Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Division bench of Surya Parkash Kesarwani and Dr Yogendra Kumar Srivastava, JJ., expressed that:

The legislative intendment with regard to the mutual exclusion of the rule making powers of the Central and the State Government being clear, the matters falling under Sections 110 and 111 must be construed in a manner so as to maintain the exclusivity, and, a construction which may lead to an overlapping must be eschewed.

Petitioner sought challenge to a circular issued by the Transport Commissioner, U.P., dated 21-02-2020 whereunder directions were issued for inspection of bus/sleeper coaches and to cancel their certificate of fitness in case the vehicles are found to be not in conformity with the prescribed standards.

What is the grievance against the above-stated circular?

The stated circular contained a direction that the registration of buses be made only where the bus/sleeper coaches are in conformity with AIS 052, AIS 119, AIS 139 and AIS 153 standards and upon completion of the particulars specified under Form 22­B.

Another issue raised and challenged is the with regard to the notice issued to the petitioners by the Assistant Regional Transport Officer, Gorakhpur directing them to ensure that their sleeper coaches are in conformity with the specifications under Rules 136-A and 139 of the Uttar Pradesh Motor Vehicles Rules, 1998, within 15 days and to submit their vehicles for inspection failing which the certificate of fitness issued to them would be cancelled.

Grounds for Challenge

  • Section 111(2)(a) of the Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Central Act, 1988’) provides the domain of the State ­Government for making rules regulating the construction of motor vehicles. Therefore, the power to make rules in this regard has been conferred upon the State Government
  • the consequential notices dated 14.02.2020 issued by the Assistant Transport Officer (Administration), Gorakhpur, are wholly without authority of law.
  • There is no provision under the Uttar Pradesh Motor Vehicle Rules, 1998 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘the U.P. Rules, 1998’), which provides for implementation of AIS­119. In absence of such provisions the requirement of making changes as per standards AIS 119/ AIS 052 ­ 2016, is without the authority of law
  • in the event, the court finds that the circulars and notices are valid and the petitioners are required to comply with it, then some time may be granted to comply with it inasmuch as the period for compliance provided in the notice, was affected by COVID-­19 Pandemic period and as such, no step could be taken.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Bench noted the provisions contained under Sections 110 and 111 of the Central Motor Vehicles Act, 1998 which contain the rule making powers of the Central and the State Government with regard to making rules in respect of construction, equipment and maintenance of motor vehicles and trailers as specified under Sections 110 and 111.

Sections 110 and 111 are in respect of matters which are distinct. Rule 125­C which relates to the subject matter of testing and approval for body building of the buses clearly falls within the domain of the rule making power of the Central Government under Section 110 and not under the rule making power of the State Government under Section 111.

Further, it was observed that there is a separation of the rule making powers of the Central Government and the State Government, with the subject matters being delineated and demarcated and there being no overlapping in regard to the same.

The subject matter of Rule 125­C which is in respect of the body building, testing and approval for body building of the buses, having been held to be within the domain of the rule making power of the Central Government under Section 110 (1), there can be no manner of doubt with regard to their applicability in terms of the provisions contained thereunder to all buses/sleeper coaches, including those which have been registered by the petitioners.

Hence, the Bench decided that the prescription of standards relating to testing and approval for body building of buses/sleeper coaches, as provided under Rule 125­C of the Rules, 1989 are applicable to all buses/sleeper coaches. These standards are also mandatory and an application for registration of a motor vehicle under Rule 47 (1) is to be mandatorily accompanied by a self-certification of compliance of the bus body built on drive away chassis by the bus body builder to the provisions of the Code and practice for bus body design and approval AIS: 052 as amended from time to time.

The notices which have been put to challenge are with regard to directing the petitioners to ensure conformity with prescribed standards and specifications and to submit their vehicles for inspection failing which the fitness certificate would be cancelled. Notices are consequential in nature and are of mandatory nature, therefore the validity of the notices cannot be questioned.

