Hot Off The PressNews

Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) conducted a study in 2004 into the factors causing stress in forces and suggest remedial measures.

The Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad did a similar study in 2012 for Border Security Force (BSF) and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

BPR&D has also undertaken a research study on “Comparative Analysis of Attrition and Suicide Cases in CAPFs and Corrective Measures” through the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) in September, 2020.

Since ‘Police’ is a State subject as per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India, the personnel matters of State police are handled by State Governments themselves. State Governments are expected to take appropriate steps for welfare of State Police personnel.

Some of the measures taken to check such incidents and to improve working conditions of CAPFs/ARs personnel are given below:-

  1. Transparent policies pertaining to transfer and leave of CAPFs and AR personnel. The hospitalization period due to injuries while on duty is treated as on duty. Choice posting is considered to the extent possible after the personnel served in hard area.
  2. Regular interaction of officers with troops to find out and redress their grievances.
  3. Ensuring adequate rest and relief by regulating the duty hours.
  4. Improving living conditions for troops, providing adequate recreational/entertainment, sports, communication facilities etc. Crèche facility is also provided at various establishments (where feasible) to facilitate the female employees.
  5. Facility of retention of government accommodation at the place of last posting(for keeping the family) while posted in North-Eastern (NE) States, Jammu & Kashmir(J&K) and Left-Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas (except State Capitals)
  6. Providing better medical facilities, organizing talks with specialists to address their personal and psychological concerns and organizing Meditation & Yoga routinely for better stress management.
  7. Adequately compensating the troops deployed in difficult areas.
  8. Other welfare measures like facility of Central Police Canteen (CPC), scholarship for wards etc.
  9. Air travel to a non-entitled class of personnel in J&K. Also Air courier service has been provided to CAPF personnel deployed in NE States, J&K as a welfare measure.
  10. Designating retired CAPF personnel as ex-CAPF personnel for better identity and community recognition.
  11. Promotions are released regularly to eligible personnel as and when the vacancies arise. Financial benefits under Modified Assured Career Progression (MACP) are given in case promotion does not take place for want of vacancies on completion of 10, 20 & 30 years of service.

Regarding State police forces, the Central Government has been persuading the States for implementation of various policy reforms, including those relating to appropriate pay, working hours and promotional prospects of Constables, provision of housing and manpower & basic facilities in police stations.

Under the scheme of Assistance to States for Modernisation of Police, implementation of police reforms is also being incentivized,  which inter alia include police reforms like “Outsourcing of peripheral and non-policing activities”, “computerization of police stations” and “Replacement of orderly system by system”  to reduce the burden on State police personnel.


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Press Release dt. 10-02-2021]

[Source: PIB]

Appointments & TransfersNews

Central Government revises the tenure of Justice (Retd.)Bansi Lal Bhat and Justice (Retd.) A.I.S. Cheema as Judicial Member, National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) for a period till their attaining the age of 67 years, or until further orders, whichever is earlier.

NOTIFICATION


Ministry of Corporate Affairs

[05-01-2021]

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

Central Government hereby declares that whole of the State of Nagaland to be ‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months with effect from 30-12-2020 for the purpose of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

Read the notification, here: NOTIFICATION.


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Notification dt. 30-12-2020]

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

S.O. 4638(E)— In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 10A of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (31 of 2016), the Central Government hereby notifies further period of three months from the 25-12-2020, for the purposes of the said section.


Ministry of Corporate Affairs

[Notification dt. 22-12-2020]

Cabinet DecisionsLegislation Updates

Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved major and transformatory changes in the Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘Post Matric Scholarship to students belonging to Scheduled Castes (PMS-SC)’ to benefit more than 4 Crore SC students in the next 5 years so that they can successfully complete their higher education.

The Cabinet has approved a total investment of Rs 59,048 Crore of which Central Government would spend Rs. 35,534 Cr (60%) and the balance would be spent by the State Govts. This replaces the existing ‘committed liability’ system and brings greater involvement of the Central Govt in this crucial scheme.

The Post Matric Scholarship Scheme for Scheduled Castes allows students to pursue any post-matric course starting from class 11th and onwards, with the Govt meeting the cost of education.

The Central Govt is committed to giving a big push and further impetus to this effort so that the GER (Higher Education) of SCs would reach up to the National standards within the 5 year period.

Following are the details:

The focus of the scheme would be on enrolling the poorest students, timely payments, comprehensive accountability, continuous monitoring and total transparency.

  1. A campaign will be launched to enroll the students, from the poorest households passing the 10th standard, in the higher education courses of their choice. It is estimated that 1.36 Cr such poorest students, who are currently not continuing their education beyond 10th standards would be brought into the higher education system in the next 5 years.
  2. The scheme will be run on an online platform with robust cybersecurity measures that would assure transparency, accountability, efficiency, and timely delivery of the assistance without any delays.
  3. The States will undertake fool-proof verification of the eligibility, caste status, Aadhar identification and bank account details on the online portal.
  4. Transfer of financial assistance to the students under the scheme shall be on DBT mode, and preferably using the Aadhar Enabled Payment System. Starting from 2021-22, the Central share (60%) in the scheme would be released on DBT mode directly into the bank accounts of the students as per fixed time schedule, after ensuring that the concerned State Government has released their share.
  5. Monitoring mechanism will be further strengthened through conduct of social audits, annual third party evaluation, and half-yearly self-audited reports from each institution.

The Central Assistance which was around Rs 1100 crore annually during 2017-18 to 2019-20 would be increased more than 5 times to be around Rs 6000 core annually during 2020-21 to 2025-26.


