LEGAL NEWS 30-31.01.2008

More judges in high court sought
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Patna/More_judges_in_high_court_sought/articleshow/4043481.cms
29 Jan 2009, 0519 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The convener of the coordination committee of three associations of lawyers of Patna High Court, Yogesh Chandra Verma, has demanded an increase in the sanctioned strength of judges in Patna High Court from 43 to 60. The coordination committee in its resolution urged the Bar Council of India (BCI) to consider the latest amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and take appropriate steps which would be abided by the legal fraternity across the country. Verma said the amendment to CrPC was carried out along with the passage of 11 other Bills in the Lok Sabha in just 20 minutes was a mockery of democratic functioning. He said lawyers across the country are sore over the amended provision in Section 309(b) of CrPC which makes an adjournment of hearing of criminal cases impossible even when the pleader concerned is attending another case in another court. Another amended provision in Section 309(c) of CrPC giving the court discretion to “record the statement of the witness and pass orders as it thinks fit dispensing with the examination-in-chief (recording of evidence given by the witness) and cross-examination of the witness” has been passed hurriedly, Verma said. He added that such discretion is given to the court “in case the witness is present in the court, but a party or his pleader is absent, or if the pleader present in the court is not ready to conduct examination-in-chief or cross-examination. But in totality, this would mean miscarriage of justice as examination-in-chief and cross-examination of witnesses are important for giving a correct verdict in a criminal case, Verma said.

CEC recommends removal of Navin Chawla
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/CEC_recommends_removal_of_Navin_Chawla/articleshow/4056239.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0955 hrs IST, TIMESOFINDIA.COM
NEW DELHI: The Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami has recommended to the government removal of the other Election Commissioner Navin Chawla. The BJP had alleged that Chawla was close to the Congress party. The recommendation comes about three months before Gopalaswami is to demit office on April 20 and is based on a petition by the BJP which had complained against the “partisan” functioning of Chawla. In 2006, leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha L K Advani and 204 MPs had submitted a petition to then President APJ Abdul Kalam seeking the removal of Chawla as Election Commissioner on the ground of alleged partisanship. The main opposition party also took the matter to the Supreme Court. Gopalaswami in his affidavit to the apex court had claimed that the CEC had suo motu power to recommend the removal of an Election Commissioner. Following which the BJP withdrew its petition in the apex court and again took up the issue with the CEC. Government had maintained in the Supreme Court that the CEC had no suo motu power power to remove an Election Commissioner. “I did my job. The report has been given,” Gopalswami told PTI but declined to elaborate. The Chief Election Commissioner’s recommendation ahead of the general elections brings to the fore the differences among the three-member body which has often been marred by clashes over crucial decisions. Only last year, Chawla had raised serious objections to the holding of the Karnataka assembly elections in May but was over ruled. Similarly, he is believed to have also had reservations over the conduct of assembly elections of Uttar Pradesh in the summer of 2007. Under the provisions of the Constitution, the recommendation of the CEC was required for the removal of an Election Commissioner. But it is not clear whether the government would act on the suo motu recommendation of the CEC for removal of Chawla. Sources said that Gopalaswami has believed to have given the recommendation but he was not sure whether the government would accept it. The Commission works on the principle of consensus and in case of differences, it goes by majority opinion. Gopalaswami is understood to be of the view that Chawla and the other Election Commissioner S Y Qurashi could get together and ensure that the Lok Sabha elections could very well start after April 20 once he is out of the Commission. This is for the second time that removal of an Election Commissioner is coming up before the poll panel. In 1990, soon after the National Front government came to power, it removed two Commissioners appointed by the Rajiv Gandhi government by reducing the number of Commissioners from the three-member Commission just before the 1998 polls.

Intricate issues involved in CEC’s recommendation: Congress
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Intricate_issues_involved_in_CECs_recommendation_Congress/articleshow/4056624.cms
31 Jan 2009, 1206 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Congress on Saturday said that Chief Election Commissioner N Goapalaswami’s recommendation for removal of Navin Chawla involve “several intricate issues of law”, including the “very jurisdiction of the CEC to exercise such powers on a colleague”. “We have no official notice of the recommendation or its content,” Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said. “There are several intricate issues of law involved including the very jurisdiction of the CEC to exercise such powers on a colleague,” he said. “Since press reports suggest that the matter is in the domain of the Central government, it would be premature to comment further till a considered view is taken keeping in mind all legal aspects at the Centre’s level,” he said.

BJP demands firm action on CEC’s recommendation on Chawla
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/BJP_demands_firm_action_on_CECs_recommendation_on_Chawla/articleshow/4056627.cms
31 Jan 2009, 1208 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: With Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami recommending the removal of his colleague Navin Chawla, the BJP today demanded “firm action” on the issue saying the “credibility” of the poll panel is “at stake”. “The credibility of the Election Commission is at stake with the CEC asking for the sacking of one of its members to the President,” BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said. He also demanded firm action on the issue, saying the development poses a threat to the democratic fabric of the country. “The Election Commission is now mired in controversy. In absence of a firm action, the fairness of the Commission would become a suspect, posing a threat to democracy and Constitution,” he added. Gopalaswami has recommended the removal of the other Election Commissioner Navin Chawla to the government. The recommendation comes about three months before Gopalaswami is to demit office on April 20 and is based on a petition by the BJP which had complained against the “partisan” functioning of Chawla. The BJP had alleged that Chawla was close to the Congress party.

CIC members refuse to declare assets in public
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/CIC_members_fail_to_raise_transparency_bar/articleshow/4054732.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0102 hrs IST, Himanshi Dhawan, TNN
NEW DELHI: Information commissioners have chosen not to disclose their own assets’ declaration on the CIC’s website, in a development which may cause many to wonder whether the transparency watchdog has trouble following what it preaches to others. In a candid admission, chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said, “All information commissioners have declared their assets but they felt that this information should not be put on the commission’s website. They did not want it on the CIC website.” Queried further why the transparency watchdog was not keen on disclosure of its assets, Habibullah said, “The commissioners felt that they could put up the information on their personal website.” Crucially, none of the eight commissioners have their own website. A recent CIC meeting saw information commissioners, save a couple of exceptions, vigorously contesting the idea of full public disclosure of their assets. They felt that giving income details would force state commissioners to follow suit, giving opportunity to those who wish to “embarrass them”. Sources said that since it was not “legally binding”, the commissioners decided to reject the idea. Though the law does not require the commissioners to make their assets public, information rights activists including Shailesh Gandhi, a commissioner himself, feel that the CIC should not take shelter behind technicalities. In fact, commissioners have often frowned upon and ruled against those who have cited procedures and conventions to resist demands that their assets be put in the public domain. The decision comes days after a CIC order in which it ruled that the Chief Justice of India is a public authority and information held by the CJI’s office — including the number and names of judges who have filed their assets — should be made public. The decision has been challenged by the SC in the Delhi High Court. The issue of declaration of assets by information commissioners was first raised by activist-turned-CIC member Shailesh Gandhi who has made his property statement public. In November 2008, a Pune-based applicant sent an e-mail to Habibullah asking information commissioners to reveal their personal income. In his reply, Gandhi gave details of his personal income and family wealth amounting to Rs 5.38 crore. He also wrote to Habibullah suggesting that other commissioners should, in public interest, follow suit. While making public details about his income, Gandhi said in response to an RTI appeal, “I believe that my decision to transparently declare my income and assets is right.” Times View
The CIC owes its very existence to the principle of transparency in public life. It must therefore go beyond just what the law mandates in furthering the cause of transparency. While passing orders on others it will be restricted by what the law says, in its own case it would do well to set a moral example for others to follow. This could be done by pro-active disclosures that may not, strictly speaking, be legally required. Hopefully, this will also shame other public bodies into following suit.

HC says RIL can sell gas, but subject to final verdict
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/HC_says_RIL_can_sell_gas_but_subject_to_final_verdict/articleshow/4053533.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0107 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN
MUMBAI: Accepting the Centre’s plea, the Bombay high court on Friday vacated all earlier interim orders and allowed Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries (RIL) to sell gas from its KG basin at government-approved price of $4.20 per mmBtu as an interim measure. The HC passed the interim order while reserving its judgment in the legal fight between the Ambani brothers over the gas supply agreement. Younger brother Anil Ambani’s RNRL has been contending that RIL should sell it gas on the same terms that RIL had agreed with NTPC – at $2.34 per mmBtu. RNRL had dragged RIL to the company court in 2006 which, in May 2007, restrained RIL from creating third party right on the gas to be produced from the KG basin. It is essentially against this order that the matter came into appeal before the HC bench where many hearings took place since july 2008 and concluded only on Friday. The HC lifted the stay on sale of gas by RIL in the larger public interest after observing that the company said it expected natural gas production by February end. As a result, till the final pronouncement of the judgment, which is expected by mid-March, RIL can now sell gas as per the priority list prepared according to gas utilisation policy and on price approved by the Empowered group of Ministers (EGoM). RIL which had also been seeking the vacation of the stay, however, did not seem entirely happy as it now has to sell first to the users in the government priority list which include the fertilizer sector, LPG plants and the power plants in that order.

Mumbai gangster acquitted of wife’s murder
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Mumbai_gangster_acquitted_of_wifes_murder/articleshow/4054388.cms
30 Jan 2009, 1958 hrs IST, PTI
MUMBAI: In the last of the cases pending against him in the city, gangster Ashwin Naik was on Friday acquitted by a special MCOCA court of ordering the murder of his wife in 2000 after suspecting her of infidelity.
Naik, who had 16 trials against him in the city, was acquitted by a special MCOCA Judge R G Avachat of hatching the conspiracy to have his wife Neeta killed.
Neeta, a corporator in the city’s civic body, was shot multiple times by two persons on November 13, 2000 at her residence in central Mumbai and died the following day.
The murder was allegedly planned by Naik since he suspected his wife Neeta of having an extra-marital relationship with a former policeman, Laxman Ziman.
Naik, who was heading his deceased brother Amar Naik’s gang, was lodged in the Delhi Tihar jail in connection with another case at the time of the attack.
“After this acquittal there are no other trials are pending against him in the city,” Kirti Dabir, Naik’s lawyer, told PTI.
The gangster, who is presently in Kalyan jail in neighbouring Thane, could however have some cases against him in other cities, she said.
Three persons were convicted and two acquitted for their alleged role in the conspiracy to carry out the murder.
One of the shooters, Sunil Jadhav, was sentenced to life imprisonment, while Manoj Bhalekar and Nilratan Mukherjee were sentenced to seven and five years in jail respectively by the court. Another alleged shooter in the murder, Santosh Pangrekar, was killed in a shootout with the police.

Judicial probe plea shot down
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/Judicial_probe_plea_shot_down/articleshow/4043976.cms
29 Jan 2009, 0211 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has dismissed a PIL seeking judicial intervention in the DDA house allotment scam probe.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Sanjeev Khanna dismissed the PIL which also sought a stay on the entire allotment process, alleging widespread misuse. HC was of the view that a police probe into the scheme and its system of allotment was already on so there was no need to intervene at this stage. The court asked the petitioner to approach it once the police investigations get over and if he wished to draw the court’s attention to some specific aspect of the case. In his PIL, the petitioner alleged that the police and DDA were both not competent enough to conduct a thorough impartial probe into the scam and demanded judicial scrutiny of the case. Seeking HC’s intervention, he argued that the entire allotment ought to be stayed till a judicial inquiry had unearthed all facts.

HC summons official over deaths of tribal children’s deaths
http://www.indopia.in/India-usa-uk-news/latest-news/490007/National/1/20/1
Published: January 29,2009

Mumbai , Jan 29 Taking cognisance of a letter about deaths of five tribal children, the Bombay High Court today converted it into a PIL, and summoned the concerned officer.
The deaths had occurred between September-October 2007 in Dahanu area of neighbouring Thane district.
One Suresh Shinda had written to the Chief Justice in December 2007, informing about newspaper report that five tribal children at government-run boarding school (ashram shala) were not provided medical aid when they fell sick.
Report alleged that instead of treating them, authorities handed them over to the parents. All the five children later died.
The school is run by the State Tribal Development Department under the Integrated Tribal Development Project. Ironically, this project aims at curbing infant mortality in the six tribal districts of the state.
The court was also informed about a report in a city tabloid last week which said that superintendent of another residential school in Dahanu had sexual relations with a minor student, which led to her pregnancy.
The division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Dhananjay Chandrachud has asked the concerned project officer in charge of ashramshalas in Thane as well as the reporter of the city tabloid to remain present in the court tomorrow.
Source: PTI

Slumdog Stars Sued
http://www.bollyspice.com/view.php/2351-slumdog-stars-sued.html

By Rima Bhatia – BollySpice.com28 Jan 2009
It may be a Golden Globe award winner; it may also have Oscar nominations creating a lot of buzz in the media across the world. However, on this occasion, Slumdog Millionaire is in the press for all the wrong reasons, especially in India.Andheri Sessions Court in Mumbai has disclosed a PIL by Andheri Corporator Nicolas Almeida which asserts that the film’s title is distasteful and it should be altered from Slumdog Millionaire to Slum Dash Millionaire.”I have no objection against the film but why were we called dogs in the film,” Almeida wanted to know.The bad news doesn’t stop there either. General Secretary Tapeshwar Vishwakarma of Slum-dwellers’ Joint Action Committee filed a defamation case against AR Rahman and Anil Kapoor in a local court in Patna, alleging that Slumdog Millionaire was a poor representation of slum-dwellers.”It’s an insult to everyone who is living in slums in India. This film should not run in this country. They called us dogs,” Vishwakarma said.The hearing for the PIL case will be held on February 25 in Mumbai, three days after finding out whether their nominations in the Oscars turn into actual awards. It seems as though Slumdog Millionaire will be in the media for a while. Whether it enjoys this kind of attention or not is a different story altogether.

Push for vote-for-none option
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090129/jsp/nation/story_10454071.jsp
SAMANWAYA RAUTRAY
New Delhi, Jan. 28: The poll panel today told the Supreme Court ballot papers and EVMs should have a “none of the above” option for persons unwilling to vote for any candidate, but the Centre has trashed the demand as “impractical”.
“The last clause of a ballot paper and the last button on EVMs should have a ‘none of the above’ option,” Election Commission lawyer Meenakshi Arora said during a hearing on a PIL filed by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties.
The demand for the “NOTA” option has grown louder since the November 26 Mumbai attacks, which saw a backlash against politicians for failing to protect the common people.
A court order authorising the poll panel to insert the clause cannot be implemented rightaway because of logistical reasons. Till a law is put in place, such an order would suffice as a stopgap arrangement.
Under existing rules, people not wishing to vote for any candidate can do so by informing the polling officer, Arora said. The voter would have to sign in the polling register and give reasons for his/her decision.
But the problem with this method was that the voter would have to make his dissatisfaction with candidates public, she said.
“All the people around, the polling officers, the agents and other voters, will come to know that he has not exercised his vote,” she said.
Before EVMs came into currency, people would cancel their votes by scribbling things like “sab chor hai (all candidates are thieves)”, Arora said. But this would only render the ballot papers invalid.
Arora said the right to vote was part of a citizen’s right to freedom of expression and included the right to refrain from voting or stating that he/she was averse to voting against any candidate.
The counsel for the Centre said such a clause would not help under the Indian system of voting. He said the right to vote was a statutory duty, not a fundamental right.
Arguments in the case will continue tomorrow.
Row over poll dates
A day after election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi declared in London that the general election would be held between April 8 and May 15, the poll panel clarified no dates had been decided yet.
“The Election Commission has not met so far to decide any dates for the general election. Any story quoting dates has no authenticity,” a spokesperson said today.
Later, chief election commissioner N. Gopalaswami repeated this. “The commission has not met on the dates,” he said, adding that the meetings would begin next week.
Several political leaders, including railway minister Lalu Prasad, complained to the commission against what they said was an announcement of poll dates on foreign soil.