Hence the challenge cannot be sustained.

Court directed the petitioners to submit their response to the notices showing compliance with directions contained in the circulars with a period of 4 weeks from date. [Preeti Dubey v. Union of India, 2021 SCC OnLine All 181, decided on 24-02-2021]


Advocates who appeared before the Court:

Counsel for Petitioner:­ Siddharth Nandan, Ramesh Kumar Shukla

Counsel for Respondent :­ A.S.G.I.,C.S.C.

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and Prateek Jalan, J. requested Centre to consider the grievances with regard to disaster management operations in NCR with emphasis on synchronization of the work under the National Capital Region Planning Board Act, 1985 and the National Disaster Management Act, 2005 under a single nodal agency.

Present Public Interest Litigation was filed with following prayers put forward:

  • Issue directions to the centre to appoint a single nodal agency to carry out disaster management operations in the National Capital Region by having powers under the NCRPB Act and DM Act
  • Issue directions to Centre to implement the Regional Plan 2021 under the National Capital Region Planning Board Act, 1985 specifically measures in relation to medical infrastructure and disaster management;
  • Issue directions to Centre/District/State authorities of NCR Region to work in tandem and provide a single set of parameters under a common COVID-19 response plan for the entire NCR region.
  • Issue directions to Centre and other agencies concerned to effectively implement the Regional Plans under Section 7 of the NCRPB Act.
  • Issue directions to the Central / State Governments & District level authorities of NCR region to work in tandem and provide a single set of parameters / directions / guidelines to implement the Study on Health Infrastructure in NCR as published by the NCRPB in December 2015 on its website, which has highlighted several other key gaps in the health infrastructure of the NCR region, in addition to the disparity in terms of health infrastructure between Delhi and other NCR region, resulting in disharmonious development of NCR region resulting in day to day difficulties being suffered by the citizens of the country staying in NCR region outside of Delhi area but contributing to the revenue generation of Delhi.

Petitioner’s counsel submitted that it would suffice for the disposal of the PIL, if the same would be treated as a representation by the respondents and decided in accordance with law and also keeping in mind the provisions of National Capital Region Planning Board Act, 1985 to be read with National Disaster Management Act, 2005.

Bench requested the respondent authorities to consider the grievances as pointed above specially the synchronization of the work under the National Capital Region Planning Board Act, 1985 and the National Disaster Management Act, 2005 under a single nodal agency.

Court added that the said exercise will be carried out as early as possible and practicable.

Petition was disposed of in the above view. [Arjun Narang v. UOI, WP (C) 4115 of 2020, decided on 10-07-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench of Dipankar Datta, CJ and S.S. Shinde, J., adjourned the matter concerning conducting of Class 10th and 12th board examinations by ICSE. The High Court is awaiting the decision relevant to the issue to be passed by the Supreme Court.

Advocate General for the State of Maharashtra — A.A. Kumbhkoni informed the Court that a decision has been taken to not permit the respondent 2 to conduct classes 10th and 12th examinations re-scheduled from July, 2, 2020 given the current COVID-19 situation in the State.

Mr Mehta submits that the State has not taken any decision to prohibit the examinations in the State to be conducted by CBSE and, if indeed, the CBSE is permitted to proceed with the classes 10th and 12th examinations re-scheduled in July, 2020 there could be no valid reason not to permit the second respondent to go ahead with its own examinations.

Bench noted Advocate General for the State’s reaction that, since the Disaster Management Committee of the State has not been required to take a call in respect of examinations to be conducted by the CBSE in the State as per the revised schedule by any order of the Court, no decision as yet has ben taken; but as and when the situation so demands appropriate action would be taken.

Further it was observed that the decision taken by the Central Government and CBSE with regard to examinations shall be taken on 25-06-2020. Counsel on behalf of the State states that depending on the decision of Supreme Court, respondent 2 may work on methodology for completing the results of examinations and therefore Supreme Court’s decision is also awaited.

