Saturday, March 10, 2018

Plea before Supreme Court to declare Muslim Polygamy and Nikah-Halala as criminal offences

A mother of three who was divorced twice through instant triple talaq has approached the Supreme Court to declare polygamy and Nikah Halala as unconstitutional among Muslims.

Earlier, BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay had filed a plea seeking a complete prohibition on polygamy and Nikah Halala for violating fundamental rights of Muslim women.

One of the earlier such pleas heard and decided by the court was that of Shayara Bano who had approached the apex court to declare triple talaq as a violation of gender justice. A five-judge bench had declared instant talaq to be an un-Islamic practice and struck it down.

Sameena Begum was first married in 1999 and she produced two sons. After repeated abuse and a consequent police complaint, she was given triple talaq. She was forced to marry again but to an already married man. After she got pregnant again, she was given triple talaq over the phone after a trivial argument.

Now, Sameena lives alone with her three children. She said she has filed the PIL not only for herself but also for others who have suffered the same plight.

She requested the court that Section 2 of Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937, be declared as arbitrary and violating Articles 14, 15, 21 and 25 of the Constitution, insofar as it seeks to recognise and validate polygamy and Nikah Halala.

It has also requested the court to ensure that provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, are applicable on all Indian citizens. The plea also sought recognition that "triple talaq is a cruelty under IPC Section 498A, Nikah-Halala is rape under IPC Section 375, polygamy is an offence under Section 494 of the IPC".

"The concept of polygamy was allowed in this verse (Quran) because of utmost concern for the welfare of women and orphans who were left behind in the battle. It is pertinent to mention that by no means it is a general licence to Muslims in present times to marry with more than one woman. Besides it puts onus on them to treat the additional spouses justly, which is admittedly a difficult task," the plea said.

Bearing a similarity with the triple talaq plea, the plea too has cited international laws and countries where polygamy has been prohibited.

It also noted that polygamy is totally prohibited in Tunisia and Turkey. "In countries like Indonesia, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan and Bangladesh, it is permissible only if authorised by the prescribed authority," it said.

Sameena said, “Equality should be the basis of all personal law since the Constitution envisages equality, justice and dignity for women."

​The petitioner contended that though it is illegal for Muslim women to marry a second time during subsistence of first marriage but "there is no requirement for Muslim husband so that the permission of the first wife is to be taken before contracting second marriage".


Cabinet approves the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2018

The Union Cabinet has approved the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2018 for introduction in the Parliament.

The Bill seeks to achieve the following objectives:

• The Bill brings down the specified value of a commercial dispute to 3 Lakhs from the present one Crore. Therefore, commercial disputes of a reasonable value can be decided by commercial courts. This would bring down the time taken (presently 1445 days) in resolution of commercial disputes of lesser value and thus further improve India's ranking in the Ease of Doing Business.

• The amendment provides for establishment of Commercial Courts at district Judge level for the territories over which respective High Courts have ordinary original civil jurisdiction i.e in the cities of Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and State of Himachal Pradesh. The State Governments, in such territories may by notification specify such pecuniary value of commercial disputes to be adjudicated at the district level, which shall 'not be less than three lakhs rupees and not more than the pecuniary jurisdiction of the district court. In the jurisdiction of High Courts other than those exercising ordinary original jurisdiction a forum of Appeal in commercial dispute decided by commercial courts below the level of District judge is being provided, in the form of Commercial Appellate Courts to be at district judge level.

• The introduction of the Pre-Institution Mediation process in cases where no urgent, interim relief is contemplated will provide an opportunity to the parties to resolve the commercial disputes outside the ambit of the courts through the authorities constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 will also help in reinforcing investor's confidence in the resolution of commercial disputes.

• Insertion of new section of 21A which enables the Central Government to make rules and procedures for PIM.

• To give prospective effect to the amendment so as not to disturb the authority of the judicial forum presently adjudicating the commercial disputes as per the extant provisions of the Act.

With the rapid economic development there has been considerable increase in commercial activities and consequent steep rise in number of commercial disputes at domestic and international level. Increase of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and overseas commercial transactions have further contributed to a significant increase of commercial disputes.

With a view to address the issue faster resolution of matters relating to commercial disputes and to create a positive image particularly among the foreign investors about the independent and responsive Indian legal system, the Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 was enacted and commercial courts were established at District Levels in all jurisdictions, except in the territories over which the High Courts have original ordinary civil jurisdiction. These five High Courts i.e. the High Courts of Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, Madras and of Himachal Pradesh, exercise ordinary original civil jurisdiction in regard to territories of cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and the territory of the State of Himachal Pradesh respectively. In such territories of these High Courts as per proviso to sub-section (1) of section 3 there are no commercial courts at district level and instead Commercial Divisions have been constituted in each of these High Courts.

The specified value of such commercial disputes to be adjudicated by the Commercial Courts or the Commercial Division of High Court, as the case may be is presently Rs. one Crore.

