HC declines urgent hearing of plea for removal of counsel

The Delhi High Court today refused to give an urgent hearing on a plea seeking setting aside of appointment of Rahul Mehra as senior standing counsel for the city government.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal transferred the petition before another judge, saying this was not the appropriate bench to hear a petition challenging the order of appointment and it should go before the roaster judge.

“List it for March 17. The concerned bench will hear the matter on merit and decided it as per law,” the bench said.

The petitioner, who is an advocate, urged the court to list the issue before the another bench for today itself.

The bench headed by Chief Justice declined the request, saying it will be heard day after tomorrow.

The plea has termed the appointment as “illegal” on the ground that the post of senior standing counsel “doesn’t exist in the eyes of the law”.

The petition, which sought quashing of the notification issued by the Delhi government with regard to the appointment of Mehra and other panel counsel of Delhi government, said it was “bad in law as the same is in violation of the Constitution of India”.

“The Department Of Law, Justice And Legislative Affairs issued notification…appointed respondent No.

5 (Rahul Mehra) as senior standing counsel for all matters of the Delhi….

“No Advertisement for the post, no terms and conditions for appointment, no criteria, no eligibility was made.

No sanction obtained from the Lt Governor of the National Capital Territory of Delhi…,” the petition filed by advocate Chetan Dutt said.

It said that judicial review of the notification was mandatory and required in law.

Food for troops: Delhi HC refuses urgent hearing on plea

Food for troops: Delhi HC refuses urgent hearing on plea
Food for troops: Delhi HC refuses urgent hearing on plea

The Delhi High Court today refused urgent hearing on a plea seeking a status report from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) following a BSF soldier’s allegation that troopers posted along the LoC were being served poor quality food.

The petitioner urged the bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini, which did not assemble, that the matter be transferred to another bench today itself as it was an “urgent issue”.

The court master, who was giving dates in the matter, asked the counsel for the petitioner what was the urgency.

“The authorities concerned are looking into the issues (raised in the writ petition). Even the Army Chief has also taken steps in this regard,” the court master said.

To which the counsel for the petitioner requested that at least it be listed for tomorrow.

Agreeing to which, the matter has been fixed for consideration tomorrow.

The plea was filed by Puran Chand Arya, a former central government employee, in the wake of a video posted on Facebook by BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav, claiming corruption among officers and poor working conditions.

The public interest litigation (PIL) sought direction to the MHA to submit a status report with respect to all paramilitary forces in India over allegations of the BSF jawan in his video, which went viral on social media.

Citing the fundamental Right to Equality (Article 14) and Life (Article 21), the PIL filed through advocate Abhishek Kumar Choudhary highlights the allegations about insufficient and bad quality of food provided to jawans.

It seeks action on the incident so that the morale of the force is not affected and also asks for clarity on ration procurement, food preparation and servings to various categories of officers.

On 9 January, Yadav had posted a video on Facebook which showed a meal box comprising a watery soup-like dal, which he said had only turmeric and salt and a burnt chapatti.He said this is what jawans were served at mealtime on duty. He said jawans often went to bed on an empty stomach.

The PIL has sought direction to depute higher officers to supervise cooking of proper healthy food and its distribution.

( Source – PTI )

Cap on withdrawals from ATMs policy decision

rbi-reduces-free-atm-withdrawals-in-metro-citiesThe Reserve Bank of India has told the Delhi High Court that the cap on the number of withdrawals from ATMs by banking customers without being charged is a policy decision taken in public interest.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal was also informed by RBI that the ATM facility was made available with a view to reduce “cash usage and increase electronic transactions in the country”.

RBI was responding to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Swati Aggarwal, seeking directions to allow banking customers to make an unlimited number of transactions free of any charge on their own bank ATMs.

India’s central banking institution, which controls the monetary policy of the rupee, however, opposed the PIL, saying it is “not maintainable and is liable to be dismissed, as RBI has not violated any laws of the land”.

“The PIL is not meant to be a weapon to challenge the financial or economic decisions which are taken by the RBI in exercise of their administrative/ statutory powers and in the public interest…,” RBI’s counsel said.

On this, the bench has asked the RBI to file an affidavit with regard to its contention made before it by next date of hearing, December 5.

The RBI’s oral submissions were made after the high court on last date of hearing had questioned its decision to put a cap on withdrawals by banking customers using their ATM cards, saying account holders were being “unnecessarily taxed”.

