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Supreme Court approves a Pollution Code for Delhi-NCR

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Friday accorded its nod to the Centre’s graded response action plan to tackle different levels of pollution and asked the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to upgrade its existing infrastructure and set up additional monitoring stations in Delhi-NCR within six months.Terming as “severe” levels of pollution when particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels are above 250 to 430 micrograms per cubic metre in the ambient air, the Centre told a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur that when air pollution reaches such alarming proportion, immediate steps are needed to be taken including ban on construction activities and implementation of odd-even scheme.The sanction came after environmentalist Sunita Narain from the Centre for Science and Environment told the bench that the Centre’s graded response action plan to tackle different levels of pollution was “acceptable” and can be put into operation. “Enforcement of graded response action plan shall be under the orders of Environment Pollution (Control and Prevention) Authority (EPCA) and all other authorities should act in aid of such direction,” the bench said.The court directed the apex pollution monitoring body to file a status report on setting up additional monitoring stations in Delhi-NCR within six months. It also directed the Centre to examine within four weeks about harmful effects of petroleum coke and furnace oil used in industries and power generation plants in NCR and issue appropriate directions in this regard.Solicitor General (SG) Ranjit Kumar told the bench that CPCB proposed to upgrade its centralised control room with modern equipment’s at an estimated cost of Rs 57 lakhs on hardware, internet and optical fibre. CPCB also plans to set up 12 real time air monitoring stations in Uttar Pradesh, nine in Haryana, two in Rajasthan besides 20 new stations in Delhi apart from 28 existing ones, he said.The Solicitor General also filed a compilation before the bench stating details about the system of issuing pollution under control certificates to vehicle owners and the mechanism of licensing such centres where pollution checks are carried out and certificates issued in the form of stickers.At the outset, senior advocate Harish Salve, who is the amicus curiae in a 1985 PIL filed by environmentalist M C Mehta, told the bench also comprising Justices A K Sikri and S A Bobde that the Centre has classified three levels of pollution based on different levels of PM namely — moderate to poor, very poor and severe.Salve said that the Centre has recommended that whenever air pollution reaches “severe” levels, immediate action including ban on power plants and construction activities should be imposed in the national capital. He also highlighted the ill-effects of petroleum coke and furnace oil used in industries on ambient air and told the court that the emissions from such units were highly toxic as these release high sulphur. “Delhi has already banned use of pet coke and furnace oil in industries. But, the problem has only been transferred to the neighbouring states, where these industries still use these fuel to operate which release high sulphur which greatly contributes to pollution in the region,” Salve said while referring to EPCA report.The Centre’s Graded Response Action Plan for reducing air pollution has enumerated a number of measures which include closing brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers, intensifying public transport services besides increase in frequency of mechanised cleaning of road and sprinkling of water on roads.The matter would now come up for hearing in third week of January. The court had earlier slammed CPCB for not having an action plan ready to deal with the “emergency” smog situation and asked the Centre to come out with time-bound measures to tackle the graded level of worsening air quality.

