Lodge inter-faith couple in safehouse, HC tells Authorities

On Friday, the Punjab & Haryana High Court ordered Haryana Govt. authorities to lodge an inter-faith couple at a safehouse in Panchkula after the woman alleged that Hindu groups were threatening her & her husband.

The 19-year-old woman was on Friday brought before a single bench of Justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa after the court directed police to do so.

The woman said her DoB is Aug 19, 1999, when asked by the court. This was confirmed by her father and Police, who was in court.

She had married her Muslim friend out of her “own will & accord & wishes to reside with him,” the woman said.

She added, her parents opposed the marriage.

After being in a relationship for the past two years they married earlier this month, her petition said.

The woman said she fears for the life & liberty of her & her husband.

Directing the Govt. to file a response before September 19, the court directed that the couple be kept at a protection home in Panchkula. The woman’s counsel had sought a safe accommodation for the couple, stating that Hindu groups had created tension in Mewat’s Ferozepur Jhirka area where they lived.

Remove bunds blocking flow of water into Yamuna: Delhi HC to Haryana

The Delhi High Court Tuesday asked Haryana to remove the bunds that, according to the Delhi government, were blocking flow of clean water into the Yamuna and was leading to an increase in pollution levels in the national capital’s water supply.

The direction by a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao came after the Haryana government stated in an affidavit that it will remove the bunds.

In its affidavit, the Manohar Lal Khattar government has said the bunds were put up in DD-8 canal to ensure that pollution from it does not flow into the Yamuna.

It also denied the Delhi government’s allegations in its recent application, that due to the bunds the water supply of the national capital was getting more polluted.

Haryana in its reply to the application has said that of the 1,000 million gallons per day (MGD) water requirement of the national capital, 500 MGD good quality raw water is supplied by it through canals and 440 MGD is sourced from the Ganga and tubewells.

Only the remaining 60 MGD water which is sourced directly from the Yamuna would contain high levels of ammonia, it has said and added that Delhi was the largest contributor to pollution in the Yamuna.

The Delhi Jal Board (DJB), represented by senior advocate Dayan Krishnan and advocate Sumeet Pushkarna, told the bench that they need to go through the affidavit and sought time to respond to it.

The court, thereafter, gave the DJB time till March 13 to respond to the claims made by Haryana in its affidavit.

Haryana, in its affidavit filed by the principal secretary of its water department, has claimed that the raw water supply from it to Delhi never gets affected or reduced even in the lean season.

It has also said that Delhi should take urgent steps to reduce its losses which are alleged to be 10 per cent during treatment and 30 per cent after that, as residents of Haryana suffer from dearth of water to ensure the national capital does not.

Haryana has contended that some losses during treatment are inevitable, “but losses to the extent as projected by DJB are unpardonable and can even be termed as criminal wastage of precious raw water.”

It has further said that “any deficiency in water supply to the citizens of Delhi is because of mismanagment and inaction on the part of the DJB”.

It has also said that at Agra in Uttar Pradesh, which is downstream of Delhi, the Yamuna water received is of much worse quality and therefore, that state has installed a water treatment plant (WTP) of much higher capacity.

Haryana has stated that the DJB should also consider setting up a WTP of higher capacity.

It has contended that the application filed by the DJB was not maintainable and was liable to be dismissed as Delhi was receiving more than its requirement of water from Haryana and the surplus can be used to dilute the ammonia levels in the Wazirabad reservoir.

The DJB, in its plea, had claimed that if urgent steps are not taken to remove the bunds it would adversely affect the water supply to central Delhi, including the Lutyens zone.

It had claimed that the DD-8 channel which supplies additional water to Yamuna to dilute its pollution levels has been blocked by Haryana and therefore, the water being received at Wazirabad was unusable for treatment as it had high levels of ammonia.

The application had said that water treated at Wazirabad is supplied to Central Delhi where all the major government offices, bungalows and the Supreme Court and the High Court are located.

It also sought directions to Haryana to control the pollutants that it was discharging into the Yamuna.

The DD-8 channel carries clean water from the Delhi Sub Branch Canal (DSBC) and the Munak canal into the Yamuna to ensure the reservoir at Wazirabad is always kept full, the application had said.

The application was moved by the DJB in a PIL by a lawyer, S B Tripathi, seeking sufficient water supply for the national capital.

The high court had earlier asked the Haryana government to ensure that it releases the entire quantity of water required as per the undertaking given by it to the court.

Haryana has to release 719 cusecs of water per day into Munak canal and 330 cusecs per day in DSBC, according to the undertaking and earlier court orders.

