Disclose reasons behind visa controversy on Peter Heehs: CIC
Government should disclose reasons behind the refusal of visa to American historian Peter Heehs, author of the controversial ‘The Lives of Sri Aurobindo‘, and its subsequent extension after controversy erupted, the Central Information Commission has ruled.
The author of the controversial book was living in country for nearly 40 years during which he had been working on the digitisation and archiving the works of spiritual guru Sri Aurobindo in Puducherry.
After the book sparked angry reactions from the followers of Sri Aurobindo, Heehs was told by Union Home Ministry about the decision that his visa would not be extended and he needs to leave the country by the middle of April, 2012.
The decision was later reviewed after several eminent personalities wrote to the Government against the decision to not extend the visa.
Following the episode, the appellant, Amit Bhargava sought to know from the Home Ministry the grounds of denial, review and the extension given to Heehs.
The Ministry said it had provided only selective information on the episode severing the un-disclosable portions under the provisions of Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act which prohibits information pertaining to security of the country and other similar issues.
Bhargava stated, “In the present case, public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests and therefore the CPIO be directed not to severe any information.”
Agreeing with Bhargava, Information Commissioner Sushma Singh directed the Home Ministry to provide complete information along with file notings related to the episode.
But she refused to pass a similar order for his request seeking information from Intelligence Bureau on the issue as it is an exempted organisation.
Sikhs for Justice engages Washington firm to serve summons on Manmohan Singh
IP Singh, TNN Oct 2, 2013, 11.15AM IST
JALANDHAR: US based rights group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has said that it would serve summons of the US Federal court — issued on September 25 for Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh when he was visiting US — in India, according to the provisions of the Hague Convention on the service abroad of judicial and extra judicial documents.
SFJ has engaged Washington based prominent process server firm ‘Process Forwarding International’ (PFI) to serve summons on PM Singh in New Delhi. SJJ’s legal advisor Gurpatwant Sigh Pannun said that PFI was the official process server to United States department of justice and US department of state and had extensive experience in executing services related to process with relevant authority in foreign country using approved international law methods — the Hague Convention on the service abroad of judicial and extra judicial documents in civil and commercial matters.
“Due to the high security detail, the rights group could not serve the outstanding Washington court’s summons on the Prime Minister during the Obama-Singh meeting at White House and now we intend to serve these through Hague Convention,” Pannun said. He pointed out that Rule 4(f)(1) of district of Columbia superior court rules of civil procedure provided that service upon individuals in a foreign country could be effected by any agreed means reasonably calculated to give notice, such as those means authorized by the Hague Convention on the service abroad of judicial and extra-judicial documents.
The Hague Service Convention is a treaty which allows service of summons and other judicial papers between the signatory countries without diplomatic involvement. The Hague Service Convention was signed and ratified by India in 2006 while United States has been a signatory to the treaty since 1967. Under Hague Service Convention, a central authority has been established by the government of India for receiving and serving summons from foreign courts. Under Article 15 of the Hague Service Convention, once a copy of the summons and complaint is delivered to the central authority of India, the service is considered complete.
The 24-page complaint filed by SFJ on September 25 before Washington DC district court alleged that Manmohan Singh’s culpability in the crimes of torture and extra-judicial killings of Sikh community started in 1991 when he took the office of finance minister of India. Manmohan Singh approved and financed, as head of finance ministry, the infamous practice of “cash rewards” to members of security forces for killing Sikhs through extra-judicial means often in “staged and fake encounters” to curb the Sikh rights’ movement in Punjab, the complaint further alleges.
The complaint further alleged that during his tenure as PM (2004-present), Manmohan Singh actively shielded and protected the members of his political party who were involved in organizing and carrying out attacks on the Sikh population of India during November 1984, resulting in the death of more than 30,000 Sikhs.
CIC berates ex-DPI(S) for being narrow-minded
RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigrah, Thu Oct 03 2013, 00:48 hrs
For showing a ‘rigid and narrow mindset’ that ‘does not support transparency in the functioning of public authorities’, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has berated the conduct of Upkar Singh, former Director Public Instructions (DPI), schools.
So much so that the Chief Information Commissioner Deepak Sandhu recommended disciplinary action against Upkar Singh. The PCS officer has earned wrath of the CIC for denying information to a teacher demanded by her under the Right to Information Act.
Peeved with Singh’s conduct, the Commission has recommended his immediate removal from the post of First Appellate Authority (FAA), Education Department. The Commission has held that Singh needs to be given training under the RTI Act. Also, the Commission has imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on the UT Education Department for harassing her own teacher.
The directions have been passed on an appeal filed by Sangeeta Rani, a headmistress in a local school. Rani had sought information under Right to Information, on November 11, 2011 from the District Education Officer (DEO), Chandigarh Administration. Rani had sought information pertaining status of her case relating to anomaly in pay.
On Novemer 29, 2011 the DEO had furnished the requisite information. Not satisfied with the reply, she approached the DPI schools on December 12, 2011 who is the first appellate authority but to no avail. She then approached the Commission on January 25 seeking directions to decide her appeal.
The Commission in July last gave two weeks time to the DPI to decide Rani’s appeal. Much to her chagrin, her case was not decided. She again approached the CIC on September 17, 2012. Surprisingly, the Education Department in its defence took the ground that neither it had received Rani’s application nor it had received the Commission’s orders.
However, the department’s lie was nailed by Rani after she produced a copy of the receipt of e-Jan Sampark Centre and other documents to prove that her appeal and Commission’s orders were received by the department.
Rani further alleged that ‘in violation of directions of the Commission’, she was never called for hearing by the DPI. Shockingly, the DPI asked her to appear for hearing after a year, as alleged by Rani.
Recording contentions of both the parties, the CIC rubbished the ground taken by the Education Department that it had not received Rani’s appeal and Commission’s orders. The CIC has issued show cause notices to the concerned Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) and other official who received the RTI application to “show cause why penalty should not be imposed upon him/her for not having provided information within the time frame prescribed under the RTI Act”.
The concerned officials have been directed to appear before the Commission in second week of November. Commenting on the conduct of DPI, the CIC has ruled, “Such an approach is contrary to the true spirit of the RTI Act and is indicative of a very narrow and rigid mindset which does not support transparency in the functioning of public authorities.” Recommending removal of Upkar Singh from the post of FAA, the CIC ruled out that Singh be ‘provided training’ as per relevant provisions of the RTI Act. The Commission has taken strong note of the ‘mental and physical harassment suffered by the teacher’ and that she had to “run from pillar to post in order to obtain the requested information without any success for the last almost two years.”
Imposing a penalty of Rs 5,000 on the department, the CIC has directed that information demanded by Rani be furnished within two weeks.
RTI Judgement Series: Publish list ofpharmacists working in medical stores in Delhi
The CIC directed the drugs controller in Delhi to publish list of pharmacistsworking in medical stores along with their names and addresses on the department’s website. This is the 180th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal complaint, directed the Public Information Officer (PIO) and assistant drugs controller in the Department of Drugs Control in Govt of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD), to provide the information sought by the appellant and also publish the same suo-moto on its website under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
While giving the judgement on 10 June 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “This will also help citizens to monitor whether medical stores are following appropriate measures and whether public authority is doing its job. Dr AK Singla, drug controller, will ensure that the list of pharmacists working in medical stores along with their names and addresses shall be put up on its website before 15 August 2009, and then send the compliance report to the CIC.”
Faridabad resident Rahul Sharma, on 10 January 2009, sought from the Public Information Officer (PIO) information regarding details of pharmacists working in Delhi. Here is the information he sought under the RTI Act…
1) Name, address of medical retail store along with name, address of working pharmacist in records of Drugs Control Dept, Govt of NCT of Delhi, to fulfil the requirement of Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
In his reply, the PIO said, “I am to inform you that the information sought by you is not available in the compiled form. The said information is available in the individual sales file of the firms. You may inspect the relevant files on any working days/hours with priorintimation in this department.”
Not satisfied with the PIO’s order, Sharma, the appellant, filed his first appeal. In his order, the First Appellate Authority (FAA) said, “I am convinced that the Link Public Information Officer of the Drugs Control Department had provided the information available with him and had even asked him to inspect the relevant files with regard to his queries.”
Sharma, still not satisfied with the PIO’s reply and order by the FAA, then approached the CIC with his second appeal.
During the hearing before the Bench of Mr Gandhi, the PIO stated that the details sought by the appellant (Sharma) would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority. Hence, he has offered inspection of the records to the appellant.
Sharma stated that as per Section 4(1)(b)(xiii) of the RTI Act, ‘particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorizations granted by it’ should be suo-moto disclosed.
The PIO told the Bench that they would be able to provide names and addresses of the medical (chemist) retail stores and at present, the data of the pharmacists working in these stores is not available in collated form.
Mr Gandhi felt that there was a need for this information to be provided suo-moto by the public authority since this was definitely a very important part of information relating tomedical stores in Delhi.
While allowing the appeal, he then directed the PIO to give the information about names and addresses of the medical (chemist) retail stores in Delhi to Sharma before 20 June 2009. The Bench also directed the Drugs Control Department to ensure that the list ofpharmacists working in medical stores along with their names and addresses shall be put up on its website before 15 August 2009.
High Court cracks whip, SMC seals ‘illegal’ structures
19 buildings sealed in Jawahar Nagar, drive to continue
Official panel has identified 2500 violations in Srinagar
Srinagar, Oct 2: Complying with High Court directions, the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Wednesday swung into action sealing 19 out of 45 identified ‘illegal’ structures in Srinagar city.
SMC said the enforcement team of the Corporation headed by Chief Enforcement Officer Hakim Aijaz Ahmad, sealed 19 structures constructed in violation of the norms laid down in the Srinagar Master Plan.
“SMC today sealed around 19 illegal structures including a hotel, a stationary gallery and a clinic in posh Jawahar Nagar area of the city were sealed,” Masarat Yousuf, SMC’s Media Relations Officer (MRO) told local news gathering agency KNS.
She said the illegal structures at Jawahar Nagar had become a nuisance for the general public and the same were sealed with the help of police in presence of the executive magistrate. The sealing operation, she said, was supervised by Secretary SMC Hilal Ahmad Diwani.
