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SC collegium gave age criteria a miss while clearing names

When it finalised the draft of the new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), the document that guides appointments to higher judiciary, the Supreme Court collegium — headed by (then) Chief Justice of India JS Khehar — had decided that no lawyer below the age of 45 years and above the age of 55 years should be considered for appointment as Judge of a high court.Apart from then CJI Khehar, other members of the collegium who decided this included current CJI Dipak Misra and Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan Lokur. All, except Justice Khehar, who is now retired, are members of the larger SC collegium now.However, even as the new MoP is yet to be notified — it is pending with the government since March — the collegium has shown that it isn’t too keen to stick to its own resolution.Minutes of meeting of the three-member Supreme Court collegium show that the CJI-led panel is not immune to violating the age limit.Take for example the December 4 decision of the collegium while clearing names for Calcutta HC.The High Court collegium had recommended names of six advocates, including Sabyasachi Chaudhury and Sakya Sen, who weren’t 45 at the time their names were recommended.However, the SC collegium has recommended Sen’s name for elevation to the bench in “relaxation of the age criterion”. As for Chaudhary, he completed 45 years of age during the intervening period when his name was recommended by the HC collegium and cleared by the SC collegium.But, Madras HC lawyer AV Radhakrishnan, whose name had been recommended by the HC collegium, wasn’t so fortunate. “… He is more than 57 years of age. Even on the date of recommendation of the High Court Collegium he had crossed the maximum age limit of 55 years prescribed for Advocates recommended for elevation to the High Court Bench. Having regard to above, he is not found suitable for elevation to the High Court Bench,” the SC collegium decided on the same day when it ignored the age criteria in two other cases.Incidentally, it was on the Centre’s insistence that the SC collegium first agreed to include the age clause in the MoP. The Justice Ministry is of the view that such a cause will ensure uniformity and transparency in the appointment process and also rule out the possibility of members of the collegium adopting different yardsticks while recommending names.But it isn’t the age criterion that the SC collegium has refused to stick to while making appointments.It cleared the name of another lawyer of Calcutta HC – Ravi Krishan Kapur – who had failed to submit the undertaking from his lawyer-father as is mandated under existing rules. In doing so, the SC collegium also ignored the objection raised by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice on this subject, saying the undertaking was based on “mere administrative instructions and is not a mandatory requirement”.In yet another departure from rules, the SC collegium decided to clear a candidate – advocate Arindam Mukherjee – even though he had not submitted adequate number of reported/unreported judgments.”In our view, number of reported/unreported judgments is just one of the factors and not the only factor to determine suitability of a recommendee for purpose of elevation,” the collegium noted.

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No relief for Lt Col Prasad Purohit

The Bombay High Court on Monday, dismissed a petition filed by 2008 Malegaon Bomb blast accused Lt Colonel Prasad Purohit and Sameer Kulkarni, challenging the sanction granted by the appropriate authority to prosecute them under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The Act deals with charges relating to terror acts. A division bench of Justices Naresh Patil and N W Sambre dismissed the plea, following which the special court is likely to frame charges under the Act against the accused on December 21. Purohit’s counsel, argued that the sanction to prosecute was given in 2009 but the appropriate authority under the Act was formed only in 2010.It was also argued thereby that prosecution is illegal and arbitrary, and the trial court should be restrained from framing charges under the act.National Investigation Agency (NIA) advocate Sandesh Patil opposed the plea arguing that the same ground was raised during Purohit’s bail application, which was rejected and the court had also in detail dealt with the point of sanction. This order was affirmed by the Supreme Court, which granted bail to Purohit. It was also said that both the courts had said that the ground can be raised at the time of trial.The Bench, after going through the arguments, held that it is up to the Trial court to decide on the same. If the accused have already raised the issue there, then only in appeal can the High Court look into the issue. Accordingly, it dismissed the petitions.

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You are unable to clear garbage, what education will you impart: HC raps Delhi govt, MCD

What kind of education will you impart, if you are unable to remove garbage from your schools — the Delhi High Court today asked the AAP government and the municipal corporations in the national capital.”It cannot be denied that the liability for collection, removal and disposal of garbage rests on the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, which exercises its functions under the MCD Act,” a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal said.The bench, also comprising Justice C Hari Shankar, further chided the civic bodies, saying they were “hopelessly unable to do their duty”.”Cleanliness, maintenance of hygiene in the city are your prime duties. If you are not able to do it, what kind of education will you impart? It is sad that you are not able to remove garbage from your schools,” the bench observed.”The point is inability,” the bench said and asked the counsel of the Delhi government and the three MCDs if it was not their duty.The bench directed the authorities to file their replies as regards removal of garbage generated in the schools run by the Delhi government as well as the MCDs and fixed the matter for April 23 next year.The directions of the court came during the hearing of a plea filed by an NGO, Justice for All, through its counsel Khagesh Jha, who urged the court to direct the authorities to make appropriate arrangements for daily collection and disposal of garbage from the premises of these schools.The petition claimed that multiple agencies in Delhi were busy shifting the blame on each other and that there was no coordination between these agencies as regards improving the infrastructure for the students.The petition also dealt with the “poor” condition of toilets in these schools.

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Supreme Court to pass orders on disable friendly educational institutes

The Supreme Court today said it will pass order on a plea seeking to make higher education institutions physically accessible for disabled students.A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said that it will pass certain directions on the issue and give some time for its compliance.The bench was hearing a plea filed by an organisation Disabled Rights Group in 2006, espousing the cause of a disabled girl who is 100 per cent wheelchair bound.The girl, who wanted to study law, could not study at the National Law University and managed to gain admission in a private university.Counsel for the petitioner organisation said the college at the private university does not have facilities for disabled students despite a law which mandates provision of facilities to such students.”She was made to stay in a hostel in a shared room with two other normal students, the bathroom did not have a ramp and there was no escort facility in the hostel for such students,” he said.He said Persons for Disabilities(Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, provided certain guidelines to be followed, which were not adhered to by higher education institutes.The bench said three per cent reservation provided under the law is now being followed by the educational institutions.”There is no tracking or monitoring whether these institutes are providing reservation or not to the disabled students. There is no reporting mechanism for the institutes,” the counsel said.The bench then outlined three issues– provision of reservation in higher educational institutions for disabled, all educational institutions being made physically accessible for disabled students and the scope of several provisions of the Act.”We will pass order with regard to these issues,” the bench said.

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SC to examine 157-yr-old law on adultery punishing only men

The Supreme Court today agreed to examine the constitutional validity of a colonial era law on adultery which punishes only the man even though the woman, with whom he has had consensual sex, may be an equal partner.The top court also said if the husband gives consent for sexual intercourse between his wife and another man, then it nullifies the offence of adultery and turns the woman into a commodity, which goes against the principle of gender justice and the constitutional mandate of right to equality.Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code states that “whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery”.Also readApp to adultery finds 1.9L takersThe offence of adultery entails punishment of up to five years or with fine or with both. However, in such cases, the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud termed the provision a “prima facie archaic” and said this “tantamounts to subordination of a woman where the Constitution confers equal status”.Also readReader Edit: Adultery in the Armed Forces”A time has come when the society must realise that a woman is equal to a man in every field. This provision, prima facie, appears to be quite archaic. When the society progresses and the rights are conferred, the new generation of thoughts spring, and that is why, we are inclined to issue notice,” the bench said.It said it would examine the constitutional validity of the 157-year-old provision and issued notice to the Centre, seeking its response in four weeks.The court said it needs to examine why a married woman, who may have been an equal partner to the offence of adultery with a married man who is not her husband, should not be punished along with the man.Secondly, the bench said it will examine if the husband of a woman gives his consent or connives for sexual intercourse with another married man, then does it not turn her into a commodity.”Prima facie, on a perusal of Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code, we find that it grants relief to the wife by treating her as a victim. It is also worthy to note that when an offence is committed by both of them, one is liable for criminal offence but the other is absolved,” it said.The top court said the provision seems to be based on a “societal presumption” and ordinarily, the criminal law proceeds on gender neutrality but in this case, “as we perceive, the said concept is absent”.”That apart, it is to be seen when there is conferment of any affirmative right on women, can it go to the extent of treating them as the victim, in all circumstances, to the peril of the husband,” the bench said.It said when the provision is perceived from the language employed in the section, then the “fulcrum of the offence is destroyed once the consent or the connivance of the husband is established”.”Viewed from the said scenario, the provision really creates a dent on the individual, independent identity of a woman when the emphasis is laid on the connivance or the consent of the husband”, it said.During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud observed that at present, the law assumes a “patronising attitude” towards the woman and treats her as a victim which amounts to violation of a fundamental right and gender discrimination.Advocates Kaleeswaram Raj and Suvidutt M S, appearing for petitioner Joseph Shine, an Indian citizen but residing in Italy, said section 497 was “prima facie unconstitutional on the ground that it discriminates against men and violates Article 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution of”.He said “when the sexual intercourse takes place with the consent of both the parties, there is no good reason for excluding one party from the liability”.The lawyer said the provision also indirectly discriminates against women by holding an erroneous presumption that they are the property of men.”This is further evidenced by the fact that if adultery is engaged with the consent of the husband of the woman, then such act seizes to be an offence punishable under the code,” he told the bench.He said the said provisions have been treated to be constitutionally valid in three verdicts of the apex court in 1954, 1985 and in 1988.Raj said that petitioner has also challenged the Section 198(2) of CrPC, which deals with prosecution for offences against marriages.

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Firm SC rejects pleas to hear Ayodhya case after 2019 LS polls

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the vehement submission of Sunni Waqf Board and others that hearing of appeals in the sensitive Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute be conducted in July 2019 after the general elections and fixed February 8 to hear them.A special bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also “prima facie” declined the demand put by a battery of senior lawyers including Kapil Sibal and Rajeev Dhavan that the appeals be either referred to a five or seven judge bench, keeping in mind the sensitive nature of the case and its ramifications on the country’s secular fabric and polity. The bench, also comprising Justices Ashok Bhusan and S A Nazeer, asked the advocates on records (AoRs), dealing with as many 14 civil appeals against the 2010 judgement of the Allahabad High Court in the land dispute, to sit together and ensure that all requisite documents are translated, filed and numbered before the apex court Registry.In case of any problem, they were directed to consult the Registry, it said, while fixing February 8 to hear the appeals against the Allahabad High Court order. The special apex court bench is hearing a total of 14 appeals filed against this judgement in four civil suits. A three-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court, in a 2:1 majority ruling, had in 2010 ordered that the land be partitioned equally among three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.Also readRahul Gandhi visiting temples, but Kapil Sibal being used to delay Ram Janmabhoomi case: Amit ShahToday’s hearing witnessed high drama with lawyers representing the Sunni Waqf Board and the Babri Masjid Action Committee, virtually threatening to walkout of the proceedings as the bench asked senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, representing the deity Ram Lalla Virajman, to commence his submissions in the case.When the bench headed by the CJI rejected their contention that the matters be sent to a larger bench saying “no, no…”, Sibal, appearing for Sunni Wakf Board, said “I do believe that any decision in this case will have very serious ramifications and the appeals should be referred to a five or seven judge constitution bench. Do not say ‘no, no, no’. Please hear the matter keeping in mind the ramifications…” He said, “please fix the matter in July 2019 and we assure that we will not seek any adjournments… justice should not only be done, it should seem to be done.” The bench countered: “What kind of submission is this? You are saying July 2019. Should it not be heard before that?” Another senior advocate Dushayant Dave, appearing for one of the parties, questioned the “hurry” in hearing the appeals and referred to the fact that the issue of Ram Temple was part of the BJP manifesto.Also readBabri Masjid demolition day: Centre issues advisory, VHP to ‘celebrate’ in Ayodhya To this, the bench retorted: “You say it should not be heard ever only because it was not heard in last seven years.” At the outset, Sibal said the pleadings in the cases were not complete due to the voluminous records running into over 19,000 pages. Till date, the Registry has “given us documents in two separate discs- on September 18, 2017 and on November 7, 2017 respectively. However there are many exhibits and several pleadings which are not contained in these discs and which are still awaited,” he said, adding that the High Court had relied upon 781 judgements and they have to be compiled.Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for Uttar Pradesh Government, and senior advocate C S Vaidyanathan, representing the deity, Ram Lalla Virajman, opposed the contention and said the pleadings were complete and the requisite documents have been filed and supplied. Moreover, it was made clear by the court that it would commence hearing from December 5, they said. Sibal sought time saying the pleadings were not complete as many were still awaited. “How do you prepare cases if they (pleadings) are not complete,” he said.Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for a Hindu ‘mahant’, opposed the contention saying the parties were supposed to commence arguments. “Last time also you (Sibal) had said the same thing.Today again you are saying the same thing,” the bench said, adding “you (parties) tell us what was the case before the High Court”. Sibal and others including Dhavan again sought time, saying time be granted to enable them prepare the case. The submission was supported by Dave who said the court should not fall into a “trap”. He sought the setting up of a larger bench as was done in the case of Justice C S Karnan to send a message across.”What kind of argument is this,” the bench remarked. Dhavan said that a three-judge bench cannot hear these appeals in view of a judgement which had held that mosques were integral to Islam and this case also pertained to a mosque. Salve and the ASG took strong exception to the submission questioning the “hurry” on part of the apex court in hearing the appeals in the matter. “I take exception to the submission that the apex court was in a hurry. Seven years have gone by and the bench is not told that it was in a hurry,” the ASG said. Dhavan went to the extent of saying that the hearing will not be over by October next year (when the CJI would demit office). However, he quickly retracted when the bench again said “what kind of a submission is this”.”When original suit was finished in 90 days by the Allahabad High Court, why should it take longer than that here,” the bench asked. “Both the sides had a message for this court. But we know what to do. Don’t give a message to this court by telling us what message we will send out,” the bench said. Salve said he was “disturbed” to hear such arguments and the fact was that the appeals were pending since 2010.This court has dealt with many sensitive issues earlier and the ramifications outside are not going to decide as to when the matter will be heard, Salve said, adding that the issue whether the matters needed to be heard by a constitution bench can be decided later if such questions arise in future. The top court had on August 11 asked the UP government to complete within 10 weeks the translation of the evidence recorded for adjudication of the title dispute in the high court. It had said it would not allow the matter to take any shape other than the civil appeals and would adopt the same procedure as was done by the high court.
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Yogi Adityanath


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Spl Bench to hear Aadhaar pleas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court said on Monday that it might consider setting up a Constitution Bench to decide on all matters pertaining to the challenge to the Constitutional validity of Aadhaar in January.The top court’s observation came on the heels of a joint mentioning made by Attorney General KK Venugopal and Senior Advocate Shyam Divan before a bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.Refraining from giving a fixed date, the bench said the matters are likely to come up once it concludes hearing the dispute between Delhi-Lieutenant General (LG).On October 30, the bench — which also comprised Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud said it would hear the matter in November — almost five years after the first plea challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar was filed.However, with the deadline for linking your Aadhaar to your bank account looming ahead — last date is December 31, Divan had sought for a hearing in November. Several petitions in this matter have been pending since the top court referred the matter to a larger bench almost two years ago.On October 25, the Centre proposed it was open to extending the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with bank accounts and mobile phones from December 31, 2017, to March 31, 2018, but only exclusively to those who are “willing to enroll for Aadhaar”.Today, the Ministry of Electronics and Technology (MEITy) released a white paper on the Data Protection framework under the chairmanship of former Justice BN Srikrishna.Currently, a five-judge Constitution Bench is hearing hearing an appeal filed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) challenging the Delhi High Court order which said that the LG was essentially the boss of the national capital. Once, this matter is over, the same bench is slated to hear an appeal filed by a Parsi woman who was denied the right to participate in the rituals upon her fathers death around 15 years ago because she married outside her faith.Relief likelyThe Centre has told Supreme Court that it is willing to extend deadline for Aadhaar linking to services till March 31.The deadline is supposed to end on December 31.Aadhaar is a 12 digit unique-identity number issued to all Indian resid-ents based on biometric and demographic data.