JPSC under vigilance glare
http://www.telegraphindia.com/1090129/jsp/frontpage/story_10453215.jsp
SUMAN K SHRIVASTAVA
Ranchi, Jan. 28: Governor Syed Sibtey Razi has ordered a vigilance probe into alleged irregularities in examinations conducted by the Jharkhand Public Service Commission to recruit 60 deputy collectors, thereby setting the tone of the kind of administration he would like to head under President’s rule.
According to a communiqué issued by Raj Bhavan today, the governor approved a proposal mooted by the personnel department to have the state vigilance inquire into JPSC’s bungling while conducting the first “limited examinations” for recruiting deputy collectors from among government staff in April 2006.
Today’s move comes after the former Shibu Soren government ignored Raj Bhavan’s earlier directive to conduct a probe into allegations of foul play levelled by the special branch.
But, the personnel department swung into action after the imposition of President’s rule and resurrected the issue, leading to Razi himself ordering a vigilance probe in the matter.
The results of the competitive examinations, in which over 7,500 government employees appeared, had to be withheld after .P. Khare, the then IG, Special Branch, reported that examinees at three centres — RTC High School, Anita Girls’ High School, Kanke and Hinoo United School — had resorted to malpractice.
Thereafter, Ratan Tirkey, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Party president, filed a PIL in high court seeking a probe. The court, however, rejected his petition.
The JPSC, too, did not evaluate the papers.
As a result, state government employees who took the exams were denied promotions to the rank of deputy collector for over three years.
According to sources in the JPSC, soon after the IG’s letter was made public, the JPSC sought a report from the district administration as well as the exam superintendents at the three centres.
But, all of them refuted the inspector-general’s allegations.

Janaagraha gives suggestions
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bangalore/Janaagraha_gives_suggestions/articleshow/4044059.cms
29 Jan 2009, 0035 hrs IST, TNN
Bangalore : A division Bench on Wednesday adjourned hearing on PIL filed by Janaagraha, seeking to codify rules and regulations on holding rallies in Bangalore. The court asked the authorities to consider suggestions given by the petitioners and merge the points in the final notification. In the draft notification, Bangalore police had stated that it would not permit any rally comprising more than 15,000 people. Suggestions by Ramesh Ramanathan of Janaagraha * Applicants must be told to identify the meeting place, plus the area where the rally will end if the participants plan to move from one place to another * Licence should show the number of participants, which can’t be more than 15,000. It should also show duration, venue, route, etc. Rallies should be held during non-peak hours * Licence should show usage of loud speakers and permissible decibel levels depending on the venue * Number of vehicles (taking part in the rally) should not exceed 500 (buses) and 750 (light motor vehicles). The total number of vehicles (all classes) should not be more than 750. Ban open-roof trucks during rallies * Applicants should state in the licence that they shall clean the venue immediately after the event is over, failing which they will be penalized * For political rallies, license should be granted subject to deposit of a refundable amount, which should be determined based on the number of participants. This amount should not be less than Rs 20 lakh. Breach of licence terms will give the licensing authority to forfeit the security deposit * Authorities should set up a system to tow away vehicles that break down during rallies

Satyam Scam: SEBI files writ against local court order
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Software/Satyam_Scam_SEBI_files_writ_against_local_court_order/articleshow/4046490.cms

29 Jan 2009, 1244 hrs IST, PTI
HYDERABAD: The SEBI on Thursday filed a writ petition in the Andhra Pradesh High Court questioning the validity of the orders passed by a local court rejecting their request to record the statement of B Ramalinga Raju of Satyam Computers. The 6th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate had rejected SEBI’s request on the ground of lack of proper authorisation. The case will come up for hearing before the High Court tomorrow.

Delhi serial blasts: HC issues notice to police
http://www.ptinews.com/pti/ptisite.nsf/0/34A10078BBDF82BF6525754E00294F52?OpenDocument

New Delhi, Jan 30 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today issued notice to city police on a bail plea of a suspected terrorist allegedly involved in the Delhi serial blasts who wants to appear for an MBA exam next month.Saquib Nisar, who has been in custody since he was arrested on September 20, 2008, pleaded that he should be granted bail to appear in MBA third semester examination which is to begin from February 7 in Delhi.”The gravity of the allegations cannot and should not bar the right of any accused to pursue his studies,” Saquib’s counsel, Vikas Padora pleaded before the Court.Justice Reva Khetrapal asked the Delhi police to verify whether Saquib is a second year management student of Sikkim Manipal University and asked it to file a response by February 4 when the matter will be taken up for further hearing.The police have already filed chargesheet against Saquib Nissar and other accused – Mohd Saif, Zeeshan Ahmed, Zia-ur Rehman and Mohd Shakeel in the September 13 serial blasts. They have been accused of waging war against the nation under the Indian Penal Code.According to the police, all the accused who have been named in the chargesheet were also involved in the serial blasts in Jaipur and Ahmedabad.They had visited Ahmedabad before the July 26 serial blasts under fake names which came to light during the investigations and was confirmed by examining the railway tickets and reservation chart, the police said in the chargesheet. PTI

Lok Adalats can decide cheque bouncing cases: HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Lok_Adalats_can_decide_cheque_bouncing_cases_HC/articleshow/4049416.cms
30 Jan 2009, 0013 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: In an important judgment, the Bombay high court has held that Lok Adalats can decide cheque bouncing cases, and their verdict is final in such matters. Dismissing a petition that challenged the application filed by a creditor seeking implementation of the award passed by the Lok Adalat, Justice Anoop Mohta said that parties cannot go back on their word once the tribunal grants an order. “Having obtained an award from Lok Adalat, the party is not permitted to resile from the same. It attains finality to the dispute between the parties finally and binds all,” said the judge. Legal experts say the order is welcome given the large number of cases of cheque bouncing pending before the criminal courts. Under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, a person held guilty for a dishonoured cheque can be imprisoned for up to a year and/or fined twice the amount of the cheque. Though such cases have to be decided within six months, at last count, there were over 5.6 lakh cheque bouncing cases in courts across Maharashtra. Efforts to bring down the backlog with exclusive courts have yielded little result. Further, the government’s recent decision to hike court fees payable on cheque bouncing cases from Rs 200 to a maximum of Rs 1.5 lakh, makes it more difficult for victims. In such cases, taking the matter before alternative tribunals like the Lok Adalat’s can lessen the burden of the existing courts. Under the law, matters, including that of cheque bouncing cases, can be heard by the Lok Adalat if both the parties in the dispute voluntarily agree to settle the issue. The present case relates to a dispute between Solapur resident S J Unnad who had lent Rs 5 lakh to a garment firm M/s Subhash Narasappa Mangrule. When a cheque issued by the firm to repay the money bounced, Unnad approached the courts in 2001. Two years later in July 2003, the matter was transferred to the Lok Adalat, where the parties reached a compromise and the firm agreed to pay Rs 4 lakh to Unnad. The firm however failed to keep its end of the bargain, forcing Unnad to approach the civil court for executing the Lok Adalat’s award. The firm challenged Unnad’s application on the ground that the it was not maintainable as the award was passed in a criminal case. When the issue reached the HC, it dismissed the firm’s contentions. The judge cited section 21 of the Legal Services Authorities Act which mandates that “every award of the Lok Adalat shall be deemed to be a decreed of Civil Court and the same shall be final and binding on all the parties. “Such order is not even appealable,” said the judge. “The parties were fully aware that under the Act, the District Legal Services Authority may explore the possibility of holding pre-litigation Lok Adalats in respect of the cheque bouncing cases. The compromise in such cases would be treated as Award having force of a decree,” said the judge, adding that objections now raised by the debtor was “untenable”. shibu.thomas1@timesgroup.com

Set up new AIDS treatment hospital in one year: HC tells Centre
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Set_up_new_AIDS_treatment_hospital_in_one_year_HC_tells_Centre/articleshow/4049262.cms
30 Jan 2009, 0203 hrs IST, Shibu Thomas, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday directed the Union government to set up a new building of AIDS Research and Treatment Centre in Navi Mumbai within a year. A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud passed the order on a suo motu public interest litigation based on a letter sent by an HIV-positive

person against the closure of the AIDS research centre in Vile Parle. The AIDS centre, which was run by the Regional Research Institute of Homeopathy, had been operating for around two decades from the CMP Homeopathy Medical College campus at Irla in Vile Parle. RRIH is a part of the Union Central Council for Research that conducted research on HIV/AIDS with the scientists from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. Last year, the medical college asked RRIH to vacate the premises by December 2008 as it needed the space for its own activities. A Santa Cruz resident, who has been availing of HIV treatment since 1992 from the Irla centre, wrote to the Chief Justice, stating his plight and urging the court to stop the closure. According to him, around 2,500 patients would be affected if the was shut down. “Several poor AIDS patients will die for want of treatment as allopathic medicines are not affordable,” the letter stated. The petitioner added that it was the constitutional obligation of the authorities to look into the needs of AIDS patients and provide space as well as necessary medical treatment for the life threatening disease. If the government failed to provide the facilities it would be a violation of the fundamental rights to life under the Constitution, he said. Assistant government pleader Rajeev Chavan, representing the Union government, told the court that Cidco had offered 2,000 sq m of land in Nerul or Kharghar for a new building for the RRIH. The government further sought two years’ time to construct the building. The court, however, directed the Centre to complete construction and relocate the AIDS centre within a year. The judges also asked the Centre to furnish an undertaking to the court that they would vacate the Irla premises in a year. shibu.thomas1@timesgroup.com

Petition in HC over allotting Kadapa road contract to Maytas Infra
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Hyderabad/Petition_in_HC_over_allotting_Kadapa_road_contract_to_Maytas_Infra/articleshow/4049235.cms
30 Jan 2009, 0218 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: A petition was filed in the AP High Court on Thursday asking it to declare the entrustment of a road formation work worth Rs 121 crore in Kadapa district to Maytas Infra, a sister concern of scam-hit Satyam Computers as illegal. The petitioners P Narayana Reddy and two others of Obannapeta village in Kondapuram mandal of Kadapa district sought to know the urgency involved in entrusting this work to Maytas infra on a nomination basis by the R and B wing of the state government when several state governments like Karnataka, Maharashtra are withdrawing the works that were already allotted to this company in view of the inquiries launched against Maytas Infra in connection with the Satyam scam. The state government has allotted through G O Rt No 1830 on December 20, 2008 to Maytas the formation of this 30 km road from Mangapatnam to K Sugumanchipalli of Kadapa district. The petitioners also brought to the notice of the court that this Maytas Infra was allotted several contracts worth hundreds of crores of rupees in the construction of more than 20 irrigation projects in the state. The matter is likely to come up for hearing on Friday.

BAS exam row: HC reserves order
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Patna/BAS_exam_row_HC_reserves_order/articleshow/4049060.cms
30 Jan 2009, 0344 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Thursday reserved order on writ petitions of 150 aspirants for posts of Bihar Administrative Service (BAS). They had challenged the result of the preliminary tests for the 48th to 52nd combined competitive examinations conducted by the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC). A single bench presided over by Justice Navin Sinha reserved the order after hearing counsel of the candidates and BPSC. The court said that the order would be pronounced on January 30 as the main examination of the 48th to 52nd competitive test is scheduled to begin from February 2. The writ petitioners submitted that the result of the BPSC preliminary test was untenable as many questions were faulty while some model answers were also wrong. Some petitioners also said that the numbers of question sets given to the aspirants varied and, hence, the preliminary test proved to be discriminatory.

HC fiat to cops over gun licences
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/HC_fiat_to_cops_over_gun_licences/articleshow/4049308.cms
30 Jan 2009, 0250 hrs IST, TNN
The Bombay high court on Thursday directed the Mumbai police to furnish complete details of the gun licences issued between 2005 and 2008.
Hearing a petition filed by a lawyer representing the blast accused challenging the denial of a license to him, a division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice Anoop Mohta asked the police to submit the document within a week’s time. The lawyer Khan Abdul Wahab had applied for a license in 2005. The Kurla police claimed that Wahab had never complained of receiving threats or that there was a threat perception.
The court, however, pointed out that under the rules, a gun license can be denied only for three reasons – if the person applying is of unsound mind, or if it is prohibited under the law or if the police have reason to believe that it will affect public peace.

‘Proof to nail HC judge in land scam’
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Proof_to_nail_HC_judge_in_land_scam/articleshow/4049858.cms
30 Jan 2009, 0244 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra , TNN
NEW DELHI: Justice Nirmal Yadav of Punjab and Haryana High Court had cited her immense wealth to brush off charges in the infamous ‘cash-at-door’ scam and replied to a notice from the Chief Justice of India with a curt “look within for the culprit” response. But evidence collected by CBI indicating her involvement in the Solan land purchase and registration scam will make it very hard for her to find an alibi to shrug off the charges of grave judicial impropriety. The preliminary probe report submitted by CBI to CJI K G Balakrishnan reveals how Justice Yadav played a key role in the purchase and registration of land at Solan, allegedly in connivance with a Delhi-based hotelier-industrialist and others. CBI, which is seeking the CJI’s permission, mandatorily required, to register a regular case into the land scam, suspects that Rs 15 lakh, “wrongly” delivered at the residence of another judge Nirmaljit Kaur, was actually meant as a consideration for the official influence Justice Yadav exerted over local bureaucrats to get land registered in the name of her daughter and 17 others, including family members of a Haryana cabinet minister. The registration “happened smoothly” despite purchasers providing fictitious addresses and pseudo-names, thanks to Justice Yadav’s diktat to the Solan tehsildar, the CBI alleged. This allegation figures prominently in the report against the judge, who has been on leave since August last year after the scam became public. The CBI has recorded the tehsildar’s statement, giving details of phone calls made by Justice Yadav to him to see that the land registration went off smoothly. The three-member judicial committee — comprising two Chief Justices and a senior judge of different HCs — had also got wind of the tainted Solan land deal and mentioned this in their report to Justice Balakrishnan. Justice Yadav had cried foul at being “framed” and in her response to the CJI, had defiantly sought a probe into the committee’s ancillary finding that “a judge of the SC and a senior judge of the Punjab and Haryana HC may have been present in Justice Kaur’s house at the time of delivery of cash”. She had alleged that “it is a patent case of travesty of justice that the judge from whose custody the cash is recovered should continue to sit on a Bench and I should be made a scapegoat only because a judge of the SC and a senior judge of the HC are found to be interfering in the investigation and creating a wrongful assumption by the committee that the inquiry is only required to be conducted against me”. But with the Tehsildar ready to depose against Justice Yadav, the CBI appears to have a water-tight case against the judge.

Maoists’ killing: HC asks govt to exhume bodies
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Maoists_killing_HC_asks_govt_to_exhume_bodies/articleshow/4049862.cms
30 Jan 2009, 0246 hrs IST, TNN
RAIPUR: The Chhattisgarh HC on Thursday asked the state government to exhume bodies of some of the 15 tribals who were killed during an encounter at Shimgavaan village in Dantewada district on January 8. Responding to a petition by an NGO, Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, the HC directed the state government to conduct an autopsy on these bodies. While the petition alleged that the tribals were killed in a fake encounter, the police maintained they were ‘armed Maoists’. Sources said that as per tribal practice some of the bodies were cremated, while others buried. The petition argued that the post-mortem of the deceased were not performed. The state, however, did not oppose the application. The court directed the authorities to conduct post-mortem on February 1.

