Case BriefsCOVID 19Tribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

National Human Rights Commission, India, after taking cognizance of a complaint about the brutal assault on a doctor by the relatives of a Covid patient at Udali Model Hospital in Hojai district of Assam 01-06-2021 has called for the action taken report from the Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police, Government of Assam into the alleged incident within four weeks. Besides an enquiry into the allegations, the report is expected to include the needful preventive and punitive action taken in the matter.

The Commission has also sent a copy of the complaint to the Secretary, Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry to initiate necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of the frontline health workers in the country.

According to the complaint, having attached media reports,

the incident happened after the Covid patient had died. Allegedly, some of the frontline medical workers, Doctors, Nurses and Ward boys managed to escape but also got hurt and are deeply traumatized due to this horrific incident.


National Human Rights Commission

[Press Release dt. 4-06-2021]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of SA Bobde, CJ, RS Reddy, AS Bopanna, JJ has sought responses from the Centre and the Assam government on a plea challenging the exercise of delimitation of assembly and parliamentary constituencies in the state, saying it is proposed to be conducted on the basis of “stale figures” of Census 2001.

The plea, filed by All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), has sought the court’s direction to defer the delimitation exercise until the ill-effect of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is over. It said that Census 2011 has already been conducted while Census 2021 is underway.

The plea has alleged that decision to conduct the pending process of delimitation in Assam “is not only an arbitrary and hasty decision but stands contrary to the very idea behind conducting delimitation, having proposed to be conducted not on the basis of the population figures obtained from the most recent Census but rather on the basis of stale figures of 2001 Census.”

The plea alleged that ever since introduction of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 till the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, the state has seen widespread violent protests. It said the situation in Assam had grown so out of control that the entire state was declared as a “disturbed area” for the purposes of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 with effect from August 28 last year for a period of six months.

It said subsequently, the Assam government had declared the entire state as “disturbed area” up to six months beyond February 28 this year, unless withdrawn earlier. The plea has also sought a direction that delimitation in the state be deferred until the National Register of Citizens (NRC) exercise is completed in the state and Assam is relived form “disturbed area” by the competent authority.

“The delimitation proposed to be carried will change the constituencies and will have an impact on the voting rights and preferences of large number of voters and candidates,”

It claimed that as the data relied upon for the proposed delimitation is outdated and atmosphere in the state at present is not conducive for the exercise, “it is feared that many citizens may loose their right to vote if the exercise is carried out in the present scenario”.

“Unless the data is up-to-date, delimitation of constituencies and redrawing them will cause a large number of voters to be left out,”

The bench issued notices to the Centre and the state government on the petition which has sought quashing of this year’s February 28 order which “rescinded” an earlier notification of February 8, 2008 that had deferred the process of delimitation for Assam. It also tagged the petition of AIUDF with an earlier plea in which it had had issued notice to the Centre and the Assam government.

The earlier petition had sought that delimitation of assembly and parliamentary constituencies in the state be deferred until the completion of Census 2021. The plea, filed by two Assam residents, had also sought quashing of this year’s February 28 order which “rescinded” an earlier notification of February 2008 that had deferred the delimitation process in the state.

(Source: PTI)

Cabinet DecisionsLegislation Updates

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to relax the mandatory requirement of Aadhaar seeding of data beneficiaries of the States of Assam and Meghalaya and UTs of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh for release of benefits to them under PM-Kisan Scheme upto 31st March, 2021.

The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme was launched by the Prime Minister on 24 February, 2019. The Scheme aims to provide income support to all landholder farmer families across the country with cultivable land, subject to certain exclusions. Under the Scheme, an amount of Rs. 6000/- per year is released in three 4-monthly instalments of Rs. 2000/- each directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.

The Scheme is effective from 1st December, 2018. From 1st December, 2019, release of benefits is done only through Aadhaar seeded data of beneficiaries uploaded by the State / UT Governments on the PM-KISAN portal, except in case of the States of Assam and Meghalaya and the UTs of J&K and Ladakh, which have been given exemption from this requirement till 31st March, 2020, as Aadhaar penetration there has been miniscule.

