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AYODHYA RAM JANMBHOOMI DISPUTE (CASE NOTES)
<p style="text-align:center"><strong><u>AYODHYA RAM JANMBHOOMI DISPUTE</u></strong></p> <p style="text-align:center">M Siddiq v Mahant Suresh Das</p> <p style="text-align:center">Judges: Ranjan Gogoi, Sharad Bobde, D.Y. Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan, Abdul Nazeer</p> <p style="text-align:center">Case-Number: CA 10866-10867/2010</p> <p style="text-align:center">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align:justify"><strong>[Major Issues before the Hon&rsquo;ble SC</strong></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white"><strong>1. -Is the Allahabad High Court judgment, dividing the Ayodhya land title between the Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla, valid?</strong></span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white"><strong>2. -Are suits 3 and 4 barred by limitation, under the Limitation Act, 1908?</strong></span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white"><strong>3. -Is the Ram Janmabhoomi (the birthplace of Ram) a juristic entity, independent of the presence of idols? And if so, is it immune from possession claims as a juristic entity?]</strong></span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">Babri Masjid , a 16th century mosque located in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. The location of the mosque is additionally believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram (Shri Ram Janmabhoomi) by a big number of Hindus. This has repeatedly led to disputes about who possesses the land. </span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">The current legal dispute arose out of a 1949 Faizabad court order. On the night 22ndDecember, a set of Hindu idols were placed (appeared) under the Babri Masjid dome. A law and order situation developed. On 29 December 1949, a Faizabad court placed area in question under the custodial responsibility of the state to keep in check the rising communal tensions. Especially, the Additional Magistrate issued a preliminary order under Section 145 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 and directed the site to be placed under the receivership of the Chairman of the Municipal Board.</span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">Following the 1949 order, three key title suits challenging it were filed:</span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">1.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In 1959, the Nirmohi Akhara filed a title suit (suit no. 3*). The Nirmohi Akhara claims it&#39;s the rightful manager of the Ram Janmabhoomi.</span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">2.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In 1961, the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Board of Waqfs (hereafter Sunni Waqf Board) also filed a suit (suit no. 4). The Board claims possession of the mosque. </span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">3.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In 1989, senior advocate Deoki N Agarwal filed a suit (suit no. 5) on behalf of Lord Ram in the Allahabad High Court. All prior suits were moved to the high court.</span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">&nbsp;In a highly significant development, in 1992 Babri Masjid was demolished by kar- Sevaks affiliated with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and other rightist organisations.</span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">In September 2010, the Allahabad high court delivered a judgment dividing the Ayodhya title into three equal parts. It awarded the title to the Nirmohi Akhara, Lord Ram represented by Triloki Nath Pandey (an RSS volunteer and Vishva Hindu Parishad functionary, who replaced Agarwal after his death), and also the Sunni Waqf Board.</span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">All the parties filed appeals, claiming various rights over the disputed land. In 2011, the Supreme Court stayed the Allahabad high court judgment.</span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">On 27 September 2018, a three-judge bench delivered its verdict on the question of whether the matter should be referred to a Constitution Bench (comprising 5-judges). The court ruled that a three-judge bench could still hear the matter. It rejected referring it to a Constitution Bench on the ground that Faruqui didn&#39;t need revisiting. Faruqui had held that mosques aren&#39;t an important feature of Islam. Justice Bhushan, on behalf of CJI Misra and himself, wrote the majoritarian opinion. Justice Nazeer wrote a dissenting opinion</span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">Then, CJI Dipak Misra retired on 2 October 2018. On 8 January 2019, CJI Gogoi reassigned the dispute to a five-judge Constitution Bench, using his administrative powers as chief justice. </span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">On 8 March 2019, the court ordered the main parties to try mediation over an eight-week period. The mediation proceedings began on 13 March and are set to complete in early May. On 10 May, the court extended the mediation period until 15 August, upon the request of several parties.