Court Refuses To Interfere With Penalty Recommendation On 2 Vodafone Firms

Court disposed of the petitions filed by Vodafone Mobile Services Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd.

New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court has refused to interfere with TRAI’s recommendation for imposing a penalty of Rs 1,050 crore on two Vodafone companies for allegedly denying inter-connectivity to Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL) under an Interconnection Agreement executed between them.

The high court noted that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) October 21, 2016 recommendation, which has been challenged here is also under challenge before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), and tribunals are expert bodies constituted under statute to decide the disputes arising under that statute.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad, in its May 24 judgment, said the TDSAT has been empowered to deal with all disputes arising under the TRAI Act.

The Central government passed an order on September 29, 2021 imposing a penalty on the petitioner companies for violation of the provisions of the licence agreement and standards of Quality of Service (QOS) regulations of basic telephone service (wireline) and cellular mobile telephone service regulations, 2009.

“After the tribunal gives the conclusion that the order dated September 29, 2021, passed by respondent no.2 (government) is not sustainable in law, then automatically the recommendation dated October 21, 2016, which is under challenge in the instant writ petitions would be set aside.

“This court finds considerable force in the arguments advanced by the senior counsel for the respondents that any observations made by this court in the instant writ petitions will have an adverse impact on the Telecom Petitions which have been filed before the TDSAT,” the bench said.

The high court disposed of the petitions filed by Vodafone Mobile Services Ltd and Vodafone Idea Ltd and made it clear that it has not made any observations on the merits of the case.

“It is always open for the tribunal to decide the issue on merits, including the recommendation dated October 21, 2016 which is under challenge in the instant petitions,” it said.

It also noted that the TDSAT has already stayed the September 2021 order.

On September 21, 2016, TRAI issued the a recommendation stating that the petitioners were at fault for not providing Point of Interconnections (POI) to RJIL, and recommended imposition of a penalty of Rs 50 crore per circle for 21 Licensed Service Areas (LSA) where POI congestion exceeded the allowable limit of 0.5 per cent.

The petitioners said they requested TRAI to withdraw the recommendation, but to no avail after which they moved the high court.

Vodafone has challenged the recommendation made by TRAI to the Secretary, Department of Telecommunication, for penal action, contending that the recommendation was contrary to law and deserved to be struck down.

TRAI opposed the petitions saying they are premature at this stage and non-maintainable.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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High Court Rejects Gandhis’ Petition Over Income Tax Assessment Transfer

The Gandhis challenged the order issued by the Income Tax principal commissioner to transfer their cases

New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court today rejected petitions by Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra against the Income Tax department’s decision to transfer their assessments to the Central Circle instead of an ordinary assessment in a matter related to arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.

The court also rejected separate petitions, which raised similar legal issues, by Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Trust, Jawahar Bhawan Trust, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust, Young Indian and the Aam Aadmi Party.

The Gandhis challenged the order issued by the Income Tax principal commissioner to transfer their cases for assessment year 2018-19 to the Central Circle.

Central Circles are mandated with checking tax evasion. They take over the evidence gathered by investigation wing during searches.

“The assessment of petitioners have been transferred to the Central Circle in accordance with law. The present writ petitions are dismissed,” said a bench of Justices Manmohan and Dinesh Kumar Sharma while pronouncing the verdict.

“Undoubtedly there cannot be guilt by association or relationship, yet in the present matters, assessments have been transferred for the purposes of a coordinated investigation,” added the bench.

The court said Central Circle jurisdiction is not confined to search cases and no assesse has any fundamental or vested legal right to be assessed by a faceless assessing officer.

The court clarified it has not examined the “controversy between the parties on merits”.

The transfer of their cases to the Central Circle was opposed by the Gandhis on the ground that they have nothing to do with the Sanjay Bhandari group’s cases.

Sanjay Bhandari, wanted in India on money laundering charges, has been allegedly linked to Priyanka Gandhi’s husband, Robert Vadra, over a London-based flat. Robert Vadra has denied any business connections with the accused.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Avoid Gathering, Wear Masks: Delhi Court To Staff, Lawyers As Covid Cases Rise

The High Court asked staff and lawyers to wear masks as Covid cases rise in Delhi.

New Delhi:

The Chief Justice of Delhi High Court on Thursday instructed all staff members, litigants and lawyers to wear a mask and avoid being gathered in groups while in court premises.

The direction has been issued in view of the rising number of covid cases in the national capital, which on Thursday recorded 1603 Coronavirus cases and three deaths.