As per RBI’s new guidelines, bank customers in six metros — Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Bengaluru — are allowed to withdraw money free of charge only five times a month and every transaction beyond this limit will be charged Rs 20 per use.

Payal Abdullah in HC for govt house on security grounds

payalPayal Abdullah, estranged wife of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, has moved Delhi High Court seeking government accommodation for her and her sons on the ground that they enjoyed ‘Z’ and ‘Z plus’ security status.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal issued notice to the Centre and sought their response on her appeal challenging a single judge’s August 19 order asking her to vacate the 7 Akbar Road bungalow in Lutyen’s Delhi that she was residing in.

In her appeal, she has sought a direction to the Centre to provide her and her sons with accommodation on parity with others who enjoyed similar security status and have been given government accommodation.

She has also claimed to be a central government protectee, a claim which the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), represented by advocate Anurag Ahluwalia, had disputed before the single judge.

Her petition claims that she and her sons were living in a rented flat which is not appropriate on security grounds.

In her appeal, she has contended that the August 19 order of the single judge mentioned no date and time of eviction and “hence the very act of summoning and pressing into service of armed public auxiliary/servants of different forces” for giving effect to the order was in violation of The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act.

She has contended that under the Act, possession of a public premises cannot be taken after sunset, whereas she and her sons were evicted on the evening of August 22.

Ensure no unauthorised structures come up in Delhi

demolition of unauthorised constructions(PTI) The Delhi High Court has pulled up the municipal corporations here for allowing people to build unauthorised constructions in the city and directed the civic bodies to ensure no such structures come up anywhere.

“There are so many unauthorised constructions in the city. How could you allow them to come up? How can you allow people to make such huge structures?” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal asked the civic bodies.

The bench directed them to “ensure no such unauthorised constructions come up anywhere in the city” and disposed of a PIL by a south Delhi resident for demolition of unauthorised constructions.

In their defence, the corporations contended that they have been periodically taking action against unauthorised constructions by issuing show cause notices and sealing them, but the people responsible for building such structures keep raising new ones.

The corporations also said they have sought help of the police to keep a watch over properties which have been identified as unauthorised.

Plea to admit poor kids in schools on public land

The Delhi High Court has sought response of the AAP government and DDA on a plea seeking directions to them to ensure admission of poor kids in play schools, creches and even minority institutions running on public land.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notice to the Delhi government’s directorate of education (DoE) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and sought their replies by May 27, the next date of hearing.

The order came on the applications of NGO Justice for All which has contended that the court’s 2014 direction, to ensure schools situated on DDA land shall admit children belonging to weaker section up to the extent of 25 per cent, was not being implemented by the DoE.

The NGO also sought a clarification from the court that its 2014 judgement is applicable to those minority schools also which are situated on public land allotted by land owing agencies.

The petitioner in its applications, filed through advocate Khagesh Jha, alleged that “barring a few schools most have either not updated their vacancy position in the Central Information Commission (CIC) module or updated incorrect information on the website”.

It has claimed that DoE “neither collected any data from the recognised unaided schools nor placed any advertisement for seats so children belonging to weaker sections can approach for admission in the school. The DoE also failed to publish complete list of schools, with addresses, which have provisions of EWS admission especially for play school”.

Appearing for the NGO, advocate Ashok Aggarwal told the court that a “list of schools which are obligated to provide admission to economically weaker section (EWS) should be made available by DoE so that parents know where to apply”.

Land for schools being alloted by DDA: AAP government to HC

delhi high courtThe AAP government which had informed Delhi High Court it was exploring possibilities to allot land for a minority school which has been functioning from tents since its demolition 40 years ago during Emergency, has now said allotment of land would be done by the DDA.

The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath, during hearing of a plea that despite promises of land and building, nothing was done and the school continued to function in a “tattered, tented and tinned structure, without a building” since 1976.
“The allotment of land for institutional purpose including schools is done by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA)…The court may issue appropriate direction to DDA,” Delhi government has said in its affidavit.

DDA on the other hand told the court that in “accordance with a gazette notification of April 19, 2006, issued by the Ministry of Urban Development, at present the land for schools can be got through auction nly.”

The Delhi government’s response came in the backdrop of the court’s notice issued on a PIL seeking reconstruction of the building of the minority school.

The PIL filed by civil activist Firoz Bakht Ahmed contended the state of affairs at the Qaumi School was “sad and pitiable” as it was functioning from the grounds of the Eidgah at Quresh Nagar in Old Delhi after its building was demolished on June 30, 1976, during Emergency.

