9 Apr 2009, 0353 hrs IST, Pervez Iqbal Siddiqui, TNN
LUCKNOW: The provisions of the People’s Representation Act (PRA) may appear to restrict a convict from contesting elections for six years, but the clause is not as simple as it seems, insist legal experts. In case of Sanjay Dutt, for instance, the actor may in fact not be able to contest in 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections as well. Legal experts say that the conditions as described under Articles 102 and 191 of the Constitution read with Sections 8(1), 8(2) and 8(3) of the PRA clause state that the ban will start from the date of conviction of the individual and remain in effect all through the conviction. It will end six years after the expiry of the term of conviction. “For instance, if a person – say ABC – is convicted for a six-year-term on July 31, 1997, the ban will come into force from that very day. If ABC had already spent 18 months in jail during the trial period and the court agrees to include this period in the sentence, then ABC is left to spend another 54 months or four-and-a-half years in jail to complete the sentence,” says Atul Verma, a high court lawyer. This period of 54 months will start from the date ABC walks into the prison to serve the sentence – suppose on August 31, 1997. The entire pending sentence of 54 months would then be completed on February 28, 2002. Now the person will have to stay back for six years starting March 1, 2008 (which will add up to March 1, 2014) before which he can be eligible to contest the elections once again, say legal experts. This means, for Sanjay Dutt, who was convicted by the special TADA court of Mumbai on July 31, 2007 for a period of six years, the ban came into force on that very day. In case Dutt starts serving his sentence, if he fails to receive any reprieve from the Supreme Court on his conviction, he will first have to spend six years in jail and then another six years of ban as per the PRA provisions before he could contest the elections, unless he gets relief from any of the designated courts on his conviction. “It is on similar lines that we have challenged the candidature of Mitrasen Yadav, the Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate from Faizabad parliamentary constituency,” said Ashok Pandey, high court lawyer and counsel for the petitioner who has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the candidature of Yadav. The PIL was admitted by the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday. The court issued notices to all the parties concerned and listed the case for next hearing after three weeks. According to legal experts, going by the complete definition of the provisions of section 8(1),(2) and (3) of the PRA, anyone serving a life term or death sentence cannot contest elections. This primarily because as per the term of the sentences, the person will have to spend his entire life in jail. “Even if the person is released from jail after a few years by a special pardon from the government or the remaining sentence is waved-off on the merit of good conduct, still the individual cannot be allowed to contest the elections as the original sentence covers his entire life,” says Ashok Pandey. Whatever be the outcome of the PIL against Mitrasen Yadav, the judgment in the case is sure to clear the air over the ambiguities with regards to ban on convicts of crime from contesting elections.
‘Issue circular on bandh norms’
9 Apr 2009, 0411 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN
MUMBAI: “We must pass orders which can be enforced. If we can’t, then it becomes a joke-like the order to ban smoking in public places,” said Justice Bilal Nazki of the Bombay high court
on Wednesday. The judge said this before directing the state chief secretary to issue a circular incorporating the landmark guidelines that the HC framed in 2004 regarding bandhs called by political parties. According to it, the police are supposed to spread awareness that bandhs are unconstitutional and they are also supposed to capture rioting on video to identify the culprits. Justice Nazki and Justice V K Tahilramani also directed that the police commissioner and the police superintendent would be responsible for the implementation of the circular and any failure could attract contempt proceedings. The judges had disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL), pointing out that the 2004 HC directives were not being implemented. The PIL sought compensation for damage to property caused by three bandhs in Satara during 2006-07. In recent hearings on the PIL, presided over by other judges, the HC asked the state about the steps it was taking to ensure enforcement of the 2004 guidelines. The court noted that calling bandhs had not entirely stopped despite the Rs 20-lakh compensation that the Shiv Sena and BJP had to shell out for a 2003 strike in Mumbai. The state, through its lawyer Pradeep Patil, informed the court on Tuesday that it would consult the law department to take proper steps in response to a recent suggestion by a previous bench that the laws be strengthened and amended to ensure a more binding force. On Tuesday, when the petitioner’s counsel Uday Warunjikar said proper video clips were not recorded during the bandh in Satara despite loss to public property, Justice Nazki added that for good measure, there appear to be no cameras (with the traffic cops) either. “If there had been so many cameras there would be no traffic problem in Mumbai.”
HC disposes of case against Rohit
9 Apr 2009, 0350 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: Following a chargesheet filed by the police against Rohit Monserrate in the alleged rape case of a German minor girl, the high court of Bombay at Goa on Wednesday disposed of the suo motu PIL against Rohit. When the petition came up for hearing state advocate general Subodh Kantak told the court that the police had filed a chargesheet against Rohit under sections 376, 354 and 293 of the Indian Penal Code and section 8 of the Goa Children’s Act. Appearing for Rohit, Atmaram Nadkarni told the court that the accused had obtained bail from the children’s court after the chargesheet was filed and sought the petition’s disposal. The division bench, comprising Justices B P Dharmadhikari and U D Salvi, disposed of the petition after recording the AG’s statement that the chargesheet has been filed. It may be recalled that a German lady had in October 2008 filed a police complaint accusing Rohit, son of education minister Atanasio Monserrate, of raping her minor daughter. Chief Justice of Bombay HC Swatanter Kumar had taken suo motu cognizance of her complaint after the media highlighted the police inaction towards the accused. The court thereafter issued notice to the state government asking why the case should not be handed over to the CBI. The court had also issued a show cause notice to Rohit asking him as to why bail issued to him by the children’s court should not be cancelled.
Stop housing project on Thoraipakkam, HC tells
9 Apr 2009, 0407 hrs IST
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has asked the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (SCB) to stop its ongoing housing project work at Kannagi Nagar in Okkiyam Thoraipakkam village on the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) here. The first bench comprising the chief justice HL Gokhale and justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla gave the interim ruling on Wednesday, on a contempt of court petition filed by a resident seeking to restrain the SCB from levelling or filling up any marshland or water body for its housing project. The petitioner, Susetha, contended that though a division bench comprising justice S J Mukhopadhaya and justice V Dhanapalan had directed the SCB not to fill up any part of the water body or marshland known as Okkiam Madavu, the SCB went ahead with its construction activities. When notices, reminders and police complaints did not yield a desired result, Susetha filed the present contempt petition against the managing director and chairperson of the SCB. Posting the contempt plea along with the main public interest writ petition on April 22 for hearing, the first bench asked the government pleader and the counsel for the SCB to get instructions as to whether the survey numbers mentioned by Susetha had been classified as water body or as an access to a water body. In the mean time, the SCB shall stop its ongoing construction works. The SCB, in its communication to the petitioner, has said that it was not Okkiyam Madavu and that the PIL had been filed based on a mistaken identity.
HC to decide on non-complying healthcare units
9 Apr 2009, 0303 hrs IST, TNN
PUNE: Fate of at least 1,470 healthcare establishments in Pune region is in limbo. The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) submitted its report on hospitals, clinics, blood banks and pathological labs to the Bombay High Court for deciding suitable action against them for non-compliance with bio-medical waste disposal norms despite repeated warnings. “We have submitted the report to the Bombay High Court. The decision for suitable action against them now rests with the court. We will only follow their directions,” said Sanjay Khandare, member secretary of MPCB. The move is part of a massive consolidation of the surveillance system of the board for effective implementation of bio-medical waste disposal norms, he added. Elaborating further, P K Mirashe, regional officer of the board said, “The Bombay High Court, in response to a public interest litigation (PIL), has directed the board to strengthen its surveillance to check gross violation of the bio-medical waste (maintenance and handling) act. Following which, we initiated massive inventorisation of clinical establishments in the region. We brought all of them on our surveillance system. Later, we issued them warning and after that show-cause notices for not seeking mandatory authorisation for the generation of bio medical waste. Since most of them didn’t even bother to take note of our show-cause notices, we submitted the report to the Bombay High Court for suitable action.” There are total 4,308 healthcare establishments in Pune region comprising districts of Pune, Satara and Solapur. Of which, we issued show-cause notices to around 1,470 clinical establishment after finding that they have not bothered to consider our initial warning notice to comply with the norms. “Of these, 646 clinical establishments are from Pune district alone,” said Mirashe. While Satara has 462 and Solapur has 362, he added. Till the decision regarding the erring clinical establishments is not taken, the Bombay High Court has even restrained board and municipal corporation from issuing any fresh permission or granting fresh consent to any clinical establishments or any other unit generating bio-medical waste unless and until arrangements for its disposal in accordance with norms are not made. This is in effect from April 9.
State to HC: Rs20 lakh recovered from MLA
Thursday, April 9, 2009 3:03 IST
Mumbai: In an affidavit submitted to the Bombay High Court on Wednesday, the state government said that it has recovered Rs20.09 lakh from Jalgaon MLA Ramesh Choudhary, which he had received from the government in the form of medical reimbursement using invalid bills.
Following a PIL filed by Janhit Manch, an NGO, the court has now asked the government to state what action it proposes to take against erring MLAs and MLCs who have submitted false bills to recover medical expenses from the state exchequer.
The affidavit filed by principal secretary Anant Kalse on April 4 states that a committee under the supervision of the state legislative assembly and chairman of legislative council was constituted to review the bills submitted by ministers for medical reimbursements.
The committee met 36 times and scrutinized 109 bills of Rs1 lakh and above. Six bills were rejected and Rs5.45 lakh was recovered made from four members and Rs2.81 lakh was recovered from another two members. Ten more bills have been rejected and the amounts have to be recovered from the members concerned.
Choudhary had submitted 41 bills. The scrutinizing committee inferred that prima facie Choudhary had submitted the bills on “false pretext” as per Kasle’s affidavit, and this amounts to cheating of misuse of government money. “He may have got Rs20 lakh with the help of officers. All are shielding one another,” Justice Bilal Nazki remarked.
The court asked what action has been taken against Choudhary. “Has an FIR been filed? Has he been arrested?” Justice Nazki asked.
Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice VK Tahilramani have asked the state government to give an account of what action has been initiated against the erring ministers and adjourned the case for two weeks.
Batla probe will demoralize cops: Delhi govt to HC
9 Apr 2009, 0251 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The NCT government on Wednesday pleaded before the Delhi High Court that a magisterial inquiry into the Batla House encounter in which two suspected terrorists and a police inspector were killed would demoralise the police force. “Magisterial inquiry in the case can have a demoralising impact on the police force and they would think twice before taking any decision while confronting terrorists in the country,” advocate Mukta Gupta, appearing for the state government, said while justifying the Lieutenant Governor’s decision of not allowing a probe into the shootout. “If every bullet fired is going to invite a magisterial inquiry or murder case, the officers will avoid carrying weapons and a young man in the country will avoid joining police. If this message goes around in the criminals, total chaos is not far away,” the police argued in its reply to HC. The government contended before a bench headed by chief Justice A P Shah that NHRC’s guidelines of holding inquiry into encounter death cases is not mandatory in law and it should be reviewed in view of growing number of terrorist attacks in the country. “The rights of a terrorist who is responsible for spreading terrorism by causing hundreds of deaths of innocent persons cannot be compared with the rights of ordinary criminals,” deputy commissioner of police H M Meena said in the status report filed by him. The government further contended that an FIR has been lodged in the case and there was no need to have a magisterial inquiry as the crime branch of Delhi Police was investigating the case. The bench, however, didn’t agree and said that a magisterial inquiry cannot be equated with investigation done by the police. “It is impossible to accept that lodging FIR amounts to conducting inquiry. Magisterial inquiry is not inquiry against anybody but it is a fact finding inquiry,” the court opined adding that if NHRC guidelines are not mandatory then it could be be dispensed with, across the country. “We are not concerned only with Batla House encounter case but about all such cases. If such inquiry is not conducted then truth would not come out,” the court said while asking all the parties to respond as to whether NHRC’s guidelines are mandatory or not. The court was hearing a PIL filed by an NGO Act Now For Harmony and Democracy seeking a judicial inquiry into the September 19, 2008 encounter, in which two suspected terrorists, allegedly involved in the Delhi serial blasts, and police inspector Mohan Chand Sharma were killed. Raising doubts over the police version in the case, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, said, “Four separate enquiries were conducted by independent non-government organisations and all of them have raised doubts on the police version in the case.”
Hospital has not complied with HC directives: Court committee
Published by: Noor KhanPublished: Thu, 09 Apr 2009 at 00:56 IST
F Prev Next L
New Delhi, Apr 8 : A committee set-up by the Delhi High Court today today told the court that the Indraprastha Apollo hospital has not complied with its directions with regard to free treatment of poor patients.Filing a report before the Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, the committee comprising Dr S K Sareen, Amarendra Sharan, a lawyer and A K Jain, an architect, said it found irregularities in the bills with regard to the treatment of poor patients.Citing some bills in the report, the committee members claimed the hospital had taken Rs 1.5 lakh from a patient and his name was shown in the list of free treatment patients.The members told the court that they were shown 37 free beds for poor patients whereas the hospital was supposed to reserve about 300 beds for the patients from the economic weaker section of society.The hospital needs lot of improvement including the mechanism to provide proper treatment to the poor patients, the committee said.The Bench was hearing a PIL alleging that the hospital had obtained public land at a throw away price from the DDA following a lease agreement that the hospital would give 33 per cent free treatment to poor patients, but had violated the agreement with the government.
HC pulls up BEAG for filing PIL without checking facts
Published: April 9,2009
MumbaiThe Bombay high court today came down heavily on Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG), a prominent NGO, for filing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) without checking facts.”Now-a-days, lot of PILs result in wastage of time of the court,”observed Justice Bilal Nazaki and Justice Vijaya Kapse Tahilramani while hearing BEAG’s PIL urging demolition of a road constructed in between high tide and low tide area in the sea at Nandgaon in Alibag taluka of Raigad district. Public prosecutor Pradip Patil filed an affidavit on behalf of the government saying that the road was constructed a century ago to join two ends – a temple with a village.He alleged that a bungalow belonging to one Zenia Lawyer was right in front of this road and the owner had constructed a compound wall which was illegal.In order to have complete access to the beach, she was interested in demolition of the road. Hence she had approached BEAG.On behalf of Nandgaon Gram Panchayat, advocate V A Gangal supported the government’s affidavit saying the road was not newly constructed and had been existing since long.The court was told that the bungalow owner had been served notice for illegal construction of compound wall on January 4 this year and a fortnight later this PIL was filed by BEAG.
