Constraints can’t stand in way of access to justice

modi Financial constraints cannot stand in the way of making access of the people to justice, though it may lead to lack of infrastructure and judges, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur said today.

“Financial constraints cannot stand in the way of making access to justice a reality. That is absolutely in tune with our Constitutional philosophy that access to justice should be a reality and it cannot be a reality if people have to wait for years and years for their cases to be decided,” the CJI said at a function here to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Delhi High Court.

Thakur said this after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who also addressed the gathering at Vigyan Bhawan here, assured support of his government in improving infrastructure and recruitment of more judges.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest at the event which was also attended by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung, Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice B D Ahmed.

Addressing the gathering, the CJI said that judges should introspect about public perception regarding their rectitude as it is painful to see “aberrations occuring at some level or the other which bring disrepute to the entire justice system”.

“I think Delhi High Court has achieved much, but in terms of ensuring that such incidents (aberrations) do not happen, there is much more to be done. I only hope that brother judges at all levels take extra care not to give any room for any doubt or anything that is not in tune with judicial ethics and professional rectitude,” the CJI said.

Ads on public service vehicles: HC seeks Delhi govt’s response

The Delhi High Court has sought the city government’s response on a plea seeking quashing of its political adverisementon public service vehicles.

A bench of justices B D Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul issued notice to the Transport Department of Delhi government, New Delhi Municipal Council and others while posting the matter for further consideration on January 28.

The high court was hearing a plea by Social Justice For Human Welfare, filed through Shefali Malhotra, challenging the legality and constitutionality of the Guidelines on Display of Advertisement on Public Service Vehicle issued by the transport department under Rule 71(2) of the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules, 1993.

On August 1, Delhi government had placed its latest guidelines for display of advertisements on public service vehicles according to which any ad containing political, ethnic, religious or sectarian text will not be permitted.

It had specified that the vehicle owner needed to obtain an approval from municipal authorities before displaying any political advertisements on public service vehicles.

“Advertisements cannot be displayed without approval from municipal bodies and are allowed only for vehicles having GPS/GPRS systems,” the guidelines had said.

The plea alleged that this amounts to an ‘unreasonable restriction’ on the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a).

“The legal parameters within which an advertisement maybe made and published is well defined under the Code of Advertising Practice. Any action in breach of these legal bounds would invite consequences,” it said.

In most rape cases offenders known to victim : Delhi HC

The city police in an affidavit has informed the Delhi High Court that 1704 rape cases were registered with it and in most rape cases, the offender was a person known to the victim.

It said that a total of 215 cases of incestuous rape have been registered in the capital in the first 10 months of this year, which is almost 13 percent of the total 1704 reported rape cases this year.

The police filed the affidavit on a PIL filed through advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal on crime against women.

A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul would hear the plea Wednesday.

In 43 rape cases, the father was involved and in 27 cases the brother was the offender, revealed the latest data.

In one case the accused turned out to be the victim’s grandfather and in another 23 rape cases the stepfather was the accused.

Fathers-in-law were found involved in eight cases, sons-in-law in three cases and brothers-in-law in 74 cases.

Not only this, uncles or maternal uncles were found involved in 32 cases, and in four cases the accused turned out to be a cousins

The data further revealed that in “352 cases the neighbour was the accused” and in another “83 cases family friend had a role”.

Twelve cases each were registered against tutors or instructors and doctors or nursing staff and another five against priests or tantrics, it added.

“Out of the 1613 accused persons arrested in all these cases, 116 were illiterate and 570 were school dropouts, 122 were juveniles and 23 accused were above 50 years of age,” said the affidavit.

The Delhi Police said there were 1711 victims in all reported cases out of which four victims were below two years of age, 115 victims were between 2 to 7 years and 127 between 7 to 12 years.

Police said it has been taking certain steps to curb crime against women and now “women officers in civil dresses directly visit the victim in hospitals to record statement and take up investigation” and victims do not have to visit police station

HC orders restoration of Lalit Modi”s passport

lalit modiPaving the way for the return of suspended Indian Premier League (IPL) chairman Lalit Modi to India, the Delhi High Court Wednesday ordered the restoration of his passport.

