President Ram Nath Kovind gives nod to ordinance on death penalty for rape of minors below 12

Above: President Ram Nath Kovind President Ram Nath Kovind has signed The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 2018 to amend Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) thus allowing capital punishment to those who are convicted of raping children upto the age of 12 years. On Saturday (April 21), the Union Cabinet had approved the ordinance mandating death penalty to those who found guilty of raping children upto the age of 12 years and had sent it for President’s assent. After President’s assent, the government notified it by publishing it in the gazette. The Cabinet decision had come in the wake of the Kathua gang-rape case which created a huge uproar, prompting the Ministry of Women and Child Development, headed by Maneka Gandhi, to propose death penalty to those convicted of raping minors below 12 years of age. After the President’s approval to the amendment, the new law allows death penalty to those found guilty of raping the girls upto 12 years of age. The new law also stipulates no provision of anticipatory bail in cases of rape with girls aged 16 years. And minimum 20 years imprisonment for rape with girls below 12 years of age. In the cases of gangrape with girls below 12 years of age, the punishment will be life imprisonment or death penalty.…
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Cabinet approves ordinance under POCSO: ‘Death penalty’ for rapists of children aged 12 and under

In a major development against the increasing incidents of child rapes in the country, the Union cabinet, on 21-04-2018, cleared the ordinance on POCSO Act. The ordinance will give the death penalty to those convicted of raping a child up to 12 years of age. The Centre has cleared the criminal law amendment ordinance and POCSO Act is a part of this amendment. The demand for the death penalty to child rapists took centre stage after the two separate cases of gangrape and murder emerged from Jammu’s Kathua and Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao. With the incidents of minor rape cases on the rise, the ordinance will be effective in amending the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act. As per the current POCSO law, the minimum punishment for “aggravated assault” is 7 years in jail and maximum is a life sentence. The Centre is also inclined towards amending the penal law in order to introduce death penalty to sexual abusers of children up to 12 years of age. Tweet The post Cabinet approves ordinance under POCSO: ‘Death penalty’ for rapists of children aged 12 and under appeared first on SCC Blog.…
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Opposition parties submit notice for CJI’s impeachment to Rajya Sabha chairman

Above: CJI Dipak Misra (file picture) The Congress along with six other opposition parties — CPI(M), NCP, SP, CPI, BSP and IUML — submitted a notice for impeachment of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra to the Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday, April 20. The Congress moved the notice for impeachment citing various grounds of misbehaviour by the CJI. Congress raised questions on the manner in which CJI has dealt with certain cases. It cited the January 12 press conference of four judges of Supreme Court saying: “When the judges of the Supreme Court themselves believe that the judiciary’s independence is at threat, alluding to the functioning of the office of the CJI, should the nation stand still and do nothing?” Congress said the parties had to move the notice with a “heavy heart” since CJI had not “asserted the independence of judiciary in the face of interference by the executive”. Some parties that signed the petition have backed out. Media reports quoting sources said Trinamool Congress and DMK, which were initially in favour of the impeachment, are no longer part of it. Though most of the Congress leaders favoured the impeachment notice, some criticised it vehemently.…
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NCMEI has wide powers, rules SC

On April 18, the Supreme Court ruled that the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) has original jurisdiction to ascertain which institution should be endowed with the minority status. It also ruled that all applications for the establishment of a minority educational institution after the Amendment Act of 2006 must go only to the competent authority set up under the statute. This prestige given to an independent forum like the NCMEI to assert an institution as a minority educational institution expedited the fundamental right assured under Article 30. Justice Nariman, who authored the judgment, said the NCMEI Act empowered the Commission “to decide all questions relating to the status of an institution as a minority educational institution and to declare its status as such.” “Section 11(f) would include the declaration of the status of an institution as a minority educational institution at all stages,” the judgment agreed with the submissions made by Senior Advocates Sanjay Hegde, C.U. Singh and Advocate Romy Chacko. The 2006 amendments indeed gave powers of offer against orders of the competent command to the NCMEI. A control of cancellation was moreover vested within the NCMEI to cancel a certificate allowed either by an authority or the NCMEI.…
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Sahara can auction parts of Aamby Valley: SC

