Delhi High Court to hear in Feb plea for action against police officials for protesting against clash with lawyers

The Delhi High Court on Friday said it will hear in February a plea seeking action against police officials who were agitating in public and sitting on ‘dharna’ after their November 2 clash with lawyers at the Tis Hazari Courts Complex.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar refused to give shorter date for hearing the plea and asked the lawyers to use their good officers for settling the issue with police.

The court was hearing a petition filed by a lawyer seeking action against police officials who had issued statements on social media when the matter is already sub judice.

When the counsel appearing for the petitioner sought a shorter date for hearing the matter, the bench said, “We will see it later. Just wait and watch. You (lawyers) use all your good officers for settlement. A long date is required. ”

Advocate Vivek Narayan Sharma, appearing for the petitioner lawyer, said he has to make submissions on the point of law.

The bench, however, said it will hear the matter later on February 12.

In unprecedented protests by Delhi police, thousands of its personnel on Tuesday laid siege outside the Police Headquarters for 11 hours and staged a virtual revolt sparked by two attacks on their colleagues before calling off their stir following multiple appeals including from their chief.

The petition filed by lawyer Rakesh Kumar Lakra has arrayed as parties the Union of India, the Delhi Police, its Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, Deputy Inspector General of police of Arunachal Pradesh Madhur Verma, former Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police Aslam Khan, Superintendent of Police of NIA Sanjukta Prashar and IPS officer Meghna Yadav.

The plea has sought direction to the Centre to initiate departmental inquiry against the Delhi Police officials who were sitting on ‘dharna’ and “making provocative slogans” and issuing inciting statements on electronic and social media.

It has alleged that the police officials were protesting and agitating in public, which was in contravention of their official duties.

The plea has claimed that it was a failure on the part of Delhi Police Commissioner for not taking action against Aslam Khan who has been giving statement on social media through Twitter when the matter is sub-judice in the high court.

It has said it was a failure on the part of Madhur Verma, Aslam Khan, Meghna Yadav and Sanjukta Prashar in making provocative statements in public through social media, and sought disciplinary action, including their dismissal, for allegedly violating provisions of the Delhi Police Act and Central Civil Services Conduct Rules.

The tension between police personnel and lawyers had been building up since last Saturday when a clash over a parking dispute led to at least 20 security personnel and several advocates being injured.

Thousands of police personnel protested outside the Police Headquarters on November 5, holding up placards with slogans such as “We are human in police uniforms”, “We are not punching bags” and “Protectors Need Protection”, and urged their seniors to stand with them to save the honour of the uniform.

The incidents drew sharp criticism from senior police officials who took to Twitter to register their discontent.

Parity between salaries of police personnel and home guards not possible: Delhi High Court

Salaries and perks paid to police personnel cannot be equated with that of home guards as there is no parity between their service condition, the Delhi High Court has ruled.

Holding that home guards are engaged on temporary basis whereas the employment of the police personnel has a permanent feature, said a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar.

The two cadres are entirely different, it said.

“Neither the salary nor the perks being paid to the police personnel can be extended to the home guards working in Delhi. Moreover… it appears that enough and adequate care has been taken by the respondents for the home guards, e.g., Rule 18 of the Delhi Home Guards Rules prescribes compensation to be paid to the home guards,” the bench said in a recent order.

The remuneration paid to home guards was Rs 15,840 per month in 2016 and it was increased to Rs 20,820 from 2018, the high court noted.

“Thus, in a period of two years, the rise in remuneration is approximately 31 per cent. This rise in remuneration is too much. Enough is enough. Home Guards cannot expect more than this much rise in remuneration,” the bench said.

Referring to a Supreme Court judgement, the high court said the duties and responsibilities of the home guards and police personnel are entirely different.

“These two are entirely different cadres; one is temporary in nature and another is permanent in nature; one is a voluntary body whereas another is recruited under Delhi Police Act, 1978,” the bench noted.