</span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">On 9 July one amongst the parties, Gopal Singh Visharad, approached the court to resume day-to-day court hearings. He contended that no progress was being made in the mediation proceedings.</span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">On 6 August, the court began to hear the final arguments. It first heard the Nirmohi Akhara, and then, Shri Ram Virajman and various other Hindu parties. Currently, it&#39;s hearing arguments for the Sunni Waqf Board. CJI Gogoi has requested the parties to complete arguments by 18 October. </span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">On 16 October, the court reserved judgment. The judgment is anticipated before CJI Ranjan Gogoi retires on 17th November.</span></p> <p style="text-align:justify"><span style="background-color:white">On 9 November 2019, the court delivered its judgment. It awarded the title to the deity, Shri Ram Virajman and directed the State to grant the Sunni Waqf Board an alternate site at Ayodhya for the construction of a mosque.</span></p> <p style="text-align:justify">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align:justify">&nbsp;</p>
VOTER VERIFIED PAPER AUDIT TRAIL (VVPAT) (CASE NOTES)
<p style="text-align:center"><strong><u>VOTER VERIFIED PAPER AUDIT TRAIL (VVPAT)</u></strong></p> <p style="text-align:center"><strong>N Chandrababu Naidu v Union of India</strong></p> <p style="text-align:center">Judges: Sanjiv Khanna, Deepak Gupta, Ranjan Gogoi</p> <p style="text-align:center">WP (C) No. 273/2019</p> <p style="text-align:justify">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align:justify">In February 2019, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu and variety of other political leaders, approached the Supreme Court to direct the election commission (EC) to match a greater number of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips. VVPAT is an independent vote verification system, which allows a voter to ascertain whether their vote was cast correctly. VVPAT generates a paper slip that the voter can view -- the paper slip is kept in a sealed cover, which may be opened just in case a dispute arises.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">Thus, the main issue before the Hon&rsquo;ble SC was that,</p> <p style="text-align:justify">How many EVMs must be installed with VVPAT systems so as to make sure free and fair elections?</p> <p style="text-align:justify">The petitioners wanted the EC to physically verify a higher number of VVPAT slips.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">Mr. Naidu, in his petition had requested the Court to issue the subsequent orders:</p> <p style="text-align:justify">1.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Direct the EC to verify 50% of VVPAT slips in each Assembly Segment/Constituency.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">2.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Quash the EC guideline stating that just one randomly selected polling place in each Assembly Segment/Constituency will undergo verification of VVPAT slips (guideline 16.6 within the Manual on Electronic voting machine and VVPAT)</p> <p style="text-align:justify">EVMs are utilized in all 543 Parliamentary Constituencies since 2004. In August, 2013 the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 were amended to permit the EC to use EVMs with VVPATs.&nbsp; In 2013, the Supreme Court directed the EC to introduce VVPAT in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">In response to the petition, the EC filed an affidavit, submitting that if 50% VVPAT slips were double-counted, this could delay the announcement of results by a minimum of 6 days.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">On 8th April 2019, the Supreme Court ordered the EC to increase the number of booths that undergo VVPAT physical verification. It increased the number of booths per Assembly Segment from 1 to five booths.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">On 7th May 2018, the Court briefly heard the review petitions challenging its 8th April order. The petitioners emphasised that physical verification in 5 booths per Segment is that the equivalent of around 2% verification. that they had pleaded for 50% verification.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">The Court declined to change its 8th April order.</p>
INDEPENDENT THOUGHT V. UNION OF INDIA (CASE BRIEF)
<p style="text-align:center"><strong><u>Independent Thought v. Union of India</u></strong></p> <p style="text-align:center">Judges - Deepak Gupta&amp;Madan B. Lokur</p> <p style="text-align:center">WP (C) 382/2013</p> <p style="text-align:justify">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align:justify">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align:justify">On 11th September 2017, the Supreme Court increased the age of consent for sexual intercourse within marriages to 18. Before the ruling, sexual acts by a husband on his wife, where the wife was above 15 years of age, failed to constitute rape for the aim of criminal law. This led to a legal anomaly because the age of consent is eighteen years, both within the Indian penal code and various special statutes enacted for children, notably POCSO.