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Mosque in premises of Allahabad HC to be maintained: SC

The Supreme Court on Monday ordered that status quo be maintained with regard to a
mosque situated in the premises of the Allahabad High Court, which had last year directed that the structure be removed.

Hearing a petition filed by the Waqf Board, a private body managing the mosque, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta issued notices and ordered that “in the meanwhile, status quo, as of today, shall be maintained”.

During the hearing on Monday, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioner, said the top court had earlier asked Uttar Pradesh government to find out a solution to solve the problem but nothing has been done yet.
He said the mosque has been there since 1950s and it cannot be just asked to move out.
The high court are has expanded due to which they want to remove the mosque, he said.

“Recently, 19 additional Judges have been sworn in, but because of shortage of space, as many as 12 of them are sharing six chambers. The High Court could not arrange and allocate them separate chambers. On one or two occasions, when the Division Benches on Friday had to split and judges were required to sit singly, one judge had to sit in chamber and conduct hearing of the matters assigned to him”, the court said.

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Nun Rape Case: Accused Bishop’s plea rejected: SC

Bishop Franco Mulakkal approached the Supreme Court requesting to review the order which rejected his discharge petition filed in connection with the nun rape case.

He also submitted a plea requesting to hold the hearing of the review petition in open court.

Franco Mulakkal had claimed that the complainant nun had been trying to form a new congregation cooperating with another church since 2013 and she failed in this attempt.
Some complaints were received against her in 2017 and inquiry started. The nun filed the complaint as a result of conspiracy in revenge to this act, Franco alleged in the plea. He further alleged that the nun joined with Syro Malabar church and acted against the interest of Latin church.
Case was booked against Franco as per IPC sections 342, 376(2)(k), 376(2)(n), 376 C(a), 377 and 506 (ii). He had no authority over the nun as Jalandhar bishop. So, the cases as per sections 376(2)(k), 376(2)(n), 376 C(a) do not exist, the bishop claimed.

The court has barred media coverage after Mulakkal moved an application. The order was passed after Mulakkal said the prosecution had leaked to the media a statement given by one of the main witnesses earlier.

Last month, the Supreme Court had dismissed a plea filed by Mulakkal seeking discharge from the case. Earlier, the trial court and high court had also rejected his plea observing that there was prima facie evidence to put the case to the trail.

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Transgender included in OBCs: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka government today submitted before the Karnataka High Court a proposal to include transgenders as one of the categories in “Other Backward Classes” (OBCs) for the purpose of recruitment.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi was hearing a petition filed by an organization named Sangama, challenging a police constable recruitment notification, since it violated the transgender person’s rights. The said notification said transgender people were not allowed to apply to the said posts.

The petitioner organization has asked the court to direct the respondents to treat transgender persons as a separate category in the appointment of special reserve police constables and bandsman posts and to make a reservation policy for them.

Further, the Court said that this issue will have to be considered in the light of Article 342 A of the Constitution of India.

The Bench further clarified that the role of Commission was question to be considered.

“Even if the State Government constitutes Backward Classes Commission, what role it can play in considering a category as a backward class.”
In this regard, the Court granted the petitioner Advocate Tarjani Desai and Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi additional time to address the Court on this issue.
The State Government further mentioned that it had to ensure that reservation does not cross 50%.
The matter will be next heard on October 16.

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India’s need for Green Judges

The Chief Justice of India, Justice S.A. Bobde, speaking at the valedictory session of the International Judges’ Conference on ‘Judiciary and the Changing World’ in the National Capital on February 23rd, expressed his views on a single system of laws, said that the judiciary is the guardian of constitutional values and serves to counter-balance populist forces in a commitment to the rule of law.
It is not new that in the last two decades, the environment has deteriorated, and there is no chance of recovery if action is not taken soon. The need of the hour is stringent policies and harsh punishments, and strong implementation of the same. This is where the judiciary comes into picture, for implementation of policies and keeping a check on compliance.
For instance, on December 18, 2008, the Supreme Court of Philippines decided to issue a continuing mandamus to all government agencies requiring the clean-up, restoration and preservation of Manila Bay. A Manila Bay Advisory Committee (MBAC) was constituted, time and again, as recently as in 2020, tasked to minutely monitor the implementation of the 2008 decision by the Philippine Supreme Court.
In India, Justice Kuldip Singh came to be known as the “green judge” after he decided a number of PILs on environmental issues. Till his retirement from the Supreme Court in 1996, he passed crucial judgments on air pollution, including specifying norms for industries around the Taj Mahal.
We need more of such people in the judicial system, because this is our only hope to stop this destruction and focus on damage control.

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Model Tenancy Act, 2019

The Model Tenancy Act 2019, has been introduced to make renting more lucrative for both, landlords and tenants, by plugging the many gaps that currently exist in policies regulating the rental housing segment.

The Model Tenancy Act, 2019 is introduced to establish the Rent Authority for regulating renting of premises in an efficient and transparent manner and to balance the interests of owner and tenant. Establishing adjudicating mechanism for speedy dispute redressal and to establish Rent Court and Rent Tribunal to hear appeals and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto is the purpose of this Act.

It is also going to notify the rules for residential and non-residential premises and further to develop the policies to promote balanced rental housing by developing different options of rental housing like individual units, dormitories, hostels, co-living, co-housing, paying guest and employee housing and outline the roles of various stakeholders in order to ensure housing for all. This is a very helpful step to reach the Government’s goal of providing housing to everyone by 2022.