The circular issued by HC Registrar General Ravindra Dudeja stated, “The Chief Justice has been pleased to order that due to the surge in the COVID-19 cases in the NCT of Delhi, in order to contain and combat the spread of Covid cases, all the concerned i.e., staff working in this Court and Members of the Bar, including their staff and the litigants are hereby directed to make use of face mask at all times in the premises of this Court as a matter of caution, not to gather in large number at common areas, waiting for areas of Court blocks as far as possible and follow appropriate Covid protocols in letter and spirit to avoid any further spread of the virus”.

It further added, “All the Registrars/OSDs/Co-ordinator, DIAC/Joint Registrars (Judicial)/Private Secretaries to Hon’ble the Chief Justice and Hon’ble Judges are hereby requested to ensure that the directions issued from time to time to contain the spread of Covid-19 virus are strictly followed by Officers/officials under their control”.

The covid cases have been on the rise for the last few days. In view of this, the Supreme Court has already granted liberty to the lawyers to appear through video conferencing.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Delhi Court Says Sharjeel Imam’s Speech At Jamia University In 2019 Was “Provocative”

The Court said that Sharjeel Imam was part of the mob during violence at Jamia university in 2019.

New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said that the speech of Sharjeel Imam at Jamia on December 13 in 2019 was “provocative” and shows that he was also a part of the mob which was instigating and provoking.

The High Court said on Tuesday in judgement against the order of the trial court order discharging him and ten others.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said that his speech at Jamia University which was provocative shows that he was also part of the mob which was instigating and provoking which he also admitted on January 16 in 2020 in his speech at Aligarh Muslim University.

The bench noted that during the investigation, the second supplementary chargesheet clearly mentions that the accused Sharjeel Imam had on December 13 in 2019 given a provocative speech at Jamia University.

The court said that his speech indicates that Sharjeel Imam had stated that they were distributing the pamphlets regarding the protest, and he himself talked about ‘destruction’ and also said that those who were protesting should know what they should do for the protests and should be ready to take blows of lathis.

“He can be clearly seen instigating the mob and preparing them for further action, and he said that on December 13, 2019, there were 3000 to 4000 persons gathered at the spot as they had been distributing pamphlets for the last two weeks, and thus, it can only be imagined as to how many people could gather on the day of jumma (Friday) next week,” the court noted.

It is, thus, clear that he had a common intention and that he was part of the overall intent and object of the unlawful assembly, justice Sharma held.

Advocate Talib Mustafa, counsel for Sharjeel Imam had stated that there was nothing on record to show that Sharjeel Imam was part of the alleged rioting mob on the day of the incident as there were no photographs or video or any eyewitnesses to support the case of the prosecution.

It was argued that Sharjeel Imam only campaigned in favour of peaceful protests and not violence, and he was himself a victim of violence on the day of the incident as his spectacles were broken during the course of protests.

It was also contended that he had left the place of the incident within a short period of time and was not a part of the assembly which may have turned unlawful later on as can also be inferred from his CDRs.

On the issue of speeches delivered by him, it was submitted that the speech on December 13 in 2019 was delivered at around 7:30 PM which was much later than the incident of violence and the same was a subject matter of another FIR and could not be considered in the present case.

It was further argued that the speech delivered on January 16 in 2020 at Aligarh Muslim University would only show that he campaigned in favour of chakka jaam which is not a violent means of protest.

It was stated on behalf of Asif Iqbal Tanha that there is no allegation of rioting against him levelled by any of the witnesses, and he was also not a part of the videos and photographs relied upon by the prosecution on the basis of which other seven respondents were identified by the witnesses.

The bench rejected this contention and said that during the investigation, it was revealed that Asif Iqbal Tanha had posted photographs on his Facebook account on December 13 last year, the third anniversary of the Jamia violence incident.

He had written that he was detained at PS Badarpur along with his associates and had himself admitted that they were stopped by police while they were marching to Parliament, and he had also posted a photograph showing that he was in the custody of police in a bus, the court added.

The said post, containing photographs and videos of the day of the incident, is still visible on the Facebook account of the respondent. In the photographs posted by himself, he can be seen to be a part of unlawful assembly, which he does not deny, the court held.

It was submitted on behalf of Safoora Zargar that she was not named in the FIR, nor in the charge sheet of March 30, 2020.

It was alleged that she was seen standing near the barricades, outside Jamia University and was one of the rioters.

Three-fold arguments were addressed by the senior counsel.

