This tag is associated with 87 posts

Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act as applied in the erstwhile State of Hyderabad agricultural lands not included = The appellants contended that under the Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act as applied in the erstwhile State of Hyderabad where the lands were situated, the Ist respondent being the widow of deceesed Ramshetti, was not entitled to a share in the joint family agricultural lands. Agricultural lands are excluded from the provisions of the Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act, 1937. This contention has been negatived by the High Court. Hence the present appeal has been filed by the heirs of Veerappa.= It was submitted that prior to the enactment of the Hyderabad Hindu Women’s Right to Property (Extension to Agricultural Lands) Act, 1954, the Hindu women’s Right to Property Act as enacted in 1952 would not apply to agricultural land. The High Court has rightly negatived this contention. A subsequent Act cannot be used to interpret the provisions of an earlier enactment in this fashion. The language of the earlier Act is wide enough to cover agricultural land also. In the entire Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act, 1937, there is nothing which would indicate that the Act does not apply to agricultural land. The word ‘property’ is a general term which covers all kinds of property, including agricultural land. A restricted interpretation was given to thee original Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act, 1937 enacted by the then Central Legislature, entirely because of the legislative entries in the Government of India Act, 1935, which excluded the legislative competence of the Central Legislature over agricultural lands. Such is not the case in respect of the Hindu Women’s Right to Property act, 1937, as enacted by the State Legislature of the State of Hyderabad. The ratio of the Federal Court judgment, therefore, would not apply. There is, therefore, no substance in the contention that the subsequent Act of 1954 restricted the application of the Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act, 1937 brought into force by the earlier Hyderabad Act of 1952. As is pointed out by the High Court, the Act of 1954 was enacted by way of abundant caution, to make sure that the agricultural lands were not considered as excluded from the scope of the Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act as enacted in 1952. The second Act is, therefore, clarificatory. The High Court has dealt at length with various decisions of this Court and other Court on thee question of interpretation of the said statute. Since we are in agreement with the reasoning and conclusion arrived at by the High Court, we are not again examining the cases referred to by the High Court. We, therefore, affirm the reasoning and conclusion arrived at by the High Court and dismiss this appeal. There will, however, be no order as to costs.

published in http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=12909 PETITIONER: VAIJANATH & ORS. Vs. RESPONDENT: GURAMMA & ANR. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 18/11/1998 BENCH: SUJATA V. MANOHAR, & G.B. PATTANAIK.   ACT:   HEADNOTE:   JUDGMENT: ORDER The application to bring on record Respondent No.2 also as legal representative of deceased Respondent No. 1 is allowed. The Ist respondent was the widow of … Continue reading

whether reservation was inapplicable to specialty and super-specialty faculty posts in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, hereinafter referred to as “AIIMS”.= While on Article 335, we are of the opinion that there are certain services and positions where either on account of the nature of duties attached to them or the level (in the hierarchy) at which they obtain, merit as explained hereinabove, alone counts. In such situations, it may not be advisable to provide for reservations. For example, technical posts in research and development organisations/departments/ institutions, in specialities and super-specialities in medicine, engineering and other such courses in physical sciences and mathematics, in defence services and in the establishments connected therewith. Similarly, in the case of posts at the higher echelons e.g., Professors (in Education), Pilots in Indian Airlines and Air India, Scientists and Technicians in nuclear and space application, provision for reservation would not be advisable.” the Nine-Judge Bench while discussing the provisions of Article 335 also observed that there were certain services and posts where either on account of the nature of duties attached to them or the level in the hierarchy at which they stood, merit alone counts. In such situations, it cannot be advised to provide for reservations. In the paragraph following, the position was made even more clear when Their Lordships observed that they were of the opinion that in certain services in respect of certain posts, application of rule of reservation may not be advisable in regard to various technical posts including posts in super specialty in medicine, engineering and other scientific and technical posts. 19. We cannot take a different view, even though it has been suggested that such an observation was not binding, being obiter in nature. We cannot ascribe to such a view since the very concept of reservation implies mediocrity and we will have to take note of the caution indicated in Indra Sawhney’s case. While reiterating the views expressed by the Nine-Judge Bench in Indra Sawhney’s case, we dispose of the two Civil Appeals in the light of the said views, which were also expressed in Dr. Jagadish Saran’s case, Dr. Pradeep Jain’s case, Dr. Preeti Srivastava’s case. We impress upon the Central and State Governments to take appropriate steps in accordance with the views expressed in Indra Sawhney’s case and in this case, as also the other decisions referred to above, keeping in mind the provisions of Article 335 of the Constitution. 20. There will be no order as to costs.

