Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge Bench of SA Bobde, CJ and AS Bopanna and S. Ramasubramanian, JJ has ordered a revised schedule for appointment of judicial officers in the State of West Bengal for the year 2020. For the conduct of Madhya Pradesh HJS (District Judge – Entry Level) (Direct Recuitment from Bar) Examination 2020 , the Court has asked the Examination Committee of the Madhya Pradesh High Court to review the situation once in a month and take a decision to conduct the above examination.

High Court of Calcutta

The High Court of Calcutta has approached the Court seeking a modification of the timeline fixed by this Court in Malik Mazhar Sultan vs. U.P. Public Service Commission, (2008) 17 SCC 703 for filling up of vacancies of judicial officers for the year 2020. As per the Malik Mazhar case, the schedule is to commence with the notification of the number of vacancies being issued by the 31st March every year and the whole process coming to an end with the issuance of appointment letters by 30th September indicating the last date of joining as 31st October, 2020.

Admittedly, even the first step namely that of notifying the vacancies, has not been taken due to the announcement of lock down by 24.03.2020.

Therefore, the Court ordered a revised schedule for appointment of judicial officers in the State of West Bengal for the year 2020 as follows:

High Court of Madhya Pradesh

High Court of Madhya Pradesh approached the Court seeking deferment of MPHJS (District Judge – Entry Level) (Direct Recuitment from Bar) Examination 2020 till the Examination Committee finds it suitable to conduct the examination. The notification for recruitment was published on 16.01.2020 and preliminary examination was fixed to be held on 16.03.2020. However, the examination got postponed due to the current Pandemic. On 24.08.2020, a new notification was issued fixing the date of preliminary examination as 30.09.2020. But due to the increase in the number of persons affected by Covid-19, a request was received from the MP High Court Bar Association on 29.08.2020 seeking postponement of the examination.

A total of 3113 candidates are likely to appear for the examination and out of them 1942 candidates belong to other States. The examinations are to be conducted at Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur.

During the period from 25.03.2020 to 08.08.2020, 8 judicial officers, 52 judicial employees, and 46 Advocates tested positive for Corona. Therefore, the Court directed the Examination Committee of the Madhya Pradesh High Court to review the situation once in a month and take a decision to conduct the above examination. The first of such review shall be conducted in the first week of November, 2020.

The Court said that the the High Court may endeavour to hold the above examination as soon as the situation becomes conducive and the time-schedule shall stand extended accordingly.

[Malik Mazhar Sultan v. U.P. Public Service Commission,  2020 SCC OnLine SC 764, order dated 22.09.2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

“Education is the passport to the future.”

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula, JJ., while addressing the issue with regard to digital education observed that

“…tuition fee was payable towards imparting education and “not for a lien on a seat”

Schools imparting Synchronous Face-to-face Real-Time Online Education, not as a voluntary service but as a part of their responsibility under the RTE Act, 2009.

DIGITAL DIVIDE

Inequality in education has been around long before Covid-19, but the pandemic has exacerbated the same by adding another strand/element to it, namely, the digital divide.

Reopening of physical classroom

Unparalleled education disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over, as, despite lapse of nearly six months, the Union of India and the Government of NCT of Delhi are yet to announce a date for reopening of the physical classroom for elementary schools.

Concern in the present petition

The instant Public Interest Litigation was filed seeking a direction to respondents to supply free laptops/android mobile phones/electronic tablets with high-speed internet to children belonging to the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) so that they could attend their classes by way of video conferencing just like fee-paying students in their classes.

During the pendency of the present petition, some other schools also started online classes, the petitioner sought modification in the prayer clause to include children studying in these schools, so that comprehensive orders could be passed under Article 21A of the Constitution of India for all the children other than fee-paying students.

Analysis and Decision

Article 21A of the Constitution imposes an enforceable/justiciable obligation upon the State to provide free and compulsory elementary education to each and every child between the age of six and fourteen in a manner as determined by law.

In pursuance of the above stated constitutional obligation, the Centre enacted the RTE Act, 2009.

Court cited the Supreme Court decision in Ashoka Kumar Thakur v. Union of India, (2008) 6 SCC 1, wherein it was held that,

Universal elementary education as a constitutional goal and obligation is a salutary principle and while interpreting the provisions of the RTE Act, 2009, Article 21A has to be the guiding principle.

Supreme Court in Jindal Stainless Ltd. v. State of Haryana, (2017) 12 SCC 1 held that,

“…the Constitution being a living and dynamic document ought to receive a dynamic and pragmatic interpretation that harmonizes and balances competing aims and objectives and promotes attainment of natural goods and objections.”

RTE Act, 2009 is not a historical Act but an ‘always speaking statute’ which intends to achieve social, economic and political equity and human progress over a period of time.

Court observed that,

RTE Act, 2009 is not a static but a living and a dynamic document and it ought to receive a pragmatic interpretation.

Consistent with the legislative intent, an updating construction has to be applied to RTE Act, 2009 and the Court of law can deal with a drastically changed situation, like Covid-19 pandemic, even if it was not known or visualized by Parliament when the Act was enacted.

Adding to its’ analysis, Court stated that the new National Education Policy, 2020 prepared by the Government of India states that education is fundamental for achieving full human potential, developing an equitable and just society, and promoting national development.

Why the RTE Act, 2009 does not define the word ‘Education’?

Bench in the present matter was of the view that the RTE Act, 2009 intentionally does not define the word Education as it needs to deal with changes in society as well as technological advances, outbreak of diseases, natural calamities and a broad range of circumstances that are not possible to anticipate in advance.

Concept of synchronous face-to-face real-time online education

The concept of Synchronous Face-to-Face Real Time Online Education like any other alternate means/methods of dissemination of education, in that sense, is covered under the RTE Act, 2009.

The teaching through online means is in accordance with the RTE Act, 2009 requirements.

Adding to the above, the Court stated that at the present, the neighborhood schools are still open but the physical classrooms are closed and the mode of providing education has changed.

Court is of the view that tuition fees are payable towards imparting education and not for a lien on a seat. Accordingly, the word Education includes Synchronous Face-to-Face Real Time Online Education and respondent schools are estopped from contending to the contrary.

Differential Fee Structure

Section 12(2) of the RTE Act, 2009 unequivocally proves the existence of a differential fee structure amongst private unaided schools and consequently, differential methods/means of dissemination of instructions amongst the private schools.