Willing to extend deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar with services, Centre tells SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central government on Monday told the Supreme Court that it was willing to extend the deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to various services till March 31, 2018. Currently, the deadline to link various government schemes and banking services to Aadhaar is December 31. A bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra also indicated that it may form a Constitution Bench next week to consider stay on mandatory linking. The Constitution Bench will decide whether any interim orders on Aadhaar issue is to be passed.The court said that it would beging hearing the pleas challenging Aadhaar after the Constitution Bench concludes hearing the Delhi-Centre case.Representing the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal asked the top court to list the matter in February next year as Justice Srikrishna commission has issued white paper on data protection and there is a likely to be suggestions from it, which may take some time.
ALSO READ Linking of Aadhaar with personal details dangerous for individuals and society: Mamata BanerjeeSenior Advocate Shyam Diwan, appearing for petitioner seeking interim order, told the bench that he had no objection for listing of matter in February but the court should hear his application.Last month, the Centre had told the apex court that it had extended the deadline extended till March 31 next year for those who do not have the 12-digit biometric identification number.

SC junks PMLA tough bail clause

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dealing a blow to the Centre and its fight against black money, the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday struck down a Section that imposed stringent provisions for bail under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.The judgment came on the heels of a batch of petitions.The bench comprised Justices Rohinton Nariman and Sanjay Kisan Kaul. The petitions challenged the validity of Section 45 under the PMLA that essentially said the accused was guilty until proven innocent and where jail was the rule, bail the exception.”It is obvious that the twin conditions set down in Section 45 are a much higher threshold bar,” it said.In fact, the presumption of innocence, which is attached to any person being prosecuted of an offence, is inverted by the conditions specified in Section 45, whereas for grant of ordinary bail the presumption of innocence attaches… Under Section 45, the Court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person is not guilty of such offence and that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail,” the judgment read.In the 78-page judgment, which will bring relief to those seeking bail under PMLA in the aftermath of demonetisation, the bench observed: “Section 45 is a drastic provision which turns on its head the presumption of innocence which is fundamental to a person accused of any offence.”The bench observed that the provisions under the now defunct Section 45 must be applied by the state only in compelling cases where it is tackling serious offences like organised crime or terrorism. “Before the application of a section, which makes drastic inroads into the fundamental right of personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India, we must be doubly sure that such provision furthers a compelling State interest for tackling serious crime.”The court said, “the indiscriminate application of the provisions of Section 45 will certainly violate Article 21 of the Constitution. Provisions akin to Section 45 have only been upheld on the ground that there is a compelling State interest in tackling crimes of an extremely heinous nature.”Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi argued that Section 45 of the said Act imposes two further conditions before grant of bail is manifestly arbitrary, discriminatory and violative of the petitioner’s fundamental rights under Article 14 (equality before law) read with Article 21(right to life) of the Constitution.However, Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, defended the provision, suggesting it was an effective tool against the menace of black money.The bench opined that simply reading down section 45 would not be enough, it needed to be struck down.The court then set aside the orders denying bail that relied on the twin conditions and directed the trial courts to revisit the case based on the merits of the file based on new conditions.The top court relied on the US constitution’s eighth amendment on bail jurisprudence to decide the matter at hand.Justice Nariman — who penned the judgment, was inspired by a sharply worded minority judgment of Justice Marshall, with whom Justice Brennan agreed, the minority held that the Bail Reform Act, which permitted pre-trial detention on the ground that the person arrested is likely to commit future crimes would violate substantive due process and the 8th amendment to the US Constitution.The petitions said…The present writ petitions and appeals raise the question of the constitutional validity of Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. Section 45(1) imposes two conditions for grant of bail where an offence punishable for a term of imprisonment of more than three years under Part A of the Schedule to Act is involved. The conditions are that the public prosecutor must be given an opportunity to oppose any application for release on bail and the court must be satisfied, where the public prosecutor opposes the application, that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accused is not guilty of such offence, and that he is not likely to commit any offence while on bail.

SC seeks explanation on Tej Pratap photo with slain scribe’s ‘killer’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file a report within four weeks on photographs in which former Bihar health minister Tej Pratap Singh was seen with the accused in the Rajdeo Ranjan murder case.The bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra passed the orders on the plea filed by Asha Ranjan, wife of the slain journalist Rajdeo Ranjan. The slain journalist’s widow had demanded an FIR against Tej Pratap for “conspiracy and harbouring and sheltering the proclaimed offenders” in the murder case.Ranjan, a journalist with a Hindi daily was shot dead in May 2016, allegedly at the behest of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Mohammad Shahabuddin.The photograph in question shows Mohammed Kaif, another accused in Ranjan’s murder along with Tej Pratap — son of former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. Kaif, alleged to be the sharpshooter for Shahabuddin, was absconding when the photographs surfaced.The Bench, that also comprised Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, directed the probe agency to find out the progress made by the police in its investigation into the photos.The court further ordered advocate ARM Pandey, Ranjan’s counsel, to give the CBI copies of the transcript of the news conference held by the Siwan police chief where he has assured an investigation into the photographs.”It was expedient on the part of the Siwan Superintendent of Police to file an FIR… he miserably failed to take action. Kaif is now on bail… Both Kaif and Javed (another accused in the Ranjan case) were remanded only after the writ petition was filed in the SC,” Pandey submitted.Pander said serious action should be taken against Tej Pratap for “harbouring and screening” offenders. However, responding to the submissions, Tej Pratap’s counsel submitted that his client was attending a public function where a “man came up and gave me a bouquet of flowers.”Representing the probe agency, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said, “investigation is yet to begin.” He further added that “the moment I (meaning Yadav) came to know, I should have informed the police. I will have to investigate harbouring.”To this, Tej Pratap’s counsel responded: “Nobody says that I was seen with Kaif prior to the murder.”Tej submissionResponding to the submissions, Tej Pratap’s counsel submitted that his client was attending a public function where a “man came up and gave him a bouquet of flowers.”

Andhra Pradesh Capital Amaravati: NGT declines to set aside environment clearance, puts stringent conditions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has allowed construction activities in Andhra Pradesh’s new Capital Amaravati with certain restrictions. In a huge relief NGTdeclined to set aside environment clearance given to the new Andhra capital Amaravati. “We do not want to interfere”, the Bench said why reading small operative part of the verdict. But some stringent conditions have been put in place. These include protection of the river channel, river morphology, and floodplains of Krishna and its strengthening. Hills and hillocks around the floodplains have been protected. The state should carry out extensive studies on river morphology, the judgment says. The tribunal has stressed that the work cannot alter the micro-ecology, embankments or courses of rivers in areas proposed to develop the city.NGT has constituted one supervisory committee and one implementation committee to suggest or add more conditions for environmental protection. This committee will not include the member of the project proponent or those who were involved in the preparation of the Environment Impact Assessment report. The case was filed by Journalist and social activist Pandalaneni Srimannarayana in 2015. He has objected to multi-crop fields and flood plains being cleared to build Amaravati. A group of farmers had also approached the tribunal. former bureaucrat EAS Sharma had challenged the clearances granted by the state-level authority. The Amaravati capital city will require 19,256.8 hectares of forest land in Krishna and Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh.

SC sweeps aside plea seeking stay on release of movie on Arvind Kejriwal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “An Insignificant Man”, billed by the makers as a film based on the life of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, would hit the screens tomorrow as the Supreme Court today dismissed a plea seeking a stay on its release saying freedom of speech and expression was “sacrosanct”.A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that any film, theatre, drama or novel was a creation of art and courts should not crucify rights of an expressive mind.The court was hearing a plea filed by Nachiketa Walhekar, who allegedly threw ink at Kejriwal in 2013. He has claimed that he has been depicted as a convict in the movie despite the fact that trial in that matter was still pending.His counsel told the bench, also comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, that the film contains a video clip, which was originally shown by media, pertaining to him and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) should not have granted a certificate to the movie for its release.”It is worthy to mention that freedom of speech and expression is sacrosanct and the said right should not be ordinarily interfered with,” the bench said.It said when the CBFC has granted a certificate and only something with regard to the petitioner, which was shown in the media, was being reflected in the movie, “this court should restrain itself in not entertaining the writ petition or granting injunction”.”Be it noted, a film or a drama or a novel or a book is a creation of art. An artist has his own freedom to express himself in a manner which is not prohibited in law and such prohibitions are not read by implication to crucify the rights of expressive mind,” the bench said.It said that “human history” records that there were many authors, who expressed their thoughts according to the choice of their words, phrases, expressions and also created characters who may look absolutely different than an ordinary man would conceive of.”A thought provoking film should never mean that it has to be didactic or in any way puritanical. It can be expressive and provoking the conscious or the sub-conscious thoughts of the viewer. If there has to be any limitation, that has to be as per the prescription in law,” it noted in its order.The bench also said that courts have to be extremely slow in passing any kind of restraint order in such a situation and it should allow the respect that a creative man enjoys in writing a drama, play, book on philosophy or any kind of thought that is expressed on the celluloid or theatre.Regarding the petitioner’s apprehension that the documentary film would be used as an evidence during the trial of the case, the bench said it cannot be commented upon as it would be for trial court to adjudge under the Evidence Act.During the hearing, the petitioner’s counsel told the bench that his image has been tarnished in the film and the filmmakers could have put in a disclaimer that trial in the ink-throwing case was still pending.”The incident happened in 2013. It was alleged that the petitioner had thrown the ink on Kejriwal. Trial is still pending. How can they show me as a convict of throwing ink at Kejriwal?,” the lawyer said.The bench, however, said that prohibiting exhibition of a documentary or a film was “very serious” and courts should be very slow in interfering with it.It said that only the courts have the right to convict a person of any crime.”Everyday, debate takes place in this court and people write about it as they understand. We do not gag them. Pre- censorship by courts should not be done,” the bench said.

If you are not serious about children, file an affidavit that you are not concerned: SC slams Centre on JJ Act

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today came down heavily on the Centre for filing a “half-baked” affidavit in a matter related to implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act and said the government has to be serious about children of this country.The top court observed that an 80-page affidavit has been filed by the Centre but it did not compiled the data provided by states and Union territories and that complete information has not been given to the court. A bench of justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta told the counsel representing the Centre that the affidavit should have been complete and accurate and asked the government to also inform as to how much money was lying in the juvenile justice fund of each state and union territory.”If you (Centre) are not serious about children, file an affidavit that you are not concerned about children. We will say Government of India is indispensible and will dismiss the plea,” the bench said. “There are 29 states and seven Union territories. You want us to go through each one of this? You should have compiled it. Why did you do this? Whom are you trying to impress by filing an 80-page affidavit? There has to be some application of mind,” it said.The apex court had in August asked the Centre to file an affidavit indicating whether the state commission for the protection of child rights and state child protection society were constituted in every state and Union territory.It had also asked the government to indicate in its affidavit certain other issues, including whether the juvenile justice boards (JJBs) and child welfare committees were set up in every district and if not, then the districts in which they were yet to be constituted.At the outset, the bench asked the Centre’s counsel as to when the affidavit was prepared. When the counsel said it was prepared on October 11, the bench asked as to why the affidavit has not disclosed about outcome of a meeting held on September 26 and attended by the authorities concerned on these issues. “You are taking it so casually. You say there was a meeting on September 26. You are saying you will not tell us what happened in that meeting when you have filed an affidavit on October 11. It is a big secret?,” it further asked.The Centre’s counsel sought two weeks time to file a chart giving all the details as directed by the court but the bench asked why they need so much time. the counsel said they would have to get in touch with the states and Union territories to get update, the bench shot back, “Don’t you have a telephone in your ministry? You call the state governments and get the datas. You have to be serious about children of this country.” “You should not have errors in the affidavit. It should be complete, accurate and correct. File a complete affidavit. Do not file a half baked affidavit like this one,” it said and posted the matter for hearing on November 20.The bench was hearing a PIL seeking implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act and its rules. The plea has raised the issue of alleged apathy by the governments in implementing the welfare legislation.