Reported in  http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40578 REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA   CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4500 of 2002   1 2 FACULTY ASSOCIATION OF AIIMS … APPELLANT   VS.   2 UNION OF INDIA & ORS. … RESPONDENTS   WITH CIVIL APPEAL NO. 5119 OF 2002       J U D G … Continue reading

Allotment of Water to Kutuch District fro Sardar Sarovar =Aggrieved by the meager allocation of water from Sardar Sarovar Project to the District of Kutch they approached the Gujarat High Court in a public interest litigation inter alia praying for issuance of a writ in the nature of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction directing the respondent, the State of Gujarat and its functionaries to allocate more water from Sardar Sarovar Project to the District of Kutch. By the impugned order the prayer made by the appellants has been rejected and against the dismissal of the writ petition they are before us with the leave of the Court.= “We are of the opinion that the prayer for allocation of adequate water in Kuchchh district is not one which can be a matter of judicial review. It is for the executive authorities to look into this matter= The complaint of the appellants of non-adherence to the mandate of Article 38(2) of the Constitution is also misconceived. The State, in our opinion, is to strive to minimize the inequalities in income and endeavour to eliminate inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities not only amongst individuals but also amongst group of people residing in different parts or engaged in different vocations. But this does not mean that for achieving that the State Government has to apply it on the basis of the number of people residing in different parts only. Other factors just cannot be forgotten. We are in total agreement with the conclusion and reasoning given by the High Court and we reiterate that there being no judicially manageable standards for allocation of water, any interference by this Court would mean interference with the day-to-day functioning of the State Government. In view of separation of powers, this Court cannot charter the said path. In the result, we do not find any merit in this appeal which is dismissed accordingly but without any order as to costs.

 published in    http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40555       REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 2957 OF 2013 KACHCHH JAL SANKAT NIVARAN SAMITI & ORS. ..APPELLANTS VERSUS STATE OF GUJARAT & ANR. …RESPONDENTS   JUDGMENT   CHANDRAMAULI KR. PRASAD,J. Appellant no. 1, Kachchh Jal Sankat Nivaran Samiti, claims to be a … Continue reading

