Thousands Can’t Be Uprooted Overnight: SC On Eviction In Haldwani

Thousands can’t be uprooted overnight, the Supreme Court on Thursday said while putting a stay on the Uttarakhand High Court’s decision ordering the State authorities to remove encroachments from railway land in Haldwani’s Banbhoolpura area.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S Oka issued notices to the Indian Railways and Uttarakhand government on the pleas.
“There cannot be uprooting of 50,000 people overnight,” said the bench, adding that there has to be segregation of people who have no right on the land and the need for rehabilitation while recognizing the need for railways.

Noting that people are living there for decades, the bench said there should be measures for rehabilitation since the issue involves a human angle.

Posting the case for hearing on February 7, the bench said that it has put to the Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati that full rehabilitation of the persons in the area is needed.

“Issue notice. In the meantime, there shall be a stay of the directions passed in the impugned order. There should also restrain any more construction or development on the land,” said the bench in its order.

During the hearing, the apex court said, “What is troubling us is how do you deal with a situation where people bought the land in the auction and took possession after 1947 and acquired title. You (railways) may acquire the land but what to do now? People live for 60-70 years some rehabilitation has to be done. There must be a culmination to the issue and we do not encourage what is going on.”

ASG Bhati for Indian Railways said that this strip of land belongs to the railways. Their claim is that it is their land, they are not asking for rehabilitation.

The top court said that maybe all of them cannot be painted with the same brush, and there may be different categories. “But there are people for whom a human angle needs to be considered. Someone will have to examine their documents,” it added.

Bhati said that Kathgodam Railway station does not have any space for expansion and there are 4365 unauthorized occupants.

The Uttarakhand High Court had on December 20 ordered the removal of encroachments from railway land in the Banbhoolpura area of Haldwani after giving notice to the residents one week in advance.

Led by Congress MLA from Haldwani, Sumit Hridayesh, residents of the area approached the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the High Court’s order. Another petition was also filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan.

A total of 4,365 encroachments will be removed from the area. Those facing eviction have been living on the land for many decades.

Residents have been protesting against the removal of encroachments from railway land in compliance with a High Court order.

The petition highlighted that the petitioners are poor people who have been lawful residents of Mohalla Nai Basti, Haldwani district for more than 70 years.

The petition stated that the names of local residents are entered in the municipal records of the house tax register and that they have been paying house tax regularly for years.

There are five government schools, one hospital, and two overhead water tanks in the area. It is further stated that “the long settled physical possession of the petitioners and their ancestors, some even prior to the date of Indian independence, has been recognized by State and its agencies and they have been given gas and water connections and even Aadhaar card numbers accepting their residential addresses.” (ANI)

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Encroachers In Haldwani

Encroachers In Haldwani Will Be Removed Soon: Nainital DM

Illegal occupants on encroachments near the railway station in Haldwani’s Banbhoolpura will be removed in the coming days as per the order of the Honourable Supreme Court, said Nainital District Magistrate Dhiraj Singh Garbiyal on Wednesday.

Stating that the preparations are in full swing, he said, “We have already made a demand for the required force. We have made the demand for magistrates and paramilitary forces as well. In the coming days, the occupants will be removed.”

The DM further said, “The occupants are on the land of the Railways. On the approx 70 acres of land, there are about 4365 illegal residents.”

“It is no more a matter of discussion because the order has come from the Supreme Court. We will have to remove the occupants as per the directions of the order. We may face a situation related to law and order for which we have demanded adequate force,” he added.

With the officials carrying out an inspection following an order of the Uttarakhand High Court against encroachments near Haldwani railway station, residents of Banbhulpura held a candle march on Tuesday to register their protest and press for their demands.

