Cop Files Plea in High Court for Eight-Hour Work Shift

A UT head constable has filed a public-interest petition in the Punjab & Haryana HC to ask for a maximum 8-hour work shift for all the cops in Chandigarh, Punjab, as well as Haryana.

Making a case for a new duty chart based on the 2014 advice of the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPRD), the constable argued that this system will make policing efficient & people-friendly. He has argued & a work shift of more than 12 hours is a medieval & draconian rule against the general conscience of human being. The matter came up for hearing before being adjourned till Oct 4.

Petitioner Jagjit Singh is in the force since 2000. His lawyer, Sumati Jund, argued that the “always on duty” dictum subjected police personnel to inordinately long & irregular hours of work (ranging between 12 & 16) & that too without any weekly day off for rest & recuperation. The advocate argued that these long hours not only tire the cops physically & mentally draining but also disturb their personal, family, & social lives.

The ever-increasing workload because of the new nature of the job has taken a toll on the health of police officials. The advocate highlighted that the rude & offensive behavior noticed in cops was because of the job stress & it was spoiling the public image of the force.

The HC was requested to issue orders for implementing the Nov 2014 research report that had recommended shift rotation in the police stations & police posts for a better service to the public.

Supreme Court dismisses plea of former UP minister Angad Yadav

The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea filed by former Uttar Pradesh minister Angad Yadav challenging an Allahabad High Court order cancelling the bail granted to him and also vacating the stay on his conviction in a 1995 murder case.

A bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and Navin Sinha refused to interfere with the high court’s April 17 this year order and granted him liberty to request the high court to dispose of his pending criminal appeal within six months.

“We are not inclined to interfere with the impugned judgement (of high court) cancelling the bail and recalling the order of suspension of conviction and sentence. The only relief that can be given to the petitioner (Yadav) is that he can request the high court to dispose of the pending criminal appeal within six months,” the bench said.

Yadav had moved the top court challenging the high court’s April 17 order.

The high court had passed the order on an application filed by the state seeking cancellation of bail granted to Yadav on November 23, 2000 after he was convicted by a trial court in a murder case lodged in 1995.

The state had also filed another application in the high court seeking vacation of the stay granted on his conviction in the case. The high court had noted in its order that several cases were lodged against Yadav.

The state had told the high court that after Yadav was enlarged on bail, he along with others had allegedly murdered an advocate on December 19, 2015 and an FIR was lodged in this regard in Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh.

Yadav’s counsel had opposed the contentions of the state and claimed before the high court that he was not involved in the lawyer’s murder and was roped in due to “political rivalry”.

The high court had observed in its order that Yadav had got bail and also a stay on his conviction but after securing the relief, he was allegedly involved in another murder case.

High Court seeks ACB response of contractor’s bail plea

The Delhi High Court today sought the response of Delhi’s Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) on the bail plea of a contractor, arrested in connection with a construction scam.

Justice S P Garg asked the probe agency, ACB, to file its response on the bail application of Vinay Bansal, who was arrested on May 10, and listed the matter for further hearing on May 31.

Bansal, the son of the late brother-in-law of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, is currently in judicial custody.

Bansal moved the high court after a trial court dismissed his bail application on May 17 on the ground that the allegations levelled against him were grave.

Senior advocate N Hariharan, appearing for Bansal, sought the relief claiming that his client was not responsible for the alleged offence and no offence was made out against him under the provision of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

He said the contract work was already complete and there was no complaint on the quality of work and added that the payment was made for the work done and no extra money was paid to the accused.

The counsel asked why the police wanted to keep Bansal in custody as the evidence was documentary in nature and have already been collected.

The trial court, while rejecting the bail plea, had accepted the submissions of the investigating officer that despite the registration of the FIR almost a year ago, the accused has not joined the investigation and not cooperated during custodial interrogation.

It had also noted that the offences alleged against the accused were not only of cheating but also of preparation of forged and fabricated bill for the purpose of release of contract amount from the Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD).

The court had noted that the PWD officials who were allegedly involved in the case were still being interrogated and investigation was still at a very crucial juncture.

According to an FIR lodged in May last year, Bansal and his father were working on a project of over Rs four crore. After receiving a payment of Rs three crore, they showed fake bills of Rs one crore for the procurement of steel from a company that was “non-existent”.

On being produced before the trial court on May 10, Bansal had fainted and collapsed in the courtroom that day and the magistrate had not remanded him to police custody as he was not medically fit.

Three FIRs, including one against a company run by Bansal, were registered by the ACB in this case on May 9 last year.

Three companies, including Renu Constructions (owned by the Bansals, Kamal Singh and Pawan Kumar), were named in the FIRs.

