SC notice to central, state governments on RTE plea

supreme courtFollowing a plea seeking enforcement of the right of 37.7 million children to be admitted in schools under the Right to Education Act, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the central and state governments, according to news reports.

A bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice MY Eqbal issued notice on a PIL which sought the construction of about 150,000 new schools or expansion of the existing institutions.

The petition moved by NGO National Coalition for Education sought the recruitment of one lakh professionally-trained teachers each month to cover the shortfall of 12 lakh teachers within one year.

Moved by the NGO national convenor Rama Kant Rai, the PIL has sought nine directions covering different areas to comply with the provisions of the Right to Education Act.

Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel Colin Gonsalves told the court that the statistics given in the PIL were taken from the government sources and different reports. He said that augmentation of infrastructure facilities including recruitments of teaches should be completed within one year.

“States may have problem. In any case we will look into it,” said Chief Justice Sathasivam as Gonsalves reeled out the statistics pointing to the mammoth exercise that had to be undertaken for covering all the school going children under the mandate of the RTE act.

Pointing to several reports, the court was told that there was a “systematic and widespread violation of children’s right to education across the country” including non-compliance of the several specific requirements under the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

The NGO – a network of organisations committed to right to education – has sought direction to all the states and union territories to ensure that all the private schools earmark and admit the students under the Economically Weaker Section quota as provided under the RTE Act.

(Source: IANS)

CBI probe in rural job scheme in UP to go on, says SC

supreme courtThe CBI probe into the allegations of corruption in implementation of rural job scheme in Uttar Pradesh will continue as Supreme Court Friday rejected the state government’s plea against high court order directing preliminary enquiry in 65 districts.

As the Uttar Pradesh government assailed high court order saying it was tantamount to roving inquiry, the apex court bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice N.V. Ramana said: “If everything is in order, then why are you afraid of CBI probe?”

The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court Jan 27 had asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to file regular cases into the allegation of corruption in respect of seven districts and hold preliminary inquiry in remaining 65 districts of the state.” Uttar Pradesh has 75 districts.

The seven districts in respect of which regular cases would be filed include Mirzapur, Balrampur, Sonbhadra, Gonda, Kushinagar, Sant Kabir Nagar and Mahoba.

Appearing for Uttar Pradesh government, senior counsel U.U. Lalit assailed the high court pointing to the “intensity and enormity” of the investigation under taken by the state police.

Lalit told the apex court that following investigations in the acts of wrongdoings in seven districts, police registered 475 FIRs resulting in action against 460 state government officials and 208 sent to jail.

“When so much of material has come from seven districts then why not (look into the implementation of MNREGA) in other districts,” observed Chief Justice Sathasivam.

“Seven districts are on one footing and other 68 on the other footing,” Lalit said adding that a roving inquiry could not be ordered mere on the basis of a letter by a minister.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi described the cases as “politically” foisted and said that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Act provides that the central government could order a CBI probe if there are allegations of irregularities in the implementation of the scheme.

Rohtagi sought to know why the central government empowered to order a CBI probe was not extending its powers and the high court acting on a latter by a minister.

Dismissing the plea by Uttar Pradesh government, Chief Justice Sathasivam said: “I come from rural background. This is a good scheme. If you have nothing to hide then why you are resisting the high court order.”

(Source: IANS)

SC notice on plea for restricting candidate to one constituency

supreme courtThe Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the central government and the Election Commission on a petition seeking direction that no candidate could simultaneously contest election from more than one constituency for the same legislative body in the same election.

A bench of Chief Justice P.Sathasivam and Justice N.V.Ramana issued notice on a petition seeking declaration that Section 70 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, deals with the situation of a candidate getting elected from more than one seat, be declared ultra vires of the constitution.

Section 70 says that if a person is elected to more than one seat in either house of parliament or in the house or either house of the legislature of a state, then he will resign from all but one seat. If the candidate fails to do so within prescribed time, then all seats he has been elected from would stand vacated.

The court issued notice as petitioner, advocate H.K. Naik appearing in person, told the court that the founding fathers of the constitution during debates in the constituent assembly never dreamt of a scenario that one day a candidate would be filing nomination papers for more than one seat in the same election and for the same legislature.

Seeking direction against the practice, he said that the poll panel should ask for an affidavit from the contesting candidates that they are not contesting from more than one constituency.

The failure to file such an affidavit would result in the rejection of the nomination papers, he contended.

(Source: IANS)

SC to hear PIL on defence equipments

supreme courtThe Supreme Court Friday said that it will hear a PIL March 28 seeking directions to the government to expeditiously make available to defence sources equipments and spares as and when sought by them.

The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said that it will hear the plea March 28 after one of the two PIL petitioners advocate N Rajaraman mentioned the matter before the court.

The PIL is rooted in the recent submarine incident INS Sindhuratna in which the lives of two young navy officers was lost.

(Source: IANS)


SC to hear plea against freeing Rajiv case convicts March 6

rajeevThe Supreme Court will hear March 6 the plea challenging the validity of the powers of a state government to grant remission of sentence to prisoners in case of the Tamil Nadu government deciding to release of seven convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Besides others, the petition is by some relatives of the other victims who lost their lives during the assassination.

A bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that matter would be taken up for hearing on March 6 as the plea was mentioned Monday.

Contending that the power of remission under sections 432, 433 and 435 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was in conflict with the constitutional provisions, the plea said that it was the president and the governor who had the power of remission under articles 72 and 161 of the constitution respectively and this could not overriden by a statutory provision.

The petitioner have urged the court to declare that sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure ultra vires of the constitution as they could not co-exist with articles 72 and 161 of the constitution.