It was first contended that prosecution has to cross the ‘threshold of identification’ and the respondent has been allegedly identified by the witnesses from video clip number 9, but a bare perusal of that video would show that a person, whose face is covered, has been identified as Safoora Zargar.

The court rejected the contention and said that this Court has seen video clip number 9 since the contention of the learned Senior counsel was that the woman, who is seen in a muffled face as part of the mob, could not have been identified by anyone as her face is not clearly visible.

The court pointed out that the Senior counsel, however, has not stated that the said woman in the video is not a part of the violent mob.

It is admitted case of the respondent that she is a student of the university in question. A caretaker on the University campus and the other employee whose designation has been reflected as a peon, have stated in their statements under section 161 Cr.P.C. that since they see the students frequenting the canteen regularly, they were able to identify her, though she was wearing a mask and had her face covered, the court held.

Furthermore, a perusal of video clip number 9 would also show that this is not a case where no overt act can be attributed to the present respondent as the video clip clearly reveals that the woman who is in the mask, identified by the public witnesses who are employees of the concerned university to be respondent, can be seen to be at the forefront of a violent mob which is pushing and throwing the barricades including her, which by no stretch of imagination can be said to be a protest by peaceful means, the court added.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Need To Scrutinise Consent In Sexual Assault Cases, Says Delhi High Court

New Delhi:

Complainants of sexual assault cases are entitled to a fair trial, but the responsibility of the criminal justice system towards protecting rights of the accused cannot be ignored, the Delhi High Court said on Tuesday while upholding an order discharging a man accused of raping a woman for 12 years.

The court said in cases of rape and sexual violence, conceptualisation of definition of “consent” is of utmost importance and the issue merits close scrutiny.

“The courts have to ensure that the right of fair trial to the complainant and rights of the accused of being protected from mala fide trial are taken care of in the court’s crucial endeavour to ensure equality before law,” Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma said in the order.

The court upheld a trial court’s order of June 2018, discharging the man under Sections 376 (punishment for sexual assault) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

In the First Information Report filed in 2017, the woman alleged she was repeatedly raped by the man since 2005. Both were married to different people at the time. The woman claimed she had two children, who were fathered by the man and this was proved by DNA tests.

The prosecution claimed the woman met him in a train in 2005. They became friends and he started visiting her house. In November that year, the man spiked her fruit juice and raped her. He later blackmailed her with obscene photos and forced her to continue the relationship. The woman claimed that she disclosed the situation to her husband in 2017 and lodged a complaint with the police.

The court held that it cannot be said by any stretch of imagination, that the woman had given her consent to the sexual relationship under any misconception of facts or fear of injury.

Prima facie, it was difficult to construe the woman’s allegations to be covered under the definition of rape as she was married to another man and had sufficient maturity and intelligence to understand the significance and outcome of her acts, the court said.

The facts of this case point out to specific interpersonal relationship where both the parties exercised their right of sexual self-determination, the court said.

“In the changing social context and contemporary society, rigorous thinking was required while passing this judgment to strike a balance between the configuration of the rights of the accused against false implication due to their long consensual relationship which continued for 12 years and right of the complainant to fair trial,” the court said.

The court’s duty in such circumstances is to ensure that a balance is maintained between the settled law of sexual assault while keeping in mind the equality standards of the complainant and the accused, the judge said.

“No doubt, in cases of rape depending on facts from case to case, consent cannot be said to be inferred or proved by passivity or silence alone from the complainant. However, continuous consent, as in the present, without any whisper of complaint assists the court in consent analysis,” it said.

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Justice Amit Sharma Takes Oath As Delhi High Court Judge

The high court presently has 45 judges, including 10 women judges.

New Delhi:

Justice Amit Sharma Monday took oath of office as a permanent judge of the Delhi High Court. Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma administered the oath to Justice Amit Sharma.

The swearing-in ceremony took place in the judges’ lounge in the presence of other high court judges and lawyers.

On February 15, the Supreme Court Collegium had recommended that Justice Amit Sharma be made a permanent judge of the high court and on March 3, the Centre notified his appointment.

The high court presently has 45 judges, including 10 women judges, against a sanctioned strength of 60.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Places Of Worship Cannot Encroach Land, Hinder Development: Delhi Court

The court said the PWD ought to be permitted to make the pedestrian path uniform.

New Delhi:

Places of worship cannot encroach public land and hinder development activities for the larger segment of public, the Delhi High Court has said while permitting the demolition of portions of a temple and a mosque abutting a public pathway.