Medical college scam: Supreme Court no to SIT, chides petitioners

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed senior advocate Kamini Jaiswal’s petition seeking a court-monitored probe by a special investigation team (SIT) in the medical colleges scam. In doing so, the bench also terming attempts by the petitioner and her lawyer to secure orders from another bench even as the same matter was pending with another bench as an instance of forum shopping.A bench comprising Justices RK Agrawal, Arun Mishra and AM Khanwilkar called the attempts made by Jaiswal and that that of the lawyers from the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) as “forum-shopping, contemptuous, unethical, derogatory” but stopped short of initiating contempt of court proceedings against them, in the interest and “welfare of the great institution.””Let us unite and work for the welfare of the great institution,” the Bench observed. “Unnecessary doubt was raised about the integrity of this great institution,” Justice Mishra said reading out from the judgment.”Unnecessarily, the Institution has been brought to be scandalized for no good cause, it said.”The petition and entire conduct aims at bringing disrepute to this Court without any rhyme or reason,” it said.Speaking on the conduct of the petitioners and the crisis triggered by their petition, the bench held that filing the petition without due diligence and fact check amounted to events that were derogatory and contemptuous. However, the court erred on the side of caution and favoured bringing a quietus to the issue, saying goodwill should prevail.Calling the conduct of the petitioners as unethical, the bench also suggested that calling for the recusal of Justice AM Khanwilkar – who was also on the bench that deliberated on the issue of the medical college scam, amounted to forum shopping.In its judgment, the bench held that the decision of the Constitution Bench on November 10 was binding and that only the Chief Justice of India had the authority to constitute benches in the Supreme Court.However, the 38-page judgment hoped to bring and an end to the drama that began when CJAR first mentioned their petition before Justice Jasti Chelameswar or “Court number 2,” as it was referred to.”We still expect and hope the matter will stop at this,” Justice Mishra spoke for the bench, while dismissing Jaiswal’s petition.”Let the good sense prevail over the legal fraternity and amends be made as lot of uncalled for damage has been made to the great Institution in which public reposes their faith. We deprecate the conduct of forum hunting that too involving senior lawyer of this Court. Such conduct tantamount wholly unethical, unwarranted and nothing but forum hunting, as discussed by this Court in the case of Cipla (supra),” the judgement – unanimous in its decision since there is no author, read.On Monday, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Monday queried whether advocate Prashant Bhushan’s act of filing duplicate petitions on the same issue was tantamount to forum shopping.Observing that his actions had scandalised the court, the bench comprising Justices RK Agarwal, Arun Mishra and AM Khanwilkar had reserved its judgement on the maintainability of the petition that sought a court-monitored investigation into the medical colleges scam where the accused had allegedly brandished names of some members of the higher judiciary to give out the impression that favourable order could be procured – for a cost.Last week, Bhushan’s Campaign for Judicial Accountability & Judicial Reforms and senior advocate Kamini Jaiswal had filed identical petitions on two consecutive days causing an uproar in the apex court. During their arguments, both petitions categorically sought the recusal of Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra who had deliberated on matters where Prasad Education Trust – one of the petitioners is also an accused in the medical scam case which the CBI is probing.Appearing in his personal capacity, Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal observed that the court was facing a crisis that was brought about by the petitions. “There is a deep wedge between the bar and the judiciary. Here is a crisis that of confidence (in court) itself,” he said.”This petition wants to drive the investigation in a particular direction and particular decision,” he added. Submitting that American courts have condemned such actions, the top law officer added, “Judges are a very vulnerable class of people. The buck stops with Quddusi,” he added referring to the former Odisha High COurt judge who was arrested by the CBI for his role in the case.The bench saysLet us unite and work for the welfare of the great institutionUnnecessarily, the Institution has been scandalised for no good causeUnnecessary doubt was raised about the integrity of this great institution

Municipalities across country will exempt from liquor shops ban on highways, says Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday said its order exempting from ban the liquor shops within 500 metres of state and national highways running through municipal areas would be applicable across the country.A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said it would pass a classificatory order on the plea of Tamil Nadu government, which was asked the Madras High Court to approach the top court for clarification on the issue.The apex court, which had banned the sale of liquor within 500 meters of highways across the country, had on July 11 this year, relaxed the scope of its verdict and allowed liquor shops alongside highways in municipal areas on a petition filed with regard to Union Territory of Chandigarh.The Madras High Court, taking note of the Tamil Nadu government’s recent decision to allow liquor shops on highways in municipal areas, said the apex court’s relaxation might be confined to Chandigarh alone and asked the state government to seek clarification from the top court.Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Tamil Nadu, said the July 11 order was clear. However, a clarification was needed.”The High Court says municipal areas in the Supreme Court order means only areas in Punjab and not in Chennai. The Chief Justice Bench of the High Court wants a clarification whether the exemption applies only to Chandigarh,” Rohatgi said.”Well, why should the High Court think that? If our order applies for municipal areas in Chandigarh, it will apply equally for municipal areas across the country,” the bench said and posted the matter after two weeks for hearing and passing a requisite classificatory order.The apex court had earlier clarified that its order banning sale of liquor within a distance of 500 metres along national and state highways would not extend to municipal areas.The top court, on December 15, 2016, had banned sale of liquor within 500 metres of state and national highways across the country.

NGT disallows exemption for women, bikes during Odd-Even

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Saturday laid down riders by disallowing exemptions to women and two-wheelers while permitting implementation of odd-even car rationing scheme.The NGT said no exemption will be given to ‘any person or officer and two-wheelers’ from its ambit. However, only emergency services such as ambulance and fire, vehicles carrying waste and CNG vehicles will be allowed to ply during the odd-even scheme.The NGT ordered the Delhi government and other relevant authorities to reconsider its decision of hiking parking fees by four times.”The hike in parking fees will only benefit contractors, and will stress people by encouraging them to park vehicles on roads, thus choking them further,” the bench said, adding that the additional money collected would not reach the government.The NGT said that all corporations and authorities of Delhi government should ensure that was no structural construction activity is carried on till November 14.The bench also issued show cause notices to the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) saying that they should not be exempted from exemplary cost. It added that erring officials should be imprisoned for violating its order on putting a ban on construction activities.”Corporations and the Delhi Development Authority shall post special forces at land filling sites to ensure that there is no fire at those sites. If any such incident comes to the notice, the concerned official will be personally liable to pay the environmental compensation,” the bench said.The bench constituted a team of officials from the CPCB and DPCC, and the special secretary of environment department of Delhi government, which will collect data of ambient air quality and analyse different parameters including PM levels, carbon monoxide among others.Order extensionThe NGT also ordered all corporations and authorities of Delhi government should ensure that no structural construction activity is carried out till Nov 14.

Why was the odd-even scheme not implemented immediately, NGT asks Delhi government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Saturday asked the Delhi government the rationale behind implementing the odd-even scheme in the city.”Why wasn’t this implemented when the air quality index had become bad?” the NGT questioned further asking both the Centre and the Delhi government to name one city in the world where the PM 10 levels were lower than 100.The NGT then directed the Delhi government to show the letter on basis of which this decision (to implement the odd-even scheme) was taken, and whether the LG’s approval was taken for the same.During the hearing, the Central Pollution Control Board claimed that they had ‘orally’ warned the Delhi government about the problem – a claim that the Delhi government denied.”Do not test our patience. When statistics indicate that rains lead to a fall in pollution levels, why did you take time to spray water? You’re only takeing the decision after the tribunal directed you to,” the NGT said to the Delhi government.The bench, headed by Justice Swatantra Kumar, had on Friday rapped Delhi government and asked it to not implement odd-even scheme unless they satisfy the court that it is not counter-productive.On Saturday, however, the bench asked the government whether it was sure of the odd-even scheme benefit. “Citizens should not be affected by it and no inconvenience should be caused,” the bench observed.The bench also asked the Delhi government on the reasons behind the exemptions on two-wheeler vehicles and the impact of those vehicles. The bench even asked the government whether it intends to employ the odd-even scheme whenever the pollution levels spiral, to which the Delhi Govt stated that this couldn’t be said as of now.Meanwhile, the Central Pollution Control Board submitted before the NGT that rain could take place in the next two days.A layer of smog continued to engulf Delhi on Friday with some of the areas still gripped in the hazardous category of air quality index.The pollution level in Punjabi Bagh at 802, Mandir Marg at 515, Anand Vihar at 571 and Dwarka at 420 fall under the hazardous category.The AAP government on Thursday announced the introduction of the odd-even scheme as part of a Graded Response Plan to tackle the alarming pollution situation in the national capital.With nearly 13 lakh private cars expected to keep off the road per day after the odd-even scheme kicks in from Monday, the government is looking to hire 500 buses to ensure smooth commute for the public.The odd-even scheme will be rolled out in Delhi for five days from November 13 to November 17. The scheme will be in place from 8 am to 8 pm and there will exemptions for women drivers and two-wheelers.

Two-judge Bombay High Court panel to oversee pothole repair

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court on Wednesday set up a two-judge committee to monitor repair and maintenance of roads in Maharashtra to ensure that they remain free of potholes. The committee, comprising Justice K R Shriram and Justice G S Kulkarni, was appointed by Bombay High Court Chief Justice Manjula Chellur. The move came during the hearing of a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL) highlighting the problem of potholes in Mumbai.”It the court does not intend to run the administration but it is compelled to in cases where local authorities have failed to discharge their duties,” Chellur said. The court has passed several orders while hearing the PIL. On the last occasion, it appointed Maharashtra State Legal Aid Services Authority to act as nodal office to receive complaints about potholes.On being told that the Authority has received only 180 complaints, the Bench asked the Authority to continue publicising its formation and to encourage citizens to share their grievances. “I personally do not even commute on these roads that are potholed or in need of repair. But I have to take up the cause for the common man,” the Bench said.Each monsoon brings tales of civic apathy and public distress in the city, the Chief Justice observed.She also referred to the death of Dr Deepak Amarapurkar in August after he fell into an open manhole while wading through waterlogged roads.”You (litigants and lawyers) ask for wonderful orders and we pass them too but what is the use if none of our orders are ever implemented,” Chief Justice Chellur rued.The PanelThe committee, appointed by Bombay High Court ​Chief Justice Manjula Chellur, comprises Justice K R Shriram and Justice G S KulkarniEarlier, HC had appointed Maharashtra State Legal Aid Services Authority to act as nodal office to receive complaints about potholes

Poll Panel favours lifetime ban on convicted politicians

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shifting its position in the Supreme Court once again, the Election Commission changed its stand on the issue of lifetime ban for convicted politicians and submitted that it supports the move now.”We support the plea that disqualification should be for life,” the EC counsel said during their brief submission in the day-long hearing on Wednesday. Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora said the poll panel had already written to the Centre seeking appropriate amendments to the law on this issue.This submission is crucial because the apex court had expressed its displeasure with the EC for being non-committal on a plea seeking a lifetime ban on convicted politicians.In an affidavit submitted before a bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha, EC said Ashwini Upadhyay’s plea was ‘not adversarial’. Representing the panel, the advocate said, “Commission supports the plea to the extent that there should be a mechanism for the decriminalisation of politics… We have not taken a decision. We doubt whether it falls in legislature’s domain.””Is silence an option for you (EC)? You must say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on whether you are supporting the petitioner. You are the Election Commission of India, and here is a citizen of India who has come here to seek lifetime debarment of convicted persons. Can you say ‘I will be silent’? No, you cannot,” the Bench had said during the previous hearing.”If you (EC) feel constrained by the legislature, then let us know. If you are even constrained to the extent of giving your view, feel free and say so clearly,” it said.The apex court was hearing a petition filed by Upadhyay who sought a lifetime ban from politics for lawmakers who were convicted felons. He also sought directions for setting up adequate infrastructure for a special court to decide the cases related to legislators and public servants within one year and debar convicted politicians from the legislature, executive, and judiciary for life.According to the Representation of the People Act, a politician convicted and sentenced to a jail term of two years or more shall be disqualified from contesting polls for six years from the date of his release from prison after the conclusion of the term.

Only 500 ml RO water to be offered to Ujjain’s jyotirlinga

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Devotees can only use water from the Reverse Osmosis (RO) machine for the jalabhishek at the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga in Ujjain, as per the norms passed by the Supreme Court on Friday for worship at the historic temple.Devotees can avail of the water from the RO machine installed during Simhastha (religious fair). Apart from this, the apex court also has also limited milk or panchamrut (mixture of honey, liquid jaggery, milk, yoghurt and ghee) offering to 1.25 litres per devotee at the Shiv lingam, which was rebuilt in the 18th century. Currently, during the bhasma aarti (special ceremony with sacred ash), half of the lingam is covered with cloth; now the entire deity will be covered.Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga — considered an avatar of Lord Shiva— is one of 12 such in India. In order to check the corrosion of the deity by pollution, moisture and extensive worshipping, SC constituted a committee of officials from the Archaeological Survey of India, the Geological Survey of India and other experts to study the rate at which the corrosion is occurring and suggest steps to curb it.The committee submitted 24 points to preserve the deity, of which only eight were passed by the bench made up of Justices Arun Mishra and L Nageswara Rao.New fans and dryers have been installed to dry the lingam after jalabhishek, which ends at 5 pm everyday. After that, only dry puja will be permitted. The court has also banned the practice of rubbing sugar powder on the linga. Instead, devotees will be encouraged to use khandsari (unrefined raw white sugar).”Bilva (bel) leaves and flowers shall be offered on the upper part of the Shiv ling to avoid obstructing the natural breathing of the stone,” the resolution approved by Supreme Court said. “we have entertained this petition just to preserve the lingam. It cannot be denied that good work has been done by temple management and it is appreciable that they have accepted the recommendation of the expert committee in one stroke. It is a bold step,” the Bench added.Worship norms500 ml of RO water per devotee1.25 ml panchamrut or milk per devoteeOnly dry puja after 5 pm

Amity student suicide: HC raps police, directs DCP crime to file final report within four weeks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The police on Tuesday faced flak from the Delhi High Court for filing a “namby-pamby” status report regarding its probe into the alleged suicide of a student of Amity Law School last year.A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Najmi Waziri was displeased with the report as it did not clarify when the probe would be over, but merely saying that the investigation was at an advanced stage.The bench also said the report was not accompanied by an affidavit as was directed by the court in its previous order of October 11.The court directed the DCP Crime (Narcotics) to file the final report or charge sheet “positively within four weeks” and listed the matter for hearing on November 29.”What do you mean by the probe being at an advanced stage? What is this namby-pamby status report you have filed? What is all this? It does not inspire any confidence. This is nothing,” the bench said.The Amity Law School also came under fire after one of its lawyers asked the court whether the matter would be marked ‘part heard’, implying whether the same bench would continue to hear it as the roster of the judges would change from October 23.The court told the lawyer that if the law school wanted the matter transferred to another bench, “tell your client to summon up courage and file an application. … We will deal with it then.”The bench further said it has been hearing the matter for over two months and it was “not going to recuse” from it.On the last date, the court had questioned the timing of a “belated” plea filed by the law school urging the bench not to give any finding on the allegations of mental torture and harassment of the student, Sushant Rohilla. It has kept the law school’s plea pending.The bench was hearing the plea initiated by the Supreme Court in September last year on the alleged suicide. The matter was transferred to the Delhi High Court in March.Sushant, a third-year law student of Amity, had hung himself at his home here on August 10, 2016, after the varsity allegedly barred him from sitting for the semester exams due to lack of requisite attendance. He left behind a note saying he was a failure and did not wish to live.

Bombay High Court appoints amicus curiae in stampede case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court appointed advocate Zal Andhyarujina as amicus curiae (friend of the court) to assist the court on the Elphinstone Road stampede incident that occurred on September 29, killing 23 people.A division bench said, “This is a serious matter, utmost sensitivity has to be shown. We thus want to appoint an amicus who would assist us with same seriousness and sensitivity.”While appointing Andhyarujina, the court said, “We allow you to even file a fresh petition as the issues raised in the PIL are serious and need urgent attention, but they are not drafted properly.” The court has now posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks.The appointment came after the Bench rapped two petitioners, Thane resident Vikrant Tawde who sought a judicial inquiry into the stampede and Smita Mayank Dhruva, president of Congress’s South Mumbai division, who asked for railways to take measures for better crowd management.The bench said, “The station and bridge is in existence since 1867, according to the petitions. Till the incident occurred, everybody closed their eyes to the problem. Now, after the incident, these so-called activists have woken up and come with PILs.”The court also objected to relief sought in the petitions by saying these should have been sought before the incident.