A division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bakhru allowed Modi’s plea challenging the revocation of his passport.

The regional passport office in Mumbai had revoked Modi’s passport March 3, 2011, following an Enforcement Directorate probe into allegations of financial irregularities in the IPL.

Modi is facing cases under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) related to the IPL and his presence was required before the Enforcement Directorate.

The bench said it was not expressing any opinion with regard to the alleged FEMA violations by Modi, who is currently in Britain.

The bench held that the revocation order was invalid.

“We must examine the direct and inevitable consequence of the revocation order. At the time the revocation order was passed, the appellant was already abroad in Britain.

“The direct consequence of the revocation order was that the appellant (Modi) could not travel to any country outside of Britain.

“He could not attend any conferences or meetings in any other country where he could have expressed his views on cricket or on the organisation and administration of cricket.

“To that extent, it can be said that the ‘direct and inevitable’ consequence of the revocation order was to impinge upon his freedom of speech and expression,” the judgment said.

“Now, this could be legitimate if the revocation order could be said to be in the interests of the general public, of course, limited to the interests of ‘public order, decency or morality’.

“The alleged infraction on the part of the appellant (Modi) could hardly be stated to fall foul of ‘public order, decency or morality’. Therefore, in our view, the revocation order was invalid,” the court said.

Modi, who has been elected president of the Rajasthan Cricket Association but remains banned by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), had challenged the single bench order of Jan 16, 2013 that dismissed his plea challenging the revocation of his passport.

The Enforcement Directorate had made a request to the Regional Passport Office in Mumbai that Modi be either called back or his passport be revoked.

(Source: PTI)

Court seeks details on objection to ministries’ social media profiles

The Delhi High Court Friday sought an affidavit from former BJP leader K.N. Govindacharya who objected to the new government officially allowing opening of Twitter and Facebook accounts by PMO and other central government ministries in violation of law.

A division bench of ministries’ social media profilesasked counsel appearing for Govindacharya to file an affidavit in this regard after which it will hear the issue.

Advocate Virag Gupta raised the objection on the use of Facebook and Twitter for the official purpose by several ministries through private e-mail accounts, saying it violates the Public Records Act, as per which “no person shall take or cause to be taken out of India any public records without the prior approval of the central government”.

The petitioner argued that the servers of these social networking sites are outside India so the nation’s official data is transferred to other countries.

“Nineteen ministries are officially on Twitter, five ministries opened their Facebook accounts from private e-mail ids. Prime Minister is on Twitter and Facebook. Most of the ministers have their Twitter account,” said Gupta.

Ensure only fit drivers with valid licence for DTC: HC

DTCThe Delhi high court has asked the Delhi Transport Corporation to ensure that no person without a valid driving licence or who is medically unfit drives its buses on the city roads.

A bench of justices B D Ahmed and S Mridul passed the order while hearing a plea by an NGO which alleged that most of the over 4,000 DTC drivers recruited in 2007-08 are colour blind and sought that they be medically re-examined.

The court has given DTC time till August 6 to inform it on what the agency intends to do about the verification of the driving licences of its drivers recruited in 2007-08 as well as carrying out their medical examination.

“Counsel appearing on behalf of DTC states she may be given some time to take instructions with regard to the verification of the driver’s licence of all those persons whose recruitment were carried out in 2007-2008,” the bench said.

“She shall also take instructions with regard to carrying out of medical tests in respect of such individuals to ensure that no person without a valid driving licence and no person who is medically unfit should be driving a DTC bus,” it said.

The court also observed that the agency should verify the licences of new applicants before recruiting them and allowing them to drive on the city’s roads.

The PIL filed by NGO, Azaad Dasta Sankalp Humara, through advocate Vishnu Sharma, also sought “an impartial investigation by a Special Investigation Team or CBI into the illegal and fraudulent appointments conducted for the posts of drivers in Delhi Transport Corporation in 2008”.

The NGO has alleged that of the 4,415 drivers recruited in 2008, over 850 were found to be medically unfit by the DTC medical board.

Thereafter, another medical board was constituted and about 56 candidates, who were earlier found unfit, were examined by Guru Nanak Eye Centre which had declared majority of them as fit, the petition has said.