Mini Eiffel Tower to be shifted to Y Junction
8 Apr 2009, 2254 hrs IST, Melvyn Thomas, TNN
SURAT: Standing tall in city’s posh locality for last five years, the mini-Eiffel tower an important landmark on Parle Point Junction will soon find a new abode on Piplod-Dumas Road. The new location for the mini Eiffel Tower will be at Y Junction near Dumas resort on Surat airport road. Constructed for the beautification of traffic island by the largest retail chain group in south Gujarat, Dhiraj Sons at a cost of Rs 20 lakh in 2005, the mini Eiffel Tower has been the centre of attraction for the past few years. For the residents and business houses in Parle Point area, the tower is not just a landmark but part of their postal address system. “Imagine you wake up one morning and don’t see the building next to yours. It is like that. The mini Eiffel Tower will soon cease to exist at the Parle Point area,” said Bipin Modi, owner of Dhiraj Sons. The decision to relocate the mini Eiffel Tower from Parle Point junction was taken after Gujarat High Court on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by businessmen and residents of the locality who submitted that the construction of Parle Point flyover will threaten the landmark’s existence. Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has heaved a sigh of relief with the high court’s ruling as now it can now start the construction of Rs 40-crore Parle Point flyover on a war footing, sources said. “The construction of the flyover was not possible without shifting the mini Eiffel Tower. Now that the PIL has been dismissed, we hope to speed up the construction work after relocating the tower,” said Jatin Shah, SMC’s executive engineer (bridge cell). Sources said SMC has offered two locations for mini Eiffel Tower’s relocation at Y Junction near Dumas resort and at the traffic junction near City Plus cinema. “We want to relocate the tower to Y Junction near Dumas resort. Though it will cost us extra Rs 9 lakh to dismantle and relocate it, at least it will ensure that the landmark exists,” Modi added.
Take a chill PIL…
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Somewhere along the way the concept of the public interest litigation (PIL) movement, pioneered by Justices P N Bhagwati and V R Krishna Iyer, to highlight the injustice being meted out to the “poor, ignorant or those in a socially or economically disadvantaged position,” has been hijacked by individuals, who are neither poor, ignorant, or socially or economically disadvantaged. They are using it purely as a means to get cheap publicity for themselves and massage their ego.The Supreme Court even asked the lower courts to filter out “frivolous” PILs and impose stiff penalties, but even that hasn’t really helped has it? Maybe it needs more than a ‘filter’ to stop wasting the court’s time and public money. Just take a look at some of the ongoing litigation. There’s one recently against actor Akshay Kumar and his wife Twinkle, because she playfully tried to unbutton his jeans at the launch of a brand of Levi’s jeans which, incidentally was called “Unbuttoned”.Years ago, someone wanted the word ‘Sindh’ removed from the National Anthem, while another wanted it to be discarded completely! Yet another litigation appealed for India to be rechristened ‘Hindustan’ and someone else demanded that the Arabian Sea be renamed ‘Sindhu Sagar’. There was one against Pooja Bhatt for some posters of her film. Then there was one against Shilpa Shetty because she was kissed by Richard Gere at a show in Mumbai. For heaven’s sake, if Shilpa Shetty and her parents have no problems with Mr Gere smooching her, why does the rest of the world? Don’t these people (as in litigants) have anything better to do with their and the court’s time and money? I mean do they look out of the window in the morning and say “today’s a good day to file a PIL”?To add to the mayhem are the self appointed moralists, who are ready to jump on to any bandwagon that will get them 5 col cms of space in the newspapers.Remember the brouhaha that was created by some activists in Bangalore who were protesting against the Miss World pageant way back in 1996. It was more than obvious that they were looking for publicity. Since Amitabh Bachchan’s company ABCL was organizing it, they were easy targets. I remember asking Mr Bachchan about this when I interviewed him for Maharashtra Herald in 1997. He dismissed it with a shrug and a wry smile. We’ve had innumerable such pageants since then all over India, so how come the litigants and activists are silent since then?Can those who file such frivolous PILs actually be called “poor, ignorant or in a socially or economically disadvantaged position”? Your guess is as good as mine.
Posted by Mohan at 2:58:00 PM
HC notice to Centre on plea over Sikkim CM’s citizenship
Published: April 8,2009
Justice S Ravindra Bhat sought a response from the Centre by July 17 on a petition filed by Padam Prakash Sharma, who claimed that Chamling was a citizen of Nepal and should be disqualified.
He also alleged that the Centre as well as the Election Commission were not considering his complaint.
The state goes to the Assembly polls on May 30 and the issue should be decided before that, Sharma said.
Sharma claimed that he has documents to prove his contention and that in March last year the news that Chamling, the MLA from Damthang and leader of Sikkim Democratic Front, has taken Nepali citizenship had come to light.
Sharma alleged that Chamling played a fraud with the documents and added,”He has been elected as MLA and thereafter appointed as the CM of the Sikkim state on the basis of complete fraud and misrepresentation before the Election Commission.”
Sharma claimed that he lodged a complaint in June last year with the Centre as well as the Election Commission but till the date no action has been taken against the chief minister.
Vishram Patil case: HC seeks records, judgement reserved
Wednesday, April 8, 2009 16:30 IST
Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday sought original cell phone records of president Pratibha Patil’s brother GN Patil and four others in Vishram Patil murder case.
Vishram Patil’s widow, Rajni Patil, has moved the court seeking to make G N Patil an accused in the case.
The division bench of chief justice Swatanter Kumar and justice DY Chandrachud reserved the judgement, but called for certain documents and records.
The state will have to submit original phone records of GN Patil, his associates Ulhas Patil and Ramesh Chaudhary and two of the accused, namely, Damodar Lokhande and Leeladhar Narkhede.
Court also sought recordings of statements given by accused Raju Mali and Raju Sonawane to the police, and reports of their narco tests.
Rajni’s case is that her husband was killed by men hired by GN Patil. Both Vishram and GN Patil were Jalgaon Congress leaders, and murder was fall-out of political rivalry, she alleges in petition.
But CBI has concluded the probe, and given a clean chit to GN Patil.
Court on Wednesday heavily came down upon police inspector NS Bhuke of Jalgaon crime branch, who initially probed the case, for not recording Rajni’s statement.
Bhuke had questioned GN Patil and ten others on September 21, 2005, the day of murder, as Rajni had named them as suspects.
But surprisingly, Rajni’s own statement was never recorded. Police’s excuse was that she wasn’t mentally fit, immediately after the murder, to give a statement.
“Why did the police then question these persons based on her allegations?” the court asked.
Bhuke had recorded in the case diary that there were calls made from G N Patil to Raju Mali, the alleged actual killer on the day of murder.
But CBI (which took over the probe later) told the High Court that no such calls were traced.
At the last hearing, Rajni’s lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani had produced dying declaration of accused Mali. (Mali died in custody in 2007.)
Declaration said that Mali had been instructed by GN Patil to kill Vishram.
Court has adjourned hearing till Thursday for further directions.
HC issues notice to UP DGP on contempt petition
Allahabad (PTI): The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police on a contempt petition in connection with police recruitment scam.
Justice S U Khan passed the order on a contempt petition filed by sacked police personnel whose services were terminated by the BSP government after irregularities were found in the recruitment process that had taken place during the previous Samajwadi Party rule.
The court has fixed May eight as the next date of hearing in the case.
The petitioners had moved the court with the contention that despite the High Court having set aside the annulment of services of over 18,000 police personnel, they were not being allowed to join duty which was tantamount to non-compliance of court order.
A single judge bench of the court had on December eight, 2008 set aside the dismissal of the police personnel which was upheld by a Division Bench order dated March 4, 2009 whereby a special appeal of the state government against the single judge order was also dismissed.
The Division Bench had, however, said that the state government could investigate the irregularities afresh and take appropriate action separating “good candidates from the tainted ones”.
HC rejects Surajbhan’s plea for contesting polls
Published: April 8,2009
Patna , Apr 8 In a setback to Lok Janshakti Party MP Surajbhan Singh, the Patna High Court today dismissed his petition seeking stay on his conviction in a murder case to enable him to contest the Lok Sabha polls.
A division bench comprising justices Shivakirti Singh and D D Jha turned down Singh&aposs contention for staying his conviction in CPI leader Ramji Singh&aposs murder case.
Ramji Singh was killed in Begusarai district in Bihar in 1992.
A Begusarai court convicted Surajbhan Singh in the murder case and sentenced him to life imprisonment. He was, later, granted bail by the High Court.
Earlier during the day, Suraj Singh alias Surajbhan Singh was interrogated by the Nawada police in Bihar in connection with an FIR registered against him in the murder case of Madhuresh Kumar Singh of Kochgaon village in Nawada district yesterday.
Madhuresh was allegedly killed for supporting Akhilesh Singh, a ganglord contesting the Nawada seat as an independent against the MP&aposs wife Veena Singh (LJP).
HC summons Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad secretary
8 Apr 2009, 0632 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has asked the secretary, Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad to appear in the court on April 21 and to show cause as to why proceedings be not initiated against him for the violation of specific direction of the court. The order was passed by Justice DP Singh, while hearing a writ petition filed by one Shashi Bala Agrawal of Gandhi Nagar, Meerut. The petitioner has prayed for correction in her date of birth in high school certificate. The correction in the date of birth of the petitioner was denied by the UP board on the ground that matter was old and now after the lapse of 47 years no correction in date of birth could be made. The lower court in a suit filed by petitioner had also directed the board to correct the date of birth of the petitioner, but the board had failed to comply with the order by saying that it was not possible for it to make corrections in the date of birth after 47 years.
HC orders compensation for lawyer’s dependants
8 Apr 2009, 0633 hrs IST, TNN
ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has directed the state government to pay compensation of Rs five lakh within a month to the wife and two daughters of high lawyer SK Awasthi who died in jail. A bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Vineet Saran passed the order on a writ petition the lawyer’s father RN Awasthi, who had prayed for compensation and service to the dependants of his son. The court had directed the state government to conclude the disciplinary proceedings pending against the employees and officers of Central Jail, Naini within four months and file a copy of the action taken before the registrar general of the high court. The court observed that the state was duty bound to protect the fundamental right of every person lodged in prisons. It might be recalled that high court lawyer SK Awasthi had died on May 13, 2008 due to ill-treatment by the authorities of the Central Jail, Naini. He was detained in the jail on the orders of the high court passed in a contempt case. The judges said that it would be open for the state government to recover the compensation from the erring officials.
“Criminal proceedings can be quashed to prevent abuse”
Don’t allow any action which will result in injustice: Court
Parameters for exercising power under Section 482 Cr.PC laid down in several cases
Court allows appeal by husband in dowry harassment case
New Delhi: Criminal proceedings pending against an accused in a lower court can be quashed by the High Court exercising its inherent jurisdiction to prevent abuse of the process of court and to secure ends of justice, the Supreme Court has held.
“The parameters for exercise of power under Section 482 Cr. PC [inherent jurisdiction] have been laid down by this court in several cases. No legislative enactment dealing with procedure can provide for all cases that may possibly arise,” said a Bench consisting of Justices Arijit Pasayat, L.S. Panta and P. Sathasivam.
Writing the judgment, Justice Pasayat said: “The authority of the court exists for advancement of justice and if any attempt is made to abuse that authority so as to produce injustice, the court has power to prevent abuse. It would be an abuse of process of the court to allow any action which would result in injustice and prevent promotion of justice.”
The Bench said: “In exercise of the powers, court would be justified in quashing any proceeding if it finds that initiation/continuance of it amounts to abuse of the process of court or quashing of these proceedings would otherwise serve the ends of justice.”
Quoting the guidelines formulated in Bhajan Lal’s case, the Bench said the proceedings could be quashed where the allegations made in the First Information Report, even if they were taken at face value and accepted in their entirety did not prima facie constitute any offence against the accused and “where a criminal proceeding is manifestly attended with mala fide and/or where the proceeding is maliciously instituted with an ulterior motive for wreaking vengeance on the accused and with a view to spite him due to private and personal grudge.”
In the instant case, Sukhanya filed a complaint of dowry harassment against her husband Sundar Babu and four others. Mr. Babu and the others moved the Madras High Court for quashing the proceedings contending that it was a frivolous complaint. Mr. Babu said he left for the United States six months after the marriage, which took place in November 1998. But the complaint was filed belatedly in February 2000. He said Ms. Sukhanya also obtained a decree for divorce in 2001.
After the High Court dismissed their petition, Mr. Babu and the others filed the present appeal contending that even a cursory look at the complaint would show that it was nothing but an attempt to falsely implicate them in the case.
The t Bench allowed the appeal and quashed the pending proceedings, holding that the case squarely fell within the parameters laid down in Bhajan Lal’s case.
HC asks state to explain delay in considering arms licence for advocate
Posted: Apr 08, 2009 at 0108 hrs IST
Mumbai The Bombay High Court has asked the state government to explain why there was a delay in taking a decision on grant of arms licence to a city-based lawyer, Khan Abdul Wahab.
The court had on February 12 directed the government to reconsider the advocate’s application for licence and dispose of the application within two weeks.
The court gave the direction while disposing of a petition filed by advocate Khan Abdul Wahab who apprehended a threat to his life but was refused an arms licence. The state was also asked to formulate guidelines for issuing arms licence instead of leaving it to the discretion of the police machinery. However, when the state did not reconsider the application after two weeks, Khan moved a contempt petition against the state.