The Public Works Department (PWD) said the width of the footpath in front of the two religious premises was insufficient for a pedestrian pathway which has to have a space of six metres.

The caretakers and bearers of the temple –Sanatan Dharam Mandir / Prachin Shiv Mandir, situated at Jheel ka Piao, Opposite Link House, Mathura Road, ITO — had moved the high court last year against a letter issued in October 2022 regarding alleged encroachment by it on PWD’s “right of way”.

Subsequently, the Delhi Waqf Board was also made a party to the petition after the court was informed that a mosque was also being run adjacent to the temple.

The court said the PWD ought to be permitted to make the pedestrian path uniform and not inconvenience the pedestrians on the busy stretch of the road.

Since the wall of both the temple and the mosque abut the pedestrian pathway, the walls would be required to be demolished and the pathway shall now be made uniform, it said.

“This court is of the view that the larger public interest would outweigh the concerns raised by both the places of worship i.e., the Mandir as also the Masjid. There is no gainsaying that places of worship cannot be encroaching public land and hindering developmental activities meant for the larger segment of the public,” said Justice Prathiba M Singh in a recent order.

“In order to make the said pedestrian pathway uniform and so as to not inconvenience the pedestrians on the said busy stretch of the road which also has access to the Delhi Metro station, this Court is of the opinion that the PWD ought to be permitted to make the pedestrian pathway uniform. For the said purpose, if some portion of the Mandir/Masjid is to be broken/demolished, the same would have to be permitted by the Court,” it added.

The court said the PWD executive engineer concerned would confer with the caretakers of both the places of worship and arrive at a consensus as to the time and date for demolition exercise.

It added if any fresh construction is required to secure the area of two religious places, the cost will be borne by the PWD and their occupants will not be treated as unauthorised occupants and no penalties and/or damages would be liable to be levied against them.

The counsel for the two religious places submitted there was no encroachment and a pedestrian pathway existed in front of their premises.

The court, however, said the material on record showed clearly that the “Mandir and Masjid are abutting the pedestrian pathway” and that “there is no uniformity in the pedestrian pathway and the same needs to be made uniform and matched along with the pedestrian pathway across the entire stretch of the road, failing which, pedestrians’ safety would be seriously affected”.

The court recorded that in another decision, the high court has held that if places of worship are taken away for the purposes of carrying out the expansion of the road, it would not mean in any manner that a religious structure is being disrespected, and asked the Delhi Police to provide all cooperation and necessary assistance to ensure its directions are implemented without any disturbance or law and order situation.

The court also directed the PWD shall ensure that one toilet facility each for the temple and the mosque is provided with proper hand washing area, if required and the area for offering prayers shall be tiled.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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MCD स्थाई समिति चुनाव: हाईकोर्ट से AAP को झटका, दोबारा नहीं होगा चुनाव

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MCD स्थाई समिति के सदस्यों का चुनाव

नई दिल्ली: दिल्ली हाईकोर्ट ने MCD की स्थाई समिति के सदस्यों के चुनाव के लिए होने वाले पुर्नमतदान पर रोक लगा दी है। यह मतदान 27 फरवरी, 2023 को होने वाला था। अब कोर्ट के द्वारा रोक लगाए जाने के बाद मतदान की प्रक्रिया नहीं होगी। इसके साथ ही हाईकोर्ट ने एलजी, मेयर, डिप्टी मेयर और एमसीडी को नोटिस भी जारी किया है। इसके साथ ही कोर्ट ने निर्देश दिया है कि मेयर बैलेट पेपर, सीसीटीवी फुटेज की रिकॉर्डिंग के साथ अन्य सभी जानकारियों को सुरक्षित रखें, जिससे आगे की सुनवाई में आसानी हो। 

मेयर को चुनाव को अमान्य घोषित करने का अधिकार नहीं – कोर्ट 

बीजेपी द्वारा दाखिल की गई याचिका पर सुनवाई करते हुए दिल्ली हाईकोर्ट ने कहा कि संविधान में यह कहीं भी नहीं लिखा गया है कि मेयर को स्थाई समिति के सदस्यों के चुनाव को अमान्य घोषित करने का अधिकार है। कोर्ट ने कहा कि पिछले चुनावों के परिणामों के ऐलान किये बिना ही दोबारा चुनाव कराना पहली नजर में नियमों का अनुपालन ना करना दिखा रहा है।  