Thus, in view of the above, High Court’ opinion is that it ought to await the decision relevant to the issue.

State is directed to place before the Court the entire decision by the next date.Hence hearing of the PIL as well as the applications for intervention shall stand over till 29-06-2020. [Arvind Tiwari v. UOI, PIL-CJ-LD-VC-18 of 2020]


Also Read:

Bom HC | Centre and State to clarify stand on CISCE examinations; Courts asks to finalise grading plan to be adopted for evaluation

Bom HC | Students of Class 10th and 12th of 2020 batch can choose to be assessed on pre-board examinations instead of physically appearing for board exams: CISCE

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of D.N. Patel, CJ and Prateek Jalan, J., addressed the concern with regard to providing ration to needy without any discrimination on the basis of ration card holders or non-holders.

Present petition pertained with regard to issuance of direction to respondents

  • to supply and provide the Corona Relief kit, food grains and food relief of the same level and status as given to ration card holders from 24th March, 2020 till operation of Disaster Management Act due to COVID19.
  • Ensure sufficient food grains, Corona relief kit be available at PDS Shops.
  • to produce the data, details and information in respect of Corona Relief Kit and 10 kg. food grains given to the Aadhar Card/Voter card holders and any other needy person.
  • to take the action against the arraying officials who have breach their duty for implementing the directions, orders, advisory, instruction given under the provisions of Disaster Management Act i.e. Section 55 and 56.”

Main Grievance

The primary grievance is with regard to discrimination being done by the respondents between ration card holders and non-ration card holders in providing Corona Relief Kits, Food grains/rice.

ASG, Sanjay Jain on behalf of GNCTD submitted that respondent 6 had filed an affidavit wherein it had been stated that there is no discrimination being done between the ration card holder and no-ration card holder.

Further it he added that, GNCTD had taken adequate steps to ensure that no one suffers from hunger/starvation in Delhi. In this regard, a special food relief initiative, i.e., “Mukhya Mantri Corona Sahayata Yojana” was launched to provide dry ration to all persons in need of food.

ASG further submitted that the eligible households under National Food Security Act, 2013 are divided into two categories, i.e., Priority Households and Antyodaya Anna Yojana households.

As per the Act, every person belonging to Priority Households are entitled to receive 5 Kg of food grains per person per month at subsidized prices and Households covered under Antoyodaya Anna Yojana will be entitled to receive 35 Kg of food grains.

ASG further submitted that under Mukhya Mantri Corona Sahayta Yojana, every Member of Parliament and Member of Legislative Assembly of Delhi have been provided with 2000 Emergency Food Relief Coupons which can be issue by them to the most vulnerable and poor persons in need of food but without both ration card and Aadhaar card and also in addition 20,000 similar coupons have also been made for Minister Food and Supply, Delhi. These coupons are provided to them on monthly basis.

Government is also running more than 1800 Hunger Relief Centers, where approximately 8 to 10 lakhs people are served lunch and dinner daily.

Furthermore, people who are for some reason are not able to avail the benefit of the dry ration or find the quantity of ration insufficient, and are in need of food, can get cooked meals at these Hunger Relief Centers which are being run by the State Government all across Delhi.

In order to cover non-PDS beneficiaries in need of food, under the recently announced “Atma Nirbhar Bharat” initiative of Government of India, provision of 5 kgs. of foodgrains per person per month, free of cost has been made to the migrants/ stranded migrants with a ceiling or 10% or total PDS beneficiaries in the state.

Decision

Bench on perusal of the above, observed that several steps had been taken by respondents to provide food grains and cooked food to public at large irrespective of having ration cards or not.

Thus, grievances ventilated by the petitioner about the discrimination between the ration card holders and others is not tenable as various schemes have been floated by the Centre and State along with Hunger Relief Centers.

Hence, lastly the Court stated that the schemes floated shall be scrupulously followed for the welfare of pubic at large and may continue even after the lockdown ends.

