SC to hear tomorrow Priya Varrier’s plea after 4 complaints and an FIR

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear the plea of Malayalam actor Priya Prakash Varrier and director Omar Lulu seeking the suppressing of an FIR against them over accusations that a song in their latest movie, Oru Adaar Love, offends the religious sentiments of Muslims. The plea will be voiced before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra for urgent hearing.

Expressing that the complaints were filed by “fringe elements” who misinterpreted the song’s lyrics, the petitioners have requested the court to direct a stay on every criminal proceeding coming out of the complaints against the song. The actor, who has already become a big social media sensation following the video clip from the movie went viral, moved the top court for an urgent hearing on Monday. The petition filed through advocate Haris Beeran and Pallavi Pratap said the claims that it hurt religious sentiments of the Muslim community are “without any basis and what is hard to fathom is that a song which has been in existence for the past 40 years, which was written, sung and cherished by the Muslim community in Kerala is now being treated as an insult to the Prophet and his wife”.

“The song describes and praises the love between Prophet Mohammad and his first wife Khadeeja. It should be important to note that the song is originally from an old folk song from Kerala which was written in 1978 by PMA Jabbar and first sung by Thalassery Rafeeq, in the praise of the Prophet and his wife Beevi Khadija,” the petition added. A complaint registered last week in Hyderabad claimed that a song from the movie shower Prophet Mohammad in poor light. It alleged that the lyrics of the song, Manikya Malaraya Poovi, convey derogatory references to the Prophet and his wife. An FIR was later filed against Varrier and the makers of the film in Telangana and Maharashtra.

Aiyaary Controversy: SC rejects the plea to stay on film’s release

On Friday, the Supreme Court rejected a plea seeking a stay on the release of the Neeraj Pandey’s film Aiyaary. The Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society is a prime property in Mumbai’s posh Colaba area made for the welfare of war widows and defense personnel.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul rejected the plea of Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society that sought a stay on film’s release claiming the society and its member were projected in a bad light. The society had filed a petition in the top court asserting that the film will affect the reputation of its members. The society claimed that the film is based on Adarsh scam and its release might affect the continuing trial in the case. The senior Advocate Sanjay Hedge appearing for the society argued that an appeal is pending in the court with regard to the Adarsh housing scam and by the time clouds disappear, the common Indian is expected to not remember the court’s verdict, but what’s shown in the film.

Hedge added that names of highly decorated officers, who are members of the society, will be tainted. Rejecting the arguments made by the society, a bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said, “We are going to look into this case because someone has some apprehensions. The Central Board of Film Certification has already given a certificate to the movie.” The court added that “The court will decide the issue on the basis of evidence and documents placed before it and not on the basis of celluloid depiction and theatrical language”.

Supreme Court takes tough stand on Khap Panchayats, says “You’re no one to interfere in it”

On Monday, the Supreme Court told khap panchayats not to be the “conscience keepers of society”, once again telling them to abstain from interfering in the marriage of two consenting adults. The view was made by a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra that is hearing a plea pursuing a ban on khap panchayats and also guidelines to stop “honour killings”.

“We can’t say which marriage is null or void, which marriage is good or bad…just stay out of it. Two persons marry…they are adults….you are no one to interfere in it,” the CJI said. The lawyer appearing for khap panchayats said that they were not against inter-caste or inter-religious alliances but only opposed same gotra marriages because they were the conscience keepers. “Don’t be the conscience-keepers of society,” the CJI replied to it. Khaps are caste or community-based groups that exercise considerable influence in rural areas of north India. They are common to hold kangaroo courts that dissolve marriages, dictate a dress code, mostly to women, ban cell phones and even force rape victims into marrying rapists. They oppose marriages on the basis of caste or religion and it has also led to murders.

The wittiest fact is that one khap panchayat leader in Haryana had caused chow mein for the increase in rape cases in India. It was the second time in less than a month that the top court came down hard on khaps. The court said during the previous hearing that khap panchayat cannot threaten adults for marrying each other. The bench had said, “If an adult man and woman marry, no khap, panchayat or society can question them.” The senior counsel Raju Ramachandran, who is supporting the court in the matter, has said in a report that khap panchayats were influential and the SC should take steps to control them. The will be heard now on February 16.

Ayodhya Babri Masjid case live: SC started final hearing of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid row

The Supreme Court on Tuesday started the final hearing in the Babri Masjid-Ram temple dispute case, a day prior to the 25th anniversary of the mosque’s demolition in Ayodhya. On Tuesday, a special bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice S Abdul Nazeer at 2 pm to hear a total of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgment of the Allahabad high court in four civil suits.

Live updates:

3.52 pm: The PTI reports that the top court directs advocates on record of the appeals to sit together and make sure that all the documents are filed and numbered.

3.50 pm: The Supreme Court locked February 8, 2018, for hearing civil appeals in the matter to the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title row.

3.08 pm: The top court stops hearing in order to take stock of the documents filed and not filed.

2.55 pm: The Kapil Sibal says to the court that whenever the Ayodhya issue is heard, some serious repercussions outside the court. He also advised the court to take up the matter on July 15, 2019, in order to preserve the decorum of law and order as all the pleadings would be finished and after elections.