On Monday, additional public prosecutor Vithal Konde Deshmukh told the court that they had rejected Khan’s application. Deshmukh also told the court that the decision was delayed as they did not get a copy of the earlier court order on time.
A Division Bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Rajesh Ketkar, however, asked the state to file an affidavit stating the reasons for the delay within two weeks.
The court also granted liberty to Khan to challenge the state’s order.
The petitioner’s advocate has defended two accused in the Gateway and Zaveri Bazaar blasts cases is also defending Emile Jerome in the Neeraj Grover murder case. He had applied for an arms licence in August last year stating that he apprehended a threat to his life.
The court had earlier observed that there is “no application of mind” in the police decision to refuse Wahab a licence on the grounds that there was no threat to his life. Wahab’s counsel S R Chitnis had submitted that there have been attacks on criminal lawyers like Majeed Memon and that two advocates —Liaqat Ali and Kishore Sutrale —were killed. Chitnis also pointed out those special public prosecutors are provided with security from the government but defence advocates have to watch out for themselves.
The state government had also produced figures regarding the number of arms licences granted during the last three years.
According to the figures the state has issued 355 arms licences in the last three years. The court had earlier remarked that when there is danger, the police does not protect.
The state had submitted that licences have been granted to various persons including police officers, gold merchants and one advocate.
Kerala HC seeks details on ensuring fair voting
Kochi (PTI): Kerala High court on Monday directed the Chief Electoral Officer to furnish information on the steps taken to ensure free and fair polls in Kannur Parliamentary constituency, where Congress-led UDF and LDF headed by CPI (M) are engaged in trading charges ahead of the elections.
A Division Bench of the high court, comprising Justices P R Raman and P S Gopinathan, filed a directive in connection with the matter while hearing a writ petition filed by Congress candidate from Kannur K Sudhakaran, who has expressed apprehensions of violence in the constituency.
The petitioner alleged that illegal activities were going on in Kannur on the orders of CPI(M) leaders and sought protection as per Election Commission’s guidelines. He also wanted setting up of video cameras in polling booths.
K K Rageesh is the CPI(M) candidate from Kannur.
No coercive action against BSEB chief: HC
7 Apr 2009, 0336 hrs IST, Ravi Dayal, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday directed the state vigilance department not to take any coercive action against Bihar State Electricity Board (BSEB) chairman Swapan Mukherjee till April 27. The court adjourned the hearing of Mukherjee’s petition to that date. The petition sought quashing of the FIR lodged against him by BSEB, vigilance cell, for allegedly causing wrongful gains to M/S Dadiji Steel Ltd and loss to the state exchequer. A single bench presided over by Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi allowed time to vigilance counsel Rakesh Kumar, who represented BSEB, DG, vigilance, Manoje Nath, to file a counter-affidavit raising preliminary objections regarding maintainability of the BSEB chairman’s quashing petition.
HC glare on bridge project
Ranchi, April 6: Dissatisfied with the snail’s pace of construction of the railway overbridge at Namkum, Jharkhand High Court has summoned the Union surface transport secretary, liasoning officer, and state road construction secretary to appear in person and explain the reasons for the delay.
The bench has also directed the National Highways engineer in chief and South Eastern Railway’s Ranchi divisional railway manager to be present in court.
A division bench of Justices M.Y. Eqbal and R.K. Merathia expressed anguish and discontent over the slack approach of the government in completing the project.
The court while hearing the public interest litigation on construction of the flyovers said that the government had shown scant regard for the earlier orders passed by the bench. “We feel that prima facie the government has taken the orders passed by the court very lightly,” the bench observed.
The court also observed the case was filed in 2005 and several orders were issued for the Union and state governments to act upon and ensure construction of the proposed bridge at the earliest.
The court in its earlier orders had also observed that “red tapism” was affecting the pace of the work. The court, in an order issued last August, had directed the authorities to construct the rail overbridge in six months.
The state, which failed to meet the deadline, today filed a petition seeking extension for completing the project. The counsel for the state pleaded that another 18 months should be granted for finishing construction . The Centre informed the court that pursuant to the orders of the high court, funds had been allocated and sanctioned for initiating construction works.
The matter had come up first in 1998 before the Ranchi Bench of the Patna High Court, which disposed the matter as the then government promised to complete construction on time.
Airport expansion move: HC issues notice to respondentshttp://www.e-pao.net/GP.asp?src=13..080409.apr09
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, April 07 2009: Acting on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), Gauhati High Court has issued notice to the 9 respondents giving 4 weeks time to response to the prayer for immediate stoppage of the Imphal Tulihal Airport expansion move including land acquisition process which is currently underway.The respondents include Deputy Collector, Commissioner, Revenue Dept, Govt of Manipur and Airport Authority of India.The High Court issued the notice following a PIL filed jointly by the Human Rights Alert (HRA) and North East Peoples’ Alliance on Trade, Finance and Development (NEPATFD) .The PIL sought the court to stop the ongoing land acquisition process as the project is allegedly being carried out without the mandatory Environmental Clearance under the Environment Protection Act & Rules, 1986 .Issuing a statement in this regard, programme executive of HRA Basantakumar Wareppa pointed out that of all the airports in India, Tulihal Airport is closest to the city and falls within the larger populated area of Imphal.Since its creation during the 2nd World War, the airport has been expanded in 1961, 1970 and 1991 and the villages in the surrounding areas have been pushed out several times.The present project, seeks to further expand the airport by an additional 690.8 acres of land, affecting not less than 7 villages.Homestead land, agriculture land, fish farms, sacred groves, community ponds and grounds and even a school will be evicted in the process.The expansion move violates the prescribed norms and dos not have the mandatory Environmental Clearance, the statement asserted, adding that preparation of detailed project report with its associated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Environmental Management Plan (EMP), Rehabilitation & Resettlement Plan and public hearing are mandatory under the provisions of the relevant Act & Rules, 1986 .Though the immediate aim of the PIL is to halt the expansion of the Tulihal Airport, the larger issue to resist wanton destruction of life and livelihood in the name of ‘development’ in the NE region including construction of dams, highways and railways, clearing of forest for mining and plantations that are denying many indigenous people their very means of subsistence, Basantakumar said.
Court panel sought for inspecting Sabarmati jail
Tuesday, April 7, 2009 9:54 IST
Ahmedabad: Lawyer Shamshad Pathan has filed an application in the Gujarat high court praying that it immediately appoint a court commission, which would enter the premises of the Sabarmati Central Jail to carry out an “in-depth inspection and make appropriate suggestions for providing effective medical treatment to injured prisoners.”
In his application seeking amendments in PIL in which he alleged that inmates of the jail had been inhumanely treated by the staff, he said that no written submissions could be made with regard to the violence on March 26 reported from the jail as he did not have details of the same. He further said that when the matter came up for hearing, there was no mention of the March 26 incident for the same reason.
Pathan, a member of the Jan Sangharsh Manch, said in his application that relatives and advocates of the inmates were only able to meet them on March 31 as per the order of the metropolitan court. He said he had appeared in court for an inmate of the jail, Imtiyaz Khan, who bore injury marks after being allegedly beaten by the jail staff. The city sessions court had then ordered the jail authorities to provide medical treatment to the inmates.
Pathan produced the manual cited by the jail authorities before the metropolitan court, which said that the latter had the discretion to impose punishments subject to such general orders as “the government of India has issued in regard to the whipping of certain classes of prisoners, or to institute proceedings under section 52 of the Prisoners Act.”
Meanwhile, metropolitan magistrate GM Patel directed the jail authorities to provide medical treatment to 22 people accused in the Ahmedabad serial blasts case. On Monday, lawyers Javed Pathan and IM Munshi submitted an application, praying that a physical checkup of the accused be conducted in the presence of prosecutors and the lawyers.
VIPs beware, Ribeiro plans PIL against security
7 Apr 2009, 0517 hrs IST, ET Bureau
PUNE: Providing VIP security to politicians is again expected to come under fire, this time from retired supercop JF Ribeiro. Mr Ribeiro will soon file a public interest litigation (PIL) against the large number of policemen being allotted to politicians as security. The former Maharashtra director general of police
was in Pune to inaugurate an exhibition of security gadgets, organised by the Pune police. Mr Ribeiro said VIP security put additional pressure on a force that is already stretched, since this means fewer men in police stations while policemen are unable to look after the public. Referring to the state’s chief minister and his deputy, Mr Ribeiro said: “VIP security is more often being asked only as a status symbol with no threat perception. Allotting 125 policemen to protect one politician means straightaway reducing headcount at police stations.” He added, without naming the person: “Security is provided at government cost to all the relatives of a politician. This is sheer waste of manpower, unacceptable to the public. If politicians have any threat, they should hire private security at their own cost.” Top policemen from the Pune police highlighted that in the wake of 26/11, security could no longer be the prerogative of only the policemen. Citizens have to be vigilant, too. Interestingly, several such PILs have been filed earlier, most of them in Delhi, but Mr Ribeiro is perhaps the first senior official of the police cadre to raise this issue. In 2005, the Delhi High Court bench comprising justices Vijender Jain and Rekha Sharma sought an explanation from the Delhi police for providing security to some VIPs who “hardly had any threat perception” while the “common man was dying on the streets”. In 2007, a Delhi HC bench headed by justice T S Thakur observed that politicians are not national assets that need to be protected. “If there is a threat to the lives of the politicians, they should remain in the confines of their homes and offices. You should not let these men come out. Their presence in public places itself threatens the common man. I do not know why it has become a matter of prestige for them to move with 10-15 uniformed security personnel carrying lethal weapon,” the bench had said. An affidavit filed by the joint secretary, ministry of home affairs, A K Srivastava, placed before the court accepted that VIP security was flaunted as a status symbol.
PIL demands Indian money be brought back from Swiss bank
Allahabad, Apr 6 (PTI) In the backdrop of Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) demand to bring back “Indian money stashed in foreign banks”, two social organisations here have moved the High Court, requesting that the Centre be directed to do the needful in this regard.The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by People’s Political Front and Azadi Bachao Andolan has requested the court to direct the Centre to ascertain how much unaccounted wealth was lying in the “tax havens” and who were the people to have deposited the same.The PIL is likely to come up for hearing before a bench later this week.The PIL has also demanded that the correspondence senior BJP leader L K Advani has recently claimed to have had with Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh be made public. PTI
Election data drive launched
A STAFF REPORTER
The Bengal chapter of National Election Watch, a campaign by 1,200-plus NGOs and civil society organisations to help voters make an informed choice, was launched at a city bookstore on Monday.
Information about candidates will be made available to voters over the phone, through SMS and on the Net as part of the drive. “This is a proud moment for all of us. The Election Watch is an honest effort to put an end to criminalisation of politics and unethical poll practices,” General (retired) Shankar Roychowdhury, the chairman of the chapter, told Metro.
The campaign was started by the Association for Democratic Reform, an NGO founded by academicians and alumni of leading institutions, in 1999. A PIL filed by it in December 1999 led to a Supreme Court order in March 2003 making disclosure of criminal, financial and educational backgrounds of candidates mandatory.
The association has organised “election watch” for the 2004 Lok Sabha polls and several Assembly elections.
Describing the Election Watch as an exemplary initiative, Bengal’s chief electoral officer Debashis Sen pointed out that the poll panel had issued a circular on April 2 recognising and acknowledging the role of the media and civil society in holding fair elections.
Rahul Raj’s father to move HC
Ajit Kumar – April 7, 2009
PATNA — Reacting to the Mumbai police’s clean chit to policemen involved in Rahul Raj murder case, Rahul’s father Shri Kundan Prasad Singh said here on Monday that the probe report was a gross violation of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) guidelines.
”As per the NHRC’s guidelines, any investigation committee needs to seek opinion of the family members or close relatives of the person facing any charge. But in Rahul Raj’s case, nobody from my family was ever contacted by the Mumbai crime branch,” he said.
”I will challenge the report in the High Court and appeal for the formation of an autonomous inquiry committee to investigate the case,” he said.
On Monday the Mumbai police made public the report of Rahul Raj murder case.
”I had requested the Mumbai police to send a copy of the FIR lodged there and the list of Rahul’s belongings found at the site of the incident as also at the hotel room where he was staying at that time. They even have the video recording of the postmortem examination of Rahul. I also demanded the video recording, for I am sure it will definitely bring out the truth. But there has been no reply as yet,” he said.
Hardly ten days ago had he applied at the Right to Information (RTI) office of the Chief Secretary of the Maharashtra government to provide these materials, he said.”Once they (Mumbai police) contacted me for comments over the incident. I have told them I can not talk about it unless I examine those materials,” he said.
Peeved at the response of the political leaders, Singh said everybody was scared of talking about the case.
“They have forgotten Rahul, who represented Bihari youth compelled to migrate in search of job. Election is round the corner, but nobody is talking about problems of the youth,” he rued.
Rahul Raj, 23, was killed in a fake police encounter in Mumbai in October last year.
A State of Denial
Posted by RP Singh in Human Rights, India on 04 7th, 2009
I recently stumbled on a report from the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHC), titled Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial. This document claims to be “the first nationwide assessment of the use of torture in India.”
ACHC is a Delhi-based organization focused on protecting human rights throughout Asia, with what appears to be a specific focus on South Asia. I’m not familiar with this organization, so I’d be curious to hear if others can support or disprove their work.
The report focuses on the use of torture by police and security forces from routine arrests to counter-insurgency operations. Although it is clearly a preliminary analysis, it’s findings are quite alarming. The report notes:
The statistics of NHRC imply that in the last five years 7,468 persons at an average of 1,494 persons per year or four persons in a day died in police and prison custody in India. However, these figures represent only a fraction of the actual cases of torture. Cases of torture not resulting in death are not recorded.
Particularly troublesome was the section on custodial torture of women and children.
