Supreme Court sets aside Bombay HC order asking MCI to conduct inspection in college

New Delhi:The Supreme Court today set aside a Bombay High Court order directing the Medical Council of India (MCI) to inspect a medical college, where “large-scale deficiencies” were found during an inspection last year, for granting renewal for admission in academic year 2018-2019.

A bench comprising justices L Nageswara Rao and M M Shantanagoudar allowed the appeal filed by the MCI, which had challenged the high court’s order asking it to carry out the inspection and submit a report to the Centre before April 30.

The apex court referred to one of its previous judgment, in which it had held that medical education must be taken very seriously and when an expert body certifies that facilities in a medical college were inadequate, it was not for the courts to interfere with the assessment except for reasons like mala fides of the inspection team or others.

“In view of the large-scale deficiencies found in the inspection report dated September 25, 2017 and September 26, 2017…the respondent no. one and two (Vedantaa Institute of Academic Excellence Pvt Ltd and Vedantaa Institute of Medical Sciences) are not entitled to claim another inspection,” the bench said.

“For the aforementioned reasons, the judgment of the high court is set aside and the appeal is allowed,” it said.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing the MCI, had argued in the apex court that in view of deficiencies found in the inspection conducted last year, there was no question of an opportunity being given to the institute to rectify these deficiencies.

The counsel appearing for the institute and college had argued that inspection was not conducted in a fair manner and the committee’s report does not represent the correct picture.

The Centre had told the apex court that standards fixed by the MCI were the bare minimum and have to be strictly complied with to ensure maintenance of basic minimum standards of medical education.

The Centre had issued a letter of permission in May last year to the institute to admit the first batch of 150 students for the academic year 2017-2018.

The inspection for granting the first renewal for admission of students for academic year 2018-2019 was conducted by an MCI panel on September 25 and 26 last year.

After several deficiencies were pointed out, MCI’s executive committee decided to recommend to the Centre to invoke the Establishment of Medical College Regulation, 1999 and disapprove the application of institute for renewal of permission of MBBS course second batch for academic year 2018-2019.

The matter then reached the high court which held that inspection conducted by the committee was not fair.

Urban homeless: SC pulls up UP & WB, summons chief secretaries

Urban homeless: SC pulls up UP & WB, summons chief secretaries
Urban homeless: SC pulls up UP & WB, summons chief secretaries

The Supreme Court today pulled up governments of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal for showing “lack of concern” over the issue of providing shelter to urban homeless in their states and asked their chief secretaries to appear before it.

The top court, after going through the affidavit filed by Uttar Pradesh, observed it was quite clear that the state was unable to provide shelter to urban homeless and implement the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) scheme.

A bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta expressed anguish that West Bengal government has not filed an affidavit giving all particulars, including a road map on the issue, despite the apex court’s direction.

When the lawyer appearing for West Bengal government told the court that they would file the affidavit today, the bench observed, “this is total lack of concern for urban homeless.

Your state has not done it. This cannot go on. You tell us one thing and your state government do something else.”

The bench directed the chief secretaries of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal to appear before it on January 10 to inform it as to how these states proposes to implement the NULM scheme.

At the outset, the apex court referred to the affidavit filed by Uttar Pradesh government and said that state has no plans on urban homeless and it was not possible for it to implement the scheme.

“It is impossible for you (Uttar Pradesh) to implement the scheme,” the bench said, adding, “look at your roadmap. It is zero, nothing is there”.

“It (scheme) started in 2013. For four years, you have done nothing. You admit it that you cannot do it. You do not have land, money and perhaps you do not have the will,” the court told the counsel representing Uttar Pradesh

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioner, argued that the court should crack the whip on these states.

“Land is given to big capitalists but land is not available to provide shelter for poor people. You (court) have to crack the whip,” he said, adding that something drastic has to be done.

Meanwhile, the bench referred to an affidavit filed by the Centre and said the Union of India has suggested the court to appoint a committee in each states to deal with the issue of urban homeless.