On April 19, the Supreme Court allowed the Sahara Group to choose any parcel of its properties in the Aamby Valley city project in Maharashtra and sell them by May 15 and deposit Rs. 750 crore with SEBI-Sahara refund account. If it does this, it may not need to proceed with the auction of the 6,700-acre township near Pune. However, later the bench said it would not specify the amount in its order. It said if the Sahara Group failed to sell its property by May 15, 2018, the Bombay High Court’s official liquidator will proceed with the proposed auctioning process to sell them. A special bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra considered the submission of senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing Subrata Roy and the Sahara group, that they be allowed to sell the properties on their own as auctioning would not fetch the desired price. It said the group will have to establish its bonafide by depositing some more money and fixed the matter for hearing on May 16, 2018.…
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Opposition moves impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra

Seven opposition parties, led by Congress, have moved an impeachment motion in Rajya Sabha against CJI Dipak Misra. The development came after a delegation of political parties met with Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu at his residence earlier in the day. Leader of Opposition in the Upper House, Ghulam Nabi Azad told media: “We have moved an impeachment motion seeking the removal of CJI Dipak Misra under five listed grounds of misbehaviour. We have sought his removal under Article 217 read with article 124 (4) of the Constitution of India. … 71 MPs had signed the impeachment motion but as seven have retired the number is now 64. We have mentioned this in the letter. We have more than the minimum requirement needed to entertain the motion and we are sure that the Honourable Chairman will take action.” Senior Advocate & Congress leader Kapil Sibal said: “Since Chief Justice Dipak Misra was appointed to the high office, there have been situations when questions have been raised about the manner in which he has dealt with certain cases and taken certain administrative decisions.” Senior Advocate & Congress Leader Salman Khurshid, howver, said: “Impeachment is too serious a matter to be played with frivolously on the grounds of disagreement with any judgement or point of view of the Court. …
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Naroda Patiya riot case: Kodnani acquitted; Babu Bajrangi’s conviction upheld

Above: Maya Kodnani (file picture) Former BJP Minister Maya Kodnani was given clean chit by the Gujarat High Court on Friday (April 20) in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riot case. The court acquitted Kodnani (she was sentenced to 28 years in prison earlier) giving her the benefit of the doubt, while upholding former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi’s conviction. Bajrangi was handed out imprisonment till death. In August 2017, the division bench of justices Harsha Devani and AS Supehiya of Gujarat High Court had reserved the order. The accused had challenged the Special Investigation Team (SIT) court’s order in the high court which had sentenced 32 people, including Kodnani, to life imprisonment in August 2012. Bajrangi had been given life imprisonment till death. The SIT court had handed out enhanced life imprisonment to seven accused out of the 32 total accused while giving the remaining accused simple life imprisonment. Naroda Patiya riots happened right after the incident of Godhra train burning on February 27, 2002, in which 59 kar sevaks lost their lives. The riots saw loss of lives of 97 people comprising mainly of women and children. The SIT court had contended that Kodnani was spotted by witnesses inciting mobs at the Naroda Patiya.…
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2G scam probe: Delhi HC issues notice to all Essar Group promoters

The Delhi High Court on Friday (April 20) issued notice to seek response of all Essar Group promoters on the CBI’s plea challenging their acquittal in a case arising out of 2G scam case probe. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had moved the Delhi High Court challenging the Special Court judgment acquitting the Ruia brothers and the proprietors of the Loop telecom and Loop Mobiles in connection with the 2G Spectrum allocation scam. In their plea filed through Special Public Prosecutor Sanjeev Bhandari, the CBI had stated that the trial court had failed to appreciate the evidence on record. The CBI alleged that observations made by the Special Judge while acquitting all accused were “highly unwarranted” unjustified and in any case deserve to be expunged. This is the second appeal filed by CBI against Ravi Kant Ruia, Anshuman Ruia (both Essar Group Promoters), IP Khaitan, Kiran Khaitan (both Loop Telecom Promoters) & others against their acquittal in the 2G spectrum case with regard to allocation of additional spectrum. The case is that on 21.10.2009,   the   CBI   registered   an   FIR   vide   RC   DAI  2009   A   0045   against  unknown officials of Department of Telecommunications (DoT),  Govt. of India, unknown private persons/ companies and others  for the offence punishable under Section 120 B IPC read with  Section   13(2)   r/w   13(1)(d)   of   Prevention   of   Corruption   Act,  1988   (PC   Act),   on   allegations   of  criminal   conspiracy   and  criminal misconduct, in respect of allotment of Letters of Intent  CBI Vs.…
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BCCI should be brought under the scope of RTI, Law Commission proposes

