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.

Parity between salaries of police personnel and home guards not possible: Delhi High Court

Salaries and perks paid to police personnel cannot be equated with that of home guards as there is no parity between their service condition, the Delhi High Court has ruled.

Holding that home guards are engaged on temporary basis whereas the employment of the police personnel has a permanent feature, said a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar.

The two cadres are entirely different, it said.

“Neither the salary nor the perks being paid to the police personnel can be extended to the home guards working in Delhi. Moreover… it appears that enough and adequate care has been taken by the respondents for the home guards, e.g., Rule 18 of the Delhi Home Guards Rules prescribes compensation to be paid to the home guards,” the bench said in a recent order.

The remuneration paid to home guards was Rs 15,840 per month in 2016 and it was increased to Rs 20,820 from 2018, the high court noted.

“Thus, in a period of two years, the rise in remuneration is approximately 31 per cent. This rise in remuneration is too much. Enough is enough. Home Guards cannot expect more than this much rise in remuneration,” the bench said.

Referring to a Supreme Court judgement, the high court said the duties and responsibilities of the home guards and police personnel are entirely different.

“These two are entirely different cadres; one is temporary in nature and another is permanent in nature; one is a voluntary body whereas another is recruited under Delhi Police Act, 1978,” the bench noted.

“Thus, we see no reason to give any direction and much less to issue a writ for the facilities demanded by the petitioner. Nevertheless, the demand raised by the respondents may be taken care of by the respondents at an appropriate stage looking to the budgetary provisions available with the respondent and looking to their own priorities,” the high court said.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Legal Forum for Women Empowerment, seeking directions to formulate plan and policies for the welfare of home guards, both male and female, working in Delhi at different departments under different capacities.

The plea said that benefits like provident fund, pension, insurance, health schemes, medical coverage, sanitation facilities, medical check-up on monthly basis should be provided to the home guards at par with officials/officers of Delhi Police.

It was also submitted by the counsel for the petitioner that work performed by the home guards and police personnel are almost similar.

“The home guards have to work 24×7 and they are at the beck and call of their superior officers, sometimes they are engaged in VIP bandobast, sometimes for controlling the law and order,” the plea said.

“Thus, practically, there is no difference between work performed by the Home Guards and Police Personnel, hence, at least, Provident Fund/Pension, Insurance, Health Scheme benefits, medical coverage, sanitation facilities and medical checkup on monthly basis should be provided to the home guards at par with the police officials/officers,” it added.

Urdu & Persian Words in FIR: High Court directs Police not to use such “bombastic” language

HC Bench comprising of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar stated that,“Too much flowery language, the meaning of which is to be found out by a dictionary, should not be used. An FIR should be in the words of the complainant”.

Bench further added that,”Police is there for public at large and not just for persons with doctorate degree in Urdu or Persian. Simple language should be used, instead of high-sounding words. People have to know what is written. It is applicable to use of English also. Do not use bombastic language.”

HC Bench was hearing a petition filed by Advocate Vishalakshi Goel seeking directions to Delhi Police not to use Urdu and Persian words in FIRs.

Delhi Government Additional standing counsel Naushad Ahmed Khan, appearing on behalf of Police stated that the Urdu and Persian words used in FIRs can be understood by “making a little effort”. He added that words are used when transferring the FIR to the higher authorities.

High Court has directed Police Commissioner to file an affidavit explaining whether Urdu or Persian words are used by Agency or the Complainant.

Bench has listed the matter for further hearing on November 25.

Delhi High Court seeks Ayush Ministry reply on plea against decision on biometric attendance in colleges

The Delhi High Court has sought the response of the Ministry of Ayush on a plea challenging its decision to install Aadhaar-based biometric attendance system in colleges.

Justice C Hari Shankar asked the ministry and Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) to file their counter affidavits on the plea and listed the matter for further hearing on May 23.

The petition filed by Uttarakhand-based Uttaranchal Ayurvedic College sought quashing of the January 9 minutes of the meeting by which the ministry directed CCIM to conduct surprise inspections of all colleges possessing five-year permission claiming it is in contravention of the ministry’s July 2012 notification and the law laid down by the Supreme Court.

It said the apex court has held that the inspection may be done on a complaint or otherwise by a team appointed by central council only.

The petition, filed through advocate Amit Sahni, said a decision was also taken in the January meeting for implementation of Aadhaar enabled geo-location based biometric attendance system for staff and faculty of the colleges.

It claimed that the minutes of meeting are bad in law and liable to be quashed as this attendance system is in violation of the apex court constitution bench judgment in the K S Puttaswamy case in which it was held that Aadhaar and its usage cannot be forced upon any individual.

