In the wake of continued disruption of the monsoon session by the opposition, an NGO moved the Supreme Court on Wednesday to seek the framing of guidelines for parliament’s smooth functioning.
The PIL filed by NGO Foundation for Restoration of National Values (FRNV) sought laying down of guidelines to ensure that parliament functioned without disruptions and impediments from its members, in the discharge of its legislative and representative responsibilities.
The PIL sought the guidelines so that public at large and public exchequer were not adversely affected on account of parliamentary proceedings being “unreasonably and unjustifiably obstructed, stalled and disrupted” by the opposition.
The non-governmental organization (NGO) said it was concerned over the “deterioration in the standards of governance in India and the commensurate inability of the State to abide by the commitments and principles enshrined in our constitution”.
“The fact that governance is indeed on the decline, is borne by the fact that numerous Committees and commissions appointed by the government of India have, over the years, pointed to systemic and other lapses that are still in need of urgent remedy,”the PIL said.
The PIL filed by advocate Ravi Prakash Mehrotra said the Foundation was “deeply concerned that any further lack of action on part of the State to redress the lapses will gravely hinder its ability to adhere to its constitutional obligations”.
“There is urgent and pressing need to improve the overall structures, systems, skills, styles, policies and procedures needed for good governance, with a robust, wholesome and socially responsible administration,” the non-governmental organization said.
It said this has to be done by simultaneously instilling in those responsible for public administration “a deeper understanding of their responsibility to further the welfare of the people of our country”.
Hauz Khas village has come under the scanner of the Delhi High Court for ‘unlawful existence’ and operation of restaurants without obtaining mandatory permits
According to PILs, restaurants cramp the narrow lanes of HKV without proper security and fire safety mechanisms in place
Licenses of 19 restaurants have been revoked by the SDMC
New Delhi, August 23, 2017: With the wave of pop-culture that has come up in Delhi in the last few years, Hauz Khas village in south Delhi has emerged as the hub of ‘alternate culture’. While the ‘village’ remains comfortably filled during the weekdays, it gets crowded beyond measure over the weekends. There are usually long queues of cars and people waiting to enter HKV (as it is popularly known) that is home to a number of state-of-the art cafes, eateries and designer boutiques.
Hauz Khas village is not only famous its enviable list of establishments, but also for the number of cases that have previously been filed against the popular hub.
Hauz Khaz vilage has previously been in news for the following reasons-
September 2013: 34 restaurants were shut down for four days upon orders from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for violating environmental flaws, following which they were conditionally allowed to operate on promise of upholding the laws.
August 2016: A ‘minor fire’ in the urban hub killed an Indian businessman and injured a French woman, bringing to light the poor safety standards and remedial mechanisms in the place.
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February 2017: a 26-year old was allegedly sexually assaulted in the wee hours of the morning after a night of partying in HKV. A series of similar incidents have remained common to the area.
July 2017: The village came in news when the police decided to ban the Tuesday-Wednesday ladies’ night in the area to keep law and order in place and avoid possible cases of sexual assault or violence. While the ban was never imposed, security arrangements in the area were strengthened.
The cramped, neon-lit streets and cafes of this urbanized village have once again come under the radar of the Delhi High Court now for illegal constructions and encroachments.
Following the hearing of PILs alleging “unlawful existence” of eateries in the village, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar made an oral observation saying the court is to protect and upload “the life and personal liberty of every person in the city.”
The bench’s observation came following the hearing of petitions filed by social activist Pankaj Sharma and advocate Anuja Kapur.
According to the petition filed by Sharma, the village is a host to 120 eateries and pubs, most of which have been illegally constructed in the absence of an approval of their building plans from the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC). Alternatively, the plea by advocate Anuja Kapur claims that these restaurants and bars are additionally violating the law as they continue to operate without a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the required authorities including the fire department.
Kapur in her plea to the High Court had also raised allegations against the police claiming that no officer can be spotted in the village which gives various business owners an opportunity to indulge in ‘illegal activities’, which she believes are done with support from the local police.
Hauz Khas village is a popular commercial hub in the city and has a footfall of around 5,000 during weekdays which escalates to over 15,000 during the weekends.
Thus, the petitioners had also raised objections towards the risks to security and fire hazard in the village and asserted that the cramped location jam-packed with enormous crowd furthers the threat by making it impossible for ambulances and fire trucks to enter the area in case of emergencies.
It was revealed before the bench on August 22 that there is only one entry and exit in the village to allow the movement of fire tending vehicles.
Fire chief GC Mishra in his interview to the Indian Express in early August had asserted that the place is very congested for a city that ranks at level 4 of earthquake risk. “There is complete disregard towards the stability of the structure. Also, the access road is very narrow. How do I take my vehicles there?” he had said.
