DELHI HC ASKS BCI TO PROTECT ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE IN VIDEO CONFERENCES

The Delhi High Court today (July 20), directed the Bar Council of India (BCI) to consider as representation a petition seeking the constitution of an expert committee for the protection of attorney-client privilege during virtual meetings.

The division bench, comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, was hearing a petition filed by advocate Akhil Hasija, who submitted that video conferencing platforms used for the purpose of recording advocate client conversations were susceptible to hacking and hence interfered with the right to privacy of the parties.

The petitioner submitted that due to the present pandemic the courts have been functioning virtually and also the meetings with clients are being conducted virtually. However, no clarification has been provided with respect to the safety of the video conferencing platforms.

Referring to Section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1982, the petitioner further submitted that the law mandates an advocate to not disclose privileged communications with client.

Since the petitioner had not made a representation before the BCI before approaching the Court, the bench directed the petitioner to first make a representation before the BCI.

Source: – India Legal Bureau

(By – Anupama Soumya)

Delhi HC allows school to deny online education in non-payment of tuition fees

The Delhi High Court has said private schools can preclude students from attending online classes if their parents do not pay fees and fail to establish that they are in financial crisis due to the Covid pandemic.

In a three-page order, a single-judge bench of Justice Jayant Nath Wednesday partially read down Delhi government’s circular that restrained schools from denying password and access to online classes to students whose fees had not been deposited

(By – Anupama Soumya)

Delhi HC permits schools to deny online education to students who have not paid tuition fee despite financial incapability


The Delhi High Court has lodged notice in an appeal favoued by a school against the Delhi Government’s order ordering private autonomous schools to charge only tuition fee according to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Queen Mary School, Northend vs GNCT of Delhi). Legal notice to the Delhi Government was delivered by a single Judge Bench of Justice Jayant Nath in a petition by Queen Mary School, Northend (Petitioner). The Court has also permitted the Petitioner School to rejecting online education to those students who have not submitted tuition fee for more than two month, despite financial incapability.
In April, the Delhi Government had ordered private autonomous schools in the city to pay only tuition fee from students till further legal order. The order had conducted the heads of the schools to assure that in no situation, ID & Password for online education is objected to those who are unable to pay the school fee due to financial crisis arising out of closure of business activities in the ongoing lockdown condition. It is the Petitioner’s resentment that taking biased benefit of the order, about 40% of the students failed in payment of tuition fee .
Therefore, the Petitioner was striving to pay the salaries of the staff and the teachers. The Petitioner has asserted that the Delhi Government’s order has no ground in the Disaster Management Act or The Epidemic Diseases Act, and was also in contradiction of Delhi School Education Act. Asserting that “Right to fix the fee” was a fundamental right under Article 30 and 19 (1)(g) of the Constitution of India, the Petitioner has contended that the Delhi Government unable to take into account the expenses incurred for a variety of measures including sanitisation, setting up online classes, maintaining buses used for transport etc.

(BY- VASUNDHARA DHAR)

‘You cannot malign constitutional authorities like this’ – SG Tushar Mehta in a plea related to violence at Jamia Millia Islamia

During the hearing before Delhi HC in plea related to the violence during Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) university protests, SG Tushar Mehta appearing for Delhi Police objected certain statements made by the petitioners in their rejoinder affidavit and said you cannot malign constitutional authorities like this.

Bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, was hearing a batch of petitions concerning violence that broke out at Jamia University last year following the Anti-CAA protest.

GOOGLE PAY IS A NOT A VERIFIED PAYMENT OPERATOR – RBI TO DELHI HC

In the leading case of Abhijit Mishra v. RBI & Ors, Reserve Bank of India affirmed that Google Pay is only a Third-Party App Provider, before the Delhi High Court. The revelation constitutes RBI’s testimony lodged in a PIL seeking a command to the Reserve Bank of India to instantly halt the uncertified functioning of Google Pay in India.

The petitioner claimed that it is an unauthorized entity in terms of section 4(1) of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (PSS Act). Google Pay did not feature in RBI’s list of authorized ‘Payment System Operators’ in India. The contention also asserted that Google Pay was wholly in violation of Section 15 (4) of the Ombudsman Scheme for Digital Transactions, 2019 as it had not allotted any Nodal officer.

RBI brought to notice that Google pay is not a verified payment system operator and elucidated that PSS Act and the misdemeanours would not be considered. The Court was notified that Google Pay was a Third-Party App Provider with four sponsor banks and therefore did not needed any mandatory registration under PSS Act and it did not came under the purview of Ombudsman Scheme for Digital Transactions, 2019. Althoug the four banks came under the Banking Ombudman Scheme 2006.