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">On 11th September 2017, the Court delivered two concurring opinions, raising the age of consent for marital cohabitation to 18 years.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">Section 375 of the Indian penal code was amended by the criminal law Amendment Act, 2013 to boost the age of consent to sexual activity to 18. This brought the law in consonance with all other statutes where a child is recognised as an individual below the age of 18 (Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2012, the Protection of kids from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, and Prohibition of child Marriage Act,2006). Further, under the Prohibition of kid Marriage Act, 2006, a marriage contracted between two parties where one among them is a minor, i.e. below the age of 18 just in case&quot;&gt;just in case of women and 21 in case of boys, is said to be voidable. It can be nullified by the person who was a minor at the time of the marriage, within two years of achieving majority.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">However, Exception 2 to Section 375, which creates an exception to the offence of rape in cases of forced sexual intercourse by a person with his own wife if she is of 15 years of age or above, has not been amended. This resulted in an anomalous situation where forced cohabitation by a husband with a minor wife between the ages of 15 and 18 is permitted.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">Independent Thought, a Non-Governmental Organisation, filed a writ petition before the Supreme Court under Article 32 to declare the exception unconstitutional. Child Rights Trust, a non-governmental organisation working for prevention of child marriage, joined as an Intervenor and was also heard extensively.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">The petition was listed for hearing before a Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta on 10.08.2017 on which date the Supreme Court sought recent data on the health and consequences status of girls married between the ages of 15-18 also because the number of child Marriage Prohibition Officers appointed under the Prohibition of kid Marriage Act, 2006. Consequently, on 28.08.2017, an application for Intervention was filed on behalf of the kid Rights Trust, a non-governmental organisation working to secure Every Right for each Child.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">Independent Thought and Child Rights Trust argued that the classification between married and unmarried minor girls in punishing sexual violence has no rational nexus to the objectives of the Section. it&#39;s also contrary to the obligations of the State to safeguard the proper of the child under Article 21 as well as under International Conventions.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">The Union of India first argued that it was for Parliament to rectify the anomaly created by the exception in Section 375. Secondly, the anomaly had been considered repeatedly by Parliament and a constructive thought process led to the conscious decision to retain the classification, bowing to social pressures and therefore the State&rsquo;s reluctance to interfere in marital life.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">On 12th October 2017, the two-judge bench, through two concurring opinions, read down Exception 2 to Section 375 IPC and raised the age of consent to 18 for the aim of the Exception. It also demanded legal reforms to forestall and address violations of girls&rsquo; rights due to child marriage.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align:justify">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align:justify">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align:justify">&nbsp;</p>
CONSTITUTIONALITY OF CRIMINAL CONTEMPT N RAM &AMP; ORS. V UNION OF INDIA (CASE BRIEF)
<p style="text-align:center"><strong><u>CONSTITUTIONALITY OF CRIMINAL CONTEMPT</u></strong></p> <p style="text-align:center"><strong><u>N Ram &amp; Ors. v Union of India</u></strong></p> <p style="text-align:center">Judges: Krishna Murari, BR Gavai, Arun Mishra</p> <p style="text-align:center">W.P.(C) No. 791/2020</p> <p style="text-align:justify">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align:justify">N Ram, Prashant Bhushan, and Arun Shourie filed a petition challenging the constitutional validity of s.2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act 1971, which describes contempt of court as any matter which &lsquo;scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">On 22 July 2020, the Supreme Court issued Prashant Bhushan with a notice pertaining to a contempt petition filed against him by a 3rd party, which was subsequently converted into a Suo moto petition. The contempt notice was supported two tweets authored by Mr. Bhushan: the first regarding the CJI riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and another one second regarding Mr. Bhushan&rsquo;s assessment of the role of the Court within the &lsquo;destruction of democracy&rsquo;. Mr. Bhushan then filed a preliminary response to the present notice within the sort of a Reply Affidavit, which was heard by the Court on 5 August 2020. On 6 August, Mr. Bhushan submitted to the Court an application under s.17(5) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, which asked that he be allowed to submit more evidence if the Court intended to take the matter to any extent further.