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48,000 slum dwellings around railway tracks in New Delhi to be removed within three months: The Supreme Court [READ ORDER]

The Supreme Court has ordered the removal of nearly 48,000 slum dwellings around the 140-kilometer length of railway tracks in New Delhi within three months, and has further directed that no court should grant any stay on the removal of the slums.

By: Divyansh Saini

The order was passed in the M C Mehta case, in which the apex court had been passing a slew of directions from time to time since 1985 in issues related to pollution in and around Delhi.

A report was submitted by the Environment Pollution (Protection and Control) Authority stating that the Railways was not in compliance with the Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules 2016.

In response to this Railways filed an affidavit before the Court that there is a “predominant presence” of Jhuggies in Delhi along with 140 km route length of track in the region of NCT of Delhi. The Railways stated that out of this, about 70 km route length of track is affected by large jhuggie jhopri clusters existing in close vicinity of the tracks. These clusters sum up to a total of about 48000 number of Jhuggies in the region adjacent to Railway tracks, and for this the directions were also passed by the National Green Tribunal, Principal Bench, in October 2018, a Special Task Force for removal of encroachments from the Railway Property has already been constituted. 

The Railway stated to the Court that there was “political intervention” which comes in the way of the removal of encroachments.

In this regard a bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B. R. Gavai and Krishna Murari stated: “The encroachments which are there in the safety zones should be removed within a period of three months and no interference, political or otherwise, should be there and no Court shall grant any stay with respect to removal of the encroachments in the area in question”, the bench ordered.

Further the bench stated “In case any interim order is granted with respect to encroachments, which have been made along with railway tracks, that shall not be effective“.

It also passed directions with regard to removal of plastic bags and garbage from the tracks with the cooperation of the statutory authority like Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board, Corporations and the State Governments.

“We direct that let the plan be executed with respect to removal of the plastic bags, garbage etc. within a period of three months and a meeting of all the stakeholders, i.e. Railways, Govt. of NCT of Delhi and concerned Municipal Corporations as well as Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Trust (DUISB) be called next week and work be started forthwith. 70% of the requisite amount shall be borne by the Railways and 30% by the State Government. The manpower be provided by the SDMC, Railways and agencies available with the Government, free of cost, and they will not charge it from each other. SDMC, Railways and other agencies to ensure that their Contractors do not put the waste/garbage on the sides of the railway tracks”, held by the Court.

News, Top Stories

The Supreme Court has refused to grant bail to a teenager accused of killing a minor boy. [READ ORDER]

A teenager, accused of killing a 7-year old boy at a Gurugram school in 2017 was refused the grant of bail by the Apex Court on Wednesday.

By: Nishantika Sood

On September 8, 2017, a Class-2 student, Prince (the name given by Court), was found dead, with his throat slit, inside the toilet of a well-known private school in Gurugram. Amidst a nationwide uproar, the Haryana Police took up the investigation and booked a bus conductor for killing the minor.

On September 22, the CBI took over the investigation from the Haryana Police. The agency arrested 16-year old Bholu (the name given by Court) who was a Class-11 student in the same school and later filed a charge sheet alleging him to be behind the killing of ‘Prince’. The conductor was given a clean chit on account of a lack of evidence to prove his involvement in the matter.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had taken note of an Order passed by the Supreme Court on February 28 2019 wherein it was directed that the petitioner be dealt with as an adult for the purposes of deciding bail applications. As a result, the Court while refusing bail thus recorded,

“Therefore, there is little scope for this court to find out whether the petitioner can be granted the relief under Section 12 of Juvenile Justice Act”.

This decision was challenged by the accused in his SLP before the apex court.

A 3-judge bench comprising of Justices RF Nariman, Navin Sinha, and Indira Banerjee found no grounds to interfere with the decision of the High Court which had denied bail for the accused.

Since the petitioner is now being tried for the purposes of bail only as an adult, we see no reason to interfere with the impugned judgment of the High Court at this stage. Accordingly, the Special Leave Petition is dismissed“, Ordered the Apex Court.

In his SLP, the accused submitted that the High Court had wrongly considered the tampering of evidence by the accused if granted bail.

However, the CBI opposed this plea asserting that the JJ Act could not be invoked to sidestep justice in this case where the teen did not deserve leniency given the nature of the crime.

The victim’s father also opposed bail on the ground that the boy would be in a position to tamper with evidence if allowed to walk out on bail.

Having considered the submissions of the parties and considering the High Court’s Order, the Bench dismissed the SLP.

News, Top Stories

Supreme Court has refused to entertain Netflix’s petition against the Bihar order restraining the use of Subrata Roy’s name in a web series.

On Wednesday, the Apex Court refused to entertain the OTT platform Netflix’s petition against a local Bihar Court’s Order restraining the use of Subrata Roy’s name in the forthcoming web series ‘Bad Boy Billionaires’ asking them to “Go to the appropriate forum.”

By: Nishantika Sood

The Bench presided over by CJI SA Bobde while stating that the Supreme Court was not the appropriate forum for relief, asked Netflix to approach the same.

Appearing for the OTT platform, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi informed the Court that the series was due to be released on the 2nd of September, which necessitated an urgent hearing.

However, the Court remarked “Doesn’t matter. This is not the forum; you should have gone to the High Court.”

Rohatgi went on to highlight that Roy had approached a remote Court in Bihar from where he was granted a stay order and another local Court in Hyderabad had also stayed the release of the series, due to which he had also filed a transfer petition.

