Delhi High Court declines to entertain plea to replace Delhi Police with another security force in courts

The Delhi High Court declined on Monday to entertain a plea by two lawyers seeking to replace the police with some other security force in the courts here in view of the clash between the two sides earlier this month.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar refused to hear the matter saying the situation between lawyers and the police needs to be settled and such petitions would not help in that.

It also said the central government, which was represented by its standing counsel Anil Soni, may consider providing additional training to police if it was required.

The petitioners, Reepak Kansal and Yadunandan Bansal, had claimed in their petition that since the November 2 clash between lawyers and police, advocates feared for their life as the cops had fired upon them and also destroyed their property at the Tis Hazari court complex.

Kansal and Bansal, both lawyers, had sought replacement of Delhi Police by some other trained and experienced security forces at all the courts in the city.

Apart from that they had also sought directions for lodging FIR against all the members of the police battalion and its senior officers, who were involved in the November 2 incident, for firing at lawyers and also destruction of property.

The petitioners had also sought appointment of an independent agency to investigate the matter.

Since the November 2 incident, the high court has issued orders preventing coercive action against lawyers and police personnel in connection with FIRs lodged regarding the Tis Hazari clash in which over 20 cops and eight lawyers were injured with three advocates receiving gunshot wounds.

Apart from that, several police vehicles and private two-wheelers were also damaged in the incident.

Lawyer-police clash: HC grants interim protection from arrest to two cops

The Delhi High Court granted interim protection from arrest on Friday to two police officials who were booked in connection with the clash between lawyers and the police in Tis Hazari court earlier this month.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar sought responses of the Centre, the Delhi police, the Bar Council of India (BCI) and various other bar associations on the plea of the two assistant sub-inspectors (ASI) seeking protection from arrest till a judicial inquiry into the incident was over.

The court said “no coercive action” should be taken against Kanta Prasad and Pawan Kumar, suspended after the incident, till the next date of hearing on December 23.

A parking dispute between an on-duty police official and a lawyer triggered the clash between the two sides at the Tis Hazari court complex on November 2, leaving 20 security personnel and several advocates injured.

Lawyers in six district courts have been on strike since November 4 to protest against the clash.

In unprecedented protests by the Delhi Police, thousands of its personnel had laid siege outside the police headquarters for 11 hours on November 5 and staged a virtual revolt sparked by two attacks on their colleagues by the lawyers.

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.

Centre has freedom to amend its CGHS scheme : Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday declined to interfere with the modified Central Government Health Services (CGHS) scheme, saying it is for the Centre to decide how to give health benefits and supply medicines to its serving and retired employees.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said prima facie the modified policy creates no hurdles in supply of medicines to the central government employees and also curbs misuse of the scheme as was being allegedly done in the past.

The observation came while dismissing a PIL challenging an e-tender issued for empanelment of authorised local chemists under the modified CGHS scheme for the national capital area. The petition had opposed the modified scheme also.

Under the earlier scheme, if medicines prescribed by a doctor were not available at a wellness centre or dispensary, an authorisation slip was issued to the patient for procuring the medicine from a local chemist, the Health Ministry told the court.

Under the new scheme, it said, if medicine was not available at the dispensary, the local empanelled chemist supplies it to the wellness centre which in turn provides it to the patient.

The central government further said the scheme was modified as earlier patients used to use the authorisation slip for buying toothbrushes, toothpastes, Horlicks and cosmetics from the chemist shop.

Noting the submission of the ministry, the bench said under the new scheme requirement of issuance of authorisation slip has been given a go-bye and “therefore, chance to buy toothbrushes, toothpastes, Horlicks and cosmetics has been brought down to zero as now medicines will come to wellness centre and patients need not go to the chemists”.

The court noted the ministry’s claim that subsequent to the modification in the scheme, participation by chemists has increased and they were offering better discounts than in the past, and said,”we see no reason to interfere with the modified CGHS policy.

“The government has to be given free movement in the joints. The government should be given the freedom to amend the schemes. More the misuse of a scheme, more tight would be the procedural aspect in grant of benefits. Sometimes government may also close down the scheme if it is being misused,” the bench said.

It noted under the new scheme there was no contact between the beneficiary and the local chemist, due to which “loss may have been caused to chemists as they can no longer sell toothpaste, toothbrushes, Horlicks and cosmetics instead of medicines”.

“However, we are not concerned by loss to chemists. We are only concerned that the benefits reach the central government employees. We, therefore, see no reason to interfere with the modified scheme or the notice inviting tender floated by the central government,” the court added.

