Apex court sets aside HC order asking MCI to conduct inspection in college

New Delhi:The Apex Court today set aside a Bombay High Court order directing the Medical Council of India (MCI) to inspect a medical college, where “large-scale deficiencies” were found during an inspection last year, for granting renewal for admission in academic year 2018-2019.


A bench comprising justices L Nageswara Rao and M M Shantanagoudar allowed the appeal filed by the MCI, which had challenged the high court’s order asking it to carry out the inspection and submit a report to the Centre before April 30.

The Supreme court referred to one of its previous judgment, in which it had held that medical education must be taken very seriously and when an expert body certifies that facilities in a medical college were inadequate, it was not for the courts to interfere with the assessment except for reasons like mala fides of the inspection team or others.

“In view of the large-scale deficiencies found in the inspection report dated September 25, 2017 and September 26, 2017…the respondent no. one and two (Vedantaa Institute of Academic Excellence Pvt Ltd and Vedantaa Institute of Medical Sciences) are not entitled to claim another inspection,” the bench said.

“For the aforementioned reasons, the judgment of the high court is set aside and the appeal is allowed,” it said.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing the MCI, had argued in the apex court that in view of deficiencies found in the inspection conducted last year, there was no question of an opportunity being given to the institute to rectify these deficiencies.

The counsel appearing for the institute and college had argued that inspection was not conducted in a fair manner and the committee’s report does not represent the correct picture.

The Centre had told the apex court that standards fixed by the MCI were the bare minimum and have to be strictly complied with to ensure maintenance of basic minimum standards of medical education.

The Centre had issued a letter of permission in May last year to the institute to admit the first batch of 150 students for the academic year 2017-2018.

The inspection for granting the first renewal for admission of students for academic year 2018-2019 was conducted by an MCI panel on September 25 and 26 last year.

After several deficiencies were pointed out, MCI’s executive committee decided to recommend to the Centre to invoke the Establishment of Medical College Regulation, 1999 and disapprove the application of institute for renewal of permission of MBBS course second batch for academic year 2018-2019.

The matter then reached the high court which held that inspection conducted by the committee was not fair.

Supreme Court sets aside Bombay HC order asking MCI to conduct inspection in college

New Delhi:The Supreme Court today set aside a Bombay High Court order directing the Medical Council of India (MCI) to inspect a medical college, where “large-scale deficiencies” were found during an inspection last year, for granting renewal for admission in academic year 2018-2019.

A bench comprising justices L Nageswara Rao and M M Shantanagoudar allowed the appeal filed by the MCI, which had challenged the high court’s order asking it to carry out the inspection and submit a report to the Centre before April 30.

The apex court referred to one of its previous judgment, in which it had held that medical education must be taken very seriously and when an expert body certifies that facilities in a medical college were inadequate, it was not for the courts to interfere with the assessment except for reasons like mala fides of the inspection team or others.

“In view of the large-scale deficiencies found in the inspection report dated September 25, 2017 and September 26, 2017…the respondent no. one and two (Vedantaa Institute of Academic Excellence Pvt Ltd and Vedantaa Institute of Medical Sciences) are not entitled to claim another inspection,” the bench said.

“For the aforementioned reasons, the judgment of the high court is set aside and the appeal is allowed,” it said.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing the MCI, had argued in the apex court that in view of deficiencies found in the inspection conducted last year, there was no question of an opportunity being given to the institute to rectify these deficiencies.

The counsel appearing for the institute and college had argued that inspection was not conducted in a fair manner and the committee’s report does not represent the correct picture.

The Centre had told the apex court that standards fixed by the MCI were the bare minimum and have to be strictly complied with to ensure maintenance of basic minimum standards of medical education.

The Centre had issued a letter of permission in May last year to the institute to admit the first batch of 150 students for the academic year 2017-2018.

The inspection for granting the first renewal for admission of students for academic year 2018-2019 was conducted by an MCI panel on September 25 and 26 last year.

