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Govt land cannot be used as burial ground

Any open land, especially belonging to the government, cannot be used as a burial ground, the Delhi High Court (HC) held.”No person has any right to use any open land, especially government land, indiscriminately as a burial ground,” a bench of acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice C Hari Shankar said, while dismissing a plea filed by an NGO.The bench’s ruling comes while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) that challenged a sub-divisional magistrate’s order, which questioned the use of government land in Uttam Nagar in west Delhi as a burial ground.The magistrate had issued a notice to an Uttam Nagar-based NGO, asking how it came to be in possession of the government land and how it was using it as a burial ground. The bench noted that the petitioner NGO, Kabristan Intzamia Association, had started using the government land on the basis of a statement made by an MLA and “no legal right is either pointed out or made out with respect to the subject land”.

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BJP MPs to Chidu: Stop discussions on Aadhaar in panel

In a controversial move, on Wednesday, several BJP members in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs asked its chairman P Chidambaram to stop discussions on the subject of privacy and national security of Aadhaar.A united opposition strongly objected to the BJP’s move in the committee meeting on Wednesday, highly-placed sources said.”The Committee was strongly divided on the issue with BJP members on one side and all the opposition parties’ members on the other side. The opposition was unequivocal in its stand that the subject matter on Aadhaar cannot be set aside or withdrawn. The meeting ended without any headway,” the source said.A BJP member was of the opinion that the subject can also be taken up by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, but the opposition members refused the proposition.Before taking up the issue in the meeting, about five to six BJP MPs — all members of the standing committee — had written a letter to Chidambaram, asking him to recuse himself from the matter, since he represented Jairam Ramesh as a counsel, who has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court on Aadhaar, sources added.A committee member said, the committee already has had four meetings on the same subject matter of privacy and security of Aadhaar, but did not face any issues by the BJP.

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From Tejashwi Yadav to Ravi Shankar Prasad: Who said what after Lalu Yadav’s conviction in fodder scam

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was on Saturday convicted in second fodder scam case by a special CBI court in Ranchi. The former Bihar Chief Minister was among 16 accused who were convicted by Special CBI court judge Shivpal Singh.The court, however, acquitted six people including another former chief minister Jagannath Mishra.The case pertains to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar Treasury between 1991 and 1994.A charge sheet was filed against 38 persons on October 27, 1997. Eleven of them died and three turned approvers while two other accused confessed and were convicted in 2006-07, a CBI official said.Here is how politicians reacted to Lalu’s conviction:Also readRJD cries foul over fodder scam verdict; alleges ‘conspiracy’ against Lalu PrasadLalu Prasad YadavTruth can be made to appear as a lie, as ambiguous or a half lie by concerted onslaught of bias driven propaganda. But blurred layer of bias and hatred will still be removed, come what may! In end Truth will win.Also readEven Mandela, Ambedkar are villains for some: Defiant Lalu Yadav after fodder scam convictionHad people like Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Baba Saheb Ambedkar failed in their efforts, history would have treated them as villains. They still are villains for the biased, racist and caste-ist minds. No one should expect any different treatment.Tejashwi Yadav, RJDAlso readTimeline of fodder scam case which rocked Lalu Prasad Yadav’s political careerWill challenge judgement in HC. We have already appealed against conviction in Chaibasa treasury case in HC. Bail procedure would take place only after HC’s opening. Nitish Kumar, BJP kept trying to malign Lalu Ji.Manoj Jha, RJDI believe in the judiciary, but in this case, the CBI was arranging prosecution. Legally admissible evidence provided by us were set aside.Kind of evidences we have, we’ll get redressal at a higher court. Politically I know this regime, they have this typical Standard Operating Procedure-Try to make a deal with your opposition, if you fail…scare them. Want to tell them-Your end has begun.Manish Tewari,CongressLalu Yadav has been fighting this legal battle since 1996. It started when BJP leaders filed PIL against him in Patna HC. He & his lawyers are capable of fighting this case. I want to ask BJP why Srijan scam is not being investigated?Neeraj Kumar, JD(U)The verdict of Ranchi CBI court in fodder scam will prove to be a milestone against Lalu ji, who has become synonym with corruption.JP Nadda,Union MinisterLalu Prasad Yadav is even now politicizing the issue instead of accepting the verdict, just to deviate he is leveling allegations of conspiracy on BJP.The alliance between Congress and Lalu Yadav’s party is an alliance of corruption,connivance and cheating the people of India, it is clear from the verdict of the court.Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union MinisterLesson of today’s conviction of Lalu Prasad is that law will catch up with you if you commit corruption.For me, it is a matter of some personal assurance that I had the privilege to argue the PIL in Patna High Court in the early 90s leading to the institution of CBI inquiry which was strongly opposed by the then state govt headed by Lalu Yadav.

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Mumbai Port Trust occupants to file PIL, save homes

Residents of the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) are planning to file a public interest litigation (PIL) to ensure that they are not thrown out of their premises, and have a more secure future. The occupants have been staring at an uncertain future ever since eviction notices have been served to some of the residents and some premises have been sealed on allegations of misuse.”We are meeting this Sunday to discuss modalities of filing a PIL for all of us. We are looking to form an association and also get it registered. We want to talk to our colleagues about creating awareness on the issue so that people know such a problem exists,” said Pervez Cooper, a MbPT occupant who lives in Colaba. Cooper said that they are planning to involve different stakeholders from Colaba to Wadala — the entire eastern seafront where MbPT owns lands.”A number of people who have not been served with eviction notice feel they are safe. They may be served one anytime and it may be too late. We have been trying to meet political leaders but there is nothing concrete that we get to know, ” said Preeti Shenoy, another occupant.

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Rajasthan doctors ordered back to work today

A division bench of Rajasthan high court on Tuesday directed agitating doctors to resume duties immediately, ending their 5-day strike. The bench made it a pre-condition to no arrest, too.”We mandate that the doctors must resume duties from tomorrow (Wednesday) and it would be a condition precedent that in case they report back tomorrow, they shall not be arrested by the State,” reads the high court order.The order was passed on an application moved by Dr Abhinav Sharma, who filed the PIL alleging that the doctors are striking against the transfer of other agitating doctors — Dr Ajay Choudhary and Dr Durga Shanker Saini. They are also leading the association of in-service doctors.The bench observed that the doctors have no right to go on strike, especially when all of their demands have been met with, while some demands need consideration at the government level. Meanwhile, the agitating doctors contended in court that they have been addressed as ‘ants’ and ‘mosquitoes’ by the health minister, due to which they are on strike. However, the bench observed this cannot be grounds to strike, even though its incorrect that any side use unparliamentarian language against each other.The bench re-notified the matter for January 3 when the prayer for contempt and stay will be taken up for consideration.

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Cops caught between couple’s blame game

The police got trapped in the case of a woman leaving her husband’s house and staying separate with her husband’s friend. Police has filed a case under Section 497 of IPC but considering this case related to the adultery law, it is non cognisable and handed it over to the court to settle the whole case.It is noteworthy that while hearing a PIL in the past, the Supreme Court has also asked to consider a change in the old 497 section and asked for convicting women also with men in such cases.A person residing in Paharganj area lodged an FIR in the Mandore police station on Tuesday that he had been married for twelve years. He has two children from this marriage. He lived in Bawadi earlier but due to his job, he came to Paharganj and started living there.He became a friend of a contractor there. This man always kept coming to his house. During this, his friend made an illegitimate relationship with his wife. Now his wife left him and is staying with his friend in a different house. According to the police, this case under this section is non cognisable. In this case, we have handed the case to the court.

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Supreme Court notice on convicts in party posts

The Supreme Court Friday sought the responses of the Centre and the Election Commission on a PIL seeking to restrain convicted politicians from holding any posts in political parties.Taking up a petition filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, the bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud issued notice to the respondents. The PIL seeks directions to the Centre and the Election Commission to frame guidelines to decriminalise the electoral system and ensure inner-party democracy as proposed by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC).The bench also agreed to examine the validity and contours of Section 29A of the Representation of People Act, 1951, which deals with registration of political parties with the Election Commission.Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Siddharth Luthra told the bench that while convicted politicians are barred under law from contesting elections, they can still run a political party, thereby deciding as to who becomes a lawmaker. The petition also names several politicians who have been convicted or have charges framed against them but continue to hold posts in political parties and “wielding political power.” It points out that now even a person who has been convicted for heinous crimes like murder, rape, smuggling, money laundering, loot, sedition, or dacoity can form a political party and become its president.
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Yogi Adityanath

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PIL seeks third gender column for state exams

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Calcutta High Court, filed on November 13, has sought that the state government introduce a third gender column in all forms for state public examinations.Filed by Arnab Nandy, a High Court lawyer, the PIL was in accordance with a Supreme Court judgement on April 15, 2014 for a PIL filed by National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) that also sought the creation of a third gender status for members of the transgender community. The apex court had ruled that public examination of Central and all state government should have a column for the third gender, but the state had not done so, even in forms of recruitment examination through the West Bengal Public Service Commission. “Which is why we have filed the PIL seeking an intervention of the High Court for the immediate implementation of the SC order,” said Kaushik Gupta, Nandy’s lawyer.Vice-chairman for the West Bengal Transgender Development Board, Manabi Bandopadhyay, however, said that for the true development of transgenders, more than a separate column there should be reservations for members of the community just like there is for Scheduled Caste, Scheculed Tribe and Other Backward Class members.

Madras High Court dismiss PIL seeking ban on ‘Mahatma’ prefix on currency notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Madras High Court on Monday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a direction to the central government to refrain from using the word ‘Mahatma’ as a prefix to Gandhi’s name in the currency notes with a cost of Rs 10,000 on the petitioner for wasting time.The first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar dismissed the petition moved as a PIL by S Muruganantham, a research scholar at Jadavpur University in Kolkata saying that such PIL’s only clogged the business of the court and consumed valuable time of the judiciary.The petitioner questioned the constitutional validity of prefixing the title ‘Mahatma’ before the name of MK Gandhi in Indian currency notes and contended that the act of the government was in complete violations of Article 14 and 18 of the constitution. He also said that when the Reserve Bank of India uses the prefix, it amounts to a violation of the principle of equality which is the basic structure of Constitution.