The Centre also apprised the court that a special audit has been directed to look into the aspect of utilisation of funds by Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal given under the scheme.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Haryana, placed on record a vision document on urban homeless in the state along with a road map and timeline.

The bench purused the document placed by Mehta and asked the Centre to circulate it to other states as well.

The apex court had on November 23 directed these states to place before it a roadmap on implementation of scheme for urban homeless, saying it was the government’s “obligation” to help these poor people.

The petitioners had earlier referred to the report of the apex court-appointed committee headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice Kailash Gambhir and said the number of shelter homes in these states were much less than what was required.

The court is first dealing with the status of three states — Haryana, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh — among 11 and two Union Territories which have been highlighted by the apex court-appointed committee to oversee implementation of NULM scheme across the country.

( Source – PTI )

SC says ‘sorry’ to litigant for 13-year delay in case

SC says 'sorry' to litigant for 13-year delay in case
SC says ‘sorry’ to litigant for 13-year delay in case

The Supreme Court has made a candid admission and said it was “sorry” for the delay of over a decade in commencement of criminal trial due to two conflicting orders passed by a high court judge in a single day in two different but related cases.

The apex court said this had created a “legal conundrum” as one order of the judge restricted further probe in the case while in the order, it allowed the investigation to go on.

The case, which was stuck in legal tangles, had reached the apex court in 2009 and the woman, who had initially lodged the complaint in 2004 against her own brothers over alleged grabbing of her shop, had now passed away and was represented by her legal representative.

A bench of justices R K Agrawal and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said, “we are sorry to note that such a confusion has caused more than a decade’s delay in even the criminal trial commencing” and allowed the appeals of the woman.

In 2004, Shyam Lata, a resident of Roorkee in Uttarakhand, made a written complaint to the SSP of Haridwar alleging that her two brothers forged documents and signatures and claimed she had give her shop on rent to them.

A criminal case was lodged against her brothers alleging that they had prepared a fictitious rent receipt by forging the woman’s signatures and left its photocopy at her house for laying a false claim of tenancy.

On other hand, one of her brothers filed a civil suit seeking to restrain her from evicting him from the premises, claiming himself as a tenant of the shop on the basis of the alleged forged rent receipt.

The complaint was probed by the police and the investigating officer (IO) applied to the civil court for sending the rent receipts filed by the brother to an expert for comparison of signatures.

The civil court denied the permission but modified the relief by allowing taking of photographs of the signature by a handwriting expert for the purpose of comparison.

However, when the handwriting expert from the forensic laboratory of Agra reached the court to take pictures, the permission was allegedly denied by the court.

This resulted in the IO filing the final report saying in the absence of permission to get the signatures, there was no evidence to find that the signatures were forged.

The woman then raised objection to the IO’s final report and simultaneously challenged the denial of permission by the civil court to the handwriting expert before a sessions court.

The sessions court allowed the plea of the woman and directed for sending the entire case record to the judicial magistrate, Roorkee, so that the required photographs may be taken and further investigation takes place.

The sessions court order was now challenged by the brother before the high court while parallely the judicial magistrate where the woman had filed objections to the final report of IO, allowed her plea and directed for further probe.

This order of the judicial magistrate directing the police for further probe was also challenged by the brother in the Uttarakhand High Court.

Now, two petitions were before the high court which were heard simultaneously and were decided by the judge in two separate judgements on the same date in 2006.

In one verdict, the high court modified the sessions court order and directed that the IO should be present before the civil court along with a handwriting expert on a fixed date to take photographs of the disputes as well as specimen signatures of the woman.

Virtually, this order allowed the police to proceed further in the investigation.

However, in the second verdict, the high court judge set aside the order of judicial magistrate directing the police to further probe into the case.

While deciding the matter, the apex court bench said that there is no doubt about the “confusing nature of contradictory orders” passed by the high court.