HC issues arrest order on Golden Freesia
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/HC_issues_arrest_order_on_Golden_Freesia/articleshow/4049367.cms
30 Jan 2009, 0110 hrs IST, Jaya Menon, TNN
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has ordered the arrest of a Korean ship flying Panama flag, for its failure to pay wages and maintenance arrears to its 19 crew members. The ship had declared bankruptcy and expressed its inability to pay up dues. Justice M Jeyapaul issued the arrest orders on Thursday, after the sailors’ counsel S Vasudevan submitted that the crew had not been paid wages since September 2008. They had joined the ship — MT Golden Freesia – in May 2008, he said. It arrived at Chennai Port on December 10. The owners of the ship had also failed to pay port and bunkering charges to the Chennai-based shipping agent. The agent had also been supplying provisions for the crew. This suit was filed by Hay Man Soe (28 years), Nay Myo Linn (21) and Aung Myo Win (33), who represented 16 others as well. According to them, though the ship’s owners were in Panama, it was being managed by M/s First Shipping Company Limited in Seoul. They said their salary dues amounted to 19,763 US dollars, which worked out to about Rs 9.59 lakh in Indian rupees at the exchange rate of Rs 48.5 per dollar. Despite several telephone calls and reminders, the owners did not pay up the arrears though they promised payment, the suit contended. The crew members, who signed contract and joined the vessel at a port in China, said the owners of the vessel were liable to provide air ticket, visa charges and accommodation for the crew, besides their monthly salary and repatriation charges. The ship entered the Chennai waters, carrying Palmoil. Even after the cargo was discharged, the owners of the vessel failed to pay wages, they said, adding that they approached International Transport Workers Federation office at Chennai as well as the Seamen Welfare Officer at Chennai for help. On Thursday, Vasudevan told the judge that the crew members were in great distress and that supply of fuel and other essentials were dwindling aboard the vessel. The ship required attention to maintain sea-worthiness, he said, adding that the master of the vessel had borrowed money from some of the crew members for purchase of essentials for the survival of the crew. Essentials available on board will last only for a few more days and unless the owners supply these necessaries immediately the vessel and its crew will suffer, he said. He wanted the court to arrest the ship and order its sale, so as to pay the crew and other dues out of the sale proceeds.

HC: Is threat to life necessary for a gun licence?
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1226183
Mayura Janwalkar
Friday, January 30, 2009 3:29 IST
Mumbai: “When there is danger, the police does not protect,” justice Bilal Nazki said on Thursday while hearing a petition filed by a criminal advocate who apprehended a threat to his life but was refused an arms licence.
The petitioner advocate Khan Abdul Wahab, has defended two accused in the Gateway and Zaveri Bazaar blast case and is now defending Emile Jerome in the Neeraj Grover murder case. Wahab had applied for a gun licence in August last year stating that he apprehended a threat to his life.
Additional public prosecutor Pradeep Hingorani told the court that after receiving his application, the state home department that sanctions had inferred that there was no threat to his life.
The court, however, was of the view that there is “no application of mind” in the police’s decision to refuse Wahab a licence. “Is it necessary to have a threat to life? Does that mean that all the people who have been given a licence had a threat to their life?” Nazki asked.
Justice Nazki and Anoop Mohta have sought a list from the state with names of persons who were given an arms licence between 2005 and 2008 and the reason for the same.
Arguing for Wahab, his counsel SR Chitnis said that there have been attacks on criminal advocates like Majeed Memon and two advocates who were killed — Liaqat Ali and Kishore Sutrale — were undefended. He pointed out to the court that under section 14 of the Arms Act, 1959, having no threat to life is no ground to refuse someone a licence. Under the Act, only a person of an unsound mind or a person who can be a threat to public peace and safety can be refused a licence.

Maoists’ killing: HC asks govt to exhume bodies

http://birlaa.com/news/maoists-killing-hc-asks-govt-to-exhume-bodies/33118
The Chhattisgarh HC on Thursday asked the state government to exhume bodies of some of the 15 tribals who were killed during an encounter at Shimgavaan village in Dantewada district on January 8.

‘Proof to nail HC judge in land scam’
http://birlaa.com/news/proof-to-nail-hc-judge-in-land-scam/33119
Justice Nirmal Yadav of Punjab and Haryana HC had cited her immense wealth to brush off charges in the infamous ‘cash-at-door’ scam and replied to a notice from the CJI with a curt – look within for the culprit – response.

JUDICIARY can’t be squarely blamed for pendency in court cases’
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bangalore/Judiciary_cant_be_squarely_blamed_for_pendency_in_court_cases/articleshow/4049245.cms
30 Jan 2009, 0601 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: The judiciary can’t be squarely blamed for the pendency in court cases, as the state itself accounts for most of the delay. That’s how P D Dinakaran, Chief Justice, High Court of Karnataka, reacted to the general concern over delayed justice in the country, on Thursday. Speaking at an event organized by the Karnataka Advocates’ Society (KAS), the Chief Justice pointed out that governments were major litigants fighting cases in the courts and called for a “change in the attitude” from governments as well as the people, to ensure that justice is not delayed. Highlighting land acquisition cases, Justice Dinakaran said there was no meeting point on the stands taken by the state and public. “The judiciary is not delaying justice. If the attitude of the state and the public is changed, 50% of the cases could be disposed of,” he said. While agreeing that sometimes courts also accounted for the delay due to inefficient time-management practices, the CJ said creation of new courts and tribunals was imperative in delivering timely justice. Responding to the contention that access to justice is limited in the country, despite it being a democracy, he underlined that the country was independent and democratic only politically, and social and economic independence were still not attained. `Act sensibly’ Earlier, delivering a talk on `Democracy and Access to Justice’, K Venkatapathy, minister of state for law and justice, also pointed out that governments at various levels were the largest ligitants. “It may not be avoidable in a functional democracy. But at least a part of such litigations can be avoided if public servants and law-enforcing authorities act sensibly and use their authority with responsibility,” he said. The minister highlighted that around three crore cases were pending in the country (cases in Supreme Court, high courts and subordinate courts put together).

Dighi port: High court tells state to file reply in 7 days
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Dighi_port_High_court_tells_state_to_file_reply_in_7_days/articleshow/4049390.cms
30 Jan 2009, 0009 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday directed the union ministry of forest and environment, the Maharashtra government, the Raigad collector, Maharashtra Maritime Board, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and the Dighi Port Trust to reply within a week to a petition seeking cancellation of the sanctions given for the development of Dighi Port. The petition has raised the challenge on grounds of large-scale environmental damage, illegal reclamation of the sea and violation of the villagers’ right to life. The little scenic coastal hamlet in Raigad district had shot into limelight after it was discovered that explosives used in the 1993 serial blasts in the city were smuggled into the country through Dighi. Villagers are concerned about the illegal blasting of hills and the resultant denuding of large swathes of green forest cover by Dighi Port Limited, a private venture constructing the medium-sized port. A PIL filed by the Dighi Koli Samaj has sought a stay on the development work until the damage caused to the mangroves, flora and fauna and traditional fishermen is assessed, reversed and prevented. The villagers, mostly fisherfolk and agriculturists, said Dighi Port Limited has been violating the Environmental Act. They claim the firm has also been flouting the stringent norms laid down in the September 2005 environmental clearance for the project. On Thursday, when the matter came up before a bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice D Y Chandrachud, the petitioner’s lawyer R K Mendadkar showed photographs of massive destruction being caused to the hills, the forest and coastline. The judges asked Iqbal Chagla, counsel for Dighi Port Limited, if the graphic images of hills being razed illegally were true. Chagla said all permissions were in order for the first phase of the port development. He sought time to file a reply. The villagers had earlier approached the environment ministry through their lawyer. They said they were “kept in the dark” about the Dighi Port Development project. Pointing out that about 250 metres of land was reclaimed along the coastline, the villages said this was in gross violation of the project approval conditions. In February 2008, the ministry, acting on the villagers’ complaint directed the chief conservator of forests, Bhopal to inspect the project site and verify compliance of the environmental clearance. However, some villagers, allegedly under duress, signed “consent terms” with the private port developer. The petition pointed out that although a year has gone by since their complaint to the environment ministry, no action has been taken. s.deshpande@timesgroup.com

Lawyers engage in war of words over Srikrishna report
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Lawyers_engage_in_war_of_words_over_Srikrishna_report/articleshow/4049388.cms
30 Jan 2009, 0310 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN
NEW DELHI: Muslim organisations for long have been urging the Supreme Court to ensure in toto the implementation of Srikrishna Commission’s caustic report on 1992 Mumbai riots, but their counsel – both reputed senior advocates – had a bitter face-off in full public view in the Chief Justice of India’s courtroom on Thursday. Seconds after a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal left the courtroom for lunch after adjourning hearing in the case, senior advocates Rajeev Dhawan and Colin Gonsalves traded charges. Gonsalves, who was unhappy over the way the other senior advocate was conducting himself during the hearing, charged Dhawan of “compromising the case”. An angry Dhawan, generally erudite in his arguments on constitutional issues, was equal to the task with a below the belt remark, calling Gonsalves “an entrepreneur of minority rights”. Responding angrily to the continuing muttering by Gonsalves reiterating that his colleague had “compromised” the stand of the petitioners in the case, Dhawan termed his opponent as “the tail piece in the tale”, indicating the latter’s late entry into the riot case litigation in SC. The two grey haired lawyers were finally dissuaded from a full fledged war of words by another, who said, “It does not look nice when two seniors fight in the court.” Though both left the courtroom without looking at each other, the verbal sniping continued till they were out in the open. Before breaking into the slanging match, Gonsalves, representing Shakil Ahmed, made a serious grievance before the bench about the manner in which the prosecution and judiciary had discriminated between the two inter-linked events – 1992 Mumbai riots and 1993 serial blasts. “While trial in blast-related cases have been over, majority of the accused convicted and handed down death, life and other harsh sentences, there has not been a single conviction in riot-related cases,” he said. In the 1992 riots, over 900 people were killed and the commission indicted several policemen, yet there were only acquittals and no action against the erring policemen, he complained. Maharashtra counsel Ravindra Adsure raised a technical objection. Verdicts of trial court acquitting the accused had to be challenged in proper forum and the SC could not entertain a PIL on this issue, he said. Agreeing with him, the bench said the apex court could at best issue some general guidelines relating to the manner in which these cases could be dealt by the police, prosecution and the trial court. It adjourned further hearing on the case, pending since 1998, to March 19. Gonsalves alleged that as many as 30 officers were indicted for their involvement in the riots and most of them had been recommended to be dismissed from service, but though the state government has accepted the recommendations, it has instead given promotions to these officers. dhananjay.mahapatra@timesgroup.com

Govt stand on mining lease sought
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Goa/Govt_stand_on_mining_lease_sought/articleshow/4049434.cms
30 Jan 2009, 0056 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: In response to a PIL filed by Goa Foundation, the high court of Bombay at Goa on Thursday directed the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MEF) to explain its stand on the validity of the mining lease of an iron and manganese ore mine at Caurem-Rivona. The petitioners have challenged the validity of the mining lease granted to the mine owned by one Salim Sheikh. In their petition, they have complained that the mine is running sans Central government approval, even after the lease period had expired in 1987. During the hearing, petitioner’s advocate Norma Alvares said that the mine owner continues to extract ore without renewing the mining lease. The mine owner had applied for a renewal of the lease somewhere in November 1988, however, his applications are still pending before the state government and the MEF, she said. She said that the mine consists of forest land and requires clearance by the Ministry under the Forest Conservation Act (FCA), 1980. The Division Bench of Justices P B Majmudar and N A Britto has asked the MEF to clarify whether the mine can continue operating in a forest area without the approval of the Central government FCA.

Shankar Nag accident: Family to get Rs 26.8 lakh
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bangalore/Shankar_Nag_accident_Family_to_get_Rs_268_lakh/articleshow/4049219.cms
30 Jan 2009, 0605 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: A division bench headed by Justice K Shridhar Rao awarded Rs 26,80,155, plus interest at 6%, to Arundhati Nag, wife of Shankar Nag, the popular Kannada actor who died in a car crash about 20 years ago. The Bench gave this finding on an appeal filed by her, challenging the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal (MACT) order which had awarded Rs 25,62,131 as compensation. Shankar Nag, of Malgudi Days fame, died in a car crash at Anagodu village on the outskirts of Davanagere town on the morning of September 30, 1990, while proceeding to Dharwad with his wife and daughter Kavya, for the shooting of his film Jokumaraswamy. Arundhati had claimed Rs 1.25 cr in compensation before the tribunal.

Nithari killings: first judgement on Feb 12
http://www.ptinews.com/pti/ptisite.nsf/0/C8870DD8405948A66525754E003F73B3?OpenDocument
Ghaziabad, Jan 30 (PTI) Over two years after the grisly Nithari killings came to light, the special CBI court will give its first judgement in the matter on February 12 as it has completed proceedings in the Rimpa Haldar murder case.Special Judge Rama Jain completed the proceedings after the re-cross examination of former Noida police officer Dinesh Yadav on January 27 and the recording of statements of the prime accused — Moninder Singh Pandher and his servant Surender Kohli.Victim’s counsel Khalid Khan had made a request two days back about the conviction of both the accused.The CBI had filed the chargesheet against Kohli in May 2007, and given a clean chit to Pandher saying he was in Australia when Haldar was raped and murdered.However, during the trial, victim’s advocate got the same charges pressed against Pandher stating there was no specific date of murder of Haldar on record and to give the benefit to to Pandher was not justified by the CBI.A total of 19 cases of killings, mainly of girls and women, were registered at the Noida police station in December 2006 and all the cases were transferred to CBI for investigation. The agency till date had filed chargesheets in 16 cases and in all, it gave a clean chit to Pandher while framed charges against Kohli.Haldar was a married woman and was called by Kohli to work at Pandher’s bunglow as a maid servant. She was reportedly missing before the disclosure of the Nithari killings. PTI

SC grants bail to Ansal brothers
http://keralaonline.com/news/sc-grants-bail-ansal-brothers_19330.html

New Delhi, Friday 30 January 2009: The Supreme Court has granted bail to the Ansal brothers — Sushil and Gopal — who were convicted and sentenced to one-year imprisonment in the Uphaar fire tragedy case.
A bench, headed by Justice S B Sinha, also issued notices on the cross appeals filed by the Ansals and Association of the Victims of the Uphaar Tragedy (AVUT) challenging the one-year sentence imposed on the accused by the Delhi High Court.
The bench ordered that the Ansal brothers be released on the personal bond of Rs 10,000 each.
While the Ansals had challenged the sentence imposed by the High Court, the victims’ association had sought enhancement of the punishment on the ground that the offence fell under the purview of section 304 IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).
The High Court had earlier reduced the sentence to one-year prison term from the two years imposed by the Sessions Court. (Agency)

