HC partly quashes law abolishing NRI quota in Guj

HC partly quashes law abolishing NRI quota in Guj
HC partly quashes law abolishing NRI quota in Guj

The Gujarat High Court today partly quashed a government ordinance abolishing all NRI quota in colleges offering medical courses in the state.

A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi held unconstitutional the government’s decision to cancel quota for “genuine” NRIs seeking admission in colleges in the state, while upholding its decision to abolish quota for “dependent” NRIs.

The court observed that there was “no reason to remove the NRI quota entirely” as this amounted to violation of Supreme Court order in the PA Inamdar case and was unconstitutional.

It said that as per the Supreme Court order in the PA Inamdar case, limited reservation not exceeding 15 per cent may be given to the NRIs, but only “genuine” and not “dependents or sponsors” of NRIs be given this reservation.

Partly allowing the petitions, the court said the wards of dependents of NRIs are also given admission under reservation, while the SC has only talked about reservation in the context of “genuine” NRIs.

“There is no reason to remove NRI quota, and hence the ordinance is set aside to the extent of removing genuine NRIs from the quota system. This, however, won’t apply to NRI dependents. Thus the writ application is partly allowed,” the court said.

The state government had earlier this year issued an ordinance, called the Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Colleges or Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fees) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016, whereby the entire quota for NRIs in medical colleges was abolished.

The high court also refused to stay its order for two weeks when the lawyer of one of the five petitioners, a consortium of self-finance dental colleges, requested the same so that his client could move the Supreme Court.

Five petitioners, including a consortium of self-financed dental colleges and four NRI admission seekers, had challenged the constitutional validity of the Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Colleges or Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fees) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016. .

(Source : PTI)

Dalit flogging case: Guj HC seeks probe report

Dalit flogging case: Guj HC seeks probe report
Dalit flogging case: Guj HC seeks probe report

The Gujarat High Court today asked the state government to file a report on progress of the investigation into the incident in Una tehsil last month where some Dalit youths were flogged after being caught skinning a cow.

A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Kantibhai Chavda, seeking transfer of the case to CBI. At present, the state CID is probing it.

The court asked the Government Pleader to file a probe progress report by September 7.

“CID Crime has not proved to be effective in any (Dalit) atrocity case in the state in the past,” Chavda’s petition has alleged.

According to him, in several cases of atrocities against Dalits, police personnel are involved. He has referred to killing of three Dalit youths, allegedly by the police, at Thangadh in Surendranagar district in 2012.

CID closed the case, saying that it found no evidence, and Una case might meet the same fate, the PIL has said.

On July 11, seven Dalit youths were brutally beaten up by a cow vigilante group at Mota Samadhiyala village in Una tehsil of Gir Somnath district. The assailants had alleged that the youths had killed the cow which they were skinning.

The video of the incident went viral, sparking nation-wide protests.

HC notice to Guj on PIL on disposal of cow carcass

HC notice to Guj on PIL on disposal of cow carcass
HC notice to Guj on PIL on disposal of cow carcass

The Gujarat High Court today issued notice to the state on a PIL seeking direction to the government to ensure systemic disposal of cow carcasses and pro-active action against ‘gau rakshaks’ to avoid incidents like the thrashing of Dalits at Una.

A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi issued notice to the state government, additional chief secretary of Home department, and principal secretary of the panchayats, rural housing and rural development department.

The matter will now come up for hearing on September 8.

The PIL, filed by Ratna Vora, head of NGO Ambedkar Karwan that works for the Dalits and other depressed sections of the society, claimed in her petition that no circular or guideline has been issued by the state government to village panchayats to ensure systemic disposal of dead animals under relevant sections of Gujarat Panchayats Act-1993.

Vora also sought immediate action from the state Home department to stop “unlawful activities done by hooligans in the name of gau raksha”.

The PIL comes in the backdrop of an incident involving ‘gau rakshaks’ or cow vigilantes thrashing four Dalits from Mota Samadhiyala village of Una taluka in Gir Somnath district for skinning a dead cow last month.

The video of the incident caused widespread protests by Dalit groups and several leaders like Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and AAP Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the village to meet the victims.

