No ‘band, baaja, baraat’ to be allowed on roads: Government to Supreme Court

The customary horse-drawn carriage carrying the groom & the accompanying family members & relatives dancing to the tune of musical band in a procession leading up to the wedding venue will no longer be allowed on the roads under a policy framed by Delhi government for holding social functions at farmhouses & hotels.

As per the policy, which has been filed in Supreme Court, marriage processions will not be permitted on the roads outside the hotels or venues. It says such processions would be allowed only inside the premises & also no parking shall be permitted outside the authorised space or on roads. It makes it mandatory for such premises to have CCTV cameras at entry-exit gates.

The policy puts restrictions on the number of guests & guidelines to check wastage of food & water. It says the organiser will have to take necessary permission from Food Safety & Standards Authority of India to run their kitchen & have to get registered with an NGO to manage surplus food to be distributed among the poor.

“To ensure safe & hygienic food at social functions, it is the responsibility of those responsible at the social function site to provide complete information about name of the organiser, date & time of the function in advance to the department of food safety of Delhi government,” the draft policy said.

The policy said the operator of the premises would be slapped a fine of Rs 5 lakh in case of violation & the amount would increase to Rs 10 lakh & Rs 15 lakh in case of second & third offence. If the social function is held at unauthorised venues, the premises will be sealed & a penalty of Rs 15 lakh would be slapped. The government framed the policy after SC expressed concern over misuse of farmhouses & motels for marriage ceremonies & parties.

Specify Stand on Honour Killings, High Court tells Government

A division bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan & Justice Shameem Akhter issued notices to the government & various authorities on a public interest litigation (PIL) that sought constitution of a special investigation team to prevent honour killing. The investigation team was to also look into honour killings across the state.

The division bench was dealing with a public interest writ petition filed by V Sambasivarao, social activist & coordinator of Telangana State Bahujan Resistance Forum. The petitioner sought directions for a special Act to be enforced for justice in honour killings.

The petitioner Sambasivarao specifically brought to the notice of the court the case of Macherla Sushruta & her four-month-old old daughter, who were killed by her husband’s family. The petitioner further sought the direction of court to constitute a special investigation team to study 36 honour killings that took place in Telangana.

The state government requested time from the court to file counter in the matter. Conceding to the request of government, the bench adjourned the matter by two weeks.

Of late, Telangana has been vying with other infamous states in surpassing the dubious distinction of registering more number of honour killings. The killings are happening in a more brazen manner & in broad daylight. Civil society activists have been seeking the intervention of the courts as well as the state government to sensitise people about the ill effects of such killings. They have also been decrying the insensitive attitude of the law enforcing machinery that is failing in preventing the killings despite complaints in advance.

The petitioner specifically brought to the notice of the court the case of Macherla Sushruta & her four-month-old old daughter, who were killed by her husband’s family.

Observer appointed to hold JFI election: Govt to Delhi HC

Observer appointed to hold JFI election: Govt to Delhi HC
Observer appointed to hold JFI election: Govt to Delhi HC

The government today informed the Delhi High Court that it has appointed an observer to hold the elections to the Judo Federation of India (JFI).

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar appointed a returning officer for the poll.

It asked the returning officer to scrutinise the electoral process and look into whether the persons contesting the election were eligible for the post in the federation.

The bench said no one will be allowed to participate in the election or cast a vote in violation of the Act.

It listed the matter for further hearing on February 26, when the court will be informed about the outcome of the poll for the judo body.

The court was hearing a plea by Arjuna Awardee judoka Yashpal Solanki, seeking appointment of an impartial observer for the elections to the JFI.

The plea had highlighted the issue of alleged racketeers indulging in supplying bogus participation certificates to disqualified judokas (Judo players).

Solanki, who is also a senior intelligence officer in the Punjab Police, stated in the PIL that fake sports certificate racket has been running since 2001.

These certificates are used for back-door admissions to medical colleges and appointment in government services, he has alleged.

With regard to the elections to the JFI, the petition states that “either a government appointed or court appointed administrator can hold free and fair organisational elections of the JFI as election under the influence of respondent no.5 (President Mukesh Kumar) can never be free and fair.”