As of right now, it is a proposed tenancy law by the Government, designed to overhaul the tenancy market in India. There is a great need of this, especially in the pandemic when financial strains and loss of jobs has made housing and tenancy difficult.

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Babri Masjid Demolition Verdict

Babri Masjid Case Verdict

The Babri Masjid in Uttar Pradesh was demolished on 6th December, 1992. The Special CBI Court made a statement that it was “done by anti social elements and was not pre planned” after which all 32 accused, which included BJP leaders LK Advani and MM Joshi were acquitted by the Court. The CBI court said there was no conclusive proof against the 32 accused. The involvement of the accused, direct or indirect, was not found, the judge said.

During the course of the trial, the counsel had submitted that the structure was demolished by miscreants who defied the directions for symbolic ‘karseva’ given from Ramakatha Kunj. The leaders of the VHP and others had gathered at a podium at Ramakatha Kunj, about 200 metres from the site, from where they addressed the crowd and the late VHP leader Ashok Singhal tried his best to prevent the demolition, but miscreants disobeyed him, the defence lawyer claimed.

Ahead of the hearing, security was tightened in the court premises in Lucknow and no one was allowed inside the court room except the defence and CBI lawyers, and the accused persons.

The CBI will decide on filing an appeal against the special court verdict acquitting all 32 accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case after consulting the legal department, its counsel said. Congress and other opposition parties expressed their discontent.

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No transport fee for schools- P&H HC

In June, the Punjab and Haryana High Court allowed private schools in Punjab to collect tuition fee, annual charges and admission fee from the students even while the schools are closed following the Covid-19 lockdown. The judgment also stated that the schools can charge tuition fees even if they have not conducted any online class for their students during the lockdown period. Pertinently, the Single Judge pronouncement is stated to have been made on the basis of the Punjab Regulation of Fee of Unaided Educational Institutions Act, 2016. The appellant, however, argues that it has completely ignored the Haryana School Education Act, 1995.
Recently, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bench of Justices Rajan Gupta and Karamjit Singh ruled that schools cannot charge transport fees and cannot levy more than 50 percent of maintenance fees for the school building since students haven’t been attending school for the past few months.
On September 18, the State of Haryana filed an appeal against the June 30 ruling.
All of the petitions directly challenging the June 30 decision are expected to be taken up for hearing on October 1, 2020.

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Rail Roko Agitation- Punjab

The farmers in Punjab have been protesting against the three new farm bills since the past five days- and they plan to continue this atleast until 2nd October. Farmers under the banner of Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee have been squatting on rail tracks since September 24. On Saturday, farmers squatted on the Amritsar-Delhi rail tracks without wearing shirts and kurtas.
President Ram Nath Kovind on Sunday gave assent to the three contentious bills—the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The farmers are protesting against these “anti-farmer” bills by sitting on the tracks which has caused suspension of railway service in Punjab since the past 5 days.
“New farm Bills would prevent farmers from getting the MSP for their agricultural produce. The basic structure of mandi board will be altered completely and procurement by the government agencies will not take place. Besides, private players will control the farm sector and procure produce by fixing their own rates” explained one of the protestors. Men, women and children were involved in these protests.
A state-level farmers’ conference will be held on October 10. From October 2 to October 31, the party will launch a “signature campaign against the Bills. Farmers are the backbone of our country, and the agriculture sector is one of the largest contributors to the country’s GDP.

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CLAT amidst Covid

The Consortium of National Law Universities (CNLU) conducted the Common Law Admission Test or CLAT 2020 on 28th September 2020 from 2pm to 4pm. It was a computer based examination and candidates were supposed to report one hour prior.

The CLAT 2020 result will be announced on October 5. CLAT 2020 cutoff will be released by the NLU Consortium from October 9 onwards. For undergraduate or postgraduate courses, the CLAT cut off is the last rank for which the CLAT admission is offered.

The Supreme Court on Monday granted a special permission to two COVID-19 patient to take the CLAT exam. The patient sat for the exam in an isolated room.

Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R Subhash Reddy and MR Shah clarified that this order was only limited to the applicant and had no bearing on any other student. Though Advocate Sumit Chander urged the Court to pass similar orders for other similarly placed students, it refused to pass any such blanket order.
The permission granted by SC is only for these two coronavirus patients on certain special ground and no other such COVID positive patients were allowed to take exam. The patient will have to show courts approval before taking the exam.

Candidates took all necessary precautions like social distancing, sanitization and wearing masks during the exam.

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Disabled people should get special leave without loss of pay

The Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry on Thursday said that persons with disabilities (PwD) employed by public sector banks and insurance companies would be given special leave without loss of pay for the duration of the lockdown imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sharing the advisory on Thursday on its official twitter handle the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities of the ministry of social justice and empowerment pointed out that it was on the request of the National Federation of Blind that the department took up the matter with the department of financial services which has issued the advisory making the position clear.

The Department of Financial Services then issued the advisory to all public sector banks and insurance companies on Wednesday asking them to treat the absence of physically challenged employees as special leave.

The main reason for this is trouble faced by many people who travel by public transport. It’s especially hard in the current situation because many workers come from far and don’t have personal vehicles.

However, the DEPwD got to know that the State Bank of India issued a circular which mandates to treat the period of absence from duties in case of employees with disabilities during lockdown as “sick leave”. The DEPwD officials wrote to the department of financial services pointing that since employees with disabilities are exempted from duty during lockdown period, treating absence of such employees as sick leave during this period is not appropriate.