The PIL has contended that children from the “down-trodden and backward class have to suffer due to threats of closure, makeshift classrooms, leaking roofs and no proper facilities.

“A hostile and inclement environment can hardly be conducive for learning. With competition at the school leaving board examinations reaching stupendous proportions, children from such schools are placed at a huge disadvantage from the very inception of their schooling life,” the plea has said.

It has also said the state was under obligation to provide infrastructure including a school building and the civic authorities have failed to discharge the statutory onus.

Delhi HC junks plea for law to ban cow slaughter

beef banThe Delhi High Court has refused to entertain a petition seeking enactment of a law prohibiting slaughter of cows, saying the “issue is beyond the domain of judicial decision” and it’s a policy matter.“Suffice it is to state that the Legislature whenever has deemed necessary has framed appropriate laws in this regard and challenge thereto has been considered by the court…,” a bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said.

“We are afraid the issue is beyond the domain of judicial decision making and is a policy matter in which the courts under the doctrine of separation of powers are not entitled to transgress,” the bench said.

The court’s decision came on a PIL filed by NGO Sadh Foundation, which also sought action against slaughter houses.

It further sought direction to make “arrangements so that maximum environmental and economic benefits from the cow to mankind may be provided”.

The bench, however, termed the plea without “merit” and said even the Supreme Court in a judgement earlier had unequivocally held that the court cannot issue any direction for ban on slaughter of cows as it is a matter of policy on which decision has to be taken by the government.

“It was further held that a complete ban can only be imposed by legislation enacted by the appropriate legislature. The same view has been taken by a full bench of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir in…,” the court observed while citing the apex court judgement.

Lawyers seek dates in HC in accordance with their vehicle no.

The Delhi High Court today faced a peculiar situation when advocates appearing in various matters sought particular dates owing to the AAP governments proposed odd-even numbers vehicle policy. A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath was surprised when a lawyer appearing for a petitioner requested the court to give her an even number date instead of January 19 date given to her.

“Can I request the bench to give me an even number date as I am being given January 19 date. I have a one car family which has an even number registration,” advocate Vaishalee Mehra said.

 

The requested prompted the bench to smile and it acceded to the counsels request and changed the date of hearing of her matter to January 18.

A similar situation again happened before the same bench when a lawyer said that he will have to buy two cars to appear in his matters due to different odd and even dates of hearing.

The bench had earlier in the morning refused to pass any interim direction on the PILs filed against AAP governments plan to restrict plying of private vehicles from January 1 to combat pollution, saying it was too early to pass an order.

It had termed the PILs as “premature” and said, “The Delhi government has proposed an idea, which is to be implemented from January 1, 2016, on trial basis for 15 days, so let them (Delhi government) try it.” PTI

Ensure funds to combat Dengue are utilised properly : HC to govt

Delhi High Court today directed AAP government to “supervise and ensure” that the grant-in-aid given to the municipal corporations to combat diseases like dengue is properly utilised.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath also directed all concerned departments and civic agencies of Delhi government to cooperate with each other to “prevent and control” such vector-borne diseases.

The directions were issued by the bench while disposing of a petition of Congress leader Ajay Maken who had contended that failure and delay in controlling the disease has caused much damage to public life and health in Delhi.

The court, while issuing the directions, said other grievances raised in the plea have already been addressed.

Maken in his plea had prayed for a direction to all public and private hospitals not to refuse treatment to any patient on account of monetary conditions or any such reason. He had also sought that in case of any misconduct by a hospital, heavy penalty be imposed by the court.

The court on September 29 had said it will issue immediate directions to control the outbreak of dengue in the city.

The court has kept two similar PILs pending, including one seeking direction to lodge an FIR against directors of hospitals which denied treatment to a seven-year-old boy who died of dengue and whose parents subsequently committed suicide.

The plea seeking lodging of FIR was filed by law student Gauri Grover contending that the boy died due to the callous attitude of hospitals.

Another plea, filed by advocate Arpit Bhargava, has sought directions to the city government to take steps to combat dengue, claiming that funds were released by it only after 23 people, including children, had died.

Earlier, the Delhi government had informed the court that it has released the second instalment of the grant-in-aid under the Dengue and Malaria Control Programme, subject to certain conditions, to all the Municipal Corporations here.

Advocates Aman Panwar and Mudit Gupta, representing Maken, had told the court that “it was extremely unfortunate” that Delhi government had released funds only after several casualties were reported and this court had intervened. They had said the funds should have been released much earlier, that is before the monsoon season.