Arvind Kejriwal opposes a second Rs 10 cr defamation suit in Delhi High Court.

Aam Aadmi Party national convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Monday opposed a second Rs 10 crore defamation suit against him brought by Union Minister Arun Jaitley in the Delhi High Court over the use of an “objectionable” word by his former lawyer Ram Jethmalani.

Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal claimed before Justice Manmohan that he had never instructed his former counsel to use any scandalous words against Jaitley during recording of his evidence.

Jaitley had filed the second defamation suit after Jethmalani allegedly “abused” him in the open court during the proceedings of the original defamation suit he had filed against the AAP chief and five other party functionaries.

The chief minister, however, maintained that apart from the ground of “absolute privilege, the present suit is also barred by Section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act”.

“The statement, upon which the suit is based on alleged defamatory imputations made by the senior advocate (without any oath), allegedly on the instructions of the defendant (Kejriwal), which he could not have disclosed,” Kejriwal said in his written statement filed through advocate Anupam Srivastava.

Section 126 of the Evidence Act bars disclosure of any professional communication between an advocate and his client including instructions given by the client in relation to his case.

During the cross-examination of the minister on May 17 last year before Joint Registrar in the Delhi High Court, Jethmalani had used a term Jaitley found objectionable.

The second suit filed through advocate Manik Dogra has said that the minister enjoyed a reputation of honesty and probity and had sacrificed large professional earnings in order to undertake public service.

The AAP leaders had accused the BJP leader of corruption during the latter’s term as president of the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA)—that the minister held from 2000 to 2013.

Jaitley, who had denied all allegations levelled by the AAP leaders in December 2015, had filed a civil defamation suit seeking Rs 10 crore damages from Kejriwal and five other leaders of his party, claiming they had made “false and defamatory” statements in the case involving DDCA, thereby harming his reputation. PTI

Shashi Tharoor and Arnab Goswami ready to depose in defamation suit in Delhi High Court

Shashi Tharoor and Arnab Goswami today told the Delhi High Court they were willing to step into the witness box to depose in the defamation suit filed by the Congress leader against the journalist and his channel Republic TV.

The statements were made by their counsel before Justice Manmohan, who sought to know whether Tharoor, a senior Congress leader, and Goswami, anchor and managing director of Republic TV, were willing to come before the court to defend themselves.

“Will you (Tharoor) step into the witness box? Your case was that you do not want to speak,” the judge asked the leader’s counsel.

Tharoor’s counsel Gaurav Gupta categorically stated that his client will turn up for deposition in the defamation case filed by him against Goswami and the news channel.

When the same question was posed to Goswami’s counsel Malvika Trivedi, she submitted, “He will also come to depose”.

The queries were posed by the court during framing of issues in the suit. Among the issues framed is whether Tharoor is entitled to compensation in a civil defamation suit filed by him against Goswami and his channel.

Tharoor, Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, had filed the suit against Goswami and Republic TV, claiming damages and compensation of Rs two crore for allegedly making defamatory remarks against him while airing news related to the mysterious death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.

Among other issues are whether the news reports broadcast by the journalist and his news channel between May 8 and 11, 2017, pertaining to the death of Pushkar were defamatory.

One of the issues framed was whether Tharoor is entitled to the permanent and prohibitory injunction restraining Goswami and his channel from maligning and defaming the Congress leader in any manner.

The court fixed the matter for May 10 for cross-examination of Tharoor by Goswami’s counsel and sent it to the joint registrar to decide whether any defamatory statements were made or telecast by TV channel.

Tharoor, through three different applications, had also sought a direction from the high court to restrain the TV channel from broadcasting any show related to his wife’s death till the probe was completed by the Delhi Police.

The judge had, however, refused to restrain the journalist and his news channel from airing news or debates relating to the mysterious death of Tharoor’s wife. It had, however, said the coverage has to be “tempered and balanced”.

The judge had also held that Tharoor had a “right to silence” under the Constitution and that “no person can be compelled to give testimony or answer questions which may incriminate him”.

Goswami and the channel had contended they have been cautious and never imputed that the Congress leader was guilty.

In his suit, Tharoor claimed the coverage was sensational and aimed at creating a non-existing controversy by maligning his public life and image.

Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a five star hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014.