(Source: PTI)

Govt to pay for woman’s death in illegal custody: HC

delhi-high-courtThe Delhi High Court has directed Delhi government to pay Rs three lakh compensation to the husband and child of a woman who died while giving birth while in “illegal” custody at a state-run shelter for minor girls.

A bench of justices B D Ahmed and Veena Birbal awarded the amount to the deceased’s spouse and three-and-half-year-old daughter saying her detention in the shelter home was “illegal” as she was not a minor.

(Source: PTI)

HC allows changing parking lot norms

car parking lot normsThe Delhi High Court today allowed civic authorities here to modify the parking lot norms for large plot owners in the national capital.

A bench of Justice B D Ahmed and Justice S Mridul asked the authorities to undertake the exercise as expeditiously as possible in accordance with law.

The order was passed while disposing of a PIL against the alleged “illegal clearance” given to sanction plans by civic bodies, allowing reconstruction of the existing houses into multi-storey residential units without the mandatory stilt parking lots.

The PIL, by residents of Jor Bagh in Delhi, also alleged that the relaxation was only being offered to the rich owners of huge plots.

They had also claimed that the civic bodies were flouting the norms laid down under Delhi Master Plan-2021.

Disposing of the PIL, the bench made it clear that any policy on parking lot norms will ensure that vehicles are not parked outside the property.

The court allowed the municipal bodies to modify their existing parking lot norms, as per which any construction on plots measuring between 100-1000 square meters are required to mandatorily build stilt parking.

For plots which are over 1000 square meters, there is no requirement for building stilts for parking, which has to be provided within the property, as per the existing norms.

The court said the existing norms would remain in force till the same are modified by the authorities in accordance with law.

(Source: PTI)

HC seeks Centre’s report on Govindacharya”s plea

delhi-high-courtThe Delhi High Court today sought a status report from the Centre on a plea by former BJP leader K N Govindacharya seeking a direction to the Centre to safeguard the interests of Indians who do business through the internet.

A bench of justices B D Ahmed and Siddharth Mridul directed the Centre’s standing counsel Sumeet Pushkarna to file a status report by the next date of hearing and disposed of the application.

“A status report shall be filed by the Centre before the next date of hearing. The application is disposed of,” the court said.

The court rejected the plea to initiate contempt proceedings against the Secretary, Information and Technology Ministry, for “failure to comply with the provision to place grievance officers”.

“There is no contempt of the court’s order. The Centre’s counsel has ensured that there is no failure on the part of compliance by intermediaries.

“We are satisfied that there is compliance by Google Inc as well as Facebook Inc with the provisions of Information Technology. There is no further need to change the rules,” the bench held.

The application, filed through lawyer Virag Gupta, had sought a direction to Facebook Inc to “modify the grievance mechanism by making the specific provision for redressal of grievances/complaints to be authenticated through digital signatures.

(Source: PTI)

Plea withdrawn against assembly session outside building



A petition against the government’s proposal to hold a session outside the assembly building to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill was Thursday withdrawn from the Delhi High Court. Appearing for the Arvind Kejriwal government, advocate Prashant Bhushan told a division bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Sidharth Mridul that the venue is up to the discretion of the Lt. Governor under the aid and advice of the council of ministers. He told the court Lt. Governor has not given any direction with regard to holding the assembly session outside the Vidhan Sabha premises.

During the hearing, the bench said: “Suppose if the Lt. Governor decides to hold the assembly session in Goa, is it possible? It will come under judicial review. We understand if there was some special circumstances. We are holding court here, tomorrow can we say we want to hold the court at India Gate?” The court was hearing a plea by Kedar Mandal, an assistant professor in Delhi University, against the decision of the government to hold the assembly session at a stadium, saying it will incur an expenditure of Rs.50 lakh.

The court also questioned the government on spending extra money in holding the session outside. Answering the court’s query, Bhushan said: “I don’t think there is going to be an issue or crisis here, if the session is held outside. “Since the council of ministers is yet to fix the time and place of the assembly, and no decision has been taken as yet, the petition is premature.” The court said that as the Lt. Governor has not given any direction with regard to holding the session outside the Vidhan Sabha premises, the petitioner has withdrawn his plea with the liberty to file a fresh petition after the decision is taken.