Consumer Forum remains paralysed
http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=10&theme=&usrsess=1&id=242125
Statesman News ServiceSILIGURI, Jan. 29: The functioning of the Siliguri District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum or the district consumer court, as is known commonly, is completely paralysed due to the lack of a judge for over a month now. The previous judge (president) incumbent of the Consumer Forum, Mr Justice Himadri Guha Roy, completed his tenure on 24 December last year and since then, the post is lying vacant, largely hindering the disposal of Consumer justice to the public. This is even as on an average, the Siliguri Consumer Forum admits 12-15 complaints a month and at least 52 cases are pending before it right at this moment. The Consumer Forum that deals with the grievances of all consumers, functions through a three-member forum or Bench. Such a forum is normally headed by a retired judge not below the rank of an additional district judge, while of the rest two members; one must be a female non-judicial individual. The appointed retired judge functions as the president of the forum, while the rest two assist him/her in their capacity as forum members. The Consumer Act makes it mandatory that the forum president and at least one member out of the two must be present for a hearing into some consumer dispute. Now, in case of the Siliguri Consumer Forum, currently only the female member-seat is occupied while the posts of both the president and the second member is vacant bringing functioning of the forum to a standstill. According to advocate, Mr Suresh Mitruka, a specialist in consumer affairs, the non-functioning of the Consumer Forum is frustrating the complainants, who want quick redress to their grievances against product or service providers. “If this situation prevails, common people may no longer approach the forum over their grievances and thus spoil the persistent efforts by the Union government to raise the level of consumer awareness in the country,” Mr Mitruka said. Meanwhile, bringing in the improper functioning of the Siliguri Consumer Forum to fore, the joint secretary of the state consumer affairs department has issued a show-cause to the forum clerk-cum-typist Mr Dilip Biswas, for not providing certified copies of the forum orders and other allied documents to plaintiffs. The show-cause was issued in the first week of January, setting a specific deadline for response. While the accused staff declined to make any comment citing disciplinary obligation, well-informed sources said that the clerk was not issuing any certified copies at the direction of the previous forum judge. The judge had done so apparently due to the lack of a cashier at the Siliguri Consumer Forum to receive the specified fees against the issuance of certified order copies

PRESS DIGEST – India Commodity News – Jan 30
http://in.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idINBOM43327920090130
Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:00am IST

MUMBAI, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Indian newspapers carried the following stories in their print or Web editions on Friday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
BUSINESS STANDARD (www.business-standard.com)
* The National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange has filed a writ petition against the Forward Markets Commission, which regulates commodities markets challenging its authority to intervene in the levy of transaction charges.
FINANCIAL EXPRESS (www.financialexpress.com)
* The impasse between the government and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed) over a demand for a 20 billion rupees interest-free loan has brought the cooperative on the brink of default on its overseas import bill.
Looking for more information from local sources? Factiva.com has 25 sources. For details about our products, please call your local help desk. To find out more about ThomsonReuters visit http://www.thomsonreuters.com.
(Compiled by Sourav Mishra & Siddesh Mayenker; Editing by Ramya Venugopal))
Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

Transaction charge row: NCDEX drags FMC to court
http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/transaction-charge-row-ncdex-drags-fmc-to-court/02/42/347443/

Dilip Kumar Jha / Mumbai January 30, 2009, 0:06 IST
The National Commodities and Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), the country’s second-largest commodity futures exchange, has filed a writ petition against the Forward Markets Commission (FMC), the regulator for the business, challenging its authority to intervene in the levy of transaction charges.
When contacted, FMC Member Rajeev Agarwal said, “A writ petition has been filed in the Bombay High Court. On Monday, the court will decide if the petition is admissible. We are finalising our arguments, which will be submitted to the court on the day of hearing.”
The latest dispute – the second in a month — started yesterday when NCDEX informed members about its decision to reduce transaction charges by splitting the working hours. It decided to allow trades in farm products between 10 am and 5 pm and non-agro commodities between 5 pm and 11.30 pm.
The bourse also reduced uniform transaction charges to Rs 3 per lakh of value of all trades in all commodities between 10 am and 5 pm.

Money delivered at Kaur’s house was not for me: Justice Nirmal Yadav
http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/31/stories/2009013159871300.htm
J. Venkatesan
She requests Chief Justice of India to reject in-house committee findings
New Delhi: Justice Nirmal Yadav of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has categorically said Rs. 15 lakh in cash delivered at the residence of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur in Chandigarh on August 13, 2008, was not meant for her and that she was targeted because of a similarity in their first names.
Asserting that the three-member in-house committee conducted a probe by restricting the scope of enquiry and confining it to allegations against her, Justice Nirmal Yadav said: “I have a right to reject the report as the same has been conducted in a lop-sided manner. Unless an enquiry is ordered into all allegations against all judges concerned, I refuse to submit to such informal procedure.”
In her second reply sent to the Chief Justice of India on January 27, she said: “The proposal of in-house procedure was rejected by the Full Court of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Therefore, it does not have any binding force.”
Responding to the show-cause notice, the judge, in her first reply sent on January 7, requested the CJI to furnish certain documents relied on by the committee and after some of them were supplied she sent the second reply.
She said: “I am thus left with no option but to believe that the committee left out best evidence that could be available to it and acted on a self-imposed inhibition of enquiring only against me and not the others. I wonder if this course of action was resorted to protect and prevent exposure of the involvement of a Supreme Court judge.
She said: “There is no scope of any error in delivery of the packet to Mrs. Nirmaljit Kaur in view of the categorical statement of Prakash Ram [who delivered it] to the effect that ‘I heard it was to be given to Nirmaljit [staying in Sector 11].’
“To the committee, Prakash Ram said: ‘I did not deem it necessary to enquire as to who this Nirmal was since I knew madam Nirmaljit Kaur whose residence I had visited twice or so when she was an advocate.’ Despite this, the committee chooses to ignore his statement and the fact that I live in Sector 24 about 5 km away from Sector 11.”
Justice Nirmal Yadav said: “I do not know, nor am I aware till now, whether the sum of Rs. 15 lakh delivered at Mrs. Nirmaljit Kaur’s residence was for her or for someone else. But I am certain it was always intended to be delivered at her residence.”
The reply said: “The committee has chosen to accept the statement of Mr. Sanjiv Bansal [advocate] even when in his own words he admits to have ‘concocted a story to save the situation [regarding one Mr. Nirmal Singh].’ It is unknown to the annals of law to accept the statement of a person who himself claims to have concocted and changed his version at his own convenience in order to screen himself from the penal consequences.”
Justice Nirmal Yadav requested the CJI that the injustice done to her be remedied and that she be assigned normal judicial work at the earliest.

CIC members refuse to declare assets in public
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/CIC_members_refuse_to_declare_assets_in_public/articleshow/4054732.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0102 hrs IST, Himanshi Dhawan, TNN
NEW DELHI: Information commissioners have chosen not to disclose their own assets’ declaration on the CIC’s website, in a development which may cause many to wonder whether the transparency watchdog has trouble following what it preaches to others. In a candid admission, chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said, “All information commissioners have declared their assets but they felt that this information should not be put on the commission’s website. They did not want it on the CIC website.” Queried further why the transparency watchdog was not keen on disclosure of its assets, Habibullah said, “The commissioners felt that they could put up the information on their personal website.” Crucially, none of the eight commissioners have their own website. A recent CIC meeting saw information commissioners, save a couple of exceptions, vigorously contesting the idea of full public disclosure of their assets. They felt that giving income details would force state commissioners to follow suit, giving opportunity to those who wish to “embarrass them”. Sources said that since it was not “legally binding”, the commissioners decided to reject the idea. Though the law does not require the commissioners to make their assets public, information rights activists including Shailesh Gandhi, a commissioner himself, feel that the CIC should not take shelter behind technicalities. In fact, commissioners have often frowned upon and ruled against those who have cited procedures and conventions to resist demands that their assets be put in the public domain. The decision comes days after a CIC order in which it ruled that the Chief Justice of India is a public authority and information held by the CJI’s office — including the number and names of judges who have filed their assets — should be made public. The decision has been challenged by the SC in the Delhi High Court. The issue of declaration of assets by information commissioners was first raised by activist-turned-CIC member Shailesh Gandhi who has made his property statement public. In November 2008, a Pune-based applicant sent an e-mail to Habibullah asking information commissioners to reveal their personal income. In his reply, Gandhi gave details of his personal income and family wealth amounting to Rs 5.38 crore. He also wrote to Habibullah suggesting that other commissioners should, in public interest, follow suit. While making public details about his income, Gandhi said in response to an RTI appeal, “I believe that my decision to transparently declare my income and assets is right.” Times View
The CIC owes its very existence to the principle of transparency in public life. It must therefore go beyond just what the law mandates in furthering the cause of transparency. While passing orders on others it will be restricted by what the law says, in its own case it would do well to set a moral example for others to follow. This could be done by pro-active disclosures that may not, strictly speaking, be legally required. Hopefully, this will also shame other public bodies into following suit.

‘Information Commission not in conflict with judiciary’
http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/31/stories/2009013154391300.htm
Special Correspondent
NGOs have done a lot in spreading awareness about RTI
“RTI limits not tested yet”
NEW DELHI: Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah on Friday said the Information Commission was not on a collision course with the judiciary. It was interested only in enforcing the Right to Information (RTI) Act in letter and spirit.
At a “Meet the Press,” organised by the Press Association here, Mr. Habibullah said RTI was still evolving and its “limits were not yet tested.” Ruling out any suggestions for amendments in the RTI Act, he said both the Commission and the judiciary would come to a common goal for the benefit of the people.
He called upon the media to act as a partner of the commission in creating awareness about RTI and also preventing its misuse by frivolous elements.
Call to media
Admitting that under the RTI Act it was the duty of the government to popularise it, which had failed to come up to the expectations, he said that media should step in to fulfil its role as it would go a long way in changing people’s attitude towards “use and misuse” of RTI.
Non-governmental organisations have done a lot in spreading awareness about RTI.
Mr. Habibullah said the Commission was often faced with situations relating to intrusion upon one’s privacy as there were no laws on protecting a citizen’s right to privacy.
The Commission had to take guidance from laws relating to privacy from the U.K., which at times led to “some contradictions” in the rulings. “Laws relating to privacy are in fact sister laws of RTI and they should go hand in hand,” he added.

HC declines to hear Sebi plea in Rajus’ absence
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Hyderabad/HC_declines_to_hear_Sebi_plea_in_Rajus_absence_/articleshow/4055289.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0255 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh High court on Friday declined to hear Sebi’s petition seeking custody of Satyam scam accused B Ramalinga Raju and B Rama Raju without hearing the two brothers, and posted the matter for February 9. Justice B Seshasayana Reddy ordered notices to be issued to the Raju brothers through the Chanchalguda jail superintendent to present their case with reference to the Sebi plea. Appearing for Sebi, solicitor general of India G E Vahanvati said the High Court should allow Sebi to interrogate the accused and record their statements because it is the relevant agency to look into this technical scam and that it is empowered to do so under Section 11(c) of the Sebi Act. However, Justice Seshasayana Reddy said that he would not hear Sebi’s petition in the absence of the accused being represented in the matter. The judge said that he would not hear the petition especially when the accused had secured a favorable order in the lower court. To this, the solicitor general said that the lower court had only dismissed the plea of the Sebi to interrogate the accused. “This does not mean that the lower court has given the accused a clean chit and hence it cannot be called a favourable order to the accused. Moreover, no prejudice would be caused to the cause of the accused if Sebi questions them for a few hours,” Vahanvathi said. When Justice Seshasayana Reddy still insisted that Sebi’s plea cannot be heard until the accused are present, its counsel urged the court to give the same in writing which the court did. Vahanvati had on Thursday found fault with the lower court which has rejected its plea to question the accused on technical grounds. The magistrate’s reasoning that Sebi is not an investigating agency is also not correct, the solicitor had said. While hearing the Sebi petition on Thursday, Justice Seshasayana Reddy had questioned the Sebi counsel as to why he chose to file a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution which means invoking the extraordinary jurisdiction of the court against a lower court order when the agency can file a criminal revision under Section 397 of Cr PC. The judge also made it clear that he would not go into the actual case of the petitioner without deciding the issue of maintainability first. “The High Court cannot relegate us to other remedies when it has powers under Art. 226,” Vahanvati had insisted. When the judge sought to know as to how Sebi will be at a disadvantageous position if it seeks the relief under a revision petition, the counsel replied saying that now the lower court may say that its order is not a final one and that it is only an interlocutory one making Sebi ineligible for filing a revision. This time, the judge insisted that he would record a finding to the extent that the lower court’s order is a final order and there will not be any problem for filing a revision and posted the matter to Friday for finalising the issue of maintainability.

PF scam: HC asks govt to file affidavit
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Allahabad/PF_scam_HC_asks_govt_to_file_affidavit/articleshow/4055497.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0450 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has asked the state government and the mill authorities to file counter-affidavit and fixed February 27 for further orders in a PIL filed regarding the provident fund scam of Rs 2.51 lakh in Sahkari Chini Mills Ltd, Tilhar. The bench comprising Chief Justice HL Gokhale and Justice Dilip Gupta passed the order on a PIL filed by the Chini Mills Karmachari Kalyan Sangh. The bench has also issued notices to the provident fund commissioner, Kanpur and deputy labour commissioner, Bareilly division to file replies in the case. Dinesh Rai appearing for the petitioner had pointed out that provident fund amount deducted from the salary of the employees was embezzled. The petitioner has also demanded for an inquiry into the case by the CBI. Arrest stayed: A division bench of the high court comprising Justice S Harkauli and Justice Rajesh Kumar has stayed the arrest of chief proctor and professor of Banaras Hindu University SCS Rathore and NK Singh in connection with an FIR lodged against them with Lanka police in Varanasi. The FIR was registered by the police over an allegation that they had committed negligence in the treatment of a student, who died. The court has also issued notices to the opposite parties, asking them to file their reply in the case.

HC allows RIL to sell KG gas
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/hc-allows-ril-to-sell-kg-gas/417335/0
Express news service Posted: Jan 31, 2009 at 0121 hrs IST
Mumbai: After a long-drawn legal battle between the Ambani brothers, the Bombay High Court today allowed the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd to sell gas from KG basin at $4.20.
In an interim order, the High Court vacated the stay which had restrained RIL from selling gas to third parties, after Anil Ambani’s RNRL dragged it to court over the gas supply master agreement between the two companies.
Division bench of Justice J N Patel and Justice K K Tated, however, clarified that today’s interim order would operate only till the pronouncement of judgement, and won’t affect parties’ rights. The judgement in the case has now been reserved.
The court noted that lifting of stay was necessary as per RIL’s projections; gas production in KG basin may start by February-end.
Both RIL and the Government had sought vacation of stay. Following the hearing, additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran said that due to today’s order, “the gas would not go to waste. RIL will have to sell gas as per the government’s utilisation policy, at $4.20 per mmBtu”.
The order states, “The sale of gas would be made by RIL at uniform price of $4.20 to all parties including public sector undertakings and to others in the order of priority as stipulated by the government in the approved gas utilisation policy.”
RIL can enter into contracts with other parties for the term of up to five years.
Gas Supply Master Agreement (GSMA) between RIL and RNRL was a fall-out of demerger of Reliance group in January 2006. By this agreement, RIL was to supply 28 MMSCMD of gas to RNRL for Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group’s proposed power plant at Dadri.
But RNRL was not happy with the terms of the GSMA, so it moved the High Court. RNRL’s grouse was that GSMA was not in accordance with the memorandum of understanding between Anil, Mukesh and their mother Kokilaben Ambani, which set out how the Reliance group will be divided between the brothers.
A single judge of High Court, in 2007, ruled that GSMA was not bankable, and asked both sides to negotiate new contract. But parties failed to work it out, and filed appeals before division bench.
The case took a new turn when the government intervened and stated that it had the right to fix the price, and even dictate to whom RIL should sell gas.
Later, government stated that price of KG gas for all the buyers could not be less than $4.20. RNRL said this was not acceptable, as government had not right to decide terms of contract between RIL and RNRL.