HC grants bail to 1984 anti-Sikh riots case convict

The Delhi High Court today granted bail on medical grounds to an 89-year-old convict serving life term in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

A vacation bench of Justices Manmohan and Yogesh Khanna released retired naval officer Captain Bhagmal on bail till July four on the ground that he has to undergo a surgery.

The court granted him the relief till July four instead of three months sought by the convict, so that the bench which is hearing the anti-Sikh riots cases can take a final decision on his plea.

“A prayer is made for suspension of sentence for three months. In view of the circumstances placed before us, the sentence of the appellant is suspended till July 4,” the bench said in its interim order.

The convict is already on interim bail since March 24 on medical grounds.

Bhagmal, through his counsel, had stated that he is suffering from enlarged prostrate for which he has to undergo surgery which would require stay in the hospital.

Taking note of his medical condition, the bench extended his bail on furnishing of a personal bond of Rs 25,000 with one surety of the like amount.

It directed Bhagmal to give the address at which he would be available and the mobile number on which he can be contacted by the CBI during the interim suspension of his sentence.

The bench asked the convict not to get in touch with any witness or the legal heirs of the deceased.

“In case, there is a violation of this condition, it will be open to the CBI to move an application for recall of this order,” it said, adding that Bhagmal shall not leave the National Capital Territory of Delhi without its permission.

Bhagmal, former Congress councillor Balwan Khokhar, Girdhari Lal and two others were held guilty in a case relating to the murder of five members of a family in Raj Nagar area of Delhi Cantonment on November 1, 1984, after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

They had challenged their conviction and the sentence awarded by the trial court in May 2013.

The trial court had acquitted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar but awarded life term to Bhagmal, Khokhar and Girdhari Lal and three-year jail term to two others former MLA Mahender Yadav and Kishan Khokhar.

The convicts have filed appeals before the High Court while CBI too has filed an appeal alleging that they were engaged in “a planned communal riot” and “religious cleansing”. The agency has also appealed against acquittal of Kumar.

The high court had on March 29 this year issued show cause notices to 11 accused including Khokhar and Yadav in five 1984 anti-Sikh riots cases.

The accused, who were acquitted of the charges, were asked why should the court not order reinvestigation and retrial against them as they faced allegations of “horrifying crimes against humanity”.

The bench had issued notices on the complaints filed regarding the violent incidents on November 1 and 2, 1984 in the Delhi Cantonment area.

HC refuses to direct private school to admit kids under EWS quota

The Delhi High Court has refused to entertain a plea seeking a direction to an unaided private school to admit two children under the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) category after taking note of their certificates to this effect.

A vacation bench of Justices Manmohan and Yogesh Khanna said it cannot issue such a direction on a plea of a third person but may entertain a petition of their parents.

The court said it had decided similar cases in past in which large number of parents procured fake EWS certificates to obtain admissions in nursery for their wards.

It said that though its order had gone against the errant parents for procuring fake certificates to get admission, it, however, had persuaded the Directorate of Education (DoE) of Delhi Government to allow the admitted kids to pursue their studies as they were not at fault.

“With great difficulty, we had persuaded the department (DoE) not to cancel their (children with fake EWS certificate) admissions,” the bench said.

The court’s observation came during the hearing of a plea by a young woman seeking a direction to a private unaided school to admit the two kids in nursery on the basis of EWS certificate.

She also told the high court that the parents had sought help of the area MPs and MLAs in this regard, but to no avail.

The bench said that if the parents can approach MPs and MLAs, why can’t they come to the court.

“Let the parents approach this court, we will certainly look into it,” the bench said, adding that the petitioner has “no locus” to argue the matter.

Delhi has close to 1.25 lakh nursery seats up for grabs for around 1.5 lakh applicants. Every school is required to reserve 25 per cent seat for students from the EWS category.

Man gets jail for failure to abide by SC order on alimony

Violating a Supreme Court order asking him to pay Rs one lakh interim alimony to his estranged wife has proved costly for a man, with the Delhi High Court sending him to jail for two months.

The high court held the man guilty of contempt of court while considering his “contumacious conduct” and said his conviction was needed to “uphold the majesty of law”, dignity of courts and sanctity of judicial proceedings.