Some of you may be rolling your eyes thinking this is “just another Punjab Human Rights post.” However, the interesting thing in this 109 page report, is there is very little mention of Sikhs or Punjab. But the challenges facing the ACHC are very similar to what I’ve read in Ensaaf’s material about disappearances in Punjab – namely the dismissive nature by the Central Government, denying the there is a problem altogether:
The Home Minister attributes custodial deaths to “illness/natural death, escaping from custody, suicides, attacks by other criminals, riots, due to accidents and during treatment or hospitalisation”
Other similarities include the shortcomings of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and it’s inability to deploy it’s powers toward investigating torture. The report also states:
NHRC’s preference for interim monetary compensation over recommending prosecution is a cause for further concern.
This report proves (yet again) that abuse of power by police and security forces are not an “aberration” or a result of isolated incidents – it is a systemic problem throughout India. And unfortunately, India’s failure to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to justice and overall poor human rights record does not seem to impact it’s relations with its allies.
To me, this report serves as a reminder that Sikhs are not alone in suffering human rights violations at the hands of the Indian State. Perhaps if we spoke with a collective voice, there could be a greater impact. After the Godhra pogrom in 2002, where nearly 1000 Muslims were massacred in Gujarat, a handful of Sikh Youth worked with the Gurdwara in Chicago to organize a “Rally Against Injustice In India” at Grant Park. Bus loads of people arrived from the local Gurdwaras and mosques all throughout Illinois and speakers from several religious communities addressed the crowd. The press coverage it received was far greater than previous protests done independently. Maybe something to consider as planning is in the works for the “25th anniversary” events…
DTC told to pay mishap victim Rs 2L
8 Apr 2009, 0240 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Coming to the rescue of a six-year-old child who was denied relief by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) after he lost his left leg in a road accident six years ago, a Motor Accident Claim Tribunal (MACT) has ordered DTC to cough up Rs 2 lakh for the boy as compensation. Lending a compassionate view to the fact that the accident would ruin the child’s career prospect, MACT judge Kanwal Jeet Arora said, “had he not met with an accident, the child might have become a bright sportsman or would have excelled in some other field.” The court directed the DTC and the insurance company from which the bus was insured to pay 6-year-old Rupesh Kumar Mehta a sum of Rs 1,66,000 along with simple interest at 7 percent per annum after holding the two parties jointly and severely liable. According to the complainant, on August 12, 2003, Rupesh along with his sister boarded a DTC bus at 7 am from Dhaulakuan to Gurgaon. While he was de-boarding the bus, it started moving and the child’s left leg was crushed under the front wheel. His left leg had to be amputated at the hospital after the accident. The doctors had also given him a permanent disability certificate with 40 percent disability. His father filed the case against the driver, DTC and the insurance company in Gurgaon police station stating that the accident left the young boy “incapacitated to achieve the objectives of his life.” Opposing his contention, insurance company said that the child was treated at the general hospital and then at Safdarjang hospital and no fees was paid by the father. Holding the DTC liable for the compensation, MACT Judge Arora said, “Due top permanent injuries sustained by him, he would curse his destiny and fate, day in and day out as he would not be able to play with his peers who will find him incapable of competing with them due to the physical handicap, for no fault of his.” email@example.com
Tytler’s fateAll eyes on Sonia, court
Anita Katyal/Our Political Correspondent
Jagdish Tytler’s fate is likely to be decided on Thursday by the court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate. The CBI had pleaded before the court on April 2 that the case against Tytler be cancelled.
According to CBI, affidavits in the case by two witnesses, Surender Singh and Jasbir Singh, were inconsistent and contradictory.
In January, 2002 Surender Singh filed an affidavit before the Justice Nanavati Commission probing the riots.
In August, 2002, he filed another affidavit pleading ignorance about the first document, the CBI said.
In 2006, he filed a third affidavit backing the August 2002 claim and was re-examined in 2008 after which he left for the US.
California-based Jasbir Singh, who had earlier been declared untraceable by the CBI, stated in his affidavit that on November 3, 1984 he had overheard Tytler commenting on the killing of Sikhs in his then constituency Sadar Bazar. — PTI
New Delhi, April 8Congress leader Jagdish Tytler’s fate continued to hang in balance today as the party leadership was still to take view on his candidature for the Lok Sabha elections.
Party president Sonia Gandhi, who returned from her election trip to Kerala today, was conferring with her colleagues till late tonight on the political implications of continuing with Tytler as its candidate from the Northeast Delhi Lok Sabha seat, especially after today’s angry protests by Sikh groups in Punjab.
Although party sources indicated that Tytler’s candidature would be withdrawn, a final decision is expected to be taken by Sonia Gandhi after tomorrow’s court hearing on the CBI report that gave a clean chit to Tytler for his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Since the nominations for the Delhi elections are to begin on April 11, the party leadership has sufficient time to take a considered view, explained a senior Congress leader.
The report has evoked a sharp reaction issue from Sikh groups. The protests have further intensified after an angry Sikh journalist hurled a shoe at Home Minister P.Chidambaram yesterday to protest the CBI report. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which was on the backfoot in the upcoming general elections, is predictably going all out to whip up passions on this issue.
While the final call on Tytler’s candidature is to be taken by Sonia Gandhi, the Congress remains in the grip of an intense debate on the political fall-out of the issue, which has hit the spotlight just weeks before a crucial general election. Worried Congress leaders maintained that the party could pay a heavy political cost if they continued with Tytler’s candidature. In case the issue spirals out of control in the coming days, it will have an impact not just in Punjab but in several other states, which have a sizeable Sikh population, they pointed out.
Officially, the Congress appeared reluctant to take a clear view on this issue. Party spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan stonewalled all questions on the subject saying: “When the time comes to make a clear statement, that will be made. At this point of time I would like to confine myself to saying let’s wait and see what happens.”
Tytler, on his part, said he had left the decision of his nomination to the Congress president. Blaming the Akalis for instigating yesterday’s shoe-throwing incident, he said: “The ’84 anti-Sikh riots case is a closed chapter for me after CBI’s clean chit.”
Appeal against tainted takes offTribune News Service
Chandigarh, April 8An appeal to all parties for not giving tickets to persons with a tainted public image has received an overwhelming response from eminent citizens and it is set to take the shape of a public campaign.
The appeal, which has been made by former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission and former Chief Justice JS Verma, says: “There is a widespread and persistent feeling in our civil society that political corruption and criminalisation are two of the most serious maladies of the country’s governance”.
Justice Verma has informed the political parties that a number of professionals from various disciplines have pledged not to vote for the candidates who are corrupt or involved in corrupt activities.
An attempt is being made to evolve a long-term strategy on this issue and an interactive session is being held in this regard at India International Centre on April 14. This could include a media campaign with a number of mediapersons responding to the appeal.
The Tribune has been highlighting the issue and appealing to its readers to be vigilant on this score.
Justice Verma has gone on record saying that he is overwhelmed by the response to the appeal to unite against corruption and criminalisation in politics.
Signatories to the appeal are Anu Aga, Naresh Chandra, Shailaja Chandra, BG Deshmukh, HK Dua, Justice VR Krishna Iyer, Dr Bimal Jalan, Arvind Kejriwal, TS Krishnamurthy, Prabhat Kumar, Prof MGK Menon, Mrinal Pande, G Parthasarathy, Aruna Roy, Teesta Setalvad, E Sreedharan and George Varghese, besides 155 others as well as eight social organisations.
Raju’s bail plea deferred
HYDERABAD: The hearing of the bail applications of the former Satyam Computers chairman, B. Ramalinga Raju, his brother Rama Raju and the former Chief Financial Officer of the company, Srinivas Vadlamani, scheduled to be held in a sessions court here on Wednesday, was postponed to April 13.
The decision came after a request by counsel for the accused that they wanted time to peruse the voluminous charge sheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation in a metropolitan court on Tuesday.
The Raju brothers, Mr. Vadlamani and Price Waterhouse auditors S. Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri would be produced in the metropolitan court on Thursday for securing samples of their handwriting and specimen signatures in the presence of the magistrate. The CBI had petitioned the court in this regard for establishing the forgery charge against them.
The CBI has dropped a crucial provision of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in its charge sheet and instead added two more sections of the code against the accused.
Section 409 of IPC (criminal breach of trust) against the former Satyam chairman B. Ramalinga Raju and nine other accused was dropped, though it figured in the First Information Report filed against them in court. Sources said proving its ingredients required visits abroad where funds of Satyam Computers were allegedly parked.
Cancel Chamling’s Indian citizenship: PIL
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre, the Election Commission of India and Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling on a public interest litigation seeking a direction to the Centre to cancel the Indian citizenship of the Chief Minister because he has allegedly acquired the citizenship of Nepal.
The petitioner, Padam Prakash Sharma, a farmer in the State, said holding of the membership of the State Assembly and the post of the head of the State by Mr. Chamling was in violation of the Section 9 of the Citizenship Act and Article 191 of the Constitution.
He said he had come in possession of attested copies of the Nepalese government concerning acquiring of that country’s citizenship by Mr. Chamling last year.
Thereafter, he filed complaints with the Centre and the Election Commission for cancellation of his citizenship and disqualification of his membership of the State Legislature but no action was taken, the petitioner said.
He further alleged that Mr. Chamling had held back the facts about his Nepalese citizenship from the competent authorities and got himself elected to the House fraudulently.
Issuing the notices, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat asked the respondents to file replies by July 17.
Mega Lok Adalat Settle pending cases: HC http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090409/haryana.htm#9
Bhiwani, April 8Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice KC Puri said the high court had issued direction to the juidicial officers to settle old cases fast during the Mega Lok Adalat Samadhan-2009.
Justice Puri was addressing the first annual meeting of the district legal services authority (DLSA) at the DRDA hall here today. He said the stress had been given on the numbers of cases to be settled during the Mega Lok Adalat Samadhan-2008 held during last year but, this time, the high court had decided to settle long-standing cases running in different courts for years during the mega lok adalat instead of increasing the numbers of such cases.
This would provide relief to those who were moving to courts for justice for years, said Justice Puri.
He said the district had achieved third place during the samadhan-2008 and now, he hoped, the administration would give full cooperation to the juidicial officers like the previous year.
While welcoming Justice Puri, the district legal services authority chairman and Sessions Judge RK Bishnoi said as many as 14,814 cases had been settled during samadhan-2008. Out of which 1,320 civil and 2,294 were criminal cases and a sum of Rs 2,57, 83000 had been charged as compensation.
Besides, he said, a number of lok adalat, rural lok adalats, seminars, micro literacy camps and Women’s Day were organised last year. Disclosing about the aims of the authority during Mega Lok Adalat Samadhan-2009, Bishnoi said every juidicial officer would settle 200 civil and 200 old-criminal cases and during the year five lok adalats, 12 rural lok adalats and 48 legal literacy camps would be organised.
Justice Puri honoured the Chief Juidicial Magistrate Baseshar Singh, Additional Civil Judge Shashi Chauhan, Sanjeev Arya, ADC Sunita Verma, ragini singer Monika Rani, social worker Satyanarayan Sharma, DPRO Kamal Singh, superintendent Ganga Bishan Bura and Shanta Mehtani with certificate for their applaudable contribution in holding Mega Lok Adalat Samadhan-2008.
Juidicial, administrative and police officials, including SP Sibash Kabiraj, Bar Association president Pradeep Bajad, members of district legal services authority and advocates were present on the occasion.
Juvenile offender gets three-year jail Tribune News Service
Ambala, April 8The Juvenile Justice Board, Ambala, has granted the maximum punishment it can award in a nine-year-old case. The case pertaining to “unnatural” physical relations was registered in the Mullana police station in 2000. In the case, a 15-year-old boy was accused of having “unnatural” physical relations with a girl who was two years and 10 months old. The father of the victim had got a case registered under Section 377 of the IPC.
The accused was granted bail. The board, headed by Principal Magistrate Parveen Gupta and member Rajinder Kumar Sharma, yesterday awarded the maximum sentence of three years, Rs 20,000 in compensation to be paid to the victim and Rs 1,000 as fine. This is one of the few cases, Sharma said, in which the maximum sentence was awarded under the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act.
High Court pulls up police for “indifference”
Case relates to attack on BJP headquarters
CHENNAI: Pulling up the police for its “indifference” in complying with a court order, the Madras High Court has granted a month’s time for completing investigation and filing a final report in the case relating to the attack on the BJP headquarters here on September 23, 2007.
“This is a case where the petitioner (Chennai Police) has shown supine indifference in complying with the orders passed by this court,” Justice M. Jeyapaul said.
The BJP, represented by its State office secretary C.S.C.Vadivelu, had filed a petition praying for transfer of the case registered by the Mambalam police to any competent and independent investigating agency.
It said that on the date of the incident, DMK cadre entered the BJP office premises, used abusive language and threw stones and bricks, damaging windowpanes and two-wheelers parked on the premises.
All this happened in the presence of senior police officers. Despite vandalism and mob violence, not a single person mentioned in the complaint was arrested. Statement of injured witnesses or the complainant was not recorded. The spot was not inspected and damage assessed.
In its order in March last year, the High Court had directed the Commissioner of Police to entrust the investigation to an Assistant Commissioner of Police, who did not form part of a team headed by Mr. Durairaj, the then Joint Commissioner of Police, for unbiased investigation.
The BJP submitted that even after the court order, the police had not taken any action.
Passing orders on a petition filed by the police seeking three more months to complete the investigation, Mr.Justice Jeyapaul, referring to the government advocate (criminal side)’s submission that the police could not carry on investigation as an SLP was pending before the Supreme Court against the order passed by the High Court, said, “When there is no order of stay passed by the Supreme Court, in all fairness, the police should have carried on the investigation to its logical end.” More than a year had lapsed after the court passed its order, the Judge pointed out.
Court asks bank to pay petitioner Rs.8.83 lakh
Premium for value of scrips surrendered
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed State Bank of India’s Overseas Branch on Rajaji Salai to pay H.Champalal Jain Rs.8.83 lakh, the premium for the value of scrips surrendered to the bank, with six per cent interest from the date of submission of the licence till the date of payment.