Previously, the High Court in May had issued a notice to the Centre, Delhi government, Delhi Police and SDMC to ensure strict enforcement of the law in the village and provide the court with a detailed account of the exact number of restaurants operating illegally.
Responding to the Court’s order, the Corporation revealed that they have issued notices of closure to 19 restaurant owners who do not possess the obligatory clearances. According to the report, “Nine licenses (have been revoked) for running the restaurants with more than the permitted number of seats and 10 licenses for running their trade on roads that don’t meet norms.”
The bench said during the hearing that this is a very serious issue, involving “valuable rights of the people”, according to a report by PTI.
Following the PILs the bench has asked authorities to file a status report explaining how these enterprises are running without a permit.
The SDMC has been directed to supplement the court with a detailed site-plan of the village clearly stating the location of different properties sprawled across the village along with the permissible property usage of Delhi as explained in the master plan of the city.
The bench has also asked the petitioners and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to undertake detailed inspection of the place and inform the court about the width of the only road that runs through the area.
The bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar further asserted that any decision would be taken keeping the right of owners to undertake business activities, as guaranteed in the Indian Constitution, in mind.
However, the rights shall be considered “only if one has complied with the building bye-laws and the master plan. Violators will have to go,” the bench added.
The case is scheduled to have a further hearing on September 5.
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In July this year, while answering a PIL, the Gujarat High Court asserted that only English can be used in the proceedings of the High Court. Furthermore, it also said that the litigant of the PIL must submit all the concerned documents in English and speak in English; automatically making anyone without the knowledge of English ineligible to file a PIL in the court! In order to represent yourself in your vernacular language, it said, you need to gain a ‘no objection’ from the other party, implying that before fighting a case against your opponents, you need to take their permission just to present your case. If this doesn’t highlight our affinity towards our colonial past, nothing does.
When the Modi government came to power last year, it pushed for making Hindi the official language in a number of central ministries. So when a lawyer named Shiv Sagar Tiwari filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, urging it to put an ‘end to British legacy’, everyone expected the government to take his cause further. But much to the surprise of everyone, the Government blew away the idea of making Hindi the official language in country’s higher judiciary.
To defend its position, the government cited a 2008 report from the Law commission which said that “no language should be thrust on any section of the people against their will since it is likely to become counterproductive”. However, what remains unexplained is how English serves the purpose of being the language of justice.
The present system means that for a law aspirant to reach the highest stage of his career, he must not only be proficient in his law related subjects, but also be equally proficient in English. All the non-English speakers are thus at a disadvantage even before they enter the legal profession. Not only the lawyers, but the common man too is affected by this rule.
A non-English speaker will never comprehend what his lawyers are stating on his behalf in the court. Imagine a person fighting to save your life, by putting forward the arguments that you can’t even comprehend! This doesn’t seem to fit into the idea of justice.
According to the clause (2) of the Article 348 of the Indian constitution, the Governor of a state, after acquiring the President’s consent, may authorize Hindi to be used in the proceedings of the concerned state’s high court. Thus far, only the Governors of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have made such a provision. Over the years, a number of language activists have demanded the use of vernacular languages in state’s official work, including the judiciary.
The constitution doesn’t prescribe any language for the lower courts in the country. Though a number of district courts hear cases in the local language, they face trouble of a different kind. All the documents related to the case need to be later translated into English since they need to be sent to the High Court, which only admits documents written in English. To avoid this humungous workload, a number of district courts now prefer to take up cases in English.
While any change in the court’s language doesn’t seem to be an imminent agenda for the government, one just hopes that justice isn’t ‘lost in translation’.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the central government on a petition by NGO Common Cause seeking the quashing of the appointment of Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) K.V. Chaudhary and Vigilance Commissioner (VC) T.M. Bhasin as their appointment was said to have breached the principle of “institutional integrity”.
The notice has also been issued to Chaudhary and Bhasin.
The apex court bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Amitava Roy sought responses from the central government as well as Chaudhary and Bhasin in two weeks. It gave a week’s time to Common Cause to file a rejoinder if any.
The NGO’s counsel urged the court to direct the government to make available the minutes of the meeting wherein Chaudhary and Bhasin were appointed the CVC and VC respectively.
He also sought the material that was placed before the Selection Committee relating to Chaudhary and Bhasin. The court asked Bhushan to make an appropriate application for seeking these records.
The PIL by the Common Cause and some others had sought to declare the appointment of Chaudhary and Bhasin as “illegal and void” as it violated the principles of “impeccable integrity” and “institutional integrity” spelt out by the apex court in earlier judgments.
Even before the appointment of Chaudhary as CVC, the PIL says several representations were made to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Congress leader Malikarjun Kharge giving specific reasons why he was “not eligible and suitable for heading this important institution”.