HC seeks Centre’s response on plea to use Aadhaar details of missing persons

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today sought the Centre’s response on a PIL seeking direction to utilise biometric and Aadhaar details of missing persons, including children, aged and mentally challenged, so that they can be re-united with their families.

Notice issued to the Ministry of Home Affairs by a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and C Hari Shankar on the plea which also sought direction to the authorities to spread awareness in this regard to track the pre-existed biometrics and Aadhaar details for re-uniting missing persons with their families across country.
The bench asked the ministry to file an action taken report on the representation made by petitioner advocate Amit Sahni to the authorities and listed the matter for further hearing on November 13.

The petition said the Centre be directed to issue appropriate and mandatory directions to the authorities for utilising biometric/Aadhaar of missing children, old aged persons and mentally challenged persons immediately for the purpose of tracing and re-uniting them with their families as and when they are rescued by any department.
It said the petitioner was not challenging any question of law, which is already pending adjudication before the Supreme Court, that is, the constitutional validity of Aadhaar.
“There have been many debates regarding Aadhaar and the issue of its constitutional validity is pending before the Supreme Court of India but the same is very useful for tracing missing persons, if the Aadhaar of such missing persons is pre-existed,” it said.

The plea referred to the statistics of National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) 2016 as per which the total missing persons are 5,49,008 and untraced ones are 3,19,627 .

Sahni also referred to a judicial order in which by the intervention of a trial court, a 31-year-old mentally challenged woman was re-united with her family in Rajasthan through Aadhaar.
In that case, a mentally challenged woman was rescued by Delhi Police and produced before Metropolitan Magistrate Abhilash Malhotra, who directed the authorities to help the victim to undergo the process of Aadhaar, which revealed that her biometric records pre-existed in the Aadhaar database.

The police obtained her details from the Unique Identification Authority of India after which she the woman was re-united with her family.

HC rejects as infructuous Sasan Power’s plea to mine excess coal

New Delhi: The High Court today termed as infructuous a plea by Sasan Power Ltd, a Reliance Power subsidiary, seeking permission to extract excess coal from two mines in Madhya Pradesh, saying that the Centre was already examining the issue.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and C Hari Shankar also noted that an inter ministerial committee had severely criticised the mining being conducted by Sasan Power Ltd (SPL) holding that there was high moisture content in the coal due to water not being properly pumped out.

It also said that SPL was asked to improve the quality of mining.

The committee, led by the chairman, Central Electricity Authority, was formed to examine the issue of requirement of coal for Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (Sasan UMPP)and give its recommendation.

“In any case, the respondents (Union of India and Ministry of Coal) are examining the requests for increase in the variations in the mining cap on behalf of the petitioner (SPL) on the basis of factual disclosures made by them. The application is therefore, dismissed as infructuous,” the bench said.

It passed the order on the application of the company seeking permission to mine at least 19 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of coal from Moher and Moher Amlohri Extension coal mines in Madhya Pradesh during the financial year 2017-18.

“We also find that so far as the request of the petitioner to permit increase of the cap for the coal mining is concerned, the Ministry (of Coal) has been taking considered decisions,” it said.

The company had earlier sought permission to mine coal from its two mines in excess of the 17 MTPA cap to enable it to run the 3,960-megawatt Sasan UMPP in the state.

In an affidavit, the coal ministry had told the court that through a letter of February 26 this year, it had permitted Reliance Power, as an interim one-time measure, to extract 18 MTPA in excess of the 17 MTPA cap.

The company was granted the permission to produce additional one million tonne for the financial year ending March 31, 2018.

SPL, in its application, had contended that the mining of 17 MTPA of the mineral allowed from its Moher and Moher Amlohri blocks was not enough to carry out operations till the end of the financial year 2017-18.

The firm had claimed that if it was not allowed to mine another two MTPA, that is up to 19 MTPA, in 2017-18, it would not be able to meet the requirements of Sasan UMPP that supplies electricity to 14 discoms in seven states, including Delhi.

It had submitted that in such a situation, the threat of a shutdown was looming large over the operation of the power project.

According to the company, it supplied electricity under a 25-year-long power purchase agreement on a tariff of Rs 1.196 per kWh to 14 discoms across the states of Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The application was filed in the main writ petition by Reliance Power and Sasan challenging the Centre’s May 7, 2015, decision to cancel one of the three coal blocks allocated to Sasan UMPP.

The government had justified the cancellation, saying the unit’s coal requirement could be met by the other two mines, Moher and Moher-Amlohri extension.