Contrasting to it, RBI further concluded that according to the National Payments Corporation of India’s communication, Google Pay was in objection with the prerequisite of RBI circular on storage of data related to the payment system in India. In light of the matter, RBI has egged on the Court to dismiss the petition.

(By – Vasundhara Dhar)

‘Large Scale Violence in Tihar Jail, Inmates not allowed video conferencing – Pinjra Tod Member in Delhi HC

Pinjra Tod activist, Natasha Narwal was arrested in New Delhi under the charges of Communal Violence in North Eastern Delhi; they informed the Delhi High Court that “large scale violence” took place in Tihar Jail on June 16; because of which the inmates in Tihar Jail are not entitled to video conferencing facility.   

Natasha Narwal requested for video conferencing as she needed legal assistance because her charge sheet of riots were filed in Delhi High Court and was unable to communicate with her lawyer due to no access to video conferencing in the jail; her lawyer has also requested that prison authority may allow the inmate to meet her parents every day for five minutes as laid down under the Delhi prison rules. The Director General of the prison authority however denied of such fact and stated that inmates were unable to talk to their families because of the bad connectivity inside the Jail. 

Source — THE WIRE

(By – Siddharth Addy) 

DELHI HC: COUNSELLING CENTERS VERY IMPORTANT IN PRESENT SCENARIO

A petition was filed in the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi seeking to construct Counselling Center in district level; Delhi High Court directed Delhi government to take a note of the representation of the same. Taking note of the present psychological crises among the Delhi residents due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hon’ble High Court opined that few counselling centers should be constructed by the Delhi Government as soon as possible to tackle the situation. 

The petition also prayed for a toll free number to provide counselling to the residents of Delhi all time, the Hon’ble High Court further stated in its order to the government to either decide the prayer in the petition by themselves or constitute a committee of experts to decide on the said matter. The petition was therein disposed of.  

-Siddharth Addy

Delhi HC issued notice against the Delhi Prison Authority Order

Delhi High Court issues a notice against the Delhi Prison Authority Order, suspending legal interview of inmates with advocates of their choice on account of Covid–19. The said notice was issued by Division bench of Chef Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan. On June 8th Advocate Ajit P Singh visited Tihar Jail to meet his client when he was informed that Delhi Prison authority had suspended legal interview with inmates on accounts of Covid–19. 

Accordingly, the petitioner filed a case against the Prison Authority stating the order passed by  the authority have violated Article 21 of  Constitution of India; the petitioner further stated that the said order is arbitrary as there are no provisions in Epidemic or Disaster Management act which empowers prison authority to take such steps. The petitioner also stated that denial of the right to consultation with advocate of his choice denies the inmates right to fair opportunity to approach court for a legal remedy. 

The petition was filed through Advocate Lav Kumar Agrawal; the matter is listed next to be heard on June 29.     

Siddharth Addy 

Not to declare the entire defence colony as Contaminated Zone on surge of Covid 19 cases: says Delhi HC

Delhi High Court refused to declare the entire defence colony as a contaminated zone on account of surge of covid 19 cases in block C against the guideline issued by central government on 16th of May.  The order was passed by a division bench of Chef Justice DN Patel and Prateek Jalan. 

The court further directed the respondent to increase the number of beds for Covid 19 patients and also try to increase the ventilators so that all the patients need can be facilitated. The Court also asked the authorities in charge to keep the suggestion of the petitioner counsel to utilize      “ready to move in” government flats for putting infrastructure like bed, etc for covid patients. 

The petition was therein disposed of.   

(By – Siddharth Addy) 

Delhi HC slaps 20k fine on a law student who challenged the Centre’s decision to relax the lockdown

Delhi high court on Friday imposed a fine of Rs. 20,000 on a petitioner named Arjun Agrawal, a law student who challenged the Centre’s decision to relax the national wide lockdown stating that the “reopening” of lockdown has been ordered in a “phased manner” and was not one that appeared to have been taken in “haste”.  The petition has been filed on the basis that the doubling rate of the cases was quite low during the earlier lowdown period. And by allowing the movement “The spread of virus has severely spiked, resulting in a sharp rise in the number of daily cases’. 

To this the court said that the reopening was done to ensure proper balance between “containing the spread of the disease” and ensuring that people are not forced to “starve”. Also added that reopening was done to save livelihoods. The bench stated that the government is expected to remain cognizant of the situation and evaluate it closely if it finds the disease is increasing in high number and will review their decision accordingly. 

Source: ANI

(By – Durga Bhatt)