SC seeks Centre’s reply on PIL for converting public transport and Govt vehicles into electric ones.

The Supreme Court on Friday sought response of the Centre on a PIL seeking implementation of its policy on gradually converting all public transport and government vehicles to electric vehicles to curb air pollution and carbon emission.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde took note of the plea filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation alleging that the government has not done enough in pursuance of its own policy of converting public transport and government vehicles into electric vehicles.

The bench, which also comprised justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, issued notice to the union Ministry of Road Transport and sought its reply within four weeks.

Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, said the scheme was formulated to curb air pollution and restrict carbon emission which has been creating the problem of global warming.

He also said that infrastructure facilities for proper charging batteries of electric vehicles also needed to be developed.

In March last year, the apex court had directed the Centre to apprise it about steps taken so far for implementation of the scheme.

The bench has now posted the PIL for hearing after four weeks.

Delhi High Court denies anticipatory bail to husband in dowry harassment case.

The Delhi High Court has denied anticipatory bail to a man, accused of harassing his wife, on the ground that he bluffed the court by making wrong allegations that his spouse was not capable of establishing sexual relations.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait said in majority of such cases, the court has granted anticipatory and regular bail to the accused persons, but considering the conduct of the husband in this matter, it was inclined not to grant him the relief.

The man had sought anticipatory bail in the case filed by his estranged wife, alleging that she was harassed by him and his parents.

During pendency of the plea, the judge interacted with the estranged couple in his chamber where the man stated that he was in love with the woman for an year before marriage and thereafter they tied the nuptial knot in November 2016.

He claimed that neither before nor after marriage, they had sexual intercourse.

The woman, however, told the court that during their affair and after marriage, they have had sexual relations and she was capable of doing so.

When the court asked the woman whether she was willing to stay with her husband, she had replied in affirmative but the man said he cannot continue the relation as she was not capable of sexual intercourse.

The court directed the medical superintendents of AIIMS and RML Hospital to examine the woman in this regard and as per the medical reports, she was capable of having sexual intercourse.

On receipt of the report, the man agreed to stay with the woman and they lived together for 24 days, the court noted.

“The petitioner (man) is personally present in court today (January 14) and has admitted that during stay of 24 days, they had sexual relations.

“If the petitioner is admitting that they had sexual intercourse during aforesaid period, then this court cannot believe that the petitioner and respondent no.2 (woman) did not have sexual relations at least after marriage. Thus, he has bluffed and misled this court by making wrong allegations against respondent no.2,” the judge said, and declined to grant him anticipatory bail.

The man had sought anticipatory bail claiming that the FIR lodged by the woman was a counter of the divorce petition to pressurise him and his family.

He said his arrest would destroy his social status and he will also lose his job and added that he was ready to join the investigation as and when called by the police.

The woman had claimed that certain disputes arose between them after one year of the marriage and alleged that her in-laws used to make sarcastic remarks about the dowry items given in the marriage.

She alleged the man had insulted and slapped her and she was mentally and physically harassed by him and his parents. An FIR was lodged in the matter in December 2018 for alleged offences under Sections 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 406 (criminal breach of trust).

Nirbhaya case : Delhi court to hear plea seeking FIR against sole witness

The father of one of the four death row convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape-and-murder case moved a Delhi court on Thursday, challenging an order refusing direction of an FIR against the sole eyewitness in the matter.

The application was filed by Heera Lal Gupta, father of Pawan Kumar Gupta, before Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora against an order of a magisterial court.

It has sought a direction to the Delhi police to lodge an FIR against the eyewitness, a friend of the 23-year-old victim, for allegedly giving interviews to various television news channels after charging money.

The sessions court put up the matter for hearing on January 27.

The magisterial court had dismissed a similar application on January 6.

The eyewitness was accompanying the victim in the bus when the gruesome incident took place and he had also sustained injuries.

The application cited certain recent media reports, which alleged that the witness charged money to appear on various news channels, the applicant’s lawyer, A P Singh, said.

It alleged that the act of the witness affected the case by “resulting in a media trial”.

“This calls for an independent investigation into the perjury that appears to have been committed by him (witness). Being the sole witness, his testimony has strongly influenced the outcome of the case, which led to the imposition of death penalty on the accused,” the complaint said.

Nirbhaya is the changed name of the December 2012 gang rape-and-murder victim, a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern who was raped and brutalised in a moving bus in south Delhi by six people.

The woman had boarded the almost empty bus in Munirka, along with her male friend, on her way home on December 16, 2012. After raping and brutalising the woman and beating up her friend, the assailants had thrown them out of the bus.