‘Padmavati’ row: Why a PIL equating Jauhar with Sati is misguided

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After three decades, Sati is back in the spotlight. It started with a PIL in the Allahabad High Court demanding a ban on Padmavati for violating the provisions of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987. The litigant had pleaded before the court that the film glorifies Jauhar that is a form of Sati. The PIL was turned down, but it brings back memories of the infamous Roop Kanwar Sati case of Devrala village in Sikar district of Rajasthan in the year 1987. An 18-year-old was immolated on a pyre along with her husband who had died at the age of 24, just eight months after their marriage. While the village celebrated, there was uproar in the country. What ensued was a long legal battle by social rights bodies. The only positive thing that came out of the entire gruesome incident was the formulation of a law – The Sati (Prevention) Act 1987 – that prevented attempt, abetment and glorification of Sati. The 200-page judgement by Justice Guman Mal Lodha and Justice Pana Chand Jain can be termed as the most comprehensive verdict across courts of the country to end the practice of Sati.Incidentally the ancient tradition of Jauhar as well as the modern Sati Prevention Act 1987 have their origins and roots in Rajasthan. It makes one wonder what were the ancient rules; is Sati the same as Jauhar? Is the modern law sufficient to protect women from being compelled to perform Sati? Does portrayal of Jauhar on celluloid violate the law? For this, one needs to delve into the historical traditions of Rajasthan. History shows Jauhar can never happen in isolation. It has to be accompanied by Saka, by the men. When the rulers of a kingdom faced a battle that could not be won, they performed Saka ceremony. They tied saffron turbans; signalling battle till death and held an opium ceremony. Taking opium together implied standing together for the cause and promise. In modern times, one could interpret it as an intoxication used to boldly face imminent death. The women would send their men for the final battle and then commit Jauhar. A collective jump into the flames led by the wife of the feudal chief. Historically, it was considered as a way to protect honour and dignity of women from invaders, who were about to win the battle. Even Col Todd mentions this in his writings. The children used to be sent to safe places to protect the family line from extinction. History has ample proof that Jauhar was not just performed by Rajput women. Wives of all soldiers and courtiers, maids and attendants; belonging to all castes took part. On the contrary, Sati was done by an individual after the death of her husband. This increased possibility of coercion. People glorified such incidents and built monuments. This is exactly what is prevented by the law. It was abolished way back by Lord William Benedict after Raja Ram Mohan Ray raised his voice against it. The law was further refined in 1987 after the Roop Kanwar Sati incident. The litigation in Allahabad High Court, by Kamta Prasad Singhal, puts forward a suspicion, about whether the litigant is ignorant of the present provisions of law, or it is merely an attempt to cash in on the ongoing controversy.

Gujarat High Court reserves order on appointment of regular DGP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat high court has reserved its order on the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking appointment of a regular Director General of Police (DGP). The state government’s submitted that its police force was under the Election Commission at present because of the Model Code of Conduct and so the state government can’t make a move.Former IPS officer Rahul Sharma moved a PIL alleging that since 2016, the state has been avoiding the appointment of a regular DGP and continues with an in-charge. According to the petitioner, because of an in-charge DGP, the force is demoralised. There is a possibility that a political party in power can influence the in-charge officer, which is less probable if there is a regular DGP.His further contention was that the regular DGP builds confidence of the force for policing. For the safety of the society and the state, a regular DGP is a must. It is the state’s obligation to appoint a regular DGP from the three seniormost IPS officers, who can serve in the office for a minimum of two years from the date of taking over.The petition was heard by the first division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice Vipul Pancholi. On its last hearing, the state government submitted that the Assembly elections had been notified and the Model Code of Conduct was in place, but the state can’t appoint a regular DGP.The state government’s stand was challenged on Friday by the petitioner’s advocate IH Syed citing the EC’s Model Code. He drew the court’s attention to transfers and posting of officers. In this section it is clearly mentioned, “No appointments or promotions in government/public undertakings will be made during this period, without prior clearance of the Commission.”which clearly means that the state government is duty bound to move a request to the EC seeking permission to appoint the regular DGP.Advocate General Kamal Trivedi submitted that the entire force was under the EC and the state government can’t transfer or make any appointment. After both parties submission concluded, the first court has kept its order reserved for Monday.

Is any special consideration given to Thomas Chandy? HC asks Kerala govt

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Kerala High Court on Thursday came out against the state government for its inaction against state Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, whose company had allegedly violated rules to construct a road through paddy fields to a lake resort owned by him in Alappuzha district.Considering a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking registration of an FIR against Chandy, the bench of Justices P N Raveendran and Devan Ramachandran asked whether there is any special consideration given to the minister.The Court observed that if it was an ordinary citizen, he would have been evicted using bulldozers.All are equal before law, the court said.When the matter came up, the government counsel informed the court that it was probing the cases against the minister.The authenticity of documents produced by the minister on the issue need to be examined before filing a report, it said.The government also pleaded that no special consideration was given to Chandy.The PIL filed sought a court directive to register an FIR for alleged violation of provisions of Kerala Land Conservancy Act and Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act by Water World Tourism company which owns the Lake Palace Resort in Alappuzha.Chandy has been facing allegations for allegedly filling paddy fields for the construction of a parking space and encroaching Marthandam backwaters.Chandy, a nominee of the NCP in the CPI(M)-led LDF government, has been under attack from the Congress-led UDF opposition and the BJP ever since the allegations surfaced some time back.Stepping up its demand for Chandy’s resignation, opposition alleged there was “mystery” behind Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan protecting the transport minister even after the revenue minister had accepted the district collector’s report that “found serious violation of rules”.A businessman-turned-politician, Chandy joined the ministry in April following the resignation of A K Saseendran over allegations of sexual misconduct.​

Dinu Solanki surrenders in RTI activist murder case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP’s former MP from Junagadh Dinu Solanki, the alleged conspirator in the RTI activist Amit Jethava’s 2010 murder case, surrendered before the CBI court on Monday evening. He was then taken to Sabarmati Jail.Jethava’s faher had in the morning approached the Supreme Court with prayer for permission to initiate Contempt of Court proceedings against the CBI and Solanki for not complying with the SC’s October 30 order.On October 30, while cancelling the regular bail of Solanki, SC’s division bench of justice AK Sikri and justice Ashok Bhusan had ordered, “Solanki shall be taken into custody and remain there during the period of eight eye-witnesses’s re-examination. The trial court shall summon 26 witnesses who are to be examined afresh, eight eye-witnesses shall be summoned and examined on a daily basis.”When neither CBI arrested him nor Solanki surrendered before the court, complainant’s advocate Anand Yagnik on November 1 had alleged that just because Solanki has political patronage, CBI is not arresting him even after the SC cancelled his bail. Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RDAM) leader Jignesh Mevani had threatened to launch an agitation if Solanki was not arrested within 24 hours on the same day.When CBI was reportedly unmoved even after that, the deceased’s father felt he will never get justice, and approached the SC on Monday requesting to permit circulation of the contempt of court petition to respondent CBI and Dinu Solanki. It was permitted by the apex court and the matter kept for hearing on Friday, said his advocate Anand Yagnik. Hours after the news broke, Solanki surfaced at the Mirzapur Court premises in Ahmedabad which houses the CBI court.Amit Jethava had launched the campaign against illegal mining near Gir sanctuary. He had also filed a PIL demanding action. He was gunned down in front of the HC building in 2010. In 2012, HC had ordered for CBI investigation into the murder. In 2013, CBI had arrested Solanki as conspirator in the case. In February 2014, SC had granted regular bail to Solanki. After his release, during trial 105 witnesses out of 195 had turned hostile. The victim’s father then approached the SC in 2015 with a prayer to cancel Solanki’s bail.While the petition was pending before the SC, the CBI court concluded its trial. As the trial had concluded and judgment was kept reserved, complainant had approached the HC with prayer for retrial, terming it had become a mockery. The HC had ordered for retrial and ordered to change the judicial officer.JETHAVA’S MURDERAmit Jethava had launched the campaign against illegal mining near Gir sanctuary. He had also filed a PIL demanding action. He was gunned down in front of the HC building in 2010.
HC had ordered for CBI investigation into the murder.

SC pulls up Air India after transgender files PIL over not being recruited; asks why third gender is not mentioned in form

Updated: Nov 6, 2017, 02:06 PM IST, ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Civil Aviation Ministry and Air India on the basis of a plea filed by a transgender against the airline.The transgender in her PIL claimed that the airline refused to consider her for a job because of her gender.The Supreme Court sought a response from the ministry within a two-week time period asking why there is no mention of the third gender in the Air India recruitment application.The petitioner had to apply as a female for a cabin crew job in the airline, but her application was rejected. The apex court had earlier in 2014 directed the Centre and State Governments to grant legal recognition of gender identity whether it be male, female or third-gender, giving transgenders the right to self-identification of their gender.

Visually impaired can’t make out new Rs 50 note, says PIL

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court sought the response of the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on a PIL which claimed that visually impaired persons are not being able to differentiate the newly-issued Rs 50 notes from other notes.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said the matter needed urgent attention. It asked the Centre and the RBI to file their replies within two weeks and listed the matter for December 6.”The issue is of public importance and relates to the rights of the visually impaired persons. It needs an urgent attention of the RBI and Central government. Let it be considered,” the court said.However, the court refused to stay the printing and circulation of the notes as it was sought by the petition.The plea, filed by three advocates and a company secretary, has claimed that the new Rs 50 notes do not bear any identification mark for visually impaired persons to differentiate between denominations.They have sought a direction to the RBI to issue the new Rs 50 notes with identification mark for visually impaired persons which should be then approved by the Centre.The petition by advocate Rohit Dandriyal also sought directions to the authorities to withdraw the Rs 50 notes which do not have any identification marks and stop printing.It said that according to the RBI, a special feature has been introduced on the left of the watermark window on all notes except the Rs 10 note.This feature is in different shapes for various denominations. For example, a vertical rectangle denotes a Rs 20 note, a square means Rs 50 (in older notes), triangle and circle for Rs 100, a diamond denoted the Rs 1,000 currency which is not a legal tender now, it said.

DGP appointment hearing adjourned

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat HC on Wednesday adjourned the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking regular appointment of the DGP. The matter will be heard next Wednesday. Former IPS officer Rahul Sharma had filed a PIL alleging that the state was avoiding appointment of a full-time officer and running the police department with in-charge DGPs. Rules state that a DGP can be appointed from among the top IPS officers of the state cadre with minimum two years of service in the office. Sharma alleged that the state government was intentionally not appointing a regular DGP, which can have an impact on the policing.The first division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice Vipul Pancholi, in the last hearing, had directed the government pleader to get instructions from the state regarding its stand on the appointment of a regular DGP. The government pleader had then submitted that the government was seriously thinking over it. On Wednesday, more time was sought by the state, and the Chief Justice orally observed that the government must make its stand crystal clear over the issue by the next hearing. Petitioner’s plea is that once a DGP is appointed, the state should allow him/her to complete his full term in office under the Bombay Police (Gujarat Amendment) Act 2007. Gujarat HC to govt: Reply on GP website in two weeksGujarat HC has asked the state government to file reply within two weeks by when it plans to launch the official website of the Government Pleader’s office (GP) as mandated under the RTI Act. It has kept the matter for further hearing on November 18.The first division bench of chief justice R Subhash Reddy and justice Vipul Pancholi is hearing the PIL filed by citizen Chandravadan Dhruv stating that though 12 years have passed, there is no official website of the GP office. For 2016-17, the GP office had received grant of Rs 11. 23crore from the state.

