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Delhi High Court slams AAP govt over fund scarcity in district courts

The Delhi High Court slammed the Delhi government for not providing funds to meet the basic requirements of the lower courts, which, it said, generate huge revenues

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Arvind Kejriwal Delhi

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday slammed the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government for not providing funds to meet the basic requirements of the lower courts, which, it said, generate huge revenues through collection of fines, court fees and traffic challans.

“What do you want? You want to kill the goose that lays golden eggs,” a division bench of the high court comprising Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad asked the Delhi government.

The question came in after the bench was informed that in the year 2018-19, the district courts had collected fines to the tune of Rs 80 crore, which was remitted to the Delhi government, and court fees worth Rs 96 crore was sold in the said year.

“In the year 2019-20, fines worth Rs 89 crore was collected by the district courts and court fees worth Rs 102 crore was sold. Between 01.07.2019 and 12.10.2020, traffic fines to the tune of Rs 115 crore have been collected by the virtual traffic courts and deposited with the Delhi government,” officer on special duty (OSD), Reetesh Singh, said while appearing before the bench.

Following these submissions, the bench said, “Despite the aforesaid revenues generated by the district courts over the past three years, they are being starved of finances for the basic facilities required to run the courts efficiently, which cannot be countenance. Any obstruction in the discharge of constitutional function of the courts must be viewed seriously.”

In order to meet the requirements of the 119 cars pending at the end of the Delhi government, the bench directed it to start with releasing funds for purchasing 20 per cent of the required pool cars, which will come to 23 cars, within three months from Wednesday.

The bench further noted that as 150 judicial officers are due to be posted in the next couple of months and their courts cannot be made functional without adequate support staff, it directed the Delhi High Court to release the required sum of Rs 2,52,10,178 from its budget to the district courts without any delay.

However, the same was done with a condition that the said amount shall be returned to the Delhi High Court immediately using funds being made available by the Delhi government to the district courts, an exercise to be completed on or before December 31, 2020.

The bench said, “Thank god we have our own funds. You (Delhi government) are making the subordinate judiciary run from pillar to post.”

The court was hearing a petition seeking to enlarge the functioning of the courts, particularly family courts, in the prevalent times.

The petition sought direction to all the family courts to allow recording of evidence via video conferencing during the restricted functioning of the courts owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, either by the presiding judge of the family court or by a commission.

–IANS

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We’ve resources to undertake coronavirus vaccination within 3-4 weeks: Delhi govt

Health and Family Welfare Minister Satyendar Jain made this announcement in at a press conference called to update Delhi’s daily health bulletin.

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Vaccine Covid

The Delhi government on Saturday said it has infrastructure to undertake coronavirus vaccination among all city residents within three-four weeks, adding that it was only waiting for the vaccine to be made available.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Satyendar Jain made this announcement in at a press conference called to update Delhi’s daily health bulletin. He gave the updates on Covid-19, decreasing positivity rate, availability of beds, and preparations for vaccination.

He said that the government had enough resources like Mohalla Clinics, polyclinics, dispensaries and hospitals to administer coronavirus vaccine across Delhi. Jain asserted that there will be no issues about the optimal storage of the vaccine as well.

“We are only waiting for the vaccine to be made available. Delhi has the infrastructure to roll it out and make it accessible to all city residents within 3-4 weeks. Delhi is equipped with the latest infrastructure to facilitate the rollout of the vaccine to Delhi’s population.

“For application, there are Mohalla Clinics, hospitals etc. It depends on how soon we get it from the central government. As far as storage is concerned, all amenities have been taken care of,” Jain said.

The Delhi government’s response comes amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Saturday visit to Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Pune where vaccine development process is going on.

Modi had recently held discussions with states and union territories on vaccine distribution once it is formulated.

Pointing out that there were 5,482 new cases in Delhi on Friday, the Minister said that the positivity rate had however come down to 8.51 per cent from 15.26 per cent. It has become less than half since November 7, 2020.

The Minister said that more than 50 per cent beds for coronavirus patients are available in Delhi hospitals at present. “Total bed available is more than 9,500. The occupancy rate is therefore steadily decreasing. In terms of ICU beds, more than 1,200 are available.”

