Plea to link property with Aadhaar: HC seeks UIDAI stand

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought response of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on a plea seeking linking of movable and immovable property documents of citizens with their Aadhaar number to curb corruption, black money generation and ‘benami’ transactions.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to UIDAI, which issues the 12-digit unique identification number called Aadhaar, and sought its response in the matter before November 20, the next date of hearing.

The court also asked the Centre and the Delhi government to file their response, which they had not despite issuance of notice to them on July 16.

The authority was impleaded in the petition by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay after it moved the court seeking to be heard in the matter.

Upadhyay, also a lawyer, in his plea has said it is the duty of the state to take appropriate steps to curb corruption and seize ‘benami’ properties made by illegal means to give a strong message that the government is determined to fight against corruption and black money generation.

“If the government links property with Aadhaar, it will lead to an increment of 2 per cent in annual growth. It will clean out electoral process, which is dominated by black money and benami transaction and thrives on a cycle of large black investments…use of political strength to amass private wealth, all with disdain of the citizen,” the petition has said.

The plea has claimed that ‘benami’ transaction in high denomination currency is used in illegal activities — terrorism, naxalism, separatism, gambling, money laundering and bribing.

“It also inflates the price of essential commodities as well as major assets like real estate and gold. These problems can be curbed up to great extent by linking movable-immovable properties with the owner’s Aadhaar number,” it has further claimed.

Platform Screen Doors not possible at all stations: Delhi Metro to HC

Platform Screen Doors (PSDs) have been put on the Pink and Magenta lines of Delhi Metro due to technical requirement and their installation at all the stations would increase the cost of operation, the DMRC has told the Delhi High Court.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) told a bench comprising Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar that 69 out of 250 railway stations have PSDs.

“DMRC is currently operating a network of 343.785 km. It may be noted that out of the total 250 stations, the answering Respondent has installed PSDs at 69 Metro stations and all are operational presently (six stations of yellow line, 38 stations of pink line and 25 stations of magenta line).

“It is submitted that installation of the PSDs on Pink and Magenta line is due to the technical requirement of completely automated train operation system installed in trains operating on such lines,” the Delhi Metro told the bench.

It also told the high court that worldwide, PSDs are not installed at all Metro stations and in some places PSDs are installed at only few Metro stations as per the system and operational requirement.

“The cost of installation of PSDs at each of the Metro stations would be substantial, which, if directed to be incurred by Delhi Metro, would ultimately be passed on to the citizens through increase in fare or through governments budgetary support,” it said.

The provision of PSDs increases the cost of signalling substantially apart from increasing the maintenance requirements of the Metro network and it creates severe restrictions on train operations in case of failure or malfunction of the PSDs, the Delhi Metro said.

“The decision to install PSDs at Metro stations is based on operational requirement, which needs detailed examination qua its technical requirements, costs involved, resources and time involvement, number of people using a particular station, convenience to the commuters etc.

“Therefore, any blanket order for installation of the PSDs at each station of the Metro network, as prayed for by the petitioner would actually be an interference to the technical and operational decision of the DMRC,” it said.

The submission’s were made in response to a plea filed by advocate Hussain Mueen Farooq to install PSDs on all-time Metro stations.

The high court took note of the submission and disposed of the PIL saying that PSD is a highly technical aspect and it cannot give any directions to the Delhi Metro.

“It is the duty of the Commissioner of Motor Railway Safety to give such type of suggestions as and when such suggestions are being given by the Commissioner of Motor Railway Safety, the same shall be carried out,” the bench said in a recent order.

It’s govt decision whether to set up KVs in each tehsil :HC

The Delhi High Court said Tuesday that setting up of Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) in every tehsil across the country was a policy decision of the Centre and left it to the government to take a call on the issue raised in a PIL.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said that whether to set up central schools in every tehsil or making it mandatory to study ‘aims, objects and basic structure of the Constitution’ in classes I-VIII, as sought in the petition, was a decision which the government has to take.

It left it to the central government to consider the issues raised by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in his plea and disposed of the matter.

Upadhyay, also a lawyer, had claimed in his plea that “unity in diversity is observed and celebrated” in the KVs as these schools have students from all parts of a state and “equal opportunities are provided to all students in spite of their religious, territorial differences”.

“The low fee structure of Kendriya Vidyalayas will help the poor students in getting a quality education along with an exposure to the competitive world. The establishment of KVs will encourage nearby schools to provide a better education as they will face a competition,” the petition had claimed.

It had said that presently, there were 5,464 tehsils in India and a total of 1,209 KVs.

“To achieve real equality and elevate poor, weak, Dalits, tribals and deprived sections of society, State must provide uniform education having common syllabus and common curriculum to all students of I-VIII standards in spirit of Articles 14, 15, 16, 21A and Preamble of the Constitution,” the plea had said.

Circulated order staying online sale of medicines to states: Centre

The Centre told the Delhi High Court Tuesday that it has informed all state drug controlling authorities about the interim order barring online sale of medicines and has directed them to take requisite action under the Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Act and Rules.

The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar in an affidavit which also said that the government was in the process of finalising the draft rules for regulating e-pharmacies after going through representations of all stakeholders.