No parking fee in hosps under SDMC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) on Tuesday announced to provide free parking facility in hospitals operating under its jurisdiction, in a bid to avoid the extra burden on patients and visitors.Leader of House in the SDMC, Shikha Rai made the announcement stating that the SDMC will stand by its earlier decision of prohibiting levy of parking fee in hospitals. “We are committed to providing free parking in hospitals & other places, and will take an appropriate action in this regard,” she said.Rai also stated that it is not appropriate to levy parking fee from general public and patients in hospitals.”The family members of the patients generally face the tension due to the nature of illness and difficulties; hence, it makes no justification to burden them with levying parking fee in the hospitals,”Rai informed.Referring to a PIL filed in the Delhi High Court, Rai said that the corporation will take an appropriate action as per the rules against persons responsible for charging parking fee in the hospitals.”The SDMC values the concern of the Hon’ble High Court in this respect and our corporation will ensure that patients and persons visiting hospitals should not be charged parking fee,” she added.”The corporation will make its stand clear before the Hon’ble Court and assure that the order of free parking in hospitals and malls will be strictly implemented,” she further added.

Delhi High court asks govt about pension meant for aged, disabled people

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stating that the court is not helpless, the Delhi High court on Thursday questioned the Delhi government whether it has distributed pension to the aged and disabled people who were earlier covered under the schemes of municipal corporations.”Let be made clear that the court is not helpless,” Justice AK Chawla said.The court’s observation came on a contempt petition filed against the Delhi chief secretary and three MCD commissioners for not giving Delhi government a list of beneficiaries of pension schemes for aged and disabled people.Appearing for the Delhi government, its counsel said that they have filed a status report. However, the court refused to entertain his argument and said, ” Leave aside the stand. Ultimately, what is the outcome.””You are not understanding the seriousness of the case,” the court said, thereby directing the government to file a compliance report and not a status report as they have been doing earlier and fixed the next date of hearing to December 8.While disposing of the PIL, a division bench of the high court had on January 20, 2016 directed all the three MCDs to furnish list of the aged beneficiaries of pension under the MCD schemes to the Delhi government in four weeks.Advocate Ashok Aggarwal, appearing for NGO Social Jurist which has filed the contempt plea, argued that the government was not making any effort to comply with the last year’s order and they should depute officials to visit the houses of the beneficiaries for verification.The plea has alleged that the government and civic bodies were “willfully and deliberately disobeying and not complying with the court’s order” passed last year.

BJP’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra’s appointment to ONGC Board challenged in HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra’s appointment as an independent director on the board of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Ltd was on Tuesday challenged in the Delhi High Court by an NGO.The NGO, in its plea, also sought cancellation of the appointment of Shashi Shanker as ONGC Chairman and Managing Director.The public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Energy Watchdog could not be taken up for hearing as the bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal did not assemble today.The matter has been fixed for hearing on November 1.The PIL was filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, who alleged that Patra, being an active member of the ruling BJP, “cannot play the role of an Independent Director or non- official director (NOD) in ONGC as it would be a violation of the Companies Act.”The plea claimed that the selection process was also “flawed” as the BJP leader’s name did not appear in the data bank of eligible persons for the post.”State largesse cannot be passed on to a private political person in this manner,” it claimed.Efforts to reach Patra for his comments on the issue did not fructify.Opposing Shanker’s appointment, the NGO has contended that he was suspended in February 2015 by the vigilance department of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for alleged “gross misconduct” in connection with a tender matter while he was Director (Technology and Field Services) in ONGC.However, his suspension was revoked in July 2015 citing the Supreme Court’s general observation that a suspended officer should be reinstated if an agency fails to file a chargesheet within 90 days, the plea said.The petition has sought setting aside of the September 25 and September 29 orders appointing Shanker and Patra respectively to the ONGC board.The NGO has sought directions to the Centre and the Central Vigilance Department to produce the records they have in connection with the suspension of Shanker.It has also sought the grades awarded to Shanker and Patra by the Public Enterprises Selection Board which had interviewed them for the posts.

PIL seeking to treat Vande Mataram at par with Jana Gana Mana dismissed by Delhi HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A PIL seeking direction to treat the national song ‘Vande Mataram’, authored by poet Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, at par with the national anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ was today dismissed by the Delhi High Court.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said that though it agreed with the petitioner’s view, but it cannot grant the relief sought.”Though we agree with the petitioner that ‘Vande Mataram’ be recognised by the respondent as equal to ‘Jana Gana Mana’.We are of the view that we are unable to grant the relief sought in the petition,” the bench said.The court’s order came on a plea of Delhi resident Gautam R Morarka, who had urged the bench that directions be given to the Centre in this regard so that proper dignity and respect can be maintained when ‘Vande Mataram’ is played or sung.The Centre had opposed the plea saying ‘Vande Mataram’ occupies a “unique and special place” in the psyche of Indians but it cannot be treated at par with ‘Jana Gana Mana’, penned by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.Seeking dismissal of the PIL, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had said the plea that ‘Vande Mataram’ be treated on par with ‘Jana Gana Mana’ cannot be accepted.The PIL had also sought a direction to amend the 1971 National Honour Act accordingly to ensure equal respect for ‘Vande Mataram’.The MHA had said that on the petitioner’s representation and subsequent PIL, it had set up a committee which had met on March 29, 2016 and recommended that status quo be maintained in this regard.The panel had expressed hope that every citizen would remember the historic role of ‘Vande Mataram’ in the freedom struggle and show due respect to it whenever it is played or sung, it had said.”It has become synonymous with valour, dedication and love for one’s motherland and does not require any crutches to hold it (the song) in the heads and hearts of India’s citizenry,” the MHA had said.Morarka in his plea had said even in 1950, the then President of India had said that ‘Vande Mataram’ shall be honoured equally with ‘Jana Gana Mana’.

PIL demands appointment of special educators in state schools

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A fight by Mamata Devi, to get Delhi government and MCD schools to appoint special educators for her two mentally challenged sons, has now snowballed into a fight by several students who are now demanding the same for themselves.Justice Indermeet Kaur converted a petition filed by Mamata Devi into a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) after holding that it was not the problem of just the two boys, but an issue with thousands of students who are not getting special educators in state-run and MCD schools. The court, while converting this into a PIL, sent the matter to the bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Harishankar who will now hear the matter on October 23.The petition, filed through advocate Ashok Agarwal, had alleged that 16-year-old Satyam and nine-year-old Shubham were not being taught anything in school due to the absence of special educators. It contended that due to the above-mentioned reasons, Shubham, studying in class IV at an MCD school in Katwaria Sarai, in south Delhi, had stopped going to the school.The petition also added that both students, while being promoted to next class every year, are hardly being taught anything. Agarwal, in his petition, said that this is a violation of the fundamental right and the Right to Education (RTE) Act. He demanded that proper education should be imparted to both the brothers.The petition had also alleged that the Delhi government has not implemented the directions of the court to appoint special educators in the state-run schools. The petition, which was filed by the boys’ mother Mamata Devi, said that both her sons were mentally disabled and she wants to educate her sons under all circumstances. But due to the absence of the special educators in the schools, she has not been able to do so.

Fire safety in schools: High Court seeks government reply

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High Court (HC) on Monday issued a notice to the Delhi government on a plea that sought information about how many schools in the city, both private and government, are complying with the fire safety and building stability norms.A Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Harishankar directed the government, along with the municipal bodies, to furnish a response, fixing the next date of hearing on January 29. The directions came while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), which sought the compliance of the Supreme Court (SC) directions on fire safety and building stability norms by private and government schools in the city.The petitioner, advocate Kush Kalra, had alleged that the Delhi government and its various authorities have not responded to his queries following which he knocked the doors of the court. It further alleged that the Directorate of Education, the Fire Services, and the Public Works Department have behaved negligently, while performing their duty to take steps to ensure that schools were complying with safety norms.The PIL, filed through counsel Rajesh Gogna, said the petitioner came to know about the lack of data with the authorities on this issue after he raised a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. It sought directions to the local authorities to ensure compliance with the Apex Court’s order as well as the National Building Code of India, claiming that the “safety of school-going students in Delhi isat risk”.“School-going children are an easy target of any mishap and it must be the duty of the respondents (authorities) to check and identify which schools in Delhi have no fire safety and building stability certificate. “And the respondents must derecognise those institutions till the time the safety norms are implemented,” the petition stated.

Rajasthan HC orders more facilities for Kurjas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rajasthan HC has disposed of a PIL regarding demoiselle cranes (called kurja in Rajasthani). A division bench headed by Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog issued directives to the state government for necessary arrangements for the migratory birds in Khichan village in Phalodi tehsil. Earlier, the high court had also asked the government to shift high tension lines passing over feeding place for these birds. Following the court’s instructions, a committee had gone for inspection of the site and submitted its report with some suggestions.The state government, through chief secretary, had assured the court of implementing most of the suggestions. Now, five high tension towers would be shifted one kilometer away. Besides, 3000 square meter land would be allotted for bird’s feeding place. Three water bodies would be constructed for drinking water while 400-bigha land would also be identified across the road.

Bootlegger garlands Cong MLA with shoes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Congress MLA from Dariapur seat in Ahmedabad, Gyasuddin Shaikh, was garlanded with shoes by an alleged bootlegger during a protest rally here on Wednesday.The incident took place when Shaikh, along with his supporters, was leading a bike rally in East Ahmedabad. As they reached Shahpur, a person named Sadiq Mansuri garlanded Shaikh with shoes. A two-time MLA, Shaikh allowed Mansuri to garland him and thanked him for the same.”Sadiq Mansuri is an antisocial element. Two years ago, after receiving complaints from people, I had got his liquor and gambling den shut by cops. He had come to humiliate me for that,” Shaikh said.A 9-second video of the incident, which shows the person garlanding Shaikh and the latter thanking him, has been widely shared on social media.Shaikh, who is almost certain to be fielded in the coming Assembly elections by the Congress, claimed that he was strictly against liquor and gambling, and would continue to oppose such vices. He also said he had filed a PIL in the Gujarat High Court, seeking action against illegal liquor and gambling dens.

How many Delhi schools are adhering to fire safety and building stability norms, asks PIL in High Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Of the thousands of schools, both private and government run, in the national capital, how many are actually complying with fire safety and building stability norms is the question raised by a PIL in the Delhi High Court.The petitioner, a lawyer, has alleged that the Delhi government and its various authorities do not have an answer to this query, and that is why he was forced to approach the court.The public interest litigation (PIL) claims that the Supreme Court had in 2009 issued directions to all the schools in India to have fire safety certificate and stability certificates, but these were not being complied with it.The petitioner, Kush Kalra, has alleged that the Delhi government’s education directorate, the fire services and public works department are being negligent in performing their duty to take steps to ensure that the schools are complying with building stability and fire safety norms.The Delhi-based lawyer has claimed that authorities, including the municipal corporations, were clueless as to whether any school under their jurisdiction is actually complying with the norms.The PIL, filed through counsel Rajesh Gogna, said the petitioner came to know about the lack of data with the authorities on this issue after he raised a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.Kalra, in his plea, has sought directions to the local authorities to ensure compliance of the apex court’s order as well as the National Building Code of India, claiming that the “safety of school-going students in Delhi is at risk”.”School-going children are easy target of any mishap and it must be the duty of the respondents (authorities) to check and identify which schools in Delhi have no fire safety and building stability certificate and the respondents must derecognize those institutions till the time the safety norms are implemented,” the petition, which is expected to come up for hearing next week, said.The PIL also claimed that around 500 schools responded to the RTI query of the petitioner and “confirmed that they are not complying with the fire safety and building stability measures”.It has also sought directions to the authorities to depute their officers to make periodic visits to the schools to check whether the fire safety and building stability measures are being implemented and to apprise the court about the same.

