HC to Delhi govt: Ensure proper street-lighting in city

The Delhi High Court today directed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the civic bodies to ensure proper street-lighting in the national capital on a plea alleging that the LED lights on public roads and streets of south Delhi were not functioning.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar disposed of the petition after the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) informed it that according to a joint inspection by the civic bodies, the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), the manufacturer of the lights, the BSES and the petitioners, 97 per cent of the street lights were functioning.

“During the pendency of the matter, a joint inspection stands conducted. Parties have participated. Respondent 5 (SDMC) has submitted that 97 per cent of the lights were functional. Nodal officers from the Delhi government to look into the functioning of street lights and hold regular meeting with the petitioners. Ensure that proper street lights are provided. The petition is disposed of,” the bench said.

The petition was filed by south Delhi residents Manjeet Singh Chugh and Ravi Gopal Krishnan, alleging that the LED lights on the public roads and streets of south Delhi were either not working or not being maintained or replaced.

During the hearing, the petitioners had sought a third-party investigation into the condition of the nearly two lakh street lights.

“The street lights are improper. The illumination is inadequate and there is no proper earthing,” the petitioners had told the court.

They had also pointed out that several crimes were committed on the Delhi roads as they continued to be dark.

“There are electric poles and lights but they never work or are very dim. If they are properly maintained, many crimes can be averted,” the petition had said, adding that vast stretches of the roads remained dark, despite crores of rupees being spent on LED lighting.

Centre defends decision to ban Zakir Naik’s IRF

Centre defends decision to ban Zakir Naik's IRF
Centre defends decision to ban Zakir Naik’s IRF

The Centre today defended in the Delhi High Court its decision to ban controversial Indian Islamic preacher Zakir Naik’s Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) saying the order was made after “application of mind” as there was apprehension that youths could be “radicalised” to join terror groups.

The government told Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, who reserved the verdict on IRF’s plea challenging the order to immediately ban the organisation, that it has enough material in its possession to take action against IRF.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Centre, also produced before the court the files and materials available with the government on the basis of which the decision was made.

The ASG handed over these documents to the court and requested Justice Sachdeva to “have a look at the materials and notings on the basis of which such a decision was taken”.

IRF, in its plea, has challenged the November 17, 2016, notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) which had imposed an immediate ban on the organisation under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

During the hearing today, senior advocate Dinesh Mathur, representing IRF, submitted that the MHA notification gives no reason and cites no material for taking such a step as was required by the law laid down by the Supreme Court.

IRF also said the immediate ban was imposed without giving it any show cause notice.

However, the Centre countered the submissions and said that the need for taking the urgent step was felt in view of the apprehension that Indian youths could be “radicalised” or “motivated” by the alleged statements and speeches made by IRF and its members, including its President Naik, to join terror groups like ISIS, which is a cause of global concern.

Opposing the maintainability of the petition, the ASG said the government did not want to wait for some “catastrophic” incident to happen before taking the decision.

Aggrieved by the Centre’s stand, IRF’s counsel said that whatever has been done by a person in his or her individual capacity does not mean that an organisation can be banned.

( Source – PTI )

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”.