Cabinet

[Press Release dt. 23-12-2020]

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

S.O. 4646(E).—In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 1 (2) of the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2020 (29 of 2020), the Central Government hereby appoints the 21-12-2020 as the date on which the following provisions of the said Act shall come into force, namely:-

S. No. Sections
1. Section 1;

 

2 Section 3;

 

3 Sections 6 to 10 (both inclusive);

 

4 Sections 12 to 17 (both inclusive);

 

5 Clauses (a) and (b) of section 18;

 

6 Sections 19 to 21 (both inclusive);

 

7 Clause (i) of section 22;

 

8 Section 24;

 

9 Section 26;

 

10 Sections 28 to 31 (both inclusive);

 

11 Sections 33 to 39 (both inclusive);

 

12 Sections 41 to 44 (both inclusive);

 

13 Sections 46 to 51 (both inclusive);

 

14 Section 54;

 

15 Section 57;

 

16 Section 61; and

 

17 Section 63.

 


Ministry of Corporate Affairs

[Notification dt. 21-12-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Jyoti Singh, J.,  held that ‘service matter’ concerning the persons working in various Central Government Hospitals under the Ministry of Railway to be covered under the ambit of Section 14 (1) of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985, hence directed to approach Central Administrative Tribunal.

The instant petition was filed by the Indian Railways Medical Laboratory Technologists Association seeking the following reliefs:

“(a) The Members of the Petitioner Association be granted the benefits of 7th CPC at par with the counterparts/Railway Medical laboratory Staff working under the same Nodal Ministry and w.e.f. from the very day it got implemented i.e. 01-01-2016 and w.e.f. the date when the said recommendations were implemented by the Govt. of India, Respondent no. 2 and all the arrears etc. be paid to them as expeditiously as possible preferably in 3 months time from the very day it got implemented i.e. w.e.f. 01-01-2016.

(b) The benefits of the 7th CPC recommendations should be given with effect from the very day it got implemented i.e. 01-01-2016 with all consequential benefits including the consequences that entail therewith;

(d) The Costs of the present petition be awarded to the Petitioners and against the Respondents.”

Service Matter

Bench on perusal of the facts of the case expressed that the subject matter of the petition is a ‘service matter’ and the petitioner association comprises of persons working as Lab Assistants, Lab Technician, Lab Superintendents and Chief Lab Superintendents working in various Central Government Hospitals under the Ministry of Railway which is covered under the provisions of Section 14 (1) of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985.

Hence, the court stated that the petitioner is amenable to the jurisdiction of Central Administrative Tribunal.

Further while concluding, the Court added that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the present petition in light of Section 14(1) of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 and the Constitution Bench decision in the case of L. Chandra Kumar v. Union of India, (1997) 3 SCC 261.

Therefore, the petition was disposed of.[Indian Railways Medical Laboratory Technologists Assn. v. Ministry of Railways, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 1637, decided on 17-12-2020]


Read more: Section 14(1) of the Administrative Tribunals Act

Jurisdictionpowers and authority of the Central Administrative Tribunal.—(1) Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Actthe Central Administrative Tribunal shall exercise, on and from the appointed day, all the jurisdictionpowers and authority exercisable immediately before that day by all courts (except the Supreme Court [* * *]1) in relation to—

(a) recruitment, and matters concerning recruitment, to any All-India Service or to any civil service of the Union or a civil post under the Union or to a post connected with defence or in the defence services, being, in either case, a post filled by a civilian;

(b) all service matters concerning—

(i) a member of any All-India Service; or

(ii) a person [not being a member of an All-India Service or a person referred to in clause (c)] appointed to any civil service of the Union or any civil post under the Union; or

(iii) a civilian [not being a member of an All-India Service or a person referred to in clause (c)] appointed to any defence services or a post connected with defence,

and pertaining to the service of such member, person or civilian, in connection with the affairs of the Union or of any State or of any local or other authority within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India or of any corporation 2[or society] owned or controlled by the Government;

(c) all service matters pertaining to service in connection with the affairs of the Union concerning a person appointed to any service or post referred to in sub-clause (ii) or sub-clause (iiiof clause (b), being a person whose services have been placed by a State Government or any local or other authority or any corporation 3[or society] or other body, at the disposal of the Central Government for such appointment.

4[Explanation.—For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that references to “Union” in this sub-section shall be construed as including references also to a Union Territory.]


Advocates who appeared before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Amar Vivek Aggarwal, Gaurav Yadav and Chitwan Godara, Advocates.

For the Respondents: Jagjit Singh, Sr. Panel Counsel for R-1.

Vivek Goyal, CGSC for R-2.

Op EdsOP. ED.

Energy codes for new buildings are an important regulatory measure for ushering energy efficiency in the building sector. Energy codes and standards set minimum efficiency requirements for new and renovated buildings, assuring reductions in energy use and emissions over the life of the building. Energy codes which are subsets of building codes establishes baseline requirements and presents a unique opportunity to assure savings through efficient building design, technologies, and construction practices. Energy efficiency in buildings also offers the greatest potential for saving energy at the lowest cost.

Energy Conservation Act, 2001 and Energy Conservation Building Code

In India, the need for a legislation on energy conservation was realised only during the ninth five-year plan. In 2001, the Government of India enacted the Energy Conservation Act (ECA), 2001 to provide for efficient use of energy and its conservation and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. Under the provisions of the Act, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has been established with effect from 1-3-2002 by merging the erstwhile energy management centre, a society under the Ministry of Power.

ECA, 2001 empowers the Central Government under Section 14(p) read with Section 56(2)(l) to prescribe the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC). Section 2(j) of ECA, 2001 defines “energy conservation building codes” as the norms and standards of energy consumption expressed in terms of per square meter of the area wherein energy is used and includes the location of the building. The Act defines “building” in Section 2(c) which means any structure or erection or part of structure or erection after the rules relating to energy conservation building codes have been notified under clause (p) of Section 14 and clause (a) of Section 15 and includes any existing structure or erection or part of structure or erection, which is having a connected load of 100 kilowatt (kW) or contract demand of 120 kilovolt ampere (kVA) and above and is used or intended to be used for commercial purposes.

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency is mandated to take suitable steps to prescribe guidelines for ECBC under clause (p) of Section 14 of the Act [Section 13(2)(d) of the Act]. The Central Government including the State Governments can amend the ECBC to suit regional and local climatic conditions [Section 14(q) and Section 15(a) of the Act] and they can direct every owner or occupier of the building  or building complex, being designated consumer to comply with the provisions of the ECBC for efficient use of energy and its conservation [Section 14(r) and Section 15(b) of the Act]. Further, the Central Government and the State Governments can direct, any designated consumer if, considered necessary for efficient use of energy and its conservation, to get energy audit conducted by an accredited energy auditor in such manner and at such intervals of time as may be specified by regulations [Section 14(s) and 15(c) of the Act].

