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‘Sanyasi’ permitted to perform rituals at Kaleshwar temple in Himachal Pradesh by the Supreme Court. [READ ORDER]

A ‘Sanyasi’ Swami Vishwanand has been permitted by the Supreme Court to perform the morning and evening rituals in the Kaleshwar Kalinath Mahadev Temple in Himachal Pradesh.

By Dimple Kaushalya

The petitioner, Swami Vishwanand had approached the top court to appeal against the judgment of the Himachal Pradesh High Court seeking maintenance/renovation of “Shri Kalinath Kaleshwar Mahadev” Temple.

The contentions in his application were to seek permission from the court for allowing him to perform the morning and evening rituals in the temple with the assistance of Sevarthis (Sanyasis and Vidyarthies of KaleshwarAkhara and Vedic School) as per past practice and also to utilize the remittance from temple donation to meet the Mahant expenses, puja, Goshala, Vedic pathshala, langar, smashan ghat expenses and the expenses for living quarters of priests in the temple complex. 

The Kaleshwar Mahadev Temple located in the ranges of the Himalayas, on the banks of river Beas is one of the oldest temples in the area. The devotees believe it to be constructed by Pandavas who visited the sacred place during their exile.

The bench comprising of Chief Justice SA Bobde,  Justices AS Bopanna, and V. Ramasubramaniannoted stated that in a disposed of SLP, Swami Vishwanand had been already allowed to perform pooja as a Mahant, until further orders, as per past practice, which is reported to be continuing for around 150 years. 

Allowing his application, the Court observed “The only contention that a notification has been issued under the Himachal Pradesh Hindu Public Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1984 in respect of the KaleshwarKalinathMahadev Temple, cannot come in the way of permitting the applicant to perform pooja particularly since it is admitted that the appointment of the Mohatmim to this temple is hereditary. Mr. Amritanshu, learned counsel for the respondent-State, also contends that the applicant is a Mohatmim but not a Mahant. We see  no material on record to support the above contention.”

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Any violation in discharging duty as Paramedical workers would only tantamount to aggravation of contempt [READ ORDER]

The doctors’ associations in the state and all the on-duty Paramedical workers and doctors, to immediately call off their strike and discharge their respective duties, warned by Patna High Court for aggravation of contempt.

By Dimple Kaushalya

An association of Para Medical Employees resorted to strike in the state, and the following suit, the doctors have also threatened to go on strike. Reportedly, while paramedical employees under the National Health Mission (NHM) in the state had struck work since Sunday, junior doctors, including those at the AIIMS-Patna and state-run medical colleges, had threatened to boycott work indefinitely from August 27 over their respective demands.

The division bench Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S. Kumar strictly stated that during the Pandemic Covid-19, none of the functionaries empowered and authorized under the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 can refrain from discharging their duties and functions, “more so by resorting to the mechanism of strikes which perhaps may be illegal”.

“Perhaps, they may have some genuine grievance, but then for redressal thereof, a proper mechanism has to be resorted to, but State cannot be put to ransom by resorting to an illegal method of protest, i.e. going on indefinite strike“, the bench observed.

The Court further noted that Article 21 imposes an obligation not only on the State but also on its functionaries like doctors and the paramedical staff(s) to safeguard and protect the life of every individual as the Apex Court has already held preservation of human life is of paramount importance.

“The Medical Officers and the Para Medical Staff(s) employed in the Government Hospitals are duty-bound to extend medical assistance for preserving human life. Failure on their part to provide timely medical treatment in the need of hour results in a violation of the right to life. This is what the Hon’ble Apex Court held long ago. Consistently thereafter, every Court of the land, more so this Court in its earlier decisions has already highlighted the need and struck down such an action of the employees”, stated by the bench.


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ITAT allowed the appeal of the Assesse declaring the assessment under Section 144/143(3) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 illegal.

Subsequent to the submission under Section 148 of the Income Tax Act, it is incumbent upon the Assessing Officer, to issue notice under section 143(2) of the Act, without which, in the assessment framed would not be legal.

By: Ayushi Sahu

Aggrieved by the order passed by the learned Commissioner of Income Tax (appeal) [Ld. CIT(A)], the Draft Infrabuild preferred this appeal challenging the completion of assessment under Section 147/144 of the Income Tax Act, 1961 on the grounds of improper service of notice under Ssection 148 of the Act and also non-issuance of notice under section 143(2) of the Act.