बीजेपी ने मेयर के फैसले के खिलाफ कोर्ट में लगाई थी याचिका 

कल शुक्रवार (24 फरवरी) को हुई चुनाव के बाद परिणामों के ऐलान से पहले मेयर शैली ओबरॉय ने बीजेपी के एक पार्षद का वोट अमान्य करार दिया था, जिसका बीजेपी ने विरोध किया थाl मेयर ने समिति के सदस्यों के चुनाव के लिए 27 फरवरी को दोबारा चुनाव कराने का आदेश दिया था, जिसके खिलाफ बीजेपी ने हाईकोर्ट में याचिका दाखिल की थी। कोर्ट ने इसी याचिका पर सुनवाई करते हुए यह फैसला सुनाया है।


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Without Documents, Can’t Assume Class 12 Rape Survivor Minor: High Court

The prosecutor sought time to file a status report in the court. (Representational)

New Delhi:

It is preposterous to presume that an alleged rape survivor  studying in class 12 will be a minor in the absence of any document on record, the Delhi High Court has said.

During the hearing of a petition seeking quashing of a rape case on the basis of a compromise between the parties, Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar asked the prosecutor representing the state as to how the Section 6 of POCSO Act has been invoked in the matter.

Responding to the query, the prosecutor submitted since the survivor was in 12th standard at the time of the incident, it was presumed that she must be a minor and therefore, Section 6 of the Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act has been invoked.

Dubbing the submissions made by the prosecutor “highly preposterous”, the court said,”Without any document on record, how can one presuppose that victim is a minor, even a major girl can be in 12th standard.” The prosecutor sought time to file a status report in the court which issued notice on the petition and listed it for further hearing on March 7.

Section 6 (punishment for aggravated penetrative sexual assault) of the POCSO Act entails a minimum punishment of 20 years which may extend to life imprisonment or death penalty.

In the instant case, an FIR was lodged at Sultanpuri Police Station here against a man on the allegations of raping and criminally intimidating a girl in 2022.

The plea sought quashing of the FIR on the ground that the matter has been settled between the parties and the man and the girl are living happily together after getting married in November 2022.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Supreme Court rejects RAW objections, sends Kirpal’s name for high court judge again | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court collegium headed by CJI D Y Chandrachud has rejected “objections” of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to reiterate for the second time the name of gay senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal for appointment as a judge of the Delhi high court.
While the RAW had expressed apprehensions over Kirpal’s same-sex relationship with Swiss national Nicolas Germain Bachmann, the law ministry had objected to Kirpal’s “ardent involvement and passionate attachment to the cause of gay rights” and said since “same-sex” marriage is not legalised in India, such characteristics of his could involve possible bias and prejudice.
The reiterated recommendation, also signed by Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, said the two communications from RAW (April 11, 2019 and March 18, 2021) do not reflect Kirpal’s conduct having even a remote bearing on national security and that it was unfair to presuppose that his partner would be inimically disposed to India.
The Justice Chandrachud-led collegium cited constitutional post holders having foreign nationals as spouses (ex-President K R Narayanan and present foreign minister S Jaishankar) and said “as a matter of principle, there can be no objection to Kirpal’s candidature just because his partner is a foreign national”.

On Kirpal’s openly gay orientation, the collegium reminded the Centre about the Navtej Johar constitution bench verdict, which ruled that every individual is entitled to maintain his own dignity and individuality, based on sexual orientation. Rejection of his candidature for judgeship on the ground of sexual orientation would be “manifestly contrary to the constitutional principles laid down by the SC”, it said.
The collegium said, “Kirpal possesses competence, integrity, and intellect. His appointment will add value to the bench of the Delhi high court and provide inclusion and diversity. His conduct and behaviour have been above board.”
However, it said, it would have been better if he had not spoken to the media accusing the government of stalling his appointment just because of his sexual orientation. However, it understood Kirpal’s pain and anguish arising from stalling of his name for five years.
The Delhi HC collegium had sent Kirpal’s name to the SC for appointment as judge on October 13, 2017. The SC collegium had considered his name on four occasions — September 4, 2018, January 16, 2019, April 1, 2019 and on March 2, 2021. Every time, it had deferred taking a decision, given the stout opposition recorded by the Centre based on intelligence reports primarily focusing on Kirpal’s foreign partner.
On November 11, 2021, the collegium comprising then CJI N V Ramana and Justices U U Lalit and A M Khanwilkar recommended Kirpal’s name to the government. It was returned by the government on November 25, 2022. On January 18, 2023, the SC reiterated his name.

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