SC judicial picks’ details go online

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 24 years after a seven-Judge bench of the Supreme Court in the Second Judges’ Case directed that a collegiums of judges would make recommendations to the President with regard to appointment and transfer of members of the superior judiciary, the Supreme Court collegium finally decided to put in public domain collegium recommendations sent by it to the government.The move comes within days of senior Karnataka High Court Judge Jayant Patel putting in his papers after being transferred to Allahabad High Court led to an uproar, with many questioning the collegium’s decision.As per the latest decision of the collegium led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, collegiums’ decisions will be uploaded online. The other signatories to the October 3 decision Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph.”The decisions henceforth taken by the Collegium indicating the reasons shall be put on the website of the Supreme Court, when the recommendation(s) is/are sent to the Government of India, with regard to the cases relating to initial elevation to the HC Bench, confirmation as permanent judge(s) of the HC and elevation to the post of Chief Justice of HC,” the note said.”Transfer of High Court Chief Justices / Judges and elevation to the Supreme Court, because on each occasion the material which is considered by the Collegium is different,” the note said.A separate tab on the Supreme Court’s website — dedicated to news from the collegium will also have reasons that influenced their decisions. To begin with, the apex court uploaded documents citing reasons for the recent posting and transfer of judicial officers at the Kerela High Court and Madras High Court.The collegium— comprising the top five senior most judges of the top court, has often been criticised for its closed door decisions and the opaqueness behind its decision. Justice J Chelameswar, who was part of the Constitution Bench that struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, was the sole dissenter and wrote a strongly-worded judgment criticising the collegium system for its opacity. Standing by his point, Justice Chelameswar refused to participate in the collegium meetings unless minutes of the meeting were recorded.

SC to hear plea tomorrow for restoring ban on firecrackers in NCR

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Diwali on the anvil, the Supreme Court on Thursday said it would hear a plea seeking restoration of its last year’s order banning firecrackers in the Delhi-National Capital Region on Friday.The plea has also sought recall of last month’s apex court verdict which had temporarily lifted the order of November 11, 2016, suspending permanent licences for sale of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR.The matter came up for hearing before a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan and lawyer Gopal Shankarnarayanan, appearing for the petitioner, said last year’s order should continue.The apex court had then suspended all licences which “permit sale of fireworks, wholesale and retail within the territory of NCR”.During the brief hearing, Shankarnarayanan told the bench that the top court had on September 12 this year temporarily lifted its earlier order on the applications filed by some firecracker manufacturers.He said when the court had passed the order last year, it had already considered the submissions of the firecracker manufacturers and it was admitted that firecrackers was one of the reasons for rise of pollution in Delhi-NCR.”What modification you are seeking,” the bench asked.”We are seeking recall of this (September 12) order and restoration of the earlier order of November 2016,” the lawyer said, adding “the ban order of 2016 should continue”.However, the bench observed the matter had “progressed from time to time” after the order was passed in November last year.”We will hear it tomorrow,” the bench said.The Delhi government said that as directed by the court on September 12, they have came out with a plan of action to sensitise and educate school children about the health hazards and ill-effects of breathing polluted air, including the pollution caused by the fireworks.The counsel representing the Delhi government said they would file an affidavit in this regard later today.The apex court had last month temporarily lifted its earlier order suspending licences for sale of fire crackers in the NCR, saying a complete ban would be an “extreme step” and a graded approach was needed to curb pollution caused by them.The court, however, had said its order lifting the ban on sale of fire crackers might require a “review” after Diwali depending on the ambient air quality after the festival.Besides passing several directions, it had also set up a committee to study the impact of the firecrackers on health of Delhi’ites during the upcoming festivals and directed the police to slash by half the number of temporary licences this year compared to last year and cap it at 500.​

Delhi HC slaps Rs 5,000 fine on 14 CP vendors

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as14 vendors from the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) area have been slapped with a fine of Rs 5,000 each, after the court stated that the civic body has been consistent on its stand that Connaught Place (CP) was a no-vending and no-hawking zone. These vendors had moved the Delhi High Court (HC), expressing their discontent with the alternative vending site, provided to them in place of CP.The NDMC, which is responsible for maintenance of the Lutyen’s Delhi zone, had removed these vendors from Gate no 3 and 4 of Palika Bazar in CP, as part of a beautification drive. Only 628 vendors, who had tehbazaari licenses or were part of the Thareja Committee report, were allowed to shift to an alternative place.Since no alternative site was provided to vendors, however, one of them brought up the issue in the court and a notice was subsequently issued to the NDMC, which stated that the site would be provided within two weeks.The petitioners were then provided with Laxmi Bai Nagar as the alternative site, but they were not satisfied as they wanted to be rehabilitated within CP itself.A Bench of Justices G S Sistani and Chandra Shekhar found that the civic body had never mentioned any specific place as the alternative site.“The order dated July 10 makes it abundantly clear that no specific site was promised to the petitioners. But, there was a clear understanding between the parties that an alternative site would be provided at Laxmi Bai Nagar. We may also note that we have been hearing matters pertaining to the street vendors and the NDMC has taken a consistent stand before us that CP is a no-hawking, no-vending zone,” the court stated.Dismissing the petition, the Bench imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on the vendors, as sought by advocate Harsh Peechara, counsel for NDMC. One of the petitioners, Chander Mohan, however, was some given leverage as he is suffering from cancer. The court directed that the cost be paid to the Delhi High Court Mediation and Conciliation Centre.

NGT tells govt to list steps taken to clean Yamuna

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Following the immersion of Ganesha and Durga idols in Yamuna, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Delhi government to give a detailed affidavit, enumerating the steps taken by the government to clean the river.The NGT also directed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to submit a status report on the river’s condition after the immersion and on the compliance of directions given by it to execute the cleaning of Yamuna under Phase I. Phase I entails controlling and preventing pollution at Najafgarh and Delhi Gate drains.”The counsel appearing for the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi submits that steps are being taken to clean the river and the flood plains of Yamuna after the festive season and the immersion of idols. Let him also file a status report,” a Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.The green tribunal was hearing a plea filed by environment activist Akash Vashishta, who has sought directions for steps to clean the banks of the river which, he claimed, were completely choked with dumped waste. Thousands of idols of Ganesha, made of plaster of Paris and painted with hazardous chemicals such as mercury, cadmium, lead, and carbon, were immersed in the Yamuna to mark the festival of Ganesha Chaturthi in late August.The petition brought on record the news reports that said that the river had turned into a drain, with people immersing idols and other puja material in the water body. It further claimed that the bio-oxygen demand of the river, a measure of organic pollution, reached “dangerously high levels” during Ganesha Chaturthi.The petition also stressed upon how Yamuna was choking and dying gradually due to immersions, which continued unchecked. Seeking a blanket ban on immersing idols and other religious ritual materials, the petition also noted that the water body has turned into a waste ground, which was threatening its existence.The petition also urged the NGT to direct the government to devise an action plan on immersing idols. In 2015, the tribunal had banned immersion of all idols, except those made of bio-degradable material. “Idol immersion should be allowed only of the ones that are made from bio-degradable material and not plastic or Plaster of Paris. Only those colours should be used on the idols that are environment-friendly,” the Bench had then said.BAD STATEThe green tribunal was hearing a plea filed by environment activist Akash Vashishta, who has sought directions for steps to clean the banks of the river which, he claimed, were completely choked with dumped waste.

Delhi HC warns MCD, police of ‘serious action’ if encroachers continue to operate at Chandni Chowk

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court on Monday warned of serious action against the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the city police if they failed to stop encroachments at Chandni Chowk area in the walled city.A bench of Justices G S Sistani and Chander Shekhar said that despite the order of the Supreme Court that police would be held responsible for encroachments in the Chandni Chowk area, “we find that the orders are not being complied with”.The bench referred to an apex court order declaring Chandni Chowk as a no-vending zone.While hearing a petition filed by the Chandni Chowk Sarv Vyapar Mandal against encroachments in the area, the bench observed that the apex court order has to be complied with.”We make it clear that in case MCD and Delhi Police are not able to comply with the order passed by the Supreme Court, then we will be forced to call the senior officers from both the departments to court and initiate appropriate action,” the bench said.The court fixed the matter for October 26.The bench also took into account some photographs of the area submitted by the petitioner, which showed that the place was full of encroachments.Chandni Chowk is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. It is located close to the historic Red Fort.

EC refuses to extend deadline

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Election Commission on Thursday rejected the TTV Dhinakaran faction’s request for more time to submit documents over the disputed “two-leaves” symbol and said that the final hearing will continue on October 6 as decided.The Commission had set September 29 as deadline for all factions of the party laying claim to the symbol to submit affidavits and prove their strength.In mid-September, ousted AIADMK leader Dinakaran had approached the poll watchdog and submitted a memorandum with proof to back their claim.However, it later approached the Commission again, this time seeking more time to submit the relevant documents.”For deciding the dispute, the Commission needs to look into the position as existing at the stage,” EC’s letter to Dhinakaran said.The Commission decided not to allot additional time noting the deadline set by the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court.

Probe claims against CAT member

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat High Court has directed the central government to look into allegations against a judicial member of the Central Administrative Tribunal-Ahmedabad (CAT-Ahmedabad).The first division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice Vipul Pancholi, through a common order on two petitions, has ordered the central government to examine the petitioners’ allegations against M Nagrajan of CAT-Ahmedabad within six weeks of the order and directed that if it finds substance in the allegations, it should report to the registrar general of the Principal Bench- CAT-Delhi and constitute an inquiry committee.Two petitioners — practicing advocate Sunita Chaturvedi and All India Radio employee Ravindra Parmar — had approached the High Court for protection.Advocate Sunita’s counsel KK Shah’s submission is that the judicial member was acting as judge and lawyer by changing an entire plea and then presiding on it. Therefore, matters that were before the division bench were being now being decided upon by him as a single bench judge.Counsel cited an example, “In one case against the Railways, instead of allowing or rejecting the petition, he directed the authority not to operate the Scheme for Guaranteed Employment of Safety Staff (LARSGEES).When the said order was challenged before the High Court, the latter passed stricture against the judicial member.”Meanwhile, AIR employee Ravindra Parmar’s allegation against the judicial member was that he was partial, autocratic and acts in a vengeful manner.His prayer was to constitute another bench and transfer his service matter before it. He was transferred 10 times by his AIR department, and that he had challeged the last transfer order before the court.During the course of hearing, the High Court had reprimanded the central government for not complying with its order. The court directed the central government to conduct an independent inquiry and submit a report before the court, instead it simply played role of messenger by submitting CAT deputy registrar’s report.CENTRE DIRECTIONDuring the course of hearing, the High Court had reprimanded the central government for not complying with its order. The court directed the central government to conduct an independent inquiry and submit a report before the court, instead it simply played role of messenger by submitting CAT deputy registrar’s report.

Money is not being spent by states in providing shelter to urban homeless: SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today favoured an audit of government funds meant for providing shelters to the urban homeless, saying the money was not being spent by the states and the homeless people remained the sufferers.The apex court, while suggesting an audit of the money disbursed by the Centre to the states for a scheme under the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM), said it could “possibly” be done by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and observed that these funds, which are meant for a specific purpose, should not be diverted.It said such an audit was necessary as the apex-court appointed committee, set up to verify the availability of such shelters and headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice Kailash Gambhir, would not look into this aspect.Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, told a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that the unspent amount by states for the previous period stood at Rs 412 crore, while Rs 228 crore was released by the Centre for 2017-18.”One thing is that you (Centre) give money and the states does not spent it. For 2017-2018, you have given Rs 228 crore.You tell the states that we are giving you money and you are not spending it. So why should we give you more money,” the bench said.”The money is not spent by the states and the sufferers are the homeless people. How can you ensure that the money is spent? It should not be diverted as the money has been given for a specific purpose,” the court said.During the hearing, Kumar told the bench that the Centre was contributing 60 per cent of the funds for the scheme, while the remaining amount was borne by the states. For Jammu and Kashmir and north eastern states, the ratio was 90 by the Centre and 10 per cent by the states.”Audit is necessary. The committee is not going to audit the account,” the bench said, adding, “it can possibly be done by the CAG.”The bench also asked the solicitor general that 790 cities were covered under the scheme and monitoring of all these cities would tentatively not be possible.”We could do two things. One way of doing it is to ask the high courts to look after their states. The second option is that instead of asking the high courts, we can look into it,” the bench asked Kumar.Responding to this, the solicitor general said keeping in view the magnitude of implementation of scheme in 790 cities, the option of asking the high courts appeared to be better as they could also have the assistance of the state and the district legal services authority.He said he would assist the apex court on the issues asked by the bench, including that of auditing of money.The court fixed the matter for hearing on October 13.The apex court had last year slammed the Centre and state governments for lackadaisical approach in providing shelters to the poverty-stricken in urban areas despite availability of sufficient funds.It had also observed that the mission of the NULM scheme “remains a distant dream even after lapse of a long period.” The NULM was launched in September 2013 to reduce poverty and vulnerability of urban poor households.The Centre had earlier told the court that an amount of Rs 1,000 crore, released under the NULM, does not pertain only to urban homeless but to other activities also.

Delhi in a mess; businesses cannot make profit at cost of public life: HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delhi is in a mess, the High Court said today observing that people running businesses cannot make profit at the cost of public life.The high court also said if there is a terrorist attack, the security agencies will not be able to reach the spot on time.”Delhi is in a mess. We have cases were residential places have been converted into coaching institutes. Increase in population have led to increase in crime. Instead of going out of the city, we are coming inside,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said.”There would not have been such a mess in the city if the authorities concerned would have been working together and in same direction,” the bench said.The oral observations came during the hearing of PILs filed by social activist Pankaj Sharma and advocate Anuja Kapur alleging there were over 120 restaurants and pubs running in the Hauz Khas Village of south Delhi without any approved building plans or no objection certificate (NOC) from the authorities, including the fire department.It observed that the people doing business “deserve to make profit, but not at the cost of public life”. It also made it clear that “if restaurants have to run, they have to comply with the law” and “we are concerned with safety”.The bench, which had sought replies from various agencies on different occasions, also said that it needed to decided the issue at large.The bench framed issues for consideration before it in public interest including safety of people visiting he Hauz Khas village and whether requisite clearances have been obtained from the authorities to run the restaurants or not.It said that it is necessary because the crime in that area have also risen.The bench also directed the Delhi Jal Board to inform it about the source of water for the eateries at the village and and also the number of bore-wells in that area.The court fixed the matter for further hearing on September 26.During the hearing the court was informed that several restaurants in the village, which also served liquor, were running in a prohibited area near ancient monuments and a school.It also asked the Archaeological Survey of India to inform it whether the eateries are away from their properties.The bench had earlier sent out a strong message to the eateries at the village operating without mandatory clearances, saying “we are here to protect the life and personal liberty of every person in the city”.The petitioners have alleged “unlawful existence” of restaurants, pubs, fashion studios, bars serving liquor without licence, art galleries and other buildings in the village.They have also claimed that these restaurants posed a grave security risk and fire hazard and apart from that the crowd in the area had made it impossible for emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire brigade vans to gain access to the restaurants.