“Thus, we see no reason to give any direction and much less to issue a writ for the facilities demanded by the petitioner. Nevertheless, the demand raised by the respondents may be taken care of by the respondents at an appropriate stage looking to the budgetary provisions available with the respondent and looking to their own priorities,” the high court said.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Legal Forum for Women Empowerment, seeking directions to formulate plan and policies for the welfare of home guards, both male and female, working in Delhi at different departments under different capacities.

The plea said that benefits like provident fund, pension, insurance, health schemes, medical coverage, sanitation facilities, medical check-up on monthly basis should be provided to the home guards at par with officials/officers of Delhi Police.

It was also submitted by the counsel for the petitioner that work performed by the home guards and police personnel are almost similar.

“The home guards have to work 24×7 and they are at the beck and call of their superior officers, sometimes they are engaged in VIP bandobast, sometimes for controlling the law and order,” the plea said.

“Thus, practically, there is no difference between work performed by the Home Guards and Police Personnel, hence, at least, Provident Fund/Pension, Insurance, Health Scheme benefits, medical coverage, sanitation facilities and medical checkup on monthly basis should be provided to the home guards at par with the police officials/officers,” it added.

Court takes cognisance of charge sheet against AAP MLA

A Delhi court on Friday took cognisance of a charge sheet filed the by Delhi Police against AAP MLA Gulab Singh and others in connection with the 2016 alleged extortion case.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal took cognisance on the charge sheet and handed over its copies to the accused persons who were present in the courtroom.

The court has now posted the matter for September 9 for further proceedings.

Singh is currently an MLA from Delhi’s Matiala constituency.

Besides Singh, Delhi Police has named four others as accused – Satish, Devender Singh, Jagdish Chander and Naveen Yadav.

The charge sheet was filed against them under sections of 384 (punishment for extortion), 387 (putting person in fear of death in order to extort) 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) 120B (criminal conspiracy) of IPC and relevant section of Arms Act.

In September 2016, two property dealers – Deepak Sharma and Rinku Diwan – had alleged that Singh’s associate Satish and Devender were extorting money from them.

Singh was also arrested by Delhi Police from Gujarat in 2016 while he was on an election tour after an NBW was issue against him by a Delhi court.

High Court: Hire Law Officers on Contract in City’s 16 jails

Delhi HC has advised the state govt to appoint law officers on a contractual basis in the 16 jails of the capital for their better administration & smooth functioning. A bench of Chief Justice (CJ) DN Patel & Justice C Hari Shankar on Thursday made the remarks while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking appointment of one law officer in each of the 16 jails of the city in a time-bound manner.

Delhi govt, meanwhile, assured the bench that the Director General of Prisons has been consulted & the process of appointment of law officers will be set in motion soon for these jails — 9 at Tihar prison complex, 1 at Rohini complex & 6 at Mandoli prison complex.

After a brief hearing, the govt sought time to file a response to the public interest litigation (PIL) & the HC posted the matter for hearing on Sept 27.

The petition, filed by advocate Amit Sahni, argued that despite Delhi Prisons Act, 2000, mandating that there shall be a law officer in every prison, at present there is only 1 law officer for the 16 jails in the capital, who is stationed at the prison headquarters at Tihar.

It had also claimed that from Aug 2016 to Feb 2019, no law officer was appointed at the headquarters & the legal affairs were dealt with by an officer equivalent to the rank of a deputy superintendent.

Delhi High Court to continue hearing PIL against triple talaq law on Oct 18

The Delhi High Court on Monday said it will continue to hear on October 18 a plea challenging the new law criminalising the practice of instant triple talaq among Muslims.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar heard brief arguments by the petitioner and then listed the matter for further hearing on October 18. The court made it clear that it was not issuing a notice in the matter.

The plea challenging the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, was filed by a lawyer, Shahid Ali, early this month. It has contended that since triple talaq has been declared void, its practice cannot be construed as a criminal offence or even as a simple or a civil wrong.

Referring to the provisions of the law, which makes pronouncement of triple talaq a non-bailable offence punishable with three years imprisonment, the plea said it closes all possibilities for a compromise between a man and his wife.

