A book can't be banned for stray sentences: Supreme Court


The State cannot extract stray sentences and come to a finding that a book as a whole ought to be banned or forfeited, the Supreme Court has held. A Bench of Justices D.K. Jain and H.L. Dattu — while rejecting the Maharashtra government's stand justifying the notification for forfeiture of Shivaji-Hindu King in Islamic India written by James W. Laine — said: “The intention of the author has to be gathered from the language, contents and import of the offending material.”
Writing the judgment, Justice Jain said: “The effect of the words used in the offending material must be judged from the standards of reasonable, strong minded, firm and courageous men, and not those of weak and vacillating minds, nor of those who scent danger in every hostile point of view. The class of readers for whom the book is primarily meant would also be relevant for judging the probable consequences of the writing.”
The Bench pointed out that the intention to cause disorder or incite people to violence was the sine qua non of the offence under Section 153-A of the IPC, and the prosecution had to prove prima facie the existence of mens rea on the part of the accused.
“The intention of the publication has to be judged primarily by the language of the book, the circumstances in which it was written and published; the matter complained of must be read as a whole and one cannot rely on strongly worded and isolated passages for proving the charge, nor indeed can one take a sentence here and a sentence there and connect them by a meticulous process of inferential reasoning.”
The Maharashtra government — by a January 15, 2004 notification, under Section 95(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code — ordered that every copy of Laine's book be seized as its circulation was likely to result in a breach of peace and tranquillity and maintenance of harmony. The notification was subsequently withdrawn and another was issued in December 2006 for the same purpose.


On a writ petition by Sangharaj Damodar Rupawate and others, the Bombay High Court quashed this notification. Dismissing the State's appeal against this judgment, the Supreme Court said: “It is manifest that the notification does not identify the communities between which the book caused or is likely to cause enmity. Therefore, it cannot be found out from the notification as to which communities got outraged by the publication of the book or if it had caused hatred and animosity between particular communities or groups.” Holding the notification invalid, the Bench declined to interfere with the High Court judgment.
Source: The Hindu

Petition against term “socialist” in Constitution rejected


The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed as withdrawn a writ petition challenging the validity of Section 2 of the Constitution (42nd Amendment) by virtue of which the word ‘socialist’ was inserted in the Preamble to the Constitution.
The petition, filed by the Good Governance India Foundation, also challenged the validity of Section 29 A (5) of the Representation of the People Act, which was inserted by way of Section 6 of the RP (Amendment) Act, 1989 making it incumbent upon every political party registered in India to pledge allegiance to the socialist ideal, failing which such a party would be rejected from registration.
A three-Judge Bench comprising Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia and Justices K.S. Radhakrishan and Swatanter Kumar, after hearing senior counsel Fali Nariman, Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam for the Centre and counsel Meenakshi Arora for the Election Commission permitted the petitioner to withdraw the petition saying that the issues raised would be left open and decided as and when the situation arose.
Mr. Nariman submitted that the 42nd Amendment, evolved in the climate of national Emergency, violated the basic structure of the Constitution. Prior to the amendment, the Preamble read as follows “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign democratic republic.” After the amendment, the Preamble read: “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic.”


Mr. Nariman read out debates in the Constituent Assembly to drive home the point that Dr. Ambedkar had opposed the inclusion of word ‘socialist’ in the Constitution. He said the court should go into the question whether the powers under Article 368 to amend the provisions would include the power to amend even the Preamble. Justice Kapadia, however, told Mr. Nariman that so far no political party had challenged this and every one had subscribed to it. The court would consider it when the Commission faced challenge from any political party.
The NGO, in its petition, contended that the 42nd Amendment altered the Preamble, which was impermissible as it contained the ideals and aspirations or the objects which the Constitution-makers intended to be realised by its enacting provisions. It said that such an insertion was wholly inconsistent with the phrase ‘liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship,’ in the Preamble itself.
The petitioner submitted that the 42nd Amendment attempted to create a particular ideological basis for adherence to the Constitution, which was against the principles of a multi-party democracy and which breached the unity and integrity of the nation. The ingestion of the socialist principle was antithetical to the principle of democracy, which was considered a basic structure of the Constitution.
Source: The Hindu

Trilegal, Krishnamurthy, Wadia Ghandy, two law schools, CLAT coaching centre, Gov't join NUJS diversity project IDIA


The law ministry, law firms Krishnamurthy and Co and Trilegal, CLAT coaching institute IMS and law schools NLSIU Bangalore and NUALS Cochin have pledged financial or other support for NUJS Kolkata professor Shamnad Basheer's project to increase diversity in the legal profession, which visits poorer rural secondary school students to train and encourage them to apply to top law schools.

The IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education) project was launched in March, as first reported on Legally India, and will identify bright students in disadvantaged areas and teach them for free to tackle the Common Law Admissions Test (CLAT) to enter national law schools.

Trilegal founding partners Karan Singh and Sridhar Gorti have personally pledged Rs 5 lakh to the project, which will pay for learning materials.

Singh said that while currently it was personal funding by him and Gorti, Trilegal would be fully involved once the project was approved internally, also offering internship places to students selected by the programme.

"At this point in time its personal - I wanted to be involved in the project at the personal level and they needed the funds pretty quickly," explained Singh. "The idea is that once this reaches some scale, while I will continue to do it on a personal basis, we will bring in not just firm support but also support from the wider community."

Bangalore law firm Krishnamurthy and Co and Mumbai law firm Wadia Ghandy and partner Ashish Ahuja have also pledged varying financial and logistical support to IDIA, including personal donations and offering internships.

Common Law Admissions Test (CLAT) coaching institute IMS has also agreed to provide unlimited free CLAT coaching places and learning materials for students selected by IDIA.

IMS national product manager Rajneesh Singh said: "It is actually a very good combination – [IDIA] are the best people to increase the awareness of law and to find talented good students, and it is our area too."

He added that eight students from Pelling in the North-Eastern state of Sikkim will be attending free CLAT classes in Kolkata and that there were no constraints on the numbers of the programme. "Even if we select 100 or 200 students, it is not a problem."

According to sources close to the law ministry, law minister Veerappa Moily and will make an announcement next month while also launching a separate training programme for lawyers in rural areas.

NUJS professor Basheer commented: "The law minister has agreed to support this project in principle and will also look towards creating a scholarship fund for this."

Basheer noted that the project was progressing well: "Sensitisation programs finished in Bangalore, Tumkur, some districts in Kerala, Sundarbans and Howrah. Also in a blind school in Hyderabad."

NLSIU Bangalore has also come on board to support IDIA, with Adithya Banavar overseeing the project locally.

NUALS Cochin student Raghul Sudheesh is co-ordinating the project in Kerala, with 50 students having volunteered to assist with their time.

NUJS students Diptoshree Basu, Ramanuj Mukherjee and Arnab Roy are leading the initiative in Kolkata.

Trilegal's Singh said that Trilegal would be supporting IDIA for two main reasons. "There's corporate social responsibility and I think the social responsibility element of it is not just for organisations but for each of us in the profession.

"Second, we need to widen the net if you look at the other career options and other mainstream opportunities – whether engineers, doctor or MBA grads. Right now [law] is very mainstream: access is to people who have lineage or to bright sparks who feel that profession is at the right time to get into it."

"But you can not build profession just with bright sparks – you have to go into non-core areas to go a little broader," said Singh.


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