Bombay HC asks Centre to look at Kerala, J&K pattern for door-to-door vaccination


The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocates Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday said the Union government should look at the door-to-door vaccination programme carried out “successfully” by Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir, and take a “sound decision” on its present policy that states door-to-door vaccination was not possible.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni noted that it was unable to understand what the Centre’s problem was in starting door-to-door vaccination when states such as Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir were already carrying out such drives.

 

Responding to a query raised by the court earlier this week, as to how a senior politician got vaccinated at his residence in Mumbai, Anil Sakhare, counsel for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), on Friday said the jab was not given by the civic body.

The bench then asked additional government pleader Geeta Shastri, appearing for the Maharashtra government, about who administered the vaccine to the politician. Shastri sought a week’s time to respond.

To this, Chief Justice Datta said, “One week to take information on this? This is alarming. There is an old saying ‘You show me the man and I will show you the rule’.”

 

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocates Dhruti Kapadia and Kunal Tiwari, seeking door-to-door vaccination for senior citizens above the age of 75 and persons who are specially abled, wheelchair bound or bed ridden.

The court asked how the Union government policy says door-to-door vaccination was not possible presently, when individual states such as Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir were carrying out the drive.

“How is it that individual states like Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir have introduced and are successfully doing door-to-door vaccination? What is the Centre’s comment on the Kerala and Jammu and Kashmir pattern?” the bench asked.

 

“We are not able to understand what the Centre’s problem was. Why don’t you (Union) communicate with these states and if it appeals to you, then you can ask other states also to start the same drive,” the court said, asking the government to take a “sound decision”.

The court also noted that it was very happy with the good job being done by the BMC during the pandemic and asked why the civic body was hesitant to introduce door-to-door vaccination.

To this, BMC counsel Sakhre pointed out a letter written by civic commissioner Iqbal Chahal to the Centre stating that the civic body was willing to carry out door-to-door vaccination and requested the Union government to provide guidelines for the same.

 

The bench directed Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh to take instructions from the Health Secretary of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on the letter and posted the matter for further hearing on June 14.

ASG Singh told the court that the COVID-19 pandemic had a national impact and all states need to work in coordination with the Centre.

“The Centre forms guidelines and it is expected from all state governments that the guidelines are followed,” Singh said, adding that the guidelines for the vaccination drive are updated as per the prevalent situation from time to time.

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SC stays Bombay HC order acquitting man under POCSO


New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday stayed the Bombay High Court order which acquitted a man under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act saying “groping a minor’s breast without “skin to skin contact” cannot be termed as sexual assault”.

A bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian stayed the high court order after Attorney General K K Venugopal mentioned the matter.

 

The top court also issued notice to Maharashtra government and permitted the AG to file an appeal against the January 19 verdict of the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.

The verdict said that groping a minor’s breast without “skin to skin contact” cannot be termed as sexual assault as defined under the POCSO Act.

It said that since the man groped the child without removing her clothes the offence cannot be termed as sexual assault but it does constitute the offence of outraging a woman’s modesty under IPC section 354.

 

The high court had modified the order of a sessions court, which had sentenced a 39-year-old man to three years of imprisonment for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl.

It held that mere groping will not fall under the definition of sexual assault.

As per the prosecution and the minor victim’s testimony in court, in December 2016, the accused, one Satish, had taken the girl to his house in Nagpur on the pretext of giving her something to eat.

Once there, he gripped her breast and attempted to remove her clothes, the High Court had recorded in her verdict.

 

However, since he groped her without removing her clothes, the offence cannot be termed as sexual assault and, instead, constitutes the offence of outraging a woman’s modesty under IPC section 354, the high court had held.

While IPC section 354 entails a minimum imprisonment for one year, sexual assault under the POCSO Act entails a minimum imprisonment of three years.

The sessions court had sentenced the man to three years of imprisonment for the offences under the POCSO Act as also under IPC section 354. The sentences were to run concurrently. The high court, however, acquitted him under the POCSO Act while upholding his conviction under IPC section 354.

 

“Considering the stringent nature of punishment provided for the offence (under POCSO), in the opinion of this court, stricter proof and serious allegations are required,” the high court said.

“The act of pressing of breast of the child aged 12 years, in the absence of any specific detail as to whether the top was removed or whether he inserted his hand inside the top and pressed her breast, would not fall in the definition of sexual assault,” it said.

It further said that “the act of pressing breast can be a criminal force to a woman/ girl with the intention to outrage her modesty”.

 

The POCSO Act defines sexual assault as when someone “with sexual intent touches the vagina, penis, anus or breast of the child or makes the child touch the vagina, penis, anus or breast of such person or any other person, or does any other act with sexual intent which involves physical contact without penetration is said to commit sexual assault”.

The court, in its verdict, had held that this “physical contact” mentioned in the definition of sexual assault must be “skin to skin” or direct physical contact.

“Admittedly, it is not the case of the prosecution that the appellant removed her top and pressed her breast. As such, there is no direct physical contact i.e. skin to skin with sexual intent without penetration,” the High Court had said.

 

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Bombay Jayashree sings Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite Gujarati devotional “Vaishnav Jana To”


This post is to remember and honour veteran broadcaster and composer P.V.Krishnamoorthy (1921-2019), who would have loved Jayashree’s modernized version of the 15 th.century composition

The post Bombay Jayashree sings Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite Gujarati devotional “Vaishnav Jana To” appeared first on NewsIn.Asia.



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