Weapons not for showing off, but self defence: Delhi HC

 One does not have a fundamental right to keep a weapon and its possession nowadays is more for “showing off” as a “status symbol” than for self defence, the Delhi High Court has said.

The observation by Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva came while rejecting a private company official’s plea for an arms licence, a request which was denied to him by the licensing authority of the police as well as the Lieutenant Governor (LG).

Upholding the decisions of the licensing authority and the LG, the court said, “We are not living in a lawless society where individuals have to acquire or hold arms to protect themselves.”

It said that the object of the Arms Act was to ensure that weapons are available to citizens for self defence, but it “does not mean that every individual should be given a licence” to possess a weapon.

“The object of the Act is self-defence. The grant of Arms license is a privilege conferred by the Act. There is no fundamental right of an individual to hold an arm (weapon).

“Possession of arms today has become a status symbol.

Individuals seek to possess arms mostly for the purposes of showing off that they are influential people. Arms are even being used indiscriminately for celebratory firing at marriages etc.,” the court said.

The petitioner had sought an arms licence on the ground that he daily deals with cash ranging between Rs 2-3 lakh and needs a weapon for his safety and to secure the money.

The court rejected the contention, saying that the cash belonged to the company and if there was any need to protect the money, the company would have taken the requisite measures.

“The amount of cash mentioned by the petitioner is only about Rs 2-3 lakh a day. Merely because an individual deals with cash of Rs 2-3 lakh a day and that also of a third party does not by itself show that there is any threat to that individual,” the court said.

The same view was expressed by the LG while rejecting the man’s plea for an arms licence.

The court said the petitioner has not shown any circumstance that could create a perception that there is a threat to his life.

“License to hold an arm is to be granted where there is a necessity for the same and not merely at the asking of an individual at his whims and fancies,” the court said.

Unfortunate that property dispute pending for 30 yrs: Delhi HC

Unfortunate that property dispute pending for 30 yrs: Delhi HC
Unfortunate that property dispute pending for 30 yrs: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court has termed it “very unfortunate” that an appeal regarding a property dispute was pending before it for over 30 years and no satisfactory solution was found despite the fact that 75 judges have heard the matter.

Justice V K Shali observed that in Delhi, prices of land have risen beyond imagination and whenever there is a property dispute, the effort of one party is to bring the other to its knees by tiring out its resources and patience.

The court said, “It is really very unfortunate that this appeal has remained pending on the board of this court for almost 30 years and has to pass through hands of as many as 75 Judges or so but still the solution to the problem of dividing the property (which happens to be the piece of land measuring approximately 7794.63 square yards along with superstructure) could not be found out to the satisfaction of all parties.”

“In city of Delhi, the prices of land have risen beyond imagination. As a matter of fact, the prices have become prohibitive to own house, plot or flat,” it said.

The court further noted, “As a necessary consequence of this, wherever there is a dispute between the co-sharers of a property, effort of one party is to bring the other party to its knees by tiring out its resources and patience so that it becomes almost a distress sale by such a party to the other co-sharer.”

The court’s observation came on an appeal filed by a man, who has passed away, against the judgement and decree passed by the trial court on July 1985 in a suit for partition of a plot measuring 7794.63 square yards in Mayapuri here.

On the basis of submissions of the parties, a preliminary decree was passed by the trial court and later on a judgement was passed on the suit.

The man had moved the high court challenging the judgement and decree passed in July 1985 by the trial court by virtue of which certain specified portions which were earmarked as super structures was to be shared amongst the parties while the land was stated to be common.

The high court, after hearing the submissions, said that it was left with no other alternative but to appoint a local commissioner for inviting bids for sale of the suit property.

“Having regard to the aforesaid facts, I feel that a senior advocate deserves to be appointed as court commissioner for the purpose of conducting an open, transparent and a fair sale of the suit property by inviting bids,” the court said and fixed the matter for further directions on September 29.

( Source – PTI )

2015 comparatively a better year in terms of pollution: Delhi HC

Unlike the public perception, the pollution levels in the capital last year was not as bad as other years, Delhi High Court said on Thursday after analysing the scientific data filed by the state pollution control panel.
A bench comprising Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva after perusing the data filed by Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) said the year 2015 was relatively a better year in terms of pollution index but it does not mean the situation was great.

“Conclusion of DPCC report seen and general impression one gets is that year 2015 was better from scientific point of view. But it doesn’t mean the situation is not far from great as PM 2.5, PM 10, Nitrogen Dioxide and Benzene level was beyond the maximum prescribed,” the bench said.
It also observed that high level of benzene and Nitrogen Dioxide in the air was on account of vehicular pollution. The court was hearing a PIL initiated by it on its own on the issue of air pollution in the national capital.
The DPCC report filed by a scientist, Dr George, through advocate Sanjeev Ralli, indicated that during three periods – October to November, December to January and May to June, air pollution in the capital rose to very high levels.
The court after perusing the report queried which period is the best period for national capital, to which Ralli said that it was February-March when pollution level is in control. The report further said that in October-November, the pollution level was at a higher level due to burning of biomass and crops in neighbouring states, while in December- January it was on account of temperature inversions and in May-June due to dust storms emanating from Rajasthan.
Delhi traffic police also filed a report in the court identifying 14 spots, congested junctions or corridors in Delhi, as extremely affected. These spots include IIT Flyover to Panchsheel (Hauz Khas Metro Station), Gurgaon Road-Dhaula Kuan/RR Hospital, Ashram Chowk, Khanpur T-Point, ISBT Kashmere Gate, Mukarba Chowk, Uttam Nagar Chowk, Peera Garhi Chowk and Kamal T-Point.

