HC dismisses plea seeking voting rights for prisoners.

The Delhi High Court has dismissed a PIL seeking voting rights for prisoners, saying the facility was provided under the law and it can be taken away by law.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said the Supreme Court has held that the right to cast vote was neither a fundamental right nor a common law right and was only provided by a statute.

The bench noted the right to vote provided under the statute Representation of the People Act was subject to restrictions imposed by the law, which does not allow prisoners to cast vote from jails.

The high court said in view of the apex court rulings and the statutory position, it saw no reason to entertain the plea, and dismissed it.

The decision came on a plea by three law students Praveen Kumar Chaudhary, Atul Kumar Dubey and Prerna Singh seeking voting rights for all persons lodged in jails across the country.

The petition challenged the constitutionality of Section 62(5) of the RP Act, which deprives prisoners of their right to vote.

The Election Commission opposed the plea, saying prisoners do not have voting rights under the Act and it has been upheld by the Supreme Court. The panel told the court the right to vote is a statutory right under Section 62 of the RP Act and “being a statutory right (it) is subject to restrictions prescribed in the RP Act”.

The panel referred to a 1997 judgment of the Supreme Court, which held that the effect of sub-section (5) of Section 62 of the Act is that any person confined in prison while serving a sentence or is in lawful confinement in a prison or in a police custody for any reason is not entitled to vote in an election.

But this restriction does not apply to a person subjected to any kind of preventive detention, the apex court judgment said.

Investigation into Jamia violence at crucial stage and Centre tells Delhi HC

Investigation into the incident of violence at Jamia Millia Islamia during the anti-citizenship law protest was at a crucial stage, the Centre told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday.

The submission before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar was made by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta while seeking more time to file a report regarding the probe.

Taking note of the submission, the bench granted the Centre time till April 29 to file a reply.

During the hearing, senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for some students of Jamia, said 93 students and teachers filed complaints about alleged attacks on them by police but no FIR has been filed against the agency till date.

The other lawyers for the petitioners alleged that the government has not complied with the court order to file a response within four weeks of the last date of hearing on December 19.

The bench, however, declined to pass any interim order and granted time till April 29 to the government to file a reply.

The high court had on December 19 asked the Centre, the AAP government and the police to respond to several PILs seeking setting up of a judicial commission to look into the violence at Jamia University protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The court was hearing six petitions, moved by lawyers, students of JMI, residents of Okhla, where the university is located, and the Imam of Jama Masjid mosque opposite Parliament House. They also sought medical treatment and compensation for the students.

Besides, they sought action, including registration of FIRs, against the erring police officers.

In the petition filed by advocate Rizwan, it has been contended that according to medical reports of the injured students treated at AIIMS, one of them almost lost his life and another has lost his vision.

The petition had alleged that treatment provided to the injured students was “inadequate”, FIRs have been lodged against them and they were being hounded like criminals.

The petitions had said the force used by the police was “disproportionate”, even if it was required, and “brutal” and expressed concern over the “unregulated and unwarranted arrest and detention of students”.

Free travel on cluster buses without any notification would be “bad” action: HC

The Delhi High Court Monday said if free travel for women was being implemented in cluster buses running in the city without a notification then such action would be “bad”.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar made it clear however that the action would not make the notification, which makes the scheme applicable on DTC buses, illegal.

The observations by the bench came while declining to entertain a plea challenging the notification providing free travel for women on buses operated by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) in the national capital.

“The notification does not say the scheme is applicable on cluster buses. We cannot believe it on your statement. It does not talk of cluster buses. If they (Delhi government) have made it applicable on cluster buses, then the notification is not bad, their action is.

“Then you challenge that before a single judge. File a better petition,” the court said to the lawyer appearing for the petitioner organisations which represent small time public transport operators who run mini buses, ‘gramin sewa’, ‘phat phat sewa’ and rural transport vehicles.

Sensing that the bench was going to dismiss the matter, the lawyer for the petitioner organisations sought permission to withdraw the plea.

The court granted the permission and said, “Dismissed bas withdrawn”.

The petition challenged the Delhi government’s October 28, 2019 notification by which a provision was added in the Delhi Transport Corporation (Free and Concessional Passes) Regulation of 1985 to make travel free for women on DTC buses.

The petition contended that the scheme and the regulation were contrary to the Motor Vehicle Act and impermissible under the Constitution.

It also said that due to free travel for women on DTC and cluster buses, small time operators were getting fewer passengers making their respective businesses financially unviable.

