Legal Weekly: Rehabilitation of 800 slum-dwellers directed by SC & more; top judgments of the week

Legal Weekly is a compilation of landmark rulings passed by the Supreme Court and the High Courts of the country during the week. Read upon how SC issued direction to rehabilitate Mumbai slum-dwellers and Uttarakhand High Court recommendation to award death penalty for rape of children below 15.

Written by Sonakshi Awasthi | New Delhi | Updated: January 6, 2018 3:43 pm
top judgments of the week “Whatever branch of medicine a doctor is practicing, he should know the fundamentals of medical science. Otherwise they are not deserved to be called a doctor.”

Kerala Consumer Forum: Rs Four lakh fine imposed on Nature Life Hospital for patient’s death

Suffering from diabetes, peptic ulcer and kidney stones, the complainant was receiving Allopathic and Ayurvedic treatment for a few years. However, both treatments had no effect on the patient. The petitioner approached the Nature Life Hospital, opposite parties, and opted for Naturopathy. Naturopathy is an alternative form of medicine and a drugless treatment. Five days into the treatment, the complainant suffered fatigue and breathlessness. The family of the complainant had alleged that no effort was made by the doctors to check the patient’s heart condition and instead the complainant was made to do yoga. Consequently, the same day, the complainant collapsed and died.

After hearing both the parties, the court held that knowing well that the complainant was a diabetic patient, the doctors should have taken him to a cardiologist for examination. The court further opined that the doctors showed lack of reasonable skill or care treating the patient and slapped Rs. 4 lakh fine on the hospital.

The court observed, “Whatever branch of medicine a doctor is practicing, he should know the fundamentals of medical science. Otherwise they are not deserved to be called a doctor.”

Supreme Court: Directives to ensure development and rehabilitation of Mumbai 800 slum-dwellers

top judgments of the week Several litigation followed on the occupancy of the land and no progress was made in terms of development of the slum.

‘A dream turned into a nightmare…’ was the opening sentence of the judgment where, the Supreme Court issued a slew of directions for the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) to end the nightmare of slum-dwellers of Mumbai. The slum is owned by the Om Namo Sujlam Suflam Co-operative Housing Society in which 800 slum-dwellers are members. In 1986, the Society went into an agreement with Susme Builders Private Limited to provide accommodation to each slum-dweller. However, 31 years to the agreement, the builders did not live up to the contract. In 1995, they built two buildings, instead of the agreed 12, which accommodated 128 dwellers. Several litigation followed on the occupancy of the land and no progress was made in terms of development of the slum.

Hence, invoking Article 142 (power of the Supreme Court to enforce decrees) of the Constitution, the apex court issued directions to SRA to invite builders or developers who would have the capacity to take over a such a large project and issue advertisements on the same. The court specifically issued directions for developers as well, stating that whichever company takes up the project would have to submit their plans within a month and the plans are approved within two months of submission. The future appointed developers would have to complete the project in two years and should give Rs 2oo crores as a guarantee.

Uttarakhand High Court: Recommendation to State to enact legislation for death penalty in three months for raping children below 15

Citing the latest data of NCRB, the Uttarakhand High Court stated that crime against young children had increased in the past two years in the state. The court made this observation while hearing a case of an eight-year-old girl who had died during rape in 2016. The court therefore convicted the accused with rape and murder of the young girl and awarded death penalty.

The court stated, “There should be deterrence. Though, it is for the State Government to bring an appropriate legislation to impose death sentence upon the convicts who are found guilty in cases of rape, however, the Court can always make suggestions/ recommendations to the State Government to bring a suitable Legislation to impose a stringent sentence upon the persons who are found guilty in the cases of committing rape on the victims aged 15 years or below.”

Madras High Court: Maternity leave period should be deemed to be the service period and recommended Centre to make breastfeeding obligatory

While hearing a case of a lady doctor, the petitioner, who was denied admission in a post-graduate course in Gynaecology by the Deputy Director of Health Services. The petitioner had completed two years of service at Primary Health Care Centre, Sithurajapuram during which she delivered a baby and availed a maternity leave of five months. She was denied permission on the grounds that out of two years of service, 180 days were availed for maternity leave.

The Madras High Court therefore directed the state government to admit the petitioner for the post-graduate course and held, “Even in their two years of service, if maternity leave is sanctioned, the maternity leave period should be deemed to be the service period.”

The court further observed, “No act or clause or rule/condition would take away the fundamental and human right of a lady to conceive and give birth to a child and the consequential benefits like maternity leave, if she is an employed woman.”

The court also posed a question to the Centre asking why not make breastfeeding obligatory for women as done by UAE.

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