Deduction in prisoners wages for victim fund not wrong if allowed under law: The Delhi High Court

The Delhi High Court on Thursday said there is nothing wrong with deducting wages of prisoners for victim welfare fund provided it is permitted under the statute, but it can’t be done through executive action.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said that while such deductions cannot be done by way of an executive order, in Delhi it was being done under the statute — the Delhi Prison Rules of 2018 — which was permissible.

It asked the Delhi government, represented by its standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra, as to why the prison authorities here had stopped making the deductions.

Mehra told the court that the practice was stopped in December last year after the high court had directed that the same be put on hold.

He also told the bench that under the Delhi Prison Rules of 2018, Rule 96(8) provided for such deductions.

Advocate Ajay Verma, appearing for petitioner Katyayini, opposed the deduction saying various high courts in the country have done away with the practice.

He also told the bench that of the Rs 15 crore collected in this manner since 2006, more than Rs 14 crore lay unutilised.

He said the amount lying unutilised can be used for welfare of children whose parents are incarcerated, as suggested by the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA), as there is already a victim compensation fund set up by Delhi government for compensating victims of various crimes.

The bench said it will continue hearing arguments in the matter on November 26.

Katyayini, a lawyer, in her plea has sought quashing of an amendment made in the Delhi Prison Rules of 1988 — adding Rule 39A — which mandated the deduction.

Subsequently, the 1988 rules were replaced by the 2018 rules which also has a similar provision.

The DSLSA has also opposed the deduction for creating a victim compensation fund, saying it was “not reasonable or justified” as the AAP government has now created a scheme for victims.

The DSLSA had earlier told the court that the rule for deducting 25 per cent of wages of prisoners w as inserted in the Delhi Prison Rules when there was no provision for compensating victims under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

However, in 2009, a provision was inserted in CrPC for putting in place a scheme for compensating victims or their dependants, the DSLSA had said and added that subsequently the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme came into force.

No purpose would be served by maintaining a separate victim welfare fund with the jails, it had said.

With regard to utilisation of the money presently lying unused in the victim welfare fund in the jail, the DSLSA had said it could either be transferred to the Delhi Victim Compensation Fund or be moved into the corpus created in 2014 for providing financial sustenance, education and welfare of children of incarcerated parents.

The PIL has claimed that of the over Rs 15 crore collected since 2006 from wages of convicts lodged in the Tihar Jail, approximately Rs 80.73 lakh has been disbursed to 194 eligible victims and the remaining over Rs 14 crore lay unused.

The Delhi High Court upholds life term of two for murdering man

The Delhi High Court has upheld the life imprisonment of two persons for killing a man and throwing his body in a jungle, while setting aside the trial court’s verdict convicting and sentencing the victim’s wife.

The court said each chain of the circumstances points towards the involvement of convicts Sachin and Sunil but no substantial legal evidence has come on record against Prabha, the victim’s wife.

A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and I S Mehta upheld the decision of a trial court convicting and sentencing the two men for killing Rakesh.

“The facts are interdependent and leave no room except to show involvement of accused persons in the crime committed. Therefore, we find no merit in appeals of accused Sachin and Sunil, same are dismissed,” it said.

“Each chain of the circumstances pin points towards the involvement of appellants Sachin and Sunil,” the bench said.

Both the men, who were friends with the woman, were convicted for the offences of murder, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence.

The bench set aside the trial court’s verdict convicting and sentencing Prabha to life term and said that she be released from the jail forthwith, if not required in any other case.

The case came to the fore after Rakesh’s father lodged a missing persons complaint alleging that his son went to his in-laws’ house in south Delhi’s Jaitpur on May 7, 2011 to meet his wife, who was living separately due to their strained relation, but did not return the next day.

The police then traced Sachin and Sunil after going through call records of the woman, who was constantly in touch with the two men before the murder, which led to the recovery of Rakesh’s bones from a jungle two weeks later, the prosecution had said.

While convicting the three in July 2017, the trial court had noted that the cause of death could not be ascertained but circumstantial evidence established he was killed by the trio.

They were arrested on May 23, 2011 and several items were found during the investigation which proved their guilt, the court had said.