“The Gujarat Animal Preservation Act, 1954, amended hurriedly in 2011 provides protection to the cows that they can never be slaughtered, but failed to provide any direction to the administration as to what should be done to the dead cows,” the PIL states.

“As per section 99 of the Gujarat Panchayats Act, 1993, such Panchayat is duty bound to make provisions for the matters specified in schedule 1 wherein clause 1(g) deals regarding the systematic disposal of carcasses,” it states.

However, it said, “the panchayat, rural housing and rural development department has not directed the village panchayats to implement the law.”

The PIL states that Dalits are becoming “easy prey at the hands of Hindutva organisations”, and hence sought a court direction to the state Home department to immediately issue circulars to all the police departments and officers to take pro-active action against any activities of the hooligans under the pretext of “gau raksha”.

“In 2011, government amended the Gujarat Animal Preservation Act-1954, for protection of an animal (cow) but failed to make any protection to Dalit and Muslim community who are traditionally engaged in meat profession,” it further states.

(Source : PTI)

Guj HC reserves order on 10 pc EWS reservation

Guj HC reserves order on 10 pc EWS reservation
Guj HC reserves order on 10 pc EWS reservation

The Gujarat High Court today reserved its order on four petitions challenging the state government’s ordinance providing 10 per cent reservation to members of the economically weaker sections from unreserved category.

The order was reserved by a division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi after concluding the hearing.

Petitioners Dayaram Verma, Ravjibhai Manani, Dulari Basarge and Gujarat Parents’ Association had separately challenged the May 1 ordinance announcing reservation of ten per cent seats to candidates belonging to the unreserved category with family income cap of Rs 6 lakh annually in government jobs and educational institutions.

Their petitions were heard together after the court clubbed them.

The petitioners submitted that the reservation violates the Supreme Court’s order providing 50 per cent ceiling for reservation as per the Indra Sawhney vs Union of India case.

They said that additional 10 per cent reservation further reduced the number of seats in educational institutions for candidates from unreserved category with annual family income of more than Rs 6 lakh.

They said the provision violates the Constitution as Article 46, which is about the directive principles of state policy, does not allow quota beyond the 50 per cent cap.

The government pleader contended that the reservation is actually “a further classification in the general, open, unreserved category” and does not violate either the Supreme Court order or constitutional provisions.

The state government, in its affidavit before the HC, said the ordinance does not violate provisions of the Constitution nor does it go against the Supreme Court orders.

“The ordinance should be read with Article 46 of the Constitution (which states that social justice is required for weaker sections of the society) and not with reference to Backward Class quota,” the affidavit said.

On May 1, the state government had issued the ordinance providing 10 per cent reservation to persons from EWS from unreserved category other than the SC, ST and SEBC for admissions in the educational institutions and government jobs.

The reservation is applicable to persons with annual family income cap of Rs 6 lakh.

(Source : PTI)

Hardik court undertaking to maintain law and order

Hardik court undertaking to maintain law and order
Hardik court undertaking to maintain law and order

Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel, who walked out on bail after being confined for nine months, today filed an undertaking before a local court saying he will not indulge in any activity which will disturb law and order.

He, however, made it clear that his reservation stir will continue “in a peaceful and democratic manner.”

Hardik, who filed the undertaking through his lawyer, Rafiq Lokhandwala before the court of Sessions Judge S H Oza, said he will stay at Udaipur–out of Gujarat for a period of six months–as per the condition imposed by Gujarat High Court.

The High Court, while granting him regular bail in two sedition cases last week, had asked him to file a fresh undertaking on the lines of what was submitted by him during the hearing of the bail.

The court had ordered him to file the undertaking within two days of his release. It had also ordered him to add in the undertaking the condition that he will stay out of Gujarat for a period of six months and also declare the address of the place where he will stay.

“The accused shall continue the agitation for reservation on behalf of the Patidar community in a peaceful and democratic manner and shall not indulge in any acts or activities instigating the public at large in any manner whatsoever and shall also maintain public peace,” he said in the undertaking.

He also said that he will “keep himself outside the territorial limits of the state of Gujarat for a period of six months.”