After several deficiencies were pointed out, MCI’s executive committee decided to recommend to the Centre to invoke the Establishment of Medical College Regulation, 1999 and disapprove the application of institute for renewal of permission of MBBS course second batch for academic year 2018-2019.

The matter then reached the high court which held that inspection conducted by the committee was not fair.

Re-probe into Mahatma assassination dismissed by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea seeking a re-investigation into the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

A bench of Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao, which heard the matter, dismissed the petition filed by Mumbai-based Pankaj Phadnis from Abhinav Bharat.

The apex court, which reserved its verdict on March 6, had made it clear that it would not go by “sentiments” but rely on legal submissions to decide on the petition.

The apex court had said the plea seeking retrial of the case was based on academic research but that could not form the basis to reopen the matter which happened years ago.

The petitioner had questioned the ‘three bullet theory’ relied upon by various courts to hold the conviction of Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte, who were hanged. He had contended that there was need to examine whether there was a fourth bullet, which was fired by someone other than Godse.

Phadnis, a trustee of charitable trust Abhinav Bharat, had also sought the expunction of “adverse, unfounded” remarks made by the Kapur Commission in 1969 report against Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and the setting up of a commission to probe the conspiracy behind the incident.

Phadnis alleged that the Maratha community was “maligned” due to these adverse remarks, which should hence be removed. He said there should be a retrial of the case, which led to the conviction and execution of Godse and Apte on November 15, 1949.

The court, however, said it did not share his sentiments that Marathas have been maligned and observed,”Maratha people have survived in spite of all this. You are talking about two persons who happened to be from Maharashtra. They do not represent the state. Observation about two persons does not malign whole Marathis.”

Phadnis claimed in his affidavit that the alleged conspirators were hanged even before the murder trial had attained legal finality from the top court.

Gandhi was shot dead at point blank range in New Delhi on January 30, 1948 by Godse, a right-wing advocate of Hindu nationalism. The assassination case had led to the conviction and execution of Godse and Apte on November 15, 1949. Savarkar was given benefit of doubt due to lack of evidence.

Phadnis had challenged the decision of the Bombay High Court which on June 6, 2016 had dismissed his plea on two grounds — first, that the findings of fact have been recorded by the competent court and confirmed right up to the apex court; second, that the Kapur Commission had submitted its report and made observations in 1969, while the present petition was filed 46 years later.

Rape case: SC relief to film maker, acquittal upheld

 ‘Peepli Live’ co-director Mahmood Farooqui today got a major relief from the Supreme Court which dismissed an American woman’s plea challenging a Delhi High Court verdict acquitting him in a rape case.

The top court said they were “good friends” and she had even expressed her “love” to him after the alleged incident.

It also said the woman appeared to have responded in a “positive manner” when they had met on the day of alleged incident and it was a case of “relationship” in which they have known each other.

The apex court referred to the e-mail communications between the 30-year-old woman and Farooqui and asked her counsel how could the woman say “I love you” in her mail to the accused after the alleged 2015 incident, which she later termed as rape.

A bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao observed that the high court’s verdict of September 25 last year acquitting Farooqui was a “well written judgement” warranting no interference.

“We are not satisfied (with her arguments). We will not interfere with the high court verdict. It is a well-written judgement,” the bench told advocate Vrinda Grover, who was representing the woman.

Farooqui was earlier convicted and sentenced to 7-year jail term by a trial court here in August 2016. However, the high court had acquitted him in the case last year.

The Delhi Police had on June 19, 2015, lodged an FIR against Farooqui on the woman’s complaint.

The police had filed a charge sheet against him alleging he had raped the research scholar from Columbia University at his Sukhdev Vihar house in South Delhi on March 28, 2015.

Farooqui had denied all the allegations.

During the hearing, the top court asked her counsel, “How many rape cases you have gone through where the prosecutrix (woman) has said ‘I love you’ to the alleged accused much after the alleged incident.”

However, Grover told the bench that the matter related to “forced oral sex” and the woman had not given her consent.

