KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court has directed the implementation of comprehensive guidelines to appoint counsellors in about one lakh educational institutions in West Bengal to protect students from sexual abuse.
Justice Nadira Patherya ordered that counsellors will have to be appointed to all educational institutions in the state in a phased manner within one year. The Court was acting on a petition filed by parents of a girl child who suffered abuse by physical education teachers of a city based school.
The Court decided to examine the larger social impact of the matter and appointed Advocate Phiroze Edulji as amicus curiae to coordinate with different schools to set out Standard of Procedure for safety and security of children.
The judge observed that progress in implementation of a report by an amicus curiae, guideline proposed by the amicus curiae said, “Every school must appoint a person, who is an expert in child psychology, psychiatry or sociology and who has been actively involved in child welfare activities for a period of at least two years, as a counsellor for children in school.”
The Calcutta High Court today directed that a Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) rally be stopped for two days in view of a mob attack on it.
The vehicle of a court-appointed special officer was damaged in the mob attack.
Following the high court’s nod to the BJYM motorcycle rally, the ‘Sankalpa Pratirodh Yatra’ started from Contai and reached here last evening.
The rally was opposed by the West Bengal government citing lack of police personnel owing to the ongoing Gangasagar Mela.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice J Bhattacharya and Justice A Banerjee directed that further movement of the rally be postponed till January 15.
It would now culminate at Coochbehar on January 20, two days behind the schedule.
The high court-appointed special officer, Rabishankar Dutta, informed the court that the windscreen and a side screen of his vehicle were smashed by a group of 20-25 men throwing stones and glass bottles near Mohammed Ali Park on Central Avenue in the city.
He said he was accompanying the rally as per the division bench’s direction and that pieces of glass from the shattered windscreen and sides creen fell on his hands.
He told the court that he had suspended the rally for the day following the attack.
Advocate General Kishore Datta submitted before the court that FIRs have been lodged in connection with the incident and that 10 people have been arrested.
The AG prayed that the rally be suspended till January 26 as there is paucity of police personnel owing to the Gangasagar Mela where lakhs of pilgrims congregate from all over the country.
Saptangshu Mitra, counsel for BJYM, opposed the prayer saying that preparations have already been made and this will cause major inconvenience as the rally has already begun.
The AG then told the court that the organisers had not followed the court’s instruction to provide detailed route map for the rally a day in advance for each day’s event.
He prayed that such time was necessary to make arrangements as the organisers have estimated that around 20,000 motorbikes would participate in the rally which would move through several districts of the state from Contai in the south to Coochbehar in the north.
The division bench then directed that the movement of the rally be postponed for two days.
In the meantime, detailed route maps would have to be provided and the special officer and a judicial officer accompanying the rally would sit together to discuss modalities over each day’s rally.
The division bench had yesterday rejected an appeal by the state government challenging a single bench order that allowed the rally to be organised from its original schedule.
Putting certain conditions on holding of the rally, the division bench had appointed a special officer to monitor the yatra and directed that if there is any violation of law and order or deviation from route, the officer would intervene and stop the rally forthwith.
The Delhi High Court today asked the Centre to place on record all the orders passed by the Supreme Court in the contempt case against the jailed ex- Calcutta HC judge C S Karnan who has challenged the constitutionality of the Contempt of Courts Act.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, however, refused to issue notice saying, “We have to be satisfied first that there is a case for issuance of notice.”
It asked the central government’s lawyer Gaurang Kanth to also place on record the apex court rules that said only an advocate-on-record could file petitions in the Supreme Court and listed the matter for hearing on August 8.
While advocate Mathews J Nedumpara was arguing for the retired judge, the bench disagreed with his submissions, saying that he was “misquoting” the apex court verdict.
The court’s remarks came when he said that there was a apex court judgement which permitted a Supreme Court order to be challenged before a high court.
His submission that one of the apex court orders of February 8, 2017 in the contempt case against Karnan was not served upon the judge also did not go well with the bench which said that the lawyer was arguing “contrary” to the petition which said the February 8 order was served on the ex- judge.
“Statement after statement by you we are finding are false. If you make any more false statements, we will take it seriously. It can invite contempt action against you. Keep in mind that you are representing a retired judge of a high court,” the bench said to Nedumpara.
The lawyer, thereafter, argued that the order of May 9 against Karnan holding him guilty of contempt of the apex court was a “nullity” in law as it was passed “without jurisdiction” and “authority of the law”.
The apex court by its May 9 order had also sentenced Karnan to six months in jail.
Nedumpara said the judge was appointed by the President and could only be removed by Parliament.
However, the May 9 order by a seven-judge apex court bench headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar “resulted in his (Karnan) removal from office for all practical purposes”, the lawyer argued.
He said that the issues raised in the petition required consideration and therefore, notice be issued inviting the reply of the other side.
The bench, however, disagreed with this argument and said, “You have not stated anything for issuance of notice.”.
Apart from challenging the constitutionality of the Contempt of Courts Act, the plea has sought a declaration from the high court that the apex court’s May 9 order and further proceedings under it were “unconstitutional and void” as principles of natural justice were allegedly not followed.
The plea has also challenged certain rules of the apex court which required that petitions in the Supreme Court be only filed through an advocate-on-record.