Delhi pollution: Do you have a disaster management plan, SC asks Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking note of the enormity of alarming rise in pollution levels, Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to respond within 48 hours and give details about its policy or a “disaster management plan” to deal with the prevailing situation in the national capital region.The court also considered the submission on alleged differences among various authorities and between Centre and the Delhi government and asked them to devise a “common minimum programme” at least for taking steps to deal with the pollution menace.”We want to know whether you (Centre) have any disaster management plan. Do you have a policy which deals with graded responses to the situation and provides what action would be taken at which stage? What is the protocol? Now the time has come where we need to have this,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justices A K Sikri and S A Bobde said.During the 30-minute long hearing, the bench sought to know from Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, representing the Centre, about the policy to deal with the rising pollution levels and asked whether the Centre monitored the situation.There should be a policy with regard to steps to be taken at every stage such as at level one, particular decisions would be taken and at level two, odd-even scheme would be implemented and at level three, schools would be closed, the bench suggested while giving illustrations on possible graded responses to emerging situations. The Solicitor General said unregulated “commercialisation” and “industrialisation” of Delhi was one of the reasons for the present situation.”In last 60 years, Delhi has grown in such a manner where there has been unregulated urbanisation. The vehicles have grown in numbers. If you cover a distance in one hour and 20 in contrast to 20 minutes, then it adds to pollution,” he said and sought two days time from the court to seek instructions from the Centre in the matter.Meanwhile, Delhi government informed the court that it has so far acquired six vacuum cleaning vehicles and two have been already made functional. At the outset, Aparajita Singh, who along with senior advocate Harish Salve have been appointed as amicus curiae in the matter, apprised the court about the prevailing situation in Delhi and NCR and referred to the report filed by the apex court-appointed committee, Environmental Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (PEA).Sunita Narain of EPCA also termed the situation as a case of “public health emergency” and said it required close monitoring to ensure “stringent” enforcement of earlier directions of the Supreme Court.On monitoring and restricting the inflow of trucks whose final destination is not Delhi from entering the capital, the bench inquired from the counsel of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh about the procedures and protocol being followed.”How do you regulate this? Do you ask vehicle drivers as to where they are going? What are the training given to policemen or toll operators,” the bench asked, adding “what establishment have you (states) set up for diversion of traffic before they enter Delhi?”The bench then inquired about the reported fact that the Delhi government has “severe” staff limitations to carry out such diversions. Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the AAP-led Delhi government, apprised the bench about the actions taken in pursuance of the apex court directions on the issue.”So far, we have acquired six vacuum cleaning vehicles. Two have been made functional,” she said.The bench enquired about the total requirement and when the government came out with the tender notice.”Do you have any estimate as to how many such vehicles you want to get to deal with the situation,” the bench asked.Sixteen such vehicles are to be purchased, she said, adding “vacuum cleaning vehicles can be used on main roads and cannot be used on narrow arterial roads”.Amicus curiae Singh, during the hearing, apprised the apex court about the complaint redressal mechanism and said when such complaints are received on EPCA’s website, it forwards them to authorities concerned for redressal.

Issues in Kashmir can be resolved politically, not judicially: Supreme Court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir in an attempt to address issues in the prevailing situation in the state, the Supreme Court on Monday said the issues should be “dealt with politically” and it can’t be managed judicially.The apex court also asked the Solicitor General to help activist lawyer and Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) leader Bhim Singh to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.”This issue has various dimensions and therefore should be dealt politically and moreover, everything cannot be managed within the judicial parameters,” a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said.The bench also referred to a meeting today between a delegation of the state’s opposition parties led by former chief minister Omar Abdullah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked Singh to join the delegation.When the senior lawyer said the “RSS-dictated” government would not invite him, the court, which asked Solicitor General (SG) Ranjit Kumar to facilitate Singh’s meeting with Modi, was annoyed.”Don’t make a political statement here. You tell us whether you want to go and meet the political leadership or not,” the bench said.Singh sought imposition of Governor’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir in the prevailing situation in the valley.The bench said the statements made by Bhim Singh may not be “relevant judicially” but they may be “relevant politically”.Earlier, the Centre, in its status report filed in the court earlier this month had said that the law and order situation in the Valley has improved considerably.The Valley has been witnessing a spate of violent protests following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.According to Centre, a total of 872 incidents of violence were reported mainly from south Kashmir and parts of central and north Kashmir.It was stated that in these incidents, 42 civilians and two security personnel were killed, while 2656 civilians and 3783 security personnel were injured.

Homo and bi-sexuals can’t be included in ‘third gender’ category: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to modify its 2014 order on transgenders while clarifying that lesbians, gays and bisexuals are not third gender.In 2014, the court had held that transgenders should be treated as third gender category. Court said that Central government must provide a third gender category in forms. SC even had asked government to provide reservation to transgenders in socially backward category. Centre was seeking modification in the top court judgment of 2014.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh, appearing for the Centre, said it is not clear from the earlier verdict if lesbians, gays and bisexuals are transgenders or not. He said a clarification in this regard was needed.A bench headed by Justice AK Sikri said “there is no confusion and it had clearly stated that lesbian, gays and bisexuals do not fall under category of third gender. We kept in mind the Apex Court’s verdict on homosexuals while pronouncing the verdict.”Appearing for transgenders, Senior advocate Anand Grover contended that under the garb of clarification, the government delayed the compliance of the verdict for past two years. To this, court asked government counsel Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh “why can’t the cost be imposed on government for delay in implementation of our order. “The court, however, did not impose any cost while disposed of the government’s plea.On April 15,2014, on the question of equality, the Court had held that, while Article 14 of the Constitution (equality before law) mandates, gender neutrally, that no person shall be denied equality before the law or equal protection of the law, facts indicate that the non-recognition of transgenders as caused transgender persons to perennially be denied equal protection of the law.The discrimination faced by them in all spheres of life, as well as their vulnerability to harassment and violence are in stark contravention of their right to equality.It further held that gender expression is an integral part of a person’s identity saying there is a need to guarantee the freedom of speech and expression to all transgender persons.

