority Water Charges: On the basis of the total number and size of inlets provided in each flat. iii. Expenses on repairs and maintenance of the building/buildings of the Society: At the rate fixed at the general body from time to time, subject to the minimum of 0.75 percent per annum, of the construction cost of each flat for meeting […]Read more
CAN THE COURT RESTRAIN THE ELECTION COMMISSION TO DISCHARGE ITS CONSTITUTIONAL DUTIES WHEN THE HEARING OF THE MATTER IS NOT OVER? DOES IT AMOUNT TO ENCROACHMENT IN THE TERRITORY OF AN INDEPENDENT CONSTITUTIONAL BODY? MAHARASHTRA SHIV SENA SPLIT AND CONSTITUTIONAL BENCH
“Of course, inasmuch as the power of altering every feature of the Constitution remains elsewhere politically, the Constitution is neither the ultimate ‘‘political’’ sovereign nor a legally unalterable and absolute sovereign. All constitutional and ‘‘legal’’ sovereigns are necessarily restrained and limited sovereigns. I thought and still think that such a working theory should be acceptable to lawyers, particularly as the dignitaries of State, including Judges of superior Courts, and all the legislators, who have to take oaths prescribed by the Third Schedule of our Constitution, swear ‘‘allegiance’’ to the Constitution as though the documents itself is a personal Ruler. This accords with our own ancient notions of the law as ‘‘The King of Kings’’ and the majesty of all that it stands for: The Rightfulness of the Ends as well as of the means.” Kesvananda Bharti’s case (AIR 1973 SC 1461) The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred to a Constitution Bench the petitions filed by the rival groups of Shiv Sena in relation to the political development in State of Maharashtra. This is Breaking News today. Several questions are before Supreme Court which will now constitute five Judges Bench. I will not touch the same. But can Court by its order restrain any constitutional independent body from discharging its function under the constitution for which it is constituted? First, let us see relevant provisions. Part XV of the Constitution provides for elections. Superintendence, direction and control of elections to be vested in an Election Commission.—(1) The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to Parliament and to the Legislature of every State and of elections to the offices of President and Vice-President held under this Constitution 1*** shall be vested in a Commission (referred to in this Constitution as the Election Commission). (2) The Election Commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, if any, as the President may from time to time fix and the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners shall, subject to the provisions of any law made in that behalf by Parliament, be made by the President. (3) When any other Election Commissioner is so appointed the Chief Election Commissioner shall act as the Chairman of the Election Commission. (4) Before each general election to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of each State, and before the first general election and thereafter before each biennial election to the Legislative Council of each State having such Council, the President may also appoint after consultation with the Election Commission such Regional Commissioners as he may consider necessary to assist the Election Commission in the performance of the functions conferred on the Commission by clause (1). (5) Subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, the conditions of service and tenure of office of the Election Commissioners and the Regional Commissioners shall be such as the President may by rule determine: Provided that the Chief Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his office except in like manner and on the […]Read more
MEANING OF GYAN VAPI: This was derived from the name of an adjoining waterbody — Gyan Vapi (“Well of Knowledge”) — which was a sacred site in itself and, in all likelihood, predated the Vishweshwar temple. CAUSE FOR THIS DISCUSSION: CONTEMPORARY CIRCUMSTANCES In the year 1991 parliament passed a law namely an Act to prohibit conversion of any place of worship and to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August 1947 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. This Act is currently a topic of hot discussion. The incident which brought this law into the public domain is a suit order by Senior Division Civil Court Varanasi in which one Sohanlal Arya has claimed that Gyan Vapi Mosque is the temple. The said temple structure was partially demolished as per orders of the then Mughal ruler Aurangzeb. By an order Civil court carried out the survey in the meantime Muslim community leaders approached the Supreme Court to seek a stay of the proceedings before the Varanasi court. The Supreme Court has granted a stay and is now hearing the matter. The Supreme Court has also by its order transferred the suit to Varanasi Court District Judge. BRUTAL HISTORY OF INVASION, CONVERSION, AND DESTRUCTION OF TEMPLES IN INDIA : Indian history is full of conflict, invasion, and bloodshed. Hindus had to face atrocities at the hands of invaders. India was invaded by many foreign forces and two large invaders are the Mughals and Britishers. Aurangzeb was a cruel Mughal dynast, and he ordered for demolishing of temples. They converted Hindus to Islam by force. This painful, harsh, brutal, unkind history of this land cannot be erased, forgotten, and denied. Below is a map of the Mughal Empire: Antecedents and history: General Order of the destruction of Temples: 9th April 1669 One of the main objectives of Aurangzeb’s policy was to demolish Hindu temples. When he ordered (13th October 1666) removal of the carved railing, which Prince Dara Shukoh had presented to Keshava Rai temple at Mathura, he had observed ‘In the religion of the Musalmans it is improper even to look at a temple’, and that it was totally unbecoming of a Muslim to act like Dara Shukoh (Exhibit No. 6, Akhbarat, 13th October 1666). This was followed by destruction of the famous Kalka temple in Delhi (Exhibit No. 6, 7, 8, Akhbarat, 3rd and 12th September 1667). In 1669, shortly after the death of Mirza Raja Jai Singh of Amber, a general order was issued (9th April 1669) for the demolition of temples and established schools of the Hindus throughout the empire and banning public worship (Exhibit Nos. 9 & 10). Soon after this the great temple of Keshava Rai was destroyed (Jan.-Feb. 1670) (Exhibit No. 12) and in its place a lofty mosque was erected. The idols, the author of Maasir-i-Alamgiri informs, were carried to Agra and buried under the steps of the mosque built by Begum Sahiba in order to be continually trodden upon, and the name of […]Read more