PIL against anonymous election bonds: SC asks govt, EC to respond

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued notice to the Centre and the poll panel on the plea, which also alleged that the changes would bring opacity into Indian politics and open the doors “to unlimited political donations”.Through the petition, an NGO has challenged the amendments made to the Reserve Bank of India Act, the Representation of the People (RP) Act, the Income Tax Act, the Companies Act and the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by the Finance Acts of 2016 and 2017.The NGO, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), has claimed in its plea that the amendments have removed the cap on political donations by companies and legalised anonymous donations by introducing the use of electoral bonds which can be issued by any scheduled bank for the purpose of funding any party.It said that by amending the RP Act, the donations made by way of electoral bonds are exempted from disclosure to the ECI and claimed that this would “adversely affect electoral transparency and encourage corrupt practices in politics”.The PIL contended that the amendment to the Companies Act has not only removed the earlier cap of 7.5 per cent of a company’s average three-year net profit for political donations, but a corporate entity now is no longer required to name the parties to which they make contributions.”The companies are no longer required to disclose the break-up of contributions made to different political parties.Removal of the statutory ceiling of 7.5 per cent of average profits on donation to political parties now enables even loss-making companies to make donations of any amount to political parties out of their capital or reserves.”Further, it opens up the possibility of companies being brought into existence by unscrupulous elements primarily for routing funds to political parties through anonymous and opaque instruments like electoral bonds,” the petition has claimed.ADR, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan, has also said that by amending the FCRA, foreign companies with Indian subsidiaries have been allowed to fund political parties.It has contended that this would expose Indian politics and democracy to international lobbyists who may want to further their agenda.Apart from challenging the amendments, the petition has also opposed the method by which the amendments were carried out as money bills through the two Finance Acts.The NGO has alleged that the Finance Acts have been enacted as money bills to bypass the Rajya Sabha.It has contended that these legislations were not money bills as they provided for matters which were in addition to those enumerated in Article 110(1) of the Constitution and therefore, they were bills which had to be routed through the Rajya Sabha.Article 110(1) lays down the constituents of a money bill, the NGO said and alleged that the passage of the two Finance Acts was a “clear case of constitutional fraud violating the fundamental rights and a colourable exercise of power”.The petition has sought that the amendments made to the various laws be declared as “unconstitutional, illegal and void” and their operation be put on hold till the PIL is finally decided. PTI SJK HMP ABA RKS

In-charge DGPs: HC asks state to explain

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat High Court has asked the state government to submit its reply on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by former IPS officer Rahul Sharma against its decision to appoint an in-charge Director General of Police (DGP) instead of a regular chief. The PIL has cited that the move is in violation of the Bombay Police (Gujarat Amendment) Act-2007 and a Supreme Court order.In the PIL, which came up for hearing before the first division bench of chief justice R Subhash Reddy and justice Vipul Pancholi on Wednesday, Sharma contended that the state had not had a regular DGP/Inspector General (IG) since 2016.”The state is obliged to appoint a regular head in the interest of the society and the nation and to restore the public’s faith in policing and administration,” the PIL stated.Sharma’s advocate IH Syed submitted that appointing an in-charge DG contradicted the provisions of the Act, besides a Supreme Court directive the state should constitute a State Security Commission and select one of the three senior-most IPS officers of the state.The PIL further contended that if the state had a regular, full-time DG, it would go a long way in ensuring neutrality among the police force. It would also go a long way in deflecting political interference in the force, it added. “A regular DG is the first prescription of the rule of law while an in-charge DGP is often vulnerable to political machinations and pressure,” the PIL cited.Sharma pleaded the court to direct the state to appoint a regular, full-time DG and ensure that the officer is allowed to hold office for a tenure specified by the provision of the Bombay Police (Gujarat Amendment) Act 2007.After hearing the prayer, the court directed the government pleader to inform it about the state government’s stand on the issue before October 10, the next date of hearing.

BMC opposes PIL against Bal Thackeray memorial

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday filed an affidavit in the Bombay High Court opposing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking to stall the construction of memorial for founder of Shiv Sena party, Late Bal Thackeray, at the Mayor’s bungalow, in Shivaji Park.The affidavit filed by Assistant Commissioner (Estate) Parag Masurkar states that the corporation has amended section 92 (dd-1) of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act thereby granting permission and allotting land at the Mayor’s bungalow, to the Bala Saheb Thackeray Rashtriya Smarak. The amendment has also been approved by the state government, thereby allowing the lease of land on nominal charges for the memorial for a period of 30 years.The affidavit was filed in response to a petition filed by social activist, Bhagvanji Raiyani, who has said that the memorial is being built in violation of the 2013 Supreme Court (SC) verdict and a circular issued by the Centre in 2014. Moreover, no memorial of any leader can be allowed in government bungalows.Refuting the reliance on the apex court ruling, the affidavit says it is not applicable to the facts and circumstances of the present case. As the matter before the apex court was regarding unauthorised occupation of premises meant for accommodation of government officials.The affidavit filed through Advocate Trupti Puranik also mentions that the PIL should be dismissed as it has not challenged the amendment made to the section and thus no interim relief of any sorts be given.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced the Thackeray memorial at the bungalow in November 2015. A committee led by Chief Secretary was constituted to look into sites for the memorial. After a preliminary study, the committee gave the nod for the bungalow as a suitable site.Raiyani has also claimed in his petition that the society formed for the memorial should construct it on a plot owned by or purchased by it. Even public funds should not be utilised for its construction. The bungalow at Shivaji Park has been the official residence of Mayor of Mumbai since 1962.

Delhi HC slams DDA; says people want parks, not community centres

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>People in the national capital appeared to be more concerned about having community centres than parks, the Delhi High Court on Monday lamented while extending till December 8 its interim order putting on hold the construction of a community centre by the DDA.The court was hearing a PIL challenging the Delhi Development Authority’s (DDA) decision to convert a park in a north Delhi residential area into a community centre.A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said, “Everybody wants community centres at their doorstep. Are there enough parks for the people in the area?”The PIL, filed on behalf of a minor girl, has sought a direction to restrain the DDA from “destroying the park” in north Delhi’s Rohini area by constructing the multi-storey community hall inside the Hanuman Mandir park there.The petitioner’s counsel, Akhil Sachar, claimed that the residents of the locality, especially children, were severely affected and aggrieved by the “illegal and arbitrary decision” of the DDA to construct the centre which will “destroy” the 30-year-old park.The plea claimed that there was a vacant plot of DDA land available in the area which was planned for community services so there was no justification to destroy the park.

Srijan scam: Patna HC dismisses PIL seeking CBI probe

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Patna High Court on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a CBI probe into the multi-crore Srijan scam related to fraudulent transfer of government money into the account of a Bhagalpur NGO.The PIL was filed before the CBI took over the probe into the Srijan scam on August 26.A division bench comprising Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A K Upadhyay dismissed the PIL after a brief hearing.The PIL filed by Diwakar Yadav had sought a CBI probe into the scam related to fraudulent transfer of government money into the account of ‘Srijan’ over a period of time.Advocate General Lalit Kishore told the court that the state government has already handed over the probe to a central investigating agency and the inquiry is in progress.After this the bench dismissed the PIL.Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was the first to bring the scam into the public domain on August 9 last.RJD President Lalu Prasad has been alleging the involvement of the chief minister and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi in the scam and demanding that the CBI probe be monitored by Supreme Court.

List out steps taken to probe allegations against Khadse: Bombay HC to Maha government

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government to list the steps taken to probe the “serious” accusations of corruption and misuse of public office made against former state minister Eknath Khadse by activist Anjali Damania.A bench of Justices BR Gavai and MS Karnik said that if it finds that the state has taken required steps, then it might not continue hearing the PIL, but if it failed to do so, the court “cannot remain a silent spectator”.It was hearing an application by BJP leader Khadse seeking that a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Damania and five others against him and his family members be dismissed as they were associated with political parties.The PIL, filed in July this year, had alleged that Khadse had misused his office and “amassed great wealth at the cost of public interest throughout his political career”.It had alleged that “Khadse and his relatives had purchased several land parcels through benami transactions and that the assets owned by him and his family were disproportionate to their incomes.”The PIL had sought that a “Special Investigation Team be constituted, or a judicial inquiry be initiated” to look into the allegations.Khadse, however, argued through his counsel Darius Khambata that the PIL deserved to be “thrown out” of the court since the “petitioners were not bona fide”.Khambata alleged that since “Damania and three other petitioners were previously associated with the Aam Aadmi Party, and another petitioner was a working member of the Shiv Sena, they had approached court with the ulterior motive of exacting a political revenge against their rival BJP leader.” Besides, he argued, the petitioners had failed to disclose their political associations to the court at the time of filing the PIL.”The rules of filing a PIL mandate that the petitioner must make full disclosure of his identity, motives, and also of any pending litigation against him or her. In the present case, not only are the members associated with rival political parties, but, they chose to suppress this fact before the court.”Also, there are several criminal defamation cases pending against Damania, which she refused to inform this court of,” Khambata argued.”There is no public interest in this plea and it is merely an act of political vendetta,” he said.The petitioners’ counsel Mihir Desai however, argued that Damania and the others had resigned from their political posts in AAP much before filing of the PIL.He also said that Sena member Gajanan Malpure had approached HC merely as a “concerned citizen.” He also said that of the 27 cases of defamation pointed out by Khadse, Damania had “received notices in only three of the cases”.Desai also told the court that before filing the PIL, the petitioners had exhausted all other available remedies by filing complaints on the above allegations against Khadse before various state authorities including the Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Jt Commissioner of the Economic Offences Wing, the Enforcement Directorate, and the income tax commissioner.The bench noted that since the state government had acknowledged receiving the above complaints on November 10, 2016, the court was “expected to find out what the state had done so far in response to the complaints”.It said that while the rules mandated that the courts verify the bona fide of petitioners in PILs, it was also the court’s “constitutional duty to ensure that justice was done in all cases.””Serious allegations have been made on affidavit by the petitioners against a senior BJP leader. If we find that the state has taken required steps then we might not continue hearing the PIL.”However, if we realise that the state has failed to take appropriate steps based on the complaints made by the petitioners, this court cannot remain a silent spectator,” Justice Gavai said.HC has granted the state three weeks to file an affidavit listing down the action it has taken since receiving Damania’s complaints in November 2016.