Ease of Doing Business is an index of World Bank which inter alia refers to the dispute resolution environment in a country which facilitates the investors in deciding for setting up of and operation of a business.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill to deal with the lokes of Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi

The Union Cabinet has approved the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill, 2017 on 1st March 2018

The Bill would help in  laying down measures to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts.

This would also help the banks and other financial institutions to achieve higher recovery from financial defaults committed by such fugitive economic offenders, improving the financial health of such institutions.

Economic offences are those that are defined under the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Corruption Act, the SEBI Act, the Customs Act, the Companies Act, Limited Liability Partnership Act, and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.

Offences involving amounts of ₹100 crore or more fall under the purview of this law.

Who is a ‘fugitive economic offender’?

According to Section 4 of the law, a ‘fugitive economic offender’ is “any individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to a scheduled offence has been issued by any court in India, who:

(i) leaves or has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution; or

(ii) refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.”

How is a person declared an offender?

A Director, appointed by the central government, will have to file an application to a Special Court to declare a person as a ‘fugitive economic offender’.

Under Clause (2) of Section 6, the application must contain:

“(a) reason/s for the belief that an individual is a fugitive economic offender;

(b) any information available as to the whereabouts of the fugitive economic offender;

(c) a list of properties or the value of such properties believed to be the proceeds of crime, including any such property outside India for which confiscation is sought;

(d) a list of properties owned by the person in India for which confiscation is sought;

(e) a list of persons who may have an interest in any of the properties listed under sub-clauses (c) and (d).”

The Director has the power to attach any property the accused holds.

What does the offender have to do?

The Court will issue a notice to the person named a ‘fugitive economic offender’. Within six weeks from the date of notice, the person will have to present themselves at “a specified place at a specified time”. If the offender fails to do so, they will be declared a ‘fugitive economic offender’ and their properties as listed in the Director’s application will be confiscated.

Once property is confiscated, can the offender file a civil claim?

No. Section 11 of the Act disqualifies those declared as offenders from either filing or defending a civil claim in court.

What happens to the properties?

The Special court will appoint an ‘administrator’ to oversee the confiscated property. This person will be responsible for disposing of the property as well, and the property will be used to satisfy creditors’ claims.

After two instances of businessmen  fleeing the country to avoid being arrested for economic fraud, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced in last year’s Union Budget that the government would soon bring about a law that would allow the state to take possession of properties belonging to such offenders. 

Salient features of the Bill:

Application before the Special Court for a declaration that an individual is a fugitive economic offender;Attachment of the property of a fugitive economic offender;Issue of a notice by the Special Court to the individual alleged to be a fugitive economic offender;Confiscation of the property of an individual declared as a fugitive economic offender resulting from the proceeds of crime;Confiscation of other  property belonging to such offender in India and abroad, including benami property;Disentitlement of the fugitive economic offender from defending any civil claim; andvii. An Administrator will be appointed to manage and dispose of the confiscated property under the Act.

If at any point of time in the course of the proceeding prior to the declaration, however, the alleged Fugitive Economic Offender returns to India and submits to the appropriate jurisdictional Court, proceedings under the proposed Act would cease by law. All necessary constitutional safeguards in terms of providing hearing to the person through counsel, allowing him time to file a reply, serving notice of summons to him, whether in India or abroad and appeal to the High Court have been provided for. Further, provision has been made for appointment of an Administrator to manage and dispose of the property in compliance with the provisions of law.

Implementation strategy and targets:

In order to address the lacunae in the present laws and lay down measures to deter economic offenders from evading the process of Indian law by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts, the Bill is being proposed. The Bill makes provisions for a Court ('Special Court' under the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002) to declare a person as a Fugitive Economic Offender. A Fugitive Economic Offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has left India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution. A scheduled offence refers to a list of economic offences contained in the Schedule to this Bill. Further, in order to ensure that Courts are not over-burdened with such cases, only those cases where the total value involved in such offences is 100 crore rupees or more, is within the purview of this Bill.


1. The Hindu


Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Chief Justice - Proud moment for SDM Law College Mangalore

Its indeed a very proud moment for the SDM Law College Mangalore as one of  its students is now appointed a Chief Justice.

Justice Antony Dominic; (born 30 May 1956) is the Chief Justice at the High Court of Kerala since February 2018.

The High Court, headquartered at Ernakulam, is the highest court in the Indian state of Kerala and in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.

Dominic obtained his degree in law from S.D.M Law College, Mangalore.


He started practice in Munsiff’s Court and JFCM, Kanjirappally in 1981. Later, Dominic shifted to Kerala High Court at Ernakulam in 1986.

He acquired extensive experience in Company, Labour and Constitutional laws.

Dominic was appointed as Additional Judge of the Kerala High Court in January 2007 and promoted to be a Permanent Judge in December 2008.