The affidavit was filed in response to a plea seeking contempt action against the e-pharmacies for continuing to sell drugs online despite a high court order staying such activity.

The December 12, 2018 order was passed on a PIL by Zaheer Ahmed seeking a ban on illegal or unlicensed online sale of medicines.

Ahmed, who has also moved the contempt plea, contends that the e-pharmacies continue to “blatantly” violate the high court direction and the central government was not doing anything to stop it.

Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, appearing for Ahmed, told the bench that the government only circulated the interim order to all the state drug controlling authorities and thereafter, did nothing to block the online sales.

He urged the bench to come down on the e-pharmacies with a heavy hand for violating the December 12, 2018 direction “openly” and “with impunity”. The court, however, listed the matter for final hearing.

E-pharmacies, during the hearing, reiterated the stand they took last time that they were like online food delivery platform Swiggy or app-based cab service providers Ola and Uber, and did not require a licence for the work they were doing.

They said they were neither manufacturing, distributing or stocking the medicines for sale and were only “exhibiting” the drugs and therefore, they were not required to get a licence under the D&C Act.

One of the companies said that its premises was raided by government agencies and all they found was a office space with computers and no medicines were stocked there.

Ahmed, in his PIL, has said that the online illegal sale of medicines would lead to a drug epidemic, drug abuse and misutilisation of habit forming and addictive drugs.

It has further claimed that since there was no mechanism to control the sale of medicines online, this puts health and lives of people at a high risk and affects their right to a safe and healthy life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

“Online pharmacies are operating without a drug licence and cannot be regulated in the present regime. Unregulated and unlicensed sale of medicines will increase risk of spurious, misbranded and sub-standard drugs being sold,” the plea has said.

Parity between salaries of police personnel and home guards not possible: Delhi High Court

Salaries and perks paid to police personnel cannot be equated with that of home guards as there is no parity between their service condition, the Delhi High Court has ruled.

Holding that home guards are engaged on temporary basis whereas the employment of the police personnel has a permanent feature, said a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar.

The two cadres are entirely different, it said.

“Neither the salary nor the perks being paid to the police personnel can be extended to the home guards working in Delhi. Moreover… it appears that enough and adequate care has been taken by the respondents for the home guards, e.g., Rule 18 of the Delhi Home Guards Rules prescribes compensation to be paid to the home guards,” the bench said in a recent order.

The remuneration paid to home guards was Rs 15,840 per month in 2016 and it was increased to Rs 20,820 from 2018, the high court noted.

“Thus, in a period of two years, the rise in remuneration is approximately 31 per cent. This rise in remuneration is too much. Enough is enough. Home Guards cannot expect more than this much rise in remuneration,” the bench said.

Referring to a Supreme Court judgement, the high court said the duties and responsibilities of the home guards and police personnel are entirely different.

“These two are entirely different cadres; one is temporary in nature and another is permanent in nature; one is a voluntary body whereas another is recruited under Delhi Police Act, 1978,” the bench noted.

“Thus, we see no reason to give any direction and much less to issue a writ for the facilities demanded by the petitioner. Nevertheless, the demand raised by the respondents may be taken care of by the respondents at an appropriate stage looking to the budgetary provisions available with the respondent and looking to their own priorities,” the high court said.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Legal Forum for Women Empowerment, seeking directions to formulate plan and policies for the welfare of home guards, both male and female, working in Delhi at different departments under different capacities.

The plea said that benefits like provident fund, pension, insurance, health schemes, medical coverage, sanitation facilities, medical check-up on monthly basis should be provided to the home guards at par with officials/officers of Delhi Police.

It was also submitted by the counsel for the petitioner that work performed by the home guards and police personnel are almost similar.

“The home guards have to work 24×7 and they are at the beck and call of their superior officers, sometimes they are engaged in VIP bandobast, sometimes for controlling the law and order,” the plea said.

“Thus, practically, there is no difference between work performed by the Home Guards and Police Personnel, hence, at least, Provident Fund/Pension, Insurance, Health Scheme benefits, medical coverage, sanitation facilities and medical checkup on monthly basis should be provided to the home guards at par with the police officials/officers,” it added.

Urdu & Persian Words in FIR: High Court directs Police not to use such “bombastic” language

HC Bench comprising of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar stated that,“Too much flowery language, the meaning of which is to be found out by a dictionary, should not be used. An FIR should be in the words of the complainant”.

Bench further added that,”Police is there for public at large and not just for persons with doctorate degree in Urdu or Persian. Simple language should be used, instead of high-sounding words. People have to know what is written. It is applicable to use of English also. Do not use bombastic language.”

HC Bench was hearing a petition filed by Advocate Vishalakshi Goel seeking directions to Delhi Police not to use Urdu and Persian words in FIRs.

Delhi Government Additional standing counsel Naushad Ahmed Khan, appearing on behalf of Police stated that the Urdu and Persian words used in FIRs can be understood by “making a little effort”. He added that words are used when transferring the FIR to the higher authorities.

High Court has directed Police Commissioner to file an affidavit explaining whether Urdu or Persian words are used by Agency or the Complainant.

Bench has listed the matter for further hearing on November 25.