Officials said the maiden operation ever performed in the City was started in coordination between police and the civil administration. The Corporation is likely to seal more structures tomorrow particularly in Hyderpora area, sources said.
However, as the buildings were being sealed in the Jawahar Nagar area, locals tried to resist the move saying “only a few underprivileged had been targeted whereas the real big sharks remain untouched.”
“Why we alone are being targeted? Why were we allotted licenses for running hotels and shops in the first instance? Now we are left without livelihood,” proprietors of the sealed structures said.
But some residents of the colony on the other hand hailed the SMC move saying “commercialization of residential areas had taken away the charm of once serene localities like Karan Nagar and Jawahar Nagar areas where the illegal commercial complexes have mushroomed over the years.”
Though there was some sloganeering and stone pelting too, the government team went ahead with the task. Secretary SMC Hilal Diwani who was a part of the team said as many as 17 buildings were sealed in Jawahar Nagar area alone till sundown when the they headed towards Karan Nagar where the buildings were being sealed when reports last poured in.
Officials said District Magistrate Er Farooq Ahmed Shah, SMC Commissioner Dr GN Qasba and SSP Srinagar, Syed Aashiq Hussain Bukhari had “coordinated the operation at highest levels” while the district administration deployed four magistrates for the task.
Pertinently, on September 30, a division bench of J&K High Court comprising Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey asked SMC to seal as many as 45 illegal structures within the City that have come up, over the years, in violation of the Srinagar Master Plan.
The Court had directed the Corporation to swing into action and take appropriate steps for sealing buildings belonging to any violators as per the show-cause notices and the demolition orders passed (by the Corporation) on March 16, 2009 or thereafter. The Court had also directed Director General of Police (DGP) to provide help if required by SMC for sealing the illegal structures. The Court had also given a deadline of three days to SMC to seal these structures and file a status report with the Registrar Judicial on October 4.
The Corporation had pleaded before the court that show cause notices have already been issued to various violators on March 6, 2009 and demolition order passed on March 16, 2009.
During earlier hearings, Advocate General Mohammad Ishaq Qadri had informed the Court that there was gross violation of the Master Plan because residential areas are being used for commercial purposes and that there was no effective control exercised by the SMC.
Pertinently, an official panel on Master Plan violations constituted by the state government in 2010 has identified around 2500 illegal structures in and around the Srinagar city falling in SMC and SDA local areas.
The panel, comprising representatives from SMC, SDA, R&B Department, PDD and Revenue Department, has already submitted its report to the government. The committee was headed by then Additional Commissioner Kashmir, Ishtiaq Ahmed Ashai.
The report, according to sources, reveals that of the 2500 identified illegal structures, around 1100 not only violate the Master Plan norms but are a major hindrance in the smooth flow of traffic on some key roads. With inputs from KNS
High Court asks whether DGP is afraid of Salim Raj
The Kerala High Court on Tuesday roundly rapped the Director-General of Police for forwarding a complaint against Salim Raj, suspended gunman of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, to the State government instead of ordering an inquiry into it. Justice Harul-Ul-Rashid also orally wondered why the DGP and other police officers were “afraid of this police constable.’’
‘‘Why the people are afraid of this police constable?’’ the court asked.
The court orally pointed out that it had never ever seen a DGP forwarding a complaint received by him to the State government. The complaint was forwarded to the State government and the Chief Minster issued a receipt after getting the complaint. In fact, the petitioners lodged a complaint against Salim Raj in the police stations concerned and later with the DIG. The forwarding of the complaint by the DGP to the government was against provisions of the criminal procedure code, the court orally observed.
The conduct of the DGP and other police officers came under fire from the judge when petitions seeking a CBI probe into the allegations that Salim Raj was involved in land grab cases came up for hearing. Salim Raj is under suspension following allegations against him in connection with the solar scam. During the hearing of the petition, the court orally pointed out that the police constable seemed to be getting complete protection from the State government. The court said that land mafia was suspected to be operating in the State. In fact, it wondered whether democratic governance was in place.
The court also pointed out that the government should not have filed appeal against the single judge’s interim order directing the DGP to seize the telephonic conversation records, including the voice records of Salim Raj and others, in connection with the land grab cases. In fact, the government could have brought to the notice of the single judge that the interim order was passed without making the telephone service providers as respondents in the petition.
The filing of appeal by the government on the every next after the single judge’s order came and the appearing of Advocate General K.P. Dandapani on behalf of the government were severely criticised by political leaders. The hearing was adjourned to September 10.
Bombay High Court lambasts EOW, ACB for shoddy probe into charges against Sunil Tatkare
Thursday, Oct 3, 2013, 7:48 IST | Agency: DNA
The Bombay high court on Tuesday rapped the Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Economic Offences Wing for failing to conduct a “fair and proper” investigation into money laundering and land grabbing allegation against state minister and NCP leader Sunil Tatkare.
A division bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MS Sonak said: “There has been no investigation at all. This is a complete failure on the part of EOW and ACB. The position of the person (Tatkare) in public domain is deflecting the fairness in the inquiry.”
The judges came down heavily on the investigating agencies after going through probe reports submitted by them following a court order in a public interest litigation filed by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya.
“Every page of the report lacks proper application of mind. Prima facie, the investigating agencies have virtually abdicated their duty to investigate fairly on the ground that the investigations will have to be done by the Income Tax department, the Enforcement Directorate and the Registrar of Companies,” the court said.
“This in our view would be no justification for the agencies to walk away from its obligation to conduct a fair probe,” the court said, directing the agencies to complete their investigation within three months and submit a final report by January 7, 2014.
The court added that if it was not satisfied with the investigation after three months, it would transfer the probe to the CBI.
The bench observed that the ACB in its report had said since the allegations involve companies, the Registrar of Companies will have to conduct an inquiry. “The ACB report has not tried to find out the financial standing of Tatkare and his family members,” HC said.
Senior counsel Aspi Chinoy appearing for Tatkare sought dismissal of the PIL on the ground that Somaiya could file a private complaint in a magistrate court.
Kirit Somaiya, a BJP leader and former MP, in the PIL sought probe by the CBI into the alleged money laundering and land grabbing by companies floated by NCP leader Sunil Tatkare (in pic) and his relatives.
Somaiya has listed 51 companies formed by Tatkare which have his family members and friends as directors, and alleged they bought benami lands in state and indulged in money-laundering.
Tatkare has termed the petition as false, malicious and politically motivated in his reply affidavit.
Supreme Court sets aside Karnataka’s decision of removing SPP in Jayalalithaa’s DA case
PTI Sep 30, 2013, 11.53AM IST
NEW DELHI: In a relief to J Jayalalithaa, the Supreme Court today set aside the Karnataka Government’s decision to remove Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) G Bhawani Singh from the disproportionate assets case against the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
Terming the decision as “malafide”, a bench of justices B S Chauhan and S A Bobde also asked the Karnataka High Court and the state government to consider extending tenure of the special trial judge as per the law.
“The extension can be given as per the law and in consultation with the high court,” the bench said, adding the trial court’s record runs into nearly 33,000 pages and the recording of statements of witnesses has also completed.
The apex court, on September 25, had reserved its verdict on the issue of appointment and sacking of SPP Singh in the case and also on the AIADMK Chief’s plea for extension of the tenure of the trial judge who is scheduled to retire today.
Earlier during the proceedings, DMK General Secretary K Anbalagan had opposed Jayalalithaa’s plea, saying that she and other accused were allegedly responsible for the protracted trial in the 17-year-old case.
Attorney General G E Vahanvati, appearing for Karnataka Government, had also opposed the plea of Jayalalithaa on the SPP and for extension of the tenure of the special judge till the completion of the trial.
The bench had deliberated on the political overtones on the issue of the appointment and sacking Singh as the SPP.
“Was there (in Karnataka) the same government? When did the government change,?” the bench had asked.
The Attorney General had said the new government came on May 8 this year but the appointment of Singh was done without any consultation between the state government and the chief justice of the Karnataka High Court.
The bench, which had perused the records, had noted Singh, who has been sacked as SPP in the case, was appointed without any objection by Karnataka government to conduct the trial in the 17-year-old case.
The court had on September 20 called for the entire record relating to the controversy surrounding the appointment and sacking of Singh for its perusal to ascertain the reasons for dropping him from conducting the proceedings.
Jayalalithaa’s counsel had alleged that removal of Singh came at a time when the criminal procedure in the case was at the final stage and was done with a political motive.
Bhawani Singh was appointed as the SPP following the resignation of former Advocate General B V Acharya, who was the prosecutor in the case from February 2005 to August 2012.
Karnataka government had on August 26 issued the notification withdrawing the appointment of Singh as SPP.
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Chief is accused of amassing Rs 66.65 crore between 1991 and 1996 when she was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
The case was transferred by the apex court from Chennai to Bangalore in 2003 during her earlier tenure as the Chief Minister for a free and fair trial.
Jayalalithaa had alleged the case was slapped on her by the previous DMK government for political reasons.
Jayalalithaa and three other accused Sasikala, Ilavarasi and V N Sudhakaran have also sought a direction to restrain Karnataka government from appointing a new judge for conducting the trial against them in a Bangalore court.
During the hearing on September 13, the apex court had objected to Karnataka government’s notification “misrepresenting” an undertaking given by it as an order of the apex court on the appointment of SPP.
The bench had on August 30 restrained Karnataka government from appointing new SPP in the case. The order was passed on a plea by Jayalalithaa challenging the removal of Bhawani Singh as SPP.
Supreme Court extends MBBS admission deadline by two weeks in Maharashtra
Wednesday, Oct 2, 2013, 20:29 IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI
The Supreme Court has extended by two weeks the September 30 deadline of completing admission process for MBBS in medical colleges in Maharashtra, dismissing a plea by Medical Council of India.
The order was passed by the apex court considering the fact that some of the medical colleges in the state had enhanced the seats but were denied permission by the Medical Council of India (MCI) to take admission for extra seats as they fell few days short of the mandatory 10 years of completion of their functioning.
MCI had challenged the Bombay High Court order allowing two Government Medical Colleges–Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur and Government Medical College, Akola to fill additional seats created by them though they were few days short of mandatory 10 years.
