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SCOI Report: Spotlight on 6 more cases before SC's social justice bench and the fight against procedural resistance

Social justice: All in a day’s work
Social justice: All in a day’s work

Despite suffering from adjournments and not having been able to close a single case since starting nearly a year ago, as reported last week by SCOI Reports, on Friday (September 4) the social justice bench continued its work with justices Madan B Lokur and UU Lalit hearing six cases in 40 minutes after 2 pm.

Of these, the bench asked the petitioners in three cases to approach the high courts for immediate remedy, and put the authorities on the mat in the remaining three.

Here is the check-list on the six cases:

1. National campaign committee for central legislation on construction labour vs union of india++In this part-heard case, the bench directed the presence of the secretary, union ministry of labour during the next hearing on September 11, to explain how the Government intends to spend over Rs 27,000 crore collected as construction cess for the benefit of construction workers. The bench found the attitude of the officials present callous and casual.

The last order can be accessed here.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves argued for the petitioner.

2. National coalition for education vs UOI

In this case, the petitioner complained that sufficient number of schools and teachers to provide primary education to all children under the RTE Act are not there, and wanted the court to monitor the Act’s implementation.

But the court pleaded helplessness to undertake this huge task, and asked the petitioner to approach the respective High Courts.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves appeared for the petitioners, and was unable to persuade the bench to monitor it, as approaching the high courts in every state for this purpose would mean stress on the petitioner’s resources.

It is not clear why the bench has found this unmanageable, when it has undertaken similar monitoring exercises in other cases, where records showed poor progress in implementation. Surprisingly, another Bench of the court has found it feasible, and issued notice in the case in November last year, as shown by the case record here.

3. Ajay Gautam vs UOI

As ministry officials sought more time to file a progress report on the steps taken to improve security at unmanned railway crossings where deaths have taken place, the case was adjourned to October 30, 2015.

4. PUCL vs UOI (writ petition [c] 277/2015)

The bench agreed to issue notices on the question of maternity benefits under the National Food Security Act, and on the issue of dubious and repeated extension of deadlines for implementing the Act, without amending it, but asked the petitioners to approach the high courts for other reliefs.

A good account of the proceedings can be read here on The Wire and The Telegraph.

5. Brave Heart vs Government of NCT, Delhi

The NGO Brave Heart, through advocate, Anindita Pujari, sought free medical treatment to seven members of a family from Meerut who had suffered from acid attacks.

Leading private hospitals of Delhi refused treatment / treated reluctantly and demanded money. The petitioner wanted the Supreme Court order in the Laxmi case to be implemented and free treatment provided.

The Supreme Court, however, asked the petitioner to approach the high court for relief.

6. Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram vs Government of India

The court suggested tripartite talks among the Centre, Mizoram and Tripura to resolve the issue rehabilitation and resettlement of displaced Brus/Reangs in Mizoram.

The court directed that the governments must facilitate the return of those displaced persons wanting to leave the camps in Tripura, if some groups are preventing their return.

A report which appeared in Tripura Infoway can be read here.

By: SCOI Report

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