During the trial, they had claimed innocence and said they were falsely implicated.

The Delhi High Court seeks Centre and AAP government stand on plea to declare poker as gambling.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought Centre and AAP government’s response on a petition seeking that poker and similar card games, played online or offline, be declared gambling and, therefore, illegal.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued a notice to the Finance Ministry and the Delhi government, asking them to indicate their stand on the plea which has sought a ban on poker and similar card games like rummy, bridge and teen patti.

The court listed the petition, filed by a lawyer, for hearing on November 28 along with another similar matter.

Last week, the bench had declined to entertain the same plea by the petitioner, Deepti Bhagat, as she had been unable to explain what a poker game was.

Subsequently, she moved the plea afresh and explained how the card game is played.

She has contended that as the player has no control over the kind of cards being dealt to him or her, poker was a game of chance and not skill and, therefore, playing it for high stakes or profit amounts to gambling and is illegal.

Bhagat has also sought cancellation of the licences, if any, issued to any company for playing poker or similar card games.

The petitioner has sought a ban on advertising of such games.

She has claimed that the petition was in public interest as thousands of families face monetary crisis due to gambling activities of a family member.

Acid attack victims allege custodial violence : HC

The Delhi High Court has directed the city’s Police Commissioner to ensure preservation of CCTV footage of December 18 at Parliament Street police station on a plea by some acid attack victims that they were subjected to “custodial violence” while holding a peaceful protest.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru also issued s notice to Delhi Police seeking its response to the plea of the acid attack victims who have alleged that the police had on December 18 intercepted them when they were holding a protest and detained them at Parliament Street police station.
The court directed the Commissioner of Police to ensure that CCTV footage of December 18 between 11 am to 5pm of Parliament Street police station is preserved and listed the matter for further hearing on February 3, 2015.

The petitioners, in their plea filed through advocate Lauv Kumar, have also alleged the detainees, including five women, were beaten up by the police while they were kept in an enclosure inside the police station.

“The petitioners and other protestors were brought to Parliament Street police station wherein they were detained inside a compound situated somewhere in the middle of the premises.

“The officials of Delhi Police resorted to physical violence and beating of the detained protesters. The detained persons repeatedly demanded the officials at Parliament Street police station to get their medical check-up done which was squarely denied..,” the petition has said.

It has sought preservation of the CCTV footage of the police station, saying they were “a piece of key evidence” of “all the unwarranted physical and custodial violence”.

It has also sought “an independent investigation by a special investigation team into the above-mentioned incident of illegal detention, police atrocities and custodial violence” as well as damages to the tune of Rs 10 lakh from the Delhi Police.

The petition has also sought Rs 50,000 each as compensation from Delhi Police to all the five petitioners and guidelines from the court for dealing with the detention of protesters in and around Jantar Mantar or Parliament by the police.

Court’s contempt notice to Delhi education department

The Delhi High Court Monday issued contempt notice to Delhi’s directorate of education (DoE) for not following its order to grant admission to 81 children in neighbourhood government schools.

Justice V.K. Shali also issued notice to the commissioner, East Delhi Municipal Corporation, on a contempt petition filed by NGO Social Jurist that noted that despite the division bench’s Sep 17 order, 81 children were not admitted to schools.

The court has now posted the matter for Jan 28, 2015, and asked the DoE and EDMC to file their response on the issue.

On Sep 17, 81 children in the age group of 6-14 years moved the high court alleging that they have been denied admission in schools on the ground that they do not have residential proof.

Children from Yamuna Khadar area in east Delhi said they were denied admission in schools of the EDMC on the grounds of non-availability of their residence proof and birth certificates.

The division bench then asked the students to approach the schools for admission and the schools to take proper action in this regard.

During the hearing Monday, advocate Ashok Agarwal appearing for the NGO argued despite the order of division bench, the children were not admitted to the schools.

“This case highlights that the government of Delhi which makes so much propaganda about implementation of RTE (Right to Education) Act is really very insensitive towards the right to education of the children of the poor,” he argued.

Indiscipline in Armed Forces be not condoned: High Court

Discipline in Armed Forces is of “paramount” importance and acts of indiscipline should not be forgiven as it would set a bad example for others, the Delhi High Court has said.