LGBT rights: SC likely to hear Section 377 curative petition today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court ruled that the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of India, the apex court today will hear curative pleas over the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises gay sex.The curative petition has been filed by Naz Foundation and several gay rights activists challenging an SC judgment from 2013 upholding the validity of Section 377.The SC had, in 2013, set aside a 2009 judgment of the Delhi High Court decriminalising homosexuality, saying it should have been left up to the Parliament to amend or repeal the law.The fight against Section 377 got a major boost when a nine-judge Bench of the Supreme Court, while upholding the right to privacy as a fundamental right intrinsic to life and liberty observed that the chilling effect of Section 377 “poses a grave danger to the unhindered fulfilment of one’s sexual orientation, as an element of privacy and dignity.”The nine-member SC bench also observed: “Sexual orientation is an essential attribute of privacy. Discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation is deeply offensive to the dignity and self-worth of the individual”. (With inputs from agencies)

Appoint nodal officers to curb cow vigilantism: Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed all state governments to appoint a senior police officer as a nodal officer in each district to ensure that incidents of cow vigilantism are prevented and dealt with effectively. The job of these nodal officers, the court said, will be to ensure that vigilantes did not become a law unto themselves.”The senior police officer shall take prompt action and will ensure vigilante groups and such people are prosecuted with promptitude,” the bench said.Hearing a petition filed by Tushar Gandhi, great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, seeking directions to the Centre and states to take preventive measures against cow vigilantism, the bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra also directed the chief secretaries of all states to file a status report giving details of the actions taken to prevent incidents of cow vigilantism. It also asked the state governments to list steps they will take to step up security on highways.In the past, cow vigilantes have stopped vehicles carrying cattle on highways and attacked people.While passing the order, the bench also rejected the contentions of Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for four BJP-ruled states.The bench also sought the Centre’s response to the petitioner’s plea that the Centre issue directions under Article 256 of the Constitution to all state governments on issues related to law and order.Gandhi’s lawyer Indira Jaising also submitted details of various incidents of lynching and armed attacks on the pretext that the victims were either transporting or in possession of beef.The latest attack in the name of cow protection happened last month when villagers in West Bengal stopped a cattle-carrying truck, dragged out its two occupants and beat them to death.

HC seeks to see marital rape petition filed in SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court (HC) stated on Monday that it would be “highly improper” for it to hear the matter, if the issues raised in the present petition were similar to those being heard in the Supreme Court (SC).A Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Harishankar said they wanted to see the main petition before going forward with the hearing in the matter. “We have got to know that a similar matter is being heard in the SC. We want to see the main petition. We cannot overlap the matter,” the Bench stated.Appearing for the petitioners, Advocate Karuna Nandy said the Apex Court has been hearing a plea questioning the validity of a provision under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which permits a man to have a physical relationship with his wife, even if she was aged between 15 and 18 years.Nandy contended that the present petition challenged the constitutionality of Section 375 (rape) of the IPC on the grounds that it discriminated against married women who were being sexually assaulted by their husbands.The court then directed the presence of Advocate Gaurav Agarwal, who has been appearing for the petitioner, NGO Independent Thought, in the SC, on the next date of hearing — September 8.”We want to be satisfied,” the court said, directing that all orders passed by the Apex Court pertaining to the case should also be brought on the next date.The HC is hearing petitions that seek directions to criminalise marital rape, something the Centre is opposed to.Earlier, the Centre had stated before the court that marital rape cannot be made a criminal offence as it could have a destabilising effect on the institution of marriage, and become an easy tool for harassing husbands. The Centre had also sought that state governments be made party to the case, to ascertain their opinion and to avoid any complication at a later stage.‘NOT A RIGHT WAY’Earlier, the Centre had stated before the court that marital rape cannot be made a criminal offence as it could have a destabilising effect on the institution of marriage.
The Centre had also sought that state governments be made party to the case, to ascertain their opinion .

It was a war-like situation: Punjab and Haryana High Court asks for SIT to investigate Dera violence

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Punjab and Haryana High Court today said the mayhem caused by followers of self-styled godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh last Friday was a “war-like situation” which had to be tackled accordingly and gave a slew of directions in the matter.The court directed Punjab and Haryana governments to set up Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of three officers, headed by an officer not below the rank of an Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), to investigate all the cases registered at various places in connection with the Dera violence.The bench, comprising acting Chief Justice S S Saron and Justices Surya Kant and Avneesh Jhingan, directed that no FIR registered by the two states during the episode shall be cancelled without the permission of the High Court.It also ordered the Haryana government to file detailed status report regarding steps taken to sanitise Dera Sacha Sauda centres including its headquarters at Sirsa.The Dera counsel today submitted before the court that security forces should have used rubber bullets to disperse the mob in Panchkula and not opened fire.However, the judges did not agree.”You can’t go soft when some people come armed with petrol bombs and deadly weapons to indulge in arson and lawlessness,” the court said.”This was a war-like situation and it had to be fought like a war-like situation,” Justice Saron observed verbally.Senior advocate Anupam Gupta also said that he disagrees with Dera counsel as entire Haryana would have burnt had the security forces not responded strongly to the situation.Gupta further observed that when mob mentality comes and threatens everything, there has to be a hard response.The bench also made clear its intent to lay guidelines on situations in which regular bullets or rubber bullets were required to be fired.It was hearing a PIL filed by a Panchkula resident Ravinder Dhull, a lawyer, who had raised law and order concerns and stated that over 1.5 lakh people had reportedly entered the district earlier despite prohibitory orders.Violence broke out at Panchkula after Ram Rahim was convicted in a rape case by the special CBI court on Friday leaving 32 people dead while six died at Sirsa, even as incidents of violence were reported from parts of Punjab as well.The court also directed that case diaries of each FIR and the report of investigation in connection with the violence will be submitted on a monthly basis to the concerned “area magistrates”.The magistrates, within ten days thereafter, will submit their comments to the high Court.Among other directions, the bench directed Haryana to file a status report after it had directed that FIR be registered on the basis of a newspaper report in which it was alleged that some senior Dera functionaries had instigated and mobilised followers.On the issue of attachment of properties of the Dera, it was asked whether the Dera Sacha Sauda can be asked to give security and surety for payment of compensation during the pendency of these proceedings, Gupta told reporters later outside the court.While Haryana state was represented by Advocate General Baldev Raj Mahajan, Punjab AG Atul Nanda represented the state and the Dera’s counsel was also present. The Centre was represented in the case by Additional Solicitor General of India Satya Pal Jain.Justice Surya Kant said that a lot of credit must be given to the central forces in controlling the situation.The bench said it was relieved to hear from Advocate Generals of the two states that there has been no untoward incident during the past couple of days.The Haryana AG said that they were dealing with “extraordinary circumstances” and whatever happened in Panchkula when violence broke out was “unfortunate”.Mahajan, however, submitted that the forces had controlled the situation within two hours.The bench today again questioned Haryana on why a large number of people were allowed to gather in Panchkula and did not buy the argument that “clerical error” in the order for imposition of Section 144 of CrPC had led to it.Justice Surya Kant while pointing out to deadly weapons, iron rods, petrol bombs, sticks etc seized in the aftermath of the Panchkula violence questioned the Haryana AG as to how the state presumed that all of those who had came to Panchuka were there for a “peaceful gathering”.The AG admitted that some “shortcomings” may have been there in handling the situation, but the intent was to prevent bigger damage which arsonists could have inflicted in such a situation.Mahajan informed the court that 1,039 people have been arrested and 63 FIRs registered, 103 Dera centres sanitised so far.Justice Jhingan asked the Haryana AG as to who gave permission to Ram Rahim to come in a cavalcade of 200 cars, to which the AG said only two vehicles were permitted inside the court at Panchkula.The judge also asked as to how many people were travelling in five vehicles carrying private security of Ram Rahim.Later speaking to reporters outside the court, Satya Pal Jain said, “At the outset the bench said it wanted to clarify that some of their oral observations on the previous hearing have been misreported.”The bench said it never uttered any word against the prime minister. They said they have been misquoted. It was a general discussion, in which the PM’s name was not even mentioned, the bench clarified today.”Jain said the court will now hear the matter on September 27.

You have more firecrackers than Army, can burn whole country: SC to NCR fireworks manufacturers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “You have more firecrackers than the Indian Army. This can burn the whole country,” the Supreme Court said today after it was informed that 50 lakh kgs of fireworks were stocked in and around the National Capital Region (NCR).A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta also observed that “Diwali is celebrated for around five days. In those five days, 10 lakh kilogrammes of firecrackers are used per day.”The apex court was left wondering when it was informed by one of the counsel that around 50 lakh kgs of firecrackers were lying in stock of the suppliers and distributors in the NCR and around one lakh kgs was in stock in Delhi alone.The bench also wanted to know from the government what steps it has taken so far on banning Chinese firecrackers, when the counsel for the domestic manufacturers alleged that there was “no quality control” on these foreign items.The bench asked the government after the counsel for manufacturers claimed that the firecrackers imported from China were “much cheaper”, but a lot of banned materials were used in them and there was no quality control.”What have you (Centre) done about banning Chinese firecrackers,” the bench asked Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand who said she would take instructions on the issue and get back to the court.The apex court had in November last year directed the government to suspend all licences permitting wholesale and retail sale of fireworks within the NCR and said that suspension would be in force till further orders.It had also directed that no such licences shall be granted or renewed till further orders.During the arguments today, the manufacturers said that the rise in air pollution in the Delhi-NCR during the Diwali season was due to several reasons, including crop burning in neighbouring states, and not entirely due to the firecrackers.Delhi Police told the court that in 2016, they had given 968 temporary licences to sell firecrackers out of a total of 1,068 applications.It said last year, these licences were given for a period of 24 days during the festive seasons of Dussehra and Diwali.It, however, said the apex court could consider the issue of curtailing the period as well as limiting the number of temporary licences.The police also gave district-wise details of the number of temporary licences given last year including 101 licences given in the north-east, 49 in south and 75 in south-east districts here.”This court can rationalise it and if needed, reduce the number of number of licences. The time period can further be curtailed,” the counsel representing the police said.He also said that one can keep 600 kgs of firecrackers with a temporary licence, while in case of permanent licence, one can store the fireworks between 600 kgs and 1,500 kgs at a time.Meanwhile, the counsel appearing for the manufacturers told the court that there were 435 and 175 permanent licences in NCR and Delhi respectively.He said permanent licences are given by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) which also have a strict process of inspection and a regulatory mechanism was in place.”Firecracker is one of the factor for pollution but it cannot be the sole factor. The increase in pollution during winters is also due to crop burning,” the counsel said.The bench was also told by one of the parties that the major concern was regarding enforcement of the directions, as crackers were being burst even even after 10 PM despite apex court order.”Sikkim has prohibited firecrackers. In China, the use of firecrackers is regulated. When the pollution level rises in China, government bans its use there,” the lawyer said.The Delhi government told the bench that they have asked the schools to educate students about the harmful effects and toxic materials emitted by the use of firecrackers.The apex court was hearing arguments in a matter related to pollution from firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR region.It had earlier expressed concern over air pollution in Delhi-NCR, especially from crackers during the festive season of Diwali and Dussehra, and said the authorities have to take steps to regulate firecracker industries.The apex court had earlier refused to modify its order banning the sale and stockpiling of firecrackers in Delhi and the NCR. It had refused to revoke the suspension of licences of traders dealing in such explosive material.It had also directed the Central Pollution Control Board to prepare an inventory of existing firecrackers with the traders and suggest measures for their disposal. PTI ABA MNL SJK RKS

Right to privacy: SC says verdict to have ‘some bearing’ on possession of beef in Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday said its verdict declaring right to privacy a fundamental right would have “some bearing” in matters related to the possession of beef in Maharashtra.The apex court made the observation while hearing a batch of appeals filed against the Bombay High Court’s May 6, 2016 verdict decriminalising the possession of beef in case of animals slaughtered outside the state.A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan was informed by an advocate that yesterday’s judgement from a nine-judge Constitution bench, declaring right to privacy a fundamental right, was important for adjudication of the appeal. “Yes, that judgement will have some bearing in these matters,” the bench said.The Supreme Court had on Thursday said “nobody would like to be told what to eat or how to dress” while ruling that these activities come under the realm of the right to privacy.Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for some of the petitioners, referred to the privacy judgement and said the right to eat food of one’s choice is now protected under privacy.She also told the bench that Maharashtra government’s appeal challenging the high court verdict was already pending before another bench of the apex court.The bench, after hearing the submissions, posted the matter after two weeks.The Maharashtra government had on August 10 moved the apex court challenging the high court’s verdict striking down sections 5(d) and 9(b) of the Maharashtra Animals Preservation (Amendment) Act, 1995, which criminalised and imposed punishment on persons found in possession of beef of animals, slaughtered in or outside the state, on the ground that it infringed upon a person’s “right to privacy”.The court had issued notice on the appeal and tagged the matter along with several pending pleas related to the issue.The high court had termed “unconstitutional” the provisions which held that mere possession of beef was a crime, saying only “conscious possession” of the meat of animals slaughtered in the state would be an offence.The plea assailed the judgement, saying the restriction imposed by the 1995 Act on possession of flesh of cow, bull or bullock could not be interpreted and concluded to be an infringement of “right to privacy”.The state government had said the high court “while coming to the finding that right to privacy forms part of the fundamental right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, ought to have appreciated that right to privacy was not yet designated as a fundamental right”.The plea had said that according to the verdict, obligation upon the state to prove “conscious possession” of beef would “constitute an unsurmountable circumstance readily available to the wrongdoer to escape sentence”.In its judgement, the high court had upheld the ban on slaughter of bulls and bullocks imposed by the Maharashtra government, but decriminalised possession of beef in case the animals were slaughtered outside the state.The judgement had come on a batch of petitions filed in the high court challenging the constitutional validity of the Act and, in particular, the possession and consumption of beef of animals slaughtered outside Maharashtra.

