Delhi gets two months to file report on waterlogging

The Delhi government was Tuesday given two months by the Delhi High Court to find solutions to and submit a report on waterlogging and flooding of roads in the city.

A division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Vipin Sanghi allowed the submission of the Delhi government’s standing counsel Najmi Waziri for more time to file a status report.

The third meeting of a 15-member coordination committee, formed on the court’s orders, was scheduled Tuesday to prepare an action plan to prevent waterlogging.

“Government meetings have been held; various agencies have sought time to put forth short- and long-term plans to deal with waterlogging in the city. Status report to be filed within seven weeks by the committee showing what has been transpired,” the court said.

The court, seeking a status report, fixed Dec 14 as the next date of hearing.

Waziri, seeking more time for long-term measures, said: “Various agencies including the MCDs (municipal corporations of Delhi) will come forward with existing measures to handle waterlogging. The committee will also look into the suggestions from IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) professors for drainage system in the city.”

The court in August had asked the Delhi government to form a committee of senior officers from various authorities to evolve a mechanism to de-silt drains and prevent waterlogging during rains.

Waziri also told the court that “the coordination committee, headed by chief secretary, comprises of heads of the trifurcated MCD, NDMC (New Delhi Municipal Council), and other civic bodies to look into waterlogging, has held two meetings and will soon file status report on the issue.”

Besides the MCDs and NDMC, the committee includes officials from the Public Works Department (PWD), the Delhi Jal Board and irrigation department.

The court’s direction came on a bunch of public interest litigations that claimed the MCDs and PWD had done nothing significant after 1998 to properly de-silt drains, leading to waterlogging on major roads of the capital.

Illegal hookah bars to be raided, police tell Court

The Delhi Police on Wednesday informed the Delhi High Court that they have asked all Deputy Commissioners of Police to have illegal hookah bars running in city restaurants raided and ensure their closure to comply with the anti-smoking Act.

Delhi Standing Counsel Najmi Waziri made this submission before a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice A. K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw in response to a public interest litigation seeking strict implementation of the anti-smoking law for banning hookah bars at restaurants.

The New Delhi Municipal Council and the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi in their replies informed the Court that they had issued licences to restaurants to serve foods and beverages only.

Petitioner, non-government organisation World Lung Foundation-South Asia, submitted that the municipal bodies should make a provision in the existing licences for running restaurants to ban hookah bars there.

He submitted that the authorities were not effectively implementing the provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003, and the rules framed there under.

He further submitted that the licences issued by erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi to restaurants did not incorporate the necessary terms and conditions making it compulsory for the licencees to comply with the anti-smoking provisions and saying that their breach would entail cancellation or suspension of their licences.

The petition stated that an eating house, which is called a restaurant, is a public place and smoking of tobacco in any form, including cigarettes, cigars, beedis or otherwise with the aid of a pipe, wrapper or any other instruments, is prohibited by under the Act.

No rollback of court fee hike, Delhi tells court

The state government Tuesday told the Delhi High Court that it would not roll back the 10-fold hike in court fees.

Refusing to roll back the upward revision of court fees, the city government said that it would not amend the Court Fee (Delhi Amendment) Act, 2012, as sought by a group of lawyers.

The Delhi High Court Bar Association in its plea sought the quashing of the hike that came into force Aug 1.

Government’s standing counsel Najmi Waziri told a division bench of Acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw that “the legislation is a valid one and it can’t be altered at the moment”.

“However, if any representation comes from a lawyers’ body, the government would discuss it during the ensuing assembly session,” Waziri added.

The association alleged that despite the court’s suggestion to resolve the issue, no meeting was held by the government.

The court would next hear the matter Sep 10.  The court earlier stayed the notification on the fee hike following the government’s assurance to hold talks with lawyers to discuss their demands on a rollback.

According to the bar association, the notification will put a heavy financial burden on litigants.

The government has increased the court fees to collect an additional Rs.450 crore annually.

HC asks city govt to decide on plea to ban tobacco products

The city government was asked today by the Delhi High Court to examine and decide in two weeks a plea to ban the sale of tobacco products in Capital.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw gave the direction to the government, while disposing of a petition by Doctors For You, a registered society, and asking it to approach the Delhi Government’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Citing a media report of July 31, in which a Delhi minister had said the government should ban sale of tobacco products here, the bench asked the state to consider the plea as representation and decide the same in two weeks.

The Delhi government’s Standing Counsel Najmi Waziri said steps have been taken by the state on the issue and if a representation is made to it, it would consider the same.

Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Rajiv Mehra, meanwhile, told the bench that the government has written letters to various states to implement the Food Safety and Standards Act and some states have already banned the sale of tobacco products, invoking it.

The bench was hearing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) which sought to ban tobacco products in the wake of a spurt in oral and lung cancer in the city.