Mediation proceedings are totally confidential proceedings. This is unlike proceedings in Court which are conducted openly in the public gaze. If the mediation succeeds, then the mediator should send the agreement signed by both the parties to the court without mentioning what transpired during the mediation proceedings. If the mediation is unsuccessful, then the mediator should only write one sentence in his report and send it to the court stating that the 'Mediation has been unsuccessful'. Beyond that the mediator should not write anything which was discussed, proposed or done during the mediation proceedings. This is because in mediation, very often, offers, counter offers and proposals are made by the parties but until and unless the parties reach to an agreement signed by them, it will not amount to any concluded contract. If the happenings in the mediation proceedings are disclosed, it will destroy the confidentiality of the mediation process.
Moti Ram (D) through LRs v. Ashok Kumar , CA No. 1095 of 2008; Decided on 7-12-2010 (SC) [Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra, JJ.]
ADVOCATES: Duty to Defend
Several Bar Associations all over India, whether High Court Bar Associations or District Court Bar Associations have passed resolutions that they will not defend a particular person or persons in a particular criminal case. Sometimes there are clashes between policemen and lawyers, and the Bar Association passes a resolution that no one will defend the policemen in the criminal case in court. Similarly, sometimes the Bar Association passes a resolution that they will not defend a person who is alleged to be a terrorist or a person accused of a brutal or heinous crime or involved in a rape case.
As held by the Supreme Court, such resolutions are wholly illegal, against all traditions of the Bar, and against professional ethics. It is stated that every person, however, wicked, depraved, vile, degenerate, perverted, loathsome, execrable, vicious or repulsive he may be regarded by society has a right to be defended in a court of law and correspondingly, it is the duty of the lawyer to defend him.
A.S. Mohammed Rafi v. State of TN , Crl. A. No. 2310 of 2010; Decided on 6-12-2010 (SC) [Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra, JJ.]
TRANSFER OF PROPERTY: Pendente Lite Purchaser
Referring to the hardship, loss, anxiety and unnecessary litigation caused on account of absence of a mechanism for prospective purchasers to verify whether a property is subject to any pending suit or a decree or attachment, the Supreme Court has suggested a suitable amendment to cover the existing void in title verification or due diligence procedures. As observed, a prospective purchaser has no way of ascertaining whether there is any suit or proceeding pending in respect of the property, if the person offering the property for sale does not disclose it or deliberately suppresses the information. As a result, after parting with the consideration, the purchaser gets a shock of his life when he comes to know that the property purchased by him is subject to litigation, and that it may drag on for decades and ultimately deny him title to the property. As held, all these inconveniences, risks, hardships and misery could be avoided and the property litigations could be reduced to a considerable extent, if there is some satisfactory and reliable method by which a prospective purchaser can ascertain whether any suit is pending (or whether the property is subject to any decree or attachment) before he decides to purchase the property.
T.G. Ashok Kumar v. Govindammal , CA No. 10325 of 2010; Decided on 8-12-2010 (SC) [R.V. Raveendran and A.K. Patnaik, JJ.]
BAR ASSOCIATIONS: Elections
The legal profession is a solemn and serious occupation. What the lawyers do, affects not only an individual but the administration of justice which is the foundation of the civilized society. The different Associations of the Members of the Bar are being formed to show the strength of lawyers in case of necessity. The lawyers while exercising vote in an election of office bearers of the Association must conduct themselves in an exemplary manner. Those who are concerned about high standard of the profession are supposed to take appropriate action to see that the election takes place peacefully and in an organized manner.
Sudha v. President, Adv. Assn. Chennai , CA No. 10267 of 2010; Decided on 22-10-2010 (SC) [J.M. Panchal and Gyan Sudha Misra, JJ.]
SATYAM Co. SCAM: Cancellation of Bail
Ordinarily, the Supreme Court would be slow in cancelling the bail already granted by the High Court but in the extraordinary facts and circumstances of these cases, it was held that the impugned orders passed by the High Court granting bail to Mr. B. Ramaraju and his brother, could not be sustained in law and the same were accordingly set aside. In this case, the accused were allegedly involved in one of the greatest corporate scams of the commercial world which has caused a financial storm throughout the country and the world over. Lakhs of shareholders and others have been duped and the corporate credibility of the nation has received a serious setback. Charges have been framed and trial is scheduled to commence with effect from 2-11-2010. The Trial Court has been directed to take up the case on day to day basis and conclude the trial of this case on or before 31-7-2011.
CBI, Hyderabad v. B. Ramaraju , 2010 (13) SCALE 97; Decided on 26-10-2010 (SC) [Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma, JJ.]
RIGHT TO EMPLOYMENT: NREGA Scheme
Taking cognizance of the stark reality that majority of the Indian population (about 76%) is residing in rural areas and unemployment was the greatest challenge before any State or the Central Government, the Parliament decided to enact a law to provide rural employment to restricted persons. However, surveys carried out reveal that neither the schemes framed under the provisions of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, nor the provisions of the Act are being properly implemented. State of Orissa is accused of maximum violations and complete non-adherence to the law. The Union of India as well as the State of Orissa, prima facie, have failed to effectively and purposefully implement the provisions of the Act. This has resulted in the deprivation of the entitled class from getting employment and receiving the allowances due to them in terms of the statutory guarantees available to them under the Act. The Supreme Court has now issued directions for strict compliance by the concerned authorities.
Centre for Environment & Food Security v. Union of India , WP (C) No. 645 of 2007; Decided on 16-12-2010 (SC) [S.H. Kapadia, CJI, K.S. Panicker Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar, JJ.]
NIGHT SHELTERS: Duty of State Government
Last year, a number of deaths of homeless people were reported in the Capital city of Delhi because of bitter cold weather. On court's urgent directions, number of shelters were constructed. However, two night shelters erected on vacant land belonging to the Delhi Development Authority now have been demolished.
The Supreme Court observed it as a matter of great anguish, disappointment and astonishment and expressed as to how could the concerned authority be so insensitive, impervious and callous to demolish night shelters when the bitter cold winter has already set in. The Court has held that it is the bounden duty of the Union of India and the State Governments to ensure at all costs that no death takes place because of lack of night shelters or basic facilities. No laxity or lapse on this count can be countenanced. The DDA has been directed to re-erect two night shelters which were demolished.
People's Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India , Order dated 16-12-2010 in I.A. Nos. 94 & 96, in WP (C) No. 196 of 2001 (SC) [Dalveer Bhandari Deepak Verma, JJ.]