INX Media money-laundering case : P. Chidambaram moves HC seeking interim bail

Former Union minister P Chidambaram moved the Delhi High Court on Wednesday seeking interim bail in the INX Media money-laundering case on health grounds.

The application was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who sought urgent listing of the matter.

The bench listed the matter before the appropriate court on Thursday.

The plea for interim relief has been moved by Chidambaram in his main bail application in the INX Media money-laundering case.

Chidambaram will be produced before a trial court on Wednesday on the expiry of his Enforcement Directorate custody in the case.

He was arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case.

The case was registered on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as Union finance minister.

PIL in Delhi HC seeks direction to authorities to convene SRB meeting every 3 months

A PIL has been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the Delhi government and the Director General of Prisons to convene the meeting of Sentence Review Board (SRB) every three months in compliance with the rules.

The plea said as per the SRB order of July 16, 2004 and Delhi Prison Rules, 2018, the board shall meet at least once in a quarter to convene the meeting and pointed out that between October 2018 to October 2019, the board had convened only once on July 19 this year.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar is likely to hear on Monday the petition filed by advocate Amit Sahni.

The SRB was constituted to review the sentence awarded to a prisoner undergoing life imprisonment and make recommendations about cases of premature release in appropriate cases.

“The respondents (Delhi government and Director General of Prisons) are duty bound to comply with the notification/rules but to the reasons best known to the respondents, between October 2018 to October 2019 the SRB had convened only once, that is, July 19, 2019, thereby causing hardship to those, who otherwise qualify all parameters for consideration but are not considered since SRB meetings are not convened in every quarter as envisaged under the SRB Order dated July 16, 2004 and Delhi Prison Rules, 2018,” the petition said.

According to the SRB order and the prison rules, it shall be open to the chairman of the board to convene the meeting more frequently as may be deemed necessary, it added.

The petitioner said he has made a representation to the authorities on October 4, requesting them to implement the mandate of the SRB order and the prison rules and ensure that the board meeting is convened in every quarter without fail.

He said the authorities have not responded to the representation yet.

Plea to link property with Aadhaar: HC seeks UIDAI stand

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday sought response of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on a plea seeking linking of movable and immovable property documents of citizens with their Aadhaar number to curb corruption, black money generation and ‘benami’ transactions.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to UIDAI, which issues the 12-digit unique identification number called Aadhaar, and sought its response in the matter before November 20, the next date of hearing.

The court also asked the Centre and the Delhi government to file their response, which they had not despite issuance of notice to them on July 16.

The authority was impleaded in the petition by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay after it moved the court seeking to be heard in the matter.

Upadhyay, also a lawyer, in his plea has said it is the duty of the state to take appropriate steps to curb corruption and seize ‘benami’ properties made by illegal means to give a strong message that the government is determined to fight against corruption and black money generation.

“If the government links property with Aadhaar, it will lead to an increment of 2 per cent in annual growth. It will clean out electoral process, which is dominated by black money and benami transaction and thrives on a cycle of large black investments…use of political strength to amass private wealth, all with disdain of the citizen,” the petition has said.

The plea has claimed that ‘benami’ transaction in high denomination currency is used in illegal activities — terrorism, naxalism, separatism, gambling, money laundering and bribing.

“It also inflates the price of essential commodities as well as major assets like real estate and gold. These problems can be curbed up to great extent by linking movable-immovable properties with the owner’s Aadhaar number,” it has further claimed.

Platform Screen Doors not possible at all stations: Delhi Metro to HC

Platform Screen Doors (PSDs) have been put on the Pink and Magenta lines of Delhi Metro due to technical requirement and their installation at all the stations would increase the cost of operation, the DMRC has told the Delhi High Court.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) told a bench comprising Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar that 69 out of 250 railway stations have PSDs.

“DMRC is currently operating a network of 343.785 km. It may be noted that out of the total 250 stations, the answering Respondent has installed PSDs at 69 Metro stations and all are operational presently (six stations of yellow line, 38 stations of pink line and 25 stations of magenta line).

“It is submitted that installation of the PSDs on Pink and Magenta line is due to the technical requirement of completely automated train operation system installed in trains operating on such lines,” the Delhi Metro told the bench.

It also told the high court that worldwide, PSDs are not installed at all Metro stations and in some places PSDs are installed at only few Metro stations as per the system and operational requirement.

“The cost of installation of PSDs at each of the Metro stations would be substantial, which, if directed to be incurred by Delhi Metro, would ultimately be passed on to the citizens through increase in fare or through governments budgetary support,” it said.