Further, the Court added that just as private schools are free to adopt the mode of the method of imparting education they feel the most appropriate, the government schools also have similar freedom and flexibility.

There is neither any statutory obligation under the RTE Act, 2009 nor any recommendation by any statutory authority like State Academic Authority that the Synchronous Face-to-Face Real Time Online Education is the only suitable option during a pandemic.

High Court also opined that in view of the geographical location of a school or non-availability of technologically savvy teachers or poor availability of electricity or lack of internet penetration in the neighbourhood, it may also not be appropriate for a school to opt for Synchronous Face-to-Face Real Time Online Education.

There has to be one common minimum level/standard of impartation of education for all schools. Further, the said school has to then ensure that the same is uniformly adopted and followed sans any discrimination.

Bench opined that

Synchronous Face-to- Face Real Time Online Education is neither a core nor a non-derogable facet of either Article 21A of the Constitution or the RTE Act, 2009.

High Court was of the view that it cannot be said that the education being provided by GNCTD schools does not satisfy the basic minimum required level of impartation of education in the present extraordinary scenario.

Private Unaided Schools

The tuition fee charged by the private unaided schools is governed and regulated by the DSE Act and the same does not include expenses on devices such as laptops, phones, high-speed internet at children‟s homes, etc.

Even though the cost of such gadget/digital equipment which enables access to online learning facilities is not a part of tuition fee, yet it has to be provided free of cost to the EWS / DG students in terms of Section 12(1)(c) read with Section 3(2) of the Act, 2009 as cost of such equipment would be covered under Rule 11 of the Central RTE Rules, 2010 as well as Rule 10 of the Delhi RTE Rules, 2011 and Section 3(2) of the RTE Act, 2009 inasmuch as absence of such equipment ‘will prevent the child from pursuing his or her elementary education‘ at par with other students in the same class in the present scenario.

DIGITAL DIVIDE

To ensure a level playing field and to remedy this digital divide or digital gap or ̳digital apartheid‟ in addition to segregation, if the private unaided school has to bear any additional cost, it must bear it in the first instance with a right to claim reimbursement from the State in accordance with Section 12(2) of the RTE Act, 2009.

GNCTD must consider rewarding the schools that innovate.

Intra-class discrimination, especially inter-se 75% fee paying students viz-a-viz 25% EWS/DG students‟ upsets the ̳level playing field‘ and amounts to discrimination as well as creates a vertical division, digital divide or digital gap or „digital apartheid‘ in addition to segregation in a classroom which is violative of RTE Act, 2009 and Articles 14, 20 and 21 of the Constitution.

High Court directs constitution of a three-member committee within a week comprising Secretary, Education, Ministry of Education, Central Government or his nominee, Secretary Education, GNCTD or his nominee and a representative of respondent No.18 to frame a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for identification of standard gadget(s)/equipment(s) as well as the manufacturer/supplier and internet package so that EWS/DG students can access elementary education through digital online means.

Further, the private unaided schools shall file their claims for reimbursement under Section 12(2) to the GNCTD within eight weeks from the date of supply of such gadget(s)/equipment(s).

“To achieve education for all, Digital Education is a major component of the solution, though not a replacement for formal classroom schooling, provided digital- divide is erased from Indian Society.”

Creating a better and resilient elementary education system is increasingly important as a child’s starting point in life determines his/her future.

Concurring with the above view, Sanjeev Narula, J. stated that,

In the present pandemic situation, the shift towards online education has taken place literally overnight, and without much deliberation. One could argue that the unprecedented situation warranted such a drastic switch over. Therefore, I do not find any fault with the approach of the schools that have adopted digital technology for imparting education. However, it is necessary to issue a note of caution here so that the modes and methods adapted during this extraordinary time are not seen as the quintessential purpose of the Act.

The scheme of Article 21A and the RTE Act rests on a twofold premise: to prevent financial and psychological barriers from hindering access to primary education of children, and, non-discrimination in the imparting of education.

Reservation for EWS
Children of the socially and economically weaker sections are normally unable to secure an admission in private schools due to their unaffordable fees. The RTE Act seeks to address this gap via section 12(1)(c) which mandates all private schools to reserve 25 per cent of their seats for children belonging to economically weaker sections and disadvantaged group.

DIGITAL ENABLEMENT

Imbalance in the imparting of education due to the non- availability of gadgets, internet connectivity and modes of access, has the potential of pushing the less-fortunate children outside the education system altogether. The digital enablement of EWS students, is thus, in my opinion, absolutely necessary.

The precious right guaranteed by the Constitution of India and the RTE Act has to be replicated in the online environment.

It is the responsibility of the schools and obligation of the State to assist EWS students to overcome all constraints that deprive them of meaningful education.

[Justice for All v. GNCTD, WP(C) No. 3004 of 2020, decided on 18-09-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The Supreme Court Registry has released a detailed User Guide for limited physical hearings.  The ‘How to’ User guide answers the ‘How tos’ on

  1. e-Nomination of Counsel/Clerk for Physical hearing
  2. e-Application for Special Hearing Entry Pass
  3. e- Submission of Self-declaration Form

Some Key Points from the User Guide 

For e-Nomination of Counsel/Clerk for Physical hearing

  • AOR can nominate

1. Senior Counsel
2. Advocate-on-record (Other than the user)
3. Appearing counsel (Any other advocate otherwise eligible)
4. Party to the case represented by concerned AOR
5. Registered Clerk of the concerned AOR or nominee.

Total number of AORs appearing in the selected case will be displayed on the top of screen. The working capacity of the Court Room as per standard social distancing norms would also be on display.

  • How will the Limit be calculated: Limit per AOR is Calculated as per total number of AOR in a given case qua the working capacity of given Court Room.  If Limit per AOR is 0 in that case AOR can replace himself/herself with Senior Counsel or Appearing Counsel or Another AOR, as may be the case. If Limit per AOR is 2 in such case besides such AOR he or she can permit any two or combination of Senior Counsel or Appearing Counsel or Another AORs.
  • Entry of registered clerks is permitted to assist AOR or counsel for supplying physical material, as may be required, to argue a case. However, registered clerks
    are not permitted to enter inside the Court Room. Therefore, registered clerks are not counted as attendee inside the Court Room however his entry is permitted up
    to the Court Room. Therefore, Registered Clerk is not counted in the Limit of persons to be nominated by AOR in a given case.
  • If in a given case only AOR is permitted and such AOR replaces and nominates counsel in his place, in such event AOR will not be permitted inside the Court Room for that item number listed before the Court. In the Figure 6 name of AOR shall be at serial No. 1 by default. When AOR desires to replace himself/ herself, he or she can delete his/her entry and make fresh entry with appropriate replacement.
  • Mobile Number is mandatory field for nominating any person for physical hearing. On the basis of mobile number entry pass mechanism is designed, therefore, ensure that correct mobile number is entered, and it is verified before finally submitting nomination to the Registry.
  • On the day a given case is listed before the Court, nominated entries can be edited or changed till 09.00 am.