Other junctions include G T Road Shastri Park, Saket Metro Station, Akshardham, Mayur Vihar Metro Station and Rao Tula Ram Marg from Moti Bagh Chowk up to Outer Ring Road.

Cap on withdrawals through ATM is policy decision: RBI tells Delhi HC

atmwithdrawlThe Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that putting a cap on the number of withdrawals by banking customers using their ATM cards without being charged, is a policy decision taken in public interest.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai 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”.

The court was hearing 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 the petition 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.

“The issue pertains purely to the economic policy of the state and the challenge to the same at the instance of the PIL, as have been laid down by the apex court from time to time. The petitioner’s own view on the matter of policy which are or may be at variance with those of the policy makers cannot be the basis of challenge,” RBI said in its affidavit filed on Wednesday.

RBI reply came after the court questioned it’s 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 Bangalore –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.

According to the plea, the guidelines have already been implemented by several banks, including State Bank of India.

Which law mandates LS Speaker to appoint LoP : Delhi HC

Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought to know about the legal provision which makes it mandatory for the Speaker to appoint Leader of Opposition (LoP) in the Lok Sabha.

“You have to draw your right from the Constitution and not from the laws made under the Constitution. You are arguing (that) LoP (Leader of Opposition) is a must in a democratic system, but where is it mentioned in the Constitution?

“Show us any provision that mandates the Speaker to recognise the Leader of Opposition,” the court said.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw posed this pointed query to the counsel for the petitioner who had a filed a PIL seeking a direction to the Speaker to appoint LoP in the Lok Sabha.

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Centre, argued that this was the not the first time that this has happened and there was no Leader of Opposition in the first three Lok Sabha terms.

“The argument that traditionally LoP has always been appointed is complete myth. There is nothing illegal or irrational on the part of the Lok Sabha Speaker in not having appointed the Leader of Opposition,” he said.

He also claimed that the petition was driven by vested interests of the petitioner who has a political agenda.

The High Court has now reserved its judgement after hearing arguments of both the parties.

The High Court was hearing a PIL by Advocate Imran Ali seeking quashing of the statement of first Speaker of the Lok Sabha, which had ruled that a party needed 10 per cent member strength to be the main opposition party.

“No illegality can be perpetuated on the ground of precedents when law of the land is clear”, the petition had said, adding that the Speaker should strengthen the institution in appointing the LoP.

The apex court had, however, earlier agreed to interpret the LoP provision for the purpose of appointment of Lokpal in which the LoP was a selection committee member. It had asked the Centre to make its stand clear within two weeks, saying the legislation cannot be put in “cold storage”.

Congress, as the second largest party in the Lok Sabha with 44 seats, has been making a strong bid for the LoP post.

Ruling BJP has opposed it saying Congress does not have the requisite 10 per cent seats (55 seats) to stake claim and has questioned why Congress did not give the LoP status seven times earlier when it was in power.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan has rejected Congress’ demand for according the status of Leader of Opposition to it.


We will not permit water loss: Delhi HC

Pulling up Haryana government, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday questioned its refusal to supply water to Munak canal and said it will not allow any more wastage of water.

“Everyday 80 MGD of water is lost. Why are you not supplying water to the Munak canal? We will not allow this to continue at the cost of humanity. Stop the loss of water,” a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul said while questioning Haryana government which is involved in a tussle over water sharing with Delhi.

According to Delhi Jal Board, Munak canal has been completed but not commissioned yet. The water supplied by Haryana to Delhi is through a kachcha canal which results in seepage and translates to 50 per cent of water loss.

“80 MGD of water would be saved if water is channelled properly. There is a dispute between Delhi and Haryana with respect to sharing of water,” it had said.

Earlier, the high court had expressed concern over the dispute and said that “it was tragic that Haryana and Delhi were locked in a battle while 80 million gallons per day (MGD) were being lost and citizens deprived of drinking water.

The court had appointed advocate Rakesh Khanna as amicus curiae in the matter.

The bench was hearing a PIL seeking commissioning of the 102-km Munak canal, which was constructed by Haryana with financial assistance of around Rs 400 crore from Delhi government on the condition that the national capital will be supplied 80 MGD water from it.

In a similar matter related to Munak Canal, the high court granted permission to DJB for carrying out laying of pipeline through a former army officer’s property.