An apex court bench comprising justices K S Radhakrishnan and A K Sikri on Monday permitted the Director of Medical Education, Maharashtra to finalise the admission of students in view of the newly enhanced 100 seats to the two Government Medical Colleges by October 14.
Advocate Jugal Kishore Gilda, who has been appearing as amicus curiae in the matter, opposed the contention of the MCI whose Special Leave Petition (SLP) was dismissed.
“We find no ground to entertain the SLP. It is dismissed leaving open the questions raised in the matter to be decided in appropriate case.
“However, considering the peculiar facts of the case, we are inclined to give a direction in respect of all colleges in the state of Maharashtra to complete the admission formalities within a period of two weeks from today. We make it clear that this order shall not be treated as a precedent,” the bench said.
The apex court, a few years ago, had fixed September 30 as a cut-off date for completing the admission process in medical colleges every year across the country.
The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court had asked MCI to consider enhancement of 50 seats in each of the college in view of the policy of the Centre to increase 50 seats in each of the government medical colleges to augment the health services in view of the scarcity of doctors faced by the nation.
High Court scraps TRB Tamil exam, orders re-test
By Express News Service – MADURAI
Published: 02nd October 2013 07:41 AM
Last Updated: 02nd October 2013 09:17 AM
Nullifying the Tamil subject examination conducted by the Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB) for recruitment of postgraduate assistants (2012-13) on July 21 due to multiple wrong questions, the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) has ordered that a re-examination be held.
Delivering the judgment on a petition filed by a candidate called Vijayalakshmi, Justice S Nagamuthu observed that the TRB had forced him to order a re-examination because of its “indifferent” attitude.
The TRB had earlier in another case informed the principal Bench of the High Court that it would ensure there were no errors in future exams conducted by it. But the agency had failed to keep up its promise, the judge said.
During the hearing of the case, to avoid a re-examination, Advocate General A L Somayaji had made three suggestions to the court. One, grace marks could be provided to students who had attended the erroneous questions in Booklet B. Two, only 110 correct questions in Booklet B would be evaluated. Three, in all the four booklets (A, B, C and D), only questions with cumulative marks for 110 would be valued.
Justice Nagamuthu rejected all three suggestions saying that if adopted they would do injustice to meritorious candidates. Valuing the question paper for only 110 marks would not serve the purpose of conducting the exam. “In competitive examinations, all should be treated equals. No one should be affected due to the mistakes made by someone,” he said.
Madras High Court issues notice to Centre on proposed sale of warships to Sri Lanka
PTI Oct 1, 2013, 06.42PM IST
MADURAI: The Madras High Court today sought Centre’s response on a PIL against the proposed sale of two Naval warships to Sri Lanka.
The HC bench of Justices Jayachandhran and M Venugopal ordered issuance of notice and posted the case for hearing to October 8.
Petitioner K Stalin, a city-based advocate, had submitted yesterday that Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy had recently stated that India was in the process of supplying two warships to Sri Lanka.
Stating there was a strong sentiment against Sri Lanka in Tamil Nadu, he said Tamils were angered and agonised by the proposal to sell warships as “these could be used against the fishermen from the state”.
Stalin said that he had filed the petition as there had been no response to his representation to the union government and the state chief secretary to drop the proposal.
Mangalore: High court grants interim bail to Rashid Malbari
Mangalore: High court grants interim bail to Rashid Malbari
Daijiworld Media Network – Mangalore
Mangalore, Oct 2: Rashid Malbari, who has been lodged in Mangalore jail since 2009 and was recently convicted of possessing illegal arms, has been granted interim bail by the high court.
The fourth additional district and sessions court had sentenced Malbari (42) and Mohammed Hashim to five years in jail and imposed a penalty of Rs 10,000 for possessing illegal weapons. The verdict was challenged in the high court.
The high court which heard the case granted interim bail to Malbari and ordered his release. However, as he is facing several other charges, he will continue to remain in custody.
The punishment for possessing illegal weapons is three years, and Malbari has already spent 4 years and six months in jail. Hence he has been granted interim bail, said his lawyer Purushottam Poojary.
Malbari and his gang were arrested at Chattanchal, Kasargod on March 29, 2009 by the DCIB police led by inspector H N Venkatesh Prasanna. The police had seized an 9 mm pistol and ammunitions from the gang. His accomplices Mohamme Hashim, Sayaf and Ibu alias Ibrahim are the others in custody.
HC seeks details from govt on closure report in land grab case
Thursday, Oct 3, 2013, 2:15 IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Slain RTI activist Satish Shetty had filed complaints against 13 people in the case
Expressing its inclination to ask the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to re-investigate the alleged land grab case which was filed by slain RTI activist Satish Shetty in 2009, the Bombay high court on Tuesday has directed the state to file a detailed affidavit.
In October 2009, Shetty had filed a complaint with the Lonavla city police station against 13 people, including the CMD of IRB Infrastructure Developers, Virendra Mahiskar, and the sub-registrar of assurances in Lonavla. dna had reported on August 12 that the CBI has filed an application before the HC seeking permission to reopen and re-investigate the case in which the government had filed a closure report. “The CBI has also sought that the closure report should be set aside,” CBI counsel Hiten Venegaonkar said. Justice ML Tahilyani on Tuesday directed the government to file a detailed affidavit along with the documents on which the local police had relied while filing the closure report in the case.
“The detailed affidavit should state on what basis the closure report was filed, including the sale deed, revenue records and the correspondents between the revenue officers,” he said.
On Tuesday, the government conceded that prima facie the transfer of land seems fraudulent. The judge then asked, “…Then how did you file the closure report?”
The investigating officer, Sunil Tonape, had filed a closure report before the metropolitan magistrate Vadgaon Maval on September 28, 2011, stating that the police did not find any evidence to substantiate Shetty’s allegations. The magistrate had accepted the closure report on December 27, 2011. Tonape was then attached with the local crime branch, Pune (rural). Presently, he is assistant police inspector attached with the Walchandnagar police station at Indapur, Pune.
In 2009, Shetty had alleged that IRB had connived with government officials and others to conduct large-scale irregularities and purchase land at Taje and Pimploli villages near the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Following Shetty’s investigations and complaint, the Lonavla police on October 15, 2009, registered an offence (C.R.No.152/2009) against one Deepak Gadgil and 12 others, including the CMD of an infrastructure major, and the sub-registrar of assurances of Maval area in Lonavla. The case was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
SC slaps contempt notice on V K Singh
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN Oct 2, 2013, 12.24AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday sent a criminal contempt of court notice to ex-Army chief General V K Singh after finding his recent barbs at the apex court’s handling of his petition on the age issue prima facie scandalous and lowering its dignity.
Commencing contempt of court proceedings against the former Army chief, a bench of Justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale noted in its order that the retired general had on February 10 last year withdrawn his plea after attorney general G E Vahanvati assured the court that the Centre would not be vindictive towards the then serving Army chief for his unprecedented action of moving court on his age issue.
Finding that Gen Singh’s remarks about the decision of the apex court was based on wrong premises as the court had not adjudicated upon his plea, the bench took suo motu notice of a newspaper report on September 22, which reported that the former Army chief had slammed the SC’s decision on his age issue while defending his comments about Army funding J&K ministers.
The bench’s initial recording of views on Gen Singh’s reported remarks bore the tell-tale signs of the seriousness with which the court viewed the entire controversy. It said, “Attribution of motive to members of the bench amounted to an attempt to scandalize the court. Prima facie the statement of General V K Singh amounts to scandalize the court and lower its dignity.”
Taking cognizance of the remarks under Article 129 of the Constitution empowering the apex court to ‘punish for contempt of itself’ and under the provisions of Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, the bench issued notices to Gen Singh and the newspaper, which carried the report about his remarks.
On February 10, the court’s reluctance to get drawn into the task of determining the actual date of birth of Gen Singh, who was seeking its alteration from May 10, 1950 to May 10, 1951, had forced him to withdraw his plea.
The court had recorded the AG’s statement, “The Union government had never questioned Gen Singh’s integrity or bona fides but contested his petition as a matter of principle, which did not cast any reflection on his ability to lead the Army.”
The court thought it was putting a controversy to rest and said it was proud of an Army chief like Gen Singh who had served in it for 38 years.
However, Justices Lodha and Gokhale had declined his counsel U U Lalit’s request to record that the date of birth row had been amicably settled as the Army chief was not pressing his petition in view of the court’s order that the date of May 10, 1950 would remain confined to his service records alone.
The bench had said, “As a matter of fact, the question before us in the writ petition is not about the declaration of the actual date of birth of the petitioner, but it concerns the recognition of a particular date of birth of the petitioner by the government in the official record.” The Centre had showed to the court repeated written commitments by Gen Singh to abide by 1950 as his year of birth.
Though the bench did not fault Gen Singh’s persistent attempts since 1985 to correct his date of birth, it had disapproved of the way he attempted to wriggle out of his commitment given to the his erstwhile Army chief and the ministry of defence in 2009 that he would accept 1950 as his year of birth and treat the controversy as a closed chapter.
ACB suffers jolt in corruption cases in Ajmer
TNN | Oct 3, 2013, 06.42 AM IST
The ACB cases in the district have been hitting headlines for a year, as even topmost police officers were caught on charges of demanding and accepting bribes. The alleged irregularities in recruitments at the district and sessions court, too, got highlighted as the bureau sleuths named a sitting judge there in the chargesheet.
There have been five
“Senior officials are studying where our teams lacked in the investigations so that corrective measures can be taken,” said a source in the ACB.
Different ACB teams from Ajmer, Bhilwara and Jaipur worked on these cases with serious charges on top officials. The teams came up with chargesheets running into three to six thousands pages. “The court orders show that the ACB failed to collect primary evidences or witnesses and largely relied on mobile conversation recordings,” said a senior advocate practicing criminal law.
In most of these cases there ACB could not come with strong evidences that a primary demand of bribe was made. “Not a single witness came in the notorious ‘police monthly extortion case’ that accused senior police officers of collecting monthly bribes at the police station level. ACB showed that the police station sent monthly collections to the SP and other officials, but the sources of this collection were not investigated by the agency,” added another advocate.