The petitioner has alleged that the intentions of the central government are “mala fide and ultra vires” of the Constitution as well as the Supreme Court judgement which declared instant and irrevocable divorce pronounced by a Muslim husband void and illegal.

The petition has claimed that there could be a misuse of criminalisation of triple talaq as the legislation does not provide for a mechanism to ascertain the truthfulness of the allegations of such pronouncement.

It has also said that criminalising triple talaq violates the principles of natural justice and the fundamental rights of citizens.

Section 125 CrPC: Court can grant interim maintenance to the wife even without written application

Delhi High Court has held that there is no necessity for the wife to file an application for grant of interim maintenance when main petition under Section-125 CrPC is pending.

A bench of Justice Sachdeva has passed the order on 05.08.2019 in the case titled as Inder Singh vs Sumitra.

Trial court granted interim maintenance of Rs.10,000/- per month to the wife. Husband approached the High Court challenging the said order and taken several grounds including that there was no application for interim maintenance (earlier application having already been withdrawn).

High Court observed “Second proviso to sub section (1) to Section 125 Cr.P.C. stipulates grant of interim maintenance. Reading of second proviso does not in any manner indicate that making of an application seeking interim maintenance is a pre-condition for grant of interim maintenance”.

High Court further observed “If the second and third proviso to sub section (1) to Section 125 Cr.P.C are read keeping in view the very object of the statute, it shows that there is no requirement stipulated by the statute for making an application for grant of interim maintenance pending consideration of the petition under section 125 Cr.P.C. and the Court would be empowered to pass an order assessing interim maintenance even in a case where no such application has been filed by the person claiming maintenance. However, where such an application is made, the same would have to be disposed of by the Trial Court within the time stipulated therein”.

High Court also observed “If a narrower interpretation were to be given to the provision i.e. that an application is a pre-condition for grant of interim maintenance, the same would militate against the very object of the scheme of providing maintenance to a dependant, who is unable to maintain himself/herself, where the person who has sufficient means has refused or neglected to maintain the dependant”.

High Court then held “Keeping in view the beneficial object of the statute, it is held that the filing of an application seeking interim maintenance would not be a precondition for grant of interim maintenance pending consideration of the petition seeking maintenance under section 125 Cr.P.C.. It would be open to the trial court to grant interim maintenance, in the facts and circumstances of the case, pending consideration of the application for grant of maintenance under section 125 Cr.P.C”.

US woman upset over High Court granting bail to rape convict, releases video

The Delhi High Court has granted bail and suspended the seven years’ sentence awarded to a man for digitally raping an American woman who recently shot a video outside the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, alleging that she was denied assistance there.

The incident dates back to 2013, when Delhi resident Rajiv Panwar sexually assaulted the US national who was staying as a tenant in his house in South Delhi with her husband. She filed a complaint against him in June 2013 and Panwar was convicted of rape by a trial court here in February 2019. He was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.

When someone rapes a person using their finger or fingers it is termed as digital rape.

Panwar challenged the trial court’s verdict in the high court which, on July 5, granted him bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 25,000 and said as the disposal of the appeal may take some time, the substantive sentence of the appellant is suspended during the pendency of the plea.

Upset with the high court’s order, the woman shot a video in front of the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, complaining that the man who attacked her in India has been granted bail.

In the video, the woman said, “Last month I was notified that the man who viciously attacked me, who I had to fight to make sure he was convicted of his crime and he was sentenced in India, has been given bail on his appeal.”

She further gave details of the unfortunate incident of 2013 and added “you don’t give bail to convicted criminals that are sentenced”.

“I come here to the San Francisco consulate, where I need to have these forms notarised so that (Delhi) high court knows who my attorney is and I am on board, and I am again denied service and assistance from the consulate in India, now San Francisco they tell me now that I need to go and get it notarised locally then have to go to Sacramento and get the notary verified,” she said in the video.

