PIL in Delhi High Court seeks SIT probe into attack on temple

A PIL was filed in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday seeking an SIT probe into the alleged conspiracy behind the attack on a temple in the walled city here.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) duly monitored by the court must investigate the attack on the Durga Temple and identify the real perpetrators of the crime, the petition said.

The petitioner, advocate Alakh Alok Shrivastava, also prayed for initiation of stringent action and formulation of suitable guidelines to avoid such attacks on other religious places of worships in future, considering the wider ramifications of such acts in disrupting communal harmony and peace in the society.

“The attack on a temple in the national capital has hurt the religious sentiments of crores of people across country…,” the plea claimed.

A fight over parking a scooter in old Delhi’s Chawri Bazaar area took a communal turn as the temple was vandalised leading to tension in the area Monday.

Undertrial prisoners’ letters for speedy trial of their cases turned into PIL by Delhi High Court.

The Delhi High Court initiated a PIL on Friday on letters sent by undertrials lodged in the jails here seeking a speedy disposal of their cases, which were pending in the lower courts for years.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani issued notice to the Delhi government and sought its response on the plea by August 13.

The court initiated the public interest litigation (PIL) on its own by taking cognisance of five letters sent by seven undertrials facing trial for cases ranging from murder to drug possession and also under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Ujair Ahmed, one of the undertrials who wrote to the court, was arrested in 2013 by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for various offences under the UAPA and is lodged in the Rohini jail here for over five years.

However, the case was yet to be put on charge, he has said in his letter, while claiming that he was falsely implicated in it.

Another undertrial, Imran Khan, who is lodged in Tihar Jail here since July 2016, when he was arrested by the NIA for offences under the UAPA, has said in his letter that the chargesheet in his case was filed in July 2016, but since then, there has been no progress.

Shahjahan, Mohammad Sajid and Sattar, lodged in Tihar Jail, are facing a drug possession and trafficking case lodged against them in 2014. They have written in their letter that the matter is pending trial in the lower court, which has till date examined only eight of the 26 witnesses.

They have also sought a speedy trial in their case.

Shahbuddin, an accused in a 2015 murder case and currently lodged in Tihar Jail, has prayed for a speedy trial of his case, in which the lower court has examined only eight of the 20 witnesses till date.

A similar plea has been made by Shankar, accused in a 2014 rape case, who is also lodged in Tihar Jail. He has contended that the trial court has examined only nine of the 17 witnesses in the case till date.

Inclusion of castes in OBC group: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court Wednesday sought to know if the Maharashtra government had conducted any study or survey before issuing a notification in 1967 inducting several castes in the OBC category for reservation.

A division bench of Chief Justice N H Patil and Justice N M Jamdar was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by activist B A Sarate challenging the inclusion of several castes in the Other Backward Class (OBC) group.

Sarate’s counsel V M Thorat told the HC that out of the 96 castes included in the OBC category, nearly 40 per cent were not even eligible for reservation.

“Inclusion of these castes is unconstitutional. There is a procedure laid down while deciding which caste should be included in a particular category for reservation. The government is not following this procedure,” Thorat said.

The bench then sought to know if the government had carried out any study or survey before issuing the Government Resolution (GR) in 1967 inducting a particular caste in the OBC category.

The petitioner has challenged the GR enlisting 180 castes and sub-castes for inclusion in the OBC category, and also another GR, dated March 1994, which increased the OBC quota percentage from 14 per cent to 32 per cent.

The petition claimed that various castes or communities were included in the OBC category without any survey, quantifiable data, investigation to determine the social, educational and economic backwardness.

“There has to be a comprehensive commission to carry out study and collect data. This is what the petition also seeks,” Chief Justice Patil said.

The bench then directed that the petition be placed for hearing before an appropriate bench next week.

PIL in HC for implementation in Delhi law regulating clinical establishments

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sought response of the Center and the AAP government on a public interest litigation claiming that the law for registration and regulation of all clinical establishments has not been implemented in the city despite coming into force in 2012.