2.47 pm: All representing the Sunni Wakf Board, Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhawan, Dushyant Dave, intimidate to walk out.

2.16 pm: The Kapil Sibal says to the top court that a total of 19,590 documents were to be filed in the court.

2.12 pm: Sibal also says to the apex court that all reports of the ASI have not been provided in court.

2.08pm: The top court starts hearing in Ayodhya dispute case.

Padmavati row: Supreme Court blasts on CMs, ministers for commenting against “Padmavati”

The Supreme Court rejected a petition on Tuesday asking a stay on the UK release of Padmavati, and also took a strong stand against people holding public offices, including ministers and chief ministers of various states for making unnecessary comments. The apex court added that such people must avoid from passing such comments till the film is cleared by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, and justices A M Khanvilkar and D Y Chandrachud said that the remarks made by people holding responsible posts are indefensible and would create tension, and is against principles of law. The top court, on the other hand, dismissed a plea demanding criminal prosecution of producers and director of ‘Padmavati’ and criticized harshly the petitioner for filing a “frivolous petition”. The director Sanjay Leela Bhansali assured the Supreme Court that they will not release ‘Padmavati’ in other countries till the time film is passed by CBFC. Bhansali cleared the fact that the film will not be released overseas on December 1.

“All concerned persons holding responsible posts must be guided by rule of law and should not venture out to pass comment on film which has not been cleared by CBFC. It will prejudice the mind of board members while taking a decision on the film,” the Supreme Court said.

Kerela ‘love jihad’ case: Proceedings ongoing amid high security

A 24-year-old Hindu woman from Kerala who converted to Islam, Hadiya, reached the Supreme Court on Monday to give her statement. The decision of the girl to convert has raged up a nationwide debate over parental authority, individual liberties and “love-jihad”. Hadiya married Shafin Jahan without her parent’s permission last December. Her father Ashokan KM, who’s a retired military man, approached the high court in May, claiming that there was a “well-oiled systematic mechanism” for conversion and Islamic radicalization, which had traped his daughter.

Talking about the decision of Kerala High Court, they called Hadiya and Shafin’s marriage a “sham”, but the husband went for the gates of Supreme Court, which said in its last hearing on October 30 that Hadiya’s consent as an adult is “prime”. The lawyer Kapil Sibal, who is appearing for Hadiya and Shafin, said to the apex court that since Hadiya was present, the court must listen to her and the not the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is investigating her conversion, and she is authorized to make decisions of her life. The top court had said that before interrogating the love jihad issue, it would like to establish if Hadiya had voluntarily converted to Islam.

As Hadiya left Kerala on Saturday to appear before the top court in New Delhi, she said to the mediapersons clearly that she wanted to live with her husband. However, Hadiya’s parents are sure that she has been brainwashed. In a previous report, the NIA has pointed to a “pattern” including conversion to Islam and marriage in Kerala. An NIA team arrived at her home on November 18 for the second time and took statements for her and her parents to present their case before the court. The ANI reports that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) submitted a 100-page probe report regarding the case in the top court. The SC will continue hearing on this case from tomorrow. The apex court, on the other hand, allowed Hadiya to continue her study at Salem in Tamil Nadu. The dean of the college also appointed her as local guardian.


Supreme Court says deemed universities can’t start distant education

A big shock came on Friday when the Supreme Court canceled engineering degrees of hundreds of students who studied education through a correspondence course from four deemed universities – JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education in Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute and Vinayaka Mission Research Foundation in Tamil Nadu from the year 2001 afterward. A bench of Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit, on the other hand, granted students of the 2001-05 batch to get their degree by appearing in the examination to be conducted by AICTE, whereas they canceled the degrees of students of following batches because the deemed university had not obtained approval for the course from authorities.

The bench said, “As regards students who were admitted after the academic sessions 2001-2005, their degrees in engineering awarded by the concerned deemed to be universities through distance education mode stand recalled and be treated as canceled. All benefits secured by such candidates shall stand withdrawn. However, the entire amount paid by such students to the concerned deemed to be universities towards tuition fees and other expenditure shall be returned by the concerned deemed to be universities.” The top court also stopped deemed universities from proposing correspondence courses without getting approval from AICTE.

“We restrain all “deemed to be universities” to carry on any courses in distance education mode from the academic session 2018- 2019 onwards unless and until it is permissible to conduct such courses in distance education mode and specific permissions are granted by the concerned statutory/regulatory authorities in respect of each of those courses and unless the off-campus centres/study centres are individually inspected and found adequate by the concerned statutory authorities. The approvals have to be course specific,” the bench added. The court, on the other hand, also directed CBI inquiry to catch those government officials who had permitted deemed universities to provide the distance learning courses that wasn’t allowed. Adding to it, the top court asked the government to form a high-level committee to inspect the running of deemed universities.

“The Union of India may constitute a three members Committee comprising of eminent persons who have held high positions in the field of education, investigation, administration or law at national level within one month. The Committee may examine the issues indicated above and suggest a road map for strengthening and setting up of oversight and regulatory mechanism in the relevant field of higher education and allied issues within six months. The Committee may also suggest oversight mechanism to regulate the Deemed to be Universities. The Union of India may examine the said report and take such action as may be considered appropriate within one month thereafter and file an affidavit in this Court of the action taken on or before August 31, 2018,” it added.