SC restores faith in freedom

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The unanimous judgment of 9 Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court in the privacy matter is a reaffirmation of the right to life and personal liberty and the incremental expansion to the judicial enumeration of rights through an interpretative process in constitutional law. The Supreme Court has held that the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right that inheres to every human being regardless of his caste, creed, gender or orientation. The said Right to Privacy is a natural, inalienable right that is inseparable from human existence and an intrinsic part of the human element. The right to life and personal liberty as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution has subsumed within its fold the right to go abroad, right against solitary confinement, right against bar fetters, right to legal aid, right to speedy trial, right against handcuffing, right against delayed execution, right against custodial violence, rights against public hanging, right to doctor’s assistance, right to shelter, right to livelihood, right to protect one’s reputation, right to have an environment free of pollution and the right to privacy. The Supreme Court has unequivocally held that the right to privacy is a sine qua non for the enjoyment of other rights under Part III of the Constitution of India and thereby recognises the overlapping of fundamental rights under our Constitutional scheme.The specious argument of the Government that the amorphous nature of the right to privacy and its failure to withstand constitutional scrutiny was rejected by the Constitution Bench and held that privacy includes at its core the preservation of personal intimacies, the sanctity of family life, marriage, procreation, home and sexual orientation. The Court accepted the argument that privacy is imperative for the protection of our diversity, heterogeneity and pluralism. At a point in time when the strain of divisive politics is curtailing citizen’s right to freely exercise his freedom of choice, an acknowledgement by the Supreme Court of the right to privacy as intrinsic to human existence has broadened the contours and scope of human freedom and has again brought the welfare of the individual to the centre stage.The Supreme Court expressed concern on the challenges to the right to privacy by non-state actors and has urged legislative intervention on a robust data protection law to safeguard privacy in the digital age. This assumes importance on account of reports of leakage of data and personal information from the Unique Identification Authority in spite of penal provisions regulating the handling and protection of sensitive information. Furthermore the need of the hour is to frame fool proof data protection architecture against misuse of personal information for oblique purposes by the State or its instrumentalities as well as to safeguard against commercial misuse of personal information for purposes like date profiling and surveillance. The Court has succinctly held that informational privacy is an integral component of the right to privacy and a sensitive balance ought to be maintained between individual interests and legitimate concerns of the State.The genesis of the challenge before the 9 Judges Bench was triggered on account of an incongruity in the previous Supreme Court rulings in the cases of M.P. Sharma (1954) which held that the fundamental right to liberty as analogous to the fourth amendment in the US Constitution cannot be imported through a strained process of construction and Kharak Singh (1962) which though did partially hold that unwarranted intrusion into the person’s home is a violation of common law right but failed to recognize right to privacy as a fundamental right as opposed to a series of subsequent judgments of smaller benches of the Supreme Court that clearly and categorically held that the right to privacy is a fundamental right. The matter travelled from a bench of 3 Hon’ble Judges hearing the Aadhar case to 5 Hon’ble Judges who deemed it appropriate to conclusively decide the jurisprudential correctness of the earlier Supreme Court judgments in the cases of M.P. Sharma (8 Hon’ble Judge) and Kharak Singh (6 Hon’ble Judges) on the issue of according fundamental right status to the Right to Privacy.It is needless to state that no right is absolute and the infraction of a fundamental right will have to meet the 3 fold test of the existence of a law, the need and aims of the statute and proportionality with the rational nexus sought to be achieved. The satisfaction of compelling state interests will have to be met on a case to case basis. However the requirement of reasonableness of the restrictions will work as an inbuilt system of checks and balances which will have to satisfy the ingredients of just, fair and reasonable. This judgment will have far reaching implications on a range of matters ranging from Aadhar to Section 377 of the IPC and to the ongoing debate on the curtailment of the freedom of choice and expression.Aadil Boparai is a lawyer in the Supreme Court of India

Govt must ensure judgement is applied in letter and spirit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a unanimous verdict delivered today by nine Judges Bench of the Supreme Court, right to privacy has been held to be a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of India. The Judges have said that privacy comes under the right to life and liberty under article 21 of the Constitution.The Supreme Court has not only overruled the argument advanced by the Government that right to privacy cannot be a fundamental right, it has also overruled its two earlier judgements in the case of M.P. Sharma, delivered in 1954 and Kharak Singh case delivered in 1962 – both of which had ruled that privacy is not a fundamental right.Today’s judgement, in my opinion, will have no impact on the Aadhar scheme as the issue before the nine judges Bench was only with regard to right to privacy as fundamental right. Now a smaller Bench of the Court will look into the issue relating to Aadhar on the touchstone of principles laid down by the nine judges Bench.Why is this ruling important?This ruling is important as it has put at rest the controversy raised on the issue of right to privacy. It has not only cleared air on the stand taken by the Government, more particular with regard to protection of data collected by the government agencies, it has also over ruled earlier judgements which were, perhaps, delivered in a different context. In this age of technology, the right to privacy has acquired a different dimension and the citizens are looking for a law which will stop misuse of personal information collected not only by the government agencies but also by other service providers. In fact, there are judgements by the Supreme Court in the past also where right to privacy has been held to be part of article 21 (See Govind Vs. State of MP, AIR 1975 SC 1378). In fact what was implicit in law has now been made explicit. The present judgement is in sync with the progressive interpretation given by the Courts to Article 21 of the Constitution during the last four decades.Will the Government need to change any law or bring a new law:I don’t think there is need to change any law. However, the Government must ensure that the judgement delivered by the Supreme Court is implemented in letter and spirit. The big issue is to find a way to ensure that the data collected by the government agencies as well as by other service providers is not misused and also not used for unauthorized purposes. The law enacted by the Parliament relating to Aadhar makes provision for protection of data collected under it. This is not enough to deal with larger issue of right to privacy. An independent robust law on data protection is need of the hour.How will the judgement impact the common citizen?In a way, the judgement puts a restriction on the power of the State to some extent. Now any law made by the Legislature affecting right to privacy will be tested on the touch stone of principles laid down in the chapter relating to Fundamental rights, more particularly article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.What will be the impact of the judgement:The clarity brought by the judgement that the right to privacy is a fundamental right may lead to some more petitions being filed in the court, may be by way of PIL, for review of some of its earlier judgements like banning of gay sex etc. However, it needs to be remembered that privacy, even though a fundamental right, has varied connotations. Therefore, it will be difficult to lay down principles in a strait jacket formula as to what will constitute violation of right to privacy. It will have to be decided on case to case basis.-PK Malhotra is former Union Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs and Legislative Department.Former Union Secretary, Dept of Legal Affairs and Legislative Dept

Govt alleges bias; seeks transfer of noise pollution case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Maharashtra government today filed an application before the Bombay High Court’s Chief Justice seeking that all matters pertaining to noise pollution rules be transferred to another bench, while alleging that one of the judges hearing the matter is “biased” against the state government. “One of the judges is harbouring a serious bias against the state government,” the government alleged in its application. When the state’s Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbakoni informed a division bench of Justices A S Oka and Riyaz Chagla of the application, the bench expressed shock and said it does not intend to recuse itself from hearing the matter. “We are really shocked with the contents of the application. There is specific allegation against me that I am biased against the state government. But we won’t get provoked by such allegations,” Justice Oka said. “I will not recuse myself from hearing the petitions just because the government is levelling allegations against me,” he said. The bench has now directed the government to approach the Chief Justice and obtain an order on its application immediately. “We will post these petitions this afternoon as the petitioners have sought interim relief by way of stay on the amendment to the Noise Pollution Rules,” the court said. The government had earlier this week informed the court that pursuant to an amendment to the Noise Pollution Rules from August 10 this year, no silence zones exist in the state as on date. The government will now carry out a fresh exercise to identify areas which will be declared as silence zones, it had said. As per the amendment, any area/zone will have to be declared or notified by the state government as a silence zone. Kumbakoni had earlier told the court that by virtue of this amendment, an order passed by the high court in August 2016 declaring any area not less than 100 meters of hospitals, educational institutions and courts are silence zones, cannot be operated. The bench had yesterday refused to accept the government’s contention and said until the government files an application seeking review of the 2016 order, the directions passed therein will continue to operate. “We had yesterday voiced our prima facie opinion to the state government and today the government has acted like an ordinary litigant and levelled allegations against me,” Justice Oka said today. The court noted that the government has failed to realise and understand the consequences of its decision to file such an application. The bench has been hearing a bunch of petitions seeking strict implementation of the Noise Pollution Rules.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Shah Bano Case: All you need to know about the case that made history

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shah Bano was 62-year-old when her well-known lawyer husband threw her out of their Indore house.The mother of five could have been yet another story of an oppressed woman subjected to humiliation by her husband.Instead, Bano decided to fight her husband, the male-dominated society and changed the system forever.Here’s a brief time-line of the Shah Bano case that became a milestone.April, 1978: Mohammed Ahmad Khan divorces Shah Bano after his second marriage and refuses to provide her promised maintenance of Rs 200. Bano files a plea in a local court against her husband under Section 125 (Code of Criminal Procedure) asking him to provide the money for her and her children.November, 1978: Mohammed Ahmad Khan gives Shah Bano an irrevocable talaq and says since she is not his wife under Islamic law, he is not obliged to pay her the maintenance.August, 1979: Shah Bano wins maintenance case with the local court ordering Khan to provide her with maintenance of Rs 25 per month.July, 1908: Shah Bano files another plea asking for a revised maintenance. The Madhya Pradesh High Court gives order in her favour with a revised maintenance of Rs 179.20.February, 1981: The two-judge Bench refers the Shah Bano case to a larger Bench.April, 1985: In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court rules in favour of Shah Bano and upholds the decision by the High Court.1986: Rajiv Gandhi comes to power in 1984 after the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi. In what is seen as caving in under pressure form Muslim hardliners, PM Rajiv Gandhi enacts a law in Parliament and overturns the Supreme Court judgment in the Shah Bano case. The 1986 Muslim Women (Protection on Rights of Divorce) Act diluted the Supreme Court judgment and allowed maintenance to a divorced woman only during the period of iddat, or till 90 days after the divorce.

HC lashes out at Hauz Khas eateries for violating bye-laws

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Will the clearance certificates extinguish fire, an anguished bench of the Delhi High Court today asked the owners of the Hauz Khas village eateries here allegedly running in violation of building bye-laws and the master plan. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said that “people have turned blind and to earn profit out of their business, they are doing whatever they want to do”. “Don’t you (owners of the Hauz Khas village eateries) have any responsibility towards the city you live in and its citizens. Is it not your responsibility to ensure safety of the people,” the bench asked. It also asked the eateries who had permitted them to run commercial activities in rural area like Hauz Khas. “Mere permission from the authorities concerned, with regard to the fire clearance and other licences to run an eatery, will not save the life of the people visiting there. “You will have to ensure compliance of building bye-laws as per master plan including parking and other facilities,” the bench said, adding that the roads there are so choked that not even a fire tender can reach the spot during need. The court made the oral observation when an owner of Hauz Khas village eatery approached it for urgent listing of a petition against the south Delhi municipal corporation order to shut down the restaurant. The corporation had issued them notice on the ground that they were operating without any building plan approval or no objection certificate (NOC) from the authorities, including the fire department. Earlier, during the hearing of a plea, the court was told that not a single eatery in south Delhi’s popular Hauz Khas Village appeared to have fire safety clearance. The bench had made the observation as the fire department had not disclosed in its affidavit whether it had received any reference from the police or the civic bodies for fire safety certification to any eatery in the area. The court is already hearing pleas alleging that there are over 120 restaurants and pubs running in the area without any building plan approval or NOC from the authorities, including the fire department.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Seashore CMD Prashant Dash gets bail in chit fund related case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Orissa High Court today granted bail to Seashore Group of Companies CMD Prashant Dash in a chit fund related case. Dash was arrested by the CBI from Mumbai in December 2013 for allegedly duping hundreds of poor people, who had invested over Rs 500 crore in his company hoping for better returns. The Bench of Justice C R Dash granted bail to Dash and directed him to deposit his passport with the Investigating Officer (IO). The court also told Dash not to visit places outside the state without prior permission from the IO. However, Dash, who is now lodged in a Bhubaneswar jail, is unlikely to walk free immediately as there are several other cases registered against him, sources said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Two state cops win medals at world games

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two policemen from Rajasthan have done the country proud by winning medals at the World Police and Fire Services Games held in USA from August 7 to 17. DIG Pushpendra Singh Rathore from Bikaner won gold medal in golf while ASI Manohar Singh from Jodhpur returned with silver in the Bench Press and Push/Pull competition. Singh had been preparing for the past 2-3 years as he couldn’t make it in 2015. “I got the NoC late in 2015, and therefore couldn’t get the visa. This time we managed to do all the formalities early and I got the medal,” Singh told DNA, in a telephonic call. Singh paid for the trip from his own pocket.Next, Singh would be working to get a gold. “I would start preparing for the games to be held in China in 2019. “If the department keeps supporting me, it would add to the confidence,” said Singh. Additional SP Vinod Kanwar, under whom Singh is working, said Singh never neglected his duty while preparing for the games. “We had our full support for him. But the process was a long one, and his passion was visible, we could see how badly he wanted to participate and win. We hope more people from the department will be inspired after seeing his win at such a big platform,” Kanwar said.Pushpendra Singh Rathore, DIG, Border Security Force, from Bikaner, faced 300 golfers from more than 80 countries. In the individual event, Rathore got a gold medal in Net Scores and a silver in Gross Scores.

Excess fee case: HC questions govt plan to take over 449 private schools

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court (HC) on Wednesday raised concerns about the Delhi government’s proposal to take over the management of as many as 449 private schools, after the latter informed the court that it has already processed the proposal and sent it Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal for approval. The case pertains to charging of excess fee by 544 private schools.In an affidavit, Principal Secretary Punya Salila Shrivastava said the proposal was sent to the L-G on August 14 and his approval is still pending. The court had summoned the Principal Secretary of the Education Department and Deputy Directorate of Education for filing a misleading affidavit earlier.A Bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Najmi Waziri then raised concern that the move might jeopardise the interests of the students.”Who is going to head these schools, if they are brought under the government? Make sure that you secure the interests of the students and not jeopardise the future of the school,” the Bench stated.On the suggestion that the schools would be headed by government school principals, the court asked the Principal Secretary to give a list of at least 50 such officials who can take on this duty. “Do you have enough officials? Give us the names of at least 50 such officials,” it said.The Bench also came down heavily upon the Directorate of Education (DoE) for the delay in the refund of excess fees, after the HC passed the order in 2011. “This delay is criminal. What are you doing? This is people’s money. The parents have been waiting for long years now. A regulatory mechanism has also not been set up, as ordered by the court in 2011. If the DoE needs any assistance, it can ask the court,” the Bench stated.The Delhi government further informed the court that while 15 schools have fully refunded the fees, to the tune of Rs 14.5 crore, to parents, 136 schools have partially refunded the fees, amounting to Rs 8.2 crore. As many as 13 schools have been shut while one of them has been taken over.NGO Social Jurists had filed a petition through Advocate Ashok Agarwal, which had alleged that schools hiked the fees “unreasonably” while failing to pay salaries of the teaching and non-teaching staffers, as per the pay panel recommendations. The HC had then directed nearly 500 private schools to refund this excess fees. When it did not happen, calling it a contempt of court, Advocate Ashok Agarwal moved the court.The court has now given two weeks to the Delhi government to file a status reports on all the steps taken in accordance with the law, and fixed the next date of hearing on September 6.SHORTLIST STAFFOn the suggestion that the schools would be headed by government school principals, the court asked the Principal Secretary to give a list of at least 50 such officials who can take on this duty.
“Do you have enough officials? Give us the names of at least 50 such officials,” it said.