A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao sought the stand of the two governments on the plea which has sought implementation of the Clinical Establishment (Registration and Regulation) Act of 2010.

The petition, by a Delhi based woman, has said that the Act prescribes the minimum standard of facilities and services to be provided to patients.

“The Act makes it mandatory for registration of all clinical establishments, including diagnostic centres and single-doctor clinics, across all recognised systems of medicine both in the public and the private sector except those run by the armed forces,” the plea, filed through advocates Sija Nair Pal and Deepak Kumar Singh, has said.

It has claimed that non-implementation of the law has led to instances of “gross medical negligence, malpractices and negligent attitude” of clinical establishments in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.

The petition has said that the Act has presently been enforced only in four states — Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram — and in all the Union Territories except Delhi from March 1, 2012. 

“States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam have also adopted this Act,” it has said.

The petition has further said that the Delhi government drafted the Delhi Health Bill in 2015 for the registration and regulation of clinical establishments in the national capital, but it has not yet been approved by the state legislature.

It has sought directions to the Centre and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to either implement the Clinical Establishment Act or bring into the effect the Delhi Health Bill to ensure “transparency and accountability in health care”.

SC to hear plea challenging Rafale deal on October 10

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear a fresh PIL against the Rafale deal between India and France on Wednesday.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph Monday said it will hear the PIL filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda, who is seeking a direction to the Centre to reveal details of the deal and the comparative prices during the UPA and NDA rule in a sealed cover to the apex court.

The petition also sought information about the contract given to Reliance by Dassault.

Advocate M L Sharma’s plea, filed earlier, alleging discrepancies in the fighter jet deal with France and seeking a stay on it will also come up for hearing on October 10. 

Sharma claimed in his plea that the inter-government agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets must be quashed as it was an “outcome of corruption” and not ratified by Parliament under Article 253 (Parliament has power to make any law for implementing any inter-government agreement) of the Constitution.

A similar plea was filed in the apex court in March this year seeking an independent probe into the Rafale deal and disclosure of the cost involved in the deal before Parliament.

The plea, filed by Congress leader Tehseen S Poonawalla, had sought a direction against the Centre on why the Union Cabinet’s approval was not sought as part of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) before signing the procurement deal with France on September 23, 2016.

Rafale deal is a defence agreement signed between the governments of India and France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircrafts in a fly-away condition as a part of the upgrading process of Indian Air Force equipment.

The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.

Indian Air Force had advanced a proposal to buy 126 fighter aircraft in August 2007 and floated a tender. Following this, an invitation was sent to various aviation companies to participate in the bidding process.

PIL in SC challenging Article 370 granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir

New Delhi:A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of Article 370 of the Constitution, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir and limits Parliament’s power to make laws concerning the state.

The plea has said the special provision was “temporary” in nature at the time of framing of the Constitution and Article 370(3) lapsed with the dissolution of the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly on January 26, 1957.

The plea, filed by Delhi BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, also seeks a declaration from the apex court that the separate Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir was “arbitrary” and “unconstitutional” on grounds, including that it was against the “supremacy of the Constitution of India and contrary to dictum of ‘One Nation, One Constitution, One National Anthem and One National Flag'”.

“The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir is invalid mainly for the reason that the same has not yet got the assent of the President, which is mandatory as per provisions of the Constitution of India,” the plea, which may come up for hearing next week, said. 

The petition, filed Thursday through advocate R D Upadhyay, claims that the maximum life span of Article 370 was only till the existence of the Constituent Assembly, that was January 26, 1950 when the national document was adopted.

Article 370 is a “temporary provision” with respect to Jammu and Kashmir and restricts the applicability of various provisions of the Constitution by “curtailing” the power of Parliament to make laws on subjects which fall under the Union and Concurrent lists.

Consequently, it allows the state to accord special rights and privileges to the natives, the plea said.

It claimed that the Article empowered the state legislature to frame any law without attracting a challenge on the grounds of violation of the right to equality of people from other states or any other right under the Constitution.