HC appoints Deloitte, Wipro as auditors in FT-NSE case
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/News_By_Industry/Services/HC_appoints_Deloitte_Wipro_as_auditors_in_FT-NSE_case/articleshow/4055623.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0252 hrs IST, Ram Narsinghdev Sahgal, ET Bureau
MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court appointed Deloitte Haskins & Sells and Wipro to conduct a systems audit of Financial Technologies’ (FT) front-end trading solution (CTCL). The NSE had put the exchange solutions provider on a watch list in October 2008 due to alleged flaws in the software, following which FT dragged NSE to court. Significantly, Justice Anand Nirgude directed NSE to provide demonstrations, approvals and trading ID passwords to existing and new and purchasers of FT products in equity and equity F&O segments, for which FT was empanelled as a vendor by NSE. FT’s counsel Janak Dwarkadas earlier contended that the company and its product users’ businesses were affected, with the NSE putting approvals and issuance of trading IDs on hold on ground that the “watch list” issue was being contested in court. Justice Nirgude directed the third-party auditors to submit their report to the high court on or before March 1, 2009. Before undertaking the audit, the auditors will decide on the reference terms and send a notice asking both FT and NSE to file their submissions and objections. Both parties will share the fees of the third-party auditors, in equal measure. The court held that since FT’s products enjoyed an 80% market share among the stock brokers, denial of approvals or trading IDs would ultimately hurt the users and affect the exchange’s business. “He (FT) has been supplying the trading solutions for many years. I don’t want to disturb the arrangement,” observed Justice Nirgude. “This is a product he (FT) is selling to run your (NSE) system… If the product is not good, you (NSE) and the purchaser will suffer,” he added. FT claimed that it suffered daily losses of Rs 60 lakh since October.

HC orders medical test for pregnant teen
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/HC_orders_medical_test_for_pregnant_teen/articleshow/4055083.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0206 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has ordered medical tests on a minor inmate at an ashram who was found to be pregnant. She had accused the superintendent of the ashram shala (resident school) at Dahanu of allegedly raping her repeatedly. A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud ordered the tests to be conducted at JJ hospital. The tests would reveal whether the 15-year-girl had been pregnant and if she had undergone an abortion and also whether it was forceful or natural. The report has to be submitted to the court on the next date of hearing on February 5, said government pleader Pradeep Patil. The court was hearing a suo motu PIL based on a letter filed by a social activist Suresh Shinda.

HC sets aside BPSC prelims test results
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Patna/HC_sets_aside_BPSC_prelims_test_results/articleshow/4055447.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0107 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: In a major development, Patna High Court on Friday set aside the preliminary test result of the 48th to 52nd combined competitive examination conducted by the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) in May last year. The court directed the BPSC to hold the preliminary test afresh in accordance with law. The exam was conducted for various gazetted posts, including those of the Bihar Administrative Service (BAS). The single bench of Justice Navin Sinha observed that the entire preliminary test was vitiated. The court delivered the judgment a day after the completion of hearing on a batch of writ petitions filed by 150 unsuccessful candidates. The result of the preliminary test was declared in September last year. The BPSC declared a total of 19,318 candidates successful and the main examination was scheduled to commence from February 2. The petitioners had submitted that the result of the BPSC preliminary test was untenable as many questions were faulty while some model answers were also wrong. Some petitioners also said that the numbers of question sets given to the aspirants varied and, therefore, the preliminary test was also discriminatory.The court refused to accept the point put forward by advocate general (AG) P K Shahi on behalf of the BPSC. Shahi pleaded that the BPSC had deleted the wrong questions while evaluating the answersheets. Besides the AG, Sanjay Pandey defended the BPSC in this case while senior advocates Dinesh Kumar Singh, Rajendra Prasad Singh, Chitaranjan Sinha and Ganesh Prasad Singh appeared on behalf of the unsuccessful candidates. Meanwhile, the BPSC has decided to postpone the main examination for the time being in view of the HC judgment. “We will seek legal opinion before taking any step on this front,” a top BPSC official said.

Mannat case: Court seeks explanation from BMC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Mannat_case_Court_seeks_explanation_from_BMC/articleshow/4055205.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0215 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Friday directed a civic engineer to present himself before the court on February 27 to explain how a balcony in Shah Rukh Khan’s Bandra bungalow was allegedly jutting out on to the road. The court was hearing a Public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Bhrastachar Nirmoolan Sanghatna, an NGO, against alleged violations by the actor. Advocate Shakuntala Joshi, appearing for the petitioner, submitted an affidavit which alleged that DC regulations pertaining to open space has also been violated by Khan and that it was “clear that the balcony of the building is stretching on the road.” Darius Khambata, counsel for the actor, denied all contentions. Shah Rukh Khan’s wife Gauri, in an affidavit to the court, affirmed that their residence complied with all the rules.

Case filed against SRK’s company
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Case_filed_against_SRKs_company/articleshow/4055207.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0218 hrs IST, TNN
MUMBAI: Neha Joshi, daughter of Sharad Joshi, a scriptwriter of the 1984 comedy show on Doordarshan- Yeh Jo Hai Zindgai, has filed a petition against Shah Rukh Khan’s company, Red Chillies Private Ltd, NDTV Imagine channel and the Oberois for copying their show without prior permission. According to the petition, the same serial by the name Ghar Ki Baat is starting on the channel from Friday. Joshi’s advocate said: “We came to know that the SRK show has copied our show after we saw one of his interviews. The script was written by Sharad Joshi and the show was then produced by Oberois. They have now sold it to the actor’s company and are releasing the show without the family’s permission. We have filed the case under the Copyright Act.” The court has asked Red Chillies to file its reply by February 14. The matter will now be heard on February16.

SC stops felling of trees at Siri Fort Games site
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/SC_stops_felling_of_trees_at_Siri_Fort_Games_site/articleshow/4054793.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0403 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday stopped felling of trees around the basketball and squash court complexes for Commonwealth Games at Siri Fort as the Delhi Development Authority failed to put on record its response to an expert panel’s report blaming DDA of violating the green code. A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Arijit Pasayat and S H Kapadia saw through the delaying efforts of DDA, which was asked on January 23 to put a response within a week. When additional solicitor general Amarendra Saran again sought time to articulate DDA’s response, counsel M L Lahoty sought a stay saying felling of trees around the Games complex was continuing. Though the Bench did not pass any order, it told the ASG to take care that not a single tree was felled till next Friday, by which time DDA should file an affidavit responding to the damning report of Central Empowered Committee (CEC). CEC in its report to the court had said there was little or no application of mind on the part of DDA either in selecting the site or planning the construction, both of which grossly violated green laws. It had said that though ideally the structures should be demolished, the site reclaimed and afforestation done, considering the constraint of time, the structures should remain on the condition that DDA paid a fine of Rs 5 crore, which should be utilised to revitalise the environment. The CEC had also found true the charges of mindless felling of trees at Siri Fort and concretisation of a large patch of green area. It had suggested alternative plans and approach roads for VVIP movement and temporary parking without destroying the golf driving range, children’s park, trekking track and other greens inside the sports complex. This suggestion was agreed to by DDA, Delhi Police and other authorities.

LIC fined for denying disabled cops’ claim
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/LIC_fined_for_denying_disabled_cops_claim/articleshow/4054857.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0404 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The state consumer commission has hit out at Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) for rejecting the rightful claim of a poor consumer on a flimsy ground. LIC denied the claim of a disabled police constable on the grounds that he had not suffered permanent disability. Disagreeing with this, the commission has asked LIC to pay Neeraj Kumar his entitled claim that covers permanent disability benefits to the tune of Rs 1.5 lakh and a compensation of Rs 25,000. Kumar, a resident of Burari, suffered an electric shock following which his right arm below the elbow had to be amputated. After obtaining a permanent disability certificate from doctors of Safdarjung Hospital, he filed a claim with the company. Despite the doctors assessing permanent disability to the extent of 69%, LIC rejected his claim on the ground that he was capable of earning wages, since he was allowed to continue working with Delhi Police for compassionate reasons. The commission, headed by Justice J D Kapoor, observed that had the consumer applied for the post of constable now, he would not have got the job. Therefore, to reject such a claim on such a premise was nothing but logic chopping, oppressive and malafide interpretation of beneficial contract, the commission observed. “Merely because a person with permanent and total disability continues to be employed on compassionate basis does not mean that he has forfeited the benefit of permanent disability arising from the insurance policy,” Kapoor added. Justice Kapoor also asked the insurance sector not to adopt such an approach and be consumer friendly. The consumer should not be made to run from pillar to post or else they should be ready for the consequence of recovery of compensation amount from the salary of the officials, he said.

CBI court finds ACB inquiry lax
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Delhi/CBI_court_finds_ACB_inquiry_lax/articleshow/4055096.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0405 hrs IST, TNN
new delhi : A special CBI court pulled up the anti-corruption branch (ACB) for its lax investigation into the purchase of sub-standard ayurvedic medicines worth over Rs 4.5 crore for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi-run hospitals. The court has asked the probe agency to file a detailed report on the investigation by February 10. Irked that the probe agency’s investigation did not mention anything about the owners of the ayurvedic company that manufactured the sub-standard medicines, the court said that the ACB had to mend its ways and arrest the main culprits. Meanwhile, the court sent the serving deputy health officer (DHO) and the retired deputy health officer arrested in the case, to judicial custody till February 10.

Ban quarrying near bridges: HC
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bangalore/Ban_quarrying_near_bridges_HC/articleshow/4055108.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0412 hrs IST, TNN
Bangalore : The high court on Friday directed the government to not allow quarrying within a 1-km radius of any bridge in the state, to prevent disasters. A division Bench headed by Chief Justice P D Dinakaran passed the order while hearing a PIL filed by residents of Bethri village in Virajpet taluk. “Why has the government not taken any measures? We already have the instance of one bridge collapse. Do they want such disasters to continue?” the Bench asked. The petitioners complained that despite circulars banning it, sand quarrying continues in the Cauvery river basin.

‘Everybody should be accountable under PC Act’
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bangalore/Everybody_should_be_accountable_under_PC_Act/articleshow/4055123.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0416 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: Continuing his tirade against corruption, Lok Ayukta Justice N Santosh Hegde says every constitutional body should be accountable under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act). Excerpts from an interview on Friday, a day after he trapped BJP MLA Y Sampangi: How do you view corruption? Collecting a bribe is literally robbing another person. It is an immoral act. The person who takes a bribe is infringing on another person’s legitimate rights and property. What is the punishment you suggest for corrupt persons? Under the PC Act, the punishment is maximum of 7 years of imprisonment maximum and minimum of six months. The maximum punishment is fine. However, we’ve got to change the law and make it more stringent. The onus of proving innocence should be on the corrupt official, not on the investigating officer. Do you feel that all the constitutional bodies, including the judiciary, should be made accountable under the PC Act? Of course. Everyone should be accountable under the PC Act. As a matter of fact, there should be more stringent laws to make all public servants accountable. In Dec. 2008, the government brought an amendment to the PC Act, which is in favour of corrupt people. It’s been 60 years since we got Independence but corruption is growing manifold. At this juncture, the government, instead of making everyone more accountable, is helping corrupt public servants.

HC declines to hear Sebi plea in Rajus’ absence
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Hyderabad/HC_declines_to_hear_Sebi_plea_in_Rajus_absence_/articleshow/4055289.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0255 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh High court on Friday declined to hear Sebi’s petition seeking custody of Satyam scam accused B Ramalinga Raju and B Rama Raju without hearing the two brothers, and posted the matter for February 9. Justice B Seshasayana Reddy ordered notices to be issued to the Raju brothers through the Chanchalguda jail superintendent to present their case with reference to the Sebi plea. Appearing for Sebi, solicitor general of India G E Vahanvati said the High Court should allow Sebi to interrogate the accused and record their statements because it is the relevant agency to look into this technical scam and that it is empowered to do so under Section 11(c) of the Sebi Act. However, Justice Seshasayana Reddy said that he would not hear Sebi’s petition in the absence of the accused being represented in the matter. The judge said that he would not hear the petition especially when the accused had secured a favorable order in the lower court. To this, the solicitor general said that the lower court had only dismissed the plea of the Sebi to interrogate the accused. “This does not mean that the lower court has given the accused a clean chit and hence it cannot be called a favourable order to the accused. Moreover, no prejudice would be caused to the cause of the accused if Sebi questions them for a few hours,” Vahanvathi said. When Justice Seshasayana Reddy still insisted that Sebi’s plea cannot be heard until the accused are present, its counsel urged the court to give the same in writing which the court did. Vahanvati had on Thursday found fault with the lower court which has rejected its plea to question the accused on technical grounds. The magistrate’s reasoning that Sebi is not an investigating agency is also not correct, the solicitor had said. While hearing the Sebi petition on Thursday, Justice Seshasayana Reddy had questioned the Sebi counsel as to why he chose to file a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution which means invoking the extraordinary jurisdiction of the court against a lower court order when the agency can file a criminal revision under Section 397 of Cr PC. The judge also made it clear that he would not go into the actual case of the petitioner without deciding the issue of maintainability first. “The High Court cannot relegate us to other remedies when it has powers under Art. 226,” Vahanvati had insisted. When the judge sought to know as to how Sebi will be at a disadvantageous position if it seeks the relief under a revision petition, the counsel replied saying that now the lower court may say that its order is not a final one and that it is only an interlocutory one making Sebi ineligible for filing a revision. This time, the judge insisted that he would record a finding to the extent that the lower court’s order is a final order and there will not be any problem for filing a revision and posted the matter to Friday for finalising the issue of maintainability.

Agitating lawyers barge into CJ’s court
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/Agitating_lawyers_barge_into_CJs_court/articleshow/4055156.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0334 hrs IST, A Surbamani, TNN
CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu advocates’ agitation in support of Sri Lankan Tamils reached an unpleasant crescendo on Friday, when a large, rudderless group of advocates barged into courts, booed judges and dragged out law officers. Worse, a senior advocate, who dared to argue his case before the First Bench comprising the acting chief justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice V Dhanapalan in defiance of the court boycott, was manhandled right in front of the acting chief justice. Microphone-wielding advocates, shouting slogans against the UPA convenor Sonia Gandhi, prime minister Manmohan Singh and external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, even climbed on court tables and snatched away case bundles of the senior advocate Chellaiah even as his horrified wife, who is also an advocate, was looking on. The scene was no different in other courts. A special government pleader, who was reluctant to walk out was dragged out of the court by the agitators, who called out the name of a judge in a court. An unidentified advocate shouted, “Will you sit like this if the modesty of your family member is outraged?” in another court hall. Even association leaders like R C Paul Kanagaraj of the Madras High Court Advocates Association and S Prabakaran of the Tamil Nadu Advocates Association had tough time controlling the angry rallyists, most of whom young lawyers. A battery-operated megaphone found its way into courts for the first time and many judges resented the noise it generated. The agitating lawyers headed to NSC Bose Road, where they yet again hijacked’ an MTC bus and commandeered it to Kolathur to attend the funeral of Muthukumar, who committed self-immolation on Thursday. (The funeral did not take place on Friday, and is expected to be held on Saturday). They also burnt a picture of Sonia Gandhi. As most of the judges experienced the embarrassment, the acting chief justice convened the Full Court meeting in the evening. After debating various options to rein in the rampaging advocates, the meeting decided to give the erring advocates “another chance.” Perhaps reminded of the 25-point Code of Conduct which triggered a fresh round of agitations on the campus in 2004, the Full Court decided not to do anything that would precipitate the situation. The meeting, however, resolved to invite leaders of various advocates associations and have a detailed discussions on the issue. A select group of judges would interact with the advocates with a view to ensure that no such incidents take place inside the court premises in future.