Initially, in 2005, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) issued revised National Building Code of India (NBC) which covered a range of structural, safety and other design issues covering the issues of energy efficiency marginally. NBC is a comprehensive building Code, that provides guidelines for all building construction activities across the country. NBC, 2005 covered guidelines on energy conservation in building systems to a limited extent but off lately the new and revised National Building Code (NBC), 2016 also focuses on energy efficiency through high technology, innovation, and use of products, materials and designs with lower embodied energy.

Energy Conservation Building Code (Code), 2007 and 2017

For the first time the dedicated code, the Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) was launched in 2007 in India to set the minimum energy efficiency requirement for new, large commercial spaces. Under the leadership of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), a committee of experts finalised ECBC in consultation with various stakeholders in 2007, with an overall purpose to provide minimum requirements for the energy-efficient design and construction of buildings. In May 2007, the Ministry of Power, Government of India formally launched the Energy Conservation Building Code, 2007 (ECBC, 2007) for its voluntary adoption in the country. It is applicable for both Government and private buildings. The code is not applicable to equipment and portions of building systems that use energy primarily for manufacturing processes.

The initial drafted ECBC, 2007 was applicable to buildings or building complexes that have a connected load of 500 kW or greater or contract demand of 600 kVA or greater, based on the ECA, 2001. It was provided that the code would become mandatory as and when it will be notified by the Central and State Government in the Official Gazette under clause (p) of Section 14 or clause (a) of Section 15 of the ECA, 2001. The ECA, 2001 was amended in 2010 to focus on a larger set of building and then specified buildings having connected load of 100 kW or contract demand of 120 kVA and above.

In ECBC, 2007, energy performance specifications were covered under five categories: building envelope (walls, roofs, and windows), lighting (indoor and outdoor), Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system, service water heating and pumping and electrical systems (power factor, transformers). The structure of the ECBC is patterned after the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (Ashrae standard) (Ashrae, 2004) and offers two compliance approaches: prescriptive or whole building performance method. Irrespective of whether one opts for whole building performance (WBP) method or prescriptive method, the code compliance requires the building to fulfil a set of mandatory provisions as provided under the code.

In June 2017, the ECBC was further modified in approach and expanded by new ECBC, 2017 launched by BEE, with technical support from the US Agency for International Development (Usaid). During the launch event, it was indicated that an ECBC compliant new building should be able to demonstrate minimum energy savings of 25% compared to a conventional building. Further, ECBC, 2017 encourages additional improvements in building energy performance. As per ECBC, 2017, a new building can achieve higher grades like Energy Conservation Building Code Compliant Building (ECBC Building), Energy Conservation Building Code Plus Building (ECBC+ Building) or Super Energy Conservation Building Code Building (Super ECBC Building) status and these buildings should be able to demonstrate energy savings of 35% and 50% respectively. The objective of ECBC is to provide minimum requirements for energy efficient design and design of buildings and their systems. The code sets clear criteria for builders, designers and architects to integrate renewable energy sources in building design through the inclusion of passive design strategies.

Although ECBC is enacted by Central Government under the Ministry of Power (MoP) its implementation lies with State Government [Urban Development Department (UDD) and Department of Energy (DoE)] and local Government [Urban Local Bodies (ULBs)]. Code adoption, implementation and enforcement involve multiple stakeholders and amongst them the role of State and local Government is the most pivotal of all. The involvement of multiple government departments, with their overlapping roles and responsibilities at various levels needs streamlined implementation as has been observed from its practical experience.

Eco-Niwas Samhita, 2018: Energy Conservation Building Code for Residential Buildings (ECBC-R)

Eco-Niwas Samhita, Part I: Building envelope (energy conservation building code for residential sector) was launched on 14-12-2018 on the occasion of National Energy Conservation Day by Speaker of Lok Sabha and Minister of Power, New and Renewable Energy.

Energy Conservation Building Code-Residential (ECBC-R) (Part I: Building envelope) sets minimum building envelope performance standards to limit heat gains (for cooling dominated climates) and to limit heat loss (for heating dominated climates), as well as for ensuring adequate natural ventilation and daylighting potential. The code provides design flexibility to innovate and vary important envelope components such as wall type, window size, type of glazing, and external shading to windows to meet the compliance in a simple to apply format, requiring only simple calculations based on inputs from the architectural design drawings of buildings. In subsequent years, it is envisaged that new parts, Eco-Niwas Samhita in the Part II will be added to address other aspects, such as energy efficiency in electro-mechanical equipment for building operation, renewable energy generation, and embodied energy of building materials and structural systems.

The code is applicable to all residential buildings and residential parts of “mixed land-use projects”, both built on a plot area of ≥500 m2. The code is applicable for family dwellings, group housing, apartment complexes and residential parts of “mixed land-use projects”. Inns, clubs, motels, guesthouses, dormitories and hotels are excluded from the application of this code. Further any commercial areas like club houses or gymnasiums located inside residential complexes will have to adhere to ECBC commercial code.

The States and municipal bodies may reduce the plot area for the applicability of the code based on the prevalence in their area of jurisdiction. This provision is kept taking into account the prevalent plot sizes and housing types in different states and enabling the inclusion of a greater percentage of new multi-dwelling unit residential buildings within the scope of this code. The ECBC-R is relevant for all the 5 climatic zones of India and designed for ease of compliance demonstration. The code aims for promoting design and construction of homes including apartments and townships to give the benefits of energy efficiency to the occupants. The impact of the code is seen in its huge potential for electricity saving and Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions and will benefit homeowners and users by improved thermal comfort, reduced electricity bills and healthier environment.

Energy Efficiency Label for Residential Buildings, 2019

The energy efficiency label for residential buildings was launched by the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for power and renewable during the conference of Ministers for Power, New and Renewable Energy of States and Union Territories held at Gurugram, Haryana on 26-2-2019. The objectives of the proposed program are to provide information to consumers on the energy efficiency standard of the homes; a benchmark to compare one home over the other on the energy efficiency standards; a consumer driven market transformation business model solution for energy efficiency in housing sector; and steering the construction activities of India towards international best practices norms.