Supreme Court summons chief secretaries of Delhi, Haryana: Yamuna water

The Supreme Court today directed the chief secretaries of Haryana and Delhi to appear before it on Monday after the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) said it was not receiving enough water to supply to the national capital.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur took a strong note of the apathy shown by authorities in dealing with the water woes of the residents of the national capital.

“People are dying. But no urgency is being shown by you people,” the court said, directing senior officials of the two state governments to appear before it in person on April 23.

The Delhi government had informed the apex court it was in talks with Haryana for the release of 450 cusec of water of the Yamuna river daily for the national capital.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by the DJB alleging that Haryana had reduced by one-third the supply of Yamuna water to the national capital, leading to a grave water crisis.

The DJB has contended in its plea that Haryana was supplying Delhi only 330 cusec of water daily as against 450 cusec per day, which was agreed upon between the state and the Union Territory.

It has claimed that while the population of Delhi has increased phenomenally over the years, there has not been a commensurate rise in the water supply.

The DJB has said that due to the present curtailment in water supply to the Wazirabad reservoir, the plant is running at reduced capacity leading to “grave water crisis” in the city.

It had said the situation would “escalate” with the onset of summer and as the demand for drinking water shoots up.

It has sought directions from the supreme court to the Haryana government to supply the full 450 cusec of water per day continuously and daily to the Wazirabad reservoir.

The Delhi High Court had recently told the Haryana government it has to stick to its 2014 direction specifying the amount of water to be released to Delhi every day.

Barala’s bail plea deferred till Jan 11

Barala's bail plea deferred till Jan 11
Barala’s bail plea deferred till Jan 11

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today deferred to January 11 its hearing on the bail plea of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala’s son Vikas Barala, who had been booked for stalking and attempting to abduct a woman.

The single bench of Justice Lisa Gill also directed the cellular operator to provide to the trial court, on January 4, the call details between the complainant, 29-year-old Varnika Kundu and her IAS father VS Kundu, as sought by Barala’s counsel.

The high court also directed the trial court to complete the cross-examination of Varnika Kundu before January 11 when the bail plea will be considered, said Barala’s counsel Vinod Ghai.

Barala’s counsel had sought a regular bail from the court, submitting his client has been behind the bars for nearly four months and should be granted bail.

Barala had moved the high court last month after a local court denied him bail for the fourth time.

Charges have been framed against Vikas Barala and his friend Ashish Kumar in connection with the stalking of Varnika Kundu.

The woman had accused Vikas Barala (23) and his friend Kumar (27) of stalking and attempting to abduct her.

The two men were arrested on the intervening night of August 4-5 following the woman’s complaint, but were released on bail as they were booked under bailable sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Motor Vehicles Act.

They were arrested again on August 9 after they joined the investigation and were charged with attempted abduction under sections 365 and 511 of the IPC.

( Source – PTI )

NGT raps Punjab, Haryana over their action plan on pollution

NGT raps Punjab, Haryana over their action plan on pollution
NGT raps Punjab, Haryana over their action plan on pollution

The National Green Tribunal today slammed Punjab and Haryana governments for filing generalised action plans to combat air pollution and directed them to refer to its previous judgements on the issue.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also summoned the environment secretaries of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan asking them to give a “workable solution” for combating the problem of pollution.

The tribunal took exception that Punjab and Haryana were following the Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority’s (EPCA’s) comprehensive action plan and not applying their own mind.

During the proceedings, both the states told the green panel that a slew of measures including stopping construction work, burning waste, shutting schools and monitoring of industries causing emissions will be taken whenever pollution is beyond prescribed limits continuously for 48 hours.

“What is the logic of waiting for 48 hours? There is nothing great about the action plan which you have prepared.

It is your basic function which you have to do all the time.

“Why have you referred to the EPCA’s plan? Why don’t you apply your own brains? In this country, it is a dream to have prescribed norms of air quality,” the bench observed.

When the bench asked the Delhi government its stand on the odd-even scheme, the counsel appearing for it said the government wants to implement it with exceptions and has also filed a review plea in this regard which will be heard tomorrow.

The tribunal had yesterday slammed the Delhi government and the neighbouring states over their action plan on ways to deal with severe air pollution in the city and directed them to file a detailed document to tackle with the problem.

It had observed that air pollution was never at the “normal level” in the national capital and directed the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan to file the action plan afresh.

The counsel for the Delhi government had filed the plan which recommended implementation of odd-even plan, entry of trucks in the city, ban on construction works and disallowing children from playing outside when air quality turns severe.

The counsel for petitioner Vardhaman Kaushik, who had filed plea against worsening air quality in Delhi, had said the action plans submitted by the states were merely “an eye- wash” and they have only “copy-pasted” the recommendations of the Supreme Court appointed EPCA.