Ex-cop told to pay Rs 1lakh for wasting court’s time
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/Ex-cop_told_to_pay_Rs_1lakh_for_wasting_courts_time/articleshow/4055215.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0338 hrs IST, TNN
CHENNAI: The Madras high court has imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on a retired inspector of police for “wasting the valuable judicial time” by filing petition after petition to drag on an Enforcement Directorate case against him. Justice R Regupathi, directing A Abdul Samadh to pay the cost within two weeks, said that if the retired officer failed to deposit the amount, the Economic Offences Court-II at Egmore could cancel his bail and commit him to custody till the end of the trial. According to the Enforcement Directorate, their officials had recovered crores of rupees from the residence of Samadh. Though initially he had confessed to the crime and stated that a Singapore-based friend had been sending him gold and silver and that he sold them, Samadh retracted the statement later. He had also filed several cases since July 1993, when the case was registered. The present petitions were filed after the trial court refused to summon the persons he had named as defence witnesses and his plea for transfer of the case to another court was turned down. Justice Regupathi, slamming the former inspector for approaching the high court “at the drop of a hat, whenever the trial moved in swift pace,” said: “No litigant should be allowed to exhaust the court’s time and public money for pointless and frivolous litigation…He has taken the law of the land for granted and continued to abuse the criminal justice system to such an extent that if not prevented at least now, he would succeed in making it a laughing stock.” The judge also observed that a litigant is expected to approach the court not only with clean hands but with clean mind, clean heart and with clean objectives.

Court boycotts are common in TN
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chennai/Court_boycotts_are_common_in_TN/articleshow/4055154.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0333 hrs IST, A Surbamani, TNN
CHENNAI: Campus rallies and court boycotts are not uncommon in this state. Last year alone, 13 man days were lost in the Madras High Court alone. Compare this with the position of a neighbouring state, where there was just one court boycott in the entire 2008. The Madras High Court lists around 2,500 cases daily, and days lost in boycotts lead to huge accumulation of backlog. For instance, the 28 judges whose courts were interrupted by advocates on Friday might not be available to hear the same list of cases for many more weeks, as many of them are part of some other benches. At least in the High Court the litigant-public are not required to personally attend the proceedings, except in case of habeas corpus petitions. Improptu court boycotts in subordinate courts hit litigants hard, as witnesses and accused persons have to come at a later date for deposition. On Friday, a businesswoman had come all the way from Coimbatore to Chengalpattu to attend a sessions proceedings. “Today my counsel expressed his inability to represent me in court. Now I have to plan another visit,” she said. In the Harish Uppal case, the Supreme Court had declared that strike by lawyers is illegal. However, not foreclosing the right completely, the court had said that boycott could be done for one day, in the case of rarest of rare necessity. Clarifying the issue further, the apex court had said that three factors should be kept in mind by striking lawyers. First, they should give sufficient notice to the authorities and inform them well in advance about their agitation plan. Two, it should be rarest of rare cause. Three, those who opt to appear in court should not be obstructed in any manner. On Friday, the agitating lawyers neither gave sufficient notice nor desisted from interfering with the administration of justice in the High Court. This is the second incident in recent years wherein a designated senior advocate was manhandled by advocates. “The court has many options before it, including contempt of court proceedings. But we are unlikely to take a tough stand this time, as we apprehend backlash,” said a judge before leaving for the Full Court meeting of judges, convened by the acting chief justice S J Mukhopadhaya. While the former chief justice B Subhashan Reddy tried out, unsuccessfully, a Code of Conduct route to ensure campus peace, another chief justice A P Shah had issued a set of guidelines banning all forms of campus protests and political meetings in the premises. He even issued a contempt notice to advocate S Prabakaran after the latter took out a pro-reservation rally inside the campus. Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju, who had a 10-month stint here as chief justice, did not miss any slightest opportunity to caution advocates against taking to the road even for the drop of a hat. But all these efforts have had nil-effect on the legal fraternity, which has violated the Supreme Court judgement in the Harish Uppal case at least 100 times in Tamil Nadu. “The higher judiciary should think of compensating the days lost in boycotts by having additional working days. Otherwise, the mounting arrears of cases and delays in disposals would bog down the entire justice delivery system,” lamented a senior advocate.

Dr Shah murder case: Sleuths bank on call records
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Ahmedabad/Dr_Shah_murder_case_Sleuths_bank_on_call_records/articleshow/4055276.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0101 hrs IST, TNN
AHMEDABAD: With conventional interrogation techniques failing, investigating officers in the Dr Hitesh Shah murder case are now relying on mobile call records of Dr Shah, Tilottama and three others under police custody, including two of Tilottama’s lovers. Officials believe that these call records can be used as corroborative evidence to support the case. According to sources in city police, call tracing experts from crime branch and city police have been given a list of call records to find the location and duration of calls made from various numbers specially Dr Shah and Tilottama Solanki.
“We have already started analysing some of the numbers and have corroborated some of the facts. Tilottama did call Dr Shah twice that day after Dr Shah called her. We have also found five other numbers that Dr Shah called that night. The last call was received around 10pm. We are checking details of the conversation and whether he had spoke to any of the people suspected that evening,” said a senior city police official. He added that the team is also trying to find the exact location of Tilottama’s mobile phone which was thrown after the incident. “We are sure that the SIM has been deactivated from Tilottama’s friend’s mobile phone. We will get the last location on the basis of calls made. The calls will also establish where the suspects were when the incident took place,” said the official.

KMC doctor chargesheeted
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Kolkata_/KMC_doctor_chargesheeted/articleshow/4055715.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0359 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: KMC chest clinic superintendent Atanu Mukherjee was chargesheeted on Friday, the day he was to retire, for financial irregularities committed in 2004-05. Mukherjee, now in-charge of the KMC’s Strand Bank Road chest clinic, has been charged with buying tuberculosis medicines worth Rs 35 lakh at a much higher rate than usual and also for failing to produce utilisation certificates for funds spent on the state-run leprosy programme in 2004-05. The doctor said he would comment only after reading the chargesheet. Mayor-in-council member overseeing the KMC health department, Subodh De, said the charges were serious and would be probed.

Held to ransom by Citu, HHI in court
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Kolkata_/Held_to_ransom_by_Citu_HHI_in_court/articleshow/4055745.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0413 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Call it vandalism or militant trade unionism, it hardly makes any difference to the corporates and foreign dignitaries who cancelled their bookings at Hotel Hindusthan International due to regular disruptions by the Citu-affiliated hotel employees’ union that won’t even pay heed to the high court. And the state bureaucracy could do little to restrain the agitators, who went the whole hog against the hotel authorities, mindless of the damage they were doing to the state’s sagging image. The result was obvious. The guests changed their minds, shifted elsewhere, like the Tatas had done months ago. Within five days between January 23 and January 27, a total 21 corporates cancelled their banquet bookings in the hotel. Things went worse from January 25, when agitated workers squatted at the hotel entrance, shouted slogans, pasted demand-posters and hung banners within the hotel’s boundary wall. Sensing the mood, the British Council cancelled its bookings for 40 rooms from January 29 onwards to accommodate foreign guests. The hotel authorities submitted this in writing to the high court on Friday, with an account of the loss in business they had to suffer in the days of slowdown.

Citu’s HHI protest in direct defiance of court orders
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Kolkata_/Citus_HHI_protest_in_direct_defiance_of_court_orders/articleshow/4055724.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0404 hrs IST, TNN
KOLKATA: Citu, led by president Mohammad Nizamuddin, CPM’s Kolkata district secretariat member, took on the Hotel Hindusthan International (HHI) authorities even after a court order. Acting on a petition from hotel authorities, Justice Sanjib Banerjee passed an order on January 15 asking agitators to desist from such activities within 50 metres of the hotel. He had also asked police to ensure that the union complied with the order. But militant Citu leaders continued with their armtwisting. The situation went beyond control on January 28, when hotel authorities sought police help, but to no avail. Protesters did not remove the posters and refused to move out of the premises. “So what if the management has moved court? We have the majority of hotel employees with us. The hotel owner has been ignoring our demands and making agreements with its puppet union. We’ll place our views in court,” said Nizamuddin. With police being of no help, the HHI authorities on Friday filed a contempt application against home secretary Ardhendu Sen, police commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakrabarti, the OCs of the police stations concerned and Citu union leaders, namely Mohammad Nizamuddin and T K Sengupta. The court was urged to showcause the administration and the union leaders for violating its order.

7 civic bodies face contempt proceedings
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Goa/7_civic_bodies_face_contempt_proceedings/articleshow/4055671.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0329 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Friday issued show cause notices to seven municipal councils in the state seeking to know why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them for failure to comply with the court’s orders regarding segregation and composting of garbage. The seven civic bodies are Cuncolim, Margao, Curchorem, Pernem, Sanquelim, Valpoi and Quepem. The court had taken suo motu cognizance of garbage disposal in 2007 and after monitoring the land acquisition for dumping of waste, the court had directed the civic bodies to work on segregation, composting of wet waste and baling of plastic. The court had, on July 9, 2008, asked the Goa State Pollution Control Board to inspect the municipal garbage dumping sites to check on compliance. During the hearing of the case, GSPCB filed a detailed inspection chart. The chart revealed that Cuncolim, Margao, Curchorem, Pernem, Sanquelim, Valpoi and Quepem municipal councils have not complied fully with the directions. GSPCB also informed the court that it is contemplating issuing notices to the chairpersons and chief officers for non-compliance of the Municipal Solid Waste (management and handling) Rules, 2000. On studying the chart, a division bench comprising Justice P B Majmudar and Justice N A Britto issued show cause notices for contempt against the municipalities and directed their chief officers to remain present on February 12 to show cause as to why they should not be fined for non compliance of the court’s orders. On the issue of disposal of bio-medical waste, the GSPCB filed an affidavit stating that out of 133 medical establishments in the state, 15 have not replied to the show cause notices issued by it. The board is in the process of closing these 15 establishments. The show cause notice was issued for not complying with the bio-medical waste (management and handling ) rules. Taking note of this, the court granted the GSPCB six weeks to inform the court about action taken by it regarding the bio-medical waste disposal. Apart from this, amicus curiae Norma Alvares pointed out that the government authorities had turned a blind eye to the issue of disposal of bio-medical waste. State advocate general Subodh Kantak replied that the sites suggested for waste dumping have been rejected either by the town and country planning department or by the GSPCB leading to a stalemate.

No role of Goa Home Ministry in Scarlett murder: Lawyer
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Goa/No_role_of_Goa_Home_Ministry_in_Scarlett_murder_Lawyer/articleshow/4056953.cms
31 Jan 2009, 1415 hrs IST, PTI
PANAJI: Nearly a year after British teenager Scarlett Eden Keeling’s body was found on Anjuna beach, the lawyer representing her mother has said that there is no evidence against the home ministry’s involvement in her murder. “I have not seen any evidence so far that home ministry is involved,” Vikram Varma, counsel for Fiona Mackeown, mother of Scarlett, said. Scarlett’s body was found on Anjuna beach on February 18 last year and thereafter Fiona had launched a campaign seeking justice for her daughter. During the press conference, she had accused state home minister Ravi Naik’s son being involved in drug trafficking which was related to death of her daughter. Varma, however, did not rule out the possibility of nexus in selling drugs on Goan shores. “There is no possibility of some drug being given freely on beaches unless there is nexus. The fact that the drugs were given to the child (Scarlette) also proves this fact that people who provided drugs are ruthless,” he said.

NCB files case against Saji Mohan
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Chandigarh/NCB_files_case_against_Saji_Mohan/articleshow/4054444.cms
30 Jan 2009, 2010 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI/CHANDIGARH: Tainted IPS officer Saji Mohan has landed in further trouble as Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Friday registered a case of cheating with the Chandigarh police against the bureau’s former zonal director, arrested by Mumbai ATS with 12 kg of heroin.
NCB has also found evidence of “swapping” of narcotics with material of equal weight by the now disgraced official.
According to top NCB sources, the case was registered against the Jammu and Kashmir cadre IPS officer after an internal investigation found Mohan had bungled accounts to the tune of over Rs 13 lakh with regard to a particular case cracked by the agency during his tenure.
“During our investigation, which is still on, we found that he had misrepresented facts and had bungled over Rs 13 lakh in one particular case and hence an FIR has been registered. We are now scrutinizing all cases of the zone,” a source said.
The NCB has also found that Mohan, a 1995-batch police official arrested by the ATS on January 24 and currently posted with the Enforcement Directorate in Cochin had swapped certain narcotics stored in the agency’s zonal godown with material of “equal weights” to cover up syphoning of heroin.
“We have come across evidences which show that he had swapped some narcotics with material of equal weight. We would soon approach the court to grant us the permission to break open the seal and go in for proper testing of the contraband stored,” a source said.

No end to strike in sight as govt refuses to budge
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Patna/No_end_to_strike_in_sight_as_govt_refuses_to_budge/articleshow/4055306.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0100 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: Even as the indefinite strike of the over 2.5 lakh strong non-gazetted employees, secretariat staff, grade four employees and several other groups and associations entered the 24th day on Friday, both CM Nitish Kumar and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi did not appear too keen on engaging the trade unions in talks to end the stalemate. After the conclusion of the oath-taking ceremony held at Rajbhawan for the restoration of former transport minister Ramanand Singh to his post, CM Nitish Kumar, when asked about the ongoing indefinite stir, evaded a direct reply, saying that Modi was in the saddle to handle it. “Modiji kahenge us par (Modiji will make a statement on that),” Nitish said, and turned to come out of Rajbhawan. Modi, however, chose not to get drawn into it. The implied meaning was that the government had already explained its position on the demand of the striking employees and staff with regard to implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations for them. The government, having explained the financial stakes involved, has resorted to punitive measures to bring the strikers in line. To add to that, Modi had earlier said that strike had been going on under the influence of the Left-inspired trade unions. The Left Front government in West Bengal had constituted a committee to look into the demands of the employees for the implementation of the Centre’s pay package and removal of anomalies for its staff and employees. The Bihar government has also taken the same route, Modi has been reiterating. Meanwhile, the striking employees, present in large number in front of the Vikas Bhawan (New Secretariat), held protest demonstrations and rallies, and also burnt effigies of the Nitish Kumar government. Their leaders, including Rambali Prasad, Anil Kumar Singh and Manjul Kumar Das, appealed to the government to abandon “rajhath (state power’s obstinacy)” and not resort to repressive measures. Significantly, Uttarakhand (Parvatiya) Karmachari Shikshak Sangathan has given its fraternal support to the ongoing strike here. Its general secretary Navendu Mathpal appealed to the government to take immediate measures for the amicable solution to the demands of the strikers. Besides, Employees’ & Officers’ Association of Patna High Court also extended “moral support” to them and their cause.

HC notices to staff unions
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Patna/HC_notices_to_staff_unions/articleshow/4055305.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0059 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: Patna High Court on Friday issued notices to three unions of state government employees which have given a call for an indefinite strike to press for pay revision on the lines of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. A PIL was filed a few days back by Jan Chowkidar, a social organisation, urging the high court to declare the ongoing strike illegal. The notices would be served on these unions by the petitioner’s counsel.