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Normal classes not to resume in schools in most NE states

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Children wearing mask

Aizawl/Shillong/Agartala: Most of the northeastern states took varied decisions on the resumption of classes in schools on a regular basis even as Assam had reopened educational institutions on November 2 after more than seven months, officials said on Saturday.

According to the officials, Tripura and Manipur have yet to decide on the reopening of schools on a regular basis while the Mizoram government has announced that schools will remain shut till the year end to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The Meghalaya government has allowed schools in the rural areas to reopen from December 1 for students of class VI onwards but with the consent of their parents while schools in urban areas would resume normal classes for students of Class IX to XII.

However, no northeastern state including Assam has yet decided on resumption of classes below the fifth standard.

Tripura Education Department Director Uttam Kumar Chakma said that 50 per cent teachers and staff are coming to schools across the state since October 15. Students of Class IX to XII are allowed to come to school for counselling by the teachers with the permission of their parents.

“The high level committee constituted by the state government has recommended resuming the classes of X to XII and in degree colleges on a regular basis from December 1. The state government on its own has not yet issued any notification to reopen the regular classes of schools,” Chakma told IANS.

He said that students of classes VI to VIII can come to school with the consent of their parents or guardians for counselling by the teachers.

In Shillong, Meghalaya Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui said that for the schools to reopen and resume teaching, parents or guardians have to give their consent for their children and attendance by students was not mandatory.

In Imphal, officials said that there is no government plan as yet to reopen educational institutions in Manipur. “Both government and private schools shall remain closed in Manipur until the state government issues the specific notification in this regard,” a senior education department official said.

He said that the Union Home Ministry had suggested partial reopening of educational institutions with SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure) in place.

In Aizawl, Mizoram Education Minister Lalchandama Ralte said that all schools in Mizoram would remain closed till December. He said classes for students up to Class XII would be suspended as Covid-19 infections are likely to spike in winter.

Schools and other educational institutions here have been closed since March due to Covid-19. Though regular classes resumed for students of classes X and XII on October 16, they were suspended after around a week following the detection of Covid-19 disease among several students.

“Though the resumption of regular classes in schools has been tentatively scheduled from January 15 next year, the final decision would be taken by the state executive committee,” Ralte told the media. He said that online classes would continue till December 18 in the current year and from January 5 to 14 next year.

The Assam government’s Education Department officials said that classes for students from Class VI to XII have been resumed in small batches from November 2 following all Covid-19 protocols and the SOPs issued by the department on October 30. The students, teachers and staff are screened at the entry point of each school.

“Attendance of students is not mandatory and it is purely based on parental consent. The hostels of all educational institutions would remain closed till further orders of the government,” a senior official said.

The officials said the students of Class VI, VIII and XII would attend classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday while the other three days will be reserved for Classes VII, IX and XI. Schools for the students of Class V and below would remain closed until further orders.

“All the students will not come at the same time, they will attend school in different batches in the morning and afternoon,” an official said.

The school authorities have been asked to follow social distancing and other precautionary measures. The SOPs also include a staggered timetable for general colleges, engineering colleges, polytechnic institutions and IITs.

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NCP MLA Bharat Bhalke dies due to post-COVID complications at Pune’s Ruby Hospital

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Bharat Bhalke

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Bharat Bhalke passed away on Saturday at Pune’s Ruby Hospital. He was admitted for post-COVID complications and was kept on a ventilator since Friday.

Bhalke was the MLA from Pandharpur-Mangalwedha assembly constituency from Solapur district. He was tested Covid-19 positive on October 30. He recovered, but later developed kidney-related problems.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope expressed grief over Bhalke’s demise. “The news of the death of Bharat Bhalke, MLA of NCP’s Pandharpur-Mangalvedha assembly constituency is very shocking. With his demise, an influential orator and dedicated leader passed away. I share the grief of the Bhalke family. A heartfelt tribute,” the Maharashtra Minister tweeted.

Bhalke was a third time MLA from Malshiras Pandharpur assembly constituency. He quit the Congress in 2019 and tried to join the BJP, but was unable to get a seat. He contested the election on NCP ticket and won it.

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