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SC says widow rehab Centre's responsibility, issues notice

Dec 13, 2007 06:48 PM IST India India

New Delhi: Two days after judges refused to hear petitions citing Supreme Court Justice Katju's observations on judicial activism, the apex court has issued notices to the Centre as well as the Uttar Pradesh government on the rehabilitation of widows in Vrindavan.

On Thursday morning, a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and two other judges has obeserved that the Bench dealing with the rehabilitation of widows was not bound by Justice Katju's observations.

On Tuesday Supreme Court, judge Justice Sinha refused to hear a public interest litigation on the rehabilitation of undertrial women in prisons. Justice Sinha said that it was the responsibility of the Executive and Legislature to look into the matter.

The Bench comprising Justices Sinha and H S Bedi noted: "In view of Monday's judgement of this court, the issue, whether this court can entertain and decide such a petition, should be referred to a three-judge bench.''

A PIL filed by an NGO Prajwala, sought directions from the apex court that girls and women arrested under the Immoral Trafficking Act should be treated as victims and not as accused and the State should make arrangements for their proper rehabilitation.

The Bench headed by Justice Sinha directed that the petition be placed before the Chief Justice of India for constituting an appropriate Bench for consideration of the issue whether this court has the power to entertain and decide the issues raised in the petition and whether this court is competent to grant the relief sought in the petition.

On the same day, the Delhi High Court adjourned hearing of a case relating to begging in public places. Justice Mukul Mudgal deferred a begging case till February 8, saying he would not want to hear the case till they have heard what the Supreme Court has to say.


bullet On Monday, Justice Katju had said: "Increasingly judges are encroaching into executive or legislative functions, which is clearly unconstitutional."

A Bench comprising Justices A K Mathur and Markandey Katju had told the Judiciary, including the Supreme Court and the High Courts, not to overstep their limitations and try to run the government and also telling the judges not to act as emperors. And if the Judiciary continues to encroach into the domain of the other organs of the State, then the politicians may react by curtailing their power.

The hard-hitting judgement has gone to the extent of declaring the Delhi High Court directions on the issue of admission in Nursery classes as illegal when the petitions on the same issue are already pending before the other bench of the Supreme Court.