‘Lifetime ban’ on convicted lawmakers: SC to hear petition filed by Ashwini Upadhyay

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court will on Thursday hear the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashwani Upadhyay, seeking a lifetime ban on convicted and chargesheeted.Member of Parliaments and Members of Legislative Assemblies (MPs and MLAs), instead of the current six-year bar on contesting the polls.The PIL also pointed out, while judges and babus were suspended for such activities, politicians were condoned by the law.In an earlier hearing, the apex court had pulled up the Election Commission of India (ECI) for not taking a clear stand on whether lawmakers be barred for life from contesting elections after being convicted in heinous offenses.It had also sought a direction to the Centre and ECI to fix minimum educational qualification and a maximum age limit for persons contesting elections.Earlier in July 12, the poll commission took a U-turn on the plea and said it does not want a permanent ban, but it supported the de-criminalisation of politics within a certain framework.The EC, in its short affidavit submitted before the court, has said that the plea made by Upadhyay is “not adversarial” in seeking directives for ensuring that trials of MPs and MLAs are concluded within a year and that such convicts are prohibited for life from the political process. The answering respondent (EC) supports the cause espoused by the petitioner,” stated the affidavit, filed by EC Director Vijay Kumar Pandey.Under the current law, a legislator is debarred for six years from contesting elections once he is convicted for heinous or moral offences. Various pleas have knocked the Supreme Court arguing that the ban should be lifetime at par with the judiciary and executive where a person cannot hold office for life post conviction.The Centre has opposed the lifetime ban on convicted MPs and MLAs. The Centre has vehemently opposed the suggestion of the EC to bar the legislators, who have been convicted of criminal offences.Submitting its response to the PIL, the Centre has argued that the current debarment for six years is in no way violative of Article 14.A PIL was filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, seeking to set up special courts for speedy disposal of matters related to legislators and to further bar them from contesting elections for life.

Protect peacocks, HC tells govt, agencies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Delhi High court on Wednesday lashed out at the authorities on the sorry state of the peacocks, who roam around helplessly on the streets without food.A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Harishankar issued a notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Delhi government, DDA and South Delhi Municipal Corporation directing them to submit a status report in 10 days.The observation comes on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a south Delhi resident Smita Kapil, who sought the protection of these birds.”You have to protect the birds and animals roaming on roads. We have seen peacocks on the roads of Delhi’s Lutyens’ zone. They are seen without food. Nothing is being done by the authorities,” the bench said.The petition, filed by Sumita Kapil, a resident of South Delhi, claimed that a large number of dogs, pigs and monkeys were threatening the peacocks, causing them to leave the park and come out on the roads.The plea also said the animals were harming the environment as their excreta makes it difficult for people to breathe or walk in the park. It also sought protection of stray animals by providing them shelter so that they do not harm each other or get hurt.”The excreta of dogs and pigs are surely not helping in ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’,” the plea said.While hearing the plea, the court observed that the animals and birds need proper shelter and protection thereby making Forest Department of Delhi one of the respondents.The PIL, filed through Pooja Swami, also contended that there were over 500 pigs and stray dogs in the Deer Park which have been forcing a restriction on the movement of the national bird. It also said that due to the felling of trees, the peacocks have no where to go which is the reason why they hide in the parks and subsequently are seen on the streets.”Peacocks get ample food in the monsoon. But is it correct that they are forced by the monkeys and stray dogs on streets,” a senior wildlife expert told DNA.

Satisfied with police’s steps for Bakri Eid, says HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court on Wednesday disposed off a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking guidelines to regulated cow vigilantes (gau rakshaks) during Bakri Eid, to be celebrated on September 2.The court was submitted a report with a circular issued by the director-general of police, and Mumbai Police Commissioner to police stations to ensure that no untoward incident takes place during the festival. Public prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik told the court that preventive steps had been taken to maintain law and order.The court said it was “satisfied” with the state’s and the Mumbai police’s steps to prevent and tackle unwarranted incidents of cow vigilantism ahead of Bakri Eid.”Authorities had kept in mind the constitutional principle of secularism, and taken necessary steps to ensure that people of all religions celebrate without causing any disturbance to one another,” it said.The PIL, filed by activist Shadaab Patel, had asked the court to issue guidelines so that cow vigilantes could be kept at bay during Bakri Eid. It also asked for directions to ensure the safety of citizens, especially cattle traders, and those who own or work in slaughter houses and meat shops.

PIL challenges ‘no outside food’ rule at cineplexes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A city-based film director has approached the Bombay High Court against the prohibition on carrying outside food in movie theatres and multiplexes. Jainendra Baxi, who has filed the public interest litigation (PIL), claimed that there was “no legal or statutory provision that prohibits one from carrying personal food articles or water inside movie theatres”. In fact, the petition said, the Maharashtra Cinemas (Regulation) Rules prohibit hawking and selling food inside the theatres and auditoriums. “This rule is openly flouted by the cinema halls which have several stalls selling food and beverages,” it added. The restrictions on bringing outside food to the theatres particularly affected the senior citizens and those who could not eat, for medical reasons, “the junk food that the food stalls in the theatres sell”, the petition said. The moviegoers must be allowed to carry eatables inside the auditoriums and disallowing this violated their “constitutional right to life”, it added, while seeking a direction to the state government to clarify its position in this regard. The PIL is expected to come up for hearing next month.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SC asks govt how it will implement, monitor mid-day meals

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today asked the Centre and states how were they monitoring the implementation and hygiene of the mid-day meal schemes in government schools across the country. A bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud sought the response of the Centre and the state governments while noting that two committees at the national and state level were suggested to be set up to monitor various aspects like maintaining hygiene in the mid-day meal schemes in schools. “How will the implementation of the scheme take place? Tell us and we will crystalise it (in the form of an order),” the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on August 24. The court was hearing a PIL, filed by NGO ‘Antarashtriya Manav Adhikaar Nigraani’ in 2013, on the issue of mid-day meals. It had issued directions to prevent incidents like the one that occurred in a government primary school in a Bihar village where 23 children died after eating contaminated food in 2013. The apex court had on March 23 asked state governments and union territories to upload information including the total number of students getting benefit of the mid-day meal scheme within three months on their websites. The court had approved the “proforma” for providing the details and requirements of the mid-day meal scheme, noting that 25 states agreed to give information as per the format. The Cente had informed the court that 11 other states, which have not filed their reply, were also “not averse” to providing the requisite information as required under the proforma, which contains heads under which information is to be uploaded on the website of the state education department. Information like the total number of schools covered under the scheme, number of beneficiary students, quality and nutritional value of food grains and vegetables, eggs and other supplements served, have to be provided by state governments. The proforma also seeks states to provide information as to whether there is any monitoring mechanism to check the quality of food served to the children in government schools. Earlier, the apex court had issued notice to the Centre and 12 states seeking their response on the steps taken to ensure cleanliness in the midday meal scheme and prevent incidents like the one that occurred in the Bihar village primary school. The states were Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Jharkhand. In over 12 lakh government-run and aided schools across the country, children receive free, cooked lunch every day but “they are constantly exposed to the risk of food poisoning and related health hazards due to a lack of mid-day meal infrastructure and proper monitoring of the scheme,” the PIL said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

HC pulls up AMC over poor roads

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Gujarat High Court has directed the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s (AMC) vigilance cell to conduct an inquiry into washed away roads and potholes, and find out who is responsible for the poor work within four weeks. It has also asked the corporation to put all documents related to roads on court records.The second division bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice BN Karia heard the PIL moved by Mustak Kadri, which stated that majority roads in the city have washed away in the first showers, and there more than 2,500 potholes.The court in its order directed the corporation’s vigilance cell and said, “It should conduct independent inquiry into pathetic roads, role of contractor and the concerned, who was supposed to keep check on the quality of the road. This exercise should be completed within four weeks and be reported to the high court.”The Municipal Commissioner has also been directed to put road tenders, bidding, quotations, bills raised by, work contract and payment released to the contractors, quality check report documents of last two years on the HC records.AMC will have to publicise numbers of officers responsible for public works so that citizens can take up issues with them directly.STRAY CATTLEThe HC in a contempt of court petition has concluded that there is disobedience and noncompliance of court’s earlier order on the stray cattle menace. It has decided to give a week to the AMC and city police to act accordingly. If the order is not complied with, Deputy Municipal Commissioner (CNSD) and respective police inspector of the police station will be held responsible.

PIL on Gorakhpur tragedy to be heard today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court will today hear the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in regard with the Gorakhpur tragedy in which at least 30 kids died in 48 hours at Baba Raghav Das (BRD) Medical College’s Nehru Hospital on August 10 and 11. Activist and advocate Dr Nutan Thakur said that PIL will be heard before the bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Daya Shankar Tiwari. Thakur further said the PIL asserts that the State government and its agencies have been trying to defend the entire incident by negating the facts emerging in media about deaths taking place due to oxygen failure, which gives a message that they are trying to hide facts and shield certain guilty persons. The PIL seeks judicial enquiry in the matter so that the true facts emerge and guilty do not remain unpunished. The PIL also prays for issuing directions to the State government so that such incidents do not happen again. The PIL further seeks complete enforcement of previous High Court order about complete ban of private practice by government doctors.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Emotions of ‘tanga daur’ ban may foment political war

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The traditional tanga daur (tonga race) of Nagaur had kicked up a storm between the people of Nagaur and the Rajasthan government. The high court had banned the traditional horse cart race in 2014 after a PIL was filed, calling the event an act of cruelty on the animals. The court had also objected to the races being held on the highways passing through Nagaur.Four races are held on the highways in Nagaur during Bhadva, a month of festival according to the Hindu calendar. A large police force used to be deployed along the highway as thousands of spectators thronged the venue. However, the order didn’t go well with some of the local organisations, which pleaded the ban be lifted. With the state going into polls next year, the clamour of protest has grown much stronger. A group of local politicians have joined the protest too. Independent MLA from Khimsar, one of the areas through with the race cuts through, is leading the protest, even to the extent of taking out a rally. “This is a part of our culture. Both Hindus and Muslims have fairs during which these races are held,” Khimsar said. The government is under pressure because the protestors announced a sit-in at the collectorate office in Nagaur on August 24. The first race is scheduled for 31 August. A state-level meeting was held on Monday. “The race is a part of the tradition. Going by these parameters, even tilling of land with oxen is cruelty” said animal husbandry minister Prabhulal Saini.“We have decided to seek an alternate route that stays away from the highways. We’ll try to ensure that every horse that takes part in the event is medically examined,” added Saini. “We cannot take any decision against the court ruling. We may file a review petition or move SC and draft a policy covering all similar events,” added Saini. 90-year-old Shamshuddin, who owns a horse, said: “I’ve been seeing the races since childhood. My family had been keeping horses that participate in races for a long time. We feed them well and care for them. The ban must go.”