In a complaint, Rahul Sharma, the founder of Roads Anti-Corruption Organisation (RACO), had alleged that Kejriwal and PWD minister Satyendra Jain had misused their office for grant of contracts to Bansal. However, they were not named in the FIR.

RACO had alleged that a firm linked to Bansal was involved in financial irregularities in building a drainage system in north-west Delhi.

Plea in Supreme Court seeking review of Loya death case verdict

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking review of its verdict rejecting the demand for an independent probe into the death of special CBI judge B H Loya, who dealt with the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

The review petition filed by Bombay Lawyers Association has challenged the supreme court’s April 19 judgment by which it had dismissed a batch of pleas and brought the curtains down on the raging debate over Loya’s death.

The judge had died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on December 1, 2014 when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague’s daughter.

In its April 19 verdict, the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had ruled that Loya died of “natural causes” and there was no ground for the court to hold that there was reasonable suspicion about the cause or circumstances of death which would merit a further inquiry.

The review petition filed in the apex court has said this judgement “has resulted in miscarriage of justice, if not complete negation of justice on the facts of the case. It is therefore clearly required in the interests of justice that the judgment and order in question be reviewed and recalled.”

The present review petition seek to neither sensationalise the subject matter of the petition, nor make a veiled attempt to launch a frontal attack on independence of the judiciary or to dilute the credibility of judicial institutions.

“Also, no attempt is being made to create prejudice or malign dignity of the judges whose statements form part of the enquiry or those who gave the press interviews on the matter during the period of the enquiry, the plea said.

High Court’s interim order on plea against guv appointed probe panel

The Madras High Court today ordered that the report of an inquiry committee looking into the alleged attempt by a woman college teacher to lure students to extend sexual favours in return for higher mark be kept in a sealed cover once it was submitted.
A division bench comprising Justices V Parthiban and P D Audikesavalu gave the interim direction during the hearing of a petition by the Revolutionary Students Youth Front against the appointment of the committee headed by former IAS officer A S Santhanam by Governor Banwarilal Purohit.

Petitioner, represented by its Tamil Nadu co-ordinator D D Ganesan, sought an interim injunction restraining Santhanam from submitting any report before the completion of the CB-CID probe into the issue.

The bench said an apprehension had been expressed that the report of the committee was likely to be submitted before the petition could be heard and in that event the criminal investigation may likely to be diluted.

The court said if any report was submitted by the committee before the next hearing of the petition, it shall be kept in a sealed cover till further orders.

Purohit had on April 16 appointed the committee to look into ‘certain immoral’ happenings surrounding an assistant professor of Aruppukottai-based Devanga Arts College, affiliated to the Madurai Kamaraj University.

The decision was taken in his capacity as Chancellor of the university, he had said.

The assistant professor was arrested last month in connection with her alleged advise to students “to adjust with some officials” in return for higher marks and money.

The scandal came to light when an audio of purported conversation between her and some students went viral in the social media last month, triggering a public outrage.

The petition submitted that it was obvious that the assistant professor had the back up of some persons holding very high positions.

It said the assistant professor had mentioned certain programmes in which the governor had participated in order to buttress the rare privileges that she was provided with during such events.

She had mentioned about this in order to authenticate her claim that she had in fact had high level connection, it claimed.

The petitioner further contended that the governor had appointed the inquiry committee without any official proceedings and in a manner not known to law.

He claimed that the governor had no power or jurisdiction to set up such committee and the suo-motu action created an impression that something was wrong.

The petitioner sought a special investigation team headed by a retired high court judge to probe the case under the watch of the court.

A similar petition challenging the appointment of the committee filed in the Madurai bench of the high court was dismissed yesterday.

Justices S Govindaraj and G R Swaminathan of the bench had held that the governor has the powers as the chancellor (of state-run universities) to order such an inquiry.

Relief for CJI as Cong MPs withdraw plea on impeachment from Supreme Court

The Supreme Court today came down heavily on the Archeological Survey of India for its failure to take appropriate steps to protect and preserve of the iconic Taj Mahal.

The apex court also expressed concern over the historic monument being infected by insects and asked the authorities, including ASI, what steps they have taken to prevent this.

“This situation would not have arisen if the ASI would have done its job. We are surprised with the way the ASI is defending itself. You (Centre) please consider if the ASI is needed there or not,” a bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta told Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, who was appearing for the Centre.

Nadkarni told the bench that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) was considering the apex court’s suggestion to appoint international experts to look into the issue of protection and preservation of Taj Mahal.

The counsel for ASI told the court that the problem of insects was due to stagnation of the water of river Yamuna.