“The accused shall not do or indulge in any acts or activities disturbing the law and order across the state,” he said.

The 22-year-old quota spearhead yesterday walked out of Lajpore jail. He was granted bail last week by the High Court in two sedition cases and a case of loot and damage to properties at the BJP MLA office at Visnagar, paving the way for his release.

He was accused of inciting violence to put pressure on the government to accept the demand for granting reservation to Patels under the OBC category.

Hardik’s mega rally on reservation held in Ahmedabad on August 25 last year had sparked violence killing 10 people including a policeman besides causing damage to public properties and vehicles across Gujarat.

( Source – PTI )

Hardik gets bail in Visnagar case, set to be released

Hardik gets bail in Visnagar case, set to be released
Hardik gets bail in Visnagar case, set to be released

The Gujarat High Court today granted bail to Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel in a case related to violence at the office of Visnagar MLA, paving the way for his release after being in jail for around nine months.

On Friday, the high court had granted bail to Hardik in two sedition cases with a condition that he will have to stay outside Gujarat for the next six months.

He could not be released from jail on Friday as hearing on the Visnagar case bail application was scheduled to take place today.

Justice P P Bhatt today granted bail to Hardik after the state government did not oppose his application and he will now be able to walk out of jail.

However, the court has imposed a restriction that Hardik cannot enter Mehsana district, in which Visnagar town is located, till the trial of this case is over. The court also added that Hardik can seek modification to this condition after nine months and the court at that time can pass an appropriate order based on his conduct.

The 22-year-old Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader, who had spearheaded agitation for seeking quota for his Patidar community, is now lodged at Surat’s Lajpore jail.

He was arrested in October 2015.

Hardik was accused of inciting violence to put pressure on the government to accept the demand of OBC reservation for Patels.

Hardik’s mega rally on reservation held in Ahmedabad on August 25 last year had sparked violence, in which, ten people, including one policeman, were killed and public properties and vehicles worth crores of rupees were damaged across Gujarat.

During the hearing today, government pleader Mitesh Amin told the court that as 17 other accused in this case have secured bail, he has nothing to say against Hardik’s bail application. However, he demanded that Hardik should be barred from entering Mehsana district.

The case against Hardik and 17 others was filed by Visnagar town police for ransacking the office of Visnagar MLA Rishikesh Patel during one of the Patidar community’s reservation rallies. The lower court had refused bail to him, after which Hardik had approached the high court.

( Source – PTI )

Gujarat HC grants bail to Hardik in two sedition cases

Gujarat HC grants bail to Hardik in two sedition cases
Gujarat HC grants bail to Hardik in two sedition cases

Gujarat High Court Friday granted a conditional bail to Patidar leader Hardik Patel. The high court asked him to remain outside Gujarat for at least six months. He will, however, continue to remain in jail because of another case against him, says Patel’s lawyer Zubin Bharda.

Patel, who heads the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), was slapped with sedition charges for alleged destruction of public property and purportedly instigating crowd violence during the Patidar agitation last year. Patidars have been demanding reservation under the OBC quota for their community in Gujarat.

In 2015, the agitation turned violent with mobs torching state transport buses and blocking roads in several cities.

( Source – PTI )

Gujarat HC stays order to give info on PM Modi’s degree to Kejriwal

Gujarat HC stays order to give info on PM Modi's degree to Kejriwal
Gujarat HC stays order to give info on PM Modi’s degree to Kejriwal

The Gujarat High Court today stayed the Central Information Commission’s order asking the Gujarat University to provide information on the degree earned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

A division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi accepted the varsity’s demand for stay.

It also issued notices to Central Information Commissioner M Sridhar Acharyulu, the union government and Kejriwal seeking their responses and posted further hearing to September 6.

The university had approached a single judge bench of the High Court last week seeking to quash the CIC order. However, justice S H Vora only issued notices to the three respondents but did not stay the CIC order.

The University then moved the division bench.

Senior counsel Tushar Mehta, representing the GU, today argued before the division bench that the varsity was not a party to proceedings before the Information Commission and no hearing was given to it before passing the order, in violation of principles of natural justice.