Earlier, the NGT had directed the Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and every state pollution control board to file ambient air quality analysis before the tribunal on monthly basis and also put up on their websites to enable the concerned authority to take effective steps to control air pollution.

( Source – PTI )

SC directs UP, WB, Haryana to give roadmap on urban homeless

SC directs UP, WB, Haryana to give roadmap on urban homeless
SC directs UP, WB, Haryana to give roadmap on urban homeless

The Supreme Court today directed the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and West Bengal to place before it a roadmap on implementation of a scheme for urban homeless, saying it was the government’s “obligation” to help these poor people.

The top court perused the affidavits filed by the three states on the implementation of the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) scheme and observed that they had not given a roadmap or a vision document on the issue.

“It is the obligation of all the state governments to help these poor people. It is not an adverserial litigation,” a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said after going through the affidavit filed by Haryana government.

Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Haryana, told the bench about the steps taken by the state in this regard and said they would place before the court a roadmap in two weeks.

During the hearing, the bench also questioned the Uttar Pradesh government as to why occupancy in shelter homes for urban homeless in the state was only around 25 per cent, while terming it “startling”.

“As a state government, it is your obligation to look after people of your state. You cannot say that NGOs should do it. It is your duty,” the bench told the counsel appearing for Uttar Pradesh, adding “if you have constructed shelter homes and they are vacant, then it is counter productive”.

The counsel for West Bengal referred to their affidavit which contained details of the shelter homes in the state.

Senior lawyer Colin Gonsalves and advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioners, referred to the report of the apex court-appointed committee headed by former Delhi High Court judge Justice Kailash Gambhir and said the number of shelter homes in these states were much less than what was required.

Bhushan said that in Uttar Pradesh, there were around 1.8 lakh urban homeless while the arrangements of shelter homes in the state was only for around 4,000 people.

Regarding occupancy of around only 25 per cent in such shelter homes in Uttar Pradesh, Gonsalves said the state should advertise about their shelter homes so that the people are made aware.

During the proceedings, Haryana Chief Secretary who was earlier asked by the apex court to appear before it today, was present in the court and he assured the bench that the state was committed to effectively implement the scheme.

Mehta told the bench that 93 shelter homes were existing in Haryana as on date having facilities of night stay and food for the urban homeless.

The bench questioned Mehta on how Haryana government was spending Rs 400 lakh for refurbishing the shelter homes, including those run by the NGOs.

“Haryana is capable of doing it but you are not doing it.

It is an unfortunate part,” the bench said, adding though the state was on the stage of collection of data, it should come out with a plan on how to effectively implement the scheme.

It also said the authorities could take the help of NGOs and civil societies in this.

At the fag end of the hearing, the Centre told the bench that they have started special audit of funds under the scheme with respect to these three states.

The apex court had earlier expressed shock that welfare schemes were not being effectively implemented even after spending thousands of crore on them.

The court is first dealing with the status of three states — Haryana, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh — among 11 and two Union Territories which have been highlighted by the apex court-appointed committee to oversee implementation of NULM across the country.

( Source – PTI )

SC stays HC order suspending sentence in gangrape case

SC stays HC order suspending sentence in gangrape case
SC stays HC order suspending sentence in gangrape case

The Supreme Court today stayed the order of Punjab and Haryana High Court suspending the sentence of imprisonment awarded to three persons convicted in a gangrape case relating to a student of a private university at Sonepat in Haryana.

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and M M Shantanagoudar also issued notices to the three convicts seeking their replies on a plea filed by the victim, who has challenged the high court’s September 13 order.

A trial court had awarded 20-year imprisonment to two of the accused after convicting them for various offences under the IPC, including gangrape and criminal conspiracy, and under provisions of the Information Technology Act. The third accused was sentenced to jail for seven years.

However, the high court had suspended their sentences on the basis of pleas filed by them and granted them bail.

During the brief hearing today, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing the victim, told the apex court that the sentence was suspended by the high court in such a case and the accused were also granted bail.

The victim has also challenged the grant of bail to the accused by the high court.

The woman had claimed in the FIR that she had taken admission in the private university at Sonepat in August 2013 and had got acquainted with one of the accused.

She had alleged that the accused, who became a good friend, had raped and forced her to send her obscene pictures and later started blackmailing her.

The woman claimed that the two other accused also raped her at the university campus after which she lodged an FIR in April 2015.

After the trial court judgement, the accused had moved the high court seeking bail in the matter during pendency of the appeal.