The top court has been monitoring developments in the area to protect the monument, built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal in 1631. The mausoleum is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The apex court had on May 1 expressed concern over the changing colour of the Taj Mahal apparently due to pollution and rapped the government saying “perhaps you don’t care”.

Observing that the monument had earlier turned yellow and was now going brownish and greenish in colour, the apex court had pulled up the authorities for not taking appropriate steps to preserve and protect it.

It had asked the Centre to take the assistance of experts from India and abroad to first assess the damage and take steps to restore the 17th century white marble mausoleum.

While perusing the recent pictures, shown by petitioner and environmentalist M C Mehta, the bench had observed, “this is now becoming the eighth wonder of the world”.

The petitioner had said the authorities have not complied with the apex court’s directions due to which the condition of the monument has become “horrible”.

He had said that besides change in its colour, there were patches on the marbles and recently a minaret had also fallen down.

The bench had observed that heads of countries and several dignitaries, including the Canadian Prime Minister, visiting India go to see the Taj and the court assumes that the authorities would want to preserve it.

The petitioner had told the bench that Taj Mahal was in “shambles”, Yamuna water in Agra has finished, the apex court orders were being flouted and encroachments and even industries have come up there.

He had also raked up the issue of security in Taj Mahal and said that CCTV cameras were not working and alleged that the “Government of India and the state government was not doing anything except making money from the monument”.

In March this year, the apex court had asked Uttar Pradesh government to place before it a draft of vision document on protection and preservation of the Taj and the environment in the Taj Trapezium Zone, which is an area of about 10,400 sq km spread over the districts of Agra, Firozabad, Mathura, Hathras and Etah in Uttar Pradesh and Bharatpur in Rajasthan.

Supreme Court to hear in July plea to restrain MPs making statements on judges removal

The Supreme Court today said that it would hear in the third week of July a plea seeking to restrain members of Parliament (MPs) from making public statements on removal of a judge of higher judiciary without there being any such notice in Parliament.

A bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, while saying that there was no urgency in hearing the matter now, observed that Rajya Sabha Rules also prohibits such statements by Parliamentarians without there being any such notice in the House.

“We don’t have to frame any guideline,” the bench said and observed that the question was whether there should be such discussions outside Parliament.

The bench was hearing a plea filed by an NGO ‘In Pursuit of Justice’ which sought laying down of guidelines or modalities regulating procedure to be followed by MPs, desirous of initiating proceedings for removal of a judge of the Supreme Court or a high court, prior to initiating a motion under Article 124(4) and (5) and 217(1)(b) of the Constitution.

Article 124(4) and (5) deal with the procedure to be followed for removal of an apex court judge.

The petitioner has said the cause of action arose in the matter when a draft motion for removal of the CJI was released to the press on March 27 which had an effect of intimidating the judiciary.

The plea also referred to various media reports carrying the statements of MPs and politicians in this regard and said no law was made by Parliament which permits the circulation of draft notice of motion to the press.

Bombay HC rejects bail plea of driver in bus accident that killed 37

Bombay HC rejects bail plea of driver in bus accident that killed 37
Bombay HC rejects bail plea of driver in bus accident that killed 37

The Bombay High Court has rejected the bail plea of the driver of a luxury bus that plunged into a river off the Mumbai-Goa highway four years ago, killing 37 passengers and injuring 15 others.

The driver, Santaji Kirdat, was convicted on charges of rash driving, negligence, and culpable homicide not amounting to murder and given 10 years in jail by a trial court earlier this year.

Kirdat had filed a plea in the HC challenging his conviction and demanding that his sentence be suspended and he be released on bail till the appeal was decided.

Justice AM Badar, who heard the bail plea rejected it on Friday, observing that Kirdat had been speeding on a narrow stretch of a bridge at the time of the accident, and had knowingly put the lives of the passengers at risk.

The incident occurred around 3 am on March 19, 2013.

The luxury bus carrying 52 people, including Kirdat and a conductor, plunged into the Jagbudi river. 37 people including the conductor were killed in the accident.

Police in their probe found that the bus was coming from Mhapsa in Goa to Mumbai and Kirdat was speeding at the time of the incident.

The tyre marks of the bus revealed that even though Kirdat had applied the brakes, he could not control the vehicle and it fell into the river after crashing through the barrier of the British era bridge over the river.

The police probe also found that the bridge was just 20 ft wide and several passengers had gone to the driver s cabin asking him to drive slowly.

Kirdat denied the charges and claimed in court that he had had no knowledge or intention to cause the death of the passengers.