The bench of justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Manmohan Singh said, “We would highlight that issues of discipline are of paramount importance in the Armed Forces and repeated deviant behaviour, if condoned, is likely to set a bad example for others.”

The observation came in a judgement by which the court rejected a plea of Satyaveer Singh, a former grenadier with the Army, against his removal from service.

Singh had been sacked following a ‘Summary Court Martial Trial’ on November 14, 1994 after he confessed to overstaying by 40 days beyond the granted annual leave.

“I was granted leave from August 6 to September 6, 1994, however on expiry of leave, I did not feel like rejoining duty so I overstayed leave granted to me. Thereafter when I felt guilty I decided to rejoin the unit. I thus returned to the unit…,” Singh had said in his confession during court martial trial.

Relying on the statement of Singh, the court upheld the decision of ‘Court Martial Trial’ and said, “Record would reveal that the petitioner was a habitual deserter, in that (he) had a habit of over staying leave. There were as many as five red ink entries in his service record.”

Singh “never” claimed that either he or his mother was unwell which led to his unauthorised absence, it said and took note of his earlier acts of overstaying the leave.

“We do not find the proceedings to be a sham. From the record, we find that after he entered the plea of guilt the petitioner signed the same.”

2G: High Court asks Centre to respond to Essar”s plea

The Delhi High Court asked the Centre  to respond to the pleas of Essar Teleholdings Ltd and its promoters, Ravi and Anshuman Ruia, for quashing of the charges framed against them in a case linked to the 2G spectrum allocation scam.

Notice has been issued by Justice AK Pathak to the Ministry of Law, the CBI and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), seeking their replies to the petitions of the telecom major and its two promoters against a lower court order on framing of charges against them for their trial in the case.

The court issued notices to the Law Ministry and the DoT, rejecting their contentions that the same cannot be issued against them as they were not the parties to the case.

Appearing for the telecom firm, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi argued that DoT and the Law Ministry too be asked to respond to the petition as it is the case of the CBI that the company had cheated the DoT.

Rohatgi elaborated on his submission saying it was the Law Ministry which had opined that no case was made out against the telecom firm.

“If I have cheated something from DoT, let them file an affidavit that they have been cheated”

The telecom firm also sought to distinguish its case from those against the other accused in the 2G scam saying “we have a better case than the others as there is no Prevention of Corruption Act invoked against us.”

The court has now fixed the matter for further hearing on January 22, 2013.

The telecom firm and its promoters have moved the high court against the May 25 order of the Special CBI court which had framed charges against the Ruias and Essar Teleholdings Ltd and also Essar Group director (Strategy and Planning) Vikas Saraf.

Besides, Ruias, Essar Teleholdings Ltd, the court had also framed charges against companies – Loop Telecom Pvt Ltd, Loop Mobile India Ltd and their promoters Kiran Khaitan and her husband I P Khaitan under section 120 B read with 420 IPC.

AI over pulled up over delay in pilots’ reinstatement

The Delhi High Court on Monday pulled up Air India(AI) for “sitting over” the conciliation process for reinstatement of its 101 pilots whose services were terminated for going on strike.

 The court also asked the AI management to inform it by Wednesday if the high-power committee, set up by it, would decide the issue within four weeks.

 Expressing displeasure with the AI management for not fulfilling its assurance to consider the issue of reinstatement sympathetically in a time bound manner, Justice Reva Khetrapal said, “I am upset and I am also getting anguished… You assured the court. Now you want to sit over it. It should be in a time-bound manner.”

“It looks now like the management wants to have its cake and eat it too, how it can be allowed?” Justice Khetrapal said while expressing her displeasure with the delay in the process of reinstatement of pilots.

 The court passed the order after counsel Lalit Bhasin, appearing for AI management, said that he is sticking to the stand taken by the management to consider the reinstatement issue sympathetically but the statement was not appreciated in the proper spirit.

 He also said the management has setup a high-power committee which will examine the issue on case by case basis and it will take at least three months’ time.

 To his submission, the court asked the counsel to seek instructions from the management whether its committee constituted for the reinstatement of pilots will submit the report within four weeks.