However, counsel for Kumar informed the court that he was not contesting the election or will interfere with the poll in any manner.

The PIL, filed through advocate Pathak Rakesh Kaushik, has alleged that Mukesh Kumar was indulging in “fraud practices in the election affairs.”

It has also claimed that voters from Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura State Judo Associations were “dishonestly excluded” from the electoral college, while those from Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Reserve Police, All India Police Sports Control Board and Services Sports Control Board were unlawfully included.

( Source – PTI )

Delhi HC notice to govt, ED on meat exporter Qureshi’s arrest

Delhi HC notice to govt, ED on meat exporter Qureshi's arrest
Delhi HC notice to govt, ED on meat exporter Qureshi’s arrest

The Delhi High Court today sought response of the government and the Enforcement Directorate on businessman Moin Akhtar Qureshi’s plea challenging his arrest in a money laundering case.

A bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Nazmi Waziri issued notice to the government and the ED, asking them to file the reply within five days.

The controversial meat exporter, Qureshi, was arrested on August 25 and sent to five-day custody of the ED by a trial court the next day for thorough investigation in the case against him and others.

During the hearing, advocate R K Handoo, appearing for Qureshi, contended that he has been illegally detained by the ED. He claimed Qureshi had been directly arrested when he was called for questioning and was not informed about the grounds of arrest.

Central government standing counsel Anil Soni, who also appeared for ED, said that there was due compliance of Constitution mandate regarding informing a person about his arrest.

The bench, however, said a person cannot be taken into custody without telling him the grounds and giving him an effective legal aid.

“Information is not just to make a person read the grounds of arrest. You have to give him a copy of it,” the bench said and asked the Centre and ED to show the official records pertaining to the arrest on the next date of hearing on September 13.

The agency had told the trial court that “the witnesses have confirmed in their statements that they have delivered crores of rupees for Qureshi and his associates through his employees and one of the witnesses has stated that nearly Rs 1.75 crore have been exported by the accused from him and his friend in lieu of the help provided to him in a CBI case.”

It had also alleged that Qureshi was involved in hawala transactions through Delhi hawala operators Parvez Ali of Turkman Gate and M/s South Delhi Money Changer (DAMINI) in Greater Kailash-1, owned by one D S Anand.

According to the agency, Qureshi was arrested late night on August 25 here under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after “he was not cooperating in the probe”.

( Source – PTI )

Ready to talk to recognised pol parties in Kashmir: Govt to SC

Ready to talk to recognised pol parties in Kashmir: Govt to SC
Ready to talk to recognised pol parties in Kashmir: Govt to SC

Government today told the Supreme Court it was ready to talk to recognised political parties in Jammu and Kashmir to resolve the crisis there but not with the separatists.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi made it clear that the government would come to the negotiating table only if the recognised parties participate in the dialogue and not the separatist elements.

He made the submissions before a bench, comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul, while rubbishing the claim of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association that the Centre was not coming forward for discussion and dialogue to resolve the crisis.

Rohatgi said recently the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of the state held a meeting to discuss the situation.

The bench asked the Association to come with suggestions to resolve the crisis, including stone-pelting and violent agitation on the streets of the Kashmir Valley.

The apex court made it clear to the bar body that it would have to come out with suggestions after talking to all stakeholders and cannot shy away by saying that they do not represent everybody in Kashmir.

It said there was need for a positive start and the bar body could play an important role by coming out with a gameplan and a roadmap for restoring normalcy in the Valley.

The bench also made it clear to the Centre that the court would involve itself in the matter only if there was a view that it can play a role and there was no jurisdictional issue.

“If you feel the court has no role and if you feel we have no jurisdiction, we will close the file at this moment,” the bench told the AG who, at the fag end of the hearing, objected to some of the suggestions made by the bar body including that the separatists were being ignored.

The bench also said both the parties have to take a joint step but the first step has to come from the lawyers’ body which has approached the apex court.

It also said it was aware that the situation in Kashmir Valley was not very palatable, while posting the matter for further hearing on May 9.