Proposed labelling program will cover all types of residential buildings in India. Earlier the rating was only for commercial establishments. Under the program, there is no minimum requirement with respect to the area or connected load (kW) for a building dwelling unit to be covered under this labeling program and all single and multiple dwelling unit in the country for residential purpose can apply for seeking an award of label under this program. The schedule in the program defines two specific labelling stages for energy labelling of residential buildings. “Applied For” label is applicable for new buildings with construction permit issued by the authorities having jurisdiction and this label shall be mainly used for marketing of the property whereas “Final Star Label” is applicable for existing and new buildings and this label can only be awarded after the occupancy certificate is issued by the authorities having jurisdiction.

The proposed labelling program is expected to save a substantial amount of electricity through various energy efficiency efforts in the residences nationwide. A 5-star rated home is 40% more energy-efficient than 1-star rated home. With the implementation of the energy efficiency label for residential buildings, energy savings is estimated to be up to 40 per cent over traditional houses with annual savings of 90 billion units by the year 2030.

Way Forward

In addition to ECBC and ECBC-R, there are voluntary programmes which promote the development of green buildings like the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (Griha) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Although, the Codes adopted by India reflects current and futuristic advancements in building technology, market changes, and energy demand scenario of the country, setting the benchmark for Indian commercial and residential buildings to be energy efficient globally but the main struggle will lie in its implementation and mandatory compliance.


*Harsha Rajwanshi is Assistant Professor of Law, Dean of External Relations, Gujarat National Law University Centre for Private International Law, e-mail: hrajwanshi@gnlu.ac.in.

Legislation UpdatesRules & Regulations

Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) (Fourth Amendment) Rules, 2020

The Central Government makes the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) (Fourth Amendment) Rules, 2020, to amend the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) Rules, 2019.

In the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments) Rules, 2019, in rule 6, in clause (a), after the third proviso, the following proviso shall be inserted, namely:-

Provided also that a Multilateral Bank or Fund, of which India is a member, shall not be treated as an entity of a particular country nor shall any country be treated as the beneficial owner of the investments of such Bank or Fund in India

In Schedule 1 of the rules,  for the Defence sector, Centre notifies that the Defence Industry subject to Industrial license under the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951 and Manufacturing of small arms and ammunition under the Arms Act, 1959, the Sectoral Cap will be 100% and Entry Route in case of Automatic up to 74% and Government route beyond 74% wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded.

Read the detailed notification, here: NOTIFICATION


Ministry of Finance

[Notification dt. 08-12-2020]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Dealing with the question whether the Parliament was competent to enact the National Highways Act, 1956 and the National Highway Authority of India Act, 1988 for construction of new roads traversing through the open green-fields, the 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar*, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ has held that

“… there is nothing in the Constitution which constricts the power of the Parliament to make a law for declaring any stretch/section within the State not being a road or an existing highway, to be a national highway. Whereas, the provisions in the Constitution unambiguously indicate that the legislative as well as executive power regarding all matters concerning and connected with a highway to be designated as a national highway, vests in the Parliament and the laws to be made by it in that regard.”

The 1956 Act and the 1988 Act were made in reference to Entry 23 of List I of the Seventh Schedule.  The Court noticed that the fact that Entry 13 of List II bestows exclusive power upon the legislature of any State concerning subject “roads”, cannot be the basis to give restricted meaning to Entry 23 in List I, dealing with all matters concerning “national highways”.

“It is well-established position that if the law made by the Parliament is in respect of subject falling under Union List, then the incidental encroachment by the law under the State list, per se, would not render it invalid.  The doctrine of pith and substance is well-established in India. The doctrine is invoked upon ascertaining the true character of the legislation.”

Adverting to Article 248 of the Constitution that bestows legislative powers on the Parliament to make a law with respect to any matter not enumerated in the Concurrent List or the State List, the Court noticed that the expression “highways” as such, is not mentioned either in the State List or the Concurrent list. While making law on the subject falling under the Union List in terms of Entry 97 thereof, it is open to the Parliament to make law on any other matter not enumerated in List II or List III including any tax not mentioned in either of those lists.

It was further stated that the entries in the legislative lists are not sources of legislative powers, but are merely topics or fields in respect of which concerned legislative body is free to make a law. The entries must receive a liberal and expansive construction, reckoning the wide spirit thereof and not in a narrow pedantic sense.

“Entry 23 in List I refers generally to “highways” declared or to be declared by the Parliament as national highways and all matters connected therewith.  This empowers the Parliament to declare any stretch/section across any State as a highway for being designated as a national highway.  There is no indication in the Constitution to limit the exercise of that power of the Parliament only in respect of an existing “highway”.”

The Court further enunciated that whenever and wherever the question of legislative competence is raised, the test is whether the law enacted, examined as a whole, is substantially with respect to the particular topic of legislation falling under the concerned list.

“If the law made by the Parliament or the legislature of any State has a substantial and not merely a remote connection with the Entry under which it is made, there is nothing to preclude the concerned legislature to make law on all matters concerning the topic covered under the Union List or the State List, as the case may be.”

The Court also highlighted Central Government’s obligations under Part IV of the Constitution for securing a social order and promotion of welfare of the people in the concerned region, to provide them adequate means of livelihood, distribute material resources as best to subserve the common good, create new opportunities, so as to empower the people of that area including provisioning new economic opportunities in the area through which the national highway would pass and the country’s economy as a whole.

“The availability of a highway in any part of the State paves way for sustainable development and for overall enhancement of human well-being including to facilitate the habitants thereat to enjoy a decent quality of life, creation of assets (due to natural increase in market value of their properties) and to fulfil their aspirations of good life by provisioning access to newer and present-day opportunities.”

Hence, having said that the Parliament has exclusive legislative competence to make a law in respect of national highways and all matters connected therewith, which includes declaring any stretch/section within the State (not being existing roads/highways) as a national highway, it must follow that the Central Government alone has the executive powers to construct/build a new national highway in any State and to issue directions to the Government of any State for carrying out the purposes of the 1956 Act.