The integrated power plant-cum-coal mining project at a single location involved an investment of over Rs 27,000 crore, the petition said.

High Court disapproves of dumping garbage on roads as mark of protests

Expressing disapproval over the practice of dumping garbage on roads as a mark of protest, the Delhi High Court has said it was “completely intolerable”.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar was referring to the recent agitation by New Delhi Municipal Council’s (NDMC) contractual sanitation workers who dumped garbage outside prominent buildings, like Shastri Bhavan and Rail Bhavan in Lutyen’s Delhi, demanding regularisation of jobs and better wages.

The protesting workers on May 24 had also dumped garbage outside NDMC’s Convention Centre.

The garbage dumps had affected traffic in some areas.

Referring to the incident, the high court said,”This is no way of protesting. It is completely intolerable. It is also a public health issue.”

This is not the first time that municipal staff have resorted to this manner of protest.

A few years back sanitation workers of East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) had dumped garbage on roads and even prevented private players, temporarily hired by the civic body, from cleaning it up.

They were protesting against non-payment of wages for several months.

The high court had to step in and issue directions to ensure cleanliness in the areas under EDMC control.

PIL in High Court for inquiry into safety of rails supplied by Swiss firm to DMRC

The Delhi High Court today sought the DMRC’s response to a PIL seeking in-depth inquiry into the safety of rails procured through a Swiss company for metro tracks.
The petition, which came up for hearing before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, alleged that the rails supplied by the Swiss company — East Metal AG — may have high content of Hydrogen making them more susceptible to breaks or fractures which could lead to a major disaster.

Rails are continuous line of steel bars laid on the ground as one of a pair forming a railway track.

The court issued notice to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and the Swiss company, which won the contract for supplying the rails, and sought their response to the plea by October 9, the next date of hearing.

The petition by Dhirendra Krishna has urged that the rails should not be used till their procurement and safety is inquired into, as lives of millions of commuters would be at stake.

PIL in High Court for inquiry into safety of rails supplied by Swiss firm to DMRC

The Delhi High Court today sought the DMRC’s response to a PIL seeking in-depth inquiry into the safety of rails procured through a Swiss company for metro tracks.

The petition, which came up for hearing before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, alleged that the rails supplied by the Swiss company — East Metal AG — may have high content of Hydrogen making them more susceptible to breaks or fractures which could lead to a major disaster.

Rails are continuous line of steel bars laid on the ground as one of a pair forming a railway track.

The court issued notice to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and the Swiss company, which won the contract for supplying the rails, and sought their response to the plea by October 9, the next date of hearing.

The petition by Dhirendra Krishna has urged that the rails should not be used till their procurement and safety is inquired into, as lives of millions of commuters would be at stake.

High Court asks: How will pvt schools implement pay panel without hiking fees

How would private unaided schools in the national capital implement the 7th Pay Commission recommendations without hiking their fees, the Delhi High Court asked the AAP government today.

The query was posed to the Delhi government by a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar while asking it to file a status report on the implementation of the pay panel recommendations in private unaided schools.

The court said the government will have to monitor the implementation of the recommendations and should not wait for teachers’ complaints to take any action.

The Delhi government told the bench that it had issued an order in August last year asking all private unaided schools to implement the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission and added that it has not received any complaint from teachers saying this was not being done.

“Why should you wait for complaints? You have to monitor the implementation of your order. Here you cannot take the excuse that the central government is not giving you funds,” the bench said and directed the Delhi government to file a status report in eight weeks.

The court, which listed the matter for further hearing on September 25, was hearing a PIL by an NGO seeking directions to the city government and the three municipal corporations to ensure implementation of the recommendations regarding the teaching and non-teaching staff of the private unaided schools.

The petition by NGO Social Jurist, filed through advocate Ashok Agarwal, has also sought appropriate action against the erring private schools.

The plea has said that the recommendations should be implemented to bring the pay, allowances and other benefits of private school staff in conformity with the employees of corresponding status in the schools run by the government and the three municipal corporations of Delhi.

It has also said the pay scales have not been revised in accordance with the recommendations with effect from January 1, 2016 and the arrears also not been paid.

“Not only are the unaided private schools blatantly flouting the statutory mandate prescribed under the DSE Act, the authorities by not taking any action against the erring schools, appear to be absolutely apathetic towards the plight of over two lakh teaching and non-teaching employees working in the unaided private schools of Delhi,” it has said, adding that this was encouraging the “recalcitrant attitude” of the schools.