Respondents may also take steps to enhance the coverage or benefits of the schemes floated by them, to realise their objective that no person in Delhi should go hungry by reason of the present lockdown.

Petition was disposed of in the above view. [Nayee Soch Society v. MHA, WP(C) 3242 of 2020, decided on 02-06-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Delhi High Court: Pratibha M. Singh, J., addressed a petition pertaining to seeking implementation of the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979.

Actual Implementation of the said Act is the primary concern of the petition.

Government of NCT of Delhi, Counsel, Ramesh Singh submitted that the Registering Officers, Licensing Officers, Appellate Officers and Inspectors have been appointed.

Insofar as the Central Government, is concerned, Standing Counsel would also seek instructions and inform on the next date as to the actual status of the appointments of the Registering Officers, Licensing Officers, Appellate Officers and Inspectors.

Recent crisis which the country has witnessed with respect to migrant workmen shows that for the effective enforcement and implementation of the Act, there is an immediate need for proper data to be always available so as to ensure that steps can be taken in a timely and adequate manner, especially in times of a pandemic such as COVID-19 or in any other form of emergent situation.

Further it was observed that, collection of data ought to be vertically integrated so that data relating to migrant workmen, from the Central Government and the States is collected, cross-checked, maintained and is readily available, without any time-lag.

In Court’s opinion, in order to have a proper streamlined regulation of migrant workmen and their conditions of service,

the first and the foremost significant measure would be the collection of the actual data and the integration of the same between the Central and the State Governments.

Governments would have to consider as to whether there should be a centralized portal for registration of migrant workmen by the contractors who engage them or the employers who employ them.

Adding to the above, Court directed State and Centre to file their respective affidavits disclosing the data relating to migrant workers.

Respective Governments would also place on record the procedure currently being followed for contractors or employers to register migrant workers as also what are the procedures being followed for ensuring compliance. Accordingly, a status report be filed by both the Ministry of Labour, UOI and the GNCTD.

Matter to be listed on 29-06-2020. [Shashank S. Mangal v. Govt. (NCT of Delhi), 2020 SCC OnLine Del 621 , decided on 02-06-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Siddha system is a neglected child both by Central and State Governments, whereas Ayurvedam is developed by Central and other State Governments.”

Madras High Court: The Bench of N. Kirubakaran and S.S Sundar, JJ., dealt with a PIL which brought to its notice that the Siddha Medical College Hospital, Palayamkottai, Tirunelveli District was not having sufficient facilities even for running as a college.

On noting the above issue placed before the Bench in the form of a Public Interest Litigation, other concerns in respect of the same were also placed such as “no possibility of any scope for researches”.

The High Court directed the Tamil Nadu Government to take steps to see that more funds are allotted and research is made for the development of “Siddha Medicines” which are to be popularised by the Government in an appropriate manner.

Hence, the High Court on considering the stated facts and circumstances directed the Central and State Government to give the below stated details:

  1. What is the allotment made by the Central and State Governments for the development of Siddha Medicine for Tamil Nadu for the past 5 years?
  2. In how many places, researches in Siddha Medicine are being raised?
  3. Whether suitable scholars are available in Siddha Medicine to guide the students in Tamil Nadu?
  4. Whether employment opportunities are available for the degree holders in Siddha Medicine?
  5. Whether degree holders in Siddha Medicine in Tamil Nadu are in excess or in shortage?
  6. What are the plans that the State Government proposed to have for the development of Siddha Medicine?
  7. What are all the steps taken by the Central and State Government to identify the herbal plants which are the basis for Siddha Medicine?
  8. Whether steps have been taken to preserve species in Siddha Medicine?
  9. What is the quantum of money spent by Central and State Governments for the research and development of Siddha Medicine for the past 5 years? 

In view of the above, the matter has been posted for 22-04-2019.[Dr K. Murugesan v. Govt. of T.N., 2019 SCC OnLine Mad 1014, Order dated 04-04-2019]