[Project Director, Project Implementation Unit v. P.V. Krishnamoorthy,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 1005, decided on 08.12.2020]


Justice AM Khanwilkar has penned this judgment. Read more about him here.

Counsels heard: Solicitor General of India Tushra Mehta, Senior Counsels S. Nagamuthu, Sanjay Parikh, Nikhil Nayyar, Anita Shenoy, Counsels Kabilan Manoharan advocate, P. Soma Sundaram, T.V.S. Raghavendra Sreyas and  S. Thananjayan

Also read: Prior environmental clearance required before commencement of actual construction of a National Highway, not at the planning stage: SC

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of AM Khanwilkar*, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari, JJ has held that it is not necessary for the Central Government or NHAI to apply for prior environmental/forest clearances or permissions before issuing notification under Section 2(2) declaring the stretch/section to be a national highway or Section 3A of the National Highways Act, 1956 to express intention to acquire land for the purpose of building, maintenance, management or operation of a national highway, as the case may be.

“Environmental/forest clearance is always site specific and, therefore, until the site is identified for construction of national highways manifested vide Section 3A notification, the question of making any application for permission under the environmental/forest laws would not arise.”

Scope of Central Government’s power under Section 2(2) of the National Highways Act, 1956

Explaining the scope of Section 2(2) of the National Highways Act, 1956, the Court said that the power bestowed upon the Central Government under Section 2(2) of the 1956 Act is not constricted or circumscribed by any other inhibition, such as to declare only an existing road or highway within the State as a national highway.  The requirement of a national highway within the country as a whole and State-wise, in particular, is to alleviate evolving socio-economic dynamics, for which such a wide power has been bestowed upon the Central Government. The Central Government is obliged to do so to facilitate it to discharge its obligations under Part IV of the Constitution.

“There is nothing in the Constitution of India or for that matter, the 1956 Act to limit that power of the Central Government only in respect of existing roads/highways within the State. To say so would be counter¬productive and would entail in a piquant situation that the Central   Government cannot effectively discharge its obligations under Part IV of the Constitution unto the remote inaccessible parts of the country until the concerned State Government constructs a road/highway within the State. (…) By its very nomenclature, a national highway is to link the entire country and provide  access to all in every remote corner of the country for interaction and to promote commerce and trade, employment and education including health related services.”

Hence, the Central Government is fully competent to notify “any land” (not necessarily an existing road/highway) for acquisition, to construct a highway to be a national highway.

Prior permission before issuing notification under Section 3A of the 1956 Act

The Court noticed that neither the 1956 Act, the Rules framed thereunder nor the National Highway Authority of India Act, 1988 and the Rules made thereunder specify any express condition requiring Central Government to obtain prior environmental/forest clearance before issuing notification under Section 2(2) declaring the stretch/section to be a national highway or Section 3A of the 1956 Act to express intention to acquire land for the purpose of building, maintenance, management or operation of a national highway, as the case may be.

“It is not necessary for the Central Government or for that matter, NHAI, to apply for prior environmental/forest clearances or permissions, as the case may be, at the stage of planning or taking an in­principle decision to formalize the Project of constructing a new national highway manifested in notification under Section 2(2), including until the stage of issuing notification under Section 3A of the 1956 Act.”

Even the notification issued by the MoEF dated 14.9.2006, does not constrict the power of Central Government to issue notification under Section 2(2) or Section 3A of the 1956 Act.

The prior environmental clearance in terms of 2006 notification issued under Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 Act read with Rule 5 of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986, is required to be taken before commencement of the “actual construction or building work” of the national highway by the executing agency (NHAI). That will happen only after the acquisition proceedings are taken to its logical end until the land finally vests in the NHAI or is entrusted to it by the Central Government for building/management of the national highway. The land would vest in the Central Government under the 1956 Act only after publication of declaration of acquisition under Section 3D. Until then, the question of Central Government vesting it in favour of NHAI under Section 11 of the 1988 Act would not arise. However, until the vesting of the land, the Central Government and its authorised officer can undertake surveys of the notified lands by entering upon it in terms of Section 3B of the Act.

“Pertinently, the activities predicated in Section 3B are of exploration for verifying the feasibility and viability of land for construction of a national highway. These are one-time activities and not in the nature of exploitation of the land for continuous commercial/industrial activities as such. There is remote possibility of irretrievable wide-spread environmental impact due to carrying out activities referred to in Section 3B for assessing the worthiness of the land for using it as a national highway. Thus, the question of applying notification of 2006 at this stage does not arise, much less obligate the Central Government to follow directives thereunder.”

Deemed lapsing

The Court noticed that it is essential to issue a declaration under Section 3D of the 1956 Act within a period of one year from the date of publication of the notification under Section 3A in respect of the notified land, failing which notification under Section 3A ceases to have any effect.  However, time spent for obtaining environmental clearance or permission under the forest laws has not been explicitly excluded from the period of one year to be reckoned under Section 3D(3) of the Act. The extension of time or so to say suspension of time is only in respect of period during which the action of the proceedings to be taken in pursuance of notification under Section 3A(1) is stayed by an order of Court.

Noticing that there is no express provision in the 1956 Act, which excludes the time spent by the Central Government or the executing agency in obtaining prior environmental clearance or permission under forest laws, as the case may be, the Court directed that the dictum in Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board vs. C. Kenchappa, (2006) 6 SCC 371, shall operate as a stay by an order of the Court for the purposes of Section 3D(3) in respect of all projects under the 1956 Act, in particular for excluding the time spent after issue of Section 3A notification, in obtaining the environmental clearance as well as for permissions under the forest laws.

“Thus, the acquisition process set in motion upon issue of Section 3A notification can go on in parallel until the stage of publication of notification under Section 3D, which can be issued after grant of clearances/permissions by the competent authority under the environment/forest laws and attaining finality thereof.”

[Project Director, Project Implementation Unit v. P.V. Krishnamoorthy, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1005, decided on 08.12.2020]


*Justice AM Khanwilkar has penned this judgment. Read more about him here.