For e-Application for Special Hearing Entry Pass

  • AOR or Appearing Counsel or Arguing Counsel or Registered Clerk shall click on Special hearing entry pass link available on the official website Supreme Court of India.
  • Person nominated for special hearing and physical appearance before the Supreme Court of India shall enter his mobile number. If his number is registered by concerned AOR he shall receive OTP. If OTP is not received the concerned may contact respective AOR.
  • Photo ID uploaded while generating entry pass will be physically verified while permitting entry Photo ID is required for identification of the nominated person as Advocate or registered Clerk, as may be the case.
  • If on a particular day, appearance is to be marked in more than one case, multiple passes are required to be generated for that day. For each item number listed before the Court, a separate pass is required. Accordingly, one has to check schedule for the day and generate all passes listed for that day before the various Courts.
  • Before physically entering/ visiting the Supreme Court premises, the entrants have to mandatorily sign self-declaration form about fitness and good health ruling out possibility of self-infection

For e- Submission of Self-declaration Form

Any person or Advocate seeking to enter / visit the premises of the Supreme Court by generating Special Hearing Entry Pass, is mandatorily required to Sign in Selfdeclaration form. Self-declaration is to be signed in by entering OTP sent on registered mobile number only on the day of visit.

To download the user manual, click here.


Also read

SOP for limited physical hearings amidst COVIS-19 pandemic

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

It has come to the knowledge of the Union Health Ministry that few States are trying to curb the free inter-State movement of oxygen supplies by exercising provisions under various Acts and also mandating the manufacturers/suppliers located in the State to restrict their oxygen supplies to only the hospitals of the State.

In view of this, the Health Ministry has reiterated the critical importance of Oxygen in hospitals for management of critical COVID patients. In a letter written to the States/UTs, Union Health Secretary has emphasised that availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen is an important pre-requisite for managing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19.

The Health Secretary has urged the States/UTs to ensure that no restriction is imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between them. It has been strongly reinforced that it is every State’s responsibility to ensure that every hospitalized COVID patient receives oxygen.

It has been again brought to their notice that medical oxygen constitutes an Essential Public Health Commodity and any impediment in the supplies of medical oxygen in the country may critically impact the management of patients suffering from COVID-19 disease in other parts of the country. Moreover, some of the major oxygen manufacturers/supplies already have existing supply agreements with hospitals in various states with a legal obligation to fulfill such agreements.

The Centre-led COVID management strategy is based on Standard of Care Treatment Guidelines. These Guidelines have ensured a uniform and standardised quality of medical care in all the COVID facilities, including hospitals. For moderate and severe cases, adequate oxygen support, appropriate and timely administration of anti-coagulants and widely available and inexpensive corticosteroids, in accordance with the protocol, can be considered to be the mainstay of COVID-19 therapy.

An adequate supply of oxygen throughout the country has enabled effective clinical care of the hospitalised moderate and severe cases, in conjunction with other measures. The adopted host of strategies have actively resulted in rising Recovery Rate and steadily declining Case Fatality Rate (1.67% currently).  As on date, less than 3.7% of active patients are on oxygen support.


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

[Press Release dt. 11-09-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

A great nation is built on a character of its own citizens. It transforms into the character of the nation leading to its progress achieved through a value system.

— Madras High Court

Madras High Court: The Division Bench of M.M. Sundresh and R. Hemalatha, JJ., while addressing the present petition with regard to concerns arising due to online classes  quoted Swami Vivekananda,

“We want the education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded, and by which one can stand on one’s own feet.”

EDUCATION

Further, explaining the concept of education, Court stated that,

“A man is both a creator and destroyer. Therefore, he is his own future. A better future can only be secured through the younger generation, existing and awaiting.”

The process of creating a good citizen has got multiple roadblocks created by various factors. Thus, Education will have to address this seminal issue without deviating towards more literacy in imparting knowledge without character.

RIGHT USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN IMPARTING EDUCATION

With the onslaught of information pouring through technology, it is imperative to make sure that the children are groomed in the right way. Further, it was added that as we know, technology as such cannot be faulted but only its wrong usage.

CONCERN

Present matter has raised concerns with regard to the usage of online classes hastened by the pandemic.

Online classes have become one of the necessities than an option as schools are yet to re-open.

Social Divide is another factor which unfortunately gets widened through the imparting of the present education between the rich and the poor through the varied curriculum, methodology and facilities.

At the time of filing of the writ petitions, guidelines of the Union of India and the State Government were not in existence.

Bench stated that since the Court has prefaced on the extensive and exhaustive guidelines of the Government of India and the State Government, therefore it refrains from going into the materials produced.

Hence Court only highlights the important aspects of the guidelines while concentrating on the issues flowing out of the same including the complaints made on the extensive usage by some of the overzealous institutions.

CYBER BULLYING

Specific instructions have also been given to avoid cyberbullying. Clear instructions have been given to students studying in different classes, Parents and Teachers. Schools have been instructed to balance both online and offline activities. Advice has been given to safety and ethical precautions.

ATTENDANCE

On the question of attendance, schools have been informed that it shall not be accounted as mandatory for performance evaluation purposes.

Decision

High Court on perusal of the above stated that this new form of Education is created by the technology which has been imposed upon us by the pandemic. Therefore, it should be used as an opportunity to deal with the situation until the normalcy is restored.

Digitalization has created distinct literate called digital literates.

The Institutions along with the Teachers and Parents will have to play their respective roles with all seriousness.

Court has noted that that there are certain schools that are overburdening in conducting the examinations, making the attendance mandatory and taking classes beyond the time limit mentioned in the guidelines.

Bench does not approve of the above.

Taking care of the interest of the children is the primary duty of the Parents, Teachers, Institutions, Government and the Court.

Court is of the firm view that that the guidelines are to get the trappings of the mandatory directions.