Each human gene is encoded as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which takes the shape of a “double helix.” Each “cross-bar” in that helix consists of two chemically joined nucleotides. Sequences of DNA nucleotides contain the information necessary to create strings of amino acids used to build proteins in the body. The nucleotides that code for amino acids are “exons,” and those that do not are “introns.” Scientists can extract DNA from cells to isolate specific segments for study. They can also synthetically create exons-only strands of nucleotides known as complementary DNA (cDNA). cDNA contains only the exons that occur in DNA, omitting the intervening introns. Respondent Myriad Genetics, Inc. (Myriad), obtained several patents after discovering the precise location and sequence of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, mutations of which can dramatically increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. This knowledge allowed Myriad to determine the genes’ typical nucleotide sequence, which, in turn, enabled it to develop medical tests useful for detecting mutations in these genes in a particular patient to assess the patient’s cancer risk. If valid, Myriad’s patents would give it the exclusive right to isolate an individual’s BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, and would give Myriad the exclusive right to synthetically create BRCA cDNA. Petitioners filed suit, seeking a declaration that Myriad’s patents are invalid under 35 U. S. C. §101. As relevant here, the District Court granted summary judgment to petitioners, concluding that Myriad’s claims were invalid because they covered products of nature. The Federal Circuit initially reversed, but on remand in light of Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc., 566 U. S. ___, the Circuit found both isolated DNA and cDNA patent eligible. 2 ASSOCIATION FOR MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY v. MYRIAD GENETICS, INC. Syllabus Held: A naturally occurring DNA segment is a product of nature and not patent eligible merely because it has been isolated, but cDNA is patent eligible because it is not naturally occurring. Pp. 10–18. (a) The Patent Act permits patents to be issued to “[w]hoever invents or discovers any new and useful . . . composition of matter,” §101, but “laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas” “ ‘are basic tools of scientific and technological work’ ” that lie beyond the domain of patent protection, Mayo, supra, at ___. The rule against patents on naturally occurring things has limits, however. Patent protection strikes a delicate balance between creating “incentives that lead to creation, invention, and discovery” and “imped[ing] the flow of information that might permit, indeed spur, invention.” Id., at ___. This standard is used to determine whether Myriad’s patents claim a “new and useful . . . composition of matter,” §101, or claim naturally occurring phenomena. Pp. 10–11. (b) Myriad’s DNA claim falls within the law of nature exception. Myriad’s principal contribution was uncovering the precise location and genetic sequence of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U. S. 303, is central to the patent-eligibility inquiry whether such action was new “with markedly different characteristics from any found in nature,” id., at 310. Myriad did not create or alter either the genetic information encoded in the BCRA1 and BCRA2 genes or the genetic structure of the DNA. It found an important and useful gene, but groundbreaking, innovative, or even brilliant discovery does not by itself satisfy the §101 inquiry. See Funk Brothers Seed Co. v. Kalo Inoculant Co., 333 U. S. 127. Finding the location of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes does not render the genes patent eligible “new . . . composition[s] of matter,” §101. Myriad’s patent descriptions highlight the problem with its claims: They detail the extensive process of discovery, but extensive effort alone is insufficient to satisfy §101’s demands. Myriad’s claims are not saved by the fact that isolating DNA from the human genome severs the chemical bonds that bind gene molecules together. The claims are not expressed in terms of chemical composition, nor do they rely on the chemical changes resulting from the isolation of a particular DNA section. Instead, they focus on the genetic information encoded in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Finally, Myriad argues that the Patent and Trademark Office’s past practice of awarding gene patents is entitled to deference, citing J. E. M. Ag Supply, Inc. v. Pioneer Hi-Bred Int’l, Inc., 534 U. S. 124, a case where Congress had endorsed a PTO practice in subsequent legislation. There has been no such endorsement here, and the United States argued in the Federal Circuit and in this Court that isolated DNA was not patent eligible under §101. Pp. 12–16. Cite as: 569 U. S. ____ (2013) 3 Syllabus (c) cDNA is not a “product of nature,” so it is patent eligible under §101. cDNA does not present the same obstacles to patentability as naturally occurring, isolated DNA segments. Its creation results in an exons-only molecule, which is not naturally occurring. Its order of the exons may be dictated by nature, but the lab technician unquestionably creates something new when introns are removed from a DNA sequence to make cDNA. Pp. 16–17. (d) This case, it is important to note, does not involve method claims, patents on new applications of knowledge about the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, or the patentability of DNA in which the order of the naturally occurring nucleotides has been altered. Pp. 17–18. 689 F. 3d 1303, affirmed in part and reversed in part.

(Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2012 1     Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of … Continue reading

negligence of the doctors – shock and multiple organ failure, =The Complainant had fractured his hip which was fixed at OP hospital by the concerned doctors with screws. On 12.1.2004 he came to the hospital for removal of his screws for which an operation was performed under the supervision of an anaesthetist. The Complainant allegedly, suffered septicaemic shock and multiple organ failure, due to negligence of the doctors at OP hospital. = the infection occurred during the stay of the Complainant at the hospital. On the other hand, there is nothing to show that the source of infection lay outside the hospital. Thus, there is preponderance of possibilities of the infection having been acquired in the hospital itself. We therefore, do not accept the contention that it was necessary for the Complainant to produce expert evidence to prove negligence on the part of the concerned doctors in the hospital.

NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION NEW DELHI REVISION PETITION NO. 3698 OF 2012 (Against the order dated 12.06.2012 in First Appeal No.644 of 2010 of the A.P. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission) The Apollo Emergency Hospital Near Old MLA Quarters, Hyderabad, Rep. by its Chief Executive Officer                                                                                                     ……….Petitioner                                               Versus 1. Dr. Bommakanti Sai Krishna S/o Jagannadharao Occ: Doctor, Sai Orthopedic And Maternity Hospital Palakole, West Godavari … Continue reading

Section 10 of the Tenancy Act, observing that the expression ‘any person’, contained in Section 8, does not include a joint-owner (hisedar). It has been admitted by the parties that the appellants and their ancestors were hisedars/joint owners/co-sharers in the shamilat deh from a period prior to even 1935-36. The pleadings of the appellants, in fact, begin with such admission by them. 18. Provisions of Section 10 of the Tenancy Act put a complete embargo on a hisedar/joint-owner to claim occupancy rights. There is no agreement between the appellants and Gram Panchyat creating any tenancy in their favour. Granting the relief to the appellants would amount to ignoring the existence of Section 10 itself and it would be against all norms of interpretation which requires that statutory provisions must be interpreted in such a manner as not to render any of its provision otiose unless there are compelling reasons for the court to resort to that extreme contingent. 19. Thus, in view thereof, we do not see any cogent reason to interfere with the well-reasoned judgment of the High Court impugned before us. The appeals lack merit and are dismissed accordingly. However, in the facts and circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to costs.

REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NOs. 8845-8850 OF 2003 Tara Chand & Ors. …Appellants Versus Gram Panchayat Jhupa Khurd & Ors. …Respondents J U D G M E N T Dr. B. S. CHAUHAN, J. 1. These appeals have been preferred against the judgments and orders dated 18.9.2002, … Continue reading

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (Commission)= Petitioner, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (Commission), owns and manages the Dave Donaldson Black River Wildlife Management Area (Management Area or Area), which comprises 23,000 acres along the Black River that are forested with multiple hardwood oak species and serve as a venue for recreation and hunting. In 1948, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) constructed the Clearwater Dam (Dam) upstream from the Management Area and adopted a plan known as the Water Control Manual (Manual), which sets seasonally varying rates for the release of water from the Dam. Periodically from 1993 until 2000, the Corps, at the request of farmers, authorized deviations from the Manual that extended flooding into the Management Area’s peak timber growing season. The Commission objected to the deviations on the ground that they adversely impacted the Management Area, and opposed the Corps’ proposal to make the temporary deviations part of the Manual’s permanent water-release plan. After testing the effect of the deviations, the Corps abandoned the proposed Manual revision and ceased its temporary deviations. The Commission sued the United States, alleging that the temporary deviations constituted a taking of property that entitled the Commission to compensation. = The Commission had been deprived of the customary use of the Management Area as a forest and wildlife preserve, as the bottomland hardwood forest turned, over time, into a “headwater swamp.” 87 Fed. Cl., at 610 (internal quotation marks omitted); see supra, at 5.2 The Government, however, challenged several of the trial court’s factfindings, including those relating to causation, foreseeability, substantiality, and the amount of damages. Because the Federal Circuit rested its decision entirely on the temporary duration of the flooding, it did not address those challenges. As earlier noted, see supra, at 13, preserved issues remain open for consideration on remand. * * * The Commission is endeavoring to reclaim the land through a restoration program. The prospect of reclamation, however, does not disqualify a landowner from receipt of just compensation for a taking.

(Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2012 1 Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for … Continue reading