It has been assessed that it would take much more time for the States of Assam and Meghalaya and the UTs of J&K and Ladakh to complete the work of Aadhaar seeding of data of beneficiaries and the beneficiaries of these States / UTs may not be able to avail the benefits of the Scheme w.e.f. 1st April, 2020 onwards, if the relaxation from mandatory requirement of Aadhaar seeding of data is not extended.

The total number of beneficiary farmers in these States and UTs who have been paid at least one installment as on 8.4.2020 are 27,09,586 beneficiaries in Assam, 98,915 beneficiaries in Meghalaya and 10,01,668 beneficiaries in J&K, including Ladakh.


Cabinet

[Press Release dt. 22-04-2020]

[Source: PIB]

Gauhati High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: A Division Bench of Manojit Bhuyan and Prasanta Kumar Deka, JJ. dismissed a petition filed by a person against the order of Foreigners’ Tribunal, whereby he was declared a foreigner.

Petitioner herein assailed the order passed by the Foreigners’ Tribunal, in which he was declared to be a foreigner of the post-1971 stream. To support that he was not a foreigner within the meaning of section 2(i)(a) of the Foreigners Act, 1946, he produced and exhibited the following documents: (i) photostat copy of a Relief Eligibility Certificate; (ii) computer-generated certified copy of voter list of 1970; (iii) copy of a sale deed; (iv) certified copy of janambandi, and (v) computer-generated certified copy of voter list of 1989.

The Court noted that reliance was placed on Relief Eligibility Certificate because this document records entry of persons into India on 09-04-1965 and name of the petitioner was recorded therein. Name of the petitioner was also recorded in the voter list of 1989. But, there was no voter list prior to 1989 which recorded the name of the petitioner as a voter. There were no documents to show that the petitioner had been ordinarily a resident in Assam since the date of his alleged entry into Assam in 1965. This fact assumed importance, because, being ordinarily a resident of Assam since the date of entry was one of the condition precedent under Section 6A of the Citizenship Act, 1955. Moreover, the sale deed and janambandi submitted by the petitioner did not stand proved either through the production of original records or through the legal testimony of custodian of the said records.

The Court observed that the order of the Tribunal was rendered upon the due appreciation of the entire facts, evidence and documents brought on record. It did not find any infirmity in the findings and opinion of the Tribunal. The Court observed that its jurisdiction was supervisory and not appellate jurisdiction, thus it refrained from reviewing the findings of the Tribunal. It also stated that the petitioner failed to make out any case demonstrating any errors apparent on the face of the record to warrant the interference of the impugned opinion.

Thus, the petition was dismissed for being devoid of any merit.[Anil Barman v. Union of India, 2019 SCC OnLine Gau 2238, decided on 10-06-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Fali Nariman, JJ., after hearing the learned counsels for the parties stated that at present the situation demands for an order to be passed that would open the process for receipt of claims and objections in respect of the final draft NRC.

The present order stated that the process for receipt of claims and objections in respect of entries in the final draft of NRC to be open and further the stated process to be started by 25-09-2018 and would remain effective for a period of 60 days. List of documents on which the claimant could rely for the process were also mentioned.

Further, Additional Solicitor General appearing for the State of Assam, Mr Prateek Hajela would provide his opinion on the permissibility of introduction of one or more above-mentioned documents. The confidential reports filed by Mr Hajela have been placed before the Court in a sealed cover. For the said report, AG Venugopal stated that a copy be made available to the Union of India. Court in its opinion stated that the report contains some confidential and sensitive data which may affect the entire process, so no information pertaining to the exercise be circulated amongst Executive, Legislature or Judicial authority; therefore it should just remain in the Court’s custody for now.  Mr Hajela’s views are to be filed within a span of 15 days. [Assam Public Works v. Union of India, WP(C) No. 274 of 2009, Order dated 19-09-2018]