Further, it was also stated that classes of varied categories such as Government Schools which are few in existence, aided and un-aided schools, their curriculum is also different. In view of the said, Court held that the guidelines are to be complied with by all the stakeholders.

Usage of recorded versions of online classes through local television

It is for the respective schools to adopt their mode while keeping in mind the guidelines issued. However, they can also explore the possibility of going for the recorded classes as it would ease out the pressure from the point of view of the students. Similarly, recorded versions can be sent through Whatsapp apart from being uploaded in the school portals.

Keeping in mind the interests of children, bench issued the following directions:

  • Guidelines issued by the Government of India and the State Government are to be treated and construed as mandatory
  • Time limit for the online classes should be strictly adhered to and any violation would require action
  • State of Tamil Nadu and other bodies, with whom the Schools are affiliated, shall issue circulars to the Schools which are to be circulated in turn to the Parents towards the measures that are required to be taken to block obscene contents.
  • programmes conducted will have to be sent by Whatsapp to the Parents and uploaded in the school portals.
  • At every District level, the Government of Tamil Nadu and the other competent authorities are expected to set up a Committee to monitor and supervise the due compliance of the guidelines by the institutions. These Committees will have to meet once in a month.
  • Concerned schools will have to undertake the exercise of identifying the problems being faced by the parents and teachers in online connectivity and avilability of the device.
  • Schools can also allow group of students identified by them requiring special attendance in view of the difficulties faced in online and digital education to attend physical classes while following social distance.
  • Schools can also explore the possibility of Teachers going to the students and giving education if there exists a facility to do so.
  • Guidelines with regard to attendance, test and examination will have to be strictly complied with.
  • Guidelines with respect to pre-primary students will have to be complied with strictly.
  • Schools will also have to explore the possibility of having end-to-end encryption.
  • Guidelines of the State Government will have to be translated in Tamil, if not done already.
  • There shall be an interaction between the Schools and Parents on the functioning of the online/digital education, as many of them may not be digital literates.

Bench disposed of the petitions stating that it hopes the above-laid guidelines are complied with and makes it clear that all the directions are applicable to the Schools functioning in the Tamil Nadu. [R. Bharaneeswaran v. Government of Tamil Nadu, 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 2301 , decided on 09-09-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Union Health Ministry has noted that in some large States, symptomatic negative cases tested by Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) are not being followed up by RT-PCT testing.

The Guidelines of ICMR as well as the Union Health Ministry clearly state that the following two specific categories of persons must necessarily be retested through RT-PCR tests:

  1.  All symptomatic (fever or cough or breathlessness) negative cases of Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT).
  2. Asymptomatic negative cases of RAT that develop symptoms within 2 to 3 days of being tested negative. 

In this background, the Union Health Ministry and ICMR have jointly written to all the States/UTs and urged them to ensure that all symptomatic negative cases of RAT are mandatorily retested using the RT-PCR test. This is necessary to ensure that such symptomatic negative cases do not remain untested and do not spread the disease among their contacts. This will also ensure early detection and isolation/hospitalization of such false negatives. It has also been reiterated in the joint letter that while the RAT is being used to increase access and availability of testing in the field, RT-PCR remains the gold standard of COVID tests.

The Union Health Ministry has also urged the States/UTs to urgently establish a monitoring mechanism in every district (a designated officer or a team) and at the State level to follow up such cases. These teams shall analyse details of RAT conducted on a daily basis in the Districts and State and ensure that there are no delays in retesting of all symptomatic negative cases.

The aim of States/UTs should be to ensure that no potentially positive case is missed out. They have also been advised to undertake an analysis on a regular basis to monitor the incidence of positives during the RT-PCR tests conducted as a follow-up.


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

[Press Release dt. 10-09-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Government of India is following a phase-wise unlocking of activities. In days to come, this would also involve partial resumption of activities in schools for students of classes 9th to 12th on a voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers. This would be allowed from 21-09-2020.

Generic Preventive Measures

The generic preventive measures include simple public health measures that are to be followed to reduce the risk of COVID-19. These measures need to be observed by all (teachers, employees and students) in these places at all times.

These include:

  1. Physical distancing of at least 6 feet to be followed as far as feasible.
  2. Use of face covers/masks to be made mandatory.
  3. Frequent hand washing with soap (for at least 40-60 seconds) even when hands are not visibly dirty.

    Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (for at least 20 seconds) can be done wherever feasible.

  4. Respiratory etiquettes to be strictly followed. This involves strict practice of covering one’s mouth and nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow and disposing off used

    tissues properly.

  5. Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest.
  6. Spitting shall be strictly prohibited.
  7. Installation & use of Aarogya Setu App may be advised wherever feasible.

All schools (with classes IX to XII) shall specifically ensure the following arrangements

  1. Online/distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged.
  2. Students of class 9th to 12th shall be permitted to visit their school on voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers. This will be subject to written consent of their parents/guardians. Such visits and teacher – student interaction must be organized in a staggered manner.

After opening of the schools

At the entry point

  1. Entrance to have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening provisions. Multiple gates/separate gates, if feasible, should be used for entry and exit.
  2. Only asymptomatic persons (teachers, employees and students) to be allowed in the premises. If a teacher/employee/student is found to be symptomatic, he/she should be referred to nearest health center.
  3. Posters/standees on preventive measures about COVID-19 to be displayed prominently.
  4. Proper crowd management in the parking lots, in corridors and in elevators – duly following physical distancing norms shall be organized.
  5. Entry of visitors should be strictly regulated/restricted.

SOP to be followed in case a student/teacher/employee develops symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty in breathing)

  1. Place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others.
  2. Inform parents/guardians as the case may be.
  3. Patient will remain isolated while wearing a mask/face cover till such time they are examined by a doctor.
  4. Immediately inform the nearest medical facility (hospital/clinic) or call the state or district helpline.
  5. A risk assessment shall be undertaken by the designated public health authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further action be initiated regarding management of case, their contacts and need for disinfection.
  6. Disinfection of the premises to be taken up if the person is found positive.

Read the detailed notification here: FinalSOPonpartialresumptionofactivitiesinschools8092020


Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

[Notification dt. 08-09-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

General order for extension of time to hold AGM for FY 2019-20

A big relief is given by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) to around 12 lakhs companies today by extending the timeline for holding Annual General Meeting till December 31st from September 30th.

MCA issued directions to RoCs to issue orders without the filing of formal application and payment of fee. Even applications already filed but not approved or rejected are also covered for this relief.