The competent authority in the present case, issued a caste certificate dated 19.10.1989, after following due procedure, in favour of the appellant stating that he does in fact, belong to Bhil Tadvi (Scheduled Tribes). On the basis of the said certificate, the appellant was appointed as Senior Clerk in the Municipal Corporation of Aurangabad (hereinafter referred to as the, ‘Corporation’) on 6.2.1990, against the vacancy reserved for persons under the Scheduled Tribes category. = Section 114 Ill.(e) of the Evidence Act provided for the court to pronounce that the decision taken by the Scrutiny Committee has been done in regular course and the caste certificate has been issued after due verification. A very strong material/evidence is required to rebut the presumption = “We must now deal with the question of locus standi. A special leave petition ordinarily would not have been entertained at the instance of the appellant. Validity of appointment or otherwise on the basis of a caste certificate granted by a committee is ordinarily a matter between the employer and the employee. This Court, however, when a question is raised, can take cognizance of a matter of such grave importance suo motu. It may not treat the special leave petition as a public interest litigation, but, as a public law litigation. It is, in a proceeding of that nature, permissible for the court to make a detailed enquiry with regard to the broader aspects of the matter although it was initiated at the instance of a person having a private interest. A deeper scrutiny can be made so as to enable the court to find out as to whether a party to a lis is guilty of commission of fraud on the Constitution. If such an enquiry subserves the greater public interest and has a far- reaching effect on the society, in our opinion, this Court will not shirk its responsibilities from doing so.” = Affidavit – whether evidence within the meaning of Section 3 of the Evidence Act, 1872: It is a settled legal proposition that an affidavit is not evidence within the meaning of Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Evidence Act’). Affidavits are therefore, not included within the purview of the definition of “evidence” as has been given in Section 3 of the Evidence Act, and the same can be used as “evidence” only if, for sufficient reasons, the Court passes an order under Order XIX of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘CPC’). Thus, the filing of an affidavit of one’s own statement, in one’s own favour, cannot be regarded as sufficient evidence for any Court or Tribunal, on the basis of which it can come to a conclusion as regards a particular fact-situation. (Vide: Sudha Devi v. M.P. Narayanan & Ors., AIR 1988 SC 1381; and Range Forest Officer v. S.T. Hadimani, AIR 2002 SC 1147).

REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREMECOURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7728 OF 2012   Ayaaubkhan Noorkhan Pathan … Appellant Versus The State of Maharashtra & Ors. … Respondents     J U D G M E N T DR. B.S. CHAUHAN, J.:   1. This appeal has been preferred against the impugned judgment … Continue reading

The policy of allocation of natural resources for public good can be defined by the legislature, as has been discussed in the foregoing paragraphs. Likewise, policy for allocation of natural resources may also be determined by the executive. The parameters for determining the legality and constitutionality of the two are exactly the same. In the aforesaid view of the matter, there can be no doubt about the conclusion recorded in the “main opinion” that auction which is just one of the several price recovery mechanisms, cannot be held to be the only constitutionally recognized method for alienation of natural resources. That should not be understood to mean, that it can never be a valid method for disposal of natural resources (refer to paragraphs 10 to 12 of my instant opinion). I would therefore conclude by stating that no part of the natural resource can be dissipated as a matter of largess, charity, donation or endowment, for private exploitation. Each bit of natural resource expended must bring back a reciprocal consideration. The consideration may be in the nature of earning revenue or may be to “best subserve the common good”. It may well be the amalgam of the