The Centre had introduced a scheme for issue of Exim scrips in July 1991 at the rate of 30 per cent on foreign exchange earned by exporters. They were easily transferable and saleable. Later, when the scrips were withdrawn, SBI was authorised to buy them at a premium of 20 per cent of their sale value.
Mr. Jain, who had purchased 20 Exim scrips, valued at Rs.44.17 lakh, presented them before the bank for encashment. The premium worked out to Rs.8.83 lakh. The Deputy Director-General of Foreign Trade (DDGFT), Chennai, instructed the bank not to pay the amount as some scrips were found to be bogus.
Action was initiated against Ayisha Exports Limited from whom the scrips were purchased. The scrips vendor was prosecuted by the CBI for submitting bogus and forged documents. The company and its director were later convicted and a fine was imposed.
It was stated that the first set of exim scrips valued at Rs.14.11 lakh purchased by the petitioner from the company and encashed was obtained by submitting forged documents. The petitioner filed a writ petition seeking a direction to the bank to pay the premium of Rs.8.83 lakh for the genuine Exim scrips purchased. It was heard along with other petitions.
Aggrieved by the single judge’s order, the Centre filed appeals. A Division Bench modified the single judge’s order. Subsequent to this, summons was issued to the petitioner and investigation completed.
Mr.Jain wrote to the Joint Director-General of Foreign Trade, who rejected his request in an order issued in December 1998. He challenged the order and the High Court set aside the order and directed the DDGFT to pass a fresh order after giving an opportunity to Mr.Jain.
Pursuant to that, the DDGFT passed the impugned order and rejected the petitioner’s case. It was stated that unless the petitioner paid Rs.14 lakh with interest against the first set of exim scrips obtained by fraudulent means, the authorities would not honour his claim seeking premium for the second set.
This order was challenged in the present petition. Allowing it, Mr.Justice K.Chandru said the petitioner’s rights had been secured by earlier orders of the High Court to the effect that the scrips sold were genuine. It gave an automatic right for the petitioner to claim the premium of 20 per cent on the scrips sold by the bank.
Human Rights ActPanel to seek amendments http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090409/j&k.htm#7
Ashutosh SharmaTribune News Service
Jammu, April 8Having earned the distinction of sleeping commission, the J&K State Human Rights Commission may get some teeth as it proposes to make some recommendations to the state government regarding amendments to the existing Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Human Rights Act, 1997, besides seeking more funds.
The successive state governments have hitherto failed to implement the State Protection of Human Rights Act in letter and in spirit. The paucity of funds at its discretion is also hampering its functioning.
The commission is headquartered at Srinagar and has a sub office in Jammu. It has so far failed to establish suboffices in the militancy-infested far-flung districts like Rajouri and Doda, which is in contravention of the state Act.
The commission is facing an acute shortage of funds, infrastructure and manpower. It has meagre means of communication. In Jammu it is operating from a rented accommodation.
Though the commission is to be headed by a chairperson and four members, there are only two members at present, besides a chairperson who manages the Jammu and Srinagar offices.
Official sources told The Tribune that the commission had already submitted a memorandum of demands to Governor NN Vohra, seeking various facilities for the statutory body. The commission will soon submit a set of recommendations to the government seeking several amendments to the existing law to bring it at par with the Central Act.
The sources further revealed that the commission in its recommendations had impressed upon need for proper representation to all regions in membership of the commission, increase in the term of the chairperson up to five years from three years at present and making it mandatory that the members must have practical experience in the field of human rights.
Chairperson of the SHRC, Justice (retd) Bashir-ud-Din said: “We have sent our recommendations to the Governor which would now be submitted to the state government.
Court quashes detention of two PMK workers under NSA
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday quashed detention order under the National Security Act against two PMK workers. A Division Bench, comprising Justices D. Murugesan and C.S. Karnan, said the orders were vitiated by non-application of mind by the detaining authority.
D. Davamani and R. Ambika had filed habeas corpus petitions seeking to quash the orders against their relatives, Doss and Rajendran, produce the detenus before the court and set them at liberty.
The orders were passed in connection with the burning of a State Transport Corporation bus at the Tirupur bus stand on July 7 last year. The material relied upon by the detaining authority was common.
The grounds of challenge by the petitioners were common and included “discrepancy” in the seizure mahazar and the fact that no arrest memo had been served on the detenus.
Allowing the petitions, the Bench said there was discrepancy in Form 95 sent to the jurisdictional magistrate, and the mahazar on the seizure of ashes and half-burnt kerosene container. There was no explanation for the discrepancy. The detaining authority had also failed to seek an explanation from the sponsoring authority. In view of the discrepancy, the detenus were prejudiced in making an effective representation guaranteed under the Constitution.
The Bench said that admittedly, the detenus were not furnished with the copy of the arrest memos immediately. The arrest memo is a vital document. The failure on the part of the sponsoring authority to serve the memo immediately after the arrest and place it before the detaining authority vitiated the detention order.
HC tells govt to regularise service of dead employee http://www.tribuneindia.com/2009/20090409/himachal.htm#5
Shimla, April 8The HP High Court has directed the state government to regularise the service of a deceased employee ex-post facto from the date he had completed 10 years of service and also directed to grant the retrial benefits to his widow within eight weeks.
Justice Rajiv Sharma passed this order on a petition filed by the widow of Shyam Singh, wherein she pleaded that the 18 years of services rendered by her deceased husband be regularised. The stand of the state was that her husband though had been working for number of years, he had not undergone three months mandatory training, his services could not be regularised.
According to the petitioner, her husband was employed on daily wages with the state since 1972. Initially he worked as supervisor and from 1985 he started discharging the duties of pump operator. He worked in this capacity up to 1991. He had rendered 18 years of service as supervisor, fitter and pump operator.
While granting the benefit of regularisation of service to the deceased employee, Justice Sharma observed that after perusing the record of the case it is established that the husband of the petitioner had been working as pump operator continuously for more than 10 years. He had gained sufficient experience while working as the pump operator. In these circumstances, it was not necessary for him to undergo three months training. He had been performing the duties of pump operator for more than a decade and had gained “on job training” experience.
Amendments to election laws suggested
HASSAN: Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda has suggested bringing in amendments to election laws to prevent MLAs from resigning from their seats to join other parties and contest in by-elections to enter the legislature.
Addressing presspersons here on Wednesday, Mr. Deve Gowda said MLAs are elected for a period of five years. To resign from their seats only to join another party and contest again from the same constituency in a by-election to enter the legislature is nothing but mockery of democracy.
Mr. Deve Gowda also suggested reforms as far as appointing Election Commission members were concerned saying that non-official members should head the commission.
Mr. Deve Gowda expressed anguish over the provocative statements made by certain leaders saying that these leaders were making such statements without studying the repercussion on society. He also expressed concern over the incident in which a journalist threw a shoe at the Union Home Minister at a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.
He said that law and order in Karnataka had collapsed. “There is no protection to minorities. Karnataka is transforming into another Bihar,” he said.
Abuse of language
Lalu Prasad can’t be above law
THE manner in which Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav had delivered a hate speech at an election meeting of his Rashtriya Janata Dal party at Kishanganj in Bihar is unbecoming of him. TV channels showed him warning that had he been the Home Minister, he would have “run a roller” over Varun Gandhi, the BJP candidate from Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh. After protests, he has now retracted, but few can endorse it. The Bihar administration has justifiably taken cognisance of Mr Lalu Yadav’s speech after watching the CD. According to the Kishanganj Superintendent of Police, an FIR has been lodged against him under the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of the People Act. The district authorities have already issued a warrant of arrest which is bailable under the law.
The law should take its own course in Mr Lalu Yadav’s case and the authorities should ensure that no one violates the Election Commission’s code of conduct. What is the use of it if the political parties do not follow it in letter and spirit? While Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president D. Srinivas has also used objectionable language like Varun Gandhi in an election speech, Ms Rabri Devi has abused Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Clearly, dividing people and communities to win elections through hate speeches is a disturbing trend. Worse, this tends to vitiate the electoral process and hinder the smooth conduct of free and fair elections.
The Election Commission has rightly advised the Samajwadi Party supremo, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav, to be “more cautious” and “exercise restraint” after it held his reply to its notice as “unsatisfactory”. He had threatened the Mainpuri District Magistrate when she cancelled the gun licences of many people in his constituency. Unfortunately, the tone and tenor of political debate in the country is being increasingly debased. This needs to be checked firmly. Political parties would do well to maintain decorum in their campaigns. They ought to follow the rules of the game. Surely, there is no need for them to stoop to vulgar name-calling or abusive language.
Benefits yet to reach people: judge
DHARWAD: K.L. Manjunath, High Court Judge, has said that even after six decades after Independence, many of the welfare schemes and projects had not reached the beneficiaries.
He was inaugurating a workshop organised for canvassers of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme on Tuesday.
Referring to the NREGS, Justice Manjunath said the Union Government had earmarked Rs. 30,000 crore for the scheme. However, the State lagged behind in utilising the scheme, which provided employment to the residents of rural areas in their native place.
He said apart from providing justice to the public, it was the responsibility of the courts to provide information to them on government schemes.
Rule of Law must prevail
It’s a basic tenet of democracyby B.G. Verghese
How often have we heard not just politicians but others loftily intone that the law must take its course? The rule of law is a basic tenet of democracy and posits equality for all and subordination to certain universal standards without exceptions in the name of wealth and influence. Yet we remain a feudal society in constantly seeking to privilege self and real or assumed status. We have seen a good deal of that in recent times even if articulated in terms of democratic norms.
The Varun Gandhi episode is an instant case. The man indulged in reckless rabble rousing calculated to inflame communal passions, at one stage even calling for the sterilisation of Muslims and recalling his father’s vicious programme in this regard during the Emergency, though that was not aimed at any specific community. His subsequent denials remain unproven and he has not adduced any evidence to justify his statement that the tape broadcast was tampered with. Subsequent arguments on his behalf constitute special pleading — that he is a young man, new to politics, meant no harm and even if he said what he says he did not say, he was merely uttering what was in the minds of “everybody”, or a large number of others.
Two issues have since arisen. First that he has been charged under the National Security Act, which provides for detention on grounds of likely infringement of public order. If this is considered excessive or unjust, the remedy lies with the Advisory Board which is enjoined to review all NSA detentions within three weeks. The law will take its course. After the Gujarat killings of 2002 large numbers of Muslims were detained under POTA, some merely on suspicion, and languished in jail for months and years. Those who applauded and supported this treatment cannot plead a different standard for their friends.
Secondly, Varun’s removal from Pilibhit to another place of detention has been criticised. Those who caused violent disturbances when he surrendered and then planned bandhs and protest demonstrations in Pilibhit in his support have only themselves to blame for his precautionary re-location.
Further, his mother has complained that she was prevented from meeting her son. The fact, as explained, is that a certain number of jail visits are allowed and Maneka Gandhi had exhausted her quota. So, the law took its course. For her to argue that Mayawati, UP’s Chief Minister, does not know a mother’s anguish, is irrelevant. If every mother were permitted to bend the due process, the rule of law would long back have ended. No mother is above the law, which has been bent time and again to privilege the crooked and well heeled, including those who drive killer-BMWs.
In another case of abuse of the rule of law, certain fervent “nationalists” in Mumbai tried to prevent Anjali Waghmare from taking up a brief for Ajmal Kasab, the only Pakistani terrorist to survive the 26/11 encounter. She did so as a member of the court’s legal aid panel in the absence of any advocate coming forward. This is to uphold the rule of law and not to show sympathy for any wrongdoer. For Kasab to be unrepresented could result in his being set free on appeal for mistrial. This is not the fist time that ultra-nationalism has run wild to subvert the rule of law.
A fourth case relates to barring Sanjay Dutt from contesting a Lok Sabha seat from Lucknow. The EC and the court merely followed the law. Citing misleading analogies, rightly been set aside, and then alleging mala fides as done by the Samajwadi Party and others, is again to devalue principles and seek wrongful favours for favourite sons. Sanjay Dutt is a popular actor with an impeccable family background, but he was found guilty of a heinous crime in 1993 that cannot be brushed aside.
In a fifth case, as senior and suave a politician as Jaswant Singh was caught on camera distributing cash to folk singers in Rajasthan. The bland statement that this was in keeping with the traditional practice will scarcely wash when the venue was a constituency meeting after elections had been called. Tradition has its place but cannot be permitted to override electoral norms.
The last week also saw the release of the BJP manifesto — a bundle of populist giveaways without financial or social accounting. The armed forces deserve many things but not exemption from income tax. This is questionable vote-banking. Likewise, the unilateral abrogation of Article 370 is fraught with danger as it amounts to reneging on a solemn undertaking and betrays confused reasoning.
Article 370 has nothing to do with national integration. Article 1 is what is relevant. The championing of a uniform civil code is in turn a piece of humbug as it lies in the constitutional power of every state to legislate a UCC as Goa has done. Doing so would be greatly desirable and would not impinge on personal laws, just as the Special Marriage Act does not obliterate the Hindu Marriage Act.
Plea to declare PDP terror outfit adjourned High Court round-up
Kochi: A Bench comprising Chief Justice S.R. Bannurmath and Justice Kurian Joseph on Wednesday adjourned the hearing on a writ petition seeking to declare the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) a terrorist outfit.
The petitioner, Raju Puzhankara of Thrissur, also sought an order for an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation or the National Investigation Agency into cases involving terror links in the State.
The petitioner contended that members of the outlawed Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Indian Mujahideen and the Lashkar-e-Taiba were suspected to have crept into the People’s Democratic Party.
The investigation by an anti-terrorist squad formed to investigate the terrorist activities in the State had been stopped.
The Bench on Wednesday admitted a public interest writ petition seeking a directive to the Union and State governments to ban the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind on grounds that it was indulging in anti-national and anti-Islamic activities.
The petition was filed by Abdul Samad of the Islamic Matha Prabothaka Sanghom of Kochi.
The petitioner sought a directive to the Centre and the State to conduct a fair investigation into the functioning of the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and the organisation’s financial sources.