MCA is extending this timeline due to COVID-19 and Meeting the demand from various associations for extending time to hold AGM. This is for the first time that such relief generally is given to all companies.


Ministry of Corporate Affairs

[Press Release dt. 08-09-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Hardeep S Puri, MoS, (I/C), Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has announced the SOP guidelines for metro operations in a media interaction today. As per MHA order No 40-3/2020-DM-I(A) dated 29.8.2020, metro services will resume from 7th September, 2020 in a graded manner.  For this purpose, SOP guidelines have been prepared by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, which have been concurred by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Broad features of the same are as below:

a. Metro operations to be resumed in graded manner. Metros having more than one line should open different lines starting from 7th September, 2020 onwards in a graded manner so that all corridors become operational by 12th September 2020.  Daily hours of operations may be staggered initially, which needs to be increased gradually with resumption of full revenue service by 12th September, 2020. Frequency of trains to be regulated to avoid passenger crowding at stations and in trains.

b.​Stations/ entry-exit gates in containment zones to be closed.

c.​​In order to ensure social distancing, suitable markings at stations and inside trains to be done.

d.​Wearing of face mask to be mandatory for all passengers and staff. Metro rail corporations may make arrangements for supply of masks on payment basis to the persons arriving without mask.

e.​Only asymptomatic persons to be allowed to travel after thermal screening at entry into the stations.  Symptomatic persons should be advised to go to nearby COVID Care Centre/Hospital for testing/medical attention. Use of Aarogya Setu App to be encouraged.

f.​Provision of sanitizers to be made at entry into the stations for use by passengers. Sanitization of all areas having human interface viz. equipment, train, working area, lift, escalators, handrail, AFC gate, toilets etc. needs to be done at regular intervals.

g.​Use of Smart Card and cashless/online transactions to be encouraged. Tokens and paper slips/ticket to be used with proper sanitization.

h.​Adequate dwell time at stations to be provided to enable smooth boarding/deboarding ensuring social distancing. Metro rail corporations may also resort to skipping of stations to ensure proper social distancing.

i.​Passengers to be advised to travel with minimum luggage and avoid carrying metallic items for easy and quick scanning.

j.​Operation of Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) system as per the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) & Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) guidelines. Intake of fresh air in air-conditioning system to be increased to the extent possible.

k.​Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaign to be launched for passenger and staff through electronic/print/social media, poster, banner, hoarding, website etc.

l.​Metro rail corporations to keep close liaison with state police and local administration for regulating crowd outside station and to deal with contingencies.

Based on above guidelines, Delhi, Noida, Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Mumbai Line-1, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Maha Metro (Nagpur) Kolkata, Gujarat and UP Metro (Lucknow) have prepared their SOPs. Government of Maharashtra has decided not to resume operation of metro during September, 2020.  Hence, Mumbai Line-1 and Maha Metro operations shall commence from October, 2020 or as State Government may decide further.

Click Here To See PPT


Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs

Press Release dt. 02-09-2020

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Provisional admissions and submission of documents of qualifying examination

The period of conducting the final year/ terminal semester examinations has been extended up till the end of September 2020 in the UGC’s ‘Revised Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities in view of COVID-19 Pandemic’ dated 06-07-2020.

In the larger interest of the students, the universities/institutions (including Central  Universities) are advised to continue to grant provisional admissions, if students are otherwise eligible for such admissions as per the norms of the university/institution concerned where the admission is being sought, even after 30-09-2020 till revised guidelines on Academic Calendar are issued by the UGC.

Read the notification here: NOTIFICATION


University Grants Commission

Notice dt. 31-08-2020

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

After a 7-judge Committee of Justices NV Ramana, Arun Mishra, Rohington Nariman, U U Lalit, A M Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and L N Rao recommended re-commencing the physical hearings in some Courts, Chief Justice of India Justice SA Bobde has given the following directions for limited physical hearings amidst COVIS-19 pandemic:

1. On an experimental basis, and as a pilot scheme, physical hearing of matters may initially commence in three Court-rooms; eventually, number of matters or the number of Court-rooms may be increased or reduced, as the situation may warrant or permit;

2. Despite consent by the Advocates/Parties-in-Person, only such number of Counsels/parties may be permitted to appear during physical hearing inside Courtrooms, so that the total number does not exceed the working capacity of the Court(s) as determined considering the physical distancing norms;

3. If in a matter the number of parties is more, then one AOR and one Arguing Counsel per party will be allowed entry; one registered Clerk per party, as may be chosen by the AOR, shall be allowed entry to carry paper-books/journals etc. of the Counsels upto the Court-rooms;

4. Entry into the High Security Zone through proximity cards/long term passes shall be kept suspended, till further orders; entry of counsels/parties or such other stakeholders to appear for such limited physical hearing will be through daily “Special hearing passes” which will be issued by the Registry, on the basis of authorization by the concerned Advocate on Record.

5. Multiple sets of one chair and table are being placed inside the Court Rooms, in the areas demarcated for Advocates/Parties-in-Person, and it shall be incumbent upon the users to maintain minimum prescribed physical distancing norms between each set, which should not be removed from their positions;

6. Advocates/Parties-in-Person/Clerks or other stakeholders, who have been issued Special Hearing Passes, upon completion of necessary formalities, online or otherwise as may be notified in due time, shall enter the High Security Zone through the designated Gate, after subjecting themselves to the thermal and such other scanning devices as may be installed for detecting body temperature, infection status, etc.

7. On entering the High Security Zone, Advocates/Parties-in-Person would proceed to the staging areas/vacant Court-rooms as may be designated, and wait for their turn to enter respective Court Rooms where physical hearing of their respective case(s) may be scheduled, and they would proceed only through the movement corridors created and demarcated for the purpose;

8. At the staging/waiting area(s), concerned volunteers may also guide the Advocates/Parties-in-Person further, as and when their turn comes for entering the designated Court Room for hearing;

9. The entry into and exit from each Court Room shall be by separate doors; entrants into the Court Rooms are advised to use the sanitization devices for sanitizing their hands and also the papers and other items/articles, that they may seek to carry into the Court Rooms with them;

10. It may be noted that wearing of mask, frequent use of hand sanitizer and maintaining physical distancing norms is mandatory for all entrants into the Supreme Court premises, including the Court-rooms;

11. On completion of hearing of their respective case, the Advocates/Parties-in-Person/Clerks, etc. shall move out of the High Security Zone through the movement corridor and exit from the designated gates;

12. Advocates/Parties-in-Person having more than one case for physical hearing in the Court Rooms shall be issued separate Special Hearing Pass for each case and after hearing of one case is complete, they may wait in the designated staging/waiting area(s) for the purpose for appearing for the next hearing(s);

13. In order to facilitate video/tele-conferencing for the Advocates/Parties-in-Person, a dedicated VC Facilitation Centre is located in Block ‘C’, Ground Floor, Additional Building Complex, Supreme Court of India, which can be accessed through Gate No.1 of that Complex.