“The minutes of meetings were not sent to all ayurvedic colleges and also the same was not uploaded on the official website of the Ministry of Ayush.

“The authorities may proceed with the decision taken in minutes of meeting dated January 9, 2019, therefore the present petition,” it said.

During the hearing, the court made it clear that if any action is taken by the authorities before the next date of hearing, on the basis of the decision which has been challenged in the petition, they would abide by the outcome of these proceedings.

It also issued notice to the authorities on the plea to stay the minutes of meeting and listed it for March 27.

The plea also alleged that the ministry has passed several directions which are contrary to law viz, to conduct inspections even in Ayurvedic, Homoeopathic, Unani and Siddha colleges, which were granted permission for five years.

The minutes of meeting also stated that the colleges shall have to recruit faculty or staff registered in that particular state, it said.

HC disappointed by officials’ apathy towards upkeep of Gandhi memorial

New Delhi: Pained by the “apathy” of officials towards the upkeep of Rajghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi.

“It is painful to see such apathy on the part of the officials tasked to deal with the issue of maintaining Rajghat, a memorial to the Father of the Nation,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said.
The court also termed as “serious” and unfathomable that the authorities were unable to produce the original drawings and plan of the Rajghat samadhi.
“We are unable to fathom how they are not available,” the bench said and directed the secretary, Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) to draw up an inventory of the important buildings in the national capital and ensure the availability of the original drawings and plans of such structures.

The court said necessary directions should be issued by the secretary, MoUD, to ensure that the drawings and plans were collected and preserved on an urgent basis.
It then listed the matter for further hearing on August 6.

HC to AAP: Don’t insist on documents like Aadhaar to give benefits of maternity schemes

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today said there was no legal basis for the AAP government to insist on documents like Aadhaar and bank passbooks, to provide maternity scheme benefits to pregnant and lactating women in the city.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar asked the Delhi government not to insist on such documents for providing benefits to those eligible under maternity schemes like Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY).
The court also directed the government to widely publicise the benefits of such schemes and the requirements for registration as many women appeared unaware about them.

“No such requirement (for Aadhaar) is set out in the scheme (JSY),” it said and added “there is no legal basis for respondent (Delhi government) to insist on the documents mentioned above for availing benefits of JSY”.

The directions by the bench came while hearing a woman’s PIL, filed through advocate Sija Nair Pal, challenging the Delhi government’s decision to insist on documents like Aadhaar to provide cashless facility under the JSY.
Pal placed an affidavit before the bench indicating a list of 22 poor women who were ignorant about the benefits of JSY and were not registered under the scheme.
Most of them did not have bank accounts or Aadhaar cards, the court noted and said that it indicated an “unfortunate state of affairs”.

The court said a lot needs to be done, including giving wide publicity to the schemes, to ensure women entitled to benefits under the JSY can avail the same.
In another matter pertaining maternity scheme, Pradhan Mantri Matritva Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), the court was told that women earlier eligible under it have been disentitled from availing the benefits after its name was changed.
The PMMVY was earlier known as Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) which was run on a pilot basis in 53 districts of the country and the monetary benefit under it was Rs 6,000, the court was told.
After being changed to PMMVY, the monetary benefit was reduced to Rs 5,000 and earlier beneficiaries were disentitled, the court was also told.
Taking note of the situation, the bench said that any scheme for marginalised women has to be implemented so that all the targeted persons can enjoy the benefits.

“Rechristening of the scheme cannot lead to denial of its benefits to women who were determined eligible under the earlier scheme,” it said.
“They cannot be disentitled subsequently as their eligibility has already been established,” the court added.

With the above directions and observations the court disposed of both the PILs and directed the Delhi government to ensure that wide publicity is given to all maternity health schemes.

HC dismisses PIL seeking deregistration of CPI(M)

New Delhi: .The Delhi High Court today dismissed a PIL seeking deregistration of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), after it was told that the petitioner had suppressed his political affiliation.

“You (petitioner) are guilty of suppression of material facts. You failed to disclose your political affiliation. You should have disclosed it and said that despite your affiliation, you want to place the issue before the court. You should meet your case head-on,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said.

The court said the suppression of his political affiliation by the petitioner, who claimed to be a social worker, was sufficient to “non-suit” him and dismiss his petition.
The order came after the lawyer appearing for the CPI(M) told the court that the petitioner was affiliated to BJP and had suppressed the fact when filing the petition.
The lawyer said the petitioner, Jojo Jose, was using the matter for gaining political mileage.