Supreme Court to pass order on medical entrance tests conducted by states today

The Supreme Court will today clear the uncertainty over the fate of medical entrance examinations conducted by states after implementation of National Eligibility Entrance Test, NEET.A bench of Justices A R Dave, Shiva Kirti Singh and A K Goel on Friday had said that it would pass an order today to put to rest all confusion in this regard.The bench had also ruled that those students who had appeared for NEET-I held on May 1 would not be allowed in phase II of the test to be held on July 24.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench hinted that it may consider allowing states conducting their own tests to continue with the admission process for current academic year alone.The Court had said that the issue with regard to those students who had appeared or who are due to appear in examinations conducted by the States in accordance with their State laws, shall be decided after hearing Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar.The Solicitor General will today apprise the court about the stand of the Centre.

Ban on diesel-run taxis to affect BPOs, Centre tells Supreme Court

Government on Thursday raised in the Supreme Court the issue of restriction put on plying of diesel run taxis in Delhi and National Capital Region, saying it will adversely impact the flourishing industry of BPOs which may choose to go out of India.”The BPO industry would be affected as diesel taxis had been used for pick and drop facilities of the employees. It will affect the economy,” Solicitor General Ranjith Kumar told a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also said that Centre will be filing an application shortly on the issue as it also pertains to the safety and security of the BPO employees.”Due to the inconvenience caused to the BPO employees, the companies may choose to move out of the country which will be affecting the economy,” the Solicitor General said.To this, the bench also comprising Justice R Banumathi said why can’t they(BPO companies) hire buses for the pick and drop facility.Meanwhile, the counsel for Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) informed the court that it is discussing the issue arising out of the ban on diesel taxis with the Delhi government.The apex court then asked the counsel to give the road map on the issue which would be deliberated upon on May 9, the next date of hearing.The EPCA said that diesel cabs, which are not permitted to ply in Delhi and NCR, are being affected by the ban as they have an all India permit to travel to destinations across the country where CNG is not available.The apex court had on May 3 given two days time to Delhi government to file a detailed plan on phasing out diesel taxis from the city after it had moved the court seeking the same.The AAP government had said that in the wake of Supreme Court’s order around 30,000 diesel taxis have stopped plying in the national capital which is causing inconvenience to the common people and creating a law and order situation.The bench had then said whenever such decisions are taken, inconvenience is bound to be caused to people.The Supreme Court had on April 30 refused to extend the deadline fixed for conversion of diesel taxis into less- polluting CNG mode.The court had on December 16 last year considered the contention of senior advocate Harish Salve, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae, that all diesel taxis be moved to CNG fuel within a reasonable time but not later than March 1, 2016.

Govt says will amicably try to get back Kohinoor, cites Nehru reference to justify action

