Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench of Sunil B. Shukre and S.M. Modak, JJ., while addressing a matter with regard to Standard Operating Procedure in regard to e-learning/ digital methods for education, held that,

If the Standard Operating Procedure encourages e-learning, any citizen of India questioning its intentions and purposes would only be acting against interest and well being of his own country.

Bench on considering the present petition, observed that prima facie the petition represents only a regressive step in the field of education.

Petition does not point out any inherent contradictions, defects and lacunae in the Standard Operating Procedure dated 15th June, 2020 so as to term it arbitrary, irrational or unreasonable and hence amenable to interference by this Court on the ground of violation of any fundamental right to education.

Further the court stated that if there are any difficulties in implementation of Standard Operating Procedure, they could be sorted out by the State Government and if required also by the Union Government provided they are appropriately pointed out.

“…We are in the 21st century where the world is being governed digitally in a greater way and therefore, the SOP which prescribes e-learning and promotes digital and virtual methods of learning cannot but be hailed as a big progressive measure taken by the Government in making digital position of India stronger and firmer in the Comity of Nations.”

Further the Court added that some issues with the effective implementation can come up and as the difficulties raised by the petitioner, they are external factors to the policy and when the same can be corrected, policy cannot be unconstitutional or defective.

Hence, Court asked the petitioner to approach the authorities concerned with regard to the defects in the implementation of the SOP. [Imran Israel Sheikh v. Union of India, LD-VC-PIL No. 389 of 2020, decided on 06-07-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Ministry of Home Affairs, in a letter to Union Higher Education Secretary, today permitted conduct of examinations by Universities and Institutions.

The final Term Examinations are to be compulsorily conducted as per the UGC Guidelines on Examinations and Academic Calendar for the Universities; and as per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) approved by the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Press Release dt. 06-07-2020]

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Madras High Court: A Division Bench of P.N. Prakash and B. Pugalendhi, JJ., addressed a petition wherein writ of mandamus was sought to direct the respondent to issue a Standard Operating Procedure to be followed while re-opening all religious places of worship in physical function.

Bench dismissed the above stated issue on not finding any merit as the government did not take any decision as to when the temples are to be reopened.

Thus, Court in view of the above, cannot issue any direction to the Government to issue a Standard Operating Procedure. [M. Jayabharathi v. State of T.N., 2020 SCC OnLine Mad 1137 , decided on 08-06-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued an order to exempt certain activities under the consolidated revised guidelines (https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/MHA%20order%20dt%2015.04.2020%2C%20with%20Revised%20Consolidated%20Guidelines_compressed%20%283%29.pdf), regarding the Nationwide lockdown to fight COVID-19.

Some queries have been received with regard to exemptions of specific services/activities within the categories already allowed in the guidelines issued under the above referred orders. In this regard, it is clarified that:-

  • Social sector under clause 8(i) include bed side attendants and care givers of senior citizens residing in their homes.
  • Public utilities under clause 11(v) include recharge facilities for prepaid mobile connection.
  • Supply of essential goods under clause 13(i) include food processing units such as bread factories, milk processing plants, flour mills, dal mills etc. located in urban areas.

However, as specified in the lockdown measures, National COVID-19 Directives and Standard Operating Procedure for social distancing for offices, workshops, factories and establishments must be ensured.

It has been communicated to all States to inform the district authorities and field agencies on the above accordingly, so as to avoid ambiguity at the ground level.

Click here to see Official Communication to States


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Press Release dt. 21-04-2020]

[Source: PIB]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

In continuation of Ministry of Home Affairs’s Orders No.40-3/2020-DM-I(A) dated 29th March, 2020, 15th April, 2020 and 16th April 2020, and in exercise of the powers, conferred under Section 10(2)(|) of the Disaster Management Act, the undersigned, in his capacity as Chairperson, National Executive Committee, hereby issues a Standard Operating Protocol (SOP), for movement of stranded labour within the State/UT as Annexed herewith, to Ministries/ Departments of Government of India, State/Union Territory Governments and State /Union Territory Authorities with the directions for its strict implementation.