Delhi HC directs police to look into traffic restrictions on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the city police to look into traffic restrictions on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch, which has been closed for nearly a month due to protests against the amended Citizenship Act, while keeping in mind the larger public interest.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar asked the police to look into the issue while also keeping in mind maintenance of law and order.

The court passed the order while disposing of a PIL filed by advocate and social activist Amit Sahni seeking a direction to the Delhi Police Commissioner to lift restrictions on Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh Stretch and Okhla underpass, which were closed on December 15, 2019 for ongoing protests against CAA and National Register of Citizen (NRC).

It was a temporary measure but has been extended from time to time.

The Kalindi Kunj stretch is vital as it connects Delhi, Faridabad (Haryana) and Noida (Uttar Pradesh) and commuters are forced to take the Delhi-Noida-Delhi (DND) Expressway and Ashram, which is causing hours of traffic jams and wastage of time and fuel, it said.

Delhi High Court declines to stay AAP govt’s minimum wage notification.


The Delhi High Court has declined to stay the AAP government’s decision taken in October last year to enhance the minimum wages to be paid to workers in the city.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said there was no need for the Delhi government to presume any stay against the notification of October 22, 2019 merely because notice was issued in the petition and applications challenging it.

“It cannot be said that till the notice is made returnable, the respondent-government shall deem as if stay is granted by this court. In other words, there is no need for the respondents to presume any stay against the impugned notification,” the bench said while dismissing an application of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry of NCT Delhi.

The organisation had filed the application seeking a stay on the notification in its main petition, seeking to set aside the Delhi government’s decision to enhance the minimum wages for unskilled workers to Rs 14,842 per month, Rs 16,341 per month for semi-skilled workers and Rs 17,991 per month for skilled workers.

The court further said when notice was already issued in the main petition and an earlier application for stay, and when stay was not granted, another plea for the same relief was not maintainable.

The bench also said, “It ought to be kept in mind that when this court had already issued notice in the earlier stay application and not granted any stay, the petitioner has no option but to follow the impugned notification and cannot avoid doing so by filing repeated stay applications.

Plea moved in HC for recovery of damages for property destroyed in anti-CAA protests

A plea was moved in Delhi High Court on Tuesday seeking directions to the authorities to recover damages for destruction of public and private property during anti-CAA protests from those responsible.

The matter was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay who urged the court to either take up the issue on its own or to permit him to file an application on the same.

The court while declining any urgent hearing on the issue raised by Upadhyay, said he was free to file an application which shall be listed in the normal course.

Upadhyay, also a lawyer, told the court that thousands of crores of property, including public transportation, has been damaged in the protests and the amounts be recovered from those responsible as it was being done in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

There have been several protests in the national capital since the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) has come into force and police has detained and arrested several persons involved in the agitations.

HC declines to entertain plea claiming telecom services illegally stopped during protests in Delhi

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a plea which alleged that telecom services were disrupted in various parts of the national capital during the anti-citizenship law protests in violation of rules.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar refused to entertain the PIL after Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Centre, told the court the disruption was only for four hours on December 19 and was no longer continuing.

There were protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on December 19.

ASG Jain further said no rules were violated in issuance of the direction for prohibition of telecom services as contended by the petitioner.

The court, while declining to entertain the matter, said the petitioner can file a suit for damages if it has suffered any loss due to the disruption.

The petition contended that the order for prohibition of telecom services in Delhi was issued by a Deputy Commissioner of Police and not the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) who is the competent authority to issue such a direction under the relevant rules.

Chopper scam: ED moves HC to cancel Ratul Puri’s bail in money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday moved the Delhi High Court seeking cancellation of bail granted by a trial court to businessman Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in the AgustaWestland money laundering case.

The plea by the ED was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar, which allowed it to be listed for hearing on Friday.

In its petition, filed through central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan, the agency has sought setting aside of the bail granted to Puri on December 2 by a trial court.

The ED, in its plea, has claimed that the trial court has not appreciated all the documents put on record while granting relief to Puri.

While granting him the relief, the trial court had directed Puri, who was in the ED custody since September 4, not to “tamper with evidence” or “try to contact or influence the witnesses”.

In the present VVIP chopper scam case, Puri was named as an accused in the sixth chargesheet filed by the ED.

The trial court had noted that the “co-accused having similar or greater role than the role of present accused have already been enlarged on bail.”

According to the ED, the role of Puri was that his foreign entities received proceeds of crime directly from Interstellar Technologies Ltd, a co-accused in the case, and that he had received funds from both the chains of money laundering involved in the present matter.

The ED had filed the supplementary prosecution complaint (ED’s equivalent to a chargesheet) against Puri and Jaspreet Ahuja in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case.

