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Unnao case: CJI Gogoi to take up rape victim’s letter tomorrow; Supreme Court registry under lens again

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Supreme Court

By Rajesh Sinha

The role of Supreme Court registry is under a lens again for failing to put up to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi a letter from Unnao rape victim apprehending threat to her life.

Learning of the letter from reports, CJI Gogoi, taking suo motu cognisance, said he will hear the matter tomorrow, Thursday, Aug 1. The CJI assured that a judicial order would be passed to ensure the safety and better conditions for the rape survivor, said media reports. 

Calling it a “highly volatile situation”, CJI Gogoi said he was informed about the letter only on Tuesday (July 30). The CJI asked why the court registry had not brought the letter to his attention.

 “The letter has not been placed before me and newspapers flashed that CJI did not act,” Justice Gogoi said.

The letter written on July 12 came to light almost two days after a truck collided with their car on July 28. The collision, which happened near Rae Bareli, claimed the lives of two of the aunts of the victim. One of them was a key witness in the rape case in which the prime accused is a four-time BJP MLA from UP’s Bangermau, Kuldeep Singh Sengar. He was arrested last year in April.

In the letter, the rape survivor’s family complained that they were facing threats and intimidation from henchmen engaged by the accused and pleaded for providing adequate security. The letter stated that it was annexing a video-recording of the criminal intimidation and the photographs of the aggressors.

On Sunday, July 28, a truck rammed into the car in which the rape survivor was travelling near Rae Bareilly, killing her two aunts and leaving her and her lawyer critically injured.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi is understood to have sought a report from the Supreme Court registry regarding the delay in forwarding the letter sent by family of Unnao rape survivor seeking protection from threat. 

This is not the first instance of the questions arising about Supreme Court registry’s role. Several other instances were reported this year itself.

Delay in issuing notice on petition by rape survivor’s mother

A report in The Telegraph said that the SC registry had also delayed issuing notice to Kuldeep Singh Sengar in the petition filed by the rape survivor’s mother seeking transfer of trial of the case from Unnao to Delhi citing intimidation from the accused.

The bench of Justices SA Bobde and Abdul Nazeer had issued notices to the CBI and 14 respondents, including the BJP MLA on April 16. In the normal course, the matter ought to have been listed after four or six weeks. But in this case, it had not come up for hearing till date, The Telegraph reported.

The Supreme Court registry staff had not sent copies of the notice issued by the bench in April until June 28, the Telegraph report suggested.

Ideally, the copies should have reached all the respondents by registered post within a week or 10 days.

A report in The Hindustan Times said the notices were sent by the Supreme Court registry only on June 26, over two months after the court order. The report said that according to the mother’s lawyer, RK Reddy, the matter has not been listed since then.

According to an office report of the Supreme Court registry prepared on July 26, four suspects are yet to receive the court notice as the addresses given in the petition are “insufficient,” the HT reported,

None of the respondents, including the CBI, has so far filed any response to the plea to transfer the case, said The Telegraph. Notices could not be served by the registry on two of the accused apparently because their addresses could not be tracked by the postal department.

In the transfer petition, the mother had detailed how her husband died in custody and the relentless threats the family was facing to pressure them to withdraw the allegations against the BJP legislator.

SC decides to depute CBI, police officers to keep tab on wrongdoings in registry

Earlier this month, on July 8, CJI Gogoi, in his administrative capacity as head of the judiciary, taking note of allegations of listing of cases out of turn before various benches of the apex court, decided to appoint senior superintendents of police and superintendents of police from the CBI and Delhi Police to keep a tab on suspect listing of cases and other activities of employees and lawyers.

Also Read: Unnao rape: Murder case against BJP MLA Sengar and others after rape victim’s car crash

Recently, two members of the court staff were dismissed by the chief justice on the allegation of changing an order in a case related to an industrialist.

The apex court has also appointed a one-man enquiry panel after lawyer Utsav Bains made a sensational allegation that middlemen were active in getting cases listed as per their own wishes. The panel is headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice AK Patnaik.

However, just a week after this, another instance cropped up on July 15 and the CJI came down heavily on the Registrar (Listing) over the deletion of a matter against specific directions.

In the morning, an Advocate pointed out that her matter which had been listed for Tuesday after being ‘mentioned’ on Friday happens to have been omitted from the causelist.