It said that high court’s first verdict allowing the handwriting expert to take picture of signatures would in “natural corollary” mean that further investigation will be carried out.

The top court held that the second verdict of the high court setting aside the order of judicial magistrate was not required at all.

( Source – PTI )

SC to Hadiya: Wife is not a chattel, hubby can’t be guardian

SC to Hadiya: Wife is not a chattel, hubby can't be guardian
SC to Hadiya: Wife is not a chattel, hubby can’t be guardian

A wife is not a chattel and the husband cannot be her guardian, the Supreme Court said today after interacting with a Kerala woman, alleged victim of love jihad.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud interacted with the 25-year old Hadiya for nearly half-an-hour and posed questions on her life, ambition, studies and hobbies.

Hadiya told the apex court that she wanted ‘freedom’ to live with her husband, profess her faith in Islam and that she very well understood what she was doing.

When the bench asked Hadiya to name any relative or any near acquaintance to be named as her local guardian in college at Salem in Tamil Nadu, she said her husband could be her guardian and she does not want anyone else in that role.

“A husband cannot be a guardian of his wife. Wife is not a chattel. She has her own identity in life and society. Even I am not guardian of my wife. Please make her understand,” Justice Chandrachud said.

The bench posed questions to Hadiya in English while she answered in Malyalam, which was translated by senior advocate V Giri, who appeared for Kerala government.

When the bench asked Hadiya what your dreams are for the future, she replied she wanted freedom and to live with her husband.

The bench then asked whether she was comfortable in professing her faith and studying simulatenously and told her that being a good citizen, she can profess her faith and be a good doctor.

Hadiya replied she wanted freedom to profess her faith and she fully understood what she is doing.

The bench asked her whether she wanted to continue her studies and pursue internship in house surgeonship at the expense of the state government.

The woman said she wanted to pursue her studies but not at the state’s expense as her husband will take care of her.

She further requested the court that she be allowed to visit her friend before being taken to Salem, to which the court agreed and directed the state government to provide her security.

The court asked Kerala police ensure that she travelled at the earliest to Salem in Tamil Nadu to pursue homeopathy studies at Sivaraj Medical College there and appointed dean of the institution as her local guardian.

( Source – PTI )

Will not modify Govt order banning pet coke, furnace oil: SC

Will not modify Govt order banning pet coke, furnace oil: SC
Will not modify Govt order banning pet coke, furnace oil: SC

The Supreme Court today refused to modify the Centre’s notification banning the use of furnace oil and pet coke in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana and asked the NTPC, which was seeking relaxation till it switches over to alternative fuel, to approach the government.

The top court said this while hearing a plea by National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Ltd which said it was using only 0.03 per cent furnace oil in its plants and “immediate stoppage” of its use would lead to “black out” as the corporation was providing electricity to various states.

“The Government of India has issued a notification. We are not going to modify the … notification,” a bench comprising Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta told Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the NTPC.

Mehta told the court that they were not concerned with the ban on use of pet coke but furnace oil was being used in thermal power plants.

He said there was “miniscule use” of furnace oil and they were on the verge of phasing out its usage completely. “We are providing electricity to various states. We will have to phase it out and change the design. That will take some time. For boosting, we need furnace oil,” he said.

Mehta argued that the Centre’s notification was issued in pursuance to the order passed earlier by the apex court and the government would not be in a position to modify it as it would be akin to modifying the top court’s order.

“Can we shut our eyes that the Centre and CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) acted on your order? We will use alternate fuel. There has to be some solution. We need to switch over but immediate stoppage will not be in the interest of the country as we supply power to various states,” he said.

To this, the bench asked, “Tell us, children are not part of this country? Delhi is not part of this country?”.

Mehta clarified that every citizen of this country was entitled to have a good environment but they were using only 0.03 per cent furnace oil and not contributing to pollution.