Justice Badar however, rejected his argument saying, “Several passengers asked him (Kirdat) to slow down but he paid no heed to them. The road was only 20 feet wide. It cannot be inferred at this stage that the applicant/accused was not knowing condition of the road on the highway and he was not oblivious of the fact that the road/bridge is narrow.”

“The time when the incident took place is also relevant.

Any person of ordinary prudence would not dare to drive a passenger bus at such speed at a pe-dawn hour. Therefore, it cannot be said the applicant was not having knowledge of the act that he was committing by driving the bus at such high speed and risking the lives of so many people, ultimately causing their deaths,” Justice Badar said.

( Source – PTI )

SC refuses Cong plea for counting of VVPAT slips in Guj

SC refuses Cong plea for counting of VVPAT slips in Guj
SC refuses Cong plea for counting of VVPAT slips in Guj

The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a plea of the Gujarat Congress seeking counting of at least 20 per cent of the paper trail slips manually along with votes cast in the EVMs in each constituency of the state.

It said that the court cannot interfere unless the Election Commission of India’s decision to restrict the EVM- VVPAT paper trail to one booth per constituency is proved “arbitrary”, “illegal” or “malafide”.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud permitted petitioner Mohammad Arif Rajput, a Gujarat Congress leader, to withdraw his plea but granted liberty to file a comprehensive petition later seeking election reforms.

The apex court said that a debate on polls reforms can only take place after the election process in the state is over.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Rajput, said that the counting of the slips of the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines along with the votes cast in the electronic voting machines (EVM) count in at least 20 per cent of the booths of each constituency would reassure the people about the fairness of the polls.

The bench then questioned the locus standi of the petitioner and asked Singhvi who he was representing.

The counsel replied that he was a secretary of the main opposition party Congress in Gujarat.

The bench told Singhvi that his client had approached it in his personal capacity and he should have let the party take a bold stand and approach the court.

Singhvi said, “I am an officer bearer of the party in the state.”

The court told the counsel that a candidate has every right to question the vote count before the returning officer.

“This court can’t interfere unless the Election Commission’s decision for a random check pf the EVM-VVPAT paper trail in one booth per constituency is proved arbitrary, illegal or malafide. We cannot discredit the Election Commission’s decision without cogent material,” it said.

After the top court said that it cannot override the EC’s complete discretion to conduct the polls, Singhvi scaled down his demand saying that counting of paper trails in at least ten per cent of the booths per constituency should take place.

The bench said that it had recently rejected a petition challenging the discretionary power of a returning officer under 56(D)(2) of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, which confers discretionary power on the returning officer to refuse counting of the VVPAT.

Singhvi again said that counting of the paper trail in a sufficient number will reassure the people about the fairness of the elections through the EVMs.

The court then permitted the petitioner to withdraw his plea but granted liberty to approach it with a comprehensive petition on electoral reforms which could be connected with the VVPAT issue.

( Source – PTI )

Delhi HC to hear Yadav’s plea against disqualification from RS

Delhi HC to hear Yadav's plea against disqualification from RS
Delhi HC to hear Yadav’s plea against disqualification from RS

The Delhi High Court agreed to hear today former JD(U) president Sharad Yadav’s plea seeking immediate setting aside of his disqualification from the Rajya Sabha.

The matter for urgent hearing was mentioned before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar on the ground that the Winter session of Parliament is about to begin on Friday and he will not be able to participate in it if the order is not suspended.

Advocate Nizam Pasha, appearing for Yadav, submitted that he wants urgent listing of the matter so that an interim stay can be passed.

The counsel for the leader of JD(U) in the House, Ram Chandra Prasad Singh, opposed urgent listing of the matter.

The court, however, listed the matter for hearing today itself.

Yadav, in his plea, has submitted that he was not given any chance by the Rajya Sabha chairman before the order was passed against him and his party colleague and MP, Ali Anwar, on December 4.

He sought interim stay of the decision of Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.

Yadav had joined hands with the opposition after Janata Dal(U) president and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar dumped the Grand Alliance with the RJD and the Congress in Bihar and tied up with the BJP in July this year.

While disqualifying Yadav and Anwar, the chairman had agreed to the JD(U)’s contention that the two senior leaders had “voluntarily given up” their membership by defying the party’s directives and attending events of opposition parties.

The JD(U) had sought their disqualification on the grounds that they had attended a rally of opposition parties in Patna in violation of its directives.

Yadav was elected to the House last year and his term was scheduled to end in July 2022. Anwar’s term was to expire early next year.

Singh had moved the Rajya Sabha Chairman praying for Yadav’s disqualification. Acting on it, Naidu had disqualified him as a member of the Rajya Sabha under the Anti-Defection Act.

( Source – PTI )