The government clarified on the Kohinoor issue saying it will make all efforts to bring back the valued diamond it had said in the Supreme Court was “neither stolen nor forcibly” taken by British rulers but given to it by erstwhile rulers of Punjab. In a statement, the government claimed it has not yet conveyed its views to the court “contrary to what is being misrepresented” in the media.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an official press release from the Minister of Culture, the govt said:The Government of India wishes to put on record that certain news items appearing in the press regarding the Kohinoor Diamond are not based on facts. The Government of India further reiterates its resolve to make all possible efforts to bring back the Kohinoor Diamond in an amicable manner. The factual position is that the matter is sub judice at present. A PIL has been filed in the Honourable Supreme Court that is yet to be admitted.
ALSO READ #dnaEdit: The Kohinoor was not all the British took from IndiaThe Solicitor General of India was asked to seek the views of the Government of India, which have not yet been conveyed. The Solicitor General of India informed the Honourable Court about the history of the diamond and gave an oral statement on the basis of the existing references made available by the ASI. Thus, it should be reaffirmed that the Government of India has not yet conveyed its views to the court, contrary to what is being misrepresented. The Court granted six weeks’ time on the prayer of the Solicitor General to take instructions for making his submission in the matter.The status report on which the preliminary submission was made by the Solicitor General have references to the stand taken by Governments earlier that the Kohinoor was a gift and cannot be categorized as an object stolen. The material further has references to the views of India’s 1st Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru dating back to 1956. Pandit Nehru went on record saying that there is no ground to claim this art treasure back. He also added that efforts to get the Kohinoor back would lead to difficulties.
ALSO READ Will make all efforts to bring Kohinoor back: Govt makes a U-turnPandit Nehru also said, “To exploit our good relations with some country to obtain free gifts from it of valuable articles does not seem to be desirable. On the other hand, it does seem to be desirable that foreign museums should have Indian objects of art.”It may be added that ever since he has taken over as PM, Shri Narendra Modi’s efforts led to three significant pieces of India’s history coming back home. In October 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel returned a 10th century Indian statue of Goddess Durga that was stolen in 1990 and found in 2012 at a museum in Germany. In April 2015, then Canadian PM Stephen Harper returned a sculpture known as the ‘Parrot Lady’, which dates back to almost 900 years. Then Australian PM Tony Abbott, on his India visit in 2014 had returned antique statues of Hindu deities that were in Australian art galleries. None of these gestures affected India’s relations with either Canada, Germany or Australia. It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who as the Chief Minister got back the ashes of Shyamji Krishna Varma almost 70 years after his death.Thus, with regard to the Kohinoor Diamond too, Government of India remains hopeful for an amicable outcome whereby India gets back a valued piece of art with strong roots in our nation’s history.

Govt makes a U-turn on Kohinoor, says will make all efforts to bring back the diamond

New Delhi: Government on Tuesday night made a U-turn on the Kohinoor issue saying it will make all efforts to bring back the valued diamond it had said in the Supreme Court was “neither stolen nor forcibly taken” by British rulers but given to it by erstwhile rulers of Punjab.

In a statement, the government claimed it has not yet conveyed its views to the court “contrary to what is being misrepresented” in the media.

The government statement came a day after the Solicitor General told the Supreme Court, “Kohinoor cannot be said to have been forcibly taken or stolen as it was given by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to East India Company in 1849 as compensation for helping them in the Sikh wars.”

The court was hearing a PIL which sought government action for the return of over USD 200 million Kohinoor diamond from the UK.

Kohinoor Diamond. Image courtesy: Getty imagesKohinoor Diamond. Image courtesy: Getty images

Kohinoor Diamond. Image courtesy: Getty images

Wishing to put on record that the news items on the issue “are not based on facts”, the official release said the government reiterates its resolve to make all possible efforts to bring back the Kohinoor Diamond in an amicable manner.

The release said the factual position is that the matter is sub-judice at present and the PIL is yet to be admitted.

“The Solicitor General of India was asked to seek the views of the government of India, which have not yet been conveyed. The Solicitor General of India informed the honourable court about the history of the diamond and gave an oral statement on the basis of the existing references made available by the ASI.

“Thus, it should be reaffirmed that the government of India has not yet conveyed its views to the court, contrary to what is being misrepresented,” it said.

The release also noted that the court granted six weeks time on the prayer of the Solicitor General to take instructions for making his submission in the matter.

“… With regard to the Kohinoor Diamond too, government of India remains hopeful for an amicable outcome whereby India gets back a valued piece of art with strong roots in our nation’s history,” it added.

“The status report on which the preliminary submission was made by the Solicitor General have references to the stand taken by Governments earlier that the Kohinoor was a gift and cannot be categorised as an object stolen.

“The material further has references to the views of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru dating back to 1956. Pandit Nehru went on record saying that there is no ground to claim this art treasure back. He also added that efforts to get the Kohinoor back would lead to difficulties,” the release said.

According to the release, Nehru also said, “To exploit our good relations with some country to obtain free gifts from it of valuable articles does not seem to be desirable. On the other hand, it does seem to be desirable that foreign museums should have Indian objects of art.”

Ever since Narendra Modi has taken over as Prime Minister, it said his efforts led to three significant pieces of India’s history coming back home which did not affect the relations with the respective countries.

“In October 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel returned a 10th century Indian statue of Goddess Durga that was stolen in 1990 and found in 2012 at a museum in Germany.

“In April 2015, then Canadian PM Stephen Harper returned a sculpture known as the ‘Parrot Lady’, which dates back to almost 900 years.