Delhi HC: PIL to frame norms on police probe into Marital rows

New Delhi:  A senior citizen, who was accused of rape by his daughter-in-law and discharged from the offence two years after the incident, has moved the Delhi High Court seeking framing of guidelines on how police should handle probes into cases arising out of marital rows.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the Delhi Police and sought its stand on the plea in which the senior citizen has claimed that the agency colluded with his daughter-in-law, who had also accused her mother-in-law of aiding in the alleged sexual assault.

The plea has claimed that the petitioner, Shashi Kumar Mahajan, was immediately arrested on registration of FIR which was lodged nearly a month after the alleged incident and without any preliminary investigation.

According to the petition the woman had lodged the complaint on May 21, 2014 alleging that her father-in-law raped her on April 21, 2014 with the aid of her mother-in-law while her husband was not present at home.

The father-in-law, a diabetic and heart patient, had to spend two months in Tihar Jail before he was granted bail and a sessions court had later discharged him of the charge of rape only in April 2016 by saying the offence was not made out, the petition has said.

The couple parted ways in 2014 after the arrest of the father-in-law, the plea has said.

It has claimed “abuse of power” by police officers who were investigating the woman’s complaint and has sought initiation of disciplinary action against them.

The PIL, filed through advocate Ashok Mahapatra, has contended,”There is no provision and due process to achieve and secure objectivity and accountability in the investigation, which leads to arbitrary probe and abuse of power and authority in many cases, as in the present matter.”

It said that in the instant case the police officers investigating the case did not obtain any document from the woman to corroborate her allegations regarding demand of dowry made against her husband and in-laws.

The joint plea, also by the woman’s husband and mother-in-law, claimed that the police lodged an FIR a month after the alleged incident of rape and the offence was included in the charge sheet without even carrying out a medical examination of the complainant.

The petition has contended that a “new trend has emerged of foisting alleged rape cases against in-laws, which has become rampant, so that senior citizens are incarcerated in jail”.

The petitioners have claimed that had their mobile phone locations been examined, it would have shown their innocence.

However, the police did not examine this aspect, despite their repeated requests, their plea said.

Apart from the PIL, the petitioners have moved a separate plea in the high court seeking lodging of an FIR against the woman for levelling false allegation of rape against the father-in-law.

In his plea, the senior citizen has claimed that the police instead of hearing his side of the story, “blindly” proceeded on the complaint filed by his daughter-in-law.

He has alleged in his plea that the police of the area was in cahoots with the woman and no fair and impartial investigation was conducted.

The high court is likely to hear the matter next on September 10.

Maha govt to Bombay HC: Formulating stringent law to regulate pvt hospitals

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court today that it was in the process of formulating a stringent law, on the lines of the Centre’s Clinical Establishments Act, to regulate private nursing homes and hospitals in the state.

Appearing for the state, Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told the court that the draft plan for such law was already in place, and the government was in the process of finalising some amendments to it.

“Some doctors and other members of the medical community had some objections and suggestions. A committee was formed to consider these objections and suggestions, and to amend the draft plan accordingly. The committee will finalise the draft plan in about three weeks, after which it will be ready to be placed before the state assembly,” Kumbhakoni said.

The submissions were made before a bench of justices Naresh Patil and G S Kulkarni which was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Pune resident Atul Bhosale.

In the PIL it was claimed that several nursing homes and hospitals in the state were operating in violation of rules and without valid licenses.

During random inspections conducted by state authorities of private nursing homes and hospitals across Maharashtra in the past one year, around 6,000 were found to be operating without valid licenses, and in violation of various other provisions of the Maharashtra Nursing Homes Regulation Act 2006.

The advocate general told the court that the state had taken action, such as sealing of nursing homes and even sending some doctors and staff to judicial custody, in the case of around 3,000 such nursing homes and hospitals.

The bench however, told the AG to submit details of the action taken against each of the nursing homes or hospitals that was found violating the state and the Centre’s norms.