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COVID-19| SC extends limitation period for filing petitions/applications/suits/appeals, etc

COVID-19| SC extends limitation prescribed under the A&C, 1996 and the NI Act,1881

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Travel and Visa restrictions related to COVID-19

Government has further extended the validity of the circular issued on the subject cited regarding Scheduled International commercial passenger services to/from India till 23:59 hrs IST of 30-09-2020.

The said restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA.

However, International Scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis.


Office of the Director-General Civil Aviation

[Circular dt. 31-08-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: M.G. Sewlikar, J., in reference to the judgment pronounced by this Court on 21-08-2020, with regard to the quashing of FIRs again foreign nationals who indulged in Tablighi Jamaat, stated that it agreed with the operative part of the Judgment but does not agree with some reasoning and the reasons has been given now.

In the present order, M.G. Sewilkar, J., lays down the reasons that were reserved.

Bench states that the material on record does not show that the foreign nationals were infected with COVID-19 when they landed in India, neither there is any material of visa conditions being violated.

Further, it adds that,

“Continuation of prosecution against the petitioners in these circumstances would be an abuse of process of Court.”

Therefore, M.G. Sewlikar, J. accepted the reasons laid down in the earlier Judgment except for the following observations:

“35) There were protests by taking processionse holding Dharana at many places in India from atleast from prior to January 2020. Most of the persons participated in protest were Muslims. It is their contention that Citizenship Amendment Acte 2019 is discriminatory against the Muslims. They believe that Indian Citizenship will not be granted to Muslim refugees and migrants. They were protesting against National Registration of Citizenship (NRC). There were protests on large scale not only in Delhie but in the most of the States in India. It can be said that due to the present action taken fear was created in the minds of those Muslims. This action indirectly gave warning to Indian Muslims that action in any form and for any thing can be taken against Muslims. It was indicated that even for keeping contact with Muslims of other countriese action will be taken against them. Thuse there is smell of malice to the action taken against these foreigners and Muslim for their alleged activities. The circumstances like malice is important consideration when relief is claimed of quashing of F.I.R. and the case itself.”

Hence, he opined that the above-stated observations are outside the scope of the petitions and quashed the FIRs and Chargesheets. [Konan Kodio Ganstone v. State of Maharashtra,  2020 SCC OnLine Bom 877, decided on 27-08-2020]


Also Read:

Bom HC “smells malice” in State action against Tablighi Jamaat foreign nationals; Quashes all FIRs; Makes scathing observations against “media propaganda”  

COVID 19Legislation UpdatesNotifications

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued new guidelines today for opening up of more activities in areas outside the Containment Zones. In Unlock 4, which will come into effect from September 1, 2020, the process of phased re-opening of activities has been extended further. The new guidelines, issued today, are based on feedback received from States and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related Central Ministries and Departments.

Salient features of the new guidelines

  • Metro rail will be allowed to operate with effect from 7th September 2020 in a graded manner, by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA)/ Ministry of Railways (MOR), in consultation with MHA. In this regard, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by MOHUA.
  • Social/ academic/ sports/ entertainment/ cultural/ religious/ political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons, with effect from 21st September 2020. However, such limited gatherings can be held with mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer.
  • Open air theatres will be permitted to open with effect from 21st September 2020.
  • After extensive consultation with States and UTs, it has been decided that Schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will continue to remain closed for students and regular class activity up to 30th September 2020. Online/distance learning shall continue to be permitted and shall be encouraged. However, following will be permitted, in areas outside the Containment Zones only, with effect from 21st September 2020 for which, SOP will be issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW):
    1. States/ UTs may permit upto 50% of teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to the schools at a time for online teaching/ tele- counselling and related work.
    2. Students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools, in areas outside the Containment Zones only, on voluntary basis, for taking guidance from their teachers. This will be subject to written consent of their parents/ guardians.
    3. Skill or Entrepreneurship training will be permitted in National Skill Training Institutes, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Short term training centres registered with National Skill Development Corporation or State Skill Development Missions or other Ministries of Government of India or State Governments.

National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD), Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) and their training providers will also be permitted.

  • Higher Education Institutions only for research scholars (Ph.D.) and post-graduate students of technical and professional programmes requiring laboratory/ experimental works. These will be permitted by the Department of Higher Education (DHE) in consultation with MHA, based on the assessment of the situation, and keeping in view incidence of COVID-19 in the States/ UTs.
  • All activities, except the following, shall be permitted outside containment zones:
  1. Cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres (excluding open air theatre) and similar places.
  2. International air travel of passengers, except as permitted by MHA.
  • Lockdown shall continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till 30th September, 2020.
  • Containment Zones shall be demarcated by the District authorities at micro level after taking into consideration the guidelines of MoHFW with the objective of effectively breaking the chain of transmission. Strict containment measures will be enforced in these containment zones and only essential activities will be allowed.
  • Within the containment zones, strict perimeter control shall be maintained and only essential activities allowed.
  • These Containment Zones will be notified on the websites of the respective District Collectors and by the States/ UTs and information will also be shared with MOHFW.

States not to impose any local lockdown outside Containment Zones

State/ UT Governments shall not impose any local lockdown (State/ District/ sub-division/City/ village level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the Central Government.

No restriction on Inter-State and intra-State movement

  • There shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. No separate permission/ approval/ e-permit will be required for such movements.

National Directives for COVID-19 management

  • National Directives for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensure social distancing.  Shops will need to maintain adequate physical distancing among customers. MHA will monitor the effective implementation of National Directives.

Protection for vulnerable persons

  • Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

Use of Aarogya Setu

  • The use of Aarogya Setu mobile application will continue to be encouraged.

Click here to see MHA Guidelines

Click here to see D.O Letter

Read the guidelines here: UNLOCK-4 GUIDELINES


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Press Release dt. 29-08-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Pandemic is spreading like wild fire, despite harsh lockdowns. We are standing naked at the shore and don’t know when the huge wave of Corona may sweep us into the deep sea.