M/s Dart Infrabuild (P) Ltd. received a large share premium for the assessment year 2011-12 due to which it was selected under scrutiny. Though the Draft Infrabuild, the Assessee, submitted that the share premium was received during the financial year 2009-10, relevant to the assessment year 2010-11, but during the course of proceedings the Commissioner of Income Tax did not discover any return of income for the assessment year 2010-11 filed by the Draft Infrabuild. In response to the notices served to Draft Infrabuild under Sections 148 and 142(1) of the Income Tax Act, a letter was filed acknowledging the return of income for the assessment year 2010-11 and subsequently requested for the approval of the Joint Commissioner of Income Tax [JCIT] for the opening of the case.

The Assessing officer proceeded with the assessment proceedings owing to the fact that there was no need to take any prior permission from the JCIT because the provisions of Section 151(1) of the Act were not applicable, as the case falls within 4 years. 

Draft Infrabuild furnished the return of income in response to the notice issued and Section 148 of the Act, before the assessing officer, in spite of the said fact that the notice under section 143(2) of the Act, was never issued nor any discussion was made in the assessment order.

Besides initiating proceedings under Section 271(1)(c) of the Act, the additional amount of Rs. 25, 07, 50, 000/- was added to the Income Tax of Dart Infrabuild under section 68 of the Income Tax Act. Aggrieved by the findings of the Ld. CIT(A), the Draft Infrabuild contended –

  1. The assessment order passed under Section 147/144 of the Act on the ground that it was bad under law for non-compliance with the requirement under section 148 of the Act in respect of proper service of notice, and also the observations of the Ld. CIT(A) that the assessee was not interested in prosecuting the appeal. 
  2. Since no notice under section 143(2) of the Act was issued and therefore, the assessment cannot be sustained.

ITAT held, 

We have gone through the record, in the light of the submissions made on either side. It is an admitted fact that the notice under section 148 of the Act was issued by the learned Assessing Officer on 30/3/2015 and claimed to have served the same by way of a fixture at the old address. Revenue pleads that it was only subsequent to the issuance of notice under section 148 of the Act the assessee furnish the new address vide letter dated 18/3/2016; whereas the contention of the assessee is that as on 30/3/2015 they have already communicated the change of address to the assessing officer, and this fact is borne on record. Assessee places reliance on the intimation under section 143(1) of the Act for the assessment year 2013-14 issued on 7/3/2014 at a new address which is to be found on the snapshot of MCA record, which was furnished by the learned Assessing Officer himself. Copy of the intimation under section 143(1) of the Act dated 7/3/2014 for the assessment year 2013-14 is furnished at page number 1 to 4 of the paper book. It clearly establishes that as on 7/3/2014, the database of the Department is updated showing the new address of the assessee. Further, the snapshot of the MCA record also corroborates the same. On the face of these two documents, it cannot be said that the Department issued the notice under section 148 to the last known address. As a matter of fact, the last known address is the present address of the assessee as revealed by the official records of the Revenue. Further, the email address of the assessee as could be found from the snapshot of the MCA is different from the email address to which the Revenue claims to have issued the notice under section 148 of the Act.

The ITAT propounded, 

It is, therefore, clear that a conjointly reading of section 148 (1) of the Act with section 139 (4) of the Act and section 144 of the Act makes it abundantly clear that pursuant to the notice under section 148 of the Act, if an assessee files a belated return or letter reiterating his earlier written then the learned Assessing Officer is bound to issue notice under section 143(2) of the Act if he frames the reassessment under section 144/143(3) of the Act. In the case on hand, there is no denial of the fact that by letter dated 29/12/2015, in response to the notice dated 12/6/2016 under section 142 (1) of the Act issue to the Assessee, the Assessee submitted before the, learned Assessing Officer that the return of income filed on 4/12/2015 was in response to the notice issued and section 148 of the Act.

When once the Assessee submitted so that in response to the notice under Section 148 of the Act the return dated 4/12/2015 was filed, it is incumbent upon the learned Assessing Officer, if at all, he proceeds to frame the assessment under section 144/143(3) of the Act, to issue notice under section 143(2) of the Act, without which, in the assessment framed would not be legal.”