In the case against IPS officer Ajay Singh, the court dropped corruption charges and framed him under IPC 384 and 120-B for extortion and criminal conspiracy. “This case was made up on the basis of statements of the complainant and telephonic recordings of conversation between ASI Prem Singh and IPS Ajay Sing,” a lawyer said. Similarly, suspended RPS Rajesh Meena’s brother Hitesh could not be linked in the corruption chain and the court discharged him.
Court recommends extradition of NRI to stand trial in UK
The court recommended extradition of Kulwinder Singh Uppal after he agreed to be extradited to UK to stand trial in the case. Uppal had fled UK and was arrested in Chandigarh on August 26 of this year.
The Centre, through its counsel NK Matta, had forwarded the request received from UK seeking extradition.
It was stated in the request that the accused had fled UK after some other accused in the case were convicted by a Leicester crown court. It also said that an arrest warrant was issued against Uppal on January 29 by a court in Westminster.
The court, while recommending the extradition, referred to a statement from Narinder Singh Soand, Leicestershire Police’s detective sergeant, before a court there in which he had provided details of Uppal’s offence.
Soand had stated that Uppal had met a girl at a wedding in Jalandhar in India and asked her to come to UK to work as a dancer for him. The girl had reached UK in March 2010 and worked with Uppal as a dancer at Ilford and Bolton, he said.
Soand also said that Uppal had forced the girl to engage in sexual activities with him and his clients. She was abused and threatened upon refusing to do so, Soand had added.
The girl left Bolton with one Jaswinder Singh and came to Leicester on June 18, 2010, but Uppal arrived at her house on July 9 with some others and forced her into a car, he said, adding the girl was held hostage at a house for the whole day.
Supreme Court stays DCGI nod to 162 clinical trial applications
DIVYA RAJAGOPAL, ET Bureau Oct 1, 2013,
MUMBAI: The Supreme Court has stayed approvals granted to 162 applications for clinical trials in the country and asked the sector regulator to provide evidence that norms for drug-related research are being followed.
The order, issued on Monday, was in response to a petition filed by a health activist group. It is the latest in a series of measures the top court has taken following allegations of violation of clinical trial norms in the country. The DCGI has been given two weeks’ time to reply.
Between July and August this year, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) had received 1,122 applications for clinical trials, of which the New Drug Committee approved 285 and the regulator cleared 162.
“The court has said it will not allow clinical trials of new chemical entity until all the preparations are done,” said Sanjay Parikh, counsel for Swasthya Adhikar Manch, the NGO that filed the writ petition.
The court has also given the health ministry 10 weeks’ time to come out with a plan for implementation of the suggestions given by state governments and other stakeholders to strengthen the regulatory framework regarding clinical trials.
Biotechnology firm Biocon Ltd’s chairman and managing director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said the court order is a set back. “A black day for Indian science and a sad reflection on our judiciary. This is a pure Luddite approach which is killing progress,” Shaw responded to a query on twitter.
Public concerns over allegations of unethical clinical trials in the country gained momentum following reports of deaths due to drug study-related injuries in rural Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. As per reports, the victims were participants in a trial for a cervical cancer vaccine.
In the last one year, the drug controller, under the supervision of the Supreme Court, set up various committees and devised compensation guidelines for victims of clinical trials.
“The government council in July had passed a note that the drug controller had not approved any trials in the country since January, and then less than a month we see so many trials getting approved,” said Amulya Nidhi of Swasthya Adhikar Manch. “These speedy approvals indicate that the government is still not following proper norms.”
HC rejects IPS officer’s plea in date of birth dispute
Madras High Court has ruled that a decree passed by a civil court cannot be relied upon for changing the date of birth in the Service Register of an employee.
Dismissing a petition by IPS officer M Ramasubramani, a Division Bench said that the alteration made in the SSLC certificate on the basis of the decree passed by the civil court can be ignored by central and state authorities as being void.
The nullity of the decree can be pleaded at any stage of the proceedings and be even raised collaterally in other courts, the bench said.
“If we ignore the said correction made in the SSLC certificate on the basis of a civil court decree, there is no other material to prove the petitioner’s date of birth as being July 3, 1958,” said Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice MM Sundresh.
The IPS officer had challenged a Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order dismissing his application seeking quashing of a Government Order which had rejected his request for a change in his date of birth.
As a DSP recruited through the state Public Service Commission, his representation in this regard in 1990 was rejected the following year.
But the petitioner had pleaded that the above step was not in keeping with the Tamil Nadu State and Subordinate Service Rules.
The officer later obtained a decree from Virudhunagar Munsif Court and submitted a representation to the Home Department, which rejected it, saying that the civil court decree was not binding on the department.
Though his application challenging the rejection resulted in the setting aside of the order, the fresh plea with the government was again turned down.
CAT rejected his second application on the ground that the date of birth as declared by a person in the application for recruitment shall be accepted by the central government and as per Rule 16 A (4).
The date of birth accepted by the central government cannot be altered except where a bona fide clerical mistake has occurred.
Relying on a Supreme Court judgement, CAT rejected the application of the officer.
HC seeks UP’s response on minority welfare scheme
The Allahabad High Court (HC) sought the Uttar Pradesh government’s response on a PIL seeking to know why only Muslim girls were being given benefits and financial aid under its minority welfare scheme “Hamari Beti, Uska Kal”.
A bench of the Allahabad HC consisting of acting chief justice Laxmikant Mohapatra and justice Rakesh Srivastava, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) Tuesday, had sought a reply from the state government within three weeks on why girls from a select community were being benefited by the welfare scheme.
The PIL, filed by Ashok Srivastava of Siddharthanagar, alleges that the Aug 14, 2012 order of the Samajwadi Party (SP) government in the state had said that Muslim girls will be given Rs.30,000 for higher education and marriage and had claimed that this was in contravention to the right of equality enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
The petitioner had also alleged that the government was trying to divide the society on religious lines by doing so for political gains. The PIL cites the Supreme Court (SC) order in the Indra Sahini case wherein the apex court had said that no reservation can be granted on religious lines.
Counsel of the Uttar Pradesh government AK Goel, however, told the court that the state government was doing so as part of its mandated task of “minority welfare”.
He added that the grant was being given to all minorities, including Hindu’s. The “Hamari Beti, Uska Kal” scheme has been one of the most propagated schemes of the UP government and SP leaders, including the chief minister, miss no opportunity to highlight it as a major welfare scheme for the Muslims.
HC scraps 6% commission from Himachal Pradesh growers in Delhi
TNN | Oct 3, 2013, 05.46 AM IST
After the Delhi high court judgment on Tuesday, while BJP leader and former horticulture minister Narender Bragta soon after claimed that his party was instrumental in taking up the issue whether it was in power or not. Not to be left behind, Congress on Wednesday gave the entire credit to chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
Bragta claimed that in 1998, when he was the horticulture minister, he had raised the issue with then Delhi chief minister Sahib Singh Verma-led government, after which charging of commission was stopped. Later, when the Congress government in Delhi reimposed the commission, the HP government had approached the court, he added.
Meanwhile, horticulture minister Vidya Stokes and chief parliamentary secretary Rohit Thakur claimed that the HC relief to farmers and horticulturists of the state was due to the efforts of Virbhadra Singh, who pursued the matter with the chief ministers of Delhi from time to time, regarding the brazen fleecing of the commission agents in Delhi.
They said the high court decision was a welcome step as the Congress government had relentlessly pursued the case through the Himachal Pradesh State Agriculture Marketing Board even during its last regime. The chief minister was well aware of the issue of illegal commission being charged by the agents at Azadpur market, they said. As huge quantities of apples and vegetables from the state are sold through the commission agents in Azadpur, one of the biggest wholesale markets in Asia, the marginal farmers suffer huge losses.
Stokes, too, is a prominent apple grower in Himachal Pradesh. Horticulture is a vital sector in the state’s economy as it generates more than Rs 3,200 crore annual income. Apple constitutes about 93% of the state’s total fruit produce. Besides apple, other fruits like pear, peach, cherry, apricot, kiwi, strawberry, olive, almond and plum are the major commercial crops of the state.
HC upholds Jipmer stipulation on residence certificate
K. T. SANGAMESWARAN
Earmarking of six seats for SC candidates in Puducherry not reservation but only concession: HC
The Jawaharlal Institute of Post-Graduate Medical Education and Research (Jipmer)’s stipulation that Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates in Puducherry should obtain residence certificate from the territorial government as an eligibility condition for admission to MBBS under the Puducherry residents’ quota has been upheld by the Madras High Court.
A few SC origin candidates filed petitions challenging the clause in the prospectus, which required that a person claiming admission to JIPMER, a Central government institution, under the quota earmarked for Puducherry SC candidates, should have mandatorily resided continuously in the Union Territory for five years.
Out of the total 141 MBBS seats, 40 seats are for the residents of Puducherry. Of this number, six seats are for SC candidates of Puducherry origin. The grandparents of the petitioners, Santhosh Tamilarasan E and others, were residents of the Union Territory as on March 5, 1964, the date on which the President issued the notification relating to Puducherry. The petitioners are not residing at Puducherry at present.
In view of the condition, they would not be considered for admission to the seats reserved for the residents of the Union Territory. Therefore, they wanted the clause to be quashed and a direction to consider them for admission. The Standing Counsel for JIPMER, M.T.Arunan, said the seats earmarked for the Puducherry residents could not be treated as reservation. It was only a channel of admission. It was only to give an opportunity to local SC candidates six seats were earmarked for them.
Mr.Justice Sasidharan said the petitioners proceeded on a wrong notion that reservation of seats by JIPMER for the local SC candidates was in the nature of a constitutional reservation. The institution had already reserved 15 per cent seats for SC candidates. This reservation was not confined to SC candidates of Puducherry. To get admission against this quota, there was no need to fulfil the residential requirement. The earmarking of six seats was not at all a reservation, but only a concession for local SCs.
HC stays order dismissing trustee of Lilavati Hospital
Swati Deshpande, TNN | Oct 3, 2013, 02.52 AM IST
The HC passed the order while hearing and admitting an appeal filed by Prabodh against a city civil judge’s order that dismissed him as a trustee. The appeal is among the long string of cases in a family dispute between trustees of the charitable hospital that was started by the late Kirtilal Mehta.