The provision of PSDs increases the cost of signalling substantially apart from increasing the maintenance requirements of the Metro network and it creates severe restrictions on train operations in case of failure or malfunction of the PSDs, the Delhi Metro said.

“The decision to install PSDs at Metro stations is based on operational requirement, which needs detailed examination qua its technical requirements, costs involved, resources and time involvement, number of people using a particular station, convenience to the commuters etc.

“Therefore, any blanket order for installation of the PSDs at each station of the Metro network, as prayed for by the petitioner would actually be an interference to the technical and operational decision of the DMRC,” it said.

The submission’s were made in response to a plea filed by advocate Hussain Mueen Farooq to install PSDs on all-time Metro stations.

The high court took note of the submission and disposed of the PIL saying that PSD is a highly technical aspect and it cannot give any directions to the Delhi Metro.

“It is the duty of the Commissioner of Motor Railway Safety to give such type of suggestions as and when such suggestions are being given by the Commissioner of Motor Railway Safety, the same shall be carried out,” the bench said in a recent order.

It’s govt decision whether to set up KVs in each tehsil :HC

The Delhi High Court said Tuesday that setting up of Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) in every tehsil across the country was a policy decision of the Centre and left it to the government to take a call on the issue raised in a PIL.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said that whether to set up central schools in every tehsil or making it mandatory to study ‘aims, objects and basic structure of the Constitution’ in classes I-VIII, as sought in the petition, was a decision which the government has to take.

It left it to the central government to consider the issues raised by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in his plea and disposed of the matter.

Upadhyay, also a lawyer, had claimed in his plea that “unity in diversity is observed and celebrated” in the KVs as these schools have students from all parts of a state and “equal opportunities are provided to all students in spite of their religious, territorial differences”.

“The low fee structure of Kendriya Vidyalayas will help the poor students in getting a quality education along with an exposure to the competitive world. The establishment of KVs will encourage nearby schools to provide a better education as they will face a competition,” the petition had claimed.

It had said that presently, there were 5,464 tehsils in India and a total of 1,209 KVs.

“To achieve real equality and elevate poor, weak, Dalits, tribals and deprived sections of society, State must provide uniform education having common syllabus and common curriculum to all students of I-VIII standards in spirit of Articles 14, 15, 16, 21A and Preamble of the Constitution,” the plea had said.

Circulated order staying online sale of medicines to states: Centre

The Centre told the Delhi High Court Tuesday that it has informed all state drug controlling authorities about the interim order barring online sale of medicines and has directed them to take requisite action under the Drugs and Cosmetics (D&C) Act and Rules.

The submission was made before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar in an affidavit which also said that the government was in the process of finalising the draft rules for regulating e-pharmacies after going through representations of all stakeholders.

The affidavit was filed in response to a plea seeking contempt action against the e-pharmacies for continuing to sell drugs online despite a high court order staying such activity.

The December 12, 2018 order was passed on a PIL by Zaheer Ahmed seeking a ban on illegal or unlicensed online sale of medicines.

Ahmed, who has also moved the contempt plea, contends that the e-pharmacies continue to “blatantly” violate the high court direction and the central government was not doing anything to stop it.

Senior advocate Jayant Bhushan, appearing for Ahmed, told the bench that the government only circulated the interim order to all the state drug controlling authorities and thereafter, did nothing to block the online sales.

He urged the bench to come down on the e-pharmacies with a heavy hand for violating the December 12, 2018 direction “openly” and “with impunity”. The court, however, listed the matter for final hearing.

E-pharmacies, during the hearing, reiterated the stand they took last time that they were like online food delivery platform Swiggy or app-based cab service providers Ola and Uber, and did not require a licence for the work they were doing.

They said they were neither manufacturing, distributing or stocking the medicines for sale and were only “exhibiting” the drugs and therefore, they were not required to get a licence under the D&C Act.

One of the companies said that its premises was raided by government agencies and all they found was a office space with computers and no medicines were stocked there.

Ahmed, in his PIL, has said that the online illegal sale of medicines would lead to a drug epidemic, drug abuse and misutilisation of habit forming and addictive drugs.

It has further claimed that since there was no mechanism to control the sale of medicines online, this puts health and lives of people at a high risk and affects their right to a safe and healthy life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

“Online pharmacies are operating without a drug licence and cannot be regulated in the present regime. Unregulated and unlicensed sale of medicines will increase risk of spurious, misbranded and sub-standard drugs being sold,” the plea has said.