HC issues show cause notice to govt
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Rajkot/HC_issues_show_cause_notice_to_govt/articleshow/4054667.cms
30 Jan 2009, 2259 hrs IST, TNN
GANDHINAGAR: Gujarat High Court on Wednesday slapped charges of contempt of court on state government and issued a show cause notice, hearing a petition filed by Ishaq Maradiya. Maradiya has accused the state government of indulging in favouritism and issuing contracts for 56 water bodies owned by the state to certain fishermen without inviting tenders. Incidentally, he had filed the same petition earlier, following which HC had issued an order cancelling contracts issued by the government and asking it to float fresh tenders. However, though the government invited tenders, it did not open them on the scheduled date of January 13 and forced the fisheries department to put the tenders in a sealed box, raising hackles in the fishermen community. This prompted Maradiya to move court again. This time, he alleged in his petition that despite repealing of the government’s decision, fishermen awarded the contract by the government continued to fish in the water bodies.

NHRC should not shield terrorists
http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=15708822
Those who indulge in terrorism or are involved in drug trafficking or peddling illicit liquor or in espionage or manufacture, stocking and distribution of spurious medicines or adulteration of baby food etc should not come under the ambits of NHRC..

A SENIOR judge of the Supreme Court on Tuesday (Jan 27) found similarities between a terrorist and an animal and has expressed his opinion that the guidelines of the NHRC should not be binding on those who resort to shooting down innocents in cold blood. He said that terrorists who kill innocent people are like animals and they cannot be allowed to take benefits of human rights. “Those who violate the rights of society and have no respect for human rights cannot be a human,” the honorable judge made these scathing remarks in the capital at a seminar on terrorism. Those who killed innocent people can by no stretch of imagination be regarded as human beings. They are animals.

This view should be given serious consideration.

Those who indulge in acts of terrorism or are involved in drug trafficking or peddling illicit liquor or in espionage or manufacture, stocking and distribution of spurious medicines or adulteration of baby food etcetera should not come under the ambits of the NHRC.

We have to wake up to realities and shed our hypocritical stand – the NHRC is there to protect the rights of law abiding citizens – let us make it applicable to teachers who punish their wards or to families who are subjected to mental and physical torture by their relatives or to orphanages and women’s homes where the inmates are denied the basic amenities. Let us make it applicable to children who do not care about the well being of their parents and to doctors who refuse to attend to sick patients. Let us make it applicable to members of political parties who hold the common man to ransom by organising bandhs and road blocks or stoppage of traffic.

Those who swear by the human rights should put their heads together and work out suitable formats that will give a boost to different aspects of humanity and not treat the NHRC as a shield behind which those with criminal intentions can take shelter.

Violence against women and security
http://justswarna.blogspot.com/2009/01/violence-against-women-and-security.html
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Published in InfochangeIndia.org on November 25, 2008
As the Violence Against Women fortnight kicks off internationally on November 25,Swarna Rajagopalan analyses why women’s physical survival and safety must be viewed as a security issue and why violence against women is as much a social concern as war, famine or terrorism
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, there is consensus that something important has shifted in the real world that necessitates a shift in security thinking.
It is now acknowledged that more wars take place within States than across them. State-building has been identified as a leading source of insecurity (for States by some, for everyone by others). Famine on a large scale challenges the survival of societies; as do disasters that can disrupt the fabric of social relationships. Climate change threatens small island-states like the Maldives, whose new president is now shopping for land to resettle his people in anticipation that the atoll-state will be consumed by rising sea-levels.
Those who write on non-traditional security admit migration and trafficking into their research agendas, understanding that these challenge the very foundations of the nation-state system. Struggles over land, livelihood and food are also now recognised as admissible into this agenda in the same way as militancy is. The reconstruction of society after a conflict, somewhere at the conjunction of the old nation-building and development agendas, is also accepted as a security subject.
This catholic embrace stops short of women’s bodies. Violence against women is still not quite a security issue, unless it occurs in the context of one of the above situations or a traditional security crisis. Common, garden variety threats to the physical survival and safety of women are where the line is drawn, either out of an ingrained sense that home and person are not appropriate objects of interest for this field or as a compromise in the face of the protest that no field can include everything.
As a prelude to analysing this discourse that excludes women’s physical survival and safety, let us take a quick look at some of the things we include under the ‘violence against women’ (henceforth, VAW) rubric. Women experience physical insecurity both by virtue of their position within a given socio-economic structure and by virtue of where they find themselves physically.
Patriarchal societies value women first and foremost as mothers. Maternal health is therefore a useful point of departure for this review. A Unicef report states that one woman dies every five minutes of a pregnancy-related complication.(1) One in every 70 women is at risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes and the risk is even greater for women below 24.(2) The Maternal Mortality Ratio for Indian women is estimated at anywhere between 300 and 500 per 100,000 live births, depending on the source you consult.
Debates over the woman’s right to choose versus the foetus’s right to be born are entering Indian discourse, obscuring the continuum between a prenatal death sentence by virtue of sex and the woman’s lack of reproductive autonomy. In India, statistics about sex selective abortions begin with the dramatic figure of about 10 million such abortions being performed over the last quarter-century and end with the horrific count of 3 million female foetuses being aborted annually. Both the right of the girl-child to be born and the long-term consequences for women and society are the issue here.
Discrimination in matters of nutrition, healthcare and schooling apart, girls in situations of poverty are at risk of trafficking and early marriage. A majority of girls become victims of trafficking at a very early age, and about 35% of them blamed their families for their fate. Families are also responsible for forcing girls into early marriages. More than half of India’s girls marry before 18, and experience much greater risk of pregnancy-related complications as well as domestic violence. Add to this the threat of child sexual abuse, mostly at the hands of family members, and Indian girls do not seem to lead very secure lives.
A serious impediment to simple improvements in a girl’s life is the threat of street sexual harassment. Being followed on the way to school, cat-calls at the bus-stop, being groped or pinched on a bus or being stalked foreshadow sexual violence. The threat of being harassed intimidates girls and, in a society that places a premium on virginity, persuades parents to stop their schooling at puberty. Lacking education, confidence or self-esteem, the girl has no inner defences against exploitation and society provides no external protections either.
Marriage is seen as a solution to the problem of protecting a girl from the dangers of the public arena. Dowry, however, is one of the core causes of male-child preference. The practice of demanding and giving dowries has been spreading to communities where it was hitherto unknown. Dissatisfaction and avarice have combined to create social conditions where over 6,000 girls lose their lives annually in dowry-related deaths, according to the NCRB.(3) Strict laws do not seem to deter families from demanding nor from feeling like their prestige is attached to giving.
A shamefully large percentage of Indian women experience domestic violence. Nearly 37% of married women have experienced violence at some point and, perhaps more alarming, 54% of Indian women believe husbands have the right to beat their wives, according to the National Family Health Survey.(4) Social and economic compulsions keep women in abusive marriages and, given the magnitude of the problem, there are still too few helplines and shelters.
Infamous advice from India’s mythical lawgiver, Manu, enjoins women to seek the protection of their fathers, husbands and sons. Where fathers and husbands fail women, sons often do so as well. The abandoned widows of Brindavan and Varanasi are only the most dramatic instance of the cruelty of Indian society towards its elders. In homes around the country, senior citizens, particularly elderly, widowed women, are often subject to neglect and emotional abuse. Where cultural mores still constrain many from actually abandoning their ageing parents, what seniors surveyed described as ‘disrespect’ in fact borders on physical abuse.
This random review illustrates how unsafe women are in a variety of settings and roles. Considering that they constitute almost half a population of 1 billion, why does the survival and well-being of nearly 500 million citizens not find a place in security agendas?
One reason is the binary view of the public and private spheres which security as a field inherits from traditional political philosophy. On the contrary, feminists argue that the personal is political. The contemporary exercise (reflected in this series of articles) of redefining security is the search for a middle ground between these positions. Somewhere between a social perspective that will not cross the threshold of a home or a relationship and one that would dismiss the distance between the two sides of the threshold, is an older political debate relating to personal freedom and privacy. How do we define where the limits lie in the relationship between the individual and the collective? Once crossed, what is an appropriate issue for intervention and what is off-limits?
New security thinking has added a plethora of new referents for ‘security’ (a confounding plethora, traditionalists might say). That is, when we ask the question ‘whose security,’ we now answer with a much longer list than ‘State’ or ‘nation-state.’ Moreover, when we ask who creates insecurity, security scholars or policymakers shy away less from adding the State itself to the list. However, our view of who should create security still somehow ends up being State-centric.
This blindsides us. Where we will not let the State step in, whether from a minimalist State perspective or otherwise, we still challenge its inaction (and its inability to act). Can the State enter kitchens in an anticipatory exercise to prevent kerosene from being poured over new brides? Can the State be a presence in the bedroom when a wife is repeatedly raped by her husband? Should the State uphold the mother’s right to choose to have a child or should it allow her to decide not to have a girl-child?
Some of these questions have been resolved in practice. The Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 is an example, as is the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2006. But their failure to completely stop the practices they condemn suggests that even a State with tremendous reach, awesome enforcement capability and reasonable political will cannot stop individuals from perpetrating violent acts sanguinely. Neighbours, extended family and alert local civil society organisations can go much further than a battery of laws and a police force. Social pressure and ostracism are greater deterrents than the likelihood that the victim or her supporters will term their experience as ‘abuse’ and report it to the police. Those who mistreat women must take comfort in the lack of social support options available to them, so that they must return to the site of abuse sooner or later.
The next frontier in this exercise of re-imagining security then is to explore the role of civil society in creating security (and insecurity). Citizen-driven initiatives are the order of the day with regard to most other issues, be it mohalla committees to preserve communal harmony or neighbourhood environmental groups like EXNORA. What is the scope for citizen action to create security for women within and outside the home? What ethical and political issues are involved with initiating such action? Realistic assessments of what can be achieved are also needed, for which documentation of existing civil society efforts is important.
There is another factor: cultural relativism and the reluctance of contemporary State and society in an age of political correctness. Patriarchal politics makes of women’s bodies easy shorthand for the politics of group identity. Women then carry the burden of socialisation, cultural preservation and physically standing for the community’s integrity and survival. If attacks on women are an easy way of expressing hostility towards a community, restrictions on women are a way for the community to articulate its borders—“We are X-Y-Z and therefore we require this or that of our women.” The rationale is ‘protection’—of the women, ergo, the community. A strange liberal inhibition prevents us from completely challenging these for fear of offending others or limiting the right of each community to define itself uniquely. Eggshell-walking and dogma are both inimical to an idea of security that is equitable as well as liberal.
Why would we want to include violence against women in the security agenda? The most obvious reason is a political argument that anything that affects the survival of such a large part of society belongs in any discussion about survival and well-being. Second, using the term ‘security’ adds political leverage to any issue—visibility is greater, resources flow more easily and a sense of urgency is generated that may otherwise be lacking. Third, where violence is involved, collective attention and consideration are a must, and whether it is the State or society, it is imperative that one kind of violence merits the same attention as another. We cannot choose to which category of violence we will pay attention on the basis of motivation or victim identity.
Arguments can also be made that link violence against women to larger consequences for society and State. Unbalanced sex ratios increase the likelihood of violence in society. Violence against women has epidemic qualities that place a large burden on the public health system. Fewer adults able to work optimally and children desensitised to violence are other consequences. However, these instrumental arguments—take care of this so you can move on and do other things—are less persuasive than the argument that the security of female citizens is intrinsically a good thing and as much a social concern as war, famine or terrorism.
From intellectual and political standpoints, a discussion about violence against women as insecurity raises very interesting questions. Are there drawbacks to ‘securitising’ violence against women? Who will act to assure their security? What can we say about the relationship between State, society and female citizens based on the level of willingness to take action on this issue? Violence against women and women’s security also provides another instance for debating the freedom versus security, private versus public, universal versus relativist and minimalist versus pro-active State binaries that are actually among the oldest questions in politics. Thus, what we have been calling an exercise of redefinition or re-imagining ‘security’ is in fact also an exercise of remembering those fundamental political questions revisiting which is a pre-requisite to alert, vigilant citizenship.
Endnotes
1. Roopa Bakshi, Maternal Mortality – a woman dies every 5 minutes in childbirth in India, UNICEF India, http://www.unicef.org/india/health_1341.htm.
2. UNICEF. India. Statistics. accessed athttp://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/india_statistics.html, on November 3, 2008.
3. Sample Registration System, Maternal Mortality In India: 1997-2003: Trends, Causes And Risk Factors, Registrar General, India, New Delhi, 2006. Accessed athttp://ideas.repec.org/p/ess/wpaper/id753.html on November 3, 2008. UNICEF. India. Statistics. accessed at http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/india_statistics.html, on November 3, 2008.
4. P M Kulkarni, Estimation Of Missing Girls At Birth And Juvenile Ages In India, UNFPA, September 2007, Page 16. Accessed atHttp://Www.Unfpa.Org/Gender/Docs/Studies/Missingirlsatbirth_India.Pdf on November 3, 2008.
5. P M Nair, A Report on Trafficking in Women and Children in India 2002-2003, Volume 1, NHRC-UNIFEM-ISS, 2004, page 104, Accessed athttp://nhrc.nic.in/Documents/ReportonTrafficking.pdf on November 16, 2008.
6. Centre for Social Research, Child Marriage Prohibition Act openly flouted, as the practice continues unabated, Press Release, February 1, 2008, Accessed athttp://www.csrindia.org/Child%20Marriage%20Prohibition%20Act%20openly%20flouted,%20as%20the% 20practice%20continues%20unabated%20,New%20Delhi,%2001%20February%202008.htm on November 16, 2008.
7. National Crime Records Bureau 2006.
8. National Family Health Survey 3, 2005-2006,National Fact Sheet India, Accessed athttp://www.nfhsindia.org/pdf/IN.pdf, on November 16, 2008.
(Swarna Rajagopalan is a Chennai-based political scientist specialising in security, broadly defined. She is the founder of Prajnya Initiatives for Peace, Justice and Security, a new Chennai non-profit (http://www.prajnya.in))

NCW team gets it all wrong
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Bangalore/NCW_team_gets_it_all_wrong/articleshow/4055812.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0431 hrs IST, TNN
MANGALORE: When there is a national outrage over the attack on girls in a Mangalore pub, the National Commission for Women has nothing much to say about it. An NCW team that visited Mangalore on Friday — the purpose was to enquire about the girls’ welfare — was, instead, more concerned about whether the pub had security in place to handle such eventualities. Team leader Nirmala Venkatesh said: “I could not locate and meet the girls as no complaint has been filed. The only complaint filed is by the pub owner. They, too, have no clue about the girls.’’ After visiting the sub-jail where the accused Sri Rama Sene activists have been lodged, Nirmala said they told her the girls were from outside Karnataka; some belonged to rich families in Mangalore. “We can identify the girls, but don’t want to spoil their reputation,’’ she quoted the accused as saying. The only harsh observation she made was about the lack of security at the pub. “They should not run the pub if they can’t provide security. The NCW will suggest to the authorities to make security arrangements mandatory for issuing licences to pubs, bars and hotels.’’ The NCW advised the police to look into the misuse of licence.