On September 27, Justice A P Bhangale heard counsels Janak Dwarkadas and Prateek Sekseria for Prabodh and Pranav Badheka for permanent trustee Charu Mehta and ordered that the city civil order would remain suspended till the appeals are heard.
The HC will now decide on the effect of a foreign conviction on qualification of trustees under the Bombay Public Trusts Act. Charu had moved the charity commissioner for removal of Prabodh, her brother-in-law, as a trustee of the hospital on the grounds that he was convicted in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2007 and sentenced to six months in a case of alleged fraud, forgery and moral turpitude. He was thus disqualified to serve as a trustee, she had argued and the charity commissioner and later the city civil court had agreed.
The HC said that it would decide if Prabodh was convicted for offences of moral turpitude, which would disqualify him as a trustee and also, whether a rehabilitation order would amount to erasing his conviction.
HC evicts Rs 50 per month tenant who refused Rs 1 crore offer to move out of old building
Shibu Thomas, TNN | Oct 3, 2013, 02.49 AM IST
“The structure if it is required to be demolished and as except Esther all have already vacated, there is no reason that the building in question (should) be repaired by the owner only to permit her to occupy one flat in question,” said Justice Mohta. The judge cited earlier orders of the court that allowed “the corporation to evict occupier/owner of dilapidated building even by force”.
The court said the tenant’s offer to repair the premises was of “no assistance as it would cause further complications and especially when no one else is occupying the other portions”. The court said it cannot direct that the building be maintained just because a lone opposing tenant wants to continue to occupy a dangerous building.
Esther, who has been staying in the Juhu flat measuring 340 square feet for decades and paying a monthly rent of Rs 50, refused to move out of the building despite the landlord’s offer of Rs 1 crore.
The BMC, earlier this year, had served a demolition notice on the building which had been classified as dangerous. A report by VJTI also said that repairs were not viable for the old building. But Esther rejected the Rs 1 crore offer and insisted on a flat in a new building on the same premises. The landlord and the developer refused to give her that saying that 13 other tenants of the building had accepted the same offer.
The court said it could not overlook the expert’s opinion and said that Esther’s claims in her applications were “contradictory, inconsistent and in fact self destructive”.
“Esther, though at her risk is occupying the premises alone and compelling the landlord/owner to maintain the whole premises/building in spite of the clear offer given to her, is unjustifiable,” said the judge.
“The owner of the property is entitled to deal with the property. Even otherwise, tenants cannot object to transfer and/or even to create third-party rights or interest in such property by the landlord. The owner, therefore, if he wants to develop the property, but for want of insistence to have permanent alternate accommodation in the same premises, (and hurdles are created) to the whole project, is entitled to oppose the action of the tenant,” the court said.
“The costs already incurred by paying a huge amount just cannot be overlooked merely because one tenant/occupant is opposing to develop and/or not permitting the owner to develop the property.” The court added that the owner of the property cannot be compelled to give a specific offer to a tenant.
The court refused to give Esther any reprieve from the demolition proceedings and allowed her four weeks’ time to vacate her flat on the condition that she files an undertaking to move out.
Madras HC directs police to allow fast over Lanka issue
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 01, 2013, 22:45
Chennai: The Madras High Court on Tuesday set aside an order of the city Police Commissioner denying permission to a pro-Tamil outfit for holding an indefinite fast here to press for the expulsion of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth of Nations and shifting a meeting of the international body from Colombo.
Allowing the petition by K Thiagarajan of Thamizgh Thesiya Vidhuthalai Iyakkam, Justice KK Sasidharan said the authorities should consider the request in light of the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution.
Thiagarajan had sought permission from the police for holding the indefinite fast from today to press for the expulsion of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth of Nations, besides shifting the Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from Colombo slated in November. He also wanted to urge Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to boycott the meeting if held in Sri Lanka.
Observing that though reasonable restrictions could be imposed on the exercise of such rights, the Judge said it was impermissible to prohibit (protest) without any rhyme or reason. He held that the Commissioner was not correct in denying permission to the fast and quashed his September 19 order.
However, the judge, accepting the contention of the police that the Marina Beach venue proposed by the petitioner would cause traffic problems, suggested selecting an alternative location opposite the Government Guesthouse at Chepauk or Valluvar Kottam.
The court put a series of conditions for the petitioner, including that he should give an undertaking that he would not induce violence during the protest and should cooperate with the police to ensure law and order.
If any leaders supporting the cause wants to speak near the venue of the fast, a prior intimation should be given to the local police and permission should be taken by the petitioner, the judge said.
It directed the Police Commissioner to grant permission by imposing necessary conditions.
HC sets aside acquittal in cheque bouncing case
TNN | Oct 3, 2013, 04.37 AM IST
In this case, a judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) court at Panaji had in 2012 exonerated the accused Baswaraj Kedarji. The JMFC courtaccepted his defence that the cheque was issued by him towards purchase of sand and that the case was filed against him by the complainant Vithal Zalmi for not making payment towards the purchase of a vehicle as scrap.
The high court has convicted the accused Baswaraj Kedarji for dishonouring of the cheque for 50,000 and remanded the matter before the trial court to impose the sentence.
While convicting the accused, justice R C Chavan observed thus: “Faced with the prospect of being convicted and there being no other defence open, the accused may take the defence of this type and allege that the cheque was issued for something else. If such defences were to be accepted, it would be impossible to achieve the object for which Section 138 was brought on the statute book. The findings of the learned magistrate, therefore are thoroughly improbable and unsustainable.”
The high court noted that in view of the admission of the accused that he had issued the cheque towards purchase of sand, he was obliged to see that the cheque was honoured, irrespective of the fact that the complainant may not have been able to prove the purpose for which the cheque was issued.
As the accused did not appear before it, the high court directed the magistrate to enforce his appearance within one month and impose sentence after hearing the parties.
Advocate for the appellant, D Pangam argued that a complaint of offence punishable under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act cannot be tried as if it is a civil suit. Pangam stated that the trial court should have held that the accused was liable to pay as he admitted that the cheque was issued by him towards purchase of sand.
The complainant Vithal Tulshidas Zalmi had alleged before the trial court that he had sold his vehicle for scrap for 1.50 lakh to accused Baswaraj Kedarji. In this transaction, a cheque for 50,000 was given by Kedarji to Zalmi. However, the cheque was dishonoured .
During the hearing of the case in the trial court, the accused claimed that the cheque was issued towards purchase of sand and not for purchase of scrap of a vehicle. The JMFC court held that the complainant failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the cheque was issued towards the purchase of scrap vehicle. Aggrieved by the decision, the complainant filed appeal in the high court.
HC moved for protection to pilgrims visiting Tirumala
A petition seeking to protect Tamil Nadu pilgrims visiting the famous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara in Thirumala in Andhra Pradesh in the backdrop of continuing anti-Telangana stir has been filed in the Madras High Court.
Petitioner, advocate Gnanasekharan, sought a direction to the Centre and the governments of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to take adequate steps to provide sufficient protection to the pilgrims en route Tirumala.
He said the Centre’s announcement on July 31 last that a separate Telangana would be formed has triggered protests in more than ten districts, including Chitoor under which Tirupati-Tirumala falls.
The anti-telangana protesters were indulging in violence and disrupting peaceful life. Pilgrims from Tamil Nadu to Tirumala were not allowed to visit the shrine, he charged.
He submitted that he had been visiting the temple continuously from 1983 and the Freedom of Worship and Religious Practice which are guaranteed under the Constitution had been affected by the acts of trouble makers.
The PIL is expected to come up for hearing on October 3.
HC dismisses plea on passing bill on judges retirement age
The Madras High Court has dismissed a petition which sought a direction to the Centre to enhance the retirement age for judges in High Courts and the Supreme Court.
The First Bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Rajesh KumarAgrawal and Justice M Sathyanarayanan, rejected the petition filed by an advocate V Vasanthakumar at the admission stage itself.
The petitioner had sought a direction to the Centre to take immediate and effective measures to pass “The Constitution (114) Amendment Bill 2010″ within a time-frame to be fixed by this court.
Originally, under article 217(1) of Constitution of India, the age of retirement of High Court Judges was fixed as 60. By an amendment in the year 1963, it was increased to 62. Later in August 25, 2010, it was further raised to 65 by an amendment which had been referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee, which he wanted to be passed.
The Bench, quoting judgments of the Supreme Court, said no writ can be issued directing the authorities to introduce the above said amendment in Lok Sabah.
Allahabad HC to hear contempt plea against PM on ordinance
Submitted by admin4 on 1 October 2013 – 4:48pm
Lucknow : The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court would Thursday hear a contempt petition against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue of the ordinance to save convicted lawmakers from disqualification.
The contempt petition filed by social activist Nutan Thakur accuses Singh of “having openly defied the orders of the Supreme Court”.
The bench of Justice Ajai Lamba would hear the petition in which the petitioner cites the case of Lily Thomas vs Union of India & Others, wherein the apex court had struck down section 8(4) as being ultra-vires because it provides different dates of disqualification for sitting MP/MLA vis-a-vis those qualified to be chosen so.
Despite this, the prime minister, in a clear violation of the Supreme Court order, recommended the Representation of the People (Second Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2013 with minor amendment in section 8(4), Thakur told IANS.
“I have prayed for initiating action against the prime minister under section 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act 1971,” Thakur said.
The relevant ordinance seeks to override the Supreme Court’s decision on disqualifying convicted lawmakers. The ordinance, cleared by the union cabinet and awaiting President Pranab Mukherjee’s signature, was last week trashed by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi as “complete nonsense” and fit to be “torn up and thrown away”.
HC raps cops over Shetty muder case
Posted On Wednesday, October 02, 2013 at 04:08:10 PM
While observing that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did not require the Bombay High Court’s nod to investigate into city activist Satish Shetty’s murder, the court on Tuesday rapped city police for closing a complaint lodged by the late Right to Information (RTI) activist.
Referring to the case, Justice M L Tahaliyani sought to know from the prosecutor —“If the original owners of land acquired for construction of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway were compensated, then how can the name of the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation’s (MSRDC) Executive Engineer be deleted and the original owners sell their land for a second time?”