The assassination of Rajiv Gandhi by a human bomb in Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991 had claimed the lives of another 14 people.

The petition moved by John Joseph, Americai V. Narayanan, R. Mala, M. Samuvel Diraviyam, S.Abbas and K. Ramasugandam had said that the state government, while granting remission of sentence, should not only keep in view the interest of the convicts but the impact it would have on the kith and kin of the victims, the society and its becoming a precedent for demands for release in other cases.

The Tamil Nadu government Feb 19 had communicated to the central government its proposed decision to release all the seven convicts. The measure came just a day after the apex court Feb 18 commuted the death sentence of three convicts to life imprisonment.

The state government had given the central government three days time to take a call on its decision.

On a petition, the apex court suspended the proposed release of the three Feb 20 and of other four Feb 27.

(Source: IANS)

Only assembly speaker, deputy speaker enjoy immunity: SC

Chief Justice P. SathasivamEveryone else falls in the same category and could not claim a privilege that is not available to the common man, an Apex Court bench of Chief Justice P Sathasivam, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh said in its judgment on Tuesday.

The court also set aside the Madhya Pradesh Assembly’s show cause notice to the Lokayukta for breach of privilege for summoning its secretary and seeking certain documents in the course of its probe on a complaint alleging corruption in a construction work in 2007.

Holding that the action of the Lokayukta was legal and could not constitute breach of privilege, Chief Justice Sathasivam, pronouncing the judgment, said that “any person who is aware of breach of Prevention of Corruption Act is duty-bound to give information to the police and co-operate with it”.

(Source: IANS)

Rajiv killing: SC to hear centre’s plea Thursday

supreme courtThe Supreme Court will hear Thursday the centre’s plea seeking to restrain the Tamil Nadu government from releasing the conspirators in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam agreed to hear the plea after Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra told the court the Tamil Nadu government had no jurisdiction to release the conspirators.

The apex court had last week stayed the release of three key conspirators whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment on the grounds of inordinate delay in deciding their mercy petition.

(Source: IANS)

SC to hear plea on non-dissolution of Delhi assembly

supreme courtThe Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear on Monday the Aam Aadmi Party’s plea seeking a direction to the lieutenant governor to dissolve Delhi assembly and hold fresh polls along with Lok Sabha elections.

The bench headed by chief justice P Sathasivam said that it will hear the petition on February 24.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for AAP, said, “There is no possibility of any alternate government in Delhi and the lieutenant governor should have dissolved the assembly.”

The joint petition filed on the basis of newspaper reports and documents available in public domain by AAP and Saurabh Bhardwaj, who was the transport minister in Kejriwal Cabinet, challenged the decision to impose President’s rule in Delhi on the recommendation of lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung alleging it was done to protect Congress leaders and former chief minister Sheila Dikshit from corruption charges.

It contended that the February 16 order imposing President’s rule was with a motive to frustrate the ongoing investigation in those corruption cases in which FIR has been lodged by the Arvind Kejriwal government.

“Apparently, the motive behind not dissolving the Delhi Legislative Assembly and holding fresh election is to allow a political party, which had badly lost the Delhi legislative assembly election, held in December 2013 and of which several important leaders including ministers in central government and the former chief minister are facing serious corruption charges.

“….to govern the NCT of Delhi indirectly through the central government as the same party is presently in power in the Centre and also to frustrate the ongoing investigations in those corruption charges under the FIRs which were recently lodged by the Delhi government.

“Thus, the aforesaid decision is not only arbitrary and illegal and in violation of the democratic rights of the citizens of Delhi but also malafide,” the petition has said.

(Source: IANS)

Rajiv assassination: SC suspends release of convicts

rajeevThe Supreme Court  on Thursday ordered status quo and suspended the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to release seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam said it will examine the procedural lapse in the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to grant remission and release within three days the seven convicts in the case.

The court order came as Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran told the court that permission to free the convicts could not be granted without the approval of the central government whose investigating agency probed the matter leading to the convictions.

Noting the pace at which the events took place, the chief justice said the judgment was delivered Tuesday morning and the order was available at 5 p.m. the same day, and decision to grant remission was taken Wednesday morning.

The Tamil Nadu government while opposing the plea by the centre said the order of status quo will be premature and no final decision has been taken on the grant of remission to the seven convicts. The recommendation of the state government was before the centre, the Tamil Nadu government said.

(Source: IANS)

Make delay a criteria for deciding mercy petition, says SC

The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the government to include delay as a criteria in deciding the mercy petition of a death row convict.

Pointing out that the government has set out certain criteria for deciding mercy petitions, the bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh said: “We hereby recommend that in view of the recent jurisprudential development with regard to delay in execution, another criteria may be added to the existing yardsticks so as to require consideration of the delay that may have occurred in disposal of a mercy petition.”

The bench said the clemency procedure “provides a ray of hope” to the condemned prisoners and their family members for commutation of death sentence to life imprisonment.

“Therefore, the executive should step up and exercise its time-honoured tradition of clemency power guaranteed in the constitution one way or the other within a reasonable time,” the court said.

Holding that mercy petitions could be disposed of at a “much faster pace than what is adopted now”, the court said: “The fact that no time limit is prescribed to the president/governor for disposal of the mercy petition should compel the government to work in a more systematic manner to repose the confidence of the people in the institution of democracy.”

Urging that mercy petitions should be decided expeditiously, the court said it has consistently held that prolonged delay in execution of the death sentence “gives rise to mental suffering and agony which renders the subsequent execution of death sentence inhuman and barbaric”.

Stating that it was not a “pleasure” for the court to interfere in the constitutional powers, it said: “We implore upon the government to render its advice to the president within a reasonable time so that the president is in a position to arrive at a decision at the earliest.”