A congregational prayer ‘Ijtemai dua’ was performed in line number 17 Banbhulpura area of Haldwani in view of eviction notices being served on people. Thousands of children, women, and elders participated in the prayer “for relief”. (ANI)

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Punjab Refusing To Accept SC's Decision

Punjab Refusing To Accept SC’s Decision: Khattar

In order to amicably resolve the issue of the Satluj Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, a meeting of both Haryana and Punjab Chief Ministers was held under the chairmanship of Union Water Resources Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Wednesday at Shram Shakti Bhawan in the national capital.

Speaking to the media persons after the meeting, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar accused the Punjab government of not bringing up the issue of the Sutlej Yamuna Link canal on the agenda for discussion.
Khattar said that the Punjab government is only talking about the availability of water.

“We had a third meeting with the Punjab government on the SYL issue and are yet to find an amicable solution. They aren’t ready to bring the issue of SYL on agenda and are only talking about the availability of water. We’ll apprise the SC about it,” said Haryana CM Khattar.

However, Mann said that they want to save the Sutlej river and they will fight in Supreme Court.

“We want to save the Sutlej river. We have clearly stated that we don’t have water. Hence, we can’t give water to any state. We will fight in Supreme Court,” said the Punjab CM.

Notably, the SYL agreement was signed between Punjab and Haryana 42 years ago in the year 1981, but due to non-compliance, the dispute between the two states increased. For effective allocation of water, the SYL canal was to be constructed and the two states were required to construct their portions within their territories.

While Haryana constructed its portion of the canal, after the initial phase, Punjab stopped the work, leading to multiple cases against it.

In 2004, the Punjab government had passed a law that unilaterally cancelled the SYL agreement and other such pacts; however, in 2016, the apex court struck down this law. Later, Punjab went ahead and returned the acquired land–on which the canal was to be constructed–to the landowners.

On the issue of SYL, both states have to file a reply in court on January 19, which is why this mediation meeting was called on Wednesday, which remained inconclusive.

During its September 6, 2022, hearing, the Supreme Court bench observed that natural resources have to be shared, particularly in view of the security scenario in Punjab.

“Water is a natural resource and living beings must learn to share it, whether it is individual or state. The matter cannot be looked at from the point of view of only one city or state. It’s the natural wealth to be shared and how it is to be shared is a mechanism to be worked out,” Justice Kaul said.

Attorney General for India KK Venugopal appearing for the Ministry, said that the Centre is trying to bring together the states of Punjab and Haryana.

Venugopal further said that Punjab is not cooperating in the matter. “The Centre had written a letter to the new Chief Minister of Punjab in April but there was no response,” he said.

To this, the bench directed all the parties to cooperate. “Either they sit and talk or the Court will order the execution of the decree. These issues should not be allowed to fester… It will allow forces that may not be amicable to the country to act and interfere,” observed the top court.

On July 28, 2020, the top court had asked the Chief Ministers of both states to make an attempt to resolve the issue amicably.

The Ministry had earlier held several meetings which were attended by Chief Secretaries of the two states but remained inconclusive.

Earlier, a meeting was held between CM Punjab Bhagwant Mann and CM Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar at Haryana CM’s residence in October, but Mann refused to construct the canal saying that there was no water surplus in Punjab. (ANI)

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Haldwani Railway Land

Haldwani Railway Land: SC Says Jan 5 Plea Against Eviction

The Supreme Court on Wednesday fixed for January 5 the hearing of petitions challenging Uttarakhand High Court’s decision ordering the State authorities to remove encroachments from railway land in Haldwani’s Banbhoolpura area.

The matter was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud who said the matter would be heard on Thursday.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan mentioned the plea before the top court saying, more than 5,000 houses in Haldwani are being demolished and it is similar to the matter scheduled to be heard on Thursday. He requested the apex court to tag the matter along with the matter coming up for hearing on January 5.

“Yes it will come up tomorrow,” CJI Chandrachud said.

The Uttarakhand High Court had on December 20 ordered the removal of encroachments from railway land in the Banbhoolpura area of Haldwani after giving notice to the residents one week in advance.

Led by Congress MLA from Haldwani, Sumit Hridayesh, residents of the area approached the Supreme Court on Monday challenging the High Court’s order.