The petitioner, in his plea, had sought quashing of the Election Commission’s September 1989 order granting registration to the CPI(M).
The petitioner had sought deregistration of CPI(M) on the ground that the party’s constitution allegedly did not contain the provision of true allegiance to Constitution as mandated by the law.
He had alleged that the main objective of the CPI(M) was unconstitutional and it was formed for an unlawful purpose.

Child rape deserve no leniency: HC

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has upheld the conviction of and life sentence awarded to a man for raping a minor girl, saying “child rape is inexcusable” and “no leniency or mercy can be shown” to one who commits such a crime.

While upholding the March 2004 decision of a trial court to sentence the man to imprisonment for life, a bench of Justices S P Garg and C Hari Shankar observed that child rape was “an offence less of passion and more of power”.
The court said that while rape was an anathema, but when it was perpetrated on a minor, it showed the “depravity” ingrained in the psyche of the perpetrator and such persons did not deserve any leniency in law or the right to cohabit in society with others.

“Ecclesiastically as well as temporally, child rape is inexcusable. No leniency, or mercy, can be shown to the violator of the body of a child of tender years, who is yet to savour the first fragrance of adolescence.

“We find no reason, therefore, to interfere, far less differ, with the finding, of the Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ), that the appellant (Anil Mehto) was guilty of having committed rape on the prosecutrix and, subsequently, of having threatened her with dire consequences, in case she were to disclose the fact of commission of rape, on her, to anyone else,” the bench said.

The court refused to interfere with the life sentence awarded to the convict, saying “the perpetration of social order would necessarily require, therefore, the removal of such elements from the societal fabric, if the warp and weft thereof are to remain intact”.

The bench further said that “child rape was the ultimate indicator of the reality, often unnoticed, that rape is an offence less of passion and more of power”.

“Rape, of any kind and on anyone, is an anathema in a civilised society; when perpetrated on a young child, however, it betokens a depravity, in the perpetrator, which is ingrained in his psyche, and which altogether disentitles him from any leniency, in law, or the right to cohabit, in society, with his brother,” it added.

According to the prosecution, the incident occurred on the night of August 16, 2000, when Mehto raped the minor girl while her siblings and father were sleeping.

Delhi HC requested not to take coercive steps against bureaucrats

New Delhi:
The Delhi High Court today requested the Delhi Legislative Assembly not to take any “coercive steps” against three senior bureaucrats summoned by the Speaker of the House to appear before it for allegedly failing to answer certain questions of legislators.

Justice C Hari Shankar said that no “precipitative action” be taken against the three bureaucrats, who on June 7 were asked by Speaker Ram Niwas Goel to be present in the visitors gallery of the House today.

The court said its interim order against the June 7 letter of the Speaker shall be in operation till June 13, the next date of hearing.

It said it was passing the interim order as serious issues have been raised in the petitions by the three bureaucrats and these need “proper consideration”.

The pleas against the June 7 letter have been moved by Sandeep Kumar, Education secretary, Nagendra Kumar, Services secretary, and Manisha Saxena, Revenue secretary.

Senior advocate Sanjay Jain and advocate Rajshekhar Rao, appearing for the three bureaucrats, told the court that the allegedly unanswered questions pertained to subjects of services and land, which along with law and order, are issues on which the assembly cannot legislate.

The lawyers said that in such a situation, queries raised by legislators about these subjects ought not to have been allowed by the Speaker.

They also argued, that even if the questions were allowed, they may be answered by the Council of Ministers of Delhi government, but bureaucrats cannot be asked to provide inputs on those queries.

Jain and Rao also said that bureaucrats could not have provided inputs as they have been prohibited from doing so by their cadre controlling authority.

They said his aspect was communicated to the Speaker by bureaucrats, but he did not consider it.

Meanwhile, Delhi government’s additional counsel Gautam Narayan, appearing for the Assembly, said the bureaucrats are bound to comply with the June 7 letter.

Earlier in the day, the petitions were mentioned by Rao before a vacation bench of Justices Sangita Dhingra Sehgal and C Hari Shankar which allowed it to be listed for hearing today as the bureaucrats had to appear before the House at 2pm.

Goel’s letter of June 7 had warned the bureaucrats of strict action “as per rules” if they do not provide proper answers to three written questions asked by the ruling party legislators.

The three-day session, which started on June 6, was scheduled to conclude on June 8. However, it was extended by one working day, i.e. till today.

Goel had on June 6 directed the bureaucrats to be present during assembly proceedings the next day after their departments allegedly did not supply answers to written questions of legislators.

Angry with the development, the speaker had termed as “undeclared emergency” the situation where government officers are not providing answers asked by MLAs and blamed Lt Governor Anil Baijal for it.