Justice Manmohan also rejected the man’s plea that he was unable to pay the monthly maintenance, saying the photographs placed on record indicate that he was maintaining a lavish lifestyle.

“From the facts, it is apparent that the husband has committed a wilful and deliberate breach of the order of the apex court dated April 19, 2016.

“In the opinion of this court, the conduct of the husband interferes with the due course of justice and he is guilty of contempt of court. In fact, it is necessary to do so to uphold the majesty of law and dignity of courts as well as sanctity of court proceedings,” the court said.

“Keeping in view the contumacious conduct of the husband, this court sentences the respondent, who is present in court, to two months simple imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 2,000,” the court said while directing that he be taken into custody forthwith to serve the jail term.

The high court’s order came as it disposed of the woman’s contempt plea in which she had alleged that till date, the man has to pay her an outstanding amount of Rs 67 lakh as per the directions of the apex court.

Her counsel said the man has wilfully disobeyed the apex court’s order and his conduct was contumacious as he referred to certain photographs of the husband to show that he has been leading a luxurious life.

The man claimed before the court that he was financially incapable of complying with the apex court’s direction as he was earning a salary of Rs 20,000 per month. He claimed the man has till now paid Rs 43 lakhs to the woman.

His counsel said that the apex court has only determined the ad-interim maintenance amount and the final determination has been left to the trial court.

The high court said the ground of financial incapacity was also raised and considered by the apex court and despite this defence, the top court had directed the man to pay maintenance of Rs one lakh per month with effect from May 1, 2016 and also to pay outstanding arrears within three months.

It also noted that till now, the man has not been declared an insolvent.


Domestic crude export not economically justified

crude oil(PTI) With nearly 85 per cent of India’s crude oil requirement being met by imports, it would not be “economically justified” to permit export of the country’s domestic crude production, the Centre has told the Delhi High Court.

The submission was made by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, while opposing UK-based Vedanta group company Cairn India’s plea for permission to export excess crude from its Barmer oil field in Rajasthan.

Defending its decision not to allow Cairn to export the crude, the ministry has said an empowered committee of secretaries has gone into the issue and concluded that India’s energy security would be adversely affected by allowing crude oil exports as then “more expensive” and “lighter crude oil” would have to be imported.

“India has a total refining capacity of 223 million tonnes of crude oil. That in the present scenario only 38 million tonnes of crude oil from domestic production is available for refining in Indian refineries.

“That the balance (84.9 per cent) crude oil is required to be imported to meet the domestic refinery capacity. Hence, allowing export of domestic production of crude oil is not economically justified,” the ASG told Justice Manmohan.

The ASG, assisted by central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, also told the court that Cairn has “complete freedom to fix the price of crude oil”, that it sells to any domestic refinery, “on arms length basis” as the company has claimed it was forced to sell its share of crude to private players at prices 20 per cent less than global rates.

With regard to Cairn’s earlier claim that selling its share of crude at lesser price has caused a loss of Rs 1400 crore to the government, the ministry told the court that “we do not want to earn profit out of our natural resources” and added that crude oil cannot be exported presently as per its policy of zero per cent export till India attains self sufficiency.

The court, thereafter, asked the government to place the policy before it by the next date of hearing on May 18.

Only CNG Cabs Will Ply on Delhi Roads: High Court

CNG CabsThe Delhi High Court on Tuesday made it clear that only those cabs which run on compressed natural gas (CNG) can ply on the national capital’s roads.

Justice Manmohan said that since he has already passed an order against ANI Technologies, the company that owns Ola, prohibiting it from running diesel cabs, then same would apply “across the board” to other companies including Uber.

“I cannot discriminate against them (Ola). I can’t say Ola has to comply and Uber need not. You have to comply with my order on CNG. That’s all,” the judge said.
He also said that his decision has been affirmed by the division bench, so it means the order applies to everyone, so he need to abide by that order.

“How can people take law in their hands? You will have to behave in accordance with law,” the court said, adding that “since Delhi government has come out with some scheme, why don’t you (Ola and Uber) comply with it?”

Uber India, which was represented through senior advocate Rajiv Nayar, said that it can replace the diesel taxis with CNG cabs within six months.

“It cannot be done overnight. It can be done in a phased manner. I can only say that from today no new diesel taxis would be used,” Mr Nayar said.