Pass specific directions to states on jail reforms: Govt to Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre today urged the Supreme Court to pass “specific directions” to states to conform with the orders on jail reforms, including overcrowding of prisons and improving the living conditions of prisoners.Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, told a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that if specific directions were passed, the states would have to comply with it, otherwise they would be guilty of not adhering to the apex court’s order. He argued that the apex court could take up the prison reforms issue in six or seven states at a time and pass specific directions to them after hearing the matter.”This court should issue specific directives to each state. If that (court’s direction) is not done, they (states) will be guilty of not complying with your orders,” he told the bench, adding, “you can consider listing the matter of three states at a time. The Union of India will be there”. However, the bench said, “there would be some problem in this. If we will take matters of three-four states at a time, it will take time.””That would not be possible. There are a number of cases here. If we are going to take 3-4 states at a go, it will take time,” the bench said, after which Venugopal said the court could take up the matters of seven states at a time. The apex court also referred to various other Acts passed by Parliament and said these have to be implemented. “There are laws made by Parliment which have been discussed and debated. They have passed the law. These have to be implemented,” the bench said. The court said it was dealing with the issue of prison reforms which have four aspects — overcrowding in jails, unnatural deaths in prisons, training of staffs employed there and filling up of vacancies.It said it has already passed general directions so far as the aspect of overcrowding in prisons was concerned and it would decide on the remaining three issues. “We will consider this (on passing specific directions to states), but first finish this aspect of unnatural deaths,” the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on August 22. The top court had earlier asked the Centre and all states to implement its directions on prison reforms.Earlier, the court had pointed to the “huge discrepancy” in expenses incurred on jail inmates by various states and had asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to come out with a scheme to audit the accounts of jails across the country with the assistance of the Comptroller and Auditor General. As per the data, the expense per inmate in jails in Bihar was Rs 83,691 per annum, while that in Rajasthan was only about Rs 3,000 per annum. Similarly, in Nagaland, it stood at about Rs 65,468 per annum, while in Punjab, it was around Rs 16,669, it had noted.It had taken note of staff crunch in the prisons as the sanctioned strength of jail officers and staff as on December 31, 2014 was 79,988, out of which the actual strength stood at only 52,666. The bench is hearing a 2013 PIL on the inhuman conditions prevailing in 1,382 prisons across the country.

Uttar Pradesh infant deaths: NHRC steps in

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shortly after the Supreme Court refused to take suo moto cognizance of the Gorakhpur tragedy, wherein nearly 60 children died in a state-run hospital, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice, seeking an inquiry into the matter.In its notice, the NHRC observed that the death of so many children indicated gross callousness by the hospital administration and the state Medical Education and Health Departments.Last week, nearly 63 children at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College reportedly died over a period of five days after the supply of liquid oxygen dried up. In a strongly worded-notice, issued to Uttar Pradesh, the NHRC called for a detailed report in the matter.It also asked for the steps taken for relief and rehabilitation of the affected families as well as action taken against the guilty officers.The panel further indicated that it has come across several such instances of deaths in hospitals due to Japanese Encephalitis earlier as well. It observed that during its recently concluded Open Hearing and Camp Sitting in Lucknow, held between August 9 and 11, the issue of deaths due to Japanese Encephalitis was discussed with the Chief Secretary and other senior officials of the state government in detail. Despite assurances from the state administration, however, the situation has not improved, the note stated.It further read: “A magisterial inquiry has been ordered by the administration to ascertain the cause of death. In the last three decades, Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) have claimed over 50,000 lives in eastern Uttar Pradesh, mostly in the Gorakhpur district. It is further mentioned that a total of 124 deaths were reported in the hospital till August 8, 2017. As many as 641 children died last year and 491 in 2015.” Meanwhile, in a submission before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, Advocate Rajeshwari Reddy stated: “So many children have died in the Gorakhpur hospital. This court should take suo moto cognizance.”The Bench, which also comprised Justice DY Chandrachud, then observed: “The incident relates to a hospital of the state. We saw on the TV that the Chief Minister and other ministers are personally visiting the hospital”, while declining to take cognizance of the matter. “Go to the High Court,” it added.

Encroachments in Delhi is a criminal act, says high court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Coming down heavily on encroachments in the city, the Delhi High Court said, “What we have done to this city is a criminal act.The court strongly deplored alleged encroachments of forest land in Neb Sarai village in south Delhi.A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal, said that encroachments could not be permitted in the ridge areas of the national capital as these were primary “natural features”.The bench said it was shocking that forest land fell prey to illegal constructions and encroachments.The remarks were made during hearing of an application by a Neb Sarai-based couple who have urged the court to direct the Delhi government’s forest department to provide space for entry and exit from their house.The couple have submitted that the space near their house did not come under forest area and if the court found it to the contrary, then they would willingly hand over the possession of the land in front of their house which has been allegedly encroached by the family. The bench in an interim order, has asked the forest department to give them space for entry and exit for now.The bench has observed that the law laid down by the Supreme Court as well as the statutory mandate ha. ve to be strictly complied with

‘Larger CIC bench on RTI cases relating to political parties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The four-member bench constituted by Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur to adjudicate complaints that political parties are not adhering to the provisions of the RTI Act has not been set up “properly and legally”, a complainant has alleged. Activist R K Jain, on whose petition the Delhi High Court had directed the CIC to decide the matter, has questioned the legality of the constitution of the new bench, which replaced the three-member panel under Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu. The three-member panel headed by Acharyulu was hearing the matter since July 22, 2016, until Bimal Julka, one of its members, decided to recuse himself citing workload. After his recusal, Mathur had put the matter in abeyance. No member of the bench headed by Acharyulu, which had heard the matter for nearly five months, has found a place on the new panel. Earlier, Acharyulu was taken off cases pertaining to the Ministry of Human Resource Development after he had ordered disclosure of academic records of the BA course of Delhi University of 1978, the year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is understood to have passed the examination. In his objection submitted to the Commission, Jain, a lawyer, said the Chief Information Commissioner has no power under the RTI Act to dissolve an already constituted full bench of three Information Commissioners and form a fresh bench without assigning or recording any reason. He said that none of the members on the new bench possesses legal qualification and experience in the legal field which goes against the directives of the Supreme Court in a separate matter related to the RTI Act. “The full bench of three Information Commissioner, which has been dissolved, was presided by M S Acharyulu who is a legally qualified person being LL.M. and with experience in the legal field, while the present four-member bench constituted in place thereof, does not comprise any member who possesses legal qualifications and experience in the field of law,” Jain claimed. It is against the apex court directives, he added. Citing a Gujarat High Court verdict, he said Chief Justice of the High Court cannot constitute a larger Bench unless the matter is referred to him by a competent bench for it. He said none of the members of the three-member bench has referred the matter back to the Chief Information Commission, hence, he has no jurisdiction to constitute a further Larger Bench of four Information Commissioners. “The constitution of a four-member bench is not in the interest of justice because large number of cases are listed before the said bench and if the bench is equally divided, then matter has to be reheard. This may delay the disposal of the present complaint…,” he said. A full Bench of the Commission had brought six national parties– the Congress, the BJP, the NCP, the CPI, the CPM and the BSP under the ambit of the RTI Act on 3 June, 2013. Jain had filed a complaint after he did not get any response to his RTI applications seeking to know the details of budget, constitution, elections etc in these political parties. Seeing delay in hearing the matter by the CIC, he had approached the Delhi High Court. In 2014, the Delhi High Court had directed the CIC to complete the hearing in the matter within six months.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

NDMC to launch drive against plastic use

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a major crackdown on plastic use, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), on Saturday, announced that it would launch a drive against the use of plastic bags that are less than 50 microns, in its jurisdiction.The move has come following the order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The NGT had imposed an interim ban on the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags less than 50 microns in the Capital on Thursday.“In compliance with NGT directions dated August 10, 2017 North Delhi Municipal Corporation is going to launch an intensive drive in its jurisdiction against use and stock of plastic less than 50 microns and is non-compostable,” the NDMC said in a communication to all the stockholders.As per NGT’s directions, anyone found in possession of or using such plastic, shall be liable to a Rs 5,000 fine per default as environmental compensation. All stock of such plastic is directed to be seized in a week’s time, after which no plastic shall be used. “Therefore, NDMC advises all shop owners, vendors, stockists or otherwise to comply with NGT directions to safeguard against such action,” the corporation said.NDMC is the first corporation out of Delhi’s three MCDs to implement the NGT guidelines.Earlier on Thursday, the Bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar had also asked the AAP-led Delhi government and the Delhi Pollution Control Committee to file an affidavit by a senior most officer and inform it how directions with regard to waste management in the city were being implemented, particularly in respect to plastic.

Allow nursing home to operate, Bombay High Court to Mulund high-rise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court recently rejected a petition filed by a housing society in Mulund, challenging the permission granted by the BMC, for a nursing home to operate on the second floor of a high-rise building. The dismissal of the petition holds significance as many buildings in Mumbai are similarly placed.A division Bench dismissed a petition filed by Manisha Heights Cooperative Housing Society, challenging an order passed by the corporation in 2016. The building, which is ground-plus-19 floors, has reserved the first two floors for commercial use. The third and fourth floor are reserved for parking, while rest of the floors are for residential purpose.The society claimed that the nursing home cannot operate in a residential building, relying on provisions of Maharashtra Ownership Flat Act and regulation 51, under the 1991 Development Control Rules, permission allowing a nursing home can only be in an independent building. The developer and civic body opposed the petition. They argued that permissions were granted in accordance with law. The commercial part of the high rise where the nursing home is situated has a separate access and developer has taken all efforts to ensure no inconvenience is caused to any resident of the building.The Bench after going through the Regulation and Provisions of the Act, said “Courts are required to read the provisions harmoniously. If we read the regulation 51 of DCR, words used indicate that nursing home can be permitted in an independent part of the building. User of nursing home can be permitted only requirement will be that such a premises must have an independent access, from within or outside of the building.”Further it said “Since in the present petition it is seen that the nursing home is in an independent part of the building having independent access. Moreover, two floors above the second floor are reserved for parking purpose, in that view of the matter nursing home is in an independent area.” Thus the petition stands dismissed.

Par panel endorses key amendment in inter-state river water

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A parliamentary committee today endorsed an amendment to a bill which provides for setting up of a tribunal on inter-state river water disputes with finality of authority. The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2017, introduced in Parliament in March, seeks to set up a single, permanent tribunal to adjudicate all such disputes subsuming existing tribunals. The parliamentary panel, under the chairmanship of lawmaker Hukum Singh, noted the amendment in the bill entails that the decision of the tribunal bench will be final and binding on the parties to the dispute. It also noted that such decisions will have the same force as an order or a decree of the Supreme Court. About the provision to deal with the situation where the states and union territories fail to abide by the award of the Bench or Tribunal, the panel said the ministry has informed that they can be persuaded to do so. “Besides, the party states are expected to abide by the awards or else it amounts to breakdown of the constitutional machinery and there are provisions in the Constitution to deal with such eventuality,” the panel said in its report tabled in Parliament today. It said the Constitution debars any other court to exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute under the ISRWD Act, 1956. However, the apex court has been exercising its jurisdiction under some articles of the Constitution for considering the matters related to awards given on inter-state river water dispute, it noted. “The Committee, therefore, endorses this clause — which seeks giving finality to the award of the Tribunal so as to avoid the endless litigation on the disputes. However, the Committee would refrain from interpreting any Constitutional provision in this regard,” it said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

PWD uses manual scavengers for de-silting, faces HC ire

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court today pulled up the Public Works Department (PWD) of the state government for the use of manual scavengers by contractors in de-silting drains. A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and S P Garg asked the PWD how it had allowed the prohibited activity of manual scavenging and why it was not supervising the work of its contractors. It asked the PWD to compile data on the number of manual scavengers being used by contractors and how it planned to deal with the problem. Three sanitation workers died of asphyxiation while cleaning a drain in Delhi last week. The Delhi government department also faced flak from the court for the alleged levelling and encroachment of the Kushak storm water drain under the Barapullah flyover here. The bench told the PWD to initiate immediate action to remove all encroachments as well as buses parked there. The court was also displeased with the conflicting statements made before it by the PWD, which earlier said work on the Barapullah bridge would be finished by the end of June 2017, which it later extended to July 2017. Today, the department said work would be over by December 31. “Can you do one thing correctly? Can you set a timeline and stick to it,” the court asked the department. The court also pulled up municipal corporations for not filing data on the number of safai karamchaaris employed by them. The court had sought the data in May this year. It directed the corporations to submit the information before the next date of hearing on August 16. Directions were also issued to the Delhi Jal Board to give an action plan addressing the issue of untreated sewage flowing into the Yamuna. During the hearing, the court commissioner appointed by the bench drew its attention to manual scavengers who, without proper equipment, were made to de-silt drains opening into the Kushak drain. The commissioner and some of the residents of the adjoining areas also informed the bench about the alleged levelling of the land under the entire stretch of the bridge. They alleged the levelling was being permitted to allow encroachments and added that buses were being parked there. The court commissioner said the debris had not been removed completely as was ordered by the bench on the last date of hearing on July 25. The court had then pulled up the civic bodies for the “dismal” state of the Kushak drain and directed the removal of debris within three days. The court’s directions came on a PIL initiated by it in 2012 on the issue of water-logging in the South Extension Part II area and in which it had passed orders from time to time to the PWD to clear rubble from the Kushak nullah.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Right to Privacy case: Overarching guidelines needed to protect an individual’s privacy, says SC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that there has to be “overarching” guidelines to protect an individual’s private information in public domain to ensure that it was used only for an intended purpose.A nine-judge Constitution bench, dealing with the contentious issue whether right to privacy was a fundamental right, rejected plea of a Gujarat government lawyer that misuse of personal information could be dealt with on a “case-to-case basis” and said an all-embracing guideline was needed keeping in mind the size of the population.The bench, headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, also referred to the fact that India was a signatory of a 1948 international convention which recognised privacy as a human right.Referring to arguments put forward by the Maharashtra government on the issue, the court said, “Even if we accept it that the Constituent Assembly dealt with it (privacy issue) and decided against including it as a fundamental right, then how you will deal with the fact that India is a signatory to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights which recognises it.”The bench, which also comprised justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, R F Nariman, A M Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer, said that there has to be an “overarching” or all-embracing guideline to ensure that the private information of individuals, put in public domain, wwas used only for an intended purpose.”If I give personal information like names, parents’ name and telephone numbers for a particular purpose, then a reasonable expectation will be that it is used only for that particular purpose… (Otherwise) how we will deal with the violations?” it asked.On the issue that a large number of people have put their personal information in public domain, the bench said, “When you have so many users, then you cannot decide on facts of each case. You have to have over-arching principles or guidelines to regulate.”At the outset, senior advocate C A Sundaram, representing the Maharashtra government, said the apex court has been entrusted with the power of interpretation of the Constitution and the law and it cannot introduce right to privacy as a fundamental right under the Constitution.”Parliament and only Parliament can do it,” he said.”This is not a case of interpretation of the Constitution or the law. This is the case of introduction of a right as a fundamental right. This can be done only by Parliament,” Sundaram said.He then referred to the terms, interpretation, introduction and interruption and said that the courts could interpret, but not introduce privacy as a fundamental right.In the Constituent Assembly debates, the forefathers of the Constitution had considered the issue of privacy and decided against including it as a fundamental right and if, now it was being felt that it should be considered as a fundamental right, then only Parliament could do it, he said.The bench, however, said that it could not be stated that the Constituent Assembly debated every aspects of privacy.Sundaram said some aspects of privacy can be traced to Article 21 (Right to Life and Personal Liberty) of the Constitution, but it cannot be held as a fundamental right.On the issue of data protection, he said that Article 300 of the Constitution dealing with common law rights may be taken recourse to in a case of a violation.Right to privacy was “statutorily” protected and there was no need to elevate it as a fundamental right to deal with any possible infringement, he said.He submitted that Article 21 refers to the term “personal liberty” and not “liberty or civil liberty” and the term personal liberty means physical liberty only.”Instead of expanding the scope of fundamental rights, you are saying that contract the scope of the fundamental right to liberty,” the bench said.Responding to the query of the bench that India was a signatory of an UN declaration, the senior lawyer said that an international obligation can be fulfilled by enacting a separate statute and there is no need of its inclusion as a fundamental right.Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and the Madhya Pradesh government, referred to various legislations including the Income Tax Act, the Right to Information Act and the Indian Telegraph Act and said that aspects of privacy has been protected under the statutes.Several legislations protect the aspect of privacy and being a common law right, it need not be elevated in the category of the fundamental rights, he argued.”Privacy is inherently a vague and subjective concept which is incapable of any precise definition and its contours cannot be conferred with a status of a fundamental right,” Mehta said.The legislature has been granting protection to the various aspects of “common law right to privacy” through statutes, he said.He also referred to the prevalent practices in various countries and said there were instances where privacy was not conferred the status of a constitutional right.Referring to the Aadhaar scheme, he said that even the State cannot track the activities of an individual by using the Aadhaar number and moreover, there are enough safeguards provided in the Act to protect personal information.Another senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the Gujarat government, said that he did not take the “extreme position” that privacy did not fall under any of the fundamental rights.He, however, said that facets of privacy can be traced to Article 21.The arguments would continue tomorrow in the apex court which said that it might reserve the verdict in the matter.