It also sought a directive for seizing all the publications brought out by the organisation.
The Bench dismissed a writ petition seeking to ban the MLAs K.V. Thomas, K. Sudhakaran and K.C. Venugopal from contesting in the Lok Sabha elections.
The petitioner contended that if they won the elections, Assembly elections would have to be conducted again. It would entail a huge expenditure.
A Bench headed by Justice P.R. Raman on Wednesday ordered that the term of Devaswom Commissioner P.K. Nalinakshan Nair be extended by three months.
The term of Mr. Nair will expire in May.
The Ombudsman for the Travancore and Cochin Devaswom Boards in his report sought to extend the term of Mr. Nalinakshan Nair for a year.
The court while considering the report also directed the State government to submit a panel of names for the post of Devaswom Commissioner.
Justice K.T. Sankaran on Wednesday suggested constitution of a high-level committee to study the issues relating to unrecognised schools.
The court made the suggestion while upholding a Government Order containing the rules on the admission of students of unrecognised schools to government and aided schools.
CEO to take measures for fair polls: High Court
Division Bench closes writ petition filed by UDF candidate
K. Sudhakaran seeking fair elections in Kannur
KOCHI: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Wednesday observed that it trusted that the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) would take all necessary precautionary measures that are required for the smooth conduct of the elections in the Kannur Lok Sabha Constituency.
The Bench comprising Justice P.R. Raman and Justice P.S. Gopinathan made the observation while closing a writ petition filed by K. Sudhakaran, Congress candidate in the Kannur Lok Sabha Constituency.
Mr. Sudhakaran sought a direction to the Director-General of Police, Superintendent of Police and the Election Commission to provide adequate protection to voters in the constituency to enable them to exercise their franchise in a fair and free manner.
Mr. Sudhakaran pointed out that there were chances of booth capturing and voters being prevented from exercising their voting rights.
He apprehended that a fair polling could not be conducted in Kannur unless sufficient police protection was ordered.
He pleaded for declaring more areas in the constituency as sensitive ones.
Disposing of the petition, the court observed that no further direction was called for at this stage.
The court said that it was open to the Chief Electoral Officer to consider whether any further booths should be treated as sensitive ones. There would not be any room for the apprehension of the petitioner, the court pointed out.
In its statement, the Election Commission submitted that 342 polling stations in 1,87 locations in Kannur district had been declared vulnerable.
All steps had been taken to ensure free and fair polling in the State, especially in Kannur district.
Two companies of the Central Paramilitary Force had arrived to assist the district administration in maintaining law and order in Kannur. Besides, observers had been instructed to keep a close watch on vulnerable polling stations in the district.
The Commission had taken special care to provide adequate security to electorate and polling officials.
All steps had been taken to prevent impersonation, bogus voting, booth capturing, etc.
The police had been ordered to provide protection to voters, polling agents of all parties and candidates to ensure a smooth and fair poll, the Commission said.
Sikhs protest outside court hearing Tytler case
9 Apr 2009, 1350 hrs IST, Smriti Singh, TNN
NEW DELHI: Over 500 protesters from various Sikh organisations from all over the country on Thursday gathered outside the court which is scheduled to hear CBI’s plea of closing the case against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. Huge crowds of Sikhs were seen protesting outside the Karkardooma court complex against the CBI for giving clean chit to the 65 year-old Tytler, who has been declared Congress candidate from Delhi’s northeast seat for the Lok Sabha polls. Protests took an ugly turn when demonstrators tried to break the barricades of the complex in an attempt to enter the premises. At least 100 police personnel were deployed in and around the court premises to manage the angry protesters. The protesters belonging to groups like the All India Sikh Students Federation, Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), Khalsa Regiment shouted slogans and flashed placards demanding non-closure of the case, PTI reported. They were also demanding stringent punishment for Tytler for his alleged role in instigating the riots pertaining to killing of three persons when a mob attacked Gurudwara Pulbangash on November 1, 1984. The CBI had on April 2 pleaded before the court to close the case against Tytler, saying that there was no evidence against the former minister. The case against the Congress leader relates to an incident on November one, 1984, when a mob had set afire Gurudwara Pulbangash killing three persons in the riots that had broken out after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Earlier also, the probe agency had on September 29, 2007, sought to close the case against Tytler. But the court had on December 19, 2007, asked it to file the investigation report after Jasbir Singh, a witness, surfaced and expressed his willingness to depose against the Congress leader.
MCOCA invoked against all five accused in Soumya case
NEW DELHI: The Delhi police have booked all the accused in the two sensational cases of murder of young TV journalist Soumya Viswanathan and call centre employee Jigisha Ghosh under various provisions of the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
The move will help the police use the confessions of the accused — Ravi Kapoor, Amit Kumar Shukla, Baljeet Malik, Ajay Kumar and Ajay Sethi — as evidence in the court of law. Under the Act, confessions made before an officer not below the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police are admissible as evidence in court.
The decision to invoke MCOCA against the accused was taken after the police found that Ravi Kapoor had been charge-sheeted in more than two cases earlier.
According to the police, robbery was the motive behind both the highway murders.
While the police say they have strong evidence against the accused in the Jigisha murder case, they are awaiting a report on the forensic examination of the country-made firearm allegedly used by Ravi Kapoor to shoot down Soumya in the middle of the night on a lonely Delhi road.
‘Probe, take action on FIR’
Former NCW chairperson alleges she was assaulted by two J&K cops
NEW DELHI: A court here on Wednesday asked the Delhi Police to probe and take action on an FIR lodged by former National Commission for Women chairperson V. Mohini Giri alleging that two Jammu and Kashmir Police men and others had assaulted her for providing shelter to a newly-wed couple.
“Take appropriate legal action after investigating the case,” Metropolitan Magistrate Ravinder Singh said, disposing of the application filed by Ms. Giri, whose NGO, Guild of Service, runs a shelter home in the Capital. In the FIR, Ms. Mohini Giri had alleged that some J&K cops and relatives of the couple had trespassed into the NGO premises on March 26 and assaulted her and the newly-weds in an attempt to take the couple away. Anjum Hussain alias Bhavani, of Jammu who had taken shelter in the hostel here, had married her Hindu neighbour Khemraj and the J&K Police men and the girl’s relatives wanted to take them away, the FIR said. Earlier, Ms. Giri identified the policemen – M. K. Khatana and Mohammed Arif . — PTI
Court defers hearing on Jagdish Tytler
9 Apr 2009, 1431 hrs IST, Smriti Singh, TNN
NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Thursday deferred the hearing on the CBI’s plea of closing the case against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, giving another chance to the complainant and the CBI to make final arguments on the report. The court while fixing the argument for April 28 and 29, said all evidence filed pertaining to the case needs to be analysed before taking a decision on the CBI’s final closure report. During the hearing the CBI questioned the magesterial court’s jurisdiction and contended that the court did not have the power to take a decision on the investigation done by the agency since the case related to murder which was the exclusive jurisdiction of a sessions court. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Rakesh Pandit, however, overruled the CBI’s contention and fixed the matter for argument for April 28 and 29. The court has also asked the CBI to give the CDs containing the evidence in the case to the court so that it can make a decision. Over 500 protesters from various Sikh organisations from all over the country on Thursday gathered outside the court which was hearing the case. Huge crowds of Sikhs were seen protesting outside the Karkardooma court complex against the CBI for giving clean chit to the 65 year-old Tytler, who has been declared Congress candidate from Delhi’s northeast seat for the Lok Sabha polls. The protesters were demanding stringent punishment for Tytler for his alleged role in instigating the riots pertaining to killing of three persons when a mob attacked Gurudwara Pulbangash on November 1, 1984. Earlier in the day Jadish Tytler said he would give his reaction only after the court’s decision on the CBI’s report. Congress may dump Tytler, who became a subject of renewed controversy after a Sikh journalist lobbed a shoe at home minister P Chidambaram at a press conference on Monday to protest against the “clean chit” to Tytler. The protests, which came as a surprise to the Akali government in Punjab, sensitised the Congress leadership to the risk of persevering with Tytler, a former Union minister who is one of the accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. The CBI had on April 2 pleaded before the court to close the case against Tytler, saying that there was no evidence against the former minister. The case against the Congress leader relates to an incident on November one, 1984, when a mob had set afire Gurudwara Pulbangash killing three persons in the riots that had broken out after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Earlier also, the probe agency had on September 29, 2007, sought to close the case against Tytler. But the court had on December 19, 2007, asked it to file the investigation report after Jasbir Singh, a witness, surfaced and expressed his willingness to depose against the Congress leader.
Will react after court verdict: Jagdish Tytler
9 Apr 2009, 1146 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: Amidst reports that Congress has asked him to withdraw from the Lok Sabha race, party leader Jagdish Tytler on Thursday said he will give his reaction only after the court takes a view on the CBI report on his alleged involvement in 1984 anti-Sikh riots. “I will react only after the court’s judgement,” Tytler told reporters referring to the CIB’s report in which it is believed to have given a clean chit to the Congress leader in the riots’ cases. He parried questions whether he would quit the electoral race from North-East Delhi Lok Sabha constituency where he has been named as a candidate. AICC sources maintained that no decision has been taken on his candidature so far. The issue of his candidature became subject of a renewed controversy after a Sikh journalist lobbed a shoe at home minister P Chidambaram at a press conference on Monday to protest against the “clean chit” to Tytler. Tytler himself maintained that the CBI report was submitted to the court in a sealed envelope and therefore how could there be speculation that he had been given a clean chit. The resentment triggered by Sikh journalist Jarnail’s action swept Punjab as dozens of Sikh groups held up trains at several places in the state on Wednesday. The protests, which came as a surprise to the Akali government in Punjab, sensitised the Congress leadership to the risk of persevering with Tytler, a former Union minister who is one of the accused in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Congress is hopeful of improving its tally from Punjab, but fears that spotlight on Tytler may neutralise the advantage. Akalis have swiftly latched on to the controversy to remind Sikhs of the charge of official sponsorship of anti-Sikh violence in the aftermath of the assassination of former PM Indira Gandhi.
SC notice to Army chief over disparity in pensions
9 Apr 2009, 1218 hrs IST, IANS
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to the defence secretary and chief of Army staff on a lawsuit seeking launch of contempt of court proceedings against them for ignoring an apex court order for parity between the pensions of Army personnel whose service ended before 1996 and those who retired after that. A bench of Justices Altmas Kabir and Syriac Joseph issued the notice on the lawsuit filed by 18 retired army generals.
Judges’ panel to look into lawyers’ chambers
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday set up a committee comprising two of its sitting judges to look into allegations of construction of chambers illegally by lawyers in the trial court complexes of Patiala House here. A Division Bench of Chief Justice A. P. Shah and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said Justices Reva Khetrapal and S. N. Aggarwal would look into the issue.
Developer challenges HC panel for SRA schemes
9 Apr 2009, 0006 hrs IST, Swati Deshpande, TNN
MUMBAI: A developer has challenged the constitution of a high-court appointed high-power committee set up in 2007 to tackle disputes surrounding slum rehabilitation schemes, after a dispute arose in the rehabilitation project of a prime Worli plot. The matter, which will be heard on Thursday, before a full bench is of much significance as numerous SRA projects were either stuck or slowed down as grievances piled up before the committee. The petition, which is expected to elicit the interest of other builders and slum residents was filed by D R Patil, chief promoter of Prem Sidha Cooperative Housing Society in Worli. It challenges the government notification of November 2007 that set up the high-power special SRA committee.
Sexual abuse by cops alleged, HC orders FIR
9 Apr 2009, 0251 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has blasted the NCT government for defending Delhi Policemen accused of sexually assaulting four juveniles in custody and ordered that an FIR be registered against them. Justice S Muralidhar threw out the appeal by the state government where it had challenged the directive of Juvenile Justice Board to SHO, Police Station Usmanpur, to lodge an FIR into allegations that four boys were sexually and physically abused. “Today the state stand before this court on behalf of such accused, identifying itself with them. This is a disturbing aspect for which the Court has not received any satisfactory answer. The consequence that will ensure if state’s plea is accepted is that errant policemen will escape prosecution with impunity,” HC noted while ordering that JJB’s directive be complied with and the case be probed by an independent probe agency. In its order, JJB had concluded that there was merit in the complaint of four boys that they were picked up by cops of Usmanpur police station, thrown into the lock up and sexually abused. The JJB noted in its order that even the arrest memos of the case in which the four had been arrested, suffered from overwriting thereby raising suspicions about the time of arrest. The JJB was equally skeptic of claim of the IO of the case that immediately after the arrests, their parents were duly informed and signatures of the accused attested on the statements given by them. According to the police, after a dead body with stab wounds was found in Shastri Park area on October 15, investigations led to the four juveniles who were then arrested and later produced before JJB. But HC found state was trying to shield the cops from any inquiry and wondered what the motive behind state’s appeal was. “Is the state suggesting that no policeman can even be accused of committing a custodial offence? Is it completely identifying itself with this suspects, to the extent it will seek to challenge any order that directs that allegations made against them for committing serious crimes against children should be investigated?” HC observed, coming down heavily on the government for blocking a probe.
No helmet for women: Relief or fatal risk?