— Allahabad High Court

Allahabad High Court: A Division Bench of Shashi Kant Gupta and Shamim Ahmed, JJ., while addressing issues with regard to ban on performing Moharram rituals, held that,

“…it is with a heavy heart that we hold that in these testing times, it is not possible to lift the prohibition by providing any guidelines for regulating the mourning rituals/practice connected with the 10th day of Moharram.”

Petitioners have challenged the Government Order with regard to prohibiting them along with the members of their community from taking out the Moharram Processions and further sought a direction to respondent authorities to permit them to perform religious mourning rituals/practice connected with Moharram till 30-08-2020 in light of the prevailing Pandemic situation.

Counsel for the petitioner submits that the complete ban in taking out the Moharram processions is discriminatory in nature.

Issues to be determined by the Court are as follows:

  • Whether the impugned Government Orders are arbitrary and discriminatory inasmuch as they seek to target a particular community?
  • Whether complete prohibition on carrying out processions on 30-08-2020 violates the Fundamental Right to practice and profess religion and whether rituals ought to be permitted by imposition of reasonable restrictions instead?
  • Whether in view of the prevalent situation of the pandemic, the imposition of complete prohibition from carrying out processions on 30-08-2020 is reasonable and justified?

Bench determined the above-stated issues and stated that, in view of controlling the spread of COVID-19, the State Government has imposed a complete prohibition on all religious activities that may involve a large conglomeration of people, across communities, and as such the government orders are not discriminatory nor do they target any Community, in particular.

Issues 2 and 3 are interrelated. Court with regard to the same stated that it would be discriminatory to grant permission to certain districts while prohibiting the others. Further, the intensity of the spread of the contagion in the State is rising at an alarming rate.

Adding to the above, Court expressed that there is no doubt that the burial of the Taziyas at the burial ground is a solemn and important part of the Muharram custom.

There is no mechanism fathomable, by the means of which it can be ensured that all such persons be permitted to take the Taziyas to the burial ground in a single day, while avoiding the risk of transmission of the contagion or following basic rules of social distancing, which are an absolute necessity in these unprecedented times.

Therefore, Court concluded its order stating that although the complete prohibition of practices which are essential to our religions is an extraordinary measure, it is very much in proportion to the unprecedented situation being faced, owing to the pandemic.

Right to practise and propagate religion has been made subject to public order, morality and health, even under the Constitution of India.

In view of the above, public interest litigation was dismissed.[Roshan Khan v. State of U.P., 2020 SCC OnLine All 987, decided on 29-08-2020]


V.M. Zaidi, Senior Advocate, S.F.A. Naqvi, Senior Advocate, S.K.A. Rizvi,  K.K. Roy, Counsels for the petitioners, S.P. Singh, Additional Solicitor General of India assisted by A.N. Rai, Counsel for the Union of India, Ramanand Pandey, and Additional Chief Standing Counsel, appearing on behalf of the State.

Case BriefsCOVID 19Tribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

Central Administrative Tribunal, Kolkata: The Coram of Bidisha Banerjee (Judicial Member) and Nandita Chatterjee (Administrative Member) allowed the application granting the desired relief to the ailing applicant.

The applicant is an educated professional who had migrated to another state in search of livelihood. Given the current calamitous circumstances owing to the Covid19 pandemic, he ended up losing his job and returned to his native village in West Bengal, dejected. As a result of this unprecedented turn of events, the very survival of his family got jeopardized since he lost his source of income. Now, the applicant has pleaded for consideration of his exceptional case against any suitable vacancy in the postal Department.

The applicant has brought to light and extract from the letter by the Director-General. The crux of the said extract is that while filling up the positions, preference is to be given to candidates who have lost their main source of income.

Counsel for the applicant, P.C. Das submitted that going by the aforementioned extract, preference should be given to the applicant who happens to be an educated professional. Further, positions are lying vacant in certain divisions where the applicant can be accommodated. The counsel requested the tribunal for issuance of a direction to the competent authority regarding consideration of the representation dated 18-05-2020.

In view of the above the tribunal, being satisfied, directed the Competent Government Authority to examine the applicant’s representation and consider his candidature against a suitable post and issue an order with respect to the same so as to ensure the sustenance of the applicant and his family and alleviate his situation.[Laltu Pal v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine CAT 328, decided on 04-08-2020]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Himachal Pradesh High Court: A Division Bench of Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Jyotsna Rewal Dua JJ. disposed off the writ petition in light of settled law regarding the scope of regulation of schools by the Government.

The facts of the case are that a government notification dated 27-05-2020 was issued regarding the collection of school fee in the wake of COVID-19 which included mainly to only charge tuition fee on a monthly basis, payment of which is optional, no fine chargeable and no restriction on attending online classes on delay of fee payment along with timely payment of salaries to teachers without any pay cuts. Aggrieved by the said notification registered association of 45 private schools have preferred the instant petition to quash the said notification being unreasonable and oppressive.

Counsel for the petitioners R. K. Gautam and Radhika Gautam, relying on the Supreme Court decision in  T.M.A. Pai Foundation v. State of Karnataka, (2002) 8 SCC 481 and P.A. Inamdar v. State of Maharashtra, (2005) 6 SCC 537 submitted that any action of the State Government seeking to regulate or control admissions including interference in the fee structure of private unaided educational institutes will constitute a serious encroachment on the right and autonomy and liable to be struck down.

Counsel for the respondents Ashok Sharma, Ranjan Sharma, Vinod Thakur and Seema Sharma submitted that the notification in question has only deferred the collection of some fees and charges usually levied by the schools, while permitting them to collect only the tuition fee during the lockdown period and hence the State Government has not encroached on any right by private schools.

The Court on hearing the submissions of both sides held that while directing the private schools to neither stop payment of monthly salary nor reduce the existing total emoluments being paid to their teaching and non-teaching staff but at the same time permitting the schools to collect only the tuition fee, that too on monthly basis without authorizing them to compulsorily realize even this tuition fee is an unreasonable restriction. It was further observed that the impugned notifications were issued by the State Government practically in a state of emergency therefore perhaps principles of natural justice were not complied before their issuance. Hence in light of the observations and authoritative pronouncements stated above, the Court directed the State Government to revisit and reexamine the notification.