The court further asked, “Does it not amount to creating false documents? Does it not amount to forgery?” Shetty, in an FIR lodged in October 2009, had alleged that the name of one MSRDC’s Executive Engineer was deleted from revenue records.
He also pointed out that several plots of land acquired by the State government for building the Mumbai-Pune Expressway were sold twice by their original owners to Aryan Infrastructure and Investment —an IRB Group company which constructed the expressway.
Additional Public Prosecutor Deepak More responded by saying that the revenue records were ultimately corrected and the case was closed since there was no loss caused to public exchequer. Irked by the response, the court questioned, “On what basis have you come to this conclusion?”
The court was hearing a petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), seeking permission to reopen and reinvestigate the case — based on complaints lodged by Shetty, which were closed by Pune rural police, terming it as baseless.
Advocate Hitendra Venegaonkar, appearing for CBI, submitted before court that the investigating agency had arrived on a conclusion that the motive behind Shetty’s murder was connected to the complaints lodged by him.
CBI has sought the court’s permission to reopen and reinvestigate the case. Thirty-eight-year-old Shetty had exposed several illegalities in the Expressway land deal, in and around Pune.
Justice Tahaliyani has now directed the prosecutor to file an additional affidavit explaining why the case was closed and also sought a set of investigation papers of the case. The case will now be heard on October 15.
Delhi HC seeks status report from DDA on illegal construction in city
Oct 2, 2013
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sought status report from DDA and other agencies of city government on a PIL alleging “rampant” illegal construction on public land in and around the capital. Seeking response from DDA and also from police, South Delhi MCD, DJB and BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana in a recent order sought a status report by November 27. Representational image of a construction site. Reuters image The bench was hearing a PIL by Fraternity Against Corruption, a registered trust, alleging “rampant land grabbing, encroachment and illegal construction on DDA lands in and around Delhi which is open and brazen loot of public resources affecting public at large.” According to the plea, due to mismanagement of DDA, large chunks of land particularly in South Delhi are being misused and the land owning agency has failed to take care of them properly. “…The land mafia in connivance with corrupt officials of DDA grab the vacant DDA lands and then raise unauthorised construction over these lands. Their illegal activities do not end with this and they further sell these illegally constructed houses to innocent public and dupe them of their hard earned money,” the plea alleged. Referring to a high court’s decision in which the bench had ordered police to inform the concerned agency and also stop the illegal construction on DDA land, the plea said, ”…Delhi Police merely acts as a post office, they just inform this illegal activity to the public authority once, after that they just remain mute spectator to this brazen activities.” The PIL, filed through counsel Sunder Khatri and Dhananjay Tyagi, cited some areas where the alleged land grabbing by mafias had occurred in South Delhi. PTI
PIL urges HC to order sealing of cosmetic, health care goods
A Public Interest Litigation has urged the Bombay High Court to direct the Government and local authorities to issue guidelines so to ensure that cosmetic goods, personal hygiene products, skin and hair care creams and lotions are sealed before being sold in the Indian market.
The PIL said that currently such products are sold without seal and this results in contamination or adulteration of the goods which is harmful to the health of the consumer.
Use of contaminated or adulterated products can cause skin irritation and rashes or other health hazard which should be prevented in consumer interest, the PIL, filed by advocate Geetanjali Dutta, contended.
The petitioner said that a leading multinational company had in a letter replied that sealing of cosmetic products is not a mandatory requirement of India and hence it was not following the procedure to seal the goods before selling them in the market.
The PIL, to come up for hearing tomorrow before a bench headed by Chief Justice, said the shopkeepers very often use the contents of the products in order to demonstrate them to the consumers and in the process they run the risk of contamination. This is very harmful to the health of people.
Not just this, most of the time the weight or volume of the contents of the goods are not found to be equivalent to the quantity mentioned on the packet or tube because they are not sealed. The possibility of tampering is thus not ruled out, the petitioner argued.
The Petitioner said she had written letters to several multinational companies to check whether they were sealing the products and found that this practice was not being followed because it was not compulsory.
The PIL prayed that Public Health Department, Legal Meteorology (weights and measures) and Food and Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Departments of Maharashtra Government may be asked to issue guidelines to ensure that such products are sealed by the companies before being sold in the market.
The petition enclosed opinion of doctors and experts to support the contention that such products should be sealed.
The respondents to the PIL include multi-national companies, Johnson and Johnson, Procter and Gamble, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Colgate Palmolive (India).
DV Act: HC seeks case papers of complaint against Dimple Kapadia
Last Updated: Wednesday, October 02, 2013, 15:59
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has directed the city police to produce before it case papers pertaining to a complaint lodged by Anita Advani, who claims to have been the live-in partner of late actor Rajesh Khanna, against Khanna`s wife Dimple Kapadia and her family.
Justice Sadhana Jadhav was hearing a petition filed by Dimple and others seeking quashing of the case under the Domestic Violence Act.
“The respondent (Anita) has submitted some photographs and CCTV footages to substantiate her case. The prosecution shall produce all relevant case papers on October 11,” Justice Jadhav directed recently.
Soon after the death of Khanna on July 18 last year, Anita had filed a complaint in the Bandra metropolitan magistrate court against Dimple and her family, including her daughters Twinkle and Rinkie, and son-in-law Akshay Kumar, under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.
Anita had approached the magistrate after she claimed that the police failed to take action on her complaint.
In the complaint, Anita had included video and audio recording of Khanna`s signature being taken on a will forcibly and other footage to prove that she stayed in Khanna`s Aashirwad bungalow.
According to Anita, she was the actor`s live-in partner but was driven out of the suburban bungalow when Khanna fell sick. Anita had sought maintenance from Dimple and her family.
In her petition, Dimple contended that she was the legally wedded wife of Khanna and as such no other woman can claim share in the wealth left behind by her husband.
Madras HC slams lawyer for derogatory language in petition
Updated: Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 9:42 [IST]
Chennai, Oct 2: The Madras High Court on Tuesday slammed an advocate who used derogatory language in his petition while seeking to restrict relatives of politicians from contesting in polls, and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on him. The court also directed that the fine should be paid to Mediation and Reconciliation Centre within two weeks. The First Bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Kumar Agrawal and Justice M Sathyanarayanan, dismissed the petition of advocate R Balasubramanian, who sought to restrict politicians’ relatives from contesting Parliament and Assembly polls and also a direction to the President, Chief Election Commissioner and Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer, to whom he had sent representations. On the advocate’s earlier petition, in which he had used derogatory language, the bench said it had not imposed costs on him, thinking that as an advocate he would realise his role and responsibilities and desist from doing so in future. However, he had not learnt his lesson, had taken a conscious decision not to mend his way and in his September 10 representation to the President and to authorities, used derogatory remarks against the sitting Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) elected from this state without any responsibility, the court said. Madras HC slams lawyer for language, fines him Rs 10,000 It said the court depreciated such a kind of practice by the petitioner, who claims to be practicing advocate. On the legality of the petitioner, the Bench said in the absence of any statutory right on the part of the petitioner with a corresponding obligation on the part of the respondents, such a kind of relief cannot be issued. The bench later dismissed the petition at the admission stage observing it did not find any merit in it and directed the petitioner to pay within two weeks Rs 10,000 to the Mediation and Reconciliation Centre, attached to the Court. If it was not complied with, the Chennai District Collector should treat it as arrears of land revenue and take appropriate steps to recover it and to pay the Centre, the court said. PTI
Resolve row, HC tells Yukta Mookhey and hubby
Shibu Thomas, Mumbai Mirror Oct 1, 2013, 12.00AM IST
The Bombay high court on Monday asked former Miss World Yukta Mookhey and her estranged husband Tuli to attempt to find a way to resolve their disputes. Justice Sadhna Jadhav met Mookhey and Nagpur-based businessman Tuli separately in her chamber on Monday evening and later held discussions with their lawyers. “The judge suggested some ways for the couple to deal with their disputes,” said a lawyer. The matter will be heard on October 14. Meanwhile, the HC has asked both the sides to sit and attempt to reconcile the differences.
The HC initiative came on an anticipatory bail application filed by Tuli, seeking protection from arrest in a criminal case lodged by Mookhey. In July, Mookhey had lodged an FIR accusing Tuli of committing unnatural sex and alleged that Tuli and her in-laws had subjected her to cruelty and criminal breach of trust.
The trial court had initially remarked that no case of harassment and cruelty under Section 498-A of the IPC had been made out. However,the HC did not agree to the view and said the trial judge did not seem to have considered the 15 non-cognizable offences, proceedings under the Domestic Violence Act and two other complaints filed by Mookhey.
Bar association protests against HC for delay in handing over land for lawyers’ chambers
Ranjana Diggikar, TNN | Oct 3, 2013, 04.23 AM IST
President of the association president, S B Talekar, said, “The high court (HC) administration has been inept, indecisive and insensitive towards the cause of the lawyers. It has not been able to hand over the possession of the land, obtain a no objection certificate from Cidco and finalize the building plan received from architects from all over India. The president and secretary of managing committee of the bar association met the chief justice individually requesting him to expedite the process, but in vain.”
He said that it’s been about six years since the foundation stone for the building was laid by the then chief minister late Vilasrao Deshmukh. “We even made representations many times to the chief justice, HC registrar administration and the HC building committee, but to no avail,” Talekar said.
“The honourable chief justice of the Bombay high court had cleared the proposal to measure and hand over the land on August 2 this year. Thereafter, the land was measured and demarcated by the deputy superintendent of land records, Aurangabad,” he said.
“The registrar administration is asking the bar association to approach the chairman of lawyers’ chamber committee, who in turn is asking us to wait for the decision of the building committee. The bar association is running from pillar to post and has been making requests to expedite the process,” Talekar said.
“Almost three years have passed since the advocates deposited Rs 1 lakh each for the construction of the building. In the meantime, the cost of construction has gone up by more than 300%. Even the state ministry of law and judiciary had cleared the proposal in March 2013,” he added.