Dates for hearing Rafale deal review plea and contempt case against Rahul Gandhi

In May, a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had deferred a plea seeking review of its December 2018 judgment in the Rafale deal case to May 10 – because the Supreme Court registry had not tagged it along with the hearing on the contempt case against Congress president Rahul Gandhi, as specifically ordered by the court. 

Also Read: Unnao case: CBI books BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar, 10 others for attempt to murder

The Supreme Court registry had on its own listed it for a separate hearing instead.

On April 30, CJI Gogoi-led bench had dictated its order in open court that the two cases be listed for hearing on Monday, May 6. But in the copy of the order uploaded on the website of the Supreme Court, the two cases were to be listed separately: review petition on May 6 and contempt case on May 10, a day before the court recesses for summer vacation.

Tampering with order to exempt Anil Ambani from personal appearance in Ericsson contempt plea

On January 7, the apex court had turned down a request from industrialist Anil Ambani lawyers seeking exemption from his personal appearance in a contempt plea moved by Ericsson India against him. 

Justice Nariman’s order was: “…personal appearance of the alleged contemnor(s) not dispensed with”.

However, when the order was uploaded on the website it read: “personal appearance of the alleged contemnor(s) dispensed with”.

This had been brought to the Court’s notice by Ericsson counsel and a corrected order was uploaded on the website on January 10.

After a preliminary inquiry, it was found that the omission of the word “not” in the order was not accidental. The two employees found responsible were sacked in an order passed by the CJI.

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Sushma Swaraj’s daughter Bansuri Swaraj set to make poll debut in upcoming Lok Sabha elections

Bansuri Swaraj is a distinguished lawyer and brings wealth of experience in legal procedures to the political arena. She had been appointed by the BJP as the co-convenor of BJP’s Delhi legal cell last year. She has 15 years of experience as an advocate as she had enrolled in the Bar Council of Delhi in 2007

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Bansuri Swaraj, the daughter of former foreign affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is set to make her poll debut in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. In its first list of candidates, BJP announced that Swaraj will contest from the New Delhi Lok Sabha seat. Soon after her name was announced, Swaraj said she will try to live up to the legacy set by her mother, who she was sure sending her blessings from heaven.

She said this achievement does not belong to Bansuri Swaraj, but every karyakarta (worker) of Delhi BJP. Bansuri Swaraj is a distinguished lawyer and brings wealth of experience in legal procedures to the political arena. She had been appointed by the BJP as the co-convenor of BJP’s Delhi legal cell last year.

She has 15 years of experience as an advocate as she had enrolled in the Bar Council of Delhi in 2007. She completed her graduation in English Literature from the University of Warwick and pursued a law degree from the prestigious BPP law School in London. Her academic qualifications include qualifying as Barrister at Law and being called to the bar from the honorable Inn of Inner Temple, London.

After enhancing her legal credentials, she completed her Masters of Studies from St Catherine’s College at the University of Oxford. Throughout her professional career, Bansuri has carved a niche for herself in the legal domain, representing high profile clients in contentious litigation. Her expertise includes a large number of legal areas, including disputes involving contracts, real estate, tax, international commercial arbitrations, and criminal trials.

Last year Bansuri launched a scathing attack on the Aam Aadmi Party over the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Ammendment Bill), 2023. During a press conference she categorized AAP government as jhagdalu (quarrelsome) and nikammi (useless). She congratulated Droupadi Murmu for passing the bill and expressed confidence that the administration in Delhi would operate in accordance with the law.

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Mallikarjun Kharge criticises Centre over Make in India, says government has failed due to complete inaction in creating jobs and utilising funds

The Congress leader took to X and posted the Modi government failed to realize Make in India! The loud drumbeating on their interventions in the manufacturing sector has been drowned by complete inaction. He further asked why the value added by manufacturing in India’s GDP decreased from 16% to 13% over the past ten years.

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Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday targeted the Centre over Make in India and said the Modi government has failed to complete inaction in creating jobs and utilising funds. He asked many questions as to why the government has failed to create enough jobs and on the under utilisation of funds in key sectors to promote manufacturing in India.

The Congress leader took to X and posted the Modi government failed to realize Make in India! The loud drumbeating on their interventions in the manufacturing sector has been drowned by complete inaction. He further asked why the value added by manufacturing in India’s GDP decreased from 16% to 13% over the past ten years.

