OCI, holders can also enjoy the exercise, of freedom of speech and equality: Delhi High Court

NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court has said that Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) appear to enjoy the fundamental rights of equality before law and freedom of speech and expression in the same way as any other Indian citizen does.

The court’s observation came while asking the Center to place before it the material based on which the OCI registration of a US-based Indian-origin doctor was canceled.

Under Article 14 (equality before law) and 19 (freedom of speech and expression) of the Constitution of India which are guaranteed to the citizen of India also appear to be extended to an OCI card holder,” Justice Vibhu Bakhru said.

Dr Christo Thomas Philip had challenged the cancellation of his OCI registration for alleged missionary activities in Bihar.

In terms of section 7B (1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, all rights other than those specified in sub-section (2) of the said section are available to an OCI card holder. Although, Article 16 of the Constitution of India is specified in Section 7B (2) of the Act, Articles 14 and 19 are not included.

Man jail for lying on oath before, Delhi High Court

NEW DELHI: Taking a serious view against a man for lying on oath, the Delhi High Court has sentenced him to jail for a month for contempt of court and said it will be a great public disaster if the fountain of justice is allowed to be poisoned by anyone giving false statements in a court of law.

Justice Manmohan said as the man had admittedly made false statements under oath, the court was of the view that it struck a blow at the rule of law and no court could ignore such a conduct, which had the tendency to shake public confidence in the judicial institutions because the very structure of an ordered life was put at stake.

The Delhi High Court has sentenced a defendant in a trademark infringement suit to one month’s simple imprisonment under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 for making false statements under oath. The court also imposed a fine of Rs. 2000 on the defendant.

National Herald case: Delhi High Court, rejects Congress President relief in reopening his tax assessment

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court, on Wednesday rejects to grant any relief to Congress president Rahul Gandhi in connection with the National Herald case. IT department had issued a reassessment notice to the Congress President for the Financial Year 2011-12 in March 2018. The IT department had alleged that Rahul Gandhi had wilfully not disclosed his directorship in Young India Pvt Ltd.

Gandhi and his mother Sonia Gandhi are major stakeholders in Young Indian, a private company limited by guarantee, which the Congress has said is a not-for-profit organisation.

A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and AK Chawla also refused to restrain the media from publishing the matter. The matter will next be heard on August 14.

Abhishek Manu Singhvi Sex Scandal CD Case : HC dismisses plea for probe

abhishek manuThe Delhi high court on Wednesday dismissed a plea for probe by the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) into the alleged CD row, purportedly involving senior advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

“The petition is dismissed. The petitioner is seeking a direction to the BCD and the Delhi high court Bar Association to take action against the employee of the lawyer concerned.

“The lawyer’s body are not empowered to take action against an employee of an advocate,” a bench headed by acting Chief Justice AK Sikri said.

The court’s order came on a plea by a social worker, Sanjay Kumar, seeking an inqury into the CD row allegedly pertaining to Singhvi and a noted woman lawyer of the Delhi high court.

“Everybody on the street is saying what is happening in the high court. Just to save the image of lawyer’s community, an inquiry be ordered,” said the petitioner’s counsel Sugriv Dubey.

“It is a matter of record that this court has already passed an order in the matter and the PIL (public interest litigation) on the issue cannot be entertained,” the bench, also comprising justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, said adding that the lawyers’ body cannot take any action against the employee concerned.

“Every employee of a lawyer… has to protect the privacy of an individual and in the preset case it was the duty of the person (Singhv’s driver) not to attack the individual’s privacy,” the PIL said.

Refusing to entertain the plea, the bench said “such things cannot be a subject matter of a public interest litigation.”

Earlier, on April 19, Singhvi and his former driver had informed the court they have amicably settled the matter, involving the CD, between them.

Justice Reva Khetrapal had on April 13 had passed an ex-parte order restraining media groups and the driver from publishing, telecasting and broadcasting contents of the CD.

Counsel for Aaj Tak, Headlines Today and India Today, had told the court that they will handover the alleged CD to the person who provided it to them.

Singhvi’s counsel had told the court that in the light of the settlement arrived at between the parties, he would withdraw the police complaint against Mukesh Lal.

The court had also taken note of Lal’s reply in which he apologised for sending “threatening SMSs” to the lawyer.

“The CD was sent by me in a fit of rage and vengeance. The camera was used illegally and secondly, the CDs were doctored and morphed in such a manner so as to deliberately show plaintiff 2 (Singhvi) in a bad light,” the driver, in his 6-page reply, had said.