“Then Australian PM Tony Abbott, on his India visit in 2014 had returned antique statues of Hindu deities that were in Australian art galleries.

“None of these gestures affected India’s relations with either Canada, Germany or Australia. It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who as the Chief Minister got back the ashes of Shyamji Krishna Varma almost 70 years after his death,” the release said.

Kohinoor was not stolen, but gifted to Britain: Government tells Supreme Court

The famed Kohinoor diamond was neither stolen nor forcibly taken away and India should not stake claim to it, the Central government has told the Supreme Court on Monday.

The statement was made by Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who was appearing for the government in the court, The Times of India reported. He is reported to have told the court that the 105-karat diamond, which has become a part of popular culture, was handed over to the East India Company by Punjab’s Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

It is now set in the crown that was worn by Queen Elizabeth’s mother until her death in 2002, and is on public display in the Tower of London.

The Supreme Court on 8 April had asked the government to clarify its stand on a PIL seeking return of the Kohinoor diamond in the country.

A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur, which did not issue notice on the PIL, asked the Solicitor General to seek instructions in the matter within a week.

The Kohinoor diamond. File photo. Getty imagesThe Kohinoor diamond. File photo. Getty images

The Kohinoor diamond. File photo. Getty images

“Everybody is claiming the Kohinoor. How many countries are claiming Kohinoor? Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and even South Africa. Somebody here is also asking for the Kohinoor. Do you know about it?,” the bench asked the Solicitor General.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said he was unaware about it and would need time to seek instructions and get back.

During the hearing, the bench, also comprising Justices R Banumathi and UU Lalit, said there has been a press report attributing statements to the British Prime Minister quoting him as saying, “if we were to accept such demands, British Museums would be empty”.

“Why don’t you approach the government? Hasn’t the government taken up the matter? The government has done something. They have done whatever it could,” the bench told the petitioner.

The apex court was hearing a PIL filed by All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front seeking directions to the High Commissioner of United Kingdom for return of the diamond besides several other treasures.

The PIL has made Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Culture, High Commissioners of UK, Pakistan and Bangladesh as parties in the case.

It has also sought return of the “ring and talwar of Tipu Sultan and other treasures of Tipu Sultan, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Rani of Jhansi, Nawab Mir Ahmad Ali Banda and other rulers of India.”

Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who had handed over the diamond, in turn had taken it from an Afghan king who had sought sanctuary in India.

The diamond had been an heirloom of the Afghan monarchy and before then was in Persian royal hands, but its true origins remain a mystery.

With inputs from agencies

Disowning the diamond: Kohinoor was not stolen, Centre tells SC

The famed Kohinoor diamond was neither stolen nor forcibly taken away and India should not stake claim to it, the Central government has told the Supreme Court on Monday.

The statement was made by Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, who was appearing for the government in the court, The Times of India reported. He is reported to have told the court that the 105-karat diamond, which has become a part of popular culture, was handed over to the East India Company by Punjab’s Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The Supreme Court on 8 April had asked the government to clarify its stand on a PIL seeking return of the Kohinoor diamond in the country.

A bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur, which did not issue notice on the PIL, asked the Solicitor General to seek instructions in the matter within a week.

The Kohinoor diamond. File photo. Getty imagesThe Kohinoor diamond. File photo. Getty images

The Kohinoor diamond. File photo. Getty images

“Everybody is claiming the Kohinoor. How many countries are claiming Kohinoor? Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and even South Africa. Somebody here is also asking for the Kohinoor. Do you know about it?,” the bench asked the Solicitor General.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar said he was unaware about it and would need time to seek instructions and get back.

During the hearing, the bench, also comprising Justices R Banumathi and UU Lalit, said there has been a press report attributing statements to the British Prime Minister quoting him as saying, “if we were to accept such demands, British Museums would be empty”.

“Why don’t you approach the government? Hasn’t the government taken up the matter? The government has done something. They have done whatever it could,” the bench told the petitioner.

The apex court was hearing a PIL filed by All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front seeking directions to the
High Commissioner of United Kingdom for return of the diamond besides several other treasures.

The PIL has made Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Culture, High Commissioners of UK, Pakistan and Bangladesh as parties in the case.

It has also sought return of the “ring and talwar of Tipu Sultan and other treasures of Tipu Sultan, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Rani of Jhansi, Nawab Mir Ahmad Ali Banda and other rulers of India.”

