Delhi HC directs police to look into traffic restrictions on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the city police to look into traffic restrictions on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch, which has been closed for nearly a month due to protests against the amended Citizenship Act, while keeping in mind the larger public interest.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar asked the police to look into the issue while also keeping in mind maintenance of law and order.

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, it said.

Delhi High Court declines to stay AAP govt’s minimum wage notification.

The Delhi High Court has declined to stay the AAP government’s decision taken in October last year to enhance the minimum wages to be paid to workers in the city.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said there was no need for the Delhi government to presume any stay against the notification of October 22, 2019 merely because notice was issued in the petition and applications challenging it.

“It cannot be said that till the notice is made returnable, the respondent-government shall deem as if stay is granted by this court. In other words, there is no need for the respondents to presume any stay against the impugned notification,” the bench said while dismissing an application of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry of NCT Delhi.

The organisation had filed the application seeking a stay on the notification in its main petition, seeking to set aside the Delhi government’s decision to enhance the minimum wages for unskilled workers to Rs 14,842 per month, Rs 16,341 per month for semi-skilled workers and Rs 17,991 per month for skilled workers.

The court further said when notice was already issued in the main petition and an earlier application for stay, and when stay was not granted, another plea for the same relief was not maintainable.

The bench also said, “It ought to be kept in mind that when this court had already issued notice in the earlier stay application and not granted any stay, the petitioner has no option but to follow the impugned notification and cannot avoid doing so by filing repeated stay applications.

Plea moved in HC for recovery of damages for property destroyed in anti-CAA protests

A plea was moved in Delhi High Court on Tuesday seeking directions to the authorities to recover damages for destruction of public and private property during anti-CAA protests from those responsible.

The matter was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay who urged the court to either take up the issue on its own or to permit him to file an application on the same.

The court while declining any urgent hearing on the issue raised by Upadhyay, said he was free to file an application which shall be listed in the normal course.

Upadhyay, also a lawyer, told the court that thousands of crores of property, including public transportation, has been damaged in the protests and the amounts be recovered from those responsible as it was being done in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

There have been several protests in the national capital since the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has come into force and police has detained and arrested several persons involved in the agitations.

HC declines to entertain plea claiming telecom services illegally stopped during protests in Delhi

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a plea which alleged that telecom services were disrupted in various parts of the national capital during the anti-citizenship law protests in violation of rules.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar refused to entertain the PIL after Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Centre, told the court the disruption was only for four hours on December 19 and was no longer continuing.

There were protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on December 19.

ASG Jain further said no rules were violated in issuance of the direction for prohibition of telecom services as contended by the petitioner.

The court, while declining to entertain the matter, said the petitioner can file a suit for damages if it has suffered any loss due to the disruption.

The petition contended that the order for prohibition of telecom services in Delhi was issued by a Deputy Commissioner of Police and not the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) who is the competent authority to issue such a direction under the relevant rules.

Chopper scam: ED moves HC to cancel Ratul Puri’s bail in money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday moved the Delhi High Court seeking cancellation of bail granted by a trial court to businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in the AgustaWestland money laundering case.

The plea by the ED was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar, which allowed it to be listed for hearing on Friday.

In its petition, filed through central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, the agency has sought setting aside of the bail granted to Puri on December 2 by a trial court.

The ED, in its plea, has claimed that the trial court has not appreciated all the documents put on record while granting relief to Puri.

While granting him the relief, the trial court had directed Puri, who was in the ED custody since September 4, not to “tamper with evidence” or “try to contact or influence the witnesses”.

In the present VVIP chopper scam case, Puri was named as an accused in the sixth chargesheet filed by the ED.

The trial court had noted that the “co-accused having similar or greater role than the role of present accused have already been enlarged on bail.”

According to the ED, the role of Puri was that his foreign entities received proceeds of crime directly from Interstellar Technologies Ltd, a co-accused in the case, and that he had received funds from both the chains of money laundering involved in the present matter.

The ED had filed the supplementary prosecution complaint (ED’s equivalent to a chargesheet) against Puri and Jaspreet Ahuja in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

In January 2014, India had scrapped a contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary, AgustaWestland, for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force, over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks worth Rs 423 crore being paid to secure the deal.

HC junks PIL seeking advance declaration of intention to enter post-poll alliances

The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a PIL seeking directions to the Centre, AAP government and Election Commission (EC) to ensure there are no post-poll alliances by political parties to cobble a majority, as seen in Karnataka and Maharashtra, if such an intention has not been declared prior to the election.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said it was not going to entertain the petition moved by a registered society which had contended that political parties ought to declare beforehand whether they intend to go for post-poll alliances if they do not get an absolute majority.