Justice Chander Shekhar of the high court, while suspending the sentence, said the man has spent over five months in custody.

Advocate Karuna Nandy, representing the woman, submitted that Panwar should not be allowed to leave the National Capital Region (NCR) without the permission of the court and the appeal may be heard expeditiously.

The court said it finds force in the contention of the woman’s counsel and directed that the man shall not leave the NCR without its permission.

It also directed Panwar not to contact or get in touch with the complainant woman in any manner and if he does so, she or the prosecution may move an appropriate application for the passing of the appropriate and necessary orders in this regard.

An application was also filed on behalf of the woman that she be impleaded as a party in the appeal.

To this, the high court said the proceedings have been launched by the state government on the complaint of the woman who was not a party before the trial court.

It said the woman was not required to be impleaded as a party in the appeal but she has a right of audience and hearing and would be heard and granted permission to intervene and assist the prosecutor and this court within the legal parameters during the course of the hearing.

Delhi High Court directs Centre to process Pakistani national’s application for Indian citizenship

In relief to a Pakistani woman living here for over 30 years and married to an Indian, the Delhi High Court has directed the Centre to process her application for citizenship.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru also asked the Centre to extend her visa till her application is finalised, noting that the petitioner has been residing in India since she was six months old.

The high court also issued notice to the Centre on her plea.

According to the plea, the petitioner’s mother was a citizen of India. She married a Pakistani on February 28, 1986 and moved to that country. She was thereafter issued a Pakistani visa.

The petitioner, Mahvish Farooq, was born on August 3, 1988 in Lahore and her mother had certain matrimonial issues with her husband after which she, along with her daughter, moved back to India on February 2, 1989.

Farooq claimed her parents’ marriage was dissolved on August 31, 1991 and her mother was registered as an Indian citizen on July 21, 1997.

Farooq completed her education in India and in 2017, she married an Indian National.

“The petitioner was born in Pakistan and at the time of her birth, the petitioner had acquired the citizenship of Pakistan. Therefore, the petitioner applied for being registered as an Indian citizen under section 5 of the Citizenship Act, 1955,” the plea said.

Advocate Vikas Mahajan, central government’s standing counsel, assured the high court that the petitioner’s application for citizenship by registration would be considered in accordance with law.

The high court noted the submission and said: “The respondents are directed to process the petitioner’s application in accordance with law. Considering that the petitioner has been residing in India since she was six months old, the visa granted to the petitioner for staying in India shall be extended till such time her application is finally decided”.

Robert Vadra seeks more time in Delhi High Court to reply to ED’s plea against anticipatory bail

Robert Vadra Tuesday sought more time in the Delhi High Court to file his response to the Enforcement Directorate’s plea challenging his anticipatory bail in a money laundering case.

Justice Chander Shekhar granted two weeks’ time to Vadra, brother-in-law of Rahul Gandhi, to file his reply to the plea seeking cancellation of anticipatory bail and listed the matter for further hearing on September 26.

Vadra’s counsel said he was out of India when the court’s notice on the petition was served on him and he has returned on July 11.

Vadra is facing allegations of money laundering in the purchase of a London-based property at 12, Bryanston Square, worth 1.9 million pounds. The case is being probed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

PIL in Delhi High Court seeks SIT probe into attack on temple

A PIL was filed in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday seeking an SIT probe into the alleged conspiracy behind the attack on a temple in the walled city here.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) duly monitored by the court must investigate the attack on the Durga Temple and identify the real perpetrators of the crime, the petition said.

The petitioner, advocate Alakh Alok Shrivastava, also prayed for initiation of stringent action and formulation of suitable guidelines to avoid such attacks on other religious places of worships in future, considering the wider ramifications of such acts in disrupting communal harmony and peace in the society.

“The attack on a temple in the national capital has hurt the religious sentiments of crores of people across country…,” the plea claimed.

A fight over parking a scooter in old Delhi’s Chawri Bazaar area took a communal turn as the temple was vandalised leading to tension in the area Monday.