The senior advocate thus emphasized that the release of the series was being jeopardized, however, the CJI was not inclined to hear the matter and reiterated that he should have approached an appellate Court in Bihar.

“The procedure does not allow you to challenge a lower court order directly before us…this is not the proper forum…you have come here deliberately”, stated the Chief Justice.

As the Bench was dismissing the SLP, Rohatgi sought permission to withdraw the same and urged the Court to consider his transfer petition. He also urged the CJI to direct Patna High Court to hear the matter expeditiously.

Allowing the plea to be withdrawn, the Top Court then issued a notice in the transfer petition.

However, the Bench issued no direction concerning an expeditious hearing by the High Court.

Thus, dismissing the SLP as withdrawn, the Apex Court granted Netflix liberty to approach the appropriate forum and challenge the Order of the local Bihar Court.

News, Top Stories

State to Widely Publicize RERA To Prevent Criminalization of Property Dispute: Orissa High Court Holds Investors Protection Laws Inapplicable to Builder-Buyer Relation [Read Judgment]

The Orissa HC declared that the State Government will take all the necessary measures for publicity of provisions of The Real Estate (Regulatory and Development) Act, 2016 in order to prevent unnecessary litigation arising out of the builder-buyer relationship.

By: Shikha Awasthi

Accused persons made an agreement that if they failed to pay money than they would register their plot on the name of the other party. 

High Court Bench of Orissa stated that the accused persons have failed in fulfilling their promise to deliver the possession over the plot which is an issue or return the amount in the execution of the common Builder-Buyer Agreement.

A First Information Report was lodged by the aggrieved party against the managing director under section 120B, 406, 420 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 read with section 6 of the Orissa Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Finance Establishment) Act, 2011. The Council for OPID argued that it is a case of cheating and fraud and therefore the provisions of the OPID Act, 2011 will be applicable to this case and RERA Act, 2016 will have no application on the present case.

“The Odisha Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act, 2011 envisages a situation where multitudes of small depositors are defrauded by dubious corporations by luring them with unscrupulous schemes which promised Utopian returns. The object of the Act is tailored to clear-cut situations where hapless depositors are defrauded by dubious “schemes” floated by such dubious “Financial Establishments” as provided under section 2 (d) of the Act. It is imperative that the background of the Act needs to be understood before dealing with the legislation.” The bench further noted that this case is a “classic example of a transaction gone awry which has been strenuously given the color of a criminal offense.”

The court asserted that the relevant law upon the given situation would be the Real Estate (Regulatory and Development) Act, 2016.
High Court observed that RERA failed to provide a safe mechanism against such malicious practices.

High Courts held that “suggested that the State Government will do well to give wide publicity to the provisions of the said RERA Act, 2016 in order to injunct any such unnecessary litigations arising out of builder-buyer relations.

The State will do well to ensure that the

News, Top Stories

Telecom Companies allowed to pay AGR dues within 10 years by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has held that the telecom companies who are liable to pay AGR dues shall make payment of 10% of the dues by March 31, 2021, and rest within a period of 10 years.

By Divyansh Saini

The Supreme Court on June 11, directed the Department of Telecommunication to reconsider the claims raised on Public Sector Undertakings on the basis of the October 2019 verdict in the case pertaining to AGR dues of telecom companies.

On June 18, the Court had directed telecom companies to submit their financial documents while considering the instant plea by the Department of Telecommunications to allow them to settle the AGR-related dues in a staggered fashion over 20 years.

And before the commencement of lockdown in March, the Department of Telecom (DoT) had moved the Supreme Court proposing staggered payment over 20 years for telecom firms to discharge their AGR dues.

The Department of Telecommunications (DOT) had filed a plea in the Supreme Court for modification of the order dated October 24, 2019 vis-à-vis arriving at a formula for recovery of past dues from telecom service providers.

In the instant appeal, the union had stated that even though the Court had widened the definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR), leaving the three telcos, i.e. Vodafone Idea, Bharti Airtel, and Tata Teleservices, collectively facing more than INR1.02 lakh crore in additional licence fees, spectrum usage charges (SUC), penalties and interest, it is imperative that the proposal for mode for recovery is approved.

A bench headed by Justices Arun Mishra rejected the prayer of the Department of Telecommunication seeking payments by telecom companies in a staggered fashion spanning over 20 years and instead allowed the telcos to make payments in a period spanning 10 years. The court passed directions for payments to be made as follows:

– With respect to AGR dues, there shall not be any reassessment.

– Teleco’s have to make payments in yearly installments commencing from 1.04.2021 up to 31.03.2031

– Adjusting Bank Guarantees to be kept alive by telcos until payments have been made

Court further held that “In case of any default in making payment of annual installments, interest would become payable as per agreement along with the penalty and interest on penalty and would be punishable by contempt of court.”

The bench had also observed that raising demands on PSUs on the strength of the AGR verdict was uncalled for. The bench pointed out that the licenses for telecoms and PSUs were of different natures, as the latter was not intended at commercial exploitation.

This is an outright misuse of our verdict. You are making a demand of over 4 lac crores! This is wholly and totally impermissible!“, Justice Mishra observed on the demands on PSUs.

And on the issue of whether spectrum can be a subject matter of the resolution process, the Justice Mishra led bench stated that it has asked the NCLT to decide the same.

Further to this, the court held that the suo moto proceedings against the officer of the department (DoT) have been dropped in light of his unconditional apology.

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