The petition by Corruption Against Society had referred to the post-poll alliances in Karnataka and Maharashtra, saying a similar outcome was possible in the Delhi legislative assembly polls scheduled early next year.

It had sought directions to the authorities, including the EC, to ensure no post-poll alliances are entered into by political parties if a declaration about such an intention is not made in advance before the election.

Not practical to permit conjugal visits for prisoners in jails : Delhi High Court

Prison authorities have told the Delhi High Court that it is not practical to permit conjugal visits for prisoners as rules do not provide for such facility and there is limited infrastructure available.

The Director General (Prison) said it grants temporary leave to prisoners in the form of parole and furlough for maintaining family and social ties and the purpose of conjugal relation can be served during such period.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar listed the matter for February 26 for further hearing.

The response was filed on a PIL seeking conjugal visitation rights for prisoners.

Petitioner Amit Sahni, a lawyer and social activist, has claimed in his plea that conjugal visits in jail should be treated as a fundamental right of prisoners and their spouses.

The prison authorities, in its affidavit filed through Delhi government additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose, said conjugal visits inside prison cannot be allowed due to the nature of confinement.

“A prisoner can avail parole’ furlough or interim bail for maintaining family and conjugal rights. In addition to this, prisoners are allowed interviews with spouse, other family members, friends and counsel, hence social contacts are maintained,” it said.

The authorities denied the claim made in the plea that allowing of conjugal visits can help in curbing the menace of sexual crimes in Delhi since the petitioner has failed to explain how a sexual crime committed outside the prison has any relation with conjugal visits in prison as a solution to the menace.

It said that in Delhi, spousal meetings within the prison premises are allowed in terms of provisions of the Delhi Prison Rules 2018 but are monitored for safety and security of the prisoners, visitors and prisons.

In accordance with the established policy, the right to procreation is desirable, however, not practicable in the present prison scenario and the same is being regulated as per procedure established by law, it said.

“The Delhi Prison Act, 2000 and Delhi Prison Rules, 2018 do not permit any conjugal visits inside prison. There is no conjugal visitation programme offered in any closed prison in India. However, opportunity to preserve family ties and marital stability is ensured through regular releases on parole/ furlough/ interim bail,” the affidavit said.

It said there are 1,200 visitations on a daily basis in Tihar Jail alone and allowing conjugal visits in prisons at this time may not be feasible due to limited infrastructure available.

The authorities said no inmate lodged in Delhi prisons has raised any demand for facility of conjugal visits, as sought by Sahni.

For conjugal visits, prior consent and approval of the spouse are required and no such instance of filing any such petition by any spouse of an inmate has been put on record.

As per Delhi Prison Rules 2018, regarding grant of parole/ furlough, a convict prisoner here may be granted total of 8 weeks parole in a year in two spells and 7 weeks of furlough in three different spells per year.

The high court had earlier termed the issue raised in the plea as “very interesting” and sought responses of the Delhi government and the Director General of Prisons on it.

Sahni has said in his petition that presently under the state’s prison rule, meeting between an inmate and his or her spouse takes place in the presence of a prison officer and sought setting aside of the rule.

He has said that “despite courts taking a progressive approach and various countries allowing conjugal visits considering it an important human right and also in the light of studies backing conjugal visits as a factor to cut down crimes in jail and reform inmates, the Delhi Prison Rules, 2018 are totally silent on the issue”.

The petition contended that conjugal visitation rights ought to be provided in prisons in the state as most of the prisoners fall in the sexually active age group.

It has said private meetings with spouse cannot be denied to prisoners on grounds of existing provisions of parole and furlough and added these provisions were anyway not available to undertrial prisoners.

It has said conjugal visits not only ensures fundamental and human rights of those incarcerated, but also their spouses who suffer without any wrong.

It has also contended that various researches have shown that conjugal visits reduce frequency of prison riots, sexual crimes, homosexual behaviour while moving prisoners towards reformation and good behaviour.

Deduction in prisoners wages for victim fund not wrong if allowed under law: The Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Thursday said there is nothing wrong with deducting wages of prisoners for victim welfare fund provided it is permitted under the statute, but it can’t be done through executive action.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said that while such deductions cannot be done by way of an executive order, in Delhi it was being done under the statute — the Delhi Prison Rules of 2018 — which was permissible.