Kharge also asked why the average manufacturing growth had declined under the BJP government at the Centre. He said it was 7.85% during the Congress – UPA government which plunged to 6% only. He said the Modi government had promised 10 crore manufacturing jobs by 2022. Kharge asked where are the jobs? He asked why has the workforce in manufacturing declined in the last 10 years?

The Congress leader also pointed out a majority of the Production-Linked Incentives (PLI) Scheme has failed to take off? He asked why has there been a massive under-utilisation of funds for key sectors? He added 96% of funds for the PLI scheme in the textiles sector remained unused.

Kharge said no funds had been provided for the PLI scheme in the renewable sector and 95% of funds for the scheme in the white goods for manufacture of components and sub- assemblies of AC’s and LEDs remain unused. He failed to understand the percentage increase in India’s exports, which was 549% during Congress-UPA, declined to just 90% during the Modi government?He slammed Centre over rise in imports from China despite border transgressions.

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2024 Lok Sabha elections: PM Modi to contest again from Varanasi, Amit Shah from Gandhinagar, 34 ministers in BJP first list for 195 seats

Home Minister Amit Shah will be contesting again from Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

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With the winter making way for spring, election season is here with the BJP announcing the first list of candidates for 195 constituencies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is again contesting from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Home Minister Amit Shah from Gandhinagar, Gujarat and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh from Lucknow.

In all, 34 ministers have been fielded. Other prominent leaders include Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani from Amethi and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla from Kota. Notably, the party has fielded a Muslim candidate, Dr Abdul Salam, from Malappuram in Kerala.

Earlier today, East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir and Minister of State Jayant Sinha had opted out of the contest indicating they will not be fielded by the party from East Delhi and Hazaribagh.

The 195-seat list includes 51 seats in Uttar Pradesh, 20 in West Bengal, 24 in Madhya Pradesh, 15 each in Gujarat and Rajasthan, 12 in Kerala, 9 in Telangana, 11 each in Assam, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, 5 in Delhi, 2 in Jammu and Kashmir 3 in Uttarakhand, 2 in Arunachal Pradesh, 1 each in Goa, Tripura, Andaman and Nicobar and Daman Diu respectively.  

The Prime Minister has been touring the country inaugurating a slew of projects across the country. He has also been attacking the Congress for not having the guts to face the people, an oblique reference to Sonia Gandhi looking at a seat in the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan. The vacating of Rae Bareli by Sonia Gandhi is being seen as paving the way for daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

The candidates named for the seats in Delhi include Praveen Khandelwal, sitting MP Manoj Tiwari and Sushma Swaraj’s daughter Bansuri Swaraj.

In Kerala, IT MoS Rajeev Chandrasekhar will contest from Thiruvananthapuram, Congress leader AK Antony’s son Anil K Antony from Pathanamthitta and Malayalam actor Suresh Gopi from Thrissur.

Former Telangana BJP chief Bandi Sanjay has been fielded from Karimnagar and G Kishan Reddy from Secunderabad. Former Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb has been fielded from Tripura West.

In Uttar Pradesh, Dr Mahesh Sharma has been nominated for Gautam Buddha Nagar (Noida), Hema Malini from Mathura, SP Singh Baghel from Agra and Ajay Mishra Teni from Kheri.

The party has not announced a candidate for Kaiserganj, which is currently represented by Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the former Wrestling Federation of India chief, who is under a cloud of sexual harassment charges.

After getting elected from the Rajya Sabha earlier, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will also be contesting from Porbandar in Gujarat. Interestingly, the Rajya Sabha member and minister, Rajeev Chandrasekhar will contest from the Thiruvananthapuram seat, which is held by the Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. 

Union Minister and Rajya Sabha MP Jyotiraditya Scindia will be contesting from Guna in Madhya Pradesh, a constituency the former Congress leader had a grip on since 2002 but he lost to the BJP’s Krishna Pal Singh Yadav in 2019. Rajya Sabha MP Bhupender Yadav will be contesting from Alwar and Union Minister Kiren Rijiju from Arunachal West.

Former Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will be contesting from Vidisha in the Lok Sabha elections. Last year, Chouhan could not make it to the Chief Minister post despite the BJP’s stunning victory.

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