Counsels heard: Solicitor General of India Tushra Mehta, Senior Counsels S. Nagamuthu, Sanjay Parikh, Nikhil Nayyar, Anita Shenoy, Counsels Kabilan Manoharan advocate, P. Soma Sundaram, T.V.S. Raghavendra Sreyas and  S. Thananjayan

Also read: Centre versus State| Who has the power to make law declaring any land within a State as a national highway? Supreme Court answers

COVID 19Legislation UpdatesNotifications

Central Government directs that the National Institute of Biologicals, Noida shall along with existing functions perform the function of Central Drugs Laboratory as an additional facility in respect of COVID-19 vaccine and the functions of the Director in respect of COVID-19 vaccine shall be exercised by the Director of the said Institute.

What does the Notification states?

S.O. 4206(E)— Whereas, there has been an outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in India and worldwide;

Whereas, the Central Government is satisfied that making available suitable COVID-19 vaccines is essential to meet the requirements of emergency arising due to the pandemic COVID-19 and, therefore, in public interest, it is necessary and expedient to regulate the testing of COVID-19 vaccine for prevention and management of COVID-19 infection;

Whereas, the Central Government, in consultation with the Drugs Controller (India), is of the considered view that the supply of COVID-19 vaccine must not get affected and the vaccine must remain available to the public;

Now, therefore, in the exercise of the powers conferred by sections 6 and 26B read with section 33P of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 (23 of 1940) and rule 3 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, the Central Government, hereby directs that the National Institute of Biologicals, Noida, in addition to its existing functions shall perform the function of Central Drugs Laboratory as an additional facility in respect of COVID-19 vaccine and the functions of the Director in respect of COVID-19 vaccine shall be exercised by the Director of the said Institute.

2. In case of any inconsistency between this notification and any rule made under the said Act, the provisions of this notification shall prevail over such rule in public interest so as to meet the requirements of emergency which have arisen due to COVID-19 pandemic.

3. This order shall come into force on the date of its publication in the Official Gazette.

4. The notification shall remain into force for a period upto 30th November, 2021.

NOTIFICATION


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

[Notification dt. 24-11-2019]

Business NewsNews

BACKGROUND

The financial position of The Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ltd. (the bank) has undergone a steady decline with the bank incurring continuous losses over the last three years, eroding its net-worth.

In absence of any viable strategic plan, declining advances and mounting non-performing assets (NPAs), the losses are expected to continue. The bank has not been able to raise adequate capital to address issues around its negative net-worth and continuing losses. Further, the bank is also experiencing the continuous withdrawal of deposits and low levels of liquidity. It has also experienced serious governance issues and practices in recent years which have led to the deterioration in its performance. The bank was placed under the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework in September 2019 considering the breach of PCA thresholds as on March 31, 2019.

REVIVAL EFFORTS

The Reserve Bank had been continually engaging with the bank’s management to find ways to augment the capital funds to comply with the capital adequacy norms. The bank management had indicated to the Reserve Bank that it was in talks with certain investors. However, it failed to submit any concrete proposal to Reserve Bank and the bank’s efforts to enhance its capital through the amalgamation of a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) with itself appears to have reached a dead end. As such, the bank-led efforts through market mechanisms have not fructified. As bank-led and market-led revival efforts are a preferred option over a regulatory resolution, the Reserve Bank had made all possible efforts to facilitate such a process and gave enough opportunities to the bank’s management to draw up a credible revival plan, or an amalgamation scheme, which did not materialise. In the meantime, the bank was facing regular outflow of liquidity.

MORATORIUM

After taking into consideration these developments, the Reserve Bank has come to the conclusion that in the absence of a credible revival plan, with a view to protecting depositors’ interest and in the interest of financial and banking stability, there is no alternative but to apply to the Central Government for imposing a moratorium under Section 45 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. Accordingly, after considering the Reserve Bank’s request, the Central Government has imposed moratorium for thirty days effective.

ASSURANCE TO THE DEPOSITORS

The Reserve Bank assures the depositors of the bank that their interest will be fully protected and there is no need to panic. In terms of the provisions of the Banking Regulation Act, the Reserve Bank has drawn up a scheme for the bank’s amalgamation with another banking company. With the approval of the Central Government, the Reserve Bank will endeavour to put the Scheme in place well before the expiry of the moratorium and thereby ensure that the depositors are not put to undue hardship or inconvenience for a period of time longer than what is absolutely necessary.

The Reserve Bank has also issued certain directions to the bank under section 35 A of the Act ibid.


Reserve Bank of India

[Dt. 17-11-2020]

Legislation UpdatesStatutes/Bills/Ordinances

President promulgates the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020 for better co-ordination, research, identification and resolution of problems surrounding the air quality index and matter connected.

Under the said Ordinance, a Commission for Air Quality Management In National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas will be constituted under Section 3.

Section 11 lays down that the Commission shall have at least the following three sub-committees:

  • Sub-Committee on Monitorig and Identification
  • Sub-Committee on Safeguarding and Enforcement
  • Sub-Committee on Research and Development

Powers and Functions of the Commission have been laid down under Section 12.

  • Shall issue directions and entertain complaints for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the air in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas and shall also have the duty to take all such measures for protecting and improving the air quality.
  • Commission can take measures to abate air pollution and to regulate or prohibit activities that are likely to cause or increase pollution in NCR and adjoining areas.
  • Commission or any officer authorised by it shall for the purpose of analysis have power to take samples of air from any factory, premises or other place in such manner as may be prescribed.
  • In regard to discharge of functions and exercising of its authority, the Commission and the sub-committees mentioned in Section 11 will be bound by the directions and orders of the Central Government.
  • Commission can take up matters suo motu or on the basis of complaints made by any individual, representative body or organisation functioning in the filed of environment.
  • Commission shall provide the mechanism and the means to implement in the National Capital Region and adjoining areas
  • Provide an effective framework and platform in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas.

Read the detailed Ordinance here:222804


Ministry of Law and Justice

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

Central Government had amended the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 in August 2019, to include the provision of designating an individual as a terrorist. Prior to this amendment, only organizations could be designated as terrorist organizations.