On April 29, CIC directed Delhi University and Gujarat University to provide information on degrees earned by Modi to the AAP leader.

CIC’s order came a day after Kejriwal wrote to Acharyulu saying he does not object to government records about him being made public and wondered why the Commission wanted to “hide” information on Modi’s educational qualification.

AAP had questioned Modi’s BA and MA degrees, alleging discrepancies in certificates. In response, BJP president Amit Shah and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had released copies of the Prime Minister’s degrees.

( Source – PTI )

Income-based quota against the spirit of the Constitution: Gujarat HC

Income-based quota against the spirit of the Constitution: Gujarat HC
Income-based quota against the spirit of the Constitution: Gujarat HC

Petitioners challenging Gujarat government’s ordinance granting 10 per cent reservation to economically weaker sections (EWS) for unreserved category today told the High Court that such income-based quota is against the spirit of Constitution as it would divide the society.

In their reply submitted before a division bench of Chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi, the petitioners refused to accept the government’s claim that ten per cent EWS quota is just a classification and not a reservation.

In the reply, the petitioners said that the ordinance would lead to classification among socially and educationally advanced classes.

“The classification has divided the socially and educationally advanced classes into two classes on the basis of income criterion, which is against the spirit of the Constitution,” it said.

It further said that the government has not applied its mind in devising the ordinance and making it applicable in technical faculty, such as engineering, as a large number of seats remain vacant every year in Gujarat.

“The question of providing reservation does not arise if there are lesser number of candidates than the seats available. The reservation is needed when there are competing claims and lesser number of seats available,” it said.

It is further submitted that “granting benefit of reservation on the basis of income, merit is sacrificed at the cost of public interest. It overlooks the interest and rights conferred by the Constitution under Articles 14,15 and 16” stated the reply.

Challenging the government’s claim that 10 per cent EWS quota is just a classification and not reservation, the petitioners said that “it is erroneous to suggest that there is no reservation…It is a reservation for them as indicated in the ordinance”.

( Source – PTI )

Gujarat HC convicts 7 for murder in post-Godhra riots

Gujarat HC convicts 7 for murder in post-Godhra riots
Gujarat HC convicts 7 for murder in post-Godhra riots

Overturning a trial court judgement, the Gujarat High Court has convicted seven persons for murder in a 2002 post-Godhra riots case in Viramgam town in the district.

The court has asked the seven who have been convicted for murder to appear before it on July 25, when it will pronounce the quantum of sentence to them.

There were total 10 accused in the Viramgam town riot case, out of which the trial court had in 2011 convicted two for murder, four of lesser offences while four others were acquitted.

The High Court also upheld the trial court order convicting two on charges of murder and acquitted another accused Devabhai Samatbhai Bharwad.

With this ruling, a division bench of Justice Harsh Devani and Justice Biren Vaishnav, in a judgement on Monday, has convicted a total of nine persons for murder and acquitted one in the riot case where three people were killed in Viramgam.

The court will pass order on their quantum of sentence on July 25.

The seven who were found guilty of murder by the High court are: Satabhai alias Haider Gela Bharwad, Naranbhai Samantbhai Bharwad, Udaji Ranchhodbhai Thakor, Valabhai Gelabhai Bharwad, Viththal alias Kuchiyo Moti Bharwad, Mulabhai Gelabhai Bharwad and Merabhai Gelabhai Bharwad.

They were convicted for offences under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons), 325 and 326 (causing grevious hurt) of the IPC.

The case dates back to February 28, 2002, a day after Sabarmati Express train was burnt in Godhra killing 59 kar sevaks, triggering state-wide riots.

A mob of around 40 people had attacked a Muslim locality in Viramgam armed with sharp weapons and tried to demolish a dargah. When Muslim residents tried to prevent them from doing so, they were attacked, leading to the death of three persons.

Dostmmohammad Bhatti, an eyewitness, had sought further investigation in the matter from the High Court before conviction, which in 2010 had directed the then Ahmedabad SP (rural) Sandeep Singh to re-investigate the case.

( Source – PTI )