Court rejects plaintiff’s objections in rape case
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Allahabad/Court_rejects_plaintiffs_objections_in_rape_case/articleshow/4055509.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0500 hrs IST, TNN
BAHRAICH: The final police report in the Gudia Pathak rape case has been accepted by the court. The objections raised by the plaintiff were rejected. Gudia levelled rape charges against a former additional superintendent of police (ASP) and former labour minister. It may be noted that on an application filed by Gudia Pathak, a resident of Kanchar in Bisheshwarganj police area, a case of rape was registered against former ASP Heeralal and former labour minister Waqar Ahmed Shah, under Section 120 of IPC, on August 18, 2007. During investigations, the investigating officer found the allegations to be untrue. The ASP, Balrampur, who was made the investigating officer, found the case false and submitted his report to the court on December 10, 2007. Superintendent of police, Bahraich, finding fault in the final report, requested the court to return it. The chief judicial magistrate returned it. On the orders of the DIG, Devi Patan range, the case was referred to ASP, Shrawasti for re-investigation. During re-investigation, the allegations were again found to be baseless. Gudia appeared in the court and raised objections over the final report of re-investigation. The court, however, rejected the objections raised by her.

PF scam: HC asks govt to file affidavit
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Allahabad/PF_scam_HC_asks_govt_to_file_affidavit/articleshow/4055497.cms
31 Jan 2009, 0450 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has asked the state government and the mill authorities to file counter-affidavit and fixed February 27 for further orders in a PIL filed regarding the provident fund scam of Rs 2.51 lakh in Sahkari Chini Mills Ltd, Tilhar. The bench comprising Chief Justice HL Gokhale and Justice Dilip Gupta passed the order on a PIL filed by the Chini Mills Karmachari Kalyan Sangh. The bench has also issued notices to the provident fund commissioner, Kanpur and deputy labour commissioner, Bareilly division to file replies in the case. Dinesh Rai appearing for the petitioner had pointed out that provident fund amount deducted from the salary of the employees was embezzled. The petitioner has also demanded for an inquiry into the case by the CBI. Arrest stayed: A division bench of the high court comprising Justice S Harkauli and Justice Rajesh Kumar has stayed the arrest of chief proctor and professor of Banaras Hindu University SCS Rathore and NK Singh in connection with an FIR lodged against them with Lanka police in Varanasi. The FIR was registered by the police over an allegation that they had committed negligence in the treatment of a student, who died. The court has also issued notices to the opposite parties, asking them to file their reply in the case.

Money delivered at Kaur’s house was not for me: Justice Nirmal Yadav
http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/31/stories/2009013159871300.htm
J. Venkatesan
She requests Chief Justice of India to reject in-house committee findings
New Delhi: Justice Nirmal Yadav of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has categorically said Rs. 15 lakh in cash delivered at the residence of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur in Chandigarh on August 13, 2008, was not meant for her and that she was targeted because of a similarity in their first names.
Asserting that the three-member in-house committee conducted a probe by restricting the scope of enquiry and confining it to allegations against her, Justice Nirmal Yadav said: “I have a right to reject the report as the same has been conducted in a lop-sided manner. Unless an enquiry is ordered into all allegations against all judges concerned, I refuse to submit to such informal procedure.”
In her second reply sent to the Chief Justice of India on January 27, she said: “The proposal of in-house procedure was rejected by the Full Court of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Therefore, it does not have any binding force.”
Responding to the show-cause notice, the judge, in her first reply sent on January 7, requested the CJI to furnish certain documents relied on by the committee and after some of them were supplied she sent the second reply.
She said: “I am thus left with no option but to believe that the committee left out best evidence that could be available to it and acted on a self-imposed inhibition of enquiring only against me and not the others. I wonder if this course of action was resorted to protect and prevent exposure of the involvement of a Supreme Court judge.
She said: “There is no scope of any error in delivery of the packet to Mrs. Nirmaljit Kaur in view of the categorical statement of Prakash Ram [who delivered it] to the effect that ‘I heard it was to be given to Nirmaljit [staying in Sector 11].’
“To the committee, Prakash Ram said: ‘I did not deem it necessary to enquire as to who this Nirmal was since I knew madam Nirmaljit Kaur whose residence I had visited twice or so when she was an advocate.’ Despite this, the committee chooses to ignore his statement and the fact that I live in Sector 24 about 5 km away from Sector 11.”
Justice Nirmal Yadav said: “I do not know, nor am I aware till now, whether the sum of Rs. 15 lakh delivered at Mrs. Nirmaljit Kaur’s residence was for her or for someone else. But I am certain it was always intended to be delivered at her residence.”
The reply said: “The committee has chosen to accept the statement of Mr. Sanjiv Bansal [advocate] even when in his own words he admits to have ‘concocted a story to save the situation [regarding one Mr. Nirmal Singh].’ It is unknown to the annals of law to accept the statement of a person who himself claims to have concocted and changed his version at his own convenience in order to screen himself from the penal consequences.”
Justice Nirmal Yadav requested the CJI that the injustice done to her be remedied and that she be assigned normal judicial work at the earliest.

Charge sheet filed in Lakshmanananda case
http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/31/stories/2009013157221200.htm
Special Correspondent
BHUBANESWAR: A day after filing the charge sheet in the Kandhamal nun rape case, the Crime Branch of Orissa police on Friday filed the charge sheet in the case relating to the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati.
The charge sheet was filed in the court of the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate at Baliguda in Kandhamal district naming seven persons accused.
The seven accused, who were arrested in the case earlier, are Budhadev Naik, Duryodhan Sanamajhi, Bijay Sanaseth, Gananath Seth and Bhaskar Sanamajhi, Sanatan Badamajhi and Munda Badamajhi. While Naik is a Maoist, the remaining accused are Maoist supporters belonging to Kandhamal.
The VHP leader was killed at his Jalespata ashram in Kandhamal along with four others on August 23 last year. A large group of suspected armed Maoists were involved in the case. The assailants had used automatic weapons to commit the crime.
According to Crime Branch Superintendent of Police Yatindra Koyal, the accused were charged under Sections 34, 120(B), 302, 380, and 449 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act.
The investigation in the case was still in progress and a supplementary charge sheet would be filed the after the arrest of other accused and completion of the probe, Mr. Koyal said.
The murder of the VHP leader had led to anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal and other parts of the State after the Sangh Parivar claimed that members of the minority community had committed the crime.
Under fire
The Biju Janata Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had come under severe criticism from various quarters when the violence continued in Kandhamal for several weeks.
The communal violence in Kandhamal ended only after the Maoists reiterated their claim that they had committed the crime.
The arrest of several Sangh Parivar leaders had also helped the administration in controlling the situation.

Advocate arrested
http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/31/stories/2009013154240600.htm
CHENNAI: A special team investigating the murder of a woman in a beauty parlour in K.K. Nagar here on October 10 arrested the prime accused, Koteeswaran (38), an advocate. He was arrested in a village near Virudhunagar on Wednesday.
Police said that it was under the instruction of Koteeswaran that Ilango and Ravikumar, already arrested in the case, went to the beauty parlour and attacked Chitra, the victim. She was also robbed of her valuables. The victim succumbed to serious injuries. Koteeswaran was produced in a city court and remanded to judicial custody.

Advocates boycott courts
http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/31/stories/2009013154000400.htm
CHENNAI: An indefinite boycott of courts by advocates to protest against the killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka began on Friday. The boycott, which is also to condemn the Centre for supplying arms to Sri Lanka, followed a decision by the general body of the Madras High Court Advocates Association. Advocates took out a procession on the High Court premises and raised slogans. — Special Correspondent

Lawyers flay killing of Tamils
http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/31/stories/2009013157760300.htm
Special Correspondent
MADURAI: Advocates practising in the Madras High Court Bench and at the district courts here abstained from work on Friday in protest against the killings of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
A section of advocates staged a demonstration in front of the Doordarshan Kendra in K.K. Nagar. They shouted slogans against the Sri Lankan government for the killing of innocent Tamils.
A group of college students, who attempted to block road traffic near Periyar statue off Corporation of Madurai, staged a demonstration near the Passport Office on Race Course Road around noon.
Vehicular movement was diverted for sometime in these areas, police said.

High Court dismisses plea on maintainability
http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/31/stories/2009013161120300.htm
Staff Reporter
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court had on Wednesday dismissed a petition by Chetana Kumble, wife of former Test cricketer Anil Kumble, contesting the maintainability of a petition seeking reopening of a child custody case.
It had not dismissed her former husband V. Jahagirdhar’s petition, as reported in these columns.
Mr. Jahagirdhar was the respondent in the case before the High Court.
Ms. Chetana, in her petition, had challenged a Family Court order reopening the custody case relating to her and Mr. Jahagirdhar’s daughter.
Justice Rammohan Reddy had heard the matter on the maintainability issue and not on deciding the custody of their daughter.
The judge had remanded back to the Family Court the main matter — continuation of trial and disposal of case on merits — on an application by Mr. Jahagirdhar seeking exclusive rights of his daughter.

Court rejects IAF plea
http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/31/stories/2009013161460400.htm
BANGALORE: Residents of Yelahanka, Jalahalli and surrounding areas on Friday heaved a sigh of relief when the Karnataka High Court rejected an application by the Indian Air Force to restrict entry of public vehicles on the road from Gangamma Circle and Zum Zum Point near Jalahalli, Bangalore, in view of the recent Mumbai terrorist attack. In an interlocutory application , the Centre and Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station Jalahalli, had urged the court to modify an earlier order it had passed permitting public transport vehicles on the road. — Staff Reporter

Criminals losing fear of law Law & order
http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/31/stories/2009013161340300.htm
The audacious act of the notorious Satte gang in opening fire at a police team and engaging them in a gun-battle for nearly 30 minutes in the busy Green Park Extension area of the Capital recently once again reinforces the growing perception that criminals no longer fear the police and the law.
Delhi has seen several instances of such desperate criminal acts in recent times. Before his arrest on January 19, Satya Prakash alias Satte, who is involved in over two dozen criminal cases, unleashed terror in the Capital along with his gang members, allegedly targeting banks, cash vans and businessmen in the last quarter of the previous year. Several people were injured in those incidents.
In mid-2008, a gang of bikers led by Om Prakash alias Bunty earned instant notoriety by committing a series of senseless murders and robberies. Over a dozen incidents were reported within a span of 15 days and it all stopped with his elimination in an encounter with the police on the outskirts of the city a month later. In Shakarpur, a shopping mall employee was riddled with bullets during a robbery outside a bank in broad daylight last year. In yet another sensational incident, underscoring the audacity of the criminals, a young man was shot dead and another seriously injured during a snatching in Nand Nagri early last year.
Even senior police officers admit that criminals are getting more and more bold and unafraid of the police and the law. “Though there are no parameters to measure it, criminals appear to have become fearless these days. Not to talk of the common man, now they do not even hesitate to challenge the police. Most hardened criminals are acquainted with the functioning of the police and loopholes in the legal system and have lost the fear of both,” says a senior police officer.
Hard-core criminals have their own battery of lawyers to take care of all their legal issues. So despite their involvement in crime, the case fails to stand legal scrutiny for want of evidence. “Thanks to their understanding of the law, they know that recoveries could go against them in court and do not spill the beans during police custody. The job of the police becomes all the more difficult when no one dares to come forward to depose against them. The confessional statements made to the police are not admissible in court. A habitual criminal thus knows that conviction is hard to come by and he can get away with anything,” says the officer.
Such habitual criminals do not mind spending a few months behind bars waiting for bail, especially when a slew of jail reforms over the years have made life in captivity not that uncomfortable. They even resort to making false complaints of harassment and torture against the police thus putting them on the back foot. Some senior police officers feel that there is a need to amend the law to make some distinction between a habitual criminal and a novice. “The bail provisions are same for one committing crime for the first time and a habitual offender. Also, hard-core criminals should be treated more strictly than other inmates inside jails and kept in solitary cells,” sums up another senior officer.
Ashok Kumar

Held guilty of contempt of court
http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/31/stories/2009013156390400.htm
Staff Reporter
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has held an accused in a cheque bouncing case guilty of contempt of court for not complying with his bail condition that he would repay the loan amount.
Justice Manmohan held Rajeev Kapoor guilty of contempt of court for not complying with an undertaking given to the trial court for repayment of the loan saying that “it is a case of wilful breach of the undertaking given to the court”.
The Court will pronounce the quantum of sentence on March 9.
The accused approached the High Court after the lower court had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against him, cancelling his bail for not complying with the undertaking. He had sought quashing of the warrant.
The lower court had later ordered attachment of the property of the accused when he failed to appear before it following issuance of the warrant.
The mother of the accused, Santosh Kapoor, had filed a separate petition in the High Court seeking quashing of the order for attachment of the property saying that her son had no share in the property as she had disowned him. However, the Court dismissed both petitions.
The accused owed Rs.1.61 lakh to a private company here. He had given a post-dated cheque to the creditor company for repayment of the loan amount but it had bounced.
The creditor company then moved a lower court for his prosecution for cheque bouncing.

Court seeks information on LPG sites
http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/31/stories/2009013161300300.htm
Staff Reporter
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Delhi Development Authority to inform it when and where it would provide alternative sites to three LPG cooking gas dealers to shift their existing depots so they could continue to cater to their consumers staying in North Delhi and Central Delhi.
The Delhi Development Authority had on January 19 cancelled the allotment of sites at Majnu ka Tila in North Delhi to the dealers — Priyanka Gas Service, Emal & Sons and C. Lal & Sons — on the ground that they came in the way of alignment of western approaches to the Signature Bridge that would come up over the Yamuna at Wazirabad.
It had asked these dealers to vacate the sites and hand them over to it by January 30.

Court imposes fine on two top officials
http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/31/stories/2009013153660300.htm
Correspondent
IAS officer, educationist convicted in contempt case
CUTTACK: In a significant judgment, the High Court on Friday convicted a senior IAS officer and an educationist in a contempt case and slapped a fine of Rs. 10,000 on each. In the event of non-payment of fine within seven days from the date of communication of the order, both the contemnors shall undergo simple imprisonment of one month each, the HC ordered.
State Higher Education Department secretary Madhusudan Padhi, IAS and the director of higher education Dr. Suman Mohapatra are held guilty under Section 12 of Contempt of Court Act-1972 for wilful violation of the High Court order that was passed in September 2008.
Reading out the five-page order and the sentence in a packed courtroom, the Bench of Justice B.P. Das and Justice R.N. Biswal expressed serious concern over the disrespect shown by both the officials towards the orders passed by the court. Both the officials were present inside the courtroom when the verdict was pronounced.
The matter inter alia pertains to a State Education Tribunal order passed way back in July 2006 in which the Tribunal had directed the government to pay grant-in-aid dues to one Debendranath Barik, presently working as Laboratory Attendant in Jawaharlal Nehru College in Kuanpal of Cuttack district.
When the government did not implement the Tribunal order for nearly two years, Barik approached the High Court in a writ petition in July 2008 stating that he was badly in need of his arrear dues as he is suffering from a serious ailment.
The HC on September 9, 2008 disposed of the writ application with a direction to the Higher Education Department Secretary-cum-Commissioner and to the Director to comply with the order of the Tribunal within three weeks. Despite this specific order from HC, the officials did not respond to the matter and Barik continued to be deprived of his legitimate dues. Finding no other alternative, Barik was forced to file a contempt case against both the officials on October 17, 2008 urging the HC to award exemplary punishment to the contemnors for violation of court orders.
Meanwhile, it was learnt that the State government was planning to move the Supreme Court against the order passed by the High Court on Friday.

One Response

  1. what is the position of the Hon’ high court of andhra pradesh regarding the rights of a deserted mother to apply for a passport for her minor daughter/ get her admitted in school without the fathers consent as he is not found at the last given address.

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