PIL seeks judicial inquiry into Gorakhpur tragedy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Public Interest Litigation was today filed in the Allahabad High Court seeking a judicial inquiry into the recent deaths at the BRD Hospital in Gorakhpur where of 71 children have lost their lives since August 7. Filed by Suneeta Sharma, an advocate, and Kamlesh Singh, a social worker, the PIL is likely to be taken up for hearing before a bench tomorrow. The petitioners have blamed the deaths on “carelessness” of the doctors at the hospital and further contended that although encephalitis claims many young lives every year there were no effective measures to contain the outbreak of the vector-borne disease. The petitioners also prayed for directions so that stern punishment was meted out to those held responsible for the deaths.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Drought issue: Judges can’t run govt, ask for miracles, Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Judges cannot run a government and ask it to do “miracles”, Attorney General K K Venugopal today told the Supreme Court while opposing fresh pleas being made by NGO ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’ in a PIL for relief measures in drought-hit states. A bench, headed by Justice M B Lokur, directed the Centre to set up state food commissions, as mandated under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, even in the states not hit by drought. Venugopal took strongly opposed the submissions of Prashant Bhushan, representing the NGO run by activist Yogendra Yadav, and termed them as fresh ones. “New submissions are being made every time. The issue (PIL) cannot go on forever. We have filed a detailed affidavit stating all steps are being taken by us. There has to be an end. Your lordships cannot run the government. “We cannot be asked to do miracles as this is such an enormous task. We are trying to persuade the state governments to do the best thing possible. The government is concerned with the issue and is putting the best way forward. But grant us some time, preferably six months,” Venugopal said. He said that if fresh issues were raised, then there would be no end to the grievances and moreover, the Centre was looking into the issues and has written numerous letters to states concerned. The bench, also comprising Justice N V Ramana, then told the attorney general that the petition would be confined to only three issues — delay in payment of wages and compensation, reduction in person days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and absence of social audit. Ordering setting up of state food commissions, the bench said the provisions under the NFSA provided for such commissions in all the states and Union territories (UTs). “Although this writ petition is confined to 10 states, we have brought it to the notice of the attorney general that since we are dealing with a parliamentary statute namely the National Food Security Act, 2013, it will be appropriate if the provisions of the Act are faithfully implemented in all the states and the Union territories. “The attorney general has assured us that the matter will be taken up with due earnestness and the provisions of the Act will be implemented in all the states and the UTs. All efforts will be made by the central government in this regard,” the bench said. During the proceedings, the chief secretaries of various states were present in the courtroom. The judges were informed that state food commissions have been set up in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Karnataka. With regard to constitution of the commission in Haryana, the counsel, appearing for the state, told the bench that the matter was pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The top court also asked the states to implement other provisions of the Act including appointment of vigilance committees and the district grievance officers and conduct of social audits of government ration shops. The court made the observations when Bhushan sought relief measures for farmers in the drought-hit states under the statute. Bhushan told the court that the implementation of the NFSA still remained a major challenge and adequate work under the MNREGA was not being given by the state governments. He said there has been a one-third cut in the protected labour budget under the MNREGA and almost 67 per cent of the budget has already been exhausted by the Centre in the initial four months of this financial year. The matter would be hear again on December 5. The apex court had on March 22 summoned the Cchief secretaries of ten states for failure to implement the NFSA. It had said that with regard to the statute, the state governments have to appoint the food commissions and could not give a go by to the law enacted by Parliament. The court had also impleaded the Reserve Bank of India as a party to the case as the petition had said that the guidelines issued for loan waiver and loan restructuring of farmers of drought-hit areas were not being implemented by the banks. The PIL had claimed that parts of 12 states– Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana and Chhattisgarh — were hit by drought and the authorities were not providing adequate relief. The petitioners had claimed that the directions issued by the court in the matter were not complied with by these states.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Take decision within 3 months on plea for minority status to non-Muslims in J&K: SC to Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave a last opportunity to the Centre and asked it to take a decision within three months on a plea to grant minority status to non-Muslims in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices A K Goel and D Y Chandrachud considered the submission of the central government that it needed more time to hold consultations with the state government and other stakeholders, if any.Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre said the government has been holding consultations at various levels and eight weeks more time be granted to it to apprise the court about their stand on the PIL.The bench was hearing a PIL filed by Jammu-based lawyer Ankur Sharma that in a Muslim majority state like Jammu and Kashmir, non-Muslims should have been granted minority status to avail benefits of various governmental schemes.

Bombay HC: Children below 14 years cannot take part in Dahi Handi celebrations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court on Monday accepted the Maharashtra govt’s undertaking that children below 14 years of age will not be allowed to participate in ‘Dahi Handi’ festival​.Dahi Handi is a ritual which will be observed during ‘Janmashtami’ on August 14 this year across Maharashtra and nearby states. However, the HC said the height of the human pyramids can only be regulated by the state and that if the court intervenes, it would amount to encroaching on legislative powers.The HC also said the state affidavit regarding safety measures to be adopted by organisers covers most concerns in regards to accidents of ‘govindas’. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court had remanded back to the Bombay High Court a plea of Maharashtra government challenging its order capping the height of the human pyramid and barring participation of minors in the famous ‘Dahi-handi’ festival.The Supreme Court had on August 10 revived a plea challenging a Bombay HC order restricting the height of human pyramids to 20 feet for ‘Dahi-Handi’ ritual, saying it needed to hear the PIL petitioner before passing any order.The Maharashtra government had earlier approached the apex court seeking clarification on its 2014 order by which it had stayed the high court decision banning participation of those below 18-years in the popular ‘Dahi-Handi’ ritual.The high court had on August 11, 2014 ordered that the height of human pyramids should not exceed 20 feet and that children below the age of 18 should not be allowed to participate.(With inputs from Mustafa Plumber and Agencies)

Haryana Girl Stalking Case: BJP MP demands Subhash Barala’s resignation; Subramanian Swamy to file PIL

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid Opposition parties accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of pressurising Chandigarh administration to protect the accused in stalking case, BJP MP has demanded resignation of Haryana BJP Chief Subhash Barala.”Subhash Barala should quit on moral grounds,” said Rajkumar Saini, a BJP MP from Kurukshetra. The girl has accused BJP leader’s son Vikas Barala (23) and his friend Ashish Kumar (27) of stalking her on Friday night after which they were arrested and released on bail.Meanwhile, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy said he will file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the case of an IAS officer’s daughter being stalked by the son of Haryana BJP Chief Subhash Barala.Taking to Twitter, Swamy stated that he along with his associate lawyer A.P. Jagga, will file a PIL in Chandigarh over the attempted abduction of a IAS officer’s daughter by two’ drunk goons’.
ALSO READ Girl Stalking Case: CCTV footage goes missing, BJP leader asks why was she out late nightThe Congress has cornered Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the incident “BJP is hatching a conspiracy to shield the Haryana state chief’s son, who harassed and stalked an IAS officer’s daughter in an alleged inebriated state in Chandigarh,” said Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala.”This is extremely clear that BJP is pressurizing Chandigarh administration and hatching conspiracy to protect the son of its political leader. May we ask on behalf of people of India if drunken youth, goons chase a girl for seven kilometers, attempt to block her car and forcibly open the door and try to enter the car, is it not the case of abduction and outraging the modest of a woman? Why have these offences not been lodged? The Prime Minister and chief minister must answer these questions to the people of country,” Surjewala told ANI.A case was registered by the Chandigarh Police against Vikas and other youth under under Section 354 D (stalking) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 185 (Motor Vehicle Act) of the CRPC on the basis of complaint filed by the woman.

Seal textiles units operating without permission: HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rajasthan high court has ordered the state government to seal all industrial units operating in Sanganer area of Jaipur without due permission. The Jaipur Vidhyut Virtan Nigam Limited (JVVNL) has also been instructed to disconnect power supply of all such units. The order was made by a double bench of chief justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Vijay Kumar Vyas while disposing off a public interest litigation (PIL) which was filed by Mukesh Meena and others. The decision rings death bell for hundreds of big and small textile printing units established in the Sanganer area. These units have flourished on the reputation of Sanganeri print, a traditional printing pattern associated with the area. However, now the rise of this industry has become an environmental challenge. The petitioners have sought intervention of court to curb the pollution. “The industries have been developed on agriculture area and have been constant source of pollution. The dye and other chemicals used in printing pollute water and soil while smoke emanating from plastic burnt pollutes air. These units operate without due clearances from pollution control board,” the petitioners submitted at court. Considering the PIL, the court had issued notices to state government and other concerned agencies. The court also added that its ‘unfortunate’ that the agencies did ‘nothing’ to address the issue of pollution referring to its previous judgment made in 2003.The court has ordered to seal of all the illegal operating units.HighlightsHigh Court ordered the state government to seal all industrial units operating in Sanganer area of Jaipur without due permission.Decision rings death bell for hundreds of big and small textile printing units established in the Sanganer area.Order was issued while disposing off a public interest litigation.

HC dismisses petitions against new Nitish govt formation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Patna High Court today dismissed two petitions challenging formation of the new government by Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) along with the BJP, saying no intervention of the court is required after floor test in the state Assembly. The two PILs had challenged the formation of the new government on the ground that it had violated the judgement in the S R Bommai case. After hearing all parties, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A K Upadhyay dismissed the two PILs saying, after floor test in the state Assembly, no intervention of the court is required. While one PIL was filed by RJD MLAs Saroj Yadav and Chandan Verma, the second PIL was filed by Jitendra Kumar who is a member of the Samajwadi Party. On Friday last, the court had adjourned the matter for today. The new Nitish Kumar government, in which NDA is a coalition partner, had comfortably won the trust vote on Friday last. While the ruling alliance got 131 votes, the opposition had secured 108 votes in the vote of confidence. B C Pandey and Bhupendra Kumar Singh, lawyers on behalf of the petitioners, argued before the court that RJD, the single largest party, was not given a chance for government formation in violation of the Supreme Court judgement in the S R Bommai case and hence the oath of office and secrecy taken by ministers of the new government should be cancelled. While Advocate General Lalit Kishore appeared on behalf of the state government, Y V Giri was the governor’s counsel and the Union government was represented by S D Sanjay. Y V Giri argued before the court that once the floor test is conducted, nothing else remains as the party clearly proved its majority on the floor of the House. The new government had furnished a list of 131 MLAs in support of the new government and they acquired the same number of votes during the confidence vote on Friday last which justified the governor’s decision to call them for forming a government, Giri said. He told the court that the same procedure was followed recently in formation of government in Goa. After hearing all the parties, the bench observed that no intervention was required. On Friday last, lawyers of the petitioners had mentioned the two cases ahead of the crucial confidence vote and had prayed to the judge to cancel the trust vote since it violated the judgement in the S R Bommai case. The lawyers had also prayed to the court to issue a directive to invite the leader of the single largest party to form the government. Principal Additional Advocate General Lalit Kishore and Additional Solicitor General S D Sanjay had termed the PILs on July 28 last as “frivolous”.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DMK MLA moves HC for setting up SIT to probe gutkha scam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A DMK MLA today moved the Madras High Court for setting up a special investigation team, headed by a retired judge of the High Court, to probe the alleged involvement of state and central government officials in the ‘gutkha scam’. He also sought steps to seize banned tobacco products. The first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar, before which the PIL filed by DMK MLA J Anbazhagan came up, adjourned the matter till July 31 for resumed hearing. The petitioner sought setting up of a team headed by a retired high court judge besides officials drawn from the CBI and other departments. The counsel said the common man was worst hit by “the act of the public servants who have aided and abetted this conspiracy to sell banned carcinogens to the public.” The Leader of the Opposition (M K Stalin) had produced evidence and photos in the state assembly on July 19 claiming sale of these products continued freely despite the ban, the counsel said. “Since a minister of the state and high-level state and central government officers, including high-level police officials, are involved in this scam, no free, fair or impartial investigation can be conducted by the state police. Only the CBI can conduct a thorough and impartial probe in this matter,” the petitioner’s counsel contended.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Smriti Irani MPLADS misuse: HC asks government to submit report