9 Apr 2009, 0251 hrs IST
NEW DELHI: It’s an exemption that they can do without. Women riders on two-wheelers don’t need to wear helmets in the capital. This irrational concession is proving to be fatal and doctors are now questioning it. Dr MC Misra, director of Jai Prakash Narayan Apex Trauma Centre, AIIMS, is disturbed over the fatalities among women because of this and questions this waiver of what’s essentially a safety requirement. “One in four women injured in accidents die due to head injuries. The victims are found not to be wearing helmets. In the past one year, an alarming 300 plus such cases have been dealt with in this hospital.” An analysis of the cases has revealed that among accident victims, women on two-wheelers are more vulnerable to head injuries as they mostly ride pillion in Delhi. Of the 887 head injury cases due to accidents reported at AIIMS Trauma Centre, 210 involved women, a majority of whom were riding pillion. “It has also been seen that the extent of head injury is more in women riding pillion than men riding a two-wheeler. The woman sitting in the rear has nothing to hold on to unlike the driver who steers the bike or scooter. As a result, in case of an accident, the pillion rider falls off and faces the risk of being run over. They are also at risk because of the kind of dresses they wear. By exempting women from wearing helmets, we are exposing them to higher risk of head injury,” said Dr Misra. “Serious head injuries may result in a high level of deformity in most of the victims,” said Dr Deepak Aggarwal, assistant professor neurosurgery, AIIMS Trauma Centre. The law has exempted all women on two-wheelers from wearing helmets since 1999. Delhi is perhaps the only city which offers this concession. The Central Motor Vehicle Rules prescribe that any person riding a two-wheeler, whether driving or pillion, has to wear a helmet at all times. But the law had a loophole it gave the state governments the power to give exemption. According to the traffic police, the implementation of the main law was followed by protests by the Sikh community in the Capital. Sikh men had argued that they can’t wear helmets over turbans and that Sikh women need to cover their heads and, therefore, can’t wear helmets. In 1999, Delhi government passed a notification and amended the law to exclude all women and Sikh men. Calling it “ridiculous”, traffic experts say this shows complete disregard for the safety of women. Said Rohit Baluja, president of Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE): “In countries like UK, even children whose feet don’t reach the footboard of the two-wheeler are not allowed on roads. This is to ensure that every rider has a helmet. But India has no legislation for children and Delhi goes a step further by excluding women.” The traffic police say they are helpless when it comes to prosecuting women for not wearing helmets as there is no such provision in the law. This year, 56,311 two-wheeler drivers have been caught for driving without helmets till March 31, as against 32,238 last year. Another 12,390 pillion riders have been prosecuted for not wearing helmets in 2009, compared to 6,849 last year. “Women are not prosecuted for driving without helmets as the law was amended,” said SN Shrivastava, Joint Commissioner of Police (traffic).
HC slams Apollo for charging poor patients
9 Apr 2009, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: In a severe indictment of the city’s Apollo Hospital, a Delhi High Court appointed committee has said the hospital indulged in “unjust enrichment” by charging money from poor patients entitled to free treatment under the lease agreement for land allotted to it by the government at a concessional rate. A report submitted on behalf of the committee by additional solicitor general Amarendra Sharan to HC on Wednesday maintained that the hospital had failed to keep its promise made under the agreement. The clause provides that the hospital will provide free medical, diagnostic and other facilities to not less that 40% of its outdoor patients who are from economically weaker sections. The committee reports that the hospital has made “huge profits” (Rs 1,191,029,385) in the past five years even as it had denied free treatment to the required 40% OPD patients, charged money from so-called free patients and thereby “violated binding covenants”. It adds that instead of the mandatory ratio of 1/3 patients to be admitted for free indoor patients, the number for past five years turns out to be 2.46% and the hospital administration has shown ambulatory patients, who come for a short while, also as indoor patients. “Charging indoor patients the amount which they could have paid to government hospitals for similar treatment is completely unjustified,” the committee concludes. Moreover, as per the lease agreement, the hospital was to keep 33% beds as free beds (200 out of total 600), but the committee’s inspection revealed only 37 beds were placed in free bed category.
GBA skips RP deadline issue, demands revamp of TCP Act
9 Apr 2009, 0329 hrs IST, TNN
PANAJI: Goa Bachao Abhiyan has demanded a complete revamp of the Town and Country Planning Act to incorporate the 73rd and 74th amendments in a bid to ensure a participatory planning process for panchayats and municipal bodies. The GBA’s core executive committee, which met on Wednesday in the city, suggested that the shelved, model TCP Act that was prepared by the department at a seminar on October 8, 1998, be adopted. “The amendments have to be brought in the present TPC Act pending the complete revamp of the Act to provide a legal framework to the present RP 2021 process,” Sabina Martins, co-convenor said. GBA members felt that the draft RP 2021 has been prepared without any participation by the self governing bodies nor does the present Act provide for it. Another issue that was raised was whether the government will accept partly or fully the decisions, suggestions and objections on RP 2021 made by village committees and gram sabhas or not accept them at all. Though the GBA did not discuss the issue of demanding an extension in the deadline for submission of RP 2021 by village panchayats, several issues and problems arising due to lack of clarity in discussions on RP 2021 at the grassroots level are being collated to help villagers, GBA sources said. Earlier, the organisation had prepared a booklet for panchayats, based on problems arising at village level after the draft RP 2021 had been distributed in October, 2008. “Several issues have been cropping up at the village level as there are no procedures laid down for village level committees,” Martins said. Regarding the status of the organisation in view of ensuing Lok Sabha polls, the members decided to remain apolitical. “We are not into politics and hence we remain apolitical,” Miguel Braganza, joint secretary, said. The GBA expressed satisfaction that the people have woken up as a consequence of RP 2021. “They were never involved in the process earlier, but now it shows that they care for their own village,” Braganza said.
Lawyers move NHRC for rights of Saji driver
9 Apr 2009, 0442 hrs IST, TNN
CHANDIGARH: Aghast at the way a constable of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Paramjeet Singh, with 63% burns, was produced in the district court on Tuesday, city’s human rights activists moved the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against UT SSP and DSP (east) on Wednesday. The petition was filed under the Protection of Human Rights Act and it stated that Singh’s rights were violated, when on Tuesday UT police produced him in such inhumane manner in the court. When he was produced in the court, Singh could barely walk, the petition said. Booked under various sections of the IPC and the Essential Commodities Act, Singh leaned on the shoulder of police man and was made to walk till fourth floor of the district courts. Taking a serious note of his condition, judicial magistrate Praveen Kumar Lal had asked Chandigarh Police to provide immediate treatment to Singh, who used to be official driver of former NCB zonal director Saji Mohan. It was in February this year, when a fire broke out in Singh’s Sector 38 house. In this incident, Singh sustained serious burns and was admitted to GMCH-32. As allegedly 850 litre petrol was recovered from his house, a case was registered against him and on Monday cops arrested him from hospital. Singh, however, had claimed that the fuel was bought from ITBP personnel for personal consumption. However, cops alleged that he had stolen it from NCB’s official car when he was deputed as a driver. From last one year, UT police and NCB have been at loggerheads. NCB official (Saji) had recommended penal action against some UT police officials and owing to this rivalry, this brutal treatment was meted out Singh by the UT cops, said advocate Arvind Thakur, who filed this petition before NHRC.
HC query to govt on Shahabu case
9 Apr 2009, 0220 hrs IST, TNN
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Wednesday directed the state APP to state on affidavit whether the state government would move the Supreme Court challenging the HC’s single bench order dismissing its criminal revision petition for adding charges in a criminal case against Siwan MP Mohd Shahabuddin for possessing ammunitions prohibited under Arms Act. A single bench presided by Justice Navin Sinha issued the directive while hearing the bail petition of Shahabuddin in the case registered by Hussainganj police station in this regard.
Three convicted for murder
8 Apr 2009, 2115 hrs IST, TNN
KANPUR: Additional district and sessions judge, Kanpur dehat, Sudhir Kumar Singh on Wednesday convicted three persons for committing murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 11,000 each. Those sentenced are Ram Naresh, Ram Singh and Upendra, all residents of Hamirpur district. According to prosecution, the sentenced persons had shot one Rakeh Kumar around 10.15 pm on August 12, 2006 following a land dispute. Meanwhile, in another judgment, additional district and sessions judge Vth of Kanpur dehat Shamshad Ahmad convicted one Narendra, a resident of Ghatampur Tehsil, for murdering his brother-in-law and awarded him life imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 3,000. According to the case file, Narendra hacked to death his brother-in-law Vidya Sagar, a resident of village Juria, on May 18,2006, when he was returning home to Bhoganipur. Narednra had taken a tractor on loan and Vidya Sagar was his guarantor in the bank. When Narendra refused to pay the instalment, Vidya Sagar took the tractor in his possession. It led to bad blood between them.
Court offers respite to parents
8 Apr 2009, 2100 hrs IST, TNN
KANPUR: The issue of fee hike at various schools of the city is taking a turn for the worse, with aggrieved parents going for protests and court interventions. In that connection, around 600 agitated parents of students of Sanatan Dharam Education Centre (SDEC), Kaushalpuri, got a little success when civil judge, senior division of Kanpur Nagar, granted interim stay in their favour on Wednesday and restrained the school management to realise the enhanced fee till further order. Meanwhile, parents demonstrated in the school premises against the administration for an unprecedented fee hike of more than 40%. After relentless demonstrations and protests, the parents gathered outside the school and raised slogans. They unanimously decided not to pay the admission fee till the school management rolled back its decision. The SDEC was to reopen today, but in view of the protests, a notice was pasted on the school gate announcing that the school would remain close till April 15. In order to avoid any untoward incident and control the unruly mob, police personnel from Nazeerabad station were present on the school campus. However, the parents later got a stay from the court. The parents have decided not to send their wards to school and threatened to intensify their agitation if the school failed to rollback their decision. They also threatened to go on strike in the coming days if their demands and concerns were not addressed by the authorities. “We are deeply hurt by the attitude of the school authorities, who are fleecing the parents, especially those coming from lower middle class background. The parents are being forced to procure uniforms from the stores that have links with the school management. Besides, why is it that they are being forced to buy bags, geometry boxes and calendars from the school along with the set of books,” asked Sanjay Shukla, one of the parents spearheading the campaign. Similarly, guardians of students of Sir Padampat Singhania Education Centre also gheraoed the principal and raised slogans against school management on the issue of fee hike. Parents were furious when the school management hiked the school fee by 40% and asked for an additional amount for arrears. They alleged the school administration was “fulfilling their commercial agenda” by exorbitant fee hike. “We are not against annual calculated fee hike by schools. However, abrupt hike of more than 20 per cent by a premier school means families have to curtail a substantial amount from their domestic budget to meet the school requirement,” pointed out a worried parent.
Eight persons given life imprisonment in Bihar
8 Apr 2009, 2033 hrs IST, PTI
BIHARSHARIF (Bihar): A local court on Wednesday sentenced eight persons to life imprisonment for murdering a person in Bihar’s Nalanda district. A fast-track court judge Balram Singh found them guilty of killing Budhram Yadav at Nakatpur village in Nalanda district on January 13, 1994. The convicts are Rampravesh Yadav, Paras Yadav, Yadu Yadav, Raju Yadav, Surendra Yadav, Bindeshwar Yadav, Luari Yadav and Vinod Yadav of the same village who killed Budhram in a dispute over property.
Ex-Gujarat minister Maya Kodnani sent to judicial custody
9 Apr 2009, 1600 hrs IST, PTI
AHMEDABAD: Maya Kodnani, former minister in the Narendra Modi government and an accused in 2002 riot cases, was on Thursday sent to judicial custody after a local court rejected the application of Special Investigation Team (SIT) for extending police remand. Kodnani, who is accused in the Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya case in which over 106 people were killed during the post-Godhra riots, was produced in the court after her police custody ended on Thursday. Public prosecutor V P Atre, appearing on behalf of the Supreme Court appointed SIT that is probing some of the 2002 riot cases, submitted before the metropolitan magistrate G M Patel, that Kodnani being a politician was not cooperating with the investigation and not answering questions properly. Atre contented that since she was given seven days police remand in the Naroda Gam case, she should also be given as many days police custody in the Naroda Patiya case for interrogation. The court, however, rejected the application of the prosecution saying that they were seeking further remand in the case on same grounds on which previous remand was granted. It said that adequate time was given to the SIT for interrogating Kodnani in the Naroda Patiya case and sent the former minister to judicial custody.
Don’t include freight, insurance in excise: SC
9 Apr 2009, 0133 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has held that freight and insurance charges are not to be taken into account in determining the value of goods for imposing excise duty. A bench headed by justice S B Sinha, while dismissing the commissioner of central excise’s appeal, asked the (excise) department to pay Rs 25,000 to a manufacturer of electronic meters, Accurate Meters Ltd, towards the counsel’s fee. “… We have no doubt … That the tribunal (customs, excise and service tax appellate tribunal) was correct in the view that the amount claimed by way of transportation charges and insurance cannot be considered for determining the value of the electric meters supplied,” the bench stated. The tribunal in its ruling had turned down the excise department’s plea. The apex court judgment had come on an appeal by the central excise department against Accurate Meters Ltd, which had entered into contracts with various State Electricity Boards (SEBs) for supplying electric meters. While the value of goods was to be fixed at the factory gate, it was decided between the parties that average freight and insurance were to be charged and not on actuals.
SC dismisses plea against cos on forex losses
9 Apr 2009, 0128 hrs IST, PTI
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed the Income-Tax department plea that companies cannot claim deductions against tax liability on account of losses due to foreign exchange rate fluctuations. A bench headed by Justice S H Kapadia dismissed the department’s petitions filed against 33 foreign and domestic companies including Maruti Udyog, Jindal Strips, GE Power Services, Perfetti India, Seagram, Escorts, Dupont, Woodward Governor India, Honda Siel, Turner International and others. The department had submitted companies cannot claim deductions on such losses.
Bail petitions of PW executives rejected
9 Apr 2009, 1745 hrs IST, PTI
HYDERABAD: A local court in Hyderabad on Thursday rejected the bail petitions of former Price Waterhouse executives S Gopalakrishnan and Talluri Srinivas in connection with the multi-crore rupee Satyam Computer fraud. The hearing on the issue at the court of the Fourth Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge has been completed.
Balkar Singh vs. State of Uttarakhand dated 2009-03-31
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 206 of 2007
Balkar Singh ….Appellant
State of Uttarakhand ….Respondent
J U D G M E N T Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J
1. In this appeal challenge is to the judgment of a Division Bench of the Uttarakhand High Court upholding the conviction of the appellant as recorded by learned First Additional Sessions Judge, Nainital under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (in short the ‘IPC’). The allegation was that accused committed murder of Ajeet Singh (hereinafter referred to as ‘D-1’) and Bajan Singh (hereafter referred to as ‘D-2’) and attempted to commit murder of Roop Singh for which he was convicted under Section 307 IPC and sentenced to 10 years RI.