After receiving initial treatment in New Delhi for a few days, the victim was shifted to Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012.

Man gets 10 years RI for kidnapping, sexually assaulting minor.

A POCSO court here sentenced a 27-year-old carpenter to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment for kidnapping and sexually abusing his minor neighbour in suburban Bandra.

Earlier this week, special judge S J Gharat convicted Virendra Tufani, under relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

According to the prosecution, when the victim’s mother returned home from work on February 24, 2018, she found the 15-year-old missing and lodged a complaint with Nirmal Nagar police station.

However, three days later, the girl turned up at the police station along with the accused.

In her deposition, the victim told the court that the accused had come to her house in her mother’s absence and offered her chocolate, after which she lost sense of what was happening.

The victim claimed that the accused took her to a temple in Palghar, where he forcibly put ‘sindoor’ on her and later sexually assaulted her for three days.

The defence had argued that the girl had eloped with the accused and their relationship had been consensual.

The court rejected this argument and held Tufani guilty on the basis of the victim’s testimony, which was supported by medical evidence.

President rejects mercy plea of Nirbhaya convict Mukesh Singh.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday rejected the mercy plea of Mukesh Singh, one of the four men convicted in the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case, sources said.

The rejection came soon after the Union Home Ministry forwarded the petition to the president on Friday morning.

“It’s a very good thing. Our hopes have gone up after the disheartening news that the execution might be delayed,” the young woman’s father told PTI as news came in of the rejection.

Mukesh had filed his mercy petition two days ago.

The four convicts — Mukesh (32), Vinay Sharma (26), Akshay Kumar Singh (31) and Pawan Gupta (25) — were to be hanged on January 22 at 7 am in Tihar Jail, a Delhi court had announced on January 7 while issuing their death warrants.

However, the Delhi government informed the high court during a hearing that the execution of the convicts will not take place on the day as a mercy plea had been filed by Mukesh.

“The Home Ministry has forwarded the mercy petition of Mukesh Singh to the President. The ministry has reiterated the recommendation of the lieutenant governor of Delhi for its rejection,” a Home Ministry official said on Friday morning. Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s office sent Mukesh Singh’s mercy petition to the Home Ministry on Thursday, a day after the Delhi government recommended its rejection.

No documents sought for updating National Population Register.

Government has said that no documents will be asked for or biometric will be taken for National Population Register (NPR).

Home Ministry officials said that a form carrying questions as part of the NPR exercise will be finalised soon. They said most of the states have notified provisions related to the NPR. The NPR is a register of usual residents of the country. The NPR exercise will be carried out between April and September 2020 in all states and UTs, except Assam, along with the house listing phase of the census exercise.

Assam has been excluded because the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise has already been conducted in the state. Union Cabinet has approved over three thousand 941 crore rupees for the NPR exercise.

CDS General Bipin Rawat : Countries sponsoring terrorism have to be diplomatically isolated.

Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Bipin Rawat on Thursday stressed on the need to take strong global action against those who are sponsoring terrorism. He said, there is a need to take the bull by its horns and strike at the root cause.

Speaking at Raisina Dialogue 2020 in New Delhi, he said, there has to be diplomatic isolation of those sponsoring terrorism and any country sponsoring terrorism has to be taken to task. He said, a country cannot have partners who on the one hand are partnering in global war on terrorism and sponsoring terrorism on the other hand. He added, as long as there are states which sponsor terrorism, there will be terrorism and we will have to live with this menace.

Rawat said, there is a need to take hard line approach in dealing with terrorism, the way US adopted after 9/11 declaring global war on terror. He said, blacklisting by Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is one of good measures to restrict the terrorism. General Rawat said, online radicalisation can be stopped if the right person can be targeted. He said, those who have been radicalised should be de-radicalised.

On the newly created post CDS, General Rawat said, the Chief of Defence Staff has authority over service chiefs in some areas other than operations.

India’s way not to be disruptive, it is decider rather than abstainer: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar

 India’s way is not to be disruptive and it is more of a decider than an abstainer, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.

In remarks that come at a time that several countries have called for a greater Indian role in the Indo-Pacific, the minister also said it is not the India way to be mercantilist.

Addressing a gathering at the Raisina Dialogue here, Jaishankar referred to tensions between the US and Iran and said they are two individualistic countries and what finally happens will depend on the players involved.

Discussing ties with China, he said it is vital for neighbours to reach understanding on crucial issues.

“It is important that two countries find equilibrium in ties… we have to get along with each other,” he said

“India owes it to itself and to the world to be a just power,” he said.

India is not a disruptor and is firmly dealing with terrorism, Jaishankar added.