With inputs from PTI

India shouldn’t claim Kohinoor diamond, it was gifted to British by Maharaja Ranjit Singh- Centre to Supreme Court

In a statement likely to create controversy, Central govt told the Supreme Court on Monday that India shouldn’t claim the famous Kohinoor diamond from the British. According to the Solicitor General, as per Culture ministry’s view ,India should not claim ‘Kohinoor’ as it was neither stolen nor forcibly taken away. He said that Kohinoor’ was handed over by Maharaja Ranjit Singh to the East India Company. Solicitor General said that it is the view of the Culture Ministry. MEA is also party to the PIL filed in this case and they are yet to reply. The SC bench asked whether the government wants the PIL to be dismissed or not warning that it would be difficult to stake claims in the future. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>SC has given Centre six week to file a detailed report. The Culture Minister’s reply came as the SC asked govt to clarify stance on a PIL seeking returning of Kohinoor. It has been filed by All India Human Rights & Social Justice Front seeking directions to the High Commissioner of United Kingdom for return of the diamond besides several other treasures.The PIL has made Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Culture, High Commissioners of UK, Pakistan and Bangladesh as parties in the case. It has also sought return of the “ring and talwar of Tipu Sultan and other treasures of Tipu Sultan, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Rani of Jhansi, Nawab Mir Ahmad Ali Banda and other rulers of India.” With agency inputs

Supreme Court to confine hearing to violent incidents at Patiala House

The Supreme Court on Monday made it clear that it would confine itself to the violence in Patiala House court complex on February 15 and 17 in which JNU students, teachers and journalists were attacked during the hearing of sedition case against JNUSU head Kanhaiya Kumar.”We are not concerned with other incidents. We are only concerned with the episode that had happened on February 15 and 17,” a bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and A M Sapre said when a Karkardooma District bar body sought itself to be impleaded as a party. The terse response of the court came when the counsel for the district bar body referred to the cultural programme at JNU campus alleging that anti-national slogans were raised there and the execution of Parliament Attack case convict Afzal Guru was termed as “judicial killing”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is not the subject matter of the case here. We are sorry,” the bench said, adding, “You (Karkardooma bar lawyer) come from different bar and you are not an interested party.” The bench also said it was not concerned with subsequent events and will not broaden the scope of hearing. R P Luthra, a lawyer who had sought intervention in the case, said the same Patiala House Court has heard and decided the bail plea of former Delhi University lecturer SAR Gilani and that an atmosphere has been “created”. “Do not settle personal score,” the bench asked Luthra.During the hearing, the bench perused reports filed by Delhi Police, Bar Council of India, Delhi High Court Registry and the six-member lawyers’ panel formed by the apex court. “There are allegations and counter-allegations” and the reports be exchanged and the objections be filed, before the matter is heard on March 10, the bench said. Apex bar body Bar Council of India (BCI) sought the court’s response as to whether it should proceed with the proposed inquiry against lawyers who had allegedly participated in the violent incidents in Patiala House on February 15 and 17 when jailed Kanhaiya Kumar was being produced in connection with the sedition case.”Let all the concerned receive reports. Today we are not saying anything on it,” the bench said. The BCI said it has decided to set up a three-member panel which would also have a former Judge of the High Court and senior advocate M N Krishnamani. During the hearing, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre and Delhi Police, asked the court that contents of the reports should not be made public for the time being as it may influence the hearing of the bail application of the accused, which will come up before the Delhi High Court tomorrow.Senior advocate Ajit Kumar Sinha, representing Delhi Police, also endorsed the view of the law officers. Referring to various reports, the bench said there were conflicting views in them and “let all the parties examine all the reports” before any further hearing.The bench, in its order, referred to the names of lawyers who would be getting various reports in the matter and will be entitled to file their objections, if any. The apex court had on February 19 transferred Kanhaiya’s bail plea to Delhi High Court while declining to entertain the petition, saying its direct intervention will be a dangerous proposition. Kanhaiya’s lawyers then immediately moved the high court with the bail petition.It had also asked the high court to expeditiously deal with the matter. While transferring the bail plea, the bench had taken an assurance from Solicitor General that in the “prevailing extraordinary situation” pertaining to this matter, the Government and the Delhi Police Commissioner would provide adequate safety and security to the accused and the stream of lawyers who will be appearing in the high court.It was not in agreement with the arguments advanced by a battery of senior advocates, including Soli Sorabjee, Raju Ramachandran and Rajeev Dhawan that an extraordinary law and order situation, threat to life of the accused and his counsel, hostile environment at the lower court and the simmering situation had compelled them to rush directly to it.Kanhaiya had on February 18 directly moved the apex court seeking bail while claiming threat to his life in Tihar jail. In the petition, filed through advocate Anindita Pujari, Kanhaiya, who was also attacked in Patiala House court complex by a group of lawyers, has claimed innocence.Kanhaiya was arrested on February 12 on sedition charge following a controversial event at JNU campus where anti-India slogans were allegedly raised. The student leader was produced in the court on February 17 after expiry of his police custody, where a group of men dressed in lawyers’ robes unleashed a brazen attack on him and others including journalists present there. Kanhaiya had sought the apex court’s intervention, saying no purpose would be served by keeping him in the jail and the police was finding it difficult to even produce him in the court.