She said that the argument of alleged consensual relation was advanced by Farooqui’s lawyer before the high court for the first time and claimed that this issue was not raised before the lower court during the trial.

But the bench observed that it was not a case where strangers came, met and did something as both Farooqui and the woman were known to each other.

“It is a case of relationship. They were known to each other,” the bench said, adding, “This is a very hard case. We would like to say that it has been decided extremely well (by the high court). It is not a case which can be decided easily”.

When the counsel said both the woman and Farooqui were known to each other, the bench asked, “according to her evidence, they had drinks together. The point is they knew each other, had drinks together and did many other things together”.

Referring to the high court’s verdict, Grover said the judgement said she was a “sterling witness” and the issue was of consent. She also argued that the woman had said ‘no’ to Farooqui’s advance towards her.

“But initially ‘yes’. There appeared to be a positive response by her which according to her was faked. People give false smiles. How would the other person know it is a false response. This is very difficult to understand,” the bench said, adding that the high court had also observed that it was not reflected that she was saying ‘no’.

However, her counsel claimed in the court that during the alleged incident, the woman was afraid that “something bad” would happen with her as he had become forcefull.

The bench then referred to the e-mail exchanged between the woman and Farooqui and said the records showed they were very good friends.

The court also asked the counsel as to how many times the woman had visited Farooqui’s house and had drinks together.

It, however, clarified that the top court was not at all saying that if somebody visits the house of another regularly, then such act amounts to waiver of right to be protected against offence like rape.

The court also referred to a document in which the woman had said that she and Farooqui had exchanged kiss. “This does not happen between friends,” the bench said.

The lawyer said it was prior to the alleged incident and added, “consent must be appreciated in terms of the incident in question and not prior intimacy”.

She also argued that “refusal was clear in this case”.

The bench, while dismissing the plea, said it was not satisfied and would not interfere with the high court’s judgement and no question of law was involved in the matter.

The high court had acquitted Farooqui saying it remained doubtful whether any such incident took place. It had asked Tihar jail authorities to release Farooqui who was in custody following the trial court’s order.

The high court had said in the order that “the testimony of the victim is not reliable and there are discrepancies.”

The high court had, however, brushed aside her contention and noted that “what the appellant has been communicated is, even though wrongly and mistakenly, that the prosecutrix is okay with it and has participated in the act.”

The trial court, which on July 30, 2016 had held Farooqui guilty of raping the woman in 2015 in a drunken state, had also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on him.

SC asks petitioner locus for seeking re-probe into Mahatma’s assassination

 The Supreme Court today posed searching questions to a petitioner, who is seeking re- investigation in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, and asked him to satisfy it on aspects of delay and his locus to raise this issue.

The apex court made it clear that it would go only by law and not the stature of the person involved in the case.

A bench comprising Justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao told the petitioner not to get carried away by the greatness of the person involved as the issue was whether there was any evidence available in the matter.

“You (petitioner) have to answer a couple of very important points. One of them is delay. The other is locus.

the third is the fact that because of the delay, every piece of evidence pertaining to the incident is lost,” the bench said adding that almost all witnesses related to the case have passed away.

The court was hearing a plea filed by Mumbai-based Dr Pankaj Phadnis

, a researcher and a trustee of Abhinav Bharat, who has sought reopening of investigation on several grounds, claiming it was one of the biggest cover-ups in the history.

Meanwhile, Phadnis requested for time to respond to the report filed by senior advocate Amarendra Sharan, who has been appointed as an amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter.

Sharan, in his report filed in the court, has said that there was no need to re-investigate Mahatma’s assassination case as the conspiracy behind the murder and identity of assailant Nathuram Vinayak Godse who had fired the bullets have already been duly established.

The bench granted four weeks time to the petitioner to file his response to the report of the amicus.

During the hearing the bench told the petitioner that the issue was whether any admissible evidence was available at present.

“Don’t get carried away with the greatness of the person involved. This is about whether there is any evidence available or not,” the bench observed adding, “court will act according to the law and rule and not as per stature of person involved.