Work out plan for removal of ‘Seemai Karuvelam’ trees: HC to

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an interim order, the Madras High Court today directed the Tamil Nadu government to work out a plan for removal of ‘Seemai Karuvelam’ (Prosopis Juliflora) trees from water bodies in a phased manner. The direction was given by a bench comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee, Justice MM Sundresh and Justice M Sundar on a PIL filed by A Meganathan, an advocate, seeking to forebear authorities from drastically removing ‘Seemai Karuvalam’ trees without any scientific proof on their negative aspects. The First Bench had referred the matter to a larger bench and stayed felling of the trees until further orders on April 28. On May 11, the state government had informed the court that a committee headed by Chief Conservator of Forest (Research) as chairman was appointed to go into various aspects of the negative and positive impacts of the trees. Government Pleader M K Subramaniam today submitted the panel’s analysis report to the larger bench. After going through the report, the bench in its order said, “As per the recommendation of the committee a plan may be worked out and implemented for removal of ‘Karuvelam’ trees across water bodies in the state in a phased manner.” The authorities with the help of the committee and other experts can identify areas where removal process should be mechanical and where it should be manual and appropriate land management standards shall also be designed to control the spread of the trees, the judges said. A programme should also be evolved for planting alternative species on the land cleared of ‘Karuvelam’ trees. The expert committee, in its report, said “the committee reviewed in an exhaustive manner available scientific literature and analysed the facts and is of the opinion that total removal of Prosopsis Juliflora is not necessary.” The committee said removal of the trees may be initiated to facilitate flow of water to augment the storage capacity of water bodies. Referring to southern districts of Tamil Nadu such as Virudhunagar, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Tirunelveli, Thoothukodi and other areas where the tree is dominant, the panel in the report said, “the native soil does not support much plant diversity, the total removal of Juliflora is not recommended.” The larger bench, which passed the interim order on the basis of the report, directed the state to file an action taken report within eight weeks and posted the matter for October 13.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

We don’t support cow vigilantism: Government to Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it does not support cow vigilantism, adding that action against perpetrators was the job of the state governments, since law and order is a state subject. Arguing for the Centre, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the Bench, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, “…the Centre does not have any role in it. However, no vigilante group has any space in the country as per the law. The Centre does not support any kind of vigilantism,” Kumar said.The Bench, also comprising AM Khanwilkar and MM Shantanagoudar, said, “You say that law and order is a state subject and states are taking actions as per law. You don’t protect any kind of vigilantism.” The court also asked the Centre and states to take steps to remove related violent content uploaded on social media, while seeking the response of the Centre and the state governments to acts of violence in four weeks.The Centre’s submissions come after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment on Sunday that states must take stringent action against those violating the law in the name of cow protection. The PM’s comment had come a day before the start of Parliament’s Monsoon Session that has since been rocked over the issue.The Gujarat and Jharkhand governments also informed the top court that they have taken appropriate action against cow vigilantes. The replies came after directions from the court which is hearing social activist Tehseen Poonawala’s petition that seeks action from the Centre and states against the so-called gau rakshaks. The matter will be heard next on September 6.The PM’s comment on Sunday was the latest in a string of similar remarks made against the backdrop of cases of cow vigilantism and mob frenzy.Last month, he said in Gujarat that killing people in the name of ‘gau bhakti’ was not acceptable, a remark that came amid outrage over a 16-year-old’s lynching on a running Delhi-Mathura train by a mob that called him a ‘beef-eater’.President Pranab Mukherjee followed the PM early this month, and said that when mob frenzy becomes so high, irrational and uncontrollable, “we have to pause and reflect”.The PM had used his first-ever townhall in August last year to deliver a lacerating statement, saying “most of these people are anti-social elements hiding behind the mask of gau rakshaks”.”I get so angry at those who are into the gau-rakshak business. A gau-bhakt is different, gau-seva is different. I have seen that some people are into crimes all night and wear the garb of gau-rakshaks in the day,” PM Modi had said, answering a question at the interactive session.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Ram Nath Kovind scales Raisina Hill, Harmanpreet Kaur’s demolition Derby, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. President-elect Kovind’s village in UP hopes for better days ahead”It is like Diwali and Holi coming together,” said a veiled Ganga Devi Kovind, relative of the President-elect, as she distributed sweets hours before the result was officially announced. Read more here2. Apple gets personal data, why not state, asks Supreme CourtThe final view of the nine-judge Bench will be a core factor before a five-judge Constitution Bench, which is waiting to decide whether the Aadhaar scheme is a violation of citizens’ right to privacy. Read more here3. Strong earthquake rattles Turkish and Greek coasts, at least 2 dead, scores injuredGreek holiday island of Kos is reportedly the most affected area. European quake agency EMSC warns of a small tsunami. Read more here4. ‘Kaurnage’ at Derby: Harmanpreet powers India to epic win against Australia in WWC semifinalHarmanpreet Kaur produced one of greatest ever ODI knocks in women’s cricket as India stormed into the ICC World Cup final, demolishing Australia by 36 runs in the semi-final, in Derby on Tuesday. Read more here5. Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington commits suicideLinkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, who sold millions of albums with an ever-changing mix of hard rock, hip-hop and rap, was found dead in his home near Los Angeles, the Los Angeles County coroner said. Read more here

Can you have right to privacy to suppress your identity: Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Supreme Court today asked searching questions about contours of right to privacy in the digital age when personal information was randomly shared with all types of government and private entities.The apex court, which has ventured to examine whether right to privacy can be held as a fundamental right, wanted to know about the tests which could be used to regulate and enforce privacy right when there could be “legitimate or illegitimate” use of data. The top court gave the examples of personal information like thumb impression people voluntarily gave for using mobile phones and i-Phones which, it said, in a way amounted to surrender of privacy to both private and government bodies.”So does it amount to surrender of the constitutional or personal rights?” it asked It said a large section of the people gave consent for data for a particular purpose, but wanted to know about the section which was unconcerned about the collection of data. A specially constituted nine-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar sought to know how and what should be the test if there was uninformed consent for use of data by majority of internet and mobile users. “How could the State step in to protect or regulate data.The moment you open your i-Pad by using your thumb impression, your finger print may get into public domain and you may not know,” it said. While asking about contours of right to privacy in the modern digital age, the bench, also comprising Justices J Chelameswar, S A Bobde, R K Agrawal, Rohinton Fali Nariman, Abhay Manohar Sapre, D Y Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and S Abdul Nazeer, said that if it could be invoked against the “world at large”, then the State would have to make a law to safeguard it.It said contours of this right have expanded in the ag eof Internet and data protection where private players were also privy to personal information of citizens. “If there is a right to privacy which is horizontal and is actionable against the world at large and not just the State, then the immediate consequence will be an obligation on the State to enact a law to regulate private players also to ensure that this right is protected,” the bench said.It asked as to what would be remedies available to the aggrieved persons if their right to privacy was violated by “non-state actors”.”The State is then under an obligation to ensure that personal data does not go to private (non-State) parties,” it said. The bench also said, “The government cannot say that your right has been violated by private parties and hence, it cannot do anything”. The court, which yesterday observed that right to privacy could not be absolute and the State might put restrictions, questioned the extent upto which a person could claim right to privacy and decide to part or not to part with the personal information.Giving an illustration, it said an individual could apply for a passport and refuse to give information about his father or a person could decline details about the biological parents of his adopted son. “In the context of digital age, how far or to which extent, can a person say that he will disclose or he will not disclose…Can you have right to privacy to suppress your identity,” the bench asked. The second day of the day-long hearing saw senior advocates like Arvind Datar, Anand Grover, Sajan Poovayya and Meenakshi Arora pressing hard that right to privacy was inherently linked to fundamental right which could not be invaded and that the government had the responsibility to protect it from being violated by both the state and private entities.Datar said in every jurisprudence, contours of right to privacy differed on a case-to-case basis and assailed the views expressed in the M P Sharma and Kharak Singh cases by the apex court that the right to privacy was not a fundamental right, saying, “Now they do not hold good.” Grover also supported the arguments in favour of privacy right and assailed the verdict in the M P Sharma case, saying that the right to privacy was not argued.The senior lawyer said the Constitution was a living document and its interpretation must be done in accordance with passage of time and developments in the law.”The interpretation of the Constitution must be done in light of the developing law domestically and internationally and India’s obligations under various international legal instruments,” he said. “This is very important,” the bench said, adding that if India was signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, then the subsequent judgement in the M P Sharma case in 1954 was “wrong at its very inception”. Another senior advocate Sajan Poovayya referred to the fact that India has more mobile and internet users than the US and the apex court should must consider right to privacy issue in a holistic manner and referred to a US judgement on privacy.”What is your position on consent or informed consent to disseminate data or when there is no consent at all. What should be the contours of right of privacy then,” the bench asked.The lawyer then said that in Karnataka a law was brought under which the state government sought data from taxi aggregators, about the people booking taxis and from which location and to which place. “There is no justification for the government to seek such data from taxi aggregators. What will the State do with such data about people, but then it can be misused if the State takes the data to find out that you travelled from one place to such specific place on weekends,” he said.The bench then said if a person is involved in terrorist activity, then will it not be an obligation of the State to seek and use the data about a person travelling from one place to anoother. Poovayya said in the digital world, the collection and analysis of data were being done simultaneously in such a way through artificial intelligence that it was not known to everybody. He said in today’s world, digital property is as important as physical property and that’s why the need for right to privacy becomes paramount. The arguments remained inconclusive and would resume on July 25 when Attorney General K K Venugopal would put forth the government’s views.

HC: Individual parents cannot challenge fee hike by school before DFRC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a significant order that could affect parents opposing arbitrary fee hikes by schools, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday ruled that individual parents cannot lodge complaints against fee hikes before the fee regulatory committee.A division bench of Justice BR Gavai and Justice Riyaz Chagla, while allowing the petition filed by India Education Society trust and Euro Kids, quashed and set aside an order passed in 2016 by the Divisional Fee Regulations Committee (DFRC), which asked the management of the school to reconstitute the PTA and issued them a notice on complaints made by five parents alleging irregularities and asking them to reverse a fee hike.The Bench said “Though we may hold that an argument of the parents is correct in the regard that efforts should be taken to curb commercialisation of education, we cannot go beyond the provision of the statute. Parents finding lacunae in the enactment, (Maharashtra Educational Institutions (Regulation of School) Fee Act), can approach the Legislature for correcting it. It (court) cannot encroach upon the powers of the legislature and sit in appeal to modify/correct it.”IES, which runs Modern English School in Dadar, had challenged the order passed by the committee. Advocate Arvind Kothari, appearing for the trust, argued that DFRC had no jurisdiction to entertain individual parent complaints, and that only the PTA can approach the committee, which has not been done. The court accepted this contention.By way of interim relief granted earlier, the court had allowed IES to increase fees of its students by Rs 300 per month for this academic year. The same was confirmed on Tuesday by allowing the petition.Modern English school is a private unaided institute. It has around 2,000 students studying up to Class10. It has adopted the self-financing mechanism. Thus, because of the non-payment of fees by parents, the school is facing an income deficit of Rs 22,09,500.Payment of salaries to teacher and other staff is also being delayed, the plea claimed. The petition also prayed for directions to the parents to make payment of the fee arrears.RELIEF GRANTEDIES, which runs Modern English School in Dadar, had challenged the order passed by the DFRC
By way of interim relief granted earlier, the court had allowed IES to increase fees of its students by Rs 300 per month for this academic year.

Centre appoints 5 docs on Oversight Committee to keep MCI in check

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre appointed five eminent doctors in the oversight committee which would replace a Supreme Court-appointed panel led by former Chief Justice RM Lodha to supervise the functioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI). A five-judge Constitution Bench accepted the five names the Centre submitted before them. Randeep Guleria, Director of AIIMS at Delhi; VK Paul, Professor and Head of Paediatrics, AIIMS; Nikhil Tandon, Professor and Head of Endocrinology, AIIMS; Jagat Ram, Director of PGIMER at Chandigarh and BN Gangadharan, Director of NIMHANS at Bengaluru, were suggested by the Centre for the panel. “We accept the proposal made to this court by Ranjit Kumar, Solicitor General of India on behalf of the Union of India. We grant liberty to the Union of India to nominate one of the members of the reconstituted Oversight Committee, as its Chairperson,” a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar said.“All decisions/recommendations of MCI will require approval of oversight committee before they are communicated to the Central Government,” the apex court said.However, the bench cautioned that the functions of oversight committee “are clearly limited to oversee the activities of the MCI.”“The decision in all matters required to be determined by the Government of India, shall be that of the Government of India,” the bench said.

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