SC raps states including Gujarat for not implementing Food Act

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today on Monday serious note of non-implementation of Central welfare law National Food Security Act by some states like Gujarat, saying they cannot “disobey” the legislation cleared by Parliament.

Supreme Court of India. ReutersSupreme Court of India. Reuters

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

The apex court, in particular, was more critical of the reply of Gujarat that the law was “being implemented” and
asked: “Does Gujarat want to breakaway from India? A law is passed by Parliament. Can a state say that it will not follow the law?”

“What is Parliament doing? What is Government of India doing? Is Gujarat not a part of India? The Act says it extends to whole of India and Gujarat is not implementing it. Tomorrow somebody can say that it is not going to implement the CrPC, IPC and the Evidence Act,” a bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said.

The remarks came during the hearing of a PIL filed by NGO Swaraj Abhiyan, run by people like psephologist Yogendra
Yadav, when Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Centre, said so far, nine states and Union Territories, including Gujarat, have not implemented the Act.

The plea has sought implementation of various welfare schemes for families in 12 drought-hit states.

The bench also asked the Centre to collect and collate information from these states on the status of welfare schemes like MGNREGA, National Food Security and mid-day meal. It asked the Centre to file an affidavit by February 10 and posted the matter for further hearing two days thereafter.

The Solicitor General said out of 12 states, the names of which have been provided by the NGO, Bihar, Gujarat and
Haryana have not declared drought.

The apex court had on 18 January asked the Centre to give information about implementation of schemes under MGNREGA, Food Security Act and the mid-day meal schemes as to whether those affected were being provided the minimum required employment and food or not.

The PIL alleged that parts of states like Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana,
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana and Chattisgarh had been hit by drought and the authorities were not providing adequate relief.

Earlier, the court had also asked the affected states to provide the requisite information on the welfare schemes to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare which, in turn, would collate the data and file them before it.

The Solicitor General had said that affected states have been provided financial aid from the State Disaster Relief
Fund (SDRF) and the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF).

Funds to the tune of over Rs 1,500 crore, Rs 1,276 crore, Rs 2,032 crore, Rs 3,044 crores have been made available to Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharshtra respectively, he had said, adding that for 2015-20, a total fund of Rs 61,291 crore has been earmarked to provide relief to the states which may be hit by disasters.

The PIL has sought implementation of the National Food Security Act which guarantees 5 kg of food grain per person
per month. It has also sought a direction to the authorities that affected families be also given pulses and edible oils.

The plea has further said that school-going children be also given milk and eggs under the mid-day meal scheme.

The plea has also sought adequate and timely compensation for crop loss and input subsidy for the next crop to the
farmers affected by drought and subsidised cattle fodder for animals.

The PIL, filed through Prashant Bhushan, alleged that the Centre and states “have been highly negligent in performing their obligations, causing enormous damage to the lives of the people due to their inaction, which is in contravention of the rights guaranteed under Articles 21 and 14 of the Constitution of India”.

“Unfortunately, most states have not yet implemented this. Except Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, the states have stuck
to the previous Public Distribution System schemes that fall short of the NFSA obligations,” Bhushan had said.

“Research shows that the APL/BPL distinction used by most of the states is useless and that the implementation of NFSA has had positive outcomes for these two states,” he had said.

The petition submitted that drought has led to severe decline in farm employment available to the rural poor.

PTI