India

Centre asks Supreme Court to ‘restrain’ from criticising it. Court hits back hard

Government tells SC the court is passing orders in individual PILs without realising its impact.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday pulled up the government after the latter asked the court to “restrain” from making adverse remarks against governance while dealing with pleas. The top court said it was at least “solving problems” and was in no way “criticising the government”.

Attorney general KK Venugopal, appearing for the centre, told the court that it was passing orders in individual pleas without realising the financial impact.

Giving examples, Venugopal said that while the cancellation of the 2G licenses by the court virtually wiped out huge foreign investments, another order for removal of liquor vends on highways caused a financial loss and people lost their livelihood. “Judges may not know all aspects of every problem when they choose to make adverse comments against the government,” he added.

The court said it was because of the court’s order that the government has collected over Rs1,50,000 crore as environment funds.

What public good does adultery law serve? asks SC

  • The SC questioned the government’s stand defending the adultery law that punishes a married man for having sexual relationship with a married woman.
  • As the government defended the retention of IPC’s Section 497 for preserving the ‘sanctity of marriage’, the court asked how it preserved the ‘sanctity’ when with the extra-marital affair becomes non-punishable if the woman’s husband stands by her.
  • ‘Where is the sanctity of marriage when the husband can consent,’ it asked adding: ‘We are not questioning the legislature’s competence to make laws but where is the ‘good’ in Section 497.’

Explain threat to multiplexes from outside food: HC

  • The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the state government to explain how outside food can cause a security threat to those visiting multiplexes.
  • The state government had filed an affidavit stating it does not deem it necessary to interfere with the ban on outside food in multiplexes, as it may create ‘chaos’.
  • The Bombay HC argued, ‘If you (government) restrain people from carrying their homemade food inside theatres, you are compelling them to eat junk food.’
  • The court also observed that people should not be violent on the issue of taking outside food inside the theatres when the matter is still to be decided by HC.

HC decriminalises begging in New Delhi

  • The Delhi High Court on Wednesday decriminalised begging in the national capital, saying provisions penalising the act were unconstitutional and deserved to be struck down.
  • The court said the Delhi government was at liberty to bring in alternative legislation to curb any racket of forced begging after undertaking an empirical examination on the sociological and economic aspect of the matter. The court said the provision which treats begging as an offence or deals with ancillary issues like power of officers to deal with this offence, as extended to Delhi, ‘are unconstitutional and are struck down’.
  •  ‘The consequence of this decision would be that prosecution under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, against persons alleged to have committed the offence, would be liable to be struck down,’ said court.

‘Prisoners can’t be kept like animals’

  • The SC on Wednesday said it would constitute a committee under the chairmanship of its retired judge to look into problems in jails, including overcrowding, and suggest measures to deal with it.
  • The apex court said the committee for prison reforms would also have two or three officials from the government of India to look into the issues, including that of women prisoners languishing in jails across the country.
  • The court expressed its displeasure that the government has collected a huge amount under the orders of the apex court but the funds are not being utilised properly.
  • Attorney general Venugopal agreed with the court on setting up a committee for jail reforms.

“Let us make it clear that we have not and we are not criticising the government for everything. Do not give the impression that we are criticising the government and preventing it from working. We are only enforcing rights of people. ” -Apex Court

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