Reading Time: 9 mins The Already burdened courts with a huge pile of cases to be heard along with the current COVID-19 induced break to the justice delivery system has made experts to renew the debate on having a robust alternate dispute resolution system in India. The Coming into force of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation recently has given a shot in the arm to the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism worldwide.
Reading Time: 5 mins Access to justice is a fundamental right, as well as a prerequisite for the protection of all other human rights. Norms and standards relating to access to justice for persons with disabilities are set out in a series of binding and non-binding instruments at international and regional levels. Across the world, persons with disabilities encounter considerable obstacles in terms of access to justice. Aiming to make it easier for disabled people around the world to access the justice system, The United Nations has released its first-ever guidelines on access to social justice for people with disabilities recently.
Reading Time: 8 mins Recently Kesavananda Bharati, the seer of Edneer Mutt in Kasaragod district of Kerala, whose petition challenging the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act 1969 led to the landmark “basic structure” doctrine verdict delivered by the Supreme Court in 1973, passed away. The case of Kesavananda Bharati vs. State of Kerala was heard for 68 days and continues to hold the vertex spot for the longest proceedings ever to have taken place in the top court. The judgment is considered among the most significant and consequential decisions by the Supreme Court as it set out the “basic structure” of the Constitution that Parliament cannot amend.
Reading Time: 12 mins With the retirement of Justice Arun Mishra on September 2, not only the strength of the Supreme Court judges will get reduced to 30 from the total 34 but the regional imbalance will get further accentuated. As many as nine high courts are not represented at all in the apex court and with Justice Mishra’s retirement, this will rise to 10. Justice Mishra belongs to the state of Madhya Pradesh and he is currently the only representative from the state. The high courts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Tripura, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Odisha have no judges in the Supreme Court currently. In this context the way in which the system of appointments is currently functioning needs a serious rethinking as advocated by recent survey published in May 2020 by Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy with a majority of the surveyed advocates demanding greater transparency in its operation.
Reading Time: 7 mins A 5-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court reopened the debate on quota within quota for SCs and STs by supporting their sub-classification to ensure equality in the upliftment of all within the marginalised community. Disagreeing with another SC verdict on the same subject, the case was referred to a larger bench comprising of 7 judges or more.
Reading Time: 9 mins In January 2020, the Supreme Court sought response from the health ministry and environment ministry to the Public Interest Litigation seeking the right to euthanasia for persons suffering from rabies. This petition points out the limitations of SC’s 2018 judgement that provided for guidelines for passive euthanasia.
Reading Time: 7 mins Contempt of court can be seen as a concept and as a legal mechanism that seeks to protect judicial institutions from motivated attacks, unwarranted criticism and to punish those who lower its authority, is again in the news in India. This was triggered with the initiation of contempt proceedings by the Supreme Court of India, on its own motion, against advocate-activist Prashant Bhushan.
Reading Time: 7 mins The Supreme Court, recently, reversed the Kerala High Court judgment of 2011 in the Padmanabha Swamy temple case and upheld the right of the Travancore Royal Family to manage the property of deity at Shree Padmanabha Swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. This is another historic apex court judgment with respect to the debate of legal-constitutional-state interference in the religious sphere after the Sabarimala Case.
Reading Time: 5 mins On February 2020, a Lok Sabha MP stated that the government should immediately put all issues pertaining to reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution so that they are not challenged in the court. This statement comes days after the Supreme Court ruled that the reservation in the matter of promotions of the public post was not a fundamental right and that a state cannot be compelled to offer quota if it chooses not to. The Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, since its enactment, remains a contentious issue as its constitutionality is questioned.