The Court also directed that in case of exceptional financial hardship reported by any parent, the school authority concerned must examine the situation within a week on compassionate grounds and ensure proper attendance of teaching & non-teaching staff and impart quality online education to the students.

In view of the above, impugned notification is quashed and petition disposed off.[Independent Schools Association v. State of Himachal Pradesh,  2020 SCC OnLine HP 1267, decided on 24-08-2020]


*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench of S.J. Kathawalla and Madhav J. Jamdar, JJ., permitted the limited conduct of rituals of Muharram with the specified route and other restrictions.

Petitioner states that it is the oldest organization of the Shia Community.

Petitioner sought appropriate writ, order or direction to allow the rituals of Muhurrum to be performed during the present pandemic till 30-08-2020 daily for two hours.

Bench while pronouncing the order stated that since the present order is being passed as and by way of exception, is not intended to be used as precedent by other persons, to seek permissions, to hold any festivals which would involve by their very nature congregation of people.

General Secretary Shri Habib Nasir on behalf of the Shia Community gave the following undertakings:

  • There will be only one Taziya, which will be carried from Zainabia (Bhendi Bazar) Mumbai to Byculla Mazgaon, Shia Cemetry, situated at Mumbai, in the entire State. No other Taziya other than the one mentioned hereinabove will be carried anywhere in the State.
  • Aforestated Taziya will be carried from Zainabia (Bhendi Bazar) Mumbai to Byculla Mazgaon, Shia Cemetry, situated at Mumbai, via J.J. Hospital, Prince Ali Khan Hospital, Sales Tax Office circle in a truck i.e. transport vehicle large enough to accommodate it.
  • In no case whatsoever, any congregation of people at any point from the beginning till the end of the said journey of aforesaid one Taziya will be allowed.
  • One Taziya will be carried along the aforesaid route on Sunday 30th August 2020 from 4.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m.
  • Not more than five persons will carry the aforesaid one Taziya on a truck, as aforesaid along with one videographer. However, after taking the aforesaid one Taziya down near the graveyard, it will be carried on foot, for a distance of not more than a hundred meter. The names, age and addresses of these five persons will be submitted with the office of the Police Commissioner, Mumbai by 5.00 p.m., on 29th August, 2020.
  • Petitioner and all its members will strictly abide by the rest of the guidelines issued by the Home Department, State of Maharashtra, regarding Muhurrum-2020, dated 19th August, 2020.

Further, the High Court also directed the State Government to impose a restriction over the gathering of people at the appropriate places by issuing appropriate orders including the point where aforesaid Taziya is to start its journey till the point where the journey will end.

To keep the traffic clear and escort the above-stated truck carrying Taziya, one pilot car shall also be provided by the State.

In view of the above, petition was disposed of.

[All India Idaara-E-Tahafuz-E-Hussainiyat v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC OnLine Bom 881, decided on 28-08-2020]


Counsels for petitioner Rajendra Shirodkar, Senior Advocate Asif Naqvi, Jafer Nadeem, Archit Shirodkar i/b. Shehazad Naqvi.

A. A. Kumbhakoni, Advocate General a/w. Purnima Kantharia, Govt. Pleader, Geeta Shastri, Addl. Govt. Pleader, Akshay Shinde, B Panel Counsel for the Respondents.

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

After the All India Students Association has moved a letter petition on behalf of over 800 students earlier this month, a writ petition has been filed seeking suo moto congnizance of Supreme Court against the direction of CBSE to conduct the compartment examination amidst COVID-19 crisis.

The petition highlights that as per the CBSE Class X and XII results declared last month, around 150198 Class X students and around 87651 Class XII students were placed in the category of compartment full subject. When approached the Supreme Court, the students were asked to make representation before CBSE and upon doing so, CBSE, on August 6, 2020, without taking account of the present health crisis, provided for conduct of compartment exams.

Terming the said decision of CBSE to be in sheer violation of right to health which is part of right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the petition submits:

  • the conduct of compartment examination will expose the examinees to a great risk. The conduct of offline exam will entail students to travel from one place to another which will further involve the risk of shared accommodation, use of public transport, etc. The petition states that the conduct of examination will also increase the risk of the parents, teachers, staff members, etc being exposed to the virus.
  • the conduct of online exam will be against the interest of students who do not have proper access to internet/laptops/personal computers.
  • the decision of the CBSE is itself flawed as it is against the MHA Unlock III guideline dated 29.07.2020, which provides that the schools, colleges and educational institutions will remain closed.
  • many states including Bihar, Telangana and Manipur have cancelled their state board examination, in view of COVID 19. It is considering the exponential growth in the number of COVID-19 cases.
  • Ramesh Pokhriyal, Minister of Higher Education has stated that yet there is no date fixed for reopening schools and the safety of the students is a primary concern.

“When there is no deadline for opening of schools, how can the students be then expected to appear for compartment examination in the current situation.”

  • On 12.08.2020, C.B.S.E. issued a circular providing for the filing of the examination form for compartment examination by 20.08.2020 extended upto 22.08.2020 (with late fees) and that the compartment examination are proposed to be conducted in September. However, it did not specify any particular date, schedule or mode of conduction of the said examination.
  • many colleges are about to close admissions and some have already announced their admission closure date, which is adversely affecting the career of lacs of students, who will be deprived entrance into Universities/Colleges/Institutions, where they are eligible to apply for admission.

“… if an alternative mechanism is not derived, many students will lose an academic year.”

The Students have, hence, prayed that the universities/colleges/educational institutions, in which a student is eligible to apply, are directed to extend deadline for admission for academic year 2020-2021, until the result of the compartment examination is announced.

The students also sought for direction to direct the C.B.S.E. to provide for alternative mode of assessment for the students placed in the category compartment and to provide a specific date (at the earliest) for the completion of the assessment of compartment students so that their right to apply to various universities/colleges/educational institutions, who have already announced the admission closing date, is not affected.

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The Court has refused allow mourning processions across the country during Muharram while observing that it will lead to chaos and the targeting of a particular community for spreading COVID-19. A Bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde said it will not pass orders that could risk the health of many people.

“You are asking for vague directions for the whole community in the country. Jagannath Puri case was one specific place where Rath was to go from point A to B. If it was one specific place we can assess the danger and pass orders,”

The Court said it will not pass orders that could risk the health of so many people. It, however, said that the petitioner may approach the High Court. The plea had sought a direction to take out Muharram processions by the Shia community.

(Source: ANI)