1. No One Can Be Permitted To Violate Covid Appropriate Behaviour To Jeopardize Lives Of Local Population: Uttarakhand HC Extends Stay On Char Dham Yatra
The Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday continued to review the Covid-19 situation in the State and issued a host of directions to the State government in this regard.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice Alok Verma also extended its order staying State Government's decision to hold Char Dham Yatra.
On June 28, 2021 the Court had issued a stay order on the decision of the Uttarakhand State Cabinet to hold the Chardham Yatra. During the hearing on Wednesday, the counsel appearing for one of the petitioners requested the Court to extend the stay order which was due to expire on that day. The petitioner had contended that the Covid-19 situation had not improved in the State and accordingly people must be refrained from congregating in large numbers for religious purposes.
The Court observed: SLP has been filed by the State against the Stay Order dated 28.06.2021, which is presently pending before the Hon'ble Supreme Court. Considering the concession made by Mr. S.N. Babulkar, the learned Advocate General for the State, this Court directs that the Stay Order dated 28.06.2021 shall continue till the Hon'ble Supreme Court pronounces its judgment in the said SLP.
In its previous order, the High Court had directed the State government to submit a report detaining the steps undertaken to control the influx of tourists in the State and to ensure strict compliance of Covid appropriate behaviour. On Wednesday, the Court expressed displeasure at the State's silence on this aspect.
"According to the media report, and according to the large number of tourists pouring into Nainital, it is rather obvious that too many tourists are coming to the hill stations. Due to the large influx of tourists, the SOP for Covid Appropriate Behavior is observed more in breach, than in adherence. Yet the entire affidavit is silent with regard to the steps which are required to be taken by the police against the erring tourists", the Court opined.
Accordingly the Inspector General of the Police was instructed to submit an affidavit with regards to the steps taken by the police while dealing with the erring tourists. No one can be permitted to violate the Covid Appropriate Behaviour to jeopardize the lives of the local population, the Court noted.
Source: Bar & Bench
2. Public Servant Can't Be Distinguished Based On Their Location, State's Consent Not Required For CBI To Investigate Central Govt Officials: Calcutta HC
- The Calcutta High Court refused to interfere in the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the cattle and coal smuggling cases against former TMC leader Vinay Mishra. The accused had been charged with offences under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (PC Act, 1988) proceedings of which are currently pending before the Special Judge, C.B.I., Paschim Bardhaman at Asansol.
Justice Tirthankar Ghosh observed, The nature of allegations complained in the present case, the officers/accused who are involved and the loss which has been sustained do not involve any interference with the powers vested in the State by the Constitution.
Relying on It's earlier Judgment Ramesh Chandra Singh and Another Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation the High Court held that Central Government/CBI's power to investigate and prosecute its own officials cannot be impeded or interfered by the State.
The counsel for the petitioner questioned the jurisdiction of the CBI to investigate in the matter in light of the withdrawal of general consent by the State of West Bengal vide notification dated November 16, 2018. It was also argued by the petitioner that the fundamental principles of federalism do not allow the CBI to investigate the instant case within the State of West Bengal pursuant to the provisions of Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 (DSPE Act).
Only the Supreme Court and the High Court can issue directions upon the CBI to investigate into a matter without the applicability of Section 6 of the DSPE Act.
Observations: The Court noted that in the instant case, the FIR and charge sheet reflect that the concerned government officials along with certain beneficiaries had entered into a conspiracy in order to manipulate the auction procedure in respect of the seized cattle thereby depriving the central government of its legitimate dues.
Public servants whose office location may be in different States, but are associated with the Central Government, corporations established by or under any Central Act, Government companies, societies and local authorities owned or controlled by the Central Government cannot be distinguished and/or discriminated because of the location of their offices being at different States and are to be hauled up for corruption in like and similar manner uniformly throughout the country, the Court opined.
Source: Bar & Bench
3. Can't Prosecute Good Samaritans For Providing Oxygen When State, Centre Failed': Delhi High Court
The Delhi High Court pulled up the Drug Controller of the Delhi Government for initiating prosecution against AAP MLA Praveen Kumar for procuring medical oxygen after observing that such an action cannot be initiated in a situation where both Centre and the Delhi Government failed to provide sufficient oxygen to people.
Calling it an action of targetting a particular political party, the Court also said that the Drug Controller, while following the same reasoning, should also prosecute Gurudwaras, temples and other organizations as well who had procured medical oxygen during the second covid wave.
"How can you prosecute him? The State, both GNCTD and Union, failed in providing sufficient oxygen to people in Delhi. There were some Samaritans who provided oxygen. You can't prosecute them."A division bench comprising of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh
The Court also observed that in view of the order dated June 3, the Court had observed that issue of medical oxygen being technical, is different from the issue of hoarding of covid 19 drugs.
"But we observed that it's a technical type of an offence for involving oxygen. This way you'll pick up half of Delhi. Why to proceed against specific political parties then? Proceed against gurudwaras too then. We said we will not permit this." The Court said.
"Proceed against every gurudwara, every temple or social organization then." the Court said.
Asking the Drug Controller to clear its stand on whether it wishes to initiate prosecution against all the people who had procured medical oxygen, the Court said thus: "Then you first initiate action against all Gurudwara, mandirs etc. You're very consciously targeting political parties. It's very unfortunate. We'll not permit this."
"It's unfortunate that this human tragedy has been used for political capital." The bench said.
Source: Bar & Bench
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