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The high court on Wednesday asked the state government to submit a report on allegations of financial irregularities in using Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) in Anand district.Petitioner Amit Chavda and others have filed a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging largescale misuse in MP Smriti Irani’s funds. They stated Irani was elected to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat in 2011 and she selected Anand as the nodal district for disbursing MPLAD funds. In 2015, the state shut down Gujarat State Rural Development Corporation, yet it was made implementing agency for 2015-16. The same work was later transferred to an agency named Sharda Mazdoor Kamdar Sahakari Mandli.According to the PIL, the Anand district planning officer, in his reply, has claimed the Mandli was selected following telephonic instructions from the first personal assistant to Irani.The petitioners further alleged Irani had violated the guidelines which specifically stated the MP could have no say in deciding the implementing agency. It doesn’t end there. The agency was given more than Rs1 crore work though rules are clear on not allotting more than Rs50 lakh work to any single agency in a year.Petitioners’ advocate Ishan Joshi and Anand Yagnik said the Anand district collector, in a communication to the general administration department (GAD), stated work had been shown as completed on paper and funds released too, but the reality was completely different.They further alleged even process papers for 139 work contracts for 2016-17 were approved by the deputy executive engineer of Jambughoda in the Panchamahals though it does not fall under his jurisdiction. It is clear case of blatant misuse of power and public funds, the PIL alleged.The petitioners want the high court to appoint a high-level inquiry committee headed by additional chief secretary, GAD, with additional director general of police and accountant general as members. The DGP should be directed to file an FIR against MP Smriti Irani and Sharda Mazdoor Kamdar Sahakari Mandli. After hearing the primary submission of the petitioners, the first division bench of chief justice R Subhash Reddy and justice Vipul Pancholi directed the state to file a report. The matter will be heard after two weeks.Paper ProjectsRs 1.50 lakh worth block paver work at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Court, Borsad.Rs 55.47 lakh beautification of lake at Maghrol village.Rs 12 lakh spent on crematorium for Patels at Maghrol village.Rs 54 lakh-worth work for Kshatriya Samaj crematorium.Rs 69 lakh-worth work for Panchayat Ghar at Maghrol village.An inspection in June 2017 revealed none of these works had been completed, and neither had the agency provided documents to the gram panchayat.Similar facts have surfaced at two to three villages in Anand district.

Coal scam: Court directs CBI to respond to Javadekar’s plea

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A special court has directed the CBI to respond by September 6 to the objections of Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and Hansraj Ahir against its move to close a coal scam case. Special Judge Bharat Parashar allowed the probe agency’s plea seeking time to respond to the ministers’ petition in a case allegedly involving Prakash Industries Ltd (PIL) and others as accused. HRD Minister Javadekar and Minister of State for Home Ahir, who are complainants in case, had approached the court seeking rejection of the CBI’s closure report and a direction to the agency to further investigate it and file a supplementary charge sheet. In 2014, the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had started its proceedings on the complaints made by the two ministers. The case was registered on the basis of CVC’s reference, but after completing the probe, the CBI had filed a closure report in 2014 saying no incriminating evidence had come on record warranting prosecution of any accused. The BJP leaders had alleged in their petition that the PIL had deliberately misrepresented facts to the 35th Screening Committee with the connivance of others to get the coal block in Chhattisgarh’s Fatehpur allotted to it and the CBI had wrongly accepted the claims made by the accused. Their petition came in response to the court’s earlier notice asking them whether they wanted to submit anything on the final report in the case. The court had issued notices to both the ministers after CVC Director Sanjay Agarwal had informed it that the anti- graft watchdog was not a complainant in the matter and had no role to play in the case. It was these two leaders on whose complaint the CVC had started its proceedings, he had said. The court had said that before accepting CBI’s closure report, it was duty-bound to issue notice to the complainant. It had also directed the CVC to clarify its stand on the report. According to the CBI’s FIR, the Fatehpur coal block was allocated jointly to PIL and another firm by the 35th Screening Committee. The FIR was lodged against PIL, its three officials, some officials of the Coal Ministry and others on the charge that the firm had misrepresented its net worth while applying for the block. The FIR was registered under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) of the IPC and under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The CBI had also alleged in its FIR that while the company had misrepresented facts relating to its net worth, the screening committee had deliberately not followed the guidelines and showed undue favour to it.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bombay High Court refuses to lift ban on capture and exhibition of snakes for festival

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bombay High Court on Friday disposed off a public interest litigation (PIL), which sought to reverse a previous order banning the capture and exhibition of snakes on Nag Panchami. The festival will be celebrated next week.A division bench of Chief Justice Manjulla Chellur and Justice NM Jamdar, while disposing off the petition filed by Pradeep Joshi, said that the court had already decided on the issue. They added that the order can be reviewed, provided some new ground is raised in the petition filed.The PIL claimed that the high court, in its earlier order, had not properly appreciated the document in Gazetteer of District Sangli, published by the government. The petition also states that the festival is being celebrated over several years and thus it is part of the tradition.The court had ordered the ban based on a petition filed by Ajit Patil, an animal activist from Sangli district, on July 15, 2014. Citing references to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the court rejected Battis Shirala’s opposition to the ban, a town in Sangli where the festival is popular.Before the one day festival, snake groups and volunteers capture snakes from nearby forests that are stored and later displayed. As per belief, the cobra snake has a special significance in Hindu mythology.

Unauthorised buildings in Delhi as MCDs derelicted duty: HC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The municipal corporations have “derelicted” their duty to prevent unauthorised buildings from coming up in the city, an exasperated Delhi High Court today said, pulling up the civic bodies for the “hopeless” situation in the national capital. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said that citizens are able to get away with not following the law because the municipal officials, who are responsible for implementing the regulations, are allowing it to happen. The court said that the officials swing into action and book properties only after notices are issued in PILs. After that demolition orders are issued, but never enforced on the grounds that police force was not available. “That is the standard operating procedure. We are exasperated with these (unauthorised construction) matters. How can someone even dig a hole in the ground to build a structure without your (MCDs) permission? “What have you done to the city! If only you would do your job, Delhi would not be like this. It is such a hopeless situation,” the bench said. The court further said that the corporations are expected to “act with promptitude” when any illegal construction starts. “Failure to do so is dereliction of duty and must entail disciplinary action apart from attracting penal consequences under the IPC,” the bench said. The court also said that the thousands of tonnes of garbage generated by the city is also on account of the illegal constructions. In one of the matters related to encroachment of forest land by multi-storeyed buildings in Neb Sarai area of south Delhi, the court said somebody from the forest department and the south Delhi municipal corporation (SDMC) “must go to jail”. The bench said such buildings could not have come up without either authority being aware of it and directed them to comply with its earlier orders to take action against the encroachment and unauthorised construction in the area. In another PIL related to unauthorised construction in Lado Sarai area of south Delhi, the court directed the corporation of the area to file a status report indicating action taken against illegal buildings. The report shall also indicate the names of the officials of the building department of SDMC who were responsible for that area for the past several years.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

4 Hry chief parl secys resign, 2 weeks after HC set aside

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four BJP MLAs from Haryana, whose appointment as chief parliamentary secretaries (CPSes) were set aside by the Punjab and Haryana High Court nearly two weeks ago, today tendered their resignations as CPSes. All of them submitted their resignation to the chief minister, official sources said. A division bench of the high court had set aside their appointment on July 5 on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a lawyer, Jagmohan Singh Bhatti. The petitioner had filed the PIL shortly after the four were appointed chief parliamentary secretaries by the BJP government in Haryana in July, 2015. The four MLAs are Shyam Singh Rana, Bakhshish Singh Virk, Seema Trikha and Kamal Gupta. The government’s decision to appoint the four as CPSes was challenged by Bhatti on the ground that there were no such provisions in the Constitution and the appointments were thus, unconstitutional, and also a burden on the exchequer. The high court had given the four CPSes time to file an appeal against the order by keeping it in abeyance for three weeks, but today, Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala told reporters here that all four had resigned and there was no plan to challenge the HC verdict. Barala added that after the July 5 court verdict, the issue was discussed within the party, after which it was decided that all the four MLAs would tender their resignation as CPSes. Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had administered oath to the four as CPSes on July 23, 2015. Rana is the MLA from Radaur in Yamunanagar district, Virk, representing Assandh in Karnal district, is the lone Sikh face among the BJP MLAs in Haryana, Trikha is the MLA from Badhkal in Faridabad and Gupta represents Hisar in the Assembly. MLAs are often appointed as CPSes by state governments as all of them cannot be accommodated in the cabinet due to a statutory 15-per cent ceiling on ministerial berths vis-a-vis the strength of the respective Assembly. Bhatti had contended that the state was spending lakhs of rupees of public money on the salaries, perks and facilities of these CPSes, who were de-facto ministers. However, the Haryana government had countered the claim saying the four CPS-es were not getting the salaries or allowances at par with the ministers and were also not included in the category of ministers. In August 2016, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had also quashed the appointment of the CPSes made by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government in Punjab in April, 2012. In that case too, Bhatti was one of the petitioners.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

At Supreme Court, EC to stick to its stand of life ban for convicted MPs, MLAs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Election Commission (EC) will unequivocally reiterate the plea to debar convicted MPs and MLAs for life from contesting elections when the matter comes up for hearing in the Supreme Court.”The Commission has not taken any U-turn on the matter of decriminalisation of politics. Our stand is clear and unambiguous and in sync with the petitioner’s prayer to debar the convicted legislatures (MPs and MLAs) for life. How can there be a U-turn when we have said so on oath?” a source in the EC told DNA.This functionary was commenting on the recent controversy after the EC lawyer told the Supreme Court bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha that while the poll regulator supported the plea to the extent that there should be a mechanism for decriminalisation of politics, it had not taken a final decision on it.In its affidavit, the EC — while asserting that it was alive to the issues that concern the conduct of free and fair elections and functioning of a healthy democracy and has been asserting that electoral reforms which further the cause be brought in — had said, “…To the extent of relief claimed under Prayer (a) and (b) is not adversarial and the Election Commission of India supports the cause espoused by the petitioner.”Prayer (a) pertains to debarring convicted MPs and MLAs for life from contesting elections and setting up of special courts to deal with cases involving elected representatives of the people.Explaining the reasons for the confusion, the EC source said the reply of the lawyer representing them was not in line with their view.When asked to spell out the EC’s opinion on barring convicted legislators for life, he had told the apex court that the “Commission has not taken any decision and doubts whether it falls in the legislature’s domain”.On the EC not taking a stand with regard to an issue in the PIL, seeking directions to set a minimum qualification and maximum age limit for the legislators, the source said, “Here the EC is of the view that it falls in the domain of the legislature as it would require an amendment in the Constitution. This is what we have clarified in our Affidavit too.”He added: “But it (Commission’s view) will become all clear on July 21 when the matter comes up for the next hearing. The Commission will be represented by senior lawyers who will make our stand absolutely clear as described in the affidavit.”