A S Sawant, secretary of the association, said, “The chambers for lawyers is the need of the hour. It would be nothing but an adjunct and extension of the high court. The association and the bench would be immensely benefited since the lawyers will be able to utilize not only internet facility and access almost all law journals and reports available all over the world.”
When asked about the issue, C V Bhadang, registrar general of Bombay high court, said, “The high court is actively considering the issue. We are aware of the urgency of the matter and a decision in this regard will be communicated to the bar association soon.”
HC orders CBI probe into ex-police officer’s assets
By Express News Service – HYDERABAD
The High Court on Tuesday ordered a CBI probe against a retired police officer for allegedly possessing disproportionate assets worth more than Rs 10 crore. The investigation must be entrusted to an officer not below the rank of an SP in the Central Bureau of Investigation, it noted.
Justice B Chandra Kumar allowed a petition filed in 2008 by G Durga Rao, a retired employee of vigilance and enforcement cell in the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad, seeking directions to the authorities to register a criminal case against G Anjaiah, retired additional superintendent of police in V&E, MCH.
The petitioner alleged that Anjaiah was suspended three times on corruption charges when he was working as the Additional SP in the MCH and at the time of retirement he owned 35 acres of agriculture land in Medak district, 15 acres at Shadnagar and Medchal, two-storeyed building at Begumpet and several other properties in the state capital. K Ravinder Reddy, the then inspector of police, ACB, who conducted an enquiry said that the allegations were incorrect.
The petitioner alleged that Anjaiah had tampered with his date of birth and got promoted as additional SP. When the issue was reported in the media, he applied for voluntary retirement and the government allowed him to retire from service without making any enquiry, he pointed out.
On the other hand, Anjaiah claimed that the allegations made against him by the petitioner were enquired into by the ACB and it was revealed that there was no truth in the allegations and that the state government also dropped further action against him.
The judge observed that the enquiry conducted by the said inspector was one-sided and that it cannot be said to be a full-fledged enquiry. The enquiry reports were also not submitted to the court, he said. While allowing the petition, the judge directed the joint director of the CBI, Hyderabad, to register a case against Anjaiah and conduct a thorough investigation.
PIMS fails to get HC’s nod for MBBS admissions
Sanjeev Bhalla, Hindustan Times Jalandhar, September 30, 2013
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday denied permission to the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) here to provisionally admit students for the fresh batch of MBBS.
With the last date of admission over on Monday, PIMS has lost the chance to admit a batch of 150 MBBS students.
Anticipating a favourable verdict from the court, the institute management had issued an advertisement in newspapers, inviting candidates from the state to fill forms, which were provided free of cost.
Nearly 1,000 forms were reportedly submitted in response to the advertisement by Sunday evening. The authorities had called the parents after 3pm on Monday for counselling.
Talking to HT, principal director Dr Kulbir Kaur said, “We have failed to get the court nod to admit students. The exercise done on Saturday and Sunday had been nullified. We were hopeful of getting relief, so we took a chance by inviting candidates. Today (Monday) was the last date of counselling also, as per instructions of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot.”
On July 16, the Medical Council of India (MCI) had barred PIMS from admitting students for this session (2013-14) in MBBS, using its powers under Section 10(A) of the MCI Act, due to the institute’s failure to fulfil the condition of requisite infrastructure.
The institute started in 2011 and has admitted two MBBS batches so far. It was allotted to a society headed by Punjab rural development minister Surjit Singh Rakhra on a 99-year lease. In March-April, the institute had witnessed a series of strikes by paramedical staff, doctors and administrative staff over non-payment of salaries for months.
Revise contracts if costs escalate, HC tells govt
TNN | Oct 3, 2013, 04.39 AM IST
Justice A M Shaffique gave the directive while considering a petition filed by a PWD contractor, K I Poulose of Muvattupuzha, who, in January 2006, had taken up the construction of Chelachuvadu-Vannapuram Road in Idukki district.
Implemented using Nabard’s rural infrastructure development fund, the contract was worth Rs 686 lakh. It was agreed by the contractor and the government that the scale of rates (SOR) applicable for the work would be that of 2004.
However, the cost later escalated to Rs 14.49 crore, due to the extra work for excavation of earth, medium rock and hard rock.
Though the work was supposed to be completed within 12 months as per the contract, it could be finished only in 2009 on account of delay in handing over of work site besides the extra work.
During this period, the SOR had changed thrice while the contractor had undertaken work as per the 2004 SOR. He had filed four representations to the government, in February 2009, March, December 2010 and July 2011, requesting to make the 2008 SOR applicable to the contract.
Through an order issued in September 2012, the government declined to grant 2008 SOR for the contract, citing that the contractor had specifically agreed to the condition that he would not claim any enhanced rate for the work done during the extended period.
The contractor sought a review of the decision but was declined by the government in October 2012.
Representing the contractor at the high court, senior counsel N Nandakumara Menon said the government had given enhanced rates to several contractors who had undertaken similar works under the Nabard scheme.
The government’s counsel argued that the contractor was not entitled to make any claim as he had submitted an estimate on the basis of the 2004 SOR.
According to the inquiry report of the chief engineer of the PWD administration wing, of the additional Rs 769 lakh sought, Rs 643 lakh was for excavation, which could not be verified as the work was already completed.
Ruling against rejection for not being able to verify, the court pointed out that the contractor had submitted several representations making such a claim at different times and the government failed to take them into consideration.
The government’s inter-office communication containing a statement of analysis of cost difference based on 2004 and 2008 SOR indicates that the contractor is entitled to a balance of Rs 4.97 crore, the court said.
Quashing the government orders rejecting the contractor’s claim for revision, the court ordered the government to consider his representation afresh and pass an order within three months.
Make teachers’ transfer rules family friendly: HC
P Vasanth Kumar, TNN Oct 2, 2013, 04.49AM IST
BANGALORE: A division bench of the high court headed by Chief Justice D H Waghela on Tuesday asked the state government to re-visit the rules on transfer of primary and middle school teachers.
The bench made this suggestion, while hearing a writ appeal preferred by the state government. The appeal challenged a single-judge bench’s directive to the state government to post a teacher near Ramanagaram town and also increasing one per cent cap on such request transfers to five per cent.
“Rules are often framed in a hurry. There is no corresponding link between rules and the act. Rule is made with the intention to help the spouses, who are living separately. But now, practically, rules are separating them from each other. Rules should not be anti-family. They should be friendly to the family. Rules should be framed in such a way that it will give priority to the spouses,” the bench observed.
Advocate General Prof Ravivarma Kumar accepted the suggestion and sought some time to have a re-look at the rules. He was of the view that the state has to prepare a draft and then invite objections and finalize the rules. He also assured the court that by next academic year new rules will be in force.
However, the bench declined to give time till January and adjourned the hearing to December 29.
C B Lalitha, who was working as assistant teacher in Chikkakanagalu village, Alur taluk, Hassan district, had sought transfer stating that her husband Shashidhar, a practising advocate, stayed in Bangalore.
Sex determination plaint against SRK unfounded: HC
Mumbai Mirror Oct 1, 2013, 12.00AM IST
The Bombay High Court, on Monday, said these sex determination complaint filed against actor Shah Rukh Khan and his wife Gauri was “unfounded”. Social activist Varsha Deshpande had accused the couple of determining the sex of their surrogate child AbRam.
“Prima facie, the court is of the opinion that it is an unfounded complaint. I am not saying it is a frivolous complaint, but it is unfounded, meaning without foundation,” observed Justice SadhanaJadhav.
The High Court was hearing a petition filed by Deshpande seeking early hearing of the complaint filed by her in a Metropolitan Magistrate’s court. She had sought action against Shahrukh, Gauri, Jaslok hospital and its doctor under the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act.
Deshpande’s petition said the Supreme Court says all cases under the Act concerned should be decided within six months. The HC enquired about the source of information with Deshpande’s advocate, Uday Warunjikar, who quoted a newspaper report dated June 14.
“The newspaper report does not include any statement of the actor couple. Don’t you think you should have put in some more effort to substantiate the complaint before making such sensitive allegations?” the court asked. The court also noted that while the newspaper report was of June 14, the child was born on May 27 and prior to that no report or statement was issued that the couple was havinga baby boy.
Suggesting that the parties should put an end to the matter in view of the Appropriate Authority’s conclusion, the court directed the BMC to submit by October 3, its report and other relevant documents before the magistrate.
Meanwhile, BMC counsel M P S Rao reiterated that the corporation had conducted inquiry into the allegations and has found that everything is in order and nothing is amiss.
Expedite process of implementing ‘citizens’ charter’ before winter session: HC
Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN Oct 2, 2013, 03.10AM IST
NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court sternly directed the Maharashtra government to take steps for early implementation of rules for the ‘Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005′ which is more commonly known as ‘citizens’ charter’.
“This court, expects the government to expedite the process, so that the draft rules for ‘citizens’ charter’ are placed before the state legislature in any case in the forthcoming winter session, for approval,” a single-judge bench comprising Justice Arun Chaudhari said, before adjourning the hearing by two months.
The directives came while hearing a petition filed by Vidarbha Taxpayers Association (VTA) secretary Tejinder Singh Renu who had originally filed the PIL on September 14, 2011. Earlier, he was allowed to knock off name of first respondent, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.
While explaining about the current position of draft rules, government pleader Nitin Sambre informed that the process to finalize them has already been expedited. He pointed out that legislative committee after making some recommendations would place those before the cabinet.
While hearing the PIL, the then division bench comprising justices Dilip Sinha and Ashok Bhangale, on December 21, 2011, had directed the government to affix ‘citizens’ charter’ on notice board of all its departments. “It’s important to note that provisions of ‘citizens’ charter’ by the government’s administrative departments must be made known to the common man for whom it is meant,” they had observed.
The judges had directed all 29 government departments to affix copy of ‘citizens’ charter’ on the notice board to be placed at the front lobby or at a place, easily visible to visitors. They were told to complete the exercise within two months and finalize the rules to carry out purpose of the Act without further delay.
As the government failed to take steps in this regard, Renu filed a contempt petition after which notices were issued to CM along with principal secretary of state General Administration Department (GAD) KP Bakshi and his counterpart at Law and Judiciary Department VL Achaliya, who is also the senior law adviser.