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Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar refused to accept the payment for his services as an Amicus Curiae in M.C.Mehta Case. [READ ORDER]

The apex court had ordered the payment of Rs. 50 Lakh to Sh.Ranjit Kumar for his amicus curiae service in the case of M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, but he refused to accept the payment. This gesture of his has been appreciated by the bench and hence, the amount directed is not to be paid.

-By Anjali Singhvi 

The Supreme Court, in its Order, has directed the Delhi government to make the requisite payments within 2 months to former Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar’s services as Amicus Curiae for over two decades in the MC Mehta case also for Mr. ADN Rao, Ms. Aparajita Singh, and Ms. Anitha Shenoy. 

The Bench led by Justice Arun Mishra recorded its appreciation for the work done and said, “We deem it fit to direct the payment of Rs. 50 Lakhs to Sh. Ranjit Kumar and Rs. 25 Lakhs each to Sh. A.D.N. Rao, Smt. Aparajita Singh and Smt Anita Shenoy, learned Amicus Curiae. It will be without prejudice to their further adjusting this amount by way of raising the claim, as ordered by this Court, with the concerned Municipal Corporations. Let the Govt. of NCT of Delhi make the payment as the financial constraint is being faced by the Municipal Corporations.”

However, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar refused to accept the payment. In light of this gesture, the Court recorded its appreciation and went on to direct that the payment need not be made to Kumar.

Thereafter, the bench recorded that, 

“We feel that Sh.   Ranjit   Kumar,   learned   Amicus   Curiae has rendered selfless services with total devotion to the public cause, he should be adequately honored at least,   so we appreciate the humane services and valuable guidance given by Sh. Ranjit Kumar to the Court by way of his thorough preparation in the matter and he is a valuable asset to this case. He has contributed to the betterment of the environment and other aspects to the best of his ability and capacity. 

Though we have ordered the payment of Rs. 50 Lakh to Sh.  Ranjit   Kumar,   but he has declined to receive any payment. Hence, the amount not to be paid. We  appreciate his gesture which has really moved us.”

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National Council For Transgender Persons constituted by Central Government

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has constituted the National Council for Transgender Persons, under the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.

By Divyansh Saini

The National Council for Transgender Persons has been set up to mainstream the concerns of the transgender community and to focus on issues regarding their livelihood. They also intend to raise awareness about the trans community, to ensure that trans-persons are accepted within families and in the larger society and to ensure that transgender welfare boards are set up in all States and essential needs of the transgender community, like housing, food, healthcare, and education are met.

Features of Transgender Persons Act, 2019

·  Seeks to establish the National Council for Transgender persons.

·  Definition of a Transgender Person: The Act defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. It includes transmen and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra.

·  Certificate of Identity: The Act states that a transgender person shall have the right to self-perceived gender identity. A certificate of identity can be obtained at the District Magistrate’s office and a revised certificate is to be obtained if sex is changed.

·  The Act has a provision that provides transgenders the Right to Residence with parents and immediate family members.

·  Prohibition Against Discrimination: The Act prohibits discrimination against a transgender person in various sectors such as education, employment, and healthcare, etc.

·  Punishment: It states that the offenses against transgender persons will attract imprisonment between six months and two years, in addition to a fine.

Composition:

It shall comprise a Chairperson who shall be the ex-officio Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment and a Vice-Chairperson who shall be the ex-officio Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment.

Other members of the Council include:

·  Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment;

·  Representatives of various Ministries/ Departments;

·  Representatives of the National Human Rights Commission and National Commission for Women;

·  Representatives of State Governments and UTs;

·  Five representatives of the Transgender Community;

·  Five experts representing NGOs that work for the welfare of transgender persons;

·  Joint Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice, and Empowerment dealing with the welfare of the transgender persons.

Functions of Council as entrusted to it under Section 17 of the Transgender Persons Act:

·  advise the Central Government on the formulation of policies, programs, legislation and projects concerning transgender persons;

·  monitor and evaluate the impact of policies and programs designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons;

·  review and coordinate the activities of all the departments of Government and other Governmental and non-Governmental Organisations which are dealing with matters relating to transgender persons;

·  redress the grievances of transgender persons; and

·  perform such other functions as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

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