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.

SC cancels Engineering degrees obtained via Correspondence since 2001

Supreme court cancels the degree, which the three universities have been conducting distance education programmes without taking prior approval from any of the authorities, including the UGC or the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

And the three Universities are: —

  • JRN Rajasthan Vidhyapeeth University, Udaipur
  • Vinayaka Mission Research Foundation, Salem, Tamil Nadu
  • IASE Deemed University, Rajasthan

As per the recent report a fourth, Vinayaka Mission Research Foundation in Tamil Nadu, is also included in the list.

The Supreme Court on Friday cancelled all engineering degrees awarded by these universities since 2001 and ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the roles of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and other authorities for giving approval to these courses, mentioning down on three deemed-to-be universities granting engineering degrees through distance education mode.

But at the time of judgement, when the students with the degree questioned the validity of degrees in the engineering was provided by the universities were under the scrutiny.

By keeping an eye on the matter court also directed the UGC to look into university status, which is enjoyed by them and also to conduct an inquiry in that behalf.

Showing concern about the state of affairs in such universities, the bench also undemonstrative view “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 bench said the students’ degrees will remain suspended until they clear an examination under the joint supervision of the All India Council for Technical Education and the University Grants Commission. The students will have two attempts to clear the exams before January 15, failing which their degrees will stand cancelled.

Justice AK Goel and Justice UU Lalit, with the bench, said if the students did not wish to appear for the test, the universities will have to refund the money that the students had deposited towards tuition fees and other charges.

The Supreme Court further announced that the technical education can not be provided through distance learning or correspondence courses, The bench set aside an Odisha High Court order allowing technical education through correspondence, and instead supported a Punjab and Haryana High Court ruling.

Similarly, in 2015, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had said that a degree in computer science obtained through a correspondence course could not be considered to be equal to the one attained by attending regular classes.

Aadhaar case: Supreme Court asks Centre to file response in 4 weeks on linking Aadhaar with mobiles

The apex court on Monday asked the Central government to submit a response on a plea challenging the compulsory linking of mobile numbers with Aadhaar numbers. The saffron party has been desperately demanding for the Aadhaar card to be mandatory and wants it to be linked with everything like pan card, bank accounts, driver’s license and mobile phones. A bench of Justice A K Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan gave the ultimatum of four weeks to the Centre to respond on the PIL filed by Raghav Tankha.

The Supreme Court has also issued notices to the telecom companies and Department of Telecom asserting on the compulsion of linking Aadhaar with mobile numbers. On the other hand, the court has given the time of four weeks to file their response for all the respondents. Prior to this, the court also criticized the West Bengal government for challenging the Aadhaar act. “How could the state government challenge a law passed by the Centre?” the court observed. The court further added that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee could challenge the Aadhaar law as an “individual” and a “citizen”. The court, on the other hand, also observed that “this way Centre would start challenging the laws passed by the States”.

Supreme Court slams Mamata Banerjee Government on Aadhaar card issue

On Monday, the Supreme Court scolded the West Bengal government for opposing Centre’s rule to link Aadhaar card with mobile numbers, criticizing the government it said that how a state can challenge Parliament’s mandate. The top court, on the other hand, also asked the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to file a petition as an individual. The Mamata Banerjee government had filed the plea would amend it and refile the same, reported ANI.

A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said, “How can a state file such a plea. In a federal structure, how can a state file a plea challenging Parliament’s mandate.” The PTI quoted judges as saying that “You satisfy us how the state has challenged it. We know it is a matter which needs consideration”. “Let Mamata Banerjee come and file a plea as an individual. We will entertain it as she will be an individual,” the apex court said further. The court has asked for the reply of the Centre on this issue, directing them to reply in four weeks. The Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, had drawn the Centre in court on October 27 for its move to creating Aadhaar card compulsory to enjoy various schemes of government.

The 62-year-old West Bengal CM also made a public statement that she won’t link her mobile number with her unique identity number. Alleging that the government wants to disconnect her phone, Banerjee challenged the government and said that they can disconnect her phone if they wish to do so. “They (Centre) are interfering in the people’s rights and privacy. Aadhar number should not be linked with one’s mobile phone. I will not link my Aadhar number with my mobile even if my connection is snapped,” PTI cited her at the extended core committee of the TMC. “They (Centre) have unleashed an autocratic rule in the country. No one can raise voice against them, else I-T, ED, CBI will be unleashed,” the 62-year-old politician alleged.

Through a notification on March 23, the Department of Telecom (DoT) said that it is compulsory to link mobile numbers with Aadhaar numbers. On the other hand, the Central government had also made it necessary to file income tax returns and to benefit welfare schemes.