A total of 4,365 encroachments will be removed from the area. Those facing eviction have been living on the land for many decades.

Residents have been protesting against the removal of encroachments from railway land in compliance with a High Court order. (ANI)

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Azam Khan Plea

SC Declines Azam Khan’s Plea Seeking To Transfer Cases Out Of UP

Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to entertain Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s plea seeking to transfer certain cases against him from Uttar Pradesh to another state.

The Supreme Court asked Azam Khan to approach the concerned High Court and directed that his petition may be taken up on an expeditious basis.
The SP leader is currently facing nearly 90 cases including a case of hate speech, corruption, and theft.

The Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly Secretariat earlier in October announced the disqualification of Khan from the House after a court sentenced him to three years in jail in a hate speech case.

The case of hate speech was registered against Azam Khan in April 2019 for levelling serious allegations against administrative officials posted in Rampur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath during an election meeting.

During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Khan was booked for making inflammatory speeches while addressing a public meeting in Khatanagaria village of the Milak Kotwali area.

A video of Khan’s statement also surfaced on social media. Khan was released from jail earlier this year after the Supreme Court granted him an interim bail in a cheating case. He spent nearly two years in jail.

He had won the Rampur Sadar Assembly seat in the last UP Assembly polls for a record 10th time.

After becoming an MLA, he resigned from the Lok Sabha. In June this year, BJP’s Ghanshyam Lodhi wrested the Rampur parliamentary seat from the Samajwadi Party, defeating his nearest rival by over 42,000 votes in a bypoll. (ANI)

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SC: Cinema Owners Can Prohibit Outside Food In Halls

SC: Cinema Owners Can Prohibit Outside Food In Halls

The Supreme Court on Tuesday observed that cinema hall owners are fully entitled to set their terms and conditions for selling food and beverages inside the halls.

“Suppose someone starts getting jalebis. The owner would not want anyone wiping their hands on the seats,” a bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha said.
The apex court further remarked that the “owners may not want the tandoori chicken to be bought in” but elaborated that no one was forcing cinemagoers to buy popcorn.

It said a moviegoer has a choice not to consume the food and beverages served inside theatres.

A cinema hall is the private property of the owner of such hall and he is entitled to put such terms and conditions as he deems fit provided the same are not contrary to public interest or safety, it further observed.

CJI Chandrachud said, “A cinema hall owner has the right to regulate the entry of food and beverage. Whether to consume what is available is entirely the choice of the moviegoer. Viewers visit halls for entertainment.”

The apex court said that the viewer has to adhere to the rules of the cinema hall owner and it is evidently a matter of a commercial decision of the theatre owner.

“The cinema hall is not a gym where you need healthy food. It is a place of entertainment. It is privately owned, so it is the owner’s prerogative,” the apex court noted.

The top court set aside the order of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court which had ordered multiplexes and movie theatres not to prevent cinemagoers from carrying their own food and beverages into movie halls.

The apex court was hearing a batch of appeals filed by theatre owners and the Multiplex Association of India challenging a 2018 verdict of the High Court. (ANI)

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Supreme Court Demonetization Decision

Supreme Court Upholds Govt’s 2016 Demonetization Decision

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the decision of the Central government taken in 2016 to demonetize the currency notes of ₹500 and ₹1,000 denominations.

A five-judge Constitution bench dismissed a batch of petitions challenging the Centre’s 2016 decision to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes and said the decision, being the Executive’s economic policy, cannot be reversed.

Supreme Court bench said: “There was consultation between the Centre and the RBI before demonetization. There was a reasonable nexus to bring such a measure, and we hold that the doctrine of proportionality did not hit demonetization.”

The apex court had reserved its judgments on the batch of 58 petitions on December 7.

Earlier, it had asked the Centre and Reserve Bank of India to place before it the records pertaining to the 2016 demonetization decision in a sealed envelope.