In January 2014, India had scrapped a contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary, AgustaWestland, for supplying 12 VVIP choppers to the Indian Air Force, over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks worth Rs 423 crore being paid to secure the deal.

HC junks PIL seeking advance declaration of intention to enter post-poll alliances

The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a PIL seeking directions to the Centre, AAP government and Election Commission (EC) to ensure there are no post-poll alliances by political parties to cobble a majority, as seen in Karnataka and Maharashtra, if such an intention has not been declared prior to the election.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said it was not going to entertain the petition moved by a registered society which had contended that political parties ought to declare beforehand whether they intend to go for post-poll alliances if they do not get an absolute majority.

The petition by Corruption Against Society had referred to the post-poll alliances in Karnataka and Maharashtra, saying a similar outcome was possible in the Delhi legislative assembly polls scheduled early next year.

It had sought directions to the authorities, including the EC, to ensure no post-poll alliances are entered into by political parties if a declaration about such an intention is not made in advance before the election.

Not practical to permit conjugal visits for prisoners in jails : Delhi High Court

Prison authorities have told the Delhi High Court that it is not practical to permit conjugal visits for prisoners as rules do not provide for such facility and there is limited infrastructure available.

The Director General (Prison) said it grants temporary leave to prisoners in the form of parole and furlough for maintaining family and social ties and the purpose of conjugal relation can be served during such period.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar listed the matter for February 26 for further hearing.

The response was filed on a PIL seeking conjugal visitation rights for prisoners.

Petitioner Amit Sahni, a lawyer and social activist, has claimed in his plea that conjugal visits in jail should be treated as a fundamental right of prisoners and their spouses.

The prison authorities, in its affidavit filed through Delhi government additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose, said conjugal visits inside prison cannot be allowed due to the nature of confinement.

“A prisoner can avail parole’ furlough or interim bail for maintaining family and conjugal rights. In addition to this, prisoners are allowed interviews with spouse, other family members, friends and counsel, hence social contacts are maintained,” it said.

The authorities denied the claim made in the plea that allowing of conjugal visits can help in curbing the menace of sexual crimes in Delhi since the petitioner has failed to explain how a sexual crime committed outside the prison has any relation with conjugal visits in prison as a solution to the menace.

It said that in Delhi, spousal meetings within the prison premises are allowed in terms of provisions of the Delhi Prison Rules 2018 but are monitored for safety and security of the prisoners, visitors and prisons.

In accordance with the established policy, the right to procreation is desirable, however, not practicable in the present prison scenario and the same is being regulated as per procedure established by law, it said.

“The Delhi Prison Act, 2000 and Delhi Prison Rules, 2018 do not permit any conjugal visits inside prison. There is no conjugal visitation programme offered in any closed prison in India. However, opportunity to preserve family ties and marital stability is ensured through regular releases on parole/ furlough/ interim bail,” the affidavit said.

It said there are 1,200 visitations on a daily basis in Tihar Jail alone and allowing conjugal visits in prisons at this time may not be feasible due to limited infrastructure available.

The authorities said no inmate lodged in Delhi prisons has raised any demand for facility of conjugal visits, as sought by Sahni.

For conjugal visits, prior consent and approval of the spouse are required and no such instance of filing any such petition by any spouse of an inmate has been put on record.

As per Delhi Prison Rules 2018, regarding grant of parole/ furlough, a convict prisoner here may be granted total of 8 weeks parole in a year in two spells and 7 weeks of furlough in three different spells per year.

The high court had earlier termed the issue raised in the plea as “very interesting” and sought responses of the Delhi government and the Director General of Prisons on it.

Sahni has said in his petition that presently under the state’s prison rule, meeting between an inmate and his or her spouse takes place in the presence of a prison officer and sought setting aside of the rule.

He has said that “despite courts taking a progressive approach and various countries allowing conjugal visits considering it an important human right and also in the light of studies backing conjugal visits as a factor to cut down crimes in jail and reform inmates, the Delhi Prison Rules, 2018 are totally silent on the issue”.

The petition contended that conjugal visitation rights ought to be provided in prisons in the state as most of the prisoners fall in the sexually active age group.

It has said private meetings with spouse cannot be denied to prisoners on grounds of existing provisions of parole and furlough and added these provisions were anyway not available to undertrial prisoners.

It has said conjugal visits not only ensures fundamental and human rights of those incarcerated, but also their spouses who suffer without any wrong.

It has also contended that various researches have shown that conjugal visits reduce frequency of prison riots, sexual crimes, homosexual behaviour while moving prisoners towards reformation and good behaviour.