During last hearing, Renu contended that the approach of the respondents, including CM, was very casual and lethargic in implementation and compliance of the 2011 order. Even the legislative assembly had convened many sessions but the issue not even came for the discussion and rules of the Act of 2005 were not framed till date.
He also argued that the directives to display the ‘citizens’ charter’ in each administrative department and all their offices in Maharashtra were not being complied with in its entirety. Despite repeated reminders and specific requests made by the petitioner from time to time to the respondents, no action was taken in this regard.
Don’t take action against Bombay Hospital, HC to BMC
Swati Deshpande, TNN | Oct 3, 2013, 02.54 AM IST
The hospital dragged the BMC to court, challenging denial of exemptions since 2010. It questioned the “unlawful and exorbitant” demand. Hospital’s counsel Virag Tulzapurkar contended in the court last week that general tax could be levied for all buildings and lands in the city except those exclusively used and occupied for charitable purposes. They challenged the validity of the 2010 civic law that governs fixation of capital value of property to calculate property tax and said property tax for charitable hospitals cannot be calculated on the basis of capital value as a “separate category”.
Considering the importance of the issue that would have an impact on other charitable hospitals too, the high court has sought a reply from the BMC. It adjourned the matter to October 23. It said restraining order against the BMC is subject to the hospital depositing 25% of the demand raised.
“Instead of giving incentives to hospitals, especially private charitable hospitals doing excellent work, the BMC is taking away incentives one by one. This is most unfortunate,” said Subhash Kothari of Kanga & Co, the law firm that represents the Bombay Hospital.
The hospital’s case is that under the guise of rationalizing the property tax structure in Mumbai pursuant to the requirement of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNUURM) for financial viability of cities, the BMC “abused the provision of the scheme”. The BMC framed a law, by itself a mouthful, called the Factors and Categories of Users of Buildings and Lands (Assignment of Weightages by Multiplication) Fixation of Capital Value Rules, 2010. The implementation of the law began in May 2013 with retrospective effect.
The civic body, under the new rules, is calculating the taxes based on the age of the building, location, use and other factors and the hospital says, as a result, its property tax has shot up three times. For a hospital, there ought to be relaxations, said experts.
Relief to Alagiri as SC declines to interfere with HC order
The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to interfere with a judgment of the Madras High Court refusing to recall the Returning Officer as a witness to adduce evidence in the election petition against former Union Minister M.K. Alagiri filed by P.A. Mohan through legal representative A. Lazar.
A Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and Kurian Joseph, after hearing senior counsel Guru Krishna Kumar and counsel Balaji Srinivasan appearing for Mr. Lazar, dismissed the special leave petition against the High Court judgment.
In a brief order, the Bench said “Needless to say that the dismissal of special leave petition shall not be an impediment in challenging the impugned order in the appeal if the election petition is ultimately dismissed and the matter is carried to this court.”
In the election petition pending in the High Court, Mr. Lazar prayed for marking/exhibiting of documents already on record by the court’s witness, which were vital for adjudication of the petition by recalling the witness. However, the High Court rejected the plea holding that exhibiting the documents would require elaborate evidence and would delay the adjudication of the matter.
The appellant assailing the judgment said the documents were vital and required for prosecution of the case and the High Court had committed an error by rejecting his plea to recall the witness.
He prayed for quashing the judgment.
North Odisha lawyers fume over Naveen move on HC bench
By Express News Service – BALASORE
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s letter to Union Law minister Kapil Sibal recommending benches of High Court in Southern and Western Odisha has left the lawyers in North Odisha agitated.
Stating that the decision of the Chief Minister was politically motivated, lawyers of Balasore and Mayurbhanj districts have threatened to intensify their agitation. They said North Odisha has always been neglected, be it the demand for a Government medical college or separate revenue division.
Lawyers of Mayurbhanj on Tuesday staged an agitation before the district court. They decided to continue their cease-work till October 5 in protest against the Government’s indifferent attitude.
Balasore Bar Association president Niranjan Panda said unlike Western Odisha region, here lawyers have been resorting to peaceful demonstration by not hampering normal life. “But it does not mean that the Government would not consider our demand,” said Baripada Bar Association president Srinibas Pradhan.
While the lawyers of Mayurbhanj have demanded the circuit bench to be set up at Baripada, those in Balasore said they would support any place suitable for the people of the entire region comprising five districts including Jajpur, Bhadrak and Keonjhar.
The lawyers claimed that over 5,000 cases from the five districts of North Odisha were pending in the High Court which is much more than the total pending cases of any other region of the State.
Pay teachers pension, interest on dues, HC tells civic body
Oct 02, 2013 - Aamir Khan |
Pulling up the Brihanmumbai Muncipal Corporation (BMC) for withholding its teachers’ dues for the past 30 years and paying pension after deductions, the Bombay high court on Tuesday directed the civic body to pay their pension without any deductions. The court also said that the BMC is liable to pay 12 per cent interest on their dues.
A division bench of Justice S.J. Vazifdar and Justice K.R. Sriram was hearing the petition filed by two teachers — Hemalatha Varadan and Madhavi Pradhan. The retired teachers, in their petition, have stated that they were appointed as “trained teachers” in aided schools by the BMC.
The civic body, however, at the time of their retirement took a stand that they were not qualified and labelled them as “untrained teachers”, denying them proper pension, the petition states. The civic body is also in the process of recovering the difference in salary of a trained teacher and an untrained one by giving them a lower pension, it adds.
Appearing for the petitioners, advocate Rahul Walia informed the court that both the retired teachers were getting a meagre pension of `3,000 and even after around 30 years of service, they were denied their gratuity and other dues.
Taking cognisanse of the teachers’ plight, the court directed the BMC to pay pension without any deductions. “They (BMC) shall be liable to pay an interest of 12 per cent of gratuity and other dues in favour of the petitioners,” said the
Courts can question BMC on illegal structure notices
MUMBAI: In an important judgment, The Bombay HC has ruled that the civil court must consider facts and circumstances in each suit before deciding that it is barred from questioning the BMC’s power to issue notices or directions regarding unauthorized constructions.
Section 515A amendment was made to the BMC Act last year to take action against unauthorized constructions without intervention by way of stay usually obtained from city civil courts.
The HC’s ruling came on a petition by Abdul Mansoori, challenging the BMC’s August 1 notice under Section 354A (to vacate) of the BMC Act alleging that he had carried out an unauthorized construction on a plot in Bandra (W). Mansoori denied the allegation, saying the ground plus one storey structure has been in existence for several years. He said on August 5, the BMC demolished the first floor without giving him an opportunity to satisfy that the notice is bad in law. Mansoori then filed a suit in Dindoshi civil court, but taking note of the bar to the jurisdiction of the civil courts under Section 515A, he was denied interim relief. He then moved the HC. His advocate, Anita Castelino, expressed apprehension that the BMC would demolish the entire structure.
On September 13, a division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and Gautam Patel said the bar under Section 515A to civil courts to question any notice, order or direction under Section 351 (demolition) or 354A (to stop work) shall not be questioned in any suit or other legal proceedings “does not mean a suit before a civil court is per se not tenable”.
“In other words, a civil court’s power to take on a civil suit, as much as scrutinize and verify the plaint, register it, is not taken away by such a bar, adding that for that bar to apply, the civil court is obliged to consider the facts and circumstances in each suit and then apply Section 515A of the BMC Act.” They said unless the plea of ousting the jurisdiction based on Section 515A is considered in each case, the civil court’s jurisdiction is not ousted. “To non-suit somebody and prevent him from approaching a civil court merely because there is a statutory bar is not a correct understanding of the law,” they wrote.
The court has permitted Mansoori to seek interim relief before the civil court that will consider his plea in accordance with law.
Unfair practices in pharma sector under CCI scanner
PTI Oct 2, 2013, 02.01PM IST
NEW DELHI: Emphasising that pricing aspects ofpharmaceuticals are critical for the general public, CCIChairman Ashok Chawla has said that some cases of probe into alleged unfair practices in this space are in the “pipeline”.
Competition Commission of India (CCI) has already slapped penalties on some entities, including chemists and druggists associations, for indulging in unfair trade practices.
“There are a number of cases, which have been dealt with. There are some (more) cases in the pipeline,” CCI Chairman Ashok Chawla told PTI in an interview.
According to him, the Commission has already looked into many cases on the pharmaceutical retail side, while penalties have also been imposed on entities for adopting restrictive practices and not allowing others to enter the trade.
“That is an important area from our point of view because pharmaceutical retail and prices at the consumer end impact a very large number of the population.
“That is something which is critical from both the competition law point of view and also the socio-political point of view,” Chawla said.
On healthcare sector, the Commission is looking at possible anti-competitive practices with regard to hospitals asking patients to take the services of a particular entity.
However, the CCI chief noted that pricing of services in the healthcare would not exactly fall under its purview.
“When there is tying in of supply of services, there are some cases we are looking at…,” he said.
Without providing specific details, Chawla said that one case is at an advanced stage where the allegation is that of insisting on going to a certain supplier of services by a hospital.
“… otherwise whether the charges are high or low, it is not really for us to see.
“We don’t interfere in fixing of prices and the actual movements in the market place. That is not our job,” he noted.
CCI ensures fair trade practices across sectors in the market place.
AIR soft on officer charged with gender bias, says CAT
By Express News Service – CHENNAI
The All India Radio (AIR) has been pulled up by the Central Administrative Tribunal for taking lenient action against an employee against whom charges of treating female employees unequally was proved.
In this regard, the order of transfer of the official from Chennai to Karaikal has been set aside by the tribunal, stating it was not the suitable action in the instant case.
The matter pertains to one V Vijayakrishnan, a transmission executive at the AIR. In February, he was transferred from Chennai to Karaikal. The official had moved the tribunal against the transfer stating that it was done with malafide intentions as he contested an association election.
In its reply, the AIR said a number of complaints were received from women transmission executives against Vijayakrishnan alleging sexual harassment. This was followed by the formation of a five-member committee to probe the allegations.
The committee found him guilty of unequal treatment of women employees. The AIR said, based on the report, the official was transferred.
However, setting aside the transfer order, the bench said that the authorities should have taken “suitable action” instead of transferring him from Chennai.