It had said that it has the power to examine the manner in which the decision for demonetization was taken adding that “the judiciary cannot fold its hands and sit just because it is an economic policy decision”.

The top court’s remarks came when the Reserve Bank of India counsel made the submission that judicial review cannot apply to economic policy decisions.

The RBI had told the apex court about the objective of the demonetization policy to curb black money and fake currencies.

Attorney General R Venkatramani had said that the economic policy of demonetization was connected to a social policy where three evils are attempted to be addressed. (ANI)

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Kerala Govt Cheating Farmers Over Buffer Zone Issue: Cong | Lokmarg

Kerala Govt Cheating Farmers Over Buffer Zone Issue: Cong

Accusing the Kerala Government of cheating the state’s farmers over the issue of buffer zones along protected areas, senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala on Monday said that the state Government is taking a hypocritic stand on the issue.

“The survey report is wrong. But to say that the same will be submitted to the Supreme Court is utter fraud and hypocrisy,” said Chennithala speaking to media persons.
He said that the Kerala Minister’s statement that the flawed report will be submitted to the Supreme Court cannot be accepted under any circumstances. “The decision to submit this flawed report to the Supreme Court is a gross betrayal and murder of the farmers,” he added.

Hinting that a new report might be prepared, Kerala Forest Minister A K Saseendran on Sunday said that the report would not be submitted before the Supreme Court in its present form.

“The Kerala government should have adopted the positions of the governments of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and others. Zero buffer zone should have been adopted,” said the Congress leader. He alleged that the government at first decided to have a 3 km buffer zone and then a 1 km buffer zone.

“The satellite survey report cannot be accepted under any circumstances,” Ramesh Chennithala added.

The survey was conducted by the Kerala State Remote Sensing and Environment Centre and it had identified nearly 50 thousand structures like schools, houses, hospitals etc in 115 villages.

However, it was alleged that the survey missed out on small huts and shops and tiny buildings which fall under the tree cover.

The survey was being conducted due to a June 3 order of the Supreme Court which said that every protected area of the country should have a mandatory eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of 1 km. (ANI)

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Bilkis Rapists Case

Bilkis Bano Case: SC Dismisses Plea Against Remission Of 11 Convicts

The Supreme Court has dismissed the plea of Bilkis Bano seeking a review of its earlier order by which it had asked the Gujarat government to consider the plea for the remission of 11 convicts in a gangrape case under 1992 policy.

A bench of judges headed by Justice Ajay Rastogi dismissed the review plea of Bano who had challenged the apex court’s May judgment which had held that remission of the convicts should be considered as per the policy existing at the time of conviction.
“I am directed to inform you that the review petition above mentioned filed in Supreme Court was dismissed by the court on December 13, 2022,” read a communication sent to Bano’s counsel Shobha Gupta by the Supreme Court’s assistant registrar.

As per procedures, review pleas against top court judgments are decided in chambers by circulation by the judges who were part of the judgment under review.

She has filed a review plea against the May order of the Supreme Court which allowed the Gujarat government to apply the 1992 remission Rules which were in place in the State where the crime was actually committed. The trial of the case took place in Maharashtra.

Bano, besides filing a review petition, also filed a plea challenging the premature release of 11 convicts, who had gang-raped her and murdered her family members during the 2002 Godhra riots.

Bilkis said that even being the victim of the crime, she had no clue about any such process of remission or premature release initiated.

Gujarat’s remission order is a mechanical order of remission by completely ignoring the law’s requirements as consistently laid down, the plea said.

Earlier, some PILs were filed seeking directions to revoke the remission granted to 11 convicts.

The pleas were filed by the National Federation of Indian Women, whose General Secretary is Annie Raja, Member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Subhashini Ali, journalist Revati Laul, social activist and professor Roop Rekha Verma, and TMC MP Mahua Moitra.

In its affidavit, the Gujarat government defended remission granted to convicts, saying they completed 14 years of sentence in prison and their “behavior was found to be good”.