“The remaining 3,000 odd establishments that were found by the inspections to be erring still continue to operate. That can’t be permitted. The health and lives of citizens can’t be compromised with,” the bench said.

“One requires various permits and a license to even start a small shop,” the bench said.

According to the plea, currently, under the Maharashtra Nursing Homes Regulation Act 2006, if found running a nursing home illegally, one has to pay a fine of up to Rs 10,000.

The Union government’s Clinical Establishments Act has more stringent provisions, including criminal prosecution under the IPC for those running such establishments, and a fine of Rs 25,000.

The bench accepted the state’s submission that on the next date of hearing, scheduled after two weeks from now, it will submit greater details of the draft plan and of the action taken against the illegal nursing homes under the existing 2006 Act.

PIL claims deaths of protected species suppressed by Delhi zoo

The Delhi High Court today sought response of the Centre on a PIL alleging “rampant irregularities and illegalities”, like suppression of deaths of protected species, in the administration of National Zoological Park in the city as well as the veterinary care being provided to the animals lodged there.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Deepa Sharma issued notice to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as well as the Central Zoo Authority and the National Zoological Park here and asked them what action they have taken in connection with the issues raised in the plea.

Animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi, in her petition, has referred to the Central Zoo Authority’s recent findings indicating death of a large number of animals from protected species, including langur and hog deer, at the Delhi Zoo and alleged that there was a total breakdown in the administration at the National Zoological Park, which was set up in 1959.

According to the petition, the Central Zoo Authority had also found that there was “suppression of the deaths through the submission of inaccurate inventory reports and fabricated post mortem reports”.

The other instances of alleged irregularities included capture of animals like monitor lizards and small Indian civets from the wild and “illegally placing them in the zoo to cover up the large number of deaths”, the plea, filed through advocate Mihir Samson, said.

The Authority had also found negligence in the medical care provided to the animals at the zoo, apart from “widespread use of expired medication as well as illegal procurement and missing stock of schedule X drug Ketamine, a notified psychotropic substance”, the petition said.

The plea has sought a direction to the ministry to establish an independent expert committee for oversight of the zoo as well as initiation of disciplinary and criminal action against all the erring staff working there.

The petition has also sought that the Central Zoo Authority’s reports and findings be adopted and implemented.

High Court asks: How will pvt schools implement pay panel without hiking fees

How would private unaided schools in the national capital implement the 7th Pay Commission recommendations without hiking their fees, the Delhi High Court asked the AAP government today.

The query was posed to the Delhi government by a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar while asking it to file a status report on the implementation of the pay panel recommendations in private unaided schools.

The court said the government will have to monitor the implementation of the recommendations and should not wait for teachers’ complaints to take any action.

The Delhi government told the bench that it had issued an order in August last year asking all private unaided schools to implement the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission and added that it has not received any complaint from teachers saying this was not being done.

“Why should you wait for complaints? You have to monitor the implementation of your order. Here you cannot take the excuse that the central government is not giving you funds,” the bench said and directed the Delhi government to file a status report in eight weeks.

The court, which listed the matter for further hearing on September 25, was hearing a PIL by an NGO seeking directions to the city government and the three municipal corporations to ensure implementation of the recommendations regarding the teaching and non-teaching staff of the private unaided schools.

The petition by NGO Social Jurist, filed through advocate Ashok Agarwal, has also sought appropriate action against the erring private schools.

The plea has said that the recommendations should be implemented to bring the pay, allowances and other benefits of private school staff in conformity with the employees of corresponding status in the schools run by the government and the three municipal corporations of Delhi.

It has also said the pay scales have not been revised in accordance with the recommendations with effect from January 1, 2016 and the arrears also not been paid.

“Not only are the unaided private schools blatantly flouting the statutory mandate prescribed under the DSE Act, the authorities by not taking any action against the erring schools, appear to be absolutely apathetic towards the plight of over two lakh teaching and non-teaching employees working in the unaided private schools of Delhi,” it has said, adding that this was encouraging the “recalcitrant attitude” of the schools.