The apex court was hearing hearing an appeal filed by Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association against the High Court order seeking stay on the use of pellet guns as a large number of people had been killed or injured due to their use.

During the last hearing on April 10, the Centre had told the Supreme Court it was exploring a crowd control option that is akin to rubber bullets but not as lethal as pellet guns that are being used currently as a last resort to quell violence in the Valley.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court had on September 22 rejected the plea seeking a ban on use of pellet guns on the ground that the Centre had already constituted a Committee of Experts through its memorandum of July 26, 2016 for exploring alternatives to pellet guns.

( Source – PTI )

Govt opposes PIL on LS poll losers getting into RS

Govt opposes PIL on LS poll losers getting into RS
Govt opposes PIL on LS poll losers getting into RS

The government today opposed the maintainability of a PIL in the Delhi High Court seeking to restrain candidates defeated in a Lok Sabha election from contesting the Rajya Sabha polls.

“Such kind of petitions are not maintainable. There are Supreme Court order also in this regard,” the government told a bench of justices G S Sistani and Vinod Goel.

The bench also raised a question on the locus of the petitioner, who contgended that candidates defeated in Lok Sabha polls should not be nominated to the Upper House.

It asked the petitioner, Satya Narayan Prasad, “do you know anyone who has been made Member of Parliament of Rajya Sabha after losing a Lok Sabha election? Even they (MPs) have not been made party in your writ petition.”

The court, however, listed the matter for further hearing on April 10.

The petitioner, who claims to be a social activist, has moved the court saying that India being a democracy and the people being supreme, “it is a misfortune that politicians who are defeated in the general elections are nominated to the Upper House”.

Seeking a direction to the Ministry of Law and Justice and the Election Commission of India, the petitioner has said “any candidate who contested Lok Sabha election and has been defeated, he be declared disqualified for being an MP. Such candidates cannot be nominated or allowed to contest in Rajya Sabha election”.

Pleading for special rules to bar leaders who have lost Lok Sabha polls from contesting in Rajya Sabha election, the petitioner said action should be taken against those concerned who have “wrongly nominated such disqualified candidates for membership in Parliament”.

While candidates are elected to Lok Sabha directly by the people, members of Rajya Sabha are elected by the elected members of state assemblies in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote.

( Source – PTI )

Govt must declare computer systems as ‘protected’: Expert

Govt must declare computer systems as 'protected': Expert
Govt must declare computer systems as ‘protected’: Expert

The government must declare all computer systems as protected or at least bring them under the purview of ‘protected system’ so as to ensure stringent punishment to hackers, advocate and cyber law expert Pavan Duggal said today.

“On a normal day in India, more than 10,000 cyber attacks take place and most of them go unreported. The protected systems have the immunity of the law that if they are hacked, the punishment is ten-year jail term.

“All the systems must be declared protected,” Duggal said at a seminar on Cyberlaw and Cyber security challenges for companies in the post-demonetisation era.

Protected systems are mentioned in section 70 of the Information Technology Act 2000 under which the government can declare any computer resource which directly or indirectly affects the facility of Critical Information Structure, to be a protected system.

Duggal warned the stakeholders and corporates to be more careful in the post-demonetisation era as India was moving towards a cashless economy.

“After demonetisation, the volume of online transactions has gone up. Companies must comply with Indian legislation, i.e. the IT Act or else they will face trouble,” he added.

“Non-compliance with norms exposes companies to legal issues, both civil and criminal. These unpleasant consequences could be avoided by ensuring compliances with these evolving norms,” Duggal said.

The conference ended with recommendations, including that while cyberlaw as a discipline was integral to today’s corporate operations, stakeholders need to understand the nuances of cyber legal frameworks, the knowledge of which is currently very limited.

( Source – PTI )

No ads to get volunteer for kidney transplant: Govt

No ads to get volunteer for kidney transplant: Govt
No ads to get volunteer for kidney transplant: Govt

The government today told the Delhi High Court that a person who has no family donor cannot be permitted to issue an advertisement to get a volunteer for a kidney transplant.

“Advertisements cannot be permitted,” the Health Ministry told Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva who had sought the views of the government on various aspects of kidney transplantation raised by a patient.