two. There cannot be a dissipation of material resources free of cost or at a consideration lower than their actual worth. One set of citizens cannot prosper at the cost of another set of citizens, for that would not be fair or reasonable.NOW THEREFORE, in exercise of powers conferred upon me by clause (1) of Article 143 of the Constitution of India, I, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of India, hereby refer the following questions to the Supreme Court of India for consideration and report thereon, namely: Q.1 Whether the only permissible method for disposal of all natural resources across all sectors and in all circumstances is by the conduct of auctions? Q.2 Whether a broad proposition of law that only the route of auctions can be resorted to for disposal of natural resources does not run contrary to several judgments of the Supreme Court including those of Larger Benches? Q.3 Whether the enunciation of a broad principle, even though expressed as a matter of constitutional law, does not really amount to formulation of a policy and has the effect of unsettling policy decisions formulated and approaches taken by various successive governments over the years for valid considerations, including lack of public resources and the need to resort to innovative and different approaches for the development of various sectors of the economy? Q.4 What is the permissible scope for interference by courts with policy making by the Government including methods for disposal of natural resources? Q.5 Whether, if the court holds, within the permissible scope of judicial review, that a policy is flawed, is the court not obliged to take into account investments made under the said policy including investments made by foreign investors under multilateral/bilateral agreements? Q.6 If the answers to the aforesaid questions lead to an affirmation of the judgment dated 02.02.2012 then the following questions may arise, viz. (i) whether the judgment is required to be given retrospective effect so as to unsettle all licences issued and 2G spectrum (800, 900, and 1800 MHz bands) allocated in and after 1994 and prior to 10.01.2008? (ii) whether the allocation of 2G spectrum in all circumstances and in all specific cases for different policy considerations would nevertheless have to be undone? And specifically iii) Whether the telecom licences granted in 1994 would be affected? iv) Whether the Telecom licences granted by way of basic licences in 2001 and licences granted between the period 2003-2007 would be affected? v) Whether it is open to the Government of India to take any action to alter the terms of any licence to ensure a level playing field among all existing licensees? vi) Whether dual technology licences granted in 2007 and 2008 would be affected? vii) Whether it is necessary or obligatory for the Government of India to withdraw the Spectrum allocated to all existing licensees or to charge for the same with retrospective effect and if so on what basis and from what date? Q.7 Whether, while taking action for conduct of auction in accordance with the orders of the Supreme Court, it would remain permissible for the Government to: (i) Make provision for allotment of Spectrum from time to time at the auction discovered price and in accordance with laid down criteria during the period of validity of the auction determined price? (ii) Impose a ceiling on the acquisition of Spectrum with the aim of avoiding the emergence of dominance in the market by any licensee/applicant duly taking into consideration TRAI recommendations in this regard? iii) Make provision for allocation of Spectrum at auction related prices in accordance with laid down criteria in bands where there may be inadequate or no competition (for e.g. there is expected to be a low level of competition for CDMA in 800 MHz band and TRAI has recommended an equivalence ratio of 1.5 or 1.3X1.5 for 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands depending upon the quantum of spectrum held by the licensee that can be applied to auction price in 1800 MHz band in the absence of a specific price for these bands)? Q.8 What is the effect of the judgment on 3G Spectrum acquired by entities by auction whose licences have been quashed by the said judgment? NEW DELHI; DATED: 12 April 2012 PRESIDENT OF INDIA”

REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA ADVISORY JURISDICTION RE: SPECIAL REFERENCE NO.1 OF 2012 [Under Article 143(1) of the Constitution of India]   O P I N I O N   D.K. JAIN, J. [FOR S.H. KAPADIA, CJ, HIMSELF, DIPAK MISRA & RANJAN GOGOI, JJ.]   In exercise of powers conferred under Article 143(1) … Continue reading

Title 18 U. S. C. §1464 bans the broadcast of “any obscene, indecent, or profane language.” The Federal Communications Commission (Commission) began enforcing §1464 in the 1970’s. In FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U. S. 726, this Court found that the Commission’s order banning George Carlin’s “Filthy Words” monologue passed First Amendment scrutiny, but did not decide whether “an occasional expletive . . . would justify any sanction,” id., at 750. In the ensuing years, the Commission went from strictly observing the narrow circumstances of Pacifica to indicating that it would assess the full context of allegedly indecent broadcasts rather than limit its regulation to an index of indecent words or pictures. However, it continued to note the important difference between isolated and repeated broadcasts of indecent material. And in a 2001 policy statement, it even included, as one of the factors significant to the determination of what was patently offensive, “whether the material dwells on or repeats at length” the offending description or depiction. It was against this regulatory background that the three incidents at issue took place. Two concern isolated utterances of obscene words during two live broadcasts aired by respondent Fox Television Stations, Inc. The third occurred during an episode of a television show broadcast by respondent ABC Television Network, when the nude buttocks of an adult female character were shown for approximately seven seconds and the side of her breast for a moment. After these incidents, but before the Commission issued Notices of Apparent Lia- —————— *Together with Federal Communications Commission v. ABC, Inc., et al. (see this Court’s Rule 12.4), also on certiorari to the same court. 2 FCC v. FOX TELEVISION STATIONS, INC. Syllabus bility to Fox and ABC, the Commission issued its Golden Globes Order, declaring for the first time that fleeting expletives could be actionable. It then concluded that the Fox and ABC broadcasts violated this new standard. It found the Fox broadcasts indecent, but declined to propose forfeitures. The Second Circuit reversed, finding the Commission’s decision to modify its indecency enforcement regime to regulate fleeting expletives arbitrary and capricious. This Court reversed and remanded for the Second Circuit to address respondents’ First Amendment challenges. FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., 556 U. S. 502. On remand, the Second Circuit found the policy unconstitutionally vague and invalidated it in its entirety. In the ABC case, the Commission found the display actionably indecent, and imposed a $27,500 forfeiture on each of the 45 ABC-affiliated stations that aired the episode. The Second Circuit vacated the order in light of its Fox decision. Held: Because the Commission failed to give Fox or ABC fair notice prior to the broadcasts in question that fleeting expletives and momentary nudity could be found actionably indecent, the Commission’s standards as applied to these broadcasts were vague. Pp. 11–18. (a) The fundamental principle that laws regulating persons or entities must give fair notice of what conduct is required or proscribed, see, e.g., Connally v. General Constr. Co., 269 U. S. 385, 391, is essential to the protections provided by the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, see United States v. Williams, 553 U. S. 285, 304, which requires the invalidation of impermissibly vague laws. A conviction or punishment fails to comply with due process if the statute or regulation under which it is obtained “fails to provide a person of ordinary intelligence fair notice of what is prohibited, or is so standardless that it authorizes or encourages seriously discriminatory enforcement.” Ibid. The void for vagueness doctrine addresses at least two connected but discrete due process concerns: Regulated parties should know what is required of them so they may act accordingly; and precision and guidance are necessary so that those enforcing the law do not act in an arbitrary or discriminatory way. When speech is involved, rigorous adherence to those requirements is necessary to ensure that ambiguity does not chill protected speech. Pp. 11–12. (b) These concerns are implicated here, where the broadcasters claim that the lengthy procedural history of their cases shows that they did not have fair notice of what was forbidden. Under the 2001 Guidelines in force when the broadcasts occurred, a key consideration was “whether the material dwell[ed] on or repeat[ed] at length” the offending description or depiction, but in the 2004 Golden Globes Order, issued after the broadcasts, the Commission changed course and held that fleeting expletives could be a statutory violation. It then Cite as: 567 U. S. ____ (2012) 3 Syllabus applied this new principle to these cases. Its lack of notice to Fox and ABC of its changed interpretation failed to give them “fair notice of what is prohibited.” Williams, supra, at 304. Pp. 12–13. (c) Neither of the Government’s contrary arguments is persuasive. It claims that Fox cannot establish unconstitutional vagueness because the Commission declined to impose a forfeiture on Fox and said that it would not consider the indecent broadcast in renewing station licenses or in other contexts. But the Commission has the statutory power to take into account “any history of prior offenses” when setting a forfeiture penalty, 47 U. S. C. §503(b)(2)(E), and the due process protection against vague regulations “does not leave [regulated parties] . . . at the mercy of noblesse oblige.” United States v. Stevens, 559 U. S. ___, ___. The challenged orders could also have an adverse impact on Fox’s reputation with audiences and advertisers alike. The Government argues that ABC had notice that its broadcast would be considered indecent. But an isolated statement in a 1960 Commission decision declaring that televising nudes might be contrary to §1464 does not suffice for the fair notice required when the Government intends to impose over a $1 million fine for allegedly impermissible speech. Moreover, previous Commission decisions had declined to find isolated and brief moments of nudity actionably indecent. In light of these agency decisions, and the absence of any notice in the 2001 Guidance that seven seconds of nude buttocks would be found indecent, ABC lacked constitutionally sufficient notice prior to being sanctioned. Pp. 13–17. (d) It is necessary to make three observations about this decision’s scope. First, because the Court resolves these cases on fair notice grounds under the Due Process Clause, it need not address the First Amendment implications of the Commission’s indecency policy or reconsider Pacifica at this time. Second, because the Court rules that Fox and ABC lacked notice at the time of their broadcasts that their material could be found actionably indecent under then-existing policies, the Court need not address the constitutionality of the current indecency policy as expressed in the Golden Globes Order and subsequent adjudications. Third, this opinion leaves the Commission free to modify its current indecency policy in light of its determination of the public interest and applicable legal requirements and leaves courts free to review the current, or any modified, policy in light of its content and application. Pp. 17–18. 613 F. 3d 317 (first case) and 404 Fed. Appx. 530 (second case), vacated and remanded.

  (Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2011 1 Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as isbeing done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued.The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has beenprepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience … Continue reading

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