It asked the Delhi government, represented by its standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra, as to why the prison authorities here had stopped making the deductions.

Mehra told the court that the practice was stopped in December last year after the high court had directed that the same be put on hold.

He also told the bench that under the Delhi Prison Rules of 2018, Rule 96(8) provided for such deductions.

Advocate Ajay Verma, appearing for petitioner Katyayini, opposed the deduction saying various high courts in the country have done away with the practice.

He also told the bench that of the Rs 15 crore collected in this manner since 2006, more than Rs 14 crore lay unutilised.

He said the amount lying unutilised can be used for welfare of children whose parents are incarcerated, as suggested by the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA), as there is already a victim compensation fund set up by Delhi government for compensating victims of various crimes.

The bench said it will continue hearing arguments in the matter on November 26.

Katyayini, a lawyer, in her plea has sought quashing of an amendment made in the Delhi Prison Rules of 1988 — adding Rule 39A — which mandated the deduction.

Subsequently, the 1988 rules were replaced by the 2018 rules which also has a similar provision.

The DSLSA has also opposed the deduction for creating a victim compensation fund, saying it was “not reasonable or justified” as the AAP government has now created a scheme for victims.

The DSLSA had earlier told the court that the rule for deducting 25 per cent of wages of prisoners w as inserted in the Delhi Prison Rules when there was no provision for compensating victims under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

However, in 2009, a provision was inserted in CrPC for putting in place a scheme for compensating victims or their dependants, the DSLSA had said and added that subsequently the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme came into force.

No purpose would be served by maintaining a separate victim welfare fund with the jails, it had said.

With regard to utilisation of the money presently lying unused in the victim welfare fund in the jail, the DSLSA had said it could either be transferred to the Delhi Victim Compensation Fund or be moved into the corpus created in 2014 for providing financial sustenance, education and welfare of children of incarcerated parents.

The PIL has claimed that of the over Rs 15 crore collected since 2006 from wages of convicts lodged in the Tihar Jail, approximately Rs 80.73 lakh has been disbursed to 194 eligible victims and the remaining over Rs 14 crore lay unused.

Delhi High Court declines to entertain plea to replace Delhi Police with another security force in courts

The Delhi High Court declined on Monday to entertain a plea by two lawyers seeking to replace the police with some other security force in the courts here in view of the clash between the two sides earlier this month.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar refused to hear the matter saying the situation between lawyers and the police needs to be settled and such petitions would not help in that.

It also said the central government, which was represented by its standing counsel Anil Soni, may consider providing additional training to police if it was required.

The petitioners, Reepak Kansal and Yadunandan Bansal, had claimed in their petition that since the November 2 clash between lawyers and police, advocates feared for their life as the cops had fired upon them and also destroyed their property at the Tis Hazari court complex.

Kansal and Bansal, both lawyers, had sought replacement of Delhi Police by some other trained and experienced security forces at all the courts in the city.

Apart from that they had also sought directions for lodging FIR against all the members of the police battalion and its senior officers, who were involved in the November 2 incident, for firing at lawyers and also destruction of property.

The petitioners had also sought appointment of an independent agency to investigate the matter.

Since the November 2 incident, the high court has issued orders preventing coercive action against lawyers and police personnel in connection with FIRs lodged regarding the Tis Hazari clash in which over 20 cops and eight lawyers were injured with three advocates receiving gunshot wounds.

Apart from that, several police vehicles and private two-wheelers were also damaged in the incident.

Lawyer-police clash: HC grants interim protection from arrest to two cops

The Delhi High Court granted interim protection from arrest on Friday to two police officials who were booked in connection with the clash between lawyers and the police in Tis Hazari court earlier this month.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar sought responses of the Centre, the Delhi police, the Bar Council of India (BCI) and various other bar associations on the plea of the two assistant sub-inspectors (ASI) seeking protection from arrest till a judicial inquiry into the incident was over.

The court said “no coercive action” should be taken against Kanta Prasad and Pawan Kumar, suspended after the incident, till the next date of hearing on December 23.

A parking dispute between an on-duty police official and a lawyer triggered the clash between the two sides at the Tis Hazari court complex on November 2, leaving 20 security personnel and several advocates injured.

Lawyers in six district courts have been on strike since November 4 to protest against the clash.

In unprecedented protests by the Delhi Police, thousands of its personnel had laid siege outside the police headquarters for 11 hours on November 5 and staged a virtual revolt sparked by two attacks on their colleagues by the lawyers.