Source : PTI

Organised crimes not restricted to particular state: SC

Organised crime is not restricted to a “particular state” and a trial court can take note of charge sheets filed against offenders outside the state for invoking the stringent MCOCA, the Supreme Court has held.

The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA), which is in force in Delhi too, is invoked against offenders to curb the menace of organised crimes.

A bench comprising justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao made the observation while dealing with the appeal of Delhi government against an order of the high court.

The high court had upheld a trial court order discharging Uttar Pradesh-based alleged gangster Brijesh Singh from the charges under the MCOCA on many grounds, including that the charge sheets, pertaining to running of organised crimes syndicate, were filed in cases outside the national capital.

The Supreme court, which upheld the order of the high court, said “the words ‘competent Court’ in Section 2(d) of MCOCA is not restricted to courts in Delhi and charge sheets filed in courts in other states can be taken into account for the purpose of constituting continuing unlawful activity”.

“The commission of crimes like contract killings, extortion, smuggling in contrabands, illegal trade in narcotics, kidnappings for ransom, collection of protection money and money laundering etc by organised crime syndicates was on the rise.

“To prevent such organised crime, an immediate need was felt to promulgate a stringent legislation. The government realised that organised crime syndicates have connections with terrorist gangs and were fostering narcotic terrorism beyond the national boundaries.

“The MCOCA was promulgated with the object of arresting organised crime which was posing a serious threat to the society. The interpretation of the provisions of the MCOCA should be made in a manner which would advance the object of the MCOCA,” the bench said in a 34-page judgement.

Justice Bobde, writing the judgement for the bench, said the menace of organised crime posed a serious threat to civil society and there was a need for making special provisions for prevention and control of criminal activities of the organised crime syndicates and gangs.

This need was recognised by the Maharashtra Legislature which brought the MCOCA in 1999, it said.

The top court considered the question whether charge sheets filed in competent courts outside the National Capital Territory of Delhi can be taken into account for the purpose of constituting a “continuing unlawful activity” and booking offenders under the MCOCA.

It also dealt with the question whether there can be prosecution under the MCOCA without any offence of organised crime committed under the jurisdiction of the particular court.

It held that the words ‘competent court’ under the MCOCA was not restricted to the courts of a particular state where the law is in force and charge sheets filed in courts in other states can also be taken into account for the purpose of constituting continuing unlawful activity.

The apex court also held that an offender cannot be prosecuted under MCOCA without an organised crime being committed within Delhi

Can IIT withhold result: SC on student charged with sexual harassment

The Supreme Court has said it will examine whether an IIT can withhold the results of a final-year student, who was terminated after being held guilty in a sexual harassment case.

A bench of justices S A Bobde and L Nageswara Rao issued notice to the Centre and IIT-Kanpur on the plea of the student, who challenged the Allahabad High Court order dismissing his plea.

Advocate Manu Shanker Mishra, appearing for the petitioner, said the results of the final semester should be given to the student as the delay is jeopardising his career.

The petitioner, before being terminated, was a final-year student of Department of Physics after being admitted to the institute in July 2012.

He was expelled from the institute in April 2016 after he was found guilty of sexually harassing a girl student.

The 23-year-old B.Sc Physics girl student had accused her senior of sexually harassing her for two years after which the college administration had forwarded the matter to the women’s cell. The cell found the accused guilty and he was expelled later.

He claimed that the women cell never gave the copy of the complaint made by the girl to him and did not even consider his reply.

“The charges levelled against the petitioner were absolutely vague and were incapable of being replied properly.

However, the petitioner gave replies to all the charges and he also tried to support his defence by introducing a large number of documents and a list of students who would appear as witnesses in the inquiry in support of his defence,” he said.

The student claimed that the findings of the Internal Complaint’s Committee were also not made available to him by the Women’s Cell.

He said that the report of the Women’s Cell together with the minutes of the meeting of the Senate Students’ Affairs Committee of March 30, 2016 were placed before the Academic Senate for its consideration on April 5, 2016 and were ratified and he was terminated.