When he said there would be a ‘black out’ if plants get shut, the bench said, “do not give us all that. There will be no black out. The order is passed by the Government of India.

You go and approach it”.

The bench initially said it was dismissing NTPC’s plea while terming it as “infructuous” but later Mehta withdrew the application.

Similarly, the apex court also refused to modify the Centre’s order on a separate plea filed by Hindalco which also withdrew its application.

The Centre had earlier informed the court that CPCB had issued a direction prohibiting use of pet coke and furnace oil with immediate effect until further orders in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.

The apex court had then asked all states and union territories to consider prohibiting the use of pet coke and furnace oil by industries, saying it was a cause of pollution not only for national capital region (NCR) but the entire nation.

The court had on October 24 banned the use of pet coke and furnace oil in these three states from November 1 while keeping in view the pollution levels in Delhi-NCR and noting that these states had no objection to it. The use of pet coke and furnace oil is already prohibited in Delhi.

The court was hearing a PIL filed in 1985 by environmentalist M C Mehta who had raised the issue of air pollution in the Delhi-NCR.

( Source – PTI )

Abusing SC/ST person over phone in public place an offence: SC

Abusing SC/ST person over phone in public place an offence: SC
Abusing SC/ST person over phone in public place an offence: SC

The Supreme Court has ruled that using castiest remarks over phone in a public place against the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe category amount to criminal offence warranting a jail of a maximum five years.

The apex court refused to stay the criminal proceedings and quash an FIR lodged against a person, who allegedly used expletive and derogatory casteist remarks over phone to a woman belonging to the SC/ST category.

A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer declined to interfere with the August 17 order of the Allahabad High Court which had rejected a plea of a Uttar Pradesh native, seeking quashing of the FIR lodged against him by the woman.

It dismissed his plea saying he has to prove during the trial that he had not talked to the woman over phone from a public place.

Advocate Vivek Vishnoi, appearing for the accused, said that at the time of conversation both then woman and his client were in different cities and it could not be stated that it was in public view.

He said that section 3(1)(s) of SC/ST Act relates to a person, who abuses any member of a SC or ST by caste name in any place “within public view”.

“In this case, both persons were in different cities and the conversation took over phone which can’t be said to be in a public view. This was a private conversation. The apex court had already settled what ‘public view’ means in its earlier verdict of 2008,” he said.

Vishnoi said the issue involved in the petition was that whether a private conversation on mobile phone between two individuals can come within the ambit of expression “within public view”.

He said that by no stretch of imagination, a private conversation between two indviduals on mobile phone can come within the ambit of expression “within public view” and that the charges framed against the petitioner need to be quashed.

The lawyer further said that the complainant has made some vague allegations regarding land sale transactions but no specific averments were made which may prima-facie show that offence of cheating and intimidation were made out.

The bench, however, refused to agree with the contenton and said it was only in trial that accused could prove if he was talking on phone in public view or not.

The high court had on August 17 dismissed his plea for quashing of FIR and stay of criminal proceedings against him saying it was not advisable to adjudge whether the case shall ultimately end in conviction or not.

“Only a prima facie satisfaction of the court about the existence of sufficient ground to proceed in the matter is required,” the high court had said while relying on various apex court verdicts.

The high court had also said that it cannot be persuaded to have a pre-trial before the actual trial begins and the perusal of FIR and material collected by the police on the basis of which the charge sheet was filed “makes out a prima facie case against the accused at this stage and there appear to be sufficient ground” for proceeding against him.

( Source – PTI )

High security number plates: SC seeks response from 5 states

High security number plates: SC seeks response from 5 states
High security number plates: SC seeks response from 5 states

The Supreme Court today sought response from five states on a contempt plea alleging non- compliance of the order related to ensuring high security registration plates (HSRP) for all vehicles.

The apex court had in 2012 asked all the states and Union territories to ensure HSRP for all vehicles by June 15 that year or face contempt of court proceedings.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud issued notice to the five state government and sought their response in eight weeks.