Hearing which the judge said that Ola undertook to make the change in a reasonable time period, “so you need to be realistic and do the same in time bound manner and tell us”.

Mr Nayar said he needed time to seek instruction from Uber on this aspect of the time frame in which they will phase out diesel taxis.

Thereafter, the court listed the matter for tomorrow by when Mr Nayar has been asked to take instruction from Uber.

The court was hearing a plea filed by Association of Radio Taxis, represented by senior advocate Nidesh Gupta, who contended that the court’s order upholding a ban on diesel cabs providing point-to-point service in the national capital was being implemented only against Ola while other app-based taxi services were violating it with impunity.

HC Quashes Point System of Nursery Admission in Delhi

The point system of nursery admissions devised by the Lt Governor for private unaided schools was today quashed by the Delhi High Court which said the government’s decision was “neither procedurally proper nor rational”.

Justice Manmohan said the private unaided schools have the fundamental right to “maximum autonomy in day-to-day administration, including right to admit students”.

The court also said that “children should have the option to go to a neighbourhood school, but their choice cannot be restricted to a school in their locality”.

“This court is unable to appreciate that a student’s educational fate can be relegated to his position on a map,” Justice Manmohan said in his 69-page judgement.

The court was also of the opinion that the “neighbourhood concept was better taken of by private unaided schools both in terms of guidelines laid down in the Ganguly Committee report as well as under the earlier admission order of 2007…”.

“Consequently, the impugned office orders being violative of the fundamental rights of the school management to maximum autonomy in day-to-day administration, including right to admit students as well as the fundamental right of children through their parents to choose a school… are quashed quo private unaided schools with regard to 75 per cent general category nursery seats”.

The court passed the judgement while disposing of two petitions by a committee and a forum representing private schools which had challenged the LG’s December 18 and December 27 notifications of last year by which the point system was introduced.

Under the earlier system, out of a total 100 points, 70 were given if the child lives in the neighbourhood of the school, additional 20 were given if a sibling is studying there, five points more if either parent is an alumni and another five points if it is an inter-state transfer case.

Draw of lots were held at each point level. Thereafter, the government had on February 27 issued an order abolishing the five points that were being awarded in inter-state transfer cases.

Scrapping quota; HC seeks DU’s Hindu College reply

delhi-high-courtThe Delhi High Court today sought a response from the Hindu College on scrapping of five per cent quota in admissions in undergraduate courses for candidates under the category of excellence in sports and other extra-curricular activities.

A bench of Justice Manmohan issued the notice to the Delhi University college and sought its reply within two weeks on the plea filed by an admission seeker under the Extra Curricular Activity (ECA) category.

As per the circular or guidelines of DU, five per cent seats, out of the total sanctioned seats in a college, has to be filled up by sportspersons and others under ECA category.

The Hindu College has 37 seats available under ECA category, the plea filed by Vishal Maharaj, a student from Bihar, said.

However, the College’s staff council, headed by the acting Principal, decided to do away with ECA quota n July 4, saying no admission under the category would be held for the academic year 2014-2015.

The plea has been filed against the decision seeking “quashing of the notice dated July 2014” and issuance of “a writ of mandamus or any other appropriate writ, order or direction directing the respondents to continue admissions under ECA quota for undergraduate programmes.”

(Source: PTI)

Kid falls in manhole, dies: HC notice to Delhi govt,cop

delhi-high-courtThe Delhi High Court today sought a response from the city government and the police on a man’s plea seeking a compensation of Rs 20 lakh for the death of his minor son in 2013 after falling into an open manhole in Kondli area of east Delhi.

Justice Manmohan issued the notice to Delhi Police, Public Works Department (PWD) and East Delhi Municipal Corporation, seeking their replies by November 5.

The petition was filed by Mohd Aslam Khan whose son Mohd Sadaf Siddiq died on January 31, 2013 after falling into an open manhole while playing with his friends.

The seven-year-old victim’s father has alleged in the petition that the manhole was open for a long time and the government had never tried to cover it up properly.

According to the petition, two children were playing in Harijan Basti in Kondli area of east Delhi when both of them fell into the open manhole. While one child survived, Aslam’s son died.

(Source: PTI)