The Union Home Minister, Amit Shah has unequivocally reaffirmed the nation’s resolve to fight terrorism. By invoking the said amended provision, the Central Government designated four individuals in September, 2019 and nine individuals in July, 2020 as terrorists.

Reinforcing the commitment of strengthening national security and its policy of zero tolerance to terrorism, the Modi Government today has declared the following eighteen more individuals as designated terrorists, under the provisions of the UAPA Act 1967 (as amended in 2019) and included their names in the Fourth Schedule of the said Act. Their details are as under:

1. Sajid Mir @ Sajid Majeed @ Ibrahim Shah @ Wasi @ Khali @ Muhammad Waseem

 

Pakistan based top LeT Commander and was one of the main planners of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.
2. Yusuf Muzammil @ Ahmad Bhai @ Yousuf Muzammil Butt @ Hurreira Bhai

 

Pakistan based Commander of LeT operations in Jammu & Kashmir and accused in the 26/11 Mumbai Terror attack.
3. Abdur Rehman Makki @ Abdul Rehman Makki

 

Brother-in-law of Hafiz Saeed, Chief LeT and Head of LeT political affairs and served as Head of LeT’s foreign relations department.

 

4. Shahid Mehmood @ Shahid Mehmood Rehmatullah

 

Pakistan based Deputy Chief of proscribed organization Falah-i-lnsaniyat Foundation (FIF), a frontal organisation of terror organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

 

5. Farhatullah Ghori @ Abu Sufiyan @ Sardar Sahab @ Faru

 

Pakistan based terrorist and was involved in attack on Akshardham Temple (2002) and Suicide attack on Task Force office in Hyderabad (2005).
6. Abdul Rauf Asghar @ Mufti @ Mufti Asghar @ Saad baba @ Maulana Mufti Rauf Asghar

 

Pakistan based terrorist, involved in Setting up of training camps in Pakistan for recruitment and militant training and Key conspirator in the terrorist attack (13.12.2001) on the Indian Parliament House, New Delhi.

 

7. Ibrahim Athar @ Ahmed Ali Mohd. Ali Shaikh @ JavedAmjad Siddiqui @ A.A. Shaikh@ Chief

 

Pakistan based terrorist, involved in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines Flight No. lC-814 on Dec. 24, 1999, (Kandhar hijacking case) and also the key conspirator in the Indian Parliament terrorist attack (13.12.2001).

 

8. Yusuf Azhar @ Azhar Yusuf @ Mohd. Salim

 

Pakistan based terrorist, involved in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines Flight No. lC-814 on Dec. 24, 1999 (Kandhar hijacking case).

 

9. Shahid Latif @ Chota Shahid Bhai @ Noor Al Din

 

Pakistan based terrorist and JeM’s Commander of Sialkot sector, involved in launching of JeM terrorists into India. He is also involved in planning, facilitation and execution of terror attacks in India.
10. Syed Mohammad Yusuf Shah @ Syed
Salahudeen @ Peer Sahab @ Buzurg 
Pakistan based, Supreme Commander of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and Chairman, United Jihad Council (UJC) Involved in fund raising and routing finances to India for furtherance of terrorist activities by HM cadres
11. Ghulam Nabi Khan @ Amir Khan @ Saifullah Khalid @ Khalid Saifullah @ Jawaad @ Daand

 

Pakistan based, Deputy Supreme of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM).
12. Zaffar Hussain Bhat @ Khursheed @ Mohd. Zafar Khan @ Moulvi @ Khursheed Ibrahim

 

Pakistan based, Dy. Chief, Hizbul Mujahideen and also handles Financial affairs of Hizbul Mujahideen.  Responsible for sending funds for HM operatives in the Kashmir Valley.
13. Riyaz Ismail Shahbandri @ Shah Riyaz Ahmed @ Riyaz Bhatkal @ Md. Riyaz @ Ahmed Bhai @ Rasool Khan @ Roshan Khan @ Aziz Pakistan based, Founder member of terrorist organization “Indian Mujahideen”. Involved in various terrorist acts in India including German Bakery (2010), Chinnaswami Stadium, Bangalore (2010) , Jama Masjid (2010), Sheetlaghat (2010) and Mumbai (2011) etc.
14. Md. Iqbal @ Shabandri Mohammed Iqbal @ Iqbal Bhatkal Pakistan based Co-founder of the terrorist organization, Indian Mujahideen (IM).  Involved in terror financing and various terrorist acts including Jaipur Serial Blasts (2008), Delhi Serial Blasts (2008), Serial Blasts of Ahmedabad and Surat (2008), German Bakery Blast, Pune of (2010) and Chinnaswami Stadium, Bengaluru Blasts (2010) etc.
15. Shaikh Shakeel @ Chhota Shakeel Pakistan based Associates of Dawood Ibrahim, looks after all criminal and underworld operations of D-Company.  Finances D-Company operatives of India. Involved in the smuggling of firearms to Gujarat, India, during 1993.
16. Mohammad Anis Shaikh

 

Pakistan based terrorist, involved in Bombay Bomb Blast Case, 1993 and responsible for the supply of arms, ammunition and hand grenades.

 

17. Ibrahim Memon @ Tiger Memon @ Mushtaq @ Sikander @ Ibrahim Abdul Razak Memon @ Mustafa @ Ismail Pakistan based terrorist, hatched the criminal conspiracy of the Bombay Bomb Blast Case.
18. Javed Chikna @  Javed  Dawood Tailor Pakistan based Associate of Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar, involved in Bombay Bomb Blast case, 1993.

These individuals are involved in various acts of terrorism from across the border and have been relentless in their nefarious efforts of destabilizing the country.


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Source: PIB]

Case Briefs

Central Administrative Tribunal, Delhi: A Division Bench of Justice L. Narasimha Reddy, Chairman, and Mohd. Jamshed, Member (A), dismissed the application for lack of merit.