Senior advocate Rupinder Suri said that despite the apex court directions to the five state governments — Assam, Delhi, Haryana, Bihar and Gujarat, have not complied with the directions of the court.

On August 8, the apex court had sought the response from five states on another contempt plea alleging non-compliance of its order related to ensuring HSRPs.

The apex court had in 2012 asked several states and Union territories to ensure HSRP for all vehicles by June 15 that year or face contempt of court proceedings.

The plea had said that Goa, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh have not complied with the apex court directions.

The apex court had in 2012 said that installation of HSRP is statutory command which is not only in the interest of the security of the State, but also serves a much larger public interest.

“Therefore, it is not only desirable, but mandatory, for every state to comply with the statutory provisions/orders of this court in terms of Article 129 of the Constitution of India, 1950,” the apex court had said in its order.

It had directed that all states, to fully implement the scheme of fixation of HSRP in their entire State, positively by April 30, 2012 for new vehicles and by June 15, 2015 for old vehicles.

The court had warned that no state will be allowed any further extension of time for implementation of this direction and failure to comply with its direction will lead to contempt proceedings against the “Secretary (Transport)/Commissioner, State Transport Authority and/or any other concerned person or authority under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

The court had passed the order on a PIL petition filed by chairman of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front, M S Bitta, seeking its direction to introduce tamper-proof number plates and licences for vehicles, contending that the present system was prone to misuse by anti-social elements.

It had said that it has found “unwarranted conduct” and “wilful disobedience” of the orders of the court by Andhra Pradesh.

It had directed Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Punjab, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh to complete the tender process in four weeks.

( Source – PTI )

SC to hear Rohingya refugees’ plea on October 13

SC to hear Rohingya refugees' plea on October 13
SC to hear Rohingya refugees’ plea on October 13

The Supreme Court today decided to hear on October 13 the petition filed by Rohingya Muslims challenging the government’s stand to deport them back to Myanmar.

The apex court said it will hear the arguments only on the points of law and asked the parties to desist from advancing emotional arguments as the matter concerned humanitarian cause and humanity, which required to be heard with mutual respect.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked both the parties, the Centre and the two Rohingya Muslim refugees who have filed the petition, to compile all documents and international conventions for assisting the court.

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said it will hear in details various aspects arising out of the matter, including the government’s stand that the petition was not justiciable in the court of law.

Senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for the petitioner Rohingya refugees, opposed the government stand and said the petition under Article 32 was maintainable as the Constitution guaranteed individual rights.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the govbernment would not like the matter to be heard in a piecemeal manner as it has wide ramifications and added that it would prefer a day for detailed hearing.

( Source – PTI )

How did Par create an exception when consent age is 18 yrs: SC

How did Par create an exception when consent age is 18 yrs: SC
How did Par create an exception when consent age is 18 yrs: SC

The Supreme Court today posed a query to the Centre how Parliament could create an exception in the penal law declaring that intercourse or a sexual act by a man with his wife, aged between 15 and less than 18 years, is not rape, when the age of consent is 18.

The apex court said it did not want to go into the aspect of marital rape, but when the age of consent was 18 years for “all purposes”, why was such an exception made in the Indian Penal Code.

“We do not want to go into the aspect of marital rape.

That is for Parliament to see if they want to increase or decrease the age of consent. But once the Parliament decided that we have fixed 18 years as the age of consent, can they carve out an exception like this,” a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta asked the Centre.

“When you (government) recognise the age of consent to be 18 years for all purposes, then why this exception,” it asked.

Section 375 of the IPC, which defines the offence of rape, has an exception clause that says intercourse or sexual act by a man with his wife, not below 15 years, is not rape.

However, the age of consent

Responding to the query, the Centre’s counsel said if this exception under the IPC goes, then it would open up the arena of marital rape which does not exist in India.

