Person engaged with other professions can be enrolled provisionally with Bar Council - Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on 21 April 2022 held that a person engaged in other professions can be allowed to provisionally enroll with a bar council but has to clear the All India Bar Examination (AIBE) and upon clearing the test, will get six months to decide whether he or she would like to be an advocate or continue with the other job.
The top court said that the Bar Council of India (BCI) will have to consider whether a fresh AIBE examination needs to be conducted for those who seek to return to advocacy after getting their license suspended to take up other jobs, as they would have lost touch with the legal profession.
The bench clarified that it should not be a case where a person takes the examination and continues in employment for a period of time says 10 years and thereafter seeks seniority based on the exam taken years ago. The top court asked the BCI to disclose who are the members of the high empowered committee and suggested that persons who can afford time for the cause should be involved instead of retired judges or senior advocates.
It also directed the state governments to provide appropriate security to the inspection teams of BCI, which goes into different law colleges to inspect the infrastructure and other facilities of the college or the university, after it was flagged that there were incidents of non-cooperation.
Concerning placement of junior advocates, the amicus suggested that rather than making it compulsory, which may hit the hurdle of the constitutional validity of such step, it would be appropriate if such process is incentivized like they would be preferred in chamber allotment, empanelment for PSUs, appointment in the judiciary and contesting bar elections.
Russia likely to impose fines on Google and Wikipedia
As the Moscow-Kyiv war continues for 2 months, a Russian court has threatened that Google and Wikipedia will face fines of up to $96,000 (8 million roubles) for failing to remove "fake" content on its platform. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. (owner of Wikipedia) and Google could be fined for refusing to remove inaccurate information about the special military operation in Ukraine, as well as for encouraging extremism against Russian citizens.
The developments come after Russia had warned Wikipedia to take down "material with inaccurate information of public interest" on the Ukraine war on April 5. Russia had claimed that the internet open-source website was hosting untrue data on the "special military operation" in Ukraine. Subsequently, Wikipedia was allegedly disseminating wrong details about the Russian troops' actions in its embattled ex-Soviet neighbour.
This is not the first time Russia had fined US-based internet and social media companies, accusing them of violating online media regulations in Russia. In 2021, Facebook's parent company Meta received a 1.9 billion rouble court fine for "systematic failure to remove banned content" from its platform. At the time, the Tagansky District Court too ruled that Google had neglected the provisions of Russian media laws, leading them to face an administrative penalty worth 7.2 billion roubles.
Raising retirement age of High Court Judges
The Law Minister was responding to Member of Parliament (MP) and Senior Advocate P Wilson who, in his Rajya Sabha 'Zero Hour' speech, had raised the issue of the retirement age of judges.
In his zero hour speech, Wilson had noted that there was a consensus among all parties and members that it was time to increase the age of retirement of judges to strengthen the judiciary which was suffering from vacancies and large pendency.
He drew attention to the fact that many standing committee reports had also consistently recommended this increase in retirement age. However, the same had not been deliberated by the government.
Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said that this issue needs a holistic approach as it has implications for the entire court ecosystem, including tribunals, etc, and also other functionaries of the government.
Rijiju also pointed out that the Constitution (114th Amendment) Bill, 2010, sought to increase the retirement age of High Court judges from 62 to 65 years, and was introduced in the Lok Sabha. However, it could not be taken up for consideration, and on completion of the 15th Lok Sabha term, it lapsed.
First retired Supreme Court Judge has started an official Youtube channel
The pace of developments in technology and the ability of social media to bring the world closer have transcended professional disciplines and stereotypes. Justice Rohinton F Nariman has created a classic example of embracing this rapid innovation by becoming the first retired Supreme Court judge to start an official YouTube channel.
The channel, called ‘Justice Nariman Official Channel’, went live on April 16, 2022, showcasing 48 full-length videos of his lectures on law, history, religion, music, and spirituality among several other topics. Most of these lectures were delivered during his tenure as a Supreme Court judge.
In the series of deliveries underscored by him, the channel currently consists of his renowned 'The Future of Legal Education in India', a keynote address at the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) and the Harvard Law School Center, dating back to 2018. Apart from legal references, the channel also shelves his versatile approach to distinct spheres. Rohinton Fali Nariman's Beethoven: The Genius That Was Human at India International Centre is also present in the retired judge's collective.
During his customary farewell in courtroom 1 of the Supreme Court of India, CJI Ramana said that the retirement of people like Justice Nariman who are repositories of legal acumen makes one wonder if age is the appropriate criterion to decide the retirement of a judge.