Notice to Delhi government on plea to make helmet compulsory

On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court sought the city government’s stand on a plea to make it mandatory for pillion riders to wear helmets irrespective of their gender and religion.

 Issuing notice to the government on the plea and seeking its reply within four weeks, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna fixed October 19 for further hearing of the matter. 

Petitioner Ulhas, who claimed himself to be a social film maker, submitted that with the intervention of this very court, the city government had framed rules making headgear mandatory for motor cyclists and pillion riders but Sikh men and women have been exempted. 

During the last hearing when the PIL was filed in the high court, the bench had said the manner, in which the petition was drafted, the court could not treat it as PIL and had suggested that Ulhas properly draft the petition challenging the Motor Vehicle Act and the Delhi Motor Vehicle Rules.

Derogatory word to be removed from caste certificates

The Delhi government Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that it will withdraw the word “chura” from certificates issued to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) stating that the revenue department of the Delhi government used the word ‘Valmiki’ till 2010, but then replaced it with the term “chura”, considered a derogatory reference to members of the community.

Appearing for the Delhi government, standing counsel Najmi Waziri said the government had recently decided to remove the word from caste certificates.Hundreds of people belonging to the Valmiki community protested last week at Rajghat against the use of the term.

Take care of mentally challenged, court tells Himachal government

The Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed the state government to take the mentally ill, “wandering in inhuman conditions in the street”, into its protection.

Issuing the directions on a public interest litigation (PIL) of Shimla resident, the court of Justice Surinder Singh Thursday reminded the state of its duty and said the mentally challenged should be treated like any other sick person.

“A central legislation, namely the Mental Health Act, was passed by the Indian Parliament in 1987 i.e. more than two decades ago, inter alia, with a solemn object in mind realising that no stigma should be attached to such illness as it’s curable, particularly when diagnosed at an early stage. Thus, the mentally challenged are required to be treated like other sick persons,” the judge said.

The court directed the superintendents of police to take into protection the mentally challenged, who are incapable of taking care of themselves.

“I express my anguish that despite the orders passed by the principal bench headed by the chief justice on the last date of hearing June 3, directing the respondents to file an affidavit as to why appropriate action for protecting the interests of the mentally challenged persons wandering in inhuman conditions in the street has not been taken so far,” Justice Singh observed.

The court has listed the matter for next hearing on July 25.

Jamia to continue with its minority status: High Court

Students wishing to take admission in Jamia Millia Islamia for this academic session face an uncertain future with the Delhi High Court Wednesday refusing to grant a stay on an amendment conferring it minority status.


The National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI) headed by Justice M.S.A. Siddiqui had recently granted ‘minority’ status to the university which will enable it to reserve up to 50 percent seats for Muslim students.


A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna Wednesday also made it clear that those students who get admission under the new reservation policy will have to wait for the final outcome of the court order.


The court will further hear the matter on July 14.


The bench was hearing the batch of public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the grant of minority status to Jamia Millia Islamia university.


Prashant Bhushan in his petition said: ‘The admission policy of the university as approved in the academic council meeting held on March 29, does not have any provision for reservation for the SC, ST and OBC candidates, instead there is provision for total 50 percent reservation for Muslim candidates.’


‘It is pertinent to mention that reservation for SC, ST and OBC candidates is a constitutional provision which all central universities have to follow,’ said Bhushan.


Another petitioner, Vijay Kumar Sharma, president of NGO Yuva Bharti Samiti, alleged that ‘the Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988, incorporates and establishes the university and dissolves the Jamia Millia Islamia Society, which was managing and running it, and the NCMEI has no jurisdiction or authority to declare it a minority institution.’


Recalling the circumstances when the university was founded, the PIL claims Jamia was always envisioned as a secular national university and ‘it’s a travesty that it has been declared a minority institution’.


‘The university is a central university of national importance and is an alloy of secular Indian culture where members of all caste, creed and religions have been benefited and cannot be conferred with the status of minority institution,’ the petition, filed by advocates Rakesh Kumar on behalf of Sharma, said.


The varsity will no longer have to give reservation to SC and ST students also, the panel, a quasi-judicial body, had said while allowing the petitions of students union, Jamia Old Boys Association and Jamia Teachers Association. These petitions were filed in 2006.


Earlier, the NCMEI had said Jamia would continue to enjoy the central university status and the only ‘minority central university’ in the country, given its unique character.


The Delhi High court has also issued notice to Union of India, Jamia Milia Islamia University, NCMEI and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes seeking their reply by July 14.


Judge’s complaint on Hepatitis-B to be heard as PIL

A complaint made by an Allahabad High Court judge against non-availability of a life saving drug in Uttar Pradesh hospitals is to be taken up for hearing as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by Chief Justice F.I. Rebello Friday.

The complaint was made by Justice Sudhir Agarwal on account of the agony and disgust that he went through due to non-availability of a life-saving Hepatitis-B vaccine in any government or private hospital in Allahabad.

In his complaint to the chief justice, the judge said that he procured the vaccine for his daughter from Delhi. After getting his daughter operated for multiple fractures at the state-run Swaroop Rani Nehru Hospital here on April 9, the judge was informed the girl needed to be immunised against Hepatitis-B.

Doctors said she was exposed to the grave danger as two patients operated upon in the same operation theatre a day earlier, were affected by the Hepatitis B virus.

Subsequently, two more surgeries were carried out in the same operation theatre.

The surgeon confessed to the judge that the hospital had not cared to warn any of those four patients about the Hepatitis-B infection, nor about the dangers of exposure to the deadly virus or the need for them to get immunised against it.

Justice Agarwal got further alarmed when he discovered that the operation theatre was neither sanitised nor was the usual immunisation protocol observed before his daughter was operated upon there.

“As per the guidelines of the WHO (World Health Organisation), patients suffering from Hepatitis-B or from HIV needed to be either operated upon in complete isolation or it needs to be ensured that the operation theatre is completely sanitised before any other patient is operated upon,” the judge pointed out in his complaint to the chief justice.

The judge sought to draw the chief justice’s attention to the fact that while he managed to procure the expensive vaccine through his own resources from New Delhi, that may not be feasible for every other patient.

“I, therefore, request you to treat this letter as a PIL and to order necessary steps because other patients were not even aware of the dangers they were exposed to,” Justice Agarwal was stated to have written in his letter.

High court dismisses PIL on Commonwealth Games

The Delhi High Court Wednesday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking the court’s direction to form a panel to look into Commonwealth Games-related projects and reconstitution of the Organising Committee.

The litigation, filed by lawyer Amitava Sen, sought the court’s direction to form a panel of engineers to look into several Games-related projects.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan dismissed the PIL, saying it was beyond its jurisdiction.