HC notice to govt on giving Aadhar card details

delhi-high-courtThe Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Centre and city government on a plea seeking to modify the rules in the National Food Safety Act requiring an applicant to furnish details of Aadhar card or enrolment ID for food security card.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw sought response from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Government NCT of Delhi on the plea and posted the matter for next hearing on August 27.

The PIL, filed by advocate Yogesh Kumar, said that after the National Food Safety Act was implemented in 2013, the Delhi government commenced the process of issuing the national food security card to residents here.

The plea also says that the authorities issued a circular making it mandatory for applicants to compulsorily add details of the Aadhar card or enrolment ID for accepting the application-form.

“In the absence of the same, food and supplies department was not accepting such application-form,” despite the fact that the Supreme Court had held that no person should suffer for not getting the aadhar card, the PIL said.

The plea seeks “direction/order for restraining the respondents for collection of biometric details from the usual residents for enrolment in National Population Register (NPR).

“Direct to Delhi government for accepting applications from all such applicants who visit office of the food and supplies Delhi for submission of application form for issue of food security card under National Food Security Act, 2013 without any condition to part with their enrolment details in the NPR,” the petition said.

(Source: PTI)

Delhi HC seeks status report on acquisition of sites for landfill

delhi-high-courtThe Delhi High Court Tuesday directed the state land and building department to file a status report on the acquisition of seven areas identified by a court-appointed committee to dump the city’s daily garbage.

Justice G.S. Sistani asked the department – responsible for large-scale acquisition of land for planned development in the capital – to file the status report on probable landfill sites within 15 days.

Meanwhile, the department informed the court that “complete acquisition process of the seven identified sites would take at least one year”.

The high court had last week directed it to start the process of acquiring the seven sites at Madanpur Khader, Sonia Vihar, Puthkhurd, near APMC Compost plant on GT Karnal road, Bhaktawar Pur road, Palla on Haryana border, and village Sadpur and Zizampur.

The court had earlier appointed a committee comprising of senior officer each of the Delhi Development Authority, the department, ministry of environment and forest, Delhi government and the central government to identify landfill sites and to bring out a blue print for future for garbage disposal in the city.

The committee had identified 31 sites but the Municipal Corporation of Delhi had selected the seven areas as the easiest ones to acquire.

For years, the city has been struggling to get alternative landfill sites to deal with its rapidly increasing waste generation, which currently stands at 9,000 tones every day.

MCD’s counsel Maninder Acharya and advocate Sumeet Pushkarna had earlier told the court that three waste mountains here have already reached their saturation level and the civic agency was in need of alternate land to dump the everyday waste generated from households in New Delhi.

(Source: IANS)

Delhi High Court: Woman hit by court signboard awarded Rs 19 lakh

A woman who became mentally disabled after a signboard at the Rohini district court fell on her head has been awarded a compensation of Rs 19 lakh by the Delhi High Court, which brushed aside claims of the defendants that the incident was an “act of God”.

 The victim, Harinder Kaur, was in the court premises pursuing a dispute against her estranged husband when the ‘District Court Rohini’ board fell on her from the rooftop, where it was loosely tied.

 Justice Vipin Sanghi, in an order released earlier this week, asked the Rohini district court, PWD and MCD to compensate Kaur for their negligence that left her with permanent, 70% mental disability.

 The Delhi high court also rapped the court administration and other civic agencies for ignoring municipal bylaws in putting up the board. “Facts speak for themselves and tell their own story of negligence, so as to establish a prima facie case against the respondents… The respondents have shifted liability from one to another,” Justice Sanghi noted, holding the authorities responsible for the injury.

 Kaur’s 65-year-old mother had approached Delhi High Court  for compensation through advocate Pankaj Batra, who first argued that the placement of the signboard violated laws. He also placed on record RTI replies that revealed that PWD had failed to take mandatory permission from the MCD commissioner before putting up the board. The petition said the board was installed above a passage in the complex and it fell on Kaur as she was walking into the complex.

 Citing Kaur’s medical reports, Batra alleged that the injuries had resulted in her being unable to sleep and left her totally disoriented with no possibility of being employed.

 After initially passing the blame amongst each other, the Rohini court administration, the PWD and the MCD attributed Kaur’s injury to an “act of God” in view of the inclement weather on the day of the incident. They argued that the board fell due to strong winds and rains, and not because of negligence on their part.

 But HC brushed aside the explanation saying squalls, duststorms and rain were a regular feature in Delhi. “Negligence is writ large on the part of the respondents. They can’t in the garb of inclement weather shirk from their responsibility of complying with provisions of law and taking reasonable precautions so as to keep away all persons from harm,” the court added.


Paternity case: ND Tiwari to give blood for DNA test, rules Delhi HC

In a setback for Congress veteran N D Tiwari, the Delhi High Court ruled Friday that the leader will have to provide his blood sample for DNA test in a paternity suit.

One Rohit Shekhar has taken Tiwari to court, claiming the octogenarian is his biological father.

Tiwari, who has been extremely reluctant to give his blood sample, got some reprieve earlier from a single judge bench which ruled he could not be forced to give his blood sample in the case.