The facts of the case, in precis, are that the applicant filed MA. No. 1250/2020 prosecuting the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi and the same has been ordered under the present application, OA. No. 975/2020. The applicant was employed with the Forensic Science Laboratory, Delhi, on a contractual basis during which the UPSC issued an Advertisement for selection of candidates to various posts on regular basis.

The applicant having crossed the requisite age limit took the aid of the memo of the Government of NCT of Delhi, wherein the age limit for direct recruitment was relaxed up to 5 years as a one time measure for candidates working on a contractual basis. Since the aforementioned advertisement did not provide for any such relaxation, the applicant claimed the same from UPSC basis the memo by the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB).

The tribunal heard the arguments advanced by Setu Niket, counsel for the applicant and R.V. Sinha, counsel for the respondent observing that the memo would have been effective only if the posts weren’t governed by Recruitment Rules since the rules have been framed specifically for the posts in question.

The relaxation under recruitment rules is available only to the employees of the Central Government and UTs. It was also noted that the recruitment rules are felicitous hence the UPSC would abide by them alone. Resultantly, the bench was of the opinion that the memo isn’t a legitimate ground for them to compel the UPSC into recognizing the administrative or executive orders.

Therefore, the application being devoid of any merit was dismissed by the bench.[Syed Ahmar Ali Hasmi v. Union Public Service Commission, 2020 SCC OnLine CAT 304, decided on 07-08-2020]

Legislation UpdatesRules & Regulations

Aadhaar Authentication for Good Governance (Social Welfare, Innovation, Knowledge) Rules, 2020

Centre in consultation with UIDAI makes the above stated Rules.

Purposes for Aadhaar authentication

(1) The Central Government may allow Aadhaar authentication by requesting entities in the interest of good governance, preventing leakage of public funds, promoting ease of living of residents and enabling better access to services for them, for the following purposes, namely:–

(a) usage of digital platforms to ensure good governance;

(b) prevention of dissipation of social welfare benefits; and

(c) enablement of innovation and the spread of knowledge.

(2) Aadhaar authentication under sub-rule (1) shall be on a voluntary basis.

Preparation of proposal

The Ministry or the Department of the Government of India or the State Government, as the case may be, desirous of utilising Aadhaar authentication for a purpose specified in Rule 3 shall prepare a proposal with justification in regard to such purpose for which Aadhaar authentication is sought and submit the same to the Central Government for making a reference to the Authority.

Examination of proposal

On receipt of the proposal under Rule 4, if the Authority is satisfied that the proposal is in accordance with the purposes mentioned in Rule 3 and the provisions of the Act, it shall inform the Central Government that the requesting entity may be allowed to perform Aadhaar authentication and thereafter, the Ministry or the Department of the Government of India or the State Government, as the case may be, may be authorised by the Central Government to notify the same accordingly.

Read the Rules here: NOTIFICATION


Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology

Notification dt. 05-08-2020

Legislation UpdatesNotifications

Central Consumer Protection Authority

Central Government establishes the Central Consumer Protection Authority as a body corporate by the said name having perpetual succession and a common seal, with power, subject to the provisions of the Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder, to acquire, hold and dispose of property, both movable and immovable, and to contract, and shall, by the said name, sue or be sued.

The said Authority has been established with effect from 24-07-2020 and has been constituted under Section 10(1) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019

NOTIFICATION

Also Read:

Consumer Protection Act, 2019 comes into force


Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Distribution

[Notification dt. 23-07-2020]

Legislation UpdatesNotificationsRules & Regulations

The Central Government has appointed 20 July 2020, as the date on which certain provisions of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 shall come into force. The Central Government has exercised the powers conferred by Section 1(3) of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

Following is a list of provisions that will come into force on 20 July 2020:   

Chapter

Title

Sections

I

Preliminary ? Definitions

Section 2

[except clauses (4), (13), (16), (40)]

II

Consumer Protection Councils

Sections 3 to 9

[both inclusive]

IV

Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

Sections 28 to 73

[both inclusive; except sub-clause (iv) of clause (a) of sub-section (1) of 58]

V

Mediation

Sections 74 to 81

[both inclusive]

VI

Product Liability

Sections 82 to 87

[both inclusive]

VII

Offences & Penalties

Sections 90 and 91

VIII

Miscellaneous

Sections 95, 98, 100 to 103 and 105 to 107

[except clauses (f) to (m) and clauses (zg), (zh), (zi) of sub-section (2) of Section 101]

The Centre has also notified certain rules that will come into force on 20 July 2020. Following is the list:

  • Consumer Protection (Central Consumer Protection Council) Rules, 2020
  • Consumer Protection (Salary, allowances and conditions of service of President and Members of the State Commission and District Commission) Model Rules, 2020
  • Consumer Protection (Qualification for appointment, method of recruitment, procedure of appointment, term of office, resignation and removal of the President and members of the State Commission and District Commission) Rules, 2020
  • Consumer Protection (Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions) Rules, 2020
  • Consumer Protection (Mediation) Rules, 2020

Notification


Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution 

[Notification dt. 15-07-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Asha Menon, JJ., has asked Central Government to submit policy on social media ban for Indian Army members in a sealed cover.

Social Media Ban Policy for Indian Army

Present petition was filed impugning the policy of respondent 2 Director General of Military Intelligence, to the extent it bans the petitioner and other members of Indian Army from using social networking platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Additional Solicitor General appearing for the respondents opposed the petition.

Bench stated that only after perusing the policy counsels be heard.

“we are of the view that the counsels be heard after we have had an occasion to peruse the policy and if the document prescribing the policy does not record the reasons therefor, the document containing the reasons for the policy.”

Further the Court added that the stated documents be circulated in a sealed cover either through the High Court or directly at their respective residences, at least a day before the next date of hearing.

Petitioner’s counsel sought interim relief of relieving the petitioner from the mandate of being required to delete any existing social media accounts. It contended that the same has been directed to be deleted by 15th July, 2020.

To the above, Court stated that till the time no reason to entertain the petition would be found no interim relief can be granted especially when the matter has potential of concerning the safety and security of the country.

Matter has been listed for 21-07-2020. [Lt. Col. P.K. Choudhary v. UOI, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 755 , decided on 14-07-2020]