The high court, in its order, had said, “the entire crass sequence actually is reflective of a degenerative mindset of the youth breeding denigrating relationships mired in drugs, alcohol, casual sexual escapades and a promiscuous and voyeuristic world.

( Source – PTI )

HC seeks info on crackers licences from Pb, Har, C’garh

HC seeks info on crackers licences from Pb, Har, C'garh
HC seeks info on crackers licences from Pb, Har, C’garh

Concerned over the pollution from fireworks, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notices to the two states and the Union territory of Chandigarh asking them to furnish by tomorrow details of licences issued for sale of crackers.

The development comes days after the Supreme Court banned the sale of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR till November 1.

A high court bench of justices A K Mittal and Amit Rawal sought the response of the authorities while taking note of the issue of pollution caused by firecrackers.

“While taking suo motu notice, the division bench has sought details about temporary licences issued for firecrackers from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh,” said senior advocate Anupam Gupta here today.

The court has asked them to provide detail by tomorrow, he said.

The bench has appointed Gupta as amicus curiae (court’s friend) to assist it in the matter.

( Source – PTI )

SC grants 6 weeks’ time to Punjab, Haryana on SYL canal row

SC grants 6 weeks' time to Punjab, Haryana on SYL canal row
SC grants 6 weeks’ time to Punjab, Haryana on SYL canal row

The Supreme Court today granted six weeks’ time to the Centre to explore the possibility of an amicable solution to the Satluj-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal row between Punjab and Haryana.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was informed by Attorney General K K Venugopal that efforts were on to resolve the dispute between the two states and sought some more time.

The bench, also comprising Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, considered the statement of the Central government and fixed the matter for further hearing on November 8 when the Centre will apprise it of the outcome of the ongoing process to resolve the dispute.

The apex court had on July 11 said that it was obligatory on the part of Punjab and Haryana to respect and execute its orders on the SYL canal issue.

The controversial 1981 water-sharing agreement came into being after Haryana was carved out of Punjab in 1966. For effective allocation of water, the SYL canal link was conceptualised and both the states were required to construct their portions within their territories.

Haryana constructed the portion of SYL canal in its territory. However, Punjab, after the initial phase, stopped the work, leading to a spate of litigations.

In 2004, the Congress government in the state came out with the Punjab Termination of Agreement Act with an intention to terminate the 1981 agreement and all other pacts relating to sharing of waters of rivers Ravi and Beas.

The apex court had first decreed the suit of Haryana in 2002 asking Punjab to honour its commitments with regard to water sharing in the case.

Punjab had challenged the verdict by filing an original suit that was rejected in 2004 by the Supreme Court which asked the Centre to take over the remaining infrastructural work of the SYL canal project.

( Source – PTI )

NGT notice to Centre, Haryana on construction in Aravallis

NGT notice to Centre, Haryana on construction in Aravallis
NGT notice to Centre, Haryana on construction in Aravallis

A plea seeking the demolition of apartments located in the eco-sensitive Aravalli area has prompted the National Green Tribunal to seek a response from the Centre and the Haryana government.

A vacation bench headed by Justice R S Rathore issued notices to the environment ministry, Delhi and Haryana governments, the municipal corporation of Gurugram (MCG), Ansal Properties and Infrastructure and others, seeking their replies before July 11.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by lawyer Sangeeta Kumar who claimed that there had been an encroachment and construction on “Khasra no 75”, which is a designated ‘gair mumkin pahar’– hilly land unfit for cultivation — belonging to the Haryana government.

“In late 2015, it became public knowledge that Khasra no 75 is a designated ‘gair mumkin pahar’, which is the admitted property of the Haryana government,” the plea said.

The applicant made several attempts to gain first hand knowledge on the construction of a complex called the Ansal Valley View Apartments on this plot of land.

“Finally the applicant made enquiries through an RTI and after several meetings and informal discussions with the respondents was able to ascertain that the land surrounding Khasra no 75 was owned by the MCG, who, in collaboration with respondent 5 (Directorate of Town Planning) and 6 (Ansals), constructed the Ansal Valley View Apartments there,” it said.

Five of the complex’s towers were situated on Khasra no 75, it alleged.

Referring to a 1992 notification issued by the environment ministry, the plea said the provision restricts non-forest activities, “including setting up industries, construction of clusters of dwelling units, farms houses, sheds, community centres and any other activity connected with such construction”, in the Aravallis.

The oldest fold mountains in India, the northern end of the Aravallis, with isolated hills and rocky ridges in Haryana, ends in Delhi.

The Delhi Ridge is the last part of the range, ending in Central Delhi, where the Raisina hill is its last extension.

( Source – PTI )