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">Mr. Bhushan is a public interest lawyer. On the 31st of July 2020, Mr. Bhushan together with Mr. N Ram and Mr. Arun Shourie filed a petition before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of s.2(c)(i) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. Mr. Ram is a journalist and a former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, while Mr. Shourie is an economist, journalist, and a former Union Minister, also as a Padma Bhushan recipient.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">The three petitioners have all been involved in contempt cases in the past, and submit that they&#39;re &lsquo;concerned&rsquo; about the &lsquo;chilling effect&rsquo; of the relevant subsection on the liberty of speech as enshrined under Article 19(1) a) of the Constitution. They also make submissions as to the harmful effect this has on the general public and political lifetime of citizens, also because the importance of criticism during a functioning democracy. Their claim is predicated on several points, most importantly the vague and loose wording of the relevant subsection&mdash;&#39;scandalising or lowering the authority of the court&#39;&mdash;which they argue is vulnerable to misuse, and can&#39;t and will not be included under contempt of court as per Article 19(2).</p> <p style="text-align:justify">The case was earlier listed before a bench of Justices Chandrachud and Joseph on 10 August 2020 but thereafter was deleted from the cause list. The Supreme Court Registry circulated a note stating that since another bench was hearing similar matters, the case challenging the constitutionality of contempt of court was listed by mistake by the Registry before Justice Chandrachud&#39;s bench. The case came up on 13 August 2020 before a three-judge bench consisting of Justices Mishra, Gavai and Murari.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">The Court dismissed the writ petition as &#39;withdrawn&#39; and granted the petitioners&#39; request for permission to file it before a High court at a later stage.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">&nbsp;</p>
INDIAN YOUNG LAWYERS ASSOCIATION v STATE OF KERALA (CASE BRIEF)
<p style="text-align:center">SABRIMALA TEMPLE ENTRY</p> <p style="text-align:center">Indian Young Lawyers&rsquo; Association v State of Kerala&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align:center">Judges: Dipak Misra, AM Khanvilkar, RF Nariman, DY Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra</p> <p style="text-align:center">Case No. WP (C) 373/2006</p> <p style="text-align:justify">ISSUES:</p> <p style="text-align:justify">1. Whether Rule 3 of Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules permits a &lsquo;religious denomination&rsquo; to ban the entry of women between the ages of 10 and 50 years. Does this practice violate Articles 14 and 15(3) of the Constitution by restricting entry on the grounds of sex?</p> <p style="text-align:justify">2. Whether the practice constitutes an &lsquo;essential religious practice&rsquo; under Article 25? Whether a religious institution can assert its claim to do so under the right to manage its own affairs in the matters of religion?</p> <p style="text-align:justify">3. Whether the exclusionary practice based on a biological factor exclusive to the female gender amounts to &lsquo;discrimination&rsquo;? Whether this practice violates the core of Articles 14, 15 and 17?</p> <p style="text-align:justify">4. Whether the Sabarimala Temple has a denominational character?</p> <p style="text-align:justify">The Supreme Court in a progressive yet bold decision declared the prohibition of women of the menstruating age into the temple premises at Sabrimala as unconstitutional.&nbsp;However,there was a petition filed before a bigger bench of the Supreme Court to review this petition, which&nbsp;is currently pending.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">The Sabrimala Temple, considered to be the heavenly abode of Lord Ayyappa, is situated in the Western Ghats of Kerala. It prohibited the entry of women in their menstruating years (between 10 &ndash; 50 years) into the temple premises in order to protect the sanctity of their place of worship.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">In 2006, the petitioners (Indian Young Lawyers&rsquo; Association) filed a PIL before the Apex court&nbsp;challenging the said exclusion of women of menstruating age, claiming the violation of their Right to Equality u/a 14 and freedom of religion u/a 25.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">The state on the other hand contended that the temple board (Travancore Devaswom Board) had the authority to manage the Temple. Article 26 of the Constitution of India empowers a religious denomination to manage its own religious affairs. Also,&nbsp;the custom was&nbsp;protected by Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorisation of Entry) Rules, 1965 (&quot;Public Worship Rules&quot;)&nbsp;which&nbsp;allowed&nbsp;the exclusion of women from public places of worship, if the exclusion was based on&nbsp;&#39;custom&#39;.