“After due thought and consideration, Parliament decided to keep it (exception) intact,” the counsel said while referring to some verdicts delivered by the high courts in which 15 years was held to be “acceptable” age for marriage.

He referred to the concept of age of puberty among Muslims for the purpose of marriage and said these aspects have been deliberated upon by Parliament before arriving at a conclusion.

During the hearing, the bench referred to the aspect of child marriage and said that despite there being a law which held it illegal, the practice was still going on.

The apex court observed that child marriage cannot go on like this just because this illegal practice was assumed to be legal and going on for ages.

“Whether or not it (child marriage) is a social reality, for 70 years we have not been able to remove it,” the bench said.

When the Centre said child marriage was happening in several countries, the bench observed, “but that is not the justification”.

The court also said there was a “conflict” between this exception under the IPC and under the provision of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012.

The bench, on hearing the submissions, reserved its judgement on the pleas questioning the validity of a provision permitting a man to have physical relationship with his wife, even if she was aged between 15 and 18 years.

The Centre had yesterday told the court that Parliament, in its wisdom, had taken a conscious decision to keep the age limit of voidable marriage between 15 and 18 years in case of girls.

It had said that the legislature kept in mind the socio- economic conditions in the country and was aware of international conventions while deciding to keep the voidable clause in case of child marriages.

One of the petitioners had argued that the exception to section 375 of the IPC was defeating the purpose of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act and was also in violation of international conventions to which India was a signatory.

The petitioners have sought a direction to declare exception 2 to Section 375 of IPC as “violative of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution to the extent that it permits intrusive sexual intercourse with a girl child aged between 15 and 18 years, only on the ground that she has been married.”

They have also referred to the provisions of the POCSO Act and said these were contrary to the IPC provision.

( Source – PTI )

1984 riots: SC appoints panel to scrutinise 241 cases

1984 riots: SC appoints panel to scrutinise 241 cases
1984 riots: SC appoints panel to scrutinise 241 cases

The Supreme Court today appointed a supervisory body comprising two former-apex court judges to examine the SIT’s decision to close 241 cases in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots matter.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra also asked the body to scrutinise the SIT’s justification in closing the riots- related cases and directed it to submit a report within three months.

“We constitute a supervisory body of two-former Supreme Court judges who shall scrutinise 199 matters and find out that SIT was justifiable in closing down…

“At this juncture, senior advocate H S Phoolka (appearing for one of the riots victim) submits that there are 42 other cases where investigation has been closed down. The newly appointed body can look into this as well,” the bench, also comprising Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, said.

The order came after Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the court that it was for the bench to decide and take a final call in the matter.

The court was told that out of the 250 cases which were investigated by the SIT, closure reports were filed in 241.

Nine cases are being investigated by the SIT, while two cases are being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the ASG told the court.

The matter was fixed for hearing on November 28.

The apex court had on March 24 asked the Centre to place before it the files pertaining to the 199 cases of the anti- Sikh riots which the special investigation team (SIT) set up by the Home Ministry had decided to “close”.

The SIT is headed by Pramod Asthana, an IPS officer of 1986 batch, and has Rakesh Kapoor, a retired district and sessions judge, besides Kumar Gyanesh, an additional deputy commissioner of Delhi Police, as its members.

Anti-Sikh riots, which had broke out after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, had claimed 2,733 lives in Delhi alone.

The government had earlier filed a status report on the probe conducted by the SIT in the cases.

The report was filed pursuant to the court’s January 16 direction asking the government to file a “comprehensive report” on the status of the probe conducted by the SIT on a plea seeking a court-supervised investigation.

Senior advocate Arvind Datar, representing petitioner S Gurlad Singh Kahlon, had earlier told the bench that a total of 293 riots related cases were taken up for scrutiny by the three-member SIT and it had decided to close 199 of them after scrutiny.

Kahlon, a member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, had sought the court’s direction for setting up an SIT to ensure speedy justice to riots victims.

( Source – PTI )