“The Academic Senate did not give a copy of the report to the petitioner and it also did not give him any show-cause notice asking him to appear before the Senate for hearing.

“No opportunity of hearing of any kind whatsoever was afforded to the petitioner either by the Senate Students’ Affairs Committee or by the Academic Senate before the aforesaid decision of terminating the academic programme of the petitioner was taken by them,” he said.

The student claimed that his defence was not considered at all by the authorities at any stage of the proceedings and “there was sufficient material supplied by the petitioner so as to demonstrate that the complaint that was made against him by the female student was malicious”.

He said that single judge bench of the Allahabad High Court had ordered that the petitioner will submit a written unconditional apology before the institution and had directed the IIT to declare the petitioner’s result, if he has passed the examination.

IIT-Kanpur, however, challenged the order of the single- judge bench which the division bench on February 3, set aside.

Source : PTI

SC to hear PIL for making ‘Yoga’ compulsory for students

yogaThe Supreme Court would next week hear a plea seeking framing of a ‘National Yoga Policy’ and making ‘Yoga’ compulsory for students of Class I-VIII across the country.

A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao has agreed to hear on November 7 the PIL that seeks inclusion of Yoga as a compulsory subject in the curriculum on grounds including that its “secular” and right to health was an integral part of right to life.

The plea, filed by Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, a lawyer and Delhi BJP spokesperson, has sought a direction to the Ministry of Human Resources Development, NCERT, NCTE and the CBSE to “provide standard textbooks of ‘Yoga and Health Education’ for students of Class I-VIII keeping in spirit various fundamental rights such as right to life, education and equality.

“‘Right to Health’ is an integral part of Right to Life under the Article 21. It includes protection, prevention and cure of the health and is a minimum requirement to enable a person to live with human dignity.

“State has a obligation to provide health facilities to all the citizens, especially to children and adolescents. In a Welfare State, it is obligation of the State to ensure the creation and sustaining of conditions congenial to good health,” the plea said.

It said that right to health cannot be secured without providing ‘Yoga and Health Education’ to all children or framing a ‘National Yoga Policy’ to promote and propagate it.

“There are about 20 crore children, throughout the country, studying in primary and junior classes at the cost of public exchequer. Yoga should be taught to them as a compulsory subject as per National Curriculum Framework 2005, notified under Section 7(6) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009…”, it said.

It also sought a direction to the Ministries of Women and Child Development and Social Justice and Empowerment to declare ‘First Sunday’ of every month as ‘Health Day’ on the lines of ‘Polio Day’ to make the people aware about health- hazards and health-hygiene.”

The plea also said that a court at California had held that “yoga is secular”.

Source : PTI

Haji Ali Dargah to grant access to women: SC told

hazi-aliWomen will be granted access to the sanctum sanctorum of the Haji Ali shrine in Mumbai on par with men, the Dargah Trust told the Supreme Court today and sought four weeks to make the requisite infrastructural changes.

A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao granted time to the trust and disposed off its appeal against the Bombay High Court order asking it to give equal access to women also.

Senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, appearing for the trust, said an additional affidavit has been filed on behalf of the Dargah trust saying it is willing to allow women inside the shrine.

The apex court, on October 17, had extended the stay granted by Bombay High Court to facilitate an appeal against its decision to lift the ban on entry of women near the sanctum sanctorum of the Dargah in Mumbai.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had expressed hope that the Trust, which had challenged the high court judgement, “will take a stand which is progressive”.

Subramanium, had also assured the bench that he was on a “progressive mission” and said all holy books and scriptures promoted equality and nothing which is regressive in character should be suggested.

The bench had also remarked that “if you are not allowing both men and women to go beyond a point, there is no problem.

But if you are allowing some to go beyond a point while others are not, it is a problem.”

The counsel, appearing for a women’s group which has challenged the practice of the Trust not to allow women near the sanctum sanctorum, had submitted that the position was different before 2011 than what it is today.