Above: Law Commission of India Chairman Justice B S Chauhan The Law Commission of India (LCI) has proposed to the law ministry that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) should be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act (RTI), deeming it an answerable “public body”. LCI noted in its 124-page report that “BCCI exercises ‘state-like’ powers, affecting the fundamental rights of the stakeholders, guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution” and recommended “BCCI be viewed as an agency or instrument of State, under Article 12 of the Constitution, thereby making it amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 32”. The report further observed: “Non-consideration of the role played by BCCI as monopolistic in regulation of the game of cricket has resulted in the Board flying under the radar of public scrutiny, encouraged an environment of opacity and non-accountability. “In the past, this has probably given an impression in the minds of the general public that corruption and other forms of malpractices are adversely affecting one of the most popular sports played in India human rights are sacrosanct and innately associated with the human personality.” The law panel also revealed that BCCI received funding from the government indirectly.…
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Petitions seeking SIT probe on Justice Loya’s death dismissed: SC

On April 19, the Supreme Court dismissed petitions seeking Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into Special CBI Judge BH Loya’s death. This Supreme Court judgment comes after pleas were filed seeking an independent probe into the death case of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge B H Loya. “There is no merit in the case. There will be no probe into Loya’s death,” the Supreme Court bench observed. “The Public Interest Litigations [PILs] were filed to settle political scores and scandalise the judiciary and the process of law.” While ruling that the death was due to “natural causes”, the Top Court observed that the petitioners tried to scandalise the judiciary. A three-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, pronounced its verdict after hearing a clutch of petitions. Also as per the official records, Justice Loya died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur in 2014, a day after he attended the wedding and reception of his colleague’s daughter. Judge B H Loya was hearing Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case. The Apex Court said frivolous and motivated litigation has been filed to settle political rivalry. Maharashtra-based journalist B S Lone and activist Tehseen Poonavala had filed independent pleas seeking a fair probe into the death of Judge Loya.…
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Chai Point raises $20 million in Series C funding

Bangalore-based Mountain Trail Foods Pvt. Ltd, operator of the Chai Point network of tea stores, has raised $20 million (Rs 131.5 crore) in a Series C round of funding led by private equity firm Paragon Partners. The total funding raised by the company is now $34 million. Following the investment, Siddharth Parekh, Senior Partner, Paragon Partners will join the tea retailer board, mentions a company press statement. Founded in 2010 by Amuleek Singh Bijral and Professor Tarun Khanna of Harvard Business School, Chai Point is an online beverage platform that focuses on delivering tea to customers. Presently, the platform has 100 stores in eight cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Pune. Amuleek Singh Bijral, Co-founder and CEO of Chai Point, said a substantial portion of the investment proceeds will go towards deepening the company’s sales, marketing and service operations for the automated hot beverage dispensing business boxC.in. Paragon Partners is a private equity firm focusing on the lower mid-market segment in India with $120 million corpus. So far, Chai Point had raked in about $34 million risk capital from the aforementioned investors.…
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Delhi Flying Club staff evicted, pray for de-sealing

Photo courtesy: Ashish Bhatnagar/Wikimedia Over 50 employees of the Delhi Flying Club and their families, who were evicted from their homes at Safdarjung Airport and their residences sealed on April 18, have urgently appealed to the Delhi High Court to order the Airports Authority of India to unseal their homes. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar is hearing the matter. The club has 85 students, 85 staff and around 1,077 members. The staff will have to be relocated and all their dues cleared. The original petition seeking a writ of mandamus to ask the government to constitute the Airports Appellate Tribunal was filed in 2015. The present petition also seeks a writ in the nature of mandamus directing the Airports Authority of India not to evict the workers as it decided in January 2017. A hearing took place on April 18 after which the matter was adjourned to April 23. In the evening, the eviction took place. The evicted are being barred from collecting their belongings. They include children whose examinations are ongoing. Earlier in 2016, the high court had dismissed a plea of the Delhi Flying Club challenging its eviction from Safdarjung airport, saying that in any case, the place is known more as a wedding venue than for aeronautical activities and that only simulation training is being provided at the Club which does not merit occupation of the space and property.…
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