Standard Operating System (SOP) for movement of Stranded Labour

Due to the spread of COVlD-19 virus, workers employed in industry, agriculture, construction and other sectors have moved from their respective places of work, and are housed in relief/ shelter camps being run by State/ UT Governments. Since additional new activities, outside the containment zones, have been permitted in the consolidated revised guidelines with effect from 20th April 2020, these workers could be engaged in industrial, manufacturing, construction, farming and MNREGA works. In order to facilitate their movement within the State/UT, the following guidelines may be followed:

i. The migrant labourers currently residing in relief/shelter camps in States/UTs should be registered with the concerned local Authority and their skill mapping be carried out to find out their suitability for various kinds of works.

ii. In the event, that a group of migrants wish to return to their places of work, within the State where they are presently located, they would be screened and those who are asymptomatic would be transported to their respective places of work.

iii. It may be noted that there shall be no movement of labour outside the State/UT from where they are currently located.

iv. During the journey by bus, it would be ensured that safe social distancing norms are followed and the buses used for transport are sanitized as per the guidelines of the Health authorities.

v. The National Directives for COVID-19 Management issued under the consolidated revised guidelines dated 15th April 2020 shall be strictly followed.

vi. The local authorities shall also provide for food and water etc., for the duration of their journey.

Click the link below to access the Order:

ORDER


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Order dt. 19-04-2020]

COVID 19Legislation UpdatesNotifications

Union Ministry for Home Affairs (MHA) issued Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) for maintaining supply of essential goods today, in order to relieve hardships faced by people during 21-day nationwide lockdown to fight the Coronavirus outbreak.

The Union Home Secretary, Shri Ajay Kumar Bhalla wrote to all States/UTs and asked them to ensure the availability of essential goods to people during the period of the lockdown. For this, the SOPs suggest to let e-commerce remain operational and encourage home delivery of essential goods, while ensuring strict social distancing.

The SOPs prescribe that employees or persons engaged in the supply chain shall be allowed to commute on the basis of e-pass or any other certification issued by the concerned local authorities, on production of a valid photo identity card. In case of unorganized sector, persons engaged in the supply of essential goods may be allowed based on approval/authorization by the local authorities.

The SOPs, inter alia, also prescribe that the facilities engaged in supply of essential goods would carry out regular health and sanitation check-up of employees engaged and provide them proper protective gear.

SOP Document


Ministry of Home Affairs

[Press Release dt. 26-03-2020]

[Source: PIB]

Case BriefsTribunals/Commissions/Regulatory Bodies

NHRC, India has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that the four accused, arrested by the police in connection with the rape and murder of veterinarian doctor in Telangana, have died in an encounter with the police at 3:00 AM this morning.

As per reports, all four accused, were taken to the scene of the crime around 60 Km from Hyderabad for a re-construction as part of the investigation. Reportedly, as per police version, one of them signaled to the others, possibly to escape and they tried to snatch weapons from the police personnel when the police fired on them and they died allegedly in cross firing.

The Commission is of the opinion that this matter is required to be probed very carefully. Accordingly, it has asked its Director General (Investigation) to immediately send a team for a fact finding on the spot investigation into the matter. The team of the Investigation Division of the Commission headed by an SSP, is expected to leave immediately and submit their report, at the earliest.

The Commission has already taken cognizance of the increasing cases of rapes and sexual assault on women across the country and a detailed report has been called for from the all State governments and police heads as well as from the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development. A number of such cases including the Telangana case had forced the Commission to intervene into the matter.

The incident which has taken place now clearly indicates that the police personnel were not properly alert and prepared for any untoward activity by the accused on the spot, which resulted into death of all four. The deceased had been arrested by the police during investigation and a judgment in the matter by the competent court was yet to be pronounced. If, the arrested persons were actually guilty, they were to be punished as per law pursuant to the directions of the competent court.

Death of four persons in alleged encounter with the police personnel when they were in their custody, is a matter of concern for the Commission. The Commission is aware that growing incidents of sexual assault and violence against the women has created an atmosphere of fear and anger amongst the public at large but loss of human lives even of a person arrested by the police under law, in such circumstances, would definitely give a wrong message to the society.

The Commission has already expressed its view that there is lack of “Standard Operating Procedure” to immediately respond to the panic situations by the police authorities. The Commission has been insisting upon all law enforcing agencies to keep human rights angle in their view while dealing with the persons arrested by them or being kept in their custody. The right to life and equality before law are the basic human rights recognized and granted by the Constitution of India.


NHRC

[Press Release dt. 06-12-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of Madan B. Lokur and Uday Umesh Lalit, JJ. gave a cut off date for finalizing the “Standard Operating Procedure” for cyber police portal-handling complaints involving child pornography-child sexual abuse material, rape/gang rape, and obscene contents.