2. Prosecution version in a nutshell is as follows:
On 01.01.1983, at about 5:00 P.M., D-1 along with Roop Singh (P.W. 2) (injured) and Harbhajan Singh (P.W.1) informant, were going in a tractor to take flour from wheat flour mill of one Ram Prasad in village Paigakhas, situated within the limits of P.S. Kashipur (earlier part of District Nainital. At about 5:15 p.m., when they reached and got down in village Paigakhas, accused/appellant Balkar Singh met them and asked D-1 to have some wine with him, as it was a chilly day. On this, D-1 curtly replied that he would not have wine, bought with the money of the accused/appellant. There was old enmity between Balkar Singh (accused/appellant) and D-1 as earlier on a report lodged against accused/appellant Balkar Singh by the family members of D-1, he had been convicted but later on, acquitted by the appellate court. When Balkar Singh reiterated his request to have drinks with him and not to develop further the enmity between them, D-1 again firmly told that he would not have liquor with Balkar Singh and he may do whatever he likes. This made Balkar Singh feel insulted and he threatened D-1 that he will have to face the consequence of this refusal. Then Balkar Singh went to his house to bring his gun and in the meantime D-1 after taking flour from the wheat flour mill, proceeded for his further journey. When D-1 and others, in their tractor, reached near temple of goddess in village Paigakhas, accused Balkar Singh armed with a gun, fired a shot at D-1. It was around 5:30 p.m. D-1 on seeing Balkar Singh, firing at him, drove the tractor a bit faster. Balkar Singh, kept on firing shots, one after another and injured D-1, Bhajan Singh and Roop Singh. D-2 along with Roop Singh (P.W. 2) and Harbhajan Singh (P.W.1), in an attempt to save their lives, jumped from the tractor and took shelter behind rubbish heap by the side of pathway in the village. D-1 died on the spot in the tractor. Meanwhile, villagers started assembling near the scene of occurrence and accused-appellant Balkar Singh, by then left the place. Injured Roop Singh and D-2 were taken to Civil Hospital. But D-2 succumbed to the injuries in the hospital. Harbhajan Singh (PW-1) lodged oral First Information Report at police station, Kashipur, at 7:20 p.m. on the very day i.e. 01.01.1983, which was registered as crime No. 2 of 1983 under Section 302/307 I.P.C. against accused Balkar Singh. On the basis of the oral report, chick report (Ext. A-1) was prepared and necessary entry in the general diary was made, extract of which is Ext. A-23. Devendra Kumar Thapliyal (PW-8) Inspector Incharge of the police station- Kashipur, took up the investigation of the case. Meanwhile, the injuries of Roop Singh (P.W. 2) were recorded in the Civil Hospital at 7:45 p.m. on the same day i.e. 01.01.1983. Inquest report (Ext. A-3) was prepared after dead body of D-1 was taken into possession by the police on 02.01.1983, at 7:30 a.m. and police form No. 33 (Ext. A-4), sketch of his dead body (Ext. A-5), police form No. 13 (Ext. A6) and letter (Ext. A-7) to Chief Medical Officer for post mortem examination, were prepared. After the death of D-2, his dead body was also taken into possession by police on 02.01.1983, at about 12:30 p.m. and an inquest report (Ext. A-15), police form No. 33 (Ext. A- 16), sketch of his dead body (Ext. A-17), police form No. 13 (Ext. A-20) and letter (Ex.A-8) to Chief Medical Officer, requesting for post mortem examination, were prepared. The Investigating Officer prepared the site plan and recorded the statements of the witnesses. He also prepared the recovery memo of the turban lying at the place of occurrence. After completion of investigation the Investigating Officer submitted charge sheet. Since the accused persons pleaded innocence, trial was held.
Placing reliance on the evidence of an injured witness PW-2 and the eye witnesses PWs 1 and 3 the trial Court recorded the conviction and found the appellant guilty.
3. In appeal the basic stand was that the case at hand is not covered by Section 302 IPC. The High Court did not accept the stand and dismissed the appeal. The stand taken before the High Court was re-iterated in this appeal.
4. Learned counsel for the State supported the judgment of the trial Court as affirmed by the High Court.
5. It is to be noted that the background as projected by the prosecution is that the accused requested the deceased to have some wine with him as weather was very cold. D-1 replied that he did not like to have wine with a person like the accused. On this the accused pleaded that the family members of D-1 and D-2 had got him punished and if he did not take wine with him the enmity would be continued. On this D-2 told him that they did not have wine with people like the accused and he can do whatever he wanted to do. On this the appellant went inside the house and came back with a gun. The accused, deceased and the witnesses were travelling in a tractor which was moving at a high speed. The appellant did not direct first shot towards the deceased, he fired in the air and thereafter indiscriminately fired shots.
6. The basic question is whether Section 302 IPC has application.
7. In the scheme of the IPC culpable homicide is genus and ‘murder’ its specie. All ‘murder’ is ‘culpable homicide’ but not vice-versa. Speaking generally, ‘culpable homicide’ sans ’special characteristics of murder is culpable homicide not amounting to murder’. For the purpose of fixing punishment, proportionate to the gravity of the generic offence, the IPC practically recognizes three degrees of culpable homicide. The first is, what may be called, ‘culpable homicide of the first degree’. This is the gravest form of culpable homicide, which is defined in Section 300 as ‘murder’. The second may be termed as ‘culpable homicide of the second degree’. This is punishable under the first part of Section 304. Then, there is ‘culpable homicide of the third degree’. This is the lowest type of culpable homicide and the punishment provided for it is also the lowest among the punishments provided for the three grades. Culpable homicide of this degree is punishable under the second part of Section 304.
8. The academic distinction between ‘murder’ and ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’ has always vexed the Courts. The confusion is caused, if Courts losing sight of the true scope and meaning of the terms used by the legislature in these sections, allow themselves to be drawn into minute abstractions. The safest way of approach to the interpretation and application of these provisions seems to be to keep in focus the keywords used in the various clauses of Sections 299 and 300. The following comparative table will be helpful in appreciating the points of distinction between the two offences.
A person commits culpable homicide
if the act by which the death is caused is done-
Subject to certain exceptions
culpable homicide is murder if the act by which the
death is caused is done -
(a) with the intention of causing death; or
(b) with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death; or
(1) with the intention of causing death; or
(2) with the intention of causing such bodily injury
as the offender knows to be likely to cause the death of the person to whom the harm is caused; or
(3) With the intention of
causing bodily injury to any
person and the bodily injury
intended to be inflicted is sufficient in the
ordinary course of nature
to cause death; or
(c) with the knowledge that the act (4) with the knowledge that
is likely to cause death. the act is so imminently
dangerous that it must in all probability cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury as is mentioned above.
9. Clause (b) of Section 299 corresponds with clauses (2) and (3) of Section 300. The distinguishing feature of the mens rea requisite under clause (2) is the knowledge possessed by the offender regarding the particular victim being in such a peculiar condition or state of health that the internal harm caused to him is likely to be fatal, notwithstanding the fact that such harm would not in the ordinary way of nature be sufficient to cause death of a person in normal health or condition. It is noteworthy that the ‘intention to cause death’ is not an essential requirement of clause (2). Only the intention of causing the bodily injury coupled with the offender’s knowledge of the likelihood of such injury causing the death of the particular victim, is sufficient to bring the killing within the ambit of this clause. This aspect of clause (2) is borne out by illustration (b) appended to Section 300.
10. Clause (b) of Section 299 does not postulate any such knowledge on the part of the offender. Instances of cases falling under clause (2) of Section 300 can be where the assailant causes death by a fist blow intentionally given knowing that the victim is suffering from an enlarged liver, or enlarged spleen or diseased heart and such blow is likely to cause death of that particular person as a result of the rupture of the liver, or spleen or the failure of the heart, as the case may be. If the assailant had no such knowledge about the disease or special frailty of the victim, nor an intention to cause death or bodily injury sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death, the offence will not be murder, even if the injury which caused the death, was intentionally given. In clause (3) of Section 300, instead of the words ‘likely to cause death’ occurring in the corresponding clause (b) of Section 299, the words “sufficient in the ordinary course of nature” have been used. Obviously, the distinction lies between a bodily injury likely to cause death and a bodily injury sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death. The distinction is fine but real and if overlooked, may result in miscarriage of justice. The difference between clause (b) of Section 299 and clause (3) of Section 300 is one of the degree of probability of death resulting from the intended bodily injury. To put it more broadly, it is the degree of probability of death which determines whether a culpable homicide is of the gravest, medium or the lowest degree. The word ‘likely’ in clause (b) of Section 299 conveys the sense of probable as distinguished from a mere possibility. The words
“bodily injury sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death”
means that death will be the “most probable” result of the injury, having regard to the ordinary course of nature.
11. For cases to fall within clause (3), it is not necessary that the offender intended to cause death, so long as the death ensues from the intentional bodily injury or injuries sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. Rajwant and Anr. v. State of Kerala, (AIR 1966 SC 1874) is an apt illustration of this point.
12. In Virsa Singh v. State of Punjab, (AIR 1958 SC 465), Vivian Bose, J. speaking for the Court, explained the meaning and scope of clause (3). It was observed that the prosecution must prove the following facts before it can bring a case under Section 300, “thirdly”. First, it must establish quite objectively, that a bodily injury is present; secondly the nature of the injury must be proved. These are purely objective investigations. Thirdly, it must be proved that there was an intention to inflict that particular injury, that is to say, that it was not accidental or unintentional or that some other kind of injury was intended. Once these three elements are proved to be present, the enquiry proceeds further, and fourthly it must be proved that the injury of the type just described made up of the three elements set out above was sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. This part of the enquiry is purely objective and inferential and has nothing to do with the intention of the offender.
13. The ingredients of clause “Thirdly” of Section 300, IPC were brought out by the illustrious Judge in his terse language as follows:
“To put it shortly, the prosecution must prove the following facts before it can bring a case under Section 300, “thirdly”.
First, it must establish, quite objectively, that a bodily injury is present.
Secondly, the nature of the injury must be proved. These are purely objective investigations.
Thirdly, it must be proved that there was an intention to inflict that particular bodily injury, that is to say that it was not accidental or unintentional, or that some other kind of injury was intended.
Once these three elements are proved to be present, the enquiry proceeds further and,
Fourthly, it must be proved that the injury of the type just described made up of the three elements set out above is sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. This part of the enquiry is purely objective and inferential and has nothing to do with the intention of the offender.”
14. The learned Judge explained the third ingredient in the following words (at page 468):
“The question is not whether the prisoner intended to inflict a serious injury or a trivial one but whether he intended to inflict the injury that is proved to be present. If he can show that he did not, or if the totality of the circumstances justify such an inference, then of course, the intent that the section requires is not proved. But if there is nothing beyond the injury and the fact that the appellant inflicted it, the only possible inference is that he intended to inflict it. Whether he knew of its seriousness or intended serious consequences, is neither here or there. The question, so far as the intention is concerned, is not whether he intended to kill, or to inflict an injury of a particular degree of seriousness but whether he intended to inflict the injury in question and once the existence of the injury is proved the intention to cause it will be presumed unless the evidence or the circumstances warrant an opposite conclusion.”
15. These observations of Vivian Bose, J. have become locus classicus. The test laid down by Virsa Singh’s case (supra) for the applicability of clause “Thirdly” is now ingrained in our legal system and has become part of the rule of law. Under clause thirdly of Section 300 IPC, culpable homicide is murder, if both the following conditions are satisfied: i.e. (a) that the act which causes death is done with the intention of causing death or is done with the intention of causing a bodily injury; and (b) that the injury intended to be inflicted is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death. It must be proved that there was an intention to inflict that particular bodily injury which, in the ordinary course of nature, was sufficient to cause death, viz., that the injury found to be present was the injury that was intended to be inflicted.
16. Thus, according to the rule laid down in Virsa Singh’s case, even if the intention of accused was limited to the infliction of a bodily injury sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature, and did not extend to the intention of causing death, the offence would be murder. Illustration (c) appended to Section 300 clearly brings out this point.
17. Clause (c) of Section 299 and clause (4) of Section 300 both require knowledge of the probability of the act causing death. It is not necessary for the purpose of this case to dilate much on the distinction between these corresponding clauses. It will be sufficient to say that clause (4) of Section 300 would be applicable where the knowledge of the offender as to the probability of death of a person or persons in general as distinguished from a particular person or persons – being caused from his imminently dangerous act, approximates to a practical certainty. Such knowledge on the part of the offender must be of the highest degree of probability, the act having been committed by the offender without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury as aforesaid.
18. The above are only broad guidelines and not cast iron imperatives. In most cases, their observance will facilitate the task of the Court. But sometimes the facts are so intertwined and the second and the third stages so telescoped into each other that it may not be convenient to give a separate treatment to the matters involved in the second and third stages.
19. The position was illuminatingly highlighted by this Court in State of Andhra Pradesh v. Rayavarapu Punnayya and Anr. (1976 (4) SCC 382), Abdul Waheed Khan @ Waheed and Ors. v. State of Andhra Pradesh (JT 2002 (6) SC 274), Augustine Saldanha v. State of Karnataka (2003 (10) SCC 472) and Thangaiya v. State of Tamil Nadu (2005 (9) SCC 650) and Laxmannath v. State of Chhatisgarh (SLP (Crl.) No. 6403 of 2006)
20. If the background facts are considered keeping in view the principles of law as noted above, the inevitable conclusion is that the offence is not covered by Section 302 IPC and the proper conviction would be under Section 304 Part I IPC. Custodial sentence of 8 years would meet the ends of justice in the peculiar facts of the case.
21. The appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent.
(Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT)
(ASOK KUMAR GANGULY) New Delhi, March 31, 2009