The country, he said, is a “prisoner of its past image. We have to get over it”.

“There was a time when we spoke more than what we did. It is changing now,” the minister said.

Creation of CDS a ‘very big step’ towards integration of forces: Army chief Gen M M Naravane

Army Chief Gen M M Naravane on Saturday termed the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff a “very big step” towards integration of the three forces and said the Army will ensure its success.

He also asserted that allegiance to Constitution should guide “us in all times”. “Justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as enshrined in Constitution must guide us,” he said.

Addressing a press conference, Gen Naravane said the focus of training will be on preparing the Army for future wars which will be network-centric and complex.

“We are prepared to deal with challenges along northern border,” the Army chief said when asked about China enhancing military infrastructure.

“We are initiating rebalancing of preparedness along northern border, including moving advanced weapon systems,” he said.

He said the focus will be on integration within the Army and among the three services.

“The formation of the CDS and the creation of a department of military affairs is a very big step towards integration. We on our part will make sure that this is a success,” the Army chief said.

“Integration will also be within the Army and the integrated battle group is just one example of that. But I also want to assure everyone that in this process of integration we will take everyone along. Nobody will be left behind,” he said.

The Army chief’s remarks come days after Gen Bipin Rawat took over as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff with a mandate to bring in convergence in functioning of the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force and bolster the country’s military prowess.

Shaheen Bagh protests : Police has power to control traffic in such area.

The Delhi High Court Tuesday said the police has the power to control traffic wherever protests are going on and directed it to look into a plea against restrictions on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch which has been closed for a month due to agitations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said however that no direction can be issued by the court on how to handle an agitation or the place of protest and the traffic as it depends on the ground reality and the wisdom of police.

The court asked the police to look into the issue of traffic restrictions while also keeping in mind that law and order is maintained.

The court passed the order while disposing of a PIL filed by advocate and social activist Amit Sahni seeking a direction to the Delhi Police Commissioner to lift restrictions on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch and Okhla underpass, which were closed on December 15, 2019 for ongoing protests against CAA and National Register of Citizen (NRC).

It was a temporary measure but has been extended from time to time.

The Kalindi Kunj stretch is vital as it connects Delhi, Faridabad (Haryana) and Noida (Uttar Pradesh) and commuters are forced to take the Delhi-Noida-Delhi (DND) Expressway and Ashram, which is causing hours of traffic jams and wastage of time and fuel, the plea said.

The court said: “We hereby direct the concerned respondent authorities (police) to look into the grievances ventilated by the petitioner in this writ petition… about the restrictions on usage of the road which is known as Kalindi Kunj- Shaheen Bagh Stretch, that is, Road No.13 A (between Mathura Road and Kalindi Kunj) as well as Okhla underpass, and will react in accordance with law, rules, regulations and the government policies applicable to the facts of the present case.”

It further said the authorities should keep in mind the “larger public interest” and also the maintenance of “law and order”.

The bench said it ought to be kept in mind that whenever any agitation or protest is going on, situation is like fluid, it keeps on changing looking to the temperament of the protestors and resistances by other people.

“Simultaneously, police has to maintain the law and order. Hence, the respondents have all power, jurisdiction and authority to control the traffic, wherever protests or agitations are going on, in the larger public interest.

“In such a situation, no specific writ, order or direction can be issued by this court as to how to handle the agitation or protest or the place of protest and the traffic. It all depends upon the ground reality and the wisdom of the police, where situation may keep on changing every 10 minutes,” the bench said.

The court refused however to direct the authorities to look into the issue in a time bound manner.

During the hearing, Sahni said the road closure is causing huge inconvenience to lakhs of commuters everyday and they are compelled to take different routes for last one month.

He said children, who take that route, are compelled to leave home two hours prior to school timing.

The petition claimed that the authorities have failed to take appropriate action to give relief to the residents of the locality and lakhs of commuters of Delhi, UP and Haryana.

It said the petitioner has given representation to the authorities on January 3 but no action has been taken till date.

Besides Delhi Police, the plea had made the Centre and the Delhi government as parties, seeking from them requisite assistance to the police in addressing the issue.

Due to the heavy traffic on alternative routes, it takes 15-20 minutes for people to cross just one traffic signal at Ashram, it said.

Citing several news reports, it said that on an average, Ashram Chowk is used by around 30,000 vehicles every day. With the Kalindi Kunj road closure, an additional 1 lakh vehicles are flowing through the intersection.

The high court, on January 10, had refused to entertain an application, in the form of letter, seeking directions for removal of demonstrators protesting the CAA at Shaheen Bagh here in order to clear road blockages that are causing traffic congestions at the DND route.