The State government said it has considered the cases of all 11 convicts as per the policy of 1992 and remission was granted on August 10, 2022, and the Central government also approved the ore-mature release of convicts.

It is pertinent to note that the remission was not granted under the circular governing grant of remission to prisoners as part of the celebration of “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”, it has said.

The affidavit stated, “State government considered all the opinions and decided to release 11 prisoners since they have completed 14 years and above in prisons and their behavior was found to be good.”

The government had also questioned the locus standi of petitioners who filed the PIL challenging the decision saying they are outsiders to the case.

The pleas said they have challenged the order of competent authority of the government of Gujarat by way of which 11 persons accused in a set of heinous offenses committed in Gujarat were allowed to walk free on August 15, 2022, pursuant to remission being extended to them.

The remission in this heinous case would be entirely against public interest and would shock the collective public conscience, as also be entirely against the interests of the victim (whose family has publicly made statements worrying for her safety), pleas stated.

The Gujarat government released the 11 convicts, who were sentenced to life imprisonment, on August 15. All the 11 life-term convicts in the case were released as per the remission policy prevalent in Gujarat at the time of their conviction in 2008.

In March 2002 during the post-Godhra riots, Bano was allegedly gang-raped and left to die with 14 members of her family, including her three-year-old daughter. She was five months pregnant when rioters attacked her family in Vadodara. (ANI)

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Nirav Modi In UK Supreme Court

Nirav Modi Loses Bid Against Extradition In UK Supreme Court

The UK Supreme Court on Thursday denied fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi’s plea against his extradition to India.

Modi lost the bid to take his fight against extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering to the UK’s Supreme Court.

“The appellant’s application for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court is refused,” Lord Justice Stuart Smith said in his statement.

The diamantaire, who fled India in 2018 before details of his alleged involvement in large-scale fraud at the Punjab National Bank became public, has argued there is a high risk of suicide if he is extradited.

In November, Nirav Modi filed an application before the UK High Court for permission to appeal against his extradition to India in the UK Supreme Court. He lost the appeal on Thursday to take his fight against extradition to the UK Supreme Court.

Nirav Modi reportedly filed an application in the High Court in London, seeking permission to appeal against his extradition order, two weeks after a UK court dismissed his plea against extradition back to India.

On November 9, Nirav Modi lost his appeal against extradition to India with a United Kingdom court dismissing his plea. Earlier, the High Court of London (United Kingdom) dismissed the appeal of Nirav Modi, who is wanted in India to face money laundering and fraud cases.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) later welcomed the UK High Court’s decision to reject Nirav’s plea.

“India has been vigorously pursuing the extradition of economic fugitives so that they face justice in India. We welcome the decision of the UK High Court. We want to bring him to India as soon as possible,” said MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi during a press conference.

Nirav Modi, who is a prime accused in the Rs 13,500 crore PNB scam, had fled India. He lost his appeal after he had moved the High Court in London against extradition on mental health grounds.

The bench of Justice Stuart Smith and Justice Robert Jay of the High Court said there are “no features of psychotic illness”.

The court rejected Nirav Modi’s counsel’s claims that he will die by suicide due to severe depression and said “Nirav Modi neither is nor is very likely to be at the most severe end of the scale of depressive illness”.

“He has so far displayed no features of psychotic illness. Although he has exhibited persistent suicidal ideation, he has neither attempted suicide or deliberate self-harm nor disclosed plans to do so, except in the vaguest and general way,” the court said.

The High Court also noted the steps taken to render Barrack 12 safe and to ensure that there is effective constant monitoring to reduce both the risk of attempted suicide and the prospect of suicide being committed.

The court noted that the Government of India sought the appellant, Nirav Deepak Modi.

Nirav Modi last year had moved the UK High Court against District Judge Sam Goozee’s Westminster Magistrate Court ruling in favour of his extradition. He is presently behind bars at Wandsworth Prison in southeast London. (ANI)

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