Singhvi and his associate Abhimanyu Bhandari had moved the court saying they had come to know through some political leaders that some media houses were in possession of the alleged CD.

They had alleged that the CD was “forged, concocted, morphed and fabricated”. Any move to telecast the alleged CD would infringe the right to reputation of Singhvi, the plea had said.



Delhi government rapped for interfering in power tariff

The Delhi High Court Friday pulled up the Delhi government for trying to interefere with the fixing of tariff rates for 2010-11 by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC).

The division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Manmohan sharply criticised the government, saying: ‘Delhi government cannot pass any direction, asking DERC to hold its decision on tariff.’

While passing the order, the high court accepted the submission of Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati, who has been helping the court in the matter, that the state government was ‘not empowered to interfere with the DERC’s decision and could only issue guidelines to it for its consideration’.

‘Vahanvati’s submission deserves acceptence. Acordingly, we hold that the communication of the present nature made by the state government is absolutely unjustified, unwarranted and untenable and, accordingly, the same stands quashed,’ the bench said, after seeing a file relating to the appointment of the DERC’s members.

‘On a close scrutiny of the aforesaid directions, it is clear as noon day that there has been an order of prohibition to the commission not to pass the tariff order. The direction is issued keeping in view the public interest. The same is not discernible. It is neither evident nor demonstrable. It was an unwarranted interdiction. It is understandable that the state government could have suggested some kind of a matter relating to policy having nexus with public interest, but unfortunately that is not so,’ said the court.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) accusing the government of succumbing to pressure from private power distribution companies (discoms) and ‘prohibiting the release of a new tariff order approved by the DERC’ April 29 last year.

The PIL contended that the DERC told the government that discoms were sitting on a combined cash profit of over Rs.300 crore per month and it was time to reduce the power rates.

‘It is the most sorry state and the Delhi government has to play a pro-active role but the state is lost despite the fact that it has immense powers,’ the bench observed.

The court also expressed its unhappiness over the entire exercise of fixing the power tariff for the capital and rapped the city government and the DERC for it.

The functioning of the DERC, which is a quasi-judicial body, was not satisfactory, the bench said, adding that the state government should not have interfered with the panel’s decision on fixing a new tariff.

Highlighting the lapses, advocate Prashant Bhusan had earlier said: ‘A large number of file notings have been tampered with and it is a serious issue.’

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for one of the discoms, submitted that the issue of power tariff could be decided at a later stage but the issue of fuel surcharge be decided as it was hurting the power companies.

The court then deferred the matter for further hearing Feb 23.

DJB asked to pay Rs.3.5 lakh to kin of drowned kids


The Delhi High Court Wednesday awarded a compensation of Rs.3.5 lakh each to the families of four children who died last year after falling into a pit dug up by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB).

The division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said the DJB failed to fence the area around the pit, which resulted in the tragedy.

The DJB has already paid a compensation of Rs.1 lakh each to the families of the victims.

While hearing a petition seeking a compensation of Rs.12 lakh each for the victims’ families, the court directed the DJB to pay Rs.2.5 lakh each – the remaining amount of the total compensation – within four weeks.

The money would be deposited with the court’s registrar in the form of fixed deposits for three years, the court said.

The court granted liberty to the DJB to recover the money from the contractors who were responsible for not fencing the area around the pit.

The four boys drowned after falling into a seven-foot-deep pit filled with water in Timarpur area of north Delhi in December 2010. They were identified as Vikas, 8, Atul, 7, Ritesh, 9, and Narender, 8. The four were residents of Gopalpur village.

Appearing for the DJB, standing counsel Najmi Waziri informed the court that a police complaint against unknown people was registered in the case.

Government questioned on school’s refusal to admit poor

The Delhi High Court Tuesday sought a response from the central and Delhi governments on a plea opposing a private school’s refusal to reserve seats for poor students claiming exemption from provisions of the right to education law.

Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued the notice to the human resource development ministry and the directorate of education, Delhi government, and sought their replies by March 30.

The court was hearing a plea by Social Jurists, an NGO, which opposed the stand taken by Carmel Convent School and sought an order rejecting the school’s argument against reserving seats for poor children under the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.

Appearing for the NGO, counsel Ashok Aggarwal said: ‘Under section 12 of the Act it is obligatory for all unaided private schools to give admission to poor children and the provisions relating to reservation of seats for them.’

After hearing the argument, the court fixed March 30, as the next date of hearing.