The issue was raised by the patient who had said that in cases of celebrities, media attention made it easy for them to get volunteer donors, but common citizens do not have a right to avail the benefit of advertisements.

Central government standing counsel Rajesh Gogna, who appeared for the ministry, submitted that the petitioner could register his name with the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO) so that his case could be taken up in the ‘most urgent’ category. The court had sought NOTTO’s response as the patient had prayed for its scrapping.

NOTTO, is the apex centre for registry, procurement and distribution of organs and tissues and maintains a record of donations and transplantations.

The patient, Vinod Kumar Anand, who had narrated his ordeal of 15 years, said he should be permitted to advertise as due to some religious obligation he cannot take kidney from NOTTO.

This prompted the judge to ask the patient, “do you have time to dictate terms? Why don’t you register yourself so that you get the treatment on time,” the judge said and asked him to “pray to god who will come and rescue him”.

“This court will not go into religious beliefs. God has not made religion, we have,” the judge said.

The ministry said for allowing patients to advertise for donors an amendement, has to be made in law. The court fixed the matter for March 30.

The patient, who is also a lawyer, lost both his kidneys due to renal problems. In 2013, his wife donated one kidney to him, but some months later he suffered acute graft dysfunction and cellular rejection which caused urinary tract infection.

According to the plea, Anand suffered acute graft dysfunction several times and finally in January 2016 the kidney which was donated also became non-functional and he had to depend on hemodialysis thrice a week for survival.

He has claimed that his efforts to find a volunteer donor did not yield result and sought directions to the government to amend the Transplant of Human Organs and Tissues Act 1994 to allow advertisements to find volunteer donors.

( Source – PTI )

SC asks states to respond on speed governors in govt vehicles

SC asks states to respond on speed governors in govt vehicles
SC asks states to respond on speed governors in govt vehicles

The Supreme Court today chastised several states for not filing their responses on a PIL seeking installation of speed governors in public transport vehicles.

A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud also asked the transport secretaries of states like Delhi and Bihar to appear in person with relevant records on the next date of hearing of the PIL.

The bench said the states, which have been served with the notice, were not filing their responses on the matter.

States like Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Tripura, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh have not filed their replies.

The bench was hearing the PIL filed by NGO Suraksha Foundation on the issue of installation of speed governors in public transport vehicles.

( Source – PTI )

Govts have least concern for citizens health: NGT

Govts have least concern for citizens health: NGT
Govts have least concern for citizens health: NGT

“Governments elected by people have the least concern for the health of its citizens”, the National Green Tribunal today said as it passed a slew of directions including setting up of centralised and state level monitoring committees to prepare action plans to combat pollution in a bid to tackle environment emergencies.

Asking Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan to consider banning 10-year-old diesel vehicles from plying on the roads, the green panel said “the time has come when all concerned authorities must show concern to improve the ambient air quality in their states.”

The NGT directed that every state committee should, in their first meeting, notify one district where land use of agriculture is high and make it a model district for implementing orders to stop stubble burning.

“The basic fundamental question which arises for consideration is whether state governments and especially the Delhi government can provide scientific justification as to why the people of the national capital should be exposed to such severe pollution. The governments which have been elected by people have least concern for the health of their citizens,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

Terming as “severe” levels of pollution when PM 10 and PM 2.5 are above 431 and 251 micrograms per cubic metre respectively in the ambient air, it said when air pollution takes such alarming proportions, immediate steps are needed to be taken as environmental emergency.

In such situations, helicopters should be used to sprinkle water in the Delhi-NCR region, especially in those areas where pollution levels are in excess of the prescribed standard limits, the bench said.

Coming down heavily on states for not taking action against farmers burning farm residues, NGT asked them, particularly Punjab, to consider withdrawal of incentive including grant of free power to farmers burning crops.

“In such emergency, states shall immediately provide happy seeders or other such machines in agriculture fields for removal of agriculture residue and incentives should be provided to farmers to sell their paddy straw to biomass plants, industries and board making unit.

“All construction and demolition activities and transportation of construction material should be halted temporarily and stone crushers should be directed to shut down,” it said.

( Source – PTI )