It has been stated that the Union of India has prepared SOP concerning the above-stated issue. The first version of the said SOP was prepared on June 18, 2018, and a revision followed on July 12, 2018. The comments and suggestion concerning the same are being received from time to time and this is a continuous process. In view of these improvements being a continuous process, Supreme Court finalised 15 November 2018 as the cut off date for the finalization of the SOP.

Further, the bench stated that the copy of SOP should be circulated amongst the intermediaries for the purpose of any suggestions, etc. before 9 November 2018 to Ministry of Home Affairs. Union of India has been directed to file an affidavit indicating the number of complaints received an the action been taken for the same.

The matter has been further listed for 22-11-2018. [Prajwala Letter Dated 18.2.2015 Videos of Sexual Violence and Recommendations, In Re, 2018 SCC OnLine SC 2111Order dated 22-10-2018]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The Bench comprising of Ranjan Gogoi and Rohinton Fali Nariman, JJ., on perusal of its order on 31-07-2018, and on a careful consideration of the modalities suggested on behalf of the Union of India in consultation with Government of Assam, Registrar General of India and State Coordinator of Assam directed for the availability of blank claim/objection form to the public along with the draft of NRC in all Panchayat offices to be freely accessed by all.

The Supreme Court Bench directed for the availability of the claim objection form as suggested under the heading ‘Timelines’ in the document ‘Standard Operating Procedure’. Further, Prateek Hajela, the State Coordinator was asked to make available the draft of NRC in all Panchayat offices freely in order to be accessed and submit the percentage of population who have been left out from the final draft of NRC district-wise.

The Bench has asked to place the stated information by 25-08-2018 and listed the matter on 28-08-2018. [Assam Public Works v. Union of India,2018 SCC OnLine SC 1014, Order dated 16-08-2018]

Hot Off The PressNews

As per Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government is following a multi-pronged strategy for elimination of child labour. It comprises of statutory and legislative measures, rehabilitation and universal elementary education along with convergence with other schemes for socio economic development. Government has enacted the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 which came into force w.e.f. 01-09-2016. The Amendment Act inter alia provides for complete prohibition of work or employment of children below 14 years in any occupation and process and adolescents in the age group of 14 to 18 years in hazardous occupations and processes. The amendment also provides stricter punishment for employers for violation of the Act and made the offence as cognizable.

After strengthening the legislative framework through amendment in Child Labour Act, Government has framed the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017 which inter alia specifies the duties and responsibilities of State Governments and District Authorities to ensure effective enforcement of the provisions of the Act. Government has also devised a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) as a ready reckoner for trainers, practitioners and enforcing and monitoring agencies. Government is also implementing the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme for rehabilitation of child labour. Under the Scheme children in the age group of 9-14 years, rescued/withdrawn from work are enrolled in the NCLP Special Training Centres, where they are provided with bridge education, vocational training, mid day meal, stipend, health care, etc. before being mainstreamed into formal education system.  Further to ensure effective enforcement of the provisions of the Child Labour Act and smooth implementation of the NCLP Scheme a separate online portal PENCIL (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour) has been developed.

In addition to above Ministry of Women and Child Development has enacted Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (JJ Act). As per Section 2 (14) (ii) and (ix) of JJ Act, a child who is found working in contravention of labour laws for the time being in force or is found begging, or living on the street and who is found vulnerable and is likely to be inducted into drug abuse or trafficking is included as a “child in need of care and protection”, among others. The children in need of care and protection (CNCP) for rehabilitation has been placed in institutional care i.e. children homes or non-institutional care, such as sponsorship, foster care by Child Welfare Committee. As per JJ Act, 2015, State/UTs are required to set-up Child Care Institutions (CCIs) and are also required to register and monitor them under Section 41 and 54 of the Act respectively.  The primary responsibility of execution of the Act, lies with the State/UTs. However, Central Government is managing “Child Protection Services” (CPS) (erstwhile Integrated Child Protection Scheme) under umbrella Integrated Child Development Services, and providing financial assistance, as Grant-in-Aid, to the States/UTs on sharing pattern for, inter-alia, undertaking a situational analysis of children in difficult circumstances, for setting up and maintenance of various types of CCIs. Further National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), a statutory organization under this ministry, has developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for care and protection of Children in Street Situations to streamline the processes and interventions regarding children in street situations. Under the scheme “CPS”, institutional care is provided through CCIs, as a rehabilitative measure. In these CCIs, children are provided age appropriate education either within the institution or outside in a formal education system through convergence with other schemes and programs of the Government or civil society. Under the non-institutional care component, support is extended for adoption, foster care and sponsorship.

Ministry of Women and Child Development