Silence not an option: SC raps EC for ‘unclear’ stand on barring convicted lawmakers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the Election Commission for not taking a clear stand on a plea seeking a lifetime bar on convicted politicians from contesting elections, saying “silence was not an option” for it.A bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha came down heavily on the poll panel and asked whether it was “constrained” to not give its views on the matter. “Is silence an option for you (ECI)? You must say either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on whether you are supporting the petitioner. You are the ECI 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 said. “If you (ECI) 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.Referring to the ECI’s reply, the apex court said it was clear that the poll panel has supported the cause espoused by petitioner Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking a life ban for convicted politicians. When the bench asked ECI to clarify its stand, its lawyer said the poll panel is supporting the cause to the extent of decriminalisation of politics. The bench shot back, asking “Are you (ECI) supporting lifetime debarment?” The counsel submitted that one of the paragraphs of the ECI’s counter-affidavit said the poll panel supports the cause and it should not be “read in isolation”. “Paragraph eight of your counter-affidavit is very clear that you are supporting it. You are saying we have to read between the lines which we think we should not. We do not think why we should find out any other meaning of what is there in this paragraph,” the bench said and fixed the matter for further hearing on July 19.It also asked the ECI about what it had communicated to the Centre on the issue. When the ECI’s counsel the court it has not said anything about that in the communication addressed to the Centre, the bench said “you cannot be silent”. However, the poll panel’s counsel said the ECI was not the “correct authority to comment on it” and that it would file an additional affidavit in the apex court on the matter. “It is submitted that the accompanying PIL, to the extent of relief claimed under prayers, are not adversarial and the answering respondent (Election Commission of India) supports the cause espoused by the petitioner,” the ECI had said in its affidavit.During the arguments, Upadhyay, himself a lawyer who argued on behalf of one of the intervenors, told the bench that ECI’s affidavit was clear that it was supporting the cause espoused by him. When he claimed before the court that “30 per cent of the lawmakers are actually lawbreakers”, the bench said, “It is a matter of statistics and we are not going into it”. “Are you also espousing the cause of convicted public servants and alleging discrimination,” the apex court asked Upadhyay after he argued that on being convicted, public servants and judicial officers were eventually dismissed from service for life whereas a politician was debarred for only six years. The Centre, in its affidavit, said the prayer of the petitioner for a lifetime ban on convicted lawmakers was not maintainable and the plea should be dismissed.The ECI affidavit said it was in favour of setting up special courts to decide the criminal cases related to people’s representatives, public servants and members of judiciary, in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution.The affidavit was filed in response to a PIL which has also sought special courts for trial of criminal cases against people from the legislature, executive and judiciary. The ECI said it has been championing the cause of decriminalisation of politics within the constitutional and statutory framework, with the aid of Article 324 which relates to the functions and powers of the poll body.It has also issued necessary instructions in furtherance of the mandate to conduct free and fair elections and to “decriminalise democracy”, the poll panel had said. On March 3, the apex court had granted the “last opportunity” to the government and the ECI to spell out their stand on a plea for barring convicts from contesting polls for life and stopping them from entering the judiciary and the executive. The petition has also sought a direction to the Centre and ECI to fix minimum educational qualification and a maximum age limit for persons contesting elections.

EC’s volte-face on lifetime ban on convicted legislators

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Election Commission on Wednesday took a U-turn on the lifetime ban on convicted and chargesheeted Member of Parliaments or the state Legislative Assembly members (MPs and MLAs) case and said it does not want a permanent ban, but it supported the decriminalisation of politics within a certain framework. Earlier, the commission had supported in the apex court a demand to bar convicted politicians for life from contesting polls. The EC, in its short affidavit submitted before the court, has said that the plea made by PIL petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay is ?not adversarial? in seeking directives for ensuring that trials of MPs and MLAs are concluded within a year and that such convicts are prohibited for life from the political process. The answering respondent (EC) supports the cause espoused by the petitioner,? stated the affidavit, filed by EC Director Vijay Kumar Pandey. Under the current law, a legislator is debarred for six years from contesting elections once he is convicted for heinous or moral offences. Various pleas have knocked the Supreme Court arguing that the ban should be lifetime at par with the judiciary and executive where a person cannot hold office for life post conviction. The Centre has opposed the lifetime ban on convicted MPs and MLAs. The Centre has vehemently opposed the suggestion of the EC to bar the legislators, who have been convicted of criminal offences. Submitting its response to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), the Centre has argued that the current debarment for six years is in no way violative of Article 14. A PIL was filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, lawyer and BJP leader, seeking to set up special courts for speedy disposal of matters related to legislators and to further bar them from contesting elections for life.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

HC refuses to stay EC order disqualifying Narottam Mishra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Madhya Pradesh High Court today refused to stay an Election Commission’s order divesting state minister and BJP leader Narottam Mishra of the assembly membership. A division bench of Chief Justice Hemant Gupta refused to give interim relief to Mishra and adjourned hearing on his plea against the poll panel’s last month order. The bench also adjourned the hearing on a plea filed by journalist Surendra Dubey on a related issue too. The Election Commission unseated Datia MLA Mishra last month for three years for filing wrong accounts of election expenses in the 2008 assembly elections. The Election Commission had disqualified Mishra from being the member of the state assembly on a compliant by Congress leader Rajendra Bharti, who had lost the 2008 assembly election to Mishra. Chief Justice Gupta today deferred the hearing on two petitions for two weeks after senior lawyer Vivek Tankha sought adjournment of hearing on them, saying that his client Bharti, who is party to both the petitions, has moved the Supreme Court seeking transfer of both of the pleas to the apex court. Mishra’s lawyer sought a stay on the June 23 Election Commission order, saying the BJP leader wanted to cast his vote in the July 17 presidential election. The court, however, simply adjourned the hearing, Tankha said. “My client (Bharti) has petitioned the Supreme Court that the two petitions before the high court should be heard by the apex court,” said Tankha, a former advocate general of Madhya Pradesh. On July 6, Mishra’s petition against the EC’s order was transferred to the principal bench of the MP High Court at Jabalpur from the Gwalior bench, and was clubbed with Dubey’s PIL. The PIL demands that following the EC’s action, the Datia seat represented by Mishra in the assembly should be declared as vacant. “Unhappy with the transfer of writ petition from Gwalior to Jabalpur, my client (Bharti) moved the apex court,” advocate Tankha told reporters.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SC directs mental hospitals to implement guidelines framed by Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Supreme Court on Monday directed all states and Union Territories, which are running mental hospitals to implement the guidelines framed by the Central Government. The Apex Court also directed them to file a status report. The Apex Court passed the direction after hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Gaurav Kumar Bansal. On February 22, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to frame guidelines for rehabilitation of persons who have been cured of their mental illness. A bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar observed that after mentally ill persons are cured, not even their family members are willing to take them back home. The Supreme Court then told Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who was representing the Centre, that the government cannot allow a person to be kept in a mental asylum or a nursing home after he or she is fully cured of the ailment. The Solicitor General, however, told the bench that they needed some time as two ministries – Ministry of Health and Ministry of Social Justice – were involved in this process. The Apex Court gave eight weeks time to the Centre for this. The Apex Court also asked the government to place before it the guidelines or scheme for its consideration and posted the matter for hearing after eight weeks. The court was hearing a PIL filed by advocate G.K. Bansal who had raised the issue of release of about 300 persons from various mental hospitals in Uttar Pradesh, alleging they were still languishing there despite being cured of their ailments and most of them belonged to poorer sections.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

SC dismisses PIL seeking ban on burning of ‘Ravana’ effigies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL seeking a ban on burning of effigies of Ravana on Dussehra across the country, saying that the Constitution provides for freedom to practice religion to all citizens. “Have you read Article 25 of the Constitution? It says that everyone has the right to practice his/her religion,” a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud told the petitioner while dismissing his plea. The PIL, filed by Haryana-based journalist Anand Prakash Sharma, had sought banning of the practice of burning Ravana on Dussehra, saying “this practice is not supported by any basis mentioned either in Valmiki’s Ramayana or Tulsi’s Ramayana.” It also said that it hurt not only the sentiments of some sects of Hindus, but was also hazardous for the environment. “More importantly, this illegal practice is a waste of money and hazardous to the environment and health of public,” it said while seeking direction to the Centre and states to ban the “improper” practice.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

PIL filed in HC to restrain transportation of huge rock

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A PIL has been filed in the Madras High Court for a direction to authorities to restrain the transportation of a single rock weighing 380 tons from Thiruvannamalai to Bengaluru. When the petition came up on Friday, a division bench of Justice M. Sathyanarayanan and Justice N.Seshasayee adjourned its hearing to July 28. The PIL has been filed by Munikrishnan of Cheyyar Taluk, Thiruvannamalai District. According to petitioner, a charitable trust, Kothandaramaswami Charitable Trust of Bengaluru, was searching for a precious single rock for sculpting an idol and they found it in Korakottai village of Thiruvannamalai district. The land where the single rock was found belongs to the Tamil Nadu government, the petitioner said. He submitted that the state government had permitted the trust to take the single rock and another rock weighing 260 tons. He claimed transportation of these huge rocks was very dangerous to people, besides roads through which these rocks have to be transported are also not viable. The petitioner sought a direction for restraining authorities from allowing transportation of these huge rocks.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Swamy files PIL seeking court-monitored probe in Sunanda Pushkar case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Thursday filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court in the Sunanda Pushkar case, seeking a court monitored probe and re-investigation by the Delhi Police. The petition filed by Swamy asserts that the Sunanda Pushkar?s case is ?extreme example of the slow-motion of the criminal justice process and the extent to which it can be subverted by the rich and influential?. The PIL in the case has sought setting up of a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) headed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe in a time bound manner under a court monitored mechanism under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950, the murder case of the former in which inordinate delays have been caused. 51-year-old Pushkar was found dead at a suite in a five-star hotel in South Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014, a day after her spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar on Twitter over her alleged affair with Tharoor.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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