 “You will seek instruction whether you will consider the matter of reinstatement of pilots within four weeks,” Justice Khetrapal said.

 The court’s remarks came after senior advocates C.A. Sundaram and Geeta Luthra informed it that conciliation process is going on but management is doing nothing about the reinstatement of terminated pilots and is not serious on the issue.

 “There is nothing to consider about the reinstatement of pilots. Management knows why they have been terminated,” Sundaram said.

 He stated that committee will not be fair towards pilots. “We are not happy with the committee formed by the Air India management. Some members of family may not be fair.”

 AI management has constituted a committee comprising of Senior Executives K.M. Unni, SBO head-MRO (Airframe), N K Jain, Director (personnel) and R Harihar, ED (projects) and ED (IR &I) to negotiate with the pilots about their demand of reinstatement of the pilots.

 On July 13, Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner S.K. Chand submitting the conciliation report to the court said that the committee has been formed for the reinstatement of terminated Air India pilots.

 The Delhi High Court had on July 9 told the Air India management and a section of its pilots, who recently called off their 58-day-old strike, to hold conciliation talks daily before the deputy chief labour commissioner till the dispute was resolved.

Court tells Delhi cops to protect newly-wed couple

The Delhi High Court Monday came to the rescue of a newly-wed couple from Uttar Pradesh who complained of threats from their relatives and asked the city police to protect them during their stay here.

justice S.P. Garg said: “Take their (the couple) address and provide them security.”

The petition said that the man married the woman June 6 here after she “willingly converted to Islam”.

The lawyer appearing for the couple said the man and his bride were majors and married “of their own free will” and the parents of the woman were opposed to the inter-religion marriage.

“The petitioners want to lead a happy married life. However, it is not possible for them to live peacefully without proper protection. They are being forced to keep changing their shelter,” said the petition.

The couple filed the ‘nikahnama’ and the school certificates of the girl in support of the plea that they were majors and married voluntarily.


N.D. Tiwari gets contempt of court notice

The Delhi High Court Tuesday issued a contempt notice to Congress leader N.D. Tiwari for defying its order asking him to give his blood sample in a paternity suit filed by a 32-year-old claiming to be his son.


Justice Gita Mittal, referring to her Sep 23 judgment in which she had termed Tiwari’s refusal to give blood sample “wilful, malicious, unreasonable and unjustified”, issued the notice, returnable for Feb 15.


The court asked Tiwari “why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against defendant (Tiwari) for his deliberate, wilful disobedience of the court’s order”.


Justice Mittal issued the notice four days after conceding that the 85-year-old leader cannot be physically compelled to give his blood sample for DNA test as per the court’s order last year.


The court issued the contempt notice to Tiwari on a plea filed by Rohit Shekhar, who claims to be Tiwari’s biological son born out of the veteran politician’s relationship with Ujjwala Sharma.


The court in May asked the veteran leader to appear before it June 1 and give his blood sample for DNA test to ascertain Shekhar’s claim.


After Tiwari failed to appear and give his blood sample, Shekhar in July moved the high court for initiation of contempt proceedings against the politician.


On July 21, Tiwari’s personal affidavit was placed before Justice Mittal. It stated that he would not give his blood sample for the DNA test.


Going through the affidavit, the court asked Tiwari: “Don’t you think that DNA test will vindicate completely your stand that you have not sired the plaintiff?”


“I have an unblemished public career which justifies me to contest against the plaintiff who is bent upon to tarish my public image by bringing false cause and even unwarranted contempt petition so as to get undue publicity in print as well as electronic media,” said Tiwari’s affidavit.


“In order to preserve, protect and defend my personal dignity attained by my long cherished service to the nation as well as society, I being a senior citizen too, I am not willing to give my blood sample for DNA testing. Hence, I may not be compelled to do so,” the affidavit said.

 On Tuesday, the court directed Shekhar, his mother Ujjwala Sharma and her former husband B.P. Sharma to appear before the joint registrar Oct 20 to give their blood samples for DNA test.

 The court has also appointed a local commissioner to record evidence of Ujjwala Sharma and Tiwari.

 “On Nov 28, the duo will record their evidence in presence of the local commissioner,” the court said