&nbsp;The said exclusion was challenged earlier in&nbsp;S. Mahendran vs The Secretary, Travancore&nbsp;,&nbsp;where&nbsp;a&nbsp;division bench of the Kerala High Court upheld the validity of the said custom and dismissing the petition.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">In August 2006, notices were issued to the parties, and the matter was reported to a three-judge bench in 2008. In February 2007, the matter was referred to a constitution bench for passing a decision.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">In a 4:1 majority opinion, the Apex Court struck down the said exclusion of women under Rule 3(b) of Public worship rules was unconstitutional and violative of article 14. Justice Indu Malhotra, the lone woman&nbsp;judge&nbsp;on the bench, in her dissenting opinion was of the view that, in a Secular environment, the State&nbsp;must not interfere in the religious practises of any religion and the matters pertaining to such customs should be left to those practising the religion.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">This particular stand of the Court drew mixed responses from the masses. As many as 50 petitions were filed before the court demanding the case to be reviewed by a larger bench.</p>
COMMON CAUSE ( A REGISTERED SOCIETY) v UNION OF INDIA (CASE BRIEF)
<p style="text-align:center">EUTHANASIA &amp; RIGHT TO DIE WITH DIGNITY</p> <p style="text-align:center">Common Cause (a regd. Society) v Union of India</p> <p style="text-align:center">Judges: Dipak Misra, AM Khanvilkar, DY Chandrachud, AK Sikri, Ashok Bhushan</p> <p style="text-align:center">Case-Number:&nbsp;WP (C) 215/2005</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align:justify">ISSUES</p> <p style="text-align:justify">1. Whether Article 21 of the Constitution which guarantees the Right to Life includes the Right to Die.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">2. Can euthanasia be made lawful only by legislation?</p> <p style="text-align:justify">3. What is the difference between passive euthanasia and active euthanasia?</p> <p style="text-align:justify">4. Can individuals be allowed to give &#39;Advance Directives&#39;, i.e. directives on medical treatment if they become incompetent or unable to communicate in the future.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align:justify">In 2002, Common Cause (a registered society), wrote to the ministries of Health &amp; Family Welfare, Law &amp; Justice and Company Affairs on the issue of right to die with dignity. Three years later, it approached the Apex Court u/a 32 to declare the Right to Die with Dignity as a fundamental right u/a 21 of the Constitution.&nbsp;&nbsp;It also&nbsp;requested&nbsp;the Court to issue directions to the Union Government to allow terminally ill patients&nbsp;to execute &#39;living wills&#39; for appropriate action in the event that they are admitted to hospitals.&nbsp;As an alternative, Common Cause sought guidelines from the Court on this issue, and the appointment of an expert committee comprising lawyers, doctors, and social scientists to determine the aspect of executing living wills.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">The argument put forth by the petitioners was that patients suffering from chronic ailments should not be subjected to cruel treatments. The denial of their right to die with dignity increases and extends their suffering. They requested the court to grant them this right by allowing them to make informed choices through living wills.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">In February 2014, a three-judge bench of the SC sought this case to be transferred to a larger bench, to settle the issues mentioned above in the light of contradicting opinions in Aruna Shanbaug&rsquo;s Case&nbsp;and Gian Kaur verdict.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">On 9th March 2018, a 5 Judge Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A. M. Khanvilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan&nbsp;held that&nbsp;the right to die with dignity is a fundamental right. An individual&#39;s right to execute advance medical directives is an assertion&nbsp;of the right to bodily&nbsp;integrity and self-determination and&nbsp;does not depend on any recognition or legislation by a State.</p> <p style="text-align:justify">Right to life and liberty as envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution is meaningless unless it encompasses within its sphere individual dignity. the right to live with dignity also includes the smoothening of the process of dying in case of a terminally ill patient or a person in PVS&nbsp;(Permanently Vegetative State)&nbsp;with no hope of recovery.&nbsp;When passive euthanasia as a situational palliative measure becomes applicable, the best interest of the patient shall override the State interest.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align:justify">By the powers conferred to the SC u/a 142 of the Constitution,&nbsp;it laid&nbsp;down the principles relating to the procedure for execution of Advance Directive and provided the guidelines to give effect to passive euthanasia unless the Parliament enacts a specific legislation in this area.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

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